Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Poetry Thursday- Kindness

Someone told me recently that I was the kindest person they had ever met, and frankly, I was surprised. I don't consciously think about what it means to be "kind." I try to treat others as I would wish to be treated, but I think that true kindness is much more selfless than I could ever pretend to be, and demands a willingness to sacrifice and a depth of experience that I have never faced. This poem by Naomi Shihab Nye expresses what I feel kindness demands. I can only hope to have true kindess "go everywhere with me, like a shadow or a friend."

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness.
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead beside the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises it head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Me-From A-Z

Thanks to Susan at soozphotoz for another super idea -the A-Z of me (or of you if you choose to play!) Here goes:

Accent: Mostly midwestern, but a little bit of my central Kentucky heritage pokes thoo ever' now an agin;
Booze: Strictly Chardonnay
Chore I Hate: Emptying the dishwasher
Dogs/Cats: Magic and Molly, Shih Tzus extraordinaire
Essential Electronics: Laptop, cell phone, TIVO, programmable Cuisinart coffee grinder/maker
Favorite Perfume: Scents make me sneeze, even when other people are wearing them
Gold/Silver: Gold, always
Hometown: Redford, Michigan, born here, raised here, still live here, and probably ready to leave here
Insomnia: Right before a concert
Job Title: Depending on the day, either Accompanist or Report Writing Coordinator
Kids: One, a 26 year old male
Living Arrangements: One old house in an old midwestern town; one new house in an up and coming southwest Florida city. Ask me which one I like best!
Most admired trait: Kindness to others
Number of sexual partners: Right now and for the forseeable future, one and only one
Overnight hospital stays: Three nights, following the birth of my son
Phobias: Enclosed places - just the thought of a CT scan makes me shiver
Quote: Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him march to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau
Religion: A believer, but cool to organized religion
Siblings: None
Time I Usually Wake Up: 6:30 a.m. in summer; 7:30 in winter
Unusual Talent: Trivia master
Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Rutabaga
Worst Habit: Worrying too much, although I'm getting better with age
X-Rays: Right elbow, broken last winter when I tripped over my own foot walking the dogs
Yummy Foods I Make: Pot Roast, Farmer's Breakfast Casserole, French Toast
Zodiac Sign: Pisces, the fish

Monday, May 29, 2006

Resolutions Redux

For those of us who work in schools, summertime is like a mini New Year. When I think of three months without classes, rehearsals, and performances to prepare for, my mind literally roils with all the things I want to do. Here are some of the things bubbling around in my head:
  1. This summer, I am determined to lose the 15 pounds of pre-menopausal fat that have mysteriously accumulated in various places on my body over the past two years. Tomorrow, I'm going to FitZone for Women and sign up. I will then faithfully return there every Monday, Thursday, and Friday and spend 30 minutes on the treadmills, bicycles, or circuit training machines. So there, body! Take that!
  2. This summer, I am delving into a new creative realm-photography. Jim has always been the family photographer, and he's so darn good at it I was never tempted to try it myself. But I just bought myself an Olympus 310, my own personal digital camera, and can't wait to start snapping. Hopefully, I'll have some shots good enough to post on this site.
  3. This summer, I'm going to continue writing, and explore an online workshop or class, as well as seek out new blogs to inspire me, so that I can prepare at least one personal essay or short story to submit for publication.
  4. This summer, I'm going to get one of my Beethoven Piano Sonata's back in shape. For the past couple of years I've been playing Mozart and Haydn, while my vintage Artur Schnabel editions of the Beethoven gathered dust in the basement. I pulled one out the other day and was immediatly struck by the way he enlarged the sonata form and made it so exciting. As I paged through Volume 1, I was surprised at how many of them I had actually learned once upon a time.
  5. This summer, I'm going to read Dickens' Bleak House and watch the new BBC mini-series, which was highly recommended by my friend Shari, who has very discerning taste when it comes to TV. I'm also going to explore more poetry, since I've been inspired by Poetry Thursday.
  6. This summer, I'll be cooking more, exploring some healthy eating options (in keeping with Number 1 on my list). I'm off to Barnes and Noble later today for some cookbook shopping.
  7. This summer, as every summer, I'm going to relish more time with my family, my doggies, and the outdoors. I'm making it a priority to visit my mother in law every week, as well as my aunt and uncle. It's amazing how an hour spent watching the doggies can cheer them up. I'm also hoping for daily walks in the park with Magic and Molly, and lots of opportunites to sit on the patio with my book and a cold glass of wine, watching the sun go down and the fireflies come out.

