Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cobbler, Cobbler, Mend My Shoe

Time to go shoe shopping in my own closet.

So many fine pairs of shoes in there.  Many made in Italy, Spain, or Portugal.  Built to last.  Worn down by heavy use but with plenty of miles to go.  I spent a lot on them.  On purpose, you see, because I decided quality matters where footwear is concerned.  Quality is the near perfect balance of beauty plus function.  I would now like to add mileage to the equation.

I’d love to snatch up a pair of new shoes right about now.  Just one new pair for the 2018 fall season, that’s all.  What would be so bad about that?  It’s not guilt that holds me back.  It’s not money.  I give myself a generous shoe budget. No, it’s something else.  Something more global.  An overarching issue in my life right now.

In a word…clutter.

Clutter really gets to me.  General house clutter mostly.  Too many papers, books, music and stray socks.  Too many kitchen utensils, expired food pantry items, office supplies, file folders of stuff from the kids’ elementary school years, things bought at estate sales that never got cleaned up and re-purposed, Christmas gifts I never liked, clothing items bought online that don’t fit but never got returned.  Do I need to go on?

So let’s face it, I have too many shoes.  Time to purge, donate the orphans, and spiff up the ones that need attention.  I don’t like to waste time beating myself up about the hardly worn.  As Mari Kondo says, they “sparked joy” when I bought them.

I spent a few hours tidying up my closet this afternoon.  I pulled out all the shoes and boxes then dusted, and swept.  I moved the spring/summer shoes back into boxes and stacked them neatly on the top shelf.

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Next, I organized the fall/winter shoes I frequently wear into the hanging shoe caddy and the rest into easily accessed boxes on the floor.

 

I have seven pairs I will offer to my daughter and what she doesn’t want I will donate.

Lastly, I’ve identified the ones that are badly in need of repair.

IMG_4066These are going to the cobbler.

The thought of it gives me a little thrill.  I hand over the shoes and then, for a fraction of the original cost, I will pay for the repairs and receive what will feel like four brand new pairs.  More mileage=more love.

Here are the before pictures…

IMG_4067This pair of Ink booties were a staple of my wardrobe between 2013-2015.  While at an ACDA National Conference in Minneapolis two years ago, the cap to the heel broke off.  Likely while marching back and forth daily between the conference center and hotel snaking through the infamous Downtown Skywalk.  I didn’t notice until I took a field trip to visit my old friend Christopher Hopkins (The Makeover Guy) and he detected the lopsided clopping sound which accompanied my stroll through the aisles of a liquor store as we searched for a decent pinot noir.

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Here’s a pair of Chie Miharas where the heel cap also detached.  I love the textured leather, but it’s worn away on the toes.  Can it be restored?

IMG_4074Another pair of booties but this time it’s the tip of the sole that has come away.  This was my first pair of Coclicos.

 

IMG_4078These Chie Mihara flats have a metallic finish.  I got them a few years ahead of the trend.  I’ve badly scuffed up the toe of the left shoe with the edge of the heel on the right shoe.  Hopefully my cobbler can work with the metallic finish and maybe file down the edge of the heel a bit?

I’m off to the Village Cobbler!

 

 

The Hiking Boot Chronicles: Preface

IMG_7779In just a few short days I will be flying solo to Great Falls, Montana.  From there I will rent a car and drive approx. 4 hours northwest to a magnificent place called Glacier National Park.  I will be staying at the Many Glacier Hotel where I worked as a singing waitress for two glorious summers over 30 years ago.  I will be meeting up with a small group of very dear friends with whom I spent those magical days. We will be joined by many others from different decades who also spent their summers in this quintessential National Park Hotel.  I was there in 1982 and 1983 and, without a doubt, they were the best summers of my life.

Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park, MT.

Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park, MT.

I was hired as a waitress in the Ptarmigan Dining Room, a prized job among employees at the Hotel.  Not only did we make good tips, but we sang as a choir two times a night as part of our duties.  We were “singing waiters.”  My second summer I was the director of the Dining Room Choir.  This was a great boon for me because I was preparing to direct choirs as a career and it  significantly increased my nightly tips.  Our waitress uniform was a black or red dirndl skirt with a white peasant blouse trimmed with embroidered ribbon.  There was a Swiss theme that ran throughout the hotel due in part to it’s designation as the “Switzerland of North America.”  The most prominent peak across Swiftcurrent Lake, Grinnell Point, was likened to the Matterhorn.

