Friday, November 30, 2012

Y2 Day 93: My Happy Giddy Busy Social Christmas Whirl

Today blew right by in a zippy hurricane of happy:
  • 9–11 a.m.: Weekly meeting with the other Math Practice Guides — I enjoy this group so much! I'm going to propose that we all go out to lunch after our December 21 meeting; I would love to hang with them and talk about Real Life.
  • 11–12:15: Shopping at Trader Joe's — a little Christmas shopping (cookies for my brothers, Sweet 'n' Salty Trek Mix for Mom's stocking) plus Advent calendars for my kids plus the fixings for tonight's good dinner: pork chops, mashed potatoes, fennel slaw, red-hot apples.
  • 12:25 p.m.: Parent-teacher conference with Li'l Martini's four core teachers. English and Science love him, History and Math not so much (and I found both of them to be condescending prigs, so I get why he's not his best self for them). Still, it was fun to talk about my sweet boy for 20 minutes. Yes, five minutes per teacher — efficiency in action!
  • 12:55–2:45 p.m.: Lunch with a dear friend whom I haven't seen in about six months. The time flew by!
  • 2:45–3:25: Dinner prep.
  • 3:25–6: Transport Li'l Martini, Nonstop, and Oh-So-Precious to their Points and Powers class, then more Christmas shopping at Newbury Comics and Kohl's. I scored some great stuff — so happy! My shopping is almost done, and it isn't even December! (Don't hate me because I'm organized.)
  • 6 p.m.–now: Cook and eat the magnificent dinner, laugh heartily with my family, break open a package of four-way Joe-Joe's for dessert, and anticipate with great joy the fun of Christmas-decorating tomorrow.
Splendid day!

(Which included one red velvet doughnut, two glasses of wine, two Joe-Joe's, a pat of butter on my potatoes, and no exercise. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da.)

(Actually, holding myself back from cuffing two of the backseat boys took a great deal of effort; I bet I burned off half a pound just gritting my teeth.)

Tomorrow is supposed to be bright and sunny (just like ME), and my hope is to take a long walk and get good and sweaty. Think the good thoughts for me, friends.

Off now to drink hot coffee and snuggle with my daughter and watch last night's Glee — she says we're going to cry. (Our favorite couple is Curt and Blaine. She calls them Claine. I call them Blurt.)


—Lady C

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Y2 Day 92: Too Pooped to Pop

Just got home from church (we UUs, man — we never stop), which was number 9 trillion on my list of things to do today, and it is time to hang up my hat.

And yet, I feel so compelled to blog, even a completely half-assed post like this one. Dedication? Willpower? Backbone? Who knows.

I did not exercise today. I likely won't tomorrow either. Busy busy busy. I need to have a big sweaty weekend, I think!

(Wow — that really meant something different in my youth. Sorry, Husband!)

Off to bed. 'Night!

—Lady C

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Y2 Day 91: A Really Bad C-Word

(At Barnes and Noble last week, Husband showed me something called The Dirty Minds Game; here was a sample question: "A four-letter word for a woman: _ U  N  T." I figured out "aunt" within a few seconds but I'm a charades veteran; when someone charades "Sounds like ear," I immediately start rattling off, "Beer, cheer, clear, deer, fear, gear . . ." I can only imagine the highjinks that ensue with non-charades players.)

Today I got the phone call you never want to get: I do in fact have cancer. Granted, it is the teeniest tiniest most curable cancer you can pretty much have, but still — it is just never a word you want applied to you, anywhere, ever. My next step is something called Mohs surgery, and the little divot in my nose will likely become a little crater. But you know what? I'm a scarred veteran of master-class acne; there are little divots and craters and bumps and red spots and areas of mottled flesh all over my face, and whenever I casually mention them to my adult friends, they appear mystified. No one looks at your own face as closely as you do. This I know for sure.

In other words, if I still have two nostrils that are surrounded by something that passes for skin, I think I'll be okay.

I finished my editing job at 5:23 p.m., and since we still don't have a garbage disposal (which means that we can't use the dishwasher), exhausted Husband and cancer-plagued I decided to take everyone out to dinner at our local Mexican joint. I had a small comforting bowl of tortilla soup and several small comforting glasses of medicinal Chardonnay (which are giving me a headache; I am still doing the Paso Doble with last week's migraines, but I wanted them anyway) and we played cards and were very silly with each other, and it was a nice family evening.

And now, despite headache, I may well have a Bourbon Bog since all the ingredients are handy, and either read my new library book or watch Murder on the Orient Express, which I grabbed at the library today; a nice cozy murder just fits my mood. And then a glorious night of brainless TV: Survivor (which is amazingly awesome this season; the cast comprises all these older smart people who actually know how to employ strategy, and it's been a blast to watch) and Modern Family and Nashville, oh, it is heaven on a plate.

Here's a side note for my new friend Kate, who asked me about My Brilliant Career:
  • I discovered that I loved copy-editing while working at a totally different kind of job. I got started as an editor by editing people's masters and doctoral theses; you can't charge very much, but it's a great way to get your feet wet.
  • I took a couple of editing classes, which was great, because it gave me the opportunity to compare my skills to a professional copy editor's. Confidence boost!!
  • The company I worked for had an in-house editor, and I literally circled her office like a hungry wolf until she left for another job — and I pounced.
  • I did that for 15 years, and it was a great job. (Yes, 15 years — I am old enough to be your mother. Which is why I can give you all this sage life advice. Learn from me, kitten!)
  • But . . . after 15 years, I was ready for a change [I am legally required to say this next part:] even though it meant abandoning Mrs. Cynicletary, my beloved friend, and no, she would never do this to me because she is a far better person and her moral compass could kick sand in the face of mine. But it wouldn't — because it is just that moral. [Addendum that Mrs. C prefers I not share: She had an opportunity to take a blood oath to stay together forever and she turned it down. I'm just saying.]
  • I became a freelance copy editor, working at home in my jammies, and my former company is the source of 90 percent of my work (overflow from the lovely woman I hired to replace me). Every so often a job comes in from someone who heard about me from someone else. I do very little marketing of myself, because I am lazy and I hate that part of it. (See: why my cherished first novel has only been sent to a dozen agents so far.) 
  • There are all sorts of ways for freelance copy editors to peddle their services . . . but they're all worky. The way I'm choosing to get work is through magic.
  • I am only semi successful in this endeavor. 
  • Which is why I'm also a Math Practice Guide. Love that regular paycheck!
I hope this explained everything.

OK! My headache actually abated while writing all this, so I think the universe is begging me to make a cocktail. I am so good at reading signs from the universe! Seriously, it's a gift.

Happy Hump Day, y'all! (No, I am not playing the Dirty Minds Game. Pervs.)

xx Lady C, survivor

(cue Gloria Gaynor!!!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Y2 Day 90: What I Have in Common with a Pretzel

(We're both twisted.)

I spent entire day at the computer finishing Round 1 of this endless document (it's not a terrible job, just dense, and I should have allowed myself one more day to work on it — I forget how many hours I really lose by doing my Math Practice at the school!), and I am bent and gnarled and re-embracing my dowager's hump. Zumba helped, but then I came home and worked some more.

In other words: I am not spending another second at this computer! Sorry, fans and friends.

More tomorrow, I'm sure. Motrin and hot bath are calling.

(Know who's not calling? My electrician, who is now dead to me. When am I going to get my new garbage disposal switch???)

Grump, grump,
Lady C

Monday, November 26, 2012

Y2 Day 89: What the Devil's Wrong With These Kids Today?

This was me with my math ding-dongs this morning. Groups 1 and 3 are angel-babys and I love them. Group 2 . . . has its good days but most often gets on my very last nerve. Individually they are adorable kids, but collectively they bring out the worst in each other. And, I guess, in me.

One thing I hadn't considered was that we've all been apart for five days, and kids are always squirrelly after a break — tomorrow will be better.

Not much else to report! I have a big editing job that I must finish by Wednesday, so it's all systems go, work-wise. I also need to line up an electrician and get Husband to make the trek to Sears; our loathed garbage disposal finally quit (I generally dislike paying for this kind of thing, but I HATE this garbage disposal; I will dance on its annoying, expensive grave) and the new one will require some electrical work. And this week is Parent-Teacher Conferences at the middle school, so I'll have Li'l Martini home with me every day from 11:45 on . . . which is nice, of course, but also distracting. Mimosa can disappear and be silent for hours; not so much the boy child. But it will be fine. Once my job is done, he can distract me all he wants.

