Giving absolutely no fucks since 1954.
As you may or may not know, I have that tattooed on my forearm. It's a much needed reminder, some days more than others. It is particularly ironic in light of my recent Baker acting, by a physician I believe to have been motivated not by my best interest, but as a Trump supporter who sneered when he said, "Oh, so it was the election that put you over?" as he signed the paper. I went to my primary care doctor for a pysch referral, because, yes, the election of Der Gropenfuhrer did set off a major depression. That, combined with exhaustion, bronchitis and week of steroids, led to my crying and making a typical drama queen joke that I'd walk into the ocean and end it if it were not for the fact that Marc couldn't collect my insurance, so would never.

TLDR: If you have a history of depression, do not make a suicide joke to your doctor while asking for a psych referral. It results in exactly the same sort of thing that happens when you make a bomb joke in a TSA screening line. I do not recommend it.

What happened after that is pretty unspeakable. Let me just say that had I truly been in the state they thought I was, my treatment at the hands of the ER staff over the next 26 hours would have led to exactly what they feared, or an outright psychotic break. My cousin remarked that they seem to have gone to the "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" school of nursing. Big props at this point to "The Invincible Kimmy Schmidt", which provided me with my mantra for about 36 hours: "I'm not really here!"

In conclusion, Miz Shoes now has enough material for a novel or a standup routine.

Miz Shoes

Return To Sender

How to get an OCD ex-webmaster to volunteer for your organization in one quick lesson. I just hit send.

"Your site is non-functional. I spent the greater part of today resizing my photos and attempting to fill out the application form. I couldn't upload photos and I couldn't submit the form without the photos. I couldn't submit the form because the final field had no indication of the information I was supposed to enter and without that field being filled (try saying that three times), I couldn't submit the form.

The final insult was that this contact address is listed incorrectly on the site. Just FYI, you don't use http as a prefix to an email address, only to an actual web(site) address.

So, for shits and giggles, and because maybe 1) someone actually monitors this account, and 2) maybe this mail account can handle attachments, I'm going to submit the files that I can't submit on the application form I can't submit.

You guys look at the art and figure out if you want me involved in the tour and how to get my money if you do. In the interim, I've spoken to a human (Karen) about being a volunteer and overhauling your website so that it, y'know, actually, like, works."

What to make of Bernie Sanders, the Jew. See, there is this whole thing going on among American Jews... is Bernie Jewish enough? Why doesn't Bernie talk about his Judaism more? I'll tell you why, because he doesn't have to. His Jewishness, to any degree, is the two ton gorilla in the room. Take this political cartoon by Pat Bagley. The whole joke depends on a single premise: that all Christians (even the Pope) are anti-Semitic, is a given. And why shouldn't that be a given? Donald Trump was endorsed by the KKK and the Nation of Islam. The only thing those two groups have in common is a virulent anti-Semitism. (Editing for clarity here, I'm not saying that I believe all Christians are anti-Semites, just that the whole premise of the cartoon depends on that assumption. Which makes the joke not funny, at least to me.)

Just last month, I had a stranger use the phrase "he Jewed me" as she described a business deal that she felt had not been to her advantage. I had just told her my name, and she still used that expression and she was insulted by my response. I didn't slap her, so I don't know what she was so pissed off about. I only called her out on her appalling manners and overt racism.

Is it racism? Because, you know Jews aren't really white. They're...Jews. Don't believe me? Try typing "are Jews" into your Google search engine. Auto-fill suggests the answer: Are Jews White? And how many hits does that get you? A cool 71 million articles. MILLION. And there isn't an easy yes/no answer to be found. Even in Israel, there are questions. Jews: are we a religion? A race?

When you search the Ellis Island data base to find your Jewish ancestors, you have to search for Hebrew. I had this conversation many years ago: Jesus was not a Jew, he was merely of Hebraic extraction. I still don't know what that meant. But back to Bernie.

