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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fabulously frozen......

here in Judiland! 

Searching for my lost shaker of salt!!!  

Here's hoping you are  finding FABULOUS ways to stay warm......

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This is 55.......

Before a Friday night celebrating being 55 with my spirited gal pals....

So, when is this old enough to know better kick in? 
Because,  I  really do know that the third martini is not a good idea.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's my PARTY!!!!

Today, I am 55.
Yesterday, I was 54.  
What an interesting thing.....
With the swoop of just 24 hours, I have arrived at a brand new age.  

Remember how I got a Lap band and lost a lot of weight?
Well, if you somehow forgot about that, just visit this 48 year old girl and it will jog your memory.
I mention this tid bit today for two reasons.....
#1....This blog started because of my Lap Band and this blog has been an integral part of my journey to not only lose the weight but to keep it off
#2.....Losing the weight has transformed each and every day....especially my birthDAY!!!  

I am not going to gush and gush about my Lap band.  
It's my birthday and I am going to talk about something else that is near and dear to my heart and my soul:
 And, I'm going to do talk about it without a hint of guilt or embarrassment.
I am now older and wiser and more confident in myself and my passions and I have finally found it in me to acknowledge that the joy that my love of fashion has brought me is a part of me and something that has given me more than I could have ever dreamed....

If truth be told, I was always in love with fashion.   Even during my 200lb+ days, I found joy in looking good through fashion.  So, my weight loss didn't really ignite my love for fashion....
it just set it on fire!!! 
Over the years, I know that many people saw my preoccupation with all things fashion and my love of clothing and shopping as being pretty materialistic and somewhat selfish and possibly even wrong. Listen, I would cut back on groceries if I wanted something that spoke to me.  Was I wrong?  Perhaps in the eyes of some of those folks who didn't care about the same things.  But, for me, it was my art, my way of expressing myself and my way of entering the world.  It was my way of making my days feel brighter and happier....even if they weren't always that way.  Some days, it was all about what I was going to wear.   There were times when the only thing that got me out of bed was the awesome outfit I was going to put on or the chance to focus on something other than the mundane or more painful aspects of life.  What I wear is something I can control.  In a world of things that I cannot was good to have something that I can control.  And, if it makes me look's a win.   A pretty control.....and I lived for it. 
Many times, I found myself embarrassed that I cared so much about dressing well and spending so much energy and resources on accessorizing and styling.   I kept that part of the closet (no pun intended but I find that particular thought very interesting....).  Yet, I'm sure people's hard to hide all the shoes and clothes and accessories and my penchant for styling looks for each day.  It was out there for all to see.    
Everyone got to see just how fabulous I that such a bad thing?   
Fast forward to the present and I am at complete peace with how much fashion has and continues to be a big part of my life.   My weight loss enhanced that feeling.  You see, as such as I know that fashion can be a part of anyone's life no matter how big or how small they are, I didn't quite feel that way about myself.  Losing this weight with the help of my beloved Lap Band has given me the courage to be bold in my fashion choices and to follow my heart when I'm looking for just that right outfit.  And, I can look in the mirror and feel pleased with how that outfit looks on me.  That makes me happy.  Walking into a room and knowing that I feel good about how I look somehow transcends into how I interact with others and how others interact with me.  By dressing well and using fashion as a way of presenting myself, I am telling others that I care---not just about myself but about them too.   At a meeting--my clothing signifies my respect of it's importance.  At a party--it tells the host that I care about being there.  When I am lunching with a friend or having a date night, it conveys how much I care about being with that person.   When I am with my children--it lets them know that I care about how I look for them and I want to be my best for them.  And,I want them to be proud of me and proud of being with me.  The way I do this is through fashion and by taking care of me.
The power is fashion is more powerful than I would have ever imagined.  I now embrace it with pride and joy and pray that I always find myself ensconced in the clothes and the styles and the feelings that I truly love.....

