April 2009

Pregnancy is the best cure for insomnia. 

I was at the Atlantic Yoga Conference a couple weekends back and we did Savasana in a number of the sessions.  Each time,  the minute I got comfortable I was gonzo.  Dead asleep or deep in a meditative state, however you want to view it.  I’d wake up at some point and check the yoga mat for drool.

The other day I had a nap and midway through got heartburn.  It’s common these days, I’m just about through a Costco-sized bottle of Antacid.  But it was no biggie,  I just piled my 6 pillows up against the headboard, nestled into them, and promptly fell back to sleep, sitting up in my bed.  I tell ya’, some days a girl just needs her 12 hours beauty sleep – every 24 hours.

But it’s been wacky because I’m normally a busy person but being pregnant I have those times where it’s like, nope, regardless of the million things I’d *like* to be doing my ass needs to find a couch and *now*.  There is nothing left.  And I’ve liked it.  It’s like mandatory chill-time. 

Abigail Thomas  says:

Live each day as if it were your last, Nana has heard them say, but she says rubbish. Live each day any way you want. Take a nap if you feel like it.

I’m getting better at it.  And then I ran across an article on faffing, also known as ‘doing nothing':

Faffing is good. It is an important part of life. Faffing is when we disconnect from the matrix and idle for a while, like a car. Our body and spirit know deep down that human beings were not made for constant toil so subconsciously creates space through the mechanism of faffing.

So his expert advice is:

Embrace the faff. Stare out of the window. Bend paperclips. Stand in the middle of the room trying to remember what you came downstairs for. Pace. Drum your fingertips. Move papers around. Hum. Look at the garden. Go to the shed with the intention of tidying up and instead fall asleep. Make mental notes. Read every single word of the newspaper – even the job ads – before getting down to work. Lose yourself in erotic reveries. Pat your pockets. Resolve to be more organised in future. Be useless.

I resolve that even after I meet this baby and my belly and energy have gone back to somewhat normal levels I want to hold onto this.  I may lose my skill for sleeping sitting up, but I plan to stay committed to the faff.

 Are you willing to recognize that thoughts are simply thoughts, beautiful and horrible in their scope and power, yet inadequate in their description of who you are?  Are you willing to investigate this?  If so, I invite you to stop thinking, just for a moment.  Not as an act of repression, but as a refusal to continue feeding whatever thought arises, to stop building thought upon thought.  Whether it is a thought of grandeur or a thought of worthlessness, stop feeding it and recognize it as just a thought.

What can a thought do?  It can define experience.  It can classify and relegate experience.  It can generate experience.  But it cannot be experience.  A thought has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The absolute truth has no beginning, no middle, and no end.  It does not appear and then disappear; it is always here.

I am not against thought.  What would be the point of that?  Thought is here.  Thoughts can be a glorious expression of creativity and understanding – to recognize thought for what it is, is to be neither for nor against it.  But when you are free of the bondage of believing that thoughts are reality, you are free to enter into the direct experience of who you are.  Who you are cannot be captured through thought.  The mind cannot capture its source because the mind is only an aspect of the source, not the whole.  You are the source, and since you are the source, you can discover yourself as that.

The Diamond in your Pocket, Gangaji

I collect old cookbooks.  When my grandmother passed away we were at her house and people were hauling things off.  I have no idea what was so interesting, my grandmother lived pretty simply.  Her idea of jewelry was some old Avon stuff with some of the fake stones missing.  Bling just wasn’t her thing. 

Someone asked me what I’d like and I said, “um, can i have a couple cookbooks?”.  I got a whole box and I just love them.  Her handwritten notes on recipes for casseroles with crushed up potato chips on top?  Priceless.

One of the old-school recipes that my grandmother and mom used to made is Half Hour Pudding.

I’d forgotten about it and then found it again in an Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens cookbook I picked up somewhere.  It’s a collection of traditional recipes and it’s fun to look through them.  There are some classics I want to try like ginger snaps and oatcakes.  But some of the recipes are more entertaining. Can you imagine making a cake with pork fat?  Yeah me neither.

Sometimes I read the recipes and think, wow they considered that food back then.  Like the recipe for Spruce Beer literally starts with instructions on boiling 7 pounds of tree until the bark falls off.  I guess if there’s no beer store you’d have to get creative.  It’d probably taste like Buckley’s cough syrup though….whew.

Anyhoo Half Hour Pudding  is “pudding” in the sense that the brits use it – “dessert”, not chemically sweet drippy goo from plastic containers.   The classic recipe is a cake made with raisins and cinammon baked with a brown sugar sauce but I had an urge for chocolate one day and thought, why couldn’t one make a *Chocolate* Half Hour pudding? 