My weight was indeed right where it should be this morning, but I don't expect much movement scale-wise this week, as I'll be glued to my computer working. Or leading Math Practice. Or tending to my constant son. Or dealing with the electrician. Or or or . . . 

The life of a working mom who happens to be at home 24/7 — oh, it is a jolly picnic! 

Time for bed. Sweet dreams, y'all.

—Lady C 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Days 87 and 88: Film, Friends, and Fun

Yesterday was a blur of activity and I simply ran out of steam and decided not to blog. But here I am, bright and early on the morrow!

Today's blog picture is to show you exactly how much fabric I removed from my good navy pants, which I just took in by several inches.

(I can't remember if I ever answered the question that probably many of you are asking: Why don't I just buy new pants? Answer: I really hate shopping for clothes, particularly pants. This has always been the case, even when I was technically thin [though I've always been a big girl — tall, hippy, busty, with hearty thighs]. Some time ago I was courting a new potential girlfriend, and I suggested meeting for a drink after work. She said, "I don't really drink, want to just have dinner?" I thought, Hmm, but said sure, and then she said, "Actually, I need to buy some new underwear; want to go shopping with me, and we'll have dinner after?" and there I drew my line. The only thing I dislike more than clothes-shopping for myself is clothes-shopping with and for someone else. I know, it's so unwomanish. What can I say.)

(And isn't it weird to invite someone you don't know that well yet to go underwear shopping with you? That was my second Hmm. We did end up having dinner that night [she postponed her shopping], and later she brought Dexter, my most beloved cat of all time, into my life, and I will always be grateful to her for that, but otherwise she was pretty much a nightmare of crazy. I should've gone with my first instincts.)

The pants now fit snugly around my waist and won't fall down any more. I am happy happy happy!

No new weight loss to report, but my glorious Thanksgiving gluttony only resulted in a gain of one pound! (Well, now that the dust has settled — my weight was certainly up the next day. Sodium, I think. And lots of alcohol.) And today I will take a walk and do all my weight work and eat lightly and healthfully, and I bet I'll be back to my new normal tomorrow.

Yesterday Husband and Mimosa and I saw Lincoln (AMAZING) and then Mimosa and I met up with Brunie and saw The Silver Linings Playbook, which was fantastic. Coming up: Brunie and I plan to see The Sessions on Wednesday, and maybe I'll see Flight next weekend. So many good movies out!! And I was very disciplined and ate nothing at Movie 1 and only a blue Slushee at Movie 2, and I tried very very hard not to pick at my cuticles, though I succumbed a little bit in Movie 2 (just one finger). But usually my hands are in shreds after movies (I know! It is a terrible disgusting habit. I truly do know this), so I'm calling this one a victory.

Since I saw the dermatologist I've been applying four different creams and unguents to my various afflicted areas, on top of my nightly lotion application to hands, heels, and elbows; I am a giant human-shaped glob of lubricant. But it's working! My hands look way better, the only remotely inflamed area is the above-mentioned finger, and my other various itchy places are smooth and pink, and my three pre-cancerous frozen spots simply look like small red circles on my face, not the giant blisters I'd been fearing, and the possibly cancerous divot on my nose is practically healed. In other words, I am 95 percent pretty Lady, 5 percent Quasimodo, and that ain't bad.

(Alternate title for the above paragraph: "Drugs Are GOOD.")

I'm proud of myself for keeping 40 pounds off, and maybe that's the best I can hope for during the holiday season. If I don't gain any new weight between now and January 1, I will call it a victory. If I do manage to lose more weight, I will call it a double secret probation victory! We shall see. The dreaded Hood eggnog has yet to appear (I hold off until December); as pecan pie is to Thanksgiving, Hood eggnog is to Christmas, and they are both Kryptonite to me.

But I just read a sentence that I am completely totally in love with:

        "Never grow a wishbone where your backbone ought to be."
—Clementime Paddleford ("the Nellie Bly of culinary journalism")*

Isn't that awesome?! I find myself whispering "backbone, backbone" when I need a mini pep talk. It has replaced "In general, there's a lot less eating" as my new watchword.

OK, enough for now. Husband and I are blowing off church (we both woke up with headaches; I got out of bed to have coffee and begin a day of Healthy Living and Useful Work, and he went back to sleep — potato, potahto), so I need to redeem my heathenish ways by doing something good for the world. Besides blogging.

Happy National Parfait Day! (I kid you not.) Please celebrate wisely and appropriately.

Lady C

* If this gets you to look up Nellie Bly as well, I've done one good deed today. Nellie Bly rocked, and it kills me that she's not better known.

p.s. It occurs to me that there are two Animal House references in this blog post, though one is so obscure I will just tell you: Bruce McGill, who played D-Day in Animal House, had the important role of Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War, in Lincoln. Who'da thunk it, back in the day?

I'm guessing you can find the other reference without my help. And if you can't, you are no student of serious film. Go watch Animal House and then read Nellie Bly, Reporter by Nina Brown Baker. That's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Football, shmootball.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Y2 Day 86: What We Ate: A Memoir

Dang me, that was a good meal! Every year I make both old favorites and new experiments, and while there are some things I probably won't make again, nothing was terrible. (And believe me, some year there are some terrible things — last year's corn cakes with Manchego cheese come to mind.) Here's the rundown, from worst to first.


Crunchy Snacking Chickpeas: Three flavors — spicy, salty, and sweet — and they all tasted fine, but why do all this work just to make another salty snack item?

Cauliflower Salad with Two Mustards: (We always have one salad so we don't die.) Again, it tasted fine (though I accidentally overcooked the cauliflower), but there are other things to do with cauliflower that I like better.

Lamb Kebabs: If I were more of a meat person, I expect I would've liked them better (Husband says they were Very Good, possibly Sublime), but a big ball o' chopped meat will never be my favorite.


Ham and Cheese Pastry Pockets: OK, I'm kind of cheating here, because I didn't make these — I ran out of puff pastry. Instead, I sliced the ham and cheese and put the slices on toothpicks with either a pickle slice or a green olive. A perfectly fine hors d'oeuvre.

Boursin Mushroom Puffs: Quite tasty! But puff pastry is worky. I think these would have been just as good without the pastry (as in, Boursin-Stuffed Mushrooms). Mmm, boursin . . .

Fruit Skewers: The kids made these, using cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon, red grapes, blueberries, maraschino cherries, and mini marshmallows. Pretty and toothsome!


Chicken Enchilada Dip: One of my all-time favey appetizers. Chicken, cheeses, and green chilies, baked til hot and bubbly — what's not to love?

Candied Bacon Skewers: OH. EM. GEE. Bacon wrapped around a thin breadstick, sprinkled with brown sugar, and broiled. We crammed these into our mouths and moaned with happiness. So freaking good!!!!

Asparagus Roll-Ups: Prosciutto wrapped around a lightly steamed asparagus spear and a strip of roasted red pepper, then broiled for 10 minutes. Flavorful, delicious, and possibly a tad healthier than some of the other items here . . . !

Quilted Pigs: Crescent roll dough and baby weenies — what is there to say? Heaven.

Chocolate Mousse: Divine!

Caramel Chomeur: The happiest surprise of the evening! I've had this recipe forever; it's a Depression-era dessert with very simple ingredients, baked into a simple butter cake floating in brown-sugar syrup. I poured heavy cream over my portion and simply swooned. Delectable!!!!

Both cocktails — Pomegranate Cosmos and Bourbon Bogs — were likewise sensational, and the kids and Husband thoroughly enjoyed their mocktails as well. Arty Jenny and Sexy Em were here, and laughter and love rang through the house. It was a perfect day and evening.

On today's docket: A little Black Friday shopping (on the less-fun side, we seem to need a new garbage disposal — hello, Sears! — and on the more-fun side, I want to go to Christmas City and find my ornament for the annual Betsy-Tacy ornament exchange, and I also want to poke around Barnes and Noble) and dinner out at Macaroni Grill — we have a coupon! (Us and everyone else in the world.) It'll be fun.

And tomorrow I plan to see both Lincoln and The Silver Linings Playbook — a two-movie day! Doesn't get better than that.

Will I ever exercise again? My knees have been killing me — one of course is arthritic, but what's going on with the other one? I keep waiting for it to pass.

(I am still waiting.)

