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Monday, January 31, 2011

Good Bye January, Hello Monday.......


How about planning to come home to this for dinner?

Arugula, Pancetta and Tomatoes Over Polenta.....
(this is absolutely amazing and just what you need to eat when
you're done with winter but winter is not done with you)

1 tube of Polenta---prepared (I use Trader Joes)
6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
3 cups fresh arugula
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, divided
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Good quality Romano Cheese
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the pancetta and cook stirring frequently, until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. Add the tomatoes, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for 2 minutes until tender. Add the arugula and 1/4 cup basil and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Stir in the butter and melt. Add the polenta and the cooked pancetta and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the polenta to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining basil and romano cheese.

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Give me jeans or pajamas......

I do not need a hybrided version.

Pajama jeans?
Give me a break!

If I want to wear jeans. I will wear jeans.

Tight, booty-enhancing, sexy jeans with stilhettos.

If I want to wear pajamas, I will wear pajamas.

Leopard print silk with maribou slides or red plaid with fuzzy slippers.

Long gone are the days that I wear jeans for comfort.
That's what I have my leggings and sweats for.
Long gone are the days that I want to be able to fit into a pair of jeans just because they will stretch every which way.
These days, I like to look at the size label that's stitched on the inside of the waistband.
Give me tight, suck-em-in jeans, a cute little top, a fun jacket, a statement belt, a rockin' pair of heels and I'm going out on the town and drinking martinis, sweetie.
Give me a pair of cozy jammies and I am hanging out on the couch drinking tea, baby.
We are not mixing the two.
That's it.
I don't care how cheap they are.
I don't care if they are as seen on TV.

Pajama's just not natural.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Are we too sexy for our shoes?

On my way out the door for a night out.......too much cleavage?

My spirited girlfriends and I.....
Cocktails anyone?

Cocktails and cleavage.....

I am so blessed....

Yes, it's true...girls who are over 50 command the universe!

In fact, that's why I have a headache.....universe commanding can do that to a girl.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Socially acceptable eating.......

this is what I am thinking about today.

Let me set the scene....
A business luncheon.
Seven corporate-y NYC types---we were hosting them for the day.
Three of my colleagues.
The Faculty Club--a buffet style, clubby type of place filled with academic types, educators, corporate partners, etc.
I am the last one to come to the table.
I sit across from a colleague who I just met for the first time and who was the lead host on the visit. She was very nervous that it would go just right. Afterall, these NYC corporate-y types were a big her.
On my tray is a small scoop of tuna salad, 2 cucumber slices, a cup of yogurt with 2 strawberry slices and a glass of iced tea.
Everyone else's trays were piled high with salads, rolls, main courses, pies, cakes.....well, you get the picture.

Ms. Corporate-y NYC Type #1 looks at my tray and asks "eating light today?"
Ms. Corporate-y NYC Type #2 glances over and says "looks like you are the only one who doesn't splurge! We should all be ashamed for eating so much!"
Ms. New Colleague Who I Just Met For the First Time gave me a quasi-stern look over the rim of her glasses.
I just smiled at everyone, made a quick reference to possibly going out to dinner later and left it at that.
A few moments later, Ms. Corporate-y NYC Type #1 begins talking about her personal trainer and how mortified he would be to see her eat so many calories. "But, he doesn't get it..." she mused "on expense account-will eat!"
Ms. Corporate-y NYC Type #2 chimed in. "Personal trainers don't eat, that's why he would be mortified!"
To which Ms. Corporate-y NYC Type #1 quipped "And they don't have expense accounts!"
Ms. New Colleague Who I Just Met For the First Time tried to corral the group back to talking "business" instead of lamenting over their bad eating habits.
But, that didn't last too long.
Upon noticing my plate of food for the first time, Mr. Coporate-y NYC Type #1--one of the males in the bunch--asked "is THAT ALL you are eating?"
Once again, I smiled and said I was going out to dinner later.
"SO ARE WE!!" he said with a very animated shrug of his shoulders.
My food consumption was making my lunch guests uncomfortable.
I could feel it in my bones.
Ms. New Colleague Who I Just Met For the First Time once again glared at me from the across the table.
I was feeling beads of sweat beginning to form on the back of my neck.
Why didn't I just get a full plate of food? I thought to myself.
But, what would I do with all the food I couldn't eat?
Throw it away?
That didn't seem very right.
Eat it?
Then vomit at the table?
I was caught between a morale dilemna and a professional dilemna and a Lapband dilemna.
And, it didn't feel good.
Miss Manners for Lapbanders....where are you when I need you?
I just knew what Ms. New Colleague Who I Just Met For the First Time was thinking.
She thought that I was being insensitive to our guests by not eating--thus making them feel badly about themselves.
And, I was right.....that is exactly what she was thinking.
How do I know?
She told me so.
Yes, just like that, as everyone was getting their coats together, she coyly leaned over the table and said in an agitated tone "next time, you might want to eat a bit more food.....okay?"
Sure, I could have punched her right there.
But, that didn't seem too socially acceptable.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sometimes all it takes is a teeny, weeny hamburger

and a few glasses of wine and an old friend......
To make me feel new again.

