Friday, August 31, 2012

Y2 Day 2: But I Didn't Turn to Drink

As previously mentioned, Husband is in Hyde Park till Monday and I'm single-parenting.

The day started nicely enough; Mimosa and I didn't take a walk, but I weighed myself and my weight is only up a pound from what it was before I left (a small miracle!), I convinced Mr. Critic's mom to let me drive the shift I wanted for the boys' LARPy class (I still don't really know what it is, but they are obsessed with it), Li'l Martini had his final math tutoring session, which went very well — his tutor looooves him and thinks he's such a smarty! — and the kids and I enjoyed a wildly delish breakfast at our favorite greasy spoon, Lunch Box Diner in Malden (thickest fluffiest freshest blueberry pancakes ever!). A lovely beginning to our lovely Labor Day weekend and official celebration of the End of Summer.

And then . . . we took a very wrong turn and found ourselves in the express lane to Stressburg.

First, a side note: I had no idea how many high school activities occur during the last week of August! School doesn't freaking start until September 6, but Mimosa has already missed volleyball team tryouts, Freshman Orientation, and School Picture Day. She can attend a make-up orientation with the foreign exchange students (color her so excited) and she'll have her picture taken on Retake Day, no big, but getting the volleyball coach to (a) return my e-mails and (b) schedule a different time for her to try out for the team has been the big challenge of July and August. In the meantime, there's some huge scandal in the high school athletics department and the person I'm semi-communicating with was just promoted to JV coach, so now I'm dealing with a new entity for freshman coach, and as of 9:45 a.m. today I hadn't heard from him.

Flash-forward to post-diner breakfast: As I dropped off our CSA basket at the home of the friend I share with, the battery light on my dashboard came on and wouldn't go off. Bad news, my car manual told me; go see your mechanic. OK, no problem, but I came in the house first to check my e-mail, and there's a note from Freshman Coach: Practice today is 1–3; Mimosa is welcome to join us! It was now 1:22. I hollered to Mimosa to get her workout clothes on, and we dashed to the high school . . .

. . .  when it occurred to me that I only know one H.S. gym, the Blue Gym where I do zumba, and I think there are at least three gyms, the locations of which are unknown to me. Fingers crossed, I led her on the Hansel and Gretel trail to the Blue Gym, which was securely locked, dark, and silent. We did our level best to find another gym, even driving all around the school, but it was not to be.

In the meantime my battery light continued to glow, as angry red and pulsating as a boil.

We bagged the idea of volleyball and pulled into Grey-Patti Sunoco, where my darling mechanic Mr. Cutie-Patti, who has cared for my cars since my Planned Parenthood days*, informed me that my alternator is dead. "But . . ." I stammered, "I'm driving two boys to Burlington today." "Not in this car," said Cutie-Patti, giving me a stern look. Yes, I get the message, Dad.

And besides Burlington: I've bought expensive non-refundable tickets to take the kids to Coco Keyes tomorrow, an indoor "resort" that they've been looking forward to all summer. (We're doing this in lieu of our craptastic Seaport, N.H., motel, where we traditionally spend Labor Day weekend. But I've already traveled so much this summer, packing yet another suitcase held no appeal, and the kids loved the idea of doing jazzy day trips instead.) Coco Keyes is in Danvers, a fur piece away. What to do, what to do.

What I really really really wanted to do was crack open a bottle of wine, grab a straw, and down that baby.

But I didn't. Instead, I mustered my wits.

<<cue John Williams's Indiana Jones theme music now>>

Enterprise Rental Car to the rescue! A nice young man picked me up at my house and took me to the car place, where another nice young man asked me about the features that were most important to me. "Cheap," I said. "Well . . ." he answered, "you rented our Economy model — but if you got a mini-van, that's actually ten dollars cheaper."

Honestly, this gave me pause. I have never driven a mini-van in my life, I drive tiny cars (I drove a Festiva for years, the auto equivalent of a skateboard), and I started to say no. Then two things occurred to me: I will save forty bucks and For the last five days I've been driving a freaking Volkswagen bus** with no trouble, how much harder can this be? So I said yes and am now tooling around in a sporty bright red behemoth, which I have already parallel-parked, thank you very much. Oh, and my transformation into suburban soccer mom is now complete. It's all Mom jeans and hands-free headsets from here.

Mr. Cutie-Patti will fix my alternator on Wednesday, but I am giving serious thought to sending my 1998 Honda Civic to "live on a farm." It's been a great car for a long time (and still doesn't have 100K miles on it!) but maybe it's time to cry uncle. We'll see.

And in other news, Freshman Coach e-mailed me, and he sounds like a perfect peach; he apologized profusely for not telling me where practice was (which, he said, occurred to him at 2 p.m.) and nicely invited Mimosa to come to the next two practices, which will serve as her "tryout." This sounds great to me and will give her ample time to deal with any butterflies she has.

So, all's well that ends well, I guess. Except for having to spend $170 I hadn't planned to spend — but it is a million times better to know about the alternator now, when I have good options, rather than on the road to Danvers on Labor Day, when I am totally hosed. God is good, and life is sweet.

Oh, and I did have a glass of wine, but much later, when everyone was safely home and fed; we settled down with BLTs and fresh fruit to watch a marathon of Gravity Falls, an animated show we all love. Then Martini went upstairs to watch wrestling, and Mimosa and I watched three episodes from Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. An excellent Friday night, all around.

I didn't exercise, but I think the stress wore off at least a pound. We'll see what the scale says tomorrow.

Hasta la vista, babycakes.

—Lady C, habitual stress drinker, possibly turning over new leaf

* When I worked there, I mean — 1987–1991.

** The bus is Mom's second baby; we've had it since, I think, 1972, and she has lovingly restored it many times. It's the car each Chardonnay kid learned to drive in — and dude, if you can drive a 1972 VW bus, you can truly drive anything. (I learned this during a Candy Striper car wash, when a trucker left his dirt-encrusted rig for us and went out to lunch; we finished way earlier than he expected, and I was the only one capable of moving it. Seventeen years old, and I drove that truck like I was born to it.)

(Well, I was their president. That's just good leadership.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Y2 Day 1: Many Time Zones, New Beginning

I know this numbering isn't exactly accurate, Day- and Year-wise, but it'll do. The last 10 days feel like an anomaly; today I'm starting afresh.

My trip might as well have been subtitled "Eat Your Way Around California!" 'cause boy howdy did we. And the most strenuous thing I did in Mendocino was turn a page or operate a corkscrew. But once I hit Chico (splat!) exercise became my friend again; during the four full days we were there, I took two long walks, attended two aqua-aerobics classes with Mom, did a lot of wall push-ups, and worked my core. And also played full-contact death-sport pool volleyball. I taught Mom my core exercise (which Mimosa calls "throw downs"), but she complains that it hurts her lower back; I don't think I have a convert. Still, I preached the virtues of weight-lifting and I hope she's listening; she's lost a LOT of muscle tone and has the strength of a kitten. She can't even open a jar. Pretty worrying.

I am ever grateful to my friend Sexy Em for teaching me that a "family visit" and a "vacation" are not synonymous. This trip definitely presented some . . . challenges. But it was also lots of fun, I read a ton of great books, and Mendocino continues to be one of my favorite spots on Earth.

