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Saturday, February 28, 2009

I wanted YOU to be the first to know......

I found the perfect shoes for St. Patrick's Day......!

Whew! One less thing to worry about!!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dancing Queens.....

Here in Judiland, it will be a weekend for memories--reliving old ones and making new ones.
And dancing.

Fleetwood Mac is making their first stop on their tour right here in Pittsburgh!
And, Toni is wrapping up her tour of formal winter dances.

I'll be dancing in the aisles in my red cowboy boots
Toni will be dancing at the high school in her leopard party shoes....

But, before all the dancing....
There's lots of details to be attended to.
Lots of primping and pictures for Toni.
Lots of rest and stretching for her mother....

And, when the music stops....
I will have traveled from 17 to 50 and back again.
Toni will have made 17 a very good year....

But, for a little while....we will both be dancing!

Oh, and just in case I dance all the way through the weekend and don't get back to blog.....have a great one!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So, who was I for all those years?

A week or so ago, I ran into a colleague who I have known for many years. In the early years of my career, I saw him quite often. As time went on, we only saw each other every once in awhile. During the past decade or so, I have only seen him sporadically. Prior to running into him this time, the last time we saw each other was at a business function about 4 years ago. The only reason why I know the timing specifically is because at the time of that meeting, he was coming upon his 50th birthday and we spent a great deal of time having a good natured chat about it. Now, he's 54. Of course, his age does not have any bearing on my story (even though he is older...ha!ha!). It just frames the story a bit.

After we got through the hugs and the niceties and the catching-up chit chat, he whispered to me "you look amazing". To which I responded with a huge, appreciative grin. However, before I could get a word out, he said "you are finally back to the real Judi." Hmmmm "Ummm....what do you mean?" I asked. He seemed rather confused by my question.
Now, let me stop here for one moment and tell you that if he wouldn't have said "you are finally back to the real Judi", this is where I would have proudly told him that I weight loss surgery....
"You know..." he said--himself seeming confused by his own comment. "You lost a ton of weight. Now you look like Judi again," he said stammering. Trust me, I knew this was a compliment. And, I was thrilled to get it. Plus, I did get what he was saying. But, I couldn't help but wonder what prompted that reaction from him. So, I turned on my humor...."yes, I've turned back the clock," I said laughing. Then, he tried his hand at humor...."you sure did! Last time I saw you, I could not believe how heavy you had got! Oh my God! I could not believe it! Not the Judi I knew!!" Dead silence. I decided to rescue him--"not the Judi I knew either."

So, now I'm left to wonder who was that Judi?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh how the years fly when you're having fun........

I've forgiven her for being thinner. I've even forgiven her for never having a weight problem. Yes, I know, that took me a little bit longer. But, that's what sisters do--we get over it. Now that we're both sitting here somewhere between our youth and our middle age--those grudges seem quite ridiculous. As do many things that I squandered my time and emotions on over the years. The only thing that I'm having a rough time getting over is the fact that she's younger. I'm still pissed about that.

Yes, I'm talking about my sister--the one I named after my Chatty Cathy doll. I was so hell bent on naming someone Cathy that I hounded my mother for weeks. In her ninth month of pregnancy--no less. Bet she loved me! Of course, that was only after Sister John Joseph refused to allow me to name our class Pegan Baby Cathy. No, it had to be a saint's name she told me. There was no St. Cathy. Yes, but there was a Chatty Cathy doll, I told her--trying to get her to change her mind. I told her I'd pray extra hard for Pegan Baby Cathy. But, she was adamant. Unless I consented to Katherine then it was not to be. Forget it, I'll just name my new sister Cathy, I told her in a huff. What if it's a boy? she asked. But I knew better--we don't have boys at my house. I would have a sister named Cathy. Even though my mother and father had settled on the name Charles or Charlotte (after my paternal grandfather).

And so, on that cold February morning--as I was hanging out with my Aunt Phil and my fun cousin Ronny--the call came. As I expected--my mother had another girl. As I sat at my aunt's little kitchen table eating my Life cereal in my Chatty Cathy pajamas, my lobbying took on a new urgency--begging, pleading and crying....ppppplllllease make my mom name her Cathy. I knew my aunt had power over my mother---Aunt Phil was the older sister. I was already keenly aware what that meant....after all, I had been doing the older sister thing for several years. I was now the supreme older sister--with 2 younger sisters. I knew what power being an older sister held.

