“I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” – Imelda Marcos
-- Two completely unrelated and most precious friends gave me the plaque and the coffee cup you see in the picture above Both Items read: Life is Short Buy the Shoes. They know me pretty well. Shoes are one of my passions. They don’t have to be expensive, that don’t have to be designer-labeled, they don’t even have to be faddish or popular, they just have to be special.
Here are my criteria – they have to look good on my feet, that’s where I tend to wear them most of the time. They have to make me happy. They cannot hurt to walk in. And if I can find them at a deep discount, I’m in heaven!
The genesis of most passions (some would obsessions) can usually be traced to childhood. I surmise mine stems from the wretched pair of Robin’s Egg Blue (#29 in the big box of Crayola® crayons) patent leather, half inch, Mary Janes I wore on the first day of school in the Second Grade. They were hideous. Oh, the kids on the playground had a field day with those. Even worse? From the cavernous recesses of my mind I think I may have picked them out. Aaaack! It’s easier to blame my mother.
Anyway, I think that was ground zero, both in my abysmal taste and my determination to have pretty shoes for the rest of my life. So far I have. My greatest regret is I didn’t realize early on there were professional shoe repair-ers and I got rid of my ecru-linen pumps. I still mourn them.
Over time my taste has improved and my passion and collection has grown to challenge closets and spousal units. So, be it. I’m not addicted. I can pass a shoe store and not go in. I can peruse a catalog and still not buy. And while a strappy, glass-heeled slipper can still make my mouth water, I’m not ready for rehab yet.
As far as I know, my guilty pleasure doesn’t harm me, offend others, or impact my carbon footprints, and the one’s I leave behind will be gorgeous – with a three inch heel.
“If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted.” – Sir Francis Bacon
-- I spent a lot of time this weekend combing through magazines like Shape, Fitness, and Prevention looking for interesting exercise ideas. Part of my sassy, bon vivant, and effervescent personality is my penchant for seeking out new and different things. Translation: I bore easily.
Lately, just trudge, trudge, trudging on the treadmill or even around my neighborhood has, become (yawn) pretty routine and downright dull. Funny, that tedium/boredom coincides with my body’s rather abject refusal to lose one more pound or give up one more inch. Arrrgh! The scales won’t budge and the measuring tape won’t either. While I take some comfort that neither one is increasing, I need to see some progress. It’s what spurs me on.
According to everything I read (I know, I might see more results if I moved more and read less) body’s get bored too – they need a change every once in a while. So this week I’m giving the recumbent bike a shot. And I’ve added some ankle weights to my leg lifts. I must be doing something right because now I have aches and pains in all sorts of new and different places. Progress!
I guess the moral of the story is if something’s not working for you maybe it’s time to rethink our methods, change things up. Hmmm… perhaps that applies to more than just exercise, you think?
I was thinking yesterday, “I really need some time at the beach.” Ever feel like that? Like you just want to get away somewhere, off by yourself, away from middle-east unrest, soaring gas prices, the latest updates on the meltdown of Charlie Sheen…
Personally, I find reality decidedly overrated. Call me an ostrich, but every once in a while a good round of head-burying is in order. Bring on the sand! Having enjoyed the beaches of Southern California, Mexico, and the Caribbean, I can attest they make ideal reality-avoidance centers.
Yep, those ostriches have the right idea. Hide out. Although, some say they don’t really hide in the sand. According to Roman writer Pliny the Elder when ostriches want to avoid their problems, i.e. predators, they hide in the bushes. My luck, there’d be chiggers.
Nowadays, researchers say the flightless birds don’t hide at all, in bushes or sand. Instead, they lie on the ground to make themselves inconspicuous. Tee-hee! I LOVE it!
Yep, that’s what I need to do… find some sand, some surf, stretch out, close my eyes, and get really, really, inconspicuous…
"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away." – Henry David Thoreau
One of the unsung heroes in my life is Vicki Robertson – a high school friend of mine who was even shorter than I was which meant that in Drill Team she always stood a little in front of or right beside me. Whenever I forgot a move or lost my place or panicked, I could look to Vicki and catch up. The only reason the Fullerton Indians stayed in formation is I wasn’t just a few inches taller.
