Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Intimacy with strangers -until they aren't

Today I went for a massage.  I love a good deep tissue massage and have been a fan since I was introduced via a gift certificate back in the mid 90's.  When I went for my first massage, I was slightly intimidated, thinking about meeting someone (in this case a woman) for the first time, then basically taking off my clothes, climbing on the massage table and trusting a stranger to work out all my kinks.  All this with lights dimmed, candles burning and soothing music playing in the background.  Quite an atmosphere created for this therapy of sorts.

It's interesting the mixed signals we send about relationships, getting to know people, sharing our space, etc.  When we are in a crowd, we are very aware of appropriate distance, space and over sharing (both verbally and physically).  If we meet someone and go out on a few dates, we take our time getting to know them (hopefully) again, both intimately and personally.  But let someone offer to rub your shoulders and back, even at a price and Katy, bar the door, we are skipping the handshake, forgoing the once over and barely shutting the door behind us, before we have our clothes thrown in the a pile in the corner and we are on the table face down with the blanket pulled up over us, daring them to start the clock before they are hands on.

Obviously, I got over any sort of shyness with this business of massage therapy, as moves to different cities require a change in therapists as do times when they themselves move on.   When you first see a therapist you complete an introductory form that contains all types of information.  One thing missing which I almost think needs to be included on the form  is "How many massage therapists have you been with?"   "Rate your level of satisfaction".  "What could they have done differently".  You may laugh but I am all about relationship improvement.

I also get a chuckle out of thinking about the "selfies" that I could take during a massage.  As a believer in the "no pain, no gain" type of touch, there are many instances during the decadence of a one hour massage that I almost reach the point where I might shout out "stop" but feel compelled to take it like a man, if you will.  Surely I will gain a higher level of healing.  However, my facial expressions as I am lying face down looking at the floor are certainly not of the caliber for soothing and positive advertising.  One of these times I might accidentally scream out loud as I perfect my silent scream while my new therapist works on a particularly tight muscle in my neck.

One time Terry booked a couples massage for us as an anniversary surprise.  It truly was a surprise since he had never had a massage before and really didn't know what he was getting into.  Not everyone is comfortable with massage and unfortunately this is when we found out that Terry was NEVER going to be able to enjoy touch by a stranger.  For those of you who know me well, inappropriate laughter had to be contained throughout the LONGEST hour of my life.  Needless to say, that was our last couples massage, his last massage ever, and I still laugh every time I think about it.

If you have never had a massage, and you aren't adverse to being touched by a stranger, (who will only be a stranger for the first few minutes) please treat yourself.  I guarantee you will go back for more and in Texas, we even hug our therapist (right after we pay them) when we leave.

Until next time,
your pal,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How old do you want to be when you grow up?

Birthday Girl!
This weekend my sisters and I joined our mother as she celebrated her 80th birthday.  That sounds rather grown up, a respectable accumulation of years that must amount to a certain amount of dignity and at the very least, a tenacity that would require a mature heart.  Yet after this past weekend with my sisters (and we are all over 50) and travelling back to Texas with my mother - I must confess we are all imposter's.

I had a conversation with my oldest daughter at one point in her (adult?) life about how she wanted to enjoy her life while she was young....before she grew up.  My biggest failing at that point in time was not telling her that if she was lucky, that would never happen.  We have all seen those people that surely must have succeeded in growing up.  I have personally worked for a few.  Their faces are drawn in the permanent frown; their laughter (if and when it happens) comes out like a bark....almost as if surprising themselves, and everyone around them is on edge, not certain which way the emotion is going to go.

silly sisters

code names optional
We sisters carefully planned our trip so that we would arrive at the airport within an hour of each other.  United Airlines quickly foiled our plans and soon delayed sister Katy by as much as five plus hours.  Mom reacted quickly by simply calling a shuttle and then the texts started to fly between us girls as if we were teenagers.  We all resumed our childhood roles and being the oldest (not the bossiest) I took control.  We laughed inappropriately, i.e. when asking mom to take a group photo of us and then realized later she took several "selfies", we texted back and forth untruths to each other (just as we did when we were younger) although then we did not have the benefit of technology, forgot how old we were in public and assigned code names to each other as if we were kids.  And for a short while, we were.

As Mom and I were waiting at the gate for our plane, I told her that because she was 80 YEARS OLD, she needed to get a pre-board pass so she could get on first.  She said only if I would get it for her - which I did.  I was planning on boarding in my regular spot (A16 -nothing wrong with that) but she said I needed to come with her or she wasn't going early (so stubborn).  As we boarded, we had the common courtesy to let the blind woman and her dog and those in wheel chairs go first but I swear, my mom worked up a bit of a limp and took her own sweet time going down the ramp because as I mentioned early - age does not the grown-up make.  She may not be faking the age (although she looks marvelous) but she is definitely faking the grown-up gig, and I was her knowing accomplice. 