We'll see how the day goes. The sun is shining; a neighborhood walk might be a good thing. Then I'll do ice and Motrin, all that stuff, and see if it helps. (My physical therapy isn't doing a damn thing, I'll tell you that.)

Off to do my part to stimulate the economy. Bye!

—Lady C

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Y2 Day 85: Happy! Sleepy! and Other Thanksgiving Dwarfs!

Tomorrow, I will recap our Thanksgiving feast and give the rundown of each dish from worst to first. (Spoiler: Every single thing was pretty darn good. This may be my best track record in, like, ever!) We had so much fun — delicious food, sublime company. So much to be thankful for.

But my day started with yet another migraine (third day in a row! rah!), and my migraine meds always wipe me out, so I'm calling it a day.

Much love and gratitude to all my readers. I am thankful for YOU.

Lady C

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Y2 Day 84: Communist Meal Prep*

That's not my hand in the picture but it could be; I just finished mixing what will be lamb kebabs, and it looks exactly like this.

Our traditional pre-Thanksgiving prep got off to a super-late start because I had another migraine and slept late, and then Husband and I enjoyed a hot breakfast date before grocery shopping. But it was lots of fun; we did the shopping after and didn't get home till 2:30. Usually I have a third of the cooking done by then! But I'm melllloooow this year.

For all the years that we've followed our preferred T-Day menu — appetizers, cocktails, dessert — last year was the first time that I really felt like it was a lot of work and too much food. This year, I streamlined: two desserts instead of four, and simpler dishes that don't involve puff pastry and filo dough and wonton wrappers. (We are doing puff pastry, but just because I have it in the freezer and want to use it up. The Boursin Mushroom Puffs and Ham & Swiss Pastry Pockets should do it!)

My knees are bothering me a lot, though, so I may not do much more cooking tonight. (They've been hurting off and on all day, though they felt fine at 4:00, so I walked down the steep hill to Trader Joe's and then back up . . . which may have been a mistake. But I really needed some exercise! I'm also determined to start tomorrow morning with a walk, but we will just see.)

My ravaged face actually looks okay; the frozen spots haven't erupted yet, and the divot in my nose is barely noticeable. The calm before the storm? Perhaps.

Every year, there's one item on our shopping list that proves surprisingly difficult to find; last year it was thin asparagus, and this year it's mini marshmallows and little hot dogs. (We are not serving them together.) I found the marshmallows at Walgreen's, but Husband must now go search Greater Boston for la petite frankfurters. I hope he is successful; Quilted Pigs (a step up from the pedestrian Pigs in Mere Blankets) are Li'l Martini's most favorite appetizer.

Sexy Em is joining us for mid-day cocktails, and Arty Jenny will overlap with her a bit and then stay for dinner; I am excited to see my beloved ladyfriends! I wish the rest of you could come by too; we're serving Pomegranate Cosmos and Bourbon Bogs (bourbon, lemon syrup, cranberry juice, and orange bitters, garnished with a few smashed cranberries soaked in bourbon), and I'm making teetotaler Husband a Minty Pineapple-Lime Mocktail, and it's all going to be so yummy!!

Last year I was desolate on this day, missing my parents so much. This year I'm more chill, don't ask me why — but my nearest and dearest are around me, I talked to my mom three times today, we're all happy (she and Dad are having cracked crab tonight, I'm dying of envy), and all is well.

OK, second wind, maybe I'll cook one more thing. Or maybe I'll put my feet up and finish Wish You Were Eyre, the final book in my friend Heather Vogel Frederick's Mother-Daughter Book Club series, which I'm thoroughly enjoying! It really makes me want to reread Jane Eyre. Maybe I'll do that next.

Happy turkey prep, True Believers! 

—Lady C, American princess

* Mrs. Cynicletary says the Chardonnays are Communists; she is looking forward to an American Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Y2 Day 83: A Place You Really Don't Want a Needle

Crazy day! It's my special lady time and my generous giving uterus has decided to keep the good people at Kotex in business, so I spent much of my morning in the bathroom. Glamour! I also had a low-level migraine all day, which gave everything I did an extra sprinkle of fun.

Though Math Practice with my kids was in fact quite fun; using a deck of cards I'd doctored (through the magic of White-Out, aces became 1's and queens became 0's), we played Go Fish for Sixes (my first-graders) and Go Fish for Ten or Twenty (my second-graders), where instead of seeking pairs you sought factors of 6 (or 10 or 20). We had a blast.

Then I picked up Martini and his glockenspiel and got them home, attended to my lady needs, and headed to the high school, where I conferenced with two of Mimosa's teachers. Always a good time! (She got a D+ in math her first quarter. She is currently getting an A+. Progress? Yay?)

And then I dashed to my dermatology appointment. I had a skin cancer on my nose in 2001, so every year I'm supposed to have a full body check. I've been seeing the same personality-free dermo since then (and, honestly? if I'm going to pivot naked in front of somebody, I prefer an absence of personality), but I heard that the Watertown office now had a lady dermo, and I decided to check her out (before she checked me out, ha ha!) Yeah.

Well, she was very thorough, promptly taking me to task for my lifelong habit of cuticle-picking (it is a terrible, terrible habit, I know it). And — are you ready for this? Through my constant picking, I have given myself a yeast infection around my fingernails, that is how foul and disgusting I am. I do believe that this news may cure me of my habit FOREVER.

But that wasn't the worst of it. I showed her a few spots on my forehead that I was worried about, and she said, "Yep, they may well be pre-cancerous," so we "froze" those (which is not "refreshing," believe me), and they will likely blister and scab over during the next few days, and then she checked the site of my cancer and said, "Has that bump always been there?" Uh, bump? I thought I knew every bump on my face, but I looked in the mirror . . . and wasn't sure. "It's probably scar tissue," she reassured me, "but it's best to know." So — hello, needle in the nostril!

Or, as I said at the time:


(She laughed at me.)

After my nose was numb, she scooped off a bunch of it with her razor-sharp ladle; I now have a big divot in my nose and am sporting an enormous dork Band-Aid. And I still have a migraine. And possibly cancer.

And you know what? I'm skipping zumba. I really hate to skip it, but I think today's woes have just about filled my plate. I am taking some migraine meds and then taking a bath.

And then I will apply yeast infection cream to my fingers and go to bed.

This is possibly the least glamorous day of my entire life.


Infectedly yours,
Lady C

Monday, November 19, 2012

Y2 Day 82: Oh Yeah. I Did It (But I Wore Sunglasses)

I am so embarrassed to tell you what I did today, but here goes.

Well, I went to Math Practice, as usual. No shame there. And I told second-grade Megs what I was going to do, and she moaned with jealousy.

And then I left the school at 1:40 . . . and drove straight to Burlington Cinemas, where I took in Twilight's Eclipse of Broken Dawn or whatever, I don't exactly keep up with this series and in fact only saw the first movie, but I really really wanted to see this one.

The first movie, in fact, put me right to sleep three nights in a row, I finally fast-forwarded through Edward and Bella and that interminable meadow, but if you should ever need an effective soporific I highly recommend that scene.

But here's why I wanted to see this one: I am simply undone by kindness and courage, and I'm a sucker for those moments where the-good guy underdogs are asked to stand on the side of good and unite, in all their scrappy shiny virtue, to take down the bad guys. From The Wizard of Oz to Buffy to Dumbledore's Army to 12 Angry Men (etc. etc.), there is something about this kind of scene — the fact that no one can do it alone (unless you're named Will Kane) and that we are stronger if we stand together — that reduces me to a quivering puddle of emotion.

So in the preview when the Cullens say, "The Velociraptors* are coming! We must call on our friends!" I was already there, eighth row center, popcorn and blue Slushee in hand.

The movie was craptastic!! Though in reality, my big emotional scene was instead lots of little scenes scattered across a lot of the world with lots of waiting in between, and not the big climactic coming together that I'd envisioned. The scenes that did me in concerned Bella and her absurdly named daughter, Renesmee. (And I could actually hear Gwyneth Paltrow cackling, "Apple doesn't sound all that stupid any more, does it?" OK, by comparison, not so much. But please consider, Gwyneth, what we're comparing it too.)

Anyway, it was a very fun thing to do in the middle of the day on a Monday, as embarrassing as it was to purchase this ticket at a theater that's also showing Lincoln and Flight.

Team Edward for the win!

