author moments, health

The Massage. Some Womanly Advice. Don’t Miss This…

It’s been a long awaited time to visit my favorite massage therapist due primarily to Corona restrictions and a limited schedule offered when the spa actually re-opened.

Today was the day. It’s been almost two years since I was going to get a massage from my favorite masseuse. He is tall, strong and has that sexy European accent. That’s not what I get most excited about though. It’s the movement techniques he applies. It’s like a dance of sorts. As relaxing music plays in the background the pressure points in your body are hit. Gentle and harsh motions. Deep as well surface penetration is applied in a methodical way.

Back to the dance. He leads and my body reacts. It’s that simple. I need to release the tension of the world and allow my body to enter the relaxation state that many don’t experience. And then while in that moment, my body dances or receives the massage motions/movements. The tension goes away. The aches subside. Nothing else matters. No background noise is heard aside from the gentle sound of background music.

When the body moves well there is an occasional pop or natural release. From hot stones to warm towels to aroma therapy, the experience is like no other. Of course I have had other massages but this therapist is by far my favorite due to his techniques.

Face down is how it begins. The shoulders. The back. The arms. The hips. The thighs. The legs. Nothing is skipped. You feel the pressure and release in your quads. Your calves. Your IT bands. Even your fingers and toes.

Then there is a pause. The slight pause is time for the flip. Flat on your back the process starts again. More oil. More warm towels. More pampering from head to toe. The forearms. The chest muscles feel the finger rub to get the smaller area. The triceps and biceps get a little more pressure. The toes crack. The feet are flexed in new ways.

I won’t give you every last detail however I will say I am completely refreshed. My mind. My body. My soul. I am capping off my session with very berry smoothie. Pictured above is the cherry on top. The chilly, protein packed refreshment. Now I am off to enjoy the rest of my weekend.

Some may say this is me spoiling myself and unneeded.  I will respond with this is self care and you should try it! From me to you. Get the massage. Spoil yourself. You are worth it! For my male readers: spoil your partner. Let them know you are okay with them relaxing and unwinding. 

challenges

The Off Season

I am a teacher. I work from 8:00 am (or earlier) until 4:00 pm 190 days a year. During those hours I am a role model for little kids, a good colleague to my co-workers, and so on. What happens when I head out to stores to do errands after school?

As an elementary school teacher, I honestly still watch myself a lot of the time. I know I could look up at a store or restaurant and see little eyes looking up at me with an incredulous squeal: Mom, it’s Dr. Friese!! This has happened many times. For that reason, I can’t be cursing or loading up on margaritas when I am out and about, especially within a certain radius of my school.

This self-censorship of sorts extends to social media. I rarely post anything except for very “innocent” family or fitness updates. I stay out of photos where drinking or other grown-up activities are involved. I don’t post political content as much as I can avoid it. I have just a handful of select parents who can see what I post. Otherwise, I just refuse most of those requests, but I am still aware than many people could be looking. I sit through legal presentations each year that share examples of teachers losing their jobs because they post themselves doing legal, adult things online that a parent used against them. Better safe than sued or jobless is my mindset, I guess.

Some comments lately had me wondering if this is fair…as a teacher, I feel expected to hold up some sort of rated-G moral standard no matter where I am. The other roughly 14 hours a day and 175 days a year I am not at school, I often mentally steer away from situations where I can be captured doing “inappropriate” things. But is it fair to expect that I’ll just be basically angelic most of the time? Is being a teacher what I do or who I am? Who gets to decide?

Others close to me have been in this situation lately as well. A friend who is a nurse had a family member go through a medical crisis. She wasn’t completely happy with the way all the care was going and let the staff know it. She wasn’t ugly or unreasonable as much as firm and inquisitive. She was told she wasn’t being professional. But her role in this situation was that of a family member advocating for her parents’ health. Does she have to be a professional even in her personal life?

What other jobs seem to carry the expectation of acting a certain way 24/7/365… am I always a mother? A father? How about the captain of an athletic team? Do I have to behave “as a captain” even in the off season? What does that mean? If I am a forklift operator or a chef, I don’t have the weight of those jobs following me around all the time. How about an athletic coach to young people? A politician? A priest? A police officer? Why do some jobs or roles become identities and others allow you to clock out and just be who you are?

I don’t have solutions for this. It just troubles me how some jobs or roles are seen as 24/7 while others can be left behind when work is over. It’s not even the highest paid people who can just shed their professions at will. Some onlookers use these roles as a weapon when they don’t like what you are doing. (Heaven forbid you’re a teacher and post something with spelling errors!)

In the end, we are all just human, with likes and dislikes, flaws and foibles and lives outside of our work. Just a few early morning thoughts.

adventure

It’s in the Details

A surprise picnic. The weather wasn’t great. We didn’t even really know the area. The option to hike it in would have been too much to carry.

A friend scouted a park with a pavilion. We wandered in tandem with the vague directions we had, then finally stumbled on the spot.

