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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Y is for yoga. #WeAreStrongerThanMS

Y is for yoga. The BEST treatment I have discovered. Related imageRestorative yoga is awesome. It doesn't require a lot of physical exertion and isn't really an expensive activity. You just need a floor, a rug or yoga mat, some loose clothes, and your breath.                  

My biggest issue with yoga, or any other exercise program, is taking the time to do it. Sometimes the couch screams my  when Al Roker reports the weather or Live With Kelly comes on. After watching so many recorded yoga routines, I can usually practice while watching TV. It just depends on my level of motivation.

I know I should practice yoga, or some type of stretching every day. Of course the painful reminder hits me when I have ignored my own advice for several days and am met with a pronounced drop foot and an inability to use my right leg more than usual. Then I feel like such a slug; rightly so. So, learn a pose and try it...just for a few minutes a'll be amazed.

Even the little things help in dealing with the disobedience of our muscles. Since spring weather is flirting with part of the country, I took advantage of the sunshine and walked to mother's house yesterday. Of course I went with aid of a walking stick (One can never be too cautious.) and it is a very short venture; but it felt so good to exercise those leg muscles. I used to walk five miles every other day before I was diagnosed.A few women in my neighborhood would get together and venture out and when they were not available I would plan solo route. Maybe not as vigorous as high impact aerobics, but this kept me satisfactorily fit. (This walking is how I discovered my MS, as described in the first chapter of my book I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?)

I do not get angry often, but I do get emotional when I can no longer do something as simple as take a walk because my feet do not remember how to get out their own way. But I cannot blame MS for a lackadaisical attitude. If I don't try, I will never accomplish. Harsh lesson, but so true.

Y is  rather difficult letter to work with, but fortunately two of my favorite Y words are yoga  and yogurt. Yogurt is probably the number one reason why I shy from the dietary theories of Dr. Wahls. In her Palco concept of diet, dairy is a no-no.Yogurt is my dairy and one I refuse to eliminate. There are most likely many acceptable substitutes, but on my budget I doubt I could afford it. So, I am quite content with my daily yogurt as either part of breakfast or as a snack. the Greek version of this yummy treat is my fave.

Finally, Y is for you. I believe I have stressed this repeatedly in my posts this month. This not about MS. This is about you and your treatment of this MonSter who lives with us.You do not have to evolve into a selfish little princess to remember yourself, but at the end of the day you are the hero.

Have a beautiful day and keep moving!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

X is for MRI MS Awareness Month #WeAreStrongerThanMS

Image result for image of th eletter Xis for MRI's. Okay, maybe I stretched the alphabet game a bit, but isn't an MRI an x-ray? 

Duh. This may not be a whole lot of fun, but it is a necessary part of living with multiple sclerosis. 

For those of salivating with the need to appear more in-the-know  when referring to this procedure, MRI  is a magnetic resonance imaging scan that is a highly sensitive, yet non-invasive,  method of viewing internal damage to the body. es, it is an x-ray.
Image result for mri machine

Of course, this image is deceiving in it's sense of peaceful environment. There is no soft relaxing music canned in, there are no soothing candles lighting the dark corner of the room, and there is not a yogi standing by to send you positive waves of energy.

This is basically a cold, antiseptic (hopefully) hospital space of blue dye injections and jack hammer distraction.

You know all about it. If not, let me give a personal tour.

MRI's have come  along way over the years. Modern MRI vessels often offer side windows which help (supposedly) with any claustrophobic feeling experienced while in the "tube". I really do prefer this, but sometimes that outside light can interfere with the photographic process.

Even though, while having an MRI, one has the sensation of being completely encased, it is really only your head that is  being held captive. I mean really, take a good look at the image at the top of this page. You are instructed to lie on that bed and that foam wedge  is placed under the knees to more carefully align the body; ear plugs or head phones are inserted and a warm blanket covers you snugly; there is a little be-sting sensation as the intravenous appliances are connected; and  the technician stabilizes the head and neck area with soft cushions. If you anticipate any claustrophobic issues, you will offered a mild sedative. I cannot honestly address this because I have never agreed to said sedative. Not because of any religious or super hero beliefs. I am just a supreme glutton for strange and unusual punishments. The birth of my child would have a natural procedure if it had been up to me. (That's another story for another day.)

