Miz Shoes

Horse Dead, Still Flogging

I received another check from the hospital yesterday. It seems that despite the conditions of the letter of separation, the hospital has cut the checks for my sick leave and vacation payouts already.

They were supposed to be cut after the last regular severance check, which would have put them into next year. Better for me to get that lump sum next year, when my employment status, and tax status is so tentative.

Better for the institution to pay the debt in this tax year.
So it's a win-win. They can screw my tax status by paying me, thereby inflicting yet another insult or injury, and at the same time, benefit their own bottom line.

Oh, please. I know it isn't personal. It is a global disdain for workers' well being.

On another note, I am stalling as hard as I can, because today is the day I go get my mother and install her in her new Alzheimer's home.

I've been having nightmares all week. I know this is the best, if not the only possible course of action, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Last night I dreamt that I had these red, crusty, ring-worm type sores on my ear lobe, and my shoulder. Only they weren't whole rings, they were horseshoe-shaped, and the center was black and sort of leathery. Truly disgusting.

I'm not suffering from suppressed guilt, am I?

Miz Shoes

Getting In Touch WIth My Inner Sloth

I don't need to read self-help books about tapping into my creativity by getting in touch with my inner child. I am so in touch with my inner child that I have to give her time-outs to go sit in the corner and just shut up.
What this period of unemployment is doing for me most, it would seem, is putting me in touch with my inner sloth.

Who knew? I mean,I have been imbued with the good old protestant work ethic since I was old enough to work. In my family, that meant being able to handle a pair of blunt-nosed scissors well enough to curl ribbon for the Christmas package wrappers. Or, failing that, being able to fold corners on cardboard shirt boxes.

By the end of summer, we were already stacking pre-made shirt boxes under the display tables. By Thanksgiving, my cousin and I were living in the back of the store, curling ribbon and making alternating patterns of green and red curls, neatly tucked into some of those same shirt boxes.

By the time we were old enough to see over the wrapping table, we were the package wrappers. Even today, nobody wants to wrap packages with either of us. Three pieces of tape and less than three minutes and we're done. With sharp folds on the paper, too.

Anyway, I seem to have digressed. I am getting in touch with my inner sloth these days, by not working. I am not working in so many different ways. I am taking afternoon naps. I am lounging around on the sofa reading historical novels. I am going to the gym during the day. I'm taking long baths.

I am not making quilts, or jewelry or any of the other things I promised myself I would devote my free time to. I am utterly, and deliciously unproductive. This has gone on for a month, now and I'm starting to make myself nervous. I may have to start making things, or get a seasonal job wrapping packages.

But for now, I'm going to the gym.

And gentle readers, keep an eye open for massive changes coming to Girlyshoes, as I work my way through the stack of computer books on my desk.
I give you me, in all my fabulousness.
During my daytime stint as mermaid, at the Raleigh Pool Party, I was without my glasses. Because, really, who ever heard of a mermaid in glasses?

Nevertheless, I was able to see well enough to notice that I was surrounded by stunning, gorgeous men. I will digress momentarily to tell a story about my mother.
Mummy did her part for the war effort (WWII) by dancing with the sailors and the soldiers at the local USO. She would go with her friend Millie, who was from Tennessee, or Georgia, or some other deep south state. When Mummy and her dance partner of the evening decided to head on off to another road house, Mummy would tell Millie to pick one and let's go. But Millie couldn't choose, and she would, without fail, say to my mother, "But Florence, I cain't choose. It's just like picking flowers. Each one is prettier than the next."

At these White Party week events, I always think of Millie because, just as she said back in the day, each one is prettier than the next. And since they are all gay, the allusion is even stronger. All I can do is smell them, and not even pick a little bittie bud.

Anyway, so there I am, sitting on the edge of the stage, flapping my tail and waving prettily at the pretty boys. Many of them asked to take their photos with me, and I was only too happy to oblige.

But there was one man who didn't ask. I watched him all afternoon, and kept thinking that there was one major hottie. "If he weren't gay," I kept saying to myself, "I would eat him with a spoon. Yum, yum fucking yum."

He was dark. Black hair in white-boy dreads, little twisty ones. Black five-o'clock shadow and it was barely past noon. Built just so. I'm telling you, he was just edible.

So when I was getting ready to pack it in, I asked one of the roving photographers if he would take a shot of me and this gorgeous thing. In fact, I was quite specific: That one, the guy that I just want to lick all over because he is just so gorgeous.

