Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Final 24 Hours of My Face

My face! My face! My beautiful face!

Cancer, shmancer; all I care about is what a freak I'm going to look like for the next week. I am vanity's bitch, for sure.

For those who haven't memorized the details of my life (and why not, may I ask?), tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time I'm having Mohs surgery, during which at least one dime-sized layer of skin will be removed from my nose. My excellent surgeon will continue to remove layers until my cancer is completely eradicated. It could take two hours, it could take five hours.

I'm preparing. I just picked up a new library book (The Tell, recommended by Book Club Girl) and have a stack of magazines to read, and I also grabbed some healing videos for after (including Buck, recommended by Bride Boy — and I meant to name three other movies he recommended, Adam, City Island, and Win-Win, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Check 'em out!), and I will ask, nay, demand to know when I can have wine again (I'm hoping so hard that I can have at least a small glass tomorrow night) . . . and what else can I do. I'm ready for the siege.

(My face! My face!)

In two weeks (on Valentine's Day) I will have reconstructive surgery, in which a piece of my cheek packs its bags and relocates, forever, to my nose. I'm not even thinking about this one yet — one horror show at a time.

Please send healing thoughts, wishes, vibes, and prayers my way. I will take all that I can get.

I know that I'm being ridiculous. I know what a minor setback this is in the overall scheme of things.

I don't care. I'm a big freaking baby and a drama queen, and they are cutting open my face!!!!!!!

Time to go breathe into a paper bag. And lament the fact that it doesn't contain a bottle, ha ha.

(Will it be over the top if I suggest that my children kiss Mummy's face goodbye before they leave for school? Let me know what you think.)

Lady C, big chicken

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Boy Friend, Not a Boyfriend

Happy birthday to Bride Boy, my Best Male Friend! (Albeit a day late.) I did write to him on his natal day, but, as I told him, it had been a day packed with a lot of computer-sitting for me, so after eight hours of editing a case study about education in the Philippines and then another hour of writing a long loving newsy note to my pally, I couldn't drum up the bandwidth to write a blog post and instead climbed into bed with the Globe crossword puzzle and my latest library book, Hell or High Water.

(I'm also reading Anna Karenina, sloooooooooowly. Anna Karenina is no Jane Eyre, I'll say that. But it's early days, maybe it will pick up.)

I met Bride Boy sometime in the '80s when we both worked for Planned Parenthood, and at first he was barely on my radar; he seemed about 14 years old. (Look at that adorable baby face!) But his essential awesomeness quickly became clear and we became great friends — though our alliance was cemented for life when we decided to road-trip to Chicago, his hometown and the residence of my soon-to-be-former Best Male Friend, TNT, a college friend. We had so much fun; we talked and talked and talked, we played tons of music that we mostly agreed on (he was appalled that I made him listen to "The Best of Barbara Mandrell," and I had a similar reaction to his Grateful Dead tape. But mostly we agreed), we splurged on a nice hotel on our last night of the trip and swam in their pool, and he took a picture of me lounging on the piano (I forgot to ask Husband to scan it — stay tuned!) — just, total fun. And we got along the whole time! With very few arguments!*

One of our last discussions concerned whether I would drive him all the way home or drop him off at (I think) the T stop. While this unresolved question hung in the air, we stopped to fill my car with gas. It was his turn to pay, but he had to go to the bathroom or something, so I told the attendant what to do. Here is a transcript:**
  • Attendant: Hi, what'll it be?
  • Me: Fill 'er up, please.
  • Attendant: Premium?
  • Me (only half listening): Yeah, sure.
  • Bride Boy (from a billion feet away): Premium??? You are definitely taking me home!!
Bride Boy moved to the other coast shortly after I met Husband, so we haven't lived near each other for two decades, and I miss him. (He was one of my bridal attendants, resplendent in a forest-green tie and cummerbund to match the ladies; hence his blog name.) In my day-to-day life now, the man I hang out with most (besides Husband of course) is my pal Superdad, whom I see every day when we do Math Practice together. I'm also good friends with Handsome D and my Alterna-Husband, but in those cases it's hard for me to imagine doing something only with them and not their wives. (I mean, I'd love to, they are great guys; it just seems unlikely to occur.) But Superdad and I see each other all the time. He's a great buddy.
My best friends tend to be female, but I really like having guy friends too.

So! Happy birthday, my dear friend of so many years. I hope your day was wonderful.

Today is one of my crazy days of going from thing to thing to thing: This morning I'm taking two editing tests (I may have a new client, which would be fantastic) and proofing some more Snowy pages, Math Practice will be early since it's an early release day in the elementary schools, then I'm helping at the middle school's Book Fair (the only volunteer thing I ever do at Martini's school) and bringing home Martini's glock while he's at his after-school LARP program (don't ask), I've got an editing job for this afternoon (due first thing tomorrow), and I end my day at zumba. Whee! Watch me go.

There's snow on the ground, Husband just shoveled our front steps, yet tomorrow is predicted to be 50 degrees. I love a New England winter! (Bride Boy, don't you miss it? Come back to me!)

Love to all,
Lady C

* I say that we argue all the time. He says that we never argue, we simply have interesting and provocative discussions. I will simply note that he channeled his ability to sustain an interesting and provocative discussion into a paying career: He is a lawyer.

** I remember everything. He forgets details and thinks I'm a freak because I remember everything. This is something we argue about provocatively discuss.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I've lost an entire pound since my last weigh-in in November! On that date, it had been ages since my previous weigh-in, and FatSecret told me that it would take something like 42,000 months to reach my goal weight (i.e., it will not be happening in this lifetime, Lady). But FatSecret was more like an approving auntie this morning:

You lost 1.0 lb (0.4 %) since you last weighed in on Monday 05 Nov 12.
At that rate it will take you about 270 months to get to your goal weight.

Heck, that's just 22 years! Not a problem.

And I can finally say that I've lost more than 40 pounds!!!!!!

I may post more later but just wanted to share the news while it's hot off the press.

And I will slug the first person who suggests that the loss may be attributed to my new hooch-free state. 

Oh, wait, I won't. We don't have that kind of relationship. Say whatever you want to say.

The point is (respectfully): I don't care. I will be drinking wine as soon as I can. I lost 40 pounds while drinking wine. The trick is finding balance.

I think it helped that I didn't eat a lick of restaurant food yesterday and had a very light dinner, and I've already planned my morning and will have breakfast before church. I knew that weekends were becoming a problem, and I figured out how to solve it. Well, for this weekend, anyway. Apparently I'll be doing this for the next 22 years.

Yay! Celebrate with me!

—(a lighter) Lady C

p.s. True Confessions time: I had a light dinner and went right into the tub, thinking I was done eating for the day, but I'm reading a book set in New Orleans, the descriptions of food made me insane, I had to eat something else before bed, and here's what I ate: Brie. And crackers. (Albeit, reduced-fat whole-wheat crackers.) In bed. And yet I still lost weight. Life amazes me.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The F Word, Revisited

Say — you want a resolution?

Remember my big New Year's resolution: forgive? And then I tried hard to remember all the people I still needed to forgive and had trouble coming up with any, since I'd already done the work I needed to do? Well, for whatever reason, three totally different past conflicts flooded my brain this week, possibly triggered by the issue I'm having with Control Teacher.

— And let me say quickly, in case it wasn't clear yesterday: I don't blame Control Teacher for wanting things the way she wants them in her classroom. If my group is disturbing her, then I need to know that and to conduct the group differently. I fully support her on this. I just don't love the way she's going about it. She has made me feel very self-conscious and uncomfortable when I'm in her room, which is not conducive to doing good work. I'm also there on two other days, same kids, same table, and (one presumes) the same group dynamics, but a different teacher, and Teacher 2 couldn't be friendlier. She also has a more chill style in the classroom. Anyway: I'm not a teacher basher; I'm just struggling with how to make this work for both of us, and I wish I felt like we were partners in this endeavor. That's all! —

