Miz Shoes

Mr. Bluebird on My Shoulder

Actually, it was the first hummingbird to discover the nectar feeder. And the squirrels have completely hogged the suet feeder. And something small and feathered and brown came and splashed in the bird bath. Sweet. And then I coughed up a lung, and scared them all away, and the RLA dragged my sorry ass back to bed, and not in the fun way.

Miz Shoes

From the Coastline to the City

The little pretties raise their hands….

And I jumped off the couch to do just that. For those of you who watched the Superbowl (and for once, it was) and saw Bruce Springsteen rock out for the first time in your lives? Well. Take that energy, multiply it times infinity because you are live and in the same space, stretch it out over three hours, and THAT, my friends, is a Springsteen show. I can’t believe that the camera man didn’t duck when Bruce did the knee slide. I know I speak for fan girls everywhere when I say that getting a face full of Bruce crotch was the highlight of the halftime show.

Now, as for the commercials, they were particularly lackluster this year, I think. Oh, sure, there was the talking baby selling e-trade. Not as funny as the clown, but amusing. There was the Budweiser Clydesdale ads, always good. I loved the horse playing fetch. The SoBe lizards were ok, even without three-dee glasses. Bob Dylan selling Pepsi? Squeed me out. Even if it was technically good, and Will.i.am is cool… Bob. Dude. I understand, but you don’t NEED the money. Victoria’s Secret was kind of nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Pepsi? Just crass sell out. And it’s still carbonated sugar water that isn’t even as tasty as Coke. Which I rarely drink, either. I’ve always been more of an UN-Cola girl, my own self. But I digress. I have no idea what Alex Baldwin was selling, but seeing the cheesy animated alien tentacle come out and adjust his tie was rich.

Did I miss anything good? Oh, yeah. The game.

Miz Shoes

Little Houses Made of Ticky-Tacky

I jettisoned the premium cable when the Sopranos and Deadwood went off the air and my Netflix account went live. I haven’t missed being on top of pop culture that much, and TV shows hit dvd almost as soon as their seasons end.  Last night, the RLA and I settled down to see what all the fuss was about re: Mad Men. We’re both graphic designers, or were in our past lives, we both lived through the 50s and 60s and so this seemed like a perfect fit for us to watch. After the first episode, the RLA declared the series “depressing and sad”. I stuck it out through the first three episodes, which were all that were on the DVD. I have disc two waiting for me tonight. Annnnnnd, for the record, if John Hamm IS the hottest looking man on television today, then it is a sorry day for TV. He tricks out perfectly as a Hathaway shirt model, but I’m not feeling the sizzle. At all. The women are much more interesting, and I covet pretty much every article of clothing worn by Joan or Betty? Bitsy? whatever Mrs. Don Draper’s name is.

It’s unfortunate that so little of advertising is seen, because I remember the VW ads. In an anti-Semitic throw-away line, there is reference to the shop that those ads came from: Doyle Dane Bernbach. There is a lot of that sort of stuff in Mad Men, anti-Semitic, or blatantly racist attitudes that are oh so carefully crafted to give the image that that’s how everyone was in those days. In the first episode, Don Draper is talking to a Black bus boy (actually an older man) trying to wrap his mind around advertising cigarettes without making a health claim, and the restaurant manager comes over to make sure that Don isn’t being bothered by the chatty and uppity fellow. It was a segregated world, but was it that overt in New York City? It wasn’t that overt in my little home town in the deep south, so it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around this aspect of the show as being truthful to the period.

The women are all bitches to each other. The men universally treat the women like pieces of meat. Hell, the women treat the other women like pieces of meat, even and perhaps especially, the perky and powerful Joan, who tells the dowdy new girl Peggy that the way to make her way in the business world is to go home after her first day on the job, get completely nude, put a brown paper bag over her head with eye holes cut out and stand in front of a mirror and truly and honestly evaluate her assets and flaws. There is much made about her ankles. Joan shows Peggy an IBM Selectric typewriter and tells her not to be overwhelmed by the technology, that the men who built it made it simple enough for a woman to use.

Again, all I have to compare with are the women from my own late 50s and 60s childhood. Honey, let me tell you, that there wasn’t a woman in my mother’s circle who would have said shit like that. These were women who were running their own businesses and breaking horses and organizing flower shows. Mrs. NameEscapesMeAtTheMoment had lived in Occupied Japan with her husband. She could play the samisen and wear a kimono, and do ikebana. And she would do that in her home for the entertainment of the other garden club ladies. And she taught the other ladies (and their daughters, those of us who were the Junior Garden Club) how to do ikebana, too. In a town of less than five thousand people. Is it somehow possible that we more cosmopolitan than New Yorkers?

