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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goobye July!

Can you even believe that today is the very last day of July?
Yeah, me neither! 
Although I can't really complain about July because gee it's been fun, I am embarking on August with great hope that things will settle down a little bit so that I can take a deep breath and enjoy the relaxing part of summer.  And, I'm hoping that I can get back to my evening walks on a more consistent basis.  Between the heat and the activities of Judiland, my evening walks have been of the "when and if I get a chance" variety. 
But, before that all happens, I have to deal with a few dental issues that I am not too crazy about dealing with and I have to move myself lock, stock and barrel into my sister's house to take over the care of my father beginning this Saturday (while those lucky ducks go on a cruise!).  Yes, I will have caregivers to relieve me so I can go to work but I won't have my sisters to pinch hit in the evenings or on the weekends so that I can take a breather (I'm trying to figure that one out....because I get a little cranky when life is all work and no play!)  So, I will either be blogging up a blue streak next week or I won't be blogging at all.  You have been warned!  As for sleeping......I'm not sure if that will even happen!  As for walking.....yeah, that won't be happening.....AT. ALL.
But....August has been good to me for the past SIX years. 
 So, I am expecting that trend to continue.....
August brings with it my 6th Bandiversary.   Yes, 6...six...1-2-3-4-5-6....years ago, I embarked on a journey that changed my life, my health and my entire being.   I am eternally thankful for this tool and I am thrilled that it brought me to where I am today. And, that journey continues.  Six years ago, I never realized that the journey will never end.  I figured once the weight was off, it was off and that was that.  Notsofast, Judi!  NOTSOFAST!  It's a forever journey.  Now..... I welcome each step.  Although the job is never done and I have had my share of pounds gained and pants that get a little tight, I'm filled with pride that I stayed the course, that I never gave up and that I do the work that I need to do.   Deep in my heart.....I am so very aware that I was one of the lucky ones--the Lapband was the tool for me.   I am worlds away from that 250 girl in 2007.  So....THANK YOU!

August also brings with it my 6th Blogiversary.  Yes, 6 years ago, I turned on my computer and started a blog.  THIS BLOG.  Combined with my Lapband, it became the catalyst for where my journey has led met.  The support of  my blog followers and friends coupled with a forum that holds me accountable have been blessings that I would have my wildest dreams.... imagined.  
The fact that I am still here blogging on a pretty regular basis is something that I must admit I feel pretty proud about.  I have to credit my followers and friends---you keep me coming back because I feel a responsibility to entertain you....even if you aren't really entertained...and a responsibility to let you know how I am doing.....even if you don't really need to know how I am doing!  Plus, I have to be honest---writing this blog has fulfilled a dream of write something that someone actually reads!   So.....THANK YOU!  

Bring on August!!!  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

They are my tears and I will cry if I want to!

And, I want to!

So, did I ever mention that I literally suck at keeping up with dental issues?
If not, you heard it here....I literally, no, I DOUBLE SUCK at keeping up with dental issues.
Case in point....a little over a year ago (gasp!), I started having some discomfort on the right side of my mouth.  So, I went to my dentist and he told me that I had an abcessed tooth....he gave me antibiotics, some pain meds (a stronger Tylenol) and a referral card for a dental surgeon to get the additional work done.  "Call him today and make the appointment," were his parting words. 
Well, you know, I'm a busy girl....Judiland was not going to go on if I had to stop for a root canal or anything quite so awful.  So, of course, I never got around to calling.  The drugs seemed to do the trick....the discomfort was gone, I felt fine.  Mission accomplished in my book. 
Fast forward to this past Spring and I found myself eating a piece of licorice and half of my tooth.
Luckily, we had some left over antibiotics in the cupboard and since I am a doctor in my spare time, I figured that was all I needed.   When the pain hit later that night, I just took 5 Tylenol and proceeded to go on with life.  Yes, I would call the dentist.  Yes, I would take care of this.....
But, you know, I'm a busy girl and taking a day off of work was beginning to get a little tough with all the obligations and a pesky boss and such.  And, you know, I'm a busy girl.  Not to mention that I'm a busy girl and I didn't want the dentist to yell at me for not doing what he said in the first place.....
So, once again, I employed my doctor skills and doused the pain with some kind of topical pain med, took extra Tylenol and I even bought myself a "natural antibiotic" at the health food store.  
I was cured.  Well, except I was missing part of my tooth.
But, no one would see that part of my mouth.
So, all was good.
It was a busy happy weekend in Judiland.  I was buzzing about the kitchen, entertaining young and notasyoung alike, going to a heavenly dinner party and doing all kinds of fun things.  
I was laughing and enjoying life.....
WHEN THE PAIN HIT.....the fierce, throbbing pain.  
I didn't have time for a tooth issue.
Plus, I wanted to drink martinis and sip wine and be with my friends and laugh and tell stories and reminisce.......
So, I self diagnosed myself and then self medicated myself and then told myself that this just ain't going to happen this weekend.....
My mouth had other ideas.  
Other big ideas.  
As in.....big pain. 
Thankfully, I was able to hobble through until very late Sunday night when the only thing I had left to do was clean the kitchen.
More Tylenol.
More topical treatment.
Kitchen cleaned.  
Off to bed....
At 4 am on Monday morning, I awoke to the side of my face on fire and a pain so intense that I was sure it was going to kill me right then and there.
I iced it.  I put hot compresses on it.  I took more Tylenol.  I swabbed on more topical treatment.
Come sunrise, I took a quick shower, got dressed and waited for the local Minute Clinic to open.
I needed drugs and I need them NOW.
DIAGNOSIS:  "How in the hell are you dealing with this pain?  You have 2 huge abcesses!!!"
RX:  Mega dose of antibiotics, mega pain killer and get your ass to the dentist...NOW.  
But, you know, I am a busy girl and I have to go to work and you know, I am a busy girl.  