See it wasn't so much that I was marching to a different drummer, I just couldn't seem to keep up with the ones I heard. I was thinking how blessed I’ve been to always have a Vicki in my life. Someone who does something really well, sets a good example, and doesn’t mind showing others exactly how it’s done.
Having majored in Trial and Error and degreed in Hit or Miss, I appreciate it when life sends along a shortcut – gives me a model, shows me the way. I’ve always said I may not be a great cook but I can follow a recipe. A friend tells me I’m “coachable”. Maybe. But if I am it’s only because I’ve had the pleasure of working with some super benovelent and dynamite coaches.
We always take for granted the things the come easily for us. The talents and skills that are effortless. But to someone struggling to keep up? Those talents are golden!
“Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last. Just kicking down the cobblestones. Looking for fun and feelin' groovy” – Paul Simon
Something very, very unusual happened this morning. Rex the puppy woke me up at 5:00 a.m. No, that’s not unusual, that’s a given. I haven’t set an alarm since his arrival in my life six months ago – no, what was unusual is he woke up, uh, calm.
Normally, the first thing he does when I let him out of his crate is bound up on the bed and start to, for lack of a better word, wrestle. He’s forty pounds of solid muscle and energy is his long suit. I virtually have to tackle him to get his leash on him and this has become one of his favorite games – prolonging me from completing this task for as long as possible. We call the game “Bedroom Football.”
I don’t know all the correct terms for ordinary football but our morning ritual always includes “unnecessary roughness” and “flag on the play.” Rex calls all the plays and has mastered the hurry up offense.
But this morning, for some inexplicable reason, he layed down beside me, licked my hand and went to sleep. Long enough for me to sing him most of Simon and Garfunkle’s 59th Street Bridge Song. And long enough for me to remember that sometimes we move too fast. In less than a minute he was up and at ‘em again, a tour de force of hungry puppy power. Moment over.
As I fed him his doggie breakfast I thought how quickly that magical connnection passed. The good ones usually do. And I was reminded that when it comes to those great bonding moments – with your dog, your mate, or your very best friend, we need to make the morning – and the moment – last.
For the first time, researchers have found that laughter causes the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels, to dilate. This increases blood flow which, of course, is good for overall cardiovascular health.The message is clear, and economical. "I think it would be reasonable for everybody to loosen up, and spend about 15 to 20 minutes a day laughing," said lead researcher Dr. Michael Miller, M.D. Director of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Apparently the good Doctor and a lot of other brainiacs have documented what little kids have always known – life is pretty funny stuff, funny stuff makes you laugh, and laughing is a lot of fun! And kids do it constantly – about 300 times a day. And then we grow up. And then we mature. And then we stop – if not altogether, we slow down to an average rate of about fourteen laughs a day.
I was reminded yesterday how important it is to laugh at least fourteen times a day. It’s good for you physically, psychologically, emotionally. All sorts of studies have proven that laughter heals. Stuff way over my head about T-cells, cellular repair and regeneration. I DO get the bottom line: Giggling is good stuff.
One of my dearest friends on this planet or any other has been battling cancer since Christmas. His daughter emails us almost every night with a progress report. I am always moved when the report includes comments like: “Per usual, Dad had all the Doctors and nurses laughing…” His own laughter is healing him. And with his humor, he is healing us.
The only thing I can think of better than laughing fourteen times a day? Making fourteen other people laugh. So thank you, all you precious people in my life that make my cheeks hurt and my stomach ache from giggling. Bless you. And, keep up the good work!
Poltergeist -- A poltergeist is a phenomenon in which disorder occurs without explainable cause, usually indoors and in the presence of people. Such disorder typically includes inanimate objects. – Wikipedia
I am not the best at keeping track of my things. My Dad used to call it my lack of discipline. As I’ve matured I’ve dismissed that. I don’t lack discipline; I have a problem with possessions of mine wandering off from where I placed them.
This morning it was the cap to my favorite purple Uniball® rolling writer fine point pen. The ink flows nicely. I think it has magical properties. My point is, one would expect to find the cap somehow attached to the body of the instrument. Not the case. It disappeared.
