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Monday, June 29, 2009

Mama don't sleep.......

until little girl gets home....

We're in the summer of excuses, excuses, excuses.
And, late nights.
I remember them all too well.
I was young then.
I was 17 going on 18.
Been there, done that.
Now I'm doing it again.
On the other end.
I'm 50. I need my sleep.

Payback is a bitch......

Where have you's 2 am?
I wasn't watching the clock, I was having fun.
Have some mercy, I need my sleep!
Sorry! You didn't have to wait up!
What and go to bed worried sick?
I was fine.
I didn't know that. I thought you were dead somewhere. In a gutter.
You're being crazy!
No, I am being your mother.

Yes, that's my life right now.
Do me a favor...would ya?
In September when I'm bemoaning my empty nesting problem....could you remind me of this?

However, for right now....I'm dragging. But, there's no rest to be had.
We're taking a road trip. To a place where my daughter can stay out all night and I won't know that I have to wait up for her to get home.
Perhaps ignorance is bliss. When it happens.
But, until then, I'm the mother who is sitting on the couch waiting for my daughter to get home.
And, I'm tired.

Yes, I was once 17 going on 18.
It wasn't that long ago.

But, right now, I am a 50 year old mother heading to Freshman orientation wondering how in the hell I got here.....
And, I am tired.

I'll be back in a few days........

Sunday, June 28, 2009


We've been on the graduation party circuit here in Judiland for about a month now. And, today is no exception. We are celebrating our sweet niece Rosa's high school graduation at a lovely little park not far from our house. Carmen's family from New Jersey will be arriving for the festivities...we haven't seen them in so long. And, Vince is in town as well. So, it's another day of hugging, kissing and eating. Yes, it's graduation Italian-style!

Have another meatball!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What can I bring?

What's a girl to do?

It's that time of the year when the invitations are pouring in for summer parties. Everything from backyard cookouts to fancy-shmancy deck cocktail parties. Time to get down to business fashion-wise as well as food-wise. Because as we's all about fashion and food.

Losing this weight has definitely helped in the fashion department. So, I think I've got my bases covered when it comes to what I'll be wearing through the summer party season. Of course, there's always a little time to shop if I should come up short in the party pants department. But, the food thing is what's giving me agita right now.
You see, my mother taught me to never go empty handed to a party. It's not like she said--"Judi, don't go empty handed." After all, I was just 14 when she passed away. It was the example she set. My mother was a proud Italian cook and felt it was her duty, her privilege and her right to share her God given talents. So, she never went empty handed. No matter if she was going to a funeral, a wedding, a baptism, a holiday dinner or anywhere where a host or hostess would be serving food. Although I don't always carry in a home cooked offering--I still abide by that rule. I am my mother's daughter! This piece of my mother's etiquette code is just one of those things I'm blessed with.

And, possibly cursed with....

After years of not going empty handed, I've made my share of recipes to bring to parties, I've picked up enough wine to fill the Atlantic Ocean and I'm positive that I've single handedly kept my local specialty stores in business. But, sometimes...just sometimes....I'm spent. Not just in dollars and cents but in ideas for what to bring.
That's exactly where I was a few days ago......until another proud Italian cook fell right into my lap.
Please visit her----you will not leave empty handed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Box Office Bingo!

What movies make you say---BINGO! ??????

It's summer and the living is easy.
Yeah, right....

Alright, so, sometimes it isn't easy.
We all need a mental break from time to time.
What better way to take a mental break than watch a winning movie?
And, what better way to walk away with a smile than to watch a movie that makes you feel like you wanna scream BINGO?
That's what I'm thinking.....
A feel good movie that covers all the spaces and makes you wanna jump up and shout!
But, even picking out a movie can be stressful.
That's not good....
So, wouldn't it be nice to have a list of recommendations to go to the next time you've decided it was time to release your mind into the big (or small) screen?

What 5 feel-good movies could you see time and time again?
(we're only doing feel-good movies guys....)

Hurry hurry!!!

Here's mine (in no particular order):
-Meet the Parents
-Meet the Faulkers
-Wedding Crashers
-You've Got Mail
-True Lies

Another time we'll share our fav movies of all matter if they make us laugh or cry or get angry....
For now--we're going for some form of feeling good. (for me--laughter makes me feel good)
Because Summer is for feeling good.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Myth Busting!

Alright, so maybe you are just fine with fighting the fight to get your lap band. And perhaps getting a psych evaluation is something you've been meaning to do for ions. And, maybe you are long overdue for some of those medical tests anyhow. And, let's face it---a little nutritional counseling never hurt anyone. So you are up for all that.
Sure, this whole lap band thing is going to take time. But, maybe you're perfectly okay with spending your extra time doing the pre lap band hoop jumping instead of sitting in front of the TV with a bag of nachos and a vat of gooey cheese dip.
But, maybe, just maybe, you aren't sure if you can deal with taking the time off from work, putting up with the whole recuperation thing and getting your family on board. Possibly, the thought of pain just has you shaking in your shoes. Or, maybe you just can't imagine giving up soda or never drinking anything from a straw ever again. Or, not being able to drink with your meals has you absolutely horrified! Maybe you're just not able to deal with not eating gorgeous bread. Or, maybe--you are like me and you can't imagine--even in your wildest dreams---forgoing those dates with a pound of pasta drenched in velvety sauce and smothered with precorino romano! Maybe it's just all too much to deal with.

You know, I get it. I really, really do.

