On the Vessel*

Mr. Darcy and I had a lovely jaunt to Friday Harbor. We set out early with a bagel for him and an egg sandwich for me and two very large iced teas. The road was free & clear because we were driving away from all the action in town (Rock ‘n Roll Marathon and Gay Pride). We made it to the ferry in plenty of time though met a crushing blow when the toll booth operator said, “That will be $65.35, please.”

Um. WHAT?

Yep, that’s what it costs to take one vehicle (driver included ) and one passenger on the ferry boat. We kind of looked at each other wide-eyed and were like, “well, we’re here and it’s vacation (of sorts).” SHRUG. GULP. We eventually loaded onto the ferry and made our way to the upper deck to the gally (is that what that area is called?) to buy a snack. TIP: Bring your own snacks because FACT: the food on the ferry is not good. Dried out pretzel anyone? By all means if you’re in the market for some stale m & m’s stop on in!

We stepped out to the deck and a gust of wind lifted the skirt of my dress and I subsequently gave anyone and everyone who might be looking a free show. Nice argyle patterned panties, Sizz. I took it in stride, tucked my skirt between my thighs and snapped a few photos. Because I’m a trooper like that.

Here's us out on the ferry deck. Not pictured: my argyle underwear. (You're welcome.)

There were wild children everywhere. It was a bit overwhelming but not as annoying as the family seated behind us having really inane conversations that I wished I could stop eavesdropping on. Mr. Darcy swears he heard the older lady say, “Oh didn’t I tell you that story? How one year we found a can of cranberries in our pantry and then after that, every year, we have cranberries with Thanksgiving dinner?” His response: “THAT IS NOT A STORY, LADY! Everyone has cranberries with Thanksgiving dinner! YOU ARE BORING.” You see why we are together. TIP: Please try having interesting conversations that we can overhear.

Well hello, Friday Habor's harbor.

We arrived at Friday Harbor in plenty of time to find some food and wander around. The weather was magnificent sunny and breezy- and the view could not be beat. There isn’t much going on in the town itself- a lot of little shops and restaurants and places to sign up for a whale watching, kayaking or boat tour. We had mediocre burgers and forgetful servers at the Blue Water Bar & Grill (take a pass on that one). We drove up to our motel and it was just a few blocks from the harbor. TIP: You don’t need a car in Friday Harbor. FACT: It will save you at least $50 if you walk onto the ferry.

The motel was nice and offered us an alternative mode of transportation. I insisted that we wear helmets because I am a killjoy like that. I’m rather fond of my brains and Mr.Darcy’s. Besides, he hadn’t ridden a bike in about 15+ years!

FACT: Beach Cruisers are hard to ride uphill.

I am used to a ten speed bike. These bikes, while rating very high in the retro cool factor, were excruciatingly uncomfortable on our, uh, parts. Something about the tilt of the seats make it painful to sit on them despite trying to adjust them. We manned up with our manly helmets on and took the streets. TIP: Beach cruisers are more fun to ride if you are A) in great shape and B) on flat land. FACT: Friday Harbor is basically one big hill. We rode a bit and found a lovely bench to kill time on so that we could fool the front desk people at the motel into thinking we actually rode the entire time we were gone. (We did not. Shhh!) This was our view:

Not a bad place to kill some time, am I right?

Here’s a little sexy for you:

FACT: Bike helmets are not sexy. But sexier than brains on the pavement.

(Mr. Darcy refuses to allow me to post a photo of him in a bike helmet. He says it makes his melon head look even bigger.)

We decided dinner was in order and after some Yelp research decided to eat at the Backdoor Kitchen. They were rated 4.5 stars and while the price seemed steep we figured we might as well just go for it. Everything is more expensive on the island since it has to be shipped in. (Or at least that’s the lie they are telling all the tourists.) (Kidding, that’s really a fact.) We walked to the restaurant only to discover that the same rowdy group of people that were disturbing the peace at the motel were there taking over half the patio dining area. Great! We found the service friendly but sporadic. The children of the rowdy group were running amok and unattended. One girl practically fell out of the bushes by our table. Yes, I am being one of those childless, judgy people but listen, you know I love kids, I just don’t approve of kids running around screaming with no adult supervision (they were busy drinking) at a 4.5 star, $$$ restaurant. The food was sadly mediocre and rather flavorless. Mr. Darcy’s cream sauce was bland. My lamb, while cooked well, wasn’t very seasoned and the sides were just so-so. We made the best of it but definitely didn’t feel the price of the bill was in line with the quality of the food.