The photo here is the view from our balcony at 6:40 a.m. I was always the first one up and had the balcony all to myself: me, a blanket, a book, and a cup of coffee, peaceful and serene. It was heaven.

Well, I did have one companion every morning. But he kept his mouth shut for the most part.

Mimosa and I didn't get back to Massachusetts until 3:30 this morning, so I'm operating on very little sleep right now. Today was consumed with unpacking, laundry, cuddling Li'l Martini (Husband got but a quick kiss; he's off to Hyde Park for four days. Oh, our glamorous jet-setting life!), catching up on e-mail, that kind of thing. I was surprisingly perky all day but now I'm fading fast. I probably should just go to bed, but I have to take a bath; I missed my tub so desperately! Bath, bed, and early rising; I will either coax Mimosa into taking one of our last run/walks before school starts next week, or head to the computer and turn around an editing job. Health vs. money — the eternal question.

Missed y'all!

Lady C, back on the Right Coast

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 365 (Year 1): A Very Good Year

Whee! A solid year of blogging under my (somewhat less solid) belt. Time to take stock.

Having just made it through Big Birthday Season, I have a new understanding of what prompted me to start all this in the first place. Our birthdays tend to feature excess. And because of that my weight's been up again, which is a drag, because I'd love to be able to say that I lost 40 pounds this first year (which, technically, I did . . . I just didn't keep it off). I started my journey at 287, and a year later I'm regularly weighing in at 252 — a 35-pound loss.

And I am definitely thinner. All my clothes fit better, and I'm wearing smaller sizes. (I'm bring two pairs of shorts to California for Mom to help me take in — the mending, it never ends!) Even my big fat face is longer and thinner, which is awesome.

I'm also fitter. I can briskly walk two miles or climb a steepish hill or pound out an hour of zumba without getting out of breath. I can do 60 bicep curls and 40 tricep curls with 5-pound weights. I can do 15 leg lifts and hold the Dreaded Plank for 25 seconds. OK, my ab accomplishments sound lame, but still — this is progress!

I have changed the way I eat in that I'm more focused on fiber and protein — my breakfasts in particular look different — and (Big Birthday Season aside) I eat at restaurants so much less than I used to. And when I do eat at a restaurant, particularly when I'm with my family, I am much less likely to order a drink. Truly, this is huge. To me, a margarita or a glass of wine was part of the meal; not having either was as unthinkable as not having an entree. But now I have Diet Pepsi with lime or seltzer or plain water and am happy as a cricket.

Truly — HUGE.

One thing that I think helped me early on but I haven't been able to maintain was making sure that I get a good eight hours of sleep. From everything I've learned about metabolism (particularly seeing Husband and his sleep mask), I know that adequate sleep is essential to weight loss. And yet (as Jerry Seinfeld used to say), Bedtime Me and Daytime Me have completely different attitudes about this. Bedtime Me wants to stay up and finish watching whatever I'm watching . . . just one more hour! Daytime Me hates Bedtime Me.

I've noticed that I'm more likely to want to stay up if I'm watching something on TV, and I'm more likely to fall asleep earlier if I'm reading. I am going to try hard to break my habit of late-night watching and do more late-night reading, and I think this will help in my effort to get more sleep.

(Because — and maybe I should have said this earlier — I don't want to sleep in. I want to get up at 7. I feel slothful and indolent and like a big lazy loser if I sleep much later than that.)

I'm thrilled to have found an exercise I love. I'm happy that I can enjoy treats and still lose weight — I think I'm much more likely to be successful in the long run if I don't feel like I'm depriving myself (which I don't — but I know that's why it's all going so slowly, so — trade-off).

And I do think my blog makes me more mindful, so I'm committing to another year of daily musings. If I keep going at the rate I'm going, I'll be at a good healthy weight in two more years.

Here's hoping!

To my Dear Readers: Thanks for being here. It really, really helps to have a band of cheerleaders in my corner, rooting for me. Your words of encouragement help me be strong and (as the Helicopter Moms say) make good choices.

Love to all,

Lady C, California bound!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 364: Happy Birthday, Husband!

Today my darling changed his age, and we had great fun celebrating him all day. Bagels, presents, Mexican food, and he took himself to a crap movie that I would never want to see — all good. And still ahead: the season-ender of Falling Skies and some sweet bedtime snuggling. I think it's been a lovely birthday.

Plus — I made a pillowcase! Granted, it's one of the easiest things one can possibly make, two straight seams and a hem, but still; it turned out so cute, and I'm really happy. I'm bringing the second one with me on my trip, to finish in California.

  • Mimosa and I are getting up early to run/walk, before we sit on a plane for seven hours.
  • I have a handful of last-minute things to do (be sure to give Husband the CSA card, reschedule Mimosa's school pictures, etc.).
  • My blog is officially one year old! I'm sure I will have many sage reflections . . . which is kinda ironic, since I'm in the midst of a week of food and hooch orgies. But this too shall pass. (It is always easier for me to stick to an exercise plan than to a diet plan. I don't know why that is.)
  • I must pack, groan. I hate, loathe, detest, despise, and abhor packing.
  • At 2:30 or so, I'm off to the airport and will then be in California for the next 10 days! 
It is highly unlikely that I will blog while I'm away. I hope that I come home full of stories about a week of healthy eating and enjoying fresh California produce. We shall see.

I am so glad that my sweet honey was born. Happy day!!

Love to all,
Lady C

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 363: Best-Laid Plans 
I popped right up at 7 a.m. this morning (read: I blearily rolled from my bed after hitting the snooze button twice) to take my much-needed walk with Mimosa; alas, just as we parked the car near the bike path, it began to rain. And not in a pleasant "Nature's gentle kisses!" kinda way; more in a cold drip-drip-drip in your face till you want to punch a tree kinda way. So we turned around and went back home.

Ooooh, that's my second lie! Mimosa went to Starbuck's and I went to Walgreens — with no make-up, in my workout clothes, fresh out of bed. All I had going for me was clean teeth. No one I knew was shopping there, but of course my Walgreen's boyfriend (an adorable young man with caramel skin and melting eyes — he always bags my purchases so tenderly) was at the register. Oh, well. If he can't love me for who I am on the inside, I see no future for us.

This of course prompted me to tell Mimosa about the time in high school when I had to stop for tampons on the way to a play rehearsal (and really had to — there was no putting off this particular errand), and the only person working was a nerdy guy who had a semi-crush on me. Mortifying. To his credit, though, he was the essence of professionalism.

I love to tell my daughter these kinds of stories so she can see how hip I am to the travails of the young, and then she will know that she can confide in me about anything, anything! and I will understand and try to help, and we'll be mother-daughter best friends forever!

Yeah, I'm living the dream.

But even though I wanted nothing more than to (1) go back to bed, or, barring that, (2) drink coffee and read for a bit before starting chores, instead I chose Option Dead Last: head to the basement and walk on my treadmill. I loathed every minute of it (though it was entertaining to do the mental math of how long I would have to stay on my treadmill to equal the marathon that Bride Boy is going to run in October — I think the answer is "October"), but it didn't take me that long to crank out two miles, and then I lifted weights and then I did my chores. The house is clean, and my cardiovascular system is sound. All good.

