Follow me.......

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lotsa snow and noisey girl scouts........

That's what's going on in my world.......
and one is making me need the other......... and visa versa.....

It's no secret that we are being pummeled....I mean, literally pummeled.....with snow.
Everyday--snow. Every night--snow. Every where I go--snow. SNOW!
Plus, I've got $70 worth of Girl Scout cookies. (I just can't seem to deny a Girl Scout...)

The snow is getting on my nerves.
It's taunting me with each flake.....get your shovel, get your shovel....
The Girl Scout cookies are yelling at me....loud and very convincing declarations that they can calm me down, help me out of my snowmania and give me a reason to believe (that Spring is on it's way).

The problem is ----I really, really bought these cookies for my children (you know, my 24 year old and 18 year old children that don't live with me full time....)
But, damn, there's snow.
And, Girl Scout cookies.
Did I mention there was snow?

Clearly, this winter has sent me over the edge.
So much so that I came downstairs at this ungodly hour just to check on the calorie content of Thin Mints.
Yes, those DAMN Girl Scout cookies woke me up.....on a Saturday morning when I could sleep in!
Not that Thin Mints are my favorite. In fact, they are not. I'm a Do-si-do girl myself.
But, my rationale is that if I start on the Do-si-dos....the box is a goner. Which means that I know how many calories I will consume if I eat the Do-si-dos---a gazillion....
But, if I eat the Thin Mints.....well....all that peppermint flavoring will make me nauseated.
So, I won't eat the whole box. Thus, cutting down on my calorie intake.
Four Thin Mints=160 calories.
And, there are a total of 7 servings in a box.
Which means that even if I eat one entire sleeve (after all, if I'm opening them...)....which constitutes 1/2 the box....that means I would consume a little over 500 calories.
And, then, if I shovel out my walkway, my driveway and the sidewalk....which will take about an hour....and if it's true that I can burn approximately 400 calories an hour shoveling snow.....I will have almost obliterated the Thin Mints......
(I'm a mathlete if there ever was one....)
Yes, that's my rationale. the Do-si-dos are starting to scream at me......

There's a heap of trouble in Judiland......
And, not only that....... did I mention there's lotsa snow and $70 worth of Girl Scout cookies?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Morning FRIDAY!!!

what the hell took you so long to get here?

Come next weekend, the house will be full again.
It's Spring break at PhDland and Collegeland.
My kids are coming home.
For Spring break.
Spring break?
Spring? As in sprouting flowers, sporty little rain jackets and sherbet-colored capris?

If that's the case--I might just have to make the most of this last weekend of winter empty nesting in Judiland. So, I'm gonna go put on my boots, my hat, my scarf, my gloves and my bulky winter coat, grab the shovel and start my winter empty nest activity---digging my way out.....

Bring on SPRING........

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The road is my home........

I finally figured it all out---I am a traveler....

I'm a road sister
I'm a sister on the road
I'm a gal who doesn't like to be journey-less.....
I am a journey-er.

Judiland sits on the road to somewhere and that's where all my stories lie......
Sure, I may hang out in my little suburban hamlet in my personal life or hunker down in my windowless basement office in my professional life....
But, it's in my real life that I travel.
Not to exotic locales.
Or, far-flung, sunny ports of call.
Although that sounds kinda fun....
(especially another storm of historic proportions is traveling up through the Northeast!)

As much as I hate maps and I can't get from point A to point B without a few wrong turns and my new GPS is a mystery to me, I've come to the realization that I always need to be going somewhere.
And, when I get to that somewhere, I want to go somewhere else.
And, I live in hope that there's always somewhere else to go.

What the hell am I talking about?

Before I start.....please put away your rotten tomatoes and voo-doo pins.
Because what I am going to say might just make you want to use them on me.
Here goes.....
I am mourning my weight loss journey.

I know.
This is what I wanted.
And, as it turned is what I wanted.
I'm grateful and thankful and thrilled beyond words.
But, I miss all the stops along the way.
You the joy I felt the first time I realized I could cross my legs.
And that surreal, thrilling moment when I first walked into a non-plus size store.
Things like that.....
When I read blogs of my Lap band brethren who are in the throes of losing weight and enjoying the little victories along the way, it's then that I realize how much I miss those magical moments that come along with the weight loss journey.
And, it makes me wonder.....where do I go from here?
What road shall I take?
What is my next journey?
Perhaps those questions are my guiding signs.
Maybe it's not about maintenance.
Maybe it's not about the number on the scale or the size of my pants.
Maybe it's about all the maybes and maybe nots.....

