Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tried for a Perfect Day. Did Not Succeed, So Much


Ah, the dreaded flour. I mostly achieved perfect 5's yesterday: For my 10 minutes of exercise, I lifted weights, did wall push-ups and bridges, and worked my core, then, yes, stretched for 10 more minutes — hand me my trophy now! — all while watching the last half of an episode of The Good Wife, fun! I drank my water faithfully (was done long before bedtime!) and ate well. For dinner I cooked Fiesta Red Soup, a chunky tomato soup with Mexican spices, beans, and a little bacon, and had a big bowl of that along with a bowl of fruit and a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt.

And . . . a corn muffin baked by Mimosa (secret ingredient: love!), crumbled over my soup. The other option was a fat glop of sour cream, and honestly I thought the corn muffin would be better for me, even though it cost me a point and the sour cream didn't.

And then I went to a committee meeting, and our hostess served yummy-looking appetizers, and I caved and ate 2 chicken spring rolls (they were tiny) and a small goat-cheese-onion round (also tiny) and drank a cup of chai that I'm pretty sure had sugar in it.

And weirdly, last night I had trouble falling asleep, for the first time in a long time. But I was definitely asleep by midnight and got to sleep in till 8, so I got my eight hours. Still. A strange evening!

Score-wise, I'm not the best on my team and I'm not the worst. For a while I was in fact leading, which frankly I found embarrassing. Many of my teammates work outside the home full-time, have to pack or purchase their meals, and travel a lot; I have it much easier. I'm also doing such an easier level. (Mine is called Kickstart, and it is loving and gentle; the other two are Lifestyle and Performance, and good Lord, you can't even have milk in your coffee. Many of our team discussions center around good non-dairy creamers, most of which seem to involve coconut oil. Shoot me now.)
The devil's weed!!
I can't have flour, cheese, fried things, or dessert; the one other big no-no on my level is diet soda. Isn't that interesting? I haven't missed it yet, but if it were summer or if I had a headache . . . yeah, I will take a point if I have to.

Many things on my plate for today. Mimosa and I are going to get new glasses (I need computer-specific glasses, she's just ready for a new pair — has had her current pair for quite a few years now), I have a bunch of errands to run (am getting my teeth cleaned tomorrow, and I always try to do Crest White Strips after a cleaning, so must purchase those — plus, there's a book waiting for me at the library! ).

Tonight we're going to see The Florida Project, which we missed on its first run. In between, I have a church document to write and a math lesson to edit, and, of course, 10 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of stretching . . .
. . . and my first glass of water sits before me! But first, more coffee.


Lady C

p.s. What I'm reading now (and am about to finish):
Very suspenseful!!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Challenge Practice I'm Least Likely to Do


For whatever reason, sticking to my spartan new eating plan hasn't been that difficult. I'm allowed one glass of wine, and, with only one exception, that's been enough. I think this is the least alcohol I've drunk in 10 days when I wasn't sick or recovering from surgery! I'm drinking all the freaking water, and I've squeezed in 10 minutes of exercise every day. (Truly, I think not being able to squeeze in 10 minutes of exercise is pretty shameful.)

The thing I'm most apt to skip is stretching. I've skipped it at least twice now, and I'm not sure why. It's only 10 minutes, and I know it's good for me. Some of the stretches are hard and a little hurty (hamstrings, ouch) but some feel so so good (quads, neck). And I absolutely know that the secret to standing straight and moving with ease in my old age is staying limber now.

Not sure why this is the easy one to skip, but I'm going to really try not to from now on.

The food thing — it helps that I really, really love food. Having spicy red hummus (YUM) with carrots and radishes and broccoli instead of pita chips is no big sacrifice. A huge veggie-packed green salad with eggs and beans for protein and avocado for fiber (while my family ate mac and cheese) — that is a fantastic dinner for me!! Snacking on pistachios and half-sour pickles instead of cheese and crackers — not a problem, I'm not a big snacker anyway. Nor am I a big dessert girl; having a pretty little dish of homemade applesauce at the end of a meal has been very satisfying. I save my Compliant glass of wine for the end of the day, and it is a lovely treat indeed.

Not drinking during the day has also made me sharper (well, duh). Clearly I needed this kickstart!!