The entire procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to nearly an hour. My average MRI has always run about 45 minutes once the actual imaging action begins. 

My first MRI was terrifying, but these x-rays have become more of a nuisance than an event to fear. Initially I was prescribed a bi-annually MRI in order to track the effects of the pharms  in relationship to my existing brain lesions.  That is usually down-sized to once  year. IN fact, I haven'tr had an MRI in several years, so I really do not know what is going on up there in cerebellum land.

Which brings me to a very important issue.

Make sure that you request a viewing of the results when you have your annual or bi-annual MRI. This is one thing that has never been offered to me. I have been told what the images report, but I have never actually seen the pictures. If I am gong to endure the thirty or more minutes of lovely drilling tunes, I certainly deserve to see what is dug up. 

The following links can tell you more about MS and MRI's.

Don't forget to tell our friends about MS Awareness Month. There are only a few days left to enter the challenge to win a copy of I Have MS. What's Your Super ? by following this blog. I have so appreciated an enjoyed meeting a few new sisters this month and truly hope we can continue our newfound kinship.

Since my MS alphabet is drawing to a close just days short of the end of the month, there are going to be several free days in my thirty days of posting. If there is anything you want to talk about, let me know. I will do the research or just sit back and let you talk to us.

Love and Light,

Friday, March 24, 2017

#WeAreStrongerThanMS W is for Water and Women: MS Awareness Month

W is for water. It is not just for drinking. Water aerobics and water therapy are  popular activities in the treatment of MS. I have tried it and have been amply impressed. I just cannot afford to join a facility that provides the opportunity to exercise in this manner. 

Which is a downright shame. 

As a former professional lifeguard (I say that because I did it for so long, I began to think it was my permanent life task.), I am devastated at my current relationship with swimming. I am SO uncomfortable in the atmosphere with which I grew  up loving. The pool was my special place. During my work day I loved the smell of chlorine, the raucous sounds of children splashing around, and the mother-gossip to which I was privy. Every hour on the hour, a whistle announced a ten minute break for children to vacate the water, Moms to reapply sunscreen or serve a snack, lifeguard to visit the rest room and perform the necessary tests for chlorine and Ph levels or switch watch locations. Sometimes we (lifeguards) would swim a few laps, rough house with one another, or just float to cool off if the day was particularly warm. 

Because I had the unique experience of actually living right beside the swimming pool of my employ, I spent many after-hours there, either by myself or with friends. I loved night swimming because the underwater pool lights created a magical fairy land just for me.

In thinking back on my teen years, I have to say that I have two very important memories. When I wasn't involved in some sort of high music event (high school band, piano lessons, church choir), my head was under water.

So, the first time I entered a swimming pool after my diagnosis, I was petrified to discover that water was n longer my friend. I just froze as soon as my body made contact. My leg muscles immediately developed what I later learned was spasticity. My toes curled and refused to straighten enough for me to walk across the pool floor. The lightness my body once experienced when surrounded with water no longer existed. I felt betrayed more than I already was. I am a Pisces. I am a water girl. This should not be happening.

I didn't give up. I tried several times in different settings other than public pools. I attended a few water aerobic classes and water yoga classes but found myself growing more and more afraid. My respect and love for the water became one of my biggest fears, to the point of having vivid nightmares about it. 

And I became angry. SO angry with the MonSter. It had robbed me of so much and now had taken away my safe place: the water.

But that's just me. I know the actual benefits of water activities and exercises are great for condition such as MS, but I will have to pass. 😟

I'm not saying that I will never ever never enter the water again, but it is on my "if I have to" list.

W is for the Women of MS

Studies show that MS is far more common in women than in men, who are usually diagnosed with primary-progressive MS  later in life than women. And, girls, we know how stressful our lives are without the existence of multiple sclerosis. Not making fun of that other sex, it is quite normal for our male counterparts to be to be weak-kneed and needy when faced with illness. I am not saying that our fellas are spineless, jelly fish quivering with the enormity of the perils of some thing a bit moire serious than a head cold, but...

Oops. Gonna get myself in trouble here, so I will depart from to this subject to direct you to a lovely place to visit where the participants are girls only.

If you have a tendency to get lost on Face Book, here is an opportunity to be surrounded with women of all ages, ethnicity, and disease progression who are on stand by 24-7 to talk about  the MonSter. This is not the only group on FB that is targeted to the female population, so get on line and do some lurking. There are several MS communities waiting to meet you.