MGH poster

Here’s a  side by side comparison of Grinell Point over Swiftcurrent Lake and the Matterhorn in Switzerland:MGH Mnt. GrinnellmatterhornThe Swiss theme could be found outside the Dining Room as well.  Our bellmen wore lederhosen.MGHBellman1978Here are a few fellas from the late 70’s.

The first summer I worked at MGH I brought all the wrong shoes.  The worst offenders were the cheap fake leather white shoes I purchased in Nebraska as part of my waitress uniform.  They were stiff and uncushioned but the price was right for a impecunious college student.  I hadn’t waitressed before and learned the hard way about the importance of comfortable shoes.  Huge crescent moon shaped blisters formed on the back of my heels making life miserable for weeks on end.  The nearest department store was a 50 mile drive over the mountains in a car that I did not own.  And online shopping, of course, did not exist.  I was stuck with what I brought.  The next summer I wised up and spent good money on nursing grade white shoes.

My second mistake was hiking boots.  Or, that is to say, my lack of hiking boots.  I thought I could get away with sneakers but soon found out they were missing the structure and support for trail hiking in Glacier Park.  Some of my new friends suggested that I borrow a pair from a fellow employee

So that was my third mistake- borrowing a pair of broken in hiking boots which had already conformed to their original owner’s feet.  I went through a lot of moleskin in 1982.moleskinThere’s so much more to tell you. ” Glacier time” was not analogous to real life.  What transpired there in 24 hours was easily 10 times greater than normal.  We were all young, somewhere in our 20’s.  We came from all over the U.S. (although there was a curious concentration from the state of Minnesota and Seattle, Washington).  Most came with some kind of talent; vocal, instrumental, theatrical and the like.  Mr. Ian B. Tippett had hired us primarily for those gifts.  He had created a hotel where its employees, in addition to serving, also entertained its guests.

On Tuesday nights there was a Hootenanny (or Hoots) which consisted of folk music, bluegrass and old favorites accompanied by acoustic instruments.  Every Hoot concluded with a group rendition of “Good Night Irene.”  The Thursday night program was called Serenade.  This was Mr. Tippett’s baby.  He was the master of ceremonies and would introduce each performer with his unique British flare and swagger.  This was the night for Broadway songs, operatic arias and classical music.  We had so much fun putting these programs together every week.  Creating and practicing group numbers was part of our off duty fun.  Here’s a quartet from 1983:MGH serenadeThat’s Mo, Tim, Christopher and Gail.  Mo looks like she came straight from the dinner shift in the Ptarmigan Room.  We performed in the grand lobby of the Hotel.

And, as if that were not enough, we would also mount a fully staged Broadway Musical complete with costumes, make-up, lights, and a full orchestra.  We had a small stage in a large room on the lower level of the hotel.  My first summer we produced “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”  My second summer we did “Kiss Me Kate.” Here’s a scene from that show:11109677_676380089163254_5333074202175387972_nI’m the one with arms crossed and head tilted.  We were impossibly young.  What’s happened to all these kids?  Has life been good to them?  Did their dreams come true?  If not, did they find some new dreams?  Will they be at the reunion and, more importantly, will I recognize them?  I know Christopher (sitting down, in the red t-shirt and white sweater draped over his shoulders) will be there.

And when we weren’t waitressing, cleaning rooms, hauling luggage, washing pots and pans, preparing food, taking reservations, selling souvenirs, practicing music, or performing….we were HIKING the magnificent Rocky Mountains of Glacier National Park.

And for that you need a good pair of boots.  IMG_7781

These are my Salomons.  They fit like a glove and they are mine, all mine.  I’ve taken them out for a few test runs and I think I’m good to go.

So, I hope you follow me on the Hiking Boot Chronicles.  Fingers crossed that internet is up and working at MGH.

Considering Prada

I’m smitten with these 2015 fall Prada mary janes…
prada trio

And these loafers…

prada loafers

And these boots….

prada boots

Prada,Gucci,Louis Vuitton,Chanel; these are not my shoe designers.  I don’t possess the wardrobe, lifestyle or pocketbook they demand.  But these are so up my alley right now.

