Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fourth Annual Film Festival!!


Check-in time at the Peabody Marriott, our home for the "weekend" (and the site of Brunie's honeymoon, lo these many decades ago), is 4 p.m., according to the hotel website. However, without even discussing it with each other, we each show up before 3 p.m. and are shown to our room — at the end of the world's longest hallway. Brunie says, "If I see two twin girls, I am heading right back out."

Constant Readers will be relieved to know that YES, there is a refrigerator! (Husband requested that I text him right away with the news.) There is also an ice machine with full-size cubes, in contrast to last year's ice pearls! And the room is not too hot! I'm as happy as a kitten in cornflakes.

Brunie, though, is stymied — for the first time in all of ever, she can't get the TV to recognize her computer. A lovely man came to hook us up, and Brunie frantically began moving liquor bottles.
  • Brunie: Please don't look at all the alcohol.
  • Man: Wow.
  • Brunie: There's a lot of shame in this room.
Later, the Lovely Man refers to us as "you two kids."
  • Lady: Oh! Give him a tip!
  • Brunie: You are now our favorite person.
  • Man: I'm just angling for a drink.
We invite him to come by when he's off duty, which, he tells us, is 11:30. I am not fazed, though Brunie will have been asleep for four hours by then. Time will tell!

My request for our first movie: something lively with music. Brunie peruses the menu on her computer.
  • Brunie: Oh my God, can't you be smaller???
  • Lady: Which I say to myself in the mirror every day.
3:53 p.m. Rock of AWESOME!
  • Brunie: Once again, RGB saves the day! Fuck you, HDMI!
  • Lady: [whatever] Hon, while you're up . . .
Brunie uncorks the wine, then returns to unpacking and fiddling about. Note the missing step.
  • Lady: Hey there, Distracted Girl.
  • Brunie: I have all kinds of shit going on.
[She finally pours my wine into a glass and hands it to me. My God, how I suffer.]

We cheer for singing Alec Baldwin, bless his beefy heart.

Digeo Boneta introduces himself to Julianne Hough.
  • Diego Boneta: I am Drew.
  • Brunie: Did he just say "I am Groot"?
Notable quote from Catherine Zeta-Jones: "It's time to take Satan off our streets and knock the little sucker back to hell!"
  • Brunie: Why is this such a weird size?
(It's like it's letter-boxed, but with a big chunk out of one side as well.
  • Lady: Probably something you did. Wait, is that something you said on your honeymoon?
  • Brunie: Yeah. Same response, too.
We debate the hotness of Alec Baldwin in this movie. Brunie is not seeing it. I explain my "the guy I have a chance with" approach — as in, your odds of going home with that guy are so much better. Why stand in line with 47 other women for Tom Cruise, this movie's heart-throb? He'll be like a community toilet by the time it's your turn. Alec is a perfectly lovely choice, despite his Prince Valiant hair in this movie, which is a deal-breaker for Brunie.

We then discuss Tom Cruise, whom we generally don't like. But I love him in this, also Tropic Thunder, and Brunie reminds me how sweet he is in Jerry Maguire. Oh, yeah, he had us at hello.

Catherine Z-J is singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." I cannot watch.
  • Lady: She has an Oscar.
  • Brunie: Whoever choreographed this needs to pay.
Tom Cruise rests his hand on someone's breast. (Possibly Julianne Hough's. Possibly Malin Akerman's. I failed to note owner of breast.)
  • Tom Cruise: You have such a perky . . . heart.

  • Paul Giamatti: What do Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, and Stacee Jaxx all have in common?
  • Lady: They've never been in my kitchen?

  • Paul Giamatti: Go after love if you want it. But I can offer you something much better.
  • Lady: Better than love?
  • Paul Giamatti: Fame.
  • Brunie: Will you live forever?
  • Lady: Will you learn how to fly?
  • Brunie: High?

  • Mary J. Blige: Cognac — a brandy.
  • Julianne Hough: I don't mix my drinks.
  • Mary J: No, she's Cognac. She's getting you a brandy.
  • Lady: Do you like brandy?
  • Brunie: She's a fine girl.
We have been eating salsa and guac and chips, and now I've opened Cheetos and Flaming Hot Cheetos. I am steadily emptying wine bottle, Brunie is sobering up with cherry soda.
  • Brunie: Oh shit! I just ate a Flaming Hot Cheeto!
  • Lady: I think you should drink more alcohol so you can be mellow like me.

We start fast-forwarding through the awesomeness.
  • Alec Baldwin: I just threw up.
  • Russell Brand: Where?
  • Alec Baldwin: In my pants.
Rock of Awesome culminates in a Journey song.
  • Brunie: I feel like Journey is maybe not the heart of rock and roll.
  • Lady: Right. It should be that Sex Pistols song I can't remember.
[Note: The song is "We're Not Gonna Take It." By Twisted Sister. I am maybe not the heart of rock and roll either.]
  • Lady: We need to go dark now.
5:45 p.m. Lady In a Cage
  • Lady: I brought you a pretty wine glass. What the hell?
  • Brunie: I like a tumbler.
  • Lady: But you hold it in your hand, it gets warm.
  • Brunie (pointing to glass she is not holding): Do I? Do I?
  • Lady: You sound like Martini now. And he is annoying.
We watch as cars drive by Olivia de Havilland's house.
  • Brunie: So much traffic. This is a horror movie!
Trapped Olivia clutches her bosom.
  • Lady: My heart is perky!
Homeless Guy has now broken into her house, spies rows of old-lady wine.
  • Lady as Homeless Guy: Mmmm — creme de cacao!
Ann Sothern is in this movie. I get her and Joan Blondell mixed up. Which one is in Feud?

