Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do you ever think about your shoes?

I have bad feet. My mother had bad feet. My grandmother walked funny, as she got older, so I'm thinking that she probably did too. Bunions, arthritis, corns, neuromas, arch problems, tendinitis, circulation problems, neuropathy...
 and the list goes on and on.
It's a little crooked gene somewhere in my DNA that I call Bad Foot Syndrome. Well, that's what I call it on a good day. Bad days have another unspeakable name that I use, but I won't use it here.
So, In the spirit of Thanksgiving I would like to give thanks to my shoes.
The ones that have , in this day and age of over abundant choices and high prices, brought me comfort  in my time of need.  A tribute to these pedestrian, uncomplaining support systems for my deteriorating infrastructure.

From the bottom clockwise I start with the Dexter; a sturdy maryjane/moccasin. Not much arch support but with my prescription orthopedic inserts I can be quite comfortable in them for a few hours.
The next one, the Dansko, is a Sunday go to meeting shoe. I can't wear my inserts with these but they are very comfortable and make my feet look sexy with my toes all lacquered up.
The Birkenstocks are... well... the last vestige of my life before bad feet. I love Birkies and will always have a pair, even though my podiatrist told me to not wear them. He doesn't understand that they are my link to accepting my wide (but somewhat attractive) feet and to the 60's when bell bottoms and tie dyed tee shirts ruled my life.
The Finn Comfort sandals were my mother's. They are very expensive shoes. I find them extremely comfortable in summer or winter(with socks). I will wax them and wear them until the cows come home. They have sentimental value.
Next is the Nicole. It's rare that you find a really comfortable shoe, that is in great shape, the right size ( I have a BIG foot.) and are made well... in a thrift shop. But this is where I found Nicole.
I can't wear any of these backless shoes with my inserts. The doctor doesn't know about Nicole.  She and I never visit the foot doctor together. This pair of shoes were purchased for $5.50 at the local thrift store.

The next two shoes are favorites because they are FELTED... of course.
 Haflinger is the pretty blue one with the embroidery. It's a clog type shoe that is really warm and comfortable. I can wear my orthotics with this shoe. I don't always. They're very comfortable both ways.
The Airwalk boot is brand new.
These were not expensive. I found them at Payless Shoes a few weeks back. Payless Shoes has really trendy (sometimes weird) shoes that are made inexpensively and fall apart fast. But sometimes they get brand names in there that are a cut above and at amazing prices. These are called Airwalks. This felted boot should have a name like Sven or Elsa but someone at Airwalk, for some strange reason, called it Marlynn.  I love Airwalks for there quirkiness (kind of like Rocket Dogs only less expensive.) and their ability to accept inserts without complaint. This pair was $39.99. Shoes made out of this synthetic felt are not waterproof but they are warm and, with socks, they are a good, winter choice here in California. They also have a zipper which helps getting them on and off.
As you can see. I love Airwalks and have a couple of pairs that I'm wearing into oblivion.
These shoes are like old friends. I can only wear them in the house and around the farm now. The left one is falling apart at the seams but I love these shoes. Don't you have favorites like these?
I have tennis shoes and work boots. I have waterproof  boots for slopping around in the goat pen. But these are my favorites and they deserve respect for a lifetime of service to my feet.
I bought a new pair of Airwalks last week.
They're kind of Converse  with some fufu on them. My insert fits perfectly in them.
Black is good. I hope they serve me as well as the others.

This is a tribute to my shoes.
I'm glad I'm not growing old back in my grandmother's day. The choices would have been black, short and boot-like with laces... or maybe, dark blue clunkers with a small heel. They didn't have inserts, orthotics and metatarsal cookies for sore spots. We are so fortunate that we have so many choices to make our lives easier and more pain free.
I salute my shoes and the manufacturers of them. I'm still not sure about the name "Marlynn" on the felt boot. But who knows, it's probably some executive's daughter's name. I can live with it.
Here's to shoes everywhere. I haven't seen them complaining at the Occupy protests around the country.... and if anyone has a right to complain about abuse and unfairness it's shoes.  Don't you agree?
They are thrown, dragged, left in messy closets, separated from each other and lost.
They are lucky if they are recycled at a thrift shop, but they usually meet a horrible end in some land fill.
I just wanted to say something about shoes today and let them know that someone appreciates them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Love is An Old Friend

What was it that drew us to each other?
We were juniors in high school when we met. We lived in the same suburban houses... she on the northeastern end and I on the west. We went to different elementary schools and finally met in high school because of a mutual acquaintance.
What drew me to this life long friend in the beginning? Common interests or a need for contrast to my undeveloped and blossoming persona? The wanting of a friend with uncommon and interesting beauty in a world of conformity? Maybe it was her beautiful red hair, but I think it was more her energy of thought to my laid back, introspective, poetry writing self. She was an exciting gift of talent and creativity.
But, like a flower that unexpectedly appears in the winter and doesn't have enough sun to develop, she struggled. She would go from totally focused positive energy to anger at stupidity, and the injustices of the world. She was the spirit of protest in the 60's at Berkeley.
She was, and is, a uncommon flower in the storm of life.

This was a flower that struggled. Having been through many harsh winters even before I knew her.
My friend suffers from Bipolar Disorder. Possibly because of some DNA passed down from a loved parent who suffered too. She has struggled most of her life to maintain a balance... to look at life in a positive way and to be happy.
She is a brilliant, complex woman who is amazingly gifted. But, as a result of the drugs that give her stability, she frequently finds life flat and disconnected . The drugs take her creativity and interest away.
My friend was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder almost 15 years ago. She is a survivor. But it's not like being a cancer survivor. It's not about getting the tumor out and taking the treatments. It's not about seeing the end of the tunnel and moving on with hope and reassurance.
This is Bipolar Disorder and no matter what drugs you take, no matter how many therapist you talk to, it's an on going battle. Then, there are the scary moments when you realize that the drugs aren't working and the horror of knowing that, without constant monitoring of this insidious disorder, you might never find relief.
You want clarity. You want peace of mind.

The fence gate you see as a new direction might only lead to another set of ups and downs that are almost impossible to navigate and life becomes a series of potholes to fall into.
She dodged the land minds, running uphill until finally coming to a complete standstill, because being out of breath was as much about fear as it was about health.
I have walked this friend's road, off and on, for many years. I've seen her manic, brave, crazy in love, raising a daughter, very happy and very, very sad. I have watched her struggle with anger and be amazed by happy moments  and now I see her, as an older woman, still fighting for a balance.
She is my friend and I can only give her vegetable soup and hugs as if she had a cold or the flu.
I can only give her a place to stay, and comfort... a little laughter and listening.
It never seems enough.
Why does she have to struggle this much?
Where is the god of "Give me a frigging break!" ?

I love this old friend. She knows I do.
We talked about a puppy. She says maybe a Dachshund. She loves Carl and Cutter.
I think this would be a good idea, my friend. Let's do it.
I will be down there soon...