Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Dreamed a Dream of Shoes Gone By

Some of you may remember a post from when I was back in Nigeria about a pair of shoes I had that broke and I sewed back together.  You might also recall that these shoes were bought out of necessity, without much possibility for consideration, to replace the broken pair on my feet at the time.  The shoe fairy was smiling on me when I bought those shoes; they turned out to be one of the best pairs ever.

Well, those shoes made it home from Nigeria, but they didn’t make it to California.  Not whole anyway. my original busted babies cropped On our way home from New York City back in April, Mzzzz Jones and I found ourselves in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to run through JFK airport to catch our already boarding plane.  Run… run… run… snap.  By the time I got on the plane, I was breathless, sweaty, and wearing two broken shoes.  Ever since then, I’ve been searching for the perfect replacement to my beige, all-purpose, most comfortable shoes.  It’s been a long search.

Attempt #1

I first attempted to replace my glorious, beige, all-purpose, most-comfortable shoes with something from my own collection.  A pair of white and whicker platform sandals from Vickies.  Many problems.  The white ribbons were supposed to wrap around the legs like ballet shoes.  They always fell down.  The front ribbons that went over the toes were in an awkward position, my pinky toes stuck out, off the shoe.  And the full, wide platform is not as nice as a wedge for walking on rough surfaces.  I soon found that not only were these not good replacements for my fabulous, glorious, beige, all-purpose, most-comfortable shoes, they were also not great for shoes at all.  In the end, these were one of the 40-some pairs I didn’t take to Cali.

Attempt #2

black cork wedges cropped I found these ditties at a shoe store in Nashville.  Purchased with a gift card given to me by a good friend as a birthday present.  (I got two pairs w/ that card, but now I can’t recall the other pair.  These were a deal in the clearance section.)

At first I thought they were going to be it.  Wedges.  Decent angle.  Black and brown, so fairly versatile.  Comfortable enough.  They were good at first.  Then I started to come across problems.

The slip on style offers the ease of the original, fabulous, glorious,beige, all-purpose, most-comfortable shoes, but without any sort of ankle strap, the shoes are prone to falling off and certainly will not do for climbing trees.  The falling off is escalated by the fact that one shoe fits well and the other fits rather loosely.  The shoe has black and brown, but it really only works as a black shoe.  Additionally, because of the style, it only works as a black casual shoe, not dressy as well.  The more I wore them, the more I also found the angle to be wanting.

The combination of one loose shoe, slippage in the shoes and the lower angle made the shoes uncomfortable for long distances.  Remember, I used to wear those wonderful, original, fabulous, glorious, beige, all-purpose, most-comfortable shoes for my 2 mile walk to and from work in Nigeria.  If I can’t walk 2 miles in the shoes, they won’t suffice as replacements.

The shoes are still decent, and I do wear them for lower-level physical activities in outfits with a black base.  So they’re still useful.

Attempt #3

bright flowers cropped Realizing I needed something with more of a strap to keep on the shoes, I next tried these.  I most often wished for my amazing, wonderful, original, fabulous, glorious, beige, all-purpose, most comfortable shoes when wearing the long white skirt I made from my grandmother’s curtains.  These shoes were purchased (from Alloy I believe) with that skirt’s outfits in mind.  The white and colors worked for that.  My biggest problem with the black shoes had been the lack of ankle strap.  These have an ankle strap.  They also have a nice wedge heel with a good angle.

They hurt when walking more than a few blocks.  The front of the shoe is narrow and the fabric is stiff, so instead of stretching, it digs into my hungry toe (the piggie that didn’t have any roast beef), leaving a not-so-beautiful indent and some red chubbiness.

I wear them for short walks, like to the hardware store, and for events with little expected physical exertion.  I hope to stretch them out.  Yet, even if I do, the bright colors limit their outfit possibilities.  Like the black shoes before them, they are good shoes and have their purpose, but they are not replacements for my beautiful, amazing, wonderful, original, fabulous, glorious, beige, all-purpose, most comfortable shoes. Sadness.