Okay, enough about this silly letter W. Today I am suffering empty-nest syndrome as my son is going home with a friend for the night at a friend's house and my husband is joining his camper pals for a boys' weekend of fishing and what ever other things they do. I am already at a loss, but I do know that shopping is on my agenda before settling down with Lifetime movies and knitting.

Have a wonderful Friday and a joyous weekend.

Keep moving,

Thursday, March 23, 2017

#WeAreStrongerThanMS V is for MS Vocabulary

Image result for vocabulary imagesof MS

There are so many words, phrases, and descriptions associated with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Although I have an extensive education that concentrate on language and vocabulary, upon my diagnosis I learned of an entirely foreign word-world (say that out loud three times) out there. When my neuro talked to me about the myelin under attack, I thought he was referring to the pharmaceutical production company located right down the road fro his office. Geesh...

Yesterday I mentioned double-voiding. Common Sense (my side kick) immediately tells me what this means, but it is refreshing to have an official term assigned to this function I took upon myself a long time ago. 

So, really, I am feeling pretty confident with the vocabulary of MS.And then...a new one was thrown on me. 

Idiopathy  is a disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. 

Ain't that just a lovely word? And the perfect description of multiple sclerosis? And, doesn't that leave you full of confidence in the hands of medical science? (Sorry. Didn't mean to break out into my idiot voice.)

I learned a long time ago, under the care of one of the best known neurologists in my geographic location, that multiple sclerosis is clearly a mystery to not only me, but my doctor. So, why didn't he just spill the beans and confess the nature of this disease sixteen years ago? Did he think that confessing that multiple sclerosis is an idiopathic condition would totally freak me out, or was it the realization of my  own credentials intimated him? This patient is not dumbo, and , guess what, I was all ready in a state of freak out.

So, when I learned this word, I felt a mixture of pride and disgust. Pride because  I had figured this element of MS a year into my diagnosis. Disgust because sixteen years later This confession has never passed the lips of any neurologist in my realm of medical acquaintances. 

Why? It is not the fault of any of these doctors I have met, so there is really no need to apologize. When addressing  MS with a general practitioner, though, the discussion is normally more detailed and the lack of medical evidence in the origin of multiple sclerosis is more readily addressed. Do you find this to be true or am I just paranoid?

Any way...there is so much knowledge out there...some of it useful, some of it, not so much... 

Being a word person, I am always intrigued when I run across a word of unusual origin or meaning. Did you know that a "palimpsest" is a piece of writing material or manuscript on which an original writing has been erased for reuse?  I know, I know, this is irrelevant and just another useless bit of information to clog up the brain.

Which brings me to another interesting term floating around in MS Land. 

Cog Fog.

You now it well. The inability to focus, comprehend, or fully remember or relate to a certain issue. More  often than not this is associated with the elderly; but we all know that age has no claim on disease. 

My little family of three has adopted an evening routine of, over the super table, answering the trivia questions in the trivia quiz in the daily newspaper. My husband enjoys assigning particular topics to our son and I. Yesterday he ruffled the newspaper and announced, "It's all on Mom today." Of course I know where this is going. I am usually pretty at identifying authors and musicians.

But, for some reason, as my husband posed the published questions, I frantically searched my unresponsive brain for answers. Even though the material was right up my alley, there was nothing but grey space where the answers should be. It was almost like having what is described as an out-of-body experience. My butt was firmly planted, but I wasn't really in the room. I could only stare blankly at my family. 

No, I had not tipped the bottle of red kept under the counter. I was not under the influence of any prescribed or illegal substances. I was just zoned out. 

I heard the words and knew the answers somewhere in the furthest regions of consciousness, but suddenly my rain hd returned to infancy and I was totally lost.

Weird. I was actually in a fog. A cog fog.

Terminology can be interesting, yet worrisome. I have learned to think carefully, yet try to think too hard about certain terms and phrases. A cautionary note here: If you think that bouts of said cog fog could be related to a mixture of meds, consult your doctor. There is such a thing as being overly medicated and there are all kinds of weird combination no-no's. (I mean, really, why can I not eat grapefruit in combination with some meds? I love grapefruit.)

Okay...enough of this. The sun is shining here on my street and there is no fog predicted. I hope to keep it that way.

