Navel Orange of the Gods: Juno Strikes Back on the Condo Market

As the plucky preggers pranced along to Tri-TWO, unicorns canted to the throm-throm-trom of the tete drum, and double decker V-Day viands were devoured between taxing taxes. The wee nectarine went Groucho for the February Holiday-rush, but nary a kick nor a cigar could be felt... yet. Mommys preemptive strikes lasted yet another week before the tables would inevitably turn round faster than Linda Blair's precocious head. 

In Whacky Week FIFTEEN, the Fonzarelli finds its navel and gazes in between light blinding flashes and thrashes. Theater begins and ends the madness with Shakespearian shysters and perilous propinquity to deadly deities. And HOME-OWNERSHIP?? OFFERS?? FINANCING? Holy crap, forget the marriage and the baby thing, our little couple just tripped headlong into adult-territory. Will their heads survive the throng? 

Holidazed Monday Monkey Love! And the long weekend work double daze

If you're situated within the United State o'Muricah, you might be on your third day-of-note in rather rapid succession: Friday the 13th (I call it a holiday), Valentine's, and now President's Day. Plus Mardi Gras is just around the corner. Whooooo, this is more hyped up than that pesky December holiday season!

So, actually, I'm at work. I have an OB appointment (ultrasound pics - oh yeah!) on Thursday, and then Andrew and I are devoting our remaining daytime hours to apartment stalking. So, we'll call it a holiday deferred. Except it's still a wee bit holidayey here, what with the office being officially closed and, well, all of downtown being more or less shut up and shut down. My favorite times to hang out at the office. 

After the Valentine's pizza (ridiculous double layered only-in-America pizza monstrosity), trysting and tax turgidity, yesterday was a bit of a palate cleanser with a kick of local theater! We done cultured ourselves kinda. Andrew and I don't often go to plays, probably due to his long-term proximity to the theater scene (he was a professional lighting designer in NYC for a while, and a theater major to boot, so... the fear of theater snobbery and disappointment with piddling productions runs high), but certain plays just lend themselves to a fairly decent local amateur diversion. 

In this case, we watched a play called Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig. I love Ken Ludwig. He has hit on a golden formula of farcical send-ups of aspiring/washed-up theatrical types, men in drag, people coming in and out of doors, and misunderstandings of a nearly implausible nature. I'd previously seen productions of Moon Over Buffalo and Lend Me a Tenor at the Bellingham Theater Guild, and they both left me in stitches. So I figured this was going to be entertaining regardless, since the farcical send-up of poor theater was enough to suffice even if the production was... well... possibly poor.

I'm glad to be right. About the play. The production was low-budget but quite fair. There was Shakespeare. There were exquisitely poor performances by wannabe actors and horribly hammy ones by washed up ones (within the play). There were men in dresses. Women a little too dense to notice the men in dresses were the same as the guys they were falling for. Ridiculous supporting cast members. And a lot of people coming and going through various doors with hilariously timed pacing. And after a heckuvalot of complication and silliness, love conquered all and we lived happily ever after. A rather lovely way to spend a matinee. 

So we've broken the theater seal after only (almost) six years. I could be wrong, but I really think Andrew and I haven't been to the straight theater together since we started dating. Symphony, ballet, opera, and some peculiar performance art pieces, but I think this is the first time I've gotten up the gumption to suggest it. Ok, I have suggested other plays I knew he'd liked before, but his equivocal ("but that could go so awry if poorly produced") interest disincentivized the follow-through. So I'm 2 for 2 on the "forcing Andrew to do things he's initially wary about." Meaning number 3 will probably push it to the brink, but hey! 

Gotta get this kind of experience out of the way before our new horizons involve dancing pickles singing about morals and nutrition!

Buckwheat to Buckwheat and Experiments to the Ashes! Post pancake party lindt ball considerations

No, I didn't burn the pancakes. Well, not most of them. And that cinereal tinge they might have in spots: not mold! They're all buckwheat baby! I don't know. I have a thing for buckwheat flour, but am too lazy to make bread very often. So from time to time, if pancakes are in order, they'll be some variation of buckwheat. I've made them in the past in a variety of ways. If you really want them to look kind of scrofulous, I suggest mixing in some avocado (tastes great, looks diseased). 

Yesterday being Shrove/Fat/Carbo-loading Tuesday on the eve of our Lenten season, I felt that - no matter the complete lack of time in my morning for such tasks - it was mandatory to begin the day with pancakes. And I had buckwheat. And milk. And an egg. And half a banana (not the little Fonzarelli, I promise!). And some baking powder and baking soda. And coconut oil! And a mixing bowl. VOILA! I think maybe they were runnier than they might have been, so I made a number of mutant pancakes before finally hitting my stride. But eventually, the waters of lethe cleared from my system and the pancakes pullulated with a puffy rise and mellifluous eclat. 

Tsk on me as a pregnant lady, I did eat the batter. I know. Raw egg. Big no-no. But I can't help myself. I had a spatula and batter. And it was in my mouth or all over the rest of the kitchen (and frankly, the kitchen has already been spackled well enough, greedy bastard). So far, no salmonella, but we'll see if my little nectarine banana shows up with fins and gills tomorrow! 

Best part of pancake parties? I get the leftovers. Well, Andrew got the remainder of the normalish pancakes this morning (slathered in nuked strawberries and apples, which together comprise an excellent syrup with little additional interference). But I got the early experiments and some of the smaller ones! I really like eating these cold as a snack actually. 

Anyways, other than not having a horrible headache while my husband did his weekly track workout, the pancakes were my big last hurrah before Ash Wednesday (appropriately reflected in that slight grey hue of my remaining pancakes). Now for Lent! And that means reflection. And mindfulness and not quite yet eating all those chromatic peeps and Reese's Eggs strewn about my grocery maunderings. 

My lindt ball challenge for this year? A wee bit amorphous, but with some prongs. 

My first hope is to continue the mommening type practices that I've recently begun. Limiting my internet use to deliberate times (once in the morning, once in the evening, and lunch-time check of email). Keeping my cell phone and all its demands in proper context, by which I mean that I am trying to avoid using it in the presence of others or as a crutch for moments of boredom. I think I mentioned this pans out to checking it only in private places like the bathroom. It's too easy to start out alone in a space and have somebody wander in while your attention refuses to return to the real world. 

My second hope is to continue fostering compassion for myself and others, slowing down, and cultivating patience. Much of this is about mindfulness in the moment. But I am also trying to take time before each nap or during a sitting period to think positive thoughts or prayers for those around me, and repeating my hopes for myself to embrace that best self part of me during that time. 

And in relation to that, I'm trying a new experiment, which makes Mr. Wright stare at me with that cornered-animal-thinking-the-person-in-the-clown-mask-may-be-either-scary-or-absurd-but-its-not-enthused-either-way kind of morning groggy. But I may have explained myself poorly. 

So here's the idea - every morning, I want him to ask me (1) to send positive energy for some aspect of his day. Might be generic like hoping that he has a productive day at work. Might be specific like he hopes this one thing comes through; (2) to send positive energies to one other person in his life. This should be a wish or energy that does not directly benefit him. In turn, I'll do the same for myself and somebody in my life. Ok, so basically I'm asking him to pray in a fairly secular way, and offering to do the same for him and for somebody else close to him. 

