Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Chi Is Mad Focused, Yo

(Like my title? It came up on Google when I searched for "chi" images. I LOVE IT.)

So I did tai chi, and it was nowhere near as bad as I feared. Nor did it fix any problem in my life, or even a single problem I'm having with my achy breaky body. But it's early days yet.

Here's the Specific Fear Report:

It will hurt
Kinda. We stood for long, long periods of time while the teacher talked, endlessly, and I HATE standing and doing nothing. Also, I tweaked something in my back during a warm-up stretch, so my back was wonky for the entire class. I was so ready to sit after an hour, I almost cried.

I won't be able to do anything the way the teacher does it
Oh, yeah. I am quite the tai chi dork. I can't rotate my ball and have my hands end up where they're supposed to be.

But I will practice and practice — I told Husband, we are totally going to win at tai chi!

My knee will give out and I will shriek and cry
I didn't shriek or cry, but my knee hurt a lot during the pivot–weight shifting step.

I'll be fatter, older, and way more awkward than anyone else in the class
Ha! No. I am the Barbie Girl of this tai chi class. They'll put me front and center in the class picture, probably. ☺︎

I won't like it
Jury's still out. The teacher needs to stop yakking and get us moving, that's for sure. And I really thought that the weird Chinese dirge music would drive me mental, but I stopped hearing it once we got started. I think it will make me stronger and help my balance, and that is a good thing. And I LOVE doing this with Husband. Every time the teacher went on and on and ON about God knows what, I would turn to him with a perfectly expressionless face, and he would give me such sweet smiles.

I'll keep you posted!

— Lady Chi

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Tai chi starts tonight! I am a quivering mass of trepidation.

I'm afraid that:
  • It will hurt
  • I won't be able to do anything the way the teacher does it
  • My knee will give out (I somehow tweaked it this morning, God only knows how, and almost died of knee pain while redeeming aluminum cans at Star Market)* and I will shriek and cry
  • I'll be fatter, older, and way more awkward than anyone else in the class
  • I won't like it

Okay, seeing my fears written out like this is good, because I can live with all of those things, even pain.

All will be well.


— Lady C, at peace

* J, now you know what I decided!

(I wrote J a past-due birthday note this morning and gave her the list of everything I might do today. And since "redeem cans" was the big winner, I think you can imagine how wondrous the other possibilities were, oui?)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Random Bits of Tid

Since I am the only person in my little corner of the blogging world who is ever going to write a new blog post again ever, I will hold up my end!

Well, for today, anyway.

So, remember my post of resolution and virtue from yesterday? Exercise, good! Lesson, learned!

Then came the morrow, and my alternate title for this post is:

O  U  C  H

Despite rubbing in Arnicare before bedtime, I woke up crippled and sad, and I hobbled to the bathroom crippledly and sadly, where I brushed my teeth and weighed myself, crippled, sad.

But hey, I was down half a pound. And I'm still better off than Husband, I think:

Poor guy. He has added stenosis to his list of Terrible Things That Are Wrong With His Extremities (along with arthritis [two toes], gout, fungus under his right big toenail, chronically dry and cracked skin in the winter, and occasional plantar fasciitis — all of which cuddle happily with his high blood pressure and sketchy cholesterol. But he's strong as an ox! his chiropractor declared, so that is something), and he currently seems to be battling a case of water-on-the-knee, which sounds made up, right? but is totally a thing. Who knew?

(Husband knew. Also our beautiful young Doctor Barbie, who diagnosed him.)

In other news, I called my pally Zanzibar today; we have a habit of leaving long messages on each other's cell phones, because we know we can call early and still not wake each other up, something that is not true of my West Coast bestys. I told her that I was on my way to have a mammogram and a follow-up consult with Dr. Dixie, then I hunted for good news to share:
  • Mimosa — nope
  • Husband — nope
  • Job — nope
  • Weight loss — nope
  • Writing — nope
To find one consistently good goddamn thing in my life at present, I have to turn to L'il Martini.


