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Friday, April 30, 2010

Looking forward to those May flowers......

and leaving behind those April showers......

Literally and figuratively.....

Some things are starting to look up with regard to my father's care. I've been working with the Veteran's Administration for close to year now to obtain funding and/or assistance to care for my father. As with anything government related, these things take time, there's lots of red tape and bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo to wade through, there's tons of paperwork and telephone calls and meetings involved and nothing happens very fast. Yesterday, after months of wrangling and paperwork and more paperwork and phone calls and more phone calls, I finally had an audience with someone who could tell me where we are in the process and what needs to happen now. Yes, there's a ways to go and there's a few more mountains to climb but there's light at the end of that tunnel and there's hope that we can and will be able to give my father the care he deserves and allow my sisters and I to live our lives with a little more peace and a little more time to do what we want/need to do.

For the first time in a very long time, this piece of my life is feeling a little brighter....

As you know, due to a series of events and circumstances, we moved my father out of his assisted living facility into my sister's home. What this has meant is that we no longer have 24-hour monitoring for him that we do not have to participate in. Which in turn means that we have to take responsibility for that care. Naturally, a good deal of this falls to my sister since my father lives in her home. However, she is raising a young son, has a business to run and has a life of her own. That's where we come in.
As you can imagine, it's taken quite a bit of shuffling and rescheduling and figuring out how to make sure my father has 24 hour monitoring and care, that my nephew can live the life that he deserves and my sister can keep her business running and her life in tact. Although the past month has not been's been draining and time consuming for all of us. Thankfully, my father is a delight to be around, he is very aware of the demands we all have with our jobs and families and my sisters and I are very thoughtful and caring with each other. All of that has made it so much easier. But, none of that takes away the reality of what needs to happen each and every moment of each and every day. That's where the Veteran's come in. Because my father is a WWII vet, he is entitled to a pension to help him pay for the care that he needs at this stage of his life. I don't have to tell anyone out there who has cared for aging parents or needed help themselves--care does not come cheaply. This pension was a godsend when we heard about it. Since then, it's been a little bit of a nightmare. But, it looks like we will be waking up from that nightmare within the next few months......something to look forward to.

Not that I wanted to go on and on about all of that but what I did want to do is make a point. The point being that we all have things in our lives that really weigh on us and take up our time and our energy. It's just the way it is. Some days are easier than others. But, these are not the moments that define us. The moments that define us are the times when we get through these burdens or hardships and look back and say...."yes, I lived through that...". That's when we know what we are made of and what we can do and what we can endure and what we can accomplish. And, if nothing else--it gives us the strength and the faith to get through whatever life throws at us next. Because we can be assured that there will always be something else...

Everyone of us can point to something that zaps us each day or makes life feel just a little bit heavier. Maybe it's just me and the people I run with in life but there's not a day that goes by that I don't talk to a friend or get an email from a friend or overhear a discussion about something hard that is going on in their lives. Maybe it's just some problem they are wrestling with on that day or it's a piece of an on-going battle they are trying hard to win. Not-so-perfect lives are everywhere......

And, what does any of that have to do with my weight loss or my Lapband?
Quite a bit, as a matter of fact.
You see, having lost this weight has given me one less problem.....or....should I say.....several less problems--the biggest one being--that I am no longer in a constant state of misery over my weight. And, it's a constant reminder to be thankful to whatever forces I need to be thankful to that whatever was going on in my life when I decided to get my Lapband--I did not let myself get deterred or sidetracked or overwhelmed. Somehow, someway, I forged ahead---in spite of the daily trials of life--and did what I needed to do to get me to this point---115 pounds lighter.
I don't think of the awsomeness of this everyday. But, every once in awhile, when I look back--I realize what an accomplishment it all was. Not the weight loss--that was the result of the accomplishment. The real accomplishment was that I found the strength and the drive and the fortitude to follow through on getting this Lapband and I didn't let anything stop me.
That's why I know that I can and will get through everything else and there is always a good thing waiting at the other end.

So, yeah.....bring on those flowers....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I am so glad you are all here......

I just love a party........especially when it's all about me!

Thanks to my big SOB debut at Gen's, my little corner of the internet is filling up with so many new faces! It feels like one big party! Even at this gawdawful hour of the morning.....

Gin gimlets anyone?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sizes schmizes......

Just when you think you know what size you wear, something throws you off......

I know I've talked about this before but it's worth mentioning again...and again....and again.
We just can't measure our success by numbers....
Yeah, I know, I know....less than a week ago, I ran home from a shopping trip, threw my new pants on the bed and proceeded to take pictures of the size tags.....
That was then.....this is now.
Anyone who has lost....or gained....a good deal of weight can tell you--trying to keep up with what fits and what doesn't can be a sometimes futile but always expensive exercise.
I've got an entire attic filled with clothes that don't fit.
Hell, at this rate, I've got an entire closet filled with clothes, piles of clothes strewn about my bedroom and boxes of carefully folded clothes--that don't fit.
Even though I've done a good job of weeding out and sharing things and giving things away, I'm left with a million dollar wardrobe of sizes.....
And just when I think I've got it all figured out.....I slap on a pair of circa 1992 Levis in a size 10 petite and they do not fit....
Nope, that zipper just ain't going up....
I know, I know--what's a girl doing with a pair of 18 year old jeans?
I saved them.....doesn't everyone save their coveted size jeans?
I mean, I finally find those prized jeans (beneath a bejeweled heavily shoulder-padded acid washed jean jacket packed in a big Pampers box) and the damn things don't fit...
FYI....the jacket fits just fine.....did I really wear that?
Yes I did. With my big hair and my big glasses, thank you very much....

So much for that size 6 I bought last week.....
But, here's the kicker---I weigh less now than I did back there in 1992 when I wore those jeans!
So.....vanity sizing has reared it's ugly head again....
Leaving me to demand---will the real Size 10 petite jeans please stand up!

Monday, April 26, 2010

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

I'm entirely too tired to chat at the moment.
Plus, I don't want to tax myself too much.
I have to save all of my wisdom and my stories for my debut.
Yes, that's right---my debut....
as a real live SOB....aka....Superstar of the Band...
Yes, I've been given the honor of kicking off a new series--the brainchild of the blonde bombshell from Colorado.....Gen of i heart the band fame....
Some time this week, I'll be headed over to Gen's to get that party started.
And, I can't tell you how absolutely tickled I am.
Not just tickled....I'm thrilled, thrilled, thrilled.
Me....a superstar?
Get the fuck outta here....

Anyway, in lieu of a regular post......I decided to take a picture of myself.
I've never done that before.
Now I know why.
Yes, I wear lipstick at 5 am.....don't you?
Alright, alright.
I might be tired.
But, I'm not crazy.
There's no way I would have my picture taken without lipstick on.
There's just no way......
after all, I am a superstar.
How do you think I became a superstar?
Sure, the lipstick is part of it...
but, the rest?
You're just gonna have to visit Gen's blog later this week to find out!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I am nothing but a cheap date......

unless I order the really good stuff........

It's a good time to be so cheap.
Now that we are empty nesters.
It makes it much more reasonable for us to make last minute dates to hook up at our favorite places whenever our schedules allow....even on a weeknight....for no reason at all...

There's one place that we would always go to for special occasions---a little Italian restaurant that is convenient to the major arteries that Carmen and I both travel (in completely opposite directions) for our jobs.
We always saved this place for celebration dinners or special nights out.
We love everything about it--from the atmosphere to the wait staff to the bar crowd.
Everything on the menu--from the antipasti to the zucchini--is excellent.
And, I always felt that this place made the best gin and tonics in a 100 mile radius.
We always ordered appetizers, soup, a main meal and sometimes even addition to maybe a bottle of wine and a few before and after dinner drinks.
So, as you can imagine, it was all a little pricey for just a regular meal or for a quick bite....

Now, all that has changed....

Carmen can text me on any random weekday and ask "Dinner?"....knowing that it won't set us back a week's worth of groceries.....
It will only set us back a little in time and gas to meet up....
We've went from having a dinner that cost close to $150.00 to one that cost $40.00.

My Lapband has made a night out less about the food and more about the experience....

More money left over for shoes.....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's not easy being me......

but I sure do work hard making it look like it is....

