Friday, November 30, 2007

The End of NoBloShoeMo

From 22 pairs of shoes to 12. Not bad.

December Challenge

So tonight when I get home, I'll officially wrap up NoBloShoeMo, and give you an official count of shoes kept and shoes going.

But right now, I want to introduce my challenge for December.

As some of you know, I pretty much live on pre-packaged foods. I'm not much of a cook, which is to say that I can cook, but I don't derive particular enjoyment from cooking, and I don't have a ton of time. I know, excuses, excuses.

But I know that pre-packaged foods are not particularly healthy, and are also definitely not environmentally friendly. So this month, my challenge to myself is:

1. No buying pre-packaged dinners
2. No buying fast food

For one month. So I can either cook, or go to a sit-down restaurant. But I can't order take-out from a sit-down restaurant unless I bring all my own containers.

I'm really excited for this challenge, but also a little scared. This challenge requires a lot of preparation, and it also requires that I remember my lunch every day before work. Luckily for me, I'm doing this particular challenge in December which means that I'll be with family for a chunk of it, and probably have lovely dinners cooked for me!

My only problem is that this challenge doesn't have a snappy name to it. So if anyone wants to come up with one, that would be great. Otherwise, maybe I'll go with DeSloFooMo.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November Wrap Up

Augh. This jet lag thing is killing me. I meant to finish off NoBloShoeMo tonight, but I'm falling asleep as I type, so I promise I'll finish tomorrow. Also tomorrow, I'll introduce my December challenge! I'm very excited about this one, and I swear it won't involve a billion pictures of my shoes!

'Tis The Season To Be Cranky

Humph. I am cranky today. This may be because I have a lingering cold, or it may be because I woke up at 3:30 am today (thanks jet lag!) or it may be because it is only 26 days until Christmas and I am starting to stress out.

The problem is it's all very well to SAY that my non-consumption doesn't apply to gifts, but in practice, I'm finding it hard to go forth and shop. Also, for various reasons I will not go into here, I'm on a tight budget which is further complicating matters.

So then I committed to making some of my gifts, and I feel relatively confident about what I am making and in my ability to make it, except that I'm having some trouble getting all environmentally friendly raw materials. Which means I am probably going to have to settle for some environmentally friendly raw materials, and some ... not. Which is not sitting well with me, but at this point I'm a little at a loss.

And then I keep going round and round in my head about Christmas decor. I love Christmas trees, and I've had one for the past few years now, and would love to get one again this year. But it seems a little wasteful, especially since I'm going to be at my uncle and aunt's for Christmas itself, and they will definitely have a tree at their home.

Sigh. As a wise frog once said, it's not easy being green.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Freeze Yer Buns- Part III

It's almost the end of the month, so I thought I'd give you a little update about this. So far, so good. I haven't turned my heat on in my apartment at all. It's a huge psychological help that the heat doesn't work too well, so I know that even if I turned it on, it would be forever before the apartment warmed up, and I'm better off just putting on a fleece and wrapping myself in a blanket.

Of course it's not even winter yet, so the true test is yet to come.

The Rules

Yesterday, Amelia asked me in the comments what exactly I was and was not consuming.

Since I've been making up my rules the best way I see fit, I figured it was worth clarifying what I can and cannot do. While I looked to The Compact and Colin at No Impact Man for inspiration, my rules are slightly different.

1. I cannot buy any new durable goods.
2. I cannot buy any clothes. Period. This does not include shoes.
3. I can continue to use non-durable products I already own, but once I run out, I need to find the most environmentally friendly replacement.
4. I can spend money on experiences- concerts, plays, museums, etc.
5. Presents are exempted from my ban on new goods, but I try and make a good faith effort to buy something either from a small independent artist or producer, or to buy my friends experiences.

That's pretty much it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To Consume or Not to Consume

So I had decided long, long ago that my trip to Egypt would be my one exception to my non-consumption this year because going to Egypt is a once in a lifetime experience and anyway, I rationalized to myself that by buying in Egypt, I'd be supporting a third world economy.

But I wasn't entirely prepared for the confluence of emotions that hit me as I prepared to shop- there was a pent-up desire to shop, there was relief that if I needed/wanted something I could just get it without having to jump through a myriad of Ebay or Amazon marketplace hoops, and there was lots and lots of guilt.