They’re darn easy to make (I mix mine up in the casserole dish I bake it in), you throw it in the oven as you’re about to eat dinner so that it’s piping hot at dessert time, and it’s not all that bad for you fat and calorie-wise.  My theory is – if you’re mood for dessert go for it, just try not to kill yourself in one sitting.

So I tried the following and thought it was pretty similiar to those nasty molten chocolate cakes I’ve had at restaurants.  I’ve wanted to make them at times, but I look at the recipes and feel my arteries harden as I read about all that grated chocolate and all those eggs going into one dessert.  This one is a lot less rich. 

Chocolate Half Hour Pudding

1 TB Margarine or butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup flour

3 Tbsp cocoa

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp chocolate chips

Mix the ingredients in the order listed.  Put in an 8×8 pan or a 1.5 quart casserole dish.  Then pour the following over:

2/3 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp cocoa

1 & 1/2 cups boiling water

2 Tbsp butter/marg in 2 dabs (don’t worry it’ll all melt and mix up)

1 tsp vanilla

Bake in a 350 oven for 30-40 minutes.  The cake part will be a little floaty in the sauce, but check that the center has some firmness to it before taking it out.

When you’re pregnant you get to go for a million trillion blood tests.  Sometimes I’m convinced the pregnancy doctors are subsidizing their practices getting kickbacks from a league of vampires in exchange  for vials of my precious red stuff. 

I sit there with a needle in my arm thinking, couldn’t you be doing today’s tests on the 15 vials of blood I gave here *last* week?  At what point are they helping my health and at what point are they “helping” me to the point of causing me to pass out in the parking lot in front of an oncoming car.  I’d be all pale and weak and not even have enough blood to create a gory accident scene.

Anyhoo, I put on a brave face and do what I’m told.  I tried a new blood sucking place last week.  The nurse takes me into her office and as she’s hauling blood out of my arm I feel a little woozy so I’m reading the stuff on her walls. 

She’s got a ton of stuff on her walls.  A lot of her own work related notes.  Also a lot of bad photocopies of those snarky funny things that get passed along dissing bad customers and opinionated people.  And then I spy the note on paternity tests.

It turns out that a paternity test is $595 and every “alleged parent” after that is $70.  I assume one potential dad and the definite mom are included in the first price, what a bargain. 

I found it funny because I am so not a good candidate for anything but monogamy.  I’d get everything mixed up and use the wrong names and nicknames every chance I could get. 

I’d be the one saying, “hey I got sushi!” and then go, “oh right, *you’re* the meat and potatoes guy…..”  It’d be bad.  It’d be *moments* before I put my foot in my mouth and another 30 seconds before I crammed the second one in right behind.

But now I know there are other advantages to monogamy too.  Here’s to a few extra dollars in my pocket and one less blood test.

This morning my son and I were motoring down a two-lane road that cut down to one lane for construction.  I was in the through lane and when I saw the first merge sign I left some space for the black Civic beside me to make his way in.  He didn’t, so I moved forward and daydreamed and continued inching along.  At the last minute before his lane disappeared he floored it and swerved toward my front bumper.  I slammed on my brakes and he cut me off.

Wow.  I’ve lived in some cities with some pretty impatient angry drivers but I’ve never seen an agressive move quite like that.   I was stunned and shaken.

How bad a day could you possibly be having before 9:00 a.m. to be an Angry Young Man like that? 

And I actually had the presence of mind to watch and think about my reactions.  So at first I felt shitty and then I thought no, I don’t need to do this, and pushed the shitty back on him.  It’s his.  He’s rolling in it.  Or he’s soaking in it, as the old Palmolive commercial used to say.  That sure doesn’t mean I have to.

I don’t want to speed up and slam on my breaks beside him and holler and give him the finger.  I don’t need to make my day lousy too.  I don’t need the high blood pressure. 

And I’m not going to regret not giving him a written invitation to come into my lane, because if he wants to be a jerk, he’d find *some* reason. 

I fantasized for a moment that if I hadn’t had any caffeine that a.m. I wouldn’t have had the reflexes to brake and he would have hit me and I could have waddled out of the truck with my pregnant belly.  Ha!  But a jerk like that would find a way to see it as my fault regardless of scaring the crap out my son and I.  I can’t control his actions.

So when I stopped feeling shitty I decided to try to do the “evolved” thing.  I thought, I’m going to send him love.  Not the gushy fluffy pink bunny love that I feel for my kid when he has an adorable moment but a wall of fierce protective love. 

Like, Angry Young Man?  Your rage can’t touch me or my family.  And dammit, I’m going to wish you the best and hope your day improves really soon.  I’m going to send you good vibes and thoughts and whatever else I can think of.  Maybe one day you’ll see there’s enough room on the road for all of us.  And if you don’t, that’s ok too.

And as soon as I did that I felt completely calm.