Back By Popular Demand

Well, at least Lucy is enjoying my daily updates from Joan's classes. Which, by the way, will become three on July 12! Congrats, Joan.

But before I start, if you didn't go to cbs.com and vote for Jenelle, you cannot read on...

Joan's Class - 06/27/06 - Review and Trigger Point a go-go

Special Note: Call Ernie at 9:15
  • 8:30 - Joan begins lecturing students
  • 8:31 - Why do we do massage? Because Joan makes us do it, that's why?
  • 8:32 - Think about taking picturses. Realize that I just wrote "picturses." Ponder likelihood of dyslexia, probably don't haev ti.
  • 8:34 - Whoa! Slow down, Joan. You are moving way too fast! Haha, you said spasticity.
  • 8:35 - Joan draws her own colon this time. Notably inferior to mine.
  • 8:36 - OK, 8:35 was mostly bitterness. I never even saw the colon picture; Joan stood in front of it.
  • 8:37 - Yikes! That colon is hideous. Whew, Joan erased it.
  • 8:43 - Fascism is like Saran Wrap
  • 8:44 - Dang, it is hot today.
  • 8:50 - Remember to take deep breaths
  • 8:51 - "When you are holding pressure on the Trigger Point..." Joan never gets to finish this statement
  • 9:00-9:30 - Text message Ernie and Lucy.

Joan's Class II - 06/27/06 - Groove is in the Heart, but it's probably just referral groove.

  • 10:00 - Surprise! It's Helga!
  • 10:07 - Class begins
  • 10:08 - Joan draws a man on the board. I think, from the looks of him, it was his colon in the first class
  • 10:15 - Take more pictures
  • 10:22 - Joan pulls out the Saran Wrap again
  • 10:25 - Realize that Joan put an "x" on each of her drawing's butt cheeks
  • 10:30 - Almost fall asleep, but then I don't
  • 10:35 - This seems to be going well
  • 10:38 - You always "wanna work the hips."
  • 10:43 - Ernie asks a question as if he were a real student
  • 10:46 - Joan puts Ernie on the message table and exposes his stomach. He is embarrassed. I take pictures.
  • 11:04 - I don't know what hypertonic means
  • 11:11 - We move rooms. Helga leaves
  • 11:30 - Ernie and I go to the Chai Xane while Joan and the Therapists practice messaging one another
  • 11:50 - Class ends
  • 11:52 - Student asks for a free massage

Joan's Class - 06/28/06 - More TP Practice

  • 8:24 - Joan calls the child volunteer "him" when the child is clearly a "she." Realize that the Kurds don't know the difference
  • 8:25 - Joan tries to eat the child volunteer
  • 8:30 - Class starts as Joan tries to massage child volunteer. "He" screams. I think about taking pics, but no one wants pictures of crying babies.
  • 8:33 - Kid stops crying. I take some pictures
  • 8:40 - Practice, practice, practice
  • 8:41 - Mr.Muscle diagram gets passed out. Finally. After 18 weeks.
  • 8:42 - Effleurage sounds like a type of plant. As in: "The effleurage around the mailbox is dry and brown. Poor effleurage.
  • 8:50 - PTs begin to practice massage. I read a book.
  • 9:15 - Pause in my reading to make this note
  • 9:19 - Class is over. Joan is a nice teacher for letting them out early.
  • 9:50 - I'm sitting in the CRC waiting room. At present no one is crying, but lady with a wicked mole walked by and gave me the evil eye. I deflect the evil eye with the "watchoo lookin' at" eye.
  • 9:52 - Wonder to myself whether Joan is helping to massage children or if she's sitting out a tennis match with her grandkids...


An Hour in the Life

So, Joan started a class at the Children's Rehabilitation Center teaching massage to Physical Therapists. I go along to these classes because Joan can't travel alone. I also take detailed notes of the class.

I thought I could share these notes with you all here and you'd know how I spend my days.

Joan's Class - 06/21/06 - Abdominal Massage + Stuff
  • Attendance = 0
  • Poor Joan!
  • 8:35 - Pass out colons
  • 8:36 - Remember that I forgot to write: "8:35 - Have Kurdish corrected because @ 8:22 - didn't know the word for adult and made one up."
  • 8:37 - Joan puts a Kurd on the massage table
  • 8:39 - Joan massages a man with a spastic colon
  • 8:41 - He dies
  • 8:42 - just kidding. Also recount class. Attendance = 10
  • 8:45 - Lady with great teeth comes in late
  • 8:49 - Joan gracefully answers insulting question
  • 8:55 - Joan passes out
  • 8:56 - I mean paper: Joan passes out paper
  • 9:00 - Realize class is half over. mourn rejoice
  • 9:01 - Split class to practice massage
  • 9:03 - Sit outside where it is hot and watch men massage each others' stomachs
  • 9:15 - Fall asleep
  • 9:20 - Define "millennium"
  • 9:23 - Explain that, no, I am not a physical therapist, but an office administrator
  • 9:24 - This is met with "thank you," which is a pleasant surprise
  • 9:25 - Come back into classroom
  • 9:26 - Joan says "any questions?"
  • 9:27 - There is much Kurdish chatter, but no actual questions
  • 9:30 - Student asks for a free massage

