Divining the Divine: Diversions Among the Devine

It’s now Wednesday and I have tonight and two more nights to get everything together for the big march on Saturday.  The cold that has been coming on for the last few days is still sort of lingering, but I think I’m holding it off successfully.  I may end up marching on Saturday with a bit of discomfort and maybe even a stuffy nose, but I will be in DC.

The plan now is to pick up some trail mix and a few power bars so I have something to eat, and possibly a water bottle.  I still have to print out my passenger manifest, which I intend to do on Friday.  I’m considering taking a cab to the rendezvous point, or possibly even bring over if there’s anyone out on the road at six in the morning.  And then finalize my attire on Friday night, because I’m going to need to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to get ready on Saturday as our buses are leaving Harrisburg at six.

Soon, so much to do.  Chances are good I’ll get it done.

Today is also a big excerpt.  Were down near the end of Deanna’s scene for the first day of class, and given what is about to be mentioned it would be ridiculous to split it up into parts.  We know it started out with someone making a smart ass comment, but what you don’t realize is that Deanna is ready for such comments–and she has a bit of history when it comes to “burning” a witch over them…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Several students rolled their eyes while a few more groaned. The two students who knew her the best, however, were less circumspect in hiding their displeasure, and didn’t care if their outburst saw them getting into trouble.

Annie half turned and glared out of the corner of her eyes as she literally spit the words in Franky’s direction. “Proklet nevezh fanatik.”

While Kerry wasn’t certain of what Annie had said, he wanted to make sure there was no mistaking his comment. “Way to out yourself as an asshat, Franky.”

“That’s enough, you two.” Deanna didn’t want to show favoritism to Annie and Kerry in class, and couldn’t allow their outbursts to go unchecked. “Come see me as soon as class is over.” She then turned her attention to Franky. “By ‘Your people’, I assume you mean people from the Middle East, or Muslims, or both. Would that be a correct assumption?”

Franky shrugged as if the subject had already bored him. “Yeah, whatever.”

This wasn’t the first time Deanna had been asked this particular question and knew it wouldn’t be the last, so as she’d done in the past, the seer moved to make quick business of Franky. “You are right away: there are certain elements of the faith in which I was brought up that would say because I can do magic and I am involved in divination, I am well on the way to my eternal downfall. However—” She levitated her tablet to her and pulled up some information from the school database. “You were raised a Protestant, weren’t you?” She read something on display. “Anglican Church of Canada, am I correct?”

He was suddenly looking a bit uncomfortable. “How do you know that?”

“Because The Foundation compiled a great deal of information about you before you even came to school—and since they know, I now know.” Deanna gave a mysterious smile. “Is it true?”

 

The Foundation knows everything about you, Franky!  Doesn’t everyone at Salem realize this by now?  Kerry knows he’s been followed since a young age, and it goes without saying that The Foundation has probably been aware of Annie’s doings since she was a toddler.  There’s also a fair amount of certainty that they have monitored everyone who has ever walked through Founder’s Gate for several years before they were outed as witches.  Which means they know what sort of church you went to, Franky, and they would know if he was some sort of crazy religious person at this point.  What they would do with him if he was a crazy religious person is open to interpretation, and in certain it’s something that has happened at least once or twice in the past.

And speaking of religion… Well, get ready for some lessons on what to do if you ever encounter a witch.  Which everyone at the school does on a daily basis.

 

Once more Franky shrugged. “Yeah, it’s true. So?”

“Then you must remember some of your scripture teachings—or didn’t you study the Old Testament?” She didn’t wait for her student to answer the question. “Leviticus 20:27 is very clear on the subject: ‘A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.’ Now, while I’m not a necromancer, I am most certainly what one would consider a medium. Would you like to go outside, gather some stones, and lead the rest of the class in putting me to death?”

She allowed a few moments for Frank his discomfort to grow before continuing. “The verse that is most definitive on what to do with witches is Exodus 22:18: ‘You shall not permit a sorceress to live.’ Look about the room.” She held her arms wide. “Ten of your levelmates have moved on to Professor Lovecraft’s C Level Sorcery class, so you need to put about a third of the class to death.” Deanna moved towards Annie and Kerry and stopped just a couple of meters from them. “You might consider putting the two sorceresses in your level who are the most experienced with Morte spells to death first, as I’m certain they would take exception to your plan to kill their fellow sorceresses.”

