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November 28, 2007

If the Shoe Fits

It's no secret that women love shoes.  Even my girls have loved them from a very young age, so I tend to believe that there is something genetic about it.  I can always browse for shoes even when I don't necessarily 'need' a new pair.  I used to like having a variety of shoes and being on a limited budget, usually opted for Payless to get more bang for my buck.  Since getting a little older and the bod is a bit more worn and haggard than it used to be, I am finding that shoes (along with vehicles) now serve the one purpose: functionality. 

No longer can I be bothered wearing shoes that hurt my feet just because they are cute.  With that, however, comes a larger price tag.  The shoes that are best for your feet (your back, your knees, your posture, the list goes on) aren't the cheapest.  Good reason for it, I suppose.  Therein lies a quandry: less money to spend on myself these days, but certain things are really necessities more than anything.  If I am limping around in pain, NOBODY in my family is going to like it, trust me. 

Over the summer, I invested in several pairs of Crocs (flip flop variety included).  I was not disappointed.  I was comfortable and as a side benefit, I had no smelly sandals with which to contend.  My Crocs will therefore survive more than one season, a feat (chuckle) in itself.  However, now it's getting chilly, and my ventilated shoes of choice aren't going to suit me for outdoors.  So I did my research, and decided to splurge (for the sake of my family, of course).

This, my friends, is my new favorite shoe of all time.

Dansko Shoes

They are a bit pricey, and in fact they are honestly the most I have ever spent on a pair of foot coverings, but they are worth every single penny (if you feel the need, I did include a link to them on zappos.com - just click on the picture).   Wow.  Just like the feeling I had when I was able to sample an extremely expensive bottle of wine...sometimes things are priced more for a reason.  It's amazing how good a person can feel when they have a really good pair of shoes on their feet.  And the added bonus to these?  They actually look great, too!

Now I know I definitely need a job so I can support my shoe habit.  Once I can financially justify it, these puppies are mine in black!

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November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you are anything like me, you are in full holiday preparation mode, complete with doing as much food prep ahead of time as you can.  Speaking of which, let me go off on a tangent.  If you like to cook even a fraction as much as I do, please do me one favor?  If you bake any pies, please make your own pie crust from scratch?  It's really so easy and SO SO SO worth it.  Why bother making all of the inside so yummy if you don't take extra care of the outside?  If you need it, here is the recipe I started with: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Best-Ever-Pie-Crust/Detail.aspx

If you know me well enough, you will know that recipes are just guidelines for me.  I always change stuff, and I can't really tell you what I change, because often it's different each time.  In any case, this is the 'base' and you can read the Allrecipes comments to get suggestions on things to alter.  But I will tell you with confidence: it's hard to screw it up.  Follow the recipe to the letter, and it will still be fine (but DO chill everything before starting, and that's only listed in a comment).  Believe it or not, it is noticeably different than a store bought version.  Homemade always tastes better and even if you think you can't make it from scratch, oftentimes you will surprise yourself.  It's less risky to try it than to continue to eat the countless chemicals and other crap that is in all the convenience foods.

I digress.

Although I guess not completely.  After all, this is a Happy Thanksgiving post, and usually people associate Thanksgiving with having a big feast, so when a better time to speak about food?  I am really hoping I can continue to cook nutritious and healthy foods for my family when I return to work full time.  No, this isn't an announcement about anything like that, but I know it will happen (part of me will add 'unfortunately' to the end of that sentence).  I just have the fear that I will have less time to cook, but I also know I'm resourceful enough to find a way.  My feelings about food have changed considerably, and I don't see how they could relapse.

Did I go on a tangent again?

Ok, in any case, I hope you and yours have a very happy Thanksgiving.  For the fellow Black Friday crazies, I hope you have a fun day Friday and land all the deals that justify leaving the house before dawn.  Long before the rooster had any inkling to crow (because, you know, that's how WE wake up every day around here, don't you?).  And long before the turkey has even fully digested.

!!!!!!!IT'S HOLIDAY TIME!!!!!!!

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November 15, 2007

Blogiversary

Well, my blog has officially celebrated its 1 year anniversary.  I know lately I haven't been updating it as regularly as I would like, but hopefully that will change soon.  I have been alternating between trying to find a new job, to feeling overwhelmed by the situation.  I try to appreciate the fact that I have extra time that I should be using to do some stuff around the house...and then other times, I feel like curling up into a ball.  It's really a very confusing roller coaster to be on.  In any case, happy 1 year anniversary.

On a different note, I can't believe it's only one week until Thanksgiving.  This time of year is my favorite.  I love Thanksgiving, especially when I have company coming.  Cooking for a large crowd is one of my favorite things.  And then of course comes Black Friday.  I am thinking that ranks right up there amongst my most favorite days of the year.  Ideally, I'm hitting the first store prompty at 5 am when they open, and continue on from there.  I have a list already, so I know most of what I'm getting before I get there.  Then somewhere early afternoon, shopping is wrapped up and it's time for lunch.  After getting back home, it's time to start decorating for Christmas.  Tell me, how much better could a day be???

I hope your holiday preparations are underway, and the holidays are not a huge stressor for you.  I refuse to let holidays stress me out, even this year when I have less income available than ever.  I know I will still have fun doing what I can.  For me, it's about spending time with loved ones and enjoying holiday traditions more than the number of gifts, anyway.

Enjoy the start of this holiday season!!!

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November 02, 2007

Lessons from Solitaire

Since I've been laid off, it's hard to distance myself from my home office: my computer sitting in the center of the house.  These days my time spent on said computer usually revolves around job hunting, other research, reading blogs, typing some emails, and every now and then, I just need to do something else.  So I've been playing Solitaire.

Yeah.  A silly card game on the computer.  The one most widely known and the one you could spot on anyone's glasses when you walked up to them in the office and they were 'busy.'  I play it now just so I can do something that required some use of my brain that wasn't job-centric.  And something that would keep my brain cells firing when at times, they felt like they just wanted to shut down.

The new version that comes with Vista allows you to replay a lost game.  At first I found this quite silly.  I already lost, why would I want to play it again?  Am I a glutton for punishment?  Are you trying to rub failure in my face?

Then I thought about it, no doubt as a result of using my brain cells for something somewhat logical in nature.  What if I could replay the exact same cards differently?  What if the sequence of events led to a completely different outcome?  What if that one time, I turned over a different card when I had two choices: would it really change the overall result?

I consider myself a pretty good card player.  But could I purposefully miss some moves I knew existed to see if it changed my outcome?  I know there are moves that I miss (because I am not perfect), so will it all even out in the end?  The moment the cards are dealt; is that when the ultimate end is decided, or are there choices along the way that change it?

I decided to try it.  My completely scientific results were this:

  • Sometimes, no matter how many times you deal or re-deal the cards, there is no way to change the losing result.
  • However, more often than I expected, you could lose one time, but win the next.  This usually happened with more than one attempt at the same deck, but the point remains the same: if you try something new, you do have a different outcome.
  • And I can only logically conclude that all of the games I did win the first time, I could have just as easily lost as well.

How many cliches have we all heard involving life and a deck of cards?  It's a fabulous metaphor to be sure, but I've never really paid much attention to it before I had the chance to see it in this context, in this phase of my life.

I'm going to be a good card player and believe my next play will be getting me to the win.  After all, it's not like I can re-deal my own deck until I get there.  Or can I?

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