10 November 2005

this little piggy...

I have just discovered shoes.

Until now, I never much cared for them to be honest; I’ve always preferred to go barefoot and let my toes wiggle freely. I guess that makes me an atypical woman in this age of Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. But I have always loved the texture of grass under my feet, the cushy fibers of a woven rug, the cold feel of tile. I guess you could say I like feeling grounded. And I know it sounds funny, but shoes have always made my feet feel like they are suffocating. I work at home in a who-needs-shoes-world, sitting cross-legged all day long in my leather desk chair the color of mashed peas. If I have to venture outside (to grab the mail, drive to the grocery store, walk the dog) it’s usually flip-flops or slip-on clogs depending on the season.

Then somehow, it happened. Recently, I discovered a love of shoes. I am starting slowly, easing myself into addiction with two new pairs, each for a different mood.

I began with a brown pair of sneakers with stripes on the side. They are easy and comfortable---good for the days when I just want to be my jeans-and-T-shirt self. The exciting thing (for me) about these new sneakers is that they differ from the shoes I wear to the gym. These are what you call “fashionable” sneakers. This is where I am branching out---realizing that one shoe does not, in fact, fit all occasions.

Next I found a brown pair of vintage-looking flats (the closest I will get to a stiletto any time soon) with a thin strap across the front and a bit of beige stitching on the toe. Okay, they give me blisters on my heels, but they are so cute that I hate to take them off. So I limp. And use a lot of band-aids.

Already I am different. I find myself noticing people’s feet wherever I go. (Perhaps there are more shoes out there I haven’t yet discovered.) I “browse” for shoes while I walk through the bookstore. I glance under tables at restaurants. I walk with my head down, not because I am ashamed of my new minor obsession, but because I can’t seem to quench my curiosity…what shoes are people wearing? Would they look good on my feet? Do they require socks?

The nicest shoes I have owned until now (including my wedding shoes) was a pair of tall black boots that my sister bought in Italy and gave me when she didn’t want them anymore (I think they hurt her feet.) I wore them with skirts, sometimes with jeans, mostly in the winter. They were very sleek and fashionable, not terribly comfortable, but so what? They were Italian leather boots. Then one day, Jeremy made a shocking announcement. He hated the boots. And not just these particular boots…ALL boots. It baffles the mind to think that someone could have such an aversion for something so harmless (even beautiful in their own way), but he was really sincere about his plea that I never, ever wear the boots again (and any others I might have hidden in the back of my closet.) He loathed those boots, I dare say, as much as I despise the hideous, faded, 1987, four sizes too big, Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future jean jacket that he STILL keeps hanging among his clothes, just in case a meteor strikes the earth and it comes back in style one day. [But that’s a topic for another blog.]

I got rid of the boots. Actually, I wore them for awhile first…but only a few times, and only when I was spending time with girl friends who would truly appreciate them. Before I knew it, it was spring and I went back to walking barefoot in the grass. I barely missed them at all.

And speaking of seasons, my two new pairs of non-boot shoes are really great for crunching fall leaves as I walk. Flip-flops can only squish. They also keep my feet firmly planted at the dog park while Sam, followed by a crew of Beagles, Chihuahuas, and Terriers, dash around my legs---most likely trying to get a closer look at my new shoes. And who can blame them?

07 November 2005

Pick Our Vacation

[I don’t really know who reads this blog, other than a handful of family members and a few friends, but I am open to input from anyone and everyone. ....Anyone??]

Jeremy and I are going to take a trip. Just a little three or four day excursion, sometime in early to mid-December, just to get away by ourselves (I’m not going to specify the exact dates in case any burglars read my blog.)

We have narrowed down our choices but every time we think we have decided on one of them, we change our minds again. So please help us out by leaving a comment with your vote (any explanation with the reason(s) for your choice would be appreciated too). This will really be a big help. Thanks…we’ll send you a postcard.

