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Friday, June 28, 2013

On the road again......

Get ready to party Lady Liberty!

I might just have to get myself a pretty crown just like Lady Liberty!

In the meantime.....

While I'm might want to try this AMAZING recipe.....from one of my favorite foodie bloggers....The Proud Italian Cook.
Oh, this recipe is just so YUMMMMMY and just perfect for a SUMMER supper! 
Especially a summer supper on the deck with an old friend.   
Add this luscious wine and you will be in Pinot Bianco heaven! 
Speaking of THIS glorious  little wine--- I had been wanting to try it since I read about it in April on one of my favorite go-to wine blogs--The Reverse Wine Snob.  However, being that I live in a state where the state itself governs our wine and spirits, finding certain wines can be rather difficult.  BUT....when I want something--especially wine--I pull out all the stops to find it.  Luckily, with the help of an out-of-state friend who was coming to Pittsburgh last week, I scored a few bottles.   
Oh. Oh. Oh!  It was worth the wait.  And, to be perfectly honest---I'm glad I didn't get it into my wine-lovin' hands until a day when the sun was shining and the sky was perfectly blue and I had an old friend who I haven't seen in way too long to share it with and I had a perfect recipe to pair it with! Given the loveliness of this wine, there's not a drop left in Judiland.  But, since I'm heading on my little road trip later can bet your wine-lovin' ass that it's on my must-find list!
Another reason to love road trips.....

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh Goodie!

It's Martini about a gazillion hours!

Jumping for joy and all that jazz right here in Judiland.
Yes, it's a sight to see.

Now, I just have to get through the next gazillion hours.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Where do all the bloggers go?

Trust me, if you are reading this posting and you have a blog that you haven't posted on in awhile, I am not judging you.
No. No. No.
I am missing you.
And, I am wondering how you are.
And, I am wondering what happened to you.
And, I am wondering how one day you were there and then the next weren't.  And, then you never came back.
My guess is that life got in the way or your computer broke or maybe your forgot your password. Or, maybe after not posting for awhile, you were embarrassed to come back and say "gee I am sorry I have been gone so long...." or you won the lottery and embarked on a worldwide journey or you were captured by aliens.....  (you can definitely tell that I am someone who need to know why!)
Or, perhaps you felt like you didn't have anything else to say.
Or, you thought no one was listening.
I feel that way a lot.
Then, all of a sudden, someone posts a comment and wala, I am back to feeling like what I have to say matters to someone somewhere.
But, even if no one ever says a word, I'd still blog away.   
Mostly, I blog for me.
I'm selfish like that.
Readers are my icing on the cake, my cherry on top of my sundae.  
You see, writing is one of those things that is part of my life.
A part of my life that I thought I lost when I didn't become a journalist or write the great American novel.
My Lap band gave me back that part of my life.
Among all the wonderful things that my Lap band gave me.....getting back to my writing came as a bit of a surprise.
A happy, fillmeup surprise.   
My Lap band led me to my blog.
And, my blog led me to writing.
The rest is history.

The other night, in a fit of sleeplessness, I found myself checking out blogs that I hadn't read in awhile because the writers just disappeared.....pouf....they were gone.
I thought that maybe....just maybe....they came back and I didn't know it.
But, they didn't.  
What struck me as so interesting is that not one of them said they wouldn't be back.
They didn't make a grand exit.
They just left.
They didn't say good bye.
They didn't write their story's ending.
They didn't have their swan song or take their bow or let the curtain fall.  
It was like they put down their pens and walked away and just never came back.  
Very unceremonious. 
Their last entry was as interesting and full of life as every other posting they wrote.
They clearly had something worth saying.....
They never gave a clue that they were done or that they were riding off into the sunset.  
Their story just stopped.
I'm one of those people who needs to know what happened.
And, even if I don't know what's really happened....I'd like someone to just make something up to appease me.  I'll believe it.  I just need to know.  
And, just as importantly, I am perplexed when someone just stops doing forever. 
As in they never come back.  
It's not a judging thing.
It's truly just a curiosity thing with me.
Really.  Really. Really. 

So, if you are one of those bloggers who isn't there anymore and you read my blog.....let me know you are okay.  And, if you would be so kind....tell me something....anything....about how your story is going. 
I hope you won the lottery but I'd be just as interested to hear about alien abductions. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fighting the URGE......

to get excited about this new weight loss drug.....

The only way to stop my urge?  Reminding myself that I have to save my money for martinis! 

I know.
I know.
I know.
I don't need weight loss drugs! 
But, still.....

