Monthly Archives: February 2015

Lesson #10 – Shoes! Ah…..Wonderful Shoes!


Look down!  Shoes.  I LOVE shoes.

No matter what size I am on the top half of my body I can always find enjoyment buying shoes.  It satisfies my need and my strong desire to shop.  It certainly helps to go shopping for shoes when I am stressed for whatever reason.  You can tell quite a bit about a person by looking at their shoes.  My Mother used to say that and I suppose I just rolled my eyes at her. I probably just thought   that statement was just more of her motherly advice that had no meaning in my life.  But, she was right (as she was in so many ways)

Think about it.  A man who is dressed for work in a dark blue suit, business shirt and a good looking tie.  Look down.  Are those shoes not polished or is the heel half worn?  Emergency lights would flash and those of us who have seriously considered shoes would think……interesting!  Good looking, great clothes…but those shoes?!!  Hmmmmmm.  Let me stop and say I realize that men no longer wear suits and ties to work and I, for one, think it is very sad they don’t.  Nothing is more handsome than a man in a suit and tie.  Every woman I have talked to agrees.  Women also.  Worn down tips on a great pair of heels.  Really?

Shoes of all kinds. We all know the athletic ‘want to be’ shoes, the shoes that will cause that young woman to have bunions later in life, the nurse clogs, the sneakers (Converse), the comfortable but ugly shoes and the completely fashionable, up to date,  fashion trend chic shoe.  I try to be in this group albeit the more I try I seem to always be a year late with fashionable shoes.  How can we keep up? Shoes for all occasions and at all price points.

Take this year for instance.  The more I tried the more I lagged….this year we have all shapes and sizes wearing leggings and knee high boots.  Some wear knee high boot socks which were called knee high socks back in the day.  Last winter the rage was the cowboy boot look with lots of fringe.  Loved that.  So, better late than never I bought myself a pair of ankle boots that were sooooo comfortable and ‘cool’ looking also.  I was proud of myself.  I felt ‘with it’.  ‘Cool’ even.

Just a note about my gams.  My legs have always gotten me to wherever I needed to go.  They ran in all those 5Ks, 10Ks and the half marathon and they now walk when I need to walk.  They have carried me into work, dances, exercise classes and they have worked hard during all those tennis matches.  I have always been happy with the way my legs work.  I actually have my dad’s legs which were strong and muscular but, alas, only a bit on the heavy side in the calf department.  Why me?  This has never bothered me until the blasted knee high boots were in fashion.  And we have seen these come and go and this winter they are back as cute as ever.  I will say I cringe when they come back into style.  You would think at 65 years of age I wouldn’t care.  I DO have some pride you know!

When I was a runner my figure was rather on the small side but the old calves were on the larger size.  In the beginning God did not create wide calf boots and certainly were never discovered by me until much later in life when I actually shopped for myself….about 30 years old or so.  These wide calf boots are popular now and one may find them sold anywhere and everywhere.  Not so many moons ago.  I figure there must be more full figured in the leg department gals walking around with leggings and knee high boots.  Me?  Nope.  Still wearing the western look with my new leggings.  Sooo out of it.

Shoes.  When my husband and I were on the Viking cruise, we spent several days in Budapest.  I noticed something else about shoes that we wouldn’t normally notice in the good old U S of A.  Yes, the young women had their knee highs on and leggings and looked great by the way but I noticed the male species of shoes.  The shoes look very Italian.  I don’t know what it is but men’s shoes only had probably four lace holes on each side and the laces were very thin.  The leather was kid glove leather and looked wonderfully soft.  Black was the color of choice.  Very flat with not much of a heel with pointy toes.  Interesting.  American men shoes are quite different.  Thicker soles, heavier leathers and not the soft fine glove leather of European men.  You can tell an American.

When we lived in London I remember the first week someone saying that they could always tell an American from Europeans.  Americans (both men and women) wore white athletic shoes and white athletic socks.  YES!  So true!  I started looking at obviously American people walking along and sightseeing.  White shoes and white socks!  OUCH!  I remember looking down and seeing my own white tennis athletic shoes and socks.  I was aghast.  From that day forward my love affair with white athletic shoes was at an end.  Thrown away were the white shoes and socks and I graduated to the look the Brits invented.  Brown shoes and brown socks.  I have never returned.

Today, so much thought goes into comfort.  Hip replacements, knee replacements, arthritis…..the list continues….problems that we all may have or will have to contend with.  Sometimes, if lucky, comfort is all we need.  But can we be fashion forward?  Not an easy concept to grasp but I still want to be with it and cool!  Take the Viking trip.  Romantic Danube trip during the winter months.  Cold and rain and the threat of possible snow along the route.  What is a girl to do? Shopping for this particular trip was not easy.  Walking shoe to manage concrete, cobblestones, old unlevel brick walks.  What shoes to wear?  HELP!  Talk about a major meltdowning decision.  Hard to find ‘cute’ waterproof hiking boots but I think I did pretty well.  Cute and don’t hurt my feet.