These were the exact same issues I grappled with. Hell, I didn't just grapple with them--I actually had horrible nightmares about them and I thought about them morning, noon and night. I was actually having serious bouts of real depression over Diet Coke and straws and bread and pasta.
Okay.....step back for a moment here.....reread that last sentence.
Then, read it again. And again. And again. And again. Until you get it---I was actually having serious bouts of real depression over Diet Coke and straws and bread and pasta. Really? I mean...really?
Do. you. hear. how. absurd. that. sounds?

As for the other stuff---I won't lie. I didn't mind taking the time off from work---I figured that I had scheduled it accordingly so that it would not interfere with my busy times. And, since I really felt the surgery would improve my overall life--which included my work life--I was fine with that. As for my family being on board--my father thought it was the best thing I ever came up with and my husband was so damn preoccupied with his own life that he wasn't even sure what the hell I was doing until I got out of bed that morning and left for the hospital (for the record, he did show up a few minutes before the surgery to get the scoop). My son was fine with it as long as he didn't have to see any blood or guts and my daughter just accepted it as something "mommy is doing".
I didn't keep my surgery a secret from anyone. Hell, I told everyone. I sent a few of my dear aunts over the edge when they heard about it but they came around when they found out I had a pretty good chance of surviving the surgery. As for the pain--yeah, there was pain. But there were drugs. So, really--it all worked out. It wasn't like a spa trip, I admit. But, I did sneak in a few pedicures, a few massages and lots of flipping through magazines into my recuperation. And, even during those moments that weren't so great--they weren't that bad and they didn't last that long.

So, if you're wrestling with all those myths--I'm here to tell you that you can quit your belly-aching. You will find yourself having to deal with things that on this end don't sound so great. But, honestly, when you are doing it--you are doing it. Period, that's it. It's almost if nature helps you along. Immediately after the surgery--you really don't want to eat. I mean--think about the last time you had surgery--did you want to eat right afterwards? Same thing. Plus, you're doing mostly fluids for the first week or so. And, believe me--you do not want carbonated drinks! I had a bit of a rough time giving up my all time fav drink--Tangueray and Tonics with double lime. But, once I got acquainted with gin martinis with a twist--problem solved. (And I looked so much better holding that martini glass anyhow!)
As for the straws--well, you are on your own on that one. I can pretty much tell you that I was a straw girl. That took me a little more time. But, eventually, I weaned myself off of straws and soon it was a no-brainer. Being strawless is my new normal. Not drinking while you are eating actually turned out to be pretty easy. I guess I didn't really drink all that much while I ate anyhow (I was tooooo busy eating!). The one thing I didn't give up was sipping good wine with good food. Maybe it's the rebel in me but it just wasn't going to happen. And, it's been working out just fine.
As for my beloved foods--pasta and bread--the foods themselves kind of showed me the way. ask? I said...nature took it's course. Well, nature and my Lapband. The first time you sneak pasta and/or bread and you get that "stuck" feeling....lesson learned. And, if you do it again (which I did!)--you'll be saying Hail Marys in no time. These days I've learned to live without them. I substitute other things. It is very possible. Take it from a girl who not only loved pasta and beautiful bread but could live on pasta and bread alone for the rest of her life and never tire of it.
And, before I forget---I should tell you this---you can screw up and you'll be fine. There are times when you will not follow the rules. Sure, you may "pay" for it but in the end--it will just be a bump in the road. I figure it this way--no one should be going for perfection, we should all be going for doing our best. And, honestly--with this Lapband--you will have help. It's just that simple.
Now, before anyone goes all ballastic on me and says that I'm pushing Lapband as being the only way to lose weight--stop right there. Because here's the thing--I am smart enough to know that it's not for everyone. There are millions of people every single day losing millions of pounds through dieting. I realize that. But what I also realize is that this is what has worked for me. This is what has changed my life. And, I would be a bitchass friend if I didn't share my enthusiasm and excitement and encourage others to consider the possibility that a Lap band can do the same for them.
Bottom line---if you think it's right for you--do it. What have you got to lose? A hundred pounds?
Doesn't sound all that bad now...does it?

Let me hold your hand along the way......please.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here's what you gotta do......

If you want a Lapband of your very own.......
I am going to give it to you straight.....

(This is so very exciting! I have been overwhelmed with emails and even a few phone calls after my post yesterday. Looks like there are lots of you who want to join the Lapband family. The more the merrier! )

Instead of emailing everyone individually (which I started to do!), I figured I'd put it all out here on my blog. For those already banded folks out there in blogland--please feel free to add any other details, points of interest or advice in the comment section!

From my's what I think you need to know to get started....