The idea is based on my happy fun pop-neuro-sci/mindfulness mania. Basically, when we think about others (especially purely in their own context and not merely as in the way they directly impact us) and wish them well, it enhances our relationship with them and makes us feel more connected. And knowing somebody out there is rooting for me at some point during the day in a specific way is empowering. As is sharing my hopes and (inevitably in inverse) my fears. Bringing in other people by asking the other to keep one more person in mind prompts me to think of our larger community of friends and family. And that's another connection. So, the end goal is an increased sense of connection, increased compassion, and a more positive sense of the world around. 

Of course it's a little awkward as well when you're getting started. So right now it's more like stumbling around and maybe dragging some confused statements out of each other. But I'm hoping we'll get as used to it as we did with writing down "three things that went right" every evening. 

If not, at least it will be an interesting experiment for Lent. 

The Apple of my Woo-Woomb Fifteen Weeks and the Re-match of House-Hunting House-Heating Hootenanies
Fifteen weeks! Squarely second-tri and feeling it. Mostly. Now that the little Fonzarelli has legs that are longer than its arms and a head that is not the bulk of its volume, I'm not sure how the roundish produce allusions really work. But some sites are holding out. Little nectarine has graduated to an apple! What kind of apple, I wonder. One of those bizarre Bellewood Acre apples with the flesh that stays white even after cutting it? A jazz apple (Fonzarelli does have those fabulous spirit fingers and kicking gams)? A huge honkin' Honeycrisp? 

My competing produce allusion is "a large navel orange," so I'm guessing we're thinking maybe a braeburn or Gala. I like gala! Sounds festive. Apparently, although the wee one is just starting to develop bones and insulating fat, it still only weighs about as much as a chicken egg. 

In other "how I can annoy the crap out of my proto-baby before it has the ability to strike back" news, little one can now sense light. So not only can I poke at it in order to induce suckling and thrashing, I can now shine a flashlight at my stomach and cause a recoil! Oh you poor little cutie. And yes, developing ear bones means it can really hear me now. I'm sure that renditions of Like a Virgin sung in medley with Britney Spears and Strauss' Elektra definitely constitutes a lullaby. 

I am promised those mythical unicorns and rainbows, but also a little rhino and a lot of swelling. Pregnant ladies get themselves pregnancy rhinitis to complement our weakened immune systems and propensity for allergies. Basically, my nose will be dripping no matter what. Oh and my lenses in my eyes, they're bulging probably. Indubitably that doesn't help with the headaches which are also just more likely with all the blood flow and edema. 

Good news, though. We had an appointment at the bo-bo-BOGA yesterday and my lovely Dr. Mallory assured me that I could take claritin, continue my eyedrops, and drop tylenol from time to time. 

Andrew had been rueing his absence from week 12's awesome little Fonzarelli dance recital, so he took special measures to be at this appointment. Which of course did not have an ultrasound attached. That's in a month. Yeesh, I just got so used to these bi-monthly photo sessions. He did however get to hear the parumpumpum of our little speed freak, currently clocking heart-rates of 160 bpm (or as Andrew calls it "Zone 2 in the training guide"). And he got to feel the top of my uterus (oh my, the scabrous salaciousness of it all!) As did I. Weird sensation. And I'm sure our little apple only had a minor emotional breakdown from all that head-poking going on to find it! 

But Fonzarelli may be able to strike back as soon as next week. We'll see when the little bugger makes itself known to my belly. I'm thinking soon. We heard a loud crash during the doppler that my OB suggested was a kick. Practicing... 

Andrew had previously decided to take the entire day off so that we could spend the afternoon looking for rentals. This didn't pan out perfectly. After a dismal Craigslist culling earlier, we'd gotten ourselves down to a list of "meh" acceptables. The most likely candidate turned out to be already rented. More weren't available at the time for some reason or other. And the one we actually checked out was obviously not going to work before we even went (on the second floor of a duplex and smaller than our current place). 

I eventually went back to work and Andrew spent the day catching up with things that our tax insanity utterly subsumed on prior weekends. 

It was ... weird... having him there when I got home. And HOT. Steaming incalescence. Actually he'd just set the thermostat up to 68, which sounds reasonable, except to me that particular setting feels like roughly 680 degrees at the moment. I do think and have always thought that our thermostat is off and have previously kept the house at 66 or 67. I may have surreptitiously lowered the temperature to 65 at some point in my early "holy crap my skin is on fire" febrility. Which to me is still too warm to wear most of my pajamas and far too warm for prolonged cuddling next to the human furnace that is my husband. Anyways, we discussed the fact that my preferences may give him frostbite and his may cause my head to explode, and we came to a momentary compromise of setting it back to 66, having the heat stay on longer at night and maybe he can wear a sweater or a robe sometimes while I get progressively more and more estival in sartorial selection. 

Sad. Andrew feels strongly that it is a basic hallmark of human civilization that one may be indoors without having to wear a robe. I, by contrast, think there is no greater luxury than being able to slip into a big fuzzy robe and slippers upon coming home. I can't wear my robe and he doesn't want to wear his! Oh well. I've changed the thermostat so that the heat stays really low during the time that I'm home before him. Just enough sometimes (though it's warm enough this winter, often not) for me to get away with a robe over a tank top. Which again is weird, because for a long time I was underweight and had low estrogen/thyroid and that meant I was freezing all the time. Now that the little Fonzabunny is hopping about and estrogen and body fat are resultingly escalating, being hot all the time is a bit dissonant with my self-identity. 

After some discombobulation for both of us at the additional time of cohabitation (and after maybe I opened several doors and windows and doused myself in water) we adjusted fantastically. 

And then more news: there's a condo in the area that my dad used to live in (which I have said would be kind of perfect for us) available for sale. Now, we'd been looking for rentals, but... we kind of have the money. Actually at the price they're asking, we have the money to buy outright. My dad called about three times, left a few texts and emails before I got the message, but we've contacted the realtor. The hope is maybe we could make an offer contingent on being able to rent the place while the sale pends and inspection going well.

After being deadset against the house-hunt based on some preconception that all house-hunts take several years to finalize, Andrew had a change of heart. I suspect the conversation with him mom that followed our condo excitement helped on that front. 

So, I think now he just wants to forgo the rentals and look for a house to purchase. I think. Which I was asking about a few weeks ago, so I'm game for trying. At least realtors are actually motivated. Rentals in Bellingham are such a hot commodity, the rental companies barely want to spit in the direction of prospective tenants. 

Anyways, an exciting day that possibly invaded my sleep-space. Or maybe that's just the pregnancy insomnia of leg cramps and temperature fluctuations (to continue a theme, I was utterly stifling most of the evening and may need to purchase lighter pajama pants, despite wearing a pretty light pair already! That and the hunger. Because well I hadn't eaten in a few hours! Apples need calories for all that thrashing!!)

I'm still riding high on excitement and fumes. Hopefully the crash isn't too brutal and lands gently on my sleeping bag for a mid-day nap!