I say we should be comfortable and fashionable.  Why not?  Look at the women in the news who are ‘older’.  Take Joan Rivers.  I loved her so ignore her face lifts but remember how she looked so well put together and always fashionably dressed….and wow….the shoes!  Heels!  Maybe not spiked heels but heels nevertheless.  I always admired that in Joan Rivers since my feet haven’t seen a pair of heels in many moons.  My mother always looked great too.  A real fashion sense.  Always great shoes.

My advice to myself is always to try to stay in style at least only one year behind the trend.  Ok, maybe two. Try to think fashion and comfort.  Let’s not rush this getting older stuff.  And, for pete’s sake, check those heels!




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Lesson #9 – The Escape

HOVER_OdinLongship_1374x492_tcm21-18736 “Exploring the world in comfort…..”  Yessiree Bob!

Bob made the difficult decision!  Whoopee!  We were off to Europe and we were going to explore the world in absolute comfort and I didn’t have to go back to the lake for 12 days!!

Sometimes in life we just have to go for it!  There are a million reasons NOT to go on that trip and a million other things we could be doing BUT at this stage of life….I say….GO FOR IT and GO.  Make your dreams happen.  Charge it and GO!  For so many of our years we do what we are ‘supposed’ to do……go to school, get a good job, pay those bills, spend money but save a lot for the future.  Well, folks, now is the future.  What are we waiting for now?  Could we afford it?  We couldn’t afford not to do it.  We had just moved and we were exhausted.  Every bone in my body was aching and my being was so tired.  Souls need refreshment.

I am so thankful my husband took the bull by the horns (I will have to find out where that saying comes from asap) and booked our vacation.  It was something we had dreamed about doing for a very long time.  A river cruise to places we had never been.  Woo Hoo!!  And to make it even more exciting….a Christmas Market river cruise.  I had flown to Munich with a friend many years ago for the Christmas market there and we had a wonderful weekend.  We had flown from London on a discount airline and it was perfect.  Lots of mulled wine, Christmas ornaments and a carefree attitude.  I wanted to experience the markets with my husband so the choice was perfect.

Off we flew from Atlanta with the trip ending in Budapest.  I didn’t even know where Budapest was on a map.  But it was a fantastic city.  Close friends had told us to go to the baths in Budapest but, if the truth were known, I couldn’t begin to get my head wrapped around the idea of getting into a bathing suit in Budapest and hopping in warm water with a few hundred people…..some would be playing chess!  I don’t know… just didn’t appeal to me.  I have no regrets about not bathing with others and I probably will not think about it ever again.

A river cruise is a great way to see Europe.  Now, granted, with only one river cruise now under our belts, we both feel this is definitely the way to go.   The funny thing is we had some misconceptions about these cruises.  One was that there would be a lot of walkers on the ship….nope.  You know the kind you have to hold on to not to fall.  No canes either that I can recall.  Average age was probably 60 if I were to guess.  Not bad I say!  People in good walking shape…..there is a lot of walking at each stop and you cannot…….I say CANNOT….not walk everywhere to see as much as you can.  With our eyes wide open we searched out everything about everything.  One important stop for us in each ‘port of call’ as it were was to find a very local pub to order a pint and try the local pub food.  We are basically bar people.  We always find our way to sit at the bar and order a pint.  It doesn’t do much for the figure but who cares at this point?!!  My husband’s figure doesn’t suffer because of it and I don’t know why mine has to(?).  I don’t like this at all but when I travel I have a ‘don’t care’ attitude because when I get home I will care BIG TIME.  But while I am sitting in a local German pub having a brew my mind is on enjoying my surroundings and taking it all in.  I will worry about expanding hips when I get back to that lake house!

Budapest to Vienna, Krems, Passau, Germany, Regensburg and Nuremberg.  Wonderful itinerary and beautiful towns and cities to visit.  Another thing I noticed. Much like an ocean cruise….there is a lot of eating!  Oh my!  Everyone tells you that on an ocean cruise a person may very well gain 10 pounds.  Yes indeedy.  Such is life on a river cruise.  You would THINK that will all the walking we do in these lovely cobblestone streets that we would not gain any weight.  Well, it just sneaks up on you.  Out of nowhere.  It’s like that terrible flu you get that snuck up on you and put you on your back!  Midway through the cruise I got to feeling proud of myself that I hadn’t gained much of anything.  By the last day……I looked down and there it was!  An extra roll.  Impossible!  I walked for miles.

Oh wait…….it must have been those wonderful desserts…..and not just for the evening meal but for every meal.  Even breakfast had dessert.  I didn’t think that was possible.  Cakes, pies, oh my is right…..Maybe those entrees with the cream sauce or the gravy?  The wine at every meal…..could not be that pint at that local pub….could it???  Well, I say…..the heck with it all.  There is plenty of time to not eat the goulash, the sausages, the breads.  Grin and bear it.  Just don’t grin and bare it.  Lord help me.

