A Trip Down South ~ Just What This Old Girl Needed

This has not been the best week.  Medical issues and medical tests continue to consume my days.  I had some more bad news from the doctor.  After a pulse oximeter test, it was determined I have to wear oxygen at night.  My doctor had ordered the oximeter test because of my continued light headedness and chest pain.  It just so happened that I was scheduled to wear the holter monitor at the same time as the oximeter test was taking place.   The results of the pulse oximeter were not good at all.  I won't go into details because it needs to be compared to the holter monitor results by my cardiologist before we will really know for sure what is going on.  My internist says the oxygen will help me, help my heart, but it is not the fix I may ultimately need.  Needless to say, I was discouraged, but decided until I have a better picture of what is going on, I would not completely freak out stay calm and wait for further test results.

I won't go into more details on my health, let's just say, the continual bad news was beginning to really get me down.  I told my husband last night that I don't know when I have been more discouraged.  The winter has just been too long and too hard this year.

After a down and depressing Friday, I was so glad to know I had a plan for today.  A month ago, a dear high school friend and I met for the first time to write together.  We'd talked of setting a date once a month to write together for over a year.  Finally, last month we actually met at a coffee shop and worked on our writing together for over several satisfying and happy hours.  Our time together was inspiring and gave me a renewed desire to write. Before we parted last month, we set our next writing date for today, February 22.

Since my friend IC lives forty miles south of here in my old stomping grounds of Pueblo, I decided to book a manicure and pedicure before our meeting time for writing.  My dear friend Kerri, has done my nails for years.  Since I've moved, I really have not found anyone to give me a manicure or a pedicure.  I've visited a few different places.  All were nice, but none were Kerri.  I missed her!  No one could replace her.  In fact, I'd stopped getting manicures and pedicures since we moved. (I wrote about Kerri in a blog post two years ago.  Click here to read about her.)

Before I left town, I dressed in some brighter, more springlike colors.  I'm tired of wearing black and brown and blue and red and all those winter colors!  I am ready for some color in my wardrobe again.  After dressing,  I threw together a bag for the day.  It contained:  my journal, my iPad mini, my yellow pad for writing ideas, my favorite pen, and my flip flops.  The flip flops came out when I arrived at Kerri's.  I'd need them after my pedicure.  As soon as I walked in the door, an old friend whom I usually meet at Kerri's because she gets her hair done on Saturdays was there.  We hugged and caught up on life.  I then hugged Kerri.  I then settled my feet into the waiting warm water.  Ahhh.  I was home again surrounded by my friends.  Do you remember that old song we learned in Girl Scouts?  Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver, and the other's gold.  It felt good to be back with my old friend.

I used to joke that Kerri was my therapist.  Now, I know that she probably knows and understands me as much as anyone does.  She's heard my deepest griefs, joys, dramas, and frustrations for at least ten years.  We've laughed, cried, and moaned, and groaned on a monthly basis about so much over the years.

As she massaged my feet and exfoliated my dry, cracked heels, I felt as it wasn't just dead skin that was being sloughed off of my winter and illness weary body.  I felt pampered, cared for, listened to, and renewed.  A coat of pink polish applied to my nails  added another lift to my spirit.  Two and a half hours later, I left Kerri's shop with a lighter step to my walk and with a much brighter outlook on life.  Thanks Kerri.  How I've missed you.
My feet are ready for spring.

The weather was absolutely beautiful forty miles south of here.  It was sunny and warm.  Already feeling like I'd been on a mini-vacation, I drove to my friend's house for lunch and writing time.  I was met at the door with a warm hug and the words, "You are a welcome sight for sore eyes."  I responded with, "You are a healing sight for a weary heart and soul."  From there, we proceeded to eat the wonderfully healthy lunch IC had prepared.  Chatting as we ate, we caught up on our news.

Then, it was down to work.  We started the writing session by our free write.  IC read great selection from the New Yorker written by Dave Berry.  We responded to the reading by writing for ten minutes.  It was so fun and interesting to see what each of us had written.

From there we shifted to talking about writing goals.  I love IC's great business minded approach to writing.  She is such a successful grant writer, and she is so successful at helping others begin new business ventures through her work with SCORE, so it was no surprise when she brought out the white board so we could use Venn diagrams to work out our personal writing goals.

I walked away from our time together with new clarity for my writing goals.  I was energized, and I was buoyed up by the positive feedback I was able to receive from her, and that I was able to give to her in return.  I felt like the teacher again.  I also felt like the student.  Heaven only knows that nothing builds passion in me more than being in a learning environment where I feel free to express and develop ideas.

Before I knew it, the afternoon was gone.  I'd left home early in the morning.  My day had been full.  I'd driven an hour south to where I'd been pampered,  reconnected with a primary relationship,  had lunch with a friend, and had time to write, to think, to plan.

As I left for my hour's drive home, for the life of me, I could not imagine why I had felt so used up and down the day before.  All I needed was a trip down south and a little a lot  of help from my friends to get myself back on track.  What a difference a day can make when it is filled with time with friends.  I think today was just what the doctor ordered.

Healing Touches From Friends

“If you can make it through January, you can make it through anything.”
These words from my dear friend, who was quoting something her mother used to say, echoed in my mind throughout the long month of January after I suffered a fall down the basement stairs on the second day of the new year.  

