The great slipper rebellion. January 15, 2018

by Lorin Michel Monday, January 15, 2018 7:09 PM

We’ve been having odd weather. It’s been unseasonably warm here, as has most of the west. We’ve had very little winter and a pathetic amount of rainfall. It doesn’t get excruciatingly hot during the day, not like it does in the summertime, and the temps do drop at night. They just don’t drop that much. Last year, when we’d wake up to walk the dog, it was often around 28º. Most mornings this winter have been at least 50º. It makes it difficult to know what to wear.

In the summer, it’s easy. It’s going to be hot – that’s a given. Shorts and tee shirts are the wardrobe of choice. At night, nicer shorts and a v-neck shirt. Plus flip flops. But now, it can feel cool enough for sweatpants, but then it gets too warm and we need to change. Ditto the accompanying sweatshirt that often becomes a tee-shirt. Even at night, once the sun has tucked away and the temps have dropped a bit, we never know quite what to put on in order to remain comfortable. Kevin mostly opts for shorts. If it’s cool enough, he’ll put on a long-sleeve tee. But I’m usually not so sure. And I actually like winter clothes. I like to wear jeans and a sweater. I like to feel like we’re having a season.

Lately, after we shower at the end of the day, we’ve both been opting for shorts and long-sleeves. It’s cool ish. So then we’ll also put on slippers. We both have several pair. Kevin has some low-riders that he slips into and out of fairly easily. He also has a pair with fleece inside that come up over his ankles. I playfully refer to these as either his elf shoes or his Peter Pan shoes. I bought them, so I feel I can have fun. I have three pairs. One is also a low-rider slip-on that I just got for Christmas. I also have an Ugg-kind of slipper that comes up over my ankles and is heavily lined and thus very warm. The other ones also come up high, though they’re not quite as heavy inside. The above the ankle part is made of sweater material, and the bottom shoe part has paw prints. 

Here’s the thing, though. Sometimes those are too hot, too. Or sometimes, especially in my case, I choose the wrong slipper. I get warm; I kick them off. Kevin does the same.

Which leads us to this morning and the scene beneath the breakfast nook table.

Evidently last night – and we both have scant memory of this – as we sat at the table slurping our slow-cooker French onion soup and chomping on our Caesar salads, we both got a bit too warm, and the slippers slipped off. Evidently, also, I had done the same thing earlier in the day when I was sitting at the nook table, watching football while also attempting to do a bit of work.

This morning, there they were. Three pairs, haphazardly dropped, hiding under the stools and table. It looks like a convention, maybe a coffee klatch. A massacre of sorts. Definitely a rebellion. It was as if they were saying “we’re done. We won’t be used as pawns in your ridiculous daily wardrobe dilemma. If you want us, if you can respect us, you’ll find us here. If not, may your feet stay cold.” 


The great slipper rebellion. Dateline January 15, 2018. It was a thing. You can look it up.

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Flip flops, cowboy boots and the occasional running shoe

by Lorin Michel Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:49 PM

I am not what can be called a clothes horse, a fashionista. I work out of the house which means that my summer wardrobe consists of shorts and a t-shirt. In the winter, the wardrobe changes slightly to include sweatpants. Sometimes jeans. Occasionally a sweatshirt, depending on temperature. I buy most of my clothes online. I have long been blessed with being a straight size. I know based on a particular style what will fit and what will not. That has changed slightly but luckily not too much.

I have one or two nice things in my closet, things I’ve had forever. Whenever I have to buy anything nice, I buy a classic style and I buy black. Never goes out of style; can dress it up or down depending on the occasion.

I have very little occasions lately. As time has progressed, I’ve found that the world has become more casual. It is permissible to wear jeans just about anywhere, anytime. They can be dressed up with a sharply pressed blouse, a nice sweater, an appropriate pair of shoes. Maybe it’s just because of the type of work I do; maybe it’s that I live in the southwest, an area known to be a little more casual in general than say Boston or Manhattan.

So I’ve defined my usual wardrobe, based on temperature. Coincidentally, my shoes tend to follow a similar pattern. Flip flops in the summer, cowboy boots in the winter, the occasional running shoe.

