Mercury retro through 12th house: Ouch.

Today, Monday, June 30, marks not only the last day of the month but the final day of the Mercury retrograde.

Whew! Been a rugged one and a whopper! — as I knew it’d be.

Mercury turned retro on June 7 for its standard 3-1/2-week retro that happens about every three months. (FYI, next one’s in early October.)

This one saw Mercury retro from 3 degrees Cancer to 24 degrees Gemini — the degree at which it turns stationary direct tomorrow, July 1, at 5:50 a.m. my time (Pacific Standard). So when I arise, Mercury’ll have juuuust begun to resume direct motion. Nice way to wake up, I’ll take it!

The goals of this post isn’t to articulate the meaning and purpose of Merc retro. There’s tons of info online, with cafe astrology offering a good basic introduction. Neither is it to convert skeptics or disbelievers of astrology or Mercury retro specifically.


I merely want to acknowledge that this one’s been a doozy. I really did feel it — in my body, in my central nervous system, in my thoughts system — in the weeks preceding the retro date of June 7, aka the roughly 2-week shadow period.

In my experience, this retro has been especially nerve-wracking and hard-hitting due to its journey through my natal chart: exclusively through my 12th house, the house of privacy, solitude, secrets hidden, confinement. It’s called the House of the Unconscious and Self-Undoing.

I like this excerpt on the 12th house:

“The last house of the zodiac also recognizes that we can feel bound in life — stuck and confined. For this reason, this house rules jails, hospitals, institutions, asylums and any space that inhibits freedom. More gloominess in the 12th comes in the form of danger, secret enemies and clandestine affairs. Beware!”

Don’t know that I’d caution “Beware!” … rather “Be Aware” of the seclusionary aspect of the 12th house.

Not to divert from the topic of Merc retrograding through my 12th. I’ve strongly felt it for the house AND the signs it’s crossed — from Cancer into Gemini.

Mercury rules Gemini, its natural sign, imbuing this retro with a certain level of ease not experienced when Merc retros through other signs, say, Virgo. Thank god for small favors!


Merc retrograding in the 12th AND in Gemini is, in my chart, a double whammy. Not only is it stirring up a LOT of subconscious/unconscious material of an unpleasant nature — depression and a fair lifetime of lack of support being central — it’s also turned on the Negative Thinking due to the Gemini influence (Gemini’s all mental).

The result: a rehashing of my past (Merc retro) of the worst kind (seclusion, isolation, loneliness, lack of support — all 12th house matters) in first Cancer (emotion, the heart, nurturing) and then Gemini (the mind).

That’s a fairly concise summation of this Merc retro!

I’m in no mood to recount (or revisit) what’s gone on at the job or in my mind in these past 3-1/2 weeks of the retro.

Rather, I wish only to acknowledge that it’s been rugged. Like … well … as if I went down into the basement … found several large suitcases containing old painful past issues … opened some up to explore their contents … then carried and/or dragged the suitcases back and forth back and forth across the basement floor … up the stairs … through the house (not my house, my roommate’s) … to the job … then back home (not my home) … back into the cellar … every day the same actions.

All 12th house stuff. All in solitude, isolation, lack of support.

I’m not bemoaning the process, the struggles or the challenges with some dark demons that’ve ensued. “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” goes the adage.

Don’t know that I actually agree with that. Strength consisting of gritting one’s teeth and enduring COME HELL OR HIGH WATER — LIFE IS BUT A FIGHT TO SURVIVE — isn’t necessarily the best or healthiest sort of strength to have.

Sometimes having strength requires: letting go. And I’m first to admit that that remains a huge challenge for this person who’s still alive, despite a truly hard and deprived life, because I’ve practiced Endure: COME HELL OR HIGH WATER from Day 1.

Well, these are some of my contemplations as Mercury completes its retro today. Early tomorrow morn, it resumes its direct course, slowly at first, then gaining steam. It’s been a slog this round … though I’ve been extraordinarily mindful and respectful of the planet’s retro period, which is likely the singlemost important tool that helped maintain some level of sanity.

Or at least didn’t deliver me unto insanity (again, 12th house!) … so it’s all the same.

Well, this has been a contemplative post and perhaps “rambly” to outsiders yet these were things that had to be acknowledged and written. (Why I apologize for writing and/or expressing myself is curios and harmful to my nature and aspirations as a writer.)