And when my lippy punky 13 year old is the main source of happy-happy joy-joy in my life — oh, man, I am hosed.

To illustrate, here is a snippet of today's conversation with Mr. Happy-Happy Joy-Joy:

Time: 2:05 p.m.
  • Me: I'm off to pick up Mimosa from therapy. Remember, you need to finish mowing and edging the lawn.
  • Li'l Martini: I KNOW.
  • Me: But you probably shouldn't do it while I'm gone, in case you cut off a toe or something.
  • Li'l Martini: You've told me this a million times. GOD.
Note: It is now 4:35 p.m. The lawn has not been touched since last night, when he (1) blew a fuse, (2) left the basement door open for ten minutes, necessitating a frantic search for our three (housebound) cats, and (3) didn't finish mowing before darkness fell.

Moving on.

I forgot to list one of the books I just read and loved:

I am positive that Alexa Stevenson and I would be total bestys if she lived in Arlington. She writes a blog called "Flotsam," and this post, about a children's book that a bank sent to her mother, had me laughing till I wept.

Finally, I would like to share a sentence with you that appeared in the UU preK curriculum I’m editing:
Give yourself permission to play with the fruit.
And no, it has nothing to do with befriending the gays. It’s literal fruit. The kids are making fruit chalices. Before the session, the leader “contemplates” the fruit.

I could not make this up.

At least I am working.

(Oh, and the non-payment-from-any-of-my-clients thing that I've been complaining about for weeks now? I forgot to submit an invoice for the first part of this job.)


— Lady C, extremely very ready for a new source of happy-happy joy-joy

p.s. 4:50 p.m. Martini is currently edging, but only after I yelled at him. Within five minutes, he'd almost shorted out the lamp next to the front door.

I sigh.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sometimes It Pays to Listen

Good Neighbor Anne asked me if I wanted to join her on the bike path this morning. I was tempted for a minute, but then I thought:
  • The timing won't work out; I have to drive Li'l Martini to school with his glockenspiel and rental guitar (don't ask); she wants to go at 7:30 and I won't be available till closer to 8.
  • I have a fun big job to do — and still haven't been paid by anyone, we really need some $$$ coming in.
  • My daughter is depressed and silent again, which means I'm sad and depressed. I wish this weren't so, I wish I were better at separating my emotions and not going down to the dark place with her — but it is what it is. You're only as happy as your saddest child, I fear.
  • I have not had a period for 46 days, I feel like I could be getting one any minute now, and sister — it will be a tsunami.
  • I'm feeling heavy, sluggish, and fat. I worked hard to lose a pound last week — exercise! small portions! fresh produce! — and my weight fluctuated by six pounds. I was very psyched to lose four and then went right back to my starting weight plus two. There is no justice in the world.
I mentally reviewed this grim little list, and the way forward became clear. What I just listed above? These are reasons to get outside and exercise.

Over the years, I've found that every single cliche about exercise is 100 percent true:
  • The first step is the hardest.
  • Don't think about it too much.
  • Tell yourself that you're just going to put your workout clothes on, that's all. Once they're on, it will be much easier to get yourself out the door (or down the stairs to your basement treadmill. Whatev).
  • Just do it.
It was gorgeous on the bike path. My house has this weird kind of reverse insulation: when it's pleasantly cool outside, we freeze; when it's warmish, we sweat. If you'd asked me, I would've told you it was hot and humid, based on my steamy bedroom. (Ooh la la!) But it's beautiful outside.

And I saw Good Neighbor Anne at about the one-mile marker; she usually runs and I walk, so we're not really "together," but today she stopped running and joined me, and we talked and talked. My knee held up okay, I'm a little slower than usual but I kept up a decent pace, and of course it's wonderful to catch up with my friend.

Two point seven miles. Accomplishment!

Home now, I will work for an hour then finish my workout (weights and stretching) and shower.

