Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 163: Just Time for a Quickie

http://intergalacticwritersinc.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/handclaw1.jpg
I spent the day at the computer, finishing these ridiculous References — 24 pages, ultimately. But now it's done. And then I went to zumba and pushed hard and worked out all my muscle cramps, which was awesome — my hands were claws on the way there, but now my fingers are flexy and spry again.

But it's late, and I'm longing for a hot bath, so I will keep this brief. 

Tomorrow should be a more interesting and eventful day! Today, the most interesting thing that happened was that I failed my car inspection. (My license plate is the wrong color. Don't ask. At least it's a legal color; I once painted the letters purple, with nail polish, because I thought it would be pretty. Which it was. What is also was, was kinda illegal. Who knew?)

Oh! And Mimosa passed her singing thing and is going to the district festival! I really don't know any details, but her teacher wrote to tell me that she is very proud of her. She got a very good score, apparently. You just never know.

All right — bathy calls! And I shall answer!

—Lady C, soon to be immersed in Mandarin-Ginger scented bubbles

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 162: Grr! Arggh!

Sometimes I can't believe that this is my life. Not in a good way.
  1. I turn on my computer at 7:30 a.m., prepared to work. Get an e-mail from my client, saying she won't have stuff for me until noon and maybe not even then. 
  2. I get all excited, thinking that I'll spend the morning crafting my entry for a contest on Amazon (I'm entering Novel 1, since I'm not doing anything else with it right now), then have the afternoon free for something fun, maybe a movie!
  3. Then . . . I remember that I have an outstanding task from last week's client: Go through the 200-page Criminal Justice unit, pick out every placeholding URL, and turn them all into a list of References. This is a HUGE amount of work. I spent the entire day on it and am only half done.
  4. I had planned to walk down the hill to Trader Joe's and pick up some things for an easy dinner. Didn't happen.
  5. I had planned to cook dinner with Li'l Martini — we're trying to establish a routine where each kid cooks dinner and cleans up from dinner once a week. Didn't happen.
  6. I did manage to take a shower and wash my two-day-old hair before picking up Li'l Martini and his glock at school, also his friend Nonstop, who, as his name suggests, is generally exhausting. To his credit, though, Nonstop, was an easy playdate today. They're growing up, I guess. Or they've discovered porn on the basement computer, either seems possible.
  7. After working all day on these cursed References (22 pages of URLs that I have to track down and turn into a citation, formatted in APA style. And would you like to know how many Web sites include the needed citation info of author and date? BLESSED FEW. And don't me started on the many, many broken links in a curriculum that was written almost two years ago, ai yi yi. Anyway — it takes a long time), I was too tired to cook, and I had a 6:30 meeting, so we opted to go to our local Chinese buffet right when it opened at 5:30.
  8. At 5:30, nothing was on the buffet. 
  9. At 5:45, three dishes appeared, and I asked the Chinese hostess if we could start eating. Now, believe me, her English is better than my Chinese, but only just. I could not seem to convey that we wanted permission to start eating, even though the buffet in its entirety wasn't ready yet. "You want to order?" she said. "No, we want the buffet," I said, enunciating clearly and with broad gestures, in that obnoxious American I'm-talking-to-a-non-English-speaker way — I couldn't help myself. "Oh, buffet not ready yet!" she said. "Yes, we know, but can we start eating what's here?" I asked. (gesture, gesture) "You want to order?" "No . . ." Crazytown.
  10. My meeting was actually quite fun, a gathering of all the PTO presidents in Arlington, we meet quarterly, and I love hearing what's going on in their schools. But still — is it what I wanted to do tonight? No, of course not.
  11. And . . . my weight today, while better than yesterday's, still sucked: 265
I am stuck stuck stuck in the 60s and I will never get out. This is what I weighed after a bout of pneumonia a few years ago, and I think my body thinks this is thin.

On my plate for tomorrow: More of the same! Except for the Chinese food. Tomorrow night I have zumba, I'll probably have a yogurt for dinner. So, Wednesday's weight should be better, anyway.

Sigh. Time to call it a day! I'm going to lie in bed and finish reading my Sarah Dessen book (I really like it! It's just a long book, I think) and then watch Warrior with Oscar nominee Nick Nolte. Or maybe just go to sleep. That could happen too.

Hasta la vista, baby.

— Lady C

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 161 (Week 23): Weigh-In Woes, Frozen Girls, and Other News

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My weight was way up this morning, and I've decided to declare tomorrow my official Weigh-In Day. Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. It can't be worse, I'll go out on that limb.

Today was also Labors of Love Day — I spent my morning working on Betsy-Tacy Convention registration stuff, trying to condense eight pages of exciting Convention pitch into two pages of exciting Convention pitch that doesn't feel overly abbreviated or make you squint your eyes too much. But this is the kind of picky exacting work I love.

And then tonight my plan is to sit at my computer and drink wine and proof as many Cheerleader pages as I can before I go blind (or get blind drunk, either seems possible) — and, let's be honest, before The Good Wife starts. (I watch Julianna in real time and tape Downton Abbey to watch when I'm cuddled in bed with a hot cuppa. Soooooo lovely! How I adore Sunday night TV!)

You may have already deduced this, but my client didn't need me today, hurrah!! And I did spend many hours at church, but it was lovely. And I had a tuna sandwich for lunch — also lovely.

This afternoon has been kind of funny. I was resolved to take another outdoor walk, as it's sunny again, but for some reason I was also fixated on the idea of making Anadama Rolls for dinner. I've never made Anadama Rolls before, and to my knowledge I've never eaten one in my life. But I've been weeding recipes from my overstuffed recipe boxes (because they are so overstuffed they are currently unusable) and I ran across that one a few weeks ago, and I guess it's been lurking in my subconscious ever since, waiting to bubble to the surface at just the right moment.

So, if you don't know, Anadama Rolls are made with a yeast dough, flavored with cornmeal and molasses, and sprinkled with poppy seeds. The name (reportedly) comes from a profane man describing his wife: "Anna, damn her!" And wrestling with that ana-damn dough was the biggest pain in my arse imaginable. It took me half an hour to work in four of the required five cups of flour, and I cheerfully eschewed cup #5. So . . . we'll see how the rolls turn out. They're baking now and they smell good, but c'mon — it's yeast and molasses. It's going to smell good, even if it's a yeasty molasses plank.

But after wrestling that freakin' dough, I was ready to work out, so once again I donned my trusty sneaks and bright turquoise hoodie, and set out on my course, while the dough rose in my oven.

(Me, to Husband: "I've got dough rising in here, don't turn on the oven for any reason."
Husband: "Thank God you warned me.")

And as I tripped down my driveway, I promptly discovered that it is butt cold outside today! I quickly changed course and did my shorter-but-more-strenuous route, which involves climbing a big hill. And it was a good walk and definitely a good workout, but holy cow I was rosy redheaded Popsicle when I returned home. Husband brought me some coffee, and I could feel my insides doing a slow drip as they thawed.

Along with the Anadama Rolls, we're having tilapia with Greek seasoning, coleslaw, a mess o' cooked greens with sauteed onions, and a big bowl of red and green grapes. There will be plenty to eat even if the rolls are awful . . . but I live in hope. I'll let you know.

Many blessings to all of you on this, the Lord's day.

xx's from Lady C, daughter of God

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 160: Good Things, Yes! Bad Things, No!

My friend TNT once wanted to make a bumper sticker saying this. I've always loved it. Though I mentioned it to a former friend, Pedantic Barry, who declared that it wasn't specific enough.

Bye-bye, Barry.

Today was yet another mixed bag, though I've decided to ac-cen-tuate the positive. I got up early, thinking that I might go to zumba, since my client had said late last night that she might not need me today after all. But she did need one little thing . . . that took two hours. And then she couldn't open the file I sent, so I tried re-saving and sending it a number of different ways, which took another hour. So I missed the 8:00 zumba class, and then I missed the 10:00 zumba class. And then I was bummed, because I really really wanted to exercise today, and what did that leave but my boring treadmill?

Some days it's just the ticket, but today . . . I was not in the mood.

But then — eureka! I remembered that I'm an idiot! (Sigh.) There are other places to walk in this world than a straight repetitive line in my basement! And it's a beautiful day, so I strapped on my sneaks and headed out to enjoy fresh air, blue skies, a crisp breeze, and Mother Nature's bounty.

Which, you know, is not usually my thing. In any way. But today it was perfect. I greeted two of my puppy friends, Millie and Hazel, who barked frantically when they saw me, then came running over to be loved. And then I walked by Nurse Kathy's house just as her hunky firefighter husband was pulling into the driveway with some pizza, and at the sight of me he started catcalling, of course, because he's a guy, so I came inside to chat with Nurse Kathy and fam for a bit, which was a great treat. I love her so much, and her son Beast is a dead ringer for Martini, it's uncanny. I also showed her my core exercise; we had her daughter, Princess Princess, hold our feet, and it was totally fun.

And then dusk began to fall and I high-tailed it out of there, walking home at a brisk clip. I've done this walk a million times and it usually takes about an hour — which it did today, including the stop at Nurse Kathy's house. I am walking faster! I am fitter!