So much for my summer resolutions. I have to keep tamping down new ones as they pop into my mind, knowing how easy it is to be overcome with ideas and then lack the courage to begin anything! Earlier today, I got excited about scrapbooking, after seeing some awesome digital scrapbook entries on a blog I ran across. That would tie in so well with my new photography pursuit...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I Belong in - Dublin?

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Based on my answers to several questions, this litte internet test has determined my heart really belongs in Dublin. I don't know about that - I felt really at peace last spring when I was in Kent, particularly in this little town called Frant, just near Tunbridge Wells. I'm willing to give Dublin a try, though. I like the part about the pub crawl, which would certainly have to come after the bike ride!

School's Out

Next week I get my life back. If you're a teacher, you know what I mean. School's out, and suddenly we all emerge from the cocoon of the classroom and stand blinking in the bright sunlight of our own personal lives, wondering blankly what to do with them.

For the past 13 years, I've been working with high school musicians, specifically singers, as the piano accompanist for choirs in a magnet school for the arts. In the world of vocal music, the months between February and May are extremely intense. First comes District Solo Ensemble Festival, close on the heels of the Valentine's Cabaret. Then District Choral Festival, followed closely by State Solo Ensemble. Then "The Musical" (Hello Dolly this year), State Choral Festival, Spring Concert, Tour Competition (in Washington DC last weekend) - which brings us (WHEW!) to "Movin' On," the final showcase concert for Choralation, our senior ensemble/show choir.

This is a very poignant concert, as the title suggests, with each senior singing a lyric from the song which gives the concert it's name, ending with "I just keep movin', cause it helps to ease the pain." Needless to say, there are many tears, probably the most heartbreaking of which come from the "tough guys" who never fail to sob the hardest.

This year's crop is particularly talented and very close. There's Liz (whose mom has been in and out of hospital for the past four years being treated for bipolar disorder and alcoholism) who still manages to be editor of the school paper, earn first place awards at vocal festivals, and handle a starring role in the musical. She's off to Western Michigan University on a journalism scholarship. There are Vinnie and Matt, the "Martin and Lewis" of the department. Inseparable since kindergarten, they travel on to pursue their thespian dreams-one to Los Angeles, the other to New York. And Eden, the star of every show that goes up at school, also famous for losing her wallet in every city she's visited in the past year, also going to LA to study acting. David, the meterologist in training, Tyler, who has "always wanted to be a city planner (what an odd dream for a child to have!), "Dr." Teresa, who always listens to everyone's problems and wants to open her own psychology clinic. The list goes on.

Next year's group of seniors is just as diverse and talented. Difference is, I won't be there on the sidelines as the dramas of their lives unfold. Their director, my good friend Pat, is retiring after 18 years of gently guiding young people toward the fulfillment of their dreams. She has done amazing things for her students, and I have loved riding her coattails. As her first bunch of graduates heads into their 30's, we've loved watching their college and professional performances, attending school concerts for those who have become music teachers, being part of their life experiences like weddings and baby showers, and sadly enough, leading a group of alumni in singing at a funeral.