Guess that I also wanna say sorry for not writing more during this retro. I was told that I’d need to write and write a lot through it and I didn’t. My posts in the past 3-1/2 weeks register nary a blip; my journal fares little better.

The Beast that is Depression has had me in its clutches. And Depression has no voice. It blackens everything. It grays out your very breath. In the clutches of Depression, I cannot breathe, never mind have the energy to pick up a pen. That’s how it goes with Depression. It kills or sucks the life out of everything it its path. Be it heart or home, mind or soul.

On that note, I’ll say toodles … and yey! yey! to Mercury as he resume direct tomorrow. Deliverance is the word that flashes ….


Pop! goes the weasel. And my neck!

I feel blessed this morning.

Because I awoke feeling rested.

It’s the first time I’ve more or less slept through the night in I can’t know how long! More specifically, it’s the first time that my slumber has not been made fitless and poor by pain.

Yesterday I felt it.

Lemme back up a sec. Yesterday was a day off from work. No arms swinging high in the air to make beds. No hands stretching hard across shower stalls to scrub walls. No arms and shoulders twisting, reaching and bending through a vast array of hotel housekeeping tasks.

Simply said, yesterday was a day a rest. And rest is integral to injury — in my case, a shoulder and neck injury that’s plagued severely since last November. And rest is hardly forthcoming in a job that’s all physical!

Heck, simple day-to-day living requires a functioning neck and shoulder! For example, try typing on a computer without behind your elbow (a particularly painful position for the shoulder’s nerves).

As I was saying: Yesterday I felt it.

Afternoon. I was sitting in the overstuffed chair in my “study.” I may’ve been reading the paper — don’t recall. With the fingertips of right hand, I applied pressure to particularly tight and tensed points at the base of the skull and down the neck just left of the spine.

Particular attention’s being paid to Safety Energy Lock #4, at the base of the skull. Safety Energy Locks, also known as SEL, are key points in jin shin jyutsu, a healing modality akin to acupressure.

Daily holding and applying light pressure to various points are part of my homework from my jin shin jyutsu practitioner.

So I’m sitting there doing my homework, basically, with a lot of pressure on SEL #4 and neighboring points along the neck, turning my head right and left and up and down to help loosen, stretch and relax the overtightened neck … when suddenly there was this pop!

That pop! that sounds when adjoining bones, tendons and/or ligaments are moved back into their alignment.

Truth told, my neck’s popped and cracked countless times in the past six months — not in good ways, rather as symptoms of disturbances and distress!

But this pop was different. It really did feel like neck tendons suddenly shifted back into their proper place! And that pop! was the sound of healing in motion.

Was a glorious feeling, it really was, and the wave of relief that accompanied … oh my! It was a real gain in these seven months of neck/shoulder debilitation.

I don’t mean to suggest that everything’s all hunky dory again. It’s not. The neck and shoulder still have a lotta road to travel in recovery.

But by the single shift yesterday, I slept through the night, uninterrupted by chronic severe nerve pain and immobility.

The neck tendons and ligaments have been on lockdown since last November and the shoulder frozen by impinged nerves. Experiencing real movement yesterday rocks my world!

So I’ll keep dutifully doing my daily homework (putting pressure on key points). I go in for my second treatment in a couple days, which should further the healing.

I cannot say enough about the value of REST in an injury. It’s very true: There’s no rest for the weary — or the injured — in a job that’s all physical.

I KNOW it was the rest, a day off from the daily use and with it severe overtaxing of the crippled shoulder, that set the scene for that glorious healing pop!

Which leads me to speculate about whether I should cut my workweek down from 5 days to 4. Can’t afford the financial hit but my health & body shout YES! Food for thought.

Speaking of the job, off I must go … with a song of hope on my heart that tonight’ll once again bring fairly sound sleep. Ah, brighter doth the world appear through rested eyes.

from stabbing shoulder pain to stabbing (bitch) boss

Some salt ‘n’ pepper, a smidge of sage and a sprinkle of rosemary. Today’s post is a hodgepodge — but not particularly spicy in the way of, say,

* I didn’t get the job at the humane society. I’m partly disappointed. I love animals and the pay’s better than my current 10 cents above minimum wage.

And I’m partly relieved. Returning to a 40-hour workweek at this old-lady age isn’t desired or relished unless it’s in my career. Actually it’d be a 45-hour week when including the required 1-hour lunch. That’s a LOT of time at a jobsite and with the commute a good part of the day gone.