That's why every once in awhile, I need a martini, a new pair of shoes and a new shade of lip gloss.
It helps me maintain my perspective.
Gives me a little time to regroup, think differently and fantasize a bit.
And, it doesn't hurt to turn up the glam factor every so often.
Listen, I'm not a high maintenance girl.
I just have a lot of high maintenance people in my life.
High maintenance people who need high maintenance.
So, if I need to slip away to dangle my well-heeled feet off a bar stool and put a fancy glass up to my lovely-hued lips--I think it's okay.
Don't you? (think it's okay, that is)
Of course you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't.
That's why I love my blog readers.....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big Mac Attack!!!!

I'm not sure what caused it.....but I had a major BIG MAC ATTACK last night....
Perhaps it had something to do with my post yesterday when I said I was not trying to lose weight.
Because in my world---I would never, ever think of eating a Big Mac if I was trying to lose weight....
That's not to say that I wouldn't eat a Big Mac if I was trying to lose weight...
No, no, no.
In my non Lap banded life, if I was trying to lose weight AND I had a Big Mac attack--I would have quietly slipped into the line at the drive-thru window, whispered my order into the intercom, hid my face as I paid and then told the person at the window who gave me the Big Mac "my son is at home waiting for this".....
And, then, I would have sped off to the farthest corner of the parking lot, park my car someplace where I could not be seen---preferably hidden by a tree and a large truck--and devour my Big Mac.
I'd then drive away with a major chaser of guilt....
That would be my Big Mac attack of yesteryears......

My Big Mac attack of today goes like this.....
I drove to McDonald's.
I parked my car.
I walked into the restaurant--in broad daylight, in full view of the world.
I walked up to the counter, I spotted something called a Big Mac snack wrap....
I could feel tingling my toes and my heart began to beat faster....
A mini Big Mac! Did they know I was coming?
And, it was only $1.49!
Where could I go for dinner for $1.49?
I ordered my Big Mac snack my regular voice.
I paid for it with a smile.
I spotted a table by the window.
Why hide?
I happily unfurled the paper wrapper.
And, I bit into my Big Mac snack wrap....
It was just as I remembered....the taste, the aroma....of a Big Mac.
Two bites later, I was full.
I was satisfied and full.
Three bites.
And my Big Mac Attack was over.
I proudly walked out the door, got in my car and decided it a good moment to squelch my shoe attack......

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Did she really say that?

Did she really're not going to get any thinner, are you?
Did she really, really say that?
Really, really, really?
I mean--did she really utter those words?
Yes, she did.
How do I know?
Because I asked....
Right there in the ladies room....after I caught my breath and steadied myself....I asked my old colleague/friend (who I haven't seen in ages): "Deb, did you really say that?"
She said "YES I DID! Do you want me to say it again?"
Yes and I want you to say it again and again and make up for all the times I wished I could have heard it.....

I am not trying to lose weight, people!
And, I have not been trying to lose weight for awhile now.
I am not trying to lose weight!
I am happy right where I am.
Happy with my body, my weight, my hips, my boobs, my chin, my legs, my ass, my arms...shit, I am happy with it all. Sagging skin and all.
Do you want me to say it again?
I am not trying to lose weight, people!
And, I have not been trying to lose weight for awhile now.
I am not trying to lose weight!
I am happy right where I am.
Happy with my body, my weight, my hips, my boobs, my chin, my legs, my ass, my arms...shit, I am happy with it all. Sagging skin and all.

This, my friends, is a major moment in history.
A momentous occasion.
It's big.
Waaaay big.

Pinch me, please!!!!
(I've got lots of extra skin to pinch....but, it's okay)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Still food crazy after all these years......

Memories of a wonderful evening of food make me smile.......sometimes that's just what a girl needs to chase away a touch of menopause and a world gone mad....

So, I dug out a few pictures from a very special foodie event.....the Food and Wine Chef's Table Dinner we participated in one snowy February night.....

The incredibly talented Chef Len and his lovely wife......our gracious and entertaining hosts for the evening

The Chef's humble table set up in his gourmet catering kitchen
and adjoining space......