Joan's Class - 06/24/06 - Trigger Point Introduction

  • 8:25 - Draw face on Joan's handout. Starts as an attempt to cure baldness of the Trigger Point head, but ends in "Japanification" of Trigger Point head
  • 8:29 - Draw yet another colon on the board; also draw a semi-colon
  • 8:30 - First student arrives
  • 8:30(2) - Joan asks me to make a note to check on elbow replacement
  • 8:34 - Joan ruins my colon picture with a giant circular squiggle (aka: blight) meant to represent the belly button, but which actually represents her disdain for my artistic endeavors
  • 8:38 - A previously unseen student straggles in on day 3 (DAY 3!)
  • 8:39 - Notice that "Teeth" isn't in class
  • 8:40 - Class gets off to a roaring start
  • 8:45 - Joan's diagram complains of shoulder pain. Joan says that this is due to Trigger Points. I think it's because he doesn't have any arms.
  • 8:50 - Disagreement on inflammation and the use of ice and heat causes Joan to use the word "spastic" in its proper usage and by its clinical definition
  • 8:51 - Lost my pen!
  • 8:54 - Learn that the first step in Trigger Point massage is to find the trigger point
  • 8:55 - Agree to make a note to remember the muscle diagram for Tuesday
  • 9:00 - Find pen during "Are we going to the clinic" debate
  • 9:02 - Make a note to remember the muscle diagram for Tuesday (see above)
  • 9:05 - Realize that I haven't been paying attention to Joan's lecture since 9:00 when I found my pen. Feel a little guilty, but not very much really.
  • 9:10 - PTs want to massage burn and fracture patients. Desperately. Next may want to massage people with fevers and open sores. Also, probably, leprosy
  • 9:12 - I am on page 3!
  • 9:14 - PTs like to get off-track a lot
  • 9:17 - Joan uses "speed bump" analogy which I think was appreciated
  • 9:19 - Joan starts touching people
  • 9:21-9:24 - Everyone feels volunteer's shoulder "bumps"
  • 9:26 - Better or worse are both good apparently
  • 9:28 - Everyone fermu danishes
  • 9:30 - Joan passes out papers and is tewaw
  • 9:33 - Just kidding, not tewaw
  • 9:34 - Really tewaw

Joan's Class II - 06/25/06 - Introduction to Massage. etc.

  • 10:10 - Class officially begins. I think Joan is worried about filling two hours. Sidenote: the lady from the Maternity Hospital is kind of annoying
  • 10:15-10:20 - Take pictures. Get off my back, Joan
  • 10:20 - I got nothing here...
  • 10:25 - Adult Rehab Center = ARC, Children's Rehab Center = CRC
  • 10:29 - Joan decides to teach massage in the context of back and shoulder pain. I hope she needs to practice. On me
  • 10:34 - I am tired. I need to take a nap
  • 10:35-10:43 - Take more pictures. I hope they turn out
  • 10:45 - Why is today's list/notes so boring? Don't know, but vow to find out
  • 10:53 - Person on bench turns around to view muscle diagram; accidentally makes a "fart" noise at which point Joan goes silent. Coincidental, but humorous
  • 10:55 - Tennis Elbow discussion. Joan asks "Well, are they really playing tennis?" I think "No. They had better sit this one out..."
  • 11:00 - Joan ends class
  • 11:01 - Student asks for free massage

There you have it. Three hours of my life in summary form.

By the way,

fermu danishe = welcome, sit

tewaw= finished


Every Vote Counts

OK. Now's the time!

Vote for your favorite Big Brother All-star.

Seriously. Do it.

Vote for Janelle or Will or Janelle and Will if you so choose.

But, if I catch you voting for "Bunky," Ivette or Mike "Boogie," I will hunt you down. I mean really, grown men calling themselves Bunky and Boogie. It's just not right, people, it's just not right.

And don't get me started on Ivette...

Is it sad that I'm so excited to watch this show this summer?