Homeless Guy and Ann Sothern cackle drunkenly at each other.
  • Brunie:They're adorable.
  • Lady: I think we're looking at our future.
  • Brunie: Olivia is the boringest woman in this movie. All she does is sit in a cage.
  • Lady: Well, see the title.
Once we've seen James Caan in his debut, we've had enough.
  • Lady: Yeah, that guy's never going anywhere.
  • Brunie: First and last movie.
6:44 p.m. Street Smart

We cheer at this credit:

And "Morgan Freeman" as "Fast Black"

(love the "quotation marks")
  • Whore Kathy Baker: You know, for 60 bucks you could have a really good time.
  • Lady: How much would a really good time cost you?
  • Brunie: I'm not sure I understand the question.
  • Lady: OK, so, a movie, a big bag of popcorn . . . I think I could do it for under $30.

  • Editor (reading Chris Reeve's article): "We need to change 'pussy' to something cleaner."
  • Lady: What?
  • Brunie: Snooch.

Chris and Morgan have finally met.
  • Brunie: He's charming as fuck. I would totally work for him.
It is not a great movie, BUT.
  • Lady (to Morgan): You don't even know. You're in this movie with Superman, and in 20 years . . .
  • Brunie: You'll be everyone's favorite actor.
  • Lady: You will be how we all imagine the voice of God. This is the movie where it all changes for him.
  • Brunie: Because he's SMOKIN' HOT.

  • Chris Reeve: I want you to be careful.
  • Mimi Rogers: What am I supposed to do?
  • Lady: Lock your door, idiot.
  • Brunie: Don't get in a cage!

  • Prosecutor: I don't mind saying that I'm very pleased with our position . . .
  • Lady: . . . which is missionary.
Chris Reeve shudders at Whore Kathy Baker's gruesome autopsy photos.
  • Morgue Guy: I told you what he was.
  • Lady: He's no good, he's no good, he's no good, baby, he's no good.
  • Brunie: Say it again!

Hot tub break!! Which is lovely. I then see a guy on our endless hallway and mention The Shining. The guys says, "No kidding. If I see a Big Wheel, I'm out of here."

9:26 p.m. Secretary

Brunie plans to shower and sleep rather than watch this fine film. She says it's one of those movies she never needs to see again. I get it. We then list some of those movies:
  • Schindler's List
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Breaking the Waves
  • Million Dollar Baby
Maggie G loves her some S&M.
  • Brunie: I'm guessing her dad wasn't a big disciplinarian.
  • Lady: He was a drunk. He was hardly every home. [takes a big swig o' wine]  It's sad when parents drink to excess.
James Spader spanks Maggie G as she reads aloud a letter.
  • Lady: I do not want anything like this in my own life, but . . .
  • Brunie: I know what you're about to say.
  • Lady: It's art! It's art!
[Note that Brunie is watching this irresistible movie.]

Maggie G examines her massive bum bruise.
  • Lady: I look like that after surgery.
Maggie G is so turned on by her massive bum bruise, she starts touching herself nasty.
  • Lady: She's doing it through her clothes.
  • Brunie: I noticed that too.
  • Lady: I can't see how that's going to work.
We watch the entire movie! And then lights off at 11:30, both of us going to sleep at the same time. This has never happened before!!


We're awakened at 6 by some crazy alarm of Brunie's. She informs it that we are on holiday. We then sleep fitfully until I sit up at 7:30.
  • Brunie: No way are you up before me.
  • Lady: Believe it, baby.
  • Brunie: If you let me brush my teeth and pee first, I'll get us Starbucks.
  • Lady: Easiest deal I ever made.
  • Brunie: I know you're a whore for Starbucks.

And as I learned from Secretary, there are indeed whores who negotiate around pee. Maybe even tooth-brushing.

9:08 a.m. Almost Summer

Lee Purcell was my idol in high school. I love her hair in this movie, also her little scarves. Brunie schools me about the skateboards the '70s boys are riding, but I understand not one word of it. Something about penny boards and lawn mowers?

Darryl Fitzgerald (swoon!) enters.

  • Brunie: Is Didi Conn going to get her braces off? Is this the guy who runs for president? Does he fall for post-braces Didi Conn?
  • Lady: Why are we even watching this movie?
  • Senior Prez Tim Matheson: I would now like to introduce a girl who I know . . .
  • Lady:  . . . tastes delicious!

Such a cute movie.
  • Lady: Was it everything you remembered?
  • Brunie:  I forgot the nipples.

10:45 a.m. Cradle Will Rock

I know nothing about this movie. Brunie rambles on about the WPA. It's all very confusing, and I pour a drink. Yes, at 10:45, or whatever.

Credits roll.
  • In unison: Paul Giamatti!
  • Lady: "It was then the girls realized . . ."
  • Brunie: ". . . that they were having a Paul Giamatti film festival."

  • Lady: "You don't have to be poor to be a whore."
  • Brunie: That's for shore.
It's a Who's Who of fantastic actors, but there are 13,000 subplots and we are lost. Not because we are drinking, not because I'm distracted by my physical therapy (yes I'm doing PT. Also drinking), not because Brunie is overly focused on the house she's been crocheting all weekend; we can multi-task like mo-fos. It's just a really confusing movie. We decide to keep watching until we can figure out who's playing Orson Welles.