I had such high hopes for January this year.  I was thinking of taking a class since I need some credits to renew my teaching certificate.  I was determined to spend much time at the computer writing.  I wanted to start my memoir.  On the first day of 2012, little did I know that after my head and neck injury,  I would spend nearly the entire month of January sitting quietly with my eyes closed through much of the first two weeks.  

I am happy to report that I made it through January! 
On the last day of January, which was also my youngest son's birthday, I celebrated 
Getting a Massage
Getting a manicure and pedicure! 

I want you to meet my two friends who have provided a healing touch to me for so long.  
I love these two ladies. 

Meet Monica 
Monica Suarez
Masseuse Extraordinaire
I have been going to Monica for massages for years.  She looks way too young to have been providing a healing touch to my life as long as she has, but I think I have been going to her for at least eight years.  Monica is truly a gifted masseuse.  She understands the body medically, and she seems to know exactly where I need work on my tight, knotted muscles.  She knows my problem areas, and she deals with them with great skill.  

Not only does she have healing hands, she has a heart and an attitude toward life that is healing and affirmative.  She is wise beyond her years.  She is all about family, tradition, health, and love.  She is the youngest child in a large family.  She honors her mother, and the memory of her father, her siblings, and her heritage.  As a way of passing on her love of her culture and heritage, she is teaching young girls, including her daughter, how to be folklorico dancers.  

Image from the internet
showing folklorico dancers
Monica is also a wonderful wife and mother.  Her job allows her to set her hours so that she can work around her children's schedule.  We share stories on family, gardening, and life in general.

Monica has seen me through some pretty rough patches in my life and in my health.  When my dizzy spells were at there worst, pre-head injury, this past summer, I nearly passed out on her table.  She knew just what to do.  

I was scheduled for a massage on January 3rd, so I went to see her even though I had just been injured the day before.  Wisely, we decided against the massage, but I was able to see the chiropractor where she works that day.  He has been such a good resource and practitioner for me also.  He has worked a lot with patients with head injuries, so between him and Monica, I know I am in good hands when I go in for treatment.

Truly, with my long standing problems with sciatica, lower back problems, and since  my first huge flare-up of major pain from stenosis in my neck a year ago, I don't know how I would continue to function without Monica.   Especially, in the past month, she has been invaluable in my journey toward health and healing.  If you live in Pueblo, and you need a good massage, call Monica!  

Love you, Monica.  Thanks for your healing touch in my life.

A girl is having a great day when she has a massage in the morning and a pedicure and manicure in the afternoon.  As I said earlier, I celebrated making it through January by visiting two of my favorite people.  You just met Monica.  

Meet Kerri
Kerri Bell
Head to Toe

Kerri Bell has also been a very important person in my life for a very long time.  Oh how I look forward to spending time with Kerri while she does my nails. I think we bonded in a special way the very first time we met years ago.  My husband found her for me.  I was looking for someone to give me a pedicure for the prom (he was a high school principal).  He told me of the mother of one of his favorite students, and the rest is just history.  Kerri has been doing my nails ever since.

Kerri and her friend Judy just reached a milestone when they opened their own salon together a few months ago.  I'm so happy for them.  The name of the salon is Head to Toe.  If you are in Pueblo, it is on Pueblo Boulevard right next door to Mi Ranchito.  They have created a warm, welcoming, soothing place to go to have your nails and/or your hair done.

Hair stylist
Head to Toe

Kerri and I have both shared some hard times together.  She has always been there for me.  I sometimes tell her that she is better than any therapist out there because while she does my nails, she also listens.  We have shared many a laugh, many tears, and have encouraged each other through the rough times in life.  If you want to know all the DRAMA in my life, you could ask Kerri what it is, but she wouldn't tell you.  She's loyal like that.  She listens, but she doesn't tell others.  Maybe that is one reason I love her so much.

Some may not care about getting a manicure, or a pedicure, but I love to have both.  When looking for a manicurist, I insist that I go to a place that clean, like crazy clean, and managed by professional people who take more time being caring and clean than in making money by pushing through as many clients as they can in a day.  This is just a basic in my book.  If I can also enjoy the atmosphere, the other stylists, the other clients, and my own manicurist at the same time, then I am really happy.  While Judy has never done my hair, I have come to know her over the years and look forward to seeing her and chatting with her as Kerri does my nails.

Kerri and I have shared some pretty funny times together.  I sometimes bring her tuna fish sandwiches and we have lunch while I soak my feet.  One time last winter we had a terrible snow storm and the roads were sheer ice because the temperatures were hovering around -3 F during the day, but I had an appointment for a pedicure and manicure that day, and I wasn't going to miss it.  

I walked into the shop in my UGG boots.  I walked out in sandals.  Kerri had already taken my keys, turned on my car to heat it up, and then she helped me to the car so I wouldn't slip and fall.  I was not about to mess up my pedicure by putting on my boots.  Mike, the owner of the shop she was in at time, said, "Your clients are nuts."   Nuts, maybe, but I had no time to let my nails dry, I had to drive across town to my real therapist.  Now, when I walked in her office in sandals, carrying my UGG boots, well that is the topic for another post.  

Love you, Kerri!  Thanks for commiserating with me during the difficult times, crying with me during my grief, being there for me when I need a friend who understands, laughing at my stories, and sharing stories of your beautiful girls and your wonderful new granddaughter with me.  Your life has blessed mine.  You are a very special friend who has always given me your healing touch.