Monday, December 28, 2015

giftmaking recipes

I've been asked how to make the sugar scrub and soak I made for Christmas gifts this year. Included are those recipes for those interested.

Peppermint Soak

Mix together 1 cup baking soda, ½ cup Epsom salt, 2 teaspoons peppermint extract, 2 drops red food coloring with a whisk. Pour onto a piece of freezer paper and let dry for ½ an hour. When ready to use, pour two tablespoons into a warm bath.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Put ½ cup of coconut oil into a bowl and soften in the microwave for 15 seconds. Mix in 1½ cups of granulated sugar, 2-3 teaspoons peppermint extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 drops of red food coloring (if desired). I mixed it with the wisk to be sure the food coloring is evenly distributed. Use as common sense would dictate. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Winter-thing you celebrate!

The holidays are upon us and, like the busy beaver I am (while working two jobs for a grand total of 50 hours a week), I've started Christmas things early, especially since fruitcake takes about two months grand total to prepare.

Three weeks ago, I began the fruitcake starter. Brandy, sugar, a mixture of fruit and a glass bowl. Stir twice a week for three weeks. Then drain the fruit, put the liquid back in the bowl and add fruit 10 days at a time with sugar. This takes 30 days to candy the fruit. Then you make the bread.

I've started the candying process. I've been doing friendship bread starters for a few weeks and have made a kickass banana bread recipe from it. I've also made the traditional version and a cranberry almond. All of them are super good. I began my own bread starter and have been freezing everything as I go along so I can make loaves for a friend's bake sale. I've also made some kickass zucchini nut muffins and I have plans to make cranberry orange muffins.

Just today I put vanilla beans into a mixture of brandy and vodka to soak for vanilla extract that will go in my fruitcake. Super excited about that.

And since I'm talking about super awesome food, I'll share the websites I pulled my recipes from.

This is a link to the friendship bread starter so you can make your own if you don't know someone who has already made some. This is also the site I've modified my recipes from. My warning is to use half the oil and substitue the other half with unsweetened applesauce to make a little lighter bread. Also, you can use pureed banana in place of the eggs. That's how I made my banana bread.

For fruitcake, the friendship fruitcake starter came from Victoria's Cornucopia. The candied fruit came from there as well. I'm using a different recipe for my fruitcake using the friendship bread starter. We'll see how it turns out. I'm modifying the original recipe and including candied fruit. It should be spectacular. I might incorporate the cream cheese in mine based off Victoria's recipe because, let's be honest, it looks amazing.

I'm also making a variation of her fruit spread to use the fruit from the starter. I hate wasting anything and I have to say, it's freaking amazing. Cinnamon sugar, lemon and the fruit. Cook, mash, boil until set. Yum.

And tonight for dinner, I made buffalo chicken pizza. Mama Mary's deep dish crust, two to three tablespoons of Alfredo sauce, a tablespoon of Frank's hot sauce spread over the crust. The edge brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with a little onion powder, garlic powder and powdered Asiago Romano cheese. Add chopped chicken, cover with pizza cheese and bake 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler to brown the cheese. It's freaking delicious.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Author Interview: Kelly Crigger

curmudgeonDiscovering who you are is not just for teenagers. Midlife men must also rediscover the world around them while struggling with their own impending mortality and legacy, especially those who change careers and lifestyles. 

 Middle-aged men like me are under siege, beset on all sides by personal ambition, internal expectations, familial pressure, disillusionment, uncertainty, and legacy. It’s a constant battle to balance the needs of the self and the needs of others and a struggle to discover which ones really take priority. Some win this battle and some tragically lose. 

 Curmudgeonism is a state of mind, unwavering, unapologetic, and uninterested in what people think. We are the proverbial old dog that can’t be taught new tricks because we know the old tricks are tried and true. We have firm beliefs that can’t be shaken. Free trade is good. True leaders are rare. Happiness is a luxury. Golf is a waste of time and we don’t have enough years left to be unproductive. We don’t apologize for our views because we’ve spent half a lifetime developing them. Theory and idealism sounds good in school but only until it becomes cost prohibitive and the real world determines ground truth. Curmudgeons are uncaring about what people think and have low expectations on the world because it’s done little more than disappoint us. We’re middle aged and tired of looking, acting, feeling the way people want us to, so we’re breaking out and being who we were meant to be; irascible curs who make the world a better place through brutal honesty. We see this as our duty and take it seriously. 

 Buy the ticket. Take the ride. 

 Pick up your copy: [Amazon]  [B&N Nook]

  Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
My intended audience is middle aged men who are tired of apologizing for who they are…or just need a laugh. I went through some dark times in my early forties and know others are as well. I want to tell them how I got through it with a lot of humor along the way.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main character in this book is pretty much me. I went through a dark period in 2013 where I lost my father and my business and was kinda pissed at the world and people in general. When you own a business you see the worst in people. They all want to take advantage of you or lie to your face and it really jaded me. At the time I’d been writing down life lessons for my kids and was planning to put them into a book for them. So I just got drunk one night and took all those lessons and rewrote them with a “fuck you world” attitude and 8 weeks later the book was done. Once I got started I couldn’t stop myself.
What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
My next book is called I Am Haunted and it’s pretty much a biography of Zak Bagans from Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. He and I have been friends a few years now and wrote a book together called Dark World. I Am Haunted is the sequel. I’m also editing my first novel for the 7th time in 11 years. It’s called The Comfort Station and I started it a long time ago when I lived in Korea. It was good enough to land me representation by Folio Literary Agency, but we haven’t been able to get a deal yet, so I’m going back to edit it one more time.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would love to write full time, but I make 10 times more in my day job than I ever have writing. So despite six books, a bestseller and hundreds of articles to my credit, it’s still just a hobby.
What is the scariest thing you have ever written?
This interview.
What is the hardest scene you have ever written?
My biography.
When did you decide to become a writer?
When my wife and I were living in Korea and she mentioned that the English bookstore had no selection. She was frustrated with the lack of titles so I decided to write her a book before her birthday. It was horrible. Worst thing I’ve ever written.
Why do you write?
Because I’m too old to play rugby and have too much dignity to play golf. Also all my Army friends are getting promoted while I was ridden out of the service so I have to do something to be better than them.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I got mad at the world and made a commitment to voice my displeasure no matter who it offended. It was a catharsis.
What is your biggest failure?
Starting my own business.
Do you drink? Smoke?
Fuck yes. Bourbon. There is nothing else.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Depends. This one took 2 months, but I have a novel that has taken 11 years and still isn’t published.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed it?
Thomas Hunt from Ranger Up Apparel designed it and the interior images. He’s the bomb.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Absolutely. That’s why I chose the cover I did. It’s easily recognizable and easy to transition into a brand image for all my works.
How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?
It’s all about not being afraid to voice your opinion even if it’s contempt for people. Everyone says you have to be open and accepting of others but that’s bullshit. You only have to acknowledge them and if you feel like it, tell them they’re idiots. Everyone wants you to be politically correct, but when you hit middle age that goes out the window. I am who I am and I’m not changing. I’m going to say what I want because I don’t have enough years left on this earth to sugar coat my opinions. What’s anyone going to do to me anyway. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m mean at everyone and in fact I’m a polite person. Curmudgeons believe in ‘live and let live’ because we don’t have the time to waste on morons so we avoid them. In those cases when we can’t avoid them we hold up a mirror (in the form of a curmudgeonly insult) so they can see they’re idiots and hopefully benefit from it.
What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
No idea. Just wanted to get some stuff off my chest and hope others felt the same way. I’m like Woodstock. I’m having a little get together and if like minded people want to join in and make it epic then so be it.
Are there misconceptions that people have about your book? If so, explain.
Curmudgeons aren’t as mean spirited as people think. We don’t hate everyone. We just know they’ll let us down if we give them a chance to. We’re realists who don’t want to be muzzled anymore so we tell idiots that they’re idiots.

