Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: Family law cabals revealed to the peril of all who learn of the dark dirty secrets. Adella discovers her own trial curse and falls into a sleeping sickness well into the 6:00 a.m. hour. Date night triumphs over the forces of fate. And family reels from the loss of a matriarch and the complications of planning a final faretheewell.
Coming up: A day of contemplation and fidgeting amid the gravestones in a patch of moody fog? Will the undead rise from their graves? Case rot reaches its apex. The untrialed cases haunt the night looking for new fact patterns to consume and lives to forestall. Can anything save us? A trek across the very limits of Seattle areas to return Rachel to her her rightful motherhood and Adella to her healthiest weight. She has to eat HOW MUCH?? Will they make it to their homes? Will Adella go ahead and just get herself a nutrition iv or does the nutritionist herself have a feasible plan for white dresses and horses in the coming future?
There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross.
- Michael Ondaatje
My Grandmother's funeral went off blessedly without a hitch. Sure, there were a splatter and splutter of moments jagged for family torn by familiar joviality, unfamiliar politeness (some of these people we only see once every four years), and solemnity. When Andrew greeted one of the other "husbands" with a "how are you doing?" he received an ever-so appropriate response of "awkward! Just here to keep my mouth shut and give hugs as needed." I think that about summed things up for several of the satellite family members. But even those most deeply affected were not immune to that inevitable awkwardness that comes in transition, in between the habits of formality and the waves of emotion eroding that edifice of sanguinity. And of course, there were plenty of moments of sheer shoulder shrugging bafflement between the cemetery, the church, the dinner. These things never quite go without a lot of kibbitzing and confusion.
Nonetheless, as I say, it went well. No manic hijinks involving swapped bodies, erupting family feuds, or ill-scattered ashes ensued. No undead corpses rose from their not-so-final resting plots to feast upon the brains of the living, despite the atmospheric weather that just seemed to beg for it. Nobody showed up to the pulpit drunk. My grandmother's ashes were placed with my grandfather's ashes. The ceremony quite moving. Each child spoke, as well as my grandmother's minister, and all were so true to the best of her without succumbing to the temptation to turn encomium into canonization. There was laughter, as well as tears. And repeatedly along the way, there was chocolate (just exactly as she would have wanted it, chocophile that she was).
I would say perhaps my own little addition, which struck me as absent. My grandmother was most assertedly a tough broad. This was well-covered. Being a single mom in the 1940's, then a military wife raising 4 kids while travelling... she definitely had a lot to overcome and the energy she took on to face those challenges was certainly fierce. But she was not fearless.
Something I always sensed about her was this flood-gated aura of impending panic. A dread that if she let go just a little, it could all fall apart. If she gave up the controls, she may never get them back. If she allowed weakness, she may simply dissolve. And if she questioned her own ideas, everything might scatter to the four winds. It made her strident at times. Manipulative at times. Terrifying at times. Doggedly dogmatic at others. But it also made her so incredibly human in a way that I found more and more relatable as I came to know her better in her latter days.
And she surmounted her physical challenges with a beam on her face sometimes, but she was so afraid when things started to fall apart, as perhaps she'd always feared they would. My mom touched on this as far as was acceptable. In those days where she finally had to face her own vulnerability, when she was the one needing to be taken care of, it was both brutal but also evolutionary for her. A warmth, gentleness, and thoughtfulness shone out through the cracks between habitual defenses and the moments of fear. My mom spoke to what a particular loss that had been to her, this interior part of her, and this potential now returned to the ether.
It was quite amazing to see all the old photos and be reminded of how active she once was. Insanely so. Tens of thousands of boards, travels across the globe. I'm glad to celebrate that adventurous spirit as deeply as that vulnerable gooey part inside.
It was also quite the relief that my darling narcoleptic husband (seriously, he slept through a Tesla machine demonstration in addition to several Wagner and Prokofiev scores), did not actually fall out of the pew, since we were seated in the front row and all. I will be trying to explain to every one involved that that jerking thing he was doing with his head was actually just FERVENT agreement! Really, though, I'm glad he was there. He kept his mouth shut except when I needed to throw him at a chatty family member, and was good for hugs.