  • Lady: There've been bare breasts in every movie so far.
  • Brunie: So maybe that's our theme.

We peer intently at Orson but cannot recognize this actor. (It's Angus Macfadyen.) I begin whining for a new movie, but Brunie insists on reading Internet stuff and learning. From Wikipedia.

11:21 a.m. Something Wild

Jeff Daniels goes through Melanie G's bag.

  • Brunie: Handcuffs?
  • Lady (mishearing): Tampons???
We admire Melanie G's natural boobs. (Bare breasts!)
  • Lady: She's had so much plastic surgery now.
  • Brunie: She probably watches this movie and cries.
Memorable quote: "It's better to be a live dog than a dead lion." We ponder this.
  • Brunie: I am a dog.
  • Lady: I'm a horse. A work horse. That's the character I identify with in . . .
  • Brunie: War Horse?
  • Lady: Animal Farm.
  • Brunie: Every mother identifies with the horse.
In the spirit of this movie, Brunie tries to get me to smoke fruity vapes. I try blueberry. Ughy-pew. I begin hunting for my movie list.

  • Brunie: Is it in your panty drawer?
  • Lady: I have a panty drawer?
  • Brunie: Yeah, I was looking for a snack in that drawer, and you told me not to eat your panties.
  • Lady: Which, I maintain, is a really reasonable rule.
1:50 p.m. Pretty in Pink — and lunch!!!

Andrew "Blaine" McCarthy enters.
  • Lady: Hello, Tall, Bland, and Dreamy!
Brunie is more into Molly Ringwald's dad, Harry Dean Stanton, than the teen shenanigans. I have to assure her that he doesn't die.

At 2:25, we have our first Bratslavian Cooler of the weekend! Brunie makes it as I direct her from the bed. Damn, we make a good cocktail!
  • Lady: The character of Blaine is a mystery to me. We should analyze him later in the hot tub.
  • Brunie: He's a dumb-dumb.
  • Lady: Well, that was quick.
  • Lady: Why wasn't Molly Ringwald in St. Elmo's Fire? Did she get to read the script first?
  • Harry Dean Dad: I'm sorry that I'm the one you have to tell all this stuff.
  • Molly: I'm not. She couldn't have said it any better than you.
  • In unison: Aww . . .
  • Lady: And at 2:45, our hearts officially melted.
Brunie wants to go out and smoke.
  • Lady: If you're leaving, will you refresh my drink?
  • Brunie: You are so lucky to have me.
  • Lady: And so it is inscribed.
We continue to make Shining jokes about our long hallway. Seriously, our room is in East Freaking Bum. I hit my target heart rate just getting ice.

Brunie says that Stranger Than Fiction will be our 8 p.m. movie, and we'll go to sleep watching The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Lady: Yes, that is surely a movie you want to drift off to.
3:37 p.m. "Linda Blair in Summer of Fear"
  • Brunie (referring to evil Lee Purcell): So she's Indian, right?
  • Lady: No . . . ?
  • Brunie:  I think of her as Indian.
  • Lady: She's Appalachian.
  • Brunie:  Good thing we're not recording this, since I'm clearly racist.
  • Lady: I'm not sure that thinking Indian is Appalachian makes you racist . . . just an idiot.
  • Brunie: There's always that.
Young man enters.
  • Lady: There's Bo Duke! Or Luke Duke.
  • Brunie: Or Faux Duke.
Evil Lee Purcell is playing chess.
  • Evil Lee Purcell: Mate.
  • Lady: Is that an order?
  • Linda Blair (to her horse): You don't think I'm ugly, do you, Sundance?
  • Lady: Well, you're a chubby little dwarf with frizzy hair, but you're just as God made you.
Brunie belches loudly.
  • Lady: Gross.
  • Brunie:  Oh, I forgot that bothers you.
  • Lady: It bothers everyone.
  • Brunie: No, just you. Everyone else is fine with it.
[Everyone else: Are you really fine with constant audible belching? Please leave your answer in the Comments.]

5:54 p.m. Intolerable Cruelty

I lustily "Woo!" for the Coen brothers. Love them!!

Yuppie Lawyer Guy is at a diner.

  • YLG: Do you have a green salad?
  • Waitress: What the fuck color would it be?
  • YLG: Uh, salad, then? Baby field greens?
  • Waitress: What did you call me?
George Clooney picks up a magazine called Living Without Intestines! Yeah, we would read that. And take the quiz.
  • Catherine Z-J: I could have you disbarred for that.
  • Brunie: I would totally risk disbarment for her!
(She is stunning in this movie. It's before she's with Michael Douglas. Just saying.)

Happy endings for everyone! So to speak. Time for the hot tub!!!

8:54 p.m. Dying to Belong

We're just watching for a minute while we wait for room service.
  • Brunie: Is that Jenna Van Oy? Is she dying to belong?
  • Lady: Yeah. Don't get attached.

9:22 p.m. Stranger Than Fiction
  • Dustin Hoffman: What's your favorite word?
  • Will Ferrell: Integer.
(Mine is "serenity." Brunie doesn't have one. Well, she's asleep.)

Lights out at 11:11.