—Lady C

* I really don't follow this series at all. It's something bad with a V. Vixens? Vulcans? Vaginitis?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Y2 Day 81: Woke Up This Morning Feeling Fine

  • We made between $17 and $18K at our church fair! (And the final total will be even higher, most likely, as we sold some more stuff this morning.)
  • Mimosa sang "Firework" with her youth choir (their disgusting teen-chosen name is "Vowel MUUvement." The runner up: "Minstrel Cycle") and engaged in some snappy choreography and lit up the whole stage. And this is not bias talking: I closely examined every other performer before coming to the completely fact-based conclusion that she was 100 percent the best.
  • Husband concluded his first stint as a Worship Associate and was as eloquent and well-spoken as ever. I collected compliments on his fine work all morning long and carried them like a bouquet. Yes, when I first asked him out in 1991, I think I knew this day would come, so it is more than appropriate to compliment me on my astute choice of man.
Short post tonight; after alluding to it a dozen times, I am finally tackling my mending pile and taking in most of my pants. I'm also turning the zumba T-shirt I won last week (did I mention that?) into a tank top; it's a smallish shirt (one size fits "all") and I'm thrilled that it fits me!! I took a brief time out for dinner, but now I'm diving back in.

Later, gators!

—Lady C

p.s. You may notice a distinct lack of weight loss news. I will simply tell you this: There is a pecan pie in my kitchen . . . and pecan pie is my Kryptonite, man.

Even Superman couldn't resist.

I am just a girl.

A weak, human girl.

What can I do?

And it is really, really, seriously good pie.

That's all I'm sayin'.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Y2 Day 80: My Starring Role in the Church Fair

This picture isn't actually of my church, but it's so close it's uncanny. See all that stuff on the table? Multiply it by a ton (and stack up another ton of stuff against the wall behind it) and that's how much we started with. And we sold . . . about half. So, at 3:00 today I began packing stuff into boxes and carrying it to the curb, where the Epilepsy Foundation will pick it up on Monday, bless them.

I did this — pack, carry, return for more — approximately 3,618 times.

I am dead dog tired.

Here's my quick summation of Goal Week before I collapse into a hot tubby: What I tried to do was a modified version of boot camp and a modified version of a writers retreat. Most people don't do them both at the same time. Also: When most people do either of those things, they go somewhere else to do it, and that is all they do. While I'm tempted to give myself a low grade for the week, I also cut myself some slack, because, dudes, there's a ton going on around here!! I give myself a B.

Which is hard for me, I'm an A girl. But, whatev.

OK, got to take my bath now. And mainline some Motrin, every single part of me aches.

Oh! But I should also mention this: It was totally fun. I love my church, I love the people I worked with last night and today. I laughed a ton and had a ball. We were all in it together.

And that is something to be very thankful for.

(Even though my efforts only got a B this week.)

Good night! Sweet dreams.

—Lady C

p.s. I realize that my description above ("we sold half") makes our Church Fair sound like a total bust. At most of the booths (e.g., Book Nook, Jewelry Box, Chips 'n' Salsa [computer equipment]) we sold a ton. But there's a particular booth, Attic Treasures, that seems to be a repository for the most amazing crap (think: Kabob-It!, a "machine" for cooking kabobs) — the fact that we sell half of it is a small miracle. And it's that booth that most closely resembles the picture above.

Our goal is to make $16K. I'll report tomorrow on how we did.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Y2 Day 79: T. G. I . . . Whatev

I just unpacked and sorted 40,000 boxes of books. My dining room table boasts 3 pecan pies, 18 banana-blueberry muesli muffins, and two dozen red velvet cupcakes. I am tuckered. Too tired to take a bath, even.

I'm going to have a cup of coffee and climb into bed and finish reading The Secret Keeper, which so far is my total fave of all Kate Morton's amazing novels. Will the awesomeness hold up all the way to the end? We shall see!

(As predicted, I did not do one single thing on my goal list. Well, I probably stayed within my calorie limit, but mostly because I was too busy to eat much. I just mainlined half a pecan-pie tartlet, that oughtta boost my numbers.)

Best titles from the book sale:
  • Active Childbirth (honestly? I prefer it passive)
  • Mothers and Daughters: Reconnecting After Death 
  • 2007 Jaguar Maintenance Manual 
  • A Walk With Hitler
  • The Man Who Loved Children ("Can we get arrested for selling this?" asked my friend Paul)
  • Meet Your Prostate
  • You ARE Psychic! (said my friend Georgia, "I knew you were going to show me that")
I think my church will make a lot of money.


—Lady C

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Y2 Day 78: . . . Wait, What Was My Goal?

Yeah, today things kinda fell apart, goal-wise.

Astonishingly, I stayed under my self-imposed calorie limit, even though la cuisine du jour included potato chips and a lemon square, ooh la la! I also did zumba, and maybe I'll go do all my other exercises and take a shower before I watch Glee with Mimosa. I still have some time to check off a few more boxes on my Daily Goal List.

But I didn't write a blessed word of fiction. I had some editing work to do, but what I mostly had was BILLS BILLS BILLS. I've been waiting for this giant check for an editing job I did three weeks ago (today I got a purchase order, which tells me that my invoice is "in the system" — yay?), and Husband has been waiting to get reimbursed for a research trip he took in September — and I've been putting off paying bills as long as I could, hoping that some of this money would show up, but today I looked at the calendar and realized that time isn't standing still for me.

How come the bills come so promptly and the money trickles in like mo-lasses?

Anyway. It's not a straightforward matter of writing a ton of checks and paying off everyone, because we won't have enough money to do that until the two big checks come in. Instead, it is like a dance of seduction — a little touch here, a little stroke there, just enough to keep them happy and satisfied and believing that any minute now I will in fact Go All the Way.

Except for the two bills named Discover and Amazon Chase Visa. Those guys aren't satisfied with anything but full penetration.

(Ew. I now regret my metaphor.)

So, it took some time and some juggling and a lotta math. I think we'll be okay till the big checks come . . . and I really really really hope that they come next week. But what can I do. I try hard not to stress over money, but sometimes I can't help it.

Tomorrow . . . I'm not sure I'll be able to do anything on my list tomorrow! I've got a Math Practice Meeting from  9 to 11, then I'm baking all afternoon for the Buttery at my church's Harvest Moon Fair, and that night I'm helping with setup for the Book Nook. (I was also supposed to have lunch with a friend and take Mimosa in for her annual checkup, but I canceled both of those — too much already!)

I'm really tired. Last night I woke up four times with excruciating muscle cramps in my right inner thigh, and this morning I consulted Dr. Google. (I've also been getting up to pee because of the giant glasses of water I'm taking with my Bactrim; the medicine warns me that if I don't drink giant glasses of water I will get kidney stones.) So, what does Dr. Google suggest as the cause of my leg cramps? KIDNEY STONES! I went into a panic — then read on and saw that kidney stone pain was fairly constant, whereas my leg cramp went away when I got up and walked around.


I am a goner.

I'm poor and living in squalor, I can't achieve a day's worth of goals to save my life, and I'm going to die soon of bashful kidney stones. How wretched can one girl be?

(We had a kick-ass dinner, though: Chinese sausage, sauteed sugar snap peas, Trader Joe's potstickers, Asian coleslaw — a new recipe! SO good! — and fresh fruit. At least I will die with a happy memory of good food.)

OK — let's see if I can lift a weight or two before I have to hit the shower. Wish me luck!

—Lady C

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Y2 Day 77: Goal Week, Part the Third

I wonder if the day will come when I truly get it all together? Or maybe it's impossible to Do It All: work two jobs AND write three pages a day AND exercise?

In any event, I did write my promised seven pages (well, six and a half, but there's some good stuff there, I think) and I did stick to my food plan (though tonight I get to break my no-alcohol rule, and it's unseemly how excited I am about this!) (and, True Confessions time: I've already broken it; I was miffed at someone who lives in this house, I won't name names, and so I poured a glass of the destined-to-be-sangria red and am rage-drinking now. And yes, it is helping. And I'm also a teensy bit snockered; that's what not drinking for five days will do to you. In my opinion, this is a cautionary tale), but there is no way I'll be squeezing in 30 minutes of cardio; we're having dinner soon and then I'm hosting a meeting. (Hence the sangria.)

(What? You host meetings without sangria? I do not understand. Are you speaking Esperanto?)

I may, however, lift my weights and work my core before bedtime, and I will definitely do my knee PT, because I really do think it's helping and I am way too young to be this crippled. So that's something.