I love the heel, the double straps, the little cutout windows and the color.

prada yellowprada blackPrada blueSomebody actually invented a new mary jane. Good old Miu Miu. I wonder if they feel as good as they look?  Easily twice or three times as much as I’m willing to pay, could I detect a difference? Or is the object to “be seen?”  Would you know it was Prada if you saw me on the streets?  Because, when I think of Prada, it goes more like this…

prada older prada older yellow prada sandal red prada boot comma prada boot brownBeautifully elegant shoes, but where’s the fun?  Where’s the spunk?

Here it is…prada metallicprada green and yellowprada pink

I could do without the oven mitts, though.

Shiny Shoes

This summer I’m seeing lots and lots of metallic sandals.

I decided to get me a pair.IMG_7621IMG_7623Yep, they are from Chie Mihara.  I strayed a bit from my proclivity for her mary janes, kitten heels and oxfords. A daring move for me.  So far, so good. I ordered them from Farfetch at $100.00 off the list price.  Shipping was reasonable and delivery was fast.

If it’s good enough for Michelle Obama…Michelle-Obama-London-LMilan-Christopher-Kane-Duro-Olowu-Fashion-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO-1It’s good enough for me. Can you see her yellow pedicure in this photo?  I just love her so much for things like that.  Does that make me shallow?

Here are some more styles found on the internet:

chie metallic 3

More Chie Miharas here…

chie metallic 2

…here…

...and here

…and here

Moma sandal

Moma

Naot sandal

Naot. Birkenstock’s sleeker, hipper cousin.

Dansko sandal

Dansko

Always love me some sandals from Cydwoq

Love the sandals from Cydwoq

Cydwoq sandal

Cydwoq

Aerosole

Aerosole

Argila sandal.  Also from Spain.

Argila. Another fabulous designer in Spain.

Found these online at Athleta.

Found these online at Athleta.

FitFlop Petra

FitFlop Petra

The following are from the online shop Totokaelo:

Marni sandal

Marni

Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Lastly, I discovered these colorful metallics in my search.  Anybody out there know this brand?  I’m tempted to give the aqua or green ones a try.

Dromedaris Ana

Dromedaris Ana

Architecture

In April my son and I took a trip to New York City.  We stayed at a hotel in Chelsea and made downtown, particularly the West Side, our main focus of attention.  One of the highlights, for me, was walking the length of one of Manhattan’s latest attractions; The High Line. The above ground linear park is a repurposed elevated section of a disused portion of a New York Central Railroad Spur called the West Side Line.  The 1.45-mile-long aerial greenway runs from around 14th Street in the Meatpacking District, through Chelsea, to the northern edge of the West Side Train Yard on 34th Street with second story views of both old and emerging architecture, newly created art installations, construction sites, train yards, and the Hudson River.  It was a glorious early spring morning with glimpses of budding green growth and intense purple patches of crocuses between preserved railroad ties.  Mingled in the air was a composition of distant metallic clanging, occasional jackhammering and the softer, gentler car noises typical of a downtown side street. After this long slog of a winter, I felt like I had walked through the gates of heaven. I wanted this to be the first of many future treks along the High Line.  There is so much to see and hear.  It must change from season to season, month to month, week to week. This time, this first time, it was the architecture that took me by surprise.  When did walls become obtuse, rounded, and protruding? IMG_7190 IMG_7184IMG_7188IMG_7193 I kinda love it. Our hotel occupied what use to be sleeping quarters for merchant marines docking at Chelsea Pier.  Isn’t it fabulous too? It’s called the Downtown Dream Hotel.  I highly recommend it. IMG_7206So naturally, all this interaction with architecture got me to thinking about… well… SHOES! Shoes certainly have architectural appeal.architec shoes

Christian Loubiton

Christian Loubiton

Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

Camper 2015

Camper 2015

Chie Mihara spring/summer 2015 Collection

Chie Mihara spring/summer 2015 Collection

Roberto-del-Carlo 2015

Roberto-del-Carlo 2015

Versace

Versace

Chie Mihara spring/summer 2014 collectionA little shoe architecture for your Memorial Day weekend.  Enjoy!

Road Trip

On a frigid Friday the 13th in February what better way to spend the day than to take a little road trip north to visit a fun shoe store? My good friend Liz and I set out for Podo Shoes in St. Johnsbury, VT to do just that.  She had heard about the store and thought it would be a worthwhile adventure.  She was looking for some fun motorcycle boots. I had been looking for some functional but attractive ankle boots to slog through the remainder of this unrelenting winter.  We found those things and more. Plus, everything was on sale!