Surreal Estate and the House-Hunting Hullabaloo

I brace myself as I say this - because yikes! - we have found a house we want to buy. Condo actually. Townhouse condo. Which is perfect for us. It's Goldilocks approved in the sizability department. No gaping caverns or excess roomage, but a grand basement which could accommodate both a bike dungeon and a play room. A trail into Whatcom Falls just a few feet from the door. A paucity of lawn or landscaping responsibilities. Three bedrooms. Pre-stained carpets (we're about to have a child, so bring on the stains), a renovated open kitchen and open living/dining area. A cute porch. A (single car) garage with an extra fridge and plenty of tool storage space. Central vacuum (ok, I don't care about that, but my dad was thrilled). Access to a pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise room, and tennis court. A reasonable condo association size and decent estimated utilities costs. 

While some may prefer to shop around, this is actually the condo that I'd mentioned being almost perfect for us before we even knew it was on sale. My dad used to own a unit a few houses down, so I knew what I was talking about. Andrew can have a separate space to carry his evil bicyclist machinations in a way that won't send me hissing and fleeing up to the bedroom, for instance. The neighborhood is very family friendly. The location is close enough to town and closer to Lake Whatcom and my mom's area. If Andrew finds a job closer to Bellingham, it will be pretty ideally situated. And it's actually closer to Andrew's big mountain biking spot than where we are currently. 

I guess in passing conversation I mentioned this to my father. We even were hoping to rent a unit down the way, but lost the opportunity. That unit didn't have the daylight basement and we still thought it would be worth checking out. Of course my dad does real estate in about the same vein as my husband does bicycles. So ever since I mentioned we would be looking for a place, I've been getting constant ledgers of every real property and rental in town. Advantages and disadvantages. 

He stumbled on this, of course. Called me three or four times in an evening. And after all that, we invited him to come along to look at the place. A good call, since I think he knew more about the unit and area than the realtor! And it really assures me that this is a good deal, because he has a finger on every other comparable option in town. 

So onto step two: money!! We technically have enough to buy this place outright. I even thought for a brief spell that we were intending to do this, but Andrew raises the reasonable if irksome point that with interest rates where they are and the possible return on investment of investing our separate funds, it may make more sense to partially finance. I hate debt, so I'm imprudently inclined to waste these sorts of opportunities, but I understand his point. So we're meeting with a mortgage lender recommended by the realtor on Tuesday. I am still pretty ready to just make an offer though. 

Anyways, I am in theory very excited about this, but of course I'm also pregnant and prone to random mood swings. And this was exciting enough to push those off the chart. For now I'll be weepy over the state of my live streaming radio (whether it's on or off and how it gets turned on or off), and the relative qualities of yogurt. Because making an offer is very scary I suspect and I've got an opera to attend this afternoon in the meantime. 

Down the Rabbit Hole of WEEKDAY Exciting Adventures Doth Not a Restful Weekend Make

Phew, it cannot be Monday. I call a no-fair. This weekend was awesome, but not a thirty-something-pregnant-woman-introvert kinda weekend. There was, of course, the condo viewing and subsequent "WOW, let's MOVE MOVE MOVE (wait how? Contingent on what? Finance what??)!" discussion on Saturday. Followed by an eventually relaxing, but pressing massage appointment for me. And then more condo and financing discussions. Yesterday, Andrew was off early for a race. I was out late from the opera... Yawn. My body is still severely jet lagged from a minor ride down and back to Seattle and the three and a half hours of oddly endued Greek gods and other eidolons in discontinuous sartorial mackle. 

And today should be equally relentless. I have an actual consult this afternoon, we're meeting with the realtor to type up an actual offer (eek!) tonight, and we have a, actual loan application to get started on to make our visit with the mortgage lender easier tomorrow. Lest I forget, the cleaners are supposed to come tomorrow, so our mad tsunami-oriented decor might need a bit of a actual simplification. 

I'm keeping a high red alert watch on the eyes and head today. I don't know why it is so agonizingly desiccating to do the Seattle McCaw Hall venture, but I was clouding over by the middle of Semele. 

Semele, incidentally is a fascinating Handel opera, and this is a thoroughly quirky production. 

For those unacquainted with the vagaries of greek myth interpreted into Lenten Oratorio (seriously) turned opera: Semele is about the mortal lover of Zeus/Jove/Jupiter/Saturn/Whatevs, Semele. Before her marriage to some mortal dude, she asks Jupiter to intervene. So he does. And takes her to a pleasure palace in the clouds. But there she gets kind of weepy and anxious and bored, and she starts pressing him to make her a goddess, This prompts him to avoid her a bit more and then to fly her sister out (literally). Which was maybe nice and Ino seems to enjoy it, which is a little weird because she was in love with Semele's fiance and after Semele went off to her cloud-palace it looked like they were gonna hook up. Anyways Saturnia/Juno/etc. kinda doesn't dig her husband shacking up with a mortal or anyone, so she makes a deal (involving the trade of nymphs for services - gasp) with Somnus to invade Jupiter's dreams and make him lust for Semele so much that he'd promise anything to get down with her. And then she uses Somnus' somethingorother to drug the dragons guarding Semele, and send Ino to sleep. At which point, she pretends to be Ino (easily accomplished since the same singer plays both roles) and shows Semele an enchanted mirror in which Semele is way hotter and goddessey than she actually is. Semele falls madly in love with herself and then takes Juno-as-Ino's suggestion that she get Jupiter to promise he'll come to her bed in full god-form instead of in his human guise. Turns out that actually will kill her. And it does. But it's ok, because from her ashes shall rise Bacchus!!!! Who is more awesomer than love and full of guilt-free pleasure.

See, clearly a Lenten tale! Obviously meant as a companion piece to the St. Matthew Passion, really.

The highlight was most certainly the intricate lighting design, which utilized about eight different surface screens for various complementary projection work. Gods, images, rotating stars, the planet earth from outer space, Semele's perfect image interlayed over itself, roses... everything you can imagine. And in a way that complemented the action more than distracted. They were also canny in adding some action in the form of a troupe of eerily clad ballet dancer god-type people for all the singing and whatnot. The singing was also beautiful in that pristine Handel type way.

It's not exactly an opera I'd add to my all-time favorites. It didn't propel me into paroxysms of catharsis or fits of hysteria. But it was interesting. And worth seeing. I think my dad felt about the same. As I said, the costumes were the most perplexing part. Several fantastic concepts, but scant continuity between them. Some looked steam-punk (but lighter, literally), some were medievalish, some were on-fashion hipster lookes, some looked like Star Wars, and others were more romantic, and others yet could have come from the Ring Cycle.

It appears that in their blog, Seattle Opera summed it up thusly: "The beauty of doing a piece involving classical gods is: what on earth do they look like? To answer the question we have to go to the heart of what the myth is about and deliver accordingly. So we have what you might call a modern take on Greek mythology. The team has created sculptural costumes for the mortal scenes and given sensuality and flamboyance to the gods. Because in a sense that’s where the heart of the story lies, the love triangle spread across those two worlds. Semele aspires to a glamorous world beyond her mortal existence. So our costume designs for the gods are soft, sensual, flowing fabrics, whereas the characters of the mortal world are really quite stiff, they’re geometric. It’s no surprise that Semele wants to get out of the stiff mortal world into the sensual and flowing world of Jupiter."

