Thursday, August 14, 2014

Writing a Weight-Loss Blog While Not Losing Weight

Seriously — I haven't lost any discernible weight for two years now, and in fact, thanks to Tam (my visiting foreign exchange student! whose ways are so inscrutable and mysterious!) and perhaps my own aging metabolism (fifty-whoo!), I've gained back at least 10 of my hard-lost pounds, if not more, and the whole enterprise feels ridiculous and somewhat lacking in a point.

I cut out something from a magazine article about a woman who lost more than 100 pounds, and taped it to my computer:
" . . . 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, 64 ounces of water, and . . . at least 22 grams of fiber every day, plus staying within a daily 1,000–1,400 calorie range."
Whenever I'm next able to gird my loins and muster my wits and gather my rosebuds and whatever my whatevers, that will be my next Boot Camp week framework.

But that week is not this week. I've been crazy-busy with editing work, transporting Mimosa to and from driving school, getting Li'l Martini up and moving before noon (he is such a teenager! But he has 35 pages of summer reading to read each day, plus a glockenspiel to practice; he needs to get moving, says Drill Sergeant Mommy), and otherwise keeping the family going sans Daddy this week is taking every bit of energy I can muster.

And as I may have mentioned, I am moving at half speed these days. I am in a perpetual fog; my limbs are heavy; fatigue and fuzziness are my daily companions. It's like living inside an aspic.

It's a shame, too, because it's truly been the loveliest summer — warm mellow days, cool breezes, green lawns, fragrant gardens, chirping birds, a buzzing insect kingdom, and laughing, babbling toddlers. Life goes on, in all its verdant glory, and this too shall pass.

I have been logging my food this week, just to get a sense of what I'm eating, and I'm more or less within the calorie limits Fat Secret has given me — and yet, and yet. My grief has made me extra-absorbent,  I fear.

Someday, someday, I will have weight-loss news again.

Just not today.

Off to eat garlicky pasta and Trader Joe's Party Meatballs and veggie-loaded green salad and watch Gravity Falls with my kids.

Yawn, yawn.

— Lady C

p.s. My besty Lady Darcy says she loves it when I share what books I'm reading, and I am nothing if not a dutiful BF. I just read:

 . . . and enjoyed them both. I'm now reading:

And I just picked up three library books that I am totally excited about, though I may save them for next week's trip to California. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 11, 2014

First Birthday Without My Dad

Yesterday I turned 52 — or "fifty-wooo!" as one of my former friends would say. And yes, for moments here and there I was fifty-blue, missing my dad and feeling sad, but mostly it was a lovely chill day, just what I wanted.

Husband got up early to get me fresh doughnuts from Ohlin's Bakery, yummiest doughnuts in creation, and I had hot coffee and sweet fat Italian sausages (said Mimosa: "I love a sweet fat Italian") and crisp bacon and fresh raspberries and piles of presents. Throughout the day I read books and drank cold Chardonnay and sat on my patio and had a long phone call with Mom; for dinner, Husband and I had a private date and went to our local Thai place at the bottom of the hill, where I ran into one of the Sleek Suburban Moms, which was fun, and I ate Thai rolls and crab rangoon and drank more wine and enjoyed my sweet funny man.

A lovely day!

Here are some newsy tidbits:
  • The daughter of the other Sleek Suburban Mom writes a blog about writing, and she asked me to guest-post. Read my ramblings about my writing process here.
  • Li'l Martini performed in Assassins this weekend and did a great job. The whole show was FANTASTIC — I was wildly impressed by the quality of these teen actors! Here's Martini (on the right) portraying David Herold, one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators (that's John Wilkes Booth on the left):

  • I got nice feedback from my new science-editing client, so I'll be doing more of that, and tomorrow is my interview for the job I really want. Fingers crossed!
  • Mimosa is in driving school this week, and Husband is away presenting at a conference in New Hampshire, so Mommy is single-parenting. All will be well. I have projects planned for every day, plus some fun things to do with the kids (bowling! a frozen yogurt taste-off! making homemade pizza! fun fun fun).
Off to download my next science article — hopefully this one will go faster and I can make some reasonable dough.

