Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Polka Dotted Shoes


What if I said I had been gone for a week because I was on an odyssey, scouring the world for red polka-dotted pumps, which at last, after much travail, I found in a little goth boutique in San Luis Obispo, California? Alas, I would be lying. The discovery of these most perfect of all shoes was a pure coincidence, the cherry on the cake of a fun family trip. Have you ever seen better shoes? I want to put them in a glass case. I am a giant nerd for polka dots.

I was driven half=mad last week by my blog being inaccessible for the day and a half preceding my departure, not being able to put up a new post before going out of town. Then, at my sister's internet-less house deep in an oak-filled canyon in the wine country of the central California coast, I had to try not to think of all the new posts I was missing out on, all the comments that would never be left... luckily it was easy not to think about, since we were in a gorgeous place with family & wine to keep us company! Jim and I went down to California with my parents to visit my "baby" sister, who is now a professor at Cal Poly. For those of you not familiar with the West Coast, San Luis Obispo is somewhere between Santa Barbara and Monterey. It's the state's most remote town of any size, seemingly several hundred miles from anything, amid rolling hills of zinfandel vines and canyons with tiled Spanish rooves peering out between mossy ancient oaks. Beautiful. The Zinfandel festival was going on, and we did our duty of tasting as many of the newly unveiled zins as we could. Here is a link to some photos of the region. My favorite winery by far was Clotiere. Described as "Edward Scissorhands meets the Mad Hatter at the Moulin Rouge," there are baskets filled with wild wigs and hats to wear while you taste. Here are some pictures of my family in action:

One day we drove up to Cambria, an artsy little town tucked back from the ocean behind a hill of cypress trees. There we discovered a new artist (new to us), the Lithuanian painter Arunas Zilys and wished for the zillionth time that we could afford original paintings, or even giclees. But we did what we usually do, and bought the book instead. Also stumbled upon the town of Harmony, population 18, and bought some pottery, and drove up the coast from Cambria specifically to buy weird cacti for my sister and her boyfriend. During their years in Arizona they fell in love with the strange and spiny things, and though they live amid lush green hills now, they must have them. And since cages of live rattlesnakes constitute a major part of their decor (and reptile art the rest), the cacti blend in nicely. Perhaps I should mention Emily is a herpetologist who wrote her doctoral dissertation on something about sexual size-dimorphism in the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Oh weird, weird sister. But it's made for some interesting excursions, including one to the basement of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology where she worked as an undergrad at Berkeley, and where she took us down to meet the "preparator" -- the strange basement-dwelling man with the dermestid beetles (don't look if you're squeamish), those flesh-eating critters they use to clean off skeletons. I'll never forget seeing an entire dessicated giraffe leg lying on the floor down there -- weird man told us it came from Neverland Ranch, where Michael's eejit staff didn't bother to clear the poisonous mistletoe out of the trees before letting their giraffe loose to feed. But I digress...

We also got to spend some time with our friends Amy & Sasha who drove up from Orange County with their lovely little blond boy, Nikolai (seen above with pail on head), as well as Nikolai's soon-to-be-born brother, still safely tucked away in his mama. Amy and I have known each other since highschool, and she met and married Sasha while a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, and we've tried to get them to move to Portland, to no avail. Nikolai is one of those children that makes parenthood seem like a good idea, or more likely, Amy & Sasha are such good parents they've raised a two-and-a-half-year-old who laughs a lot, doesn't throw tantrums, is smart and delightful company!

So, that's the very condensed version of where I have been, and why my blog has been sitting here stale for a whole week. In the spirit of a weekend of wine & shopping, I leave you with this quote: "We are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you different." - Kurt Vonnegut

23 comments:

holli said...

That is a fantastic description - makes me want to visit that place!!

All I heard inside my head when I saw that pic was Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.. "love the shoes." Maybe it was your previous post's pic!

Bohemian Girl said...

we missed you too!

so good to hear and "see" your fun filled time with fam and friends.

all the parts you mentioned i've either visted or lived in, so my heart was tingly and happy for you!!

did you buy those shoes?? i hope so!

la vie en rose said...

what a fun time! i'm a bit jealous as i am in desperate need of some laughter, some adventure, some fine, and some discovery. *sigh*

Mardougrrl said...

Count me in with la vie en rose. So. JEALOUS! But glad you had a wonderful time and are back with us now.

GoGo said...

Glad you had a good time. Love the shoes!

M said...

Glad you're back and had such a great excursion! Love the shoes and the pictures of the vineyards are amazing!

megg said...