* I’m in chronic constant pain from the left shoulder injury. Pain from morning through night. It’s really affecting my well-being and tasks at the job. Have you tried cleaning hotel rooms with one hand — and as Speedy Gonzales to boot?! Doesn’t work! So all I can do is push through the pain, creating further injury.

It’s also badly affected my sleep. The pain’s constant, can’t sleep on the left side or even turn without shock waves and spasms radiating through the shoulder and along the back, neck and arm. Sometimes I must use my (good) right hand to position the left arm.

I’m like the bird with the damaged wing. The cause of the chronic sharp pain is difficult to ascertain but we (practitioner and I) suspect shoulder nerve impingement, a result of neck & shoulder displacement caused by bad beds.

It’s got me so down. I’ll be needing to increase the treatments from the once-every-two-weeks recommended by bd to maybe once every 7-10 days. Every two weeks can’t accomplish recovery and in fact is making matters worse by adding to injury through work and life.

Monday I go in for treatment #2. Hopefully ground lost in these past two weeks will be gained and we can put the brakes on the degeneration.

* I’ve been really really down. The crippled shoulder is DEFINITELY a huge reason why. Living in round-the-clock sharp pain and immobility is a huge reason why.

* The job market is hardly bursting with opportunity. Not that it really matters at this point. No matter whether I’m at my current job or another, the use of both arms and shoulders is necessary.

A bird with a crippled wing cannot perform or fly. I wish I could get my arm back. I’m hurting a lot externally and on the inside.

* Not to be overlooked is that this injury has been going on since late last year. It is exhausting. I am exhausted by pain and body dysfunction.

Guess I didn’t have the newsy mishmash that I thought. Everything’s experienced through the lens of a broken wing.

I’m tired and grumpy from sleep that’s of poor quality and severe pain.

* One tidbit of good news: I’m drinking my daily smoothies pretty consistently (missing no more than a day or two at a time) as well as eating better overall than I have in a long, long time. I’m also taking a s**tload of supplements & herbs to assist my health.

This nerve impingement however is killing me. I’d wish this on no one. Not even Vickie A., my worst nemesis and former boss at the Idaho paper. For her, I’d wish nerve impingement in BOTH shoulders! {Hahaha, kidding; maybe. 😉 } Some people just get under your skin and you can never get ’em out until you’ve shed that skin in death. Or forgiveness.

Done for the day, adios. And to Vickie A., wherever you are (cuz I know you’re no longer in Idaho), I just wanna say what I never got to say:

*You’re the meanest boss I ever had. And I’ve had a LOT of bosses! You were cold and cruel to me personally while “warm ‘n’ fuzzy” to others. You singled me out for god knows what reasons and you made my life there a living hell.

By rearranging the cubicle seating, you separated me from my two friends and only support. You ISOLATED me. You did this deliberately and intentionally.

Well, fuck you! for fucking up a good thing and destroying what little comfort and happiness I had in Idaho. I’m not responsible for your comeuppance and karma. However, know that it is coming, if not now, eventually.

YOU were a huge part of the reason I got out of newspaper editing. I never wanted to have a fucking bitch of a boss again.

And guess what. I haven’t.

I dare not condemn you to Hades; that not only gets me nowhere but draws to me further suffering and I don’t need that.

Instead, Vickie A., I turn your issues back over to YOU. Your treatment of me was YOUR crap, not mine. I forgive and release you to your own path and Light.

I let you do me no more harm {you’ve done quite enough in the past 10 years}. I wish you growth. I wish myself healing and ONLY good female bosses and the freedom to fly again.


p.s. whoa! from stabbing shoulder pain to stabbing boss … had no idea this post would go there!

Employed (yes!) and reaching for better

Things are looking up in my new town of 2-1/2 months!

It’s really quite remarkable how much has happened in that short time. It’s perking along. This resembles not at all any other of my many residences across many U.S. states! Goes to show that things really can get better when you’re in the right place for you.

Case in point. Yesterday I had an interview with the county humane society. I’d submitted an application for kennel tech assistant — a somewhat glorified term for kennel cleaner, animal protector and adoptions aide — some weeks back.

Didn’t hear back, didn’t hear back, figured that was that like 99.99% of today’s job applications — until suddenly I heard back! Was a terrific interview. AND I’ve learned the hard way never to see even the most positive interview as a promising sign of an offer.

