Top Ten Things That Are Excruciatingly Painful to Trod Upon Barefoot

Let’s start with Indoor Hazards:

1. Matchbox cars.  Any parent of a Matchbox loving child can instantly relive the pain of stepping on one of these little babies.  Usually this event happens in the dark and/or in the middle of the night.  Added bonus points if the car is stepped on so it hits the arch of your foot.

image by Joe Svilyagi via Flickr CC
image by Joe Svilyagi via Flickr CC

2. Gears.  This one should probably be my #1 on the list.  I still have a scar from stepping on one of these plastic gears.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if the little pointy part had not been sticking up, but it was.  I got the bonus points for hitting my arch.

image from Gears! Gears! Gears!
image from Gears! Gears! Gears!

3. Wooden clothespins.  We use these for all sorts of things around our house. We close bags of snacks, cereal bags (you know the bags inside of the boxes?), and all sorts of things.  We also have a wonderful permanently installed clothesline in the laundry room, so I have ample opportunity to step on these awesome little wonders of engineering.  For some reason, I managed to find one that worked its way up two flights of stairs to lie beside my bed so I could step on it when I woke bleary eyed one morning recently.

image by cobalt123 via Flickr CC
image by cobalt123 via Flickr CC

4. Legos.  Again.  All parents of Lego loving children have stepped on these at some point.  NOT FUN!  Not as painful as stepping on the Gears, though.  Not by a long shot. (This includes Legos of all kinds — Duplos, too!)

image by Jez Page via Flickr CC
image by Jez Page via Flickr CC

5. Let’s face it, really anything smaller than your foot that is a firm object. This is why I almost always wear slippers in the house.  That and the fact that my toes are constantly cold no matter what time of year.  (They are cold right now and I have my slippers on!!)

Outdoor hazards:

6. Sand burrs and thistles (We also called the sand burrs “stickers” in my area of Indiana).  You learned where they were in your yard and avoided them.  This was before anyone thought of using weed killer on lawns back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

image by Don J. Schulte via Flickr CC
image by Don J. Schulte via Flickr CC
image by June via Flickr CC
image by June via Flickr CC

7. Broken glass.  Having spent the majority of my summers barefoot and outdoors as a child, I stepped on glass once in a while.  I think the worst time, though, happened indoors so maybe I have this in the wrong category!  Let’s add pop can tops (remember when they used to come OFF?) and glass pop bottle lids (with the flat part down of course so the wavy edge digs into your foot when you step on it) in here as well.

image by Theen Moy via Flickr CC
image by Theen Moy via Flickr CC

8.  Stuff that falls off prickly bushes.  Okay.  Maybe this is an Indiana thing, too. We had a “prickly bush” in our front of our house under the big picture window. If you were running around outside barefoot (which we were usually doing most every day every summer), we had to remember to leave a wide berth around this bush.  There were ALWAYS little prickly pokey things in the grass that must have come from that bush because there were nowhere else in the yard.  Maybe my parents planted it there on purpose so we wouldn’t play near the window??

I don’t know.

It made me laugh, though, that the person who posted this picture on Flickr (CreativeCommons YAY!) called the photo “Prickly bushes” and said in the caption he remembered them from when he was younger.

He says:  Prickly bushese!  Still remember these from when I was younger.
image by Kevin Ibanez via Flickr CC

9. A still burning cigarette butt someone threw on the ground.  This one only happened to me once, but I still vividly remember it.  I have no idea why I was “uptown” and barefoot. “Uptown” in my town (of 699 people and one stoplight) meant on the main street near the one and only stoplight.  We were going into the Ye Olde Double Dip and Dunk-it to get an ice cream cone.  (I still think was a fabulous name for an ice cream shop.  They must have sold donuts, too, but I only remember the ice cream.  There is a long story about the Ye Olde part of that.  A very rich and influential man talked my whole hometown Main St. into transforming itself into King Arthur’s court.  The bank was called “The Counting House” and was built to look like a castle.  Most of the other Main St. businesses had names like “Princess Parlor” and such.  I digress.)  Anyway, someone had thrown down a still burning cigarette butt and I stepped on it full weight with my bare foot.  PAIN!!!  Yikes.  Smoking is disgusting anyway, but if people must smoke, they should dispose of the butts in a responsible manner.

image by alfstorm via Flickr CC
image by alfstorm via Flickr CC

10. Sharp rocks as you wade into (inevitably cold) water.  I’m thinking here of Lake Superior mostly but also of the beach where we swam in Turkey this summer.  The residents had built a little wooden bridge with a rail so everyone could avoid stepping on the underwater rocks.  The bridge got you safely out to the sandy part with your tender feet pain free.

image by Lars Hammar via Flickr CC
image by Lars Hammar via Flickr CC

I’m sure you have other things you could add to my list.  Feel free to share! Venting is good every once in a while.