And I'm happy to report that the Peaches and Cream Dessert is even better the second day!

Tomorrow Husband turns 58. I just wrapped all his presents and am very excited to see him open a few of him. This is the last of the Big August Birthdays, and we will make the most of it. Hoopla will abound!

Off to mend Senor Scary, Li'l Martini's wrestling dummy. (His head keep detaching from his shoulders. I know nothing about wrestling, but this seems . . . unhealthy.)

—Lady C, crack diagnostician

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 362: Welcome to My Produce Party!

Today I edited for five hours straight then headed for the kitchen; I've done almost nothing with this week's CSA share and I'm about to leave Husband and Li'l Martini for nine days — time to cook something for my boys. First I roasted almost all of the basket of tomatoes, and tomorrow night we will have homemade tomato soup and chicken sandwiches, which will be an easy and delicious dinner after chores.

And then I got busy. Tonight we had:
  • Sauteed greens: beet, spinach, arugula
  • Beets with horseradish vinaigrette (a recipe the CSA provider gave me; it was very tasty, but I'm not sure I liked it better than the other ways I have beets, namely, on green salad with goat cheese or with the horseradish sauce I discovered last Thanksgiving)
  • A medley of sauteed zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, purple onion, garlic, and fresh basil
All very yummy! We also had that fantastic bright-red Chinese sausage and some lovely soft Vienna bread.

And we are having two dessserts!! I had some aging bananas in the kitchen and I didn't want to make banana bread again, but then I remembered that my friend Sapphire Pen has a recipe for Banana Cake in one of my old Betsy-Tacy cookbooks — and then on the opposite page I saw a recipe from my friend the Benson Librarian for "Peaches and Cream Dessert," and as you know we have a basket of peaches . . .

So, two desserts, why not? It's fruit. !!!

I made the cake in a Bundt pan and frosted it with Brown Butter Icing. The peach dessert has a cakey bottom (made with vanilla pudding mix!) topped with chopped peaches and covered in a sweetened cream cheese and egg mixture, and baked till golden and yummy. Both desserts look and smell fantastic, and only the excellence of my filling dinner is stopping me from diving in right now.

Mimosa and I are finally going to watch Ordinary People tonight, and while I had planned to do some mending (actually, I think my mending, per se, is done; what I have left are sewing projects, like turning my dumpy navy dress into a cute summer shift, and transferring the appliqué from my tattered favorite pillowcases to new handmade pillowcases — things like that), but I've been on my feet for hours. Instead, I will probably drink the last glass of leftover sangria from my birthday and give myself over to the beautiful anguish of Timothy Hutton and Mary Tyler Moore, in their best performances ever (in my ever-humble opinion). (But seriously, if you have a different favorite TH and/or MTM performance, tell me! Because I was completely blown away by these two in this movie, and I'd love to know what your candidate is.)

Note how I am completely avoiding the topic of weight loss. I think I'm taking a vacation day. 

(Tomorrow Mimosa and I will get up early for our run/walk; it's a short vacation, in other words.)

Off to weep!

—Lady C

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 361: My Good Uncle

So, I mentioned a few days ago that my uncle died. Apparently he left us sometime during the night of my 50th birthday (or in the wee hours of the morning after). But as deaths go, it seemed like it was a good one. He'd been very ill for a few years; I think there was something going on with this heart, and one day he simply passed out and fell, hitting his head hard. And then after that . . . nothing seemed to go right for him. He developed skin cancer on his head, had it removed, and then the wound never closed. His circulation continued to be an issue, which made him exhausted all the time and overwhelmed the rest of his organs (like — his body couldn't process bile adequately, so much of his esophagus was eaten away). Everything got harder for him: movement, speech, memory, breathing. During the last week of his life, he was nauseated and couldn't keep anything down, and on Friday he had so much trouble breathing it was throwing him into a panic attack.

Before then, my aunt had called hospice, so he (and she!) were being well taken care of, and my uncle had said several times that he was ready to go, he didn't want any Big Intervention — but when your loved one is right in front of you trying desperately to breathe and failing . . . I am really proud of my aunt for not panicking. She held his hand and spoke to him calmly while simultaneously calling hospice and getting him some anti-anxiety meds, and he was able to calm down and breathe again. And then their former minister came to visit, and he actually got my uncle to sing with him, which is HUGE — my uncle had always been so musical, he had a beautiful deep voice and loved to sing, but he hadn't been able to do it in years (the esophagus thing). And then he and my aunt kissed each other and said "I love you," and he fell asleep very calmly. And the next morning . . . he was gone, with a look of peace on his face.

My grandparents are all gone, and this is the first person in the next generation to go. And while, as I said, it isn't a huge surprise — we knew it would be soon — I'm still reeling from the loss.

Uncle Bill, Daddy's little brother, is the person in the world most like my adorable dad. They were such partners in crime. Both were masters of deadpan humor; they would say these droll, witty things and barely crack a smile.

There were four kids in the family; my dad and Bill were in the middle. (Left to right, that's Bill, Dad, and Butch, the eldest. Look at my dad's curls! Is he not adorable? Though he already has the weight of the world on his shoulders, as you can see.)

Actually, there was a longish stretch following Bill, and then Diane came along, a cherished princess after three strapping boys. (My uncles are giants, in every sense of the word. Big tall men, big booming voices, enormous feet, larger-than-life personalities. They fill a room.) The story they tell about the first Princess Di is that it's a wonder she ever learned to walk; her adoring big brothers carried her everywhere until she was five. But when Di was still a baby, their mom left their dad, an itinerant musician living in Oklahoma (and possibly cheating on her, given that she was Wife 2 out of 5) and fled to California, where she had family. But no one had money, and she promptly went to work two jobs, leaving young Bill basically motherless.

"And now," says Di, "he has her all to himself, at last."

There was never any money, so the kids made their own fun. Sports were huge; the boys played a lot of basketball, which required the least equipment. And they made a game out of whatever they did. In one of my favorite stories about Dad and Bill, they would be playing cards (whatever game they happened to be playing), and, I imagine, being very funny and clever about it, as they always were, so they began to attract an audience. And once they knew people were watching, they just started making up crap. "One-eyed Jack!" Bill would yell, slapping down a card, and they'd get up and switch seats. "Seven of hearts," Dad would say. "Give me seven cards." And Bill would. They got each other perfectly, always.

My dad doesn't have that now. That's a kind of loneliness I can't even bear to think about.

Bill was the last one of the kids to get married, but he chose well. My Aunt Val is stunningly beautiful (men followed us around Tiajuana crying, "Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman!" She looks a lot like Lynda Carter but even prettier), unfailing patient, adorably funny, and always kind. I think I was 10 when they got married, and I remember staring at her in awe during the whole wedding — she was such a goddess to me. (I said to Mom later, "I'm so glad that Aunt Val is in the family now! I want to look like her when I grow up." Oh, poor Mom, who had to explain genetics to her crushed little girl . . . )

They had two kids, who looked just like the Campbell's Soup babies — round and red-cheeked. I saw them only occasionally over the years, because they lived in Southern California and we lived in Northern — and seriously, people, it's like the two Irelands, except only one half of the state seems to realize there's a war. (Northern California: "L.A., bah! Smog! Traffic! Shallow people! Ugh!" Southern California: "Ooh, San Francisco, redwoods, hot tubs! Love the shops!")

