Are those gorilla feet or are you just happy to see me?

Yeah, I realize that title doesn’t make much sense but how do you incorporate gorilla feet into a title and really make it pop?

I’ve been keeping a little secret from everyone on Facebook who hasn’t seen me in a bit. I’m wearing crazy, funky shoes that have “somewhat” changed my life.

My husband was the first to purchase the Vibram 5 Fingers shoeline in our household.

Monkey around in these shoes.

When he first put them on I was visually disgusted. He had what I could only equate as “Gorilla Feet.” They were an eyesore and I was sure that going out in public with him wearing those would result in a local paper snapping our picture and publishing us as a fashion “don’t”.

Then he started prancing.

He would leap and frolic and comment on how much he loved his new shoes and he didn’t care how ugly they were because they made him so happy. There was a lot of foot joy in those first few months and his excitement was starting to wear off.

Still mourning a poor fashion choice.

The Dreaded Culotte

Now, I had made a pact with myself that I would no longer fall into the fashion fads of past years. I remember clearly being horrified at the advent of the culotte in 70′s fashion and swore that no person would ever see me set foot in a pair. But…slowly my friends were wearing them…and then they became kind of, dare I say it, cute? A month or two down the line and I was begging my mom to drive me to Lamont’s to purchase my first pair. I still carry that shame.

I thought I was more than safe from the fickle desires of my youth because these shoes were butt ugly and they had the added mortifying benefit of having individual toe holes. Made me shiver to even think about it. I don’t like it when I accidentally have stuff between my toes let alone put anything there intentionally.

After another month or so of continual prancing and comments on how much better he felt running or walking or sitting or standing and the highest of recommendations from my cousin, Tina, a magical reflexologist, I decided to give them a try. Yes, I’ll admit it, I wanted the culotte.

I ordered my first pair online and immediately screwed it up because I decided to measure my foot (the shoes come in European sizes) with a ruler on the floor. Please note, unless you REALLY know your size in these shoes do not buy them online. They fit to your toes and your heels and you will not know your size until you try them on.

I chuckled at the fact that the shoes come with a warning to make sure to “gradually adjust” to the shoes so that your muscles wouldn’t get thrashed too badly at the initial wearing. I shouldn’t have chuckled. After meandering around the house for a few hours I decided that my next jaunt would be a little slow jog around the neighborhood. The total loop had hills and flats and totaled a little over 2 miles. Usually after every jog or walk I would be left with a hip aching so badly the pain would run down my leg. Also, my feet always, always hurt. When I finished the jog I was surprised to find that my hips didn’t feel a thing. My feet were a little shocked by the pavement and the slapping but I think that had much more to do with the fact that my gait had been improper for so many years. I couldn’t just get used to walking properly within the span of a short jog.

The next morning I could barely walk. It wasn’t my hips or my feet. It was my calves. They were tighter than they had ever been and I felt like they were being ratcheted tighter with each step. Aaaaaah, this was why they gave you the warning! I made a note to be more careful next time. However I was left feeling satisfaction that my muscles were sore but not my skeletal system.

SOOO dirty. SOOO stinky.

I’ve had my toe shoes for over 2 years now and they have really been through the ringer. I always wear them when I exercise, rain or shine, and they are absolutely thrashed because of it. One thing to mention about these shoes, they are NOT weather friendly. If there is even the slightest moisture on the ground you will find it in your shoes. If it’s cold, your feet are colder! I’m excited for Vibram to create an “all weather” shoe that truly keeps you warm and dry but we may be a ways away from that.

I love my shoes. I can say confidently that I am not wearing them as a fad but because they truly let me feel the earth under my feet, correct my gait so that I feel it when I’m walking wrong and let me walk farther without the inevitable backaches, hip and feet problems afterward. At one point, while walking from the waterfront in San Francisco up to our hotel on Nob Hill, I realized that I had walked 3 hours in my shoes with nary a discomfort.

Now I’ve become a loud advocate for the barefoot lifestyle. After months (maybe years) of trying to convince my VERY picky friend to try them (and once even getting so far as convincing her to purchase a pair which she immediately returned without ever wearing) I was able to persuade her to try a shoe with a Vibram sole, albeit covered like a normal shoe (no toe holes).