Before you start screaming to your computer screen and declaring me a complete and utter idiot, I will tell you that I got to the dentist.   He reluctantly fit me in at the end of the day yesterday. Of course, the tunnels were closed and there was a detour and awful, NOT ONLY WAS I 45 minutes late, I had to sit there and be reprimanded for my dental misconduct.
THEN.....he called the dental surgeon himself.
So, yeah, a few more days of these antibiotics and this busy girl is going to stop her busy life know.....take care of this thing once and for all.

Funny thing.....the pain never made me cry.
The fact that I have to do something horrible to take care of the pain-- as in--spending a vacation day to sit in a dentist's chair has me blubbering like a little baby.

It's messing with my mascara. 
(and my sunny disposition) 

oh, and p.s.....did I mention that I also never got my colonoscopy that I was supposed to get in February of 2009?
My doctor reminded me of that last week at my yearly exam.   
She wasn't taking my excuses that I've been too busy anymore.  Four years of the same excuse wasn't sitting too well with she said she will have the nurse in the office give me a call. 
So far, I've been able to avoid her phone calls......
You know.....I'm a very busy girl.   
I'm not too good at taking care of that part of my body either.........  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday funday.....

This  weekend has been filled to the brim with friends. 
And, today, we are filling up our house with all of them....
Our recent college grad has had her college room mates visiting us from far and wide. 
Their youthful spirit and their boundless energy has been intoxicating...and, quite a bit of fun! own college room mate bounced into town--giving me the perfect excuse to gather some of our other college room mates who live in the area for some fun.  
So, it will be a mother-daughter and their college room mates funathon today. 
What a show down this will be....

(Carmen is hunkering down and taking cover!)
I couldn't have even planned for this if I tried.  


As the youthful college room mates sleep off their Saturday night and my college room mate sips her tea on the porch and Carmen is holed up doing his Sunday morning work ritual, I am in the kitchen......

I just put the finishing touches on my world famous, best-ever French Toast that I stole from Alton Brown (by the way, I add some cinnamon and nutmeg to my egg mixture  so really it is MY recipe...but I still give Alton credit) and I stuck bacon in the oven.   There's a hug pot of my Sunday Summer Sauce (it's a version of this sauce) bubbling away on the stove and I'm just about to put this recipe into action....

Chicken Romano with Lemon Butter Sauce...this is so YUM!
(I'm quadrupaling this recipe today!)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup flour
3 eggs
3/4 cups romano cheese
3/4 chicken stock
1/2 stick butter
1 whole lemon
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350. Add olive oil to skillet on medium heat.

Tenderize chicken, then dredge through flour, egg and cheese. Place in skillet and brown on both sides. Once brown, turn off heat.

Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add lemon juice and chopped up lemons. Try to discard all seeds. Add white wine and parsley. Let come to a boil. then pour entire mix into chicken skillet. Add chicken stock to skillet.

Cover and bake for about 20 minutes at 350.

And, we have a few bottles of this wine chilling.  My visiting friend toted a case with her from her recent Sonoma trip.....just for me....does she know me or what??
  Oh, it's a lovely summer wine.....why have I never tasted a Viognier before? 
Anyway, I can guarantee that it's lusciousness will take this Sunday Funday up a notch.
Here's to good friends, good food, good wine and GOOD FUN! 

I hope your Sunday is a fun day too! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

And, the journey continues.......


It's all behind us! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Picture and caption from THE TRIBUNE REVIEW

Last week, a church in our area passed out free coffee and water to drivers on their way into work for a project they call MISSION: POSSIBLE.
Being that we were experiencing a heat wave and the humidity was at record highs---even during the early morning hours--I had to applaud those church members who stood out there on the sidewalks as cars idled in rush hour traffic.  It couldn't have been the most comfortable experience.  Yet, day after day, there they stood--holding trays of hot coffee or carrying baskets filled with cold water.  As the week wore on, I took note of the fact that every one of them--from the young kids to the senior citizens who were participating--had huge smiles on their faces and were filled with energy and exuberance as they waved at drivers and offered them coffee and/or water.  Even though I don't drink coffee nor felt the need to take a water everyday,  their kindness and their smiles filled me up--making my usual notsofun drive into work a much more enjoyable experience.   The Mission Possibilers filled me up all the way to work! 
So, I got to thinking---
Perhaps we all  need  a friendly face and a warm smile and some kindness to fill us up.
Perhaps that's why we stop at fast food places--eating on the run-- more often than we should.   Maybe it's not always about the french fries or the triple decker burgers or the donuts or the ice cream sundaes.  Maybe we just need to put a smile on our hectic day or feel the warmth of someone handing us something.  Maybe we don't always need the food or the drinks.....we just need the human touch. 
I often think about this very same thing when I visit one of my favorite neighborhood establishments.
Granted, I have a thing for their martinis and their crab cakes.  But, more than that, I have a thing for the people who work there.   Yes, I know, I am a sucker for bar tenders---I can't help myself.  And, I have a super soft spot for waiters and waitresses too.  Perhaps I would go there even if they didn't have great Happy Hour deals, yummy martinis (half off on Thursdays!) and tasty crab cakes ($7 on the Happy Hour appetizer menu!).   The people keep me coming back.  They put the smile on my day even before my lips hit my martini glass or my fork digs into my crab cake.
Evidently, the combination of feeling the warmth of nice people and enjoying something that tastes good makes for a perfect combo.
So, where am I going with this?
Nowhere in particular.
Just some things I'm thinking.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Of cookies! 
Cookies, cookies, cookies and more cookies!  

