Thursday, February 16, 2012

Healing Hands

Ahhhh... a massage. Even the word is calming. Maaaaaaassaahhhhhhhhhhhge. It's a beautiful thing.

Last weekend I used a gift card for a massage to alleviate the ache in my head, neck and sinuses. I was lucky enough to get gift cards from Bill for Christmas. And, then I was lucky enough to have a wonderful therapist lay hands on me at Spa 400 in Williamsville.

I explained to Gina that I've been suffering from sinus headaches and that if I get up too quickly I suffer from vertigo. So, she spent the next 1/2 hour kneading my head, scalp and neck.  That’s THIRTY whole minutes where the entire focus was my head. Then she spent the next 20 minutes on the rest of my body. As a special treat, she spent the last 10 minutes on my scalp. She did all this with an oil base lotion infused with eucalyptus. I left in a state of bliss.

It’s Gina’s theory that if everyone started and ended each day with a massage there would be no war.

I believe her.

Bill hates getting massages. He is uncomfortable with the whole process. Only once did he ever agree to a massage. We were in Chiang Mai, Thailand and we found this small establishment that specialized in ‘couples’ massage. It wasn’t some kind of weird sex trade thing. Believe me, I was skeptical.  It was completely legitimate. No oils were used and we were completely clothed during the whole procedure. 

We both lay on straw mats on the ground - surprisingly comfortable. Then, two small Thai women worked on me and two tinier Thai women worked on Bill. And when I say 'worked on' was work. The Thai massage is more of a give and take. The masseuse puts you into what I would describe as yoga-like poses and then proceeds to stretch and pound you. She will also walk on you and press her feet into your muscles.

I tried to achieve a meditative state during the poses but it was impossible because of Bill’s gyrations, snorts and laughter. He said it tickled and that he couldn't stand anyone touching him ("ahhh .... dear! That's what a massage is!"). He just could not take it and suffered through the whole experience.  His two ladies found the whole thing hilarious; they whispered non stop to each other in Thai and giggled behind their hands. What was supposed to be a ‘sensuous’ experience turned into a laugh riot.

That very same night, we went to a Thai cultural center where women in traditional garb danced the fingernail dance or Fawn Leb. They have REALLY long nails. And, they click them a lot. It's all ABOUT the hands.   

Bill swore he saw the woman who massaged him up on the dance floor. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The fine art of writing a thank you note - dedicated to Danielle

You know how much you love to get a package in the mail? Even when you've ordered it for yourself? Well, I love getting thank you notes 100 million times more. It's a gift all wrapped up with kind words.

The art of writing a thank you note is not a difficult one to master. Sincerity is key - so is promptness. Mention the gift/the dinner/the outing/the thing for which you are expressing thanks (hereafter "it"). Tell the recipient of the note why you liked "it" or how much you would love for "it" to happen again or how much you'll use "it". Then add a line about your relationship and why it is special. Finally, close with something genuine.

Don't use graph paper or lined paper or something ripped from a memo pad. Get yourself some stationery or a pre-printed thank you card. I guarantee that when the card arrives all mixed up with circulars and bills and political requests for contributions your letter will be the first one ripped opened. The tactile experience of examining the envelope, looking at the return address and slipping the card from its envelope is just too delicious.  A simple pleasure. You will create a smile and a warm spot in the heart of the recipient.

Sure, sending an email is okay to acknowledge a gift or a favor.  I use email all the time to express my appreciation (I'm a sucker for a hoops and yoyo e-card).  I think most people under 40 generally rely on email for most correspondence. But, there are some stalwart younger souls out there who still believe in the old fashioned pen to paper method of expressing gratitude. Maybe we have their mums to thank? Or maybe they just know...

Oh! The bonus is that the post office needs our help. :)

Try it out soon..especially on someone who would least expect it.