Thursday, May 10, 2018

Moving On, Literally


It is never pleasant to be misunderstood, particularly when the misunderstanding leads to hurt feelings, anger, or pain of any sort. I've been reflecting on the power of words this week — and also, whatever the opposite of "power" is. When I literally write one thing ("We are forever friends") and the recipient hears the exact opposite (". . . which clearly means that I don't want to be friends with you any more"), where do you go from there?

I have lots of thoughts about this week's kerfuffle with the Seattle girls, including its aftermath, but I think I need to do everything I can to get out of that head space right now.

In a few minutes I am leaving on a two-week trip, during which I will see many people I love and whose presence in my life brings me joy. I have many exciting and fun activities planned. I'm going to see a new and beautiful part of the world. Best of all, I'm doing this with my sweet husband, who is an unfailingly cheerful travel companion and will bring me drinks and snacks whenever I ask him to. Friends, after 25 years of marriage, this is pretty great.

I probably won't blog while I'm away — Blogger never accepts any version of what I believe to be my password when I'm at another computer — and I'll do my best to post to Facebook, though my devil new phone thwarts my efforts to send pictures. But I will try.

Next stop, Ashland, Oregon! Au revoir!

Lady C

Monday, May 7, 2018

Paying the Piper


I wrote this in my blog yesterday:
I almost forwarded her note [an invitation to dinner, naming a date, time, and venue] to everyone else, to say SEE? SEE? THIS is how you welcome a visitor!!!! But I did not. And yet, I'm writing it here and some of those folks may well read my blog — que sera sera. I stand by every word.
So, guess what? Some of those folks did indeed read my blog and are very mad and hurt indeed. Two of the four I'm meeting one afternoon in Seattle have already bowed out, and the other two may as well; one has already told me that she's coming off a night shift at the hospital that morning (so will be exhausted), and one says that she'll be tired but cheerful as she has completely overcommitted herself work-wise, so they may instead elect to sleep or rest, which I completely understand, particularly if I've pissed them off.

Two things:
  • It is never my intention to hurt anyone's feelings. I am very sorry that my words were taken as hurtful. I sincerely apologize for this.
  • I did not write what I wrote in anger. More - in puzzlement. I have been genuinely startled and baffled by the response to my visit (in five venues where I'm meeting people, not just Seattle).
One friend (an actual friend — someone I've met in person many times, have hosted for dinner at my home, and like very much) wrote to me this morning, expressing how hurt she was by my words and her disappointment that I failed to acknowledge (and in fact completely disregarded) the genuine offers of generosity that I received.

And she is correct. I did in fact receive offers, and I am very sorry that I did not acknowledge them.
  • This friend, the one who wrote to me, offered to host a picnic, with her apartment as backup in case of rain. I was so focused on the word "picnic" (I think readers of my blog know that I am an indoor kitty; I do not eat outdoors where the dirt is) that the offer of her home for a meal went right by me, in addition to her offer to be a hostess.  I know how much work hosting entails, which I did not acknowledge. I regret this very much. I hate the idea that I have hurt this friend.
  • Another friend offered her apartment for our gathering — a straight-out, kind, lovely offer. I actually thought of that as I wrote what I wrote yesterday ("Wait, La Belle Nicole did offer to host"). I even thought about qualifying my statement to say, "Well, actually, one person invited me, but for some reason we didn't all jump on that invitation, like, Eureka! We have a plan! — and in fact immediately after that another friend begged us not to settle on a venue just yet, and then the potential hostess didn't respond to my questions about potential guests, and I didn't feel comfortable inviting other people to her apartment (which she has told me is very small) without an official okay from her — so, while yes, this was technically an invitation to someone's home, it felt . . . complicated" — but I decided not to write all that. Which I now regret, as this friend is also someone I know in real life and care about.
  • One friend (whom I haven't actually met) said that she would invite us all to her apartment if only she weren't moving. I guess I didn't actually see this as an invitation — but knowing how busy this friend is (a new mom who also works outside the home and is moving that weekend), I should have acknowledged that she was offering the best of herself that she could.
I think this entire situation has been a sterling example of how e-mail is not the best venue for communication — things are so easily misunderstood, particularly text with any sort of emotion attached.

I thought about going back through all the e-mails I received and pulling out the passages that most startled me. I thought about naming all the questions I asked people directly that I received no responses to. I thought about doing a time-series analysis, showing when I wrote my original e-mails and when people responded, if they responded at all.

I decided against doing any of this, because I'm not making a case that I need to support. I'm not mad about any of this. I was startled. I am puzzled. But I am nonetheless prepared to greet everyone with an open mind and an open heart. As I wrote yesterday:
Honestly, I don't take any of it personally — I believe that people generally do the best they can.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and to believe that their intentions are usually good. I hope that people will do the same for me.