I am ecstatic.
I wanna do cartwheels.
Maybe even back flips.
I might even be orgasmic on this one.

I have many best friends.
Thankfully...I am so blessed.
But, I think I found a brand new one.
It's a Lapbanders best buddy.
Trust me on this one.
I feel like I've discovered the holy grail with melted cheddar cheese and mayonnaise.
A hamburger slider.!
It's this teeny, weeny little hamburger.
One that would have never filled my appetite when I was squeezing into Size 22.
And...get's only $2 on Wednesday nights at one of my favorite haunts.
Who knew?
Leaving more money for more glasses of my luscious Montivina Sauvignon Blanc
Just an added bonus to a night spent with a dear friend who has known me since I wore diapers.
Sometimes life just can't get any better than that....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Come a little closer, my dear......

I don't want anyone to think I've gone completely bonkers.
So, I'm just going to whisper in your ear, if you don't mind.

I'm pretty sure I'm ready to pursue my fantasy of being a cage dancer.
(I think it's only sane way to keep me away from killing someone!)

Or, maybe it's just Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blame it all on Jack.......

Thank You Jack!
Get Heaven back in shape...then you can Rest in Peace!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I just realized how YOUNG she was.....

My mother died when she was 53.

Today, I am on the road to 53.

I think this is bothering me.

I have so much more living to do.
Did she feel the same way?
I realize how much she missed.

I was only 14 when she died.
I didn't get it.
Now I know.

She didn't get to see her daughters...the 3 of us...become women.
She didn't see us walk down the aisle
She didn't see us become mothers.
She didn't get to see us be the women we are today.

She didn't get to meet Vince.
She didn't see his nose that hooked when he cried.
The DiPippa nose.
She didn't get to see that he looked so much like her brothers and her nephews.
She didn't get to love the boy whose eyes matched hers.
She didn't get to realize that she would be the grandmother of a boy who we would one day call Dr. Vince....her grandson, the PhD.
She would have been so proud.

She didn't get to meet Toni.
The little girl who I named after her.
The beautiful Italian looking girl with a quick wit and a penchant for parties.
She would have adored having a grandaughter like her...with brown eyes and dark hair and a love for fashion.
I wonder if she dreamed about her.
She didn't get to sew her a communion dress or a prom gown.
There were so many times I dreamed about that.
I wonder if she did too.
My mother would have truly, deeply enjoyed being Toni's grandmother.
I know that from the bottom of my heart.

My mother didn't get to meet her grandchildren....
Vince--the magic eyed boy with the stroke of genius and an every-day likability...
Alexa--the gorgeous, intense girl with the curly hair and the smirky smile
Andy--the compassionate and creative soul....
Toni--the beautiful, creative, witty girl...
Brett--the quirky, loveable intelligent fellow....
Jared--the loving, soulful boy....

Yes, I missed my mother.
Yet, she missed more.
Because she died so young.....when she was 53.
Funny....I just realized how young she was.
Because now I'm 52.
And I am young.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

52 and counting........

Old enough to know better....too young to give a rats ass.......

Happy Birthday to me....

There I am...heading out last night to celebrate!!
Don't you just love, love, love my Betsy Johnson fur trimmed sweater?
(please ignore the background....I'm still de-decorating....)
It was not only MY 52nd birthday but also
my dear friend Martha's 52nd birthday!
We've been celebrating and making memories
and telling stories about those birthdays for many years......
Someday I'll have to tell you all about our 36th birthday!
Think....too many margaritas.

Last night, we had a lovely dinner at a little place that's been buzzing for a few months now.
They say they have the best crab cakes around.
Considering I am the world class afficiondado on crab cakes....
I gotta tell you.....
they are not the best ever.
But, they are very good.

Today, I am 52.

Oh...and btw.....please pray really hard for the Steelers to win!
If they lose, it will sorta ruin my birthday. will ruin it for other people.
Not me.
I'll be opening gifts.....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It was a very good year......

Music and lyrics



I feel so grown up.
I want to put on a pair of elbow length gloves.
And a dress that has darts that fits in at the waist.
With a little stole around my shoulders.
A furry one.
A pair of nude hose with a lacey garter belt.
Pointy-toed black patent pumps.
A black cigarette holder with rhinestones.

This song.....
Makes me sing along with heart.
My hands extended in emotion.
My eyes with water at the brim.
"When I was seventeen...."

The notes.
Drill straight into my heart.
"When I was 21....."
Yes, it was a very good year.

The magical sound.
Goes straight to my soul...
"When I was 35..."
Yes it was a very good year.

This I listen to it....

It sounds like a martini....smooth, straight to the head....
It makes me want to dance....just a little
It makes my mind wander....just a little
It gives me goose bumps...just a little.
It makes me remember...just a little.

But, mostly, it just makes me think...
But now the days grow short
I am in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
from fine old kegs
from the brim to the dregs and it poured sweet and clear

It was a very good year

It was a mess of good years

Good bye 51.......
52 I'm coming....with a martini ....straight up, with a twist.

Yes,it was a very good year.
When I was 51.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Make me feel good!

Come on!
Tell me you still have your Christmas decorations up.......
Because I'm feeling mighty badly about the fact that.....yes.....I do.
Misery loves company.
No. No. Misery NEEDS company....
So, fess up friends.....

