doctor, doctor turns out, my doctor knows something about his specialty. A few weeks ago, I had an appointment with him. (I know, I have been holding out on all of you who love the doctor stories.) In advance of this scheduled visit, I prepared a list of all the physical activities I was going to get his clearance to do, as well as tactics for how to get him to say yes. I figured that between my lobbying skills, eyelash batting ability, and very tender emotional state (read: tendency to cry at the drop of a hat) I would walk away getting what I want. Which is essentially to exercise again.

After all the “hi, how you feeling, what is your pain level today on a scale of 1-10?” stuff was out of the way, I went down my list.

Me: Can I take spin classes?

Doctor: No.

Me: Can I do the ballet barre class I was doing before the procedure?

Doctor: No.

Me: Can I swim?

Doctor: No freestyle. No butterfly. And be careful with breaststroke too. Modify it to look more like side-stroke.

Me: Pilates?

Doctor: If you have the instructor call your physical therapist and get a briefing on your procedure and what you can and cannot do, then you can take Pilates.

At this point, my eyes swelled with tears, as if on demand. This menu of options is not exactly going to get me back into all the nice clothes hanging in my closet waiting for the return of my pre-Beatrix figure. But he was not swayed.

Me (batting eyelashes): But doctor…

Doctor: Listen, I gave you Pilates and swimming…

Me: I don’t consider your description of swimming to fit in my definition of real exercise.

Doctor: I don’t want you putting too much pressure on your back and swimming can do just that. And I feel like if I leave an appointment with you having given you less than 50% of what you want, then I have won.

Well this morning, I went to the pool for the first time. There were a few other swimmers. I sized up the competition. I planned on swimming for 30 minutes. I made it for 20. I did manage to “beat” those swimming in adjacent lanes (not that they knew they were racing) and I did not modify my breaststroke. I tried one lap of freestyle, and it was, I hate to admit, uncomfortable.

I guess on this point he wins. But I am going to redouble my efforts for the rematch.


shoe drama, act II

Chie Mihara pumps

This beautiful shoe not only looked horrible in high gloss Payless, it also was very sad in black. And honestly, I have a gazillion pairs of black shoes, but I only had one pair that is this classic camel color.  So I came back from my trip to California determined to seek a refund for the price of my shoes. Well, after five trips to the Cobbler’s Bench at Union Station, the owner finally showed his face. (Note: four of those trips the staff told me that the owner asked me to come back the next day at a certain hour, which makes the no-show-y-ness all the more egregious.) I now have in my wallet a very suspect looking check, which I am less than 50% sure is going to clear tomorrow when I take it to the bank. There could be a third act yet.

something blue

David Aubrey necklaceIt has been awhile since anyone has asked me for style advice. Maybe because lately, I have been moving at such a frenetic pace that no one dares to talk to me. Or maybe it is because with my current wardrobe limitations, I wear the same outfits week after week. Whatever the reason, the drought ended Friday when Kaitlan asked me to help her style “the top half” of the Lilly Pulitzer Blossom Dress, which she plans to wear on Saturday to a tea her best friends are throwing for her to celebrate her recent engagement. According to Kaitlan, the brightness of the colors, combined with the strapless cut of the dress and her porcelain complexion, demands some sort of upper body accessory.
I am loathe to recommend a scarf, and given that our temperatures are creeping into the 90s, a sweater may not be appropriate either, though the Lilly Velma Shrug looks like it was made for this dress (if you don’t mind the matchy-matchness dressing in HTT Lilly). But in my opinion, the right necklace is the perfect solution.
Again with the disclaimer that I haven’t seen the dress or the David Aubrey Blue Beaded Necklace in person (so judge for yourself, Kaitlan, as to whether they are complimentary shades) my goal here was to pick an understated color from the dress (not easy to do with a Lilly pattern) and try to draw it out with a color that is in the same family but a shade or two darker. After all, I don’t want her to look like a confectionery dessert at her own party.

Cheverly Valley PTA my weakened state of mind this week (see previous post) my friend Kate made an appeal to me: would I run for secretary of the PTA.

Now, Jack finished 3rd grade this week and has been at Hoyer Montessori for five years and do you know how many PTA meetings I have attended? A sum total of one. And that one meeting had an agenda item that I had fought with some other parents to have included. In fact, This said group of parents came over to my house afterwards for drinks. I have consistently been a member of our PTA, just not a particularly active one. Not that I haven’t wanted to be. If I recall correctly, the last school year, I was traveling a lot for work, and it seemed my trips always coincided on the days the monthly PTA meetings were held. This year, the PTA just wasn’t on my radar.

But next year, I am all in. And not just because I know it’s going to irritate our condescending principal who doesn’t know how to deal little boys, in particular when little boys do little boy things like talk loudly or sing potty songs. Come to think of it, she doesn’t know how to deal with parents either, in particular ones who do parental things like question what sort of disciplinary action she is going to take against the school bully. She isn’t great at relating to the teachers either. Or students. But I am not doing this just to be a thorn in her side.

And I am not just doing it because my friend Rachel is running for VP and being on the board with her will give us a chance to spend some quality time discussing (read: mocking) the things that amuse us. Nor did I agree to put my name on the ballot because I have nursed any long-time desire to seek (or tweet from) elected office.

I agreed to get engaged because I am fortunate enough that my kids are thriving in a public Montessori school, located one block from our house. In an otherwise over-subscribed school district, they were each in classes this year with 18 other students. In our small school community, the parents know the teachers. We know each other. I laugh when I get the pre-recorded phone call from PGCPS to alert me to the fact that one of my sons missed school on a day he was home sick with me. If Jack or Colin ever took it upon themselves to skip school, I’m sure I would hear it from a live voice long before I heard it from a recording.

