My friend Ruthie knows about shoes.

I have really wide feet. I yearn for a pair of indisputably genuine high heels to wear out to dinner looking all lady-like. I don’t even hope to find any that fit comfortably. I don’t expect to walk in them much. If I walk slowly, I can get a good block or two looking like I walk on heels all the time. It’s a lot like acting.

Ruthie is visiting us and she finds a store right here in Miami!  Ruthie has super powers. She is a gourmet chef and makes beautiful jewelry. Her quilts have won awards. Give Ruthie a problem and she goes at it like a pit bull until she figures it out. By rights, Ruthie should be an intimidating person, but she’s just the opposite. Everybody loves Ruthie.

This store Ruthie finds has weird shoe sizes but only, say, one or two in any given size. Clearance from somewhere where there is a larger concentration of women with big feet. I’d say the Amazon, because of the myths, but I’ve been there and all the Amazonian women in real life have tiny little feet, and they don’t even wear shoes, most of the time. Waste of perfectly good shoe feet, in my opinion. Personally, I am all aflutter because I find a pair of polka-dot three-inch heels that pretty much almost fit me!

So, I go to check out and the guy sees my last name. He asks me if I’d ever been to Zion National Park. I say that I haven’t. Naturally, Ruthie has been there, though, that’s how things are with Ruthie. She’d been all over the world with her husband, Simeon, before it even occurred to me that stepping out of Brooklyn was an option. So, anyway, the shoe store guy runs to the other side of the counter and gets his laptop. Lickety-split, we’re looking at beautiful pictures of the park.

He draws out a diagram of the park on a piece of paper. He shows us where he was standing when he proposed to his wife. Ruthie helps him draw the diagram to make it more accurate. The name of the promontory is “Angel’s Landing.” It is the highest point in the park, from which there is the most expansive, gorgeous view. To get to the actual arduous climb up to it, you have to brave a long narrow land bridge with sheer drops on either side that look like forever to me. This is not somewhere that I would ever have a need to go.

He shows us the view from the very spot where this tender moment took place. It was a stunning place, a breathtaking view.

“That is just the loveliest story,” I croon.

“Yeah, I know,” he says, “I planned it forever so that we would always remember the moment I proposed. I got down on my knee and held out this little blue box with the ring in it and asked her to be my wife with all nature’s beauty displayed before her.”

“What a wonderful, romantic person you are!” I say.

“But you know what happened next?” he asks me.

“She threw her arms around you and cried and said yes, she would marry you,” I respond confidently.

“Nope. She opened the box and took out the ring. Then she took a diamond tester out of her backpack and tested it,” he says.

“She had a diamond tester?

On the top of the mountain?

In her backpack?” I ask.

“Yup. She must’ve been carrying that thing around with her everywhere,” he says.

“Kinda puts a crimp in the ‘romantic’ part, doesn’t it?” I say.

“Should’ve known right then that it wouldn’t always be smooth sailing,” he says.

“Huh,” I say.

“Thanks for the shoes,” I say.

TAGS: , , , , , , ,

IRENE ZION has been married to the same curmudgeon for 40 years. She has 5 children, none of whom sufficiently appreciates her. The one you probably know is Lenore, who frequently gives her mother hives. Irene paints oil portraits and makes her own frames. She has been described as an outsider artist. Most of her paintings creep people out, especially her family. She finds this to be greatly satisfying. She writes non-fiction for TNB and loves every minute of it. She is writing fiction now too, but is too chicken to show it to anyone. She has two golden retrievers who will inherit anything of worth she leaves behind. Her kids will delight in dividing up her famous cork collection and her notorious stockpile of bubble wrap.

259 responses to “The Shoe Store Romance”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    A diamond tester??? Who does that??
    He should have run right down that mountain.

    Oh and I love those dotty shoes!!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Aren’t they just fabulous? They practically almost fit, too!
      The only problem is I have to find what goes with polka-dot shoes. I didn’t think of that part.
      (Paisley is definitely out!)

      I have NEVER even heard of a diamond tester, let alone one that a regular person can buy and carry in her purse, should the need to test a diamond arise!

      That is simply weird!

      • Zara Potts says:

        Anything will go with shoes that cute!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Zara, my feet are just so huge, it was so exciting to find something that looked actually pretty that sort of fit.
          I just love them.

        • kahlil glenn says:

          i enjoyed the work irene. but almost a interesting is of all the thoughts i had on this work. none had to do with shoes. it seems that this was the focus for everyone else. i did not know you were a painter irene. cool

        • Irene Zion says:

          The shoes predominated the comments in the beginning, but then all sorts of strange threads emerged having nothing to do with the shoes.

          1. killing and eating hippies
          2. calling them canned pork
          3. pushing annoying people off cliffs carefully so you don’t get caught
          4. the reason for caffeine
          and on and on.
          The comments have gotten pretty strange on this one.

          I have lots of paintings. Sara has some in her basement. Thankfully, you like to work out.

  2. Slade Ham says:

    Wow. Hahahaha, I didn’t even glance at the length of this before I started reading it. I just dove in. The pool was much more shallow than I expected though, in a good way. Your ending caught me totally off guard and simply made me laugh and actually say, “Wow.”

    Incredibly refreshing and fulfilling. Killer, Irene. Killer.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Thanks, Slade.

      Have you ever heard of a portable diamond tester?

      If your girlfriend pulled one out after you proposed, would you go through with the wedding?

      (Just saying….)

      • Slade Ham says:

        Well, we’re taking a massive leap into an imaginary land just by assuming that I would ever propose to begin with…

        But no. She would run a huge risk pulling out a diamond tester while standing so very close to the cliff’s edge…

        • Simon Smithson says:


        • Irene Zion says:

          I really like the “massive leap into imaginary land.”
          I daresay that any young lady that you were interested in would know not do do such a thing in proximity to the edge of a cliff.
          (Until I heard this story, I had thought that about every young lady, however….)

          @Simon, I KNOW! HA!

  3. Ben says:

    In addition to having done every cool thing that a human being can do, Ruthie is also a food witch.

    I say this because of the amazing things she is able to do with a cast iron skillet and potatoes. This is a person who needs one ingredient to make some of the most delicious food in the world. It is magical.

    Which makes her a witch. (But a good one, like in Wicked.)

  4. admin says:

    I keep a diamond tester on me at all times, personally. And a nugget of fool’s gold, too.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Well, Admin,

      If you’re going to keep a diamond tester with you at all times, it seems to me you should also keep a chunk of 24 Karat gold also, not fool’s gold. You have to be consistent.

  5. Marni Grossman says:

    Didn’t that kind of make you want to meet the shoe salesman’s wife? I mean, imagine what kind of person carries around a diamond tester! Someone awesome, no doubt.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I’ve got to say that I had an immediate I HATE THIS EVIL, UN-ROMANTIC WOMAN reaction to the story. I felt really bad for this guy who worked so hard for the perfect proposal.

      We must be on polar opposite tracks today, eh?

  6. lisa says:

    Lenore can help you pick an outfit to go with your new shoes. She’s a very stylish dresser these days. I recommend jeans and a black top, but I tend to error on the conservative side. Happy short-distance,very pokey strolling.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Lenore won’t help me pick out an outfit. She HATES shopping with me! But I think that’s pretty normal mother-daughter shopping behavior.
      I’ll just listen to your advice and leave her out of it.
      I need a picture of that baby, eh?

  7. Frank says:

    What a great little gem of a story!

    It IS real, and it IS genuine, right? I might have to take out my portable story-tester I carry with me wherever I go, y’know…

    I’m kinda with Slade, on this one -it was a nice quickie, and I too had to laugh.

    Hey, I’m with Marni, too! I’d love to see what the distaff side of that particular diamond biz is like, and furthermore, what the sailing was like in that biz in the subsequent years.

    Where DO you find these people, Irene…??? No -that’s not what I mean, of course -it’s how on EARTH do you UNEARTH them…??? Do you have a compass, divining rod, or flux capacitor for that sort of thing?

    • Irene Zion says:


      I do have more than one compass.
      I don’t have a diving rod on me right now, but I could make one in a flash.
      I do not have the slightest idea what a flux capacitor is.
      But, Frank, I just follow my nose and voilá!
      Crazy stories from real life!

      • Sally says:

        You DON’T know what a flux capacitor is…? Well, Google it already!

        BTW, I’m not sure anyone -truly, fundamentally -knows what it is, either.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          1.21 gigawatts??!?!

