Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 314: The Bright Side

Why It's Good that I Didn't Get the Grant:
  1. I don't have to commute into Boston 20 hours a week, which, honestly, I was NOT looking forward to.
  2. More time at home with my kids, which is what I want most. (Sounds funny, given how often they push me away, but I feel like these are the ages when they really need me most.)
  3. Nothing is stopping me from writing this book. I've written one already, I know I can do it, and Inspirational Kathy believes this one is much more marketable than my first one.
  4. I've never had the experience of producing fiction with a metaphorical gun over my head — I might not have liked it at all.
 So — it's okay. And I did do well in the contest, and if I ever apply for anything anywhere ever again, I can refer to myself as a Top 5 finalist for the BPL grant. And that is something.

(Mom said, "So only four people did better!" I said, "Mom, all they told me was Top 5 — maybe I came in second!" And that's what I'm choosing to believe: I totally came in second.)

I still would have liked to win. BUT. It's truly okay. And I am having a lovely summer so far.

Today we did our chores quickly, then cleaned the basement, and the house sparkles and the kids didn't argue or complain, and we had a lovely family lunch at Bertucci's, with lots of side dishes and wine, and tonight Mimosa is babysitting for The Lovely Diane, the menfolk are doing their thing down in the basement, and I addressed my mending pile, drank more wine (wine is key to my Good Attitude this weekend, I believe), and watched That's Entertainment! and highlights from Season 3 of The CArol Burnett Show. And now I'm going to take a hot bubble bath and read Anna Dressed in Blood, which I forgot was on my stack. I just started it, it looks AWESOME.

Thank you, dearest friends, for your wonderful supportive notes. I appreciate hearing from you, more than I can say.

Off to the tub!

—Lady C, whose favorite Python is Graham Chapman

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 313: Disappointed, But

Oh, how I wish I were writing a triumphant joyful post today. I had it all planned, how I'd announce my thrilling news . . . !

Alas. It is 4:40 p.m. of the day that the Children's Writer-in-Residence award winner was scheduled to be announced, and no one from the Associates of the Boston Public Library has contacted me. Though the name of the winner is not yet posted on the website, this is exactly what I remember from my last attempt: The day comes and goes, the lucky winner is posted a few days later.

So I'm disappointed, of course, and sad, and completely second-guessing my writing talent, and all those other things you feel and do in a situation like this.

But I'm also mindful of the fact that nothing in my life has changed at all, and my life is actually quite nice. And I certainly don't need this award to write a book.

As I headed to lunch with my kids (Martini was horrified to catch me and Mimosa eating all the leftover Pad Thai – one package of which was rightfully his, I'll admit — and insisted that we return to the Thai place today — and while, yes, eating your son's precious leftovers is not perhaps the nicest thing to do, I maintain that if he hadn't caught me [and what was he doing out of bed at 10 last night??] he would NEVER have remembered that he had any leftovers at all . . . but I digress), I said, "Well, if I can't be the greatest YA author, maybe I'll settle for being the greatest mother!!!" . . . and, oh, the silence that greeted my declaration. Oh, how my desperately brave words echoed through my ancient Honda.

Sigh.

But M&M have otherwise been very sweet to me today. They are good kids.

And I just finished an awesome book, Wife 22 (highly recommended, though it's hard not to see the twist coming, IMHO), plus I'm making a kick-ass dinner — homemade French bread with industrial-strength garlic butter, Caesar salad, pasta, and Chicken Parmigiana, my first attempt at this recipe, plus Martini and I made dark chocolate mousse earlier and we've got heavy cream for whipping — plus we're watching a marathon of Falling Skies tonight because we keep forgetting it's on, so we've got at least three hours to watch, maybe more, plus my wine rack is full of Chardonnay, plus I've got an enormous pile of enticing library books. It's going to be a great, albeit hot, weekend; I will do my chores early and then sit in front of a fan and read.

(And work out. Li'l Martini and I exercised this morning, lifting weights and doing leg lifts and core work and butt crunches, and we challenged each other to see who could hold The Plank the longest, and I made it to 30 seconds! I am wicked proud of myself!!! So, OK, I won't be the writer-in-residence anywhere, but you'll be able to bounce a quarter off my abs by September — this is my vow.)

OK. Sad again. Going to slink away and pound chicken breasts and drink and just be sad.

But this too shall pass.

Thanks for listening!

—Lady C

UPDATE

It's official; I just got a note from the Associates confirming that I didn't win.

However, and this is kinda cool, they said that they got significantly more applications than last year (when they got 60) and that I made it into the Top 5. Top 5 of, say, 100? That's pretty good, right?

I'm still in a fog of disappointment (and, truth be told, a li'l Charonnay) but Husband is very excited and keeps saying WOW. So maybe tomorrow I'll be more excited.

But still: I didn't win. I have to go get a real job in the fall.

Oh, well! Fall is a long time from now.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 312: I Knew You'd Want to Know

Q. How did yesterday's weird accidental excess affect today's weight?

A. Significantly! My weight shot up four pounds. Turns out, tequila, fat, and salt are not so much . . . diuretics.

Good to know.

Q. So, given the wonderful array of options before you, Lady C, how did you spend the wee hours of the evening?

A. I did do some work — I thought that if I got the tiny job off my plate that I would feel fresher and more motivated this morning, with only the big job before me. However, my morning has started with a stupid argument with Husband (the stupid arguments are the ones where he is so utterly wrong and yet the stakes are smallish, with little impact on our actual lives, so what is the point in setting him straight? Instead, I quietly seethe until it seeps out of my system and I am my sunny self again), so I don't feel fresh at all. Plus we need a new dishwasher.

I smelled this horrible burning plastic smell a few weeks ago when he happened to be cooking, so I'm sniffing all over the kitchen going, "What IS that? What are you burning?", which he did not take kindly to. Understood, of course, particularly since he wasn't burning anything, however, (1) something definitely was burning, namely, the plastic dishwasher part that makes the water go all squirty and was slowly melding to the heat element, and (2) he couldn't smell it, not once, though we continued to run the dishwasher for the next week and a half until I ID'd the problem.

I don't know how old our dishwasher is; it came with the house, which we bought in 1998. It's unlikely that it's original to the house, which was built in 1961, but how would I know? But in any event, they don't make parts for it any more — Husband did a copious Web search. So here we are – about to spend $500 plus, and I'm living with a man who can't smell things burning.

Awesome.

And then, after the quickie editing job, I went to bed without washing my face and watched what I thought was the end of Episode 3 of Bunheads, only when I taped Episode 2 and Husband taped Episode 3, neither of us adjusted the tape speed, it was too fast, and the last 10 minutes or so got cut off. So, I missed the climactic ending and I have a dirty face.

Also, I'm getting anxious about the grant I applied for; the website says that the winner will be announced tomorrow. From personal experience, I know that the winner isn't necessarily named on the website right away; I figure that if Friday comes and goes without a word from the BPL, I didn't win. But I'm trying to be chill, and I'm imagining how they might contact me if I do win. I've pictured a phone call, a letter, and an e-mail. I imagine the exact wording of each and how I might react . . . and then I say a prayer for grace and peace and try to move on.

I have done this approximately 32,147 times this week so far. If you'd like to say your own prayer for my mental health, it is most welcome.

Q. What's on tap for today, chica?

A. Glad you asked! Here's what's on my list:
  • Start (and maybe finish) editing a 66-page job (the client promises that I will find it fascinating) — I'd love to have a day off tomorrow (so I can obsess), but 66 pages is long, so we'll see
  • Weigh the cats with Li'l Martini to make sure we're feeding them the right amounts
  • Pick up the pile of books waiting for me at the library
  • Zumba! My last class with Sexy Dancey Nancy 
And Mimosa has a babysitting gig at 10:30 (with the brand-new baby) and Martini wants to have a Serious Talk about earning points to buy a sword. And I've asked Husband to do something with the kids later so I can have some quiet work time — can't wait to see what he comes up with.