But when I'm supercrazybusy, like today, I make truly terrible food choices. For breakfast, while sitting in front of the computer, desperately trying to finish this job so I can get to 10:00 zumba, I had a big bowl of Lucky Charms. (Uh, skim milk? Whole grain? OK, it wasn't a big bowl of sugar and lard, but still. That is a pretty crappy breakfast.) And then at lunchtime, while I was comparing two documents because I'd done my edits on the older version (client's fault) (whatever) (she's paying me), I mainlined a sizeable glop of goat cheese, crackers, and a clementine. (Um, reduced-fat Triscuits? Whole wheat? Fresh fruit? Yeah, I know. Cheese is pure fat.)

And then, feeling all a-glow and deeply virtuous from my power walk, I cheerfully undid all my good work with an enormous dinner at Margarita's. YES, I'll have an Icy Spicy margarita! YES, I'll have guacamole, also some chili con queso, also a fish taco, also 10,007 tortilla chips! And YES, another margarita, por favor! SI!

While I was walking fast, it was fun to "feel the burn" in my long leg muscles and my short, squatty butt muscles and to imagine that someday my saggy aging posterior might actually be tight and taut and toned, like something that could be found on Cher's body. It was very very fun to imagine this.

Now why I can't keep that picture in my head when someone's offering me guacamole and Icy Spicy margaritas? That I could not tell you.

I'm going to do some Cheerleader proofing now, I'm woefully behind, and then the menfolk and I have a date to watch Real Steel starring my Hollywood husband Hugh Jackman. They are going to fold laundry, I am going to do some mending.

Oh! Speaking of. We LOVED Beginners. Highly recommended. And yes, I stand by my original assertion: Christopher Plummer has this Oscar in the bag.

And: Don't you love my picture for today? I Googled "woman walking outdoors with iPod" and that is one of the images that came up. And how could I not choose it?

I found out that my work project got extended through mid-February, so I'll be working at this pace a while longer — but then after that, who knows. So it's a weird position to be in, I agree — complaining about how much I'm working right now while also panicking that I won't have enough work. Well, we'll see how it all plays out.

Off to the breathless adventures of Snowy and Tom! (Read the book, Hart sistren!)

love and kisses,
Lady Icy Spicy Chardonnay

p.s. Happy birthday to Bride Boy, one of my best and dearest friends! He lives in Seattle now, and we haven't seen each other since Mimosa was a baby, which is WAY too long. I miss you and love you, my friend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 159: Snapshots

 Snapshot 1: I had a spirit-restoring lunch with Mrs. Cynicletary today, who made me feel all happy and glowy and loved, like a besty should. (She doesn't read my blog, though, she knows nothing about my life. Well, I had much to tell — all organized by day!)

Snapshot 2: I came home and worked and in fact am only now hanging up my hat for the night. I added up this week's hours (mind you, I work part time), and here's the total: 37 hours. Of sitting in a chair in my dining room, in front of my computer. Mostly in my jammies. Thirty seven hours. Yowza.

Snapshot 3: Mimosa sang perfectly today! Didn't miss a note. Her teacher applauded.

Snapshot 4: Mrs. Cynicletary sent me home with gummy snakes for my kids. Li'l Martini just wandered by, with a snake hanging out of his mouth.

Snapshot 5: I'm about to have a hot date with my husband — we're going to watch Beginners while I mend some pants. Though I may eschew the mending and just sit. And possibly drool.

Not over the men in the movie, I hasten to add.

Thirty seven hours. That's a lot of staring at a screen, looking at other people's words.

Oh, well. It's money.

Unless I cut off a limb tomorrow, I imagine that my weigh-in will be pretty sucky.

Maybe I'll do isometrics while I watch Christopher Plummer.

Off to hold hands with my hubby. And drink coffee and eat Kettle Korn Cookies. (Actually, probably not; Mimosa and Daddy made supper tonight, and she made these yummy doughnut muffins, light and airy with butter and cinnamon-sugar on top, and I think my tiny sweet tooth is pretty satisfied.)

xx Lady C

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 158: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

From worst to first, as they say:

The Ugly
  • I sat in front of my computer screen for eight and a half hours today, finishing Unit 5: Crime and Punishment. Tomorrow I have another big job, which looks dull as crap — like reading my car manual over and over. And I'll have to work on it over the weekend — it's unavoidable.
  • Mimosa was so excited to be selected to audition for some huge district-level singing thing — and then, at today's rehearsal, she suddenly couldn't hit the right notes. The auditions are Saturday. The teacher says if she can't sing it correctly tomorrow, she can't go. Sweet girl's been practicing all afternoon and it still isn't working for her. My heart aches, and there's nothing I can do.
  • I've been trying to eat a lot of fresh produce, ideally some at every meal, and my body is rebelling. I am one giant bag of gas right now. It's disgusting.
The Bad
  • Sunday is another long day at church — I won't get home till after 2. I love my church, but I don't want to give it my entire day. (Sorry, God!)
  • Once again, I'm crazybusy working and not exercising.
  • Every one of my volunteer commitments (Religious Education Committee, Auction Committee, PTO, Betsy-Tacy Convention, Cheerleader proofing) needs me needs me to focus and finish something for them. Every once in a while, everything hits at once.
  • It's hard for me to believe that I'll ever have the time or the inclination to write another word of fiction. I'm having such a crisis of confidence. It all seems pretty pointless.
The Good
  • After umpteen straight losses, Li'l Martini's basketball team finally won a game!
  • I mailed my registration form for sexy-dancey zumba — though it's not till March, still, in just a matter of weeks I'll be back to two zumba classes. Which I need.
  • I got a package in the mail from **Ruth Doan MacDougall**, my favorite living author! Inside was a giant bag of Peanut M&M'S, my most favoritest candy, and the sweetest note: "To Lady C — the best copy editor in the whole wide world! Love, Don and Ruth." Such a lovely boost on this otherwise fairly boost-free day.
Time for bed!

—Lady C, who would prefer to be living Moonstruck or Thank God It's Friday, thank you very much

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 157: Busy Busy Busy busy . . .

Super-quick note — I want to squeeze in a bath before Catherine Willows says goodbye forever on CSI: Accept No Substitutes. And I'm reading the sweetest YA about Dutch people in Utah, so . . . must dash! But I'll write a long juicy post tomorrow.

(I have no weight loss news of consequence. Alas. And I made the wretched discovery of Trader Joe's Kettle Korn Cookies, oh, sisters, do not follow me there.)

Ever thine,
Lady C

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 156: Oscar Nominations! (aka Poor Shailene! Demián Who?)

I was watching, were you? Such fun! And I have much to say on the topic. But first:

I finished addressing every blessed holiday card last night and walked to the P.O. today to mail them, then treated myself to a yummy Thai lunch, then wrestled my Inner Diet Czar over whether I could have wine with lunch (Czar won. I freaking hate Czar), then ascended my giant hill, huffing and puffing like a person who's never exercised a day in her life.

???

Fitness . . . remains a mystery.

I saw a cutie-girl from my zumba class who works at Lakota Bakery, right next to my Thai restaurant, and home of the best cookies I've ever had in my life, bar none. I'm not even a sweets girl per se, but I can get nutty over Lakota cookies. And this girl is the size and shape of a pencil, which has always puzzled me — even if you only ate one cookie a day, wouldn't you have a tiny curve, a soft pad of flesh, somewhere?

But when I passed her standing outside her place, I saw that she was smoking. A-ha! I cried (not audibly). She is smoking herself thin. Whenever she gets the urge to snack on, say, a Florentine, she grabs a cancer stick and heads outside to take a little drag on death.

I'm not here to judge, though.

On to the nominees! For Best Picture, we have nine choices, four of which I've seen:
  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Hugo
  • The Help
I enjoyed them all, probably in about that order. I will say that I found The Artist to be a rather slight film and that I think of the Oscar winner as something with a bit more substance. But if it wins, I will clap and cheer mightily.

Three nominees I will happily see:
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • War Horse (maybe "happily" isn't the right word for either of these)
  • Moneyball (coming to me soon via Netflix)
And then two more that I desperately do not want to see:
  • The Tree of Life — I think it's a bad sign when even the lead actor can't summarize the plot
  • Midnight in Paris — I loathe that perv Woody Allen and will not put a penny of my own money into his pocket
(Please note that I am not remotely consistent in my loathing of pervs and have seen many a Roman Polanski movie aprés scandal. I acknowledge this but I can't help it.)

I do try to see every major nominee, but those two may do me in.

For Best Actor and Actress:
  • Demián Bichir in "A Better Life" (Um, who? In what?)
  • George Clooney in "The Descendants" (Love!)
  • Jean Dujardin in "The Artist" (Love!)
  • Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (will see)
  • Brad Pitt in "Moneyball" (will see)
  • Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs" (will see)
  • Viola Davis in "The Help" (Love!)
  • Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (will see)
  • Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady" (will see)
  • Michelle Williams in "My Week with Marilyn" (Love!)
A very pleasing set of nominees! And I am capital-D delighted not to have to slog through J. Edgar, sorry Leo. I'll probably skip A Better Life but expect to see all the others. I haven't seen enough of them to make any predictions yet (but right now I hope hope hope that it's Meryl's year, much as I love Viola — the scene between the two of them in Doubt was beyond mesmerizing).

