Saturday, July 26, 2008

They're Not Your Grandma's Shoes

I have one fantastic grandmother. And my grandmother has one fantastic sense of style. Every year for her birthday the women in my family (mom, cousin, aunt and I) take her out to San Francisco for an afternoon of shopping and lunch at Neiman Marcus. It's her dream day. We hit all of the shoe stores in Union Square and she usually leaves with at least one or two new pairs of shoes.

Now, we're not talking any old shoes. My grandma wears stilettos. She will actually put down a pair of shoes if the heel isn't high enough. Keep in mind that my grandmother just turned 78 years old. She wears hotter shoes than I've ever even thought about trying on. AND not only does she own thousands of shoes, she gives each and every pair of heels a name. No, we're not talking about names like Dolores or Patty, because well that's just not any fun. And my grandma - she's fun.

To Ryan and Lailah's wedding she wore a pair called The Kitchen Sink (because if you've got everything but the kitchen sink, these are the kitchen sink). She's also got her Prostitute Reds and her Diarrhea Slings. She had recently bought a new pair of pumps before this most recent trip into the city, so she had to bring them with her to show us - these were her Snow Whites. Last year, on our shopping excursion she bought her Reynold's Wraps (yes, that's Reynolds Wrap as in the aluminum foil manufacturers). This year, Grandma didn't let us down. She got two new pairs of shoes.

She was wearing a teal leather jacket that looked stunning on my 78 year old grandma, and she happened to run across some heels that matched her gorgeous jacket. She just HAD to buy them. We called them her Flippers (yes, named after the dolphin). These were actually the same pair of shoes my cousin had recently purchased and returned because she decided she didn't need them. And yes, my cousin in 25 years old. For Grandma, it's not about needing them. When my aunt asked her if she was going to wear the new shoes that day (since they matched her jacket and all) she simply responded, "No, they hurt my feet". Yes, turns out they really pinched her left foot, but she just couldn't not get them. She'll wear them on one of their cruises where she doesn't have to stand on her feet all day.
When buying her second pair of heels on Thursday, the salesman at Neiman Marcus asked her what outfit she was planning on wearing these shoes with. She looked him straight in the eye and said, "I buy the shoes, THEN I find the outfit". This is another fun part of shopping with Grandma. When we walk into these designer stores and head for the shoe selection, sales people never assume it is my Grandma shopping for these outrageous heels. They will glance at my mom, my aunt, my cousin and I only to realize that we are all just here for Grandma. These are the second pair of shoes Grandma purchased on Thursday, except they were bright pink:

My grandparents cruise a lot, and her shoe collection has become famous on the ship. When they board the cruise, their wait staff will spread the word and various crew members will come by to check out this old lady's fabulous shoes.
The sad news here is that my grandmother wears a size 7.5 (which, coincidentally is the same size shoe my cousin Sara wears). Unfortunately for me, I would have had to start binding my feet at the age of 7 to fit into Grandma's shoes. So, Sara will probably inherit the beloved shoe collection... but hey, at least they'll stay in the family.
The saying, "They're not your grandma's shoes", has a whole new meaning in our family.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Freshies is probably one of the worst restaurant experiences I've had in a long time.

While staying in South Lake Tahoe this past weekend for Mike's race, we ventured into unfamiliar territory when we decided on Freshies for dinner Friday night. Here's a list of the things that went wrong with our dining experience:

1. A poorly marked sign informed patrons to write down their own names on the list at the hostess podium - which no one saw, and therefore found themselves standing in front of the podium forever while the staff merely ignored their presence waiting for them to find the sign with the instructions. Sarah took it upon herself to inform various patrons about the restaurant policies, because clearly no one who works there was interested.

2. Sarah was scolded for sitting on the staircase, due to a lack of seating available for waiting customers. No, not kindly informed that her choice of seating was not preferable to the staff, actually scolded. Mike was then ridiculed for getting in the way of this same angry staffer, as he moved an empty chair towards our corner of the courtyard waiting area. Last I checked, you don't want to make your patrons hate you before they have even committed to eating at your restaurant...

3. When asked how long the wait would be for a table, the staff answered with the same line each and every time - "the diners at your table are about halfway through their meal".

4. As a result of the inconclusive answer to number 3, we were left waiting for a table for 1 hour! We were starving and very tired.

5. After finally being escorted to a table (1 hour after arrival) we found that the diners who had been given a table shortly after our arrival, were only now receiving their food. The wait was far from over.

6. When the waitress began to recite the Specials Menu, Mike informed her that we had actually already decided what we wanted to order. She got angry and I'm sure she spit in our food.

7. My meal stank. Mike and Sarah had good meals, so I'll give them that, and the fries and house salad were quite tasty, but my meal - no good.

So, basically after 2.5 hours we walked away angry, cold and (for me) unsatisfied.

Aside from Freshies, the weekend in Tahoe was a blast. Here are some photos:

Hat Tip: Lauren

This post marks the start of my new Peace Corps Blog. I aim to continue THIS blog for all of my random posts, and posts of a more personal (and therefore quirky) nature. However, for those interested in the details of my Peace Corps experience I will be starting a new blog focusing solely on my experiences in Kazakhstan. The Real Kaz - check it out (hat tip to Lauren for the name, get it?).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Fetus

For your viewing pleasure:

I stayed at a house in Benicia on Saturday night that had this stained glass on one of it's doors. Um, yes... that's a fetus.

Gas Station Disaster

Welcome to my most embarrassing moment. I was telling this story the other day and I realized it just might be blog-worthy.

This was in college a few years ago. I had gotten sick and wasn't really feeling up to par and Friday came around. I had plans to go home for the weekend, so I got my stuff together and climbed into my car. I drove to the trusty Arco Gas Station (the most popular gas station in Davis because their gas was always 10 cents cheaper than everywhere else).

Being a Friday afternoon, Arco was packed. I pulled up to the pump, did my thing, and then went into the AMPM to grab a Gatorade for the ride home. After leaving the AMPM, I went back to my car, climbed inside and drove away - BANG! thud, click, crash, click, swishhh

Yes, that's right. I forgot to take the pump out of my car. As I drove away the pump snapped off and then flew across the pavement where it slid to a stop about 20 feet away. I had to stop my car, get out and the worst part is that I had to then walk across the pavement to pick up the pump and carry it back to the gas pump and hang it back up. I had managed to break the connector piece so it wouldn't reattach itself (much to my dismay).

By this time, everyone in the station is watching me and laughing. I then have to go into the AMPM and tell the not-so-competent employee what I had done. She then also laughed at me, and gave me an insurance form to fill out.

When it was all said and done, the whole incident cost me about $260, not to mention my dignity.

So, yes, if you're wondering if that ever REALLY happens... I'm afraid to say it does. :(

I guess it could have been worse...