Tuesday, October 28, 2014

One Day at a Time Takes Freaking Forever



So much going on! This weekend I was a master of accomplishment, checking items off my to-do list right and left. Half my basement papers are filed! Estimates for porch railings are flying into my Inbox! I wrote an article for the church newsletter, read this week's submissions for my writers group, made pumpkin brownies with the aging can of pumpkin in my fridge! I called, I wrote, I went Halloween shopping with my son (we needed face paint for his disgusting costume, and pumpkins for carving, which turned out to be surprisingly challenging! But we found what we wanted at Wilson Farms, plus some hot-out-of-the-fryer cider doughnuts, a highlight of this glorious season).

(I'll try to remember to take a picture of our jack-o'-lanterns before the slutty squirrels have their way with them. They turned out super cute!)

A few updates and newsy bits:

  • It's my fifth day off the Tam. I'm in a supremely good mood, but can we attribute that to being Tam-free? or getting stuff done, which I LOVE? or the gorgeous weather? or my knees hurting less today? I'm still weepy, the scale needle hasn't budged, and my digestive cycle is a thing of woe. Progress? I dunno. Plus I have an exciting new ailment: ulnar nerve entrapment, caused by excessive computer work! Awesome. 
  • I'm getting x-rays on both knees on Friday, and I have an appointment with an orthopedist on November 6. I am so hopeful that something can be done and I can be pain free. And return to zumba!!
  • Yesterday was the birthday of my darling friend Zanzibar! Happy belated birthday, dear friend. I am delighted to celebrate the fact of your birth.
  • I have found the yummiest way to cook vegetables! The Pioneer Woman inspired me. Usually I make fun of her recipes ("This is so delicious, and all you need is a pound of butter, three cups of sour cream, and a block of cheese!") but this one is actually healthy. She says, Mix your seasonal vegetables! So instead of a big pan of starchy roasted roots (turnips, beets, squash — all of which I like, but it does get kinda . . . old), I added mushrooms, onions, red peppers, asparagus, and lots of sliced fresh garlic, and sprinkled everything with my favorite J. Lee Roy seasoning plus salt and pepper, and roasted two trays (the other secret is to spread everything waaayyyyyy out) at high heat (450 degrees) for 20 minutes. YUM!!! And so pretty, too!
 
  • Tonight the kids and I are going to see Les Miserables at North Shore Music Theatre, so fun! I've never seen it onstage before. It's been a theater-heavy couple of weeks, for sure, but there is almost nothing I love more than live theater.

I feel like I had other stuff to say, but I need to eat some lunch (potato soup, green salad) and get ready for the long haul to Danvers, Mass. Before we head out, Li'l Martini must see his orthodontist, so he'll be a sad boy with ouchy-tight braces when we hit the road. I am packing soft snacks and Motrin.

I dreamed a dream  . . . that tomorrow my scale will give me some positive freaking reinforcement, for once!

 — Lady C

Friday, October 24, 2014

OK. Breathing Now



Sorry about yesterday's rant. I dunno . . . I just dropped my basket briefly, I guess. But today is a new day (without any mistakes in it, so far! except that Husband forgot to put a bag in the kitchen trash can last night, and my idiot children blithely poured their trash into a naked trash can — but guess whose problem this is not?) (and I also had to change the light bulb over the kitchen sink, wayyyyyy up high, which meant standing on a chair, which, with my bum knees, was quite the comedy of errors) (and aren't those weirdo twisty light bulbs supposed to last, like, a lifetime?? Mine burn out all the time. What the heck??) . . .

. . . and I'm feeling cautiously optimistic.

Yesterday I met with my cancer-prevention doc, and she looked at my medical record and said, "So you met with Dr. Dixie [my boob surgeon] last week, she asked you how you're doing on Tam, you said you hate it but the voice of your dead grandmother told you to keep taking it. Would you . . . say that's accurate?"

I said, "Yep."

She said, "Well! Okay, then."

I'm so happy that the voice of my dead grandma is part of my medical record!