1. You have to be obese....if you are not sure if you are obese....check here.
2. If you are not obese. but you are at an unhealthy will need to have 2 co-morbidities (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or pre-dieabetes)
3. You have tried many many many times to lose weight and you are still obese
4. If you don't fall into any of those categories but you still feel like you really need to lose weight to improve your quality of life and you have the cash upfront--there's lots of very highly regarded clinics in Mexico that will do it.....check here for the info
5. Once you have determined that you really do want to explore having a Lapband---go directly to your PCP and discuss it.
6. Even if your doctor is not on board with what you want to do, it's okay! Check here for surgeons in your area who preform the surgery.
7. Check out for state-by-state recommendations on surgeons. And, spend a little time checking out the entire forum--it's chalk full of Lap Band patients who are at various stages of the process. This is an excellent place to hang out and get to know people and find out first hand info on what they are going through and how they are doing! It was a lifesaver for me many times! I met some great, great people there who I now call friends!
8. Most of the time--insurance does cover the cost of the surgery. But, if you want to make sure--call your insurance provider and find out! And, if it's not covered---try to see what you can do to get it covered! has an entire forum for that! Use it!
9. Make an an appointment with a surgeon. Before you go---put together a list of all of the weight loss measures you have tried during your life time. And, be sure to put the results next to it. If you worked with a doctor or have any receipts from programs you joined or anything that would document your struggle--gather it all together. When you go to see the surgeon--you will be armed with all evidence! I had an entire notebook filled with documentation!!! But, even if you don't have that--don't worry! The proof will be at the scale!
10. Don't be surprised if the surgeon first wants you to go on a medically supervised diet to see how you do. Do what you want with this--you can either make it work or not make it work. Just remember--if you lose too much weight---you may not qualify for the surgery! Just thought I'd mention that....
11. Once you talk to the surgeon--do not get discouraged by what you hear! The process can sometimes feel mind numbing--a psych evaluation, several standard medical tests, nutritional counseling, etc. But, it will all go fast. Just do it!!!
12. Do not lose hope as time ticks on! Just think about the fact that you are working towards something positive!!!
13. And, most importantly--do not lose hope if things don't go as perfectly as planned. Keep going back to and see who else is going through what you are going through. I guarantee you---you will not be alone. And, there will be solutions offered for whatever issue you are grappling with!!! I promise.
14. Make sure you use every resource your surgeon has to offer. Go to the seminars. Go to the support groups. Make it a priority--even if it takes 6 months!! Believe that it will happen!
15. Stay in touch with your surgeon's office. Make sure to keep them up to date on where you are and what you need to do. Push to get a date scheduled if you have to! Once you do all the work that is required--you will find yourself filled with excited anticipation! Trust me on that!

And, if you find yourself in need of a little bit of Judi in Lapband Land----be sure to check in the archives of my blog.....there's lots of information and inspiration tucked inside my Stories from the Road....

And, most of all--- good luck!

Email me your questions or post them in the comment section!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are you considering Lapband?

Now that I have dubbed myself as a Lapband success story---losing this 100 lbs and all---I've been wondering how I can "pay it forward". And, hopefully, in the process--keep myself focused on my own journey. Now that I've lost the weight--I need some way to keep the motivation going! You know that's what I've been worrying so much about.

So, it got me to thinking-- what can I offer to anyone who might be *this* close to thinking about getting getting a Lapband (but may be having doubts, concerns or fears)? How can I help them? One thought led to another and all of a sudden--I thought about all those silent people who read my blog. Are there people reading this blog right now who came here because they want to get some Lapband help? Could I be the catalyst to get them to where they want to be? Or, am I just shooting blanks.....? Or, am I just getting entirely too big headed here?

Are you the reader I am talking to?

Sure, there's lots of places to go for Lapband help---I know. I've been there--to every nook and cranny of the internet, to every blessed support group meeting and to the millions of articles out there devoted to it. I poured over them---soaking up every morsel of information, every piece of data and getting to know every single rule. Even with all of that--it didn't make me an expert. But it did make me a believer. After all of my research, I was 100% convinced that Lapbanding was the most practical solution for obese people like me who don't want to endure the more invasive surgeries, who have had problems with portion control and dieting in the past and who need a life-long solution to weight management. But, even with all of that reading and talking and learning---the best evidence that my Lapband was my saving grace has been my journey itself. Losing this weight could not have happened without it. And, finding the person who I really want to be--although I am still a work in progress--could have never happened without spending these past 22 months Lapbanding. It's worked. I have not had any negative, lasting side effects or life-threatening problems. I feel healthier and more alive than I have in more than a decade.

All the good vibes and happy results happened because I took a leap of faith and got a Lapband. The thought that my days of hokey diets and deprivation are over brings me a peace that I have never known. Not having those excess pounds as my daily baggage has been a true gift. And, as Hallmarky as this sounds---it's a gift I want others to experience. It's THAT GOOD.

So---to you readers and friends out there who may be thinking about getting a Lapband--do not fight that thought. Do not run and hide. And, do not spend another day not taking charge of your weight loss issues, your health, your mind and your body. Do I sound like a walking advertisement? If so, I am sorry. But, I honestly want everyone to feel as good as I do!

Wanna talk Lapband?
I invite you to email me (from my profile page).
We'll talk.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sushi, sushi....where have you been all of my life?

I HEART sushi......who knew?

All of a sudden--Judi is madly and passionately in love with sushi.
I feel so Hollywood. And trendy.
Do you want to go out for sushi? I can really say that now.
And, if someone asks me to go out for sushi-- I can say "why yes, of course, I adore sushi!"

And, I owe it all to my Lapband.
My Lapband allows me be more adventuresome with my eating. Here's why--in my past life--the life where I knew nothing about sushi--if I was at a party where they had a huge buffet of my favorite foods as well as a Sushi Bar--you can bet your bottom dollar that I'd be piling on that buffet food and not even looking at the sushi. I mean--in my mind--I did not like sushi. I never tasted it but that didn't really matter. I had pasta and chicken and sausage dripping with peppers and onions and a huge beautiful sandwich to satisfy my pallette. Who needed sushi? What the hell was sushi anyway?