There are so many things in Mad Men that I find hard to watch: the gay-passing-for-straight man, the endless women sobbing inconsolably in various ladies rooms while other women walk past without batting an eyelash, the sexual double standard. Other things are funny, in a “oh my god, did we really do that” sort of way: the pregnant woman who is smoking, drinking and admitting her craving for raw hamburger, the child playing space-man in a dry-cleaning bag, the raw eggs in the Caesar salads, and the fear and loathing when a divorced woman moves in to the neighborhood.

Possibly the hardest thing for me to watch is the casual infidelity of the lead character and his mistress, who may or may not be another advertising hack. She does paint puppies for Hallmark. Her stereotyping as a Village Beat-nik is also a little hard to take. For all that the clothing is perfect to the period, and a lot of the other set details are too, my general impression is that all of this was written and designed, not by people who were there, but by people who studied movies and cinescopes for what the period was like.

I think that if you want a Peyton Place meets Wisteria Lane, then Mad Men is for you. If you want to know what the advertising world was like, then read the much more enjoyable “From those Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Pearl Harbor”, Jerry Della Famina’s autobiography.

Miz Shoes

Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves

I’ve never much cared for going out on New Year’s Eve… amateur night and all that. I prefer to stay inside, drink to my heart’s content without an exorbitant bar tab, eat great food that I’ve prepared myself and so to bed with the RLA. This year was no different. We brought in the animals to keep them safe from the midnight gunshots (another of nature’s laws, commonly ignored by the Miami populace: what goes up, must come down) and random erratic fireworks. We had a cozy dinner and then watched “Zombie Strippers”, which was, against all expectations, really funny. And good. And funny. Clearly the writer enjoyed his college existential philosophy class. Just as clearly, he must despise the Bush/Cheney/et.al cabal as much as I do, because half the laughs come at the expense of said cabal.

After that, we switched and watched the Cher Believe dvd. And then we watched the ball drop, and were utterly horrified at the millionty-two blue Nivea hats. OK, you are a corporate sponsor. But do you have to turn the event into some kind of hybrid of “Idiocracy” and “Snow Crash”? Enough with the corporate labeling. Please. And also? Dick Clark? Sweet that you still want to do New Year’s Eve and the whole party thing. But, dude. How many strokes have you had? A little dignity, please. Take him off screen. Let him wave to the adoring masses, but please, for all that is holy and right, do NOT let Dick on teevee again next year. It was sad. Really, truly, deeply, disturbingly sad.

Yesterday I spent lolling around getting myself ready to make this the sewing year: I put away my miniatures and cleared off the dining room table, to make it available as a cutting table. I prepped some lamb shanks for the crockpot today. I went outside and lay on the grass and stared at the clouds and let the dogs romp all around. I noticed that all of my mango trees are in bloom, which is awfully early, and I hope that the baby mangoes will be old enough and strong enough to withstand the winds and rain in March, so that I have a decent crop this year. I pre-drafted another roving, and hope to get some spinning done this weekend.

Today we are back in the office, with virtually no work, and literally no drive. Time to work on my shopping cart.

Miz Shoes

Good Rockin’ Tonight

Bollywood then, and Bollywood now. With the King of Bollywood, and my other celebrity crush, Shah Rukh Kahn. Rawr.


Miz Shoes

Fuck, Piss, Shit, Damn

I’m late to the party, but my excuse is that I’ve been in Sarasota, lolling about on the beach with RJ, The Sistergirlfriendgirl and her squeeze, our childhood friend the May Queen, the RLA and his childhood friend HippieBob and his wife and Star. Well, despite the excess of alcohol and good times, I need to mention the passing of George Carlin, one of the greats of comedy. I’m not jumping on the 7 Words or the Stuff routine, though. My favorite of George’s raps was this: the differences between baseball and football.

Farewell, old man. You’re safe at home now.

Miz Shoes

God Save the Queen


A couple of dozen years ago, a friend of mine from college owned a bookstore. He always had a knack for leading me to some really great books and underappreciated authors, so when he handed me a copy of Flashman and told me to have a go at it, I took it home and dove right in. And Oh. My. God. There was nothing like it for excellent reading and rollicking fun. The Flashman Chronicles purported to be the story of one Harry Flashman, who was tossed out of Rugby School for drinking in the great Victorian novel/memoir Tom Brown’s School Days. Meticulously researched and brilliantly written, the Flashman books told the saga of the Victorian era of colonialism. Unapologetically non-PC, they are profane and funny. Bodices are ripped, bosoms heave, men are men and villains are real people whose tales can be confirmed on Wikipedia or other, more old-fashioned sources.

I have read and reread every one of the Flashman novels; there are twelve, and alas, there will be no more. The author, George MacDonald Faser, passed away of cancer in January. I just heard about it yesterday, when I had the great good pleasure of meeting Ms. Otter for a late lunch of Cuban food, as she passed from Key West to Palm Beach. Ms. Otter and I may have been separated at birth, since our tastes in film and books are pretty much identical.

Here’s to Sir Faser, and Sir Flashman. May they meet in the afterlife and continue to swap tales of derring-do.

Miz Shoes

Gone Baby Gone

Miz Shoes is off for the next couple of days, swanning around, drinking by the hotel pool, arranging for a massage and generally acting the princess. BRB.

Miz Shoes

Rosalita, Jump a Little Higher

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned that I’m registered with the official Springsteen web site, and once in a while, I’ll open my e-mail box and see a note from Bruce Springsteen, and even though I know it’s really only from an automated mail-bot, it always gives me a start, and then a smile. Today, in the middle of the e-mail is this chilling paragraph:


We would love to hear from you! Send us your Bruce Springsteen stories and photos: show reports, pictures of your friends in the parking lot or screaming “Rosalita!”, cherished moments at Bruce concerts, songs that get you in the gut every time, how your best friend’s cousin turned you into a Springsteen fan, that kind of thing. We’ll publish our favorites on the site.

I have a million of them, and so does every other fan in the known universe. I tell them, they tell them, we all tell them. And then we post them for each other, sending millions and billions and trillions of pixels into oblivion as millions of people hit send, just to say “me too”. I loved the original Star Trek and always got the chills when anyone tried to label me a “Trekkie”. I’m not a Trekkie, I just loved the show. That level of obsession and obsession and, well, is there any other word than obsession and creepy?

I know that there are the equivalent Bruce fans out there, and they range from the idiots who think that Born in the USA is an anthem of approval, to the ones who say they are his biggest fan, but he hasn’t done anything worth listening to since X album, (usually BITUSA), to the ones who discovered him on the Kerry campaign, to the true idiots like me who haven’t missed a tour since X (usually something pathetic like 1975, ahem). But you know something? The only time I want to talk those people is when I’m standing in line to the show, and certainly not once the show starts.

What really makes me sad is that this came from the official site. Earlier in the day I had been on the ATT site, looking for ringtones for my new phone. There were Bob Dylan tones. Scary. I was afraid to look for Tom Waits. There were pages and pages of Springsteen ring tones.  Bruce may not have sold out, but he’s surely bought in.

Miz Shoes

Karma Chameleon

For the past twenty years, I have referred to my ex-husband only as The Anti-Christ. There were and are many, many reasons for this. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. He was a border-line sociopath. He was a man who, as my father of blessed memory was wont to say, would rather climb a tree to tell a lie, than stand on the ground and tell the truth. We were married for four years and it took another two to complete the divorce because he played the system like a fucking Stradivarius. I have never used his name because I was afraid that, like Beetlejuice, it would cause him to appear in my life, and that was not something I wanted. Ever.

He has a public reputation as an honest man, and a good man. This is the opinion of people who only know the public facade. They weren’t there to see him kick me under the table when I said something he didn’t like. They weren’t there when he told me that if sex was something I wanted in a relationship, I should take a lover and leave him alone. They weren’t there the night our home was broken in to, and I arrived home while the mud was still wet on the floor, and he wouldn’t come home to help with the police report or calm my fears because it was the night he was getting inducted into Iron Arrow, and what would people say if he didn’t go to the football game to be presented with the other inductees at half-time.

Last week karma caught up to him. I don’t know anything about this case, only plenty about the man. He is guilty as charged, no matter what happens in court.

Miz Shoes

Just Walking the Dog

Are you ready to rumble?  What I wouldn’t give to be in New York City this month. First we had Fashion Week, and tonight and tomorrow it’s the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Last year a PBGV won the hound group and almost had an upset win for Best in Show. Almost.

Tonight is opening night, and as always, I’ll be on the couch with my Jack Russell and my PBGV and we’ll just be going crazy for the doggies.

Miz Shoes

Pretty Woman

I love Bollywood movies, and I especially love myself some Shah Rukh Kahn. Last night I watch Kal Ho Naa Ho. And this dance sequence just blew me away. Thankfully, in this day and age of the unlimited interwebs, I am able to let you guys see it to. Turn up the volume and rock out!

But then, there is this, later in the movie, and it also has a certain charm. Sorry about the vid quality, you’ll just have to rent it for yourself.



Yesterday being Christmas, the RLA, the surrogate daughers, Star and I did the traditional thing for Jewish people: we went to a movie. Usually the traditional thing is Chinese food and a movie, but we broke tradition to grab a bite at a Cuban restaurant, and then went to see Sweeney Todd, which we were certain would be appropriate viewing for the holiday.

