The Aesculapian Hydra Tottering Atop the Tulips

Previously on A&A's Adeventures in Cohabitation: Larb Gar Ahoy me mateys! Out of the tequila hot-tubs of datenights yore, the White Thai Whale loomed with a lashing of its tail. And what a tale of woe and tepid veggies it was, until the triumphant return of home and the in-house date-night retrieval. The soup was definitely off. And dead as the (mountain bike) Bible cast aside once more in a seasonal ritual of tooth-gnashing and calendar purgation. Adella grabbed hold of her countertops, barely resisting the vortext of becoming brood-vortext betrayed by her boyfrianceband. 

Coming Up: Tipsy top go the respective limbs, as imbalances weigh lightly and avocado daubs the walls. Will union 'twixt the adroit and the sinister ere be achieved or will we all hobble on, entrenched in our imbalances? Truculent tulip traffic tangles the way home from fairy land. Will Puck relent from his impish pirouettes and clear the pullulating pollen of love's sweetest and most insidious of blossoms, delirium? Pandora pries at the Diagnostic Box. Will her solicitous curiosity unleash new matroyshkas of endless infinite waiting rooms besot with hungry hydras haranguing the mind with their endless inconclusives? Will Andrew's liver avoid another stabbing? Will arms be lost in the investment fray? 

Hop aboard your dominant leg, strap on your pointe shoes, and tie those patient smocks tightly to delve the depths of answerless de-onioning below!

Life and the Grand Imbalancing Act - 

I've been remarking on the dissonances between expected strengths and weaknesses of my not-100%-right side since this recent arch injury and recovery. I'm naturally right-dominant. This dominance is something that can be encouraged/entrenched in partner dancing. While the central hinging connection is at the follow's left side, most weight-bearing dips and tricks rely heavily on the right leg. I spent a lot of time in some kind of wiggle tango corte of eternal damnation with amateur leads who thought that perching one's follow in a single legged squat and then steering her through a series of back bends constituted blues dancing. All in all I figured that my rights leg is stronger and more deft than my left, as is true with my right arm. 

 Turns out that my right leg is the finicky collicky leg, while my left is the workhorse. Put me on one of those balancing torture devices for a few seconds and this becomes shockingly apparently. Of course, that had me re-thinking my initial assumptions. Come to think of it, since there's a hinge at the left and I step with my right foot, I did spend a decent amount of time balancing on my left foot.  

As Andrew reflected in his own experience, I tend to reserve my right side for tasks that require dexterity and fine-tuning. This often leaves my left side holding the (heavy and unwieldy) bag. 

It's fascinating to realize how thoroughly unbalanced the human body becomes over time. Discounting specialized training, we are mostly side-dominant (pity the left-side dominant person in elementary school). For various reasons, that ennate dominance may be futzed with or diminished. My mom speaks of a sudden childhood panic that she might someday break her right arm, prompting her to dablle in ambidexterity. I went through a phase of travel-journalling in Morocco, where - after much of what I had to say was covered - I simply practiced my left-handed penmanship (an unsophisticated script for my more naif moments, I suppose). By the end of that trip, my journal resembled Jack's very dull boy opus in The Shining, but I did grasp some limited fluency. Very limited. 

In our distracted world, I often eat with my left hand. This is actually because it enables me to keep my right hand free for crosswords, single handed swyping, and page turning on the kindle. Since the advance-forward motion requires tapping on the right side of the screen, I've found that one handed kindling only works in the right hand. I can handle chopsticks as masterfully in my left as with my right hand. Still for the initial stirrings and final scooping of a dish, I may switch utensils to my right (and still more agile) hand. Being aware of it now, I've noticed in the kitchen that I almost universally hold with the left hand and chop/stir/spread/slice/etc. with my right. Naturally, I'm now attempting the mirror image to high hijinks and a new kitchen redecoration scheme ("avocado" walls are even more fun when they're literally so!). I do hold with my right and pour with my left, when it comes to coffee, which I suspect was developed in reaction to the relationship of the coffee pot and the sink over which I prefer to pour. 

Several years ago, my mother switched her computer mouse to the left side. She did so for a variety of reasons only sometimes having to do with a mix of self-challenge and remaining primal terror of being monodextrous. I picked up that habit. While I switch back and forth from time to time I'm now more comfortable using my left hand to mouse.  

I could go on. It is somewhat baffling to realize the myriad internal preferences and physical specializations. My right quad is brobdignagian, and my strength is typically a bit higher, but - as I mentioned before - the muscles on the outer right glute are significantly weaker. Same for the internal muscles supporting the right ankle. My right hamstring always gets tighter. Further North, my right shoulder is prone to more clicking. My body - in deference to dance - seems offset just a bit and twisted on its line. The lower hips twist slightly left, while the upper body twists slightly right, as if I'm trying to unscrew myself at the torso. 

There's a benefit and an eventual cost to specialization in most cases, as in here. Efficiency is a double edged sword, as it can lead to imbalances that eventually lead to injuries. But it's also... efficient. Damned efficient. Speedy, accident reducing, and just far less of a huge mess. Regardless, there may be some more spilled milk and mis-spread toast for a while as I inevitably play with balance. Anything to avoid the actual balancing exercises for my PT and that darned spikey circus ball! 

Trudging Through the Tulips with Petulant Pixies An Ariose Date Afternoon in the Big City
Before I weave my silver tapestry of lovely Sundays past, I should note that something or somebody doesn't really want me at work today. The latter "-body" may simply be me, but I stolidly asseverate that greater forces are at play. I woke up late this morning and have been just that extra bit gravitationally challenged for the experience. While the drive only hinted at blazing automobile crashes, the old Towers heaved a sigh to see me, steeled its framework and clamped its locks.

My key would not work in the side door lock at all, which I suspect may be related to the fact that the lock orientation had shifted to downward dog. As such, I had to go to the glass doors of the main entrance. These require a sort of kneeling prayer stance to unclasp. The first prayer fell on deaf ears. I eventually jiggered my jangles through on the third lock I had tried and fell forward into the building. I can't say why the building was so reticent at the thought of my company. Nothing was awry inside, and the keys worked fine internally. 

