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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are you sure it's only Wednesday?

are you absolutely sure?
absolutely positively?

This week just feels like one big torture chamber. Everything...and I a fight to the finish. Like pulling teeth. Every. damn. thing. Perhaps everyone is just grouchy. That can happen at this time of the year. Summer is over. Life gets more serious. Cold weather is on the way. Windows and doors get sealed shut. Heating bills start inching up. We want to eat oreos.
So, let's put September to bed and start planning for pleasant and lovely October.
I'm in.
How about you?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learning from our mistakes......

Speaking only for myself....I want to admit right here, right now...... my learning-from-my-mistakes style is selective.
At best.
I don't mean for it to just is.
I tend to make certain mistakes over and over again.
I guess you could say I do it until I get it oxymoron for sure!!!

When it comes to this living as a regular weight person--I keep hoping I'll get it right this time. But, I have to be completely honest--I catch myself at least 20 times a day slipping into fat girl thinking and/or behavior. Take for instance my latest crisis--I have an entire closet filled with clothes that just do not fit. They are all too big. Every last item in my closet right now is too big. And, I am not kidding. I'll admit--I love this new problem. Well, other than the fact that there are some damn nice clothes hanging there and the fact that I need to get a second job just to replenish my wardrobe.
Anyyway.....back to my story.
So, the other night, after much frustration while trying to organize my closet, I found myself planning to move my too-big clothes to my attic closet--where clothes wait to be worn again. It's where I stashed my smaller sizes as I gained weight. And it was where I was planning to store my too-big clothes until I could wear them again.....????? Yep, that was the plan.
After a few moments of trying to figure out how I was going to cut a chunk of time out of my schedule to do the clothes move, I jotted down a few thoughts, made a list of storage pieces I might need, got bored with the whole thing and decided to head down into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. As I passed my refrigerator--I caught the glimpse of these words....

I was not saving the skinny jeans.
I was saving the fat jeans.

Have I learned my lesson.....?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Comfort needed.......

comfort food, that is......

Fall weather is here. And, so is Monday.
I definitely need comfort.

Between the rain and the chilly temps this weekend in addition to the weather outlook for the upcoming week--it leaves little doubt that summer is behind us. Gone are my cravings for fresh salads, light seafood entrees and citrusy fruit desserts. Now it's all about velvety textures, deep, rich flavors and intoxicatingly spicey aromas. That's what I want.
And, I want it now.

Think southwestern-style chili dolloped with sour cream and carmelized onions, savory pot roast with glistening root vegtables, luscious sweet potatoe casserole laden with crunchy walnuts, creamy polenta with sharp romano cheese and Italian sausage, plump pumpkin ravioli in earthy sage cream sauce sprinkled with nutty parmesean and roasted pine nuts, texture-filled roasted garlic mashed potatoes dotted with coarsely ground black peppercorns, gooey macaroni and cheese with a crusty topping........
to name just a few delights I am thinking about.
Comfort food fantasies.
At this ungodly hour of the morning no less.
The chill in the air as I sit in my little office off of the kitchen in my red flannel robe and the fact that it's Monday is doing this to me.....

Back to reality.....
Time to put on the tea kettle and whip up a steamy mug of General Foods International Sugar Free Chai Latte.
And I think I'll stir in a little Coffee Mate Pumpkin Spice powdered creamer....

Comfort. In a mug. If only for a little while.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

When it rains, it pours......

and that's what it has been doing all weekend......

So, I'm going to take cover--with the Sunday paper, some smooth jazz and a cuppa tea....

Bring on the rain.....Monday can wait.

Friday, September 25, 2009


the G-20 is in town?
Coulda fooled me.
I don't think our news media know what to make of it all.
You tune in and they are sitting there just trying to fill the time.

Back to you, John, in Lawrenceville, what's happening there?

Pittsburgh is either a city filled with over-reactors, a town who knows how to behave or our officials did their homework and made sure they were prepared.

Or, maybe....just maybe....all the action will take place today.

As for yesterday--it was very uneventful for me.
*I got delayed by about 200 National Guardsmen on bicycles meandering down the Boulevard of the Allies as I drove to work in the morning. But, I literally breezed through the rest of the way.
*I got stuck in some mysterious gridlock down in lower Oakland (near the University of Pittsburgh) on my way home. Buses, cars, and police motorcycles were all at a complete standstill. Within about 40 minutes, everything started moving. I have no idea what that was all about.
*All of the military and police presence sort of made my stomach feel a little queasy. It made the day feel so urgent-- like something was going to happen at any moment.

and that was it.....

GEE, I wonder what will happen today?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Off to brave the G-20.....

no time to talk about weight or shoes or Lapband or whatever else I talk about!!

I have to hit the roads in hopes of making it to my destination--my office.
With almost every road I take between here and there closed, I have no idea how
I'm getting there.
But, I have great faith that with my awful sense of direction, a double energy shot in my Chai and an almost full pack of contraband smokes.....I'll be okay. I will no idea where I am going but when I get there I will be fully energized and stinking of smoke.......

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I just want to make something perfectly clear......

I am not a number......

Yeah, yeah, I know....I've got references to numbers all over my blog. Yesterday I was squealing with delight over the size of my pants (8 or 10) and everyday, right up there at the top of my blog, I advertise how much weight I lost (100) and yep, I am sure I've made it perfectly clear how old I am (50)!

Who is Judi? I am a 50 year old woman who lost 100 pounds and wears a size 8 or 10 pants. And I've told you that over and over and over again.

Ad nauseam I'm sure.

And now here I sit telling you that I am not a number.

Got you scratching your head...don't I?
Let's face it.....I'm nothing if I'm not a dichotomy.

