Saturday, March 24, 2012
What came to mind when you read "bulk food"? Did you imagine I was shopping for 20 cans of soup and a dozen boxes of cereal?
That would be my spouse's style. He is a frequent Costco shopper.
But that's not my style. I try to locate places that offer bins of bulk raisins, scoops of flour and unpackaged spices. Entire bulk stores were common in the previous province (Ontario) where I used to live.
Out west, I have a difficult time finding my bulk food stores. Sure, some of the grocery stores offer bins of chocolate peanuts and bulk snack food. I want 'staples'-- and not the office kind!
Today I took a special trip to top up my pantry. I am able to buy just enough to fill my storage containers and not have to store the leftover packaging.
I bought some bulk parsley, Hungarian paprika, pitted prunes, garlic powder (not garlic salt), sunflower seeds and coconut.
I found cashews for my stir fry dinners and I bought some pecan pieces for a treat I serve close to Easter.
Today's shopping at the Natural Food depot for eight items, in amounts that I can control, cost me $14.03. That's not too bad.
Do you take advantage of places that offer bulk, unpackaged food?
Thursday, March 15, 2012
We are experiencing some troubling wind but for the most part, spring is beginning to transform our area.
We have a blossom count this month. Our residents are supposed to count the blooms on our property and call in to a central place so that a total may be made. (Then we publish it across Canada to toot our own horn.)
Today, I saw a bright yellow bush that heralds the start of spring. It was a Forsythia and I remember that colour since my earliest days! Crocus in many shades are popping up all over. Just north of my town, I have seen all sorts of pansies showing off their lovely colourful "faces".
It won't be long until daffodils are in full bloom across my territory!
Winter will have to give up to allow Miss Springtime to dance her way into our hearts again.
What tells you that the season of spring is on its way?
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Sorry if I am boring everyone. I can't believe how each and every time I am giving a relaxation massage or receiving a massage, I learn something.
Last night I was the giver and one and a half hours flew by! My partner had an extremely grumpy back (lifting plywood and working in the cold) and the room was set up just the way I wanted it: we have tealights, a scent diffuser, a heat pad (for feet or the lower back) and a massage pad.
Twenty minutes before I got there, I suggested he go and use the massage pad that he has owned for a decade. On the massage table the pad did a nice warm up and a gentle manipulation.
By the time I showed up, his back was warm and starting to loosen up. Talk about an Ah-ha moment.
From 8 p.m. until 9:30, I gently moved the skin and delicately rubbed only the muscle and padded areas. I was careful to stay away from bone and thin skin areas. The music was mellow. The lighting was dim. I controlled my breathing and let the cares of the day melt away as I got a mini workout.
At the end of a workday, giving or receiving a massage is about as good as it gets!
I still have LOTS to learn, but my blood pressure is improving as well as my sleep patterns. I feel like a own a little secret spa inside my own home. Maybe I should make a wee sign for the door!
Sunday, March 04, 2012
I am getting a lot out of our four lessons at the community centre. The first week I had the ah-ha realization that the pressure sweep of the hand in the massage stroke is the one that goes in the direction of the heart. That makes sense.
I received a massage on a table with the head "hole" support. Instead of the disposable tissue cover, we opted for a hand towel which is washable. Sounds "green" doesn't it? Well, I learned that the terry cloth fibre is very aggressive against my face. Ha, ha, I won't do that again.
Last night I tried to give another massage but I have stubbornly cold hands. I tried washing dishes first. I tried more hot water. I tried rubbing my hands together. Finally I just started the massage action with a flannel sheet between my partner and my chilly palms. It worked. In a very few moments, my hands were warm enough to spread oil and get the circling motions started properly.
I had basic knowledge of the names of the hand actions now too. The smooth, gentle, rhthmic stokes that start and end a massage are called "Effleurage" stokes. Imagine doing the breaststroke as if you were swimming.
In relaxation massage, the body parts receive a firmer stroke with single hand alternative palmar 'travelling' actions; think-- left, right, left, right. The palm pushes (light force) toward the heart and travels back in a loop in a lighter stroke. These have been called Single Palmar Stroking. These help the circulation and relieve some stiff muscles.
The next level of intensity is Palmar Kneading. I am learning how much force I can use on the back of a thigh and what is comfortable on the back, around the shoulder areas. If you get good at this stroke, it can even be used on a grumpy baby.
Thumb kneading can be used in a relaxing massage. Make sure your nails are short and that you don't push too hard with your thumbs. There are hundreds or pressure points that enjoy receiving stimulation but react in a bad way when the touch is too aggressive.
I have learned that the act of giving massage is very enjoyable to the 'technician'. It is not all about receiving a massage! I can slow my breathing. I can be very aware of what the muscles under my hands are doing. Your partner can be like a big Braille message! " I hurt here. I'm stiff and sore there. Don't stop."
And sometimes your hands tell you it is time to move away from this area. The message is, " This is not beneficial to either of us right here, right now."
I already knew about having the room darkened and warm. I have experienced the delicate light of candles while receiving a massage. Some people really like a chosen scent. (Some are relaxing, while others are invigorating.) Music can be a nice addition to the experience. Keep the volume soft and relaxing too.
Today's lesson is in another two hours and I expect to be giving a 1.5 hour massage AND trying to learn how to be more proficient with my hands. I am a work in progress!
Next week will be my turn to receive the hour and a half massage. I learn things while on the table too.
Next blog, I will try to share what the benefits are to receiving massage. Who needs it and when?
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