Now, I'm still not sure what convinced my parents to name her Cathy. Was it the older sister power my aunt had over my mother? Was it my non-stop chatter about it all? Or, did they come to love the name as much as me? I'll have to ask my father about that one. But, they did relent and named her Cathy Frances. Not Kathleen. Not Katherine. Cathy with a C. Not a K. Chatty Cathy was spelled with a C.

I wasn't too crazy about Cathy when she finally came home to live with us. Everyone oohed and aahed over her, my mother was tired and still not feeling 100% and Denise and I could not be as noisy as we wanted to be. Plus, she cried. Alot. But, we got used to her. And, she looked like one of us--with her blue eyes and light skin. So, we took her in and let her stay. Oh so many years ago....the fun began.

Happy Birthday to my baby sister Cathy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's Fat Tuesday.....

I really hate the word FAT. But, considering this is a blog about my weight loss and I've lived a great deal of my life as a fat girl, it's only fitting that I choose this holiday to deal with my emotional issues with the word FAT.
A Judi style Fat Tuesday in Judiland.
A day for me to come face-to-face with the word and deal with it.
A day for me to take on the word and put it in it's place.
FAT--it is, afterall, just a word. Like every other word in the English is just made up of letters. Nothing more. Nothing less. And, it's only 3 letters. I's a puny word. A little, scrawny word only worthy of 3 letters. It's a puny, scrawny, unworthy word.
That's what it is.
But, I still hate it.
My emotional issues remain.
Maybe I'll have better luck next year.
Bring on the beads.....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mardi Gras Monday!

....a day to live to excess.....?

After my weekend of happy valleying in Happy Valley, living to excess is the last thing I should be doing today. But, I'm pretty sure that's the rule of Mardi Gras...isn't it? Well, I'm a rule breaker from way back. So, perhaps I'll just lay a little low on the Mardi Gras scene.

But, this whole Mardi Gras thing has me a little curious. It's got me thinking about an entire way of life--one that's completely acceptable and clearly celebrated. A way of life that promotes the idea of feasting before famining (is that a word?). The notion that before we give up some of our favorite things, we have to consume or partake in as much as we can of them. Sounds to me like it's the exact behavior that put the diet industry on the map....don't you think?

Now, don't start throwing rotten apples at your computer screen or begin putting pins into a Judi voodoo doll just because I said that. Like I said---I'm just thinking about it a little. And, afterall, I'm as much of a feast-and-famine kind of girl myself as anyone else--if not more! I long held to the Monday diet....after a weekend of (or, to be more honest--many weeks of..) gluttonly and excess, I'd wake up and say "NO MORE" and vow to go on a diet--lose weight, eat more healthy and exercise. You see where that got me....don't you? Under the knife. Thankfully, there was a knife to go under....

I have no intention of preaching to the choir or anyone else. It's not my thing. In fact, in thinking about all of this, I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that mardi gras behavior is a way of life--an inescapable one at that. So, there's actually nothing to preach about. Even if I thought there was--how can one gal sitting in her little office off of her kitchen in a cold suburb of Pittsburgh change an entire way of life that is deeply rooted in each and every one of us? How can I alter a path that was paved by our ancestors, our teachers, our governments, our religions and all of our leaders? Not that I've done this to any great degree but I'll bet if we comb through history, that's exactly what we will find. If we take a serious look at culture--we will find the same thing. Every aspect of our worlds--family life, high finance, careers, religion, culture--subscribes to this. Think about it. Mardi gras behavior is as American as Apple Pie. It might even be a birthright. Spend today, save tomorrow. Eat today, diet tomorrow. Party tonight and pay for it in the morning. Sin now and do your pennace tomorrow. get it...

We live in a mardi gras world. So, shed those clothes friends, put on some gold chains, march in the streets, throw some coins, pour yourself a Hurricane and party on. Then, be sure to tell me all about it....since I'll be laying low. I mardi graed a little too much this past weekend....I need to demardi gras.
Anyway....I have to whip myself into parade shape.....St. Pat's Day is coming...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Taking a break in the action.......

....time for a little road trip!

It's kegerator time.
Betcha didn't think I'd be saying that, did you?

Honestly, I'm not really sure what a kegerator is. All I know is that it has something to do with beer and we're buying one for Vince this weekend. He's a master home brewer, you know. So, instead of buying it here and hauling it over the mountains, we decided to brave the snowbelt plus the mountains and the winter weather and take a weekend jaunt to go kegerator shopping in his picturesque and fun little enclave--Happy Valley. And, to be quite honest--I'm ready to blow this town. It might be home of the Super Bowl champions 'nat (that's Pittsburghese) but seriously folks, I'm way past it. At my age, you just have to live for the moment, savour it and then move on. So, kegerator I come!