The coolers, tucked in the back of the jeep for hours, and boxes and bags were ported out. Then the spoiling began.

A white tablecloth was the foundation. Topped by a fall-themed tablecloth with muted hues. Draped with care over the metal picnic table. Then, fancy bamboo plates and utensils. Yellow napkins folded at each place. Then, the finishing touches…jewel-colored velvet pumpkins that later doubled as party favors / remembrances for each of the women there. A fall candle bought brand new for the occasion, glowing and sharing a hint of apple scent. A table worthy of special guests. Even out in the middle of the soccer fields and playgrounds. Then, a build-your-own lunch spread courtesy of Trader Joe’s. Nothing too fussy. Just nibbles to try.

In recent years, I have grown to love surprising people…not in the sense of surprise parties, but more about delighting people with over-the-top unique details. Whether it be decorations, unexpected custom cookies that match their party theme, party favors that make people giggle, artist-created invitations, or a meal fit for a queen, it feeds my soul to make people feel special and make occasions memorable. People are worth celebrating.

This also extends to presents I may drop on porches on a random Tuesday. Life is a challenge for many. Why not make people smile?

I hope when they pull out that pumpkin each fall they smile and remember a great day, and someone who cared about them enough to plan something special. Spoil people a little sometimes. They are worth it.

perspective

Observation Overload

I was thinking about a title for this post for a few days. I wasn’t sure how to title it. Being stumped is not something that normally happens for me when it comes to titles. I’m a headlines girl for sure. Wonder why this one stumped me?

Nevertheless I found the title. Now I have to explain it. The observation deck can have multiple meanings for me. For some it’s a view point of sorts. From higher ground. Maybe it’s a skyscraper in a big city with an observation deck. Maybe it’s an observation point hanging over the Grand Canyon. A perch of sorts where one observes people, places, things, sports, and so on.

Recently I was at a tennis match and there was an observation deck filled with spectators. The elevated viewing area offered a different vantage point on the games as compared to ground level. This had me thinking about perches, overhangs, elevated surfaces which I might classify as an observation deck even if not elevated. An observing point for me. The list was endless.

The exercise bike on the second floor at the gym is a perch in my world where one can silently people watch. The bleachers at my kids’ sporting events. I always seem to pick the highest row to see the best view. Then I thought about other perches that may not be so elevated but that I would still consider an observation deck or platform in my life.

To give an example I have this photo below for you to visualize.

The bike view. Can you think of other moving observation platforms? A car. A plane. A train. A motorcycle. While moving what can you see different or up close to? Do you really need to be in a nosebleed section of the baseball stadium to observe the game?

I guess whatever platform or observation deck you have is fine. That’s why I named this Observation Overload. One thought spun in a million directions. For the purposes of this post, my observation point was ground level. Oddly enough I was in the muck of it all when I started observing busted biscuits. One here, one there, another over there. There were no Slim Jims just busted biscuits, the girl nearby noted. What on earth could I be talking about? People. Girls. Females. Fitness enthusiasts. Fun seekers. All with busted biscuits in different variations.

I was observing a bunch of girls, ladies and mature women actively participating in a movement activity outside. All from different backgrounds. Some thicker than others. Some more toned than others. Some older. Some younger. To my surprise, they all had busted biscuits of sorts. I didn’t coin the term but I’m sort of in awe of it at this point. A little distraction of sorts when I was served biscuits at the restaurant I was at the day I wrote this. 

One gal had busted biscuits thanks to all the beers she drinks.

One had busted biscuits because of child rearing.

One had busted biscuits because she recently lost a lot of weight.

One had busted biscuits due to settling over the years. Pretty sure she was in her 70’s. 

So many life reasons for the excess baggage also known as busted biscuits. Interesting odd way to phrase things but I was intrigued. I dazed off a bit in observation mode. Thinking. Wondering. Being curious in general.

Who cares about the busted biscuits? These ladies were moving. Some faster than others. Some with more giggles than others. Amazingly what they all exemplified was beauty. Beautiful stories. Beautiful memories. Beautiful people behind the busted biscuits. Beauty of being a woman with lived-in skin.

As a southern transplant one knows what busted biscuits look like. The container that opens up and oozes out with biscuit dough. I mean a southerner makes biscuits from scratch but a transplant can opt for the container or can of biscuits. The ones that ooze. 

Most people can’t get enough of a good biscuits. Well as a thick girl myself, I have busted biscuits. You know that troublesome area that seems to hold only all your bad choices, stress, aches and so on. Normally right below the belly button. Some call it a pooch. Some call it flab. Today somebody referred to it as busted biscuits. The term made me giggle. Why did I never think of that. It truly is busted biscuits. But nobody throws away the biscuits when they ooze out. They prep them for baking. They enjoy them.

