Miz Shoes

Grasshopper Jump In The Road

Never one to let a sleeping meme lie, I’m jumping on the Nature Notes meme, begun by Michelle at Rambling Woods, and embraced by RJ at Flamingo Musings.

Nature Notes

My first entry, baby lubbers. To quote from the second best Star Trek movie ever made (Galaxy Quest) “Oh, sure, they’re cute now, but in a second they’re gonna get mean, and they’re gonna get ugly somehow, and there’s gonna be a million more of them.” When these little guys hatch, they are soft, tiny and black with that little yellow racing stripe. Then they eat everything in your yard, and within the month, they are Kodak yellow, armor plated eating machines. They have hot pink and black wings, and they spit an irritant that looks like tobacco juice, only stinkier. And they average about 4 inches long.

Any child raised in South Florida has nightmares about lubbers.

The other morning, as I pulled open the gate, I saw a herd of the little bastards happily munching on my copper leaf hedge.


To truly appreciate the horror, view the full-size image.

Not a fence, but here’s my sweet little female painted bunting, sitting on the hook of the bird feeder. I apologize for the quality of the shot, but I’m shooting through screen. And I could use a longer telephoto. But who’s counting? She’s a shy little thing, and this is the first time she’s come to the main feeder. I was out on the deck with my morning coffee and the Nikon, just in case.


Miz Shoes

In Just Spring

In keeping with my recent theme of post titles with snippets from the works of artists I don’t much care for… and before the hate comments come pouring in, yeah, yeah, yeah. e.e. cummings was a fucking genius. But if I had a nickle for every time some well-meaning English teacher made me suffer through that little lame balloon man, I’d be rich. Well, I’d be rich enough to buy a grande Starbucks. If we’re going to suffer through the no caps thing, I’d rather read anything from Don Marquis. And if we’re just going to be reading from the American poets of the 50s, then I’d rather be reading about Frost’s stupid fence or his diverging roads. Or Laurence Ferlinghetti’s trips. And if we’re widening this to all areas and times, then even Wordsworth’s lonely little cloud beats that stupid twee balloon man. And I positively adore the sleekit, cowrin’, tim’rous beastie.

Anyway. It is spring, and that means new shoes are showing up on the train platform. There has been such a dearth of fine footwear these past years, what with the ubiquitous yet slovenly flip-flop, and the equally ubiquitous peep-toe pump. There have been the abominations that are Crocs and Uggs. There is that goat-hoof looking platform made popular by the Olsen gnomes, and the endless parade of gladiator sandals. People! That movie was ten years ago, already. Let it go.

But on Friday, the first sign of spring appeared. Sweeter than a robin, brighter than a daffodil. Pink cow spot strappy sandals on a pink cow spot skin wedge. Sweet.


Miz Shoes

Free Bird

Great. Two posts, two disclaimers. Yes, Reecie, I really, really, really despise Genesis. Phil Collins is the Cabbage Patch Rocker, and Peter Gabriel is, in my opinion, the poster boy of poseurs everywhere. While I admit to a secret fondness for “Solsbury Hill”, there is nothing else in his oeuvre that I can stand. (And he claims to have been inspired by Bruce Springsteen when he wrote that. Which may explain why I can listen to it, but it bears no resemblance to any Springsteen I’ve ever heard.)

And here I am, titling another post with another song, which, if it were to disappear from the collective consciousness tonight, I would not mourn. But, as I said when I cited “Lamb”, you try to find a rock song that references birds or bird-watching. Oh. “Yellow Bird”. But that’s 1960’s Calypso. Still. Might have been more apropo. But I digress.

Today brought two new birds to the feeders and bath: a female Painted Bunting (olive green above and lemon yellow below) and a Grey Catbird, which had quite a time in the birdbath. This past weekend I saw not one, but two ruby throated hummingbirds. This habitat thing is coming along nicely.

This morning: the hummingbird (which has become a regular), two blue jays and a male cardinal, who didn’t quite get the feeder: he sat on the top.

Miz Shoes


The Hatikvah is the national anthem of Israel. It means “The Hope.” These are the English lyrics:

As long as deep in the heart,

The soul of a Jew yearns,

And forward to the East

To Zion, an eye looks

Our hope will not be lost,

The hope of two thousand years,

To be a free nation in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem

To be a free nation, in our land.

And yet, the Israeli government has turned Gaza into another Warsaw Ghetto. I’m not pro-Palestine by any stretch of the imagination, but what is being done in my name (and as an American Jew with the right of return, the action in Gaza IS being done in my name) is just wrong. It’s wrong, not on a humanitarian level, but on a human level. It is wrong to deny medical supplies. It is wrong to withhold food supplies. It is wrong to bomb schools. It is wrong. It is wrong to use the schools, as Hamas does, as a shield against possible military action, but (and here is where I become totally inarticulate) it is a compound wrong to ignore that a school or a hospital is ultimately a civilian target. Chris Hedges, over at Truthdig, says this far more eloquently than I.