(Instead of wine, I've been drinking Candy Cane Tea, a green tea from Trader Joe's. So lovely on a winter day! And because it doesn't have caffeine, in theory I could add it to my water intake list — but I don't; I am guzzling six giant glasses of ice water, 96 ounces, every blessed day. I keep waiting for my skin to look younger and dewier, but that hasn't happened yet.)

Last night Mimosa took her first kickboxing class (tai kwon do, to be precise) at our new gym, and I went with her to ride the bike for half an hour, lift some weights, and then (don't laugh) groom all their green plants, which have been driving me crazy; I'd asked the front-desk guy if I could, and he said, "Knock
yourself out," so I brought scissors and a plastic grocery bag and did just that. I ran into two friends, who both said, "Uh, Lady . . . ?", and Smiley George, our membership guy, burst out laughing when he saw me. Last week I jumped another member's car, this week I'm the Plant Lady. What did Gold's Gym do before I got there???

George says I have more energy than anyone he's ever seen, and that was a nice thing to hear.

This was the first time Mimosa and I have gone to the gym on our own, without Fit-Bit, and I am very proud of both of us!

And my weight was right back down this morning, all the sushi sodium peed right out of me. Huzzah!

I never did hear from yesterday's editing client, so who knows what happened to that job. Today I will get my car inspected, brine some pork chops, work on a math book, cook a fabulous Compliant dinner, and attend a church subcommittee meeting. Oh, and exercise for 10 minutes and stretch for 10 minutes!! Mimosa has therapy at 1, maybe I'll knock off work then, get my healthy practices done, and do some dinner prep. Good plan!

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You may quote me!

Lady C

p.s. This is the second week of my six-week Challenge, but I also wanted to note: this is also year 5 of my five years of Tamoxifen! I could take it longer, but five years is the recommended minimum, so that feels like enough to me (my boobs have sailed through the last five mammograms).

I recently heard Harry Connick Jr.'s wife Jill Goodacre talking about her weight gain on Tamoxifen (she called it her "Tamoxifen tummy"), and that was definitely true for me as well. I will be very curious to see what happens after I take my last pill on December 31, 2018. Still a ways away, I know, but it's something I'm thinking about.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Funday Monday


We don't have a regular grocery-shopping day — we just go when the list has gotten longish or when we need a particular thing (usually when I run out of half-and-half). But my new practice is to take Li'l Martini to Madrigals at 7 a.m. and then head over to Stop & Shop for some Compliant meal ingredients.

I am the answer!
The store is so peaceful at 7 a.m.! Today I bought chicken meatballs and a dozen Greek yogurts (a church pal told me that one Greek yogurt will give me a full third of my needed protein! FatSecret will love it. I'm still protein-deficient and over-carbed, according to them) and a fat bunch of leeks and several red peppers and some black-bean Chipotle-spiced veggie burgers, and felt happy and healthy.

(I also passed the "fresh fish" section and shuddered, remembering last week's bad tilapia. I think I will only buy fish from the fish market for a while now . . . I am sufficiently scarred.)

I did skip church yesterday (God will understand) and sweated out 13 minutes on my treadmill at the briskest pace I could sustain (I warm up for 2 minutes, walk briskly, then make myself "cool down" for the length of an entire song, which yesterday was "Standing Room Only" by Barbara Mandrell), then stretched for 10 minutes, washed my filthy hair, and paid a bunch of bills. Yay, perfect 5's in two categories! I ate light snacks at the movies (I brought an apple, some almonds, and a bottle of water and bought some plain popcorn but didn't finish it) and had sushi for dinner afterward. Astonishingly, even though I was starving when I got to the restaurant, I was full after eating only half my sushi. (I also had miso soup, seaweed salad, and a glass of Chardonnay.)

Because I'm an idiot I ate it all anyway (sushi is expensive and not exactly a good leftover), but I regretted it afterward.

And my weight was way up this morning; sushi and seaweed salad are MEGA HIGH in sodium.

A learning!
I've seen most of the Oscar nominees now. Mimosa and I plan to see The Florida Project this week, I'll probably watch Dunkirk on Saturday (we have it on Netflix), and Brunie and I are tentatively planning to watch Mudbound  on Sunday (ditto) — and after that, the only one I'm really interested in is All the Money in the World because I love Christopher Plummer. I should see The Darkest Hour but I don't want to. Every year there's at least one movie I really don't want to see, and sometimes I make myself and sometimes I don't. How bewitching I am in my mystery.

