Tuesday, November 30, 2010
the eatathon that defines December....
I'm throwing away the leftovers.....right. this. minute.
Along with the containers they are stored in.
Yes, I'm being sinfully wasteful and environmentally unfriendly.
A girl has to do what a girl has to do.
Especially with a refrigerator filled to the brim with all of her favorites....
Finally, I'm coming out of my Thanksgiving weekend food and wine coma.
Without a moment to spare!
When I enter December, I want to remember what I felt like yesterday.....dragging, drugged and a wee bit nauseated.
All of which had nothing to do with the shingles.
Why do I want to remember feeling so pitifully yucky?
To remind myself what it feels like when I eat more than I should, eat the wrong things and wash it all down with more than I should.....if you know what I mean.
Because, honestly, I want to enjoy December.
Yes, it's true--my niece's chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes (a salute to her coveted new job at OSU) were to die for. But, did I need to eat 10 of them late Sunday night? And, just because there was that little bit of wine left in the bottle....did I have to have one last glass as I did yet another round of dishes?
As for that pumpkin pie--that second piece tasted the same as the first. I didn't need it.
So, I am declaring...right here....right now...
I don't want to have any December days when food and booze contaminates my body, fogs my brain and slows down my pace!
I'm not as young as I used to be so it all takes a little while longer to bounce back.
Hence the fact that I am just feeling alive today.
And, I'm not as able to partake in that third glass of wine as I did in my preband years.
Hence the fact that I had the fourth one.
And, I'm not as overweight as I used to be.
Hence the reason why I don't feel guilty over all the indulgences. But....still....I don't want to feel so lousy.
Feeling lousy is no fun--whether it be the result of too much food or too much wine.
Being obese is no fun---and I don't want to find myself heading in that direction....ever. ever. again.
I want to have fun.
Comatose obesity is no fun.
Bring on the fun.......
Monday, November 29, 2010
This is so hard for me to even talk about.
What exactly is Underwood Chicken Spread Dip? You ask.....
It's this stuff.......
Mixed with this stuff......
Let's just say, Williams Sonoma did not teach the art of making it at any of their Sunday morning classes.
And, my friend the Barefoot Contessa surely wouldn't be serving it to her stylish and fun friends.
And, if truth be told---I never once made it here at my house.
It's just not a Judi food.
But, yet, it found it's way to my Saturday night annual turkey fry appetizer table.
When my cousin asked what she could bring.....I said......"bring your specialty"....
Evidently, Underwood Chicken Spread Dip is her specialty.
(she would be the first person to tell you that she does not enjoy any type of kitchen activity)
So, yesterday morning as I forced myself to get my mojo going and slowly packed up leftovers for trips back to Collegeland and PhDLand and I washed the last of the 3 zillion wine glasses we used.......I spotted the container with the leftover Underwood Chicken Spread Dip.
And, there, in my overflowing kitchen, while wearing my leopard print robe with my hair askew and remnants of Saturday night's mascara flaked about my face--I leaned on the kitchen counter and with a spoon the size of my head, I devoured the Underwood Chicken Spread Dip.
But damn good.
I haven't been the same since.
Let the Season of Eating begin.............
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I cooked, I cleaned, I cooked again, I cleaned again.
We shopped, we shopped and then we shopped again.
I cooked, I cleaned, I cooked again, I cleaned again.
Another Thanksgiving break come and gone.
It's back to Collegeland and PhDland.
After I cook and clean....again.
But, before I go.....here's a few scenes from Judiland at our annual Saturday-after- Thanksgiving Turkey Fry...
Here's a shot of the kitchen eaters.....my brother-in-law Rich--the turkey carver, my sister-in-law Teresa--who survived years of torment at her brother's hands (Carmen) and lived to tell about it and sympathize with me, and a side view of my darling niece Rosa who reads my blog and goes to college at my alma mater.
Look who I let eat in the living room....my nephew Brett--who waited patiently to get the first crack at the fried turkey skin, my niece Alexa--home from her new city and her new job, my cousin Skip--who managed to stay in the family against all odds and my father who just loves to eat so much that he wears his bib from the minute he gets to my house until the moment he leaves.
