Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

There are very few things in life that are outside of my comfort zone.  I have few inhibitions and only a few fears.  One of my issues is that I am truly not fond of wearing shorts.  (It is others who should be afraid of me wearing shorts.. but I digress…) but when I visit tropical places, I will drag a pair out of the moth balls.  I am also a little afraid of dentists, and I would do just about anything not to go, but I do. Finally,  I am really not happy about doing math, and although it is not a fear, I do avoid it as much as possible.

There is one thing, however, and those of you who know me are already raising your hand shouting “Oh oh.. pick me, pick me!!!”, that seriously scares me to death.  Everyone knows that driving on the highway is WAY out of my comfort zone.  Driving is so far out of my comfort zone…   well let’s just say that it can’t be measured.

People will say “Just DO IT and you’ll get used to it”.  Nope!

People will say, “You must have been in some terrible accident to cause such anxiety!”  Nope!

I have no idea why I am so afraid.  In fact, most of my family does not drive.  Even my father didn’t have a driver’s license, and if you ever experienced my mother’s driving, it is a wonder I’ll get in a car at all.  Living in New York as children,  my sisters and I have a very vivid memory of the ONE time my father drove the car.  It was at night, which is still amazing to me since my parents went to bed at 8:00 p.m.  Anyway, it was night, Dad was driving and suddenly there was a red light.  Dad sailed through the light without blinking an eye and told us very matter of factually that it was o.k. and that red lights are only used in the day time!   Hmmm,  maybe that explains it!

Needless to say, when I began my Red Shoe Life journey, driving was one of my main “bug-a-boos”.  I was not certain I could tame this beast, but I announced that I was going to try.

It was sort of like cheating, because I was familiar with the route to my sister’s house, and although it was a long haul, it did not have a big highway or any sort of a bridge.   I was determined to do it, and psyched myself into a frenzy.   It was sort of like in the movies when they slap your face and make you breathe smelling salts.  The bell was ringing and the champ was going in!!!

The trip began early, but late enough to have missed rush hour in Mississippi.  I had my co-pilot with me, just in case I needed to use the parachute.  Within 20 minutes of the starting line, I pulled the ripcord and baled.

Sweat dripping from my chin and shaking like a hip reducing exercise machine, I handed over the wheel and sulked in the passenger seat.  What the hell!  I didn’t even make it to the highway and I was almost in a coma.  So freakin’ frustrating!  I was so pissed!   Over the next few hours, we would switch seats and I would drive for a distance….. usually in a straight line on a two lane road.   I was getting a little bit  braver, but the pain in my chest felt like I was breathing through a straw, and I was certainly not conquering anything today.

We eventually found our way to our destination and I spent a very pleasant week with my little sis.  The only small mar in my wonderful vacation was that neither one of us was willing to drive and we missed out on some possible good times.  This was ridiculous!  Were we somehow abused as children and strapped to the hood while on family outings?  No, that wasn’t it, I was usually the kid sick as a dog in the rear facing pop up seat of the wood-look station wagon  It was driving me nuts, no pun intended, how can a grown woman who has a perfect driving record on every other kind of road,  be so neurotic about highway driving???

I tried not to think about it, and enjoyed my wonderful vacation, but when the week was over, I decided to give it one last try, and reluctantly poured myself into my Mini Cooper.  I whimpered, cried and dove onto the shoulder in complete hysteria so many times that I managed to pull a muscle in my neck!   I drove 10 miles under the speed limit and wouldn’t stop to pee unless the gas station was directly at the top of the exit ramp.  Finally, the familiar roads of home came into view and my 6 hours of torture were over.  I unfolded myself from the car and felt the sweat run down my back as I stood up.  What in hell was I doing?  I’m afraid to drive, and yet, here I am.  Done and done.  I am very proud of my somewhat accomplishment, and my family reacted like I was the first to get a diploma!  Congratulations all the way around as they were feverishly making plans for me to drive them cross country!

Driving is out of my comfort zone, but I did it.  It has not cured me of my fear of highways, but it has given me self esteem.  Except for those blackmail pictures taken when I threw up on Highway 45, I thought it didn’t go that badly.  I had another notch on my belt.  Self esteem is a pretty cool thing.