Time to get started! That job won't edit itself, missy.

xx
Lady C, paragon of mental health

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 311: Trial by Tequila

I edited all morning (I guess it's good to be busy, but I would love a day off to read my extremely enticing library books!) and then knocked off around 2 to head up to Beverly to see Brunie. Our original idea, to see Magic Mike together, somehow evolved into my attending her YA book group, which happened to be meeting at one of my favey Beverly restaurants, Good Guac Grotto, and happened to be discussing a book I read and liked a lot, The List. All good!

And when I drive to Brunie's house I have to pass Acapulco, a restaurant where margaritas come out of the spigot that might normally squirt Pepsi or seltzer in another restaurant. I have been fascinated by these spigot margaritas since I first encountered them; they are tasty and semi-intoxicating, and I can easily put away three or four (usually while scarfing down chips, salsa, and chile con queso).

But I haven't had a margarita in a very long time (OK, that is a lie, I made them for Mom just last week — but before that, it had been a very long time), and two sips into my second one . . . boy howdy. I was zonked. Though I still drank most of it, but over the course of an hour. And I didn't finish it. This is UNHEARD OF for me.

I had to go across the street to Starbuck's to get a giant bold coffee before making my way to Brunie's, and I did not feel well at all.

But the coffee helped, as did some Diet Pepsi with fresh lime at the Grotto, and by the time my half-burrito arrived I felt quite well again. And Brunie's YA book group, three lovely, bright, fun women, were delightful to spend time with, and we talked and laughed hard as several hours flew by. And then Brunie and I, as is our custom, walked briskly down the street that leads to the beach, and we stayed for a while and gazed at the water and the sunset and talked and talked some more. She is a true and wonderful friend, and any time spent with her is a gift.

Also, she asked me to say something nice about her bosoms in today's blog post:

Brunie's bosoms are as bounteous as the White Mountains, as inviting as the trough of guac we plundered tonight, and they are surely registered somewhere as two of the great beauties of Beverly. 

(How's that, friendy?)

So now I'm home, it's 10:28, and I'm considering the following options:
  • Stay up and do a little more work
  • Go to bed and watch the rest of Bunheads (I love it so much but I keep falling asleep)
  • Go to bed and read some of Wife 22 (loving!!)
  • Go to bed and finish the Sunday crossword puzzle
Hmm.

Today's food tally:
  • Rice Krispies, skim milk
  • Banana
  • Handful of pistachios in their shells
  • Two margaritas, rocks, salt
  • Half a basket of chips
  • Salsa
  • Chile con queso
  • Large coffee with cream
  • Three bites of the world's best guacamole, sigh
  • Diet Pepsi with lime
  • Half a burrito
  • Side order of Spanish rice
And despite my intention of taking a long walk, I did nary a spot of exercise (well, except my brisk three-block walk to the beach; that oughta do it). What my weight will be tomorrow is anyone's guess. Maybe I'll add "isometrics" to my list of night-time activity options.

Can't wait to see which I pick!

—Lady C, woman of mystery

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 310: Summer Breeze, Make Me Feel Fine

Today was lovely, both temperature-wise and activity-wise. Smallish and easy editing jobs, long phone chats with Brunie and Good Neighbor Anne, a yummy Thai lunch (I had fresh rolls and Som Tum salad) and a walk to Trader Joe's with my kids, and a great sweaty zumba workout. Plus, I lined up a math tutor for Li'l Martini, and I think she'll be wonderful, and he got his summer reading book, which also looks pretty good (Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix). Productive and pleasant, my favorite kind of day.

(Note: Mimosa has already done her summer reading. Such different kids they are . . .)

I didn't log my weight on Fat Secret because it's up half a pound from my last weigh-in and I'm only recording losses, but I am very encouraged: After several weeks of excess and bad habits, I weighed in at 252 this morning. I would like to weigh 250 on Sunday, and I think I'll make it.

In other news:
  • Next week I don't have a single zumba class, for one reason or another. I will need to come up with a good Plan B. I also need to plan out what I'll do for the rest of the summer, as my Tuesday class ends on the 17th (and I won't be there for that one anyway — I'm off to the Betsy-Tacy Convention in Minnesota!). Time to visit zumba.com and plot my perfect exercise schedule. And then I can plan my other favorite summer activity — ____day Night at the Movies! — where I hit one of my favey restaurants and take in a show and invite all my local girls to join me. Fun fun fun.
  • Last night in the tub I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and LOVED it. Mimosa loved it too. Highly recommended.
  • This week I'm supposed to find out if I got the writing grant or not. Que sera sera.
Time to take a bath and crack the next book (Wife 22) or read some of the magazines that are piling up — either option sounds enticing! And then I must fake-tan my legs and do my nails. It's all girly all the time, here in Chardonnay-ville.

Mmm-wah!

—Lady C

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 309: Strong Mothers, Feisty Daughters

http://s3.amazonaws.com/kidzworld_photo/images/2012620/643d3b2e-4eed-475e-b585-8b2baef7a4dc/brave-trailer-.jpg 
I got up at 4:30 a.m. to drive Mom to the airport, too sleepy to be too weepy, so I guess that was a good thing. My kids insisted that today be a Chill Day (though I did have to work a little bit), and I decided to get started on the Welcome Packet/Agenda for the Betsy-Tacy Convention, which for me is fun rather than work, but every time Li'l Martini heard my fingers flying over the keyboard, he'd yell, "Chill, Mom! Chill! Chill!", which made me laugh.

My kids were very sweet, giving me lots of extra hugs today, and Good Neighbor Anne e-mailed to check in as well; they know I'm missing my mama. I know that I'm lucky to still have my mom and that our relationship is as close as it is — and still, I hate being 3,000 miles away.

To distract ourselves, we all went to the matinee of Brave, which was very cute, though my four hours of sleep caught up with me and I kept nodding off — which makes my stupid hyper-flexible shoulders start to dislocate, because I can't sleep sitting up. So, while I liked the movie perfectly well, it was pretty physically uncomfortable for me during the midsection. But I loved the Scottish score and accents, and Merida's fantastic red mane was a true feast for the eyes. And of course I wept at the end: "I want my mother back!" Merida wails. You and me both, sistah.

I'd intended to take a long walk when I got home, but my iPod wasn't charged, so instead I lifted weights and did some Jane Fonda-ish stuff (leg lifts, butt lifts), and I worked my core and tried to extend the time I can hold The Plank (I'm up to 15 seconds, which is still pathetic, but keep in mind that when I started I could only do it for 3 seconds) and did some wall push-ups and jaw muscle work (in the belief that I can hold off a double chin), and every part of me is now exhausted to match my brain. Time for a bath and then Bunheads, my new favey show (though I've only seen one episode — still, it's the perfect companion to Gilmore Girls, one of my Top 5 favorite shows of all time*), though I will probably be asleep before Snooty Ballerina makes her first cutting remark. I am tired!

Oh, and I got the cutest thank-you from the little munchkin who hosted the Glamour Girl party. She writes, "You and [The Lovely] Diane paint nails better than anyone in the world!" She is such a sweetie. I would totally do that party for free.

Final note: My plan to eat lightly today went pretty well (mini-wheats and skim milk for breakfast, vegetable-laden salad and crab for lunch, no snacks) but I was somewhat derailed by movie food: popcorn + butter + blue Slushee + 10 Twizzlers. I'm now eating a small bowl of fresh cherries and calling it a night.

The calendar page for the week ahead is as white as my inner thighs — of course Mom was here during the part that's inky black. Sigh.

Time for bath and Bunheads! Good lord, but that is a stoopid title.