"It's not an overstatement to say that style teaches me over and over again how to live in my skin. It helps me find courage and confidence and control when I feel I have none. While I was drawn to the world of fashion as a little girl because of its sparkle, I love the world of style now because I understand its transformative power."
Stacey expert

And, just as importantly, I am now filled with pride with how fashion has influenced the path of my own daughter's life.   She is now happily living her dream of following a career in fashion.  And, not only that---fashion is her passion.....she lives it each and everyday without a hint of that embarrassment that I felt for so long.   She knows the joy of being our best selves through looking good and feeling good about how we look.  And, she knows that it takes a little extra styling and resources to give us those feelings. And, she truly has an eye for it.  A career in helping others find their style and their fashion is what she was born to do!    It's a good feeling to know that through my example, she has found a place of happiness and success.  And, yes, I take complete credit for it.....

  And, now as I ready myself to step out on this my 55th Birthday......I look forward to styling this body that has been through 55 years of life in a way that honors each and every one of the 220,075 days that I have lived......

Happy Birthday to ME!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is WINTER getting to you like WINTER is getting to me?

..... West Coasters need not respond......
It appears that our latest winter storm has a name!!!

I mean, I think it's this winter weather that has me kinda out of sorts and feeling like life is just too darn hard.  If it's not the weather then I definitely don't want to know what it might be.  I'm not good with the deeper stuff.....
 I'm just going with it being....the weather.  
Because, you know....this weather has been nastier than nasty.  Cold. Snow. Ice. Snow. Cold. Ice.  Ice. Cold. Snow.  
If I have to hear the phrase wind chill  one. more. time., you might feel the wrath of STORM JUDI. 

Good Bye've been an okay year.  
Well, you might have been a pretty good year.  But, at the moment, I'm cranky.  So, I am feeling a little less than positive about everything.......

Hopefully things will look brighter when I'm 55......

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I finally figured out why some people are so cranky.......

because they know too much.......they got it all figured out. And, they just don't feel like playing THAT game anymore.....
And, they are not afraid to let you know.....

When I was younger, I was pretty sure that older people were just cranky because....well....they were older.   Well, if truth be told....I was pretty sure that it was because....well..... they were OLD. 
I've come to figure out that it has nothing to do with age at all. 
It has to do with  experience.  
We older and  wiser folks know that all the hullabaloo and bitching and moaning and moving and shaking is just a bunch of bull shit.   Yes, bull shit.  
When it gets right down it---being a good, decent, kind person that lives with purpose and acts out of love is what's important.   It's not about any of that other bull shit like getting ahead in life or making a point, or getting back for a past hurt or trying to be the best or the prettiest or whatever the hell you think you or others think you need to be doing.  It's truly about not causing hurt or pain and knowing when to get out when the hurt and the pain is inflicted upon you.  It's about laughing at the absurd behavior of people trying to make a name for themselves or to prove a point or to try and get their own way.  It's about recognizing that we don't have to put up with things that hurt us or hurt the people we love just because someone else says that we have to or it would look bad if we didn't.    It's about using your time, energy and resources for things that make you feel good about yourself and make you happy and at peace.  It's about surrounding yourself with positive energy and love and not with those people who make you feel less than great or don't appreciate the person you are.  It's about staying clear of selfish people and giving them nothing but  pity for their selfishness.  It's about having your own brand of selfishness during those moments when you need to think of yourself and your feelings and your path.   
 It's about knowing that you deserve to live this way. 
We learn these things as we live our lives.
We learn these things after we have spent years trying very hard to be everything to everybody and not to make waves and to do things for the good of everything else.  And, even when we get tired and feel hurt, we still do it.   And do it and do it.  Because that's what we think we need to do. 
Well, guess what?
We don't need to do it. 
The only rule is that you have to very nice when you say....."I'm not dealing with this bullshit anymore.....". 

No, there's nothing going on in Judiland. 
It's just some things I am thinking as I inch closer to being 55. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I can't say I'm sorry to see you go........
Taking a DiSaronna break from the kitchen on Christmas Day.....

Friday, January 17, 2014

I guess I NEVER told you........

But, today, I will.....

10 Things You Never Knew About Me......
(just in case you were wondering)
I love hats and martinis....but you already knew that......

After more than 6 years of blogging, you would think I would have spilled it all by now. 
But, NO.
I still have my secrets.   I am, after all, a woman of mystery.....
But, I also have a few things I thought you might like to know......just in case you might like to know them....