For Best Supporting Actor and Actress:
  • Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn"(I thought he was just OK)
  • Jonah Hill in "Moneyball" (will see)
  • Nick Nolte in "Warrior" (hmm — might see)
  • Christopher Plummer in "Beginners" (will see)
  • Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" (will see)
  • Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist" (Love!)
  • Jessica Chastain in "The Help" (wow, really? Hmm)
  • Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids" (Love!)
  • Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs" (will see)
  • Octavia Spencer in "The Help" (Love!)
Lots of food for thought here. I'd been prepared to go out on a limb and declare Christopher Plummer the near-certain winner, as it feels like this is a Grand Old Man of the Stage's year —so the presence of Max von Sydow is throwing me for a loop. Both are well-respected and still doing good work. And, it should be noted, I haven't seen either film yet!*

I'm sad for Albert Brooks of Drive, whose film I also haven't seen yet but whose against-type performance as a villain I heard was marvelous.**

One of the Entertainment Weekly reviews was very thumbs-uppy about this Warrior movie, so perhaps I will check it out. And I do like that cute little Nick Nolte.

I am mad that Jessica Chastain, whom I thought the weakest link in The Help, is on this list instead of Shailene Woodley. I call shenanigans!

I love Janet McTeer, haven't seen her movie yet but I have no doubt that she will be spectacular. And having said that, I am crossing every digit I have that this one goes to Melissa McCarthy. Octavia Spencer took a well-written role and played it perfectly, exactly the way we all imagined it — she did justice to Minnie. But Melissa took a role that could have gone any number of ways and created one of the most memorable characters of the year, and someone unlike anyone she's ever played before. I am so rooting for Melissa!!

But you know — with the exception of the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain, you kinda can't go wrong in this category. Bérénice lit up the screen every second she was on it — she more than held her own with her costar, who is the very personification of charm. These are all good picks, I think.

Though I'm mourning Shailene. Mimosa and I remember her as Felicity, and we were so ready to cheer for our American Girl.

I'll wrap it up here, though I may have future comments about screenplays, music, and animated movies. (I am unlikely to have comments about art direction, sound effects, or foreign films. Just saying.)


Big yummy Thai lunch (fresh rolls and Spicy Eggplant with rice) so likely a small fruity dinner plus zumba plus hot bath! And probably a glass of wine, my Inner Diet Czar can go hang. Today's a good diet day.

Bye!


—Lady C

* I have Beginners in my hands right now and will likely watch it tomorrow night, all alone, sipping a Bourbon Bog and eating a big yummy salad — the exact date I offered to Brunie, which she got all excited about, led me on, and then cruelly dumped me — as is her way. I declared loudly at dinner that she was now my un-friend. (She will be happy to know that Li'l Martini grew very distressed at this news. Brunie is popular at my house. Usually.)


** After I return Beginners to Netflix I will get Drive, the second option I offered to Brunie. 


Let's not talk about it any more.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 155: Sitting Myself Thin

I spent my entire day at the computer, with brief breaks for couples therapy (so. fun.) and cooking dinner (spaghetti, meatballs, salad, fruit). And dealing with the Comcast guy/serial killer who came to my door ostensibly to tell me that Comcast would be working on my street this week but really to try to convince me to switch from RCN to Comcast/size me up for a hit. I watch CSI, I know how this goes down.

(However, it did lead to a hilarious dinner conversation about what we would do if, in fact, the Comcast guy stepped through the doorway and tried to kill me, which we role-played several times. I regret to say that Li'l Martini will be no help in a crisis whatsoever, as his instinct is to become confrontational with the 911 operator. Mimosa and the cats are my only hope. [We're assuming Husband won't be home. He mostly took his glasses off and held his face in his hands during the role plays, an attitude he often assumes during our mealtimes, I must add.])

And technology was not my friend today; my editing program was moving at a snail's pace, for some reason, making a 5-minute page take 20 minutes, which made me wild, and also our new phone doesn't work properly, which made me WILD. (Technology is under the Mister's purview; I just want him to handle it. Which he mostly does, just . . . sometimes not.)

And here was the other thing: I was so hungry. My stomach growled. I was obsessed with what I might eat next. And there was no reason for it! I had a perfectly reasonable breakfast (Greek yogurt and high-fiber chunky cereal) and a perfectly reasonable lunch (leftover taco stuff on a huge plate of lettuce, plus a clementine). I think I was just bored and frustrated. But still — it was so hard not to eat, I almost cried. And yet I'm determined to make the scale start moving again — I can't believe how long it's taken me to lost this next 10 pounds and officially get into the 50s!

Grrr. Arggh. Just one of those days.

I did eat a handful of wasabi almonds. And then while cooking I drank red wine, which is my new favorite trick because I love it less than white wine and so I drink it more slowly but it still feels like a treat.

Unfortunately, I'm kinda starting to love it a lot. Still not as much as white wine, but . . . kinda a lot. So this great "trick" may not work for me much longer. I'll have to switch to something truly disgusting, like Scotch, ughy-pew.

Anyway! I'm done working for the day and I did my five Cheerleader pages and now it's time to address holiday cards and watch You've Got Mail or Waterloo Bridge (two movies I grabbed at the library). And drink coffee. And try to think good slimming thoughts.

Oscar nominations tomorrow!

xx
Lady C

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 154: (Week 22): **Craptacular** Entertainment!

I rented a bunch of movies to write holiday cards in front of; last night, as noted, I watched The Fugitive, which was wonderful (Jane Lynch sighting!), and today, after spending 27 hours at church, I chose A Star Is Born, v. 3. I've seen the other two and enjoyed them both but somehow missed this particular gem from the '70s (though I do own both the 45 of and sheet music for "Evergreen").

OH. EM. GEE.

It is so fantastically awful!!!! Granted, I'm only watching with half an eye (signing holiday cards is serious business, people), but nothing — nothing — from the plot to the costumes to the musical numbers to ohmygod the HAIR is compelling me to employ both eyeballs.

And yet, I'm determined to watch to the bitter end, for the iconic moment when Barbra takes the stage (wearing blue jeans, if I remember the scene correctly) and bellows, "I'm not Esther Hoffman! I am MRS. NORMAN MAINE!"

(Or whatever it is that she bellows.)

In other news, it's Weigh In Day!

Woo.
  • Today's scale reading: 261
In other words: Exactly where I was last week. However, this is significantly down from where I was most of the week, so I'm calling this one a win.

Let's run some numbers!
  • Starting weight: 287
  • Current weight: 261
  • Starting BMI: 43.6
  • Current BMI: 39.7
  • Rate of weight loss: 1.2 pounds per week
Of course I wish it were happening faster — but I think this is still pretty good, and definitely (to use the hot buzzword of today) sustainable. There's nothing I'm doing that feels like a hardship or like something I can't keep doing forever.

But I've got to get back to my cards now and finish up with the hairy antics of Barbra and Kris before 9 p.m. comes, bringing with it the two best things on television: The Good Wife and Downton Abbey! From the craptastic to the sublime, in other words.

And I'll need to break right before then, as I'm reading Li'l Martini The Hunger Games, and neither of us wants to miss that. We watched the movie trailer yesterday, and I bawled through the whole thing, and he stroked my back so kindly. What a good boy he is.

Nighty-night!

—Lady C

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 153: Zumba in the Snow

I woke up today, thinking, Sure, I'll go to zumba. And then I looked out the window and saw that it was pouring snow.

To drive or not to drive? I'm not scared of driving in snow, exactly, but I'm a California girl and it does give me pause.

In the end I decided to chance it, reasoning that if the roads were terrible I could always head back. And I'm so glad that I did! I was one of the more experienced zumba-ers there, and my teacher kept using me as an example (which continues to crack me up).

Though I also faced a moment of horror: This was my first experience doing zumba in front of a mirror, and I very much hope it will be my last. Good lord, I had no idea how many parts of my body could flop.  <<shudder>>

It was a great workout, and I was very sweaty and sore afterward, which helped me be mindful all day and make good food choices. Will it be enough for tomorrow's weigh-in? (My weight's been back up to 264, my perennial plateau perch, all week.) We shall see. I'm not "sweating" it, ha ha.

I'm just about to sit down in front of The Fugitive, starring Lady Darcy's former celebrity husband Harrison Ford (hmm, who is her current husband? I'm not sure I know. My celebrity husband is Hugh Jackman, have I mentioned that? My former celebrity husband is Daniel Day-Lewis, whom I've just learned was once romantical with my pal Zanzibar's sister, a thought that makes me swoon. Even though he is my former husband, I still find him very dreamy — in The Last of the Mohicans, when Madeline Stowe asks, "What are you looking at?" and he says, "I'm looking at you, miss," ohmygoodness, I dissolve in a puddle of wanton ladylust just thinking about it . . . )

Wait, what was I talking about?

Anyway — I'm just about to address my holiday cards! It's unlikely I'll finish the job this weekend, but hope springs eternal. Look for yours in the mail, oh, any day now.

Off to work!

—Lady C, thinking thin

And also thinking about Daniel Day-Lew, frankly. Also Hugh Jackman and the possibilities for a really interesting double date.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 152: A Series of Random Events

That was my day — I felt like I went from odd thing to odd thing to odd thing, though none of them were all that interesting or really worth blogging about. (Usually I pride myself on my ability to spin a fine tale from a load of not much, but I'm tired, so. Not happening.)

But tonight was fun. Background: Li'l Martini's birthday is December 21, so he almost never has his birthday party anywhere near the actual date. (The family celebration, yes — his birthday is huge! But the "friend party" — that's usually a January affair.)

