Follow me.......

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from the people and places of Judiland!

(Friday was just another day at the office)

Have a great Halloween everyone!
Sorry to be so brief's a very busy day for witches!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Spooky things are happening on Stories from the Road....

My post from Thursday with quotes about dieting, weight loss, etc is mysteriously gone!
But, the comments somehow moved over to Friday's posting......

Do you think the Bad Fat Witch reads my blog and put a spell on it?

Things are getting pretty CREEPY.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Goodbye stomach!

It's all the rage.......!

The other night, after an after-work marathon cooking session, I fell on the couch, expecting to pass out at any moment.

As my head was bobbing and I was desperately trying to keep my eyes open, I heard a promo on the TV that went something like this....."hear about a radical, yet remarkably simple new weight loss surgery that takes less than an hour and removes most of your stomach......."
Funny how, no matter where I am in life, when I hear the words weight loss, I perk up.
Say the words "....simple new weight loss surgery that takes less than an hour...." and I'm wide awake. (to hear and learn all about it on the highlighted words)
No. I don't need weight loss surgery. Thank you very much.
Been there. Done that. Love my Lapband.
Yet, weight has been such a part of my life for so long that I doubt that my instantaneous draw to the mere mention of it will ever go away.
I always find myself drawn like a magnet to anything and everything that has to do with losing weight!
Or, should I say....the promise of losing weight....
As was the case the other night.....despite the fact that I was dead tired after a full day at the office, an hour battle with rush hour traffic plus 5 hours of cooking vats of sauce with meatballs, chili, French onion soup and wedding soup.....
Then, a funny thing happened....
After I intently watched the segment, I was no longer tired.
Well, maybe I was tired.
But, my mind was churning.
The faces of the patients were faces I had seen before.
One of those faces I had seen in my very own mirror each day.
Their images were bouncing around in my head.
I couldn't forget what my double chin looked like. Or my apron belly....
The words they spoke were words I heard before.....words I uttered myself.
I knew exactly how speaking those words felt.....what it's like to feel those things and know those things pale in comparison to the tidal wave that comes with saying those things.....
I kept recalling the feel of those words on my tongue and the sound of the syllables achingly eeking out of my mouth.
I couldn't help but think what it must be like to have most of your stomach removed.
Not just sectioned or banded off.....removed.
As in--yanked out and gone forever. (wonder what they do with them...throw them away?)
They are brave.
Courageous and brave.
Much, much more than I.
I felt humbled as I thought of it all.
It's not easy being obese.
It's not easy at all.
Taking this step is monumental.
I applaud them all.

If you want to know just how difficult it is for an obese person...even an obese person who is trying to deal with their obesity....check out the comments on the article I've linked above....
I couldn't stomach reading them after the first few.....

These people had the courage to take this step.
And, not only that....they had the courage to be on TV.......some of them in those funky hospital gowns and no make-up (gasp!)....and tell the world how much they the hopes of helping others--to give others hope!
It makes me sad to know that these heroic, brave people are reading those comments!
(makes me want to rip the stomachs out of those hateful commenters with my big butcher knife....)

My emotions were all over the place.
So, I decided it was time to make potato soup.
Chopping up celery and potatoes seemed like a good idea.
(yes, it was just another day...and night...and night....and late night and into the morning.... in Judiland)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I am not a follower........

and sometimes I feel bad about that.
But, let me explain.......

