Follow me.......

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday, Sunday........

Farewell August.....until we meet again....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sign me up coach!

It's Fantasy Football season. At least here in our humble part of the world. It's that time of the year again when Carmen spends lots of time cramming for the big "draft". Then, he goes to some hotel with a bunch of guys and eats hot sausage sandwiches,drinks beer and buys a team. It's all a fantasy, of course. Except for the hot sausage and beer. Oh and the money. Oh and the calories. Oh and probably the bloating and gas. The rest of it.....pure fantasy.

This whole fantasy football thing has had me curious for quite some time. Curious in the sense that it made me wonder if there's other sports or events that can turn "fantasy". I was little naive with my curiousity. Apparently, any sport can turn fantasy! And, from what I hear--it has. There are fantasy golf leagues, fantasy hockey leagues, fantasy baseball leagues, etc. Can you imagine? So, I guess I shouldn't find it so shocking that all this fantasy sporting has sparked an entirely new league--WAFS. Women Against Fantasy Sports. It's an entire movement--with shirts and everything. They have an online community offering support and comfort to all women who are suffering from their significant other's fantasy sport activities. They even have a toll-free number. Leave it to a bunch of women to make sure they had cute shirts and ways to communicate.

Now, to be honest, I am not against fantasy football. So, at this point, I don't see myself joining any kind of anti-fantasy football group. Sure,I find it a little chumpish, childish and kinda weird. But, I'm not against it. Carmen works so much and so hard and is under so much stress in his everyday life (no, not because of me!), if fantasy football gives him some relief--so be it. He's always been kind of boyish in his love of games and play. But, at 50, he doesn't get much of a chance to do any of that. If this does it for him....I say go for it! And, let's face it--if it gives me a night off from cooking dinner--it's a win-win. Win. Win. Win.

So, why do I bring this all up? Well,I'll tell you why. There's so much media hoopla and expert reports about the decline in exercise and activity among Americans. Right? There's a big push for people to get out there and get active. Right? Most articles will tell you that it doesn't matter what you do--just do it. Even NIKE tells you that! If you love a sport--play it. If you enjoy walking--walk. The message is--get moving. I mean, we hear it all of the time. It's not a big secret. So, why hasn't this intelligence rid the nation of obesity? Big questions usually take me awhile. But, I finally figured it out. We're into fantasies instead of real life. Americans can turn even the most active of exercises into nothing more than sitting down. Americans can add all kinds of bells and whistles to anything and make it all that more attractive. Throw in a little money, a little beer, some wings, some hot sausage and wa-la--the fun factor is amped up! Couple that with the fact that you don't have to have fast legs or abs of steel and it's sure to win over even the biggest couch potato. You can play any game, anywhere, any time...without leaving the comfort of your chair. Not only that, you can get together with an entire group of like-minded and like-bodied folks and compete with them! You may not be able to out run them on the track but damn you can out bid them and out smart them without ever leaving a chair. And, you can do it with a sausage sandwich in your hand!

So, now I'm thinking.....about fantasy eating. In my pre-lapband life, eating was my sport. If there's any sport that is worthy of turning into a's eating. Do I hear a second on that?

May I please have a fantasy plate full of nachos with cheese, chicken and beef and quacomole and sour cream and salsa..... ? But make my margarita real.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dreams of summers........

Last summer, this summer was only a dream. This summer, I wonder if last summer and the many obese summers I lived through were only dreams. Very different dreams. Last summer, I dreamed of thinner days in the Summer of 2008. This summer, I look back and wonder if all the summers before this were real. Did I really live through those years of obesity? Did I really take that very important step to change all the seasons of my life? Because today, I couldn't imagine any of it. It's the stuff of dreams.

As I bid another summer good-bye, I find myself wondering about all those other summers. I think about how easily we can live a life we didn't want when we're so busy living it. And, yet, how easily we can make our dreams come true. We just have to do it. Living a dream is just as easy as going through the motions of living. Yet, it's so much sweeter.

If it all has been a dream.....don't wake me up. I really like this part.

Sweet dreams......

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Price of Fame.........

It took one year and 15 days. Finally, I'm fodder for the paparazzi. Or, perhaps a gang of local high school girls. I'm not sure. Last evening, soon after I returned from one of my late night trips to the grocery store, it happened. No, I wasn't chased down by a mad cameraman. No, I wasn't accosted by the hosts of E! News. And I am not expecting my picture to be splashed across the pages of US Weekly as I wrestled to get my groceries out of my car in the pouring down rain. None of that. It started with an email. This is probably how it starts out with all the famous folk.

"Hi Judi! You do not know me but my friends and me follow your blog everyday. We wanted to answer your question about if you needed a new hair do. We have all thought you did from the first time we saw your picture. We think you should also show pictures of all the shoes you say you buy and maybe tell where you bought them and how much they are. Also, we think you should tell your weight too. We think you should try to tell more personal stories about yourself so we know. We really like your blog.
Thank you, Amber

Alright, Amber and friends, I appreciate your input. In fact, I'm sincerely happy to have it. And, I'll consider your suggestions. But, do you really think my hair is that bad? Now I'm really self-conscious to leave the house for my morning walk....let alone go to work! Plus, I can't believe I've been walking around all these months looking this way! It makes me wonder who else has been lurking in the shadows thinking "OMG...what's with the hair?"

I just don't know what to do! Perhaps I should just hole up in my house and only go out in cognito until the whole hair thing blows over.......

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A fancy cape and a shiney could save the whole world.......

Some pom-poms and a cute little sweater and you could save just one person's world....