You know, I'm so done with February. As if you didn't notice--it's worn out it's welcome with me. So, as much as I would just love to run off to a sun drenched beach and ride out the remainder of the month in a bathing suit digging my toes in the sand, I'll settle for a little change in scenery, an unscheduled, non-committment-oriented, light-responsibility weekend and the peace and quiet of being the guest instead of the host. A few new restaurants, a little side trip to the local winery, a bargain hunt at Ross's, a visit to my fav Chico's in the state (the folks who work there are fab!), a drop-in on some of the cute little boutiques in the area and maybe even going to hear a few bands--that's what I am talking about. Not to mention a little extra time with my #1 son. And....oh yeah, the kegerator shopping.

See you next week.....
Cross your fingers that I don't get snowed in......

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tell me again.......

how many hours are in a day?

Looks like I've got some mathematical olympics to do.

Judi has only 24 hours to complete her tasks. Judi's tasks, not including eating or sleeping, compute to roughly 48 hours. How can Judi complete 48 hours of tasks in the allotted 24 hours?

I always hated word problems. In fact, word problems sent me to school in the Summer of 67. Clearly, whatever I learned has since worn off. I am definitely in need of another round. Is it summer yet?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I am innocent........

I did not eat those potato chips.
I did not eat those fancy chocolates.
I did not eat that whole box of conversation hearts.
And I most certainly did not watch The Girls Next Door.

Alright....maybe I did.

It's called mid-winter blues or SAD or something like that. Whatever it is that's got me doing the salty-sweet-thing and the must-watch-train-wreck-TV-thing, it's gotta stop. I'm not sure what pill I need to take, what prayers I need to recite or what kind of self-help book I need to consult! But, I know this---I am not doing any of it by my own free will. I am hearing voices. Calling me. Yelling to me. Placing demands on me. Taking me by force.

Those voices made me eat those chips, followed by those chocolates, followed by those sugary hearts then followed by those potato chips again. And, all the while, those voices placed me in a big comfy chair, put a faux fur throw over my lap, turned on the TV and made me sit there and watch three blonde, big boobed sweetie pies and one old, silk-robe-wearing man prance around some big mansion.
The voices made me do it all. I swear on a stack of shoes.

Am I the only one hearing these voices?

Just askin'

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's February funk time......

and I can't think of a better way to defunk it than with a wallet-friendly, super quick and oh so delish recipe....

And, as a bonus---it's a Lapband friendly comfort food....!
But, you don't have to be a Lapbander to be comforted by it!
Plus, it's an oh so trendy dish these days....all the rich and famous eat it and gush about if they discovered it all by themselves! (meanwhile, it was one of the mainstays of my mother's peasant Italian menus!)

So, put on your rockstar shoes my Lapbander and nonLapbander's time to make up a batch of.......
Polenta Bake
(I'm including the brands that I use....but you can use your fav!)
1 Tube of Trader Joe's prepared Organic polenta---sliced into disks
1 Jar DeCecco Basil-Tomato Sauce
1 bag Kraft Italian Shredded cheese (shredded)
Handful of good quality romano cheese
In well-greased (with olive oil)glass lasagna dish---
Spoon Sauce right from the jar over bottom of dish--spread evenly
Lay polenta disks on top of sauce--covering the bottom of the don't have to be perfect or neat!
Sprinkle with half of the cheese over polenta slices
Spoon more sauce on top
Put the remainder of the cheese
Bake covered with aluminum foil for 15 minutes (400 degrees)
Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes (400 degrees)

Honestly, the entire process takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and less than a half hour to bake! (Take that Rachel Ray!)
And, it will sooth you all night long. (can't say that about alot of things now can you?)
And...oh, oh, oh.....if you're lucky enough to have leftovers...that can surely defunk another February day!'s a Lapbanded girl's answer to pasta!
Add a little vino, a cute Italian boy to mangia with you and oh mama mia....that's enough to defunk a day....

Yes, that's my Italian boy.....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dear Mr. President......

I need a bail out or a presidential pardon. Come on, it's President's Day....