Last week, amid all the daily fun and activity in Judiland, news of this new weight loss drug dropped into my radar.   As you know, weight loss drugs and diet programs hold a very special place in my heart.   Although I know that I don't need them and I also know that I pledged never to go that route again,  I can't help myself but want to know more.   *I want more, I want more!*
 Up until late yesterday afternoon, I was doing very well staying far, far away from the miracle pill frenzy.  Then, it happened.....I was summoned by a friend for my expertise on weight loss drugs vs. weight loss surgery.   My friend has a friend who is scheduled to have WLS (gastric sleeve) in August and is getting a teensy weensy bit of cold feet.  To be more precise---she is in full panic mode (something I found out rather quickly when she and I connected later in the evening).  The poor woman was just beside herself with fear and doubt  about the surgery when she happened upon the details of this new diet drug with it's promise for long term--possibly even lifetime--use.   She was besot with the question of whether to go under the knife or just succumb to taking medication to control her eating and weight for the rest of her life.  
From where I am sitting...NOW....the answer was simple--get the damn surgery. 
Not only is the surgery proven to work and it's success in changing people's lives can be sited in thousands of testimonials, the economics of doctors visits to keep the prescription and paying for the pills themselves can rack up thousands and thousands of dollars over a life time.  Why not just save your money for smaller pants and yummy martinis?
And, who is to know if somewhere down the line, this pill will be found to have side effects that force it to be taken off the market?  Then what?  Will you live in fear of what this pill has done to your body and/or your life expectancy?    And, now that you need this pill to control your weight....what will you do without it?  
But, you know.....that's what I am saying NOW.....six years after having a surgery that changed my life in all the ways that I detail right here on my blog. 
So, I get it.   Why NOT just take a pill for the rest of your life that will control your weight?
Hell, that might be what I would have done if Lap Band surgery didn't come along first.  
Why bother with going through the pain of surgery and the time off from work and all the things that go along with having an operation?  
So, yes, I understood her struggle.  Gladly, I offered to reach out to her, see where she was in her thinking and help her put things into perspective so that she could  hopefully make a more educated and rational decision.  
My friend said she was over the edge.  So, I braced myself. 
I felt completely ready to offer sound advice, gentle guidance  and  the path to the right answer.  
What I wasn't planning for was  a look in the mirror. 
Our phone conversation drove home the fact that the struggle to control our weight can be all consuming and very irrational.  I have been there. 
I remember feeling and thinking the very same things as many, many times.  
Yet, hearing it come from someone else's mouth when I am at this stage of my journey sounds absolutely insane.
Yes, insane.  Not just irrational.  
Her journey---from diet programs to diet doctors to diet pills and everything else in between...was also my journey. 
I could guess the next thing she was going to say.  
That next crazy, ridiculous idea or thought or plan was exactly the same as my next crazy, ridiculous idea or thought or plan to finally...once and for all....lose the weight and keep it off.   
Yes, we were one on the road to weight control.  That crazy, impossible, makesyoudodumbthings road.  
We were sisters in the quest to not be fat. 
And, yes, both of us lost all sense of logic...and went completely daffy.... when it came to hearing about new diet pills. 
Admittedly, I got just a wee bit envious that she had this new option.  But, knowing that I was supposed to be helping her make a rational decision,  I slapped myself back to my senses! 
Like I said.....crazy, irrational...... 

Now I know that you want to hear the happily after ending to this story.  
But, there isn't one.....yet. 
Our phone call ended on the note that she was still thinking that surgery may be a bit extreme when there was another option.  
I didn't have it in me to force her to have the surgery.  
And, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that.
I think everyone has to come to their decisions in their own way.
Talking to me was part of  her own way.
I sure hope she makes the right decision for her.
Because, you know, my Lap Band was the right decision for me.  
No matter how many pills they invent. 

Speaking of martini's.....
Let me introduce you to this yummy gin that a yummy bartender at an adorable little martini bar turned me on to this weekend.....Uncle Val's.   
It's hard to find and a tad pricey......but worth every penny. 
More reasons to save my money.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I just thought this was funny........

maybe it was the martinis......
Sometimes its fun to be like..... ha-ha-ha!  

Looking forward to a Saturday of doing things that would embarrass my children and gives my father more reasons to say the rosary......

If you're looking for can find me here. Yep, it's SUMMERTIME in Pittsburgh, PA!


Friday, June 21, 2013


Staying AFLOAT in Judiland!!!!!

Isn't it wonderful when SUMMER arrives on a Friday?
I think so too....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let's talk about bitches and beans.......

Sound good to you?

