Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rollicking Times at PT

Hey, how does my typing look? Can you tell I have two spanking-new titanium knees?

Well, actually, they're a month and a half old now, totally broken in. But still. I am not the woman I used to be! Hear me bionically roar!

For whatever reason, I am having a picture-perfect knee surgery recovery (with one small weird exception). Surgery itself went faster than expected; I did extremely well with both physical (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) in the hospital; I continued to do well at home and was promoted to outpatient PT weeks ahead of schedule; and now I'm rocking outpatient. I think I should get a crown.

The small weird exception is that I turned out to be allergic to cefazolin, a cousin of penicillin, which was used during my surgery, and my entire stay in rehab was punctuated by a violent angry red rash that covered my whole body and burned and itched, which no one on my medical team diagnosed correctly for almost a week. Buttheads.

Rehab . . . just isn't a lot of fun.
They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no
It had its moments, and maybe I'll share some of those stories sometime, but today I'm focused on the now.

Or, actually, a few hours before now. I'm focused on 9:40 a.m. today, when I had my third or fourth appointment with Alex the Charm Devil, my physical therapist, whom I love deeply and want to murder.
Isn't he adorable? But the devil, I swear.
I was ten minutes late because my lunkhead son, whom I paid to clean off my car after this week's blizzard, neglected to remove the foot of snow directly behind it, which has now frozen solid; it took significant time and effort to chip away at Ice Mountain. But Alex greeted me so sweetly and had me warm up on the stationary bike, as per usual.
  • Alex the Charm Devil: How have things been going?
  • Me: OK. I think my bend is right where it should be, but I still can't seem to fully straighten.
  • Alex: We'll work on that today, then.
He takes me to a padded table and has me lie down with my ankles propped up on a firm tube. Lying in this position with my knees dangling a little is my least favorite PT exercise, I'm supposed to do it for 20 minutes, I start whimpering after 5, it hurts. But I know it's good for me — this is the best way to get my leg to fully straighten.

So I'm already uncomfortable — and THEN, Alex starts leaning on my knee so it straightens even further

I yelp in pain.
  • Alex: You OK?
  • Me: NO!!!!!!!!!!
  • Alex: We're just going to do a couple of these, OK?
  • Me: [whimper whimper]
  • Alex: And by a couple, I mean five.
Well, now I am outraged.
  • Me: FIVE? FIVE? Five is not a COUPLE, Alex!! Who taught you WORDS????
Alex starts laughing.
  • Me: Oh my God! This is just what the Supreme Court predicted when they let the gays marry! First gay marriage, then we start redefining what a "couple" is! Five — why not??
Alex is bent over laughing, though he's still pressing on my leg like the devil he is.
  • Me: OW!!! Wait, this is because I was late, isn't it?
  • Alex: (laughs) That was three.
  • Me: BELIEVE ME, I KNOW it was three!!!
He continues to press, I continue to yelp and whimper. He moves to the other leg.
  • Alex: OK, now that was three.
  • Me: I KNOW.
  • Alex: If I'd said it was four, would you have corrected me?

 Finally, finally, the torture ends. He says, "We'll go work on the step now." I said, "Could I have a rest???" He smiled so sweetly and said, "Yes, and a hug."

Oh, how I love Alex. Even though he is the Devil.

After I'd been doing my step exercises for a while, I said, "Hey Alex, remember the first time I saw you and you put heat on my knees and all I did was lie still under the heating pad? Why don't we do that exercise any more?"
  • Alex: That was our first date, Lady.
  • Me: I see. So you just take me for granted now.
  • Alex: You could put heat on before you come.
  • Me: Oh, okay, I have to do it myself. Your days of giving me heat are OVER. That's what you're saying?
He starts laughing again, then says to another client, "I'm going to massage your knee for a few minutes." I mutter darkly, "You used to massage me."

(Though, frankly, the massage hurt like blazes because his goal was to break up any scar tissue forming. Not relaxing, in other words.)