It's tiring....this saving the world stuff. But, that's what I do. I'm either swooping in to save the day or standing on the sidelines trying to save the moment. I'm just not good with suffering, misery, discontent, unhappiness, pain, negativity or any of that other unpleasant shit. I don't like it for me and I don't like it for people I love and care about. I am always certain there's an answer to every problem, a method to sooth each pain and a way to overcome any obstacle. Not only do I believe it. I insist that others do the same. I won't give up until they do. I'm fairly certain I can be very annoying that way. I won't get into political debates or discussions on religion and I won't even bother converting anyone's beliefs--no matter how crazy they may be. But, tell me that your life sucks and you don't think you can deal with something and I'm in there wrestling with you, trying to change your mind and helping you to look at things another way. I'm not just optimistic, I'm annoyingly optimistic. And, I know it. But, I'm not optimistic just for optimism's sake. Having said that, however, I do know there's factual documentation based on real, hard core studies done by really smart people that credit optimism as being a factor in living longer and healthier. (Geez....who wouldn't want that....right? Well, maybe negative people wouldn't.) So, being optimistic does make good sense in terms of celebrating more birthdays. And, hell, I do enough other things that are said to cut life short (contraband cigarettes...). So, maybe if I'm an all-the-time optimist/sometime smoker, things will even out. But, that's not what I'm here to talk about.

Like I said, negativity is not a Judi thing. But, I'm not this way just because I prefer to be a sunny, happy person (although,let's face's a much better look). The optimism that I possess and the optimism I try to force feed everyone else is rooted in absolute fact. Everyday, I witness the good things in life and watch as people meet their challenges, slay their dragons and deal with the hands they are dealt. And I see...firsthand...that bad things will happen, things will not go the way you want them to go and there's lots of unfairness. Yet, I also see that these are not catastrophes or tragedies---unless people allow them to morph into them. I preach "big picture" and "count your blessings" and "this too will pass". I dissuade hopelessness and downward spirals. Not because I believe in denial but because I believe in hope. Just as one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch baby, one bad day or one bad situation doesn't turn your whole life into misery. We can all pick ourselves up and go on.

Just like everyone else, I do have bad days. Yes, I even have shitfuck days. And, I bitch and moan just like the rest of the world. But, I have evidence that things will be okay. Time has proven to me that I can get through this stuff. I do come out the other end. Whether it be the grace of God or my own perseverance or the support and love of others or just dumb luck--I have weathered storms, I have lived to see another day, I have seen the sunshine. Call it what you will. But in the end--I survived and found a reason to smile. It's my experience that even the bad moments end. Even the bad luck turns around. And, even the worst possible day can be followed by the best. Life goes in waves. Little waves, big waves and monster waves. A bad day--a little wave. A bad year--a bigger wave. A bad decade--a much bigger wave. A string of bad things is just that--a string of bad things. It's not the end of the world, it's not the end of what's important and it's definitely not a predictor of the rest of my life. Yeah, yeah, I know--I make it sound so simple and sort of idealistic. Maybe simple and idealistic is not so bad. Maybe it's okay. I really don't know. But, what I do know is this--negativity clutters our minds, drains our energies and puts roadblocks between us and the matter at hand. It does not solve any problems. It just makes more. It does not eliminate what plagues us, it just compounds it. Negativity is a power that seeps into our hearts, our minds and our souls. It zaps our ability to move beyond the fog and into the light. It only hurts us. It never helps us.

Solving problems and being met with adversity the very heart of it....the springboard for all good inventions and solutions. Take my Lap band as an example. Damn, I was sick and tired of being fat. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. But, I couldn't solve the problem. Diets only worked for so long. Starvation wasn't fun. And, I wanted to eat good food. I didn't want to live a life of deprivation, aching for a plate of nachos. I wanted to wear nice clothes and great shoes and look good. I wanted to get up in the morning and feel hopeful...and be able to get out of bed! I wanted to be pretty and maybe even sexy. I wanted to wear jeans. I wanted to look in the mirror and not return to my closet or my make up table one more time---just to try to get it right. I wanted to turn over in bed. I wanted to shave my legs in the shower. I wanted to live life as a thinner person. But, it wasn't going so well. In fact, it wasn't going at all. However, as awful as all of that was--I had a good guy who loved me, 2 beautiful smart kids who I adored, 2 sisters who I could not imagine living without, an entire family of loving, wonderful, sometimes quirky but mostly normal people who gave me joy and a tremendous assortment of the most supportive, sassy, smart, fun and incredibly talented friends on this earth. It wasn't all bad. I was fat but I was loved and I was surrounded by good vibes. Yes, somedays it was hard to see past the fat part but I worked at it...sometimes I had to work really hard at it. Then....along came my Lap Band. The rest is history.....

And, of course...there's more. More examples of how lousy things can get and how dire situations can seem. But, I won't go into all of that. I'm not unique in the fact that I have had heartbreaks and sadness and hurt and madness and misery. And, I know that. I can name 20 people in the next 10 seconds who have had the same. But, I can also name those same 20 people (in the next 10 seconds, of course) as people who are still walking, talking, loving and moving on.

It's pretty easy to get caught up in our own misery and despair. It's even easier to get caught up in it when you feel very alone. It's easy to take one problem and allow it to cast a palor of darkness on your entire life--your entire being. At that point, it doesn't take much to imagine your current situation as being your present and your future and your forever. And, when you are feeling that way....negativity is easy. Optimism is hard. And giving up is not an option. So, what do you do? You call me. And, if I don't call on you. You can don a cape or shake a few pom poms just as good (possibly better!) as me. I'm sure of it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Campus 101.......

Going along with my Back to School theme here (betcha didn't know I had a theme going, did ya?)....I thought I might share with you a little inside glimpse into the hearts and minds of those newly minted college freshmen who are walking onto college campuses across the nation. Beloit College has been doing what they call their "Mindset List" for 11 years now. (You can read more about it's origins and goals by clicking on that link)

It's quite an interesting read. And, it gets more interesting with each passing year. It's a definite reminder of just how young these kids are. But, leaders and innovators have to start somewhere. Yet, somehow it's hard to imagine our future leaders never seeing Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show or never having the thrill of using an IBM Selectric Typewriter. It begs to ask the question if they will ever really be prepared, doesn't it?

Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990. For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.

2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.

3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.

4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.

5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.

6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.

7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.

8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce "tax revenue increases."

9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.

10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.

11. All have had a relative -- or known about a friend's relative -- who died comfortably at home with hospice.

12. As a precursor to "whatever," they have recognized that some people "just don't get it."

13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.

14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.

15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.

16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.

17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.

18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.

19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.

20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.

21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."

22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.

23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.

24. We have always known that "All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

25. There have always been gay rabbis.

26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.

27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.

28. IBM has never made typewriters.

29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.

30. McDonald's and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.

31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.

32. There has always been Pearl Jam.

33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.

34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.

35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.

36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.

37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.

38. Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.

39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.

40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.

41. Macaulay Culkin has always been "Home Alone."

42. Their parents may have watched "The American Gladiators" on TV the day they were born.

43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.

44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.

45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.

46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.

47. They never heard an attendant ask "Want me to check under the hood?"

48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.

49. Soft drink refills have always been free.

50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about "nothing."

51. Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.

52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.

53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.

54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.

55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.

56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.

57. Offshore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.

58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.

59. There have always been charter schools.

60. Students always had Goosebumps.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Let the learning begin..........

There's just so much to learn. We can't stop now....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

BACK TO SCHOOL......the final chapter.....

This morning, I have that feeling you get when you've had too much caffeine and not enough sleep. Although neither situation is accurate. I've yet to begin my Starbucks IV and I even slept in until 8. I couldn't even sit and enjoy my Sunday morning ritual of reading the paper with smooth jazz playing. Tomorrow is the first day of school. That's the problem. It's not just the first day of school. It's the last first day of school when I get to help pick out that special outfit, kiss a child goodbye and watch that child walk into the doors of school. And, it's the first first day of school that I'm not somehow involved in looking into the eyes of both of my children as they begin a brand new school year. You see, Toni will be a senior. Vince is off in PhD-land. My first day of schools are completely over. And, I'm not done yet. I think I'm just in shock.

I know, I know....make me shut up now. I've been pissing and moaning about all of this for weeks...maybe months. And, I apologize. But, holy shit, this is what I've been doing for the past 20 some years--I've been taking at least one child to school each morning. And, I've never, ever missed....even during Vince's undergrad days....of seeing both children on their first day of school. And, now here it last first day of school for one child and my first first day of school with the other. But, most importantly, it's my last first day of school.
I'm just not sure what to wear.....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Let's chit chat on my front porch instead......

Technology is a funny thing. The thought of it feels very impersonal. Keyboards and hard drives and modems and cables and ethernet connections. Computers and cellphones and blackberrys. Sleek and hard and cold. Yet, they are the very things that connect us--you and me. It's the revolution that's brought together strangers from around the world into one living room and around one table. This very impersonal medium has opened hearts, given support, soothed pains, held hands, gave hope, grew friendships, eased loneliness and brought smiles. It's like a backyard fence--where we stand and chat with our neighbors. Other times it's like a window without curtains where we can peer into the lives of others--undetected but not unwelcome. Who would have thunk it?

There are millions of people--just like me--who talk to people whose names we do not know and whose faces we may never see. We share our lives by pounding on a keyboard from lone computers in places far and wide. It's a place where I tell you I am having a very bad day or a very good day. It's a place where you tell me a story or share a secret or tell me how much I matter to your day. While I sit here, staring at a screen, it all happens.

