Miz Shoes

In Which MizShoes Reboots the Blog

Well, having a company policy which states that while blogging is not, cannot be forbidden, it can be a fireable offense has certainly taken the bloom off of this particular rose. What else is there to write about except that which takes up two thirds of every one of my days? And since the RLA and I dropped cable tv to pay for the unlimited access on the i-pads, I can’t even discuss mainstream mass entertainment.

Well, I did get sucked into going to see The Hunger Games a couple of weeks ago. I’d never read the books, so didn’t have a preconceived idea of what I was in for. In the event, it was just another dystopia set in the not-too-distant future wherein the rich are exceedingly rich and the poor are exceedingly poor and the rich like to see the poor kill each other off in televised games. Donald Sutherland was convincingly evil. The secondary evil guy had an amazingly crafted beard. There were poison berries, sadistic teens and mutated wildlife. Pretty par for the course. It was visually appealing, enough. And I hated it.

I do not do well with dystopias, particularly in light of the current political situation in America, or PanEm, if you prefer. The right is circling the drain of outright fascism, the war against women is heating up to levels I have never before seen, and the majority of Americans still can’t get their heads out of Fox News’ ass long enough to notice the rather alarming shift in the gestalt. 12 Monkeys left me depressed for weeks, and I still break out in a cold sweat every time I even THINK about The Handmaid’s Tale.

Oh, I know, I can write about cats. And fashion. And food. I bet nobody’s doing any of that.

Miz Shoes

On and On, On and On

After I wrote about my broken-heartedness over the loss of my friend, The Coolest Person In the World, she sent me photos of our place: the room with Monet’s Waterlilies at MOMA. In one of those universe is laughing at you moments, she sent them on my birthday, without realizing that it was. We ended up talking that night, and all is right in our world. At the same time, another friendship I despaired was irreparably broken became whole again.

Last week, I passed on my copies of Walter Pater and Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island of the Mind to a young man embarking on a two-month tramp tour of Central America. In two months, the Number Three Surrogate begins a year of teaching in South Korea. So many changes.

Miz Shoes

In Search of the Lost Chord

Lillian Rube Kanarek

Miz Shoes has been working on her family genealogy for years now, and has uncovered a missing relative or two, but nothing earth-shattering. As a clan, there have been some small re-connections. It’s been slow work, and done in fits and starts. There is one branch of the family, though, that seems to have been pruned from the tree of man. My mother was the only child of her mother, a lovely (based on the two photos we had of her) woman who died in the flu pandemic of 1918, when Mummy was merely 7 months old. I am named for her. I have visited her grave in Newport, Rhode Island, but there is no record of her death in the Rhode Island databases. Lillian was herself the only child of her father, but she had numerous half-siblings, all of whom had a different last name. I have found the immigration records for the siblings and their mother, but not for Lillian. I have found the marriage records for my grandfather and his second wife, but not for Lillian. I have seen my mother’s birth certificate, but there is nothing in the Rhode Island databases of her birth. I have found census records from 1910 when my grandfather was single, and from 1920, when he was already married to my grandmother.

In researching the Ellis Island database, I found Great Uncle Jake’s immigration papers. He was headed to New York to his relative, Morris Rube. Well, Rube was Lillian’s maiden name. I found in the Polish records the marriage of my Great Grandmother and her first husband, Rube, and there was some fuzzy oral history about Grandpa being a cousin somehow to Lillian. Morris Rube had to be the connection.

I found Morris Rube in the 1910 Census. He had a wife named Ida, and four children: Bessie, Jacob, Leo and David. I found a photo in my parent’s home of three young boys and on the back was written “Morris Rube’s sons”. And that is the end of the trail. The 1930 Census shows no children at home. There is only one WWI draft registration. I can’t find anything else. No marriages, no deaths, no WWII military records.

Leo, David and Jacob Rube

In the Jewish Genealogy websites, I can’t find anyone else looking for the Rubes. None of the extended cousins on my Grandfather’s side know of them. They are my personal lost tribe. I throw this out to the magic of search engines and the interwebz. Where are the descendants of Morris Rube of Yonkers, New York?