kellyKelly Crigger is an angry troll who lives under a bridge, eats goats that wander past, and throws their bones into the canyon of despair. 

 Connect with Kelly: [Twitter]  [Facebook]  [Goodreads

 Follow the entire Curmudgeonsim Tour HERE Brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Own up or shut up

I posted about this on Twitter earlier, but I thought it needed an actual, honest-to-gods blog post. My tweets are as follows:

There are some mornings I want to just shake some sense into my child. I love him dearly but GODS does he FRUSTRATE ME. It's hard being a teenager. I remember. So I try to cut him some slack. But there comes a point where there is no more slack. I hate that. Now it's time for me to go into supermom mode and ride his ass and make him get cranky and pissy with me. This is the part of teens I hate. My job as a parent is to make sure my child succeeds. I will do that. Because I'm his mom and I have his back. Even if he doesn't see it. I remember my parents nagging & hated it. They were just trying to get me to do what I was supposed to. Sometimes we need a foot up our ass. Doesn't change the fact I hate doing that. But, when it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Okay. Done venting. Back to teacher emails.

 I emailed each of his teachers, giving my email address and phone number. I asked them to please contact me if there was anything I could do to help. I asked them to email or text if Anthony was missing assignments or not turning things in. I also asked to pick up what schoolwork he was missing over the last two days so he could get caught back up.

Parenting isn't easy. Sometimes it downright sucks watching your kids struggle to succeed. Although you know it's necessary, you want to swoop in and give them the hand up they need. I've never been one of those mom's to do something FOR my son, but I've been overly helpful at setting up his assignments and telling him when to do what. He needs to learn to do things on his own and set his own time. But he's horrible with that and I know it. 

But I can't be there at college to make sure he goes to classes. I can't be there to prod his ass out of bed when he makes a stupid mistake and pulls an all nighter and then skips out of work. And I sure as hell don't want my son to have to move back in with mom after he moves out because he is unprepared for real life. However, that's where I see this going. The same path I took. Only I didn't go back home. I lived out of my car out of pride and stubborness. I was NOT going to prove my dad right. I was NOT going to have a 9pm curfew at 22. I was not going to have to share a room with my little sister who was just at the age where she needed a room of her own.

I made the decision to, and I am going to be sexist for a moment:

To make that a little more gender neutral and stop putting emphasis on male ubermasculinity... Time to own up or shut up. And, to paraphrase Yoda: there is no try. Do or do not.

I have to suck it up, be okay with my kid being irritated at me, snapping at me, being generally cranky and stressed out until this is all under control again. As much as I like being a relatively cool mom, I need to start riding him until he starts doing the things he should do. I'm irritated with myself that I didn't see this coming. I tried to cut the apron strings a little and he sank. 

Time for mom to dive in after him and shove his head above water so he can swim back to shore. This time I'll put some arm floaties on before the strings come off.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Show me your Teeth

I am not normally forthright about the condition of my teeth. My mouth has been a train wreck since I was seventeen. I came down with mono and was so sick I could barely stay awake long enough to eat. The only thing other than water I ate or drank was milkshakes my mom put protein powder into. I lost 35 pounds.

When I finally woke up and could stay awake longer than it took to drink a small milkshake or pee, my mouth was a mess. The gum tissue was pulling away from my teeth on the bottom. The dentist called it trench mouth. I went on a round of antibiotics and was told to brush my teeth in an upward motion until the gum tissue tightened around my teeth again.

It never did.

I saw many dentists. One asked me if I was a meth addict. Another pulled back in revulsion when he looked in my mouth. Another hygenist sneered at me and snottily told me "you need to brush your teeth more". I asked how many more times than four I needed to brush in a day. She told me to brush after anything I ate or drank that was not water. That made things WORSE. So I stopped brushing more than twice a day unless I ate something sugary. My mouth got a little better when I got my tongue pierced, so I continued rinsing in the middle of the day with Listerine.

Then my teeth started to fall out. When the first one fell out, the dentist went through my mouth listing all the extractions. Which was all of them. And didn't know there were only three levels of movement in the mouth. Which even I knew and I'm not in the dentistry field. They were quoting me 8 grand and telling me I had to take out loans and let them work on me that immediate day. Which, no. I don't. High pressure sales in dentistry is a really, REALLY stupid idea.

I haven't let anyone look at my mouth since then. Six of my lower teeth fell out. I have an impacted wisdom tooth on the right side and, most recently, one of the teeth that came in with no enamel rotted down to the root. I was in enough pain I was taking 2000mg of Tylenol every four hours for almost a week.

The teeth had to go. I am a big sissy pants. I put my big girl panties on, called a dentist office and went in. They did two extractions today, checked my teeth for gum disease and gave me some recommendations. Thankfully the dentist had a cancellation after me and was able to do the extractions today. As the Novocaine is wearing off and the Tylenol has already passed through my system, I am in only very minimal pain. I'm almost regretting filling the Vicodin they gave me, although I am going to take that tonight to sleep. That's when my mouth hurt the worst.