In the wonderful world of blogging, we create a community that essentially says I'm your friend, I like what you have to say, I think you are important, etc..... by becoming a follower on blogs of choice. If you have lots of followers--you either have lots of friends or what you are saying appeals to a lot of people or the information you are providing is relevant in one way or another to many people. If you are a blog reader, you'll notice as you hop around from blog to blog that there are varying degrees of interest from one to the next. For instance, one blog may have 1200 followers and another will have 38. Essentially---if logic were to dictate--that would tell you that the blog with 1200 followers is a better blog than the one that only has 38. Right?
Numerically speaking--that would be correct. The blog with 1200 is liked by more people than the blog with 38. Which translates into a feeling that the bloggers themselves are "liked"---popularity-wise--more or less, depending on how many followers they have.
But, we all know that's not really true.
Sometimes it's just the way it goes.
Did you follow me on that?
In other words---the way I look at things, the whole concept of the blog follower idea is that we become followers of the blogs we like and the ones that are written by the bloggers we like. Given that would mean that we only become followers in those instances.
More or less.....
Still following me?
Well, it doesn't really matter if I'm making any sense to you or not at this point because what I am about to say next kicks that theory to the curb....
Here is Judiland, I love followers.
I'm a very open-door kinda girl who loves to entertain and welcome people into my world.
I love guests and I just adore making my guests feel good about themselves and happy to be spending some time with me.
And, just as importantly, I get a big kick out of knowing I have an audience and knowing who that audience is.
It makes me happy. Very happy.
Just like the way I do everything in life--big and small--I like thinking that what I'm saying or what I am doing or what I am sharing might mean something to someone in a very personal way. I like the whole reach out and touch thing....
And, I love believing that what I am saying or doing or sharing could possibly change that moment, that hour, that day, that week for them..... or even change their entire life.
As an added cherry on top--I like to know that it is a real possibility....not just a dream.
With followers, you can do that--you can imagine them as you share a story, give some advice, etc.
Thus, the reason why I am all about my followers.
I like that personal connection to people who I care about and who I believe care about me and what I have to offer.
Yep....I LOVE my followers and don't want them to go away!

Given all of that rhetoric---you could then say that I am all about the whole blog followers concept.
So, how is it that I am not a follower on anyone's blogs?
Therein lies the true conundrum I face many, many times each day.
I am NOT a follower on any blogs.
Am I really that unfriendly or am I that self-centered or is it something else that has stopped me from becoming a follower on the many, many blogs that I read?

If you really want to know---I'm coming clean.
It's a confidence thing, friends.
To be more blunt--I don't trust myself--in the hurried lifestyle that I lead--that I could possibly be sure that I would not leave any bloggers out....
I am not confident that I am able to be a follower on every blog that has meant something to me.....
I don't want to hurt anyone.
But, most importantly--I don't want anyone to think that just because I am not a follower on their blog that I don't like them.....
That's why I am going on and on like this!
Say for instance I became a follower of a certain blog and then forgot to do the follower thing on another blog that was just as important to me.....I would feel absolutely horrible not giving both of them their due. And, if one blogger would see that I am a follower on one blog and not their blog....I wouldn't want them thinking I chose one and not the other.
Yeah, yeah, I know....I'm crazy like that.....
But, here's the kicker--since I know how important followers are....because remember...I love my followers--I know that bloggers know who their followers are! So, yeah, I get it.
But....with even with all of that being said---I don't want to upset anyone or hurt anyone.
It's me, not you.
So, I have this rule--I do not follow any blogs in a public way.
In the confines of my little office off of my kitchen, I read lots of them and I try to comment on many of them. And, the ones I read---well....they mean something to me. Not just the blogs but the bloggers themselves. I want you to know that. Really really know that.
I don't follow any as in being a follower.
Let's just say it's a law here in Judiland....

I'm not sure if any of that made any sense but I just had to get that off my chest.

Monday, October 25, 2010

As we slowly usher out October......

and s.l.o.w.l.y. ease into Monday.......
I'm feeling mighty slow.....
I need a chai intervention......a double please.....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday in Judiland.......

is all about this moment......
my chai, the Sunday paper, a pumpkin spice candle burning and classic rock playing....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Have you met Beverly?

Beverly Feldman, that is.
She designs shoes......
Not just shoes.
Droolworthy shoes.....

So, pour yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, click on this link and start drooling..........
Don't worry, my friends, there are one or two instances in life when drooling is perfectly acceptable and shoe drooling is one of them!!!
Of course, it's only acceptable if you're wearing lip gloss as you drool!!!
But, you already knew that.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Countdown to Happy Hour! spirited friends and I have a date.....!
In less than 9 hours....Happy Hour will be here!
Which means that I only have a few hours to decide what my drink of choice will be......
Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Did this really happen?

Sometimes I still can't believe I lost 115 pounds.

I know, I know....shut up already, Judi!
It's old news......