But as the kids got older and the adults were more able to travel without having to deal with child care, we began seeing them a lot more, because Bill and Val came to everything important we did. Between me and my brothers we've had five weddings, and Bill and Val were at every one of them.

This picture is from 1961, right after my mom and dad eloped, and her parents threw a party for the new couple. (I think they considered punching my dad — my mom was only 18!! — but he won them over. And they've been married 50+ years so far, who's to say.)** Mom and Dad are in the center, Aunt Di is holding the baby, and Bill is next to her. We howl over this picture, as everyone else is enraptured by the cute baby — except Bill, who always knew where the camera was.

Bill and Val came to my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary, even though these were Mom's parents and technically not their own relatives — but Bill and Val were so much part of our immediate family, no one batted an eye.

One of the joys of my life was to get Bill, Dad, and Dad's best friend Everett in a room last summer and have them tell me stories about living in an apartment together as young men before they went into the army. (Ev: "Your dad did the cooking, I did the dishes, and Bill . . . napped." I said, "My dad always claims that he was afraid of girls," and Ev said, "We both were! Bill was more outgoing, so he'd do the talking while your dad and I stood there with our hands in our pockets.")

He was my singing uncle, the one who would always tell me family stories when I asked, my dad's buddy. He loved me from the day I was born. He was a good, good man, and I can't believe he's gone.

Aunt Val is coming to Mendocino with us next week, and I imagine we will tell lots of stories and do some toasting and laughing and crying and maybe even some singing. I'm so glad she will be there — I think we all need to see each other and spend some good family time. And I'm happy that my own daughter will get to know her goddess great-auntie a little better.

I miss my uncle. I know he's in a better place, but I still miss him. And I am sad for my darling Aunt Diane, who has always been the cherished little sister of three big (BIG) brothers, and now must adjust her worldview. And of course I'm sad for Aunt Val, who lost her partner and soulmate and still has a long, long life ahead of her without him.

And my heart breaks for my dad, who lost one of the people deepest in his heart. Like many men, Dad doesn't have a lot of those people. Losing one is huge.

All I can do is be the best daughter and niece I can be — and cherish my own brothers, too, who drive me crazy but are also wonderful, good men. And keep telling the family stories, so that we always remember. And be grateful that I have a large loving family, which not everyone does. And that is really all I can do.

Rest in peace, my very dear uncle, and know that you are always in our hearts.

—Lady C

** Though on occasion my dad still introduces her as "my first wife."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 360: LOVE Teacher, LOVE Zumba, HATE Ab Work!

(This is the Dreaded Plank, by the way. And yes, I look just like this when I do it — take that to the bank, mister!)

I was a good girl and stayed for abs tonight . . . and you know what? It was terrible, as always, but I could do most of it. Like — three-quarters of it! Of course, I groaned and huffed and otherwise made a lot of noise (everyone else in this class is silent. My secret hope is that they find me charming. So far, no has expressed this opinion), but I could more or less keep up with everything the Italian Spitfire told me to do. And this, believe me, is new!

Of course, I still have a big marshmallow middle and a stomach flap — nothing's changed there. But still — progress? Of a sort? It seems like it is.

However, my Plank blew because my forearms were so sweaty, I slid right off my mat. I don't think I could've done more than 30 seconds, anyway; she had us do the Plank at the end of the other exercises, and my core had left the party by then. But I will try to do it every day that I'm in California (and get Mimosa, Mom, Lady Darcy, and my Aunt Lynda Carter to do it with me), and knock the Italian Spitfire's socks off when I get back. Goal!

Tonight she called me "sultry." I just have to laugh. I'm wearing a truly disgusting shirt — a navy tank top stained with white paint, which I thought I could make look better by painting over the stains with navy nail polish . . . Yeah, what you're picturing right now? It looks even worse than that. And I'm fat, frumpy, and fifty, also sweaty, and I also groan a lot. Loudly. Sultry? Not so much. But she makes me feel good when she says it. I told her that I pretend I'm Cher when I'm walking, and she said, "That's exactly the way to do it."

Tomorrow Husband and I are taking the kids to a minor league baseball game, which we've never done before. I'm quite looking forward to it! I'm no big sports fan, but I like being at a ballpark; as the one non-jock in a sports-obsessed family, I've certainly spent enough time in them. We'll have fun.

Dishes, bath, coffee, Medium, bed. I'm still reading The Selection and will finish it tonight. It's wonderful! Thank you, dear Brunie!

Blowing a kiss to you all,

Lady C, fat, frumpy, and sultry (apparently) on this New England summer's eve

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 359: Sangria? Coffee? Or Both?

Just got home from zumba, am soaked with sweat, and will be bubble-bathing in, oh, 10 minutes. Now, which beverage should accompany me to the tub (along with a gallon of ice-cold water)? That is the question I'm facing.

Today I tried to follow the adage "lunch like a king, dine like a pauper" (that isn't it exactly, but that's the one I followed). Everyone was too full after yesterday's late diner lunch to have a big supper, so I put the thawed chicken in the fridge for another day . . . except, I've got zumba the next two nights and don't tend to cook a big meal, and I wanted it out of there before then. So today we had a simply enormous lunch: sautéed chicken breasts, a Caesar salad with locally grown Romaine, toasted banana muffins, a fresh fruit plate, and veggies with spinach dip. For my pre-zumba dinner, I had some edamame, a nectarine, a fat-free raspberry Greek yogurt, and a handful of Trader Joe's Sweet & Salty Trek Mix, which is so freaking good I curse the day I discovered it (because it is also so freaking high in fat and calories, but what can you do). And now it's 8:41 and I'm not hungry in the least, so I think this was a good plan.

Tomorrow I have paying work in the morning, and in the afternoon I'm submitting Novel 1 to the publisher's version of an open casting call, which Sister Hart alerted me to. This publisher is looking for compelling new middle grade and YA books — fingers crossed! A busy day, in other words.

Today was more chill; I wrote thank-you notes and talked to my aunts and took Mimosa to the library and picked up our CSA. I've got a basket of tomatoes and a basket of peaches and must contemplate what to do with a basket of each, particularly when I'm the only one in the house who really eats either. Tomato-peach chutney? Hee. (I do make a killer roasted tomato soup, though it's not exactly soup weather, but that recipe uses a ton of tomatoes. Maybe I'll make it and freeze it?)

Off to the tub! I'm reading The Candidate (or maybe it's called The Selection — or for that matter, maybe it's called something else; now that I'm 50, I can't keep anything straight, and titles were never my strong suit, as you well know — anyway, it's something Brunie recommended, though I am skeptical about her recommendations now, since the last book she recommended, Ripper, she never even read) . . .

Wait, what was I saying? I've got a good book and a stack of magazines and so much new bubble bath (thank you, my friends!) you can't even believe it. So much to celebrate! Sangria it is.


—Lady C

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 358: The Road Is Long . . .

