Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Very Busy Barbie

Long time no blog, I know. Sorry! September is simply a ridiculous month for parents with kids in school, even though one of said schools is several states away. But there has been a LOT going on.
  • Spontaneous visits! My mom finally retired from her bookkeeping job and then realized that she was now free to travel on a whim. She arrived with one week's notice (surprise!), then declared that she hadn't seen Mimosa in almost two years and we needed to go to New York City. So, okay, Mom, let's . . . drop everything and drive to New York! Which we did. It was lovely to have her here but also wearing; she is getting older and more frail by the minute (she refused to shower at my house because she was too afraid to step over the edge of my bathtub; this drove me BONKERS), and my patience does not seem to be increasing with age. But we laughed a lot, and it was great to see my little girl, of course.
  • Continuing education! I started my "Broadway Bound Show Choir!" class, and while it's fun, it's not exactly what I thought it would be. I'd pictured a bunch of folks sitting around singing lots and lots of show tunes and having a grand time. Instead, we're singing one song, working and working on it till it's as close to perfect as possible, and learning choreography for it. Oh my! The song is "All That Jazz." Maybe, maybe, if we're very good we'll learn a second song, probably "Edelweiss." (Though I laughed out loud, imagining the choreography for "Edelweiss." "Will we do ballet?" I asked. "Probably just a lot of swaying," said Flynnie, our choreographer.) The class is taught by my kids' middle school music teacher, Mr. C, and that's fun. But, as I say, not what I expected.
What I dream we look like

What we probably look like
(We've only met once. I had high hopes that we would all work hard offstage, nail the song and dance, and quickly get to learn the second song, just for a little variety. But the class meets again tomorrow night, and have I once practiced either the song or the dance? Ha, no. Because . . . )
  • . . . editing work out the wazoo! After finishing a huge job for a new client last week, I am now juggling four huge jobs for two old clients, all of which must be done this week. I finished one yesterday, am two-thirds done with another, and the remaining two are still ahead. I am sitting A LOT.
  • Zumba! But no other exercise, because I've been so busy, which is ridiculous — one zumba class is not going to get me back in shape. After I finish this post and finish my coffee, I'm going to take a long walk and then lift weights and work my core and sweat like a yoked team of oxen — yes, so much sweat I need more than one ox to describe it! It will feel good. I also need to hit up Writer Jenny, who's promised to teach me how to hula hoop, her new favorite workout.  I have never successfully hula-ed a hoop in my life, but Writer Jenny is the most determined person I know, I have faith.
  • Oh! Zumba is . . . okay enough. I still hate the music and I still have not learned the routines, especially the last ones, when I'm tireder. The teacher has this hugely annoying habit of stopping before each song to review some moves, but she's talking over the blaring music and I can't hear a word; I'm like, Just freaking DO IT and we will follow you! Let's keep moving, for God's sake! I am a big zumba grump.
  • Making music! I am back to handbell-ringing on the advice of my sage pal Dawn of the Bookshop, and I have to say: It is not exactly like riding a bike. I did it a couple of years ago and loved it, and remember myself being fairly good at it. but sister, I was younger then with a flexier brain. I am now a slow and slightly impaired bell ringer, it takes LOTS of repeat practice before I "get" it. Fortunately, other ringers are also semi-impaired, I'm not the Class Dullard, so that is something. (Last week, Bell Boss said, "Are there any sections you especially want to practice?" and the girl next to me said, "Yeah, every time I have to ring a bell!") Maybe we're playing harder music this year, I dunno. Or maybe my formerly spongey brain is drying up, since I can't learn zumba routines either. That's probably it.
I'm also running the bar for a big church party in two weeks, and I'd like to decorate my house for Halloween, and I keep e-mailing woman-owned roofing companies to see if someone will come inspect my roof (the gutter guys reported seeing some damage — but so far, "woman-owned" has meant [1] "I don't respond to e-mails" or [2] "I will respond but ignore everything you wrote because I'm kind of a moron." The search continues), and I still have a fridge full of aging CSA vegetables that I need to do something with before our last CSA pickup tomorrow, and my favorite uncle is starting cancer treatment this week and I need to send him a card, and I want to deliver a treat to my besty Mrs. Cynicletary who had surgery last week, and I just saw that I forgot to write a check for Li'l Martini who's auditioning for Junior District . . .

Good lord, writing all of this was exhausting! And there are eight more things on my to-do list that I didn't even note here, but enough already.

