Thursday, February 28, 2013

And the Award for Best Lame-Ass Achievement Goes to...

Listen, I'll take what I can get.

Despite a lunch and dinner each comprising chicken and green salad, I did not lose a lick o' weight yesterday. I'm up by quite a bit, actually, three days in a row. Discouraging.

Also: I did not make it down to my basement, I did not retrieve my elbow-length gloves, I continue to pick-pick-pick, my hands are a mess. (This is not helped by winter-dry skin and fingernails that split and break; short fingernails make it easier to pick. I am awful.)

And: I thought I'd have time after my 2:45 doctor's appointment to try my new treadmill strategy (see below), but she made me wait almost an hour, then I had to stop at Trader Joe's, then I went to fetch Martini from Shrieki's house (usually he walks but it was pouring rain, windy, and cold yesterday, and I do have a heart — a big, giant, heavy heart, I bet that's where those extra pounds are coming from) and I wasn't home until after 5, when all I wanted was to sit with a glass of wine and read my mail and stare at the wall for a while.

So: Not a poster day for good health and weight loss, despite my best intentions. (And I've had worse days, for sure, but it wasn't what I'd hoped it would be.)


My wound is healed to the point where my surgeon says I may not need to see her again! I'm to make an appointment six weeks from now, just in case — "However," she says, "feel free to cancel it!" She also says that I can eschew my dork Band-Aid if I'm sure to keep my tiny wound slathered in Vaseline at all times. In other words, I can exchange one dubiously attractive look for another. I think I will stick with Band-Aid for at least another week.


I finished Anna Freaking Karenina!!!!!

Man, that was a long slog. The second half was much zippier, at least; I'd give it 3 stars out of 4. Tolstoy is such a man, though; the relationship I was most interested in was between Anna and her young son, and I really wanted to know what happened to the child after (spoiler!) Anna leaps in front of a moving train, as I imagined this would have, oh, some small impact on the boy. And the answer is . . . we dunno, Tolstoy never mentions him again, other than to say that Anna's cuckold husband takes Anna and Vronsky's daughter so now he's got both kids. Happy ending! (So not.)

Anyway. I'm glad to have read it and I'm fervently glad to be done with it! I will read light fun books this week (I've still got A Discovery of Witches and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Lorna Landvik's blow-job book and am enjoying them all), and then I'll grab The Picture of Dorian Gray, my next classic novel, for next week. I'm a month off on my planned reading, but my overseer is a kind and understanding woman, plus she's distracted by her own cuticles; I'm not worried.

Today is a new day, with no bad decisions in it so far. Let's see what I do with it!

—Lady C

p.s. Oh, right, my new treadmill strategy: Even though my outdoor walks are 2+ miles and take around 50 minutes, the idea of doing 2 miles/40 minutes on my treadmill fills me with dread, and I simply don't do it. (When's the last time I posted about walking on my treadmill? I'm not sure I've even done it in 2013.) So I've decided to change my goal. I will instead walk 1 mile, as fast as I can, and then I'll do other stuff: weights, core work, stretching, maybe even a couple of zumba songs. I am MUCH more excited about this and think that I'm likely to do it . . . though likely not today or tomorrow, which are both packed. Possibly Saturday, which already includes chores and a memorial service . . . oy. Busy times. But I will figure it out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Exercise Is Hurty

News flash: When you haven't done a lick of zumba in two solid weeks . . . it's kinda hard to dive back in.

The women's indoor soccer team uses the gym right after our class, so they tend to congregate at the back while we do our cool-down (and it's pretty funny; we're all in cute zumba workout clothes, hair in ponytails, snapping our fingers to "Fever" or "Burlesque" or "Respect" as we bend and stretch, and they are, to a woman, in kneepads with cropped hair and determined expressions, tough as nails — I feel wicked girly in front of the soccer ladies), and halfway through last night's class I began swiveling my head, praying for their appearance and thus my salvation.

And this morning, my arthritic knees are crying, crying.

Ow ow ow.

I didn't take a bath last night, and that may be part of the problem; I think the bath soothes and heals my tired aging uncle-crying muscles. I wanted to watch Smash with Mimosa at 10, and a shower was simply quicker and easier, but given this morning's knee pain I clearly need to rethink this strategy. And Smash will likely be canceled soon (weep! we really enjoy it), my Tuesday nights will be free again.

I can't say that my new joyful attitude toward weight loss and healthy living has resulted in much of the former — my weight has been up by two pounds for the past few days! — but I am not fazed by this. I know that I'm back in the game and it will all pay off. Every good decision I make is changing me for the better, or whatever my new mantra is.

Hey, ready for a wound update? You may recall that the original hole in my face was the size, shape, and depth of a black bean. As it healed, it neared lentil status. I am delighted to report that I've now achieved "grain of rice" status. I think I could cover it with make-up and be fine . . . but technically it's still an open wound (since I keep it moist, ugh, remember? meaning, no scab), and I'm taking no chances; I continue to sport my dork Band-Aid for the fourth week in a row. Today I see my adorable surgeon, we'll see what she says, but I'm fully prepared for two more weeks of Band-Aid. I've become quite adept at snipping round Band-Aids with my bang-trimming scissors to the smallest possible oval that will still stick to my nose — but  nonetheless I look quite the dork, there's no way around it.

Still no word about the potentially lucrative job. My hope is but a faint candle, bravely clinging to light within the deepest cavern of despair.

(No, my potentially lucrative job does not involve writing metaphors. Why do you ask?)


OK — off to live a happy healthy day, full of nutritious food, movement, and good choices! Go, me!

—Lady C, rah-rah girl

Monday, February 25, 2013

Me and My Baby Take In the Oscars

Mimosa and I had a blast last night watching the Oscars, every single fabulous cringe-worthy self-important overlong fabulous minute of it. The Oscars are made for people like us — movie geeks who love movies and love movie stars and love movie history and love spending several hours celebrating our geekhood. We put on our glammy Lycra dresses (hmm, maybe I don't mean Lycra — a stretchy clingy velourish material? is that Lycra?) and I piled my hair up and wore chandelier earrings, and we spread out a sheet on the family room floor and filled it with a dazzling variety of Oscar-worthy delicacies, and I broke out my fancy cobalt blue flutes and poured champagne (for me) and orange juice (for her), and we laughed and cheered and gasped and sang along and (we are geeks) teared up, constantly, and had so so SO much fun!

Other people get emotional and revved up about athletic events, but for me and my girl, this is the Super Bowl. This is the Olympics. This is what we get excited about. Potato, potahto.

And I'm mostly very happy with the results, and seeing all those clips made me really want to see a couple of those movies again, and it's all good.

In other news . . .

Today I took Martini in for his yearly check-up and (don't ask) found myself flexing my biceps for his doctor (who has known us forever, she is a peach), and then wondered: When was the last time I actually lifted weights? I think it's been a long, long time.

I have wandered so far off the path to weight loss and good health, I'm not sure I can find my way back to where I was. I may need to start a new path.

Husband is making similar noises of displeasure re: his own weight and health practices; he says that while he is very happy for me, seeing my good results is also depressing, since he knows it took me a year to get here (and of course I'm not even close to where I want to be) and will take him at least as long if not longer, and it all seems so hopeless. I encouraged him to go back and read the early days of my blog, when I vowed to maintain a good and positive attitude. This is going to be a hella long journey, and I simply have to have fun along the way or it will be unbearable and I won't stick with it.

And now it's time to listen to myself. I think when you get so far off track, "health" and "fitness" and "mindful eating" seem huge and hard and scary and foreign. I need to remember that I can do all of these things and that it can be fun.

Toward that end, I just signed up for a new and different zumba class; I'm still doing Tuesday nights with the Italian Spitfire, and I could do Wednesdays with her as well but I prefer to space it out a bit. And while I enjoy Sexi Danci Nanci's class, I don't feel like I get as good a workout with her as I do with the Spitfire. So now I'm going to try Saturday mornings with a new teacher, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., so I don't have to get up at dawn on a Saturday but I'm still home early enough to do my chores before lunch (we lunch late on Saturdays because of Mimosa's midday karate — such a busy family we are). It starts in two weeks, we'll see how I like it. Fingers crossed!

And Husband just signed up for Tai Chi, the first time he's done anything like this. He's looking forward to it, and I am very very proud of him for taking this first step. (It is so hard and discouraging to be at the very beginning! But the minute you take a step in the right direction, you're ahead of where you were, as inane as that sounds.)

Tonight I had soup and fruit salad and some veggies and a handful of nuts for dinner and I will have nothing but coffee before bedtime, with the aim of going to bed slightly hungry, a trick that was working well for me (and isn't that hard to do, really, as much as I HATE being hungry — once I'm upstairs for the night and my teeth are brushed and flossed, eating feels like work instead of something appealing). And tomorrow I've got zumba. I will aim to be back at my new lowest weight by the weekend (I keep gaining and losing the same five pounds, over and over and over — I'm living in a Joni Mitchell song), and then I will start in earnest on the next 10.

It is time!!!!

—Lady C, icon of zeal

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reveling in the Fruit of My Loins

My kids are on school break, and apparently so am I — and we are having so much fun! Mimosa is 15 and shy, Martini is 12 and outgoing but still too young (or too backward) to arrange all his own social plans, so they are spending lots of time with me, and I tell you, I know I don't have them for much longer; I am cherishing these days. I love my nutty ornery goofball kids!!

We've visited the Mapparium (stunning!) and the haunted bowling alley (such a disappointment — it's the size of my dining room and overrun with screaming urchins on vacation; we left and instead went to the hardware store, where Martini danced with every snow shovel in search of just the right one, and then to Trader Joe's, where my offspring entertained the other shoppers by plaintively begging for sweet treat after sweet treat, with their best sad-orphan faces [Martini, holding up a package of chocolate Whoopie Pies: "For the children, Mother?"]), I've cooked popcorn chicken and chocolate mousse (ah, gluttony), friends have come to visit and I've made many margaritas, the kids have finished their homework, and I'm on page 327 of Anna Freaking Karenina, the book I'll be reading on my deathbed. In short, a great week!

