Adventures in the No Body-Snark Diet

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Sally over at UnbraveGirl. It might be because she’s a super-fun award-winning travel blogger, but I think it’s mostly because we’ve eaten something that looks like this:

Yes, it’s a giant stack of bread covered in ice cream and honey

In a place with decor like this:

Yes, it’s a giant yellow dog-man guarding our giant stack of ice-cream bread.
That’s not an encounter you’ll easily forget.
In fact, it’s how life-long “I’ll-read-your-blog-forever” bonds are formed.

Last Thursday, Sally threw down the gauntlet and issued this 2-part challenge. It was a challenge that struck a chord with her readers, set bloggers abuzz, and prompted a gazillion* responses. 
(* Actual numbers used anywhere in this blog are always either approximations or completely made up.)

Sally’s 2-part challenge got me thinking about 3 things. (I warned you, numbers around here can be a little sketchy.)

Thing #1: 

I don’t usually write about deep-down serious stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned a reason, but it’s  mostly because funny stories will always be funny stories. (Well, funny for you maybe. You’re not the one who had ants in their pants.)

However, unlike some types of cheese, my writing about heart swelling feelings’n’such, (cue melodramatic 7th grade diary) or issues of sober importance and solemnity (cue pretentious undergraduate essays), don’t get better with age. I cringe when I re-read serious things I’ve written after days, weeks or years have passed. I cringe because my fiery rhetoric has mellowed, my opinions have matured, or I’ve realized that my 7th grade heart-throb is actually a bit of a chowder-head.

But once it’s out there – in print – it’s too late to take it back.

If I wrote about such things here, I’d either have to put genuine thought into them, or else I’d be issuing caveats, apologies and clarifications all. the. time. So, I try to reserve this space for lighthearted musings.

In the days ahead, that might start to change – but not too much, and not too quickly. If that giant stack of ice-cream bread I shared with Sally taught me anything, it’s that moderation is key.

Thing #2: 

When Sally issued the challenge to post honest-to-goodness full-body photos, I didn’t think I shied away from posting unflattering pictures of myself. (No, I won’t provide a link to November 2nd, 2006. It’s really that terrible. Honestly.) However, I just went through my entire archive, and realized that in the ten years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve only published one full-on full-length photo of myself…and that was from a costume party in 2005, so I didn’t even look like myself. I’ve always made up some excuse about why the full-on photos never make the cut, but it actually has very little to do with artistic merit, and much more to do with the fact that I don’t like the way I look in them.

Thing #3:

This body has stuck with me for a loooong time, even after I uprooted it, and dragged it through 13 countries over the past 14 years. Sure, it gets banged up now and again…

Working on a campus with a great special-ed program and extra wheelchairs available had some perks when I took a spill on the ski hill!

…but that’s because it agrees to let me do wonderful things like go skiing, and scuba diving, and rock climbing, and horseback riding, and kayaking, and skydiving. (It doesn’t agree to let me sing Karaoke in public, but that’s probably a Very Good Thing. Thank you, body.)

It even lets me enter the Run for Relief every year. Why have you never seen me mention the Run for Relief on my blog? Primarily because the plight of displaced people in Burma is a serious issue (see Thing #1). Secondly, even though I spend the entire race thinking about, and praying for, people in Burma who are forced to run for their very lives, as soon as I see post-run pictures, I immediately focus on how much weight I’ve lost (or gained) since the previous year (see Thing #2).

So, to participate in Unbrave Girl’s very brave No Body-Snark Diet challenge, I will:

1. Stop being a jerk to myself, and quit referring to my participation in the Run for Relief as my Waddle for Relief.

2. Post a full-on picture of myself finishing the race:

Sure, I’m disappointed that I was slower than the year before, and walked a little more than I ran…but that’s not the point. It was never the point.

As I’ve been writing this post, a funny thing has happened. As I’ve taken a moment to focus on all the great things my body lets me do, I want to take better care of it. I don’t want to chastise it for picking up a few pounds over the years, and shame it into shedding them. Instead, I want to reward it with tons of vegetables and healthy things. Why? Because it’s an aging machine that’s faithfully allowed me to do things I love for a bazillion years. I don’t want to force it to be smaller so I can fit into skinny jeans, I want to keep it healthy so it will let me keep on adventuring.

But if Unbrave Girl ever comes back to town, I’d totally share another giant stack of ice-cream bread with her.

Adventures in New Kids on the Block

No, I’m not having ’90s boy-band flashbacks. Sorry to disappoint those of you who still insist that Donnie was waaaaay dreamier than Danny. I know who you are, and I know you were looking forward to reviving a rousing debate on the subject. It’s not going to happen on this blog. Not now. Not ever.

Okay, fine. You can decide who’s dreamier. I don’t care.

While I was doing some research on exciting things in the world of writing, I checked to see where this l’il ol’ blog pops up in search engines…and discovered TWO other blogs that share my title, “Adventures in My Shoes.” Both of them have only been around for a year or so – and obviously their authors were blissfully unaware of this aging behemoth slumbering in the cavernous bowels of the internet. I don’t blame them – half the time even I forget it’s here.

Still, it came as a shock to discover that my shoes are no longer the only ones having adventures. It also made me take stock and realize that I don’t even really wear shoes anymore. Since moving to Thailand, I’ve traded in my cupboards full of fancy footwear for a few unassuming pairs of flip flops.

“And to think, I coulda been a Jimmy Choo…”

And yes, I did just go outside, line up all my flip-flops and tell them to say “Cheese!” I think the impish little pair in the back may have said “Toe Jam” instead, but I let it slide, especially since my neighbours were already beginning to look alarmed.

Now, back to the question of the New Kids on the Block – Jordan was definitely the cutest. No, wait, the other new kids on the block. The ones who really are having adventures and wearing shoes. And they probably have real shoes, and real adventures.

Both of them seem like pretty cool women, even though one of them made a typo spelling International Border. (Unless she actually trod upon  a tenant or surfer when she said she walked across an international boarder.) Whatever the truth of that statement is, I suspect she was wearing actual shoes at the time. And doing adventurous things in them.

The other is telling the world she’s pregnant, which is also certainly an adventure, although misogynist folklore tells me that shoes in her case are optional.

I assume that in spite of their typos and pictures of baby bumps, they’re probably very nice women. They might even have interesting things to say. (Unlike someone I know who’s still rambling about boy bands…)

The Canadian in me wants to welcome them to the neighbourhood and offer them some poutine. On the other hand, the crotchety old woman in me (who is old enough to remember too many of the words to Hangin’ Tough) wants to wave my fist in the air and shout, “Get off my lawn!”

Maybe I should change the name of my blog to more accurately reflect my reality. Or, I could lace up my one remaining pair of real shoes and go have an adventure. (Who am I kidding. We both know that I’m going to post this and then go watch NKOTB videos on YouTube…in my bare feet.)