And, then...the civilized dining room eaters...a back of the head shot of my sister Denise--the hairdresser who made a boatload of desserts then refused to take them home at 1 am this morning, cousin Cindy---who got called to the hospital to work the night shift but still managed to sneak in some turkey, cousin Annette--who made the most amazing chicken dip for the party, my sister-in-law Jean--who always wears leopard print, neighborhood-friend guy Richard--who spends holidays with us, great friend Martha--who is probably blaming me for her wine headache right now, cousin Rick--who was supposed to get Lapband but chickened out, Toni--who I will miss so much when she returns to collegeland today (we had a great week together...despite my shingles) and Brittany--who somehow manages to look good no matter color her hair is!
And, little more of the same.....from a different angle....
When I finally climbed into bed at 4 am this morning....there wasn't a pain-free bone in my body.
But, I was happy.
On to the next road of my journey.......Christmas.....here I come.
After I cook and clean, of course.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Today is all about the anticipation.......
Here's my wish for you as you travel the road towards tomorrow's bounty....
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
It's been a bit of a bittersweet weekend here in Judiland.
In between bouts of pain and drugs, I've been trying to make the most of my filled nest.
To sum it all up---the past four days have been spent either waiting for the drugs to kick in or waiting for the next dose.
Today.....I'm going drug free.
Kicking the habit and crossing my fingers that I make it through......
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Sometimes all we need is a little comfort in order to find the joy......
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
- 1/2 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers, drained
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in cream corn, chiles, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese.
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to corn mixture; stir until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of the pan comes out clean.
Wash it down with......
- 1 (6 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
- 6 fluid ounces tequila
- 2 fluid ounces triple sec
- Fill blender with crushed ice. Pour in limeade concentrate, tequila and triple sec. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve. Rim with coarse salt.
+ 4 Advil.....
Still working on a cure......
Friday, November 19, 2010
So, I won't bore you with the details of this nasty little illness that the doctor tells me may get worse before it gets better.
In stead, I am just going to drink my chai, say lots of curse words and then put on my new SEVEN brand jeans......
When the going get rough, it's best to do those things that bring you comfort and joy.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Heat flashes, disturbed sleep and spider veins....I am learning to deal with these very inconvenient issues. .
Mood swings and fears of aging......I have a gin infused potion that deals with them!
But, honestly, I really do not want to find out that I have an illness where the first line that describes it says.....
Over 5o years of age is...... OLDER PEOPLE?
How in the hell did I get it?
Okay, I'm thankful I am not dying of some awful disease.
I'm thrilled that I don't have to start writing my last will and testament.
And, I am pleased by the fact that I won't be ruining the holidays by being putridly ill and unable to wear lip gloss or cook or shop or go to parties or wear my new holiday sweaters.....
Plus, I really am truly grateful that I won't have to deal with people trying to figure out what to say to me because I am dying around the holidays.
And, if you really want to know the truth, I am down-on-my-knees-appreciative that I don't have to worry about dying while my bedroom is a mess.
But, really.....if I have to get an illness that is so painful that I feel like I have hot pokers being stuck under my arm and into my shoulder blade and through my boob....could it at least be an illness that ANYONE can get?
It all started with a minor headache....that lasted about a week.
Then, I started noticing that I was so exhausted I could hardly make it through the day.
Then, a sharp pain started in my shoulder blade.
Then, my shoulder started burning and feeling really weird.
Then, my arm pit got numb. Then, it started really hurting.
Then, the flabby part of my arm felt numb.
Then, the weird sensations started in my boob.
That's when I got crazy scared.
So, I went to the chiropractor.
Yes, I was completely out of whack....no wonder I was in pain.
I continued going to the chiropractor.
He was going to solve all of my problems.
But I was feeling lousy and in pain and hot and cold and achey and exhausted.
So, I trotted myself off to the doctor's.
That's when he found that I had a very enlarged lymph node plus a few more swollen ones.
He suspected it was an infection.
Take these pills and you will be fine....
The stabbing, hot poker pain continued---morning, noon and night.
Fucking pain....in the fucking morning, fucking at noon and fucking at night.
So, I took myself back to the doctor--fully expecting to hear I was going to die at any time.
No, let's do some blood work.
What's the blood work for?
That's a young person's sickness.
It's from kissing.