My office rejoined the chorus of "go away go away," the office light going super nova on me before receding to a blank vapidity. It's light enough outside to accommodate, but I still maintain this is a positive sign that I am not destined to be here today. 

Perhaps I am destined to take a hop, jump and skip back into the heady reverie of a nostalgic retelling instead: Yesterday the boyfrianceband and I had tickets to the PNB's Midsummer Night's Dream. Feeling the frisky adventurousness of spring, I bought us tickets to the Experience Music Project as well, so that we might take advantage of a gorgeous day in Seattle by being indoors as many places as possible. 

We started with a splendid drive. Perhaps to rev myself up for the fairyland ballet, I read Peter Pan and Wendy on the way down. Do note, I was the passenger so this wasn't a hugely perilous undertaking on my account. We had lunch at Bamboo Gardens, as is our wont. Then off we went to the throbbing bass and bluster of the Experience Music Project's amorphous acoustical walls. I admit we actually spent far more time in the Sci Fi and Horror sections - seeing several pretty spectacular props from any imaginable movie including a full scale alien and a face hugger from Aliens, several items I had assumed were CG from the Matrix (including Neo's jacket which emphasizes that Keanu Reeves is actually a fairly tall guy), your ubiquitous Star Trek/Wars and Dr. Who detritus, and (my personal favorite) Shawn of the Dead's shirt. 

From one fantasy land to another, we were blasted with the sauna of McCaw Hall in short shrift. I really do not recall McCaw hall being so uncomfortably stuffy when I go to the opera there, but the last three ballets have been double-tylenol headaching affairs. I think when I attend Giselle in June, I shall be bringing a pocket fan and an ice pack. The lady seated next to me and I had a tacit arrangement of alternating program-fanning during most of the first act. But infernal torment granted a vision of Edenic bliss on the stage itself. 

Midsummer Night's dream is a Balanchine conception. He took Mendelssohn's incidental music, added some more Mendelssohn and worked the entire contents of the play quite handily into an hour and ten minutes of Act I. It's lightly peppered with the pantomime of traditional story ballet, but at an exuberant pace. While the plot is lucent, it never stumbles into the way of the dancing itself. Balanchine particularly used several pas de deux to showcase his choreography. Hermia and Demetrius are codependently clasping and collapsing in to each other in caricature when they first dance. Followed by the violent clinging of Helena against the rejection of Lysander - a common tension as various love petals throw various suitors towards the wrong women. Titania dances amorously only with Donkey-headed Bottom, who is more interested in the pile of grass she uses to lure him. 

Only in the second Act, where love wins - admittedly through dodgy and questionable fairy intervention - that the traditional pas de deux really lets loose (and most of that is from a nameless couple providing the divertissement). The other obviously shining choreographic and performance role is that of Puck, the impish lacky and major driver of the protean love triangles created in the first act. The sets and stages were splendid - utterly glittering and blazing at times with just the right twilight euphoria. 

And most blessedly of all, it was a tidy two hour affair. Much shorter if not for the ubiquitous intermission after the heavy weight of the first act left us waiting for the narrative free dance extravaganza of "every one is happy and married and we'll get ourselves to that 'If we shadows have offended...' part" 

The traffic on the way home was less blessedly tidy. Apparently tulips are a huge deal in Skagit County, which is having its annual Tulip festival field viewing nonsense. While I think the tulip fields are lovely, I'm not sure they are worth the anomie wreaked on the freeway between King and Whatcom County for everyone else. What is typically a ten minute drive took about 45 in stop and go conditions due to the damned bulbs. I'm used to that sort of traffic in Everett (accursed land), but this far north is a surreality usually reserved for gruesome accidents and collapsing bridges. 

Regardless, the fairies flew us home in Andrew's screeching little mouse of a Pathfinder (it's about time for him to take it in and discover the source of its stringent cavils - that or turn the radio up another twenty decibels). 

And now I'm back. To a dingy office that doesn't want me, but shall have me by gosh and golly!

Monday, you may not be ready for me, but I'm here and I'm ready to take you by storm! Or by chocolate and coffee and dried fruits...

Medico-a-go-go - Following the follow-up of the follow-up The Aesculapian snake devours its own tale

This morning I had a(nother) doctor's appointment! I know. You're all quite jealous. Being a lush DINK lady, I have several "doctors" and attendant medical professionals. This one, my OB-GYN, talks ten times normal speed, and gives me as much advice about my running/training athletic plan as my PT. My PCP is chatty in a desultory and baffling way, usually hitting the themes that my chosen profession is a mongrel-dog and various cavils about the average patient. I could go on. My nutritionist is a nice lady with a lovely house who thinks I should eat several thousand calories a day. My dentist is a gentle fellow whose first passion is photography followed by proper flossing. I have a few medical professionals to spare. I guess they're community doctors now, but in reality I have all the doctors and my husband has none. 

 The boyfrianceband and I recently discussed his doctorless status. This arose in relation to our HSA, particularly how it can also be considered a retirement/saving account and whether or not to tap that sweet fund until it can't walk straight. Being the person who uses medical preventative care, I was against paying medical costs out of pocket when we had an HSA regardless of savings potential. Eventually, Andrew encountered a tale of the armless man who wished he had his arms back instead of the 8 million dollar settlement the city paid to him for the loss (that's a Kipling one, right?). That settled that conversation. 

While we agreed that it was best to leave our HSA for health savings lest we someday lose our metaphorical arms, that discussion meandered us back to the occasional topic of seeing a doctor and whatnot with the characteristic quarterly declaration of "I should find a doctor". He has a very ambivalent attitude about resuming preventative medical care. The fella had some weird liver tests several years back, which were initially interpreted as hepatitis-something-awful. It's been diagnosed in all kinds of interesting and tentative ways since, with several prickly pointy interventions in the interim. All for a conclusory shrug of the shoulders and indeterminate answers. A whirlwind tour through begrudging vegetarianism, a liver biopsy (they stabbed me in the liver! as he druggedly decried in full Shakespearian eclat), and a phase of taking zinc pills that made him nauseous. He's somewhat burned out on medical stuff.