The mysteries of the road........

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Road maintenance.......

amid the pot holes and the detours and the traffic jams and the construction.....
Road one form or another.....

That's what life is all about right now at Stories from the Road.....

And, I am not talking about what's going on out on the highways and biways of Judiland.
(Although, I gotta tell ya friends---navigating the roads this past month has not been much of a picnic...)

What I am talking about is maintaining this 115 pound weight loss.
Each and every day as I sit down to blog about what's going on in my life or share a piece of information or tell a story or two--I am a girl who is working on maintaining her weight.
I am not a girl who is trying to lose weight.
And, believe me when I tell you--this is a very new thing in my world.
Hell, I've been on a quest to lose weight since I've been 12 years old.
True, maybe I didn't always have to lose weight.
But, that doesn't mean I wasn't trying.
It's just what I did.
I was always on to the next diet.
And, the one after that.
When I did lose the always found it's way back to me.
Then, I'd be back at it.
You all know the drill.....

But now....I'm here.

I am a girl who has lost 115 pounds...with the help of my Lap band....who goes through the everyday pieces of life trying to stay in a Size 10 petite (sometimes even a Size 8).
I am not trying to get into a Size 10 petite or a Size 8.
I am trying to stay there.
Essentially, I am working on doing something that I have never done before.
I am living a life that I have never lived before.
And, I am trying to figure out how to get it right.
This time.

I'm not sure what this road maintenance will look like.
But, what I do know is that I need my road crew.......and that's YOU.

Oh, and before I forget.....since I mentioned sizes here....
Just to clarify....since I had so many emails and a few comments about the fact that I bought a Chico's Size Zero.....
I do not wear a Size Zero or a Size One in any other world but Chico's.....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I've lost my QUEEN status.......

but I'll be damned if I will give back my tiara......

Panty hose......not a big girl's best friend.
I've done-in quite a few acrylic nails over the years putting them on.
And, I've gauged many a brand new pair straight from their packages.
I even recall a few times when I drew blood.

Not to mention the times I contorted myself into some pretty amazing, not-for-prime-time positions right there on my bed....
And, let's not forget those times I even fell over.

Let's face it--panty hose and me just didn't work out too well.

Yes, putting on panty hose during my stomach-in-the-way-of-everything days was 50 percent olympic feat and 50 percent death defyingly dangerous.....
A double jointed gymnast, I am not.
No wonder I never had an above-the-knee skirt over a Size 14.....
And, no wonder I shied away from panty hose shopping.

Until this past weekend.

A few weeks ago, I got a great deal on a sassy little black knit skirt with leather trim.
It was exactly what I needed.
With lots of blazers and sweaters and blouses to mix and match, I considered it a perfect investment.
Yeah, it was little pricier than I would have liked. Even on sale.
I'll let you in on a secret-- it was haute couture.
But, it was made just for me......or so the sales woman said.
Even more convincingly---I will admit-- it wasn't just an average black skirt.
There was nothing ordinary or dowdy about it.
It had a little bit of an edge--with the leather trim and the body-hugging fit.
And, it had some nice, classic styling without being so businessy-looking.
It was a Judi skirt if I ever met one. Classic with an edge. THAT is me. Or so I'd like to be....
And, ooooh, I could see s0 many options.
SOOOO many options.
I was imagining it with a little jean jacket, some funky accessories, bright-hued leotards and a pair of sweet little booties.
Or paired with a black and white tweed belted jacket with my flashy-yet-understated Sabika jewels, black opaque stockings and sleek pointy-toed black patent pumps.....
Or relaxed down with a drapey brown cashmere sweater, my new Savorski crystal topaz earrings, leopard print tights and black suede flats.
Yes, I could see many, many looks.....
Each one of them requiring.....gulp......some version of panty hose.

So, I kept putting off wearing it.
I would admire it as it hung front and center in my closet.
I would conjur up ways to wear it in my head.... dreaming of places I would go, things I would do, people I would see....wearing my little black skirt.
But, there, in my messy closet, it stayed---
All because of........the panty hose fear factor

Finally, on Sunday, with no good fashion prospects for Monday, I knew what had to be done.
It was time to wear my little black skirt.
It was time to face the panty hose rack at CVS. (I do not buy pricey panty hose......)

I might not be a QUEEN anymore but I'm on the A-list.......