My birthday excesses + a day of sitting made my weight zoom up by seven pounds!!! Time to get back on the virtual treadmill. And my day is off to a good start: Mimosa and I arose at 7* to do our run/walk, and then I lifted weights and worked my core (my Plank time is back down to 20 seconds, mostly because I haven't been doing it, mostly because I'm a big chicken), and I will stretch before I shower.

And though I did eat a piece of coffeecake for breakfast, I also had a ripe nectarine — sooooo good! What is yummier than a perfectly ripe nectarine? It really is my favorite fruit, but it is so hard to find a perfectly ripe one; when they're picked too early, they get all mealy. I almost never buy them any more because I've been so disappointed. But these smelled delicious at the farm stand, so I took a chance.

So, yes, I'm back to the exercise — but as far as the eating goes, I have a kitchen full of pie. What is a girl to do????

I'm very happy right now because I just got an easy-ish job for this week but it won't be ready till tomorrow, so, yay! free day! And the job I was supposed to do got bumped to Friday, so, yay! more money! It's the best of all worlds.

While I ate my nectarine, I amused myself by reading old blog posts and reveling over how things have changed in just a year. Then Husband walked into the room:
  • Husband: Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt you.
  • Me: 'S okay, sweetpea, just reading old blog posts.
  • Husband: Aren't they great?
  • Me: Yep.
  • Husband: You've come so far!
  • Me: In this one, you're coughing and I'm about to throw something at you.
  • Husband: [pause] I've come really far, too.
Plans for today:
  • Put away my birthday gifts
  • Write thank-you notes
  • Call my aunt (my uncle just died — not ready to write about this yet)
  • Mend (my good black skirt if nothing else)
  • Watch Ordinary People and Harold and Maude with Mimosa
  • Return some cans and bottles to the store (money!)
  • Take the kids to a diner for lunch
  • Make chicken and greens for dinner; empty the fridge in prep for tomorrow's CSA share
  • Bubble bath!
Sounds like a GREAT day to me. Time to get started!

—Lady C, Progress Girl

* Oh, this is such a lie. MIMOSA popped right up at 7 and was strapped into her sports bra and sneaks by 7:08. In contrast, I clung to my pillow moaning, "I HATE exercise!" and "WHY are we DOING this?" and pummeled my alarm clock from approximately 7:02 to 7:29 a.m. We didn't hit the bike path till 7:50.

But nonetheless: We did it. And I am exercise-smug.

(And I've got Adam Lambert singing Mad World in my head now, because it was the last song I listened to on my iPod. A kitchen full of pie and a head full of Glambert. Quality problems, man.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 357: Work, Bad! Money, Good!

This was me, for 11 hours today. (For fun breaks, I did a load of laundry and cleaned the litter box.) But I finished the project and will get paid for 35 hours of work, which ROCKS.

We can definitely use the dough, especially before I head west for nine days (though we just got a new dishwasher, so I guess I should pay Sears first . . . and our property tax . . . okay, I'm eating Taco Bell and ramen noodles in Mendocino), but this was a long day and I'm breaking up with my keyboard now.

More tomorrow (which at the moment is pure white and pen-free in my calendar! Such bliss).

Happy dreams, my peeps!

—Lady C

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 356: Cel-e-brate Good Times, Come On!

I wasn't going to have a 50th birthday party. I definitely didn't want a big bash (I think I've mentioned that I'm liking crowds — meaning, more than eight people — less and less as I age), and to me, my big (expensive) celebration is my trip to Mendocino in two weeks. But several of my friends were insistent that this is a milestone that deserves to be marked in some way, so I decided that I'd have a handful of pallies over to play games and eat pie with me and watch as I blow out 50 candles. So that's what I did tonight.

And even though it was one of most humid days of the year, and by the end of the evening my moisture-wicking Spanx were sobbing for mercy ("I guess there's a limit . . ." Mrs. Cynicletary commented), it was a blast! I invited exactly eight friends, so we were cozy in my little living room (and "cozy," of course, is just what you want to be on a hot and humid night — sigh), and we ate salad and pizza and drank red and white sangria and savored five kinds of pie — Key lime, blueberry streusel, pecan, sour-cream peach, and chocolate fudge — plus brownies and strawberries and whipped cream, and played many many games! To wit:
  • Paths to Jen + Two Truths and a Lie
  • Name That Tune of 1962 or 1978*
  • Salad Bowl
  • Ball and Chain, One-Night Stand, or Corpse
  • Jenpardy
  • Six-Word Summaries
  • Consequences
I love love love drinking cocktails and playing party games with my friends, more than almost anything on Earth. Even when it's hot.

Oh, and: Tomorrow will NOT be Weigh-In Day! Though for me I didn't drink all that much, and while I tasted every pie (YUM), I didn't finish my plateful. But still. Pizza and pie are not my scale's friends, this I know. And since I plan to eat blueberry pie for breakfast and leftover pizza for lunch, maybe Monday won't be Weigh-In Day either.

However: Tonight I slid into a size 18 dress that I didn't even need to unzip first! And I wore high-heeled gold sandals and curled my newly bobbed hair and pretended to be Joan Holloway. Though hot and sweaty (have I mentioned that?) I still felt very cute and chic, and that is a nice thing to be able to say on the weekend of one's 50th birthday.

Time for bed. Though maybe first I'll look at my presents again. I got wonderful wonderful things from everyone, and in a HUGE surprise, a bunch of my Maud-L pals — masterminded by my darling friend Inspirational Kathy — chipped in to buy me a bottle of Dom Perignon!!! Brunie handed it to me and then laughed at the expression on my face. "Oh, you think I'm such a good friend now," she said. "Read the card!" And there they were: name after name of so many women I love. I got very teary.

I adore champagne, as Inspirational Kathy well knows, having put away a fair amount of it with me, and I have never tried Dom Perignon before. I am extremely excited!!!! (Personal thank-you notes to come!)

Okay, yes, I will go look at my presents again. And then to bed — I need to finish this job tomorrow and also exercise some pie off. Big day ahead!

Love to all,

Lady C

* Brunie asked me a while ago, "When was the last time you liked a current song?" And while there are random songs I do like, I knew what she meant — and the answer is 1978, the year I knew and liked almost every song on the radio. So tonight we celebrated songs from the year of my birth and the year of my musical nirvana  . . . and it was fantastic. There is nothing like a roomful of aging liberals belting out "Hot Blooded" and "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and "We Will Rock You." Man, typing this makes me want to do it all over again! Maybe I'll go see if Mimosa's still up.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 355: So Far, 50 ROCKS!!!

(Though I just typed the number 50 and then looked at it so curiously, like, what does that number have to do with me? I don't think I've quite connected to it yet . . .)

My birthday has been utterly magnificent, every single second of it. It started at midnight, when Husband suddenly announced, "It's your birthday!" and put a light-up tiara on my head, which blinked "50! 50! 50!" Hilarious. Then, after a good night's sleep and a luxurious lie-in (I woke at 8:30 to the sound of Good Neighbor Anne singing on my answering machine), my scale wished me a happy birthday by allowing my weight to stay in the '40s, despite last night's restaurant meal. Thank you, scale! You're the best!