—Lady C, TV critic

* I do not have an official list, but off the top of my head, here's what's likely to be on it:
  • My So-Called Life
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Veronica Mars
  • The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Soap
These aren't in order; still, I feel like I should have 10, so it's a Top 10 list — and what would get that last spot? Knot's Landing, which I mostly watched in syndication? It's a guilty pleasure, but I did adore it. The Partridge Family, favey TV show of my youth? Freaks and Geeks, The West Wing, ER, Mad About You, St. Elsewhere? I loved them all at the time but have no urge to watch any of them again. Ah, it will come to me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 308 (Week 44): My Husband the Maestro

Our friends who live around the corner (the ones who invite us to Sukkot and Hanukkah parties) are very involved in the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, and they won an opportunity for Mr. Lady C to guest-conduct "The Washington Post March" by Sousa at today's outdoor concert. It was a perfect day; sunny with a refreshing breeze, and Mom and Mimosa and I headed out to Cambridge, comfy lawn chairs in hand, to take in some culture. (Li'l Martini had a playdate with HoneyBear — probably just as well, though he would've enjoyed some elements of the event.)

It was awesome! Husband was in seventh heaven — he adores classical music above almost anything else in life (seriously — if he had to choose between me and music, I think this decision would give him serious pause), and he's never had an opportunity to conduct an actual orchestra before. And he was so great at it! One of the musicians said to him, "Usually we ignore the guest conductors — but you actually know what you're doing!" He'd been all-over butterflies for most of the morning, but when the moment arrived, he stepped right up — and it was incredibly thrilling to see him doing this new thing. He conducted like he was born to it. We clapped and cheered. Mom, who adores my husband, was especially happy to be here for this (and sorry that Dad wasn't — he would have loved it too, though he might have needed a blanket, God love my ever-more-elderly father).

The rest of the program was splendid as well — selections from Chicago, West Side Story, Brahms, Beethoven, and a big splash of John Williams (highlights of the scores from Superman and E.T.). I got very teary-eyed more than once.

There is something so wonderful about watching the person you love do the thing that they are passionate about. I've always loved watching Husband teach, and today I got another opportunity to see him in his element. It was simply wonderful.

Mom and I also took Mimosa to Dress Barn to buy her a few new things as an additional grad present; she now has a slinky black top with a Grecian neckline, a cute Fourth of July T-shirt, and a pretty gauzy tiered skirt in blues and greens and purples. She looked good in literally every thing she tried on, but I have learned to only buy her things that she herself loves; otherwise, they just hang in the closet, no matter how beautiful I think they are. She is she, I am I; this I know for sure.

I made red snapper for dinner, also left-over Grandma's Rice Dish, also greens from my CSA (turnip, collard, and spinach), French bread, and red-hot apples, also lots and lots of white wine, and ice cream for dessert. (We used up the "pork raisins," you'll be glad to know.) And we played so many games! Scattergories, and Speed Scrabble, and Consequences, and Tripoly, and Kings in the Corner, and we laughed and laughed and drank more wine and knocked over some wine and the word "drunk" was thrown around quite a bit, and it was very uproarious, and I can't believe she's leaving in six hours. I am going to cry hard tomorrow morning. This was one of her longest visits, and it feels like one of the shortest.

But it was certainly packed with fun and wonderful memories. My kids love their grandma so much, and Husband loves her too. And I wish my dad were willing to travel more, but he just isn't, so that's that. A strong relationship with at least one grandparent is an amazing thing. I feel so lucky to have been close to all four of mine. Husband's parents lived in Texas and died when my kids were very small, so my parents are pretty much their only option — which is why I feel so doubly lucky to have built such a wonderful extended family here in New England. But while they have numerous "adopted" aunties and uncles and cousins, we really don't have adopted grandparents. My mom is thus ultra special.

I'll see her again in August, but still. I HATE when she leaves.

But tomorrow I return to hair shirts and Spartan living, and it's about time. I will do my official re-weigh-in on Tuesday.

Off to bed — I'm getting up at 4:30 to drive to the airport.

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night!

—Lady C, patroness of the arts

Day 307: Happy Happy Pizza Pizza!

Fun day, where I actually got to sit for a little while and enjoy my mom. We did our chores (Mom vacuumed the downstairs and cleaned my glass coffee table, which was awesome) and 90 loads of wash (so many beach towels!), then she and I looked up all sorts of stuff on the Internet: the name of the Richard Gere movie where he learns to dance (Shall We Dance?), whether the Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett specials are available on video (sorta), how to pronounce "tangential" (answer: not like "tan genital"), who teaches aqua-zumba in Chico, California, and all sorts of other things that have come up over the past eight days. We've been busy!

Then we got ready to entertain our wonderful guests: four pizzas, three salads, SO MUCH ice cream and toppings, and a pitcher of strawberry-rhubarb sangria, which was delicious. Also delicious: my vanilla-caramel-toasted almond-bacon sundae. Bacon on ice cream — who knew? It was like a very salty nut ("pork nuts," we christened them) — so yummy!

(I asked mostly-vegetarian Good Neighbor Anne if she was having bacon on her sundae, and she said, "For so many reasons, no.")

The party was super fun; the little boys watched Dodgeball and played Wii, the big boy played on the computer, the big girls watched 13 Going on 30 and Grease up in my bedroom, and the adults ate and drank and laughed and had a glorious time. I mentioned that these are the friends who really feel like my kids' extended family in Massachusetts, and I was happy that Mom got to get to know them a little better, and vice versa.

Though Mom was quiet tonight; I think she's tired. Eight days of nonstop-Chardonnayness, four people who never sit still or shut up (except Mimosa — she's a teenager, so she mostly just lounges), and trying to keep up with her mogul daughter . . . she's winding down. Which I totally get, I'm tired too. Mostly my feet.

Tomorrow she and I do the last few errands we didn't get done, including shopping with Mimosa, then we go see the mister conduct a symphony orchestra. More to be revealed!

Sweet dreams, babies.

—Lady C

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 306: Babies, Funky Pizza, and Glamour Girls

Another whirlwind day, here in sweltering Arlington, Mass. We got Mimosa to her babysitting job, her first time with a newborn, but the mom she's sitting for is surprisingly chill for a first-timer and is also incredibly kind and patient with Mimosa. I knew my girl was nervous, but to the baby she only communicated, "I am here to love you and take care of you." I was so proud of my girl. Also, Grandma got a baby-holding fix, and that was awesome. This baby is adorable, with the hugest blue eyes. I hope it all works out and Mimosa becomes her long-term sitter; I like this family a lot.

Mom and I then went to Fresh Pond Mall, a non-lovely strip mall that nonetheless has everything one could need — in this case, two thumb drives (Staples), a Boston T-shirt (Newbury Comics), Apothic White wine (Mall Liquors), and rhubarb and avocados (Whole Foods). At NYA Joe's earlier in the week we tasted strawberry-rhubarb sangria and fell in love, so we're determined to replicate it; I came right home and made strawberry-rhubarb compote, also hard-boiled eggs for tonight's Crab Louis.

At noon, Brunie dropped by for lunch at Za with Mom and Mimosa; between the four of us we had three salads, three pizzas, two desserts, and one glass of wine. YUM. I had my favorite chorizo-and-dill-pickle pizza, and Brunie shared salads with me so I got my two favorites there, too: beets with goat cheese, and avocado, black bean, and tomato. Also, I impressed everyone with my ability to parallel park on a dime — my dad, who tried to teach me lo these many years ago, while I sobbed and sobbed, would be very proud.

Our next stop was Trader Joe's, where we bought a bag of legal heroin: Sweet, Salty, & Nutty Trek Mix. Oh MAN is this good. We also got some crab — I will admit that it's canned, but TJ's crab is insanely delicious; it tastes just like fresh to me.

And this left 15 minutes for me to sit in front of a fan (it is HOT !!!), guzzle a Diet Pepsi, and call Chase Bank to see if in fact someone tried to charge $1,759 worth of stuff in Wisconsin this morning, as a hysterical e-mail claimed. (Answer: No.) Not exactly a restful 15 minutes, but I did cool down a tad. Though I did not feel remotely glamorous.