— Lady C

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Learning to Be Hungry, and Other Life Lessons


An interesting side effect of the Whole Life Challenge is that there is NO mindless snacking — you always have to think about what you're eating and whether it's Compliant (or if it's Non-Compliant but worth taking a point or two). And when I get really busy, as I have been for the past week, it is sometimes easier simply not to eat.

Which is unheard of for me. I hate, fear, and loathe being hungry!!!! But I've been having a nonfat Greek yogurt for breakfast and an apple and a handful of nuts for lunch while I work work work (and drink water water water), and sister, if you think that's enough to sustain an almost 300-pound woman, I am ready to laugh in your face.

But I've been doing it.

And I've also lost about 20 pounds since November (as has Mimosa). Fit-Bit says that isn't fast enough, she wants us losing at least a pound a week, so we'll see if my new Spartan eating habits will make her happy (or if I can sustain them). I also know that what I'm doing is the opposite of the strategy "breakfast like a king, dine like a pauper," but what can you do.

This morning I was down to 282. Mind you, I had a bath last night (post-bath weight is always artificially lower by a pound or so) and I know that this is still a HUGE weight, but — it's progress! I was happy. And I celebrated by taking a three-mile walk this morning with Good Neighbor Anne.

I don't love doing my exercise walk with people; I'd rather walk as fast as I can and not expend energy on talking. But I haven't seen my pal in so long, and we have so much to catch up on! Each of us are dealing with our personal Trifecta of Crazy: we each have a crazy mom and daughter, she has a crazy sister, and I have a crazy former BF. Much to share and commiserate over! We walked and talked, and I panted a lot. It was great.

I've been thinking a lot about friendship these past few weeks, as my longest friendship just abruptly ended — and also as I'm preparing for a trip to the Pacific Northwest, which will involve seeing many family members and friends, both old and new.

Planning these outings has been such an interesting experience. As I've gotten older, I try hard not to hold other people to my own standards; I believe that I set a very high standard for myself in many areas, and it's ridiculous to expect other people to hit a needlessly high bar. So, one of my challenges, always, is to determine what's a reasonable expectation for my friends.

(You've heard me go on about party guests before — for example, I think it's reasonable to expect someone to bring their own bowl or plate for serving their potluck item and not just plunk down a bag o' chips on the hostess's beautiful table . . . and so on.)

In the case of my upcoming trip to places I've never been, I think it's reasonable to expect the locals to suggest a restaurant or other venue for a meeting place.

And yet, and yet . . . of the seven get-togethers I am having with family and friends, I have chosen the venue for five of them. Me, the person who doesn't live there, who knows nothing about good local places (both food-wise and comfortable-group-meeting-place-wise), and is choosing blindly from the Internet.

I think of the many intimate dinners and larger group parties I have hosted for visitors — many of whom have stayed in my home — and I reflect on the fact that not one of these West Coast folks has invited me to their house.

Honestly, I don't take any of it personally — I believe that people generally do the best they can — but it does give me pause. Is this an area where my standards and expectations for how one treats a visitor are completely off the rails?? I didn't think so — but I don't know.

(One of my seven get-togethers was a surprise: Someone I know slightly just wrote, saying, "I would ADORE to meet you, but I can't be there on the date you're meeting everyone else. Any chance you'd be free for dinner the night before, at this time? I suggest this restaurant [name and address]. Let me know." I almost forwarded her note to everyone else, to say SEE? SEE? THIS is how you welcome a visitor!!!! But I did not. And yet, I'm writing it here and some of those folks may well read my blog — que sera sera. I stand by every word.)

The recent bizarre blow-up with my oldest friend made me think about some of my other "friendship expectations," which can pretty much be summed up in one sentence:
(Which, as I read it now, might be confusing — I will certainly befriend the celibate! How about: BE AN ADULT, FOR FUCK'S SAKE ?)

My former friend is sad and pouty because she no longer feels like my number-one super-best all-time BFF, and it took every ounce of self-possession I had not to scream at her OH MY GOD ARE WE TWELVE??? Yes, ranking my besties used to be one of my favorite activities — in high school. But I am now 55. I do not rank my friends.

(In two separate conversations, I announced this to Writer Jenny and to Brunie. Jenny's response: "You don't??" I said, "OK, sure, you're #7." Brunie's response: "Except that I'm first, right? but you don't rank everyone after me?" Ha ha ha, my friends are so funny.)

But that's kind of my point: my friends are so funny. They are so smart. They are good and interesting and wonderful in so many different ways, and I appreciate all of them for who they are and what they bring to my life, on so many different levels.

Zanny often apologizes for not sending birthday cards, and I always reassure her that (a) I don't care, and (b) I don't need her to be the friend who sends birthday cards. She plays so many other friendship roles in my life — no one is a more fervent (bossy) advocate for my writing (not even Writer Jenny, my all-time bossiest friend!) (in a good way) — and that is all that's important.

I read these great words somewhere:
Relationships should be reciprocal but they are never mirror images. You give, you receive, but you may not give and receive the same things. Some people are good at life events and rituals and gift-giving; others give practical support or emotional intimacy. Ask for what you need, but in general let your friends play to their strengths.
The main problem for me with my newly ended friendship is that it wasn't reciprocal at all — my friend took and took and gave very little.