Did I ever mention that I'm not married to Mr. Romance? I had long suspected this to be the case. But, I spent years trying to convince myself I was wrong. Well, this weekend sealed the deal. He finally went and did it. He got me a sweeper. As a gift for a holiday dedicated to romance. Okay, okay, it was a red sweeper. Woo-hoo. And, that's not all. He didn't get me a card. Of course....if you ask him...he'd tell you that he tried. As we were sitting in his favorite restaurant--the one he says is the only Italian restaurant worth eating at (which happens to be right next to the Hallmark store)-- having a very late lunch on Saturday, he announced a sudden urge to get some air. "So, you didn't get me a card?" I asked, still stinging from the 50th birthday card episode (the one he left on the kitchen island on top of the bag that he bought it in--from Big Lots--with the receipt for $1.87 on top of it...for me to find when I strolled in at 4 am....). "No, I just need some air," he said...with a grin....knowing he was caught. "You didn't get me a card," I repeated--this time without the question mark. "I'm going to now," he said sheepishly. "No need," I said, looking for the waiter--I wanted another glass of wine. "Alright, but, don't bring this up next time you're mad at me...that I didn't get you a card," he warned me.."because I wanted to" he said. Yes, I needed another glass of wine.

You know, I'm not a high maintenance gal. I'm just your routine chick who needs a little grease every once in awhile. A card here, a little wooing there and maybe...just extra dose of excitement there. Nothing lavish or pretentious. Just something to keep me going. I suppose that explains why I took to the chocolate. I needed a little tune up...

It's Monday and I'm wishing I never ate that chocolate. I can seriously feel it on my hips, my stomach and my thighs. So, I'm wondering....considering that I didn't run my husband over with the sweeper and suck out his organs with the hose...can we just forget about the chocolate episode? And the calories?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

All dogs go to heaven......

....I pray that to be true....

It's been bothering me for a few days now. I've been tossing and turning and getting hives and feeling anxious. I'm horribly sad and haunted by it all. I'm so consumed by it and so tortured by it that I'm having a hard time even typing it here. But, I have to. I killed a dog.

Yes, me. A dog killer.

It's not the way I want to think of myself. And, it's definitely not the way I want anyone else to think of me or remember me. Because I remember the name, the face, the hair and the type of car that killed my dog when I was a child. My little dog Gigi. I remember the heartbreak and the sadness of losing Gigi. And I never forgot her killer. I hated him for years and years and years and years. I never forgave him and I doubted I ever would. That was over 40 years ago.

God is a funny guy, isn't He? Now that the shoe is on the other foot--with me as the perpetrator--I have finally forgiven the guy who killed Gigi. It took this moment in time for me to lose my anger and give my forgiveness. Stunning. If I ever see him again, I'm going to tell him. I wonder if he still thinks about it. If I ever see him again, I'll have to ask him. Because I need to know--will I still feel the sting of my act 40 years from now?

A little white dog ran out on to the street where I was driving early Thursday morning. A narrow, residential street with parking on both sides. He darted out from between two cars--directly in front of me. With parked cars on both sides of me, a car in front of me and a car behind me, I had nowhere to go. I couldn't swerve and by the time I stopped, the moment was over. He was under my wheel. The little white dog. I was frozen in that long second...not knowing if I should pull forward to release him or stay stopped in place. Thankfully, the kind man behind me--seeing what had just happened--came to my rescue. He motioned for me to pull up a little further and then directed me up the road to a little parking lot. I peered into my rear view mirror and saw the little dog on the road. My heart sank. The man who had come to my rescue was guarding the dog's body and directing traffic around it. As he did that, I called 911 to ask for assistance. Getting those words out---that I hit a dog--actually hurt. So much so that they got stuck in my mouth--paralyzing me. The operator--sensing my pain--asked me to stop and collect myself before continuing. And, so I told him--a complete stranger--that I believed that I had just killed a living thing--a little white dog. Me, a 50 year old woman, could not avoid the little white dog.

I am so sorry.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Helllllo Lovers....... make my feet go pitter-patter....
Happy Valentines Day!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

And.....there she is..... youngest blog all her glory!

...she's been reading along with her mommy all these months!

Morale of the story: Do not send me nude pictures of yourself being weighed....they may find it's way to my blog!!!!

Give today......receive tomorrow......

Just something to think about......
You still have 24 hours....!

P.S. Congrats to 2 of my favorite blog readers....Gretchen & Debbie on their entrance into mommyhood and grandmahood!

And....WELCOME TO THE WORLD SLOANE (wanna play Barbies?)!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Make every day count.....

If you're going to do it right.

Moral of the story: Never waste make-up.
Action: Work it.

Even if make-up isn't your thing---if you're wearing your favorite shirt--really wear it. If you've got a great pair of shoes on--strut. If you're wearing a pair of pants that make you feel good--be sure to put some wiggle in your walk. And, if your bra is something spectactular then you gotta....own it.