Monday, February 22, 2010

The snow and ice didn't come.......

but Monday did.......

These are the moments when I miss my children the most......

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm on the downhill.........

Okay, blog friends....
I have to set the record straight....
THAT is not me doing the slopes.
That's the other J. Mancuso......
Yes, it's true, I come from a long line of Olympiads.....
We all choose our own sports.
I chose Lap banding and shoe shopping.
I have gold medals.
So far, I'm doing the family proud.....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sinfully sinful Lenten meal.....

Okay all you Friday fish eaters and folks who want to repent their sins by forgoing meat on Fridays and all you fish-friendly friends and seafood lovers.......have I got a recipe for you!

I'm not sure if you know this but one of my major quests in life is find the best crab cakes in all the land.
My family knows---a sure way to my heart---find me a restaurant with killer crab cakes and I am a happy girl.
My son--especially--takes great pride in tracking down places in his little town that serve crab cakes for us to go to when we visit.
And, even my husband gets it.
Just last week, he called me from Toledo (yes, he visits the most exotic places ) to tell me that he went to an amazing winery/restaurant that served excellent crab cakes.
A trip to Toledo is now in my future.

Toledo, of all places.

So, yes, I have eaten my share of crab cakes on my eternal quest!
I'm just a girl who loves crab....
I know my crab cakes.
And I'm not afraid to admit it.

Give me a luscious crab bisque to go along with my crab cake--I'm ecstatic.
And, if I have a light Sauvignon Blanc to wash it all down with---I am euphoric.
You can say that I am slowly becoming a crab conessour.
It's definitely become my favorite, all-time, life-long food!
Thanks to my Lap band.

But, the one thing that has alluded me on my quest is the ability to make great crab cakes at home.
Or, more accurately--my ability to find a great recipe for crab cakes.
I've tried more times than you can imagine.
Did hours and hours worth of research.
Scoured the internet, hunted down recipes in books and even tried to wrestle the recipe out of the chef at one of my favorite places for crab cakes. ---to no avail. (and my good friend even owns the joint!)
Sure, all my made-at-home crab cakes were fine.
But, not one of them were what I would consider worth making again.
And, believe me, this bothered the hell out of me.
Made me crazy.
And, to be honest--it just pissed me off.
What was the secret to killer crab cakes?

Evidently, the secret is contained in this yellow envelope......
Can you imagine?
The secret comes in a yellow envelope!
Well, I'll be.....

Flip this yellow packet over and follow the directions.

Then, put a little Judi spin on it....
1/2 cup good quality romano/parmesean cheese
a few grates of lemon zest

Some notes:
I used pastuerized lump crab meat (comes in the get it at the seafood counter)
I also made 2 yummy dipping sauces to accompany them.....

Pesto Aioli
Mix together:
1/2 cup Mayo (I used Kraft May w/ Olive Oil)
4 tablespoons prepared Pesto (from jar)
a little lemon zest
a sprinkling of Old Bay Seasoning (can)

Cajun Aioli
Mix together:
1/2 cup Mayo
McCormick Cajun seasoning (powdered)....not sure of the amount....depends on how much spice you like

I'm telling you folks.....this was one killer crab cake meal....
Sinfully easy.
Sinfully delicious.

As for my quest to find the best crab bisque recipe in all the land?
It continues.

Friday, February 19, 2010

They're all FAT TALKING!

When it comes to talking FAT.....everyone is weighing in......

I know there's bigger things going on in the world to talk about.
Definitely there's much larger issues to discuss.
Certainly, there's juicier pieces of gossip.
And, no doubt the news is filled with heavier topics.
But, let an obese Hollywood director be kicked off a plane because of his weight and all of a sudden, everyone's got something to say about it.
Different treatment for fat folks in now news.

My friends, this is not new news.
Ask any obese person and they will tell you--fat people are treated differently.
Ask any formerly obese person--such as myself....and I will tell you.....fat people are treated differently.

Just think about it.
It happens everywhere. Everyday. Everywhere.

Even in the friendly skies.

Listen, I don't have to don a fat suit and go out and cavort among the regular weight folks to prove a point. I've lived it. Sure, I didn't tip the scales at 700 pounds or get kicked off of planes or denied service or insurance or basic necessities. But, minus 115 pounds later, I can tell you--fat people are treated differently. And, minus 115 pounds later, I can tell you--fat people act differently. And feel differently. Because they are treated differently. But, mostly because the world of an obese person is different.