Here, I'll start....

My Christmas tree is still standing in all it's glory, my front door still greets everyone with a hearty greeting, Santa is still waving at passersby, the stockings are still hung by the chimney with care, the Christmas china is still sitting on the dining room table, the holly crystal is sitting beside it, the lights are still twinkling, the bathroom is still adorned.....
At least I can say that it's no longer Christmas in the kitchen.
And, some of the dining room decor is packed away.
But, all the containers filled with the kitchen and dining room Chrsitmas shit are sitting in the corner of the dining room.

Last night, as I dragged myself in the house at 9:30 pm--after a full day of work--I spied the Christmas tree....ugh.....then, I asked myself--is this the way the rest of the world lives or just me?
I figured I'd ask my blog friends.......
Just a quick caution--all of you who have your Christmas decor neatly tucked away for next year need not reply.
Even though I love ya.....this ain't the moment to share that good news.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I've given in....

to football.

To be more precise--I've given in to the Steelers.
Yes, friends, I didn't stomp my feet or take a hissy fit when my birthday weekend trip was sidelined because of a championship game.
I didn't cry or whine or moan or play the martyr when I found out that the NFL chose my birthday to play their big championship game here in Pittsburgh.
I get it....January 23rd is a special day. Made for champions.
And, I didn't throw shoes or set my hair on fire when the plans that have been in place for a few months--that I was so looking forward to--were tossed aside for a football game.
I didn't wish bad luck on the Steelers when they won and I didn't get all bent out of shape when the Patriots lost--thus putting the game right here in my backyard.
No, I took it all in stride.
Because I'm mature.
So, come Sunday, I will donn my black and gold and be a patient birthday girl.
Yes, and I might even join in the hooting and the hollering and make a few appetizers.
I won't paint my face but I might shake up a few Steelertinis.
Because now I am owed not just a great gift--but a super great gift-- and an even better birthday trip as a thank you for my willingness to give in to football.

By the time you're 52, a girl knows how to work the system.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back to basics?

Is that the key?

The other night, while trying to eek out just a few more minutes to my day, I happened upon yet another article aimed at new year resolutions.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Hell bent on trying desperately to hold on to the weekend, I decided to skim it a bit and see if it said anything that would kick start my heart into really wanting to tackle yet another week.
It wasn't exactly new stuff and it wasn't even well written.
But, there were three words that I lingered over--Back to Basics.
Simple, common words that stopped me dead in my tracks.
I think I even let out a sarcastic little laugh.....
I scratched my head, stared off into the darkness.....
I don't even know what the basics are. How in the hell can I get back to the them if I don't even know what they are?

Sure, sure, I know what B-to-B means when it comes to certain things.
I know a girl needs a pair of black pointy toed patent pumps, a little black dress, a perfect red lipstick, a pair of black lacey panties, a sexy bra, a classic black clutch that can hold a few bucks and a few contraband cigarettes and a good martini shaker.
And, I know what pots and pans one must have in the kitchen and what spices are a must.
Plus, I've got the whole basic rock and roll collection down to a science.
I make sure I always wear a blazer or jacket and heels in the office and I'm never lost when it comes to what's needed in my medicine cabinet.
And, I guess I'm well-versed on Lapband basics.
But, in life--what are the basics?

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's a HELLUVA week.....

so far.

And, it's only Monday.

Sometimes when I think my life goes at a frenetic pace, it's nice to be reminded that yes it does.
I'm not imagining it.
This is very good news.
I'd hate to think all of this was in my head.
Because....honestly....I couldn't dream this stuff up.

We have a new guy at work.
He's a great guy from what I can tell.
But I'm getting just a little bit worried about him.
He seems completely and utterly overwhelmed by the pace of our days, the number of hours we work, the hundreds of emails we re expected to respond to, the onslaught of meetings that appear on our calendars, the extra activities we are expected to participate in, the huge projects we are tasked with, the committee time we are responsible for being part of and the fact that--as he says it--no one does lunch around here unless it's a working lunch.
All the while he is telling me this, I'm thinking....and your point is? please get to it quickly because I have 56 emails that need answered in the next 10 minutes, I have a phone meeting in 5, I need to confirm 27 interviews, finish 3 proposals and I think my bladder needs emptied. Not sure on that last one though.

I'm sure everyone feels overwhelmed with their days and their lives.
I'm not alone.
But when I encounter someone who actually sits there and says "this is too much", I find myself taken aback.
On one hand I want to cheer and scream and say "look someone else notices!"
On the other hand, I want to say "what the hell is wrong with you?"
Part of me is impressed that someone has the balls to say "I want to go to lunch not sit at my computer and work through it!"
Another part of me wants to say "just get with the program, okay?"

Sometimes I think all of this work and the hectic pace of it become badges of honor.
It's as if we are not feeling overwhelmed and running on empty, our life and our time matters less.
I admit, I get caught up in that thinking--in a very unconscious way.
I wonder--is it just my environment that does it to me or is it me or it is just life?

I'm so mentally and physically exhausted right now, all I have the energy to do is....WONDER....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blame it all on my roots.......

