Who knew that owning a pair of red shoes could create such magic – inspiring happiness, a feeling of gay abandon and a total fashion reawakening.
But that’s just what they did!
My quickly approaching sixty-fifth birthday motivated me to take on several life changing challenges. Challenges designed to force me to try something new, tackle a problem or simply focus more energy on self-improvement. And silly me, in order to keep myself honest, I chose to share my journey with all of you in my blog, Please Don’t Make Me Have To Learn How To Ride A Camel.
I set several personal goals to meet before lighting up my sixty-five B-Day candles and the clock has continued to click. My face gets red and my heart quickens with anxiety every time I think how soon April will be upon us. I’ve partially met some challenges, made progress on others, and with the purchase of my red shoes, I’ve completed two of the challenge, which included:
And what a thrill, this proved to be. As much as I longed to slip my feet into a pair of flashy Jimmy Choo’s, I just couldn’t muster the courage to spend $2,695.00 on a pair of red beaded stilettos. To be completely truthful, I’m not sure if I was more afraid of the price of the shoes or of tumbling off the glittering stilettos. Either way, I had to pass them by.
However, having taken on this challenge, I refused to back down. I didn’t give in and buy any old run-of-the-mill red pumps, nor did I give up and buy a pair of red Converse tennis shoes either. No way! I bought myself a pair of bright red boots. And to seal the deal, I wore them out to a formal Christmas dinner party and felt wonderful. Perhaps a bit over the top, but none the less eye catching, I danced around the room, kicking up my heels with my glass of Pinot Grigio in hand. Of course their bright color stood out against my black slacks and black velvet top, but what the heck – I took a chance and felt all the better for it.
And here’s the funny part, as I looked around the room, I recognized that I had become a member of the over sixty sisterhood of red shoes. I counted at least ten other women my age proudly sporting red footwear. High heels, low heels, sandals, tennis shoes and even a pair of red clogs all joined in celebrating the night with me and my boots.
Now the writer in me wanted to go around the room and ask why these women had chosen to wear red footwear, but the realist recognized it for what it was. We were all searching for a fun way to celebrate life… and that’s just what we did in our playful red footwear. I’m sure that there was more than one envious woman who left the party anxious to hurry out to buy their own red boots. How could they resist?
I’ve still got sixteen pounds to go, more time walking required and a book to finish editing before April comes. Fingers crossed, I’ll make it! In the mean time, I’m partying away in my red boots. You should try it too!
Happy Holidays to you all!
It was Sunday night before I knew it and I still hadn’t finished rewriting the next chapter of my book, nor my blog for a Slice of Orange. I was stuck, the clock was ticking and I had no one to blame but myself. I’d made too many alternate life choices this month when I should have been writing!
You might have seen my blog last month (Please Don’t Make Me Have To Learn How To Ride A Camel) where I shared with you that I’m turning sixty-five in a few months and I’ve set all these goals for myself. My conscience is killing me as I check back in with you.
Over the past month, not only have I not spent enough time writing, I’ve sadly made no noticeable downward movement on the bathroom scale. I have been walking as you can see from the attached picture. And walking on the beach requires a lot more hard work, although my FitBit refuses to take that into consideration. Traitor!
Tonight I discovered that one of the goals I’d made turned out to be a bit wonky. And although I could use it as a time consuming excuse for not writing… I won’t. I have to admit that I got swept up by the title of a book and made a big assumption. I thought that it sounded like a motivational piece that might help me to focus on personal self-improvement strategies. I said I was going to read Paul Arden’s best seller – It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. And I did and I liked it. Only it wasn’t what I thought it would be. It was designed for readers who want to improve their status in the workplace. I’m retired.
But wait, having read it once – it’s short – I returned and read it a second time searching for nuggets of guidance that might prove helpful… and I found some.
Keying on Arden’s last truth – “Ambition trumps talent”, I humbly got back to work, ambitiously typing away on the keyboard to write this blog. I even finished editing the next chapter of my book tonight, pleased that I’d re-found a bit of my writing JuJu in a most unexpected place.
I had a startling epiphany today. I realized that it’s six months and counting until the day I turn sixty-five years old. OMG, I cannot even relate to that number. I still see myself as that college girl who wore peasant blouses and sandals. My husband often says that I looked like a hippie the first time he saw me, but that is so not true.
Okay, I’m not foolish enough to miss the wrinkles that crinkle around my eyes when I smile or the blonde hair that has grown more gray than blonde with each passing year. But come on, in my heart of hearts, I’m still somewhere around twenty-five years old.