Even though I had told myself Egypt was an exception, it was hard for me to buy without feeling like I was cheating on my non-consumerist vows.

As a result, I ended up buying a lot less for myself than I usually do when I go on trips which is good. Mostly I bought gifts for friends, so now almost all of my Christmas gifts are taken care of, so that's somewhat of a relief.

I still have a few more Christmas gifts left though, which is another struggle. I also decided that when I became a non-consumer that gifts would be exempted. Mostly because I didn't want my friends and family to hate me. BUT, I still feel weird about buying gifts. I'd rather buy experiences- tickets to plays or concerts or museums, but experiences can be kind of expensive so I'm not sure if that's going to work out. Any ideas for inexpensive experiential gifts would be much appreciated.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Seven Random Facts

Just before I left for my trip, I got tagged by notthemama. I've never been tagged before so it was pretty exciting, except that I was running around like crazy getting stuff done for my trip. But now that I'm back, here are seven random facts about me. And in light of the fact that I just got back from a trip, all my seven facts are travel related. So I guess they're not totally random then. Oh well. Guess I'm a rebel.

1. I have been to every continent other than Antarctica. Though I almost don't count South America because I was only about five years old when I was there.

2. My favorite city in the world is Istanbul. To me, Istanbul combines the modernity of a European city with the exotic-ness of an Asian city. I fell in love with it the first time I went, and look forward to going back many times.

3. I am terrified of roller coasters, but being 30,000 feet in the air doesn't bug me in the slightest. I even sometimes enjoy turbulence.

4. We have a family video of me feeding some kangaroos in Australia when I was 8, and then getting freaked out every time they jumped towards me, and jumping back away from them as they jumped to me.

5. I hate jet lag when I'm travelling, but I secretly enjoy jet lag when I come back home. I wake up at 5 am, and end up doing super productive things like cleaning and unpacking because what else am I going to do?

6. My next must-gos that I've never been to are Peru, Morocco, Sweden, and Croatia. I also really want to revisit France and England, but Western Europe is ridiculously expensive, so I'm not sure when that will happen.

7. I would love to live abroad at some point in my life.

All right. I'm tagging ScienceMama, Annie, Shorty, and Amelia.

I know that's only four, but like I said, I'm a rebel.

1- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm Baaaack!

Did you miss me?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Farewell! So long!

I'm sorry to do this to you, dear internet, but I am taking a week long trip out of the country. Which means that while I will still try to post when I have the time and access to the internet, I can't guarantee that you'll be getting fresh postings every day from me.

I know, I know, what about NaNoBloMo, and NoBloShoeMo? Well, I've almost finished showing you my shoes. And anyway, aren't you TIRED of seeing my shoes? So when I come back, I'll finish it off- show you a group picture of the shoes that are staying, etc, etc. And I have a new challenge for myself already lined up for December so there's that to look forward to too.

As for NaNoBloMo, well, when I signed up for it, I forgot that ummm... I'm going out of the country for over a week. Then I entertained ideas of pre-writing blog entries and getting them to publish at a certain time. Only it turns out that the program you would need to do that in Blogger doesn't work, blah blah blah, more trouble than it was worth. Plus, I had reservations about pre-writing my blog. It just felt wrong somehow.

So I decided that I would blog as much as I possibly could given that I'll be traveling around a lot, with my entire family, and in a third world country.

So you can keep occasionally checking this space in the next week. And I'll be BACK back a week from Sunday.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Easy Green

One of the things that surprised me as I moved to my non-consumer way of life, was how SIMPLE some of my green fixes were. Like buying recycled toilet paper at Trader Joes where I shop all the time anyway. And I kept wondering to myself ... why wasn't I doing this EARLIER?

I think sometimes we balk at the bigger lifestyle changes people like Colin or Crunchy are making, and figure, well anything I'm going to do is going to be a drop in the bucket, so why bother?

But just think about this. If everyone reused their grocery bags, which is a pretty easy green fix, think about HOW much plastic we would save. And the more people who start doing their small, maybe insignificant-on-its-own part, they more that that drop in the proverbial bucket starts to be more of a flood in the bucket.