Too bad, because at 2:45 I was setting up a Glamour Girl Party for eight six-year-old femmes. But the house was air-conditioned, the girls were trés adorable, and my partner in crime, The Lovely Diane, was an amiable and competent Number Two. She and I have always been friendly but not really friends; still, I had a hunch that she would be fun to do this with, and I was thrilled when she said yes. And we had a ball!

We did sugar scrubs and hand lotion and fancy manis and mud masks and cucumber slices and face cream, and my mom dutifully ferried washcloths to and from the kitchen sink and sprayed nail-dry spray out on the deck, and at the end of that party, those girls had the petal-soft, dewy skin of . . . well, a six year old, but still. They had fun, and so did we.

(While I was painting and prattling away, the hostess mom said, "Lady C, have you ever thought about writing for this age group? Because these girls think you're a riot.")

I also found out that The Lovely Diane is a Betsy-Tacy fan! I will certainly follow up.

Home to collapse on the couch in front of a fan with giant margaritas (as in, half the pitcher in each glass); Mom and I got beautifully snockered, and Mom decided to call my aunt, whose husband, my dad's baby brother, is not doing well at all. So, that was pretty sad. The skies opened (finally!) and I went to stand on the porch and get wet in a cool way, rather than being drenched in sweat as I have been for the last three days. It felt great. And I thought about my sweet aunt and uncle and said a little prayer. I really want my aunt to be able to come to Mendocino with me in August, and it's hard to know exactly what to wish for.

Crab Louis for dinner, plus some lovely cantaloupe and fresh cherries. Li'l Martini is at a sleepover at Nonstop's house; he hasn't been particularly digging these boys lately, so we role-played the stomach-/headache he would claim if he wanted to come home early. No call yet and it's after 8 p.m.; perhaps he'll make it through the night.

Tomorrow is Chore Day (my house is full of sand —a lovely souvenir from Wingaersheek) and another party, but it will be very chill. The people coming to my house are those I consider my extended family: Sexy Em and her boys whom I love like sons; Good Neighbor Anne and her girl whom I love like a daughter; and a third family (I need to dream up a name) who feel like cousins — we've been friends since the older boy and Mimosa were 3. Pizzas, salads, and a make-your-own-sundae bar, plus we'll unveil the strawberry-rhubarb sangria (after much testing and sampling, I have no doubt). It will be a blast.

Mom and I are now going to watch Fast Break (a guilty pleasure from my youth) and try to sober up. Dang me, those were good margaritas!!! My plan was to make a dent in my mending pile, but I'm not sure I can focus on the needle . . .

Cheers!

—Lady C

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 305: We've Got the Beach!

Happy Summer Solstice! Li'l Martini is exactly 11 and a half today.

Our morning was low-key and leisurely, as befits the first day of summer; we got what we needed for the beach and ambled to the car . . . not thinking about the fact that it's hotter than Hades, half of Massachusetts probably had the same idea, and while beaches are indeed great and vast, parking lots have a limited capacity. Which we realized when traffic slowed to a halt when we were still several miles from our destination: Wingaersheek Beach. AND, the sign on the side road read "Parking lot FULL. Residents only." It took us an hour, which we passed by playing ridiculous games, but I grew just a tad anxious and restive; I really wanted Mom to have a lovely Atlantic Ocean experience, as her previous and only dip in the A.O. was (what she describes as) the mud flats of Georgia.

So, as we sat (fortunately, in lovely a.c.), I came up with Plan B: Brunie! Brunie has access to a perfectly lovely beach in Beverly. And while it's not quite as user-friendly as Wingaersheek (I don't think I've ever made it to the water; it's very rocky and hurts my tender feet, and it's also some distance from the nice shady area where parents sit) it would do the trick.

But the hour passed, and lo and behold: there we were at the mouth of the parking lot! "Really?" I said to the nice burly Santa guy offering me a ticket, "there's a space for me?" "Sure!" he said. "That's how you got in!" "Oh! I love you so much!" I cried, and he winked and said, "I love you too. Kids, don't tell Dad." It was funny.

And it was a glorious beach day. Super hot, even by the water, but the cold cold ocean felt just right. And we drank icy Diet Pepsi and enjoyed crappy snack bar food and strolled along the shore and read magazines and took lots of pictures. It was simply delightful. And we're only a teeny bit sunburned.

I got home barely in time to change and head off to zumba — and I think I'm going to have a glass of wine with Mom before hitting the bath. I am sweaty and sandy and many other "attractive" things.

I continue to eat like a hawg, but at least I'm exercising. And my stress level has returned to "serene." All is well.

Many thanks to darling Brunie for agreeing to be our most excellent Plan B!!

Joy to the world,
Lady C

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 304: Clap Out!

(No, this is not an anti-gonorrhea statement.)

A tradition at Dallin School is to "clap out" the departing fifth-graders on the last day of school (which was today). Somehow I missed Mimosa's three years ago, but Mom and I were there to see Li'l Martini, parading with his classmates through the entire school, as the little ones clapped in awe — and then the big guys came into the lobby where the parents were waiting with cameras, and they all looked so astonished to see us. It was a very cool and moving moment, and while I did get a little teary at last night's graduation, this was the moment that hit me hard.

My baby is done being a baby. I mean, he probably has been for a long time — but this made it especially vivid.

We went to Not Your Average Joe's to have a big celebration lunch, and we all drank fizzy lifting drinks and had a very jolly time and laughed a lot. Then Martini went off for a swimming date with a new church buddy, Mimosa took a long shower and sat in front of a fan with a new library book, Mom took her second nap of the day and then read the entire Joan Foster series (she's already polished off Little Women and The Secret Garden — perhaps I should mention that these are all rereads? She does read fast, though), and I did a biggish editing job and then started reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which I didn't expect to love (it looks more romancey than I'd expected) but I'm kinda loving. I want to go read it in the tub now, but it's a paperback and I fear for its covers. (It's a library book.)

Because, my friends, it is freaking hot in Arlington, Massachusetts, today — in the 90s and humid, and I can only imagine what my steamy bathroom will be like. But I gotta take a bath; we just zumbaed (Mom came with me and actually shook her booty for a few songs! with a knee that needs to be replaced! I was very proud) and I am wet and stinky.

Tomorrow, the plan is to celebrate the official first day of summer with a trip to the beach! My mom has seen the Cape (well, Plymouth) but has never been properly introduced to the Atlantic Ocean, despite the fact that I've lived here for 26 years. (We're always busy doing projects when she comes! But this seems to be the no-project visit.) I'm psyched to show off Wingaersheek to her. We'll have fun.

Off to the tub. I do have a hardcover I could read . . . we'll see which wins out.

(Oh, the drama.)

G'night!

—Lady C, "glowing" like the proper lady I am

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Days 302 and 303: Two Days, Two Graduates

Mimosa graduated on Monday, Li'l Martini graduated tonight. Much to tell, but I am so tired I can hardly see straight — or type coherently.

I swear, the only thing keeping me from gaining 10 pounds this week is the fact that I've increased my muscle mass, thereby beefing up my metabolism. I've been eating everything in sight, drinking to excess, and not exercising. Then again, I'm also running around like an agitated hamster, maybe that's helping.

Gotta fall into bed. Tomorrow I have an editing job, plus I need to deliver a present to my departing principal, plus the kids get out at noon and we're having a big celebration lunch, and then, THANK GOD, I have zumba!!! I am so ready to resume my life of good health and self-care!!!

Cheers to graduates and tired parents everywhere!!

xox Lady C

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 301 (Week 43): So Much Wines

I'm looking at yesterday's blog picture, going, "Mimosa's blowout was just yesterday???" There is so much going on — that seems like days ago.