If there's ever a moment when I realize that food can inebriate you as much as alcohol, it's when I have a marathon session with cookies leftover from a good ole Italian Pittsburgh Party.
Massive cookie display tables are a mainstay of Pittsburgh weddings, showers, graduation parties, name it. 
If you were raised in Pittsburgh, you know exactly what I mean.  
And-a if-a  you-a were-a raised-a Italian-o in-a Pizzaburgh-a, you-a know-a exact-a-ly whatta I-a mean-a time-a duo! 
If you don't know what I mean.....see that picture above?
That's half of the cookie table from a high school graduation party that my Italian friend gave for her son a few weeks ago.
Underneath that table?
Huge containers of more cookies.  And, more cookies!   And, even more!
Can you say 626 dozen of cookies?  
Yes, you heard me right.  
Six Hundred and Twenty Six.  
Every aunt, cousin, second cousin, niece, nana,sister, sister-in-law, mother, mother-in-law and friend bakes for weeks...maybe even months.
Sometimes even for a whole year!
There are even cookie meetings. 
 Spreadsheets too. 
Trust me on this, folks. 
It's pretty major.  
It's a well-(olive)oiled machine of cookie baking women who make it their mission to BAKE!
I'll let you in on a teeny tiny little secret---there's also a bit of competition going on there too. 
Who makes the best cookie?
Who makes the most cookies?
And, God forbid.....if you didn't bake?
Yeah, let's not even go there....
No doubt about it....this cookie thing is pretty damn serious.   
In fact, the whole cookie thing is pretty damn serious.
It's a science, really. 
Listen to addition to having the party and supplying the cookies, the  hosts even supply to-go containers. 
So that the guests can take all the cookies HOME with them!  
If the guests don't supply the to-go worries...... the guests would have brought their own with them. 
A wise Italian woman would never go to a wedding without a few Tupperware containers or ziplock bags.....

Typically, the cookie table holds no excitement for me. 
I ooh and ahh over them, I compliment all the bakers, I might take one or two.
I might take some pictures.  Then I'm so done with that cookie table.  
I usually go to the bar.  
Because, really, I'm so over cookie tables after 50+ years of cookie tables. 
But, leftover cookies from the cookie table is a whole 'nother matter.
I dutifully come home and put them in the freezer....the freezer in my to my washing machine (I hate washing machines so I don't like to go there that often....).
Then, I forget about them.
Which is what I did after my good Italian friend's party.   
Until she showed up at my door with a big tupperware container of leftover cookies from her party. 
And, we opened them.
And, we poured ourselves some wine.
And, we ate the cookies.

Three hours after she left, I found myself passed out on the couch with an empty tupperware container on the floor beside me. 
My head was spinning.
My stomach was in distress.
I was sicker that sick.  
I stumbled over to the wine bottle on the table.....perhaps I drank the whole bottle? 
Nope.  It appeared that only two glasses were missing.  One for me.  One for her.
I only had one glass of wine. 
Okay then....
I could hardly stand up straight.  I held on to the table.
Then, I looked out into the night sky, as I held firmly on to that table, I promised God that I would never, ever do that again.
I won't even tell you how I felt the next day.......

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The field of dreams!

Always a few yards away from the goal! Yet, happy to have come this far!

 Way back in 2007 when I started this journey, my goal was to lose 100 pounds and be free of the weight struggles that plagued me for many years.   
Yes, as much as I don't want to admit this to you---my health was not upper most on my list of reasons why I wanted to lose weight.  Sure, I told my doctor and the nutritionist and my family and the counselor that being healthy was what was most important to me.  But, if truth be told, I was just sick of being fat and sick of hating the way I looked and damn it, I wanted to wear the fashions that I adored.   I can be vain like that.....
At the time, it was all just a dream. 
As the years have went by and I have been blessed with Lap Band success, my dreams and goals have not always stayed the same.  Sometimes, my goal really was to improve my health--especially when I looked at my children and realized I want to eek out as much time as possible being their mom.  Other times, the only dream I had was to be able to walk a little further or not feel my legs ache after a day of shopping.  Other times, my goals and dreams were linked to going on trips I avoided, engaging in activities I stayed clear of or  really wanting to (and look forward to) go to parties and social events that used to make me feel self conscious.   And, then there were other times--I admit--that my only goal was too look exceptionally amazing for a specific event.

As I look back and look at where I am now, I  realize that I am always moving the goal post.
So, I guess you could say I never SCORE.
Just another day on the field of dreams......

Thank goodness my life isn't about scoring points.  
(thank you Gerry for taking those pix of me out on the field on the hottest day of the year!) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

A night out on the town!

In 2005......
That's the white sweater....dancing????
That's me and my friend Judy hanging out.....