And when you have turned a community into a walled and isolated ghetto, it is wrong to imagine that the civilians will not take arms against the oppressor. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I can’t support Israel’s actions. But this is not, for lack of a better word, very yiddishkeit. This whole war goes against everything my rabbis ever taught me about what makes a Jew a Jew. Love of life. Love of education. Taking care of the sick, the poor, the old. Defending the rights and liberties of everyone, even those who would kill us.

There is an editorial from the Haaretz , which sums up my horror better than I can. I give you the first two paragraphs, but the link above will take you to the whole thing.

The legend, lest it be a true story, tells of how the late mathematician, Professor Haim Hanani, asked his students at the Technion to draw up a plan for constructing a pipe to transport blood from Haifa to Eilat. The obedient students did as they were told. Using logarithmic rulers, they sketched the design for a sophisticated pipeline. They meticulously planned its route, taking into account the landscape’s topography, the possibility of corrosion, the pipe’s diameter and the flow calibration. When they presented their final product, the professor rendered his judgment: You failed. None of you asked why we need such a pipe, whose blood will fill it, and why it is flowing in the first place.

Regardless of whether this story is legend or true, Israel is now failing its own blood pipeline test. As Israel has been preoccupied with Gaza throughout the entire week, nobody has asked whose blood is being spilled and why. Everything is permitted, legitimate and just. The moral voice of restraint, if it ever existed, has been left behind. Even if Israel wiped Gaza off the face of the earth, killing tens of thousands in the process, as a Chechnyan laborer working in Sderot proposed to me, one can assume that there would be no protest.

Finally, I see in the morning news that the Israeli government says that the Gaza action will be complete in time for Obama’s inauguration. I saw that floated as a theory last week, that this push was Israel’s response to the end of the Bush administration, wherein this kind of war crime was acceptable. That the Gaza action would be over by January 21, because an Obama administration is still an unknown. I laughed when I read that, thinking that it was just typical conspiracy, tin-foil hat thinking, even if it was being posted in the mainstream media. And then, today’s headline.

I’m ashamed.


Miz Shoes

All I Want For Festivus…


The Girlcousin sends me the best stuff.

Miz Shoes

Wednesday Olio

I’m blogging while watching Barack Obama’s infomercial. So let’s start with the rant from The Skipper:

And ... one more thing, re mcSame’s whining about how, when he’s president, no one is going to delay a World Series game for an infomercial.

Rather than just ignoring his whine as more of the irrelevant verbal diarrhea we associate with this pitiable, befuddled, hapless, grumpy old man, it is really stunning.  What he’s saying is this:  The fact that millions of people have lost their jobs isn’t important.  The fact that millions of people have lost/are losing their homes isn’t important.  The fact that every family with ANY retirement savings has seen those savings decline by at least 40% isn’t important. The fact that we haven’t gotten bin Laden after 7 years isn’t important. The fact that we’re bogged down in Afghanistan with things slipping away isn’t important. The fact that the whole world hates us isn’t important. The fact that we are held hostage to imported oil isn’t important. The fact that our infrastructure is literally falling into the Mississippi River isn’t important. The fact our schools aren’t getting the job done isn’t important.  The fact that our budget is entirely out of whack isn’t important. Because if those things (and much more) WERE important, then they certainly would be worth a half-hour of prime time TV time for thoughtful examination, regardless of who was speaking (Obama, Bill Clinton, Ralph Nader, John McCain, Sarah Palin, George W Bush, Ross Perot, T Boone Pickens, Stephen Harper, Bud Selig, Bill Maher, Christopher Buckley, Paris Hilton, Nicolas Sarkozy, Look-into-his-soul Putin, etc.). But, in mcSame’s world of entitlement for corrupt, adulteress, drunken, low-achieving war heroes, BASEBALL is more important than any serious discussion of the issues.  He knows what’s best and will fix it.  So you just sit in front of the TV, mindlessly watching the rain in Philadelphia and drink Cindy’s beers, and don’t trouble your tiny little brain.  Thank you very much.  You betcha.

Aaaand, another love song for Sarah Palin:

But wait, there’s more. Over at Flamingo Musings, RJ shares an idea for the run up to the election: wear blue, especially if you live in a “red” state. It’s subtle, it’s clever and it sends a message. Maybe not one that everyone can get without explanation, but a message none the less.

Finally, let’s go over to Rolling Stone, and see what those guys are saying about Maverick McCain and the scary FemBot Veep.

Miz Shoes

All The Tea In China

The RLA and I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It was an amazing feat of engineering, propaganda, visual overload and better commercials than the Super Bowl. Yeah, sure, the adorable little girl was lip-syncing because she had the face, but a less-adorable little girl had the voice. Yeah, sure, the amazing fireworks were computer generated. Yeah, sure, a lot of the costumes on the athletes during the march of the Olympians were almost as awful as the losing designs on Project Runway. And yeah, sure, the POTUS is an idiot who kept looking at his watch, and Laura has been replaced by a robot, not that anyone would notice. And, yeah, sure and really, the talking heads were way out of their depth and kept spouting some really odd things about China, about the ceremonies and about life, the universe and everything, but none of that is what made the hair on my arms stand straight up and heart leap to my throat.