I told CP doc all my symptoms and said, "I know we can't really tell what's due to Tam vs. perimenopause vs. knee injury vs. stress vs. grief . . ." and she said, "Maybe we can." She's having me stop taking Tam for a month and keep close track of how I'm feeling (not a problem. I excel at this), and then we'll evaluate:
  • If I'm not significantly better but I note improvement toward the end of the month, she'll give me another month off. 
  • If I'm not significantly better, period, I'll resume my life with Tam, the inscrutable exchange student.
  • If I'm clearly significantly better . . . then I have a hard decision to make: Resume the medicine that's making me miserable, or roll the dice and assume that I won't get breast cancer? (which, if you're keeping track, I might anyway, even if I keep taking the Tam)
I'm thrilled to begin this trial, and I love my doctor for listening to me and totally getting it.

So it's Day 1 of No Tam, and so far I feel . . . really sleepy. I watched How to Get Away with Murder last night, then read a little of Soldier Girls until my eyes closed — but then it took me an hour to fall asleep. And Friday mornings begin at 6:12 a.m., when my kids must arise for Madrigals and Boys Chorus, and I had to put on real clothes today, not just dash out in my nightie, because we were almost out of cream for my coffee. So: yawwwwwwn.

But I have a ton of work to do, so I shall have at it!

Other items of optimism:
  • Tonight Mimosa and I are going to an author reading for two authors/books that we both loved:
  • We'll have dinner at Alta Strada, a yummy Italian restaurant, where our favorite thing is to order small plates of vegetables, salad, and dessert. YUM. I've never taken my girl to an author reading before, and I am very excited.
  • Avenue Q on Saturday night!!!
  • I'm making a deeply concerted effort to leave my inflamed cuticles alone, and they are actually looking pretty good! I feel like I have no control whatsoever over my weight — even when I do everything "right," I still don't necessarily lose a pound. But this is a no-brainer: If I don't pick, my fingers look better. Right now each nail is polished half navy and half emerald, with clear violet glitter over the whole thing, and they look very fabby.
  • Yesterday, as I bemoaned the 173 messages in my Inbox, Writer Jenny promptly e-mailed me with this subject line:
174.
  • My friends, they are wicked funny. And also wicked. I may be dead broke, but I am RICH in FRIENDS.
  • I'm test-driving a new mantra:


Work calls. I shall answer.

— Lady C the dutiful

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How Can This Be????



There are 173 messages in my Inbox. One hundred and seventy-three!!! Do I even know 173 people????


Plus, both my knees hurt. HURT!

I get upstairs by crawling, I swear to God. Husband is not much better off. We are spectacles.

I long for jammies, blanky, hot cocoa . . . but it's only 3 p.m.


Just needed to vent.

— Lady C, on the edge

p.s. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-THREE!!!

People! People! I'm exhausted!!!!!! Talk amongst yourselves for a while.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Theatah!

https://marksardella.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/angels2.jpg


Angels in America is one weird-ass play. I think that it's an important play, but when it comes to theatre, I'm more of a Sing About the AIDS Crisis with Rodgers and Hart kinda girl. "Surreal" is not my cuppa.

Having said that, this production was first-rate, and I am very glad I saw it.

And my pal Handsome D was beyond terrific. He plays Belize, a flamboyant nurse who finds himself ministering to Satan himself, Mr. Roy Cohn — which he does with compassion, kindness, and grace. D lights up a stage — it is almost impossible to look at anyone else when he's performing, such is his magnetism as a performer. I've seen him play many characters, and none of them resembled this boa-sporting icon of fabulousness.

https://marksardella.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/angels1.jpg
Damon Singletary as "Belize" and David Berti as "Roy Cohn" 

The rest of the cast was excellent as well, particularly my old theater buddy Peyton (Pryor), and David Berti, the actor playing Roy Cohn. I told Mr. Berti that while I congratulated him on an excellent performance, I really kind of hated him too for making me have compassion for Roy. Fucking. Cohn.
  • David Berti: He wasn't such a bad guy. He was really misunderstood.
  • Me: What?
  • David Berti: I read his autobiography.
  • Me: Um — he had good things to say about himself? 
  • David Berti: Turns out, he's a fan.
Too funny.

You can read a review here and here.