This year I had a brainstorm: I'll take him and four of his bestys to see a local improv show (after pizza, cake, games, all that). Our local troupe, Improv Jones, performs at the Arlington Center for the Arts the third Friday of each month, and tonight my guy had basketball, so Mimosa and I went to check out the show — and it was so much fun!

My favorite skit was an advice panel called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly":

Announcer: "May I hear your problem?"
Audience member: "My kids leave their stuff all over the house where it doesn't belong."
Announcer: "Panelists — what advice do you have?"
The Good: "I think you should be kind but firm. Let your children know what to expect, and reward their best efforts."
The Bad: "I think you should collect all the stuff they leave around, and then drop it on their heads when they're sleeping. Problem solved!"
The Ugly: "If your children leave stuff where it doesn't belong, I suggest that you start leaving your children where they don't belong."

!!!!!

The guys will love it. We'll go in February.

Not much else to say. Mostly, I just worked (and worked and worked and worked — I billed more than 40 hours on this week's timesheet, and I'm a part-timer, remember! Crazytown) though I did steel myself and called Neerja . . . and I think I finally understand the ins and outs of this home equity loan. (I now have seven accounts with my bank! But two of them don't really count. I know it sounds insane, but Neerja explained it all to me, in her cheerful chirpy way.)

My big goal for the weekend is to address and mail my "holiday" cards (Monday is Chinese New Year, y'all). And to buy my poor son some winter boots; he's been squeezing his size 7 feet into size 4 boots, and I am the worst mother who ever lived.

Time for more coffee and then bed. My Italian spitfire zumba teacher is teaching a free class tomorrow in Woburn, which is about half an hour away. I missed zumba this week and have done little exercise, so I think I should go . . . but we'll see how I feel at 9:30 tomorrow morning. (Prediction: cold.)

G'night!

—Lady C

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 151: Old Friends

Husband's BF and Mrs. HBF were in town today, and we met them for lunch. They used to live in Brighton, about half an hour away, and we did "First Fridays" with them — meeting the first Friday of every month for Chinese food and bad movies. Lots of wine, lots of overlapping talk, lots of fun. I enjoyed them enormously. And they flew out to California for our wedding, so HBF could be Husband's Best Man. It was wonderful to have Boston people there, and HBF gave the most beautiful toast I have ever heard at any wedding anywhere, ever. (Not that I'm biased.)

Then they moved to Northampton, two hours away, and we never saw them any more. (They don't drive, and we started having kids — both of us housebound in our own ways.) If it were me, and one of my bestys was two hours away, I would still see him or her every few months or so, but men are different.

But today they were in Cambridge, so we drove in to see them and had a lovely lunch at the Div. School cafeteria, which took me back a couple decades. "Black Bean and Corn Bake" read the sign over one dish of glop, and I smiled, remembering "Calico Skillet" and "Soybean Nut Loaf," two all-star options at my little hippie college.

We had a great, fun lunch, talking fast and furious as ever, and I befriended Barry, their shy dog, who licked my hand so sweetly.

And then I came home and made a pie for another old friend, a mom I met the day Mimosa started kindergarten and have been pallies with ever since, who had a mammogram that raised a red flag, requiring some kind of procedure, which she had yesterday. I devoutly hope all is well, but in the meantime — she gets a pie.

(Good Neighbor Anne: "Want me to deliver it for you?"
Me: "That would be awesome."
GNA: "What kind of pie is it? Do you trust me with a whole pie?"
Me: "Um — it's a meat pie."
GNA: "A meat pie?"
Me: "A dessert meat pie. Made with mutton. And lard.")

Perhaps I should note that Good Neighbor Anne is a vegetarian.

The pie is apple-pear with a streusel crust, and it smells heavenly. Good for what ails you.

The boys are in the kitchen making dinner, which is very entertaining to listen to from afar. Apparently we're having tacos and brownies. YUM.

I think I need to hide, though, before I get roped into helping. Bye!

—Lady C

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 150: Salad Days

Because of forgetting to post yesterday, all day long I was super-anxious, going, I could blog now. Think I should blog now? Why don't I do it now? But I had vowed to work out before I blogged, and I had no interest in working out, I promise you that.

And then I made myself a kick-ass salad for lunch and I was dying to write about it! All afternoon! C'mon c'mon c'mon let me blog about my salad! I begged my Inner Weight Loss Czar. However, my Inner Weight Loss Czar was not moved by my pleas, nor did he-she-it seem to believe that my devoted readers were all that avid to hear about my salad.

Which is probably true.

So, two things.

One: It doesn't always work (because if it did, I would be the most disciplined person in the world, and I assure you I am not. I'm, like, 47th)*, but sometimes the best way to get me to do something I don't really want to do is to put it on my daily To-Do list. And I am such a ridiculous Type A, I will do it, simply for the intense joy of having a completed list at the end of the day. Seriously, it's like an O for me. But I can't always bring myself to put the loathed item on the list, knowing that it will haunt me the whole wretched day. And sometimes I do put it on the list and don't do it, so not only am I a slug who didn't do the whatever thing, I am a total loser who didn't check off every item on her daily to-do list, and who wants that kind of pain?

So . . . like I said, it's not a sure-fire thing. But today I put "work out" on my list, and today was a day when I decided to Get It All Done. And the last thing on my list is: Blog. Check!

Two: I really really really love salad. Salad and appetizer and wine, that is my perfect meal, and I don't need anything else. And it can be almost any kind of vegetable salad. I'm not crazy about most of the heavy carbohydrate salads (pasta, rice, wheat berry — I do like potato salad, though) or fruit salad (snore — I'd rather eat a piece of fruit). But any salad involving mostly vegetables — color me so there.

But I'm not going to claim that I achieved all this voluptuous abundance by eating salad. Also, I think the dressing probably does me in, as two of my favorites, Caesar and Blue cheese, are not known for their healthful properties.

But in any event, I made a kick-ass salad for lunch today, and Fat Secret liked it too! I've made a similar one before, with greens and dried cherries and candied pecans; that is a yummy salad, and I've served it at many parties. (And if Brunie's in attendance, my daughter is assigned to guard the salad so Brunie doesn't pick out all the pecans and eat them herself.) Then the Pioneer Woman (have you seen her blog? it's very food-porny, almost everything she makes is full of butter and cream) posted a similar salad, but hers has sliced apple and blue cheese in it, and that sounded pretty good too. So it's been on my mind . . . and today was the day. Here's what I put in it (using the vegetables I happened to have on hand):
  • a big handful of chopped romaine
  • a big handful of torn baby spinach
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • 4 sliced radishes
  • a handful of diced snap peas
  • a couple of diced broccoli florets (I just lost Lady Darcy here)
  • a couple of diced cauliflower florets
  • 1 diced celery stalk
  • a small handful of chopped red pepper
  • a small handful of pea shoots
  • a small packet of Craisins
  • a small ripe pear, sliced very thin**
  • about 2 tablespoons of blue cheese crumbles
  • a handful of candied pecans
Even though I only used small amounts of everything, because there were so many ingredients, it ended up being a huge bowlful. I tossed it with some Paul Newman Low-Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing (I usually eschew the horror that is low-fat salad dressing, but this one is really tasty — and I'm not even sure that there is a full-fat version) and ate the entire thing. It was SO. FREAKING. GOOD!

I logged it on Fat Secret because I was curious; it was 618 calories, with 16 grams of fiber.*** And let me tell you — that was one satisfying salad. I will probably have just a cup of soup for dinner — if that!

And I did work out, as noted, but other than that pretty much just sat at my computer and worked all day (Unit 5 has arrived). And dealt with PTO crises from my desk chair, which is just how I roll.

I have just enough time to run to Starbucks, pick up Mimosa at karate, and then settle down with good Wednesday night TV and my never-ending mending. And then a hot bubble bath, where I will dive back into V Is for Vengeance (I put down all the YAs and cracked this baby — just couldn't wait any longer).

And I did everything on my To-Do list for the day! Happy happy happy.

And a little smug. <smile>

xox
Lady C

* Ha! I kid. I'm like a million and 47th.

** The apple was the only ingredient that struck me as a little odd, and all my apples were kinda big, so I went with the pear because it was tiny. And it tasted fine, but I'm now thinking that the texture of the apple might have been better. So, when I make the salad again (tomorrow! are you kidding?) I'll use maybe half an apple.

*** My goal is 25 grams of fiber per day. A bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast, this salad for lunch, guess what? I made it easily!

Day 149: Tuesday's Post on Wednesday

Yikes! Forgot to blog. But yesterday . . . well, it was just an odd day.

First: It snowed. Which I guess isn't that odd — it's January in New England, after all — but it's been such a mild winter I kinda forgot this was an option. Also, I hadn't seen a weather forecast so wasn't expecting it on any level. Also, I slept in and vaguely heard Husband say, "I'm going out to shovel now," which was very surreal.

Second: I slept in, which I almost never do! My feet didn't hit the floor until some time with a 9 in it. Most unusual for me.

Third: Quite unexpectedly, I didn't have any real work — a couple of paragraphs from Unit 2, that's it. I thought my clients would have Unit 5 ready for me, but they didn't. And faced with an unexpectedly free day . . . I was almost at a loss. The possibilities were near overwhelming. Mostly, I sat and read.

Fourth: For exercise, I thought I'd walk down to the village and get a sandwich . . . but I waited too long and by the time I was ready to go, I was almost faint from hunger. (I didn't feel physically well for much of yesterday, which contributed to the oddness. I had a weird pain in my jaw, which of course I decided was probably lockjaw. Feel free to send sympathy cards.)