Since he made the move to EI(e-i-e-i-ooooo), and thus new insurance, he hasn't seen a doctor. Which is mostly his business. But of course in the quarterly conversation about  how he "*should* get a doctor" (in a tone implying that he need never actually do so) I may occasionally kibbitz. If for no other reason than I must compulsively point out "the other side" to any statement in that psittacistic way we sharks and minnows of the legal profession do with no regard for conversational concinnity.

 But I kibbitz also because I am blazing through our HSA account on my own account, and sometimes feel a little guilty. Not that my expenses are particularly excessive, but the physical therapy for my arch combined with the ongoing question marks surrounding my lack of long walks on white beaches (we call them "lady problems" or lack thereof in euphemistic condescension to spare all you squeamish sorts) certainly add up quickly. Add to that the fact that I do see the dentist and probably am due for yet another check up and regular blood work... 

While I tend to argue for the medical profession and regular preventative care, I must admit that I understand the fear of cracking ajar Pandora's Diagnostic Box. Like Andrew and his liver, I think the tenebrous uncertainty about my loobyless lady issues is both baffling and non-plussing. It seems like having a child would change absolutely everything in a number of key life-planning arenas (like in basically throwing any plans straight into the garbage bin and leaping without a parachute into the abyss of parenthood). Knowing that it just wasn't going to happen or that I had some control over whether it did would deeply satisfy my inner life planner and fill out a thousand variables.

 I'm willing to be patient on that one, despite my equally shark-and-minnow desire to control everything with scads of contingency plans and pretty calendars. The additional uncertainty of an idiopathic absence of something expected has the usual "what ifs" attendant. Let us not forget that the minor competitive streak in me feels quite indignant that several rather unhealthy people are not only capable but prone to a physical state that remains elusive for me. As my nephew Ian would be quick to decry: it's just not fair! (then he would change the rules, sprout lasers from his feet, award himself ten extra invincibility points and probably hit his little brother with gamma rays to steal his powers too)

But those more existential anxieties aside, the medical hokey pokey involved is pretty exhausting. I have stunned sympathy for those with fibro, debilitating migraines, clinic depression, etc. I don't know how you/they do it! This is an issue that really doesn't impact my day to day functioning, except that it requires a whole lot of patience and a bit of medical experimentation that may ultimately lead to just another huge "huh".

 I am a fan of induced patience in that I know human nature would jump to have every available test and intervention piled on at once in an extraordinarily inefficient manner. But I'm also not a fan of the frequent losses of mornings or afternoons for one little snippet of information that usually serves to cross off one of a billion issues that get us statistically no closer to an answer, but yet another fifty steps to go in some further inquiry. Shuffling from one waiting room to the next like nesting dolls in a grand medical matryoshka. 

Just a year after seeing my PCP for amenorrhea, I've reached the point of my first physical tests being ordered. Simple ones. In many regards we're still waiting to see the effects of the weight and dietary changes, and the hormones. But to rule out a few more concerns. I may eventually be travelling down to Seattle for a super-specialist. Road trip! I've already been down that way to meet with my (extremely helpful) nutritionist.  I'm also ok with that. Regardless of fertility, I can't imagine that the lack of a fairly definitive aspect of life as a young adult female is completely free of related concerns. 

Accepting as I begrudgingly am, I can see how I might have been wary to start this process if I fully grocked how involved it might be. Well, no that's a lie. I think since I over-anticipate, I likely did (and hence was anxious to start the conversation long before the actual decision of "do we want children" but delayed so as not to throw too many life-changing issues in the way of the fella), but still. I do actually completely get why the husband still hasn't made a definitive step towards another frolic on the ferris wheel of sanitized rooms and endless waiting rooms. 

Then again, he's taken his Pathfinder in to be checked out twice since we married (another instance of puzzles within puzzles and grand reveal of magnificent ecosystem). He argues that the problems with the Pathfinder are readily apparent, while he feels physically fine. I respond that this is because he is hyper aware of the little rattles and complaints of his car, while he discounts several physical things as any variety of "normal effects of ___xyz". I think I'd probably rather take myself to the doctor than take my car in, although I can't say why. 

But back to my medical menagerie. One appointment leads to another like a hydra's de-lopped heads, so I'll be back in the medical area to get an ultrasound (oh boy!) and a bone density test on Friday. Followed by a follow up to the follow up some time in a few months. In the meantime, I'll be keeping it orange with my looby lady pills, which do at least make me sleep like an infant on days 15-30 of the month!

And getting back to work! Our pilates instructor was merciless yesterday, but I'm feeling very little latent muscle soreness today, so I suppose it's time to flex my attorney muscle and test those sinews a touch. 

Prince Florimund Shall Have His Flying Pony: If he survives the thai-pocalypse

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: Gathering their wooden clog-boots and lassoing at windmills,  our (W)rights encountered the Ghost of Marriage Past. Something in rousing in the state of Lynden. Rough and rumble rodeo ructions revved up a new year of oh so (W)rightness. The mysteries of marriage were plumbled in ten pithy little paragraphs. The moral revealed: never grow up, never surrender, and  never trust your gut when the tax-code is involved. A vicious purge survived, the timorous personalty and tyrannical lieges inked their names for one more year of sessile serenity. And there was, of course, much rejoicing.