Have a wonderful Thursday!
Love and Light,

Oh, don't forget to follow this blog for a chance to win a copy of...


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

U is for UTI's #WeAreStrongerThanMS MS Awareness Month

                                           U is for UTI's. 
symptoms of UTI

This is a big one for me. Luckily I do my best to stay hydrated and get my equivalent of eight glasses of water a day. Sounds good, right? 

The issue goes beyond being hydrated, though. All of that liquid has to go somewhere and it is a constant struggle to make sure that somewhere  is not on the floor. In public. With witnesses.

I am certain (well, relatively) that many of you can relate to the issue of "waste management". This is probably my favorite chapter in I Have MS. What's Your Super Power? Not because it reflects good times, but because it is such a constant concern in my daily life.

Chapter Two: Water Works                    

A friend of mine used this word once in describing strange physical symptoms she was experiencing. Due to her habitual hypochondriac tendencies, as well as the fact that the word was alien to my vocabulary, I really didn’t think much of it at the time. I just nodded in requisite acknowledgment and let her continue to vent.

I have had to learn to deal with many humiliations prior to being diagnosed with MS, but this is the most alarming.

When the word popped up again during D-Day (Diagnosis Day), my mind raced to recall the first time I had ever heard it. I immediately cringed in sympathy for anyone who experienced such a degrading, animalistic situation.

And, then, I realized that I HAD experienced incontinence; but I had associated it with a probable urinary tract infection for which I was prone. Wow, two red flags all at once; but I didn’t know how closely these situations were related or what they had in common.

Incontinence is one of the biggest problems I have with my disease. It is not uncommon for me to not quite make it to the toilet on time or even know that I need to go in time to even think about searching for said toilet.

In the beginning, and even now, I am not comfortable in strange settings if I haven't located the ladies' room and have developed an acceptable escape route just in case. There are particular places that I refuse to visit because I know, without a doubt, that disaster lurks. When my favorite grocery store got a face lift and removed the public restrooms, I no longer shopped there. I only shop at stores that offer close proximity to a public restroom and I only try on clothes after several visits to the lady's.

Pre-diagnosis I can remember sitting in traffic and feeling my bladder totally empty onto the plush black upholstery of my snazzy l’il sports car.
It was a warm day. I had driven several miles aware of a need to relieve myself but confident I could and would make it to the next fast food rest room, located right up the road. That’s when the traffic lights failed me and progress toward those Golden Arches stopped. Thank goodness I was alone, with no witnesses. (That has not always been the case.)

I hated to soil my car seat but at least this hadn’t happened in someone else’s vehicle! (Eww...) I could clean this up with no one the wiser; even if the chore took precedence over my evening plans of driving to a friend’s house. (Double eww...I didn't relish the idea of plopping myself back down in my own pee.) And right now I needed to get home and clean myself up. Sitting in my own puddle was not a pleasant sensation.

Why had this happened? What was wrong with my body that I couldn’t “hold my water”?

Afterward I remember laughing at myself as if I had committed a secret blunder to lock away in my private memory vault.

But then it happened again…and again…and again…

Once at a deli…once in the hallway at school…no, twice…no, three times at school…once on my back porch as I fumbled for the house key…again in my kitchen after miscalculating the number of steps it would take to reach the bathroom…once in line at Walmart…a couple of times in bed…when I stood up at my desk…on the edge of a ski boat (but that was okay since I was already wet and in the river)...

You get the picture.

What horrid fuel for an already accelerated anxiety level. I never knew when it would happen and I began avoiding consumption of liquids to the point of near hydration. The muscles that controlled that physical act of waiting no longer obeyed my command. I envisioned a bladder bag attached to my side or packages of adult diapers stacked in my linen closet. (Actually, I just figured it was another one of those irritating bladder infections and substituted the Depends for cases of -yuck- cranberry juice.)

My gynecologist suggested practicing Kegle exercises daily. My mother told me to wear Depends (That figures!). My urologist prescribed an assortment of medicines and with each failed prescription changed it to another. My neurologist just told me I would have to live with it. This was all after D-Day, so you can only imagine the assistance I received without a definitive medical condition.

I admit that I really didn’t do much (any) research on my situation after diagnosis. It was what it was.

