The Several Days of Sockmas Strike Back! Meditation Live Blogs, Bakes, and Baby Bears Oh My!

Having returned from Our Sock Francisco Wanderings, and Charging into Our Terrifying 2WW (like WW2, but with fewer actual fatalities or History Channel Documentaries), let us clear our throats, tune our ears and begin the carolling!

But first a prelude... 

Mindfully Live-blogging mindfulness meditation - take one

So after vocalizing my need to escape to Zen Camp before additional thoughts thoroughly corroded my brain, the family friend who is planning to attend such camp invited me to sit with her. Sit-sit, that is. (Like like-like instead of just generically like, but with sitting and omming). Specifically, she invited me to a morning meditation sponsored by the BIMS. Which I reference because I love saying "bims"... it sounds like some kind of zesty vanilla-mint truffle or something. BIMS stands for Bellingham Insight Meditation Something (Society). They're kind of a secular group, not necessarily Buddhist in a strict sense. While Linda is technically a follower of the Zen school, the time is right and meditation is meditation. 

And so, Thanksgiving behind us, we agreed to meet up this morning for a pre-work-week return morning meditation. I  may be one of the few people in the world who leaves the house later in the morning because she has a 6:30 a.m. commitment. Fortunately, I didn't throw Andrew too far off schedule by sticking around until 6:15 when I usually leave at about 5:55. 

I do some anemic dabbling with meditation as such. Of course, there are contemplative prayer pockets in Taize. That Kundalini yoga class had some pretty intense moments of still meditation between the flapping and singing. And I do sit for maybe 5 minutes at a time when I have the option of breathing and resetting. But not sit-sit. Not usually. Only once before in my early twenties when I ran into a good friend and his mother on their way to a sangha. They invited me along; I followed. We sat for thirty minutes and then had a fantastic lecture in which I became acquainted with a favorite saying: "thoughts are merely secretions of the brain." It was pretty amazing, but daunting as well. One's life flashes in front of one's eyes at these times of zero stimulation. Often in pretty aggressive ways!

I was a little nervous to try again. Knowing that mindfulness is a skillm I feared forty-five minutes was a pretty taxing duration for stillness without practice. Also, I know my body, and in the best of times I can't actually sit still for more than five minutes without getting uncomfortable.

 But... meditation is highly needed as I round through part two of my double-week wait. The progesterone side-effects are simultaneously ebbing and flowing. I'm no longer tired. My lower abdomen  feels better than it has in about a month. But I'm still gnawingly nauseous, randomly impatient with a certain incoherence that stymies the free-flow of words from my honied lips, and my digestive system is in some wary stages of pre-revolt negotiations. And I'm a little nervous. Because whatever happens during my Friday test, things are going to change in an emotionally involved way. Most likely I'll be diving back into the bleeding money and shooting go-go-gonadotropins phase of things. The blood tests, the ultrasounds, the waiting and then that little window right before Christmas. Not thinking about it too much, because it is exhausting. I'd like this week to take the edge off as much as possible so that I'm prepared for the big BLLLLLAAAAAH that comes next. 

And so, without further ado:

Monday Morning - Liveish Blog

6:25 a.m. - Take off my shoes and coat?? It's 20 degrees out and not much warmer in here! Maybe, mmmm, I think I'll just wait a little longer.
6:26 a.m. - blankets! Phew. Pillows! Slumber party!
6:29 a.m. - I can sit, I can lay down, I can use a chair! I don't do well with options. Forty-five minutes. What can I stay still doing for forty-five minutes? Nothing. Possibly if I were in a coma. Hmmm should I cross my knees? I know my feet will go numb. Should I be mindful of that or is it ok to shake them out? Those little bench thingies look kind of hard. I think my butt would get sore. Pillow. Ok, these blankets are kind of small. Would I rather my back or my feet be cold... oh my feet would be worse. 

6:30 a.m. - GOOOOONG... breathing in... breathing out... let my thoughts flow by... follow them and then return... breathing... 

NO IDEA BECAUSE TIME IS A FREAKING ILLUSION: rustling... swallowing noises... the click clack of a heater

STILL NO IDEA BECAUSE TIME AND THE SELF REQUIRED TO PERCEIVE IT HAVE DISSOLVED: Sat (breathe in) Nam (breathe out)... repeat repeat sat nam sat nam sat nam. Something I picked up in kundalini yoga. Means "true" and "name" or something, but mostly it's the vibrational patterns that really pull me into this mantra whenever I'm breathing. 

I am full of new life. 

Sat Nam

Sat Nam

tingly feet... observe... feel it... let it go... 

I am full of new life

San Nam San Nam

I am... yep, ok, I can't move my feet. 

