Get the BOOT!

If the name of this blog didn’t make it completely obvious, let me clarify…I have a thing for shoes.

The first emails I open each day are the ones marketing the latest is footwear fashion, and the thing that gets me out of bed and to the office some days is the fact that once I get there, I’m less than a mile from one of my favorite shoe stores.

When we moved into our new house last year, I made a list of all the spaces that needed updating. At the top of that list was my closet, which very clearly was not designed by someone with even a moderately sized shoe collection. I wasn’t satisfied until the new shelving was installed, and I was able to organize my beloved shoe collection by style (open-toe on the left, closed toe on the right), then by heel height (high on the top, low on the bottom), and finally by color (in rainbow order, naturally).

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The BOOT (shown with casual sandal and optional crutch).

Now, I am thrilled to announce that because I am on the cutting edge, I have the privilege of introducing the newest footwear trend, just in time for fall. The BOOT!

It may seem a little rigid at first, but the amazing thing about this new style is you only wear the BOOT on one foot, giving it limitless possibilities.  On the other foot, you use your own unique style.  Try it with a sandal or a ballet flat. An athletic shoe works too, and a sky-high stiletto really makes a statement.

I actually started wearing the BOOT in mid-July after a visit to a local hospital made it obvious this trend was here to stay. Everyone in the waiting room was wearing it. Young people, old people, men, women. With the versatility and the mass appeal, this is one trend I needed to be in on, and I knew there was no way I was leaving that office without a BOOT of my own.

Since I’ve been wearing mine, I’ve noticed the trend becoming even more popular. I’ve seen another woman and a teenage girl sporting their own BOOT at the pool. I’ve also seen a man flaunting his at the grocery store. I’ve even had to pry it off the Young One’s foot a time or two.

I am fully committed to the BOOT. I rarely take it off. It goes with absolutely everything, and every occasion is a BOOT-worthy one. A dinner out with friends?…Wear the BOOT.…Cheering in the stands at a swim meet or soccer game?…Wear the BOOT….Back-to-school shopping?…Wear the BOOT….Coffee on the patio?…Wear the BOOT….  There is no place I won’t go without the BOOT.

It even has some amazing optional accessories. Get the BOOT, and try yours with a matching set of high-quality aluminum crutches, with or without padded arm and hand-grip cushions. You can also consider an upgrade to a self-propelled knee scooter, which really shows off the BOOT and calls attention to the chunky lines and whimsical wrap-around Velcro closures of this up-and-coming style.

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The BOOT (shown with knee scooter upgrade).

Once you start wearing the BOOT, you will notice your own popularity increase exponentially. Complete strangers will stop you on the street, in the office, and even in the parking lot to demand you tell them how they can get one too.

“Oh my goodness,” the office-mate who has never spoken to you before, will gush. “How did you get that?”

Random men on the elevator (which you will now be able to ride from the first floor to the second floor without guilt) will slyly wait for everyone else to exit before whispering, “What did you do to get that?”

In the restroom, while you patiently wait for an able-bodied person to finish their phone conversation in the handicapped stall, women will demand you tell them how much longer you get to wear the BOOT.

You might be inclined to freely share your opinions on how they too can acquire the BOOT, but I recommend vague responses that add to the allure of your BOOT. Otherwise you might get a call from HR outlining the other ways you can spend your time with your BOOT.

Yes, the BOOT is here to stay! I’m not taking mine off until at least Christmas.

Talk to your podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon today, and ask how you too can get the BOOT!

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Misadventures on the High-Seas

When I boarded the Disney cruise ship bound for the Caribbean with the Hubs and the Young One back in July, I knew I was heading out on a memory-making journey and that on the return trip home, I would have a suitcase full of memories and a binder full of blog material.

Before we even left the dock, I was mentally drafting the first installment of my travelogue which I was sure would include vivid re-enactments of dune buggy races, stingray encounters and waterfall adventures. Sprinkled between these would be my first-hand accounts of Disney magic–niCruise1ghtly Broadway-caliber musical productions, five-star meals and creative origami towel creations left with the evening turn-down service.

Of course, Disney did not disappoint. Pixie Dust was in abundance. The Young One was greeted with, “Princess,” at every turn, and our days were crammed with so many activities, sleeping was optional.

Unfortunately, Disney Cruise Lines has very strict rules about not taking the Pixie Dust with you when you leave the ship. “The magic”, the teeny, tiny, extra-small print in the cruise contract explains, “must stay on board.” The burden of memory-making is solely on each guest once they set foot on soil at each port of call.