Coming up: Beware the Larbs of Gai! Benightedly empowered to seek novel lands and spices, our couple get caught at the border of Thai food, incarcerated and frozen without due process or comprehension. Will they survive the Supon strike? Will the sofa ever be seen again, or has it been unwitting collateral damage in this explosion of Thai-ranny?? The Biblical biking schism is upon us. With the gods of the mountain withstand our hero's heresies yet another year? Will punishment ensue? Will rides really be any less structured? Adella's arch defies ultrasound and goes to meet its molder with stirring credit-rolling strings. Will the massage assassin thwart victory? Will she run or hobble? Investment season begins. Will Adella's rainbow pooping flying pony bring dividends? Will Prince Florimund ride again? 

Crunch some coldish curries, check your luggage before customs, and get out your checkbooks to see the answers to these pressing queries and more!!

The Training Bible is Dead (Mostly) Mostly Dead is still slightly alive

Yesterday evening was promising to be a late one. Now that Screwpocalypse (the family friendly edition) has once more abated into a series of miniature projects and lag-times, the bike-and-chain had reseeded our google calendars with his typically insane slew of training rides. According to The Bible, last night was to be a "Z2 R" (not, ZZTop ride, which is how I wanted to read it). I couldn't say what that exactly entailed, but I knew enough to grok that this meant an hour and a half on the trainer in our living room. I knew this partially because I'm an unslakably curious kitty, and because it was pertinent to my timing of the whole husband-dinner thing (if dinner lags much beyond 7, then we're not eating together, because my stomach is neither a fan of either waiting that long nor having a huge meal before bed). 

The boyfrianceband arrived home just past 6:30, beginning the inner whir of internal uxorial calculations (fifteen minutes to get on the bike, an hour and a half on the bike, another ten to get off and be ready for dinner..). Estimating that he would not be available for fine dining until at least 8:30 (not so far away from when we bridge into Adella's bedtime territory), I minced no words and did all in my power to limit distractions between man and bike. But of course it takes a while to get set up for a ride, and, as predicted, he did not start his ride until 6:45 or so. I donned my earplugs, and began his food on general principle of not wanting to remain downstairs the whole evening. While things were simmering, I quivered on the stairs with my book until quite abruptly: silence. Graduating degrees of silence. First the roar of the trainer cut mute. As there are often little mechanical problems that require a pause, I paid no heed... until the fan went off. At only 7:10!

At this point, I debouched from my hiding place with eyebrows aflutter endued in question marks (did I perhaps misread the schedule? Were we slated for a ride so fast that it travelled backwards in time?) Instead I saw Andrew casting off some piece of cycling equipment like a man rolling up his sleeves for sotten bar brawl, and bellowing "forget this!" He then smiled ever so mordantly and proclaimed the death of the structured training plan. 

Dinner was had about twenty minutes anon, during which time the further context emerged. 

As background, The Training Bible and a highly structured training plan has been an eidolon of cycling supremacy in our lives for at least a few years. Every year, Andrew starts anew through his series of base-build-peak and puffery. Every year, something - let's call it life - sufficiently intervenes. And usually just around the springtime, though actual positioning relative to the vernal equinox may vary, Andrew calls it quits, only to begin again the next year with self-promises that this year he'll follow it and just not worry about missing a workout here or there. But first, there will be a period of grandiloquent oration on the defects of a structured plan, the stress of cramming it into a schedule, the sheer otiosity of it all. Eventually there will be some abridged form of peak and rest cycles. And, should the season not quite pan out, there will be a subsequent lachrymosity that life once again intervened and stymied the perfect training plan. First it was medical problems. Then school. Then wedding and new job nonsense. This year, I suspect the culprit to be singled out will be the commute and the particularly vexing screwpocalypse overtime explosion

While we've been here before and likely will begin again, it's a relieving point of the year. Attempting to meet the stringent confines of an increasingly tenebrous plan is inherently intrusive and stressful. And no matter how many promises one makes to oneself that this time you'll not sweat a lost week here or there, trying to "follow" a plan piecemeal is almost more exhausting than trying to fit it all in to-the-letter. 

And of course, although familiar territory, there will again be time for mourning and brooding. The boyfrianceband has a mechanically engineered mind, inclined towards these fits of intense obsession. He is generally a maundering, merry, and mischievous interlocutor, full of desultory bric-a-brac and a wide range of timbres. But when something comes before his focus in just the right light, it becomes his personal Aleph, the point containing and consuming all other points. That Aleph may be a single stress factor on a machine, a bike part, the allocation of loan payment to savings to retirement equation suddenly cooking up in his head, what rain jacket he'd like to order, whether to buy the cheaper or slightly more expensive cycling shoes... 

Whatever object of brooding instantly burgeons its own ​black hole, threatening not only to implode his consciousness within its infinite nothing, but to draw the rest of his surroundings into that same crushing oblivion. ​Fearing for my own consumption by bike-part (or whatever), I have three approaches to this occasional vortex: (1) full on facilitative discussion to unravel the issue and at least get some sense of solutions, (2) distraction, (3) fleeing the room. 

The first is my instinctive choice if it's a new obsession. I'm a solicitous person, but my curiosity does seem to help people articulate things and sort stuff out.

 The second kind of involves bringing out the conversational jaws of life and trying to extract my sweetie before its too late for us all. That might be the inelegant irreverent palaver meant to get a laugh, unstick the mind, and find a mutual topic of amusement. It might also be the begrudging volunteering of my own personal information. Begrudging because I am connaturally consumed by an aversion to speaking about myself when another has not shown specific and sincere interest; but, as I've previously determined, the bike-and-chain lacks a natural curiosity or emotional creativity to necessarily think of these questions on his own and it's part of the whole marital vows to at least give him the option of remembering my life is interesting. Often both of these drawing-out tactics work to some extent. 

Sometimes, the obsession is in full thrall and there is nothing to be done but to extract myself and wait it out with my book. I try not to default to this position (despite some other innate tendencies), since I think too much withdrawing could slip-a-slope into those separate lives and silence that toll the death knells of a good relationship, but sometimes space is lovely for all involved. 

