Sunday, July 31, 2011

Homecoming Wingtips

A new series.  It will bore some – *yawn* shoes, and they aren’t even sneakers *double yawn*.  But, there’s at least two people who will enjoy; thank you Pretty Little Munchkinhead and Renzephyr.  And I feel like writing about shoes.  This first post is also a bit of an obituary.

Growing up, Mommy did a very good job of keeping us practical, sensible, frugal.  (Little did I know she was even repressing her own desire for cute, fun shoes.  The things you learn when you grow up…)  We generally had about 4 pairs of shoes, give or take.  A pair of white dress shoes for summer, a pair of black dress shoes for winter, maybe a pair of brown dress shoes, too, and a pair of white canvas shoes for everyday wear.  Sometimes we had other types of tennis shoes; sometimes we had some dress sandals or some jelly shoes.  But, those were the basics.*

Then came high school, and everything changed.  Sophomore year homecoming, my first big dance.  I didn’t go freshman year.  A boy I didn’t like asked me to go with him.  Not wanting to go with him, but not wanting to hurt his feelings, I told him I wasn’t going.  A group of friends asked me to go with them, I told them I wasn’t going, too.  I wanted to go with them, but I had to stick to my story.  Mommy tried to convince me otherwise, but I was stubborn in Aurelia homecoming 1996my refusal to everyone.  Sophomore year, I just had to go.

My dress a beautiful silver, shiny here, dull there, an ever-changing pattern of texture as I moved.  Of course Mommy made my dress.  A pattern of hers from the 70s.  I should have listened to her when she said to just cut off the extra length and make a smaller hem.  Now, when I see the dress, the large hem looks like an odd seam on the thin fabric.  At the time, it didn’t bother me at all.   I loved my dress.

I had a beautiful dress; I just needed beautiful shoes to go with it.  Off Mommy and I headed to the mall, and there, at a store called Bakers, we found those beautiful shoes.  So, so many beautiful shoes at Bakers.  It would soon become a favorite store of mine.

The shoes we picked out were black wingtips, a retro style on a 3” stacked heel.  Big and clunky, but big and clunky was the thing.  (Thank you, Spice Girls.)  We pulled out the thick black laces and replaced them with silver laces made from dress scraps.  Platforms for a 1970s pattern; that worked pretty well.

Those shoes then became my everyday school shoes for the rest of the year.  We put the black laces back in.  I remember sitting in Kuj’s trig class coloring in the dots on the wingtip detail with my silver gel pen.  And after that wore off, with my copper gel pen. Both colors looked good on the black shoes in ¦¦¦¦¦¦¦¦

The shoes, in better days.

By the end of high school, the heels were so worn down that there was a 1.5” difference between the inside and outside of the heel on the back.  in college, I found a good cobbler who was able to completely rebuild the heels and I got several more years out of those shoes.  Many years in fact.  It wasn’t until just a few months ago, 15 years after Mommy bought them, that they finally left my closet.

The heels were starting to feel wobbly; the stitching was coming out the sides.  I had other black shoes with stacked 3” heels that served the same outfits and were in better shape.  They weren’t completely done, but they had gotten to dress-up-box-only state.  So off they went to Goodwill.

black wingtips (2)

I got a lot of good use out those shoes. :)


*Of course, this isn’t counting the heaps of twirling, parade, ballet and gymnastics shoes that could be found in strewn around the house in random places.  But those don’t count.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Adventures from Home: Daddy’s Day

“Trains, planes and automobiles,” we would always say, laughing. Describing how all three of us had come home for whatever adventure or holiday.  Alfred would drive, Munchkinhead would fly, and I’d come choo-chooing in.  But not this time.  This time it was only planes and automobiles.  I suppose you could add feet if you count Katrina’s walking out of her bedroom.  But no matter how we all got there, the important part was that we were all home.  Home and going to church together.

You see, it was Father’s Day – which is a special enough reason – but, this was an even more special day.  Daddy was worship leader. 

Mommy, Alfred, Munchkinhead and I shuffled into a pew behind some familiar heads and beamed proudly at the back of Daddy’s head in the front pew across the aisle.  “That’s our daddy"!”  we thought. Well, not Mommy; but you get the idea.

Suit and tie, microphone in hand, Daddy stood up front welcoming everyone.  He always looks so spiffy when he wears his suits. I think I especially like it because seeing him in a suit reminds me of when I was little and he’d come into day care to pick us up. From across the room we’d spot him coming in the door, the tall guy nicely dressed in a suit.  And here he was again, easily spotted from across the room; the tall guy nicely dressed in a suit.

There was a guest preacher that day, from a different denomination.  She seemed pretty nice.  Reminded me a lot of a kindergarten teacher. Although, for some reason, most female pastors remind me of kindergarten teachers.  my current pastor in Cali may be an exception.  I was super excited to hear Daddy’s children message, but the guest pastor got to do it instead.  Oh well, Daddy still did a great job and it was wonderful to be back in church with my whole family.