(Matter of fact, I’ve had really great interviews that put a bounce in my step, hope in my heart and a smile on my face … only to go down in defeat and gut-wrenching disappointment. In some ways, I’ve had to harden my heart to survive the decades. Sad yet true.)

Anyhow, life’s on the upswing and hopefully with it my luck and fortunes!

True, I’m currently employed part-time. True, it’s a job providing something constructive and helpful to do with my time and a little income.

The days, however, are numbered; could be as scant as one more week to a max of a month. Remembering that helps push me through a cleaning job for which I’m ultimately unsuited (due to their need for speed).

Being employed part-time even in a short-term job has taken a load off. Job-hunting in this Obama-led economic ruin is so so sooo hard. Even futile (which is of course by his design in his hatred of America). To have that weight lifted off my shoulders to an extent is good.

AND the search for better employment continues! Thus I was happy to receive the interview invite at the humane society. They’ll be interviewing into next week and have their decisions for the four positions they’re filling by the end of it, I’m told.

Those who make the cut will be brought in for a working (paid) interview. So it’s still a process and period of time should I in fact be hired. Meanwhile, I’ll continue doing what I’m doing cleaning hotel rooms and stay positive but not hopeful because hope leads to disappointment and I cannot absorb any more!

Today is your Tuesday, my Sunday. Tomorrow’s my Monday back at work. It’s amazing the healing power of rest and muscle recovery from a taxing 100% physically-taxing job!

While I don’t feel restored, I do feel these two days off have helped in regaining a modicum of energy. Because I’m still more tired than not, I’m trepiditious about getting through the physical demands on my energy (and resultant exhaustion) in the coming week.

Time’ll tell soon where I’ll be working a couple weeks from now. Just gotta be patient. And keep scrubbing them showers and floors and making them beds as if my life depended on it!

{Huh?! because that’s the definition of a survival job …}

Run for the Roses — and the Failures.

The upper back muscles and shoulders weigh heavy, as if laced with lead.

Neck ligaments and tendons crack and pop in friction.

Leg muscles are sedated by a buildup of lactic acid from constant hours of motion — walking, kneeling, squatting, crawling — without ease or rest … from yesterday and the day before and day before that. At 7-1/2 hours, yesterday was the longest thus far.

Feet are tired, with muscles and bones that want to rest and regenerate, stretch and limber up. I wore yesterday the most comfortable pair of shoes I have: fabric clogs whose soles are of super-thick shock-absorbing rubber. Clogs I got when I was working the 10-11 hour shifts constantly on my feet and walking at the warehouse back in 2006-7.

That’s how old those clogs are and how well made they are that they’ve lasted countless miles (!!) and STILL are the best soles I’ve got!

“You have to wear regular shoes,” my supervisor thusly informed me yesterday. Buh-bye foot comfort, comparatively.

My body as a road is pockmarked with potholes, cracks, crevices and crusty uneven and irregular surfaces. It is not a smooth surface; it is not freshly paved!

My 57-year-old body, while gainfully of a sturdy and delicate constitution — one that seems a mix of German solidity and Irish poetic sensibilities — is, yes, getting a workout, a real workout, at the job.

High-end housekeeping — in which every detail is attended to meticulously — is a real workout!

It ain’t the workout that’s making me wobbly in the knees. It’s the pace.

I’m not a Ferrari. Not a racehorse at the Kentucky Derby.

I’m the aged workhorse named Dolly who keeps pulling a wagon across the prairie. I’m the, well, I’m the Subaru. A FANTASTIC workhorse of a car that stay in service for 300,000-plus miles with the proper maintenance.

There’s the rub. I’m being pushed to be someone I’m not.

It’s funny, memories resurfacing at this job.

I remember in high school running track in regular phy ed class. (I was in fact seriously tempted to join the track team, I enjoyed it that much.)

No matter how hard I ran … no matter how much I willed my muscles to Go! Go! Go! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! … no matter how loudly the teacher/coach — I can still see her face but can’t remember her name — shouted faster! faster! … at a certain level, my body maxed out.

It could go no faster than it was going. My short legs could not lengthen their stride. My arms could pump no more air flow.

And in my mind, I felt like a failure. I felt a failure for being unable to keep up with the fast kids. The kids with the long legs and the short kids whose bodies were sprinters.

In my mind, I went down in defeat at every timed short- or long course. I might not be the one bringing up the rear but I certainly wasn’t the girl first to cross the finish line. Or the 10th.

