Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Beethoven's Birthday and Other Things to Celebrate


Today would have been my dad's 81st birthday. He didn't go in much for personal celebrations (Father's Day meant next to nothing at our house); he didn't like "hoopla" or "frippery," and he always insisted that we delay the Christmas decorations ("frippery") until his birthday had been celebrated. He disliked cake. He was hard to shop for, saying that the best present would be for us kids to simply be good all year.*

(Keep dreaming, Dad. You're getting a tie.)


But he got older and I got older. He mellowed a bit and I got better at (1) choosing creative presents and (2) standing up to him. I reminded him that he had taught his children to be gracious in every situation and that when someone hands you a present, you smile and say thank you, Mr. Grinch.

On his 70th birthday, I bought seven $10 gift certificates from his favorite stores and restaurants in Chico, wrapped them in different gift wrap, and arranged them like a fan. Cute! The one place that didn't sell gift certificates was his beloved Chinese dining destination Egg Roll King** — so I simply taped a $10 bill to a card with a picture of an egg roll and a crown glued to it. Dad loved it. Later, I found the card in a box of his special things.

I know that I will miss him forever, but I'm greatly encouraged to hear from all of you that the pain does eventually diminish. He was a great, awesome, fun, funny, loving dad, and I am a very lucky girl. And today I very happily celebrate the fact of his birth and the 80+ years he spent on this earth. He is definitely someone who made the world a better place.


In the meantime, I just finished a HUGE ENDLESS editing job, 320 pages about the HIV response in Botswana, hunched over my computer for two straight weeks and doing my best to reinstate my dowager's hump. It felt so good to stop!!! And now I'm going to try not to take on any new work (but continue to be a squeaky wheel for some of those still-outstanding paychecks, grr arggh!) and just enjoy getting ready for Christmas.


Shopping! I always vow that I will do lots of shopping in Arlington and support the local merchants.


But instead, I usually do a lot of this:



Also, cookie-baking! Starting today — we've been asked to bake Christmas cookies for the guys doing the renovation at our church. Sure, why not. I've got time!


I'm making a tunic, cape, and hood for Li'l Martini out of a thin blanket and a thin bedspread that he bought at Goodwill (he wanted a LARP — live action role-play — costume) and watching lots of holiday movies while I sew. On Sunday I watched Come to the Stable (love!!) and last night Husband and I watched The Lemon Drop Kid, which we'd never seen before and was lots of fun.


 My decorations are up (except for the outdoor lights, Husband)***, but our Nativity scene continues to evolve. This isn't ours but it gives you a good idea of what we've got going on:


It's a week of festivities — two concerts, four lunch dates, a holiday party at Sister Hart's — and on Sunday, my baby turns 14 and I have a birthday to plan! Happy happy joy joy. Sincerely.

And since my new pal Fresca asked, yes, I sported a lovely holiday manicure all last week:


But it's beginning to fade, so it's coming off today or tomorrow and I'll switch to something equally festive and glammy.

I'm about to meet a church friend for coffee, then do some holiday shopping at Walgreens, Trader Joe's, and Starbucks (the complex at the bottom of my hill, where I might as well live). My plan is to wrap and package everything that I'm mailing today (including a set of junior golf clubs that I sold on eBay; I packaged them yesterday, and the resulting bulky entity looks like I'm mailing either a sawed-off shotgun or a human leg). I'm also having a hot lunch date with Husband, where we'll price new sofas and do some more shopping, and tonight Mimosa and I are attending a play written and staged by one of her pallies. A fun busy day, which is what Dad would have wanted.

But somewhere in there I'll call Mom, and we'll probably cry a little together. Dad would not have wanted that but he would have understood.

These are the days of miracle and wonder — not the least of which is my period, which showed up after 123 dry days. At least I didn't throw away my tampons.

