Massage and music

Just had another fab massage by one of the expert final-year students at WCCMT. After the assessment part of it, I was under the sheet waiting for the student intern to come back. I noticed the music was different. No longer the generic spa music or  nonmusic that past students had mentioned they were dead sick of. It seemed to have been replaced by 1960s doctor’s office Muzak. In my head danced visions of 1950s housewives and plastic-covered sofas in empty living rooms.

The next song was a change from the doctor waiting room music, the elevator music, though. It was a pseudo-classical arrangement of “Hey, it’s a beautiful day.” Still sappy as hell, but without the taint of actual Muzak. After that came Chopin. I flinched. It was like a can of precooked noodles in sauce next to Duck a l’orange. Yes, I’m a music fiend. I can’t ignore sounds, but least of all music. The spa music never bothered me. It was so generic, and none of the pieces went anywhere or did anything. Each of these pieces today was going in a different direction.

The Duck a l’orange was followed — the Chopin was followed by a balance sheet of all the safest and most boring notes on the planet, by Kenny G. Kind of like paper on a roll, with a delicate print to give it a hint of character. Good to wipe your mouth on after the duck, I suppose. Duck can be a bit rich and almost greasy. After Kenny G’s account, the soundtrack of my massage swept right back into classical music, an instrumental version of the aria of Madame Butterfly. The familiar strains danced elegantly to their conclusion, and I was taut with anticipation as to what would come next. I tried to relax, because I was getting a massage and that’s my job in that room. I couldn’t help but flinch, though, when the next sound I heard was apparently pan pipes of the Andes – no, wait, this must be Yanni. I think so, anyway. It was a kitsch masterpiece of clattering hammer dulcimer and trembling flute sounds, and towards the end even some folky vocals. I had to picture Madame Butterfly crying in that bathroom in that point. I gasped.

“Does that hurt?” asked the student. “No, it’s just the music messing with my head.” Puccini followed by a kitsch masterpiece. I must know what radio station — or whatever this is. I see nothing in common between these pieces, except that they are all light in texture and mood. The Chopin was very restrained, an old muddy recording, not a flashy close-miked performance where you can hear the very wood and metal of the piano humming.

Yanni gave way to some pablum with forgettable vocals and lyrics – I did try to remember them, but the intense pressure on my quadratus lumborum and piriformis muscles obliterated the words. I couldn’t help giggling. “You okay?” “It sounds like Paul McCartney on Valium, after a lobotomy.” McCartney can be great, and he can be a marshmallow, but he could never sound like this bad imitation. Not unless he was on his deathbed with dementia, as I have seen my mother, and probably not even then.

The final piece was some kind of near bebop jazz. Something with actually some character. I’d never heard this one before, and I suspect it’s Chet Baker, of whom I’ve never been a fan. Thelonious Monk is more my style, and Elvis Costello, and JS Bach, dubstep, and doumbek solos. I also love Chopin’s intensity, close-miked, but, yes, give me intensity! Passion!

This bizarre sequence of music that, individually, I would never choose to listen to, is something I definitely do want to hear again, though not particularly during a massage. I want to be able to listen to this at home, so it can spur me into a bizarre and humourous sense of reverie and creative play. It’s the opposite of what I would ever choose to listen to, and a bizarre mix. I can’t imagine where it came from and I must ask at the front desk, since my charming student is not a music fan and has no clue. He was just sick of the spa music like everyone else.

I ask at the front desk, before leaving. The staff person tells me it’s a mix of relaxation music that one of the therapists put together, and it’s on shuffle. I could create such a bizarre thing myself, because clearly it’s not a radio station I can tune into. This has been a red-letter music day, and I am going to fall asleep with a silly grin on my face, later. So glad I didn’t cancel this massage today. I’m not sure this soundtrack will last. It’s so bizarre. I won’t be the only person who’s going to have cultural chaos in the brain from it, will I?

 

Advertisements

Smoking

Smoking

Dear people who smoke –

That’s an expensive habit you have there. Can I just ask that you keep it to yourself, though? Why are you breathing out all that smoke and letting it go everywhere? You should have a system whereby you get the full benefit of what you’re paying for! I can’t even see you, but your smoke has travelled all the way down the street and into my apartment window. I had to turn on the air purifier. It seems such a waste of your personal resources to let all that smoke just blow “away.”

Couldn’t you do this in some sort of vessel that could capture more of this smoke for you? Hang onto it til you can breathe it in. And never breathe it out. Seriously, you need to work on this. What is the point of breathing it in… and then just blowing most of it out again? I donno if you can hold your breath for a bit like the pot-smokers in high school did, but seriously this technology needs improving, stat.