7:36 a.m. Fifteen and Pregnant

Man nipple on screen! Park Overall takes mother's little helpers! And possibly the most unpromising credit ever:

"Introducing Julia Whelan as Rachel"

Kirsten Dunst is 15 in this movie? She has looked 21 her whole life.

Kirsten takes a drag on a cigarette.
  • Lady: Well, that'll age you.
  • Kirsten: I thought we'd be together forever.
  • Lame Baby Daddy: July to October — that's almost forever for me.
  • Lady: The message of this movie is clearly that religion is idiotic [K's minister tells her that birth control is bad] and children are terrible.
  • Brunie: These are good things to know.
Park Overall is cooking bacon with the strips all kerflooey.
  • Brunie: That is NOT how you cook bacon.
The smoke alarm goes off.
  • Brunie:  See, there's the bacon alarm.
  • Lady: Is there nothing in Park Overall's life that isn't judging her?
  • Random Character: In my day, children weren't allowed to have babies in seventh or eighth grade.
  • Brunie: They weren't allowed?
  • Lady: You hold that baby in! From July to October, which we know is almost forever.
  • Pregnant Kirsten: Will I have to give up soccer?
  • Brunie: That is the question every girl asks herself.
Lame Baby Daddy rings the doorbell.
  • Brunie: The impregnator's here!
  • Lady: I know him by his sperm!

In a tender moment, Park Overall strokes her pregnant daughter's hair.
  • Brunie (tenderly): You're such a disappointment.
  • Lady: I feel like this movie would be so much better if we muted it and provided all the dialogue ourselves.
At 8 a.m., we call it. Brunie goes to the hot tub, I return to:

8:01 a.m. Dying to Belong Again

There is nothing I love more than a sorority hazing movie starring Oscar winners.

Watching people climb heights — even when I know the outcome — is my most stressful thing. Jenna Von Oy is told to hang a banner way up high. We don't even see her climb, and yet my hands are sweating like crazy. Spoiler: SHE DIES. No Oscar for Jenna Von Oy.
  • Dreamy Reporter Boy: Is there any chance this death was caused by hazing?
  • Dean Curtis: The university strictly forbids hazing.
  • Lady: Therefore, it doesn't happen, son!
The sorority's motto is:

And I keep thinking they're missing a key word . . .

(Maybe Noogies?)

It feels all kinds of wrong to criticize the directing or editing of this awesome cinematic effort, but it seems like key scenes are missing. There is so much build-up as to whether Hilary and Sarah Chalke are going to play pool with the mean girls — then Sarah hands Hil a stick and we're done. Who won?? So many questions. I could write a whole paper on this movie — or maybe I just need more coffee.

Dying to Belong has a theme song! My joy is complete. However, I cannot find a link to it anywhere. You'll just have to watch the awesomesauce that is this movie. You're welcome!!
  • Mom: What kind of mother doesn't believe in her own daughter?
  • I too am dying to belong!
  • Lady: Oh, hon — I have a movie to show you.
  • Mom: The next time I try to tell you how to live your life, will you do me a favor?
  • Lady: Will you show me your two Oscars?
  • Dean Curtis: This is a situation that we intend to rectify.
  • Lady: As an anti-hazing statement, I'm finding that a tad lacking in oomph.

LOVE this movie!!! It has everything. So much Oscar!!!

9:28 a.m. St. Elmo's Fire

We discuss which character we related to when we first saw this movie. Brunie picks Mare Winningham.

  • Lady: Chubby girl in Spanx pining for a bad boy?
  • Brunie:  Pretty much.
We attempt to sing "Man in Motion," using my two bottles of Jergen's Fake Tan Natural Glow as our microphones. However, we only know, like, every five words. Which does not stop us from singing lustily.
  • Brunie: Look — the same song plays everywhere they go.
  • Lady: It is the soundtrack of their lives.
  • Brunie: What's the soundtrack of your life?
  • Lady: We've Only Just Begun.
  • Brunie: No.
  • Lady: Looks Like We Made It.
  • Brunie: No.
  • Lady: Every Which Way But Loose.
  • Brunie: That's a movie, not a soundtrack.
  • Lady: You're so critical.
I dislike when people saw puh-JAW-muhs instead of puh-JAMM-uhs. Fortunately, Brunie says it right.
  • Judd Nelson: Don't put that thing in — we're getting married, let's take a chance.
  • Brunie: Because nothing says fun like unplanned pregnancy.
  • Lady: It's like they haven't even seen Fifteen and Pregnant.
I realize that I was Kirby back in the day — holding a responsible job, and concocting ridiculous schemes to get the one I loved to love me (and he pronounces pajamas correctly!).
  • Kirby: Haven't you heard of the Sexual Revolution?
  • Kevin: And who won that?
  • Lady: Me. In fact, I medaled.
  • Demi Moore: Kevin, why did you never make a pass at me?
  • Kevin: Well, I never joined the army either . . .
  • Lady: So he's avoiding the clap in several ways.
Andie McDowell is possibly the prettiest worst actress in the world. I am amazed at her consistently bad line readings.
  • Demi Moore: I never thought I'd be so tired at 22.
  • Lady: I never thought I'd be so drunk at 11.
11:11 a.m. The Tall Guy

Emma Thompson is astonishingly adorable in this movie.

  • Lady: Aren't you in love with her?
  • Brunie:  Everyone is.
Great line from Rowan Atkinson: "You elongated droplet of dung."