And one that's been utterly devoid of eating right or keeping fit! Sigh.

I didn't even go to zumba this week. And I had high hopes for a calorie-burning afternoon of intense bowling yesterday, but you know the end of that story.

I think . . . I'm on a break, that's all, a lovely week-long break. And I will hop right back onto the Spartan-living fast track when school resumes on Monday. (Though we're being hit by another big snowstorm this weekend; they may well cancel school. Which I shall of course take as a Sign From God that I need to bake cookies and drink cocoa and dance with the new snow shovel.)

Today Husband is taking the kids to New Hampshire to play pinball, and I'm going to tackle the pile of editing work I've successfully turned a blind eye to all week (sorry, Zan!!). Tonight Angel-Daughter is coming over to watch Rock of AWESOME with me and Mimosa, and maybe tomorrow Martini and I will play some more Wii Fit games and I will see if I can figure out Skype. And then Sunday . . .

. . . is THE OSCARS!!!!!!!!

This is my Super Bowl. I plan special snacks (pate! deviled eggs with caviar! oysters! champagne!), I wear fan gear (rhinestones! elbow-length gloves! maybe false eyelashes!), I watch and revel in every blessed second. Love love love.

And now Mimosa is part of the cult!! This thrills me. I used to watch with Mom, now I'm passing the torch to my own little movie freak. That is good parenting, people.

No word about the potentially lucrative job, alas, so I remain wretched and poor. But I am rich in love.


—Lady C

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If the Academy Would Just ASK Me!

After absorbing the brave and inspiring words of my new mantra (Every good decision you make is changing you) I promptly made a series of decisions that definitely were not good for me from a weight-loss and physical health perspective, but oh sister were they good for my mental health!

Yesterday I saw two moviesDjango Unchained (yowza!) and a feature comprising all the Oscar-nominated animated shorts (which are magnificent  — see this if you can!) plus a few more notable animated shorts, and this was great fun, but I washed it all down with half a giant tub of popcorn, a blue Slushee, some Peanut M&M's, and some Twizzlers. And a coffee. And dang me, it was good!

And then my nerves were all a'jangle after Django (hee!), even though we got home late enough that I might've eschewed dinner and gone straight to bed, instead I fed my giddy with an artichoke (plus mayo), a chicken pattty, some pita chips, some olive tapenade hummus, a handful of potato chips, and the rest of my M&M's, then went to sleep without brushing my teeth or washing my face or cleaning my wound. Three hours with Quentin Tarantino and I'm a mouth-breathing slattern, make of that what you will.

The only exercise I did was a fast jog-in-place in my kitchen while my artichoke heated, since I was freezing and couldn't warm up. (I'm sure it worked off at least a Twizzler.)

Django is simultaneously (a) tons of fun (Don Johnson! Lee Horsley! stirring theme song and tender love theme!), (b) well-acted and well-written, to an almost absurd degree, and (c) horrifyingly violent. It's not for all tastes; I had my hands over my eyes a number of times. But I love what an infectiously joyful filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is, and I do recommend it.

Anyway! Having seen everything, I'm now ready to pick the Oscars:
  • Best Picture: Argo
 Argo has it all: fantastic script (maintaining white-hot suspense when we already knew the outcome — no easy feat), tight direction, top-notch acting from a cast comprising few household names, and impressive art direction. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have continued to think about it since. It's unlikely to win, given its director's absence from the nominees (my money's on Lincoln, a perfectly worthy contender), but I enjoyed it the most of all the films I saw this year — that and Flight. I'm giving Argo my Oscar love.
  • Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis and Denzel Washington (tie)
I know this is DDL's year and truly I'm fine with that, but I've been watching my sweet baby Denzel since A Soldier's Story and St. Elsewhere, and he has grown as an actor to an astonishing degree. I've never seen him do anything like he did in Flight; I was mesmerized by every frame. Both men have been showered with Academy love in the past, and it would be a joy to see these master actors share this award. And possibly make out a little. Oooh, baby.
  • Best Actress: Emmannuelle Riva, Amour
All the nominees were good, but this lady knocked it out of the park. I don't think her chances are great, but Oscar can surprise you (sometimes with those who deserve it, like Meryl Streep last year, and sometimes with those who decidedly don't — cough — Geraldine Page — cough). You never know.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
I didn't have a real contender here before last night, I thought they were all fine, so I was going with Alan Arkin because I'd enjoyed his performance the most. Then I saw Django, and Mr. Waltz rocked my world. Again. He was amazing in Inglorious Basterds and he was likewise amazing, and 180 degrees different, in Django Unchained. What a talent! Give this man a leading role already.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Gotta follow the masses on this one. She broke my heart. Who ever would have predicted that our young Princess diarist would grow up to give us this Fantine?
  • Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
He coaxed near-flawless performances from an enormous cast (I wasn't crazy about Sally Field, but everyone else batted a thousand), he held our interest through every frame of a story we all know by heart, and he made it all look beautiful, from a crowded Senate chamber to a presidential bedroom to a battlefield. He was certainly helped by a magnificent script and a leading man who is part chameleon, but still: Steven drove the ship, I give him mad credit.
  • Best Animated Short Film: Adam and Dog
They are all wonderful (go see them!), but this story of the first dog and the first man finding each other is not only magnificently animated, it is a sweetly profound commentary on connectedness that made me weep. I adored it.
  • Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
 Fingers crossed! I love his acceptance speeches.
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Every nominee in this category deserves the nomination, but I think Tony's script was exceptional.
  • Best Animated Feature: Frankenwenie
This is my weakest category as I saw only this and Brave, and I think the momentum may be behind the latter, but Frankenweenie was the stronger film by a mile.

