Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Massage Therapy: Medicinal Maintenance

When I think of all the times in the past few years I have disrobed for someone other than my husband, I might blush at the thought.  Now, before you go making an assumption that I’m using this forum as a confessional, let me clarify that my disrobing was to get a massage – the legitimate kind! 

I can’t recall when I had my first full-body massage but I know that after that amazing experience, I was hooked for life. 
Yesterday I had one at Massage Envy and after repeatedly refusing to sign up for the monthly deal, I gave in.  It’s always been my belief that the world would be a much happier, peaceful, and calmer place if massages were part of every person’s monthly regime. 

I suppose there are some people who just couldn’t do it; take their clothes off (the therapists leave the room while you do this until you slip under the sheets) and allow someone, sometimes a member of the opposite sex, to touch their bodies.  It occurred to me yesterday during my session that it really is an odd scene, having a man that’s not my spouse have such intimate access to my body, but I kept telling myself that it as necessary for my well-being as my yearly OB/GYN exams. 

As my grandmother used to say, “It’s for medicinal purposes.”  She was talking about the flavored brandies she kept in her bedroom closet, only to be produced and consumed when she had one of her headaches, but the same applies with my massages.  Sure, sometimes I want one just to relax, but since a car accident in 2008 and the many hours I sit in front of a computer, massaging the knots out of my upper back and neck is the only way I can function. 
The reason I gave in to the monthly sessions is that a new “situation” has cropped up, one that I want to avoid a repeat of at all costs (including the price of the monthly massage!).

I took on a new, part-time “fun” job.  I am ushering at the newly minted SmithCenter.  I took the job for a couple of reasons: one – I get to see the shows when I’m stationed inside the theater (Broadway plays, ballet, jazz, and more!), and two – it is good for me to be in a real work environment, among peers and meeting new people.  Working from home is a lonely endeavor.  The problem is, all those years of computer work and desk sitting did not prepare me for the long hours (sometimes 6) standing in place and on solid marble at times.  My lower back joined the upper in telling me I was out of shape, at least for this kind of work.  It started out as leg soreness, went into back spasms and turned into a pinched sciatic nerve.  Ouch!  No kidding, other than giving birth I don’t think I’d ever felt this kind of pain. 

I’m on the mend.  At the urging of my big brother, Dominic, I got pain medication and muscle relaxers to help when needed.  A chiropractor helps with adjustments and The Amazing Jay, my new best friend (massage therapist) eases all the pain away with his gentle (sometimes not so much) touch. 

The one thing most disconcerting about all this is I realize the aging process is taking its toll and these numerous professionals are going to be a continual part of my routine, that is if I am committed to taking care of myself and living a long, healthy, and mobile life for many more years to come. 

I guess it can be called Medicinal Maintenance; sounds better than elder care, right?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Do I have a big enough head for all those hats?

I recently met with a book publisher; not one that is about to hand me a check for my own memoirs, not yet, at least; I was in her office to discuss a project I am working on for an organization here in Las Vegas.  This particular project is with the Southern Nevada Women’s History Project and I took on the role as coordinator for their third book.  Each of the books chooses 100 women in Nevada history that have made an impact in some way, be it small or large.  I was there to discuss this particular project, but when I shared with her all the other things I am doing, she asked me, “Do you have trouble remembering which hat you are wearing?”    

Fair question as the litany of my current list of projects and jobs is daunting.  I responded that at least all of the things I’m doing are intertwined.

I may be busy but they are all such worthy projects I just can't say no.

In addition to the SNWHP book, I sit on the Board of Directors for an organization I volunteered for years ago: Women of Diversity.  This organization produces documentary videos on women in history and just started a new arm of the organization – The Nevada Women’s Virtual Center, a website that links together women’s organizations throughout Nevada as well as to educate the public about women’s contribution through the use of digital media. 

It’s not just the role of women in history that I promote.  I am the self-appointed historian of a the Las Vegas Media Group.  I met the members of this group back in 2001 and until the last few years I was a “sometime” participant.  Since I became a professional historian, both of American and Nevada history, I have spent a lot more time getting to know the members who are themselves history makers.  Don’t let the name of the organization fool you (it does a lot of people), it’s not a PR firm.  This group originated with retired members of the media: news reporters, photographers and the like.  Since its start in 1999 it has embraced an open-door policy – inviting anyone from the general public that has an interest in Nevada history.  Today the group is comprised of Las Vegas legends, dignitaries, entertainers, media members, and the like.  I could name names, I tell ‘ya; I get to sit among these amazing people every month. 

I call myself their historian because I am busy trying to document their life and career histories as they were the ones either writing, photographing or making Las Vegas history as it happened.  Before my arrival on the scene too many of the members had already passed on and it is my goal to gather as many of the stories before we lose too many more. 

These are all my wage-free jobs.  I still have to find time to earn a paycheck.  That’s where my role as college professor comes in.  I am lucky to have the opportunity to share my love of history with students who are my captive audience three hours a week.  I take it to heart to try and get them excited about history and through a lot of effort it works – on most of them.  One of my favorite assignments is to make them write their own history.  For the weeks that I have them they are to journal about their day to day activities.  It’s my method to help them understand how even their own history is important and will be informative and enlightening to them someday.

Yes, I wear many hats but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  And, when it's my turn to retire I will turn in my historian's hat for one of the red ones I see so many old ladies wearing (!   Just let me get all this work done first!

If any readers can contribute in any way to any of the above projects, I would love to hear from them.  Do you know a Nevadan that should be recognized, whose story deserves to be told?  If so, please contact me at the mail address found on my profile.