After accepting that I’m not as young as I used to be, I got a little melancholy today and resurrected an old journal I kept after graduating college. I couldn’t help but laugh revisiting some of the issues I wrote about with such heart stirring emotion. Okay, I admit it. I was a bit of a drama queen back then.
On the last few pages of my journal, I was surprised to find six goals that I pledged to accomplish before I turned thirty…I guess that thirty must have sounded old back then. As if!
These were my goals:
1)Get my Masters Degree – check.
2)Become the greatest high school teacher or counselor – check and check. That is, I became both a teacher and high school counselor. I know for a fact that I wasn’t the greatest by far, but I had a great time trying.
3)Get married – checkety, check, check – still going strong after thirty eight years!
4)Have kids – check times three. I squeaked by with this one, having my first child at thirty.
5)Write a book – I did not even remember writing down that goal, but check.
How I raced so swiftly through the past wonderful, challenging, joyful, trying, amazing years is a mystery to me. But with the understanding that the clock is still ticking and not wanting to waste even a minute, I thought I better get cracking and come up with a few new short term goals that I might actually accomplish by the time I turn sixty-five.
Goals To Be Accomplished Over The Next Six Months & Before I Turn Sixty-Five.
1)Walk thirty minutes a day at least five days a week. Since I spend so much time sitting, either writing or sewing this will be one big chunk of a goal for me to reach.
2)Finish writing my book, The Witch of Bergen. This is also a tough one as I have been working on rewrites for what seems like forever! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some kind of magic kicks in soon.
3)Read Paul Arden’s best seller – It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. I understand that it’s an engaging book with tons of clues for positive self- improvement and I’m always looking for ways to improve myself.
4)Lose twenty pounds. Or at least make attempts to lose twenty pounds – after all, I am a realist.
5)Buy a pair of flashy red shoes. Why? Just because I’d really like a pair of red shoes and I’m getting older and better do this before I’m too ancient to actually look good in wild and crazy red shoes! Perhaps I better just look for some red tennis shoes.
You may have noticed that I only have five goals. I have yet to finalize the sixth one. Learn how to bake, fly a plane, ride a camel? Perhaps you have an idea or two that you’d like to share, especially since I really don’t want to have to learn how to ride a camel.
I just returned from a long, wonderfully exhausting trip to Europe with my husband. All along the way I faithfully jotted down interesting locations, names and legends in my Book O’ Names – hoping to include a few in one of my future books. I fell in love with shop names like, Thistle Do Nicely and A Spinkle of Kiltness and enjoyed meeting interesting people like Killian the kilt maker and Hamish the sweater weaver.
Throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Norway we met charming, welcoming people all happy to share their stories. Beautiful old ghost filled castles and open green fields filled with cattle, sheep and Shetland ponies made the trip even better. And, of course, a trip down Strawberry Lane was just too cool to pass up.
Near the end of our travels we came upon the quaint village of Hoswick, Scotland. Venturing down the exceptionally narrow main street, we parked in the one spot big enough to house our massive tour bus; a bus that was half the length of the main street.
The town of Hoswick was tiny but beautiful, situated near a body of clear blue water with rock filled shorelines and lush hills of green. Although I hadn’t noticed it when we drove in, I soon discovered that the village consisted of only two shops and a neighborhood Welcome Center. A dozen or so houses were clustered nearby. Clothes freely flapped on yard clotheslines and the town taxi cab driver chatted up visitors as she waited for her next fare.
We visited the two shops that sold beautiful hand knit sweaters. Although the sweaters were quite lovely, they were made for cold Scottish winters and were far too heavy for either of us to wear on the beaches of California, so we decided to take a walk.
It was in this small Scottish village that I came upon an unexpected tiny treasure; a shop the likes of which I had never experienced before.
Adjacent to the Welcome Center a petite hand painted sign directed us towards Emma’s Cake Corner. As both my husband and I love cake, we couldn’t pass up the possibility of enjoying a late afternoon sweet treat before returning to our ship. Following the sign, we walked up a stone pathway, that ended unexpectedly at a private driveway. I was certain that we had missed the cake shop, although I wasn’t sure how.
Disappointed, we turned around to retrace our steps and stumbled upon a turquoise and yellow painted shed with a sign Emma’s Cake Corner tacked to the front of it. We had not discovered a traditional bakery at all, but rather something quite different. As I tentatively reached to open the shed door, I heard a child’s voice yell, “Mum, there’s someone in the Honesty Box!”