        • Frank says:

          Smithson, you are absolutely correct to within the inverse of Avogadro’s number percentage, which is good enough for me, everyone else here, and those shoe’s of Irene. And by your telling brilliance, I deduce you will one day found a famous and well-respected museum, journal, television channel, and website conglomerate bearing your name

        • Irene Zion says:

          @ Sally,
          Googling flux capacitor would do me no good. The definition is written in numbers.

          @ Simon,
          I am awed by your brilliance and pleasantly surprised by your knowledge of weird number things.

  8. Irene Zion says:


    I swear this is real life.
    All I do is write it down.
    This stuff happens to me all the time.
    Ask Ruthie!
    She was there!

  9. Lorna says:

    So, he went ahead and married her? Wow.

    Some women (me) have the problem of finding pretty shoes because their feet are too small. I think usless you fall under the average shoe size, you get screwed over in the good stuff. Kind of sucks.

    On a happier note, Zion is beautiful. Should you ever get the opportunity to vist, I highly recommend it. I happily think of it everytime I see your last name.

  10. Irene Zion says:


    What’s up with that?

    WHY did he go ahead and marry her after that?
    He had PROOF that she didn’t trust him, after all!

    I’m up for seeing pictures of these places, but that walk with no sides and falling to the ends of the earth thing scares me.

    My mom had a size 4 A, with a AAAA heel. She thought I had big feet on purpose to spite and embarrass her.

    • Irene Zion says:

      They’ve taken away my editing capabilities, so I have to correct the size of my petite mom’s feet.
      4 AA with a AAAA heel.
      I thought that was tiny until Ben married Kate.
      It think she’s a size 3!
      And she never loses her balance on those teeny little feet.
      Go figure.

    • Lorna says:

      Why did he go ahead and marry her? My guess is she had really nice breast. That must be it. Too bad he didn’t pull out his Booby Tester. 😉

      • Irene Zion says:


        That is really funny!
        I wonder if there is a booby tester aside from the: “if she lies down and her breasts don’t, they’re not real” test.
        I’d hate to think of one that has a needle or anything.

        • Lorna says:

          Heh, sometimes I come up with a good one. I don’t think “most” men care whether or not they are real, so long as they look nice. Shallow begets shallow.

          Ouch. No needle testing. I think the lie down test would be sufficient.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh good.
          I’m not really a candidate for such testing, there being no doubt whatsoever, but I wouldn’t want anyone getting a needle test in that particular area, even the genetically unromantic, like our ” anti-heroine” here.

  11. Melissa(Irene's friend) says:

    I do carry a diamond tester in that bag of tricks I carry to the hospital. You just never asked.

    Now for those dotty shoes I would get a fabulous RED dress.


    • Irene Zion says:

      Now, Melissa,

      I have to say that I find that hard to believe, since there is absolutely no use for a diamond tester in a Children’s hospital. I doubt you, Melissa!

      Red, eh? Don’t have a red dress.

      • Melissa(Irene's friend) says:

        There might very well be need for a diamond tester. I can see it now…..a handsome doctor pops out of a room. He says……………..I have been following you for years…….you are smart..(has seen me play Candy Land)……..you are creative (has seen me draw a cartoon frog),…… and I have seen you rock out to the ABC’s. “Marry Me”. So of course then I would have to take out my diamond tester. See, now you know.


        • Irene Zion says:


          If a handsome doctor wanted to marry you, why would you care if you had a ring at all, let alone the quality of said ring? You are just not making any sense, I am forced to tell you.

        • Anon says:

          Irene, I am a hopeless romantic fool (whether or not I am also cheap is irrelevant) and complete agree with you. Contracts are to be verified as a matter of fact. Love is to be enjoyed as a matter of faith.

        • Anon says:

          Just re-read this after espresso. Wow. I really am borderline illiterate before caffeine.

        • Irene Zion says:


          I do believe that we are in agreement on everything.
          I didn’t get a ring when I got married, except for the gold bands we bought. It didn’t even occur to me that I should have one. What difference did it make? I was marrying the man I loved who loved me. I had all I needed right there.

          Victor only had his wedding ring for a couple of weeks. When he was scrubbing for surgery, he put it down and forgot it and someone stole it. I was a bit upset, but really, a ring can get caught on stuff and pull your finger right off. That’s why my dad never wore a ring. He was a Marine Engineer and worked around machinery all the time. He actually saw quite a few people who had lost their fingers to getting their rings caught.

        • Irene Zion says:

          But Anon,
          I complete agree with you too!

        • Anon says:

          Me feel vindicated and in perfect good company, then. 🙂

        • Irene Zion says:

          I too.
          Perfect good company, you are.

        • Anon says:

          Interesting question for the Star Wars philosopher-geeks: Is it possible that Yoda wasn’t suffering from ESL limitations so much as he was simply grossly under-caffeinated?

        • Irene Zion says:

          In my humble opinion, everyone in the world could use more caffein.
          Things would run smoother and faster.
          People would be more productive.
          Poor Yoda.
          He could have sounded as smart as he was, had he simply partaken of the coffee tray on set.

        • Anon says:

          Yoda chews thinking,
          “Good biscotti this is but
          something is missing.”

        • Irene Zion says:

          He was so smart, Anon, but he forgot the coffee!
          Who eats biscotti without coffee?

        • Judy Prince says:

          “Contracts are to be verified as a matter of fact. Love is to be enjoyed as a matter of faith.” Not bad, Anon, caffeine or not.

          Two points: 1) Most lawsuits are brought bcuz each side signing a contract had a different understanding of what they had agreed to (so much for the verifiability of contracts); and 2) There is no logic to love (You’re quite right; it’s a matter of faith), so if you refuse to be confused and sometimes “play a fool”, don’t expect to love.

          I’ve always thought diamonds and most (women’s) wedding rings were ugly. A wedding necklace, pair of earrings or bracelet would show the diamonds better (different position and setting for the diamond makes the difference), and diamonds often are better reflectors (of coloured stones) than they are on their own.

        • Irene Zion says:


          Diamond shoes would set off any outfit.
          Just saying.

        • Judy Prince says:

          OK, Irene, but I love those little kids’
          shoes with the sparkly lights—-lots
          cheaper than diamonds, and the kid’s
          less likely to get run over.

          Plus, if you get run over in your diamond
          shoes, somebody’s gonna snatch those
          diamonds before an ambulance arrives.

          They might even run you over *because*
          you’re wearing diamond shoes!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh, I wouldn’t actually walk in them, Judy.
          I’d carry them in my purse and switch them for the flip flops I was wearing when I sat down.
          They would look glorious for the whole dinner, concert, whatever.
          Then, when I’m going to have to get up, I’d just switch them out again.
          Simple, really.

      • Melissa(Irene's friend) says:

        Well I like diamonds what can I say. I want a big honking diamond.

        • Irene Zion says:


          If you get a diamond that honks, that is an indication that it is fake.
          Real diamonds are totally silent.
          Just FYI.

  12. George says:

    This reminds me of Ronald Reagan: “Trust but verify.” Or, as the Russians say, “doveryai, no proveryai” (Доверяй, но проверяй) – Trust, but verify. “

    • Irene Zion says:

      Pretty good, George, pretty good.
      Had no idea you could write, let alone type, in Russian.
      You have succeeded in impressing me yet again!

  13. Simon Smithson says:

    Wow, talk about preparation.

    Maybe a previous boyfriend had gotten her the diamond tester.

    And said ‘Hey, baby, I got you this instead of that mirror you wanted.’

    Because your heart is a lump of coal.

    • Irene Zion says:


      Her heart HAD to be a lump of coal to act like that after all his beautiful preparations.

      I hope I never meet HER in the street.

      I’m afraid of her!

  14. nice polka-dot shoes and a good story to boot!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Aren’t they the bee’s knees, Mary?

      I have to get Victor to take me out somewhere where it is appropriate to wear them and I only have to walk, tops, two blocks.

  15. Joe Daly says:

    Wow! Amazed that that really happened. I was sure it would end with, “Then he admitted that he was just pulling our legs and he sold us the shoes.”

    I love stories like this where you think you see where it’s going and one savage turn later, you’re somewhere entirely different. Great piece!

    Oh, and you know how sometimes when you take a test, if you dip your fingers in ammonia and then pee on (lots of pee comments lately) the fingers, it skews the results and buys you more time? Do you think that would work for a diamond tester?

    • Irene Zion says:

      I gotta write this down.
      You never know when someone is going to test your pee.
      Gotta be prepared….
      (How is it you know this, by the bye?)

      Joe, I’m telling you true. Miami is like living on another planet.

      About the other thing?
      I would NEVER write anything as boring as that.
      It’s against my religion, etc.