Annie let out a short, harsh laugh before looking up at Deanna. “He could try killing me.”

Kerry half turned towards the now squirming boy. “’Try’ being the operative word.”

Deanna gave a short chuckle. “Maybe that’s something you need to try outside of this class.” She stepped away from the couple. “You should speak to Vicky about the things she learned about witchcraft while practicing Judaism as a child. Did you know the Talmud believes that most Jewish women used to practice witchcraft regularly? As far as it was concerned we couldn’t help ourselves; it comes naturally. And any gathering of women was considered suspicious; Pesahim 111a says that if two women are sitting at a crossroads facing each other, they are most certainly engaged in witchcraft.

“There is even a bit of an interesting connection between the Apocrypha and the Quran: it’s where humans learned witchcraft. The Apocrypha says that women learned it from angels, or Nefilim, as they were called, and the end for those women was spelled out in the Testament of Reuben, 5:5-6, in particular this passage: ‘For every woman who carries out these schemes will suffer eternal punishment, for it was thus that they led astray with their witchcraft the Nefilim before the flood.’ Not a very nice way to go, don’t you think?

“The Holy Quran looks at the origin of witchcraft a little differently: it said that sorceresses were taught witchcraft by jinn. And to do so pretty much damns you, as a portion of sura 2, ayah 102 states: ‘But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.’ To put it another way, we never realized that we were damning ourselves when we learn magic.”

Deanna ran her right hand casually through her hair, brushing it back from her ear and exposing a dangling gold earring. “I don’t know about you, Franky, but I was born with my gifts: I didn’t learn them from a jinn. But in case you were wondering, I have met a jinn and they are not the sort of creatures you want to learn magic from—and I don’t believe the one I met would have taught me had I asked. Since I was born with these talents, since I was actually starting to have visions before I knew what they were, I don’t see how they could be viewed as something horrible. It’s like saying I’m a terrible person because my eyes are a different color than yours, and because of that difference I need to be put to death. That’s ridiculous.”

 

Deanna has her quotes down, and not just from Christianity but from two major religions as well.  And believe it or not–though you know what I’m about to tell you is true, so the chances are you will believe it–those few paragraphs above pertaining to the preaching found in four different text took me about three hours of hunting down and research to make certain I got them right.  And not only did I need to determine the right, but I had to figure out how to fit them into the context of the story.  There was also the matter of deciding which translation to use, ’cause trust me, all this stuff has at least four or five different translations available, and each translation says something a little different.

I was surprised to discover the Talmud believed that nearly every woman was a witch.  It’s just something we do, I guess.  And while I knew about the Quran’s version of magic being learned from jinn–who were in league with demons, by the way–I did not know that the Apocrypha believed we had learned it from angels.  It all gets rather complicated after a while, but the core concept is the same: if you’re a witch, you’re bad.  And we know what folks back then loved to do to bad people–

 

She began to turn away and stopped halfway through. “By the way—” She gazed at Franky indirectly. “That quote from Exodus is usually translated these days to mean one should not let a witch live and not just sorceresses. Unless I’m mistaken, Franky, you’re a witch, and that means there are a certain number of your people who practice your faith that might be just as likely to kill you as those who practice my faith would kill me.” A smile gradually formed upon her face. “And unlike your scriptures, there’s nothing in the Holy Quran about killing witches.”

Deanna finished turning it and walked towards the large group of pillows in the middle front of the classroom. “I don’t mind having conversation on faith and how it relates to our unique positions in life, but anyone wishing to try and have that sort of conversation in this class is doing nothing more than wasting time: the classes and mine.” She stopped just short of the pillow pile and faced Franky, and for the first time there was the barest hint of anger in her eyes. “Don’t do this again, Franky, or you will find one of your proficiencies taking a hit for the day.”

She covered the last couple of meters to her seat of pillows and sat, folding her legs in the lotus position. “Now, who’s up to learning on how to see the future?” She gave her right hand a slight twist and the light level in the windowless room dropped by about a quarter. Using the same hand she snapped her fingers and a book appeared floating mere centimeters above them, and she levitated it towards her. “Get out your books: we have a lot to cover this year.”