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about this whole weight loss thing.....wondering why I got so lucky as to have so much success with the tool that I chose.
My beloved Lapband.
I mean--let's face it--I used many, many tools over the years.
From weight loss groups to medical weight loss programs to pricey gyms and diet doctors and medications to every weight loss program on the planet.
I spent thousands of dollars, thousands of hours and thousands of grams of effort and yet when it was all said and done--I. Could. Not. Do. It.
Is the Lapband just that miraculous?
Or, it is something more?
As much as I know that it is an amazing tool, I also realize that not everyone is successful.
Even more-- I wonder if I would have chose to have this weight loss surgery at another time in my life--would I have been as successful?
Interestingly--all of this thinking has led me to one very clear answer.
Because it's become my life.
If I'm not thinking about it, I'm doing it.
And, if I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about it.
Losing the weight, keeping it off and living with my Lapband is what I do....every minute of every day....
Everything starts and ends with that.
I don't mean to make it sounds cultish or crazy because it's not that way at all.
It's my normal.
Somewhere in those ensuing months between getting my Lapband and losing the weight, it all clicked and it became the focus of my world.
(I feel like I should break out in song here.....)
Maybe that's why the other tools never worked.
Maybe I never fully embraced them and used them to their fullest potential.
I did not make them important enough.
Maybe they could have worked.
Maybe I wasn't quite ready.....even though I was always so sure that I was soooo ready.
Or, maybe it was just the right mix of time and effort and tool. This time.
Whatever it was and whatever it is--I continue to find myself in awe of it, amazed by it, thankful for it and just plain thrilled by it.
Those feelings never go away.
It's the constant feeling of gratitude and thrill and amazement.

Sometimes, when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or a window--I can't believe it's really me.
Really me.
I wonder....will this deep and constant feeling of success and contentment and gratitude ever go away? (I sure hope not.....because therein, I believe....lies the secret ingredient to it all)
But, if it does go away or wain with time---will I still be able to fit into all these smaller sizes hanging in my closet?
Yes, it's one of the great mysteries of my life.....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What is a balanced diet? it a martini in each hand?

If not, I think it's time we consider it!
Especially since I just got the inside scoop on some seasonal recipes that we must try before the season is over.....from the MartiniDiva.....

So many Halloweeny little time left until October 31!

Only 11 more days until Halloween!
Drink up!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It was all about me.......

for a few fleeting moments!

Did you ever go someplace and find yourself surrounded by admiring eyes from everyone in the entire room?
Did you ever go someplace and have everyone fixated on you, smiling at you appreciatively and nudging their friends to look your way too?
Did you ever go someplace and notice that everyone was taking your picture?
Yeah, me neither.

But, for a few moments......I was that girl.

It was one of those days that was so worth putting on make up for.
There I was.....having a lovely lunch with my children at one of our favorite chain bistros, laughing and smiling, sipping my wine, dressed in my newest Chico's duds, a pair of sassy leopard print undies, my brand new Victoria's Secret Bombshell Bra......feeling on top of the world.
I was wearing my new Estee Lauder lavender slate eye liner and age defying make up and I was having a good hair day.
The world felt so right.
No gray roots, my pesky chin hairs had been newly wisked away from a little spa treatment, my eyebrows were perfectly arched.
I was wearing my newest lip gloss shade.....Hollywood Gold
My manicure was impeccable. I felt well rested. My children were flanking me.
And, I was wearing a youthful Paris Hilton.
Plus, I had the lovely flush that only a crisp, lovely glass of Valdisievo Savignon Blanc at lunch can give.

At some point, between my laughing and smiling and chatting and sipping--I noticed that a table filled with well-dressed, rather good looking guys were looking my way.
I just had to sit up a little straighter.
Then, a few minutes later, another table full of folks were glancing over at me.
Then, before I knew it, cell phones were discreetly snapping pictures.....of me.
A few seconds later---more attention came my way.
Then, a little more.
Hell, I never knew I looked so good....
I took in the admiration..... flashing a star quality smile, tossing back my head in that girl-about-town kinda way....
I held my wine glass more gingerly, as I coyly returned the glances....with just a hint of girlish sexitude....
As I soaked up the attention.....I adjusted my collar, rolled my shoulders--suggesting a perfect aura of mystery....
Under my breath....I was feverishly thanking God for my Lapband....doing the rosary, saying novenas.....I am a skinny goddess.....yes, I bet your ass....I am lookin' good.....oooh....see my size 6 jeans.....oooh....Lapband I love you! THANK YOU GOD!

But, it was not to be.
Somewhere between the shoulder rolling and son nudged me.
"Mom, that's Jordan Staal sitting behind you...."

As you can see from the picture shoulder and my arm looked absolutely fabulous that day.
For that, I am thankful....since that part of me will be the minor star in a few hundred pictures.....

Go Penguins!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I heard you knockin'........

but you couldn't come in......

The door is now open...

And, so is the window into the full nested weekend in Judiland.....

It's hard to believe what makes me happy....
The things that drove me crazy for years are now the things that make me smile....
Yes, shoes and socks and clothes on the living room floor......

We started off with the important stuff.........The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town!
This is what we call good parenting!

(Bruce and I!!!)

Then, after we all got sufficiently rocked, we got a little creative.....
(My version of a girls night out!!!)
(Our house decorated for Halloween)

After that, we did the "apple a day" stuff....

(Toni loving the apples)

Then we did the fun stuff....

(My little nephew Jared enjoying the farm with Vince and Toni)
I apologize for the suggestiveness of the picture....
as far as I know, it was not intended to be that way......
but, of course, I can't say for sure....

I'll have to ask the participants next time I see them!!!!
(Toni and I getting our Starbucks on at the pumpkin patch!)

(A city girl at the farm!)

And, then, after all of that and quite a bit more, I fell into bed....for a well-deserved rest.
Parenting is hard work.......

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taking a family leave of absence.......

from my blog.......
I am going to spend the next few days being a member of a own.

Surprise. Surprise.
Both Vince and Toni are sneaking into Judiland for a few days.
This is music to my ears....

It's just been a tad bit too busy and schedule-oriented in my life lately.
I haven't had the distractions of being a mom to help me balance it.
So, I do it all.....and then some.
In addition to so many other things--I have a few business trips hanging over my head that aren't as firmed up as I'd like them to be so I'm holding off on confirming other things--making life a bit unsettled for more than just myself, I have lots of work things that have demanded quite a bit of my time, energy and thoughts and I'm feeling very tugged at with talk about all the holiday obligations......
In other words--there hasn't been much time for any real close-to-the-heart fun.
The kind of fun that re-energizes your heart, your soul and your head.
Sure, I've had fun--I admit it--but I've had to schedule that fun in and work around other things to get that fun.
And, all the while, I've been telling's okay! be thankful you have the time to do all this stuff......
Yet, in my heart, I know that I've been missing that family-life-feel that I always loved this time of the year.
My kids must have felt my silent tears.....

As for Carmen--he is going to try to insert himself into family life as well.
His schedule gets a little out-of-hand sometimes so we might have to insert ourselves into his.....but we're good at that.....we've been doing it for years.
That challenge is all part of our family life....

As for me--- I'm moving heaven and earth and appointments and chores and commitments and anything that is even remotely related to my non-mom duties!
I'm pulling the plug on it all......until Monday!
I might be unpopular outside in the real world.
But, within the walls of my heart---I will be content.

What are we going to do?
We're going to the pumpkin patch and the cornstalk maze and doing the hayride and the Octoberfest and carving pumpkins and decorating for Halloween and going to the apple farm and drinking apple cider and raking leaves and doing everything we used to do in October as a family! Yes, all in the space of about 52 hours......
I'm very excited.
Now, I just have to get everyone else as excited as me.....
For the record--that's why I am taking a little blog break.....I need all of my creativity and energy and cheerleading skills to rally my family.......
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The boots are back........

pass it on.......

Yes, my dear friend, the infamous Professor H, of The E Lounge, knows everything there is to know about footwear.
She comes from a long line of shoe experts.
So, when she pulled up behind a building within the city limits in a shiney black vehicle, wearing her red shades and black zippy shoes (instead of her signature Nikes) and summoned me over, I knew a mission was at hand.
When she gingerly slipped a very official looking packet into my hands with her very secret-agent-y look that she reserves for only the most important moments, I knew I was being entrusted with something pretty big. lone page with only 4 words--the boots are back....
(Professor H uses Stevie Nicks code like that sometimes......she is a professor, after all)
Within moments, I knew I had been chosen.
My mission---if I chose to accept it---was simple.
Remind everyone that boot season is back!