In turn, he got roughly twenty tons of food and possibly enough chocolate cake to slow even him down. He'll be burning that off with a 125 mile bike ride today. It may almost be enough to counter the caloric blitz.
At the end of the evening, we left family dinner. My aunt thanked me for being there. I never know how to respond. I didn't, but my first response was "well, DUH!" because sometimes you realize that with family it is just a patent "well DUH"
People Say We Monkey Around - But we're just sort of shuffling papers and looking harried... Or something like that. Today is both Monday and not-Monday. It's been one of those weekends as you may have surmised from prior posts. There was a funereal familial blitz on Saturday (zombie free and chocolatey appropriate). Yesterday, my insane little loris decided that it would be "fun" to try the Chuckanut Century. That's not some kind of fancy dessert at a swank bar/seafood joint along Chuckanut drive. No, that's 100 miles of peddling, preferably on a bicycle of some manner. In the rain, if possible! Actually, he mostly missed out on our pending and not-so-pending Autumn deluge. It was supposed to commence in synchrony with the Century, but opted to defer and make a grander splash (har har, pun) during the Seahawks game later on.
Needless to say, I did not accompany him. My sister is still in town, after all. Otherwise, no doubt, I would have been right there ... on the couch at home thinking about him. Instead I spent the morning with my sister, mom and mother's boytoy debriefing and decompressing from the prior day. Then I decided to get a nice painful excruciating ninety minute massage to target the recrudescence of a summer's worth of acquired muscle-tension (mostly concentrated in my neck). My poor massage therapist had to go at me for 90 minutes. He may need new hands after that. I was warned that while the treatments he'd added would also help stem inflammation, I may want to ice if any swelling arises. My head feels quite odd today atop a neck with all of its normal vices set askew. My upper back is definitely feeling yesterday's assault. I'm devoted to doing two of these a month in spite of my inherent cheapness. Perhaps someday I can manage to get myself to do it more often... probably every other day - or hell twice a day! - would reach about the appropriate level.
Today is the long awaited journey to the sports nutritionist. I'm pretty excited to hear what she says. It's a bit of a family trip. My mom and sister are accompanying me down to drop me in the middle of Seattle before they carry on to the airport. I believe that only my sister is planning on hopping a plane (crazy as it sounds, she misses her boys, perhaps most evident by the incredible attention our kitty Karl has received... sorry to say I'm not sure that he is quite so apt in learning to count to ten with dora or say "ball" despite being much older than my nephews). My mother, knock on wood, will then retrieve me and take me directly to some sort of feeding hole no doubt!
In the meantime, I've stopped in at the office to make sure it's still standing and print out some things. Even did some work, shockingly enough. But shhhh don't tell anyone. I'm technically out today.
Family Odysseys and Food Diaries of a Bunny Rabbit - How to Gain Weight the Hard Weigh, Part 30
Despite several snags and snafus, our final Monday travels were generally successful. The grand family outing yesterday had two major goals: (1) getting my sister back to the airport and back into the mad roiling boypile of her family - I don't think she's quite herself without at least two boys kicking her and screaming to speak over, at any given time (2) getting me to my long anticipated first meeting with my new nutritionist.
Originally I was planning to drop my sister at the airport and return for my Seattle appointment. Since my appointment was at 1:00 p.m. and my sister's flight didn't leave until about 3:30 p.m., this would have left her with quite the span of dead time at the airport.
My mom was supposed to have two settlement conferences. We decided we didn't feel like having those. And/or the anti-trial juju is now infecting our settlement conferences. It's spreading!!! Save your cases! Quarantine ours!! They are infected!! ZOMBIE CASES!!!! The attack of the untrialed!!!!