But, let's just say..for today....I invited you over for a nice glass of lemonade and a little chit chat. Well, for starters....lemonade? No, of course not. Lemonade with a little vodka. We will sit on my comfy front porch....because that's where I can smoke my contraband cigarettes. And we will chit chat.
Here's my chit.....
-I'm watching my neighbor's flowers slowly die. I'm supposed to be watering them while they are away but I'm just too damn exhausted at the end of the day to do it.
-I am going to the Country Living Fair in Columbus in September and I'm pretty excited about it.
-My tan is fading and it's pissing me off.
-My labwork came back the other day and things are the best they've ever been. Yep, no more meds. I guess this Lapband thing is doing it's job.
-I hauled Carmen's recliner out of the house. Yep, I put it in the U-haul and drove it several hours away. He can't ever bring it back. I gave it to Vince. I'm so much happier with it gone. I always hated that thing. He's not too happy about it but life goes on.
-I'm starting to worry that I'm finding ways to work around my Lapband. Now that it's been a part of me for a year, I know what works and what doesn't. I know that crunchy foods do much better than breads and starches. I have to be extra careful not to fall into another food trap! Hey, would you like some chips to go with that lemonade?
-We're doing lots of college trips for Toni this Fall. She's excited so I'm excited. They will be nothing like those college trips with Vince---where we fought on every campus we visited. This will be fun.
-Carmen is "putting up" tomatoes this weekend with his family. Not that he is all that into tomato making. It just comes with the rite of birth.
-We're doing some school shopping for Toni today. How fun will that be? Maybe I'll even get some back to school duds myself! I can feel my bank card groaning already.....
-How unbelievable is it that I am going to be 50 in 5 months? Fifty. Five-O. A couple years back, I confided in my girls-on-the-town friends that I was thinking of getting high (yeah, that's right) for my 50th. Little did I know they've been working on making that happen. So, if you have a left over roach clip, could you bring it over next time you drop by for a chat?
-Speaking of getting high....I am so in love with those energy shots from Starbucks. Everytime I go into a Starbucks I try to convince the person behind the counter to sell me a few. Last week I did score a few from a cute guy out at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks at the mall. I better go back and see if he can hook me up again.
-So, I'll tell ya, I'm really feeling this whole growing up thing with the kids. Vince off at grad school, Toni becoming a senior. Now what? I mean....NOW WHAT? I'm pretty sure I have to keep my job for a while longer even though it's loosing it's appeal these days. Things might change but probably not for a while yet. The Camelot that once was where I spent my days has turned into a whole other place--over night. Yeah, I'd tell you all about it if I could but I can't talk about it much--it hurts my heart and my head. I don't want to spoil our lovely chat. And, I'm trying to make the best of it since the kids may be out of the door but they are not out of our pocketbooks. Which, to be quite honest, is okay. It's what I signed up for when I joined the parenthood club.
-Do you think I should get a whole new hairstyle? I'm feeling really common these days. Wonder what I could do to throw a little action into my look. The length? The color? The style? Maybe I need a whole makeover. Is it time to leave the Estee Lauder counter and go over to MAC? Maybe I need something edgier. 50 year old edgey. Rocker suburbanite middle-aged-who-doesn't-look-it sexy siren Martha Stewartish mixed up with eclectic zany intellect. I'm thinking Susan Sarandon. Oh my God...remember the movie "The Banger Sisters"? Yes, that's what I'm thinking....
-It's hard to believe the summer is over. It's been a good one. I mean, there was some shit stuff among the good stuff. But, I think the good stuff outweighed the shit stuff. The fact that I'm almost 80 pounds lighter kind of helps me cast a much brighter light on the things that weren't so great. If nothing else, I did some really wonderful shoe shopping this summer. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm shallow like that.
-I'm in the mood for a rock 'n roll concert. We didn't do one concert this summer at all. I just could not make it to Tom Petty. As much as I love that concert, the trip out there on a work night has taken it's toll on me after all these years. Yeah, my sister and her kids went and the traffic situation was exactly the same as it always was. I think I need a major rock n roll fix. Do you want me to bring my CDs out on the porch and we can blast some Bruce?
-Dinners are becoming a huge pain in my ass. It's mostly because every meal has to be an event at my house. How did I ever get to that point? I know some families that settle for cereal for dinner. It's not that they are poor. It's just that whoever is the cook in the house is too damn tired to think of what to cook and too damn tired to cook it and clean up afterwards. Part of it is my fault, I guess. I mean, I do love to cook and come up with recipes. But, not every damn night for crying out loud! And, I'll admit it-- I got into this goofy competition with myself on how many ways I can make chicken. Now, there's always lots of excitement about what I will do with it. I need to find a way out of that tradition! And, let's not even talk about the clean up and the dishes. I mean, to prepare a gourmet meal, you have to make a huge mess. At least I do. So, every single night of the week, I'm stuck in that damn kitchen for hours on end. And that's after a full day of working at my paying job! No wonder I dread the thought of dinner every night....
-I saw in a magazine that the Annie Hall look is coming back. I loved that look! The sort of funked-up menswear look. You know, Diane Keaton is one of my all time favorites. She just makes me smile. I love her style, her look, her personality. Gosh, I'd love to be her. Maybe I should aim for her style. What do you think? But, she is so damn thin. And she has longer legs than me. But, gosh, I love her.
-Ooooh....speaking of movies--did you see Mama Mia? Wasn't that delightful? Yeah, I know...Pierce Bronsan was a bit oddly cast...he looked really dopey singing. But, he's easy on the eyes. And so was the scenery! Wasn't that a fun movie? I think Meryl Streep is a gem. She is just super talented. I think I want to go see that movie again.
-Have you read the book "Skinny Bitch"? Toni and I bought it one night at Barnes and Noble when we were just bored to tears. I've flipped through it but haven't read it....yet. It became the rage after it was spotted in Posh Spice's hand. And, speaking of you think her husband is all that good looking? What am I missing here? I really am not all that into him. He's just not my type, I guess. But, naturally, I'd let him eat crackers in my bed....if he asked. And, of course, if Carmen was sound asleep....
-I really want the wallpaper down in my kitchen and I want the cabinets painted and distressed. Carmen pretends he doesn't hear me. But, I'm going to do it. I really am. You just watch me!
-I realize you have to go soon...don't let me hold you up. Unless, of course, you'd like another glass of lemonade?

What's your chat?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is my father a good Catholic bookie?

From the moment I announced my decision to have Lapband surgery, I have been fortunate and blessed to have lots of folks in my daily life sitting on the sidelines cheering me on. I was never at a loss for encouraging words, compliments and kudos. Well, except at home. Carmen doesn't say a word. Toni will respond when asked and Vince is just oblivious. Perhaps the old adage is true--they don't even see me. I wonder--would they be able to pick me out in a crowd? I suppose if I was carrying a bowl of pasta and meatballs they would.

As for my father--that man is a whole other story. He loves my Lapband and tells everyone about it. Everyone. Cashiers. Mail carriers. Neighbors. Random people who hold the door for him. Telephone solicitors. Political campaign workers. Yep, just about anyone he sees or talks to. Last week at mass, Pete, our usher friend, complimented me on my weight loss and asked how I did it. The only reason why he didn't know about it yet is because my father and I hadn't seen him in quite some time. Believe me, if my father would have seen him, he would have told him. But, Pete beat him to it--he asked. Before I could get a word out, my father told him "she had weight loss surgery, she still some more weight to lose". I guess he takes the whole 9th commandment (do not lie) very seriously. Was it his way to protect me from breaking it right there in church? Was he worried I'd tell Pete the usher that I went on a diet and didn't want to lose one more pound? That man raised me. He should know very well that I have the fear of God and church and anyone remotely involved with any vocation within the Catholic religion. I wouldn't lie to a church usher. Hell, I wouldn't lie to a church mouse. In addition to his love of my Lapband, my weight loss is his favorite spectator sport. My father takes great care to keep score, maintain records and make predictions on outcomes of my weight loss. The man could see me everyday for a week and he asks me the same questions-- "are you still loosing?" or "how much off today?" or "how much are you supposed to lose now?" Makes me wonder if he takes bets in the mailroom of his condo building on my weight loss. Or, maybe he runs a number ring. He could be an Irish bookie (learned the ropes from my Italian uncles)...using my daily weight to book the bets. You just never know with him. Maybe he's not saying the rosary every morning during his "do not disturb" hour. That might be his bookie time.
God Bless my father.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FOOD for Thought......

