Wednesday, September 12, 2018

If the shoe fits, buy it

We're all confused, what's to lose?
You can call this all the United States Blues."

As the earth completes this particular circle around the sun, the one that began last September 21, the day we arrived with the cats and started living here, I find myself pensive and introspective.

In other words, much as usual, only more so.

I’ve had some moments of late when the heart heaviness of those first months has again loomed, threatening.

I tell myself, anniversaries are hard, which is only partly the truth for me. Some anniversary seasons are hard. I remember the summer after my love affair with Marty. All those summer months, the same ones as those when our passion flared, followed by those ones after it ended in misery, I ached all over again. I’d made so much progress in my healing, and then the feelings surged back, not the happiness, just the heartache.

It was just that first summer. By the second summer I was well into my relationship with Neil. I wasn’t looking back, not ever again.

I won’t compare the grief of moving with the grief of the broken love affair. That was full out desolation, coupled with remorse and anger and weariness, complicated by hope against hope. Moving was just a small disruption in the continuum, some tripping the light fantastic with the black dog while I passed the time it took to regain equilibrium.

But now, a year later, some of the feelings have resurfaced and I sense that the black dog is waiting in the wings, watching for a chance to get back on my dance card.

I’m doing my best to fend it off. I’m keeping myself busy. I bought some yarn and a crochet hook, watched a YouTube video and started a scarf. I’m working out some necklace designs, and have one almost finished.

I’ve been cooking a bit too. I made a potato and egg salad with some of our garden potatoes. I made a pasta sauce with our homegrown tomatoes and eggplant and a little okra, plus onions and celery. I’m baked a scrumptious carrot cake with carrots that we grew, in my new bundt cake pan, with my new spices from Penzeys. (I finally pitched out my beaten-up 40-year-old bundt cake pan - after the lemon cake I baked last, I tossed it in the recycling bin without bothering to wash it.)

I’ve also pretty much decided to be a vegetarian, except that I’ll continue to eat seafood. Meat just doesn’t taste good to me any more. We had some turkey breast that was dry and chewy. Neil thought it was delicious. We grilled hamburgers on Labor Day and I ate one but honestly, it was tasteless. A veggie burger tastes better to me.

Neil constantly wants to pick up chicken from Tenders and I keep telling him he should, but I don’t want anything, not a grilled chicken sandwich, not a salad, not fries, nothing. I’m totally happy to heat up soup or have tortillas with cheese or a bagel. It's easier to just be a vegetarian than to negotiate what I'll eat meal by meal.

Of course, immediately after my decision, we went out for a Thai food, and the lunch specials came with a cup of tasty chicken soup. I decided I won't be ridiculous about the little things, since I'm doing this based not on principle but on personal preference.

Cutting now to national news for a moment, I’m trying to decide where I stand (or kneel) on Nike’s ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. I wrote about my mixed feelings about Kaepernick’s choice of sitting, later taking a knee, during the national anthem at NFL games, to protest racism in America. I’m all for the sentiment but not so much the venue.

And now people are burning their Nike’s to protest the company’s choice of Kaepernick as spokesperson.

I haven’t followed the story but Neil brought it to my attention that Kaepernick has essentially been blacklisted by the NFL, and that he’s suing the league for collusion. Just days ago, the NFL’s summary judgement request for dismissal of the case was denied.

And while, as I’ve said, I believe it’s fair for private enterprise to make rules for employees - such as standing for the national anthem - and expect them to follow them, I don’t believe a conspiratorial career-ending value judgment, goaded by a lunatic president inciting reprisal, is a just solution. Find a compromise. Racism exists. The point has been made. Let the men kneel, let them stay in the locker room. Move on.

One could argue that Kaepernick made his bed. As he pointedly says in the Nike commercial, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Beyond that the commercial baffles me. I’m not exactly sure what having crazy dreams has to do with the price of athletic shoes in New York City. Will it really sell more trainers if you’re told, ‘Don't try to be the fastest runner in your school or the fastest runner in the world. Be the fastest ever.“ Is it really not enough to be the fastest runner in the world? Who decided that? Who writes this stuff anyway?

I did enjoy the memes.

In the end, I conclude that Kaeprnick himself is the message. People are talking about Nike. Nike is in the news. Is bad publicity a thing or not? Will Nike sell less shoes, will people choose their athletic footwear based on principle? Or will people drink the Kool-Aid about dreaming crazy big dreams, somehow connect the dots with buying Nike products, and just do it? Just buy the shoes?

I for one will continue to select my running shoes based on price, style, and comfort.

And speak of shoes, I've sinned again there. Someone on Facebook showed off their pretty new L'Artiste sandals and of course I had to have some. DSW had a discount deal for $60 off a $200 purchase, so I bought a pair of boots and clogs. Then I used the discount again a few days later to buy a pair of shoes and two pairs of sandals. I wasn't planning to keep all of them. But now I might. The boots are a little big and had little arch support, so I ordered some inserts to see if they will work. If not, the boots go back, possibly to be exchanged for another pair.

I'm incorrigible. Don't I know it. Don't we all know it. But how cute are they?

And while we're having true confessions, I also ordered these hiking shoes for me and Neil, after our hike last Sunday, when another couple about our age were clad in cool looking hiking shoes.

Just think how easy these will be to pack, vs. our clunky ankle height serious hiking booots, for those trips where we intend to do easy hikes on well-manicured trails.

Am I rationalizing? Of course.

Don't say it. I've already thought it.

Red and white, blue suede shoes
I'm Uncle Sam, how do you do?
Gimme five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck

Check my pulse, it don't change
Stay seventy-two come shine or rain
Wave the flag, pop the bag
Rock the boat, skin the goat

Wave that flag, wave it wide and high
Summertime done, come and gone, my oh my

I'm Uncle Sam, that's who I am
Been hidin' out in a rock and roll band
Shake the hand that shook the hand
Of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan

Shine your shoes, light your fuse
Can you use them ol' U.S. Blues?
I'll drink your health, share your wealth
Run your life, steal your wife

Back to back chicken shack
Son of a gun, better change your act
We're all confused, what's to lose?
You can call this all the United States Blues

Wave that flag, wave it wide and high
Summertime done, come and gone, my oh my.

(Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz