Ugly But Honest

For years there was a car dealership somewhere on South Sixth in Tucson that touted itself as being “Ugly but honest.” Whenever I drove past, seeing that sign always made me chuckle. And it’s in that spirit that I write these words today.

People who read this blog inevitably learn about me and my personal foibles, to wit: They know that once I start writing a book eventually I will finish writing said book. They know that I go on tour twice a year and usually share touring adventures with my blog readers. They know that I have a propensity to fall and have done so in many countries on several continents. They know that I’ve been walking—seriously walking—for months now and losing weight.

Today’s missive has to do with the last two items—namely falling and walking, and not necessarily in that order.

Bill and I started our walking regime at the end of April. My daily average is 9978 steps, for seven months, which brings me to a grand total somewhere well over 2,000,000 steps. That’s a lot of steps. To begin with, I walked in sandals. I’m a sandals kind of girl, and I had been wearing Clarks sandals on a daily basis, summer and winter, for years. Still do on occasion. But within a couple of weeks I could feel that the soles of my feet were not happy, causing me to realize that walking 10,000 steps most days meant I needed more support downstairs.

I do not like buying shoes. In fact, I have hated buying shoes ever since a short-timer shoe salesman at Ortega’s Shoes in Lowell, Arizona, told me—a sixteen year-old girl with large feet and a very tender ego—that my feet were like “gunboats.” Thank you so much. In fact, I’m surprised a rude shoe salesman hasn’t ended up dead in one of my books. Now that I think of it, one probably will be, but I digress.

Sometime in May I went shoe shopping and came home with my first ever pair of Sketchers rubber soled walking shoes. And I’ve worn them ever since. In fact, I’ve gone through two pair since then. I believe I can say with some authority that a single pair of Sketchers walking shoes is good for at least a million steps.

We’re in Seattle right now where it’s been cold, rainy, and wet. I often walk on what I refer to as our “running track,” which is the flat driveway out in front of our house. I have a three part route that’s good for 157 steps per circuit, and I can get up a pretty good head of steam, walking in long flat circles. Night before last, however, walking towards what would have been sunset had the sun been visible, I realized that the pavement was starting to ice over a little. Not wanting to risk a fall, I came inside to finish my steps—and ended up falling flat on my face.

Here’s a word of warning for any of my readers who may be following in my … well … footsteps. Do NOT use your rubber soled walking shoes on hardwood floors because guess what? They may stick! As for what happens when your shoes stick and your body does not? That’s when the human body has a tendency to become airborne.

It’s sheer coincidence that I happened to be wearing my brand new Wonder Woman tee-shirt when I attempted to fly. I shot like a bullet through the open bedroom doorway, clipping the right side of my cheek on the door jamb as I flew by. I landed face down on the carpeted floor—thankfully something much more forgiving than either the pavement or the hardwood floor would have been.

For months now, our personal trainer has had us down on the floor doing an exercise he calls, “I’ve fallen and I CAN get up.” He told us that if you fall, the first thing you should do is lie still long enough to figure out if anything is broken or if you’re bleeding. Then, once you do that, you go about getting yourself up. If you need to scoot over to a piece of furniture to facilitate that process, so be it!

So that’s what I did. I lay there long enough to ascertain that I wasn’t hurt. I put my hearing aids back in my head. I put my glasses back ON my head. At the time, I didn’t realize I had broken the silver chain on my necklace. (It’s in the bedroom somewhere, obviously, but we have yet to find it. When something went missing like that back home in Bisbee, my mother would always say, “We’ll find it when we sweep.” This time around not even a serious case of vacuuming has turned the missing chain back up.)

And then, after determining that I wasn’t seriously hurt, I hobbled out to the kitchen and asked Bill, who was cooking dinner at the time, to please pass me a couple of bags of frozen vegetables—corn and petite white onions. The package of frozen onions went on the back of my left hand where the three middle fingers appear to be wearing a gray colored glove. The bag of frozen corn went on my cheek.