Hi there - I am SO glad that you are back, SO happy to see all of your pictures and to know that you had such a good time. What fun everyone looks! I can't wait to go out on the town sometime with you in those shoes - they look like an adventure all by themselves!

xo

Shesawriter said...

What fun! And those shoes are to die for. I don't know why, but I immediately thought of Dorothy's ruby slippers when I saw them. :-)

Tanya

kelly rae said...

i LOVE polka dots. I LOVE Cambria. i love that artist you linked to, and i love that farting quote!! so glad you had a great time!

Deb R said...

OMG, those shoes are incredible!!

I love the wigs and hats too. I would've wanted to keep the black and white checked hat with the red brim.

Alexandra S said...

Well you certainly do do a whole lot of farting about so that is a very appropriate quote Miss Tristatewhopper. I learn more weird facts directly from you than from anyone I have ever known in my entire life-bats, beetles, fungi- you are an enormous and bizarre treasure trove of knowledge.! Those shoes are so completely you and I look forward to seeing the outfits you will arrange them with. You'll have to wear them to book signings next year! Thank you for sharing the wacky and wonderful details of your trip- and thank you for the mouse in the teacup you brought back just for me! (You pickled it to perfection!) I'm glad you had such a terrific trip and got some real time away with your family!

HoBess said...

You were missed, Miss ... and I'm thrilled to know your absence was created by adventure, not all these little flu bugs dealing their final blows before Spring springs. The pictures are wonderful! It sounds as though your sister's place is a fascinating one, then again, I'm a person who is intrigued by snakes! Glad you're back.

Josephine said...

Um...those shoes are HOT!

Thanks for stopping by, and please do come back!!

tara dawn said...

Laini - What a life-filled post! I love it all! I love the fabulous polka-dotted shoes, the images of you and your family dressed with rainbow colored hair and drinking wine, the descriptions of this lovely little town tucked into the California hills...I love it all! This post is so filled with life...Kurt V. said it well!!
Thanks for this wonderful post!
xoxo,
Tara Dawn

Anna said...

Wow for Arunas Zilys! This is going to sound like an ad for a cheap knock-off perfume, but... If you like Arunas, you'll also love Remedios Varo and Magdalena Segovia. If you haven't seen their work, get thee to a google search!

vicci said...

What a fun time you had!!!! I LOVE the shoes!!!!

Kate said...

My neck of the woods. Glad you liked it here! Hopefully someday we'll make it to your neck of the woods and see the wonderful art up there!

Terri /Tinker said...

We've gone to Cambria on mini-vacations a few times - love, love that area (we stumbled upon Harmony when we were newlyweds & we took it as a good omen!)
I haven't been to that particular vineyard but I love the description - What fun! If we can ever get away up there again, we'll have to look for it. Those are DEFINITELY the perfect shoes for an electric blue wig! Those are the perfect shoes period - Lucky you, with your Uber shoes! Wonder shoes! You could click your heels and go anywhere you wanted in those shoes!

Marilyn said...

I ADORE SLO...and haven't been there in many, many years. Every summer, my high school coach Dad would go to a coaching clinic at Cal Poly...leaving us at home. It was literally only about a year ago (I'm talking DECADES later) that it dawned on me that we never went on family vacations during the summers when I was a kid...but my Dad sorta did. I once moved to SLO with a boyfriend...we'd broken up and gotten back together 2 or 3 years later...I should have known better...a month into our move I knew I'd made a horrible mistake and went back to the Bay Area. But in spite of that episode in my life, I still love SLO.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! The pics are FABULOUS. I will overdose on capital letters and exclamation points, I'm telling you now. The WIGS!!!! OMG!!! I must visit SOON!! I have 4 (yes 4) purple wigs and my favorite is a "bob" style. You guys look so wonderful! Pop's green head is so JUICY!! :-) I miss you guys with a capital "P" for "poor me!" :-( love and hugs...
dawn

Anonymous said...

Hello there,
I was doing a search on the artist Arunas Zilys and came across this blog. I would love to obtain a book on this artist. You mentioned Cambria? If you can give me some leads on the name of the book, publisher, ISBN # or just the phone # of the place of purchase that would be so great. Info. on him is so limited. I'm trying to surprise a friend with some infor on the artist. Your help would be so appreciated. Please contact me at lucky223@pacbell.net or phone 818-343-0143.

Lizy said...

I am a always a lover of Nike shoes but after seeing these polka dotted shoes..i have fallen in love with these..shud get one for this Christmas.

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