Here are the three incidents that floated up this week, and one of them is so absurd I can't believe my subconscious even bothered to bury and store it:
  • 2009: Li'l Martini is playing basketball at the local Boys and Girls Club. Anyone who wants to play can play, but they do drills and such for the first two sessions so the coach can get a sense of skill levels and assign balanced teams. Every single time Martini runs to shoot a basket (or whatever), the gang of jock boys from his elementary school make fun of him behind his back, mimicking what he's doing. (Martini, bless him, is not a natural athlete, but he is a good sport and a good teammate, and he tries hard.) Their oblivious mothers chat and gossip in the stands, ignoring the little shits down on the court.
  • 2010: We attended our yearly church retreat at Ferry Beach in Saco, Maine. There's a common room where people tend to congregate at night, playing games, drinking wine or cocoa or coffee, eating snacks. People bring food and drink and leave it on the counters, and you help yourself to what looks good to you. I live in fear of being caught without a corkscrew, so I carry them everywhere; there's one in my glove compartment and one in each suitcase that I might use for traveling. Don't judge me! The reason I have so many corkscrews is that I've been caught without one so many times, thus having to buy a new one. And the extra corkscrews have come in handy more times than I really want to tell you. OK, this story has gone off the rails; let's refocus. SO: I brought a corkscrew and, in fact, there didn't seem to be another one, so I left it on the counter throughout the weekend. On our last evening there, it had gotten late (say, 9:45) and I wanted to be sure that I wouldn't forget my corkscrew in the morning, so I brought it over to the table where the kids and I were playing Tripoly. Some time later, a man (someone I don't particularly like; he's unsmiling and negative, though his wife and daughters are sweethearts) came over and said, rather belligerently, "Do you have the corkscrew?" I said, "I have my corkscrew; is that what you mean?" He said, "Do you have the corkscrew that's been here all weekend?" I repeated, "I brought my own corkscrew, and I let people use it this weekend; is that what you mean?" He stared at me for a minute and then said, "Can I take the corkscrew?" I said, "You may borrow my corkscrew, if that's what you're asking." We looked at each other for a long moment. Finally, finally, he said, through gritted teeth, "May I borrow your corkscrew?" "Sure," I said, with a sweet, false smile, "but please bring it back because I'm afraid I might forget to pack it, and it's really good to have an extra corkscrew on hand, 'cause you just never know."
  • 2011: I attended a weekend training session for OWL teachers (my church's sex ed curriculum), and one of the trainers took a weird dislike to me; either my air of sunny confidence was deeply threatening to him, or I look exactly like the girl who turned him down for the prom, who knows. When we did our final presentations, he said, in front of the whole group, "Lady C, I gotta say, you seemed really full of yourself." Such a constructive comment, it really helped me grow as a person and a teacher. Ha! Not. (Later, the other co-trainer called me at home to personally apologize and talk it all through with me, which was very nice. But still, I think it's fair to say that I'm harboring some feelings about the man who said it.)
So there they are, my three unresolved conflicts, and I hope it's clear that the second one is the one I'm finding so ridiculous; why on earth am I still thinking about this?!! Crazytown. But here we go:
  • I forgive the jock boys. I have no idea what kind of pressure they're under — from their parents, from their peers, or from their own selves — to perform, to excel, to fulfill some idea they have of what it means to be a man. And when you're young in particular, a surefire way to feel a little higher on the success ladder (albeit, temporarily) is to put someone else down. I get this, and I forgive them.
  • I also forgive their mothers. I hope my first guess was right, that they really aren't aware of what their sons are doing. But I also know how little control a parent really has regarding what their children do and say to other children. These are all nice women. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and forgive them.
  • I definitely forgive the man at my church. I think he is a deeply unhappy person. I don't know why — he has such a lovely family. I hope he finds the peace he desperately needs.
  • And I forgive my OWL trainer. I have lots of guesses about why he said what he said to me, and I'll likely never know for sure, but none of them come from a happy or confident place. I believe that his comment had more to do with him than with me. I'm letting go of it. I forgive him.
Can't wait to see what my subconscious dredges up next!

Two more things of note have happened today (and it's not even 10 a.m.!):
  • I have often described my heart-throb Mr. Bates (of Downton Abbey) as the world's unlikeliest sex symbol — he is a doughy middle-aged white man. I said this to Husband this morning, who retorted, "Hey! Don't knock the doughy middle-aged white men!" Hee. If you'd asked me, I would've guessed that the actor is a few years older than I am — more Husband's age. (Yes, I am a trophy wife. We have a near ten-year age gap. Okay, eight, I'm rounding up.) But I just learned in TV Guide that actor Brendan Coyle is a full year younger than I am. Oy.
  • Husband just read me a quote from Business Week that I am completely in love with: "Pain is temporary. Suck is forever." You may quote me quoting him quoting it.
Time to start our chores. Today's big task: Cleaning the fridge. I can already hear the children groaning. Happy Saturday, dear readers!

—Lady C, hoping that three acts of forgiveness will make her three pounds lighter . . .

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hands Off My Identity, Dude!

The weirdest thing happened yesterday. I came home from a hard day of Math Practice (and there will be more on this below, because I need to vent) (and also publicly shame people who deserve it) (forgive forgive forgive . . .) to hear the following message on my answering machine:

            Hi Lady C, it's Nikita again, I was just talking to you, so I'm 
          looking at your upcoming appointments and you're also seeing 
          the surgeon on February 14. Did you want to keep that one? Call 
          us back!

OK, this is alarming on so many levels. The implication is that I called my face surgeon to cancel my appointment on the 31st — and without that appointment, why would I need the reconstruction of my face on the 14th? A reasonable question, for sure.

Except I never called, I did not cancel, and I've already gone a whole freaking week without drinking, which had better not be in vain. Who the hell is calling my surgeon to cancel my appointments? This is, like, the most annoying spiteful prank ever.

And when I called back, Nikita was very suspicious and did not want to believe that I hadn't called her earlier. "Someone else named Lady C must be having surgery the same day," I said. "Nope," she says, "only men are scheduled." "Then she's having it on another day," I said. "Nope," she said, with a definite aha! gotcha! note in her voice, "You said the 31st." "I didn't say anything," I snapped, but then remembered that Nikita was the one with the power in this situation, so I went back to being Miss Mohs Surgery Congeniality.

But I was annoyed.

I got my original appointment back (I thought about suggesting to Nikita that she and I choose a code word, so she'll know if it's really me when Faux Lady C calls again, but I just had a feeling that she wouldn't be into it) and my week of sobriety has not been wasted, thank heaven.

Though yesterday was such an annoying day, Husband pointed out that a drink might have been a good thing. Which is true. But I muscled through on my wits alone, utterly Chardonnay-free, woo-hoo! (Sigh.)

Here's the sitch: I do my math work with three different classes, and because of job-sharing and co-teaching and the like, this means working with five teachers. Four of them seem to appreciate and like me, but one has always acted like I am something she must endure, which of course makes me feel all kinds of happy and comfortable when I'm in her classroom twice a week. My style with the kids is definitely exuberant and joyful (though we do have ground rules, which I refer to all the time), whereas she is much more restrained and controlled (and honestly, if I spent more than 20 minutes a day with these kids, I'd probably have a different style too). But on Tuesday she took me aside for a little talk about "discipline," which basically went like this: "I perceive your group as out of control — no, don't speak, when I said 'talk' I meant 'lecture' — so, if you'll accept my advice, I think you should be much more stern with them and don't let them get away with any of the things you've been letting them get away with. 'Kay? Thanks!"

(Italics mine — I don't let them do crap; when they are pissheads I call them on it, I've already kicked one kid out of the group, and I sent Glum Albie back to his desk just last week when he threw a cube. But whatever, lady.)

She also said that it's very difficult for her when I come on Thursdays, because I'm leading my raucous out-of-control menagerie when she's trying to read a dear little story to her 18 perfectly behaved cherubs, and maybe I could take my wretched feral group of hellions somewhere else? I agreed with great enthusiasm; this will be better for both of us.

Dear Readers, what is your take-away from this story in terms of who will secure the alternate space for my group on Thursdays?
  1. The Teacher, who knows the school and the staff and the layout and the general schedules and therefore what space might be available
  2. The part-time Math Practice Guide, who only knows the five teachers she's working with and the three classrooms she's working in and doesn't know squat about the rest of the school
I picked option (1), how 'bout you? Oh, silly us. The answer, of course, is (2), which I found out when I appeared yesterday and Teacher greeted me with a tight smile and the words, "I thought you were taking them somewhere else today?" I said, "Oh, yes, right, where should we go?" Smile stretched even tighter over her bared teeth: "Well, I didn't arrange a space!"

I grabbed my kids — mind you, we are now a group of five: me, Glum Albie, and the three Dramatic Princesses — and we headed out to the hallway, because I truly had no idea where else to take them. And as I'm trying to find five chairs to put around the one empty table, the kids are clamoring, "What are we playing today? Whose turn is it to sit next to you? It's mine, isn't it? No, Glum Albie, it was your turn yesterday. No, it's mine, it's mine! What game are we playing? Can we play Mystery Bag? Can I choose the game? Can I go first? I don't need a chair, I like to stand," and on and on and on, and I kept saying, "Shh, quiet, remember, we're outside somebody's classroom, we need to be quiet," and I'm inwardly seething, feeling so completely set up by this teacher and absurdly conscious of the poor stranger whose class we were probably disturbing (she eventually closed her door), and my four would not shut up (to be fair, there was nothing else for them to do but yap, since I was still securing our pathetic little workspace), and I finally snapped and said, "Oh My God will you BE QUIET??", which stunned them into silence.

Which felt awesome. Not. Yeah, I suck as a disciplinarian.

When I got to my next class, I was a bit early and noticed that the room was empty and then remembered that I'd seen those kids trooping off to the library earlier; I asked the teachers if I could use their room for my earlier Thursday group, and they couldn't have been kinder or more hospitable. Which almost made me cry.

At our Math Practice meeting this morning I told this story, and my wise and wonderful no-nonsense boss said, very calmly, "Some teachers have control issues and that's why they become teachers." !!!! I felt so validated. My boss is awesome.

I love and support teachers, and I have so much empathy for what they go through, and I am very aware that it's Teacher's classroom and it's 100 percent her call how things are going to be, and if I'm making her life harder instead of helping her, then I'm not doing my job — all that is true, and she still pisses me off.