(Update: Husband just called from the other room, "Have you seen The Darkest Hour?" He really wants to, so, yay! I have a movie date. That will be much more fun. He also joined me for The Post yesterday, which was awesome — both the movie and the company.)

I'm supposed to edit a 25-page proposal today, but this client is sometimes flaky. I would LOVE to have a "free" day to do a bunch of cooking for the week (having hard-boiled eggs, a multi-vegetable-laden tossed salad, and a container of homemade applesauce in the fridge was a huge boon toward Compliant eating) and maybe finish a church curriculum project I'm doing. And to work on the curriculum I'm editing for the math folks; paying work is good too. I'll give the client a gentle poke now, keep your fingers crossed for me.

OK! My mindful morning practice is now completed. Another 5! Yay, me.

Lady C

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I Mindfully Start My Morning

Yesterday was a "funny" day — despite my intense workout, I never did get around to stretching; I had a second glass of wine (Not Compliant!), and at dinner time, when Martini eschewed the chicken soup dumplings I'd heated up, I ate one of those, also a shrimp toast (definitely Not Compliant! Oh, flour, how yummy you are!). For the first time in a few days I didn't have a perfect score; I lost a point each for the food and beverage fails, and a full five points for not stretching.
Nonetheless: I lost more weight! I started this "reset" at around 300 and am now in the 80s.

Well, 289.5 — I have tiptoed into the 80s. And this is a post-hot-bath weight, which always tends to be lower.

Nonetheless: I am celebrating! And today I will strive for fives in all categories.
Last week I'd made a huge tossed salad and a vat of unsweetened applesauce, and it was lovely (and wicked convenient!) to have those in the fridge. I think I will try to do that today or tomorrow.

Today's big decision: I want to see at least two movies, probably Phantom Thread and The Post.

Do I skip church and go straight to a 10 a.m. movie? Do I skip church, do all my healthy practices (and wash my filthy hair) and go to a 1 p.m. movie? Do I go to church, go to the 1 p.m. movie, and do my healthy practices in the evening?

Still haven't decided. Stay tuned!

Lady C

p.s. I think the pre-spiraled zucchini noodles I bought might have been treated with lemon, because all I could taste was sourness. I didn't like them at all. Ironically, the rest of the family scarfed them up — even Li'l Martini, my vegetable hater.

For the next Compliant supper I cook for the fam, I plan to brine some pork chops and mix a mashed sweet potato into mashed white potatoes — how does that sound? I've never tried it but I think it could be good. I get extremely bored with sweet potatoes, this will at least be something different. And then for me and Mimosa, I'll blacken some Brussels sprouts, which we adore, and make carrot-raisin salad for our dainty boys. And maybe saute some apples and onions. Yum! Awesome dinner!! And so Compliant!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

This Week's Well-Being Practice

(Alternate title for this post: She Who Walks With Full Bladder)
I've finished a full week of the Whole Life Challenge, and I have to say: This morning I woke up feeling GREAT. Full of vigor and vim and ready to the carpe the hell out of my diem!

Is it the Challenge, is it the regular exercise, is it the afterglow of a truly lovely Friday night? I could not tell you. But sister, I'll take it.

My Compliant breakfast was two hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of mayonnaise and also a clementine. It's puzzling to me that mayonnaise is Compliant and cheese isn't (oh God how I miss cheese!!!!), but whatev, I didn't make the rules.

After a week of mindful breathing, this week I have a new well-being practice: Morning Routine. For 10 minutes before I start my work day, I need to do something mindful. And guess what? Journaling is on the list! So I shall write here, in my nice little blog journal, for 10 minutes each morning. And today I'm stretching the definition of "morning" a bit (it's noon as I write this), but my work today is CHORES and I haven't started yet, so I'm calling it Compliant. I know my Team Boss will support me!

The gym on a Saturday morning is a very different place — much more packed, as you'd expect, and a lot more men. But I feel at home and comfortable there now, all 10 million bulgy pounds of me, so I'm not self-conscious, even as I huff and puff and pant and GROAN.

