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Old stories

My main source of income is classical massage. I drive to customers' homes, and over the years I've established a steady stream of customers. In a way it feels good to have some kind of financial security. Without this much work I couldn't buy all the materials I need for renovating my house. On the other hand, overworking is not good for my mental health, so I have to keep on learning to maintain a better balance. And one small thing is that when I'm working with my customers, I often slip into a role - I mean, being a professional means that sometimes I have to hide my inner feelings. If the customers wants to talk about things I'm not interested in, I will listen to, and give polite replies. I find that being one of the most energy-consuming aspects of my work. For me the easiest is when the customers falls into a deep state of relaxation, being all silent and just enjoying the moment - it also helps me to concentrate on the very moment of being there - I forget about everything else, I lose my sense of time, and focus my attention on my work, finding ways to ease muscular (and emotional) tension of my customer.

There has been a lot to learn with balancing my professional role and inner self. I especially remember one weekend several years ago. I had two customers for traditional blood cupping - it is done inside a sauna, which is heated to +60 °C (140 °F). It takes something like 60 - 90 minutes per customer, all the time inside the sauna. I've learned to cope with the warm temperature, and it is actually a rather nice environment to work in. Well, but just when that weekend started, I got toothache. I knew that I can't get to a dentist during the weekend, so anyway I have to wait for monday. And maybe the pain just goes away if I ignore it. Yeah, maybe. So instead of cancelling I just slipped into my professional role and drove to my customers. Pretty soon I noticed that warmth makes the toothache worse. After the first customer I had a small break for strong black coffee. Every sip of hot coffee felt like a knife cutting through my jaw, face, head, body. I drank two cups of coffee. I cleaned the blood cupping equipment with a disinfection liquid, and went to work with the other customer. After the work was done I sat with the customers, drinking some more of the coffee, listening to their stories and chatting. Monday morning I drove to the dentist. He started to inspect and said that the tooth was broken into two pieces. "This must have been insanely painful.", said the dentist. "Well, a little, yes..." They removed the tooth. But after that I have slowly learned that sometimes I can just cancel my customers if don't feel fit to work. (Or, even, if I want to see a gig of my favorite artist!)

Today I thought that instead of just passively listening to what my customers feel like talking, maybe I could sometimes take a bit more active role, directing the discussion to topics which I enjoy. One of today's customers is an grandmother who is 90 years old and lives alone in her house. She likes it when I sit down to have coffee, and she often tells how things were different in the old times - every house had a lot of people, and it was normal to stop by at the neighbours for no particular reason. But nowadays folks of the neighbouring houses are either dead or moved away. People just drive their cars on the village road, and no-one stops to chat with coffee. Well, her children and grand-children visit there regularly, so luckily she is not completely isolated in her house. I remember that she once mentioned how salted bream was one of her summertime favourites. So, today I asked her more about the salted bream, and soon we had a lively, merry discussion with the coffee, and I got inspired and delighted with what I learned.

In the spring, when the ice is gone, first is pike spawning season. And after that it is season for breams, first the smaller young ones, and later the older bigger ones. They come to shallow waters, and with a well placed fish trap it is possible to catch a bucketload of breams in one day. But how to preserve them? How did they do it in the old times, when they didn't have a freezer? The grandmother demonstrated it with a piece of paper: First remove the scales. Then cut open the stomach of the bream, and cut is so that you can open the fish like a booklet. Place the opened bream into a bucket, skin down and meatside up. Add a lot of salt. The next bream comes on top of the first one, again skin down and meatside up, and a lot of salt. Keep on stacking the breams unitl the bucket is full. She told that they stored the bucket in a cellar or inside the well. (Not in the water, just hanging the bucket underground near the water level.) During the summer salted bream were smoked or cooked in some other way. With a smile on her face the grandmother made a gesture in the air, demonstrating how to pull off the fin of the bream, and then eating the fatty tasty chunk of the fish meat which comes with the fin.

And it is exactly this kind of things I like to learn. I'm already waiting for the pike and bream season to come =)

More or less unrelated, just an another story: Back in the 1997 we were at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, which is the main event of folk music scene in Finland. The place is packed with bands playing nearly everywhere. For families with kids there was a small playground with a sandbox, swings and a slide. And, naturally, there was a band playing there, too. It was music for kids, with a hilarious twist of folk-pop and humour. In addition to the usual guitar solo the band members also threw "a slide solo", each sliding down the slope while playing a solo. Inside a smaller building played Gjallarhorn. And there was also an elegant group called Loituma, and one of the songs they performed was "Ieva's polka". I pretty much liked their interpretation of this traditional tune. I even had a CD containing Loituma's version of Ieva's Polka, and somehow the tune got stuck in my brain. Years later I often found myself humming to the melody. On a warm summer day, I was again humming the melody, and my friend made circles in the air, saying: "I should have a leek in my hand." I was totally confused, until he explained that this is some sort of a youtube meme. "Oh, I didn't know that !"

Then, in Finland we have a habit that whenever there is any band playing anything anywhere, sooner or later someone from the audience is going to shout: "Play Paranoid!". So, here goes; Paranoid's Polka!

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That is a cool story. I wish we were allowed to fish with nets and traps here, but it is illegal to use anything other than a rod and hook! D:

Before my grandfather and my great-grandmother died, we got a bunch of their old stories on cassette tape. I want to digitize them to mp3 and send them out to all the family, but I cannot find a working tape deck that has a line output, haha.


Hehe, good luck in searching. I'm one of the rare people who still has a stereo player with a tape deck. I think it was only a few years after I bought mine, that tape decks went out of fashion. I already decided to hang on to that player for years to come, only for that tape deck. ;)


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