It's just what I am thinking about today.
What are you thinking about?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We're *THIS* close......

to FrIdAy!!!

Judiland has officially lived through and survived two full weeks of snowfall.
Two full weeks of white stuff falling from the skies.
And, lots of it.
Two full weeks of shoveling and salting and making snow mountains in our yards.
Two full weeks of struggling to get from point A to point B and worrying about what's coming next.
The thrill is gone.....
Over with.
Even the fact that we are *THIS* close to Friday isn't helping.

So, I am going to turn my thoughts to other things.
As I clean off my car and shovel the driveway once more......

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

All you need is wine......

to feel younger, improve your skin, have more energy, lose weight, live longer....

If that's the case....I should feel like I'm -10, have the skin of an infant, be able to live on less than 15 minutes sleep a night, I should have never needed my Lap Band and damn I should live until I'm 526!
Okay, so yeah.....I'm a girl who likes her wine.
And, I've got the cork collection(s) to prove it.

To cut down on the dreadful silence of my snowbound week, my TV got more of a workout than ever before. It was helped out by the fact that when we lost our cable.....absence made my heart grow fonder!
So, when our cable did come back.....those TVs were always on.
Food Network in the kitchen.
E! Network in the living room.
HGTV in the bedroom.
FOXNews in the office.
And, I flipped on a series of rotating stations when I stepped into any other room that housed a TV.
Although I didn't listen to or watch every blessed thing--those TVs were always on.
That's when I realized that my body and my mind must respond to key word phrases.
Certain words and phrases always command my attention.
And, those key word phrases are:
Make a perfect martini
Lose weight
Look younger
Get more energy
Drink more wine

No matter what I was doing--whether I was folding laundry or putting on a face mask or lounging in a bubble bath--when I heard any of those words put together--I ran to the TV and stood in front of it--not wanting to miss one detail.
And, no matter what else was being said on the TV--whether they were announcing an earthquake in Chicago or 12 more inches of snow in Pittsburgh--I must have missed them!
But let them say any one of the words together in those phrases and my ears heard them just fine and I was turning up the sound....just so I didn't miss one iota of info!

So, imagine the electrical shock activity in my entire being when I heard the following promo coming from my TV:

What if you were told that one little pill, with the potency of
1000 bottles of wine, could help boost your energy, control your weight, and make you feel
and look younger than ever before?

If they could have somehow slipped in the word "martini", I would been doing back flips and having uncontrolable orgasmic episodes.

But, even still--those words struck me like a lightning bolt.
It was as if the entire world stood still and the only thing on the planet were me and the TV.
So, I waited and waited to hear more.
But, it appears that my personal inbedded key word mechanism somehow drones out phrases like "tune in next time" and "be sure to catch this story"......
Because I had no clue what the pill was and how to find out more about it!
I've been on a desperate search ever since.....
Until late last night....when I stumbled upon this little gem..... on one of the local TV station's websites.
And, not only that--it had references to real doctors from highly regarded hospitals in my hometown and testimonials from citizens who live right in my little suburban hamlet....!
What could be better than that?

Gee, I wonder if those little pills will help me other wine ways?
One pill = 1000 bottles of wine.
No calories.
Look younger.
Lose weight.
More energy.
I'm not sure if the world if ready for that Judi.....

Anyone ever tried Resveratrol?
If so, do tell......

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


it's FAT TUESDAY........


Monday, February 15, 2010

Mr. President.......

can we get a Presidential Pardon from the next snow storm?

It's not a snow day or a holiday for me in Judiland.
The TV is promising another snow storm is on it's way.
And, it's headed straight for my little corner of the world.
Listen, Mr. President.....I think we've had quite enough.
We've paid our dues....
We're fresh off of the latest round of snow, snow days, snow shoveling and snow banks.
And, we're heading into another week--one that's promising snow, snow and more snow.
Plus, we're smack up against FAT TUESDAY.....
What's a girl to do?
Please Mr. President, if you're not doing anything today on your presidential holiday, could you please use your presidential powers to stop the snow from coming?
And, if you can't stop it....can you please make sure it comes when I'm snuggled safely in my bed tonight and make sure it does not play havoc with my commute home???
Please Mr. President....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Taking my heart on the road........