Either way, they got "handled" (laying at the bottom of the Hudson with cement shoes, I expect) and my mom decided she wanted to tag along. And by tag along I mean chauffeur the hell out of our trip through thick and thin. Maybe she thought it would be a nice way to recover from a tough weekend. Boy was she mistaken!
We did have a nice beginning to our quests, stopping in Mukilteo to dine with my fine fella. The trip back from Mukilteo into Seattle was also blissfully uneventful. We found the nutritionist's Ravenna office without a hitch and with plenty of time to spare. And, as an amazing bonus, it just happened to be directly adjacent to my mother's old elementary school. She was a military brat, and traveled around a lot as a child, but lived in this neighborhood for a very long chunk of her younger life, so it was pretty amazing to be back in the thick of it.
You may note that I identified this location as the "Ravenna location." This, of course, implies there are multiple locations. And my prior foreshadowing no doubt implies (correctly) that where there's a location to choose from, fate will intervene and make sure it's the wrong one. So yes, lovely dalliance with my mother's past, but I was actually supposed to be in Kenmore (not the kitchen appliance, but the suburb of North Seattle that I have always imagined to be in Bellevue or some other random place).
I realized this logistical glitch as soon as Emily, the nutritionist, called to make sure I was on my way. Panicked and paralyzed, I allowed every one else to reassure me in various ways that I could make it to Kenmore and every one could still make it to the airport in time. Emily texted me directions and we went rushing off in the opposite direction of the airport. I made my appointment about a half hour late and the carpool caravan set off in a frenzy for the airport. Emily, who was working out of her absolutely gorgeous home, assured me that they would probably not be back until a spell after our appointment ended, but that I was welcome to hang out in her dining until my ride came back. I'm not sure she expected me to whip out a sleeping bag and call it a slumber party, but odds were getting up there that it might have been called for!
After my appointment, I texted to let my mom know I was done and waiting upstairs. This was when I found out that my mother was still waiting at the airport due to a portionable probability that my sister would miss her flight (cue sickly guilt stomach acid from the deep tap reserves!).
Turns out that they made it to the airport in decent time only to run face-into-brick-wall-first into a mile long security line. No explanation of what the hell was going on, but it took my sister about an hour to get through it. And this was only due to some late game intervention by a higher up person with a cell phone rabble rousing and getting the SINGLE line open expanded to three. I got some updates during all this time (sitting in the lovely dining room of my lovely nutritionist's home with her lovely dog, adorable daughter, and lovely nanny, while Emily herself met with another client who was likely also quite lovely). Had Rachel missed her 3:30 flight, she might have been able to make a 9:30 p.m. flight. Maybe. It was pretty nail biting right to the finish, when Rachel cleared security and careened through the airport towards a closing plane door within seconds of the final cut off.
At this point, it was roughly 3:20 and my mother was still at Seatac. Having not brought enough food for this additional waiting time and having just sat through (prolepsis to future paragraphs) a long discussion about how I still need to be eating EVEN more than I thought I did by roughly a cool thou, I was beginning to get a mite peckish. By which I mean my stomach was bored with consuming 80% muscle and was going to just go for less vital organs if I didn't get something in it soon. So, while my mom raced back from whence she sped, I walked the twenty minutes to the nearest gas station. We actually met there just after I'd finally used the bathroom (a long forestalled pleasure) and purchased a rather large thing of milk and some Belvita breakfast biscuits I've seen Rachel carrying around with her. Oh food rarely tastes so divine as just after you've been assured that your body is chronically malnourished and your body seconds that notion with some cantankerous chaffering of its own. Needless to say, by that time (bit past 4:00 p.m.) we hit traffic. All in all, a little less restful than anticipated. But productive.
So the visit - Emily was great. Really understanding and thorough. I had a food log from the past few weeks and several reams of blood tests for her to review. We talked about my history and my goals and then she laid it out for me. The good news is that she mostly likes what I'm doing with a few minor caveats. First off, I should apparently be eating more than 3,000 calories every day to get back into an energy surplus. Probably I should be eating more like 3,500. She broke my day into three sections and added one 300-400 calorie snack option/substitution for what I'm already eating for each section. This makes it seem far more feasible than staring 1,000 calories in the face (when it's not even Thanksgiving yet!)
