Because I:

a) bought a sweat suit

b) confronted my brother about his misbehavior and he admitted wrongdoing

c) did not have a martini Saturday or Sunday, although there was one waiting in the freezer

d) all of the above
And the answer is d.

But, just for the record, I bought the sweat suit because both pieces (hoodie and pants) were the same price as just a hoodie or just a pair of gym sweats. It's a lovely shade of teal. I also told the RLA that if I wore both parts at the same time anywhere other than to the gym, he had my full permission to divorce me, and I wouldn't contest it.

I'm wearing the hoodie now. I wore the sweat pants all day yesterday. I did change into my jeans for the grocery store run.

And another thing: the folks at Television Without Pity seem to have felt that my separated at birth: Osama and Santino — was somehow inappropriate and took down my post. This on a subject where not only did someone else say he was SAB from Rasputin, but linked to a photo of Rasputin's, uh... naughty bits in a jar of formaldehyde. And I hope that was a doctored photo. Or it was a horse named Rasputin. Ick.

Hmmph. No. A quick Google, and there it is, along with a story that seems to come from the Russian version of News of the Weird.

Stick a fork in me. I am done.
Miz Shoes

Separated at Birth?

So, I'm at the gym this morning, worked out with Nic Cage, then climbed on the old Precor and while I was working up a sweat, watching the "news" on Fox, I had a sudden epiphany.
Santino and Osama = Separated at Birth?

That's where he's hiding! Right under our noses.

But think on this a moment: they exhibit the same sort of megalomaniacal, supremely arrogant behavior; you just know Santino reeks of patchouli and onions, just like Osama. You've never seen them in the same place at the same time...

Coincidence, or something more sinister?
Miz Shoes

Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment

This is going to be a clusterfuck of a year, I can just feel it in my bones.

The RLA got a spider bite last week, and with diligence and a course of antibiotics has kept the necrotizing whatever at bay. He only has a small swelling and a little crimson spot on his drawing hand. But it was a nail biter.

My mother is drifting deeper and deeper into the waters of Lethe. Now and then she pulls a name or a complete sentence out of the ether and that makes it even worse. Yesterday she blurted out the real name of my brother, Biggus Dickus.

I have a confession to make. I am completely unable to focus today. I know that there is a pile of work in front of me, and yet, I cannot make myself attend to it. I've been looking at Today's Kitten, reading the recap of Project Runway (and don't get me started about Nicky Hilton and Santino—a perfect match of stupidity and arrogance if ever there was one), idly filing papers, and rummaging in the break room for bacon.

Not as random as it would seem, the rummaging for bacon thing. There is a week-long training session going on next door, and the breakfast leftovers have made their appearance in the break room. There were sticky pecan rolls, too, if you must know, but I was able to muster enough self-control not to eat those. Bacon, on the other hand, is a primal force against which I am no match.
Miz Shoes

Another Day, Another Rant

Yesterday, or maybe the day before, the Miami Herald ran a big ass story about "The December Dillema". That dillema, apparently, is what to do about Christmas and Chanukkah in mixed families. I'm not going to touch that issue with your ten foot pole, but I am going to address their solution.

First of all, matzoh is not associated with Channukah in any way, shape or form. Second of all, it doesn't look like a happy Bavarian cottage, it looks like a freakin' graveyard. Third of all, what the fuck is wrong with just being Jewish, and having Jewish traditions, like Channukah gelt, and spinning the stupid dreidle, and lighting the menorah? And eating fried food? Huh? What is so wrong with that, that we have to coopt the traditions of another religion that coopted their traditions from the pagans who went before (i.e.: the Christmas tree)?

I accept that in mixed faith families, there may be some issues, but, hey. A tree is for Christmas, and not for Channukah. There is NO SUCH FUCKING THING as a Channukah bush, OK? Calling it that makes it no less a Christmas tree. And a Christmas tree, no matter how much my girlfriends try to convince me otherwise, is a symbol of Christmas and of Christ's birth, and not just a house-sized air freshener.