Cruise2I had confidence in my own magic-making potential when I booked our excursions and happy memories were crafted in Cozumel where the Hubs safely chauffeured us in our very own Dune buggy and where we successfully found Dory on the Young One’s first snorkeling adventure. On Grand Caymen, we swam with stingrays and added our names to the exposed  beams of a sandy bar on the beach.

cruise3In Jamaica, however, I missed a step, and came home with a not-so-cherished souvenir. All three of us has a different version of what happened that day, but each ends in the same result…me with my foot strapped to a splint and shiny aluminum crutches shoved under my shoulders.

The Hubs tells the tale of our “American Football Excursion” in which he blocks for me while I run for the game-winning touchdown. At the five-yard line, the Jamaican linebacker comes out of nowhere, grabs my ankle and brings me down with a twist and a crunch. In true Disney fashion though, I get back in the game, score on the next play, and my team carries me off the field on their shoulders.

I prefer a little less melodramatic story of how I had a “little too much fun” on vacation. It starts with some delightful rum creme splashed into a cup of equally delightful Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee earlier in the morning before boarding the bus to our waterfall excursion at Dunns River Falls in Falmouth. I don’t go into much more detail, but the moral of the story is “rum and stilettos don’t work well together when climbing wet rocky surfaces.”

Cruise4The Young One starts her telling of my accident with, “Momma had to go to the bathroom…AGAIN.” Then she tells anyone who will listen that I was in a hurry…again…and not looking where I was going…again…and completely missed the step at the doorway of the public restroom in the parking lot of Dunns River Falls. “She landed on the top of her foot instead of the bottom,” she says with a roll of her eyes.

She ends her less-than-glamorous version by telling how I cringed when I wedged my swelling foot into the water shoes required for walking up the falls…and how the tour guide had to keep having the rest of the group wait for me…and how I stood on the slippery rocks like a flamingo. “My mom,” she announces, “walked up a waterfall with a broken foot!”

That’s a memory all right.

Because I am generous and like a good story, I will let you pick your preferred version, or better yet, make up one of your own and leave it in the comments.  Be aware, though, I may use it the next time a complete stranger asks me what happened to my foot.

I will, however, leave you with a few very prolific thoughts regarding my misadventures on the high-seas…

First, Disney cruises are amazing and magical and all the things they tell you about in their marketing material. The medical facilities onboard are top-notch, and if you have a mishap either on or off the ship, you will find an extra-special origami creature on your bed along with yummy Mickey Mouse shaped cereal treats. We had a great time, and broken foot or not, we will do another one sometime in the future.

Second, I have a lot of blog material after our vacation, including some surrounding the acquisition of  brand new footwear that will feature prominently in a series of upcoming posts.

Finally, don’t be afraid of visiting Jamaica on your next Caribbean vacation. The chances of you following in my (hopping, limping, dragging) footsteps are slim, but I do have one word of caution…when you go to the beautiful island of Jamaica, please be careful of your fluid intake…the bathrooms are dangerous.

 

 

Speak Up for #CitizenshipForAllAdoptees

Today, several adoptee rights organizations are sponsoring the Adoptee Citizenship Act Day of Action in Washington, DC and around the country in support of The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015, which will amend the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 to provide all intercountry adoptees with the legal protection of U.S. citizenship. It will secure the legal status of older intercountry adoptees, in spite of the failures of the agencies and adoptive parents to complete the naturalization process. Please read the original blog post on Common Ground for more details on this important cause.

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The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA 2000) was passed with the intention of providing automatic U.S. citizenship for international adoptees. It has, however, a serious loophole: its provisions do not apply to adoptees who were 18 year of age or older when it went into effect on February 27, 2001.

Because of this gap, many intercountry adoptees (estimates have been as high as 23,000 U.S. adoptees from Korea alone) have been left without this critical legal safeguard. There are two primary reasons for this: adoption agency failure to confirm that citizenship has been obtained by children placed through their services and adoptive parent failure to complete the necessary requirements.

When agencies and parents fail to uphold their responsibilities, adoptees bear the outcome. Some obtain citizenship through their own efforts, but those who do not (sometimes because they are unaware they are not citizens) are at risk of violating U.S…

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M is for Magic Eight Ball Tells No Tales

MEveryone experiences moments of uncertainty—those times when no matter how hard you think, you just can’t find the answer. You’re under pressure to deliver, but for the life of you, you can’t make a decision.

I was going through such a time yesterday. I needed an answer, but my brain just wouldn’t cooperate. I asked the Young One for suggestions. I even went to the Hubs for help, but unfortunately this is neither of their areas of expertise. It is all up to me.

So, late last night as I lay sleepless, I knew what I needed to do. It smacked of desperation, but I honestly could not think of an alternative.