Miz Shoes

57 Channels and Nothing On

It’s been so long that Miz Shoes doesn’t remember when it happened, but at some point in January or December, the faithful big-screen hi-def TV blew a component which rendered it unwatchable. (The color wheel fried its bearings or some such nonsense, and it screams like a banshee. The picture is still perfect.) Here at the Casita des Zapatos we missed the Superbowl (quel horror!) and more importantly, the ads. This week we missed the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which, as faithful readers know, is Miz Shoes favorite thing in the world. We sit on the sofa, the dogs and I, and read aloud from our AKC book of dogs as the breeds go by. One of our neighbors took pity on us, so we did get to see the second night and best in show awards. How about that Irish Deerhound, huh? Ain’t she a beauty? First time in 135 years that one took BIS. The PBGV was lovely in the hound group, and we all agreed that the Doberman couldn’t hold a candle to our own Miss Rosie the Pony.

In any event, there is no television in the house, which means no movies. No streaming movies, no dvds. Nada. Miz Shoes is suffering from severe withdrawal. Miz Shoes has often said that she’ll watch anything with sprocket holes, and not having Netflix is killing her. The RLA has vowed to fix this his own self, downloading pages and pages of instructions and an hour of video how-tos. It remains to be seen.

On the other hand, there has been an decided increase in studio time and productivity, as is evidenced by this entry and the fact that my little Etsy shop is getting updated tonight. Closets have been cleaned. Cooking has been done. Feh. I’d rather bee watching Farscape.

Miz Shoes


Miz Shoes is terribly sorry about letting this blog languish unloved, unread and unupdated for so long. Things have been in flux around the Casita des Zappatos for months now, and it has had a negative impact on this blog.

Around September Miz Shoes decided that she had had enough of her bad self, and went on a diet. Miz Shoes has lost 35 pounds, and the clothes that were once destined for Mild Burning Symptoms sale have come back to the closet and her fat clothes will be sold off. Also, shoes. Miz Shoes is determined to thin the herd there, as well.

In October, we lost the Noble Dog Nails, only to gain Rosie the Pony. Rosie (or Rosalita, to be formal) is a red Doberman and it is hard to remember that this is just a puppy when her paws are like demi-tasse cups and she weighs close to 60 pounds. But a puppy she is, so shoes have been eaten, hats have been eaten and Jojo, the Dog of Very Little Brain, has been terrorized. Rosie tries very hard to be good, but she’s still a lot of rambunctious puppy.

Next, Miz Shoes was given a lateral transfer at work, meaning that there is actual work to be done most days, and those heady times of hanging around updating my blog and knitting while at the office are long gone. The good news is that Miz Shoes is enjoying it.

In December, we took our vacation with the Girl Cousin, who may now be known as SisterCousin, because it sounds funnier and has an unhealthy closeness to our actual familial tree, itself somewhat intertwined in ways that are illegal in most states. Those relationships occurred in the Old Country, where life in the shtetl made choices slimmer. She refused to indulge my lust for the pink Minnie ears, despite them sporting BOTH a tiara and a princess veil. We had to make do with matching picture frames.

Over in the studio, Miz Shoes bought, stained and assembled The Mysterious Miss Cherry Blossom, an Ashford Country Spinner on which to make art yarn. Sadly, there has been little time to indulge on her.

And that, dear readers, brings you up to date on Miz Shoes life and hard times. She promises to do better in the coming months.

Miz Shoes

Where Does the Time Go

Mild Burning Symptoms is now live, and we’ve had our first sale. This has shown me how much more code I need to write.

I spent last weekend in Sarasota, at the Number Two Surrogate Daughter’s graduation from New College. After seeing that graduating class, I have some small hope for the future. These are the best and the brightest of their generation, and I hope that they will live up to their promise and change the world. Maybe my generation did their part by raising these kids. Maybe we totally fucked up and are leaving them even more of a mess than we inherited from the generation before us. These young men and women are fascinated by the 60s and 70s, and what I did in my twenties, and what I really don’t think of as all that boho, or dangerous or even edgy, they love to hear about. Let Miz Shoes assure her readers that I played up my role as an antedilluvian Auntie Mame to the best of my ability, swishing my hot pink glow stick around like a fan, and trying not to scare the children when I joined them in the rave room.