As she experiments with the shoes (walking, jogging, etc.) we will document her likes and dislikes and let you know her final judgement. As I mentioned, she is VERY picky and critical. Seriously, she would be an ideal job applicant at Consumer Reports. So, until next time ~ Hang 10!



Boggles to boggle the mind.

Do you know how to tell if a rat is happy? If it’s grinding its teeth then the rat is pretty darn satisfied. The grinding noise is called bruxing. But wait, there’s more. How do you know if the rat is really, really over the moon? Its eyeballs pulse in and out. This my friends, is called boggling…and it’s very freaky, indeed. Enjoy Leeloo the rat as she sits and lives the good life.



Take the “plan” out of planting.

I’m a horrible gardener. I wish so badly that I had a green thumb but honestly, it’s more of a magenta color. Last year I had the grand notion of creating an Excel spreadsheet of what to garden, when to garden, where to garden and was content that I had created some sort of magic page for the perfect harvest.

I was wrong. Sprout Robot

Yes, I had spent hours gathering all of this information but once I hit “save as perfectharvestgarden.xlss” the information got stored and I NEVER pulled it up again.

Aaaahhh…if only there was some sort of magical robot who could lead me down the garden path.

Enter Sprout Robot. This catchy little website will alert you via email when it’s time to plant and you’ll have the seeds because they will have already sent them to you. It’s delineated by zip code so just pop yours in and Sprout Robot will do the rest.

Now I would like to officially request an “Exercise Me Robot”.




Love is in the Air Soundtrack

We’ve brought back our writers (one male, one female) to address the subject of romance. Now, we’re not talking a “Wham-Bam-Thank You-Ma’am” playlist. We’re talking “as close as you can get-staring deeply into your eyes-two people alone in a crowded room-sharing a heartbeat” music. The last music installment listed 6 songs apiece but after ruminating for longer than they should, the authors pulled out 3 classics. What does that mean? Does the general popularity enjoy listening to songs of heartbreak more than love? Or do you simply remember better the music from a sad time in your life?

A Man’s Perspective A Woman’s Perspective
Let’s Get Lost-
Chet Baker

A joyous romp, celebrating “the night we found each other”, this west coast jazz standard captures the spontaneity of a first kiss or a midnight skinny-dip. Hard to sit still when the trumpet, piano, stand-up bass and drums kick in, telling the world, “were in that crazy mood”. An obvious affront to the Eisenhower era when the world was recorded in black and white, this just swings with a colorful intensity. Chet Baker delivers the lyric in deadpan irony, like a beat poet raging against the tyrannical oppression of his recent parking ticket. “You don’t have to take it serious, man, just dig it!!!” Whether you are sitting or standing, you will be dancing.

So in Love
kd lang

kd lang. Man, there is just something about her voice that can make the straightest of women question their own sexuality. If you are looking to set the stage for honest to goodness romance then simply turn down the light, put on a bit of candlelight to enhance the mood, turn on this song and ask her to dance. And not one of those high school slow dances, either. Hold your hand firmly at the base of her back and turn her hand into yours so that you can easily lift her hand to your mouth and brush your lips to her fingertips. When kd sings“taunt me, hurt me, deceive me, desert me…” look her deep into her eyes and tell her, “so in love with you, am I.”

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
Ella Fitzgerald

Hard to imagine a 71 year old song might be used to conjure romance but this gem stands as a playful reminder that you nor I invented carnal knowledge and when handled by the velvet voice of the First Lady of Song, it is an effusive testimony of the hip-shaking power of subtlety. Backed only by a piano and brushes on a snare, Ella absolutely steams. She dissects every syllable as if it were a soulful kiss. She hits every consonant with such wanton efficiency that it can render adults to blush and children to giggle as she professes without shame or pretense that’ “horizontally speaking, he’s at his very best”. In the end we realize that Ella no longer has the man, but in the wake of her temporal monologue, we are left with so much more.