And you know what? I'm OK with that. I respect that. I honor that. I may feel like a stranger in a strange land this time of year, with most of my neighbors decorating the outside of their homes with lights, and the non-stop Christmas music in public places, and the never-ending barrage of all things Christmas, but. But I am a minority. Not in the minority, as in, most people enjoy this and I do not, but A minority. I am a Jew, and this season is not about me or my beliefs, it is a holiday, no matter how secularized it has become, of major significance to Christians. I may even go so far as to say that my recognition of Christmas is more religious than most of my Christian friends. As an outsider, it is easier for me to focus on the meaning of the holiday than of its commercialism.

The RLA grew up in a Jewish ghetto, and has no appreciation for Christmas. He is even, dare I say, a teensy bit offended when invited to share the holiday with our Christian friends. I, on the other hand, having grown up as the only Jew in a one-Jew town, understand that this is an offer of love. Christians, by and large, feel as though their Jewish friends are missing out on something special by not "having Christmas", and so throughout my childhood and into adulthood, I have been invited to tree-trimming parties, to Christmas dinners, and Christmas morning breakfasts. (As an aside, there is nothing I love better than a slice of fried ham with red-eye gravy on Christmas morning, made from the left overs of the Christmas Eve ham. Oh, I am such a bad Jew.)

What the RLA doesn't see is the love that those invitations hold. It is a manifestation of peace on earth, goodwill to men. It isn't a subtle, or not-so-subtle attempt to convert us. It is an acceptance of who we are, and an offer to share with us, what is so special to them. And that, my friends, is true love.

But I digress. I was bitching about a Matzohbread house. That, dear readers, is a cop out. That is not embracing the differences and the "true meaning" of either holiday. That is a piece of shit and not to be tolerated by Christian or Jew. I don't want my Christian friends making potato latkes and calling it hay in the manger cakes, or lighting a menorah and saying that it represents the Christ child, the three Magi, Joseph and Mary and however many goats, horses and sheep are required to make up the number 8.

I want Christians to be Christians, and Jews to be Jews, and Muslims to be Muslims, and Hindis to be Hindis. I am all for a belief in something bigger than us in the universe, but I don't think that a mishmash of pantheism is good for anybody.

Separate, but equal. Share the holiday, but don't force it. I'll invite you to my house for potato latkes and applesauce and chocolate gelt, if you'll make me a slice of fried ham with red-eye gravy. I'll teach you the dreidle song, and you can skip the Twelve Days of Christmas because I already know it. I'm happy to wish you a Merry Christmas, and not a generic Happy Holiday, because it isn't a threat to who I am or what I believe to acknowledge and honor your beliefs.

And, that, in the end, is what this season is all about. Merry Christmas. Happy Channukah. Blessed Kwanzaa. Whatever the hell you say about Tet.
Miz Shoes

A Plea for Help

Look, I know I have a problem with internet surfing in that I do way, way, way too much of it. I follow random link to random link all over the information superhighway, and usually end up on some one-lane dirt road to nowhere because I took an off ramp after seeing an interesting billboard...

Very often I bookmark those lost little dead ends. Sometimes I link to them. Sometimes they go to the mental graveyard that such detritus deserves.

And then, once in a while, I find something truly wonderful. And that is why I need your help, dear readers. Because I found a truly wonderful site and didn't bookmark it. Although I have a shoe addiction, when it comes to purses, I tend to schlep the same one ratty leather bag around until even I realize that it is a disgrace. And the site I stumbled over was a purse designer.

More acurately, it was a pair of purse designers. I think they were English. I think that they both had names that started with an H and that their company and thus their site was both of their names. They had reasonably priced goods that were stylish and trendy. There was a hobo bag in particular that made my shriveled little heart go pitterpat. I think it was in a metallic burgundy leather.

Now, I can write a search string like nobody, and I found a 1983 article on AIDS from Rolling Stone and a source for a copy and the author's name and another article citing the first one, all within five minutes of my boss requesting it thus: "Sometime in the early 80s there was a story about AIDS in Rolling Stone. It may have been a cover story. I think they used the phrase gay plague."