I will not be this thin in six months, but thinner? Yes. I can hope for and work toward that.

So often I'm my own worst enemy, but today I'm my own besty. Way more fun!

xx Lady C, drunk with self-love

Or possibly my first cup of coffee, who knows. I've been up since 7; two hours is long time to wait!

p.s. How come nobody else is blogging? My blogroll (at right) hasn't had any new titles in weeks. Girls! Write something!

p.p.s. For Lady Darcy: Here's what I just read:

LOVED Counting by 7s, liked Dear Daughter a lot (could not put it down! But the ending is weak), and thought Isla was just okay. Stephanie Perkins' first book in this "series," Anna and the French Kiss, is SUBLIME. The other two — just okay. C'est la vie.

And here's what I'm currently reading:

As you might imagine, Paying for College is the real page-turner — this fall's Dear Daughter, for sure. Can't wait to see how it ends!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sometimes a Bunny Is Just a Bunny

I meant to walk yesterday, didn't, and felt like a loser, so I determined that today was the day!! Though I am excellent at getting up early, full of resolution, and then putting off exercise. I meant to walk at 8 and have everything (weights, shower) wrapped up by 9:30. Instead, I didn't leave the house till 10 (partly because I was talking to my charming husband, but it seems wrong to blame him for my slacker tendencies).

As I prepared to cross Appleton Street, a bunny darted across my path! So adorable. I took it as a good omen for a good walking experience, which I needed right then because my knee was starting to hurt.

And then it began to rain.

I trudged onward for a couple of blocks, but honestly? Walking when your knee hurts is no damn fun. Walking when your knee hurts in the rain — seriously, how much am I supposed to put up with here???

That bunny was a BAD omen, I decided, as I cried uncle and headed for home.

But yesterday's feeling of Loser! Loser! was still fresh in my mind. Are you ready to cheer for me? I headed down to my basement and finished my walk on my treadmill. Yay, me! I shed my Loser skin and emerge a WINNER!


And the most amazing thing – after a moment of stiffness, my knee stopped hurting. I think the flat, even ground and consistent pace of the treadmill is probably better for an injured knee than my usual uneven terrain, which is very good to know!

So maybe that bunny was a good omen after all.

Or, you know — maybe it was just a bunny. Whatev.

I also lifted weights and did my shoulder PT and worked my core and stretched. And hauled a million bags and boxes of Husband's old clothes upstairs; Big Brothers Big Sisters is coming to pick them up at dawn tomorrow, and I will be so happy to have them out of my basement! Husband is not exactly a hoarder . . . he just has a lot of special things. A LOT of special things. But he is kindly allowing me to donate these clothes, and that is huge. He is a good man.

I'm pushing myself to do one more "throw down" each time I do them, and I'm up to 23. Steely abs will be mine in no time! I will invite you all to bounce quarters off me.

On today's docket:
  • Shower, SOON (it is steamy-warm in my basement, I am a sweaty stinky kitten)
  • Edit a science article 
  • Send my Maybelline Queen a birthday card — her birthday's tomorrow
  • Buy wine and soy milk (the bare necessities! And I've found a cheap chardonnay that I like a lot; though I am eternally devoted to Mr. Kendall Jackson, at the rate I drink, he is a pricey beau)
  • Deal with the pile of paper in front of my computer (I'm not even sure what's in there)
  • Read 10 pages of How to Pay for College Without Going Broke (I have vowed to read 10 pages a day; more than that will make me cry, I fear)
  • Make a kick-ass supper (pork chops with mushrooms and cashews, rice, roasted beets, carrots, and turnips, and red-hot apples)
  • Watch Dance Moms with Mimosa (ugggghhhhh), iron two shirts, mend my capris, and re-do the neckline of a dowdy tank top
Full fun day! I am off to seize it.

– Stinky Sweaty Lady C

Thursday, September 11, 2014

By the Numbers

I haven't 'fessed up to this because I've been ashamed, but it's time to face some cold, hard, ugly facts.

