Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Purchases

I’ve blown this year’s budget, but I’m not likely to overspend as badly as last year!


I rolled my right ankle on two consecutive runs, stepping on treacherous magnolia seed pods in the dark. My ankle was too swollen for most of my boots and too unstable for heels. My moccasins and sneakers wouldn’t cut it for work wear, so I bought some “sensible” shoes at DSW.

1. Chelsea Crew pewter oxfords, $29.97.
2. Kelly and Katie leopard slippers, $59.95.
3. Steve Madden leopard boots, $29.98.

Now that my ankle is mostly recovered, will I ever wear these shoes again? I’ll make an effort. It’s just so hard to say “no” to leg-lengthening heels.

Supply at Deeda Salon

My stylists have good taste. The ladies at Deeda are killing it with their selection of clothing and accessories in the salon retail area. Now you don’t have to go to cosmetology school to look like you belong in the beauty industry.

4. Faubourg du Temple perforated bomber, $49.00 - $45.00 gift card = $5.00.

St Vincent de Paul

The SVdP in Cincinnati was my favorite thrift store. It might be my favorite here, too. The prices were the best I’d seen and veterans get 10% off!

5. Dana Pierce wool shorts, $2.33.

I’m trying to figure out what makes these shorts so much more hideous than a skirt of the same fabric, fullness, and length.


For my birthday, I asked Beefy to accompany me to Target and allow me to browse as long as I wanted. No fussing or complaining allowed. No rushing me along or eye rolls as I stop in my tracks and dart into the racks. And, I had $50 from my MIL to spend!

6. Merona camouflage shirt, $16.08 - bday money = free!.
7. Two faux pearl necklaces (one in with silver accents and one with gold), $16.99 x 2 = $33.98 - remaining bday money = $.06

November total: $127.29

Total spending for the year: $2196.28

Remaining 2014 budget: -$396.28.

Sporty Sunday: Running With Your Dog - Preparation

Are you ready to start running with your dog? First, let’s make sure that your dog is suitable, healthy, and properly equipped.

Suitability. A youngish, medium-sized dog with a normal snout is going to make the best running companion. This dog will have the energy, leg length, and proper airway to run more than a few blocks. I do have a friend who runs with a chihuahua, so small breeds aren’t necessarily eliminated. Large breeds may be prone to hip problems. Older dogs may also have joint issues that make running uncomfortable. Flat-faced dogs can experience inefficient breathing and cooling, making running uncomfortable or even deadly.

Vet Clearance. Schedule a checkup for Fido and ask your vet if your dog can start running with you. Your vet will consider the factors discussed above as well as age and any other discovered health issues.

Equipment. I recommend running with a body harness. Jasper’s harness is a back-clip model, but a front-clip would work as well. I do not recommend running with your leash attached to a standard collar, a choke collar, a pinch collar, or a head halter (e.g. Halti). At running speeds, a sudden lunge when your dog spots a squirrel can injure his head or neck. When choosing a harness, look for a well-made, durable, and soft model. Nylon harnesses can chafe. Jasper’s is made of a soft, soy fiber material (the New Earth Soy Comfort Wrap Dog Harness). A front-clip harness will give you more control of the dog’s direction.

Use a standard (i.e. non-retractable) leash made of leather or natural fiber. Nylon leashes can give you leash burn. Personally, I use a ROK Strap leash. The leash stretches, making any doggie lunges less jarring to the handler. It also features a non-stretch loop near the base for leading the dog through crowded areas. I find this useful as we negotiate the light-rail station. The leash has excellent reviews (on Amazon) and I’ve heard good stories about the company’s response to leash failures. I demonstrate the leash’s stretch in the below video:

Next up: Getting Started!

Friday, November 28, 2014


Wearing delicate, open-weave knitwear is pretty dumb when you have five cats and two dogs. It’s sure to get snagged on someone’s claws. It’s a little less dumb if the knitwear is from the thrift store. And one advantage of the loose weave is that you can usually push the loose threads and loops to the inside. Still, I wish it would last a little longer before becoming hopelessly bedraggled.

