Monthly Archives: July 2009

Give Massage Therapists a Break

Good morning, good morning! The temperature is great for sitting on the porch, If there is a breeze blowing out there, it will be refreshing.  I don’t have much time today. The stager is coming. I’ll share what’s on my mind today.

Back twenty-five years ago I did massage work. I couldn’t find a teaching job and I needed a part time job. My son was still a pre-schooler at the time. I had not completed my bachelor’s degree in nursing but I did go through three years. I learned the importance of massage for patients, and I remembered how much I enjoyed that part of patient care and the gratitude the patients expressed.

I found an instructor in a nearby town who operated a clinic in her home. The local police officers and city/county government officials were part of her clientele so she was never hassled. She had  an apprenticeship type program. She took on students one at a time. I showed her what I knew and she informed me that there were only a few things she felt I should learn. I had all the “book learning” I ever needed through my nursing courses. I had a certificate from her school in three weeks. There was a test from the American Massage Therapy Association which “legitimized” those wishing to practice. I passed the test the first time. I passed it again when it was required to become registered with the state.

I wanted to surprise my husband and I waited to tell him what I had done until I finished. He traveled out of town from Monday through Thursday nights so the topic never came up on the two weekends. I thought he would be happy. His response was far less than enthusiastic. He was looking at a woman doing massage from an 80s man’s point of view. ( and recently a man’s 00s point of view too) He really was not pleased but he was happy with the $25.00/hr that I was earning. It got me off his back about how he spent money I needed for myself and our son.

Back then, massage was just coming to the forefront as the move towards preventive medicine and holistic health care were emerging. There was no state regulation. In order to obtain permission to do work, I had to go to the city vice squad. They were regulating other than honorable massage establishments. They were the only game in town.

When I told them I would be working out of an established beauty salon in the high class area of the city and out of the YWCA, they said, “What are you doing here?” I told them I had no choice. I got my permit. I could only work on women, however. It was not legal for women to massage men. I did occasionally however when I took my table to the clients’ home. They would book an appointment for their husbands, practically BEGGING me to work on them when they were really stressed out.

I worked for two years on the state committee to get massage regulated. Now those same regulations are biting me back.  I would have to start all over with the whole class room, and clinical work experience involving a minimum of 500 hours of total training.  Out of curiosity I called five massage schools all approximately 15-20 miles driving distance. Two were wrong or non-working numbers. One had an answering machine. Another took my name and said they would have someone call. The last answered my questions.

The required curriculum for massage therapists is now 500 hours involving 5 to 6 months of classroom. Then there is a minimum 50 hour internship. The cost is close to $7,000. Once you factor in gas, it is more costly than that. That’s a lot of time, money, and  effort for someone to put in after retiring from teaching.

I let my registration expire a couple of years after I started teaching again.  I just couldn’t handle the overload of work associated with my classes, my growing son, and the beginnings of CFS at the same time. Something had to give. I was the president of the American Massage Therapy local chapter for two years. I taught baby massage classes. I taught elementary massage classes and relaxation techniques. I was really into this new profession and loving it. I reluctantly gave it all up.

I really miss the work. I have tried to start bartering my service. I’m such a stickler for honesty that I don’t like to accept money therefore being an official business with reportable income. I guess this is a mistake and perhaps thought of as being unprofessional, thus opening doors that should not be opened. I told a friend of mine that I used to be a massage therapist. He asked if he could pay for a massage. I told him I’d rather barter and we settled on a baseball game. 

His first assumption was that he would be nude. He asked if I used a sheet as a cover. I told him he would be in his boxers. I forgot to say or swimming suit. And yes, he would be covered with a sheet. Maybe I was just reading something into the conversation but I thought he sounded a little disappointed when I said, “This will be a legitimate massage.” I could be wrong.

This type of banter became uncomfortable for me. It brought back memories of telling a group of couples that I had recently become certified as a massage therapist. One of the guys got an insinuating tone to his voice and said, “Oh really? Can I buy you a house by the side of a lonely road?” Wink. He said that right in front of my husband which didn’t help his attitude a bit.