Then I thought to myself I have busted biscuits. But so does every other woman out here. And that’s what is beautiful. Each container of busted biscuits oozed out their own way just the the special person carrying the extra ooze. They didn’t get thrown to the side. They were living their best busted biscuits life in their own skin.

As I drifted in the mind this day. I thought how much I like my busted biscuits. Unique to just me. How lucky am I? How cool is it that all these women get together, busted biscuits and all and just move. Just move that body in the fitness kind of way. Just because you have some extra biscuit ooze upon you doesn’t mean you can’t move or you’re not athletic. 

It just means you have a body that’s lived in. We are all made in different shapes and sizes. Everyone should embrace their appearance whether you are a Slim Jim or you carry busted biscuits.

Hope you enjoyed this lighthearted post about biscuits and observations.

working women

Inspiration Over the Years

I was inspired by International Women’s Day and a generation competition I competed in recently. It made me think of all the powerful women I have in my life representing different pockets of time. This led me to this inspiration post dedicated to all the powerful women out there in the world.

Meet LT. A gorgeous teen who works hard to find her place in life. Exploding athleticism but the explosiveness she works hard to earn daily. She leads her friends with her spunky personality and drive. I’m always amazed by the resilience in others. Looking forward to seeing how she conquers this crazy world we live in. Living through a pandemic and finding ways to redefine herself has been much of her growing recently. I’m definitely of fan of this girl.

Meet EO. A young mom in her 20’s working hard to support her family. Always finding time to work on herself even when that means juggling life to balance it all. She is a strong woman who inspires many each day in her role in the school system. She tends to chickens on the home front to provide nourishment for her family. She is also extremely fit as shown in this picture. She is a great representation of a strong Latino woman making an impact each day. 

Meet TF. This is one mighty and fierce girl in her thirties who likes to show that she can lift way more than her body weight. Raising two boys on her own. Climbing the corporate ladder by day, parenting 24/7. Putting in work to keep herself physically and mentally fit while showing her boys what hard work looks like and how it pays off in the long run. Dynamite does come in small packages and she is living proof. She is also my tribute to strong Asian women as we live in a world where so much hate is passed on to different ethnicities for some reason. 

Meet SM. Aka “Hooker” for most of her life, although that was never her occupation! Her upside down picture shows her flexibility as she grew up as a dancer for many many years. Current day, this gal is smart, funny and super supportive to her family and her friends. She has a heart of gold and is always up for fun adventures including pretending to be a nurse on occasion. She is always bending and flexing to adapt to the changes we face daily thanks to pandemic life. She is my tribute to being amazing and flexible in your 40’s.

Meet KW. Kim is one of a kind. She is a grandma, fitness enthusiast, motorcycle-riding badass and so much more. Rolling in her 50’s she works hard as a hairdresser making many look beautiful. Spending hours on her feet listening to her clients. An art of sorts but a craft that brings joy to many. No surprise for this girl as she is super caring and has great listening skills. She is my 50-something tribute girl. She wears it well.

Meet AK. She is my super sixties girl. Hard working corporate girl who has left the working world to tend to her ailing husband who happens to be a Marine Veteran. She is prideful, spunky and not shy about speaking her mind. In her words: “I try to be someone who isn’t afraid to share her opinions and speak her truth. I listen with sincerity and don’t allow others’ problems to bring me down, though this is not easy at times. My heart is filled with kindness, generosity, compassion, integrity, a willingness to be vulnerable, and authenticity. Life sometimes throws a curve ball, which sometimes I swing and miss and other times I score a home run.  My priority is my family, my God, my friends, and then everything else that comes my way. “

Meet VS. She is feeling special at her recent 79th birthday bash. Look at her sass and shining personality showcased in this photo. She is here today celebrating 79 years on earth. A mom, a grandma, and a fighter. Battling the odds of her age, her health and her environment. So far she is staying strong during this crazy corona time we have been stuck in for over a year. She is my tribute girl of the 70’s. I hope to be as spirited at her age.

Meet EM. She is my saucy eighties girl. Strong, courageous and beautiful. A mom, a widow, a nana, a great grandma, and so much more. She is a bright light in a room with a story to tell. Living on earth for 83 years lets you see the world through a unique lens. I am happy to say I hear those stories and share them whenever I can. Happy to end this post with this dynamo. 

Throughout the years I have many that inspire me. This reel is a glimpse. A snapshot of inspiring women. Most who have no clue they inspire others. Some have physical strength. Some have mental toughness. Some have years of wisdom and experience. Some have just begun making their mark on the world. Some share their smile and giggles and that can be enough.

I am along for the ride. May all these women inspire you to inspire others. This is a female power post but that doesn’t mean a male can’t appreciate the beauty of it.

Celebrate the strong women in your life today. Maybe it’s your mom, your daughter, your girlfriend, your teacher, your doctor, your dentist or other significant person in your life. Do me a favor and let one of these women in your life know how special they are today. 

Inspiration over the years. This post makes me grin from ear to ear.