Second, while she generally likes my distribution of fat-protein-carbs (30-15-55), she thinks I could actually add more fat to my diet, and I shouldn't be too worried about saturated fats and cholesterols at this point. Apparently, fat can help feed muscles as well as all the other things I know it does, because it increases estrogen which in turn increases testosterone. A few more pounds of butter in my diet and hell, I could turn into a female power lifter! Perhaps not, but I could build muscle as well as a bit of fat. She also said I could improve my calcium intake and recommended adding a full fat dairy serving earlier in the day in addition to my regular evening yogurt.
Thirdly, I need to seriously here (and only I could get this advice from a nutritionist), cut back on the vegetables. The problem is that they're super energy sparse but high volume and very filling. It's making it really hard for me to eat enough in the evenings, because I get superficially full. She doesn't want to shock my system, so we're aiming for a 30% reduction. This will be probably the hardest challenge for me.
There's a possibility, given my history, that my body wants to be back at my pre-law-school weight. That's quite a few pounds higher than where I am right now. I'm not sure that this will be the case, but since I was on birth control through my law school days (I lost about 20 pounds in the first year and stayed stable there until about two years ago when I lost another 15+), the last time we know that my body was able to cycle on its own was at that weight. I'm actually ok with this. I thought I had some pretty kickin' curves, but as she acknowledged, it is a little challenging to imagine. Especially, again, after all of the social praise I received for inadvertently dropping it all in the first place.
As she also acknowledged, it's just pervasively and unavoidably hammered into the social consciousness that less is good, and dieting is a way of life. Even though I don't believe these things consciously, I have no doubt that it does create a bit of a mental block as I continue to add more and more caloric density to my diet. Given the physical difficulty alone, we are still on a somewhat gradual weight gain plan, so I should have plenty of time to adjust.
And I've got a fancy new scale to back me up! After being bereft of scale for a few weeks, I finally bit the bullet and got a fancy new one. I've been curious whether the minor weight gains I've made are actually fat or muscle, since I've been clearly gaining muscle. So, knowing full well that home body fat percentage measurements are spectacularly unreliable, I figured that an extra twenty dollars for a recommended non-Taylor brand with some bells and whistles was worth a plunge. It's an omicron and has special hand paddles for some kind of improvement in measurement accuracy.
I just like it because it actually seems to be programmable. I once tried a body fat measuring scale many years ago and could never figure out how to use the feature. This one is actually pretty intuitive. Anyways, Andrew and I tried out the new toy on Sunday morning. It reads a weight that's fairly consistent with my prior weights before the scale broke (so, still pretty low). It also thought I had a body fat percentage of 17%. Which is definitely too low for somebody with intentions of long beach strolls and tennis matches in white pants, let alone any mysterious tabloid sensationalized bumps and eventual 3 a.m. feedings. So, however accurate that might be, I've got some catching up to do and I've got a few different sources telling me that same message.
Today, I'm starting as well as I can on my bigger and better plan 4.0. I didn't have time or energy to go shopping yesterday, so it's not the full plan. I'm ad libbing. I'm going to eventually have a glass of milk and some fruit in addition to my morning repasts, but today I had an Odwalla protein smoothie (yet again, juice is the most insanely amazing way to sneak in calories without noticing them, so I'm trying to learn to stop worry and love the juice). I'm not entirely sure what my midday additional caloric source will be, but I may just have to raid the entire work shelf. Maybe I'll even grab something at the yippy-hippy store on the way to the YMCA! And tonight, I will co-opt half of Andrew rice cooker to add a portion of my own rice. Simple, but will get my my extra grain in.
And it may in fact be the case that I've hit the point where I am supposed to be eating more than my darling eats on average. The world is getting weirder every day!
Happy Tuesday. Is it really only Tuesday? These days off work, man. They make work seem like a vacation sometimes.