To give you an example of how long this phenomenon has plagued me, years ago when I left a former employer, my boss presented me with a cigar box filled with, you guessed it, a couple of dozen felt tip company pen tops. Now why the ghosts would have spirited away all of those caps from where I put them to one cigar box, I’ll never know. Maybe it was spectral convention time
It just goes to prove my theory that some folks are not disorganized, they just have unseen perturbers that like nothing better than to distract people like me from their intended activities. It this instance the matter was complicated by my own principal of scarcity.
See, the less there is of something the more important it is for me to find it. In this instance, I only have one purple Uniball® and this particular pen is like a wolf; it only has one mate. I’ve tried every cap to every pen in this place to find a surrogate, none of them fit. I’m expecting a pumpkin and some white field mice at any moment.
So if you stop by and see my favorite pen ensconced in aluminum foil, just never mind. I don’t want the ink to dry out. And, everyone knows aluminum foil wards off aliens.
“…she is velcroed to him and won’t leave his side.”
I love words. All of them. Big ones, short ones, easy and impossible to pronounce ones. And I love most of all when I find them used in exceptional ways. The pause and catch your breath ways.
A friend of mine used the expression above in reference to her parents. They've been battling lymphoma. It’s hard to say whether he has been the most valiant, or his bride of fifty plus years. But they’ve been tackling this event like every other one in their joint life experience, as one.
He’s on his fourth round of chemotherapy in a marathon that began at Christmas. He went from “Uh-oh” to Diagnosis to Treatment like a high performance vehicle – super, super fast. And his utterly devoted companion of some time has been with him every moment.
I haven’t been able to express how touching it has been, seeing the two of them together, even before this medical monster entered their existence.
With the shared history that only good wolves have that mate for life, they are the completers of each other’s sentences, the keepers of each other’s secrets, “getters” of each other’s jokes, and co-conspirators in the mystery of life.
As difficult as this adversity has been, how awesome it must be when you can go through it in lock-step with the hooks to your loops.
Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" (in ethnic English tradition, Shrove Tuesday), referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday – Wikipedia -
Whoops! I thought every day was Mardi Gras!
Truth be told, I’ve had my share of celebratory feasting. Bring on the rich, fatty foods! There is just something about the whole philosophy "tomorrow we’ll get real serious but today let’s play" that’s resonated with me since the crib.
In college I was the notorious instigator of late night forrays to the pizza parlor or pie shop. (Or both!) I was wickedly persuasive, convincing my dorm mates that we could always study extra hard tomorrow, and that the “moment”, the very one we were in, was the ideal moment to play, maybe the last one we'd have for a while!
Those that know me well know I can be as serious as the next fellow. In fact I’d say I have somber, reflective and pensive down to an art form. But more and more I am convinced the evidence is compelling. If we look around and really take in all of the gifts we’ve been given – the sights, the sounds, the abundance, and the chance to love and be loved?
“Out of the strain of the doing, into the peace of the done” -- Julia Louis Woodruff
I’ve been thinking a lot about to do lists. A friend of mine recently told me her greatest satisfaction came from creating a to do list each day and then crossing off each item as it was completed -- gave her a “sense of accomplishment”, she said.
I like to do lists too. But here’s what the process of creating one becomes for me:
1) get inspired to write about accomplishments 2) search on-line for images of women creating to do lists 3) spend way, way, way to much time browsing images 4) become distracted by really cool website on bucket lists 5) find another site with a list of a thousand lists 6) …three hundred and seven, three hundred and eight 7) snap out of it and pick image 8) start blog post
My point is, for the “easily distracted”, to do lists are great – it’s the staying focused on each task that’s problematic.
I guess it’s why I haven’t really formalized my bucket list. My list of things to do before I die is scattered everywhere, in files and formats, on spread sheets and in shoeboxes, scrawled on sheets of notebook paper, post it notes® and facial tissue, matchbook covers and cocktail napkins. And always, always running in my head.
I, too, love the sense of accomplishment that comes from checking something off the list. But not nearly so much as discovering and imagining all there still is to add to it!
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.’ – Dr. Suess --
I marvel at my son Rex’s straight-forward approach to life. On our walk this morning I noticed how whenever he meets someone new, fur-bearing or human, he marches right up to them, tail wagging. If in three seconds they do not respond in kind, he moves along.