(Here is where I discover that the second half of my post didn’t save when I originally wrote it and I check the clock realizing I don’t have time to rewrite it. DAMN IT!)

Here’s some other shots that capture the trip:

I'm on a boat! (self-portrait, of course)

Mr. Darcy's first ferry ride.

Robes were really big in the '80's.

Side note: The hotel came with robes. Mr. Darcy put one on saying, “Robes were really big in the ’80’s. My whole family used to wear them.” I inquired if he wore pjs with the robe and he responded indignantly, “OF COURSE I WORE PAJAMAS!” as if I had accused his family of being a pack of nudists.

Besides wearing robes, Mr. Darcy is great at napping. Here he is napping in style on the ferry ride home:

Hobo nap!

And of course, it’s not fun in the sun or a vacation until you have enjoyed an ice cream cone.

Best "meal" I had on the island. It was peanut butter with chocolate swirl- reminded me of my childhood.

And there you have it!

*I kept referring to the ferry as a vessel because Mr. Darcy was making fun of how I pronounce ferry. Yes, there will be a video post about this soon.

They’re Special

For the most part, the people who come to dance class are a bunch of women in all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities who come to get their sweat on. It’s a supportive, welcoming environment where our teachers encourage us to have fun, listen to our bodies, and feel the joy that comes with movement. And I love it for all those reasons. I couldn’t help but notice a few standouts in class though. Some particularly special folks who deserve mention. . .

The “I’m a Dancer” Dancer: She has a hot body- lithe, curvy, bendy. She wears half shirts and stands right at the mirror near the teacher. She is a regular and knows the moves well. So well that she often over-exaggerates the routines to push her work out. She will spin and leap and bend back and down, glistening in sweat, watching her reflection always. She annoys the crap out of me mostly because part of me wants to be her (but with a lot less posturing).

The Inappropriate Outfit Dancer: She wears swimsuits or old leotards with her bra showing. Her ample breasts are not well supported. When she bends to stretch to the floor, you can practically see her cervix. She leaves the class a few times in the hour to visit the restroom, I assume to dislodge her skimpy clothing from her butt cheek or re-position her boobs. She makes me uncomfortable. GET SOME SWEATS, LADY.

The Lone Male Dancer: He’s the only man in a sea of ladies. He stands in back and tries to keep up. He is usually 3 steps behind and when it comes to moving his hips, he can’t seem to find them. Good for him for trying though. (Dance class is a great place to pick up chicks.)

The Wild Abandon Dancer: She thinks she is a really good dancer. As in, she’s like a maniac on the floor, “Locking rhythm to the beat of her heart/Changing movement into light/She had danced into the danger zone/When the dancer becomes the dance” but no, she really just flails and takes up too much space on a crowded dance floor.  I avoid her every single class because I learned the hard way that she would encroach on my personal dance space. And, inexplicably, something about how she wiggles her butt makes me filled with ire. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

The What’s This Song? Dancer: She’s older and doesn’t really know most of the songs. She’s not sure of the move where we gyrate our hips and chest. She goes along during the parts where we bust out some hip hop moves. She prefers when the teacher plays old soul or funk tunes. She can electric slide like nobody’s business. I hope I am still dancing at her age.

 

Music Love, Local Edition

It wouldn’t be nice of me to keep these two Seattle gems to myself so here you go:

Alessandra Rose opened for Kris Orlowski last night at the Columbia City Theater and OH MY HELL I adore her voice. It’s like Patsy Cline meets Charity from The Head and The Heart (another local great).

If you love this song as much as I do, you can download it for FREE. There is a link there under the video on You Tube.

Speaking of Kris Orlowski, he’s the next big thing in Seattle. Check it out now so you can say you knew him when (and also if you enjoy awesomeness).

Again, if you’re loving on Kris, there is a free download on his site.

Whirlwind

You guys? I’m tired.

I have a good excuse though.

