Sunday, December 31, 2017

Three Hours from a New Year

I love New Year's Eve, but honestly . . . tonight I'm exhausted. It's been an intense month! Yesterday we took down our Christmas decorations and then thoroughly cleaned the house, and today I covered for Kind Tina at church (she's spending time with her new grandbaby!) and then powered through and finished all my "Christmas" cards (this is astoundingly early for me! But I wanted to get it done ASAP, for many reasons). I have a great sense of accomplishment, but oh my tired body.

Usually on New Year's Eve we play games and eat appetizers and ring in the new year as a family, but Martini's at a friend's house, Mimosa is giggling over something on her computer, Husband is simultaneously engrossed in a documentary about Batman's co-creator and a new book on his smartphone, and I just want a hot shower and a warm bed.

Tomorrow, my one and only goal is to sit in my comfy chair and read my six excellent library books . . .

. . . though I should probably go to the gym. I'm working onsite at Coldwater Creek for the rest of the week; tomorrow is my only chance unless I work out at night after a long day hunched over a desk (Coldwater Creek is NOT set up for proofreaders! I may have mentioned this), which: ughy pew.

It would also be fun to go to Mahoney's Garden Center, where I reliably find an awesome Christmas ornament for the annual Betsy-Tacy Ornament Exchange for 50% off! And we really need a new Christmas tree stand; I am getting too old to lie on the floor with Li'l Martini, twisting twisting the four screws with pliers . . . and I've also got some things to return at Kohl's . . .

But sitting and reading will happen! Lots of it! The perfect way to "ring in" the new year, if you ask me.
No resolutions this year — I'm still in "one day at a time" mode. But I'm now working out with a personal trainer twice a week, and I start the Whole Life Challenge on January 20 with Writer Jenny, and that's all resolution-y, right?

Happy - yawn - 2018, my friends!

Lady C

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Quiet in Blog-Land

None of my favorite bloggers have been writing much recently (where is everybody???), and clearly I am no exception. Wonder what's going on?

For my part, we are dealing with a family issue that is taking up most of my available bandwidth, and I'm also editing like a crazygirl. My new client Coldwater Creek wants me onsite a lot lately, which is fun but also a little challenging; they are not well-set-up for a regular proofreader, and I am always achy after a day leaning over a flat desk, and they are also an hour away — I think of them as an occasional client rather than a regular gig (but haven't quite broken that news to them yet . . .). Also, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has hired me for three books, which means three big fat paychecks, so exciting!! and then I have all my usual clients — busy busy!

But I'm on "vacation" now, which is lovely. Today there was absolutely nowhere that I had to be, and I reveled in staying home. We're dining on Trader Joe's appetizers, which smell so good, and the four of us will watch Arthur Christmas, one of our favorite holiday movies, as soon as Li'l Martini gets back from his pet-sitting gig.

All is basically fine. I love Christmas, and the family issue is working itself out, slowly, slowly, one day at a time. All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Man, I'm hungry! Hurry home, kid! (though the streets are a tad icy. Be careful what you wish for, mama).

Lady C

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

My "Exciting" New Challenge [UPDATED with Progress!]

Writer Jenny has convinced me to join her team, "We're No (A-Town) Angels," for the Whole Life Challenge, a new eating-fitness-health plan that she is enamored of. I've seen things like this before; my friend KT is enamored of the Whole30 plan, for example, so I read about it, and it sounds Draconian and horrifying. But for whatever reason, this one — though Spartan, for sure — feels more do-able.

What I know for sure is that I can't keep on this way. I may believe that I have ramped up my efforts toward fitness and weight loss and better health, and certainly that teeny little crest at the start of my walk is now easier to scale, but I haven't lost a single freaking pound. And as much as I embrace the cry of "It's not about weight loss! It's about good health!" — friends, when you're closing in on 300 pounds, oh yes, it's about weight loss. I would like my new knees to last for a good long time, and making them carry all this extra weight is not a sustainable plan.

So — the Whole Life Challenge it is!

It will indeed be a challenge; I'm looking over the food list and e-mailed Writer Jenny in horror:
No cereal, toast, or muffins? Or, as I call it, BREAKFAST?
She assures me that she eats fruit and Greek yogurt with nuts, or oatmeal, or omelets (sans cheese) and is surprisingly not hungry.

OK. I can do this.

But it doesn't start till January 20, so I need to get a little more serious in the meantime. Perhaps I will print some of the Challenge worksheets and do a mini version on my own.

(There are three levels, and the one I've chosen is Kick Start, the easiest — or, as I call it, the one that allows you to have a little cream in your coffee!!!!! For me, black coffee would be a deal-breaker. Anyway — maybe I'll kick-start my Kick Start . . . ?)

I skipped zumba last night, long story, and my deal with myself is that I have to make it up the next morning, so I'm heading out for a walk in a little bit, then a sweaty wrestle with my weights and other PT devices. In the bathtub last night, I noticed that my knees are much less swollen (the doc told me it might take a full year), and I can almost sit criss-cross-applesauce on my bed, my favorite way to sit (which I couldn't do after surgery because of the swelling, which kept my knees from fully bending), and this is exciting progress to celebrate.

And later today I'm having lunch with a visiting Betsy-Tacy pal from Nevada, also Brunie, and that will be a delight. I'm still waiting for my dippy clients to get back to me, and I will have a ton of work when they do — but for just this moment, I feel light and free!

Ha. We'll see how long that lasts.

Lady C, Optimistic Realist


Because I know you care deeply: I opened my front door to check the weather, and BRRR. Too cold for an outdoor walk. So I headed to the basement and pounded out six sweaty miles on my stationary bike (plus about half a mile more as I cooled down to the Glee Warblers singing "Teenage Dream"), then lifted weights and did wall-push ups and throw-downs, and then stretched, something I've been negligent about but will have to start doing as part of the Whole Life Challenge — I believe I'm required to do 10 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of stretching every day.

And now I have all the oomph of an elderly leaky balloon, but boy do I feel smug. I exercised, dude! Where's my medal?

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Little Cure for the Crankies


I've been glued to my desk all day, working on this new project, but I knew that we were out of cat food and coffee, and that will not do. Around 4 p.m., I headed out to Unleashed and Trader Joe's . . .

. . . and took a deep breath.

It is a gorgeous day, here in Arlington, Mass.

Jagged gray clouds with just a hint of blue peeking through. A warm caressing breeze. Trees and bushes that look like they've been painted by Van Gogh. Small piles of golden leaves, gently rustling. Gorgeous.

So I came home with my four bags of groceries (yes, a trip for cat food and coffee results in four bags. Have you never shopped at Trader Joe's?), and believe me, I tried to talk myself out of it, the entire time I was cramming my fleshy masses into my sports bra and capris.

I took a long walk 'round my 'hood as the sun set around me, and it was glorious.

But it did start getting dark very fast. Just as I reached the Old Pervert's house, I was very relieved to hear "Woo-woo!" behind me. It was Husband, who claims he wasn't out looking for me, but his actual claim ("I was trying to find a place to have dinner!") doesn't make much sense, unless he was planning on dining with Good Neighbor Anne. Who, I'm sure, would be happy to host him.

Anyway, he drove me the last half block, and that was nice. It is dark as ebony right now, and plus I had to pee.

On my way out, I chatted with one of my favorite neighbors, the dad of Kimmy-Kimmy, my kids' old babysitter:
  • KK's Dad: Hey, have you seen my drone?
  • Me: WHAT.
  • KK's Dad: It's been in that tree for a few days, but it must have fallen down.
  • Me: I don't even know what a drone looks like!
  • KK's Dad: Small, four legs . . .
  • Me: Wait — who are you spying on???
  • KK's Dad: Everybody!
He is a character. Fortunately, we have no secrets here at Chez Chardonnay.

Husband is out getting dinner because we're all on our own tonight; Li'l Martini is in The Crucible, and tonight is Daddy's turn as devoted audience member.


I'm going tomorrow — by myself, apparently:
  • Good Neighbor Anne: Is Martini performing in this play? Big part? Will it be fun?? 😉
  • Me: He is in the play, a small part (it’s mostly small parts) — and, he says, not a good guy — and I don’t think one second of it will be fun. Want to go with me?
  • GNA: Hmmm. What an invitation!!
Somehow she is resisting the allure. But the weekend's young!

Anyway, I'm home now and I still need to do some more work and my dippy clients haven't addressed my follow-up e-mail ("Hi, I still have every question I originally asked you . . ."), but I am more cheerful, for sure. And there's cold Prosecco in the fridge and a hot bubble bath in my future!