Boy, oh, boy, have I learned to lean on myself since then. If I want to know, I need to Google it! Since my diagnosis, my life has taken a new direction. I still teach full-time; I am a mother and a wife; I enjoy my hobbies of reading, writing, and crocheting; I attend church and play in the bell choir; but I do not go out of my way to look for additional responsibilities. I enjoy my home, my books, and my teaching. And I head for the lavatory at the first sensation, no matter how small.

I'm sure there is a pill out there with my name on it that would alleviate this problem, but I am also certain that pill would only lead to another problem that required prescription treatment; so, I will pass and once again take matters into my own hands. I do that a lot.

In fact, I have found that living with multiple sclerosis requires a lot of self-experimentation. The MonSter treats its members differently. What works for one MSer may not be the answer for another. I wish that I had kept a journal to detail my journey from day one, but hindsight doesn’t do me any good right now. So, to throw around yet another overly used cliché, there is no time like the present.

Things I have learned about living with MS:
*Stay out of the heat.
*Always know the fastest and most direct path to a bathroom.
*Have a walking device (my poison is a cane) close, even when you are feeling your strongest.
*Always know the fastest and most direct path to a bathroom.
*Stay hydrated.
*Always know the fastest and most direct path to a bathroom.
*Exercise daily.
*Engage in a hobby, or two, or three.
*Do not apologize for your disability. Remember: it only disables you if you allow it.
*Find an outreach group, either on line or face-to-face.
*Wear comfortable shoes.
*Always know the fastest and most direct path to a bathroom.

Want to read more? Order direct from me and I will pay the postage.

 It's just weird, this whole pee trigger thing. Everything I read encourages us to drink plenty of fluids even though gut instinct tells us that the less we drink, the less likely an accident will occur. Though the logic in this theory stands true, cutting back on fluid intake can cause the urine to become more concentrated. This increases the chances of infection since it is essential to flush the bacteria, waste, and mineral deposits that accumulate in the body. 

How do we do that?

We drink. 

Water is the best thing you can consume, but it is not the only acceptable fluid. Studies are firm on curtailing the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and aspartame due to the increased bladder irritation they cause. 

Keeping your urine as acidic as possible is the best route to take in keeping your bladder happy. This means we need to pay strict attention to our consumption of dairy products, citrus fruits/juices, and anything containing sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate. Surprisingly, this means we should decrease our intake of (believe it or not) potatoes.

Image result for cranberries images

Cranberries and cranberry juice works well to fight urinary tract irritations.

We are encouraged to empty the bladder completely when visiting the loo. If this means double-voiding then bit is in your best interest to do so. This is the simple process of standing up when you think you are finished with your business. This redistributes any remaining fluid and re-stimulates the urination process.

Insufficient fluid consumption does not only affect the bladder. When we limit drinking, the bowels are also neglected. 

"Limited fluid intake: When  you stop drinking fluids in an effort to manage your bladder problems, you deprive your body of the fluids it needs to function properly. To make up for this, your body absorbs more fluid from the stool as it passes through your system."

Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies, 2nd Edition (1118175875) cover image

Now we have an even bigger problem. Constipation. Hard stools. Tummy ache. Ugh!

I don't even want to imagine the image of a constipated UTI. Doesn't sound pretty.

But, we've been there. Right? 

So, today I plan to cut back on my coffee (only one cup so far this morning) and concentrate on drinking water. Since I don't care for soda pop and I am not much of a "drinker" (I leave that to the professionals), this shouldn't be much of a challenge. Water is usually inexpensive and easily accessible.

Cheers!                           Image result for champagne glass images

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

T is for Time for Yourself #WeAreStrongerThanMS

T is for time for yourself. WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY. This one is tough. My husband tells me all the time that I need to take "Lisa time". typical of the clueless, right? Does that time come before or after assuring dinner is prepared, clothes are washed, dishes are put away, groceries are purchased, bills are paid, appointments are made, son's school work is checked, hogs are fed and cows are milked? Okay, maybe that's a bit excessive, but you get the point. He is right, though. We all need time just for us. 

Since retiring from a wonderful thirty-three years in public education, I often find myself at a loss of what to do with all my free time. Well, if you know any school teachers, you can attest to their drive and need for a purpose and a plan. I always feel that if I am not doing something, my time is wasted. Guess what? Sometimes I have to actively search for that promised free time. It is my own fault, though. I am just not happy lounging around while the dust bunnies party. 