Living a Red Shoe Life means you are proud of yourself and your accomplishments, even if it means you have to reach a little higher and try a little harder.  The minute you have accomplished something, no one can ever take that away from you.  I once saw a quote that sums up what I mean about going outside of your comfort zone: “If you want something you have never had before, you need to do things you never did before.”

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Go for it even if you have to go ten miles under the speed limit! (You’ll still get to your destination, and the pain in your neck is just part of the ride!)

Deb's Drive

They say Zombies eat brains….

Recently I saw a meme that said “They say zombies eat brains…  so you’re safe!”  I actually laughed out loud when I read it and  if you were with me at Walmart last night, you would say I was definitely in the safe zone. Don’t get me wrong, you can find me in Walmart on any given day.  I do enjoy a one-stop shop, and getting  good cardio sprinting from hair dye to green beans, but there seems to be some sort of cosmic pull to the “dark side” as soon as you walk into the building.

As I was collecting my basket of booty (pirate slang there) I started noticing my fellow shoppers.  Usually I zip in and out, but since I have been a Life Coach, all I can see is potential clients.  I suppose it’s like being a hair stylist (hair dresser, beauty operator, follicle therapist… I’m not hip enough to know which is the latest politically correct term) you start wanting to “fix” everyone’s “do”.  As I was saying, I started wondering exactly what would I say to some of these people….   ok, the first thing would be “Leggings are not pants”.. but besides that,  I wanted to definitely point out that they were not using their brains when it came to making good consumer choices.

I know your thinking: “Hey now Deb, you are quite the chunky monkey yourself!”  I get it, but if you haven’t seen me lately, I have made a few changes.

If my career in the senior citizen industry has taught me one thing, it’s that everything you do your entire life has consequences.  It is never too late to start living a Red Shoe Life, but some of the things we have done in our past will definitely haunt us.  Want to talk about sunscreen? I know many seniors who wished they had worn a hat.  Want to talk about dialysis? I know far too many seniors who wished they hadn’t used NSAIDs, Speaking of Zombies; are you still using artificial sweeteners? I’ll introduce you to some folks who wish it was never invented and don’t get me started on the not so old seniors who don’t even have enough muscle to get up out of a chair.

We have all heard this  before.  The labels on things are as clear as day and as long as your arm.  After using most of this stuff,  the “Walking Dead” wouldn’t want your brain anyway.   In my quest for a Red Shoe Life, I finally said “no more”.  It wasn’t easy to purge the harmful things from my life, but unless you do, there will be consequences.  Do I feel better?  Definitely!  I can now carry in my groceries without straining my leggings, get up from YOGA without a paramedic and I don’t jiggle as much, but overall the biggest change is that I feel “empowered”.  I still shop at Walmart, but I am no longer one of those people mindlessly grabbing things off the shelves because of the alluring ads on the front.  I read the labels and make better decisions.  I think about the consequences and the benefits of using certain products and try to make intelligent choices.  I purposefully schedule exercise and all of the other important parts of a Red Shoe Life into each day, making my wellness my #1 priority.  I know it is working because I feel great and because of my conscious efforts to live a Red Shoe Life, I am sure I will be able to outrun even the fastest zombies!!!

Until tomorrow, Deb.

zombie deb and lisaBrains- zombies


Kiss My Grits!

“Well, Kiss My Grits!” is what I should have been saying as I left the house  dressed as Flo the waitress at Mel’s Diner.  It was our Rock and Roll 50’s dance night at work, and we were expecting a big crowd.  Normally these types of functions are a barrel of fun, but there had been a lot of extra stuff going on, and I was feeling a little crispy around the edges.

As the dance progressed, I dragged many willing participants to the dance floor  and my feet were starting to holler.  Oh, it wasn’t just my saddle shoes.   It was  the oversize  cat-eyes specs, the scratchy tulle scarf twisted around my neck  and the sparkly pink headband that was squeezing the front part of my head to look like a peach.  I was having so much fun,  but it was time to go home!  The week had been long and I was needing a little “one with the universe” time.