Today I got up early, bullied Martini into making a card and present for his dad (which he told me he'd done yesterday), tied a ribbon around my own present and wrote a card, and went with Mom to get bagels and cream cheese for Husband's nice Father's Day breakfast. Food, presents, fun. Then off to church! Also fun, introduced Mom around, solved a few problems, sang, prayed. Home to make a cake, put laundry away, shorten the straps on Mimosa's graduation dress, paint Mimosa's toenails. Called my own father, had a wonderful talk. (He's watching the U.S. Open and planning to have oysters for dinner; he may even dip a toe in the pool, which is almost unheard of, but it's 103 degrees in Chico, California.)

Started cooking around 3:30; made teriyaki steak tips, Grandma's Rice Dish, sauteed onions and peppers, and blackened zucchini, plus fresh orange cake for dessert. So delicious! Husband was gratified. Did the dishes, cleaned the George Foreman grill.

Then on to Party #3! Mom and I fixed trays of food and set out lots of wine, and all my guests got here by 7:45 and cooed over the beautiful table. This was the Auction Lessons Learned meeting, with the chairs of four major committees, plus the auction co-chairs, plus the sweet girl who will be PTO President during the next auction, who took many notes and looked frightened. Plus Mom, who seemed to enjoy it, as a former PTO President and current Library Treasurer herself — she is no stranger to these discussions. And it was hilarious, and the wine flowed and flowed and flowed. A good time was had by all.

But I am not going to do the dishes until tomorrow. I'm also not reporting my weigh-in, even though I'm only up a pound, which is shocking, given how much I'm eating and drinking and how little I'm exercising. I really did want to walk and sweat today, there just wasn't any time.

More craziness to come tomorrow — can't wait! Yeah.

—Lady C, livin' la vida loca

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 300: My Glamour Girl

Mimosa got her hair blown out today in preparation for her graduation on Monday; she looks impossibly grown-up and glamorous and four inches taller. Her hair is already very long, but it's usually curly; blown out, she can almost sit on it. She is stunning. Her dad has been clutching his head and having fits of anxiety all afternoon, but you can't stop the motion of the ocean or the rain from above, Daddy-O! (We just watched Hairspray.)

Fun day — we did chores, of course, and Mimosa had karate, and Li'l Martini attended an archery birthday party for his friend Mr. Critic (he says he needs a bow and arrow now), and Mom and I did the thing we always do: sit down with a book (in her case) and the pile of papers she brought for me to look at (in my case) and a glass of wine apiece and then ignore what we're holding and talk nonstop for two hours. In the middle of our chat Brunie called to find out why we weren't at the theater with her to see Rock of AWESOME — my dingbat besty is still learning to read a calendar, God love her. But I was very glad to hear she wasn't dead.

Tomorrow is another crazybusy day, church and Father's Day and I'm hosting my third gathering in four days, but I am definitely feeling like I haven't been exercising enough, so I am determined to fit a long walk and some weight-lifting in there as well.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday will be nutcase bonkers, but after that . . . I am pretty sure I can exhale. We shall see.

Time for bed! I did get to sleep in this morning, till 9:30, but I've been yawning for the last hour. The Land of Nod awaits . . .

—Lady C

Day 299: She's Here!!!

My mom is unpacking in my family room (the doors close, the couch becomes a fabulously comfy air bed, she's happy as a cricket) as we speak. The fourth thing she said when she saw me at the airport was, "You are so much thinner!", but she also didn't make a huge big deal of it (as in, "I am SO PROUD of you!," which would have irritated me to death — there are lots of things that I'd like my mom to be proud of, and weight loss is maybe 116th on that particular list), and it was very satisfying.

I'm so glad to have her here! My house isn't as clean as I wanted it, and despite my best intentions (and worst stomach flu) I didn't hit my 40-pound goal — but whatev. My mom is here, and we are going to have so much fun!!!

Also: I hosted a fancy lunch for four PTO presidents today. The food (mini proscuitto frittatas, Caprese salad, cranberry-pecan green salad, and fresh berry shortcakes) was divine, but three of us were still drunk from last night, so it was a tad . . . subdued. I need to space out my parties a little better.

Also: Mimosa and I saw a matinee of Rock of Ages, which was CRAPTACULAR!!!!! We adored it. If I didn't have to drive to the airport after, we would've stayed and watched it twice. The best Tom Cruise musical evah!!!!!

But I am thoroughly exhausted. Tomorrow I am going to sleep till noon.

Good night!

—Lady C

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 298: Celebrating My PTO Board

This is not an actual picture of us, but it might as well be. My Board ROCKS. I totally love these women.

But I am only president for 10 more days (which I kept saying to my co-president, while she covered her ears and yelled, "Nah nah nah nah!!!" Wow, big baby).

We talked about the year, lessons learned and successes to celebrate, and then we kept celebrating, and then we celebrated some more.

It is 1:06 a.m. I am hosting another event tomorrow and then my mother arrives.

And I am having trouble typing actual words.

Time for bed now.

(Weight was down today. I dunno.)

bYe! Celebrate!!

xx Lady Chardonnay, oh so very much Chardonnay, I think 12 glasses maybe

but there is music in my kitchen and maybe I will go dance instead, I think yes, dancing! yes

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 297: Haircuts, and Other Ill-Advised Notions

Another crazy-busy day on the Chardonnay Roller-Coaster!

I had a scheduled editing job but the client begged for more time, so I gave them till 3 and instead spent the morning running errands (birthday presents! transferring slush from my freezer to the school's! food- and hooch-shopping for two upcoming soirees!), then I dusted the three upstairs rooms plus the bathroom plus the pictures hanging along the stairway, and cleaned the blades of all three upstairs fans, and took a shower (so I didn't have to pay to have my hair washed) and got a haircut that I'm having second thoughts about — it's shorter than it's been in a while. Ah, well, it will grow.

And then I worked, interspersed with getting Mimosa to and from a meeting of potential high-school volleyballers and both kids to their new grown-up dentist (aka my adored dentist), which went very well, they both loved her!

And then it was zumba, and I stayed for abs tonight and tried my level best. Oh, man, do I hurt. But it's good for me.

I haven't lifted weights in ages, and all the nice muscle tone in my arms has collapsed; the flesh is now flopping around like two jellyfish doing the wave. If I lift weights and do wall push-ups every day, will I be toned again by Tuesday? Hmm. (On Tuesday, I'm giving a little speech at Martini's graduation, and I plan to wear a sleeveless top.)

Time for a bath, a short one, because I still have to paint my toenails and fake-tan my legs. Tomorrow . . . I get back on the roller-coaster.

Whee!

—Lady C

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 296: Scrubbing Myself Thin?

Today I thoroughly cleaned the downstairs bathroom, which in theory, Husband cleans each week, but he misses a lot of areas. This room has a pervasive "wet bathroom" smell, which I did my best to eradicate; now it smells like "new shower curtain." I also pulled the sofa bed away from the wall (no easy feat, the thing weighs as much as a Volkswagen) and vacuumed and mopped underneath it — I am still haunted by the time I pulled it out for Mom, and underneath was a dead mouse.

And I dusted and vacuumed and otherwise deep-cleaned three whole rooms, which is at least a start. I also completely remade my hideous green sofa, using only a de-piller, small scissors, green nail polish, and a needle and thread. It looks almost new, if you don't look too closely. I told the children to treat it like it's made of glass, at least till Grandma arrives.

I seem to be reveling in gluttony and hard drink these days, so weight loss is clearly on the back burner.

More tomorrow, I'm off to catch the episode of Bunheads I missed.

G'night!

—Lady Martha Stewart Chardonnay

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 295: Breathing In, Breathing Out

One day at a time, one day at a time.

There is just so much going on, and even though lots of it is fun and wonderful, staying focused and sane and not dropping my basket is becoming more of a challenge. Weight loss efforts feel like . . . something I'll think about tomorrow. I'm not overeating or overdrinking (which is amazing!) and I'm still going to zumba class, but I'm also not making particularly healthy choices.

Whatever.