Life is sweeeet.

I need new sneaks, though, my feet are crammed into these like their birth is imminent.

Lady C

Snappy Repartee

  • Me: You know what I hate?
  • Husband: Yes, but what do you hate today?
  • Me: Morons.
  • Husband: I could have guessed that.
  • Me: And punks.
  • Husband: Well, that's new.
I am working with a new client, two women, on a semi-complicated project, and I've posed several questions to them. The client has completely failed me in this regard, in that both women "respond" to what I have asked them, using words, and yet my questions are 100 percent unanswered.

I am utterly without illumination.

My lack of understanding remains total.

They also sent me a time-to-task worksheet they'd like me to complete each week:

No explanation, no clarifying text of any sort, just this form. Brothers and sisters, if you can make sense of it and figure out what I'm supposed to write and where I'm supposed to write it, you are a better person than I.

Grumble, grumble.

Lady Cranky

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Every Moment Counts

I have been so busy and tired and exhausted, last week — [whisper] — I skipped zumba and instead reclined in my comfy chair and read library books. This was the Monday after the church party, when I'd hauled many boxes of hooch to and from my car, set up the whole bar, and then stayed on my feet for four hours serving thirsty Unitarian Universalists. I think I got a workout! And it was all super fun. But boy howdy, did I pay the piper.
(When telling Mom about it later, she said, "You didn't have help setting up the bar?" Well, no, for several reasons, but mostly because I'm a Type A perfectionist who wants it how she wants it and doesn't feel like incessantly explaining things to dullards. [In other words, my usual M.O.] And also: I was kind of impressed at what I was able to accomplish all by myself. Isn't this the kind of thing that today's parents give kids a medal for?? I was so born in the wrong era. I could use a Participation Medal.)

At last night's zumba class, I learned that everyone on the left side (my chosen spot) missed that class as well, as did the teacher. I think October 23 is simply No Zumba Day and that's that.

So. Last night.

I mentioned that at my last class I'd had one happy fun fulfilling moment — you know, out of 60 — but last night I think I had six or seven good moments.
  • Slightly learning the routines helps. 
  • Having "my spot" back helps. 
(Pale Blondie now greets me with the words, "Hi, Spot Stealer!" But she is very good-natured about it. Last night we chatted about working in the elementary schools; she's a kindergarten teacher, and I told her about my subbing experiences. Even Stolid Blondie laughed over my story of losing an entire class on my first day as a sub.) 
  • Friendly chat with the women next to me helps. 
  • Getting into slightly better shape helps.
Note the frequency in the word "slightly" above. Nothing's happening fast. Granted, one zumba class and maybe one other workout a week, which is all I'm managing to squeeze in so far, are not enough to fast-track a girl to true fitness — this I know for sure, me and Oprah.

I still hate most of the music, and I still can't understand a word the instructor says, God bless her.

At my super-fun very worky Broadway class I'm on and off my feet for two hours, and I get very sweaty doing our dance routine; it's not exactly highly aerobic, but it's movement! I do count it as something. But what it really is, is a workout for my brain. Singing harmony is hard. Remembering all the steps of a dance routine was hard (though I finally have it down cold). Doing both together — oh, sister. I am unusually impaired in this area.

But not as impaired as Kind Tina, who is truly wigging over the idea of performing this little number in a couple of weeks. At the church party, our friend Frau Hobel asked to see my "shimmy," which I obligingly performed for her, then she said, "You're not German." I said, "No . . . ?" She said, "This is how Germans shimmy." She and Kind Tina then robotically moved their shoulders up and down a few times, looking very grim indeed.

Laugh, I thought I'd die.

But I visited Kind Tina in her office last week and assured her that I am hearing her, I know she's wigging, I will do whatever she needs me to do to help her feel more comfortable. She begged me to help her learn the dance, and I promised to be her Dance Coach. This is how Paula Abdul got started, I believe, I see a big career helping shy stiff Germans learn dance routines.

In other news . . .

My weight is not down a jot. Nor is it up.

