“Oh Great Bob, ye who hath given and taken away, I raise my arms in jubilation and praise to you name, for thou has bestowed upon me some months of heavenly SLACK. I was not worthy for such a gift, but found myself nonetheless enjoying peaceful days of sunshine, coffee, and doing whatsoever I damned well pleased whilst at the same time being paid. These were indeed noble times and I will be forever grateful. Whilst others slaved away earning their living, I slowly became invisible and unknown amongst the computers and office furniture. My manager barely knows my name! But, using your sacred techniques of pink mind-bending and manipulation, my happy smile and lack of complaint or fuss allowed me to surf along, humming quietly and shaving off a tiny portion of the retail industry’s profits to nourish myself.

Alas, these times are over. As I close the book on my office-drone days, forever if Bob wills it to be so, I will look back and rejoice that at the end of the day I did not let the system get me down. It might look like laziness but I fought for my right to SLACK! And now I have tasted of it, my life will never be the same again..”

*cough*. Yes, this is the closing few minutes of my part time office job. From tomorrow, it’s full time at the uni and a refocusing on myself, my massage, my art and health. This job was getting me nowhere and if I cared about building a career in office life I would have been severly cynical and depressed by now..though if that’s what I was aiming for I never would have moved to Exeter I would have gone to London or some such thing.

So I’ve “tied up loose ends” (clear all the files I want of the computer, get my emails etc) and am packing up my teabags and Sacred Chalice of Bob.(a heavily stained mug) I have survived this nauseating place intact and I am proud to be getting out of office life. If all goes to plan, I will walk out the door and never go back into it. I’m too lazy and self-serving to work for someone else, especially a retail company, anyway 😉

From now though, things will get busier…I’ve got some interesting plans forming…

Today’s gem from literature, and a tip on eating.

“There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.”

-H.P. Lovecraft

this fills me with images to draw and write. The quote above makes me think of fantastical stories, but also more and more I believe and discover that we can reclaim that “world of wonder”, it is all a matter of reclaiming that perception.

Tip of the day — when eating a meal, take a moment before you start. You know, when people used to say grace. Maybe just be thankful for the food. And then the good bit — focus all your attention on that first mouthful. The weight of it on your fork, the sight and smell of it (at this point I find my mouth watering with blissful anticipation)..when you put it into your mouth chew it slowly, feel the textures, explore the flavours, just immerse in the sensations of it all and your body as you swallow. After this, it doesn’t matter if you forget and wolf the rest of your food (as I normally do). Just concentrate on the first mouthful..and it will probably want to make you do so on the rest. It is amazing!!! helps if you have nice food. I swear one day I will have an orgasm from flavour!

neverending music

..as I listen to this mp3, I’m drawn back to last winter and all the emotions, hopes, fears, loves that went along with discovering it and listening to a new song for the first time.

..as I get older, music gets woven tightly through my relationships, my environment, my age and the scenario I’m in.. sometimes it layers back in on itself like a dough being folded over and kneaded – for example a certain red hot chilli peppers song reminds me of Iain-the-chef, Jon-from-portsmouth, being on a train bound for london, being at hyde park hearing them live, and crying in the rain amongst the mountains surrounding mt fuji in Japan.

What prompted this post though was the thought that as time and human lives move onwards, more music emerges and evolves..there are always new artists, new music, new sounds, along side the overwhelming wealth and history of previous eras. Do you ever think that before recorded music the only time you could hear it was live? Now we can hear the voices and instruments of those long dead, and pass this on to our children some of whom will become the artists of the future. And I believe that as long as there are people, there are will be musical expression of some kind..it will just go on and on..

Ok I give up trying to express this in words. wow. scuse me while I feel a bit amazed.

Avacados are dangerous when drunk

Fantastic evening last night, as I invited my friend Jem over for a meal. I used the mushroom sauce I’d cooked chicken legs in the night before as a pasta base, but didn’t mention it had once contained chicken as she is vegetarian, and hopefully I picked out all the pieces of bacon as well. (Is that unethical? Subversive carnivorism? I’m not sure)

(Jem is someone I met by chance, and like me she is also small, curly hair a bit strange. She does Reiki and a lot of arty things. She is not very sciency. Craves nature. But one of these people who you have a connection with immediatly, as though we have known each other for ages. She is nice but I still don’t really know her very well and actually I sometimes find it a bit uncomfortable being near her — almost as though we are a bit too similar, and we can’t really exist in the same place at once, or she is already filling the role I normally do which leaves me feeling a bit stranded(?))

At the moment though I’ve had her over to Catriona’s house a couple of times, mostly with the intention of feeding her up with quality food. It’s also been nice to get to know her a bit more..this time she brought some wine which was very pleasant. And we made gooseberry crumble. yum.

