Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Quick Checkin from Anaheim

It’s 5:30am here in California and I’ve been awake for half an hour – after sleeping like the dead for 10 hours.   Yesterday was a very long day, up at 2:30am to do my “get ready for the day” stuff  (I’m not a fast-starter in the morning) and having some cuddles with Tessie before heading to the airport.

Flights went smoothly except for some weather in Dallas, but nothing that messed up flights too much.  After the 3 days I spent at Newark airport on my Christmas trip, a small delay and bumpy air was not a problem.  I sat in rows with moms with small children which is NOT my favorite thing to do – but I had two seats “for my comfort and safety and that of the passengers around me” and on a trip this long, it did make a huge difference.

Food actually was good.  I fixed some little sandwiches of Arnold’s sandwich thins (1 point each) with Laughing Cow cheese, had some cut up apples and Late July cheese sandwich crackers, and some tootsie rolls for a chocolate fix.  In Dallas I picked up some pineapple and yogurt at a little shop along with some soy crisps.  I didn’t eat anything after I got to California other than finishing off the soy crisps.  I just wasn’t hungry and concentrated on downing as much water as possible to help with dehydration.

And I had a massage that was awesome.  The woman used a combination of Chinese and Swedish techniques and really concentrated on some horrible muscle knots and tightness made worse by a long day in the plane.  I’m feeling a little sore this morning but in a good way.

Now it’s time to dry my hair and sit down to a nice hotel breakfast because I need refueling.  I can’t afford to do this every day but a breakfast buffet with fruit, protein, and carbs is a good thing.  The conference stuff starts at noon for me, with a workshop on electronic resource management.

Have a great day!


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4 Handed Massage

MassageYou all know that I am a big fan of massage and get them regularly. What I had today was a 4-handed massage – no, not from a Hindu deity with multiple arms. Instead, it was a double massage with two therapists working on me at the same time for an hour. Oh. My. God. it was the most amazing experience ever, even beating my beloved hot stone massage.

For a massage to work best, all the muscles need to be totally relaxed and it’s always a bit of an adjustment to having strangers touch your naked body. I’ve been to both of the massage therapists before and was familiar with the space, so that helped. That familiar New Agey Celtic music was playing softly and there was the sound of water.

Having four hands work on me at the same time relaxed not only my body but also my mind. There was good energy between the therapists and it was almost like a little ballet as they moved in tandem around me, working on arms and feet and back and neck. it was too much for the mind to keep track of it all so I just let go and felt and enjoyed and was totally present in my body.

It turns out that I was the very first client to get this new treatment, which the center just started offering 2 weeks ago. I’ll definitely be back.


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Trip to NYC and More

It’s been a busy weekend. Yesterday I took the train down to NYC, meeting up with our Frances for some Christmas shopping. I should have figured out that everyone and his brother would be on the train, to see the Christmas windows, skate at Rockefeller Center, check out the Rockettes, maybe see The Grinch on Broadway, and, of course, shop. I actually saw one of my WW meeting mates in the line for the ladies’ room at Grand Central.

Vegetable PeopleOur first stop was Union Square for the Christmas Fair, which is full of color and over 100 vendors with all sorts of things we all just have to have. Ornaments and Christmas decorations, of course, but also textiles of all shapes and kinds, jewelry, art work, ceramics and pottery, candles, and just general stuff. We went last year and found a number of the same vendors (yes, the woman with the chubby ladies ornaments was there and they are still adorable). Frances and I both did quite a bit of Christmas shopping and left loaded down. No, I’m not telling you what we got because some of you will be seeing packages arrive soon.

We took the subway uptown (or maybe downtown – I’m pretty directionally challenged underground in NYC) to Chinatown. Our goal was to have lunch and wander around to see stuff, taking some pictures. Much to my delight, four different people asked us if we wanted handbags. FK says that in all the years she’s been in NYC, she’s only been asked that when I was with her – it happened the last time, too. We only visited two because, well, how many bags do I need? And how much cash did I have anyway? One was down some steep stairs to a basement room full of bags including some yummy patchwork Coach bags and some tiny moc croc kiwi green Pradas.

Lunch was in a tiny Malasian restaurant with a menu the size of a book, yummy with Asian flavors and aromas. I rarely have Chinese or Thai food here and really miss it. It was good to sit down and have the chance to reorganize our various packages. After lunch we found ourselves in Little Italy, all bedecked in an overabundance of decorations. To look at the lights running across the streets, Buon Natale was being brought to us by Sorrento Cheese, which I thought quite endearing.