Eek! Look at the time! Clearly I can talk Oscars till the cows come home, but I'm supposed to be at a 9 a.m. meeting, and (as you know) I haven't washed my face, brushed my teeth, or otherwise groomed in 24 hours. Time to hit the shower! With, like, an SOS pad and some elbow grease.


—Lady C, a filthy, filthy girl

Saturday, February 16, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Serious

I was just checking out some weight-loss and fitness blogs for inspiration, and I read a line that I am now completely in love with:

Every Good Decision You Make Is Changing You

Oh. Em. Gee. I LOVE this. So simple, so profound, so empowering!

The writer goes on to say:

You might not be able to see it yet on the outside, but every time you turn down processed food, drink a glass of water, go for a walk, or do any other healthy activity, you are changing your body on the inside. That is where weight loss starts — on the inside. True change happens internally.
Love. Love. LOVE!!!

Today is the first day of my kids' winter break, we have all sorts of fun plans, and I'm feeling celebrate-y, but my plan is to work out later, lift my new weights (we needed 3-pound weights, and I just found a cute cheap pair at Target), and see if I can figure out how to Skype so that Zanny and I can maybe Skype-zumba together, which she's been suggesting we do for, oh, the last 10 months probably. My dear generous crazy-extravagant friend just send me a trunk full of margarita fixings (as a thank-you for helping her with her dissertation), and she is such a dear wonderful friend, to show my appreciation I am going to whack my inner Luddite, face my loathing of all things technical, and go for the burn. It will be awesome. And I am very psyched to share my hot hot zumba moves with a besty.

Here are some of the plans that Mimosa, Martini, and I have for this week:
  • Learn how to make popcorn chicken
  • Try a new recipe for chocolate mousse (got a good one? Let me know!)
  • Go bowling at the alley in Needham that's supposed to be haunted
  • See the Oscar-nominated shorts and animated shorts
  • Visit the Mapparium
  • Eat at Lunch Box Diner (home of the world's best blueberry pancakes and Italian sausage!)
  • Master Wii Tennis and Wii Bowling
  • Make S'mores Cake from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook
So fun! I love doing stuff with my kids!

(Poor Husband, it is not his break, alas. But he's happy because he has a new computer. Gadget! Yay!)

Off to make some good decisions!

—Lady C, icon of determination and zeal

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Greatest Valentine's Day Sentiment EVER

I have no more words.

Lady C

p.s. OK, I have a few more words, but they're all unprintable. Martini just taught me how to play Wii Tennis, and it is the most irritating thing. "When do I swing?" I asked. He said, "Whenever you want to." What?? He says, "Instead of swinging, just wiggle your remote a lot. That will work." What??

Whenever he teaches me how to do something on the Wii, he says, "I'm afraid you're gonna get mad," and I say, truly meaning it at the time, "I promise I won't get mad," and then I promptly break my promise as my fury becomes legion. But I'm not mad at him, I'm mad at technology. Which shouldn't count. Right?

My right arm is very sore now, from all that wiggling — a common tennis affliction, I would imagine.

Also, my Mii is named Tatum. The Mii I created long ago (when Martini tried to teach me Wii Bowling, which was even less successful) is named Cher. They are very cute together.

p.p.s. Many thanks to Mr. Brunie for this heartwarming V-Day image!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Smokin' Hot Leading Man

I'm pulling together some things for Lady Darcy's birthday package, one of which is the "Romance Rumble" that's running in our local paper. It's set up like a March Madness thing (though my use of sports metaphors is always suspect, so I could be up a very wrong tree here), where they pit two fellows together (say, Ryan Gosling in The Notebook vs. George Clooney in Out of Sight), people vote, and the winner advances to the next round (in that case, I believe it was Gosling, who faced off with either Heath Ledger or Johnny Depp). I did my own votes and am sending the ballot to Lady D to see what she'll do, but in the process I had to choose between Paul Newman and Daniel Day-Lewis, then Paul Newman and Clark Gable, then Paul Newman and Cary Grant, and each choice caused me physical pain. My Final Four were Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Denzel Washington, and Hugh Grant, and that, my friends, is a quality problem.

(Whom did I pick? Oh, I think you know.)

