Thursday, July 30, 2015

Powerless, But Not Helpless — My Hot Zen Musings

Several months ago, a client booked me for the latter part of this week. He had a 200-page proposal, "kind of a monster," he said, and he would let me know more details as he knew them.

I checked in a week ago to see if we were still on schedule. He said, Oh yeah; we plan to give it to you Thursday because we'd like to upload it on Friday.

I said:

Two hundred pages in 24 hours??????

He said, "Oh. Perhaps I wasn't clear. When I said 'Thursday' I meant 'Wednesday,' and when I said '200,' I meant '80.' Is that more do-able?"

Well — yes. And it's also a lot less work and a lot less money. Whatever.

So Wednesday came . . . and passed . . . in a blaze of heat and humidity. They did manage to send me about 30 pages toward the end of the day.

And now it's Thursday, at 2:47 p.m., and they have sent me, precisely:

I am way less available tomorrow. My kids finish their summer "camps," and I am going to see Li'l Martini perform in a skit his group wrote, then we'd planned to take everyone out for an early dinner. Instead, I predict I'll be glued to my computer, frantically editing the last 50 pages, which will come at the very last minute and which I really need to do because I really really need the money.

(I won't miss Martini's show but I might have to skip the family dinner.)


This entire week has comprised some version of me sitting by my phone/computer, sadly hitting "Refresh? Refresh?" I am the living personification of these wise words:

It is too hot to be this pathetic.

I did in fact sit at my computer most of the morning, hoping, hoping, but also reformatting a Sunday school curriculum for Kind Tina — it's not paying work, but it needs to be done and I'm finding it satisfying — but I have left the computer now; I'm in front of a fan drinking icy diet soda and reading Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, which is marvelous. I check in every half hour, that's it.

Inwardly I'm still screaming ARRGGGHHHH!!! but outwardly I'm very Zen. You'd never know what I'm really thinking.

Nothing yet. Back to my book.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Could Not Be More Proud


"Baby, bring me some wine," I whined from my hot, hot perch at the editing desk.

It's 900 degrees here, I have a huge editing job that came in late, no one loves me, I am cranky.

However, I just put a new bottle of wine in the fridge this morning, its cork tightly secured. Li'l Martini can pour wine, but I doubted his abilities to uncork a bottle.

But! The youth of today are intrepid, ingenious, resourceful!

He grabbed my gorgeous Anna G corkscrew, plunged her into Mr. Kendall Jackson's tightly squeezed orifice, and pumped out a cork like a pro!


And I now have a frosty glass of Mother's Little Helper (what a drag it is getting old), and while it's still hot and I still hate EVERYONE, nonetheless I look to the future with hope and optimism.


—Lady Chardonnay, addict, grouch, and Mother of the Year

Monday, July 27, 2015

I Fear I'm Hosed

The Bloggess just posted this:

So, for me, that's Audrey in Finding Audrey, who has suffered an as-yet-unidentified personal trauma that has her wearing dark glasses to avoid eye contact and hiding from the rest of the world; A.J. Fikry, described by most who know him as the most self-centered and selfish person they've ever met; and three teen alpha girls — Emerson, Tenley, and Sydney* — who are being tormented by an unseen, unknown enemy and as a result are emotional basket-cases.

(I haven't finished these books yet, I suspect some personal growth lies ahead for at least a handful of these characters, but at this writing they are troubled and hurting.)
In short: We're zombie food.

I'm also reading the new Stephen King book, but it's early days yet, I'm not sure who the protagonist even is.

It will be in the 90s and humid all week — perfect time to hunker down with library books, a cold drink, and a fan!

Ugh. I dislike summer. But July's almost over, this too shall pass.

— Lady C, which rhymes with "G," which stands for Good Attitude, ha

* The book is equally about all three of them, there's no single protagonist, though I think we're supposed to like outsider Sydney the best.