I had my traditional birthday breakfast of mimosas and cinnamon-sour cream coffeecake while opening birthday cards and getting more birthday calls. Husband also cooked bacon (lovely thick slices from Trader Joe's with some kind of dry rub — SO GOOD), and I opened presents while I ate. One of my presents from Husband was a Miss America-type sash, royal blue with glittery gold letters spelling "50 and Fabulous!" (The light-up tiara, while stunning, was made for a girl with a teeny-tiny pinhead, and my head is the size of a Volkswagen, so I put it on my head and it begins inching upward until it pops off. The cats found it entertaining, but I didn't think I could wear it today. The sash, however, is fabby, and I also had a light-up pin from Mrs. Cynicletary saying "Kiss me! It's my birthday!" so in terms of flashy birthday gear, I was all set.)

On my way to my mani-pedi, I stopped at the library to pick up two movies Mimosa wanted to see, and my favey librarian admired my ensemble and then comped the movies (which usually rent for $2 apiece). Sweet! And my mani-pedi turned out gorgeous; my toenails are Extreme Violet and my fingernails are the iridescent pink of the inside of a shell.

As is our long-time tradition, I had lunch at Not Your Average Joe's with Mrs. Cynicletary (free birthday entree! free birthday dessert!), and we then went to a matinee of Hope Springs, with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones (love!). And it was especially fun, because we went to West Newton Cinema, where I used to work, and I was telling Mrs. C all about the man I loved and planned to marry before I started working there, but alas, it was not to be, possibly because of his love for the boys — and then who should take our tickets but my very own Mr. Not To Be! It was so fun to see him again. He took in my sash and blinking pin and said, "Gee, Lady C, I feel like today's a special day of some sort, but I'm just not getting it."

And then I was in a reminisce-y mood, so I drove Mrs. Cynicletary by the house where I used to be a nanny, just a few blocks from the theater — and saw two cars in the driveway. My Nanny Mom and Nanny Dad were home! So I ran it to say hi to them, which was mega fun; I haven't seen them in a while, though we faithfully send birthday cards, so they knew today was my Big Day. Of course, we're all in denial about how old we all are. My Nanny Kid is 28, a big finance guy in New York. The mind reels.

Presents at Mrs. Cynicletary's with her husband, Handsome D, and then back home to my darling family, Thai food, more drinks, and lots more presents! (Oooh, I just remembered: Martini's friend Nonstop's mom brought me an Edible Arrangement! I haven't seen it yet, it's in my fridge, but a chocolate-covered strawberry sounds delicious right about now.)

Mimosa and I had planned to watch Harold and Maude tonight, but two things derailed us:
  • After I got home from the movie, the phone rang. It was Mr. Not To Be, saying, "Did you lose your wallet? We've got one here with your driver's license in it." (Is that not the funniest way of saying it? Like, NO, that's not mine! What are you trying to pull?) So, whee! another trip to West Newton! Which is not exactly next door to Arlington, let me tell you.
  • I had so many presents to open! This, my friends, is a quality problem. I also had a long letter from Lady Darcy to read, always the best present of all.
I'm still game for a movie, but my daughter says it's too late. C'est la vie.

To everyone who sent me a card or a present or an e-mail or who called and left a message: Thank you, thank you, thank you for remembering me today. I felt enveloped in your love and warmth and good wishes, all day long. This was a marvelous way to begin my next decade!

Shall I clean up the detritus from my presents now, or save it till the morning? That is the question I am facing. What would a mature 50 year old do?

Stay tuned!

Love and kisses to you ALL,

Lady C — fifty, flirty, and oh-so-fabby!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 354: Birthday Eve!

(Have I mentioned that I turn 50 in a few hours?)

Lady Darcy once gave me an enormous key chain that said MY BIRTHDAY IS AUGUST 10. I loved that key chain, but I kept breaking it; clearly, it was not meant to be. (I removed the paper insert and it's now in my mirror.)*

Packages and cards have been rolling in all week, which is so exciting! On Monday I got an e-mail from Mrs. Fog Dog apologizing that her presents would be late; her package arrived on Wednesday, and yesterday a nice man came to my door delivering her apology flowers. I would say she is covered. (And then some!) I also have enticing boxes from Lady Darcy and my parents, and all sorts of cards came in the mail today — but I don't open anything until my natal day itself. And then I have an orgy!

I've made all sorts of lovely plans, and tonight I'm chilling champagne (for tomorrow's breakfast mimosas), removing all my nail polish (for tomorrow's mani-pedi), and making strawberry-rhubarb compote (for sangria, yum!).

I have not a single qualm about turning 50. For so long, my big life goals have been to (1) lose weight, (2) start writing again, and (3) manage my money better, and guess what? I'm doing the first two, and I've hired my wonderful guru $u$an to do the third for me, and I guess I feel like I'm on track with where I want to be — which is a pretty sweet thing to be able to say on the eve of my dotage!

Today I worked like a plow horse, and it's time to peel myself from this computer and go watch a movie with Mimosa. She's on a girly movie kick, so tonight we're watching a coming-of-age classic: Bring It On. I may mend the three things that have been sitting on my desk chair all week or, more likely, I will sit and stare vacantly at the sexy antics of Kristen Dunst and Eliza Dushku. Place your bets now!


xox Lady C, permanent birthday girl

* The first time my friend Brandy-Brite saw my bedroom, she assumed it was Mimosa's, partly because of all the nonsense I have tucked into my mirror. Husband is a very good sport about our half-girly bedroom (because he is secure in his manhood). (Also, we have a GIGANTIC framed portrait of HIS OTHER WIFE over our piano, he can give me a half-girly bedroom.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 353: The Waning Days of My 40s

I knew the Italian Spitfire wouldn't be at zumba tonight; she's at a conference in Florida, zumba-ing with Vanilla Ice. (!! who knew?) So when I walked into class and saw a woman I used to work with, I thought, Wow, DD's a zumba instructor now! But no — DD's daughter was our teacher.

My peers have daughters who teach zumba. I am a hundred freaking years old.

(I came home and told Mimosa that this was my new dream for our future, and she rolled her eyes and shut the bathroom door a little more firmly than was necessary. Hee! Teenage girls.)

Short post tonight; I need to put in another hour of work. After assuring me that returning the document on Monday would not be a problem at all, the client is now getting antsy, which means I need to do a ton of work today and tomorrow, because I will not work on my birthday! Nor the day after! Maybe Sunday.

And unfortunately I missed some good work time today because I needed to get (1) a filling, (2) a crown reglued, and (3) a haircut. But tomorrow is wide open.

Work, bath, Medium, bed. Good night!