But I relayed the ordeal to Husband as he puttered about in the kitchen:
  • Me: Choosing between these four men is excruciating!
  • Husband: You went with Paul, right?
  • Me: Yes . . .
  • Husband: Because of all of his charity work.
  • Me: Yeah. That's exactly what I was thinking of.
  • Husband (long pause): I just made the blog, didn't I?
Yes, my dear little man. You did.

I love Paul because he is dazzlingly beautiful AND because he worked hard to be a good person in the world, he adored his wife and kids, and he was exceptionally good at his job. All of which can be said of Husband as well, particularly when he's had a haircut and is shaved and nicely dressed, not that I'm hinting or anything, sweetie-pie.

I didn't have a great track record with V-Day in my youth, because I tended to break up with people right before it. And one year at college I knocked myself out and made handmade Valentines for all my friends . . . and didn't receive a single one in return, which was humbling. But things picked up; one year that I didn't have a boyfriend and was dating widely and casually, I got Valentine cards and gifts from four beaux!! This was thrilling. (One went on to marry one of my best friends, so possibly I shouldn't be reveling in the fact that I had him first. She's had him longest, that's for sure. Trust me, we're all fine with this. They're a very secure couple!)

To my memory, Husband and I have never made a huge big deal of Valentine's Day (though when we first got together, he sent a box of long-stemmed red roses to me at my workplace, and I strutted around like Queen for a Day), but still: I like this holiday because I like all holidays — anything that jazzes up a nothing day and suddenly makes it all seem worthwhile. (Betty MacDonald, a writer I adore, said something like, "I like all holidays, any holiday, and the big ones like Thanksgiving and Christmas fill me so full of holiday spirit that I burst into tears just looking at a fruitcake," and that's pretty much true for me too.) Back in the day I actually used to decorate my house for Valentine's Day, but I don't go quite that far now. Still, I had Valentines for the kids and Husband waiting for them when they woke up this morning (I eschewed chocolate; instead, the kids each got a huge box of their favorite sugary cereal that I don't let them eat, and Husband got a six-pack of Diet Dr Pepper, his special drink), we will have a special dinner tonight, I made little Valentines for all my Math Practice kids, and it's going to be a fun day.

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope everyone feels enveloped in love and romance today, and you get a hot kiss from a special sweetie that knocks your socks off!

Love and xxs to all,
Lady C

p.s. Since I wrote of my awful, dreadful, inflamed and infected cuticles the other day, I have taken myself to task, tenderly cared for my poor hands, painted my nails a lovely shade of fawn, etc. etc., and they are healing and looking much better. Every time I get the urge to pick, I instead smooth in some more lotion — or put my gloves on, if I'm outdoors.

(Maybe I should start wearing elbow-length gloves? Trust me, most people who know me wouldn't bat an eye.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Come to Think of It, It Is a Weird-Ass Symbol

Husband called me this morning to relay something funny he heard on the radio:
I don't know why they made Cupid the symbol of love. When I'm feeling amorous, the last thing I want to see is a fat smiling toddler coming at me with a weapon.
Happy Valentine's Day Eve, kittens!

(Husband just got home from his late class looking grumpy, and he's now stomping around muttering, "It's hard to imagine how my day could've been any worse." I don't foresee a white-hot night of l'amour, in other words.)

(Fortunately, Nashville is on.)

xx Lady C

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What Do YOU Picture When I Say the Word "Slug"?

I typed "feeling sluggish" into Google Images, and this picture came up. It is of course the perfect expression of what I'm feeling, and yet . . . really? Is this a common image for the term "feeling sluggish"?

Color me . . . surprised.

I have so much I could and should be doing, yet I can't seem to focus and finish anything. I'm on page 231 of Anna Karenina . . . the book I had planned to finish in January. I'm supposed to be doing Boot Camp this month with Zanzibar . . . which I'm barely doing (though I did think up a new exercise I want to try: doing all the games on Wii Fit. Martini promises to teach me Wii Tennis this weekend. I also requested Just Dance for Wii at the library. Still, I think "barely doing" is a solid description). I've proofed 100 pages of Snowy . . . and still have 200+ to do. I've got a bare-bones outline of the event I'm doing at church in two weeks, but there are still a billion details to work out . . . yada yada yada.

And nowhere in that list did you hear a mention of paying work, did you? I finally finished and returned both editing tests to my potential employer; now I can only wait. And hope. And pick at my inflamed, infected cuticles, the disgusting habit that I cannot seem to break and that is even worse in the winter when my skin tends to be dry and cracked anyway. I've started smearing Bag Balm on my  heels at night, at the recommendation of the Betsy-Tacy e-list, and I rub it into my poor hands as well, and I guess it's helping (though I'm not sure that it's dramatically better than Vaseline or any good lotion), but good Lord does it have a distinctive odor! It's not floral, I'll just say that.