Friday, after getting my hair colored (adios grays!), I took Mr. Darcy out for dinner (his favorite, pizza) and then I made him drive because I’d had two vodka tonics (safety first!). On the way to our friend’s engagement party a familiar song came on the radio, one that I dance to in Nia class, and so I gave Mr. Darcy a car dance to which he claimed I was being “distracting”. My sweet moves distract all the boys while they drive (sang like that milkshake song). (Maybe I should film it for your entertainment? . . . Maybe not.) We arrived at the party a little bit late and wouldn’t you know it? A train was blocking our path from where we parked to the bar. So I said enthusiastically, “Let’s jump it!” Please keep in mind that the train was stopped. Go ahead and think us foolish if you must. Mr. Darcy went along with it and we grabbed the rails and hauled ourselves over. I was laughing the whole time and as I went to take my last step off the ladder, the train started moving. Phew! We just made it.

I hosted my book group on Saturday and got it into my head I would make two new dishes. This might have been do-able and not stress-inducing if I had not also been cleaning my house in preparation for their arrival AND my friend RaeRae was landing that very morning for a 3 day stay. Everything turned out delicious- my first-ever flourless chocolate cake (easy & scrumptious) and a yummy kale, artichoke, ricotta “pie” plus my newest obsession, roasted broccoli. I was happy to have my book group friends meet one of my best friends. Then it was pedicures with my mom and sister in early celebration of Mother’s Day and a visit to a local wine bar. Since we’d already started drinking wine earlier in the evening, RaeRae & I decided to just keep going and, oops!, by the end of the evening we’d polished off 2 bottles. (No wonder I am still so dehydrated.)

RaeRae & my Mom outside Bottlehouse, taking time to smell the flowers.

Sunday brought the sun so we took to the streets for a thrift store shopping spree where in we both scored some majorly cute stuff. I forced RaeRae to try on clothes she would not normally pick out- a top with some stripe action and a dress that wasn’t completely black and to the her ankles- and I think she saw the positives of A) trying on clothes to see how they FIT and B) going outside your comfort zone. It was the first weekend of the farmer’s market and my absolute favorite vendor was back- Patty Pan! They make the most delicious quesadilla’s with tons of veggies.

NOM! NOM! NOM!

Then we took off for Willow’s Lodge for a night of just us girls. We splurged a bit but it was worth it. We wanted to have girl time to unwind but not have to drive forever to feel like we were having a getaway. Willow’s Lodge is in the epicenter of a lot of local wineries and next door to Redhook Brewery. Any hotel that greets us with a glass of wine wins me over. Though, after all our wine drinking the night before we skipped wine tasting and stuck with other libations like a filthy Martini (her) and a White Russian (me). The White Russian was a post-dinner drink and it inspired me to don the cushy robe that came with the room and get all Lebowski.

Why are robes so unsexy? It's like a throw blanket meets a mumu.

The room was decadent with a deep, big tub that we both took turns soaking in and comfy beds and a fireplace. After dinner and tub soaking and cocktails, we zoned in front of the flat screen tv and by zoned I mean I fell asleep and left RaeRae alone to watch The Judds reality tv show. In the morning she proclaimed she was traumatized by it because their story is so damn sad and that Naomi is a piece of work. We went full on splurge and ordered room service which RaeRae had to handle because the ear plugs I was wearing were so powerful I slept through both my alarm and the knocking on the door. We milked every minute of that hotel room and left just before the check out time. Ahhh, girls getaways are so good.

I tried to take this at least 10 times. RaeRae is beautifully tall and I am pleasingly short which makes taking self-portraits together challenging.

We got home in time to pick up Mr. Darcy and join Kaply for a leisurely lunch at Poquitos, a new joint in our neighborhood that I will definitely be returning to. Then it was off to the airport for my dear friend and off to therapy for me. I came home after my appointment totally and completely frazzled and exhausted. I managed to eat cereal for dinner and watch “The Killing” and then fall asleep before 10pm. I loved spending quality time with one of my dearest friends. It does my heart good to be around her- someone that makes me laugh and gets me and vice-versa.

I think you will agree, we really sucked the marrow out of the weekend!

A 4 Day Celebration Worthy of Turning 38

Ringing in my 38th birthday was a lot of fun.  Here’s photographic proof:

Friday night date with my sister at a local wine bar, she shot this:

It was the end of happy hour so I had to double up. HAD TO. (No, that is not a young Gary Busey behind me.)