This is an utterly charming movie. We are spellbound, hence lack of notes.
  • Brunie: It's also been a really long two days. We've been working really hard.
  • Lady: Baby, we were born to watch.
  • Lady: Cheryl walks with her toes pointed out.
  • Brunie: So do I.
  • Lady: What's that a sign of?
  • Brunie: Easy virtue.
Cheryl wants to get it on with Jeff Goldblum, he says it's not a good idea.
  • Cheryl: Not a good idea because you've got a girlfriend? Well, I've got a husband.
  • Lady: That trumps your girlfriend.
  • Brunie: Trump's your girlfriend?

We begin warbling "Regrets . . . I've had a few . . ."

12:37 p.m. Movie concludes
  • Lady: Do you have any summing-up words of wisdom?
  • Brunie: How I wish I did. Religion is stupid and children are horrible?
  • Lady: Don't get in a cage or pledge a sorority. Nothing good will come of it.
  • Brunie: And when you're 15, don't get pregnant.

Same time next year, peeps!

love and kisses,
Lady C

Monday, April 10, 2017

Film Festival: The Anticipation Builds!

This Sunday, Brunie and I embark on our fourth annual film festival, which we are both very excited about. And I thought I'd step away from my usual practice — writing about the whole thing in one fell swoop — and instead whet your appetites with a little taste of the wonders to come.

(It occurs to me that I don't know where we're going; Brunie always makes the arrangements. Brunie, where are we going??)

My only requirement, as Constant Readers know, is a refrigerator. Drinking warm wine over ice gets very old very fast. I believe we are returning to a former (refrigerator-less) venue; Brunie had the following conversation with the registrar:

Brunie: Is there any way you can guarantee us a room with a refrigerator?
Registrar: Do you have medical issues that require a refrigerator?
Brunie: YES we do!

As we are women of traditional size, the check-in people will have no trouble assuming we are raging diabetics. But perhaps I'll bring a vial of insulin to tuck in next to the Chardonnay, just in case there are surprise room  inspections.

We are crazy excited about this year's theme:

The One They Want You to Watch  The One They'd Prefer that You Forget

This is what we're bringing (disclaimer: most of the list originated with me; Brunie added her comments in all caps):

Kevin Costner
Silverado     /      No Way Out

Phoebe Cates
Fast Times at Ridgemont High    /     Shag

Joe Morton
Lone Star     /     Between the Lines

(We may have to give up on Between the Lines, we can't find it anywhere.)

(Note: We have not watched Lone Star, there is no "again." We brought it last time, and I made awesome homemade guac and salsa to enjoy while we watched — Lone Star is The Movie that Most Makes Me Want to Eat Good Mexican Food — but we ate my themed snacks while watching another, lesser movie. However, I will not force anyone to watch Lone Star, Kris Kristofferson's greatest role in all of ever, no I will not.)

Michelle Pfeiffer
One Fine Day     /       Grease 2

Catherine Zeta-Jones
Intolerable Cruelty     /      Rock of AWESOME

Lee Purcell
Almost Summer        /           Summer of Fear

(Spoiler: I found it)

Olivia DeHavilland
The Snake Pit or The Dark Mirror       /           Lady In a Cage

Matt Damon
Courage Under Fire       /           School Ties

James Spader
Secretary       /           Pretty In Pink
  • Me: We HAVE TO make it all the way through Pretty in Pink this year!!!
(and I do not know why Brunie isn't more excited about Secretary, which we both agreed that we were horrified to find SO HOT)

(S&M girls we are not. We like nice boys to bring us snacks and rub our feet and tell us we're pretty and surprisingly thin-like)

(and yet, and yet. James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary, OH. EM. GEE.)

Melanie Griffith
Something Wild        /           One on One

Emma Thompson
Stranger Than Fiction       /           The Tall Guy
  • Brunie: Um . . . THE TALL GUY is AWESOME!!!
  • Me: Yes, but she shows her boobies.
Hilary Swank
Conviction*       /           Dying to Belong
* I’d be willing to see almost any of her movies – this one just sounded good and I haven’t seen it.

  • Me: I will have to go to the hot tub for two hours if you want to watch Boys Don’t Cry. Hilary is crazy great but it is a HARD movie to watch, and Chloe Sevigny (whom I hate) has giant moles all over her boobs, like extra nipples. Gag. Sorry for all these spoilers.
  • Brunie: I have no interest in seeing Chloe Sevigny's mole-y boobs. BOYS DON'T CRY is off the table!
Morgan Freeman
Lean On Me**        /           Street Smart
** Ditto

  • Me: We can totes skip other Morgan movie, but Street Smart is the one that inspired this year’s theme!!! Have you seen it? Saint Morgan is a PIMP!  So awesome.
Demi Moore
Mortal Thoughts       /            St. Elmo’s Fire

Susan Sarandon
Cradle Will Rock***       /           Elizabethtown***
*** Random  movies I want to see


Kirsten Dunst
Melancholia       /           Fiftee

(Spoiler: It is! We figured out how to download it. Very excited! So excited I can't type the full title, apparently!!)

Patricia Arquette
Boyhood    /      Ethan Frome
(Brunie added these; I am not super-excited. I loved Boyhood in the theater but was underwhelmed by my second viewing. Ethan Frome sounds worky, like someone will expect a book report. But I am nothing if not open-minded.)

Stay tuned!!!