Hey, if you think of it, drink a toast to my dad today, will you? It will make me happy to know that people are thinking of him.

love,

Lady C


* My thing lately has been to contemplate how easy-breezy my life would be if the other three Chardonnays just did what they were supposed to do, without my having to stay on top of them all the time. How much extra time I would have! How much freed-up mental space! How much serenity!! But then I wonder, is this my version of "just be good all year"? Ah, well. A Lady can dream!

** He often took Mom to Egg Roll King for their wedding anniversary. Seriously. His commitment to no hoopla was legion.

*** Husband just finished his own gargantuan job – grading – so I only quietly murmured about the lights up till now. But his grades were turned in yesterday, the volume on "quiet murmur" goes to 11 today!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Strong Christmas Spirits


 (Those aren't my nails, but you had better believe that I'm doing mine like this tonight!!)

Oh, how I love this season! Love love LOVE.
(Even the parts I hate.) ☺︎

I am so full of the Christmas spirit, I burst into tears just looking at a fruitcake. (That quote is not original to me, but I bet I've said it more than the original author, Ms. Betty MacDonald, did. And if you've never read anything by Betty MacDonald, get yourself to inter-library loan right this minute and request The Plague and I or Anybody Can Do Anything, two of the funniest books ever written.)

Yesterday was lovely, even though it was Chore Day, which usually has me gnashing my teeth and muttering over the filth-wallowing debris-strewing sloths I live with. But I poured a glass of wine at a relatively early hour (Christmas spirits!!), which is a good coping strategy for me, and I stayed mostly serene and mostly merry and bright, and all was well.


Then I went to hear my girl sing with the Madrigals at Barnes and Noble. It was a slightly rainy afternoon, three Saturdays before Christmas, and as you might imagine the parking lot was a jungle. But I employed my parking karma (I also have the gift of unseasonal-weather-whilst-vacationing karma; natives are always commenting, "It's never this warm/lovely/dry this time of year!" when I'm there — it's a gift) and got a spot almost directly across from the front door. The singing was lovely; a B&N employee commented that the group sounded "practically professional," which is always a nice thing for a proud mama to hear.


My girl has been a bit blue this season; she told me a week or so ago that she just wasn't "in the Christmas spirit," so we had a little heart to heart yesterday about the words "should" and "have to" when it comes to Christmas. I urged her to do only the things that sounded fun to her; this season is about celebrating the birth of a baby who grew up to change the world, and nothing else. All the other stuff is frippery, and if it isn't fun, there is literally no point to it.


Whether it was my wise words** or the irresistible joys of the season, I dunno, but after she sang, she and I had a nice dinner at Legal Seafoods and then did some Christmas shopping at the Burlington Mall — and that perked her right up. The mall is magic!!! God help us.


Everybody come and play
Throw every last care away
Let's go to the mall today
Let's go to the mall, everybody!

I wish Mom were still here (I've washed her sheets and towel and washcloth and the shirt she borrowed from Mimosa because she didn't believe me when I told her how warm it gets here on some days — winter weather in Massachusetts is a mix tape of delights — but I forgot about her napkin, and I teared up when I reached into the placemat-napkin drawer the other day), but I'm having fun re-decorating the tree (the kids hang ornaments right in front of each other, were they raised in a barn???) and lighting my Christmas candles at night and sipping eggnog and eating Trader Joe's Christmas cookies and thinking about what to buy everyone. Soon it will sink in that Christmas is three weeks away and I only have a handful of presents in, well, hand . . . but that day is not today.

Dad's birthday is in 10 days. He would have been 81. Mimosa and I are seeing a play that night; I'm glad I have something concrete and fun to look forward to. 
 
My tummy is happily full of homemade chili and cornbread and salad and applesauce; I'm going to go sit in my comfy green chair and read my mystery and have a cup of coffee and go to bed early. (And paint my nails, of course!)

A perfect weekend!