Saturday after getting my groove on at Zumba (no photos because that’d just be waaaay to sweaty and red-faced), Mr. Darcy & I drove up to see the tulips:

This is not a picture of tulips but rather the best part of the adventure which was NOT the tulips.

I had very much-anticipated seeing the tulips but sadly with all the rain and cold we’ve had, very few had opened and the fields were VERY muddy (re: slippery!). Plus, there were throngs of screaming, wild children running amok. SO! Mr. Darcy and I have now made a pact that we will not visit places with the word “field” or “farm” or “patch” in them unless we have children with us. We feel very good about this agreement.

Sunday was breakfast with my family at my favorite joint:

Entertaining the nephew while we wait for PANCAKES.

As we were eating our pancakes my nephew says to me, “After this we can go to your house and have your pancakes,” to which my heart melted a little bit because that boy sure does love my pancakes. He’s declared them The Best. And tells my Mom that her pancakes are the worst but she makes really good hot dogs. (Ha!)

Double B behaves while Supple doesn't.

Kaply came because, yes, she's part of my family. Plus, she really likes hollandaise sauce.

My Mom has adopted Supple.

My sister and I are big on self-portraiture.

Then I met my friends Aimee and Meghan for massages. They’d never been to this particular place but I go all the time. Unfortunately, the masseuse I got had hands that reeked of cigarette smoke and he wheezed like he was down a lung. It was giving me flashbacks. Uncomfortable flashbacks. Luckily most of the massage is focused on the feet (it’s a foot reflexology place) so I didn’t have to smell him for long. As Meghan was being massaged, the guy’s elbow working some magic, something popped in her back to which the guy leaned over and whispered in her ear, “Your rib.” Hey, now she doesn’t have to visit the chiropractor for a while!

Jen (pictured in the middle) met us later for Vietnamese food. It was a good girlie time.

Can you believe we’re just now getting to my ACTUAL birthday?

Mr. Darcy insisted on giving me his gift as he sat on the couch in his towel pre-shower. (Hubba!) And then I was off to Nia before meeting up with my Mom and nephew for “an adventure”. They came over with lunch and lit a candle in a homemade brownie and sang to me.

The sun was actually shining for most of the day. A birthday miracle!

Finn is sprouting like a weed. And he is very athletic. He prefers sports to the arts. I'm not sure my sister knows what to do with that.

Then Supple picked me up for a pre-dinner cocktail wherein we ate olives and talked about her inability to flirt. (I tried to give her tips- first one, Confidence with a capital C.)

I wore a new dress which fits great when I stand up but when I sit it feels too tight. Ooof! I wore it anyhow because what the hell, I'm 38!

Mr. Darcy took me to Dahlia Lounge which was delicious from start to finish. They even comp’d my half-glass flight of wine that accompanied each dish because it was my birthday. They also gave generous pours (so it is no wonder I fell asleep on the couch at 10pm- that was a lot of wine).

Making a wish on the most delicious coconut cream pie EVER.

My man sure does spoil me. I'm so lucky.

It was an awesome birthday from start to finish. From thoughtful friends calling, texting or sending gifts (you shouldn’t have!) to family going above and beyond to make me feel special, I loved every second of it. I can’t really believe I am 38 though the lines on my face remind me daily. I think 38 is going to be a really good year.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Party with a Beat

I think I’ve found a new reason to bring my girlfriends together.

You know what I’m going to say, right? I don’t even need to say it. But I will anyhow.

Dancing!

Duh.

Since Mr. Darcy was away last week in New Jersey for a quick trip to visit his homeland before starting his new gig, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to throw an impromptu dance party. I mean I had wine and a Wii. What else did I need?

Have you tried Just Dance 2? Or, The Michael Jackson Experience? Because seriously, those two Nintendo games are just about the most fun I’ve had in a really long time. The Michael Jackson Experience is harder than Just Dance 2- that Michael had some really complicated and cool moves. You should have seen RCB & Booyah Girl bustin’ a move to “Dirty Diana” though. It was hot!