I'm currently in training. It's all part of the attitude adjustment thing. You see....for so many years, we were told to make the most of everyday. Well, some days, that wasn't going to my life! So, I just got used to having some good days and some bad days. I accepted it as just a way of life. But 2 weeks ago, when I said goodbye to my youth, I started thinking---I don't have time for these not so good days. I just want good days. But, I couldn't wrap my thoughts around how I could make sure that everyday was a good day. Until I started the self talk---in my own language--shoes, make-up,jewelry,clothes.

At the end of my training---this is what I want to happen: no longer will I allow a good pair of shoes go to waste by having a bad day. Same goes for make-up, clothes and jewelry. If I want to have a bad day---I'll just stay in bed with a hideous, over sized t-shirt. (That's if my clothes, shoes and make-up will allow it. They have such a power over me! I'm sure they will taunt me out of bed..."Judi, don't you want to wear ME today?")
Yes, it's important to find a reason to live....

Rock On.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where you going?

I'm going wanna come?

And so it went....the many questions my children would ask me and the answers I would give. When the kids were little, their questions seemed endless. After hearing that response many times, crazy became my only destination---as far as they were concerned. "You going to crazy again mommy? Can I come too?" Toni's little voice would call out to me as I walked towards the door. Every once in awhile, I took her to crazy. Sometimes, especially if I was only on the way to the bathroom, I'd tell her "No, mommy is going crazy alone this time..." These days, Toni knows her mother is going crazy and she happily comes along. She doesn't bother to ask. She always knows it will be worth the trip.

When I was little, I'd ask my mother where she was going and she would say "Up Mike's and down Jake's". I was always quite confused as to why my mother was forever going up to Mike Waslyk's house and I had no idea who the heck Jake was and why she would visit him so much. All I knew was that my mother was always visiting Mike and Jake. She had a secret life....with Mike and Jake. As silly as it sounds, I would imagine that my mother would visit Mike and drink orange juice with him (because that's what they gave out for Halloween) and go and play cards with Jake (whoever he was). To this day...I still think of my mom drinking orange juice with Mike Waslyk and playing cards with that stranger Jake. When I was growing up, my father always blamed everything on a person named Little Mergatroid Pecunis. If something was out of place or someone did something wrong in the house, my father always commented that Little Mergatroid did it. I wasn't quite sure who this guy was or how he got into the house. All I knew was that he must have been short...considering my father always called him Little Mergatroid. And, he must have been awfully disobedient and mischevious. Sometimes my father would get mixed up and call my sister Denise Little Mergatroid when she was misbehaving. Which was quite often. There are times when I think that she was (and still is) Little Mergatroid.

One time when Vince was very little, I took him to visit an old work friend in Moon Township who had retired several years before. He patiently sat in his car seat as I struggled to make some sense of the directions I had hastily written down days earlier. After quite awhile, he asked "where are we mommy?" Not wanting to scare him, I told him we were on "Lost Avenue which is right off of Who Knows Lane" After that, if a car ride got too long he would ask in his sing-songy voice "are we on Lost Avenue and Who Knows Lane again?" To be quite honest---he was usually right. I've never been too good with directions. A human GPS system I am not. It strikes me kind of funny these days that a major part of Vince's PhD research has to do with computerized dashboards and rear view mirrors with location detectors. Makes me wonder if his life's work was fueled by a childhood visiting Lost Avenue and Who Knows Lane.

When I was young, I spent quite a bit of time with my deaf mute Aunt Carmy. When it was time to clean up after dinner--especially after a Sunday or holiday meal--she would motion to me that we should just wrap everything up in the table cloth--with all the dirty dishes and food and trash inside it, tie it in a knot, open the window and pitch it out into the yard. I can still see her motions and facial expressions telling me her plan. Knowing the work that was ahead of us, I always thought it was very smart and wondered why we just didn't go ahead and do it. It made complete sense to me. Even then, I liked the idea of short cuts and making work easier! Funny thing--Aunt Carmy was way ahead of her time. Little did she know that an entire lucrative, critical-to-life business would come from it...throw away table covers, paper plates and plastic utensils. Some of my favorite (although not so green) inventions! I think of my beloved Aunt Carmy each and every time I make life simpler by bundling up a table cloth filled with the remnants of a big meal and throwing it in the trash!