So I didn't exercise and also had to miss zumba because of a PTO meeting, and that makes me mad at myself. And also, I ate a really fatty sandwich (tuna salad) and two bags of chips, because I wanted to try both flavors (Sea Salt & Vinegar + Sweet & Sour Jalapeno — and they were gooooood). But I hate myself when I'm slothful and gluttonous. Like, pick one deadly sin, idiot girl.

Fifth: For this PTO meeting, my officers and I had planned a parent roundtable discussion on what we expect from our kids at home in terms of chores, allowance, and screen time. This was a new topic and format for us, we'd put some work into it, and we were kind of excited to see how it played out. I got there early to arrange the tables in a circle . . . and in walked the second grade lead teacher. "Hi?" I said, slightly puzzled, "are you coming to our meeting?"

"Yes — I'm doing a presentation!" she chirped.

Okaaaaaaay . . . ?

There had been a miscommunication, obvs. We'd had the lead teachers from three grades come to a meeting in November, and it was awesome, but I think my co-prez and I thought we were pretty much done with the topic at that point. But our principal assumed that we'd want the other three grades represented, so she invited them to this meeting. Which we'd billed as being something completely different.

But we are nothing if not flexible, so we switched the agenda and all was well.

Still, it threw me for a loop (and also derailed my plan for what I'd write in our school newsletter this week), and when I got home I collapsed in front of Glee and didn't give the rest of the world another thought. So, that's why no blog post.

But here I am now, "happy" to report that my weight has jumped right back into the sixties, as expected. Sigh. Today I get back on the treadmill and sweat sweat sweat. And eat leanly.

And be kind to myself. What's done is done.

Tonight I will resume my regular blogging schedule and let you know how I did.

—Lady C

p.s. About that picture: I Googled "crazy mixed up" as my theme for the day, and this came up. I loved it so much I had to use it. Right?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 148: Today? I ATE

Last night I decided to stay up and finish the back matter for Unit 2 (which simply means the stuff at the back of the curriculum, after the lessons proper — appendices, media resources, teacher resources, standards, references — some of which I edit and most of which I create myself), and I put in a valiant effort, but by 1:30 I could barely type. I'd cracked open a Diet Pepsi and was eating Cape Cod Reduced-Fat Potato Chips, and I kinda forgot how to chew. So — I threw in the towel.

But this morning I slept past 9 (highly unusual!) and then finished my work in 90 minutes, easy-breezy, then proofed five more Cheerleader pages (I'm trying to get it done by the end of the month), then cleaned out my wine-glass hutch (I adore wine glasses and martini glasses and champagne flutes and am always buying new ones and so periodically have to do a purge) . . .

. . . and THEN I had an urge that is a very rare one for me, I assure you: I really really really wanted to walk on my treadmill, hard and fast, and work up a good sweat. And so I did! In fact, I ran on my treadmill, for several songs, and it felt great. I really am in better shape. I can hardly believe it.

And then it was off to Beverly to take in a show with Brunie and Sister Hart! We saw Ides of March, which was wonderful, though Brunie wondered if every politician is issued a children's book titled Interns Are For F**king. Before the movie, Sister Hart claimed Clooney, and I claimed Gosling (I wasn't a fan until Crazy Stupid Abs, but after that, oh my), which left Brunie with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, sigh. But after the movie I switched to Marisa Tomei and gave Gosling to Brunie, because I am all about the giving. And plus, I really think I only like him in Crazy Stupid Abs, though Lars and the Real Girl is an awesome movie that I highly recommend. But Half Nelson kinda ruined me for Gosling, I fear; I always see him as a drooling stoned half-wit.

After the movie we had dinner at Chianti, and it was so much fun! We talked books and movies and boys and work and Betsy-Tacy and things that annoy us, and the hours, they simply flew by. I love those girls.

And now I'm home with my dear family, drinking coffee and preparing to snuggle into bed with my good books and my Sunday crossword puzzle and the videotape of How I Met Your Mother that my sweet sweet daughter recorded for me.

And you know what else?
  • Today's scale reading: 259.5 !
It doesn't count because it's not Weigh-In Day, but still. Pretty freaking fabulous !!!!!!!

However. Today I had two margaritas, an order of guacamole, two glasses of Chardonnay, pasta with Gorgonzola sauce, and a bite of Sister Hart's ice cream. Tomorrow I'll be comfortably back in the 60s, in other words.

But today? Today I am happy. Today was a near-perfect day.

And so, to bed.

—Lady C

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 147 (Week 21): Five by Five!

  • Today's scale reading: 261 !!!
I wanted to post while the joy was fresh. Fresh joy! . . . catch it!

It was indeed wonderful to go to sleep in a spanking clean room (no, not a clean spanking room, pervs), and sunlight sparkled on everything this morning.

OMG, I just realized I'm living the Eight Is Enough theme song:

There's a magic in the early morning, we've found,
When the sunrise smiles on everything around

My favorite line is in the second verse: "There's a plate of homemade wishes on the kitchen windowsill . . ." Too precious for words. My male BF (Bride Boy) and I used to try to stump each other with TV theme songs, and this was a perennial favorite. Later, I quoted this theme song in my toast at his wedding.

ANYWAY. I'm reading four fun YAs that I want to finish before I start Sue Grafton; in the tub last night I read 50 pages of each in turn, and am enjoying all four very much! They are:
  • Something Something Prunella Bogthistle (untalented bog witch tries to undo family curse) by my friend Deva Fagan
  • Something Something Misadventures (Dutch girl adjusting to life in Utah) by Louise Plummer
  • Something Something (another family curse, as described in the song "Scarborough Fair") by Nancy Werlin, whom I've met
  • Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Wow, my memory is shot. They're all really good, though.

And then last night I watched Training Day with my sweet baby Denzel – a very dark movie, but he is marvelous and quite deserved his Oscar (though I can't remember whom he was up against that year).

What I did not do: Address holiday cards. That may well be a mid-week project, I've got too much other stuff on my plate today and tomorrow.

What's on today's plate, you ask? Breakfast with Nurse Kathy, finish Unit 2 back matter (I hate working on weekends, but I gotta get it done, and it's money money money), see The Artist with Mimosa, make turkey stroganoff for dinner. Nothin' but good times ahead.

Twenty-six pounds. Gone baby gone! I'm a happy kitten.


xox
Lady C

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 146: Putting the "Ho" in Housekeeping

We turn our mattress every January: end to end on the even years, over (side to side) on the odd years. And in theory, this would be a good time to get under it and vacuum all the hard-to-reach spots, right? But I rarely do that (because, hard).

Except today I did. I vacuumed, I polished, I moved every piece of furniture away from the walls in our bedroom and cleaned behind, I dusted, I mopped, I laundered. Our bedroom sparkles with cleanness. I can hardly wait to slip between my warm flannel sheets tonight, rosy and glowing from my hot bath, breathing the freshly scrubbed air.

It was a lot of work and took all freakin' day, but with a nice glass of Apothic Red by my side, it was practically painless. (I do prefer white, as you know, but this is one yummy red wine.)

We do have 50 loads of laundry to fold — I'm washing everything, from curtains to comforters — but the kids will help with that. Easy-breezy.

And that's pretty much all I did today, though I did take Mimosa to the library (V Is for Vengeance is now in my hands!!), where I saw a most intriguing flyer:

A Not-So-Young Adult Book Club
  • Are you well past your teen years but find yourself reading a lot of YA?
  • Did you enjoy The Hunger Games and wish you could read more books like it?
  • Do you prefer Sarah Dessen to Nora Roberts?
Then this book club is for you!

I showed it to Mimosa, and she said, "Wow, that is you." (Especially since I was holding a Sarah Dessen book at that particular moment.) (Nora Roberts, ughy-pew.) I've never been in a book club and have always wanted to join one. But do I need another thing to do? (Yes, I know the answer to that.)

Well, we'll see.

I didn't do any recognizable exercise today, but c'mon, I lifted a whole bed. And I bounded up and down my stairs carrying my heavy Kirby vacuum. I think I got a workout. Here's hoping tomorrow's scale agrees with me.

I want to finish one more thing before hitting the tub, so I will bid you adieu.

Sayonara, sweeties!

—Lady C

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 145: Cherry Chardonnay, Suburbs Nurse

All my brisk plans for the day were slightly derailed by Mimosa's 7 a.m. shriek:

         "Mom! Martini's throwing up!"

I did work all day and finish Unit 2 (sorta — still have to do the back matter, but the client's okay with that), and I did have a planning/lunch meeting with my PTO officers, but I also washed sheets and mopped up barf and read aloud and made trays of 7-Up and crackers and soothed my baby's fevered brow with my tender cool hands. You know.

And now I'm thoroughly exhausted and need to sit in my comfy chair and just stare for a while. And then I'll go to bed and pray to avoid this vomit bug. I washed my hands 372 times today, they are paper-dry and crackling. I'll rub in some Vaseline and pray for abdominal health.

Say a little prayer for all of us, won't you?

xox
Lady C, feelin' fine for the moment . . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 144: Go, Hamster, Go!