      • Joe Daly says:

        Well, all I’m going to say is that if someone were to accidentally get a little ammonia on their fingers before giving a urine sample, and then they accidentally peed on their fingers while giving the sample, the sample could be contaminated by the presence of ammonia, rendering the sample useless, and thus buying that person more time to better prepare for such a test.

        Maybe if your girlfriend wanted to test the ring, you could cover the ring in ammonia and pee on it before giving it to your girlfriend, thus skewing the results and affording you time to address the issue at a later date. Hmmm…

        I can’t believe that I’ve been all over the world, but never Miami. I’m due!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Interesting, Joe,

          I hope there’s a sink nearby, or at least some baby wipes.
          I’m quite sure that you are correct about this.
          Peeing on a diamond will skew any results.
          For instance, if Victor HAD given me a diamond when he finally married me,
          but he peed on it first,
          I would have to wonder just a tad about his sanity.
          I also would have had to decide if I wanted this ring badly enough.
          Who knows what he might do to it next, after all?
          Defecate on it?
          Yeah, may not be a good idea, now that I think on it.

          Miami is okay, but Miami Beach is the BEST!
          Come visit sometime!

  16. Sally says:

    First of all I LOVE the shoes – they are ADORABLE. 40’s, retro – whatever, just wish I could wear them but I come close to the size they don’t even make and I’m not into pain. These shoes have to have a “flirty” skirt – one that moves when you walk and makes everyone look at your legs and feet.

    As for the “love” story – is he crazy?? He should have run as fast as possible. If there’s no trust during the romantic phase there will never be trust.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I thought the very same thing, but he went ahead and married her! Who can understand that?
      I’d’ve been just like Slade and stumbled a bit and OOPS!
      Oh my oh my, she slipped and fell into the endless ravine.
      How tragic!

      The shoes aren’t for walking in, Sally. They’re for sitting in. And just walking two blocks tops getting to the sitting and getting from the sitting. Maybe one block each way is more doable.
      I’ll wear them next week.
      I’ll just take them off when they hurt, since I’ll be home.

  17. Ruthie says:

    Well I’m kind of practical-smart but probably not as angelic as you say. But I’ll take the compliment. That’s one marriage I would like to see how it turns out! His story was like icing on the shoe cake. And Ben, if you would come on down here I’ll make you all the potatoes you can eat!

  18. Irene Zion says:

    See, all of you doubters?
    That was Super Ruthie herself.
    She heard every word and can testify as to its accuracy!

  19. Marcia, still in Illinois says:

    The story was great but for the peace of mind of all of us I think you need to go back to the shoe store and grill the man for all the details. We have so many questions.

    Love the shoes! I think you need a sort of Minnie Mouse looking dress (but more glamorous) to go with them. I think I have one of those big petticoats that go with poodle skirts around here someplace. Just say the word and it’ll be on the UPS truck headed your way!

    Hello, Ruthie!

  20. Irene Zion says:

    I remember those petticoats! I loved them. I have a picture of myself in a poodle skirt. I used to swing around in circles all the time because it would go straight out in a perfect circle. They don’t make clothes as fun as they used to be, do they?
    I’d have saved that stuff, but my mom threw everything away. I have a few things that I was still wearing when I left home, but that’s it. That and a few pictures and the memories, of course.

    I can’t ask him any more. I’m terrified his wife will find out about my writing about her evil self and come after me. She’s obviously without any filter between her brain and her actions.

  21. Irene, the unexpected twist of a pay-off here was well worth staying up to read it even though I haven’t slept in something like 36 hours.
    And the shoes are fabulous! They kind of remind me of Betty Boop, in a good way. Who needs to walk when you have hottie shoes?

  22. Irene Zion says:

    Thanks, Gina,
    True life has an awful lot of unexpected twists, eh?
    And you’re right!
    Who needs to walk when your shoes are this hot?

    • Oh, I have no interesting story of my sleeplessness. I am just an overworked insomniac. David was out of town on business, so I had even more to do than usual, and just couldn’t come “down” enough to sleep. I did get a couple of super-early-morning hours, so 36 hours straight was an exaggeration. Last night, though, I slept 7 hours so am feeling mostly normal again!

      • Irene Zion says:

        I am totally disappointed now.
        Here you are a FICTION novelist, of multiple books, and THIS is the best you can come up with?
        Let’s have some excitement in the story, some intrigue, something sensual and dangerous, eh?

  23. Ed says:

    Wife? Not ex-wife? Not pushed over the cliff dead former girlfriend? Well, at least one thing makes sense: working in a shoe store a la Al Bundy.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I am not here to explain these phenomena of south Florida.
      I’m only the observer, the listener and the person who writes this stuff down.
      I think I’d need a degree in psychology or something to have a ghost of a chance,
      but even then, who can understand this behavior?

  24. jmblaine says:

    Once I was down at the Co-Op with my friend Troy Angle who is so darned charming and fortuitous that you would hate him except you can’t because he is so loveable which makes you try to dislike him even more because you do that with people who seem to have such and unfair advantage in life
    and anyway
    we brought our feed and seed and stuff to the counter
    and there was this red-haired girl with a bit of mischief in her eye
    and she was bouncing on her toes with her thumbs in her pocket
    and she had on cuffed jeans, a gingham shirt and a John Deere cap
    but not like mesh cap ironic – more like a tomboy-ish sort of girl
    who had dug a posthole or two in her time.

    When Troy gave her his debit card she said
    “Angel huh? Wow, my husband proposed to me at Angel’s Landing. Ya’ll ever heard of it?”
    “Nah, ain’t never,” Troy said. “But it’s Angle – not Angel.”
    “Oh yah, duh,” she said, looking at the card. “Anyways, it’s way up in Zion Park – highest point. Awesome place.”
    “Proposed right up there huh? That’s cool,” I said.
    ‘He’s a good guy,” she said. “So sweet – but he can’t keep a secret for nuthin’. He thought he was being slick but everybody knew he was gonna ask me up there. Heck, I knew 6 months ahead of time.”
    “That kinda ruin it for you?” I asked.
    “Naw,” she said. “But I had a little fun with him for telling the whole town. He pulled the ring out,” she said, holding up a modest but pretty stone set in a platinum band. “And I went straight and pulled out this tester thing I got from Julie works down at Kay Jeweler in the mall and started like I was checking that diamond out! I wish I’da took a picture of his face! He was like…” She pulls back and gives us a dubious look for a few seconds before cracking up laughing.

    “Well,” Tony Angle said, heaving the sack over his shoulder. “Thanks for the feed. Best to your hubbie.”

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Wait. Wait.


      No, that’s impossible!

      (unless, 11, you’re providing backstory)

    • Irene Zion says:


      THAT would have made sense. Unfortunately you made all that up out of thin air.
      The real story is not explainable so easily.

      (Didn’t you think the only way to prove something was indeed a diamond was to get it checked by a gemologist? I did. Never even heard of a diamond tester.)

      It is TOO Angel’s Landing.
      You make shit up all the time, 11!

      • 1159 says:

        the other possibility
        is that he was
        just being a horse’s

        • jmblaine says:

          No no
          I saw in the comments that everyone was sort of
          bum rushing the bride
          so I thought I would take up for her a bit
          You know, there’s always another side to the story
          Maybe she heard that he told a friend
          as a joke
          he was just going to get a
          Zirconia cause she’d never know?

        • Irene Zion says:


          How could our downtrodden hero be a horse’s ass?
          You are speaking gibberish!
          (Unless you mean that he isn’t very smart to be romantic with an unromantic woman.)

        • Irene Zion says:


          You are a true softy, aren’t you?
          I don’t think anyone else would take that stand.
          You are always trying to be fair,
          even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence.
          I like you.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          That was my backstory theory – that 11 was giving the backup to the other party involved.

          I couldn’t believe the awesomeness of that coincidence.

          But damn it… I wanted to.

        • Irene Zion says:


          You are so easy.
          It’s really fun to play with you.
          11 pulled the wool over your eyes.
          (But he’s a really hard one to resist,
          everyone knows that.)

  25. Kate says:

    People in the Amazon have very wide feet because their feet didn’t form while wearing shoes. We shoe-wearing people are just practicing a very mild form of foot-binding. One of my professors used casts of Amazonian feet to compare to the Olduvai footprints found by Mary Leakey. Cool stuff; our feet haven’t really changed much since we were australopithicines.