I punched him in the arm when I left (you know — lovingly) and he said, "Great fun as always, Lady." I laughed bitterly. Whatever the opposite of fun is, I now have a vivid illustration.

I asked the front desk ladies if they could hear me screaming, and they smiled so sweetly and said, "Oh, yes — all the way out here."

Charm devils. Every one of them.

I had planned to go grocery shopping afterward, but instead I came home and curled up with an ice bag. Ice has become my new chardonnay, my new bubble bath, my new every good thing.

Well, ice and The Night Of, which I am totally obsessed with. Parts 3–5 came from Netflix today, I may have to rip open the envelope and watch them all right now. So so so so good!!!!!

OK — my big goal was to write something, anything, on this blog, so now I have. The ice is broken!

And I've lost 10 pounds since my surgery without even really trying. Thrilling! (Except my weight had been up ridiculously right before surgery, so I'm right back where I started. Still. It's always nicer to lose weight than to gain, so I'm happy.)


— Bionic Lady C

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Many, Many Thoughts


Apologies to all my regular readers — I seem to be out of the blogging habit, and I truly hope this is temporary. As I've stated before: It feels weird to write a weight-loss blog when I'm not losing weight (and in fact have spent the last two years gaining back every ounce I lost).

BUT! My double knee-replacement surgery is tomorrow, which I consider Day 1 of my road back to health. I have been such a sad limping shell of a whole human for so long now. What an amazing thing it will be to walk without pain again.

And then . . . zumba!!! I devoutly hope!!!!

The last six months have also been astonishingly packed full: a nonstop flow of work, seven straight weeks of caring for Mom, getting Mimosa off to college and then parenting from a distance . . . and, yeah, there was that presidential election, which rocked my world.

I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things, so I'm going to take a moment to pull together a coherent post — because, according to my new pal Opposite Angel (see below), I'm going to be a dope for at least the next year. Can't wait!


It took a long time for me to fully process my response to this election — I was stunned and in shock for a long time. What was I missing? How did so many people see something so different from what I saw when they looked at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? How could any sane, intelligent person vote for this abominable man? Am I truly living in a country whose population is 51 percent insane and idiotic??

But as we are now learning, there really is no One Big Lesson here. The two "sides" voted the way they tend to vote, and more of one side showed up on election day than the other. Most people vote for their own party's candidate, whoever that candidate is, and Republicans are better at showing up to vote than Democrats are.

Democrats, man. We are our own worst enemy — so busy criticizing our candidates' flaws, holding out for the perfect, and forgetting that WE NEED TO FUCKING WIN in order to accomplish anything.

I just spent way too much time trying to find the very best article I read summing up everything we "learned" from this election — but once it occurred to me to search by the word "election" instead of "Trump," voila! Here it is, titled "Everything Mattered." It's long, but an awesome read.


I will have no truck with demonizing Trump voters. One thing I know for sure is that building coalitions gets you farther than building walls.

My brother Mateo and his wife, Sunny Yellow, conservative Republicans, are fond of the airplane analogy: Let's just ride this plane together; we don't want it to crash.

And that works for me, to a certain extent: I have no real control over who my pilot is, and I know very little about what actually happens behind that cockpit door. Some flights go more smoothly than others. I would like to believe that my fellow passengers are likewise committed to a trouble-flee flight that doesn't crash. 

Here's where the analogy falls apart. To me, it's like we were offered a choice of pilot, and 51 percent of the plane said, "Yeah, we could choose that woman with all the flight experience and those certificates of commendation for her excellent flying — but she looks a lot like the last pilot we had, and we don't like her voice. We're gonna go with the monkey who's never flown before! At least it'll be different. Yay, monkey!!"

And here we are, being piloted by a monkey.


I absolutely believe that this president may get fed up with all the hassle and resign the job, which seems in keeping with what we've seen so far. He responds to conflict like a toddler; he may well pick up his toys and go home. And then we have President Pence.