Endurance. That’s what I was built for. I may be small but I can run, swim and engage in activities/sports for the long haul.

But. But endurance wasn’t rewarded in gym class or in life in the Western world. Speed is. Fast results. NOW. Take no time. Get it done. NOW. YESTERDAY. Why don’t you have it done? Are you stupid? What’s wrong with you?

That’s the Western mindset. It’s different in Eastern cultures. Longevity and endurance and perseverence and “in it for the long haul” are desirable and respected traits.

Stream of consciousness …

… triggered by a “simple” hotel housekeeping job. Who’d thunk it possible?! 😉

Key point is, yesterday, my longest shift yet working the rooms solo, returns a glaring truth that I’m built for endurance, not speed.

I think I breathed three times during my 7-1/2 shift. I took no break, the pressure to crank out the full-cleaned rooms within a set time frame superceded my fatigue.

Just like that high school girl on the track, I pushed pushed pushed, I WILLED my body to move faster! faster! faster! as implored by the gym teacher, as implored by my own self and my hatred of failure.

And I failed. I did fail. My own best still isn’t good enough. On day 2 of working solo, the time it’s taking me to turn over rooms is twice that of the other girls.

There’s no issue with the quality of my work. None. In fact, it’s partly because I DO take those extra moments to ensure high quality that my cleaning time suffers. Which leaves the option: reduce quality, gain time. And that is outside my nature and impeccable work ethics.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how a simple (not so simple, really) hotel cleaning job can resurrect beasts and ghosts from the past.

Failure for not being a sprinter has long shadowed me through various situations and workplaces. An oxen of endurance and tirelessness hasn’t really had its reward from others. Being highly methodical, meticulous, thorough and extraordinarily attentive to detail sometimes come at a cost. And the cost of a job.

Can’t know when or how this cleaning job will end, only that it will end.

And here’s the thing. When this job ends — either because I get a new one or I’m let go under mutual agreement that it’s not a good fit — I want this to be the end of my “cleaning career.” I want no more the pressure and stress of timed cleaning jobs.

I want no more the feeling of failure for being the enduring workhorse and not the sprinter. That requires being at the right job, in the right environment where who I am and what I bring naturally are wholly an asset and not a detriment.

I was born a workhorse and I shall die one! I happily leave the field to the racehorses at the Run for the Roses and look to more fertile fields for me to plow.

Lastly, I hope for work one day that shall bestow accolades for tireless perseverence and commitment to quality to this ol’ mare. To be appreciated and valued for one’s true self is gift indeed.

There’s bringing up the rear. And then there’s taking it off.

Last night I dreamt that I was walking a lot in some unknown town with lots of folks. And in the dream I told someone I was walking my butt off, literally.

Must be referring to my new real-time job!

It’s go! go! go! all the time! Always moving. Always on your feet! Never resting except for perhaps one 10-minute break in the day.

Like I said, always moving. Walking from room to room, pushing a loaded laundry cart. Pulling the big wheeled plastic trash can AND a vaccuum cleaner (since there’s no room on the cart) behind — a maneuver I’ve yet to master.

Inside the rooms, first stripping queens and kings and pillows, gathering up all the towels and trash, leftover soaps and shampoos and anything else guests leave behind before proceeding to a multitude of tasks in cleaning.

It’s not a job for a fat person, which excludes like 65 percent of Americans! And if by chance a fat gal were hired, she couldn’t remain fat! Unless she devoured a pizza when she got home.

Nothin’ makes ya feel your age like the passing years. I’ve had extraordinarily physical and taxing jobs before — and in the not-too-distant past, I’m afraid. Why, just some seven years ago, I worked long shifts in a warehouse.

There, I wasn’t just on my feet walking concrete for 10 hours a day but lifting or pulling boxes and loads of hundreds of pounds. Lil’ ol’ me! It showed! My body was sooooooo buff and toned, I looked like I lived at the gym!

But I’d also come home every night utterly exhausted. Fall onto the carpeted living room floor to rest my overtaxed legs and feet. And eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! At night yet! The worst time.

One, because the warehouse food breaks were insufficient. And two, my body needed the calories. I had to eat twice+ my usual intake just to maintain my weight.

And THAT job I did at age 50!

And like that one, my present job is suited for people half my age — that’s presuming you can find a young person with a work ethic and good luck with that.