But now--that buffet table does not entice me the way it once did. Which gives me more time to explore other things---and in the case of the party we went to last night--it gave me the opportunity to get to know sushi. And I am telling you what--it is a culinary delight that I am so glad I didn't miss. If I didn't have my Lapband--I would have stood in that long line with every other middle aged person there and we'd be talking about retirement accounts and arthritis while happily piling food on our plates. Instead, I got to experience a brand new taste sensation while standing with all the sushi lovers--the young, hip, trendy, fit girls and guys. Talking sushi....

Did I ever tell you that I love my Lapband?
And, I looooove sushi.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Have I ever told you about my father?

Yes, I'm sure I have.

He's a character, that man. No wonder I blog about him, talk about him, think about him, laugh about him and share him with the world through my stories.
There's no end to the Frank Carr tales I can come up with. And, when I think about that fact--it makes me smile. Why? Because it's then that I realize that I take after my father. I was raised on stories about all the characters in his life--Tommy Kirk, Jimmy Callahan, Billy O'Rourke, Old Duffy, Mrs. Cavanaugh, Father O'Malley, Brother McGinty, Charlie Joyce, Tommy-two-eyes, Buster Beans, Jacky Kirk, Morris Balder, and lest I forget--his brother Patsy, his father Charlie and his mother Mary Birtha. I knew them so well. I could tell them to you. And, maybe I will.

Most of those characters from my father's stories are long gone. Yet, they live forever...through the tales shared by my father.

Yes, I am my father's daughter--blessed with a father who gave me pieces of life worth sharing and the gift of gab to bring it all to life---over and over again. After all these years I finally have it figured out----it's not just idle chatter filling up time. Words are a precious gift. They spin the stories of our lives and keep everyone in them alive forever and ever.......
It's time to get ready to spend this Fathers' Day with my father.
I pray that I will hear one of his wonderous stories.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hello Summer........

Meet Judi.
She likes Margaritas.
She lost 100 pounds.
She is happy to be here.

Now, can we have a little chat about this weather?
Can we stop the rain and the thunder?
and......could you get some sunshine for Judiland?
You see, she wants to wear her summer clothes and shoes.....
And maybe even her bathing suit....!
And she wants to drink Margaritas.
Cause when a girl loses 100 pounds, she needs to do these kinds of things.....

Damn Right!

Friday, June 19, 2009

What a week.......

in Judiland!

All kinds of headaches made their way into my corner of the world. One of them in particular has managed to derail some of my plans for tonight--which makes me oh so sad. Remember that headache I've been bitching about? Yeah, that one. Well, it reached epic proportions! And now it's made history---it's the first time in my entire life that I have had to cancel a night out on the town with my spirited friends. Yes, it's a fucking historical moment here in Judiland......

The good news is that I don't have The Swine Flu. The bad news is that what I do have is what the nurse practitioner termed as "a nasty, nasty, nasty strain of a virus that has been hitting everyone hard!". The terrible news is that the only thing I can do to combat it is take Tylenol and rest. And, even worse than that is that she said it's been sticking around for 7-10 days with most people. Yeah, I'm not happy.....

In addition to all of that---we were hit with a nasty storm. Even a few tornadoes were sited. Causing all kinds of headaches! And, it happened right in the middle of my sickness! There I was---laying on the couch in the same position I've assumed all week after work---curled up under a blanket, sedated by Tylenol, wearing the same exact outfit I wore to work--shoes and all. And, I never moved. Even when I heard a swift wind outside and even when all hell broke loose! I stayed under my blanket wishing that my house would pick up from it's foundation--ala Wizard of Oz (my all time hated movie!). I wanted to be transported somewhere---anywhere but there. At that point, I would have gladly hung out with the Tin Man and the Lion dude if I could have only been rid of that headache....

A wicked storm came through my little suburban hamlet--with winds so fierce they came through an open window in the kitchen and took down 3 pictures off their wall hangers--smashing them right to the ground! Yeah, I didn't bother to get up. Lightning bounced around the house---I could see it dancing right outside the windows. I just stayed put. The lights were flickering off and on and the noise from outside was deafening. I didn't care. The dining room doors to the deck blew open wide and all the papers that were sitting on the table blew around the room--some of them blowing right out the door. Oh well, I guess they're gone.

I suppose it wasn't all bad......

Thankfully, I wasn't washed away by flood waters or stranded in my car in the middle of Oakland with my car stalled out and water pouring through the doors!
Below are scenes from the road that I travel home from the office---I passed through this area shortly before these pictures were taken.
God knows what would have happened if I would have found myself in this situation---unable to get to my couch. With my headache and all. Trust would have made the news. The national news.

When the best part of the week is that you weren't stuck in a flood.......WTF?

Bring on the weekend.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's all a state of mind.....


Within hours of developing the symptoms that I told you about yesterday, Vince called to report that he was feeling rather nasty---headache, achy, chills and fever. Just like me. Mine seem to be squelched with regular doses of Tylenol, I told him--advising him to get himself a nice big bottle. Since he had been home over the weekend--I figured we both caught the same bug.

Then, a little while later-- I received an email from our campus health office with an update on Influenza A (H1N1)....better known as The Swine Flu. It appears that there have been 2 reported influenza cases on our campus--the exact type will not be known until the blood work comes back from the lab. Although there did not seem to be any need for alarm--we were advised to seek medical attention if we had any of the symptoms listed.
All of a sudden, I found myself getting sicker.

Knowing that Vince studies and works on a much larger campus a few hours away, I decided to do a little research about any reported cases there. It seems as though there have been a few reported influenza cases--nothing has been confirmed as the dreaded type--again, still waiting on results. Once again, the information I read said that anyone having the symptoms listed should seek medical attention.
I felt even more sick.