My weight is high. Not my all-time highest, but higher than it was pre-surgery. I don't understand this. Surely I'm moving around more than I did then! It is so discouraging.

OK, coffee is gone; time to squeeze into some compression clothing and hit the Bike Path.


Lady C

Monday, September 18, 2017

My "Triumphant" Return to Zumba

Tonight was the first session of my new zumba class with the new teacher. It's held in the basement of the Episcopal church in Arlington Center, where Eddie Dance Party used to teach. I got there very early (mostly because I misread the time of the class, but also because I was worried about parking — but it was great to have a few extra minutes, I sat and read my awesome new library book, I'll Have What She's Having, an account of how Nora Ephron saved the romantic comedy), so I got the spot I wanted, second row on the far left — but next week I'll move to the first row, I have to see the instructor's feet!!

On the whole, I'd grade the experience C+. Of all the zumba teachers I've had, this one is at the bottom — she lacks the dash and charisma of the Italian Spitfire and Eddie Dance Party, and she's not as charmingly appealing as Sexi Danci Nanci or Shy Jeny. She's fit, for sure . . . but right now, that's the best I can say about her.

It is a great workout. Once I know the routines, I will get in better shape very quickly —  and that is awesome.

And I will be able to learn the routines pretty fast, because she told us she will do the same 16 songs in every class. Once we know them, we'll know them. And this is great for me, because I like doing a routine I know; when there are too many new ones, I get aggravated.

Though — I do like mixing things up a bit. The exact same 16 routines . . . ? every single time . . . ?

What an . . . interesting . . . approach.

And — oh dear God, her music is awful.
Not rap/hip-hop awful, more boring salsa awful. Every song sounds exactly the same!!! And not one of them is familiar!!!

Of the 16 songs, only one is a little different, sort of Big Bandy. And, to be fair, our cool-down song is a salsa-influenced version of "Just the Way You Are," so I did know one song. But that's it. Fourteen loud blaring identical salsa songs.


(The dull instructor yells instructions to us, but the loud blaring boring music is so loud and blaring, I can't make out a word she's saying.)

The other ladies are nice, though, and a woman I like from my church is there, and the woman who was next to me tonight is from France and speaks little English and seemed charmed when I held out my hand and said, "Je m'appelle Lady Chardonnay!" and certainly there are plenty of other women in the room who are old and klutzy and out of shape, comme je suis (like I am).
If this were my first zumba class, would I fall in love? It's hard for me to believe that the answer is yes.

I asked Husband if he could remember how I responded to my very first zumba class. I do remember thinking the other girls were cliquey (ironic, since the cliquiest one, the Fit Blondie, ended up being my best zumba friend) and I was aghast at how out of shape I was, but I think I loved the music and the routines and the Italian Spitfire right away.

I could be misremembering, of course. It was a LONG time ago!

Anyway. I'm in it for this term, and I will keep an open mind. Once I know the routines and am in better shape, I know I'll like it better.

But I still may not love it.

C'est la vie.

Lady C

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Celebrating My Minuscule Steps

I did lift weights during Jeopardy last night (a very boring episode, I thought) and worked my core. I've set a goal of increasing by one rep every time I do throw-downs, so last night I did 16 while Husband cheered me on.

Other goals I've set:
  • I can have dessert OR wine/a cocktail but not both. Last night I had a piece of chocolate pie, no wine. And it was a challenge! I really wanted wine. But that pie was goooood.
  • If I don't have paying work to do, I have to work out.
It's only been a couple of days, but so far, so good! No work today, so I rode my stationary bike for half an hour. And even though my hurty bike seat continues to plague my ladybits, it was actually kind of fun today. Some songs came up on my iPod that I haven't heard for a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed pedaling along to "On My Own" and "Ooooh Child" and "My Coloring Book" and "Pinball Wizard." And I stayed on for 30+ minutes and rode six miles! I think this is a new record for me.

I've also been curious — with all this arm exercise, can I now do an actual push-up? I didn't get down on the floor, but close: I tried it on my stairs (with my hands maybe on the third step?). It is definitely harder than a wall push-up, but I did 10 of them! Exciting!

Tomorrow, unless a job shows up, I think I will do an hour of yardwork, and that will be my workout. Our hedges continue to grow like Topsy, so I will do a Purge with my new electric hedge-trimmer. Great arm exercise!

And then I have jobs lined up for Thursday and Friday, so we'll see what happens. It would be good to keep up my momentum — zumba resumes on Monday!