....Judi arrives and is ready to talk food, drink wine.....and eat

Chef Len shares his wisdom with everyone......

but, of course, I had to have a private audience with the Chef. He told me that the 2 things every cook must have are--a good knife and quality pepper.
I loved the simplicity his advice!

a portion of the lovely appetizer display.....

and here I am---looking quite silly--enjoying a bite with Rene--
my double-fisted-drinker college room mate!

Chef Len's famous lobster.....

Our group of happy diners.....filled with good wine, great food, some helpful cooking tips
and lots of fun memories

I love to talk food.
I love to read food.
I love to cook food.
I love to eat food.
I love to think food.
I love to share food.
I love everything food.
It turns me on.
It gets me off.
It rocks my world.
And, sometimes it keeps me sane.
Sanity is something I could use.....right about now.

Before my Lapband--food was my go-to.
For everything.

If I was sad--I ate.
If I was happy--I ate.
If I was bored--I ate.
If I was stressed--I ate.
Not much has changed.
Food is still my go-to.
Although, these days--I'm not just eating the food.
I'm reading about it.
I'm cooking it.
I'm thinking about it.
I'm talking about it.
I'm remembering it.
I'm blogging about it.
I'm dreaming up elaborate meals and recipes in my head.
Yes, I'm still reaching for food to get me through whatever it is I need to get through.

It's no secret that sometimes I get overwhelmed.
We all do.
Life can be like that.
These past few months I've been working very hard to keep my perspective and my sunny disposition in my sometimes-crazy world. Yet, I have found myself teetering on the edge of tears and panic at the most unopportune times--for no reason at all. In the grocery store--in the pasta aisle. Or, at the mall near the coffee kiosk. Or, as I'm putting on mascara at my make-up table. I'm overcome with a wave of panic or fear or I'm *this* close to tears. It's as if a huge dark cloud engulfs me and I'm being swallowed up by it's vapors. And, I don't know what to do.
I am paralyzed.
In my state, I tell myself--you won't let this happen to you.
So, I soldier on--pushing my cart down the aisle or taking deep breaths as I walk or continuing to put my make up on.
I'm determined not to be swallowed up by the those feelings--whatever those feelings are.
So, I fight them...every step of the way.
Until they go away.
Thankfully, they always do.

Is this what they call the change of life?
Is this when I finally go crazy....for real?

Thank God for some of my favorite food blogs.....calorie-free, Lapband friendly comfort that get me through whatever it is that I'm going through......

Just in case you need a good dose of food-induced sanity....I'll share a few with you---
The Proud Italian Cook
Kalyn's Kitchen
Italian Foodies
More Than Burnt Toast
No Fear Entertaining
Ciao Italia
Once Upon a Plate

Do you have any favorite food blogs?
Please share.
A girl with a touch of menopause can never have enough comfort.....

Monday, April 19, 2010

After the storm........

after the weekend......
it's Monday.
Reality is here once again......

It's time to deal with what Mother Nature bestowed upon us.
A micro-burst touched down in Judiland during a very intense storm on Friday afternoon.
Lots of power outages, lots of downed trees, lots of damage.
Thankfully, we are all safe....but here's what I came home to.....

This is a huge tree that sat at the corner of my street (next door to me). It was a very old and beautiful tree that brought beauty to the entrance of our little neighborhood. I heard that the wind swooped in and just pulled it out of the ground like a small twig. It blocked the entry way to our street. Even though I was only several feet from my house (at this intersection), I couldn't get there!
So, trying to get home was no fun!

Then, when I did get home......this is what was waiting for me at my house! The neighbor's tree crashed into our property---across our side fence,damaging one section of it, crashing into our trampoline, ravishing our deck and taking out the back fence.....
It took apart Toni's trampoline, it whipped our deck furniture all over the backyard and into our driveway and covered our entire backyard with debris......

Happy Monday......

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Give me another......

not a good idea......

Celebrating 28.........yeah, it would have been much easier if I was 28....

One martini.....feels fine
Two martinis.....feels finer

Three is not a's a headache.....

This morning is all about dealing with that headache....
And making Sunday dinner......


Yes, there's got to be a morning after......
I just wish it didn't include making ham, scalloped potatoes and roasted asparagus......