  • I do not know my right from my left.  I use my rings as my guide.  My sisters don't know their right from their left either.   My dad doesn't either.   And, my dad's brother never did either.  

  •    In college, I took a fencing class.   They made me drop out.   They said I didn't show any  promise.  I was a fencing failure.  

  •     I did not get my drivers' license until after I was married at age 23.   The day that Carmen refused to do his husbandly duty and take me to the mall, I decided it was time to drive.  He taught me how.  We had the  first fight of our married lives when I failed the first time I took the test (my failing the test was completely his fault but he blamed me and told me that no one in HIS family ever failed a driving test.....).  It is still a sore subject.  

  •    I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers.  In 1985-86, I lost 82 pounds.  In 1991-92, I lost 91 pounds.  

  •     My mother named me after St. Jude--Patron Saint of the Hopeless.  
  •   I absolutely hate  The Wizard of Oz. 

  •   I have not drank beer since the second week of my freshman year in college.  Blame it on the Theta Zi's.  Use your imagination on this one....

  •  I have 8 step brothers and 2 step sisters.  

  •  My left ear lobe is completely split.  When my son the doctor was about a year old, he decided he liked my big 80's earrings.  So, he yanked one of them out...splitting me ear!  I had surgery to repair it.  But, I was so vain that I could not go without big earrings for too long.  Thus, another "pretty earring" episode with my little aspiring doctor.   I've lived with this abnormality ever since......

  • I have never tasted coffee.  

Now you know. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Just askin'.......

How bored would you be if I talked about how much I love my Lap Band again?
Since I've only mentioned it six gadzillion times, I am sure you would be quite bored.
But, because  I NEED to remind myself of it's wonderfulness and love-deservednes, I'm gushing again!
And, of course, since I do care about the universe....I'm also sharing my Lap band love one.more.time. with the hope that there's someone reading this who just needs to hear me gush. 
With those two things in mind,  I decided ohwhatthehell, I'm gonna throw caution to the wind and be obnoxiously wild in the early morning hours....I'm just gonna do it.  
And, in a few minutes I am going to tell you why I love it today.....
And, while I'm at it, I'm also gonna bore you with just one more pic of me and my cute guitar-strumming, workaholic engineer husband drinking martinis......if only because it fits right into this blog posting! 
Because I have my Lap Band to thank for my devotion to martinis. 
Because I was a gin and tonic lover for years and years.  When my Lap band forced me to ban fizzy more tonic for me.  Enter martinis.   And really good gin.   It was love at first sip.....
Celebrating Carmen's birthday with a lunch time martini at our all-time favorite bar.....  Ironically, it was this very bar where I was introduced to my all time favorite gin......making me love the place even more.  If that's possible. 

Okay, let me dig into why my Lap band is precious to me today.....
please might be surprised! 

So, I gained a few pounds.....well....more than a few.....about 12.....since November 1.
I deserved to gain them.  I can't even say I had a great time gaining them.  Which is somewhat sad to admit.   When I look back, I can't think of a moment that I was completely joyous about what I was eating while I was gaining those 12 pounds.  I did not feel victorious at any time for defying my Lap Band by finding ways to eat gobs of foods that go right through it.
There were no moments of rapture.  There should be rapture.....
Let's just say that if I was able to eat anything I wanted and as much of it as I wanted for 8 solid weeks.....things like instant mashed potatoes with romano cheese, Hershey kisses, caramal popcorn,
cheese curls and rice cakes smeared with peanut butter would NOT make my Top Ten List.   
Yet, those were the things (plus a few other things that might make my Top Ten List) that I have overindulged in that significantly contributed to my 12 pound weight gain.
It's the reality I am left with.  
Now, I will admit that I am not in a panic about these 12 pounds. 
I don't like them.

I am ready to be rid of them.
But, am I feeling like I am on a one way trip to 250 pounds?
My Lap Band has taught me  that I can and I will be able to deal with these 12 pesky pounds and get back on track.  
It has given the confidence that with this tool and the knowledge that I've gained and the deep desire that it has fueled within me to not be miserable by weighing 250 pounds and being unhealthy and unhappy, I have what it takes to overcome what's standing in between me and fitting comfortably into my pants....
That's why I love my Lap Band today!  
Martinis all around.....