When I started my weight-loss journey, I weighed 287 pounds. I managed to get down to 248, but I never really settled there; my new "set point" seemed to be 252. (My goal is 149. I am 5'8", this would be a good weight.)

Then my exchange student Tam (i.e., tamoxifen) came to live with me, and my weight promptly shot up 10 pounds and didn't budge. At first I blamed this on sluggish ladyplumbing and backed up menses, but within a couple of months everything started "moving" again, except the scale needle. (Sorry, this is the GROSSEST paragraph, but we have no secrets, do we? As much as we may long for them sometimes.)

And then I hurt my knee and was no longer exercising regularly, and I kept going to California and drinking margaritas with my mom, and that weight started creeping, creeping . . .

For several weeks now, I've weighed in at 268.  

This must stop.

If I can lose a pound a week, I'll be back under 250 by Christmas. This feels like a good and do-able goal. Obviously, I would like to lose  much, much more than that!! and if I do, then, yay! But having a smallish, reasonable objective, especially as we enter the glorious holiday season of food! food! food!, feels both smart and accomplish-able.

I'm kind of killing time while I wait for (1) Mimosa's event to start (the Madrigal Singers are performing at the State House for a ceremony commemorating 9/11, and I can watch her online — so cool!!), and (2) my science client to answer an editing question, so I can submit my edited article and get paid. (I worked for four different clients last month and haven't been paid by anyone yet. Freelancing really sucks sometimes.)

So here are some other numbers, as I while away the minutes:

Three of My Favorite Movies
All About Eve
Gone With the Wind*
Breakfast at Tiffany's

Four of My Favorite Libations
Chardonnay (duh)
Margarita, on the rocks with salt
Bloody Mary

Five of My Favorite Books
The Cheerleader by Ruth Doan MacDougall 
Betsy Was a Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace**
A Window Over the Sink by Peg Bracken
The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary
Tracy and Hepburn by Garson Kanin 

Six Guilty-Pleasure Movies
Bring It On
Fast Break starring Gabe Kaplan! Oh it is truly awesome
Almost Summer
Grease 2
Thank God It's Friday
Ice Princess

Seven Actresses I Love
Meryl Streep
Marisa Tomei
Susan Sarandon
Emma Thompson
Alfre Woodard
Viola Davis
Jennifer Lawrence

Seven Actors I Love
Hugh Jackman
Daniel Day-Lewis
Mark Ruffalo
Denzel Washington
Matt Damon
Michael Fassbender
Hugh Grant


OK, the event should be starting now. I'm so proud of my girl!!

— Lady C, mama bear

* We are going to see this on the big screen September 28, and I could not be more excited!!!!! This movie HAS to be seen on the big screen.

** I love ALL the Betsy-Tacy books, natch, but this one is my special favorite. It is often people's least-favorite; they prefer Emily of Deep Valley, which is my least favorite. Go figure.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Woman Warrior!

Pride Moment #1: I took a walk! I followed my beloved neighborhood route, which I believe J and I clocked at 2.36 miles. It involves many hills and valleys, craggy broken sidewalks, exposed tree roots, etc. — it's not a silky-smooth treadmill walk, in other words.

Pride Moment #2: At least seven times during the course of my walk, I had that feeling of this isn't fun, I can't do the whole thing, I'm going to stop early. My knee started hurting within a couple of minutes, I got very out of breath climbing the hill by Nurse Kathy's house, my knee began hurting again as I descended the hill that runs along the highway (which was sad, because this is usually my favorite part of the walk — the wind at my back, the vista of Lexington spread out before me, the gold statue of the Angel Moroni on the Mormon temple glowing in the morning sun — but downhill does not seem to be good for me. Alas, I live in Arlington Heights, not Arlington Plateau) . . . but I kept giving myself little pep talks and trying to get lost in my music, and whatever I did worked because I walked the entire route.