Try typing Bernie Sanders into your Google search, and the number one result is "Bernie Sanders Jewish". That must be a less pressing issue than are Jews white, because that comes up with a paltry 11 million hits. Predictably, the headlines are "yes, but not enough", or "yes, but too white", or "yes, but he doesn't like to talk about it." Which is also a matter of media spin, because when he does talk about it, nobody seems to listen.

Still, it doesn't matter, because in the American mind, such as it is, Bernie is a Jew, and if there is one thing everyone can agree on, that history has taught us, it's that nobody likes the Jews. Even the delicate dancing around of the problem that Bernie doesn't carry minorities because he's a white male is bullshit. Bernie doesn't carry minorities because he's a Jew and even though Jews were in the forefront of the labor and civil rights movements, when push comes to shove, a white woman is perceived to be a better choice than a Jew of any gender.

Miz Shoes

People

The following is a letter I wrote to Sirius XM and the Underground Garage. "Last night I was listening to the Underground Garage channel on SiriusXM. It's my favorite. Chris Carter's British Invasion was on and he made some disparaging comments about Barbra Streisand being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He began by saying that the award had been won previously by military men, and that giving it to Ms. Streisand was an insult. While it has been awarded to members of the military, it is primarily a civilian award. Indeed, it is the highest civilian award given by the United States.

From wikipedia: The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal, bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award of the United States. It recognizes those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

But that is neither here nor there to my letter. What offended me was not his objection to her being given the medal, but that his dismissal of her was an off-hand misogyny based upon her perceived fuckability or lack thereof. His exact comment was that the only thing she had ever done for freedom was inspire the invention of the burqua. Harsh, and also the sort of insult that I would expect from the likes of Don Imus or Howard Stern, but certainly never by a person broadcasting under the imprimatur of Little Steven. All the more ironic was that it came mere moments after the Coolest Song in the World, "Girl Band" by the Dahlmanns.

Well, this is a free country, you say, and I am free to turn the show off. I did. Then I took the time to write this letter, and to post an essay on my blog about careless misogyny, and to link to it from Facebook. Maybe a dozen people will read it, but that isn't the point, either. The point is that I expect better from the Little Steven brand."

Careless misogyny. The unspoken acceptance that anybody can be reduced in worth to whether or not they inspire desire or mere lust in a viewer. Well, anybody female, that is.

Last week I almost allowed myself to get into an on-line pissing match over "Baby, It's Cold Outside". I referred to it as our collective Christmas rape anthem, and was soundly disabused of that belief by a post-modern feminist who assured me that she is in fact a historian and I am in fact mistakenly reading too much into one line (Hey, what's in this drink). Clearly, she said, the woman is saying no, but she really wants to stay. She is using all sorts of excuses, but they are all based what others might think of her, and not what she herself wants, and so she is using alcohol as an excuse to remain overnight. It's a song about plausible deniability, not about really saying no.

Um, and OK, but in my dottage, I seem to remember that no means no, and it doesn't matter what reason one gives for saying it. If you say no -- to anything-- does that mean that any person who thinks you should say yes is more in tune with your mind and can force you to, say, take cream in your tea? Or maybe you would like to have a little white sugar in your coffee. Is it the right of someone else to tell you that you really don't want that? And to prevent you by force, if need be, from getting it?

Is it not the same thing? Self-determination is self-determination. I chose not to continue the fight with my feminist historian because a stupid song is not worth getting exercised over. But I see a thread here, and I have to tug at it. It's OK to dismiss someone for not being pretty. It's OK to sing a song about forcing someone to stay the night because the imaginary girl really wants it. It's OK to shoot up a Planned Parenthood clinic because those people shouldn't be there, shouldn't be pregnant, shouldn't be poor, shouldn't be doing something a white man with a gun thinks they shouldn't be doing.

What was it someone said: evil is not just the actions of the few, but the silence of the many.