 

There you go: you go to Deanna’s class, they get a history lesson concerning how different religions view dealing with everyone in her class.  It goes without saying that over the centuries anyone defined as a witch tended to get an express ticket to the afterlife, because like Exodus says, don’t let those witches live.  Which is one of the other reasons why The Foundation is one the great links to keep their existence, and the existence of their people, hidden from the Normals.  They hide in plain sight and have learned how, over the last two hundred years, to use their abilities to cover up their existence, as well as the existence of other entities like themselves.  And they’ve obviously gotten good at it, because if they can hide something the size of the School of Salem from the people living just on the other sides of the main wall, they can hide themselves from the rest of the world.

And this means they can go about teaching their kids in relative peace without fear of reprisal from the Normals.

"Sorry, you people without magical ability, but the witch killings have been put on hold--FOREVER."

“Sorry you people without magical ability, but here the witch killings have been put on hold–FOREVER.”

And now that we know where Deanna is taking her class, we have one last class to visit–

Wouldn’t you know it deals with those sorceresses we can’t suffer to live?

Talkin’ About a Whole Lotta Nothing

Saturday, right?  That means a video, right?  Well, that’s what you’re getting.  Have fun!

C Level Seeing: To See What We See

You would not believe the day I had yesterday.  I was up at three yesterday morning and by the time I got to bed, it was nearly 2 AM today.  Yes, I was up for nearly 23 hours.  Why?  Because I wrote in nearly 5000 word recap for the two hour Sense8 episode.  A recap that took nearly 6 hours to write and edit.  Don’t judge me: I’m just doing my job.

"Yeah, keep it up, Louise. I'll only have the rest of your life to make you miserable."

“What job is that, Cassie?  The one that doesn’t pay you any money?  That one?”

Shush, you.  I don’t need your snarky opinion, even if it is mine.

But that’s all behind me.  Today I promise something special and you’re going to get.  Today you’re going to get a vision.  Not necessarily one of loveliness, but a vision nonetheless.  The event of the C Level novel and it may or may not mean something in the long run.  I’m sure the majority of you will take that to mean, yeah, it does mean something, and… You may be right.  Partially.  Somewhat.  Kinda maybe.

You’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, let’s get this party started.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry prepared the kettle while Annie prepared the infusers and the cups. Once the water was near a boil Deanna had Kerry take his cup and sit next to Annie. A few moments later Deanna returned with the kettle insert before her soon-to-be students. “You seem exceptionally ready for this to begin.”

Kerry held his saucer tight, his thumbs upon the rim of the cup. “I guess I’ve kind of come to look forward to this.”

“It’s the same with me—” Annie stretched out her legs before re-crossing them. “Now that I know we can have visions under certain conditions, I’m interested in knowing what those visions will show.”

Deanna’s face remained free of expression as she poured water from the kettle into each of the cups. “Remember, you’re not using his visions as a way of seeing future outcomes: instead, they’re meant to act as a learning experience so that you may interpret your future in the past you may take to arrive at that point.” She sat on the large pillow and set the kettle on the floor. “Let the tea seep a little before you stir.”

Annie and Kerry held onto their saucers are keeping their vision locked upon Deanna least they start their trancing too soon. They waited for a nod from Deanna before they looked down and begin to slowly stir the liquid. Neither took their eyes on the surface as it swirled around the hidden bowl of the spoon. As they had done twice before they freed themselves from conscious thought and fell into encroaching darkness…

 

It’s pretty obvious that by now the kids are loving the fact that they’re seeing bits and pieces of their future, even if they don’t know what that future meets.  Deanna’s comment about using these visions as a learning experience is meant to throw little cold water on their enthusiasm.  ‘Cause the day will come when they’re going to have a not so nice vision, one that may even show a glimpse into their fleeting mortality.

Yeah, these visions are all fun and games until you have one that shows a fireball blasting through your torso.  Then it kinda sucks.

Since I’ve been hyping the sucker for a bit, it’s probably time to show it.  So here you go: here’s the vision.  And we’ll figure out right away who’s actually seeing this…

 

Looking down the street, one that is dark and covered in snow. There is a small stand of trees to your left and around you a number of houses. It doesn’t look as if you’re in a large city: the houses are not that close together and each seems to have a yard. They have one thing in common: every one of them is dark. You turn to your left and keep turning until you’re looking down the street that was behind you. It’s the same view as far as you can see, maybe near to a kilometer. Snow-covered roads; a few cars; a few trees; dark houses. No lights anywhere.

“I think it’s over there.”