Yet, no matter how I search, no matter what string I put together, I cannot find this website again. I have searched for photos of metallic leather hobo purses. I have ransacked the lists of British designers. I have gone through Google like Sherman through Georgia. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Goose eggs.

I'm asking for help* here. Please?

* I erase my histories and caches with obsessive regularity, so don't suggest that. Plus, I stumbled across this a month ago or more. I've checked all the links on Manolo's Shoe Blog, and the purse blogs. I'm just stumped.
Miz Shoes


It's been a busy few days here at the Casita de Zapatos. The RLA put up a ceiling fan/light fixture in my studio, and for the first time in 12 years I can work after dark or work during the day without fainting from the heat.
I have accepted a new job, working as the personal assistant to a man I've worked for twice before in the past 15 years. This means no more mall stories (thank the gods) but it also means a return to public transit, a mixed blessing at best. On the one hand, there will be plenty of "overheard on the train" stories. On the other hand, there will be more photos of women putting on makeup and doing other things best done in private.

An aside: I think that "on the one hand, on the other hand" has to be the phrase I speak most often... well, that and "what the fuck are you looking at?" I always considered putting the latter on my tombstone, but maybe something could be done with the former, as in "On the one hand, I'm dead. On the other hand, I don't have to listen to politicians anymore."

Anyway. I also finished all three thousand pages of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. What a great read. A hard read, and a dense one, but also brilliantly written and wonderfully funny. I've now moved on to a Harry Flashman knock-off series about a cad in the US military during the turn of the last century. It isn't nearly as well written as either Fraser or Stephenson, but it's a breeze to read, and keeps me busy until I can find the next ten-pounder to slog through.

The RLA reads constantly, but mostly sci-fi, not that there's anything wrong with that. I have read about a bajillion sci-fi books my own self, it's just that I'm on an historical novel kick that seems to have started several years ago with my finally making it through Marcel Proust's Rememberance of Things Past (all million plus words of it.)

There is just something magical about being able to be transported to another time and place through the power of imagination.

Yesterday, Miss Jojo learned to swim. She is a veritable merdog. She'd been watching the Noble Dog Nails as he did laps and chased the tennis ball around the pool, but was loathe to actually get more than a paw in the water. All of a sudden yesterday, she put first one front paw, and then the other on the top step of the pool. Then her whole head went under water and she snapped away at the wet. Then, without warning, she launched herself off the steps and proceeded to do doggie laps. She can do the side stroke, the dog paddle and something that could be a backstroke. We had to bribe her with cookies to get her out of the pool. We've got a monster on our hands.

Finally, to George in Tennessee, the rumblings on my horizon which you found ominous, were merely the sounds of the job coming to fruition and my increased hours at the gym with the Marquis de Steve.
Miz Shoes

No, Not the Fug!

I had a dream last night that I refused to wear something because if I did, I just knew that I'd end up on Go Fug Yourself as a bad example.

Do you think I'm spending too much time on my computer?
This is for my sistergirlfriendgirl and her good dog Oliver. This is Levi, a blue marl Pembroke Welsh Corgi that I saw at the dog show. He has baby blue eyes and he is just beautiful.

Miz Shoes

Today Is NOT Superbowl Sunday

A fact that everybody in the known universe seemed to know except me and the people who printed my calendar, where today has printed on it "Superbowl Sunday." This calendar has all kinds of holidays printed on it, and I am now wondering if any others of them are wrong.
So here I am planning a party and making menus and pestering the RLA to let me buy a widescreen, big screen, HDTV to watch the big game... a game where I am forced to admit I haven't a clue who's playing, but you need all that for the commercials.

It's next week. Next week. February. Since when does football season run all the way up to spring training?

Oh well, it just gives me that much more time to work on my menus.