We Democrats need to be very careful and very clear about what our end game is. We can't just blindly protest everything. We need a plan to get through the next four years, without crashing the plane.


I had dinner last week with Brunie, Sister Hart, and Bookshop Dawn (shop at the Concord Bookshop!), and we agreed that living in constant outrage will burn us out like the delicate snowflake candles we are (ha). We decided to each pick one area that we will monitor with vigilance and fight for to the death. I picked LGBTQ rights, Brunie picked immigration, Bookshop Dawn picked reproductive rights, and Sister Hart picked the arts. We are on it! (except, I said, I'm really busy this week. Sorry, gays.)

Then last week I started reading more about Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, and learned that she is completely unqualified for this job. She is no friend to students with special needs, that's for sure. And yeah, LGBTQ is "my" issue, but education . . . that's really my issue.
I believe that the path to success is to identify the sanest Republicans and then actively court them.

This week I called Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and (respectfully) begged them to oppose this nomination. With Sen. Collins, I appealed to her common sense and wisdom. (I really like Susan Collins.) With Sen. Hatch, I asked him to honor his long friendship with my beloved senator Ted Kennedy, who fought tirelessly for education for all children.

Will my calls make a difference? Possibly not. (Probably not in the case of Hatch, who has publicly voiced his support for DeVos.) But it felt good.


Enough politics.
Mom has mostly recovered from her heart surgery, though she is still pretty dopey — I've been asking questions about her diabetes treatment, and it is so hard to get a straight answer and a coherent story out of her. Partly, this is because she has always been in denial about how "sick" she really is; she ignores her doctor's diet advice and continues to eat her disgusting protein bars for breakfast every day (Mom: "They're pure protein!" Me: "They are carbohydrates. Look at the label." Mom: "Ohhh." Repeat 1,000 times), and her blood sugar numbers are all over the place. But she says she feels well, so therefore she is well.

And believe me — I do not want to be my mother's keeper! She will figure it out or she won't. Period.

The big news in her life is that she's decided to sell her house and move into a senior condo at a lovely place in downtown Chico, so now she's cleaning out all her closets and getting ready to seriously downsize.  Every week, our calls feature a list of "Do you want these photos of your grandparents? Do you want my wedding china?" etc.

I think this is the right move for her, and I'm happy that she's driving it herself — but this is it, right? My mother's last home. She won't even have a room for me at the new place (though there is an on-site family suite). It's good, it is, but I am having some feelings.

And then there's my daughter, who was just home for a month — sending her back to New York was wrenching.

Mimosa had a hard time her first semester at college. Turns out, she stopped taking her depression medication sometime in October because she couldn't figure out how to transfer her prescription. And she also has this idea that she's an adult now, she's supposed to handle all this stuff on her own, she should not ask for help. So, as you might predict, she got into bad bad trouble at school and almost failed all of her classes.

Astonishingly, it looks like everything will be okay. She dropped one class but passed the other four; she has a new therapist in NYC who seems great and the prescription has already transferred (I know this because I got a robo-call from CVS, saying, "Hello! Your prescription is now available at 65 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York!" Too funny); and she has a new roommate, who seems pleasant, quiet, and maybe a little dull — but a huge improvement over the two drunken pigs she had last term.

(I try to keep a civil tongue, but those girls were gross.)

A lot of emotions wrapped around Mom and Mimosa, who are both very far away from me! It takes a lot out of a girl.


Tomorrow I will be at New England Baptist Hospital (which boasts an almost zero-percent infection rate! Knee infection is no joke, kids, and I'll be taking antibiotics before I see the dentist for the rest of my life), getting two spanking-new knees. I don't find out until later tonight what time my surgery is, but I plan to be there by 9:30 regardless; I will be headachey from lack of coffee, and the sooner they can get me in a bed with a nice hydrating IV, the better.