I am thoroughly enjoying all four books so far, btw. Check 'em out!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mother Nature's Evil Twin Is Trying to Kill Me

On Monday I finished the giant editing job I've been working on since June, and I decided to devote each day of the rest of the week to a theme, which has worked well for me in the past.
  • Tuesday: Religious education! (I now co-chair this church committee.) I finally read every e-mail that Kind Tina, my co-chair, sent me throughout the spring — and won't she be pleased, I now have a 24-item list of things to discuss with her. I also went through piles of old RE documents, read several RE handbooks written by other churches, etc. etc., it was a huge amount of work, and it took all day. But now it's done! For now.
  • Wednesday: Piles and lists! I dealt with all the crap that had piled up on my work desk, re-affixed the light-blocking panels on my kitchen porch door, finished the first draft of an article for the Betsy-Tacy Society Newsletter, and did a bunch of other things that I've been carrying over from week to week on my calendar. Success! Accomplishment! 
  • Thursday: Beauty! I planned to work in my garden until I couldn't stand it any more (it's a jungle out there) and then self-beautify — fake-tan my legs, paint my nails, etc. 
Here's where everything fell apart. Many things needed to be done in my front yard, but the most pressing task, in my judgment, was to prune the wildly overgrown willow tree, whose limbs now reached into my driveway and tickled my face every time I got out of my car. That tree wants to take over the world. I'm not overly fond of it, but it does have a cool funky shape that I kind of enjoy, especially without leaves. During the summer, though — man. It grows like Topsy.
I started on the side closest to the front door, hacking, clipping, cutting. No big deal. Then I moved toward the driveway and prepared to saw off a smallish limb.

And then shrieked, "Son of a BITCH!" and flung off my gardening gloves, where I could clearly see some sort of black stinging insect clinging to one of the fingers.

I ran inside the house to pour cold water on my sting, then I Googled "how to treat bite from stinging insect." Ice was suggested, which I promptly applied. The stung area felt better within a minute, so I headed back outside, this time armed with my electric flyswatter, and I zapped the insect (which was still on my glove, crawling around like an idiot with a death wish).

Well, hmm. Perhaps I should not use the word "idiot" lightly, given what happened next.

Assuming this was an isolated incident with a now dead stinging insect, I picked up the clippers and resumed my grooming.

"MotherF***ER!!!!" I then shrieked, and raced back inside for more ice.

Dear Readers, how I would love to tell you that I learned my lesson, left the tree alone, and stopped shrieking obscenities up and down the length of my quiet residential neighborhood.

But no. No.

I repeated this entire scenario three more times, for a total of five stings. Well, to be fair, I got stung twice in the same clipping attempt, so really only two more times. Four pruning attempts, five stings. But then I gave up.

My good friend Google told me that I had a nest of bald-faced hornets living in my willow tree. Bald-faced hornets are nasty bastards that get particularly pissed off when they believe their nest/queen is under attack. Which I guess my vicious pruning shears pretty clearly represented to them.
And, get this, unlike nice polite bumblebees, bald-faced hornets do not die after stinging you. They just keep stinging and stinging. Jerks!!!

But Pest Control Guy Kyle came out first thing the next morning and removed a nest the size of a baseball from my death tree. He assured me that he would come again if I saw a single hornet, but that he has never had to make a repeat visit after removing a nest.

I spent the weekend cowering indoors and hiding from my death tree, but this is no way to live. Yesterday I cowboyed up, grabbed my pruning shears, and proceeded to Do Battle.

And I won!! That tree is pruned within an inch of its life (though I still need to saw off the limb that's reaching to Heaven — sawing is a lot of work, and it's bloody hot). I am a BADASS.

Today is the hottest it will be all week, and each day after this will be cooler. I have two big editing jobs coming, but I don't know when. Perhaps while I wait, I will give the days of this week themes, as I never got to "writing" and "fitness" (fitness morphed into gardening, and writing was going to be Friday's theme but I did something else instead).

No weight loss news whatsoever. I documented my food on FatSecret for several weeks, I stayed within my calorie limit every day, with a decent balance between carbs, protein, and fat, and I didn't lose an ounce. (FatSecret says that I should lose a pound a week at this calorie limit.) I have a doctor's appointment on August 3, and I know they will test my thyroid, which I'm beginning to wonder about.

But frankly, it's too hot to care about anything. I just rented two movies with "summer" in the title; I'm going to sit in front of my fan with an iced drink and enjoy the wacky highjinks of Mark Harmon and Jennifer Love Hewitt, because that's the best way to keep cool on a sultry afternoon, if you ask me.