Her M.O. when she's upset with me about something is to go silent, and her silence can last for months. And then I dance around her, begging to know what I've done and how I can get back into her good graces.

I have said and said and said: This has to stop. You have to tell me what you're mad about, ideally in the moment, when I can do something about it. But to no avail.

So . . . that's it. She has gone silent again, after sending me a letter officially ending our friendship. And while I am reeling . . . maybe it's not such a bad thing. It has not been a good, fulfilling friendship for more than 10 years now. Mrs. Cynicletary encourages me to think of the whole situation as a really fucked-up gift, and that is what I'm trying to do.

(Wow — downer post, huh?)

I think I will stop here. I just finished my chores and colored my hair — and there are more useful things I could do, of course, but instead I think I will drink a champagne cocktail and watch The Handmaid's Tale while my hair dries. Useful things can wait till tomorrow.

Which is another day!

Lady C

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lose a Pound, Gain a Pound - Updated! (Twice!)


My weight is dropping, but with abysmal slowness! I expected to be down this morning, then remembered last night's sushi dinner (sodium!).

The weather is nice, so I enjoyed a brisk outdoor walk the other night. I only have to do 10 minutes (which feels very freeing) but I did more like 20 and then came home and did all my stretching. Stretching is the Challenge component I'm still most likely to skip. With exercise, I can definitely feel and see that I'm making progress.* With stretching — nada, I'm still stiff and un-springy as a board, despite a near-daily 10-minute stretch. It's the opposite of empowering.

As I was heading out for my walk, I immediately got a text from FitBit:
  • FitBit: Hi Lady! How are you doing tonight?
  • Me: I'm taking a walk. CAN YOU SEE ME?
  • FitBit: Yes! I see you!
She cracks me up.
UPDATE: I took a walk at noon today, and when I was about five minutes into it I got a text from – guess who – FitBit! I wrote, "HOW ARE YOU DOING THIS?"

When I got home, I did my stretching right away. I'm still board-stiff, but hey. I GOT MY POINTS, that's all.
I did a favor for FitBit yesterday, proofreading her bestie Yambi's Capstone paper, and Yambi kept apologizing to me for her poor grammar:
  • Me: Honey, your English grammar is TEN TRILLION TIMES BETTER than my Spanish grammar!! 
  • Yambi: Ha ha! 
  • Me: FitBit asked me once if I spoke Spanish, and I said, “Besame mucho! Taco! Gracias!” That’s about it.
  • Yambi: That’s all the Spanish you need to get by, most likely you will get tons of kisses, tacos and smiles from Spanish speakers.
She is very sweet and I was happy to help, but now I'm behind on all my other work and starting to feel testy and cross. Husband and I leave for the Pacific Northwest in a couple of weeks, and I think I have work scheduled for every single day before we go. Too much!!

(But yes, I know this is a quality problem.)

Tonight I'm supposed to attend Part 1 of a three-part church discussion of the book Waking Up White. I think I need to go, as this whole topic (How welcoming is our mostly white church?) is starting to make me edgy and eye-rolly (did I mention that we live in a very white community? Where are we going to find all these folks of color who want to be Unitarian Universalists?), and I don't want to be edgy and eye-rolly, I want to have an open heart and an open mind. But this is the absolute last thing I want to do with my precious free time tonight, believe me.

(This event was publicized for a while before I signed up; I kept feverishly checking the three Tuesdays, as I couldn't believe that my packed schedule offered three free nights in a row. But it did, so the message is clear. Get ready to get woke, eye-rolly girl.)

Three phone calls to make this morning, all of which I'm either dreading or semi-dreading:
  • Doctor's office: Why do I have a bill saying "Balance forward"? I pay all my bills in full. What balance are you talking about??
UPDATE: "The balance is from your knee X-rays." "Yes, I see that bill. Which I paid in full." "Yes, you did, but there was a balance." Repeat three times. The bill is only $59, I give up.
  • You delivered a broken table! What are you going to do about it? And yes, I'm asking for the second time.
UPDATE: Super-nice lady says I'm in the system now and my table should be picked up in a couple of days. And we don't even have to dis-assemble it ourselves! This is very good news. Less good news: My gorgeous table is out of stock. Back to the drawing board . . .
  • New School financial people: Why do you insist that I only paid half the tuition I paid last year??? So sick of this, but it will make a difference to my taxes of about $800, so I need to follow up.
UPDATE: Hateful hateful hateful people. What I need is a 1098-T that reflects the more than $50K I paid in tuition last year. What I have is a 1098-T that says $22K, which is just wrong. They keep insisting that the 1098-T reflects what I was charged, not what I paid. Which . . . WTF??? Why would I have paid something if I wasn't charged it???? I am begging my accountant to help me with this, I can't talk to these people any more.
All of these calls could have been avoided if other people would freaking do what they're supposed to do!!!! Grr grr grr.
I am so fired up and testy! Why doesn't this count as 10 minutes of exercise? I'm sure my heart rate's up.