I still have a long road to go. I need at least another 8 extractions and a bottom denture. They recommended doing the upper as well because of my severe overbite. My teeth are a mess and nine years of braces did nothing to correct it. I blame part of my lower jaw issues on the way they moved my bottom teeth around while I was in braces.

Whatever the issue, I am spending the money to get things cleaned, filled, pulled, replaced and taken care of. It took a lot of courage to do something so many people consider so simple. I did a very brave thing for me today. And I made it through the injections with no problems. It was only once it was all over that I fainted and convulsed. Yay vasovagal syncope. The oxygen smelled like an orange dreamcicle. I kinda want one now.

It's soft foods for me the next couple days. So, in honor of that, I'm going to share this recipe I found for funnel cake bites. I figure I might be able to eat those without much hassle. Lots of pudding, protein shakes, smoothies and mac and cheese for me!

Funnel Cake Bites

2 cups milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter

Mix wet ingredients. Add dry. Mix until smooth. Pour into a gallon zipper bag.

Pour 1/2 oil into a pan and eat on high, then turn down to medium/med-high. Make dots of batter in the oil, let cook until browned, then turn over. Serve like you would a funnel cake or eat plain because that's delicious, too. Be super careful with the hot oil and let it cool completely before disposing of it. Fires can occur. The last thing I want is someone burning their house down to eat something I suggested.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Long absences

It's amazing how much one person's death can affect your daily life. Even when that person wasn't someone you saw often.

My dad passed on June 8th from a one year and ten day battle with esophageal cancer. It has taken me over two months to get myself back to a place where I feel relatively human. I'm getting back into creative endeavors again. I have ideas for a couple of books. I've been keeping notes.

I've accepted a position with the D20 Girls as the assistant state manager for Ohio. I'm not entirely sure how that happened, to be honest. I was trying to quit and ended up accepting the position. I've stepped back from conventions lately because many expect me to work at least 20 hours to keep my badge. Considering I will not be taking time off work to do these events, I can't make the required time commitment. I would still like to work in the gaming departments, but that may be something I cannot do on a part time schedule.

I have been working on crochet projects. Making prizes for the D20 Girls. And I'm learning Pathfinder. Not to mention I picked up a Wednesday evening Vampire game with a friend. It's been forever since I've played.

I'm alive. I'm mostly well. And I'm getting better. I don't know that it's ever going to stop hurting... but it gets a little easier to ignore every week.

Start up a conversation with me. I'll reply. I've been quiet on all social media except Line and Game of War. My Line username is Lockefox. My Game of War server is Demon. Come play with me.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book Review: Scarlet Stilettos

Scarlet StilettosScarlet Stilettos by Ash Penn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laine Lawson and Tony Barton are best mates, their friendship forged from a one night stand. Laine has declared herself celibate. Tony has met a man who meets all of his needs. But Will isn't all he seems, especially when he discovers Laine isn't all she seems, either. When Laine takes an abrupt holiday and Will moves in with Tony, all hell breaks loose for the pair of them. Tony learns more about Will than he really wanted to know. Laine makes a mess of her family and has a heart to heart with Adam, her ex who literally tossed her out into the street like garbage. All this while hiding her feelings for her best friend. Tony gets in over his head in Laine's absence. Can she come back and save the day?

This book needs trigger warnings for domestic violence. I wasn't expecting it and at points I had to put the book down.

Minus: My personal feeling is there is nothing sexy about the word saliva. Every time I read it in a sexy scene, it pulled me out of the book with a shudder. I think this book could have been two books on their own, one about Laine and one about Tony, instead of being one book together. There was a LOT going on.

Plus/Minus: I could have kicked Tony's ass for fucking in Laine's bed. I was so mad about it, I tweeted about it while I was reading. I don't CARE if he went back and changed the sheets. I can know intellectually WHY he did it because I've lived there, but I still wanted to smack him for it. NO. Just NO. It did lend itself to more tension later in the book, however.

Plus: I fell in love with Laine the moment I first read her. She's fun and strong without losing her feminine side and the vulnerability that makes her human. I loved that Tony, the ex fighter and all around badass, winds up getting himself in a heap of trouble and I actually like the mental stress it puts on him. I love the chemistry between Tony and Laine and I love Oliver for being the smooth motherfucker he is, despite being another bad guy.

All in all, excellent read.

View all my reviews

Friday, June 26, 2015


• What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.

• Is Buddhism a Religion?

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'. It is a philosophy because philosophy 'means love of wisdom' and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.

• How Can Buddhism Help Me?

Buddhism explains a purpose to life, it explains apparent injustice and inequality around the world, and it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness.

• Why is Buddhism Becoming Popular?

Buddhism is becoming popular in western countries for a number of reasons, The first good reason is Buddhism has answers to many of the problems in modern materialistic societies. It also includes (for those who are interested) a deep understanding of the human mind (and natural therapies) which prominent psychologists around the world are now discovering to be both very advanced and effective.

• Who Was the Buddha?

Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and meditation he finally found 'the middle path' and was enlightened. After enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism — called the Dhamma, or Truth — until his death at the age of 80.

• Was the Buddha a God?

He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.

• Do Buddhists Worship Idols?

Buddhists sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not in worship, nor to ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha with hands rested gently in its lap and a compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. Bowing to the statue is an expression of gratitude for the teaching.

• Why are so Many Buddhist Countries Poor?

One of the Buddhist teachings is that wealth does not guarantee happiness and also wealth is impermanent. The people of every country suffer whether rich or poor, but those who understand Buddhist teachings can find true happiness.

• Are There Different Types of Buddhism?

There are many different types of Buddhism, because the emphasis changes from country to country due to customs and culture. What does not vary is the essence of the teaching — the Dhamma or truth.

• Are Other Religions Wrong?

Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs or religions. Buddhism agrees with the moral teachings of other religions but Buddhism goes further by providing a long term purpose within our existence, through wisdom and true understanding. Real Buddhism is very tolerant and not concerned with labels like 'Christian', 'Moslem', 'Hindu' or 'Buddhist'; that is why there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation is sought.

• Is Buddhism Scientific?

Science is knowledge which can be made into a system, which depends upon seeing and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fit into this definition, because the Four Noble truths (see below) can be tested and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the teaching rather than accept his word as true. Buddhism depends more on understanding than faith.

• What did the Buddha Teach?

The Buddha taught many things, but the basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed up by the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

• What is the First Noble Truth?