Not discouraged by the warning, my husband opened the turquoise doors and was surprised to find a plethora of treats. Cupcakes, brownies, cookies and more were all individually wrapped just waiting to be discovered. And on the bottom shelf were all sorts of tantalizing local candies. A simple hand scripted sign thanked visitors for coming to Emma’s, encouraged them to help themselves and asked shoppers to please write down what they took and the cost. There was a metal box to place coins in and a plastic container that held any change that might be needed. The Honesty Box held the most incredible looking treats ever and all that was asked in return was for us to be honest and pay the required coins.
We were the first to discover Emma’s but certainly not the last. Before long, it looked like our entire tour bus was loading up on the sweets, happy to pay the very reasonable fare. My husband and I had started a trend and one that seemed to make at least one very small child happy. We could still hear her giggling as we headed back towards the bus.
Since coming home, I have shared our discovery with my friends only to learn that Honesty Boxes are nothing new. They can be found just about everywhere. While baked delights might not be as common, eggs, fruit and vegetables are apparently available in countryside Honesty Boxes throughout the U.S.
I share my story with you because Honesty Boxes were new to me and just might be new to you too. I thought you might like to create your own Honesty Box or maybe even include one in one of your own upcoming stories – that’s what I plan to do!
My sister-in-law and I recently took a trip down to La Brea and First Street in Los Angeles, California. Saddened by the news that our favorite fabric store, The Fabric Store, was going out of business, we hoped to grab a final few moments playing with colors, textiles and patterns, and of course snag a few bargains!
Unfortunately, increased rental costs have hastened the closure of this fabulous store. A fact that seems to be plaguing others in this neighborhood of upcoming fashion boutiques, upscale condos and vogue restaurants.
Arriving before the store opened, we decided to venture down the block to Nick Metropolis’ Collectibles; one of the most interesting and unique playgrounds for the mind in town. A place sure way to spark any writer’s imagination.
Not your traditional shopping experience by any means, this open air shop is filled with movie memorabilia, quirky collectibles, odd pieces of artistic expression and a million other items you might never have seen before. Sprinkled throughout the site you’ll also find some beautiful paintings, trendy pop culture artwork, lamps, dishes, unusual furniture, mannequins, sculpture and a whole lot more.
As a writer who loves to dabble in the world of paranormal phenomena and magic, I felt like I’d stumbled upon an inspirational treasure trove. My imagination kicked into overdrive as I wandered through the tight, not so easily maneuverable pathways. What stories could I ring from the many items I’d discovered? Were there confused spirits trapped within this realm, afraid to release items they’d once cherished? Who had previously owned the beautifully sculpted marble angels and where had one rather spooky picture of two washed-out toddlers previously hung? What child had played with the now tattered bride doll or raced through their back yard on the now ancient lady bug cart? I was stunned to learn that one of the sculptures was actually an artist’s rendering of the children of a very popular actor. How had it ended up there? Hmmm, possibly one of these would serve as interesting fodder for a paranormal tale or two.
For over twenty-six years Nick Metropolis has bought, sold, rented and collected pieces from studios, actors, private collectors and everyday folks hoping to make a buck. Studio reps regularly stop by to rent out mid-century couches, an avant-garde painting or to grab items like an old telephone from the 1950’s – perfect for a scene in an upcoming TV show or movie. And numerous stars have popped in to see Nick in the hopes of finding that perfect retro piece or quirky artwork just right for their Southern California home. Nick seems to know them all and he is more than ready to help any customer find just what they are searching for be they a star, a studio rep or just someone hunting for their own inspiration.
Right behind Nick’s shop, homeless Vietnam War Veterans wander the alleyways; he greets them all with kindness and respect, happy to hear their stories. Known for his generosity, the Vets in turn watch out for their friend on this active corner. Unfortunately for the Vets – and those of us who love Nick’s place – the ever increasing rental costs are threatening the future of the site.
The King of Collectibles, as he calls himself, Nick has recently captured the attention of a local production company who is considering creating a reality show based on the happenings of this eclectic, happening place. Ever the entrepreneur, Nick is hopeful that the show will generate funds needed to keep this imaginative playground alive.
If you ever get down to 100 South La Brea, I encourage you to stop by. Don’t be put off by the apparent chaos of the place. Walk in, meet Nick and his wife. You’ll quickly have a couple of new friends. And if you take the time to really look about, you’re sure to find that candy for the imagination abounds at every turn in this ever changing, enchanting spot on La Brea Avenue.
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