I'm sorry if I can't come up with another word other than gorgeous, but that's what he was.

The photographer went over and, I assume, passed along my assessment of his looks and request for pictures. He trotted right over and sat down on the edge of the stage with me. I flapped my tail, and blushed prettily, and batted my eyelashes, and twiddled my finger in his chest hair and we started to talk as the photographer snapped.

I learned that his name is George and he is the manager for several of our DJs. I also suspect that he is not at all gay. This made things very uncomfortable for me, since I'm married and by no means available. I couldn't ask right out. I couldn't do anything except maybe pull my fingers out of his chest hair and stop flapping and batting, and so I did.

Anyway, I felt and feel like an idiot, but in my own defense, you have never seen anything as hot as George.
Miz Shoes

Fairy Tales Can Come True

This year has sucked in ways that things have never sucked before.

I have suffered through death, hurricanes, more death, job uncertainty and more stress than I ever thought I could handle.

But yesterday, it was all made better by the receipt of a single e-mail from the forces behind White Party. I am going to get to live my most precious childhood dream and desire, and do so in the company of the most fabulous men on the planet, at one of the most fabulous parties on the circuit.

What am I going to do?
I get to be a mermaid at White Party. Tail, pearl tiara and all.

When I was a little girl, I used to spend my summers on the bottom of the pool, pretending to be a mermaid. My career ambition was to be the head mermaid (the one who got to wear the glittery tail) at Weeki-Wachee Springs.

I turn 50 in December, just a couple of weeks after this event. If that isn't kicking 50 in the ass and telling it to go home, I don't know what is.

When I turned 40, a friend built a big 4-0 out of straw and I took an acetelyne torch to it. We pulled bits and pieces of ash and melted beads out of the pool filter for two years. The screen had a scorch mark in it until the screens were replaced a couple of years ago.

It's not that I have a fear of growing older, as Jimmy Buffett would say "I'm growing older, but not up." Or maybe the late, great Satchel Paige is a better quote, "How old would you be, if you didn't know how old you was?"

Somewhere in my twenties. Old enough to be responsible, young enough to let responsibility slide once in a while.

I get to be a fucking mermaid. How cool is that?
Miz Shoes


On Friday, as the RLA and I were coming home, we missed getting T-boned by a teenager who was racing out of a cul-de-sac without paying attention to the stop sign. We didn't even see him in our rear view mirror, but our neighbor, who thought he was about to witness death and mayhem in his front yard, followed us home to tell us how lucky we were.

On Saturday, as we were parked in a lot behind the comic book store in South Miami, some asshat in a white vehicle parked next to us. Or, more accurately, parked in us. We didn't notice getting into the car, but getting out, at home, we found a deeply creased left front side panel on the PT Cruiser. We know that the asshat was in a white vehicle, because the crease and accompanying scrape on the running board was filled with white paint. A dent that bad should have made itself known with a metal shriek. I'm sure it did.

But this is the Naughts, where it's only what's in it for oneself, and putting a good grand of damage on a stranger's car is inconvenient to acknowledge. So one doesn't. And we, the RLA and myself, were happy and chatting and not paying any attention when we got in the car, and so didn't notice if the car parked next to us was the one that creased us or just an innocent bystander.

So the question is this: Coincidence? Fate? Was the damage to the car inevitable, and we had to make a sacrifice to the gods who protected us the day before? The truth is, if we had been mowed down by a reckless teen, the car has airbags and good side column impact resistance, so we would probably have escaped with minimal damage. But the dog, who rides free in the back cargo area, would have been killed.

The RLA says that kind of thinking is superstitious. Whatever. The universe will unfold as the universe will unfold. We dodged a bullet of one kind on Friday and took a hit, albeit very minor, on the next.

It was a crap day all around, anyway. It was rainy and windy. There were no bargains or fabulous styles at the shoe store, for either me or the RLA, and we left without making a purchase. The stretcher strips were all warped, at the art supply store. They had a sale on colored pencils, and I was able to find all the colors I wanted (I had had a dream about the luminous water in Biscayne Bay and wanted to work with the colors I'd seen) but then, they only had one clerk at the register, and she kept wandering off to check prices for the person three ahead of us in line, and there seemed to be no end in sight to her wandering, so we left there, too, without making a purchase.

