Miz Shoes

Keep On Swimming

The RLA and I have been in the Casita des Zapatos for 16 years. The pool was already in need of refinishing when we moved in, but the RLA has been diligent in his pool boy duties, and we have kept the pool intact far longer than any pool has a right to expect the marcite to last. But a couple of years ago, when the condos were being built across the street, the pounding and digging and all caused the pool to get a few cracks, and the builder promised to refinish it for us, but instead split with his profits to South America. So this winter, the RLA and I had to face the grim reality of refinishing the pool. I photo documented the whole thing, although I wasn’t fast enough to grab a shot of the Rasta Brothers pouring muriatic acid on the walls. The foaming electric green sluice was amazing.

Here is the pool, as it was, and if you look closely, you can see the holes in the marcite.


The next morning, the pool was drained. And the holes in the marcite are easier to spot. (Base of the steps, for one)

drained steps holes

Another day, and we have a shot of the undercoating, the waiting Diamond Brite, and the rubble that was the rotten marcite that the Rasta Brothers removed from the pool walls.

rubble and diamond brite

You can see how uneven the surface is here…how much of the old coating was pulled off.

waiting to be resurfaced

The next morning, the Brite Coat has been applied and cured overnight and the muriatic acid wash is scheduled for later in the morning.

waiting for acid

The main drain hadn’t worked since Hurricane Andrew, when gravel and muck filled the pool. The previous owners hadn’t fixed it, and we didn’t bother. But with the pool empty, now was the time to flush the pipes.

clearing the main drain

Filling it up again. The color of the water is the most amazing jade green. I kept telling the RLA that this was going to be the color of the pool from now on. He got a little pannicky that he’d never be able to tell if we were growing algae again.

filling jade green

Only kidding. Once the chemicals were added, and the water shocked, the pool became a lovely turquoise. We’re ready for the summer.

beautiful and done

Miz Shoes

Life is a Carnival

I’ve still got the croup. Woke up late, drank coffee, spun a bobbin of single in my studio, and went back to sleep. This isn’t good, but it isn’t bronchitis or pneumonia. Still, it is sapping my power to think and write, so in an effort to keep this blog alive, I’ve stolen the following meme from RJ, who claims to have stolen it from someone else, anyway. It’s a life experience thingy and while doing it mentally, it seemed to make me a lot more interesting than I’m feeling, so here it is.

Link to the person you got this from (see above)

Bold the things you’ve done

Italicize the things you’d like to do

Underline the things you wouldn’t do on a dare

  1. started your own blog

  2. slept under the stars

  3. played in a band

  4. visited Hawaii

  5. watched a meteor shower

  6. given more than you can afford to charity

  7. been to Disneyworld (and the mothership, Disneyland)

  8. climbed a mountain

  9. held a praying mantis


sang a solo


bungee jumped

  12. visited Paris

  13. watched a lightning storm at sea

  14. taught yourself an art from scratch

  15. adopted a child

  16. had food poisoning

  17. walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

  18. grown your own vegetables

  19. experienced a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, etc.)

  20. slept on an overnight train

  21. had a pillow fight

  22. hitch hiked

  23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill - be honest!

  24. built a snow fort

  25. held a lamb

  26. gone skinny dipping


run a marathon

  28. ridden a gondola in Venice

  29. seen a total eclipse

  30. watched a sunrise or sunset

  31. hit a home run

  32. been on a cruise (and not just a cruise, I made the Atlantic crossing)

  33. seen Niagara Falls in person (on my honeymoon, of course. The RLA and I are big on irony.)

