Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 90: Nothing I Thought Would Happen Happened

I thought I would go to zumba last night — my last Wednesday night class of this session.

Instead, I worked an eight-hour day, sitting in my dining room editing, and began to feel very ill — achy, with a sore throat, and enough gastrointestinal distress that people probably wouldn't have wanted to stand near me at zumba. (TMI? Sorry.)

I thought I would take a hot bath for the achiness.

Instead, I swallowed a handful of Motrin and turned off my light by 10.

(I felt fine after a good night's sleep. Who knows. And I can make up the zumba class on Tuesday; the Italian Spitfire is very chill about things like that.)

I thought I would have a big job today, finish at 5, cook a meal for my family, and then take a walk for exercise.

Instead, the biggest part of my job fell through (not a problem, I really didn't want to sit at my computer any more), I was done at 2, and I watched The Office with Li'l Martini and the Gravity Falls marathon with the whole family while I sewed my son's wrestling dummy. (Its body is a pair of hot-pink long johns from Victoria's Secret and they keep stretching, so the poor dummy has a little pinhead and thunder thighs; Martini would prefer a more evenly proportioned wrestling partner.)

I did cook a fine meal, but by the time we'd finished eating it was too dark to walk. Plus I'm very full of Hungarian-style pork chops and roasted wax beans with sea salt. (It was hella good.)

So, not the greatest good-health behaviors for the past two days, I fear, and I don't expect an exciting weigh-in tomorrow. C'est la vie.

But in the land of good news, I really really really wanted to fix a cocktail while I cooked tonight, but it's Day 2 of my three-day medical abstinence period, so I abstained. I may be weak-willed, but I will fight to the death to protect my liver. (Why, it's practically my favorite organ!)

I won't be blogging for a few days because the kids and I* are taking our annual trip to our craptastic motel in Seabrook, N.H. I will sit by a pool for three days with an enormous pile of library books, sippin' Kendall Jackson and eating Honey Dew Doughnuts. Good times!

(I'll bring my sneaks and a couple of sports bras. The motel is right off the highway, I'm not sure if there's anywhere to walk — and there's nothing resembling a fitness room at this place, believe me — but I will scout the premises and see what I can find.)

Oh, and about the graphic for today? That was the #1 Google Image when I searched for "nothing I thought would happen happened," and it was too random to resist.

School starts on Tuesday, which means that my three beloved little darlings will finally be out of this house and leave me in blessed, blessed peace. I plan to make a pitcher of margaritas and dance about the house in my scanties!! My friend Sassy Jan says, "Some people would say that as a metaphor — but I believe that you actually plan to do it." Your mouth—> God's ear, sister-friend.

Happy Labor Day weekend, my peeps!

—Lady C, Granite State-bound

* Husband will stay home to feed the cats, bless his heart. He will also sleep in his own bed, something he hasn't done since July, my poor bronchitis-plagued baby. He's much better, but he's still coughing up his own spleen several times an hour. It's best we continue to sleep apart.
Except I'm kind of starting to love having my own room, so maybe he'd better hurry back.

p.s. Shout out to my pal and new reader Bronwyn Editrix, who is recovering from Moh's surgery! As a sister survivor I feel your pain, my friend, and I'm sending warm speedy healing vibes your way.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 88: If Steely Determination Were People, I'd Be CHINA!!!

  • Me, to Mimosa: I know I should walk tonight, but I really don't want to.
  • Mimosa: Go on, it'll be healthy.
  • Me: But it's hooooottttttttt.
  • Mimosa: You'll work off that Madrona Burger.
  • Me: Yes, but . . . Fine.
I squeezed into my workout clothes, sweating, sweating. It is so humid and sticky today! Then I clumped downstairs and saw Li'l Martini, and decided to try my wiles on him:
  • Me: I don't want to walk. It's so hoooootttttt.
  • Martini: Man UP! C'mon!
Funny kids.

But the minute I got outside I was grateful that they're so bossy. It's a gorgeous night, not humid at all (what on earth is going on inside my house?? Where is all this moist air coming from?), and my muscles were like silky liquid. It was a great walk, gorgeous pink sunset, and I did my full route, 2.37 miles (if I recall correctly — J and I drove it one night, and she faithfully recorded the odometer reading fore and aft).

And by the way, I was down another pound this morning! So exciting.

Today we did indeed have burgers at Madrona Tree, also garlic fries, also frappes, but (1) that was my only meal for today, besides a bowl of Grape-Nuts and skim milk, and (2) it was all organic.

Up next: Who's Line Is It Anyway?, bath, book, bed. All good!

Big job coming tomorrow, I'll be sitting all day, it's doubly good that I pushed myself tonight.

—Lady C, icon of willpower and follow-through


Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 87: Don't Stop Till It Feels Good

Today was ridiculously busy, I went from thing to thing to thing, and also had a longish boringish editing job that put me right to sleep, and the last thing I wanted to do was exercise, but I knew that I should. My plan was to take an after-dinner walk. I ate fairly lightly, a burger patty and green salad and fruit and summer squash with scallions, which I figured would be nicely digested by 7.

