U.S. X-Country Team in Mombassa, Kenya


Kenya 2007, originally uploaded by One World Running.

I hope you both are doing well. Here are some of the pictures I took of the children in Africa that I brought shoes to from One World Running. Kenya was an awesome experience, and this was probably the best part of the trip. Thanks for getting me involved Mike. Well, enjoy these pictures, and I will send the video shortly in another email. Have a great afternoon!

Best regards,
Renee

PS. Here is the information for the school. The school's name is St. Peter's The Rock Junior School with Integrated Programme (mentally handicapped). It's total population is 76 children, and 35 of them are mentally handicapped. This is very rare in Africa.

Some Serious Theology- Are you a Tramplian or an Offalist?

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You may be sick of the Calvinist/ Arminian debate, so let me introduce you to some new theological terms; Tramplian and Offalist.

Tramplians like to trample the carpets or flooring of their homes with their shoes on. They find it rather objectionable to be asked to remove their shoes when visiting somebody else's home.

The central principle in Tramplian theology is the freedom of the will. They believe that they should be the ones to decide whether they take their shoes off at a dinner party. Their attitude is "I decided what outfit to wear. I decided what shoes to wear. I should be able to keep them on if I like". They do not believe that a hostess should impose shoelessness on them.

Tramplians have a strong belief in the goodness of hosts. They consider that a hostess should be above all concerned for her guests wishes and convenience above keeping her home clean. They believe that if a hostess likes them enougth to invite them into her home, she will accept them with their shoes on.

Tramplians believe in the power of their own ability to keep their shoes clean. They consider themselves to be grown-up and to be careful about what they tread on. They do acknowledge that their shoes can be tainted by the corruption of dirty streets, however they hold that this can easily be dealt with by wiping their feet on their hostess' doormat. Their shoes can be restored to cleanliness by the exercise of their will.

Offalists in contrast, always remove their shoes at the door. Offalists believe in the Total Depravity of the soles of their shoes. The corruption of city streets has completely ruined the condition of their shoes, they argue, and the only hope is a change of nature for their feet, namely into slippers or clean socks. The Offalist pays heed to warnings about the health risks of pesticide, lead paint and animal excrement.

The Offalist upholds the sovereignty of the host. The hostess has been very generous in inviting her guests, however, she is sovereign over her own home and has the authority to set the rules. She will not allow anything corrupt to defile her home. Those who would enter her home must not come in their own shoes, but must meet her condition of a change into slippers or stocking feet.

The Offalist holds that the root problem of the Tramplian's theology is human pride. The Tramplian is proud of her ability to make decisions about her outfit. She is proud of her Manolos, her Prada heels or her Jimmy Choo boots. She is too proud to combine her outfit with stocking feet. She resents the idea that her hostess would not accept her in her own shoes.

The Offalist argues that if the Tramplian would only forsake her pride, she would actually find that she was far more comfortable in slippers, socks or bare feet. Her determination to remain in her stilettos will in the end hurt her feet and drag her to destruction. She may well remain outside the dinner party in the outer darkness.

Octoberfest


Octoberfest is held in my city off and on. I do not recall it being held this year, but when I was in colledge it was held often. I went once and tried a lot of the darker ales. It was a big party for all the college kids. It actually was started long ago, back in 1810, when a royal wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen took place on Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields"). As time passed by, Oktoberfest lost its original meaning, but preserved and even more acquired the spirit of overall joy and happiness. I wonder how it lost it's original meaning.

I wonder what it would be like to attend it in Germany. At times there are over 7 million people in attendence. I have never been to Germany but it too is a place I want to see some day. I have a good friend who was in the military and was stationed there for a few years. He loved Germany. I wonder if the hotels in germany are very expensive. With so many internet deals out there, I bet there are some very economical prices out there. I know there are some at Cheaper Than Hotels. They have a full range of accomodations from hostels to 5 star hotels at great prices.

They are able to do that because they have established a working network with various hotels and hotel chains around the world. Thus they are able to provide accomodations at very competitive prices. There are even special deals to be had, like last minute deals and some of the hotels in berlin even have free extras like internet access, faxing services and a gym. These free extras can be found at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Berlikn City Centre. It is located in the heart of the city just minutes away from the zoo and Kurf├╝rstendamm boulevard. It is within 20 minutes of all the airports so, it makes it a convenient place to stay. Check out those prices. They are very reasonable.

You will find the same sorts of discounts at the hotels in munich. I noticed that today there is a special for only EUR 75. There are even some places that are on sale all year. Travel to Europe does not mean that you have to give up your life savings just to go. CheaperThanHotels.co.uk makes sure that is not the case. Their great deals make it possible for them to operate in 130 countries worldwide and they have even assisted over 100 million travelers with their accomodations.



What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

My Newest Acquisitions!