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Let's get real......

And, I mean really real......

In 8 days I will be 55 years old.
I suppose that means I'm all grown up.
Why don't I feel like it?
 And, more importantly---is  the fact that I don't feel like I'm all grown up a good thing or a bad thing? 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Please, someone, take my chocolate.......

before I grow out of my pants.......
I know, I's hard to believe that I NOW have another 2 boxes of this stuff !   I just can't pass up a sale...especially an after-holidays sale!!!!!  As of yesterday, I think I have officially spent $200 on this stuff.  I could have bought a mighty fine pair of shoes with that cash.  Instead, I'm just applying it to my belly!   I have to eat it up fast so that I am done with it.   I can't continue these nights with a tin of Peppermint Bark.   I must finish it up as soon as possible.  That is the right thing to do....isn't it????

By the way....I really didn't mean it when I said I wanted someone to come and take my chocolate.
Sometimes we have to say those things......

Friday, January 10, 2014

And, on the TENTH day.......

 Christmas has not left the building......
And it's gonna stay just a wee bit longer.....

Seriously folks, I am ready to be done with the holidays.  So ready. 
Just 2 days ago, I formulated a fabulastic plan to rid the house of the holidays and get Judiland back to some semblance of order. 
I didn't set my expectations too high or too low.  
I told myself that I was going to just try to get it done.  
I was even looking forward to it....well....sort of.  

That was before the call came last night.....
 It just so happens that a dear, dear friend planned a last minute trip to Pittsburgh....arriving early tomorrow morning.  
And, not only that....she's taking me up on my offer that anytime she is in Pittsburgh...she's got a place to stay.   That would be my house.  

"Fair's still Christmas at my house..."  I warned her.
"Even better!  I can see everything in person for the first time in years!!  We can even have a little Christmas party!"  she excitedly replied. 

Okay then......not only am I not getting rid of Christmas....I am going to be working on making Christmas look fresh.....because it's looking pretty droopy right now.    

Setting the stage for party time....once more. 

So, this morning, I came up with a plan....
 I'm making this cocktail  and this appetizer (to use the William Sonoma fig jam I purchased during the holidays but never used!)  for our little Christmas Party.....then we are heading to one of my favorite little local places for some wine, pizza and girl talk......   

So, really....who cares if  the stockings are still hung by the chimney with care and the trees are still twinkling and there's Christmas everywhere?  

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Finally, the wind has died down, the temperatures are on the rise and Judiland is thawing up just a wee bit. 
The past few days have been more than I can handle. 
At this stage of my life, I really don't like all this inconvenience.  
This was not the time to be completely out of Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark, letmetellyou!   
Thankfully, we had a nice stock pile of Malbec to keep me company.....
There's nothing like a friendly red wine to keep your sanity intact amid the insanity.
Although, I must tell you that the jury is still out on whether my sanity is intact. 
I would tell you all about our frozen pipes, our dead batteries, when we lost the electricity for a few hours,  my frigidly painful commutes, my husband's ridiculous work schedule, my battle with mid-year budget spreadsheets, my daily hat hair issues and all that jazz but I will spare you the details.  You don't have all day.....
Instead, I will just entertain you with this picture of my hometown--where the 3 rivers meet--it should give you a bit of an inkling what Pittsburgh has been like these past few days.....
Frozen waves on the river......
 Since I do watch the national news and read lots of stuff about the goings on around the world, I know that we here in Judiland have not been alone in our deep freeze.  It seems the entire nation was dealing with something called an arctic vortex.   We were all plagued with it to one degree or another.  There were some absolutely horrifying stories out there....making my strife seem rather benign.
But, still....
And, from what I hear--there are some folks who are still dealing with it. anyone who is still getting arcticly votexed......I am sending you some warming vibes and a suggestion to get yourself some Malbec...

Since I know you missed me (because damn I missed you!), I will share with you....BULLET STYLE....what I've been wanting to tell you all about this week....if I would have had the energy and a warm brain.....