—Lady C, gardening badass

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Teach Me to Walk!

A magazine I just read posted a list of "the best walking workout videos," which I found pretty funny. A walking workout? that you do walking in place? in front of a monitor?

But hey, I'm always looking for other workout options, and my library carried two of the "top walking" videos, so yesterday I walked with Denise Austin.

I am humbled by how sweaty and tired I was after a half-hour workout!

(Granted, it is very hot and humid here. I've been up for half an hour, and all I've done is feed the cats, make coffee, clean up some cat barf, and read my e-mail, and I definitely have a ladylike glow!)

After my sweaty walking workout, I did my knee PT. (My knees are getting worse and worse; then again, am I taking Motrin and using ice? No. But I've stepped up my PT, I'm riding the stationary bike, which is supposed to help, and I put Epsom salts in my bath — but every morning, I stretch before I get out of bed, to limber up a little, and then limp my way to the bathroom. So sad.)

I have four good books home from the library:

It is so hot. All I want to do is this (I'm an indoor kitty, remember):

But I am still in great demand, work-wise, so instead I must do this:

. . . in front of a fan, with breaks only to transport children to various summer activities (LARP camp for Martini, a creative writing seminar for Mimosa) and to make dinner.

People ask if I'm having a good summer, and I try not to growl at them. For me, summer is just like every other season, except that everyone is home, all the time, when I'm trying to work, and it is freaking hot. Ugh, ugh, ugh, not my favorite season by a million miles.

But not every day is hot, and this too shall pass.

Back to work – just wanted to let you all know that I've learned to walk via video. (Ask me how!)

Remind me to tell you about the dumb-ass guy who tried to pick me up in a bar once ("golf video" is a keyword in this sparkling anecdote!).

(Speaking of words, did you hear that "twerk" was just added to the OED and that it dates back to 1820??? Also "yarn-bombing," a phrase I have never heard. Maybe it's a Midwest thing?)


— Lady C

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I Sit. I Stare. Sometimes I Throw Up.

This week is that "magical" time when school is out and the kids' summer activities haven't started. Husband is away till Friday, and I had big plans for a lazy, hazy, crazy vacation week of bowling, beaching, ice cream stands, roasted marshmallows, and lots of air-conditioned matinees.

This was a tiny bit complicated by the fact that Mimosa had her wisdom teeth out on Monday, and we didn't know how her recovery would go. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to cuddling up with my sore, swollen girl, feeding her ice cream and fro-yo, and watching lots of girly movies.**

And Monday played out pretty much like that; we watched Whip It and The Heat and had ice cream and pudding and JELL-O and strawberry applesauce and soft cheesy scrambled eggs, and I applied ice to her poor swoled-up face and emptied my mending basket, and it was a nice day.

Then on Tuesday I had a migraine. I dealt with it as best I could, taking my meds, drinking Diet Pepsi, holding cold cloths to my head, and I managed to get Li'l Martini to Goodwill to buy boots for his LARP costume (score! we found the perfect pair for $8!!), and I took the cat to the vet to test her thyroid levels after a month of meds (good news again! her numbers are down, so we can give her less medicine, which is great), and I made a pot of onion soup for poor daughter who still can't chew. By the end of the day, I felt like myself again, though pretty wiped.

Today I had another migraine, more vicious than the first; it's 2:52 p.m., I'm still in my nightie, I have done nothing today except rot. Poor daughter, I gave her her meds this morning and have barely seen her since — I certainly didn't cook a soft meal for her. Fortunately she's 17 and can feed herself.

Still. What a waste of vacation week! 

I also ran out of meds and must get more immediately, it is too scary not to have anything on hand, so today's big outing will be to CVS and then maybe Town Diner for an early pancake dinner. Ring-a-ding-ding.

The to-do pile by my computer is almost a foot tall. If I weren't already in a state of medically induced weariness, just looking at it would exhaust me.

Sorry, I know this is a dull post, but writing something for my blog feels like an accomplishment! Perhaps this will now motivate me toward some big action, like, I dunno, taking a shower.

Stay tuned!

— Lady C

p.s. Throwing up and eating nothing but Diet Pepsi and Saltines made my scale happy, but this does not feel like a good life path.