But here's the thing: The nights are already getting shorter. I looked out the window at 7, and dusk was already waning. I live in a safe neighborhood, but the elderly sidewalks can be cracked and bumpy; I need to see where I'm walking.

And oh, can I just tell you how desperately I wanted to throw in the towel at that point and call it a day??? as I dosed over my keyboard??? after five hours of editing 41 pages on information-sharing???

But . . .

I didn't! 

I threw on my exercise togs, pinned up my hair, grabbed a glass of ice water and my iPod, and headed to the basement to my dreaded treadmill. And I cranked up the music and proceeded to pound out a sweaty boring mile, reasoning that I can get through anything if I just stick it out and keep on keepin' on, one foot in front of the other.

Ten minutes, half a mile, walk walk walk, drudgery drudgery drudgery.

And then, at minute 10.1, a small miracle happened: I began to sweat like a pig and I began enjoying myself. The song that came up (do NOT give me a hard time about this!) was almost my guiltiest of guilty pleasures — "A Heart Beat Is a Love Beat" by the Di Francos — and it was so totally fun to "rock out" to this iconic hit of my youth, with great long strides and dramatic hand gestures!

(Li'l Martini, sitting nearby at his computer, recoiled a bit. Ah, 'tweens. What a burden it is, having such a hot mama.)

The rest of the mile flew by (part of convincing myself to tackle the treadmill was my self-promise that I only had to do one mile). I ultimately did one-point-something miles and walked briskly for 25 minutes; then I lifted weights and did my shoulder PT and held Martini's feet while I did 20 throw-downs and then did 30 wall push-ups. I am sweating like crazy (it's not that hot, but our dehumidifier makes the basement very warm — dry but warm) and I feel virtuous and successful.

Yay, me!!!

Time for a hot bath, some hot coffee brought to me by my hot hubby, and a few more chapters of my most excellent library book, The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones — so good so far!

Sweet dreams, my peeps!

— Lady C

p.s. Twenty throw-downs, ouch. My Jello-like abs are whimpering. I really really really need to pay more attention to my core — which would probably help with my waist size too. I haven't lost any more from my waist than the original inch (though I measure every week with great enthusiasm!).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 85: Forty-Nine Is Feelin' Fine!

I didn't post yesterday just in case it was a fluke, but after three weigh-ins at this weight, I'm declaring it official: My weight is now in the '40s! Albeit the 240s rather than the 140s, my distant dream, but still. I weigh 249. I've lost eight pounds since I reset the clock and jump-started my efforts 85 days ago.



At last!!!!!!!

FatSecret is not jumping up and down, sniffing that it will take me 47 months to reach my goal. Yeah, you know what, FatSecret? . . . Never mind.

I do wish I were more diligent about logging my food, but I never even think to do it. I guess I can be fully mindful of just one good new health habit at a time, and for the moment my focus is my infected cuticles. Honestly, I think of them every hour, mostly in terms of, Don't pick! or Stop picking! when I find myself doing it absent-mindedly. I'm on week 5, I think, of 12 weeks of medicine, so I'm also thinking about when I can and can't have a glass of wine. (Last night: no! Tonight: yes!) But it's paying off; my poor inflamed cuticles are only a little bit pinker than the rest of my finger and don't seem swollen at all, to my untrained eyes anyway.

But I'm being much better about making sure that I move a little bit (or a lot bit) every day — and I can feel the difference when I don't. It doesn't take a ton of mindfulness on my part, which is huge.

Plans for today:
  • Chores (of course)
  • Write a dozen or so thank-you notes to last year's committee chairs at my church (something I've had on my list all summer — I usually don't procrastinate like this! But I'm determined to get it done before our church year officially starts September 8)
  • Start an editing job that's due Monday
  • Walk to my neighbor's house and drop off our shared CSA basket
  • Power-wash two of our inside trash cans, which are lined with crud on their bottoms and kind of stinky — so! glamorous!
I'm picturing the thank-you-note-writing happening on my newly beautiful patio (as the newly sparkling trash cans dry on my driveway) whilst I sip sangria. Blogger Dawn gave me three huge bottles of Yellowtail red wine that she didn't want, and while it's not so great for drinking by itself, it makes perfectly divine sangria.

It's going to be a beautiful day here in Arlington, Mass., and I shall dive into it soonest!

But first, some coffee.

—Lady C, a girl of 100 lists

p.s. Last summer, I distinctly remember a feeling I got around June, stepping onto Mass Ave on what felt like the first summer day, wearing a T-shirt and capris and fake-tanned legs, and I felt distinctly lighter. I've been waiting to have that feeling again — and I finally do! It seems ridiculous that one pound could make such a difference, but going from 250 to 249 . . . I'm skipping on a cloud, man.

p.p.s. Happy birthday to my dear little blog, which turned 2 on Wednesday!

