Miz Shoes

One Pill Makes You Calmer

Every time I fill my prescriptions, the pharmacist asks me if I have any questions about my medications, and every time I reply "Yes. Why don't we put Prozac in the water like Flouride?"

I'm thinking that it might be time to double up on the meds, though, at least today, when Microsoft Word and I are having a major battle of wills about formatting and how auto-format prints. I don't think it needs to be highlighted, and Word does. This is new on Word's part, since it has never highlighted things like printer's quotes and elipses before.
I've done all the usual things: closed and reopened my program, rebooted my computer, deleted and recreated text, turn auto-formatting off (in any number of locations and permutations) and still... three periods converts to an elipsis and the elipsis prints with a highlight.

All of this is on a POS Dell running POS Windoze. Of course. This shit never happens on a Mac.

This is on top of any number of other aggrevations I am dealing with today: I have had to tell the IT/Web Guy for at least the fifth time that he needs to unlock AND unprotect all the files I send him in order to copy and paste text. But, no. He gets a file and rather than type in the password (7 letters), he sends me an e-mail to complain that even though he put in the password, he still is locked out. DUDE!

Open with password. Unprotect file with password. Done and fucking done. Or, open with password. Open e-mail. Type a whiny complaint to me. Wait for me to respond (same way I always do, "No. I am not going to unlock the file for you and resend it, unlock it your own lazy-ass self.). Rinse and repeat.

Next aggrevation: searching for all the zip codes for every county in every state where the company does business. I can only do 50 searches a day before the server kicks me off and asks me to pay big money for the use of the search engine. Then, I have to cross reference the zip codes because zip codes can cross county lines. Then I have to cross reference the zip codes to the individual offices because catchment areas can overlap. Then I have to go home and drink.

As my people are known to ask: Why is this night different?
Miz Shoes


I went to Fairchild yesterday and shot another hundred frames or so. Then I came home and tried to download all the images. But. My laptop wouldn't boot up. Nor could I reinstall the system software. When I took it to the Apple store this morning, the even badder news was that booting off a peripheral harddrive didn't help. Nothing can see my internal drive. It is dead. Fried. Screwed, blewed, tattooed.

Here's hoping that it's only a fried bus cable and the data can be retrieved. Otherwise? I'm looking at suicide.

Well, it's like I always tell other people. Back up your shit, because there are only two kinds of computers in the world. Those which have just crashed, and those which are about to.

Just to be clear: I did not back up my shit. My computer crashed and burned. I am looking at a loss of all my data, my websites, my novel, my Girl's Guide, my 1500 photos, my recipes, my patterns, my e-mail, my music, my freaking life, people. My freaking life. The only bright spot in all of this is that I own all of my software, so I can reinstall it.
Miz Shoes

Why Drinking and Blogging is a Bad Idea

I'm working on an enhancement to Girlyshoes. Specifically, I'm adding a podcast. Or I would be if I could figure out where the error is in my code that seems to be preventing i-tunes from being able to find the file.

Anyway, I came home from an hour at the gym with Nic Cage, had my emergency back-up martini from the freezer and went to work on the code.

At some point, I decided that it would be a Good Idea to delete what appeared to be a duplicate folder off my server.

That would have been this blog and most of the freaking web site.

I gave the remainder of the martini to the RLA and spent the rest of the night reconstructing this site.

Please forgive the missing photos in back entries, because I haven't found them on any of my hard drives yet, to replace them on the server.
Miz Shoes

I Want My Mommy!

Things are going to hell in a handbasket around here. I took a header down the stairs leaving work yesterday and just smashed the crap out of my left knee and right shin. Finally made it home, whimpering and whining, started dinner for the RLA and promptly sliced my left pinky finger to the bone with a chef's knife that was sharpened as a birthday present. So. Five stitches and a tetanus shot later, we ate leftovers for our Valentine's day dinner. Still, the nurse said not to worry, this wouldn't prevent my having surgery on Monday to remove the lipoma from my right tushie dimple. Of course, I can't use any sort of pain killers between now and then, and my typing is compromised by the huge bundle of bandages on my pinky....