Embraceable You
Nat King Cole

I have a theory that the most romantic of voices are those that sound like their vocal chords have been lightly sanded, creating an almost fuzzy, warm tone. Nat King Cole, kd lang…their voices are steps above that. They sound as if their chords have been sand blasted with velvet, leaving me feeling just as raw and exposed as their music. As Cole sings, “Above all I want my arms about you. Don’t be a naughty baby, Come to papa — come to papa — do! My sweet embraceable you…” I yearn to walk up to my lover, open his arms and simply crawl inside. I want to feel him and smell him and taste him and get as physically close that I feel might actually move through him. The song is that yummy.

Van Morrison

Nobody celebrated love so unabashedly as Van the Man. Here, he starts of in a whisper over the flute and piano that drives this groove like a pelvic grind. Not sure anybody has ever used the word “fantabulous” with such lusty confidence before or since. Brandishing his poetry like a sword-bearing Eros, he paints pictures of absolute bacchanalia. By the time he takes the mute off his vocal trumpet and lets out about the glossy glee of “the nights magic” well, if you’re not on the train by now, you weren’t going anywhere. The chorus asks, “Can I just have one more moondance…” It really isn’t a question but more of a declarative statement.

The Way You Look Tonight
Harry Connick, Jr.

There are so many renditions of this song but I chose Harry Connick, Jr.’s to represent here because there is a bit of melancholy in his version. When you are standing there with your lover and you are in a completely perfect moment there is so much love and so much happiness but deep, deep down there is also just a tinge of sadness because you realize that this moment is fleeting. That realization makes us cling tighter, look deeper, kiss harder. We all want to keep and hold that one moment where we are complete, invisible, and magical. Play this song during that moment and it’ll remind you to capture and hold the memory so that when difficult times inevitably come you have that wonderful glorious feeling on which to reflect and remember. “Some day, when I’m awfully low, When the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you…And the way you look tonight.”

Written by D.A. Latta Written by Cindy French

Do you have a song that floats your love boat? Respond via comments! We’d love to get your perspective!



Extreme Ultimate Cuteness

You might need to sit down and buckle your seat-belt to minimize any damage from writhing in adorableness. Brought to you from the folks at Environmental Graffiti it begs the questions – if these little critters (and the many others listed in their post) are completely different species and get along, why in the world can’t we?

Check out all the photos by clicking on Environmental Graffiti.



Top Album Covers as Real Life

Here is a fantastic collection of albums that have been integrated with real live people. Check out Sleeveface for their entire archives.

Better yet, submit your own! And if you do, make sure and drop us a line so that we can mention it here.



Falling in love with a man in the picture box.

It was late one night…maybe 2 or 3 in the morning and I was flipping channels on the TV. Normally I wouldn’t stop for a black and white movie unless it was Hitchcock or even better, Sunset Boulevard…however this film caught my eye so I stuck around a while to see what it was about.

The film was “Baby Doll” and it was set in Tiger Tail, Mississippi in 1956. The film revolves around the title character, “Baby Doll”, played by Carroll Baker, a 19-year old married virgin who has just 3 days left before her 20th birthday; the date she must finally consummate her marriage to her husband, played by Karl Malden. Enter the dark, swarthy Sicilian, Silva Vacarro, intent on destroying the husband’s business and getting revenge after the husband burned Vacarro’s gin house to the ground. As part of his plan, Vacarro begins a slow seduction of the naive and sexually repressed Baby Doll.

OK, a few necessary facts. The entire movie is a hot mess. Baby Doll sleeps in a crib because all of the other furniture has been repossessed. There is a syndicate in control of all the gin mills. Like…a MOB syndicate…in Mississippi. That poor Karl Malden has been living with his wife for 2 years without any female companionship so he is wound tight as a drum. Time Magazine called this movie the dirtiest American-made motion picture that had ever been legally exhibited. Now why I feel the need to mention all of these things is beyond me other than to give you a picture of what a nasty-black-and-white-what-were-they-thinking train-wreck I was watching.

However, that swarthy Sicilian. That morally challenged, not-so-law-abiding seducing Sicilian. Man, he literally stopped me in my tracks. He hypnotized me on the screen. For the first time and only time in my existence I literally fell in love/lust with a fictional character.