That's also Nurse Kathy's birthday, and I forgot to call her. I will add "late birthday card" to my thank-you note plans for the day. Oh, and one of HoneyBear's moms just had a grapefruit-sized tumor removed; I should send her a card too.

As for my own birthday thank-yous — that's on tomorrow's list. One day at a time, my friends.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 83: Where Does It Hurt?


This is just ridiculous. I did zumba last night and my arthritic knee is acting up, but that's not the problem.

I told the kids that we would tackle the jungle that is our side yard, this morning for just an hour, and then I would take them out for a yummy lunch (well, after a visit to the dentist, but that was scheduled long ago and has no bearing on things).

So we hedge-clipped, and I sawed off a lot of dead barren limbs, and we stuffed three huge leaf bags full of waste . . .

. . . and now I feel like I'm going to die. Every single muscle and joint in my body is shrieking at me. I am exhausted and sore.

The sad part is: We're not even done. It looks a ton better, but — this was the first time I've touched this part of the yard in months. You can't address a summer's worth of neglect in an hour, my friends. Learn from me.

But it looks hella better.

I'm going to take some ibuprofen and sit in my comfy green chair and moan a little.

Tomorrow I have some paying work, which is great, and maybe a coffee date with Kind Tina — fun! Husband has promised to step in and reintroduce himself to the kids (ha! ha! kidding, honey) (mostly) and I should have a lovely and productive morning.

Off to seek drugs. NOW.

— Achy-Breaky Lady C

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 82: Mini-Golf Yourself Thin!

(Alternate title: The One With the Big Orange Dinosaur)

The kids are finally done with all their camps and other summer activities (Mimosa's show was fantastic; she played many parts and sang and danced beautifully, and I especially enjoyed her as a sassy urchin in Little Shop of Horrors), we've finished celebrating all the August birthdays (Husband's was Monday; he shares his natal day with Bill Clinton and Tipper Gore, and we feted him with bagels and good Mexican and a pile of fun presents), my patio is a thing of beauty (the little cherub next door, five years old, "helped" me sew on the cushion ties; she starts kindergarten in September, and I see a Betsy-Tacy giving opportunity . . . !), and I don't have any work scheduled, save one job for today.

In other words:

It's finally time to kick back and enjoy summer!

Yesterday we went miniature golfing in Saugus, our favorite place. We are very very bad at mini-golf, but we do have fun. (Poor Husband had to stay home and work; he's desperate to finish all the bells and whistles for an online course he's teaching this fall — but he thinks he'll be done today or tomorrow and can then come play with us.) Li'l Martini made a hole in one, which he crowed about for the rest of the day. We all laughed a lot over our combined suckage. Such a gorgeous breezy day, it was great fun to golf alongside the highway.

Our post-golf treat was an early dinner at Fuddrucker's (nothin's more fun than fuddruckin'!), and even though my meal was laden with calories, I am nonetheless proud of myself: We got the smallest burgers and shakes, eschewed fries, and left feeling satisfied and happy rather than over-stuffed and uncomfortable. And then I took a vigorous walk at dusk and a long hot bath, and this morning my weight was down in the '40s again. I am very hopeful about this week's weigh-in! (Perhaps I'll spend Thursday night in a sauna . . .)

Other plans for the last two weeks of summer include a day at the beach, bowling, a drive-in movie (if we can get the drive-in to cooperate and finally show something we want to see), a frozen yogurt taste-off, dinner at the new local burger joint: Retro Burger (and "retro" means '70s rather than '50s [think KISS posters], which sounds awesome to me), and making s'mores on our patio — and it will all culminate in a weekend at our craptastic motel in Seabrook, New Hampshire, for which Mimosa and I are stockpiling a bunch of library books, mostly recommended by Brunie. Fun!

And I am not stressing over the lack of work. I have three giant jobs coming in September, we will get the enormous credit card bill paid soon (did I mention that the washer and dryer broke and needed service? and that we needed a new water heater? sigh), work will resume, all will be well.

Zumba tonight! And all sorts of yummy fresh produce from my CSA share yesterday; I will snack on cherries all day. But I do have a biggish job to get done, so back to it I go.

— Lady C, working girl

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 79: Holding Steady

Bad news: I haven't lost any more weight.

Good news: I haven't gained any weight! I'm holding steady at 250, and some mornings I'm actually 249. It really does feel like I've broken through my plateau. There will be big movement, any day now!

(Ew, I know that sounds like poo. Sorry!)

Bad news: Seventy-five percent of weight loss is diet, not exercise. Clearly I eat too much. I have to eat less. Period.

Good news: I had ice cream three times this week and still didn't gain weight. It will not be hard to eschew ice cream. I'm also being good about following my doctor's orders and not drinking alcohol during my three-day medication period. I am ready to eat less. I can do this!