At all... observing... obvserving... can't move Sat Nam

Rustle. Swallow sniffle

SOME TIME SURELY: ok, how long have we been doing this. I feel a little nauseous from the prometrium. What if this time it gets worse and I do have to throw up, and I have to run to a bathroom, but my feet - and now my legs - won't work so instead I try to leap up, and collapse AS I vomit. THat would be disruptive. 

6:something a.m.: If it's only a few more minutes I'm ok, but I think I might want to move if there's a long time. Wonder how long we've been doing this. Could be hours or minutes. I can't tell at all. Try to glance at my watch... too dark... ah well... Sat Nam Sat Nam

Sat... ok, now my thighs are going numb... leaning forward gently

6:54: Watch finally read! 20 more minutes. Ok. Hmmm feet numb... moving my knees with my hands into an uncrossed position. 

between 6:55 and infinity: Sat Nam Sat Nam tingle prickle wiggle ... flashes of fainting in the phlebotomy chair. the blanket is too cold. It got colder in here.

IN THE TIMELESS ETHER: Sat Nam I am full of new life Sat Nam letting go Sat Nam Sat Nam brrrrrrrr ok, I'm moving the blanket. 

My feet are freezing now. Maybe I should cross them again. If I only have like ten minutes left they probably won't fall asleep again and it's warmer. 

Sat Nam Sat Nam

ok, I'm going to cross them. Shhhh quietly. Swallow swallow. 

Sat Nam Sat Nam I am full of new life Sat Nam ... a different kind of tingling. Parts of the body that aren't complaining are fizzing away. Either in meditation or I'm about to faint. I can't tell, but I'm riding the image of something I can't quite describe and rhythm of my breathing. 

7:14 and 30 seconds (hindsighted guess): Ok, 45 minutes is a long time. I'm not sure I can sit much longer. 

7:15ish: GOOOOOONG. Mmmmm don't want to open my eyes yet. Can't move. Goooooooooong. Coalescing back to self. Cold. Very, very cold self. 

Stagger through the stupor. COAT

7:16 a.m.: shake hands in various stages of beglovvedness. Man, this is the latest I've gone to work in a while. Does it matter? Should I be rushing? Do I want to rush? Am I still nauseous? I'm a little floaty. Is that the medication of the progesterone. Should I sit down? Nah. 

7:17 a.m.: Monkey hat! Whew, time to run to the car. Hmmm, Sat Nam ... that was actually pretty amazing. I think if I built up my focus and found a comfortable way to sit I could really... OH FOR FRIG'S SAKE, why is there a truck backing up INTO THE ROAD!! Um... I mean... oooooooooommmmmmm

Happy December everyone!!!

On the Second Day of Sockmas, My True Love Gave to Me... A delicata bake, and a polar bear in a pear tree

Oh as if my meditative excursions could stem sockmas traditions! Welcome to the new bear! Shall we all pop a coca cola tab in his honor and cuddle now before he gets big enough to use our femurs as floss?

After any and all ditherings to the contrary, a full applique of Nutcracker-inspired holiday cheer, a brobdignagian Advent tree, a late Sunday Advent service, and a wee foray into Insight Meditation, WE HAVE ARRIVED upon the unfettered Christmas season. Ho ho ho. 

I'm warming up to it. This is a little challenging due to the sub-freezing temperatures of late. Really, today is the first day that we're set to break freezing at all. No snow, but a glimmering thaumaturgy of twinkling frost and ice. If my hands weren't graduated from cyan to charcoal grey, I'd applaud the beauty around us. As it is, I'm keeping myself thoroughly buried in layers of insulation and well nigh dunking my body in boiling tea water. 

I've yet to quite get into the buying spirit yet, despite several attempts to load the various amazon lightning deals. There's just nothing I quite need to give to somebody on display yet. But I'll get there. After adding more random items like dried beans and bulk bags of millet to my increasingly odd amazing amazon wishlist. 

In the meantime, I'm continuing my two-week waiting with decreasing patience, increasing trepidation (shots shooting right past the star above Bethlehem at this rate), and an increasing bout of artificial morning sickness due to the accumulation of progesterone in my body. It's so peripheral, it's almost more of a phantom of discomfort that surges and abates in flickering fashion. Part of me wishes it would just be done with it and knock me on my toosh properly. But I should instead count my blessings. 

One: indoor heating. 
Two: warm socks. 
Three: baby polar bears. 

Ok, that's a good start. 

As I try to summon the will to consume, here's a little non-sequitur about some consumable aliments that I made in an oven. 

Sunday evenings have become convenient evenings to make a crapton of food; quantites beyond even Andrew's capacity for consuming. Well, I wouldn't put it past him to be able to consume the entire 8,000+ calories of a single bake, but I do pre-portion that sort of thing. I really enjoy making some form of casserole in my baking dish, then cutting the remainder into squares and freezing them. Then when Andrew wants a snack, he's got microwave freezer meals. My go-to had been this "quinoa lasagna" that I've adapted a few times. This Sunday, I didn't have time or ingredients to follow that recipe to a T, U, or V. 