I'm so needing these boots to complete my mission.......

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An invitation to dinner or an invitation to pain?

Why don't you just prick out my eyes with the fork then stab me with the damn knife?
Or....better yet, why don't you just put a hot poker down my throat and let it burn the hell out of my chest?
If none of that works, maybe you can just force feed me a fresh piece of crusty bread then pour a gallon of wine down my throat.......

For a Lapbander, an invitation to dinner can feel like a summons to appear
before the grand jury or worse yet--a firing squad!
The stress that it induces is very real.
The event itself can be more than daunting.
Make no mistake about it ---it reeks major havoc and produces fear in the hearts of Lapbanders the world over!
Me included.

Will I be able to eat anything that is served? What if something gets stuck? What if I drink too much, don't eat enough and get all crazy? What if I don't eat anything on my plate? What will they think? What if I have the sudden urge to vomit?
What if I do vomit....right at the table?

I'm bringing this up today based on a question I received in an email from a blog reader last night:

I read in your blog that you were going to a
business dinner on Sunday evening.
Did you go? What did you eat?
How did you deal with "LAPBAND" eating? I know I will have to deal with this someday and it scares
the beejeebees out of me!
That has to be the MOST TERRIBLE part of all of this!
I keep hoping I never get invited out to dinner again!

First, let me say this---I have had nasty Lapband moments at a restaurants.
Yes. It has happened to me.
Not a lot.
But enough that I can count the really nasty episodes on one hand.
They are not fun.
In fact, they are awful.
But, clearly, I survived.
They won't kill you.
You might feel like you would prefer to choke to death right there at the table instead of bearing the humiliation and embarrassment of it all.
And, as much as I can tell my stories and see the humor in were not fun times.
The moments leading up the meal and the meal itself can be downright not funny.
Even if it never happens---there's still that very real fear in the back of your mind
that it could happen.
Believe me, I get it.
I really do.
The other day I mentioned to my sister that I used to have to worry about what to wear when I received a dinner invitation. We laughed about the fact that initially I'd be concerned about what would fit me. Then I'd go on to being concerned about wearing something that would allow me to overeat. Elastic-waisted anything usually fit the bill.....
Now, when I get an invitation....I have very different concerns.
Concerns nonetheless.
Just goes to show you---it's always something (to quote Roseanne Rosannadana)....

In addition to my nasty Lapband moments.....I've had some major "stuck times", I've had moments of sheer panic and yes, I had moments when the wine got to my body before the food.
I wish I could tell you some sure fire things guaranteed to help you out.
Short of telling you to avoid all invitations and drink nothing but water or tea if you do accept them....I have no solid advice.

What I can tell you is this---
I go out to eat a lot.
And, I've been eating out a lot since I got my Lapband.
I am in at least 2 restaurants on the weekends and at least one during the week.
I eat in other people's homes.
I eat holiday meals outside of my house.
I go to parties.
I go to business lunches and business dinners and work related events.
I have lunches and dinners with friends, I go to weddings and receptions.
I eat with people I don't know all that well.
I eat with family and friends.
I've been on many road trips--all of them have included eating out.
I've ate at the mall, on a cruise ship, on an island, in a little restaurant, at a big restaurant, by the ocean, by the lake, by the golf course, at a bar, at my mother-in-laws, at amusement parks, at ball parks....well, you get what I am saying.....I eat lots of places.
A lot.
Again--I've been doing it all since I got my Lapband.

So, statistically speaking---since I only had a handful of the real nasty Lapband moments......I guess I'm doing pretty good....right?
If you think about it.....given the scenarios I detailed above--I probably ate out at least 500 times in a three year period and I only had 5 memorable Lapband moments.
Yet, for someone stressing about this.....even 5 is too many.
Especially when you don't know when they might occur.
I had one very memorable Lapband moment eating French Onion Soup.
I could have never predicted that one!
Gee.....I doubt I'm making anyone feel any better about any of this, am I?
Shame on me.
I'm sorry.
I don't make Lapbanding sound too enticing, do I?
Perhaps having to go home from a restaurant with you pants unbuttoned, feeling bloated and drunk on veal parmagiano, a 1/2 pound of pasta, 1 loaf of Italian bread slathered in butter and the chocolate chunk cheesecake sounds a little more enticing.....?
Been there, done that!