Miz Shoes

Shake Yer Groove Thing

1. It's been so long since I wrote code (and enjoyed it) that I have done everything in my power today to avoid sitting down and banging out code. Which is exactly the task I have set myself for this week. Because I need to create a new web site. For the new brand. Which brings me to point

2. Tante Leah's Handmades started with custom tallit, and I love making them, but a line of bespoke prayer shawls is not going to be my golden ticket to fame and fortune...or even a brass ticket to 15 minutes and a buck two eighty...unless Bernie wins the White House and I can somehow finagle my way into becoming the official Tallis Maker to the POTUS...which would be a first for sure and thereby ensure fame..but that is never gonna happen, so I need to broaden my market. Which leads us to

Plan B Plan B is this. Tante Leah's Handmades is dead. Long live Ma Groover's Artisan and Vintage Goods. Except that can't happen until I hit publish on the new Ma Groover site. And THAT can't happen until I sit my ass in this chair, chain myself to the fucking keyboard and painfully write enough code to launch a new Expression Engine site. Expression Engine: The choice of geeks everywhere who are too cool to use a simple program like GoLive or DreamWeaver or WordPress. Expression Engine, where there are no templates or plug and play options. Expression Engine, the impossibly undocumented bad boy to which I hitched my code-writing wagon and I am so long out of the day to day of web work that this hurts me.

Look, I tried and tried to get permission from the author or the site that posted it originally. Nobody answered me. Ever. I'm sorry.

Miz Shoes

Dance Hall Daze

Here's the thing: I never really watched Mad Men. I kept up with it by reading many and various recaps: Tom and Lorenzo, of course, but also recaps that came from advertising that reality checked the ad references, and others that reality checked the cultural touch stones. The reason I didn't really watch (aside from not having pay tv) was that they lost me in the first season, when there was a casual reference to Jews in Boca Raton. It was 1960, and trust this native Floridian Jew, there wouldn't have been any. They were in West Palm Beach and in Miami. The rich WASPS depicted as vacationing there would have been on Miami Beach or in Palm Beach, or even gambling in Havana. They were not visiting Boca. So I observed Mad Men from a distance.

Now that it has ended, and the ur-feminist story arc has been picked apart, I find that this has made me uncomfortable in many ways. The loudest voice in my head is that the sexist behavior depicted on the show still exists, that the fights about equal wages, access to health care, self-government of the female body.... those are all on the news every night. Every day in Washington, and in state capitols around the United States, women are getting the rights that were won in my lifetime taken away again.

Some of these recaps I read talk about Sally Draper, and what she might have become. Personally, I thought that she would become this girl. Or maybe this one. Then I realized that I am the same age as the fictional Sally, so why not look at what happened to me? In 1971, even though I was (arguably) the smartest kid in the Marine Science class in my high school (this was long before magnet schools, before AP classes, before multiple tries at the SAT), my science teacher told me that I could never do research, only teach because I was a girl. I quit science on the spot and became an art student, because nobody there told me I couldn't be an artist.

No, that happened in college. At the University of Miami, where it was de rigeur for the (male) chairpersons to sleep with the female graduate students (sometimes they even married them), it was a given that females artists would always be conflicted between creating and procreating. Even my choice of graphic design rather than painting as a major was derided: I'd make money, but not art. Yeah, fuck them. I did make money.

Once I was out of school, I moved to New York City. I arrived on the Chinese New Year, 1976. I got a job at a post-production company that had three partners, one of whom was a woman. I had to join the Animators Union, and this prompted a conversation about how many women were in the union. Would I be the first? No, but you could count them on one hand. My boss's name was Jean (not Joan) and she had a chatelaine, not a pen on a chain around her neck. The other two partners were men. One of them hit on me constantly. He'd ask me out. He would ask how old the oldest man I'd ever dated was. He would leer at me and tell me he had a son my age and wouldn't it be something if I started dating him (not the son, you understand). He would not leave me alone. One morning, I was nursing a hangover and running late. He and I were the only two in the elevator. He hit on me again. I said "Steve, if you are so hot for some young ass, go fuck your son and leave me alone." Yeah, I know. That was pretty rough. The only reason I wasn't fired was Jean. She told me that Steve was not going to be allowed to harass me, but that if I ever said another word to him, I was gone.