— Lady C, Christmas queen

** B&N had a 10-percent-off sale for teachers yesterday and a store employee asked me, "Are you an educator?" I said, "Well, I say wise and instructive things all the time, but no one actually pays me for it; I consider it my gift to the world." Without batting an eye, she said, "Tell me about it."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ready to Muster My Wits


Mom left yesterday. I was up at 5 a.m. to drive her to the airport. Yeah, there's two things I hate: getting up and heading out when it's still dark (and it astonished me to see how much Boston traffic there was; whatever job requires you to be driving in the city at 5:45 a.m., I never want that job), and saying goodbye to my mother. I cried and cried, like a baby — but only after she left, so she wouldn't feel bad. About my pain.

(Hee.)

It was wonderful to have her here. We laughed a LOT, and my house is gorgeously decorated for Christmas. Once Husband puts up the outdoor lights (usually after his grades are turned in), Chez Chardonnay with be an icon of dazzling holiday beauty!


(OK, no, we don't decorate the toilet. But — ideas!)

We saw many of my besties during her visit, which was awesome; Good Neighbor Anne came over on Thanksgiving afternoon, and Mrs. Cynicletary and Handsome D were here for drinks and games and dessert — so fun. On Friday, Brunie and her pretty mom stopped by to enjoy tasty leftovers (Husband looked at my lovely table and said, "Am I invited to this lunch? It looks . . . girly") and drink Planters Punch and talk a few; on Saturday, Nurse Kathy joined us for cocktail hour (I finally remembered to serve my homemade limoncello! and boy howdy is it good!!), then, after a simple sandwich supper, we all headed over to Superdad's for a dessert buffet. On Sunday, Mom saw many of my favorite church friends, including Kind Tina and Mrs. Professor. Mom gets along so well with all my friends, and I know she likes knowing that I'm encircled by good people, so far away from home.

I've been eating and gorging and drinking like I'm going to the Chair, and it's time to do something different. Two things happened recently that made an impression on me:
  • My Alterna-Husband and his nice wife came to dinner a couple of weeks ago; I haven't seen them for a while, and he in particular has lost so much weight, he is almost unrecognizable. Over the last year, he's lost 50+ pounds and she's lost 40 some. Their approach is to eat five times a day, to stay within 250 calories per meal, and to include 5 grams of fiber each time, for a total of 1,250 calories and 25 g of fiber every day. He also takes a daily walk; I'm not sure about her, nor what else they do for exercise. But as we all know, eating makes the biggest difference, and they have clearly found something that works for them.
  • I read an article titled "5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes" (which, longtime readers may recall, is the disease I fear most, as I am the overweight daughter of a diabetic mother and maternal grandfather), and it also suggested multiple smaller meals, along with very specific guidance on what a snack should comprise:
(1) A fruit or vegetable (ideally both)
(2) PLUS a protein (e.g., cottage cheese, Greek yogurt)
(3) PLUS a complex carbohydrate (e.g., whole-wheat crackers, popcorn)
A week of cheese, sugar, bacon, and hooch was delightful, but I'm feeling ready to try both of these approaches.


Since my cortisone shots, my knees have progressed through feeling 90 percent healed to acting a little wonky again (though better than before the shot); my right knee hurts when I walk for a while, and my left knee suddenly buckles for no good reason, all of which makes me nervous about taking a walk away from home. Now, have I done the physical therapy I promised I'd do? Ha.

So, that's something I definitely need to start, plus get back into weight-lifting. Watching my weak, weak mother try to get up from a seated position, or try to pull a seatbelt across her body, has inspired me. Strength is key. Stronger muscles will protect me. Use it or lose it.


I have some editing work to do today, but I will do something muscle-y before I take my shower. This is my vow! And tonight I'll do physical therapy before I go to bed. (It's mostly lying-down exercises, so my bed is a good place. I'll do it while watching Jeopardy! This is Kids Week, I can watch with half an eye.)

Final thoughts:

I wish I lived closer to my mom.

Time to work.

— Lady C

p.s. Thank you, all of you, who sent such nice, supportive notes on the day I posted about being so sad and missing Dad. The thing that I keep coming back to is this: Dad was so stoic — definitely a grit-your-teeth-and-get-through-it kind of guy. I feel like he'd be disappointed in me.