Gotta go help the stager set the house up for the internet pictures. Please come back tomorrow for the rest of my story if I have your interest by now. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Everybody on stage now!

gold_living_room

Good morning world! What a BEAUTIFUL morning! It’s raining rather steadily.  What a TREAT! There were reports of tornado activity earlier but we are out of that now and just into good steady rain. The sound is so conducive to wanting to go back to bed just to let the rain lull me back to sleep. When I wake up (I’m still in that groggy state) I have to start staging my house. The photographer is coming Monday morning to take pictures of my home for the internet. The stager/organizer  is coming Friday morning to get my home “picture perfect”. That means living a whole weekend in a showcase. My realtor said that 84% of all sales leads are now coming from the ‘net. I get ONE chance to affect 87% of the potential clients! Now THAT’s pressure. Some interesting numbers:

In 2003 a survey was conducted of the general membership of the international redesign organization, I.R.I.S. (Interior Redesign Industry Specialists) to compile statistics on homes that had been staged prior to their sale.
 Survey results?
5% of all staged homes sold the same day
2% of all staged homes sold within 2 days
9% of all staged homes sold within 3-5 days
84% of all staged homes sold within 5-30 days

That picture above in NOT my living room. My living room is just supposed to look like that. Better Homes and Gardens showcase quality. My OLD mind is saying “That ain’t gonna happen!” My NEW way of trying to think says, “It will be a challenge but it CAN be done.”

After I finish blogging today, I’ll see if my New thinking will be right. I can only hope! No, that’s not right. I need to make a positive affirmation. I WILL think right! ! It WILL be done.

I am a packrat. I know I’m going to have to start pitching because I’m planning to move to a smaller house. I just don’t know where to start. It’s been my experience that as soon as I give something away or throw it out, within the next week or month I need that very thing and end up going out to buy another. I’m not so bad as to have to have paths between mounds of stuff, but my closets are full to the brim. I do have one room that used to be a study. It does have a lot of framed pictures piled on a table and books on the sewing machine.  I decided to sell before I hung the pictures. Now it’s not worth it. I don’t know where to put anything. It’s an unfinished project.

I’m especially challenged when it comes to books I should/could give away. I’ll buy books with the intention of reading them but then it takes months or years sometimes to get around to that task. I have many unread books surrounding me waiting their turns. Boxing up my books to make them disappear will be the hardest task to do.

Maxine’s daughter-in-law staged her house to sell. She had family in the area and was able to take furniture and boxes to them for safe keeping. Susie is a type A personality to start with so it was physical labor for her (actually her husband’s and two boys) but not a mental labor of decision making. I have no such luck. I guess I’m going to have to either keep my “stuff”  here and just make it as presentable as possible, or rely on neighbors to store a box or two here, a piece of furniture there. This is the fourth time I’ve tried to sell a home. I always tried to keep things neat during the showing but I’ve never STAGED anything. It IS a new experience.

Here come the geckos!

gecko

 There is another problem I can foresee. This is the time of year for the geckos to come into houses to search for water. So far I have seen two in my bathroom and two in my kitchen sink. They don’t bother me nor most Texans. They do, however, startle those unfamiliar with such creatures. My cousin visited several years ago. She was in the bathroom when I heard a loud gasp! “Oh my Lord, “she says, “What are they?” When I calmly explained to her that they were harmless and actually paid for their boarding by eating bugs, she relaxed. By the end of the visit she actually had named them Mergatraud and Floyd! I’ve thought of making a sign “Beware of the Geckos!” but my realtor thought better of it. I’m just trying to save somebody the possibility of having a heart attack. Oh, and there are tarantulas living somewhere in my front yard. But, please, don’t let that secret out! It’s work time. Thanks for dropping by. Attic Annie

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MKSBTTAI Mantra…four days later

Meditation

Not OM but O M G!