And I did make the new recipe for Pork and Pears with Quinoa last night and it was just average, which was very disappointing. (However, the green bean casserole kicked booty.) Tonight, I took the leftover pork and sliced it very thin and stir-fried it with asparagus and some other vegetables and concocted a sauce from chicken broth and teriyaki marinade and sesame oil and served it over rice, and it was sensational. And I rinsed the quinoa off the pears, sliced them thin, put them in a glass baking dish with some melted butter and brown sugar and poured a simple butter cake batter over the top, and we're all about to feast on upside-down pear cake, which smells divine.

Lemons, lemonade. All good.

I am determined to have a good weekend of light meals and exercise. Wish me luck!

xx Lady C

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit! Sort Of!

My goal, remember, was a day of perfectly healthful eating, to see whether that would make a difference in my zumba performance. Let's see what happened!
  1. I didn't eat perfectly healthfully but I ate mostly healthfully.
  2. I was much less tired and felt more energetic at Wednesday's class than Tuesday's. And I even did five minutes of the dreaded abs. (But then she had us do 20,000 variations of The Plank and I cried uncle and went home to drink hot chai and watch Modern Family. C'mon, wouldn't you?)
Of course, on Tuesday I hadn't exercised in six days; on Wednesday I'd exercised just the day before. And on Tuesday I wore the workout pants that always make me feel hotter (it's 4 degrees here, people! I thought it would help!), and on Wednesday I wore my exercise capris, which, while made of a material that feels like sweat pants, are wonderfully moisture-wicking.

Nonetheless, I think it's clear that lighter eating on zumba days is a good thing.

Why it wasn't a perfect food day: I forgot that I was hosting my writers group in the a.m., and I had to make muffins for them. Some time ago I bought Trader Joe's Blueberry Muesli cereal, and ohmylord was it awful, but I couldn't bear to throw out a whole bag of perfectly good food before trying something different, and I remembered KT telling me ages ago that you can make muffins out of any unwanted dry cereal, so I Googled "Blueberry Muesli Muffins" and found a lovely recipe that also involved bananas; the recipe writer is based in the UK, so I had to convert "125 grams of butter" (one stick, in case you're wondering) and I didn't even address the Celsius baking temp, I simply baked them at 350, and they are sublime. They're full of fruit (fresh blueberries, in addition to the cereal, and three bananas!), but I still wouldn't call them "healthy" per se, given that stick of butter, and there's also a good quantity of brown sugar. And throughout the day I did eat three of them.

Also, because I'd pecked so lightly during the day, by dinnertime I was ravenous, and I inhaled a grilled cheese sandwich (on whole-wheat bread! Still, yes, I know, not #1 on anyone's Nutrition Hit Parade), and two small bowls of tomato-and-roasted-red-pepper soup, and two helpings of veggie-packed salad, and a big handful of grapes. I ate this at 5:30 and zumba is at 7:30, so it worked out okay, but my best pre-zumba dinner is a cup of yogurt. I think the rhythm of large lunch, tiny light dinner really is the best one for me on zumba days — I'll work on it.

By the way, when I refer to my veggie-packed salads, here's what I put in them: lettuce (duh), carrots, celery, red pepper, radishes, scallions, snap peas, and snow peas. These are things we always have on hand. If I have broccoli (or broccoli slaw) or cauliflower (my favorite raw veg!) or zucchini, they go in too. If I have leftover steamed green beans or asparagus, they go in. If I have any other leafy green (spinach, arugula), it goes in. (But no tomatoes or cucumbers, Husband can't abide either. My mom can hardly fathom green salad without tomatoes, but I got used to it with no problem. And I have fresh tomatoes in many other capacities, no worries! Mimosa and I eat Caprese salad all summer long.) Last night it was just the basics, and it was scrumptious. Someone gave me a bottle of Trader Joe's Low Fat Champagne Vinaigrette, and I swooned over its yumminess.

I am a total vegetable girl. I have to remind myself to eat fruit. Fruit bores me (unless it's summer and the nectarines are ripe — I do love a ripe nectarine). I know this is not the norm.

Another thing I'm realizing is that my weekends have gotten out of control, food-wise. On Saturdays, if I did a lot of cooking during the week, we tend to have leftovers for lunch (which is fine), and then we have a "treat" for dinner as a reward for all those chores we did. But for whatever reason we haven't had a lot of leftovers these past few weeks, and Mimosa has a karate class from 12:30 to 1:30, making the "lunch hour" a tad challenging, and it is just so easy for Husband to grab deli sandwiches for us all, which we plow into ravenously at 1:40. And then we still have our "treat" dinner, usually pizza. And then on Sunday, I find myself unable to time my life appropriately enough to have breakfast before church, so I spend the second half of the worship service salivating over dreams of tacos, and the minute we're released from the holy environs, I'm racing to my car with visions of a huge lunch in my head.

Yes, I'm an idiot and my own worst enemy. (Thank you, we've met.) But now that I've named the problem (Step 1!), I can start figuring out what to do about it. Stay tuned!

Tonight we're having pork chops and green bean casserole and tossed salad and apple salad and perhaps I'll dream up an interesting starchy side dish. Or, hmm, I think I have a recipe for Pork Chops and Pears with Quinoa — maybe I'll try that? Or maybe I'll just split and broil the remaining blueberry muffins (which are so fabby that I almost want to buy some more of that awful muesli!). Either way, we're having a good dinner — and I don't have to go anywhere tonight! Sweet.

I love when people tell me that I'm an inspiration, because, dear God, I am SO not inspiring myself!! I am feeling quite the failure, frankly. Okay, "failure" is too strong — I do give myself credit for keeping off the weight I've lost. But I still have so far to go, and I'm seeing nothing resembling movement. And I know the solution is to exercise more and to eat less and differently (duh!), but I just can't seem to bring myself there. Don't ask me why. Perhaps it's the time of year; it's so cold, and I just want to hibernate slothfully under a blanket of warm delicious food.

Yah, that's it. How can I possibly lose weight when I have to battle every element of the universe? I'm just one girl!! Who gets tired during zumba!!

OK, OK. I will dial it down and instead think of that old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

(Ew. Please don't serve me elephant. I'm not much of a meat eater to begin with; I think elephant would do me in.)

(Yes, I know pork chops are meat. Hush.)

Love to all,

Lady C, ready to approach her day one bite at a time

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You Are What You Eat (Lard Lass)

Zumba was less fun tonight, I got tired very quickly and felt quite old and breathless and out of shape — which I attribute to two things: (1) Despite the "busy-ness" of my weekend, I haven't actually exercised since last Wednesday, and (2) I've been eating doughnuts, doughnuts, doughnuts, plus pizza and chocolate cake and a deli sandwich, and though I had a near-perfect lunch today of salmon, vegetables, and brown rice, my pre-zumba dinner was an enormous plate of cheese.

So — a learning.

Tomorrow I will eat right to keep fit and see if that affects how I feel during tomorrow night's zumba class. Right now, I feel a hundred years old. And cold. Old and cold. It's, like, 8 degrees here! Crazytown.

I've been hunkering down under blankets a lot. Yesterday I finished The Diviners, which was totally fabby (apparently it's Book 1 of a new series — yay, a new series!), and today I read The School of Essential Ingredients, something like that, which was okay, a nice little story with lots of good food in it. It's a busy week — I'm working on a project with my pal Zanzibar, I'm helping Ruth Doan MacDougall transcribe Snowy (sequel to my favorite book The Cheerleader) into e-book format, I may enter Amazon's Breakthrough Novel contest, I have a birthday letter to write to one of my besties, and I'm in a skit at church this weekend so need to memorize lines — but I don't have any paying editing work, second week in a row, which is very worrisome. Is it time to start looking for my third job???

I'll worry about that tomorrow.

Oh, and I just completed my fifth day of not drinking alcohol.

I do not think that temperance is the life for me.

OK! Time to soak my weary, aged bones in a hot bath, scented with cranberry bubbles, a gift from my darling friend Good Neighbor Anne.

Whole-grain cereal, fresh fruit, salad, soup, and lots and lots of water. Those are my watchwords for tomorrow. So it is written, so it shall be.


—Lady C

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thank You, MLK—We're Having a Lovely Weekend!

I haven't been posting because I've been so busy, a human doing instead of a human being, ha ha. And also, Husband was felled by a stomach virus on Saturday, so I've been primary parent. And we turned every mattress in the house (as we do each New Year) and vacuumed and mopped underneath, and moved bedroom furniture away from walls and vacuumed behind, and went to sleep that night in sparkly clean bedrooms, tucked into freshly laundered, warm-from-the-dryer flannel sheets, and that took a lot of time, but there's also been Improv and IHOP and movies and games and good food and fun.

Yesterday Mimosa and I saw Life of Pi. I try to see most of the big Oscar nominees, but every year there are one or two I cheerfully eschew, and this year I was pretty happy to skip Life of Pi and Amour. Enter Mimosa, whom I've trained to love the Oscars as I do and who has a stubborn streak the like of which I've seldom seen; I have no idea where she inherited that. (Ha.) She says to me, "We need to see these movies." I went into full-on whine mode, but she would not be budged. I decided that I had less interest in Pi, so we got that one out of the way first.

Well, color me so surprised! All I really knew about it was what the average disinterested viewer knows: boy, boat, tiger. But it was a beautiful little movie, lushly filmed, gorgeous vivid colors, charming characters, clever writing. We were riveted. I'm also in love with grown-up Pi. Definitely recommended!