  34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors (This is a debatable point. I used to summer in Newport, where my parents were born, but I’ve never been to Romania or Russia)

  35. seen an Amish community

  36. taught yourself a new language (but only if HTML or pig-latin counts)

  37. had enough money to be truly satisfied

  38. seen the leaning tower of Pisa in person

  39. gone rock climbing

  40. flown in a hot-air balloon


sung karaoke

  42. seen Old Faithful Geyser erupt

  43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant

  44. visited Africa (It’s a big continent. There’s things I’d like to see)

  45. walked on a beach by moonlight

  46. been transported in an ambulance

  47. had your portrait painted

  48. gone deep sea fishing

  49. seen Mount Rushmore

  50. been to the top of the Washington Monument

  51. gone scuba diving or snorkeling

  52. kissed in the rain

  53. played in the mud

  54. gone to a drive-in theater

  55. been in a movie (or long-form music video… Springsteen’s Live at Madison Square Garden)

  56. visited the Great Wall of China

  57. started a business

  58. taken a martial arts class

  59. visited Russia

  60. served at a soup kitchen

  61. sold Girl Scout cookies

  62. gone whale watching

  63. received flowers for no reason

  64. donated blood

  65. gone sky diving (this is on a technicality. I went, wore a chute, but didn’t jump—I was taking pictures of the jumper)

  66. baked your own bread

  67. bounced a check

  68. flown in a helicopter

  69. saved a favorite childhood toy

  70. visited the Lincoln memorial

  71. eaten caviar (NOMNOMNOM. Not recently enough.)

  72. pieced a quilt

  73. stood in Times Square

  74. visited the Everglades

  75. been fired from a job

  76. seen the changing of the guard in London

  77. broken a bone

  78. been on a speeding motorcycle

  79. seen the Grand Canyon in person

  80. published a book

  81. seen Michelangelo’s David in person

  82. bought a brand new car

  83. walked in Jerusalem

  84. had your picture in the newspaper

  85. read the entire Bible (Old and New Testaments)

  86. visited the White House

  87. killed and prepared an animal for eating (Fishing is fun. I had a boyfriend shoot squirrels, and prep them, and I cooked them. Does that count?)

  88. had chickenpox

  89. saved someone’s life

  90. sat on a jury

  91. met someone famous

  92. joined a book club

  93. lost a loved one


had a baby

  95. seen the Alamo in person

  96. taken a road trip

  97. been involved in a law suit

  98. ridden a horse bareback

  99. been stung by a bee

100. met the love of your life

Okay, so I won’t tag anyone, but you are most cordially invited to play—let me know if you do, so I can visit yours!

Miz Shoes

Like a Circle in a Spiral

As our little blue/green marble takes its final staggering steps of its orbit around the minor star on the edge of the spiral arm of our minor galaxy in the infinite expanse of space, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what a sucking chest wound 2008 was. It wasn’t quite as bad for me, personally, as 2004, but it pretty much sucked. The never-ending presidential campaign got dirtier and nastier, ending with the election of the smartest guy in the room, a result made possible only by the utter loathing for the current administration by 99% of the planet. In this respect, Bush/Cheney is like my ex-husband, the Anti-Christ. If they weren’t so corrupt, so evil, so mind-bogglingly sociopathic on a monumental scale, the American public might not have recognized that our last, best hope was a man with a foreign-sounding name and a skin color not traditionally associated with the presidency. But the utter terror of the prospect of another four years of Bush/Cheney lite was enough to send voters to the polls in record numbers, all with just one thought: CHANGE. And for that, MizShoes is grateful. For everything else those two have perpetrated in my (and your) name, I wish only for a special prosecutor to try them for war crimes. It’s too late for the high crimes and misdemeanors and impeachment that should have come.

The economy crashed and burned this year. We’ve tightened our belts so much at the Casita des Zappatos that the next round of economizing is going to include a WWII-style victory garden and a clothes line. I’m even unplugging the computer to save on electricity.

But I went to Arrowmont, and had a blast learning about felting. I got my beads and baubles in a shop, even if nothing sold for Christmas, it costs nothing to leave everything in the case and hope for Valentine’s Day sales. The RLA got a second, and then a third, teaching gig. I haven’t been able to sell the old VW, Zelda Bleu, but I was able to get the Smart Car, and it also costs nothing to hold on to the VW and wait for better days.

There will be better days, I’m sure of it. The future starts tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see what happens.