Six days ago I told you my mantra is MKSBTTAI….maybe, kinda, sorta, beginning to think about it. I described my neighborhood and how hard it would be to leave it. Yesterday I signed papers putting the house on multiple listings. WHOA! My head is still spinning. I’m still on the maybe, kinda, sorta stage and my realtor is planning an open house! I had called her to ask for an estimate of what she thought the house was worth because I’m fighting my taxes and the next thing I know, we are looking for houses. Her name is Ingrid and, boy, does she know how to jump on opportunities.

As I was thoroughly cleaning this place in anticipation of the first couple looking at it before it was even listed, I realized how much I love this house. The unpleasant things that happened here are hazy memories. I thought about how beautiful my house looks when it is decorated for Christmas. I think about the feeling of tranquility in my blue living room being able to look out my big picture window at the distant crepe myrtles in the yard across the street. These are not his, but you get the idea.

crepe_myrtle_tree

 

I remember the fights my son and I had when he was so intent on being an alpha male when my ex left. His alpha maleness was a problem until he left his frosh year in high school for military school. Alpha male found bigger alpha males. He came back home a changed person. (It was his idea that he go.)

So many small things make me feel this is my HOME. I will have lived here 32 years by the middle of September. That’s a long time to grow roots! I’ve lived here  ten years longer than I did in my childhood home.

I told my realtor about the feeling of dragging my feet and how attached I really felt about this house. We both have similiar beliefs about the universe. She told me that when sellers are reluctant to sell, it takes longer to find a buyer. I have to release my house according to the laws of attraction. www.law-of-attraction-info.com 

(Please bear with my problems with my links until I find someone to help. Computer glitches are sooooo much fun.  My computer won’t let me hyperlink. )

I was instructed to take a deep breath and exhale. She then explained I should thank my house for providing me shelter all these years and tell my house to release me and let me move on to whatever destination the road might lead me. A new family will soon be entering to love it as much as I do. I am only a single person. Imagine the love a family with several children might have. OK they may all be monsters who yell and scream and mark on walls and throw temper tantrums. I think this house will be still be able to handle all that energy. Some times I think we age because of too little energy instead of too much. A family like that would energize this house again.

As much as I love this house, it will allow me to not have daily reminders of the tears and fears which accompanied the first five years of occupancy. There are so many sad memories during that time. When I hand over the keys, I will be leaving those memories behind and having an opportunity to create new ones.

I have looked at one home twice already. I am beginning to picture what it would be like to move in there. There are many possibilities to make it my home. I think I am going to downsize gradually. I’m going from a four bed down to a three bed. Maybe I’ll live there and move to an active retirement community in another twenty years to a one bedroom. I don’t plan to live until my bed is all I have in a nursing home. That’s downsizing too much!

 

nursing home

This is not my idea of final prime real estate! God bless this person.

If I move into that home I would be much closer to the duck pond where my dog and I sometimes walk when mornings are cooler. It’s on private property but I’ve been given permission to sit on the bench and watch the ducks. I especially love it when I get there just as the sun rises.

When we moved to this home there was a brand new McDonald’s built about a mile from this house. It was in the middle of NOWHERE! I mean open field south, west, and east of it for miles. I laughed at the thought that they wouldn’t be open for business very long. Within a matter of months, homes, and other businesses started popping up like mushrooms after a rain. Today I passed by that corner. All that was there was the golden arch on top the pole and a mountain  of rubbish waiting to be carted away. I thought, “That’s a sign of synchronicity.” We  arrived at the same time. Now that I no longer need this house, we are changing at the same time.” I don’t know if McD’s is just building a newer larger place or if something else will be going on that corner.

With all the activity in my life and a cranky computer, I may or may not be able to blog every day but I’ll try. Except for letting me hypertext, the good ol’ computer seems to be running. For those of you who might have started coming back on a regular basis, please keep checking back.

If it is cool, there’s always room on my porch until I sell…and my climate-controlled attic will never go away.

In the meantime, “Namaste” Attic Annie

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Can we say total confusion? part 2

confusion

Good morning! Yesterday turned out to be a steam bath. It was hot with periods of light rain. I’ve been more comfortable in gym club steam rooms. I just threw in my cowboy boot poem as an extra. I still want to talk about relationships. 

