Monday, January 31, 2011

Shoes...why hast thou forsaken me?

When it gets right down to it, I have defective feet. To add insult to injury, I've also got really bad luck. 

Plus I'm cheap.

When you add all those factors together, I often end up wishing I could afford a live-in foot masseuse. 

I have one pair of dress shoes (purchased right before Christmas) which created blisters so severe that I had open sores on my feet for a week and a half. (This happened BOTH times I wore them. Yes, I believe in giving shoes a second chance even if it's clear that it's an abusive relationship from the get go.)

Although the dress shoes were a bit of a bummer, I can live with the loss. But when it comes to my new hot pink Converses (is it legitimate to make the word "Converse" plural?) - I'm devastated.

Here's the problem. They don't come in half sizes - at least not at Academy. I was about to get the size 8, when David looked at them in my hand and said: "Is that really your shoe size??" Well, no - the truth is that my shoe size doesn't exist. (That's why almost nothing fits.) I'm actually between size 7 and size 7.5 and between a narrow and medium width. Typically I get a 7.5 M because I hate tight shoes (who doesn't, right?). I have to admit that the size 8 sneakers did look a bit odd although they were cooooommmmfy. 

Long story short...I went for the size 7's. The second I took them off this evening I felt my feet breathe a sigh of relief and realized that - YET AGAIN - I've purchased a pair of shoes that doesn't fit correctly. 

And of course, I discover this after walking in them for 2 miles outside. Because it would have made WAY too much sense for me to realize this in the store. Before I paid for them. 

Here's the bright side - they were on clearance for $14.88. Have I mentioned that I usually make my worse shoe decisions when I'm buying them on sale? 

I'm keeping these in my wardrobe rotation - they're too great for me to hide them away. If I'm especially fussy one day, just look at my feet. If you see me wearing these shoes, you'll know why.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On a Tear

Here's the good news - I'm not blue or melancholy this week.

Here's the bad news - I'm getting pissed off at the drop of a hat. And it seems to me that people are dropping hats all over the f*&%*ng place.

For the last few days I've been getting into mini-spats with my significant other. We don't usually do that. I'm not making a judgment about whether that's a good thing or bad thing (some people might claim that it's indicative of the fact that we are too cautious around each other) but it's the truth that we rarely fight. This week, however, I've found myself getting ready to holler over issues which are rather minor, in the big scheme of things. Not just with him - but with EVERYONE. They're all out to get me, it appears.

As proven this morning.

A mere hour before I sent my children to school, the weather "forecasters" said that a cold front would be coming in at lunch or early afternoon but until then the weather would be quite Texas-y. My son goes to recess at 9:30 a.m. I figured that he'd be safe since the front wasn't supposed to come in until LUNCH. Oh, no....I get to work at 7:40 or so in the morning and by the time normal human beings arrived at work, I heard from them that it was already viciously cold. All I could think about was that my baby was going to be out at recess with NO COAT.

I was so mad at the idiot weather people that I jumped up and down in the hallway with my fists clenched. You think I'm just trying to give you a visual by offering a literary hyperbole, but I'm not. I literally jumped up and down. And my fists were tightly clenched. I'll give you a minute to process the mental image of a 39-year-old professional behaving like your 2-year-old niece because of weather unpredictability.

Have you processed? So we're ready to move on? Ok, then.

After my weather temper tantrum, I went into a co-worker's office and said: "You know, I've been mad about everything this week." She proceeded to ask me if I thought I should get on anti-depressants because a friend of hers got such bad road rage that she was afraid she'd hurt someone.

After a brief moment of meditation, I indicated that this anger was actually a rather odd thing for me and I figured I'd be ok without the meds at this point.

I checked email for a few hours and then proceeded to get all infuriated with someone else a few hours later for reasons that are extraordinarily irrelevant. As I sang my way through that bout of anger, it dawned on me that this anger thing isn't actually new for me. The anger has always been there. myself permission to feel the anger and sort of roll around in it for a while like a puppy in pile of dirty towels?  Now that's a new thing.

A really new thing.

And may I just say that every therapist who's ever seen me (don't ask how many, please) since I was 18 years old would be thrilled that I experienced a week where I let myself get a bit pissy.

Having said that...and therapeutic recovery aside...I recognize that it's time I got over my little episode. I'm heartened by the fact that when I told my husband I realized I'd been especially angry this week he looked at me with confusion and told me he hadn't noticed.

