Back from a looooong weekend hanging out with more of my extended family than has gathered in a long time: my dad's siblings and cousins, my second cousins, other relatives for which we have no short names. I hadn't seen one of my uncles in five or six years, and I got to spend some time with my cousin's six-year old--he enjoys a particularly violent form of wrestling that includes punching and kicking. And he doesn't give up, even after starting out charging at me (we aikido people love it when people charge at us, because all we have to do is get out of the way). Also I ate a ton of good food.

And my parents were there, which is always fun. I like them.

One of my second cousins has a child whose brain is wired a bit differently, and in addition to not having quite the social skills that others might, his ways of knowing people involve things like the color of their house, their dog's name, their wife's name, and so on. He didn't quite seem to get that I'm not married and don't have a dog, which is that crowd is quite unusual. He said, "You should get a dog," which triggered my natural response, "Well, I've been thinking I should get a wife, too, but we'll see how that works out."

Says my uncle, "If you think I'm picking up that straight-man line, think again." Everyone's a comedian.

I went and saw an Ayurvedic (Wikipedia, so remember to read critically) doctor today, basically trying to learn how to keep my body in balance so my moods and energy levels can be a bit more stable. (I've been sleepy and unreasonably short of breath these past few months, and it's clearly a sort of systemic thing that Western medicine has nothing to say about at the moment.) As with most such things, I wouldn't bother with it unless I had some close-hand anecdotal evidence that it made a difference; in this case, both a friend who's found it helpful, and my own experiences matching stuff that Ayurveda would predict.

It was at least as interesting as I'd hoped. I managed to not be too distracted by one of the apprentices, who was melt-in-your-mouth jaw-dropping cute, and gave a lot of details about every aspect of my life. The doctor and apprentices all looked at my tongue, and took my pulses--there appear to have been three pulses, depending on how many fingers they used and how hard they pressed. I don't really understand much of what was said, but the main idea is that there's some kind of energetic clogging going on, and the overwhelming goal is to change my diet to fix the clogging before it hits my lungs and I get a bad infection. Ayurveda essentially requires that you cook for yourself, so the outcome of the examination is to stop eating dairy for a while, and make my own food out of a list of ingredients that happens to exclude some things I eat a lot of. Apparently I have a variety of constitution which will heal and re-energize itself if I just stop messing with it, which means eating differently.

While discussing my sex life (I'm not really shy about these things, especially in front of strangers who mean little to me), the doctor, a very down-to-earth non-judgemental guy, asked if my 14 months of celibacy had been good or beneficial. I said no, because relationships are really where I learn and grow and engage most with the world outside myself. He glanced over at my star chart thinger and said, "Oh, yeah, those are enlightening for you, relationships are. Marriage is gonna blow your mind, it's just gonna open you up." Which is funny, since that sort of settling has seemed like more and more of a good idea. Not a shock, since I'm 29, but I know plenty of people my age and older with no discernible urge in that direction.

"Of course," he said, "that's not to say the marriage will be good..."

To try and get moving with the diet, I bought a catfish filet, and I understand now why catfish has not taken the nation by storm: meaty, non-flaky texture, and almost no flavor. If someday we end up eating vat-grown fish muscle tissue to survive, I imagine it will be just like catfish, or maybe tilapia, which I understand to be similarly exciting.