There was a full moon tonight, and the weather was perfect.  All I wanted to do was enjoy my farm, grab a few blueberries and howl.  Spirituality is a requirement for living a Red Shoe Life, and it is the only requirement that completely evades me.  It is said that spirituality is not necessarily religion and that it is meaningful to each person in a different way.  Well hell’s bells, if no one knows what it is, then how do I know if I’m doing it right?!?

After spending a great deal of time trying to figure out what Spirituality means to me, I started my walk through my pasture under a glorious full moon.   I would try to be positive and think happy thoughts.  Short of flying like Peter Pan, I felt I had a pretty good shot of figuring it all out.  Nature, perfect weather, celestial presence… it was all here.

I donned my forehead flashlight and changed out the battery on the DeWalt.  I slipped out the backdoor and made it to the garden’s edge without being molested by pets.  The moon was bright, though it didn’t help me much as I ran face first into a web hanging from our banana trees.  I’m not a squealer, but I’m also not a fan!

The light on my headlamp suddenly shut off and I spent the next 50 feet simultaneously squeezing  buttons to get it to turn back on and navigating  the garden hoses filling the pool.  No worries, I still had the big flashlight and my cell phone just in case.  I am not afraid of the dark, but I always bring the phone (Preparedness) in case I lock myself in the barn. Frankly, it is not glamorous to squeeze out of the chicken hatch.

As I walked,  I could hear frogs and other nasties singing from our Lochness of a swimming pool and I pulled the hood up on my sweat jacket to ward off bats.   I tried not to think about  yard work that needed to be done, or how late it had gotten.  I stared at the moon and waited to FEEL something.  I bugged my eyes out and looked HARDER.  Nope.  All I felt was kinda itchy and the pool water was making me have to “go”.

After what felt like the appropriate amount of time, I decided that tonight was not the night and headed back to the barn.   I raise sheep and chickens and wanted to check on things before going back to the house.  I set my basket of supplies down while I fumbled with the garden gate and suddenly my forehead light snapped back on and I realized I was face to face with several of my cutie ewes.  They were waiting for me and were really glad to see me.  At that moment, perhaps I felt spirituality.  I felt a warmth between myself and the creatures of the earth and how special it was that we all ended up here to work and live together.  Like the dance tonight, we all have our own rhythm.  Some move fast, some move slow, but it all works together like a giant beehive.  Not sure if I got the right idea, but I am on a path to figure it out.  Living a Red Shoe Life makes you realize that there are things at work bigger than yourself and perhaps while you are working on your RSL, you’ll figure out what that is.

Another famous quote from Flo, “Simmer Down Now!”,  makes me think that perhaps you can’t force Spirituality.  You can’t magically make it appear.  These things take time and we need to be mindful and simmer down to let it happen.  Listen to music, take a walk, meditate, pray, do Tai Chi… whatever it is that is spiritual to you, take the time to do it daily.  If the world won’t give you time… take control of your Red Shoe Life, and tell them to “Kiss Your Grits!”

50's chicksheepy





My Motto: Be Prepared!

There are two ends of the preparedness spectrum that I would like you to consider as you read this post.  At one end you have my obsession with canned goods, and the other end is my 17 yr. old twins who are Boy Scout camp tonight without sleeping bags.

I guess it all began for me around the the time of the Millennium.  I started worrying about world catastrophe and my family’s survival.  According to the experts at the stroke of midnight as the year 2000 rolled in, all computers would misfire, malfunction, or melt down….  I can’t remember which, but it had to do with computers not being able to type three zeros.  Of course I knew the devastation of not being able to use my credit card, and it didn’t seem that bad, but it kept getting worse.  Although 2000 came and nothing happened, it seemed to start a chain reaction of craziness.   There was political unrest, wars with unidentifiable countries, racial tension, tornadoes, tsunamis, terrorists, killer bees, viruses and many other nasty things that Hollywood made songs about.  You name it and it was happening all around me.