BUT. Dad and I almost never had the same reaction to almost anything. Why should this be any different?!


I appreciate your kindness very much. You are good friends.

A fruit or vegetable (or ideally both) A protein like low fat cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, lean meat (turkey, chicken or tuna), or a hard-boiled egg, AND A complex carb like whole-wheat crackers or pita bread, or popcorn. - See more at: http://blog.harvardvanguard.org/2014/09/5-ways-to-reduce-your-risk-of-diabetes/#sthash.xTKXtglz.dpuf
Snack more. Eating a healthy, balanced snack in between smaller meals helps to control blood sugar and quell your hunger so you don’t overdo it at the next meal.  Healthy snacks should consist of:
  • A fruit or vegetable (or ideally both)
  • A protein like low fat cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, lean meat (turkey, chicken or tuna), or a hard-boiled egg, AND
  • A complex carb like whole-wheat crackers or pita bread, or popcorn.
- See more at: http://blog.harvardvanguard.org/2014/09/5-ways-to-reduce-your-risk-of-diabetes/#sthash.xTKXtglz.dpuf
Snack more. Eating a healthy, balanced snack in between smaller meals helps to control blood sugar and quell your hunger so you don’t overdo it at the next meal.  Healthy snacks should consist of:
  • A fruit or vegetable (or ideally both)
  • A protein like low fat cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, lean meat (turkey, chicken or tuna), or a hard-boiled egg, AND
  • A complex carb like whole-wheat crackers or pita bread, or popcorn.
- See more at: http://blog.harvardvanguard.org/2014/09/5-ways-to-reduce-your-risk-of-diabetes/#sthash.xTKXtglz.dpuf

Friday, November 28, 2014

We Gather Together



In a word: YUM. Thanksgiving at the Chardonnays' was scrumptious and toothsome. I didn't love everything we made (as always), but I give it a solid B. (Husband and Mom say A–, but they are more good-natured than I.)

We missed Arty Jenny, our companion of so many years who now resides on the Left Coast, but it was wonderful having Mom here, especially on the six-month anniversary of my dad's passing. The day was full of friends, family, and food, lots of laughter, and some great hooch. A perfect Thanksgiving!

Here's the food ranking, from Worst to First. And the good news is, nothing was truly terrible — and I haven't always been able to say that, believe me.