Podo Shoes in St. Johnsbury, VT

Podo Shoes in St. Johnsbury, VT

Most of the store merchandise consisted of what I affectionately call the “Upper Valley Look.”  There is no denying that gals in this part of Northern New England have to battle the elements while trying to look good.  Many women tend to give up on the stylish end of things, opting for function and comfort as the only consideration.  But, it is possible to look good while staying warm, dry and comfortable.  My rule of thumb is to avoid a head to toe “Upper Valley Look” because I prefer to mix things up a bit.  That said, when it’s time to replace your UVL items, this is a great place shop.

Cute and functional shoes and boots.

Cute and functional shoes and boots.

Colorful and unusual cowboy boots.

Colorful and unusual cowboy boots. Not your typical UVL.

Always on the lookout for a sensible heeled mary jane in neutral colors.

Always on the lookout for a sensible heeled mary jane in neutral colors. These are by Ecco.

A full range of styles and colors in each brand carried.

A full range of styles and colors in each brand.

They had an elegant and comfortable fitting area and very helpful sales people.  We never felt rushed or guilty about asking for another size, color, or different pair all together. IMG_6775

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Great shoe art. Try to ignore the dreaded Ugg Boots below.

I loved the framed shoe art. Is that an Andy Warhol print? Liz found her motor cycle boots; functional and badass.  These are by Ariat.IMG_6792

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Blundstone style 500 in Stout Brown Premium and Pikolinos Sandia in dark orange.

And I found my ankle boots plus a bonus pair of low heeled mary janes. The boots are Blundstones from Australia.  They have a synthetic sole with an ample tread and a waxed leather upper.  I think they will work well when negotiating mucky parking lots and wet sidewalks.  I love the easy on and easy off pull tabs at the front and back.  I really like the color which is not quite black and not quite brown.  And that stretchy contrasting gore- I can hardly contain my glee.  I’ll still need my Bogs for snowstorms and winter sports but now I’ll have options.

As for the Pikolinos, they are divine.  I have been admiring them for some time but have never owned a pair.  The brand is from Spain and they aren’t as pricey as some of the other Spanish brands I tout.  I suspect it’s because they are made in China.  But, never mind, I think I’m in love.  I have them on right now and I may just wear them to bed.  The perforations are an interesting design detail. Can you see that in the photo?  At first I thought they were mostly a spring/summer shoe but then I learned these were from the fall/winter line.  So, there you go.  A versatile shoe if ever there was one.  Do I sound like I’m trying to justify the purchase?  Did I mention they were on sale? IMG_6796 Liz walked out with no less than three pairs.  They also had a great assortment of Smartwool socks, tights and apparel which you can see behind her. IMG_6799 Thanks to owner Deborah Schein and her employee Sophie for a wonderful shopping experience.  We’ll be back.   But… maybe next time… in the spring.

P.S.  We had a great lunch at a place across the street called the Tap Room and later strolled down the street to a consignment shop and nice little bookstore with a coffee bar.  St. J. is a hopping place!

Wear the Red Shoes

When you think of red shoes, what image comes to mind?

ruby slippers 5I’m guessing it’s these, Dorothy’s iconic ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz”  Who could forget Judy Garland in that blue checked gingham dress with matching blue anklets and these shoes?  It’s the original “pop of color” which style bloggers love so much.  Do you remember what shoes she had on before the crash landing into Munchkin Land?  I can’t.

These scarlet colored sequined pumps would prove to be both a blessing and a curse for our Midwestern heroine.  She needed them to get back to Kansas but they caused her and her friends a heap of trouble along the way.  This got me to thinking about other movie heroines who wore red shoes and how they fared.

The Red Shoes movieI’m afraid this gal didn’t do so well.  I’ve never seen the 1948 movie “The Red Shoes” but, from what I understand, these brightly colored toe shoes had a mind of their own.  The movie format is that of a  ballet story within a story.  It’s the sad tale of a ballerina named Vicky Page.  She comes to the attention of a noteworthy choreographer who features her in his new ballet based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Red Shoes.”  In Andersons’s tale a demonic shoemaker (is there such a thing?) sells a pair of red ballet slippers to a young girl.  At first the girl enjoys the magic of the slippers and the powers of dance they transfer.  However, things soon spin out of control as the girl is forced to dance uncontrollably and incessantly.  By the end of the story she is near death from exhaustion. She finds herself in front of a church and begs a priest for help.  She asks him to remove her shoes and when he does, she dies.  The Shoemaker somehow retrieves the shoes to give to his next victim.

I’m afraid Vicky’s story ends badly too.  Caught between two waring lovers she ends up fleeing the theatre before a performance of the ballet and jumps from a balcony in front of a moving train suffering a much more violent death than her fairy tale counterpart.  Holy crap.

Chacolat-red-shoesBut, perhaps my favorite pair of movie red shoes were the ones worn by Juliette BInoche’s character Vianne Rocher in “Chocolat.”  Vianne and her six-year-old daughter cause a big stir when they move to a small, conservative, rural town in 1960’s France to open a chocolate shop.  She’s a single mom with an illegitimate child and keeping Sunday hours at her shop.  Even worse, Vianne begins to sell her tempting treats during the season of Lent.  Vianne is beautiful and she wears tasteful but provocative clothing including one fabulous pair of red pumps.  Eventually her warmth, exuberance and helpful nature win over the people of the town.  Plus, about halfway into the movie, Johnny Depp comes drifting by on a river boat.  These two misfits have some amazing chemistry.  So, although the shoes contribute to some strife in the beginning, at least Vianne doesn’t die in the end and she gets to keep her shop, her man and her shoes.  Phew!

Here’s a pair of my favorite red heels which have never caused me problems (that I know about).  They are from John Fluevog and the style is called Ileanna from the Operetta family.

IMG_6773  I think this style is discontinued but below are a trio of red Fluevog heels that are currently available online…

John Fluevog Sopranos Carey in tomato red

John Fluevog Sopranos Carey in tomato red

John Fluevog Operettas Malibran

John Fluevog Operettas Malibran

John Fluevog Desmond

John Fluevog Desmond

I love the Operetta family of shoes in the Fluevog line.  The two inch heel is very stable.  This style also works well for those of us with wider feet.  As does the Desmond family although that pointy toe may scare you away.  I assure you these shoes are very wearable and make your legs look fabulous.  You might be tempted to go up a half size but it’s not necessary.  They come in a whole range of colors.  All can be found at JohnFluevog.com.

Here are some other brands…

Fidji brand shoes from Portugal found on 6pm.com

Fidji brand shoes from Portugal found on 6pm.com

Miz Mooz also found on 6pm.com

Miz Mooz also found on 6pm.com

Liebling Shoes from Israel found on easy.com

Liebling Shoes from Israel found on etsy.com

Chie Mihara shoes from Spain, Spring/Summer 2015

Chie Mihara shoes from Spain, Spring/Summer 2015

Chie Mihara Spring/Summer 2015 found online at Pedshoes.com

Chie Mihara Spring/Summer 2015 found online at Pedshoes.com

Cute red pumps made in Argentina found on Etsy

Cute red pumps made in Argentina found on Etsy

All Black often features a version of this style in various colors.  I found these on trashydiva.com

All Black often features a version of this style in various colors. I found these on trashydiva.com

Kudeta Shoes made in Italy.  These were on ebay.com

Kudeta Shoes made in Italy. These were on ebay.com

Red oxfords and loafers…

French designer Repetto found on gravitypope.com

French designer Repetto found on gravitypope.com

Last year's Moma heeled Oxford online at amano.com

Last year’s Moma heeled Oxford online at amano.com

Frye Courtney slip on at thefryecompany.com

Frye Courtney slip on at thefryecompany.com

Cute shoes I found on pinterest.  Wish I knew the brand name.

Cute shoes I found on pinterest. Wish I knew the brand name.

Winter’s not over yet.  Look at these red boots.

Pantanetti red ankle boots found on headstart.com

Pantanetti red ankle boots found on headstart.com

Blondin red boots on Anthropologie.com

Blondin red boots on Anthropologie.com

Fiorintini and Baker Nelly boots at pedshoes.com

Fiorintini and Baker Nelly boots at pedshoes.com

John Fluevog Mezzo Cecilia boots.

John Fluevog Mezzo Cecilia boots.

Frye Melissa Button zip short boots on Amazon.com

Frye Melissa Button zip short boots on Amazon.com

Anaid Kupuri

Anaid Kupuri

Do you have what it takes to wear a pair of red cowboy boots?red boots on etsy My friend and a Sole Searching reader named Jenny rocked a pair of red cowboy boots on Christmas Eve.  What a perfect time to break them out.  She wore them with great style.