At any rate, it has been decided(-ish, there will still be lamentations, justifications, and furlough-long stairs over coffee steam) that the regular schedule Andrew had been following before starting his super-build-a-bear-lightening-round-base-twenty phase was a nice balance between work, personal, and training lives. And that he will still do track, at least for the pre-season. Further, given the timing, he can abbreviate the training schedule to still include the highlights of peak and rest weeks going into the pre-season racing. So, he's still on a pretty regular calendar. He will be still doing some race-focused trainings. And he will take some prescribed rest-weeks. But the training calendar proper is "dead." As I understand it. 

I do appreciate the potential for predictability inherent in this schism. Knowing that Thursday is a "ride after work" day every week, and that other days will be set in solidity as well, makes it a lot easier to plan my life and our mutual use of the house. And I'm sure the bereavement Mr. (W)right feels as he breaks up with his training schedule will pass in a series of invectives and recriminations that mellow into a plangent acceptance. 

In my far less biblical "training" routine, I have reached a nominal milestone in physiotherapy. Yesterday was the first appointment in which she didn't think I needed an ultrasound afterwards, and the duration between visits has been pushed back to a monthly interval. Ambitious to undermine all that progress (because standing one-footed on a half ball with your eyes closed while singing I'm a Little Tea Pot counts as a victory celebration in PT land), I bumped up my run-walk to fifteen minutes of running interrupted by a single minute after the initial eight minutes.

I'm really hoping to get to a point of straight running. Even if it's a short period of running, it's a huge paradigmatic shift. I'm a little nervous that might have overdone the progress, especially after my massage assassin was gripped with messianic afflatus to go after my feet like a dervish yesterday afternoon. So far, so good, but I'm watching and am ready to stay off my feet today if necessary for healing, or to push back my run tomorrow. 

And whatever else may come, waking up (at ungodly early hours) to a sunshiney day and genuine-chirpy birds who have now gotten the jump on my chirping alarm clock makes it hard not to remain hopeful!

Happy dromedary day! May your feet skip lightly atop the dewy daisy petals!

Soupon... Soupoff Thairrany Over Date Night(mare)

Thai food is a ubiquitous indulgence most everywhere these days. Little Thai places pullulate with prevalence throughout the alleys and avenues of any downtown area and nestle cozily in any strip mall worth its salt. In the U-district and on Capitol Hill, the boytoy and I had an olio of Thai options. I had a particular soft spot for Araya's Vegan Thai place, seeing as they (1) had a buffet, (2) where I could eat absolutely everything without the long, involved, and awkward interchanges about various fish and shrimp and other maritime additions that may or may not be listed under the "vegetarian"  banner. And of course,  the erstwhile Jup Jup Jup, on Cap Hill, which had a behemoth of a salad with roughly two full avocadoes, two apples, a treeful of walnuts, and some tasty crunchy greens

Bellingham seems to have its own plethora, but for some reason, we've fallen into a decided Thai-rut. Sure, there's some variety on whether we attend the Barkley On Rice or the Sehome On Rice, but there's a pretty concerted On Rice theme. There's a great place, Thai House, by the mall, but it seems out of the way to me. There's Busara's, but it is always so slammed that the wait times are glacial during anything approximating a normal business time. There's Poor Siamese, but the location is a little awkward, and I've seen more than a few reviews of the less lustrous kind since the original chef trucked herself off to Ferndale. And there's Supon's

Technically Supon's should be an appealing alternative. I used to go there (that physical location) when it was Lemongrass, one of my favorite Thai restaurants ten years back. It is even closer to our home than On Rice. Judging by yesterday's survey, it operates at  < 10% restaurant capacity. The seating and decor are still all the slightly nicer form of pleasant strip-mall-luxe that Lemongrass brought in years back. And they do offer a side of steamed veggies and brown rice (my safe go-to at any Thai restaurant). 

Since it was date night and the thawing point of that olio of recent stressors in our lovely lives, I thought perhaps we ought to further our commitment to trying new things together with a toe in the tepid tides of novelty. So, yes, I suggested we go to SUPON'S. Actually I first suggested Busara's but it was, again, packed to the gills and I fled instinctively without even checking to see if they'd brought out the dreaded wait-list sign in book yet. . 

As soon as we reached Supon's I had a similar visceral panic and nearly did flee to the welcoming and reliable arms of One Rice. It was quiet. Eerily still. But the dearth of people included a dearth of attending waitstaff. There was one girl moving 'twixt kitchen and table at a celerous pace, but she made no eye contact and little gesture to assure us that our compliance with the "Please wait and our server will seat you shortly" fiat at the door would be rewarded. After about five minutes, she pitched in our direction and pointed us to a table before flitting off again. Five minutes was not terrifically long, but I was getting a sinking feeling about this whole experimentation thing; admittedly that feeling probably had more to do with the gripping mini-migraine aura budding from a fertile manure of allergies, looby lady orange barracuda pills, the concentration headache of wading through Thomas Pynchon's CPS Files (implicating and investigating cross reports for a multigenerational family span that included step-families, half-siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents of all varieties and several social workers and detectives) and a general tiredness not otherwise specified. 

We were not so promptly directed to a table nearest us, which was also nearest the door. This was not horrible, except that there was a bit of a breeze outside, so every time the door opened, we were blasted with gelid air. And the blasts happened just often enough to leave my Raynaud's tooshy slightly bluish by the end of the evening. It took roughly fifteen minutes to get a menu, a half hour to put in our order, and an hour and fifteen minutes to get our food. I wouldn't necessarily mind being cold, unattended, and foodless for a long period of time, but last night made us both appreciate our sweet sofa more than words can say. After about forty-five minutes, I was just out of brainpower to work through the migraine malaise and impatience, so the conversation petered. Rallying against all outrageous fortunes and their nippy little arrow tips, I grabbed a Cascadia Weekly to kibbitz over with the boy. Good call, Supon's, including some reading material. We found the new pot dispensary adds quite entertaining in their ongoing preference for abstruse euphemisms, and learned there's such a thing as Forrest yoga. 

