Peacebuilder's Bacchanalias and the Stilling Stagger

Previously on A&A's Adventures in ARTistry:  Mediations moaned and maddened, as they mingled with court papers and panicky rushes through the Englettlaw gamut. Essential epicene elixers of gravidity gamboled through Bellingham on rampages without proper tracking numbers. A cottage cheese fountain and a mad dash home brought respite and reunion. Despite the desperate pokes, jabs and incantations, a medical standstill came crashing back over the momentary momentum. Elixer vials left inutile and fully tapped beyond their refrigerated domicile. Our heroine, less stress-free crawled desperately past the stoic koi's bubble Charybdis, and towards the Oasis of FRIDAY! Yoga faeries frolick through the Sat Nam sweetness of a weekend well-spent and thoroughly readjusted.And great rejoicing was had for our hero's magical new shoes.

Coming Up: A weekend of love spits our (W)rightlings back out into the wilderness for another battle with the war-waged week. Toast is toast and oatmeal bubbles over. Will kitchen experiments yield gustatory greatness or glommy leftovers? Veins collapse and E2's plummet. Will any end reveal itself in sight or will a taut tummy turn cerulean camo with contusions? Training plans unbridled and mad dash forward into the future with only a hint of sanity. Will Mr. (W)right reach his slightly-less-totally-insane-training-goals? Will he collapse trying? And  frustration yields new contingencies and an increasingly prohibitive lifestyle prescription. Will our haggard hoyle finally reunite with her cast off feminine curves or will she plummet into madness as the treadmill turns stationary. 

Bubble Bubble, Oatmeal on the Double (or maybe just burnt onto the bottom of the pot) Magic Manic Monkeys Meet the Monday

They say "if you love something, set it free." They say a lot of crap (mostly reposted in meme form on various social networking sites and attributed to either Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, or Samuel L Jackson), but I believe my sweetheart of a weekend took this particular adage to heart. Or so I can only imagine as I find myself once again dazedly maundering into a Monday morning. No more radiant glows from deep massages and spiritual anti-cross-fits. Time to tarnish up a little bit of that workweek edge back. Parenting plans to be proposed. Collaborative law meetings to be recorded. Elections to be held! Elections for the collaborative law board, that is. I'm not so far gone that I missed the national elections were last week. Hell I even voted several weeks prior to that. And paid attention to the local results. 

The upcoming elections today should be of a slightly different flavor. Mostly of the "um, so... anyone willing to..." followed by a dead silence... some chuckling... various people nominating other people... eventually a series of "well, if anyone else at all would be interested then nevermind but I guess I could... are you sure you don't want to (person's name)??" I've got my list of "oh dear god, please not you" people. But otherwise, it's all a wash. I keep my position for at least another year. Hopefully by next year, our life circumstances will be different. Maybe with sprats. Maybe fully embracing our DINKosity and moving somewhere a little DINKier. But something. I love typing up the minutes, but I'm slow-cooking my way up to burnt-out I believe.

The office is still reeling from an exhausting Friday mediation. The parties did reach some agreements. On things that were expressly called out as not for consideration this mediation, of course. Nothing that would leave our client in, say, a financial position to pay off her vertigo-inducing bill. But the shining spot of all this is that the hearing (yes, the one I spent days and hours preparing response materials for) is off. I'll pretend that this was due to my absolutely incredible work. Not sure what comes next, here, other than a thorough Englettlaw picking up of pieces. And probably quite the case status meeting to remember all the other little clients we have under our wings. 

On the home front, I am making good on my threat to slowly wean Andrew off high-FODMAP foods. While we are still both exceptionally skeptical that this is the relevant protocol, a little more variety never hurt. And Andrew has been eating five pieces of bread every day. Granted, this is down from eight. But still room for some variety. In terms of both economy and time, I figured oatmeal was not a horrible substitute for toast. In fact, I figured, it was kind of an awesome one. 

And so - having used up most of the hummus I'd made for spreading on said toast (also high FODMAP apparently, being a legume-based spread), I pulled the switch this morning. It wasn't the biggest rager of a success, although it was all perfectly passable. I think I put too much cinnamon in too early, and the pot I was using seems to demand a certain burnt GLOM of material on the bottom. I admit to pouring out the mostly done oatmeal and finishing it off in the microwave. But I thought the sliced banana and almonds was a nice touch anyways. It looked all fancy. If I'm feeling brave, I may try other forms of porridge. I may also try the rice cooker.