As far as I am concerned, my Lapband is hands-down one of the best things I ever did for myself. For the most part, it allows me to eat what I want--just less of it. I have yet to starve or live on lettuce, diet coke and water. Yet, I have lost close to 80 pounds. For me--that's a miracle, a Godsend, a gift, a saving grace. It's all of those things wrapped up in one and then some. I had been on more diets and spent more money and anguish on loosing weight than I spent on home repairs in the past 20 years. And, I'm not kidding about that. Trust me, if there was a brand new diet on the market that promised instant and guaranteed weight loss at the same time that my furnace blew--guess where I'd be writing my check? It ain't to the furnace repair guy. My rational--all that shivering would be good for at least 200 calories a day. And, what money I didn't spend on diets, I spent on clothes in bigger sizes. Oh sure, I lost some weight on those diets. But, I also gained some weight in between that one and the next. Not just some weight--I regained the weight I lost and put on a few extra just for the heck of it. Oh yes, my career as a serial dieter was expensive in time, money and emotion. Then came that Lapband commercial that changed my life. But, that's old news.

For me, weight loss and weight gain was diabolically linked to food consumption. Yeah, sure, I had the majority of my thyroid removed when a mass was detected on it and I do come from a long line of overweight folks. So, biology and genetics did have something to do with it all. But, I did overeat. No question about it. Give me a bag of Doritos and nacho cheese dip and they were mine. Huge helpings of pasta--no problem. Oversized, overstuffed sandwiches dripping with condiments on beautiful bread--my idea of a good time. Buffet tables filled with appetizers was my idea of a well set table. Menus with pictures of gooey, hefty portioned foods was what I considered fine art. I could blame my missing thyroid and my obese grandmother for only so much. Food was definitely my best friend and my worst enemy. It was my battle with food, not my battle with weight--that drove me to diet books, diet clubs, diet coaches, diet counselors, diet doctors, diet pills and eventually--diet bankruptcy. It was FOOD. I am 100% positive of it.

Why am I telling you all of this? Here's why....
Last night, having been gone the whole weekend, I finally had a chance to sit down and read the Sunday paper. Reading the Sunday paper is one of my favorite activities--on Sunday mornings. I sit there in the very early morning hours, with my chai tea, listen to some smooth jazz and devour the paper in a very organized fashion (it's one of the only things I do in an organized fashion and the only time I ever listen to jazz). Reading the Sunday paper on a Monday night,with the sound of the dishwasher going, drinking a glass of ice water and waiting for my socialite daughter to return from some kind of party, kills the whole experience for me. Perhaps I was just a little bit cranky. Afterall, it was a Monday night, I was tired and you know how Mondays are anyway. So, when I read this piece stating that exercise--not food--was really the reason for weight issues in America, I got a little pissy. Now, as I sit here the morning after, having had a chance to reflect on what I read, I realize that the author is not really wrong. With 'really' being the operative word. He (I think it's a "he"...with a name like Trice, I'm not so sure) throws around a few seemingly reasonable facts and quotes some reputable sources. And, what he is says is interesting. But, here's the thing--with a headline that shouts--
Sunday Forum: It's not the food, it's the exercise (of lack thereof)
Don't blame the burgers and fries, says TRICE WHITEFIELD, the cause of obesity is not what you think

and an accompanying picture that screams you are lazy and fat....well....I'm not so sure he's really right either. Having been editor of my high school newspaper (an award winning one at that!), I know a thing or two about newspaper articles and such. So, I know that authors do not have complete control of their headlines or accompanying pictures. So, I can't blame Trice for what I consider another slap in the face to people who are struggling with obesity. But, it did get me to wonder how many obese people took one look at that article and really wanted to read it. You see...obese people know they should get more exercise. The problem is this--it's hard. It's hard when you are obese. Very hard. One year ago, climbing the steps was a herculean activity for me. Walking for exercise sounded like a great idea but tell that to my feet, my knees and my ankles. It just wasn't going to happen. I was obese because of my war with food. It was the food, Trice. was all about the FOOD.

So, no matter how right or wrong Trice's opinion is, the headline chased people away. Good people who are battling obesity. We are not lazy folks. Quite the contrary. At the end of the day, we have struggled and toiled as much as our nonobese brethren. What good is an article that is trying to motivate people to do something when the very people who need motivated won't read it? It makes people feel bad. And, who wants to feel bad reading the Sunday morning paper? There's enough garbage being flung at obese battlers every single day. Plus, it's no way to start what is supposed to a day of rest. Sure, I read the article. But, at the moment, I'm a recovering obese person and I exercise these days. So, it didn't chase me away. And, if truth be told, I was feeling ornery enough that I really needed to take on a good fight. I took one look at that headline and thought "what the hell is this skinny asshole talking about?" Yes, I know, it wasn't very kind of me. First of all...I have no idea if Trice is skinny. And, secondly, I have no clue if he is an asshole. But, what I do know is that he doesn't quite understand the problem with FOOD.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This being a mother thing is hard shit......

