Miz Shoes

Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Soap

A few entries back I said I was looking on the internet for a soap I remembered from childhood. My Aunt Helga brought it to me from Germany. It was shaped like a teddy bear and grew fur. It had a toy inside.

When found, it turned out to be "Fuzzy Wuzzy" soap, and it was selling on e-bay for over $100. Another e-bay search turned up today's brand of the same item, imported from Europe... Germany, in fact. It's called "Soapy Soap" and comes in shapes like kittens and gnomes. It grows fur, and has a toy inside. It was selling for under $10 a bar.

I ordered two kittens, and a squirrel.

My Aunt Helga was a war bride. She was married to my most dashing and handsome Uncle Milton. Dashing is the perfect word for Milton, who was really my cousin and not my uncle. But dashing is an elusive quality, and not suited to this age. I suspect, that had my mother and Milton, who were first cousins, been living in the shtetl, and not America, Milton would have been my father. To me, growing up in the late '50s and early '60s, Helga and Milton were the most glamorous and sophisticated adults I'd ever seen.

Milton took me to my first horse show one summer's day in Newport, Rhode Island. He picked me up in his red convertible Mustang, with white leather interior. The top was down. We were on a date. I was maybe, at most, eight.

Helga, with her German accent, and a father who spent the war working as a "stationmaster", was a bitter pill for the immigrant Jews of my grandparents' generation. Even at eight, you can pick up on that tension. Helga took my mother shopping on Belleview Avenue. The stories of what my mother saw that day were often repeated.

Milton was an "efficiency expert" what ever the fuck that meant. In the early 60s it meant that he worked up at Cape Canaveral, doing something for NASA. He was somehow involved on the Mercury Project, something vague with the space suits. How cool was that?

They had two sons, each as glamorous and dashing as their parents. The older one lived for a year or so in a tepee, a real tepee (15 foot poles and canvas), in their wooded Connecticut back yard. He went to medical school, became a doctor, left medicine and was last heard to be living on a wooded island somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

The blonde one played sax, like his father, and was rumored to be a ski bum, a tennis bum and a few other dubious or vague professions.

The kids both moved west, Helga and Milton divorced, Milton died.

But I have rich memories, an extra bar of Soapy Soap, and an eight year old niece.
Miz Shoes

Blue Skies

Blue skies over Miami. Clear and hot and not as sweltering as you'd think. I have an absolutely empty calendar for the next two days. I'm going to go and try to buy a nice little used car to drive to the gym. It's all I want. A gym/beach car. Big enough to hold a) the most excellent dog Nails and/or b) a friend and/or c) my gym bag. I'm looking at a Volkswagen Cabrio. Hey, if it's going to the gym or the beach it has to have an open roof, y'know?

I also have this on the agenda: loafing around on the float in the pool.

For the past 30-odd years I have scrupulously avoided the sun, for obvious reasons. I live in South Florida. I'm very, VERY pale skinned. I did not want to look like a well-worn baseball glove by the time I reached the age I've now reached.

And then last year, I had an epiphany, of sorts: if I got tan now, it would no longer be premature aging. So I attempted a tan. My husband told me it was a useless endeavor, as I was so pale, I merely reflected the sun light. I achieved a beige.

This year, I have a definite tan line, a two-tone butt. I'm thrilled. And with obsessive application of this particular wonder cream, I am neither leathery nor flaky.

OK, well, so the skin isn't flaky.

That's it for me, I am off to float.
Miz Shoes

How Cool is This?

You know, every now and then something happens, randomly, that just makes you happy to be in this place and this time. It just happened to me, not five minutes ago. One of the guys from the office on the south side of the building wandered in and said "Manatee sighting." Huh? What do you mean? "I mean, manatees in the canal below our office."

I was out of my seat in a shot and across the hall, nose pressed against the window. Yep. There were two manatees, slowly cruising up stream. A larger and a smaller. I immediately identified them as a mother and calf. Of course, the calf was the size of a Volkswagen, but a calf, nonetheless.

They swam upstream for a while, and then they turned and headed back the way they came. There we were, half a dozen computer geeks, all lined up and smiling at the very randomness of nature in the tropics.

I have a mango in the refrigerator for lunch. I saw manatees. The sun is filtered and hazy today, but from my side of the building I can see the skyline of South Beach.