PS: just got up to make myself some tea, and slopped scalding water over my left hand... the one with the stitches. Maybe I should just go home and stay in bed until my surgery?
Miz Shoes

Me? I WON Something? Me?

Yes. I did. When the RLA and I signed our contract with the new storage company, we also entered to win a home theater sound system. Damn. They called me today to tell me to come get it. You all know how many movies I watch at home (all of them). And the RLA is a total, certifiable audiophile, and the son of another. He's got more speakers hooked up to the tv than I can count, no two pairs alike, and one pair was his father's Acoustic Research from the 60s.

This is just too cool.
Miz Shoes

Brother Can You Spare a Dime

Or, maybe, should I drop a dime on my brother?

I try so hard in this blog not to talk about my real life, my personal life, except in the most broad strokes. I don't use real names, for the most part. I have a personal journal, kept in ink, kept for myself, and I've journaled for more than 30 years.

So this exercise is more for the joy of writing, and of being read, than for soul searching and deep thoughts.

It's just that at this particular time in my life, things are such that I have very little to say to amuse you, my imaginary readers. I am consumed with
a problem involving my brother, Biggus Dickus, his wife, Incontinentia Buttocks, the family estate, and questions of control of money, honesty, theft, and general skullduggery.

These are the BIG questions, are they not? More so, I think, than the other big questions, you know, life, the universe and everything?

I am not the sort of person who goes to court. I do not desire to see my name in the papers. I have no burning lust for fame (well, maybe a little smouldering lust). As jaundiced as I am, as jaded about the human condition, I want to believe that my own brother isn't screwing me over something as meaningless as money. And yet. All signs point to that very thing.

My mother's silver has gone missing from the family home. Biggus Dickus and his wife were very la-di-dah about that. As of course, they would be, since it was left to me. Or will be left, or would have been left, since Mummy isn't exactly dead, yet.

Last week I had to pay a bill that Biggus Dickus was refusing to pay, related to Mummy's care...from the hurricanes of 2004. He refused to pay, he refused to talk to the lawyer representing the agency that was seeking payment, he refused to listen to me when I told him to just pay the damned bill, he refused to listen to logic, or my psychoanalysis of his behavior. (Biggus Dickus may be a therapist, and by his accounts, a good one, but I spent 10 years on the couch and came away a better person and one with an understanding of pyschology.) I paid it out of my own, limited means.

He's never acknowledged that I pulled our family name and reputation out of a fire of his own making. I am dragging my feet about calling him out on this. I do not want/need this kind of drama, but I am being forced down an unpleasant path.

Or I can bend over and take a royal ass reaming by my own brother and pretend that it isn't happening, never happened, couldn't happen between us.


I can let out my inner bitch, she who is held in such tight control so that I can live among men. I can, I say, let her out, and go to court and have Biggus Dickus removed as my co-trustee for cause, thereby causing an irreparable rift between me and my only brother. As you can see, this is quite a dilemma, since we love each other so much and so well.

And you want to know why I'm not blogging much these days. Mmmph.
This weekend was a time trip. The job of clearing out the family home has fallen to me, and I'm doing it slowly and painfully. On Sunday morning, I sat down on the floor of my old bedroom, and opened up a desk drawer full of cards and letters. Pretty much every one I'd ever sent to my parents, individually or as a parental unit.
Before I could throw the letters away, I had to skim them. Most of them were jejune and embarrassing, but some of them were interesting to me, even from this perspective.

This is the text of a letter I wrote to my mother on January 25, 1977. I was 23, and living in New York City.

