Saturday, April 13, 2013


Last night, I was in the beauty aisle of Walgreens, surveying the various sequined and feathered objects meant for female hair. "Tacky, tacky, tacky....where is... hmm, not tacky enough." I was going for sickeningly, disgustingly, absurdly tacky.  Some seriously stupid bling.  You see, my older girls were supposed to dress as rock stars for their school Glee concert (how I got myself into that, I'm still unsure...) 

And somewhere in the makeup and pulling outrageous (but modest) why-did-we-keep-these clothes out of hiding from closets, I found I was actually having a good time.  I also found some hair pieces that fit the bill and the concert was a success, despite the fact that one of my daughters had generously glitter-glued one of her nicest shirts in an effort to be festive for the occasion.

Matter of fact, having considered the circumstantial evidence, it seems I'm back to normal and even more so: I was kept too busy to (gasp!) blog this week.  My husband went on a business trip while my parents simultaneously left for vacation, my older kids were at school, and I stayed home relearning the necessity of coffee and how to make it again.  Finally found grounds, pot, and hot water, combining them to create a concoction which made it clear why cafes stay in business.  And once again, I donated to the cause of all Donuts getting Dunkined.  Yes, okay, it's an addiction.  And indubitably, I'm lacking some supplement or key vitamin.  But until an ulcer says differently, I maintain that coffee is much more fun. 

I am also relearning that if moms like me don't make coffee and pray--simultaneously--you may as well go back to bed and stay there until the toddler hands you (yes, hands you) a fully-loaded diaper two minutes later.  At least with me, if I don't (prayerfully) imbibe coffee by a certain point of the morning, I get slower and stupider as the day progresses. It's like I don't have a brain until I have coffee.

Okay yes, fine, part of this problem is because, okay, I'm not getting enough sleep.  I do need to relax more after all the trauma and drama.  And I am trying really, really, really hard to relax.  Pursuit of relaxation has taken me to the wonderful land of Groupon and sales in services like massages and facials.  I chose both. 

Upon entering the massage parlor, my eyes finally adjusted enough in the dim lighting to see the front desk whereupon was displayed a list of such reasonable, sensible rules as: "Clients shall have showered within eight hours of treatment" and "Clients shall not have contagious diseases."  Then I made out the form of my somewhat disheveled practitioner sitting behind the desk, boasting a bottle of Pepto-bismol in lieu of beverage.  (I'm serious). And I reflected on the reality that people don't always practice what we preach.

After taking me (?) (!) to see her certificate of massage certification hanging on the wall, I was asked to "disrobe to my level of comfort."  Now, as a seasoned rheumatoid (yep, that's a word) I've had therapeutic massages before; as a woman who's given birth to four children... No problem, you know?  These people are extremely professional and the draping is very thorough.  So I get on the table, wrapped in all appropriate blankets.

She was a chatty one.  I heard all about her martial arts career.  I was told what various muscle manipulations were for (without my asking).  I particularly recall one where she said, "Now watch this; this is very relaxing: I'm going to push hard on your rib cage and shoulder here to release the (some muscle group)."  Naturally, I tensed up when I heard the words "push hard," and then was confused because the pressure was barely perceptible....

Anyway, I was somewhat reassured that the Pepto, which she voluntarily chose to explain, was necessary due to an inadvisable meal she had consumed the day before.  Hoping so vehemently, due to my absolute phobia of the stomach bug, I closed my eyes and tried to relax, listening to the recording of a thunderstorm.

"YOU ARE LISTENING TO SOUNDS OF NATURE, RECORDED FOR YOUR DEEP MEDITATIVE EXPERIENCE.  AS YOU PONDER THE INSCRUTIBLE MYSTERIES OF..." A deep voice boomed these words from what had once been the sound of a rain CD.  I burst out laughing, thereby ruining part of my draperies, as the practitioner starts loudly swearing, bustling towards the CD player, punching buttons and rapping at it with her knuckles.  "CATHY!  What have you done to this **&$&! machine! I have a CLIENT!  Get IN here!"  I scrambled to rearrange my draperies as I realize I'm suddenly expecting company... "Cathy" (I assume) rushed in while they both fussed at the I-pod, CD combo machine, still reflectively booming stuff like "AS YOU DELVE INTO YOUR INNER CORE, YOU WILL FIND THE GREAT PEACE THAT FILLS THE UNIVERSE" for 12 minutes (12 minutes which, looking at my watch afterwards, apparently came from the hour massage I'd Grouponed for.  I mentally noted that "you get what you pay for.":)

Did I learn my lesson?  Ha!  Concluding that trying massages without recommendations was a probable waste of my time, money, and patience, I still went for the facial.  Hadn't had one of those since two days before my wedding in 2001.  Sounded less invasive, and possibly youthening.  (Yes, that's now a word, did you know?)

So I get there, was presented with a terry cloth wrap, and asked to change into it with the opening in the back.  Wondering if it was somehow ordained that every office setting I entered in life would now involve changing into johnnys, I protested that I (really) just wanted a facial, on my face. 

I was informed that "the products we use could alter the coloration of your shirt should anything drip upon it." Vaguely wondering if they used bleach on face now, I observed my shirt. 

I liked this one.  I changed.

Clutching the white wrap, I was then paraded (why oh why) to a room full of prone women on tables with pads on their eyes and wraps around their heads.  Realizing I was to become one of these women shortly, I sighed and let go of my former idea of sitting in a chair with someone tentatively touching up my face.  So again, I get on a table, pull the blankets about, and wait for the relaxation to arrive.

Once they found out how to wrap "all this long hair" (why, thank you) my eyes were covered with pads soaked in something I earnestly hoped was beneficial.  I then realized, as I tried to take a deep, cleansing breath, that I was in near danger of drowning.  My facist (another new word) employed large handfuls of lotion that went suddenly from my chin, over my lips, and immediately all around my nostrils.  I was soon sputtering and giggling and trying to breathe.  Which meant my facist got chatty (well hey, I'm friendly too... who needs to relax anyway) and we gabbed throughout the process when my mouth wasn't covered with other lotions and potions.  Overall, the experience was okay but... well, if I'm being picky the technician evidenced increasing symptoms of halitosis as the facial progressed.... Ah well. 

Approximately 39 hot towel applications were used where one's face is wrapped in a towel dosed in hot water, covering everything but one nostril (most of the time), and firmly pressed.  This was followed by (perhaps they ran out of lotion?) a dry-plastic-gloved facial massage which was so odd as to also require a new word: scrubtrilescant.

Well, I tried to relax with these appointments in the midst of normal mommy life, to no avail.  My husband took pity on my bold and useless attempts.  Thus, I'm writing you from a hotel, where I have been put for two nights ALL. BY. MYSELF.  To think, and write, and sleep. 

Yes, I just felt the emotion surge towards me just change from pity to envy.  :)  Rest assured, I have not spend a night alone in a room, in a place I didn't know anyone, since I visited the Nashville Dominican Convent as a potential postulant when I was 19.  So perhaps this was somewhat overdue.

Thank you for your prayers.  I actually have time to pray, alone, for all of you, and I'm using it, with so much gratitude for all your support during these past few weeks. 

"Truly my soul finds rest in God; my deliverance comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken."  Psalm 62:1-2

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