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Friday, October 31, 2014



The other morning while sitting in traffic, I found myself listening to some early morning radio show where people call in and ask the listeners to be the judge and jury on specific issues that they are dealing with in their lives.  Essentially, two people usually call in and say that they are having a dispute with each other that they can't get past and have agreed to go with the decision of the listeners to help them resolve it.
Scarey to imagine why people do this but happens.
Even scarier....there are people like me sitting in traffic who listen to these things....and then write whole blog posts on them....

On this particular morning, a woman called in to say that she and her husband have an issue with regard to an on-going policy about the candy that their children--between the ages of 6-10-- bring home from Trick-or-Treating.   The wife/mother feels that the children should be allowed to keep their candy and eat it as they desire while the husband/father feels that the children should be given a certain amount of candy of their choosing that they have to "earn to eat" and that he bring the remaining candy into his office to share.   The "earn to eat" program entails the parents taking the chosen candy and requiring the children to do chores or have specific behaviors in order to be given a piece of their candy through the next few months.  From what I could gather, they have living with this policy for a few years and the wife has always been against it and now as the children are older, they are really balking!
Got that?
Since traffic was so heavy that morning, I got a chance to sit and contemplate the issue and listen to the comments from the disc jockeys and other listeners when they called in.   
Let me say that while I understand the father's desire to "limit" the candy as opposed to allowing the children to eat massive amounts of candy in a short period of time, I am not on board with the "earn to eat" program he thinks is appropriate.
And, while I understand the mother's thinking that "hey, it's Halloween, that's what kids should be allowed to do..." stance,  I know it's not the healthiest thing.
The idea of the father taking the excess candy into the office is not a new thing.  I can bet that there's thousands of offices across America that are filled with workers on sugar highs the days immediately following Halloween each year....
I've taken candy into the office from my kids' stockpile and I am sure you have too.
To be honest, I can't even remember what prompted me to take the candy into the office...knowing me, you can bet it wasn't part of a policy that we have at our house about Halloween candy.
I am of the "it's your candy....just keep it away from me" parenting corner.... you can say I'm selfish like that...
So, why am I against the "earn to eat" program?
Maybe it's because I have struggled with food and weight.   Maybe that's why I feel pretty strongly that food and treats should not be associated with behaviors or chores or anything other than it being food or treats.
I am sure I have lots of people who would disagree with me....
What I do know is that by tying emotions or behaviors or anything else to food or treats associates them forever together.  Using food or treats to control behavior or to encourage  one to be a contributing member of a household may work in the short term for a specific situation but I have to ask--what does it look like 10 or 20 or 30 or even 40 years later?
It looks like OBESITY.  
Yes, I know that sounds extremely harsh.
And, you're probably wondering if I am just deep-thinking this way too much.
Maybe.  Maybe not.
But, it's not a belief that I could be swayed on.
Everyone has different parenting styles so I am not sitting in judgement of anyone who ties food or treats to certain behaviors or makes their children earn their food or treats.
I just believe they are wrong.  
But, I didn't always know that as a parent when I was raising my children.  I did what my parents did and their parents before them......
So,  I am pretty sure I screwed up one, two, maybe 800 times.....
Now that I know better, I can work on it when I'm a grandmother......

So, I bet you are wondering who won the debate between the man and woman who called in to the radio show?
Yes, the listeners voted 78% in her favor.  
It scares me just thinking about how pissed off her husband is going to be tonight! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October, October, where for art thou Judi?

So, maybe you were wondering where I've been....or maybe not. 
Last we spoke, I was a few weeks into my own running program--Couch to 5K (C25K),
I was remotely cheering on my lovely niece as she ran the Chicago marathon.....

There she is...completing it!!!! 

and I was preparing to go the Columbus Marathon to cheer on my son the doctor. 
My son's lovely friend and I at mile 10......