  • I've said it before  so there's no need to repeat myself.  Just pisses me off.  Yep. 
The most recent issue of PEOPLE.....
  • I asked Santa for a Clarisonic and he happily obliged.   My facialist suggested it to me about a year ago but I just never got around to getting one.  So...on December 24, when I  was forced into making my Santa list (because Santa must have a list in Judiland!).....I remembered her recommendation.   Since it was the only thing on the list, I got it (along with lots of gift cards for all those things I love to do.....not very creative but  hey.....).  I am madly in love with it.  My skin has never felt this radiant day-after-day.  Sure, when I have facials, I feel this way.... but not for the long haul.   My facialist might have a little less business from me.....I wonder if she knew that!   If you're looking for a beauty tip it is---GET YOURSELF A CLARISONIC!  The bonus is that you don't have to use the Clarisonic facial cleaning products with it.  You can use the brand that you always use......the tool just makes your stuff work harder!  At this point of my life--I don't want to work  harder....I want things to work harder for ME!  This does just that.  And, it makes my skin feel clean and sparkley and amazing.  And, maybe even younger....
  • Have you ever heard of Apple TV?   My son the doctor thought we needed it for Christmas.  When he told me about it, I envisioned him hauling  another big screen TV into the house that was so techy I couldn't use it.  I just hate those big screen TVs and worrying about HDTV and all those stations and remotes and yadda, yadda, yadda. He assured me that wasn't the case and tried to explain to me what it was.  He was positive we would love it.  It made no sense to me but I didn't want to dim his spirit.  So, I said...bring it on.    Well, no wonder my son has a PhD.  Apple TV is the best thing since wine and gin.  Apple TV (and the Malbec) got me through the arctic vortex.  I am back together with my friends from the West Wing .......oh how I've missed them!  I just sit there and watch episode after episode...wrapped in a blanket with a  glass of Malbec.  Why can't Jed Bartlet run for President in 2016? The dialogue is so utterly wonderful and smart  and the stories are so engaging and governmenty (is that a word?) that I feel more intelligent and patriotic just watching it!  And...I've also had a few lovely visits with my favorite mob family.....The Soprano's.   I'm slowly going through the seasons....savoring each moment....recalling each story and paying homage to my man Tony Soprano.     In his honor, I even made Soprano's Sunday Gravy from one of my favorite cookbooks....  Badda-bing....comforting perfection to slather on my polenta!!! 
    Yes, Apple TV is getting me through the rough spots and reconnecting me with my inner Americano mobster! 
  •  And, one more thing before I go......if you get a chance to break free from the grips of your own arctic vortex....I would suggest heading to the mall to do a little bit of shopping.  If you can't break free, I'd suggest that you might want to shop online.   Here's the thing....the deals right now on party clothes are more than amazing.  And, since most of us still have a few parties and nights-on-the-town this winter--you will definitely wear them!   I could kick myself for buying a few party outfits before Christmas....they are a fraction of the price now.   Yes, I know I needed them.....ummmm....well...that's my story and I am sticking to it!     If I really could organize myself to buy all of my party clothes after the holidays then I would be all set for the next year's holidays.  But, then I wonder--would that really happen?   There's always something new to catch my fancy!  Anyway, I did restrain myself a little.  When my daughter's car broke down and she had to go to work.....I had to drive her.  And, since she works at my new all-time favorite local only made sense that if I was going to drive that far, I might as well make it worth my while.  I'm very practical like that.  I now have a few new things to add to my party wardrobe. With the way the prices were reduced....I could have bought a carload more.  But....I did restrain myself.  In any case.... I could use a good party night right about now to wear my new party clothes.  Why do the holidays seem like they are so long ago? (For the record---it's still Christmas at my's still decked out in it's Christmas splendor......but we won't talk about that...)
  • Oh, and one more thing.....I gotta get back to Lap Band basics.  RIGHT. NOW.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Contemplating a new year......

WARNING:  That's what I am doing this morning. 

I don't have to tell you that the end of a year and the beginning of a new year brings with it many emotions and thoughts and reflections and the typical heeing-and-hawing of whether to make new year resolutions or not.....