You keep turning to your left and there’s Annie. She’s dressed in one of the white hooded parkas you’ve worn during winter flying, but there’s something different about this one that you can’t quite figure out. She wears a baklava under her fur-lined hood—though her face is fully exposed—and thick white mittens on each hand. She’s pointing to something almost in front of her, barely visible through trees. “Isn’t that the movie theater?”

You look in the direction she’s pointing and see a large, dark structure. “Yeah, that’s it.” You point off the direction almost forty-five degrees to her left. “That house should be over there, maybe a couple hundred meters away.”

She nods. Her face seems to indicate something is bothering her, but it’ difficult to read her body language through the heavy parka. “We’ll use that. Even if it doesn’t have any power, it should be large enough for us to heat with a small fire.” She gives you what looks like a tired, half-hearted smile. “Come on; they’re expecting us to contact them soon.”

You fall in next Annie and begin walking as you always do on her right side. You hear the crunch of snow underfoot and when you look down you are both wearing white snow pants and Arctic-grade boots. The outfit reminds you of those you’ve wore during past winters and the cold upon your face brings back memories of flying through New England and Canada.

You glance up into the sky but there’s nothing there, not even stars. Like the environment around you the sky is pitch dark. You don’t even see clouds in the Stygian darkness.

You slow up just enough for Annie to take notice. She takes your hand and pulls you to a stop. “What is it?”

Your voice sounds small and far-off. “It’s all darkness. Everything.” You seemed to deflate as you sigh. “I’d love to see the aurora.”

Annie squeezes your hand and there’s a weariness in her voice when she speaks. “So would I, my love.” She gives you a slight tug. “Not much further; it’s just around the corner.”

You turn right at the intersection and walk maybe another seventy meters to your destination: a large, somewhat well-to-do house with a large yard behind and to the side. As with all the other houses there are no lights on. While she is still a couple of meters from the door Annie crafts a spell and tries to open it. It doesn’t open, so she walks up to the door, removes the mitten on her left hand and sets it upon the surface, then phases her arm all the way past the elbow through the door. A moment later locks are disengaged and the door opens. She yanks her arm out and enters without saying a word.

You follow and close the door behind. You’re in a small entryway where there are various shoes and boots waiting. There is an opening in the wall: Annie steps through and you’re right behind. It’s the living room, one surprisingly large and well furnished, with good wallpapering and drapes, a couple of easy chairs, several tables, a sofa, and in entertainment center with a flatscreen TV. It’s obvious that whomever lives here has some money.

Annie examines the room. “We can use this for the broadcast. We can sit on the sofa—”

You push back the hood of your parka and roll up your baklava until it sits upon your head like a hat. “No heat in here.” You point to the far end of the room. “We can set up a small fire in the corner over there, and over here by the entrance.”

Annie pushes back her hood and does the same with her baklava. “It’s possible they have a LPG tank and all we need to do is relight the pilot.” She pulled off her mittens and let them hang at the end of her sleeves while she removed the woolen gloves underneath. “I won’t hold out hope for that, however.”

You shake your head. “We’re better off supplying our own heat.” You have stepped back into the hallway. “We should check to see if there’s anyone here.”

Annie looks over your shoulder. “I’ll take the left side, you take the right.” You had the first door on the right side of the hall, but before you go in you watch Annie outside her door, steeling herself before waving it open. She forms a light point and goes inside the room.

You remove your mittens and gloves, ready your light point, and wave open the door.

At first glance it looks as if it could be a girl’s room. There’s a twin bed before you partially covered by a light-colored comforter that’s been thrown back as if someone had leapt out of bed. There are a couple of stuffed animals at the foot of the bed and a small stuffed hippo lay at your feet. On the other side of the bed is a small dressing table and facing the foot of the bed is a wardrobe. There are posters on the wall of what looked to be young men, though you recognize none of them.

But there’s no one here and you know it’s been a while since anyone slept in this bed—

“The master bedroom is empty.” Annie moves through the doorway and slides up to your left. “It’s like the other residents we’ve investigated.”

You shake your head as a wave of sadness courses through your body. “Yeah, I guess it was asking for too much find someone home.” You half turn towards her. “You really think it’s necessary to explore the rest of the house?”

She shakes her head. “There’s no one here but us.”