Our next destination was one we discovered on my last visit – a Chinese back rub place on Spring Street. Both of us were tied into major knots up and down our bodies and spending an hour with very strong hands working them out was simply divine. The time flew by in the quiet of the dark room, interrupted only by the almost orgasmic sounds of a man on another table near us. Something to giggle about after we left, feeling refreshed and pummeled at the same time. I admit that I’m pretty sore today in the places that had the deepest work, but they were in the worst shape in the first place.

Rice to Riches Dessert SignWe had dessert at a place called Rice to Riches — a whole shop that sells only rice pudding. Yeah, I know, it has to be a New York thing because it wouldn’t last long anywhere I’ve ever lived. It was very clean and trendy, full of happy people eating exotic flavors like pecan pie, gingerbread, apple pie, and about 12 more kinds, all in large size containers. It was rich and creamy and I enjoyed it a lot, but the single serve portion was huge. I only ate about 3/4 cup or less and threw out the rest. Whoever said it was a single portion has never been to WW.

I had a small crisis at home when I finally got there. My kitty was inside meowing for me but my key just went around and around in the deadbolt, which was locked. Oops. Tessie was too short and doesn’t have opposable thumbs, so she would have been hard pressed to open the door from the inside. Maintenance was called and came quite promptly, I have to say. Their solution was to break a window to break in and open the door from the inside, with window and door both to be repaired on Monday. It worked but it was messy and it freaked out Tessie.

Today was gray and you could feel the approaching snow heavy in the air. I spent the morning wrapping presents and then finding the UPS Store to ship out most of the pile, which was really festive, I must say. I also picked up the ubiquitous milk and bread, among other things, at the grocery store before the bad weather comes, as well as dumping trash and recycling. This afternoon I paid bills, did laundry, and tried to tidy up the mess left from wrapping this morning, with Tessie trailing me from room to room.

It’s time now for frozen peas on the knee and a heating pad on a sore spot on the back, preferably with a kitty cuddled close. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow but since that’s on the agenda, I need to get refreshed and ready.


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Checking in and Catching up

My Ab Lounge finally is out of here, sold on Craigslist to a young college student who willingly parted with $50. I had been quite over-optimistic about what I was actually willing to do and that never seemed to be it, so out it goes. I already spent the $50 to buy a lightweight fall coat. Of course, it’s been in the 80’s so who knows when it will come in handy. But eventually …

My Mom and DadNext weekend my parents are arriving from Texas for a 10-day visit. I’ve been scrambling around trying to get things as tidy and prepared as possible, primarily lugging stuff to the dump (er, transfer station – though really it was a dump) and drilling lots of holes to get new curtains up.

The study, which will become their guest room when we blow up the Aerobed, is in the front of the apartment and gets a lot of light from streetlights even with blinds closed. So I needed room-darkening curtains and not just something filmy draped over rods for cover.

The rods went up last weekend – I love using the drill and making holes – but I ended up exchanging the first curtains I got for others with more color. They came this week and were ironed and hung, and then I got mad because the look was too heavy. I needed some kind of way to hook them out of the way and opening up the window during the day, but still easy to undo at night to pull the curtains shut to darken the room.

Another trip to Home Depot (which is almost as dangerous for me as an office supply store is) yielded holdbacks that match my rods, which also came from HD. They’re just little metal U shaped things that, well, hold back the curtain. Putting them up involved more drilling and hole-making and now I’m happy with the look.

But my mother is coming. I have to clean everything but not too early because I could make a mess of it again before Friday. I hate cleaning when I get home from work so we’ll see how this actually shakes out. In practice, as long as the piles are tidy and they have a place to unpack, it will be fine.

Food will be interesting. My mom is smaller now than when she got married, and she was a size 10 then. My dad has had a weight problem all his life but I think of him as having a little extra padding; his problem is nothing like the one I’ve battled, though it is his problem. He understands, though, and that helps.

I’m used to living and eating alone most of the time except when I’m out with friends. Any food in the house is because I brought it here. I don’t need to worry about tempting finicky appetites or fixing vegetables that no one will eat. So having the parents here – for 10 days! – needs a good bit more thought. I think perhaps we will work on menus together when they’re here and we know the touring schedule better. As long as I have the things that I know I need, I can stay on track. And my parents don’t want me to disrupt my food plan. My problem is expanding the cooking options for multiple people at every meal.

This weekend is kind of pampering time, in addition to hole-drilling. This morning I had my hair cut and roots touched up so I can have more “good hair” days. Tomorrow I’m having a massage and a pedicure – and am going to figure out how to get to the gym to do some exercises in the pool. I missed water aerobics on Thursday because I wasn’t feeling well but I do like being able to slip into the water and move without hurting.