Lady C

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rollicking Times at PT

Hey, how does my typing look? Can you tell I have two spanking-new titanium knees?

Well, actually, they're a month and a half old now, totally broken in. But still. I am not the woman I used to be! Hear me bionically roar!

For whatever reason, I am having a picture-perfect knee surgery recovery (with one small weird exception). Surgery itself went faster than expected; I did extremely well with both physical (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) in the hospital; I continued to do well at home and was promoted to outpatient PT weeks ahead of schedule; and now I'm rocking outpatient. I think I should get a crown.

The small weird exception is that I turned out to be allergic to cefazolin, a cousin of penicillin, which was used during my surgery, and my entire stay in rehab was punctuated by a violent angry red rash that covered my whole body and burned and itched, which no one on my medical team diagnosed correctly for almost a week. Buttheads.

Rehab . . . just isn't a lot of fun.
They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no
It had its moments, and maybe I'll share some of those stories sometime, but today I'm focused on the now.

Or, actually, a few hours before now. I'm focused on 9:40 a.m. today, when I had my third or fourth appointment with Alex the Charm Devil, my physical therapist, whom I love deeply and want to murder.
Isn't he adorable? But the devil, I swear.
I was ten minutes late because my lunkhead son, whom I paid to clean off my car after this week's blizzard, neglected to remove the foot of snow directly behind it, which has now frozen solid; it took significant time and effort to chip away at Ice Mountain. But Alex greeted me so sweetly and had me warm up on the stationary bike, as per usual.
  • Alex the Charm Devil: How have things been going?
  • Me: OK. I think my bend is right where it should be, but I still can't seem to fully straighten.
  • Alex: We'll work on that today, then.
He takes me to a padded table and has me lie down with my ankles propped up on a firm tube. Lying in this position with my knees dangling a little is my least favorite PT exercise, I'm supposed to do it for 20 minutes, I start whimpering after 5, it hurts. But I know it's good for me — this is the best way to get my leg to fully straighten.

So I'm already uncomfortable — and THEN, Alex starts leaning on my knee so it straightens even further

I yelp in pain.
  • Alex: You OK?
  • Me: NO!!!!!!!!!!
  • Alex: We're just going to do a couple of these, OK?
  • Me: [whimper whimper]
  • Alex: And by a couple, I mean five.
Well, now I am outraged.
  • Me: FIVE? FIVE? Five is not a COUPLE, Alex!! Who taught you WORDS????
Alex starts laughing.
  • Me: Oh my God! This is just what the Supreme Court predicted when they let the gays marry! First gay marriage, then we start redefining what a "couple" is! Five — why not??
Alex is bent over laughing, though he's still pressing on my leg like the devil he is.
  • Me: OW!!! Wait, this is because I was late, isn't it?
  • Alex: (laughs) That was three.
  • Me: BELIEVE ME, I KNOW it was three!!!
He continues to press, I continue to yelp and whimper. He moves to the other leg.
  • Alex: OK, now that was three.
  • Me: I KNOW.
  • Alex: If I'd said it was four, would you have corrected me?

 Finally, finally, the torture ends. He says, "We'll go work on the step now." I said, "Could I have a rest???" He smiled so sweetly and said, "Yes, and a hug."

Oh, how I love Alex. Even though he is the Devil.

After I'd been doing my step exercises for a while, I said, "Hey Alex, remember the first time I saw you and you put heat on my knees and all I did was lie still under the heating pad? Why don't we do that exercise any more?"
  • Alex: That was our first date, Lady.
  • Me: I see. So you just take me for granted now.
  • Alex: You could put heat on before you come.
  • Me: Oh, okay, I have to do it myself. Your days of giving me heat are OVER. That's what you're saying?
He starts laughing again, then says to another client, "I'm going to massage your knee for a few minutes." I mutter darkly, "You used to massage me."

(Though, frankly, the massage hurt like blazes because his goal was to break up any scar tissue forming. Not relaxing, in other words.)

I punched him in the arm when I left (you know — lovingly) and he said, "Great fun as always, Lady." I laughed bitterly. Whatever the opposite of fun is, I now have a vivid illustration.

I asked the front desk ladies if they could hear me screaming, and they smiled so sweetly and said, "Oh, yes — all the way out here."

Charm devils. Every one of them.

I had planned to go grocery shopping afterward, but instead I came home and curled up with an ice bag. Ice has become my new chardonnay, my new bubble bath, my new every good thing.

Well, ice and The Night Of, which I am totally obsessed with. Parts 3–5 came from Netflix today, I may have to rip open the envelope and watch them all right now. So so so so good!!!!!

OK — my big goal was to write something, anything, on this blog, so now I have. The ice is broken!

And I've lost 10 pounds since my surgery without even really trying. Thrilling! (Except my weight had been up ridiculously right before surgery, so I'm right back where I started. Still. It's always nicer to lose weight than to gain, so I'm happy.)


— Bionic Lady C

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Many, Many Thoughts


Apologies to all my regular readers — I seem to be out of the blogging habit, and I truly hope this is temporary. As I've stated before: It feels weird to write a weight-loss blog when I'm not losing weight (and in fact have spent the last two years gaining back every ounce I lost).

BUT! My double knee-replacement surgery is tomorrow, which I consider Day 1 of my road back to health. I have been such a sad limping shell of a whole human for so long now. What an amazing thing it will be to walk without pain again.