I need to decide soon if I'm going to do zumba again, go back to Deep Water, or do something totally different. The class held before zumba intrigues me; I'm often there early (to steal Pale Blondie's spot), so I see their last routine, and it looks like a cross between dance and tai chi. I asked the teacher last night if she had a business card, but she did not — and they've told me the name of the class twice, and it simply doesn't stay in my head. But maybe this would be a better fit for me; I will investigate.

I threw a party for the local Betsy-Tacy group and almost lost my mind with exasperation. I love these ladies but collectively they are so much work. Yet, I am itching to really play some fun party games, so I think I need to host a shindig soon for my real-life friends, my smart quick funny friends who don't need me to repeat the directions 500 times and who (generally) greet the games I've worked hard to plan with enthusiasm and gusto.

The historical cookbook I'm pulling together, again for some Betsy-Tacy people (I may not have mentioned this, but it's a project I agreed to a long time ago to help out a good frenemy, and I have kicked it into high gear because I'm ready to be done with it), is in the home stretch; I asked different folks to write 200–300-word essays for each chapter (which is very short, just a page), and one woman just gave me 10 freaking pages and says she cannot possibly cut it down and this is how long an "essay" is. Uh, thanks?

So maybe I'm not in the home stretch, since I have to wade through this opus and pull out, what? every 17th word? and then paste them together? Yeah, that should do it. At least this is a fun project. I am no graphic designer but I have learned a lot of Word skills, and it's turning out really cute. I think people will like it.

After years of crying NO NO NEVER, I broke down and activated the dormant Facebook account I created for Handsome D's 50th birthday. I had to out myself on the Maud-L e-list because I want to join their "secret" Facebook group, but I said that people shouldn't be offended if I don't accept their friend requests, I'm keeping it just to family for now, I want to be very low-profile and not have Facebook take over my life. This led to two interesting responses. An actual friend wrote:
What, you don't want to hear my incessant political ranting on Facebook?  I'm mortally wounded. 😄
Yep, exactly. But then another woman, someone I barely know, wrote:
If you limit it to family, you are missing out on a lot of fun and interacting with a variety of people.
Yeah, whatever, lady, I think I’ll live.
(I responded nicely, though, my manners are exquisite.)
So much work this week! One client is producing a monthly newsletter, so lots of little pieces from different writers, some of whom HATE being edited, so the client warns me to tread lightly. You'd think a light edit would be the easiest kind, but it is not; it is actively painful for someone in my profession to read an awkward sentence and let it go, after a sweaty mental wrestling match, because nothing in the sentence is actually wrong in a grammatical sense. Painful.
And I got a call from my occasional client, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, who need me to take on two projects because the woman who was working on them is going blind. I am so horrified by the bad karma around this little bonanza!! Also, NCTM pays by the page, not the hour, but the first job isn't a straight editing job and I'm not sure how to charge them, which is mildly stressful. But the woman I'm now working with seems very chill; she has a little baby voice, which is funny, and the second book is about children's literature and math, how cool is that??
Ah, probably time to get at it. Busy busy!
I don't know what Li'l Martini's plans are for tonight, but for school he's dressed as an Emo Teen; he borrowed my eyeliner this morning. I said, "You look very dour," and he shrilled, "No one understands me!" I think he's got it. A week ago I sent Mimosa all sorts of random costume parts to help her be No-Face from Spirited Away, which reminded me of how everyone in college used to borrow my clothes for their Halloween costumes. My clothes. Which I wore every day. Ah, what a jazzy girl I was, in my Goodwill slips and Grandma's big earrings and my Chinese flats. Throw a belt on that little number, and I call it an outfit!

Happy Halloween, my friends.
Lady C 
My Halloween pumpkins! My pink ribbon pumpkin is in honor of all my pals
who are battling breast cancer right now. You are warriors, and I love you!!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Down Half a Pound! Possibly More!

I know it isn't much, but it is SUCH a THRILL to see a DIFFERENT NUMBER on the scale!!!!

I weigh myself in the same spot on the bathroom floor at pretty much the same time every day, but if I move the scale I can get a different number — hence, the "possibly more." (A pound and a half!)

Anyway. I am happy!

In other news, last night's Broadway Bound Show Chorus class was so freaking fun!! Our first week, we had seven people, and two more were no-shows. That is a very small group, and our teacher Mr. C encouraged us to invite some friends to join. I'd already coaxed my Theater Mom pal to do it with me, but then we did our dance number for Kind Tina and she was "mesmerized" (that was my impression, anyway), so we got her to join as well.