The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

• What is the Second Noble Truth?

The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

• What is the Third Noble Truth?

The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.

• What is the Fourth Noble Truth?

The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.

• What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?

In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others.

• What are the 5 Precepts?

The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.

• What is Karma?

Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.

• What is Wisdom?

Buddhism teaches that wisdom should be developed with compassion. At one extreme, you could be a good hearted fool and at the other extreme, you could attain knowledge without any emotion. Buddhism uses the middle path to develop both. The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality, all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent and do not constitute a fixed entity. True wisdom is not simply believing what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, unbigoted mind. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.

• What is Compassion?

Compassion includes qualities of sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern, caring. In Buddhism, we can really understand others, when we can really understand ourselves, through wisdom.

• How do I Become a Buddhist?

Buddhist teachings can be understood and tested by anyone. Buddhism teaches that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves not outside. The Buddha asked all his followers not to take his word as true, but rather to test the teachings for themselves. ln this way, each person decides for themselves and takes responsibility for their own actions and understanding. This makes Buddhism less of a fixed package of beliefs which is to be accepted in its entirety, and more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in their own way.

Prepared by Brian White 1993, with thanks to Ven S. Dhammika.
Copyright 1996-2015, BDEA/BuddhaNet. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Story Basket

I started a blog several years ago to archive stories about my life. These are those stories carried over to this blog for archival purposes. Maybe I'll tell more stories as I go along.

Thirteen Chapter

December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
In 2005 (and this date, like all others, is subjective due to my memory being a steel sieve), I had everything plotted and planned out to end my life.  My mate would be at work, my sister had come to get my son and take him down to their house and my grandmother, whom I was living with, was visiting family out of state.  I didn’t have to work so no one would be calling to check in on me.  I’d taken enough tylenol to choke a horse and drew a hot bath and as I lay there with my eyes closed floating and ignoring everything around me, some nagging little voice inside of my head nagged at me.
That bath ended up being just a bath that lasted well until the water was no longer warm and my mate came home from work.  My sister brought my son home and after I woke up and crawled out of the tub, I told him what I’d planned on and, instead, called to make an appointment with the doctor to talk to him about medication or something.
In the weeks prior to that, I had spent so much time in my life just packing up boxes and boxes of possessions, things I couldn’t bear to get rid of and things that I wasn’t using and put a date on them.  The plan was, if I hadn’t looked for it in over a year that I would go back to them, take one last look through and then get rid of it.
In 2010 when I am packing up to move, I am just now going through those boxes and clearing things out of my attic that really should have been gotten rid of years before.  Somehow, though, the boxes of crap have carried their energy with them and every one I open, despite it going back out again, carries with it all the negativity and bitterness I carried with me at that point and time in my life and it just clings to me like nettles.  Every time I try and wipe it off, it stings me.
Fire is the great purifier. Maybe that should be the answer to some of that nonsense from that time so I can move on.

Twelve Chapter

December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
When I was young, which is what most of my stories thus far have been made of, I was essentially ignored until I did something wrong.  Sometimes they were things that I didn’t know were wrong and I was forced to sit and guess and grasp and straws and try and figure out what was wrong because asking never got me anywhere.  As a matter of fact, when I tried to ask, all I was met with was a stone wall.  They completely ignored me as though I weren’t even there, leaving me to turn didos on myself and try and figure desperately what I’d done so that they would at least respond to me when I spoke.  Sometimes when communication was necessary, they would leave me notes taped to places where I would “see them” like in the middle of the television or on my door or on the mirror in the bathroom.  And then there were the notes that were stuck literally everywhere like “close the cupboard door” and “shut the fridge” and “don’t drink the soda” or whatever they felt like yelling at me for when they weren’t speaking with me.
Sometimes I wonder where my paranoia comes from when I start thinking the other shoe is about to drop and I’m going to get fired for doing something I didn’t know I was doing or thinking my girlfriend is going to break up with me because I’m not her ideal of perfect (or really any ideal at all).  Sometimes I write blog entries.
I learned to live my life alone in my room with only my things around me and homework that needed done.  I had to walk on eggshells wherever my dad was concerned.  I never knew when he walked through that door rather or not he was going to be happy to see us or if he was going to raise his knee up so as we ran to hug him when we came in the door that we would run into it and fall back on the floor.  When we asked what we’d done wrong, he ignored us, walked past us like our hurt and tears didn’t matter and, apparently, they didn’t.  We needed to get a thicker skin.  Now when I speak to someone and they don’t respond or they’re angry at something that isn’t me, I feel just like I did when my dad brought his knee up and knocked me down when I was so happy to see him when he came home.  It taught me very quickly that I was only worthy of being ignored or screamed and punished and then ignored harshly when I did something wrong.  I learned that feeling happy and excited to see someone and to look forward to something, anything, was a foolish emotion that only led to being hurt.
Sometimes I wonder where my feelings of sadness and inferiority come from.  Sometimes I write blog entries.
I think that’s why it’s so hard now that I’ve figured out how incredibly important touch is and being able to touch someone and have them touch you without that touch being sexual in nature and just simply feeling good being around someone.  I have triggers and sometimes they’re hair triggers and a heavy breath out of place sends me into that same pool of helplessness and hopelessness that I’ve been in since I was eight years old.  Knowing what depression is now, I can remember feeling it even then.
When I think back, I have never been actively praised for anything that I can remember other than when I graduated from massage school.  My dad said he was proud of me.  Thankfully I haven’t really been around him enough since then so he hasn’t had a chance to be an asshole to me again. I can actually think that once in awhile my dad isn’t a complete prick and maybe does care. Along those lines, I read a quote earlier today that said “just because someone doesn’t love you like you think they should, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have”.  I find that rather apt.  Maybe my dad just sucks at love.  He doesn’t understand it.
Sometimes I believe that everyone loves me as much as I love them.  Sometimes I write blog entries.

Eleven Chapter

October 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Does she see us going the long haul? Could she see us settling down together forever or am I someone who is good for the moment but not permanent? Is she with me because marriage isn’t possible? Does she resent that? Would she ever consider marriage if it was legal? Once she was over her heartache and realizes she could have those things with me that she thinks Fate stole?
I didn’t say anything to her at the time because she was hurting, but it seemed like she was saying she would never have those things again and it made me question.
What’s he got that I ain’t got? I’ve got so much more than he ever had and somehow I think it’s not quite good enough.
I want to marry this girl someday. I wonder if she’ll ever feel the same.