The waitress did acknowledge at some point that she knew we'd been waiting a while, so I can assume this is not typical. I can also only guess that they were somehow short staffed that evening. Still I recall having been to Supon's when it was in the location of the Poor Siamese, and having a similar endless waiting game experience. A short review of Yelp reveals that we are not the only couple to have been caught in the Supon's time-trap. To add to the "meh" my vegetables were cold. And while the prices were technically on par with On Rice, they charged $2.50 extra for rice and served smaller portions. So, it may have been a poor sampling, but I think I'm back to Busara's if it's totally off-hours, Thai House if we're already around the mall and wanting Thai. And the endless spicy variety of "either Barkley or Samish On Rice" of course. 

When we got home at 8 o'clock, there was an accelerated deep bonding with the sofa for a comfortable spell before I finally gave in to my screaming desire to kick on the battery operated slippers and regenerate feeling in my feet. And then we signed our new lease (on life or at least on life-without-moving-and-all-those-hassles). Which, well, definitely made it a winning end to a mixed evening. 

Did I mention I really love our sofa? 

Home Sweet Home The Un-thai-ing of Date Night

After our Wednesday culinary misfire, I admit to having a pretty clingy relationship with home yesterday. Not that I skipped work or anything, but I did fuss before going to work, of course (it's not a weekday without somebody having to pry my white knuckles from the door frame at 6 a.m.), and latched on with infantile hugs and gurgles upon my evening return. Perhaps Andrew felt the same. Or perhaps he's back in his carpool and this tends to result in his returning home a touch earlier. Either way, we were both solidly committed to being home together yesterday evening. 

And it was a thoroughly ameliorating follow up. We dined, we snuggled, we sofa-surfed, we watched Agent Cooper finally track down Bob and bring Laura Palmer's sad story to a (sort of) close, we split into parallel "play" as I tangoed  with a crossword and Andrew lambadaed with some retirement account forms.

The bike-and-chain is officially eligible for the company's 401K program as of May 1. Retirement! I'm sure we'll be filthy rich and retired in a matter of yea erdecad er centuries! I jest, I jest, but it is hard to imagine saving up enough money to live without an actual income. And, while Prince Florimund is an excellent child substitute in many ways, he is unlikely to grow up, get a job and finance our eventual delirium in a comfortable care facility. I tend to think of my IRA as a deep money chasm into which I throw unseen and untaxed earnings like pennies into a fountain. I make a wish for every hundred I throw in there, of course. So far, no magical flying pony that eats garbage and poops rainbows, but grit and determination will prevail in time. I've read (about) The Secret. Positive thinking!! Pony pony pony pony! I wonder how Prince Florimund would get on with a flying pony. Hmmm, I should start socializing him a bit before my wishes come true. Maybe take him on a few play dates on the riding trails at Padden. 

But yes, IRA money. It never really was mine to begin with and as they say, if you love something set it free. I don't know that I love whatever bit of my paycheck I siphon out of possession before I've even glimpsed it, and I don't know that tying it into an IRA really counts as free.. but maybe?

My account is in something called a Trak fund, a Morgan Stanley conceit that allows me to fill out an okcupid style survey (except more boring - like they couldn't call Trak 7 "The Naughty Nurse" or Trak 10 "The Manic Manchild" - and with fewer pictures or polyamorous suitors), be placed into a risk profile and then matched with one of 11 Traks that best suit my stated goals and documented resources. The great thing about the Trak is that the whole package is heavily managed (which I know because my financial planner explains all the quarterly meetings and activities to me on a regular basis, and I'm notified of activity about once every twenty seconds via email or mail or both). I am not claiming it's the best option, but for somebody with a piss-poor emotional core for financial trading and decisions, it's a relief to have it handled (by reports and comparisons, fairly well) by somebody I trust. Really, since the money doesn't exist, I don't even confidently say they're doing much of any use in all that managing. It appears they are, and by the power of that pony-conjuring magical thinking alone they certainly care enough to be doing pretty well. Mostly it's just having somebody care. That's nice. Like when you go to a diner at 8:00 p.m. to have a nice maternal waitress call you hon' and treat you gently after a tough day. 

Andrew will get a little more latitude with his future-retirement monies. Last night he set out to choose which mutual funds and/or stocks into which to cast his 401K monies. There was much googling and many notes. I don't know that there's a final answer. The uncertainty of it all (did something do better over five years for a reason that predicts it will continue to do so?) While blood curtling to me, I suspect it's at least a halfway fun research project for the man. Although I'm not sure it can compare with price-checking several complicated options for addressing a single bike-issue. I'll keep to scrubbing CPS files, doctor's notes, and byzantine statutes for my cerebral canter. 

But enough of that, back to the grindstone. I shall make the sharpest of ferrous tools today and use a self-manufactured machete to cut through red tape! Because people with magical flying ponies far prefer pink sparkly duct tape, thank you very much! The red would just clash. 

DINKS 2.0 - the Bullish Upgrade and Anniversary Spectacular

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: Time, measured by the Big Gulp swills of tequila tossbacks, creaked plangently forward. The buzz of celebration in the air drowned out the crepitating tick-tick-whiiiiiiir of the fridge compressor and wounded work-warriors. Ghosts of the past leapt from the Twilight gloom, doffing the oneiric and enduing themselves in spiffy new raiments of relevancy at work and at home. Our couple, bleary eyed and discombobulated by the vernal allergens, blinked at the lucent milestone ahead. A year! One year. 

Coming up: Suck it Britney and several-ex-husbands. The (W)rights have made it through twelve months of ecstatic connubial ecstasy without a whinge or a major debilitating injury. 364 days without an incident... will they make it to a nice round ONE? The lessons transude from interior fourth walls, ink on crepe soaking into consciousness. As the present embraces the past, it finds the future. Will time's muddled maquillage finally slip? And yeah, yeeehaw, you betcha! The clop-clop-clop of wooden cowboy boots herald a spectacle of bovine bravado and cracked cowboys fleeing amidst the flames. Our couple tilts at windmills, but dare they tilt at professional bullriding?? And will the Old Country buffet sustain them. Promises of home life, tenuous with uncertainty, become clear. Can the (W)rights keep their happy home for one more year, or will forces far beyond their domestic docility cast them upon the street? 