Family at church

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Mommy

They say it’s your birthday.  (*air jamming*)  Well happy birthday to ya. (more *air jamming*).

That’s right folks, celebrating another 32nd birthday, please welcome to the stage, Mommy!


animals mommy as bush baby

She’s a little startled to be welcomed back since she hasn’t had a birthday wish on here since her 50th birthday.

I’m sure all my readers have pretty nice mommies.  Some may even have great mommies.  But nobody’s, nobody’s mommy’s as awesome as mine.  (Well, except Alfred’s and Munchkinhead’s.)

She’s kinda like that combination hookah-and coffee pot from the beginning of Aladdin; also makes julienned fries, will not break, will not… She sews, she floats, plays Wii guitar and Farmville.  Will not yell, will not…

mommy and katrina on couchYou know, she has something else in common with Aladdin, too.  They both have a monkey.

But seriously folks, Mom_me is fabulous.  She taught me how to sew and how to be nice and how to vacuum and how to make red velvet cake.  She gave me her good-taste-in-shoes gene, maybe to make up for also giving me her ugly-toe gene.  And she taught me how to be there for those around me, for my friends and my family, even from far, far away. 

She answers the phone in the middle of the day when I call just to mommy as computer piratesay “hi, I’m walking.”  Schultz-Beins-278She plays silly games with my sisters and me, going through long lists of people who weren’t in Wham! or donning bejeweled eye patches.  She sings along with us, whether it’s squealing the last “feed your hea-ead” of the family theme song or putting a hat on your head and spinning it around, that’s what I said.  And she takes good care of her grandchildren.  (Photo of Mommy holding her grandchildren used with permission courtesy of Jill Brown Photography:

Aurelia and Mommy at Mel's wedding 2009She takes me all sorts of great places, like church and Jo-Ann Fabrics, and shoe shopping.  Plus, Mommy’s my standard date for all my friends’ weddings.  This works out perfectly since they all adore her, too.  The photographers usually ask if we’re sisters.  Since we’re now perpetually 4 years apart in age, I guess that’s acceptable.

And like a good mommy, she’s always there.


WisconsinAurelia and mommy killing cats Thanksgiving 2010


Tennesseeme and mommy


Californialots o blue Thanksgiving 2009


even Africa

3 generations on safari


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Say Cheese!

East Oakland, it’s got a bit of a reputation, and a well deserved one at that.  imageA few months ago, kids and their families staged a rally against prostitution, an attempt to battle the pimps who frequently solicit neighborhood middle school girls to join their business ventures.  The main drag was once called East 14th.  Until the Oakland City Council renamed it International Blvd in an attempt to hide its sordid past.

But hidden in this notorious series of neighborhoods is a special gem.  Right on International Blvd itself, there’s a little piece of Midwestern perfection.  A single item on the menu at a drive-thru.  Fried cheese curds!

It’s a combined KFC/A&W and it has cheese curds, made with Real Wisconsin Cheese.  You can not begin to imagine how excited I was when Mr. Trizzle and I discovered the A&W.  Just seeing the orange and brown sign gave me hope, hope for cheese.  And then, when we pulled into the drive through and there it was, pictured right on the menu under “Sides,”  a cute little box brimming over with golden cheese curds.  Mmmmmmmm.  A little taste of home, right here in the Yay.

showing off the A and W bag croppedenjoying my cheese curds cropped

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Real Summer Day

The day after visiting Muir Woods, I was once again barreling up Hwy 1.  This is not a usual area for me to come to, so I was quite amused by my being there two days in a row.  I was also a bit concerned.  If you remember, it had been quite cold in Muir Woods the day before and this time I was headed along the same road but to the beach, Stinson Beach.

me at the beachOne of Mr. Trizzle’s friends had arranged the outing.  A nice group of people spending the day on the warm sand.  A cooler full of beer, snacks and a frisbee.  What more could you need?  Ok, we appreciated the beach towels, citenge cloth and suntan lotion, too.

It was a little cold when we first arrived, but the beach was still crawling with people.  The biggest attraction was the bubble man.  Dipping a long string tied to wire poles into some soap, the bubble man raised his arms to the sky inviting the wind.  Beautiful large bubbles floated through the sky, elongated rainbows that shifted shape as they glided overhead.  Children scrambled and ran after the small bubbles that trailed behind.

The sun warmed the sand and the crowd on the beach increased.  It didn’t take more than a few games of Frisbee to find my layers unnecessary, and soon I was laying out in my bathing suit.

It was interesting, the group, how different our concepts of hot and cold were.  While I was fabulously comfortable frolicking in my bathing suit, Mr. Trizzle lay on a chair, sleeping under a citenge cloth in jeans, a t, a long-sleeved t, and a sweatshirt.  One of his friends lay next to him on the sand, similarly clad.  Meanwhile, the friend who had arranged everything was far out into the Pacific Ocean, diving into waves in his swim trunks.  (I had gotten as far as standing on the sand where the waves had splashed up.  The sand alone was so frigid, I’d gone scampering back up the beach to our base.)

