Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Reading?

I was at Brunie's last week, and she has the coolest thing on the outside of her computer: a "page" with the covers of all her summer reading books over the years, starting from a young age. It was very cool to peruse . . . but also made me realize that I don't characterize books I've read that way. Did I read them in the summer or winter? I have no idea.

But I've read a bunch of excellent books so far this summer, so I thought I'd share some of the ones I've especially enjoyed:


"Enjoyed" may not be the right word for all of these — Brutal Youth is pretty grim, but I couldn't tear myself away from it yesterday — but I found all of them to be good, compelling, or at least fun reads.

I've also read maybe five other books that I didn't love at all and won't include here, including Orange Is the New Black, which (1) confirmed that the character of Piper is annoying as all giddy-up, whether onscreen or in print, and (2) is one of the few cases where I believe the movie (TV show) is better than the book. Very disappointing!

I'm currently reading I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy (jury's still out), and I've got Don't Try to Find Me and Pioneer Girl: A Novel waiting at the library — and Inspirational Kathy, your influence on my reading life should be abundantly clear, if it wasn't already!

What have you read and loved this summer?

— Lady C

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Victory! Accomplishment! And Oh So Much Crap

Today is Chore Day, and I told the kids that our special task in addition to the usual was basement cleaning, Partly we needed to eradicate filth (it's a carpeted basement, and I think it's been a few months since we vacuumed — plus there were cobwebs and dust everywhere) and partly to re-organize and get rid of a bunch of old toys and other stuff that we no longer need.

PLUS, in the course of looking for costume pieces for Li'l Martini's upcoming (five) roles in Assassins, I discovered that the file cabinet drawer full of cherished baby clothes and the file cabinet drawer full of cute skinny clothes I hope to fit into again one day had totally mildewed, ew, so I am doing six loads of laundry today.

And as you might suspect, a lot of those cute skinny clothes — from the '80s — will be going fresh from the dryer to Goodwill.

I started working down there at 10:30 a.m. and didn't finish till 3:30; the kids and Husband came in and out and helped quite a bit, and we moved four enormous trash bags (two pure trash, two full of things to donate — not even counting the clothes, which are still being laundered) of crap stuff out of there, and then dusted and scrubbed and swept and vacuumed, and it is so sparkly clean and sweet-smelling and orderly right now!!

I, however, am rank and grimy, with a fine layer of grit clinging to my sweat. Yesterday I did a ton of yard work, and today's chores involved a lot of bending and lifting, and my whole body is crying with achy. Time for a long hot bubbly bath!

And my weight was down this morning, the lowest it's been in more than a month. Woo-hoo!

Tomorrow I will get that feeling I totally love and adore — padding downstairs in my nightie and bare feet, smelling hot perking coffee, feeling clean floors under my soles, and reveling in the sunlight sparkling on my freshly laundered house.  

Love. It.

Off to the tub!

—Achy-Breaky Musty-Dusty Lady C

Friday, July 25, 2014

Just Read an Interesting Sentence

Every time you eat or drink,
you are either feeding disease or fighting it.

I don't know what I think about that, but it's definitely "food" for thought.

In other news:
  • My weight is still high-high-high, but after walking and a bath yesterday, I sweated off two whole pounds. Two pounds of sweat! This felt like victory to me.
  • I also devoured the best book, called Elizabeth Is Missing by, I think, Emma Healey. Such a cliche, but I truly couldn't put it down! So that's what I did yesterday: walked, sweated, read. Great day.
  • Mimosa turns 17 in 10 days. Usually I'm a birthday-planning machine, but this one crept up on me. Time to make a plan!
But not right now, I need to take a shower and get to Home Depot.

More later! maybe, probably.

— Busy Lady C

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I Sweat, Therefore I'm Thin

I was so tired all day yesterday, and my stomach was wonky, and it was 3 million degrees outside, and the last thing in the world I felt like doing was flailing my 250-pound body around in a zumba class.

But I went.

And not only that, I finally remembered to bring my own hand weights. The heaviest weights at the zumba place are 3 pounds, but I lift 5 pounds at home, and everything I've read says that fewer reps of heavier weight are better than more reps of a lighter weight, so hey. While the rest of the class toiled away at glutes and abs, I did 5-pound bicep and tricep curls and arm extensions, many many many reps of each.