This past weekend I found a great sale at The Shoe Department. Designer shoes were on sale for as low as $6.95. I had some control. I only got one pair of white leather pumps that will be great for next spring and summer. They are by Bellini. Bellini shoes and footwear is one of New Zealand's foremost fashion brands. Created from the European catwalks and adapted to the New Zealand lifestyle, Bellini shoes are manufactured in imported Italian leathers, offering affordable, quality shoes for every occasion. Their range includes the basic classics though to more directional fashion styles. Low, medium to high heels ensure all tastes are catered for. I could only find them in red but mine are white. They were only $12.00. Wonderful smooth leather shoes! I can;t wait till next year to wear them.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

37 Reasons for Having a Shoes-Off Policy in Your Home

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37 Reasons for having a shoes-off policy in your home:

1. Carpets are not easy to clean.
2. Carpets absorb dust and become breeding grounds for dust mites, causing the development of asthma and allergies.
3. If you do not have a carpet, the dust will not be absorbed and you are likely to breathe it in.
4. Shoes can leave marks on wood, PVC and marble floors.
5. Shoes can scratch wood flooring, especially if they have high heels.
6. Boots and high heeled shoes can cause wear and tear to carpets.
7. That goes for rugs as well.
8. Shoes pick up small particles of grit that cause wear and tear to carpets.
9. Shoes pick up traces of petrol fumes and industrial pollution.
10. Shoes can pick up pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals.
11. Shoes pick up traces of animal excrement.
12. Ever noticed how much chewing gum there is stuck to the streets?
13. In a square mile, there are more insects than people on the planet. How many do you think you have squashed on your shoes?
14. If you have a crawling baby, do you want him or her to be exposed to the dirt from people's shoes?
15. In rain or snow, you are less likely to get the floor wet.
16. If you live near a beach, you will bring less sand into the house.
17. If you have a crawling baby, you will do less damage if you accidently step on him or her.
18. If you get mad and kick the cat or dog, you will do less damage (apologies to animal lovers).
19. If your children play rough, they will do less damage.
20. It creates a less formal atmosphere.
21. It creates a greater sense of relaxation.
22. Your guests will become more like you by removing their shoes and will feel part of the family.
23. An oriental, Scandinavian or East European visitor will feel more at home.
24. It teaches children the importance of respecting and looking after things.
25. Psychologically, removing your shoes helps you to enter a frame of mind where you keep your everyday troubles outside your home.
26. It is more comfortable.
27. It is healthier for you feet to take your shoes off during the day.
28. Small children with growing feet should wear shoes only to the minimum.
29. If you wear high-heeled shoes, your feet badly need a break.
30. You can put your feet up on the sofa without taking your shoes off first (Dont tell me you put your feet on the sofa with shoes on?).
31. You can put your feet up on the coffee table without taking your shoes off first.
32. If you ever visit Japan, it will seem less weird.
33. If you are ever arrested and they confiscate your shoes, along with your belt and jewellery, it will seem less weird.
34. Your feet smell less if you do not wear them all day.
35. When you lovingly chastise your children, you will have a slipper to hand.
36. It was a Biblical custom (come on, did they wash their feet with shoes on?)
37. Do you really think the Saints in Glory are going to trample the sparkling, clean New Jerusalem with shoes on?

Prevent Common Ballet Injuries In Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes

A physio therapist talks about how to prevent common ballet injuries:

"Often ballet teachers find the specifics of training the foot strength needed for pointe work difficult as it came naturally to them. However for many people, the isolated strength needed in the feet must be specifically trained, especially nowadays, as many children who grow up in cities spend little time bare foot on different surfaces, which naturally trains the tiny intrinsic muscles of the feet. Understanding how these muscles should work when dancing is imperative in a long, injury free, career in dance." - Lisa Howell

In addition to intrinsic muscle weakness, the foot and ankle can suffer other injuries. Floors built on concrete are a source of injury, even for dancers who are taught to "come down through the foot". This technique helps, but does not fully compensate for hard flooring.

Any repetitive motion can lead to injury.

Some ankles and achilles tendons will build up soft tissue mass or calcified masses from pointe shoe ribbons being tied tight.

Some ankles won't like the repetitive releves and jumps required by dancing and will build up some type of tissue resistance at the front of the ankles. This extra tissue will cause disruption to the movements, or pain, or both.

ANY incorrect technique such as rolling ankles, turning out the foot more than the leg (a requirement in ballet), too short pointe shoes, too narrow pointe shoes, insecure demi-plies,(heels not on the floor, leading to sliding heels too far forward, usually, resulting in tense ankles, tibial muscles [ shin splints]), - and you go up the body from there, straining knees, hips, low back, raising shoulders, straining neck, clenching jaw, locking cranial bones, headaches - need I say more?

However, the human body can repair its tissues, especially with the help of good nutrition. Whole food supplements for collagen, ligaments, and muscle can be added to the diet. After a fracture, raw veal bone meal and correct calcium supplements can speed healing greatly.

An excellent topical ointment called Traumeel can help soft tissues heal.

Icing and diet can decrease inflammation. No one is "stuck with" an injury. All athletes have the internet to refer to, to add to what their own doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists tell them about healing injuries.

With the correct strength and development of the foot muscles, you can prevent common ballet injuries.