I joke, but being with her and her friends, no, being included with her friends at that last party of their undergraduate careers was a gift that she gave to me, and it will carry me along through many dark days.

I’ve decided to start exercising every morning, doing a little workout in the pool, and although the spirit is willing, the flesh has decided that every other day is enough, thank you.

I have also joined the evil empire that is Facebook, although not entirely willingly. I keep telling people that I have a blog, you know. And I Twitter. Really, anything you want to know about what I’m up to can be gleaned from either of those two sources. But still, here I am, updating my status when I should be reading about how to automatically take posts down when the item sells. Or how to incorporate an actual blog page into MBS, so that we can have a little more of a dialog.

Feh. Enough of this idle frivolity. I’m off to make myself a martini and enjoy the fact that the RLA is out with his friend for the evening. Mmmmm, mud mask and fuzzy bathrobe, here I come.

Miz Shoes

To Every Thing There is a Season

Someone found this blog today by searching for a specific quote from Thom McGuane. I forget how much I love this passage. It’s been at least four years since I last posted it, so I give it to you again. One of the greatest soliloquies ever written, in my opinion. YMMV.

From “The Bushwhacked Piano” by Thomas McGuane copyright 1971.

“What I believe in? I believe in happiness, birth control, generosity, fast cars, environmental sanity, Coor’s beer, Merle Haggard, upland game birds, expensive optics, helmets for prizefighters, canoes, skiffs and sloops, horses that will not allow themselves to be ridden, speeches made under duress; I believe in metal fatigue and the immortality of the bristlecone pine. I believe in the Virgin Mary and others of that ilk. Even her son whom civilization accuses of sleeping at the switch.”

Missus Fitzgerald was seen to leave the room, Ann to gaze into her lap.

“I believe that I am a molecular swerve not to be put off by the zippy diversions of the cheap-minded. I believe in the ultimate rule of men who are sleeping. I believe in the cargo of torpor which is the historically registered bequest of politics. I believe in Kate Smith and Hammond Home Organs. I believe in ramps and drop-offs.”

Fitzgerald got out too, leaving only Payne and Ann; she, in the banishing of her agony and feeling she was possibly close to Something, raised adoring eyes to the madman.

“I believe in spare tires and emergency repairs. I believe in the final possum. I believe in little eggs of light falling from outer space and the bombardment of the poles by free electrons. I believe in tintypes, rotogravures and parked cars, all in their places. I believe in roast spring lamb with boiled potatoes. I believe in spinach with bacon and onion. I believe in canyons lost under the feet of waterskiers. I believe that we are necessary and will rise agian. I believe in words on paper, pictures on rock, intergalactic hellos. I believe in fraud. I believe that in pretending to be something you aren’t you have your only crack at release from the bondage of time. I believe in my own dead more than I do in yours. What’s more, credo in unum deum, I believe in one God. He’s up there. He’s mine. And he’s smart as a whip.”

“Anyway,” he said melifluously and with a shabbily urbane gesture, “you get the drift. I hate to flop the old philosophy on the table like so much pig’s guts. And I left out a lot. But, well, there she is.” And it was too. Now and again, you have to check the bread in the oven.”

Miz Shoes

Shoes, Glorious Shoes

I am the proud owner of a new pair of Fluevogs. I’ve wanted a pair for a least ten years, and when I saw this pair on sale, I had to cave in to my addictions and bought them. They shipped from the LA store, and arrived wrapped in bright blue paper. When I got home from work, I made a special Cosmo (a little violet liquour) and allowed myself the day’s cigarette. Then I photodocumented the event.

I present to you my teal blue Robustas, from the Coffee series.


1. Cosmo, Smokes and Vogs, 2. The Sole of a Fluevog, 3. Cropped Toe, 4. Vogs

Miz Shoes

Days of Future Past

The RLA and I have a tradition: on New Year’s Eve, we stay home and cook together, then lock the animals inside and hide from the falling bullets. We watch movies and go to bed after we watch the ball drop in Times Square. On New Year’s Day, we listen to the Moody Blues. All day and all night and probably the next day.