Lady C

* Encouraged by my niece Stacy Sparkle, I can now hold a plank for 15 seconds! It's still not much, but when I first tried it I could do maybe 3 seconds. I'm trying to do a plank a day and to increase my stamina by a few seconds each time. FitBit was very impressed yesterday!! which always makes me feel good.

The real question, of course, is why do I have such a bossy niece?? Why isn't a single one of my nieces a nice quiet bookworm??? Five nieces, not a gentle reader in the bunch.
UPDATE: Just did today's plank. 20 whole seconds!!! Progress!!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Film Festival!!

This year's movie weekend felt a little different to me — I should ask Brunie if she thought so, too. Usually, my mindset is MovieMovieMovie!! I want to watch as much as possible and fill every waking moment with cinematic joy. But this year not as much, even though I was as excited about our movies as ever. We both have a lot going on and haven't seen each other in a while, so there was a lot more talking than usual. Plus, my Whole Life Challenge started on Saturday, so I went to the fitness center to work out and also did my stretching and had Brunie log in for me and write my Daily Reflection, and that was all new. And of course we drank to excess — some traditions are sacred! — but I touched neither a Bugle nor a Peanut M&M, and believe me, they were there.

I drank WATER this weekend! I'm a clean teen
It was as fun as ever, it just felt a little different.

I think we're growing up!

OK. Let's get started! Which was my mindset when I left my house on Friday at noon. Brunie couldn't get there till 4, but I was ready to start feeling joy NOW!

Except I drove right past the exit, so I decided to have lunch at Mandarin Danvers, so yummy, and read The Power, my weekend book. I got to our hotel at 2.


Surprise! Brunie hadn't put my name on the reservation, the Marriott wouldn't let me in without confirmation from her, and she wasn't answering her phone. I sat in the lobby for 45 minutes, glowering and feeling persecuted and unloved.

But then Brunie called and authenticated me, and I had a happy few minutes setting up our home base, chilling the wine, and heading for the hot tub. No one bothered me, I read People magazine and drank cold water, it was blissy bliss.

However, our Friday the 13th luck continued, as Brunie could not make the TV show our videos, no matter what technological wiles she tried. The Peabody Marriott, man, it is immune to both our charms. She had to drive back home to get external speakers.

'S cool, I poured my first glass of wine at 4:10 and painted my toenails while I waited for my friend.
Don't my feet look relaxed?


The theme of our weekend, remember, is "It Might Surprise You to Know I Have a Crush On . . ."

Brunie let me pick the first movie.

5:11: The Rewrite, starring two of my secret crushes: Marisa Tomei (oh how I love her) and Hugh Grant

(I'd told her that I had to drive to four libraries to get it; we weren't leaving this weekend without watching The Rewrite!)

The movie takes place in Binghamton, New York.
  • Brunie: This is probably everyone in Binghamton's favorite movie.
[she pronounces it BingHAMton]
  • Lady: BingHAMton?
  • Brunie: Yeah.
  • Lady: Northampton and Binghamton?
  • Brunie: Yeah.
My crush Marisa doesn't show up until 5:34, but she is worth the wait.

Also: Allison Janney! J.K. Simmons! What a cast! What a cute movie!
  • Lady: I love Marisa Tomei so much. I would so marry her or Jodie Foster.
  • Brunie: Jodie is too bony, but I would share Marisa with you.
[Brunie would marry Queen Latifah.]
  • Uptight Allison Janney: This is the finest school in the Northeast!
  • Lady: Uh . . . hi, have you heard of Harvard?
  • Hugh Grant [paraphrasing Marisa Tomei's screenplay]: Small-town girl goes to the Big Apple . . .
  • Marisa Tomei: I did not say the Big Apple. I named the city.
  • Hugh Grant: The Big Manhattan, yeah.
This convulses us, and we say "the Big Manhattan" for the rest of the weekend.
  • Brunie: This movie's adorable.
  • Lady: It has everything.
  • Brunie: Why isn't it better known?
  • Lady: We will have to publicize it. Thank GOD my blog has 17 readers!
Brunie LOVES The Rewrite!!
Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Love, meaning, in Hugh's third act.
  • Brunie: Good teaching can heal your wounds.
There were many mentions of Matt Damon in that movie, so we decide to watch School Ties next — but Brunie wants to hot-tub first, so I will watch Inside Man with my secret lovah Jodie Foster, which Brunie has seen 10 squillion times.

7:10, Inside Man
  • Brunie: I can sing along to the theme song.
  • Lady: The theme song to INSIDE MAN???
Dudes, she is not kidding. Go watch the opening credits (which include a heapin' helpin' of yummy Clive Owen). Brunie also dances. It's rather amazing.