I currently have six pairs of flip flops, from various manufacturers and in different colors. I have three pairs of Crocs, one that is my absolute favorite. They’re dark brown, with a wonderfully cushioned bottom. I like them so well, I got a pair in black. Then I got another pair that’s similar. They’re my formal flip flops. I have another pair of black flip flops, with a white sole. They’re more for fun. I have a pair of dressier flops, with a dark brown leather top and cream sole. They’re more dressy than casual. I also have a pair that has rivets. They’re kind of funky. I essentially have a pair for every day of the week. I take Sundays off in deference to absolutely nothing in particular.

My cowboy boots number eight, ranging from the high heeled dressy black with mother-of-pearl inlay to shit-kickers with a low-heel that needs replaced that I’ve had forever, with leather so soft it folds over itself, and I simply can’t bear to see them go.

I have an old pair of Zodiacs that I got in college. They also have a low-slung heel, with a high upper. I have a pair of black leather I use when I ride the motorcycle. They’re beat to hell; perfect for a biker chick. They even have spur type attachments. I don’t wear those very often. I have snakeskin, and blonde boots. I have a pair of Justin’s, my most authentic pair that I need help to get out of. I used to have to sit on the stairs, wrench my heel out of the base, and have Kevin pull each from each foot. I have a pair of caramel color boots with an impossibly high heel. They zip, and look amazing with jeans.

My running shoes are always Asics. I have a black pair, my dressy runners, and a white and gray pair, my wear anytime I need running shoes running shoes. These days my running shoes are actually walking shoes since I don’t run much anymore unless it’s after the dog. My right hip simply won’t permit it. Ditto my right knee. Interesting that the three bones I’ve broken in my life have all been on the left side. My left elbow, left wrist and left foot. But all of my achy breaky joint issues are on the right.

I guess that means I’m well balanced.

Today, I wore running shoes this morning, flip flops the rest of the day, and boots tonight since we had a date, our first one in a couple of weeks. I also wore a pair of jeans since you can only get away with boots and shorts when you look like my beautiful 15-year-old niece.

Celebrating my three shoe choices tonight. And throwing in slippers, of which I have two pair, because slippers must always be celebrated.

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The curious case of the slipper at the top of the stairs

by Lorin Michel Saturday, April 27, 2013 2:35 AM

About a month or so ago, Kevin decided to try something when we went for a walk. The something did not actually involve us being outside but rather Cooper being inside. Since we got him in October, we had been putting him in his kennel each time we would leave the house. We just thought it was better for him, from a feeling-secure standpoint. It was also better for us from a knowing-he-wouldn't-destroy-the-house-while-we-were-gone standpoint.

This first trial of trust would only be for 30 minutes or so. We figured, what could possibly go wrong? Of course, we knew exactly what could go wrong. He could chew the wood shutters. He could chew the leather couches. He could pull all of our dirty clothes out of the hamper. Unroll the toilet paper. Empty the trash. He could pee on the walls.

As it turned out, he did nothing at all but lay in the entrance way, probably staring at the door as he anxiously awaited our return.

We were thrilled. We were proud. We were encouraged that he really was turning into the good boy we always knew he could be. So we started leaving him out when we went to the store, or out for dinner, or to The Wineyard on Thursdays.

Which is where we pickup our story. Last night was Thursday, which means date night which means wine tasting. We took Cooper for a walk a little earlier than usual (5:30) so that we could shower, get cleaned up and leave around 7. The Cooper walk is just a little over a mile so he gets a bit of exercise. After the walk, he gets the last cup of his 2 1/2 cups of food a day. He's gotten all of the energy out of his system, as well as everything else, on the walk. His appetite has been sated. He's content. It's nap time. Us going out has become a regular happening; he's used to it.

We kissed his nose, promised him we'd be back soon, told him to be a good boy, and with that, we were off. Yes, we felt a tiny bit guilty about leaving if only because the face. The face looks like this: eyes wide, a bit scared, a lot lonely. The mouth is closed. The head is slightly tilted. It's Cooper putting on his very best cute. It's a face that says "how can you leave me?"

It's not easy. But we do it.

Last night we tasted wine from a place called J. Rickards. It's in Napa Valley, on the Silverado Trail next to Silver Oak, and they've been there since the early 1900s. Their Zinfandel was fabulous; their Petite Sirah equally so. Didn't much care for the cab. We laughed with the people we've gotten to know, noshed on pretzels and sipped wine. We gave hardly a thought to what might be going on at home since nothing ever does.