This hamster wheel is the best metaphor for my day:
  • 8 a.m., Lectio Divina at church
  • 9: Work work work (I told the client I'd be done tomorrow, but my pants may be on fire), also print holiday letters, also add toner and fix paper jams
  • 2:45: Drive Li'l Martini, Shrieki, and Nonstop to band practice
  • 3:25: Drive Mimosa to her doctor's appointment
  • 3:57: Realize that Li'l Martini is about to be picked up by Nonstop's mom, he doesn't have his house key, no one is home to let him in, it's cold and rainy, and I don't have Nonstop's mom's cell phone number
  • 3:58: Hyperventilate whilst composing speech for Mother of the Year Award
  • 3:59: Figure it out — as we do
  • 4: Actual doctor appointment (Mimosa is young enough that she still wants me in there with her)
  • 4:55: Drive home in rainy rush-hour traffic
  • 5:30: Pick up Li'l Martini, decide that home-cooked dinner is non-starter, head to neighborhood Mexican joint
  • 6:45: Put odds and ends of food in pretty little dishes, stick seltzer in freezer
  • 7: Host church sub-committee meeting in my living room
  • 8:30: Read Chapter 1 of The Hunger Games to kids (Prim! Noooooo!)
  • 9:15: Load dishwasher, set up coffee, resume printing of holiday letter
  • 10: Remember that I haven't blogged yet
  • TBD: Collapse!
At the restaurant, I deliberately ate just half my burrito and only a few chips, and again felt a little too full afterward. Next time I'll skip the chips altogether, I guess. Interesting!

Tomorrow I have a lunch meeting with my PTO officers, I have to drive Li'l Martini and co. to their medieval Nerfy role-playing class (I don't really know what it is), and I'm supervising Mimosa while she cooks dinner — oh, and finishing Unit 2, unless I want to face my client's wrath —but I really want to squeeze some good exercise in there somewhere. Today I started feeling stiff around noon, so I played the two zumba songs I've downloaded — "I Like How It Feels" and "La Vida Loca" — and did the routines from memory, and that was an awesome way to stretch and get my sluggy blood flowing again.

And then on the way to the doctor's, I discovered that my darling friend Zanzibar, who just made five CDs for me, gave me yet another zumba song I love: "Show Me How You Burlesque." I can do a mini zumba class right here in my dining room. Fun!

My eyes are drooping — calling it a night.

Night!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 143: How Was Your Year? Ours Was Fine

In my printer right now: Batch #2 of our annual holiday year-in-review. (I print them in batches of 30, so the printer doesn't explode.) This timing (the second week of the new year) is not bad for me; I've been known to send our letter around Groundhog's Day. (Hey, it's a holiday.) But getting the cards out is truly something I don't sweat. People are happy to hear from you any ol' time of the year. This is something I know for sure, and I bet Oprah does too.

The next step, creating the list, is the part I like least, because I start feeling all miserly and Scrooge-like. I regularly send more than 100 cards, but I certainly don't receive more than 100 cards. So, do I send a card to people who didn't send me a card? There is some time and expense involved. Do I make the effort for someone who rarely (or never) makes that effort for me? Truly, I don't even like posing the question — it feels petty and mean-spirited — and yet, I can't help it.

I usually land on the side of sending cards. Some of my best friends and favorite people are simply not Christmas-card-senders, and this is something I accept as part of who they are. Of my six bridesmaids, for example, I only regularly get a Christmas card/letter from one of y'all (and ironically, she's the one I'm least in touch with otherwise).

(To be fair, I should probably excuse Bride Boy since he's Jewish.)

My high school best friend never sends cards, and I'm always tempted to cross her off my list — but this card I send is our only remaining link. If I don't send the card — poof! We have no connection at all. I'm not quite ready to completely sever our connection.

And then I think, well, even if I do send a card to her, I can take her sister off the list, certainly, since we were never as close, and she no longer sends me a card — but how can I send a card to one sister and not the other?

Honestly, it's just easier to send a card to everyone and say that next year I'll cull my list. For sure!

Today was a pretty good day. Since I'm sure you're wondering, yes, I tried on the zumba shirt, and it's clingy but fits just fine. (It's a stretchy shirt, I think it would fit anybody.) But since it's clingy, I'm not sure how it will look with my usual zumba pants, which, I'm so proud to admit, are the stirrup pants I've been wearing since whenever stirrup pants were popular (pre-1991, I think); I simply cut off the bottoms so they end at my ankles. They are not remotely cute or jazzy, in other words. I pretty much look like a hobo at zumba. So . . . maybe I'll invest in some actual workout pants to wear with my super-cutey new shirt. Maybe.

(I hate, loathe, and detest clothes-shopping, which is a key part of the reason I'm wearing pants from 1991. But I know I gotta do it; my jeans are hanging on me like elephant skin. Good Neighbor Anne and I drove to Habitat to take a walk this weekend, and I said, When I get out of the car, look at my jeans, and she said, I saw your jeans, they're ridiculous.)

Another day of work work work, but I took a mid-day break and walked down the hill to Trader Joe's and up again (huffing and puffing, but I recovered quickly and my legs felt long and strong). I ran into my dog-walking neighbor, and we had a good chat about our mutual dear neighbor who just died, and that was nice.

I'm single-parenting tonight and had to go to the bank, which is in Lexington, so the kids and I had dinner at Bertucci's; I ordered an individual pizza with roasted zucchini and ate only half of it, plus some salad, and still, when we left, I felt uncomfortably full, which led to two realizations:
  • I really thought I had stopped eating when I was satisfied, so this tells me I need to pay even closer attention.
  • I haven't had that full-and-fat feeling in a long time. This was particularly cool to note, since I used to eat myself sick at restaurants on a regular basis.
I'm now going to sit in front of good TV for an hour and a half and work my way through a pile of mending, then do my nails. A chill evening, in other words. I'll take it!

—Lady C

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 142: The Crowd Roars!

A really lovely thing happened at zumba tonight! But first, let me tell you all about my day.

My weight was at a new low this morning, which was thrilling, except I think it's because gallons of blood are exiting my body in the crampiest way possible. Ow, I am having an un-fun ladytime this month! And it feels like it's lasted two weeks already! I know it's the beginning of the end, but this particular ending can't get here fast enough.

(I've always wanted to start a Menopause Club, like the club the girls form in Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret:

              Gretchen's rule was, the first one to get her 
      period had to tell the others all about it. 
      Especially how it feels.

Switch "get her period" with "enter menopause," and that's my club! Wanna join?)

It was just one of those days, where I sat at the computer pretty much all day, writing up the minutes of a church committee meeting and then working on Criminal Justice: Unit 2. I ate odds and ends of things, no huge meal and nothing particularly high-fat or high-calorie, but also not that memorable. Just one of those days.

And then (sorry, this is so gross), I've been getting ingrown hairs or something in my right armpit, it's driving me crazy (why just my right armpit? why is this happening at all, when it's never happened before?), and today one is all red and inflamed, so I didn't feel comfortable in my usual zumba uniform of cute sports bra and men's tank top, and I had to wear a T-shirt. I love tank tops. I hate T-shirts. I own maybe three. But I dug one out of the bottom of my drawer, smoothed out as many wrinkles as I could, and headed to zumba, feeling dowdy and frumpy and sluggish and blah.

And zumba was hard tonight, we were all sweating and panting like overworked oxen, but we were also laughing at ourselves. I really like the front-row ladies I do zumba with, and there are a couple of others whose eye I always catch at some point in the evening, and we wave. It's a very congenial class.

After class we were joking with our teacher, the Italian Spitfire, and the two lovely things happened:
  • Lovely Thing #1: This sweet little girl who stands in the back, one of the people I wave to (she reminds me of my junior-high best friend), said to me, "How much weight have you lost? You look great! You are so much smaller!" This is the first time that someone who doesn't know that I'm dieting has noticed my weight loss! It made me feel fantastic. (According to today's scale reading, I've lost 25 pounds — but I'm not doing a happy dance about it until that weight shows up on Weigh-In Day.)
  • Lovely Thing #2: My teacher said, "C'mere, I want to ask you something," and she holds up this adorable black zumba tank top. "Can you fit in this?" I shook my head. She said, "It's an XXL." I held it up to me, but it seems cut small. I don't think so. She told me that she'd ordered an XXS but they sent her an XXL; she was going to send it back but then thought of me. "You keep it," she said. "We've got eight more weeks of class. See what you can do." And I thought that was so cool — that my zumba teacher, who has hundreds of students, is thinking of me and cheering me on in my journey.
And truly, I am the most unathletic klutz — the girl who always steps on people's toes in partner dancing, who zigs left when everyone else zags right. It is just amazing to find something physical that I'm moderately good at and totally love.

I won't try on the shirt right now because I am so sweaty and gross, but I am very curious to see how it fits. I'm thinking I should hang it on my refrigerator. !!

Off to the tub. I'm finishing Jane Lynch's book, which is kind of sad but a good read, and then I have a stack of YAs and a new Good Housekeeping with skinny glowy Jennifer Hudson on the cover.

And in three months I'll be an auctioneer in a slinky new gown! (Which I'll buy in early March, I think.) Lots and lots of incentive to keep doing well. Tonight I feel very motivated indeed.

Thanks for being here!

—Lady C

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 141: More Loss

My next-door neighbor, a wonderfully kind and droll man, died on Saturday. I'd been meaning to go over and see how he was (there'd been an ambulance at his place a week or so ago), and I just hadn't done it yet. We were more talk-in-the-yard friends than come-to-the-front-door friends, but I'd known him 13 years and liked him enormously.