Eventually, I left New York and went back to Miami. In 1988, I went back to the University of Miami for a master's degree. I got thrown out for telling one professor that he was full of shit for saying that as a woman, I could never be a real artist, since I would always be conflicted between creating and procreating and for telling another that my private life was none of his fucking business, that my husband was not paying for my tuition and it wasn't up to my parents to do so either. During the subsequent divorce, in 1991, that same husband was allowed to cancel my credit cards because he was my husband. Without my knowledge or permission, and they were in my name. He wasn't even associated with the accounts. By the same token, I couldn't get insurance for my car without putting him on my policy because the state did not recognize separation as a legal state. I was married, and he had to be on my insurance.

In 1992, in Clovis, New Mexico, I was told variously that people didn't "like your type" (depending on who said it, my type was either an aggressive —read intelligent— woman or a Yankee) and that women didn't belong in the work place. I also had someone ask me to my face if mine was "a Jew name"? In 2008, I was threatened with firing because I was knitting in a meeting, keeping my hands busy and my mind focused. What I learned from that is that doodling, texting, surfing Facebook on one's phone are all acceptable ways of attending a meeting, but that "women's work" is not.

And here it is 2015. The color-blind golden future that enabled Barrack Obama to be elected president is the same one that greeted his entry onto social media with "Hello Nigger". Oh, yeah. America is a color blind country all right. This is what Sally Draper would have faced, people. More of the same stupid shit she grew up with, and I suspect that like me, Sally Draper would be looking at an America where we are still fighting anti-semitism, anti-feminism, gender discrimination, women's rights to self-determination, equal pay and oh,fuck, just the basic right to exist as a woman who can wear what ever the fuck she wants in public with a reasonable expectation of being able to walk down the street safe from rape and verbal harassment and she would be saying "What the ever loving fuck? Didn't we take care of that shit in the 70s?"

Which begs this next question: How is it even possible for that mindset to still exist? Who are the people perpetuating the same old thing? The average age of a Tea Party Republican congressman, is 50-60 years old. That means Sally's brothers and friends: Gene, Bobby and Glen. Except clearly not Glen, because he served (and presumably died) in Viet Nam. Worse, people like Paul Ryan are almost young enough to be our children, so where did my generation go so very, very wrong?

Miz Shoes

I Talk to the Trees

Man, that was a stretch, but you try figuring out a rock lyric with the word “lichen” in it. The tree trimmers were kind enough to leave all of the oak tree trimmings with “green stuff” on them in my yard, cut to manageable lengths and neatly piled. When harvested, I had a quart mason jar filled with (primarily) Parmotrema Praesorediosum (I looked it up.) I have a pint jar with about a quarter cup of it marinading in my bathroom, despite it failing the bleach test. (You look it up.) Hope springs eternal and all that.

Today I am about to boil up the rest of it and see what happens.

lichens

Miz Shoes

I Dreamed A Dream

This has to happen. This needs to happen.

I was making potato pierogi, and idly thinking about things I’d seen on Facebook today, as one does. This Bruce Springsteen/Jimmy Fallon piece ripping Gov. Christie is brilliant.

I was thinking that Bruce was right in saying that Fallon does a better Bruce than Bruce, when the penny dropped: there was comedy gold to be mined today. Remember Dueling Brandos? I see Dueling Bosses, in a three way with Fallon, Adam Sandler and Bruce his ownself. Someone needs to get on that, stat. People need to call people.

Miz Shoes

I Got Rhythm

Or perhaps more accurately, I have yet to find it. Today’s multi-tasking includes cutting and pinning a larger-than-queen-sized quilt from fabrics that I won over the internet in the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s. Yeah, it’s been hanging around waiting to be born, what about it? It’s not like I’ve had a lot of time, y’know? And now that I do, I am finding it hard to not just sit on the back deck with a cup of coffee and stare at the bird feeders and the squirrels having their way with the seeds. At any rate, in order to keep some sort of sanity while I do that cutting and sorting and pinning, I have stepped in my studio to write this entry.