First you puke and gain one hundred pounds. Then, you try to push a head through a small opening in your body. When that doesn't work, you beg for a man you hardly know to slit open your stomach. After that, you stay up night after night, trying to reason with someone who doesn't understand basic language or care that you have to get to work in the morning. In moments of sheer madness, you take long midnight drives in hopes of getting a 10 pound crying human being---who is *this* close to ruining your life--to sleep. Hours later, you find yourself a hundred miles away. And you still have to go to work--but you have to go NOW. And when you're almost over the edge, in desperation, you turn to loud, wheeling-dealing with God and obscenity-laced prayers to get you through the torment. Night after night after night. Just when the all night crying and screaming jags stop, you are forced to endure years and years of concerns over what goes into and what comes out of someone who doesn't care what goes in but loves to discuss and showcase what comes out! After that, in your dazed and confused state, you wrestle with curfews and messy bedrooms and socks on the living room floor. Oh but it doesn't stop there. Oh no! Pretty soon, you're staying up late waiting for the front door to open and a living breathing person to walk in, wondering if you should kiss him or smack him across the head when he arrives.
Extra pounds, dirty diapers, missed sleep, snotty noses, scraped knees, lost baseball games and dead hamsters. And it all comes down to this---trying to hold back the tears as you say good bye to the boy with magic an apartment with beer posters on the walls.
Now, the only one crying in the night is me.....

Oh how I long for the good old days...........

Friday, August 15, 2008

Riding out tonight to case the promised land.......

.....Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair.....

So....we're taking a road that mothers don't like to take. Well, at least this mother doesn't want to take it. It's the one where you return home with one less child in tow. I've packed up some of his favorite beef bbq, made sure he has enough DeCecco pasta and good cheese to get him through, I picked up a few nice hand towels with lighthouses on them for his bathroom and I splurged on some special scented candles to leave with him. He's forbidden me to get a wreath for his door or little knick knacks and wall hangings. But, let me tell you--he has every fancy kitchen gadget there is and every spice he may ever need. Just like when he was a kid....he wouldn't let me dress him all fancy. So, I made sure he had the best socks. It's just what I do.

Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold
Thunder Road

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just when I thought the world was made up of viscious dogs and ugly pigs......

YOU rescued me.........

Thank you all of your supportive comments and emails.....and phone calls. I am a lucky, lucky girl. You are one hell of a rockin' entourage! Have no fear, your girl Judi is okay. Seriously, I am. I am a big girl (well, not a BIG girl but a big girl...get it?). I was just a little off my game yesterday. Okay, I was knocked out of the game and was laying on the sidelines begging for mercy. But, you extended your hands, lifted me up, wiped the crud off my face, blew the dirt off my fancy pants, complimented my shoes, touched my heart and then swatted my butt and told me to get back in the game. You said I had a chance of winning.
So, here I am. Back in the game.

Is that Judi? What is that black thing on her ankle? Is it a tracking device? Is she under house arrest? What ever did she do? Did she really beat up the people who weren't so nice to her yesterday? Did she put a hit on one of them? she escaping? Are those her Royal Elastics Chedal Leather Mules (#4 on My Favorite Things list)?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Are some people just put on this earth to make you feel bad about yourself?

Well, fuck them!

I'm just having a hell of a time today. In every aspect of my not-so-ordinary life things are rather shitty. I know it's only temporary. I bounce back rather easily. But, for the moment, I feel like living in the matter how lousy the moment is. And, I'm feeling sorry for myself. And, every so often, my thoughts turn marytrish (YIKES!). Not good at all. I'd explain it all but then I'd just get upset again. Before you know it, I'd raid my freezer for a contraband cigarette. So, I'm not going to share my current misery. It was probably just a bad day all the way around. I was feeling overwhelmed at times, useless at others and underloved in general. Plus, I had the added pain of being amongst people who were not being very nice. Yes, I know, I have to quit expecting people to be nice. I have to wake up every morning and remind myself of that. I despise the idea of starting each day like that. Hell, I'd rather say "Hello gorgeous! Today is another beautiful day!" But, using today as a yardstick, I fear the only way for me to get through my days is to remind myself there are bitches and bastards among us. Oh, maybe I'm just cranky. I got to bed late last night because I had to wait for my bachelor neighbor to go to bed so that Toni and I could steal the perfectly good sofa that he put out for trash (for Vince's grad school pad) and drag it across the street. (Can't wait until Carmen sees how I tore up his beloved lawn.) Or, maybe I'm just hungry. I got a nice fill in my band yesterday....which means that it's liquids and mush for me for awhile. Or, perhaps I'm just feeling a little blue. Vince is packed up....we've been moving him. This coming weekend will be the final trip. As much as I want him to go off and chase his dreams and find his place in the world, I am going to miss him terribly. My son--the Doctor (not of the healing kind!). And, then there's Toni. In 2 weeks, she will be a high school senior. My dear, sweet little darling daughter. I am still back in grade school with her. It's all closing in on me. Everything.
But, you know what? Today I fit into a rockin' black tiered skirt that I bought a few months back. And, I wore my smokin' hot "Sex & The City" shoes and a new pair of look at me earrings--zebra striped. As shitfuck as the day was, I looked fuckinfabulous.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Taking off my Freshman beanie.......

I'm no longer a first year lapbander.

Yes, I'm beanieless. But, I'm not shoeless.
I can certainly travel my journey without my beanie (no more "beanie hair"!).
But not without my shoes.
And so, I continue.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

The 2008 Bandiversary Blogapolooza Olympiads are.......

Gold Medal: Jodi
Silver Medal: Gerry
Bronze Medal: Eileen

Congratulations Blogtheletes! What an exciting, action-packed few weeks we had!

