Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Kilim Shoe Source—Books—Boys—Dances

I wish the Farquhar family lived in the States. But since they do their Kilim thing in the Cotswolds, I doubt that they wish to live here inside the Beltway. Who could blame them? If they were around the corner, I'd already be commissioning one of the above. My house is overrun with rugs and other textilian evidence of what I materially salvaged from my marriage. Shut up.
And it’s no secret that my Kilim chaise would be the only piece of furniture that I’d rescue if my house was on fire. The two of us have…let me just say…History...with a capital H. And of course my appetite for textile-esque shoes of dubious origin and questionable gender categorization is legend. Shut up.
Here's a photo of me in dreamland atop my Kilim chaise and interestingly, a Kilim pillow offers me some form of cardiac security. It was 1995 and I was adrift in many ways so a Kilim pillow was as good as any to gird and ground my nap. Roxanne Burgess. Five makes ten that I'm dreaming of her.
When you read about Nomad Ideas you’ll learn that theirs is a family affair. Three daughters help mom and dad with their Kilim strategy. And their turnout is great. I’d love to have a Kilim club chair or the ottoman with hidden storage. I’d be torn regarding what to secret away in it. Stationery and fountain pens come to mind…magazines…Velcro restraints...Astroglide and my Herve Villechaize costume…the options are endless.
And Nomad Ideas sells Kilim everything. 
But since I’m a bit far from the Cotswolds, I’ll continue to settle for the great Kilim slippers they offer. About $185.00 gets a pair from the Cotswolds to the States and the process is decidedly and frankly, enjoyably low-tech. Email Pammie-Jane and request a gander at the slippers in your size. But do your homework before emailing. Know what your size conversion is for European metrics. They aren’t a shoe store per se and you’ll want to minimize the tisk-tisking about size and color choices. I wear a 40 or 41 and requested to see what she had in said sizes. 
She’ll send a jpeg and you can take your pick. I’ve simply cropped the photo and sent back visual evidence of my choice along with a three-separate-email-sequenced conveyance of my MasterCard details. My second pair will be en route next week. So swing by and grab a pair. And tell ‘em I sent you. And as always, I’ve not accepted anything from Nomad Ideas in exchange for mentioning positively my experience with them.
Ok…on to books. LFG has a rather rigorous school-workload that includes regular book report projects. And if you’ve read my drivel you know that I love the book projects. But in addition to the regularly scheduled formal book projects, her school requires that they constantly read “something else for pleasure” and they have to complete one pleasure book every three weeks. At the end of three weeks they have to write up a very brief summary of their just completed book.
No worries, my baby loves to read. Always has.
Several Sundays ago LFG and I are seeking her next “something else for pleasure” book and she happened upon The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch. “M.A. LOVED this book dad.” (This news didn’t surprise me. M.A., one of LFG’s loveliest friends, read Phantom Toll Booth one zillion times) “Well then let’s get it for your next read.”

“But daddy it’s three hundred and eighty four pages.” And that right there pretty much put an end to the first installment of Bosch being LFG’s next reading project book. Then I watched her thumb through other chapter books and soon noticed that her number-one measure for considering a book was page count. We weren’t even close to any level of drama or frustration yet. Actually, and yes I know it’s just around the corner, we don’t have much of that on any given day. But I could sense an emerging lack of joy in the process. Plus, it concerned me that page count was prevailing as the primary driver of choice. We’ve all had to read brief articles, White Papers and slender books wherein every paragraph was painful drudgery. And of course many of us have read lengthy books in one or two sittings. But how do you convey this to a sixth grader?