Now, will this help me keep an open mind about, yawn, ugh, Amour? Probably not. It sounds so freaking depressing, I need a very large glass of wine or two or thirty to get through it, but we have entered my two-week pre-surgery temperance period, and boy am I happy about that.

Today I have a phone appointment with Zanzibar in just a bit, we're returning cans and bottles and getting some dough, which we will spend on doughnuts from the Good Doughnut Place, I'm taking Martini to buy some new shirts and big-boy underdrawers, my giant strapping son has outgrown everything but is also old enough to have a say in what shirts he'll wear, and I have a dinner date with a long-time client who's likely moving to California. And in every available second I will read The Diviners by Libba Bray, which I am totally loving, but it's almost 600 pages, it's taking me a while to finish.

Fun fun fun weekend! I hope yours was grand as well.

—Lady C, on holiday

p.s. Another thing I did this weekend was measure my waist — I read two different magazine articles on the importance of waist size. The ideal measurement for women is under 35 inches, which I did not achieve, but also your waist measurement should not be more than 85 percent of your hip measurement, and mine is only 79 percent, so that was good news. Which I'll take where I can get it!

p.p.s. I'm trying to decide whether to host my "annual" Oscar party this year. (Last year I took a break, which I regretted precisely never.) My reconstructive surgery is February 14 and the Oscars are 10 days later (on Lady Darcy's birthday!), so my Quasiomodo-esque appearance is factoring into my decision. Any opinions on this matter? Do weigh in.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lady C the Weevil Slayer

I had an unexpected free day today; first my lunch date bowed out (with apologies), then my Math Practice boss canceled our weekly meeting. So I slept in a little, then I had a nice breakfast chat with Husband, and then I did a little paying work that showed up at the last minute (which, thank God; otherwise next week's paycheck would barely have broken $100).

But then a free afternoon loomed before me, all bright and shiny with promise, and I decided to do something I've been thinking about for weeks: deep-clean my kitchen (or half my kitchen; I didn't touch the stove, microwave, or refrigerator; they'll be Round 2). I emptied every cupboard, got rid of stuff that we never use, eradicated dust and crumbs, and killed about a trillion weevils. Ohmygoodness, they were everywhere — in the Bisquick, in the flax seed, in the white-whole-wheat flour, in my toffee bits. I threw out anything that looked the least bit suspect, and set out new "moth traps." All will be well, but it was truly gross.

Part of the problem is that my "baking shelf" holds every single product I ever use for baking and is therefore almost unusable, it is so crammed with stuff. I always think of adding some whole-wheat flour to whatever I'm baking, but that bag of flour was so hard to get to. (Which meant that it sat for many months without being opened, used, or even moved — and hello, weevils! Come right on in, and bring a friend!) So I reorganized and it is now two shelves — and oh what joy it is to simply reach in and grab bittersweet baking squares or light corn syrup or tapioca or lemon extract, without having the bag of powdered sugar and the can of Pam fall on me!

I'm also happy because I found a place to put our chips, tucked away in a cupboard rather than sitting on the breadbox, as they've done for 14 years. All snack foods — chips, crackers, nuts, popcorn, and the like — are together on one shelf, which pleases me. Cape Cod Reduced Fat Potato Chips, you are the devil's handmaiden; I need you behind a door.

I also did a serious scrub of the toaster oven, and while it doesn't look brand new, it is nonetheless a thing of beauty. As people returned home today, I made them follow me to the kitchen and admire the toaster oven. (Good Neighbor Anne! Come over and see my toaster oven!)

And then I faced my favorite dinner challenge: concocting a delicious and satisfying meal when the cupboards and fridge are practically bare. I already had some chicken thighs thawing, so I made Lady C's Perfect Chicken (dipped in flour and seasonings and then pan-fried in a bit of butter and olive oil — so good!!!), and we've slowly been chipping away at the world's largest head of cabbage, we've had both traditional coleslaw and Asian coleslaw in the past week or so and still had a good portion of cabbage left, so I decided to roast the rest of it with some onions, and we had leftover cheesy biscuits that went with the split pea soup I'd made on Sunday, so I split, buttered, and broiled those, and we always have apples, so I made applesauce with cardamom and candied ginger (homemade applesauce is always tasty, but this is through-the-roof good —we all gobble it up!), and then I concocted a big green salad, full of colorful crunchy veggies — which we really needed, since every other thing on our plates was the exact same shade of goldy beige. Martha Stewart would not have been pleased.

The dinner hour was especially hilarious; for some reason, Li'l Martini suddenly recited the following poem:

Here comes the candle
To light you to bed
Here comes the chopper
To chop off your head
Chop! Chop! Chop!

To which I replied:
To little boys that suck their thumbs,
The great tall tailor always comes
Before they know what he's about.
He takes his long sharp scissors out.
Snip-snap! Snip-snap! They go so fast
That both his thumbs are off at last.

"Dark," Mimosa commented. Her contribution:

Swimming in the swimming pool
is where I like to "B"
Wearing underwater goggles
so that I can "C."
Yesterday, before I swam,
I drank a cup of "T"
And now the pool is just an "ool"
because I took a "P."

I had one more:

A man is dead
He got shot
He bled
A lot.

We all laughed so hard. We are a foul, foul family. (Well, three of us laughed; Husband had his napkin over his face, so I'm not sure what was going on there.)

Then it somehow turned to knock-knocks:

Li'l Martini: Knock knock.
Husband: Who's there?
Li'l Martini: Me!

Husband: Knock knock.
Mimosa: Come in!

Me: Knock knock.
Li'l Martini: Who's there?
Me (with an evil leer): Not you much longer!
Li'l Martini: Auugggghh!!

Husband (to Li'l Martini): Say "knock knock."
Li'l Martini: Knock knock.
Husband: Who's there?
Li'l Martini: . . . Wait, what?

Memories are made of this, my friends.

And also, dinner was delicious — every goldy-beige bite of it.

TGIF! It's the Friday of a three-day weekend, I have four wonderful library books, we have tickets for Improv tomorrow night, and I'm having dinner with a friend on Monday — nothin' but good times ahead!

And a shout out to my friend Handsome D, whose birthday is today! Many happy returns, my dear smart awesome witty wildly talented pal. (And did I mention the handsomeness? Just saying.)

Love to all,

Lady C, she of the squeaky-clean half kitchen

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Things You Can Do On Mass. Ave. In Your Nightie

Hey, how 'bout that sunrise this morning, hmm? What, you missed it? No worries, I got a good long look, I can tell you all about it.

Let's go back in time, shall we?

First we'll go way back, 12 years ago, when I bought a shiny newish Honda Civic, only three years old, with exactly 30,000 miles on it. To me this was a brand-new car, and I love love loved it for more than a decade.

Flash-forward to a few weeks ago, when said shiny vehicle began making its umpteenth kathumpa-kathumpa-kathumpa sound, and I said to Husband, "I'm due for an inspection, I don't even think I'm going to pass, I think it's time for a new car." He agreed. $u$an, our wise financial guru, talked to me about various (dreadful) financing options, and I began girding my loins for the distressing process of visiting car dealers and putting my feet in their stirrups.

Yesterday afternoon, I noticed that my right front tire seemed much lower than usual, so I asked the nice man at the corner gas station to show me how to put air in it. I apologized for being a dizzy girl who lacks this basic life skill, but he was very courtly and said, "We are always here and so happy to help you," which was very kind; I felt downright dainty and well-cared for.

Last night I headed out to zumba, but decided to look at my tire first. It was noticeably flatter. Clearly I have a leak. But it snowed in Boston yesterday; my driveway was pitch dark and slippery and lined with snowbanks; it did not feel like the optimal time to go messing with that tire-fixey spray stuff (do you know what I'm talking about? Mrs. Fog Dog told me about it and ordered me to get some; she is very bossy with me. And in my memory, I rushed out and bought two cans of it. Remember this, as it will be significant later). Note: Husband wasn't home, I had no alternate vehicle. Clearly I should not drive on the flattish tire. Clearly I should skip zumba and fix my car in the morning. Right?

Um, no. I made a different decision. Since the car will be out of my life soon ("soon," yeah, hear that? That's positive thinking), and I believed that I'd been driving on a flattish tire for a week or so anyway, I decided to do the 15-minute drive to Belmont, driving slowly (hush, Brunie), and avoiding potholes. Which I did, and all seemed to be well. Wellish. Semi-well. Whatever. I made it there and back and the tire didn't explode, I'm calling this one a win.

Then dawned the morrow. Mimosa and I had to be up at dawn to get her to choir practice. She has to be in her seat and ready to sing at the stroke of 7 a.m., and even though the high school is only a 10-minute drive away, you have to factor in time to scrape off your car (it's a New England winter and no one in these parts has a garage. Even people who have garages don't park their cars in them. Do not ask me why, it's just part of our culture. My California parents are simply gobsmacked by us), which I did not do last time and delivered poor daughter five minutes late. Her teacher, who is magnificent in many ways but is also a diva and a tyrant, called her out in front of the whole class and said that if she were late again, she would be punished. (Mimosa just told me this today; I'm going to sit with it for a while, rather than rush directly to the school and egg the Diva Tyrant's car. Maybe tomorrow.)