But I digress. Speaking of butts as I was, the constant moving IS toning my body in places it needs. This old gal’s fit, yes; however, life’s hardships have prevented my athletic gym workouts & conditioning (couldn’t afford membership). That’s not the half of this past decade’s deprivations!

Anyways, I’m quote-unquote making up for lost years now at this job. Speaking of which, I just looked at the clock and gotta get a move on. Gotta go work my butt off! Literally. Well, as literally as the human body allows. 😉 Toodles.

Oh sheet! No rest for the queen of kings.

Day 5 at the new job wasn’t so bad.

After four days of training under three different gals, I was “set free” to work on my own for the first time. My supervisor gave me a light load.

In the hotel’s “Kings Section” to boot. No, the faucets aren’t cast in gold. All the rooms in that section have king-sized beds exclusively — whereas other sections have either kings or double queens.

I was pleased because (a) the workload was just right for flying solo for the first time and (b) I need to work on making king beds. Queens are comparatively easier. They’ve got more length in the sheets and comforters for nice tight tuck-ins. Additionally, there are fewer footsteps traveled in going side to side in bedmaking.

The “catch” or “rub” with this hotel’s beds is that no bedspreads are used. Instead, the topmost layer is a patterned crisp white sheet. Like me, my supervisor is a perfectionist and “persnickety” about the beds and that topmost sheet being taut and free of wrinkles.

Honestly, a thick bedspread would make bedmaking so much easier!

That’s not all of it! All beds have maroon dust ruffles. They get pushed and shoved between mattress and box springs during the side tucking of sheets and comforter, Extracting them. Extracting them can in turn “unmake” that side portion of the bed.

Those dust ruffles are as annoying as all get out! They impede and delay our work. Ask every housekeeper one thing she’d like to do away with and I’d bet dollars to donuts that dust ruffles! would win unanimously.

So the king beds come with, IMHO, the steepest challenges and learning curve. And because I’m such the precisionist and meticulous and like an engineer like to break down any task into its smallest components and then build into the whole, I spent a good part of the workday with beds under the microscope, if you will!

I unfolded each of the three bedding layers. Studied where the edges of edges should fall along the mattress/box spring for a balanced spread. Experimented. Pull here. Too much. Walk to other side. Pull a little. Walk to other side. Check. Not quite even but close. Pull again. Back and forth in a perfect game of “bedtime” ping-pong.

Established where by the bed head the edges of two sheets should meet before a tuck. Counted lines and squares on the baffled comforter for balanced draping. Experimented with the best pull-and-tuck places at the bed’s foot to maximimize tautness and minimize entrapping of that danged dust ruffle between mattress and box spring!

Then there’s the four pillows. Four yukky pillows, IMHO, soft and squishy king-sized pillows that when condensed and fluffed to perfection into too-big pillowcases still look saggy and sad ‘stead of perky and puffed.

But what canya do?!

Yes, yesterday with my training partner was all about bathrooms. It’s all I did for 6-7 hours. By choice. In order to break down the components and rebuild and refine through developing skills and practice! practice! practice!

And today solo was all about beds. Same process. Deconstruct the whole into its parts, study each part, then reconstruct and refine and practice! practice! practice! THAT’S how you get good. Or I do anyway.

And when each part is comprehended and then its place in the whole, well, that’s how perfection is achieved! And with repetition, speed.

My learning process is made unique by my fastidious and precisionist nature. To many, it’s foreign BECAUSE learning is maximized by breaking the whole into the details, mastering the details, which in turn leads to mastering the whole.

It’s a scientific approach, I guess, that wholly works for me! And wholey. 😉

Anyways, today was a light load for me and all the gals. It was good to be outta the pressure chamber for the first time and into my own learning, pace and work groove.

And the real highlight?!

Our supervisor, the self-admitted perfectionist, checks EVERY room, whether’s it’s a stayover or cleaned after a check-out. That’s a LOT of checking when the facility’s full 150 rooms are booked solid!

Anyways, with clipboard in hand, she checked my rooms … swiped her hand against the tub walls … lifted both toilet lids … peered inside the coffeemakers … ran her hands on the granite countertops … opened up the doors of the small fridges and microwaves … opened drawers of the nightstands and dresser … checked that the proper printed materials were in place … stuff like that …

But the REAL kicker lay in her response to my beds!


High praises indeed! Made me feel like queen for the day in king beds!

Shouldering the world’s burdens and my own.