So from time to time I'm going to start posting some of my easy green fixes. I know many of you are old hats at all of this, but I am consistently surprised by simple green fixes that I, up until recently, never bothered to do.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lululemon's a Lemon

There's an article in the NY Times about a company named Lululemon. I had never heard about Lululemon, but apparently they are a producer of high-end yoga wear and part of their appeal is that they purport to use natural ingredients such as seaweed in the their clothes. I say purport, because according to two NY Times tests of the clothes there is no seaweed in their clothing.

Now, my first reaction was well ... basically, "Sucka!" Because come on, people. You can easily do yoga in an old tee-shirt and sweats. And frankly, expensive yoga wear is kind of the antithesis of what yoga is all about- which is a kind of asceticism, a giving up of the material for a transcendental experience combining mind, body, and heart. Do you think those old yogis in India are wearing seaweed clothing? Well, they're not. They're barely wearing anything at all.

But after I thought about it, I realized that while maybe I would not choose to buy high-end yoga wear, that doesn't mean people are suckers for expecting to get what is advertised from a reputable company that is making gobs and gobs of money. (Incidentally, I tried to price some Lululemon clothing for y'all, but all the sites Google pulled up were all about Lululemon's stock which was sky high ... until the NY Times article came out. Lululemon: just like Enron only with a side of Nirvana.)

But if Lululemon claims that their clothes contain 24% seaweed fiber, then they SHOULD contain 24% seaweed fiber. And it's appalling that in this day and age, we are having to deal with this level of false advertising.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Do My Feet Look Old In This Picture?

I think they do. As old as feet can look. I am having one of those days when I am freaking out about how I look old.

Anyway, these shoes were bought for a friend's wedding I was in. They are my newest shoes. So I think they can stay, even though I don't know that they fill a specific need in my closet. I dunno. I guess I need to be more ruthless about getting rid of my shoes?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Not About Shoes

I've been putting off posting all day because I've been trying to resolve something for myself- a feeling of unease that has been coming and going for the better part of the day. First I thought I'd post about it, and then I resolved not to post about it. I'd get back to the shoes. But ultimately, I decided I'd rather blog about the cause of this unease. And maybe by writing about it, I'll gain some resolution.

The unease began when I read this post by one of my favorite bloggers. In it, she talks about trying to find products that were not made in China.

Now, before I launch into anything, I want to make it very clear. This post is not about her. I have nothing but respect for Chris, and love for her great blog. The unease is with myself and my feelings on the matter.

And I'm utterly conflicted.

On the one hand, I completely see where people are coming from by not buying products made in China. People do it for many reasons. The obvious is the lead scares, but many people also refuse to buy products from China because of the poor factory conditions and the obvious health hazards to the workers.

And I see those reasons. I agree with those reasons. And yet ... I can't help but think about the numerous people who, thanks to these factories, are able to eke out a living for their family.

As an Indian-American, I have a vastly different point of view from most Americans about outsourcing. To most Americans, outsourcing results in fewer jobs for Americans, and is therefore bad. To me, outsourcing is a great boon that is providing thousands of jobs for Indians, that is growing the middle class, that is pulling India into the 21st century.

I keep wondering how I would feel about people boycotting Indian products. Defensive, I'm sure. Frustrated. I think I'd want to tell people that they should be boycotting, not a country, nor a people, but the mega-corporations. Don't choose Legos from Europe instead of Legos from China. Boycott all Legos everywhere until the company wakes up and starts realizing that it will lose its customers if it doesn't institute stringent product safety checks and fair labor practices EVERYWHERE.

But that's easy for childless me to say. I don't have to answer to a five year-old come Christmas morning when she opens her presents and finds out that Santa brought her an acorn and a very bad drawing of a stick figure. I don't have to worry that my two year old will be sucking on some plastic toy, and I'll go online and find out that that plastic toy is being recalled. And I loved Legos as a child. Who am I to take away Legos?

Mostly, I dream of a day when all the governments of the world mount the courage to band together and to tell these multi-national corporations, "Enough is enough. From now on, you will abide by world-wide standards of safety. You will provide your workers with fair conditions from every corner of the Earth. You will not build a factory in a city, and create jobs and mass migration, only to move out of the city for somewhere cheaper a year later. We will require you to pay your workers a minimum wage based on the country's per capita GDP, and oh yeah, you will pay overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. And if you don't do this, we will not allow your product to be sold in our country."