I've been collecting happy-knee-surgery stories, and this week I reached out to someone I don't know, the wife of Husband's college roommate, who had double surgery a few years ago. On the surface, she might seem like someone I wouldn't like: a fundamentalist Christian home-schooler, fervent conservative, and deep believer in government conspiracies. Husband has shared some of her Facebook posts with me, and her opinions can oft be described as "wackadoo."

And yet, and yet. I adored her husband when he came to visit us last fall, and she wrote me the most incredibly kind, detailed, and thoughtful note about what to expect after surgery. This is why I'm calling her Opposite Angel: we believe very different things, but she is nonetheless an incredible gift of grace, just when I needed one.

Many people have been compelled to tell me how incredibly painful this surgery will be, so painful, my God, you CAN'T BELIEVE the pain!!!!!! And Opposite Angel mentioned that too — frankly, briskly, and said, "So, stay on top of your painkillers, and you'll get through it," which is exactly what I wanted to hear and how I wanted to hear it.

And she also said something that made me so happy:
I was surprised how fast it was before I was joyous at no — no  — knee pain. 
Hallelujah! This is what I have truly believed as well, and it was so nice to have it confirmed by someone who knows.

(She also says that for every hour I'm under anesthesia, it can take six months for my brain to completely clear out and get back to normal. Awesome!!!!)

OK. This is long enough.

G'bye, my peeps! Send me good healing thoughts tomorrow. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Lots of love,
Lady C

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lady C's Best New Books of 2016

As I may have mentioned, "great literary merit" is not a category that resonates with me. I read for love, period. I give every new book I read a rating, from one to four stars. Last year I read 85 new books; here is what I loved (3.5 or 4 stars) — or what at least kept me deeply engrossed:
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (I wrote, "Creepy as all get-out, but I loved the sisters")
  • Now You See Me by S. J. Bolton (YA, maybe? Apparently Jack the Ripper was involved. I remember nothing, as is my wont)
  • Maggie Rose: Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer (children's book; very sweet)
  • What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan (my first four-star book of 2016!)
  • The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (nonfiction)
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (YA? maybe?)
  • Big Girl by Kelsey Miller (nonfiction)
  • The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (YA — I wrote "Loved! I got so anxious as it was ending—I hope there'll be a sequel")
  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrush (YA graphic novel —my daughter's favorite book last year)
  • American Housewife Stories by Helen Ellis
  • What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross (I wrote, "LOVED. What a page-turner! I can't believe how much I sympathized with THE ABDUCTOR")
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth La Ban
  • Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison (YA graphic novel)
  • The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
  • But He Doesn't Know the Territory by Meredith Willson (nonfiction)
  • Me Before You by Jo-Jo Moyes
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (YA, and just about perfect!!)
  • Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (YA)
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey
  • After You by Jo-Jo Moyes
  • Ask the Passengers by A. S. King (YA)
  • The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter (maybe YA?)
  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonsen (I could not put it down!)
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA, and crazy good!!)
  • Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (YA)
  • Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (YA)
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (YA)
  • Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
  • The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie King
  • The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
  • The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
  • The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
  • You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (YA — I usually find this author over-hyped, but I liked this one a lot)
  • The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson (YA, and awesome!!!)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling et al.
  • Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella (it is absurd that I enjoy books about a shopaholic, given my loathing of that particular activity, but Becky Bloomwood is always a joy)
  • All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
  • Find Her by Lisa Gardner
  • Peeled by Joan Bauer (YA)
  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  • I'm Your Biggest Fan by Kate Coyne
  • Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst (I wrote, "A great read! Though foolishly I hoped for a "cure" for Tilly")
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  • Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz (YA – forever to be known as "the book I was reading the night I fell asleep in the tub")
  • Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (YA — the series ran out of steam by book 3, I think, but the first two are divine)
  • The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner (YA)
  • The Lost Girls by Heather Young 
  • Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker (nonfiction)
  • Uptown Thief by Aya De Léon
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (LOVED. Absolutely one of her best)
  • The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller (my last book of 2017, and it's delightful. A little predictable, but a lovely yummy read)

And my ever-popular traditional closing: Here are the one-star books I HATED:

  • Descent by Tim Johnston: "I only finished because I wanted to know.  I don't know WHAT all the hype is about."
  • The Past by Tessa Hadley: "Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Do NOT ask me why."
  • Invisible Fault Lines by Kristen-Paige Madonia, which got 3.5 stars until the ONE-STAR HIDEOUS ENDING.
Here's to lots of great books (and time to read them) in 2017!!!

