because my little blog is growing up!

I just got so sick of dealing with certain type size/spacing issues AND not being able to add page tabs to this blog theme, that I started to think about revamping the blog. The blog started freezing in Safari and only cooperating when opened in Internet Explorer. And then I started to think the theme was a little cluttered and distracting, and I could THINK OF NOTHING ELSE TIL I FIXED MY BLOG.

Which I did this weekend. Check it out.

I'm sure it will go through future incarnations. I ended up with wordpress.com after aborting a short-lived attempt to understand FTP and all that goes with wordpress.org. Maybe if I find a nice computer-geek guy to set all that up for me and show me how to do all that someday, Chai Latte Please will someday have the freedom of advertisements, plug-ins and java. As it is, the move from Blogger to wordpress.com meant giving up my 3-Day Countdown (which is java-based) and the possibility of Google Ads.

But I'm happy with how the new format looks and my own domain name only cost $15 and 10 minutes. But now I have tabs galore and can e-mail commenters (bonus!).

Any suggestions for future changes?
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I personally think blister management (aside from hydration) is one of the most important things to practice while training for the 3-Day. I'm horrible at it, but I really wish I weren't. 

During my first 3-Day, I had no idea what a "hot spot" was or why you weren't supposed to put moleskin directly on fully formed blisters. And let's be honest, I got epically horrible blisters when I walked in D.C. last year. *

It all went downhill the first afternoon last year: I changed my socks at lunch but didn't take my shoes off after that, because my feet hurt. Thus, I didn't realize that part of the reason my feet hurt was newly forming blisters. And once you have blisters, it's that much easier for new blisters to form.

What should you do? Use moleskin/bandaids/etc while training. Try different types of socks/lotion/foot powder to find the right combination for you. And definitely spend way more time that you normally would considering whether the walking shoes fit before you buy them. Once on the event, check out the medical tent at the first or second stop so you know what materials they have and what is recommended. 
And here's the advice from the 3-Day FAQ response:

Blisters are the most common problem seen on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event and the best way to protect your feet is to prevent blisters from forming. Blisters can be a direct result of a friction rub between the skin and another object (skin, sock, shoe, etc.) or due to pressure in the shoe or moisture from perspiration. Staying well hydrated during the event is important for blister prevention as dehydration allows the skin to fold on itself and create a friction rub.
Proper shoe and sock selection also is key to blister prevention. Purchase a shoe that is a half to 1 full size larger than your normal walking shoe. There should be ample room to wiggle your toes in the toe box. Break in your shoes slowly by alternating at least two pairs of shoes during your training. Do not wear brand new shoes on the event.

Choose a sock that pulls moisture away from your feet. This will keep your feet cool and dry. Synthetic socks such as “Coolmax” or “Dryfit,” or wool socks are better than pure cotton socks for keeping your feet dry. Try wearing two socks or double-layered socks and plan on changing to clean and dry socks halfway through your training walk. If your socks are still wet, try foot powder or spraying your feet with spray antiperspirant. Make sure that your socks fit you well and do not bunch up in any areas.

Hot spots are places on your feet or toes where you feel tenderness, pressure, heat, burning or pain. If you feel a hot spot during training, stop and change your socks. Increased protection can be obtained by applying moleskin, 2nd Skin or a bandage. Moleskin acts as a second layer of skin and should not be removed until the end of the walk to prevent peeling of the skin. Any bandage that is applied should be smooth and wrinkle free. Benzoin liquid, or Nuskin or Toughskin spray found at medical supply stores are sometimes used to “toughen” the skin at problem areas. Do not get a pedicure or try to remove calluses before the event or long training walks. Do not wear toe rings on your long walks; the heat may swell your toes and feet, decreasing their blood circulation.

If you get a blister, try not to pop it. They are nature’s way of creating a protective cushion and intact skin protects you from infection. Small blisters should be covered with antibiotic ointment and a bandage; this is then covered with a square of 2nd Skin or a corn pad for further protection. Do not leave the 2nd Skin on overnight as it will dehydrate and can irritate the skin.

For large blisters that are painful, clean the blister with an alcohol pad and have a medical professional drain it with a sterile needle. Be sure to keep the open blister covered with antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

Take time during your training to experiment with techniques and products that work for you. Blister care products that you should carry with you in a waist pack during the event include Band-Aids, moleskin, benzoin, synthetic “wicking” socks, alcohol swabs, blister care bandages, small scissors and Body Glide or Vaseline.