Tonight's dinner is chicken enchiladas with green sauce (using the tomatillos and some peppers from our CSA share) and sauteed Mexican vegetables (using the rest of the peppers and one of our summer squashes) and Spanish rice (using nothing from our share, but it's a nice side dish). I will now fix myself a Caprese salad for lunch, dispatching the last CSA tomato. I still have a fridge full of greens, several striped beets, and a squash to cook, and I pick up a new share tomorrow. So much vegetable pressure!!! But it's good for us.

Exhausted again. When do I get the increased energy that exercise zealots are always going on about????

Lady C

Monday, September 11, 2017

I Just Don't Remember Walking Being This Hard

Granted, I'm going from zero to sixty, as I've been mostly sedentary for a couple of years now (I've come to the conclusion that Deep Water was great for my core and for muscle strength, which I really needed before my knee surgery, but not so great for aerobic health). When I first started walking, did I do three miles right away? (I'm not actually walking three miles — I need to measure my 'hood route again, because I don't remember what J calculated lo these many years ago. I have 2.67 miles in my head, it's something like that.)

And why are the slightest inclines kicking my ass so profoundly??? They are getting easier, though, so that is something. But still — a relatively small slope by the former Dallin principal's house, right at the beginning of my route, has me huffing and panting like a dying bovine. Today I learned that my old auction-kitchen partner Chesty McBreasty lives right around the corner; she was sunning herself in the front yard as I heaved myself by, huff puff puff, which was just mortifying. She's a kind soul, though.

(I asked Li'l Martini to help me choose an image that conveyed desperately out of breath; I like this one, but he says it looks like "a peasant dying of smallpox.")

Anyway, I did it, all 2.67-whatever miles, at as brisk a clip as I could manage, though it took me almost an hour — I'm sure I used to do it in 45 minutes.

I'm trying not to be discouraged. I've never been as heavy as I am right now, so maybe it's all harder for simply that reason. And there is no other way to change that than to do what I'm doing.

Dang me, I am tired!!

But I need to go make dinner for my family: ham steak, fried okra, leftover caponata, and garlic-studded French bread from the bakery. Easy-peasy, but it's not going to make itself.

I will lift weights and work my core while I watch Jeopardy — a new episode after six weeks of repeats, hurrah!

And then a hot shower and maybe an early bedtime, she says hopefully.

I am oft thwarted in this effort by my newfound love: streaming Netflix. So many exciting shows to watch! Orange Is the New Black (check)! Jessica Jones (check)! The Handmaid's Tale (check)! Ozark, GLOW, Anne With an E, Dear White People (still to watch)!

Plus, I have two enticing books to read:

Actually, I'm already halfway through Samantha Irby's book, which is equal parts hysterical and disturbing, so I'm not sure whether to recommend it or not. But I am very excited about Young Jane Young. I love this author!

I need to get back in the habit of daily weigh-ins — I have no idea if anything I'm doing is having any effect whatsoever.

OK. I've caught my breath now. Onward!

Lady C

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Surely There Is Someone or Something I Can Blame

To my shock and horror,  my weight has crept up again, to that scary number that starts with a 3. Well, this morning, anyway, and the possible culprit is the high-sodium sushi I ate yesterday —  not sure, because for whatever reason I don't weigh myself every day any more. But in any event: that is what I weighed this morning, and this time I don't have a California trip to blame it on.

(looking desperately for a culprit to point the finger at . . . )

Yeah, OK. I just looked in the mirror. J'accuse!

It especially sucks because I exercised yesterday!! I rode my stationary bike for half an hour at a brisk pace, even as my nether regions chafed! Jeez, imagine what my weight would have been otherwise.

Arggh. There is only one way to deal with this, so here I go again: logging my food, trying to figure out where the extra calories are coming from (since I don't feel like I'm eating significantly more or differently), and incorporating movement into each day.