Eight Days

Exciting things that have happened in the last 8 days (in no particular order):

1) Went to the bazaar in the mid-day sun and almost died of heat exhaustion (thanks to Lucy)

2) Went with a Kurdish friend to talk to another Kurdish friend's father about the latter Kurdish friends desire to marry his dad's new wife's sister; mostly "listened"

3) Was bitten by first Kurdish friend in #2

4) Said "Xwa Hafiztan" to D and J who left the country and headed back to the USA

5) Drew picture of the human colon for Joan's class

5) Was introduced to a Kurd who told me that people say "F*** your mother" to him all the time because he wants to be a rapper, found it very hard to believe

6) Had some saffron ice cream

7) Spent a whole day in bed thanks to #1 and the effect #2 had on my beauty rest

8) Celebrated Ernie's birthday

9) Bought some new shirts at the bazaar (see #1)

10) Made a list of things I did over the past eight days

11) Watched a little World Cup

12) Checked my e-mail

13) Did not go to Vegas with my family

14) Began reading Arabian Nights

15) Visited one of Saddam's prisons here. "Drove" a tank


Shattered Dreams

I think that this picture clearly represents Chicken fingers, no? And when hung above a restaurant one would assume that said restaurant served chicken fingers, yes? Why else would a restaurant hang a picture of chicken fingers above their counter?

Well, I can tell you that there are no chicken fingers in Kurdistan. None. Zero. In fact, these three lame little fingers are the only three in the whole of Iraq. Unless the US military is serving them, and they are certainly not serving them to me.

I didn't really expect chicken fingers from this restaurant, though. I know better than to believe the pictures on the signs. I learned this lesson the hard way from the restaurant with the picture of the shaved turkey bagel sandwich on it. Yeah, no bagels in Kurdistan either.

That one stung a little I have to say. I asked "do you have what is pictured on the sign!?!" "Oh, of course we do! I'll bring it right to you."

Apparently by "bagel", they meant bun and by "shaved turkey" they meant weird chicken sausage.

I keep asking my friends if bagels exist here and they all say no, but I keep plugging away at it. How does a civilization make it this far without bagels?

But, back to chicken fingers. I knew that chicken fingers were too exotic to be found here, but I wanted to take this picture to share with you all at home. So next time you are enjoying chicken fingers (Nikki), think about me. In Kurdistan.

Licking the chicken fingers sign.


For Kate

This one is for Kate. I stole it from the same website as yesterday's post:

Fruit by the Foot
Submitted by Michaelanne Petrella
The new Fruit by the Foot variety pack has three kinds in one box—strawberry, berry tie-dye, and "color by the foot." Each piece has a serrated "squiggly fun" line down the center, allowing you to pull the fruit (fruit? i guess it's fruit) in half and eat each side at different times. Color by the foot is a bad name for a flavor—it sounds like I'm eating foot-flavored crayons—so they put an asterisk next to it on the box that tells you it's "naturally rainbow punch flavored." I've never had rainbow punch, but I'm guessing that it consists of cherries, bananas, star fruits, raisins, peanuts, and onions. It looks trash-colored and makes my teeth hurt. I ate four boxes in two days.

And, in real news, it is exactly 4 weeks from tomorrow that I head out of town. Back to the USSR, so to speak.

Well, that really doesn't make sense, now does it? I mean, I've never actually been to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and, let's face it, I think my chance has passed.

So pretend I didn't use that poor pop culture reference and insert this where that was: Born in the USA. I think Springsteen will make everyone forget about the other one.

Oh, FYI, we moved a refrigerator into our office today because we are hillbillies. I think in Kurdistan, they call the "hillbillies" Arabs, but that just seems mean. I would rather degrade the hillbillies.

I've never actually met an Arab but I think they consist of cherries, bananas, star fruits, raisins, peanuts and onions.


Worthy of a Post

So, I haven't posted in a week. Yeah, I know, I know. You are all desperate to read about my exciting life and I am letting you down with my slothfulness.

Well, read THIS to tide you over. I think you'll all enjoy it, but especially Sis and Vanessa. So, I hope you're reading, Sis and Vanessa!



10 Reasons why living in Kurdistan is better now than it was in January:

  1. White Cheddar Cheez-Its
  2. Applesauce
  3. Heinz ketchup
  4. Apple Biskrem
  5. Bakery cookies that taste like cookies and not like stale biscuits
  6. Log Cabin freakin' maple syrup!
  7. Butterscotch Snack Packs
  8. Tuna Fish in brine versus sunflower oil
  9. Rainbow chip frosting
  10. Locally bottled bottled water (see? I support my local economy, too)

I'm not all about consumerism, but, dang, America. Get on the ball. There are stores full of German, Turkish, Chinese and Iranian crap here. Where's the American crap?


Kurd Kills Employer

Oops. Did I say kill? I meant "helps."

The above photo is of our very own cook, D-Dog, giving a massage to one of the American ladies here. I won't publish the name of the victim - not even the fake name - to protect the innocence of the victim, but the story goes like this:

"One minute she was standing by the chair giving me a 'massage' and the next thing I knew she was up on the chair. I just kept thinking 'this can't last forever.'"
-The Victim

The other two ladies on the team saw this all go down, so, of course, they came to the victim's aid.

Lady #1 laughed so hard she almost peed herself, and Lady #2 took the picture you see above.

As for me, I must have been napping or something because I missed the whole thing!