Archive for April, 2015

Live Music as a Mental Pain Reliever

April 20, 2015

           My sister and her boyfriend Bob came up from their vacation in Tucson to spend some time with me. They arrived midafternoon and we drank diet soda on my front porch, among the geraniums, pathos and dahlia plants with the fountain babbling in the background.

Joan, my neighbor, came over at dinner time and we all ate in the bar of Uncle Sal’s, a restaurant on Osborn and Hayden Roads in Scottsdale. It was formerly owned by Sammy “the bull” Gravano. The succulent scallops are a bargain at thirteen dollars. The crispy toasted bread emitted that sweet garlic scent and it was just right to sop up the sauce. I dropped Joan back at her place, and my sister and Bob at their get ready for the evening.

My sister and Bob are open for fun, which is why I like to spend time with them. We headed out for The Rhythm Room. The Bad News Blues Band was playing. I’d seen them several play several years ago and liked their style.

We got there early to get a table .The last time I’d been to the Rhythm Room, about a month ago to see the Sugar Thieves, the place was jammed to over capacity. We had about an hour until the show started, and we spent the time in pleasant conversation. The crowd was eclectic, as usual, senior citizens who looked like they just came off the golf course, young people decked out in their dance and club outfits and middle agers in their party clothes. As soon as the live music started, some couples got up to dance. One couple had the moves picked up in dance classes.

The sounds of the instruments and the melodies transported to another galaxy; one without cares, worries, or the past, There was only music. I was released from mental anguish I’d stored up for a month. Tee unending news cycle of plane crashes and filial assurances of sobriety

The saxophone reverberated in my gut. The jamming of the guitars rang in my head, clearing everything else out, at least for the time I was there. The blues songs, the swing songs, the uncategorizable songs charmed me out of my life and into their words, gruffness and notes.

The three of us got up and danced. I moved with the music, not caring whether I looked cool.

We stayed for one set. My sister yawned and it was enough for me. We went for dessert at the Sugar Bowl Restaurant in downtown Scottsdale. In streamed high school couples coming from their proms, dressed to the hilt. They were so cute. Not one girl had on a dress that was too revealing.  I guess the kids who come to The Sugar Bowl after the prom aren’t in the edgy crowd. My sister commented on how great it was that a date was no longer a requirement to go to the prom.

My taste buds luxuriated in a hot fudge sundae with chocolate chip ice cream. I went home a happy woman.

Shoes as a Metaphor for Life

April 6, 2015

The stereotype is that women love shoes and shopping for them. It is true for some of my friends. Recently a friend visited from another state. The shopping is quite restricted in her area. I live near Scottsdale Fashion Square, a shopping mecca, especially for shoes. The department stores (Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Dillard’s) have shoe departments larger than the Grand Canyon, or so it seemed to me as I perused them with my friend. I never go to these places so I was amazed at the variety of prices, from forty to eight hundred for a pair of shoes. The styles went from fantastical to old lady. The shoes shimmered and were decorated with patterns and baubles. The heels from rose from flats to five inches high.

My friend wears a size six or seven and many of the shoes on display fit her foot. When we sat down so she could try some pairs on, they had everything she wanted in stock. The salespeople brought out other shoes they thought she might like. My friend is artistic and fully aware of what looks good. She was looking for a perfect look that was also comfortable.

We scrutinized the offerings in the department stores the individual shoe stores in the mall. I wasn’t bored because I was fascinated by the variety. My friend bought two pairs of shoes in one store. One pair was dressy and fashionable but not completely comfortable. The other pair was extremely comfortable but nothing special. She found another pair liked in another store. None of the shoes were the sandals for which she was searching. She wore the shoes in her hotel room that night and decided to return one pair that was beautiful but increasingly uncomfortable and exchange another pair for a different size. Of course they had the size she wanted in stock.

I only go shoe shopping when I need something specific, like new black sneakers because the old ones have broken down. Why? I wear a size eleven, sometimes twelve. When I was shopping with my friend, I did see a shoe I liked.  I asked the salesperson if it came in my size, eleven. He rolled his eyes at me. That’s when I remembered why I hate shoe shopping. It’s as if I offended the salesperson with the mention of my shoe size. Of course he came back saying no and didn’t bring any other shoes for me to try on. That’s why I prefer to go into a self-service shoe store, like Famous Footwear or Last Chance and look on the racks for myself to see what’s available in my size. I don’t have to subject myself to salespeople offended by my out-of-the normal-range shoe size. Famous Footwear salespeople will also look on line and see if a pair of shoes I want comes in my size. I have never gotten eye rolls from them. When I went to Famous Footwear last week I had to get a pair of men’s sneakers to get a good fit.

New black sneakers

New black sneakers

I did it myself without involving a salesperson.

As a bonus I found a new pair of Crocs sandals.

Crocs black sandals

Crocs black sandals

These shoes are in no way fashionable like the ones my friend tried on, but they’ll do.

The salespeople in specialty stores like The Walking Company are more apt to be tolerant of my large foot, but I’m so used to picking my own off the rack and  am loathe to approach someone to look “in the back” for my size.

So people who fit into the norm have the full gamut to choose from. In partners as well as shoes. Tall women get many fewer hits on dating sites than short women because the norm is that men are supposed to be taller than their dates. Thin women get more hits than heavy women because the society has deemed what is “ideal.”

I’ve always been outside the norm even when my body was thin. I was tall until I lost three inches to disk compression. I’m smart, intellectual and outspoken. I don’t want to go on one more date and see the disappointment in the man’s eyes because I’m not in the normal range.