I have a Smart TV.  It was a birthday gift when I turned fifty – several years ago.  About two or three years ago I got an email from Amazon telling me not to renew my Amazon Prime because the software on my television could not support it.  Some time over the last two years, I gave up cable television and my love affair with Netflix began in earnest. For anyone who reads this blog, you will already know that I have written about that several times.

Up until now, I have not written about my problems with Netflix.  I began getting error messages that the episode I wanted to watch was unavailable – try again or try another episode. If you know anything about my television habits, you will know that watching episodes out of order would destroy my sense of Netflix purpose.  solution was to unplug my router, turn off the television, plug it back in, turn on the television and try again.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

Just about that time my son told me that YouTube was going to stop working on our television because our software was too old. That is when I figured out why I was having so much trouble with Netflix. So I was faced with a dilemma.  Should I buy a new television when mine was in excellent working condition or break down and pay for cable again?

Luckily, there was a third choice:  Roku, a little piece of magic.  At first I was concerned about changing my television routine (the older I get the harder I find change), but I decided to give it a try.  Netflix was back! You can imagine how incredibly happy I was. Back to binge watching until 2:00 am, waking at 5:30 to get ready for work, almost back to normal.

Then it happened.

My niece gave my son her Hulu password. “Try it,” he said.  “You ‘ll like it.” My sister said the same thing.  And then my niece chimed in.  “Give it a try, you can watch General Hospital again.”

Well, frankly, the whole General Hospital thing is a completely different story for a different night. Suffice to say that I read Soap Opera Digest ever since the Soap Opera Channel was taken off of cable.  I can’t make that change and go back to watching. Then I would have to watch Days of Our Lives and Young and Restless.  Are there really enough hours in the day?

Back to the point, I agreed to give HULU a chance.  I didn’t bother looking at the movies available because these days I only watch series TV. After a cursory scroll across the available shows and I came across The Good Wife.  And thus, my exclusive love affair with Netflix is no more.  In fact, over the past week or so, I have not even turned on Netflix.

I am currently on Season 6, and Alicia is  considering the run for State Attorney.  I  really had no idea how she was going to move on from Will’s death, but this whole Cary Agos has gone to jail and is now out on bail and Diane joining the firm has left no doubt the writing team is on the top of their game.

I feel like I am meeting new people and getting to keep my old friends.  Cary Agos is played by Matt Czuchry, Logan from Gilmore Girls.  I promise not to gush about that show, but really, this character is the perfect follow up to Logan.  Cary is Logan all grown up,  successful and just as endearing as one would expect.

Frankly, just when I thought the show couldn’t get better, who now works for the firm?  Taye Diggs!  Can we say Private Practice? I cried and cried at the final episode of Private Practice.  And here he is again, on my TV screen and in my heart.  Right now he is on screen and his character is so well written I can forgive Sam for not bringing Naomi and Addison with him.  Once can hope, though.

As I have learned from Netflix there are some amazing ensemble casts on television.  I am so very glad they are available to me.  The writing is superb, the acting is superb, I am hooked.

Unfortunately,  that means the most recent season of House of Cards will have to wait.  I don’t even know if the next season of Scandal is available but that is ok for now.  The Good Wife has so many guest stars from my recent Netflix days that I am ok with my new obsession, HULU.

Who knew Roku was going to be this much fun?








Binge watching series TV has become one of my favorite past times.  I particularly like the very long lasting shows, Criminal Minds, Gray’s Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, Once Upon a Time…you get the idea.  Usually after a series ends it takes me a day or two to sample shows to decide what to watch next.  Sometimes I do “interim” binging like catching up on easy to watch shows like Baby Daddy, or catch an episode of How I Met Your Mother or Parks and Recreation. Now, I have a new quandary.

What to do when you find a show that you really like, it’s late, another night of insomnia and the last episode of season one has just ended and instead of going to season two, you are right back at episode one, season one!

Yes, the one-hit wonder quandary.