That led to a few moments of felting as I waited for my laptop to boot up. And when I put the heart down on my sewing table, it picked up the colors of the lonely, still unfinished colorwork sock that has been riding around in my knitting bag for a year or two itself… And the sunlight fell on both in such a lovely way, through the filter of the creeping ficus in the lattice over the koi pond just outside this room, that, well, I had to stop and take a photo of it before the light shifted.

Studio Still Life

Quite lovely, non?

But I digress. Since I can say what I like, now, I’d like to say this: Oh, little boy who is my nephew’s friend, don’t worry. It’s going to be fine. You’re fine. In fact, I predict that within the next five years, you will find yourself the sweetheart of the MENSA sorority. You rock on with your unstylish mop of long hair, and your rumpled shirt. I saw the competition at the bar mitzvah, those preening little boys in their suits, thinking that they rocked the world… You, my pet, you are the real thing, though you may not even know that yet yourself. Don’t let anyone ever change you.

And now, I must go back to the quilting squares. They aren’t going to cut and sort and pin themselves, you know.

Miz Shoes

Like a Circle in a Spiral

So, I’m sitting at my spinning wheel in the South Miami Farmers Market last Saturday (World Wide Spin In Public Day, which, while not to be found in the Hallmark section, does occur) bonding with a stranger over the concept of centering and how one cannot force it.

She told me about her college days in the ceramics studio, spending endless hours at the wheel and never being able to center, walking away for a few weeks or months, coming back and having the clay fall in place in her hands, effortlessly. Yep, I said, twist is like that, it either flows or it doesn’t.

I just finished rereading Robert Silverberg’s “Lord Valentine’s Castle” and there is a passage, early in the book, where Valentine is about to juggle for the first time. It captures the very essence of what we seek, we who spin on a wheel, be it clay or fiber or ourselves on the edge of this spiral arm.

“We will teach you basics, one small thing at a time. Juggling is a series of small discrete motions done in quick sequence, that give the appearance of constant flow and simultaneity. Simultaneity is an illusion, friend, when you are juggling and even when you are not. All events happen one at a time.” Sleet smiled coldly. He seemed to be speaking from ten thousand miles away. “Close your eyes, Valentine.

Orientation in space and time is essential. Think of where you are and where you stand in relation to the world.”

Valentine pictured Majipoor, mighty ball hanging in space, half of it or more than half engulfed by the Great Sea. He saw himself standing rooted at Zimroel’s edge with the sea behind him and a continent unrolling before him, and the Inner Sea punctuated by the Isle of Sleep, and Alhanroel beyond, rising on its nether side to the great swollen bulge of Castle Mount, and the sun overhead, yellow with a bronze-green tint, sending blistering rays down on dusty Suvrael and into the tropics, and warming everything else, and the moons somewhere on the far side of things, and the stars farther out, and the other worlds, the worlds from which the Skandars came and the Hjorts and the Liimen and all the rest, even the world from which his own folk had emigrated, Old Earth, fourteen thousand years ago, a small blue world absurdly tiny when compared to Majipoor, far away, half forgotten in some other corner of the universe, and he journeyed back down across the stars to this world, this continent, this city, this inn, this courtyard, this small plot of moist yielding soil in which his boots were rooted, and told Sleet he was ready.

Miz Shoes

Second Hand Rose

There is another person I often see on my morning commute with an inimitable sense of style. He is deft with a pair of scissors, and almost everything he wears, he has altered. He is fashion-forward, as they would say on Project Runway. Michael Kors would say that there is a clear sense of who this designer is, although he might not be able to figure out who “the girl” is to whom this is geared.

I took a few photos surreptitiously. He has these head scarves in a variety of materials. One morning I watched as he made one.

image

And here are his high-top sneakers, carefully crafted into very on-trend gladiators.

image

The leather jacket has been cut away and its closures replaced by self-fabric (or leather) ties.

image

Another day on public transit, and another life story that I’ll never know.