Bad news: I blew off church today, and someone I like a lot was doing the sermon.

Good news: This was my first headache-free morning since Thursday! I reveled in the lack of pain and opened the birthday box from my dearest friend Mrs. Fog Dog. (She mailed it later than she wanted to, but elected not to spend $70 to get it here on my actual birthday — which I completely understand and support! And it was a nice treat a week later.) I also finished reading Scandal in the City by Holly Denham, which was adorable, and drank coffee and wrote a couple of e-mails and had a lovely, fun, productive morning. And I will e-mail the person I like and ask her to share her sermon with me, and maybe it will lead to a get-together, which would be grand. She is very smart and cool.

I have been in my nightie all morning — time to get showered, get the clean laundry upstairs to be folded, and get those blasted ties sewn to the patio cushions, something I've meant to do all week but haven't got to yet. But today is the day! This is my vow.

— Lady C, getting busy

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 76: Exhausted By My Yard

I Googled the above phrase to find a good image for today's post and laughed when I got to this one. I'm not sure what is has to do with the title, but this is pretty much what my back looks like right now, from doing yardwork in a tank top and sports bra. Too funny.

But my yard is looking so pretty, and I'm just about done! (Except today I took a trip to my side yard to replant a rhododendron, and yeesh, it's a jungle over there; I will need to do some serious pruning. Fortunately, this is a job I can usually interest the children in — they love to use hedge clippers.)

I have two gardens in front, and the one to the right is where I usually focus my attention; it's bigger and much more prominent. The one to the left mostly comprises bushes and looks okay even when overgrown with weeds, so it's easier to ignore. But today I got very motivated, pulled every last weed, dug up the aforementioned rhododendron (which had been slowly growing in the direction of another bush and was now practically entwined with it, which looked really, really stupid), planted a potted hydrangea that I've had since Martini graduated from fifth grade, and dug up three rocks the size of a baby's head.

I am weary.

Tomorrow, after I drop off Mimosa at Broadway Rocks! camp, I will pick up two pretty plants (I'm thinking coleus) at Home Depot, which is right next door, plus some more black mulch, and finish making this garden beautiful. Then I will sew ties on to my newly washed patio cushions (which look . . . not so great, but certainly better. Significantly better) so they don't blow off the chairs; the bottom cushions have ties but the top ones don't, don't ask me why. I sewed ties on a few years ago, in fact, but they eventually gave out (since I am terrible with these cushions and leave them out all year long. Yes, I have learned my lesson).

Anyway, it's all looking very nice, it's cost very little, and it's so satisfying to see what I can do with my own two hands. I will hold off on buying my gorgeous new cushions until editing work picks up again; I think all my clients are on vacation right now. I have several jobs on the horizon but nothing's hit yet. Tomorrow's timesheet may only have 10 hours on it, which is a little startling after weeks and weeks of 30+! But it'll be okay.

I'm chairing a meeting of my church committee tonight, yet all I want to do is collapse in a hot tub. At least my committee is fun. And my awesome co-chair and I are committed to keeping the meeting to 90 minutes; my collapse can begin in less than four hours.

Three hours and 59 minutes.

Three hours and 58 minutes.

I'm going to be a barrel of fun tonight!

— Lady C, fatigued

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 73: Simply Having a Wonderful Birthday-Time!

Until That Moment, Bob Hadn't Realized How She Felt!
Now, He Didn't Know What to Think . . .

My birthday was sublime! I was showered with presents and kisses and love, I ate fabby food and drank yummy fizzy lifting drinks, I spent the days fore and aft with some of my favorite people on the planet, the sun shone, my hair looked terrific.

On Friday, my Birthday Eve, I went to Target and found attractive, affordable patio cushions (I will scrub my old stained ones today and see how nice I can make them look — but I'm happy to have a good Plan B). Then I had a delicious lunch with the delicious Mrs. Cynicletary, who gave me fabulous chardonnay and a gorgeous new dress! I plan to live in it.

Our server put a candle in my strawberry shortcake and sang to me, which was very sweet. And I made a tasty veggie-pasta casserole for dinner, which everyone loved, and had a fun night watching The Office with Li'l Martini, his new obsession.

And then Saturday a.m. I slept in till 9, which I almost never do but felt very luxurious, and then feasted on champagne and almond croissants and bacon and hot strong coffee, and opened presents presents presents! Lady Darcy made me the coolest collage of photos she took of streets with the names of my immediate family — I love it so much! (And she sent tons of other wonderful presents and a fat newsy letter — so awesome!) Her dad, whom I've known since I was 18, grows oregano, and he gave me a personalized jar of his finest, and I got a little weepy when I opened it; Lady D lost her mom last year, and her dad is such a peach. Parents should live forever.