Today Fit-Bit wanted me to do core work while sitting on a ball, and I just couldn't do it. The sitting part was fine (I can sit like anyone's business), but leaning back was way too scary for me. Remember my fear of walking downhill? It's like that. I am ridiculously afraid of falling. But she let me do an alternate core exercise — sit-ups while holding a heavy ball — and I blasted off 16 of those and she seemed impressed.

I hate to be a big baby, but I am a big baby. I'm willing to try to conquer my fear, but sometimes I can't. I appreciate that she accepts that. She is a good girl.
But oh man we worked so hard today! I have long limp gorilla arms, easily three feet longer than when we started. My knuckles are dragging, man.

Time to start my chores. Tonight for dinner I'm cooking spiralized zucchini "noodles," which I've never made before, along with stir-fried shrimp and vegetables and a tropical fruit salad with mango, papaya, and kiwi — and maybe I'll toast bagel halves for my flour-eating family.

I'm intrigued by the "noodles" — I don't expect them to taste like pasta, but I like zucchini in pretty much any form so I expect to like this. Report to come! Probably tomorrow morning, 10 minutes before I start my work day. Mindful!

Off I go.

Lady C

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thoroughly Tuckered Tootsie

Fit-Bit worked us so hard today!! (which is true of every day — she is a teeny tiny drill sergeant!) I've determined that my favorite areas of the gym are the carpeted ones, where we work on various machines, ride the bike, or row — all of which I enjoy — and my least favorite areas are the "turf," where we run (ugh), push this really heavy thing back and forth (ugh), and work our cores (UGH), and the martial arts room, where we punch things (Mimosa loves this, I endure it) and also do core work (UGH).
REALLY heavy thing! Only . . . ours has two fewer weights.
But it's still REALLY heavy!!!!

Today's session included lots of machines and rowing, and it was also very social (both my former PTO co-presidents were there, also the guy whose car I jumped last week, and I found out that one of the trainers is a bartender at my former Middle Eastern beau's restaurant! Small world), and that was fun too.

But ohmygosh I am spent. It's 2 p.m. and I could curl up and go to bed right now, except I have not one but TWO events to attend tonight. Miles to go before I sleep, in other words.

I've lost six to eight pounds since I started working out with Fit-Bit and about five pounds since I started the Whole Life Challenge. Woo!

I should do some work, but even my brain is weary. Maybe I'll take a quick shower and see if that revives me . . . and if not, I'll allow myself to lie down and read before I have to head out again.

Tomorrow, Mimosa and I plan to see at least one Oscar nominee and get new glasses, and tomorrow night I'm singing show tunes with a crowd at my church! Good times abound. And at no time will I eat flour. Or cheese.


Lady C

Monday, January 22, 2018

Eating Healthy Presents an Unexpected Challenge

I started the third day of my Whole Life Challenge with great vigor and vim, dropping Li'l Martini at Madrigals at 7, then heading straight to Stop 'n' Shop to stock up on Compliant foods. Hummus! Baked chip-like things! Mashed cauliflower, chicken breasts, fresh pineapple! All good.

I'd planned a beautifully Compliant dinner: tilapia, Grandma's Rice Dish (surprisingly compliant!), sauteed broccoli, and fruit. Then, while browsing through Whole Life Challenge recipes (most of which are ridiculous — chia seed pudding! hemp "muffins"! good lord), I found a fish recipe that included a sauteed tomato and leek topping, both of which I have, and yum!! I'm totally making that.

Unexpected Challenge 1: Though I followed the directions exactly, my leeks charred and turned inky black.

It still tasted okay enough, but I'm not sure this is what the writer intended.

Unexpected Challenge 2: The fish was bad.

I caught of whiff of it as I was unpacking groceries, and I spent all day hoping that it was simply the packaging that smelled, which happens sometimes with fish. I rinsed it well, dried it well, dribbled olive oil and Meyer lemon juice and Penzey's Greek seasoning, roasted that tilapia and then broiled it, and finally took a bite . . . and gagged and spit it into the trash. It wasn't rotten rotten, just . . . starting to turn. No fish for us!

I quickly cooked up some chicken meatballs, and the combo of meatball, pilaf, and blackened leeks was actually quite nice . . . but it was not the dinner I had intended.