So there we were, scraping my ice-encrusted car at 6:45, and I remembered to check out the tire.


Oh, my.

Flat as the proverbial pancake. Not low, not lowish. Flat. Utterly devoid of air. We're talking the Florida skyline here, people.*

But what could I do? We'd already scraped my car, we had to leave then to get there on time. (Husband's car, while present, was unscraped and encased in ice.) So I made Possibly Bad Decision #2 and drove my daughter to choir practice. We arrived at 6:58, other girls were being dropped off at the same time, if the Diva Tyrant says a single word I will do more than egg her car.

My tire was clearly in serious trouble at this point; pedestrians were stopping to stare. Smoke was rising. Terrible floppy sounds abounded. I limped my way to the service station just up the road and parked by their air-dispenser thingy.

Perhaps I should now further set the scene for you: When I rise at dawn to take Mimosa to choir practice, I do little to prettify myself beyond brushing my teeth. I was in my nightie. I wore no make-up. I had not brushed my hair. Underclothing was conspicuously absent. I had on a nightie, coat, and snow boots, and that's it.

I got out of the car and headed to my tire with great optimism, ready to fill it with air, then the tire-fixey spray stuff — and then, take on the world! Or something like that.


Oh, my.

My tire was no longer recognizable as a tire. Instead, it looked like a large piece of rubber lace.

There would be no air added today.

And I checked my trunk for the tire-fixey spray stuff, the two cans I was sure I'd purchased . . . and they were not there. Oil and windshield cleaning fluid, yes. Jumper cables, yes. Bungee cords, an auto repair kit (another gift from Mrs. Fog Dog, she worries so about my safety on the road in the mean streets of Massachusetts), and a knitted afghan (in case I'm stuck somewhere cold waiting for Triple A), yes. No tire-fixey spray. (I think I gave it to Husband, actually.)

Anyway. The nice guy behind the counter allowed me to leave my car and said the mechanic would call me when he arrived at 8 a.m. And then I called Husband and stood on Mass. Ave., Greater Boston's main thoroughfare, in my nightie and bare face and underdressed nether regions, nothing to read, no coffee. Instead, I grew very Zen and gazed at the sunrise (lovely, all pink and purple and glowing gold around the edges) — and waited. I knew it would be awhile because, remember? Husband had to scrape off his car.
 And at this point I simply had to laugh because, really, what else was there to do? Except sing, which I also did:

Got no checkbooks, got no banks,
Still I'd like to express my thanks.
I've got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night.

(KT, Inspirational Kathy, wouldn't you?)
All will be well. The mechanic took care of my tire and also did my inspection, which apparently I passed with ease. Husband dropped me off on his way to work, and I brought lots of things to read. It cost less than $150, and I've got another chore, January's car inspection, off my plate. And I was home by 9:30, where a pot of hot fresh coffee waited for me. I promptly grabbed my battered paperback of Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones and put it in my purse; I will never be caught without an emergency book again. And yes, I still need to think seriously about getting a new car, but I will take "seriously" over "urgently" any day.

And with the sun in the mornin'
And the moon in the evenin'
I'm all right.
I'm doing all right.

Life is sweet.

Love and kisses,
Lady C

* Today's fun fact: Of the 50 U.S. states, Florida, Louisiana, and Illinois are the flattest. I would've guessed Kansas.

I would've been wrong.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Must Remember This 

When I got home from zumba last night, I was happy, re-energized, and glowing. It was a great class (not too many new routines, which makes my brain so so tired), lots of laughter, plenty of room for me to shake my groove thang. (There are around 40 people in the class; 10 stand in the front half of the gym, and 30 crowd in the back, where apparently they're invisible, or so they'd like to believe. It is hilarious.) When I got there, a couple of my front-row pallies were playing basketball — and I tossed off my jacket and ran in to join them (laughing at myself the whole time, because I am truly terrible at all sports. But who cares?). And then one of my friends ran up behind me to steal the ball when I was (badly) dribbling, and everyone was watching us and laughing and cheering, and it was just so much fun, I felt like one of the popular girls. Which I guess I am. Woo!

And as we were leaving, a nice French woman sidled up to me and murmured, "Every week I mean to tell you how good you look. You are melting before our eyes!" Sweet, n'est-ce pas?

I did look very cute last night (i.e., fat middle-aged cute), all tight black Lycra and plum-colored lipstick and major cleavage, and that helped my mood too.

I have to remember that feeling. When I'm sad and tired and fatigued and discouraged, exercise is my friend. Except it has to be a fun exercise like zumba, I never feel triumphant and glowy on my treadmill. Smug and virtuous, yes, but not that happy-happy-joy-joy I felt last night.

You know? I think a lot of it has to do with the group aspect — I'm doing this with people, and we laugh and joke through the whole thing, but we also work hard. The Fit Blondie who stands in front of me (love her) kicks her legs very high, and I know that inspires me to try to kick a little higher. And being in the front row, you're very aware that there are 30 people behind you watching; you can't be a slacker, in other words. I'm sure that if I had some friends over to treadmill with me, it would be a lot more fun.

(Now, how to obtain the multiple treadmills . . . ? That is a poser.)

And I do feel better and more like myself today, though all of my Math kids were little pissheads, and I actually got annoyed and used my Seriously Mad Voice with them, for the first time with one group; I've been nothing but smiles and sunshine to this point. "You sound like my mom," little M said, so sadly. O to see her beloved bubbly Mrs. Chardonnay turn out to be just a regular adult — what a comedown. For us all.

I've had almost no paying work this week, sigh, but I'm getting a lot of small projects done, and that is something. Actually, that is a huge something; work will come again, and it's lovely to have so many of these back-burner items off my plate. So, yay, I'll take my celebrations where I can find them.

More zumba tonight, then a hot bath and a choice of four groovy-looking library books! Though I think The Diviners by Libba Bray is too big for the tub; its spine measures something like four inches.

Oh! Which reminds me: I did indeed straighten "my" library section today. In addition to adolescent angst, feminism, and geriatric sex, I'm responsible for family conflicts, immigration stories, a lot of Robert Bly, and So Your Husband's a Bisexual. I go slower than I should, because I keep stopping to read flyleafs. And I found a wildly misplaced book, all about what the Pope has to say about your sex life, which I have to think that someone was maybe hiding on purpose. Hee! I love my volunteer work!!

—Lady C, pillar of the community

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Body at Rest . . . Stays Fat and Sluggish, Apparently

This is getting ridiculous. I feel perfectly well (no headache, a light dry cough the only remnant of my weekend cold), and yet I am completely exhausted. The idea of sweating through a bangin' zumba class tonight makes me weep, a little.

But to paraphrase the immortal words of two Jennifers, Holliday and Hudson, I am telling you I'm not not going. I will go to the freaking class and I will zumba, even if I have to take 25 breaks and the Italian Spitfire yells at me (she yells at me every week, no big) and I limp my way through all 20 songs. The only way to break through my torpor and fatigue is to break through and break a sweat! This I know for sure.

Right after Mimosa and I get home from her dentist appointment, I'm squeezing into my tightest zumba clothes, three hours early. I am taking no chances!

The only good news is that my weight is way down, which a weekend of couch-sitting, hot broth, and weak tea will do for you. But I'm considering it a Xanadu weight and not taking it seriously.

In other news . . . welcome to two new readers, the Southern-Fried Lawyer and my Reading Soul Sister! I thought I remembered that the SFL had lost a lot of weight in the last year, so I asked if she had any tips; she replied, "I DID lose a lot of weight, but only with the gastric bypass surgery, so I don't think my pep talks (eat only liquids for four-six weeks!  Have massive surgery!  Then have a bowel obstruction!) would be very useful." Au contraire, sister-girl! I find your words useful, instructive, and entertaining. (Trifecta!)

Tomorrow my day begins with a coffee date with Kind Tina, always a treat, and since I'll be right next to the library, I may spend a cheerful 40 minutes tidying "my" section. (My section includes adolescent angst, early feminism, and geriatric sex; I haven't made it through the whole things yet so I'm not sure what other wonders await, but so far it's been pretty entertaining.) Tomorrow is also significant because it's the last day I should take in alcohol or ibuprofen before my Major Surgery. (So far, I've managed to stay in "I'll think about this tomorrow" mode, to which my dear friend Michele, Oasis of Calm, responded, "I hear you, Scarlett. Boy, do I hear you" — but as the dreaded day grows nearer, this approach may be less successful.) I haven't really felt like drinking these past few days, but part of me thinks I should have one for my baby and one more for the road, y'know? Four weeks without hooch (and Motrin!), starting Thursday. Yowza.

(Mrs. Cynicletary recommended that I get a prescription for medical marijuana — and, since she knows that I'm not overfond of the illicit herb, she had several creative suggestions for what I might do with the surplus. I'll just leave it at that.)

Hey, I just produced quite a few words, given my weariness! I hope this bodes well for tonight.

(Of course, I'd really like a nap right now. Blogging . . . so worky.)

Yawn, yawn,

Lady C-leepy

Monday, January 14, 2013

Finding Myself in PEOPLE

This week's cover story, titled "Half Their Size," is jam-packed with inspiring weight-loss stories. I was very intrigued by the "Before" pictures, in which women who weighed less than I did at my starting point nonetheless appear much larger than I think I looked. The difference appears to be height. I'm 5'8", much taller than most of the women in the article, which, apparently, makes a HUGE difference.