Yesterday, Panel #2 of our three-panel light-up mirrored medicine cabinet fell off, totally broken. Panel #1 fell off a few months ago, so now we're down to one and it looks pretty weird. So Husband and I headed off to Lowe's — "and since we'll be there anyway," I chirped, "let's get those window blinds I've been asking you about!" We have awful mildewy curtains with uneven hems, and I've been wanting to ditch them for ages. I am not crazy about curtains anyway. I like blinds. And we found some really pretty ones, white faux wood with nice wide slats; I love them. And we found a medicine cabinet and we found a brass light strip that will work well in my brass-trimmed bathroom (we couldn't find a replacement for what we had, alas) and we found an under-counter kitchen light, which I've been needing since the last one gave up the ghost, and it was a very successful shopping trip.

And then I came home to a dozen e-mails, people asking me questions about Class Night and begging me to help them with their various issues, because they've learned that Brandy-Brite, the ostensible Chair of this event, doesn't answer a single question, including mine half the time, whereas if they ask me, they get the info they need. Which pisses me off.

And I'm dealing with arranging an exchange and a payment plan for Martini's new instrument, and scheduling haircuts for everyone, and deciding whether Mimosa's Saturday blowout will last till Monday night since the hairdresser isn't open Sunday or Monday, and doing all the tasks associated with handing over the PTO presidency to my co, and getting the kids to the dozen places they need to go this week, and getting my house ready for Mom's visit, and nagging the accountant to file the freaking taxes already, and preparing to host not one not two but three PTO-related events (which will be fun!! but still), and pulling together what the kids need for Field Day and their respective trips to Canobie Lake Amusement Park, and overseeing the cards Martini is writing to each of his Dallin teachers, and buying the birthday presents for two upcoming kid birthday parties, and wrapping Mom's birthday presents, and wrapping and mailing Dad's Father's Day presents, and figuring out what to do for Husband for Father's Day, and reading the dozen documents associated with tomorrow night's ParCom (Parish Committee) meeting, and writing the final piece for our school newsletter, and arranging a summer math tutor for Martini, and figuring out how I'm going to fit this week's paying job into the mix . . . there's more, but my heart is racing again and I need to put my head between my legs.

There is just a ridiculous amount of stuff going on!!! And having to handle other people's drama on top of my own drama — it is just too much.

I just had dinner with Nurse Kathy at Tryst, which was wonderful. We held ourselves to a glass of wine apiece and ate salads and fish and had a lovely evening. Of course, I talked her ear off, but she is a good friend. And she walked to the library with me to return an overdue book (one thing off my list!) so she is a doubly good friend.

My plan had been to watch Bunheads and do my nails, but I think I'm just going to collapse into bed. It's egg-releasing time, I woke up with a migraine and expect another one tomorrow, so a good night's sleep is probably the best thing I can do for myself.

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

Good night!

—Lady C

p.s. How cute was my husband Hugh Jackman at the Tony's last night?!!!! Zanzibar, I think your sister's play was nominated for something, though I didn't see her in the audience. Sister Hart, I thought of you as I watched. How many of those shows have you seen? And your girl Audra was very lovely and sweet.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 294 (Week 42): I Know I Should Walk . . .

I started my day with great gusto, baking fudge muffins, doing a load of laundry, and cleaning the cat box, and then it was a whirlwind of activity: church, followed by brunch which was also my last RE Committee meeting. The food was sensational and I ate a ton of it, so I had my fingers crossed that Nurse Kathy wouldn't be free for dinner tonight after all, as we'd planned.

And that part worked out well; we're dining at Tryst tomorrow night instead. But then I collapsed in a chair and was lazy, though I did finish The Red Book (don't. read. it.); I didn't clean a single part of my house in preparation for Mom's visit, I didn't take a walk on this beautiful sunny day, I did exactly jack.

Though Martini and I made dinner together, and that was fun. I taught him how to use a bread knife and how to brown butter, and he did very well.

And now here I sit, sated, glutted, tired. I know that I should exercise and that a walk would be just the thing to perk me up. But I cannot summon even the ounce of energy required to change my clothes. It's been a wild week and weekend, I've got another one looming ahead of me, I am thoroughly tuckered out. (Though, again, I think a walk would help. Maybe I'll just keep saying that, as I trudge upstairs, heading toward my sneakers . . .)

My weight was unchanged from last week's weigh-in, which is okay but also a little discouraging, since midweek, when I'm doing back-to-back zumba, I've already hit my 40-pound goal. But on the weekend, when I'm eating fun food and not zumba-ing . . . the scale creeps back up four pounds. But I'm very very close. Yes, I know a walk would help.

And it would also keep me away from those fudge muffins. I've only had two — one at brunch and one just now — but they are insanely good and insanely deadly, there's like two sticks of butter in there. Insane. But oh so good.

Well, I'm heading upstairs now, ostensibly to help my daughter exfoliate her elbows (don't ask). Will I then wander in the direction of my closet? We shall see.

—Lady C, woman of mystery

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day 293: Chore Day!

An unexpected rite of passage: I declared that today was move-summer-clothes-to-the-forefront-and-winter-clothes-to-the-back-of-the-closet day, and Mimosa begged to do it by herself, rather than with me.

I should add that while this may well have been a sign of her burgeoning independence, it's also heavily due to the fact that I holler at the kids like a harridan during this particular chore; their drawers are so messy, the clothes are so crammed in rather than folded; "WE BUY YOU SUCH NICE THINGS!" I shriek, "AND NOW I KNOW WHY YOU ALWAYS LOOK LIKE A HOBO!"

Oh, it's a Norman Rockwell moment on so many levels.

But in any event, I let her do it and she did a great job. She now has an enormous pile of cast-offs destined for Big Brothers Big Sisters or some other worthwhile organization, a smaller pile of Mending for Mommy, and an even smaller pile of things with stains that had accidentally been hung rather than laundered, and she carefully pretreated each one before putting it in the hamper. I was very proud! And her closet and drawers are exemplars of tidiness. She remarked, "It was fun to see my old clothes!" What a good girl.

A worthy project all around. And now the poor get a cute hot pink plaid-capri-and-tank outfit, among other snappy numbers. Win-win!

In contrast, Martini groused and flung himself on his bed in high dudgeon, I yelled that he was selfish and ungrateful, then we commenced the project and got it done in 10 minutes. I asked, "Will we remember this next year?" and he sighed, "Probably not."

This week starts The Week of Serious Cleaning and Dieting Before Mom Gets Here, which will be fun, though, because of the closet project, I didn't make much of a start today. (And tonight I was out for five hours babysitting, which was total fun, and I read all my newspaper-like things that pile up all week. Tout un exploit!) Tomorrow I have church and a post-church brunch and possibly a dinner with girlfriends, but I hope to squeeze in some dusting and mopping, that kind of thing.

Other headlines of the day:
  • Martini's Class Night (graduation) has erupted in mass outbreaks of behind-the-scenes drama, many of which are playing out with me as audience — and I am not the Chair! Though the Chair has instigated at least two of the dramas, so — that's why she is not the dream audience. I am playing the role of Voice of Reason in this performance, I suspect. It all took a lot of time today. Very wearying.
  • I loathe our new accountant, who still hasn't filed our 2011 taxes; however, he did file an amended return for 2008, and we got a note from the IRS today saying that we are indeed getting $700 back in two to three weeks, and that is very nice. But still. File the damn taxes, buddy!
  • I wish I hadn't started reading The Red Book, because I'm hooked enough that I want to see how it ends, yet I don't like a single character. It's one of those four-friends-meet-in-college-and-reunite-20-years-later stories, and while I generally like those just fine (Class Reunion being my all-time favorite — I am totally Annabel), this one is more annoying than not. And yet I'm hooked. 
  • Today is my darling mother's 70th birthday. We talked for two hours, and I asked what her plans were; she said that she and Dad had already been to Sin of Cortez for breakfast, and then (I cracked up) they went to the thrift store and the 99-cent store. Keep livin' the dream, Mom. (I can't wait till she gets here!!)