I started watching shows about “prepping” and survival.  I took notes as two people were dropped into the wilderness and fought their way out from near death by eating pine cones.  I took notes as people built fortresses out of shipping containers and I even took notes when I watched a weekly show about two people who went into extreme places NAKED???  I’m sorry, but if it comes down to that…I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t make it.

Needless to say I stared hording canned goods, medical supplies, firearms and all types of weaponry.  My whole family is into martial arts, so we had everything from throwing stars to blow darts and we began booby trapping the yard.   Then I bought a farm and started raising farm-type animals.  This was no easy feat for this New York girl, but I was a quick learner.  I raised a garden, planted fruit trees and bought rain barrels.  I doubt I could ever bring myself to eat my sheep, but one sign of apocalypse and the rooster is a goner!

After that it was a downward spiral of prepper meetings and seminars about virus outbreaks, criminal outbreaks and basically every kind of scenario that would leave me in a Rambo outfit  up in the neighbor’s pine trees fighting off zombies!

It was never enough.  Each week there would be something else to prepare for and some other scare that would spin me in another direction, never really getting that feeling of being fully prepared.  When would I ever have enough stuff?  When would I be ready?

I finally had to draw the line, it was making me crazy.  I had to figure out how to live my Red Shoe Life and stop all the anxiety.   I finally made a tally of all of my duct tape, batteries and glow in the dark distress signals and wrote it all down.  I vowed to collect only a dozen of each item and call it quits.  At least I had a stopping point.  I had 12 cans of corn, 12 boxes of band aids, 12 hand grenades… you get the idea.  When I couldn’t think of anything else that I would need, I declared that I was DONE!  Now, as I use something, I replace it.  Done.  I don’t think about it any more.  I don’t worry about it anymore.  If there is a catastrophe that needs more than 12 rolls of toilet paper, I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Simple preparedness is a part of the Red Shoe Lifestyle.  There is no need to get crazy, but you must take your safety into your own hands.  Don’t think you will be coming to my house if the Walmart bread is gone, because I am not responsible for you.  You are responsible for you.  Some might say that they don’t have the money to prepare.  Not true, no matter your income.   I’m not talking about a bunker of stuff.  I’m talking about a flashlight, some candles, a few granola bars under your bed.  Start small.  Simple things like never leave your car on empty.  Keep your shoes by your bed.  Write down phone numbers in case you lose your phone.   Hell, maybe we need to start even smaller.   Make an extra car key or house key in case you lock yourself out.  Keep a small amount of cash on hand in case the ATM doesn’t work, and  take some comfy shoes with you in case you have to walk home! (I can testify that heels are not meant for this purpose!)

Moral of the story…  It is impossible to know what the future holds, but a person living a Red Shoe Life is  ready.  It is sorta like being a Girl Scout, always being prepared.. except without the Thin Mints…   or maybe I might need a box of Thin Mints (or 12)!!!


Amazin’ Miss W.

What a day this has been!  I tell you that you have never lived until you have taken a wild woman to downtown Memphis for her 101st birthday!

The sky was blue, the champagne chilled and she was wearing a Jackie O. sunhat that matched her flowing white lacy skirt perfectly.  We were ready and this was going to be perfect!

We arrived at the Peabody and briefly let the ducks acknowledge our princess.  Miss W. used to own this town and knew everyone and everything in it.  Her long time career as an “Executive Secretary” afforded her many secrets and wildly ways of the city’s upper crust (secrets she would never tell).  No one knows dirt like Executive Secretaries!

Her Cinderella carriage awaited her arrival, complete with red velvet seats and a mighty Clydesdale steed to pull it.

I thought we would have trouble getting her in, but she flung her purse to one of her fellow passengers, grabbed the side rails with both hands and hopped right in.  She wobbled for only a moment, straightened her hat, and slid all the way in with a look as if to say “Watch out world, I have arrived”.

Our tour was perfect as she pointed out this or that significant building and I felt so happy to have made this happen for her. Every so often you could see in her eyes that she knew that she may never pass this way again.