The one downside to this is that I rather enjoy have the rice cooker available, and per our contract Andrew washes the dishes created in making his food. Since he waits until the end of the evening to wash all the dishes, it would potentially leave me with a soiled rice cooker pot or with picking up one of his dishes to rewash. And the latter compromise could certainly bring about Eschaton!

But, hey, I feel accomplished for my teeny tiny experiment. No explosions and - while it may have taken him much longer and required far more deliberate slurping - Andrew did manage to eat the new breakfast. There shall be some self-patting on my back today for certain. I just hope I don't bruise myself too significantly. I have enough black and blue on my stomach from those nightly piercings. 

but only on my right side despite alternating... weird
And, since apparently the injections are merely symbolic, I actually feel better than I have in some time. Something I'm sorry to attribute to a likely decline in the previously rocketing estrogen levels brought about by several patches and pills. A little disappointing to see all the signs I associate with the opposite of what should be happening hormone-wise, but if they aren't going to work much I'm glad I don't have that cognitive dissonance of feeling totally floored just like I would if they actually were working. So, gleaming spot in the dark chasm of ambiguities is that I feel completely comfortable going to Pilates today without a single bursting bowling ball gonad explosion. Small mercies. I didn't like missing last week. 

Happy Monday all! For those of you in the US, Veteran's Day is just around the corner! And for the subset of you who are taking this as a four-day weekend, I proffer one magnificent raspberry of a :-P to you! No, really, enjoy! 

Click a Clack, SAD Light's Back A Very Commemorative Pseudo-Holidaze from the Work Desk

Happy (um... reflective, grateful, humble) Veteran's Day fellow observers. Well, fellow is a stretch. I am actually at the office after having a quick jaunt over to my favorite vampire's lair for yet another blood draw. I expect the blood draw will tell me two things: (1) that my estrogen levels still aren't responding to the massive amounts of crazy go-go juice I've been jabbing into my belly for the past two weeks, (2) my left vein is so over these needle things. It was pretty enthusiastic about being the primo vein for a while. But fickle little prima donna that it is, it's squawking about a pay raise and calling for its agent now. Or at least hurting and bruising up when I alternate back to it. 

But work. Yes, I'm at work on a holiday. Well, a half-holiday. I guess Andrew and his kind are all working today, so it's not a universal day off (though by imperial fiat, all Veteran's must go to lunch with the eccentric owner of the EI empire). We at Englettlaw tie our office closures to the court usually, but then frequently come in and work behind closed doors. 

Today, I am in at work purportedly due to an upcoming client meeting tomorrow. It will be a complicated one. There are lots of papers to do. And because it's a little complicated in a less fun and more just "huh" kind of way, I've waxed cunctatious in my duties. So I'm coming in to today to minimize distractions and get things done. Except, I don't want to at a profound emotional level having something to do with a tantrumming inner child or two.

As such I'm well set to spend the entire day at work procrastinating, reloading my email, and making up other little work tasks to do. Clearly this is a productive way to celebrate and apologize to those who have put their lives on the line for our country, been stop-lossed several times, and then pretty well screwed upon their return home (ok enough of that political commentary nonsense).

However, it is still a rather important day. I have finally broken out the SAD light. Its lovely rays of sunshine and joy are casting a gelid sun-wash over my shriveled winter brain and casting out the cobwebs. Of course, we're actually having some very beautiful sunny afternoons at the moment, so it is a little less necessary at this point. But the morning and evening darkness certainly takes its toll. Yesterday, I was so bedraggled by afternoon that I had to lay down in my office. Not hugely comfortable incidentally. 

I am also into the part of the season where the heat is too high to close the window, but the morning chill is icy enough that I must chose between working in a sports bra with a migraine, or while wearing gloves and a light jacket. I'm opting for the latter. These gloves actually aren't too bad for typing, though that dexterity comes at the cost of any actual effectiveness. 

It is also a gravely important week. We've begun 2015! At least insofar as Andrew's training calendar is concerned. We are in "prep" which is different from "base" which is different than "build" which is different than "live on your bike and race every weekend."

Andrew is very pleased with himself for being "reasonable" and "disciplined" this year. By which I mean that after some significant struggle, he has decided not to attempt the 400 hour training schedule to which he has routinely aspired and of which he has - with great distress and anxiety - fallen short. To accomplish this plan, he would need to do at least one evening ride a week. And the light and weather are both not great for these things. Last year, with twisting and tossing and angsting, he managed 330 hours. And he actually did really well race-wise. So perhaps, he thinks, the 400 hour schedule could even be counter productive.