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, today we are braving the snowy Pennsylvania landscape for a love-filled celebration---we're heading off to Toni's cute little college town to get a heart full of daughter love, to steal some hugs and kisses and to share a special Valentine's Day meal at a lovely little place tucked among the white-capped mountains. I've got plastic containers filled with soup from my snowbound days of marathon soup cooking, I've got a big fancy box wrapped in ribbons and bows---filled to the brim with baubles and what-nots and there's bags of dorm room staples sitting by the door ready to go. I'm donning my fun red sweater from Anthropologie, my new Brighton heart jewelry and my trusty red cowgirl boots to celebrate Valentine's Day. Patty and Mike will be pulling up in a few hours--with their SUV filled with all kinds of goodies for their girl as well--and off we will collegeland.
This is the longest I have gone without seeing my girl.......and I just can't wait!
Toni baby....mommy's coming!!!!!

May your day be special and filled with love!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

And...... you thought you could surprise me......

Hey Buddy, you are an amateur!

Yes, I know my college room mate and I are both 50+.
And, yes, I am fully aware of the fact that, at our age, we should be able to keep a secret.
But, let me tell you buster......she is my college room mate....
And, we share everything.
Even 30+ years later.
So, of course she told me all about it.
........the gourmet dinner with the private chef.....
.....the course by course description of each recipe......
...the perfect wine pairings
If you didn't want me to know all about the fabulous Friday night you planned for me then why did you invite one of my favorite people on the planet---my college roomie Rene?
Yes, of course, she told me all about it....
That's why she is one of my favorite people on the planet.
And, you knew that.
Thank You Carmen for one of the most beautiful and delicious nights of my life.....
THIS is what it's all about......

As much as I'd love to bitch about the fact that my kitchen sink is filled with dirty dishes, I can't.
And, as much as I'd love to bitch about the fact that you are going off to do something that has nothing to do with me, I can't.
Because..... last night..... you did something that had so much to do with me that I am still in shock.
It was so unCarmenlike that I'm still trying to believe it all.
It was so unCarmentlike that I really, really can't believe it.

Last night, Carmen surprised me by renting out a private dining room with a private gourmet chef to cook a fabulous meal. But, not only that---he made sure that the chef would talk about the food and the cooking and the entire process.
And, to really make it even more special--he invited a person who is near and dear to my heart---my college room mate Rene (and her husband).
It could not have been a more Judi perfect night.
I'm still swooning......

Friday, February 12, 2010

I've been released.......

from my suburban hamlet.....

No more cooking and laundry marathons here in Judiland.
It's time for back-to-work, maybe some hearts and flowers and possibly a double shot of romance.....
With a gin martini chaser.... (it's been quite a week....)

Or something like that.....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

When the going gets tough.......

what do you do to get through it?

There's something to be said for being housebound.
You can hang out in your jammies and your robe and your slippers with your hair askew and no make up.
You can wander around your house aimlessly with no schedule or plan.
You can watch non stop TV and surf the internet to your heart's content.
And, you can think without distractions, ponder your problems, reflect on your life and really get to know yourself.....
Yeah, I've had quite enough of that....

That's why I took to cooking....
Oh yeah, I've been cooking my way through the storms and the downed trees and the wind and the cold and the snow....
Every blessed thing in my freezer has now been cooked, braised, breaded, boiled, fried or simmered.
I've got nothing left to cook....
Unless, of course, I start mixing the condiments, the fruits, the veggies, the jellies and jams and dressings in my fridge.....

So, I suppose when the going gets tough......I turn to food.
Once again, I have to give thanks for my Lapband....
It helps me to turn to cooking food instead of eating it.
But, is my toughing it out thing...

What do you do when the going gets tough?
I need a few more ideas.....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As the storm rages on........

I'm now snowbound and treebound......

I've never seen anything like it, in all my 51 years.
One look outside my window and I keep thinking...."we're not in Pittsburgh anymore"......

The piles of snow in my yard are as tall as me, our street is almost impassable and the trees are hanging so low on the power lines that I'm waiting for them to snap at any moment.

It's always been so lovely to live on a quaint, tree-lined street with houses flanked by mature, towering trees....

Until RIGHT NOW.....