Break out the paper prezzies, grab a party hat, and delve into a special ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY EDITION of the DINKiest adventures of all. 

Non-Rehearsal Dinneraversary And/or First Anniversary Eve

 Because no day should go by without some form of -versary (lest we lapse into prosaic prosody), a year ago today we had dinner with roughly a bazillion friends and family members at a celebratory dinner that was more of an event than the actual wedding. We had the leftover paella for months as a remembrance. Unlike the tradition with saving the wedding cake and having some on your first anniversary, we didn't actually save any paella for this evening. But that's ok. We'll be in the northern lands of Lynden  for some dutch-cowboy bull riding. They will strive to last 8 seconds to celebrate our lasting one year.

 It's kind of the dual schtick of Lynden that it is heavily populated by those of Dutch Heritage (and tony Dutchy tourismo) and that it is full of cowboy type folks. The groups don't always consciously interact, but I still harbor images in my head of little old ladies in dutch hats riding bucking broncos and screaming a heavily accented "yeeeeeehaw" with rattle spurs buried into their wooden clog-boots. 

Anyways, at a year in, so far so good. I noticed when my friends got married before me that things do seem to shift after marriage, even when long-term relationships preceded them. With my first maritally pioneering friends, this was really hard. I felt a little left behind, like they'd "grown up" without me, and had been initiated into a world whose mysteries were not for my lumpen singleton eyes. Later, I realized that the shift was not eschatological, but it was still a shift, and determined that I would play a more active supportive role. Since I deal in family law, I also see a lot of the innards of marriages from that vantage. But until one takes the plunge, you are never quite sure what will and won't change. Probably even after. 

Still a neophyte in a land where most of my friends have already now leap-frogged onto the even grander mysteries of parenthood, I can say this much about marriage: 

1. It was an easier transition than I expected. Andrew and I had never lived together, except for weekends and breaks. We're both private people with idiosyncratic preferences for the order of things, schedules, etc. I thought there'd be some turbulence getting accustomed to sharing a home. There are of course the little times where the towels are folded "weirdly" or we both want to use the same room at cross-purposes; sure Andrew leaves mud clumps on the way to the shower and I leave my gum wrappers everywhere, but all in all it's been far easier than having a roommate in the past. Sharing a bed with a creaky-sinused squirmer has not been the death knell of my romance with REM cycles. I've apparently adjusted. And I'd discounted some of the benefits of sharing a home with a partner who is also a responsible adult. When things go wrong in the house, it's not all on me. We can figure out where the dump is, and what new microwave we want together. Not every household chore is something I need to handle. 

2. I swear, I don't know why, but this last year I catch myself using eponymous endearments far more than before we were married. "Dear" "my love, my pet" "Mr. Sexy Pants" come up a lot more in vocative instances than before. Not sure why, but there we go. 

3. I don't feel married. I still giggle a little when referring to "my husband", although I've gotten used to the convenience of describing him as such. I definitely don't feel more grown up. If anything, we may have devolved into a plethora of play-dates, may keep more ridiculously cute things around the house, and may engage in a higher proportion of frivolity and frolic than before. 

4. Who the heck is Mrs. Andrew Wright? I'm perfectly happy with the last name of (W)right. I was born to be Ms. Wright. But I had no idea that some people might actually address me by this whole new level of culture-shocking sobriquet. If I titter when I find myself referring to "my husband," I scrunch up my face, ponder heavily, and then start guffawing when I see this. It does make so much sense. I've worn Andrew's clothes with his name on them for so long, I must have become him!

5. Taxes are weird, and do not take those damned exemptions. I know, I know, it's a Community Property state. Everything I earn is community, everything he earns is community. So my income, according to the IRS is the average of our incomes, and my debt credit is the average of our debt credits. I knew this in theory, but it was still kind of a confusing shock to my system when I tried to work through the married filing separately version of our eventually joint taxes. Even more discombobulating when I found the covertly tucked in "exemptions calculator" in Instruction Manual Directions Siberia, and suddenly realized neither of us should even be taking the one exemption we'd taken as single people. 

6. Social pressure never ends. First there were the leading questions about "seeing somebody" with the implication that a negative would more or less be an admission of the deepest and vilest guilt/defect imaginable in American society. There were the singly-vaulted eyebrows and the "say no more say no more" about our "status" when we started seeing each other. There was the implicit reaction that (1) I was now better off for having somebody in my life, but (2) not as well off as I would be if that somebody and I would just get hitched and have a big old party.There was almost an explosion of relief mixed in with the joy from acquaintances that I had gone forth with this (W)right step. 

 Now of course, there's the kid-question. The thoughtful comments on how cute our children might be, the open ended implications about certain events "in the future". The thoroughly excited encouragements and offers of old baby things. Should we comply and have a child, I'm told I will then be encouraged to have another, preferably of a different gender for the sake of whichever parent didn't hit a gender-match in the last run, and then of course the cycle will continue with our parenting straight into all the things we hope our non-existent children will do and theoretical grandchildren.

Which is not to say that I resent the encouragement. I am happy that we're married, although I was also quite happy when we were single. I would like to have a child, although I recognize that might not be in the cards and that this would not be a horrible thing either (considering my full awareness of the requisite sacrifices of things I rather love about my life thus far). But it is always an extra-wrinkle in the what-now considerations. Do we buy a house because it makes sense to buy a house given our respective situations, or do we buy a house because that's "the next step" on our highly proper shufallo to upper middle-class retirement and stately death? Where would my disappointment at not popping parturient as soon as I stopped popping those birth control pills end, and where does my sense that I'm disappointing others who so hoped that "for us" begin? You know what I mean. 