It seems like some of the most ordinary, daily things in our lives become the things that stay with us, change us or somehow teach us. The not-so-grand gestures, the little things, the silly things and even the absurd things are the pieces of our past and our present that somehow stick inside our brains. At times they guide us, other times they make us smile and still other times we hear ourselves saying or doing the very same thing! Each and every day we say and do things within earshot and within the site of others. Thus, becoming a nugget of their life and adding to their memory banks. It's not necessarily the big things or the amazing things that we do and say that have staying power. Most times its the inconsequential things that build our stories and give us moments like right now--when visits to crazy, clandestine meetings with Mike and Jake, drives on Lost Avenue and Who Knows Lane, misdeeds by Little Mergatroid Pecunis and pitching garbage wrapped in table clothes out the window--become important. It all becomes part of who I am. Where I was before this. Who I left a piece of myself with. And who shared a piece of themselves with me. The wonder that was fueled inside of me. The wonder that I fueled inside others. It's all part of the legacy that is me....Judi. The building blocks of my new attitude....

Where is Judi going?
Thata Way.....

And, if Thata Way is a short cut to you want to come along?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So many ways to see life......

...should I pick rose colored glasses or wine goggles?
(yep, that's more inspiration from Rowdy Beagle)

How about margarita specs?

So, I'm thinking.....about this new swagger I'm trying on. This attitude adjustment. The look of life at fifty....where I grab it by the balls, twist them a little and then smile...just a little. It's got me wondering. Should I see the best in things or see the amusement in the worst of things? And, another thing--should I throw caution to the wind and celebrate my inner sassy girl? Or, should I still weigh and measure each step I take?
It's good to have choices...
And, it's good to have different glasses to choose from....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Taking on another week.....with attitude......not age!

So, I made it through a full 2 weeks plus a day or two of being 50. And, I took it all on....with age. It was all about being 50. 50 this. 50 that. Now, it's time for attitude. Hip swaying, head bobbing, cleavage showing, lip glossed and woman-hear-me-roar attitude. A little more eyeliner, a change in the part of my hair and a lacey bra. It's black hi-cut panties and a leopard print top.
By the time we roll into Friday....I may still be 50 but but 50 won't be me.

Hello Monday.....
you better get the fuck ready because Judi is here....
(how's that for starters?)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good Morning Sunday.......'s going to be a busy one....

Why doesn't Starbuck's open before 6 am? I am in dire need of one of my beloved Chai Lattes...but this time with a double energy shot. My day is action packed. It's Snowball dress and shoes shopping day. Add that to everything else that needs to be accomplished in the next 15 hours and there's ample reasoning as to why I NEED my chai latte laced with extra energy......!
I'm feeling mighty panicked right about now. No.... scratch that....I'm feeling ridiculously panicked.

Don't worry....I'm 50 and getting better at it everyday....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Going out to eat this weekend? Thinking about some retail therapy?

....don't you know we have to tighten our belts?

All this doom and gloom is getting on my nerves. Between the non stop reports on the economy and the constant stream of information on how restaurants are bamboozling us about what's really in their meals, I've just about had it. You can't turn on the TV, you can't open your mail, you can't read your email, you can't listen to the radio, you can't have a decent conversation at home, at work or with a stranger on the street without hearing about it all. There's businesses closing their doors, families losing their homes, jobs being lost and people consuming more calories and fat than ever before. Honestly, it's enough to make you want to eat, drink and then eat and drink some more. But, we can't....

So, what can we do?
I'm really not into the woe is me stuff. And, I'm not into deprivation of any type. But, I am creative. I'll give myself that much. I've really tried to be a good steward of resources over the years even with my penchant for being excessive at times. Yet, even with all that good stewardship, I still haven't learned the fine art of doing without. At the end of a long, hard week....I really do enjoy going out to dinner--not paying much mind to the prices on the menu, ordering top shelf gin and experimenting with wines. And...I really do have a thing for clothes, shoes, make up and jewelry. Not to mention china, candles, antique furniture and home decor of all types. And, I love to cook, read magazines, go to concerts and give gifts. And, of course....let's not forget my love of kitchen utensils, Italian pottery and folk art. Plus...I just love my 2 week vacation at the beach in a big rambling house with a pool. And, I'm truly a pushover when it comes to my kids. I have always loved lavishing them and giving in to their whims and watching their eyes light up. And,of course, I am all about food. I love visiting new restaurants, collecting recipe books and cooking up big feasts! But, sadly, doing any of that to any great degree is not belt tightening times. It's not smart, it's not helpful and to be honest--it's arrogant. And, just like everyone else--my life has been effected by the times. There's not a day goes by that I haven't been reminded of it. And, lately, I'm reminded of it several times a day. And, just as importantly....I have come this far in my weight loss journey, I can't screw it up by succumbing to overeating, eating the wrong foods or consuming unhealthy amounts of fats and calories. Or, I won't even be able to get on a belt!

