Life in the Judy Lane

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August 2012: Survival of the Fattest

Posted on August 18, 2012 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The next time somebody tells me that they have lost serious poundage in record time by “just giving up soda!” I’m going to crack them over the head with said soda bottle.

The only thing I’ve ever lost by giving up one simple item was my mind. It’s like pyramid schemes. They only work for other people, not me.

Back in the day, I used creamer in my coffee. One morning, as I slurped my morning brew and licked my chops, a co-worker stopped me.

“You know how many calories are in those? You figure you drink 2-3 cups a day…you’re adding 200-300 calories just in your coffee!”

I wiped the donut crumbs from my double chin and made a commitment to drink black coffee from that day forward. Days went by, weeks, months without my beloved creamer. I lost the taste for creamer, but nary an ounce. Fifteen years later, I still drink my coffee naked and can serve up a cup or two on my well-rounded, ever expanding rear-end.

Apparently, I’m not alone in this phenomenon. There was a segment on Oprah about a husband and wife who were serving as missionaries in a third-world country. They were captured by rebels and held prisoner for months. Tragically, the husband didn’t survive due to an infection from injuries suffered in the incident.

“We were given a cup of water and one bowl of rice a day,” the wife tearfully explained. “He was so weak. He lost 30 pounds in a month.”

“And you?” Oprah asked softly.

“I didn’t lose an ounce!” she exclaimed.

Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking. She lived! Her body went into survival mode. But, is that really what’s happening to me in my cushy middle-class, suburban life with a nice job and all the comforts of home? I turn on the morning news and my brain sends out an alert to my body?

“What?! Traffic is tied up on the freeway?! Batten down the hatches! Store up the fat! We’re all gonna die!”

A friend of mine “just started walking” a month ago and apparently she’s lost 30 pounds. She’s somewhere in Texas now, but apparently very thin.

I walk, too. I don’t lose weight. But, I suppose I would be Gilbert Grape’s mother if I didn’t.

“Atkins Diet!” said another friend. “That’s the way to go. Give up the carbs and watch the pounds drop.”

Thirty days ago, I gave up bread, pasta and cereal and the only things dropping are my chins and breasts. My bra size is a 40 long now.

All right, I admit, I’m down six pounds, but I know I could easily put that back with a visit to the movie theatre. What to do?

Perhaps I can incorporate the walking—round trip—and just easing up a little on my beloved carbs and see how that goes. And, maybe I’ll give up the ice cream. And the cookies. Oh, yeah and the extra glass of wine, and the…

July 2012: Funny or Not, Here I Come

Posted on July 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Grief works in mysterious ways. One minute you’re sobbing into your soup and the next you’re laughing wickedly—almost maniacally at something that is not necessarily all that funny. I guess it’s nature’s way of releasing those crushing emotions.

My mother-in-law lay dying in a nursing facility just blocks from our home. She had been there for about two years, first unable to walk, eventually unable to speak and finally to swallow. We got the call on Saturday afternoon in the middle of Shea’s softball game. “You’d better come soon.”

Pepper, her sister Patsy, and I rushed to her bedside. We spent the rest of that day and night with her. Pepper resumed in the morning. I went to the grocery store to get some supplies not knowing how long the bedside vigil might last.

I pulled out a cart from the line stacked neatly at the entrance and wondered,

“Have I grown considerably in the last few months or did these carts shrink?”

They were the size of a kiddie cart. The only thing missing was a little yellow flag. I hunched over and pushed the cart through the doorway.

When I entered, I notice a big sign, “Tell us what we can do better!” You can buy life size shopping carts instead of these rejects from Toon Town. How about that?