But that's never going to happen. Will it?

Sunday, November 11, 2007


This past weekend, I was at the wedding of a very close family friend. Both my sister and I were in town for the weekend, and Saturday was wonderful and chaotic and beautiful and emotionally moving and full of lots of people whom I love and cherish.

And yet, throughout the din and hullaballo, I was acutely aware of an absence.

I felt it first Saturday morning while I was in the shower. And as I stood there, letting grief and hot water rush over me in approximately equal proportion I wondered if every happy occasion was now bound to be slightly bittersweet. If I could ever be completely joyous, without a part of me being sad that my dad wasn't there to share in my happiness.

I could clearly imagine what this weekend would have been like with my dad around. My dad was the type of person who, when he was excited, could start jumping up and down. Other people's joy was his joy. This weekend would have gotten him so riled up with excitement that it would have driven me absolutely crazy. I would have yelled at him to calm down. And he would have cackled like some crazy maniac and refused. He could be completely maddening sometimes.

And now, I miss that vicacity of his every day. I would give anything to hear him cackle again, or to see him jumping up and down.

I managed to rein it in for most of the rest of the day. And then, during the toasts, the grief pricked up in me again. And as I sat there feeling sad, I also felt ashamed. Ashamed that after over three years, I don't have total control over my sadness. And ashamed that instead of being 100% happy at this loveliest of weddings, that I was crying.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Providence In The Form Of A Used Book

Last night I was sitting at my gate at the airport, when I realized that I had left my book at home.

And ... I didn't have any other distractions on me. My cell phone doesn't have any games on it. I didn't bring my iPod or my laptop. I didn't even have a pad of paper. And not only did I have a flight to get through, but my flight was delayed so I had an hour and a half to kill before my flight.

Okay, I thought, I'll grab a book at the newsstand or something. I walked over to the newsstand, and suddenly came to a screeching halt. I had forgotten for a few seconds, but I can't buy a NEW book. I'm allowed to buy only used books.

I stood in front of the newsstand gazing at my forbidden fruit. Well, what about magazines? I've never really made an official ruling on magazines. But then I thought, you're already getting on an AIRPLANE, you want to push it by buying a magazine as well?

So, I decided to go for a walk in order to relieve my boredom. I decided that if I became desperate, I'd allow myself to buy a magazine, but not until I became desperate.

As I walked through the gates, cursing the airport for not being walking distance from a used bookstore, I remembered that last time I was here, one of the stores was advertising a program that offered you 50% of your money back if you bought a book from them, read it, and sold it back to them.

So... I thought getting more and more excited, it stands to reason that if they buy people's used books back, they must also SELL used boooks.

I hurried down to the store and sure enough, there was a shelf of "previously read books." The selection was paltry- only four or five books sat on the shelf, but I still managed to find a book that I've been meaning to read for a while.

So I paid for my book, walked back to my gate, and triumphantly settled down to read my book.

And it was good.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Being Environmentally Conscious Doesn't Mean You Have to Hand Churn Your Own Butter

When you read a lot of environmental blogs they are all about growing your own plants, and making your own jams, and hand weaving your own clothes.

And look, I think that's awesome. I would love to be the kind of person who grows my own plants, and makes my own jams, and hand weaves my clothes. But I am not that person.

I know my limitations, and I know when to "outsource" jobs that I'll never do. For example, a couple years ago I realized I had a ton of clothes in my closet that I really liked, but that I never wore for various reasons. The straps were too long, the skirt needed hemming, there was a button missing on a shirt.

And as much as I like to delude myself that one day, I'll sew on that button, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that that would never happen.

So, what to do? Throw the clothes out? Get new ones?

Hell, no! I took about 12 articles of clothing to my drycleaner who also advertises minor alterations. She fixed up every single piece of clothing very nicely. And the cost? About $80. Imagine if I had gotten rid of all those clothes and bought twelve new pieces of clothing.

So my point is, you don't have to beat yourself up trying to do everything yourself. Sometimes, it's okay to cut corners.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Survivor of the Boots

I'm going out of town this weekend, so I'll still be posting, but I won't be able to post any shoes. So tonight, you get three pairs of boots! And one pair's gotsta go. Which one will it be?