I'm planning on making orange marmalade sometime this week, since the sour orange tree in the front yard has outdone itself with fruit this year, and I can only marinade so much chicken, and even my housekeeper is giving me the fish eye when I ask if she'd like any more sour oranges.
Miz Shoes

Can It Be?

Either the meds are working, the weather is conducive to creativity, I've turned a corner on my depression, or my naturally ebulient personality has finally quit hibernating.

For whatever reason, this week I have been bursting with energy and creativity.
Yes! It's true. I've been cooking up a storm, and just for the RLA and myself. It started with chocolate chip cookies to take to the (spit, spit) art show, continued on to yellow pepper soup (from the Silver Palate Cookbook, the one book that all cooks should have in the kitchen, in my not so humble opinion) accompanied by two loaves of Irish Soda Bread, and on to a delicious concoction of marinated chicken breasts last night.

The chicken dish is one of my own inventions, and I never make it the same way twice. Yesterday I marinated the chicken for a couple of hours in a mixture of fresh sour orange juice, chopped garlic, some of the mystery spice from Israel, olive oil and thyme.

The mystery spice from Israel is just that. I have no idea what is in it, exactly. One of my friends who was living in Jerusalem used to bring it to me when she visited the states. She'd buy it in a street market, and had no idea what it was, either. I've since found it in a Middle Eastern market locally, but they can't tell me the ingredients, either, and I found it by look and smell.

I'm pretty sure it includes cardomom. Maybe a little cinnamon and dried ginger. Maybe not. It's savory, and goes well in anything, especially brewed with coffee. I get this little frission like I'm drinking spice coffee from Dune. But that's just me.

Anyway, back to the chicken. I sauted onions and garlic in olive oil and butter. Added the chicken breasts and browned them. Added the marinade (I know, bad cook) and water to cover. Then added a little saffron and a little chicken stock granules. Covered and simmered until tender. Halfway through I added a handful of green olives. Served it up over a big heap of brown rice.

In addition to the cooking, I have finished a quilt for the RLA, and am finishing up another that's been in process for half a year.

I have two commissions in the pipeline for tallitsim.

I think, and it couldn't have happened any sooner, that I'm over the hump and into a new cycle of creativity.

Miz Shoes

Aidez Moi

I was out and about today, and everywhere I went people were asking me to contribute to charity. Which is all fine and dandy, and I do give, but on my own time, and with my own dime. With my own dime being the operative word here, because most of the people asking for my help today weren't people at all, but corporations.
The clerk at Marshall's asked if I'd like to contribute to tsunami relief, because I could just charge that extra amount along with my purchase of towels and gym clothes. Of course, I couldn't take it as a charitable deduction on my taxes, because the bill would just say Marshall's. Marshall's, by contrast, could then use my contribution as part of their overall expenditure and claim that they, Marshall's, had given x millions of dollars to the relief effort. They could, and they would, and they would never mention that the money came from their customers' pockets and not the corporate bottom line.

You want to donate to tsunami relief? Send clothing and linens and cold, hard cash from the corporate coffers. Use your own net worth to do good, not mine.

The same goes for the grocery store. I'm buying food for my own table, and they are asking me to chip in a few extra bucks for their corporate charity. No. No, I won't. Let your corporate VIPS unlock their own wallets and do the deed.

When I was at the hospital, we were big on the United Way. Every body had to cough up for the public good. Except, I worked on the campaign and I could see who gave what, and let me tell you, those VPs who are still there, collecting their big old paychecks, while I'm out on the street looking for my next job? They didn't give a third of what I did, and they made twice as much. Some of them didn't give at all, or gave a check for a Franklin. But down the line, they were giving orders that the rank and file under them should be giving it up for the poor.

Now that I'm one of the poor, or at least one of the unemployed (and just for the record, I work in one of those fields that the Shrub suggested unemployed people learn how to do at their local community college when they lose their factory jobs) it really rankles me that I'm being asked to foot the bill for corporate America's purely cosmetic acts of charity.
Miz Shoes

My Quirky Garden

When the sistergirlfriendgirl and I were little 'uns, we used to play make believe in the ferns beside the house. We played Greek Goddess Warrior Princess Barbies (many decades before Xena Princess Warrior) and made houses in the ferns and moss.
It wasn't much of a stretch for us to imagine living in those mossy caves, and we spent hours and hours doing just that.

