Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cute Shoes

I am not a shoe maven.  In a half century, no one has ever said to me: ‘Cute shoes.”

A couple years ago my friends decided that in order to 'Get Our Girl On', we needed ‘up’ our shoe fashion.  I nodded approvingly but knew full well that I would fall pathetically short in that mission.  Two main reasons – I am practical and I am cheap. I absolutely refuse to swap comfort for style.

It was 2009, the year of Ashley’s wedding. One friend, who was also being the ‘Mother of’  built her outfit around her spectacular shoes.  She didn’t even care that the tiny heels would sink down into the lawn at the tent reception. Her shoes SANG!  The 'upping' of my shoe fashion consisted of sewing vintage sparkly earrings on to extremely boring, plain sandals. My creativity is quite often born from thrift.

Shoes just have never been on my fashion radar. I have come to accept though, through my girls’ insistence, that white running shoes are only to be worn in the gym. So when I went off to Ireland two years ago, I bought a very-expensive-for-me, pair of black walking shoes. They served me well and I wore them Often. Yes, often with a capital O.

I was off to a business event one time with Jae when she insisted: “You can NOT wear those shoes.”  “Why not?” I said, “They’re black.” “ They might be black, but they're UGLY.  I am NOT going with you if you wear those shoes. I’ll lend you pair of mine.” she declared. I accepted her offer and when it was time to return them, she said “Keep them. You need them more than I do.” Bonus!  They became my one and only pair of decent black shoes. And I’ve worn them and worn them. And worn them.  But I do still sneak-wear my tired walking shoes.

Mother,” again my girls’ declared. ‘Declaring’ and using the word ‘Mother’ denotes exasperation. That tone is bound to ramp up over the years ahead as we switch roles.  “Mother – you have GOT to stop wearing those shoes in public; you look like some weird old lady who escaped from a home.”These, I’ll have you know …” - now it was MY turn to declare – “have walked all over Ireland. They are the most EXPENSIVE shoes I have bought in my whole life. I like them. They are black.” “They are worn out. And ugly.” they declared. “They were expensive. They’ are Foreign!” I retorted. A retort is fair game for a declaration. “WHAT Foreign?” they questioned impatiently.  “I don’t know. I can’t remember. Something that started with P.” I informed them, and chose to file their objection where they have filed mine on more than one occasion. They actually laughed at me. "Just because they're 'foreign' doesn't mean that they aren't ugly." was their reply.

Well, since they are my only pair of causal, comfortable black shoes, I had to wear them on my house mission this winter, which happened to involve paint.  You get the picture.  So, my black walking shoes – the expensive foreign ones which did start with ‘P’ …( Propet – I found the box) are terminal. I have come to admit that, just as I have come to the acceptance that my white running shoes belong in the gym. I bit the bullet today and decided  to invest in another pair of black walking shoes.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

By instinct, I gravitate to ‘Clearance.’ It was my lucky day!  “Thirty percent off the already ridiculously low marked-down prices.” BONUS!  Shoes my size. Cheap AND comfortable. Bonus, Bonus!

I went all Ilmeda Marcos. I had such a pile that I had to ask the sales clerk to get me a shopping cart. Her eyes got big, as I put pair after pair in …’Oh, I didn’t know you were TAKING all those … I thought those were just the ones you tried on.” "Indeed I am," I proudly told her, "I'm taking them ALL!".  A sweet elderly lady looked into my cart and commented that I would likely never live long enough to wear out all those shoes. She did – truly! I laughed and shared with her that that was more shoes than I’ve owned in my entire life. She said 'It's more than I've owned in MY lifetime too."

I've got shoes for Alyssa’s wedding in August. It won’t matter what colour of dress I get – I've got it all covered. Silver, gold, black, cream, even red.  I got a lovely pair of brown leather –soft & comfortable loafers. I got the most fabulously comfortable leather boots with a little heel.  I even got my black walking shoes … thirty percent off $22.  Some of the shoes were regularly $70 down to $14.99 and thirty percent off that. I even got some that were 30% off of 4.99.  I'd have been crazy to not stock up, especially considering I actually only go shoe shopping once every 6 years. I am also not a Shopper.

A friend came into my kitchen and saw this huge pile of shoes on my table. "Are you trying shoes for the wedding?" she asked. "I BOUGHT them." I informed her. "ALL of them." "YOU??!! YOU aren't a shoe person. I can't believe it - that's HILARIOUS!" she said and laughed hysterically. "You really need to take a picture." 

I have officially slipped into a whole new realm.  I have decided that this next chapter of my life, I AM going to be a ‘Shoe Person.’  

Why not. I’ve never been one before, and I’m all about new adventures. However - if I head off for a walk, you can bet the shoes that will be calling out to me will be my tired old buddies. I keep them well hidden because I know that there is definitely a conspiracy to make them disappear.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunrise Service

I attended an Easter Sunrise service this morning.
It was at the end of our lane.
The brook was the music;
the birds, the choir.
It was heavenly.
I cannot imagine 
that it could be possible to be any closer
to God.
I heard the anthem best with my eyes closed.
It dismayed me.
I have never really noticed
the range and diversity of the voices
quite so clearly.
It was nature intensified.
The bubbling of water over rocks.
The flapping of wings.
And birdsong.
Beautiful lilting sounds.
Sweet and mellow. Soprano. 
Buoyant. Cheerful.
Low and rhythmic. Alto.
Gentle cooing far off.
And honking and quacking. 
And the gobble of a flock of wild turkeys.
It was harmony and babel combined.
A multitude of voices together,
not at all in tune,
not all melodious,
but each one adding its own unique and essential fragment
to the proclamation of a new day.
In the darkness, the sound began with just a few notes.
As the sun rose higher,
 the choir grew louder,
more ebullient,
more celebratory.
And then, as it reached the tops of the trees
it became quieter,
as if they said 
'Our work is done. We woke the sun.' 
And off my choir went to carry on the business of day.
Before that though, oh...the colour.
It was an Easter egg sky.
Blue and pink and gold.
Indeed befitting of this day. 
And then, in the gentleness of the morning,
the sun climbed higher and took the colours with her.
She softly scattered them amongst the clouds.
She replaced the darkness with colour,
and then reflection.
The service was over; the day had begun.
As I walked in the lane
I gave thanks for my many blessings;
for where I am and those I love;
for the glory of all creation;
for resurrection
and Life.
I was grateful that I had woke up early
and not missed
the experience of
such an enchanted time.
"Hello, my sweet Easter donkeys!", I greeted my long-eared friends,
who were looking somewhat confused.
"Is that really you?" they replied, 
"We don't often see you at this time of day."
"I'm celebrating Easter on this glorious morn." I told them.
"And that's your Easter finery?" they questioned ... 
"Pajamas, a blanket for a shawl and winter boots?
Ah yes.
Beauty and serenity. Weirdness and practicality.