Then, a little while later--my sister called to see how I was feeling. During the course of that conversation--she told me about a customer of hers whose husband was feeling poorly and went to a local express medical facility. Upon hearing his symptoms, he was sent immediately to the local hospital for testing. She told me of his symptoms.
And the sicker I got.

Yesterday I joked about The Swine Flu. Today it ain't no joke.....
But, I feel so silly. I mean, I'm not sick-sick-sick. I have these bouts of flu symptoms, a lack of energy, a sorta sore throat, some nausea.....nothing so awful that I can't function--well, as long as I take 3 Tylenol every 4 hours. And, that's exactly the way Vince feels. It's like this sorta-sick- but-not-really-sick-but-you-feel-like-shit flu. Yeah, that's what I have....
I don't have The Swine Flu.... I?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is it the cooties? The swine flu? A case of summeritis?

or maybe it's just the effects of my world gone mad.........

I'm just not feeling Judi-like. I'm sporting a come-and-go fever, dealing with off-and-on chills and battling all-over-aches. I've got a big time headache----everywhere. Even in my face! Ever heard that joke---is your face hurting? Well, this ain't no joke---it's killing me! Popping a few Tylenol does the trick for a little while. Once they wear off....I'm back to this godawful, pissy, miserable, unwelcome unJudi-like feeling.
Do I have some kind of mysterious infection? If so--I've got 2 words for it--FUCK OFF! I've got a loooong week of work, chores, tasks and deadlines to attend to and of course, I have my everyday variety of crisis management things to deal with. But, the biggest thing is---I've got a few parties going on--beginning at 6p m Friday and rolling right into Sunday night. This just ain't the time for feeling not-so-great.
So....Mr. Infection (I know infections are male beings.....)......get the hell out of Judiland.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life is a rollercoaster, a merry-go-round, a tilt-a-whirl,, a waterslide, a shooting range.....

Yep, it's just one big amusement park and I'm living in the Penny Arcade......

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday sure look fine.....

Hi all....I apologize but I'm having a tough time with blogger this morning posting this.
So....I hope it posts and I sure hope it doesn't drive you as crazy as it's driving me.
Yeah, it's MONDAY!

sing it with Fleetwood Mac and me!............
Friday I got travelin' on my mind

First you love me, and then you fade away
I can't go on believin' this way
I got nothing but love for you
So tell me what you really want to do
First you love me, then you get on down the line
But I don't mind
I don't mind
I'll be there if you want me to
No one else that could ever do
Got to get some peace in my mind

Monday morning you sure look fine
Friday I got travellin' on my mind
First you love me, and then you say it's wrong
You know, I can't go on believing for long
But you know it's true, yes
You only want me when I get over you
First you love me, then you get on down the line
But I don't mind
No, I don't mind, yeah
I'll be there if you want me to
No one else that could ever do
Got to get some peace in my mind

But you know it's true
You know, you only want me when I get over you
First you love me, then you get on down the line
But I don't mind
No, I don't mind, yeah
I'll be there if you want me to
No one else that could ever do
Got to get some peace in my mind

yes, it's Monday once more!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame......

Yesterday was my dearly beloved Mother's 90th birthday. Her name was Antoinette DiPippa Carr. They called her Din. She died at the age of 53. I was 14. Both of us way too young. I'm not sure what she would have done to celebrate the day but I can guarantee you that my sisters and I would have made it special. We would have had lemon meringue pie and maybe shared a high ball or two. Those were some of her favorite things.

When I woke up to the sunshine yesterday morning--I thought--maybe we would have taken my mother to a Pirate game for her 90th birthday. Pie, booze and baseball---what a nice dream. Instead, my sister and I spent the afternoon at a family baby shower--seated at a table with one of my mother's best friends--her sister-in-law--our Aunt Mary and my mother's goddaughter--my cousin Annette. We were there to honor Annette's son's (my godson) wife.

Aunt Mary--now frail and tiny, attached to an oxygen machine--sat and nibbled on cookies as she pondered the passing of time. "She would have been 90," she said a few times---not speaking to anyone in particular---as if she was trying to figure it all out. Annette just shook her head in sad agreement....adding " I miss my dad everyday." Annette's dad--my mother's baby brother--our Uncle Anthony--suddenly died under his grape arbor last summer at the age of 81.

Upon hearing Annette mention her dad--my mind drifted back to my thought that morning--baseball. My Uncle Anthony was a baseball fanatic. He wore a radio earplug in his ear from April to October every year. Listening to Pirates baseball. That's the way I always remember him. He and his older brother Sammy were both standout ball players in their younger days---playing for various teams in and around the Pittsburgh area--mostly in the Hill District where they grew up. I suppose that's how my mother came to love baseball----watching her brothers play.

Yes, my mother loved baseball. In her own special, Din-way way. She would put the statue of St. Jude (patron saint of the hopeless) on top of our TV set during especially important games. She especially loved Roberto Clemente and took it especially hard when he was killed in a plane crash only a few months before her own death. When the Pirates won the World Series in 1971, she wanted to party! My dad even took her to see a few play off games in his company box during that series. She felt so special and queen-like going to such an event, sitting in such a luxurious place. After they won the title, she got my dad to take us all downtown in our Comet station wagon to join all the revelers! My mom and dad were buying beers and cocktails out the window from bartenders who were taking orders in the street and they were hollering and singing with all the other partiers packed into downtown Pittsburgh. It's a memory I will never forget. It was one of a handfull of times that I got a glimpse into the woman inside my mother---that fun girl with a hint of naughtiness and a little bit of sass .