It just happened to me. Finished Criminal Minds. Finished Gray’s Anatomy. Searched and found a new show: A Gifted Man.

I really liked the show.  Uptown Neurosurgeon runs into his ex-wife. She had been working in a free clinic downtown.  Kicker is (SPOILER ALERT) she is dead.  He is the only one who can see her. The remainder of the ensemble cast either work in the Neurosurgeon’s hospital or the downtown clinic.  Love is in the air, really good story line, one I could have gotten involved in;  one I could have discussed with my niece, Angel, as we are the binge watching team.  But alas, not to be.  A quick Google search revealed the show was gone after one season.

It got me thinking, maybe I should binge watch one-hit wonders for a while.  It would be interesting to see how many there are on Netflix.  It would be more interesting to find out why the shows don’t make it.  A Gifted Man, in my humble opinion, should have gone on for years, like NCIS…

I am overweight. There are a variety of reasons for this, among them depression, spinal stenosis, poly-articular arthritis, and an obsession with food as the antidote to all that ails.  It is, as many know, a vicious cycle. Eat, gain weight, get more depressed, eat again.  At some point one becomes numb and develops the ability to look in the mirror and not see, talk to people but not look them in the eye, and become a shell of former self.  That was me.

When my spinal stenosis became so bad that I could not walk more than a few steps, my weight sky rocketed.  Post surgery, I felt well for a short time, started walking and began  one of my many diets – and failed. Within a month, my back started hurting and one of my legs started to become numb and itchy and I was driving through McDonalds every morning to buy a small mocha frappe, no whip (I had the lingo down, naturally), about a million calories a serving.

When the numbness started to become distracting and uncomfortable, I went to see the neurologist, sure he was going to tell me that it was time to go back to the surgeon.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that I had Meralgia paresthetica, a fancy term for compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, or in other words, I was so obese that fat was pressing on the nerve on the front of my thigh causing numbness and tingling.  I was devastated, humiliated, fat, numb, depressed, and the worst of the FFF’s (a little nickname my sisters and I share). I had hit rock bottom.

How could I have let this happen? What happened to that little girl who only ate to live?

That’s me in the blue dress, with my cousins on a beautiful sunny NY day.

I am not really sure when I made the change from thin, healthy, happy Marie to the person that I used to make fun of, the one who stands in the back in group pictures and can never find anything to wear. Karma is real. Send it out into the universe and eventually it will return.

Then one day, I saw “before and after” pictures of the younger sister of one of my dear friends. She had lost over 70 pounds and looked fabulous. I decided to take a chance and ask her what kind of journey she was following.We talked for a while and it felt good to admit to the psychological problems I had with eating and weight loss. I laughed until I cried and decided to take the plunge on my absolute last ditch effort at any eating plan before deciding on bariatric surgery. Yes, of course I had considered that.

At just about the same time as I made the decision to start another diet, I just happened to find a set of Melmac dishes I had been searching for on E Bay for almost a year – the dishes I grew up with and felt a need to own again. Funny how thing work. Perhaps there is a master plan.



The dishes arrived about a week before my meal replacements, in almost perfect condition and almost exactly as I had remembered them.  Much to my surprise, the dishes were so much smaller than the usual dinner plates I have been using for years.  The cereal bowls I remember from my youth are tiny compared to the bowls in my cabinet.  I started to put two and two together – the size of dinner ware and flat ware has increased over the years in proportion to my own weight gain. Coincidence? Probably not.  Nevertheless, I took a chance on E Bay (God, I LOVE that site) and found mid-century forks, spoons and knives to add to my collection.  Lo and behold, they are substantially smaller than the mismatched set of silverware I have been using. Putting two and two together yet?