You swing the light point around so that it comes to a rest at the foot of the bed. “Yeah.” Your gaze first focuses upon the wardrobe before slowly panning left. “We should probably get some heat going so we can ditch these coats—”

Your gaze stops upon something at the far end of the room directly in front of you. You pause only a second before letting out a yelp as you’re startled…

 

There you have it: the complete vision.  So what is left?  After all, there’s usually some sort of aftermath to these visions; at least that’s all seen the last two.

You’re not going to be disappointed by this outcome

 

Kerry screamed as he fell backwards on to the nest the pillows behind him. He lay on his back for a few seconds trying to catch his breath and calm his speeding heart. He felt his chest and stomach, expecting to be drenched by tea and was surprised to find he was completely dry.

What surprised him even more was to find Annie lying next to him staring up at the ceiling as she gripped a pillow while slowing her breathing. Five seconds later she rolled on her side and propped herself up on her elbow. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Kerry checked his tee shirt again then looked at Annie. “You’re not wet.”

“I took the tea from you before anything bad could happen.” Deanna was leaning forward on her pillows, the cups of tea on the floor to her left. “What happened? I heard your dialogue—”

Annie brushed her hair from her face as she returned to her pillow. “We were speaking?”

Kerry sat back up with a grunt. “Again?”

“Yes to both questions.” Deanna waited until both young teens appeared settled before asking her own questions. “First, was this another shared vision?”

“It was.” Annie flipped her hair back over her shoulders. “Just like last year.”

“I suspected that: your interaction indicated you were together.” Deanna looked Kerry, who appeared uneasy once more. “Kerry, what caused you to act that way? It was obvious something affected you first and that pulled Annie out of the vision as well.”

At first it almost seemed as if Kerry wasn’t going to respond, as his eyes shifted from left to right and his fingers tapped away on his thighs. He finally replied without making eye contact with the seer. “I saw something.”

Deanna’s right eyebrow arched upward for a second. “And what did you see?”

 

Whatever Kerry saw it scared the shit out of him.  And it would appear Annie saw it as well, as it was a shared vision and she gave every indication that this vision shook her as well.  So the question becomes, what did they see?

Good thing tomorrow is Christmas ’cause that give me an excuse to give you present in the form of an answer…

Spa Queen For a Day

So, this last Saturday was Spa Day for me.  This is something I decided on about a month ago and had scheduled three weeks ago.  I need a little time to myself as well is a bit of a Christmas present, so I thought why not do something I’ve never done before?  And that’s something was a day at the spa.

The place I visited is Polished Salon, Spa & Wellness, over on the East Shore of the Susquehanna River in Lemoyne.  I’d gone there but a month ago to get a Mani/Pedi and sort of slowly fell in love with the locale, the setup, and the attentiveness.  I’ve always wanted to try a day spa, but never did because, well, I do felt strange going in before my transition.  I now, however, I’m fully relaxed with who I am as a woman, and one of the things a woman should have at lease once in her life is a few hours of pampering.

Ergo, it was time to hit the spot.

The package I’d pick was pretty much top-of-the-line.  There was another one I could’ve went with where I would’ve gotten a mud wrap and I may save that one for my birthday.  As it was, with this package I got a body lotion rubdown on my arms, legs, and back, then a one hour full body massage, then a full facial, then lunch, then a Mani/Pedi.  Altogether I was told it would take five and a half to six hours to complete, which was fine by me: it was like I had anything else planned Saturday.  That said, I scheduled for as early as possible–nine in the morning–and showed up at eight forty-five so I could fill out paperwork.

Little did I know I was about to fall down the rabbit hole.

First, let me describe how this place is laid out.  When you come in there’s a check-in desk.  To the right of the check-in desk is the area where the hair salon is located in the nails are done.  This area is sort of open because all of these things are kind of sociable: when you do your hair doing her nails you want to talk and carry on a little.  I like getting a Mani/Pedi because of the social interaction, and for the longest time it was the only social interaction I had with people.

To the left of the check-in desk there is a door, and the store leads back to the area where you get your brows plucked, your facials applied, and your massages given.  Everything back here is in small, individual rooms, because each of these things is really something you want to do by yourself in relative peace and quiet while someone works on.  Also, everything back here is kept in subdued lighting to make you feel comfortable and relaxed.  As I told Sharon, the woman who did my facial, being back in this area is sort of like being a completely different world.

But before you get to any of that other stuff, you are led to… The Quiet Room.