Sure, I could tell you to focus more on the social aspect of eating and spend time drinking in your surroundings and enjoying the moment.
But, let's face it--as wonderful as that advice is--sometimes that just doesn't cut it.
You are out to eat and that's what you are supposed to be doing. Right?
But, you know very well that eating can present some challenges.
It's the reality of living the Lapbanded life.
Like anything else....there are issues.

As much as I didn't like those nasty Lapband moments at all and as much as I do worry about having them......I wouldn't trade my Lapband for the comfort of knowing I can go out and eat a boatload of food without any problem....
Like I said--been there, done that.
I spent 47 years believing a trip out to dinner, a meal with a friend, a holiday meal or even a visit to a roadside pickle stand were free passes to overindulge.....
That's not how I roll anymore.
Thank you Lapband.

To get back to the original question---yes, I did go to the business dinner.
With three guys.
Two of the guys I work with.
The other one I hardly knew.
We went to a place I know and love--Girasole.
I'm a huge fan of their creative meals--their raviolis are to die for.
Especially the pumpkin raviolis that they serve this time of the year.
But, I know that pasta and I just don't mix.
So, I stayed clear of it.
They make a wonderful polenta with greens.
So, I made up my mind before I went that I would order it.
A little pre planning was very helpful.
I nibbled on the salad that came with the meal and slowly ate my polenta.
No one at my table noticed that I had left significant portions of each.
And, they did not say a word that I did not touch the gorgeous bread.
They are guys....what can I say?
They devoured the bread in seconds.
And, they were in heaven savouring the amazing pumpkin raviolis.....

The only thing I can tell you is this---live your life to the fullest.
Find the best way you know how to fit in restaurants and parties and eating out.
If that's what you like to do.
Do what feels comfortable for you.
A little pre planning can help when it comes to menus.
And, maybe just have a few good excuses up your sleeve for the fact that you aren't eating everything on your plate or only ordering an appetizer.
Just make sure those excuses aren't hurtful to your host or hostess.
I mean--if you are a guest in someone's home or their guest at dinner and they mention something about the fact that you didn't eat that much and you say "oh, I ate before I got here...".....that's not being very kind to them. Of course, you could go into telling them about your surgery. But, be prepared to spend the rest of the meal answering questions.....

So, next time a dinner invitation comes your way.....go.
Put on a great pair of shoes and go.
Do not be afraid.
Shoes can help any situation.
I promise. case you do have a nasty Lapband moment....try to avoid getting
your shoes messy.

My best advice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Buon Giorno!

Come sta?
E' una bella giornata!
A onore Cristoforo Colombo, cuoco italiano!

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto!
(Delizioso e perfetta per ottobre!!)

2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
1/2 cup chopped onion, fresh or frozen
2 teaspoons minced garlic, fresh or jarred organic
1 cup Risotto
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 cup 100% pure pumpkin (not pie filling!)
1/4 cup grated imported Parmesan or Romano cheese (or more!)--really good quality cheese is best
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender; add the garlic and rice and saute for about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth, the salt, pepper, and nutmeg; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup broth and the pumpkin, and cook for another 5 minutes. The rice will be tender and slightly moist; remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and cream. Dust with as much cheese as you want!!

Bon Apetit!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I am here........

because they went there.....

I am here spending this glorious, sunny and warm Fall weekend with my father and my little dognephew--Willy.
Willy has an eye infection so I'm on eye drop duty every 2 hours.
Willy doesn't like it. Either do I.
My father is trying to eat as many Klondikes as he can while I'm in charge.
As for me-- I've been watching Walker: Texas Ranger and lots of other exciting (NOT!) programming.
Plus, I'm becoming very familiar with Bob Hope's extramarital activities.
Did you know he openly cheated on his wife for years?
(oh, and for the record--Bing Crosby never cheated on his wife....he was a good Catholic, you know)
Oh, and I had to work for a few hours yesterday and I have a business dinner tonight.
Typically, I would not be too happy about that.
But, I have to say.....anything that can get me away from watching Chuck Norris beat up 30 guys every 10 minutes and enduring visuals of Bob Hope in the sack with a bevy of starlets is okay with me....