And, there he mile 22!!!! 
Perhaps you had visions of me as a resident of  some home for C25K drop outs. 
Or, maybe you thought I decided to tour the country as a marathon cheerleader.
Alas, neither of those are true.
As a matter of fact, I was right here in Judiland, doing what I do, trying to keep my head above water and desperately trying to stay with my commitment to my C25K program.
And, all of it has been very overwhelming and may I say....EXHAUSTING!
My niece's journey to complete her very first marathon and witnessing all of the runners at the Columbus Marathon fueled my desire to continue my running program--despite a grueling  day-to-day work schedule and despite a a little physical setback (I wiped out on a wet floor in the Faculty Dining Room and went down on my knee....ouch! And, oh yeah, it was pretty embarrassing...but they paid for my lunch....all $2.95 of it!)  And, of course...those cute running outfits that I invested in have definitely provided some inspiration to keep me going back to my running group......even if I am the slowest and most unlikely runner ever in the history of their group.....
You think I'm kidding when I tell you that I am the slowest and most unlikely runner in the history of their group?
Nope. I most certainly am not kidding you!  
And, I can prove it.
Let me tell you my little story.....
 I am very dedicated to my running group.  I go to every run (unless I am out of town) and conditioning session and whatever else they do.  So, I am a very familiar face...and I talk a lot...and ask a lot of questions and I look pretty battered and beaten at each session.... and I breath pretty heavy! So, yes, everyone knows me!  I am pretty sure people go home and talk about this annoying woman who shows up in some great outfits but can't run more than 94 seconds without saying Hail Mary's that it will soon be over and then limps and groans all the way to her car when it's over........
Although I don't really talk to everyone in the group, I have a few women in the group who I managed to become friendly with.  Three of these particular women were running the Columbus Marathon and they knew that I was also going....not as a runner....but as a spectator. with most runners, they go to marathons together.  Several members of my group that I really don't know  were going to run either the Half or Full Marathon along with the three women I am friendly with.
Got that?   
Now, this particular marathon is a pretty big one.  And, with all of the hotels sold out  and the restaurants packed to the gills across Columbus and the surrounding areas due to the marathon and Fleetwood Mac being in town, things were bustling.   So....even the thought that we would all see each other was pretty remote.  But, as with most things in Judilife....the most extraordinary things do happen.
Who would have guessed that my little running group from the South Suburbs of Pittsburgh would be at the very same little  restaurant in Columbus as my son, his lovely friend and my husband and I?  
But, that's what happened.
They were sitting right inside the doorway as we walked in.  I didn't see them right away but when someone called across to me.... "Hey.....aren't you in our running group?"  I immediately took notice and waved to the entire table.....
The look on their faces was priceless.   They all looked pretty confused.....
"Oh my I am so impressed!  You are running the marathon!"  one of the women said excitedly.
I could see  the 'OMG.....SHE IS RUNNING?' looks on their facesI am not sure if they were more concerned for my life or if they were worried I was running with them.....!!

Then, a few seconds later, one of my running friends noticed me.  She immediately jumped out of her seat and came to hug me.  Then, the other two running friends came over and we had a little reunion of sorts.  "They think YOU are running"  my one friend said, laughing and pointing at the group. 
Just then, my wonderful husband  piped up...."No, she is drinking...."
I could feel and hear the wave of relief that came over the table as they all held up their water glasses and cheered me on......
They carbo loaded.   I drank martinis.
All was right with the world.....

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The family that runs together......

Well, we aren't really RUNNING together.  
This girl is RUNNING and our hearts are RACING with pride......
Our newest marathoner!  Here she is running The Magnificent Mile Half Marathon in August!