And it is quiet.

And it is quiet.

Four plush chairs and two chaise lounge chair.  Where you see the paperwork sitting is where I sat, where I reclined and watched the fire place and listen to the soft music constantly being played while I decided what I needed from a facial, what I expected from a massage, and what I wanted for lunch.

And I had to get a picture of my view as well.

And I had to get a picture of my view as well.

By the way, that’s a pitcher of lemon and cucumber water in the middle of the picture and let me tell you, that shit rocked.  But I came back here for lunch I drink like five glasses of that stuff because–well, I’ll get to that.

After filling out all the paperwork I was led to a small changing room with four lockers.  I was told to undress and for all my stuff in the lockers and I could put on the robe and a pair of sandals so I’d have something to wear while back in this area.  The only item of my street clothes that I left on were my panties, because I had a massage coming and who’s going to wear a bra for that?

Once changed it was time to go back to The Quiet Room and wait for the first item on the list, which was the body robe and massage.  I was no sooner getting comfortable when Christine, the massage therapist, showed up to lead me back to our room.

At this point my heart was beating pretty fast and it must’ve been obvious that I was anxious, because Christine picked up on that.  She asked me if this was the first time I’d ever had a massage and once I told her was, she told me sweetly to just relax and enjoy the experience.  She stepped out for a moment so I could get out of my robe and sandals and get under the towel lying on the massage table.

Of course I got a picture before I stripped.

Of course I got a picture before I stripped.

The body lotion was applied mainly to the extremities: both arms and both legs.  There was a little bit of salt mixed in with the lotion to act as a exfoliant and I really felt great having that rubbed into your skin as you lay on your back with your eyes half closed in a semi-darkened room with soft music playing and candles burning.  Just the sort of thing you needed to get you in the mood for what was coming next: the massage.

Now, I’ve been given massages by people. I’ve even given a massage or two in my time.  But I have never had a professional massage, and let me tell you getting massage from your friend and then getting massage from someone who knows what they’re doing is sort of like comparing driving down the Pennsylvania Turnpike at 70 miles an hour/112 km an hour to hopping in a Ferrari 488 GTE competition car and driving at full speed around the Le Mans circuit for twelve hours.  In short, there is no comparison.

I lay on my back and got my arms and legs worked out.  I could feel myself drifting off on a couple of occasions because it was so relaxing, and I was so zoned at one point that when Christine was preparing for me to roll over on my stomach I hadn’t even realized the towel had slipped down my torso and my breasts were exposed.  She fixed it right up because before I rolled over on my stomach she threw a sheet over me and followed it up with a fleece throw blanket.  Then she got the little attachment in place for me to stick my face through.  So while she held on to one side of the sheet/blanket combo, I rolled over and got my face in the whole, repairing for the back rub.

One thing I should point out is whenever Christine would massage my extremities she would try to keep as much of the rest of my body covered while she worked on just that part of my body.  So while she was working on my left leg, that was the only part of my body exposed: the rest stayed swaddled, nice and warm, under the fleece blanket.  Needless to say all the while this was happening–which included having hot towels wrapped around my feet and applied over lotion on my back–I was zoning out hard.  I didn’t fall asleep, but there were definite moments when I felt almost as if I was hallucinating, like I was seeing and sensing things that were almost dreamlike even though I was aware I was lying on a table getting a rubdown.

It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had and I couldn’t believe it was over when Christine told me it was time for me to get up and get dressed.  Of course she said for me to take my time getting off the table, getting dressed, and returning to The Quiet Room, and there’s a good reason for that: I was wrung out.  The moment I raised my head I started feeling lightheaded; the moment I tried rolling on my side and flipping off the cover I felt as if my body wouldn’t respond.  Really, at that point I probably could’ve laid back and taken a nap for an hour, I was that relaxed.  It was actually a chore to get up on my feet, get dressed, and headed down to wait for the next appointment.  Christine was waiting for me and I told her I felt thirsty: she told me that wasn’t an unusual feeling and I should drink as much fluid as I like.  So I had my first two glasses of lemon and cucumber water and sat waiting for my facial.

It really was all I could do to get the phone out and snap a photo.

It really was all I could do to get the phone out and snap a photo.

