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Location: PDX, United States

Thursday, January 26, 2006

January Shoe of the Month

This month's featured shoe is a Red Cross Shoe. The name intrigued me, and it's been interesting to learn a little more about a pair of shoes I've had for at least ten years, but knew nothing about.

Red Cross Shoes was part of Cincinnati's U.S. Shoe Cooperation, and made it through some tough times before it was bought out in 1995. To keep afloat during the depression, they lowered all shoe prices to six bucks a pair. During World War II, they had to change their name to Gold Cross Shoes, because the American Red Cross wanted sole use of the Red Cross name, even though Red Cross shoes had been founded first. A good rebranding campaign kept the company in business.

I think my pair of Red Cross Shoes is from the 1930's. I've worn them to three different weddings, and should make an effort to wear them more often. They're really comfortable.



Monday, January 16, 2006


This weekend, I've made two separate trips to the store on a mission for Fresca.

The first time I struck out, I didn't put much thought into it. My lack of success in tracking it down today has me truly worried.

I love Fresca. My loyalty goes back for decades and through many product makeovers. I love the sparkly taste and it thrills me that it has no calories. I especially enjoy drinking it in the middle of the night, just waking up and drinking half a can. At one point I was drinking two Frescas a night, though I've scaled back considerably this year. I've really been craving it this weekend, though, and started to get nervous when I couldn't find it at QFC. I tracked down a store manager, who couldn't find it either and said it looked like they had stopped carrying it. I told him I thought that was odd because Fresca's recently tried to revamp its image and even added some additional flavors, which I have been warned by other Fresca lovers to avoid.

I told the store manager I couldn't imagine a life without Fresca and he gave me a product request form.

I went to buy the rest of my groceries and filled out the request form as the cashier was ringing me up. She noticed I was looking for Fresca and told me she thought the manager was wrong, that she had been working for QFC for 17 years and had a good sense of what they carried and what they didn't. She told me she'd seen it recently and advised me to come back tomorrow so that she could give me more information.

I really hope there's a good explanation for the Fresca shortage on Capitol Hill, and that the problem is corrected soon. In the meantime, I guess I'll just drink water.

Bon Appetit_

Friday, January 13, 2006


I've been back from my South Pacific vacation for a week now, and I thought I was over my jetlag. I woke up this morning at 8:30, a full hour later than I am supposed to be at work. I have a clear memory of setting my alarm the night before, but no recollection of the alarm going off.

I've been feeling a little flakey at work lately, which mostly has to do with taking an additional week vacation on top of a two week winter break, and improvising the content of the classes I've taught all week. Being late on top of this made me really nervous. I got up, got dressed, brushed my teeth, ran out the door and was at my bus stop in less than 10 minutes.

The direct bus to my work runs only once an hour, and I’d just missed it, so I needed to take two busses, which I imagined would slow me down considerably. Fortunately my first bus arrived immediately. I jumped off on Jackson just as the second bus was pulling up. I had two busy streets to cross, and the traffic lights weren’t cooperating with me. Just as I ran across the second street, the bus started to pull away, then stopped. Just for me! I profusely thanked the bus driver, who told me he'd started driving a bus because it was the only way he could get women to chase him.

Thank you Mr. Bus Driver. I don't care how many times you've used that line. You made my day.