Veteran 3-Dayers: What are you tried and true blister-prevention methods?

I'm showing off last year's 3-Day blisters as part of the 2Toms Blister Shield "Worst Blister Challenge." If you're on Facebook, you can check out the link on my wall. I can't figure out how to link to it here.
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(I'm not willing to use my teeth in a fight, 
but I'm still bigger than you, BlackJack! 
Note his devil eyes...)

So, the problem started with socks. Mine, specifically. He ran off with a freshly laundered pair of black socks, but since they were cheap (and I was lazy) I just let it go. Crystal came home and tried to take them away from him (cause, you know, dogs shouldn't eat socks). He growled, I got involved, he growled more AS IF HE THOUGHT WE'D FEAR A 27-POUND FLUFF-BALL WITH SERIOUS ALLERGY PROBLEMS.

Crystal went upstairs. And let's be honest, I was afraid he'd bite me if I tried to take the socks away. He was using his really mean growl. When "trading" for a treat didn't work, I got mad and told him to go to his "house." (IE, plastic crate with a metal-bar door. Prison would be an apt name). In he went. With the socks. And still growling when I got near him.

So, instead of fighting harder, I fought smarter.

I shut the cage door. And placed the treat about four inches away from the front of the door. Close enough to smell, far enough away that there's no chance of getting it.

Take that, little spoodle!
I really, REALLY wanted to like Rob Ryan. He's the narrator in Tana French's debut psychological suspense novel who takes us on a journey through his flawed memory and (even more flawed?) personality as a detective investigating a 12-year-old girl's murder in the same woods where his two childhood friends disappeared two decades earlier. Sometimes he tries a little too hard to string together witty metaphors, but that can easily be forgiven in a character who tells you upfront that police lie:

"The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely, spending hours and days stupor-deep in lies, and then turn back to her holding out the lover's ultimate Mobius strip: But I only did it because I love you so much.
"I have a pretty knack for imagery, especially the cheap, facile kind. Don't let me fool you into seeing us as a bunch of parfit gentil knights galloping off in doublets after Lady Truth on her white palfrey. What we do is crude, crass and nasty."

See? Since I am the person who once dealt with the stress of writing about a juvenile pimping trial by watching several hours of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, he had me hooked by the end of the second page. And kept me wound around his little finger until the middle of the book when we slowly begin to learn the truth about Rob Ryan:

: : : spoiler alert : : :

He has the regrettable habit of shutting women out after he sleeps with them once - which causes his relationship with Cassie to implode. His narration includes a few half-hearted but likely honest explanations for his bad behavior toward Cassie, but months later, when he calls her to tell her he loves her, she pretends he's got the wrong number and he listens as she climbs back in bed with her boyfriend. He wonders if she realizes she didn't hang up the phone and whether she was trying to hurt him or simply giving him the peace of listening to her sleep one more time. 

(Get a clue, buddy. When her boyfriend asked who was on the phone, she said some guy saying he loved her. But it turned out he was looking for someone named Britney. Yes, she knew you were still on the line, and yes, she probably wouldn't have been upset if you were hurt.)

Oh -- and he gets sucked in by the victim's psychopathic sister and manages to muck up the investigation against the teen who isn't quite legally an adult. Then, he tries to tell us readers that we got sucked in by her, too. As some readers pointed out here, they didn't. And we're left not liking the main character we started out adoring.

We readers are also left hating that French doesn't solve the original mystery. 

Overall, I'm OK with the book's lack of resolution (and so is this reader). 

1) We don't get to know everything about life, anyway; 2) We get to see several mythical motifs surrounding the murder site. I don't think there's any significance to that other than the fact that humans tend to look to myths and the supernatural when they can't explain things; and 3) We all kind of toy with the idea that Ryan is responsible for his friends' disappearances, but in the end, he's not a manipulative psychopath or else we wouldn't all think he's a bit of a loser. He didn't have any real motive for making them disappear, and if anything, I'm willing to bet he panicked or just stood there when something bad happened to them.

But that's just me. We'll have to wait to see if French decides to explain it in a sequel...

Or I might read it again to see what I missed.