The Pirates won last night---9 to 3. They don't do that much these days. My mother must have been at the game--seated right next to her brothers. Celebrating her 90th birthday.
I wish I could have been there.....

Keep baseball alive in the hearts of young baseball lovers.....please go to this link and vote for my friend Rebecca's cousin.....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pittsburgh--the City of Champions!

Pittsburgh Steelers-- won the Super Bowl
Pittsburgh Penguins--won the Stanley Cup

Judi lost 100 pounds!

Thoughts for today.....

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
George S. Patton

Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision.
Carl Lewis

Winning is 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration
I don't know who said this


Now the work really begins.....

Friday, June 12, 2009

There's a big difference for us moms.....

between the kindergarten picnic and the senior picnic.......

One was all about our children.
The other was all about us.

The conversations were all so different then.
The conversations are all so different now.

We've grown up.

Then.... we talked about play dates and enrichment programs.
Now....we're talking about ballroom dancing and Sunday night dinners.
Then....we discussed after school care.
Now....we are discussing empty nesting.
Then...we gave them wings.
Now....we set them free.

I'm not sure how I feel about it all. But, somewhere deep inside of me, beyond the tears and the fears, I'm getting a little bit excited.
Don't tell anyone but I think I might like figuring it all out.
Mum's the word.....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance......

Tears and memories.
Commencement Day.
Here in Judiland.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"You must only eat lettuce!"

...she declared.

Yes, there I the produce section of the local market when I ran into a mother from my daughter's dance troupe days. We hadn't seen each other in quite a few years.
"Oh my God, Judi! You lost so much weight!" she gushed, grabbing my arm. "I can't believe it!" she continued.
Naturally, I beamed. "Thank you, yes, I did."

And, just when I was about to say "I had weight loss surgery".....she said it----"you must only eat lettuce"....

"No, I don't even eat lettuce!" I told her.

"Yeah right!!!" she laughed, with a hint of sarcasm.

"It's true. I really don't," I told her, now wondering if I would even tell her about my weight loss surgery.

"So, what's your secret?" she asked mockingly.

But, before I could even respond....

"At our age, you have to eat next to nothing to take off 5 pounds!" she continued. "I should know. Remember how thin I was? Not any more! No! No! The minute I turned 45, fifteen pounds arrived! Then it was 20 then it was 30!" she said, dramatically snapping her fingers. "Nothing works!" she leaned forward as if she was confiding in me.

Alright, so I figured I'd tell her about the surgery.

But, before I could.....

"Did you turn 50 yet?" she asked

"Yep, in January" I told her.

"OOOOOH! Yep, everyone I know who was turning 50 went on crazy diets--pills, shakes, salads, salads, salads, you name it---so they can be thin at 50!" she exclaimed, almost in disgust.

Alright, should I tell her about my surgery? I pondered as I picked up a bunch of celery.

"You must eat a ton of that stuff! Negative calories! Takes more calories to chew it than it puts on the hips!" she said, pointing to the celery in my hand.

"Nope, I don't really eat much celery. This is for a party," I told her

I was starting to enjoy this conversation very much.

"I joined a gym. Never go. Never, ever go!" she told me, shaking her head. "Do you belong to a gym?" she asked.

"I didn't renew my membership this year. I wasn't going enough and I was spending more money that it was worth," I told her

I didn't bother to tell her that I walk every morning. I was having way too much fun with this little guessing game.

"I don't want to get skinny-skinny you know! I just want to get rid of this and that and this here," she said, pointing to her stomach, her hips and her ass. "I was never a skinny mini but I was never thhhhhiiiiiissssss big," she sighed heavily, looking down at her body. was time. I had to tell her about the surgery.
Just as I was about to tell her that I had weight loss surgery.....
She asked....shrugging her shoulders, with a bit of frustration.....
"Did you have that surgery?"
But, before I could answer.....
"I have heard so many bad things about that surgery. People never keep the weight off, you know. Infections. Sickness. Very dangerous. Did you ever see someone who had that surgery? They look sickly! And then there's some people who get way too skinny and look older. But, they think they look hot! Women our age do not need to look like we are 19! But oh they think they do after they get that surgery!" she raged on.

So, there I was---at a moral I take the next 1 hour to educate her on that surgery--thus not getting home in time to cut up the celery for the party or do I just tell her a flat out lie? Perhaps I could tell her that yes, I do only eat lettuce.

But, I didn't get a chance.
She noticed my shoes.
"OH my God! Look at those shoes!" she squealed. "That's what I always remember about you, Judi! Your shoes! Even when you were fat, fat, fat---you had the best shoes!" and as she said those words---she blew out her cheeks as if holding her breath--making a "fat face" and she curled her arms and extended them out in front of her to mimic a fat person.
I figured it was time to get out of there before she startled waddling---mocking a fat person!

"OOOOH, look at the time! I gotta go! I have to pick up some lettuce and get out of here! So great to see you!!" I chirped, checking my watch, giving her a quick wave and racing across to pick up the lettuce.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I am not multi-multi-tasking....I am multi-multi stressing

My to-do list is so long and so convoluted and so much about this-depending-on-that, and that-depending-on-this that I couldn't even begin to prioritize or ask for help. At the moment, there are more unknowns than knowns--which is making things even more stressful. And, then there's my natural desire to do it all, take care of everyone and everything and make sure the world is happy and filled with peace and tranquility. And, I really do want to get the dishes in the dishwasher and wash a load of underwear. And, I really have to plant my basil. As if I have a shot at any of that.....