My sister and my nephew made a pilgrimage to visit my niece in Columbus so that they can all witness the world's largest meatball....together.
My young nephew was very excited.
My sister has been talking about it for weeks.
My niece has been hard at work on the weekend's schedule for just as long.....working it all around the world's largest meatball.
Yes, it's all about the meatball.
That's why I am watching Chuck slam dunk the bad guys, enabling my dad to overdose on chocolate and ice cream and wrestling with a 9 pound dog every 2 between my Bob Hope lessons...

See, I told you I came from a family filled with foodies.....

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This is why I love him.

I am still quivering from him this morning.....

This is why I love music.
This is why I love lyrics.
This is why I believe life is just a song......
and that the poets and the songwriters and the players in the band are the heroes of every generation.

Bruce Springsteen - "The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'" Sneak Peek

If you do nothing else this weekend--try to catch this documentary. PLEASE check your local listings. I promise will take you to places you need to go.

Last night, I had one of those unexpected, amazing experiences that reminded me why I truly---in the deepest places of my soul--believe that music has the power to transform us all. An experience so splendid in it's simplicity that using words to describe it feels impure.

And, where did this all happen?
On the couch.
Yes, huddled under the faux fur red blanket....I spent 90 glorious minutes.
Moments of sheer joy.
My world stood still.
My universe rocked.
I was 19 again.

The world of work and laundry and doing dishes is not my life.
It's June, 1978, Carmen and I are sitting on the hood of his red Camaro, in Rich Kaufman's garage, listening to......Darkness on The Edge of Town...
I am holding the album cover in my hands.
I was in love. With so much.

Oh, dad....did you say you wanted breakfast?

I am still in a world where I feel the music and believe in the story.

Yes, your coffee is ready, dad.

I believe in the power of rock and roll.
And, I want you to feel the way I do......

May the joy be yours.....

Happy Saturday from my Promisedland to yours.....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hello Friday.......

It's hard to believe a week has come and gone since Toni twirled into Judiland and ignited my life with the energy and joy that she always manages to bring with her. We had a tremendous weekend of chatting and shopping and hanging out and laughing and doing what we do.
Yes, I truly miss my girl.
But, in a completely different way than I missed her last year.
Last year, there was a hole in my life.
This year, that hole has been filled up---not exactly sure what it has been filled with.
I'm guessing it's time.
Time has a way of helping most things along.
Last year, I was mourning the loss of a lifestyle--being mom 24-7.
This year, I'm not.
That was so last year.
This year, when the kids leave--I miss what they add to my world.
I miss them as people and I miss the aura that surrounds us when we are together.
I miss the things we do when we are together and I miss the deep, heartfelt happiness of looking into their eyes.
I miss the magical sound of their laughter filling the house.
It's a new way of missing them.
In some ways, the way I miss them is a celebration of them as the individuals I raised.
Yes, I did that....they are my children.

Vince--with his intensity, his boyish wonderment mixed with a touch of genius, his captivating ideas, his brilliant practicality, his love of the absurd, his mastery of trivia, his strong opinions and his out-there sense of humor. The boy who cooks his Nana's Sunday sauce and brews his artisan beers with the same passion and the same drive as he conducts his research and writes his thesis. My son--the boy with the magic eyes, who is oblivious to fashion, who could care less about much more than having just the right tennis shoes and who truly enjoys spending time with and talking to his 89 year old grandfather and his younger cousins.
Yes, he has a penchant for throwing his socks on the floor but he also loves to make me laugh. The man I raised.......

Toni--with her amazing beauty, quick wit and well developed sense of humor. The sweet petite woman child who can dead pan like a pro in the melodic voice of an angel. The lighthearted girl who stresses over things like what shoes to wear as intensely as she concerns herself over career paths and what to do with her life and eyeliner shades. My daughter--the girl could always quote song lyrics and movie lines for any occasion with a spot-on clarity that always seemed to defy her age and understanding. The girl who was blessed with such an incredible sense of style and grace that she radiates it and exudes it without even trying. The girl who has no clue just how talented she is, just how creative she is and just how much she is adored and loved---making everyone feel welcomed into her presence. My daughter, my favorite shopping partner, my biggest cheerleader and the girl who can empty my bank account in a flash. The girl who fiercely reminds me to protect the sanctity of being an independent woman and who makes sure I don't dress dowdy.
The woman I raised....