I was okay with mono.
I might be tired but I wasn't going to die.
Sounded good to me.
But, my blood work came back that I did not have mono.
Why couldn't I have the kissing disease?????
That's when I flipped out on my doctor....so, I told him-- on the phone when he called to report I was mono free--in a rather hysterical voice....
"You know, I have myself so damn stressed out about this and I am in so much pain and I can't sleep between the pain and the stress---now, I am developing welts on my chest and my arm! I HAVE HIVES!!!"
The doctor was quiet for a moment.
Then, he asked...."where are these hives? are they on the same side of your body where you are feeling all this pain and where the lymph nodes are swollen?"
I looked down at my right side....."Yessss" I murmured, now wondering what terrible disease I could have. I did not want to ruin Thanksgiving.
"Sounds like we have a case of shingles on our hands," he told me.
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?
So, my friends, not only am I suffering from this awfully painful, ugly mess of an illness, I am also fucking pissed off that it's an illness for "OLD PEOPLE".....of which, I am defined as ONE OF THEM!
This really is not the time to piss me off.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Isn't it funny when you see a full page ad in a major magazine for a weight loss product (that you know cost a gadzillion dollars) with a before and after picture of someone who lost a pile of weight with all kinds of text describing the secret ingredients that just guarantee weight loss and there's glowing "you saved my life" and "I can wear a bikini for the first time since I was 10" testimonials from Joan G. from Texas and Mary L. from Minnesota...and then in the tiny print...it says results not typical......
Yeah, I find that funny too.
But, let me tell you.....for years, I would look at those ads and consider buying whatever they were selling.
Okay, okay....I admit it.....some of them I did buy.
I was never once stopped by the fine print.
I was sure they weren't talking about me when they said results not typical.
I was going to be the next before and after spokesperson on that page.....
I had no doubt about it.
That is why I have always said that dieting was a very optimistic activity for me.
I was absolutely, positive, without a doubt, sure that I was going lose 25 pounds in one month with this diet.
I felt the same way about the next diet.
And, the next one.
It was only when I felt hopeless that I stopped dieting.
Until I heard about another dieting breakthrough.
Then, I got optimistic again.
In fact, I could be the ultimate source of diet info the world over.
Should you care--I'll tell you 2 things from my treasure trove of dieting experiences--Weight Watchers is the best program and I love phentramine (street name: speed).
Weight Watchers produced results sensibly and phentramine helped me to multi-task, forgo sleep, and have a constant source of energy.
Although they both had their advantages and I managed to ace both losing weight and cleaning the kitchen at 3 am when I combined the two, I wasn't able to maintain the loss and the lifestyle.
Weighing, measuring and doing mathematics morning, noon and night while I was strung out on speed didn't really go so well after awhile....
Just thought I'd share that.
But, your results may vary....
So, what got me to thinking about this?
It all started the other night while visiting my dear friend Patty to work on her Thanksgiving mantle decor and tablescape. She is entertaining her huge family plus many out of town guests for the holiday and she wants everything to be perfectly beautiful. That's just the way she is. And, trust me--if Patty wants it to be perfectly beautiful, it will be. But, she lacks the confidence to put the finishing touches on her decor. Although I beg to differ---her house is absolutely lovely---she panics at the mere thought of holiday decorating. That's where I come in. I love to decorate for holidays and for some reason--it all comes very easy to me. Being the true friend that I am--I trudged over there on a work night, armed with my staple gun, my glue gun, a bag full of decorations and my tool box--and we got to work. As I was moving things around and pulling candle holders out of her kitchen cabinets, I knocked over a box of SENSA.
It's the weight loss system that helps you lose weight without dieting.
At least that's what the box said.
A diet program I did not know anything about.....well....whattayaknow!
I could feel my heart racing.....
My dieting girl behavior was kicking in.
So, I raced to the other end of the house where Patty was unloading yet another tub of decorations and I held up the box of SENSA.
What's this? I asked.
Her face turned red.
SENSA she said sheepishly.
She acted as though she had just been found out.
The guilt was all over her face.
No, I mean, what is it? I exclaimed--letting her know that I wanted to know what it was not that I was going to scold her for buying or using some new diet product.
She went on to explain that it's a powder that you sprinkle over your food--there are shakers for sweet foods and salty foods.