In light of everything that's going on in Judiland with my father, Toni's upcoming graduation and celebration, Toni's getting-ready for college stuff, Vince coming home for a quick visit and Carmen fighting some pretty lousy acid reflux while doing his normal workaholic crabby behavior---my weight loss fears have taken a backseat. And, so quickly. And, even though I can still worry about keeping these pounds off, at least now I can take losing weight off my to-do list! I mean, I really did lose 100 pounds. Now, I have more time to devote to all the other fucking shit that's waiting for me to deal with it.....
I guess you can say my prayers were answered, my wish came true and I'm living the dream.

Be careful what you wish for......

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm worn and torn and it took all I had.....

But, I finally wrestled a few prom pictures to share with you.........


First things first.....the shoes.....
Then it's on to posing with the date and the parents.....
And, of course, there has to be that close up with Mom......
Followed by posing with Mom and Dad.......
And, don't forget a nice smile for that picture with the date......
After all that primping and's time for a little silliness......

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Getting caught up......

on some sleep, some yard work, some paper work and lots of other things here in Judiland....

Plus---I gotta catch you up on a few things.....because you asked...

-How is my father?
Medically, things are exactly the same. Not much is really going to change. However, there are several things looming--he is depressed, he does not really want to be there, he wants us to be there with him quite a bit and we are questioning everything. Today, we hope to get him out a bit but he's being very resistant. When my father doesn't want to go to Mass--we know there's a problem. When my father doesn't want to go out to eat--we know it's bad.

-When am I going to post Toni's prom pictures?
As soon as she downloads them from her camera! (she wanted me to use only her camera for pictures!) Her life has been a whirlwind since prom night. As it should be, I suppose. We've only seen flashes of her as she comes and goes!

and, finally.......

-The million dollar question---why am I afraid about losing 100 pounds?
First of all--I'm afraid I'll jinx it by saying it out loud! And, secondly, I am still a fat girl no matter how much I weigh so I still think like a fat girl--I am worried I'll gain it all back!
But, most of all---I don't really know what to do now. Losing this 100 pounds is what I've been doing for the past 22 months. And, before that, I was dreaming of losing it. So, I'm having a really hard time committing to the fact that I really did do it (which explains why I didn't change my ticker right away!). Because what that means is this--now, instead of losing weight (which is exciting)--I have to keep it off (which sounds not so exciting!). And, that's not something I've had much success with over the years. So, now, instead of my goal being to lose weight--it's going to be not to gain weight. A very different thing. Very different. Yes, I have my beloved Lapband to help me. And, honestly, I have no grand plans to gorge on massive quantities of foods that I missed---mostly because I can't! And, I'd be lying if I told you that I am not downright thrilled with how things turned out. But--if you want to know the truth---in life--I am a traveler. I enjoy the journey so much that reaching the destination is almost a let down. In this case--a happy, grateful one (if that makes any sense!).
I don't want my journey to end just because the scale says it should.

Now that that's over's time to get on with Sunday!
Have a great one!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I'm afraid......

I'm very, very afraid......

To tell you something.

I think I lost 100 pounds.

Now, I'm not exactly sure.

I've suspected it for a few weeks.

The numbers are saying it.

I've checked a few scales.
Well....more than a few.

Give me a little time here.

I don't know for sure.

I'm not ready yet.

To realllllly tell you.

It just doesn't seem possible.

100...that's a big number.

Yeah, it is.

It's big.

Really big.

This moment is quite different than I imagined.

I lost 100 pounds.

I'm afraid.

Friday, June 5, 2009

While we are on the subject......

of the future, the past, weight loss, size 10, school and whatever else we've been talking about......

Have you heard about the new weight loss procedure--which is not a surgery--called Transoral Gastroplasty for the Treatment of Morbid Obesity (TOGA®)?

Although I didn't see the story GMA aired this week, here is what's at their website about it.

Isn't it great what a little education can do to solve a problem? No wonder I sent my kids to school!

I'm happily amazed at the number of smart, creative, highly educated and compassionate people and the amount of funding that is devoted to obesity research and weight loss surgery.

Even though I'm all for other weight loss and weight management tools, weight loss surgery is what changed my life. And, I am ever grateful for the opportunity that was made available to me. Because of that, I wholeheartedly encourage anyone out there who truly wants to change their life by getting healthy, feeling better and looking better to talk to their doctor about the options available--whether it be a medically supervised weight loss plan or surgery. I know it's a tough conversation to have! And, I will not promise you that any of it will be a piece of cake. But, what I can promise you is that if you do decide to change this aspect of your life--no matter how you do it--I am right there with you. Now that I have successfully raised two children and got them both out of high school (yes, I'm still crying!)--I should have much more time on my hands.......
You've got a friend in Pennsylvania......
(ooooh, now I'm crying even harder.....this license plate is from 1985--the year my son was born!!!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


We're doing the grand march here in Judiland---from the beauty shop to the salon where they do make up to the red carpet event. There's going to be primping and posing and oohing and aahing. From morning to night.....

Yes, it's prom day in my little suburban hamlet. And, there's lots to do if Toni is going to get out the door in the style she is accustomed to. But first, I am going to take my morning walk. Then I'm going drive over to Starbucks to kick my body into high gear. I'm thinking it's going to be a double energy shot morning followed by another mid day and then it will be on to regular caffeine with a gin martini chaser. Because that's the style I'm accustomed to.....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm leaving the PTA......

before they kick me out.......

