Tasting Sounds . . . .

Rather like not consuming, but to the contrary I have been consuming life in large quantities this month. Big, thick drafts of sweet life: full of variety and pleasant old friends. For instance, my car got released from the shop two weeks ago. It had been in there for three weeks and I was starting to forget it’s brilliant copper color, but there it was on the driveway when I was driven home for the last time by a Gracious Parent. Gumiho, I named it right there on the spot. I’ve been trying to call it Ali Lee all year, since that’s what her license plate spells out, but for some reason when I saw her there on the driveway I knew her name was Gumiho. A gumiho (literally, nine-tailed fox)  is a mystical beast native to Asian folk lore. Gumiho is the Korean name for it, and yes, the Korean fox is a malevolent, carnivorous beast. The thing that makes it perfect is . . . well, do you remember Pokemon? Yeah, one of my favorite Pokemon was a Vulpix, which evolves, of course, into Ninetails and is, quite coincidentally, a gorgeous fiery red.

Moving on.

Having a car again made the literal tasting portion of this month much easier. It was at just such a tea tasting event last year that I got my foot into the doorway of teas, and I’ve managed to keep it pretty wedged in there over the past year without going in or coming out. I’ve been drinking a lot of tea at work, though, because it fits my need for something melodramatic and mysterious. Despite my burnt mouth (I’m very rarely without one in the winter), the three teas we sampled all had wonderful depth of flavor, being brewed to a perfection that I usually only get to imagine. Let’s see, we had Oolong, Puerh, and a Yellow tea – which I had never even heard of before – and they were all delicious, with varying notes of earth, and spice, and barley, and honey.

On Friday I drank in, not hot beverage, but clear, cool, sound. I went to a performance of the Nordic Voices and loved it. I’m not of a temperament to love listening to classical styles of music all day long, but give me a bit to sit and listen to, eyes closed so the rises and falls of the melody can paint with delicate brush strokes a scene upon my mind, and I’ll be in raptures. It’s not so much because I can fully appreciate it, but because it seems so new and mysterious. It helps that the first half were Latin songs drawn directly from Jeremiah – I’ve been in the Old Testament prophets for what seems like an age now, and their powerful, visual language does beg to be put to verse. But I’ll readily admit my favorites were the happy Nordic songs they sang for the latter half of the evening. The things they did with their mouths were astonishing. The first Norwegian song they preformed, which they said had been written to emulate a sunrise – all misty at the outset and then light and “dancing” at it’s end – opened up with eerie, new aged moans which perfectly mimicked a day cloaked in clouds. There was even the sound of fog horns. And later they did something similar with – not groans, no, but not humming either – some stranger application of voice then, that makes it an instrument of wind and sinew distinct from the ability to vocalize. This they pared, at times, with the most controlled whistle. A whistle so high and sweet, but so full of tones, that you would think a flute had been secreted in their robes.

Not that they were wearing robes.

To top the bliss off, this Monday I got a taste of Shoe-fever:

Aren’t they a dream?  They were practically free. Practically, since I went there only to buy sunglasses and came out with quite a bagful of goodies (including four Olivia Newton-John records. I don’t remember ever listening to her before outside of my one encounter with Grease, but I burned two of them on my computer yesterday and loved them). I’m chocking the expense up to the sunglasses and treating my other purchases as promotional freebies.

My accounting practices might be a little shady.

Anyway, that was February in a bite sized sample. I have some pretty big plans brewing for  March, which hopefully y’all will be a part of. Don’t die of shock if you hear from me before April.

“I put my French heels on and I pretend, pretend, pretend I’m twenty-one!”

A Change of Sole

Looking around at my life, it’s pretty much an established fact that I was and always will be a late bloomer. No where is this more apparent than with shoes.
 Before I hit my teens “put your shoes on” was synonymous with “we’re going shopping,” to the point where we often assumed our shoes were in the car and then had to stay in the parking lot and wait while mom went in for groceries. I hated shoes and I hated socks, and both of them were pretty much tied up with dramatic ideas of oppression in my head. Sneakers were the worst because they not only required one to wear socks, even in summer, but they had to be tied and retied. There was a song we used to listen to about this (adult) guy who could do pretty much everything but tie his own shoelaces. 
                              That was me until I turned eight. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t read about feet binding when I was a kid. 
Eventually  I started having to be out, in public, for longer periods of time. Community College required me to be in shoes for hours on end and, grudgingly, I adapted. Somewhere around my fourteenth year I acquired my first pair of merrells. Those became my fall shoes, and I wore that first pair until they fell apart on me at college. Then I went and replaced them with the exact. Same. Shoe. Only the shade of brown was different, and that was a change they made at the factory. 
My summer shoes were equally imaginative. My mom bought my sister and I matching navy sandals once and I wore holes into mine and then stole my sisters (a completely fair thing to do. I can still remember the gorgeous slip-ons with the star embroidery that I never got to grow into). Since then I’ve made it my go-to sandal style, closed toe with wide straps, though I’m pretty sure I’m getting them from a different company each time. These shoes aren’t anywhere near as durable as my merrells and, after a few months of constant use, they look just awful. My current pair was originally a creamy tan. Now it’s just . . . gray.  
Somewhere in there I lost the feeling that wearing shoes was a sign of weakness and submission ( . . . . to the kind people who tear down metal jungle gyms. Remember, we’re talking tennis shoes here, not heels). I even like wearing socks now, although short socks still puzzle me unless they’re being worn with a poodle skirt. This acceptance has been creeping up on me for a while, as slowly as the callouses on my feet have softened. Okay, not that slow. But now that I’m starting to attempt to dress like a well-bred, if somewhat absentminded, lady, it’s really no surprise that I’m starting to think about shoes. Luckily I do actually have more than two pairs of shoes. My blue clogs, for instance, which I bought on a whim during one of the few sister-shoppings sprees I’ve ever partaken in. I only wore them once the first two years I owned them, but they’ve been a real life saver this summer, and I would love more of a similar shoe (perhaps in brown or burgundy) because they’re so . . . amphibious, transitioning well between barefooted summer and stocking-clad winter.  
 I also have my black and white flats, which have to be at least four years old. These come in handy a lot, and as soon as I hem my flowy black skirt I’ll wear them all the time and pretend I’m a ballerina.
Then there are my cool shoes. These are the ones I only wear when I’m really bored, because my wardrobe, indeed, my whole carefully constructed image of self, can hardly support them. They’ve too much style. I’m always worried I’m going to ruin the sneakers, and the boots are . . . problematic to walk in. Which doesn’t stop me from enjoying wearing them, I just walk funny to compensate. 
I was thinking about my shoe ‘drobe and wondering how to get the most out of it. What kinds of shoes I needed so that I could have smallest number of pairs and the highest number of options. And then I started thinking about stockings, because while I’ve only recently liked wearing socks, I’ve always loved the idea of knee highs. 
                         Of course, if you get a girl shopping for socks, she’s going to want to buy some clothes to go with them. And there’s where I falter. It’s kind of scary to think like this, because of how fun it is, and how different. I’ve always been materialistic, but since that’s only resulted in some very well stocked bookshelves I’ve never felt guilty about it before. Now I feel like I might easily become either vain or a hedonist. I realize that I don’t think of clothes as important – though I felt no qualms in purchasing Inkheart, or a volume of H.F. Wells novels – and that, though I think dressing smartly is as valuable an art to nurture as the ability to make said clothes, I would rather buy eight yards of a really impossible coral-orange than admit to wanting to go shopping. With all that said, it’s going to be interesting seeing where my wardrobe is going and how it’s going to get there: I’m betting is goes by foot.