And I was also startled to see how many of them eat like crazy people: Tubs of frosting! Entire cakes! Whole pizzas! Two entrees!

I mean — where did you think this was heading, people?

I eat like a normal person, albeit a normal person who really really loves butter, cheese, and restaurant food, washed down with many glasses of wine. It always drives me crazy that I have the body of someone who lives on Doritos, Twinkies, and beer, when I eat such good food!

But I found myself on page 91, part of a brother-sister team. Michelle Larson is 5'7", her starting weight was 287, just like me, and her "Before" picture shows a nice big girl who is also smiling, made-up, and wearing a cute and flattering coral-colored shirt. This made me very happy; I am a big fat girl, for sure, but I also do my best to look as attractive as I can, and I'm exasperated by women who seem to have given up. I mean, it's their choice, of course, I'm not going to stop them on the street and demand to know what's wrong with them, but I do find it hard to fathom. In any event, Michelle has lost 97 pounds so far and wants to lose 40 more — and here's me, having lost 40 and wanting to lose 98 more. We are sistahs, Michelle and I! Except she's doing it faster, she lost her 97 in two years. She's also doing Weight Watchers, which I'm sure would help me do it faster too.

Oh, well. Michelle has nonetheless inspired me. Maybe I'll be on page 91 of next year's PEOPLE story.

But it wasn't a great day for me. I had a bad migraine and spent much of the afternoon huddled in my comfy green armchair, reading Entertainment Weekly (I spent much of the morning barfing). The good news is that my cold seems to have passed, which is awesome, but I still feel pretty much like crap on toast.

Some thoughts on this week in pop culture:
  • I'm intrigued by the actor they've cast to play Finnick in the next Hunger Games movie. I've never seen him in anything, which I'm glad of. Finnick is one of my favey characters; I already accept that the Finnick who lives in my mind will be different from the Finnick who lives onscreen (as in the case of Haymitch), but it's easier with an actor I don't already have a lot of preconceptions about (as in the case of Haymitch. Woody won me over, but it took awhile).
  • I have never seen a single minute of Girls, nor, for that matter, Breaking Bad or The Sopranos or Jersey Shore or The Big Bang Theory or anything about any Real Housewives living anywhere or any show about vampires in our time. I am hopelessly outside the zeigeist. And also, I don't have cable.
  • Emma Stone and Mandy Moore, two natural blondes, both look better when they color their hair. Red and brown hair, respectively, suit them. Blonde washes them out. Your mileage may vary. (Spellcheck doesn't like "blonde" but I prefer that spelling to "blond." I have the same issue with "catalogue," my pref, and "catalog." Spellchecque, accept the optional ending e for heaven's sake! It's not hurting anyon.)
  • I'm thinking of Mandy Moore because of EW 's snarky comment about Jessica Simpson: "Simpson starts the year in a sad but familiar place: The third-most-famous blond pop star of the early 2000s is now the third-most-famous pregnant woman of 2013." Hee! (I am no Jessica fan, so perhaps I took too much pleasure from this.) It took me a second to remember the other two blond pop stars — oh! Britney and Christina! And Mandy completed the quartet.
  • I'm psyched for the Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy buddy-cop movie. If someone made a movie about me and Brunie road-tripping around Minnesota for the Betsy-Tacy Conventions, I think we would be played by Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. (Dibs on Melissa!!)
  • On Friday, June 28, reserve a parking spot at the drive-in for the Chardonnays! Two words: Kick-Ass 2!!! O I am such a bad mother. But we enjoyed the heck out of Kick-Ass the original. (Which reminds me of the time we saw the preview for Steve Coogan's Hamlet 2. Li'l Martini piped, "That looks awesome! Let's see that, and also Hamlet I!")
Ugh, it is time to be well! Today was beautiful and balmy, a perfect day for an outdoor walk, and I had the energy and stamina of a dog biscuit. And I'm a little worried, because the last time I had such a bad migraine I woke up with a headache on Day 2 as well. But I will drink lots of water, get to bed early, and think good thoughts; what else can I do?

Thinking good thoughts,

Lady C

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Raining on Prom Night

So I missed the prom, which is actually pretty consistent with my lifetime prom experience. I've been to exactly one: my little hippie college's "ironic" prom, which I attended barefoot and slightly snockered on wine coolers. I did have a wicked cute date though, my freshman-year boyfriend, the muscle-bound king of art history. And I went with J and our other girlfriend Space City, and we had a good time, if memory serves. I wore the dress that I would have worn to my high school prom — a pale blue polyester number with spaghetti straps, which saw a lot of use over four years of parties at UC Santa Cruz. Ah, higher education.

I didn't go last night because my Friday-night-throat-tickle (which I didn't mention when I posted, because I was hoping that if I ignored it, it would go away) turned into a full-blown-Saturday-morning-cold, so after cleaning the house I took a hot bath and then laid on the couch, reading Sheer Abandon by Penny Vincenzi (loving!) and drinking hot tea and blowing my nose and aching.

No prom. No Lip Gloss and Libations (though I did get to see Good Neighbor Anne in her finery). Boo-hoo.

In high school I was the nerdy drama girl, the academic over-achiever, the class clown — all of which were good and fun things to be but none of which made me especially desirable as a hot date. I was very social with my girlfriends and boys-as-friends, but of course I longed for a boy to like me. And my senior year, I thought I had a good shot with the boy who was also one of my best friends, a nice Mormon boy who was in plays with me. He invited me on a day trip to Marriott's Great America with two other male friends of ours, I would be the only girl, I was over the moon! This was it, the pre-prom-invitation overture I'd been hoping for, hurray! hurray!

Except and except. On Marriott Eve, the boys went somewhere to play Bingo, hooked up with a popular girl they knew slightly, and invited her to come with us. During that long, bitter Saturday, I watched Mormon Boy and Popular Girl fall in love. It was 24 hours of utter wretchedness, though I kept a smile plastered on my face, a happy sparkle drilled into my determinedly tearless eyes. I smiled, I sparkled, I held it together for 24 hours. And then came home and died.

So — no prom invite. Did you see that coming? And I'd told all my other male friends that I'd been hoping Mormon Boy would ask me, so none of them did, and my brother offered to take me but I just couldn't bear the idea. Instead, my best friend and I went to the movies and saw The Jerk and Animal House (a double feature! you can tell how long ago this was) and then went to Swenson's Ice Cream Parlor to drown our sorrows — which was kind of fun, all the other senior girls without prom dates were there too, and we all waved and smiled at each other, like the good-sport-old-buddies that we were — and, our spirits restored, we then made our fatal error: We decided to drive by the prom on our way home.

And there they were, all these lovely girls with their Farrah hair and slinky gowns, taking in the night air with their ruffled pastel dates; it all looked so pretty and fun, and we were so very far outside of it.

We went home and cried.

So, so sad.

I later learned that Mormon Boy and Popular Girl wore burgundy.

He and I would have worn pale blue.

So, so sad.

But, as we all know, it gets better.
  • Two months later (and again at Swenson's Ice Cream Parlor), I met the boy who became my first boyfriend.
  • I saw Mormon Boy when I was home visiting my parents for Christmas; I'd met Husband but we weren't engaged yet. Mormon Boy pretty much confessed that he was an idiot and gave me a nice goodnight kiss. (I am SO better off! Nonetheless, revenge is sweeeeet.)
  • In college I was still the class clown, but a sexy class clown.
  • Animal House is one of my favorite movies.
As for weight loss — a day of broth and hot tea doesn't hurt, I'll say that.

Husband has a headache, I'm blowing my nose, no church for us this morning. Back to my book, I think.

Honk, sniffle, blow.

Lady C OUT!

p.s. Mrs. Cynicletary, I had no idea that I was pre-sick when we lunched on Friday! I so hope that I didn't infect you with anything.

p.p.s. Downton tonight!! And also, I think, the Golden Globes, which I usually eschew because they are so meaningless, but I'm kinda psyched to see Amy and Tina host so I may tune in for a bit.

Or, stoned on Mucinex and Earl Grey, I may pass out around 9:30. Who knows.

I love a mystery!

p.p.p.s. While writing up my prom history, I had the strongest sense of deja vu. Have I blogged this whole story before???? Crazytown.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cures for What Ails You

Truth be told, I'm still seeing the world through Paul Newman-blue eyes, but I'm gaining some perspective. Good Neighbor Anne reminds me that a mom is only as happy as her saddest child, and both my cherubs had some knocks this week. But we just finished a good meal together; everyone left the table with smiles on their faces; the weekend lies before us; this too shall pass.

And today I had a lovely lunch with one of my most favey people, my beloved friend Mrs. Cynicletary; I ate yummy fish tacos and drank Diet Pepsi with fresh lime; we laughed and talked and also got a little teary (we're at that age; it's either our children or our aging parents; something is always breaking); and she gave me the cutest little outfit, like a sweatsuit but made out of material more like a windbreaker and lined with something very soft. I looked at it and thought, Cute, but I am never fitting into that, and then I went home and tried it on and it fit perfectly. Woo-hoo!