The next week, Theater Mom, Kind Tina, and I were there, also April Shimmy came back and brought her friend La Linda — and that was it. Nobody else came back! The no-shows remained invisible! We are a show chorus of five!!!!

I think Mr. C was kind of stunned, and of course I felt terrible for him – but if you're keeping track, I've already provided more than 50% of the class, what more can I do? I'm just one girl!

But the five of us are tightly bonding and having a blast together. Last night, class 3, we actually started to "get" it. April Shimmy, as her name suggests, is also taking a burlesque class, and she is inspiring us to let loose and get jiggy wit it.


Theater Mom had a great suggestion for the altos; we are struggling to hit the "high" notes and sing harmony in Edelweiss, so Mr. C simply switched the parts; we are now singing the melody an octave lower, which is so much easier!

The five of us left together, and in the stairwell April Shimmy commented that the acoustics were great in here. I promptly launched into All That Jazz: "Start the car, I know a whoopee spot / Where the ice is cold and the pianuh's hot." Everyone joined in and we sang our whole song as we headed downstairs. Then April showed us how to do a "burlesque walk," which morphed into the Jets' opening number in West Side Story.

I call dibs on Ice!
 It was such a blast!!

We have to miss a class in two weeks because our teachers are doing teacher conferences at the middle school on that night, so I've invited the ladies to my house to practice our dance and drink wine. "And afterward we can sing show tunes together!" said La Linda, which I enthusiastically agreed to. What total fun!!!!! Yet another cool thing to look forward to.

Oh, I love my life! And all - that - ja-ee-azzz!!!

Lady C

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Eureka! (I Have Found It)


Eureka! (I have found it) is the motto of the state of my birth, and it's always amused me. Today it came to mind as I briskly walked around my 'hood, scaling the crest with greater ease than ever before (since my surgery, anyway); though it was still an effort and my breathing definitely resembled "huffing" and "puffing" more than anything else, nonetheless, my muscles pumped so smoothly, I felt exhilarated the entire time.

Eureka! I have not found my former relatively fit self, but at least I can sort of recognize her. Kinda. Sorta.

At zumba this week, I had one tiny moment of feeling like, "Hey, I can do this! And it's kind of fun!" One tiny moment, mind you, and the class is 60 moments, or minutes. But that is progress as well.

One thing that helped is that I completely usurped another girl's zumba spot. My favorite spot is second row, far left . . .
(Oh yes, I totally have a favorite spot. We all do. Google "my zumba spot" and you will find approximately 6 billion memes.)

. . . but that spot is firmly occupied by a stolid blondish girl, who comes early like I do, presumably to leave her spray and mark her territory. She ain't budging, in other words, and I'm afraid of her. But my second-choice spot, front row far left, is also taken by an extremely pale blonde girl, and she wasn't at the last class. I didn't take her spot then (because by the time I realized she wasn't showing, class had started — and I was also trying a new spot, front row far right. But if you're a far left girl, far right never feels, well, right), but it also seems to me that if you miss a week, everything can potentially reset.

So I came early on Monday, parked myself in Pale Blondie's spot, and had a lively pre-class conversation with Stolid Girl. (I showed her the likely spider bite on my leg, and she seemed amused by my predictions of sudden demise, likely during zumba.) Pale Blondie was a good sport about moving over one spot, and I loved being back on my home turf, which probably facilitated my one moment of enjoyment.

I don't like the teacher's songs any better, but at least they're getting more familiar.

Have I lost a lick of weight? No. I am holding at 295, a horrifying number, but what can you do. Even the motivation of a big fancy-dress church party this weekend wasn't enough to keep me on a Spartan diet. (But nor did I overeat, by my standards. I have fresh fruit and vegetables every day, and I eat little red meat and very few sweets. What the hell, weight??)

I may be doomed to be fat forever, but I want to be fit enough to walk up that tiny little crest a block away from me without huffing and puffing. This seems a reasonable goal. I also like having arm muscles. So, I will keep walking and riding my hurty bike and lifting my weights and working my core — but will I keep doing zumba or go back to Deep Water or try something completely different? Jury's still out.

In completely other news, I have been doing so many fun things, and have so many other fun things coming up!