Missing them as individuals gives me a whole new appreciation of parenthood.
And, a whole new level of anticipation for the next time we will be together.

Fittingly.....I am spending the weekend with the man who raised me.
Yes, I'm on dad duty.
I wonder how he would describe me.
I'll have to ask him.....we'll have lots of time together.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Changing seasons.........

changing love my Lapband.

In the summer, it's bathing suits and strappy sandals,
In the fall, it's skinny jeans and sexy boots.

If you are looking for a way to change your reason for loving the arrival of each season,
They need your help, they need your voice and they are willing to give you the tools and the power to help you to choose! And you can win a Labpand!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall fashion must-haves?

I'll admit it, I've been doing a little Fall wardrobe planning.
In between the planning.....I've been doing a little shopping.
Can I let you in on a little secret? I love everything and I want it all.
Not just that....I want it in every color!
Plus I want every accessory that goes with it.
A head-to-toe look.....the whole kit and kaboodle.

This is clearly a problem.
In more ways that one.

But, let's just ignore the possible shopaholism and just focus on the important stuff.....
As in.....what should I buy?

What are your must-haves this season?

I think I need a 18 wheeler to shop......

I am absolutely ga-ga over....
what Anthropologie has going on this season....
and naturally, I'm completely in love with everything Chico's
plus I can't help but just adore the offerings at one of my new fav places.....The Limited
and I'm very excited about Black House White Market, Ann Taylor, The Loft, Modcloth, Zappos, J.Crew, H&M, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, New York and Company, Express, Cache, Marshall's, Ross, T.J. Max name just a few places.....

Smaller sizes has it rewards.
Saving money is not one of them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday morning sure came quick.....

and it brought with it Blogger problems.
And, believe me when I tell you that I did not have the energy or the inclination to fight with Blogger.....
Especially at 4:30 am on a MONDAY MORNING.....
To put it in a better perspective---especially at 4:30 am on a COLD AND GLOOMY MONDAY MORNING...

You get it....right?

Since it appears that Blogger has worked out it's issues on it's own......I'm ready to give it another go....

Here's what I was going to say this morning.....

I am much too tired to blog........
We'll chat tomorrow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What's cooking?

Yesterday, I had no idea what I'd be cooking today.
I needed something to throw in the crock pot during the Steeler Game while Toni and I go out to finish up some last minute back-to-college grocery shopping .
Thankfully, I found my way into one of my favorite places for easy, tasteful ideas--Williams Sonoma.
They were sampling their newest braising base--Belgian Beer and Onion.
They had it cooked up with chicken, potatoes and carrots.
One smell of the place and I knew it was the aroma I wanted to fill my house.
It was one of those "comfort" smells.
After taking a quick taste--I was convinced.....that's what would find it's way to my table today.
Honestly, friends, I do love putting together my own recipes.
But, sometimes I just have to rely on the convenience of convenience.
It's exactly what I needed for today!
There's a football game, Carmen is dealing with an insane work schedule that he has to fit in between the game and getting on the road, I'm in charge of my nephew while my sister goes to the Steeler game, I have my father to deal with, we've got company coming for dinner and there's lots of errands to run.
Plus, I must get my chai latte.
And, to make it all even more maniacal--it all has to happen within the space of a few hours because I also have to hop in the car for a road trip---to take Toni and her friends back to college and then get back home so I can get enough sleep to rest up for another week.
Yes, it's another overflowing day in Judiland.

So, excuse me while I take advantage of someone else's good cooking to make a special Sunday home cooked meal......
Oh, and by the way.....I would appreciate it if you keep my recipe our little secret.
No need to tell my company that I didn't slave away all day.....

Saturday, October 2, 2010

You can't kick off Fall without......

a pair of new kickers......

Aren't they delicious?


Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy October....what's your poison?

In honor of a new month and the fact that it's Friday and to kick off this glorious season of crunching leaves and cooler days and hay rides and pumpkin patches and crisp apples and all things Fall and to commemorate our blogfriendships and to celebrate everyone's success and to just get a buzz going....(yeah, that's alotta of stuff...)
I thought it was the perfect time to ask you a very personal question......

What's your favorite libation?
(recipes and brand recommendations encouraged!)