May I grow up as gracefully!
Until next time,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When choosing a road less traveled, please consider paving the way.

This week I am traveling and I find myself taking familiar routes to visit people and places I have seen many times before.  This is a "pleasure" trip if you will.  Everyone I am seeing knows I am here and they are expecting me.  If the weather changes or road construction happens, I have back-up plans or alternative routes.  There are many choices and I am the person ultimately making the decisions that will impact my travel.

Throughout our life we may travel in many circles and sometimes we just travel in circles.  Sometimes we are the primary decision maker but more often than not, we are a puppet in the traveling circus that sometimes resembles our life.  In our life travels, many times we come to a fork in the road that involves a choice.  Sometimes the choice is easy and we can easily decide and move forward with little to no thought, resistance, or effort .  Surely others before us have traveled this same road, smoothed out the ruts along the way and made it safer and easier for us to quickly decide which way to go. 

However, other times in life, whether it be a personal or professional decision, what we decide to do is much more difficult.  It will not only affect us personally, it could have impact on others; our families or co-workers.  Should I take a promotion at work?  Face-value, yes.  Now add in longer hours, significant travel, perhaps even a relocation?  The answer isn't always as easy.  If you are a married woman with a family in a predominantly man's field you might have to factor in the acceptance factor.   And how it will impact your husband and kids.  What about the statement it makes and opportunity it could lead to for other women going forward?    Or the consequences for those same women if you say no?   And our followers choose to follow us for many reasons.  It could be personal knowledge of work ethic (male and female) or by the very nature of our work.  Then there are those compelled to follow the very nature of our work.

There will be times when the decisions we make are made for us.  To others they may seem to be "our" decision and we can only hope they are the "right" decision...or at the very least, decisions made for all the right reasons.  We will hope that the original decision makers remember who they are (all the while taking notes and names) and we will travel down the road.

In all decisions we have true ownership of,  we must be accountable and remember to look behind, all the while smoothing the way for those who follow.  We must do this because the road is only paved once before it begins to depreciate in value.  Much like a car, the minute a decision is made, there will always be those naysayers who will second guess and armchair quarterback the way things were...or could or should have been.  We see this played out historically every day.  Make your decisions with the best information given and with the highest moral and ethical values.  Remember the truth is the easiest to defend and while life isn't always fair, you will be able to rest well with the decisions you have made.

with this I decide to close.

All my best,


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Breaking up is hard to do, saying goodbye is optional.

As we all know, long-term relationships are hard to come by.  Statistics remind us that one out of every two relationships are destined to fail and most of us are no stranger to saying goodbye at one point or another to the end of something we thought would last until infinity and beyond.  My longest relationship is one that has been in place for 28 years this summer.  Wait now, many of you are calling shenanigans and are doing the math.  We all know that  I have only been married for 17 plus years at this writing.  Well, I am not ashamed to admit that this is a relationship that began long before Terry and I met and he knew going in that I would have to continue seeing this man - at least twice a year, sometimes more, but never less.  He knew my family was involved in this relationship and this was a relationship that would continue no matter where I lived.  We were committed and made it work even as we relocated to Texas.  I know Terry was secretly hopeful it would end once we were a plane ride away but it didn't.  At least not right away.  But distance made it more difficult and then something happened that made it next to impossible to continue.  I had a choice to make and I called him, hoping he would say the right thing....but as it turns out, I didn't even talk directly to him.  He gave me some insight as to what needed to be done.  I won't share the personal he said/she said, but at the end of the day, the relationship ended and I am seeing someone else now.  That's right....I have found a new dentist.  We didn't even really say goodbye. 

Sometimes things happen so quickly in life, you don't always get to say goodbye.  Your bridge breaks and needs immediate repair and the next thing you know, 28 years of relationship is thrown out the window as you are rushed into the world of finding a new dentist.

If I reflect on this, I can think of other relationships in the past year that ended abruptly because my life (or theirs)...or even someone who was involved with the person I knew, changed direction and I was then removed from the relationship connection with that other person.  And no goodbyes were ever said.  In the case of my career change, once a decision was made on the direction I was going, it was like boarding a plane and having it take off without telling anyone where I was going until it landed.  Only the plane wasn't scheduled to land for several weeks.  Unfortunately, some people still don't know the plane has landed.

Dedicated to Erik
In relationships that end, through sudden death or a sudden breakup (which can feel like sudden death), goodbyes are very dated; being the last time you ever spoke to that person in whatever context that conversation took.

People who know me well, know I hate goodbyes.  When I leave places, I dread the last day and cry when I have to say goodbye.  I used to cry when we took my grandma to the airport for her annual two week vacation.  Before, goodbyes seemed very permanent but now, the very lack of them leaves dots unconnected.  And in this dot to dot life, we all need to be connected, whether there is a break in the lines or not.

Until next time.....
your pal...

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