And, I'm going out the same way I came (in 1990) a Size 10!!
Yeah, I're sick of hearing about Size 10!!!!
Just thought I'd mention it....

So, here I am, on the last day of school.
It's the very last day that I will be a member of the PTA.
And, I'm reflecting on my life as a PTA mom.....

The first PTA meeting of the academic year
Vince was in Kindergarten.
Howe School.
My friend Kate and I.
Circa 1990.
A few glasses of wine, pre-meeting.
Seated next to a very prim and proper PTA lady.
I noticed her lovely bracelet.
"Oh my, that is gorgeous!" I exclaimed---probably with great gusto (because of the wine)
"Why thank you" she flatly responded-- probably smelling the wine on my breath
"Where did you get that?" I gasped in wine-infused interest.
"It's from Greece. My husband travels there extensively for his business" she answered--her voice tinged with self importance.
"OOOOH......can I look at it closer? I want to show my friend," I said, yanking her arm towards Kate and I.
"Look at that Kate!" I exclaimed
"Pretty" Kate commented--clearly wondering what the hell I was so excited about.
"Her husband got it for her in Greece" I told Kate as only a tipsy friend would.
"That's nice," Kate replied, unimpressed
"What does your husband do in Greece?" I asked the good PTA mom.
"Yaddda, yaddda, yaddda"....I have no idea what she said but her explanation seemed to go on and on and on and was filled with words I could not even begin to understand--wine or no wine.
"That sounds wonderful!" I responded once again with great enthusiasm.
She gave me a quick, half smile.
Soon, the meeting started.
A few minutes into the meeting, the bracelet lady decided to speak. She raised her braceletted hand and said something like "I'm glad to see so many people here". She said it with a sweet sarcasm. Then, as if she was spitting nails--she began railing against those parents in the group who were not involved enough in the PTA. She considered them poor role models and unappreciative citizens and she blamed them for everything from poor grades to early sexual experimentation to school violence. Oh, she went on and on. By the time she finished, I was positive she considered everyone in the room to be lousy parents, criminal citizens, terrorists and demons and saw herself as a perfect role model of a parent.
A few moments later, I leaned over to her and said.....
"You know, I keep staring at that bracelet! And, now I know what the design is on it!"
She looked at me with confusion
"They are 69's!" I giggled
Her mouth dropped open.
"You did say you got it from your husband, didn't you?" I slyly asked
She didn't say a word as her eyes narrowed.
"Kate! Her husband got her a bracelet with 69's all over it!" I said, nudging Kate.
Kate just looked at me---half laughing, half wondering if I lost my mind.
"You busy lady!!! No wonder you come to so many PTA get out of the house!!!" I chided, winking my eye.
We never spoke again.
Not sure if it was because of the 69 thing or the fact that I never went to another PTA meeting.

Yep, I'm gonna miss my PTA days......

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don't worry about me.......

I'm over my crying about June.
For the moment.....

So, what cured me? You ask.
Size 10.
Not 22.
Not 16.
Not even 12.
As in TEN........

Now, I'm not saying that I really wear a size 10. I'm just saying that somehow, someway, I got into a size 10. It's not like I am a size 10. I just wear a size 10.
In those jeans I just bought.....

Does this make me a shallow person?
I mean, there I was all teary and crying and feeling blue and melancholly about my little girl growing up and graduating from high school. You know, doing the sensitive mom thing and all.
And, all of a tears have vanished and I'm sass talking and strutting my stuff.
Cured by a number.
Much better than Paxil.
Almost as good as an oakey chardonnay.
For today....

I'm doing 10 on Tuesday.
And it feels sooooo Ten.

Move over Bo Derek.....there's a new 10 in town and her name is Judi.

Monday, June 1, 2009

April brings showers, May brings flowers, June brings my tears.....

My calendar is making me cry.....

June 2009

This morning, I could not stop the calendar page from turning. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried---the month that I've been secretly dreading, trying to avoid, yet working very hard to look forward to, arrived right on my doorstep.

Without even a whimper--June meandered in. As if it belonged in Judiland.

In the dark of night, while I slept in my bed, June tiptoed into my life. It brushed itself across my brow. Reminding me. And, I cried.

As my little girl slumbered peacefully amid pink frill and girly ruffles, underneath her frothy canopy, June blew past the moon and the stars and glided through her lace covered window. June danced lightly upon the patchwork quilt and perched itself on the white iron bed post--never even whispering to her it's arrival. And, I cried.

As the sun came up, on this first day of June, I stood by my dreaming daughter's doorway and gazed upon her angelic face, her dark flowing hair and her button nose as they peaked out from the jumble of pastel coverings. Melting my heart until the tears fell. Yes, I cried.

It is June. And, Toni is graduating from high school.

For Toni, these next few days is all about the last day of school, the senior prom, the senior picnic, commencement and graduation parties. It's about celebrating past accomplishments and friendships and all those moments that a girl holds close to her heart. And, it's about youthful wonder and excitement and memories.
And, for me-- it's all about looking at a future that does not include packing her peanut butter, apple and carrot lunches in brown paper sacks. It's about not driving my sweet girl to school and watching her smile as she greets her friends. It's about that very first day of school when I dropped her off at kindergarten. And, it's about being who I am, who I was and the moments that got me here.
It's all slowly, sweetly and ever so sadly---drifting away.
Into June.

I must stop these tears from flowing.
I. must. not. cry.

I think I'm going to rip up the calendar.