Not sure I really caught that, especially in Irises case, but we'll pretend.  

Anyways, the moral really being "Jupiter holds fast to his promises and Juno is kind of a biyatch, so probably you ought to steer clear." Really "avoid being noticed by the gods" is probably the pinnacle of greek mythological moral, so I guess that works. But then again it's ok if you burn to a crisp, because then you'll give birth to a happy party-god. And apparently your family and friends will go from weeping over your death to living it up. Good motto for a pregnant lady!

I'm sure I can find a way to apply that to my crazy busy day today. No problem!

Unicorns and Peachy Yetis: The Mighty Second-Tri Trips and Sprawls Over Holiday Taxes

During the ULTIMATE First-Trimester Thirteenth Week o'Fun, houses tremored as the trainer-saurus rex smacked its lusty maws and roared straight through Thurdsay. Houses further afoot gleamed in the gloaming with siren songs of potentiality. An unexpected inheritance changed everything and minds were cast asea with possibility. Prayers were raised to the highest selves and lower heavens, as little Fonzie jumped the tuna-nigiri a to become a true peach!

As we enter the promised land of TRI-TWO, heads a'throb from journeys to the continent and galivants with Don Quixote. But promise lingers of better worlds and happy half-eaten banana-babies covered in hair and listening intently to mommy's scurrilous palaver as she flees the vicious tax beast and Valentine's vagueries. Hidden in arms of handsome hunk (covered in double-decker pizza), a theater outing cleanses the dross of dreary dividends and deductions. And a Holiday sweep continues its marathon maunder through the days! 

Headache Over Heels and the Roarin' Trainosaurus Rex

I've got a headache! Or a migraine! Not sure. I've got a vice around my skull and it is tightening evermore demanding that I divulge all my secrets before the interrogation amplifies.

Now, I must always preface any cavils about my present state and symptoms with this thought: no matter how much the first trimester of pregnancy has wrung me out, amped the discomfort, and otherwise tolled on my general sense of well-being, it is so much better than trying to become pregnant was. I feel overwhelmingly lucky that it only took one (horribly long and draining) shot (ok more like fifty shots? Something like that). 

Because it wasn't just the discomfort. The belly shots. The bruises all over my torso. The fainting in the phlebotogmist's chair. The hormones. The long drives. The escalating medical bills (which I am still paying on).

No, it was the sense that it might all be for nothing and it might have to start all over again. The uncertainty. The waiting. The awkwardness about talking about it with people who didn't understand what it felt like but didn't feel good about hearing it either. The people who could only go so far as to quote books about natural cycles and timed intercourse and try desperately to relate, but who just couldn't get how it felt or what this was like. Now, people ask me wholesale how I'm feeling. They relate. They get it. They get excited and happy for me. They know the symptoms and have their own to share. When you're trying, it's isolating even when you are as blessedly supported and open as we were. Even when you know others in the same boat. Like a Tolstoy quote where every natural conception is all alike, but every fertility treatment attempt is different. 

I suspect that brings a really different element to my experience of pregnancy than to those who could get there naturally. There's a gratitude and a relief and a sense of ongoing surprise. A little panic that it's too lucky, that I wasn't meant to have this, and that something may go wrong. 

And far less of an attachment to that word "natural" when it comes to childbirth. I'm sure doulas and midwives and home births with no drugs are wonderful. I know there are too many medical interventions sometimes and they cause complications. But when "natural" means "would never have conceived," it lacks that certain luster that it holds for those who maybe tracked their cycles but had cycles to track to begin with. And when you've had your hand held by excellent medical staff getting you through an impossible time, you tend to start to appreciate modern medicine and the professionals involved in it. 

I wonder if this sense will fade, or if it will influence my parenting as well. 

So, yeah, back to the complaining! I'm not sure what put the final quietus on my turgid tete's well-being, but somewhere between the long car-ride (in a hot car with the fan in my face), the return of tree pollens (damn you global warming), the eyestrain from reading a full book on my tablet in one day, and the increased propensities of pregnancy to get those headaches and suffer those allergies... I got a headache. A bad one. It started on Monday morning. It took a flying leap into migraine territory by midday and was debilitating by evening. We shan't speak much more of Monday. It was not even a day to go down in infamy. Just a day that thoroughly embraced Monday in all its connotations. 

So yesterday was a very ginger day. I woke up with that threatening tenseness in my temples, and decided evasive maneuvers would be necessary to survive the day. There was a liberal application of eye drops, liberal moments of "resting my eyes" type naps when the tension started to mount about my brow, and not moving or stirring up too much affect. Because all those elastic empathetic facial expressions I pull... they take their toll sometimes. 

It was both fortunate and unfortunate in equal strokes that Andrew's trainer session was last night. Fortunate in that it allowed me to spend the evening mostly reclined in bed, thinking little and minimizing eye-involvement, besides re-applying eye-drops. Less fortunate in that the entire house was vibrating and that just nearly set the entire thing off again. Vibrations were not migraine induced. More like crazy masochistic husband on a loud earthquaking trainer. Just so we're clear. But at least with the door closed and some extra precautionary stillness, I managed to avoid a relapse. I woke this morning without that initial siren of "ugh"

Today it's down to twinges, little mementos of the prior days' agonies, but it could come back. So there will continue to be some gentleness to my day, but perhaps it's good practice to be gentle with myself regardless. 

Happy humpday! I'm hoping to be over the hump in more ways than one and may you equally be recovering from whatever setbacks the early week may have threatened. 

Triskadeckamania (did somebody say Triscuits???) and Paraskevidekatriaphilia on the Prowl: Fourteen on the Thirteenth!!

Well I will make more than certain to avoid those chats noir today. If not the cats, most definitely their litter boxes, which I am prohibited from changing for the duration of this gestational period (darn!! I know!). But I have rarely actually felt the Friday the Thirteenth has been an unlucky day for me. I've even had lucky days. At the very least, generally neutral.

And abutting Valentine's day like this, it's just not that scary by comparison! I jest. I have no problems with good of VDay (VD!). I'm not a huge celebrant, and I take care to avoid restaurants and grocery stores (last minute floral runs can be scary!), but I do like theme candy, and VDay comes with a torrent of fun foil wrappers and shiny stickers. I prefer the theme candies for Christmas. Peppermint everything! But a little cherry with my chocolate never hurt. And heart-shaped chocolates with romantic sayings on the inside wrapper are like decadent little fortune cookies (ooooh chocolate covered fortune cookies...) 

If I were a parent in Mountain Lakes (rich people don't do suburbs - they do enclaves) I might have more of an issue with the big VD. Apparently my sister spent last week creating over 50 "Valentine gift bags" for each member of her son's three classes. That not being enough, parents were also expected to wrap shoeboxes (separately wrapped lids) so the kids could store their Valentine's pelf and lucre in... well... a decoratively wrapped shoebox, I guess. Of course, it being Mountain Lakes, my sister had to take care to amass said treats to avoid (1) peanuts and other common allergens, (2) gluten, (3) high fructose corn syrup, (4) products containing DNA? (speculating on that one, but likely), while still affording an appreciable candy crazed sugar high.