Let me set the scene.....
As a formerly obese person and a life-long diet junkie, my ears perk up when I hear anything that has to do with either.   So, yeah, when I heard this piece of news, it immediately stuck with me and gave me just one more nugget of conversation to add to my arsenal of "small talk".....  
Stay with me here....
So, last night, there we dear  caterer-to-the-stars friend-- Patty--and for a boat load of green beans (12 lbs to be exact) at our local overpriced marketplace.  Why were we buying a boatload of green beans?  Well, because she is catering a very special party at her sister's (who is a local celebrity) home tomorrow night.  And, I am in charge of some of the cooking......making my famous Marsala Mustard Marscapone Green Beans (recipe below) for 200 people.  Yes, 200 people....
 Bagging up 12 pounds of the most perfect green beans takes some time, trust me. 
So, we had to come up something to talk about.  
Enter my new piece of small talk......obesity has now been  declared a disease.  
Patty is not any means. But,  like the most of my friends....she is always talking about her battle with her weight.   And, she is as much of a diet junkie as me....she's always looking for the perfect diet!   So, naturally, she was one of my biggest and most ardent cheerleaders through my Lap band journey.  I swear that woman knew every ounce I lost and made as much of a commotion about  a 1 ounce loss  as she did about  my 100+ pound loss. 
And, she can make lots of me.  
Let me prove that point....
As she and I tore through the green beans, we chatted on and on about the obesity-is-a-disease news.  Naturally, we each had our own input and thoughts on the matter.   Although we were not really at odds on the matter, it sparked a lively discussion to help us pass the time as we did our green bean picking. 
Next to us, a very well dressed, highly accessorized and thin-thin woman was looking for her own green beans.  Patty recognized her from a party she had catered earlier in the year and asked her if she was so-and-so.   The woman said "yes, I am so-and-so, I remember you....the waitress at so-and-so's party....right?" 
Patty didn't take to kindly to so-and-so calling her the waitress....when, in fact, she was the caterer. 
So, she made it her business to let her know "no, I own the catering business.  I did the catering at so-and-so's party.  In fact, that's what my friend Judi and I are doing right now...I am catering a big party at my sister's (she name dropped her sister-the-local-celebrity name....).   We are buying green beans for 200 people!" 
The woman perked up upon hearing  Patty's sister's name...."Oh, I didn't realize that was you sister.  Where is the party?" 
 And, so Patty went on and on about her sister's amazing home and detailed the latest and greatest thing that happened with her sister and the fact that her other sister (who is also a local celebrity of is most of her!) would also be there.....yadda, yadda, yadda.
The woman was duly impressed and started chatting about this person and that person and parties and doing all sorts of name dropping......"you should try to get the catering jobs at this person's house or that person's house.  They are fabulous!  You can use my name to get an in..."
Patty would have none of it.  She wasn't too happy with all the show-offiness of this woman. 
So, she battled back by telling her that she does all the parties for this person and that person and this event and that event and doesn't even have the time to fit in more clients (all of this is true information, by the way).  
 This only spurred the woman dropping away and mentioning this party and that party....reciting the social register, of sorts.
It wasn't sitting too well with Patty.  At. All.  
Patty was nudging me and glancing over at me.....whointhehelldoesthiswomanthinksheis?
Then, the woman said...."I heard you talking about diet doctors."
I guess that's what she garnered from eaves dropping on our convo.
"No, we were talking about OBESITY," Patty corrected her.
"Oh, well, I was just going to say that my friend's husband is Dr. So-and-So---you know, the diet doctor. And, you know, he does not recommend any kind of weight loss surgery,"  she told Patty with an air of arrogance.
Just as I was about to say that of course he doesn't recommend any kind of weight loss surgery....he runs a pill mill...WLS  would cut into his profits....Patty did it for me.  "Why would he recommend weight loss surgery if it would stop patients from paying him to lose weight?" 
The woman grimaced.  
"No, that is NOT the reason!  He just feels that doctors and patients are too quick to run to surgery when they could find other methods of losing the weight.  Self control being one of them!"   she said with a very obnoxious air of authority.
I figured this to be my time to chime in.
But, Patty took command.
"Let me introduce you to my friend Judi," Patty said pointing at me.  "She had weight loss surgery AFTER paying your friend's husband thousands of dollars to lose weight that eventually came back! She got a Lap Band and lost over 100 pounds!  Really!" 
Yes, Patty was ready for a fight.
I, on other hand, just wanted to get my green beans and get the hell out of there.
I had lots of cooking to do. 
The woman looked over at me and with a quick but insincere smile said "Well, congratulations to you..."  
Patty came out with all guns blarring.... "THAT WAS SIX YEARS AGO!  SIX!  And, she kept it off!   FOR SIX YEARS!  FOREVER AND EVER! So, don't tell us that weight loss surgery is not a good option!"   Patty bellowed, pounding on the mound of green beans for effect. 
Although I applauded Patty's tenacity and devotion to weight loss surgery and her desire to defend it, I knew there was much more to her ferocious behavior.
And, I knew just what it was.The woman tried to demean her and talk down to her.  Patty was pissed.
Thankfully, after a few less attacking words, we bid the woman toot-a-loo and took our beans and got out of there.
As we stood in line, I could tell Patty was very agitated. 
So, I tried to jostle her back to a place of peace....and green beans. 
"She is just a bitch...."  Patty noted, huffing and puffing.... "and if you didn't have that damn weight loss surgery and lost all that weight, I would have made you sit on that bitch...."
I had to laugh.  That was such a Patty thing to say.
"It's time to make green beans, bitch."   I laughed as we paid for our 12 pounds of  green beans. 

 Marsala Mustard Marscapone Green Beans

  2 pounds fresh, cleaned and cut green beans, cooked aldente
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of chicken broth
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound cremini and baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup (8 ounces) marscapone cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
12 ounces dried fettuccine

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and chicken broth.  Simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and mustard.  Add cooked green beans.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting used to the new normal.......

is definitely not as easy as I thought it would be.  
It's NOT the 24/7  party that I imagined! 