I now have a doozy of a black eye. Two days later, the bruising runs from my eyebrow to the bottom of my nose. I am NOT including a photograph. For one thing, it would frighten small children. For another, it would immediately go viral like some of those celebrity mug shots have done in the past. So don’t ask for a visual here. Use your imagination.

At first I thought I didn’t have any public appearances coming up in the near future, but it turns out that’s not true. On Saturday of this week I have an author-under-glass luncheon that was purchased from a local charity auction. I thought about putting it off, but changed my mind.

They’ll have to take me the way I am—ugly but honest.

42 thoughts on “Ugly But Honest

  1. Hoping you make a speedy recovery! It has been raining in Az for days now with lots of snow in the high country. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Your fans won’t care about your battle wounds; only that you are not seriously injured.

  2. Oh dear! It’s tough getting not younger, eh? Be safe, we all wait for your next adventure into wonderland.

  3. Gotta say I loved the blog, but not the fall part. It hurts. Remember, I’m 6’7″ and bit it one time on my front porch. I was in a hurry to get in the door and didn’t quite give my right foot the clearance needed to land “on top of” the landing. Well, yes, the body did continue in motion (I think a scientist proved that a while back), while I tried (“tried” is the operable word) to get my legs back under me. It was a dance in futility. Thankfully, I crash on top of a low, soft and wide bush. After making sure no one saw me (mandatory procedure) I found I had only scraped one knuckle – nothing else – oh, and some dandy bruised ribs. Did I stay still like your guy said – absolutely – possibly not by choice, but because I couldn’t breath! Ha —– :):) All the best Ms. J

  4. Try putting Braggs vinegar on your bruise. One of my friends swore by it. She had horses and used it a lot.

  5. I’m glad nothing got broken. The black eye maybe ugly, but you never will be. You’re soul is too beautiful. You could walk into the luncheon singing, “I fought the floor and the floor won.” 🙂

  6. I pray for your speedy recovery. Here on the east side of Washington State, when the ice machine is turned on, I keep a pair of YakTrax handy. They slip over your shoes and have grippers on the bottoms that really help when walking on ice.

  7. So sorry to hear this. I fell three summers ago the day I was leaving for England for a much anticipated cruise. I KNEW that all I had was a badly sprained wrist (plus numerous bruises, etc). I went ahead and left on the cruise. Two days into the cruise one of my travel mates insisted I see the ship’s doctor. I wound up having emergency surgery in Scotland to set my “badly” broken wrist (which I had been treating with a drug-store splint and Tylenol). I hope you have seen a doctor to make SURE that you didn’t hurt yourself…. Get well soon!

  8. Love your blog! Your posts run the gamut from emotional and heartfelt to informative and sometimes hilarious. I’m sorry you fell and hurt yourself, but thank goodness nothing’s broken. Your fans won’t care how you look, only that you’re OK.

  9. of course we are all glad you survived the unscheduled flight. wonder if Bill ever considered writing about his first responder experiences to your unanticipated adventures?

  10. Ouch! Sorry you had such an unpleasant encounter with gravity. In the past month I’ve fallen down a long set of carpeted stairs and a short set of icy cement steps. Thank goodness for well-trained physical therapists.
    If you hadn’t copped to having fallen, you could’ve made up a marvelous story about how you got those bruises.

  11. So glad you were not seriously hurt. We have a bag of peas in our freezer permanently labeled “Feet, not food” for surgery recovery and mishaps.

  12. you are so amazing – i could picture the whole episode and i’m so happy you are okay (sort of) you are so beautiful i agree with you for not posting a picture! Be well!

  13. So sorry to hear you had a fall, and very glad to hear you were not more seriously hurt. Also a good reminder as we do some things so unconsciously sometimes, we forget the details that can send us over the handle bars or flying into the bedroom. I have to laugh though at the image of you in your Wonder Woman t-shirt. You’ve got so much good material in you. Many blessings and a speedy recovery. Reading Cold Betrayal and the feel of you in the story is so special.