And then . . . zumba!!! I devoutly hope!!!!

The last six months have also been astonishingly packed full: a nonstop flow of work, seven straight weeks of caring for Mom, getting Mimosa off to college and then parenting from a distance . . . and, yeah, there was that presidential election, which rocked my world.

I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things, so I'm going to take a moment to pull together a coherent post — because, according to my new pal Opposite Angel (see below), I'm going to be a dope for at least the next year. Can't wait!


It took a long time for me to fully process my response to this election — I was stunned and in shock for a long time. What was I missing? How did so many people see something so different from what I saw when they looked at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? How could any sane, intelligent person vote for this abominable man? Am I truly living in a country whose population is 51 percent insane and idiotic??

But as we are now learning, there really is no One Big Lesson here. The two "sides" voted the way they tend to vote, and more of one side showed up on election day than the other. Most people vote for their own party's candidate, whoever that candidate is, and Republicans are better at showing up to vote than Democrats are.

Democrats, man. We are our own worst enemy — so busy criticizing our candidates' flaws, holding out for the perfect, and forgetting that WE NEED TO FUCKING WIN in order to accomplish anything.

I just spent way too much time trying to find the very best article I read summing up everything we "learned" from this election — but once it occurred to me to search by the word "election" instead of "Trump," voila! Here it is, titled "Everything Mattered." It's long, but an awesome read.


I will have no truck with demonizing Trump voters. One thing I know for sure is that building coalitions gets you farther than building walls.

My brother Mateo and his wife, Sunny Yellow, conservative Republicans, are fond of the airplane analogy: Let's just ride this plane together; we don't want it to crash.

And that works for me, to a certain extent: I have no real control over who my pilot is, and I know very little about what actually happens behind that cockpit door. Some flights go more smoothly than others. I would like to believe that my fellow passengers are likewise committed to a trouble-flee flight that doesn't crash. 

Here's where the analogy falls apart. To me, it's like we were offered a choice of pilot, and 51 percent of the plane said, "Yeah, we could choose that woman with all the flight experience and those certificates of commendation for her excellent flying — but she looks a lot like the last pilot we had, and we don't like her voice. We're gonna go with the monkey who's never flown before! At least it'll be different. Yay, monkey!!"

And here we are, being piloted by a monkey.


I absolutely believe that this president may get fed up with all the hassle and resign the job, which seems in keeping with what we've seen so far. He responds to conflict like a toddler; he may well pick up his toys and go home. And then we have President Pence.

We Democrats need to be very careful and very clear about what our end game is. We can't just blindly protest everything. We need a plan to get through the next four years, without crashing the plane.


I had dinner last week with Brunie, Sister Hart, and Bookshop Dawn (shop at the Concord Bookshop!), and we agreed that living in constant outrage will burn us out like the delicate snowflake candles we are (ha). We decided to each pick one area that we will monitor with vigilance and fight for to the death. I picked LGBTQ rights, Brunie picked immigration, Bookshop Dawn picked reproductive rights, and Sister Hart picked the arts. We are on it! (except, I said, I'm really busy this week. Sorry, gays.)

Then last week I started reading more about Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, and learned that she is completely unqualified for this job. She is no friend to students with special needs, that's for sure. And yeah, LGBTQ is "my" issue, but education . . . that's really my issue.
I believe that the path to success is to identify the sanest Republicans and then actively court them.

This week I called Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and (respectfully) begged them to oppose this nomination. With Sen. Collins, I appealed to her common sense and wisdom. (I really like Susan Collins.) With Sen. Hatch, I asked him to honor his long friendship with my beloved senator Ted Kennedy, who fought tirelessly for education for all children.

Will my calls make a difference? Possibly not. (Probably not in the case of Hatch, who has publicly voiced his support for DeVos.) But it felt good.


Enough politics.
Mom has mostly recovered from her heart surgery, though she is still pretty dopey — I've been asking questions about her diabetes treatment, and it is so hard to get a straight answer and a coherent story out of her. Partly, this is because she has always been in denial about how "sick" she really is; she ignores her doctor's diet advice and continues to eat her disgusting protein bars for breakfast every day (Mom: "They're pure protein!" Me: "They are carbohydrates. Look at the label." Mom: "Ohhh." Repeat 1,000 times), and her blood sugar numbers are all over the place. But she says she feels well, so therefore she is well.

And believe me — I do not want to be my mother's keeper! She will figure it out or she won't. Period.

The big news in her life is that she's decided to sell her house and move into a senior condo at a lovely place in downtown Chico, so now she's cleaning out all her closets and getting ready to seriously downsize.  Every week, our calls feature a list of "Do you want these photos of your grandparents? Do you want my wedding china?" etc.

I think this is the right move for her, and I'm happy that she's driving it herself — but this is it, right? My mother's last home. She won't even have a room for me at the new place (though there is an on-site family suite). It's good, it is, but I am having some feelings.

And then there's my daughter, who was just home for a month — sending her back to New York was wrenching.

Mimosa had a hard time her first semester at college. Turns out, she stopped taking her depression medication sometime in October because she couldn't figure out how to transfer her prescription. And she also has this idea that she's an adult now, she's supposed to handle all this stuff on her own, she should not ask for help. So, as you might predict, she got into bad bad trouble at school and almost failed all of her classes.