Sweater, thrifted. Dress (worn as a skirt), Wet Seal (thrifted). Leggings, We Love Colors. Boots, Ariat. Sunglasses, Meow Meow. Earrings, gift. Bag, Clark’s.

365 pix from yesterday and today:

Honestly, I forgot all about my 365 project on Thanksgiving. Thankfully (pun!), I happened to take a picture of this spiderweb on my morning run at the river. Today’s photo, with Jackson, was part of a much more intentional photoshoot in the front yard.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

40 B4 40: Holiday Cards

Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, I was taught that Christmas and all its trappings were pagan rights masquerading as as a celebration of Christ’s birth. (And that is mostly true. Santa Claus certainly doesn’t appear in the bible.) All those poor fools kissing under mistletoe, singing about reindeer, and lighting trees were one step away from devil worship. My sisters and I were banned from even looking at Christmas decorations. Secretly, though, I was fascinated by the forbidden holiday.

Surprisingly, for a child, it wasn’t the gifts that I longed for as much as the traditions: caroling, leaving milk and cookies for Santa, driving around to look at the lights, decorating a tree, exchanging holiday cards. When I was 15, my mother left the JWs and we children had the option of remaining with the religion or not. I was the first one out. I couldn’t wait to celebrate Christmas, but quickly discovered that it wasn’t like the movies.

Choosing to celebrate Christmas didn’t fill our house with golden light, the scent of fresh baked cookies, and carols. We didn’t even know the lyrics to sing a song (with the exception of Rudolph). How do you decorate a tree without years of gifted, hand-me-down, and hand-made ornaments? There were no family recipes for special Christmas treats. In fact, we had no family that celebrated Christmas.

Our first Christmas consisted of us sitting at the dining table with our mother’s boyfriend and each opening a gift. It felt forbidden and a little sterile. Jehovah didn’t strike us down for getting presents, but maybe that was because we hadn’t participated fully in the holiday. We didn’t have a tree in the living room or lights on the house. The only Christmas activity we had participated in was the most commercial. It’s the only tradition I’ve kept up.

Over the years, I made other attempts at feeling the magic of Christmas. The second year, I sent out hand-made holiday cards. The next year, I bought a few Christmas albums that I played nonstop for the last two weeks of December. I once decorated a potted pine. I participated in gift exchanges. I drank eggnog. I went to holiday parties. I’ve even attended Christmas mass. But I’ve always felt like an imposter.

What’s missing? You might say it’s faith. (I’m an atheist.) But I think it’s simply a lack of history. Christmas is a holiday of traditions and I have none. There are no heirloom ornaments or secret family recipes. Beefy’s family has a tradition of recalling and telling stories from past Christmases at their annual celebration. We gathered at his grandmother’s house a few years ago and when it was my turn to speak, I had nothing to say.

Is 39 too late to start traditions for a holiday based on a faith I don’t share? I don’t know. I may not be a Christian, but I’m a humanist and I see the holiday as a reminder to connect with friends and family. The pagan trappings are pretty, but have no significance in my life. I choose to engage in the rituals that connect me with those I care about. I’ll continue to send gifts to those I love and will make another attempt at those holiday cards this year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Skirt No. 3

I thought I’d worn this sweater and skirt combo before, but it was actually an older, thrifted, houndstooth skirt. This is houndstooth skirt #3. It took a few tries to get it right.

Vest, AC-3998 (cut from a thrifted jacket). Sweater, Joseph A (thrifted). Skirt, Outlander (thrifted and gifted). Boots, Audrey Brooke (consignment). Earrings, Claire’s. Bag, Clark’s.

Skirts #1, #2 and #3 (all thrifted):

Totally, unrelated (but also black and white): guess who likes bubbles!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Usually, I feel pretty silly as I wobble along in my heels to a remote, unpaved location for my blog pictures. In flats and a woolen skirt, though, I feel right at home in the riverbank wilds.

Sweater, Outback Red. Skirt, Jones New York (thrifted). Tights, We Love Colors. Boots, Steve Madden. Sunglasses, Meow Meow. Earrings, Ali’s Boutique. Bag, Clark’s.