Attempt #4

brown slingbacks cropped On the most recent of my many trips home this summer, Munchkinhed and I got permission from Mommy to go to the clearance sale at the local shoe shop.  I found these beauties and thought that between my black shoes and these, I had won the battle to replace my Brazilian, beautiful, amazing, wonderful, original, fabulous, glorious, beige, all-purpose shoes.

These shoes are brown.  That should work for any outfits for which the black shoes don’t work.  They’re wedges, and I really like the cut-out design in them.  They are comfortable, too.  Good angle on the incline.  And there’s straps.  Great!  I got them and wore them around a bit at home.

It wasn’t until I was attempting to walk more than around the house that I realized my tragic mistake.  These shoes are slingbacks.  The buckle on the strap and top of the foot wrap style had tricked me.  I can’t wear slingbacks; the straps fall off my heels.  I still wear these shoes though.  Luckily, they stay on even when the strap falls down.  But they cannot serve as replacements, not even when combined with my black sandals because that slipping slingback only allows for short-distance walks.  Cabija

Attempt #5

newest shoes cropped Now, I know theses shoes can’t be a final replacement, but they’re the closest I’ve gotten.  I got them this two days ago from Alloy.  They have a stiletto heel, which is nothing to a wedge.  Wedges can walk over sewer grates and sidewalk cracks with nary a thought.  In stilettos, I must be very conscious of where I put my feet and ensure I only put weight on the ball of my feet whenever necessary.

The height of the heel is very good, around 4 1/2” or 5”.  The angle isn’t bad, though not perfect as there is a small platform under the toes.  This platform is actually a bigger problem for climbing trees and walking on non-paved surfaces as it is inflexible and prevents gripping the surface with the foot.

However, and most importantly, the shoes are beige and they have a T-strap.  The T-strap design and the style of the front makes these shoes appropriate for dressy or casual wear.  Yes, these certainly are the closest I’ve come to replacing those magnificent, Brazilian, beautiful, amazing, wonderful, original, fabulous, glorious, beige, all-purpose shoes.

My Dream

Maybe someday I’ll find the perfect pair - Beige, T-strap, 4” or 5” wedges, with no front platform, (and in my price range) – and I’ll be back to climbing trees and running and being comfortable.  Until then, my new beige stilettos, brown sling-backs, bright flowers and black slip-ons are going to have to do.  Four pairs of shoes to replace one.  Life would be easier (and cheaper) if a girl could just find the same pair of shoes twice in her life…

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Good Ol’ Locky Top!

I had a friend in the Peace Corps named Carl.  Except in most of the Zambian languages the r’s and l’s can be a bit of a problem, so his name came out more like Calr, or just Caaa.  (You can also now see why I got a Tonga name so quickly, r and l being the only consonants in my name.)  Anyway, Caaaa liked to sing a lot, and one of  his favorite songs was the UT fight song.  The kids would run after him yelling “Locky Top! Locky Top!”  And soon Ba Caaa became Locky Top.

So why this sudden discussion of Mr. Locky Top?  I’m nowhere near him, and I’m nowhere near good ol’ Locky Top either.  Ah, but you see, I was last night. ;)

No, I did not take red eye to Tennessee and back (though I’m sure some people wouldn’t put it past me).  No, no.  I went to a Vandy alum happy hour with Mr. Trizzle!  I don’t think I’d ever been so happy to see swooped over bangs, a giant Burberry hand bag or super-sized engagement ring bling.

I miss Nashville.  Not nearly as much as I miss Africa or Milwaukee, but certainly more than I expected.  I miss the weather.  I miss the politeness and the Southern charm.  I miss how nice people dressed.  Heck, I even miss the food.  Well, the stuff without pork in it anyway.  I miss giant trucks and Hummers that might actually be used somewhere that requires a giant truck or Hummer.  I miss being able to drive 20 minutes and be pretty much out in the middle of nowhere.  I really miss my apartment.  And I miss my school.

The happy hour was nice.  I don’t usually enjoy happy hours, but this one was good.  I even got a drink, with whiskey in it, seemed appropriate.  Mr. Trizzle and I met some pretty cool people.  A few people who just moved out here (like me!), and some who had been out here a number of years.  Even one other person who, like Mr. Trizzle, was a Bay Area native!  (Those are really rare, like spotted owls or dodo birds or something.)  Apparently, there are events every month or so.  I’m looking forward to the next one.  I hope we get to see many of the same people again.