In preparation for a dear coworker's retirement party, the office has been all a-flutter pulling old pictures to put together a scrapbook.
Although it's been fun to recall those memories and see those smiling faces and relive those good times and laugh at some of our crazy antics, the pictures themselves can be rather jarring.
Yes, I realize that most people look at old pictures of themselves and wonder--what the hell was I thinking....with that hair cut? wearing that shirt? yadda, yadda, yadda---I always find myself a wee bit horrified by what I really looked many pounds ago.
Here's a fun fact: these particular pictures were not taken at the height of my obesity.
I was more than likely about 25 pounds less than my highest weight.  
Weight loss surgery was the furthest thing from my mind.
Based on the year and month these pictures were taken, I am pretty sure it was during one of my forays with accepting my weight and learning to adjust to being big and....ah-hmm... beautiful.  
One of the things that struck me as I went through the pictures from that night was the fact that I did not have a manicure I thought I always had a perfect manicure. 
As silly as that sounds, the fact that I did not have a manicure made me very sad.
It made me realize that in that period of time, I gave up.  
I gave up on me.  I gave up on the things that made me feel good about myself.
I'm utterly shocked.  
Saddened and shocked. 

Before deciding to post these pictures and write about them on my blog today, I looked at them many, many times--asking myself....  how did  I get to that point? 
Perhaps I will never know the true answer.
Perhaps it was just all part of the journey that took me to where I am today.
And, perhaps that should be good enough.
And, perhaps knowing that I have the memories of fun times with great friends trumps all the other feelings that come along with looking at pictures of myself that make me go....UGH. 


Sunday, July 21, 2013


So many memories.......

Right around this time of  the summer, my beach hankering begins.
During those summers when we decided not to do a beach vacation, I find myself silently screaming  I WANT THE BEACH!!! 
This is one of those summers when we are not doing a beach vacation.....
I am inconsolable right now.  I am heartbroken.
I need the beach.  Right. Now. 
Why didn't I think of this in January when we had this no-beach-vacation discussion?
For more than 25 years, this was the week when I would start packing up for our annual 2 week vacation at the beach.  Even though I bitched and moaned and made one heck of a fuss packing up kit and caboodle, I was going to the beach.  I might have felt sorry for myself having to deal with all of the pre vacation hallabaloo at the time.... but now,as I look I feel sorry for that girl?
Evidently, my body is still on that schedule.
Not that I want to start packing just to soothe myself but I gotta tell you....I am having beach withdraw.....major beach withdraw.
Add this beach withdraw to my weekend withdraw and the fact that tomorrow is Monday and I am just one cranky girl.
Being cranky messes with my pleasant disposition and my make up.   
I don't like all. 
So, this morning, as I sit here aching for the beach, holding back the tears and refraining from picking up the phone to make reservations,  I am trying to remind myself exactly what  led to that decision.....
First and foremost, I remember that both kids could not do the beach thing this year (schedules and plans got in the way).  And, I do remember saying that I did not want to go to the beach without my children.
Really?  I said that.  Yes, I did say that but perhaps I meant that I didn't want to go to that beach without my children.  My 28 and 22 year old children.  Geez.  
Secondly, I remember Carmen telling me that he had several work trips that would make it very difficult to schedule our typical beach vacation.
Well, that is true.  Case in point....he's off to Atlanta next week for another stint.
Oh, and I do recall that we both decided we were so over those 12 hour drives.
Which is true.  We must have forgot that there are closer beaches and airplanes.
And, I do remember our discussion about doing several shorter trips...
Well, yes, we did take a quick, fun-filled trip to NYC and NJ and there are a few other things scheduled......taking the kids for a few days to one of our favorite places-- Party Island,  and we are taking a romantic winery escape,  and we are extending a trip we are taking for a wedding at a resort that looks kinda nice and we have  plans at a place we have heard so many wonderful things about.  
But.......NO BEACH!
No beach anywhere.....
I'm just gonna have to beach-up my Sunday........thank God I found this yummy recipe!
And, this one too.....
I should be okay soon. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Feeling prettier, less bloated and fresher already!

Okay, blog friends, I am going to let you in on a little secret potion that really, really, really might have SUPER POWERS and could possibly turn you into a real SUPER WOMAN!

Want glowing skin?
Got an ugly pimple?
Need a little detox?
Do you have a hangover?
Crave some extra energy? 
Are you suffering from water retention?
How about shedding a little nasty stick-to-the-ribs fat? 
What about banishing heartburn and fixing up your digestive system?
Is your breath a little nasty? 
Looking to halt the aging process?
Could you use a little calmness right about now?
Want to perk up your health, fight off disease and kill bacteria?
Did you drink too much tequila or eat too much chocolate? 
Does your liver need a little fixing?

Did I hear you say YES?
(wow, you guys sure are loud, I heard you all the way here in Pittsburgh!)

Okay, then, here's  what you gotta do:
*Get your pretty pen ready so you can jot this down.  I'll wait if  you have to go find one.
*Pull your keys out and put them close by so you can immediately run out to your car and race (be mindful of the speed limit, please) to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients that you need.  Once this recipe hits, there will be a huge run on all of these ingredients, trust me on this.
Oh, and I pinky swear that there are no crazy ingredients in this magical concoction and I promise it won't break the bank!

Here's what you need:
See, I told you there's nothing nutso about the ingredients!