A couple of weeks ago, I met American Idol-ette Constantine Maroulis!! He played Ché in Evita at our local music theater, one of my favorite musicals, and I attended the actor talk-back. Which, frankly, was kind of a snooze. I had all sorts of insightful questions (Do Ché's feelings about Evita change through the course of the show? Has Evita drunk her own Kool-Aid or is she more self-aware than that? Evita and Juan's relationship is clearly based on both attraction and opportunism, but do they genuinely love each other as well?). I was very curious to hear the actors explain their choices, but I was in the minority; the bulk of the questions were things like "When did you start acting?" and "What advice do you have for me as a new actor?" Yawn.

And further disappointment: the Eva and Juan actors weren't even there. But Constantine was, and I did get to ask him my question. (His answer was pure Constantine: He rambled and sounded very arty and never really said anything of substance but talked for quite a while. That is exactly how I remember him on Idol! He's adorable, though.)
Not the best picture of me, but hey. Constantine!!!
And as I left, there he was, right outside the building! We took a picture, and for a brief moment, I had Constantine Maroulis's strong arm around me. He was very sweet and accommodating to his fans.

The next show I'm seeing is Hair with my dearest Mrs. Cynicletary, now back at work after her surgery. I've been worried about her, and it will be so much fun to see this show with her.

And after that, Husband and I will see Arlington High School's production of The Crucible starring Li'l Martini Davis-Kay! Yeah, should be a lively evening. If ever a play cried out to be a musical . . .

Husband and I also just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary, which is September 26, but we were busy welcoming our new shed (Dawn of the Bookshop said, "I didn't know the 24th was the shed-iversary . . ."). Our tradition is to buy each other a book and then go out to dinner, and this year we added a movie, Battle of the Sexes, an event we each remember very well in real time.

I never think I need or want a new book (to buy, I hasten to add! books are expensive! I buy them used), then I go into a bookstore and find several. I was torn between these two:

Both cost $14.99, very reasonable. But then I saw this:

It was $30, way too much to spend on a book, but it was the one I wanted most and I knew Husband wouldn't say no. But then! It was on sale for 20% off and they allowed me to use Mimosa's B&N membership for an additional 10% off! So it ended up being $20, just like Husband's book. Hurray!

Dinner was just okay, but the company was sublime. And the restaurant had a limoncello menu — eight different kinds of limoncello! I only had one, but it was heavenly.

Our big church party is this weekend; I'm the Bar Queen, so it will be a little work, but it will also be a lot of fun.

And the weekend of November 17, I'm returning to NYC (where I live now) to spend three days with my college besties J and Zan!!!! The three of us have been plotting a mini reunion since Hector was a pup, but even though we've all seen each other separately, I don't think we've been together since my wedding (which we all know was 24 years ago. Love my new shed!!). I am beyond excited about this. Our friendship was cemented during our years as RAs and Preceptors together; maybe we can offer some residence assistance to our hotel hallway neighbors, for old times' sake.

OK! Off to lift weights and work my core. I was expecting a big job today (well, yesterday, actually), but this client is such a flake. I am dancing around the idea of a free afternoon with great excitement. If it actually materializes, my plan is to address every item on my to-do list and in my dining-room pile that I can actually accomplish relatively easily (some are simply phone calls), and then bake chocolate-coffee-cinnamon brownies for the boys and read my library books:


I am getting stronger. It is thrilling.

But man would it be nice to get thinner as well!!


Lady C

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Very Busy Barbie

Long time no blog, I know. Sorry! September is simply a ridiculous month for parents with kids in school, even though one of said schools is several states away. But there has been a LOT going on.
  • Spontaneous visits! My mom finally retired from her bookkeeping job and then realized that she was now free to travel on a whim. She arrived with one week's notice (surprise!), then declared that she hadn't seen Mimosa in almost two years and we needed to go to New York City. So, okay, Mom, let's . . . drop everything and drive to New York! Which we did. It was lovely to have her here but also wearing; she is getting older and more frail by the minute (she refused to shower at my house because she was too afraid to step over the edge of my bathtub; this drove me BONKERS), and my patience does not seem to be increasing with age. But we laughed a lot, and it was great to see my little girl, of course.
  • Continuing education! I started my "Broadway Bound Show Choir!" class, and while it's fun, it's not exactly what I thought it would be. I'd pictured a bunch of folks sitting around singing lots and lots of show tunes and having a grand time. Instead, we're singing one song, working and working on it till it's as close to perfect as possible, and learning choreography for it. Oh my! The song is "All That Jazz." Maybe, maybe, if we're very good we'll learn a second song, probably "Edelweiss." (Though I laughed out loud, imagining the choreography for "Edelweiss." "Will we do ballet?" I asked. "Probably just a lot of swaying," said Flynnie, our choreographer.) The class is taught by my kids' middle school music teacher, Mr. C, and that's fun. But, as I say, not what I expected.
What I dream we look like