I needed to ask the Almighty Eight to give me clarity. Under the cover of darkness, I crept into the Young One’s room. It sat on the nightstand, shining in the moon-glow. Its one round white eye beaconed me into the room.

I picked it up, and found its weight oddly comforting. The faint slosh from its insides whispered to me like an old friend.

Quietly, I began the ritual…

Shake, shake, shake. “Oh, Gr-Eight One,” I chanted. “Will I be able to come up with a good blog post starting with the letter ‘M’ tomorrow?”

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Photo Source: David Bergin (CC by 2.0)

A slow turn for the answer…

“Outlook not so good.”

Just as I feared.

A thought crossed my mind. Maybe I had been too specific with my question. I tried again.

Shake, shake, shake. “Oh, Gr-Eight One, will I write an ‘M’ blog post tomorrow?”

Turn. Wait for bubbles to clear…

“As I see it YES.”

*Whew*

The weight of the burden I had carried all day fell from my shoulders. Finally, I had clarity. I would succeed in publishing the “M” installment of my A to Z Challenge. It just wouldn’t be a particularly good one. I can live with that.

I returned the orb to its spot on the stand and walked back to my own bedroom. Not long after, I fell into a sound sleep protected by the knowledge that the Magic Eight Ball tells no tales.

H is for Honoring a Hero

HThe definition of a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities, and I have recently learned about a hero who is all those things…except the person part.

Earlier this week, Lucca, a bomb sniffing Marine canine was honored as a war hero when she received the PDSA Dickin Medal, an honor bestowed on animals who exhibit gallantry and bravery. The Dickin Medal is the animal equivalent of the British Victoria Cross, which is on par with the United States’ Medal of Honor.

During her 400 patrols searching for explosives and IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lucca was so successful that not one soldier from the U.S. or the UK was injured, except when Lucca herself lost a leg to an explosive device while on patrol in 2012. Her handlers credit her with saving the lives of hundreds of soldiers over her six years of service.

Heroes don’t have to be human; they just have to be brave.

Lucca is now retired and living happily in California with her first handler and trainer. Watch Lucca’s story here…

C is for Color Like a Grown Up #atozchallenge

CI have always loved to color. Give me some crayons and a page with a picture outline, and I’m be a happy girl.

I was one of those kids who had to make weekly trips to the doctor’s office for allergy shots. I hated the shots, but I always looked forward to visiting the doctor because of the ample supply of fresh coloring pages on the kid-sized table in the corner. I’d grab a nubby crayon, fill in a few sections and take the work-in-progress to my momma for approval. I’d get her nod, race back to add a new color, and then interrupt her again to quiz her on which hue I’d added.

As I became older though, coloring books went the way of Barbies and stuffed animals. I transitioned to doodling in notebooks, and if no one was watching, I’d fill in the O’s  and Q’s and the bubbles on the P’s and B on the photocopied pages the teachers handed out.

I was so excited to buy my son his first coloring book. It was a huge 200-page Scooby Doo book with pictures way too intricate for a toddler. I have offered this book to both my children to help them pass time on a rainy day, but the majority of completed pictures have my initials at the bottom of the page.  (You have to sign your work, I told them, or Daddy might claim he did it!)

So, last spring when NBC News anchor Lester Holt launched a segment of the Nightly News with, “And now to a story that has us all going back to our childhood,” I stopped cooking dinner and listened to how the biggest craze to hit the nation was adult coloring and how the top five books on Amazon.com were coloring books. The top book was on back-order for a month, so good luck with that.

Coloring, Lester told me, was gaining popularity with adults because of the stress relief benefits of art therapy, and the freedom people felt from being able to go against convention and color a tree blue and the sky green.

“No way!” Itold the TV screen, then countered with “Yes way,” when I logged on to Amazon to see that, yep, the top five books were coloring books and the top one was back-ordered.

I immediately placed an order for the #1 back-ordered book, one of the other top five that claimed to target stress relief and a $50 set of colored pencils.

When the package arrived, I was at the height of selling a house, coordinating a West Point graduation trip, and planning a beach vacation. If anyone needed stress relieving art therapy and blue trees, it was me.

I felt my heart beating a little too fast while packing graduation swag bags one night, grabbed a book and the over-priced pencils, and decided to test the “stress relief” claim emblazoned on the cover of the #2 best-selling coloring book on the planet. (#1 really was on back-order for a month.)

An hour later, I was well on my way through my first mandala (an intricate Spirograph-like circular pattern popular with colorists) and feeling more accomplished than I would have if I’d have continued trying to pack sunscreen and hand sanitizer for a bunch of adults who should know enough to pack that stuff for themselves.