Here's my favorite passage from the seven pages I wrote today:

“Try to be on time, Steven," Jory said to him. "Lateness is a sign of disrespect.”
“We start at 2:45, right?” I said, staring at the clock. “We’ve still got five minutes.”
Jory scowled. “It’s important to have a time of contemplation and silent prayer before the meeting officially begins.”
“Then you should say that in the club description—otherwise every new member will be late.”
“There aren’t any—” Jory began, and then stopped. “Fine,” she said, her lips tightening in that way I was getting used to. “Let’s begin our time of silent prayer now.”
I silently prayed that the stick up Jory’s butt would rest comfortably today and that she wouldn’t pummel Robin with it. Please, God. Thank you, God.

Writing was totally fun today, and I am once again immersed in my pretend novel world (I can tell, because I'm thinking about it all the time — which is good! In a conversation with my youngest brother about my kids' Halloween costume contest, I realized that I could ask him about high school golf teams for my book; he, as always, is a font of info re: high school sports). I'm very much looking forward to getting back to it tomorrow.

Time to serve dinner (spinach pie, carrot-raisin salad, fresh fruit) and then get ready for my meeting. Ta-ta!

—Lady C

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Y2 Day 76: Goal Week, Part the Second

I wildly underestimated how much work I had to do today. One client is going into early labor (she's at 38.5 weeks) and basically sent me every open file on her desk to edit (should I have held out until she promised to name the baby after me?), and another broke her right wrist and sent me two stories she was working on to finish and edit. So, two things: (1) I am some kind of crazy kiss of death, and (2) man, did I have a lot of work! Between editing and Math Practice with my kids, there went my day.

But I was surprisingly virtuous in terms of physical health — I ate well (even managing to resist the pretzels' siren song . . .) and went to zumba. And right before zumba, I had about 10 minutes — and thought, hey! I can do my physical therapy! Which was probably better for me knee, anyway, to be all stretched and warmed up and flexy before zumba. And then I did some core work, a different exercise, one I haven't done for a long time, and I was amazed to see how much easier it's gotten! Ah, signs of progress — how I love them.

The big thing I didn't do was write. When I spend all day on the computer, the last thing I want to do is spend more time on the computer! (Which is why I've also resisted the lure of Facebook. Though, honestly? Not so much of a lure. Potato, potahto.)

But tomorrow I have to be up extra early to get Mimosa to school by 7 for chorus practice, and I've got an entire free morning after that — and I plan to write write write. I owe myself seven pages, and I'll do more if I can. And it will be really great to have a solid block of time to immerse myself in my story world.

Tonight, the Italian Spitfire was perusing her playlist right before class, and she asked us, "Do you want to go hard tonight?" I said, "Oh! No! I want to go soft and have a nap and a cocktail. Thank you for asking!" I am fairly sure that the whole class was punished for my sassy mouth, I am now a sweaty limp rag. We went hard, in other words. But it feels so good when you stop!

Bath time. Believe me, if you were here you'd thank me.

xo Lady C

p.s. As I drove home from zumba, pretty much the length of Mass Ave, I passed restaurant after restaurant and was practically crooning to myself: "Ooooh, I could have the baked beans at Blue Ribbon BBQ . . . or the teriyaki steak tips at Johnny's . . . or the Spicy Eggplant and fresh rolls at Tom Yung Koong . . ." (I was hungry. Did I mention that?) But the thing that kept me from stopping and getting takeout (besides my own rankness) was saying, "All of those things will still be there when I've lost some more weight." And that mindset is also helping me with those cursed pretzels. The world will still have delicious foods to offer me, and I will be so much happier with myself if I don't eat them today.

Tomorrow — tomorrow can take care of itself. All I have to do is get through today.

So, that helped. I came home and had a fat-free raspberry Greek yogurt and drank lots of water, and I'll have a coffee in a bit. And that will be all for tonight. Yay for me!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Y2 Day 75: Big Goal Week Begins!

Today went pretty well, though it had a few hiccups.

This Saturday is the Harvest Moon Fair at my church, our biggest fundraiser of the year, and I've dedicated a corner of our utility room to storing crap fabby items I no longer need. Yesterday the kids transported every item from the corner they've been lurking in for close to a year, and today I sorted and cleaned things as needed and put them into bags neatly labeled "Attic Treasures" or "Book Nook" or "Toyland" or "Jewelry Box" (etc.). This took freaking forever and ate up a good chunk of my day. But the kids helped me load the car and take everything to the church, and it feels good to have it all out of the house.

And that's what I have to count as my "30 minutes of cardio" (I did go up and down the stairs a few times) because I simply ran out of time.

Also, when I was sweating out my three pages and had only done two, my sweet daughter said, so plaintively, "Mom? Will you watch Ellen with me?" How could I turn her down? So I did my weight-lifting and core work and knee PT while watching Ellen, and I think she was impressed.

In other health news, remember my toxic urine? I got my test results back today; the standard range for white blood cells is 0–2, and mine scored >100. I had eight other disgusting numbers (including red blood cells and bacteria count) but that one was the most shocking. I could take out a small village, just by peeing on it! But I have my Bactrim now and all will be well.

And I also have a new nemesis, and because of its evil ways I could not check off "No white sugar" in the Day 1 column. While I was at CVS picking up the Bactrim, I remembered that I wanted something new to put in my autumn leaf-shaped "candy" dishes; they previously held different flavors of candy corn, but that felt too Halloweeny to me. And then I saw it, the perfect thing: Rold Gold Peppermint Dipped Snowflakes. So pretty! So seasonal!

So completely freaking delicious!!!! I will have to bypass my living room as I move through the house — which will be an interesting trick, because that's where the front door is. But I am nothing if not creative.

Husband and I just got back from seeing Argo, which is a hundred kinds of fantastic. I'd thought that I might write one more page before bedtime, but now I think I won't; I owe the universe a page, that's all. (And I am humbled by the excellent writing in this movie. I need to go read something crappy, like Danielle Steel or V.C. Andrews.) As I'd suspected, it was really, really hard to get back into the "voice" of my story, and I'm not sure I'm fully there yet (I may not end up keeping a single thing I wrote today), but at least there's movement again, I'm thinking about it, and I've got two more pages than I had before. And that? Is a very good thing.

Today's reckoning: Logged everything I ate, ate no more than 2,000 calories (FatSecret recommends that I eat 2,300), didn't drink alcohol, and did core and PT and weight-lifting. BUT,  I ate white sugar (six heavenly pretzels!!), didn't officially do any cardio, ate after 8 p.m. (Smart Balance popcorn and an apple — I didn't get home from the movie and CVS till 8:30!), and only wrote two pages instead of three. Still — it was a good day.

And tomorrow will be better! 

—Lady C, goal girl

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Y2 Day 74: Early to Rise . . .

. . . makes me dull and stupid, apparently. I rose early to take a walk before church, which was lovely, the world was clean and fresh and quiet, but I've been in a total fog ever since.

Random tidbits:
  • Husband worked all week on his prayer for today, and it was stunning — thoughtful and beautiful. He has the perfect voice for this work. The woman behind me squeezed my shoulders and whispered, "Your husband is so adorable!" I preened.
  • Martini and I went shopping; he needs a new winter coat. At almost 12, he's right at that midpoint between super-cool young man and total goofball, and I see flashes of both all day long. But he's still a very entertaining companion, even though I yawned 100 times on the drive there, leading him to believe we'd be heading off a cliff any minute now.
  • I made steaks for dinner, because they were on sale when I went grocery-shopping, but I am just not a good meat cook. I pan-fried green beans and onions in my cast iron skillet, then added the meat and flash-cooked it on each side, then put the whole thing in a hot oven for five minutes (after seasoning with salt and pepper and rosemary); the green beans and onions were flavorful and heavenly, and the meat was just — meat. (The fact that I don't really love meat is likely relevant here.)
  • It was Li'l Martini's turn to clear the table, and he claimed he couldn't lift the cast-iron skillet. I'm positive that he's a malingerer, but Husband is more tender-hearted than I am. "Time to lift some weights, Son!" he cried, jovially patting the boy on the back. "Your granddaddy was a weight-lifter, you know — he often told people he'd raised a dumbbell, ha ha!" Oh, it's a barrel of laughs around here.
  • Mimosa was being lippy to me as she emptied the dishwasher, and I know this is all part of her separation (especially after a weekend away from me), but still, I'd had enough, and I grabbed the coupons the kids gave me for Mothers Day and said, "I'm cashing in THIS ONE, come here and give me a kiss." Her lips barely grazed my forehead, and she dashed away. "Girlfriend," I said, "get back here and give me a decent kiss!" My lippy teen said, "What do you want — tongue?" Barrel of laughs around here, I'm telling you. (She gave me a very sweet kiss on the cheek and also brought me coffee. I am so glad she's home! Love my lippy girl. Love my goofball boy. Love my adorable deacon husband. Lucky me.)
Tomorrow begins Goal Week: (1) at least three new pages of Novel 2 every day, (2) no alcohol or sugar (except for Wednesday, when I'm hosting a meeting and serving sangria), (3) cardio, core work, and knee PT every day, (4) daily food-logging, and (5) weight-lifting every other day. By the end of the week I'll have at least 20 new pages and be back in the swing of writing Novel 2 and hopefully have lost two real pounds. I do have a little editing work scheduled, but smallish jobs. All should be well.