Now that  our new college grad has been home for almost a month, the reality of it all is setting in.
Not just for me.  But, for her too.
She is definitely not the little girl I sent away to the halls of knowledge four years ago.
She has her own set of thoughts and her own way of doing things and her own needs and wants.
And, she doesn't need or want to sit in the back seat of mom and dad's car for family outings.
Sure, she is up for happy hours and trips to Starbucks and shopping trips and pedicures and facials and going to dinner at her favorite restaurants and for whipping her mother into shape on evening walks.  But, she misses her friends and the freedom of life without parents.  Sometimes she becomes sullen, other times she becomes pissy and then there's times when she just doesn't agree with what I am thinking or doing or how I am doing it or......well, you get the picture.  
All I want is her happy smiling face and her sweet demeanor and her iloveyoutothemoomandbackmom attitude.  So, I find myself doing cartwheels and somersaults just to make that happen.   And, when I can't make life rosy and sweet and justonebigparty for her 24/7, I become sullen and yes.....angry.  Because, you know....I am sacrificing my life and my time and my energy to make her life so wonderful.  STOP.IT.MOM.  
I don't want to be that Mom.  And, I don't want to be that person. 
So, as the older and wiser adult in the situation, I am finding myself doing a lot of self in reminding myself that it's an adjustment period for all of us.
I'm digging deep to find patience and compassion.
Because, really, I just want to scream....."oh come on, you are young and beautiful and you have parents who love you and you get everything you want and then some and I wait on you hand and foot and bend over backwards to make everything perfect and your life is easy compared to the shit I have to deal Can't you just be sweet and loving and appreciative and agreeable?"
I know I am wrong.
250% wrong.
I'm ashamed of myself.
I just want that 24/7 party......
Is that so much for a girl to ask for?  

Getting used to mothering again in Judiland. 
Thank God it's National Martini Day......

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I am not as young as I used to be.......

But, I just never knew it!

As I think I've confessed many times, my exercise routine is a combination of doing life in Judiland (it's a very tiring me!) and walking. 
Yes, I've tried other things....zumba, aerobics, hi-low, kick boxing, weights, cycling, treadmills..... and I even had myself a personal trainer for a millasecond.
But, damn, I just couldn't hang with the gym stuff or the organized classes.
And, the trainer was just an evil, evil being.....he and I didn't see eye-to-eye on things like resting and just taking a break after a set of arm lifts or leg lifts or whatever the hell else he was having me do!   He was just a little too into pushing me to the limit and torturing me just for fun.    
Yeah, just wasn't my thing....
I admit it all.......

Although I've always considered myself a pretty intense walker....after doing it for all these years....I've been proven wrong.  
Very wrong. 
Enter my newest walking partner.....our new college grad.....all 21 years and 344 days old of her.....then  add that to my newly designed walking regimen and all of a sudden....I am a walking dud. 
She considers me a slow poke.
Especially on those grueling hills that I introduced to my new regimen.
Hey...they don't call Judiland the South HILLS of Pittsburgh for nothing.
I am literally dragging myself up those damn hills with my new walking partner many steps ahead of she glances back at me with a look of sympathy (or disgust....I'm not sure!).  
"Hey don't judge me.....I am well over twice your age! "
Now I am left with some super butt pain.
Even though I am a slow poke and I am not working it the way I butt is so effin sore that I am having  a rough time sitting......yes, SITTING! And, turning over in bed!
Not to mention the intense pain I am having just walking.
And, this butt pain is making my new walking regimen sheer torture.
Even worse than childbirth!  Yeah. Really. 
Clearly, I never really used those butt muscles in like ever.  
54 years of not using butt muscles is resulting in me practically screeching in pain with each matter how gentile that movement is.  
Pretty soon, I might have to steal my father's walker just to get from point A to point B. 

Trust me, I am suffering.
I am just not the suffering kind of girl.  
Wincing and cringing and squinting my eyes in pain is not good for keeping my facial wrinkles at bay!
The other morning...after a marathon walk the night before.....I found myself wishing for a 3 martini hangover instead of the kind of misery I was in. 
That's when you know it's bad....

So, now I am left to wonder, what benefit will this torture have on me?
I didn't set out to tighten up my butt.  
It's my belly fat that I am trying to deal with.
That's what's messing with my pants.
What's a girl gotta do to zap the belly fat and take off a few pounds?
And, don't you dare tell me to do sit-ups.
Remember....I had 2 c-sections and I'm 54 years old.
The only way I know how to get up from a laying-down-on-the-floor position is to roll over, grab on to a piece of stationary furniture and hike myself up on my knees......or yell for someone to come and help me up. 
So, yeah, I don't do sit-ups.

When you are my age, it's okay to be completely unreasonable.  



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Oh Daddy Boy......

Today, on this blessed Father's Day Sunday......let's not forget that one day our fathers were little boys.....not unlike our sons or our grandsons or the little neighborhood boys who play in their backyards or at the ball parks or splash in the community swimming pools.