Horrifying

In church this morning, a little girl kept putting her feet on the seat. Her shoes were on and they looked filthy. The carpet near her seat had gotten muddy and the seat became covered in bits of mud.

I thought it was a quite shocking sight. I found it so horrifying I could barely concentrate on the sermon.

The little girl was not sitting with her mother, but with a young single woman. If people have a child sit with them, they should take the responsiblity of making sure the child behaves herself; and I cannot see putting muddy shoes on seats as acceptable behaviour.

Culture

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Some people in Britain and the USA have an interesting perspective on this subject. They feel happy taking off their shoes at the home of an Asian person whose culture demands removal of shoes, but consider it deeply rude for a British or American person to insist on visitors to her home removing their shoes.

There are two problems with this attitude. Firstly, there is a touch of cultural arrogance about it. It implies that the Asian custom of removing shoes is purely of spiritual or cultural significance with no practical value. Maybe Asian people are primarily concerned about keeping their homes clean! Behind the pretended respect for a foreign culture, there is the unspoken assumption that Western practice is superior.

Secondly, this attitude seems to take a rather static view of culture, seeing it as a set of chains that bind people to particular rules of behaviour. In fact, culture is dynamic and fluid, it changes over time.

It seems to me to be quite obvious that if a person of Asian descent can be considered British while keeping her home shoe-free, it is perfectly acceptable for a White British person to keep her home shoe-free.

It may be the norm in Britain and most of the USA for shoes to stay on in homes now, but this may change. In fact, I believe it probably will. Many White Americans and even British people are adopting the custom of shoes-off in homes.

We are living in a global village with increased immigration, travel and communication between different cultures. There is tremendous potential for different cultural practices to migrate across geographical boundaries.

Wearing Ballet Pointe Shoes At The Barre

Wearing ballet pointe shoes for barre work is a good habit for intermediate and advanced students. Hopefully you already have the definite manual for dancing in ballet pointe shoes, The Perfect Pointe Book.

The sole of the foot, and ankle, have to work so much more with every tendu, degage, and rise onto demi-pointe. The shoe resists, and the muscles get a better workout.

If the thickness of the sole makes your foot wobble because it does not lie flat on the floor, here's a balance exercise you can do: standing on one foot at a time, close your eyes, and concentrate on finding your balance. You will strengthen your ankles this way.

Pointe shoes are beautiful when new, but get beaten up looking easily. When I was training, there was little concern about how long they would look new. Scuffs and worn satin were the rewarding sign of hard work.

If you have a performance coming up, it's different. Wear socks over them as needed, but cut a hole at the toe and heel, so that you won't slide. Try to have as many pairs as you need broken in, to the same degree, before your shows.

When your feet are totally sore and aching, use an ice pack! It is wonderful for pain and can be done several times an evening. (5- 10 min. per hour max). But, not touching bare skin.

Also, lying on the floor with your legs resting straight up the wall for a few minutes is good to help your muscles relax.

Work hard, and relax and stretch your muscles to keep the best tone. Use a pinkie ball under the soles of your feet to work out the muscle tension.

Get a dancer's guide and learn all about working your feet correctly in ballet pointe shoes.

Discovering Reverance

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The comfort aspect of shoe removal is both a strength and a weakness of the case for shoes off at the door.

It is certainly the case that most people will feel more comfortable for having removed their shoes. A 'no-shoes' home is a place of comfort.

The problem is that the western association of removing shoes with comfort and informality may make people more reluctant to accept the idea of removing shoes on more formal occasions even in the home. People may think that it is somehow inappropriate or impolite to go shoeless at a dinner party.

The problem is that in western culture, we have no concept of removing shoes as an act of reverance. The closest thing in the west would be Roman Catholics going barefoot at shrines like St. Patrick's Mount. To us in the west, it is more respectful to keep shoes on than to take them off.

In contrast, in most oriental cultures there is an assocaition of shoes-off with reverance. Muslims do not remove their shoes in Mosques to be more comfortable (though I believe they usually have lovely carpets); they remove them because the Mosque is sacred. Japanese pupils remove their outdoor footwear on arriving at school, not just in order to keep it cleaner, but because the school is a place of authority that is worthy of their esteem.

I dare say that British people will come to appreciate this association of shoes-off with reverance more and more. School pupils in this country are often taken to visit non-Christian places of worship where their shoes must be removed. Thailand has become a very popular tourist destination for British people and there they experience going barefoot in Buddhist temples. More and more they will learn to show respect and reverance to the homes of their friends by taking off their shoes.

Medical Conditions

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If you read internet discussions about the subject of the shoes-off rule, you will find countless people who claim to have a medical condition that means they must wear shoes all the time. If these discussions were representative of the population; nearly half the people in the UK and the USA have such a medical condition. I do not believe a word of it.

Yes, there are some people who do have a genuine medical reason for not removing their shoes. We must make exceptions for them.