Ten Chapter

January 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
When I was young somewhere between 8 and 12 where my life stops having any kind of order or sense, much like the rest of my life has been around it, my parents took me to visit their family friends.  We did this on several visits and I am not sure where they were living at the time.  It might have been Pennsylvania.  They lived in an apartment building and while we were staying with them, it was said that we were absolutely forbidden from going back down through the trees and down to the little stream.  Where did we naturally go?
There were other kids down at the stream and they had found some clams in the stream.  Freshwater clams.  I was intrigued.  I had never seen clams in a stream before.  I’d thought they only came out of the ocean.  We spent a lot of time down at the stream playing with the other kids until they came out looking for us.  The friend I had been with had told me to come back up around the house and go play in the big pine tree and just to say that I had been there the whole time.  When I was asked, I responded that, in fact, I had been in the tree playing.  At least for the last five minutes, not that I volunteered that up.
Apparently the son of the family friends had gotten caught doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing before and ended up being punished for doing it and bringing me down there.  He ended up making a big noise when he got his ass beat and I ended up not punished at all since I was little and impressionable.  I didn’t understand what the big deal was.  There were other kids there and we were just looking around down there and playing in the water.  I still don’t know what the big deal was.
Apparently in Pennsylvania you aren’t allowed to play in open water or try and catch squirrels in big pine trees.

Nine Chapter

January 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
I used to be horribly, terribly afraid of drag queens, drag kings and transgendered people.  They used to scare the high holy hell out of me.  The very IDEA of someone wanting to be friends with me or date me who was transgendered was absolutely squickworthy and unreasonably so.  I had no idea why they scared me like they did, but to have a completely irrational fear of them told me there was more to look into with the problem.
I was raised that the gender you are born into, the lot you are born into, is what you are to become.  If you are sexed female, you will follow typical gender rules assigned to the female gender.  Should you be born male, you had to be macho and otherwise you could get away with whatever you wanted.  A lot of the rules with me changed, however, since I liked to go and get dirty in the shop working with dad and re-roof houses in the summer but I also liked to putz around in the kitchen and sew and cross stitch.  Girls were girls and dated and married boys.  Boys were boys and dated and married girls.  I, unfortunately, seemed to be male with female tendencies, much to my mother’s dismay.
She always used to tell the tale of how bad she wanted a boy and how his name would have been Chad Walton Bartholomew.  She was convinced she was having a boy all through her pregnancy and even bought blue clothes for me.  Well… I guess she partially got her wish.  I always used to tease her and tell her she needed to put me back in and bake me long enough.  She never really found that funny.
Looking deeper into things led me to realize that I was not, in fact, related to these little female creatures I had been born into but somehow never got the memo or the key card to let me into the member’s only area that told me how these strange little beasts worked.  I never got the insider’s book on how to be a girl.  Instead I always thought it was normal for girls to do things with their dads like I did with my dad.  I always thought it was normal to want to tear down walls and rebuild houses and have a workshop in the garage.  What was the sense in painting your nails a different color every day and owning sixteen different handbags to match all your outfits?  What’s the point of having a million pairs of shoes to wear with different clothes and what’s the point of accessorizing?  Put on a shirt and pants and shoes and out the door you go.  Run a brush through your hair and over your teeth before you leave, too, if you want to make a good impression.  I didn’t understand getting up four hours before school so you could dress and bathe and do your hair and makeup and all that crap.  Get me up an hour before school, shower, clothes, brush, out the door.  Done.
I wasn’t really part of the female gender, although I do understand it decently well, I figure.  I know that girls think everyone is always dropping them subtle hints and clues and shit or always talking behind their backs or making a dig at them.  So as long as I realize that women are crazy and think everything I say and do is against them, I’ll be fine.  As long as I know that I can neg them into doing what I want, that works even better.  That way I can get away from them that much faster.
I understand males a lot better.  No talking in the shitter, no frilly decorations and don’t worry about wearing makeup because we want to know how you’re going to look when we wake up beside you.  Plain, simple, direct and to the point.  That makes sense.  You can greet someone you know without saying a word and you don’t have to stand there and chatter to them all afternoon about what you’re wearing to whatever thing you’re going out for.  Guys are good to be dressed.
The reason why queens and trannies bothered me is because deep down and underneath it all, I was one of them and I was terrified to face it about myself.  Thankfully after a lot of gnashing of teeth and ruined velvet dresses, I got the hint.

Eight Chapter

October 5, 2009 § Leave a comment
When I was eight years old, my parents liked to drive to visit friends of theirs when they moved all over the country and would take me along with them.  At one point, their friends had moved out to New Jersey and while we were out visiting, they agreed to take me to the shore to get steamed clams.
I had eaten steamed clams when we had been in Pennsylvania visiting my aunt when she lived out there and fell in love with them when I was four or five.  Finding them had been nearly impossible.  So when I had a chance to get some off the coast, I was stoked!
I asked dad to get me a couple dozen clams and I waited happily at the table for him to come back with them.  When he came back to the table, he only had six.
“Where’s the rest of them?”
“You get around those and I’ll go up and get you more.”
“But I wanted at least a dozen of them.”
“The guy wouldn’t give me more.”
“What?  What for??”
“Just get around those and I’ll go up and get you some more of them.”
I polished off six of them no problem and dad went back to get me the other dozen and a half.  The guy at the shop said he would give him another six, but dad told him that he’d be back for the other dozen.  He brought them back to the table and I gave him a look.  He told me the guy wouldn’t give him more.  So I ate all of those and dad went up to get another half dozen for me.
The cook came out with dad to the table and stared at me.  “Who’s helpin’ you eat them?”
“E-excuse me?  What?”
“Who’s helping you eat all those clams?”
“Nobody here LIKES clams but me.”
“Somebody’s gotta be helpin’ you eat those clams.”
I just looked at my parents like “save me from this frigging madman.”
I ended up getting my last half dozen for free because I was the only eight year old kid he’d ever seen eat two dozen clams in a single sitting.
This story was reminded to me by my father who told it to my girlfriend as we sat eating fried pickles and drinking rumritas on my parent’s anniversary which so happened to also be the day I graduated from massage school.