And then I curled up on my couch with a pile of reading and the most delicious hot drink, sweet hot chai tea with steamed foamy milk, both of which (the tea and the milk frother) were presents from my darling friend Zanzibar, and it was such an elegant and satisfying drink, it was like getting a hug from my dear friend who is so many miles away from me, and that was a very nice feeling.

And one of the things I read was Husband's AARP Bulletin (I am merely a junior member of AARP, being so young and dewy and all), which included the best list of resolutions for better health in the new year that I've ever seen:
  1. Throw a party
  2. Adopt a pet
  3. Choose chocolate
  4. Savor your coffee
  5. Raise a glass of wine (or beer)
  6. Have sex
  7. Listen to your favorite music
  8. Take a nap
  9. Go au naturel (this does not mean become a nudist; it means spend some time outdoors each day)
  10. Stop using soap with triclosan
And one more: "At least once a week, buy yourself the present of spending time doing exactly what you want."

I love this list! I'm not a napper and I'm not sure what's in my soap, but otherwise I'm in good shape. And I will definitely pay attention to that final suggestion.

As a matter of fact, I'm hitting #1 by throwing a small party tomorrow night. There's a particular group of women at my church whom I get together with before big fundraisers and other events to drink champagne and apply fancy make-up and false eyelashes. I call them my Glam Posse. Tomorrow night our Youth Group is hosting a prom, so my Glam Posse is coming over beforehand for what I've billed as "Lip Gloss and Libations." Fun, hmm?

I plan to wear a long green velour gown, somewhat clingy, and to shoehorn myself into Spanx. I will be a vision — albeit a zaftig middle-aged vision.

Anyway! It will be fun. And Husband is taking the kids to see Monsters Inc. in 3-D, so they have something jazzy to do as well. (Mimosa would rather eat a box of hair than go to a dance, particularly a dance attended by her mother.)

I would love to have lost another 10 pounds before squeezing into this dress, but it was not to be. I think my blue mood came with some weight attached. But now I will go take a hot bath and drink some more hot chai and steamed milk, and who knows what the morrow will bring?

TGIF! Happy weekend, my peeps!

xx Lady C

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Color Me Azure, Navy, Indigo

I sat down to write a blog post last night and then went, Huh. I'm still morose, it would have been a very depressed post, and thinking about writing it just made me more depressed. So I went to zumba instead, which was a great mood lifter, as always. Exercise is magic! And particularly zumba.

This is my two-year zumbaversary, by the way! I started in January of 2011. Over the years I've done aerobics, I've done Nautilus, I've done Jazzercise, but I've never done anything as faithfully and commitedly as zumba. I am the Steadfast Zumba Soldier. Hear me roar!

And I had a nice cup of tomato and roasted pepper soup, some multi-grain pita chips, and a few slices of wasabi cheddar for dinner, took a hot shower, and went to bed early . . .

. . . and then woke up with a migraine and hadn't lost a single pound. Which is not why I'm blue again today, but it sure didn't help.

Here's the thing: I'm worried about my daughter. I can't go into details, but I'm worried, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to help her, and yesterday she and I sat down to talk about her grades (which aren't great right now) and she began to cry and cry and cry. Please understand: Husband and I don't care about her grades, per se; we care that she's learning what she needs to learn and that she feels confident and successful academically, rather than like a failure. But currently she's on the wrong side of the emotional tracks, and I am at a loss.

Tomorrow I meet with her guidance counselor and the school social worker, and we'll see what we can do about getting her more support.

In the meantime . . . I love her as extravagantly and unreservedly and unconditionally as I can, and pray. What else can I do?

Let me tell you: When things are wrong with one of your babies, nothing else feels right in the world.

And I am worried about money, though I try so hard not to be; I have no work scheduled this week (other than Math Practice — thank God for that!), which is always alarming. But I think I figured out a way to pay our insurance monthly, rather than in one fell swoop in January, and that will help a lot; I will set that up tomorrow. Of course, my 15-year-old car is just about to give up the ghost, and we desperately need a new couch, and Husband's car is just about as old as mine . . .


I have zumba again tonight and had planned a lovely dinner of Chinese sausage, sesame noodles, Asian coleslaw, and sauteed snap peas . . . but after a day of Math Practice, "cleaning" a section at the library (my new volunteer job — did I mention it? I started today. Total fun for a book-loving organization freak like me!), grocery shopping, going to the post office (the postal clerk was a total bee-yotch; I said, "This letter is going out of the country," and she barked, "To which country?" "Um," I said, totally blank, ". . . Nova Scotia?" She threw it at me and said, "You need to write CANADA on there." OK, yes, I am a moron, but good Lord, woman, have some compassion; my life as a moron is very challenging), and picking up a present for the birthday party Li'l Martini is attending this weekend . . . I think we're having frozen pizza, and I'm going to drink wine out of the bottle with a straw, or maybe even hard liquor (a Ward 8 is sounding pretty good — J, I wish you were here to share it with me!!), and it's highly possible that I'll be skipping zumba tonight, instead opting for a hot shower and an early bedtime. Even though I know that exercise is the best thing for turning my navy mood a soft sky blue.

Well, we'll see.

OK, so, this was a depressed post. Now you know. Should I eschew blogging when I'm depressed?!

Time to go over Spanish words with Mimosa in prep for tomorrow's test. I took French, I know nothing from Spanish, though I did grow up in California. Hola, chica! Donde esta el taco? That's it. That's all I got.


—Lady C

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fried Pickles and Other Wonders of Nature

After Math Practice today, I drove up to Beverly to retrieve my bifocals from Brunie; I'd left them between the vintage flowered seats of the Cabot Street Cinema after last week's viewing of Flight, and Brunie, who lives on Cabot Street, kindly collected them for me. And since Beverly is not exactly right next door, I decided to do a variety of useful errands along the way: exchanging some Christmas books at Barnes and Noble, shopping for the kids and Husband at Kohls (Mimosa needs jeans, Martini needs socks, and Husband needs new winter gloves), depositing my paycheck (I get an actual hard-copy paycheck for my math job; it's kind of thrilling!), and taking in a likely Oscar nominee!

But then — Barnes and Noble wouldn't accept any of my books, since they were gifts and I didn't have a receipt. And my visit to the bank just confirmed how broke we are and how many big bills will be due soon. So when I got on the freeway and called Husband and he asked how I was, I said, "Morose."

Let me tell you: Morose is just the mood you want to be in when you see The Impossible, aka The Tsunami Movie! Yowza. I think it's a good movie, but I was too busy unpeeling my hands from where they'd become one with the armrests to fully process it. It's a highly emotional experience, I'll say that. And I love that cute little Naomi Watts. And everything you've heard about the performance of the boy playing her oldest son — all true.

And before the movie I dined on fried pickles and Chardonnay, and if that's not a mood lifter, I don't know what is.

I have had more fried pickles in the last three years of my life than in the other 47 put together. I'd never even heard of them until I read a John Grisham novel, and then they were everywhere. They are simultaneously so disgusting and so delicious and so addictive, I don't even know what.

So, yeah, not a good diet day perhaps. Whatever. I'm morose.

(Despite the pickles. Or maybe because of.)

The Oscar nominations will be announced this Thursday, and I've already seen most of the front-runners! How will I occupy myself for the next month??

Lady C

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas A Go-Go

So sad. I hate taking down the jazzy and festive Christmas decorations. In their place, I'm going for a lovely and elegant winter look: a silver tray of pine cones and red berries, with silver candles in tall crystal candlesticks, on my coffee table; a white poinsettia flanked with chunky crystal candle holders and tea lights on my dining room table; assorted pine cones and crystal snowflakes scattered on my Ikea bookshelves; crocheted snowflakes hanging from my ficus tree. It looks very pretty. We also dusted and polished and scrubbed, and the house is quite clean.

But it isn't Christmas.

Oh, well! Life goes on. Today Husband will take the kids to see Monsters Inc. in 3-D while I sign and address a small mountain of Christmas cards. My goal is to finish today (this is so early for me!! I usually do this over MLK weekend) and have this enormous task off my plate so I can sit back and enjoy TV nirvana: the season premiere of Downton Abbey and a new episode of The Good Wife! It doesn't get better than this.

But first we must go to church, where Kind Tina begged me for a favor; I'll be leading a Q&A with some Sikh youth during our Time For All Ages/First Sermon. I can hardly wait to hear what I'm going to say! (Answer: Whatever comes out of my mouth, there is no script.) At least it will be blessedly short; TFAA is only about 10 minutes. I can wing anything for 10 minutes.

Mimosa needs to bring an empty soup can to Youth Group tonight, so dinner will be whatever involves a can of cream of mushroom soup, or perhaps a can of broth. An interesting challenge awaits!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Lady C

p.s. I called Nurse Kathy last Monday and ended up chatting with her firefighter husband; "What'd you do this weekend?" I asked, and he said, "Took down those Christmas decorations — that tree had to go." I said, "Whuhhh?"— (it was only December 30! chillax, dude!) — and then remembered his profession. "Yes," I said, "I think of you every time I turn on the tree lights . . . knowing how dry the tree is getting . . . What would Kathy's husband say? I wonder . . ." He laughed. Every time he comes to my house and notices that I've got candles lit, which is often, he greets me with the words, "I see two open flames . . ." He's adorable.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Me and My Treadmill – Moving Beyond the Hate

I'm trying to have a good attitude about my fatally boring treadmill, since it's winter in New England and all, meaning butt cold, and I don't want to walk outside. (People do, believe me, I drove past three girls jogging together, but that sounds even less fun to me than trudging along on my treadmill.) There's an ice sculpture in front of the local bank and it hasn't melted an iota since New Year's Eve. "That's just wrong," I said to Husband today. "We live in a bad place."