But today the sky is clear, and there are farmer's markets to visit, and other art supply stores.
Miz Shoes

Why Ask Why

So. Today was my first day back in my office. Or would have been, had I not been locked out. First, the outer door had the combination changed. Once in the hall, I discovered that during my absence someone had shut my door. The self-locking door to which no one has a key. Not one person. Not security, not the building managers, not the key shop. While I was at lunch (what? what else was I supposed to do? Sit in the hallway, on the floor? I tried that. It annoyed me more than anyone else.) someone managed to move a ceiling tile, and drop a hook over the inside door handle.
Also high on the incompetence-in-my-life list is American Airlines, which managed to somehow send my suitcase to Chicago, while I was flying home to Florida. It arrived a mere 23 hours later than I did. My husband had to pick me up, but the suitcase got a limo to my door.

Such is life. Once I had a suitcase go to Bogota while I was on a puddle jumper to Tallahassee. The baggage handlers told me I should take my old tags off of my suitcase before traveling. I had never been further south than Jamaica, and couldn't figure that out at all. Not six months later the same airline's baggage handlers were indicted (and later convicted) of smuggling cocaine. In people's luggage. People like me, whose suitcases disappeared and then reappeared. Nothing stolen, so no report filed. Missing luggage, so went straight on through customs, not searched. Clever, but not clever enough.

I always said that my teddy bear came back from that trip with a new scar and a knowing smile.
Miz Shoes

By Request

Someone asked about an item on my 100 Things list: they wanted me to tell the whole story about the night I met P.J. O'Rourke in a bar.

Let me set the stage. It is March, 1977, and I am living in New York City, in the Village, to be exact. I have just turned 22. This is the opening night party for what will become, for a time, one of the hottest night clubs in the city, The Lone Star Cafe. There is a sizable contingent of Texans living in New York at the time, enough that the New Yorker makes up an acronym (TINYs: Texans Living In New York) and many jokes for/about them.
The Lone Star is at the lower end of 5th Avenue, and sports on its roof a 10-foot sculpture of an iguana, complete with red neon eyes. Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys will become the unofficial house band. I will meet BB King and Lucille there. I will see and hear most of the best country/rock/blues bands of the day. My girlfriend and I will personally cause the cut "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Posts of Life" to be removed from the jukebox because we will play it over and over and over and laugh ourselves sick each time.

But that's all in the future. This is opening night, and they are throwing a Texas Independence Day Party to introduce the bar to the city. And I am there, wearing, what is for me, my casual uniform: a Hawiian print shirt and a pair of army fatigues. I'm drinking shots of Cuervo Gold and backing them with Dos Equis Darks. I am slightly drunk and very, very jolly.

I see, across the room, one of my personal heros. There is PJ O'Rourke, editor of the National Lampoon, one of the best and the brightest of my generation. He is tall and handsome and arguably the funniest person I have ever read. He has not yet become an apologist for the Right Wing. I am going to meet him. I just need to think of an opening line that would be worthy of his genius (and mine).

I go up to him, poke him gently in the ribs with my beer, and say "Hey! Who are you and what are you doing with PJ O'Rourke's face on the front of your head?"

He looks down his patrician nose, from his great height of six-foot and change and says "I AM PJ O'Rourke. What do you want?"

I say, quoting PJ, as a matter of fact: "Lick you all over for a dime. C'mon PJ, say something funny."

What he said was "Get the hell away from me." So I did.

I ended up talking to a man who was a writer for the Atlantic Monthly (I think. There had been a bit more tequilla and beer by then.) We were brilliant. The banter and rapier-like wit between us was worthy of the best odd-ball comedy of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Or Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. He finally said, rubbing his cheeks, where they hurt from having laughed so long and so hard, "You are the funniest woman I have ever met in my life. You need to meet my friend, because he's the funniest man I know. Hey! PJ, come over here, I want you to meet this girl."

PJ still didn't find me amusing "We've met." and took George and left.

Somewhere around 3 in the morning a guy tried to sing the Texas A&M fight song. He was thrown out into the snow by a very angry mob of UT alumni (HOOK 'EM HORNS) and the doors were locked behind him. I had found my neighborhood bar.

PS: there's still time to vote on my BlogMadness entry "Back Home."
Miz Shoes

The Power of the Net

Back in the dawn of time, when I was a little curmudgeon, one of my aunties used to bring me a present from Germany, whenever she went to visit. It was the coolest thing, and I loved it to death. What was this marvel?