Also . . . so, you know I've been eating the Taboo Muffins, yes? (Husband thoroughly enjoys saying, "Bad muffin! Bad muffin!") A chief ingredient of those muffins is bran. I am also eating a LOT more fresh produce and drinking a lot of water. All of this added up to an extremely uncomfortable moment at Stop 'n' Shop this morning, and all I'll say is: thank God for semi-private public restrooms.

Mimosa and I worked out with Fit-Bit this morning (ouch!!), and she told us that she's so proud of us and she loves us so much, she wants to give us a treat — which is, a free session!
Fit-Bit! Isn't she adorbs???
Oh, how my concept of " a treat" has changed. But this is a lovely and generous offer, so Mimosa and I are seeing her on Thursday and again on Saturday. How fit we shall be.

Just a quick post tonight, I want to sink into a hot bath and breathe mindfully (my one Challenge piece I haven't done yet today) — but I can't post my Challenge score until 7 p.m.

Today's score: 34 out of 35 (which, frankly, has been every day's score and will be until those muffins are gone! Bad muffin! Bad muffin!)

Lady C

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Choosing to Start My Day with Failure (It's All Good)


Ah, I know it will cost me a point, but I am going to eat another muffin, dadgummit! (And probably will daily until they're gone.) I predicted that breakfast would be the most challenging Challenge meal, and Sunday morning breakfasts are especially challenging — church starts at 10, and I don't get really hungry until 10:30. Ergo, I rarely eat before church, and during the entirety of the sermon I intone, "Taco . . . taco . . . taco . . .," which I then gobble up ravenously the second I'm released from the pew.

Today I contemplated making a pot of oatmeal, but I'm really not that hungry yet, and also — that might be a good lunch! Instead I'm having a TABOO MUFFIN, also a clementine, some coffee, and the first of my interminable glasses of water.

Yesterday I got a perfect score of 35 because I had a bonus point waiting in reserve. I lunched on hummus, veggies, and a pear, and dined on scrambled eggs with a dollop of plain yogurt, an avocado, a glass of wine, and a bowl of berries. For a snack, I had a handful of pistachios and peppermint tea. Though I thought about food all day long, I was satisfied and happy.

I also did my 10 minutes of exercise (weight lifting for both arms and legs, and some core and glute exercises) and did 10 minutes of stretching (big learning: my usual stretches do not fill 10 minutes; I stretched a few more body parts, figuring that anything that felt like a stretch had to be good for me), and then did my 10-minute well-being practice: mindful breathing.

And yes, the endless glasses of water were indeed my biggest challenge (pause here for a sip or two), but that 10 minutes of mindful breathing made me very edgy and antsy. I neither meditate nor nap, and this felt like both. And for most of the 10 minutes, I thought about food. But hey, I'm a Rules Girl; I can grit my way through 10 minutes of sloth if I have to, no problem.

However, during my mindful breathing I also engaged in an exercise called Static Back that the Challenge folks recommended for people who sit all day (c'est moi), which is to mimic your sitting position while lying on the floor, feet up on something.
The trick is to have your knees, legs, and torso in perfect 90-degree angles, so I had Husband observe my form; I had to scoot my butt so close to the couch to make it work, but I think I got there. I don't remember the science behind this one, but it has something to do with reversing the effects of gravity. And I tell you: after about 7 minutes, I really started feeling it in my inner thighs (because I'm holding my legs together, rather than letting them relax). Maybe it's wrong to combine what is technically an exercise with mindful breathing, I dunno, but this is how I'm going to do it.

At Coldwater Creek last week, I stood up after sitting for too long and groaned a little as I straightened my legs, and the guy next to me commented, "Yeah, sitting too long is the new smoking," which made me laugh.

My big goal for today is to COOK: I plan to hard-boil some eggs (protein!), make beet chips and kale chips, and cook a nice dinner for my family: fish, quinoa, beet greens with garlic, applesauce, toasted muffins, and a vegetable-laden green salad.
I've never made beet chips before, but I adore beets and can't imagine that these will be anything but tasty, even if they're not crunchy (which is what I anticipate).

Oh! And I was down three pounds this morning!!! (Way to bury the lede, girl.) Water weight, I know, but it's very motivating, I must say.

At Fit-Bit's request, I had Mimosa take three pictures of me, from the front, back, and side, wearing my tightest exercise clothes (which did fit, once upon a time), and good lord, I am the chubbiest bulgiest thing ever.