Okay, once you have all of that and you are safely back in your this:

Mix up the following in a really pretty jug and refrigerate over night to allow the flavors to perfectly infuse:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced
  • 12-14 mint leaves
  • 1 lemon sliced into rings

So pretty to wake up to! 
 Then, tomorrow morning, upon waking, stumble down to the kitchen and get out a lovely drinking vessel, pull out your pretty jug of this pretty little super drink, add some ice to your glass and pour away.....
(avoid the temptation to add gin)
 Drink the first glass within the hour.
Drink the rest of it all day long.
Oh, yum.
REPEAT the process and do it again for the next day and the next and the next and the next and maybe even forever (or when you think you need it!).

So, here's the low down on this drink:
Benefits of Lemons: 
1. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work against infections like the flu and colds. 2. Your liver loves lemons: “The lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile,” says Jethro Kloss in his book Back to Eden. Fresh lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier.
 3. The citric acid in lemon juice helps to dissolve gallstones, calcium deposits, and kidney stones. 4. Vitamin C in lemons helps to neutralize free radicals linked to aging and most types of disease. 5. Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties; experiments have found the juice of lemons destroy the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.  
Benefits of Cucumbers:
 1.Quick pick me-up - Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins. Put down your sodas and coffee and eat a cucumber slice << I should follow my own advice more!
 2. Fight cancers - Cucumber are known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol. These three lignans have a strong history of research in connection with reduced risk of several cancer types, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and prostate cancer.
 3. Relieves bad breath - Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds, the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
4. Hangover cure - To avoid a morning hangover or headache; eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish many essential nutrients, reducing the intensity of both hangover and headache.
5. Control Blood Pressure - Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium and fiber that work effectively for regulating blood pressure. This makes cucumber good for treating both low blood pressure and high blood pressure.  
Benefits of Mint: 
 1. Soothes the digestive tract and if you are having stomach ache then it can be of great help
 2. Mint helps in eliminating toxins from the body.
 3. Crushed mint leaves helps in whitening teeth and combat bad breath.
 4. Mint is a very good cleanser for the blood.
5. Mint can help relax your mind.
Benefits of Water:
1. Oh, we all know what they are!!!  

I'd love to keep this SUPER POWER drink our little secret.
But.....hey.....I could use a few good deeds to balance out my bad deeds.
So, please....share away.
Just tell everyone Judi told you. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

I'll WINE if I WANT to!

It's FRIDAY and I want to......

I shall detox tomorrow.
Stop back tomorrow and I will share my new TOP SECRET detoxing recipe.....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What I am addicted to now.......

As the seasons change, so do the little luxuries I find myself indulging in.
And, becoming addicted to.  
Of course, my Starbucks Chai Latte addiction continues to be a constant.
Iced or's my go-to all-season addiction that feeds my soul and my heart as much as it feeds my taste buds.
I don't even consider the calories when it comes to my darling venti non-fat chai lattes.
They are non-fat and I am addicted, that's good enough for me....
Same goes for martinis and wine....shhhh. 
This is where I am in my head......

In the summer, I find myself seeking out fresh, yummy foods and drinks that feed the SUMMERGAL that lives inside me.  You know, the girl who would rather be picnic-ing on the beach with a refreshing bottle of wine, some fun foods, a stack of magazines and that carefree summer feeling.....instead of the girl who is eating lunch shackled to her computer in a windowless office....

Oh well.... I make-do until I can be that girl on that beach....

On one of my recent grocery shopping trips at a new market in my area, I  discovered  what will soon go down in history as some of my Summer of 2013 must-haves.....
-Seafood Salad (at the deli)---Yes, I know, it contains what they call imitation crab meat. So, beat me.  But, it's low calorie, high protein, fresh tasting and really not imitation food (yes, I checked!).  And, it tastes like summer.  Perfect to tote for those lovely summer lunches at my desk.  I spice it up with some Old Bay seasoning and I tell myself I am eating at a little ocean side cafe or having a picnic on a blanket in the sand (I  put a beachy scene on my computer so I think I am really there....)
- Fresh Market Thin and Crispy Cookies---TO DIE FOR---The chocolate chip ones and the peanut butter ones.  Yes, I could possibly eat BOTH entire packages in one sitting.  So far, I haven't done that.  But oh I could! I'm packing up 2 each day for a snack at my desk.   They are 60 calories a piece---not so bad to eat when my 3 pm snack attack hits.  Much better than the candy bar from the vending machine.  And, did I mention they are thin and crispy? 
-Garlic butter and thyme flavored rotisierre chicken--Okay, I admit it, I was swayed by someone who wrote about it on a foodie blog that I follow.  So, I didn't try out any of their other flavors.  Even so--let me tell you--this chicken is seriously good tasting. It's so good, you can just pull hunks of it off and eat it!  Anything with butter should be fab--right?

