Massage Therapist Approved Turk A Leekie Soup

Chilly weather has moved into Florida once more, so here’s a good warm-up recipe that also takes care of the Thanksgiving leftovers.

First, get the rest of the turkey breast out of the fridge, take the bones out, and chop it up. Save some of the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme you seasoned it with (hey, they were in the spice rack so why not?) but watch out for stray bits of cartilage. Turkeys have a lot more than chickens do, or maybe it seems like that because they’re bigger.

Then get a large-ish pot and set on the stove, and throw the chopped up turkey in along with all the leftover roast tomatoes and onions. Quarter the onions.

Get a whacking huge leek at the grocery and cut it in 1/4 inch rings right up to the leafy part. Toss out the leafy part. Put the leek rings into the pot.

Add a couple of handfuls of carrots in 1/2 inch or so pieces, about half a bag of frozen green peas, and some sliced white mushrooms. Don’t worry if the white mushrooms are a bit brown with secondary fungus – that only enhances the flavor.

Boil water and make enough chicken bouillon to cover all the stuff in the pot, and pour it in. Let it cool a bit and then stick the pot in the fridge since you’re going to the casino in Biloxi tonight.

Cook it tomorrow when you get home, simmering for several hours, maybe with a handful of brown rice in.

This homemade turk a leekie soup is not only delicious (I hope) but healthy (for sure) and is guaranteed to warm you up. Enjoy!

That is all.

Mark out.



The Zen of Tennis Ball Juggling

Hugh Laurie juggling Vicodin bottles

The other day Derek asked me if I could juggle. I said I could at one time, and asked why he wanted to know. He had his phone open to the internet, reading an article on how juggling improves one’s cognitive skills.

At my time of life – well, at anytime I suppose but especially now – I need all the help I can get, brain power wise, so I went to Target and bought a can of tennis balls.

You would be amazed at how thoroughly one loses the ability to juggle after only 30 or so years. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t be.

In any case, I discovered that I had lost most of that skill, and have spent quite a lot of time this past week picking tennis balls up off the floor.

But I refuse to surrender, and someday, perhaps even in my lifetime, I will recover the ability to keep going for several minutes at a time, as I once could. Right now I can get six tosses at most before I choke.

Still that’s three or four more than I could the first day I tried, and I am setting aside 15 minutes every day to practice. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s all I can handle before I become tired of bending over to retrieve balls.

The reason I am so determined is that all the while I do manage to keep it going, I feel absolutely centered, in complete control of my own body and of these three little balls. I love that feeling of focus, that shutting out of all extraneous stimuli. 

Somehow over the years I forgot what a wonderful experience this is, and now apparently it could even make me smarter. I have to thank Derek for bringing it back to me.

That is all.

Mark out.

Epsom Salt Sermon

Jessica Alba with her supply of Epsom salt. No, really.

Here is the speech about Epsom salt that I preach to most of my clients at one time or another. This usually is prompted by my discovery of just how hypertonic (clenched) and ischemic (congested with old blood that can’t circulate out) and generally jacked up the client’s muscles are.

It goes something like this, with more or less full orchestration and four-part harmony depending on my energy level and the client’s condition.

Epsom salt is not salt, it’s magnesium sulphate. (Most clients don’t know this and perk right up at the three-dollar words.)

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. When you soak in a concentrated solution of the stuff, it gets into your body through your pores, straight into the tissues, the muscle fibers, and makes them relax.

It also helps the muscles flush out waste products and toxins, which is why you should soak a sprain, strain, insect bite, or bruise with Epsom salts. There’s a really good article on the subject here –  Planet Green – which is well worth the read.

But as far as simply relaxing jacked up muscles, which I have all the time because of my job, I recommend a couple of measuring cups full of salt in a warm bath. The temperature of the water isn’t as important as whether it’s comfortable for you, because you need to be able to relax and stay there for at least half an hour.

Epsom salt is cheap, less than a dollar a pound most places, and you can get it at any drugstore and most grocery stores. Look in the aisle with the first aid stuff, Ace bandages and so forth. For just a bit more money, you can get it scented with lavender or rosemary and mint.