So as this era of my life comes to a close, I stand in the glare of more than just the ususal three months away from school. I'll be looking for other ways to keep my fingers limber on the keyboard (the one with 88 ivories that is!) I'll also be looking for ways to replace the energy, spirit, and enthusiasm that just oozes out of teenagers and leaks onto everyone who spends time with them. Any ideas?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sunday Scribblings-First Love

First love - let's see, would that be Gordon, that darling little mama's boy in fifth grade who wrote me a wonderful letter asking me to marry him, move to a farm in Canada and raise dogs, cats, horses, sheep, cows, and goats? Sounds appealing, doesn't it?

Or would it be David,(another mama's boy-is there a pattern emerging here?)who took me to my first junior high school dance, and kept me company at the bus stop every afternoon, where we shared a Butterfinger candy bar while we waited.

Maybe it was Ed, my older cousin from Georgia, who spent two weeks at our house one summer. Tall, gawky, and oozing southern charm, he was handsome in a sort of devilish way. All my friends were entranced with his southern accent, and he had great fun teasing us with silly nicknames and jokes. I can remember all of us huddled in my backyard, crying our eyes out when he left to go home.

Well, I was definintely obsessed with these boys, but I know none of that was love. My attachment to them was based on imaginary emotions,feelings I had neither the wisdom or maturity to name at the time.

This is sappy, but it's true. My first love is the one dozing in front of the TV right now, the one that got up at 6:00 a.m. today (on a holiday weekend) to drive me to a music festival 75 miles away. He's the one that brings me coffee in bed every morning, who sends me text messages that say "thinking about you right now" or "love you." He's the one who has always supported my interests and my desires, no questions asked, no complaints made. Oddly enough, he was once, many years ago, a little bit of mama's boy. But for the past 30 years, he's been MY boy-first, last, only love.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety-
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light-
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

It was purely luck that I came across this poem today, passing a bit of time in the poetry section of my library. I haven't read poetry in a long time, but the posts on Poetry Thursday have inspired me to tap into verse.

Why I Wake Early is the title poem of Ms. Oliver's volume published in 2004. Her bio says she is "one of the best selling poets in America," and she has been awarded the Pulizter Prize for Poetry as well as the National Book award. The poems in this collection speak to our awareness of the world around us, and the many ways it shapes our lives.

I awoke early to the sun myself today. Now late May in Michigan, that "dear star" has just begun to spread her lovely "warm touches" over us. It was worth waking early to see, and I did indeed start my day in happiness.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Hi, my name is Becca and I am a Blogoholic. It started out innocently enough. I decided one night on a whim to set myself up with a little web site on Blogger, as a source of encouragement for my interest in writing, and a place to actually see something I'd written "in print."

All was well with my little blog for a couple of months. I'd post some things periodically, flexing my writing muscles by crafting some cute little expositions about things going on in my life.

Then I came across a site that posted writing "prompts" each week, and invited bloggers to expound on a particular subject in their personal blog, which they would then post to the general site for all and sundry to read. Ironically enough, the first prompt was a subject near and dear to my heart, and one that had been preoccupying my thoughts for some time. An omen! I girded my loins, frantically typed out my thoughts, took a big gulp of Chardonnay, and clicked "publish post."

Lo and behold, I got comments! People from all over the world (literally!) wrote back to me saying my thoughts and words were "lovely and heartfelt" and had "struck a chord" or "moved them deeply." When I visited the blogs of everyone who had sent me comments, I was struck by the amazing variety of experience, interest, and expertise among them. I found myself reading their previous posts avidly, and then delving into their lists of favorites, flinging myself further and further into cyperspace.

Of course I returned to the original "prompting" site the next week, and the week after that. Now, I have a new long list of my own personal "favorites."

Trouble is, I find myself thinking about blogging all the time. At work today, I couldn't help but check in to see if anyone had posted anything new since last night, or if anyone had commented on my post from early this morning. As soon as I got home (although I had been at my office keyboard for the past 6 hours!) I ran right to my desk and logged in. As I was clearing up after dinner, I suddenly had a great idea for a post, and ran to make some quick notes. And, since I was at the computer, why not just check out a few blogs to see what's new?