Kind of Blah
  • Tre Verdure (Three Vegetables), Comprising Corn & Scallion, White Bean, and Fennel & Red Onion Insalates: Based on our love of the antipasti at Alta Strada, Mimosa and I liked the idea of having three pretty little veggie dishes. Unfortunately, nothing we made held a candle to the offerings at Alta Strada. Clearly I am not using enough salt. And also, I made the corn dish with frozen corn, and it really really needed fresh corn. C'est la vie.
  • Roast Eggplant Dip: Such a disappointment! Eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic, lovingly roasted and then blended with white beans and lots of yummy herbs. It made the house smell like heaven, but it tasted like thick, dry hummus. Again, not terrible, but nothing I would make a second time.
  • Cheese Straws: Kinda bland. Period.
Tasty, But Probably Once Was Enough
  • Smoked Bluefish Pate: Legal Seafoods made the BEST version of this, and it's no longer on their menu. This recipe was okay, but too chunky — more like tuna salad with celery than the smooth velvety wonder I remember. Though I had some with crackers for breakfast this morning, and it tastes fine — just nothing to knock your socks off. (Mom breakfasted on creme brulee and sausage links.)
  • Stuffed Mushrooms with Chorizo and Manchego: I make stuffed mushrooms with salami and smoked cheese, and they are the best stuffed mushrooms in the entire world. Every time I try a new recipe, I say, "Why do I do this when I already make the best stuffed mushrooms in the entire world?" I am a mystery to myself.
  • Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting: I've had this recipe for years, and I'm glad I finally made it because how enticing does that frosting sound? But the cupcakes are a teensy bit dense and a teensy bit dry; I have a much better chocolate cake recipe — moist, dark, and luscious. And the thing I forgot about frosting . . . is that I don't really like frosting. And this recipe made a TON of frosting. We'll be putting leftover frosting on everything from meatballs to the cat's food for a week or so, I fear. But it was crispy indeed, and I guess magical, so there you have it.
Delicious, As You'd Expect
  • Pigs in Blankets: Really, what is there to say?
  • Creamy Salsa Dip: This is always good, but I think I may have used the wrong Knorr's vegetable soup mix (which sounds weird in salsa dip, I know, but it is really good) — it was way chunkier than I remembered. (I'm all about that texture, 'bout that texture, no nutrition.) Whatever, it still tasted good.
  • Vanilla Creme Brulee: Very good, though the crust was not as crackly as it was supposed to be, possibly because we were all ready to eat dessert and didn't want to wait any longer.
SUBLIME
  • Candied Bacon Sticks: Oooh la la.
  • Chicken Enchilada Dip: It never disappoints. This year I made it with mild jalapenos instead of canned green chilies, and it was the best yet.
  • Salted Cracker Toffee: OH MAN this is so good. Practically my new favorite dessert recipe. SO. FREAKING. GOOD.
  • Plimoth Plantation Planter's Punch: Yum!!!! I got the recipe from Mrs. Cynicletary's sister-in-law, and it was so yummy, especially when made with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. (I had a lot of naked lemons, denuded of their skins to made homemade limioncello.)
  • Berry Bellinis: I cooked down two flats of raspberries into a fruity simply syrup, and made this with champagne, berry syrup, and a shot of Triple Sec. Sublime!!! Oh, did I say that already?
  • Raspberry Lime Richards: For my non-drinking husband, I used the same berry syrup, combined with fresh lime juice and tonic water, to make a Rickey for grown-ups. Extremely tasty!! (Good Neighbor Anne tried the first one I made and said it was too sour, but I added more syrup to the second one, and it was fabulous!)
Also delicious, but not officially part of the menu: Rosemary Cashews, which we snacked on while we cooked.

What didn't make the list: Homemade limoncello, which I made and then totally forgot about. And Mom rejected the idea of having it with our breakfast. Report to come!

As mentioned, GN Anne stopped by while we were cooking; she declined a drink but ate 3,000 cashews, which was gratifying. Then after dinner Mrs. Cynicletary and Handsome D came over; they enjoyed a Berry Bellini and played Act Out/Sound Out with us, and it was wonderful to share this day with them.

We played many many games, found a container for every leftover, washed a mountain of dishes, and had a truly lovely evening.

Memories!! I love Thanksgiving.

Blessings and love to you all.

— Lady C

Monday, November 24, 2014

I Know that Depression Lies, But Sometimes I Forget



The Maud-L e-list is currently discussing depression and medication, and my friend Cari Triple-M posted about how lost and listless and unlike herself she felt after her father died. She lives on the West Coast, a three-hour time difference from me, and I am watching the clock and waiting till it's late enough to call her.

I have a new addiction to talking to friends who have also lost their fathers — mostly because I'm seeking validation that I'm not a loser, despite all evidence to the contrary, as well as reassurance that this too shall pass.

I feel almost undone by grief, and I am ashamed and embarrassed about it. I think my dad would be disappointed in me. I keep on keepin' on, because what choice do I have? But I am not myself.

Usually at this time I'd be planning my annual caroling party, which Good Neighbor Anne and I started in 2002. But this year, my urge to lie low and add nothing new to my to-do list is almost overwhelming. Then again, I love this party, and once it's in full swing I find it incredibly nourishing to my soul. Is it worth the effort involved to get to that point? That's the decision I'm struggling with.

In the meantime, we've planned our Thanksgiving menu, I think it's our best yet, and my mom arrives tomorrow at 11:51 p.m. I LOVE having my mom here! She is the best guest. We are all very excited.