The girl in the hat.....

1982, 118 pounds, 23 years old

I loved that lipstick......

Thank you to my life long friend Debbie for sharing this picture.....

Saturday, April 17, 2010

28 years and counting......

We're celebrating our 28th Anniversary today......
28 years?
Yes, 28 years.
Where did the years go?
I'll tell you where they went....they went through the pounds....

Don't believe me?

Here we are celebrating our 24th my sister's for Easter

Here we are celebrating our 25th Anniversary with a trip back to our honeymoon spot.....

GOT MY between here!
Here we are celebrating our 26th Anniversary....Cruise to Bermuda
Here we are on our 27th Anniversary....Niagara-On-the-Lake wine tour.....

Here we are today.......on Broadway!

Here we are....on our way to 29!

Thank God for my Lapband........

Happy Anniversary to us!

Friday, April 16, 2010

But, not petite enough......
To fit into this...
(Buggy Sweepstakes at Carnegie Mellon University)

All I gotta say is......Thank God!
Not that they would want an aging staff member to steer their buggy!

Yes, friends, laying down inside of that contraption--known as a buggy--is a petite young woman. She is steering it around a course---sometimes being pushed by pushers. But, other times, she is free riding---swooping around bends and flying down shoots.
So, not only is she a petite young woman--she is also a fearless young woman!
In my 30 years of watching this event, I have often said--don't let your daughters grow up to be buggy drivers....

So, if you're in and around Pittsburgh this weekend and you want to witness this event.....check here for more info....

See you at the races........

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A taxing situation.......

and it's taxing the hell out of me.......

And, I can't eat to make it go away.
Or make it feel better.
Or to relieve the stress.

It's tax day.
Just the fact that it is tax day makes it a pretty stressful day.
But, that's not what is taxing me.
I'm being taxed by guilt.
Yep, good old fashioned guilt.
I can't seem to be all things to all people and still do what I want to do.
And I am feeling awfully guilty.
Yeah, I know....that's nothing new.
But, it's wearing on me.
It's that time of the year when invitations abound--for parties and weddings and showers and luncheons and all kinds of fun things....
So many things I really want to do....
But I have obligations and commitments.
And, if I don't up hold those obligations and commitments, other people--who I dearly love--are impacted.
Thus, the guilt.
Thus, the taxing situation.
Thus, the desire to eat nachoes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eating to live......

not living to eat.......

It's a whole new way of life.
One I tried to master for years.
And, I never got it.
I never got it.
So, when I finally had enough.
And, I finally figured out that there's gotta be another way.
I did what I do best--I altered my reality.
I think that method works best for me.
But, that's just me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Note to self.......

stay connected.......

By the time you reach 51, if you're lucky--you have a life filled with people.
More friends.
More family.
A full life.
A busy life.
No holds barred.
To-do lists up the ying-yang.
A world that always needs a piece of you....

It's so easy to lose sight....

Sometimes you just need a reminder that you have to stay connected....really connected.
To the people in your life.
Not just the people that you see everyday.
Not just the people who you are connected to by virtue of commitment or obligation.
The people in your life....even your yesterlife.....
It's not easy.
It takes time.
Life gets in the way.
Dishes and laundry get in the way.
As do jobs and kids and partners and parents and siblings and computers and emails and blogs and sleep......
Today gets in the way.
This moment in time zaps your energy, your thoughts, your intentions.
Well, you get the picture.
We get busy.

Last night, someone reached out to me to tell me she needed me.
And, in that communication, she told me she was sorry she didn't stay connected.
And, I felt guilty.
Because I did not stay connected.
She needed me.
Not tomorrow.
Not next week.
Or next month.

Sure, I had suitcases to unpack.
And laundry to do
And emails to answer.
And taxes to finish.
And dinner to cook.
And phone calls to make.
And a couch to lay on.....

It all had to wait.
Someone needed me.
And, she had the courage to tell me.
After it was all said and done and the tears were gently wiped and the embracing arms were unfurled---I found a peace that I haven't felt in so long.

Sometimes the world has to wait while we make it right again.
Sometimes everyone and everything has to wait when the call comes.

I slept better last night than I've slept in a very long time.