But the point of the paragraph was supposed to be: I am freaking out about money again. For the first time in more than a decade, I didn't pay one of our credit card bills in full this month (Husband's ancient car needed $3K worth of work, and right after Christmas we just don't have it. What can you do). I tend to look to the universe for signs. Is the fact that I have so much less editing work a sign that I should be looking for a different job? Is the fact that a potentially lucrative new client just appeared on the horizon a sign that I should stick with editing but market myself more ferociously (which I truly hate doing)? I don't know how to read the signs!

Well, perhaps I should wait and see whether the potentially lucrative new client (a) decides to hire me and (b) is in fact actually lucrative as opposed to just potentially lucrative. That would be a much more clear sign!

Off to my post-zumba bath. I finished all my library books (except for Anna, which is too enormous to take into the tub), so I'm reading five books from my To Be Read bookcase (yes, there are so many of these, it takes an entire multi-shelf case to house them all): The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat and A Discovery of Witches and Tomorrow River (I LOVED Whistling in the Dark by this author) and The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik (which Brunie was reading at the Betsy-Tacy Convention and kept referring to as "the blow-job book," a fact I passed along to its author Lorna Landvik, whom I met at said Convention and who roared at this description — Lorna Landvik is a seriously cool chick), and I'm enjoying all of them.

My weight was down-ish this morning (no new low to report — I keep gaining and losing the same five pounds), which shocked me, since I had abundant amounts of wine and cheese last night, but since tonight's dinner was grapefruit and hummus, plus I did zumba, I'm hopeful of a dazzling new number tomorrow. And then I must begin Boot Camp in earnest!

—Lady C, trying to get the feeling again

Saturday, February 9, 2013


The Northeast was hit — smack! — with an ungodly buttload of snow last night, and today my street looked like a marshmallow creme vanilla sundae. We hemmed, we hawed, we practiced powerful avoidance, but eventually we had to face reality: No Magic Snow-Blasting Fairy was going to bail us out. Around noon, we bundled up (though my winter weather gear includes a hat I bought at the Party Store — I love it, it's roomy so I can tuck my abundant tresses into it and not get Hat Head, and it has a nice firm brim that protects my glasses from rain and snow, but it's not what anyone would describe as warm) and headed out.

And, because we are us, we promptly burst into song, though none of us sang the same thing. Husband began crooning, "We're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave." I sang, in doleful tones of deep suffering, "Tote that barge, lift that bale. . ." Mimosa trilled, "Climb every mountain! Ford every stream!" And Martini, not to be outdone, chimed in with, "I like big butts and I cannot lie! You other brothers can't deny . . . !" The neighbors seemed entertained, particularly the 4-year-old cutiepants who lives next door and who tripped up and down the snowbanks in her snowshoes.

Martini suggested a riff-off (he's seen Pitch Perfect nineteen times), and I pointed out that none of us know songs from the same century. (I'm currently listening to Top Hits of the '50s as I wait for my yeast rolls to rise.) We did try, but once I jumped from Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow to Barbra Streisand ("I put your picture away" —> "Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind") it was all over.

It took an hour and a half to clear our walkway, my car, and the pile behind my car, and I can't call it fun, exactly, but we did laugh a lot and it was good exercise and we were all in it together. Memories are made of this, my friends.

Though now I'm kinda feeling it in my lower back. I see a hot bath and Motrin in my future.

Despite my status as a professional Math Practice Guide, I completely misread the directions on the yeast rolls I'm making, so they're just now rising, it's 6:38 p.m., I think we're eating dinner around 8. But it's going to be a good one; I just made a huge pot of Portuguese greens soup, with sausage and potatoes, and it's thick and velvety and so flavorful; I keep sneaking little bites of it. And we're having a huge green salad and red-hot apples and a perfectly ripe fresh pineapple, as well as the famous rolls (which I made with half whole-wheat flour, so they're even semi-healthy), and I'm about to make a couple batches of cookies, and we have two movies to watch — Despicable Me and Dark Shadows — and it's going to be a great Saturday night at home with my family.

I've been hanging on to this quote from Lucy Liu (who doesn't use Twitter or Facebook), thinking that there might be a blog post topic in there somewhere:
If I narrow down the things that distract me, I have a better chance of spending time with actual friends.
I don't do Facebook because of my fear of the time it will take. But does this "extra" time I save translate into more time with actual friends? Probably not. I can go weeks without seeing Good Neighbor Anne, for example, whose house I can see from my window!

Honestly, I think I'm at a stage in my life where my "friends" are my kids and Husband. Mimosa's 15; she'll be out of the house in just a few years. Martini's 12 and more social than she is; the day will come (soon!) when he no longer wants to do things with me. I've loved my kids at every age, but I love these ages best of all; I want to freeze them in amber and keep them here forever. And I definitely want to spend as much time as I can with them before they leave me!!!

But I would like to see more of my girlfriends, so that's something I'm going to work on: making sure that I have plans with at least one girlfriend every week. (Unless there's a blizzard. I would've seen Mrs. Cynicletary yesterday, but we were thwarted by snow.) That will be a fun goal.

Way more fun than reading Anna Karenina, that's for sure. But I persevere.