Soap. (Insert your own lame jokes here about growing up in a small southern town, laugh at will and get back to the point.) But not just any old soap. It was soap in the shape of a teddy bear. Once it was out of its wrapper, it grew fuzz. (On purpose. Jeez, guys, get over it already.) It became a fuzzy bear. Once you used it , the fuzz didn't grow back. Something else cool happened. When you used the bar up, there was a tiny Cracker Jack-type toy inside the soap. Usually, as I recall, another tiny little plastic bear.

Well, Aunt Helga long ago passed into family legend, and I have never seen that soap ever again.

But I want to. I believe in the power of the Internet. I believe that if I put this request out there, someone will remember the soap. Someone will know what it was called (other than soap, duh.) Someone will be able to tell me if it is still produced, where and how to get it.

I believe.

P.S. I found it myself. Fuzzy Wuzzy Soap is the name, and some guy has a single, mint-in-box bar for a mere $125. See?
Miz Shoes

Code Orange

Last night's episode of "Whoopi" just cracked me up. I'm probably the only person in America watching and laughing (except for my darling husband, who laughs at some of the same things I do). But laughing I am. Last night skewered our nation's new color coded warning system for terrorist dangers. They had a code orange, which meant that unattended packages in the lobby required blowing up by the NYC bomb squad. On yellow days, unattended packages are safe.

Maybe I wouldn't have found it quite so humorous if Miami wasn't under an Orange Alert this week. You might think that the front page of our local rag newspaper would feature this notice. You might also think the world is flat. You would be wrong on both counts.

Yesterday, the story was buried somewhere in the newly graphically destroyed redesigned paper in a sidebar on an inner page in the local section under a headline that read (and I am NOT making this up) Miami Under False Code Orange Alert. The story went on to say that the Feds thought we should be under an Orange Alert due to super secret de-coded messages that threatened a terrorist attack on the city. The local FBI thought that the messages were bogus. So they split the difference by issuing the alert and telling everyone "Never mind" like some kind of spy network Emily Litella.

Today, the story made it to an actual body copy story. Same thing. National says that the threats were very specific: day, date and city, but they refuse to actually name names. Or date dates, as the case may be. Just a generic sort of "some time this week" in Miami. Or not.

It's not like I work in a tall building in the county hospital (the designated treatment center in case of a mass casualty event) in the direct flight path of the air port, or anything. I'm not nervous. I'm barely cautious. But every time one of the choppers comes in to the Trauma Center, or a plane comes in for a landing, or even when the MetroRail glides into the station at the foot of this building, my stomach clenches.

This is just great. I have a light in my car that doesn't designate any particular problem, it just lights up when you need to take the car to the mechanic. I call it the random anxiety generator light.

I feel like the FBI has put a random anxiety generator light on the entire city of Miami. Or maybe the FBI is being run by Jewish grandmothers. "I don't want you should worry, but..."

To quote the ever eloquent Jodi, "feh."
Miz Shoes

Blow Jobs Are the Gateway Drug of Sex

She asked me if I was angry with her. I told her no, that I was merely disappointed. But what you don't know at that age is that there is no such thing as "merely" disappointed. Anger, even hatred, passes, but disappointment and regret last forever.

So I'm disappointed at bad life choices. But it's not my life.

For the record, I said, oral sex is still sex. Let's set the record straight. Penetration of any orifice, with any object, for the express purpose of individual or mutual gratification, is sex. Are we clear now?

You've let the genie out of the bottle, I said. Yeah, she shrugged, but you don't have to always rub the lamp.

Except that blow jobs are the gateway drug of sex. You do this, you do that. You want more, better. More. And where is there left to go, but all the way.

I told her a long time ago that the best sex you'll ever have is the sex you never have. Kissing. Petting. Longing until you literally ache in places you never knew had the capacity to ache. That's the best sex. Because we all know that it's all in the head anyway. I told her, wait. Wait, because no matter what you think, no matter how hard you believe that this one is different, that this guy is your friend and still will be after you give in to the desire, he won't be. It'll be different all right. It will destroy your friendship. Or at the least, alter it forever in ways you cannot imagine or comprehend.

When you are an adult, sometimes you can still be friends after you've had sex with a friend. But not often. It is an end, not a means.
Miz Shoes

Foul Moods R Us

Today is one of those days when I would love to pick a fist fight with the first idiot to cross my path. Fortunately, there is a plethora of idiots available from which to choose. Even more fortunately, my meds are adjusted so that instead of taking a swing (or a swig, as the case may be) I'm only cursing like a longshoreman (and only in my head) and sticking very close to the computer.