Seven Chapter

October 4, 2009 § Leave a comment
Apparently I am called “The Miracle Worker” at work.
A client of mine, after I had worked on her and gotten some relief for hip pain she had been having for several years, came back through the darkened glass door separating the clinic from the reception area and called to me.
“I just heard your nickname.”
“Oh?  What’s that?”
“The Miracle Worker.”
“Oh!  I didn’t even know I had a nickname!”
Leave it to me to have a nickname I didn’t know about.  At least it’s not that silly rhyming bullshit.  I HATE that.
Apparently the story began with a client who had cancelled her membership six months or so prior to coming in for bodywork before a rigorous training session.  She was a self-admitted hardcore “push yourself to the limits” kind of person and was having some pretty severe pain.  She had turned down one of the people up front a few times when asked about renewing her membership.
When I got finished with her, she came back out front and said she would make it work somehow and renewed her membership.  The two girls up front looked at each other and said I was “the miracle worker”.
So today when a client was talking about how wonderful I was for helping her pain, they jokingly made the comment about it being my nickname.  At least my client said she agreed.
Apparently this nickname has stuck.  I don’t mind.

Six Chapter

September 20, 2009 § Leave a comment
I had a stunning revelation today.
As I was lying in bed three quarters asleep and only a fraction of the way awake, I felt a body press against me and a head rest against my folded arm that tucked under my head.  I knew who it had to be.  I could feel her even through the partial dream haze, but she was supposed to have been at work.  Cue the attempt to wake up.
I rolled over onto my stomach.
An arm closed around my waist.
My eyes blinked without ever opening and a rolled onto my side, clenching and unclenching my fist to try and wake the limb I hadn’t realized was asleep and heard a soft sigh beside me.  My eyes finally opened and lit on her face.
She’d had a panic attack trying to go to work that morning and had spent hours organizing and prepping and mailing things before she’d come back upstairs and curled up with me in bed.  Cue instant protect mode and I wrapped her in my arms and buried her head against my chest, holding and petting her until she fell asleep.
I don’t know how long we lay there, me stroking her head and running my nails lightly over her shoulders but a strange thought struck me right between the eyes.
I loved her.  Not just that I loved her, but that I was in love with her.  More than just the several month crawl until one or the other of us got sick of each other, but the “I could see myself eventually living with you on a permanent basis” or “I wanna grow old with you” kind of vibes.  Like the “I don’t mind spending hours holding you like this when you need it” thing with a “I would do anything it takes to soothe the pain”.  The complete connect with someone.
When she later woke and I finally found the balls to spit it the fuck out, her response was, “Well, duh.”
Well, duh, indeed, I thought with chagrin.  The thought had just occurred to me.  Apparently it had been known to her all along.  Imagine that.  The last to know.

Five Chapter

September 18, 2009 § Leave a comment
I have always loved to draw.  When I was young, my grandfather would always sit at the dining room table and doodle.  There were some of his drawings around the house stuffed in scrapbooks and such from when he was in the war and had drawn pictures to send home in the mail, many of them scenes from the battlefield he was in day in and day out.
When my grandfather was young, he had the opportunity to go and work for the Walt Disney company as an artist.  His parents denied the opportunity and so he had to turn it down, but I wonder how different my life would have been if they would have allowed him to have traveled and been an illustrator.
I take my love of art from my grandfather and although I might not be good, I still take pleasure in the simple act of creating something from nothing and calling it mine.  It’s like my grandfather is still here with me when I create.
Hopefully he isn’t terribly put off by the naked figures I draw frequently.  However, he did call my grandmother “Butch”.

Three Chapter

August 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
When I was eight years old-ish, the style that was all the rage was having your hair cut in what was called a wedge cut.  For anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, Dorothy Hamill was still “in” when I was a kid.  Does that date me a little?  It should.  Anyway, for those of you who have no idea what it looks like, I’ll help you out.
The Wedge looked a LOT like a bowl cut, only it was said to be fashionable.
The Wedge looked a LOT like a bowl cut, only it was said to be fashionable.
My best female friend at the time had her hair cut like this and told me I’d look cute if my hair was cut this way, too.  Thankfully the stylist did the more modern version and gave me some spiffy bangs.
…. although looking at it now, my hair looks very much the same now as it did then.  Hm.  Maybe it was more formative than I’d thought.
Regardless, my hair was cut this way.  It had a really cute back to it with a little hair down at the nape of my neck and was short and could have been kinda spiky if my parents would have let me do it that way.  Going from waist length hair to something this insanely short helped the headaches I’d been having and I didn’t get my hair stuck in the chains of the swings anymore and it didn’t static stick to the back of my classroom chair.  All around it seemed to be perfect.
That is, until people started calling me a boy.  I don’t remember being upset about it other than a mild irritation.  My best friend had figured out for me that I was a girl and I clung to that label because it made me a connection to my then best friend.  If I wasn’t a girl, we couldn’t be friends and I wanted to be friends with the little girl with the same first name as me who lived the house after next down from my two best boy friends, the brothers who lived near the creek.  The little girl and I were in the same class, sat beside each other in class and had the same first name, although mine was just the abbreviated version of her longer name.  The older of the brothers was in our class up until the first grade when he was held back through no fault of his own, at least as far as I could tell.
I had made the gender switch from something that gender didn’t matter to someone who was a girl to fit in with a friend.

Four Chapter

August 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
When I was in the first grade, I started out the year with a substitute teacher.  I remember her name only because I would later be in junior high with her younger son and in theatre and drama with her older son.  They were both pretty amazing people, although completely different.  The older boy was hugely overweight.  The younger was really fit and muscular.
She taught our class for the first half of the year while our regular teacher was on maternity leave.  When our teacher came back, we had to get used to a whole new teacher.  The first one was fun and seemed to enjoy being with us.  The regular teacher seemed to hate being there and was immensely cranky.  She had outbursts in the classroom about things that should never bother her, but all of those were forgotten to vague remembrance.  The only one that stuck with me was when my friend tried to hand in a paper he had to make up due to being sick a few days before.  The teacher was reading a story to the class while he tried handing it in.  He was waving it at her and calling her name so he could come and sit down on the floor with the rest of the class.  She jerked it away from him, wrinkled it up into a ball and threw it across the room.  We all sat stunned and stared.  She told my friend he would have to do the paper again even though he had just done it.
I couldn’t believe someone in a position of authority like that had flipped shit like that and made him redo a paper he’d already done just because she lost her temper.  That rather tempered me.  I had decided in some small verse that I would always strive to be in control because it wasn’t fair for someone to do that to someone else.