Hey... it's a great life, if you don't weaken.
Miz Shoes

A Little Housekeeping

Which is, after all, as much as I am willing to do: a little. A very little.

First, big shout out to those of you who signed the guest book. It made me happy. You see, despite what the critics say, it does take so very, very little to make me happy. And if you haven't signed yet, why not?

Next, a big ole happy birthday to Bob Dylan, who turned 62 on Saturday. Bob, what's up with you? You never call, you never write, and after all the years we've been together, if only in my dreams... Bob, you'll be back here in July, don't let a little thing like we've never actually met stop you from coming to dinner this time.

And then, to the lovely folks from Emily's List, I told you if you'd stop calling me to ask for money, I'd give you a link on my personal web site. You said you'd take it. Here it is. Over there. In the blogrolling section, even though you are a leftie-pinko-feminist-liberal organization (just my sort, dontchaknow) and not, to be pedantic about it, strictly speaking, a blog.

And finally, to my cousin Barry, a huge thank you for enabling me, through your connection to the film industry, to have a Bacon rating of 3 degrees of separation.
Miz Shoes

What’s on Your Bedside Table

Mine has: my nightguard, because I'm grinding my teeth. (Quel suprise, eh?)
The Red Queen's house with miniatures
Eeyore by John R. Wright
Pocket Piglet and Piglet with Violets, also by John R. Wright
The Damon Runyon Omnibus
The Complete Diaries of Samuel Pepys
A Hello Kitty Lamp
a few books on dreaming
a dozen back issues of Gourmet
a dish of semiprecious stones
an old cherry wood recorder
Miz Shoes

More Than Multi-Tasking

If you're doing more than 2 or 3 things at once, does that make it poly-tasking? I'm: scanning in slides for work, talking on the phone with a friend to coordinate plans for next week, making a blog entry, and in another window, ordering groceries on-line.... my brain hurts.
Miz Shoes

Spring Fever, Round 1

Yesterday was my Siamese cat, Ming's widdle birthday. He was 9. I gave him as much catnip as he wanted. I hope he enjoyed his birthday. I did. I like watching my cat do drugs. Did you know that catnip is more like kitty acid than kitty reefer? Most people don't know that.

That was stimulating, wasn't it? Made you glad you surfed over to Today's Shoes. OK, then, let's change the subject. Let's talk about the weather.

Here in Miami the storm clouds are starting to build up over the Everglades in the late afternoon. The rains haven't started just yet, but it's only a matter of weeks before we have afternoon showers every day. The oranges are just about done with their season, and we had just enough cold weather to set the sugar in the fruit. There are Hong Kong orchid trees in full, purple bloom and dryed up lawns. Every mango tree south of Orlando is in bloom. The wet season is almost upon us. And that means it is springtime.

And that means I have spring fever. I start the work week all chipper and eager and on time, and by Friday, the alarm goes for three snooze button resets. My hair is up, rather than loose, because I have to wash it and mousse it for down, and up doesn't require anything other than a rubber band. My wardrobe has made the transition from a business dress to khakis and a sweater. Hey, at least I took a shower and put on make up.

But I am just itching to go to the beach. To skip work and loiter aimlessly on Ocean Drive with the ladies who lunch. To drink Cosmos early and often. To read cheesy novels while idling in a hammock near the koi pond. Well, it is Thursday, so I only have to look busy for another day and then I can get in touch with my inner sloth.
Miz Shoes

And Nobody Knows it But Me

Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is like, a whole web site devoted to the poem in the Chevy Tahoe commercial. You know the one, James Garner doing a voice over, guy standing on the edge of a remote cliff by his glamorous Chevy. And you on the couch, thinking: Uh, did my mother read that to me when I was a child? Is it Robert Louis Stevenson? Is it Robert Frost? Is it Dr. Suess?

Well, the answer is no. It was none of those men, and you never heard it before you saw the commercial for the first time. It was written by a guy named Patrick O'Leary who works for Chevy's ad agency. And as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter that it was ad flak. I love the recitation.

In fact, so many people love it, that if you go to Chevy's web site and go to the Tahoe page, the poem is formatted as a PDF with nice type and a parchment graphic, suitable for downloading and printing out. Which I just did and hung it over my desk, right next to a particularly poignant Dilbert cartoon.
Miz Shoes

Gotta Blog!