Option 1: New York City (fun Christmas shopping, ice skating, browsing bookstores--Jeremy's favorite thing to do, Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village, maybe something Broadway, bundled up strolls around Central Park—very romantic)

Option 2: Boston/Maine--emphasis on Maine (I have always wanted to go to Maine and Jeremy has never been before either…Bed and Breakfast, little shops, cozy cafĂ©’s and the idea of someplace quaint is appealing to both of us, however it’s going to be very cold we’re thinking. Sometimes Jeremy does not enjoy being cold and tends to be expressive about it...even though I have offered to knit him a scarf.)

Option 3: Northern California (I can show Jeremy the places I spent time when I was young, and there’s always Sausalito Island, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square. Lots of nostalgia, and it will be warm, and they have sourdough bread.)

Option 4: Savannah, Georgia (Jeremy has just finished reading “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," so he’s intrigued. It sounds like fun to me too, being that we love New Orleans, and I am sure it will be a great place to begin the holiday season---though maybe a little spooky at the same time. One plus is that we can drive there. Actually, maybe that’s a minus?

...And that is all.

Day by Day and Again Tomorrow

This morning we awoke to a gift.

I am pretty sure that this is the first actual gift we’ve received from our cat, as it is typically her practice to take as much as she likes of both food and couch space and offer very little in return. But today she lovingly delivered a small grey mouse for Jeremy (laid out on the rug next to his office chair, where she now sits curled up asleep, understandably tired from her late night “shopping” excursion.)

Our house is just full of gifts these days. There’s our new collection of my dad’s old vinyl records, including Another Side of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel Bookends, early Emmylou, some Neil Diamond thrown in for flair (including one with “Crunchy Granola Suite!”), and my favorite Crystal Gayle albums that I used to sing along to as a kid.

In a corner of my bedroom are bags of belated birthday gifts for friends whose celebrations have long since passed--friends I haven’t seen because I’ve sort of been hiding lately. [Sometimes I go through phases where I’d rather be alone. Usually, but not always, being alone means that I like to have my husband there with me. One of the best things about marriage is that you can actually be alone and still be in the same room with someone, and somehow it’s a million times better than being all by yourself.] There’s also a brown box wrapped up with a striped ribbon, and inside: a baby gift to send to my sister who is pregnant with my nephew Jake.

On the coffee table is another birthday gift that I meant to give but didn’t. It’s a photographic essay called The Sea (Day by Day.) I bought the book not long ago, four months late for my dad’s birthday last May. Since it was already so late, I took it to Houston to give it to him in person rather than mailing it. But pictures of faraway oceans never seemed to fit in with all that was right in front of us at the time, so it sat in the corner of the hospital room in a bag for days and days until I finally brought it back to Nashville again.

My dad was an accountant for as long as I knew him and one afternoon about three years ago I asked him: “Do you enjoy what you do for a living?” I was surprised when he answered, “Not really.” So I asked him what, if he could have done anything in the whole world without regard for money, he would have chosen instead. He said he had always loved to sail when he was young, had always loved the water, and thought he would have liked being a sailor rather than crunching numbers for giant oil companies all these years.

One of my favorite gifts I’ve ever received is my camera, a Christmas gift from my dad actually, almost ten years ago. It opened up a whole new world to me when I first used it, looking through that little box and seeing so many familiar things for the first time.

If someone was to ask me what kind of gift would make me happy (a tangible gift, something to open)--it would probably be one related to photography and art, or cooking too. I could spend hours wandering through aisles of paintbrushes and acrylic tubes, and I think racks of kitchen utensils are truly fascinating (much the way my friend Christie who has a passion for office supplies craves staplers and tape dispensers.) And I love looking at photography books---pictures of people, of landscapes. Memories of life. Those are the things that have always resonated with me. I often tell Jeremy that for me, life is best when it’s spent capturing important moments, the ones that will still mean something to you a long, long time from now no matter where life takes you.

And I guess that’s why I bought my dad a book about the ocean.