I was about half way through my shopping when I noticed a sale I couldn’t resist. Two cases of water for $5. Even if I didn’t need water, I couldn’t pass that up. I don’t need water, I don't like water, and still and I couldn’t pass it up. I looked down at my Barbie cart and realized I couldn’t even fit two bottles of water, much less two cases. I begrudgingly decided to get just one and stuff it in there if necessary. I bent over, huffing and puffing and grumbling about the other $2.50 I could have scored, sliding the case on the bottom of the cart, when I heard it. Amplified. As though the Musak was replaced with this echoing sound.


I split my pants entirely up the back. Not just split,—or just a little rip----shredded. Shredded like wheat. Like Watergate files. Shredded. As though I backed into a whirring fan.

Now what?

I began laughing…hysterically. The irony of the past few days…the past couple of years of sadness and difficulty and here I am with my shorts shredded on my arse. I looked up to see one of those giant mirrors which made me laugh harder. I could just see the “loss prevention” monitor watching me on the spycam to make sure I wasn’t eating any of those Craisins out of the plastic bag.

I still had Pepper’s comfort food to buy—chili, soft cheese, grapes, Coke Zero. What to do?

Unfortunately this was not one of those superstores where you can buy tires, bananas and a pregnancy test all in one place. There were no pants to change in to, just some beach towels, which would be weird even for me. Then I saw it from the corner of my eye. A Padres t-shirt stuffed into the bottom shelf. Right where they are in the MLB--last place. But, right now they were my heroes. I wrapped it around my waist; the sleeves stuck into my pockets on either side and resumed my shopping

People were probably thinking I'm trying to shoplift that valuable shirt.

At checkout, the young girl drones,

"How's your day so far?"

"Well," I say laughing, "I split my pants so far! So, I just borrowed this t-shirt,” handing it to her.

No response. No smile. Nothing. I'm laughing. Alone. The bag boy didn't even look up. Finally, she turns to look at me.

"At least you were wearing—”then pausing for what seemed like an eternity.

"Underwear? Yes--at least I think I am,” I quip.

No smile. Nothing. When the boy is done putting my plums in with the detergent, he looks up and asks routinely,

"Do you need help out today?"

"Yes. Can you walk behind me very closely?"

I thought he was going to pass out.

"Just kidding," I say as if he could ever get that lucky with the likes of me.

Kids have no sense of humor; so uncomfortable in their skin. I never want to be young again.

“Go Padres!” I called out as I left the store.

My mother-in-law would have been in stiches.. Especially the part about the Padres t-shirt since she was an avid Braves fan. She had a wicked sense of humor. I remember once she looked at me very seriously and asked, “What do you think about Red China?”

“I’m not sure,” I said, taken aback a bit since she was not very political.

“Well, I think it looks great on a white table cloth,” she said.

We laughed. Out loud.

The day after my shopping experience, she passed peacefully in her sleep. Good night, sweet Mary. I’ll miss you.

January 2012: Shape Up or, Well, Shape Up!

Posted on January 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s January and they are all over the place.  Running in traffic in the middle of theday.  In big picture windows on variousmedieval contraptions with legs sprawled questionably and wires stuck in theirears.  They are fresh and determined intheir spanking new duds, resolved to actually do it this time.


No, it’s not the Republican candidates.  It’s all those people determined to loseweight/get in shape/exercise more/give up liquor/candy/crack/fill-in-the-blankand/or any variation on the theme of a new year filled with a new you.  And they will do it—at least through earlyFebruary.  Then Valentine’s Day comeswith all those cute little red and white candies and chocolate coveredstrawberries and oh, just one glass of champagne and the next thing you knowthe elliptical is a coat rack and who cares if the puppy chews up your NewBalance, there’s Cinnabons warming in the oven.


My dear friend Patti is one of those people.  She has goals and she has dreams and she hasa brand new treadmill. 


“I feel like Scooby Doo!” she screamed breathlessly over thephone to me.  “I didn’t realize I had tolearn to walk, much less run on this thing!”


