Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Wearing the Shoe 'Til it Fits

Most of my friends know me as a person who lives in britches or jeans and her trusted, well worn, Ariat boots. My Ariats are now 14 years old. Since most of my free time is spent in a barn I basically live in those Ariats. I am in denial that they are starting to finally give in to old age. The newer Ariats are made in China. Although I have several rather expensive pairs of the newer ones, the quality and fit is not the same.

I have always been one of those people who is more than happy to reply to the question,"whaddaya live in a barn?" to: "why yes, as a matter of fact, I do."

It's a funny thing about those Ariats. When I am not in the barn I am rather a shoe whore. Last year I finally consented and cleared out a closet. The fact is that after years of standing up to ten hours a day while cutting hair, your feet spread...a lot. I went from a respectable narrow size 8 with high arches to a size 10 and a rather flat foot. I had to finally say goodbye to close to 80 pairs of shoes and boots that I had accumulated over the years. The sad fact is, no matter how hard this sister tried to shove her feet in to a fabulous pair of Bandolinos from 1990, her feet were no longer Cinderella's size.


I have visions of someone walking out with sloppy jeans and a fabulous pair of size 8 Steve Maddens from the Goodwill store where I dropped the shoes off. No matter what the outfit, you add some fabulous shoes and *bam* you are dressed to kill.

So, times are tight. I don't have that kind of cash like I used to. The hairdressing, as well as the equine industry, is taking a hit. My love of shoes has taken me to a *gasp* practical turn. I now mainly buy shoes that are strictly comfortable and suitable for standing long hours at work. My closet is pathetically void of wall to wall shoes. Most have lower heels and are "practical" meaning they will go with several outfits. This is opposed to the days when I would drop several hundred dollars on a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes that were just too fabulous not to own. I would find the outfit to go with the shoes.

The sad fact is, between horses and shoes I blew a lot of money over the years. Now that the economy sucks I am left with the fact I am now horse-less and buying discount warehouse shoes, acknowledging the fact that I have no savings or retirement thanks to Jimmy Choo and the love of anything equine.

Yesterday I went to DSW discount shoes. I am trying to find a discounted pair of Merrell sandals for work. As I wandered up and down the vast rows of shoes in every shape and size I began to feel the familiar rush. And then I saw them. From across another aisle I kept glancing as I wandered over to where they were. A fabulous pair of Marc Jacobs towering high platform sandals. They even had my size. They even felt nice when I put them on. Nice for about ten seconds. I knew there would be no way I could work in them. God, they looked fabulous. They even made my feet look smaller and face it...high heels make even the heaviest woman have a great pair of sticks. I started the familiar," these are so fabulous I could find an outfit for them...they would even look great with jeans...I could wear them out at night..."

As I stood there in front of the mirror admiring how great my feet were looking, it hit me. These types of shoes are like men. You know the ones. The bad boy who is not really good for you but he is so sexy you will sleep with him anyway. You will talk yourself in to the fact that you won't get attached and you are only doing it for fun. Like the glam pump that makes you look and feel fabulously sexy for a night but then you wake up the next day with aching arches and blisters to go with the hangover.

I thought about what I was thinking all those years ago. That those expensive and impractical shoes would last me forever. I didn't count on things like the shoes not fitting anymore. Or, as in the case of my beloved Ariats, they will cost you the same to replace them, it's now just shoddy workmanship and lesser quality. I didn't count on that when I bought such an essential part of my wardrobe, as well as my life.

I made my decision. I had realized that the time and money you spent wasting on the glamour shoe, the truly comfortable one that would make your day easier and more comfortable passed you by.
I finally found the pair of Merrells I was looking for. Sure enough they had my size. I now accept the fact that when I walk in to a room with such practical shoes the bad boys may not be scoping me out.

When I met friends for dinner last night I had the complement of, "hey! I love those shoes. Are they comfortable?"

Which I could honestly reply," thank you, and yes, they are very comfortable."