What happened to the days where everyone exchanged those tiny cards with superheros saying bad cutesy puns and maybe a sticker? I liked those. I don't think we were even allowed to give out treats when I was a young'un. 

But speaking of young'uns! SECOND TRIMESTER, BABY!!! Bring on the rainbows and unicorns and the magical flying abilities that I was promised. This is supposed to be the awesome trimester. 

And what's the produce count today? Ok, we're getting less creative here. Many of the sites are just going with inches and centimeters (roughly 4 and the wee little porker purportedly has doubled in weight over the last week). But we have a few candidates: lemon (again!), peach (again! but less Farmer's Market peach and more Montsanto monster peach?), Nectarine, and may favorite half a banana. Poor unpeeled little yeti-Fonz. Yep, covered in hair right now. Very attractive. But in the "slightly more likely to get dates in the future" category, the Fonz can straighten its neck now. 

And make facial expressions. A lot of them. Rapidly and spastically perhaps. Grimacing, frowning, squinting, smiling and scowling at a deranged gallop. Oh, and it has eyebrows, so... basically I'm now gestating a mini-Groucho Marx. 

Outside of a womb, a picture book is a baby's best friend; inside of a womb it's too dark to read! But then again, my eyelids are still fused shut anyways!! High comedy. 

Eyes may still be too sensitive to peep around, but the ears are open. Time to swallow that iPod (which, incidentally, the Fonzarelli now outsizes)! Hearing.  Oh holey moley am I in trouble now. Fonzie-fuzz can hear when I talk to it. Or just eavesdrop generally when I talk, I'm guessing. So, that sailor's tongue and testy tone might wanna get nixed. From now on, I shall nag my husband and curse my enemies with a sing-song "gosh-golly aren't ya a big silly stinky face?" Not that I didn't mostly do it that way anyways... 

As for me, the rainbows are on backorder and the unicorns are in quarantine at the border, but I have been continuing the slow improvement from first-tri wastrel to something more human (with more volume).

Some of my less favorite persistent symptoms will continue, but the nausea has abated into a more tolerable heartburn and indigestion (with a side of cramps that I'm assured are growing pains and not the little Fonzarelli with a mini-taser). As previously alluded, I'm more sensitive to heat and allergies, meaning the headaches are going to be an ongoing spectre. Especially because (why not) my eyes have changed shape and I am producing fewer tears. Sure! 

But all in all, I am happy to have most of my energy treacling back, even if I'm not parting ways with any naps just yet. And yeah, a few more weeks and I swear this burgeoning belly thing will go beyond "pressing against my shirt" to "showing." 

And while I'll take an extra modicum of caution today (which I should do everyday considering my near-spill down the Tower Steps on Wednesday), I'm feeling pretty ok about this Friday, freaky though it may be!

Dangly Double Layered Love and Revenge of the Tax Beast
Ah sweet, sweet Ides of February. We've passed through the valley of the shadow of the thirteenth and hearts-day holidaze and emerged to unseasonably early cherry-tree blossoms and ongoing allergies (they're up to high already!)...

... With a side of thrashing husbands because suddenly it's kind of warm at night and our blankets are too much for him now as well! I've constructed elaborate systems of propping myself under a sheet with the blanket just hanging off of my toes. But he's still adjusting from being generally cold enough to want the blankie. 

As I swore, I don't tend to celebrate Valentine's Day, so I was taken quite aback (in a pleasant way) when the boyfrianceband surprised me on subsequent evenings with two beautiful pairs of earrings. Earrings are something of a forte for him. Gifting them, that is. The first gift he ever bought me was a pair of earrings he'd picked up while travelling in Bhutan. He's gone from there with flying baubles! And since I'm on the verge of having to hang up my danglies lest some exubuerant Fonzarelli rip them from my ears, it's lovely to have an extra two-pair of danglies to toss about with glee. I buried him in chocolate (so, basically, it was the weekend), and we spent the evening at my mom's house eating a fairly ridiculous double-layer-pizza (yeah, two pizzas stacked on each other and united with a ginormous crust). Ok, Andrew ate that. Almost. He couldn't finish the entire pie as much as half of it. But that is a regular whole pizza, so it's still an accomplishment. 

And because what's more romantic for Valentine's Day than miring knee deep in forms and frustrations, yesterday was TAXES PART TWO: THE STING! I got back that long anticipated 1099 form that Andrew kept thinking had something to do with defining my IRA/401K/Magical Retirement Fund of Protean Nature and Amorphous Rules, but actually had to do with a mutual fund. Ok, so let me back up, here for those of you blessed with a simpler tax system: 

1. US taxes are confusing and recondite ordeals that end when you crash headfirst into the tax minotaur. Not recommended. I'd pay about double my tax rate to not have to go through tax forms and all the brouhaha. Possibly more (in other words, I should move to Europe or something). 

2. This year I put some pre-inheritance money into a mutual fund at Morgan Stanley. This means that instead of merely sitting around in an account doing nothing, my money has gotten pretty ADHD with a side of severe mood swings to come out to about the same value as when it started. I don't believe this money exists, but several involved broker type people are constantly buying and trading stocks and funds with it. 

3. The form I get at the end of the year that's relevant to my taxes is a 1099. It shows how much "taxable income" I made from all this. That has nothing to do with the value of my account and is a thoroughly theoretical number so long as I maintain said mutual fund. 

4. This "taxable income" is not actually income that I've ever seen. And it doesn't necessarily reflect in the value of my holdings. It means that whenever some stock or whatever are sold, that proceeds are taxable. I don't see it because that "profit" immediately goes into purchasing something else. The something else may or may not be more valuable, but until I sell it, the value of that matters not a whit. 

5. My mutual fund had a lot of activity. 

6. Therefore, despite the value of my account currently having gone down this quarter, I "made" nearly $7,000 of "taxable income". Whoops! And, unlike payroll taxes (from which a prospective tax is witheld so you aren't slammed at the end of the year) this "income" has never had taxes withheld. So we owe it all at once. 

7. Just to make it all more complicated, there are ways to get around the tax system... a bit.  I "defer" being paid a certain amount of money to have that go into a certain kind of retirement account and that doesn't even count as income until some other time. There are "deductions" which range in wide variety based on certain sanctioned things one does with one's money. I put money into a different retirement account, and that gets deducted from my reportable income. I put money into a health saving account, and that gets deducted. Andrew has student loan debts, so those get deducted. To a point. There are maximum contributions for each kind of tax dodge er account, AND a maximum total deduction one can take. 

8. So we think... and Andrew is the only one who's seen these forms so really he thinks and I am tired of thinking about taxes today, that I can in fact lower our current liability from $1,100 to $600ish if I move $2,500 of my savings into a retirement account "for 2014." Granted I could also move the remaining allowable $5,400 into the same account, but it won't change our liability. Yes, it's well into 2015, but I can maximize my tax dodging contributions for "2014" until April of 2015. Because that's America, folks!