Today I enter into unchartered terrain of jin shin jyutsu.

Jin shin jyutsu. What’s that? I asked myself the same question even though I’m reasonably versed in Asian thought and healing modalities. (“I’m an Asian trapped in a Westerner’s body,” I oft quip.)

A simple introduction is found here. Basically, jin shin jyutsu is a healing of energy, blockages, imbalances and illness by the hands through pressure applied at certain points along energy pathways.

Though similar to acupressure and acupuncture, where it differs is that the former involves some hundreds of points and jin shin jyutsu only 26.

I was surprised to discover that my little town of some 40,000 has a jin shin jyutsu practitioner (perhaps even more than one)! The quirks and hidden eccentricities of Prescott ever delight!

Today’s session is both a beginning and culmination of a problem developed last year by sleeping on bad (or wrong) beds. Since I don’t have a bed, still don’t, I’ve relied on beds in rental rooms.

The second one in particular was so cheaply made and soft that after only one or two nights, I awoke with a searing pain in the left shoulder joint. I could not raise my arm or bend it but slightly. Neither could I turn my head to the left. The pain radiated from the neck to the fingertips on the left hand. Like stabbing pinpricks.

Long story short, chiropractic sessions had minimal to no effect. Of course I did what I could on my own but this was outside my reach. Speaking of reach, I had none! Every time I raised my left arm, the shoulder sent a shock wave of pain radiating!

Anyways, for months I just lived with the pain, stiffness and immobility of primarily the left neck, which cracked at every motion. Sometimes it cracked even when I wasn’t moving! That began in November.

Fast forward to April and official entry into Prescott. A third rental bed not suited to my body needs/type that’s putting nightly pressure and strain on an injured left shoulder & neck. Manageable pressure and strain.

To deal with extreme stress and frustration, I’d begun punching a punching bag and lifting weights and working out on a treadmill etc. at a small gym with a cheap fee. I’m not new to sports or weightlifting specifically, only to bag boxing.

Neither am I all macho about it! Especially after a long absence, I’m very moderate with the weights and machines and mindful of my body’s messages.

Whether something in the shoulder joint got ripped or damaged or something else, I dunno.

I know only that this same left shoulder that’s fought to withstand a good deal of abuse, unintended, by bad beds is somehow now broken. Clipped. Like a wing on a bird. It is severely injured. Even the simplest motion produces aggravation and irritation and inflammation that is very painful.

Even typing this blog is hurting.

I cannot simply buck up and press on through this pain and debilitation. We rely extraordinarily on our body structure and bones. Anyone who’s suffered back and joint injuries can attest to that. Structural injuries cannot be ignored. Not without extreme cost to quality of life and mind.

That’s the short record of how I got here. My left shoulder (and neck) are in critical condition. There is no bucking up and pushing through — a trait I mastered in infancy.

This is serious. Among other reasons, I’ve a job that is physically demanding. My body’s constantly moving. You cannot clean hotel rooms, strip beds and flap out billowy fresh sheets in remakes with one arm! You cannot!

As it is, I’m required to work at an unnatural frenzy! Even my natural two-armed pace is insufficient. One day of trying to do my job with one hand WILL NOT DO!!

It’s imperative if for no other reason that my left shoulder regain functionality so in order to do my job. That’s a terrible thing to write, I know. It means that my shoulder and I have value only as a slave and a worker. It’s a life theme rooted in childhood that deeply plagues and pains me still, relentlessly.

I’ve said enough for today.

In about an hour, I’m off into a fresh adventure of jin shin jyutsu! Shouldering the world’s burrdens is something I’ve always done quite well; shouldering a crippled shoulder … sometimes ya just gotta draw a line and say no.

Balance, where are thee?

If a seesaw represents balance, I look like this:

The balance in my life is nil!

I need this:

Space. Solitude. Serenity.

And this:


Laughter. Friendships. Levity. Since friendships are still in short supply, my life’s resumed the (all too) familiar refrain of:

Isolation. Loneliness. Work Work Work. Get through the day the best I can. Go home. Collapse. Do it again the next day. And btw, earn minimum wage in the meantime.

The slavish lonely life has roots deep deep in this lifetime (and others). I dare not attempt to expose them here.

+ + +

This is my weekend (M & Tu). After a “mere” three days of work, I need it!