I didn’t have to wait long.  Sharon showed up and took me to the room where my facial would be performed.  I lay back on the table and she got a bright light in my face that she can examine everything.  Now, when I filled out the facial for and was asked to describe my skin, I said it was “rough” and “dry”.  After couple minutes of examining Sharon told me that my skin was wonderful and in excellent shape.  She asked me if I spent a lot of time outside in the sun and I told her no, I was a computer programmer and writer, so most of my time was spent indoors, and that even as a child I preferred sitting in my room reading then going outside to play.  She said a lack of sunlight had actually helped my skin considerably and also, considering I had a slight amount of Cherokee Indian heritage–I’m 1/32 because of a great-great-grandmother–that meant my body probably had slightly more melange than other Caucasians.

She was extremely surprised, however, by how smooth my skin was, so I had to reveal my dirty little secret: being transgender I’m on hormone replacement therapy and that estrogen is putting me through a second puberty which leads to smooth skin.  That not only made complete sense to her, but she told me that she had done laser facial hair removal treatment on several transwomen in the area.  So we not only talk a little about that, but we also discussed things about why my skin was good due to the fact that I likely had a weird and unusual puberty as a child.

Either way, I got steam blown on to my chest to help open the pores after which I had a mask applied all over my face and to the upper triangle of my chest from my neck down to a point between my breast.  This last kinda confused me and then I realized that as women we expose more of our upper chest due to some of the outfits we wear, and you want to keep that area looking just as nice as your face.  See the things you learn?

The only picture I managed to snap after my mask was applied, making me look a little like i'm wearing lemon custard.

The only picture I managed to snap after my mask was applied, making me look a little like I’m wearing lemon custard.

After the facial it was time for lunch, so it’s back to The Quiet Room for more lemon and cucumber water–

Here looking even more relaxed and glowing.

Here looking even more relaxed and glowing.

–and my lunch, a tuna fish sandwich and a salad with feta cheese.  But I didn’t get just a sandwich: it was more like a sub and there was a whole lot of salad.

As you can see here.

As you can see here.

With all these things behind me it was time to get dressed and head out to get my nails done.  First up was the pedicure in this was being done by Donna, whom I not only remembered from my first visit but with whom we had discussed our love of old movies.  So while she did my pedi we once again talked old movies while I kicked back and relaxed–

With a glass of wine because why not?

With a glass of wine because why not?

The last person to work on me was Stevie, who did my manicure.  The first thing she did was strip off all my polish and it was during this time that she told me she was eager to work on my nails–had been, actually, since I came in the first time.  See, it the last place I went to for my nails, the woman there put an acrylic overlay on all my nails to strengthen them.  Unfortunately, she put on so much that I actually looked like I had bubbles on my nails and this was something that Stevie couldn’t stand.

So she got the stripping off the old polish, then sanding down as much of the old acrylic overlay she could.  The last thing she did was repair my left thumbnail, which it ripped off while I was at work Thursday afternoon.  After all this was done it was time to get the polish applied.  I was actually using two different gel polishes.  The first to go on was Girls Love Pearls, which was used as a base.  Over that was the clearer, more sparkly Champagne For Breakfast.  The end result gave my nails, both on my hands and feet, a nice luster with a glitter finish.

As you can see here in good light.

As you can see here in good light.

With everything done I settled up the bill and tipped everyone who work on me twenty-five dollars.  I said, this was my Christmas present, so I didn’t mind spending the money.  It’s also one of the reasons you only want to do something like this once every six months or so, because it is a luxury and should be treated as such.  Though I’m already missing the sensation I had after that massage…

I was there for exactly six hours and got everything as advertised, and it all exceeded my expectations.  When I got home I was actually afraid to sit down, and the moment I did I started feeling drowsy: the aftermath of the massage.  I went out to get something to eat and when I came back I still felt that relaxed feeling for the rest of the night–in fact, the moment I started watching television I found myself dozing off, and when I finally did get to bed I fell asleep right away.

Though I wonder what part those extra two glasses of wine played?

Though I wonder what part those extra two glasses of wine played?

So take my advice: if you ever start feeling stressed out and you have a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your purse, find a nice day spa that has a good reputation and excellent reviews and go get yourself pampered.  It might be something you only do once in your life, but just like that trip to Europe that all of us want to take, this is something that you should do.  As I was told so many of my women friends over the last couple of years, we need Me Time and this is a great way to get that time.

‘Cause really, it is little things like this that help get your mind back in a good space.