Spring Cleaning

April 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been paying attention lately to the timing of my cyclical cleaning jags. Sometimes the urge to purge intersects with impending

Festive Seder table with wine, matza and Seder...

Festive Seder table with wine, matza and Seder plate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

visitors and other times with different dates on the calendar.

As someone who was raised with a traditional Jewish upbringing, I’ve often fallen victim to the near hysterical house cleaning that generally accompanies Passover, which begins at sunset on Friday.

Though most frequently associated with the shunning of all things leavened (with pasta, bread & bagels topping the list) and eating of matzoh, the holiday that heralds spring also has a subset of rules and regulations. Some that have been passed down over the generations include the reading of the Hagaddah which recounts the Jews exodus from Egypt and the tyrannical Pharoah (10 plagues and all); drinking four glasses of wine; asking the four questions and generally celebrating the Jews’ escape from slavery to freedom complete with a huge meal and quest for gifts. Or as Good for the Jews puts it “They tried to kills us. We Survived. Let’s Eat.”

Good for the Jews: They Tried to Kill Us…

For Jews like myself of Eastern European heritage, the holiday also involves a generally frenzied top/down house cleaning and subsequent disposal of any offending bread-like or even remotely near leavened products. Also clothes that you no longer wear, shoes that have fallen out of favor, kitchen gadgets bought in a weak moment, shampoos that are barely used, unread magazines- well, you get the picture.

I’ve been busy lately. Really (wonderfully) busy and (please don’t read this, mom) haven’t really given the holiday much thought. And yet without paying attention to the calendar, the pre-holiday abstersion submersion has crept into my life. I find myself feverishly throwing out half used boxes of quinoa, divesting myself of bedding bought in a weak moment and questioning my need for 11 pairs of sneakers. (No, really. 11. And I’m not even a runner).

In other words, be it nature or nurture, sometimes you really do have to take a long, hard look in your closet and kitchen and just eliminate. Without remorse. Without nostalgia. Without wondering if you can re-purpose that skirt into a pillowcase.

Now is that time.

Rediscovering A Former Self

January 10, 2012 § 3 Comments

A few years back I broke my pinky toe. Annoying, painful and a mere blip in the grand scheme of things. A few months after that I broke the big toe on the same foot. More annoying, more painful and much harder to deal with. I hobbled around, then walked with a cane for a few months and wore one of those hideous space boots, before graduating to sneakers and then moving on completely. Other than the odd twinge in my foot when the weather changes and the inability to wear high heels, I’ve all but forgotten about both breaks.

Until last week.

Français : escarpins ouverts en Élaphe de marq...

Image via Wikipedia

I was clearing out some old shoes when I discovered a stash that would give Carrie Bradshaw pause. While I was never prone to sky-high Manolos, for a while there I had a serious thing for sexy high heels and all manner of expensive and impractical shoes – and a former flame who encouraged my bad habit.

It was incredibly odd to discover box after box of mostly unworn designer shoes that not only hurt my feet, but had me tottering about in the effort to look if not feel fabulous. While I still have a weakness for cute (and comfortable) shoes, what I no longer have is the instinct to sacrifice my comfort or ability to walk for a misguided sense of fashion.

Looking through those shoe boxes was like a weird trip down memory lane, or I suppose what others feel when looking through scrapbooks.

Red patent leather Prada platform pumps bought for a meeting and worn instead to a flirtatious lunch.

Blush colored Jimmy Choo peep toes worn to one of my book parties.

White beaded suede Giuseppe Zanottis bought for a wedding that never happened – my own.

In other words, more than concert ticket stubs or love letters, these impractical and uncomfortable style statements reminded me of trying to cram myself into a beauty or fashion ideal that is no longer my own. And I’m okay with letting go of them.

Goodbye Cruel Shoes.

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