But before then, here's what I need/want to do:
  • Grocery-shop for Thanksgiving 
  • Mend and de-pill the hideous green couch that houses the guest bed
  • Dust
  • Wipe the baseboards
  • Vacuum the basement
  • Deep-clean the kitchen
I've got 48 hours, more or less. No problem.

Today I'm having lunch with Mrs. Cynicletary, which is always a treat, and I'm calling my car guy to find out why they haven't credited the $750 that was "temporarily" charged to my credit card — and also calling Cari Triple-M, as noted, which will be lovely. Maybe I can talk and de-pill at the same time. And it would be great if I could do some editing for Harvard in there somewhere.

In other news, I've been reading up a storm:




And here's what I've got on my stack:




I'm in a mystery phase right now. The weather is chilly, and there is nothing lovelier than curling up under a blanky with a hot drink and a mystery. The puzzle is resolved, the bad are punished, the wise are rewarded. So satisfying!!

Off to . . . get dressed, I guess. It's dark and rainy outside, I haven't made my bed yet, and climbing back into it sounds almost unbearably appealing. But my list calls . . .

— Lady C, not her usual ebullient self, but working on it

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Monday Is D-Day. Or, I Guess, T-Day. UPDATED with Doctor Love!!


On Monday, my no-Tamoxifen trial period ends and I have to decide what to do. I would describe myself as 100 percent on the fence. I know what I want to do, but I also know why I want to do it, and it's a bad reason. My hope is that if I list all the variables here, in order of how annoying they are, a clear direction will emerge.


Weight 
  • During Tam: I promptly gained 10 pounds within a week of starting the Tam. Then both perimenopause and osteoarthritis came to call, my metabolism slowed and I couldn't do zumba any more, and my weight continued to creep up, up, UP.
  • Month Without Tam: For three weeks and a few days, nothing. This blew my mind — why wouldn't the 10 Tam pounds fall right off? Then a few days ago — presto! My weight dropped five pounds. And I assure you, I have done nothing different, weight-loss-wise. 
(It's hard to write this, but it's true. I have not been the picture of dedication. I have instead been the picture of over-work, over-commitment, and stress. It is . . . not the best time in my life, for many reasons. But that is a different post.) 
In any event, my weight is heading back down again, which feels so good.
Ladyplumbing
(Warning: This paragraph is not for the faint of heart)

No change whatsoever. Things move sluggishly. The "result" is so foul, I can hardly stand myself. I used to have the easiest breeziest poos in the entire world. Tam has wrecked me forever, I fear. 


Fatigue and Weepiness
  • During Tam: I have been exhausted, and everything makes me cry. Now, was this true before April, i.e., when my dad got sick and died? It's hard to remember. In any event . . . 
  • Month Without Tam: No real change in the weepiness. However, my mood is much lighter, possibly because of the cortisone shots in my knees, which, while not removing all knee pain, have made me feel incredibly much better. And lack of pain is a mood-lifter, my friends! You can quote me. And possibly it's psychosomatic: I believed I would feel happier, so I feel happier. 
And also . . . with Tam, I needed to keep track of my adult beverage consumption and stay within seven drinks per week. Without Tam, I can drink myself into oblivion — you know, if I wanted to. And that is the reason I want to stop taking it, which I know is a bad, bad reason. But there it is.


Perimenopause
No change. Tam started me on a path, there is no going back. And my main "symptom" (besides slow metabolism) is feeling like I'm about to get my period all the time. Tender boobs, intense emotions, general heaviness — check! All there, all the time. So. Freaking. Fun.

What Does All This Add Up To?
It looks like the only real change is my weight. My change in mood is likely influenced by many variables, not just the Tam. However, my doctor said I could take one more month off if I was still on the fence, and that's what I'm inclined to do. December can be a tough stressy month as it is, and I also have a TON of work scheduled, in addition to the Christmas hoopla. (And I am the driver of the Christmas Hoopla Bus, so it's best to have me at peak performance levels.)