My weight is staying down, but no new losses to report. Next week I resume zumba, so it's time to get my head back in the game and get serious about Boot Camp February. Zanzibar suggests that we each try something new, exercise-wise, and I'm thinking about that a lot; what do I want to do besides zumba and walking and stretching and weight-lifting and core work? Nothing comes to mind . . . but I'll keep thinking on it.

Back to the kitchen — I hope your weekend is as glamorous and action-packed as mine!

—Lady C

 * Source: Brunie, who is punny and funny and wise. Also pretty and good and modest, like I.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

. . . And Then, For a Good Time, We Saw "Amour"!!

Egad! It is disturbingly easy to get out of the habit of blogging! I hope I didn't worry anyone — my cancer boo-boo is healing nicely and all is well; I've been buried under a ton of computer-related responsibilities, and I wilted at the idea of sitting here another minute, that's all.

In fact, on the cancer front I have great news: At my one-week check-up today, everyone oohed and aahed at how nicely I'm healing, and my surgeon says that she thinks I'm all set — no reconstruction necessary! No piece of cheek getting a change of scenery! Mother Nature is doing the work for us. I still have to check in with them on Valentine's Day and there are no guarantees, but she seemed pretty sure. So, two or three more weeks in my dork Band-Aid, and that's it! Sweet.

I had all these things to write about and now can't remember one of them. Possibly because I'm hungry.

The kids are dancing around like over-sugared monkeys; Boston is bracing itself for tomorrow's Nor'easter and we just got the exciting news that school is canceled! I'm delighted not to have my Math Practice meeting, I have so many things to catch up on:
  • Creating a listing of every single committee, working group, and entity that exists at my church. I'm now co-chair of the Leadership Development Committee, and part of getting people on the pathway to leadership is letting them know what their options and opportunities are. It's hard for me to believe that such a list didn't exist before, but it didn't, and there are tons of them — I'm up to nine pages! It's taking some time, but it's also been a fun and interesting exercise.
  • Comparing page proofs of Snowy to the original, getting it ready to become an e-book.
  • Editing my friend Zanzibar's doctoral dissertation.
  • Finishing the editing and proofreading tests that my potential new client sent — I am taking a ridiculous amount of time with these! But I really really really want this job.
  • Pulling together our tax documents, whee!
I've decided not to have an Oscar party; the timing isn't great, since I would have it on the 23rd and I'm emceeing a church event on the 24th; I cannot be hungover (which, given the cocktail consumption we all enjoy at said party, is a likely possibility). I'll also still be sporting my dork Band-Aid, and seriously, how can I get my glam on with a Band-Aid in the middle of my face?? But I'm giving serious thought to a post-Oscar-post-prom party and inviting both my bestys and my Glam Posse from church, which I think would be super fun. It's still in the idle speculation stages (I plan cocktail names as I drift off to sleep . . . Zero Dark and Stormys? Life of Pi-Napple Daiquiris? Beasts of the Southern Comfort?), so don't put it on your calendar yet, girls. But stay tuned!

And yes, I did see Amour with Mimosa. Brunie was going to join us, but three centimeters of snow were expected, so, of course, she had to hide in her closet. (Hee. My friend is intrepid and fearless in social situations, but snow is her nemesis [say this with an especially sibilant hiss].) I e-mailed her later: "Amour was a BLAST. My God the nonstop action. I wet myself. Spoiler: So did the lead actress." (Sorry if I ruined it for you.( It's a truly harrowing film, though exquisitely well-made and well-acted. Emmanuelle is my new pick for Best Actress — she is astonishing. Though I also saw Zero Dark Thirty, and Jessica is also wonderful. And I loved Naomi. And Quvenzhane. Wow, strong year!

OK, I've been sitting here way too long, the words are not a'flowin' today, so let me close with this:
  • Zanzibar and I are supposed to be doing Boot Camp this month, but I can't seem to get my head in the game while I'm still healing from this stupid surgery and can't exercise. I'm maintaining my loss, nothing is creeping back on, and that is huge — but still. I'd love to lose the next 10, and I'm dismayed that my strong wishes are not enough to make it happen. I forgot to ask my doc today when I can resume exercise, so I will e-mail her as soon as I post this.
And this:
  • Happy birthday (four days late) to my dear friend Good Neighbor Anne! I met her 14+ years ago, right after we moved into this house, and I instantly knew we'd be bosom chums. (Coincidentally, on the day we met I also saw her bosoms, as she was nursing Angel-Daughter. Possibly there is a connection.) Over the years she's moved from kind neighbor to sister-friend, and I am so happy that she is in my life!
I will now make a delicious pre-Snow Day dinner for the kids. What a wonderful feeling: knowing that the house is full of food and I don't have to go anywhere for 48 hours! (I'm successfully managing to ignore the fact that we have to shovel several feet of snow. La la la!)


—Lady C

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lady Frankenstein vs. Lady Dork

Big news: I survived!

Thank you SO MUCH for the love and support you showered on me yesterday. You are kind and generous friends, and I am grateful beyond words.