 Is there anyone out there as confused as I am?

If a man or woman wants to be friends with someone of the opposite sex, what does that mean? Does it mean when they happen to be in the same company as the other they smile and wave or maybe have a few minutes of small talk before moving on? There are several friends like that at church. I enjoy our conversations and even hugs but there is no contact during the week beyond that.

Can men and women who want to be friends go places together and talk on the phone or just enjoy each other’s company or is that now dating? If one does not find the other attractive (there is no “spark”) will there be any friendship or socializing to begin with? Does there have to be a “spark” if one  does not wish to become physically intimate with the other? And what about friends with benefits? Is that the same thing as having a casual relationship as defined by Wikipedia? I can’t get this site to link but the information is there if you want to see it by cut and paste. Sorry.

http://en.wikipedia.org\wiki\casual

 Can a relationship be maintained on a casual (no sex) basis? How much time can pass before it is considered mutually exclusive, what we in the 50s and 60s called going steady? I find it difficult to describe a relationship as casual any more if there is sleeping together involved.

I remember one of my aunts talking about her youth. It was the 20s and 30s. The young men could not often afford to “date”. They did many activities in groups. No one paired off for quite awhile until they were older and more were included than if they were couples. Many of the social activities centered around church. From what I can gather, young people today call that “hanging  out.”

 

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hanging+out

The high schools had many more clubs open to all to attend their functions. There was much less free time for those in their teens. They really were not that much separated from their adult parents. If a young man were interested in a young woman, he would often come a-calling and be entertained in the family parlor.  

SuperStock_1785-17150

Since the average life expectancy  in the 1950s and 1960s was in the mid 60s, there were far fewer seniors who had to deal with this situation. There certainly wasn’t any public “living together” and very seldom were there marriages after the age of 40. World War II left an overabundance of women who had to rely on family members for shelter. It was much more rare for a woman to be living on her own.

And what about affairs? Do people even bother to call them affairs anymore or are the two involved just “in a relationship” as it is commonly called. In the 50s in the time of the lock step courtship, according to the TV series “Madmen” there were certainly more than a few affairs going on, especially in the business community between bosses and secretaries. “The Apartment” with Shirley McLane and Jack Lemmon is an example of that era. The wife stayed home with the kids and the man slept around. Were those having affairs “friends”? “Lovers”? What?

Now seniors are facing the same questions as teenagers. It is obvious in many retirement communities that the inhabitants are still fully desireous of relationships with each other.

seniors.lovetoknow.com/Dating_for_Senior_Citizens

Some of those seniors have been married since the more conservative 50s. Some were teenagers in the 60s. All of them, for some reason, wish to once again experience the warmth of friendship or whatever it is called these days. They are uncertain and are treading unfamiliar grounds.

As a friend (acquaintance?) said to me recently, “I like friendships. It used to be that a person had to be married to be passionate with a person. That’s certainly not the case any longer. Friendships work for me. ”

OK now is he saying that passion between two people is now acceptable on the friendship level? Would that be a ‘friend with benefits”? Once two people become intimate, are they now ‘in a relationship’?  He also says, “I don’t think I make a good relationship person. I am not knocking me, I just seem to feel too confined…and that makes a nice guy become bad : )”.

Are there rules for a relationship that promote confinement? What is a non-confining relationship? Would someone like that just be saying he wants to play the field? He’s at an advantage. He’s at an age where there are more women than men, and men have the edge over being able to date younger women. Some couples have  an entire generation gap between them. Why would a friends with benefits not be a relationship? Why is a relationship necessarily confining?

As you can see, I’m simply trying to examine this topic of conversation as I have tried to do all my life. I’ve always felt like an American player trying to learn a totally new game in Russia. I feel the need to learn the language and the rules but I can’t communicate in order to learn. There was a book published in 1989 called “Games Mother Never Taught You”. It addressed  women in the corporate world. I wish someone would write a sequel for the male-female friendships, relationships, affairs, acquaintanceships, companionships, and sinking ships world.