What was it about this man who had taken my heart? His eyes drew me in and his voice was captivating. I wanted him to look at ME like that. I wanted him to seduce me. As I was sitting there in the dark I actually got sad. I felt like we were mistakenly born decades apart. I felt like he was the love of my life. It was literally one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had.

Here’s the funny part. The sexy Italian was played by none other than Eli Wallach. You know Eli Wallach. In “The Good, the bad and the ugly” he played “the ugly”. The man has been working as a method actor steadily since 1945. He’s STILL working at the age of 96!

“Baby Doll” was Wallach’s his first feature film. He was a Jewish boy from New York who ended up being more famous for playing a Mexican but for me he will always be that swarthy Sicilian.

Have YOU ever experienced that “lost love” feeling with a compete stranger? Have you ever felt destined to be with a celebrity or public figure? Or am I just some strange “Somewhere In Time” stalker?

This is for you, Eli Wallach! You will forever be considered my celebrity husband.



You think you’re Creative? Prove it.

I’ve been giving heaps of thought to the process of creativity. We are all born with a certain level of creativity but getting it out of our minds and souls and onto paper or something more tangible seems to be the real issue.

Grand ideas, huge plans, lingering day dreams – these are all the sparks of our imagination. I’ve dallied for days on an idea; thinking, planning until the idea tires and I lay it to rest amongst a million other worn out thoughts.

So…what do you have rattling around in that ol’ brain of yours? Something fabulous? Does it shock you that your mind is the one that came up with the idea? Are you tickled with yourself? Are you excited? If so, you MUST follow through and get it out.

Taking an idea and turning it into action is powerful. So much satisfaction lies in the art of follow through. Not only do you get to see your idea become a reality, but you know that you’ve set a goal and accomplished it. You also open up or deepen the creative pathways in your brain, ensuring that your next idea will come quicker and more readily than that of a stymied artist.

There is argument to be made that it isn’t a lack of motivation that is keeping you from achieving your art but a lack of diligence; a lack of the “get up and go” that seems to have “got up and went.”

How do you harness this kernel of thought and expand it for the masses? How do you make it happen?

At some point the artist in you needs to be mothered, and since we get irritated with our own mothers when they nag us to clean our room or, God forbid, brush our teeth, it’s time to become our own mother and parent the artist within. That means adding a little discipline because children (and what are artists but children) need structure to grow. Take your artist by the lapels, sit them down and give them some rules.

Nothing will get written, photographed, painted, acted, recorded, etc. if the artist isn’t there to do it. Set a time, every day, rain or shine and show up. Don’t make excuses and don’t argue with your mother. If she says 30 minutes a day, expect yourself to stay there 30 minutes a day. I can pretty much guarantee that you will not produce an award winning piece during those 30 minutes but you will create the habit of art. Your body will form to your chair, your hand to the mouse, your eye to your easel and your brain will know that every day it needs to see the canvas or hear the 16-track. It will expect to work. Your art will become a habit and when something becomes a habit, it means you don’t have to think about it, you “Just Do It.” So SHOW UP.

When you set to create “something” and your goal is to have a finished product you need to establish up front what it is you consider “done.” If you want to write a song is the song complete when you’ve lifted pen from paper or when you’ve finished laying down the final vocal track? I’m not saying that you can’t start with one goal and end with another but make sure that you’ve completed the original goal, the minimum goal that you’ve originally planned. If you want to go above and beyond, have at it.

Since I have been equating this so far to artist as child, it will be no surprise when I mention “recess.” To many children it’s the most important part of their day. It’s the time when they can run and laugh and feel the wind whip in their hair as they jump down the slide. Through play you experience curiosity, exploration, imagination and freedom. Once your artist is at their station every day you need to reward them with play. Art, of any kind, is supposed to be fun. Sure you may be writing the most torrid and depressing drama of the 21st century, but it should still excite you and get your blood pumping. If you’re not having fun then stop what you’re doing for a moment and do something art-related that IS fun (please note that I said “art-related” – I had to add that in there so that you wouldn’t end up playing Angry Birds during recess). You should allow yourself to explore, with reckless abandon and without the carefully learned impulse control that stifles you. Play, play, play and allow yourself to see things young and new.