Terrell proclaimed she was going to dance her ass off- really, she said this to me right after we’d just finished sweating buckets in Zumba- and she wasn’t joking. She was the highest scorer every time she’d dance. I particularly enjoyed when she, Supple and I were all up dancing to “Proud Mary”.  It was just the opening of the song where the beat is pretty slow and steady. T says, “Is this how it is the entire song?” with a twinge of disappointment in her voice to which Supple and I replied in unison, “OH NO!” Because if you know that song, you know it gets kicked up 100 notches and you end up dancing in a maniacal frenzy.

Which we did while laughing.

It is the most fun. Sincerely. And a good work out!

You totally want to be invited to my next dance party, don’t you?

My Boyfriend, The Artist

“I need to go to Ikea to get some frames.”

“Okay. . . but why?”

“Oh for my art show at the gallery next week.”

This is how my boyfriend announces to me that he is having his first art show.

“Is there going to be a reception of some kind?”

“Nah.”

“But why not? Don’t you want your friends to come out and see this? It’s kind of a big deal.”

“I mean it’s cool, yeah, to have my stuff up for people to see. But people probably won’t come.”

“Listen, do you know who you are dating? I am an event planner! I just mentioned the reception to you and planned it in my  mind. It’s done. We’re doing it. The end.”

Mr. Darcy isn’t one to call attention to himself. Unless you get him riled up in a political discussion.- then you might find it hard to get him to shut up. (He can’t help it. It’s a family trait.) (Also, it’s kinda sexy.) He also labors under the delusion that no one will show up for him. That’s why I had to throw him a surprise birthday party (where in everyone, even people living on the eastside of town, came to celebrate him). That’s why I had to force an artist’s reception on him. Because he doesn’t know how to let the limelight shine on him, even when it’s warranted.

And he’s dating me. Me, who likes to celebrate her birthday for a good week. Me, who does not shy away from talking in front of large groups, making friends with perfect strangers, who plans huge fundraisers and parties for a living. He’s totally in for it, right? Right.

So we sent out a Facebook and email invite to everyone we know. We got some beers and some wine. We raced home from work to get to the place to set up and wait for the friends to arrive. It’s a small place so it felt packed the entire time- and it was a great turn out. DUH. People like him. And want to support him. And besides, we had free booze.

Did I mention we didn’t have time to eat any dinner beforehand? Couple that with the booze and well, um,  yeah. . . I got mighty tipsy. Like fun tipsy not falling down drunk. Like by the end of the party when we were cleaning up, I pretended to drink from an open bottle of wine (because I didn’t want to waste it! Cough.) Like when I repeatedly cried out “chicken sandwich!” because the place we were all going had this yummy chicken sandwich and I was starving.

Chhhhhickkkennn Saaaannnndwwwwwichhhh!

When I was finally eating it I declared it the best chicken sandwich I’d ever had. Sincerely. Forever and ever. Amen.

 

Proof that we are dorks. And that Mr. Darcy is very street.

It was a really good time. Thanks to all who came out!

 

 

Permanent

I’ve been thinking about tattoos.

I have one already. It’s the poor choice of a young girl who just so happened to fall prey to peer pressure. If you must know, it’s a butterfly on my upper/back hip, and due to its location, is rarely seen by most people. I’m grateful for that as I’m not that fond of it. I never got it colored in and it has blurred a bit with the passing of time (almost 18 years). I’ve thought about getting it covered over with something else but nothing has come to mind yet.

I love hearing the story behind the tattoo. The meaning. I’m particularly moved when it is in remembrance of someone dear. My butterfly one has no real story, or at least, not one I like. I went with 3 friends to a tattoo shop so they could all get them. One got a shooting star or half moon (or both?) on her ankle. Another got a sunflower she drew on her pelvis (hi Jenny Two Times!). And my boyfriend at the time got Super Grover on his arm. When I questioned him about permanently inking a Sesame Street character on his arm and how, maybe when he was older he’d regret it, he said to me, “Super Grover will always be cool.” I hope that is still true for him. (And I am relieved we are no longer a couple.)

Mostly I’m thinking about them because I am hoping to get another for my 38th birthday (April 18th if you haven’t marked you calendars). I’m imagining the one I’ve been dreaming of for a couple of years now which I’ve alluded to here before. The one I (almost) feel ready to get. But I am torn because I also love the idea of getting a word tattoo. I’ve seen some really lovely ones and I think they are powerful. But then again, I am a lover of words. So I’m considering combining the two somehow. Lucky for me, I have an artist boyfriend who will draw it for me.