It’s a confusing world, but vleeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyy interesting.

senior-online-datingSee you tomorrow. If it’s cool, come to the porch. If it’s hot, you’ll probably find me in the air conditioned attic.

Attic Annie

 

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I Want Cowboy Boots

boots

Last year I was challenged by a friend to write a poem about one of the things I often say. When talking about a relationship, I would often add, “I wouldn’t mind a pair of cowboy boots by the fireplace once in a while. This is what I came up with.

I Want Cowboy Boots

Attic Annie copyright 2007

In my entire lifetime

I’ve had a few love affairs

After the wedding the man I dated and finally married

Had just disappeard

He was replaced on our wedding night

by a husband I didn’t know

I loved that man with all my heart

I didn’t much like him though

I was the faithful partner

I didn’t stray as a wife

That’s my story.

That’s the tale of my life.

But my life I hope isn’t over

And at my age

I still want to roll in clover

You know that makes up hay

I want another love.

I want to get it right.

What I really really want

Is boots parked by my couch at night

Not every night of course

And maybe some afternoons

I’ve been singing the blues for way too long

It’s high time I changed my tunes (to arias…ah ah ah ah ah)

I want a certified nice guy

Not guys like in my past

Of course unlike selfish self-centered men

I know nice guys finish last (wink wink)

I’m not the slimmer figured gal

I was forty years ago

But on the inside

The embers still hotly glow

If you want a real nice gal

Come and warm with my fire

I probably could provide references (un uh)

Honey, you’ll never get much higher

So if you have a pair of boots

Cowboy, dress, or work

Let’s see how they look by my couch at night

But you better not be a jerk

Yes, my hair is gray and white

And my body pooches and sags

If you don’t mind I won’t ever wear a ring

I promise I’ll not be a nag

Yes, my life isn’t over

I want to get it right

I still want a pair of cowboy boots

Parked by my couch at night!

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Totally new world of relationship

It’s supposed to be a little cooler this morning so if you want, we can  sit out on the porch. It’s predicted to rain today but I haven’t looked out my window yet to see what’s happening. I love sitting on my porch if the rain is gentle and my chimes are chiming. Come join me.

I’ve been thinking about relationships lately. I am finding relationships are very confusing these days. I’m willing to guess there’s an awful lot of free floating angst out there among young boys and girls up to and including senior citizens who are trying for the first or last time to find someone with whom to connect. There doesn’t seem to be any clear cut steps involved any more , and on any given day, the same word labeling a relationship  may change completely.

The Soda Shop

dating couple 1950s

I am a baby boomer. When I was in elementary and high school there seemed for the most part to be a set schedule between the males and the females. The boys would ask the girls for a date. They would pick them up at their homes. After several dates, NEVER the first one, the girl would allow the boy to kiss her. The first time was always at the end of the date at the door. This led to necking. This led to petting. This is where the closeness supposedly ended. Anything beyond petting was off limits. In high school it meant the boy giving the girl his class ring which she wrapped in yards of angora or wore on a chain around her neck. This meant “going steady”. It led many times to marriage soon after graduation.

If the couple were in college, dating led to the young man giving the young lady a lavelier.  If the young couple was very seriously involved, he would pin her. This was second only to becoming engaged. Each step was supposedly engraved in stone. How much was actually true and how much more activity was clandestine, as a child I was not privy to such information.

I do know this was before the era of the pill and condoms were not out for open display. If a girl got pregnant it was the disgrace of the entire community and tongues wagged unmercifully. If there were no wedding, the girl would often “visit an aunt” in another town for several months and come home later sans baby and with flat abs. In many instances, if she were able to make connections, an illegal abortion might have been performed, often times leaving her physically and emotionally scarred for life.

I have a cousin who, the summer after her senior year, had a baby. The wedding was held at the church, but she was not dressed in white. When I asked why, I was never told. She was eighteen and the wedding was a rush rush hush hush affair. This was the late 50s.