I had sushi and sangria while wearing my boots and aided in that black and gold affair....

While the rest of SteelerNation were sitting on cold bleachers, in their favorite chairs or perched on beergarten stools, I bellied up to the sushi bar---where the sushi was raw, the entertainment was interesting and the peach saki sangria was flavorful.
There were no crowds, no bellowing horns or painted faces.
Just a big screen TV front and center, Toni, my sister and I, 4 sushi chefs and a bartender (who cheered in Vietnamese).
It was a night of Steelers, sushi and sangria.
Who could ask for anything more?

Steeler fans are a funny breed.
Pittsburghers are very set in their ways when it comes to their sports teams.
Apparently, my night of sushi eating and sangria drinking at a local Habachi grille had a hand in our team making it to championship game.
As a matter of fact--what I fed my father yesterday had something to do with it as well.
In fact--even the underwear I had on were responsible for the win.
Where I sat, what I said, who I said it to and how I said it all contributed to the fact that the Steelers are on the road to the Super Bowl.
I've heard of a good pair of shoes getting you laid.
But, wearing my black Aigner boots, hanging out with a few sushi chefs and eating Alaskan salmon roll while throwing back fruity drinks was so powerful and so influential in the win that I'm being instructed to return next week to insure another win?

GO STEELERS!'s back to college day.
I'm just a little bit sad.
The snow is falling.
I broke a nail.
Where's a peach saki sangria when you need it?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Walk of shame......

I'm hungover.
It's a terrible thing.
I overindulged.
Partied until the wee hours.
I had a one night stand.

It seemed so right.
The romance was so intoxicating.
So delightful.
The pleasure drew me in.
Captivated me.
Stripped away my inhibitions.
Loosened my standards.

I can't respect myself in the morning.
I'm a naughty, naughty girl.
A very bad, naughty, naughty girl.

I guess I'm just a sucker when it's so cool, smooth and hard.

Yes, I ate the rest of the Peppermint Bark.
What did you think I was talking about?

Friday, January 14, 2011

2 weeks into 2011.......

it's time to empty the nest, get rid of Santa Claus, banish the wreaths and the Christmasy baubles, take down the tree and get ready for life beyond the holidays.........
before I do that....
the next 24 hours is all about praying that the snow will stop long enough for them to clear the roads and keep them clear for our safe voyage back to Collegeland this weekend......
It's a trip comprised of windy back roads and big hills that dip into little valleys.
Definitely not a car ride you want to make when the snow is falling and the roads are treacherous.

Snowgods, I implore you......STOP. RIGHT.NOW.

Oh yeah, and TGIF.....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I just can't shake the fear.....

of being fat again.

I said it.
Hopefully that's the first step towards my recovery.

Ever since my Lapband appointment last week, I find myself in this very odd place.
A place I haven't been in well over 2 years.
I mean....I only gained 2 pounds.
And, for all I know, those visiting pounds might be gone already.
But, since I swore off the scale until February would I know?
But, let's be honest....I don't think it's the 2 pounds that are making me this way.
I am pretty sure I'm going over the deep end over the fact that my band is filled to capacity.
Now, this is very bizarre.
When the rest of my Lapband friends are trying to get to the holy grail...aka THE SWEET SPOT...I am freaking out about the fact that I am at the sweet spot.
Yeah, I need to get a grip!

I'm doing nutso things.
Like waiting for my pants not to fit.
I mean....literally waiting.
As in--thinking they will get tight at any moment and then never fit again.
As if it will happen over a 24 hour period.
Or indulging in a little bit of ice cream--all the while thinking "there I go, sinking back into my size 22's"....
Or panicking that the dress I bought for my Godchild's wedding in July won't fit in July.
Wondering what the hell I will wear. That damn dress is just too perfect.
Feeling like I want to cry.
I'm so scared.
And, Carmen is not helping the matter much.
The gloom and doom fella that he is.
When I told him about the 2 pound weight gain--what did he say?
"I guess this means you are putting it all back on."
Couldn't he just say something like "what's 2 pounds over the holidays?"
No. Not my beloved.
He doesn't say much about the weight loss but he sure can kick me when I'm down.
Now I want to hide from him when I eat.
Should I be sticking my fork into his eyeballs instead of in my food?
Thank God I didn't tell him what has really been scaring the beejeebies out of me--the fact that my band is filled to capacity.
I can just imagine what he would say if I told him that---
Instead of telling me that I am crazy to worry and remind me that I still have my Lapband...he would increase my fears by getting all spastic on me.
He's not exactly a good person to have around when you need a rock to hold you up.
Just sayin'.....
But, really.....this is not about him or what he says or doesn't say.
It's all about me.
I'm the one going crazy.

Is this ridiculous or what?

I's all getting a bit out of hand.
My mind is racing with all these thoughts.
Crazy behavior is exhausting.

You know, it's very tiring being so consumed by weight.
No wonder it's so easy to throw in the towel when you are constantly worried about the next pound.
Pretty soon you are so tired of worrying about 1 pound or 2 pounds or 10 pounds, you just quit worrying.
And, you give in.
You just say enough.
Enough. Enough. Enough.
There's too many other things to worry about.
You don't want to worry about losing and gaining and losing and gaining.
Totally and utterly to-the-bone-exhausting.
That's why I always loved my band so much.
I didn't worry.
It was so freeing and felt so good.
Sure, I had to do the work.
But, I had this amazing tool.
Which I still have.
I know that.
I don't mean to talk in the past tense.