So...this is the part of this blog where my creativity is supposed to kick in, right?
I'm trying, friends, I'm trying. I'm constantly trying to figure out ways to live the life I want to live without feeling the pain of sacrificing those things that really bring joy to my life. And, I'm trying to educate myself about what I really do need to bring that joy to my life. How can I make this all effortless and painless? For me. And, for my family.

I'm working on it. Isn't that what being 50 is all about?

Friday, February 6, 2009

This looooong, hard week......

will end soon.....

Until then.....I just need to work, eat and sleep....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

To be young again.....

My father always told me 2 things....
-If you want to look thin, hang out with girls that are fatter than you.
-The best part of your life is when you are a little child and those are the days you forget the most. You have to try not to lose those memories.

I never did too good with the fat girls thing. It wasn't because I was intentionally trying to be rebellious. It just happened that way. As for the memories of my childhood...that's another story. Sometimes those memories just come to me. And when they do....I smile. Funny thing, they are coming to me more that I'm 50. Do you think it's my subconscious somehow forcing me into reflecting on those memories for fear that I will lose them...just as my father said? Or, is it that I'm finally heeding my father's advice because I GET that I'm 50? Oh, the questions that plague that I'm 50.

We live a few blocks from a little elementary school. On the days that I desperately need a Starbucks Chai Latte with an energy shot, the route I take to work is the same route as many of the children take to school. Yesterday...since I desperately needed a Starbucks Chai Latte with an energy shot, I had to drive that way. As I sat in traffic, I watched the children as they made their way to school. They were all bundled up in their parkas, scarves, hats and mittens, carrying their full back packs....running to school. Some of them in a slow gallop, others in a little sprint and still others racing along. I checked my watch to see if all the running was caused by the fact that these kids were late. Nope. As a matter of fact, they were early.
Why are they running? Why would they run if they aren't late? That's the only reason I would run....especially in the dead of winter wearing layers and layers of clothes! Even then, I wouldn't run!

Imagine....running to get somewhere? Am I so old that I can't remember that feeling energy and exhurberance? Hell, I don't even get that kind of kick from my chai lattes with energy shots!

So, what's the hurry?

Then, I remembered.....
We used to take a short cut through the alley at the top of our hill to get to school. It was a route that our mothers prohibited us to take. But, it was a short cut! So, we took it. Now that I think about it, it did not shave off that much time. And, to be quite honest, it was not that nice of a trip. It was an alley way that snaked through several streets...part of it was paved, part of it was mud, part of it was tree lined, other parts were just the backs of garages. It was filled with potholes and weeds, broken glass and litter. It would have been much easier and just as time conscious as walking the regular path to school. But, all of us kids on Dwight Avenue would do it. In fact, we would plan to "take the alley". The short cut. We were always looking for a quicker way to get to where we were going. Even if it was getting to school. And, to think---we were hurrying at a time in our life when we had so much time. Just like those kids who were running to school. We had the energy, the will and the ability to get to where we were lightning speed. It was a race to the finish. We didn't walk...we ran. We looked for short cuts. Because we had so much to do. But, we didn't realize we had so much time to do it. The slow pokes and the kids who took the main streets must have understood that. They must have been older than their years.

Today is my father's 88th birthday. He's much slower than he used to be. But, I doubt he's worried by it. In fact, I'll bet he wants to slow time down even more. He's not rushing to get anywhere. He doesn't want to take the short cuts. He'd rather take the longer route. He's not running or galloping or even sprinting. There's no reason. And, nature made it so that he can't. Slowness is perhaps a gift that comes with age just as impatience and energy are the gifts of youth.

So, in honor of my dear father's birthday....I am going to ask each of you to recall those special moments of your youth. Put it all in slow motion. Savour each moment. Don't run through it. And, don't take any short cuts. Because the best part of your life is when you are a little child and those are the days you forget the most. You have to try not to lose those memories. That's what my dad said.

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The road not taken...... you think about it?

(yep, that's another provacative pix that inspired me from Prof H's
Rowdy Beagle Studio

Sometimes I think all roads lead to and from my lapband. Yesterday, as I lay on the table having my stomach poked by yet another novice technician (getting my band filled), I wondered---what if I didn't have my lapband? Where would I be at this precise moment? How would I be feeling? What would I be doing? And, what would I be wearing? Sometimes I think I know the answers to those questions. Other times I don't. Yet, regardless of what those answers are---I know this--I'd rather be laying on that table having my stomach stabbed, feeling healthier and more alive than ever, wearing my brand new Anthropologie jacket and size 12 moleskin pants than I would be without it. The road to my lapband and every road to and from it are intricately connected. From how I am feeling to what I am doing to what I am wearing are all because I chose the Lapband Road.