Miz Shoes

Try to Remember

I try not to make New Year’s Resolutions, because I love making lists and checking off the things I’ve accomplished, and New Year’s Resolutions tend to be lists wherein nothing ever gets checked off. But this year, I’m going to try. Mostly, this has been inspired by the wii & wiifit that the RLA and I bought each other for Chanukah. I got on it yesterday and it kicked my ass. I actually dripped sweat, something that I rarely did all those sessions on the treadmill at the gym and/or with Nicolas Cage, my trainer who decamped with my money. Those little wii miis were banging their fists on the ground in frustration a couple of times, and the RLA kicked my ass when it came to running, but I beat him senseless in the hula-hoop exercise, and all those years of aerobics and step classes paid off with me being able to follow the little pink foot prints during the basic step. Awesome.

So, inspired by the wii, this will be my year to lose some weight. How much is a mystery, because I would rather have my face eaten by weasels than tell anyone how much I weigh. I won’t even let the nurse at my doctor’s office weigh me. I tell them that I am overweight and they will just have to guess.

The second resolution is to make 2009 the year that Mild Burning Symptoms finally goes live. MBS is my virtual garage sale. It’s still in development, but feel free to take a look and leave any comments you may have about it here.

The third and final resolution is to make 2009 the year that I get back to the sewing machine. I have been consumed with knitting for several years now, and my skill level has improved considerably, so it’s time to tune up the sewing skills. I have a good dress-maker’s mannequin, a wonderful machine and a separate serger, lots of fabric and lots of patterns. I intend to put them all to good use in 2009.

What’s on your list, or don’t you have one?

PS: I’ve added a list of our cast of eccentrics, over there on the right, where it used to be a lame “about me” page.

Miz Shoes

Meme a Little Meme For Me

Copied from Mean Louise, and tickling the back of my memory like I may have done this before, I bring you a book meme.


  • Look at the list and bold those you have read.

  • Underline those you intend to read.

  • Italicise the books you LOVE.

  • Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who’ve read number 6 and force real books upon them.

  • 1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

    2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

    3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (I read “The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde, does that count?)

    4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

    5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

    6. The Bible

    7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

    8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

    9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

    10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

    11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

    12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

    13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

    14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (OK, so not all of them, but I OWN all of them)

    15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

    16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (Doesn’t this go with the Lord of the Rings? Granted it is a separate story, but really…)

    17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

    18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger

    19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

    20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

    21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

    22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

    23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens

    24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

    25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

    26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

    27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

    29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

    30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

    31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

    32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

    33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

    34. Emma - Jane Austen

    35. Persuasion - Jane Austen

    36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (See 33.)

    37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

    38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

    39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

    40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

    41. Animal Farm - George Orwell

    42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

    43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

    45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

    46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

    47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

    48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (This book still scares the crap out of me. Especially over the past eight years.)

    49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

    50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

    51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel

    52. Dune - Frank Herbert (But then there is Son of Dune, and Extended Family of Dune and Dune the Part Written by the Extended Family of Frank Herbert and who cares)

    53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

    54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

    55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

    56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

    58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

    59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

    60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

    62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

    63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

    64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

    65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

    66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac

    67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

    68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding

    69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

    70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

    71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

    72. Dracula - Bram Stoker

    73.The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

    74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

    75. Ulysses - James Joyce

    (I have actually started at least three times. And failed. I even tried getting a running start by re-reading “Portrait of the Artist…” and where is that on the list?)

    76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

    77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

    78. Germinal - Emile Zola

    79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

    80. Possession - AS Byatt

    81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

    82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

    83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

    84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

    85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

    86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

    87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White

    88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

    89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

    91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

    92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (Oh, for the love of God, people. Why don’t you just put “Johnathan Livingston Seagull” on here, too?)

    93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

    94. Watership Down - Richard Adams

    95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole (I have to re-read this, because I LOATHED it, and so many people I respect and admire LOVE it. Clearly I missed something. Maybe)

    96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

    97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

    98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (Didn’t we already do the entire works back up there on line 14?)