Astonishingly, it looks like everything will be okay. She dropped one class but passed the other four; she has a new therapist in NYC who seems great and the prescription has already transferred (I know this because I got a robo-call from CVS, saying, "Hello! Your prescription is now available at 65 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York!" Too funny); and she has a new roommate, who seems pleasant, quiet, and maybe a little dull — but a huge improvement over the two drunken pigs she had last term.

(I try to keep a civil tongue, but those girls were gross.)

A lot of emotions wrapped around Mom and Mimosa, who are both very far away from me! It takes a lot out of a girl.


Tomorrow I will be at New England Baptist Hospital (which boasts an almost zero-percent infection rate! Knee infection is no joke, kids, and I'll be taking antibiotics before I see the dentist for the rest of my life), getting two spanking-new knees. I don't find out until later tonight what time my surgery is, but I plan to be there by 9:30 regardless; I will be headachey from lack of coffee, and the sooner they can get me in a bed with a nice hydrating IV, the better.

I've been collecting happy-knee-surgery stories, and this week I reached out to someone I don't know, the wife of Husband's college roommate, who had double surgery a few years ago. On the surface, she might seem like someone I wouldn't like: a fundamentalist Christian home-schooler, fervent conservative, and deep believer in government conspiracies. Husband has shared some of her Facebook posts with me, and her opinions can oft be described as "wackadoo."

And yet, and yet. I adored her husband when he came to visit us last fall, and she wrote me the most incredibly kind, detailed, and thoughtful note about what to expect after surgery. This is why I'm calling her Opposite Angel: we believe very different things, but she is nonetheless an incredible gift of grace, just when I needed one.

Many people have been compelled to tell me how incredibly painful this surgery will be, so painful, my God, you CAN'T BELIEVE the pain!!!!!! And Opposite Angel mentioned that too — frankly, briskly, and said, "So, stay on top of your painkillers, and you'll get through it," which is exactly what I wanted to hear and how I wanted to hear it.

And she also said something that made me so happy:
I was surprised how fast it was before I was joyous at no — no  — knee pain. 
Hallelujah! This is what I have truly believed as well, and it was so nice to have it confirmed by someone who knows.

(She also says that for every hour I'm under anesthesia, it can take six months for my brain to completely clear out and get back to normal. Awesome!!!!)

OK. This is long enough.

G'bye, my peeps! Send me good healing thoughts tomorrow. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Lots of love,
Lady C

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lady C's Best New Books of 2016

As I may have mentioned, "great literary merit" is not a category that resonates with me. I read for love, period. I give every new book I read a rating, from one to four stars. Last year I read 85 new books; here is what I loved (3.5 or 4 stars) — or what at least kept me deeply engrossed:
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (I wrote, "Creepy as all get-out, but I loved the sisters")
  • Now You See Me by S. J. Bolton (YA, maybe? Apparently Jack the Ripper was involved. I remember nothing, as is my wont)
  • Maggie Rose: Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer (children's book; very sweet)
  • What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan (my first four-star book of 2016!)
  • The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (nonfiction)
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (YA? maybe?)
  • Big Girl by Kelsey Miller (nonfiction)
  • The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (YA — I wrote "Loved! I got so anxious as it was ending—I hope there'll be a sequel")
  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrush (YA graphic novel —my daughter's favorite book last year)
  • American Housewife Stories by Helen Ellis
  • What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross (I wrote, "LOVED. What a page-turner! I can't believe how much I sympathized with THE ABDUCTOR")
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth La Ban
  • Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison (YA graphic novel)
  • The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
  • But He Doesn't Know the Territory by Meredith Willson (nonfiction)
  • Me Before You by Jo-Jo Moyes
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (YA, and just about perfect!!)
  • Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (YA)
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey
  • After You by Jo-Jo Moyes
  • Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (YA)
  • The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter (maybe YA?)
  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonsen (I could not put it down!)
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA, and crazy good!!)
  • Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (YA)
  • Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (YA)
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (YA)
  • Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
  • The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie King
  • The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
  • The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
  • The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
  • You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (YA — I usually find this author over-hyped, but I liked this one a lot)
  • The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson (YA, and awesome!!!)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling et al.
  • Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella (it is absurd that I enjoy books about a shopaholic, given my loathing of that particular activity, but Becky Bloomwood is always a joy)
  • All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
  • Find Her by Lisa Gardner
  • Peeled by Joan Bauer (YA)
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan by Kate Coyne
  • Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst (I wrote, "A great read! Though foolishly I hoped for a "cure" for Tilly")
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  • Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz (YA – forever to be known as "the book I was reading the night I fell asleep in the tub")
  • Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA — the series ran out of steam by book 3, I think, but the first two are divine)
  • The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner (YA)
  • The Lost Girls by Heather Young 
  • Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker (nonfiction)
  • Uptown Thief by Aya De Léon
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (LOVED. Absolutely one of her best)
  • The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller (my last book of 2017, and it's delightful. A little predictable, but a lovely yummy read)

And my ever-popular traditional closing: Here are the one-star books I HATED:

  • Descent by Tim Johnston: "I only finished because I wanted to know.  I don't know WHAT all the hype is about."
  • The Past by Tessa Hadley: "Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Do NOT ask me why."
  • Invisible Fault Lines by Kristen-Paige Madonia, which got 3.5 stars until the ONE-STAR HIDEOUS ENDING.
Here's to lots of great books (and time to read them) in 2017!!!

Lady C, who is currently reading Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson, and Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin, which is rather serendipitous!