Today, my amazing, smart and beautiful niece is running the Chicago Marathon!
I'm sitting here in Judiland doing a 5 day stretch of DAD DUTY while my sister and my nephew are in Chicago seeing all the wonderful sites,  cheering her on and keeping the rest of us up to date on how things are going.
Unfortunately---her mother (my youngest sister)---was sidelined by some emergency surgery last week.  So, she's home recuperating while her daughter runs.  Our sister who is in Chicago has been given the formidable task of bringing the marathon to Pittsburgh for all of us!
Although I would have loved to be there (because I love Chicago and I love, love my niece), I have to hold the fort down here in Dadland.  Plus, we are headed to Columbus later this week because our son the doctor is running that marathon.  
I'm not quite ready for marathon running yet...but I'm a fabulous spectator....remotely and in person!


 As I slowly go through the training to run a 5k and to someday have the honor of calling myself a runner, I am slowly learning why there's this thing about running....
First and foremost--running forces you to be in the moment.   This is not a natural thing for me.  Between you and me---as much as I get on my soapbox about appreciating the here and now and being present, I am not that girl .  I am always on my way to something else or somewhere else. 
In my world, everything is about how I can finish this so I can do that and then finish that so I can do the other thing.
So, I took on the C25K challenge the same way as I take on everything else---with my eye on when this whole thing would be over.   Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! When would this warm up end?  When will this run end?  Let's hurry this up, I've got someplace to be, someone needs me, someone is waiting for me, I've got things to do.......

Last week when I was running the trail and my group somehow got way in front of me and I was left behind as the solo last runner, I found myself thinking " I have to go faster, I have to get to the end....".   Then, when I got to the end....I was done.  It was over.  
Once again, I had hurried through something to get to something else....
 Words to remember....


Thursday, October 9, 2014

If you want something.......stand in line!!!!!

Just when you think you are on the right path and things are going as are reminded that you are not always in control of your journey......

I am the QUEEN of making lemonade out of lemons....or, at least I try to be.
Sometimes I wish I could shed that moniker and instead be just an ordinary GENIE!
Or, at least have super powers.....
I am not asking for much.
I am just asking for the ability to have control over the universe.
Or, at least my universe.....

I'll be back when Father Time loosens his grip on me......

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Running with the PACK......

And, what a humbling experience that was.....

This morning was my first official "group run" on a trail with my running group.
We met in the wee hours of this morning at The Montour Trail....which is about 7 miles from my home.  But, due to the never ending Pittsburgh road work...the detours made my trip about 10 slow miles....even at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning!! 
It was a wonderful trail.....crushed limestone to run on (which "they" say is great), level and very picturesque--especially at this time of the year.  
Thankfully, this group is made up of every age, every size and every level of ability and speed.
So, it's not like I was the only slow runner.
But, I'm pretty sure I was the only runner with the look of sheer terror and pain on her face.
Thank goodness it was cool enough this morning to wear my newest running ensemble.....!

Saturday, October 4, 2014



com·fort food
noun: comfort food; plural noun: comfort foods
  1. food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.
    Now that Fall is  officially on our doorsteps--chill and all--our thoughts drift away from the foods of summer and steer us towards those cooler-weather foods that give us a feeling of warmth not only in our bellies but also in our hearts and souls.  
    Or, so they say.... 
    For a Lapbander like me, I am often perplexed by the whole notion of comfort food.  Because sometimes those typical comfort foods provide no comfort at all to me.  They are actually uncomfortable foods....they play havoc with my Lapband and make for a very uncomfortable experience on many levels.   I will spare you the horrid details....
    Yet, I still long for those foods that transport me back to moments in my mother's kitchen or Sundays at my Nana's dinner table or those after-party foodie raids shared with my college room mates.    
    As much as I'd love to say that a huge slice of lasagna or a massive bowl of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese doesn't sound like heaven on earth---I have to be honest......there are times when I want and need them so badly, I am heartbroken.....   
    Thankfully,  I am impatient with misery so I tend to get over things rather quickly.  
    At times I sooth myself  by taking to the kitchen to make those foods....even if I can't eat them. Yes, I know....I sound like a masochist....I'm dysfunctional like that when it comes to food!
    Sometimes when the urge is just too strong, I figure out a way to get the tastes and the feeling that I need without the angst of Lapband moments....
    Some people may say that it's not good to equate food to feelings and that we should not attach any emotions to food and that we should not use  food to compensate for anything other than true hunger.   Experts tell us that is one of the leading causes of the obesity epidemic. 
    You know, I get that.  I completely understand it and in a way--I know it's true.  
    But, with any sound and reasonable theory---there's the other side of the argument.  
    You see, I really love food.  I love a good meal.  I love the memories of a good meal.  
    I am completely smitten with the entire process of enjoying food and enhancing your life through enjoying exceptional food.....whether it's cooking it, serving it or eating it---I am so about food....
    Why is it bad to love something that we love?  