And Husband did the cutest thing; he has all these vintage comic panels, and he made eight cards for me, with hilarious captions he dreamed up himself. ("Bob," above, might be my favorite, but they are all excellent. I see a huge Anne Taintor-like future for him!) His presents for me were wonderful. The funniest was a pair of "workout gloves" ('cause I'm such a jock now, don'tcha know), which I plan to wear to zumba this week. Or maybe the funniest was the adorable wind-up babygirl, since I'm always telling him I need another baby. (Which I don't. Except when I see a really cute one. My uterus is an idiot.)

His sweetest present didn't actually come to fruition, but in this case the thought truly does count. The farm where I get my CSA share has, among other critters, a llama, which can sometimes be seen walking up and down Mass Ave. Husband called the farm to see if the llama would make a birthday house call. How amazing is that? If a llama came to my door on my birthday, I would go Kristen-Bell-sloth-in-the-house batshit.

(And then I would kiss the llama a hundred times because, hey — birthday llama.)

Something interesting and kind of awesome that happened is that I had a strong urge to move my body and get some exercise, which is so unlike my usual self!! But it was my birthday and I honored all my impulses, so off to the bike path I went! And sometimes exercise is like moving through molasses, but on that day my muscles were silky and ready to glide, and the weather was breezy and beautiful, and I had a great walk. And then I had sushi for lunch and honored my impulse to order (and eat) everything I wanted . . .

. . . and learned that sometimes my impulses are really, really bad and wrong.

Oh! it was so delicious. Oh! did I eat too much! I was very uncomfortable afterward, cradling my overfull tummy like I was about to birth a tiny sushi baby.

So when Good Neighbor Anne came over to join me for a birthday drink, we instead had a birthday stroll around the block, a birthday icepack for my arthritic knee, and some birthday cold water. But it was awesome, we sat on her porch and yakked for hours, which we haven't had a chance to do in ages. She is right across the street, and yet we can go weeks without seeing each other. It's terrible. But this was a perfect birthday treat!

It was just a great, fantastic, wonderful day, and I felt happy and loved.

And then we did Mimosa's progressive birthday party the next day, and it was fantastic and she had a total blast. So all in all — a pretty kickin' weekend!

And today — boo-hoo, Husband leaves for a week in Hyde Park, N.Y., I'll be a single mama. It'll be okay, though; he's been sleeping in the basement with his bronchitis for almost the entire month of July, it may not feel all that different. I will miss him, though.

Off to scrub some patio cushions! That's a big disgusting job, it should distract me from missing my man.

(Hey, does my writing look a year older?)

Lady C

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day 70: An Early Birthday Present!

Today is Weigh-In Day, and yes, I lost all that fake weight yesterday through sweat, but I figured I'd balanced the scales, so to speak, with a restaurant lunch: 1.5 rolls with olive oil, a small Caesar salad, and half a small spicy salami pizza (the other half of which I ate at dinner). Dang me, it was good! (No wine though, I'll tell you why in a minute.) So, I think this morning's scale reading is fairly realistic.

Today's weight: 250 !!!

I've lost a full seven pounds, a seventh of a pound per week. If I can continue at this slow, steady rate, I will be at my dream weight in just over two years. That is indeed long and slow, but at least it's within sight.

I dreamed of being back in the '40s by my birthday, but still. This is movement! In the right direction! After an entire year of plateau!

And that is a very nice birthday gift indeed.

OK, so here's the alcohol story. Remember when I saw the new dermatologist ages ago (before I had the surgery that ravaged my face, my beautiful face!)? Among other things, she diagnosed a yeast infection around my fingernail beds, which I had given to myself through my constant habit of picking at my cuticles.

(Brunie said, "I thought you got it from putting your hands where you shouldn't!" I said, "Oh, yeah, I like to get both hands right in there." No. That is not how I got it. Pervs.)

She gave me an ointment to rub on my cuticles two to five times a day, but here's the thing: The ointment has the texture of runny Vaseline. I put it on my cuticles, but my entire finger is greasy and gummy within seconds. And consider what I spend my days doing: working on a computer, cooking, reading. There are very few moments when having greasy, gummy fingers will work for me. Even at night, I read a book or watch TV before I go to sleep, resulting in greasy fingerprints on book pages or a greasy TV remote. So . . . I didn't use the medicine like I was supposed to. But I have tried very very hard to quit picking, and I'm 90 percent there.

The dermo made a deal with me: If I would continue to try to stop and if I would use the medicine at night, she would give me a pill I could take once a week for a few months. The only drawback is that I can't drink alcohol within three days of taking the pill. I take it on Wednesdays, so I'm supposed to be abstinent till Friday at midnight.

While I'm being treated, in fact, she wants me to only have one glass of wine at a sitting, which of course I totally blew last week on what I'm calling Sangria Day. O my poor liver. But she tested my liver first, and it is strong! powerful! resilient! I'm feeling confident.

But I'm not an idiot, so I am trying hard to adhere to these guidelines. I remember to put the ointment on at least every other night, if not every night, and my cuticle beds are a thing of beauty. It would be wonderful to fully kick this terrible habit at last.