I was a passive smoker in the womb and through my childhood til I left home. At least that’s what the respirologist told me when I had pneumonia. I had told her I never smoked, you see. And I never intend to. Hence the air purifier. So, tobacco industry people and product developers – get with it so you are not selling something that people have to waste probably more than half of the product they buy! Let them get the full use and benefit of this stuff.

I’m a lifelong nonsmoker, healthy as a horse at age 55, and don’t want to have the next 30-40 years tainted by this acrid airborne chemistry that other people want to inhale and deposit deep in their lungs. Please, don’t share. Sharing is so 1960s. Get the full benefit and experience and keep it selfishly to yourself.

Crackerbox of death

Crackerbox of death

Of course, people are dying every day, everywhere. I know that. It’s nature. It’s the end of summer, and I see my garden maturing, heading toward its seasonal shutdown, the period of rest. That’s the big picture, the cycles. But with people we look at individuals. A child is born, maybe treasured. I wasn’t. A life continues to its inevitable downturn and end.

Today there was an estate sale in my building. It was for the owner of the red truck. The truck sat there through roadwork, and sat there, and sat there. The owner never came out to work on it as he did throughout the last 12 months since I’ve lived here, or to move it or pick up the several parking tickets. I heard the owner went to the hospital. Apparently, he never came out alive. He didn’t look that bad off when I saw him. Just an old person, perhaps in his 80s.

There are many old people in this building. Many have died and moved on in the eight or so years I’ve been here. And I feel death hanging on me, despite the fact I feel more vigorous than I ever have. I discovered a new strength training technique that is very powerful, and I have more energy than ever. And I love the massages I’ve been getting. And I love tribal fusion bellydance, a new solace in my life, both watching and doing. But death surrounds me here in this crackerbox. A tower warehouse for people with no particular purpose in life.

There’s another old guy in this building that sits out front smoking 10 times a day. His teeth have bizarre gaps, probably because some are missing and the rest shifted. He tried quitting smoking a few times, and went back to it. “Nothing else to do,” he told me. Just waiting to die, I guess. He can hardly see, due to a stroke. He has double vision and can’t see to clean his own place. I hardly think letting smoking suck up his extra oxygen is good for his eyes, but I can barely talk to the guy. He’s not quite there. His responses don’t connect with what I say.

I never had anything to live for, I still have nothing to live for. I saw my ex-husband today. He flounced by, wearing all black. He used to complain that I always wore those black t-hirts all the time. He hated them. I didn’t want the divorce. Okay, maybe it’s for the best, but it hurts. I need something to live for. I was living for him, for us. But there was no us. There was him first, and me and us never. I was a fool. I need something to live for.

 

 

Symmetry

Symmetry

I was surprised when this dragonfly didn’t take off as I was fumbling with a cucumber stem less than a foot away from him/her/it. A dragonfly’s gender doesn’t matter to me, does it? Not that I can ID them in that way. But I hate to call it “it”. Just feels too distant. But this one was very close. He just sat there. One wing is mangled and curled, and half a front leg is gone, also. If he doesn’t go away, some bird is going to figure out there’s a good chunk of protein there. I don’t know enough about dragonflies’ life cycle to even guess what else might happen. How long will he sit there before he falls down to the ground dead, ready to fertilize my plants with nitrogen and minerals?

My first photo was crap, so I went out and took another. I’m very surprised he’s still there two hours later and hasn’t been eaten. We all die in the end. And I already felt quite morbid today, but since I’m sharing this amazing dragonfly discovery with you, I’m going to also share my experience of life.

See, yesterday I had to go to the hospital, my first ride in an ambulance. I knew what was happening, kind of, because a lot of people in my family have problems with atrial fibrillation. I knew what was happening, but I didn’t really know the ramifications, so I didn’t have the sense to call an ambulance first thing. My heart’s rhythm was way off. The top and bottom halves weren’t in sync the way they should be. Basically, a bunch of heart spasms.

It settled down, I thought, after 40 minutes, but when I went off to do chores, I still didn’t feel right and got out of breath easily. A trip to the clinic turned into a trip to the hospital. It’s easily fixed with some drugs that reset the rhythm, and if not, then there is always the defibrillator. The ambulance ride was enough like being in the movies without having to go all the way to the paddles on the chest.

The ambulance guys, Sean and Tyler, did an awesome job and I thanked them for the lovely afternoon.  But they didn’t need to reassure me I wasn’t going to die. That’s not what I was crying about. I was crying about being born, that I ever had to live through all this crap for 55 years that really hasn’t been worth it. I’m seeking glory because I’ve never had any glory. Other people around me are retiring in contentment. No, not me. And not just because I can’t really afford it, either. Life has not been good enough. Playing Scrabble, gardening, and experimenting with grooming and sewing projects is not enough for me. I could live another 40. Yikes. I got stressed out numerous times at the hospital, but not because I was scared for my life, at all. No, as I told paramedic Sean, the thought of death doesn’t worry me. Rather it’s a comfort and it has been for a long time.

