Zaftig Tyr's Day and the Ashen Dromedary Go Green for King-Cake

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: Oyster Margarita not-so-happy hour colonized the land with a guttural ooooze. Papa T suffered the liabilities of his fanatical zoeticism, going under knife and needle to isolate the lachrymose rippage in his rotator cuff. A long and anesthetically forgotten battle was waged and won with wounds a plenty. Our heroes hied to the Ice-Castle, ladles a-blazin', for a burn in the incalescent cherub's-dorm. Socks went green for the pro agro-bellicosity march.  And time, that wanton wastrel, threatened to cast the mornings back into the murky void. 

Coming up:  Mud monsters and slush-demons rap at doors and windows, slurring out a seeping siren song. Will Mr. (W)right resist the voluptuary silten slog? Will all that mud takes years off his life or simply his face? Treadmills rev and ramble for a routine reverie. Will minor families again flummox the time-space continuum or will chromatic specs rise above the anomie and rally for toning tyranny? Shake, rattle and rolly-poley all those bonne temps, as the pancakes go marching by with barrels of bourbon and bonhomie. Will the International House survive the nationalistic deluge of carb-starved celebrants? Will camels roll in ashes, the pho-fed couple endue their lindt-ball finery for forty days of block-and-silence. Will Adella resist temptations in the information-desert, or will she throw herself with mad abandon off buildings far and tall for a good 4G signal and a flock of Angels with wireless access? 

Grab your flasks, and pad on the pancakes, dear reader, to roll right into the answers to these queurelous curiosities and more!

Snow-Capped Slush and Muddy Mountain Maunders -Saturday gets back to the Dinkmobile

Whatever peculiarities the heavens may fling at us, the bike-and-chain and I have our routines. Not ruts, per se, but pleasant habitual practices that fill the foundation for whatever deviations may be appropriate. Little rituals that gain new meaning for being missed on an extraordinary day. The unpernicious side of "comfort" that establishes a sense of "home" Our weekends begin with this basic template. One I like. I started writing it out, but the the list only bears meaning for us (also, fifth amendment rights and liability issues... I mean, as a lawyer there are just some things - routine or no - I'm not going to put down in writing anything attributable to my own personage!!)

But of course, after our (highly classified) morning rituals (with an extra emphasis on the weather checking, rechecking, analysis paralysis followed by more checking and the occasional glance outside) we made it to the gym.

 Perhaps the most riveting and shocking event of the day: Marion of the chimerical effulgent frames made his appointment! Andrew and I were practicing our tandem treadmill and suddenly (only four minutes past the scheduled hour - which I know because I had only just commented on the time, and further know because I have almost always just commented on the time either aloud or internally) there was Personal Trainer Man! In the flesh if not frames.With aplomb and jollity to spare, Marion then dragged the bike-and-chain through a "toning workout." Andrew is uncertain what "toning workout" means, exactly, but apparently it involves doing pretty standard sets of reps, mostly on machines. I can't say that the session was so game-changing that it was worth the several rounds of calendar conga, but Andrew 'sposes it "mixed things up"... " that's good." In future, he may pursue training with personal trainer who (1) specializes in cycling, (2) is capable of using basic English, a telephone, and a watch. 

I trained myself. And you know what they say about a self who has a self for a trainer? Not much, actually, outside of muscle building forums and maybe some perennially syndicated FitSugar Article, probably mixed in with advice to either inject pure whey protein into one's toes or to wear yoga pants with tummy control panels. Either way, I haven't read it, so I continue my "self-training" (i.e. "mucking about") with impunity.

I did once again utilize my new mince-step approach to running. I jest. It's not a drastically shortened stride, but learning to get an ear for the new running rhythm does have moments where I feel a bit like I'm running in a long skirt. Not a hobble skirt or anything, but not a particularly flowing skirt either. New marketing idea for the fitness conscious: we've had enough neon minimalism, it is time for running gowns. For the formal runner who doesn't need "equipment" to help her run faster and who cares enough not to want to look like "just some yoga mom" in the usual running ensemble. 

