A Lady who Lunches (362nd new thing).

January 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Earlier in the Turning Thirty project I purchased a couple of half off deals to a massage parlor near my parents’ house. Since I was in town on Day Three Hundred Sixty-Two my mom joined me in a day of pampering with my first deep tissue massage followed by (gasp) my first ever mani/pedi. I felt like I was going to be a Lady who Lunched.

You may assume I have been depraved to not have experienced the relaxing female ritual of getting a manicure/pedicure combination. I have had one or the other at points in my youth, the former mainly when I had to fill in as a hand model and acrylic talons were glued to my fingers. I snapped them off within hours of finishing work. The last professional pedicure I’ve had was probably close to ten years ago. I have very ticklish feet and the idea of someone scrubbing away at my sensitive insoles makes me cringe.

As for the massage, I’ve also had massages before, a handful of times. Well, three times. And I thought I had experienced a deep tissue version of the rub down. At least, they advertised it as deep tissue. However, after informing my masseuse that she could be brutal, obliterating all the knots in my back, she still just generally massaged my limbs until I was in a mild hypnotic state.

Day 362’s masseuse Amber demonstrated what a real deep tissue rub actually felt like. I gave her the “knots in my back” spiel and she set to work with surprisingly strong fingers. I could hear and feel the nodules of stiff muscle move across my back as she kneaded and rubbed. It was painful, but the kind of pain that you know will become a relief later. Or so I thought. Turns out it may have been a bit too aggressive and I was sore for days afterward.

Feet are weird.

Feet are weird.

Post rub, my mom and I headed to the nail salon across the street. We walked in shortly after it was opened by a frazzled looking middle aged Asian woman. She drew foot baths in front of two of the massage chairs lining one wall of the shop and instructed us to sit down. She set to work on my mother’s toes while I let my own feet soak in the bubbles. A few minutes later two young girls dashed in from the back door to a string of chastisement from my mom’s pedicurist. None of it in English. My mom swears the agitated woman was mocking her rough heels, but I lean more towards the idea that she just generally carried a sour disposition.

My own attendant was super young and not very talkative, which was fine for me. I had picked a dark maroon color for my feet and a gray for my fingers. I got through the foot process unscathed apart from one of two moments of ticklish tensing. Then I lost the little bottle of nail polish that was intended for my hands. I picked out another and patiently sat through the fumes of chemicals as my unadorned tips became medium gray.

Once we were all painted the shop had filled so that each massage chair was occupied. Apparently weekend mornings are busy in Nail Town. I shuffled back out the store with my feet encased in those disposable foam flip flops and admired my sultry toes. Too bad it was March and peep toed kicks were a month away.

I fet like I had spent the morning pretending to be an idle lady of leisure. I could get used to that type of time-filling activity, for about a week. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a lady who lunches. Especially since we skipped the lunching out part.


Crowder’s Mountain (361st new thing).

January 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

I almost hiked up Crowder’s Mountain just outside Charlotte, NC on Day 111, but opted to smoke a salmon instead. However, when Day Three Hundred Sixty-One came around, my mom and I bundled all our doodles (two labradoodles and a schnoodle) into the car and made the hike fo’ realz.

I couldn’t remember where we had briefly parked to ascend the mountain earlier in this project, so we ended up on a whole new path. There were two ways up the slope: a treacherous woodland path riddled with gnarled tree roots waiting to trip us and the gravel road that seemed gentle enough for a nice stroll. We opted for the gravel path.

Deceptively sloping

Deceptively sloping

The path turned out to be a long uphill march. Apparently I wasn’t as fit as I thought. If the gravel road was tiring, how would we have fared on the narrow twisted slope?

A view from the side of the mountain.

A view from the side of the mountain.

After thirty minutes or so at a good pace, we neared the summit of the mountain. We walked through a twisted path as one of the dogs strained toward a family with their own pup just ahead. We branched off to the edge of a rock and rested while taking in a few spectacular views.

Panorama from the top.

Panorama from the top.

The requisite "selfie" to mark our place and time.

The requisite “selfie” to mark our place and time.

Once the heights became worrisome and the dogs restless, we decided to explore the are a little more and followed a path to the other side of the peak where other hikers lounged along the rocks and clearings. I took more pictures.

Another panorama from the other side of the mountain.

Another panorama from the other side of the mountain.

A gnarled path of treachery. Also quite pretty.

A gnarled path of treachery. Also quite pretty.

We debated making our way back down via the triple black diamond path, but instead opted for the known road of gravel, just in case someone’s knees might go out on the way down. Easier access for the ambulance and all. We made it down without any broken limbs or minor injuries, although my legs were slightly jellied from the bracing against a pulling pooch.

Next visit I may have to try another path up Crowder’s Mountain.


One Hundred Nine. Nine Holes with Dad.

July 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

In high school I had tried to tag along with my dad and uncle one Saturday morning to play golf, but the strictness of the rules of attire found me inappropriately dressed in my collarless shirt and jeans. I had my second chance when one Day One-Oh-Nine I played nine holes of golf with my dad and uncle. And I almost won too.