Very comfortable indeed.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Today is a special day. Today is my beloved cat Sweet Pea's 20th birthday! I honestly don't know where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday she was a tiny ball of fluff. I wish I had taken more photos of her as a kitten but I only have a couple crappy and grainy ones.

I know everyone is prejudiced that their cat is the cutest but she really was the world's cutest kitten.

At 20 she has renal failure, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and saddest of all, complete deafness. I miss calling her name and her softly merring back at me. Because of the hearing loss she will come in to my room in the morning and let out one ungodly howl. I know it is because she can't hear herself but it is unsettling to say the least! My once quiet Pea is now a Siamese howler.

Sweet Pea under the X-mas tree

Anyway, she seems in spite of her old age complaints to still be going strong and is still my lap cat. I know her clock is winding down and my hope is she will just curl up and go to sleep like any other ordinary day. I have had many cats over the years but losing her will hit the hardest. She has been such a constant center in my life that I can't imagine life without her. So,hug you fur baby today and I hope everyone out there will be blessed with such a happy long life with them, like I have been with Sweet Pea. :)

Here is a rerun of a blog that I wrote about Sweet Pea from 2005. At the time I thought at age 17, I had very little time left with her. A year later after this blog she became very ill from a prescription food that was recalled. It was not publicized like the recent pet food fiasco but was a close call for Pea. Somehow she survived that one with a few of her nine lives intact. I am grateful I have had three more years with her and pray that there are still more to come.

07/16/2005 12:00am

I of course got my second wind now that it's after 11:00PM.I took my Melatonin and wait patiently for sleepiness that may or not come in the next thirty minutes.
I mostly hung out with my 17 year old cat Sweet Pea tonight.
I have had Sweet Pea since a kitten. Not just a kitten but days old, kitten.She is the first cat I ever picked out of a litter.
It was April of 1988. A friend asked if I wanted to come with her and pick out a kitten for herself.I already had two cats and wasn't interested in anything but playing with new little kits.
We walked in the room and there in a box were actually two mom cats and two separate litters.There were bundles of felines,darting around everywhere!Not only was this house full of kittens but there were five dogs and several young children running everywhere. The racket was deafening.
The kittens were two weeks apart.Two of the younger kits from the second litter had just opened their eyes.In this litter there were two orange tabbies,one grey tabby,and two fluffy white kittens.One fluffy cat had a tiny black spot on her head and this was one with her eyes open.
I sat on the floor on the other side of the room watching my friend pick which kitten she liked.She liked two from the older litter and was ignoring the funny site I was witnessing.The fluffy, sighted kitten was taking Frankenstein steps across the room and heading straight for me.She was on a mission and none of the chaos of kittens,people,kids or dogs stopped her from walking the miles of carpet,towards me.She finally reached my lap and crawled up into my lap and there she curled up and went to sleep,purring.I had no intention of picking out a kitten.This one obviously picked me.
I guess you know the rest.I waited until Sweet-Pea was eight weeks old and brought her home.
She has moved with me five times and outlasted every male in my life.The moment I sit somewhere and get settled she walks over from wherever she is and curls up on my lap.She's here with me right now,slightly in the way,purring.I used to get irritated when she gets in my lap and I'm trying to do something.I'm treasuring every moment now.
Last week we went to have some blood work done because Pea hasn't been herself.I wasn't surprised to find she's in the beginnings of renal failure.It's what usually happens to older cats.It got my eighteen year old,Kimba four years ago,so I know what to expect.
Seventeen is a blessed old age for a cat.I accept that and I know she still has some good time to go. I'm just wondering how it all goes so quick? I feel like that little fuzzball on a mission for my lap,was just yesterday.
Even at age seventeen, she is still my Baby Sweet Pea.

Song of the Day:Click here to watch 'Sweet-PeaTommy-Rowe'

Warning~ This song will stick in your head for days...or in my case,years.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hey Jude

I knew when I was in the barn this morning something just felt off. After the horses were done eating their morning grain, I turned them out into the slowly greening pasture. The birds were chirping their greetings of spring, the school bus pulled up with a mechanical grind across the street, Sydney and Romeo made loud grunts and snorts while taking a morning roll in the mud. Yet, it seemed oddly quiet in spite of the usual morning sounds.