"I went to a meeting last night of the New York Radical Feminists. It was TERRIBLE!! All it was was about 8 very butch-looking INTENSE rhetoric-spouting women... and Kathleen and me. Kathleen accounted for something because her mother is one of the founders of the movement. But I didn't. Anyway, we were immediately suspect because we weren't gay. It was very upsetting. I thought the movement was based on a belief in alternatives and choice and educating the masses. They seemed to want a separatist Woman-state. Personhood is no good. They want women-ness without maleness. I don't understand. They also seemed to me to not realize that for younger women, we've already reaped certain benefits from their early struggles and we want to move on from here. Like they want to re-write the manifesto. But that's all words and unneccesary. The thing to do is to LIVE it, not write it. I was the only one in a skirt. O.K. They won me the right to wear construction boots. It's also my option to wear a skirt and not see it as a symbol of "my oppression". Am I making myself clear? I was very upset by last night. It seemed to me to have broken down and lost touch with what it had done and was trying to do. Yuck. Maybe I'm just a radical human, but that's what I thought the lib movement was about. The right to be human... I think it's turned into a lesbian movement. Does this mean there has to be still another lib movement for straight people? Shoot. I'm REALLY depressed by their TRULY sexist attitudes. One woman flat out said "I can't trust women who can have relationships with men. How can you befriend your oppressor?"

I've never BEEN oppressed. How can I view all men as my mortal enemy... MAYBE "the system", MAYBE "big business". Mostly, though, to me, my enemy is ignorance and prejudice. And I think I found THEM to be prejudiced. Is this some kind of rude awakening? I really BELIEVED in the women's movement, but how can I believe and identify with this reality..?

Ah, never mind..."

I remember how upset I was. The meeting was in Gloria Steinem's apartment in the West Village. It was lovely, and book-filled, with oriental carpets and windows over the street, and I watched the snow fall outside. Gloria wasn't there. I remember that I yelled at the women before I stalked out. I told them how, as a young girl in a tiny Southern town, reading about the movement in Time Magazine had opened my eyes to possibilities. That they had put me on the path that led me to New York, and to that very meeting, and how could they now reject me out of hand just because I slept with men? What had they won, what had they preached, if not equality? And now they were preaching separatism, and that was something very different.

Plus ça change, plus ça meme chose.
Oh, I am so mad this morning I don't know what to throw first.

Ever since Hurricane Wilma, the Metromover has been operating in fits and starts. The service has been supplemented by buses, taking riders along the route, and dropping them off at or near the stations. I say at or near, because depending on your driver, they may cop an attitude and refuse to let you off, or not stop, or whatever. In any event, it takes a 7 minute train jaunt and turns it into a half-hour ordeal.

Except for this morning.
See, there are two stops where I can get off the Metrorail and pick up the Metromover: Brickell, which is my usual stop, and, although it takes longer, is more pleasant in that it's out in the sunshine and fresh air and I can stand up there on the platform and watch the sun dance off the turquoise* waters of Biscayne Bay.

Or I can get off at Government Center, and hop an inner loop shuttle past the courthouse and the college and end up at my same end point over on Biscayne Boulevard. I prefer not to, however, because it's a very busy stop, and there's lawyers and government workers and the connection is semi-contained.

Today, I hopped off at Brickell and I was Very Early for work. When I got downstairs, the Mover was barricaded off and we were told to take the shuttle bus. Well, crap. If there had been an announcement on the train (they are always announcing broken elevators) then I would have ridden on to Government Center, which is the next stop anyway.

Down to street level. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. I waited while no less (and no more) than THREE shuttles came for Brickell Key (the maids' shuttle, OK?). Finally, after more than half an hour's wait, a downtown shuttle came. Oh, yesh, the driver assured all of us steaming in line, this would take us to Biscayne. So I got on. And we drove and drove and drove and then I realised that the bus, it did NOT turn on my usual street. It kept going straight. And then it turned back and went to Government Center. It was now forty five minutes after I got off the train one stop south of Government Center. I could now take another shuttle bus or any of the downtown regular buses, or I could go upstairs and get on a MetroMover going on another loop, or I could walk to work.

Which is what I did. It took 15 minutes in 3" heels (on a platform wedge, by the way) over crumbling sidewalks, and I still got to the office more rapidly than the shuttle bus that was coming up behind me as I entered the building.


The other thing I'm pissed about this morning is last night's ANTM (America's Next Top Model and what rock have you been living under not to know that?) elimination of Lisa which left that yellow-toothed, Dumbo-eared, skank Jayla around. Lisa could pose circles around that nasty ho even when drunk or hung over, and as for the rabbit-toothed, walking teen snotrag, Nicole: well, she can be sent home any second now, and I wouldn't be crying.