(Seriously, I don't even know I'm doing it most of the time. I have fingerless gloves that I wear when I'm editing in the winter — it gets cold in my dining room — and I swear I need to wear them all the time, because I'll be editing something, lost in the zone, and then realize that I've been pick-pick-picking for the last five minutes. Crazytown.)

I may try on The Dress today with Spanx and see how it looks. It fits, like I said, it's just really tight. But I'm seven pounds down, let's just see.

I'll keep you posted!

—Lady C, of the beautiful cuticle beds

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 69: I Lost a Lot of Weight, But I Think It's In My Back Yard

Hey, want to drop some poundage quickly? Do a ton of yardwork, then a sweaty hour of zumba, and the next day do a ton of yardwork again — that'll do it! I lost a full five pounds.

(Husband says, "I don't ever want to lose weight that badly.")

Of course, then I drank a glass of water and gained at least two pounds back, but nevertheless — it's been tons of fun weighing myself, I do it all day long.

And — oh! the joy! My front garden looks so beautiful! I planted flowers and hung flowering plants and spread black mulch (Li'l Martini helped with this, and he was actually a decent helper! Child labor rocks!), and it is lovely. And my back patio is significantly improved; I pulled a huge leaf bag's worth of weeds, some of them chest-high (I pretty much had my own mighty jungle going on back there, a-weem-a-way, a-weem-a-way), and threw out a pile of broken-down stuff that was holding firewood, and stacked the firewood on some nice shelves that I rescued from a curbside last year, sigh, and put out some beautiful flowers and hung a pretty new windchime.

The one thing I still need to do is figure out my patio cushions. The ones I have are maybe seven years old; I have not taken good care of them, and they are very stained and dirty (though they were lovely back in the day; green and white striped and lushly padded). But they look pretty awful, so I stacked them in front of my house to go out with the trash, and drove to Seasons Four (a local fancy garden store) where I found a beautiful replacement, something like this:

I really loved the pale blue and thought it would be a nice change, so I asked the salesperson what four sets would cost (I need top and bottom cushions for each chair; they are really uncomfortable without them, even with my own glorious natural padding!).

Ha! ha! ha! ha!

"Two-fifty," she said. I said, "Um, total?" She frowned with her eyes and smiled with her lips and said, "Apiece."

Ha! ha! ha! ha!

Then I went: Crap! I have something worth a thousand dollars sitting in front of  my house with the trash!!!

Fortunately, my neighbors have no eye for quality. My stained million-dollar pillows are mine again. It's supposed to be stormy tomorrow morning, but if the sun comes out I will sit in my driveway, sipping sangria, and scrubbing patio cushions with dishwashing liquid. (Recommended for cleaning Sunbrella products, don'tcha know.) Though I will visit Home Depot and Target and the like to see if I can find a more sensibly priced replacement.

It is just such a wonderful feeling to pull into my driveway and be greeted with the sight of a pretty garden, rather than a giant representation of my laziness and sloth. And I really did enjoy the process of making it all look beautiful; I do not know why I put it off for so long.

There are two more garden areas that need some love from me, but they can pass for now. I'm knocking off until after my birthday on Saturday.

Oh! And after a lackluster first day, Mimosa is thoroughly enjoying Rock 'n' Roll Broadway camp! They are doing 10 numbers and she's featured in 7 of them and has some solos, and she's formed tentative friendships with two other girls (today she brought cookies to share with one of them) and seems much happier. That is a huge load off my mind.

And even Husband seems to be getting well, or well-er, anyway — he's still coughing (he will cough forever) but his voice is within 80 percent of normal, and in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, "That ain't bad."

Tomorrow Mrs. Cynicletary is taking me to lunch, as is our birthday tradition, and it will be such fun! But now I must get my beauty sleep. Hey, I lost five pounds today — I'm exhausted.

Sweet dreams!

Lady C, on her penultimate day of being 50

Monday, August 5, 2013


On Mrs. Cynicletary's advice I prepared to resubmit my long-overdue Penguin invoice to to both the client and Accounts Payable, along with my W-9 and other related paperwork, bearing the words SECOND NOTICE – 90 DAYS PAST DUE. Crazytown.

And as I went through all my paperwork looking for the mailing address for Accounts Payable (I wanted to send it via the kind of mail where a human has to sign for it when it's delivered), I saw this:
Invoice queries should continue to be directed . . . by calling 1-888-555-5555.
I thought — huh. Well, that would be a lot easier and cheaper than sending all this mail, wouldn't it?

And after a nice chat with Jayakumar in Accounts Payable (seriously, that is his name), I re-e-mailed all my stuff to Accounts Payable, I got a confirmation notice within minutes, this all happened last Tuesday, and today, the 16th anniversary of my daughter's birth, Day 2 of my birthday week hoopla, today I got a nice fat check from Penguin in the mail!!! Only 96 days late!!!