Instead, I started a pot of 3/4 cups teff3/4 cup canihua and 5 1/2 cups water. When the water boiled, I added frozen spinach and a variety of other veggies I'd been chopping at the time. Mostly peppers and a handful of cabbage. And a tablespoon of chia seeds. After simmering for twenty minutes or so, I worked in one egg and let it get nice and thick before pouring it into an oiled casserole dish

Oh yeah, I preheated the oven to about 375 and baked that mixture for about 30-40 minutes until the top was just starting to get a little crisp. 

Meanwhile, I mixed 2 cups of cottage cheese with one more egg and a tablespoon of Italian spices (pepper to guestimate) in a bowl. 

I also cut one medium delicata cut into rings and sliced 1 1/2 cups celery

When the teff mixture was just starting to get a little dry, I took it out, layered it with pasta sauce then added the celery. Then more pasta sauce. Then the cottage cheese mix. Then the rest of the jar of pasta sauce. And then I layered the delicata on top and emptied out the remainder of my half used bag of shredded parmesan and romano cheese. 

Baked it forever and ever. My casserole dish seems to require a lot more cooking time than typical, which is fine with  me. I checked it every half hour or so and went until the cheese was starting to brown and the squash was getting that roasted crisp around the edges. 

I'm pleased with it. Very much ad libbed in a two hour pocket of time that I had between Sunday morning activities and my Advent service. Two heaping squares have been consumed, one is on reserve for the mom-boss and the rest has been stored in the freezer. 

With the prior Sunday's casserole squares, I've now managed to restock our dwindling frozen food supply. Just in time for Andrew to get hungry. 

And with that culinary adventure, I'd best lurk off to work. Computer isn't just going to vacantly stare at itself between moments of minor vertigo. Well maybe it might. But it's still my job gosh darnit. And I believe in doing my job well (nigh until I absolutely don't have to anymore)

Happy Tuesday! Happy Sockmas! Happy December!

On the Third Day of Sockmas, My True Love Gave to Me... Teeny tinsel tree, a delicata bake, and a polar bear in a pear tree

Get out your bikinis, it's getting up to ABOVE freezing today! Yes, after our chilling little segue into a dance of the frost fairies, the official Christmas season should kick off with a little spell of gray and temperate. For another five days. Before probably doing something else whacky. The Pacific Northwest seems to be going through these disparate five-day phases of various styles of weather. We may have a work-week of tornadoes, or possibly a heat wave. Although I suspect it will mostly just waiver twixt frigidly fulgent and crepuscular damp. 

But whatever wintry mix-a-lot shall come (and like big butts in an earnest fashion fitting George Washington himself), the house is accumulating Christmas cheer. First our Leviathon Advent tree, and now a teeny tiny mini-tree has emerged from the pantry to join the fun. I even managed to plonk a few ornaments on it. I have about four of these lovely orbs - handblown glass given to me by my father over the years. We have a tradition of accumulating ornaments to serve as eensy icons and time portals. His tree pullulates with history - ranging from his childhood to my birth to last year's intimate event. My tree is rife with sparkles, but it's getting some of its heritage on. 

I have yet to extract the blue Christmas lights, nor can I locate the timers that make the lights go on and off as they please in some ghostly approximation of my imagined instructions (every timer is different and none of them are immediately intuitive; the inconsistency adds excitement and spontaneity to their usage). I also have yet to restock the smaller Advent calendar. It shall be done. Soon. Possibly today, if I get a chance and don't end up eating all the little chocolates in the attempt to stock the calendar. 

To summon up a little more of the spirit, I continue to stalk the amazon lightning deals (that cease to be ere one can say "It lightens" except not really because they often re-offer the same deals and sometimes at a better discount later on). I've even made some very minor chisels at the towering berg of presents for the year.

And I've taken the plunge and really tricked out my amazon wishlist. I currently have the following items listed: A teapot, two pairs of functional shoes, a pair of yoga pants, some bamboo rice, gift cards to massage envy, gift cards for yoga classes, and - my favorite - a link to a site that allows people to design personalized gift cards. The blurb included reads Cash is so cold, but a personalized gift card is... personalized.Given that neither Seattle Reproductive nor my pharmacy sells gift cards... think of it as a contribution towards a little Wright someday. Because, as I've blathered, this year, all I want for Christmas is an implanted and healthy embryo and some morning sickness that actually serves a purpose other than reminding me of the five billion kegs of hormones I've pounded like a fratboy at his first keg stand. But given the time constraints, I'll take any support towards that goal.

