Girl Talk

Shoe Purgatory

I am in shoe purgatory, and I wouldn’t wish it on any woman.

Just like the line in Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” …water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink, I am surrounded by shoes I cannot wear.

shoes, shoes, shoes

Back in October, I tore the meniscus in my left knee.  Fast forward a few months later and I’m wearing running shoes and a knee brace, as I hobble around with a cane, trying my best to avoid surgery.

At a follow-up appointment right before the holidays, I didn’t want to hear the orthopedic doctor’s description of the suggested surgical procedure to “go in and clean things up.”

All I wanted to know was, “When can I wear shoes?”

He pointed to my worn and grimy running shoes and said, “You are wearing shoes.”

“I mean real shoes,” I clarified.  “Women’s shoes.”

“You mean, like, high heels?”  He was finally catching on.  “Oh, you won’t be able to do that for many months.”

“Many months!” I chirped.  “But what about New Year’s Eve?  Can I at least wear shoes on New Year’s Eve?”

He seemed amused that I was so concerned about shoes.  These guys just don’t get it.  He hesitated a moment before shaking his head no.

I tried to bargain with him.  “What about ballet flats?”

“Well…okay.  Flats.  But only for a few hours and then you put the sneakers back on.”

“I promise.”

“When you do eventually start to wear shoes,” he continued, “you’ll need to wear shoes that have a full footprint, that are sturdy, and that don’t have a significant heel.”

So for the time being, I remain in shoe purgatory.

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Mothers and Daughers

Shopping With My Mother

“What other colors does it come in?”

This is how my mother shops for clothing.  When she sees something she likes – be it a blouse, or a particular style of pants, not to mention shoes – she’ll buy it in several different colors.  It’s insanity, I know, but now she’s even got me doing it.  Yes, all I’ve learned about shopping, I’ve learned from my mother.

shopping spree

You’d think living over two hundred miles apart would’ve put a crimp in our shopping expeditions, but it hasn’t.  When I’m home for the weekend, our shopping marathons lead us to fine stores everywhere.  And when she’s visiting me, we often drive up to the outlets in Kittery for a full day of shopping in the great state of Maine.

Then there’s the long distance shopping… I’ll find a voice mail message when I get home at night: “I got something for you today.  It’ll arrive tomorrow by FED EX.”

I’ll call back to tell her, “Thanks Mom, but you didn’t have to do that.”

“I know, but it was so perfect for you – and they were just giving it away.”

“Why’d you FED EX it? I’m coming home in two weeks.”

“I couldn’t wait – I wanted you to have it now.”

When I offer to pay for said item, she flatly refuses.  And I don’t have the heart to point out to her that whatever she supposedly saved on the sale, she’s more than spent on the FED EX charge.

Her other big rationalization for committing what can only be described as consumer carnage is that she wasn’t even looking for this latest treasure.  “I fell over it!” she’ll insist.

She frequents craft fairs, not only to support the local artists, but also to pick up some truly unique, one-of-a-kind items.  She’ll present me with a stunning ceramic bowl or piece of stained glass that’s been stuffed into a shopping bag with bubble wrap and wads of tissue paper.  When I innocently comment, “You didn’t get a box?” she’ll reply, “Box, schmox – he would only take cash – it was tough goin’.”

Despite all the shopping, one of my mother’s greatest gifts to me is not something she purchased, but rather something she taught me.  How to always, always, be generous.

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Life Lessons

How I Got to Red


I only wear red nail polish.  My home décor is a rich palette of ruby, crimson, and wine.  A fiery hue is even splashed across my website.  Red evokes power and passion and I like that.  In kindergarten, the other little girls delighted in adding white paint to the red paint to make pink.  I preferred the red.  When I grew up, I knew I wouldn’t be one of those pink ribbon chicks.

pink ribbon

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I respect and appreciate the pink ribbon for the extraordinary job it’s done to promote breast cancer awareness and support.  That little symbol has raised millions of dollars and prompted countless women to schedule their mammograms.  Make no mistake: the pink ribbon has saved lives.  But the pink ribbon is not enough.  Simply being aware and supportive won’t do.  Not for the breast cancer epidemic.  Not for me.

I’ll stick with my red and that Shakespeare quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “…and though she be but little, she is fierce.”  I am fierce because I am dense.

When I learned that I have extremely dense breasts, I thought this was a good thing.  Like they would stay perky forever.  Turns out having dense breasts renders mammograms less effective.  In fact, more than one radiologist has told me that looking for a tumor in my breasts is like looking for a golf ball in a blizzard.

I’m the cautionary tale and this is my public service announcement.

Several years ago, when a doctor suggested I consider supplementing my mammograms with MRI’s, I was proactive and scheduled both tests for the same day.  The radiologist who reviewed my mammogram images said, “Everything looks great,” and told me to go have lunch and come back in an hour.  The MRI found the cancer cells.  Even though there was no tumor visible in the mammography pictures, and no palpable lump felt upon examination, the MRI detected what needed to be found.  Turns out my cancer cells were aggressive so who knows what would have happened if I didn’t have the MRI when I did.  So yes, I am a breast cancer survivor.  And I am fierce.

When it comes to your health, be proactive and ask questions.  Think of medical testing and treatment options as you would the dessert buffet – whatever they offer, you take it.

I challenge you to be fierce.  You don’t have to wear red nail polish.  You don’t even need to wear a pink ribbon.  Just be fierce.

To learn more about what it means to have dense breast tissue, I encourage you to visit:

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Pop Culture

Man Buns

How did this happen?  When did it happen?  Suddenly everywhere I turn I see man buns.  Men are walking down city streets, sitting in coffee shops, riding the subway to work with their hair up in little ballet dancer buns.

You thought I was talking about their behinds, didn’t you?  No, I’m referring to the troubling men’s hair style that’s recently taken over the pages of magazines and now spilled out into real life.

man bun

Clearly, we were not paying attention when men starting carrying around messenger bags.  Sure they’re big and boxy and “unisex” but make no mistake, they are purses.  If we’d put a stop to the messenger bags when we had the chance, maybe we wouldn’t be dealing with all these man buns now.

I’ll go out on a limb here and publicly state that I do not like the man bun. I barely liked pony tails on men.  Once in a while, just the right pony tail on just the right guy could be sort of badass.  Think Johnny Depp, for example.  But no man will ever look badass with a man bun.  I guarantee it.

I worry what’s next.  Men wearing nail polish?  I’m surprised some marketing genius hasn’t already thought of it.  They could call it “male polish” and all they’d have to do is rename the shades in language men understand.  The darkest shade could be called Guinness.  A silvery metallic would become Chrome Wrench.  And any of the red shades could be renamed NASCAR Red.

All this sounds ridiculous, huh?  That’s the point.

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