First up:

My Naturalizer Ankle Boots. If I were Ryan Seacrest, I would be saying, "Naturalizers, you are SAFE." They are comfy, still in good condition, and fill a need in my closet.

Next up:

My brown Aerosole Boots. I do not love these boots. They are not super comfy (though they are not un-comfy either.) And I don't adore the color. There's something cowgirly about these boots? And I am not a cowgirl. But, they are brown tall boots, and can be worn with cute skirts. And they are in extremely good condition and aren't even a year old.


These are my Steve Maddens. I love these. And as you can tell, they have been well loved for they are getting pretty worn. My head says these need to go, but my heart says, just one more winter! Just one more winter!!

So, which one goes? Keep in mind, no boots will be getting replaced. While I've decided that I am allowed to buy used shoes, boots are a little too much of a luxury. And I'm a little lean on the pocketbook right now.

Fixing Instead of Replacing

Today the New York Times had an article about fixing your ipods instead of replacing them. It's an interesting article, with some good tips for where to find information on repairing your ipods, but in the end, the article concludes that ipods have a life span, and after three years, you should probably just replace your ipod.

I have been mostly counting on my laptop and my ipod lasting until next August when my year of non-consumerism officially ends. But if they failed before then, what would I do? Would I break my vows of non-consumerism? Or would I try to get my laptop or ipod repaired? The answer is, I don't know. If it was my ipod, I would guess that I would try to fix it and then live without.

If it was my laptop, well, that's not something I could live without. But on the other hand, the cost of a new laptop is so high, that I'd be more willing to pay for an expensive fix.

The truth is, EVENTUALLY, I will want to replace both my laptop and my ipod. Not within the year hopefully, but probably in a few years. And when I replace them, I will probably want to replace them new.

I'm not too thrilled with this. I'm kind of looking at this year of non-consumerism as a diet. But like any diet, I do not want to go back to my old consumeristic (is that a word?) habits after the diet is over. But the fact of the matter is, technology is rapidly evolving, and not buying new is a huge pain, especially for someone as un-tech savvy as I am. I can't build myself a computer out of old parts. I can't add my own RAM or hard drive.

I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I Am Running Out Of Ways To Title Posts About Shoes

These are the shoes I wear to work almost every day. I bought these in June to replace the old pair of shoes I used to wear to work almost every day. That pair looked just LIKE this pair. Because I am old and crusty and set in my ways.

Now That I'm Getting Rid of My Shoes... How Do I Do It?

The first pair I decided to get rid of was relatively easy. I thought the shoes were ugly, but they're comfortable, have been worn about 10 times, and are in good condition. So I figured I could send them to Goodwill and feel relatively confident they wouldn't wind up in the trash.

But the hobo/hipster shoes? That are seven years old? That are falling apart? They presented a problem.

Okaaay ... so I throw them out. Right? Do I have any choice?

I'm not sure. Nike has a program for recycled running shoes, but the only website I found for recycling ALL shoes was in the UK.

If anyone has any advice, it would be much appreciated. I'll continue doing some digging as well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Obviously, this pair is a prime candidate to go, because, um, I got them seven years ago at Payless and they look like crap. Oh also, they're not really that comfortable. It's weirdly like they're so worn down, they got too big for my feet.

But then I think to myself, well, what if I decide that my new style is to look like a cross between a hipster and a hobo? What then? Won't I be sad that I got rid of these shoes? WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET RID OF MY SHOES! AUGH!

But, in all seriousness, I need to get rid of these, yes?

We Can Do It?

Yesterday, ScienceMama wrote a provocative piece on feminism. It was an incredibly well-written piece, and as I read it, all sorts of different emotions started welling up in me.

My freshman year of college, I declared a science major. The program was small, but the female population was even smaller. In my class, there were only seven female students. My dad had always framed going into science as somewhat of a "feminist issue." There were too few women in science, and thus, as a good feminist, I felt like I needed to do my part to rectify this.

