was absolutely amazing. The best, and most worth-every-penny-and-then-some, was the massage. I lucked into an appointment with head masseur Raul, and that man is gifted. I walked in with a body that was all kinds of messed up (my back actually made it through the exams pretty well, but by a day or two after handing in the methods, lying perfectly flat on the floor for a period of time each day had become necessary) and he did some serious deep-tissue, realigning my shoulder blades, kind of stuff. It was awesome. I can't even tell you how great I feel now as a result. Next was the facial, which was also thoroughly enjoyable, but primarily because in between various face treatments I got more hand, feet, neck, and shoulder massages. Then was the manicure and pedicure, which was fun, but probably not something I'd set aside money for again in the near future. It's cool to have someone else do all the work, but I can manage most of that at home. Though my new pink flip flops did inspire me to select a pink polish for my toes (ooh! girly moment!). Thanks to April, slightly more pink is managing to infiltrate my wardrobe. I think I'm ok with that. I had a little time to grab lunch at Belly, the nearby general store/deli owned by the same people as the salon. April's boyfriend Scott just started working there and I definitely have to remember to ask for an introduction to his incredibly hot coworker...moving right along, the last part of my day was a haircut, and I already know I love Traci, so that was good too. All in all, I came home feeling like a million bucks. And not regretting a penny of the $240 + tips that I spent on myself.
Stepping back a moment from how much I enjoyed myself, it was a little weird to realize that this is how the other half lives...well, probably more like the other 5%-10%. I mean, the place brings in fresh baked muffins to munch on while you wait, has all the coffee and tea and spring water you could possibly consume, and the bathrooms are like walking into someone's house - full showers with towels, shampoo, and soap so if you make an appointment in the middle of the workday you can shower off all the oils and stuff and go back to work. The pedicure lady asked me when my last pedicure was, and seemed shocked that I'd never had one before. I admit, I love stuff like this as the occasional reward or treat, but it's just weird to wrap my brain around the idea of people having standing appointments for this stuff. I dunno...
Moving backwards chronologically, friday night was the Decatur Beach Party, where they literally dump tons of sand onto the middle of one of the streets and there's live music and food and drinks and general merriment. Had a lovely but not-particularly-noteworthy evening until near the end, when Jeannette insisted we go join the drunk locals dancing in the streets. Preface to story - Jeannette and I are sober, April is not. April keeps trying to dance with J and I, insisting that after going to an all-women's college she knows how to lead but we're terrible followers. So she picks some random boy out of the crowd and makes him follow her. He's a good sport about it and highly entertaining. And, clearly, in high school. He says he'll dance with April if J and I dance with his friend. J convinces me that not dancing with his friend could be scarring to an adolescent, so we agree and soon have two new friends. Which quickly becomes three when one of the boys' incredibly drunk dads wobbles over and joins us, about the time "Play that funky music" starts up. So we begin an impromptu conga line (can one really conga to disco?) which is a smashing success, with about half the crowd following us in a lurching line through the streets. Much fun was had by all, with minimal contribution to the delinquancy of minors as I mostly prevented April from sharing her coke bottle full of rum with the underage boys, and two high school boys have a good story for the summer about the hot older ladies who danced with them at the beach party. On our way back to our boys, who were good-naturedly watching our bags while we danced, april veered off to talk to two police officers about how her mom was a police officer and she hopes they're having a good time and they do good work etc. etc. Thank goodness, they were tremendously cool about it, smiled and nodded, and happily let april go on her way when I made it clear that I would be driving her home.
(since I know you're all just dying to hear more on this topic)
Basically, they're over, and that's all that matters. It's definitely the sort of thing that you become so immersed in you lose all perspective on how you think you're doing. And frankly, it's out of my hands now anyway, so I don't really want to mull over any potential mistakes I might realize. I should hear about the results of the theory exam in a few weeks, sometime in July. Who knows when they'll get back to me about methods. Maybe before school starts, but I'm not holding my breath.
My friends (near and far)
Although I clearly never doubted it, this whole ordeal has made it abundantly clear that I have the greatest group of friends ever. I cannot say thank you enough for the love, support, encouragement, and faith in my abilities that was shown to me over the past month or two. I really would have lost my sanity without each and every one of you. Thank You.
The Handmaid's Tale
I finished this book the other day, and I really can't shake it. It's so troubling and disturbing, but in a very satisfying way (unlike A Thousand Acres, with which really only Kelly can sympathize). Seriously, if you have not read this book before, go out and find a copy. You won't be sorry. It's about a dystopian world in which fertility rates have dropped so low that reproducing has become the top priority. The Constitution has been suspended and America has become a mono-theocracy. Women of child-bearing age are highly-valued, but also severely limited in freedoms. They are, essentially, caged animals sent to wealthy couples to bear their children. They are not allowed to go to school or learn to read or anything. Personally, it was a weird time to be reading this, because I would spend all day in this incredibly school and education-focused mode, then go home and read a few pages about women who were thrilled to have a pillow with the word faith embroidered on it because they had something to read. Anyway, what's most disturbing to me is the interview with Margaret Atwood that's included at the end of my copy of the book. In it she says she started thinking about the story in the early 80s, based on everyday things she witnessed about our government and society that troubled her and exaggerated them to what she believed could be a logical ending. She says, "This is a book about what happens when certain casually held attitudes about women are taken to their logical conclusions. For example, I explore a number of conservative opinions still held by many - such as a woman's place is in the home. And also certain feminist pronouncements - women prefer the company of other women, for example." And the truly terrifying part - "First of all, ask yourself the following question: If you were going to take over the United States, how would you do it? Would you say, 'I'm a socialist and we're all going to be equal'? No, you would not, because it wouldn't work. Would you say, 'I'm a liberal and we are going to have a society of multiple toleration'? You probably wouldn't say that if you wanted mass support. You would be much more likely to say, 'I have the word from God and this is the way we should run things.'"