Here's what our on-the-ball women won:
GOLD: #21 on my Favorite Things List: A subscription to WLS Magazine
SILVER: #3 on my Favorite Things List: Starbucks Venti Non-fat Chai Latte w/ Energy Shot (hot or cold)
BRONZE: #36th on my Favorite Things List: Starbuck's Unsweetened Shaken Black Tea with a splash of Lemonade

Tomorrow I'll figure out how to get these wonderful prizes in the hands of The 2008 Bandiversary Blogapolooza Superstars! (I'm too excited to come up with a process right now. And, quite honestly, I'm exhausted from all the partying).

A special thanks to everyone who joined in! Hopefully, everyone feels like they are winners (just because you had so much fun!!)

Although my Bandiversary Blogapolooza celebration is officially over....a remnant remains. Tomorrow I have my 1 year follow-up with my surgeon. Plus, I'm scheduled for all those fun tests! What a way to end a party....taking off your clothes and putting on one of those really cute little paper smocks....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Well, that went fast....didn't it?

One year ago today I had Lapband surgery. ONE YEAR AGO TODAY. August 10, 2007. It was a Friday. I was 48. My hair was blonder. I wore white (Q: what 3X woman in her right mind wears all white and then gets her picture taken? A:one that knows it's a BEFORE picture.) . Clearly, I was having a bad fashion day. And, a bad hair day. It was hot. I was dieted out. I was scared. I was happy. I was wondering if I was crazy or not. I was worried. I was doubtful. I was hopeful. I was OBESE.

Now, it's ONE YEAR LATER. I'm still Lapbanding and I'm still blogging. Who in the hell knew I had such staying power? Evidently, my Lapband surgery was a success and I have quite alot to say.
Although I would love to take all of the credit....I'm a show off like that....I could not have done any of this without some very special people. No one ever travels any road alone. Yes, there are times when we think we're alone. We are not. Even if it's just a voice we hear in our head. We have our peeps. And, let me tell peeps are amazing. Yes, I have my peeps to thank for where I am today. I could not have gotten here without my peeps. you feel like you're listening to an Academy Awards speech right about now?
Are you worried that I'm about to start naming all of the people who I owe my success to?
Well, you're safe. I'm not going to do that to you. Instead, I'm going to ask you all to do me a big favor.
Here we go....
-Stand Up
-Click your heels together
-Take a bow

Yes, folks....I'm giving you an SO (standing ovation). Why? Because you happen to be some of my peeps who got me to where I am today. Don't be shy. Take another bow. Curtsey if you'd like. You can twirl if you want. Oh go ahead...I imagine some of you want to life up your shirts....go right ahead. We'll wait. Okay, okay...those of you who want to shoot a my guest. This is your moment to shine.....

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you....

Now, if you're waiting for me to announce the winners of my Bandiversary Blogapolooza right here, right now. You're out of luck (hey you got a standing ovation....what more do you want?) Why? very kind and mathematically gifted blog reader emailed me earlier today with a complete run down of the scores. However, this mathematically gifted blog reader also reminded me that readers should be given until midnight tonight to submit entries. I hadn't thought about that. See what I mean? Where would I be without my blog readers?
So...I guess you'll have to stop by tomorrow to find out who the winners are. In the meantime...did I mention it's my Bandiversary?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Lapband, The Musical........

Tomorrow is my BANDIVERSARY. So, if tomorrow is my bandiversary, what is today? It's my Bandiversary Eve. I'm headed to Bandiversary Eve Mass and then I'm expecting big doings here for the occasion. Remember last year on Lap Band Eve? The radio was playing songs just for the occasion. I have no doubt they will be doing the same this year.

So, what song do you think they will play? 10 points for all guesses.....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Taking inventory & scoring big!

Here's what they say every woman should have:

* One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to (even if you wouldn't) and one who reminds you of how far you've come.

* Enough money within your control to move out and rent a place on your own, even if you never want or need to.

* Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.

* A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you're not ashamed to be seen carrying.

* A youth you're content to move beyond.

* A past juicy enough that you're looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

* A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.

* One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

* A good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

* Eight matching plates, wineglasses with stems and a recipe for a meal that will make your guests feel honored.

* A resume that is not even the slightest bit padded.

* A feeling of control over your destiny.

* A skin care regime, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don't get better after 30.

* A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.

Here's what they say every woman should know:

* How to fall in love without losing yourself.

* How you feel about having kids.

* How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

* When to try harder and when to walk away.

* How to kiss a man in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn't like to happen next.

* How to have a good time at a party you'd never choose to attend.

* How to ask for what you want in a way that makes it most likely you'll get it.

* That you can't change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.

* That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it's over.

* What you would and wouldn't do for love or money.

* How to live alone, even if you don't like it.

* Who you can trust, who you can't, and why you shouldn't take it personally.

* Where to go - be it your best friend's kitchen table or a charming inn hidden in the woods - when your soul needs soothing.

* What you can and can't accomplish in a day, a month, and a year.

* Why they say life begins at 30.

What are you missing?

For 50 points.....
Pick one item from each list that you are missing and take a solemn oath that you are going to making it happen in the next year. And, share how you are going to do it.

For those of you who have everything on the lists automatically be one of the winners!
The only have to agree to allow all posters to ask you any question they want (that relates to these items) in the next 24 hours and you have to answer them...right here on my the comment section! Afterall, what good is having it all if you can't share your wisdom. Don't be are among friends. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Only 2 more days until my Bandiversary Giveaways! The top 3 scorers each win one item (of my choosing) from my 52 Favorite Things! Good luck!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Where am I going?

