Sunday, April 27, 2014


The struggle I have had to continue writing on this blog is born of some sort of intellectual paralysis. I have been stunned by life and I just don't know what to say. I realize that I can only express an unknowing so many times, floating is just not that interesting. Considering the incredible journey I have taken with this blog, it has been difficult for me to admit that my Open Toe Shoes have worn out. The title and need to vent were of Costa Rica and are no longer applicable to my life. So, if anyone is still paying attention, thanks for following over the years. This is the end of Open Toe Shoes. It is time for something new.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Friday, April 04, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Reading a bunch about creativity today I confirmed that I am one of those creative weirdos and I also learned that maybe, to get over my ultra non creative stump I might want to start meditating. Push me through the bowls of impossibility. Being creative has always been meditative to me, so meditating without feeling my creative juices flowing seems a vicious circle which I lack time to jump into. So here I sit, beyond writer's block, this is some sort of thinking stop. What can I do but bitch and moan?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Virtual Identity

This is not me. This is a digital version of myself that I have chosen to serve as my 'face.' Is it real or just a facade? I've hidden all the stress and gray behind a lucid blue. It is all just a projected banner, an advertisement of self. This is what we do now, no? The 'book' of my 'face' contains tidbits of the inner me, just enough to seem smart, and involved. I'm careful what I 'like' and leery of my words. It's a record, after all, susceptible to skewed perspectives and misunderstandings. What is incredible is that this virtual realm is the perfect medium for outward expression, a shuttle of positivity and insight without any personal details necessary. After all, you don't really want to know.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013


Nontraditional is a nice way to describe my family. I did not grow up celebrating holidays or birthdays; we were Jehovah's Witnesses. I was that awkward little kid who didn't stand up to say the pledge of allegiance and who dutifully passed on birthday cupcakes at school. When my turn came around to show and tell what Santa had stuffed under the tree, "We don't believe in Santa or celebrate anything," I would say to my classmates who always got quiet and stared for a couple seconds too long.

Sometime around my tweens, my sister became a rock star and my family drifted away from our religion. A sad christmas tree, rescued from a yard sale, ushered the holidays into our lives. Glossy and sweet, like pages from catalogues, the new holiday experience lived up to my wildest childhood fantasies and I devoured all of the intoxicating commercialism of the season. It all rubbed my mom the wrong way, and I didn't care. Buying, hiding, wrapping, giving and getting stuff became the highlight of each year.

This lasted until I was old enough to get a job at the mall and lucky enough to work in the empty aisles of housewares where overstuffed shoppers would go to break wind. The hazy clouds from leftover turkey coupled with too many people making stressed out purchases on maxed out credit cards diluted the sweetness of the season for me. Finally there was an ultra nontraditional 'season' finale at my house which brought a solid conclusion to my rah for the holidays. I had had a good run with the mesmerizing lights and shiny wrapped boxes and I was done.

Then I had kids, my mom went back into the "Truth;" and the holidays became quiet days of enjoying the fact that everything had sort of shut off. Since we have been back in Colorado, we have enjoyed the traditional turkey dinner with my family. Out of respect to my mom, we don't refer to the holiday at all. No wishing of happy anything or introspective toasts of all we are thankful for. As I joked with a friend, it's all of the food with none of the gratitude.

In reality, the gratitude is always flowing. That killer fall meal was just as good as a summer barbecue. We always have fun together and are aware of our good fortune. The best part is, that not labeling our get together takes away the pressure of creating the most memorable day. So, cheers to nontraditional and always being grateful for the momentum to keep rolling on.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Wading into the holiday season, I ponder trees. What I love most about trees is their silent service. They offer beauty, shade, food and air without ever requiring a headline praising their selflessness. In a world where acts of kindness and generosity are carefully made decisions which factor in tax deductions and bullet points on resumes, trees are not bad role models. Trees simply give.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Trigger

Driving through a bit of I-don't-know-what-that's-all-about construction the other day, we encountered a  well weathered man whose job it was to hold the stop/slow sign. Despite his mundane task, this man was grooving to his own inner vibe. Uninhibited as he spun the sign to let us pass, his arms, legs and stop sign were obviously feeling something special.

After we all chuckled a bit, I wondered what allows people to shed the heavy. Had he really reached his age, gotten that gray and arrived at the stop sign holding duty without life ever roughing him up? I doubt it; but there he was, dancing in the streets. Maybe some people are lighter than others, carefree and naturally animated. Maybe he was a little crazy. Maybe he was medicated. Maybe he was just having a stellar day. Whatever it was, the innocent absurdity was contagious enough to make all of us smile and giggle a bit.

Now, I don't want to dance alone in the streets, but I envied the moment. He seemed to be unaffected by  life and able to pass off good vibes no matter the circumstances. That man, at that moment, made me wish to hold the growth and shed the bitterness delivered to me through time. He reminded me how our energy transfers to others and the potential it has to carry a positive or negative charge. Without being in denial of reality, I think I have the power to make others feel good and I want to do that, every day.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Friday, November 01, 2013


Yesterday, for Halloween, 
I pretended to be normal. 
I went out with a cute little wizard and 
let the cold wind blow away 
all of my idiosyncrasies. 
Normal, what ever that is, 
that was me; just last night.