So by the time she left I was feeling rather pleasantly full and also somewhat drunk. I’d made plans earlier to utilise a rogue avacado (from my veg box) as part of a deep hair conditioning treatment :

avacado mishap

Whippet love

I’ve been dogsitting a couple of whippets for the last few days. It’s an ideal scenario; I get a house to myself, a fridge full of food, and the company of dogs. (and as an unexpected bonus, a couple of corn snakes) There has been a lot of tension one way or another in my current house, so having a chance to break free of it all and have a change of scene has been deeply refreshing.

I optmistically took my sketch book and flute, anticipating some solitude, but once again I find it very hard not to get caught up in events and happenings going on around me. Plus I enjoy cooking for other people, so I think every night I’ve had a different person over to the house, aside from Saturday when a bout of loneliness sent me charging over to mentalmadam‘s house. It seems the solitude I’ve been craving is actually not that easy to stomach, and perhaps claiming back time to myself will be more of a gradual process than an immediate transition.

And of course, I’m not totally alone. The dogs do help! Whizz, an old lady of a dog(bitch?), doesn’t really mind me much either way and actually seems to be pining for her owner Catriona – I wish there was some way to reassure dogs that it will be ok, just another few days. The 4 year old dog Diver on the other hand seems quite happy with his replacement owner. This could be because I’m not so careful and accidently have left doors to kitchens and food stores open, only to find suspiciously licked clean packets and chewed teabags around the house.. anyway ever since the first night he has made a point of jumping on my bed and going to sleep next to me which I certainly don’t discourage. For him it may well just be for the extra warmth, but I have to admitt I get a really simple animal pleasure from the gesture of acceptance, and if nothing else the contact with another living mammal. (the snakes aren’t quite so cuddly). One of my dreams is curling up with a whole pile of huskies.

At 56, Catriona isn’t married and doesn’t have children. The victorian terrace she lives in is by no means small, and to be there totally alone I would find a little difficult. The reassurance that comes from hearing dogs pottering up and down stairs, and waiting at the door when you get home, is rather lovely. That an the chance for physical contact. I know I keep going on abou this, but increasingly I believe we really need some daily contact, a brief hug, a touch on the arm. It’s not a life or death issue but I’ve found myself much happier if not healthier when I’ve been able to have regular contact..I never used to care but these days I find I almost crave it. In the UK , in comparison to other European countries, we really don’t ever go in for much more than perhaps a brief handshake..I think generally we are touch deprived, and so it annoys me when laws coming out forbidding primary school teachers to hug their pupils even if they fall over and hurt themselves. I wonder that our obsession and soppiness with animals, also unusual for a european country, has anything to do with that fact they offer one way of getting touch and contact. Humans ARE social animals after all.

It’s been nice to look after dogs for a bit. Admittedely, I never much liked Whippets before but I’ve come to see them as rather cute..they are short haired which is handy (and less smelly), and hold a strange mixture of restrained enthusiasm – bouncy walk but otherwise quite placid. A bit like a cross between a dog and a cat. And they don’t take up much bed space.

Massage results!

The way my massage diploma works is, I get 2 stand alone certificates from the APNT one in anatomy/physiology and one in swedish massage. Then I add in some case study work (finally finished and handed in on friday) and get an overal diploma.

So I did my APNT exams a few weeks ago and have the results! I’m quite chuffed, not so much with the marks but the feedback:

Anatomy and Physiology – 92%
Massage Theory Paper – 84 %
Practical Assement – 88 %

70% = credit, 90% distinction..so depending on how my case studies go down there is still the chance of getting distinction overall. But in all honesty I don’t really care about the marks, more at the quite dramatic progess I made with this given how afraid and tentative I was at the start..in this sense the feedback on the letter really made me smile:

“Vanessa’s feedback from the practical assessment, which I hope that you will find helpful, was – Cat has an intelligent and lively approach to her clients and to body work which is a pleasure to see. She has the ability to draw her clients out to talk about themselves. Her posture is good and she uses her body weight sensibly. Very varied work with strong and effective strokes. Good work on her clients’ neck. I like to see someone who will sit and work as well as stand. Cat had a good day. She can be pleased with herself.

Your work during the “Quality of Touch”[1] session was excellent. The introduction was a bit quick but you established a great level of contact with a very appropriate depth to your work. This was the best treatment I recieved on the day but it was ever so slightly let down by the beginning and ending, although with further practice I’m sure you will hone these skills.”

[1] basically 3 min to go and massage the bloke on some pre-given body part, for me ‘left shoulder’ he kept his eyes closed and you couldn’t say anything..a bit strange and artificial really.

Ha ha!! I’m now a qualified therapist. 🙂 woo. AND no more sodding case studies to write up. Right, I’m off to the beach….