I will resume the Tam in January, unless I feel dramatically better in December. And if so, then, yay! And I'll reconsider my decision then.

OK! It's good to have that decided. I will write to my doctor now . . . and then get back to work. And probably cry a little, you know, just because.

— Lady C, woman of resolution

UPDATE

I wrote to my awesome Cancer Prevention Doc, basically summarizing the above, and this was her response:
I am so glad you are feeling better! This plan sounds fine. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year, and let's touch base afterward to see what you want to do. 
She is da bomb!

In other news, I subbed yesterday, and my knees were killing me by the end of the day, despite my supportive footwear. My day ended with Motrin and alternating icepacks. I am much better today.

Now, have I done one second's worth of the physical therapy my orthopedist prescribed? Um, no. Not even one second's worth. I was fooled by how good I felt — but clearly I still need to build up my quad muscles. Today, I promise, I will start.

My day started at 6:15, and I've already taken two children two different places, submitted my timesheet, sent a dozen e-mails, had my car inspected, enjoyed coffee and a Verna's doughnut with Husband, and moved all the donations for my church's Harvest Moon Fair from my basement to the living room. (Next step: car then church then GONE!) It's 9:19, time to start "working," even though I've got a bad headache. But the work is piling up, I need to make a dent in it.

Onward!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Well, It Is a Day With a "Y" In It


 When you take Tamoxifen, you're supposed to limit yourself to one drink per day (or a max of seven per week).

 It . . . is good that I'm taking a month off from Tamoxifen.

Life is a whirling whirligig of a whirlwind at present, four Chardonnays going in four different directions at all times, with Air Traffic Controller Mommy barely, just barely, keeping all the balls in the air and all the trains running on time. (Let's play Treasure Hunt and find all the metaphors in that sentence, shall we?)

I'm too tired to post anything in real detail, but here are some newsy bits:

After 16 years of carefully easing our way up and down our front steps during the icy season, holding on to nearby bushes for support, we now have railings! And they are gorgeous! And they were relatively cheap!! I am so so SO happy!!!!

(FYI, these are not my steps, but my railings look exactly like this. Well, except not, because I only have three steps. But otherwise, exactly like this.)

I have a "new" (used) car! It is a 2010 Honda Civic with less than 40,000 miles on it, it is sweet and clean and beautiful and drives like a dream, and I have named her Foxy Red:



After spending money on all this, plus a huge chunk of change to rebuild the crumbling retaining wall that runs along my front lawn, we are even broker than usual, and our Home Equity Line of Credit is crying. But! Harvard wants to hire me again, plus I have another job scheduled for next week. All will be well. Probably. Maybe. Most likely.


I can't remember how long ago I colored my hair, but it still looks fabulous!!! I am so happy when I look in the mirror!

I think that's all. Mimosa appears in West Side Story this weekend, I'm on the Make-Up Committee, I have to turn a dozen WASPy tweens into a Hispanic street gang. Me and a mascara wand, we are magic.

I e-mailed Brunie today:

I estimate that I can start drinking in four hours. Is it wrong that I’m timing it practically to the minute at this point?

She replied:

I say any time after noon is fair game drinking wise. Go for it!

Me:

It just seems wrong to breathe alcohol into the faces of impressionable Anglo teens. And also, I have to drive back and forth to Watertown. A clear head seems . . . right.

Three more hours. I can wait. (But thanks for pep talk, ENABLER.)

Brunie:

I do what I can to help. And you can just tell the kids, "It's mommy's medicine, and shut up, I know I'm not your mommy! How drunk do you think I am? I'm GLAD I'm not your mommy. If I were your mommy, I'd slap that snotty look off your face right now! Now get over here so I can make you a Mexican or whatever."

Three hours, good luck!


I'm home now, and sippin' some of the sweet stuff. And it's goin' down gooooooood.

Bath time! Yes, at 6:40 p.m. I'm living large!

Cheers!

— Lady C