This year, we went to see Avatar in 3-D on an I-Max screen. I’m still conflicted. I loved the movie, and yet, it was an empty enjoyment, like the popcorn I ate. There were visuals that were magic. The flora and fauna of the imaginary Pandora were believable and beautiful. But that was it. Such plot as there was was lifted wholesale from Dances With Wolves, Pocohontas, Moby Dick and Apocolypse Now. Sort of. Toss in a handful of “noble savage” mythos and a shake of anti-war (specifically anti Bush’s war) and you have it. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that, it was just… tissue. Disposable entertainment that left no mark in my mind, except for the visceral and visual. The RLA compared this to seeing the original Star Wars for the first time, and the feeling that you were in the presence of a new era in film making. And yeah, I can see that, but no. Star Wars, for all of the bad dialog and recycled mythos, had a much deeper soul and resonance than Avatar.

That doesn’t mean I won’t want to own a copy for home. But there has to be more than just a two-hour trip to another world. There have to be characters that you care about and frankly, the only ones that I wanted to see more of were the Etruscan-style horses. I would love to see a coffee table book on the planet that the animators created, but the buffed up Smurfs? Meh.

Over the long weekend, I spun up another five yarns. I made a lasagna, and a pot of cabbage soup (it’s still simmering as I type). For the coming year, I decided to try and photograph everything I make each weekend, from fiber to food, and post the results each Monday. We’ll see. In May, I have a spinning workshop in Sarasota. Later in May, the Surrogate Daughter Number Two graduates college, and I am expected to be in attendance (and will be proudly). In June, we have the annual week at the shore. In August RJ and I are scheduled to go to New York for Blogher 10.

I am determined this year to launch Mild Burning Symptoms, with or without the assistance of the RLA. I am determined to reduce the fabric stash in my studio, whether by selling it off on MBS, or by making quilts, I just need to empty the space.

We’ll see how that goes.

Finally, I went to see my Mummy today. She held my hand tightly and said “baby.” I didn’t stop crying for five minutes. And that is why tonight, I am making cabbage soup. It was one of my favorite dishes that she’d make in the winter. It’s a pure peasant dish: cabbage, onions, beef bones, carrots and tomatoes. There are brown sugar, sour salt, lemon juice and raisins. It is deep and sweet and sour, all at the same time. I can smell it simmering in the kitchen.

Happy new year to all, and may the second decade of the 21st century suck less than the first.

Miz Shoes

What a Day for a Daydream

Today is a but first day. You know, you have things to do that you want to do, but first, you have to do something else.

This is what I want to do: spin up these batts that I made last week when FiberNinja came to play.


But first, I have to make my way through this mess; sorting, storing, tossing and filing so that there is enough room to pull out the spinning wheel. Sigh.


And I also have to visit my mummy. And in the afternoon, I have an appointment to get my hair cut. I think I may have found someone who understands me when I say I need Roger Daltrey at the Isle of Wight. Oh, just Google it.

Miz Shoes

You Gotta Serve Somebody

I need to clarify something here. I love Bob Dylan. I love Bob Dylan’s voice, gargling phlegm, off-key, nasal and all. As for my CousinSteve’s assertion that Mr. Zimmerman hasn’t been musically relevant for decades, I say bah. The Bob will always be relevant. The Bob transcends relevance. The Bob is a singularity in a musical wasteland. The one thing the Bob is NOT, however, is suited for making an album of Christmas music. That is an abomination on all levels.

Besides, we are coming up to the Jewish High Holy Days, and that is where the Bob comes into play. We hear the story of Abraham and Isaac, and Bob wrote about that on “Highway 61, Revisited.” It is what I chant under my breath, and taught all three surrogate daughters to recite every Rosh Hashanna:

G-d said to Abraham, kill me your son

Abe say G-d, you must be puttin me on

G-d say no, Abe say what

G-d say you can do what you want Abe, but

The next time you see me comin’ you better run

Abe say where you want this killin done

G-d say out on Highway 61

See? That’s what the Bob is best at, making the ancient relevant, whether we are talking about G-d and Abraham or musical genres that have passed (see the gumbo-infused blues he’s got on the latest cd, or the Civil War era rhythms and instrumentations on Love and Theft.)

