Frying Chicken is No Exercise

I slept in a little this morning, really just a little rather than getting up and walking. I knew that I was going to be busy making “somebody died? fried chicken” and going to a funeral I thought that I deserved a little lie in. Boy was that a mistake.

Thoughtfully I had two friend’s lose loved ones pass away in close proximity to each other so I was able to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone and just fry double the chicken in one grease cloud fried mess. Making this “you only get it in times of great sorrow” chicken takes some time, but I thought it would be more of a workout than it was.

After a few hours tending the stove I checked my fitbit to discover that I had walked a pitiful 1,500 steps while making 48 pieces of chicken. That is only about 30 steps per thigh, and I mean chicken thigh, Dreadful!

Now I have no control when people pass away, but it is the last day of the month. I have been on a fairly good run of walking over 20,000 steps a day, save two of my sick days. I knew that I had banked some extra steps early in the month and I quickly used up my surplus when I did not get out of bed all day last Sunday.

As of last night I was in good standing as long as I did at least 20,000 today. What was I thinking, sleeping in? I knew that funeral attendance would equal virtually no steps, but why did I think that chicken cooking would be a big stroll in the park. I am here to say it is not.

Cooking or being chained to a stove is not exercise. Perhaps if I did chain saw ice sculpting I would burn some real calories, but I don’t consider an ice sculpture appropriate sympathy fare. Maybe a treadmill stove is the answer, but somehow that seems counter intuitive to burning calories.

No Mrs. Lange


Growing up in the sixties in Connecticut with very young parents who had even younger friends I was almost always the oldest child around.  Given that youth was so prized at that time my parents friends abhorred the idea of being called Mr. or Mrs. Anything. Thus I called all parents really close friends by their first names.

I in turn was very old before Carter came around and since she was born in Durham, NC, which is not as southern as most North Carolina towns, but is still far more southern than Connecticut
, her friends called me Mrs. Lange and she called all most of my friends Mrs. or Mr. Something.  Only recently have things begun to relax.

One of Carter’s good friends who spends a good amount of time at our house felt close enough to me to give me a less formal nick name of Dma, short for Dana Mom.  Another who only moved here a year ago just calls me Dana since she was fifteen when she met me.  Carter refers to me as Dana with her group of friends and a couple of them have taken that as a sign that they can call me Dana too, which I actually prefer.

But old habits are hard to break.  This week one of Carter’s oldest and best friends Campbell turns sixteen.  Carter and Campbell started Pre-k together and have been together for twelve years now.  Campbell is the friend that broke Carter of her fear of sleeping at someone else’s house, or technically, Campbell’s mother Hannah broke her.  We have gone on vacation with Campbell, taken her on trips with us and if ever there was an emergency, Campbell was there.  I think it is time for Campbell to stop calling me Mrs. Lange.

I think it is easier to refer to me as Dana  behind my back, but to my face I’m not sure it will happen. It just makes me feel really old to be called Mrs. Lange and I would like for Carter’s friends to help me out in the reverse aging process and start calling me Dana.

Happy Birthday Campbell.  It is hard for me to believe that you are sixteen.  Just a moment ago you were a Daisy in my troop, waiting for the goldfish to be handed out, now you are driving.  Your birthday present to me is that you call me Dana from now on.  My present to you is the same thing it always is, if you ever need help, you can call me.  I love watching you grow up to being such a wonderful person and I look forward to seeing all the places you go in the next twelve years.

You Start To See The Thread

As I was heading out to a board meeting in Raleigh I got a text from Carter, excited after her advance photography’s class went to visit the Nasher Art Museum. “OMG, I wish you were with us. I loved the ancient and medieval paintings and pottery and sculpture,” she gushed. “I can’t wait to show you the photos I took of what I saw.”

Music to a mother’s ears.

Most people don’t know I was an art major in college. It was not so much because I had a huge artistic talent, but that I quickly figured out that I could produce fifty prints of one silk screen and sell them for $50 each and be making more cash than my parents were paying in tuition. I guess I really was a Sales Major, but my fine liberal arts institution would have frowned on that as an official major.

The true art talent in my family is my mother. If you want proof visit her website at Jane Carter Art. You don’t have to know much about art, just visit the Awards page to see the long list of art shows she has won. Finally after winning everything there is in the south she decided to stop entering shows. I thought that was nice of her to give some new artists chances to win, since I’m sure if she entered she would take a prize.