I went with these beautiful ladies:


Brunie asked me to write up all the funny things that she and I and Mrs. Cynicletary said at dinner and on the drive to the theater and later, when we sat next to Mrs. CrankyPants-BitchFace and her partner, Mr. Placate, but my mind is a perfect blank. I do recall having a glass of wine, or possibly four, but do you understand that is a seven-hour play?? That's, like, five ounces an hour. Or something like that.

(Wow, I haven't been a Math Guide for more than a year, and yet here I am, still making up story problems. I'm a Giver.)

In other news:
  • My knees are still killing me, and everyone asks why I'm limping, even if I feel like I'm walking normally. I'm calling my primary, Dr. Barbie, tomorrow and asking about cortisone shots. Or knee replacement. Or a lobotomy, I don't care at this point.
  • I see my cancer-prevention doc on Thursday, and I will try to get her to pinpoint which of my current challenges (weight gain, fatigue, weepiness, and poo problems) are likely caused by the Tam, which are linked to what seems to be the early menopause brought on by the Tam, and which are likely due to the fact that I'm still mourning my dad. I don't know if she'll be able to tease them apart like that, but that is my goal.
  • With Good Neighbor Anne's encouragement, I made a huge dent in my list of eight hellish tasks. I still haven't sorted my basement files or measured the g-- d--- front steps, but I did everything else. The thing is, though — once you clip your hedges, it's not like they stay clipped. Arggh!!!
  • My daughter has been calm and cheerful, my son is a punk but also loving and affectionate — at moments — I have a hot lunch date with my sweetie-pie husband this Friday, I still have lots of good editing work on my plate, we're seeing Avenue Q this weekend, I did my first subbing job for this school year, which was awesome, and I'm reading two excellent books and have a pile of interesting-looking videos to watch. If Dr. Barbie puts me on bed rest (ha!), I'm golden. Nothin' but good times ahead.
Time to go read some more, have a coffee, watch Jeopardy!, and go to bed early. Night comes early 'round these parts, and I'm happy to succumb.

Nighty-night!

— Lady C

p.s. Lady Darcy, here's what I just read:


 




And here's what I'm reading now:

 

Friday, October 17, 2014

So Much Culture


Last night we celebrated Sukkot with our neighbors, as we've done each year since the girls were in kindergarten. Now they are big grown-up high school juniors . . . Time, how you do fly.

It rained all Thursday, so rather than dine in the sukkah, for the first time we ate indoors — which for some reason I got all pissy about, like, what is the point?


But Good Neighbor Anne reminded me to take a breath, which was good advice. Pizza dinner with the neighbors, what's not to like? And I brought Chardonnay and homemade chocolate cookies and brown sugar-butter bars, thus ensuring that there would be delicious things to eat and drink no matter what, and it was a perfectly pleasant evening.

Tomorrow night, my actor buddy Handsome D is starring in Angels in America, and Mrs. Cynicletary (aka Mrs. Handsome D) and Brunie and I are going to see him. I expect the play to be a major downer, based on the 15 minutes of the HBO special I forced myself to sit through, but I do love live theatre, and Mrs. C says there are funny bits.

And it will be fun to spend an evening with my dear friends, even though they are very lippy girls:
  • Brunie: I'm happy to drive, so we won't need an hour and a half to get to Concord.
          [Note: My friends think I drive like I'm on 'ludes. Hardy har har]
  • Mrs. Cynicletary: D and I will meet you at the restaurant at 5:30. His call is at 6:30, so he can at least get a bite to eat, just not drinks or dessert. We will drink on his behalf.
  • Brunie: Oh my gosh — dining with one of the stars! How am I going to be able to digest my food??
  • Mrs. Cynicletary: Well, the act of chewing will begin the digestive process, followed by stomach acids dissolving the food. Then it will travel from your large intestine to your small intestine, and a final salute from the colon will send it on a watery vacation.
  • Brunie: And now I never want to eat again.
  • Me: I will drink for Handsome D, Husband, and Mr. Brunie, also those who have succumbed to the dreadful scourge of AIDS. Because I am never touching solids again. Ew.
  • Mrs. Cynicletary: Lady C, you are a Giver.
  • Brunie: So willing to drink for all.
In weight loss news, there is none. My knees hurt, tai chi almost killed me this week, and all I want to do is drink the new cheap Chardonnay I found.