Oh, Lapband Road, Oh Lapband Road......

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Working on a Dream......

Dreams....the stuff that good lyrics are made of...

Whether we're chasing a dream, living a dream or dreaming a dream....we all have them. They are those little nuggets of hope and fantasy that comfort us when we need comforted, shelter us when we need sheltered and woo us when we need wooed. Our dreams are what our futures are made of....long before we live them. Songwriters and poets write about them in ways that keep us dreaming. Lovers and friends share them in ways that keep them alive. And, we, the keepers of our own dreams, tuck them deep in the crevices of our hearts--ready and waiting to be plucked out when we find the bravery, the courage or just that right moment to make them a reality. Dreams...they whisper to us, they sing to us, they shout out to us and they keep us dancing to the tunes they play in our head. In the words of the great Bruce about a dream, try to make it real.

Dreams, they have a way of sweeping us up into them and luring us down pathways and rising us above the everyday humming of our existence. They are like index fingers silently motioning to us..."come here.." They make us wander a little longer, nudge up to our loved ones a little softer and doodle on notebook pages with fancy flourishes. They are the secret tales of our souls, the silent songs of our hearts and the colorful paintings of our minds. They catch us off guard when we are aren't looking and they find their way to our door steps when we least expect it.

I've been thinking a lot of about my dreams lately. Maybe it's the coming of age thing. You know....that big 5-0 that's been staring me in the face for a little over a week now. And, the only dream that I can remember with any sense of clarity is the dream of being a writer. Maybe a novelist. Maybe a smut writer. A famous one. Not just your everyday writer. Not a journalist or a poet. A wildly successful, colorful and daring woman writer with a dramatic and exciting life filled with lots of things to write about, lots of like-minded, like- spirited friends and all the time in the world to just write. My vision of me: elegantly perched in my writing studio, tucked deep in the hallways of my eclectic mansion, smoking cigarettes, sipping on good gin, wearing luxurious silk lounging outfits and outrageusly decadent shoes.....writing away. Yes, that was my dream. That and marrying Paul McCartney.

Yes, I know...I'm not living that dream. That doesn't mean I'm not working on it. Don't weep for me....I still have time. Lots of it. Paul might not. I may have outgrown my infatuation with him anyway.

What's a dream if you can't keep dreaming about it...right? I have no broken dreams. Just dreams I am still dreaming. I realize they are more than just the fantasies that I conjured up in my head as I whiled away the hours of my youth! Add all that new found wisdom to the fact that I've been blessed with some pretty insightful and inspirational friends who lead by their example and I'm finally getting it.

It's not just about reaching someplace that you once dreamed about. It's about doing something you love, sharing it, and showing the world the beauty of it through your eyes. Just like my friend Professor H.....the womanly magic behind the beautiful photos here on my blog today. Let her take you to the dreamy, beautiful, places that her dreams and her life have taken her. It's the perfect place to find what you never knew you dreamed about....
Visit her at
Rowdy Beagle Studio.

Just dream.

Monday, February 2, 2009

With love, from Sixsburgh....

Here's a peek into the place that I call home....right after the Steelers won SUPER BOWL XLlll

These pix are of the streets of the notorius party-central....South Side....

The following pix are from the street party near my the Oakland section of Pittsburgh

And, here's some scenes from a lower key celebration in the suburbs....
Vince, Toni & my nephew Jared at my sisters house.
My father, Vince and my sister's dog...Willy (Parker)'s my sister Denise, Toni & Jared on the couch, my girlfriend Martha in the background and Carmen off to the side....

Yes, we are much calmer in the suburbs.

And, why isn't there a picture of me?'s why....

No, that's not botox gone bad. Remember that teeth whitening I told you I wanted to have done for my birthday? Well, I did it. And, this was the reaction I got. NO, I am NOT puckering up!
Oh...and I also got whiter teeth.
That was my Super Lips for Super Bowl Sunday....!
And, the celebration continues....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Glory Days!

There's a party in Pittsburgh!

HERE WE GO.............

Okay, I promise, as soon as we get past this Pittsburgh holiday, I'll start talking about other things. (Unless, of course, that storm of historic proportions arrives as they say it will....on Monday night. If that's the case....well....hold on to your helmets kids because this is not the week for a major snowstorm to hit my life. I've got a multi-day work event happening, Carmen is doing some big-time traveling and I have a Lapband appointment.)
But, until then....GO STEELERS!