That bully that I mention is your inner critic who bitches and moans about every decision you make. That nasally little voice in the back of your head that tells you you’re not good enough or your ideas are stupid. That voice is an asshole! Shut him the Hell up and kick him out! Seriously. Whatever you have to do, make that critic leave. He’s very sneaky. You might not even hear him speaking. You might not even know that he’s here right now, whispering about your lame writing skills and your pathetic need to help people… Oh, hey! God dammit! Shut the fuck up, critic!!

When you start to self-doubt and have the urge to throw something across the room, it’s usually instigated by the Bully within. Shut him down. He’ll do you no favors and he’ll hinder your process. If necessary, I find it helps if you say out loud, “Go away, you asshole!” You don’t have to swear, but I do because I like hearing myself say “asshole.” You should try it. Like now.

So you’ve sat daily trying to make progress and you’ve allowed yourself the freedom, without harsh criticism, to play and explore. Hopefully you’ve made some progress…but you’re not done yet. How do you finish? Well, the answer to that is a simple one. Go back to your original game plan. What was your goal? Did you complete it? If the answer is “yes”, pat yourself on the back and do a happy dance. If the answer is “no” then what do you have left to accomplish to put this dream to bed? Make it simple. Make it concise. Make sure that your inner-critic-bully-asshole is nowhere to be found, especially now because it’ll be pulling you back from the finish line if it could. I asked my husband, a writer and musician, his secret to “finishing” and he responded, quite prophetically, “Add a deadline and a dollar sign.” If you’re not allowing yourself to follow your creative course until you reach a natural conclusion then add a deadline to your project. Set it in stone. Give yourself a reward if you finish. Although I believe that finishing is reward in and of itself I wouldn’t be adverse to rewarding myself with a massage or a shopping splurge as a “gold star” for my stick-to-it-iveness.

You’re done…but you’re not done. Yes, it happens. First, congratulate yourself that you finished. Revel in your awesomeness! However, if you continue to have nagging thoughts about your piece not being quite right then give yourself the opportunity to fix it.

I recently worked for about 3 weeks straight on a project with a medium that I had never tried before (the video CSI: North Pole). Being that I had a firm deadline (Christmas) I worked myself senseless into the wee hours of the morning on many nights simply because the clock was a-tickin’. Finally it was do or die time…December 23rd; I was on the cusp of missing Christmas all together. I finished around 7pm that night. It was now time to render the video, a process which took hours. I then uploaded it to youtube – a process which took more hours. End result? The video quality was NOT to my satisfaction. It rendered blurry and jagged and not at all like what I had seen on the movie software program. I was dismayed and bugged…but it was already up on youtube and facebook. I found myself explaining to people, “Well, it’s not really supposed to look like that…” and “It looks like there’s ghosting, that’s not what it’s supposed to look like.”

Christmas came and went and I was stilled bugged senseless. If I was going to devote all of that time and energy into something, it better be something I am proud of. So during the week prior to New Year’s I re-learned what I was doing and reworked it until I was happy with my product. Then I put it to bed.

So if you finish…but you’re still bugged…even if you think it’s going to be a ton of work, FIX IT. By fixing IT, you’ll be fixing YOU. And in the end, YOU are all that really matters.

Oops, time for Recess! Happy playtime, sugars!



Cute little Edie dog LOVES her kitty



Beagles First Steps after Living Life in a Lab

Kitty and puppy videos. They are the one thing guaranteed to make me coo and giggle and bawl like a newborn.

This video, of 9 pups taking their first steps on grass after living their entire life in a metal cage, will melt the coldest of hearts.

Already I have too many animals but after seeing this video it makes me consider adopting more (don’t worry, mom, I won’t).

If you are not in the position to adopt an animal in need but you want to help (which is especially valued during the holiday season), click on the names to be taken to their site: The Humane Society, the ASPCA or PAWS.