New England is very different from California, where I was in and out of my neighbor's houses all the time. (Which could also be an artifact of life in the 1970s rather than the 2010s.) After we'd lived on our new street for a few months, I said to my friend Skinny Paul, "Everyone is very friendly, but I don't think we're going to be friends," and he said, "Girlfriend — that is New England."

In the 13 years we've lived in Arlington, I've only been in Mr. Richard's house a handful of times (once chasing Mimosa, who, on her first venture in trick-or-treating, responded to his open door and bowl of candy by walking right on in) — but my longest visit happened just a couple of months ago, the day I did yardwork for a few hours as my exercise. He invited me to see his new garbage disposal ("Oh, you sweet talker," I said), and I ended up hanging out in his kitchen yakking for an hour.

He told me many funny stories over the years, and one of my favorites involved a pair of baby ducks he'd bought his kids. "I don't care what they are," he said to the guy at the pet shop, "as long as they're both the same sex." Pet shop boy assured him that all was well.

Except it wasn't, and Mr. Richard soon found himself with many, many ducks — which he decidedly didn't want. So he got permission to release them at the duck pond at nearby McLean's Hospital.

As he's telling me this story, I said in great delight, "We just took the kids there! We just fed those ducks! I wonder if they're yours — how long do ducks live?" And Mr. Richard fixed me with a look and said, "I don't care."

He was a great guy and a great neighbor, and I can't believe that I won't ever see him again. I'm stunned and sad.

We just went to his "visitation" and had lovely chats with one of his sons and his daughter, and that was nice. I like one of his sons a lot, and he lives just around the corner, so who knows? Maybe we'll end up being good friends with him.

But Mr. Richard was one of a kind. He's with his wife now, and I know that will make him happy.

I will miss him so much.

That's all I want to write about today. I'm hugging my family close, and in a minute we're going to sit together and eat cake. I wish you could have some too. Cake for everyone!

Love and kisses,

Lady C

p.s. OK, here's my second-favorite Mr. Richard story, which I told at dinner tonight, prefacing it by saying that while it was a funny story, I probably shouldn't tell it at the visitation.

Forty-some years ago, Mr. Richard's in-laws were visiting and driving him crazy, so at one point he grabbed his wife, ducked into a closet, and said, "I need you now."

And nine months later, his daughter was born.

(Li'l Martini said, "I thought you said this was a funny story. What's funny about that?")

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 140 (Week 20): Surprise! Delight! Migraine!

It's a lot of feelings at once, I tell you.

Welcome to my Weigh-In Day:
  • Today's scale reading: 263.5 !!
A new low! Very cool.

But my head hurts and I feel barfy (migraines are awesome), so may not make it to church. I just wanted to post my news while I'm still reveling in shock and awe.

Fat Secret says, "If you continue to lose weight at this rate, you will reach your goal in 11 months." Unlikely, I know, but still very exciting to contemplate.

Yay, the coffee's ready! I will take turns taking small sips and holding the warm cup to my tortured head.

Send healing mercies, won't you?

Love to all,

the ever-shrinking Lady C

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 139: Christmas Is Gone

After a pleasant brunch with my former co-workers (I ate kugel and held a new baby — sweet!), we spent five hours taking down Christmas and putting the house back together. But everything is clean and tidy and sparkly now. I have a beautiful white square platter on my coffee table, filled with pine cones and red berries, with a pine-scented candle in the middle. It's not as stunning as the bowl of bejeweled ornaments that sat there before, but it's simple and pristine and it looks like winter.

I've had a low-level headache for most of the day, so just a short post — I'm taking a quick bath and heading to bed.

Oh, and I finally finished watching The Bad and the Beautiful (I kept falling asleep during Dick Powell's segment, so it took me three nights). Interesting movie! But I can't believe Gloria Grahame (who I do like, very much) won an Oscar for it. I'll have to look up who she was up against that year. I've started Cranford, another English-y Masterpiece Theater production, and it's okay, but it is no Downton Abbey. Which starts tomorrow night! And a new episode of The Good Wife! And – oh, crap, I won't be home, I'm supposed to go to my daughter's sex class graduation.

Well, that is tomorrow's problem. Off to the tub!

Ever thine,

Lady C, who expects tomorrow's weigh-in to be a flat, flat line

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 138: t.g.i.f.


My day in a nutshell: Work, work, work, but finish very little. We did have a good dinner, though (sausage and peppers, pasta, mixed greens, fresh pineapple). And I had a yummy Thai lunch with three girlfriends: the Sleek Suburban Moms and Good Neighbor Anne. And I didn't drink wine! Which is unusual for me at this Thai place. Even our nice waitress looked surprised.

And sisters, I could use a glass of wine. But I embraced abstinence.

I'm trying to (1) get into a sunnier mood, and (2) convince myself to exercise before collapsing into bath and bed. And I'm fairly sure that (2) will have an effect on (1). But fatigue and ennui, oh, they are so powerful.

On my plate for this weekend:
  • Brunch with former colleagues
  • Taking down Christmas
  • Auction-planning meeting at church (I'm the auctioneer, you may recall)
  • Celebration for my daughter's last UU sex class
. . . and I'm hoping to write our holiday letter. We'll see.

On the white-hot-fun scale, I'd give the next two days about a Medium Warm.

I do have a stack of nice library books and the 25th anniversary DVD of Tootsie (my daughter's never seen it!), and I'm determined not to work — so, that will be fun. Right?

You know what? I think I am too tired to even take a bath. I am really, really tired. My fingernails are tired. Martini is hopping all over my bed right now watching WWE wrestling, and he will be sad to relinquish his playland — but it will have to be. Mama is weary in body and spirit.

I hope y'all are having jazzier Friday nights — and getting lucky!

—Lady C

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 137: A Good Title Escapes Me

It's late, I'm tired, and it was just one of those days. Every 28 days, it seems, I write three days of blue posts. Hmm, what do you make of that?

Here's what's dragging me down today:
  • I'm still sad about my friend who died.
  • I'm worried about another friend's daughter, who is not doing well.
  • Bank questions continue to gnaw at me. Why is it all so hard for me to understand?
  • On January 31, I'm back to the erratic paycheck of a true freelancer. My experiment in part-time editing, part-time novel-writing seems to have failed.
  • I've agreed to two social obligations, neither of which I particularly want to do, but the people involved are so happy when I say yes, and I feel like such a bum saying no all the time. I wish I could get out of them without feeling guilty.
  • I have to make some difficult schedule decisions re: my daughter.
  • My son doesn't want to invite two particular kids to his birthday party. This breaks my heart; I really like both of their moms, and I know those kids don't get a lot of invitations. But he's 11 now, I think it should be his choice.
  • I have so much work this month and am worried about fitting in exercise — two days in a row now, I haven't done it. But as January 31 draws near, I also want to grab every job offered to me, even though I really shouldn't take on anything else.
  • A stupid PTO website thing is taking up way too much of my time.
  • I think I'm catching a cold.
Man, I could probably go on like this for a while, but I think I'm even bluer now than when I started! Time to call it a day.

(Especially since I have to get up early tomorrow and host my writers group. Which I'm not going to think about right now, because it's just one more thing to add to my list. I like my writers group a lot, but right this minute I want to extricate myself from everything.)

Good night!

—a slightly dimmed Lady C, ready for tomorrow to be another day

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 136: Sad Today

Someone I really, really liked in my husband's department just died.

It wasn't totally unexpected. What it was, was totally sudden and totally freaky. Here's the sitch:

Many years ago, a group of young male professors got hired at Northeastern, within a few years of each other, and became great friends. It was an amazingly collegial department — everyone basically liked and respected each other and got along well. Within a few years, these young professors all met their True Loves. I was warmly welcomed into the fellowship. One of the young wives became my best friend. We partied together and traveled together and had a wonderful time.

The young professors married their True Loves and got tenure, one after the other. We went to showers and weddings and tenure celebrations. All good.

And then came that next wonderful step in the great staircase of life: first babies. We went to many baby showers and an occasional first birthday party.

And then . . . if you've got kids, you know what happens next. All that lovely socializing stopped. Weekends were now family time. I haven't seen some of these people in years.

A few months ago, we heard that one of the original Young Turks was very suddenly and very gravely ill — so ill that the end was near, and so much not himself that he didn't even want visitors. I realized how many years it had been since I'd seen him — and this was someone I liked enormously. He had always been so hale and hearty, a weekend athlete, sharp and funny and larger than life.

You never know what's going to happen to anyone, any time, ever.

I'm not saying that it was the wrong choice to spend weekends with my kids rather than with these friends . . . but I do regret that I didn't have more than a passing encounter with this fellow for at least five or six years.

I will try very hard not to let that happen again.

In other news, I spent several hours today cooking for another person I really like, a woman at my church, who is being treated for breast cancer. And I just spent a "glorious" 40 minutes going through piles of bank papers. I thought that I finally, finally understood the major nuances of my HELOC . . . but every sheet of paper just brings more questions.

Not the greatest day, in other words. I suppose I should be embracing life, kissing the ground, grateful for my solid foothold on the world, and I am, really — but mostly I am just sad.

—Lady C

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 135: Vacation's Over . . . Back to Work

The kids are back to school, and I am back at work.

And boy are we happy about it.