It's only 7, and I'm ready for bed now!! Healthy living, man — it's exhausting.

—Lady C-leepy

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Y2 Day 73: Date Night!

 (Alterna title: Tequila!)

Mimosa is away for the weekend and Li'l Martini was invited to the 10th birthday celebration of HoneyBear's brother O-Man (a festival of trampolines and cake in downtown Boston), and Husband and I grew giddy with the possibilities that lay before us. We finally settled on dinner at a new-to-us Mexican place (I'd been there once before with Nurse Kathy), Acitrá»›n, right in Arlington Center, and oh MAN was it good! I don't know what they put on a simple ear of corn, but it was the yummiest ear of corn I've ever had in my life. Everything was muy delicioso, and we had a blast.

I think I mentioned that I just got my hair cut in lots of light flippy layers and it looks super cute, and tonight I wore a tight-tight-tight black shirt that I've literally never worn before, something that Mrs. Cynicletary passed along to me ages ago and I've kept in the bag of my closet, thinking, Someday, someday. Well, that day was today! I paired it with my good black pants (and had to laugh because they are just too big; I tucked their waistband under the tight bottom edge of the tight-tight-tight shirt, just so the crotch wouldn't hang three inches below my own) and my favey chandelier earrings, and I felt freaking gorgeous.

The waitress sat us right in the front window, which was fun, and we watched several dozen people walk by, not one of whom I know (which is unusual; Arlington is a small town and I get around).
  • Me: No one is smiling back at me.
  • Husband: They're jealous of how sexy you look.
  • Me: Hmm. They probably think I'm a whore. (Note: It is a VERY low-cut shirt. I was breastacular!)
  • Husband:  'Cause that's the only reason you'd be with a schlub like me.
  • Me: Nonsense! They wish they were sitting here with you.
  • Husband: Really?
  • Me: Yeah, they're all thinking, Lucky whore.

Ooh, perhaps I should mention that right before dinner I had a warm-up cocktail of tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, and a splash of margarita mix. YUM. And then . . . one or two serious margaritas at Acitron. What a fun date!

And then we came home and made out and watched three episodes of Elementary, the modern take on Sherlock Holmes; Husband adores Holmes, and I'd seen one episode of the show, liked it, and deduced that Husband would like it too. (Elementary!) And now I'm psyched because we have a TV show to watch together! It doesn't happen often.

It was a super-fun date night, but now I'm sleepy and must get to bed. My plan is to get up early and take a good walk before church — we shall see. (I think perhaps I will take some preemptive post-tequila headache medicine . . . !)

Oh — and I want to give a shout-out to my beloved friend Mrs. Brunhildecrow, aka Brunie, whose birthday is today! Tomorrow when I'm rested I will write about how we met, a story in which she looks virtuous and confident and I look like a spaz with major mental health issues; it's one I never tire of telling. Happy birthday, my friend.

And sweetest dreams to all!

Lady C

Friday, November 9, 2012

Y2 Day 72: Odds, Ends, and Other Odds and Ends

Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves!
Kid Punk

My adorable children are currently competing in a Halloween Costume Contest (details to come!) and I wanted to share their pictures. Ain't they neat?

I started my week of virtuous eating and weight loss at lunch today (Mrs. Cynicletary, my luncheon companion, might be raising her eyebrows at this news, as she saw me mainline three fish tacos and pretty much the whole bowl of chips) BECAUSE I really really really wanted a margarita or a glass of wine, and I successfully resisted my wanton urges and instead had Diet Coke with lime. 

Of course, I came home and had a glass of wine around dusk-time . . . but I probably would have had that one anyway. So, see? WINNING!

I'm ready to throttle the entire University of California at San Diego, which is dragging its metaphorical heels about paying me the $1,200+ I earned for an editing job I did in October. Ages ago! This makes me very cross. Pay your minions, people!

Mimosa is gone all weekend at a Youth Group retreat, so we get a taste of what life will be like when she goes to college. (So far: Sad. Quieter. Bittersweet.) Li'l Martini says he misses her but he's mostly psyched to (secretly) sleep in her bed. (This is not as pervy as it may sound — her bed is awesome. It used to belong to my great-grandmother, and then it was mine for my entire childhood through young adulthood. It's a lovely bed — full-size with an oak headboard, and about four feet off the ground. Martini sleeps in a twin bed — a perfectly cool twin bed with a funky black iron headboard, but still — and he is looking forward to a night in the Big Bed.)

(When it was time for Mimosa to get a new bed, Mom found out that she could ship the heirloom bedframe from California for $400. Crazytown! We got a new mattress and box springs for $100 from Wal-Mart, which delivered it for free, and voila! The bed of my dreams for just over $500! It was like a miracle.)

I'm surprisingly fatigued (long week!), so I will cut this short. This Daylight Savings pitch-blackness at 6 p.m. is killing me; I just want to hunker down and go to bed early every single night. Which would be okay, I suppose, if I then got up early and plowed the fields — but I do not do that. Not even metaphorically.

I will close with an inspiring thought that Husband just shared with me (he's prepping for his Sunday gig as Worship Associate at our church): "Prayer doesn't change things. Prayer changes people — and people change things." 

love and xx's,
Lady C

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Y2 Day 71: Goooooooooooal!

Next week's big editing job just fell through, so at the moment I have zero upcoming work scheduled. Usually this is call for panic (on my part) because I have no ability to take the long view. Zero work scheduled = poverty, squalor, and likely rickets.

But I'm trying to change.

If I do get work, I will need to do it — but I am going to add two additional goals to my weekly to-do list:
  • Get back to work on Novel 2
  • Do my best to lose two pounds by Sunday's Weigh-In
I haven't touched Novel 2 since I applied for the Children's Writer in Residence program, and maybe I am finally approaching the point where I can hear "You made the Top 5!" as the wonderful and affirming statement that it is, rather than "Failure! Failure! Failure!", which is what I still hear. (They finally posted the winner, by the way, and I'm sure her book about the "search for the music within" will be just darn lovely. A real corker. Yeah.)

It is so hard to get back into writing something that you haven't touched for a while. I started Measuring Up (aka Novel 1) when Mimosa was a baby; I remember pushing her in a stroller and talking to myself as I worked out plot points. But then Li'l Martini came along and I stopped writing after Chapter 4 and didn't touch it for almost a decade. And ironically, the next chapter I was "scheduled" to write involved my heroine cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, which, my dearest pallies know, is something I've never done in my life. So here's me, already struggling to resume my writer's voice, frantically searching the Internet for Turkey Cooking 101. But I figured it out and in fact ended up especially loving that chapter.

The only way to do it is to just do it, and next week I'm taking the plunge.

As for the two pounds, I've gotten very lax on the food front. It is true, I don't want to diet, per se; however, I do want to step up the pace a bit, and a Spartan week of carrot sticks and fat-free yogurt will be good for me.

Zumba was great tonight, though I am feeling old and stiff; my knee is really bugging me. I've done the prescribed physical therapy exactly once . . . hmm, I'm sure there's a connection here if I could just see it.

Nope — it's a mystery.


Oh, and here's why my blog picture is Love cookies. I have about 50 minutes on Thursdays between finishing with my math kids and picking up Martini and his glockenspiel, so I tend to run errands; today I went to the library and then Jam 'n' Java to get a coffee — and while I was there, I bought two big cookies, chocolate chip and S'more, for the kids. And then on her way home, Mimosa stopped at Lakota, our wonderful local bakery, and bought two more cookies, one for her and one for her brother. Martini was ecstatic to receive all these cookies! And I was very touched that his sister thought of him. "Who's the most loved boy in the entire world?" I said, and he crowed, "Li'l Martini Chardonnay!" in this adorably squeaky voice. They are just the dearest kids.