Time for bed. I need to get up early to bake fudge muffins for the aforementioned brunch.


Nighty-night!


—Lady C

Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 292: Manicuring, Against All Odds

Today was crazy. It's hard to see how I could possibly have packed more in.

Got up at 7, made banana bread with toasted walnuts for my writers group. Showered, dressed, set out plates, coffee cups, various dairy and dairyish products, sugar, non-sugar, spoons. Hosted writers group. Sliced bread. (It was hella good.)

Went to Walgreen's to buy cake mix, frosting, and candy to make a truly craptacular set of cakes for the Cake Walk at tonight's picnic. (The tradition is, the more whacked-out on candy and sugar products, the better. Mine were covered in M&M'S and Twizzlers. Crap-TAC-ular.)

Baked the cakes, submitted my timesheet, answered pressing e-mails. Gathered all supplies needed to do manicures at tonight's school picnic. Realized that every muscle and fiber in my body was tightly clenched. Poured a glass of wine at 11 a.m. And it was good.

Picked up Mimosa's newly repaired sandals (which exactly match the dress she'll wear for middle school graduation), and headed west for my monthly lunch with Mrs. Cynicletary. Always a joy; we talked nonstop for two solid hours.

Kept admiring the blue sky and unflinching sunshine. It's been raining and storming off and on all week, and today's forecast was iffy. But for many many reasons (#1: To get the damn thing over with), I really wanted the picnic to happen tonight.

Got home just as the heavens opened. Rain rain rain, thunder thunder thunder. And after 45 minutes, it was over. Skies were blue. Picnic Coordinator called me in a panic: "What should we do?" "Let's get the damn thing over with," I did NOT say. I said, "Weather.com says it will rain again between 5 and 5:30, then stop until 9. Other weather forecasts say different things, but I am choosing to believe Weather.com. Weather Underground sounds shady. AccuWeather? As if. Let's go for it!"

Decorated cakes. Loaded car. Crossed fingers, said a prayer. Headed out at 4:15 for 5:00 picnic . . . and watched the heavens open again.

It poured . . . and poured . . . and poured . . . for a good 15, 20 minutes. And then it stopped. And actually seemed to clear!!!! Mirabile dictu!!

I painted nails from 5:30 till 8 with a rotating band of pallies in the second and third chairs, and it was a BLAST. We got lightly rained on twice, but I held an umbrella over me and my tiny clients, and all was well. And I think we raised a ton of money for our ASSIST Fund, which takes care of our own Dallin families in need — a lovely thing.

AND — we got the damn thing over with!!!!

Weather.com, you are my hero!!

In other news, I just finished what will be my fourth glass of wine today. I'm feeling no pain.

Love to all,

Lady C

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 291: Old Friends and REALLY Old Friends

I had a wonderful morning with my old friend KT. It was a perfect sunny day, blue skies, light breeze, and driving into Boston along the sparkling Charles River was a pure pleasure. We then meandered toward Concord, stopping at Orchard House, the setting of Little Women, where we both got a little teary. I've done the Orchard House tour four times now, and I enjoy it so much every time.

We also walked around Authors Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, paying our respects to Miss Louisa and her family, as well as Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau; drove to Walden Pond and admired the sun glinting off the water through the trees; attempted to find Old North Bridge (unsuccessfully); accidentally trespassed and were frightened by a BEWARE OF DOG sign (that, we saw; the "No Trespassing" sign, not so much); and had a scrumptious lunch at Colonial Inn (Reuben and salad for me, roasted pear spinach salad for her). It was a perfectly splendid day.

And of course we got all caught up on Maud-L gossip. What would you do?

I attempted to drive her back to Boston from Lexington by following Mass. Ave. the whole way, but no go — Harvard Square stymied me. Still, between the two of us (one of us never having been here before), I was the better navigator of Boston, so that is something.

And then I came home and proofread the yearbook and program for Li'l Martini's graduating class and the final program for Mimosa's graduating class, and now I am blind.

Sexy Dancey Nancy's zumba class was awesome, and I am soaked through with sweat. She remembered what my favorite song of hers is ("Echa Pa'lante") and played it especially for me tonight, which made me so happy! And so sweaty! (I love that song and the routine we do, I feel like I'm in a salsa video. Or a dream sequence. It is hot.)

In the final acts of my day, I shall (1) do the dishes, (2) read another chapter of Mockingjay to Martini, (3) take a bath, and (4) jazz up my champagne-painted nails with some orange and black leopardy splotches; I'm running the manicure table at tomorrow night's picnic, and I want to have a wicked hot manicure of my own.

The dishes call!

—Lady C

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 290: Bad Girl, Bad Girl

What'cha gonna do?

I sneaked out of my zumba class tonight before they started abs —slunk away in a walk of shame. I just couldn't face it. I also had a bad case of heartburn. Also heart ennui — my heart just wasn't in the game tonight. It felt like work, rather than fun, all night. Which makes me think that three-in-a-row zumba classes might not be for me after all.

I'm only booked through June — I'll try a different rotation for July and August, check out some other classes, see what I like best. One girl in my Wednesday class was telling me about her teacher, who's a former BU cheerleader; their class is like a cheering routine, which sounds totally fun to me— like being in Bring It On, one of my all-time guilty pleasures. Except the class is in Andover, which is like saying "The class is in Ohio" — it's not going to happen.

Husband and I had a lovely lunch date at Pasha and ate way too much, but my deliberate plan was to eat a big lunch (and it was very healthy — lots of veggies and falafel and hummus) so I wouldn't be hungry and eat before zumba. But then I thought I needed something, so I had a fat-free Greek yogurt (and a doughnut) and ate it (them) a half-hour before class, which was just stupid. Hence, the heartburn. I'm an idiot.

Before lunch, we had a meeting about our daughter's ed plan; she used to have an IEP, last year it was downgraded to something with just numbers (504, maybe?), and now it looks like she needs no additional services. Yay, Mimosa! She's also being recommended for three Honors classes: English, History, and Spanish. We weren't expecting her to be in a single Honors class, so this is quite thrilling. It was a very good meeting, and it seems like this transition will be much better than her last (disastrous) one from fifth grade to middle school.

I finished reading More Like Her, which I found deeply disappointing, though I did read the whole thing, waiting for it to get good — or even match the description on the back cover, which it did not. I liked this author's other book, Conversations with a Fat Girl, so much, and I took the suckyness of this one quite personally.

Now I'm reading The Red Book and the problems of precious rich people may ultimately annoy me, but so far I'm liking it okay. Anna Dressed in Blood awaits! I've also got The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading and The Language of Flowers in my pile. I'm longing to read Anna but I'm trying to read the ones that are due back first — I ended up renewing More Like Her twice! Of course, knowing what I know now, I think I did the readers of Arlington, Massachusetts, a service.

You're welcome, Arlington!

Off to the tub. Tomorrow I spend most of the day in Concord with an old friend I haven't seen in more than a decade. Neither of us can remember why we stopped being friends. Either we'll reconnect and have a wonderful time, or by the end of the day I'll remember exactly why she's not in my life any more. Fingers crossed for the former!

—Lady C, optimist

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 289: Get Ready ('Cause Here I Come)

Every time I hear the opening notes to this lovely song by The Temptations at the Italian Spitfire's zumba class, I grooooooan — because it means we're about to do a routine entirely comprising squats. OUCH. "It's thong season!" she barked at us tonight, and I misheard and said, "It's prom season? 'Cause sweetheart — that ship has sailed."

Thongs. As if.

In other news, I keep forgetting to report this week's weigh-in news:
  • Sunday's scale reading: 251
I'm getting there! Let's run some numbers:
  • Starting weight: 287
  • Current weight: 251
  • Pounds lost: 36 (.88 pounds per week)
  • Starting BMI: 43.6
  • Current BMI: 38.2
So, my rate of weight loss has slowed down but it's still steady. Yay!