In honor of this special day, let's all take a moment to thank the wonderful mothers and fathers who raised these special men who we call.....DAD.  

Happy Fathers' Day!  

and.....just for laughs....
One evening a little girl and her parents were sitting around
the table eating supper. The little girl said, “Daddy, you’re the boss, aren’t you?”
Her Daddy smiled, pleased, and said yes. The little girl continued
“That’s because Mommy put you in charge, right?”

Saturday, June 15, 2013


 IT'S ALL NEW AGAIN.....when you have a night out with people who haven't seen you since your FAT DAYS! 
The oohs, the aahs, the omgs......they just kept on coming!
I was *this* close to getting a standing ovation!
That's one way to get back your motivation to stick to the Lap Band rules!
So....BRING IT ON...... 
Hey Bartender.....get me another martini please....oh..... and I'm buying the next round! 

Our pretty martinis....for those who wished to indulge! 

Finally, we got the chance to eek out a night of frivolity with a group of friends from our much, much younger days (when we drank Sloe Gin and Bankers Club vodka in the back of a red Camaro).....
One of the couples just recently moved back to Pittsburgh after a 30 year hiatus.   It seemed like the perfect time to get together and catch up, enjoy a lovely dinner at an amazing place and laugh until we cry.   So, that's what we was absolutely fabulastic! 

But, you know what part of it is still putting a bounce in my step and a smile on my face?
All the compliments on my weight loss.....
Call me vain but let me tell weight loss is old news in Judiland.   But, not to these people.
Last time we all got together (as far as we could figure) was the height of my FAT DAYS.
So, this version of Judi was brand spanking new to them......even though they knew me in my much younger not-fat days.....
Getting compliments while being at this lovely place.....yeah, that's heaven! 

Yesterday when Carmen mentioned how high our bar bill was, I had to remind him that I like to thank people with good booze.....
And, this place had some mighty good booze......


Friday, June 14, 2013

So......what do you think about fake eyelashes?

 I didn't even bat an eye when I asked that!

Just when you think I'm this completely selfless woman who wants to just give back to the world (a-la yesterday's blog post),  I start talking vanity. 
Hey.... when I get my Humanitarian Award, I have to look good....right?
 Anyway.... I've been thinking about fake eyelashes for quite awhile.
So, I figured I'd ask my wonderful blog readers to weigh in.....
It's Lambchop!  I just couldn't resist her cuteness and the memories of her voice......
Let me explain where my random question came from.....
Now that the Kardashians and the New Jersey Housewives have returned to the tube, I'm back in full yes-I-want-fake-eyelashes mode.
I was off the obsession for awhile but now my wants are raging once again.
A few months back, I even had a very serious conversation with my eye brow technician/facialist about having those semi-permanent eye lashes put on that you have to have filled-in every so many weeks.
Although I considered it a bit of an investment, I was smitten with the idea of waking up looking like a movie star......yes I live in lala land sometimes....
I was *this* close to shelling out the money to do it when I found myself at the shoe department at Nordstrom's and all hell broke loose.
It seemed a bit frivolous to get new eye lashes when I just had a magnificently decadent and frivolously grand time shoe shopping....   

Aside from the fact that you might want to label me a bit self-absorbed and advise me to stop being influenced by New Jersey Housewives and the family you have any words of wisdom for me as I contemplate my latest desire?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This is not my time........ worry about the insignificant things in life.  
Those days are long past.

It's my time to give unto others---to lovingly share, to care deeply, to genuinely support, to offer  gentle guidance, to sincerely promote, to kindly open the doors to pathways... pay it forward.

It's probably my most selfish way of living yet.  
I want to derive the greatest joy and pleasure from watching others benefit from what I give to them.    
In my teens and twenties the world was about far I could get, how much I could win, what more I could do, how much I could be rewarded, what I wanted, what I loved, who I wanted and who I wanted to love me.  .
In my thirties and forties, the world was about my marriage, my children, my career....and me.
And, my fifties, the world is about giving back for the generosity life has given me.
You see, I's just nature's way of making the world a better place to live.
At some point, we miraculously  drop all the needs and wants and desires of our younger days and embrace the joy that comes from watching others enjoy their younger days.....
If everyone was all about the me-me-me then there would be no mentors in the world or no true guides for a future filled with opportunities to give the me-me-me generation (who, by the way, deserve to be me-me-mers....for a little while).
It's not that I don't's just that I really don't care about many of the things I thought I would always care about.  
Perhaps that's why I laugh in the face of performance reviews at work or giggle to myself when I walk through the self-help section of the bookstore or stay clear of people who want to help me become a better person or a better professional or a better whatever.
Perhaps that's why I always buy the shoes.

Today, my dear mother would be 94 years old.
I've spent 40 years being the motherless daughter of a woman who gave me and a throng of other folks what we needed to live in a world without her in it. 
Now, it's my turn to give the people I love and care about what they need to live in a world without me in it.
This is gonna take some time.  