Brunie says she's leaving to hot-tub, but she's mesmerized by no one's secret crush (as in, it is no secret) Clive Owen.
  • Lady: Are you feeling your boobs while Clive Owen talks?
  • Brunie: I'm warming my hands.
  • Lady: Whatever you need to tell yourself, lady.
Brunie still hasn't left.
  • Lady: This does not seem like an efficient way to rob a bank.
  • Brunie [full of portent]: MMM-HMM.
  • Lady: What does Clive Owen want?
  • Brunie: What indeed.
  • Lady: Would my secret crush on Clive Owen shock you?
  • Brunie: To be alive is to have a crush on Clive Owen.
Brunie says she's staying till no one's secret crush Denzel (see: Clive, secret, NOT) says her favorite line: "I'm the big dick today!"

He says it very well. And we believe him!
  • Lady: I don't think Willem Dafoe likes being the small dick.
  • Brunie [yeah, she's still here]: Nuh-uh.
  • Lady: And if you saw The Last Temptation of Christ . . .
  • Brunie: Right, not usually an issue for him.
At this point, we take a one-hour break to discuss all the happenings of our crazy lives, but we barely scratch the surface. I resume Inside Man at 9, Brunie goes for a hot-tub-smoke break for, like, two hours.

What a good movie! Twisty twisty!!

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Bank robbery isn't what it seems.
  • Brunie: Bank robbery good, mitigated by Holocaust.
10:23, a surprise switch from Matt Damon: Body Heat! "Starring" (i.e., barely featuring) my secret crush Mickey Rourke, who is kinda terrible now but ohmygod so dreamy in this movie
  • Lady: Such a fetch little pyro he plays.
  • Brunie: Stop trying to make "fetch" happen.
  • Brunie: Do we get to see him swinging snake?
  • Lady: He's not the big dick in this movie.
So dreamy, right?? Oh, Mickey, what happened.
  • Lady: There's William Hurt.
  • Brunie: William hurt me.
  • Nameless Female: God, it's hot. I just got out of the shower and I'm already sweating.
  • Brunie: Story of my life, lady.
Brunie turns the lights off at 11:21 — this is the latest she's stayed up, ever! I see about a quarter of the remaining movie, it makes enough sense.

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Don't trust sweaty murderous blonde girl.
  • Brunie: Not enough full frontal nudity, pal.
Brunie is up with the dawn.
  • Lady: I think I need a time that starts with a 6, at least.
  • Brunie: It's 6:02, baby doll.
  • Lady: I think I need a 7.
Brunie brings me coffee. After a little negotiation, we decide to go classic.

I love coffee, Brunie, and Mickey Rourke in Body Heat

7:33, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, or, as we've been calling it, Thirty Seconds of the Last Good War, starring my secret crush Van Johnson and Brunie's secret crush Robert Mitchum!
  • Lady: LOVE Van Johnson!
  • Brunie: You're such a whore.
  • Lady: I have a lot of secrets.
Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay! We cheer patriotically.
  • Spencer Tracy: It might give our boys from Bataan to Singapore a big lift.
  • Brunie: Our boys need a big lift.
  • Lady: My bosoms need a big lift.
I am swooning over these young boys in the plane.
  • Brunie: They're all gonna die.
  • Lady: Well, that Barbara Ehrenreich book you're reading . . . [Natural Causes]
  • Brunie: Yes! Death is inevitable.
  • Lady: So we should start smoking and stop jogging?
  • Brunie: That was my take-away.
  • Shorty: Well, beat me, daddy!
  • Lady: Ooh! My new favorite line.
  • Brunie: Shut UP, Shorty! He can't die soon enough.
Spencer Tracy gives an inspiring talk.
  • Brunie: He's kinda dreamy.
  • Lady: Katharine thought so.
Brunie sighs longingly. It's a sweet moment. But then:
  • Spencer Tracy: You're going to have to do things with a B-25 you thought were impossible.
  • Lady: Oh, my!
  • Brunie: Did we both go right to anal penetration?
  • Lady: Robert Walker came to a bad end. Got busted for reefer, then became an alcoholic, as you do.
  • Brunie: It's a gateway drug.
  • Lady: Who's that girl? Maybe . . . Phyllis Thaxter?
  • Brunie [checks Wikipedia, where she's been reading about Robert Walker]: Yep.
  • Lady: Pulled that out of my ass. Just like a B-25!
Phyllis Thaxter shares my secret crush!
Phyllis Thaxter is considering baby names.
  • Brunie: Jennifer is a good name.
  • Lady: Yes!
  • Brunie: Barbara and Jennifer, we are such a product of the '60s. All we need is a Nancy.
We do not watch all of this movie, as we would rather avoid inevitable doom before breakfast, no matter what Barbara Ehrenreich says.