Yeah. I'm done with them. But it is very nice to be paid at last.

Daughter is having a lovely birthday, though Broadway Rock Camp is a tiny bit of a disappointment; she's the oldest one there by kind of a lot and, as she says, "Did you know that 12 year olds can be really annoying?" Sister, you're killing me softly with your song. But they're going to do selections from Hair, Hairspray, Fame, Rock of Ages, Footloose, Grease, Schoolhouse Rock, The Wedding Singer, and a couple more I've forgotten, and I said, Ignore the kids, concentrate on the fun music, and she agreed that was a good idea.

Today was fine, I actually put a light jacket on (over my nightie) while I worked, the air was so chilly! Particularly if you're sitting still by an open window staring at a computer screen. And we had a magnificent meal at Macaroni Grill, daughter's choice, and we're about to watch the season finale of Falling Skies, and then I'll take a bath and call it a night.

I am very happy that it's August, but I'm really ready for all of them to go back to school. Hmm, wonder if Husband (who has bronchitis, by the way, and is still coughing like he's trying to pass his spleen through his vocal tract) will be well by then?

Ah well. I will go immerse myself in the problems of alien invasion and human survival, and maybe that will give me some perspective.

(Work continues to be crazybusy, which probably plays a huge part in why I'm cranky.)

—Lady C, ready to go all medieval on some Skitters

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 65: My Pre-Birthday Week Begins!

"Talking to an old friend 
makes you realize 
how much your life 
has changed."

My first-born angel turns 16 tomorrow. Whee!

Mimosa was due July 26, and that seemed nicely separate from my own birthday — but as her actual arrival date inched closer and closer to August and she showed no signs of vacating my ladygarden, I grew restive.

I LOVE my birthday. It is my favorite of all holidays, bar none. (Sorry, Jesus.) My BF Lady Darcy once gave me a huge 4x4-inch plastic keychain, bright orangey-gold, emblazoned with the words MY BIRTHDAY IS AUGUST 10. Oh, how I loved it! (But alas, it broke.)

And I was fully prepared to love this new baby too, but not to share my birthday with it.

When it became clear that Baby M was upside down and I'd need to have a C-section, her birthday was chosen for her — and it wasn't my birthday, but it cut into my birthday week. (I consider every day from August 1 on to be the prelude to my birthday.) Granted, I was distressed on many levels at that point, but this was the thing I chose to fixate on. "Can't we tell her that her birthday's actually in May?" I begged Husband. "She won't know, and no one ever remembers when their friends' kids were born!" Husband, God bless him, was going along with anything I wanted at that point.

However, good sense finally won out — we already have way too many family events in May. August 5 it was (and is).

But I've learned that I can celebrate many things at once, and there's plenty of pre-birthday hoopla to go around — everyone gets a share! And today my personal hoopla began — I was invited to lunch by my dear friend of almost two decades, Miss Sleepy Susan herself. We met at Za, and I had the most delicious beet, goat cheese, and hazelnut salad, and then we shared a pizza comprising multi-colored heirloom tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, basil, and three cheeses, and YUM. Such a flavorful and toothsome meal!!! And Susan gave me a vintage middle-grade book that I've been coveting forever, Mrs. Purdy's Children by Ruth Loomis, and I can't wait to hunker down and reread it.

But the very best part was spending several hours one on one with an old dear friend. We know each other through Betsy-Tacy, and usually when we get together it's in a small group; rarely do we have uninterrupted time for a long comfy chat. So today was glorious on many levels, as we talked of shoes and ships and sealing wax, aging parents, how our inner selves often don't match our outer selves, blogging, weight, insecurities, juicing, favorite books as children, and horseback riding, and we laughed and laughed and it was simply glorious.

And then Mimosa and I went shopping for Husband's birthday (yes, another August baby — August is a real festival at the Chardonnay homestead) and stopped at Barnes and Noble to browse and have a drink (me: San Pellegrino water) and a treat (Mimosa: a chocolate fudge cupcake the size of her head), and it's been a lovely day (which started with a walk to Starbucks, and then I sat on their lovely patio taking in the lovely morning air and enjoying my coffee and a magazine; I saw three friends and had some nice chats and patted a beautiful white dog. And when I got home, I lifted weights and worked my core. A perfect start to the day!).

Oh, and I should note that I did take my walk yesterday, as promised, and as I prepared to ascend Cardiac Crest, carrying a carton of milk, a carton of cream, a carton of OJ, a carton of soy milk, a loaf of white-whole-wheat bread, and three dark chocolate bars for Mimosa's birthday, Nurse Kathy pulled up next to me and offered me a ride. And I leapt into her car in gratitude, flinging my bundles to the back seat, totin' the weary load no more!
No. No I did not do that. I said, "Nurse Kathy, I must walk up this hill, and walk I must." She said, "Good for you!" But then we stayed in the street yakking for another 40 minutes, there's always so much to talk about!