After Andrew hopped on his bike for a post-workout gruel, and I dragged my convalescing father to the eschatological end-time of a Fred-Meyers on weekend afternoon, we struggled through some financial planning forms my adviser had given me. Basically, our goals for retirement, our risk profiles, and our current assets/liabilities. It's not easy predicting what the hell we'll want to do in thirty to forty years. The list of monies we might want to spend and our various priorities were highly theoretical.

As it stands now, our retired life looks pretty sweet. Season tickets to the ballet and the odd movie and play, a decent amount of medium-budget travel, maybe a new car... and then we'll die. Andrew thought we should plan to live to 100. I thought that was probably far-fetched and at the very least we wouldn't want to be travelling and going to the PNB, but longevity runs in some side of his family. Of course, I'm not sure longevity is any match for Andrew's atavistic urges to fling himself down mountains. Then again, medical technology advances weigh against total climate disaster on the other side. So, we just went ahead and threw some numbers against a wall (they stuck for a second and then started to succumb to gravity in a slow slide back onto the stove). 

And, hey, in the meantime, we actually figured out exactly what our assets were and how far Andrew had gotten on his student loan. As a family law attorney who routinely needs this kind of information from clients, I'm entertained at how much difficulty I had pinning it down. I could likely fill out my side of a financial declaration, but some of these questions were just big old blanks. 

Financial drudgery conquered, we retreated to our separate corners for a few hours before a zip-zap dinnery recharge. Thank goodness we had dinner to revive our vim before a hearty PT/stretching session and an episode of Psych. 

Our routine life, as you can see, is quite the go-go-go lifestyle here! And there's more to come today. In a little while, I'll wake the Andrew-beast. We'll comment obsessively on the weather, perhaps, while sipping coffee (the weather forecast has been a protean little doomsday slurry of alerts and advisories, but appears to be migrating from snowy to rainy as of this moment in time right now and no other time before or likely after). And then... well as I say, attorneys know the times to practice discretion in their prolixity... 

Mud-Month Strikes Back: Return of the Drizzle

Having sallied with hibernal hijinx, the Pacific Northwest has returned to its roots, going unplugged and Coke Classic on us with our characteristic seeping precipitation. There was a bit of a transition to endure yesterday. Or "wintry mix" of snow, sleet and freezing rain, had a nice little mazurka of the nasties outside, and turned the land yet again into 7-11's failed Slurpee Land sans splashy syrup

It was bad enough when we awoke yesterday that Andrew didn't even want to go mountain biking, citing the "too gross" nature of the day and conditions. This presented a dilemma, seeing as his Byzantine biblical training calendar demanded a three hour "effort" that day.

The idea of three hours indoors on the cycling trainer (paragon of ceaselessly tedious grueling cardio-hell, and loud kitchen rumbling noise) probably gave us both chills. With impeccable lunatic logic, Andrew decided that in lieu of attempting to mountain bike in said "gross" conditions, he would instead hop on a last minute registration for the Lake Padden Mudfest run - a six mile race up and down the typically sodden mountain bike trails at the eponymous park. He now understands what trails shoes are for (answer: lunatics who think that pumping their hearts to bursting on oozing paths with slick gradients and a plethora of surreptitious roots and brambles while it is 31 degrees out and drizzling). 

I did not attend. In body or spirit. It was really, truly gross out there. Not even my astral projections could risk the mildew! Instead I dropped in on Papa T, who continues to recover at a good clip, and then stormed Castle Tasanasanta with a faux King Cake for early Mardi Gras/friendly drop-in on my bestest buddies. They were indulging in a far more rational desultory pajama-loll when I arrived. Dylan showed me his newly de-braced dentia, and Emma showed me her new variation on the twerk, which I'd call the Syncho-Squat. She'll be the next Isadora Duncan by the time she can say "plie". 

When I returned in the early afternoon, I was heartened to note that Andrew had survived what he termed "one of the more ridiculous things I've done" and was celebrating by a few moments of internet staring before (naturally) hopping on the trainer for another few hours, celebrating having wrecked himself by further wrecking himself. I mean, the race really was only an hour long!