Jenny's red cowboy boots on Christmas Eve 2014

Jenny’s red cowboy boots on Christmas Eve 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.  A gal should be able to wear her red shoes without being chased by a wicked witch or meeting her ultimate demise.  Let’s make it our mission to put the red shoe curse to rest once and for all!

It Might As Well Be Spring

I’m tingling all over with excitement and I can’t keep from smiling. My cheeks are flushed and my heart rate has noticeably quickened.  A wave of sublime satisfaction has gently washed over me and if I smoked, now would be the perfect time to light up.

No, I didn’t just have sex.  Rather…  

The new Spring/Summer 2015 line of Chie Mihara Shoes have officially arrived!!

I’ve spent the past hour or so poring over the latest offerings on the official Chie Mihara website, loading them up to feature today on Sole Searching.  Of course there are too many to share, but I’ve chosen a few pairs to highlight and perhaps to educate those of you who have not yet discovered this amazing women’s shoe designer based in Spain.chie curi-Bchie junichichie simonechie expo starI’m partial to the colorful designs. So unexpected. The examples above are classic shoe types; peep toe t-strap, Roman sandal, mary jane, pump. It’s the color, texture and materials that make them unique.  Don’t you love that shade of mustard yellow?  And the blue polka dots and green gingham are at once nostalgic and new.  Do you love the water color effect on the pumps?  The orange trim is perfect. They might not fit into everybody’s wardrobe but they demand to be admired.  I tell my husband it’s like visiting an art museum.

The other thing I love about her line is the variety of heel heights.  For every towering wedge there is an equal offering of mid and low alternatives.  For instance, here is a range offered in the Hawaiian print style..chie vetcuchie hawaiin platform chie hawiian chunk chie hawiian print ox

Each season I can’t wait to see her oxfords… chie dijon oxford chie durui chie konoko gravity popeThere is a definite retro vibe in most of her designs… chie shoyu chie red polka dotchie womanchie laio-a

But, she’s also on trend.  For example, the platform sandal.  I’m drawn to this pair but there are several others.chie okoro

And I love these sandals because they manage to make a two inch heel look as sexy as a five inch stilleto.chie silver sandal

Lastly, you have to love her sense of humor.  I can’t see myself wearing these, but somebody out there is drooling over these Cruella de Vil lovelies.  Maybe they were meant for you?chies crazy

In Praise of the Spontaneous Outing

IMG_6235

Chie Mihara Nasy in navy blue and turquoise from fall/winter collection 2014.

nasy

IMG_6233IMG_6231

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.  I am taking time out from my sick bed to write a post and to share with you my latest shoe acquisition from Christmas morning (see above).  We Had a fabulous Christmas family reunion in New Jersey with all 20 members of the Sherlock family; one matriarch, five siblings, five significant others and nine cousins.  We drove down on Christmas Day and sailed right across the Tappan Zee bridge with absolutely no traffic.

One day we strolled along the Asbury Park Boardwalk in weather approaching 60 degrees ferenhiet.  Stopping for some nachos and beer at Pop’s Garage we met Kelly.

IMG_6402Kelly, we soon found out, was the accountant and had been pulled into service because the place was understaffed and hadn’t anticipated the rush.  She tried to warn us, but we couldn’t be deterred by the threat of slow service and delayed tortilla chips.  We sat outside at a picnic table until the sun started moving behind the building and we remembered it was winter.  Although guacamole, salsa, chips and beer were flowing, more of our gang was showing up and we needed a bigger table and a bit more shelter.  Kelly found us an empty table at the sister sushi restaurant next door.  It was perfect and so we became more serious about eating.  IMG_6408IMG_6410Fish tacos, beef enchiladas, chicken nachos, quesadillas and a pitcher of Shirley Temples soon graced the long table.  Kelly encouraged us to grab up utensils and napkins from a nearby abanodoned bussing station.  “Help yourself to whatever you can find for Pete’s sake.”

I don’t know how long we were there or what meal it was.  Lunch? Dinner? Linner?  At a certain point it was revealed that the regular wait staff had offered to take over our table for Kelly.  She would have nothing of it.  She sat down for awhile and regaled us with her employment history in and around Asbury Park.  She had done the books for just about every bar in town but earlier had done a bit of waitressing.  She was enjoying this blast from her past.