Some people say having a shoes-off policy causes embarassment for such people because they must reveal their condition. However, this is quite unnecessary. A person with a medical condition can simply say:


I am sorry, I can't take my shoes off. Doctor's orders.



She does not need to reveal the nature of her condition. She does not need to give any embarassing details. There is really no problem here.

Not so appealing

I was flicking through an holiday brochure earlier. I noticed that in all the photographs of hotel rooms, people had their sandals on. Evidently, those hotel rooms are so dirty that nobody would want to be barefoot in them!

Shoes-Off at Parties?

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Read below to find about how my recent party went.

There are some people who are strict about no-shoes in their homes who make an exception for parties. They feel that parties are an occasion when people expect to dress up and this must include shoes. I disagree with their view. I think it is perfectly reasonable to require shoes to be removed for a party.

In Canada and Scandinavia, it is common for people to attend formal parties with a special set of party shoes that are not worn outdoors. This is not really feasible in the UK. I doubt that many British folks have shoes that are never worn oudoors, unless they keep a pair of sneakers to go to the gym. And if those formal party shoes have high-heels, they are unacceptable anyway.

Some people say that part of a party is clearing up afterwards, so you should not make a fuss about mess from people's shoes. This seems a little silly to my mind. People will make more than enough mess at a party without them bringing in dirt on their shoes. There will be plenty of spilled wine and crumbs ground into the carpet without chewing gum and dog dirt from peoples' shoes as well. Also the main party season in the West is Christmas and New Year, when there will be plenty of rain and snow (maybe not snow in England, but plenty of rain). The party season is a wet season.

Some argue that people will feel silly and uncomfortable at a party without their shoes. It is true that people might find it a little odd. But they will probably feel more comfortable for having removed their shoes. If it is made clear in the invitation that shoes willl need to be removed, then it will not come as a shock. Furthermore, if there is alcohol at the party, then most people will be feeling more relaxed.

The main argument levelled against shoes-off at parties is that people dress up for parties. A lot of people, particularly women, will chose their outfits very carefully and they the choice of shoes is part of that selction. For them, a party is an occasion to show off their good taste. They would not want to combine their cocktail dresses with barefeet.

In response I would say that parties are hardly the only occasions for dressing up. Ladies can show off their fancy shoes in restaurants or at the races. Not all parties are such formal occasions. If a party is a smart-casual event, it is actually quite rude to dress up more smartly than other guests.

The host sets the theme of a party. If it is meant to be a fancy dress party, then you should make the effort to find a costume or stay home. If it is an informal party, leave the suit or cocktail dress at home. If it is a no-shoes party, leave the kitten heels at the door.

I keep making this point, but I will make it again: it is best that guests know in advance that shoe-removal is required. If you are printing fancy invitations, make it known there (with some clip-art maybe?). If people know that they will have to take their shoes off, it will not come as a shock and they can plan their outfit with this in mind. They can bring some nice slippers that complement their outfit if they want and they can avoid long trousers that only look right when worn with high heels.

There is the question of whether it is really possible to hold a formal party while people are shoeless. It may be difficult in the West to maintain an air of formality when everybody is without their shoes, but is that really such a bad thing? Is it not better to be relaxed at a party? Certainly, the host and guests can make an effort to keep the party formal. Men can look reasonably smart by combining respectable slippers with their suits and women can look pretty elegant in stocking feet. So all is not lost. If shoes-off in homes becomes more common, shoe-lessnes will probably become less associated with being casual and informal.

There are some people who will certainly be far more happy and comfortable to party without their shoes on. As I argued in a previous post, it is not simply a matter of giving these people the choice. At a shoes-on party, those who take it upon themselves to remove their shoes are likely to get their feet squashed and to have to walk on a soggy carpet. Shoes-off for all guests makes it easier for those who want to take their shoes off.

Times: Access all areas

Times: Acces all areas

Feature on a modern Bangkok apartment. For those with an interest in inteirior design.

As with all Thai homes, shoes must be removed in this apartment.

Refuseniks

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If asked to remove their shoes, most people are polite enough to comply. However, it is always possible that there may be some refuseniks.

If somebody refuses to remove her shoes, the host has several options:

1. Not let them in.

2. Let them in, but express one's unhappiness. Not invite them in again.

3. Let them in, express one's unhappiness, but invite them again hoping that next time they will comply.

4. Let them in and say nothing. Not invite them again.

5. Let them in and say nothing. Invite them again in hope that next time they will be more polite.

There is not right or wrong response. Whether you let them in and whether you invite them again entirely depends upon your wishes.

You have every right to refuse to admit somebody to your home. If a person is visiting to sell you a product or service, or to promote their religious organisation (usually Jehovah's Witnesses are polite enough to offer shoes-off) then you might well refuse to let them in. On the other hand, if your boss is visiting, it might be a bad idea to refuse to let her in!

If the visitor is not a close friend, but a person you have invited to dinner in order to make close acquaintance with, you have every right to never let them darken your door again. On the other hand, you may not want to loose a close friend over the issue. However, you might feel more comfortable expressing your unhappiness to a close friend than to a occasional visitor.