Happy Birthday Mom! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lessons never learned and learning lessons.....

 here in Judiland.   

This is me......June 2013
This is me (with Carmen's family) June 2012
This is me.....June 2011
This is me.....June 2010
This is me.....June 2009
This is me.....June 2008

I've been blogging for close to 6 years....which accounts for my entire Lap Banded life.  
What that means is that I can go back and read my blog posts to get a historical view of what was going on in my entire Lap Band journey.
It's all right here in black and white.   And pictures. 
Although I don't do it all that much.....every so often, when I have the time, I venture back to visit myself in those years....just to see what was going on and how I looked.....
That's what happened last night.
In a fit of Tuesday night frustration and a bit of boredom, I decided to visit Judiland circa June 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.  
 And, I found myself reading the story of a woman who has been struggling either with weight or self image or both.   Even though I think the pictures tell a different story....
It's astounding, really.  Considering how much my Lap Band has given me and how successful my journey has been....there's always those moments when I was wrestling with 5 pounds or 10 pounds or tight pants or bad food choices or parties or events or temptations and the accompanying feelings of failure and lack of will power......or all of the above.
And, nothing has changed.
When I look over some of the postings I've made in recent days.....I am still dealing with the same issues, the same pounds and the same frustrations. 
Six. Years. Later.  
I wondered.....was this the wake-up call that I needed or was this just what I need to come to accept?
I tossed and turned all night contemplating this very big question.
It's a mighty big question.
This morning when I awoke...I asked myself... is the fact that I tossed and turned contemplating it mean that I  really need to deal with all of this or should I adjust my expectations of myself or do I need to accept this as part of my journey and move on?
I often joke that I am just too damn old to change who I am and what I am about.
Is that really a joke?  
Even though I don't consider myself old by any means.....I do believe that there are some things about myself that I just don't have the desire or the interest  in changing at this point of my life and I am not about to waste my energy to do it.  I chalk it up to accepting myself and allowing myself the freedom to do as I want and act as I please (of course, as long as it's not hurting anyone).....because I am 54. 
Should I hold myself to that belief even when it comes to weight maintenance?
Because, you know, when I look back at the picturography above....I don't see a huge difference in much except the color of my hair and a few lines and wrinkles and my choice of libations.......

And, the journey continues......

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

These shoes are made for walking......

The perfect summer walking them! 

Now that I've fallen madly in love with a new summer walking shoe, it's time to revamp my walking regiment.  
More hills.  Add a little extra time and distance.  Maybe even add one extra weekend walk.  
Sometimes all it takes is a fun new pair of shoes to take my walking game up a notch. 
Whatever it takes....right? 

It's no secret that maintenance is hard work.....even with my trusty beloved Lapband.
With the summer party season in full swing and my cooking obsession raging, I have been struggling to stay within a 5 pound range.   One of my favorite pair of dressy white capris are not looking too good's messing with my summer wardrobe planning.   And, I am not too happy about it.
White is not the most forgiving color when it comes to pants being even just a tad too tight.
Not even a pair of Spanx seem to be invisible in those damn white pants.
Sure I can go out and buy a new pair of dressy white capris...
But...will I be able to replicate the love I have for these particular white capris without going through several pair before I hit on just the right ones?
I know how I operate....I'll buy a pair that I think I love and then when I realize that I am not in love with them, I'll be back out shopping again and again and again....buying up more dressy white capris.  I have done just enough summer  shopping that my budget might explode if I buy three or four pair.....just to find the right ones.  
So, I did what any good budget-minded girl would do......I bought a new pair of walking shoes instead.  
With these shoes and the new bounce they will give to my step.....I'll be back in those white capris before the first firework.....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's a WINE DAY!

No, really.....FINALLY.
You see....the fact that we are FINALLY doing this is a major accomplishment.
This day has been many, many months in the making.
We've talked about it, we've scheduled it, we've postponed it, we've talked about it some more, we've scheduled it, we've postponed it......
Trying to corral a group of winey couples for a winery visit has been nothing short of mind boggling.
Everyone has busy schedules and commitments and things that get in the way.
(Perhaps that's why we drink wine!)
But, today, it is happening.
It's not a road fact, this new little winery is about 10 minutes from my house.   Their hours are very in they are only open for 6 hours each Saturday and Sunday.  But, it's been getting quite a bit of buzz around town.   And, you know, I am all about supporting local folks and supporting wine and I just love BUZZ.....

Before we travel the few miles to the winery, I'm having our little group over for a nourishing brunch.....because you know....the more we eat, the more wine we can least that's what I heard....
The menu was planned many months ago.....when we planned our first outing.  At that time, the weather was dreary and cold.  So, naturally, I felt the need to come up with a menu that was comforting.  When the plans became firm earlier in the week, I knew I had to tweak my menu and bring it more in line with the season.  So, it was back to my menu planning notebook  to come up with something easy and fun and befitting a Sunday in June......
(as always, everything on this menu has been taste tasted and passed with flying colors...!)

