Shoe-fly

Unbelievable though it may seem — I, Ellen, am the owner of a pair of  ridiculous, platform sandals. They are red. They are, as I mentioned, ridiculous and I, of course, love them.

And I paid only one dollar.

Indeed, how it all went down was a little unbelievable and, of course, it happened at Shoe Carnival, home of the ridiculous when it comes purchasing shoes.

To quote someone I worked with long ago, if I only wore them to take out the trash, I’d be getting my money’s worth. But of course, I wouldn’t be doing that. I’ve got other shoes reserved for trash-taking duty.

So there I was at Shoe Carnival buying my son Tras some shoes, and to get to the children’s department, you have to pass Ladies Shoes. Well, to get anywhere you have to pass Ladies Shoes, seeing as it takes up fully the middle two-thirds of the store. On this particular day, there was a sale table and I won’t lie, I did stop to see if there was anything there I had to have.

Ta-da!I found these.

Just $10! Marked down from $39.99. Pretty sweet deal. And though I woudn’t be wearing them, as Audrey suggested, to convey rubbish to the curb, if I traipsed about in them two or three times in the coming summer it would totally be worth it. So I tried them on, posed a bit in the mirror —

And, pronouncing  them fabulous, tucked them under my arm and we continued our journey to Children’s.

But lo, what is that I hear, blistering my ears over the loudspeaker? It’s the Shoe Carnival Barker, announcing a that all pink-tag shoes, for the next 10 minutes would be marked HALF OFF. Just bring it to a carnie, and they’ll mark it down.

Back to the sale table I went, and my shoes were duly marked down to $5.

Can I get an AMEN?

We resumed our trek for Trassie’s shoes, selected them in short order, and were drifting cash-registerward when again, the loudspeaker doth proclaim —

“Contest! All women wearing sandals come forward!” So, since I was wearing sandals, come forward I did and took my place in a quickly forming line.

“We’re having a pedicure contest!” brayed the carnie – and immediately, two women bolted.

The rest of us laughed; I a bit more jovially than most because, owing to the fact that my sister Leah had recently gotten married, I sported only the second pedicure I’d ever had in my life.

I stood there glorying in my French-manicured toes, confident that I could be A CONTENDER.

So maybe you can guess the rest. One of the carnies looked over our tootsies  and narrowed the field down to another lady and me. Being (as I believe I have mentioned before) ridiculous, I did a little pirouette, and the other woman, whose toes were every bit as nice as mine, said, “Give it to her!” And so I won, and so I spun, and was handed a coupon for $4 off my purchase. My $5 purchase.

Loud and proud

This wasn’t the only time Shoe Carnival has made me dance for my coupon. Well, what I’ve done in the past is sing. Once it was “I’m a Little Teapot” which earned me a $5-off coupon. Another day, anyone who knew all the words to the theme song to Spongebob Squarepants was invited up to caterwaul for those assembled.

My children have gone from being oblivious to my antics, to being embarrassed by them, and now have muscled their way through the gag reflect and are merely tolerant when I sing or dance in public, which thankfully (even to me) I do only rarely.

Although it makes you kind of wonder, doesn’t it, what I could get away with if I went searching for my old tap shoes and really cut loose.

 

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Big shoes to fill

Yesterday morning I was astonished to hear, along with the rest the world, via my AP News app on my phone that Benedict XVI is parking the Popemobile — permanently.

It seems unreal. Popes don’t resign! Popes pope until they poop out. There’s HISTORY here! Not since 1415 has one of them just decided, “eh, I’ve had enough of this gig. I no longer wish to preside over my own country and live in the Freaking Vatican.”

“Also, I wish for my head to be removed from the Pope Room tables at Buca di Beppo.”

Seriously, how could you give that up?

And then there’s the red shoes. I know, I know. I’ve made this point before. So sue me — shoes are an absorbing topic. And look what I found at the Pope Shoes Tumblr. (Can you believe it? a Tumblr devoted to Pope shoes?)

HOLY HUARACHES, BENEDICT! Sandals or slip-ons, textured leather to smooth, St. Peter’s throne shall never run out of options!

The pontiff was given this selection when he was touring Mexico last March. I ask you — how does one literally walk away from a job where people give you rooms full of shoes just for showing up?

All kidding aside, it’s because of his advanced age that Benedict has decided to give up the Holy Ghost. Early speculation had it that he determined that Pope John Paul II’s long years of decline were not a history he wanted to repeat. Sayeth the Associated Press:

Declaring that he lacks the strength to do his job, Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he will resign Feb. 28 – becoming the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. His decision sets the stage for a mid-March conclave to elect a new leader for a Roman Catholic Church in deep turmoil.

The 85-year-old pope dropped the bombshell in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, surprising even his closest collaborators even though he had made clear previously that he would step down if he became too old or infirm to carry on.

In Benedict’s own words:

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited” to the demands of being the pope, he told the cardinals.

“In order to govern the bark (ship) of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary – strengths which in the last few months, have deteriorated in me,” he said.

Now that everyone’s read The Davinci Code, there’s going to be several weeks of intense interest in Rome. Will plots be hatched? Will the fate of the world hinge on a decision of the College of Cardinals? Will Tom Hanks be involved?

We’ll all just have to wait for the other shoe to drop.

These boots were made for barfin’

You don’t have to tell me about it. I know.

I freely admit that I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at shoes on the several zillion Internet pages devoted to footwear.

I write frequently about the absorbing topic of shoes. I wear shoes — every single day — and notice, every single day, the shoes upon the feet of everyone I know and nearly everyone I encounter.