It's just that I have this fear..... And, I can't shake it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'd go SOUTH........

but I hear they are having snow there too......

After a drive home that took 2.5 hours last evening through blinding snow and snarled traffic, I've had my fill of winter.
Not even a glass of the lovely unoaked chard that I picked up on the way home helped.
My pit stop at the wine store only lengthened the time it took me to get to a respectable bathroom.
Yet, here I sit, mentally preparing myself to once again throw myself out into the barren, cold morning to fight yet another day of nature's wrath.
'Tis January.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If I can't beat 'em, I might as well join 'em.......

or something like that.

In my maniacal quest to outdo myself in the entertaining department this past holiday season, I spent a lot of time thinking about and reading about and experimenting with recipes.
Boy oh boy.....not only did it keep me occupied and busy then but now I'm left with a whole new cache of addictions.
Thankfully, they aren't food addictions.
They are Food Blogger addictions.
All of a list of must-reads has quadrupled.
Not a good way to start out a new year that already has a must-do list as long and as twisting and turning as the Monongahela River.
Last year I needed 48 hours in each day just to do it all.
This year, I need 48 hours just to read food blogs.
Perhaps I'm just upping my calorie free way to consume wonderful food.
Seriously, some of these blogs feed my soul in the same ways that food did it for me when I was eating lots of it.
These blogs are that good.
Every morsel of them are delish.
Really. Really. There are a ton of amazing food bloggers out there.
It's extremely humbling.
And, they don't only have good recipes--they are joy to read.
Not only are they good cooks and have great recipes to share.
They are good writers.
Be still my heart.

All of a sudden.....I care about these bloggers.
I never meant to get so involved with them but here I am....I care.
My heart goes pitter-patter and my toes curl up just a wee bit when I see them on my computer screen!
They have infiltrated my world so much so that I think about them during my off-reading hours and I tell other people about them.
Yes, sometimes I even fantasize about them.
And, they don't even know it since I have no time to comment as I bounce around to get my fix....
I gotta slow down and let them know what they have meant to me.
But, there's just so many.....what's a girl to do when she's trying to devour them all....?

When I serve their recipes--I introduce them with fanfare--telling those seated at my table a little about the person who gave me the recipe.....

She has the most adorable puppy.....
Yes, he was tauted by the London Times.....
Oh, you should see her kitchen....
He got this recipe while visiting friends in Bali...

As if they really are in-person friends who I lunch with regularly....

Eileen over at Anger Management did a piece about the interesting connections in the world of blogger friendships and how they affect our daily lives.
It's the world of social media.
Funny...isn't it?
I mean, just the other day, I had a little lighthearted wrangling with my sister on Facebook.
For all of our FB friends to witness....and jump in if they wanted.
Interestingly--our FB sparring was about food.
Well, more precisely about the food I feed my father.
Thankfully, I didn't have to banter with her in person--I would have lost.
My command of the English language is so much better in the written word than in the face of my sister's wrath.
Perhaps all of these food bloggers are the same way....not as tantalizing in person as they are on my computer screen.
But not to me.
No. No. No.
As far as I am concerned, they are just as delightful and interesting and wonderful in person as they are in their blogs.
That's why I listen to them and hold on to their every recipe and ingredient and cooking tip.
That's why I willingly go with them when they tell me to smash the fennel.
They have transformed me in many ways.
Case in point....
As much as I am 100% against New Year's resolutions, it appears that my Food Blogger besties are making them.
They are making FOOD RESOLUTIONS.
No, they aren't vowing to cut out fats or lose weight or stop their cookie habits.
See, I told you....I like these people.
They are making food-related resolutions.
For instance, they are saying things like:
-throw away spices past their expiration date
-make one crock pot meal a week
-learn how to use each part of the chicken
-debone a whole chicken at least once
-buy one really good multi purpose knife

This speaks to me.
Honestly, all of them seem like good ideas. Doable things even I can do.
Things I would like to do.
Resolutions I can live with.
I mean....I really should clear out my spices. That doesn't seem too hard, right?
As for the crock pot thing--I gotta cook anyway. And, my crockpot should be used more often.
So, yeah I'm really liking the once-a-week crock pot thing.
Remember this blogger? She became a real mega star using her blog and her crock pot!
Viva la crockpot!
As for the chicken things--they seem like a good idea but I'll have to think about it a little more.
Especially the deboning thing. After all, there are boneless chicken breasts.....
As for the knife thing--I have always thought I should buy a good one......I especially think this as I carve the Thanksgiving turkey or the Easter ham each year.
Maybe if I had a really good knife I would want to debone something....who knows?

Like one blogger said.....
Resolutions don't always have to be geared toward chiseling your body into a perfect state or changing some major part of your life.
Sometimes a better strategy is to take on a few smaller resolutions that might give you a different outlook on life or just teach you a few new skills.

