Words & Banter

Shoes Shoes Everywhere – But Not A Pair To Wear

Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash

This is one of those posts that was "suggested" I write, although I did not see why anyone would care about my shoes or my shoe dilemma. Yes, I am known for my shoes – in particular, my stiletto heels. In fact, when Red and I taught at KIPP Houston High School, the students would text about my shoes within minutes of me arriving on campus. (Red would always ask them, doing her version of sarcasm, why they did not do the same for her "comfy" shoes and boots.)

When we did a speaking engagement about personal finance at Silsbee High School, my shoes became a topic of discussion during the Q&A session. (Red was so amused that she included it as Story #2 in her Memory Lane post titled "The Road To Silsbee. To Where?!") I will admit I was impressed by how astute the students were to question how I could talk about "Thinking Before Spending" yet stand in front of them wearing shoes with red soles that they guessed cost hundreds of dollars. (I never disclosed their exact price, but the students were online pricing Christian Louboutin shoes.)

Luckily, none of the students have ever asked how many pairs of shoes I owned. I could not compete with the thousands of pairs Imelda Marcos had, but I did own (past tense) hundreds of pairs that I had collected over the years. No, make that decades. I enjoyed the collecting as much as the wearing, and would even buy shoes as souvenirs when I traveled.

My logic, not that I needed any, was that fashion and shoe styles repeat themselves over the years. Plus, classic shoes (from pumps to driving shoes) never seem to go out of style. So, I would carefully store the shoes (and boots) in clear plastic shoe boxes (I lost count of how many cases of shoe boxes I have bought from The Container Store), and every season go down to my storage unit in the basement of my high-rise to shop my "collection" and decide what would "move up" into my closet. Of course, I would add a few new pairs each season. Usually black, because black never goes out of style.

So, what was my dilemma? Which pair to wear? I wish. No, I had to run out and buy a pair of shoes for a date. And, it soon became apparent it was about more than a pair of shoes,

  • I had not gone out on a "date" in years, as I do not count dinners out with friends as dates, and I typically wear "dressy" jeans or slacks since we do not dress up. I never wear a dress.
  • Although I once had a collection of fabulous dressy high-heel summer sandals, they floated away when Hurricane Harvey flooded the basement of my high-rise. I know all of them did not drown as some were found in the building's garage when the water finally receded, and I can only hope those hundreds of shoes found good homes.
  • The pandemic has changed women's attraction to high heels, so when I stopped by Saks to buy a pair of high heeled black sandals, what in the past would have been easy to do, was more like a scavenger hunt as the shoe department was filled with sneakers (!!!) and casual shoes.

I still wonder why I am writing this … other than Red finds the whole situation amusing. But, sometimes, I feel like my life is her entertainment. The other person who suggested I write this post was my date (he did appreciate the effort I put forth to "dust off" a dress and find a pair of date shoes), as he thought my story about the "concept" of wearing a dress on a date and dating post-pandemic was something that a lot of people can relate to right now. Plus, he thought my predicament was, and I quote, "Funny shit!" I guess he, too, finds my life entertaining. Hmmm, maybe I should also dust off our idea for a Red & Black sitcom …

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It’s been two years since President Biden signed the anti-Asian hate crimes bill, but making something illegal doesn’t stop it from happening. Hate crimes, including against Chinese Americas, continue at an alarming rate. But imagine if instead of hating someone for being different, we looked at what we had in common and their contributions to American culture and society? After all, that’s what makes America such a unique and special country.

May is Asian American Pacific Island Month (which prompted our conversation below about Jews and Chinese food), but we should treat all our fellow Americans with respect and kindness every day.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Have you ever wondered why Jews love Chinese food so much?

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

No, but what prompted that? Did you take in Chinese food this weekend? Or, did President Biden signing the anti-Asian hate crimes bill make you think about how Jews can relate given all the antisemitism in the world?

Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

Only you would connect those dots. I was straightening up papers in the kitchen and noticed how Chinese takeout menus look the same as they did when we were kids, and how we've laughed over the decades about how much Jews love Chinese food. But now you've reminded me about how we've recently talked about the recent increase in hate crimes against the Asian community . I simply don't understand how people can hate an entire group of people based on race or religion.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

You are the history lover. It is not a new phenomenon. And, the reasons have not changed – Ignorance, prejudice, feelings of supremacy; the list has many "reasons". What I find scary is that people form stronger bonds with others based on what they hate than they do on what they love. But, there is no question that the Asian community and Jews have experienced hate for a long time.

Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

I know, but in America of all places, that just shouldn't happen. Ever. We're a country built on immigrants, and the contributions of Asian Americans and American Jews have been so significant. From scientists to doctors, artists to activists, the list goes on and on.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

The lists of contributions can be sliced and diced in so many different ways – gender, race, religion, nationalities. There are not enough months in the years to celebrate them all. However, some groups tend to be forgotten or overlooked, which is why President Carter signed the first proclamation celebrating Asian/Pacific Americans , which eventually led to May becoming Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. But now, with hate crimes increasing against them, celebrating by learning about their cultures is even more critical.

Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, I admit that I personally didn't know any Asians before I lived in Hong Kong, and then Shanghai, several years after getting married. Until then, all I knew was that I loved Chinese food. I know that might sound condescending, but that's not how I mean it.
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Photo by Iam Anupong on iStock

I’ve always been a proud redhead, even though I used to wish that I could tan like those glamorous models in fashion magazines. Or maybe I just got tired of Black’s sarcastic comments about my white skin. Except for the one time when we played a rare round of golf together (see below), which ended up becoming one of my favorite memories! Although I do wish I had known back then about how important it is to protect our skin from the sun … So, now I invite everyone (regardless of hair color) to join us in not only observing Skin Cancer Awareness Month but also celebrating National Sunscreen Day.

I'll never forget the day. It was an "almost" ordinary day out on the golf course with my mom and dad during the heat of a Long Island summer. Now, if "Long Island" conjures up images of stately manors on the North Shore (think "Great Gatsby") or beachfront mansions in the Hamptons (think Robin Leach and his popular show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"), you can put those out of your head. I'm not talking about some fancy country club golf course, just a regular public course.

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This Mother’s Day, Red will be visiting her best friend from elementary school, both of whom have lost their moms, so they’ll be sharing lots of stories and warm memories. (And since she’ll be in NY, she’ll be “visiting” Mom at the cemetery.) Meanwhile, Red’s youngest daughter is looking forward to having dinner with her second mom … Black!

Mother’s Day is a celebration of moms – those with us and those in our hearts and memories. And that’s why we’re repeating last year’s post (that, and because Black was borderline warm and fuzzy) …

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!