And it was a huge disappointment. Yes, Johnny sang. Yes, Helena was her usual brilliant self. Yes, nobody can play dark and oily evil like Alan Rickman (and I wish he’d do a little more comedy and maybe a light romance). And yes, Tim Burton is a genius and Johnny and Helena are his (identical) muses, and the sets were gloriously dark and the costumes ditto. Yes, yes, yes. Everything about the film was perfect, except the film. It was a snooze. Literally. The RLA fell asleep.

I can only think that the source material was poor, which means I must be the only person in the universe who thinks the play was lackluster and thin.

The most interesting part of the movie was the cast’s teeth. I don’t think a single actor or actress was sporting veneers or dental work. Everyone had crooked teeth. Perfect white chicklets have become so inescapable in Hollywood, that it was a notable thing to see. Now how sad is that, that the thing that impressed me above and beyond the magic of film making was crooked teeth.

Sitting next to me was a large man with a bad cold. He kept snorffling and making horrid noises. I finally asked him, loudly, if he’d care for a tissue. He said no. And stopped making those disgusting noises. Unfortunately, nothing could be done about his body odor. At least his cell phone didn’t ring.

Miz Shoes

These Shoes Rule

Miz Shoes

Keep On Keepin’ On

Oh, you people think that the only thing I do is watch Project Runway and ANTM, don’t you? Because I have been so very, terribly lax about posting these past couple of months. But you are wrong, wrong, wrong. I do so much more than that. For instance, I surf the internet aimlessly, I knit and ravel (un-knit) and I cook. Some of these things make for a nice synergy along the way.

Take for example, the aimless surfing and the food. When I was but a little shoe, my parents bought me a subscription to the Time/Life Foods of the World series for my birthday present. They were a wonderful introduction to the techniques and flavors of world cuisine. They were full of pictures and narrative and I still have every one of them, albeit a bit sticky, dog-eared and in some cases, a little water damaged. In one of the volumes about America, there was a two page photo spread on apples. I don’t remember what the title was in 1969, but today it would be heirloom apples. They may have been described as antique or lost varieties, or maybe just regional, but there was one apple in that spread that captured my imagination: the Sheepnose apple. It was longer, and somewhat more conical than a Red Delicious. It resembled, in fact, the nose of a sheep. Living in South Florida, there was no option of going around from orchard to orchard until I found one. Even today, with heirloom foods a major foodie trend, and boutique green grocers popping up, I have never seen a Sheepnose. BUT! In my aimless wanderings around the interwebs a couple of weeks ago, I Googled “Sheepnose apple” looking for pictures. Instead, I found Apple Source, a little, family-run business that sells varietal apples and ships them anywhere in the US. The lovely lady owner convinced me that I really didn’t want to eat a Sheepnose, because they are a fruit which is better in theory than in practice. She allowed as how one could find a really great Sheepnose, but only rarely, and then they don’t keep or travel so the only way to really and truly enjoy one would be to find an orchard having a good season, pick it and eat it right there. Sigh. But I did order a box of mixed heirlooms and the RLA and I have been doling them out like treasured jewels. And I ordered a box for the GirlCousin. And another for the David Lee Roth clone that is my brother-in-law. And now that the season has gone on and the varieties are changing, I may order another box for me.

Real apples. The smell alone is enough to make one swoon. The variety of tastes, and textures and colors is mind blowing. They are tart and sweet and tangy. The skins are rough (russets) or smooth. They are green with a rose colored blush, dark red, pale cardinal, yellow and green. Some of them are crunchy and others more mealy. None of them have been anything less than delicious. The RLA, who grew up in

Frostbite Falls

Rochester, New York tells me that this has unleashed memories by the bushel. So go visit Jill and order yourself some apples. You’ll thank me.

The raveling and interwebs have intersected here at Ravelry.com. Ravel and unravel, like flammable and inflammable would seem to be opposites, but are actually synonymous. Anyway, you need to sign up for Ravelry (sounds like revelry, not to be confused with reveille) before you can get sucked in to the endless delights for yarn junkies. I have never seen a greater (in every sense of the word) time suck than Ravelry. I have entered my knitting needles and crochet hooks into a data base. Why? I can look over at the jar on my desk and see what I have. I’ve uploaded photos of my knitting, I’ve created a library of my reference books, even though they are on a shelf to my right (see WHY? above). I’m surfing patterns and yarns and looking for yarn junkie friends and looking at other people’s stashes. Yeah. I know. It’s yarn porn.

But there it is, and here I am, stuck to my laptop like a leech.

And then there is my love/hate relationship with “Tin Man”. And the never-ending garage sale plans. And a few bits of sewing that have yet to be finished, and did I mention that I’m heading to Disney World at the end of the week? Must commune with the mouse. More later, I think my boss has noticed I’m blogging and not working…

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