*If, by turquoise, you are thinking of the really dark, muddy greenish brownish stone with heavy dark spider webbing.
Miz Shoes

Logic 101 Review

What happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object?

Well, nothing. Because it's a paradox. There can be no such thing as an irresistable force, nor an immovable object.

However, in real life, what happens is this: The (non)irresistable force is my rapidly foreward-moving foot. The (semi)immovable object is the leg of a heavy chair.

As Sancho Panza says in "Man of La Mancha", whether the stone hits the pitcher, or the pitcher hits the stone, it's going to be very bad for the pitcher.

And that is what my broken toe looks like two weeks after the force met the object.
Miz Shoes

The Queen Bitch Speaks

Today, I am home, sitting out another series of orange radar blobs as yet another hurricane passes through my end of town. It's ok. It's Mother Nature exhaling the poison from her lungs. The poison being suburban sprawl and humans, and the lungs being the wetlands.

And since everyone knows that Mother Nature is a bitch, I'm letting out my own inner, and too-long-supressed, bitch to tell off a couple of the younger members of my tribe. I don't know if Surrogate Daughter #1 still reads my blog, but if she doesn't want her pride and our relationship permanently scorched, she won't read this entry.
To my Surrogate Daughter #1: I figured out today why I've been wanting to bitch-slap some sense into you for the past year or so. You have become exactly what you scorn: a patronizing and annoyingly self-aware bop poseur rich snot. Your writing, in which you have such pride, if your Live Journal is any indication, is merely jejeune and pretentious. You cannot commit to anything: not your supposed and adopted poverty, not your family wealth, not your vocation, nor even your various facial and body piercings. You sport an impressive sports injury scar, but it came from doing a black diamond run on your first day of your annual Aspen ski trip. If you haven't seen the e-mail joke about the subject, you cannot sing the blues in Aspen.

You tell your mother that being in debt is "liberating". For you, perhaps, because for the past 21 years, you have never had to face the consequences of your actions. You have been lifted over every puddle, had every bill paid.

I told you when you went off to college that school is a four-year experiment in discovery of self. What have you discovered other than that you are a head and an incipient lush? Have you discovered any inner passion? Strength of will? Potential? No. You've discovered cheap beer and dope. Kind of like discovering America, sweetiedarling: there were already plenty of people there. I can't believe you turned into your father.

So just fucking grow up. Pick a persona. Try to pick one a little more original than a beat poet or post-modern, new-wave slacker.

I love you, your other mother.

To my nephew: I cannot believe that you would be such an ass as to ask me, by e-fucking-mail, for an interest-free loan from your grandfather's estate so that you can buy an engagement ring for cheap and end the note with a PS about football without even, in passing, ask how your grandmother might be doing after a week in the hospital.

Maybe your father, my brother, Biggus Dickus, neglected to mention to you that the woman who practically raised you, who gave you everything your greedy-grabby little heart ever desired, has been declining rapidly this past week. How would he know, anyway, since he hasn't been to see her, and has announced that he has no intention of it, either? But either way, the woman is in a nursing home, and a casual "Oh, how's Amma doin'?" wouldn't be amiss.

But no. All you want is the fucking money. I remember all the times you promised your Amma that you'd take care of her when she and Gruffy got old. Gruffy let you out of the bargain, by dying quickly. Your grandmother, however, has been in this home here in Miami since last December. You haven't come to see her once, although you've been in Florida visiting your father. You haven't called me to ask about her. You felt free to take more "souvenirs" from her home, though; her antiques are more than enough to remember her by, I suppose.

I can't believe you. You have turned into your father, and he is a defective throw back to some recessive eddy in our gene pool.

Love, your doting little auntie.
Miz Shoes

I Don’t Like Mondays

Unlike Lake Wobegon, where every week is a quiet week, it's been a bitch of a week here at the Casa De Zapatos. It started on Monday morning, when I got a call from the home where my mother lives. She'd collapsed in the shower and they wanted me to take her to a doctor.
So I did. Not without some effort however, since I take the train to work and on Mondays and Wednesdays the RLA rides in with me, because this semester he's teaching at the mothership: Wolfson Campus. That means he also takes the car home from the train, about five hours before I leave work. It also means that I don't have the car keys, and thus had no way of getting from the train to the house.