I admit that I'm hooked. The sensation you get from blogging, both writing and reading, is like no other. It opens up new worlds, introduces you to new friends and ideas, sparks your imagination, and makes you feel downright good.

However, I have a huge pile of neglected wash in my laundry room, and a good sized layer of dust on the piano keys. My puppies look at me with great disappointment when I sit down at my desk, cuz they know I'll be there a while. I feel I must learn some moderation, or life will come crashing down around me. Perhaps a call to my higher power is in order. But first-let me just post this one more thing...

Where I Write

Inspired by some of my fellow bloggers who have chosen to share pictures of their writing space, I offer a view of the place where my work gets done. My desk sits in the bedroom that used to belong to my son (and before that, to my husband when he was a boy!) My son's desk rested on this wall, and he, prolific writer from a very early age, would sit here typing away far into the night (See Brian, you thought I didn't know!) My little desk was a gift from my parents when I decided to go back to college and finish my degree after they had given up all hope of me. It represents their faith in my ability and their support for my decisions. I treasure it all the more for that reason, and draw on that resource still. Over the desk hangs a lovely water-colorish print by Peter Ellenshaw entitled "from Pooh's Garden," with all my favorite A. A. Milne characters wadnering amidst a poppy field.

I admit to tidying up a bit before snapping the picture. This is a very multi-purpose site, so this morning I was paying bills, answering emails, and finishing up a long project for my office job that involved pages and pages of medical records needing to be sorted and summarized- in general, creating a huge mess. But when those tasks are done, and I can move into the realm of "real writing," I have all the necessities nearby. Pictures of the ones I love to edify, my Moleskine to review for ideas I've jotted down, and a couple of my favorite books on the craft of writing for inspiration. Of course, there's always somthing resting on the little woven coaster - in the morning, it's a steaming mug of Gevalia coffee, and later in the day you'll no doubt find my latest favorite Chardonnay (today it's Smoking Loon). When I get tired, there's a lovely overstuffed easy chair and ottoman nearby to curl up in and read a novel - if I have the heart to move Magic or Molly out the way first, that is!

Even though I use a laptop and could easily move into other areas of the house, I usually stay put in this special spot. I feel safe here, away from the other rooms of the house where different work lies- the living room where another keyboard beckons (my piano), the kitchen, where a meal should be prepared or clearing up might need to be done, even outside on the porch, where some errant weeds in the flower bed would distract me.

This is My Space. Welcome.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sunday Scribblings-Three Wishes

You'd think it would be easy to come up with three wishes out of the multitude of things there are to wish for. Of course, the most important ones come instantly to mind, the ones that exist like constantly offered prayers to whatever higher powers we belive in - health, happiness, peace on earth. Then there are the more personally directed wishes - to be a better wife/mother/daughter/friend, opportunities to pursue music and writing to the best of my ability, time to enjoy all the fruits and flowers of the earth. And of course, there are the perfectly selfish and somewhat ridiculous wishes - to spend a month by the sea in southeast England, to lose 15 pounds before the class reunion in August, to find the diamond earring I lost somewhere in my bedroom last year.

So I'm going to wish for all those things (it's three wishes times three, is that allowed?) Then, for my "official" wishes, I'm going to ask for three things totally out of the realm of possibility. Here goes:

1. To see heaven, or whatever happens after death. I'd like to know what's waiting for me when I go gently into the night, and who is there ahead of me;
2. To travel back in time - not very far, actually, perhaps about 50 or 60 years, to see how I (with my personality and talents intact) would have turned out, coming of age in a different era;
3. To live life over as a completely different person, perhaps a succssful novelist with a little cottage on the eastern seaboard, a small but loving family nearby, and several small dogs to keep me company at my keyboard.
There they are, wishes aplenty. But, as the old saying goes, "If wishes were horses, we all could ride." I may not be able to gallop off with any of mine, but it's fun to sit in the saddle.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My List of Fives