The funny thing is that Patty does not need to lose a lot of weight.
But, like everyone I seem to know---it would be great to lose a little.
Everyone loses quite a bit of weight without dieting, she said triumphantly.
Really? I never heard of it, I said, intently reading the box.
You don't need magic dust! You got your band! she laughed, taking the box, opening it and showing me everything that was inside.....for only $99.99 for a 3 month supply.
Some people have lost 30 pounds in one month with this, she told me.
Wow, I wonder what it is! I gasped
Well, it is something natural, she said confidently....adding....I just want to lose 10 pounds before the holidays so this should work. They said that 30 pounds are not the typical results. So I am sure I can lose ten with no problem just shaking the dust on my food!
We laughed at the absurdity of it but steadfast in our belief that this product could do the trick.
By the time I left, Patty's house with glowing with autumn splendor and Patty was basking in the promise of her SENSA results....
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Two years ago, I might have had to stop and think about that.
Although I am pretty sure I would have probably arrived at the same answer....NO.
But, there would have been that one little moment of wonder.
I might have drooled a bit and got a little woozy at the thought of living life without pasta.
Those days are over.
Today--there is no thinking involved at all.
Not one brain cell of thought, not one iota of longing or desire or whimpering.
As much as I love....and I mean...love, love, love.....pasta.....I am okay with never eating it again.
Ever. Ever. Ever.
Never. Eating. Pasta. Ever. Again.
I spent 47 years, 7 months and 17 days eating a million pounds of pasta.
I ate every shape, covered with every sauce, nestled or layered between every meat and vegetable and cheese.
Wagon wheels with meat sauce---yep, I ate it.
Penne with marinara.....sure did.
Linguine with pesto.....why, of course.
Yes, I ate it all.
For 47 years, 7 months and 17 days.
I experienced the best there was---from my Nana Dip's kitchen to my mother's kitchen to my own kitchen....I was blessed with the best pasta in the world.
Italian ceramic bowls overflowing with beautifully smothered pasta.
Infused with herbs and spices that made my taste buds sing.
Cooked to an aldente perfection--the mere thought of it would make my heart go pitter-patter.
Artfully dusted with tangy, sharp cheese.
Steam wafting up into my face, carrying with it the promise of something so passionately tasteful that the anticipation was almost too hard to bear.
The dripping, oozing splendor of a bowl of pasta was my heaven on earth.
Make no doubt about it, my life as a pasta eater was supremely rich and superbly satisfying.
Beautiful and comforting.
Filled with joy and rapture.
Tantalizing and delicious.
Yes, it was lovely and sweet and absolutely bellisimo!
So, why am I telling you that I wouldn't trade it all for more of the same?
Sometimes a girl just has to move on.......
Monday, November 15, 2010
It was a weekend of cooking in Judiland.
And, if you know anything about me--you know that I love to cook.
Cooking is something that soothes me.
Spending a day in the kitchen is my idea of heaven.
I love the entire process of cooking.
Well, except for the clean up.
I find chopping a very relaxing activity.
And, I am just ga-ga over stirring.
I adore adapting recipes, putting flavors together and just getting creative with a pot.
I get great satisfaction from adding a new twist on an old recipe.
I love to experiment with seasonal and holiday dishes and traditional recipes.
As a matter of fact--if I had to describe my cooking, I would call it traditional with a twist.
For instance, if it's November, I firmly believe that all desserts must be a pumpkin-something.
One must eat as much pumpkin as possible.
I don't have to always have pumpkin pie.
But, I need a pumpkin something.
It's the law of Judiland.
I can get very cranky if I don't have the flavors that I expect at certain times of the year.
And, when I get cranky, I get very STRESSED.
It's not a good look for me. It messes with my sunny disposition.
Thus screwing up my make up.
That's why I want to share this yummy dessert with you on this dreary November Monday morning....it makes me very happy just thinking about it.
I can't wait to make it using my brand new kitchen torch!
Unleashing my hotness.....in the kitchen!