So now I am on a health and weight-loss journey with the help of an amazing coach, a great support group, a few meal replacements, and a Lean and Green meal on my awesome Melmac plates with my awesome forks and knives with the cool vintage wooden handles. I am re-learning to love the whole process of the meal, not just the food. The dishes are the perfect size for my portion controlled meal, and life is really looking up. If only I had my pastel Tupperware cups to drink my water. . . but I digress. . .

I am about to place my third order for plan meal replacements. I have lost ten pounds, have not “cheated” even once
as there is no need to, and my obsession with food is gone. I have a very long way to go, but the road ahead is clear. I am getting closer to finding me every day.

This is a journey I feel confident about. I could write a book on all the diets I have tried before and why this one is the one that works for me and maybe someday I will.   Accountability is important, but having all the right tools at the right time is even more important than that. Check back in every once in a while if you want to follow my progress. I may even post a picture. Who knows, while finding me, I may be able to help you find you.


Although the world is full of suffering,
it is full also of the overcoming of it.
– Helen Keller


Perfect in purple, Angel in the dialysis unit at Tampa General Hospital



My niece, Angel, is my sunshine, my inspiration, and one of the smartest and bravest people I know and she is far wiser than her eleven years.  She was born with Vater Association, a group of congenital deformities, among them only one barely working kidney. She had her first major surgery when she was only hours old. From the time she was very little she was on strict dietary restrictions, underwent hundreds of diagnostic tests, several reconstructive and spinal surgeries, long hospitalizations and required a complicated rewp-1458429169699.jpggimen of medicines several times a day.

She began dialysis at age four and was listed for transplant by six.  Angel was on dialysis for eight years when it became medically necessary to move her to the top of the transplant list.  Not too long ago, she underwent a successful kidney transplant and her entire life has changed in ways not many people could imagine.

How things have changed

Angel used to spend at least four hours in the dialysis unit three times a week.  Everything she did revolved around her dialysis schedule and her medical procedures done once an evening at 6:00 pm.  When I asked her how it feels not to have to go to dialysis any more she said it feels “weird and boring.” She finds it hard to fill all that extra time, except for binge watching Netflix. She said food tastes saltier now and she can drink as much as she wants. Her diet is only restricted by raw foods and grapefruits and she is not allowed to eat at buffet restaurants.  She has had chocolate for the first time and found out that she loves peanut butter cups.

Now that she has recovered from the actual transplant surgery, she is feeling much better. She has more energy than she had before and she is looking forward to traveling outside Tampa to amusement parks, fairs and Disney World. She still visits her friends and the nurses in the dialysis unit when she goes to the hospital for labs and for school. Her biggest goal right now is to go to “real school.” She has been going to home-bound school at Tampa General since Kindergarten!wp-1458429212037.jpg

Angel is an inspiration to me every day. She has a bigger heart than anyone I know. In 2010 Angel was a spokesperson for Tampa General Children’s Medical Center for Christmas.

Angel is also past winner of the American Kidney Fund Art Contest and was the was the guest at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Kidney Walk in Atlanta, GeorgIa in 2012.

Once she recovered from her surgery, the first public gathering she attended was a walk for Colon Cancer at the Al Lopez Park in Tampa.wp-1458448669906.jpg Truly her heart and her love for life  knows no bounds.

When she is out in public and wearing her mask, she wishes no one would ask her any questions.  However, she knows that is not realistic so she has created some helpful hints which you can read about in Part Two.

Looking towards the future

Angel plans to become a doctor in the future.  For now,though, she enjoys watching Grays Anatomy, Super Natural and How I Met Your Mother.  She is busy learning to sew so she can make quilts for the children in the hospital and learning how to play the guitar.  The future is bright and that is no surprise as she remains my only sunshine.


Don’t let this article make you believe that this is all a walk in the park. It is a testimonial to Angel’s personality that this all seems so easy. For the second time in as many weeks, Angel again is in Tampa General Hospital, waiting for a sonogram.  Her urine output has been less than expected and she is swollen and a bit uncomfortable. As her mom, Lisa, reminds us, transplant is just another type of treatment, not a cure.