    99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

    100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

    I seem to be particularly lacking in modern New York Times best sellers, don’t I? And why is there such paucity of sci-fi and fantasy? And such a heap of Dickens and Austen? And does watching any number of film versions and remakes count? What more could there be to “Pride and Prejudice” that I haven’t seen? And I’ve even watch the Bollywood version. And why is there no way to mark the books you hated reading? I mean, I read “The Handmaid’s Tale” and I couldn’t say I enjoyed it, because it still gives me nightmares, but I wouldn’t say I hated it. On the other hand, having been forced in my high school AP English to slog my way through both “Moby Dick” and “Silas Marner” I could honestly say I read and loathed both. While I’m asking, where is “The Wizard of Oz”? And any works by Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston?

    Anyway, if you chose to play, please leave me a comment, so we can all congratulate ourselves on how well read we are.

    Miz Shoes

    With Two Dogs in The Yard

    Oh so long ago and far away, when MizShoes lived in Manhattan, there was a dj who did a Thanksgiving show where he opened by lighting a fire (aka: crinkling cellophane near the mic) and playing “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I thought of it yesterday, as the RLA and I took a break and sat in the fairy garden and watched the koi and the dogs frollicked in the yard.

    This was the first Thanksgiving we’ve ever spent together, by ourselves, and at our own home. It had, as I mentioned earlier, gotten me very melancholy. But in the event, it was soooo pleasant, and soooo relaxed and sooooo easy to remember the things that I’m thankful for that are right here under my nose. I could get used to this. Of course, the GirlCousin called and told me not to, because all hands will be back on deck at her home next year.

    I haven’t seen a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in decades. Really. I cannot remember the last one I watched. So I watched this one. In high-def on the giant screen. Boy, was I surprised to find myself in total tears, sobbing at the Rockettes. Who knew? When I told the GirlCousin about this startling turn of events, she told me that one of her earliest memories is of going to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. She was maybe three or four, and turned to her mother and declared that when she grew up, she wanted to “be a croquette.” I told you people. Cooking is in our blood.

    I loved seeing the new balloons. I loved the floats. I loved the marching band from Florida comprised of people who had marched in bands in high school or college and were now well beyond those years. They were great! Once a marching band wonk, always a marching band wonk. Most of the folks were decades beyond their marching band heyday, although there were a few faces that seemed considerably fresher than the rest. Mostly, these were folks my age or older, and they had baton twirlers and color guards and everything. I wonder if the GirlCousin still has her batons?

    After that, there was something called the National Dog Show. Who knew? I only know from Westminster. There were lots of nice doggies, and the Cavalier won its group, which is nice to see. The setter who won best in show was stunning, and her markings were exceptional. I rolled around on the floor with the Dog of Very Little Brain to celebrate the dog show.

    Eventually, I rousted myself from the beading I was doing to cook. We had a standing rib roast (with only one bone, it fell over, making it a laying down rib roast), sauteed brussel sprouts with fresh chestnuts (American, which is a digression I may get to later) and that epitome of 60’s glamor, twice-baked potatoes. There was a little green tea ice cream for desert. And coffee, of course. And cranberries in port wine as an accompaniment. The pumpkin pie I’d baked earlier in the week was long gone. It is my opinion that there is nothing in the world so fine as a breakfast of hot coffee and cold pie. I may go back in the kitchen today to make an apple pie, just to prove my hypothesis.

    We watched a movie, and appreciated each other, and the animal companions, and the families and friends that we love and were not with. And it was good.

    Now. About American chestnuts. As you may or may not know, the American Chestnut was almost wiped out by blight in the early years of the 20th century, with virtually no trees left by the 1940s. Genetic engineering to incorporate the blight-resistant properties of the Chinese Chestnut has proven effective, but the groves are still young, and so the chestnut industry in the US is still baby-sized. This was the first year that I was able to find American chestnuts at the grocery store, specifically at Whole Foods. I grabbed them. Unlike the Italian chestnuts which are readily available in the grocery store, not a single nut was revealed to contain mold when I cut the shells for roasting. NOT A SINGLE ONE!!!! They were sweet, and they were much easier to shell when roasted. I was very favorably impressed with the quality. Let’s hope the resurgence of the American Chestnut continues.