There is simply no right or wrong response to refuseniks.

My first Shoeless Party : Turning the hallway into a Shoe Shop

I hosted my first shoeless party yesterday evening. It was a relaxed and casual evening with drinks.

I invited about 26 people, but only 16 agreed to come. Sadly, only ten people came in the end due to sickness.

We had a really wonderful time. Everybody enjoyed themselves.

You may recall I wrote on the invitations:

Shoes off at the door would be appreciated. Feel free to bring some slippers.


Therefore, everybody removed their shoes without needing to be asked. Nobody seemed bothered about it (one couple had a no-shoes home and another couple had been missionaries in shoe-removing Albania). A couple of people brought slippers.

Some people think that shoesless parties are tacky and crass. I am very sorry that people think that. It is true that it was a casual party; nobody dressed up. However, we all had a good time.

Some people say that you have to clear up after a party anyway, so why bother worrying about keeping the house clean? Well, it took me a while to clean up after the party even with people taking their shoes off. To have dirty marks on the carpet as well as crumbs would have been pretty horrible.


What have I acheived with this party?


- I have established that people do not mind coming to a shoe-less party.

- I have established that people can have a really enjoyeable time at a shoesless party.

- I have set an example to the people who came of how you can keep a house cleaner by having a no-shoes rule (somebody commented on how clean the house was).

- I have set an example to those who came of how it is acceptable to have a no-shoes rule at a party.

- I have established that there is no discernible aroma of feet at a shoeless party. I could not smell anybody's feet whatsoever.

- I have set an example to the 26 people who were invited that it is acceptable to request shoes-off on an invitation.

Encourage but not insist?

Some people say that it is fine to encourage people to remove their shoes, but one should not insist that they do so.

There is a fine line between insisting on people removing their shoes and encouraging people to take them off. There are a number of things one could say that are subtle encouragements:


We take our shoes off here.

You might like to take your shoes off.


These imply strongly that the host wants the guest to remove her shoes. I do not see that insisting or asking is worse than encouraging. If you encourage people to take their shoes off, then you have started from the assumption that people will be willing to take them off. By encouraging, you apply a degree of moral pressure to comply.

I think a lot of people would not want the uncertainty of just being encouraged. I was dating a girl a few years ago when I was not 100% sold out to the shoes-off rule. She asked me if she should remove her shoes. I told her that we removed our shoes but she did not have to. She was actually uncomfortable at this answer and asked me whether I wanted her to take them off or not.

Sometimes it is simpler just to be straight with people and ask them to remove their shoes. No need to beat around the bush.

Barefeet

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In the UK and the USA a lot of people feel a sense of disgust and abjection towards feet. Of course, in many Asian countries, the foot is considered to be unclean. However, this is in connection with the fact that the foot touches the ground. Thus, shoes are considered to be far more unclean than the naked foot. In an Asian home, barefeet are acceptable, but shoes are not. This is actually the very opposite of the western abjection of the foot.

It is very common in internet discussions about shoes-off in homes for the subject of barefeet to be raised. It is argued that barefeet are disgusting, more so than the dirt on peoples' shoes. Of course, if you do feel that feet are disgusting, you can still ask visitors to remove their shoes if you lend then flip flops or socks to wear. Angie mentioned this in a previous post.

It is very likely that the sense of disgust about barefeet will decline. Sandals and flip flops have become incredibly popular in the UK and the USA. People are becoming more used to exposed feet. And ladies (and maybe some men) are spending good money on keeping them looking nice.

The argument that feet are more unhygienic than shoes is quite wrong. Unless a person has been going barefoot outdoors, they will not have been picking up the awful things that the soles of shoes pick up (though sandal-shod feet do get a bit dusty). You may think your feet are disgusting, however, you undoubtedly have more germs on your hands than on your feet. Feet are usually remarkably cleaner than the average pair of hands.

One should remember that the oils on barefeet are acidic and can cause some wear on carpets, though not as much as shoes. Thus, it is best to restrict going barefoot on carpets to spring and summer.

Not Made for Walking



These are what I wore to work today. They were comfortable and well broken in. They were great all day. Then. PTA meeting at dirty Fila's school. It was open house and so the parents had to attend all the classes. We had to spend about 5 minutes in in each class meeting the teacher. To do all the class it took 2 hours. The school is huge and I had to walk up and down stairs and walk long halls. By the time it was all over, I could hardly walk. My toes hurt now, even as I have my sperry's on. Those shoes are not made for excersize. Next time I will know. Change into my crocs!


What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Hospitality part 2

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Guests are aware when they visit a home that the hosts have boundaries that cannot be crossed.

Guests know or should know that they cannot go wandering about upstairs, looking in their hosts' bedrooms. They ought to be careful in conversation that they do not mention subjects that may cause offence to the host. If the host has strong views on a subject, it is best not to argue with him or her. Guests know that they cannot bring their pet dog to somebody else's home unless the host has expressly said this is acceptable. Even if the host is an animal lover, permission to bring a pet dog must be sought.