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 6 Tbs. pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup plus 4 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan and whisk in the cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg. Set over medium-low heat and warm the cream mixture until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, salt, pumpkin puree, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar until smooth and blended. Slowly pour in the cream mixture, stirring until blended. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Divide the mixture among four 8-fl.-oz. ramekins and place in a large baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set around the edges, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp. granulated sugar evenly over the surface of each custard. Using a kitchen torch according to the manufacturer's instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Trust me....it's fabulicious!!!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
That calls for a roaring fire, a pot of something scrumptious simmering on the stove, the sounds of a football game in the background and me fluffing and fussing around the house.....getting ready for the kids to arrive home this FRIDAY......
But, first....I must make my way to my cooking class at Williams Sonoma.
With a quick stop at Starbucks beforehand, of course.
My forever friend Debbie and I.....doing our November Sunday morning ritual.
Today, the class is all about an intimate Thanksgiving.
Forgive me, Mr. Williams of Sonoma but I am so over the intimate dinners around here.
I am so looking forward to the hustle and bustle of a full house with many smiling faces around
What's that something scrumptious that will be simmering on my stove today?
Sauce with baby meatballs. Which I will pour over a wonderful bowl of polenta later today.
With a luscious glass of Francis Coppola's deep and soothing Claret.
Kicking off a week of anticipation here in Judiland.
May your Sunday be filled with wonderful flavors and the thrill of looking forward to a week that holds something special.....
Saturday, November 13, 2010
As I enter my 4th Lapbanded holiday eating season , I am going to declare myself an expert.
I am your go-to girl.
Your personal expert-in-residence.
My comments are open.
Let me help you navigate the evil buffet tables, the food stuffing Aunt Hilda, the night out on the town issues and the clothes that don't fit tragedies!
If you've got a Lapband holiday related question or problem.....give it to me!
I've been there, I've done that.
No problem is too big.
No problem is too small.
I can solve it all.
If I can't find an answer......I'm sure I can find a perfect wine or a potent martini that can!!!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
with pictures......not numbers.....
The proof is in the pictures.
It's a journey.
Not a race.
With many rewards along the way.
It's not about the first picture and the last picture.
It's about the pictures in between.
And, all the pictures going forward.
Oh, and yes....it is also about the clothes.....
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Well.....that's a loaded question.
One I don't feel completely qualified to answer.
Because, for me......it worked.
But, I know it's not fool proof.
And, I know it's not a magic bullet.
What I don't know is how to answer that question.
Truth be told--I do not want to discourage anyone from taking advantage of a tool that saved me from a life of dieting and weight gain and obesity and all the things that went with it.
How would you answer that question?
Monday, November 8, 2010
I am EASY.
My friend Debbie is a TART.
Those are not my words.
Debbie declared them during our cooking class yesterday......during the EASY TART portion.
She doesn't need TART lessons.
I don't need to hear about EASY.
We don't need Mondays.
But, we got 'em......
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Alright guys.....I know we are all ga-ga over Friday....
Believe me, I feel exactly the same way.
I am TGIFing right along with you here in Judiland!
So.. let's get the woo-hoos out of the way....
Although Friday is definitely something to be THANKFUL for......I was thinking that since it's November and we'll be celebrating THANKSGIVING in just a few short weeks.....maybe we should try to find all those things we are thankful for......
So, I'm setting aside every Friday in November for us to TGIF!!!
Right. Here. Right. Now.
That' s just what we will be doing here on Stories from the Road.....
Every Friday in November, I am going to tell you what I am thankful for and YOU are going to tell me what YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR......
We are gonna TURBO CHARGE TGIF!!!!
Here I go.....
I am thankful for my bestest-forever and ever girlfriends......the girls who make my life my life.....in other words....they get Judi and they play along!!!!
They come from all roads of Judiland and they make the journey worth traveling.....
So, tell me....what are you thankful for?
Thursday, November 4, 2010
What conversation? You ask.
This one.......click on the picture.....I'll wait right here while you read it
(do not go ANY FURTHER until you read it!!!)
Up until this point, I've just been speechless.
You read it.....can you blame me?
But, considering Stories from the Road is all about my journey from obesity.....I feel it's my duty to say something.....
Even if the something I have to say is so obvious that it's obviously obvious.
And, even if the something I have to say is not very nice.
But, really.....this is one of those moments in Judiland when I can't fence sit.
I gotta get it out.