As we all are, I suspect.

We don't want to be judged by the size of our paycheck.

Yet, how much we make matters to us.

We don't want the value of our homes to be a reflection of ourselves.

But, we do care about the places where we live.

We don't want our bank accounts to define us.

Yet, we know it dictates how we live.

Listen, I was never good at numbers. As I toiled over math homework during my school days, I would wonder if I would ever use math in real life. I had myself convinced that I would never need it. Ever. Ever. It's what we tell ourselves when we want to console ourselves as we struggle. No, I will never need to know how to add and subtract! But, alas, I was wrong. It turns out that yes I did need to know how to add and subtract and yes I did need some math skills. And, interestingly enough--numbers are a part of my life. A huge part of it.....amazingly. One day I'm embracing the numbers and other days I'm trying very hard to ignore them. As in--yes I love that pants size but fuck I hate the balance in my checking account. A love-hate relationship at it's finest.

It's the very same relationship I have had with the numbers on the scale over the years and the numbers printed on the labels of my pants. When I was obese--I hated them. When I lost weight--I loved them.
Shit I hate 200+ pounds.

Size 22 sucks.

Isn't being under 140 wonderful?

Size 10 rocks.

And, here I am now---having lost weight ( did I mention that I lost 100 pounds?) and having achieved a pants size (did I mention size 8 and 10?) I am deliriously happy about. And yet I'm telling you that I am not a number? Yes, I am. That's what I am telling you.
Because I figure if I tell you then it will be true.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good Morning Autumn......I have no pants......

As we roll into another season, it appears I may be doing it pantless.
It all happened quite suddenly.
Taking me completely by surprise.
Looks as though my lazy days of summer were not that lazy at all.
By Lapbanding and praying by way through the past few months, the pants I put away in May are too big.
Yes, they are too big.
Did you hear what I just said?.....they are too big.
Too big.
Yes, that's right.
Too big.

Alright, alright, before you start throwing the rotten tomatoes at the computer screen---please give me my moment.
Just this once.
Let me do the happy dance.
Allow me to get up on my desk and shake my ass and squeal.....

Alrighty that that's over's time to deal with my latest crisis.
I have no pants.
See, just because I wear a perfect size 10 or an almost perfect size 8 doesn't mean my life is perfect.
Well, unless you consider the fact that I wear a perfect size 10 or an almost perfect size 8.
Because yes, then, I guess you could say it's pretty damn perfect.
Except for the pantless problem.
And the fact that I have to come up with a better excuse than I do not have any pants that fit to wear to work.
Hello, Martha, this is Judi..
Yes, I won't be in today.'ve got chills
From the waist down.
No, no fever.
I don't think it's the swine
Yes, the chills are localized.
No I haven't seen a doctor.
Thanks for your concern.
I'm sure I'll be fine tomorrow.
See you then.
Yes, I'll be sure to keep you updated if things don't improve.

Monday, September 21, 2009

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

time for another week......

Sunday nights seem to be the hardest in Judiland. After all the dishes are cleared from the table and the only sound in the house is that of the dishwasher running--a new brand of loneliness sets in. It's different than the loneliness I feel each night walking into an empty house and it's different than the loneliness of waking up in an empty house each morning. There's a certain depth, a deeper ache, to the loneliness of Sunday nights.

When I was growing up, we played cards every Sunday night with my Papa Dip. All of my aunts and uncles and cousins would gather around the dining room table with their three nickels for a spirited game of Scat. Then, once Papa either won the whole pot or got pissed that he didn't, it would be time for some kind of dessert. It was a comforting time in my life--one that I remember with great fondness. At the time, Sunday nights were meant for family and fun. Perhaps because of my youth--I didn't see it as a prelude to Monday. But, as the years went by and those Sunday nights became a thing of the past, Sunday night took on an entirely different meaning--it meant that the next day was Monday. And nobody liked Mondays. Were Mondays always so bad? It never seemed that way on those Sunday nights playing Scat.

Last night, after the kids left to go back to PhDland and Collegeland, I busied myself by cleaning off the dining room table. As I was folding the special birthday table cloth to put away, I thought of those Scat games all those years ago--around another dining room table...filled with smiling faces and laughter. Papa sitting at the head of the table smoking his cigar, wearing a grey vest over a plaid shirt. My mother--to his right--smoking her Kent cigarette, drinking her Tab, her red hair in a beehive--pretending to look at his cards. My Aunt Congie nervously tapping her finger while yelling at my cousin Bobby who was once again doing something mischievious. My Aunt Marg lecturing my Uncle Lou about how he was playing cards and Uncle Danny making duck noises with a Lucky Strike hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Could I have ever known that 40 some years later---I'd find the pain of missing those days so much that I could barely stand? As I slid into a chair to take in the memories, I couldn't help but wonder-- was it a much simpler time then or did the ritual itself make it simple?
That's when it hit me---I need a Sunday night ritual. Something to look forward to. It can be as simple as playing Scrabble with a friend, arranging to meet a friend for tea or as involved as starting a Sunday night supper club.
A ritual to comfort me.
I've got all week to think about it.....
Ideas welcome.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It seems like yesterday.....

but it's 24 years later.
Happy Birthday Vince!

I'm already in the kitchen cooking.....
wondering how we got here so fast.
It time for a Chai Latte...

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Second....Grocery shopping
Then it's on to being non-empty-nesters...the kids are home....
I gotta get my cooking groove back.....I guess they will want to eat mom's cooking.
That's okay.....I think I remember a few recipes.'s dinner with my spirited friends and the guys who love them.
We're going to Piccolo Forno.....we've been waiting a very long time for these
I never thought I'd say this---who cares about the food...
It's a BYOB and I've got a few great bottles of wine to share!
I'll be with people I love being with and who I don't see often enough!
Did I mention I have a few bottles of wine?
Thank You dear Lapband for putting my life back in order....