What we probably look like
(We've only met once. I had high hopes that we would all work hard offstage, nail the song and dance, and quickly get to learn the second song, just for a little variety. But the class meets again tomorrow night, and have I once practiced either the song or the dance? Ha, no. Because . . . )
  • . . . editing work out the wazoo! After finishing a huge job for a new client last week, I am now juggling four huge jobs for two old clients, all of which must be done this week. I finished one yesterday, am two-thirds done with another, and the remaining two are still ahead. I am sitting A LOT.
  • Zumba! But no other exercise, because I've been so busy, which is ridiculous — one zumba class is not going to get me back in shape. After I finish this post and finish my coffee, I'm going to take a long walk and then lift weights and work my core and sweat like a yoked team of oxen — yes, so much sweat I need more than one ox to describe it! It will feel good. I also need to hit up Writer Jenny, who's promised to teach me how to hula hoop, her new favorite workout.  I have never successfully hula-ed a hoop in my life, but Writer Jenny is the most determined person I know, I have faith.
  • Oh! Zumba is . . . okay enough. I still hate the music and I still have not learned the routines, especially the last ones, when I'm tireder. The teacher has this hugely annoying habit of stopping before each song to review some moves, but she's talking over the blaring music and I can't hear a word; I'm like, Just freaking DO IT and we will follow you! Let's keep moving, for God's sake! I am a big zumba grump.
  • Making music! I am back to handbell-ringing on the advice of my sage pal Dawn of the Bookshop, and I have to say: It is not exactly like riding a bike. I did it a couple of years ago and loved it, and remember myself being fairly good at it. but sister, I was younger then with a flexier brain. I am now a slow and slightly impaired bell ringer, it takes LOTS of repeat practice before I "get" it. Fortunately, other ringers are also semi-impaired, I'm not the Class Dullard, so that is something. (Last week, Bell Boss said, "Are there any sections you especially want to practice?" and the girl next to me said, "Yeah, every time I have to ring a bell!") Maybe we're playing harder music this year, I dunno. Or maybe my formerly spongey brain is drying up, since I can't learn zumba routines either. That's probably it.
I'm also running the bar for a big church party in two weeks, and I'd like to decorate my house for Halloween, and I keep e-mailing woman-owned roofing companies to see if someone will come inspect my roof (the gutter guys reported seeing some damage — but so far, "woman-owned" has meant [1] "I don't respond to e-mails" or [2] "I will respond but ignore everything you wrote because I'm kind of a moron." The search continues), and I still have a fridge full of aging CSA vegetables that I need to do something with before our last CSA pickup tomorrow, and my favorite uncle is starting cancer treatment this week and I need to send him a card, and I want to deliver a treat to my besty Mrs. Cynicletary who had surgery last week, and I just saw that I forgot to write a check for Li'l Martini who's auditioning for Junior District . . .

Good lord, writing all of this was exhausting! And there are eight more things on my to-do list that I didn't even note here, but enough already.

My weight is high. Not my all-time highest, but higher than it was pre-surgery. I don't understand this. Surely I'm moving around more than I did then! It is so discouraging.

OK, coffee is gone; time to squeeze into some compression clothing and hit the Bike Path.


Lady C

Monday, September 18, 2017

My "Triumphant" Return to Zumba

Tonight was the first session of my new zumba class with the new teacher. It's held in the basement of the Episcopal church in Arlington Center, where Eddie Dance Party used to teach. I got there very early (mostly because I misread the time of the class, but also because I was worried about parking — but it was great to have a few extra minutes, I sat and read my awesome new library book, I'll Have What She's Having, an account of how Nora Ephron saved the romantic comedy), so I got the spot I wanted, second row on the far left — but next week I'll move to the first row, I have to see the instructor's feet!!