Nope. What brought the chill to my very soul was the fact that none of the precision drills were done by computer. The drums, the marching, the amazing, amazing, amazing kaleidoscopic silk boxes that moved and changed in time to the music, they were all operated by individual living men (I didn’t see any women, but everybody was dressed the same and had the same haircuts, so maybe there were women in the silk boxes or banging the drums). Each act took 2008 people, and nobody worked twice. The talking heads made reference to the artistic director just shrugging off the question, and saying, “we have plenty of people”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not chilled by the sheer numbers. I am chilled by the sheer numbers working in unison with a hive mind. Yeah, this was all friendship and doves and we be one world, mon, but holy shit. If that hive mind turned to military ambition, the rest of the world could just start learning Mandarin.

The RLA didn’t see it. But that whole exercise chilled me and scared me and made me think that maybe this was a message to the globe. And then I had another revelation. With the one-child policy in force for the last thirty years or so, there aren’t any cousins. No extended families. The basic framework of China, the family and the ancestors, has been stripped away. There are no cousins. There cannot be. There are only single family units, and any devotion to anything larger has to be a devotion to the state, and there we are, back at the hive mind. The collective. The Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

My girl cousin admitted to a frisson of fear when the small military display goose-stepped across the field. But that was a function of the goose-step, I think, and not the implied military force. Anyway, I continue to watch, and I continue to marvel at the athletes. But when did beach volleyball become an Olympic sport? And why isn’t the Equestrian competition on a mainstream network? It’s on Oxygen, which, if I recall correctly, is pitched to women. Is it the old stereotype about girls and horses? Because in our house, it’s the RLA who’s been trying to watch the dressage and cross country.

I encourage him, of course, because I luv horsies.

Miz Shoes

I’m Drivin’ In My Car


Here’s the SmartCar, looking exactly like Pikachu, which, just so you know, will not be her (or his) name. I don’t know what the name will be, and I haven’t figured out the gender, either. But so far, these are the names that are appealing to me, and they are all sort of gender neutral. Feel free to comment, and to offer your own ideas.


Doesn’t it have a cute smile?

Miz Shoes

It’s A Wonderful World

Yeah, I know. A shiny, happy post early in the day from MizShoes? Let’s check to make sure the sun is still in the sky and the earth is still on its axis. Yep. Everything seems to be in order in the universe. So what got me going today?


Him. This random fellow who got on the train with his violin, sat down in the middle of the aisle and proceeded to deliver a fair rendition of Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” followed by “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude”. I started the applause and the handing of bills to him, and he told the car that he took change, too. A gentle soul and one who brought a little rainbow glimmer of joy to me.

Tonight I’m making an asparagus risotto, or an asparagus pasta dish. I haven’t decided yet. But I have some lovely bamboo rice, and I’m thinking that a green risotto might be the ticket.

Miz Shoes

Little Pink Houses

I watched this documentary the other night and now I am obsessed with building my own earthship. I need, in a very primal way, to go to one of the seminars and learn to pound sand. (Hah, I said pound sand.) The bottle walls alone make me weak at the knees. I have images of Antonio Gaudi, Arcosanti and Nikki de St. Phalle all dancing in my head. I have fully visualized the bathroom already.

Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about Mike Reynolds and his work. I want to spend the night in the Phoenix house. I just need to figure out where to build. But I think over on the Florida Gulf, up the Little Manatee River, somewhere.

On another note, the pool tether is now installed and I can swim to my heart’s content. Or until I feel the burn in my butt, which took about 2 minutes because I am so freaking out of shape.

I’ve started a new quilt, taking apart the Sistergirlfriendgirl’s daddy’s ties and today I’ll wash, press and cut them up into the component parts for a log cabin block.

Thank you to NanV, who graciously granted me permission to wallow, but you know? Wallowing isn’t what I do best. Lolling around doing jack shit? Yep. Wallowing in self pity? Not so much.

I’m off, and the floor of my studio is mostly visible.

Morning at the beach. The Gulf is a dark aqua and flat as a mirror. There are two fishermen on the shore: a boy of about 8 and a Great Blue Heron. The boy catches a fish, the heron inches closer. The boy is excited and doesn’t notice the stealthily moving heron. One of them is going to eat the fish, but which one is still up in the air. The boy is jumping up and down, calling for his parents to see this wonderful fish. The two cabana boys, 19 and worldly wise, wander over. “You’ve caught a shark,” they tell him. The hopping about gets a little more frantic. The heron proceeds with caution, and moves back a couple of feet. The cabana boys offer to take the baby shark off the hook. The heron accepts that this will not be his breakfast, and moves down the beach. The shark goes back in the water, and swims away. The cabana boys continue to place the lounges and rake the sand. The little boy goes inside. The Gulf is flat and calm.

Miz Shoes

Mother and Child Reunion


I have no idea what’s going on with my little camera. There seems to be a weird magenta glow on everything.

Anyway: the Person Dressed in Black and her daughter, waiting for the school bus this morning, in mother/daughter flowered shoes.

Miz Shoes

Kama Sutra Cameleon


I walked outside the other morning, and found two lizards makin’ sweet, sweet love on a slice of mango tree out by the koi pond. Lizard Sutra, anyone?

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