Friday, September 18, 2009

As if there's not enough traffic jams on my journey.....

Now I've got to worry about dealing with 50,000 protesters and all those G-20 big wigs playing havoc with my commute.

Have you heard? Our dear President chose Pittsburgh to hold the G-20 Summit. This is pretty exciting--finally someone recognized what us Pittsburghers have known all along--Pittsburgh is a great place filled with smart people. It's a tremendous nod to a city that has long struggled against the "smokey city" rap that was left over from the days when this place was a steel (no, no, not The Steelers) powerhouse with mills lining our rivers and black smoke filling our skies. So, yeah it's all good.....until you listen to all the reports about the road closures, the expected traffic snarls, the large number of protesters expected, the detours, the safety issues, the big fence they are putting around the downtown area, the security needed, the schools and businesses that are closing down, the parking concerns, the tent cities that will be erected, the jammed streets.....oh I could go on and on. And...not to mention the stories you hear from just about everyone. Just yesterday--my sister--who works for a large financial institution in the downtown area (where they are closing Wednesday through Friday and deploying their workforce elsewhere--she's headed to Cleveland)--was telling me that they have been advised to wear jeans and tennis shoes the days they are open next week--Monday and Tuesday. And, they are not to have any reference to their employer on their person while out in public--as in shirts or bags with her employer's name on it. The issue being what? That she may have to run for her life (thus the tennis shoes) or that she should look like she fits in with the protesters (thus the jeans) or that anyone who works for a large financial institution is a target for some kind of violence (thus not wearing her company's logo)? Gee, I'm not sure which one of those scenarios feels more comforting.
In every nook and cranny of our city--there's G-20 talk. From what will Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Sarkozy wear to where are all these protesters going to go to the bathroom? Sure, I'm concerned about those things too and of course I do care about radically reforming the International Monetary Fund (which is what they are going to talk about in between lunches and dinners and making nice). And, I'm proud as a peacock that I live in the place that will be the center of the world for at least a few days. And, I'm exceptionally thrilled that I am part of a university community that will be welcoming many dignitaries, hosting tons of pretty intellectually stimulating talks and allowing a forum for everyone to share and voice their opinions. But, geez....does all this have to cause such stress and anxiety? Because...that's exactly what I have--G-20 stress and anxiety. It's not bad enough that rain can lengthen my commute by at least 20 minutes or that a car broke down in the tunnel can wreak havoc on me making a 9:30 meeting or that I sit on West Liberty Avenue staring at the same driver in front of me and the same driver behind me for close to 45 minutes each day. Now I have to worry about protesters running through the tunnels to call attention to their causes and all of the major roads between my house and my office being shut down at a moment's notice! Should I pack a day's worth of food in my car before I leave each morning? Should I carry an extra set of clothes? Will I need mace? And, what if I have to go to the bathroom? I mean--I do drink quite a bit of liquids. And, what if it's really true that the protesters are going to target Starbuck's? Will they close down? Isn't it bad enough they are getting rid of their energy shots--now this??? No Starbucks for me during the G-20?
Mr. Obama--I love ya buddy..... but really....I'd much prefer you hold this fun event near your house. Now that I'm not able to be a stress eater and there's a threat of not having Chai hospitality quotient is going way down.

Oh well...if I can't beat 'em, I might as well join them......
(I think it's the perfect Judi-the-protester look....don't you?)


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

With this drink, I do declare.......

excessive drinking is not what I am drinking to........

I'm telling you this for a few reasons.

First and foremost---just so you know.

And, secondly.....just so you know.

It seems like women and their drinking habits have been getting a lot of press lately.

And, a lot of that press is not good press.

Case in point--this article.

It's almost as if every blogger who has a blog that even suggests alcohol as a form of entertainment is being accused of somehow promoting excessive drinking.

It makes me feel awfully guilty. know....I do talk about martinis and wine and happy hour and gin and a few times I even talked about.....marijuana. And, I make it all sound fun and okay.
When, in reality, drugs and alcohol are serious things.
Especially when you say it like that--drugs and alcohol....eeeehhhhhhhh.

In spite of all of that--the fact that there are so many bloggers out there who talk about drinking alcohol in a light hearted, fun way also makes me feel as though there are more kindred spirits out there than I ever could have imagined....
I lift my glass to them....

Let's discuss this.
Well, I guess I'll do the talking.
You just listen.
And think if you want.
And comment if you feel like it.
No need to put down your glass of Pino Grigio.
Really, I promise....I won't make you feel bad about drinking least I hope not!

I'll start off by giving you my credentials.
I love wine---Cabernet with food, Chardonnay for fun and Sauvignon Blanc for refreshment
I love gin--Tanqueray and Hendrix. But I'll drink others.
I think Martinis are great. No olives. Limes.
I have a soft spot for gimlets. Very yummy.
I make a fab sangria. Vats of it.
I think there's a good time for Cosmopolitans. Especially when I want to look pretty.
I always have a stocked bar. And pretty glasses for drinks.
I love neighborhood bars as well as fancy-smancy ones. And cute bartenders.
I can and will drink before noon. If I'm thirsty, that is.
I have had a few hangovers in my time. They get worse with age.
(I'm sure I have many more credentials but this can't go on all day...)

Growing up, drinking was a major activity in our family. One side of the family is Irish, the other Italian. Which means we have always ate well and we drank well. We had our share of cousins and uncles and even aunts who drank just a wee bit too much on Christmas Eve and Easter. We had our share of arguments and fist fights when a little too many Manhattans were consumed. And, we definitely saw our share of relatives passed out after a party. I've got a treasure trove of family stories that involved drinking a little too much. I can even do a few pretty good impressions. So, you get it.....I'm no stranger to alcohol.