    Miz Shoes

    And It’s One, Two, Three…

    I’m a day late and a dollar short on this, but yesterday was an historic day in the history of women’s rights. It was the 88th anniversary of women winning the right in America to vote.


    Back in the dawn of time, when I was a little shoe, my friends and I always made a point of celebrating the occasion. This year, it was with no small amount of symbolism that Hillary gave her convention speech. Not the one she wanted to give, which would have be the nominee’s acceptance oration, but a speech nonetheless, and nonetheless historic. This was the year that the first viable female candidate for President of the United States almost made it to the general election. It only took 88 years, but hey, at least it was less than a century. Let’s give it up for Hillary.

    Item the Second

    For some reason, RJ decided to hit me with a meme. Thanks, bitch. I feel obligated to do this, since I never return the chain letters of love she sends me.

    Instructions: What you are supposed to do…and please don’t spoil the fun…Copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your lists! Don’t forget to change my answers to the questions with that of your own.

    (A) Four places I go over and over: Newport, RI; Sarasota; New York City and Disney World (go ahead. mock me)

    (B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: RJ, Star, Elise, CousinSteve

    (C) Four of my favorite places to eat? Gil Capa’s Bistro; Les Halles; The Crab & Fin; Fox’s

    (D) Four places you’d rather be? Sarasota, New York, Tahiti, home on the couch

    (E) Four TV shows I could watch over and over: Firefly; Star Trek (oh, wait… I DO); Deadwood; The Avengers

    (F) Four people I think will respond: Actually, I don’t think anyone will. So, you guys? Just stick a link in the comments if you decide to play.

    But Wait, There’s More

    As if RJ’s meme wasnt’ enough, Mean Louise tagged me the next day with another one. So here goes nothing:

    Here are the rules:

    1. Link to the person who tagged you (see above).

    2. Post the rules on your blog (this is what you are now reading).

    3. Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).

    4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them (This is only a game)

    5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog

    6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up

    Six Things About Me

    1. I have a tattoo of a Siamese Cat on my shoulder in an homage to Bob Dylan

    2. I worked as a figure model in a life drawing class at the Woodstock School of Art

    3. I eat chicken feet at dim sum restaurants just to get street cred with the steam cart pushers. It works.

    4. I almost got crushed at a Bad Company concert at Madison Square Garden when a fight broke out in the front row

    5. I still want a horse, dammit

    6. If I could live in any other time and place, it would be in Belle Epoque Paris, and who’s to say I won’t in my next life

    You’re it! RJ, Elise, Elise, Shan, Gigi and Bee

    Miz Shoes

    A Friday Olio

    The thing about earworms is that you have no control over them. Not what gets stuck in repeat, not how long it gets stuck, not who sings it. I’ve had “Lydia The Tattooed Lady” stuck in my head for two weeks. I finally gave up and watched the clip. It didn’t help. I’m still whistling this. I can only hope that, like a foul mood, the best way to get rid of it is to give it to someone else.

    We have also (speaking in the imperial plural, which, while annoying and affected, isn’t as bad as using the third person) chosen a name for our little yellow Smartie. Thanks and props to Gigi who came up with it. Here’s a visual:




    equals: Tweety McPeeps! I tried to give it another name, but every time I thought about Tweety McPeeps, it just made me laugh. So, Tweety McPeeps it is.

    And lastly, please click on my widdle dragons CLICK ME! and help them grow up.

    Miz Shoes

    Green Eggs and Spam

    Don’t ask. I got sucked into some nonsensical meme-y thing. Apparently all the kids are doing it. All I know is, I am now raising dragons. Or trying to. Will you please click on my eggs and hatchlings?

    click me!