Feeling the looby lady pills resurge after switching back to the estrogen-only part of this sysiphean anovulatory cycle thing, I had no will to do any of the potentially productive things on my weekend list. Instead I continued my maundering, with a fair shot of reading through a twenty five page footnote in Infinite Jest (plot, redolence of sweet savory plot just tickling my nonolfactories!). 

Andrew's ride must have been quite the doozy, judging by his in-depth oratorio (PhD level stuff here) about Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Which is apparently a far deeper and more complex movie than one might have previously imagined.  He's not calling it Truffaut here (probably because he's not entirely what a truffaut is but it does sound awfully much like a truffle and truffles, the chocolate kind anyways, are fantastic), but it has a lot more to teach us than we might anticipate. Like witches can be good, but only if they're beautiful. And all witches care more for personal hygiene than village-people (something worth parallelling to persecution and stigmatization of Jewish populations in the dark ages, incidentally). Also, Hansel is kind of useless other than being strong, and has a "clever" Achilles kidney in a steam-punkish version of Type-II diabetes. I subsequently have read that Gretel was supposed to have an eating disorder as a result of the candy house of their youth, but this was edited out. 

I'll take his word on the movie, since I am not sure the-guy-who-thought-a-last-minute-gelid-"mudfest-would-be-the-perfect-Sunday-morning-activity is my go-to man for advice on entertainment. Then again at less than 90 minutes, I heartily approve of this film on principle. 

Anyways, the boss-lady will be abandoning us mid-week to visit my sis and pals in New Jersey. There will be a doubtless mad-rush to get things in place before she goes and then the unknown typhoon of her absence. Going to be an interesting day to hunker down and soak up the damp!

Don't Call Tuesday Fat! - It's just big boned and likes its pancakes

Well shrive me timbers, is it Mardis Gras already? I confess (har har) that it took me a touch by surprise, despite having already delivered my faux king cake to Tasanasanta fortress this weekend. Well, crack open the bourbon and laisez les bons temps rouler! Ok, maybe just crack open the pancake mix and find some cheap beads to wear, while considering if the seasonal theme of Lent would be a good excuse for some mindful minimalizing... 

But then again, bourbon! Yesterday may have been enhanced with a few more (read: any) sheets to the wind, all considered. My optimistic forecasts for a future without snow-day or distemporitis were perhaps premature. Rainy Mondays may have their own juju (probably only dehexed by a painful helping of Kenny G on one-oh-something-point-something smoooooooth-soft-furry-cappuccino-cuddles-rock FM!

In fairness, I had a statistically higher accomplishment rate of pre-ordained plans, so I give it that. The down side was that it was a high turbulence desultory ramshackle of a "making it through my schedule" sort of day. From yesterday morning, right through to my return on the evening, something was just a little different, and thus more difficult. Despite getting up exactly on time, I was running late by the time I stirred the loris (not a dirty euphemism, I swear - just my way of saying "walked back to the bedroom to scream 'chirp chirp chirp' at my husband while proffering coffee). In my hurry, I left on several lights and the humidifier, all of which I routinely handle during my morning rousing. This turned out to be fine, but the house was maybe a lot more moist than usual on my return home. 

After a brief comestibles-break from fluster, I was flying back to get to the office "on time" (a relative and meaningless concept as I set my own hours; but I have a time and it makes me physically anxious to run behind it). After a non-threatening case status meeting, I had a post-prandial walk to clear my head and forestall my chronic earliness for my WCP Board meeting. Apparently I was so effectively not-early, that I even ended up arriving to the meeting last. This is unheard of. Usually, even my best efforts to arrive late cause me to be there precisely on time, which would translate as "egregiously early" in the English to WCP Board lexicon. When I say "last", I should clarify that one of our officers neglected to show at all, so I demand a recount!