On the whole, I'd grade the experience C+. Of all the zumba teachers I've had, this one is at the bottom — she lacks the dash and charisma of the Italian Spitfire and Eddie Dance Party, and she's not as charmingly appealing as Sexi Danci Nanci or Shy Jeny. She's fit, for sure . . . but right now, that's the best I can say about her.

It is a great workout. Once I know the routines, I will get in better shape very quickly —  and that is awesome.

And I will be able to learn the routines pretty fast, because she told us she will do the same 16 songs in every class. Once we know them, we'll know them. And this is great for me, because I like doing a routine I know; when there are too many new ones, I get aggravated.

Though — I do like mixing things up a bit. The exact same 16 routines . . . ? every single time . . . ?

What an . . . interesting . . . approach.

And — oh dear God, her music is awful.
Not rap/hip-hop awful, more boring salsa awful. Every song sounds exactly the same!!! And not one of them is familiar!!!

Of the 16 songs, only one is a little different, sort of Big Bandy. And, to be fair, our cool-down song is a salsa-influenced version of "Just the Way You Are," so I did know one song. But that's it. Fourteen loud blaring identical salsa songs.


(The dull instructor yells instructions to us, but the loud blaring boring music is so loud and blaring, I can't make out a word she's saying.)

The other ladies are nice, though, and a woman I like from my church is there, and the woman who was next to me tonight is from France and speaks little English and seemed charmed when I held out my hand and said, "Je m'appelle Lady Chardonnay!" and certainly there are plenty of other women in the room who are old and klutzy and out of shape, comme je suis (like I am).
If this were my first zumba class, would I fall in love? It's hard for me to believe that the answer is yes.

I asked Husband if he could remember how I responded to my very first zumba class. I do remember thinking the other girls were cliquey (ironic, since the cliquiest one, the Fit Blondie, ended up being my best zumba friend) and I was aghast at how out of shape I was, but I think I loved the music and the routines and the Italian Spitfire right away.

I could be misremembering, of course. It was a LONG time ago!

Anyway. I'm in it for this term, and I will keep an open mind. Once I know the routines and am in better shape, I know I'll like it better.

But I still may not love it.

C'est la vie.

Lady C

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Celebrating My Minuscule Steps

I did lift weights during Jeopardy last night (a very boring episode, I thought) and worked my core. I've set a goal of increasing by one rep every time I do throw-downs, so last night I did 16 while Husband cheered me on.

Other goals I've set:
  • I can have dessert OR wine/a cocktail but not both. Last night I had a piece of chocolate pie, no wine. And it was a challenge! I really wanted wine. But that pie was goooood.
  • If I don't have paying work to do, I have to work out.
It's only been a couple of days, but so far, so good! No work today, so I rode my stationary bike for half an hour. And even though my hurty bike seat continues to plague my ladybits, it was actually kind of fun today. Some songs came up on my iPod that I haven't heard for a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed pedaling along to "On My Own" and "Ooooh Child" and "My Coloring Book" and "Pinball Wizard." And I stayed on for 30+ minutes and rode six miles! I think this is a new record for me.

I've also been curious — with all this arm exercise, can I now do an actual push-up? I didn't get down on the floor, but close: I tried it on my stairs (with my hands maybe on the third step?). It is definitely harder than a wall push-up, but I did 10 of them! Exciting!

Tomorrow, unless a job shows up, I think I will do an hour of yardwork, and that will be my workout. Our hedges continue to grow like Topsy, so I will do a Purge with my new electric hedge-trimmer. Great arm exercise!

And then I have jobs lined up for Thursday and Friday, so we'll see what happens. It would be good to keep up my momentum — zumba resumes on Monday!

Tonight's dinner is chicken enchiladas with green sauce (using the tomatillos and some peppers from our CSA share) and sauteed Mexican vegetables (using the rest of the peppers and one of our summer squashes) and Spanish rice (using nothing from our share, but it's a nice side dish). I will now fix myself a Caprese salad for lunch, dispatching the last CSA tomato. I still have a fridge full of greens, several striped beets, and a squash to cook, and I pick up a new share tomorrow. So much vegetable pressure!!! But it's good for us.

Exhausted again. When do I get the increased energy that exercise zealots are always going on about????

Lady C