7.  I married a nut-job, but he has a really cute toosh and I kind of prefer crazy anyways. 

8. Routine is not a dirty word. Yes, there should be new discoveries and excitement to keep things going. But it is so exquisite to have a baseline, to have shared rituals, and to feel comfortable in a world that requires a lot of discomfort. 

9. My husband is not "my best friend." We're life partners in the fullest sense of the word. He may hear more about my day to day life and deep thoughts than anyone else. He may be my sounding board. He's my playmate. And I am damned attracted to him. But I have an entire support network of people who relate to and strengthen different aspects of my psyche, who ground me in a past that predates his grand appearance in my life, who keep me connected with the work I do and the interests I pursue that are uniquely mine and make me who I am. And that involves a cadres of friends who defy singular superlatives. It takes a village to support an Adella and definitely a marriage. 

10. One can live with a permanent bike installation in the living room. 

Marriage Achievement Points Unlocked The Paper Badge of Minor Longevity
And of course it is now our Truncated-honeymoonish-longstay-at-theChrysalis-a-versary!!! Whooo. Okay, okay, really, I'm done with the -versaries for a spell. But the predicted milestone hath been passed. I have now been Ms. (W)right (to varying degrees of bureaucratic formality for a year now. And Andrew has been Mr. (W)right for about as long. Actually technically much longer if we're just going by names alone, but this current married incarnation began a year ago and continues pedalling fiercely. 

While we inaugurated our connubial blissossitude with a big freakin' party and a night in the fanciest spa hotel in town, we went a little differently to commemorate the prior inauguration. PBR! Which does not, in this case, stand for Pabst Blue Ribbon, but instead Professional Bull Riding!! The Dutch cowboys to the north were hosting one of the the many qualifying rounds for PBR and hootenanie and how, was it a blast. 


Like roller derby, PBR is something of which I've heard tale but hadn't seen in action until recently. The ambience is a tad different, being a sport (the original Xtreme sport according to their materials, and they do have some basis for such claims, even if their use of dude has all kinds of different connotations than the typical X-Games dudeage) essentially tied to the ranch and rural lands surrounding those. These are literally cowboys. Granted many of them have gone a touch WWE, but they're still patently cowboys and the audience is still a little bit rural NASCAR country. They won't just sing the National Anthem before one of these event; they'll start with a long and heartfelt prayer; the participants will eagerly bow their heads in reverence between both the orison and the aria. That said, there was nothing there to alienate us hippy-dippy Bellinghamster types (aside from the inherent violence to the riders and use of animals that might trigger some). It was a nice sense of connection with an audience with which I wouldn't necessarily find connection with in other contexts.

There is something unifying about sports that way. We may have drastically different views all the way down to our starting principles, but we're all feeling the same excitement when the bull breaks into the arena and we're all laughing with the same voice at the rodeo clown shenanigans. 

The quick primer on bull-riding: (1) Riders must stay on a bull for 8 seconds to receive a score; (2) half of the score is based on the difficulty of the bull, which is always judged; (3) the other half of the score is based on stylistic elements of the ride itself; (4) a majority of riders don't last 8 seconds; (5) there is an impressively well trained support staff of cowboys and rodeo clowns whose sole jobs are to help a fallen rider get clear of the bull's hooves; (6) there's something back stage that the bulls really like. A few cavorted around the arena a bit (mugging for the audience, I swear), but must were happy to shrug their rider off and then  mosey off without much ado; (7) riders do get hurt, and there's an EMT team on standby. Two actually had some contact with the bulls' hooves this go around. Both walked off but just barely and it was kind of scary. 

Ok, so that's your primer. There are four or five heats and a championship round that takes the top scorers from the prior rounds for a final ride. Each bull only goes once, and they are drawn from all around the country. Nobody stayed on their bull long enough in the championship. 

It was a well finessed program, emceed to perfection by two announcers. One was in the stands while the other was the rodeo clown himself. His athleticism was off the charts impressive, especially considering that he never sounded out of breath despite an ongoing couple of  hours of full zumba intensity cavorting. During any lag between riders, they were seamlessly involved in revving up the audience, getting people to dance and cheer, and throwing out minor freebies. There was also a lassoer on a horse, just in case a bull needed some extra prodding to get off the stage. He stood up on the horse for a brief attempt at a dance-off with the host in the ring.

And yes, there were mild pyrotechnics at the beginning. Not during the bull-riding, thank goodness. And some of the bulls were really adorable.

Both for novelty value and because it was right next to the event arena, Andrew and I stayed at the Windmill Inn, a delightful little dive redolent of the road-tripping days of highways past. The bed didn't actually vibrate, but the nonsensical wiring, the ubiquitous religious placards and cards, and the pullulating recreational vehicles lining out the "RV Park" portion more than made up for that. I'm not sure it was the best sleep I've ever gotten, but ... well... Windmill!

I admit we didn't stay in Lynden for the full tourist experience. We hadn't gotten down there until just briefly before the event, and most things are closed on Sunday in Lynden (informal blue laws for a persistently religious community). Instead of sticking around, we continued our theme at Old Country Buffet for a very early brunch and returned to our old home home off the range. 

Because we're romantics, we spent the rest of the morning packing up dross and dropping a carload at Goodwill. Then Andrew biked up a mountain. To proclaim his undying love for me from the hill tops, of course. 

As a bonus anniversary gift, our landlady informed us that her daughter would be staying in Seattle for another year, so we can sign a new lease. Phew! Glad she waited until we could act on our terror of potential impending moves and get rid of our junk, but knowing we don't have to manage all those moving logistics again just yet is quite the relief. 

And I'm back at work, where the cleaner-guerilla artiste has struck again. Apparently the bonhomie between Lucy, the glass octopus, and Ernestine, the ceramic turtle, has faded with the hangovers. They are again set apart at their own levels of personal space. It looks like the other desk animals may have had their own party, as some are laying limbs akimbo and bleary grins upon their faces. It must be Monday!