The garden I'm building around my koi pond is my homage to those fairy caves and moss gardens, and I'm doing my best to create a life size recreation of what we imagined.

Yesterday I was laying the jigsaw puzzle of Miami Oolite that I'm paving the sitting area with, and I misjudged the weight of the hoe I was swinging. In my own defense, the hoe in question had had its wooden handle replaced by a length (a long length) of steel pipe.

Said steel pipe took a nasty bounce back and this is the result: what looks like a swollen blood sausage where my left thumb used to be.


Let me tell you that the scan doesn't to justice to the color of my thumb, a sort of half-ripe aubergine.

The dogs were helping me dig.

digging1.jpg digging2.jpg
I spent the day with the RLA yesterday, and most of it went along these lines: I'd watch him doing something and think, hmmm, that would make a great entry for my blog... if I wanted a divorce.
No, really. I mean, we're walking the dogs in the dead of night, and first one dog pees, then the other dog pees, and then the RLA takes a piss in the trees.

Just marking his territory, he says. But. We live in the suburbs, for chrissakes. With lights and stuff. And people driving by. Granted, not at eleven at night, and we were in a particularly dark part of the street, but just the same, I have to ask you: Does your man piss on trees to mark his territory?

For whatever it's worth, the dogs in the neighborhood seem to respect it, because the really big dogs do not poop on our lawn over by that particular tree, so maybe he has a point. But. It's the twenty-first century. We are (allegedly) civilized people. Pissing in the bushes?

On another note, living with two dogs of such disparate breeds is like having my own private Westminster Show on a daily basis. There is the noble dog Nails, a Jack Russell Terrier, not AKC, but Jack Russell Terrier Club of America registered, which means he's from before the AKC accepted and standardized the breed. He is a dog's dog. He barks at squirrels. He chases things. He is (for a Jack) Very Well Behaved. He goes for a swim in the pool after every walk. (His choice, by the way. He does doggies laps, too. He jumps off the steps and swims in 4-foot circles, then goes back to the steps and sits down, like a little old man at the hotel pool.) He plays with gravity by pushing balls off the couch, or into the pool so he can chase them. He will watch the ball floating in the pool and wait until it gets close to the edge, then paw it in to within mouth distance. You can watch him calculate the time it will take to float to him. If he doesn't like the distance, he will bark at me or the RLA to push the ball closer to him. For a dog, the animal is a genius.

And now we have Miss JoJo. She's a flopsy puppy. She never barks, except when Nails is barking at another dog, and then she'll add her two cents, and stop. Nails will bark until the other dog has passed beyond his sight.

JoJo is a digger. I have gopher holes all over the yard, now. She chews on all the toys that Nails disdained. She loves her Frisbee, where Nails is afraid of them. She digs. All. The. Time. She never makes any noise. If she needs to go out, she pokes me with her nose.

Watching them play together yesterday was a hoot. Nails is clever, stealthy and plots ahead. JoJo is a gonif, and will wait until Nails is distracted, and then steal his toys. Nails, knowing that JoJo doesn't go in the pool, kept dropping his ball in the pool to keep it away from her. Then he'd pull it out, and tease her with it.

There should be a groove in the pool deck by now, from the number of laps they ran around it. Fist JoJo in the lead with Nails' toy, and then Nails playing keep away with her.

This is why I got a puppy. I laughed until my cheeks hurt.
Miz Shoes

It’s A New Dawn, It’s A New Day

I have come to the realization that if I'm not bitching about the idiots I work(ed) with, or the stupidity of mankind in general, or yapping about food, that I have nothing to say on this blog.
Which is absurd, of course. Ask anyone who knows me personally, and they will tell you that I am never, ever at a loss for words. Maybe for true content, but not words.