One thing’s for certain, Vandy certainly takes care of its own.  Near or far, student or alum, Vandy is Vandy, and that means something.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Forget Xzibit, I’ve got Mr. Trizzle!

We all have things we’re good at and things we’re not so good at.  Sometimes I pick on Mr. Trizzle for the things he’s not so good at, like laundry.  (Mommy thinks it’s bad that Daddy washes all the laundry  on cold; well, Mr. Trizzle washes everything on warm!  If I had to choose, I go with Daddy.)   But, if there’s one thing Mr. Trizzle is super good at, it’s computers.

He’s totally pimped our house out.  Check this: I can sit in the back room, and with my laptop not plugged into anything (except the wall if I want) I can play music on the stereo in the living room, print on the printer in the living room or access any of the hundreds of GB of files on our home server.  It’s so cool!

Can you do that in your house? Huh, huh?  Didn’t think so.

He set it up during the brief period he had a Mac Book, so he actually used three different operating systems to do it.  Mac OS, Windows and Ubuntu.  He handled all the techie stuff, I was in charge of making it look pretty – but I had plenty of input from him on that.  (Our router looks like a flying spaceship sliding up the wall; it’s neat!  And all the different components, modem, server, print server, external drive, are mixed in with the books so you don’t notice them, except for the blinking lights.)

He did it something like this – I’m not a techie, so this my approximation of what he tried to explain to me – :  There’s a special computer that sits on top of a speaker.  It runs Ubuntu and doesn’t have a “C” key.  Mr. Trizzle put some type of program on the computer that allows you to run the machine virtually. 

Then he put other programs on the other machines that tap into this virtual program through the wireless network and let you move the mouse and type on the Ubuntu machine, no matter where you are.  [The Mac program was called Chicken of the VLC, which I thought was hilarious.  The icon was a chicken in a tuna can.  Mr. Trizzle is not familiar with Chicken of the Sea, so he didn’t get it.]  These virtual thingies open in windows on our laptops, just like any other window, except that window shows the entire Ubuntu desktop.

I think those pieces were the easy part and that the hard part was getting the Ubuntu machine to access the Windows-based home server, but I could be wrong about that.  The Ubuntu machine is hardwired to the stereo, so as long as the stereo is on, and on “Monitor,” the system will play.  We can listen to Pandora on the web, or play music from our music files, or anything else we want.

There’s still some work to do with the server to get it to play nicer with the external hard drive, but the whole system’s still pretty cool.   Thank you, Mr. Trizzle for pimping our apartment.


P.S. In case you’re wondering, there are other things Mr. Trizzle is good at too, like parallel parking and pushing the status quo.

dorian in tie and polo

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

3 Weddings and a Funeral (or My Summer Trips to Wisconsin)

It’s been a very busy summer for me.  I’ve covered enough miles in the air to have flown to Nigeria in back, but I only went to Milwaukee!

I’ve tried 4 different airlines (AirTran’s at the top of my list so far; sorry Midwest, they fly direct), gone through 5 different airports, and spent 4 wonderful Saturdays in the best place on earth.

mommy and daddy kissing from dorian All the trips were good, even the unexpected one for my grandpa’s funeral, but by far my favorite was my parents’ giant vow renewal party.  (Ok, technically, that’s not a ‘wedding’, but it’s close enough.)  Mommy and Daddy had a very full house, even before the party started.  All three of their daughters and all three of their daughters’ special friends.  So much fun!  (Photo © dtrizzle.)

Happy tears (Daddy), good friends (yay for Beaker and the Great Ecclestone sticking around late into the night), fun games (Twister!) and plenty of swimming.  Oh, and can’t forget all the yummy cheese!twister


The real weddings were great fun, too, especially since Mommy was at both of them.  cake timeMost recently, the whole family headed “up north” (actually about an hour west of Milwaukee, but anything that’s not Milwaukee or on the way to Chicago is “up north” to me) for a Schram wedding.  The last in their family, Mikey, was getting married.  The wedding was supposed to be outside.  Of course, that was the one day like all summer it rained.  Oh well, the inside ceremony was still really nice. 