And! Usually the Italian Spitfire is toiling on her own mat with the rest of the class, but last night she was up and walking around while we labored. I caught her eye and said, "Listen, if you let me hold your feet, I'll do an ab exercise." So she led the whole class in what I call "throw downs," and she taught me a new variation, where you lift your legs to the side and work your obliques, which, OWWW, plus my left oblique is way weaker than my right, which is sort of interesting, but I did all the reps she wanted me to do, and the rest of the class is groaning, groaning, and the Spitfire said, "You can all thank Lady C for that one," which was pretty funny.

So, in other words: I did abs.


Today dawned gray and gloomy, and I looked at the sky with such hope. Surely if it were pouring rain, Writer Jenny would not make me walk with her? But alas, no skies wept for me today. In fact, it was perfect walking weather, just warm enough and lightly breezy, and there were so many cute dogs on the bike path, and I saw lots of old friends while waiting for Writer Jenny at Starbucks, and of course spending time with her is always a delight; we never run out of things to talk about.

She is also thin and limber and crazy fit, and I trudge along next to her, huffing and panting like an elderly buffalo. But it's good for me, even though my knees are whimpering and I'm contemplating a morning bath. It's summer vacation, why not?

As I walked today, it was so clear to me how much fitness ground I've lost. I'm trying not to be depressed about this. The only way to get it back is to keep on keepin' on, and I've made a good start.

One day at a time!

— Lady C

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oh, She May Be Weary

Long time no blog, I know. Sorry about that. Dad's death and all of its related activities coupled with school ending and summer activities starting meant that Air Traffic Controller Mommy has had a pretty full plate for a while.

And I don't know if it's the usual summer doldrums (I don't do well in heat, though Arlington is having a beautifully mild summer so far, knock on wood) or a general fatigue brought on by grief (or a more nefarious explanation, such as chronic wasting disease), but I am weary all the time. I wake up at 7, stretch a little in bed, head downstairs to start my day . . . and by 9, I'm ready to return to the pillows.

I keep having to drive longish distances (my car is the only one with working air-conditioning at present — and even on a temperate day, for summer highway driving you still really need air-conditioning), and I've been having mini panic attacks because I can feel myself getting dozy on the road. Not good!

For two weeks, Li'l Martini was in LARP camp 9–4 and then had Assassins rehearsals from 5 to 9. That meant that I had to fix him a lunch and a snack to bring to LARP, plus have a nice healthy dinner ready for him to bolt during his hour of "free" time plus create a sustaining snack to bring with him — and two days a week I'm doing this plus driving him everywhere he needs to be (plus getting Mimosa to karate and myself to zumba) because Husband is teaching a night class. And, oh yes, LARP is nut-free – no peanut butter. So! Fun!

Hey, did you catch my reference to zumba? I'm back with the Italian Spitfire on Wednesday nights in air-conditioning; I move like a slug but at least I'm moving. My weight has crept up up up, which I suspect is adding to my fatigue and torpor. I seriously need a Boot Camp week, but I'm too weary to even contemplate it.

Today (among a dozen other goals) I plan to complete my application for a part-time job, which, if I get it, would change my life entirely.  I think I'm well-qualified for it — but I've thought this about many jobs I've applied for, and I've yet to get an offer. Apparently I'm not the glammy employment catch I thought I was! (Humbling.) Anyway, I'll keep you posted.

It feels like there are a million things I could write about, but I'm already — can you guess?? — exhausted, so I'll stop here. Tomorrow I've scheduled a morning walk with Writer Jenny (she says she'll walk with me after her workout, which blows my mind — to me, the walk is a workout. Writer Jenny is a Fitness Goddess!!), and having two exercisey events on my plate makes me feel virtuous. Sleepy, yes, but virtuous.

Time to weave some beautiful B.S. for my job application . . . at last, I'm using my college major of creative writing to make some money! Maybe.

You said it, kitty.

Yawn, yawn,

Lady C

Monday, June 23, 2014

Being Held

Tomorrow at this time I'll be on a plane to California, going home for my dad's memorial service. Last time I flew home hoping to see him, but this time I know he isn't there.