Miss W. has been my inspiration and my source of laughter every day  since I met her.  You may remember that she was the first one to dance on the stripper pole when I rented the party bus, and she was also the daredevil that shouted to “her city” from the top of the Bass Pro Shop last year on her 100th birthday.  Hell, it was only by the skin of my teeth that she changed her mind about jumping out of an airplane this year!!!!!

She has no words of wisdom as to how she got this far or how she barely looks 70.  She is kind and witty, and winks at me when she is up to no good.  She is the Princess of Memphis!

Happy birthday Miss W.  I know I will see you at Happy Hour!

Of course, you know I’m going to tie this whole day into the Red Shoe Life Transformation summed up in one word “Attitude”.  I don’t mean the type of attitude my kid’s get when I make them do chores, but an attitude of confidence.  Miss W. has confidence and “swag” like no other woman I have ever met.  I wish you could meet her so you can see how it is done.  You have got to stand up and hold yourself with an air of style and positivity.  You may be crumbly Feta on the inside, but with practiced confidence, sooner or later you are going to start believing it yourself!  Look people in the eye when you speak and think about your words before you do.  Be sincere and genuine.  You know you’ve got this!  Now show everyone else that you do!

Until tomorrow-  Deb


Zumba, Zut Alors!

I am sure that zut alors used in the title is incorrect, but you get the gist of how I feel about Zumba.  Actually, I love the IDEA of Zumba, it’s just how I feel while I’m attempting Zumba.

I once described my dance moves as M.C. Hammer trying to take off a girdle full of bees.  I’m all over the place, but zut alors, I have moves!  It doesn’t matter.  Most of the other people in the class were also hanging onto whatever dignity they have left while we vigorously tried to improve our “core”.

My adventure back into the public exercise arena was hard to get started.  It had been a very long time since I tried on a pair of yoga pants, and was woefully ill-equipped.

First there was the issue of sneakers, otherwise known in the South as “tennis shoes”.  Since I was determined to buy something with some substantial support, grandiose grip and stupendous style, I headed to “The Mall”.

Truth be told, I have a fear of “The Mall”.  It always seemed to be a place where I could be sucked into an alternate universe or  possibly  killed by droves of angry teens.  Even worse, everyone is always talking about. having my identity stolen…maybe not a bad thing.   Well, although I hadn’t ventured outside of Walmart in years, I needed new sneakers and I figured Arnold Schwarzenegger was  in there ready to sell me some.

Five seconds after hitting the first store, I realized this was not my world, and drove straight to Shoe Carnival where I bought a $39.00 pair of turquoise tennies.  They don’t jump high, swoosh when I walk or pump up for action, but they do match my new socks.. and that was good enough for me.

Next I needed tunes.  I had an iPOD,  I could neither load songs, make a playlist or even charge it up, since I had long ago lost the cord.  Grrrr..    Second purchase, charging cord and Blue Tooth headphones??  Are they called headphones… I don’t know.. they stick in my ears and play Brick House in my head.  I call them miracles!

So tonight, sporting all my new stuff and hoping not to stick out too much, I Zumba’d my way across the gym and parked my butt on the bleachers waiting for the class to begin.  At this point I realized I had sat in a giant puddle of hopefully water, and soaked my stretch pants and the bottom of my Memphis Tiger’s T-shirt through and through.  Great. So much for faking my way into letting people believe I was cool.  Sigh…

No worries gang!  My new attitude and my wet pants jumped up off that bench and boogied with the best of them.  I was leary that  I was too old for this, but the group was mixed and I wasn’t the worst or the best.  Ok, not even close to the best, but at least I didn’t fall down.

Ok, time for the moral of this story.  Part of an Optimum Life is Physical Wellness.  If you want to live a better life,  you gotta get out there and do something!  Anything.  I ask all of my Life Coach clients to choose a physical goal.  Each goal is unique to it’s chooser, but it should be something of an ultimate challenge.  Once they decide what they would like to achieve, we get a calendar and mark off smaller goals to get them from point A to point B.  As my boss always says….  “one bite at a time”.