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Gorgeous airmen in deadly SECRET mission.
  • Brunie: Shut UP, Shorty! Shut UP, Thatcher!
8:22, Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More, featuring my secret crush Jodie Foster (though Kris Kristofferson is wicked hot in this movie, also Diane Ladd)

Alice says a teary goodbye to her bestie.
  • Lady: Don't ever move, Brunie.
  • Brunie: I can barely move off this bed.
Alice is weeping in a bar. Bar owner hands her a scotch.
  • Bar Owner: Here, swig on this — your troubles'll vanish.
  • Lady: That's certainly my philosophy.
(We are drinking mimosas with our breakfast. Yum! Though mine is 3/4 champagne and 1/4 OJ; Brunie's is 1/2 OJ, 1/3 peach seltzer, and 1/6 champagne.)

We consider li'l Jodie Foster. 

Awkward kid or timeless beauty? Discuss.
I like her because we're the same age and grew up together; I thought she was a homely kid who grew into a beautiful woman, which gave me hope. Whereas Brunie thinks she's at her most beautiful here and became too bony, also too determined to make sure that you know she's the smartest girl in the room (a trait that doesn't bother me in the least, as you'll see when we get to Election . . .)

Brunie is not enamored of Alice. It hasn't aged well, I'll admit, but I still love so many parts of it. The parts are more than the sum of the whole, or something like that.

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Alice keeps making same bad choices.
  • Brunie: Brunie doesn't watch this any more.
9:54, School Ties, with my secret crush li'l Matt Damon at last!

(He's so awful in this movie but his face is so cute. Unlike his bestie Ben Affleck, who plays "Chesty Smith" and whose puffy face isn't cute in the least.)
  • Brendan Fraser: Wheeler's a great guy.
  • Brunie: Hates Jews, though.
  • Lady: And how!
Amy Locane looks like Kristen Dunst. She's smoking on their first date.
  • Lady: She's going to taste awful.
  • Brunie: She's going to taste like sin.
Brunie decides that she doesn't want to watch anti-Semitism after all. She's anti anti-Semitism. Good for you, Brunie! You take that stand!

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Secret Jew endures elite prep school.
  • Brunie: They all lived happily ever after!
11:05, Calamity Jane, starring my secret crush Howard Keel (or as Brunie calls him, Howard Muthafuckin' Keel!)

Credits roll. "Howard Muthafuckin' Keel!" we cry in unison. Oh, the neighbors.

Some guy is painting a portrait of Katie Brown, which Howard Muthafuckin' Keel! stops to admire.
  • Lady: She doesn't have an elbow.
  • Brunie: He loves a disabled girl.
  • Lady: "Baby, you need someone elbowed outta the way? I'm your guy."
Howard Muthafuckin' Keel!!!!
  • Lady: Oh! My favorite scene! You know what my favorite kind of movie scene is, right?
  • Brunie: Uh — cleaning up a mess!
  • Lady: YES!!
  • Brunie: Aw — you're so excited by my memory of your pathology.
  • Brunie: Are you saving the champagne? Want some?
  • Lady: Nah, I gotta work out. I think I should wait.
  • Brunie: I already did my workout. 
  • Lady: WHAT.
  • Brunie: I do it lying in bed.
  • Doris Day: "Once I had a secret love . . ."
  • Lady: Theme of our weekend!!
Very sweet movie! We are charmed.

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Doris Day marries her best friend.
  • Brunie: Doris Day adorable, muddy or clean.
Workin' for a livin'!
Break time! I work out, Brunie does work-work, then we hot-tub for a bit.

2:31, About Last Night starring my secret crush Elizabeth Perkins!

[We confess that we each have secret crushes on Jim Belushi, but only in this movie.]

About Last Night has a cleaning-up scene that's also a makeover!! My joy is complete. Also, I'm on my second After-Hours Lemonade.

We love this movie!

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: First love is bumpy, yet HOT.
  • Brunie: All that sex would kill me.
4:45, Hair! starring my and Brunie's secret crush Treat Williams

I swoon over Treat Williams singing "I Got Life" while strutting down a fancy dinner party table. Oh, my.

My overall response to Hair's choreography: Jesus, Twyla.
  • Brunie: They need Calamity Jane!
Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Hippies avoid war, make ultimate sacrifice.
  • Brunie: Oh, Berger, we hardly knew ye.
We peruse the room service menu and learn that "Statler-style chicken" is a boneless breast with a drumette attached, just like in nature. I ask Brunie for some ice water.
  • Brunie: I put a lot of ice in your water, princess, and eventually it will become water.
  • Lady: I feel like you're mocking me. I know how water works.
6:46, Election, starring our secret crush Reese Witherspoon!

We plan to take a drink every time Tracy Flick does something Lady-like. This should go well. I'm back to wine, Brunie's drinking bourbon and Coke with, like, 9,000 maraschino cherries.

Brunie chooses subtitles, and we see the words "English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing."
  • In unison: That's us!
Tracy Flick's is the first hand up! Her hand stays up! She knows the answer, yes she does!

Good lord, we'll be drunk as skunks in two minutes.
  • Tracy Flick: I never missed a meeting! I volunteered for any committee, as long as I could lead it!
We drink.