Listen, I don't like to say bad things about other bloggers...it feels so not right.
But, each time I hear about this or read about this or even think about this.....these words come to mind:
WHO I'LL BET DOESN'T WEAR LIP GLOSS
AND HAS BAD TASTE IN SHOES
I can't help myself.
As far as I am concerned, anyone who thinks these things can't possibly know the importance of lip gloss.
And, I am most certain that anyone who feels the way this blogger feels simply cannot have good taste it shoes.
It's just the way the world works.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
And, then a third.
It's the least I could do for him for all he sacrificed yesterday.
Election day has always been a big day for my father.
He is and always has been a staunch Irish Democrat.
He makes no excuses for it, he's proud of it and he makes no bones about
his devotion to the "old guards" of Pittsburgh politics and the by-gone politicians and elected officials of yesteryears and how they shaped the city he loves and what it all meant to his life.
And, if you sit with him long enough---you are enlightened by the characters and the stories of Pittsburgh government and political races. He tells it all with great precision and exacting details--complete with dates and places and how it all correlates to every other time in history. He peppers his vocabulary with ward chairmen, county commissioners, his beloved Davey Lawrence and all the names synonomous with Pittsburgh's colorful Grant Street history.
They all play huge parts in my father's recollection of how the Democrats won his heart, saved his life and gave him the morals and the values he holds so dear.
At times the stories are touching, at times they are completely outrageous, at other times, bordering on unbelievable and at other times--downright hilarious.
Yet, they are the moments that shaped my father's life.
The moments that made Election Day a day he coveted.
I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this but I spend Tuesday nights with my father.
I make his dinner, I give him his medication, I watch TV with him and we talk about whatever it is he wants to talk about.
He asks about my weight, he tells me about his own struggles with dieting and then he never fails to mention his own mother's penchant for lard and bacon--which led to her be buried at the age of 89 at over 300 lbs (she could have lived to 100 if she wasn't so fat...he says it every time). He checks in on my church going habits and reminds me about upcoming holy days. He marvels about his grand kids--always asking me when Vince--his first grandson--will get his PhD. He says that he prays he will see it---and, I know he does. He never misses the opportunity to tell me just how proud he is of Toni for going to college and how he hopes she finds a nice boy to marry her there. He shares his worry about his oldest grand daughter---Alexa--living in Columbus on her own---a girl shouldn't be living alone in an apartment away from her family. He tells me about Frank Sinatra (did you know that the marks on his face were made by the forceps used by the doctor who was delivering him?) and Bing Crosby and John Barrymore and Gene Kelly and John Kennedy and Bishop Wright and Roberto Clemente and Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill ---to name just a few.
We watch the news and baseball and hockey.
He tells me about the glory days of Carnegie Tech football.
Every Tuesday night.
Last night started out a little differently.
"So, did you vote?" he asked as soon as I got there.
"Yes, I did"
"I am not voting anymore" he told me.
"I know, Dad."
"After the strokes, I don't think it's right" he said.
"I think you still can."
"No, it's not right" he repeated
"I can take you there now, if you want to go"
"No, Judi, I'm 89 and I had strokes. It's not right" he lectured.
"I still think you can"
"No, my voting days are over. I can't take a chance messing up," he explained
"You mean with the machine?"
"No, by voting for a Republican" he corrected me.
With that, I knew he meant it.
So, I decided to change the subject--I told him what I was making for dinner.
He seemed to be happy with the menu.
And, just as I was heading to the kitchen, he called me back.
"You know, I feel bad not voting," he said, his voice tinged with sadness.
"I know Dad, I feel bad about it too."
He sat for a few moments, lost in thought.
Then, he said--"I think I might just have another Klondike today. Even though I already had one."
For the record--my sister (who he lives with) has a rule that he is only allowed one Klondike a day. She gets very upset when we go against the rule. And, she gets very upset with him when he tries to manipulate us to give him more than one.
"I think I can do that," I told him.
"And, we won't tell anyone," he whispered very seriously.
"It's our secret ballot, Dad" I teased him.
"It's hard knowing I will never vote again," he softly said, shaking his head, turning his eyes towards the TV set that was giving election returns.
He got 2 more Klondikes.
The Democrats weren't doing too good.
I thought he needed an extra one.