Thanks and a shout out to TADTS (the artist down the street) who gave me a lift from point A to point B.

With my mother's health insurance cards in hand, I jumped into the PT Cruiser and tore down to her group home, picked up her and an aide, then back north to the doctor's office, where upon hearing the details of her "collapse" decided it was more of a seizure and sent me off to the hospital.

I could have taken her to the place I used to work. I could have. I could have eaten a lot of crow and listened to a lot of two-faced platitudes and gotten her put on a VIP list. I could have. But fuck that hell hole, I did not. Instead I took her to the very clean and nice opposition hospital nearer to my house.

It has a much less busy emergency room, and so I was only there for six hours before we finally got into an exam room. Only by then it was shift change so we sat in the exam room (to be acurate, I sat and she lay in a bed, plucking at her blood pressure cuff and her blood oxygen finger thingy) for another hour or so until she had another seizure and I pounded the nurse call button (astutely figuring out that turning red, going rigid and shrieking like a banshee were not normal condititions) until the cavalry came and threw me out of the room. This second seizure had the added benefit of expediting her admittance.

The result of her CT scan showed that she has a "suspicious area" in her brain. Ya think? The woman has end stage Alzheimer's. I should fucking think there's some funky looking spots in there. She isn't really responsive, they tell me. Hmmm? Less so than before or more? Can we tell? She has a lot of bruises. Yeah, that'd be right, seeing as how she's 87 years old and spent 80 of those years in the Florida sun before anybody figured out that that was a pretty bad idea, skin-wise. She's more delicate than onion skin paper and if you look at her harshly, she bruises. The doctors wanted to do more neuro testing, but I said no. Look, if she has a brain tumor, what are we going to do? Operate? I don't think so. Let's just make her comfortable, OK, guys? OK.

That was my Monday. The rest of the week was occupied by the pressing rush of getting together the swag and documenting materials for an executive retreat, the process of which was hampered by the fact that the executives in question kept changing their documents right up until the moment we sealed the cardboard boxes on Friday around 11 am. Every binder was stuffed at least twice, and sometimes more.

Today is the special dog Jojo's first birthday. By Purina standards, that means she's not a puppy any more. But Jojo is special, like round nosed scissors and blunt forks kind of special, and I suspect she'll be a puppy for much longer.

Remember in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the character that Michael Caine develops for Steve Martin to play when they are scamming the rich old ladies? The less-than-gently bewildered younger brother, Ruprecht? That's my Jojo. She's just... special. And fwench. I'm going to give her a birthday treat of doggie ice cream, carrot and cheddar cheese flavor.

My mom? She's going back to her group home Monday. Thanks for asking. That's more than my brother, Biggus Dickus, did.
Miz Shoes

That Big Orange Blob? That Was My House.

The last tv I saw was about seven oclock on Thursday evening. It was the local news channel, and they were showing the latest radar on Hurricane Katrina. It was a large green blob. To the southwest quadrant of the screen, was a big orange blob. The talking head announced to the watching audience that that big orange blob represented the worst part of the storm, and that, sadly, it seemed to be stationary. Over southern Dade County. The Kendall area, in particular.
My house to be exact. Or at least that's the way I feel about it. The power went off right about then, and it just came back on less than half an hour ago.

Good thing, because the refrigerator was beginning to get funky, we were down to the last bag of ice in the chest, the koi were looking a little green around the gills, the Noble Dog Nails decided to take a bite of bufo toad today and we sluiced his mouth out with water, and tried to find an open doggie emergency room. Couldn't find one, as it happened, but we did find an open Mexican restaurant with cold beer and hot tacos (not a Taco Bell, either). And the Noble Dog Nails, who has taken on the evil bufo before seems to have recovered 100% and with no additional treatment other than a mouth wash and ride in the car.

The RLA and I spent yesterday cleaning up the yard. Photos of the hurricane can be found here.

It was exactly as a hurricane should be: wet, devastating, underestimated by the newbies in the state, exciting like a thrill ride while it happens, boring, hot and hard work when it's over. The power outage was a mere 50 hours more or less. Just enough to be annoying, not enough to cause real personal problems.