    Miz Shoes

    Running Down A Dream

    This morning, campaign workers were handing out post cards, advertising for a candidate for Circuit Court Judge. I have documented time and time again on this site that the average commuter in Miami is a pig. This morning we had a large-scale example of the lack of civility in Miami. Pretty damn near everyone took one of the cards. Yours truly merely smiled and said no thank you. So why do I have one of these cards sitting on my desk? Because of this:


    and this: Note the cards piling up on the leading edge of the escalator:


    and finally, this:


    Here’s the e-mail I sent to the candidate:

    Thanks a lot. You made an impact today. I, for one, will not vote for a candidate who approves this sort of waste and creates the kind of mess I saw at Dadeland South. At every stop between there and Government Center, I saw piles of litter caused by your workers and the general ill-manners of the train-riding populace. People dropped those slick little postcards right on the escalator, potentially creating hazards for those following behind and possibly damaging the machinery, thereby causing additional waste in the form of repairs to county equipment. Furthermore, I will be blogging this, complete with the photos I’ve attached.

    What a waste. What a mess.

    And here’s his response:

    Thank you for making me aware of this situation.

    Publicity in judicial campaigns is very circumscribed by legal strictures. My campaign workers had the best intentions to hand out campaign palm cards to familiarize potential voters and did not anticipate the mess this would create. I regret the inconvenience this caused you and other members of the public and will instruct my campaign to refrain handing out cards at the rail stations. I have also asked them to go back and pick up this stuff as best they can, although they were not the people who did this.

    While palm cards are a traditional method of campaigning, you are very correct in your anger about the waste and litter in this situation. The only other thing I ask you beside accepting my apology, is not to come to a conclusion about whom I am based on one unfortunate instance, about which I had no prior knowledge. I have whole lifetime of service to this community and your conclusion as to whom I am should not be based on one incident.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Uh, maybe. But A) he isn’t familiar with what his campaign is doing in his name B) he tells me he has a lifetime of service, but doesn’t list a single example of which he is proud C) He had to stick that caveat about his people will try to clean up, but they were not responsible ... well, indirectly they were, since they were the source of the litter to begin with. D) On the other hand, he’s a public corruption prosecutor, which sort of warms the cockles of my hard little heart.

    In other transportation news, the SmartCar has arrived and I plan on picking it up on Saturday. And last night, I saw this in the Publix parking lot. The owner was a sour old thing, and didn’t even smile at me when I told him he had a sweet, sweet ride. Dude, seriously, if you are going to drive around in this thing, you better get used to the gear heads drooling and making nice at you.


    Miz Shoes

    I Gotta Basketball Jones

    Way, way back in the day, when I was president of the Dade County Young Democrats, and Joe Kennedy was running for his first term, we held a fund-raiser for him down here. I decided to prep myself for the after event, a private dinner for the organizers and Joe, by calling my father. Daddy grew up in West Palm Beach and played basketball in the church league. His was the only Jewish team, and they held their own, he said. He also said that he’d played against those Kennedy boys, and I figured that this would give me something to talk about with our guest. My daddy, his daddy (Robert), our uncles, all dribbling in good natured, young male humor on the courts of Palm Beach. I thought.

    I called my father and asked him to tell me everything… the name of the church they played for, the location and name of the courts, whether his team had ever beaten their team. He told me everything I asked. Except he became very reticent about the outcomes. I pressed.

    “Come on, Daddy. Did you guys ever win?”

    “They were tough competitors.”

    “Oh. Did you even come close?”

    “They were very tough competitors.”

    “They smoked yer asses, huh?”

    “Oh, all right. They cheated.”

    “Great. Daddy, I don’t think that that is going to go over real well when I tell this story to Joe. Yeah, your family beat the crap out of my father’s team because your sainted father and his brothers cheated.”

    “It was only Jack.”

    “Oh, that’ll be even better. Your sainted uncle Jack cheated. Great. Thanks a lot, Pop.”