That either means (1) I've still got a long way to go in expressing my anger, (2) we're really out of touch with each other, or (3) my kids ended up feeling the brunt of my anger this week. I'm not sure I like any of those options but I like (1) better than (2) or (3).

Did I mention we have a date night tomorrow night? My husband and I - not my kids and I.

I haven't yet decided what personality I'll wear. It's an almost more interesting choice than the shoe options.

Note: A mere 30 minutes after this post, I discovered this video - which matches my mood so well and shows you EXACTLY why Sara B is my favorite singer. I think my goal is to get in touch with that kind of fun-loving expression of anger. How can you not adore someone who covers Cee Lo with such charm? I'm only bummed that we weren't treated to the F*** YOU cover at the Austin performance. Oh, well. This is my new happy mash-up.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Popular Music and Firearm History

My daughter started listening to the popular music radio station recently. Here's the funny thing, although it seems to annoy my husband (or maybe he just enjoys giving her a hard time about it) - I really like it. I've even started listening to it when she's not in the car. She showed me the video to Katy Perry's song Firework and I simply adore that video. I cry every time I watch it. (Which makes my daughter roll her eyes, but I still think she appreciates the fact that I'm not a complete dork when it comes to popular music.)

My son's enlightened me as well. I was reading Fall of Giants (wonderful, wonderful, fabulous book by the way) when I came across a reference to the fact that during WWI the soldiers used wet cloth to keep the barrels of the big guns (I know "big guns" isn't the technical name, but bear with me here) cool so that the barrels wouldn't warp and screw up the trajectory of the bullets. I called my son in to ask him if he'd heard about it. He took a deep breath and gave me a quite interesting history lesson for about 20 minutes about that topic and other gun-related topics. He spends all his spare time reading books about the military and watching shows like Lock-n-Load. Needless to say, he's got an impressive amount of information stored away in his brain.

The cool thing is that my kids are now old enough that I really can learn stuff from them. I mean, I'm learning cold hard facts on a daily basis. And I love it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I've been going to a lot of meetings lately about the upcoming Texas Legislative Session. In case there are any non-Texans reading this, I should explain that the Texas legislature only meets once every two years and we're required to have a balanced budget. We're also facing a bit of a money crunch. Not as bad as other states are facing, of course [**cough, California, cough**] - but cuts will be made. There's no way around it.

My natural inclination is to get pretty upset about the fact that Texas schoolchildren and Texas children on Medicaid and CHIP (the constituencies I've supported professionally for almost a decade) are almost certainly facing cutbacks. But...this time around...I decided to bypass my anger and be a bit more philosophical about it.

I think that Americans are great because our ancestors really worked their butts off to create a good life. Whether you're talking about Africans who were brought over to a horrible life but managed to etch out a vibrant and joyful culture or Irish who came from starvation and flourished to the point of almost becoming the "normal" culture, we all come from pretty tough stock. No matter where we came from, we owe a debt of gratitude to our ancestors for their amazing stamina and hard work.

I wouldn't trade that American stamina for anything. And yet - I've realized that a side-effect of that American stamina is that we expect people to "boot-strap" themselves up more than other Western cultures might expect. I would argue (and I know this is indicative of my Texas-centric point of view) that Texans are even more prone to extreme individualism than the average American bear. (So to speak...)

I know what you're thinking - I'm about to get political here. You're wrong.

In order for me to be political about this issue, I'd have to take a position - and I'm truly and honestly pondering these ideas.

Do I want our schools to have more support? Of course I do. But this whole mental exercise forced me to recognize that Texas takes this hands-off attitude because of where we came from. I'm not saying it's right but I'm also not saying it's wrong. Heck, my dad and brother are entrepreneurs - amazing ones. I feel the pull of entrepreneurship myself. I value that American/Texan attitude of "just leave me be and I'll figure it out myself."

So, really...I'm just asking the do we continue to value that spirit while finding the right level of boost for our kids?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Buried in Books

First I moved my book reviews to a different page on this blog. Now, I've started a new blog altogether with my daughter where we can both write about the books we're reading. It's actually rather comical how quickly and how much we read. If there was some way for us to make a living reading, we'd be wealthy beyond all measure.

If you're curious - here's the link:

I think it's going to be one of those exercises that's good for me but difficult because we both have to respect each other's right to express ourselves in our own way but still coordinate our efforts.

Wish us luck...