Oh! How I love my friends!!!!!!

Yesterday I also put away almost an entire enormous bottle of sangria with the Sisters Hart and Brunie. I love those friends too, I just don't remember them very clearly.

Betsy was given beautiful presents at that fifth birthday party. . . .
But the nicest
present she received was not the usual kind of
present. It was the present of a
friend. It was Tacy.
Betsy-Tacy (1940), p. 14             

Lady C, friend to all

(particularly after most of a bottle of sangria)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 64: Only 89 Months Away!

I got up early this morning, intending to walk the bike path and then buy milk, cream, and eggs at Trader Joe's and a coffee at Starbucks, using the credit cards I'm supposed to use three times each the first week of every month. Such accomplishment!

Except, and except. I'm feeling the hour and a half of yardwork that Mimosa and I did yesterday — (my knees! my elderly arthritic knees!) — and I woke up already feeling tired, and as I limped toward my scale, I said, "If I've lost weight, it's a sign I can skip my morning walk."

(And I knew this was the longest of long shots; yesterday I had lunch at Summer Shack, a post-yardwork treat, which included fried oysters and a glass of wine, though I had a ton left over [not the oysters or wine, though], and we had pizza for dinner, in our ongoing quest to find our replacement for Nicola's [yesterday's candidate — Joe Pizza in Medford — is the reigning champ. Boy howdy, it was good! We had the Spinach and Mushroom Specialty Pizza, and one with their homemade sausage and black olives, and both were divine, and the kids said that the Caesar salad was great; I was a little salad-ed out from my Greek salad at lunch plus coleslaw so didn't try it] and I made myself a glass of sangria, so even though I only had the two pieces of pizza and nothing else, and even though I didn't eat a single dessert or "snack" item, still, it was not my best diet day.)

So I weighed myself. And almost fell over. Today's weight: 251. I have broken through the 252 barrier!!!

(Fat Secret noted that I was down half a pound from my last recorded weigh-in on July 21; "At this rate," it tells me, "it will take 89 months to reach your goal." Heck, I got time. And what a stunning 60 year old I will be!)

I will do some exercise today, I promise (and I'm almost out of cream, so no matter what I'm hitting Trader Joe's. Maybe I'll walk down the hill to get it, and then do arm and core work — and then chores, of course. That sounds do-able).

And at midday Brunie will pick me up, and we're spending the afternoon poolside in New Hampshire with Book Club Girl and Sister Hart the Elder, two of my most favoritest ladies (plus Brunie of course!), and it will be so much fun!!!!

Off to throw on some crappy clothes and mascara and descend Cardiac Crest. (Hush, Bride Boy, I hear you laughing at me. It looks way less steep when you drive it.)

Progress!! I am very psyched. Even just half a pound . . . any movement in the right direction gives a girl a lift.

a buoyant Lady C

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 62: The Sun Went Down and So Did My Weight

Not any farther than my set point, you understand, which apparently I will weigh for the rest of my life no matter what I do. Still. Any downward trend is a good one.

I felt ridiculously full after dinner (ridiculous, because all I had was one-fourth of a seven-egg omelet with bacon and vegetables, a big handful of veggies and homemade cilantro dip, three very small rolls [the size of a plum], and a helping of fresh fruit — a good-size meal but not excessive in any way, and yet I felt like I was digesting a steer), so then I remembered my pre-heat wave goal of taking an after-dinner 15-minute walk every night (which I've done exactly never since making that vow — see "heat wave," also night-time zumba).

I also saw that Good Neighbor Anne's car was in her driveway, so I went over to coax her into walking with me. Alas, she was on hold with Social Security, but we had a good chat in the 40 or so minutes it took them to answer the phone. Crazytown!

And I walked, and the sun set, and the air was cool and clean and so lovely. I can't believe that I don't exercise all the time in the fall when the weather is perfect. What on earth stops me?

I have to say: I am really not enjoying this summer. (You, the faithful readers of my blog, are now saying, Blow me down.) August is finally here and that is something, but I will be very glad to kiss this season goodbye.

But! The weekend is nigh, I have all sorts of fun things planned, and I just rented three oddball movies that I'm excited about: Wendy and Lucy, Blue Car, and Next Stop Wonderland. (They were in an article titled "Great Movies You've Never Heard Of," and I can certainly vouch for the second half of that title. I'll let you know about the rest.)

Off to finish turning two dowdy dumpy T-shirts into cool tank tops, and maybe I'll watch Wonderland while I sew. I feel great after my walk, dinner is all nice and settled, and so far I'm successfully resisting the bottle of Kendall Jackson Mother's Milk Chardonnay that Brunie brought me, as well as the pint of Chunky Monkey, Ben & Jerry's most perfect concoction, in the freezer. I will just drink coffee and call it a night.


—Lady C, ready to sew and to avoid the freezer