My sister Margaret is also quite artistic as an interior designer and if you want to see what her eye can do visit Margaret Carter Interiors. My baby sister Janet is also a great photographer, but you will just have to take my word on that.

All that being said, it is nice to see the love of art coming out in my own daughter. She loves photography, but is now making the connection about history and art and how it is all tied together. It is nice to see a child learn to appreciate something you love all by themselves. I can’t wait to see how this weaves into a great fabric.

Late Afternoon Shopping Syndrome

This morning when I poured my milk on my cereal I noticed it was slightly tangier than it should have been. Of course that did not stop me from eating my regular breakfast. I just did not share the leftover milk with Shay as I usually do. It would be OK to make myself sick, but not my dog.

I went to work out and on my way home thought about stopping at the market to get a replacement milk, but then I got sidetracked in my own brain and before I knew it I was sitting in my driveway. Big mistake. I should have turned my car right around at that moment and gone to buy milk, but I did not. Instead I went inside and got on my treadmill to clock some steps before my weekly Mah Jongg game. Sounds like the plan of a woman who is towing the healthy living line. NO.

After losing all but one game at the table today I should have gone right to the store on my way home and picked up that one bottle of milk, but I did not. Instead I came home to walk Shay who had been deprived of her milk snack this morning and had been home alone for a few hours. Sounds like I was being a good dog mommy, but I was setting myself up for a bigger mess up.

I should have gone right back out to the store, but instead I got on my treadmill, then I thought I would wait until Carter ran home between school and basketball practice so I could see her for five minutes. Sounds like I was being a good Mom, but it was a mistake.

By the time I did all those other things I remembered that I needed milk at 4:30 in the afternoon so off to the store I went. Big Mistake. 4:30 is my number one most hungry hour in the whole day. What was I thinking going unaccompanied into a grocery store full of Super Bowl Snack displays with a full wallet and empty stomach? Why did I get a cart when I really only needed milk?

The milk I buy is all the way in the back far corner of the store. With a giant cart, a full wallet and big eyes I wondered through the fruits and vegetables. First putting blueberries and a ripe avocado in my cart. Not so bad. But then I neared the fresh baked bread with samples for free, and then a cookie display and suddenly I had eaten things that I thought I had conquered.

Cheese and Bacon went in the cart with my salad for dinner plan being thrown out the window. At last I arrived at the milk where once the glass bottle was in the cart I made a beeline for the check out. $34 later I was walking out the store with two full bags.

Since my store does not offer armed guards at 4:30 to hold a weapon on me so I only keep to my list, I think my only answer to over come late-afternoon-shopping-syndrome is to leave my wallet, credit cards and phone in the car and just walk in the grocery store with $5 next time I need milk. That way I have no extra money to buy what I clear should not. Oh the depths I need to sink to in order to live a healthy life.

Ed Carter, Ahead of His Time


When I was a kid my sisters and I would spend our Saturday mornings riding around in my Dad’s car while he did errands. The loop was usually the same, the bank, since it was back in the day before ATM’s to get cash; the hardware store to get whatever items were needed for the weekend’s chores, since we were the in house handymen and painters; the grocery store, since my Dad wanted to eat and was without his executive dining room over the weekend; the liquor store, for cash if we missed getting to the bank before noon when it closed and for other things they sold at the liquor store – to us kids it was for the free lollypops ensuring future customer loyalty; the chain saw and lawn mower store, since we were our own lawn service; and lastly the car wash since my Dad liked his cars really clean and although he trusted his children with saws, power tools and climbing up on the roof to fix the antenna he wanted a professional to wash his car.

Long before my sister Janet was born and Margaret was just toddler, nick named George, I was used to riding in the front seat of my Dad’s black Corvair on our Saturday errands. As we drove up South Avenue in New Canaan heading towards Belcher’s, the chain saw store, with the windows open and my father singing at the top of his lungs, “Michelle, my belle,” I would lay down on the floor of the front seat in embarrassment.

“People are looking at us,” I would plead.

My father would just laugh. “They don’t care,” he would say, but to pacify me he would take me into Breslows, the candy and magazine store and buy me a Heath bar while he picked up a Car and Driver Magazine.

My dad loves all things about cars, especially the radio and he loves to sing.   From the time I was about five and protesting his public displays of singing with the Beatles on the radio he would tell me what his dream job was.