But my mood is soooo black, so foul, so teeth-grindingly angry that I can't stand to be in my own company. Free-floating anxiety and anger.

And why? Who knows. My primary car is in the shop waiting for its brainbox to be replaced. The emergency back up car is idling hot and its radio (which was one of its finer points) decided yesterday morning to just up and die. I was listening to Public Radio and the story was about how America's foreign policy has placed us in the top five "most likely to be hit by terrorism" countries on the planet. I snapped the radio off with a pithy remark about the current occupant of the White House and how he helped us make that list. When I tried to pop a tape in the deck as an alternative listen, there was nothing but silence. The sound system had died.

So what? Really, these are all minor, petty annoyances, not life-altering problems. It is just that my tolerance is at an all-time low.


On go the headphones, and I am going to retreat to the black lagoon of my mind.
Miz Shoes

National Security Precludes Photos

So there I am, Friday afternoon. I'm leaving the office and I think I look pretty sharp: wearing a silk dress, matte gold sandals and carrying my briefcase. I walk up to the turnstile at the train station and I see that one of the three 'stiles is wrapped in yellow and black police tape. It is clearly out of order. But the spider web of yellow tape is interesting to me, so I slip my pass into the slot, enter the station through another turnstile and then turn my trusty Nikon to the yellow web.

HOLD IT! You can't take pictures here. Put the camera away.

You gotta be kidding me. I look up to see the elite Wackenhut guard looking at me. He repeats his orders. There is no photography allowed on the trains, the Metromovers, the platforms or the stations.

I ask since when? And he gives me a look of pity, as though I am the simplest of the simple and smirks, "Since (and then there is a long pause, as he cannot recall the exact date of what he is about to cite) since 2001, when they had the September Nine One One terrorism."

And taking a photo of a broken turnstile is a security risk? I'M a security risk? Is this a new law, part of the Patriot Act? I ask him.

And he says, that no, it isn't a LAW, it's a POLICY.

Well, fair enough, I say. Where is it posted? Or printed? Or publicly noticed?

And that's when he threatened to call the Metro Dade Police to "explain it" to me better.

Gentle readers, you know me. A challenge like that? To call in the police to do what, arrest me? For violating a policy? I checked my watch. Too late, the husband is already on his way to pick me up from the station and I really don't want to get into it with him: No, honey, don't pick me up at the train, come and spring me from the slammer, I was taking photos of broken turnstiles and it turned into a dangerous breach of national security.

So I let the snaggle toothed Good Ole Boy win that round. But I'm still steamed.
Miz Shoes

Aerobics Still Suck

My sistagirl dragged my sorry ass to an aerobics class Saturday morning. Early morning. 8:30 in the morning, to be exact. She got me by telling me about the music: "It's all, like, BeeGees, and disco and totally '80s. Just twist a bandana around your forehead and find some spandex and it'll be great." And I was all, like, yeah! That WILL be fun.

What drugs were flowing through my bloodstream? I hated aerobics classes in the 80s when I could still do them, before my knees just crumbled into bone meal inside some post-sell-date cartilage. I hated disco. I still hate disco. I spent the late 70s and early 80s pogoing at punk bars, and to this day have never once, not even for a minute done the Hustle.

And I went to an 80s revival aerobics class. Somewhere in the middle, as I was blowing like a aged cart horse trying to run the Preakness, and folding up with my head between my knees so I didn't pass out, I started cursing my friend. The disgustingly skinny, cute and preternaturally perky instructress kept bouncing past me and saying things like "Keepin' it movin', good work there in the back."

If I'd have been able, I would have cursed her, too. As it was I could barely lift my hands to shoulder lever to flip her the bird when her back was turned.

I'm going back tomorrow. But that class will be yoga. I am a master at the corpse pose.
Miz Shoes

Baud Rate vs. Degrees

I had this dream last night where I was preparing dinner at someone's house: a dinner party. And I was roasting meat, or trying to. But the woman's husband had reset their oven to baud rate instead of degrees farenheit. So whereas I thought I was roasting at a certain temp, I was, instead only working at about 140 degrees.

Maybe I'm having these kinds of dreams because Marc and I have been listening to an audio book of Steven Hawking's "The Universe in a Nutshell."

Or not.

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