Then, of course, I found a few new loves at Trader Joe's.......thanks to some insider tips from my son the doctor....
-Trader Joe's Low Calorie Lemonade---This stuff seriously tastes like summer.  I have put it over shaved ice and pretended it was a lemon ice, I've guzzled it right from the fridge and yes, I have experimented with adding some gin (addingTanguery Rangapour is oh so heavenly!).  All yum!  Whichever way you is the perfect, low calorie summer thirst quencher. BTW, I bet tequila or vodka would be great too...
-Trader Joe's Greek Feta Salad Dressing---So, yeah, I can't believe I never bought this before!  But, when my son the doctor came home recently, he directed me to go straight to TJ's and pick up a bottle so he could use it to douse his roasted garbanzo beans and walnuts for a quick meal after his run.  was so yummy.  The leftovers were especially delish straight from the fridge.  Then, as if that wasn't a good enough reason to buy this dressing, the next night, after his late night run, he fixed up a quick chicken on the grill with the remainder of the bottle.  Before he left for his run, he threw some boneless chicken breasts in a ziplock bag with the dressing to marinate.  Then, when he got home (about an hour), he grilled them up and ate them with extra feta sprinkled on the top.   I managed to hi jack a taste and just swooned.  This dressing is seriously tasty!  I have now stocked up on it and have been dreaming up new ways to use it!   
-Trader Joe's Lemon Curd--I have absolutely NO IDEA why this amazing stuff would be called something as awful sounding as curd but oh well.... I will  force myself to forget about it's name and just drown myself in it's deliciousness.  Seriously, it's a lemon-lover's dream-come-true.   Especially at this price.  Several years, ago, I fell hard for Williams Somona's much, much  pricier lemon curd.  The summer I found it, I think I drizzled it on everything---including a memorable little martini that I will have to locate the recipe for!  Remembering my lemon curd romance, my son  mentioned that TJ's has their own version (how I missed it, I will never know) and suggested I try it out.  I hopped in the car and before I knew it, I had it in my hot little hands.  That night,  when a few neighbors stopped by to be neighborly (and have a drink on our porch!) I blopped it on a package of softened cream cheese, dressed it up with a little blue berry jam and served it with none other than TJ's Ultimate Vanilla Wafers.  I was then crowned Queen of the Neighborhood.....

Did I ever mention that I have an addictive tendencies?
I think it's been documented.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A gift from ME TO YOU........

If you haven't had a chance to hear it now.....
I promise you, it will touch that part of you that you have been trying to touch for many years.....
You are welcome.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The HEAT is ON!

Reason #326 for loving my Lap Band!
Without my Lap Band, I would be sporting a 100+ pound cloak. 
Just thinking about that 100+ pound covering makes me wonder how I ever did it.
Goes to show you just how tolerant I could be.....
Miserable but tolerant.  
Isn't it funny how we settle for discomfort and misery when we feel so hopeless?

Speaking only for myself---thus not siting any medical study or research---I can honestly say that 100+ pounds ago, my ability to enjoy life when the temperatures sizzled was in the zero range. 
Not just because of the soaring outdoor temperatures that made it almost impossible for me to enjoy being outside doing anything other than sitting in a pool or at the water's edge.....
But also because of all of the horrid effects that obesity ravaged on my body.
The unsightly sweating.
The painful thigh rubbing.
The uncomfortable tug of clothing across my body.
The icky feeling of sweat pooling between the layers of skin.
The annoying wetness on the seat of my pants after sitting for any length of time.
The _____________________________________________________________.
       (fill in the blank)

For the past six years, I have been singing the praises of what my Lap Band has given me.
Yet, I am acutely aware that the Lap Band has not been the answer for so many others who have embarked on their journeys with just as much hope and care and hard work. 
I know there has been heartbreak and disappointment and feelings of failure among many Lap Banders. 
Clearly, the Lap Band was NOT the tool for them.  
Let's face it--life is full of trial and error.  
 I applaud each and every one of them for acknowledging that fact with dignity and grace and going forward by seeking their answers to reaching their goals.  
 I am also extremely sensitive to the fact that not everyone thinks that weight loss surgery is the answer to their struggles with their weight.
 I support and respect whatever method or program they choose and stand by them as they embark on their own journeys of life improvement. 
I cannot and will not sit in judgement of the lifestyle choices people make when we are so much alike......we all desire to live life healthily and happily by overcoming our weight battles.
We are all the same...regardless of how we choose to reach our goals.
Striving to live the lives we all deserve and reaching for the tools to help us get there without fear of failure and judgement is a God-given right. 
So, today (and everyday), as I sing the praises of my Lap Band, I want you to know that I encourage everyone to find the tool that works for them.
And, I ask each one of you who are finding their own personal ways to beat the battle of the bulge to let me join your cheering squad.
Because I just love pom poms.   
And megaphones. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013's only a dinner party.....

and....YOU are ONLY the COOK and the HOST.....
and, you only have 30 people coming....
and, it looks like rain.....
and you are serving cocktails on the deck....
and dinner in the yard....

Thankfully, this past weekend, this wasn't my problem.
But, there have been many, many times that it has been my problem.  
The fine art of entertaining doesn't come naturally to least that's what I tell myself.
It's an acquired skill. 
It takes time.
And, it takes lots of mistakes and mishaps and trial and error.
Sometimes you laugh.
Sometimes you cry.
For anyone who has read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a firm believer in the DON'T LET ANYONE SEE YOU SWEAT ENTERTAINING style.
It shouldn't look like work.  And, heaven should never look like an inconvenience. 
And, you should never, ever, ever, ever make your guests work. 
I'm all about fairy dust and magic when it comes to entertaining.
Even if I have a gun to my head in the kitchen and I've threatened to cut the fingers and toes off of everyone in my family if they don't get with the program, I strongly believe that my guests deserve only the best of me.  They don't need to know how absolutely maniacal  I have been for the past 72 hours and how many times I've cussed or how I labored over that godforsaken recipe....
And, they definitely don't need to know that there's dishes to be done or clean up that needs to happen.
And, they should never,ever know that there's tons of dirty laundry  hidden in the trunks of our cars because I haven't had the time to do laundry for a week because I have been consumed by getting ready for this damn dinner party.  
All they need to do is relax, have fun and enjoy themselves.
For them to be able to do that--their hosts must also be relaxed, having fun and enjoying themselves.
 Period.  That's it.
I'll kill myself (and anyone who gets in my way) to make sure that happens.....  