I'm trying to work up the courage to post them here . . . but I'm not there yet. (They're going in my top-secret private file at Gold's Gym.) It will be cool to see how different I look in six weeks — I devoutly hope!


Lady C

p.s. I'm reading three excellent books:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Challenge Accepted!!


Today my Whole Life Challenge begins! (Rah.)

For the next six weeks, I will:
  • Eat more nutritiously (I have a long list of compliant and non-compliant foods)
  • Exercise for at least 10 minutes each day
  • Stretch for at least 10 minutes each day
  • Drink an INSANE amount of water each day (an ounce of water for every pound of my body weight ÷ 3, oy vey)
  • Sleep at least seven hours each night
  • Do a different well-being practice each day (these will rotate — I think today's practice is mindful breathing, I have to double-check)
  • Reflect in writing on my experience each day

Also: I'm doing this as part of a team, so my daily score affects not only me, but also my whole team. This is very motivating! My scary team leader, Writer Jenny, is a sweetheart, and she will be kind about my failings. Nonetheless, I intend to do my very best.

Though I've already goofed, because I had a muffin for breakfast. It's a pretty healthy muffin, made with bran, whole-wheat flour, bananas, blueberries, and skim milk, but muffins are on my non-compliant list. Crap!

Bad! Bad muffin!!!
(With the muffin, I had five strawberries, a handful of raw almonds, coffee, and the first of my 10 million full glasses of water. I was feeling like a winner! Until now. Oh, well, it's early days yet. I will learn.)

The good news re: the nutrition score is that it's not all or nothing; I start with 5 points each day and deduct a point for every non-compliant food I eat. However, all the other scores are absolute — I get 5 points or I get 0 points, period.

I predict that the water will be the biggest challenge (seriously, you all know what I weigh. I have to drink 100 oz. of water every single day! This seems . . . unlikely to happen), followed by food. Exercise — I see me ducking down to the basement to blast out 10 minutes on my bike or the treadmill, followed by stretching; I'm less worried about that one. And sleep — I'm actually doing quite well in that regard. Fit-Bit wears me out so much, I'm in bed by 9 p.m. on the days I work out with her, which puts me in a good rhythm for early-ish bedtimes for the rest of the week. I think a rotating well-being practice will at least be interesting, and I am looking forward to the daily reflection. All good.

But oh dear lord, will I be waterlogged! OK, I will try hard to do it today and see what 100 ounces actually feels like. But this will be a motivator to lose weight QUICKLY, for sure.

At least both my bathrooms are very pretty. Thank goodness, since I'll be living there.

The journey starts now. Wish me luck!

Lady C

Monday, January 15, 2018

Quick 'n' Dirty Update


Brilliant Husband came up with the perfect name for my teensy ball o' fire trainer: Fit-Bit!! I told her this morning, and she doubled over laughing. She is a good egg.

And MAN did she work us!!! We biked, we rowed, we punched things, we stretched, we lifted, we shook heavy ropes, we squatted with a ball, we did sit-ups with a ball, we WORKED. I was dripping afterward!

And then Mimosa and I ran a bunch of errands, including the rather grim task of retrieving the ashes of my grouchy girl cat, who died two weeks ago. She's been with us since Li'l Martini was in kindergarten, and she was truly the John McCain of kitties — a mouthy maverick who overcame obstacle after obstacle.

(We heard about John McCain's cancer diagnosis the weekend that Annabel disappeared for two days and I was sure she had died — but like McCain, she bounced back, and I decided that day that she and he were soulmates. I dearly hope his outcome is better than hers.)

But then we saw The Shape of Water, a visually stunning and weirdly lovely film, and had a vegetable-laden dinner at Del Frisco's Grille. A very fun mommy-daughter day!

All I want to do now is collapse into bed, but (a) it's only 6 p.m., and (b) I really have to at least wash my hair before I head off to work at Coldwater Creek tomorrow. Ideally I will color my hair too, but I may be fully out of oomph.

Perhaps I'll put my feet up and drink a lot of ice water for a bit and see if that revives me.

Just a quick post, as I said, but I'm trying to get in the habit of posting more often. My Whole Life Challenge starts on Saturday, I think, and I plan to post every day. Look forward to that happy treat!