Tonight the RLA and I are going to see Bruce Springsteen and the Legendary E-Street Band. It’s a crap shoot for us, seating-wise, because I coughed up for general admission tix, which means we’re standing for the whole show, somewhere on the floor. Exactly where depends on where we hit the lottery. Not that we wouldn’t be standing (or dancing) for the whole show anyway. I tried not to look at set lists from the tour, wanting it to be a surprise, but caved last night, and discovered that he’s been doing the Detroit Medley and Land of 1000 Dances. He played 8 encores (well, 8 songs during the encore) in Boston in August. (I NEED to find a copy of that show.)

The RLA and I have been watching movies dealing with tradition. We saw 10 Canoes last night, a dream of a movie that tells a legend, or myth, or folk tale of Australian native people. I don’t think we’re supposed to call them Aborigines any more. Two weeks ago we watched Arranged, about two women in Brooklyn, one a Hassidic Jew, and her friend who is a devout Muslim. They are both in the middle of having their marriages arranged for them, and both are having a sort of crisis of faith, wondering if they want a more secular life. They both decide no. It makes me wonder if my own life is too secular, and I long for a routine of going to temple and prayer. But there’s the rub. I don’t find myself fitting in the community at any of the local temples I have attended.

I’m supposed to go to services with Star this weekend, and I am loathe to do so. I did not enjoy last year’s services. CousinSteve may say that one is not supposed to enjoy the service, but I’m not sure. I think that I should. That I should find things to contemplate upon and messages in the sermons that bear deeper reflection. Such was not the case last year, and I doubt that it will be so this year. The temple that I belonged to for many years has a new rabbi, and maybe I would find him a better spiritual leader, but it’s too late now to try to get tickets for services. I can’t find any enthusiasm within myself for Chabbad.

Sigh. Maybe I’ll just listen to the Bob’s version of the story, and trust myself to reflect upon the message.

Miz Shoes

SIde by Side

On Friendship Day, the realization of who I'm friends with is almost too much to bear

Miz Shoes

Electric Boots & Mohair Suits

The Divine Miz M (thanks to RJ for the new nickname for my SisterGirlFriendGirl) tipped me off to this. Those shiny, rad shoes belong to the son of one of her friends, and, according to President Obama hisownself, they are the flyest shoes ever to grace the White House.


The silver shoes of a guest stand out as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a photo before the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender reception in the East Room of the White House, June 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Miz Shoes

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Today is the last day of my vacation. Time to sober up. I have completed 4 skeins of yarn, 3 batts and 10 sets of stitch markers. Mild Burning Symptoms (the virtual garage sale) is set to launch tonight. I have gotten a sorta tan, taken a lot of naps and joined twitter (follow me as MizShoes—no space). I read two novels. I translated a knitting chart to words (twice because the first time was a failure of epic proportions). I am set to do some heavy photography today, and some major updates to my Ravelry projects, populate MBS with stuff to sell and update the Etsy shop. I also need to visit my mother. Sigh.

I guess now is as good a time as any to turn off the laptop and get to work. I also need to figure out twitpix.

Tomorrow, it’s back to the chain gang.

Miz Shoes

All These Places Had Their Moments

Yesterday the Gulf was as rough and pounding as the Atlantic. The waves were relentless, and the tide, not quite a rip, but we went in the water to try and body surf and before we could catch the first wave, we were 50 feet south of where we’d gone in. There was no swimming back, you had to wade in the shallows, and even then, it was a battering. Shelling was, as Star put it, like shooting fish in a barrel. You just plucked them from the cut-away dune, or waited for the dunes to calve like ice bergs, revealing a fresh strata of shells. I have conches and olives, augers and scallops, tulips and whelks. I even found a couple of cones, but they aren’t in the best shape.

It’s all good. Last night the storms came in from the Gulf, lightning and thunder through the night. This morning, the gulf is mostly flat, the drifts of shells that were there at dusk have been covered by sand, and the beach is soft and flat. To live by the sea is a charmed and charming life, I think.

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