—Lady C

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 352: Seriously, I Got Nothin'

I was so busy today; why on earth do I have nothing to blog about?
  • Worked worked worked. Chapters 1–3 were well-written, an easy-breezy copy edit. Just hit Chapter 4, which is a clusterf*ck. I've . . . slowed down.
  • Welcomed the Sears guy, who was here as a result of 12 hours on the phone with Sears Customer "Service." Turns out — no one at Customer "Service" actually listened to my problem, and they sent me a dishwasher repair guy . . . to fix a plumbing problem. Caused by their dishwasher installers. However, the dishwasher guy (either Darren or Darrell, we didn't quite catch it) was very nice and helped us figure out what the problem actually was, which Husband could fix himself with a $6 part from Home Depot. Thank you, Darren-Darrell! You put the "vice" in "Service," if you know what I'm saying, nudge nudge, wink wink!
  • Wrote my letter of resignation to the church committee and brought some files to Old Pill's house. (She said yes, but only after chiding me for misrepresenting the job so much. Which I did NOT. She listens about as well as Sears Customer "Service.") When I reached her porch, she opened the door and said coldly, "Did you want to come in?" And I was never heard from again.
  • Gave Mimosa a pep talk and dropped her off at the elementary school, where some of the high school volleyball team was doing drills. She plans to try out for the freshman team in the fall, and our old babysitter, the new volleyball team co-captain, invited her to the Tuesday games — but babysitter wasn't there yet, and my shy darling was going to have to approach four girls she didn't know and ask if she could play with them. Four high school girls. Four athletes. I knew this would be excruciating for her — but she did it! And she stayed and played with them for and hour and fifteen minutes!! I am insanely proud of my girl. (Babysitter never did she up; she's in California — which makes it all the cooler. My bashful sweetie did this all by herself!)
  • Went to zumba, sweated like a trucker passing through Arizona with no a.c. Small class tonight, which was quite fun — a lot of talking and teasing and laughing. And a great workout, too. The Italian Spitfire has always been fond of squats, but now she's making us do a lot more arm stuff. I come home wet and sore and limp and glowing and virtuous. Love my zumba!!
OK, in retrospect the day is sounding a little more interesting than it seemed when I started writing. Oh, and here's one more good thing: Yesterday, Husband and I were all pissy with each other, and today we talked about what was going on — and we were calm and rational and kind and listened to each other and came to a nice resolution. Yay! Our therapist would be happy-dancing all over our kitchen at this news! And huge kudos to Husband, as "talking about the relationship" is about #2,743,976,425 on his list of Fun Things to Do, right before "kissing each cat on the lips" and right after "letting Wife help you clean out your closet," so he gets major strokes for doing this with me. Stroke! Stroke!

Off to —where else? — the bathtub. I won't finish Annie's Ghosts tonight, I got distracted by a backlog of People magazines. Rob and Kristen! Tom and Katie! The problems of rich skinny famous people — so exciting! We'll see which catches my attention first.

—Lady C

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 351: Stupid Phone

I'm waiting and waiting and waiting for an Old Pill to call me, which is all kinds of fun.

This is the woman I'm trying to convince to take on the church job I'm unloading. She initially said yes, but now she's trying to weasel out of it without actually saying no — and all the while being as unpleasant as possible. And certainly I'm not going to force her to do it (oh, if only I could!), but I do want to get a definite answer out of her, one way or another.

I called her around noon today, and she said (tartly, crisply — she's a Washington apple!), "Could we please discuss this tonight?" "Of course," I said, dripping honey and insincerity.

And now I wait. To me, "tonight" when talking about something business-y means 7 p.m. She's going to call during Bunheads, I know it. Because in her Pill-ness she has intuited that I am someone who likes Bunheads . . . and she despises me for it.
Ha. Really, I'm assuming she hasn't called because it's all part of her passive-aggressive plan to weasel out of the job by overwhelming me with her obnoxiousness. But she has no idea how tenacious I am.

In other news, I finally have some paying work (and it's fun!), plus two more funnish jobs for next week, and I took a dinnertime walk, which was lovely. We also had some guys over to fix our bathroom wall (remember when the mirrored doors fell off our medicine cabinet, oh, months ago? We got the new cabinet installed, but it's a different size than the last one, plus the light fixture is totally different, so the wall needed to be plastered and repainted — and now it's done! Why rush, that's our motto), and it's so lovely in there; I will thoroughly enjoy tonight's bath.

I'm trying to finish Annie's Ghosts, which is a very good book, but even though I read and read and read it, I don't seem to be making a dent. Nonfiction . . . is kinda worky.

Oh, and for lunch I reheated the pasta I had at Macaroni Grill last night for Mimosa's birthday dinner. It didn't actually taste that good last night; I thought maybe they hadn't cooked it enough (a little too al dente). But today I realized that the problem is the pasta itself: whole wheat fettucine.

Whole wheat is just fine in some things: bread, crackers, cereal, couscous. Honestly, I can barely tell the difference. But for other things — pizza crust, English muffins — it is unbearable, and with pasta I have to do half and half and use only the thinnest noodles (spaghetti, angel hair) for it to be palatable. This was a big bowl of savory garlic-scented cardboard, and after two bites I threw it away.

So sad.

It's 8:23. The Pill still hasn't called. She is pissing me off.

And of course I feel guilty about sticking our nice Parish Committee with a total Pill. But perhaps she'll behave once she gives in and accepts the job. (She is a nice person, usually, which is why I thought of her in the first place. I am very surprised and put off by her bad behavior these past few days. Oooh, maybe she is going through The Change. I should cut her some slack.)

Ha, again.

It's 8:26.

OK! Moving on with my life. Apple, Bunheads, bath, coffee. Possibly a glass of wine. Will it make me mellow, or will it make me feistier? Wine can go either way.

I love a mystery!*

—Lady C

* Did anyone else immediately think of Jack, Doc, and Reggie?

. . . just me then?

Curses, Jack Dalton, I am freaking old. (But wicked cultured!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 350 (Week 50): Fifteen Years Ago . . .

. . . my firstborn angel, the lovely Mimosa, made her debut. We had been desperate to know her sex ahead of time, but our precious darling was already showing her strong will and quirky determination to march to her own drummer, and she kept her legs demurely crossed during every ultrasound. Still, I had a strong intuition that she was a girl. (Her boy name was Jackson William. Li'l Martini's girl name was Holly Delilah. I always smile when I meet kids named Jackson [several] or Holly [almost none], thinking, You could have been mine.)

Birthdays are sacred in our house, and we thoroughly celebrated Princess Mimosa from dawn till dusk. She's upstairs in her room right now, reading her new birthday books and listening to her new birthday music, and not trying on her new birthday outfits until tomorrow (she hates trying on clothes, just like her mama).

I'm glad I had a good weigh-in this morning, because I've indulged in gluttony all day, plus it's my special ladytime, plus I didn't exercise in the least, unless you count retrieving our beach ball, which involved climbing down and then back up a very steep hill (which really shouldn't count, trust me, though I impressed all the other moms at the spray pool when I did it):
  • Today's scale reading: 248
Fat Secret is pleased with me and says I'll achieve my goal weight in 24 months. Two more years of monitoring my food, enjoying zumba, and blogging? I can do that!  

One day at a time.

I'm going to fold the laundry now (the kids usually do this, but I'm letting Mimosa be a princess for another few hours) and watch The Way We Were. And cry, probably.

My daughter is the light of my life. I can barely remember who I was before she was born.

Today was a great day.

Love and kisses,

Lady C

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 349: Hot. So Very, Very Hot

The temperature gauge read 90 but it felt like a million and 90, possibly because we had so many chores today. Two months ago, when dusting my filthy house in preparation for Mom's visit, I decreed that the first Saturday of the month would be BIG Chore Day, meaning that the kids and I added dusting to our usual chores, and Husband cleaned the tub and surrounding tile and mopped the bathroom floors in addition to cleaning the bathroom sinks and toilets. So that's what we did today.