So, I write books. I read books. I bowl with my mother. I share knitting woes with my bestie. I go to church. I host a monthly MS meeting. I interact as much as he allows with my teenager. I don't have time for anything frivolous.


Hey, that IS all Lisa Time.

And I love every minute of it.

And I do NOT feel guilty.

Have a guilt free day,

Monday, March 20, 2017

S is for Shoes #WeAreStrongerThanMS


High heels shoe made of diamonds.

S is for shoes. Ahhh. Every woman's nemesis. Why are we so obsessed with shoes? I could go on a complete rhetoric of my own history with shoes, but I would probably be preaching to the choir. (See chapter 7 of my book, I Have MS. What's Your Super Power?) My affection for footwear has not lessened since diagnosis, but it has taken a turn. Where I once filled my closet with ridiculous trends and fashions, I now only have shoes of comfort and close fitting support. No more flip flops, high heels, or heavy boots. My foot drop and balance issues dictate shoe choice.

It is really weird. What adequately works one day may be a totally different story the next. With my foot drop, my foot wear needs to be a firm fit. There can be no additional flopping around or extra length in the toe. Lace ups work best, but are not always sensible, especially on those days when my fingers decide to go on sabbatical.  On those days I find myself tying and retying laces to find  the appropriate tension.

Image result for women's lace up shoes Love these!

Image result for women's lace up shoes

                                                               But I wear                                                                        these.                   

Thinking back, I have no idea how my former self tottered around on those ridiculous high heels, platforms, and Candies. I could even "trot" a bit in them. Now, even the slightest amount of lift in a shoe sends me spiraling out of control.
I also have a problem with slip-ons. When I was much younger I always wanted an official pair of polished penny loafers, complete with that shiny coin tucked in that little slot at the top of the foot. (I know...the inner Prep comes out.) The height was never the problem. I just couldn't keep them on my feet. The heel slide was intolerable no matter how many brands I tried. I used to blame my narrow heel, but I know now that it was more likely the way on which I did/did not lift my foot. (Ironic that it was always my right foot then and still is now.)
                                                                                                                  Image result for women's penny loafers image with a penny

Although I do not shop much any more, my initial research on footwear brought to me Beorn as  a reliable brand that woks well for me. Not always as pricey as some of the other shoes on the market, Beorn can often be found at J.C.Penney's at a reduced price. But, you do not have to go brand name. When you find a pair of shoes that work for you, the brand is not important.


I have also discovered that being able to slip off my shoes, especially when the temperature is warm, is important. Of course, this puts a screw in my lace-up plans, so I go for a Velcro walking sandal. With spring officially opening today, I am excited to get mine out of the closet because I will literally live in these. Socks  or no  socks, this is my pick. Where once I dreamed of being a pearl wearing preppy, I am now a true blue Bohemian flower child. If I could afford Birkenstock's I would own the entire collection. Thank goodness there are a lot of knock-offs on the market that serve just as well.

     Image result for birkenstock mountain sandals                                                    Image result for birkenstock mountain sandals    Teva also makes a nice Velcro sandal and they are especially affordable if you can wear a child's size. Seriously, that is a great ways to shop for shoes if it works for you. I have a small foot, so I wen y son was much younger (with smaller feet), I always took advantage of two-for-one sales at the local children's shoe store.       

Boots are an extremely comfortable idea when weather appropriate.    I can even tolerate a little bit of an incline with boots, but not much more than a moderate  block rise and a square, wedge, or block sole. Once again, J.C. Penney is the place to find reasonably priced boots. Especially this time of year. Winter footwear will certainly be on sale with this being the first of spring.

At one time I had a serious shoe problem; a major fetish issue.   In my early years of teaching, I would often forego food to purchase shoes (with matching handbags), many of which I only wore a few times. Now my rich tastes are rarely evident. And since my son currently wears a men's size 12, I cannot ride on his trips to the shoe store. I might make a ride to our favorite children's store soon just to see if there is anything I can afford to replace the last pair I purchased with him. (Needless to say, that last purchase is getting really thread/leather bare....They are at least six years old and worn hard.)     

What are your issues with shoes and foot care? Although this may sound a ridiculous concern to most people, I know that you know what I'm talking about.

Happy Vernal Equinox!