As I was trying to take the advice of Eileen, Founder, Organizer, Mayor and Chief Cook And Bottle Washer of the Anger Management Girls by sleeping past my 4:45 am alarm clock....
I heard it.....sending me flying to my window......
There....laying amid the white snow piles.....a huge pine tree snapped in half....sending it down across my driveway, through my side yard, draping my walkway.....literally trapping me in my house completely.
The only way out is to climb over the tree.....
And, now for the fun part.....
We happen to live in the first house on our lane. Next to us is a very large home that sits on the main road and spans half the block....with their driveway and multi-vehicle garage directly next to our driveway. It's their tree that is trapping me.....! The home is corporately owned and is maintained by caretakers and various landscaping and maintenance companies.
I need to get to that house to let someone know what has happened.
No, I don't know their phone number......
As soon as the sun comes up, I'm going to have to start my journey.....
Wish me luck.
Send the dogs if I don't return to blog tomorrow......
Look for me among the tree branches!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow days + Empty Nesting + a Lapband......

my world ain't what it used to be.....

And, a new storm is on it's way.......

Yesterday I realized a few things.
Snow days are not an empty nester's friend.
Eating and snow days go together like peanut butter and jelly.
I'm lonely and bored and I can't overeat.
Clearly, a new challenge I just hadn't expected...

Being an empty nesting lapbander on a snow day calls for some serious reflection.
Now that I am in day 2 of snow daying, I really need to figure out how to do this.
All of my life, I considered snow days as bonuses.
And, I would never squander a bonus on doing laundry or cleaning closets.
No, no, no.
But, in my new world, that's what it's come down to.
Do I want to do laundry or clean my closet or scrub the baseboards with a toothbrush?

Yeah, I gotta think about that.....

In the meantime, I figured I'd do some self-examination, self-analysis and other get-to-know-me bullshit to pass the time. And, possibly figure out what to do with my time that #1--makes sense and #2--that I want to do!
The internet is full of little surveys and tests to help you decide anything from whether you should wear lipstick or lipgloss, become an accountant or an astronaut, decorate in a romantic, eclectic or bohemian style or leave your husband/lover. However, there's nothing to tell me what to do on a snowday when you're 51, your kids are gone, your spouse is miles and miles away, you hate laundry, you can't overeat and you really don't want to do all the things that you know you should do on a snowday.....
But, I did find this questionairre that I figured I'd share with my blog least you can get to know me a little better.....while I try to do the same. It's all fluff. But, I'm quickly learning (from all the surveys I've taken) that life is made up of a lot of fluff....


What time did you get up this morning?
5:25 am

Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds. Huge ones only. In case you are thinking of getting me one.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
It's Complicated

What do you usually have for breakfast?
Chai latte

What food do you dislike?

What kind of car do you drive?
Ford Escape

Favorite sandwich?
Eggplant parmesean (on Mancini's Italian Bread)
oh, how I miss that sandwich....

What characteristics do you despise?
I just cannot tolerate or understand intentional meaness

Favorite item of clothing?
I love unique/funky/fun jackets and blazers and sweaters

Favorite brand of clothing?
Right now, I'm loving Chico's

Where would you retire to?
Any city that has both a Chico's and a Williams Sonoma within walking distance of each other
(so I can work 1/2 time at each place)

What was your most recent memorable birthday?
This past one....

Favorite sport to watch?
Figure Skating

What is your favorite candy?
Red twizzlers!!

What is your favorite flower?
Black-eyed susans

What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
February 14--when I will see my little girl TONI!

What are you listening to right now?
the drone of the dishwasher

What was the last thing you ate?
Peach yogurt

How is the weather right now?
Cold, getting ready to.....SNOW!

Last person you spoke to on the phone?

Favorite restaurant?
So many!
At the moment....I'm loving....
Il Pizzialo
Gandy Dancer Saloon at the Grand Concourse

What was your favorite toy as a child?
my Barbies

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Eh....either or neither

Coffee or Tea?
Tea only!

The last time you cried?
Yesterday....when my phone broke!

What is under your bed?
Dust bunnies

What did you do last night?
spent the night learning how to use my new phone

What are you afraid of?

Salty or Sweet?

How many keys on your key ring?
about 20....even though I don't know what 15 of them are for, I'm afraid to get rid of any of them in case I need one...

Back to snow daying......

Monday, February 8, 2010


That's the best news I've heard in a long time.....

The last time the University closed down was when I had just finished a stint with Weight Watchers that had went pretty well............

Funny how us dieting girls remember life.....

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I suppose you can say that the epic snowstorm of 2010 came at the right moment here in Pittsburgh.
Because, ya know, the Steelers are not playing today.
And that's a big let down here in the City of Champions.
Pittsburghers are bigtime Super Bowl people.
It's a whole different city when the Steelers are heading to the big game.
So, we needed something to distract us from the fact that we're going to have to wait another year for it to happen again.