Lady C, who is currently reading Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Shirley Jackson, and Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin, which is rather serendipitous!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ho Effing Ho

OK, I don't really mean that. I'm actually feeling pretty cheerful and upbeat, because I've been ON VACATION for 24 hours!!!! Which doesn't mean that life gets any slower for me, per se, but I am not shackled to my computer by clients. And that is HUGE.

Things are a tad "unsettled" at Chez Chardonnay. Turns out, Mimosa had a pretty tough time her first quarter away at college, which she didn't tell us, and she was briefly in danger of flunking all of her classes (which the college legally can't tell me, because my cherub is 19 and protected by FERPA). But to my astonishment, she pulled a rabbit out of a hat and is going to be okay academically.

But while she was dealing with the crazy-stress of massive denial, her mental health took a plunge, and her party-girl roommates said "Enough!" and moved out.  Honestly, I am not sorry to see those girls go  — I vividly remember the night Mimosa texted me "There are used condoms stuck to the wall by Courtney's bed!!!!" Ohmygod, what a PIG — but still. It's a rejection, and it hurts.

And in the midst of all this, Li'l Martini turned 16 yesterday and did the thing he's been dying to do for almost two years now: went to the Registry to get his learner's permit. He's been reading the booklet and taking online tests and was so excited!

And then . . . he didn't pass the written test. And took it a second time. And didn't pass.

He is very glum. And I am out $60, but let's not dwell. Mimosa had to take the driving test twice, which I suspect will not be the case for him; I supported her and I will support him; he will study hard and pass next time. Or he won't.  Whatever. Eventually he will pass.

It's been a fun time in Martini-land too, because he caught a case of folliculitis caused by a too-tight Madrigals costume (don't ask — and don't look at Google Images, you'll be horrified) and has been Poxy Boy for more than a week. But he's practically back to normal now, thank God. It was NOT attractive.

But things are looking up for everyone.  I have five days off to celebrate the happiest holiest holiday with my family, Mimosa got into an a capella group and will get two fresh new roommates next quarter, Li'l Martini got a great part in the school play and is getting good grades in all his classes,  Husband has strung up half the Christmas lights, which are lovely, and we are having Greek Salmon and onion-jam-and-goat-cheese toasts for dinner tonight, YUM!!

I pride myself on being "good at Christmas," and this year I've been quite chill while dealing with all the family drama. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus — all this other stuff we do is frippery and hoopla. The minute it stops being fun, we must stop doing it. Period.

All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Merry merry, happy happy!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Days of My Lives

I've plotted out how I'm going to finish this giant math book I'm editing (which is actually four math books) by my self-imposed deadline of my son's birthday.* I literally have a grid of every day between now and December 21 (yes, weekends too, shoot me now), with a Herculean task listed on each day. Well, we'll see. So far so good, and I have a lot of time this week to focus; my other clients are staying quiet and non-needy (knock on wood!), which is just how I love them this month.

My fondest dearest hope is that I get so far ahead this week that I can take the weekend "off" and do all my other life crap. And maybe go to the movies, I haven't seen a movie in a theater in years.