I also want to get in better shape before I start zumba in two weeks; otherwise, I will likely expire during Class 1, which won't be pretty.
Today's to-do list is pretty full, but I've accomplished a lot so far:
  • Walked the bike path — almost three miles! It's a perfect day for walking, and I tried to be cheerful and have fun, but mostly I felt tired and grouchy. Then "Love Machine" came up on my iPod, which amused me; my ex-beau The Wedding Singer used to sing/grunt this to me:
I'm just a love machine
And I won't work for nobody but Jen
  • Then I reminisced about all my college beaux (good God, what a collection), and that was a relatively pleasant diversion for the last mile.
  • Lifted weights: 35 bicep curls, 20 arm extensions (these were harder today for some reason, but I think this is the key exercise to give me Michelle Obama arms, so I might do a few more later today) (I wonder how many of us think about Michelle Obama as we're doing our arm exercises? Lots, I bet), 35 tricep curls, 30 sideways lifts (good for supporting my wonky shoulders), 25 wall push-ups
  • Did 15 throw-downs (ab exercises)
  • Did PT with weights, 20 lifts for each leg
  • Showered! You're welcome.
  • Made a slurry of phone calls: State Farm, to add Li'l Martini to our auto insurance (he takes the road test this Sunday!!); vision insurance, to see if I can get another pair of glasses this year (I need computer-specific glasses, but they will have to wait till January, alas); and CVS
Still on my plate:
  • Go to Bed Bath and Beyond! for a new shower curtain; I just painted our bathroom, pink sponged over gray, and I'm getting used to it, but a new translucent curtain is sorely needed
  • Get some school supplies for Li'l Martini at Staples
  • Pick up milk, cream, and vanilla ice cream at Trader Joe's
  • Make dinner: meatballs, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, apple-pear crisp. Maybe an apple salad too, we'll see how much oomph I have
  • Toss the seven bags of cat litter that were just delivered downstairs, and bring the laundry up
  • Polish my naked nails (painting the bathroom ruined my manicure!)
  • Tidy my crap pile on our dining room table. How I would love to eradicate this pile!! But there is always something
  • Go to RE Committee meeting at 7 p.m.  — and not lead it, hurrah!!! So so so excited to be a lowly member, in charge of nothing!
I want to curl my hair before I go out and it's still wet, so I guess I will commence litter-flinging and vegetable peeling.

One day at a time!!

(I couldn't help it — I weighed myself post-walk and had lost four pounds. I know it's all Xanadu weight, but I'm still calling it a win!)

Lady C

Monday, September 4, 2017

Time to Scare Myself

Two things happened:
  • My Deep Water teacher sent a group e-mail, reminding me that it's time to sign up for class again
  • I got the Arlington Community Education catalog and saw a zumba class
My physical therapist "cleared" me for zumba though told me to take it easy on the jumping (not a problem), but I've been too chicken to go back. And I would really miss the Deep Water girls if I didn't take that class. I do like Deep Water a lot . . .
. . . but not as much as I loved zumba with the Italian Spitfire, or Eddie Dance Party. Those were the funnest classes ever!!!

The ACE teacher is new to me, though I've seen her name in the catalog before.

The other activity I'm weighing is playing handbells at my church, something I did a year or so ago and LOVED. What a pure joy to be at church with no responsibility other than to make beautiful music! I told the handbell folks that I could come back, now that I'm no longer chairing the Religious Education Committee — but if I did that, I couldn't do Deep Water.
How to decide????

In the midst of my quandary, I got an e-mail from my pal Dawn of the Bookstore; she asked when I was free for dinner, so I told her what was potentially on my plate. She said:
I vote for handbells (paired with zumba . . . but not at the same time!) — it's such a lovely sound. Our church doesn't have a handbell choir, but we have guest ringers (is that the term?) on occasion.
And apparently all I needed was a decisive voice, so I promptly signed up for zumba — and (surprise!) also a class called Broadway Bound Show Chorus . . . ! I have always wanted to take one of the ACE singing classes; I used to pass by the Glee! group on my way to Sexy Danci Nanci's zumba class, and they seemed to be having such fun.

In this class I will sing show tunes, and there will be a performance for my friends and family. Look for your invites in a month or two! (Mrs. Cynicletary, start planning your excuse now — I know you'd rather eat a box of hair than listen to me, or anyone, sing Broadway tunes. But you love me — in every Season of Love! Hee.)
I am scared of singing in front of other people, but I still think this will be a blast.

So, my new schedule is Monday Zumba, Wednesday Show Chorus, and Thursday handbells. I will miss one handbell night a month when my RE Committee meets (I'm still a member, just not chair any more). I am very excited! And a little trepidatious, for sure, but it's good for me.

Of course, one night of exercise per week won't be enough, so I will have to supplement with walking and weight-lifting. The weather is delightfully chilly now; long outdoor walks sound lovely. We shall see!