In the photo above, Jessica just bought her four pound bag of the plain store brand at the Rite-Aid in Beverly Hills. I imagine world famous singers get jacked up muscles just like the rest of us.

I take three or four salt baths a week. You might not need that many, or have a schedule that allows such, but do make some time for yourself once in a while.

You’ll be glad you did.

That is all.

Mark out.

It’s Pamper The Therapist Day!

This wasn’t planned a long time ahead, but simply came together quite well.

Yesterday, Monday, was the end of my work week, and Heather mentioned that her schedule for today was pretty empty so I asked if she would work on me. She said she’d love to, and I asked Monica at the front desk to put me on Heather’s to-do list. She did.

Then this morning after the gym I went to get a haircut. I tried a new salon near work, which was very nice, uncluttered, sort of a Los Angeles feel to it. Michelle got me in right away and gave me a haircut that made it look like I didn’t need a haircut instead of like I just had one. I told her I’d be back.

After lunch I went to get my massage, and Kim at the front desk informed me that I wasn’t on the schedule. She strung me along until I was just about to explode and then said she was only kidding. I deserve credit for not smacking her, I really do.

THEN Heather went to work on me, and it was heavenly. She has honed her technique for a long time and has some truly brilliant moves, can go as deep as necessary, and keeps her ears and eyes open for reactions. I never have had a better massage, and I have had many really good massages.

I told her I have a new favorite therapist. Then I had to chill in the break room for a few minutes while I pulled myself together. She really worked me over good, as the Warren Zevon song says.

So now I’m home drinking lots of water, like the nice therapist always tells the client after the massage.

I’m doing that because as soon as I publish this bit, I’m going to start the taps to fill the tub with water and a LOT of Epsom salts, and then mix a very wet and very cold martini to drink while I’m soaking, something highly not recommended – the alcohol that is – after a massage. It’s quite contra-indicated, but I’m sure I’ll survive and feel entirely pampered into the bargain.

It’s an almost sultry 78 degrees outside and in today. Even the weather is set on my being pampered, so who am I to argue?

Oh, and that is not Heather and me in the photo above. I’m not quite that good looking, and Heather is cuter than her. Just so you know.

That is all.

Mark out.

Cold Weather, Hot Stones

 Isn’t this a pretty picture of a hot stone massage?

Well, probably not. I mean, it’s a picture of a pretty young woman with rocks on her back, and the title of the photo is HotStoneMassage.jpg, but she isn’t really getting a hot stone massage, not from anyone I know anyhow.

Yes, I understand that there is artistic license involved, and even more, commercial artistic license, and quite frankly the way I and everyone I know do hot stone massage isn’t very picturesque.

But hot stone massage, and massage in general, is for feeling, not seeing.

First of all, the client’s neck shouldn’t be twisted like that, and her head should be straight up and down in a face cradle. Second, the stones aren’t doing her any good sitting on top of her vertebrae. They need to be lined up on both sides of the spine, on top of the spinalis and rhomboid muscles, warming and relaxing them.

Also, and this is kind of important, if the stones are as hot as I use, 130 to 135 degrees F, they shouldn’t be sitting on her bare skin, but instead on a towel. Then I can fold the towel over the stones, drape the sheet and blanket on top of that, and keep the warmth close to her body instead of radiating off into the air.

Okay, so maybe this is a totally pedantic rant, and I should just shut up and enjoy the picture for what it is.

Yeah right. Pedantic is what I do. Anyhow, as I said, lots of artistic license here, and if it encourages someone to get a hot stone massage, I’m all right with that.

It’s certainly time for them since it turned chilly here today, after being almost obscenely warm the past week or so. Yesterday was positively sultry.

Not that hot stone massage is all that seasonal. I kept pretty busy doing them all summer. I’m just hoping lots more people will sign on for them now, because I really like keeping my hands that warm, now that it’s somewhat seasonably cool.

Hard to believe I lived in Minnesota for 20 years, isn’t it?

That is all.

Mark out.