So... he's slashed back dramatically to... 350 hours. Which I might point out is still more than he did (after a lot of twisting and angsting) last year. But on the other hand, I'm so proud of even the faintest glimmer of sanity that I don't want to discourage it. So, we'll call this a good sign. 

Best news being that today he's just going on a run at lunch instead of trying to cram a ride in after work in freezing dark. 

And with that, I find myself grinding down towards the time when actual work demands attention. It's been a blast putting it off, but time to ... fabricate some other excuse for not doing the work that brought me in here in the first place!

Hollerin' Hoyden's Fortnight of Punctures Picks Up for Another Season

My oh my do I espy the peak of our cantankerous camel's kyphosis? It may well be we've reached dromedary day! Between the non-holiday of yesterday and a bit of volunteering merriment on Friday, today is both Monday, Wednesday and PANIC-DAY. 

But my oh my am I happy for the semi-day of yesterday. There was much cleanup and a modicum of rejoicing. We even - finally - managed to stop by Cuts Plus for some much needed trims, AND (after significant scavenging) found a couple of leftover Thanksgiving decorations buried between the Halloween sales and the Christmas surge. The office shall have a turkey by golly!

And of course, my bi-weekly bummer of a report on the blood test. I'm getting used to this here, but it's still tough right after the call. My estrogen levels are super low. Like nearly post-menopausal low after two weeks of injections. So we're a far cry away from "the right dose" still, I guess. Which means another week or two of self-stabbings and another blood test on Saturday (probably followed by another incremental dosage increase and another blood test next Wednesday if I follow the pattern). It's frustrating and mopeworthy to feel no sense of progress and a bevy of side effects (now even exacerbated by the low estrogen after a few years of some supplementation or other). And I know we're nearing the date in which we will have to pull the plug and write off the several thousand dollars this initial foray has cost our HSA. 

Andrew and I were realizing that our amazon wishlists are out of date and Christmas was fast approaching. I suggested it was too bad that we couldn't just put gift certificates for PeaceHealth Labs, Seattle Reproductive, and RoxSan Pharmacy on our lists. All I want for Christmas is a few decent follicles and an E2 of +150, baby. Catchy, I know. Just wait for The Eggs of Wrath: The Musical. That will be my headliner song. And the special effects on the ultrasound scene... oh you'll have to see it to believe it (if I ever reach that scene again, yeesh). 

But that bit of routine threnody aside (and at this point I could just schedule an hour at the end of any blood test day for "mope and self-pity party"),  it was a lovely Tuesday to set us up for a survivable Wednesday. We shall overcome! Clients and tigers and bears, oh my!!

Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Idle LifeGooble Gooble and other Grateful Gaieties of mid-November

Things are about to get curioser than curioser and curioser ever fathomed: despite several years of the same exercise less and eat more and gain weight theme, I've more or less kept a steady enough stream of always walking at my treadmill desk. Between four to six hours a day. And admittedly, I don't necessary gambol along, although it's a mild enough pace that I've been dubbing it "light exercise" and not cause for concern. But one woman's steady pacing while working is another handful of people's "moderate thirty minutes three times a week" exercise. 

Having begged for specifics from my doctor about what happens if the injections do or do not start working (preferable in some kind of complicated flow chart because I am both a lawyer and a case manager by compulsion), I've gotten the skinny (har har): One more week to see what happens. If nothing happens then, we stop. I go back to princess of patches and Ooooh barracuda HRT cycle for a month to get back my white-pants red flow. Then I take a break. And then I come back and either try starting all these injections at a higher dose or pull out the big guns and go full IVF. If it does start working, ultrasounds, things moving quickly and probably another week. 

Good news, I'll more than likely be through all this nonsense (or so excited to have had a reaction that I don't mind) by Thanksgiving holidays. And my estrogen starved soma will be getting a fix one way or another. 

But at the end of this, she also told me to cut back any exercise to 2-3 hours a week and gain 5-10+. As you can imagine, the two prescriptions may be interlinked. 

So for now, anyways, I suddenly have a very elaborate standing desk. Which is good, because standing still is not an exercise in my book and it beats the hell out of sitting. And well, it certainly will shortcut my other struggles with attempting to gain weight to eliminate that extra 500-1000 calorie drain on my net intake. And I'll admit with my recent medication/winter related fatigue, I was really starting to feel it after walking a little bit and feeling far better on the weekends. Think I'll be cutting down to short walks outside when it's nice, hippy spiritual yoga, and my weird YMCA pilates class. Maybe go back to that stretching class targeted at the silver sneakers demographic.   