 My friends weigh in:
  • Mrs. Cynicletary: Got to get you into more supportive shoesies! 
  • Brunie: Mr. Kendall Jackson is a re-builder of lives.
  • Inspirational Kathy: WHAT new cheap Chardonnay, I ask you? Do not omit important information.
Hee! I love my friends.

The wine is called Rawson's Retreat, and I can get it for $6 a bottle:
This wine has an uncommon level of complexity for an offering at this price point.
 Check it out! Remember, I am a Giver.

xo
Lady C for Crabby

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge." —Ivana Trump



I've been complaining about the color of my hair, since, approximately, EVER.

As a shy little girl, having bright-red coppery hair was a challenge. Other kids made fun of me for being different (and when I added braces, glasses, and head gear, all in third grade — a banner beauty year for me — oh, there was no coming back from that), and adults made much of my color — which, while positive attention, was still excruciating for someone who preferred to lie low.

This passed.

(!!!!!)

As anyone who knows me now well knows, I grew to revel in the spotlight — probably because at home the spotlight was so firmly fixed on my star athlete brothers, while the brainy drama girl danced like a monkey on the periphery.

In college, I guess I thought my hair had gotten too dark. I longed for the coppery shades of my youth. (In retrospect, I was clearly insane. The rich auburn hues I sported back then are what I long for today.) In any event, one summer Lady Darcy and I decided to color our hair. She chose to accent her deep brown locks with henna, I thought that using "blonde" hair dye would make my hair lighter. We were enamored of the Clairol's Happiness hair-color "before and after" ads, so we posed for our own:


(Look at that color! What was I thinking??????)

However, we neglected to take an "after" picture of me. Let me simply assure you: my hair changed not one iota.

Flash forward, say, 20 years, when I found my first gray hairs and grew outraged. Truly, my response was ridiculous — but I'd had deep red hair for so long, all of my friends had long been coloring theirs, I truly believed this would never happen to me. I spent long stretches in front of the bathroom mirror, pulling out gray hairs. Good Neighbor Anne, who lost her hair during chemo, yelled at me: "DO NOT PLUCK a healthy hair!!" she ordered. Husband was on watch to retrieve me if I didn't emerge soon after brushing my teeth.

So I stopped plucking but I continued to fret. And complain. 

In 2012, inspired by my friend Sapphire Pen, whose lustrous black hair is colored with henna, I did a henna experiment. Unfortunately, I left the henna in too long, and the color veered more toward Bozo than Maureen O'Hara:



I still might have gone forward with the henna, but the shipping costs were prohibitive ($15!!! for one small package!!!! Crazytown). I meant to call and negotiate lower shipping, but you know how I feel about phone calls to strangers. So it stayed in the back of my mind, but I did not move forward.

I was too scared to do it myself. I know what dyed red hair looks like; one of my Sleek Suburban Mom pals sports a jazzy artificial red, and she looks fabby and funky. But I didn't want that for me. And I was too scared to do it at a salon because of the cost: Once I got started, I knew I'd be obsessed with keeping my roots touched up . . . how could I stop? how could I afford it???? Whinge, whinge, moan, moan.  

For years.

This week I got a pep talk from my beloved friend and bridesmaid Mrs. Fog Dog, who now sports short purple hair:

For me, hair is not sacred.  Obviously, I abuse mine something terrible—I know that whatever I do to it, it will grow back. My advice for you to consider is this: If you want your brilliant reds back in your hair, then do it.  As for the expense—you can get “semi-permanent” Revlon products for about $4, which washes out instead of having roots. So even if you use the washout color every couple of weeks, that’s less than $10 a month—not so bad for feeling like you love your hair again.
Have the color of hair you want—or grow older gracefully and accept that this is what comes with age. Either way, merits to both choices—just as long as you are happy with the choice you make. 
Inspired, I headed to Walgreens!


And here, my friends, is my story, photo-documented by Husband:

(Sorry about the shadow. I want my head to comprise most of the photo and to be centered, and Husband finds doing both challenging. So then I get impatient, because I want it the way I want it, and he gets testy because I am so picky, so then I say, "Ooh, this is awesome" and try taking a selfie later. Ah, marriage is enriching!!!)