(For the purposes of this post we won’t go into his response when greeted in a menacing manner).
Suffice to say, he initiates all encounters by putting his best foot forward, well, all four of them. Past that, he seems particularly content with the handful of folks that are particularly content with him.
He has an assuredness of self I really admire. He’s comfortable in his own dogskin. A recovering people-pleaser, I envy him that contentedness. While I'm no longer in traction from doing double back flips to win over others, I still bow and curtsy more than necessary.
It’s an artform this getting-along-with-others business. And the trick may be in knowing just when to move along.
"Every calling is great when greatly pursued" – Oliver Wendell Holmes --
George Vernon Hudson was an entomologist. A bug studier. A pretty famous one. He was also an artist and designed stained-glass windows. Oh, and he also worked at the post office, when he wasn’t out exploring New Zealand.
George thought if only there were more hours in a day he could would have more time, or at least more daylight, to pursue his varied hobbies and interests. Like insects. So he proposed the idea. Voila! Daylight Savings.
I take great comfort in reviewing Hudson’s career path. Here’s a guy who grew up on a farm and had a passion for playing with bugs. While I can’t relate to his particular predilection, I can appreciate having one thing you want to do all the time – that’s always on your mind. That you wish you had more time for, more hours in the day.
I can also relate to his less-than-straight-as-an-arrow career path. What an obvious flow from bug lover to artist, designer to astronomer, explorer to innovator.
It shows me all roads, while they may not lead to Rome, lead you right where you ought be.
And that there is no straight path, or right path, just the one we’re on. However crooked or contorted in may appear, something great will come from it. Whatever your passion or calling.
“The pig and the chicken were on their way to breakfast, trying to decide what to have, when the chicken said, “Let’s have ham and eggs.” The pig then replied, “That’s fine for you, it’s a small donation on your part, but it’s a total sacrifice for me.” – Fable
In light of local and world events I am reminded once again that life experience is a relative thing. My dear friend Joe Mac likes to say : “If that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, then that’s the worst thing.”
All I know this morning as I prepare once again to go on my usual morning walk, as I usually do, is how utterly “uninterrupted” my life is. I am able to get up and do what I choose to do, how I want to, and when I want to.
I am blessed beyond measure. Something that simple. Uninterrupted.
As I walk I will be counting my blessings. It light of the disasters of Japan and awful circumstances that have befallen so many, I have a lot to count. I can’t walk far enough.
Disaster relief donations may be directed to the Salvation Army by texting JAPAN to 80888 --
“May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far” – Irish Blessing
I’ve been in glasses since the second grade when I realized I couldn’t make out the street numbers on the house across the street. That made me “near-sighted”, I could only see well really, really close up.
One of the grand pleasures of – hmm – I can’t say growing up, as I haven’t, or aging (such an awful word) let’s say with the passage of time my up-close vision has deteriorated as well. As a friend remarked: “How are you supposed to put in your contact lenses when you can’t even see them!’
So I’m back in glasses with three ranges of vision so I can see up close, far away and in between. Now if only there were corrective lenses for the other kind of sight – the foresight/insight type.
I’ve mastered hindsight – everything is perfectly clear in my rearview mirror, but I still can’t quite make out the stuff ahead of me.
This morning when Rex and I were out walking, it didn’t really matter how good our vision was. It was foggy -- really blurry and still pre-dawn. We couldn’t see ahead of us at all. I believe the celts call that the “gloaming.” No, we couldn’t see in front of us, but what we could see, right where we were, was beautiful.
“It’s opener there in the wide open air. Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you. And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.” – Dr. Suess
I’m not really certain when exactly puppy Rex figured out the mommy-takes-a-walk bit. But early on he decided this was definitely a I-want-to-go-too thing. It’s gone from a once in a while, to an often, to a count on it kind of thing. Now his excitement each morning is uncontainable.
I may not get all a tingle lacing up my walking shoes, but Rex is beside himself. I may waver in my determination to set out; his resolve is unequivocal.
As he hurtles through the garage door, usually I have it opened in time, he does a one, two, three bound out and into the open air. Then, he turns back and looks at me with his “Is this great or what?” enthusiasm and urges me on out and along on our hike.
Unbridled enthusiasm for the wonders this new day shall bring.