ShoesDay: Patricia Slides

Happy Tuesday, ShoesDay! We are having fun this summer reminiscing about our favorite pairs of shoes. It’s fun to remember the details, and the stories that go with them. Last week, guest writer Dani Lorta shared about her fave platform espadrilles here. Read about my pink Mary Janes here and my athletic Mary Janes here. And here is the sweet book that inspired this nostalgic journey: Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman (published posthumously).

I was on a family vacation in Hawaii when my baby girl was juust under two year old. She was free to fly as a lap child. Cute as a button. But she had developed an ear infection and lacked the language skills to tell me. So she remained awake all night and I made the executive decision to cancel our island-hopping excursion for the next day. My immediate family remained on-island, where dear son rode along with dear husband on the golf cart. Baby girl and I schlepped from medical facility to hotel business center to pharmacy while the extended family flew to Oahu to enjoy the Polynesian Cultural Center and Pearl Harbor. I’d had to cancel not only our inter-island flights, but also our Sea Life Park tickets and dolphin encounter. Low point. Toting around a sick and sleep-deprived toddler in a rental car and stroller is not how one envisions one’s Hawaiian vacation. I obtained doctor’s notes and faxed them to the airline and dolphin visit- getting my money back, at least. Yay. The family returned to me and said for dinner we could do anything I liked. I desperately chose pizza at the shopping center next door to the hotel.

I tell you all this because sometimes, beautiful colorful flowers grow through thick soil.

Walking around after dinner, I happened upon a Crocs store. This was the first tine I had seen an entire store fully dedicated to Crocs. And I am not really a shoe aficionado (though I play one on my blog) but I wasn’t a Birkenstock or crocs wearer either. Crocs were purchased for my kids! I did note that Hawaii sales tax was only four per cent, as compared to my home state’s near ten per cent sales tax.

It was there that I first happened upon the Patricia thin wedge slides. They were simple, yet somehow more sophisticated than flip flops (aka zori’s). The Z design in basic black elevated the crocs concept. As a slide, they lacked the annoying toe hook. They were textured in the footbed, and contoured to my parents foot shape, offering a micro-massage. The sole was textured to avoid slips. The heel was a thin, subtle wedge. #ZoriBliss

Soon after I bought these, so did my sister-in -law and mother-in-law. Mine lasted five years before I had to replace them– only after having worn out the tread. (I fell once in Guam, running across the street in the rain, wearing my red Royal Robbin Essential Dress- cap sleeve, v-neck, empire waist, fit and flare.)

My own mother brought hers to Ireland and wore them with stockings to a wedding. They are subtle enough to pass for an appropriate strappy sandal. But they are also perfect for trekking to the neighborhood pool, lounging in a hotel, or post mani-pedi’s. And because they are crocs, they clean easily, lasting longer.

Some of my other favorite shoes are a bit more whimsical– but these shine for subtlety. Sensible, slightly sophisticated, versatile.

Kinda how I see myself.

What’s your favorite shoe? What can they tell us about you?

Music Monday: I am not throwing away my shot!

Happy Monday, Friends! I started writing about music on Mondays, as music is so important to our lives. Join me as I reminisce on music and music-making.

Hamilton the Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda is returning to San Francisco. I’m in a virtual queue to buy tickets for the family as I write. There’s likely 100,000 persons in line waiting for a chance to buy up to 4 tickets. 30 weeks of 8 performances of hundreds of seats each. I’ve been in the queue for 90 minutes and there’s still 40.8 thousand people ahead of me. Wish me luck!

I was so lucky to catch the show last summer. Turns out, it was Pride Week in San Francisco. And you know what, it was the best time to see Hamilton. The cast is so diverse and inclusive. They brought out a rainbow Pride flag at final bows. I was moved to tears.

I hope to bring the family this time. Such a moving experience. My kids already know a lot of the music.

I hope that in the future, a filmed version will be shown in the theaters, as Allegiance has been shown on exclusive one night engagements.

But for now, I Wait for It!

For more on the Hamilton phenomenon,check out Who Tells Your Story? and The English Teacher’s Guide to the Hamilton Musical by Valerie Estelle Franklin.

Monday Music: More Triangle

My family just loves this fun GEICO commercial depicting a classical triangle soloist gone wild.  Have you seen it?  Click here: Triangle Soloist Geico Commercial

I have a playlist entitled More Cowbell.  Sometimes I do wonder, though, if the guy playing triangle in Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” was paid by the ding.  Or maybe they were trying to make up for an underutilized percussion instrument in popular music.  I love castanets and cowbells in pop music, don’t get me wrong! But, every single measure seems a bit much. What do you think?

more triangle

more triangle

Last year I wrote a Monday Music post about the triangle solo in a Billy Joel song.  Check it out here. (Video link at the end of my post.)

And here’s that playlist- because I know you want it.

 *some songs featuring vibraslap may have snuck in  

more cowbell playlist

more cowbell playlist

B Street Mix is Back!

music

BOOM. BACK IN BLACK! BA-DA BOOM. I HIT THE SACK! BA-DA BOOM.

A HUMMA HUMMA HUMMA GLAD TO BE BACK!  