(I adore my husband. And one of my selfies turned out really cute.)




 Cute selfie:




Ta-da!!! My kids say they can't tell the difference, and I had to point it out to Brunie yesterday (to be fair, she's heavily medicated), but I totally love it. And Husband thinks it's cute as well. It's not the red I was born with, but it's a beautiful vibrant rich red, not the faded apricot I'd devolved to, and I am very very happy.

What will I do about the roots? No idea.

I will think about that tomorrow.

La la la!

love and kisses,

Lady C, a natural woman . . .


. . . mostly.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Mom's Doc Says That Iron-Poor Blood Isn't a Thing, But I Don't Believe It

Remember those old Geritol commercials for aging women with iron-poor blood? It may be nonsense, but it's nonsense that I can get behind. Not that I want to take Geritol. I take a generic One-A-Day Vitamin Especially Formulated for Women, it's as big as a gherkin, that's plenty.

My weekly calendar has a little section at the bottom where I write things I plan to get done during the week that aren't assigned to any specific day, and I've transferred the same eight tasks for several weeks now:
  • Get estimates for installing porch railings (requires measuring front steps, which I forget to do [and at the moment, I'm wearing a nightie and no shoes, my frequent daily uniform] and making phone calls to strangers, which, HATE)
  • Rent electric hedge trimmer (the neighbors and I have agreed to clip our side hedges down to 3'; requires making phone call, which, HATE, and then, of course, actually doing the work, ugh)
  • Clean up side yard (yard work, UGH)
  • Call driving school about Mimosa's lessons (phone call, HATE)
  • Organize big boxes of personal papers into files (this will actually be a fun job, but it's huge and seems less urgent than the other tasks; plus, it's in the basement so I don't see it and therefore forget about it)
  • Edit chapters and send to my writers group (writing = hard)
  • Clean bathtub (worky)
  • Read How to Pay for College Without Going Broke (I've actually read it, but now I need to type up the big learnings from all the pages I put post-its on)
And then there's stupid stuff, like the four bricks I put on the front walkway where our retaining wall is beginning to collapse. I meant to prop it up a bit with the bricks, but I need to sweep the area first
. . . and none of it gets done, and those bricks have been sitting there for three weeks now.


I just feel tired and overwhelmed all the time. SUCH A LOSER.


Then I ran across this passage written by Arwen at the ABC Family blog:

We went on a weekend trip in October, came home to a broken dishwasher and stacked our duffel bags in the hallway. Over the following days I managed to empty the bags, but still they sat in the hallway. Every time I passed them, I berated myself. I get nothing done around here. It's such a mess. Those should have been put away a long time ago.
Never mind that every time I passed through the hallway I was either carrying a baby or rushing to tend to one. My self, harsh critic that she is, cares not for such details. She just wants me to get it right. Every. Single. Time.
I really love this! NEVER MIND that during the weeks I've been transferring the Eight Tasks of Hellishness, I've been parenting my children, keeping the house clean, cooking meals, editing like crazy (multiple clients! pressing deadlines!), listening to Husband, chauffeuring, tracking down costume parts, signing up kids for yet another activity, attending meetings and doctors appointments and tai chi class, yada yada yada — I still feel like a failure for Not Addressing the Eight.

And also, for not losing weight — for, in fact, continuing to gain, which is making me INSANE. Husband is finally taking his blood pressure/cholesterol levels seriously and has stopped snacking and eating desserts and drinking diet soda (he's hydrating with seltzer!), and the weight is falling off him and he weighs 15 pounds less than I do. I find this unsupportive.

Ha! No, I'm happy for him, really — just deeply bitter about male metabolism.

But: I had a mammogram yesterday, and my boobs are clean and healthy, and that is what I'll focus on today.

I'm thinking that it's time for another Boot Camp, but I won't think about that right now.

I'll think about that tomorrow.

Today I will focus on finishing the four curriculum sessions I'm editing and maybe getting out of this nightgown at some point.

And maybe I'll bite the bullet and make some phone calls, just to diminish the Eight Tasks of Hellishness by at least one.

WINNING!

Ha.

— Lady C