9. None or some or barely some of the above #8 may be true, since this is the opinion of the man who - to this day - insists on calling my simple IRA a 401k and/or confusing it with a Traditional IRA. And a simple IRA is totally different than everything else. It's some kind of mythical unicorn retirement account with even more maddening rules! 

Frustrating. Not in a "I'm going to join the Tea Party and declare income taxes unconstitutional" sort of way. Because I think I should pay taxes. I think I should probably pay more taxes than I do. But, I wish they made some modicum of sense to me. I wish I weren't consistently blindsided every year with some new complication of adult life. When I was a broke young'un, taxes were generally easy (yet I still often had the IRS correcting me and informing me I was due a greater refund than I'd calculated - thanks IRS!). I didn't make enough to even be much considered. My form was simple. Then I got married, and that messed up everything because nobody warned us about how the exemptions on our payroll taxes changed (yes, a family law attorney should have known that but oh well). And now I try to do something real with my money and it goes down in value while costing me money! I know, I know, if I sold it all off at a loss, I'd get to deduct that on my tax form (aggh) next year, but still. It feels counter-intuitive. 

 So, basically if we're going to have this cabalistic system, which I suspect we'll continue to have, perhaps we as citizens ought to be better educated about it. How is basic tax training not mandatory in our public education and college systems? Really! 

Holidazed Monday Monkey Love! And the long weekend work double daze

If you're situated within the United State o'Muricah, you might be on you third day-of-note in rather rapid succession: Friday the 13th (I call it a holiday), Valentine's, and now President's Day. And Mardi Gras is just around the corner. Whooooo, this is more hyped up than that pesky December holiday season!

So, actually, I'm at work. I have an OB appointment (ultrasound pics - oh yeah!) on Thursday, and then Andrew and I are devoting our remaining daytime hours to apartment stalking. So, we'll call it a holiday deferred (like those Simple IRA payments I should have amped up to the maximum this year, apparently). Except it's still a wee bit holidayey here, what with the office being officially closed and, well, all of downtown being more or less shut up and shut down. My favorite times to hang out at the office. 

After the Valentine's pizza (ridiculous double layered only-in-America pizza monstrosity), trysting and tax turgidity, yesterday was a bit of a palate cleanser with a kick of local theater! We done cultured ourselves kinda. Andrew and I don't often go to plays, probably due to his long-term proximity to the theater scene (having been a professional lighting designer in New York for a while, and a theater major to boot, so... the fear of theater snobbery and disappointment with piddling productions runs high), but certain plays just lend themselves to a fairly decent local amateur group. 

In this case, we watched a play called Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig. I love Ken Ludwig. He has hit on a golden formula of farcical send-ups of aspiring/washed-up theatrical types, men in drag, people coming in and out of doors, and misunderstandings of a nearly implausible nature. I'd previously seen productions of Moon Over Buffalo and Lend Me a Tenor at the Bellingham Theater Guild, and they both left me in stitches. So I figured this was (1) going to be entertaining regardless, since the farcical send-up of poor theater was enough to suffice even if the production was... well... possibly poor (it wasn't, although it was low budget for sure) (2) well suited to a local troupe, considering his previous madcap comedies have been quite beautifully so. 

I'm glad to be right. There was Shakespeare. There were exquisitely poor performances by wannabe actors and horribly hammy ones by washed up ones (within the play). There were men in dresses. Women a little too dense to notice the men in dresses were the same as the guys they were falling for. Ridiculous supporting cast members. And a lot of people coming and going through various doors and hilariously timed pacing. And after a heckuvalot of complication and silliness, love conquers all and we live happily ever after. A rather lovely way to spend a matinee. 

So we've broken the theater seal after only (almost) six years. I could be wrong, but I really think Andrew and I haven't been to the straight theater together since we started dating. Symphony, ballet, opera, and some peculiar performance art pieces, but I think this is the first time I've gotten up the gumption to suggest it. Ok, I have suggested other plays I knew he'd liked before, but his equivocal ("but that could go so awry if poorly produced") interest disincentivized the follow-through. So I'm 2 for 2 on the "forcing Andrew to do things he's initially wary about." Meaning number 3 will probably push it to the brink, but hey! 

Gotta get this kind of experience out of the way before our new horizons involve dancing pickles singing about morals and nutrition!

And with that, it's time to say hip hip hoorah to the long-deceased presidents for whom our prior venom has faded with the pages of history... and start fantasizing about those pancakes. 

Lucky Threeteen(?): Don Fonzarelli Tilts at Goldfish and Smudges the Womb-Window

Before the thirteen tolled a new horizon: amphibaby's grand cameo led to blood shed and long waits, but the hiccuping happy tumbles made it all worth the sacrifice. A grand hip hoorah for a blessed "normal" little passion-fruit. Fiamma Burgers charred the date night thrill with shrieks and eternal waits worth of BOGA itself.  And news of moves moving faster than anticipated filled the air with uncertainty and excitement. 

Week THIRTEEN! Harbinger of the grand old adios to Trimester the First. Full of promise for bigger bellies and Fewer naptimes. The trainer roars in cranky cavils, but on goes the fanfare and adventure. Newer news of housing holy moleys surface and adaze our little proto-family. Fuzzy peachy Fonz kicks it up another notch and suckles the womb window, while the mommening breaks frontiers into prayer itself. 

Tyrranotrainer-Rex and the House-Stalker Stunner

Yesterday was trainer night. Well... possibly Trainer Night: Part One of this lovely week. I was perhaps non-plussed when I was informed that there might be a Thursday encore. As far as I recalled, "our discussion" about this trainer thing was revolving around a single weeknight with possibilities for a weekend afternoon. 

In my feminine way - despite my general dislike for the trainer evenings on several ground which I've previously enumerated - I didn't mind so much that there may be a second night as much as I minded that we didn't discuss it first! Because that's how we ladies roll, a secret fairly blaringly advertised and yet perpetually recondite to the masculine sect: Men can get all kinds of things that they don't even realize so long as they give their spouses the mere illusion of inclusion on decisions that impact them mutually. And hey, talking about something that will inconvenience me to the benefit of my beloved makes me feel all self-smug and gracious when I inevitably give the green light to do so. Which in turn has kind of a Ben Franklin impact whereby my having done something for another person makes me like them even more. Because humans are weird and women are no exception. 

But I digress. Last night's trainer session was expected and pre-approved, so I was in fact abundantly gracious. Indeed, I daresay I made provisions in my little bedroom cave and pillow fortress. Hiding upstairs with music, a couple of books, some bananas smothered in peanut butter and cocoa nibs, and fifty thousand of my favorite pillows. A pregnant lady's superlative oneiric indulgence!

If pre-discussed, I do tend to find that Andrew's co-opting of our living room frees up and forces an evening of relaxation and reading. At the cost, sure, of much of any interaction with my husband beyond the periphrastic flood of endorphin-afflated babelism that flows freely from my trainer-warrior's mouth when he's finally done and sitting down to dinner. And at the expense of niceties such as the slightest interest or curiosity about my day. And possibly at the expense of a good night's sleep, although I've been so wonked recently, my ability to pass out through the twitching and tossing has been significantly fortified. But given we have those opportunities other evenings, an evening of retreat is quite nice. 