And my knee is fine! Well, as fine as my knee ever is lately, but still. I'm no more crippled than usual, how's that?

Pride Moment #3: I lifted weights! I used my 3-pound weights and did 50 bicep curls, 55 tricep curls, and 30 each arm and "armpit" extensions. I also did 25 wall push-ups. And I made myself do 21 throw-downs (ab exercises), even though my back screamed at me.

Pride Moment #4: I stretched!!! This is the part of the workout I tend to skip, but I feel so good after I do it; it's also part of my knee physical therapy, so today I bit the bullet and muscled through.

Pride Moment #5: I need to get cash, and the CVS in East Arlington has an ATM for my bank, and I thought, "Well, as long as I'm driving all the way down there, I might as well go out to lunch . . ." and then thought NO. I am working so hard this week to get back on track, health-wise; I am not going to derail my own good work with butter-soaked restaurant food! I shall eat lightly at home and get my cash another time.

Oh, such virtue! What a model of health I am! How I envy you all, having me to envy!


Moment That Made Me Laugh #1: I stopped by Good Neighbor Anne's house to drop off a thank-you note, she happened to be home, so we took a few minutes to catch up.

Forty-five minutes later . . .

!! There is always so much to talk about!!

Moment That Made Me Laugh #2: As I prepared to ascend the vertical 25-mile hill of Nurse Kathy's street, my singing sweetie Mr. Manilow crooned these words:
Caught up in a world / Of uphill climbing . . .
He IS music! He DOES write the songs! Barry knows everything.

Time to haul my stinky carcass into the shower and then start a fruitful few hours at my computer. There are a million things I could do but nothing I have to do, today anyway, and that is a nice feeling.

— Lady C

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Making Your Way in the World Today Takes Everything You've Got

Yesterday I met Nurse Kathy for breakfast at Starbucks, right at the bottom of Heart Attack Hill. Even though my right leg is still not 100 percent (and never will be, says my Inner Pessimist), I was determined to walk my way through this date, including two errands afterward.

And I did! We had a lovely time (Indian Summer has passed, and it's lovely and bright and cool-ish in Arlington, just like September should be). Nurse Kathy is such a good friend, and I rarely get to see her. We talked fast and furious for 90 minutes, she gave me a bottle of wine, I cried about my dad — you know, the usual breakfast date.

Afterward, I walked up the street to the post office and then went to Penzey's Spices. Lately I've been doing this weird thing; I search for my desired item on a shelf, spot it, grab one, purchase it, and then come home to find that I bought the wrong thing. I saw Chardonnay but grabbed a bottle of Cabernet. I saw Reduced-Fat Triscuits but came home with old-school Triscuits. And at Penzey's, I saw minced garlic but went to the checkout counter with minced ginger.

The good news is that I caught it before I got home, but still. What the heck? I am too young to be this batty.

And then I walked all the way back up my hill, the "easy" way, and dear Lord, from all the puffing and panting and sweating I did, I could've powered a small steam engine. It's been A Year Without Zumba, and man am I feeling it.

I have nothing scheduled for any other mornings this week, so I'm going to try taking short walks around the 'hood and see how I do. I learned that if I lift my knee higher than usual before setting it down (while walking), it hurts much less. And yes, I look quite the dork while doing it, thank you for asking! But I will sacrifice a little vanity to get a lot less pain.

I'm trying, trying to heed Cindy Glamour's wise words and eat a lot less and significantly smaller portions. For lunch today I had half a cup of Whole Foods smoked salmon salad (OMG yum!! Writer Jenny brought it to a writers group soiree, and we gobbled it like it was ice cream), a handful of Reduced-Fat Triscuits, and a white nectarine. For me, that is a minuscule lunch, and I know I'll be hungry later. For dinner, I'm making a veggie-laden frittata, hash browns, and fresh fruit. I will carry the mental image of that frittata with me as I endure my post-lunch hunger pangs . . .

— Lady C, hungry, valiant, usually sweaty