My aunt wandered down just as I was getting ready to get in to my car leave for work.
"We had Judi put to sleep last night."
Judi was my aunt's beagle. She was named for her sister. The same sister who was my dad's long time girlfriend who had passed away from cancer 14 years ago. The same sister who taught me to ride horses.
No wonder it was so seemingly quiet. The usual booo-whooo beagle bark wasn't permeating through the yard. Anyone who has encountered a beagle knows the distinct baying howl of their bark. Judi enjoyed tormenting me with that howl. She would silently creep up behind me while I was engrossed in something. When I least expected it she would let out a deafening, "BOOOO-WHOOOO!" This would lead to someone having to scrape me off the ceiling. I swear that dog would scamper off, proud as hell in her latest accomplishment. If dogs could snicker I know she was doing it.
Judi had so many quirks and Beagle-like antics we took to singing at her constantly.
"Hey Jude, we know you're bad, take a bad bone and make it better. The minute the cat gets under your skin, then you'll begin to bark like madder."

OK, Paul McCartney may not be happy with our misconstrued lyrics, but trust me. For ten years we had fun making up many other verses. In my case they often contained expletives that centered around the "Let's Sneak up on Nesi and Scare the Bejesus Out of Her" game that she liked to play with me.
It was after losing Gwen that we discovered the reason Judi was losing weight. Stomach cancer. I have no scientific proof but I swear she got it from eating acorns non stop ever since she was a puppy. She was ten years old, so I know for purebreds that is a ripe old age. She managed to hang on seemingly pain-free and active up until her last day. She barked at me the entire time I was there Thursday morning. She even did her usual run along the fence, chasing my car out the driveway, booo-whoooing the whole way. I probably even muttered,” stupid dog" like I usually did. I always meant it with love.
"Hey Jude. I'm going to miss you. You were a bad dog, but God I loved ya..."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Spring Thoughts

Even though it is still cold out, I know it is finally spring. The birds are chirping, our pair of Canadian Geese are back and nesting. The trees are starting to bud and the ugly brown mud is getting a tinge of green from renewing grass. The horses are getting frisky in the morning. Kicking at the doors to get out if I am taking too long in my morning chores.
The way I really knew it was spring was when I received an email yesterday. It was from my realtor at the beach. She wanted to know if I was still interested in renting a house in August. My first initial reaction was to say no. I am so torn as to my memory of last years vacation. It was a coincidence that I had the house already rented and waiting when Prick decided to beat the crap out of me. Initially I thought of canceling the vacation that the two of us were supposed to be taking together, but my family and friends were insistent I go it alone. I think their feeling was that I would be safer away from my home. Prick never knew the actual location of the house that I had rented so it was a good place to curl up in the fetal position and nurse my bruises along with my broken heart.
Since I was a baby, there were three things I loved most in this world. Music, horses and the beach. In my perfect world I can have all three together. Since my imperfect world doesn't allow my finances to have all three at once I settle for day trips and an occasional week at the beach.
I finally paid off my car this past January. Finances are looking up in that department. I should get a fairly decent tax return along with the rebate.
I originally intended to put that in savings and possibly get new flooring in my home.
Last night I looked back at blog entries and journals I wrote while hiding out in the tiny house I rented last August. In spite of the pain I was in, I saw a beautiful sunrise, a gorgeous sunset, crystal clear water on my third day and stayed in a house with a fabulous beach view from the deck. I spent hours writing not just journal entries but short stories that weren't too bad. It was during that week of solitude that I saw for the first time how invasive and abusive all along Prick was to my psyche. I can't tell you how painful that realization is when it finally comes.
My decision was made.
I wrote back that if I could have the same house I would take it. I figure it would be a good way to close a chapter to a certain book. The best place to do that would be for me to go back to the beginning of where my healing began.
That, and the fact that I just love the beach, damn it.