Here's what I finally settled on......
Bloody Marys and Tequila Sunrises
Spinach-Strawberry Almond Salad with Balsamic Lime Vinagarette
A "Brunch" Antipasto Platter......grapes, marinated fresh mozarella, figs, assorted Italian cheeses and meats with Tuscan Hummus,  softened Trader Joe's Honey Goat Cheese with store bought crostini and slices of red, green and yellow peppers for dipping
Quick Quiche (not a very fancy name but I have made this before and it's always a hit....and it's super easy!)
Lemon Scones and Assorted Biscotti from two local places  with a side of this amazing store bought Raspberry Jam
And, of course, coffee and tea for those inclined.....

Here's to your Sunday! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My newest OBSESSION........

Yes, it's another REALITY TV SHOW!  

Most of you already  know that  I've got a sweet tooth for fashion and jewelry and shoes and make up and baubles and bling.
And shopping.  
(And martinis and wine......when they are combined with shopping....even better!)
And, by now,  I am sure you guessed  that I am not a multi millionaire.  
(Even though I play one in my reality....)
And, I'm sure you figured out that I am a girl who doesn't like to go without.
Add that all to my love of Reality TV and whoa baby.......this show was made for me!  
Honestly, I am in love with it.
In fact, I am considering hopping a bus or a train or a plane just to go there for a little shopping adventure....
Their mission is to make quality, high-end, designer fashions and shoes and purses and jewelry available to the average me. 
That mission not only speaks to SINGS to me. LOUDLY.
My devotion to consignment and resale shopping (NOT THRIFT!) started way back during one of my more expensive dieting adventures at a little pill mill (loved that Phentermine!) weight loss clinic  where I had to visit for daily B-12 shots (loved them!).  The clinic  sat in a strip mall in a very upscale part of town.
Two doors down from the clinic sat the cutest little boutique with beautifully decorated windows.   Little did I know it was an upscale consignment store until I wandered in one day. 
And, waa-laa.....a devotee was born.
There I was....losing oodles of weight, needing new clothes and needing to sell my bigger sizes!
A triple play indeed.
A match made in heaven!
Since then,  that little boutique has closed but I've managed to find many, many more in it's place to feed my addiction.
I've been to parties and events at these places.  I've been on bus tours focused on upscale resale and consignment stores and I always look for new places when I am traveling.
And, if I may brag a bit... I am on all the VIP guest lists of all the best places....
Just last a week, in fact, I went to a Girls Night Out at a new upscale resale shop in the area.
Although I didn't find a whole lot to add to my collection, it was fun to experience a new place and see what it was all about.  Plus, they had yummy cocktails and local celebrity stylists on kinda night indeed!
*As an darling fashionista daughter is also hooked on resale and consignment.  In fact, she even works at a local upscale resale boutique.  How fun is that??*
Although I don't typically go out looking for Manola Blanicks or buy Louie Vuitton, I love, love looking at the expensive things....even if I don't find them even remotely my style.  It's just something that is fun to do.
I follow several amazing fashion bloggers that have been a huge influence on me and my consignment and resale shopping and styling.  There are a lot of them out there!  It's fun to follow them and get ideas from them and learn from them.  Interestingly, all of them shop resale and consignment for the same reasons I do.....because we adore fashion and shopping and we aren't millionaires!
And, it's damn fun. 
My rule of consignment and resale shopping is simple--if I wouldn't buy it retail (for the style) then I wouldn't buy it just because it's inexpensive.  I look at the same labels in resale and consignment stores that I typically gravitate towards out in the retail stores and boutiques that I frequent.  Sometimes I am able to meander out of my typical styles because I fall in love with something that I think will add a bit of excitement to my wardrobe---especially if I am buying a cocktail dress or a very dressy outfit or shoes for a special event.  Although I am not really into "vintage" clothing, some of my choices may have a vintagey edge to them. 
Like I's damn fun.
And, what's even more fun?
Getting extra money to buy new looks when I sell the clothes I don't wear any more!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Now I've got GAS problems......

If it isn't one thing it's another! 
My little suburban hamlet....right here in on my quiet little tree-lined street......a major construction project has erupted.   They are installing new gas lines.  To say that things have been a little inconvenient these past few weeks is a major understatement.  Between having construction vehicles parked in front of our house to having my grass torn up to having to deal with moving our cars at all hours....I'm pretty much ready to pull my hair out.  Every morning, I have to commandeer a worker to let me out of my driveway then I have to deal with figuring out which road is closed and how I am going to circumvent the war zone that has become my little neighborhood.
This is NOT a picture of my street...but this is what it looks like!  Maybe even a little worse than this!