Friday, October 25, 2013


To the anonymous commenters from last week's post, thank you. It's helpful to get feedback as I crack out of my shell and the encouragement is quite welcome. I can only speculate who the first comment came from. Of course, there is a world of material in my daughters and their transition from life in the rural tropics to a bustling semi-arid suburbia; they are, after all, what it's all about. It is difficult for me to delve into Costa Rica again. Unfortunately, the mention of it still makes my insides exude with bile. It is a beautiful place, with a lot of great people, but honestly, the seven years we spent there were filled with mind boggling challenges and frustrations that went way beyond the woes of the typical expat. Finally, the horrific tragedy that our friends experienced, and we with them, was enough to make anyone want to wipe it all away, like stubborn grime.

Ironically, my first hint of nostalgia for Costa Rica came only a few weeks ago. It began to rain here in Colorado; much like in Puriscal. It just didn't stop. It felt so familiar, something like home. Then things started to wash away and the first photos of half fallen roads grabbed my heart-strings, it was oddly comforting. Once the severity of the flooding here really sunk in I was reminded of the intensity of life in Costa Rica and how accustomed we became to so many hazards. I realized, as I do every so often, that life back in the U.S. feels pretty tame. Sure, the cost of living is different and we are certainly not short on bad news, but there is a reliable function to the place, landslides aren't annual, and local bureaucracy at least maintains a facade of upright integrity.

Just like in Costa Rica, my husband and I strive to find opportunities and security for our girls. I can say that their lives are equally beautiful here as they were there. For as many challenges as we faced, we do not regret the years we enjoyed raising our family in such a small, natural setting and we have bonds from those years which will most certainly endure. However, we feel at ease that we have moved on. Life is absent of many challenges now and we are content to see our daughters launch into the world from here. Is it perfect? Heck no, but there is something to say for being close to family and share a familiar mentality with society. Especially after what happened to our friends, it is comforting to be surrounded by homeschoolers and a general public that is slightly alternative and hinting at independent.

It has been three years since we left Costa Rica. I remember, when we first moved to Arizona, being aware of needing a direction to take my blog, a label, a #hashtag, if you will. I turned to the desert; it was also foreign to me, it had fascinating history, unmatchable geography and seemed to be spilling over with potential story lines. Then I passed the blog over to a critical examination, we moved again and here I am, two years later and with a whole new perspective. Someone asked me if the voice I am letting out is my own. I think part of the reason I have found it hard to write is that I have to be sure myself. I do not wish to find my voice borrowed from another's, nor do I want to lack the courage to express what I observe. I know for sure that I was jolted several degrees from where I had been and from this new vantage point, I do see everything differently. I've been encouraged to "let the ink flow." I can't deny that. I love to write. So pardon me as I drift around, and thank you for staying tuned.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Throwing It Out There

I've found myself, lately, with a bit of a negative mantra. "I can't write." I've been telling everyone around me. Friends, family, strangers, myself. It is not for lack of desire, or inspiration; there simply seems a gag over my ability to articulate my thoughts onto my blog. Blog, the word begs of fluid babble, yet for the past months I have only managed to post one isolated image after another. Images wreaking with symbolism, one stacked on top of the next. Testaments of my determination to keep my little blog alive, evidence of my inability to utter a word.

I have received all sorts of encouragement to continue to write, even a suggestion from a stranger that the world needs my voice. Ha! However, the hacked out rambling of today's post comes from one of my best friends telling me not to worry about it. The absence of prodding, the subtle acceptance of letting it go pissed me off. So here I am, defying limp acquiescence, vomiting out all of the nothing I have to say. A solid start?

If I was not so insecure in my new found perspective of the world, I would love to share my thoughts on Foster Farms chicken and the Federal shut down; how the media suggested we should freak out because federal inspectors were kept from discovering the samonela lurking under plastic packaging, waiting to infect the helpless masses who have no common sense about proper food handling and preparation. I could muse over the similar outrage that congress's gym was open in the wake of a shut down, how everyone was bug-eyed-outraged because it stayed open, but not as much that the government ceased to operate for lack of agreement to get our great nation into more suffocating debt (and congress has a gym).

It would be interesting, I think, to analyze the reality that the whole fight in DC is to raise the debt ceiling so we can have FREE health care. Wouldn't we be avoiding more debt if it was free? And speaking of free, I have pondered sputtering about the FREE public school day for homeschooled kids. It's like sugar free pure sugar, stink free shit, a hairless mustache. 

But I do feel insecure and that keeps me silent because I know good and well that my meek observations come from my completely narrow perspective and I would likely offend people who I like, and they and others could possibly share with me highly defensive reactions and point out to me, from their own narrow perspectives why I am wrong and I might have to defend myself and my weak perspective. What is worse, is that people I don't even know might attack me. What is more likely is that no one would even read it and my rant would be like a sad message in a bottle, filling and sinking and forgotten.

I thought I could simply avoid all reactive content, keep it light. Light about what? I left Costa Rica, there are no more adventures of a young mother in a tropical, foreign country. No more laughs about language goof ups and vents about local culture, greedy developers and life in a vertical sea. 

So here I am, defiant but honestly stuck. Do I dive into my internal struggles as an artist? Share my wisdom as a homeschooling mom? Pick apart the delicate layers of my life and reveal all? Do I take it to the absurd and catalogue the many ways I show I'm pushing 40? Does anyone really care? Really?  

Yes, I'm lacking direction, void of content and desperate to find it. But, I have begun; the voice inside my head has successfully flowed through my fingers as I type and I have taken a step to beginning again. Will I stumble along the way? No doubt, but walking starts with struggle.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday, October 04, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday, September 06, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013