Except, I hated it. Science. I wasn't terribly good at it, and I certainly had no passion for it. And ultimately, I realized that I couldn't sacrifice my happiness for the feminist movement. So, after some agonizing about "betraying" my fellow female science majors, I switched majors. And I know now, that that was 100% the right decision for me. So, like ScienceMama, I have struggled with being a "traitor" to the cause, and like her, I have ultimately realized that I cannot sacrifice my personal happiness for the sake of the women's movement.

But, I am also keenly aware that I wouldn't be where I am now, were it not for the tireless sacrifices of iconic feminists such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. It seems completely shocking now, but in the 1960s and early 1970s, a woman could not even own her own credit card. So I think it was natural that women focused on the workplace. Because in our capitalist society, money equals power.

And now, many of the older generation of feminists think we younger feminists are a disappointment. They don't understand why they fought so hard for us to be able to succeed in the workplace, and yet so many women would rather stay home.

I do not blame them per se. But I also don't think they completely understand the situation. You see, this is not your mother's workplace anymore. I think when Betty Friedan was contemplating women working, she was envisioning women working full-time, you know, 35-40 hours a week. Nine to five. The problem is, that now, full time often means 50-80 hours a week. And it means that time at home is interrupted with cell phone calls and emails on the blackberry.

So, I can't blame feminists for not forseeing that globalization and the technological revolution would permanently alter the landscape of the workplace. But I also think old-school feminists who exhort us to "get to work" are not entirely knowledgeable of what they are asking either. Because I know many women who would love to continue to work, but realized that even a 35-40 hour work week would never be possible in their field, and ended up quitting their jobs.

I think, what we have here, is not a feminist problem, as such, but a humanist one. Most of the men I know don't want to work 60 hours a week either. They don't want to miss out on raising their children, or spending time with their friends and family, or ... living life. And yet, this is the culture we live in.

This is something I struggle with daily. I know I need, that we all need, a work-life balance, and yet it seems impossible. But I am hopeful, that someday soon, men and women will both realize that we have become a people who live to work, and that we should be working to live. Because I don't see change happening until men AND women start realizing we all need some work-life balance.

Monday, November 5, 2007

And now ... Shoes

Apparently a lot of my shoes have pink in them. Hmmm.

So far, I'm keeping four pairs of shoes and getting rid of one. Tomorrow I'll pick another pair I'm getting rid of.

Freeze Yer Buns- Part II

So, I decided to go for it. I'm a little nervous, but I hadn't been turning on the heat in the apartment, and it's been okay. It helps that I know that the heating is iffy at best, so even if I did turn on the heat, chances are I wouldn't feel much warmer.

I'm going to keep the heat off this winter, but allow myself 15 cheat days. I think it should be fine, but I'm going to have to adjust my habits. It won't be hot enough anymore to sleep in just a tee-shirt, so I'll have to wear warmer night clothes.

I'll keep you posted.

Winning Over Environmentally Friendly Consumers

Recently, Colin at No Impact Man has been discussing ways that businesses can win over environmentally conscious consumers.

In my opinion, a little effort can often go a long way. As I've mentioned, I tend to buy ready-packaged food because I work long hours and don't have much time to cook. This is an area I want to improve upon, but for now I've been mostly resigned to the fact that pre-packaged food means a lot of wasteful packaging, and usually, a lot of plastic containers.

Well, the other day, I just happened to throw in an Annie Chun's noodle bowl into my shopping cart. When I went to make the noodle bowl, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Annie Chun's noodle bowls are not made of plastic, but mainly of cornstarch and that they are biodegradable.

Obviously, the ideal would be to not rely on pre-packaged foods, but at least I know now, that if I need to buy something pre-packaged, I now have a somewhat environmentally friendly option.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The former SAT teacher, and the forever word geek in me is super excited about this website I found today called Free Rice.

Basically, it's a free vocabulary building site, and for every vocabulary word you get right, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN. I checked out the site a little, and it seems completely legit. The rice is donated by the advertisers (all reputable) on the website.

The awesome thing about the site is that they have a wide range of vocab words, so the site was equally challenging for me and my eleven year old cousin. It basically starts you off with a fairly simple vocab word, and then starts increasing the difficulty of the vocab as you answer questions correctly. If you get a vocab question wrong, the difficulty level goes back down. I got totally engrossed in the game, and my cousin joked that I was now going to be glued to the computer all night. Luckily I managed to drag myself away eventually.