Is it okay with you if my journey never ends? Do we always need to have a destination? Must we always have a road map? I mean, where in the hell are we going anyway? And, when we get there---don't we have to go somewhere else anyhow? We can't just say "okay, I'm done". Can we?
I think I just want to keep traveling. No. I need to keep on traveling. So, maybe it's best that I didn't lose 100 pounds yet. To be honest, I'm not sure what I'll do the day I figure out that I lost 100 pounds. Will I sit down on the side of the road or will I dance in the street? And then what will I do? Will my journey come to an end? No. Probaly not. My body is not one of those bodies that ever stays the same weight for even a 4 hour period (what kind of aliens are those people who say "I weigh the same today as the day I graduated from high school"?) I'm sure I'll gain 2 pounds within 24 hours of hitting my 100 pound weight loss. So, I'll have to hop back on the road to loosing 100 pounds again. My body will make sure that my journey will continue. And, I guess that's good news. I know my journey will have to end sometime. But not now.

Speaking of traveling......
According to a recent study, the higher the cost of gas, the lower the rate of national obesity. Apparently, people would rather walk to work (or at least to public transportation) than shell out major dough to fill up the their tank.

What cut backs have you made due to the high cost of gas?
5 points for each tip you share!

Only 3 more days to collect points!!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Somedays you just want to cry the blues.....

But, when there's a bandiversary celebration going on, you can't start crying. Especially when it's your own damn celebration. It's a no-no. Tears are very unbecoming on a hostess. Trust me, I know. The whole mascara thing. The streaks across your fake tan. Not good. You just don't do not good during a time of celebration. It must be all good, all the time. Rules are rules.

What's a girl to do? Well, I'll tell you. Get a back-up section. You call up your girlfriends, put on some fancy shoes and some tight little frocks, you find a nice place to go and you play the blues. On your saxes. Loudly and with lots of sass. You and your girlfriends. Call it what you will. But,I give you my word and I double guarantee you, it will stop the tears everytime.
It's the only way to cry celebration-like.....

In the spirit of crying with friends in a celebratory kind of way, I figured I'd combine the 2 for today's point gathering questions:
What TV commercial(s) makes you cry?
5 points for each commercial you mention
What is the name of your first childhood friend?
5 points for first name only, 10 points for the first and last name
Did you play an instrument in grade school? If so, what did you play?
5 points if you played one, 10 points if you also remembered what you played

Yes, blog friends, it's a HUGE points kind of day. When I get all bluesy and teary....I can be very excessive. I've got the shoes to prove it. In fact, just to show you I am not lying and in an effort to brighten my spirits, I think I'm going to wear my brand new $165 Andre Assoue Luna Beige Tanger Leopard Straw Wedged Heeled Peep-toe Sling backs today. That should do it. Since I can't do the sax thing. (I don't sax on Wednesdays anyhow.) But, I can do $165 Andre Assoue Luna Beige Tanger Leopard Straw Wedged Heeled Peep-toe Sling backs. I can do them very well. If you can't sax-it-up, you might as well shoe-it-up. But, I will be saxing and my back up section....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Dreamed My Whole House Was Clean..........

And, then, I woke up. I've had some nasty dreams. But, this one had to be nastiest dream of all......
You know how it come back from vacation, you're exhausted after that 12 hour drive with your favorite people. Even when you pull in the driveway, the odyssey doesn't end. Well, it ends for some of your favorite people....they manage to pass out on the couch, feign stomach cramps or somehow get a quick onset of gout. And, there you are.....there's suitcases and coolers and shoe bags and dirty laundry to unpack. Pots and pans and towels and beach blankets and umbrellas and beach chairs and boogie boards to put away. And, every damn thing you left undone at home before you left is still....undone. I know some people leave their houses in tip-top shape. That's just not a Judi thing. I don't care...I'm leaving on vacation. I'm very Scarlett-like. I worry about things....later.

So, later has arrived. This is not exactly how I planned on spending my bandiversary celebration.......

An extra 500 points for anyone who wants to come on over to get me unpacked, cleaned-up, organized and ready for my firecracker life.....

Monday, August 4, 2008

A work in progress.......

Here I am on August 3, 2007.....1 week before my Lapband the beach....
This is the girl who left the beach........

Here I am on August 2, 2008......1 day less than a year later and almost 80 pounds the beach....
This is the girl who went back to the beach......

And, this is the girl who came home........August 4, 2008......
2 days after returning from the beach

Stay never know where my journey will take me......

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Every road leads home.....

It's hard to leave the beach. It's just not easy. But, it's lighter this year. I'm not taking extra weight with me. It's been a lovely vacation....filled with family, friends, laughter, sunshine, amazing meals and tastey libations. A perfect way to spend time away from normal life. Not that my normal life isn't filled with family, friends, laughter, sunshine, amazing meals and tastey libations. It's just just like everything all feels better, tastes better and seems the edge of the earth...where I dig my feet into the sand and watch the waves as the world turns.

As my journey home begins, I feel a bit melancholy. Not sad. Just pensive, reflective, filled with thought. In a few hours, I'll be fine. My thinking will turn planful the further we get from the beach. I'll make lists in my head and start my typical mental calesthetics. By the time our vehicle pulls into our driveway, vacation Judi will be gone. Well, not totally gone. But, gone enough so that I can adapt to life on land. Maybe that's the key---always keep a little vacation in life. A little of that wanderlust and devil-may-care attitude. A little of that sand between my toes.....

Friday, August 1, 2008

The WINNER IS.........

Beach custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more -

Everybody else...stop all the tears. You still have a chance to accumulate points to win ONE of my favorite things. Oh, geez....since I feel so badly that only one person could win the's what I'll do. I'll give away 3 of my favorite things (of my choosing) to the TOP 3 point scorers!

So,'s what you have to do to claim your shoes.....
-Email me your home address before August 4
-I'm headed up to buy your pink painted crocs today!
-I'll send them to you by August 10
-You must wear them on August 10, take a picture of them and send it to me. I'll post it on my blog

Congratulations MariB!!!

Thank you to everyone who participated! That was fun....wasn't it?