Mr. Lady C, in contrast, is enjoying one more week of leisure, which he describes as A Week of HUGE Accomplishment and Thinking About How Lucky He Is, and which I call A Week of Sleeping Late Every Day and Then Hanging Out in Libraries Reading Books He Loves and Saving Little Tidbits to Share With Me Later Because He Knows There's Nothing I Love More Than Little Tidbits About, Say, the 1920 Election. (Not the 1924 election, which everyone knows was dull as crap.)

Anyway.

Since I spent my day at the computer, I decided to be virtuous and log all my meals on Fat Secret — and then, for whatever reason, all my meals contained a lot of fiber. I've had more than 27 grams of fiber so far today, and 25 is considered a lot. And . . . I'm in a bit of gastric discomfort. I'm kinda worried about going to zumba tonight, for fear of being unladylike.

We shall see.

But here's what I want to talk about: today's mail, which was an enormous steaming pile of horse doody*. I am MAD.
  • Infuriating item #1: A pile of checks for my new HELOC account, none of which bear my legal name. Even in 2012, a hyphenated last name is just too complicated for my big bank's brainy computers. Even though I have both a checking and savings account at this bank, both of which manage to hyphenate my last name with no problem. Would Daniel Day-Lewis put up with this??
  • Infuriating item #2 (which, I should probably clarify, is the one that really set me off; I might not have been so outraged over #1 without #2): A notice from the same bank that the HELOC check I sent after meeting with Neerja, who assured me that the account was open and ready to use, was returned for insufficient funds. In other words, my check to the poor patient roofer bounced, I'm being charged $35, and Neerja is a big lying liar.
I also got a car insurance bill, which didn't exactly infuriate me but wasn't a bag o' fun either.

So I called the bank, with steam flowing from my ears. And then I called poor patient Mrs. Roofer, with my tail between my legs. And then I had a little rest, because all that was very worky.

I think all will be well, and the account is now set up and ready to rumble, but still. I hate jumping through endless annoying hoops, and I hate being given misinformation. HATE.

And this is after having to call the guy who put in my beautiful new front steps. His estimate included the word "railings," so, silly me, I though I was getting railings, which we've never had before. But we're not.

Instead, from the word "railings" on the estimate, I was supposed to understand the following:

"If you have existing railings, we will remove and then reinstall 
them. But if you don't have railings — and I know you don't, 
because I looked at your house before writing the estimate — 
you should ignore the word 'railings' 'cause this is a template, and 
it says 'railings,' what can I do. We do not install railings. 
Never have, never will. Got that, girlie-girl?"

Yeah. He's a bit arrogant. But he does beautiful work. He made me a gorgeous patio a few years ago, and now my gorgeous steps. And he did one extra step for me and didn't charge me for it, so . . . I continue to work with him.

In other news, my period will be here any minute, I am bloated and gassy and emotional, and my boobs are hanging like udders. Painful, tender udders. Well, for all I know, that's redundant.

I'll show up at zumba, but at the first undainty exhalation, I'm bagging it and going for coffee.

Grump, grump, grump.

—Lady C, longing to embrace glamour but instead pretty much looking like a hobo


* To be fair, the mail also contained the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (which I didn't see at first, as it was tucked inside Husband's Time or The Economist, neither of which I would open on a bet) and the yearly holiday letter from Mr. Fog Dog, husband of one of my bestys who now lives in Battle Ground, Washington. (Highlight: Photos of the new closet carpet and wall-mounted toilet!) (OK, maybe it doesn't read as exciting as it looked.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 134: Lady C's Best Books of 2011

(My weight was way down this morning,  but that is not the topic of this post. Still — yay, me!)

A few years ago my besty gave me a giant blank book titled "Book-Woman" with a picture of a lady reading amid piles and shelves of books. The pages are formatted like graph paper. I could've used it as a journal, but I don't write in a journal much these days (though I was a devoted diary-keeper in my youth) — so I decided to try keeping a book journal. It has been a very interesting exercise! It's surprisingly satisfying to look back over a good year of reading. It's also humbling when I see that a book that seemed utterly new and unrecognizable to me is in fact one I've read before.

(Mimosa has been teasing me about my incipient senility a lot this past month, ever since I looked up from my mending basket on Thanksgiving morning, as we watched the Macy's parade, to say, "When is Scotty McCreery coming on?" She stared at me and said, "He sang five minutes ago." Welcome, senility! Make yourself at home. You'll find lots of room, I promise.)

Oh, and a note about my rating scale: I give books from one to four stars, and this is purely a measurement of how much I enjoyed the book, not an estimation of its worth. Will it stand the test of time and enter the canon of great literature? That is a question you will never hear me pose.

Onward! Here are the books I gave at least 3.5 stars to last year:
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (I wrote, "I guessed the ending, and the rhythm got a little predictable, but I really enjoyed this one!")
  • The Burying Place by Brian Freeman
  • Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild by David S.
  • Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell
  • Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss (I wrote, "Very readable and well-written, but ultimately unsatisfying. Why was she so devoted to this horrible father? Why no pictures of her terrible face? What about the "missing" sister?" I don't remember this book very well, but those strike me as questions that should have been resolved!)
  • Julie and Romeo Get Lucky by Jeanne Ray (I wish she would write more! Her books are so fun — and I think I've now read them all.)
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Pekins (YA — marvelous)
  • The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (I wrote, "LOVED it! Unlike her last one, I guessed almost none of the twists. A beautiful book.")
  • Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser (YA that I read to see how similar it was to my own novel. Answer: Not at all. I liked it a lot. I wrote, "Very cute and fun! I didn't quite buy the Julia Child stuff at the very end, though.")
  • Continuity by Jenny Brown (unpublished; she's in my writer's group. An agent is shopping around the book right now — fingers crossed! It is awesome.)
  • Bitter Is the New Black by Jennifer Lancaster (fantastic author I discovered this year! Snarky and funny and bitchy and a really good writer, I am happy to overlook her incomprehensible politics and enjoy her sassy prose)
  • Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg (I wrote, "I enjoyed this very much, though I found Irene puzzling." The story is told from three points of view; when it was Irene's POV I liked her very much, but when the other two, her ex-husband and daughter, wrote about her, I didn't like her at all. It was hard to get a handle on her.)
  • Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (I wrote, "I liked it a lot,  but I definitely felt her bias. Then again, maybe it isn't possible to create a truly sympathetic anti-gay character.")
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (I wrote, "At a certain point, you begin to wonder if it should really be this much work [to be happy], but I found her approach fascinating.")
  • I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark (yes, I know, I know, but I think this is one of her better ones)
  • Fragile by Lisa Unger
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (YA)
  • The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure (I wrote, "LOVED this. Funny, moving, engrossing, Perfect book for any fangirl.")
  • Lexie by Audrey Columbis (middle-grade)
  • Junionia by Kevin Henkes (middle-grade — and these are practically the same book, so it was funny to read them right after each other)
  • Sister by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
  • Almost Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (YA)
  • Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (YA — my daughter's favorite book last year)
  • The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai (I wrote, "Up until the very end, I loved it — but I realize that I have no idea why Ian really ran away, and I'd hoped the gay brainwashing would be more of a culprit")
  • Incredibly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (YA)
  • Anya's Ghost by Vera Borsgol (YA, graphic)
  • The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle
  • Brain Camp by Susan Kim (YA, graphic)
  • The U.S. Constitution by Jonathan Hennessey (graphic)
  • Ghostopolis by Doug Ten Napel (graphic)
  • Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington
  • The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry (I wrote, "Ah! The ending was unsatisfying! [I gave it three and nine-tenths stars.] But otherwise — wonderful book! Great brownies!")
  • Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger
  • Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster
  • Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA)
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (YA)
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (YA — perhaps you've heard of these?)
  • Choker by Elizabeth Woods (I wrote, "Very twisty and horrifying! Husband knocked on the door when I was immersed in the final chapters [and my bathtub], and I shrieked so loud they felt the impact next door.")
  • Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
  • My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster
  • The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson (YA — so good!!!)
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley (YA)
  • A Born Maniac by Ruth Doan MacDougall (she's my favorite writer, I kinda have to like everything she writes — but I complete totally LOVED this regardless!)
  • What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (forgot to note the author — and this book was very compelling, but ultimately I never connected to any of the characters, so it also kept me at a distance. Still, I'll definitely read the sequel)
  • The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louse Plummer (YA — I wrote, "A slice of pure charm and delight!")
  • Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (I wrote, "Loved! But not every mystery is resolved at the end, which I don't remembers being typical of this author, so I'm very much hoping she knows this and will attend!")
  • Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
And the worst book I read last year — well, it's a tie:
  • The ADHD Effect on Marriage by someone whose name I didn't bother to record; the main message is, "So, your husband has ADHD? Suck it up!" Enraging.
  • Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (I wrote: "Grief porn. Too pat. Wanted to shake each character repeatedly. Only the sweet, occasional moments keep my from giving it a zero.") What a wretched ending to a series I truly loved. And please, please let this be the ending!!!!
So there you have it. I hope you discover a wonderful new read or two on this list!

(I finished Ellen's book last night and am now deep into Patricia Cornwell and would love nothing more than to curl up with her all day. But I'm going to walk on my treadmill and write thank-you notes with my family first. Darn you, Protestant work ethic! You're ruining my life.)

Happy Monday! (It's still a holiday in Boston, which cracks me up. School starts tomorrow. Whatev.)

xox
Lady C, bookworm