Did you really know all the words to your favorite songs on the radio back in the 80s?  Bonus points if you can tell me where this misheard lyric gem comes from: “Don’t switch the blade on the guy whose name is Ramon.”

Growing up in the 80s and going to school in the next town, B Street was the route my mom would take.  Later I drove myself to high school along the same route. I have such fond memories of listening to KFRC 610 AM radio in the family Pinto station wagon, and then popping in my cassettes for Wham! UK, Journey, and Saga in the “Plum” (read- Brown) Toyota Camry Sedan. And don’t get me started on my mix tapes.

Years later, as an adult, I found myself living in the same town and driving along the same street, after I dropped off my baby in my parents’ loving care. For twelve more years, B Street was my commute. And I popped in my 80s cassettes (or CDs) in my Honda CR-V.

Well, now I am back helping out at my old work location, and back on the B Street commute. I admit I wasn’t too thrilled with this change, at first. But my bestie reminded me that I could do the B Street Mix again, and that made me smile. I used to post on social media  the three 80s songs that made my playlist for that morning commute.  And my friends from all over would chime in about their happy  memories of the songs.

We are so lucky in the Bay Area to have an exclusively 80s music radio station, helmed by none other than MTV VJ Martha Quinn. And if you have Sirius XM satellite radio, there’s an 80s channel, as well as Classic Rewind, HairNation, and 1st Wave.  I also listen to Pandora.

Last Wednesday was my first day back on B Street. As I blasted Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, I thought to myself, why don’t I  listen to this song every morning?

Today’s selections were “She’s Got the Look” by Roxette, “Wind Him Up” by Saga,  “Separate Ways” by Journey, and “More than a Feeling” by Boston.

What’s on your playlist?

#BStreetMix

Monday Music: Billy Joel and the Triangle

Sirius XM Satellite Radio launched the Billy Joel Channel a couple weeks ago and I have been in musical heaven.  His music has been such a strong part of my life since the 70’s, really.  I remember the family vacations and road trips in the 80’s when we finally figured out that everybody likes Billy Joel, and no one needs to suffer through the other generation’s music choices. (I enjoy many styles of music, but when my father’s favorite Willie Nelson and my mother’s favorite Julio Iglesias sang a duet- that was too much for my teenage sister and I to handle.)  His classical affinity shines through his melodic rock, and his lyrics are so poignant.  (More about Billy Joel’s music here.)

 When I was a teen, we would watch the videotape “Billy Joel Live from Long Island” on VHS over and over.  To be honest, we probably rented it from the video store next to 31 Flavors, and likely copied it onto Beta.  This is still one of my all-time favorite concerts to watch: such entertainment and skill, a great collection of songs, a fantastic band.  A percussionist who actually played a lead pipe with a hammer.  This video hasn’t been properly converted to DVD, but I just picked up a used VHS on amazon.com , so I could show my kids. (Yes, I still have two working VCR‘s – I run my upstairs DirecTV through my VCR so I can tape more shows.)

 My son is now playing percussion in high school band, as I did.  He plays glockenspiel, snare drum and tympani, and accessory percussion, which is so much fun!  (I still have a box of fun percussion instruments from when I used to be a travelling piano teacher.  But somehow I seem to have lost my vibraslap.  I wonder if my last church choir job still has it.  Although I can’t see how they would use it in their liturgy.)  He’s playing a lot of Triangle right now. I told him about the time I sight read a triangle part in a Christmas medley, stressing out about counting the rhythm correctly, before I had figured out that it was “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (really a random medley, that wasn’t even one of the official carols in the medley, they just snuck it in the triangle part.)  3, 1, 2-and 3-and, 1, 2, 3-and, Roll, (2, 3,) 1. (mute)

 I told him about how at one of the Billy Joel concerts I attended in the 90’s, there was this fabulous auxiliary percussionist.  She was so awesome, I wanted to be her when I grew up.  She played all the percussion, saxophones, and she even sang vocals, belting out the high notes.  And I told my son she had the most epic triangle solo, ever.

Billy Joel has always been great about using the lighting for effect in his concerts.  There are a couple of songs just screaming for this, and it works brilliantly.   In “You May Be Right,” there is the lyric “turn off the lights…” and for a split second the entire stadium is pitch black.  It’s wonderful.  There are also songs in which he stops in the middle, before continuing again.  “All for Leyna” contains such a stop, in it, all the instruments drop out as Billy sings/shouts “STOP!” – very effective!  “River of Dreams”  has a natural break in the middle, which Billy is prone to elongate, heck, even sing another song in the middle of this break.

So in “An Innocent Man,” the quiet calypso has a sweet, constant triangle: Ding, Di-Ding…  On the Billy Joel Channel I have heard a live version with the fabulous Crystal Taliefero singing the “I AM….” triumphantly, as I remember seeing it in concert.  (The video I found on YouTube has Billy singing the entire chorus.) After the bridge, the stadium is again drenched in darkness, all except for a single spotlight shining on Ms. Taliefero as she plays her Triangle in all its glory.

Di-Ding.   

Check out this video for the best triangle solo ever at 4:28!