It took about three hours, my lovely surgeon removed only two layers (though my wound looks pretty deep to me, so a "layer" is apparently more than peels off when you have a sunburn), and the only thing that hurt was the first two numbing shots (which HURT); after that, I felt nothing but a lot of tugging. My surgeon said, "Which was worse, shot 1 or shot 2?" and I said, "They both sucked," and she laughed. Apparently, I also sang as she injected me, "La-la-LA-LA-LA-la-LA!!," my voice getting louder as the pain intensified, and only when she said, "I like the singing, that's a new approach," did I even realize I was doing it. And no, I wasn't on any kind of happy gas or funny pill, this was all me.

My wound is the size and shape of a black bean, and the color of, well, blood. It is not pretty. However, it's also significantly smaller than a dime, so I don't have to wear the giant gauze-and-adhesive covering that I'd feared; I can cover it with a round Band-Aid (and a dollop of Vaseline, I've been ordered to keep it "moist" and to prevent a scab from forming). And I am allowed to cover it; for some reason, I'd thought that I wasn't.

SO: I'm not stitched and scarred (yet) a la Lady Frankenstein; however, with this quarter-sized Band-Aid in the middle of my face, I do look like a giant dork. Husband keeps telling me it's not so bad, but he and I have a very different sense of what's acceptable; he wears a sleep mask every night because of his sleep apnea, so he wakes up (and goes about) with big red marks on his face, whereas if I had to wear this mask I would get up two hours before I needed to, just so the marks would fade before I went out to face the world — yawning, sleep-deprived, and snappish, but clear-skinned.

To me, the dork bandage is akin to a big glob of adhesive tape around my glasses or a chip out of my front tooth. I am not my pretty, put-together self, and it bugs me.

But I'm glad that I don't have cancer, and this too shall pass.

And I am going to go hear Husband give a presentation tonight, out in public, dork bandage and all. I will be a model of maturity and character, as I muster my wits and hold my head high.

Still, this healing period can't pass quickly enough.

In other news . . .

The Bloggess spoke to ME today!!!!

You can read her whole post on the topic, but the gist of it is that she's renaming all the states that start with “M,” and Massachusetts is now “Tater-Tots.” I'm open to this . . . except I don't quite get it. What's do Tater-Tot have to do with Massachusetts? So I left her a comment:
I totally support your right to rename the M states (MO for Missouri is crazytown; it should be MZ because of how it’s pronounced — and we could spell it M’Zouri! Oooh, that looks really cool), but I’m feeling stupid because I don’t get Tater-Tots for Massachusetts. Is it just completely random, or does my true-blue Puritan state have a Tater-Tot connection of which I’m unaware? We are the home of New England Boiled Dinner, not to mention the bean and the cod. Tater-Tots . . . so exotic.
And she responded!!!!!
(I just like Tater-Tots. ~ Jenny)
Granted, this isn't exactly "Gosh, you're cool! Let's hang out and have cocktails and be BFFs!", unless you are way better at parsing for subtext than I am, but I was still very tickled.

Oh! Oh! That reminds me (and I know you're curious):
  • Me: Not that I'm obsessed or anything, but how soon can I have a glass of wine? Like, in hours?
  • Surgeon (gives me a searching look)
  • Me: OK, I'm a little obsessed.
  • Surgeon: Well . . . you can probably have one tonight.
  • Me (squealing)
  • Surgeon: A small one!
  • Me (continuing to squeal)
  • Nurse: A few sips!
  • Surgeon: And if you have to go to the emergency room, we never had this conversation.
I did have a glass, a very small glass, of Chardonnay, and I sipped it over the course of an hour, and it was liquid gold. And Husband brought me Thai food for dinner, so yummy, and I had one of my favorite desserts, a bowl of good vanilla ice cream topped with maple syrup and a handful of walnuts, a combo that always reminds me of my favorite crepe from The Crepe Place, beloved (and long-gone) Santa Cruz hangout of my college days. And I did nothing but read books and watch movies all day, and my kids and cats came in to cuddle with me, and I have beautiful fresh flowers in my bedroom courtesy of Good Neighbor Anne, and my besty in California, Lady Darcy, sent me a long newsy letter via FedEx, and I got lots of cards and phone calls and e-mails, and it was just a very lovely healing afternoon.

I can't exercise for a week (the Italian Spitfire was skeptical, so I asked my surgeon for a note) and Zanzibar and I had planned to start our Month of Boot Camp today, so for the first week we are going to concentrate on healthy food and mindful eating. She's recovering from strep throat anyway; we both need some healing time.

(On the topic of healthy food, here's a question: If you ordered Brussels Sprout Stew, what color would you expect this dish to be? See below for the answer, or at least Madrona Tree's answer.)

OK — enough for now. It's one of those days where I have lots of little things I could do but nothing big or urgent that I have to do, so I'm feeling rather aimless. Time to focus!

TGIF! Happy weekend, my friends!

—Lady C of Tator-Tots, trying to rise above her essential dorkiness 

Answer to the Brussels Sprout Stew question: I was prepared for green or yellow or light brown, but it was in fact . . . red. And it was quite tasty, but I was surprised.