    Ben suggests that maybe this woman was a geologist, hence the handy diamond tester.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Apologies to your professor, there, Kate,
      but I was there.
      I look at people on account of my painting thing.
      The women were short and had little feet.
      maybe they were wide little feet,
      but they certainly weren’t a size 8 wide
      cause that would make them wide big feet
      like mine.
      On the other hand, my mom really put stock in tiny feet and by the time she was old, her feet were all gnarled up, although it could have been the arthritis, I don’t really know.

      I can’t see a geologist going out with a shoe store guy. Doesn’t seem like they would run in the same circles, somehow.

    • Irene Zion says:


      My mother always told me to stop wearing flip flops and going barefoot or my feet would get bigger. They did get wider, so I think your professor is right about the wide part. Lord knows, a double E width is unladylike!
      If I re-read you correctly, you’re right, because you never mentioned length. I guess I thought of them as having little feet because they were half the length of mine.

      I still think a geologist and a shoe salesmen would run in different circles and never meet, though.

      • Kate says:

        Yeah, Australopithicus afarensis was only about 3 feet tall, so their feet were pretty small, but proportional.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I like the idea that wide feet are proportional.
          It makes me feel better about my enormous feet.
          I think I might be really, really tall….

  26. Haha, what a sudden, brilliant ending. Poor guy. What kind of person carries around a diamond tester?!

    I have to admit that I almost didn’t make it past the first sentence and the picture of the shoe. I can’t help it… I’m a guy. Shoes are things I need to avoid thinking about.

    But I thought to myself: “This is an Irene Zion story. It’s got to be good.”

    And it was.

  27. Irene Zion says:

    Aw, David that is so sweet!
    I sorta thought that the shoes might put off some guys.
    I’ll bet Dukey sees the shoes and decides it’s not his cup of tea.
    Thanks for sticking with it.
    I wouldn’t write a shoe story, you know me better than that.
    I write “look at how friggin weird life is” stories.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Well, Irene, I don’t know much about shoes, y’know, but the ones depicted look good.

      I’ve been to Zion National Park, by the way. I drove through it late one night, with the dust forming a milky cloud, and cottontails darting this way and that one, in my headlights.

      Later that night, not far from the park, I set up a tent, and a guy rolled up in a golf cart, and I told him that I somehow had an eerie feeling about the locale, and he said, “Ted Bundy lived right over that hill.”

      • Irene Zion says:


        That is way past creepy.
        Why are you getting evil vibes from a dead serial killer?
        I think this calls for an investigation.

        (I really didn’t think you would read this, thinking it was about ladies’ shoes.
        Thanks for surprising me.)

        • Irene, I didn’t get a notification that you replied to my comment… Sorry.

          Oh, and that’s creepy about Ted Bundy. I’m thinking, though, that the guy in the golf cart probably drives around America at night, telling people that various serial killers lived nearby. If he sold self-defense kits he’d probably make a killing…

        • Irene Zion says:

          The system here is really uneasy lately. It doesn’t always work.
          Sometimes I get comments, but they don’t appear on the story.

          I would like to think he was just pulling people’s legs, but I get a creepy feeling about that story.
          I read it as his telling the truth.

        • Me too.

          (By the way, I didn’t get a notifier here, either… I saw this on the “recent comments” thing at the side.)

        • Irene Zion says:

          I think there may be too much traffic now for the system to keep up, David.

          Anything that creeps Duke out, creeps me out.
          That’s a rule!

        • Haha. You’re probably right.

          And talking about freak outs… I just tried to go to bed (it’s not easy after digging up all my ghost stories) and I a card fell off a table. It’s hardly a ghostly occurance (although it’s been there for months without falling, and there are no open doors or windows for a breeze to come through) but I’m freaked out. I have to work early, but I think I’ll be online most of the night, too spooked to sleep.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Don’t punk out now, David.
          That might have been a sign.
          Open your mind and go to sleep.

  28. Amanda says:


    I have freaky feet, too. Superfreaky, in fact.

    A few girlfriends and I cooked up a place that satisfies our love for sexy shoes, in which we can perhaps walk one block before being crippled by regret that we even made eye contact with those damn shoes, never mind purchased them, never mind put them on our feet, never mind left the house wearing them.

    It’s called Taxi Shoe Night, and it takes place once per season (since, of course, we each own at least one pair of awesome sexy crippling footwear for spring, summer, winter, and more-winter). The idea is, it’s more wasteful to let gorgeous footwear sit unworn in the closet than it is to take taxis all over town four times a year.

    (shhhhhhhh! the fact that NOT buying dumb impractical shoes in the first place is the best solution, we don’t speak of that)

  29. A diamond tester on top of a mountain. Woof that’s scary, Irene. What kind of a person does that? Well, let’s give the woman some credit. Maybe she brought it along to use as a weapon in case she was attacked by a bear.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I’m sure that’s it, Rich.
      The bear would stay away because bears only attack people with bona fide and genuine diamonds.
      This is a little-known fact, but one that she knew because she is a zoologist.
      She wanted to check whether or not she had to pitch it over the side of the ravine to save the life of her one true love.
      If it were a fake, then she could keep it and the bear would leave them alone.
      That’s the ticket.

  30. Irene Zion says:


    I think that is a lovely idea.
    If you lived here where I do, I would so go out with you on beautiful crippling shoes nights.
    Oh wait, you called it “Taxi Shoe Night.”
    That is a much more acceptable term.
    Who would know what you all were doing from that?
    I agree that it is totally wasteful to not use these glorious shoes on occasion.
    All those poor people in New York that walk everywhere have to carry their shoes in a tote bag or an oversized purse and switch them with the flip flops they’re wearing when they are half a block from the restaurant. It has to be a restaurant, so you can sit. Just imagine having to go to a museum and walk the museum in them! You’d have to bring moleskin and taxi fare just to get home and soak your damaged feet.
    I disavow your last sentence. It is total absurdity.

  31. Alison Aucoin says:

    A few months after I broke off my engagement I was having coffee with my mother. She said, “I just have one thing to say. The next time you get engaged…” I thought she was going to say something like make sure you’re really compatible or he shouldn’t have anger management issues but instead she finished with a big sigh and “…remember, one carat minimum!” I’m guessing if they’d had diamond testers back when my dad popped the question I might not have ever been born.

  32. Irene Zion says:

    HA! Alison, this could’ve been a story about your mom!
    I wonder if this woman had a karat-weight tester also….

  33. Perhaps, in a prior run, he had given her a piece of shiny, sparkly glass and tried to pass it off as a diamond? And this time, she just wanted to be sure? You just never know… after all … for every story told there is a different beginning…. it just depends on where you choose to start the story.

    Love your new shoes, Irene! They are snazzy as my grandmother used to say, simply snazzy!

  34. Irene Zion says:


    If you had listened to this guy, you wouldn’t have come to that conclusion. He was a hopeless romantic, and I chose that word carefully. He spoke of the whole romantic set-up to his proposal with such reverence. He was just a sap. A poor pathetic sap who chose the wrong woman to fall in love with.
    I understand it could have started another way, but if you met him and spoke to him, you wouldn’t believe it, either.

    Oh yeah.
    They are snazzy.
    Simply snazzy!

  35. Tawni says:

    “I didn’t get a ring when I got married, except for the gold bands we bought. It didn’t even occur to me that I should have one. What difference did it make? I was marrying the man I loved who loved me. I had all I needed right there.”

    This is exactly how I feel. You said it perfectly. My husband and I each have $12 silver bands we bought in a strip mall jewelry store on La Brea in L.A. I didn’t even want a wedding. In my heart, love has nothing to do with money.

    I can’t believe he married her.

    And I love your sassy, dotty shoes! (:

    • Irene Zion says:


      I can’t see how his marriage can turn out well, but maybe I’m putting I’m putting my standards on someone else and I probably shouldn’t do that.

      (When you were on la Brea, did you see any dinosaurs?)

      I like that.
      That’s the best adjective yet.

  36. Judy Prince says:

    I didn’t know Slade Ham sold shoes.

    Marvelous vignette, Irene!

    She shoulda backpacked a PortaPotty, too.

    The shoe salesguy gives men a bad name—-
    I mean how insanely unthoughtful that he hadn’t
    brought a diamond tester with him.

    Hang on—-a man who manages to get
    a “diamond-tester” kind of woman to brave a
    narrow land bridge with sharp drops on each side
    and then arduously climb to the mountaintop
    (prolly in spotted open-toed spike heels)—–
    that is one AWESOME man!

  37. Irene Zion says:


    I just don’t know what to say.
    The man obviously needed to bring a diamond deed or somesuch to prove his love, that’s how you prove your love, right?
    A porta-potty on his back isn’t too much to ask, he was a big guy. It would only be polite, after all.
    I’m pretty sure she was dressed in a gown with spike heels for the climb. She wanted to make sure the ring diamond was of the same quality as the diamonds around her neck and on her ears, no doubt, which is why she had the diamond-tester. A woman has to match, after all.