Later at dinner we recounted all this for Husband, who said, "Wow — I didn't bring anybody anything." And in perfect accord, all three of us whipped our heads around to give him cold stares, causing him to recoil and hide behind his napkin. It was hilarious.

(Mimosa says, "We should tape our dinners." Yeah, probably, but it sounds worky.)

It is cold in New England, and I am going to take a hot bath. I have all these library books, but instead I'm reading a birthday present, Brian Freeman's latest mystery, which I'm totally loving. On a cold November night, there's nothing like a murder mystery to warm your blood. Well, a murder mystery and a hot bubble bath and a cup of coffee. But I shall have all the things!

And a Love cookie sounds really good too (not that I have one), but I will practice practicing my steely determination. No! I say. No cookie for me! I will be satisfied with coffee, ice water, and a multivitamin! Mmmm!!

(I think I'm getting punchy, probably from lack of cookie. I'll end here. Good night!)

—Lady C

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Y2 Day 70: Trying to Shake Off Pissy Mood – Shake! Shake!

Everything is basically fine, but too many small irritants are getting me down:
  • I had a surprise editing job today — a client asked me to do a "final" read of a report I've already edited twice, because she's added some new stuff. But the new stuff she added is awful, and it's going to take a lot longer than I'd anticipated . . . and I truly hate editing things that I've already edited, it feels like going backward.
  • My math kids are getting more squirrelly; I don't have good control of one group in particular, and I'm afraid the teacher will complain to my boss. I keep up a running monotone: "OK, if we have seven cubes and I show you three — Toni, bottom in your chair, please — then how many — Andrew, please stop grabbing the cubes, thank you — how many are hiding in the cave? Bonny, put the cave back, please. Elizabeth, please let go of my necklace. Everyone — chill. How many cubes are hiding? Anyone? Anyone?" (Math fever — catch it!)
  • I had a job booked for Thursday and Friday, then the client contacted me and said she'd be late and could I please do it over the three-day weekend? If it were someone else I would likely have said yes, but this client is notorious for treating editor minions like crap, so I sweetly declined. I promptly got offered another job for next week, "Though," said my "broker" (the woman in my former job who gives me 90 percent of my work), "it's a big job and they'd love to get it back Wednesday, it might entail weekend work." I said, "We need to get clients out of the habit of expecting weekend work; I can guarantee to have it done by Friday" (which is their outside date). My broker said, "Actually, I think it's OK for them to expect a freelancer to work on the weekend." This floored me. Ask, sure — you can always ask for what you want. Expect? Wow. That was not how I ran things, back in the day. But, whatev. It's not my table. (That's waitress talk.)
  • We had some aging cornbread and a half-can of pumpkin in the fridge, and from this I plotted a magnificent dinner — however, it required a ham steak, which our Trader Joe's (I just found out) no longer carries. I bought thin-sliced sandwich ham, which I fully expect to curl up and look ridiculous when I pan-fry it, but what can I do.
  • Husband just broke one of my favorite dishes, which was a wedding present. Two days ago Mimosa broke one of our good cereal bowls. I don't want to do all the chores myself, but I would like people to stop breaking my stuff. (I don't blame Husband. Stuff happens. It just . . . gets old.)
  • I have a UTI that I can't seem to shake off, leading me to believe that I have urinary tract cancer — or toxic urine.
None of this is insurmountable, and in fact our dinner was awesome; I piled the slices on top of each other, approximating ham steak thickness, and they cooked up beautifully. We also had blackened Brussels sprouts, pumpkin-sweet potato pone, corn bread, and apple salad, a warm comfort meal on a snowy night.

Yes, it's snowing, and November's not even in double digits yet. But it's pretty, I'll say that.

And so is my hair, which I finally had professionally cut, after looking like a goon for the past few months.

And so are my fingernails, which are painted "autumn."

I will work on the ugly job for 20 more minutes, then I'll have a glass of wine and watch some fine TV with the fam and call it a night.

Tomorrow — is — another — day!

—Lady C

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Y2 Day 69: Feeling My Way to the Polls

Two events of significance occurred today (well, to me — probably, significant things happened elsewhere and to others, who can get their own blogs and quit horning in on mine already):
  • I voted for a president and a U.S. senator
  • I had my eyes dilated
While the first one will probably have an impact on me relatively soon, the second one is having an enormous effect on me right now, as I have been effectively blind since 3 p.m.

Just writing this much has taken way too long, so — short post tonight. Which is sad, because I had so much to tell you, including a cute story about voting from Mimosa's babyhood and my imminent membership in a Teacup Piggy Syndicate.

However, I will mention that my Italian Spitfire zumba teacher noticed that I'd lost more weight and complimented me, which was thrilling! I tell you: Even though the scale isn't dipping dramatically, I have been pretty dedicated with the exercise and my body is reshaping. It is cool. I lie in the bathtub and have a little Pretty Party, admiring my own calves. (Hmm, is that maybe TMI? There are lots of bubbles involved, and this scene you're now picturing, inadvertently or not, should be totally G-rated.)

And yes, you can do zumba when you're legally blind. It's Full Inclusion Zumba.

Husband, the political science junkie, is glued to his laptop, hitting Refresh every 12 seconds, and he tells me that things are looking very good for my guy and my girl right now. He'll likely be up all night, waiting for the results of the Florida 18th. (I've already flunked my role as Supportive Junkie Spouse; when Husband commented that the Indiana 9th is especially interesting, I was supposed to say, "Ah, the bloody 9th.") (What I instead said was, "Oh, sure.")

(Cindy Glamour, I bet you knew the right line.)

OK — off to the tub, where I shall soak in the joy of living in a democracy. We'll see how long I soak, though, I'm not sure I can read with my eyeballs all wacky. And a bath without a book . . . is just marinating.

Happy Election Day!

Lady C, American Girl

Monday, November 5, 2012

Y2 Day 68: I Choose Half Full

OK, so there's good news and, shall we say, less heartening news.

At today's Weigh-In, I finally had a new low to post on Fat Secret! As of today I weigh 247.5 pounds, and yes, I am still an enormous big girl, but I am a smaller enormous big girl!!! And it is about freaking time. So, yay. Yay! YAY!!!

I have never stayed with a weight-loss program this long. Never! I am simply all kinds of happy and proud of myself.

But then there's this, Fat Secret's comment when I logged in with a new weight for the first time since August:

      My Weigh in Report

            You lost 0.5 lb (0.2%) since you last weighed in on Sunday 05 Aug 12.
            At that rate it will take you about 605 months to get to your goal weight.

Six hundred and five months???!!! Will I . . . even . . . live that long?! (Yes, I am a Math Practice Guide, but I am too flummoxed to work out this story problem.)

(However, not too flummoxed to note that Fat Secret should hyphenate "Weigh in" and initial-cap the "i." Ha!)

Nonetheless, I am choosing to be happy. And I think I can manage to lose more than half a pound in the next three months.

Then again, the next three months include Thanksgiving, pecan pie for breakfast, and Trader Joe's Christmas cookies, which proved to be a challenge last year. Well — what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. We shall just see how it goes.

(At our house, Husband jokes, "Some people say the glass is half full, some people say it is half empty, and my wife says, 'Who left that glass there? Clean up after yourselves, people.'" He so gets me.)

Today is off to a slow but lovely start, as I stayed in bed drinking coffee and finishing Jennifer Weiner's excellent and highly recommended book The Next Best Thing. But now it's time to shower and work, despite my miraculous half-pound weight loss, ob la di, ob la da.

Happy Election Eve, peeps! I am optimistic for my girl and my guy and looking forward to having it be over — election ads, good lord. Such doom and gloom. Everyone should lose half a pound and be giddy and optimistic like me.