No, I love New England, I'm just grouchy. And crampy and hormonal. Guess what time it is? (I'll leave you in suspense, we've journeyed into my demonic uterus enough lately.)

My daughter inspired me last night; we were watching Pitch Perfect on DVD and Li'l Martini got up to get some ice cream; I asked, "Are you having some?" and I could see her think about it, clearly struggling between warring impulses — and then she said, "No." She's lost some weight and is getting so many compliments, I think she's feeling really good about herself right now, and I was proud to see her make this hard decision and stick to it.

And so tonight I decided to be Role Model Mommy, stuffing myself into a sports bra, strapping on my sneaks, and pounding out two sweaty miles, then lifting weights. I am wiped. And I also eschewed a glass of wine with lunch and enjoyed a splendid hour with Husband cold sober. (I'm sure he appreciated the sacrifice.) There may also have been some pre-lunch nuzzling, but I'll never tell.

I'm really really trying to come to a Zen place with my treadmill. Trying.

(Cindy Glamour advised me to listen to good music while treadmilling, and that definitely helps. Tonight I worked through the "H" section on my iPod — Diana Ross and the Supremes singing "The Happening," the Bangles singing "Hazy Shade of Winter," Rachel Sweet singing "Hairspray," and the Go-Go's singing "Head Over Heels." Great music, great beats — but I still get bored.)

All this had better result in a good weigh-in tomorrow — I am ready to see that scale needle move!

Except — oh, crap. Totally forgot my hormones . . . which will have something to say about my weight. O how I love being a girl.

Oh, well. I will take my bath and stop eating for the night and just see what happens. What else can I do?

Off to bathe myself thin! TGIF, friendys!

—Lady C

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who's Lost Five and a Half Pounds? Me! Me!

I knew they were those kind of pounds — the ones that are just visiting for the holidays. Two days of temperance and hard sweat, I'm back down to 248. Still no sylph, of course, but I'm maintaining my 40. Woo-hoo! Go, me!

In other news, today I tried an experiment that paid off handsomely. The one food category that I cannot interest my children in is soup. I make a killer caramelized onion soup — no dice. I make a fantastic roasted tomato soup; Mimosa sips it grudgingly, Li'l Martini won't go near it. They'll eat Campbell's tomato with a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch on a cold day, and that's about it.

And it makes me sad, because a bowl of soup, a crisp green salad, some good bread, and a glass of wine is pretty much my perfect winter supper — easy, tasty, good for you, and cheap.  But they were having none of it.

And then . . . I remembered that I have a recipe for Santa Fe Soup that comprises, among other yummy elements, a packet of taco seasoning. What if I sold it to my kids as Taco Soup? and allowed them to crumble tortilla chips on top? Even the dreaded Nacho Cheese Doritos, the smell of which makes me want to hurl?

All the Chardonnays love tacos, though Mimosa prefers her taco meat unseasoned (she would be a good candidate for a product I once saw [and then did a double take] on a grocery shelf in Minnesota: Extra Mild Salsa), so I was very hopeful. I also broiled some buttered corn bread slices, made a fruit plate, chopped scallions and cheese for additional garnishes, and concocted a bursting-with-fresh-vegetables salad — and then sat back and crossed my fingers.

And they loved it!!

Of course, I used only a third of the packet of taco seasoning, to protect my princess's tender tongue, which meant that the soup tasted incredibly bland to me (I'm the girl ordering extra jalapenos with her enchilada plate), but I can always add some chipotle pepper or something; my girl enjoyed tacos without tears; that's all that matters.

And now that the ice has been broken, I'm excitedly contemplating the next soups I can introduce. Broccoli and cheddar? Kielbasa and kale? Leek and potato? We shall see!

Tomorrow I was supposed to have lunch with a friend but she canceled, so I get to enjoy a weekday lunch date with Husband — such a special treat! We've narrowed it down to seven restaurants, though I suspect what he'd really prefer is some afternoon delight and a PB&J, whereas I think I want sushi. Oh, Mars, Venus, will you ever speak the same language?! Hee.

I had a satisfying dinner and now I'm done eating for the night. (I'm going to repeat this a few more times, especially since I know there's good ice cream in the freezer. But I'm psyched to have those five pounds off, and I want to keep up my momentum. Done eating! Done eating! DONE!)

xx Lady C

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lady C's Best Books of 2012

I read 81 new books this year (and heaven knows how many rereads; I'm counting Jane Eyre as a new book, though, because I read it so long ago that it felt new). I rate each book from 1 to 4 stars; below is the list of everything that earned at least 3 stars from me:
  • Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell
  • Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch (nonfiction)
  • V Is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin (YA)
  • The Romantic Obsesions and Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier by Louise Plummer (YA) (which was probably evident from the title)
  • Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (YA)
  • You Are My Only by Beth Kephart (I wrote, "I would've liked it more if the mom hadn't been quite so crazy, and I definitely wanted MORE at the end!! But a very compelling read")
  • How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (YA — and my first 4-star book of the year)
  • Circus Galacticus by Deva Fagan (YA)
  • I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  • Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
  • Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  • Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (YA — I was clearly on a Sara Zarr kick)
  • Once Was Lost by Sarah Zarr (YA)
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (YA)
  • I'll Be There by Holly Goldberry Sloan (YA — I wrote, "What a wonderful book! Sweet, romantic, suspenseful. I adored it")
  • Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins (children's book)
  • Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony (YA — I wrote, "Intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying")
  • The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
  • The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey (I wrote, "PERFECT. Suspenseful and moving and sweet. LOVED")
  • The List by Siobhan Vivian (YA)
  • Tempest by Julia Cross (YA)
  • A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (YA)
  • Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne (YA? I can't remember. I wrote, "Wonderful! And deeply upsetting," which doesn't give me a good clue. Ah, if only there were some interweb thingy that could help me . . .)
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman (I wrote, "A good read and very interesting themes, but also a cold book. I never warmed up to a single character. Still, I'm glad I read it")
  • Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
  • The Life Boat by Charlotte Rogan
  • The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance (YA)
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (YA)
  • Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (YA — I wrote, "Wonderful! Though I wish the mystery involving Dad's death was less random — I thought Daisy or Gilbert would play more of a role. Sequel?")
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Weir (YA — I wrote, "So heartbreaking! So wonderful!")
  • A Dance for Three by Louisa Plummer (YA)
  • Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord (YA)
  • The Girl Is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines (YA)
  • My Teenage Werewolf by Lauren Kessler (nonfiction)
  • Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
  • Ripper by Stefan Petrucha (YA)
  • Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster (nonfiction, and hilarious)
  • Ali In Wonderland by Ali Wentworth (nonfiction)
  • I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff (I wrote, "I'm not sure why it was so compelling, given that every character annoyed the snot out of me! But I had to keep reading")
  • Annie's Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg (nonfiction)
  • Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer (YA)
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (YA)
  • Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan (YA)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • My Life as Laura by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson (nonfiction)
  • Fifth Avenue 5 A.M. by Howard Wasson (nonfiction)
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (creative nonfiction?)
  • Shadowfires by Dean Koontz
  • Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Cutcher (YA)
  • Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (nonfiction)
  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott (YA)
  • Alice On Board  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (YA)
  • Heartbroken by Lisa Unger (I wrote, "HERE is the great read I've been waiting for! [I'd had a long streak of 2-star books.] LOVED!")
  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (YA)
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (nonfiction)
  • The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner (I wrote, "LOVED. A new favorite by this author, whose last books have disappointed")
  • Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (I wrote, "LOVED. Loved!!!!!")
  • Wish You Were Eyre by Heather Vogel Frederick (YA)
  • The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman (YA)
  • Ransom River by Meg Gardiner
  • Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher (YA — I wrote, "I didn't love the ending and kinda wished the "surprise" had actually been one, but this is a very good book")
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens
  • The Girl Is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines (YA)
  • Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer
  • The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman (cookbook — and I read every word)
There you have it! I hope you find an intriguing title or two on this list.

And, as always, here are the ever-popular Worst Books I Read in 2012, all of which I gave 2 stars (no 1-star books for me this year, woo-hoo!):

  • Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult — a disappointment from a usually stellar author
  • More Like Her by Liza Palmer — her first book was so good! This book was so not!
  • The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan — I wrote, "I wanted to finish it, though I disliked every character. A real disappointment"
  •  Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin — some of my favorite friends worship at the cult of Laurie Colwin, and I just don't get it . . . but I keep trying. About this one, I wrote, "Whiny and insufferable, but weirdly compelling. I did like all the discussions of food"
  • Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch; I really wanted to like it, but I found him so annoying  and the book completely depressing
As reading years go, I've had way worse.

On to 2013! I've already finished my first book of the new year, See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles (3 stars). Happy reading!

—Lady C, bookworm