A historical snowstorm was just the thing.....

Yes, dumping two feet of snow on Pittsburgh definitely gave us all something else to do...
From the looks of The Saloon yesterday (where we decided to take a break from all that shoveling....), hanging out in local establishments was the order of the day.
If Pittsburghers couldn't celebrate football, we could definitely put on our snow gear, hike to our local pub and celebrate a super snow storm with neighbors and friends....

But, let's just say the Steelers were playing in the Super Bowl AND this snowstorm hit....
Imagine the landscape---many of us have been without cable since early yesterday, thousands of folks are still without power, a great number of our roads are impassable, many stores didn't even open their doors......
Oh, who am I kidding.....
IF Pittsburgh was playing in the Super Bowl AND this snowstorm hit.....
Nothing would have mattered.
Nothing would have stopped Pittsburgh from Super Bowling...

So, with that same SUPER determination.....
It's time to continue to dig out here in Judiland....

We managed to get our sidewalks cleared and a portion of our driveway dug out yesterday.
But, we've got a long way to go....
The piles of snow are so high, we're running out of places to put what we shovel!

I guess it's best we don't have a big game to watch today....
The shoveling continues....

BTW.....good luck to the teams who ARE playing in the Super Bowl!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Officially snowed in.......

this is no wimpy snow-in.....
I am not talking about a few inches of snow.
I am talking....up to my knees, piled up so high on the railings of my deck that I can't see the trees, so much snow that it's filling up the trampoline making it look like I have an igloo in the back yard.....that's what I am talking about.

So, what do you do in Judiland when you are snowed in?
Figure out ways to get out.....

Last night, as the storm raged on, Carmen and I decided we needed a little night on the town. Honestly, it's not what we usually want to do on a Friday night. Typically, we are completely satisfied to get something to eat, maybe have a glass of wine or a martini, stop off at Starbucks for a pick-me-up, maybe get some reading material at Barnes and Noble and then head home for a quiet night before passing out on the couch. But, after fighting our way home through snarled traffic and slippy roads, our adrenaline must have been pumping or else we just get pretty jazzed up by snow storms.... Whatever the reason--we thought it would be enormus fun to put on our hats and scarves and gloves and boots and head out into the snow and wind...on foot.... to a few local places. Sort of like a winter-themed bar crawl....
Well, let's just say we came up with this idea after Carmen had a glass of scotch and I had a glass of wine....

Luckily, we live in a neighborhood that is very convenient to several little bars and restaurants. And, lucky for us, all of them sit on the same stretch of road. And, even luckier--those little bars and restaurants are some of our favorites.
So, we bundled up and off we the snow and wind beat against our faces, we soldiered on.....trudging through the piles of white. I have to tell you that the scenery was so absolutely amazing that I found myself wondering why I never did this before!
As I braced myself against the weather, laughing at what we were actually doing....(come on....two 50-somethings out in a snowstorm in search of food and booze...that is kinda crazy...isn't it?)...I realized something.....I would have never done this 100+ pounds ago. First of all, I am not sure I would have had a coat that zippered or buttoned around me. And, second of all....well.....second of all....let's just say.....I wouldn't have done this 100+ pounds ago.
If it wasn't for my Lap band....I would have missed it all....
What a sad thought.
But...a happy ending.
It was a good night. We met up with some fun friends. We had a lot of laughs.
And, I discovered the best margarita in all the land is only a snowy mile from my door....

It's still snowing here in Judiland.
What should I do today?
Perhaps I can find the best martini in the all the land.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cold, snowy world.....warm healthy heart.....

Okay everyone.....get your boots on....the snow is coming! And, wear your support of Healthy Hearts!

Got red boots ?

From the sound of the weather reports-- lots of folks will be snowed in this weekend!
Here in Judiland, we're bracing for anywhere from 3-12 inches--depending on which report you believe.
Typically, I'd be all ready for a big snow in--with a full fridge, some new recipes to try out, a stock pile of the latest magazines to read and a list of movies to watch.
But, my fridge is bare. I have a few eggs, some yogurt and a few bottles of white wine.
To be perfectly honest--I have piles of laundry to do, lots of spiffing and rearranging from my Christmas undecorating to finish up and I really need to clean my bedroom.
None of that sounds like too much fun, does it?
Well, the chilled bottles of wine sound nice......
So, if the snow does come--as they say it will--I guess I'll have to boil up a few eggs, dig into some yogurt, wash it all down with some wine and do the Judi-homemaker thing.
The wine should help.
And, of course, the wine will definitely keep my heart healthy....

