Thursday, April 30, 2015


     Tonight, my husband, Rusty, mentioned the name of an old friend of his from college, but I couldn't place the name. He had come across a picture and was trying to jar my memory.  Then he reminded me of something this guy said over 20 years ago that I had forgotten about. Back in the day, when it was clear that Rusty and I were probably going to be a long-term partnership, this friend felt a need to take him aside and have a little conversation.  He told Rusty that although I was a nice girl, it would probably be better to break up with me because I was clearly Rusty's intellectual inferior. He hoped Rusty would learn from his own experiences at dating a girl who wasn't his equal.
     I started to remember when he had originally told me about this a million years ago.  Rusty had found the conversation amusing, tried to set the guy straight.  He told me only as an after thought.  I remember it stinging, as I've always been concerned that my niceness can be misinterpreted as being simpleminded.  I've have seen this from time to time over the years.  I also remember thinking I'd barely ever even had a conversation with this guy - on what could he have possibly built this opinion.  It did bother me for awhile, probably out of my own insecurities, but I eventually moved past it.  Tonight's reminder caused some further introspection, as I'm going through a minor existential crisis concerning my course in life.
     If I were to have a conversation with this guy now, I'd hope that he'd see just how misguided he was, or maybe he'd apologize to me before we even got started.  I'd love to ask how he even formed this idea, if only to gain insight on how at least one person perceived me so very long ago.
     Or I could just key his car.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Old Lady Shoes

     So I'm walking out of work tonight with the younger, very adorable woman that works with me. She's mid 20's, wears fitted clothes that accentuate her petite frame. As we're leaving, she says her shoes are killing her feet. They're flats, patent leather (so no give), peek-a-boo toe with the sides cut away. It looked like they have no arch support. This is the conversation that ensued:

Me: (noticing that the sides of her feet and the vamp are rubbed red) Oh, they do look like they hurt. Your poor feet.
Her: Yeah, but I can't wear shoes like you guys do.  (There are two other women that work with us, both in their mid 50's and I'm 42.)
M: Of, course you can. We aren't wearing heels.
H:  No, I can't wear those shoes.
M: I don't understand. What do you mean?
H: You know ...
M: What?
H: Older lady shoes. That wouldn't look good on me.
M: ... Shut the fuck up.  You know, I used to wear cute shoes before 20 years of standing on my feet all day.
H: (giggling) Goodnight

     I did wear cute shoes, and I still own a lot of them ... heels, slides, mules, kitten heels, sling backs, wedges. The list goes on and on.  I love shoes.  Shoes don't tell you you're fat. They only try to love you. And I wanted them to love me. Throughout college and into graduate school, I worked in shoes. I had a great discount on top of the markdowns. It was wonderful. I owned things I never could have afforded at retail, even if they were a season behind. I learned the fine art of rotating them for even wear, giving everything at least three days off in between to cut down on stinkiness, how to stretch them, basic repair, etc.
     Over the years, I've donated and dumped where necessary to winnow down the family - sometimes in order to better see what I have and sometimes to make room for replacements.  I'm not embarrassed to say that at one point I had over 250 pairs.  I stopped counting.  But one thing has become obvious over the last ten years, the over-arching theme is sensible. Thanks to torn menisci and slipped discs, I can try a pair on now and know in a moment whether or not they will spell doom and therefore don't come home with me.  I still wear some sexy things for special occasions, but I have to bring sneakers with me in the car. It's a smidgey-poo depressing.
     I've never relied on the shoes for my sex appeal, hoping that my charm might win hearts and minds, but wearing fabulous shoes builds you up.  It's the same way some women feel about matching underwear and bra sets.  I always figured I'd wear the shoes by themselves and forget the underwear, but how far will standing there in sensible Easy Spirits and nothing else get you?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


     I've been thinking about control a lot lately, and our perception of how much we really have in this big beautiful world. I've always wanted to be in control, to make it appear to everyone around me that I was solid and on track. Don't misunderstand being in control with being controlling, as some of my family has believed over the years.  Yes, I have opinions, strong ones at that, and yes I am persuasive in getting my point across, but that's because I'm frequently right - and if you've known me for a long time, you know that to be true.  I've also wanted to approach this concept apart from my religious beliefs, look at my perception of control separately from divine plan.
     When I was a little girl, my siblings thought I was bossy, some of that was related to time and place, but the rest of it was due to my desire for structure and order.  Being in control has always been equal to being prepared for me.  Know the odds.  Bring that extra pair of underwear.  Calculate everything your children might need for that camping trip in advance.  Memorize where he drops his belt at the end of the night.
     This thinking served me well for years, made me appear to those around me that I was top of things.  But then you forget a birthday or lock your keys in the car, and suddenly my mind is reeling from the misstep ... this isn't just being out of control, it's early onset Alzheimer's.  I run a tight ship in this old brain of mine. Stay in lockstep or suffer the consequences.  It can be tiring.  Which brings me back to my current train of thought.  I've been spending more time wondering whether or not this control is an illusion.  I believe that Morpheus summed it up best when he said:

     "What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad ... It is all around us.  Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth ... Like everyone else you were born into bondage.  Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind."

     I love smart writing, makes me all weak in the knees.  But I digress. Maybe the desire for control, and the presumed ability to attain it, are a deception, an unachievable end game. That inopportune red light impacts your choices hours later whether you realize it or not.  Your doctor says you'll be able to control that lower back pain, until you realize that it's actually dominating your every action.  You craft the public persona for appearances sake to fit into the corporate mold, but it's really their restraints imposed on you to make your paper, booboo.  How often is it us willingly handing over the control?
     I need to think more on this. I welcome your input.

Friday, April 3, 2015


     As I get older, my appreciation for some holidays has grown.  Easter is a great example.  When I was a little girl, I was excited to open my basket, and some years, go to church afterwards.  We always got a chocolate bunny, the obligatory jellybean layer and a handful of various treats.  Tucked in the middle was a toy, maybe a Barbie or stuffed animal.  I remember the year I got my first cross.  It meant I was mature enough to handle a real piece of jewelry from Sears - a big deal. 
     It was always sort of a surreal holiday, too.  You spent Friday talking about how Christ was tortured and died for your sins and were then supposed to be overjoyed on Sunday when he arose from the dead.  It's kind of a complex set of ideas for a child to get in the matter of a couple of days.  To simplify it, my mother used to focus on the idea that because of His death and resurrection, the four of us would always be together.  This idea expanded one year after she read an essay of a man who had had a near-death experience.  He described waking up in heaven and being surrounded by all the dogs and horses he had known in his life.  Mom and I joked that we'd open our eyes to see a circle of cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, a couple lizards and a turtle.
     Now as a theoretical grown-up, Easter has become particularly polarizing as more people in my life die.  It's like a talisman - I'll see you again one day.  But it's really all about her.  I've lined the wall of our staircase with pictures of family and friends.  I've put her in spots that naturally fall into my field of vision, so it never surprises my system like finding her handwriting does.  So distinctive and unique to her, seeing her words in an unexpected place is almost like hearing her again.  I freeze in place.
     Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this blessed weekend.  I'll see you soon, Mom.