Last night, I had the joy of attending a lovely dinner party at the beautiful (and immaculate!) home of someone who I know subscribes to the very same style of entertaining.
In fact, she is so damn good at carrying out the DON'T LET ANYONE SEE YOU SWEAT ENTERTAINING style that I have long believed that she NEVER  has those moments when she is completely frantic, ready to set her hair on fire and is *this close* to stabbing her husband with a butcher knife.
In fact, she has long had me convinced that she really does just wave a magic wand and sprinkle a bit fairy dust and  wa-la, everything is spectacularly perfect.  And, I have always been absolutely certain that her house is always this clean and clutter free and that her husband is always this gracious and loving....and that she doesn't ever have weeds in her yard. 
So, yeah....she has this look-relaxed-no-matter-what entertaining down to a T.
And, she has big boobs and a small waist.  No wonder I hate her. 
But, you know, just when I think I need to ratchet up my game, I am reminded that this type of entertaining is all about how we make it look......  

We have no idea what happens behind closed doors.....or in the kitchen when they think no one can hear....
 Case in point....
So, there I was....making my way back from the darling little bathroom off of the kitchen and I happened upon the perfect hosts having this private conversation.......
MY FRIEND:  What the fuck is wrong with you now?
HER HUSBAND:  You've only been driving me fucking crazy for a week about everything!
MY FRIEND:  Bullshit!  If you would just do as I say in the first place, I wouldn't be driven to being such a bitch.
HER HUSBAND:  Well, if you didn't think that everything has to be so damn perfect then maybe we could actually enjoy ourselves. 

So, I did them a favor......
I popped my head into the kitchen.......and, with a huge grin and a thankful hug, I said....
 This party just got even more perfect.....

We laughed.
Then, the perfect hosts headed out to check on the grill.....

Mexican Grilled Corn
(I stole this perfect recipe from that perfect party to share with's perfect.......and it goes perfect with this absolutely perfect wine)

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho or guajillo chili powder, plus more for serving
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 4 ears shucked corn
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

  1. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, chili powder, garlic, and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir well and set aside.
  2. Grill corn
  3. Remove corn from grill.  Use a large spoon to evenly coat corn on all sides with mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese and chili powder and serve immediately with lime wedges.


Saturday, July 13, 2013


ever since I saw you for the very first time.....floating in your parent's pool. 
Yes, it was love at first sight.....

My love for you has never wained.
It continues to grow.
And, it's not just a physical thing.
I am much, much deeper than that.  
After all, I am a mature woman.

Oh sure, at first, I was drawn to your boyish good looks and your cute body.
Then, I was seduced by your charm.  Woo...that charm. 
But, now that I'm of a certain age.....I need more. (ahhhhh....and here's to you Mrs. Robinson....)
Thank you for giving me here to see why!

Yes, I love you Dustin.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The SUN is shining again!

Hello SUN!
Things have been a little STORMY and WET here in Judiland.
July 10: Here's a picture of the ramp we use to get from the city to our little suburban hamlet!

Blame it completely on my husband......he took this week off to paint the outside of our house and stain the deck.  He said he needed a little respite from his typical worklife-on-steroids...
Well, he got  a respite indeed.   I think he is more stressed than ever....
We have had downpours and tornado watches and flooding and huge bolts of lightening and loss of power.....yeah, just an all around clusterfuck...
Needless to say.....the painting is not going very well.....
Life in Judiland is a wee bit messy right now. 
Thankfully, I have to go to work today!
It's a Happy Friday indeed!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yes, I am beautiful and special and yes I need those shoes and those pants and that amazing perfume.....

There's nothing better than a spa-martini lunch-shopping-winey dinner makes me feel like I am a Real Housewife.....
I swear I could live that way.......I could do this at least once a week. 
No wonder those Real Housewives have to declare bankruptcy.

There's nothing like a spa day to make you feel beautiful and that you deserve EVERYTHING! 

When I was making the appointments for our spa-la-laing day, we had a few choices of times.
We went back and forth deciding if we wanted to go early or wait until after shopping so that we would be  relaxed, refreshed and lovely for our fancy late dinner.
We ended up choosing to go with the earliest appointment available and  kick off our day with our spa visit--massages, facials, waxing, pedicures and make up applications.
Then, do our martini lunch, then go shopping....then dinner. 
We chose to spa-la-la early so that we weren't bound by too many deadlines--just in case we got sidelined by shopping.  More time for shopping sounded like a good plan.
Clearly, our plan was a marketer's dream come true.
A visit to a spa can make you feel like a gorgeous millionaire oh so special.
There's nothing like lots of pampering and having technicians compliment your skin, your eyes, your smile, your body and your being to make you believe that you are indeed amazingly blessed and worthy.
By the time you walk out the door,  you've spent a great deal of money, you've  tipped everyone to high heaven, you feel uber glorious and damn, you need to reward your beauty by adorning yourself with lovely new clothes and beautiful new shoes and well.....anything else you deem necessary.
Add a martini lunch and woooo baby, that shopping trip is turned up a notch.
There's nothing like walking around a store feeling like you are all that.....