As secretary of the PTA, I will keep diligent and accurate minutes of each meeting. I will help steer the agenda in a direction that I think will benefit the school. I will certainly still invite parents to my house over for drinks after a tough meeting. Or a successful meeting. I don’t otherwise have a platform or a motive unless you count the two super-smart little boys who call me mommy.

unwind me

wine makes everything better

I know, I know… I have been MIA. But really, the truth of the matter is that the last six weeks or so finally caught up with me. What have I been doing with all my so-called “free” (from the blog) time? Well, to name a few activities, I have been busy being a little league mom, a stage mom, and a new kitten mom, all on top of my usual post as working mom. In the house, we have had strep throat (a recurring case), broken glasses, a cavity to fill, and my own weekly physical therapy appointments. In addition to the memos to write, the meetings to run, the conference calls to prepare for, and the never-ending strategizing that goes on in my working world, I had to spend an hour at my son’s school in the principal’s office because he sang a potty song. Yes, my seven-year old son got written up for singing a potty song. Does our principal not know the minds of little boys? (If you live in my town, you know the answer to my question.)

In short, I ended each day since my last post in a heap on my bed, unable to put a single witty (or fashionable) thought together. My back hurts. And none of my clothes fit.

But then, slowly but surely the fog has cleared, even if in an uneven, the-universe-is-messing-with-me sort of way. Memories of wine tasting in Healdsburg, California over the weekend quickly faded into the recesses of my mind during a two-hour hellish cab ride home (with an hour-long conference call in the middle) from Dulles on Tuesday. Hill meetings galore and a no-damage fender-bender sealed the deal for me this week that some greater force was out to get me. But then I realized that maybe I am out to get myself. After all, when was the last time I took a real vacation? And by real, I mean one that lasts for more than a long weekend, is not merely extra days tacked onto a work trip and doesn’t involve family. (Sorry family.)

Having this epiphany (and a homemade bacon and peanut-butter pop tart this morning) has turned my frame of mind around. While no plans have been made (I haven’t even had real time to think about what it is I want to do) just knowing that I am going to make the time for myself to do something has improved my outlook.

That, and I bought some really delicious Pinot Noirs over the weekend.


love’s labour’s lost people work hard and play hard. I work hard and shoe hard. As if you hadn’t figured it out by now, I have a slight shoe obsession. The number of shoes in my closet does not reach three digits; I am choosy. I like unique shoes that work for my professional lifestyle and budget. I don’t buy crazy impossible-to-walk-in styles that I will only wear once (like the pictured Chanel gun shoes that I would have bought if money were no object). I like designers that can construct a shoe that will really be comfortable, a shoe I won’t look at next year and say “what was I thinking” and most importantly, a shoe that can withstand the horrible DC sidewalks designed by men and the marble halls of Congress. That doesn’t mean that I don’t buy shoes with a stiletto heel, it just means I don’t wear them if I know I’m going to be walking on perilous ground.

So if you have been reading my musings, you also know by now that I am a big fan of Simply Soles. I found a “soul mate” in founder and owner, Kassie Rempel, and there are days that number in the too many to count that I wish I could be her.

One day last summer, she and I were meeting for drinks, but as she had just opened a new store in Georgetown, I wanted to come by and see the new digs. She had just received the fall shipment and boxes were everywhere (in the back of the store, of course). Now, I had already memorized the fall catalog and had my eye on a pair of shoes that in person, just didn’t pan out for me. But then Kassie showed me the latest Chie Mihara’s. (Disclaimer: if you are passionate about funky but functional shoes and don’t have a pair of Chie’s in your closet, I cannot be held accountable for any purchases this post inspires you to go out and make.) The Fabiola was (is) my perfect shoe. The camel-butterscotch shade is the perfect neutral hue that works for literally all seasons. The origami detail on the toe of the shoe makes it interesting. I had a store credit. I had “sole savers” points. The purchase was a no-brainer, and I never looked back.

But lately, they were showing the effects of my love. A slight denim stain on the back heel led me to take them to the cobbler. I just wanted them cleaned. I didn’t expect the entire denim stain to come out, but figured they would come back looking a little fresher. And I asked them to replace the heel pads to boot. Well, on Monday when I went to pick them up, somehow they were dirtier… like they had lived in a bin with some shoes recently polished brown. I complained that the shoes looked worse than when I had dropped them off. They asked for one more day. At COB today, as instructed, I went to pick up my babies. They still looked bad, like they hadn’t touched them at all. They asked me to come back tomorrow. No-can-do. On my way to San Francisco in the morning, and the shoes are integral to my plans to pack lightly. So they asked me to give them two hours. Fine. I had a lot of loose ends to tie up at the office before leaving town, so I gave them 2.5 hours. But when I went to pick them up, they did not hand me MY shoes, my beautiful camel shoes. No, they handed me a pair of shoes that they had dyed a color they call “sandalwood” but which I call “high gloss ugly.”

I started to cry.

Me: “I won’t wear these.”

Them: “We want to make you happy. We will give you credit for a future repair.”

Me: “I am never fucking bringing another pair of shoes to you again.” (Okay, I didn’t say that, but I thought it and rejected their credit offer.)

In the end, I asked them to dye them black. But I am sad. I have struggled with these feelings, which seem so indulgent. There are a lot of problems in the world. I know because I work on some of them. But I loved these shoes and when I wore them, it gave me the confidence to do my job a little better.

Given my mood, I guess it is appropriate that I’m getting them in black.