  38. Irene Zion says:

    That’s just a rumor.
    Slade Ham was not on that promontory when that unfortunate woman plummeted to her death.
    He has an air-tight alibi.

    • Slade Ham says:

      If I don’t have an alibi, I fear I better hurry up and get one. I don’t know if I would pass a polygraph or not considering how many times I’ve pushed this young lady over the edge in my mind so far.

      Have I mentioned that I love this story, Irene? I think I have. Love it.

      • Irene Zion says:


        Don’t worry.
        Pushing people to their deaths in your mind is perfectly acceptable.
        You just can’t get caught if you do it in real life.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I do worry though, that soon, like in Minority Report, I might get in trouble for just thinking it.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Let’s learn to ban our thoughts from the ether, then.
          We have to keep thinking them, right?
          We have to come up with a plan.
          Where’s smart Uche when you need him?

        • Slade Ham says:

          That’s scaaaaaaary… Seven A’s scary. Information is going to do us all in.

        • Anon says:

          I suggested to the person that sent me the link that we should all start acting shifty all the time. When you can’t pull, push. When you can’t hide facts, overload with data (this is similar to “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”). Eventually, it will either be dismissed as “the system that cried wolf” or will lead to the other favorite American past time – lawsuits that bog it down and make it ineffective.

          Still, it’s some nasty, scary shit and there’s a whole lot more out there currently being developed.

        • Irene Zion says:


          Where does that quote come from? It’s familiar, but I can’t place it for the life of me.

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          I’m recoiling to the furthest reaches from a conversation so likely to land me in prison.

          Besides, so much for being smart, I’d never heard of a diamond tester. Never. This is why I would not make a good debutante.

        • Anon says:

          I don’t know, really. I remember it as sort of a generic “keep on truckin'” kind of staple.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @ Uche,
          I had never heard of one either, and I WAS a debutante.
          Fat lot of good THAT did me!

          @ Anon,
          That’s disappointing. You know it came from somewhere, and we just don’t remember where.
          Maybe someone will write in who knows.

    • Anon says:

      He couldn’t have been. He was camping with me. Alone. We took my truck. My wife saw us off.

      • Slade Ham says:

        True story. We were eating hippies.

      • Irene Zion says:

        I know Anon’s wife.
        She is above reproach.
        You can all believe her.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Listen to Anon, he has your best interests at heart.
          Everyone wants to eat hippies, totally understandable, but they think first and then have canned pork instead.
          Right, Slade?
          (Say “Right!” Slade!)

      • Irene Zion says:

        Wait, Anon.

        Were you camping with Uche or with Slade?
        It makes a big difference.

        • Anon says:

          I forget. Possibly both. Do both need alibis?

        • Slade Ham says:

          No, it’s still hippie, Irene. We’re just calling it pork for legal reasons.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @ Anon,

          Hell yes they both need alibis. I’m not sure how Uche got into this imbroglio, but he’s up to his neck now! And, well, Slade? He seems to always need an alibi. Lucky you were camping with the two of them, eh?

          @ Slade,

          I’m on to you. You’re calling it hippie because before Anon said you were eating “pork” which does have certain connotations. Diverting it to “Hippies” was just a quick save and the first thing you thought of.
          On the other hand, that you thought of it first probably means that you’ve been eating hippie at some point. This is understandable, they deserve to be eaten, however they are really dirty, so I hope you washed them well first.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Yes, hippie. And only the very dirty kind. It’s an allusion to a very long and tangential conversation over on my most recent post. We were envisioning particular aspects of a TNB commune, and well… you can see where we ended up.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Uh oh.

          It appears that I have not read all your comments on “Leave No Trace.”
          If I’m not alone, it’s here: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/sham/2010/04/leave-no-trace/

          I promise I’ll catch up, but I’m scanning old photographs and cleaning my closet and pretty soon it’ll be sushi / sashimi time, cause it’s Friday, after all.

        • Anon says:

          We made it a point to use bait that is specific to the filthy, lazy kind of hippie (is it “ie” or “y” – I was never quite clear on that) so that we leave the productive and moderately useful “Just Doin’ My Thang” free-range hippy/ie unmolested. Well… perhaps that’s a poor choice of words but, nonetheless, leave them “uncanned”.

          And, yes, I was certainly there with both of them. I’d been drinking heavily so I’d lost track but, again, my wife will attest to seeing both in the vehicle with me. The gentlemen will have to refresh my memory as to exactly what days and times we went, though…?

        • Slade Ham says:

          @ Irene – Sushi sounds phenomenal. Unfortunately, I’m headed off on a road trip for the next 24 hrs. No sushi for me. Well, maybe. My gig is on the TX coast tonight…

          @ Anon – I’ll let you know what dates when the cops let me know.

        • Irene Zion says:


          that was very discerning of you, however I do not think there is such a thing as a productive and moderately useful free-range hippie. Hippies are by definition unproductive and totally useless.

          Canning meat is hard.

          My dad was in the depression and he said if he never tasted another bite of pickled rabbit, it would be too soon!

          You have a good loyal wife, there Anon. Treasure her. I’m sure she has the dates written down in her diary.

        • Anon says:

          Irene, I must disagree. While they do seem to be few and far between, I have met a few “off the grid” types who were simply self-sufficient, rather hygienic, appreciative of hard currency but prone to preferring barter of services, labor and goods of their own making. more like Depression-era farmers than “hippies”. And I consider the fact that their presence can be a mild attractant to the filthy/lazy to be useful because I can’t carve decoys very well.

          Unless you’re talking about actual tin cans or perhaps some brining method versus pressure canning, I didn’t think canning meat was all that difficult. The trick is keeping a steady pressure level for long enough to kill off the botulism and other nasties. Granted, I’ve only done beef and no lean game but I didn’t think it was all that hard.

        • Irene Zion says:

          But, Anon,

          have you pickled rabbit?
          That is the question.

        • Anon says:

          I have not pickled rabbit but I have seen a lot of Bug Bunny and distinctly remember an episode with two Frenchmen attempting to make “zee peeckled rabbeet”. I don’t think that counts but thought I should mention it.

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          Hey Mr, Carnivore FBI Dude. Yeah, you eating pumpkin seeds and jujubees over the wiretap in the unmarked conversion van. I want you to hear that I do not know these people. I’m on your side. Ask Donnie Brasco!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh. I see, Uche,
          you’re one of the GOOD guys.
          Okay, you’re off the hook then.

        • Irene Zion says:


          I’m glad you mentioned that. I remember those cartoons now. I’ll bet they were made at the same time that my poor dad was eating pickled rabbit every night, for want of any other meat during the depression here in the US.

  39. Matt says:


    Oh man. I would have taken that ring back right then and there, put it in my pocket, said “Nevermind,” and left. Because that’s re-fricken’-diculous.

    • Irene Zion says:


      Where have you been?
      You’re missing out on all the fun.
      Tell the truth,
      have you ever thought of pushing a really annoying woman off a cliff?
      Everyone thinks it.
      You just have to do it in such a way as not to get caught.

      • Matt says:

        Sorry. I’ve been working a great deal this week, as well as trying to put the final polish on some stories I’ve been working on, so I’ve been away from the internet for a bit. And there’s honestly been such a flood of new posts this week that I’ve given up trying to keep track of them all – and decided to delay posting one this week, as I don’t want it getting lost in the shuffle.

        And as for pushing an annoying woman off a cliff, well, there’s a story I could tell about the time my ex-girlfriend and I went to the Grand Canyon, but I think I’ll save that for another time.

        (No, no one was pushed off a cliff.)

        • Irene Zion says:

          Ma att!

          Unless you are planning to post that story, you simply cannot tease us and leave us unsatisfied.
          That would be mean, and you are not mean.

        • Matt says:


          It’s not much of a story, really.

          We were driving cross-country and decided to stop at the canyon. We spent the night in a hotel & drove up to it in the late morning. She’s someone who categorically refuses to eat breakfast, so by the time we were about to hit the trail along the south rim (about 11 or so) she was pitching a little fit about being hungry, but refused to eat any of the jerky or trail mix I’d packed along. She wanted a full meal, and had assumed – for reasons to this day I do not understand – that there would somehow just be a restaurant there where she could get one. It was hugely frustrating to deal with, and really put a damper on the rest of the day.

  40. Irene Zion says:


    Were it I?
    I would have slipped, totally accidentally, and nudged her off the cliff side into oblivion.
    But then, the older I get, the smaller my ability to take being annoyed.
    I’m POSITIVE you wouldn’t have done that, ever.

    • Matt says:

      We were still at the visitor’s center, with the rim nowhere in sight, so opportunities for “accidents” weren’t plentiful.

      I did take more than a little delight in pointing out that assuming there would be McDonald’s or something right in the middle of a National Park was about the stupidest thing I’d ever heard, especially coming from someone who habitually bragged about how she had way more common sense than the people around her.

      I should also state for the record that I DID recommend she have breakfast that morning, especially since the hotel offered guests one for free.

  41. Tim says:

    I’m with Ben. We tried to make those potatoes (why the hell do you add an ‘e’ when pluralizing potato?) a few times, a series of failures. It’s just not possible without powers.

    Shoe-fashion doesn’t make any sense. Women want to wear those ridiculous things that make them walk like they’re holding in a big dump. Women on TV all wear them, unless it’s a medical show or some police shows, as if to say, “I’m working hard. I don’t conform to fashion standards when I’m working hard!” They’re obviously not comfortable, ladies. Don’t give in!

    It’s becoming harder to find men’s shoes now, too. All these douchebags, with their really, really long shoes.

  42. Irene Zion says:


    It is true that Ruthie has magical powers, but she can teach you to make the potatoes, if you get the opportunity to watch her do it. She’s very helpful.

    You are totally right. Shoe fashion makes no sense at all, for women or for men.
    I think that those long, long shoes for men are just ridiculous looking.
    Their toes are so far from the end of the shoe!
    Just like the long pointed shoes for women.
    Their toes are nowhere near the end of the shoe.
    But, nevertheless, shoe fashion reigns supreme.
    Who can figure it?
    Pas moi, mon petit, pas moi.

  43. angela says:

    you know i just had to Google “diamond tester” to see what one looks like, and you know, it is a pretty handy size to carry around in one’s purse.

    i wonder if she kept measuring things after the marriage, not that the measure of said thing should change as one ages (does it?).

    hey you know, maybe they’re a match made in heaven. he measures feet all day, of course he’d want someone who carries around a measurer with her all the time.

    • Irene Zion says:


      There you go making me google diamond tester!
      They run pretty expensive! I saw from $90 to about $200.
      I suppose you COULD carry it in your purse, but why?
      I guess that’s the part that I don’t get.
      Why not just love the guy who prepared this marvelous proposal?

      I didn’t think of any other measuring.
      (And I don’t care to partake in thinking about it, thank you.)

  44. Erika Rae says:

    Clearance from somewhere where there is a larger concentration of women with big feet. I’d say the Amazon, because of the myths, but I’ve been there and all the Amazonian women in real life have tiny little feet, and they don’t even wear shoes, most of the time. Waste of perfectly good shoe feet, in my opinion.


    What a crazy, quirky story. I think you were right to say, “Thanks for the shoes” and be on your way.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Erika Rae,

      How can I NOT be a writer when stuff like this lands in my lap time after time?
      It would be a crime, right?

  45. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Must say I sympathize about the wide feet. Narrow. I always have to buy shoes in the UK or Nigeria, or if I buy them here, I get an extra size up to for the slight increase in width, even if it means I have a full half-inch of toe-room. Grr!

    And you know what else really gets me? Those Italian-style pointy-toe jobs. Last I checked, the front of my feet are not pointy, dammit!

    I’d like to take some US shoe designers to that cliff…

    • Irene Zion says:

      Are those the ones that narrow slightly for a long time and end in an inch cut off the triangle? Those are ridiculous! They’re just like women’s shoes with the point that extends three inches from any foot area.

      Did you see in the exchange between Slade and Anon towards the end you yourself got tangled up in a “free-range hippie eating” scandal? Do you really call it pork?
      You need to speak up and defend yourself, methinks.

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        Terms of my government protection status prohibit me from involvement in such blatant lawlessness.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh, gotcha.
          You’re off the hook then, Uche.
          (This time.)

        • Anon says:

          Oh? Oh. OH! Yes, Uche, I understand entirely. It was some other fellow that was with us. And – [insert broad, exaggerated wink] – I wouldn’t touch blatant lawlessness with a ten-foot pole myself, either. No. Sir. Ee.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Only law-abiding citizens on this site.
          It’s a rule!
          We self-regulate for the morally and societally superior.
          For real.

  46. Judy Prince says:

    “free-range hippie”, Irene?! Love that.

  47. Irene Zion says:

    Oh Judy, if only I could claim that wonderful phrase, but, alas, it was coined by the brilliant and witty Anon himself.
    I love it, too.

  48. Judy Prince says:

    Indeed, Irene, Anon is Amanda Reckonwith!

    His coinage, though, may cause a rise in hippie prices.
    As counter-action, FDA could stipulate that packages
    of hippies contain the warning: “fed from dumpster-diving.”

    • Anon says:

      Damn! My secret is out (after all, Secret is strong enough for a man but made f- oh… never mind)!

      Judy, I’m sure you can already guess my stance on allowing governmental intrusion on our private industry so sod the FDA! Besides, we’ve already planned to properly label the cans of, um, harvested “other kind” with “Note: Product may contain traces of patchouli, LSD, tie-dye and stems.” I think this is fair to the consumer at large.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Anon, I’m not giving up my tie-dyes!

        BTW, you said “sod” as in the verb not the noun……R U sure you’re not a Brit?

        M16, I should think, at that. A double agent, most likely.

        I need to make a couple phone calls……

        Watch my back, Irene! Won’t be difficult bcuz of the lovely tie-dye designs.

        • Anon says:

          I return you to Casablanca, albeit paraphrased. I am a drunkard. That makes me a citizen of the world.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Anon, that is just so poetic.
          I think I might just swoon.

        • Anon says:

          No need for jewelry and you swoon at the word “drunkard”? Victor scored with you, m’lady.

        • Irene Zion says:

          It wasn’t the “drunkard” part per se, it was Casablanca plus citizen of the world plus drunkard indicating a free-thinker, unfettered and unafraid.
          It certainly wasn’t just the drunk part.
          Sheesh, Anon.

        • Anon says:

          Thank you kindly, Irene. It’s true that I am free-thinking and unafraid but that’s because I’m a drunkard, which is a direct result of my being thoroughly fettered. Life’s funny, huh?

        • Irene Zion says:

          That it is, Anon, that it is.
          I verily hope you got my treatise on “things to buy at Costco today” before you went shopping!

        • Anon says:

          Ach! I did not! Although we did buy those red seedless grapes as well as some delicious raspberries. No blackberries or blueberries to be found, oddly, and I’m the only asparagus-eater – and seafood eater – in the family so it’s hardly worth buying in Costco quantities. But thank you for the recommendations, now that I’ve read them.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Well, Anon, every Costco has different stuff, depending on what part of the country it’s in.
          Here in Miami the seafood is amazing. The blackberries kick ass.
          You’re probably in Kansas, who knows what they have there.

        • Anon says:

          Actually, it a sprawling underground complex beneath the Montana/Wyoming border. But we have a movie theatre and a Taco Bell in the cafeteria so it’s cool.

          I miss seafood. Not as much as money but, still, I miss it.

        • Irene Zion says:

          So, Anon, up where you are, I’ll bet they have bull pizzles in the dog and cat treat section.
          If you DO have them there, would you scarf up about 10 pkgs and mail them to me?
          I swear I’ll pay you back for them and for the postage and trouble.
          My dogs are jonesing!

        • Anon says:

          There’s something beyond disturbing about the phrase “scarfing up bull pizzles” (my dog prefers pig ears, btw). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to bake some bread with my daughter. Sans pizzles. Both the daughter and the bread.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I’m making sour dough Italian tomorrow or Monday, because we’re having guests on Friday before the great destruction of the kitchen. I better make Challah too, come to think of it.

          Pig ears are eaten in one minute by both my Goldens.
          Bull Pizzles take at least 10 minutes.
          It’s a much better treat, but the North Miami Beach Costco stopped carrying them!
          Oh woe is they! (Brooklyn and Kimchee.)

          (Did you see that I got wordpress to accept an arrow pointing upwards?
          It only took me 2 hours! HUZZAH!)

      • Irene Zion says:

        No seeds, either, right?
        Seeds would turn people off.
        You could have the seeded and the seedless.
        (Some people need the roughage.)