In my prelegal years--yeah, I had my encounters with Mad Dog, Sloe Gin and Irish Mist from my parents' bar cabinet. I hid beer in the washing machine and Ginny and Linda and I even snuck a few drinks in my bedroom closet. And, sure I filled a Vodka bottle with water after a little impromptu party with my parent's stash (do you think they ever found out?). And, yeah, I even snuck drinks at my cousin's at-home wedding.....only to get pretty sick right there in the backyard. So, you get it.....I drank when I shouldn't have.

In college---well.....let's just was college. The best thing that came out of my college alcohol escapades is that I swore off beer in my Freshman year and I haven't touched it since that one fateful night. Must have been some party there at the Theta Xi house....way back in ' make me swear off something forever. So, you get it....I had at least one excessive, sickly drinking moment. At least.

Since those college days and as I drifted through life the 30+ years since then--I have done my share of drinking and partying. Interestingly, the majority of the people around me have done the same. We share libations like some people play cards or darts. It's what we do. We have a few drinks, we laugh, we blow off some steam, we dance, we talk, we console. Sometimes we have more drinks than other times. We share drink recipes and wine tips and sometimes we even plan parties around drinks. As a matter of fact--we've even planned a few trips around drinks (most noteably wine tours). We find a common ground and a commraderie. So, you get it.....alcohol is a part of my life. A good and fun part of it.

Yet, it has also touched my life in many not-so-fun ways. You see, I have witnessed and lived through the heartbreak and the heartache that excessive alcohol drinking can bring. I have been that scared little girl worrying about whether my father would make it home alive or without killing someone. I watched loved ones suffer the agony of having an alcoholic in their lives. I've watched marriages break, childhoods crumble, lives lost, families destroyed, jobs sacrificed, and so many other tragedies--at the hands of alcohol. And, shamefully, there were times in my own life when I felt like I was teetering on the edge myself. It's not a good feeling. I've often looked around at my own family and wondered if it's all healthy fun or something more worrisome. I am so aware that as much fun as a few drinks can infuse into a night on the town,I also know first hand that alcohol can also be the monster that can and will wreck lives. The lives of good people---not bums or criminals or mentally impaired folks--good people. People that we all know and love.

So, what am I getting at here?

I'm not going to do a major analysis on women and drinking and alcoholism and why there are so many of us bloggers who talk about drinking as though there was no danger in it at all. Let's just try to remember that each and every one of us will be subjected to hundreds of thousands of messages each and every day---we can't blame the messengers. I am not going to try to explain why or how drinking has become romanticized. Nor an I going to make excuses for any of it. Because it's just not what I am going to do. It would be a slap in the face to the reality and pain that some very good people are living through. I think we all get it. Let's face it--the tragic accident that set off all of these discussions about women's alcohol use is undeniably horrific. There is no way to explain that away. And if that catastrophic situation and it's aftermath saved just one person from making the same choice--it may have not been in vain. But, whatever my feelings--or your feelings--about alcohol are...alcoholism is a real disease. I have no idea if it is preventable and I have no idea if it can ever be cured. And even though we are all accontable for our own actions, we are also responsible to take great care with each other--to fully recognize when someone in our lives needs help with alcoholism. It's not an easy thing to do--especially when that someone who needs help is a drinking buddy.

So..after all of that dialogue-- I need to tell you that even though I might talk about alcohol in a way that makes you think I promote excessive drinking--I don't. It's all a cocktail--a jigger of humor, a shot of true life and then shaken until it's sexy.

Listen...since I haven't said it before, I'm going to say it now...for the record--drinking responsibly is the only option. Excessive drinking can give you more than a headache the next day. It's that simple. And if there comes a time that you haven't been drinking responsibly, you need to admit it and allow someone else who can function take care of you.

With all of that said--I also want to say that there is no harm in being lighthearted in talking about happy hours or martinis or wine or girls night out---in blogs, in movies or in books. There are times when readers and viewers just have to take that information and process it with their own intelligence and life experiences. Just because everyone in the movie is sucking down cosmopolitans---it doesn't mean you have to.
Didn't your mother ever tell you that just because your friend jumped off a bridge doesn't mean you have to do the same?
I know my mother told me between sips of her high ball.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I never thought I'd say this....but.....

my body is in weight loss mode.

The pounds are dripping off here and there.

I'm not really trying.

It's just the way it is.

My body is doing it.

Not me.


It's in weight loss mode.

I know my body--it's a very stubborn body.

When I was gaining weight--it was in weight gain mode.

That's what it did--it gained weight. And it wouldn't stop.

Now it's in weight loss mode.

So that's what it is doing.

It gets stuck doing what it does and keeps on going.....

This stubborn body of mine.

My pants are loose.

One week they fit, the next week, they are bagging a little here and there.

I know, I know.....kinda wild, ain't it?

And to think all these years, I waited for this moment. And then it has to come at the busiest time of the year--September. I don't even have the time to plan a party.

Isn't that always the way?