I've been keeping on keeping on with the slow wean from facetime. Not easy, although the internet part actually isn't too hard. The phone is a bedazzlingly vexing little siren, but my philosophy is that I mostly want my use of it to be (1) deliberate, (2) secondary to my real life interactions. Basically, I'd prefer other people not to see me on my phone. Meaning, my text messages and chats (the only notifications I keep up on my phone) are increasingly squeezed in furtive bursts of bathroom breaks. Make of that what you will. 

But sometimes, an email is important enough to merit an actual antediluvian phone call! Did you know Galaxy 5s still receive phone calls? Color me magenta, they do! I received one yesterday from Mr. (W)right in fact. Only by mad fortune was my silenced phone face-up at the time, or I'd never have noticed my husband's face appearing on my desk and beckoning me to answer. 

We have some news! Some serious potential news. Andrew's uncle recently passed away. That's not the news. We knew that already. On Christmas Eve, actually. Yesterday his mom wrote to him that for complex reasons she was considering disclaiming said uncle's brokerage accounts and passing them directly to Andrew and his brother Zach. It would be enough to cut the student loan albatross from his neck, and this would free us up to actually consider buying a house! I have had money ready for a portion of a down payment for sometime, but we were not really considering it until Andrew paid down his debt. Suddenly, it may be an option sooner than years down the road. Our heads are a bit awhirl with just the possibility.

Granted, not really enough time to buy a house before our lease is up even if we both had all our monies in order. But it means our next place might be our next place. Andrew's immediate thought was "we can afford a little nicer apartment." Mine was "we can get a short term apartment without all those worries about amenability for a child, since we can move shortly after." Yin and Yang but it works. 

There's still plenty to iron out, but it's kind of a cool thing to imagine on the horizon. Having a baby. Owning a house. Being married. Oh my lord am I stumbling into adulthood again? Yikes!

Tippee Toed Through Thorsday on a Grunt and a Prayer

As I observed to my semi-conscious loris this morning, it doesn't feel thoroughly much like Thursday. Though the the week has been long. Yesterday didn't feel much like Wednesday either. We went out as we usually do, but even that didn't do it. Maybe because we were both tired, Andrew more than me (he's taking advantage of the twelve week rally to rack up "more tired and dazed than pregger-lady" points). 

Anyways, this  apparently is not the observation to spark conversation in the morning. Unless we're referring to the sound of crickets chirping and proverbial pens clattering to the floor at a deafening din. Oh I guess I did get a belated "yeah... I don't know..." after some symphonic slurps of the coffee cup. 

Other conversational non-starters: (1) reading a thank you card from my aunts (chirp chirp), (2) mentioning my upcoming day (... chirp... chirp... slurp), (3) beginning the often fraught and loaded question "how are you?"

What did work (to be stowed away for future reference): So I'm thinking about having a sex change, which might be complicated with the pregnancy thing. I'm thinking maybe an artificial womb so we can see the fetus develop.

We agreed I should definitely ask about that at the next visit. Alternately, I'm thinking of requesting some way of installing a little window through my lower abdomen, so I can start showing my little Fonzie lots of educational images and get that crucial pre-natal learning and development kickstarted. Some moms are content with headphones on the belly. Me, I want a direct line in on all sensory fronts. 

I don't really want a sex change, by the way. 

And although it's interesting to speculate about the artificial womb, and I do like how it would simplify our birth plan, I'm kind of happy to be carrying a living thrashing piece of produce in my belly. Maybe it reminds me to be more mindful, knowing this little thing is part of me right now and can feel my moods and movements. 

It's helping me slow down, breath more, even drive the speed limit most of the time. And encouraging me to embrace mindful  moments between the constant cavils and gripes of a taken-for-granted blessed life. 

In addition to cutting back screen time (totidem verbis "hiding in the bathroom to check my phone"), I've been thinking about mindfulness. Cultivating the peaceful and grateful parts of my life. And in tandem, I've been thinking about the art of orison. 

The word "prayer" can come with bundles of baggage, so sometimes I avoid the usage while supporting the underlying ideas that prayer represents to me. I don't see prayer as a straight attempt to bargain with deities or demigods. To impose a sense of order on the world by embracing the belief that uncontrollable events may be controlled by the number of good thoughts in the world and the persuasive silver-tongue timbres of the intervening saints and supplicants: an appealing idea to a lawyer, but blind to the complexities of an ultimately unpredictable existence.

 Such belief introduces the suggestion that those subject to cruelties of fate are somehow responsible, or that their own defects created their own paucity of fortune. That's just kind of an extension of the human "just-world" bias that causes so much intolerance and cruelty towards those most in need of succorance

Which is not to say that I don't think there is an energy created by  prayer. And I am not proud enough to imagine I understand the infinitely nuanced interoscillated universe well enough to say our energies don't influence the world. I know they do, even if only by how they impact our mindset and the face we provide to the world. 

  I see pray as a beneficial practice in several areas: (1) Gratitude. Giving thanks is a large part of prayer. Gratitude has been repeatedly shown to boost happiness. It also leaves us more open to the world and more likely to invite positive energy into our lives. Gratitude kills fear and fear pushes life away. (2) The meditative hypnotic quality of silent contemplation and the internal orientation of the mantra. When we give ourselves to a higher power, or ask the universe somehow to be better people, we pray to our own higher selves before we even breach the ether of heaven. And these supplications directly impact what we become. (3) Love. Praying for other people cultivates compassion, reorients our sense of self as interconnected to those around us, and draws us away from those nitpicky day-to-day for-granted annoyances we often cultivate for our nearest and dearest. 

I already have a bit of a focus on gratitude by writing a journal of "three things that went right" each day for Andrew to read. I practice sitting and meditation a bit, although I could stand to do more. When I walk in the woods, I play little games to focus me on the moment (choosing to listen for all the sounds around or focusing on all the smells). And when I listen to music, I find that infinite moment inside of me. I do so wish the Taize service I attend with my father were more frequent. 

But to add in that third element, I am taking some time each day to "pray" for people. To think about them and wish them well. Specifically. It focuses me on what their struggles are, changes my mindset to an outer focus and makes me feel more connected even in my deepest solitude. And it reminds me in a visceral way that the reason the nearest and dearest sometimes drive me nuts is because I care for them so deeply and trust them so much that I never question their presence in my life. 

It's something I do for myself, but I do think I'd like to pass that on to a child as well. 

And with that note, I wish you all happy energies. Know you're in my thoughts and I like it that way. Right next to my fantasies of the patented pre-baby window learning tool inserts! Which will make me a fortune in certain areas of the country. 

Threeteen and Wonderful Totally Not Unlucky Week of the Ovular Peachy Pea-Pod Fonzazest! 

Last week of first trimester!! I am so over you tri-one. Thanks, much, I believe I'll try-two instead! Give me that fabled increase in the libidinous interest in reality, the weakening of which should recently have come to a close. Name that butchered quote citation and win a Meyer lemon... one of several options proffered for my envisioning of little Fonzarelli.