        • Anon says:

          Too funny. I’m going to Costco in about two hours and now will have to explain to my daughter why I’m snickering at the seedless grapes.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I just returned from Costco, Anon!
          I got fabulous mussels and clams today! If you like them, they are not fresher anywhere. When they aren’t totally fresh they pitch them. (Or give them to a homeless shelter before they go bad or something.) Also the asparagus was top notch as well as the french green beans. Oh! And the grape tomatoes are so fresh. I bought two because I eat them like candy.
          I was disappointed though because they didn’t have pine nuts today so I’ll have to make my pesto with pecans, which is okay, but I like a mixture.
          They also didn’t have bull pizzels. Bull pizzels are the greatest dog treat ever. They used to carry them, but it’s been months, so I think it’s off their list.
          They have huge beautiful blackberries today, and they are as sweet as can be. Wish I had bought more.
          This is the end of the Costco commercial for today.

  49. Irene Zion says:

    You are a wise one.
    We should scarf up those cans of pork-flavored, wild-range hippie, while the prices are still low!

  50. Frank says:


    You’re absolutely right -those shoes aren’t made for walking, no, not al ALL!

    They’re made for -along with Sally’s flirty skirt -SASHAYING! Why waste such a cool pair of shoes on mere walking…???

    • Irene Zion says:


      I accept that they are actually made for sashaying.
      But sashaying in these shoes will be even harder than simple walking.
      I’ll wear them Friday, but only expect a couple of swishes.

  51. ksw says:

    shoes are great. they don’t mind if you gain ten pounds. they don’t wear out once you own too many. i am not sure about polka dots. seem like the bastard child of patterns. a fine spectator pump would be a better choice for the i zion i know…ksw

    • Irene Zion says:


      I know polka-dots don’t go with anything, but I have just always loved them. I own lots of polka-dot things. it’s too bad you can’t wear them all together.
      One thing that is really humiliating is that you are a guy and you recommend spectator pumps for me. I am the gender who is supposed to understand shoes, and yet I have not a clue what spectator pumps are or what they look like at all.
      I am red with shame.

  52. Susan Gomez says:

    I also do not have cute shoe feet. I own many pair of cute heels…I just can’t wear any of them. It seems I have an extra toe, the result of having always been barefoot at the beach as a child.
    I keep the painful shoe in case a lovely sitting event should arise, and the walk to get to it is short enough for me not to be in tears at its inception.
    So, bravo for the coup of actually finding a pair that mostly fit.
    Does Ruthie pay housecalls?!
    The saleman’s story was kind of pathetic, but ended better than I imagined which was with the CZ ring going irretrievably overboard. Clearly my cut glass has been half empty.

  53. Irene Zion says:


    I have a friend, a guy, not the one up there (⇑) who is very much a dandy and wears only the finest clothes. (Obviously this is a man with no children, duh.)
    He saw my feet and actually told me that there is an operation I should have to cut off the pinky toe and the one next to it, along with the knuckles and bones below it. This way my new, three-toed feet would finally fit into beautiful shoes.
    Did you hear that? He wanted me to have a large part of the front of my feet removed, for fashion.
    I find that to be just a tad over the edge, though I adore him to bits.
    (I don’t actually know anyone who isn’t just a tad over the edge, now that I think on it….)

  54. Been there to Zion. And I think I was on Angel’s Landing. I took Jordan when he was about six years old (He’s 20 now). We went with my dad a few times when he was still alive. It’s about two hours from Las Vegas.

    The climb was terrifying. Sheer cliffs. I squeezed Jordan’s hand so tight that I’m getting sweaty hands while I type this.

    I’m sidetracked. Your story of the man with the diamond ring and the chick with the diamond tester is rad. Because he knew what he wanted, and she knew what she wanted. And you never know what you want except for those polkadot shoes…lol.

  55. Irene Zion says:

    I’m going to have to go see this place, Nick,
    Everyone says how great it is.
    But I am NOT walking across a walk with no sides to get to an arduous, scary climb.
    Not in my makeup.
    Nowhere in my makeup.
    My kids are brave about that sort of thing,
    but they didn’t get it from me.

  56. Marie says:

    Dear Irene,

    Happy to learn that you found a beautiful pair of shoes that fit you! The interesting part of the story for me though is the reference to Angel’s Landing. I too have been there and took the treacherous climb up that mountain, trying all the way to enjoy the expanse of nature and beauty all around me. I say “trying” because all the while I was doing it mostly with my eyes closed because my heart was in my throat and the sweat pouring down my brow knowing that any slight mistake putting one foot in front of the other would result in a 1200 foot drop to the valley floor. Needless to say, I never made it to the top and right there experienced my first real “panic attack”. I found a teeny bitsy landing to park my ass and held on for dear life, telling people to “go around me” (yeh, right). Was I the first person ever to cause a traffic jam on the walk up, I don’t know…all I knew was that I wasn’t moving for anyone or anything. In my mind I had myself being rescued off tha t ledge by helicopter, Martians, anything but turning around and walking down. To this day I do believe an “angel” was there by my side because after about 20 minutes there was a whisper in my ear that said “you can do this, just take your time…I’m with you”. So I got up, turned around, and white-knuckled all the way found my way down the ledge. Zion National Park still remains one of my favorite national parks in the US and would highly recommend a visit if you ever get out that way. Climbing Angel’s Landing though I will leave to your own judgment!

  57. Irene Zion says:

    Hi Marie!

    I’m wearing those shoes for a few minutes on Friday. They already have a date!

    I am surprised at how many people have gone to Angel’s Landing, what with how scary it is. I understand wanting to see such beauty first hand, but not as the last thing I see on the planet!

    I completely understand panic attacks. Once, a few years ago, we were walking the canopy of the Amazon Rain Forest on this very narrow, (read non-tourist size,) swinging rope walkway with a rope walk underneath and waist-high ropes on either side to hold onto. Our group was held up for quite a spell when some poor woman from an earlier group just froze after walking fully half of it. She simply couldn’t move, and no one could get by her. She had to get down, I mean there wasn’t anything for it but to keep walking, but she just couldn’t do it. Eventually her group leader backtracked to her and slowly, ever so slowly, she finally began moving again.

    I love that you would have been happy with martians saving you from their space ship! I know that’s how I would feel, if anyone had somehow talked me into starting the climb!

    I’m going to have to be satisfied with pictures and with eye-witness accounts of its beauty, I’m afraid. I am Chicken with a capital C.

  58. Amy says:

    Everyone has a story and some are more open about telling them to strangers than others. Funny how we all seem to be connected some way.

  59. Irene Zion says:

    Amy, It’s funny.
    I come from a family where everything was a big secret.
    I believe I have broken that mold!
    I’m the kind that tells anyone who will listen anything.
    I think that’s why my kids are afraid to read my stuff.
    (Pain connects us, Amy.
    Just kidding.)

  60. Irene,

    Thanks for helping me get the truth out about my wife. I’ve been struggling for years to escape the clutches of that demon child and your post has given me the strength to finally leave her. If I can just get to the bedroom to grab my wallet and keys without her seeing me…


      • Irene Zion says:

        Oh, Shoe Salesman’s wife,

        That wasn’t your husband. It couldn’t have been. Please let him out of the cage.
        He lives in Kansas, don’t you know, so he can’t be your husband.
        It must be some other shoe salesman with a similar story.
        Please don’t brand him, or hit him with the branding iron.
        That could get you in trouble with the police, if anyone knew who you were.
        Lots of people are watching you, shoe salesman’s wife.
        You’d better not hurt him.
        We are legion, here on TNB.
        We will find you and we will punish you if you hurt him again.

        • Anon says:

          (Wait – I’ll confuse her and buy him time.)

          Mrs. Shoe Salesman, have you ever considered… even if only for a second… that your diamond tester might be a counterfeit? Who watches the watchers? Who tests the testers? Perhaps you should have it evaluated professionally and then retest the stones in your collection. Go! At once! There isn’t a moment to lose!

          [sotto voce] (Salesman! Once the door closes, head for the window. Quickly.)

        • Irene Zion says:

          that was really slick!
          I think she fell for it, money-gruber that she is.
          I hope the shoe salesman grabs his wallet & keys & doesn’t hesitate.
          Crossing my fingers.

        • Anon says:

          Thank you. And let this be a lesson if you realize you’ve married poorly! A credit card, a few twenties, a keyring flashlight, a spare car key and a form of ID will all fit just fine in an Altoids tin, which will hide discretely in, say, your garden. Don’t waste time looking for stuff in the house! Out the window, dig through a few inches of dirt and get out of Dodge!

          I swear, some people just have not seen enough horror movies. Staying in house = bad.

