While I love a pretty pair of high-heel pumps, lately I’ve become a huge fan of flat-heeled shoes. They may not be the most attractive for my calves but I find flats have several benefits.

1. Flats = less reluctance to exercise/walk on a daily basis

I am more likely to walk a couple of blocks rather than get a cab or take the metro to my destination if its less than eight blocks away.

2. Flat shoes are wonderful in emergency situations and for dancing

It make running a heck of a lot easier and in a good pair of flats, I find the latin dances and swing are much easier.

The other day I took a late train from DC to my home metro station and stepped out of the train car to see my bus ride home pulling out of the stop. Because the Takoma station straddles DC and Maryland, cab sightings at the station are about as rare as seeing Big Foot.

In other words, I had to walk home. Thanks goodness I had on comfortable flats and the temperatures were moderate.  I would have been in a lot of pain if I had to walk the 40 minute trek home in heels.

2.  Flats = less blisters and callouses in weird places on the foot and a savings in the costs of band aids and blister bandages. Enough said on that.

3. In flats, my shoe heels do not sink into the dirt in my yard on my way to and from work. While it’s true that my yard — I must go through the yard to get to the road/sidewalk —  is more often a swamp than not, it’s a lot easier to walk back there when wearing heels.

Overall, I like flats and I’m hoping that it will inspire some more healthy activities now that the warm weather is coming around.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I last wrote in my blog. But I’ve made some adjustments to my life and have taken away a big time consumer from my life, for now.

I entirely expect to write much more frequently.


Because my neighbors have not paid the house’s gas bill, I will be going without hot water in my apartment until mid-July.  You may be surprised to learn that I’m not going to do anything about it.


I recently returned from a solitary retreat at a monastery (and I fully intend to eventually write about my experience there) with the goal of decreasing the stress and self-inflated drama in my life, in addition to many other goals.

As part of achieving that purpose, I decided to start saving up to move to another apartment to get away from the situation I’m in now.

Where I live now, I feel unsafe and like I can’t have a conversation in my house without my upstairs neighbors either interrupting my peace and quiet by getting into an explosive screaming fight, or the adult female of the house walking into the room above me and eavesdropping. She is like those busy-body women in movies who watch everyone coming and going, and is always very paranoid that you’re talking about her.  (Well, at least this time, she’s right. lol.)

If you think I’m exaggerating, ask any of my friends who spent time with her back when I still spoke with her.

My neighbors and I used to talk, in fact we used to be friends, but some things happened earlier this year that made it clear that those people were toxic and I just needed to cut them from my life. Luckily, they feel the same about me so there’s little chance of a reconciliation.

I searched my heart at the monastery and I am still uncertain whether I still hold anger against them or whether I just refuse to soften my heart for fear that I will end up tangled up with the neighbors again.

Anyway, last week I went on a work trip to South Carolina only to return and realize I couldn’t take a hot bath to sooth my aching muscles.

The problem is that when I signed my lease, I was led to believe that my utilities were covered in the rent, in that part of the rent money was put toward utilities. Later, I learned it wasn’t.

It isn’t fair that they have to pay all of my utilities and it isn’t fair to me either because I feel guilty every time I turn on a light, take a bath or cook. The landlord shouldn’t have been allowed to put us in this situation and if I’d known the true set-up, I’d have opted to live somewhere else or pay a share in the utilities.

But live alone and rent the basement (1 bedroom, on living room, one small bathroom and a kitchen) while there are three of them, plus more when they have weekend custody of their four other children, and they use the rest of the two-story house. Moreover, the only gas I use is when I use hot water.

Anyway, for one reason or another, there was has been no hot water in about a week and last night I received a multi-part text from the neighbors saying they won’t be able to pay the gas bill until the 13th of July. UG!

I could go to the landlord and complain. I could ask him to get the gas turned back on. But the truth is the neighbors still wouldn’t have the money to pay the bill (if they are being truthful) until then and I would be drawn back in the drama of that family.

I spent a summer in Delaware without hot water, because I couldn’t afford to buy a $300 tank of natural gas, and so I know how to survive without.

But the thing is, I wish my neighbors hadn’t put me in this situation, for I fear they will let this happen every couple of months if I don’t do anything. But if I do something, I will be forced to hear them screaming upstairs even more and likely will once again have my neighbor screaming profanities out her upstairs window at me in the middle of the night.

No thanks.

For now I’ll take the cold showers and continue saving up to get out of the place.

So am I the only person who isn’t freaked out by the threat of getting the flu?

Let’s face it. I live in a big city and sit in a big open work room where at least a third of my co-workers rarely cover their mouths when they sneeze. I also take the metro, touch door knobs and bite my fingernails.  Icky, I know.

While I’m disquisted by how wrapped up the media has become about the flu, I’m happy to see that at least some media outlets have noted that most face masks don’t do a damn thing to protect you from viruses.

In my opinion, if you decide to wear one, it should be because you think you might be getting sick and you don’t want to spread your germs.

Earlier this week an employer (who shall go unnamed)  sent out a memo about what it’s doing (nothing useful) about the current swine flu virus.

Get this:  The memo said employees should cover their mouths when they cough, wash their hands and stay home when they are sick.

So exactly what is the company trying to imply here?

It’s as if the company is saying that as long as there’s a flu scare, I have permission to stay out of the office if I get sick? But as soon as the scare is gone, well gosh darnit, I better not miss a day of work unless I’m on my death bed.