This message may not make any sense to anyone....except to those people who need to be reminded to stay connected.

That was my public service announcement for today.....
I hope you listened.
I hope you had the energy to listen.
Because life can be so tiring..... I know.

Monday, April 12, 2010


But, not without some lovely memories.
I'm entirely too tired at the moment to share a blow-by-blow of our fun and adventure-filled weekend in New Jersey and New York City visiting with Carmen's I'm just going to let the pictures below tell the story......
I'll share more later.
It's time to get on with Monday.......

Carmen and I at Thatcher McGee's Irish Pub upon our arrival in NJ

The entire Italian Pittsburgh contingency at Thatcher McGee's....

Toni and I with Teresa, Rosa and Mary....enjoying time in Mary's NJ kitchen....

And, here we the famous Brownstone! What a wonderful place! Everything was absolutely perfect for Rena's bridal shower.....
You can tell I'm very happy to be there in the land of the New Jersey Housewives..... if you couldn't tell these gorgeous girls were related!!!!
And, the happy Bride and Groom......

Yes, it was a beautiful weekend.......

Thursday, April 8, 2010


pressed between the pages of my mind.......

Before Lapband



If you ever wondered what made me do it.....
You can stop wondering now!

Now I'm busy making new memories......
As a matter of fact, that's just where I am headed now....
I'm taking my Lap banded body on the road!

I'll tell you all about it on Monday!
And maybe I'll even have a few new pix......

Have a wonderful weekend in your world!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Confessions of a thinner girl.....

forgive me blog readers, for I am vain.......I just love not being fat!

Life is far from perfect.
As a matter of fact, it's very far from being perfect.
But, for a few moments each and every day--it is very perfect.
When I glide on my clothes.
When I look in the mirror.

When someone tells me I look good.
When I realize....I am not fat.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring has sprung., April showers and

all that jazz.....

It's a bit of a whirlwind week here in my little suburban hamlet.
And, it's only Tuesday.
Yes, Judiland is still recuperating from a busy Easter weekend filled with lots of cooking, cleaning, more cooking and more cleaning and kids being home and friends and family coming and going.
Oh and wine.
21 lovely bottles of it.....
Yes, it was a good weekend.
Very fun.
Very busy.
Now, only the remnants of all that funness and busyness remain.
That doggone Easter bunny came...leaving behind a trail of dishes and glasses that must to be put away and leftovers that need attention.
Please....can someone come by and pick up those pretty speckled malted milk eggs and lovely mini cream puffs that are inhabiting my space?
Save me from the temptation and deliver me from the evil of their goodness.....
Oh, and while you're here rescuing those sweets from my fridge.....could you empty the dishwasher, put away the linens and possibly clean the floors, haul away the trash and finish up the laundry from last week?
And, just in case you have a few extra minutes while you're here....would you mind scrubbing the shower stall? It could really use it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good friends, good food, good wine.......

and a good time was had by all.......

Here's a few scenes from our Easter Eve Italian Wine Tasting and Dinner.....

Just in case our wining and dining guests didn't know it was Easter.....there were a few decorations......yeah, just a few....

Here's Carmen and I after putting the finishing touches on the event and before the house filled up with friends and family.....

Here's the white wine section......with a few Easter sweets....
Here's my sisters.....taking a little break in the wine-ing

Here's my father.....overseeing the action...

Here's the Burrata cheese.....which was flown in on Thursday night from Italy......yum!

Here's a few winos taste testing some of the wines.....Aisling, Alexa, Martha and Toni enjoying some white wine....

Here's my brother-in-law Rich doing his duty.....carving the Easter ham (btw, I used this recipe for my was to-die-for)

Our late night after-the-wine-ing dinner.....Aisling, Alexa, Martha, Rich, Brittany and Toni

My beautiful children.....being nice to one another! There's my nephew Jared and Carmen in the background of the first picture.....

Carmen and I getting our wine on.....

More dinner......Alexa, Martha, Rich, Brittany and Vince....

The four of us......that's our friend Kevin in the mirror....

Another Easter come and gone.
Leaving behind good memories and lots of left over food (but no leftover wine!)......

Hope your Easter weekend was just as lovely.....