I need this space to be alone. Fortunately the most chaotic of my two roommates is gone; the other is in his garage at the other end of the house, creatig space, albeit an imperfect one. 🙂

I need rest. Ohmigawd, I need it so badly! After the three days of extreme stress and nonstop Go! Go! Go! cleaning hotel rooms, my body feels like a pinata that’s been beaten by a bat.

Recovery happens quickly when you’re 22 or 32. It slows at 42. At 57, it arrives like a lumbering ant-eater in search of feast among the mounds.

I’ve always been quite the tomboy — active, athletic and adventurous. I’m no couch potato and I’m certainly not the modern American Entitler who feels the government *owes* him/her a living!

A lifetime of activity is serving me in this here perimeter of the so-called golden years.

But the intense go-go-go cleaning jobs best done by those in their teens and 20s remind that I’m no kid any more. I’m closer to death than birth and my body and energy are telling me:

Slow down. Keep moving. But s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.

+ + +

Therein lies the rub. I can’t. I literally cannot. Pressure at the job demands a constant output of extremely high energy output for 6-7 solid hours with nary break nor rest.

Well, the boss says we can take a break after a certain number of rooms are cleaned — just enough time to smoke a cigarette.

However, many seem not to take that small rest and instead push push push through because of the workload and a company that’s loathe to pay for even a 10-minute break every several hours.

See, I don’t agree with any company viewpoint that fails to recognize or give nods to the BASIC BODY NEEDS of its employees! Anyhow, I don’t want to go down that road.

On this day of rest after high-stress workdays, I want not to dwell on ailments. It’s better to recognize the good I’ve accomplished these past three days.

I learned a LOT in three days. I DID a lot too. Am I happy to be cleaning again? No.

Am I happy to be back at cleaning instead of writing (my calling) and being paid for it? N-O.

Am I glad to have a job again? Assuredly yes! To be earning money and my keep again? Yup.

AND my body is in decline. I have a body in decline and it is evident in all I do and/or endeavor to do at this job of extreme go-go-go. It’s not the tasks themselves but the SPEED expected, demanded, required of the workers (and again, with minimal to no rest). Unreal! — and for this gal young or old, unrealistic.

In the short term, I may be able to pull it off at 80, 85 percent max, of the required speed. In the long term …

{fill in the blank for a future job yet unknown}

It’s high noon, I just ran outta steam so I’m gonna go get me some balance in the one place I can!


I’m the tireless tortoise, not a hotel hare

My feet achey hurt.

My shoulder injury – a suspected torn rotator cuff — is painful, inflammed and inhibiting basic mobility.

I’m tired. Overextended. Just completed 6-1/2 hours of Go-Go-Going, pushing myself on “false energy,” to crank out full cleans at the job. No food. Insufficient water, particularly in this hot, dry Arizona climate.

Just pausing to drink from or refill a water bottle eats up time needed to hurry! hurry! hurry! and get those rooms cleaned.

In three days, I’ve worked thus far with two different gals, one 18 and the other 25-ish. Even in their youthful vigor they say it’s hard work. It is. I’ve got some 38 years on ’em and I’m dyin’, man!

Even in my vibrant youth, I was not a sprinter sort. I’m an endurance athlete; my musculature’s designed for the long haul, not speed. Try though I have, my body just cannot be made to go speedy-Gonzales fast.

This job requires that I ramp and rev at a speed doable not even in my prime. Risk of burnout is high. At 57, I can’t keep up pace with a 23-year-old.

After three days, I’m feeling some burnout already. At this pace, I’m having my doubts about whether I can physically do this job full time. In addition, the high-stress Go-Go-Go of my coworkers isn’t relaxing for me. Since I’m sooo sensitive to other people and my environment, their stress stresses me out.

After three days, two of them extremely busy and hard, I’m ready for a weekend. Turns out that the next two days are off. Then it’ll be five on. Honest to god, for as hard a worker as I am, for all my natural stamina, endurance and perseverance I embody, I must be honest. This is not a pace I can maintain. I can’t. Not even 10 Red Bulls could do the trick. Not that I drink them. I don’t.

Just sayin’ that there’s no substance that could transform my constitution into one suitable for this work.

I’m feeling down. And I feel badly for feeling down so early into a new job. I’m glad to have something productive and paid to do with my time. In short, the tasks aren’t outside my league. The super-duper Push-Push-Push Go-Go with no breaks for rest or refreshment do not bode well for health, balance or longevity.

That’s all for tonight.