Lady C

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Starting Over, Part 1,000

Did I already tell you this? Mimosa and I joined a gym last month, and we've hired a personal trainer to work out with us twice a week. Our trainer is the size of my little finger, she is very cute and giggly, and we adore her — but oh man does she work us, I am exhausted afterward, which isn't great when I still have several hours of editing work to do. But we gotta do it.

What I love about our trainer's approach is that she almost always has us do something different at each visit, so it's never boring. (It is sometimes scary and daunting, but never boring.) Today we punched a punching bag (good for the core!), did a criss-cross exercise with weights and pulleys (good for the upper back!), and God knows what else, I am a shaky limp string of overcooked spaghetti now.

But I must perk up because my Broadway babes are coming over tonight! We have scheduled and rescheduled this evening so many times, but it's finally happening, even though Arlington is still blanketed with snow and street parking will be a challenge. I'm serving chocolate and cookies, of course, but also fresh fruit and shishito peppers and crispy chickpeas (fiber!) and other healthy things.

We plan to drink wine and sing show tunes till the cows come home. I really love these ladies — so happy we're doing this!

And tomorrow I'm having coffee with Good Neighbor Anne and one of the Sleek Suburban Moms, always a delight, and then going to the hospital to learn from Handsome D how to put Cold Caps on Mrs. Cynicletary during chemo. Fun! (In its way.) I'm all about the learning.

I'm also trying to schedule a dinner date with Nurse Kathy. In short — I'm seeing many beloved friends over the next few days, and that makes me very happy.

But something I just read gave me pause. The question was: Do you only get together with your friends over drinks or a meal? And I thought, well, duh. What's more fun than talking with friends over drinks or a meal? But the article said that this is a fabulous way to eat and drink more than you want or need, because you're so caught up in the joy of the moment.

I need to think about this. I LOVE catching up with my friends over a meal. I also love eating meals at restaurants, period, even by myself. Do I necessarily eat more if a friend is added to the picture?

And what else do I like to do with my friends that doesn't involve eating and drinking? Watching movies, sure (though this often includes both eating and drinking), playing party games (ditto) . . . and then I grow blank.

(When I was in junior high and high school, I actually invited friends over to read with me. I was very popular and in demand, as you might imagine!)

(Actually, I was; my best besties were all bookworms like me, and I had a lot of friends. But it does strike me as funny now.)

I have a friend whose social invitations involve physical activity 98% of the time, and it makes me both laugh and roll my eyes — like, sure, I will be happy to join you and your agenda, if you think there's room for both of us . . . I know she means well, though.

Anyway. I will give this some thought. I don't really love walking with people, but it's definitely a good way to get caught up, if that's really my goal.

I'm also logging my food on Fat Secret again and really trying to make better choices. Yesterday I went to Mr. Sushi for lunch but did NOT order a glass of wine, just water and tea, and it was delicious and satisfying and I felt very proud. And I've been reading at night right before bed, rather than watching Season 2 of The Good Wife, one of the BEST SHOWS EVER that I am loving all over again through the magic of Hulu, but reading puts me right to sleep at a reasonable time, unlike that siren TV who keeps me up all hours.

Since we started working out with the trainer, I've lost five pounds. I'm sure all of the things — exercise, eating better, sleeping better, and that one less glass of wine (well, to be honest, it would've been two) — contributed, also the fact that my starting weight was somewhat inflated by Christmas excess. But a loss is still nice.

In theory, it's "fun" to do this with my daughter, but she is actually quite disgruntled about the whole thing. Whatever, it's good for her. I am a mean mean mom.

One day at a time.