Top Ten: Interesting and Inspiring Finds

I want to share some of my
very favorite websites and pages with you!

1.  That Tree: This project started in the area of my old hometown! Mark Hirsch took a photograph of an old oak tree every day for a year and posted the photos on his Facebook page.  The beauty and artistry (and his perseverance) attracted a wider and wider audience as the year progressed.  The project is now internationally famous.  He has published a beautiful book and has done many national interviews.  He continues to post photos of That Tree frequently, but not every day now.

People gather for the group pic.  photo by quirkyjazz aka Jill
People gather for the group pic. photo by quirkyjazz aka Jill

(Note:  I am actually IN the book!  I was one of the people who gathered in the field on that cold, snowy day last March to celebrate the final day of the year of photographs.  We are all in the book with That Tree.)

2.  Historical Pics:  This site has off-beat photographs of historic events, people, and random things galore.  For instance:

Louis Armstrong plays for his wife in Giza, 1961.

3.  Holstee: “Holstee exists to encourage mindful living. We hope to change the way people look at life by designing unique products and sharing meaningful experiences.”  This is the blurb from their website.  The company is cooler than this blurb sounds.  They have some great free inspirational downloads.

This is your LIFE. Holstee Manisfesto. A longer version of this is printed as a poster and notecards.

4.  Brain Pickings:  This site has a continual stream of quirky, artistic, off-the-beaten-path, intelligent, and inspiring articles and illustrations.  One of my recent favorites is a list of New Year’s resolutions from people like Woody Guthrie and Marilyn Monroe! Read it here.  Take some time to browse their archives, though, if you can.  Enjoy!

5.  Do you know about Humans of New York?  This link takes you to the Facebook page, where a photo is posted every day with a short quote or conversation.  I find it incredibly moving.  I got the book as a Christmas gift and just love it!

6.  Colossal: The tag line says “art and visual culture.”  Their blurb says this:  Each week you’ll find 15-25 posts on photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art. Colossal is also a great place to learn about the intersection of art and science as well as the beauty of the natural world. There are frequently posts about things far out in left field, but generally Colossal is a reminder that in this digital age there are still countless people making incredible work with their bare hands.

You’ll see things like this:

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida: Minimiam, via Colossal

and this:

Martin Hill and Philippa Jones: via Colossal

GORGEOUS and so beautiful!

7.  Another site I can spend quite a while browsing in is:
Laughing Squid. Their website “about” blurb:  Based in New York City, Laughing Squid is a blog featuring compelling art, culture & technology as well as a cloud-based web hosting company with a focus on WordPress hosting. For more info see our FAQ and Wikipedia.

Here are a few very memorable examples of the odd-ball kind of things you’ll find at Laughing Squid.

8. Letters of Note:  This site publishes letters written by various famous and not-so-famous people.  It is intriguing, amazing, engaging, humorous, and full of information.

“In our age of email and texts, letter-writing seems set for extinction. But millions have been flocking to a website to pore over the correspondence collected by blogger Sean Usher.”

Click here for a wonderful example of historic correspondence Letters of Note highlights. (This links to a series of letters between Ford Motor Company and poet Marianne Moore as they discuss various car names).  Here is a link to the Letters of Note “best of 2013” list.  This one is from a Dallas hospital administrator in 1963.  Letters of Note recently published a book as well.

9.  Noisetrade: This site has gobs of free music.  Tag line:  Free music from thousands of artists who would like to meet you. You can sample, listen online and request a download code.  If you like what you hear, you have several opportunities to leave tips for the artists. I have found this a great avenue for discovering new music to get me out of my listening ruts. There is a limit to the number of downloads per day (something like 8 or 10? not very limiting really).

You can get this album free (and choose from thousands more!) at

10.  Word Porn:  I love obscure and interesting words.  This site has many that I never heard of or even imagined existed!

I’d love to hear about some of YOUR favorite places to browse around on the web.  Please share!