Doesn't that sound dreamy?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday morning wasn't happening......

at least not when the alarm clock said it should......

Yes, friends, I still haven't fully recuperated from all the holiday hoopla.
To be more precise--I just haven't got back into the swing of things.
Shaving my legs is a huge undertaking these days.
Thankfully pants are fashionably acceptable officewear.
If it weren't for the fact that I can't wear a bag on my head AND drive, make-up might not even be happening.
Yes, it's that bad.

A new year is supposed to bring with it a renewed energy and lots of excitement.
If that's the case--why does it have to be smack dab after 2 months of non-stop dressing up and cooking and cleaning and entertaining and partying and dressing up and cooking and cleaning and entertaining and partying?
Whoever came up with this idea that we should be raring to go come the first week of January didn't live in the 21st Century, did they?
There's too much to do--at home, at work and everywhere else.
Plus, there's the aftermath of all the holidays to contend with.....think Christmas decorations that must come down and put away and projects that were put on hold just because it was December.
Add that all to the fact that it's January and.....well.....let's just leave it at that.
January...enough said.
Here on the East Coast of the United States, it's cold, cold, cold.
Everyday brings with it a threat of snow if not now then later.
It's all enough to damped the spirits of even the most spirited girl.
No wonder last night found me on the couch, under a big blanket, trying to stay awake long enough to laugh my way through a movie (Dinner for Shmucks).
I really was trying to liven up my state with some mentally healthy comedy.
All that comedy must have did me in.....I passed out promptly at the closing credits.
Never to awaken again until I heard the stirrings of my alarm clock--which was upstairs in my bedroom.
I was still on the couch. The TV was still on.
Morning had arrived. I had not.
That's my Monday story.
I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

200+ pound gone.....

105 to go......

Such is the life of a home filled with college students.
Vince has returned to PhDland.
Oh how I miss him so.
Toni is still on semester break.
Oh how she wants to go.

As my son begins to realize that his long Christmas Breaks are coming to an end (I guess this means his Phd is not too far off!), my daughter is wishing away the days.
My son is getting to know real life.
He wants time to slow down.
My daughter is still in collegeland.
She wants time to fly.

I am their mother.
I just want to go back to action heroes and pony tails.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

1 down, 51 to go.......

in 2011......

I'll bet you were all wondering what I was up to yesterday.
Or not.
Well, just in case you stopped by only to find that I never showed apologies.
I couldn't tell you what happened to my morning yesterday.
I'm going to blame it on the Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark.
OMG....have you ever tasted that stuff?
You see, very late on Thursday night, after returning from Martini night, I had this WS Peppermint Bark attack.
So, there I was---cleaning the kitchen (yes, friends, my life is so glamorous that I clean the kitchen after 2 martinis) and it came over me. Need. Peppermint. Bark.
After 2 martinis, a girl can't control her urges.
Especially a girl who is cleaning the kitchen at 11 pm on a Thursday night.
Luckily, I had a brand spanking new tin of the stuff sitting right on my dining room table.
I got it half off after Christmas....had to have it....especially since the regular priced one had been devoured even before Christmas Day.
So, anyway, after eating close to half the tin, doing the dishes that my 2 adult children had kindly left for me, scrubbing the floor and cleaning the fronts of all of the cabinets, I called it a day.
But, the Peppermint Bark had other ideas.
Nestled snuggly in my bed, I tried to sleep.
Yet, my sugar-riddled body wasn't up for that activity.
My mind was saying yes, my body was saying no.
And so, my night of tossing and turning began.
1:00 am. 1:06 am, 1:41 am, 2:04 am, 2:26 am, 2:52 am, 3:04 am, 3:19 am.......
Not even the martinis were helping to lull me to sleep.
When the darkness of 4:45 am came, I was finally asleep.
But my alarm didn't care.
It was Friday. My day was calling.
A day-long meeting day.
I needed just a little more sleep.
I knew my blog readers wouldn't mind.
I just couldn't go to those meetings with dark circles under my eyes, now could I?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And, on the 6th day......

Judi needs a martini.

Where is a cute bartender with a martini shaker when you need him?

We're 6 days into 2011 and I am having withdraw from 2010.
I miss the good old days of the old year when there was no pressure to make resolutions or change your life or clean the slate.
It was what it was. We had to live with it.
Kicking off a new year with all of it's fanfare and talk about what we should do different or change or improve while we still have to deal with everyday life just makes me tired and worn out.
It doesn't feel bright and shiney and new.
It feels overwhelming and unfair and quite disturbing.
It's giving me a headache, a queasy stomach and the burning desire to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head and just stay there until the pressure to make resolutions is off.

Yes, this morning I am feeling mighty shakey and wee bit wired.
Returning to post holiday life this week....while it's still Christmas all around Judiland (i.e. every decoration is still in it's place!)....has been a bit of a bear.
Everything that was deemed "let's do it after the holidays" has now come to haunt me.
At work--there are meetings upon meetings and projects on top of projects.
At home--there's appointments to be made, projects to tackle and lists that need to be looked at again.
And, let's not even mention the stacks of china and linens and crystal that needs put away.
Or the fact that the stockings are still hung by the chimney with care, Santa Claus is still hanging out on the porch and the Christmas tree is still twinkling away.
And, please, let's not even discuss the little weight gain or the fear of no more lab band fills.
No, let's not even go there.