The stress at the hospital also came from nurses walking up to me and poking at me without acknowledging me as a human being first. If it were to save my life, that would be different – if I’m pushing someone out of the way of a deadly projectile, I don’t have to ask first. But if some guy that turned out to be a nurse, after I asked, is going to reach under my clothing, I’d like some eye contact and a few words, first. Then the other nurses got all bitchy, telling me every little thing and complaining that’s what I expect. No, I just need some acknowledgment before you touch me. I hate people touching me, bumping me, grabbing me, poking at me. The massage therapist knows better than to do that, and he’s there specifically to touch. He asks first. Stressing someone out by violating their boundaries doesn’t help achieve anything good.

Another stress was the accursed beeping on the heart machine behind me. Yes, my heart was going too fast. My BP was too high. And getting higher because of the ear-stab. Luckily I always have earplugs on me, and I put one in on the beep-machine side. And I shut my eyes and thought of blackness, my entire body turning black, then turning to mush and sinking into the ground, silently. Yup, while they were doing their best to keep me alive, I was consoled by thinking of death. I thought, “This might be it. I could die.” That was a comforting thought.

This morning, I wish I had died. Not an unfamiliar morning feeling for me, actually. I don’t even care that I’d be leaving a mess. I haven’t made any glorious progress here, anyway. I haven’t heard back about that plum job, and I don’t expect to. It seems designed for me, but I’m old, and no one wants that. Atrial fib isn’t exactly a giant health risk, but my health slate doesn’t feel quite as squeaky clean as it did before yesterday.

The way you can die from atrial fib is that a clot can form and then go to your brain and cause a stroke or worse, like a fatal heart attack. So, I’m lucky I came out of it with no heart damage and have no need for a prescription. The excellent doctor told be that a baby aspirin a day is a good idea to prevent clots in case a-fib happens again. I expect it’ll happen. I will probably take the aspirin, because as I told the paramedics, if you’re in a car accident, it’s better to die than be mangled. I don’t particularly want to live, but if I’m gonna live, I’m gonna take care of this machine I live in. I’m horribly healthy – my blood work was all perfect, doctor said. This despite diabetes-cliche levels of obesity. My body mass isn’t morbid, but 20 pounds or so would take it there. But I’m healthy. And that’s better than having a stroke and dragging half of my body around like dead weight for the rest of my life, or being parly paralyzed like my dad was. All that smoking and drinking he did. I don’t do that.

Wish I had a security cam to put on the dragonfly and see what happens to him. Insects die every day. They never go to the vet’s office. There is no emergency care for insects. They just get mowed down, squashed, poisoned, or eaten alive.

 

Edit: a few hours later, the assymetrical dragonfly has disappeared. I’ll never look at them the same way again. They’re like birds – you only ever see them as young and beautiful, because any injured one is killed off fast. A rare exception I can think of is a neighbourhood pigeon I have seen limping around on a damaged left foot, not just this year but in previous years. I assume it’s the same bird. I should watch it more carefully in future and try to ID it.

 

WCCMT – a secret

WCCMT – a secret

West Coast College of Massage Therapy is an awesome place in my town. (And in a few other towns, actually.) See, the students work there in a clinic, and it’s incredibly inexpensive to get an hour’s treatment. Discount for seniors. I don’t feel like a senior, but I’m over 55, so I got the discount. I can handle that a lot better than being offered the senior discount on my 40th birthday because my hair turned white rather early. Yes, that really happened. I especially liked stepdad’s comment, at the time, on the hat I always wore in those days, a canvas canoe hat which I indeed was wearing during that senior incident: “Well, it does age you.” Somehow that cracked me up.

So, this week is the last week at the school, and the fifth term students are off to their professional careers. They will be RMTs – registered massage therapists. They do relaxation massages, but they specialize in therapeutic ones. Not if you have a WCB/ICBC claim, of course, but if you have a problem area. I have quite a few. I learned the most awesome and helpful things!

I learned that if you have a painful muscle, maybe you should not stretch it but rather look at its opposite, which may be so tight it’s pulling and making the other one sore. Story of my hamstrings. Hurt to sit on them. My pelvis had other tight muscles that were pulling on them.  Now the pain is 95% gone.

I learned that for my inflamed tendon on one side of my foot, I need to strengthen the muscle that opposes it, on the other side of my foot and leg. Wow, the tendon pain went down by about 3/4 and I am going to keep doing my leg days and strengthening those muscles.

But it’s also important to stretch. There are certain muscles I’ve trained for years – chest, triceps are two groups – but I never stretched them. Unlike a lot of women and especially dancers who well know about lengthening muscles, instead I thought like a man: it feels good to be strong, so build up those muscles with weights, strength training. Clearly we need both, and my student RMT has a great depth of knowledge. He’s one of those lucky people who, though young, knows what he wants to do and has dived in and is doing a wonderful job of it.