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Forging New Traditions

Manasquan BeachWhen I was growing up, summer was clearly defined. It started with Memorial Day and the opening of my grandfather’s beach house and ended with Labor Day, always at the beach with family and cookouts. The clans gathered en masse with adults and kids separating out to do our own things and only coming together for meals.

I still think, come Memorial Day and Labor Day, that I am supposed to be at the shore with my family even though we moved away when I was 16. We usually have a conversation about it, reinforcing memories and tradition, even as we live different lives now.

This year I spent part of Labor Day weekend, not at the shore with family but in New York City with our Frances, taking the train down for the day yesterday. It was my first trip on the Metro North train which is oh so convenient and cheap ($28 for a round trip off-peak hour ticket). By the time we left CT and headed into the city, the train was full of baseball fans off to the Yankees game and extremely loud folks going to the Brazilian Festival. I was grateful to not have to lug a suitcase and to just be going to play.

Frances met me at Grand Central Terminal which is amazing if you’ve never been there. Not many places to sit but beautifully restored and truly a grand space. We had a perfect day to be out exploring and spent our time in Chinatown and Little Italy, armed with cameras and no real agenda.

Street vendors were out everywhere with booths of jewelry, art, tchotchkes, plastic life essentials, and food. In Chinatown that included dried fish which smelled really awful; the fruit was much more appealing. There was a joyous man armed with bubble guns, shooting streams of big soap bubbles and pumping the air with delight. He made us smile and buoyed our spirits.

Most of our shopping time was spent at Pearl River, one of Frances’ favorite stores and now one of mine. They have EVERYTHING, not just stuff for tourists, from beautiful silk garments to exotic spices to paper lanterns and bamboo. Downstairs is where I had the best time poking around looking at pigs and Buddhas and that happy cat with the raised paw that was everywhere, almost like a little army.

We puzzled at the fan display, trying to figure out why some were so much larger than the others. An elderly Chinese lady who spoke little to no English showed us that they were dancing fans and the fluttery extensions rippled gracefully as she moved the fan in dance moves. She was very sweet and shy and charmed us completely.

Buddha Buddha BanksI fell in love with some plastic Buddha Buddha banks – big heavy ones and little bitty tiny miniatures – and bought one of each of the miniatures because, well, they were cute. I had my eye on all things pig and in this Year of the Pig, there was a lot to see and photograph.

We had Thai food for lunch (I adore Pad Thai and have it whenever possible) with a chance to sit down and rest our feet, then treated ourselves to an amazing 46 minute Chinese back rub (aka massage). I have no idea why it was 46 instead of 45 min. but I wanted more more more. Today I’m paying for it a bit with sore muscles where she went very deep but I could feel the knots breaking up so I’m not at all sorry.

Back on our feet and out on the streets, we were spotted by a Chinese man who invited us to a back room with knock off purses. Apparently the better quality fakes are behind these closed doors, not out on the street, so being asked in was a big deal. I just know that I bought two bags I didn’t even know I needed – the leather felt great and who cares if they’re not real Prada?

Our last real stop was at an All Things Italian store with lots of saints statues in the window and inside. Not being a good Catholic girl, I didn’t know who most of them were but I still appreciated the tackiness of the collective display. I’d rather have a plastic Buddha, though.

Then it was back to Grand Central and my train home, down and back in an easy day. I love that I’m close enough to do this often so I can see slices of the city in small installments. Future trips need to include massages and visits to Chinatown, though, which I think can be arranged.


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Massage Day

MassageI treated myself to a wonderful restorative hot stone massage after work today, my reward for having to work this Intersession holiday and to end the year on a pampering note. If you’ve never had one of these before, I highly recommend it.

The therapist uses stones heated to 120 degrees, placing them on the body to let the heat penetrate the muscles to allow the massage to go deeper and work on tight knots. She also uses the stones, covered with oil, to actually do some of the massage, which is incredibly relaxing and meditative. I found that after a while I simply felt the weight of the stones on my body and not their heat as I went deeper into the experience.

Massage time is quiet time for me to center in and focus on my body. I pay attention to the feeling of being touched, which doesn’t happen to me all that often – I get touch-deprived, actually, so I want to really savor the experience. I find concentrating on the hands working on my body to be a way to connect with what’s going on with me. As the fingers find problems with muscles and gradually work through the knots, I feel tension release in inside places, too. For me massage isn’t optional, it’s a necessary way to take care of myself.