Hello snow.
Happy 89th Birthday Dad!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome to the shoe.....

I mean....the show.....

it's a big day today in my daily work life.....a day my team mate and I have been working towards for months and months on end.
And, we did a very good job.....amid a dire economy and a less than optimal job market, we managed to exceed expectations and bring in numbers that we only fantasized about in the heat of the summer!

Alright, alright.....I wish I could say it was all us.
But, I have to be honest.
It takes an entire team of dedicated and hard working folks to employ a few thousand students.
And, it takes a few thousand mighty talented students to make it all happen.
And, we have it all.

I wish I could say that I'm wearing something spectacular and party-worthy but I'm not.
Nope, we're all in uniform today.
But, damn, I'm going to wear my rockin' shiney leopard shoes.....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Italians kept this one from me.....

Lapbanders....take note.....there's a soup in town that will make you forget all about your longing for pasta and huge hunks of bread......
And, non-Lapbanders....this one is for you too!
It's heaven in a bowl....
Plus, it's guaranteed to take the chill off.....
And, it pairs so nicely with a light pino grigio.
What could be better?

Ricotta Dumplings in Broth.....(click right there for the Proud Italian Cook's Recipe!).....

Where has this soup been all of my life?

What the hell???
I come from a long line of great Italian cooks.
I married into a family of excellent Italian cooks.
And, I think I own every Italian cookbook on the planet.
So, how in the hell did this amazing, comforting Italian soup escape me for the past 51 years?

Hey Nana, hey momma, hey Aunt Phil, hey Aunt Carm, hey Aunt Theresa, hey Aunt Congie, hey Aunt Mary, hey m-i-l Rosa, hey all you cousins and sister-in-laws and cousin-in-laws with Italian blood running through your veins.....perche?

Is it because I'm half Irish?
Is that why you never told me about Ricotta Dumpling Soup?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Yep, there he is folks.....our neighbor to the East.....Punxatawney Phil!

Good old Phil saw his shadow---predicting 6 more weeks of winter.
Yet, despite the dire news, the party is going strong up there in Phil's homeland--Punxatawney.
Just goes to show you, in the dead of winter in a little Pennsylvania town---they have to do something to keep everyone's spirits up....

We can learn a lot from Phil and his neighbors.
Sometimes we just have to celebrate things that would otherwise not be celebration-worthy.
Throw parties and give hi-fives and dance in the street.
Because of a groundhog.

So, let's give this a whirl......


-It's time to CREATE YOUR OWN HOLIDAY right here on Stories from the Road
-Come on...everyone....even you daily readers/non commentors (feel free to comment anonomusly!)......
From Ground Hog Day until Friday (my dad's 89th birthday)....I want you to
Create your own holiday!
Let your fantasies and your imaginations run wild!
In the comments section....tell us....
*what is the name of your holiday?
*what is the date of your holiday?
*give us a little history on your holiday!
*why is your holiday important?
*what are some special traditions that go with your holiday?
* tell us all about it
and tell us how to celebrate it!!!!
so, we can celebrate it together!!!

I'll make it worth your while.....I promise!

So, put those holiday-making thinking caps on and create your own holiday......


Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's a RED month........

so, it's just gotta be good, right?'s filled with red hearts, red roses, red dresses and red lipstick kisses.
In a month filled with so much red, it's destined to be filled with red letter days and red hot nights.
Fingers crossed and new red boots waiting for me to wear in hopes to make it all so....

I'm working very hard to find the good in everything.
Even though February is the shortest month of the year, there are times when it feels like it goes on and on and on and on. Blame it on the cold weather that's worn out it's welcome or maybe it's just the mid winter blues or the colorlessness of my flower garden. Whatever it is--I'm thinking that a change in thinking and a tweak in outlook might just do the trick. Considering that RED is my all time favorite color--I decided to think of February as one big RED month. That should ramp things up a notch or two.
and, if that doesn't work.....
try this:
In a red martini glass, of course.....
2 parts lemon vodka
1 part Cointreau
2-3 parts cranberry juice

1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice.
2. Shake and strain into a chilled red martini glass.
3. Garnish with a few red cinnamon hearts!

Happy February!
Get your RED ON!