On Sunday night, as the weekend was winding down, I was picking up all the papers and magazines strewn about the living room as Carmen channel surfed for more football. It wasn't an unusual scene for a Sunday night--except for the fact that it was just the 2 of us. At one point--I guess I was blocking the TV screen....because that's when he said "Judi, you really lost a lot of weight!" Sure, I could have thrown the pile of magazines I had in my arms at his head. It would have been the easy thing to do. But, why make a mess of a room I was trying to clean up? Who could blame me for being agitated? I ask.
Sure, it's true....I have lost a lot of weight. I mean....100 pounds (and possibly a few more) is a lot. He's right. But, damn it...being right isn't what it's all it?
Here's the thing--I know the man is not home all that much and I know that when he is home, he is almost always distracted by either his Blackberry, his beeper, his cell phone or the TV remote. But, honestly--I've been losing this weight for over 2 years now. Remember that morning I left at 5 am and went to the hospital? Yeah, that morning.
Anyway, before I could run into the kitchen to get a butcher knife to dig his eyes out of his head, he said "will you ever stop losing weight?"
Now,what does a wife say to a husband when the subject of weight comes up?
Why? Do I look fat?
That is what we say...right?
So, what did I say?
"What? Are you saying that I look too skinny?"
To that---he rolled his eyes. I should have dug those eyes out when I had the chance.
"No, I'm just asking if you ever stop losing weight when you have a lap band, that's all. I just can't win here....."
No, Carmen, you can't win.
"So, what are you saying?" I asked
"Are. you. ever. going. to. stop. losing. weight.?" he slowly asked. As if I'm a remedial listener!
The man just doesn't get it.
"Are you asking if I am going to stop losing weight and start gaining weight?" I replied with some measure of fear.
"No, I was just wondering. That's all." he said, picking up the remote and motioning for me to move away from the TV screen.
"I mean, I don't look sickly. Do I?" I asked---wondering if I somehow became blind to how I look--like those models who are skinny-skinny but don't seem to know how icky they look. I mean, I can't see my hip bones sticking out. And damn, I didn't think I looked too skinny. ME? Too skinny? Yeah, right.
"No. Why? Don't you feel good?" he asked....just like Carmen....looking for a problem.
"I feel great. I am just asking if I don't look good." I once again gave him a chance to redeem himself.
"You're fine. I was just wondering, that's all. Are you going to stop losing weight--ever? Not are you going to gain weight. I just wanted to know. Period. That is all I was asking," I could tell he lost his patience.
I'm fine? Is that what he said? I'm fine. He didn't say you're ffffiiiiiineee.....he said you are fine.
Big difference.
"Okay, so why couldn't you just give me a compliment?" I shot back.
"I did. I said you lost a lot of weight! Isn't that a compliment?" his voice tinged with confusion.
Alright. Thanks. You suck at this stuff.
But just so you know.....
I need new pants. All. new. pants.
And probably a bunch of new shoes too.
In fact, I'm sure of it.
Because I lost a fucking 100 (and many more) pounds.
Just be glad I'm in weight loss mode here.
I'd be so bitchy if I wasn't.....

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm having butter issues......

Yes butter.
It's driving me fucking insane.
It's keeping me up at night.
It's invaded my thoughts.
All I can think about is butter.
It's this empty nesting thing.
Made all the more problematic by my impatience.
It's butter--it's going to worsen my Monday....a day that needs no help in the worse department.'s driving me to madness.
With a silver spoon.

Here's the thing--right before we left on vacation, I bought the book "Julie & Julia". I never read it on vacation. I opted for piles of magazines. After that, I was just too busy with whatever I was too busy with to pick it up and start reading.
Then came last week.
With Carmen on the road and the kids firmly planted at their educational institutions--I was coming home to an empty house every single night.
And, I didn't like it.
The silence was deadly.
I did not like walking in the door not calling out to someone that I was there.
And, the emptiness of the house was making me teary one minute and in fear of masked burglars the next.
I needed something....anything.
I had fleetingly thought of painting my buffet a creamy shade of yellow but gave up on the idea when I realized I'd have to empty the whole thing, cover the hard wood floors and the house would probably smell. Plus, who wants to start painting at 7 pm?
TV wasn't doing it for me and as loud as I blasted music--roaming from room to room in search of....well, in search what?--a third child I didn't know I had?....with music blaring was getting on my nerves.
So, on one of my waltzes past the book shelf---I spied "Julie and Julia". Ah-ha. Perfect! It's about a girl named Julie with a blog who cooks, drinks gimlets and likes to sneak smokes. Sounded exactly like the kind of friend I needed.....and I could park myself in my chair or in my bed with a cup of tea or a glass of wine while I visited with her. What could be more perfect?
As adorably chatty and zany as Julie is--the girl uses a hell of a lot of butter. I mean...I have nothing at all against butter. Hell, I looove butter. Yes, I do. Ah-ha. But, if the word butter is mentioned once it's mentioned 6000 times. There have been moments I wanted to grab a pound of butter out of the freezer (that's where I keep it!) and just gnaw at it. And, I have literally had fantasies about gorging on huge handfuls of popcorn just dripping and oozing with butter. And, let's not get started on the deep ache at the core of my being--as I imagine the site of pasta ladled with a sauce made from butter, lemon and garlic then dusted with freshly grated parmesean cheese. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..........
Julie cooks foods I can't pronounce. She's cooking Julia Child's French cousine--lots of chicken livers, bone marrows, lobsters, rice rings, artichokes....well you get the jist of it. Seriously, it's food I do not care about and do not what to eat. It's the butter.
She slathers it all with....butter.
Stop with the butter, Julie. Please.
Listen, I am one who can tear through a book. And, really that's what I want to do. I want to get to the end. I'm impatient like that.
But, I can't.
And, the fact that I can't is giving me quivers in my thighs.
I can feel my teeth grinding.
My hands trembling.
My stomach turning.
My hair standing on end.

Enough with the God damn butter
I can't think of anything else.....


I mean it....this butter thing is really becoming a problem.
You have no idea how much I want a piece of toast slathered with butter....right now.
I feel like I could kill for it.
Yeah, literally kill for it.
Luckily there's no one here to kill at the moment.....