Dad selected a par three course that wouldn’t be crowded as a perfect first golfer experience. Plus, neither he nor my uncle had played for over a year, so they weren’t exactly eager to clog up the fairway for the more professional golfers lining up behind them (and mostly me).

Lucky Number 13

We arrived at the course at the bright early hour of seven thirty and waited for my Uncle Rob, who was also carrying my aunt’s clubs which I would be borrowing for the day (Thanks Aunt Caroline!). After we had gotten the carts (another first; I’d never driven a golf cart) and stopped them near enough to the first hole on one side of the parking lot, I had a chance to check out the foursome in front of us. I could see why Dad didn’t want to have people queueing up behind us. The men had pretty short shots down the lane and I mentally critiqued their stance and swing based on the teachings of golf pro Ned. Because I just knew I would nail it on my first swing.

My father and uncle went first from the second to last  box, and I set up the same. They encouraged me to take a couple of practice  swings so they could marvel at my form, which was stilted at best. I set up according to my training and let loose on the ball. Except I never made contact. Laughing nervously I joked that I was just taking another practice swing. After a couple more tries and a ball that merely dribbled off the starting tee green space, I finally sent the ball somewhat toward the hole. We all climbed back into the carts for the second shot.

Second Hole Swing

I pulled out the nine iron for my next swing, and managed to pop the ball towards the green. Shot three got me onto the green and it took four and five to sink the ball. But I was in good company as we all scored a five on that first hole, my score being fairly generous based on my tee performance.

The second hole had the ball sailing from the tees over a small tree-filled ravine. I think that was the point that I realized how hopeless I was with a driver. I tried three different clubs (including my dad’s pricey three wood) and lost several balls into the abyss. Finally my family decided to just set my ball down on the other side.

Where I found the women’s tee box.

At first I was annoyed that the makers of golf courses believed that a woman would need to start from so near a distance to the green compared to men, but by the end of the day those little red painted balls were such a relief. I still scored six strokes on that second hole, but that was more a testament to my poor putting skills than anything else.

Uncle Rob Swinging

The next few holes found me making a few good swings with my irons and pitching wedge, but on the whole not performing as well as my golf mates. However, they did have more experience (though never any lessons).

Until the sixth hole. Where I parred. Since discovering the closer tee, which I had used previously for the second and fifth holes, my game was vastly improving. I was able to omit the dreaded driver from my bag of tricks and begin with a hybrid or six iron. On hole six I think I started with the six iron and sailed the ball over a small tree filled gap and straight onto the green. My dad and uncle were both more surprised and more enthusiastic than I was. It was kind of an awesome feeling. And not only did I par, but I also beat the two of them, which added to the excitement (at least on my end).

Dad's Drive across the Sixth Hole (where I parred)

From then on it was forward tee for me, and I fared quite well for my first nine hole outing. I parred again on the eighth hole and finished with a respectable score of 43. The men tied for first with a score of 40 each, but I really did feel like the winner that day.I wouldn’t call myself a golfer, but am certainly en route to at least becoming an enthusiast.

The Scores

One Hundred Eight. Mexican Peaches.

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day One-Oh-Eight I headed to Charlotte to spend the weekend with my folks. Father’s Day had been the weekend prior, and with my dad’s birthday the following Monday, and my brother’s a few days later, I figured it would be a good time for a visit. On the way up I-85 I stopped at one of the many Abbott Farms stands you see advertised on billboards all up and down the highway in South Carolina. I had always thought Georgia was the peach state, but the town of Gaffney boasts a giant water tower in the shape of the fruit that looks like a big butt with a hemorrhoid for the water-spout. I mean, the placement is ridiculous. It even has the nickname “Peachoid.” So with the water tower and the giant billboards, I found myself fancying some peaches and decided to stop at one of the advertised stores.

The interior boasted an assortment of pickled vegetables (and eggs), jams, jellies, fruits, and fireworks. Plus anything you could think of made with peaches. Peach cobbler, peach jam, peach jelly, peach preserves, peach butter, peach cider, and even peach salsa. Oh, and peaches. I figured I could find something peachy I had never tasted before to bring to my parents and picked up peach butter and peach salsa. I was most intrigued about the salsa. Not being a big fan of spicy foods, I hoped the sweetness of the fruit would yield a dip I could really enjoy.

Once I arrived at my parents’ house and settled in, I pulled out the salsa and my mom and I gave it a taste as Day One Hundred Eight’s new thing. It was a strange mix of the sweet peaches and the spicy jalapeno or whatever other hot flavors Abbott Farms had added. It was not my cup of tea. I liked the flavor of the peaches, but the peppers and spice mixed with the sweet fruit felt like a horrible oxymoron in my mouth. Two bites and I was good.

My mom pretended it was gross as well, but she had more of a taste for the chunky peach salsa than I. As she finished dipping the tortilla chips into the mixture she admitted that the flavors had grown on her. It was of those acquired tastes that I will likely never acquire, so I was happy to leave the jar of dip for her to enjoy. However, the peach butter was divine.

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