Apparently we're at the threshold at which fetuses start differentiating in growth rate and pace of development. I may have to start making up my own individualized produce and food metaphors. But at least this week, I've got my pick of some templates: Pea pod, peach, Meyer lemon, medium goldfish, egg,  and/or  "3 inchish fetus with a head that is only 1/3 of its full measurement"... 

Ok, egg seems kind of peculiar, since in fact the Fonz already was an egg. Partially. Egg is in Fonzie's heritage, at any rate. I admit when I bring eggs home from the grocery store, I sometimes  apologize to them that they will never have the opportunity to become little chicks because I was hungry. Which makes thinking of my Fonzie-fig as an egg, a wee bit more macabre. 

Meyer lemon is a good progressive evolution from "various sizes of lime," and keeps in a theme. Plus I rely on lemon juice in hot water in the mornings, so lemons are close to my heart (and occasionally heartburn). Similarly, peach is a nice progression from plum. And appropriately fuzzy, considering "my baby" is now "covered in fine hair." Freakish little yeti!

 The goldfish is actually fairly evocative. They are similar creatures: googly eyed, submerged in water and thrashing from time to time. A pea pod... well I just don't know that I have enough of an eidolon of pea pod to connect with that one beyond the typical "pea in the pod" maternity type cliches. Seems kind of gaunt for the little thing. 

In other news, Fonzie's got fingerprints now with which to thoroughly smudge up my womb window. And sucking muscles that will cause it to "root" (start sucking) if I poke my abdominal wall. Smudging and sucking on everything in sight!. Already so much like a real kid!!

And as for me, I have an excuse finally! An official excuse for my rampant looby clumsiness. Egad, relaxin! Thou hast smote me mightily!! Apparently in addition to brain fog, I now have the officially sanctioned gawky gravidas syndrome. Which explains a lot of flying objects and spill-stains strewn about my personage and curtilage. I don't have a baby yet, but I'm clearly in training!

No new ultrarific ultrasounds of the Fonz. Our little super-star gets a break from the medical paparazzi until mid-February when we have our next mad BOGA boogey and house-hunt happi-haps. But my stomach is starting to fascinating me beyond reason. A minor protrusion that no ordinary person would associate with pregnancy, but far too firm and erumpent to be considered a little stomach flab. Could leave me wearing crop tops and staring at myself, poking my belly (triggering that suckling response in wee Fonzie-peach-fish) all day long!

But first I'll sit through an IRB meeting for which I'm perennially ill-prepared and do a little boogie dance for me and golden-peach-pod!

Thoroughly Tilted Tarantellas and the Declaration of Victory!

Monday begins with victory: after mom-boss actually called the cleaning service and left specific instructions (complete with urgent explanations on the intolerable boiler that haunts our halls), the cleaning lady actually left my window unmolested and ajar!! Sure she mucked up the arrangement on mom-boss' desk as always, but the rest of my office was so thoroughly hidden in pre-cleaner lock-down that she didn't have much to do in here except move my keyboard out of line. And that is an easy fix. 

This portends well for the rest of my week, I do declare. 

Yesterday, we wound our way down to Don Quixote and Sancho Panzo's scurrilous semi-heroics, courtesy of the PNB. I've really embraced the PNW culture and my current pregnancy to shamelessly attend cultural events in my yoga pants and a camisole. Well the cami had more to do with the poor ventilation within McCaw hall itself. I did wear a shirt for most of the rest of the day. But I am a paying customer (not really, but the recipient of the aegis of one at any rate) and I will not develop an incalescent migraine for the sake of modesty in a darkened theater, by golly! I'll do that the next day in response to the long drive, eye strain from all the reading in a hot car, and usual pregnant lady stuff. But not in the hall itself, thank you much. 

So... there was a bit of the Don. Less of him than of the company endued in an olio of costumes and dancing endless rounds. Fun enough, but a little less focused than I think either Andrew or I really prefer. We're just more Rep people than Story Ballet people. At least "Classical Russian or French story ballet with the touches of several different choreographers"

 I should say that there are some story ballets that are wonderful. It's not really the presence of a story, per se, that I like or dislike. Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet (the Prokofiev version anyways) are both tantalizingly taut, and powerfully tell the story they set upon to tell. Midsummer Night's dream is quite short, doesn't waste time with too much superfluity, and the impish activity permeates the music. Romeo and Juliet has a cast, but they aren't just dancing for the heckuvit. There's tension and fighting and hostilities that are central to the atmosphere of the story. And it is gripping. The music oozes emotion and this is mirrored in the extremes of elation and despair embodied onstage.

It's more the "there's kind of a story here, sorta, but here watch a bunch of the company and some of our school dance around in various costumes for the majority of the next three of four acts while our principals take a rest" sort of style. The endless "dancing peasants," as Andrew calls it. Which I accept in the Nutcracker, because it's the Nutcracker. And because they aren't peasants. They're cute kids acting just as bratty as real kids and then a bunch of soloists showing off in a trippy dream sequence or ten. It's sentimental. It's cute. It's pretty short for a story ballet.

Don Quixote had some genuinely fantastic chorographical flourishes. And it was enjoyable. But by the time you butt your head against two intermissions, you kind of wish they'd been a little handier with the editing tools. 

 Andrew actually couldn't stick it out through the first act (he'd previously been dehydrated and made up for it by drinking copious liquids at lunch) through all the "dancing peasants." He eventually excused himself and watched the rest on the screens outside. Funnily enough, the girls next to me had the same challenge. About ten minutes after Andrew crawled out, the girl next to me actually climbed over her seat and the seats behind her to escape to a bathroom.

That said, the dancing was superlative. The story actually is more about a village girl, Kitri, and her love Basilio. They want to marry, her dad wants her to marry some ridiculous rich dude (I know, never heard of before plot for opera or ballet... EVER!). They do a series of things that marginally include Don Quixote accidentally helping them, and everyone lives happily ever after. Except the rich dude, but he was ridiculous so nobody cares. Don Quixote also has a major psychedelic trip-out in Act II, where he sees a bunch of dryads and winged angelic creatures after being attacked by cacti and windmills. 

The poignancy of an elderly man driven mad by his own literary fantasy striving for derring-do while miring in ridiculous and often hurting the innocents he seeks to protect - and that final denouement when he comes to painful sanity on his deathbed - doesn't exactly take center stage. No death. Minor subversiveness in his delusions. A little concern with the fainting and tripping out in Act 2, but really it's more a happy ballet about young lovers. And since the novel was originally mostly comic, that's cool. Although the ballet has less bite and more ... happy peasants. The choreography is pretty awesome though. 

On our way back, Andrew took me by EI to show me the gigantic machine that's been eating his brain slowly. Ok, not exactly, but there was a lot of work stress related to that gentle giant last week. Quite the imposing creature, even if the concerns were more theoretical mathematical concerns. 

And we are back to today. In which I score one vicariously over the havoc of our little cleaner lady. Tarantara! 

Bring on the Monday. Gently. I'm still a little tired from all the tilting and windmills yesterday.