Oh Julie......we might have to part ways before I even find out how your story ends.
The butter is killing me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Sunday.....let's talk football......

....isn't that what we are supposed to do on Sundays?

Alright, alright....I know....I am not what you would call a football afficianado. Sundays during football season mean only a few things to me--do I have to cook? And, if so--how many people do I have to cook for? Sure, sometimes I might go bug my spirited girlfriends while they try to watch the game at a local pub. It's always a good excuse to have a few drinks with them on a Sunday afternoon. And there are other times that I use the time to sneak out and do a little shopping. But, mostly--football season for me just means working menus and meals around games. Sure I like a good play-off party and I think it's great when our team wins and I like the whole fashion thing that goes with football--after all I usually do send out the email to my office to remind them to dress in BLACK AND GOLD (not that everyone listens....). I'm an excellent sport when it comes to those things. And, you can count on me to do kitchen duty during football parties--I don't mind missing a play. And, listen, I even have lots of Steeler decorations. And, I definitey selflessly support fantasy football--i.e.--I don't throw a hissy fit when Carmen spends my shoe shopping money on fantasy.....
You get it--football is not my thing. But I do my part.
So, I'm pretty sure you don't read my blog to hear me talk about football. Well, except for football party recipes maybe....
Well, today I'm going to change all that.
I am going to talk FOOTBALL.....
You'll be very surprised what I know.....

So, how many of you out there know Jamie Dukes?
He played football.
Now he's a commentator.
He has a Lap band.
Betcha didn't know that, did ya?

Yesterday as I was watching the NFL network....
Ok, let's rewind here....
Yesterday, as I was walking through the living room, there sat Carmen in his recliner--reclined--with his remote in hand....doing what he does....clicking from one college football game to another and another, back to ESPN then on to the NFL Network. He says it relaxes him....
God knows how all that clicking and flash TV watching can relax anyone. But, like I told you a few hundred times before....his attention span is nil. He readily admits to his major ADHD as well as his addiction to HDTV.....
Anyway....just as I was about to go outside to do a little weeding, I caught a glimpse of the TV. And, right there--on the screen--on the NFL Network--was a diagram of a Lap band. Like this....

Just as Carmen was about to click to another station....I screeched...."Nooooo....."
The poor guy almost fell out of his recliner.
Then, the screen cut back to a well-dressed and kinda cute, rather large black man--talking about his Lap Band. He got a Lap band awhile back. And now he is reaping the rewards of his decision. Just like me. Me and Jamie Dukes....doing it together. Who knew?
Maybe this is old news but it was new news to me. Probably because I don't keep up with the life and times of NFL stars....
In any case, Jamie is a Lap band brother. He may be an athlete and a star but he has walked the same path as me. Little old me who doesn't know a thing about first downs and time outs and snap backs has a very important connection to Jamie...we are like this ( I say as I hold two fingers up and twist them together.) We're traveling this journey together. And, just like the many millions of us who suffer from weight issues, obesity and life-threatening pounds--Jamie and I understand. Oh sure he chalks up his struggle to life after football and I chalk my struggle up to kids, pasta, nachos and genes. But, it's all the same--it's a fierce battle--the opponents may be different and the numbers on the board (well, the scale) might not be the same but in the end---we're looking to win. Jamie and me. In the game of a lifetime.....together.

BTW.....did you know who the first black Heisman Trophy winner was?
Ernie Davis.
No, he wasn't Lap banded.
But, his story sure is uplifting....we caught The Express on HBO on demand last night.

Football. Football. Football. That's what Sunday is all about.
You can't accuse me of not getting with the program......

Saturday, September 12, 2009's for real.......

this empty nest thing.....

Our very first full weekend just the two of us.
We're bumbling through it.
No kids---anywhere in sight.
Even my little nephew who has been spending Saturdays with us while my sister works ended up being invited elsewhere for the day.
It's going okay so far.
But, I have to tell you that if we flipped the calendar back about 10 years and we had an entire day just to ourselves.....bumbling through it would not be what we would be doing.
So, it makes me can we stop bumbling and start rrrrrrrumbling?

We started the day just fine--Carmen had his typical early morning conference call, we took a walk up to the local breakfast diner hot spot for eggs, we meandered along the main street, perused the Farmer's Market, hung out at the library, went to our favorite hardware store and then found our way back home--all before noon. (and btw--I wore the cutest pair of "boyfriend" jeans that I bought at Ann Taylor--Size 8. Just thought I'd mention it) If it were up to me--it would have taken quite a bit longer---we would have hung out more, perused a little more, meandered a little more. But, Carmen has the attention span of a four year old plus he is so used to being on a crazy schedule that he can't stop and enjoy the moment. He's always in a hurry to finish. Finish what? I always ask. He never has an answer. We really do need to fix that. Because it's just not going to work in our new world where we can and should be enjoying the scenery....and possibly a few other things.
I'm sure we'll get there......won't we?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And now a word from another one of Judi's celeb blog fans.....

As I grow in age, I value women over 50 most of all.
Here are just a few reasons why:
A woman over 50 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care
what you think. Women over 50 won't walk around complaining of cramps, wah! If a
woman over 50 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about
it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting.
Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the
opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant or anywhere. Of course, if you
deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get a way with
it. Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what
it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to
confess your sins to a woman over 50. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than
her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you
right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to
wonder where you stand with her. Yes, we praise women over 50 for a multitude of
reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart,
well-coifed, hot woman over 50, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants
making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress.
Ladies, I apologize. For
all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for
Here's an update for you.
Nowadays 80% of women are against
Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just

to get a little sausage!

Thank You Andy!!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Presenting....straight from her stint in the Midwest and on the West Coast....