I’m not brilliant so let me just admit that I pulled the solution to this smoldering issue of “the book’s too long for me daddy” out of my … slippers. “How long was the book you just finished LFG?” She couldn’t remember so we tracked it down and snagged that metric within moments. It pagi-damn-nated out to about two hundred and sixty. So I took the Bosch book and dog-eared the lower corner of page two hundred sixty one. “Ok baby, here’s the deal…forget that the other pages exist. You now have a book the same length as the one you just finished.” “But what about the other pages dad?” “DO NOT worry about them. Read the first two-sixty and then let’s talk.”
I had no idea if my strategy of head-in-the-sand total-page-number-denial was gonna work. But I was determined to try and get LFG off of page-count-being-the-driver-of-liking-a-book-or-not trend. Plus, she had three weeks to get it done. My nightmare scenario worked out to be a situation where LFG might be crying, convulsing and hating the book and I’d be sitting beside her cajoling the child into consuming another gulp of three of four pages between sobs—with one day to go before the final two hundred pages had to be done. Kinda like forcing doses of scrivened Castor Oil I reckon. And I was willing to accommodate the nightmare scenario.
You gotta love it when a plan comes together. Wednesday afternoon…three days into the journey I called LFG and asked her what page she was on. “Dad! I’m on page one-thirty-seven and I LOVE this book! Can I please have the others in the series?” She was finished with the first book in one week and begging for the next one. So I Amazon One-Clicked the other books then and there. “Are they here yet?” was LFG’s daily call-out to me. When they arrived in a few days, I drove straight to Chevy Chase to hand them off to LFG. I’ve yet to see my child so excited about a book…or a series of them. Page count be damned. I can’t imagine my life without books and I’m gratified that my young’un is developing a passion for them as well. And by the way, you might ask why we didn’t check these out at the library. They literally cannot keep them on the shelf. And, after LFG finishes her paperbacks, we always donate them to the library.
Now on to a more traumatic issue at hand. Coming up is my LFG weekend and I’ve been instructed to pick her up after “the dance” on Friday night. The dance? My child is in middle school and where we live that means sixth-seventh-eight graders co-mingled. My baby is going to her first school dance. Chaperoned of course, out the a_s by a zillion parents, LFG’s mom included.  So no worries right? LFG went to Cotillion but this is different. DO NOT ask me to explain why. I can't. I’m just in denial.

My phone call with LFG the other day… “Are you gonna dance with an eighth grade boy? (LFG giggle on the other end) “No daddy.” “Are you gonna dance with a seventh grade boy? (LFG giggle on the other end) “No daddy.” “Are you gonna dance with a sixth grade boy? (LFG giggle on the other end) “No daddy.” “Oh…so you and your girl besties are all gonna dance together!” Yes daddy! Whew. It’s amazing how I can craft-wrought-contrive my desired realities.
But I did let LFG know that I thought it would be great if she danced with any boy who was nice enough to ask her. I told her on the phone and then backed it up in a letter to her. I can’t let my neuroses become hers.
Onward. Wearing kilim slippers. Reading books. And watching my little girl grow up.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Toad Slippers