Here we are 3 days into this new year and I am filled with those emotions and thoughts and reflections and yes, I am still heeing-and-hawing about those new year resolutions.
I'm not embarrassed to tell you that I meet a new year with a bit of trepidation.  It's with a mixture of anxiety, fear and sadness that I usher out one year and begin to live in the new one.   Each year, I am always perplexed as to why I feel this way.  Typically, I am a ridiculously naive optimist.
 Last year, I started seeing the light---I came to the conclusion that I get this way because the end of a year not only signifies the end of an entire year, it also marks the end of a sweeping 2 month time frame of preparing to celebrate then celebrating (and all the work that goes along with it!).  Come December 31, I am tired.  Dead tired.  I hit the ground hard come November 1 and I continue the maniacal pace for 8 weeks straight.  During that time, my mind is consumed by everything that goes along with making the holidays perfect and lovely and fun and memorable for the ones I love.  Sure, I go to work and deal with the day-to-day stuff but hey, I'm busy making the world a more merry place and that takes every ounce of energy and brain power that I can possibly muster.  Then, all of a sudden--December 31 hits and all that's left are the remnants of a bountiful holiday......and me exhausted and feeling blue.  I look around at the massive amount of decorating that I do and all I see is the work it will take to get it all put away and to get my home back to some sense of order and declutter.  It's work that I feel too tired to tackle. 
And, I look back at the moments of the holidays and I realize that all wasn't perfect.....I somehow managed to make it NOT perfect for everyone (including myself).  So, naturally, I am saddened and feeling a bit deflated---after all that work and energy and it wasn't all sugar plums and ho ho hos???
Considering that I figured out what the issue was last year, why didn't I do something about it this year? You ask....
Well, I forgot. 
I conveniently forgot. 
Honestly, I did.
Until now.
It wasn't the best year to have a lapse in memory.  
So, now that all the Peppermint Bark is gone.....I have nothing left to sooth myself and deal with these first few days of 2014. 
I'm just left to my own devices.
So, here I am.....armed only with my thoughts and words.   
Having no Peppermint Bark to eat and coming off a holiday season that had it's share of notsoperfect moments, I've had to come face-to-face with this new year thing without the comfort of chocolate, mint and preoccupation.  
Sure, I could drain the remainder of the wine in the opened bottles and I could dig into those 3 bottles of Hendrick's that I got for Christmas to help me out but I prefer to keep those things for celebratory moments.....
Instead, I have decided to give into how I am feeling. 
Several weeks ago, on one of the blogs that I adore and read regularly, the blogger shared a piece of wisdom that I somehow forgot until the clock struck 2014. 
She said that those of us who have high expectations of ourselves, often end up unhappy. 
The cure seems simple enough....just cut down on the things we do and lower our expectations.
But, we who are those people know that's not the answer.  
We are deeper than that.   
We are so deep that we KNOW it takes so much more.  
We are so afraid of doing less.  We are afraid that we will lose ourselves because that is how we define ourselves.  Right or doesn't matter.  It's who we are. 
We are so afraid of falling apart.  Because we need to be there for everyone else.  
Her wisdom--don't be afraid!  We need to let the hurt and pain in so that we can can experience the joy when it comes.  
Therein lies the true challenge for those of us who are so busy making other people's lives joyous---we run away from the hurt and the pain so that we have the emotional energy to make others happy.    We don't let the pain in.....

And one more thing.... we need to be grateful when the joy comes.
Yet, another challenge for those of us who will do anything to bring joy to those around us--we are so focused on finding ways to be appreciated that we can't even see the things we should be grateful for.
Pretty deep stuff. 
But, it makes so much sense to me......
I hope there's someone out there reading this that it makes sense to them too. 
I'm going to let the hurt and pain in.....just watch me. 

And, I am going to work really hard at being grateful until it becomes natural. 
Because I want to feel the joy. 

 But, I don't want to lose Judi......

Hello 2014......

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

LIFE IS A PARTY.........

Dress like it! 

Don't put away your party clothes just because the holidays are over!
The party is not over yet.....