Now, I’m working my way through Johanna Basford’s Lost Ocean and learning how to blend colors–something I never did with the crayons at the doctor’s office. 

I haven’t colored any blue trees yet, but I did do a purple leafy fern thing in an ocean scene. I guess I’m not ready to break too many rules yet, but it has been fun to go back to doing a “kid” thing again and adding a little bit of grown-up flare.

A Handful of Thankfuls

Thanksgiving week is finally here! The turkey is thawing in the fridge. The menu is planned. The wine is chilling, and the pantry is fully stocked. Aside from actually roasting the bird and baking the pies, I think I’m ready for the big day.

The only thing left to do is actually take some time to reflect on those things that rise to the top of my “Forever Thankful For” list. I could throw down a top 100 list like I did last year, but the 2.0 version probably wouldn’t be that much different from the original. So this year, I’m going to keep my thankfuls to a handful of things I couldn’t do without.

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I am Forever Thankful For:

My Family. So many things changed for me over the past six months, but the most important thing has stayed the same. The Hubs is still right by my side. My kids still keep me smiling. My pups still make me laugh. My parents still support me in whatever endeavor I pursue, and my MIL still fills in when she’s needed. It’s this unconditional love that reminds me where we put our roots doesn’t matter nearly as much as who our roots are connected to.

My Job. Even though I had to move my home this year, I didn’t have to move my job. Moving and starting a new job both make the list of most stressful life events. As the trailing spouse, I’ve had to do both at the same on several occasions. Doubling up on top stressers again is really not on my bucket list, so I am grateful to have an employer that embraces a virtual and flexible workforce.

My GPS. Siri and I have a classic love/hate relationship, but I honestly don’t know how I did the moving-to-a-new-city thing without my favorite computerized girl giving me turn by turn directions.

My Pinterest Boards. Without this social media marvel to keep me organized and inspired, the Young One would not have had a rock star birthday or a Hermione Halloween costume. My St. Patrick’s Day party might have featured green beer instead of craft beer, and I might have lost that link to “Moving Day Made Easy”. I frequently called on Pinterest this year to help make everything seem effortless. It’s always nice to have someone else do the hard parts for you.

My Blog. I pushed it aside for several months, but I have come to realize over the past 23 days that blogging turns a light on. Sometimes, it is a huge spotlight that puts an event on display and gives me a reason to write, but sometimes it’s just a bare light bulb popping on over my head. Those are the moments–when inspiration strikes during an otherwise mundane email check or a routine Brownie Scout meeting–that make me drop everything, change the schedule and type with a frenzy and a smile on my face. The light bulb moments are the ones that keep me coming back to the blog, and the blog is what keeps the light bulb moments coming back to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Red Cups and Date Rape Marketing

I am weary of the Red Cup controversy. I am cringing as I type because I have avoided the topic all week. Now that I’m faced with the writing prompt “weary”, though, I have realized that I’m not tired about much except how much time the media has spent on a cup that will find itself in a trash can or recycling bin an hour or less after its purchase.

I really think we have bigger things to worry about this holiday season than what graphics are or are not on a paper coffee cup. Let’s talk about ISIS or global warming or politics (but please not about Donald Trump or his opinions on the cup).

Kudos, though, to Starbucks for a non-marketing strategy that got people talking about their over-priced coffee. I say that with the utmost affection since (full disclosure ahead) my gold-level status is something of which I am quite proud. Now, let’s all agree to draw our own depiction of the holidays on our cups and move on.

I’m more offended by this stellar piece of marketing from the hopefully fired marketing director at Bloomingdales. 

   

While Bloomindales has apologized for the ad that appeared in their holiday catalog, they have not offered an explanation for how this endorsement of date rape got through the approval process. I am hopeful we’ll find out it was the case of an over-worked marketing executive who scrolled too quickly through the proofs and didn’t take the time to read every word or examine every picture.

That is not an excuse to be taken lightly, but the alternatives are disheartening. Either someone at Bloomingdales believes drugging your female friend is the key to a happy holiday or someone at Bloomingdales was affected by the scenario depicted here and finds that combatting rape culture is a lost cause. Both are frightening and cause me great concern for the world my daughter will step into when she is a teenager.

On the bright side, should I ever grow weary of marketing my current employer’s products, I may have to send my resume to both Starbucks and Bloomingdales, especially if I am looking to dial down my marketing efforts. At one, you don’t have to put much thought into marketing concepts. At the other you don’t have to think at all.

***Today’s post was brought to you today by Five Minute Friday and the word “weary”.