As I climb out of my morning fog and get ready to walk out into the cold, harsh morning, I am reminded that a new year is here and I have yet to even consider making any resolutions.
Maybe that's what's got me feeling rather pissed off and out of sorts this morning.
Maybe it has nothing to do with anything but the fact that I just don't like the whole idea of having to overhaul everything when I have so much else to do.
I don't want to make resolutions or promises that I have no idea if I can keep or not.
I am sick to death of hearing about how freeing a new year is.
Clean slate, my ass.
There's no clean slate. Everything else is still there.
And, I am telling you right here and now, if I have to listen to one more TV ad or read one more headline or hear one more comment about how to lose weight this year, manage your money this year, get your life in order this year or make your world a peachy keen place this year, I am going to throw my fully decorated Christmas tree and every piece of garland and bow and left over sausages and cookies into the middle of the street and set them all on fire as I sing angry 1970's protester songs.
That'll show 'em.

Okay. Okay.
Maybe I just need a martini.

Thank God for Martini night.
Now I know why we declared every Thursday night Martini night.
Somehow, back in 2010, I realized that by Thursday I usually need one.
I was so self-aware back in 2010.
Life was so much easier in 2010.

Perhaps the first Martini night of 2011 will put it all into a much better perspective.....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This is the end of the line friends.......

for Lapband fills.

So, yesterday, 3 things happened at my Lapband appointment that have me rattled.

Of the three--the first thing was the least of my concerns at the time--the scale showed a 2 pound gain.
On a scale of one to ten on the what's-got-me-rattled scale....the 2 pound weight gain registered at around a 4.5
It was January 4. It was to be expected.
Six solid weeks of kicking up my heels, woo-hooing, making merry and being an indulgent little bitch will do that to a girl.
Anyway, I knew those 2 pounds were just visiting.
Unwelcome visitors but visitors nonetheless.

The second thing that rattled me was when the Lapband technician handed me a Resource Directory (when I got off the scale) filled with support groups, nutritionists, counselors and dieticians.
As she handed it to me, she said "at this point of the process--at 3 and half years out--you may find yourself needing some extra help and support."
WTF? I only gained 2 pounds! I haven't been THAT bad that I need an intervention!
Hey, it was the holidays!
No. No. I didn't say all of that. I was silent. My face must have said it all.
As my head tilted in confusion and my eyes glazed over, she offered....
"This is typically the point when weight loss surgery patients are very aware of what they can and cannot tolerate and find ways around it. This is when weight gain can begin."
On the what's-got-me-rattled scale....that registered very close to a 10.
I took the brochure, stuffed it deep into the burrows of my purse, thanked her but assured her--that was not me.
No. It was not me.

The third thing put it out of the ballpark for me on the what's-got-me-rattled scale.
The technician told me....right before she shot my port area up with novacaine....
"We are tweaking your band to it's final capacity today."
I wasn't quite sure what she meant.
"Ahhhh...what does that mean?"
She put another shot of novacaine then explained....
"It would be dangerous to fill your band any further. It could do permanent damage. It's a 4 band. We find that if it's filled beyond 3.4, that is when problems begin. It would undo all of your good work."
As she placed the huge needle into the port in my abdomen, I could feel nothing but the panic setting in.
I was oblivious to the discomfort.
Oblivious to the twinging.
As she slowly pulled it out and then reinserted it, I could not feel the pressure.
Panic. Just panic.
I truly had visions of me laying on that table when I was 80 having my band filled.
I really did.
That wasn't going to happen.
My Lapband fills were ending on January 4, 2011.
3 years, 4 months and 24 days after my beloved Lapband was inserted.
26 years, 11 months and 13 days before I thought it would all end.

All of a sudden, the 2 pound weight gain became a 20 pound weight gain.
I was heartbroken.
Scared shitless.
*This* close to complete hysteria.
Teetering on crazed lunacy.
Dramatic, I admit.

Does this mean that soon I will be returning to D.I.E.T.I.N.G?

I think I need to find that Resource Directory pronto.
I need a Counselor or a Psychiatrist or a Witch Doctor or a Hypnotist or a Jeanie in a Bottle real quick......

Now, where in the hell did I put that Resource Directory?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What kind of woman makes a doctor's appointment the week after the holidays?

Especially an appointment when WEIGHING YOU is a primary activity?

Answer: A lapbanded woman

This morning, I have my 3.5 year Lapband appointment.
When I made the appointment back in August, I remember the receptionist saying "it will be here before you know it"
She was right!
It's here.....January 4, 2011 has arrived.
I had a slight twinge of concern when she told me the exact date.
That is the week right after the holidays! I thought, panicking a bit.
Another moment of my fat-dieting girl behavior creeping in.
You see, I never made doctor appointments immediately following holidays or vacations.
Because I didn't want to face THE SCALE after those major eatathons.
I needed time to get the extra weight off before I went to the doctor.
Even if I never got the extra weight off.
You see, I figured that I had just enjoyed the holidays or a vacation--why ruin that feeling by stepping on the scale and coming face-to-face with the damage all that enjoyment did?
As if enjoyment and overeating went hand-in-hand.
Which, I will admit--to some degree--it does.