But, yet it gets better.....
Evidently, the gas company has decided that all gas meters have to be located outside of our homes.
They are moving mine TODAY. 
I came home to this news posted on my door late last night when I got home from martini night.  
When I called the 800 number that they provided, I was told that due to the project schedule, the work has to be done TODAY.  Not next week....TODAY.   And, just to make matters even more exciting--they aren't sure exactly what time it will happen....sometime between 7 am and 3 pm.  And, it will take about 4 hours.  And, I have to be home for the installation.  Unless, of course, I want to allow a group of strangers access to my house the entire day and not have my gas restored until whoknowswhen!  They have to turn my gas off (afterwards they have to come back in and relight all my pilot lights), they have to bore through the concrete and place the meter outside the wall.....right into Carmen's beautifully just-planted vegetable garden.  He is not going to be too happy when he gets home this weekend.  I haven't told him yet....I don't feel like dealing with his misery on top of my own!  
Speaking of misery....this is NOT the week or the day for me to be out of the office......considering that my entire team is  out on the road.   And,this is NOT the way I want to spend a summer vacation day and I just can't wait to find out what they have to say when they find out  what's happening here in Judiland.....ugh, ugh....
Of gets even more exciting.....
Being that I live in a big old house, my gas meter is located deep in the bowels of my basement.....inside my very overflowing Christmas decoration room (yes, I have separate storage rooms for each holiday).
So....guess where I spent the entire night?  
Yep, you guessed it.....emptying out the storage room so that the workers can actually get to the meter.  Now my basement looks like Christmas exploded all over the place.  

I wonder if it's okay to allow a group of strangers in my house while I am passed out on the living room couch?

I am not feeling too well right now......2 martinis, no sleep, a huge mess in my basement (that will need to be cleaned up!) and having to deal with the fact that I am taking a day off from work that I will not be too popular for.....yeah......
 Now, I will really have GAS PROBLEMS......

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The SKINNY on SKINNY......

Yes, we've got a whole lot of SKINNY going on. 
The world has gone SKINNY mad!
SKINNY is a good thing. 
These days at least.....
But, it wasn't too long ago that the word SKINNY was not exactly an adjective one would use to describe something in a positive way.....
Am I right or am I wrong?
Who wanted a SKINNY girl?

Calling someone SKINNY meant that they didn't look so good and they probably weren't all that healthy to boot.
And who in the hell would buy something called SKINNY with their hard earned money?
Less taste? Less booze? Less on your plate?  Less fabric?  Hell no. we a world where SKINNY is the rage.
It just goes to show you how vulnerable we are to the marketing geniuses out there who managed to turn the world SKINNY into something that is equated with beauty and healthy life styles. 
I'll be the first to admit that I've fallen prey to all of it!
Yes, I have bought SKINNY everything....from wine to bagels to everything in between.
In fact, call me SKINNY and I'm grinning from ear-to-ear and maybe even kissing you, giving you a high five and inviting you out for a martini!
(Although, let's face it......SKINNY I ain't!)

Words to live by? 

So, yesterday morning when I heard this report about the CEO of H&M saying that their models were TOO SKINNY, I actually had to stop and think about it for a moment. 
SKINNY was now a bad thing?
Or, was being TOO SKINNY a bad thing?
Will he get lucky tonight or not? 

Ah, the power of WORDS.
(after all....isn't SKINNY just another word?)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The REALITY of Reality TV.......

'Tis the season for either new seasons or new series........
'Tis playing havoc with my gardening, my food consumption and my sleeping...and my blogging schedule.
So sorry.  
Clearly, these network execs know a thing or two about reality TV watchers....they put a brand new series on right after an established reality season premiere....
All of a are sucked right into another reality show.....
I mean....seriously?  I watched this and I want to watch this again?  Um....yeah. 

I must break free of this addiction and only stay true to my real reality TV friends....
Yes, I am on Team Teresa.  Don't even try to make me change teams......I'm a Tre Hugger!

Yes, I know what you are asking.......what's a smart girl like me doing scheduling my evenings around the antics of some crazy women from NJ?  

The same thing a smart girl like me was doing when I looked forward to Tuesday nights because of some crazy women from Pittsburgh.....(oh how I miss them so....)
Of course Abby is a lunatic and those women are bat crazy for staying at her studio.  I watch it because I like the moms' jewelry choices.....duh.

And, the same thing this girl is doing when she is just a wee bit obsessed with the lives of these self-obsessed folks......
Really, I only watch this for new ideas on fashion and hair trends.......don't YOU?  Although, I must confess---there are days when Kris Jenner is my idol....and I am not ashamed to admit it. 

So, there you have it......
Where have I been?
Living in Reality Land.  
Don't knock it until you've tried it.....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hello June, it's me Judi........

One of my favorite little neighborhood outdoor drinking and dining places...the courtyard at Il Pizzaiolo
Last night, a few of my gal pals and I huddled around some lovely bottles of wine and some wonderful appetizers in that lovely little courtyard sharing a few laughs and a few tears and then waving good-bye with the promise that we would do this much more often....because it's so good for the soul.  
Hopefully, we will be able to sneak a few more wine-drenched summer evenings at that courtyard before the weather turns cold again.  
But, if we don't......I am thankful that we had last night.
My soul is filled with the joy that comes with the blessings of friendships.
And my head is filled with the blessings that come with the-day-after-a-few-bottles-of-wine.....