Tracy Flick makes a disappointed face when the bell rings before she can finish her answer.

We drink.
  • Chris Klein: Thank you, God, for all my blessings, especially for what I've been told is a very big penis.
  • Lady: At least we don't have to figure out who's the big dick in this flick. 
  • Tracy Flick: Hey! Hey! One per person! Put those back!
We lift our glasses at precisely the same moment.
  • Tracy Flick (to Matthew Broderick): Aren't you supposed to keep those? [her election signature sheets]
  • Lady: "I know what you should be doing better than you do!"
We drink.

  • Tracy Flick: Eric, you don't put tape ON the poster. It goes on the BACK of the poster!
We drink.
  •  Tracy Flick: People are so ungrateful!
Brunie is now drinking very pointedly, to mock me.
  • Tracy Flick: On Election Day, Mom and I got up early and customized 430 cupcakes!
  • Brunie [to me]: Yeah, I hope you're drinking. I'm out of liquor, thanks to you.
  • Tracy Flick: Order! Order! Order!
I drink. Brunie is snockered.
  • Tracy Flick: I was in the top seventh percentile of my class and I got into Georgetown . . . !
  • Lady: I can't drink fast enough!!!!
Great movie! Good God, we're drunk!

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Driven girl seeks class presidency, friends.
  • Brunie: Lady Flick got me hella snockered.
9:40, Wild Things, featuring my secret crush Theresa Russell
  • Brunie: I remember nothing about this movie.
  • Lady: I remember that it's HOT.
  • Brunie: Maybe that's our theme.
  • Lady: "Who's the big dick?" is our theme.
  • Brunie: Is Theresa Russell even in this movie?
  • Lady: Yeah, she plays someone's mom, I think. I saw it on IMDB. She was in a lot of terrible movies, I blame her husband.

Hi, I'm Theresa Russell. You may remember me from Wild Things. Or not.

Surprise! After 92 glasses of Tracy Flick-prompted hooch, we fall asleep quickly. Which, of course, doesn't stop us from summarizing a movie we saw a third of.

Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Twisty murder plot — few stay dead.
  • Brunie: I think this will end badly.

Wow, we slept till almost 7! Very late for us, but so Compliant.
  • Brunie: I'm going to check out the hot tub, see who's there.
  • Lady: I don't think anyone's in it at 7 a.m.
  • Brunie: YOU don't know.
  • Lady: You're right.
  • Brunie: I KNOW I'm right!
  • Lady: Wait — did we switch? Are you Tracy Flick now?
  • Brunie: "I deserve my own private hot tub! I work so hard for everyone else!"
  • Lady: I hear you, honey.
7:41, Suspect, introducing my and Brunie's secret crush Liam Neeson!

Wow, self-serve is 84 cents a gallon?? How long ago was this?
  • Lady: Who's screaming out in the hallway?
  • Brunie: A baby.
  • Lady: Go yell at it!
  • Cher: I want you to go now!
  • Brunie: Into my vagina!
  • Joe Mantegna [prosecuting Liam Neeson]: Did you punch your own attorney in the face?
  • Cher: Objection!
  • Lady: He punched me, but it felt like a kiss!
We are astonished to see Dennis Quaid smoking on a bus!
  • Brunie: Well, in the '80s you could, in the back.
  • Lady: Because of the special physics of smoke.
  • Brunie: The Internet could've solved this movie.
Dennis Quaid is lying on his hotel bed, watching TV and sipping whiskey.
  • Brunie: That's me in every hotel room.
  • Lady: Nah, he still has his pants on.
Cher picks up a box cutter.
  • Brunie: It's Chekhov's box cutter!
Cher looks around for Dennis Quaid.
  • Brunie: Is he in her house? Her office? Her pants?
Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Cher defends wicked hot homeless guy.
  • Brunie: Liam Neeson will be a star.
We called it!
  • Lady: Your summaries are not so much summaries.
  • Brunie: You're doing the summaries. Mine are responses. They are reviews.

  • Brunie: I want to put in the Hank Williams movie for a few minutes.
  • Lady [makes a face]
  • Brunie: HOW many of MY movies did we watch? Between ZERO and ONE!
We have the room till noon but Brunie has to leave at 11:30. We compromise:

10:09, You'll Never Get Rich, starring Brunie's secret crush Rita Hayworth!
  • Brunie: 88 minutes! It's like it was written for us.
We attempt to dance like Fred and Rita.
  • Brunie: Do you know this dance?
  • Lady: Nah, I'm just doing what they do, like I do at zumba.
  • Brunie: I can do the arm part.
The plot is . . . busy.
  • Lady: What does the box say?
  • Brunie: It's convoluted, even for a box description.
  • Lady: Gosh, she's pretty. Does she get Alzheimer's? Not in this movie, I mean.
  • Boss Man: I have just one question: What does [Fred Astaire's character] weigh?
  • Lady: Well, that was random.
Brunie is packing while we watch.
  • Brunie: Oh! My pants!
  • Lady: Pants are always such an afterthought for you.
Six-word summaries:
  • Lady: Love triangles, misunderstandings, musical highjinks ensue!
  • Brunie: Horny producer causes havoc for everyone.
And that was it! It's 11:30, we each have to get home.
  • Lady: This festival was awesome! We should watch random movies we like every year!
And so it is written.