Husband also mowed the lawn, and I made a big yummy dinner: Trader Joe's meatballs, pasta with fresh basil and garlic, Greek-style wax beans with tomatoes and onions, a huge salad full of "stuff," and a plate of fresh cherries and grapes. About two-thirds of the produce is from our CSA share, so both local and mostly organic, which allows me to feel good about saving the planet without actually doing much — my favorite kind of feel-good activity!

But it was a long day, and we are sweaty limp dishrags now. The plan is to sit in front of fans, eat ice cream, and watch The Dark Knight, which sounds awesome. My brain is also sweaty and limp; I tried to do last week's Sunday crossword and fell asleep seven times.

Batman, Ben, and Jerry call! And I will answer.

Mimosa is 15 tomorrow. The mind reels.

—Lady C

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 348: The Joy of Losing Water Weight

It's very hot, and I've been exercising hard and sweating vociferously, and then I come home and take a hot bath . . .  and then I weigh myself!

It is so entertaining.

Today I was down to 242.

I know it isn't real, but still. Seeing those numbers does give me a lift!

And it's funny, it happens every single time: Whatever block of ten I'm in (as in, I started in the 80s), the one directly below it seems so enticing, so thin, so superior in every way to the block I'm in. If only I could get into the 70s, I thought, how happy I would be! And then I got there and immediately began obsessing about the svelte sexy 60s, ooh la la! And so on and so on. How long have I been waiting to get into the 40s???? Seems like years. But here I am, ho-hum, and the 30s seem downright skeletal.

I'll be so happy when I get there!!


In other news, Mimosa turns 15 this Sunday, I turn 50 one week from today, and Husband turns 58 two weeks from Sunday. It's nice when we're in the same decade, he and I; I think we understand each other better. Because now, when I'm in my 40s and he's in his 50s, we can't connect at all. Take the conversation we just had one minute ago:

Me: Let's eat dinner in front of the TV and give A Town Called Panic a try.
Husband: A Town Called . . . ?
Me: The movie Kind Tina recommended that's been sitting on top of our TV all week.
Husband: Oh! Sounds good.

A few minutes go by, as I set up dinner buffet-style in the kitchen.

Husband: So we're eating at the table?

God bless him.

Now, should I mess with my wild weight loss and shake up a margarita?

OK, I know the answer.

Me and my baby are going to take in a show! (Not at the dining room table.)

Love and kisses,
Lady C

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 347: My Writers Group

Tonight we met for the first time since mid-June, and we drank vast quantities of wine and had a lot of fun together. It was good to see my writing peeps.

I can't remember if I've ever mentioned how this group formed. About five years ago I sent an e-mail to the Dallin School parents e-list asking if any moms who liked to write were interested in forming a group. (I had this idea that I wanted it to be women only.) Four of us met for coffee at Panera, and while I knew the other three, none of them were my best friends. I thought this would be the ideal setup for critiquing each other's deeply personal work.

And it has in fact been ideal. Over the years different pairs of us have gotten closer; we've added four new people (including — gasp! — a man!) but retained only one of them, so now we are five — and the five of us couldn't write more different things. Plus, we are all talented; I enjoy reading everyone else's stuff, even the one who writes paranormal, even the one who writes chick lit (usually not my thangs). My ladies are smart and discerning and insightful, they have made me become a better writer, and they keep me disciplined. For basically picking a pig in a poke, I am a very lucky girl.

In other news, Mimosa has been taking voice lessons for four weeks, and tonight she performed for us, singing "Rolling In the Deep" and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile." And I have just one word:


My girl, holy cow. She is one talented chanteuse. She knocked our freaking socks off. She says she's going to try out for The X Factor now (I think she has a dream of wooing Simon). Whatever she decides to do with this voice of hers, we're behind her.

Li'l Martini has been taking an improv class this week, and he's been entertaining us each day as well with news of the theater games he's playing. Oh, our cultural and talented family! How I envy others, having us to envy.

In terms of weight loss, I have little to report (though this morning's Xanadu weight of 245 was the lowest yet! But I didn't get attached to it). Today was all about tending to little chores and getting rid of piles (not in the hemorrhoid sense — I need to come up with a better word. Stacks?), and I mostly sat. But tomorrow Mimosa and I will start our day with a long run/walk, and that will "set the tone" for a healthy day of good choices. In theory, anyway.

Here's a joke Husband just told me: A liberal, a moderate, and a conservative walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Hi, Mitt!"

If any of you are "friends" on the "Fâcebük" with Brunie, go read her wise, brilliant, and all-around awesome take on Chick-Fil-A Day. I would "like" it if I could!

Love to all, except the jerks*,

Lady C, no one's friend on the Fâcebük

* Yes, I know: God loves the whole world. No exceptions.

(I'm trying.)

(Chardonnay helps.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 346: So Close!

I know it's just sweat weight, but still: I weighed 248 this morning. One pound away from a net loss of 40, woo-hoo!

I haven't weighed under 250 in six years. The mind reels. Ah, 43 and three-quarters — what a dewy youngster I was then. If only I knew what life had in store. (Actually, six years ago I think Husband and I were separated, and it was our darkest time. But life is all blissy and kissy now, isn't it, darling?)

I have zumba in an hour. Seven-thirty p.m. is the craziest time for an exercise class — I have to eat dinner way early, so I don't barf during class, and then I just sit around for two hours and . . . digest.

Little I did today would make an interesting report:
  • Got my teeth cleaned
  • Rewrote a paragraph of Chapter 1, worked on my query letter, checked out a few agents who rep middle grade
  • Ordered Husband's birthday presents (his birthday is August 19, same as — say it with me, Cindy Glamour — Bill Clinton and Tipper Gore! hee)
  • Took Li'l Martini to the library to get math-tutored
  • Walked Mimosa to her babysitting job (of course she can walk herself, but she likes the company)
  • Continued my fruitile* attempts to convince someone to take on my Clerk job (though I did succeed in getting the Powers That Be to excise a few duties from the job description, which may help)
Hot stuff, right? Look out for my spicy memoirs!

Speaking of spicy, we had Mexican food at 4 p.m., and I guess my big news there is that I stopped eating when I was full and the plate still had at least a third of a meal on it. Yay! Success!

(Our cutie-pie waiter said, "I haven't seen you guys in a while!" I said, "I'm dieting, honey, margaritas are not my friend," and he shook his head sadly and said, "Nothing here is your friend." Yeah, not too many low-cal options in the joint, I fear. I once ordered a plain fish dish, and Señor Cutie-Pie looked worried and asked, "Have you had this before?" I said no, and he said, "Just a warning — it comes with its head and eyes and mouth and everything." OK, ew. I'll have a full-fat taco, extra lard please. Thank you!)

I did finish GONE GIRL (loved!) and then finished I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE (compelling and excruciating, in equal part) and now have ANNIE'S GHOSTS and JENERATION X and Jodi Picoult's newest on my stack. And I rented THE WAY WE WERE. Happy times ahead in the life of:

—Lady Chardonnay

* My coined word: half futile and half fruitless. It's useful!