I am here to tell you that yes, I did indulge a bit during the holidays.
My Lapband kept most things in check.
But, did I eat one too many cheesecake bites? Yes.
Did I have one too many glasses of wine? Yes.
Did I have a few extra martinis? Yes.
Did I develop a passionate relationship with Trader Joe's Cranberry Oatmeal dunkers? Yes.
Did I sip a few extra hot chocolates with Franjelica? Yes.
Did I eat candy and chips and dips and cheeses and ice cream and cake? Yes. Yes. And. Yes.

Am I still going to my Lapband appointment? YES.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Introducing the overall HERO of our Holidays.......

Today it's back to work.....
The kids are both still here.
Which means that the 3-meals-a-day thing will continue.
Because of that....yesterday, I made an extra run through the tunnel and over the bridge to Trader Joe's to pick up a few of our new favorites.
With all the cooking and entertaining I did this holiday season, I must give some extra credit where credit is due--to Trader Joe's.
I made two pre-holiday runs on my lunch hours to Trader Joe's and was saved hours and hours of prep work--especially on Feast of Seven Fishes night.
Everything.....and I mean everything.....was of exceptional quality and commanded rave reviews.
And, the prices were so amazing, I felt like I was robbing the place. Sort of.
From the Tempura Shrimp to the Seafood Blend to the Coconut Shrimp to the White Bean and Basil Hummus to the Cranberry Oatmeal Dunkers to the Fresh Mozzarella all made me look good!
With just a few extra touches and some tweaks to the presentations, some of my cooking jobs and kitchen duties were cut by 60%. Giving me more time to do the things that took me forever to dishes and pots and pans. And make martinis.
I wish Trader Joe could send a few dishwashers, organizers and pot scrubbers....

So, as I head back to work.....not to mention work and motherhood (with 2 children at home!) mind is focused on how I can s.i.m.p.l.i.f.y. my world without sacrificing what I have come to love about my world. As complex as it may be.
One thing that would really help me out is if they really do put a Trader Joe's within a few miles of my house....
Yes, that would make my life so much simpler!
Love you Trader Joe's! Come to me!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 has landed........

It's Day 2 of the New Year.
And, I want to let you in on a little secret.....I am so over THE HOLIDAYS.....
If I have to cook one. more. piece. of. meat. or am gonna set all of my shoes on fire! What a bonfire that will be!!!
Funny thing....on December 2, I love the holidays and everything they bring with them.
On January 2, I despise the holidays and I want to rip every piece of garland to shreds, throw every strand of lights down the sewer, paint black mustaches on every picture of Santa Claus from here to Ohio and mangle every bow on every wreath in the entire city of Pittsburgh.
I guess you could say I'm a little cranky today.

Maybe a little walk down the Holiday Memory Lane of Judiland will help me a bit......

Ah, the sweet memories of when I LOVED THE HOLIDAYS......

Our annual Christmas Eve afternoon martini......

Toni and I....our annual Christmas Eve picture by the tree....

Heading out to our Christmas Eve lunch......

Feast of the Seven Fishes.....
is that calamari you see?
(btw....apologies on the messy kitchen.....lots and lots of cooking was happening....
which also explains the glass of wine)

Trying to get the perfect setting.....

outside....the weather was cooperating

and inside....I was driving myself fucking crazy....all the pooffing and fussing.....

Then, the feasting began.....

Carmen with my technology obsessed nephews...Jared and Brett

Carmen and Toni enjoying the celebration...the martini helped

My sisters Denise and Cathy, my niece Alexa and my girl Toni

New Years' Day.......
In the kitchen.....recovering from New Year's Eve and cooking....not exactly a great combo....we look a little haggard..don't we?

Getting ready for the BIG GAME (the Winter Classic)....which the Penguins lost and the weather was rainy!
BTW--Thankfully I didn't spent the $500 to put tickets in Carmen and Vince's stockings for the Winter Classic game last night. I got them tickets to go to the Alumni Game on New Year's Eve morning....the weather was amazing, they had a great time enjoying the Winter Classic pre-game festivities and celebrations, they got a VIP visit with the Stanley Cup display at the Carnegie Science Center (courtesy of Carmen's brother) and they didn't have to fight the crowds at one of their favorite breweries for lunch!
btw...ignore all the spots on my blouse....once again, lots of cooking was happening....

Now it's time for a long winters' nap.......

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Do not count the years.....

make the years count.

Every new beginning comes from
some other beginnings end.
Semi Sonic- Closing Time

What are you doing on this very first day of a brand new year?
I'll give you three guess what I'm doing.
If you guessed cooking up a big holiday dinner, you would be correct.
So, no time to blog or chat or reflect on the passing of time or plan for a new year because I've got tables to set, pots to stir, concoctions to concoct and dishes to wash.
But, I promise between all of those things, I will reflect and plan.
In between the garlic and the dishwashing liquid, 2010 will be put to rest and 2011 will become a reality.

Back to the kitchen......

Before I go....
I want to Thank You for being here.
I look forward to blogging it out with you in 2011!

with love,