Well, not really but Toad did send me a great book called The Gentleman’s Slipper by Fiona Dreesmann. Such a gesture simply reinforces my belief that Toad’s the real-deal, friend wise. 
We share many of the same interests and also a mildly curmudgeonesque view of almost every damn thing in the world. Except daughters and granddaughters…we both shed the cranky affect when it comes to this delicate and sublime subject. Same thang, shoe-wise.
So yesterday I roll in to pick up the mail and there’s a parcel from England. Too thin to be my Cleverley shoes and thank God, too soon for their arrival and final invoice as well. Much to my great pleasure, it was this stunning book.
 My views on foppish shoddings are clearly known around these parts. I’ve been accused of being a shill for Belgian Shoes even though I’ve never received anything from any supplier as a favor for writing about their goods. Conversely, Roxanne Burgess threatened to sue me unless I STOPPED writing about her goods. Sometimes a fella just can’t win for losing. Shut up.
Oh, sorry, that’s right, this is about slippers. I started thinking about Roxanne Burgess and a craving flung itself on me. Plus I’m taking a few days off from Adderall and this is the price we pay. Ok, back to slippers. “The slipper speaks of carpets and boudoirs and soft, shaded places where the wearer may relax and be themselves. Unlike our more public costumes, the slipper speaks of the real, private person” writes Julian Fellowes in the forward to Ms. Dreesmann’s book.
Fellowes goes on to tell a great story about his slipper shod second cousin Peregrine Fellowes.“…those slippers spoke of a man who is content in his own skin, of one who fears no judgment and seeks to make no judgment of others. The male slipper is not just a statement of physical comfort, but of a comfort within oneself. They tell of the man who wishes to be no one but himself. This is surely the man we would all want to be.” Indeed Lord Fellowes, indeed.
And I love the story that Ms. Dreesmann tells about her foray into the world of slippers. She wanted to make a special gift for her father’s seventieth birthday and so decided on needlepointing a pair of slippers for him. But she confesses that alas, after completing them, she didn’t have the funds to have her needlework converted into slippers. I’m sure that her father was just as proud to have, for his seventieth birthday, her loving handiwork pre-completion, as he was anything. The slippers in question are shown above.
So the book is just brimming with the oddities and eccentricities that can manifest so clearly in slippers. Every nuance and proclivity that might be conveyed shoddingly is visually evidenced herein.
I mean really. Please. Prince Rupert Lowenstein manifests a slipper led trifecta. Great shoes, beat-to-hell corduroy trousers and a single breasted peak lapelled jacket. 
That’ll be me in another twenty-five years butcept I’ll have a monkey instead of a dog. A little monkey with an Alan Flusser bespoke outfit on. And a cigar. And little slippers. Monkey slippers. Lowenstein’s oldest son stitched his. Nice.
Cartier chairman Arnaud Bamberger is also noteworthy here. His needlepoint slippers are stronger than new rope. 
Bam! Berger.
The 14th Duke of Bedford’s slippers.
More Bedford contrivances. His wife made all of these for him.
 And perhaps the greatest slipper manifestation in the book is the Sir Jackie Stewart story.
His are Cleverley and Stewart pays great respect to the shoe making legend.
The dog ate this guy’s shoes. Literally. And his gal worked on them for two years.
Toad wrote about the book as well. Go here to read his take. Thanks again Toad. I owe you.
Onward. In Kilim.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Hitchens and Me...Driving Home

Fourteen hours round trip to Florence for my Aunt Kat's funeral. Twenty three hours of Hitchens on CD. Love him or hate him...I doubt that there's much middle ground where Hitchens is concerned...but let the man challenge your mind. And spare me the vitriol about his physical abuse...smoking and drinking and his atheism being the key drivers of his cancer. It might be true but W.G.A.S. If he's your ideological enemy, then take a page out of Sun Tzu's Art of War and learn as much about your nemesis as possible. I've not had this level of cerebral workout in years and I'm looking forward to the final nine hours remaining on these CDs. Oh, and I learned about a dozen real big, fancy words and I needed some. My vocabulary is scant and ancient.
And there's nothing like reading what's left of the local newspaper to re-engage in the ways of the rural South. A nine year old boy and an eight point Buck...bagged before going to school. Jerrob will be telling the story about this before-school outing for the next fifty years.
Stopped at Fort Bragg on the drive back. The gate guys had me pop the hood, open the trunk...they searched my car for fifteen minutes. No big deal except they forgot, after they answered affirmatively when I asked if directions to the 82nd Airborne Museum were well marked, to tell me that it was closed on Sundays.
Still enjoyed walking around the grounds a bit. All of the old wood framed WWII era barracks are gone. I'd not been to Bragg since my first visit to the museum in the early 1980's.

Onward. Blessed mania in the office for the next three days. And reveling in throwing a Monday morning grenade into the blogosphere containing such polarizing content as Christopher Hitchens, killing Bambi and agents of death, sanctioned by our government, dropping from the sky, rendering it to those below.

ADG, II ...with twelve big, new words. Come on over. I'll use one on you.