It is now recognised by most people that when you visit the home of a non-smoker, they should not smoke inside. If they need to smoke, they should put their coat on and go outside. There are still some people, probably mostly from the upper strata of British society who think it is rude to forbid smoking in one's home. However, this view is very much in a minority.

It is important to recognise these boundaries when one visits a home and if hosts prefer, even if they do not insist on it, removal of shoes, this should be complied with by guests. To ignore this boundary is, as stated in the previous post, taking hospitality for granted.

Some people would object to comparisons with smoking pointing out the health risks of smoking, compared with the minor ill effects to health of wearing shoes past the door. However, it is not so much the health risks that should deter smoking in a non-smoking home. Nobody is going to get lung cancer because a few guests smoked at a dinner party. They are unlikely to even develope a cough because of it. No, the reason one should not smoke in a non-smoking home is simply because the smells and mess are not convenient for such hosts. It is simply impolite. Likewise it is not convenient to impose the dirt and dust of your shoes in the home of a person who would object to it.

Some would argue that it is polite for guests to remove their shoes if this is what the hosts do, but it is impolite for the host to request shoes-off. They feel that it is better to leave the responsiblity of politness to guests. To my mind, this is not quite logical. If guests have the responsibility to comply with the preference of their hosts, then it is surely quite reasonable for guests to make their preference known.

Part of the reason why a verbal request for shoes-off may be necesary is because etiquette is so uncertain and in such a state fo flux on this point. While it may be a good idea to remove one's shoes when one is welcomed by a shoe-less host, as this may be a shoes-off home, such a gesture might be taken as impolite by some. There are some who go shoe-less in their home who would be surprised by guests going shoe-less. It is probably necessary for those who desire shoe-removal to make their wish known.

Traveling Shoes

Whenever I have gone anywhere, I have always had my traveling shoes in order. I have always scoped out where I was going and have always done lots of research to find out all I could about going. Whenever I am on a trip I always take lots of pictures. In the past it has always been about putting together a photo album. Now it is all about putting together a travel log. I just started a travel blog on word press. I did not know about the free travel log and travel guide available on Real Travel.

If I had know about this before, I might have started writing my travel blog there. I might have more visitors to come by that way. The good thing about the site is that is is all information gathered by real travelers...people who actually went to those places. Real people who know all the ins and outs and who can offer real tips and advice that can make the trip a success.

It is also a resource for people thinking about going to a place. They have the chance to get some first hand information. Once they decide where they want to go, there is a free trip planner that will allow you to do research and even plan your itinerary. There is even a "things to do page" that will allow you to check by subject what is available to do and where. Now that is a REAL travel guide! IF you want to network with other travelers, you can do that in the forums and you can even get prices and deals on your travel. It helps to have a point of reference on travel.

Blogs have made a recanting of your visit in a particular place an on line travel guide. With narratives and pictures and often times links, you can just about find out all you want to know before picking the final destination. Be informed. Check out Real Travel. It is real travel by real places recanting their real travel experiences.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Strutting Shoes



These shoes are neck breakers. They are platform....BUT...they are just about the highest platforms I have ever seen. They are the highest pair of shoes I think I have. I got them at Parisians just as they were about to go out of business. They are brown leather, croc print. Just beautiful. I wore them for the first time about 2 months ago to church. They were not broken in. Within an hour I lived to regret not wearing them around the house first. I have not worn them since.



I have just looked at them. I need or plan to wear them around this weekend to break them in. They feel great. They just need to be stretched out a bit. The leather is so new. Once that happens, I know I could wear them all day.


What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Flights of Shoe Fancy



When I look at this shoe, it makes me think of better times. Happier times. Times before I lost a parent. I long for the whimsical, content days of jazz on Sunday and dinners out and laughter not hidden. When all there is that is extended toward me is anger and ridicule, it gets old quick. I do get a reprieve at times. I escape with a cup of coffee at the Barnes and Noble. I escape with my IPOD to musical places I used to visit daily. Best of all there is the beach. All things are better there. The wind and the surf ebbing and flowing sooth my ruffled heels and aching toes. Right now, at this moment, life is a shoe tight in the toes. I am cramped and it hurts!

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Interesting Story

The couple I invited over went to the Lake District yesterday with some friends from India.

When they got back to their house in Worcester, the two Indian men went into their lounge with their muddy shoes on, spreading mud on the lovely light carpet. They were apparently apologetic and cleaned up.

This seems a fascinating story given that Indians generally do not wear shoes in home (I know it varies and the custom is stronger in southern India than northern India).

Maybe they assumed that because white folks wear shoes in the house, they do not worry about mud.

Perhaps the moral of this is that if you want people to take their shoes off when they are muddy, it is better to get them to always take their shoes off in case they forget when their shoes are really dirty.

First Guests

I cooked a curry for some guests this sunday lunch time.

My guests were a married couple who are very dear to me and my lovely sister, Heather.

The couple removed their shoes without being asked, which was good, because the lady had come before and kept her shoes on. I did need to remind my sister. Before she left, she nearly went upstairs to the bathroom with her shoes on.