I am wondering – if you had to get a word or symbol tattooed on your body, what would it be? And why?

 

Mission Complete

Mr. Darcy and I set out on a mission.

Maybe it was my bright idea and I dragged him along (willingly) but regardless, the thing to remember about me is when I say I am going to do something, I do it. I can be kind of relentless like that.

And so we saw all ten of the Best Picture Oscar-nominated films.

We almost didn’t make it. We had one final film to see and the Oscars were Sunday. It was Friday night and the movie times for “127 Hours” were 9:30 or 6:50. The earlier time meant we’d have popcorn for diner (nutritious!) while the later time meant we could eat a real meal but I ran the risk of falling asleep (as 10:30 seems to be my witching hour). As we went back and forth weighing our options time was ticking away so we just said fuck it and got in the car thinking we’d get burritos and hide them in my bag. But then Mr. Darcy started waxing poetic about this ham sandwich at the deli down the street so I switched directions and we ran around the store grabbing food so we could rush back to the car. Every minute counted! So of course some jackass decided he needed to block the only exit from the parking garage, backing up 5 cars, while he waited for a man to unload his groceries (at a snail’s pace) so he could have his parking space. Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy and I debated who a bigger ass- the guy in the car blocking everyone and choosing to do so while stopping everyone from exiting or the shopper who was moving slowly all the while fully aware that cars were backing up. Mr. D had his money on the shopper while I was adamant that the driver was the true asshole. But then again, I live my life trying not to inconvenience people unnecessarily and might not be the most balanced judge of character on this.

But really the true dicks of the night turned out to be the group of manner-less fucktards who let the door to the movie theater close in my face AFTER I held the door for them at the parking garage with absolutely no thank you or acknowledgment whatsoever. Really assfaces? REALLY?!

I digress.

The point of this post is supposed to be that we saw all ten films which is no small feat. But as my sister pointed out, we are childless and thus, have more free time. Look. We were on a mission. Missions require full focus and follow through. And we delivered.

I liked all ten of them but my top three were “Black Swan”, “The King’s Speech” and “The Fighter”. I was surprised at how much I liked “The Fighter” and Christian Bale whom I have expressed my disdain for repeatedly. He did a great job and I was just relieved he replaced his stupid Batman voice with a Boston accent. It was great to see Melissa Leo win for supporting actress. Her portrayal of the mom in that film was really awesome. Though I was secretly rooting for Amy Adams.

Everyone kept talking up “Black Swan” and I worried it could not live up to the hype. But holy crap that movie got in my head! So suspenseful and twisted and dark. I jumped a few times and grabbed Mr. Darcy’s hand. Every time I thought I had it figured it out,  they switched it up. Congratulations to Natalie Portman on her win. She’s come a long way since “Beautiful Girls”.

I went to see “The King’s Speech” not really knowing what it was about except that Colin Firth was in it. And since  Colin Firth is one of my pretend boyfriends, of course I was excited. It was such a great story about friendship, overcoming obstacles, and courage. I thought about it long after it was over and I don’t mean I fantasized about Colin. His Oscar was well-deserved (and his acceptance speech so humble and charming). I was surprised that the movie was awarded Best Picture but glad that “The Social Network” didn’t sweep the Oscars like it did the Golden Globes.

Did you have a favorite?

 

Fashionate

I walked into the communal lunchroom to heat up my food and spied a woman in a dress. A dress I would wear. A dress I wish she’d just hand over to me.

I mean, she could go home and change. I don’t think working in ones underthings is socially accepted. At least not in the non-profit world.

I liked the dress so much I blurted out a compliment,  “I love your dress!”

Her pleased reply, “Oh thank you! I got it at a thrift store for $3. You know, I think about you when I get dressed in the morning.”

To myself, “Ummm…This could be potentially Awkward with a capital A.”

She continued, “You have such great style. I want to emulate it.”

To myself, “Oh! Phew! That’s a relief. I am not up for a Single White Female situation.”

I thought the dress would go perfectly with a new pair of shoes I just got.

The peacock shoes (as I like to call them) on the right would look great with that dress that belongs to someone else.

Random compliments sure do perk up a person’s day, don’t they? I’m going to see if I can deliver a few today.

(I really do need to find a new dress to wear with those spectacular new shoes.)