I feel a little funny with my yoga-centric other list. Yoga-pants are my version of American casual chic. I'm at least as picky about them as anyone was about jeans. It's just easier to find things that fit my specs when you take out the inevitable fit-issues of jeans. And yes, I've taken a grand total of two yoga classes since this all started, but that's because Andrew and I keep having things "come up" during the weekend. On top of trying to find the perfect class that works for my need to not pretzel into a sweaty mess and his need not to sit on the ground for any period of time. I'm getting to the point of just going back to the Kundalini class by myself. With a santa hat. Because I'm getting into the spirit!

Needless to say, it's probably for the best that I'm not participating in the secret santa programs on here. 

Happy Dromedary Day! May your initial attempts at festive consumerism pull closer and not nudge you further from all the jollity, hope and lurve that twinkly sparkle lights and dark dark chocolate symbolize in my heart. 

On the Fourth Day of Sockmas, My True Love Gave to Me...Midweek datenight fun, teeny tinsel tree, a delicata bake, and a polar bear in a pear tree

Well halloo, Thursday! As the coruscant air thaws into murky damp, we bundle up in slightly different slickers and boots for an oncoming drizzle. Our weather shall return. Probably. According to the obsessively checked weather websites that populate my phone and my desktop. Warm it shan't be, but cold becomes a fully relative term. And considering that we began this day at a temperature just above freezing, I'd say we've made progress. 

I'm a little uncertain how I feel about today being Thursday. Though my tippee toes are all twitterpated with twinkling promises of weekend wonders, I'm also kind of counting down to the second cycle beginning after a wee little tinkle on a rather undignified little stick (or two or three, depending on the results of the first) and the inevitable phone calls for appointments and prescriptions afterwards. I've already decided to delay my HPT until I get to work on the principle that I don't really want to start my morning off in a funk. Huh, if I use it at the office, is it any longer a home pregnancy test? Is it something entirely different? Does it suddenly test for toner levels and paper cut infections? Stay tuned and perhaps you'll be updated. Or perhaps you'll just read about my paper-gangrene attack in the news several days from now.

But that's all for Friday. Today I'll try my best to neither look forward with dread nor with impatience for a weekend beyond the rainbow. I'll sit with my moderate nausea and slight battiness, and weave and wobble through the syrupy sludge of space time around me.

And, peradventure, I'll wax moderately nostalgic for a tic-tac-toe of my littlest tip-toed tootsie. Yesterday was a fine humpday. I had a decreasing array of discomforting side effects, feeling mostly tired and occasionally moody. Mom-boss and I took a lunch out at Old Country, the place where everybody knows my face (and which booth my mom and I sit in if not actually our names). We came out of a few shopping complexes alive and only temporarily hating all mankind to finish off our errands. And work was uncharacteristically kind. 

Following a pleasant day, and a mid-afternoon attempt (not hugely successful but it's the thought that counts) at a snooze on the sofa, I indulged in a date night dash to On Rice with the hubba-hubba-bike-and-chain. Because we are romantic, we discussed office spaces and the development of the cubicle. Reminding me once again that I am eternally grateful for my work situation. Not only do I have a separate office with a treadmill desk and a separate sitting table, I have ambiently colored walls. I have a window view of the mountains. I have easy access to the bathroom and the kitchen. And I have several surrounding walls for personalized touches.

We also ate Thai food. 

Upon indulging our nostomania we continued our new endeavor to watch the Buffy and Angel series in concert according to several fans' ultimate crossover guide. Oh  yes, bring on the Wheedon nerdiness circa ten years ago. We are retro-chic. Yeah no, no I have no idea about Breaking Bad, Dexter, Serial, or Matthew Macwhateveradoo Is a True Detective, or whatever else is big this year. I'm a few years behind the curve. But that's kind of reassuring. You know things are done and wrapped up before you begin. That's oddly reassuring after falling for so many prematurely cancelled shows through the years. 

And we reach Thursday yet again. Today I am condemned to attend a postponed WCP board meeting. It was originally this Monday. On the Monday before this one, I sent out a note saying I was leaving town for the holiday and wondered if we could confirm we'd be available to make the Monday December 1st meeting. Nobody answered until Wednesday evening, which our future Vice President/current treasurer responded that he actually would be gone until Wednesday. Nobody wrote back (certainly not me, since I was on record as being out of contact) until Friday when our current veep/future president said she could do Thursday. On Monday I confirmed, and our treasurer's paralegal confirmed on his behalf. Our outgoing president wrote "thank you" so it was all set. Until that little rat (I love her, so this is said affectionately) of a veep/president elect "remembered" she actually had a doctor's appointment today. So she gets to skip! And I have to go. Sneak!!

Ah well. I'll survive my duties. We really have nothing to talk about, so it should be a very long meeting (probabilities demand nothing less).

Until then, to twiddle my toes and wiggle my halloos at Thor on his special day!
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