On the way home, around 8:15 or so, we stopped to pick up a couple of salads to-go. The sky was newly dark; straight ahead, a huge moon hung just over the road, lighting the way home.

We came in and the little face was there to greet us, tail thumping, butt wiggling. Where have you been? We petted him, rubbed on him, kissed his nose again and I walked toward the bedroom while Kevin took the salads into the kitchen. I rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs and stopped. Something caught my eye. It was at the top of the stairs, sitting on the edge of the landing, parallel to the step. My right slipper.

I stared at it for a minute or so. It wasn't comprehending. My slipper is never up there. It's always either under my nightstand or in the closet, and it's always with its mate. I called to Kevin, come take a look at this? He came. He stared. We both turned to look at Cooper who was standing in the living room, what?

I went up to retrieve the slipper. It was fine. No dog slobber, no teeth marks, no shredding. It was just ... there.

We're curious as to why after all this time, a slipper is now carried to the top of the stairs. The same thing happened today. Same slipper (the right), same position at the top of the stairs, same lack of slobber. Kevin has decided that in addition to mommy issues, Cooper also has a slipper fetish. I suppose. But it sure is, well, curious. And awfully funny. At least until the slipper ends up like Wubba I and Wubba II.

For the time being, I’m celebrating the curious case of the slipper at the top of the stairs. But if anyone has any wisdom to share in order to solve the case, I’m all ears.  

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In celebration of slippers

by Lorin Michel Sunday, March 13, 2011 10:31 PM

I’m a big fan of slippers. I don’t know when it happened, though I suspect it started when I was in 8th grade and my mother brought home a pair of tan suede leather moccasins, with a suede leather tie and fringe. They had a faux fur foam insole and I lived in them. I think she bought them at Barker’s, Hyde Park, New York’s version of Target many years before there was a Target.

Slippers are worn by nearly every culture in the world, with both men and women slipping their feet into something more comfortable on a regular basis. They originate from sandals dating back to ancient Egypt, as so many things do. The earliest recorded discussion of slippers appears in a description by a Southern Song dynasty soldier describing two types of not-quite shoes he witnessed in what is now Vietnam. These slippers, like my earliest moccasins, had a leather bottom so that the wearers could walk outside comfortably. One type had a small post with a mushroom shape atop; the post was worn between the toes, similar to today’s flip-flops (full disclosure: also a fan); another style had a cross-shaped leather cover across the foot, connecting to the leather sole.

People in Japan have long revered slippers. These are a people whose customs dictate that they take their shoes off when entering homes, including their own. When Westerners first descended on the island country during the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the Japanese invented a special type of slipper that the ‘round eyes’ could pull over their boots. If you visit Japan today, you’ll find slippers in every hotel or inn you check into.

The rest of the western world slips into slippers most mornings, sometimes during the night, and for those of us who work out of the home, all day.

The earliest record of the English word for slipper occurred in 1478 and was derived from the verb ‘to slip,’ describing something one slips their foot into.

The United Kingdom’s traditional slipper is the Albert, from the Victoria era and Prince Albert. Naturally it’s velvet with a quilted silk lining and a leather sole.

The first ballet slipper was created by Marie Ann Cupis de Camargo of the Royal Ballet in the 1700s. Salvatore Capezio advanced the ballet slipper in 1887 in New York City, and Jacob Bloch of Russia made slippers of leather in 1932.

Cinderella, who, believe it or not, may have originated in classical antiquity, wore sandals in the earliest incarnation of her story. She was called Rhosopis then. It wasn’t until 1697 that the glass slipper was first introduced by the French author Charles Perrault.

Dorothy, from the L. Frank Baum story The Wizard of Oz and famously played by Judy Garland, wore ruby slippers. But they had heels. Talk about something from the Wicked Witch.

Today’s slippers include fleece-lined, leather loafers, corduroy slip-ons, and suede moccasins.  

My slippers currently include a pair of the fleece-lined variety, a faux-suede slip-on, and yep – those old moccasins from 8th grade. I still have them. I still love them. I still celebrate them.

Though the foam insole needs replaced.


UPDATE: My good friend Roy sends along these beautiful slippers, which he lovingly calls "footini."

Slippers and an ice-cold, grey goose martini, slightly dirty, extra olives. That's a celebration unto itself.

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