On my plate:
  • Proofread Ruth Doan MacDougall's two latest books!!!!
  • Finalize a bunch of church stuff — fall term is ending, winter term begins, lots of things to do
  • Get ready for Christmas!
  • Ride my bike and lift weights, in prep for my upcoming major surgery
All I really do is sit and read and edit, day in, day out, but here are some random newsy bits that I found entertaining:
  • I've been very dedicated about my Deep Water class, which is so much fun. The hardest part is getting my body into a swimsuit and out the front door (it's dark, it's cold, this is exactly LAST on my list of what sounds good at 6:50 p.m.), but once I'm on my way, I'm happy. Anyway! At the end of class, I take my hair out of my tight scrunchy bun and shake it out, and everyone around me oohs and aahs. It is quite gratifying. My hair is longish right now, and I curl it on pink foam rollers, because I would love to be a 1950s' housewife. Fortunately, Husband always thinks I'm cute ("You look great!" "You are no judge of this." "What do you mean?" "You think I look great when I floss." "Yeah! So?").
So that's fun, hearing all the ladies murmur over pretty pretty me, but last night I got a rather surprising compliment after a swim class:
Swim Lady: Do you sing professionally?
Me: Uh, no?
Swim Lady: You should.
Our teacher, Badass Beverly, plays a range of music, some of which I HATE, but last night she was totally singing my life with her words, and I sang along to every lyric from the Forrest Gump soundtrack. And apparently I've found my new career! Hee.

  • My cancer prevention doc is such a cutie — about my age, I think, but a teensy little thing; she wears short flippy skirts and long jazzy earrings and is just adorable. I said that I was thrilled to be more than halfway through my Tam experience, and she said, "So, do you want to quit?" I said, " . . . ?" 
I kinda don't feel like it should be up to me! (Though, hmm, I have many years of experience as a Candy Striper. And I read First You Cry, Betty Rollin's account of her breast cancer, probably 20 times, so maybe I am very well qualified to make this decision, how do I know.) She said, "Its benefits are cumulative. We think five years is good. We think 10 years is really good. It's up to you." I said, "Well, I've come this far, I might as well stick out the five years," but I'm thinking, Oh, shit, 10 years??? No no no.
  • Hmm, speaking of cancer prevention, I believe I failed to update you on my colonoscopy. Remember last time how I had a horrible migraine, they couldn't get the IV in and I cried, I threw up afterward,** and after all that my preparation got a grade of "Fair"? 
WELL. This time, I followed the bland low-fiber diet meticulously (gross), which is much easier to do when you're freaking told about it ahead of time. I drank lots of caffeinated tea and didn't have a headache, they had no trouble inserting the IV, I felt quite well on the whole, and it all went swimmingly. And my scrupulous preparation paid off with a grade of: "Fair."

Turns out (oh, this is so lovely — I can't wait to share it with you!), "obesity" is a risk factor for Fair preparation. My body fat is keeping my colon from emptying completely. Good. God.

Next time, in addition to the TWO "cleanse agents" I have to consume, I have to be on Miralax for a week ahead of time. SHOOT ME NOW.

Well, it's many years from now, I will have two gorgeous knees by then, maybe I will have lost a lot of weight and not be so morbidly obese any more. A girl can dream. I'd like to be thinner so I can finally get an A on my colonoscopy! Hey, whatever motivates you.
  • I also had my yearly mammogram, my boobs are perfect, and Dr. Dixie shared a most interesting fact with me. My last period was in January, I'm still waiting to hit that one-bloodless-year menopause milestone, but she said, "The fact that you made it through spring and summer without a period is huge. Those are usually big triggers for women!" Which makes sense if you think about it biologically, as I try to do with all things, because I am just that scholarly.
Fingers crossed!
  • Writer Jenny convinced me that I needed to give The Women (which Brunie and I dissed during our annual movie marathon weekend) another chance, so I spent several hours with my wonderful friend in her gorgeously redone living room, watching a flawless print of this movie on a screen that's larger than my car, eating delicious appetizers. and drinking perfect Black Manhattans concocted by her magnificent husband, whose bartending skills are epic. The movie was delightful (though seriously, in those surroundings, how could it not be??), the Black Manhattans went down smoooooooth, I stayed for 17 hours, then came home and fell asleep in my own bathtub. I thought it was pretty funny, though Mrs. Cynicletary (when I told her the story) yelled at me for an hour and might have dropped the name "Whitney Houston" several times.
In any event: it was so much fun!!! Writer Jenny and I plan to do it again with many more classic movies (though, hmm, maybe at my house next time? Much less glammy than hers, for sure, but will I drink less if I have to make the drinks? Hard to say).
Freaking diva.
And I must put it in writing: Writer Jenny was RIGHT,  and I was WRONG. The Women is a perfect delight! I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially when my girls Paulette Goddard and Marjorie Main showed up. I "entertained" Jenny by telling her stories of what a diva Norma Shearer was and how mean she was to Carole Lombard, whom I adore, and Jenny patted my arm and said, "I think you need to let this go." Such a fun night! I can't wait to do it again. I've suggested Picnic, His Girl Friday, Idiot's Delight, and Rebecca — nothin' but good times ahead.
Probably I have more to say but I've been at this computer since 8 a.m. (it is now 6:30 p.m.), and it's time to look at something else.