And since I like shoes so damned much, I rarely find a shoe that I absolutely abhor. Oh, I have tried to be a H8ER but somehow I’ve managed to round out my shoe wardrobe with Crocs and clogs alike … and so that you know I do have taste, let me state that they in no way make up the bulk of that wardrobe.

So anyway, it was with great surprise that a couple days ago I ran across a boot that was so hideous, so repellent, so transformationally butt-ugly that I not only gasped in horror when I saw them, I (and I do not say this lightly) I actually had a nightmare about them.

Run. Run for your lifeIt is true. Just look at these things, would you? They are the Vivienne Westwood Regent Boot and they retail for a whopping $725. Now, despite my professed love for shoes, I am truly not a haute couture shoe maven extraordinaire. No, those fashionistas who really know their stuff would no doubt laugh at my provincialism when it comes to high-end footwear. Oh, I would generally know a Christian Louboutin when I saw one, and for a while I got a weekly email from Ferragamo just so I could sigh over beauty that would never be mine. But honestly, I know very little about Vivienne Westwood, and a little Googling shows me that most of her stuff is a tad funky and even appealing, speaking as someone who strives for a look beyond the boring normal.

There’s nothing normal about the Regent Boot.

I can’t find a photo online of someone actually wearing this thing, but I have to believe the Caucasian-buff leg tone would make any wearer’s own gams look like East Germany female weightlifters’. I shudder to think what … what … toe would be conjured up by a startled onlooker to a gal garbed in the Regent. It is also amusing to think of what an African American lady might look like clad in these numbers. (Not that any black woman with taste would be caught dead in these boots — even with an appropriately shaded suede calf.)

The 4-inch heel, while interesting apart from its configuration as some sort of frightening faux-mule, just makes my blood run cold. Who wants the appearance of their very own heel to resemble that of a young orangutan fresh from the jungle?

So while most of my nightmares are much more run-of-the-mill — you know, a zombie here, a haunted house there — this boot was able to transcend such normal nightmare fodder and give me an actual footwear night terror. Which is really saying something given, as I say, how much I think about shoes.

I’m probably going to have to go back to that weekly Ferragamo newsletter to get over it.

Accessorizing for the apocalypse

This post originally appeared in March 2012 and is consistently one of my most popular blog entries. I’m repeating it today for Halloween. Enjoy!

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When the dead rise and zombies take over the world, it is comforting to know that I am equipped with the appropriate footwear.

AMC style zombiesI’ve been, you see, watching The Walking Dead on AMC, a series now in its second season based on the graphic novels by the same name. It was conceived of by Kentuckian Robert Kirkman, who hails from Cynthiana, so zombification-wise, I’m pretty much at Ground Zero.

I never read the books, but since watching the series I’m becoming more interested in them. What preoccupies me at the moment, though — in addition to following the ethical struggles, babydaddy drama, and child-in-peril moments the show spews in abundance (and oh yeah, zombies and bullets to the head) is Frye boots.

I’m sure this comes as no surprise.

Frye and small frySince stomping onto the set in the pilot episode, female lead Lori, wife to Our Hero Rick Grimes, has been ubiquitously clad in my go-to shitkicker, the Frye harness boot. It’s even the same color as mine, so my preoccupation is justified (sort of). You go, girl.

While I’m a little surprised she’s wearing the things even in the height a hot Georgia summer, I’ve got to go hey, you flee your home with little more than the clothes on your back of course you’re going to pull on the most serviceable good-looking boots in your closet.

“Carl! Pack up some t-shirts, jeans, and a metric buttload of sunscreen, we’re hitting the road!” Lori yells, standing in the bedroom, pulling on her negative-2 size Levis and throwing all the family photos into her luggage.

“Daddy’s dead and the neighbors want to eat us, honey. Pack appropriately.”

Now of course when I’m sitting in front of the screen watching this thing, these thoughts are far from my mind. I am of course much more interested in the moral struggles these people must face, including and up to killing other living, breathing survivors and having unprotected sex in zombie-infested woods, or perhaps abandoned pharmacies. Kiss me before we get eaten!

But give me some time to reflect and my thoughts return to preparing for these conditions with style and comfort in mind.

Of course, the Frye selection is good-looking. Dansko clogs would also be a good choice if you have to plan for wearing the same shoes while squishing over rotting corpses until the year 2525. Flip-flops are right out, unless the Zompocolypse caught you out while on vacation in Myrtle Beach.

Standing in my closet, I ponder the End Times appropriateness level of my own wardrobe. Yes, these capes and shawls could be excellent protection against the elements, as extra bedding, and perhaps even camouflage if the zombies lose their sense of smell. No, I doubt the prairie skirts and  faux fur are going to be of much good. Better stick with skinny jeans, fleece and utility vests.

Wedge-heels and mules are right out, of course — who can run when you’re in danger of throwing a shoe? Running shoes (well, walking shoes in my case) could pose a problem; any length of time spent running in them results in run-down Reeboks, but I suppose in a Mad Max world, there will always be plenty of Foot Lockers to plunder.

Lori, Andrea, Carol and Maggie, our Walking Dead women, seem to favor tank tops under cute tops for their zombie-world wear, though I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the wardrobe designers who prefer them so uniformly. Anyway, Lori’s going to have to make a run to Motherhood Maternity at some point, unless she’s got a zom-bun in the oven.

Maybe she plans on taking over Rick’s old sheriff uniforms — hey, that worked splendidly for Margie in Fargo, at least. Yah!

Ready to fight zombies at workI know there’s going to be a lot I have to give up when facing down the undead every day. Fashion just isn’t a priority when the only medical practitioner you’ve got is more familiar with fillies than impaled fibias.

But it is good to know if I’m gonna be walking dead, at least my feet are firmly planted in boots already endorsed by one of the survivors.