Naturally, her college-age children, Tyler and TJ have takento it like frats boys to a keg.  In oneday, they have not only mastered walking and jogging at various mphs, they’vedeveloped a brother-sister Cirque de Soleil routine with the floor racingbeneath them at break-neck speed as Tyler floats high above TJ’s head while hespins her like a baton to the theme of “Ice Castles.”


Things are not much different at my house.  Uncle Daniel gave Cory and Shea a DanceCentral video game for Christmas.   As Iwatched my kids dancing to tunes new and old—many of which even I knew—I madethat fatal mistake.  Like when I watchedCory step on a balance board.  He made itlook so easy.  Before I could say, “I cando tha—” I was on the ground nursing a mild concussion, scraped elbow andbruised ego.  But, hey, this game hassongs from the Jackson Five and the Commodores—I know those moves!


About two minutes into my turn, Pepper comes running in thefamily room.


“They have a clogging on that?”


“NO!” I screamed breathlessly indignant.  “I didn’t realize the Pointer Sisters were soserious about that “jump!” for my love.”


When my daughter Shea was doing it, she was light as feathermoving arms and feet rhythmically to the beat, nary a bead of sweat on herhead.  I, on the other hand, looked likethe pilot in the movie Airplane!--drenched in sweat, wheezing and coughing as Iflung my arms in direct opposition to every move on screen.  Certainly if this was back in my day, myfootwork would have made the record skip repeatedly.  As it was, I noticed the big screen was jigglingalmost as much as my rear end.


If that’s not enough, the game rates you while you attemptthese impossible moves--“Perfect!” “Good” “OK” and “Did you log off?”

But, I’m not giving up--yet. My fantasy of my abilities is matched only by my determination to proveI’m still hip.   So, watch out CeleryGreen and Lady Goo-Goo, here comes Big Mama!




December 2011: Would You Like a Shoehorn with Those Slacks?

Posted on December 8, 2011 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

So it’s not a secret that I’m no fan of the fashion industry.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I eat on a regular basis and have weighed over 99 pounds since grade school.   

I lost yet again at Ro! Cham! Beau! Ro! Cham! Beau! with Pepper and ended up the one to taking Shea jeans shopping the other day.

She received a couple of pairs of what I consider “cool” jeans for her 12th birthday, which she promptly pointed out were “Cool, yes, back when you and Mommie were riding dinosaurs  through the quarry.”

Back in the La Brea Tar Pits, we had one option—bell-bottom jeans that you bought and promptly washed over and over till they got that worn look.  Now, we have straight cut, skinny jeans, wide leg, boot cut, and flare.  Pre-washed, stone-wash, ripped and torn.  Yes, somebody actually shreds parts of the jeans for you and charges you double. I’m pretty sure I dated this creator in high school.

It was like being in the garment district in the 1900s with stacks and stacks of of alternate types of jeans from which to choose.  I was getting queasy as she picked up pair after pair to examine and see if it passed the middle-school test.

My daughter is an athletic, healthy little girl. She has an actual figure and doesn’t look like she was rescued at Auschwitz.  Regrettably, she is not in the trendy jeans demographics and soon became stuck in one pair.

“Those are the sleeves,honey,” I said thinking she inadvertently tried slipping into a top instead of pants.

“No, Mama,” she said. “It’s the pant leg.”

“Whose leg?!” I screamed, as I examined the jeans to see if we somehow picked mixed up Barbie clothes form the toy department with our garments.  “You couldn’t fit a candy cane through this opening!”

In the long list of things I love about Shea, instead of getting pouty and embarrassed by my tirade, she began laughing hysterically. This, of course, made it that much more difficult to extricate her from the lock that these she’s alleged pants had on her.  Now, she was on the dressing room floor, in a semi-shoulder stand, as I proceeded to peel off the pants.  Now, I began laughing and as I gave a final yank, ended up in a heap on the floor myself, which was not a pretty sight from the security camera view, I’m sure.