But here I am, back in the saddle again.

And, please could someone tell me why "Forever Amber" is considered a classic? I want to slap this main character into a coma. She is all of Scarlett O'Hara with none of the class. Argggh. But I won't put it down. I love the historical part of the hysterical fiction. Restoration England. Yum. Anyway, when you are stuck in a house with no power, and you need something to do other than cut up fallen trees, this sort of trash is great. One thousand pages long, it's good for a forced march of reading. It was even fun to read it by candle light. With a good supply of red wine. And hard cheese.
Miz Shoes

Lame, Lame, Lame

This is a day off for me, and it started out lamely enough with me waking up with a headache. Like, the kind of headache that feels like someone with a fifty-pound thumb is trying to press out your eye, from behind the eyeball.
Ignoring that, I went off to work out with Nic Cage (aka The Marquis de Steve). There was no parking at the gym within a three-block radius. I circled three times. I would have gone into a four-block radius, but the fourth block is Dixie Highway or residential areas and they frown on parking in either location.

I had to valet park. At the gym. Which is so against my religion. That religion being if you're going to work out, anything that makes it easier (i.e.: parking next to the door, valet parking) is prohibited. You're there to sweat, not take it easy. And yet, due to the fact that there was absolutely no place to put Zelda Bleu, I had to valet. Which I still would not have done, had all this circling around like a shark hunting blood not made me very late.

Got home and logged on to the i-tunes music store, because there were some things I wanted to download. I shopped until I had a cart full of obscurities, then went to download and check out. No can do. Need to update to i-tunes 4.8. Not a problem. Except, it was a problem. For some reason, I can't update because, although I'm an administrator on my own computer, the stupid Wintel device thinks I need to talk to a system administrator. I even tried creating a new account that was strictly admin with no customization at all. Still won't let me update. Fatal error.

Yeah, I'll say. The fatal error being it's a piece of shit Wintel computer that I had to buy because the hospital took away my Mac and wouldn't let me use one anymore, and then gave me such a load of work that I had to get a Windows machine on my own dime so I could work at/from home, too. Then the asshats laid me off and here I am with a stupid Windows machine that I'd never in a million years have bought of my own volition.

Except. Now I don't have to use a Wintel machine, do I? And if I wanted that sweet, sweet, sweet 15" PowerBook, I could get it. And you know what that means, don't you? This Windows machine would be a doorstop faster than than you could say reboot.
Miz Shoes

Mood Indigo

There's blue, and then there's something else. I'm so down, it can't be the blues, it has to be something deeper. Indigo? Ultramarine? That funny crayon that nobody ever wanted to use: Prussian Blue?
Whatever. I'm in one of those funks that even therapy shopping can't help. Of course, it's hard to therapy shop when even a box of colored pens is equal to a whole day's (as opposed to an hour's) wages.

Nevertheless, it hasn't stopped me. I went on a mini-spree over at Think Geek this morning.

Tell me that this isn't one of the funniest things you've seen in ages. I think that it's right up there with the old Godzilla fire wire hub.


Tonight is the big season premiere of Queer Eye, and they are making over the Boston Red Sox. Anything that shows Johnny Damon is a good thing, excess facial hair notwithstanding.

I'm off to mall world, sweetiedarlings, wish me well in the world of acquisitions.
Miz Shoes

Another Day, Another Drive-By

This time the bus that hit me was a head cold. I hate head colds. My whole brain gets stuck in the gel that fills my skull. I can't think, I can't breathe, I can't sleep, I can't eat.
You might think that the can't eat part would be good, but I'm the only person I know (except my alter-ego, Edina Monsoon) who can gain weight through my pores. I swear, when the brown shirts round me up and send me off in the box car, I'll be getting out heavier than when I went in.

And being brain-dead and snuffling in retail is a bad, bad thing. So I'm dosing myself with Day-Quill and Ricolas and walking around with a handkerchief up my shirt sleeve like a granny.

Pathetic. This must be some sort of cosmic retribution for ridiculing the man with the horrible slurpy sniffle the other day. Feh.

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