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Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.
Thanks to silky for the inspiration for this diary...although he gets credit for that part, if it falls short of expectations, the fault lies entirely with your humble author.  (I promised him I'd get him off the hook for this.)  Follow me over the Orange Whimsy Of Pleasure for more......

In a diary earlier this week, the question of sheets came up.  Bedding, specifically, in case you're wondering.  You know........
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as in........
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And someone, whom I shall not name again, mentioned a mint on the pillow.  That got me to thinking of the things that make us feel pampered and special.  A mint on the pillow will do it, especially if it's one of these....
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Those are my personal favourite.  I used to serve them at dinners we hosted as the final touch to a good meal. I prefer my mints slightly chilled and not on a pillow. Tried that once.  Made a gawdawful mess.  Felt pampered, just..messy.

The world has become a deeply stressful, angry place for so many of us.  We worry about the future, we deal with the present, and try to keep our balance as the world changes around us on an almost daily basis.  How do we manage to keep our sanity in the face of a world going madder by the day?

If we're smart, we pamper ourselves from time to time.  We take care of ourselves and each other in ways great and small that make our inner world healthy enough to deal with the outer world.  If we are getting proper rest, nutrition and care, there is nothing we cannot do out in the bigger world.  Or, as one wit so eloquently put it:

All I ask is:
A little sun, a little food, and every now and again...just a little.
What that "little" is depends on what you want.  For some, it's fifteen minutes of peace and quiet, without another living creature demanding attention.  Or, time to finish reading at least one chapter of a current book.  My housemateHe likes time to watch one of the DVR'd programs he doesn't share with his lady wife, or a sporting event he has recorded that she cannot jinx. (That's a story for a different time.)  I know some people who want a day of fishing, whether they catch fish or not.  Others prefer a walk in the great outdoors, or puttering in the garden. Anything that is not specifically work, but which renews the spirit, lifts the heart, or otherwise makes us feel re-energised is considered my humble view.

When I was still out in the working world and stressing over things that landed on my desk, my way of coping was champagne bubble baths.  The champagne went into a cooler; Calgon went into the bath.  A few candles, some seriously sensuous music, and time to relax and unwind and shut off the demands of the day or week.  I treated myself to one bubble bath a week, which was sacrosanct.  The only thing that ever interfered was a thunderstorm...I'm not crazy about the idea of electrocution in pursuit of a simple pleasure!

One afternoon at work, I mentioned that I needed to pick up a bottle of Mumm (my favourite at that time) and get it chilled.  Colleagues wanted to know what the special occasion was.

"No special's Thursday.  I get my champagne and bubble bath tonight."


What follows is a slightly abridged version of the ensuing conversation.  I've left out almost all the extra reasons people had for not pampering themselves from time to time, including the one that really got my goat: My (spouse) won't: let me, like it, go along with it, let me.  Bollocks to that!  Spouses are partners, in my view.  Denying a loved one a bit of pampering has never crossed my mind; quite the opposite in fact.  A pampered loved one, is a happy loved one.  Especially if they're not expecting it.

"I.  get.  my.  champagne.  and.  bubble. bath. tonight."
"Yes.  You've worked here for more than a week; don't you think de-stressing is a good idea?"
"Well, sure, but isn't that a bit...extravagant?"
"For whom?  Not for me...I could do two or three of these a week, but then they'd lose the special factor and pffft!  There goes that."
"Well it must be nice!"
"It is.  And I highly recommend it...or something like it...on a regular basis."

"It's obvious you don't have kids.  When you have kids you can't..."
"Can't what?  Have a life? Have a half hour to yourself?  You don't have to go full Vegas Spa Treatment.  Nor do you have to have champagne, me, it helps.  All you have to do is take some time for yourself; go twiddle your thumbs if that's what works."

"But kids take......."
"Kids take whatever they can get...the darling little beasties think the Universe is theirs to rule.  It isn't.  At some point, we have to teach them to share it.  That means sharing it with their parents and siblings and pets, then with the greater world.  You know as well as I do that most of what you do as a parent is teach.  So if you don't take proper care of yourself, inside and out...what are you teaching your children?"

"Well, we teach them all kinds of things."
"Yes, you do.  And you are effectively teaching them that being a parent sucks:  your life is over, you don't get to do anything you like or anything for yourself, you don't get to take proper care of yourself, and you're a cranky, unhappy parent who yells all the time. Remember...I can hear you on the phone with them.  You're cranky.  So, if you want to teach your children that parenthood doesn't suck....treat yourselves well. Take turns looking after the kids for a half hour so each of you has time alone, to do as you please...without interruption. Trust me.  It will pay off handsomely."

I went back to my office to finish the megapile of crap that had accumulated during lunch.  But I did it with a song in my heart and a smile on my lips.  A few weeks later, one of the people who had been part of the original conversation drifted by my office to pass the time of day.

"Remember what you said about bubble baths?"
"Which thing?"
"The part about needing to de-stress and what we teach our children."
"You were right.  I started taking some time in the evenings for myself.  It surprised everybody, at first, because they're used to one of us always being right there, but they seem OK with it, now.  I managed to finish a whole book!  Took me a week, and it was a short book, but I did it!"
"Good!  How're you feeling?"
"At first it felt weird.  I felt like I should be doing something  instead of reading or whatever.  I'm getting the hang of it, though.  We both are; we trade off nights with the kids a few times a week."
"Practice makes'll get the hang of it...and you won't be so damn cranky all the time.  Now...get the hell out of my office and let me get some work done.  I have to pick up a bottle of Mumm on my way home!"

So....there's the story of me being a bad influence again.  Convinced some people to take care of themselves, pamper themselves and be happy.  It made my work life easier too, since they weren't as grouchy all the time.  I do love it when a plan comes together!

Champagne and bubble baths became only one of the ways I have to pamper myself.  

There others....when I can, I change the linens on the bed as often as possible; I'd do it daily, if I could.  I treat myself to good single malt whisky from time to time....and with the addition of a slightly melted mint, I am in bliss!  There is my favourite ice cream place, where I go to enjoy the absolute decadence of really fine ice cream on a summer afternoon.  There is a beach road I've driven so often I know every curve like a lover's face....and I go there to watch the ocean in all her moods from sunlit and blue to gray and roiling.  And like my lover's face...I love the sea.  There are woolen socks that make my feet warm and cozy in the winter, when the polar vortices are doing their best to freeze me into a popcicle.  There is music that stirs my soul, haunts my dreams, lifts my spirits, or lays me out with pleasure.  Some books are old friends I revisit from time to time...from the treasures of my childhood, like "A Wrinkle In Time" to my favourite by Stephen King, "The Stand"...or a little stroll among poems I like, new and old.  I've spent time in the back garden, in the hammock on a late afternoon, listening to the birds call to each other.  

Anything and everything that lifts the spirits, and gives time to renew ourselves, recharges all the energy we deplete in a busy, harried, hectic world and gives us a chance to be true to our deepest nature....we can call it pampering.  But it makes very good sense, too.

So.  There you have it.  Thanks, silky, I had fun writing this one, even if it took a few turns I wasn't expecting.  You guys would not believe the stuff I left out!!  On second thought...maybe you would. (wicked grin)

Kibitz away in the comments.  You know the rules...the diarist gives a jumping off point; you lot do as you will.  Share your own ways to pamper yourselves, or whatever's on your mind this evening. Punning is allowed and encouraged.  Drop some music, if you're feeling it.  Or pics of your own pleasures.  Whatever strikes your fancy, kids.  Enjoy...above all...enjoy.

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