Tomorrow the boys return to school (yay! yay! yay!) (o how I will miss them, she adds dutifully), and my big plan is to paint the downstairs bathroom, whose blotchy unattractive paint has bugged me for years. This plan was slightly thwarted by the fact that I can't find the can of gray paint that I absolutely know we have (I'm painting it gray and then sponging pink paint over it, to complement the pink-tiled walls and gray-tiled floor), but Li'l Martini wants to practice driving tonight (he takes his road test this Sunday), so he's going to drive us to Home Depot, and then we'll go out to dinner to celebrate the Last Night of Summer Vacay. I am very happy to hit the ground running, so to speak, and start painting as soon as we all get up. Which, because of Madrigals, will be 6 a.m.  I expect to be done and well into a pitcher of margaritas by 10. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Lady C

Sunday, August 27, 2017

". . . To bear the unbearable sorrow . . . "


Yesterday I left my daughter behind, to begin her second year at The New School in NYC. We spent a few days in the city first, which was completely the wrong way to do it, as my sense of dread grew exponentially and I had nothing to look forward to except a long endless slog through Connecticut (what is it about Connecticut? Why is highway traffic at a standstill, inflating a two-hour drive to five or six? Why must Connecticut be located squarely between Massachusetts and NYC????) by myself, weep weep.

I dearly hope that this year will be better for my girl. There are some good omens:
  • After being told that she is now ineligible for financial aid (because she didn't pass enough classes, though her GPA is fine), she received a big scholarship (this makes no sense to me, but I am letting it be); we are only paying slightly more this year than we paid last year, which is HUGE.
  • As she did last year, she brought cookies from our local bakery to share with her roommates. Last year's roommates were two beeyatches who barely spoke to her; Mimosa ate all the cookies herself. This year, her room- and suite-mates are healthy Chinese girls who didn't want the cookies, but Mimosa brought them to the hall meeting, where they were a huge hit! She felt popular and appreciated. (And she says her new roommate, Blair, has been very nice to her so far. Yay! Fingers crossed, hard. After two beeyatches and a human pig, she is way overdue for a nice living situation.)
  • She has lined up several appointments with potential therapists, and I got to meet the first one, who is stunning — like, Michelle Obama and Lupita Nyongo's prettier sister. Mimosa liked her fine but wants to meet several before she makes a decision; I heard her on the phone setting up one appointment, and she sounded so poised and mature. Very cool!
On our last day together, I began remembering how much I longed for my mom to leave right after the college dropoff so I could commence my Exciting New Life — and it had nothing to do with my love for her (which was vast) or her relative coolness (which was not). I am such a cool, fun mom, and yet, and yet. I shared this memory with Mimosa, who patted my arm kindly.

Kerrey Hall, her new digs — imagine parking in front of that during dropoff . . . !
She had already told me that she wanted to set up her room by herself, which of course is totally fine with me — and I was impressed that she was able to tell me this; she is usually so over-worried about hurting my or anyone's feelings. Progress! For us both, I guess.
The layout of her bedroom (she's on the left); the suite also has a kitchen and bathroom
Most of the parents of freshmen-home-for-the-summer that I talked to were counting the days till their pain-in-the-ass kids went back to school, but it wasn't like that for us at all. We had a great summer, lots of movies and outings and laughter. I taught her to cook lasagna and my Perfect Chicken and white enchiladas, she learned to mow a lawn, and she made serious money babysitting.

But as sad as I am and as much as I miss my girl, I think I am really lucky — to have someone I love so much and who leaves such a hole in my life when she's not here.

As I left Rein's Deli (in Vernon, Connecticut) — my reward for making it through the first four and half hours a four-hour trip in total — the sun hit my back window in such a way that I could see every streak she left when she cleaned my windshield on the way down (it was her first time with this particular chore — life lessons!), and my crooner boyfriend Andy Williams began to sing "The Impossible Dream" (source of this post's title), and I burst into noisy gasping sobs, to the point where the FedEx drivers next to me looked over with some concern.

But it's all good. I may hate the circle of life right now, but I really do know that to everything there is a season.

And apparently my body knows it too, because after more than a year of no periods, I began spotting in earnest during this week of delivering a child out into the world, once again. Crazytown.

All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Today I will clean my house and make sweet-and-sour mix for my Lemonade cocktail and buy cat food and hug my remaining child 1,028 times. And not cry.

Or maybe just a little, I'm not made of stone, for God's sake.

Lady C

p.s. This was my last Big Event of the summer! Mom turned 75 and is all moved in to her new place, three birthdays have been celebrated, House Guest came and went (a delightful visit!), and now Mimosa is dispatched. I plan to spend the next week exhaling . . . !!