Friday, October 3, 2014


Just another problem with the change of seasons......

Here's the thing.....I just got a little too comfy in my fabulously comfy summer shoe collection.
I'm telling you -----I hit the shoe jackpot when I invested in several pair of the most amazing shoes on the planet....Fly Londons and Bernie Mevs..   Those shoes got me through everything this summer--from going to work to hanging out to doing just about everything else that you do every summer.
Bernie Mevs are not exactly shoes that go with the Fall and Winter months.  And, although I do have a few nonsummer Fly Londons, they are not necessarily the look that I need during my more formal work attire needs during the Fall and Winter months.  They will definitely work out fine for casual wear, they aren't actually the style that goes with my Fall and Winter office wardrobe. 
Thankfully--up until this week--our weather has been warm enough to allow me to wear my trusty shoes.  But, looking at the weather forecast....I figured it's time to pull out my pumps and heels.  To prepare for this upcoming change, I decided to go through my office shoe wardrobe and only keep those shoes that felt comfy.  Well.....I guess my feet got awfully spoiled so they balked each time I slipped my feet into some of my favorite Fall and Winter shoes!  Add that to the fact that every inch of my legs are screaming in pain from my running training....yeah, it ain't good.  
Now, I could just suck it up or I could embark on a shoe shopping extravaganza.  But, as a girl who has probably 300+ pair of shoes--that doesn't seem like it would be a very popular decision in my household.   I guess I could start the arduous task of going through every pair of shoes and make a decision on which ones gotta to--regardless of how cute or sexy they are---to make room for some new shoes.  Or, I could just bite the bullet and tell myself that no one needs this many shoes and challenge myself to get rid of the ones that really won't work and live with the ones that do.  A few pair would be just fine....right?   Yeah, tell that to my shoelovin' self.

Yep, there's real problems here in Judiland.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014


I am.

And, I can prove that YES, Judi is RUNNING:
 I'm pretty sure I might not be able to get up from this chair I am sitting in to go upstairs and get a shower!   I wonder if being too sore to walk is a good excuse for calling off  work during the busiest time of the year......

Speaking of part of my C25K program, I use an app on my phone that tells me when it's time to run and when it's time to walk.  My running mentor recommended this particular one after talking with me and understanding what I needed.  (what did I need? something easy to follow with not a lot of techy stuff....)   This one is so perfect for me.  I can't tell you that I don't get mad at it when it tells me it's time to run but I still like it....
 So, if anyone is interested in getting this FREE app for your ya go....Zen Labs.
Tell them Judi sent you...... 

Speaking of my running mentor....she had some tips on how to deal with being sore and how to avoid it in the future.  She did acknowledge that the soreness I am feeling now is to be VERY expected since I never ran before in my life!   Still, she said that no matter how sore I am and how much I just want to lay down and remain still for hours on end, I have to move.  Moving circulates the blood and that is part of what heals the soreness.  So yeah....I do have to get out of this chair and walk up the steps....
She also told me that if I am not properly hydrated, the soreness will increase.  Water is the key.  Even though I drink quite a bit of water each day, she advised me to double it.  The reason she gave was that my body is used to that amount of water so it will need more to help with being hydrated enough to avoid the soreness.  With all that water drinking, I will definitely be moving more..... doubling my  trips to the bathroom! 
And, lastly, she said that I have to take a hard look at my "fuel consumption."    "Fuel consumption?"  I asked.  "Yes......your know, the food you eat, " she said, helping me to understand.  She told me that I have to eat from all good groups to be properly fueled for running.  "If you fail to take in the necessary nutrients--from carbs and protein--you will fail at seeing the performance you want to see.  Eating carb-wisely before and after your runs is critical to keeping you energized.  And, being sure to take in enough protein to rebuild the tissues you are breaking down due to running."  she told me.