The DJ’s didn’t play any polka, but it wasn’t the bride and groom’s fault.  They requested polka.  Munchkinhead tried too.  Knowing how much Mikey likes Weird Al, she tried requesting a Weird Al polka song – he has plenty.  It took two trips to the DJs.  At the end of a conversation, one of the DJs said, “Ok, whatever you like.”  Munchkinhead thought the DJ was finally going to play the polka she requested.  Well, not quite.  The DJ played the Weird Al version of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like!”

group hug Despite the missing polka and the reception not being in a bowling alley it was still great fun.  The best part was seeing our old friends that we hadn’t seen in awhile (including the groom).  (Daddy Bunny, Gibby and Timmy Bear were happy to see each other, too.)  And of course dancing with Mommy – we found something to polka to – and Munchkinhead.  Munchkinhead and I were minuet-ing to “Turn My Swag On” until the DJs cut the song off in the middle.  I think that may have had something to d with us being the only two people left on the dance floor, and the only reason we were out there is because one of the groom’s great-aunts told Munchkinhead to go dance with me.  (She hates Souljaboytellem.)

Mel and Tim after the ceremonyNow at Mel’s wedding there was polka, and not just the “Beer Barrell Polka” and “the Chicken Dance.”  The best part was the middle of the polkaing, when the DJ yelled out, “alright all you -skis!”  (If you don’t understand that, you’re not Polish enough.  I’m sorry.  Maybe in your next life you’ll have better luck.)  The DJ also played a song with Snoop Dogg in it so Mommy and I could have our traditional dance-to-a-Snoop-Dogg-song dance, even though Mommy hates hip hop.  (You can’t tell in that picture up there, but the bride and groom are both giants!  He’s like 6’7”.)

  Mel’s wedding was a little strange for me because it was a whole bunch of people I hadn’t seen in about 6 years.  I felt like I was way past that point in my life and that it was all so different back then than it is now.  So it took a little while Lupe and Johnto adjust, but not too long.  And you know what, those girls are just as spectacular as they were six years ago.  Maybe even a bit more so – Lupe’s husband just completes her so well that between the two of them I was nearly always in stitches.  It was exciting to finally meet him! 

Other great parts of our old Second Steele crew were there too, Little, Ang and her husband, and a little green army man (on the bride & groom’s present, hee hee.)  Caitlin was there in spirit, especially when the DJ played “California Love;” no one can shake it like Caitlin (Little tried; it didn’t quite work.)

Oh! And one other amazing part of the night, Mel did “the Rooster Song!”  I love the Rooster Song!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Remixing the CC Staff

Yesterday, we gave our End of the Summer presentations at work.  I love playing with Power Point, so I had a lot of fun doing my presentation.  I prepared this picture for one of the slides and loved it so much I just have to share.  It cracks me up so bad that I kept laughing trying to create the presentation at my desk. …and any other time I see it.

See, just a few weeks ago, I started getting involved with one of the groups at work called ccLearn.  They just launched a new website for Open Ed. It’s pretty cool and has some neat resources for teachers, nudge nudge to half my readership ;)  Anyway, so here I am, jumping on the ccLearn bandwagon.image

All the headshots in the wagon are from the Creative Commons About pages on the website.  The whole website is cc-by.  (The two ppl sitting down in front are fellow interns and are on the Intern page, everyone else is staff.)  Me, I come compliments of Munchkinhead's Giant Twin’s Facebook page.  Although, I have no idea who actually took that picture because he’s in it.  Ah, the joys of Paint.

Incidentally, the new Paint on Windows 7 is way different than the Paint from Windows XP, Windows 3.0, Windows whatever back to the beginning of Windows.  Some stuff is neater, some stuff is not.  I’m finding it vampire-a hard to learn.  It actually works like real paint now, blending edges and stuff.  I want a nice clear, straight edged line!  This would be why my flying body above looks outlined in white.  This is not for effect, this is because of how the new Paint works.  Now, the sunshine outline in white, that was intentional; I did that.

Enjoy my bandwagon; I hope you laugh as hard as I do. :D