*    Li'l Martini: I've decided what I want to do for my Sweet 16.
      Me: Uh — become a girl?

** Every time we drive past that Starbucks now, Husband notes that that's where I threw up after my colonoscopy. Every. Single. Time.

After this one, he said, "Want me to take you to that Starbucks where you like to throw up?"

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sated, Satisfied, Seriously Happy

YUM. That is my take on our non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Nothing was terrible and most things were delectable. And the best part, of course, is being four at table again. So happy to have my girl home where she belongs!!!!

Sexy Em was supposed to join us but begged off at the last moment, which was fine — and we still miss Arty Jenny, our longtime Thanksgiving companion of many years, now in Portland, Oregon. And I'd mentioned to several friends that they should stop by for cocktails on their way to their (boring) dinners, but no one did.

It's really okay, though! I truly, truly love having just my three favorite people in the world around the table with me. Friends joining us is great, friends not joining us is great. I'm happy either way.

Here's the food report, from worst to first.

  • Salami Chips with Mustard Dip: These were my biggest disappointment because I thought they sounded AMAZING — I guess I was imagining a salami-flavored potato chip. (AMAZING.) But they were just okay. The first batch tasted kinda burnt (though I followed the directions), and the second batch, which I cooked for two fewer minutes, weren't quite crispy enough, and neither batch was particularly exciting. Husband liked them a lot, though.
  • Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki Dip: The fritters were bland and the dip was way too spicy (too much fresh garlic, I fear) — but I'm still calling it a win, because frying a fritter is not part of my kitchen skill set, and yet these were lovely, crisp and golden, AND I didn't know you could make a good tzatziki without cucumber! I love tzatziki as a dip, and now I will make it more often. (I don't mind the cucumber, but Husband loathes it and I am a Good Wife.)
  • Candy Cane Puffs: I will definitely try these again — I cooked them too long, and next time I will flatten them a little; right now they are rock-like in both shape and consistency. But the flavor is very good — a basic sugar cookie brushed with melted white chocolate and dipped in crushed candy canes. Pretty and toothsome!
  • Pilgrim Pineapple Sunrise: Pineapple juice, lime, tequila, powdered sugar. Yum! I tinkered with the ingredients a bit, because I like a slightly tarter taste; the first batch was a little sweet. But a delightful drink.
  • Pineapple-Ginger-Lime Mocktail: I shook this up for Husband, and he said it was delicious! The sip I had was mighty nice.
  • Shrimp Tomatillo Cocktail: The shrimp, which I boiled myself with lemons, peppercorns, and dill seeds, are fantastic! And the tomatillo sauce is fine, but it doesn't beat regular cocktail sauce, which I adore.
  • Someone's Aunt Annabelle’s Crab Dip: I took one bite of this and burst out laughing — it tastes exactly like something my grandma would have made. A very 1950s' recipe — and white white white. If I make it again, I will add some color. But it was (as the heading says) quite tasty.
  • Candied Bacon Sticks: These are usually the kids' favorite, and Li'l Martini thought they were as good as ever, but Mimosa and I  were less impressed this year. I bought thicker breadsticks than usual, and I think it makes a difference — thinner is better. (A life lesson.) But still: broiled breadstick, bacon, and brown sugar — what's not to like?
  • Asparagus, Pepper, and Prosciutto Roll-Ups: Nice flavors and textures, and especially yummy when dipped lightly in the mustard dip.