 But, there's got to be a morning after.....

Now, as the light of day has hit and I have had a chance to reflect on our lovely day celebrating my darling daughter's 22nd birthday, I have decided that attending to our bodies is more about attending to our minds than it is about beauty itself.   
Treating ourselves special and having others compliment us and pamper us can do wonders for how we feel about ourselves.  It also empowers us to believe we deserve all of our needs and wants to be attended to.  
Not a bad way to live at all. 
So, what if we find a way to do that all of the time?  
For me.....I am sure it would do wonders for my self esteem and my motivation to maintain my weight.
DEFINITELY.   Although it might mess with my bank account.....and possibly my marriage.   
I'm not sure if I am willing to give up either just so I could feel like a million bucks all the time.  
But, it's given me something to think about.

Do I really need to go and spend tons of money at a spa to kick off everyday feeling absolutely beautiful and deserving?



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

As the years go by........

 I give thanks for the gift of motherhood.  Either I've done something incredibly right or I was just blessed with the most amazing children on the planet just because....
Whatever......I'm hoping it's a little of both.

Happy Birthday to my fashionista girl! 

Today, this beautiful, talented, smart, funny, sweet girl---
my gift from God---my daughter--- is turning 22.  

Of course, we have a suitable celebration happening.....a little spa-la-la-laing, a little lunching at her favorite courtyard spota little shopping and then meeting Carmen for a  lovely late dinner at a special place in a picturesque part of our fair city....  And then?  Well....who knows!
No matter how the day will end, I promise it will be special......because we are doing it together!  

The funny thing is that she has been dreading her 22nd birthday.   Can you imagine?
After all the hoopla and excitement of her 21st, she sees 22 as being very anti climactic.   
"What's exciting about a 22nd birthday?" she has asked over and over again.
Of course, as a 54 year old, I can give her a long, long, long list of things to be excited about.....but I hold my reasons make me sound old.  
What I can say is that I am excited  for her 22nd birthday.
 In fact, I am excited about every birthday I share with her.
Each year of her life has brought me so much joy and happiness that celebrating every moment, every milestone---everything--doesn't even seem like enough.
Each day of being her mother and her my daughter is worthy of a  celebration of epic proportions.  Ending each moment we have together with a celebration of thanks is how I roll...especially when it comes to my precious children.
Sometimes I can't even believe my good fortune for having such a beautiful, wonderful child.
This girl who I named after my mother.
This girl who doesn't remotely even look like me.
This girl who adores all things fashion....all things pink and all things pretty and girly.
This girl who has  made me laugh and smile from the day she entered this earth---even on those imperfect days when life is anything but perfect. 
She was created just for me.
It was as if God and all the angels said, "Judi needs a girl like this," and they dusted her with fairy dust and sent her directly to me.....all tied up with ribbons and bows and with a face so sweet and rosey and a smile so precious and dear....
Having been bestowed such an awesome gift, I always see it as my responsibility to be the most awesome mother ever.
Although the journey has been lovely, I know I have made my share of mistakes and missteps.   Sometimes those mistakes and missteps have been small....sometimes they have been notsosmall.  Having an imperfect and not-100%-awesome mother has been her burden at times.
At other times, it's been her gift.
There are moments when I see the marks...both good and notsogood....that I have made on her life and I look deep inside myself to either strengthen them or to try to rectify them. 
There's one facet of how I've lived my life that I worry about how it has affected my daughter---my struggle with my weight. 
 I know my own mother's weight struggles and how she viewed herself because of her weight and how it  deeply affected more ways than just her death from dieting.  
 I freely and red-facedly admit that my daughter watched my self image become attached to my weight and that she knew just how awful I felt about being so overweight.
She knew I didn't like myself at times....because of my weight. 
She knew I cried over being fat.
She heard the words I said.
 Just as I heard my own mother's words and knew her pain and saw her tears.
My daughter was my closest ally--even at the tender age of 16--when I began my Lap Band journey.  She made it her business to learn about nutrition and healthy eating---so she could help me.
She taught me lessons in the grocery store, she gave me tips on understanding labels and calories and protein and she pushed me to begin my walking regimen.
Yes, she encouraged me and applauded me all the way....every day.
Along the way--she developed the wonderful healthy living habits that she still practices until this day. 
There were times that I wondered if she dove into her own healthy lifestyle because she didn't want to be like me....having to struggle with weight and to have weight loss surgery or if it was just her natural progression and maturing that made her change her eating habits and to develop a strong interest in exercise.
 I may never know that answer but I'm thankful for the result.
She has a  beautiful, healthy body to go along with her beautiful, healthy spirit and mind. 
Yet, there are times when we are shopping or when she is getting ready to go somewhere and she begins to berate her body--her Size 2 body.  
And, I begin to worry.
I wonder what damage I've done.
Can I undo that damage? 
Are there words I can say that would make her love every inch of her body and be truly happy with who she is and what she looks like? 
What can I say to let  her know that it's NOT her body or her looks that define her? 
Those questions always plague me.
The answers are the gifts that I haven't been able to fully give her.....yet I am constantly trying.

The other day, I happened upon this article..... and it touched me in many ways.
Very deeply.

In honor of my daughter's 22nd birthday and my 22nd anniversary of being the mother of a precious young woman who I named after my own mother, I wanted to share it with you.
And, I shall share it with my daughter.
She may not see it as the perfect gift.
But, I do.