My physical goal is to hike Havasu Falls in the spring of 2019.  Google it.  It’s amazin!  It is 10 miles to the bottom of the canyon with my camping pack.  I get to sleep in a hammock and frolic in beautiful aqua water.  Holy Crap,  did I pick quite a big goal.  I know it is achievable and if I can do THAT, I can do anything.  So, I have a lot of training to do. There will be strength training, endurance training… oh and the cool part is I get to buy hiking shoes!  I have laid out my workout plan with small goals leading all the way up to practicing 10 mile treks.   This month I have chosen to do a 5K.  It is certainly not 10 miles, but I gotta start somewhere.  Dream big, reach far, and Zut Alors, get off that couch!

sneaker pic


Best Made Plans…

Everyone in our house woke up early (notice I didn’t say “bright and early”) to get a head-start on this Sunday morning to Hardy, Arkansas.  If you have never been to the beautiful state of Arkansas, you are really missing something, and I was actually looking forward to the long mountainous trek.  Right off the bat, things started to go to hell in a hand-basket. While doing the last minute check list,  the twins discovered that they were supposed to take two online courses before showing up for their month’s duty at Kia Kima Scout Reservation as Camp Staff.

“No worries” I mumbled, and headed towards my peaceful porch with a steaming cup of Bulletproof coffee as they ran up to the office to fire up the computer.   I had already resigned myself to the fact that this day was going to be devoted completely to the twins’ transportation and starting a little late wasn’t going to be so bad.  It did mean that we would not be having bacon and eggs at a roadside Stuckey’s, but it wouldn’t ruin the day.

I grabbed a bunch of glutenous  noodles from last night dinner, a bucket of chicken/sheep food, two sheep dogs and a hot pink scoop full of Meow Mix for our menagerie and sprinted for the coop making sure to knock out all outdoor chores before we went to save myself from doing it in the dark on our return.  Once I was back inside, I kicked off my rubber yard shoes while expecting wails of “Hurry UP MOM!!!” from the front door.  Instead I found everyone still milling around the computer with one twin “almost finished with his first course”.

After another cup of coffee, I started my pacing and grinding of teeth, now furious that my last weekend day was being RUINED by what is a typical expedition with this crew.

I snatched my dulcimer, headed for the porch and started banging out some Arkansas Turkey in the Straw at an alarming tempo, enough to scatter all the cats to yards unknown.  Why are they always so unorganized???  This is the usual plot to piss me off again!!!!  I must be the only one at my age that still has kids without driver’s licences!!!  Maybe if they didn’t always have that cell phone up their ass, they would READ their emails and know about things like mandatory online courses!!!!  If it were up to me, they shouldn’t even be GOING to camp, especially since they just got back from Sea Base in the freakin’ Bahamas!!!! (Don’t even get me started on how MUCH that cost!!!)

As my temper calmed down a bit, I began to think about my Transformation and my vow to break the habit of me always ending up in this state of mind.  Short of  kicking someone, what could I do to change my mood?  I know that people will always do stuff to rile me up, but it is up to me as to how I react.  I began to play my beautiful dulcimer like it is supposed to be played (well at least as beautifully as I know how to play) and forced myself to think about how nice it was to sit on the porch and enjoy the morning. I am not going to say that I magically became an enlightened fairy with butterflies in my hair and flowers sprouting from my cleavage, but I did try to look on the bright side.  The bright side was that, all things considered, I would still get home with 2 hours before I went to bed. I’d get to spend untold hours in the car listening to “their” music, and the best part….  they were going to be at camp for a month!

So now I am home after more than 7 hours in the car, and as I ran back down to the pasture to tuck everybody in for the night, I noticed how quiet it was.   Could it be that I already missed them fighting over who helped me last and that they definitely did NOT want to do the chickens?  Nope…   and I might even enjoy that for a little while!

Only you can let yourself be mad.  Only you can make words come out of your mouth, and only you have the choice to react to other people’s actions.  So if you’re mad…  that’s up to you and to quote some of my ladies at work:  “You can get glad in the same britches you got mad in!!!”

I hope you found some time this weekend to find your special red pair of shoes and I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about how to wear them. Until then –Deb.