I was, at the very least, timely in departing from this meeting. Although I am the secretary -  if a meeting occurs in the woods and no secretary is there to record it, does it make a meeting? - I have a strict policy about end-times. This is because there is never a natural winding-down in WCP-land. It's enough that our actual group meetings are an excruciatingly eternal hour and a half in a steambath of a conference room. I draw the line at exceeding the hour mark for our board meetings in the equally incalescent dry sauna of a conference room. In collaborative argot, I like to take ownership of the process and hold the container (Collaborative law's success in quelling conflict and increasing client creativity depends heavily on a carefully delineated step-ladder structure, which we like to call the "container" with bonus gentle gesticulations, and which falls to the professionals to "hold," which is code for "keep everyone on track and away from the temporal landmines of moving too quickly or too sluggishly).

I also technically managed to make my afternoon "mediation brainstorming" meeting with my tango-teaching partner/mediator/poet/financial planner/Civil War Reenactor/yaddayaddayadda/how-much-ritalin-would-it-take-to-get-me-through-half-that-list?? acquaintance and (theoretically) another local mediator. While the former frenetic fella (we'll call him "TBB", which stands for his self-styled "tango bad boy"), is somebody with whom I've already discussed "mediation possibilities" in florid but functionally formless ways, I was very much looking forward to speaking with the second local mediator. Perhaps there's a theme of mediator-types doing several other jobs as well, but she has a fairly fascinating resume that starts with a J.D., involves several board and non-profit positions, and which currently balances a successful mediation practice against a thriving art and community-professorial career.  I am Jack's yawning exhaustion! I have one job and I'm tired by the middle of the day!

But yes, TBB has wanted us to all three "meet up" and "brainstorm" for some time. Though his grandiose visions have previously had an otiosity about them in practice, he has long wanted to build some form of non-binding alliance between mediators of farraginous backgrounds and skillsets for comediation opportunities. This core concept is a good one, so I've stuck with it tentatively and with the proliferant caveat that I have few resources available for this project. With this second mediator expressing interest, my own curiosity has been piqued. Of course getting three people together is virtually impossible and we have been emailing about logistics for several months now.

Finally, we agreed to a time and a place. I even suggested the place: Avellino's Coffee Shop in downtown Bellingham. Despite suggesting Avellino's  and despite TBB having confirmed Avellino'sboth TBB and I went to Adagio's, a cafe on the same street, instead! My excuse is that I had realized on my way to the cafe that I was light a wallet, and had to rush home to retrieve it from beneath the couch (phew) before rushing back and "making it" (other than "it" being the wrong coffee shop) exactly on time instead of obscenely early. 

We spent a good hour pensively wondering what maelstrom of a mediation had kept our third compatriot from attending. Well, in between musings, TBB recited some poetry, gave a few self-styled encomiums on the jouissance of a good tango, and detailed his distaste for all the parties involved in his most recent mediation. And we sipped some good coffee. I don't know about Avellino's, but Adagio makes a damned fine "Italian" cappuccino (yes, you can choose between Italian and American style, but the American style was bigger and gave more options, and I don't like having to figure out options on the fly). The other mediator was apparently more on the ball than both of us combined and spent what I hope was a pleasant hour for her sipping hot cocoa at Avellino's. We shall try again. 

Upon my release from failed networking meetings, I rushed home to start dinner for my husband, who had naturally gotten off earlier than usual. Since I also had some morning mayhem to fix up, and my own chores to handle, it was a bit of a headless chicken cha-cha until the final ooze into six o'clock and boyfriancaband's heralded homecoming. I'm relieved to report that things mellowed marvelously after this. But it was certainly an "interesting" scamper to scheduling sanguinity. 

So those bons temps... they can roll however they like today. I'm blessedly unstructured (phew) and ready for some bourbon pancakes. I don't even love bourbon, necessarily, but it does just burble off the labials doesn't it? Brrrrrrrrbun!

Happy Shrove/Pancake/Zaftig Tuesday to y'all!!