Two Chapter

August 16, 2009 § Leave a comment
Nothing in life is ever really in order, is it?  I mean, when we think back in time, does everything seem like a line or does it seem more like we’re trying to walk back through the fog and find the things we’ve said and done in our lives and try to put a time on it.
Job applications are notorious for asking me to put a time frame on things.  Put in three personal or business references that you have known at least one year.  Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?  But then they have to go and do that thing that asks how long you’ve known this person.  Fuuuuck I don’t know!  Doesn’t it suffice to know I’ve known them and they can give me a character reference?  It doesn’t help things when they put on the application that falsification can be cause for dismissal even after you’re employed, so I take my best guess and hope it’s good.  I put down names, numbers and guess at times.  The only person I can figure the years I’ve known is because I met her my freshmen year of high school and I have a definitive date for that I can count up from.  Ask me how long I’ve known my girlfriend, however, and I couldn’t tell you.  I have no idea how long she and I have known one another.
I know we met at a coffee house and we found that we had a shared then ex friend in common.  I remember talking and having a good time.  I do not, however, remember rather or not I talked to her after that although I know I did because we’re still talking and I spent a lot of time at her house crafting and exercising and whatnot before we were ever a couple.  But ask me how long I’ve known her?  I have no idea.
I had to ask her and she’s sitting and counting.  We finally figured out we’ve known one another since 2003.  Both of us had to sit and figure out events from around that time and count on fingers and toes.  After ten minutes of figuring, we finally came up with a number that is recorded and will probably be forgotten just as easily as it was begun.
This rather long winded explanation boils down to a point, I promise and that is to explain to you that this memoir is not going to follow any kind of a timeline.  I am making up the ages and they might change depending on the story.  I will put the stories in as they are recalled and they will all be on no kind of order or relation to one another.  They’ll just be down and I don’t ever intend on making them have a timeline.
I’ll have to actually post my first memory that I can recall.  I only have my age from my mom who says it was around eighteen months old.
Regardless, I hope you’re here to enjoy my stories more than you are to try and piece together the person.  However, if you do, let me know because I’m sure we’ll both be surprised.

One Chapter

August 16, 2009 § Leave a comment
One of the things that was common when I was younger living in the country, was for one of the houses to host what could really be referred to as a “Country Block Party”.  Someone would host a party, invite everyone in the neighborhood to come and have food and drink and conversation, let the kids run wild and play so the adults could have some peace and quiet and a beer or two.  Anyone could come as long as someone called or dropped by beforehand so there was enough food and as long as everyone brought a dish and some drinks.  Usually when a certain house hosted, there were easily a hundred or so people there at any given time and from what I can remember, everyone seemed to have a good time.
The lady of the house, and if she knows I’m writing about her will hit me for calling her a lady, was my babysitter for several years after my great grandmother wasn’t able to sit for me any longer.  Mom dropped me off at around seven in the morning and I would sleep for another half hour or so before her boys got up and we would all sit on the pull out sofa and watch morning cartoons when there still were such a thing and have breakfast in special plastic bowls and drink from fruit shaped cups.  We played games together, argued over rather or not I could be Battle Cat or Man at Arms or if I had to be a girl character and over what shows we would watch in what order or what we would do after cartoons were over in the mornings.  We’d swim together in the pool in the back yard and wade in the creek in the afternoons or help clean out the top shelves of the cupboards.
When I was probably five years old or so, this particular neighbor had a country block party.  There was to be a bonfire at some point, there was plenty of food and I’m sure they were roasting a hog somewhere because the acres and acres of the land they owned smelled like cooking meat and baked beans.  As was typical of children in the same neighborhood, some of us knew one another, some of them were the cousins of the boys who lived at the house and some were the children of friends.  No one really discriminated against anyone else as far as it went.  We were all kids and we were all doing things and it was of the good.  As fate had it, we were all down at the creek and several of us were wading around in the water.  I’d taken my shoes and socks off and left them on the shore with everyone else’s with my jeans rolled up over my knees looking for crawdads and minnows.  One of the boys shouted up at the two girls standing on the shore and asked one of them to “ask mom if we can take off our shirts”.
The oldest girl wandered off and when she came back, she said, “Yes, mom says we can take off our shirts.”  There were whoops as shirts hit the shore one after another, my needlepunched Mighty Mouse shirt following.  That is, until I heard her say, “Oh, not you!”
I frowned at her.  Why not?  I decided to play it off.  “Oh, I know, I was just turning it around.”
“Well, good.  Girls don’t take off their shirts, silly.”
Huh.  Okay, so what did that have to do with anything?  I’d been over at the house before and gone swimming in a pair of the boy’s trunks.  I’d stripped down to my underwear and gone wading out into the creek before.  What difference did it make?
Even now I still don’t really understand.

Old Massage Posts

I have some old massage posts I'm moving over for archive purposes. :)