** Not "girlie movies," i.e., those featuring scantily clad women! I mean, like, 13 Going on 30 and Mean Girls and Sixteen Candles and Pitch Perfect. Like that.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Yesterday I Gave Birth

But first, I want to add one more thing to my menu of malaise, and that is: the next season of Outlander, the Starz TV series based on the books. (I guess technically it's part 2 of Season 1, almost a year later, to which I say: give me a break.)

With shows that I have to download or get from Netflix, rather than watch in real time (e.g., Orphan Black, Orange Is the New Black), I prefer to wait till the end of the season and then have a lovely binge, so I was very excited when Husband presented me with the entirety of the next installment of Outlander! I loved the first season, despite the abundance of nudity (ew) and the over-reliance on rape, near-rape, suggested rape, and threat of rape as entertainment.

So there I am, curled up in bed with a mug of coffee and high hopes, watching the very first
episode . . .

. . . which opens with our villain stripping Claire to the waist, at knifepoint; he is about to rape her when her new husband bursts in with a gun. Knifepoint, gunpoint, half-naked Claire, the negotiating goes on and on and on ("Drop your knife!" "No, you drop your gun!" "No, you!" "No, you!"), and all I can think is: some director told the Claire actress to do this. "That's right, now make your breasts heave a little. Can you perk up your left nipple? Awesome. Awesome acting."

Ew ew ew ew ew.

Outlander is an equal-opportunity offender, the men are beaten and abused as well, the scars on husband Jamie's back are a roadmap of misery, and I know his own rape is coming up — but honestly, I am not advocating for equal-rape time here. I would like this particular heinous and violent crime to stop being presented to me as entertainment.

I couldn't watch the rest of the disc because either (1) something is wrong with it or (2) something is wrong with my DVD player. I will try it elsewhere — which is also a bummer, because I like to watch movies in bed before I go to sleep. But I will figure it out!

Anyway. On to my birth announcement!

My writers group gave me lots of good advice, as I reported yesterday, and everyone agreed that step 1 was to create a professional writer website. I can now be found at:

I may purchase my domain name, so I can delete "wordpress" from the URL — we shall see.

This is my first baby step toward a "social media presence." I'm still working on the design (WordPress is harder to figure out than Blogger) and deciding what "pieces" to include, but anyway — if you're at all curious about my writing life, feel free to check it out. Once I actually have a finished Novel 2 to sell, I will get serious about things like "followers," but I'm not there yet.

My next social-media-learning project will either be Instagram or vlogging. I simply don't take that many pictures I want to share, so I'm not sure that Instagram will be for me; conversely, while I liked the idea of a video blog (me talking about books I'm reading, I imagined), I practice-filmed myself yesterday and found the entire experience excruciating. It reminded me so much of Skype, which I also loathe. I might need to get likkered up to do this . . . just the thing for an aspiring YA author, n'est-ce pas?

In terms of weight loss (you know — the topic of this blog), I continue to gain and lose the same five pounds, over and over, and my knees are killing me. Yesterday I had a long to-do list, and I did everything but my physical therapy (though I birthed a whole website! and cleaned my freezer! and made the yummiest green enchiladas!!!). I will try to fit it in today, because it really does seem to help my poor knees.

Today Li'l Martini spends the morning at the high school (a sort of Freshman Orientation) and is then invited to a party; Mimosa is taking a college tour at Simmons in Boston. As I perused the online course catalog at this lovely school, I saw that they offer an MFA in writing for children. "That's it," I said to Husband, "I'm going back to school!" So I guess the writer dream continues to flourish within, this week anyway.

Maybe I'll try to fit in both physical therapy and writing today. I don't have any editing work scheduled (waiting for a client to get back to me) — maybe today's the day to rassle the two things I am most likely to put off. OK, writing these words is a good impetus. I just read a really great book:

. . . and the importance of being mindful and having a plan were mentioned over and over again.

All right, then — here is my plan:
  • Take Martini to school at 8:15
  • Come home and write for an hour. An hour.
  • Ride my stationary bike, lift weights, do physical therapy.
  • Reward! (the book says it's important to have an immediate reward): Daytime bubble bath and the new Judy Blume book! 
Stay tuned!

—Lady C, part-time cripple and aspiring authoress