A note on the salads: We always serve at least one salad at Thanksgiving, and for a few years now I've been doing a selection of three small perfect salads (Tre Belle Insalate) — but I think I am going to stop doing that. They're a lot of work — all that dicing! — and none has every been SO fantastic that I'm tempted to make it again. One salad is plenty. That said, all three salads this year were very nice.
  • Edamame Succotash Salad: I liked the look of this recipe because it used edamame instead of limas and had fresh corn and lots of herbs. It was very nice — a bright and fresh-tasting salad.
  • Green Bean and Mushroom Salad: Very simple, very tasty.
  • Broccoli Salad: We've had this before, and it is divine! (Yes, Lady Darcy, I hear you retching.) Raw chopped broccoli, red onion, bacon, raisins, sliced almonds, and a creamy sweet-and-sour dressing. I think I didn't put quite enough dressing on it tonight, which is the only thing keeping it out of the best-of-the-best category. 
  • Glazed Orange Pound Cake: Perfectly tasty, but not as good as my regular orange cake. I never really love pound cake, I always find it a little dry — not sure why I can't seem to remember this!
  • Dark Chocolate Mousse: Again, perfectly tasty, but very dark, and I have another chocolate mousse recipe I like better.
  • Rosemary Cashews: So so so so good. A fantastic recipe.
  • Apple Julep: My surprise favorite of the cocktails I made! So simple — bourbon, cider, and a dash of cider vinegar, garnished with an apple slice — but deceptively delicious! They went down smoooooth.
  • Raspberry and Citrus Martini: A little workier, because it involves muddled raspberries, and then I had to strain it to avoid a drink full of berry bits — but a wonderful combo of flavors.
  • Chicken Enchilada Dip: Never disappoints!
  • Onion Jam and Goat Cheese Toasts: A new recipe this year, and the surprise winner! Everyone LOVED these. Toasted baguette spread with soft goat cheese and topped with sweet onions that were cooked down with lemon rind, lemon juice, sugar, and vinegar. Sophisticated and delicious!!!

As is our annual tradition, I forgot to make Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes, a recipe I've trotted out for years and have yet to concoct even once. We're not hurting for food, believe me! Maybe tomorrow night, while we watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

We concluded our evening by watching Lars and the Real Girl (love that movie!) and playing spirited rounds of Scattergories, Speed Scrabble, and Consequences.

A perfect holiday! I hope yours was as well.

lots of love,

Lady C

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Any Second Now . . .

. . . my beautiful daughter will walk through my front door!!!

I haven't seen her since we dropped her off at college in mid-August. A friend at church seemed startled by this, and I realized – the reason it's been so long is that she lives in New York City and I can't walk. If I were spry and healthy, I probably would've gone down in October, explored my girl's 'hood, taken in a show, treated her to yummy meals and hot drinks, been a Mom. But all I can do is sit and look at her, and while I would find that very satisfying, I imagine she'd get a little tired of it.

Anyway. I told her that I planned to come live with her in April, after my surgery, and she said, "Great! You'll be the best roommate I've had so far."

(Her roommates are . . . okay enough. But she did not exactly win the Roommate Lottery, I fear.)

I miss her so so so SO MUCH, and I am so excited to have her home for a few days!

In other news: I've been cooking up a storm all day and am very excited for tomorrow's most excellent meal. Report to come!

And my readers will be happy and relieved to know that all three cocktails I've chosen for this year are delightful.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!