There are a few things that make my job more difficult during a massage. Many times clients will hold their arms up where they think I want the limb positioned. Sometimes they will pick up each finger in secession as I massage each one. They anticipate where I will work next. When I adjust their head or move their hair, they pick their heads up from the table. Some clients will hold their heads rigid while I work their neck and don’t allow their heads to move with the natural flow of the massage. Instead of allowing their head to roll to the side, they will tense against the work I am doing. When I undrape their leg, they move it closer to the edge of the table.
Many of these motions are unnecessary. In the six years I have been doing massage, I’ve gotten very good at picking up limp body parts and positioning heads or limbs where necessary. The general rule in my massage is “If I need you to move, I’ll tell you or I’ll do it myself”. I can pick your head up and adjust your hair. I am able to pick up each of your fingers on my own. Your leg is fine where it is. Your only job is to enjoy the massage. And I will never tell you to “just relax” because the first thing you do is tense.
Many of my clients aren’t aware they’re being too helpful during a massage. They don’t know that instead of just allowing my massage to flow as I pick up each relaxed finger, I have to look down at their hand instead. I’m no longer intuitively following the flow of their body and where their muscles need focus. Instead I am focused on how high they’re lifting their finger, which finger they’re lifting, how much tension they’re holding and if that tension is from their help or if it’s instead from muscle tightness. I move from the fingers to the wrist and then into the forearm. As I friction up the forearm, their elbow goes rigid. They hold their arm up from the table.
I gently shake their arm and wait for them to allow me to do my job. I move into kneading or circular friction depending on the client. I’ve stopped picking up arms like many of my coworkers do. I allow them to lie on the table. Too many people would unintentionally straighten their arms and shove me away from the table. Sometimes I can completely let go of someone’s arm and they’ll hold it in the air. I call this the “ET phone home”.
The worst part for me is when clients won’t allow their bodies move to the rhythm of the massage. I do quite a lot of muscle stripping during neck massage. I begin at the point of the shoulder and move toward the head in one long, deep stroke. A client’s head should slowly turn away as I work and then very gently roll back toward me. This motion should just happen. There is no effort involved on the client’s part. It happens with the stroke of my massage. If I am putting my body weight into the base of their skull to try and force the head to turn and I can actively feel the client pressing back against me, that signals two things: they are not relaxed or the pressure is too much.
Unless your therapist specifically asks you to do so, do not:
  1. hold your arm up for them. We are all quite capable of lifting and holding your arm. You do not need to hold it up for us. I promise.
  2. lift each finger to meet them. We follow a groove. Many times I am not even looking at your hand as I’m working, I’m focused on how the muscle feels. I don’t see with my eyes as much as I see with my fingers.
  3. lift your head. Your head is not heavy. You do not have to pick it up or move your hair for me. I will do that for you. When I do a lift or stretch, you don’t have to move your head. Many times I am testing the motion of the muscle.
  4. fight against the massage. If you’re fighting against the motion I’m making, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. It actively works against what I’m trying to accomplish with my work. I can’t get in as deep and you won’t feel lasting benefits from the massage.
  5. move your leg closer to the edge of the table. If you are not in a good position for me to work, I will move you or ask you to move for me. Many times when you move, it puts your leg so close to the edge I can’t stand close enough to the table while still working.
  6. lift your legs so we can adjust the bolster. I’ve been kicked in the face twice and almost kicked another three. Not to mention I don’t know where the bolster needs to be when your legs are bent at a ninety degree angle. Leave them on the table so I can place the bolster at the curve of your ankle where it belongs.
In addition to distracting me from the work I’m doing, some of these motions will affect my body mechanics. Poor body mechanics lead to wear and tear on the therapist’s body. We want to do this job for a long time. If you want to be helpful to us, let us do what we love to do while you get the massage you need.
Many times when clients come to a massage therapist, all they know is that massage is supposed to make them feel better and that someone has spoken of it to them rather it be a coworker, a friend or family member or even a doctor or chiropractor. They don’t know what the various types of massage are, what they do or how they can help them. Many therapists, being surrounded by terminology and modalities all day long, often do not realize that a client doesn’t know exactly what it is they are looking for until they are a little more knowledgeable.
Massage therapists often refer to the different types of massage available as their “modality”, defined as ‘the application of a therapeutic agent, usually a physical therapeutic agent’. It also refers to the sense of touch, which is especially poignant for massage therapists who “see” through their hands. The modality each therapist employs will be dependant on their education level. Most massage therapy schools teach Swedish massage with small supplemental courses in other types of massage such as trigger point, lymph drainage, deep tissue, pregnancy, and hot stone. Many therapists right out of school are only comfortable in Swedish massage, but some will supplement their education while in school to attend workshops and classes to learn more about their craft.
The first thing you should expect from your therapist is professionalism. They should conduct themselves in a manner befitting a member of the medical community. A client’s body should be properly covered and draped at all times. Women’s breasts and male and female genitals should be covered at all times by sheets and/or blankets. Many therapists will use a chest towel to cover women’s breasts when doing abdominal massage if requested by the client. Each therapist should ask either on their intake form or verbally if you are comfortable with abdominal, gluteal or face massage and should respect these wishes. Each therapist should consult with their client before a massage to find out what their trouble areas are and explain briefly the type of massage to be performed.
Communicating discomfort to the therapist during the massage should result in an immediate correction of the problem. Some forms of massage therapy are not always pleasant, but it should not be painful or cause clients to feel exposed or vunerable. Many therapists will be more than willing to correct their pressure, technique or draping to make a client feel more at ease. If at any time a client feels uncomfortable before, during or after the massage, that client has the right to end the session or discontinue their sessions entirely.
Therapists will ask their clients about pain or tight areas, where the client would like work done and ask if the client would like their entire body massaged or just upper or lower body. Depending on the pain levels and the necessity of work, a client may decide they would like only their upper body worked on from the waist up, the lower body for feet, legs and gluteal region, or a full body massage that works in elements of the entire body. They will also ask about pressure. Some clients prefer light pressure, some prefer medium and still others prefer deep pressure. If a client is unsure, they may ask for medium pressure and instruct the therapist to use more or less pressure for each area worked upon.
All of this and we still haven’t covered the types of massage available. It’s easy to see how clients could be confused, let alone covering any body issues they may have. This series seeks to explain each of the different modalities of massage and explain each one to give prospective clients a good idea what it is they’re looking for and what to expect from their first massage session.
With all of this going through your mind, are you really prepared to answer the question, “What kind of massage are you looking for today?” You mean there’s more than one kind? When you first walk into a massage therapy clinic, it may be slightly disorienting. Not only are you becoming acquainted with a new setting, the tranquil music and subdued colours might seem rather odd compared to the bright colors and flashing lights that surround us from day to day. Each clinic is different from the way the therapists dress to rather or not there is a receptionist to greet you and even your surroundings. Given there are many misconceptions, you may be confused or overwhelmed about what you may find or what to expect from your therapist, especially if you have never been to a massage therapy clinic before.
I’ve begun research on trigger point therapy yet again, pulling out and dusting off one of the books I’d been reading while I was still in school. I also pulled out a few other books I’d been meaning to read and put them on my Amazon Reading List on LinkedIn. So far I’ve been plugging away at the Trigger Point book and what I’ve found is amazing. What I’d like to do eventually is write up a few pages about the therapies that I offer and link to them from my webpage. That way clients know exactly what they are in for when we speak about therapies. That will probably be something that I begin work on here at WordPress before it becomes a final thing on my website. Trial and error and editors are fantastic, in my humble opinion, before you post something live on a professional website. Anyone who follows my blog can read the information as it happens.
Coincidentally, as I get things written up, I have a couple of websites that I want to add my articles to as well and get my name out there with research and facts. There are so few credible sources that I would like to join their ranks. I can also add a hands-on and experience base that not everyone has.
I have a lot planned for this happy little blog. Be sure to check in. I’m even planning a Twitter account for Touch of Nirvana since that seems to be all the rage. Look for the trigger point article within the next few months.

Never really gets easier

Story time since it's on my mind and I wanted to share and ask a little extra patience.  May 20th. Mary and I are at a local garden shop...