Lindt Is Here: And my chocolate truffles are giving up their foil wrappers for the Lenten season

A solemn Ash Wednesday to y'all. Hope those of you who feted Big-Boned-Zaftig-Tuesday are not feeling the overhang of too much white flour and dark grog. Andrew and I tried, I admit, to indulge in a pancake bacchanalia by going to the IHOP (International House of Pancakes, because we're multicultural like that) in the hinterlands of Bellingham. Unfortunately, IHOP has surreptitiously co-opted Pancake Tuesday and turned it into "(not inter-)National Pancake Day" a butyraceous tradition going back as far as 2006 and somehow involving pancakes and donations to Children's Hospitals. We Amuricuhns love it when our excessive consumption can be done in the name of either charity or nationalism, so the parking lot alone was nearly impenetrable. We ended up eating at a Vietnamese place instead. Amuricuhns apparently don't love eating Pho on national pastry holidays, and we had the place virtually to ourselves. 

So, hangover of any kind forestalled, I'm still ready to delve into the Lenten Season. I'm not somebody who took the traditional Lenten "giving something up" all that seriously most of my life. My family was a liberal farrago of christian traditions, and my mother did sometimes fast during Lent. I was brought up to understand Lent as a time of contemplation, prayer, and simplicity in preparation for the big-shebang of Easter. It surprised me how many of my secular friends took advantage of the tradition to test their own habits and desires. But I like it. 

As I've opined on several holidays, yes it is arbitrary to set these particular (and roving) forty days to "give something up" (which can also be arbitrary), but it would be a lost opportunity not to take advantage of human cognitive vagaries. 

 We're intrinsically wired to enure to the status quo, one of those lingering evolutionary tricks that allows us not to freeze up eternally and be eaten by predators. We depend on muscle memory and habits, tendencies which propel us forward but can also consume us.  It's easy (as it should be to a point) to take things for granted. It's easy to benightedly indulge our inattentional blindness. And despite Manichean binaries to the contrary, cognition is rarely rational in any strict sense.  Finally will power is an exhaustible resource despite our contumelious contra-asseverations. So bring on the artificial assistance. 

So, I don't usually "give something up" for Lent, but I do think of it as a time for tentatively incorporating a practice that eliminates a small distraction. Abstention itself can become its own addiction, so I try to practice this carefully. I do note that Lent lasts exactly the period of time most people think is required to form a habit (40 days). 

One of my expanding goals in the last few years is to rein in the reticulate interdependence I have with my e-devices and the world-wide-webs. I'm not a full proponent of the slow internet movement (mostly because I just am not able to bring myself to go that nuclear), but it resonates with me. Relative to most people, I'm good at multi-tasking. As a highly sensitive introvert, I'm particularly wired to notice minor changes around me, and have a stressfully high level of situational awareness. That said, I suck at multi-tasking. Or it sucks it out of me, anyways. I find myself getting exponentially stressed and annoyed when I hear the chat notification in the midst of a good paragraph in my book, or a good chopping of some cabbage. I also know that I am particularly primed to notice those little notification indicators. Sometimes if somebody else's phone starts blinking a mile away, I am caught in its tractor beam until I have to comment "your phone wants  you" lest I wrest the phone from that person and clear the notification myself. 

I've also talked about my re-resolution to set up a few wireless times. These so far have included weekend mornings with my loris, date nights, a once a week lunch out and dinner with my folks (about 50% of the time). It is funny, but despite the constant habitual reaching for the eidolon of phone and its infinite access to the sludge of the world, it's also something of a relief to be abandoned in the present moment. One less thing to tend to. It allows me to focus fully on my environment, my colloquitor, and occasionally my own boredom (the gateway to creativity for me).

So my lindt ball 2014 (tell me that there is a huge Lindt & Sprungli sponsored Gala by that name!) exercise is to utilize the block function and my silent app on phones and so forth to (1) minimize my notifications through-out the day, and (2) add an extra hour a day of wireless time. Of course the wireless time won't be at work, since that's intrinsically computerized. I'm thinking perhaps that first hour after work, or possibly every dinner time hour. If I can, I'm going to minimize my maniacal tab usage on chrome as well. But my main goal is an extra hour a day. If that works I may try to bump it up an eensy bit, but only if it works for a good week or two first. 

Anyways, happy Ashen Dromedary Day all! I'm off for another humiliating session with the PT. I'm pretty sure she'll help modify my PT routine to add balancing a stack of juggling balls on my nose to my one-legged arch rises on unstable ground routine!
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