  14. I have to agree with Karen Jacobs’ comment, and I’ll just bet you take her suggestion to come into your luncheon singing. Loved every word of your story but so sorry you fell. That rude, hurtful shoe salesman did you a horrible injustice. Reminds me of my mother telling me to make sure my hair always covered my ears; she said I had “Henson ears” (that was my great grandmother whose picture hangs on my wall with other ancestors). To this day I cover my ears! Hope you heal quickly!

    • My paternal grandmother who was, if you’ll pardon the expression, mean as a snake, told my 22 year-old mother, a newly wed, that it was a shame she had such big ears. She didn’t, but she kept her ears covered from then on.

  15. Dang! Glad you are only bruised and not broken! Unfortunately bruising happens much more easily – and garishly, as we get to a certain age. That makes it immediately apparent to everyone that we screwed up again. You might try looking for the necklace closer to where the fall started, say in the hallway. Might have gotten caught on something or you may have actually tugged it with your hand. Good luck on finding it.

  16. Try ARNICA . It is a natural gel..Great for bruises and pain . People have used it for centuries. You can get it at RiteAid, Walgreens, even WalMart. Look in the muscle pain section or ask the pharmacist. It works wonders!

  17. With balance issues myself, I always worry about falling. We have snow here in Bisbee today; survived walking the dogs, but suffered through cleaning snow off the car and discovering that my wonderful boots (with great treads on the sole) also become slippery with snow and ice. Had to move slowly when re-entering the house. The snow is beautiful but not exactly walking “friendly.” Always appreciate your blog and meeting with other fans when I work in the shop on Main Street in Bisbee. We display your books on an outside shelf, and I’ve had many conversations about them. Be well!

  18. So glad you were not seriously hurt. Hopefully nothing like that will happen again. I fall so often that my brother has threatened to buy me a Pillsbury Doughboy body suite so that if and when I fall, I bounce and roll. 🙂 I’ve decided after last weekend to ask him to add a helmet to that purchase. I got out of bed to shut off the alarm clock, and don’t remember much after that, except for a sharp pain in the back of my head. I managed to turn off the alarm and went back to bed. When I woke up later, I found that my toe was hurting and my head hurt. Apparently I smashed my toe into something, as well as giving myself a concussion, since blood came off in my hand when I put it on the back of my head. After starting the New Year that way, I expect things to get better. I hope yours does too. 🙂

  19. Mac Maginnis was the car dealer on south 6th Ave in Tucson…I remember him well! Hope the bruising is better by Saturday and no one is scared by your appearance. If anyone asks, just make up a good story! Maybe it will be the beginning of a new “Ali” mystery!

  20. something else I feel in common with you -falling – actually not anymore since starting an activity called “longevity stick” three years ago, I haven’t fallen once ( am knocking on wood as I type ) still trip easily, but can catch my balance as I never could before, often when walking the neighborhoods in Ballard. My daily step average is only about 6000 though, so I admire your consistency.

    An alternative walking activity which you and your husband might enjoy -AVA Volkswalks. Many nice ones in Seattle, other parts of Washington State and Arizona.

    Finally, must tell you again how much your books mean to me – started reading your Beaumont books with a map in hand when I first moved to Seattle over 20 years ago, and continued to enjoy the Arizona series when I became a snowbird. But mostly enjoy them for your very real people and moving plots.

  21. I love how you can take a serious situation and turn it into something funny and even educational! Thank goodness all your newfound physical training prepared you for such an incident so that you were not seriously injured.

    Muscle weakness, poor balance and recovery, are the scourge for so many as we age. Best thing I started almost two years ago was enrolling in an ongoing Strength, Stretch, and Balance class at our ladies fitness center. I can now get up unassisted out of difficult furniture, up off the floor, and no longer fall off the exercise balance ball (with a loud thud, no less)!

    I commend and encourage you to keep up with all your fun and interesting endeavors (such as finishing all those books I am anxiously waiting to read!). Hope your injuries will soon be healed. You are well loved by your adoring fans!.

  22. Glad you weren’t seriously hurt with your fall. I can sympathize with your problems shoe shopping. When I was a child my mother would take me into the shoe departments of the local stores. Many a salesperson would look at my feet and tell my mother “sorry, we can’t fit her.” I’m only a 7 1/2 medium too! That was my shoe size when I was a kid, and that’s my shoe size now! However, due to foot problems and arch problems, I still can’t wear the “cute” shoes. My aunt wears size 10 so she has the same problem. Frankly, I don’t think shoe manufacturers even know what a human foot looks like.

