Get On Your Feet (aka: Training Your Tootsies)

Take a deep sniff. Smell that? No, it’s not a bag of stale Cheetos™.  It’s the oh-too familiar whiff of a very hard-working, under-rated part of our bodies.

That’s right. Our feet.

Most of us are born with two of these babies. Most of them have ten toes, sometimes long and skinny, like fingers, and sometimes short and stubby, like plump little balls. Some are flat and stompy, built to be encased in wide sneakers. Others have a delicate Barbie-arch that slides perfectly into high heeled shoes. Many are somewhere in between.

Do you ever think about how important feet are? Those of us who have them often take them for granted. We stuff them into cheap, too-tight shoes, then trudge through shopping malls, and across parking lots, and around the fields where our kids play sports. Then we complain when our poor tootsies get all swollen and blistered. Some of us torture our feet by making them run long distances on hard pavements. Many other people spend hours every day with their feet sitting on the floor beneath their desks, forgetting that feet, like dogs, need to take a walk, sometimes.

We put our feet through a lot.

Now some people, women especially, pay all kinds of attention to their feet. They worship their feet. They take them to spas and pamper them with professional massages and long, hot soaks. They have pedicures, getting their toenails all purtied up with bright coats of paint. They rub them with scented lotions, then dress them in cute, expensive shoes the way some people dress up their little frou-frou dogs.

I’ll bet feet love people like that.

One of my favorite things to do to nurture my feet is to let the experience nature. Undressed. Unshackled. Just the bare skin of my soles sinking into the warm sand at the beach. Letting the cool ocean waves wash over them. Getting them tickled by blades of grass at the park. Hearing them squelch as they’re sucked into gooey, oozy mud. My feet love that. Well, as long as I stay away from sharp rocks. And bees. And hot asphalt surfaces that make them sizzle like burgers on a grill.

Feet are marvelous things.

Did you know, that if you train them right, they can climb mountains? For real. They can also climb a few flights of stairs every day, if you let them. They can walk all over town, and the best part about that is that you get to see things you may have missed otherwise. Just yesterday, my feet took me along a river trail I’d never taken somewhere near the downtown office where I work. And do you know what I saw? Goats. Like, fifty goats, kids and all, chewing up the grass along the walkway. Right there, in a major metropolitan area. What the what? It was super weird, and a pretty cool sight. And I never would have seen it if not for my trusty feet. (Good girls). Unfortunately, my feet also led me to a coffee shop, where I wound up buying a delicious, fresh-baked cookie. So I guess they still need some more training.

Now I know that some of you are rolling your eyes as you read this. The only thing you want to do with your feet is prop them up on an ottoman while you watch TV. I’m not judging, nor am I pointing any fingers at specific readers. But you know what they say — if the shoe fits…

All I want to do is remind you that, if you train your feet and treat them well, then they’ll reward you. They’ll show you new sights and take you to meet interesting people. They’ll work with your body to get it stronger, fitter, healthier. They’ll remind you that you have these two amazing things attached to your legs to be grateful for every morning. They might even get a little naughty and lead you to a coffee shop that sells yummy, fresh-baked cookies. You’ll never know unless you move them.

Where have your feet led you?

The Turkey is Not the Point

I hate turkey. In fact, my favorite Thanksgiving dinner was in 2011, when I at last decided to break away from tradition and serve my family king crab and oyster chowder.

“When you think about it,” I explained, “shellfish is a very authentic Thanksgiving-ish food, since the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag lived so close to the sea.” Luckily, my kids were totally happy with eating crab, although they thought my oyster chowder tasted like pond sludge. (Oh well…I still thought it was better than turkey).

When it comes down to it, however, it is not about whether one likes or dislikes turkey. Or oyster chowder, for that matter. The point of Thanksgiving is to stop and reflect on our blessings, to express our gratitude, and to share those blessings with those we love. This year, I asked my children to come up with a personal list of three blessings for which they are grateful. (Their response is at the end of this post).

I made a list, as well. It wasn’t exactly easy to do. This year has been somewhat riddled with difficulties. And when you are feeling overwhelmed with obstacles, it can be somewhat challenging to reflect on the good things. But still, I reflected, and here is my list:

  1. Our house, which may be small and old, but it is warm and cozy during the cold nights, and the roof doesn’t leak (much).
  2. My substitute teaching job, which may not be a steady as my old permanent position, but every little bit helps to get the bills paid.
  3. Health! Healthy children who hardly ever get sick, as well as my own remarkably good health this year.
  4. Our opportunities to travel together this year. Though we may lack the resources to travel far, the kids and I have been very fortunate to explore beautiful cities, beaches, and locations up and down the West coast. I am also grateful that my kids are so easy to travel with.
  5. My iPad. I know, I know, this is such a silly, materialistic thing to add. Really, I am not a materialistic person. I do not care about designer brand names, and I am just as happy to read a book from the library as I am to own one. But my iPad has been very important to me…a very practical tool, a source of entertainment, as well as a window to the world for this severe introvert.
  6. Music. Poetry. Literature. Art. The beautiful things that give my spirit wings to soar above the fog of life.
  7. The San Francisco Forty-Niners, who are having another incredible season this year. Also Manchester United FC (that’s soccer, people), Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and the LA Lakers.
  8. Katniss, Buffy, Sydney Bristow, and all those other kick-ass female characters who inspire me to be stronger than I think I can be.
  9. Rainy days, scented candles, hot cups of tea, and cozy blankets to cuddle in.
  10. Humor. Laughter, to me, is the best medicine, and can pretty much cure and prevent any affliction.

Well, technically it is still (Everything-but)Turkey Day for another 20 minutes. So, wherever in the world you may be, readers, take a few moments to reflect on your blessings, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

What Are You Thankful For? from Tiare75 on Vimeo.