        • Listen here, Mr. Anon. I’m a very important woman with a very important job and I seek truth, justice, and hyperbole, which after all is the American way, and I know people in high places. You’re not so Anon to those who run the Internet. So stop talking philosophy with me before I track you down and expose you to the world. Literally.

          P.S. If the diamond hadn’t been real I would have pushed him off the land bridge.

        • Anon says:

          Mrs. Salesman, I apologize sincerely and deeply and bear you no ill will whatsoever. And I’m certain that, now that I have made nice, you will gladly keep my secrets. I trust you.

          Now… please indulge an odd request – it’s harmless and rather humorous, really – and move your head to left of your monitor. As little as four inches should do nicely.

        • MISTER Anon. You think I’m that dumb? You think I’m a dumb dumb dummy? Why don’t you come over here and EXPLAIN to the VICTIM how you think I’M the DUMB one? The VICTIM is the stupid one here, not ME.

          What? Screws behind my ear? What are you talking about??

          PASS ME THE JAMESONS1!!1111!!!!

        • Richard Cox says:

          Too far? You people are no fun.

        • Irene Zion says:

          This is way not too far!
          Anon is the avenger of all creepy women who should not marry wonderful men.
          Most people would applaud Anon’s initiative.
          I know that I do!
          What a guy, that Anon!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Pass Anon the Jamesons!
          Don’t be rude.

        • Anon says:

          Richard?!? That was you?? But I just got back from-… *sigh* well, screw it. She had it coming anyway.

          The only thing that was “too far” was lovely Irene’s praise of me – totally undeserved. I just got a little uncharacteristically busy yesterday (; and likely will again today.

          And, I hate to say it, but I tried Jameson’s this past weekend as I promised Slade that I would. And… um…. I’m sorry but it’s still a blend. I have 748ml still available for anyone that sends me a mailing address. I am willing to try Bushmills (especially if I can find their 21 year old single-malt) but I have to give a thumbs’ down on the Jameson’s. I hope you don’t think less of me.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Doesn’t anyone ever click the URLs of the poster’s name? I tried to give myself away and no one bothers to look! Hahaha.

          No worries on the Jameson. I don’t actually drink it very often. I thought you guys did so I always joke around about it.

          I drink dark rum, mainly. I hope you’ll still be my friend.

        • Anon says:

          Are you saying you’re Nancy Grace? I had no idea! And you had me at “I drink….” 🙂

        • Richard Cox says:

          Well, no, but the Shoe Salesman pointed to a site of mine. Except I kept having trouble with the URL autopopulating.

          As far as Nancy Grace, I tried to think of the rudest, stupidest, meanest bitch on the planet, and it didn’t take me long to come up with her.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I tried to write to that e mail to find out what HNAtest02 meant, but it bounced back.
          All I could find was this:
          I have to admit to complete imbecility here.
          Anyone have any ideas?

        • Irene Zion says:

          Dark Rum is the only dark hard liquor I can drink. All the rest of these manly men have been making fun of me. Thanks for joining up with me. We don’t need hair on our chests!

        • Anon says:

          I have nothing against rum in the least – it’s sort of “fun”. But when I think “liquor”, I think of single-malt Scotch whisky, especially the Highlands. Mmmm…. Another three hours or so of this nonsense and I can do more serious “thinking”.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Oh yeah. HNA is Hilti North America. That’s the company I used to work for. It was an email we used for testing. I put that in there so my gravatar wouldn’t show up.

          I can drink any liquor but I typically prefer dark rum or vodka. If that makes me a girly man, so be it. It gets me just as inebriated as anything else. I’m not sure how the taste of something denotes manliness, but I suppose we have to divide ourselves up somehow.

          Speaking of thinking, I thought way too much last night. I hate it when I do that. Ugh.

        • Irene Zion says:

          No no no.
          You are a sensible manly man.
          (Who sometimes thinks too much, but I like that about you.)

        • Becky says:

          Totally jumping in here.

          The only dark rum in my life is Mount Gay.

          Stifle your snickers. It’s wonderful and chocolaty. (STIFLE THEM!)

          I drink almost no hard liquor, but when I do, it’s Bombay Sapphire + Tonic, Mount Gay and Coke, or Jack and Coke. Or just Jack. In which case someone’s either getting punched or laid.

        • Anon says:

          Okay, out of curiosity (and I don’t mind hijacking since Irene appears to be all over this), where did this “manly” thing come in? I drink what I drink because I like it. I also enjoy Sambuca and a good tawny port.

          Becky, I am currently enjoying the vanilla and caramel overtones of the Macallan 12 beside me. No one’s getting laid here tonight (yeesh – joys of domestic bliss) but I’m fairly confident no one’s getting punched, either. No relation to the choice of beverage, though.

        • Becky says:

          If no one is getting laid or punched, you’re doing whiskey wrong. I’m sure 90% of Ireland would agree.

          We’ve already established that you’re a soft-handed, wine-drinking, pretty, pretty princess, so it does not surprise me at all that you would have found the LEAST masculine whiskey ever and failed to do anything to masculinize it.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          If you drink a double of Jack, does that mean someone’s getting punched AND laid?

        • Anon says:

          Says the Mount Gay drinker.

          No, Becky, I’m doing whisky perfectly right and if Ireland had a fucking clue they wouldn’t just now be getting in spitting distance of self-governance so excuse me if I give not the tiniest, most princessly fuck-all about their collective opinion (my grandmother ran guns for “the brotherhood” back around the “Great War” so I grew up surrounded by some – ahem – opinions on the matter). I’m just drinking at home and have a pissed-off spouse. Since I’m not big on spousal abuse, angry, drunken infidelity and/or random kid-beating, this means no getting laid or breaking someone’s face tonight. Of course, I am having a small, ill-tempered rant which is further evidence that I’m “doing whisky right” and there’s always the slight chance that God will smile on me and send me a home invasion so I can work out some of this pent-up tension.

          Or I’ll just drink myself unconscious. I’m good either way.

        • Anon says:

          @Simon: No, just that you don’t learn the first time. 🙂

        • Simon Smithson says:

          See, this is why I like Bacardi. It’s all about the love.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @Becky #1, (I can’t get any closer!)
          Okay, so I usually drank Bacardi lemon with diet lemonade, then I started Bacardi orange with diet orangeade and then one day I made a mistake and bought Bacardi Peach. I didn’t use it for a while, because I thought it sounded terrible. One day I tried the Peach with diet lemonade, and it’s fantastic. That’s what I drink now, when I don’t have sake or enough people to finish a bottle of wine.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @ Simon #1,


          @ Simon #2,

          Yes it is.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @ Anon,

          I love your rants.
          Everyone loves your rants.
          You should rant more often.

        • Anon says:

          Irene, I am a recovering rantaholic so I need to keep it on a tight leash. But thank you for your appreciation.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I am a very good judge of these sorts of things, and I think you keep your rantings to only the most necessary to keep your sanity, which, after all, is also vital to your wellbeing.

        • Anon says:

          Hm. And yet you think I should rant more often. Does this mean you think my sanity is slipping? 😉

          Irene, you are a dear.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Honestly, Anon,

          Whose sanity isn’t at the brink today?

          (Yesterday a five-year old called me “pretty” and today handsome, square-jawed Anonymous in his felt hat says I’m a “dear.” I think I’ve had a nice couple of days.)

    • Irene Zion says:

      Well, Good for you, Shoe salesman!
      The consensus here on TNB is that you got taken by a harridan.
      Maybe you should get your wallet and keys while she’s sleeping, just to be safe….

  61. sheree says:

    Great story. Those shoes are killah!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Thanks, sheree!

      I plan to walk to the kitchen and back to the table several times tomorrow night in them.
      It’s okay, I have bandaids for later….

  62. Irene Zion says:

    Okay, folks, I did what I said and more.
    I wore those polka-dot high heels from 3:30 until 10:30PM.
    I thought I would have to cut them off my feet, but, no!
    I just took them off and sighed and put on my flip flops to clean up.
    (I never said I’d wear them to clean up. The Brownies that clean up at night never wear heels. They are known by all to wear comfortable shoes for the clean-up.)

  63. kristen says:

    Heh, wowie–that/his story.

    More importantly–love them shoes! Polka-dots=pretty much the cutest ever.

  64. Irene Zion says:

    Yeah, kristen, I feel the same way…Polka Dots = Total Adorableness.
    I was so shocked that he would even tell me this story, let alone marry the girl.
    Boggles the imagination, it does.

  65. Hay Admin , i like with u posting. LOL Please come to my blog

  66. Hello Friend , i like with ur posting.

  67. Irene Zion says:

    Thank you very much, Tatiana and Shirley!
    I am happy to have you reading my stories.

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