Lady C

p.s. Mimosa and I are playing with names for our trainer. I suggested Cardio Cutiepatootie and Pilates Pixie (though we don't do pilates), but both were vetoed by my judgy girl. If you can think of a name that connotes both strength and fitness contained in a teeny-tiny package, let me know!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Lady C's Best Books of 2017


I read 94 new books this year. Below I've listed the books I gave at least 3 1/2 stars out of 4. I don't need great literary merit, I just want a cracking good read with interesting characters that keeps me turning the pages. And if the ending is lame, the book loses at least half a star, period.
  • Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner (nonfiction)
  • Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (though I'm probably exaggerating my stars because I like her so much — this was pretty slight) (nonfiction)
  • Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah
  • The Trespasser by Tana French
  • I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi (one of Writer Jenny's co-Debs!)
  • Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (nonfiction)
  • The Widow by Fiona Barton (read this right after my knee surgery, in the hospital; I know I liked it, but I remember literally nothing)
  • Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
  • Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French
  • The Girl Before by JP Delaney
  • Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella (it is bizarre that I love these books so much when I hate shopping so much, but they are so adorable!)
  • Make Someone Happy by Elizabeth Berg (nonfiction)
  • Faithful Place by Tana French
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  • I Blame Dennis Hopper, and Other Stories from a Life Lived In and Out of Movies by Illeana Douglas (At first I was all, Precious, you're not as funny as you think you are—and then I fell in love. Great stories from a true film lover) (nonfiction)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (YA)
  • My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
  • The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson (I wrote "Utterly compelling!" Good lord, I remember nothing about this book)
  • Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
  • How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway
  • Come Next Spring by Alana White (middle-grade/YA)
  • On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman
  • Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
  • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (Must admit, I'm not a fan, and much of this was too gross for me — but dang me, she is a good storyteller) (nonfiction)
  • Home Sweet Home by April Smith
  • Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou (middle-grade/YA)
  • The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
  • Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen
  • Gone by Cathi Hannauer
  • Before I Go by Colleen Oakley (I cried so hard at the end, I startled my sister-in-law) 
  • The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag (not one of my usual writers, and this got off to a slow start — but then got REALLY GOOD)
  • Love You More by Lisa Gardner
  • The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
  • The Island of Worthy Boys by Cammie Hertzberg Mayo (LOVED — once I got into it, couldn't put it down) (nonfiction)
  • Mid-Life Ex-Wife by Stella Grey (fun and horrifying) (nonfiction)
  • Here and Gone by Hayden Beck
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Into the Water by Patrician Hawkins
  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen (YA)
  • Close to Home by Joan Bauer (YA)
  • Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan (I was stunned by the abrupt ending . . . and yet still gave this one 4 stars, I loved it so)
  • Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague (YA)
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  • The Party by Robyn Harding
  • Man of the Year by Lou Cave (nonfiction)
  • Off the Cliff by Becky Aikmen (nonfiction)
  • The Chillbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
  • Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
  • One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (YA)
  • I'll Have What She's Having by Erin Carlson (nonfiction)
  • Waking Up White by Debbie Irving (nonfiction)
  • How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
  • Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips 
  • Write This Down by Claudia Mills (middle-grade/YA)
  • Makeovers by Marcia by Claudia Mills (middle-grade/YA)
  • Lizzie at Last by Claudia Mills (Claudia is a Betsy-Tacy pal, and I went on a little CM binge; her books are delightful!) (middle-grade/YA)
  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  • The Address by Fiona Davis
  • Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
  • Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life! by Shelley Tougas (YA)
  • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater (YA)
  • Y Is For Yesterday by Sue Grafton (weep! weep! the alphabet ends at Y, forever)
  • Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies by Hadley Freeman (nonfiction)
  • Mother-Daughter Book Camp by Heather Vogel Frederick (middle-grades/YA)
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg 
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (nonfiction)
And here are the unloved two-star books that I continued reading to the bitter end for God knows what reason:
  • History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund ("Strong beginning, then fell apart. But I read it . . .")
  • How to Make Love Like a Porn Star by Jenna Jameson ("I don't know what I was expecting, but it was just sad and gross") (shocker!)
  • All By Myself Alone by Mary Higgins Clark ("Oh, this just wasn't good at all. Cardboard characters — just so dumb. And she is such a bitch about overweight people!!")
(No one-star books this year; maybe I really am getting better about putting down bad books. Also, I had a few 2 1/2 star books, but do you really want to know about them? I thought not.)

Finally, the book I am most conflicted about and ultimately couldn't rate:
  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby — she is very funny, but also really gross and disturbing in her unhappiness and maladjustment
2018 is off to a great reading start with the six library books I already mentioned, all of which I'm still loving (have only finished two). And I just got a notice that the book I'm MOST looking forward to, The War I Finally Won, is waiting at the library!! Woo-hoo!!!!!

Happy reading, peeps!

Lady C