I've been tagged by soozphotoz and I'm's my fab fives:

Items in my Fridge

  • A tiny carton of raspberries that cost a small fortune
  • Five water bottles, all different brands
  • Three bottles of chardonnay, also different labels
  • Several tiny cans of "gourmet" dog foods that my puppies refuse to eat
  • Leftover spaghetti bolognese from last night's dinner at Guilio's

Items in my Closet

  • All the winter clothes I haven't had time to put away
  • All the spring clothes I've been sneaking up from the basement on warm days
  • A tiny pair of cowboy boots, size 2, that belonged to my husband when he was a baby
  • A Mattel toy Winchester rifle that I played Daniel Boone with when I was three
  • At least five times five purses

Items in my Car

  • Two audio books I just got at the library
  • My doggy's car seat
  • Emergency rations (raisins, pistachios, and fig newtons)
  • Two more water bottles
  • Coffee cards from Starbucks and Panera Bread

Item in my Purse

  • A teeny tiny wallet containing pictures of my son and my dogs, one credit card, and some cash
  • My moleskine notebook and pilot G2 pen
  • Clinique lip gloss (with a hint of sparkle)
  • A flash drive for my computer
  • My cell phone

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sunday Scribblings-The Books I Would Write

The books I would write would be the books I love to read, full of real life situations and evocative details, peopled with characters just like the ones I live and work with, the ones I love, and love to hate. They would follow those characters as they traveled down a thorny path, and stand beside them as they reaped the joys of their lives. These books would tell truths that are buried deep in my soul, and reveal reasons for all the mysteries that have nagged at my heart. They would make the world sit up and take notice, and then breathe a sigh of relief. They would be books that were cherished for their wisdom about life, love, relationships, and dreams, books that would enlighten and enliven the minds and hearts of their readers.

I admit to having some wisps of ideas for these books floating around in my mind. Right now, I'm just dipping my toe into this thing called writing, collecting impressions and characters, filing descriptions and lightbulb-like sentences away in my pocket Moleskine notebook. There may be some mighty changes ahead in my life, and I'm beginning to prepare for something new to enter in when time and space allows. Could a book be growing there?

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Next Time Around

I must credit my daughter-in-law for this post, because she said something the other day that's been rolling around in my mind ever since.

Actually, I became aware of her comment second hand, because I read it in my son's blog ( Keep in mind, my daughter-in-law is Chinese by heritage, born and raised in Thailand. Her spiritual tradition is Buddhism, which informs her attitude and view of life. She and my son have been married six years, and he wrote that she recently told him that she would marry him again in her next life.

That comment struck me very deeply, both with a sense of great thankfulness and relief that my precious first (and only) born has found someone who loves him so much, and also with a sense of wonder about what I would do and/or re-do in my "next life."

My husband says in his next life he wants to come back as my dog. Actually, a lot of my friends say that, too. I admit that Magic and Molly are treated like royalty, and I guess if I had to come back as an animal I'd like to come back as one of them too! But, if I was given the opportunity to come back to earth as a human what would I do, how would I wish to be different?

I think this question delves deeper than the "how would I live my life differently" question we all consider from time to time, especially as we get older. I've already answered that one in my head quite a few times. For me, my "wish I could do differently list" includes having more children, pursuing my music and writing careers more agressively, and moving to a different location.

But, if I had a chance to live life over again in human form, as some other human entirely, what would that be? Here's what I think...

I would still and always, want to be a woman. After all, we get to wear high heels and flirty skirts! More importantly, we get to have children, and in the great scheme of whatever universe you belong to, there is nothing more gratifying and enjoyable.

After that, I would wish to have the ability to make life better for other living things. I have often wished that I was someone who could join the Peace Corps, comfort the dying, help heal the sick - something to make life easier or more worthwhile. Sometimes I think I could do that, but I have a very deep seated natural reticence or shyness that tends to get in the way. If I could come back to earth again as a more extroverted, adventurous individual, perhaps I could do more things to help more people.