Screw that.

I am not in the camp of people who come in to work if they feel sick but can still get out of bed. I’ll take as many days off as it requires to get better.

I believe it’s immoral and just plain rude to show up to work sick and spread my germsfor the sake of following the unhealthy work habits of many other employees.

Not only does such behavior hurt the company in the long run because more employees will be forced to take sick days, but it indicates that I put my career above my health, which I don’t.

At least there are some benefits to a flu scare.

I’m really enjoying the fact that the check out lines at most stores, excluding pharmacies and grocery markets, are shorter and that traffic on the metro has actually eased up a bit.

My dog has a lump on her right hind side above her hip and for some time I’ve been worried that it’s cancer.

Well for some unrelated reasons I was at the veterinarian’s recently and I asked the doctor what she thought about the bump.

She stuck a needle in the bump, pulled on the plunger and withdrew some yellowish stuff… ick. Oh it’s just a fat bump, she said.

I’m relieved with this knowledge and hope it means I’ll have my sweet Sophie around for plenty of years to come.

Still, I think it’s kind of funny that for once the good news is that a butt bump is nothing but fat.

Today is the second in a row that I’ve slept in past the time I need to catch a bus to the metro to get in to work on time.  Leaving me to wake, shout of a stream of expletives and to dash around the apartment like a ferret on caffeine.

I’ve been using my new Blackberry Storm (review of the phone to come when I have time to rant) as my alarm. I think the problem is I’ve been able to hit snooze without getting up.

It’s really not good for my nerves to be running in hoping I beat the boss to the office and knowing the hell I’ll face if I don’t. It also throws off my day. I am still in the office finishing up a story because it took my mind an extra hour to unthaw in the morning — the hour it takes on an average day to wake up.

It’s also not good for my dog, who didn’t get walked this morning, but instead found herself being shoved out the door to pee in the yard, and I have no idea if she did.

And I hate to confess this but I felt so nasty today that I went over to the Nat. Press Club and used the member locker room to shower and wash my hair under a hard surge of water that had only started to turn warm when I was finished. Although it felt wonderful to get clean and know that I don’t smell, I’m sure that the pink barely sudsy antibacterial soap (not meant for hair) that smells slightly like pine sole and flowers didn’t do the job nor was it easy to untangle my hair under the press club blow dryer. Ug.

I’m so going to bed on time tonight and taking care of myself in the morning.

I beat my boss in only by an elevator ride this morning and I think he was suspicious because I still had my winter cap on when he arrived. I don’t think I tricked him any by leaving it on for another 30 minutes.

Exhaustion. The state of having so little energy left that I’m not sure if I will make it home to my pillow. Fear that I will sleep on the metro for the entire 2 hour loop (not only miss my stop but stay on the train when it turns around and goes back the other way).

This week has been hard. Truly. There’s not much more to say.

Right now, I’m still trying to recover from being sick all week when I had to push my mind and body to do more than I do when my body is at top health.

I’m going home to sleep.

I’m also tired of going without a phone.

I went to buy a Blackberry Storm this morning at the Verizon store, which opened at 8 a.m. I was there at 8:20 and there must have been at least 200 people in line ahead of me. By 8:30 they were announcing they had sold out.

I’ve ordered the phone on-line but because STUPID Verizon decided to release the phone on a Friday, I won’t have the phone at my doorstep until Monday.

I can’t write much more. I have next week off so I don’t know if I’ll write or not. It all depends on what happens with the phone situation.


Have you ever noticed that when your healthy you forget how it feels to be sick?

As I write this I’m in a metro train destined for home. I’m sick. I think I got it from a coworker who was sick earlier this week. I like the guy but he doesn’t really ever cover his coughs in the way that I would consider adequate. I note here that I am in no way a germ freak.

Anyway, the fever, shaky arms and legs, migrane and overall desperate urge to lay down struck me on my way in to work.

All of a sudden I realize why I was tossing and turning last night.

I got to my office, put my laptop work computer in my black briefcase with wheels (so thankful not to have to carry the laptop because I don’t know if I’m strong enough right now), wrote a note to my boss and stumbled my way back to metro center.

While I was at the office a coworker looked at me and said. You look absolutely pale. Go home. Two other nearby coworkers nodded their heads in agreement.

The sun through the metro window hurts my eyes and I’m fighting the need to curl up in a ball across the two orange seats in my seating area.

Thankfully there are no children on board. I don’t think I could handle it.

I’m at Catholic University stop now. Only two stops to go.

I feel the fever expanding in my head and a slight sweat gathering on my brow. Crap. I don’t want to be the person who gets so sick that the train has to stop. I don’t want to be the one who causes a train delay.

Ok one stop to go. I think I can make it. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s not that bad, that I’m just being melodramatic. No ….as the fever grows I realize that I’m not being melodramatic. This is bad…real bad.


I’ve made it to the bus stop. I’m surprised that the sun all of a sudden feels so good on my skin, almost like a warm blanket.

I’m going to stop writing now. My headache is making it harder and harder to concentrate. I just hope the fever breaks soon and that I’ll be healthy enough to give a power point presentation in the morning. The presentation is about extreme poverty and about a micro enterprise NGO project in Uganda (BeadforLife) that I have been a US community partner in (volunteer) for three years.

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