Whether sleeping, swimming or sunbathing, we all had a fabulous time.



Well,  I did have a fabulous time at the beach, but when I got home and saw where I’d missed with the suntan lotion, it was less fabulous.  The tops of my legs were tomato red.  Luckily, I’d had Mr. Trizzle help me with my back, so I only had one missed patch.  Interesting shape though; reminds me of a continent I once lived on…

african spot

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Muir Woods

Overheated Doublemint, the smell radiating from the glove compartment, permeating every inch of the car’s sun-boiled  interior.  That’s what I remember most from my last trip to Muir Woods.   Well, there’s also some vague visions of giant trees floating somewhere in the file cabinet of past experiences that is my head. 

There was no gum in the glove compartment this trip. There’s hardly room for any in there with all the maps I need to get around the Bay Area.  I guess that left more room in my memory for trees this time around.

Matt's mom inside a redwoodThe Great Ecclestone’s parental units were in town for vacation and I was greatly delighted to see them, despite the lack of a performance by The Great Ecclestone. [Here’s a picture of me and the Great Ecclestone when we all went to some of his shows in Texas.]  They wanted to see the woods, which are a bit difficult to reach from SF if you don’t have a car, and Betty and I were free.  Perfect!

We drove over the Golden Gate bridge and took the park’s shuttle from Sausalito.  The way up was delightful and the view resembled that of my Uncle’s porch, the inside of a milk bottle.  Thanks Karl.

Already dressed in San Francisco-appropriate layers, we wandered through the woods admiring the towering trees and chuckling at the tourists in shorts and freshly purchased Muir Woods sweatshirts.  The Weather Channel website predicted high 60s by early afternoon, but with the cold wind from the sea and the sun blocked by a canopy of branches, it hardly felt more than 50.

Taking our fill of the paved paths and plenty of pictures, we wandered through the gift shop and back to the shuttle.  I was thinking it would be fabulous to do lunch at my favorite restaurant, Avatar’s, since it’s right in Sausalito.  But, then came the bus ride.

Karl had moved on and with this vision impairment removed, the bus driver delighted in cajoling down the winding hills, catapulting the bus up steep inclines and whipping around tight curves.  We reached Sausalito safely, but my stomach was still trying to catch up from the 101-1 split.  There was no way I was eating anything.

So we headed back to the City, to the bustling sidewalks of Fisherman’s Wharf.  With stomachs built of stronger constitutions, my friends went off to lunch and I went home to nap.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Forget San Francisco, I Left My Heart on the Bay Bridge

bay bridge in the fogI know it’s not really him.  The same way Munchkinhead knows its not really Daddy Bunny that Gibby’s talking to.  He is, after all, 160,000+ tons of concrete and steal.  Hardly your normal source of excellent conversation.  But when the Bay Bridge tweets, he’s so much more than rock and metal.  He’s a conversationalist, a humorist, a warning system for bad traffic or weather, a friend.

There are tons of non-human entities on twitter.  Companies, buildings, weather elements.  There’s a whole bunch of accounts simply for getting around the Bay Area: @kcbstraffic, @SFBART, @CalTrain, @RideACT, @SF_CableCar, etc.  But by far ,the best is @SFBayBridge.

He’s up on current events, “I wonder how many times the length of my span the combined Harry Potter lines in San Francisco and Oakland are.”   
Talks to other structures, “@searstower Oh no, lightning's never a good way to wake up! Though I can't even rest through it, with so many towers it could choose to hit.” 
And, when something goes wrong on the bridge, it upsets him.  He doesn’t want anyone hurt or disgruntled because of delays.  “But as much as 405 is a jerk, I'm happy for him that his lanes reopened early. Being closed when you know people need you is a bad feeling.”

I’ve always liked the Bay Bridge more than his little sister the Golden Gate. Perhaps it’s because I’m not much of fan for the glamorous. Or maybe I just have a special affinity for the oldest child.   Yet, I still approached the Bay Bridge with fear and trepidation. Whether driving myself or as a passenger in a car or bus, I would get nervous. Pictures from 1989 would flash through my head. Memories of last year’s S-curve incident in which a truck plunged off the bridge into the icy bay would create quivers in my tummy. All I wanted was to get over that bridge and back onto solid ground as fast as I could. But things are different now.

Now, when the toll booth beeps and grants me permission to proceed onto the bridge, I am all smiles.  I’m content with whatever lane I’m in, happy to be on the bridge, enjoying the view and the fresh air high in the sky.  As I proceed up the incline, my tires rolling over the smooth pavement, I do not think about trying to get around the car in front of me, or how far down the water is.  I think, “hello bridge, how are you today?  It’s nice to come visit you again.”  Sometimes, I even let him know I’m coming to visit; he always says “hi” back.  

Yes, talking with the Bay Bridge on Twitter has directly affected my actions. I drive more carefully now, not wanting to cause any harm or create concerns for him, this bridge, my friend.