Mats4u.co.uk: Please Take Off Your Shoes Mat

Mats4u.co.uk: Please Take Off Your Shoes Mat

Available from a UK seller.

Personally, I think it is more polite to ask in person.

Flickr: noTimeSlipper

Flickr: noTimeSlipper

Amusing

Flickr: Shoes off in bathroom

Flickr: Shoes off in bathroom

Somebody who badly needs to impose a shoes-off rule.

Flickr: Please Take Off Your Shoes

Flickr: Please Take Off Your Shoes

Hopefully, my hallway will look a little like this on the evening of my party. Except, with it being October, there maybe not so many pairs of flip flops and sandals.

Telford and Wrekin NHS PCT: Guidelines on the Removal of Footwear When Visiting Clients

Telford and Wrekin NHS PCT: Guidelines on the Removal of Footwear When Visiting Clients

An NHS document on the subject of removing shoes in homes.

It says of the practice:

1.3 Clients may ask you to take off your shoes when visiting the ir homes for a number
of different reasons, including:
· When they are concerned that dirt from your footwear may spoil the flooring.
· It is their cultural or personal practice not to wear footwear at home.
Any reason that a client gives for requesting the removal of footwear is valid. But,
you must decide for yourself whether it is safe to do so.


I am not sure this document was really necessary. The guidelines seem remarkably commonsensical:

· Is there a risk of hurting your feet on objects on the floor, or because of the
condition of the floor, e.g. toys, books, tools etc. on the floor, loose floor
boards or nails sticking up?
· Is there a risk of hurting your feet because of the nature of equipment you will
be using, e.g. will you be using a hoist?
· Would taking off your shoes increase the chance of you slipping, e.g. on
polished floors?
· Is there a risk of cross infection, e.g. by stepping on animal or human
excrement, urine or other bodily fluids that may be on the floor?
· Will removing your shoes increase your sense of vulnerability in an already
uncomfortable situation, e.g. has the client been verbally abusive and you may
need to leave promptly?
· Do you have any injuries to your feet, which may mean that you need to
particularly avoid further harm to them, e.g. injuries that may easily become
infected by exposure to infective material?

Flip Flopping Around

I image that the only pair of shoes you would need in Hawaii are flip flops. That is what I see on TV generally. That is a very far away vacation spot. The thing that fascinates me the most are the volcanoes and the lore of now you can't take a lava rock or you will be cursed. I have heard those tales and have been intrigued. It has to be true because if you look that up on Snopes, the urban legend pages, it has the bad luck thing as true. It is not an urban legend.

I have not looked into staying in Hawaii at hotels or homes if I ever were to visit. In the event I do go there I at least have a place to research to find out about Hawaii real estate . Hawaii real estate has agents located on all the islands who can assist you in buying or selling property. For me moving there would be the retirement spot. The company which is American Dream Realty has partnerships with several mortgage companies to provide the best mortgage rates available. Free quotes are also available.

Oahu real estate is just one of the islands you may be interested in. Oahu is one of the bigger islands and is called the meeting place. Looking for property there is easy with the search tool on the site. To use it just enter your info, select the areas you are interested in and hit the search button. All properties then will pop up and you can contact an agent to get the lava rock rolling. (But just so long as it does not roll off the island--the curse)

Kauai real estate is just as easy to obtain or anywhere else for that matter. The company is worldwide and manages both rental and home owner properties. Even if you did not want to buy, you would be able to rent. When I think of any place on Hawaii I think of paradise...the beaches, the surfing, volcanoes and scenery. I do hope to visit there one day. I know that at least now, there is an easy way to find a place to live or rent while there, that is designed with me in mind. The best rental rates or mortgage rates that will save money for both me and the owners. So I had better gather up my flip flops for a possible future trip to the "big island". American Dream Realty can make the trip or retirement to Hawaii an American dream reality.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

My New Sperry's

I bought a pair of Sperry topsiders just like these in two different colors very early in the summer. I got a pair of green suede ones and a pair of cream leather ones. They are wonderful. The green sueded ones will go with many winter things I have. I have worn the cream pair and they go with just about everything. With the heavy leather on the bottom they are most durable.

I truly believe that a girl can never have enough Sperry's. I am up to five pairs now.



What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Sneaking In


Recently I have taken to sneaking in new shoes whenever I buy them. These lovely shoes dirty Fila wanted for winter so I got them. The only difference is that hers are brown. So to get them into the house without any comments being said, I took them out of the bag and took all the stickers off and put them in the garage. You know, make them look like they have always been around and that they were taken off in the garage for some reason. Then..on to dirty Fila's closet, they will go. They are American Eagle clogs.

See. Don't even think that there is not a way for me to buy a new pair of shoes. I have ways!

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Hospitality

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There are some who think that asking guests to remove their shoes is contrary to the principle of hospitality.

This is a culturally relative matter. Albania and Turkey are countries in which hospitality is greatly valued and yet it is expected in those countries that guests remove their shoes.

The shoes-on people argue that a hostess should primarily be concerned with her guests comfort and not with the state of her carpet or floor. However, most guests will feel more comfortable after removing their shoes. They may, admittedly, be uncomfortable because they are embarassed about their feet or they feel their shoes are part of their outfit. Those problems can be dealt with by letting guests know in advance that shoes-off is expected and so they can either bring slippers or plan their outfits with bare or stocking feet in mind. Any embarassment should be minimal if guests are not taken by surprise.

In my opinion, those who insist that guests should be allowed to keep their shoes on take hospitality for granted.

When I get my own house or apartment, I may well invite you. I will give you the best seat. I will cook for you. I will serve you the best food I can. I will give you whatever you want to drink, whether it be alcoholic or not. I will give you my undivided attention. I will entertain you with conversation. If you live nearby, I will drive you home in my car. If not, I will let you stay the night. I will wash up the dishes and cutelry you have used and clean up any mess you make. Given that I am willing to do all this for you, do you really think it is so unreasonable that I ask you to take your shoes off?

Neat Freaks?

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It is commonly thought that people who insist on shoes-off in their homes are neat freaks who are obsessed with keeping their homes clean and tidy.

I dare say that there are some people who prefer shoes-off who are genuine neat freaks. And those who are Obsessive-Compulsive about cleanliness may well be among the shoes-off community.

Of course this is culturally relative. In Japan it is thought that money is dirty and unhygeinic because it is handled by untold numbers of people. Japanese people also regard any objects placed in bathrooms, such as books or ornaments to be 'dirty'. A person in a western society who held such attitudes would almost certainly be regarded as Obsessive-Compulsive.

I have known a number of people who really were excessive in their desire to keep their homes clean. Interestingly, these people did not require visitors to remove their shoes. I suspect that they probably spent so much time in cleaning their homes that they were happy to waste time cleaning up afer their visitors.

Many people who keep their homes shoe-free are not domestic goddesses who like nothing better than spending whole days doing spring cleaning. Rather, they are busy working people who have far better things to do. They do not want to clean up for the sake of it, but they know that living in a clean environment is healthier and far more pleasent. Knowing that time is precious they would rather keep the mess to the minimum and spend as little time as possible cleaning up after their visitors. Prevention is better than cure.

Nobody needs a house that is spotless, but it is pointless to allow dirt and dust to accumulate when it could easily be kept out by leaving shoes at the door. A floor is meant to be walked upon, but that does not mean that one should not reduce wear and tear and save time and money.

Housewarming Party

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If you are moving into a new house or apartment and you want to make a clean start and have a no-shoes rule, you have an ideal opportunity to kick it off with an housewarming party.

The best thing to do is to indicate clearly on invitations that you will be requiring shoes-off. That way people will have no surpises. They can bring slippers, wear clean socks with no holes or a floaty skirt that looks great with barefeet (Trinny and Susanah actually recommend that hostesses of dinner parties should wear a long skirt with barefeet or slippers).

Having an housewarming party is such an excellent way to send the message that your new house will be a shoe-free zone. Even those of your friends who do not come will see on the invitation that you want shoes-off.

Requiring shoes-off at a housewarming party sends the message that you are really serious about the rule and that it is not just an exception for a wet winter evening. After all, some people with shoeless homes actually make an exception and allow shoes-on in parties. However, having shoes-off at an housewarming makes it clear that you want the house to stay as it was when you bought it.

Celebrities

Searching through old Times articles, I found that pop stars Lenny Kravitz and Bryan Adams have or at least used to have a shoes-off rule in their homes. I cannot say I am a fan of either. View my profile if you want to know my music tastes.

I know Gwyneth Paltrow has a no-shoes rule. I have heard that Madonna does, but that is only an internet rumour.

Nicole Kidman was born in Hawaii. Maybe she is a shoes-off person?

Children

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I am always a little surprised when I see children wearing shoes at home, whether on television or in person. It surprises me because when I was a child, my parents expected me to remove my shoes at the door. When I visited my friends' homes, their parents often expected me to take my shoes off. So it always seems a little strange when I see children keeping their shoes on at home.

The practise of removing shoes was expected until I reached the age of about 12. My parents became less stringent about it as I got older. Occasionally this house rule would be revived in later years. It was restored when I was 21 when my parents and I moved to a house with cream carpets, though they were not consistent in keeping to it.

There are some homes, in the UK, where the hosts will expect the children of guests to remove their shoes, but would not expect it of adult guests. Some guests will insist that their children remove their shoes without removing their own. I can understand why some people may be more concerned about children's shoes; children do tend to be less careful about what they step in and are more likely to run around in long and wet grass. However, adults should never forget that their own shoes pick up an awful lot of less noticeable dirt. There is also the fact that children learn to follow rules better when adults act consistently. There is a certain amount of 'do as I say, not do as I do' in the requirement of shoes-off for children only.

Many childcare experts are of the opinion that children should wear shoes to the minimum necessary and therefore recommend shoes-off indoors for health reasons.