Yeah, right. Think "Gotta Sing!" Who was that, Gene Kelly?

Anyway, the spouse and I had a lovely new year's eve, thanks for asking. We ate meat, and drank champagne and watched a marathon of Monster Garage. I think I like it more than he does. Is it a good thing to be such a gear head? I so want the PT Cruiser to get a hot paint job. The guy who does all the paint on Monster Garage. That's who I want to paint flip-flop flames on my car. And tons of chrome. Yeah. Big Daddy Roth, you ruled.

We spent new year's day in full cocoon watching our own marathon: All of the Evil Dead, Army of Darkness movies. I say that Evil Dead II was really just a remake of the original Evil Dead, and Marc says that it was a sequel. All of my arguments as to why it's NOT a sequel make sense if you allow that there is a plot in any of these movies. If you don't think there's a plot, then my well-reasoned debate is just crap.

Won't be the first time.
Miz Shoes

These Are the Days

And then there are days like this. It's warm out, even for Miami. There is a tacky little vendor fair in the park in the middle of the hospital campus. Sunglasses, beads, orchids, cheap cell phones, and food. I am sitting in my office now, with a cold green coconut. It has had its little top punctured and a straw stuck in it. The spanish word for this delight is Coco Frio. Cold coconut. Now, where else could you do that in the middle of December?

I missed out on the steamed pork buns from the Korean guy two tents down.
Miz Shoes

The Rain in Romania

I added a little something to my desktop the other day. Under the section where the web tells me what the weather is like outside here in Miami (where, due to the fact that I work in a bunker, I never see daylight) I also added a few other cities. I added New York, because, as my old pal Jayne's dad used to say: New York is where people live: everywhere else is just camping out. I added Paris because a person has to dream, and even if France is anti-semitic to the nth degree, it's still the center of culture on this planet. Or at least fashion and food. Then I added Iasi, the town in Romania from whence my father's family emigrated. Jesus Christ! No wonder they turned left at Ellis Island and kept going till they hit south Florida. All this week in Iasi it's been hazy, sleety, icy, snowy and with a mean temperature of about 12 degrees Farenheit. Here in Miami it's been cool with a high near, but not quite 80.
Miz Shoes

Why People Hate Holidays

People hate the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas because it forces them to be with their families of origin. Take my family for example. I love my father's side of the family. They are a sprawling, outrageous bunch. Every single one of them can tell a story. And will, whether you ask or not. Being with that side of my family is like being in a Woody Allen movie. My mother's side of the family is very buttoned down. More like being in a Phillip Roth novel. Undercurrents. Witty, but genteel, reparte. I love being with them, too.

There is nothing I like better than being with these people. Either side of the family. Of course, it took about 10 years of heavy therapy for me to be able to embrace them so uncritically.
Miz Shoes

So my best friend’s brother

So my best friend's brother died in my hospital this morning. He had leukemia, had tried chemo in prep for bone marrow transplant, and instead of getting 10 good months extra, he crashed. Got about 10 good days. As if that doesn't just suck the big Lebowski, here's the part I really don't get. He had a DNR. He had a living will that said no machines, no drastic measures. For the past 10 days he's been in a coma: tubes, machines, pumps and drips. Because his wife couldn't accept it and wouldn't admit that Jimmy had made his choice about how to die.

Can you get any more selfish than this? I'm not ready, so I'm going to control your end. Promise me, when it comes to it, give me a major bolus of morphine and let me shuffle off this mortal coil. I am not so attached to life that I fear the next passage. I AM affraid of dragging it out.

When my grandmother died, she went at home. We all came around to say goodbye. I let her hold her diamond ring, one last time. Even put it on her tiny little bird-like finger. The weight spun it around. Then it wouldn't come off. "Ha Ha, Gramma, you can't take it with you. Dammit, give it back, you gave it to me!" And the nurse is looking at me like I'm nuts, but the ring would not BUDGE off her finger. Hey. The nurses here all tell stories about folks in comas can hear you. Tell stories about how the one guy woke up and said they remember hearing what the nurses were saying over their bodies.... more or less. So who's to say Gramma wasn't giving me the hose, one last time for old time's sake.

What's that old joke? When I die, I want to go like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

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