I'd love to lose four more pounds before Mom arrives in two weeks, so it's an even 40 —we'll see. My weight was actually lower last week, but then I ate a ton over the weekend, did no exercise, and went to bed freakishly early — I think I packed on two extra pounds right there. But I'll hit all three zumba classes this week, and the weekend is much more chill; lots of time for walks and healthy food prep.

We'll see!

But now I'm going to read another chapter of Mockingjay to Li'l Martini and take a bath: I'm sweaty and stinky and my thighs are quivering like Santa's belly. Not pretty.

And it's almost thong season, remember.

Hmm. Which is likelier to appear in my life, a thong or a prom? Let's ponder this.

—Lady C, a deep thinker

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 288: What I Did Today

  • Me, sitting in front of computer at 9:16 p.m., yawning: What did I do today?
  • Husband: You made bad fish.**
  • Me: Hey!
  • Husband: No, I mean — you made it fine. The store made it bad.
I bought salmon at Trader Joe's, and it smelled a little funny when I opened the package. I rinsed it off and it smelled fine, so I figured it was the packaging. But then I cooked it, cut into it, and began to eat it. And kept catching a whiff of something "funny." Finally I gave in. Given all the tummy trouble we've had around these parts (solely mine, but still), I'm taking no chances.

We had plenty of pasta with brown butter, broccoli au gratin, fresh veggie sticks, and fresh fruit to fill us up — all was well.

Too bad, though. I love salmon with Penzey's Greek seasoning. And we haven't had fish in a while.

Other noteworthy news:
  • Husband and I told our couples counselor that we thought we were "cured," and she agreed! We're done with therapy! Our kids were very impressed.
  • I wrote my last front-page article for the Dallin school newsletter.
  • I was remarkably busy despite having no paying work, which seems wrong. I've decided that I'm going to strive for at least one day of indolence each week, where I do nothing but fun, rejuvenating stuff. Read. Walk. Cook. Buy flowering plants. That kind of thing.
  • I just got home from co-hosting a parents book group at our church. I brought my famous mocha truffle cookies, Kind Tina made an orange poppyseed cake, and we served two kinds of tea, peppermint and Duchess Gray. Five parents came, plus the two of us, and we had a lovely conversation. I enjoyed it very much, and I'm also feeling ready to be done with RE, especially as I move into a new phase of my church life. But I still plan to be bestys with Kind Tina.
A good day, but once again I'm yawwwwwning at an absurdly early hour. Time for bed!

(The book I'm currently reading, More Like Her, hasn't really grabbed me yet. I'm more excited about the YA I just picked up at the library, Anna Dressed in Blood. We'll see which wins out!)

Sweet dreams, baby.

—Lady C

** Husband called from New York during the week I was so sick.

Husband: Are you feeling any better?
Me: Sorta, but I'm really tired. I'm fatigued. I'm wan.
Husband: You're Juan?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 287 (Week 41): Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon

Mimosa's Coming of Age ceremony was beautiful. She read her credo in a clear voice, filled with expression, and the story she told — of making a HUGE mistake in school, getting suspended for two days, and the world not ending, to her amazement — was moving and well-written, full of humor and character and authentic emotion. I near died of pride.

She looked beautiful and confident, and it was wonderful to watch her standing up there with Good Neighbor Anne's Angel-Daughter and their other dress-shopping buddy, Alex Animation — three lovely good girls. I'm thrilled they're joining Youth Group together. Our church's Youth Group — 70+ strong! — is kick-ass. Next year, they're taking a service trip to Appalachia. It's going to be a great experience for our girls. I couldn't be happier.

And it was very fun to sit in a row with Husband and Brunie (The Godmothah) and Good Neighbor Anne and Anne's handsome beau The Silver Fox, and watch our sweet girls come of age together. There was much hugging and hand-squeezing and tear-dabbing. It was wonderful.

But . . . I'm exhausted again. Yesterday I did go to bed at 6, but then I revived myself to eat 45 pieces of pizza and an enormous Greek salad. I think I'll do my weigh-in tomorrow . . . !

(Of course, I had a giant burger for lunch and just polished off half a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, my favey-fave — I fear I do not make the best food choices when I'm exhausted! But my weight's been really good this week. All will be well.)

Off to head in the general direction of bed. I don't know why I'm so tired. Possibly leukemia. Or iron-poor blood. Or a parasite who's feeding off my energy. Hmm, I bet that's it.

Good night!

—Lady Chardonnay, mother of a splendid young lady

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 287: My Seat at the Power Table

Today I attended my first Parish Committee (ParCom) meeting as a member and an officer — we had a day-long retreat, which I approached with some trepidation. But it was actually pretty fun. We spent the morning crafting components of a Vision Statement: what we would like to be able to declare in 10 years. I worked on the education component, and our education vision included the word "kickass." It was cool.

We had a delicious lunch, and while we ate Reverend Marta asked us each to tell the story of one person who'd been instrumental in our spiritual development. I love hearing other people's stories. I love telling my own. This is a nice group of people.

In the afternoon, we did a post-it exercise to figure out our top three priorities as a committee for next year (meaning: September–June), and two of my picks (communication, and fellowship/fun) made the cut. We will likely form three working groups, and I will happily work on either one. (The third priority, capital campaign, I will not touch with a 10-foot pole. I know it's a necessary evil, but I have no more money to give — and I also think that if we build a bigger church, we'll just fill that one up too. I really hate talking about the capital campaign!)

And then I dashed off to Dress Barn, where we bought Mimosa the most beautiful party dress! She is going to be stunning tomorrow. And then the girls and moms all went to Panera for a snack, and gabbed and gossiped and giggled together for an hour. It was great fun.

But now I'm exhausted. A long day of being productive, plus it's raining, which I guess is sapping my energy, plus — it's just been a long week. I am one tired kitten.

So: no exercise today, though I didn't eat a ton either. What I would love more than anything is to just go to bed right now, at 6:10 p.m. Well, we'll see.

Off to lie down and whimper a little!

—Lady C

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 285: Going Green

For exercise today I cleaned up my patio, which hasn't been touched since the winter. I pulled a million weeds that grow between my pavers, pulled up tall weeds in the surrounding beds, brushed off all the cushions (they need a good bath, though), threw away a bunch of crap that didn't survive the winter, and gave it a thorough sweeping. I also pruned the tree that got damaged during last year's storm; one side has always been a little stunted (a larger tree was bullying it; we've since pruned the larger tree, but li'l tree has yet to fully recover), and the storm damage didn't help, as it was all on the stunted side. As much as I hate to cut off a leafy, healthy limb, the tree looked pretty stupid. And I cut off a ton (and then sawed it into smaller bits so it would fit in a leaf bag), but I think it probably needs still more. I'll give it a few days to rest and recover, though.

And all that bending and pulling and sawing was great exercise; I was a sweaty exhausted noodle after an hour or so of this! And I can feel every one of my ab muscles whimpering, still in recovery from Spitfire's torture on Wednesday. I am sore sore sore.

Tonight's task was to make a beautiful album for Mimosa; for her Coming of Age ceremony on Sunday, we're giving her a book called "Mimosa's Circle of Love and Support," 23 photos of and words of caring from the people she's closest to. It turned out gorgeous! I can't wait to give it to her.

(Though Husband reminds me that she's a teenager and I shouldn't expect too much, as she may well just grunt and say, "Nice. Thanks." Which is highly possible. But I know she will treasure it, even if it takes her years to tell me so. Like, on my deathbed. Sigh.)

But now my neck is sore too, from bending over this album for two hours and cutting out tiny bits of paper. Time to haul my aching carcass to the tub. It's been a four-bubble-bath week, whee!

Oh, and: Do NOT start reading The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan unless you have several hours to finish it. It is acutely painful for me to put this book down!!!!! I'm going to go finish it in the tub. So so so so good.

Good night!

—achy-breaky Lady C