THE ONE.....THE ONLY......















Let's give a wild, noisey, hip jirating, big-lovin'

Stories from the Road welcome


Your guest blogger for today....


Hi All, I answered Judi’s call to be a guest blogger. She gave me no other guidance except to think about the journey of life. One of my favorite topics is music and so today, I am thinking about music and the role that it plays on our journey.

For those of us who love music, there are the obvious ways that it connects us to particular moments in our lives. Judi’s guy Bruce always reminds me of growing up in eastern PA, just across the Delaware River from New Jersey, our local rock station played a lot of Bruce.

As much as I love that songs take us back, I also love how music can also be whatever we want in the moment. Now don’t get me wrong, I have wonderful friends and a loving partner. In addition though, I turn to music for a particular sort of companionship. When I want comfort and good company, I may listen to Stevie Nicks.

I also love Natalie Merchant for the same kind of calming energy. Then there is music that gives me a different kind of boost (a little help with confidence, etc.), R.E.M.’s “Walk Unafraid” for example:

And of course there is the music that revs me up, including old bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Queen. In this way, I think music is a most reliable friend, or some might say, a healthy drug. I can turn it on and be with the feelings I want -- comfort, happiness, or even anger and frustration. Further, music can give me a boost, a little help with confidence or energy.

Thus far, I’ve shown my age with my favorites. But I love new music as well. In fact, as much as I love new music, I love the hunt for new music. It’s probably the same thrill that Judi gets from the quest for just the right new pair of red shoes. I read music magazines, surf online, etc... all looking for the next artist or band who will bring some magic into my life. So is there anything deeper to this quest for new music or is it just consumerism? I believe it reflects the ongoing search for connection and a curiosity about what is new. These are both life-sustaining forces.

The list of bands and artists that I love is very long. However I will share with you, a few newer artists that I’m into: my current fave is Antje Duvekot

a wonderful songwriter with a knock-out voice. Also check out Fleet Foxes and the soundtrack from “Away We Go.”

But more important than my recommendations, is the question, what role does music play in your life? Oh, and if you have any new singers or bands who are keeping you good company, let me know.


Harriet, aka. Prof H (to Judi’s readers)

Proprietress of The E Lounge

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When Tuesday is Monday.....

But, I want it to be Sunday......or Saturday.....or the real Monday again.

With the crank of a few ignitions.....a full house became an empty one.
It's Tuesday--after a 3 day weekend that found the house brimming with activity--- lots of cooking, some shopping, hampers full of laundry, more dirty dishes than I could handle, the sound of laughter, a few battles and even a tear or two.
Now, everyone is back in their places.
Places that do not include Judiland.

Me here--and them there.
It's back to another sadly quiet week with lots of time to myself.
Time I don't want.

I need a plan. A brand new plan.
It occurred to me yesterday as my sister and I sat on the porch smoking contrand cigarettes discussing her latest search for a diet that works--I can't even go on a diet to pass the time.
Diets are a thing of my past.
The time that I devoted to all the ins and outs of dieting--from researching which ones work to packaging up meals--can now be devoted to more basic tasks. Like doing the dishes.
At the moment--as remnants of a weekend spent cooking and serving favorite meals sit piled in the sink, my concern over them is absolutely nil. Just a few short years ago--I'd be absolutely panic stricken if I had this situation. Not because I'm a maniacal neatnik. Because I knew that I wouldn't have the time to do them--I would be reacing out the door to begin another whirlwind week filled with work and family obligations and schedules. Now--I can leave all those dishes piled high to sky. Because I am pretty sure I'll have the time to do them. If I want.

This is a very unlikely Judi situation.
Time on my hands.
Time I need to fill.

Sure, I could redo the kitchen cabinets or clean the basement or throw out spices past their expiration date. And, my bedroom and closet could use a complete overhaul.
But, that's not what I want to do. I only like talking about the fact that I don't have the time to do that kind of stuff. It's so much nicer to bitch about not having a moment to do it. It makes me feel more important and needed when I can't orchestrate my time to get those things done.
Maybe it's just me but I'm just not cut out for having the time to do things that I don't want to do.

For many years, I was a late night girl. I burned the midnight oil. I stayed up into the wee hours doing laundry, cleaning, making plans, being creative, surfing the web, emailing friends, sneaking cigarettes, sipping wine, planning meals, organizing schedules, cooking, reading, thinking, writing--escaping the hub bub of my daily life--seeking just a few quiet moments all to myself. Sometimes I was productive. Other times not so much. But, it was time that I needed. Even when I desperately needed sleep--I would forgo it just to catch some Judi time. Being bleary eyed and comatose felt worth it.

I wish I would have known then what I know now. I wouldn't have tried to eek out so much alone time if I would have known that I would have scads of it this soon. Life can be so unfair.

I'm sure I'll figure this all out. Soon, I'll be back to crying the "I don't have a moment to myself" blues. Mark my word.
This is all new territory for me.
The last time I had too much time on my hands, I cured it by having children. Since that's not going to happen again--I better start figuring this out. Before someone figures it out for me. I'm pretty sure this time is supposed to be about me.
I just have to remember who ME is and what ME wants.
I just know I don't want to do the dishes.
At least not now.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It happens every year........

Labor Day weekend......

You would think I would plan for it better....but I don't.
I guess it's the optimist inside of me that says...."this year it will be better".
Every Labor Day weekend, I get this feeling.....something I can't quite describe.
It's a cross between sadness, fear and restlessness.
A very unJudilike way to feel.
And today it's quite pronounced.
So, I'm eeking my way through it with as much courage, fortitude and panache as I can muster.
There's a pot of sauce simmering on the stove, Carmen is strumming his guitar and the dryer is drying up my unmentionables.
Life is just fine.
Except for this nagging glumness (for lack of a better word).
I poured myself a glass of wine so I'm thinking things will turn around soon.....

