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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Marriage Can Legally Drink!


 


On Friday, September 26, Husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.

(September is a celebrate-y month for me! 17th: Maybelline Queen's birthday, 20th: J's birthday; 21st: Anniversary of the day my BFF Lady Darcy and I met; 22nd: My junior high besty's birthday; 24th: Lady Darcy and CPA Boy's anniversary; 26th: my and Husband's anniversary. And J's son has a birthday in there too; I remember giving him a tiny toy workbench before my wedding. Lots of card-sending occasions!)

The 21st, as I'm sure you know, is the nickel and brass anniversary.

We did not observe this hallowed tradition. I did not get a nickel.

Instead, we had a sweet lunch date, just the two of us, at this cute little Russian place we discovered many years ago, semi-hidden within a small shopping area in Newton Center. After making our way down the long path toward the front door (no easy business, as we're both cripples), we pass the "OPEN" sign on the front door and enter a deserted waiting area with a bored-looking maître d-ish type loitering by a doorway. I said, "Are you serving lunch?" (He's standing in front of a stack of lunch menus, and remember that "OPEN" sign? And yet it seemed a legitimate question.) He gazed at us, gazed into the distance, and then said, "Let's say yes."

(Husband later said, "What if he'd said no? Would we have demanded lunch anyway?" I said, "'We won't go until we get some!'" Husband: "'Even if we have to cook it ourselves!'" I said, "I think you severely overestimate my Russian cooking skills. I didn't exactly have Tante dandling me on her knee showing me how to stuff a cabbage." But Husband believes I can cook anything, bless his heart.)

Our lunch was superb, despite the truly bizarre ambiance. We were never joined by another guest; our waiter brought us our food and that was it, despite the echoing emptiness of our water glasses; and over the bar, a TV blared a rerun of House. But the food, oh, the food! I had a root vegetable and pickle salad (divine) and stuffed cabbage; Husband had mushroom soup and some kind of ravioli thingies in a sour cream sauce, and we were sated and happy.

Then we went to New England Mobile Book Fair and bought each other books; he got a stack of nonfiction books from the remaindered section, three books for under $10, and I got The Life Murder  of Bindy Mackenzie, a fabulous YA book, and we are both happy. Later we watched Gotham with our kids, a new show that we're all in love with, and it was a satisfying and love-filled anniversary.



I am very lucky in my choice of heterolifemate. One of my favorite things about Husband is his unfailing kindness to me. If I'm unhappy or upset, he comforts me; if I need a sounding board, he'll listen and offer wise counsel; if I truly can't see a way out, he'll suggest options — but he never jumps in and tries to fix things or take over, he takes his cue from me and gives me what I need. That is a rare and wonderful thing in a man, and I appreciate it so much.


And he does tai chi with me!


But not this week, since he was giving a talk for our church, and not next week, because he'll be giving a talk at Yale!! He is such a little superstar. Even crippled.

(Turns out, he does not have water on the knee. We are bummed, because that seemed like such a good explanation, and so fixable! But the x-ray showed nada. He's seeing an ortho today, fingers crossed that they'll find and fix something. He's been in a lot of pain for a lot of days now, and it's not good for any of us.)

So, I solo-ed at tai chi last night, and this week was way funner than last week — much less talky, much more action! Though if you're looking for action, I would not recommend a community ed tai chi class. In fact, last night our teacher said, "Tai chi needs to be done slowly. If you want something fast-moving — well, you shouldn't be here." She wasn't looking at me, but this is definitely my challenge; when we do the routine on our own, I am always a step ahead of the rest of the class. I'm doing tai chi zumba, apparently.

But still! Even though my knees were achy-achy-breaky by the end of class, the pivot step that so troubled me last week came much more easily, and I felt centered and balanced and graceful. I love the routine we're doing! ("Routine" is probably not the right word.) It actually looks like what people picture when they picture tai chi, and that is exciting to me.

(Dude, my threshold is low. I take excitement where I find it.)

There is always more to write about, but my work day beckons. I have four new Sunday School lessons for preschoolers to edit, plus I need to buy some snacks for Li'l Martini to take on this weekend's church retreat (Sexy Em will be his mama this weekend. I tried it for three years, but I am not cut out for "communal living" or "roughing it," I fear; by year 3, I was hiding from people, using Mimosa as a shield, and drinking copious amounts of chardonnay, and I don't need to leave home to do any of that), and I'd like to pound out a mile on my treadmill. We shall see.

No weight-loss news, grr, arggh — still holding steady at my gargantuan new weight. I think I've been secretly stress-eating (so secretly that I'm barely aware of it); last week was really hard, and I kept reaching for comfort cheese. And I know I drank more wine than usual (it's this new cheap Chardonnay! so yummy, and I had four bottles of it in my wine rack — its siren song was irresistible). Today I'm going to document my meals and try to make clean and healthy choices.

One last thing: Of the new fall TV show, I like Gotham a lot, I can take or leave Red Band Society, but I am insanely in love with How to Get Away with Murder, starring my awesome girl Viola Davis!!! If you didn't watch it last week, it's not too late to catch up. Tonight at 10. Check it out!

— Lady C, happily married since Bill Clinton was president