Saturday, June 17, 2006

All the shoes that's fit to print...

Yes, I have finally given in to my desire to share shoes with the world. I started this blog a year and a half ago, and I've only posted three entries. I've been battling the urge to talk about footwear because footwear is frivolous, right? I suppose it is, although lately I've been facing my fetish square on and let me tell you, the light of day feels good on my face. No more hiding behind higher principles and deep thoughts.

I love shoes. I love shoes. I love shoes. Mostly shoes with heels higher than 2 inches, but even that rule isn't hard and fast. I suspect it has something to do with:
a) having a mother who always wore high heels in rebellion against her petite (5' 2") stature, and whose shoe size I had surpassed by the age of 12 (while it took another 2 years before I even had to think about needing a bra)
b) I have serious issues with just about every part of my body except my feet
c) I'm a librarian, which fairly DEMANDS that I slash the stereotype by wearing anything but sensible shoes to work.

I've been thinking about doing a "Daily Shoe" here for a while, and have only avoided it because it seemed silly to talk about shoes and nothing else. But here I am, so I may as well go ahead. Only 3 people know about my blog anyway, and I'm married to one of them, who knows how I feel (he let me have the "walk-in" closet when we moved into our current digs--because my shoe collection requires a fair amount of storage). So I'm not risking much.

Let me be clear: I'm no Imelda Marcos. Most of my high-end shoe purchases took place when I was with my previous boyfriend; ex-novio had a South American tailor for a father, and the man had some taste. Expensive taste. Much of my lifestyle during that relationship might be summed up by the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." He was a good person and I believe he loved me, but I spent five years ignoring how wrong he was for me. For a lot of reasons I won't go into. But meanwhile, I sure did some shopping. A nice distraction, I suppose, from all those reasons he was wrong for me. Many a shopping spree--and I use the word "spree" in the same sense meant when modified by "killing"--began with a little stroll around the mall, and snowballed quickly from spotting a nice little pair somewhere. After having-to-find-a-skirt-
-to-match-the-ensemble-and-some-fresh-makeup-to finish-the-look. To the tidy sum of, say, 400 bucks or so. Like most addicts, it took some time and lots of $$ before I recognized the compulsion. And it all started with the gateway shoes.

Hubby is right for me and then some. And he doesn't (or didn't) have clue one about shoes. He's pretty laid back and doesn't own more than about 5 pairs of shoes if you count the workout sneaks. But he's willing to watch "What Not to Wear" (both the British and the American ones); he lets me explain the difference between a slingback and an espadrille, and he accepts the shoe-worshipping part of me readily. He'll even absorb my eager lessons about how to recognize a wedge or a peep-toe and point out examples to prove he was paying attention. The sweet boy will even ask questions. Not because he's particularly interested in shoes, but because he's interested in my hobbies and in me. It's a very sweet thing to have someone who wants to know and share all the things--big and small--that make me, well, me.

So watch for the shoes.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Patriot Act

I'm blown away, again.

Hubby and and I were among the fans who enjoyed Bruce Springsteen's show Monday night at the Greek Theater. This was my third live Springsteen show, and I tell you this, the experience each time has been almost religious in the passion and fervor the man ignites in everyone present. We've all probably heard about how great Bruce's live shows are, how hard he works and how hard he plays, but to live the glory (yes, glory) of it is something I highly recommend, whether you consider yourself a fan or not. (The celebrity quotient alone is great for all you people-watchers out there.)

This show is a stop on his tour with the "Seeger Session Band," where he brings selections of American folk music to breathing, crying, screaming life. The Seeger Session Band includes horns, violins, banjo, upright bass, keyboards and more, outstanding musicians, each one of whom brought roars of approval at every turn. When I say the accordionist tore up the place, you know there was some MUSIC being played. From rollicking, sing-along versions of "Pay Me My Money Down" and "Old Dan Tucker" to heartful, stunning ballads of "We Shall Overcome" and "Eyes on the Prize," Bruce and the band sweated and bled every note. "Overcome" in its sad hopefulness, and "When the Saints Go Marching In" as a wistful prayer (sung by Bruce, Patti and Mark Anthony Thompson) were beautiful. The Celtic fiddle-and-drums "Mrs. McGrath" was a plea from the heart to feel each mother's hurt when her son comes home from war broken, having traded his blood and bones for a hollow cause.

Hubby gave a
great review of the performance and the music, he puts it more eloquently than I can. So I won't say more about the quality of the music and the musicians (all 18 of 'em) other than that it was excellent.

Each time I have seen his shows I am impressed by Bruce's profound love for his country. In a way that none of the flag-flying automobile drivers and chest-beating politicians can touch, Bruce expresses the ache for what we should be and the hope that most of us feel it, too. He seems to sing for everyone who has been knocked down, screwed over, or cheated. And for anyone who has known empty sacrifices in war. For those of us in real pain with real problems, people who get overlooked or forgotten once the next new distraction throws up its shiny glare.

I left the show feeling like I'd had a spiritual experience, one that inspired me to get outside myself and remember people suffering in war and poverty and devastation. In my heart, not my head. I know it seems like I'm overstating it, or hanging some kind of hero banner around the guy's neck, but I admire the way he loves America. His music and the passion in his expression are amazing; he must be exhausted by the intensity and energy of what he shares with his audiences every moment he is onstage. It's an emotional, urgent demand for America to acknowledge all of her suffering and give that pain real value by doing something to stop it.