Except that he is always with me now, and I carry him in my heart. But you know what I mean: I will open the door, and he won't be sitting in his beloved chair. He won't get up to give me a hug. He won't drag in my enormous suitcase [a low-maintenance traveler I am not; just ask Brunie: I bring a trunk, she packs everything she needs in a Highlights for Children backpack] while I protest, "Dad! Save your back! I'm young and spry, let me do it!" He won't listen to the story of my trip home [something always happens to me] and guffaw at the absurd parts. [In March, Hertz wouldn't let me rent a car because according to their records, I was 110 years old. "But," said the desk clerk, eying me, "We know that's not true . . . right?" Yeah, I'm very well preserved, lady. Must be all the hooch.] I have had all of these experiences a hundred times, and I will never have them again.

The morning after he died, I got up early and headed to the kitchen to make coffee — and it hit me: When have I ever made coffee in my parents' house and not brought a cup to Dad? (Answer: Never.) And there I was, bawling over the coffeemaker.

There will be little whammys like this all week long, I expect.

I wanted to write a post about the awesomeness of my friends and just how wonderfully kind everyone has been, but I find myself overwhelmed by the hugeness of the topic. Suffice it to say: My friends are awesome. I hear from several of you each day, from all corners of my world. You've been feeding me, offering treats, nourishing my soul. You've written beautiful things, you've shared music with me, you've somehow known exactly what I needed. My dad would be so happy to know that I'm being taken care of.

My dearest old friends Lady Darcy and J are coming to the memorial service, and I can't wait to see them. Dad enjoyed all my girlfriends, and he was at each of their weddings. It will be so great to have old friends there, especially if I need a respite from all family, all the time.

(Both brothers plus wives plus me plus Mom are staying at our parents' house, and I have this feeling that it might get a little . . . intense. But I'm keeping an open mind, also a song in my heart and a skip in my step on the sunny side of the street! Ha.)

The first person speaking at the service is me, which is a daunting responsibility. Here's what I've planned for my opening words:

Good morning.
The poet Mary Oliver once wrote: 

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
To love what is mortal
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
And when the time comes to let it go
to let it go.

Today we come together to honor and celebrate the life of Gerald Eugene Davis, my dad, who died very peacefully after a brief bout with cancer just one month ago.
During this past month — and especially now, as I look out at all of you who loved my dad — I find myself reflecting on the words “I’m holding you in my heart.” I have said these words many times to people who have endured a loss, and now people are saying them to me. My friend Jane sent a card to me in Chico the weekend that Dad died, and she wrote, “I think that if you look outside, you’ll see a lot of us out there, standing vigil for you, your dad, and your mom,” and that is just what it feels like — like there’s a cushion or a blanket of love and care enveloping me and my mom and my brothers right now. And I want to thank all of you who are holding us in your hearts and giving us this experience of being held. 

*                *                   *                    *

I probably won't post from California, but I'll be back for America's birthday. Send traveling mercies my way, won't you? And please also keep a good thought for the little band of Chardonnays here in Massachusetts, who are also sad, who won't have a memorial service to bring them closure, and who will be missing Wife/Mama a lot next week.


— Lady C

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Look What I Did!

I saw this in Good Housekeeping and fell in love. Twigs, hot glue, a vase with straight sides — how hard could it be? I decided to try to make my own version for Mrs. Cynicletary's birthday.

First I had to make sure I had enough twigs and that they were roughly the same height:

I hot-glued them in place, easy-peasy:

The final touch: a hemp bow and an armful of sunflowers (also some lime mums that I loved and a few branches from my front hedges). Voila!

This may be my new craft. I am so happy with how it turned out!!

(Got a new keyboard today, plus a new resolution to never, never, never drink anything anywhere near my keyboard again. I have made this resolution before, but this time I mean it. Really!!!)

Happy Fathers Day to all who celebrate, and sending tons of love and virtual hugs to those who are missing their dads today. Husband and I worked on Dad's slideshow today, and that was a very perfect way to spend my first Fathers Day without a dad. The slideshow is awesome, Husband is a genius.


— Lady C, artisan craftswoman