In any event, I only have three paychecks left before my severence package runs out, which means that I really should be thinking about a new job.

Or a new career. The problem as I see it is this: I have absolutely no desire to go back into the work place. In fact, I can't wait for the RLA to end his winter break and go back to work. The idea of being home alone (well, not counting the four-footed inhabitants of the Briarpatch) is enough to make me swoon.

My studio is calling me. I want to make quilts. A lot of quilts. ALl the fabric I've collected over the years, all the patterns that I've marked in all the books....

Well, now is the time to sew.

And I promise you all, I'll have plenty to say when I start that project. I also have promised myself to completely redesign Girlyshoes... you know, the rest of the stuff that makes up this site.

Gotta go. The gym is also a jealous mistress and it too, is calling me this morning.
Miz Shoes

Mid-Life Crisis

It's occured to me, as I sift through the detritus of my home studio, that I really don't have to go back to work as a corporate art hack. I could change careers. No, really, I could.
The question, of course, is what should I be now that I have ostensibly grown up.

On the one hand, I'd like to be paid to be a smart ass. That means either doing stand up, or comedy writing, or taking over as the new, female, emergency back up Dave Barry. (Which I fully feel capable of doing.) I could sell my manuscript (finally). I could try to parlay this blog into a money making enterprise.

On the other hand, I would just adore going back to school to become a chef. I would not adore the long hours and back breaking work involved to become the oldest sous-chef in the worst diner in Miami.

On still another hand, I really would love to lock myself away in my studio and just sew and bead and make things. I don't even mind selling the things I make. Unlike the RLA, by the time I finish a piece of artwork, I don't want to live with it, I want it out of the house, preferably forever.

On yet another hand, maybe I should just get a part-time job at a Starbucks or Borders... you know, something where I could go to work and never have to engage my brain at all. The only down side I can see to one of those jobs is dealing with the public, and I hate the public. I'm not even too keen on people.

So maybe I should go to work as a vetrinary assistant, and make minimum wage, and swab dog poop for a living. Or not.

I dunno. Maybe I'll just float along in an undecided fugue state until something falls in my lap.
Miz Shoes

They Say It’s Your Birthday

I'm officially old today.

Or not.

My mother, who is eighty-six, insists, when asked, that she is maybe twenty-one. This gives creedence to the quote by the immortal Satchel Paige, who once said "How old would you be, if you didn't know how old you was?"
Tonight, somewhere around 8:32EST, the earth and I on it, will hit the point where fifty years ago, I made my entrance.

The RLA, the noble dog Nails, Ming the Merciless Siamese, and even the koi, have been doting on me all day. So far I've raked in some heavy-duty love and no small piles of gifts.

I am not one of those folks who, when presented with an opportunity for gifts, demures and says I need nothing, I want nothing. Not this bitch. No sir. When there are presents to be had, I, like the Shrub his ownself, says "Bring it on."

They are indeed being brung. I have new fuzzy bunny slippers. I have a pair of truly lovely pink yard flamingos. I am wearing an amazing new necklace featuring a carved bone mermaid and turquoise.

My girl cousin who sends me so many jokes and political satire, sent a set of Kate Spade martini glasses. (Said girl cousin does know your author, does she not?) My sisterfriendgirl made me the most beeyooteeful quilt in pinks and greens and blacks and I've already taken a nap under it, so there.

Nope. As much as I may joke and complain about turning fifty, it beats the fucking alternative, and I can give you a list without even having to think hard, of all my friends who never made it this far. Cancer and AIDS, primarily. Leapin' made it to 52, and then went down in chopper over the Gulf of Bahrain. Gary finally got a job with insurance, and so went to see about that bothersome hemorhoid, only to be told it was colon cancer, and he was gone six months later.

Me? I'm older than I ever expected to be, and still not quite grown up. The cocktail party the RLA is throwing for me has a mermaid theme. I'm off to string up crepe paper garlands, and rearrange the shells and fishnets. Don't wait up, but maybe there will be photos tomorrow.

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