The trip came at the perfect time.  We completely relaxed and did not think about the move or the lake or the lake with no heat at all!  This is what a trip is for.  I owe a big thank you to my husband for pushing me beyond my money concerns and my Scottish blood that probably (I say ‘probably’) makes me a prudent shopper and careful about money.  By the way, we Scots have received a bad rap.  I’m just saying……

P.S.  “To take the bull by the horns” apparently means to take charge with courage and ‘may’ come from about the year of 1200 during the Reign of King John in England.  A bull, you see, was turned loose in the market place.  The more courageous of the men and boys tried to drive the bull onto the bridge and into the river.  The poor bull swam to the shore and the game continued.  The bull was later slaughtered.  What a nice story….: (

Well….anyway……the time is now to take charge and go forward and do what you would like to do!

Now…..when is our next trip? Get the checkbook out.







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Lesson #8-Hey Kids…Let’s Go to the Lake!


Well, here we are… the lake.  Now, normally, I would just love being at the lake.  But, mind you, it would be June and the grass would be green, the water getting warmer and people in all the surrounding houses.  Do I “love” the lake?  Well, let’s put it this way.  It has always served us nicely as a ‘getaway’ from our home in Marietta.  Only 2 1/2 hrs. door to door.  A comfortable cabin and steps to the boat and to the lake.  Beautiful views.  Yep.  I agree.  The view of the lake is quite beautiful normally.  Winter is not June.  Can’t even begin to compare.  Where the heck are all the people anyway?

We bought the lake house when my daughter, then 14, had decided that camping was no longer an interest.  We had started camping when we lived in Phoenix.  We ‘tented’ it and moved up to a ‘pop up’ and we had a great family time each weekend.  The popup camper was large enough to accommodate the five of us (me, husband, daughter, son and our faithful companion, Brandy)  Life was perfect.  We would head up to the Ponderosa campground near Flagstaff and enjoy almost every weekend until it got too awfully cold.  We did have a heater built into the camper and we did take full advantage of that heater most weekends.  It is cold in Flagstaff hence the popular downhill skiing which we also enjoyed in the winter months.  I still can’t believe how young my son was when he would barrel down that mountain with no fear and beat us all to the bottom!  Preschool to be precise…..maybe 3 years old?  No fear.  Anyway, back to camping!

We moved from Phoenix to Marietta and we actually camped many times in the beginning of our lives there.  However, we graduated from that popup to renting a cabin on Lake Hartwell.  We liked that!  We were ocean people and every summer we took a vacation at the beach.  But, hey, this lake business may be nice too!  Fishing, swimming, not far from home.  “I could do this” I thought.  This would be fun for the family and keep us weekending together before that awful time when our children would not want to spend their precious weekends with US….their uncool parents.

My daughter liked the cabin life as did our son and we decided to, perhaps, buy a cabin as a getaway for us…..There are lots of lakes in Georgia and in North and South Carolina.  We found one that was little known and the most beautiful.  In fact, someone told us to take a look at ‘our lake’ before we bought a lot or a house anywhere else.  We would fall in love and we did!  Beautiful mountains …. the Appalachians and the southern point of the Smokies (?)….I failed geography.  The lake is normally empty of boaters and it half lies in Georgia and half in NC.

We found a cabin across from the lake….with a lake view but without the lakefront price.  It was rough and needed lots of work.  But the price worked and after a bit of negotiation it was ours.  My daughter was happy….she had her own room and she could ask friends to come for weekends.  My son was happy for all the same reasons.  Fishing, swimming, boating and just relaxing away from it all.  In the Fall the house was closed up for the winter and the pipes drained.  No heat.  We did visit the lake house a few times when it was cold but I was not a fan.

So here I sat.  At the lake house.  No heat and only A/C units in some of the windows.  Chilly and bleak.  To make matters worse the lake is down this year…..way down.  U G L Y to say the least.  WHAT IN THE %*@#?!! HAVE WE DONE????  Depression, shock, that sinking feeling.  I really believe I was in a state of shock.  This was certainly not what I had in mind for retirement living.  Bob’s voice spoke in my left ear….the one that is always closed up because of an eustachian tube malfunction…..”We will only do this for a year and decide what we want and where we want to be”………Hmmmmmmm……….W H A T????? a year you say??????  I really DON’T think so.  I decided to go back to Marietta at least once a week to see those I love and go to doctor appointments, have my oil changed, get gas and visit Publix…..all the necessary chores one does in a populated area.  Did I mention there are no doctors, no Krogers or Publixs (Publixes?) in my part of the world?

I wanted to not have unhappy thoughts so I went to my happy place.  I spoke to myself in my stern voice……’It’s only for a year……it’s only for a year……..”  Bob called me once while I was in the populated Marietta and said to me….”This really is a dump!”  I guess he was having a meltdown in his own way too.  YES.  I KNOW.  We are thankful we have a roof over our heads and we are thankful we have our health.  I could also hear my mother’s voice in my other ear.

Soon after moving our thoughts turned to nicer and more exciting thoughts…..Vacation!  We were going to Europe to celebrate retirement.  WOO HOO.  Thank goodness, I could leave the lake house!







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