    So. The cocktail party went off fine. The Kennedys breed, I can safely say, having been in their presence, for teeth and charisma. There is nothing like it. I can’t explain it. I’m not easily impressed with people, and particularly not impressed with people whose reputations precede them to such a degree, but damn. I’ve never felt anything like it before or since. And The Person Dressed in Black, back when she was at Conde Nast, once met John-John, and says the same thing. The charisma was a physical presence, and she is totally disdainful of the Kennedys and their mystique. But I digress.

    I find myself at some point between the cocktails and dinner, alone at the hotel’s front desk with Joe. I begin to tell the story of how, when they were just lads, his father and uncles played basketball with my father and uncles. And then I get into the delicate matter of the punch line to my tale. I stutter to a halt, somewhere around the part where my father has just told me that the Kennedy boys were Very Tough competitors. I look up at Joe and say, you know, maybe I should just stop here. He tells me to continue. I do. I get to the part where Daddy said it was just Jack who cheated. Joe looks down at me and says, “That doesn’t sound right, kiddo.”

    My stomach drops to my ankles. I break an immediate flop sweat, and he gives me a huge toothy grin, and says “Hell, they ALL cheated!” and roared with laughter.

    I’m so sorry to hear of Teddy’s diagnosis. I send my prayers (such as they are) and best wishes to the family.

    Miz Shoes

    They Say It’s Your Birthday

    A dilemma, if you will. My mummy will turn 90 on Mother’s Day. She has end stage Alzheimer’s Disease. I’ve had her in an Alzheimer’s facility near me for three years, plus a couple of months. Only a couple of my relatives have been to see her since she moved here. That was when she first came, and could still focus on people and even respond appropriately to conversation. Not always, but sometimes, and enough that you knew she was still somewhere in there.

    Well, it’s been a long time since then, and she no longer seems to recognize that I’m with her when I’m there. Sometimes she’ll kiss my fingers, or tell me that I’m a “good one.” Mostly though, I go and sit with her, and talk to her, and hold her hand, and hug her and kiss her. I don’t get much of a response; sometimes she’ll pull away and say she doesn’t want.

    So what’s the dilemma? Mummy will turn 90 on Mother’s Day. How can I let that pass without cake and ice cream and at least one present and, here’s the thing… at least some of her family around her? Should I invite my cousins to cake and ice cream at the home, and then have lunch at my house, where we can all have a stiff drink, and talk about her and what a horror show it is to see her now? Should I take the relatives out to lunch or dinner after? Should I invite them at all? Should I invite my brother, Biggus Dickus (he has a wife, you know)? They have made it crystal clear to me that they have no intention of ever coming to see Mummy. Ever. It’s too hard. No fucking shit. Try it every week. Do I tell the relatives that Biggus Dickus isn’t coming or that I didn’t even invite him because I couldn’t bear to hear him say no? Should I warn the relatives about what to expect? I know the answer to that is a resounding yes. But what else?

    I could print out some pictures of Mummy and family, but Mummy can’t see them. I don’t think she’s blind, exactly, I just don’t think that her brain and her eyes are in sync any more. Or even close.

    So, gentle readers, I ask you: do I gather the clan for the matriarch’s 90th? Or do we pretend that she’s already gone?

    Miz Shoes

    When I Was A Child

    Someone on Ravelry asked: “What do you miss most about being a child?”