—Lady C, stuck like a dope with a thing called hope

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Y2 Day 67: A Beautiful Day

Today was simply fantastic!
  • My weight was low — not low enough to post on Fat Secret, but I have a good feeling about tomorrow, so I'm going to make that my official Weigh-In Day. Anyway, it was low enough to make me happy.
  • I wore an outfit to church that I haven't worn in years, a slim-fitting navy tunic and short tight skirt, and I tied a jaunty navy print scarf about my neck, and while from some angles I might've resembled an air hostess, still: I felt hot.
  • Husband was a Worship Associate this morning, his first day at it, and he was marvelous, opening the service in his cheerful, warm, droll manner and giving us some beautiful words to reflect on. I was absurdly proud of him and beamed and beamed.
  • Right after church I took a brisk walk on the bike path, which could not have been prettier — bright blue sky, golden- and crimson-leafed trees, picturesque as all giddy-up. California had a perfectly lovely autumn as well, I know that New England doesn't have a monopoly on my favorite season — but still. I am very glad I live where I do during these months. (I continued to think stomach-flap eradication thoughts. Perhaps I should measure my stomach flap right now, and then at the end of the week I can determine how much mind control I actually have. That would be good to know.)
  • Made fresh blueberry pancakes and Italian sausage for lunch — yes, not remotely a diet meal, but oh so good! I had one stack of pancakes and one sausage, and this was my big meal for the day. (I'm having fat-free pineapple yogurt and grapes for dinner. Yum!)
  • I finally did the physical therapy I'm supposed to be doing every day for my arthritic knee, which most days feels fine but sometimes feels a little achy (probably if it felt achy every day I'd be more motivated to do my PT), and it wasn't that hard; I can easily fit it into my schedule, and it gave me that nice virtuous feeling I also get after flossing. Or doing Kegels.
  • Talked to Mom on the phone, always a treat. 
  • Took a fabulous late-afternoon bath and read half of Jennifer Weiner's new book, which I am loving.
And now here I am, putting my blog to bed and preparing for Sunday night Must-See TV, Midwife and Good Wife. Life is sweet!

—Lady C

Y2 Day 66: Mama Doll

Today was a fabulous four-starrer — it's Chore Day and we got the house sparkling in record time, which included taking down Halloween decorations and dusting all the main rooms, and I had a chance to use one of my birthday presents from Brunie, the Corkcicle, which looks like a turkey baster mated with an icicle (or a truly disturbing dildo) but is intended to instantly chill an unchilled bottle of wine,* and I gotta say: I'm a fan (so get one, BookClub Girl! Your life of closet wine will improve immensely, I promise), and I had a fabby lunch of spinach salad, a slice of veggie frittata, and a clementine, then took a long brisk walk on this gorgeous fall day and lifted weights and worked my core and felt strong and virtuous. I also focused on eradicating my stomach flap with every step — that ought to do it.

And then we headed up to Beverly as a family to have a scrumptious dinner at the Backstage Bistro and take in a show! We saw Guys and Dolls, a soundtrack that's long been a family favorite. It was outstanding, a near flawless performance, all four leads simply spectacular. We had a great time.

At one point, Sky Masterson says to Sister Sarah, "What the hell kind of doll are you?" and she says, "I'm a mission doll." I promptly said, "I'm a mama doll." Mimosa said, "I'm an ignoring-the-mama doll." I said, "That's the definition of being a teenage daughter, moody doll." (Li'l Martini said that he was a ninja doll, then looked disgusted and said, "Wait, I'm not a doll." Husband first chose professor doll, then we changed it to doctor doll. I knew you'd want to know.)

Fun fun FUN.

And tomorrow I gain an hour!

But now, to bed.

—Lady C, dreaming of being one of Adelaide's Debutantes

* I have to drink wine when I dust; otherwise, I get too grouchy about my lot in life. Nobody needs this.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Y2 Day 65: Me and My Baby Take in a Show

LOVED Frankenweenie. Mimosa and I finally went tonight, at 5 p.m., there were 10 people in the theater, not a child among them, and it took about 30 minutes before the people around us caught on that we were watching a comedy (perhaps my unrestrained guffaws were a clue). (I also cried, probably a dozen times, as this movie will make you desperately miss any former pet, and I miss my sweetie Dexter so much.) Highly recommended!

In other news:
  • Husband says that my mission statement is too long, but he has ADHD. I'm just saying. And he also told me I'm pretty, so I forgive him for his searing critique.
  • I decided to henna my hair some time ago but keep forgetting to order the henna; today I went to do it, and to get the amount I need, it will cost $32. That seems high, but close to what I'd pay in a salon, so, OK. And then I saw that shipping charges were an additional $15. Forget it. I will call the place tomorrow and see if I can have it mailed any way other than priority. Can't they use a flat-rate box? Man.
  • Husband says my hair looks perfect. He is a sweetie. And eager to get out of the doghouse.
That may be all my news. Plus, I want to get under my covers (I'm sleepy. And cold) and read read read, I have so many good books going right now! Plus two I haven't even started!

I keep thinking about something that one of my friends told me: She's started running, and while her weight hasn't gone down all that much, she is slowly losing the flap of skin that hangs over her C-section scar. I don't want to start running (oh, my arthritic knee), but what if I took a vigorous walk on my treadmill every single day? Would I lose my stomach flap? I wonder. I would dearly love to lose my stomach flap.

Good Neighbor Anne points out that it will soon be too cold (and icy) to walk outside, so I need to negotiate peace with my treadmill — we haven't spoken in months. Anyway. I'm thinking about it. I'll let you know how far I get.


—Lady C

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Y2 Day 64: Mission . . . Possible? 
It occurred to me that (a) I have some newish readers (b) who may well see statements like "I ate fried oysters and white wine, topped off with Peanut M&M'S and white chocolate Kit-Kats" (c) on what they believe to be a diet blog (d) and wonder "WTF, Lady C?"

And maybe not, maybe you're all grooving right along with me as I attempt to lose 138 pounds the slooooooowest possible way, but just in case I thought I'd try developing a "mission statement" of sorts, to reorient us all as needed.

(Husband is now either groaning or rolling his eyes. He thinks mission statements are ridiculous. I think they are awesome and important. And yet we stay married. Truelove is amazing.)
(That's our mission statement: "Stay married." It's gotten us through a lot, believe me.)

So, a quick review of where I was:
  • I weighed 287 pounds, having gained 100 pounds (5 pounds a year) since I met Husband, zooming toward 300, with no end in sight
  • I ate at restaurants at least six times a week, possibly more, and finished my entire meal at least half the time — we also brought in deli sandwiches and/or pizza at least once a week
  • I ordered wine or a margarita 90 percent of the time I ate at a restaurant
  • I took one zumba class a week but otherwise did no exercise
And the two biggies:
  • Because of my diabetic mother and the fact that I would soon be 50, diabetes clearly loomed in my immediate future
  • My beloved teen daughter is slightly overweight, and while I'm gently prodding her toward a healthier path, I also wanted to be a good role model
It has now been a year and two months, more or less, and I've lost 40 pounds, I exercise at least four times a week, we eat at restaurants far less, when we get pizza I eat two or three slices instead of four, I rarely order alcohol with my restaurant meal (and in fact drink a lot less alcohol, though it seems to play such a large role in my blog posts!), and I'm much more mindful about what I eat overall.

The thing that is especially cool is that almost all of this has become routine rather than something I have to think much about. When I haven't exercised, I start feeling edgy and sluggish — I know that I need to move and sweat. And believe me, that is a HUGE change!!! And stopping eating when I'm full rather than stuffed — that's another thing I've become much better at.

But I'm not really "dieting." I'm not following any sort of plan, and I haven't cut out any foods (see "fried oysters, white wine, Halloween candy," etc.). I want a way of life that fits me and that I can live with forever. I want to lose all this extra weight, once and for all, and then keep it off, without feeling deprived or miserable.

So, yeah, it's going to take a while. But I'm really really really excited because, after having been stuck on 252 for what's seemed like years, last night I weighed myself after my huge dinner (I don't think I mentioned that there were French fries on top of the fried oysters, did I? or a piece of cornbread with butter?), and at night, with a huge dinner in my stomach, I weighed: 250. Which means that I am finally, really, truly in the '40s!!!! This was insanely thrilling to me.

Okay — here's my first crack at a mission statement:

I love to eat a variety of delicious foods, 
and I love to stop eating when I'm full and satisfied. 
I am a zumba queen. 
Taking long walks in the fresh air brings me peace of mind;
when I lift weights and work my core, I feel strong and powerful. 
With every healthy choice I make, 
I am closer to becoming the woman I want to be.

What do you think?

(Tonight's zumba class was awesome. Remember how I phoned it in last week? Tonight I rocked out and pretended to be Tina Turner and sweated like a pig. Awesome.)

Bath time! I just got both Kate Morton's and Jennifer Weiner's latest books — how will I choose?!

—Lady C, mission-ary