Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Birthday Betseyvilles

This being the day, 56 years ago, that my mother brought forth into the world her firstborn and declared that she, too, would be a lover of shoes, I decided to celebrate with a brand new pair of red hot Betseyville platform pumps by Betsey Johnson. The bright red patent called to me from the JCPenney display table a few days ago -- and when I saw the edgy red braiding up the heels and the pert bows at the top, well, I felt myself succumbing to their allure and was relieved that I had a JCPenney birthday coupon burning a hole in my pocket.

So today I chose some vintage black slacks by Inclinations, which I bought at JCPenney four decades ago, and an elegant Liz Claiborne blouse in black and white paisley which was given to me by my best friend Kari’s mom, Joyce, at the beginning of summer, to serve as a neutral palate against which to show off my fancy new footwear. I added a red knit men's tie that I've owned since I was a teenager, some vintage red crystal drop earrings, a gorgeous Swarovski bracelet handmade by my high school buddy, Lily, who teaches jewelry making in California, a ruby-colored pin (on the tie) that belonged to my grandmother, and my mother's garnet and pearl ring, which has huge sentimental value, especially on this, the anniversary of the day she gave birth to me.

Today wasn't exactly a day for goofing off, as I had research to do at the Library of Congress by day and a board meeting to attend in the evening in my role as vice president of a nonprofit "Friends group" for a federally protected wildland near my home in Baltimore County, Maryland (Soldiers Delight).  But it was, apparently, a day for plenty of shoe envy.  On more than one occasion as I made my way through the subway stops in Washington D.C.and the halls of the congressional library, I heard women stop, mid-sentence, and gesture approvingly toward my shoes with audible gasps.
Birthday shoes and bouquet
I returned home this afternoon to find a floral delivery on my doorstep; a delightful bouquet of autumn flowers in all my favorite colors, and several messages on my answering machine wishing me happy greetings for the day. The president of our board surprised me at tonight's meeting with sumptious birthday pastries from a nearby bakery, and our board secretary presented me with a beautiful bracelet of white beads and crystals that his wife had made just for me.  And when Maryland's state ecologist likened my pumps to "Lady Gaga shoes" as we discussed matters of grave importance to the survival of the fragile ecosystem under our dominion, my fellow board members drowned out the scientist's disdain with their hearty approval.
High-heeled ring holder with new rings from Joyce in Spokane
And now, home once again and tucked into my snuggly pajamas for the evening, I have unwrapped a special birthday gift from Kari's mom: a papier mache ring holder in the shape of, amazingly... a high-heeled shoe, complete with satin ring slots and a hidden drawer in the sole into which Joyce tucked three dazzling new fashion rings to add to my collection.  How perfect a gift is that?  How could Kari's mom have possibly known that the theme of today's blog -- and my birthday -- would be my new stilettos?  The woman is psychic, I tell you!  And she's the best surrogate mom anyone could hope for.

I feel truly blessed tonight to have such wonderful people in my life. It is clear and convincing evidence to me that while I might spend a great deal of time by myself in this world, I am really not alone at all, for I am surrounded by the love of those who genuinely care for me.  Life is good.


  1. And you looked like a million bucks! :-)

  2. I know you had a happy birthdy in a very slick outfit. Love the shoes!

  3. I'm always impressed by people who can walk in shoes like that. I would break my neck! (Or actually, probably my ankles.)

    Sounds like you had a fabulous birthday. Wishing you many happy years to come!