Today, I was updating my avatar on Yahoo IM for the winter.    It’s much like playing with paper dolls when I was a kid—you know, with playmates Wilma and Betty.   I love to pick out backgrounds that represent the time of year with wild outfits that I get to wear because…well, I can.  As I was scrolling through the literally hundreds of selections in the “apparel” section, I noticed an option for “plus sizes.”  Curious, I clicked on it to reveal about six choices.  The classic, shapeless tunic, the cotton, short-sleeved farmer’s blouse, and that special  nautical look that is says, “I’m a big girl and I like ships!”  

Really? Really?!  Now, even in my fantasy world, I’m relegated to the pretty and plump line?  I’ve always said, if they can just take those hip clothes that the thin girls wear and hit enlarge179% on the copier--voila!--they’ve have a nice big girl outfit.  You know, like they do for the guys.  Khakis in size 32, same khakis in 48.   Tommy Bahama shirt in size M, twin shirt in XXXL.  I’m sure even Congress would agree on this formula.

I found a beautiful snowy scene in Central Park for my background and a slinky, all-black Catwoman suit for me. Perfect.  This is one time when “one-size fits all” actually works. Now, where’s that Saber-toothed tiger?


October 2011: Ball Games

Posted on December 8, 2011 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

“Protesters disrupt John Boehner’s golf game in Newport Beach”

That was one of the headlines in today’s newspaper. 

According to the story, “…a weekend of worldwide protest spilled over into Orange County on Monday as about 40 left-leaning activists protested House Speaker John Boehner's visit to the Pelican Hill Golf Club in NewportBeach.”

The global worldwide protest and this particular ancillary incident are not what intrigue me.  What does is the fact that one tiny person can disrupt a round of golf by merely opening his or her mouth.  Forget dozens shouting and catcalling.  Just a sneeze apparently can have world-class champions dazed and befuddled as they send balls sideways into bunkers, lakes and trees, oh my!

What is it about certain games that require complete silence on the part of the spectators while others not only allow it, but encourage the crowd to raise their voices?

“Make some noise!” is commonly flashed on neon electronic boards in stadiums across the country. If that’s not enough, there are countless oddballs with their bare skin painted in team colors encouraging those around them to rise up and cheer on the team.  It’s clear they areappreciated or they would not be highlighted on camera for every game.

Soccer fans are probably the most boisterous.  They bring those crazy plastic tube thingees that are continuously mooing like sick cows throughout the entire match.  Do you see even one of those soccer players giving the stink eye to anyone in the bleachers for making them lose their concentration?  On the contrary, the wilder the crowd, the better the match.

Tennis players fall into the delicate category.  They require complete silence from the moment the ball is tossed in the air till it careens out of play.  Now, while the crowd must stifle all bodily functions, it’s perfectly okay for the player to scream and grunt and otherwise make highly suspicious noises as they strike the ball.  I suspect after the US Open Women’s semi-finals recently, the facilities folks had to deal with a herd of bull moose who were anxiously answering the mating call.

Basketball players deal with all kinds of mayhem as they run up and down the court; and that’s just Jack Nicholson stumbling too close.   If they find themselves at the foul line, while any manner of freakishness stares them directly in the eye, as opposing fans attempt to distract, hex, jinx or otherwise put the whammy on these fellahs as they are focusing on ball in hand sailing into hoop on board.

Football players are much like their b-ballbrothers.  Not only does the screaming fans and nasty comments from wannabes in the crowd distract them, but also they have a dozen or so scantily clad luscious ladies shaking their pom-poms up and down the field for three hours.  Try sinking a put with that in your line of vision. Oh, wait maybe a certain golfer has pulled that one off.

So I say, get overit.  If you’re a brain surgeon, you needto be careful as you thread a needle through the patient’s cerebral cortex.  But lofting a ball in the air, not so much.  I don’t really understand what distinguishes the fragile athlete from the more robust, but I did notice that one group has smaller balls than the others.