Lady C

Today's Morning Question

I know that some of you are avidly anticipating my write-up of the Film Festival weekend (spoiler: it was awesome!), but you'll have to hold on a bit longer; the Whole Life Challenge has started again, and this week's Well-Being Practice is a Morning Question: What would success look like for me today?

I am literally supposed to write my answer to this question, so here it is: Today, success will mean getting through my whole to-do list:
  • Three editing jobs: home visiting, literacy, numeracy (the third one is really long, I'll only start it today)
  • Go to the gym for some cardio and sweat
  • Pick up a tax form from my accountant
  • Call the New School and see why the tax form they gave me acknowledges only half the tuition payments I sent (really looking forward to this one)
  • Wash my hair and do something to make it pretty before . . .
  • . . . Memorial service at 2:30
  • Bring up and fold my clean laundry
  • Assemble the final two new dining-room chairs (so! cute!)
If time and energy allow:
  • Assemble packages to mail to Mom and my sweet niece Stacy Sparkle
  • Tighten the screws on one of the chairs that Husband assembled
  • Write Film Festival recap!
And, of course, eat Compliantly, drink my water, stretch, all that jazz.

Big busy day! Back to it.

Lady C

Friday, April 13, 2018

Festival Bound!


I've spent the past two days feverishly gathering DVDs from my "local" libraries to represent my and Brunie's secret Hollywood lovahs. (I trekked all the way to Wellesley! But it was a fun trip; Mimosa came with and we had lunch at Alta Strada, one of our favorite restaurants, and also drove by Mass Bay Community College, where I'm hoping she'll take a class or two next fall. Good day!)

I told the Arlington librarian what we were doing, which made her smile, and then as she checked out my movies, I murmured the name of my secret crush (Crimes of the Heart — Sam Shepard! Body Heat — Mickey Rourke! About Last Night — Elizabeth Perkins!), and when she got to An Affair to Remember, I held it up and said, "I really don't need to tell you, do I?" and she laughed out loud.

To my great disappointment, I couldn't find Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore because the Newton library lost it. (My secret crush: Jodie Foster! Who's in the movie for about five minutes, but good Lord I don't want to slog through The Accused or Panic Room or Taxi Driver or Nell again. I want to watch Inside Man, but Brunie says she's seen it 100 times; I could try to watch it while she's sleeping, but I tried watching it late at night once before and the plot is kinda labyrinthine and it put me right to sleep.) I asked Brunie if she could get it at her library. She said:
Beverly doesn't have ALICE, but we can stream it on Amazon for $3. So I think we should. I have never seen it and I love Ellen Burstyn and I didn't know it was directed by Scorcese! I am all over this . . .
She also informs me that she's bringing a box of wine, as she did last year. Two things:
  • Do you remember which one of us insists on a refrigerator?
  • She got to the room first last year. When I opened "our" refrigerator, guess what filled it completely?
I said:
I would like to gently recommend that you get used to the idea now that your honkin’ box of wine is not going in our fridge. But I’ll have a little ice chest, it can go in there (I think we did that last year).
Her reply:
I am fine with ice for my DELICIOUS box of wine. I also have other libations, I am unconcerned.
Ah, we co-exist so well. Until we start fighting over the room temperature. And whether I have to watch Sweet Smell of Success, Junebug, or anything featuring Andie McDowell. Fortunately, we have a well-established 15-minute rule! Anyone can call it after 15 minutes, life is just too short.

I am very excited about the two games we've planned. One is a drinking game while we watch Election (my secret crush: Reese Witherspoon in Election! Barb crushes on her too but prefers her in The Man In the Moon, which we may also watch, weep weep) — we take a shot every time Tracy Flick does something that reminds us of me. (I expect to be snockered in 10 minutes.) Our second game is Six Word Summaries, which we play often at my parties: summarize the movie plot in six words, even if we watched just 15 minutes of it. This is always a hoot and should only be enhanced by box wine and vodka.

This weekend's featured cocktail: After-Hours Lemonade, created by my brother Mateo. Citrus vodka, diet tonic water, and homemade sweet 'n' sour mix, served over ice, boy howdy is it good. I made the sour mix yesterday, with fresh lemons and limes as per usual, but I also added a blood orange, and it is now blood red sweet 'n' sour mix. It tastes delicious but oh my. A slightly murderous-looking drink, for sure.

I will head out to Peabody soon, because I'm excited and ready to start feeling joy. Brunie, alas, won't get there till 4. I can't watch movies until she arrives, but I can drink wine and read my book and visit the hot tub and fake-tan my legs, and that sounds like a lovely afternoon to me!

See you on the flip side.

Lady C