I went to two different people there, but the first one was a fifth term student, and for a bit I had a fourth term one when the fifth wasn’t available. He was better than she was, so I went back to him when he was available again. The term ends tomorrow, and the mood in there today was like floating on a cloud. They had their last exam this morning. But in September, a new term begins, and a new calendar to fill up with lovely massage bookings. And, yes, I am also going to be a private client of my fave student. He wants to go independent in a year, and I am happy to help him out with that and also get the benefit of his excellent skills and sensitive touch in my healing journey.

If you check out their webpage, you’ll see they actually do some spa type things as well. I saw these offerings and signed up for one on a whim. I have never done a spa thing. It was just a crazy idea: Salt Glow. So I’m lying there naked with a towel wrapped under and over around my crotch to cover the crack and all, and getting scrubbed with basically sodium chloride and some essential oil. It was rough, like sharp sand. It was different. It was okay, but as he pointed out, it makes your skin incredibly soft. A week later, it’s still softer than I ever remember.

So, apparently exfoliation is a thing. As you can tell, I’m really not very girly and never experimented with exfoliation nor had girly friends to tell me I had to do it. I guess I’d like to try a facial now. Maybe it’ll make my face skin similarly soft. Not that this place offers those. But I think I’m on a roll here, of self care as well as self–pampering.  If you want to do the same, move fast as I understand the school is phasing out the spa stuff and sticking with the higher value (my view) therapeutic massage stuff.

To the grads… and next term! 🙂

 

Freedom from

Freedom from

It’s not okay with me that people modify their vehicles to make excess noise. Do people not understand that noise causes stress? I think they do understand, as it’s evident many people who make their vehicles noisy, whether by pipes, bass, or loud music, get a kick out of bothering other people and pushing their buttons. Not saying it’s the prime motivation for all, but for jerks it’s part of being cool.

So, I was trying to work in this heatwave, with the window open of course, and I heard something like a straining semi-truck or a revving mud-bogging truck with no muffler. It went on and on. I mean even if it went for five seconds it’d be enough to interrupt me.

And, no, I can’t wear earplugs and a construction earmuff on top as I do at other times, because I have to listen to recordings to do my work. And it’s ridiculous I have to double down on soundproofing to have peace, but I do. I realize other people block it out wih TV and their deafness, but I don’t have a TV, and I’m not deaf. It’s a blissful hour when I can play my doumbek music and dance. I don’t notice crap noise much during that hour.

So I look out to see what monstrosity is making such a racket and it’s the nondescript vehicle above. A nondescript young person exits and waits outside the building for apparently a girlfriend. I guess when you appear utterly bland in every way, having the most obnoxious sounding car in town helps you stand out. Not sure obnoxious is better than bland, but that’s just me.

While writing this post, I heard thumping again. Tracked it down a block away at the teen centre. Some deejay thing. Nice waste of time and getting overheated for me to walk over there to whack a mole and get freedom from putting up with a second heartbeat in my body for no good reason.

 

Sexy

The title is wrong. Sexy means something that turns you on sexually, right? Or, maybe… maybe it’s just a feeling of being alive and fluid in your body, okay with it, enjoying it. My body ain’t perfect by far. Last post I called it FatBoringOld like the Monty Python sketch of Mr. and Mrs. Git.

Sexy is the sun on your back and a breeze on your sweaty lower back, cooling, despite the sun. Feeling free and comfortable in your body, despite its gross imperfections to those concerned with such things. It’s heat and cool in best proportions.

It’s fabric that hangs or clings comfortably, and I stumbled upon this the other day.

Ridiculously, we had an old piece of nightgown fabric to block the drafts from the door. It was the bottom half of a nightgown, the bodice cut out and thrown away. So, less than half a metre of cotton fabric, with a lettuce edge. After the separation and divorce, I inherited this scrap, which had been rolled up to block the door. I washed it, thinking it’d make a good cleaning rag, being cotton.

In some moment of whimsy I tied a knot in it and made a shoulder baring top out of it.  It’s my favourite cool summer top to wear. Should take a pic and post it. I actually walked around the mall in it, one day. I saw male eyes glancing at my shoulders or perhaps the audacity of Ms. FBO Git walking around half naked.

Cool cotton, and I love the way it drapes. The folds conceal the belly bulge. The knot enhances the chest. Despite being roly-poly, none of that is in my chest, proportionally. The knot does the trick, bulging outward, competing with the belly.  If I could make this into a product, I’d make millions.  Maybe I shouldn’t post this moneymaking secret!

But I sure enjoy it. I’m wearing it now. Gonna make more like it out of other fabric. It’ll be my uniform. Bare shoulders in the breeze. Mmm.