As for my personal life, I would search for a companion who shared my passions and understood my priorities. Someone who could laugh and cry with me, support my desires, understand and bolster my insecurities. Is that the companion I have lived with and loved for the past 30 years in this life? Would I choose that companion again?

As I wrote those words, I felt my heart literally breathe a sigh of relief as I realized that YES! emphatically YES! How blessed I have been, by whatever God (s) there are. One thing I have done right in this incarnation...I have chosen the companion that matches my heart, soul, and mind. May we find each other again, throughout eternity...

BTW... Happy 30th Anniversary to my (every) life's companion!

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Sunday Scribblings-Shoes

Let me say up front that shoes are not my favorite things. Given a choice, I'd prefer to walk around barefoot, or, if temperature and weather conditions mandate, in sock feet. I certainly admire gorgeous shoes, but more as objets d'art, not something I could actually put on my body and function in.

However, I have had a few really meaningful pairs of shoes in my life. My white go-go boots back in 1967 come to mind immediately. Now if you remember the days of "Laugh In" on television, and Twiggy, the skinny blonde model from London's Carnaby Street, you'll know that the fashion rage in those days were mini skirts in "psychidelic" colors and knee high white boots. If you aren't old enough to actually have seen this look in person, count your blessings and use your imagination.

In 1967 I was as far removed from looking like Twiggy as it was possible to be. A dark haired, brown eyed, slightly dumpy fourth grader, who had to shop for clothes in the chubby department and whose grandmother sometimes deftly inserted elastic expanders into the waistband of her pants. My feet matched the rest of me -wide and stubby. In those days, I got my sensible Stride Rites from a neighborhood shoe store. The children's department was in the basement, and a kindly gray haired man would have me walk back and forth across a raised carpeted runway, closely examining my gait, measuring and squeezing my foot in whichever leather oxford my mother had chosen as most likely to be comfortable and serviceable.

I became obsessed with the idea of those white boots. I was sure that wearing white boots and a cranberry colored mini skirt would suddenly correct all the other flaws that were preventing me from looking cool. My naturally wavy hair would suddenly become stick straight, and my too short bangs would drag down to my (miraculously!) blue eyes. My short legs would lengthen, and my slightly protuberant tummy would flatten. So the search was a reverse version of Cindarella, I must have tried on fifty pairs of white boots. If I managed to squeeze my foot into them, they wouldn't zip up my calf. Some of them actually had elastic around the top of the calf, but then the foot portion was long and narrow.

My mother was skeptical about this whole thing, but she gamely participated, hauling me around to the various shopping centers, even taking me in the "cheap shoe stores" she normally wouldn't deign to enter. It was actually in a discount department store called Korvette's that we found them. This was a self serve shoe department, where all the shoes were out on the shelves, their respective boxes lined up neatly underneath. I saw the white boots, standing in stark relief among the other, more functional snow boots and rubbers. Lo and behold, some of the boxes actually had a large capital letter W after the size - WIDE! My heart started beating a little faster, anxiously scanning the rows of boxes for the number 1 followed by the life saving letter W. There they were- my boots! I made a grab for the box, kicked off my leather oxfords, and deftly rolled up my corduroy pants. Literally holding my breath, I started to insert my foot into the soft vinyl boot. My toes were in, then the high arch of my foot, then my heel - so far so good. I wrapped the top of the boot round by bare leg, stuffing in as much flesh as I could. Pinching the zipper firmly I began to pull it up. Over the ankle, up the calf, all the way to the knee without a catch! They were a perfect fit.

Normally a very shy child, I let out an uncharacteristic whoop and literally jumped for joy. My mother was smiling (probably more in relief that the search was over than in approval of my fashion choices), and getting the other boot out of the box for me to try on. My left foot slid right in, and it too zipped up effortlessly. These boots were made for me.