    I grew up in South Florida (which I need to mention because) I miss: going to the beach in the dead of night in the middle of the summer to watch the sea turtles lay their eggs. Seeing the shoals of sand dollars just under your toes. Riding my friend’s horse through the orange groves and flower farms. Summers eating all the raspberries I could pick from the brambles in my Grandpa’s back yard in Newport. Picking mushrooms and having Grandma fry them for breakfast. Climbing coconut & mango trees. Eating everything that was edible in the landscape, from palm hearts to oranges to wild grapes to mangoes to coconuts to rose apples to guavas to mulberries to avocados to Key limes to wild mustard to kumquats and calmondins to loquats to Surinam cherries to the honey from the flame vine flowers. If it didn’t grow in my yard, it grew in someone else’s and was free for the taking. Making lime-ade from the Key Limes and drinking it from a high ball glass with a mint garnish and a splash of grenadine. Having my daddy make fried kippers for me. Fishing in the creek with a cane pole and frying up pan fish afterwards. Going swimming in the pond and getting yelled at because there could have been a gator. Taking my dog to the beach, where he could run free. Getting tucked in at night. Going to the family store after hours and having the run of the place. Riding my bike to the beach. Body surfing and snorkeling all day without worrying about skin cancer. The stars. The smell of orange blossoms in the spring. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches beside the country club pool. Hearing the trio play “Baby Elephant Walk” at the country club dinners. Catching minnows in a net made out of a wire hanger and the toe of my mother’s stocking (not pantyhose). Making a horse tail out of Royal Poinciana fronds. Climbing the mulberry tree and eating until I was purple and still having enough to take home to my mother to make a pie. Driving around town to look at the Christmas lights. Standing in the sugar sand to watch the space launches 100 miles north. The parades down Flagler Avenue. Learning to sail on the Indian River. Learning to waterski on the St. Lucie River. Feeding lettuce to the manatees at the dock in down town Fort Pierce. Orange groves and flower farms. My best friend, who lived on a dirt road. The feel of the hot car seat after a day at the beach.

    Miz Shoes

    The Nightbird

    Back in the dawn of time, when Miz Shoes lived in Manhattan, there was a DJ by the name of Allison Steele, The Nightbird. She was the overnight DJ on what was then WNEW, the best, most progressive station in the area. On Valentine’s Day, she would take (or pretend to take) dedications, and intro’d the songs by describing the valentine.

    This one’s all red velvet and hearts, she’d say and then play some Peggy Lee. Or this one is covered in lace and has little hearts dotting the i’s, and up would come Stevie Nicks.

    Allison’s voice was black velvet itself, with a side of whiskey, neat. I missed her yesterday, and the rest of the jocks who had talent and voices, and didn’t spend hours sniggering at their own puerile jokes.

    This one’s got stars and moons, and a slight whiff of Chanel.

    Miz Shoes

    Dream a Little Dream

    Yesterday I joined Blog 365, and we’ll see how that goes, me blogging daily. At the moment, it’s kind of easy, because my boss is on an extended road trip for most of the month, which means that I have the time to blog. The problem with daily blogging is that I’m not all that terribly interesting all the time. Well, I am, it’s just not always interesting outside of my head.

    Last night I went back to my Alma Mater to a seminar on social networking on the web. The turnout was very small, mostly other professors and alumni, and very few undergrads. There was a sort of elfish-looking junior Ted Kaciznsky with one of those Dr. Koop beards (so very, very unattractive in any century) and a beach towel across his shoulders for warmth. I guess because when you go to the University of Miami you pack beach towels and not a sweater, dog forbid.

    It was sort of embarrassing, but I seemed to ask more questions and be more attentive than anyone else in the room. And I am neither a business student nor a scientist. I also had a better, albeit intuitive grasp of some of the implications of social networking on line. Maybe because I’ve been blogging since 2002, and a member of various groups on-line since almost the day I got a dial-up account.

    In any event, the subject was fascinating, but not so fascinating as to take over my dreams. No. In my dreams, Johnny Depp, his girlfriend and children became my neighbors and kept hanging out at my house. They came over for dinner (I didn’t remember inviting them, nor was I ready) and he was wearing a bowling shirt in grey, black and pink with martini glasses printed on it. Then he took us over to his house and I walked around checking out his art collection. I had just come to the conclusion that he would be the perfect patron for the RLA, when I woke up. Without getting a commitment from Johnny.

    I only mention this because my usual celebrity dream friends are the Bob, the Bruce and Tom. Tom Petty. Who is back on tour with the Heartbreakers, and I have tickets to see them. First time since the 80s, when I used to see him in tiny clubs. This should be fun, non?

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