When it was time to go, most of us walked home heading north along the boardwalk.  IMG_6415IMG_6413

Although the week was filled with other great family events; the annual Christmas bowling outing, cousin gift exchange, carols around the piano, fabulous home cooked meals, an excursion into NYC to see a broadway musical…the spontaneous afternoon on the Asbury Park Boardwalk will remain a favorite memory.

Birthdays

Last month I celebrated a birthday.  I had a nice day.  It was the first time in ten years that I didn’t have some kind of choral rehearsal or performance to go to.  I was free to celebrate with family and friends on the actual day.  I was surprised what a difference that made.  I was also surprised to have my friend Pippa from London in town unexpectedly!  After my morning work obligations, we met for lunch.  Later, at home, I received a birthday call from my daughter and then headed out again for a routine hair appointment. In the evening my husband, son, Pippa and her sister Martha all met for dinner at a new Nepalese restaurant in town called “Base Camp.”  Later at home we lit some candles on a carrot cake and I opened some gifts.  These shoes were in the pile.

Shoe booties by Italian shoe maker "Ink"

Shoe booties by Italian shoe maker “Ink”

Love the exposed zipper and the graceful pointed toe.

Love the exposed zipper and the graceful pointed toe.

In case you were wondering; I was the one who ordered them.  That’s how my husband and I handle most of our gift giving and I highly recommend it.  I had been looking for Chelsea boots (see my last post) but then I found these.  I took a chance on an Italian brand I had noticed often but never tried.  I got lucky.  These shoes are wonderful; beautifully crafted and feel like heaven to wear.  It always lifts my spirits to discover a new shoe designer to covet.  More soles to search, more fodder for the blog.

All very normal, regular stuff… except for the fact that I turned 55.  How exactly did that happen?

I don’t know about you, but I have more trouble grasping the middle of the decade than I do the beginning.  Turning 50 seemed novel.  It took time to sink in and it was easy to ignore at first.  But turning 55 is much harder to disregard. When the second number is equal or greater than the first number, things start to get real.

I was watching some old home video footage of a Junior Choir Advent musical play I directed at my church in 2004.  My daughter was in it and she was 8 years old.  She was so little and her voice so high and squeaky.  She had a few teeth missing and her hair needed a good brushing.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Today she’s sitting in her dorm room in upstate New York getting ready for her first semester finals.  My son wasn’t yet with us back then.  In fact, he was only a few months old and living in Russia.  Today he is a fifth grader with smelly armpits and a love for MineCraft.  Where did all that time go?  Where are those children?  Those babies?

I see myself in the video too.  I’m more or less the same.  I have the same haircut with the same blond highlights and except for a few extra pounds and a few wrinkles I look just the same today as I did then.  I might even still own that dress.  I’m about to put together yet another Junior Choir Advent musical.  I think this is number 23 or 24.  I’ve lost count.  It all starts to blur together.  If it wasn’t for the videos and the photos, I wouldn’t know when anything happened because it all feels like yesterday.

It all feels like yesterday until I remember that my Dad is gone and my Mom just sold the house we all grew up in to only the third owner it has ever had.  She’s living in a very small but nice apartment in a retirement community called Rolling Hills Ranch in Omaha, NE.  She’ll be the first to you that nothing’s the same.  My husband’s parents have been long gone but when I watch the video of my daughter, I can remember a time when my mother-in-law was very much in the picture.  Our daughter was her first and only grandchild and she would lavish her with gifts both at Hannukah and Christmas time.  It would drive me nuts when she would call or email in November and insist that I give her very detailed gift suggestions so that she would know what to buy.  I would think, “why do I have to do her shopping AND my shopping too?” How silly of me.  What I wouldn’t give to hear her voice on the other end of the phone today.

I see the parents with the car seats and the diaper bags and the kiddos in the restaurants with the booster seats and the french fries and I think; that was just me.  Now I’m the one with the half empty nest collecting up all the picture books and toys to pass along to the next generation.  Some of these things may even be antiques by now.

Let’s change the topic back to shoes shall we?  A friend of mine mentioned a movie called “Only You” about a woman who falls in love with an Italian shoe maker.  It’s on my must see list now.  I want to do a post on shoe related movies.  Send me your suggestions.  “Cinderella” and “The Red Shoes” come to mind but there must be more.  I need your help on this one.