There's just so much more to this running thing besides cute shoes and fun outfits.....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello October, Hello PAIN!

A few weeks back when I decided to embark on changing my life through running, I figured I would pick a date and go for it.
Which I did.
I picked September 29.
Although there is a little bit of reasoning behind that particular date, it also happened to work with my plan.  I won't go into all the details of why that date might mean something in my world but let's just say that it was a day at changed my life (or, more accurately--it changed my thinking....which in turn changed my life) over three decades ago.  Don't try to's not all that astounding to anyone but me....

As I said--most importantly--September 29 was a date that worked with my plan.  It was a Monday and vacation was over.  Plus, being someone who has always been on an academic schedule, I knew that my mind and body is tuned into starting anew each September.  And, it gave me ample time to do my research, talk to some in-the-know folks, choose and join a running group and most importantly---buy myself some snazzy and comfy shoes AND some cute, cute running outfits! 
I mean....really....a girl needs more than just wanting to change her life to motivate her to take on something as huge as starting a running program.....snazzy shoes and cute clothes work for me every time. 
Everything came to together quite nicely thanks to my spectacular new friends at Fleet Feet.   I got a group, I got a mentor, I got some advice, I got a program and yes, I got some pretty great shoes and a few pretty cute running outfits....
My favorite part of it all (and the moment that I knew I was in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing) happened when the adorable associate who was helping me was telling me all about how her mom started running at age 55 and had never ran before and how it changed her life..... all of a sudden I said "Is your mom Nancy?"  And, the adorable associate said "YES!"   "Ahhhh....Nancy!!  My bus friend!  In fact, she was one of  the people who was instrumental in me making this decision to take up running!  She never said her daughter worked here!!!"  I squealed....
Many months ago when I thought I wanted to be a full time public transportation user, I gained several new friends---one of them being Nancy.  She lives near me and works at the University next door to the University where I work.  So, we had lots of time to chat on our early morning commutes.  Her story of  what prompted her to begin running when she never ran a day in her life  and  her journey to becoming a runner was interesting to hear unfold as the months went by.   As I got to know her,  I found that we were both in very similar places in our lives and dealing with many of the same changes to our worlds.  We were no longer mothers with children at home, our careers were not once as important as they once were, our marriages had taken on a comfortableness that sometimes felt a bit boring, we were feeling like we needed something new in our lives.....mid life was settling in and we were trying to figure out what to do with the rest of our lives......we still felt vital and young even though there were times we felt tired and old...... funny how much you can talk on the bus....
Thankfully, because I saw Nancy each morning at the start of her running program, I was fully aware that I might find myself in quite a bit of pain in the early days of becoming a runner.  There were days when I wondered if she would be able to walk from the bus stop to her office.....
And, I also knew that there were times when running 2 minutes felt like you were running 2 hours and that you would want to give up more than you wanted to continue.  She told me all about that... So, I was fully aware of the downside.  
But, I also knew---thanks to Nancy---if she could do could I.  
Although the C25K program is gentle and eases you into running-- if you were never a runner---you are definitely using parts of your body and your muscles that you never used before......ouch!!!!
At the moment, I am having some major, major pain.....
And, I am only 2 days in.
But, I have a new pair of shoes and some great outfits.
And, my son the doctor and  runner said "mom, you will want to give up.....don't." 
I just didn't know I might want to give up so soon.....

I thought I was BORN TO appears that I am not. 
I have to do the hard work to get to the PROMISED LAND.