But it is a little strange. Positives include being able to wear skirts and actual work clothing (prohibitively uncomfortable for several hours of walking). Downsides include being very fidgety. I've done several thousand knee bends and calf raises and stretches in the last hour or so alone. 

But it'll be an interesting experiment and good preparation for whatever next job lands me with a little less sweet and cushy of an office accommodation. Possibly even fewer heater/temperature battles. 

But enough about my stationary worklife (and increased trips back and forth through the office in frothed up pace panics. How about some more "semi-active not exactly work or exercise" shenanigans?

Tonight is a grand night for the WDRC: Their annual "Peacebuilder's Awards." This is, of course, an elaborately constructed fundraising event that seems to me (the uninitiated) to use up as much time, hours, cost, and energy (in dollar equivalents) to never possibly justify the enormous haul brought in from all the rich drunk people who attended to (1) get ragingly drunk for charity (2) network while ragingly drunk.

 As you may guess, these events are anathema to an introvert like me. I've actually been to several, but only as a comped "dancer" (either performing specifically or just brought in to provide atmosphere). Oh and I do go to the grand PeaceHealth one with my dad from time to time. But that's with my dad. Of course I do that. 

Anyways, according to the schedule that we reviewed in detail at our volunteer orientation, I would have a total meltdown roughly two hours into the event (well when the official beginning of the event occurs, I'd have a meltdown. There are a few hours of unscheduled drinking and raffling and wine-walling time before that). I'm pretty sure it's even on the carefully parsed agenda. No dancing, actually, which is a rarity for these events. But the typical raffles, silent auctions, catered dinners, "dessert dashes," wine walls, and several hours of poetry readings and awards given as excuses for inspirational speeches about the DRC (read: time to let people get sufficiently soused to then get super sentimental about the inspirational conflict-resolution type messages there, AND then reach for their checkbooks).

 Andrew raised a good point. Where events like this seem to rely on getting attendees' wallets thoroughly lubricated with intoxication, it is a bit concerning that these events are also held far enough away from anything that it's likely all these attendees will be driving home. 

At any rate, I am not going to the event, but I am being a sport of a volunteer and doing the midday preparations. In this case my role commences with a drop by Boundary Bay (local restaurant responsible for catering) to pick up a truck load of flatware. I was actually unaware of the extent of the load (or the contents) until the volunteer orientation yesterday. When the point person asked if I had a big car, I snorted and said I could borrow one. A volunteer from the back of the room raised his hand (me! me! me!) and said he had some kind of large car. She said we could talk about it afterwards. I'd somehow thought the man with the car was volunteering to pick this stuff up in my stead. But when I attempted to speak with him, he was... kind of ... not super conflict resolution magnificent. 

I tried approaching him after the big meeting, but he was talking to two friends. Once that broke up, I finally approached and said "so, you said you have a bigger car?" He looked at me like I was an insane person and asked what this was about. So I reminded him of the earlier offer and that he'd said he had a bigger car. He then snorted as if I had flung poop at him and said in a mildly condescending voice "bigger than what?" Trying to thrust out a heavy nevermind, I said something about having a kia. He then looked on the verge of rolling his eyes and said "but what kind of kia??" I told him "trust me, a small car."

Anxious to leave and get on with my day far from this flummoxing conversational fandango, I reiterated that it was fine and I could borrow my husband's Pathfinder, but at this point he was going on about his four cars and their various sizes. Trying to conclude the conversation, I said it sounded like the Pathfinder would really be fine so never-mind. He carried on about how he didn't usually lend his car to strangers, but... after my fourth attempt to conclude the conversation, he looked annoyed, told me he really needed to be in the meeting with the serving staff and wanted to know why I couldn't talk about this later. THEN insisted on getting my number so he could talk to Ilana about this and get back to me. Needless to say, I haven't heard back from him. Did I mention he's the lead server of the evening and helping with the presentations? Did I also mention I'm really glad I'm not staying for the event? 

But before then, it promises to be a mellow (idle) day at the office followed by a weekend of staying warm and cozy indoors (hopefully) and a Sunday jaunt to the Pacific Northwest Ballet that shall not be deterred by illness or injections this time, by golly! Which is darned well both more rewardingly peace building AND restorative than any big old function or day of click-a-clack work work work. 

Give Thanks, for it is Friday! 
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