Oh and PS...My Aunt Kat's funeral was great. More laughs than tears. One of the Ministers said... "If talking and shopping were Olympic sports, Kathleen would have Gold Medals in both."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Horizontal Flusser

You may know the old joke…“Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up? Someone may think they’re dancing.” Vertical love making is a tricky endeavor and I’ve pretty much given it up. Dancing too. And it’s a shame really ‘cause everybody knows that there are three things that Southern rednecks love to do…f____, fight and fast-dance.
Verticality…Horizontaciousness. Sin is sin no matter what the latty-longy orientation might be. And my latest sin was horizontal in nature.
The gateway drugs to this level of sartorial malfeasance have long since been consumed but that’s not news to anyone reading this load. Blazer striped shirts en vertical are fully represented in my lineup. But then—surprise I know—the Devil flung a craving on me. A horizontal one.
So I skulked into the confessional chamber and had a word with Father Flusser. It had been, I don’t know, at least a month since my since my last purge with the Father. Fluss-counsel always leaves me awash in high price-point redemption. And it makes no difference that my confessor orbits in a Hebrew-Buddhist galaxy. Matter of fact, in this case, it’s probably a good thang. That’s Father Fluss above…in about as fuzzy a contest of verti-hori as one could ever imagine.
God lives in the details. And in my decades old ape-mimic strategy of seeing Alan wearing something that I admire, I’ve been requesting his “cowboy cuff” for some time now.
The perpendicularity of its placket-ated sidewaysness doesn’t convey in photos. 
You need to see it starched and on my arm to appreciate the tubular conicality of its fuzziness. Shut the ___ up.
Blasphemy I know but these fresh from the box babies look a bit like the big ole Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. Blasphemous and silly now that I think of it…because all believers know that gettin’ to the Big House in the Sky has nothing to do with shirt stripes. Shell Cordovan is the ticket.
I’m amused by your assumption that I wouldn’t tart these babies up further with a monogram. One friend consistently asserts that any man who places visible initials on a garment is immediately one of no consequence. A midnight buffet, all inclusive resort going, pyramid-network marketing…networker. ADG.
Guilty. Guilty as charged. My only regret is that Fluss et al wouldn’t vet my request that the ADG permanent name tag be commissioned in Times New Roman 32 font. They did though, as a consolation, allow a placketed pocket. I’ve requested a prototype shirt with bellows/poacher pockets for my next fuzzy foray.
Another bespoken no-brainer chemise-wise includes these shirttail seam buttresses. Or is it buttressae? Unseen but crucial bolsterers of side-seam strength…Kevlar-esque insurance policies against which hopefully, you’ll never have to submit a claim. They remain irrelevant and without function until…until some Trixie, in a fit of passion, commences a manic-frantic blitz of ripping your damn clothes off. “Settle down baby! Let’s be a bit more methodical here. I’ve no problem availing my nicely tufted chest to you, but don’t rip my shirt.”
If such admonishments don’t settle Trixie down, the buttressae will help assure that the seams don’t, in a pique of resistance, resign themselves to rolling over and giving up. On the other hand, based on the caliber of Trixie involved, it may be worth sacrificing a shirt. Hell, I’ve been known to allow a Flusser suit to burn on the altar of whateverishness.
And finally…the collar. I rarely wear a tie with anything but a straight or maybe a modified spread collar shirt. Preferably straight so that I can anchor it with a pin. And you know how I feel about anything but a pin impaled collar versus that clip-on nonsense. But when I’m sans tie I’m avec collar buttons. It’s a holdover from my Tradfratty days.
But these three Flussketeers sport a bit of collar unusualalia. Modified spread button down? You have to be kidding me right? I’m a lot of things...but not a collar kidder. Never…never do I kid about collars. Flusser collar variance just adds to the angularitaciousness of said ADG chemise hat-trick.
And the spread variance in these shirts versus my last round of absurdness is subtle. But not so that you wouldn’t look at the collar for a moment and go hhhhmmmm. Worry not—I’m used to it.

Onward. Horizontally buttressed.