  23. Been there, done that too many times to count. I hope you are doing better, but I know you can’t fight bruises. After that I’ll say that I love your books very much. Keep up the good work.

  24. I’ve seen you in person many times as I live in the Seattle area. I’ve always appreciated your sense of humor about the inconveiences of life. I fell this week, too. Also trying to get my 10,000 steps in. I slipped in defrosted mud and sprained my wrist. Much easier to hide but still pretty inconvenient.

  25. I, too, can relate to the falls. I have had two really bad ones but have lucked out with no broken bones. But with two fractured discs in my back two yrs. ago that still give me pain everyday, I stay so nervous about falling all the time.
    When I started your blog I was afraid you were going to tell us you had broken a hand or some fingers. You’d have to dictate to Bill and have him type it up. I bet he wouldn’t like it but he’d do it for you and the fans. Good luck. Let us know if you find your chain.

  26. Wow. Makes you feel glad that you didn’t have that 60 pounds you lost contributing to the momentum of your fall, it could have been a lot worse.
    Heal quickly.

  27. I am so thankful that you were not hurt. I have flown thru the air like superman, I have fallen in Country Clubs, Malls, upstairs downstairs. The fall from shoes sticking is the most hurtful. The sudden stop of your feet with the rest of your body continues on really hurts.. I feel for you.
    I sold shoes for 23 years. I apologize to you for that stupid Sales associate . The fitting and sale of shoes to a preteen is a serous besiness. You can really leave serous hate issues.
    Hopefully your personal trainer have told you to have 2 pairs of shoes. You walk 10,000 steps a day by having 2 pair of shoes to change each day this changes your gait rest your feet. Shoes last longer . Keep up the good work . Your right go as you are, we all like you as you are. Take care and stay upright lol…Jan

  28. Sorry to hear about your fall. I fall frequently and broke my hip a year ago while in Ecuador. That was the only time I broke anything and of course it had to be where there was no nice clean English speaking emergency room. I came here looking for info on new books I am so waiting for a new Joanna Brady book. I guess I will read the Ali books but need to start at the beginning.
    Shoes are very important to me and when I try different ones I almost always trip. I have been wearing Nike Free for years, even when I was walking everyday, which I am sorry to say I have been sadly slacking in that department. Hey, it was five degrees this morning ( :

  29. So sorry to hear about your fall, but glad you were not hurt too badly. I fall a lot, always have, sometimes I think it is almost more frightening for the people who see me fall. I’ve been lucky and have never been hurt too badly, but I’ve gotten a black eye too.

  30. I hate to tell you how many times I have fallen. I always seem to survive. I have also had the black eye to show for it. A couple years ago my daughter had surgery and my shoes did the stick thing to the hospital floor and I face planted in front of the hospital staff and my family. My ego took a terrible blow, but I survived.
    I am anxiously awaiting for the Beaumont Walker book to come out in paperback (it’s to hard to read hardcover in bed).
    Keep up the walking your an inspiration.

  31. So sorry about fall-my friend says her goal this new year:not to fall-mine also!
    Look forward to new book! Am going to reread old ones this year! Thank you for the hours of joy!!

  32. Something similar happened to my wife a few years ago. She was a middle school teacher(now retired) and fell down at school. At first she thought nothing of it, but then she noticed the students talking to each other in whispers. She had no clue as to what was going on and finally asked one of the other teachers in her group. One of her friends told her to look in the mirror, which is something she very seldom does during the day. And lo and behold, both of her eyes were turning black and blue and she started to resemble a raccoon. Since neither of us are very vain, I started joking about it, and told her to tell her friend and her students that it was all my fault. Thank God she’s more thoughtful and practical than I am! Later on, it came to light that I could have been in a lot of fun trouble for trying to make a practical joke out of the matter. It took about 3 weeks for her raccoon eyes to disappear.

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