Hey, does my writing look older?

Lady C

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Happy Happy, Sad Sad

August is Big Birthday Month at Chez Davis-Kay, a glorious 31-day fiesta of celebrating one another with fizzy lifting drinks and scrumptious victuals and presents galore . . . but the idea of a big festive gala on my first birthday without my dad feels all kinds of wrong to me, so I'm planning to lie low and celebrate quietly this year.

Though we did just usher Princess Mimosa into her 17th year, which was lots of fun. Last year she had a progressive party, enjoying each meal with one special girlfriend, but this year her friends are all away and she wanted to do something different — and Party Planner Mommy had an inspired idea: She and I would binge-watch season 2 of Orphan Black, our new favey show, and for dinner she could indulge in her most favorite food, which is BREAD. We got focaccia from Macaroni Grill and Not Your Average Joe's, the two best breads I know, plus NYAJ's yummy Parmesan-garlic-olive oil bread dip, and she had a Bread Orgy.

But my mom called to sing Happy Birthday to her, solo, something she and Dad have done together for 17 years, and I completely lost it. (My angel girl is so good; she held my hand and let me cry and didn't seem at all bothered that I was raining on her birthday parade.)

My darling friend Mrs. Fog Dog put it perfectly:
I am sad you are reeling in grief. But really, what can be done? Nothing. Your tears are a liquid form of love.
Last weekend we deep-cleaned our basement, as I mentioned, and unearthed all sorts of childhood treasures. Mimosa declared that on the day before her birthday, she wanted to me to read aloud all her favorite children's books, so that is what we did. Of course, some of her favorite children's books were also my books from childhood, and a particular title, Never Tease a Weasel, was especially loved by my dad. Mimosa said, "Will you be able to read this?" "Maybe," I said, turning to page 1 (You can knit a kitten mittens / And perhaps that cat would purr. / You could fit a fox with socks / That exactly matched his fur) and promptly choking up.

My sweet daughter took the book from my hands and said, "I'll read it to you." And she did.

I feel like I'm living my life out of focus; I'm off track and can't seem to get anything done. Every week I go to zumba, lament how out of shape I am, vow to walk, lift weights, and generally exercise more between classes . . . and then it's Wednesday night again, and I've done nothing. Where did an entire week go?!

I set an August goal of writing a page a day on my novel, and I wrote one page on August 1 . . . and haven't touched it since.

I've been editing a lot, though I've only had small jobs and my paychecks have been very small — but it seems like work fills so many hours. How can that be?

I also have a new job as a part-time science editor; I'm not editing the content, thank God, just applying their style rules. The writing is very science-y:
We fabricate and experimentally demonstrate a hybrid structured Fabry–Perot interferometer (FPI) embedded in the middle of a fiber line for simultaneous measurement of axial strain and temperature. The FPI is composed of a silica-cavity cascaded to a spheroidal air-cavity, both of which are formed in a hollow annular core fiber (HACF). 
(Don'tcha wish your job was hot like mine?)

This job pays by the page rather than the hour: $5 per published page. Today I did my first job for them (the witty ditty quoted above), and it took me all morning — all morning to earn twenty bucks. I'm sure that once I've assimilated the style guide into my brain it will go much faster and I can do a four-page article in just an hour or two — but that day is not today.

I did hear from the people holding the job I really want; they said they'll be in touch with me soon to discuss the next step, which sounds promising. I think I'm an excellent fit for it; however, if they have an internal candidate and are just going through the motions, I'm sunk. Que sera sera.

Time for a post-zumba bath; the Italian Spitfire had us work out with shake weights tonight, and it's astonishing how heavy a 1.5-pound weight can feel after six or seven vigorous zumba routines. I am a limp sweaty noodle.

But I have three new library books to choose among for my tub reading, which is exciting:

Maybe I'll get back on track tomorrow. Maybe I'll start my day with a walk, water all my outdoor plants (the days have been warm, they're looking droopy, but I forget them the minute I come inside), write a few pages of fiction, eat a veg-heavy salad for lunch, cook a big healthy dinner for my family.


Maybe I will.

— Lady C, model of determination . . . or not

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