There was a popular song in those days called These Boots Are Made For Walkin'. In a kind of pre-feminist diatribe, the singer vows in her low gravely voice that "these boots are made for walkin,' and that's just what they'll of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you." In my white boots, I could see myself as one of those tough women who could walk all over any man, or any thing that tried to get in her way. I could strut with the best of my tall, leggy, straight haired sisters, and strut I did. I wore those white boots to school, to my first girl-boy party, all around my neighborhood, and up and down the stairs of my house. Amazingly enough, my foot didn't grow for about three years. The rest of me did though, and during those three years, my body stretched out and the baby fat disappeared. I would never be long legged and skinny, but, by age 12 was petite and nicely curvy. The white boots still fit, but they had been replaced by brown platforms, which went very well with my fringed suede jacket and bell bottom jeans.

A few years ago I was helping my mom do some cleaning in her basement when I ran across the now tattered box from Korvette's labled "1W." I lifted the lid, and there were the white boots, scuffed, creased, and run over at the heel. They looked incredibly small, but they had been given me a mighty powerful boost of confidence.

"I'm surprised you kept these," I said to my mom, who wasn't known for sentimentally hanging onto things.

"Oh, I just had to," she said with a grin. "Those things meant so much to you, I couldn't bear to throw them out."

I brought them home with me and put them in the back of my closet with a pair of stappy black spike heeled sandals I occasionally (and painfully!) wear when I want to feel really decadent. Sometime shoes (or boots), even if they're not actually "made for walkin'" help us walk taller, and carry us through life with a little more panache.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Stepping Up

For just a little while today, the world started to unravel. Yes, my carefully constructed time schedule with every task compartmentalized neatly in it's own alloted time period began fraying dangerously. Fear not, however, for in a superhuman feat of willpower I managed to triumph and keep all the balls spinning in their orbit, catching them at exactly the right moment and stuffing them smartly into my pants pocket. And in the end I did what every good woman does to reward herself for a job well done - I went shoe shopping.

Shoes. And for me, purses, maybe even more than shoes. Shoes in themselves can be dangerous for me, because I have very wide feet and am easily depressed by these little sandals with straps the width of vermicelli and heels the size of a number two pencil (unsharpened). I have once or twice found such a pair I could manhandle my foot into, and was pleasantly surprised by how really elegant they made my lower extremities look. Of course, high heels are certain to bring raves from the man in your life. My husband's eyes seem electrically drawn to my feet when I'm wearing them. "Nice shoes!" he'll say approvingly. "They have a heel!" he adds excitedly, as if he envisions me holding him down on the floor by placing my foot squarely on his chest in order to ravish him. Dream on, honey. I can barely totter to the car in these things.

Purses, however, are easy. I really love little purses, and right now I have so many, in so many different colors, that when I try to get one of them off the closet shelf I'm usually bombarded by a cascade of little bags and straps all entanlged in one another. I've taken to leaving my wallet, cell phone, datebook, keys, mints, and reading glasses in a pile on the kitchen table every night, waiting to be inserted into whichever purse will match my outfit for the day. I know that's a huge waste of time, but I have alloted three minutes for purse preparation every morning. Of course there's nothing really sexy about purses, and men mostly don't like them, unless they're looking for a place to stash their own car keys or wallet so they don't have to sit on them during the movie. But for me, they're a fashion necessity I can have some fun with and don't have to wonder if they make me look fat.

So purse and shoe shopping revived me today, after a shift of heavy duty paper shuffling at my office job when I would much rather have been outdoors basking in the perfection of a May spring day. I'm tickled with the white sandals I picked up -love the slightly punk silver side buckle, and they even have a little wedged heel! The white hobo purse is slightly bigger than I usually get, but big is in for bags this spring.

The simple pleasures triumph once again - a pair of shoes, a dandy bag, and thou...