And now your shoes for the day. I love these- I call them my "Claudia Kishi Shoes."

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The First Pair to Go

I hate these shoes. I bought them on a crazy shopping expedition at Shoe Pavilion a few years ago. I bought five pairs of shoes, and somehow, in the mayhem ended up buying these as well.

Since then, I have probably worn these shoes 10 times? That's actually probably pushing it.

Why do I hate them? Mostly because they are too close to the color of my feet. So they make me look like I'm walking around barefoot except that I don't have any toes. I just don't want people to pity me for being toeless.

Cuz, I have toes.

Needless to say, these are getting purged.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sometimes the Simplest Things Escape Me

So today I took my car to the dealer for its 30,000 mile service. Because it's kind of a long service, and because I had a coupon from the dealer for a free rental car, I ended up getting a rental for the day. I do not like rental cars. They freak me out, and I try to drive them as little as possible. But in this case, it seemed like the easiest answer. It was free, I wouldn't have to miss work to wait for my car, and I wouldn't have to ask someone to go out of their way to pick me up or drop me off at the dealer.

As I was driving my rental car to work, I realized that I had left my garage remote in my car. Okay, no problem, I thought to myself. My car should be done by lunch. I'll just drop off the rental and pick up my car then, and it won't be an issue.

Except that OF COURSE a whole confluence of events at work led to me not getting to leave at lunch, and by the time I left work for the day, the dealer was long closed. But still, no big deal I figured. I'd just park on the street tonight, and pick up my car first thing in the morning.

So, I found parking. I walked to my building, and then I stopped suddenly and realized that not ONLY did I leave my garage remote in my own car which is at the dealer, I also gave the dealer my ENTIRE set of keys. Which includes, you guessed it, the keys to my apartment.

I cannot believe this did not occur to me ALL DAY LONG.

Luckily, my very nice manager let me in. Which means that instead of spending the night in my rental car, I am at home sending you pictures of my shoes.

These are my pink and green sneakers. I love them.


So, November 1st not only marks the first day of NaBloPoMo, it also marks the beginning of yes, NoBloShoeMo.

And in honor of NoBloShoeMo, I'm getting rid of my shoes.

Ok, yes, I understand, that the point of NoBloShoeMo is to SHOW OFF your shoes, so yeah, I'm subverting NoBloShoeMo for my own purposes. Oh well!

But I realized that I have TWENTY-TWO pairs of shoes. TWENTY-TWO. How this happened, I'm not sure. I'm not even a shoe person. Ok, I do know how this happened. And it's because I have this terrible disease regarding shoes wherein I can't get rid of them. I mean, it's a serious problem. In fact once, several years ago, the situation became so dire that one of my friends got drunk and hid my shoes because she thought they were gross and she wanted me to never wear them again. But then I found them and continued to wear them for another year or so.

But this time, I'm going to get rid of shoes on my own, without any help from my drunk friend. I want to at least cut the number of shoes I own in half. Throughout the month, I'll show you the shoes I'm keeping, and the shoes I'm getting rid of. And then you can tell me if I'm crazy for keeping the shoes I'm keeping, or crazy for getting rid of the shoes I'm getting rid of.

First off, my black heels. Actually stolen from my best friend for ScienceMama's wedding. And then I never gave them back, because I love them. I don't wear them often because they have heels and I don't walk very well period, so heels are kind of questionable. But they are a pair of black heels suitable for weddings. So this pair is a keeper.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Freeze Yer Buns

Crunchy Chicken is hosting a challenge at her website asking people to turn down their thermostats this winter.

I admit, I love having my heater on. When I lived in Chicago, I used to do all my studying, sitting on the windowsill with my legs dangling over the old-fashioned heater.

But, I think I am willing to sacrifice my love for heat. So far, I have yet to turn on my heat at home. Okay, I live in Los Angeles, but I HAVE been cold a few times, and I've just tried to bundle myself in sweatshirts and blankets.

I am contemplating responding to her challenge, by not turning on my heat at all this winter. Am I out of my mind? Maybe. Is the challenge of non-consumerism enough? Maybe. But I do live in freaking LOS ANGELES. It never really gets that cold here.

I don't know. I'm not sure if I am mentally ready for another challenge, but I'd like to think I could do it.