I was either blessed or cursed depending on how one views the times to be in college when most of the mores came tumbling down and it was Katy bar the door. There was no stopping the rapidity of the change in behavior from the conservative and confining 50s to the wild and crazy 60s. My freshman year, women had curfews. A few years later there were not only co-ed dorms with separate wings for men and women, there were also co-ed floors. There was free love and mate swapping parties. A whole avalanche of change was traveling down upon us at lightning speed and many of us got caught and buried.

HIPPIE_and_FLOWER_CHILD_COUPLES_

That behavior has only gotten looser since the sixties. Those ground breaking kids of the 60s are now the retiring baby boomers of the 00s. Hardly anyone except staunch religious fundamentalists in the US pay any attention anymore about “what the neighbors will think”. In many situations the neighbors are in the same situation anyway.

We’ve gone from “Birds do it, bees do it even educated fleas do it, let’s do it. Let’s fall in love” to a song I just found called “F^& k her gently” by Tenacious D!  Another song is called simply “Sex Song” . It has the most explicit words I have EVER seen…including in my ex’s Playboy magazines which I read for the articles. If it isn’t hard core pornography, there is no such thing any more.  This is what is playing for the teenagers. No wonder no one can define the interaction between males and females in the US today. There are no unchanging words to describe it. Meanings of words seem to change at the speed of light.

senior couple dating

An older couple walking the beach

I’ve got a lot to do. Come back and we’ll talk more tomorrow. Attic Annie

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My first 16 days…this is WORK!

Hi there. Welcome. Come on in for a cuppa before I get ready for church. I’ve been writing now for sixteen days. I’ve never stuck with writing in my diary for that length of time. I’m beginning to view this as WORK!

But it’s fun work. Perhaps if I cut down on what I say every day I could have more time to do other things. But then I get rolling on a topic and 800 words later I’m summing up. Also, I am really trying to insert pictures into my blog. When I did the “Not into you” piece I must have tried for more than two hours to insert an image. I would click on “select all” on the IMDB site and transfer into my blog. I would then have to delete all the other stuff on the page. I would get very close to perfect and then the image would disappear. Poof! I’d have to start over again….and again….and again. Urrrrrrgh!

Help

 HELP!

I gave up and gave it a rest. Then, determined as I can sometimes be, I found an image of the cover of the book rather than the movie IMDB site. Within a few minutes it was in my blog. It worked. It’s there! Another triumph.

To date, in these sixteen days I’ve had 162 visits. After I posted yesterday, within minutes I had two viewers! Wow! I wonder if they were waiting for me to open my house. The busiest day was Monday, July 20. There were 43 visits that one day! I cannot for the life of me figure out my statistics. When I add the number of visitors per blog, I get something like 127…NOT 162! Does it count if someone mistakening clicks on the wrong blog and comes up to a site but doesn’t read any of the blogs? I’m pondering.

I have written almost all my life. In third grade I rewrote “The Christmas Story” and got permission from the teacher for my fellow classmates to perform it. I remember doing it, in our bathrobes of course,  but not what we said. I’m sure it was original. Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus probably never heard it exactly that way before.

In fourth grade I attended a church youth presentation of a melodrama. I went home and rewrote it as close to word for word as I could get it. There must have been ten pages front and back that I handed in to my teacher for permission to perform the play. I never got it back. She must have tossed it along with other papers. As a teacher myself, I came to realize that that happens every so often. There is no way every paper that is handed in can be corrected and returned.

In fifth grade I found my humor. That was the first time we had writing circles and would read our works in front of other students. The one I remember the most was when I talked about floating in an innertube and a turtle bit my butt! I can’t remember if it actually happened or not but that wasn’t the point. The kids were laughing. The teacher wrote as a comment on my report card, “We enjoy her stories.” That was heady praise indeed since it came from one of the most sour teachers I believe I ever had.

Writing at times has saved my sanity. I would not have made it through high school if I didn’t have a pen and paper. It’s too bad I didn’t get a typewriter until I was a freshman in college. Kids today have so much more opportunity to save their work in electronic files. My writing just got pitched from time to time.

Well, gotta run. You are welcome to stay in the attic or on the front porch if you wish. I’ll be back by noon.

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