Here's to tomorrow.....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What did you do on your summer vacation?

Tell me......I'm listening......

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Friday, Happy 3-day Weekend......

(and Happy Birthday Ashley!)


White Peach Sangria
  • bottle dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup peach flavored vodka
  • 6 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pound white peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 3/4 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 3/4 cup seedless green grapes, halved
In a large pitcher, combine dry white wine, peach vodka, lemonade concentrate and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add sliced peaches, red and green grapes.
Refrigerate sangria until well chilled, at least 2 hours, or overnight to blend flavors. Serve over ice, and use a slotted spoon to include sliced peaches and grapes with each serving.

Bruschetta With Goat Cheese
  • 1 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
  • handful of fresh basil--julienned
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese with fine herbs, divided
  • 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette, toasted


Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing gently. Let stand 15 minutes. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons goat cheese on each bread slice. Using a slotted spoon, arrange 1 tablespoon tomato mixture over cheese. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Fritata
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • Olive oil, for sauteing
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 bunch basil
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the broiler.

Start by crushing some garlic and heating it in some olive oil in a medium nonstick saute pan on the stove. While that is heating up, very thinly slice the zucchini. When the oil and garlic are heated, tear some basil into the pan and add all the sliced zucchini. Cook until the zucchini is tender, but not cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Blend eggs in a blender or wisk vigorously with a little bit of milk and some salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into saute pan and let it sit for 1 minute. When there isn't much loose egg left in the pan, grate some Parmesan on top and place pan in the broiler for 1 minute.

Take pan out of broiler, let it cool and set in pan for 5 minutes. When cool invert a plate on top of pan and turn over. Slice and serve. This is great served room temperature!

Very Easy Lemon Cookies

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or fresh lemon juice and grated zest
  • (I prefer the lemon juice& zest)
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract or juice & zest until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar. Roll them around until they're lightly covered. Once sugared, put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 6 to 9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy.

An inspired menu to help savor the last "lazy" days of summer!
Go shopping this evening. Buy an extra bottle of wine for tonight!
Make everything tomorrow morning.
Tuesday is far away!

Bon Apetit!!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Uh-Oh, it's September......

I'm a little behind here.....
I sniffled my way through June,
Planned, partied and vacationed my way through July,
Cried my way through August....
And if I let myself, I may just let myself bypass September.

That's not the Judi I know.

Maybe it's time to get with the program, put the pedal to the metal, rev up the engines and run out of the gate. If I've learned nothing at all these past 50 years--at the very least--I learned this....tomorrow is right around the corner and each day after that comes whether you want it to or not. That's if you're lucky....I guess.

Over the past few weeks, I've received more words of wisdom, more pieces of advice and more than my share of knowing looks than ever before. I mean--let's face it--I've been through several other major life things over the years. But never before---even during severe times--have I received such an outpouring of support and empathy as I have now. Even last night--when I went to yet another funeral home with my aunt--I was the recipient of several sympathetic looks, a few hugs and many offerings of support. All of this because my daughter went off to college? Yes.
But, why?
Here's why--it's called motherlove. Everyone gets it, everyone knows what it is and everyone understands just how deep it runs. There's nothing quite like it. They all know exactly how I feel. I just lost the best job I ever had. And, they know that it's all my fault. I did my job well--I raised my daughter to leave. That is what a mother does. We give them wings so they fly.
Yeah, alright....I'm not quite there yet. I haven't quite embraced this whole ideology. Sure, I completely understand it and I even support it for crying out loud. But, let's face it--I would rather be able to turn back the clock right now than come to terms with all this dribble about wings and flying. I'm going to take just a few more days of this selfish behavior and get out all of my tears and angst. I deserve it.
Then, when I am done....well.....I don't know what the hell I'm going to do but I think you might want to stick around for the ride....

Happy education will soon begin.
As soon as I stop all this nonsense.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

And here I thought it was toking on a number not the number on the scale

that killed brain cells......

Only to find out all these years later that it was those nasty extra pounds and not my days of getting in tune with the world around me that played havoc with my clarity!
If only I would have given up eating nachos instead of giving up weed...
Imagine what my blog would be about.
Check this out....
Obesity Can Inflict Big Toll On Brain

Perhaps it all goes hand-in-hand.....think the munchies....
Did the good doctor ever think of that?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hello Toni, it's me--mom......

I'm doing okay. Don't worry about me.

I'm adjusting.

My daily routines are a little off-kilter.
My world has been turned upside down.
And life is a little blurry.
No one has been doing the dishes while I'm a work.
So I haven't cooked a meal since you've been gone.

I'm adjusting.

I never knew I could get the hang of texting.
But, I'm doing pretty good--aren't I?
There's now candles burning around the house in honor of the technology gods to thank them for the internet and instant messaging and texting.
And I'm *this* close to getting an I can text even better.

I'm adjusting.

Funny how the house feels awfully quiet even though you were never all that noisey.
Maybe I'm just missing the sound of your iphone beeping and blinging.
So, I've been blasting Bruce tunes, playing air guitar and singing at the top of my lungs--off key, of course.
The neighbors are very confused.
But, of course, aren't they always?

I'm adjusting.

Somehow the house seems very empty.
Not that you even took up that much room.
Maybe it's because we're missing so many pairs of shoes from your closet.
So, I've done a little shopping.
I'm now in hot pursuit of an amazing little top and a sassy pair of shoes to go with those skinny jeans I bought the last time you and I were out.

I'm adjusting.

So, how are you?