Miz Shoes

Billy,  Don’t Be a Hero

I spent a part of last night with the Number Three Surrogate Daughter. She turned 21 last week. She is emancipated and finally able to control her own choices. She is finishing her undergrad and wanting to get her Master’s? Her Doctorate? In psych. By joining the Navy as an officer/doctor. The Military will pay for the degree in exchange for six years of her life.

I love her dearly and want to be proud that she is capable of considering this choice. But I am afraid that I have become an old woman, set in her ways, and those ways were forged in the 60s. I was too young to have participated in the televised youth movement; I watched it on tv from my living room in a tiny, coastal sub-tropical town, so far removed and yet so far ahead of that movement that I can never vote Republican, nor embrace the concept of the military. I knew the last draftees and the first young men to die (in droves) of AIDS.

I know that this is my problem, and I have no right to try and pass them on to her. She’ll just be one of that tiny minority of good people who enlist for the more noble reasons. And I can be proud of that.

Miz Shoes

Mother Mother Ocean

I’m back on the Gulf coast, the part of it that is still pristine and unaffected by the colossal cluster fuck that is the Deepwater Horizon spill. The sunsets are gorgeous. The sand is powdery and white. The herons wander right up to you on the beach to see if you might possibly have a little fish or two. This place is bliss. The only complaint I have, such as it is, is that the wi-fi in the timeshare is the extreme opposite of robust, and the only place I have a chance of connecting is on the balcony overlooking the beach. Tough. Except that in the course of typing this entry, the connection has dropped three times.

Miz Shoes

Bird Outside My Hotel Room

Last night, as we were coming home from the grocery store, I saw a clutch of ducks at the pond that I’d never seen before. They had blue? bills and red? eyes and were buff brown and darker brown. The RLA refused to make a detour for me, but this morning on the way to work, we pulled through. I only managed one blurry photo on the i-phone, but I think, possibly, this is a ruddy duck. Something new for my life list. But IS it a ruddy duck? Can anyone out there recognize this fellow?

image

And on another note entirely, is anybody out there surprised to find Halliburton’s dirty fingers in the oil rig disaster in the Gulf? I thought not.

Miz Shoes

Go West

On Saturday, the RLA and I set off for the Gulf Coast. Star was caravanning with us, and the SisterGirlFriendGirl and her partner were heading south from Tennessee, to meet up at the beach. We headed across the state on Alligator Alley, known in my youth as Death Alley, for reasons that should be obvious. Nowadays, it’s two lanes in each direction, and plans are afoot for a third lane. This year, there seemed to be tons of delaminated tires, to the point that I started referring to the drive as the Trail of Tires. (Say that with a Southern accent for the full humor.) At some point, we hit a chunk of tire, shortly thereafter someone’s rim sailed past. Shortly after that, we hit a 10-mile long dead stop traffic jam. And shortly after that, smoke started pouring from under the hood of the PT Cruiser, and we pulled to the side of the road. I debated the odds of the car bursting into flame, and whether or not I needed to begin an emergency evacuation of our week’s worth of luggage, food, pillows, noodles and odds and ends. While I was doing that, the RLA opened the hood of the car, and I began to panic, thinking that fire responds to air by getting much larger. In the event, it wasn’t an engine fire, it was just that we had lost all of our engine coolant.

Star doubled back and sat with us until AAA arrived. The tow driver discovered that the AAA mechanic in Sarasota was a mere 97 miles from the point of our breakdown, and with AAA plus, we were eligible for a free 100 mile tow. So. We got towed all the way to Sarasota, where Star came and rescued us and brought us and our tons of crap back to the beach house. We settled in, walked the beach to the burger bar down the way, and by the time we got back, SisterGirlFriendGirl and SisterSqueeze were waiting for us on our lanai.

Tomorrow MJ, RJ and their cat JJ arrive for the remainder of the week. Photos will be posted later. Time for me to hit the beach and soak these aging bones.

EDITED TO ADD PHOTOS

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