“I want to be a rock ‘n roll weather man.”

This seemed nothing but mortifying to me, but his dream did not change the older I got. This was an idea that was way ahead of its time. MTV was yet to even be a twinkle in anyone’s eye. The Weather Channel was double decades away. My father loved rock ‘n roll, making up songs on the fly and really should have been a meteorologist because he has been entranced by weather his whole life.

As I sit today with so much news surrounding me about the weather, blizzards or snownatos or any other made up term for what is happening out there I think my Dad was so far ahead of his time. I would welcome rock ‘n roll weather as a way of learning what is going on. I so quickly tire of repetitive and constant weather reporting. I am sure that the GDP is adversely affected by this constant blah, blah, blah about what might be happening days before it comes.

So Dad, I am sorry I lay on the floor of your car crying about your singing. I was so wrong. You were once again years ahead of your time. If only I had promised you an executive dining room at home if you opened a rock ‘n roll weather station you might have given up the corporate life and now I would be a rock weather princess.

Sick Day’s Activities

I don’t think I make a good sick person. Russ left for Chicago at four in the morning and Carter got off to school all by herself so I slept in to try and sleep off this flu. Thanks to good drugs I was able to leave my bed but I still felt under the weather.

I decided that I should not leave the house since I have no idea if I am still contagious and no one needed to see me anyway. Since I got all of 448 steps yesterday I thought the least I could do today was walk, albeit slowly on my treadmill. Maybe I should have walked faster to sweat out the sickness, but I don’t think my balance was up to it.

Stuck at home, feeling poorly and all alone I decided to binge watch a show that had won big at the Golden Globes, but that I had never heard of, called Transparent. It is on Amazon Prime and I thought the ten half hour episodes would be the perfect way to while away this yucky day.

Transparent is the story of a gigantically dysfunctional family whose seventy year old father is a Trans and comes out to his three grown up children. To give you some idea how dysfunctional they are the father is the least screwed up.

It is a very grown up show so if you have a weak stomach for grown up issues I don’t recommend it, but otherwise it is a deep study in crazy. I would say it did not help me feel any better except that it gave me a great appreciation for my family. In comparison all the people in my very extended family who I thought were crazy are down right normal, even my cousin George, bless his soul.

I am really looking forward to being well soon and not filling my days with binge watching because there is no normal left on TV anymore. When is House of Cards coming back?

There’s Only 1K

Whichever blue you bleed today we are all Duke Blue Devils in celebration of Coach K’s nail biting 1,000th win as a NCAA division I coach. I am somewhat thankful I am stuck sick in bed because if I wasn’t I might have missed watching this historic game. I am not an appointment basketball watcher except for Carter’s team, but seeing this game played at Madison Square Garden against St. John’s with a packed house almost made me feel better.

Well, that is not quite true, I felt much worse when Duke was down by ten in the third quarter, but when Plumlee came into the game and turned around the defense suddenly my sickness melted away.

During the post game interview when K was asked about what he thought of this being his 1,000 win he said something typical of him and of most consistent winners, “I was in this game, that’s how you get to 1,000. But we are 17-2 and we have to go to Notre Dame on Wednesday.”

This morning Carter and I were talking about our favorite words and I said mine was stick-to-it-tive-ness. She asked me if that was a real word and I said absolutely, but know now that my computer dictionary does not recognize it as such. To me Coach K represents that perseverance. Love him, (if you are a Duke fan, fan of Team America or no basketball fan) or hate him, (if you are the fan of any other team) you have to respect him and give him all the accolades due someone who has reached this seemingly unreachable pinnacle in men’s sports. Yes, Pat Summit had done it in women’s basketball, but coach K, you only need 99 more wins to beat her record. I think that Duke would like you to stay around and try and break her record. That would be real stick-to-it-itve-ness.

Congratulations to a great man and to the wonderful young people who play for him. It is a lot of pressure on these young athletes to perform under such high expectations. Sometimes I forget that I am watching a group of teenagers. But that is the magic of a great coach who takes the players he is given and with the rest of his staff and in coach K’s case his wonderful family, molds them into a winning team, year after year. The players come and go and even the assistant coaches move on to be head coaches at other schools, but coach K stays and keeps teaching and training new people. The common denominator of these winners is Coach K. Seems like getting to 1K was inevitable, but no one should imagine it was easy, for if it were you would not be the only one. Thanks for being a great role model.