Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Are you in love . . .

. . . with a purse?  If you're a guy, don't stop reading because while I'm typing, I'm also trying to think of a way to tie you into this subject too.
For right now, though, let's talk purses.  I'm not obsessed with them.  I don't change purses like my underwear; I have a summer purse and a winter purse.
I am picky, however.  It has to be big enough so all my stuff will fit into it but not like a small suitcase.  Too tough on the shoulders.
One year my sister-in-law gave me a beautiful, leather Dooney and Burke purse for Christmas.  It was really, really nice but waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay toooooooooo smaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.  OMG, it drove me insane; turned my world upside down.  I tried.  I really tried but it just wouldn't work. 
Straps have driven me nuts for years.  99% of purses come with two (2) handles/straps.  I've had long ones and short ones and none of them have made me happy.
This year, while in Florida, I was on a purse quest - I wanted to find one with one (1) strap.  Nada.  Nuttin', honey.  I gave up and bought a colorful, summery-looking purse and told myself I was ok with it.
And I was - until I saw this one last weekend.
It's very coolio looking.  Light weight and plenty 'o room in there for everything. And - one strap and that sucker is adjustable.  I'm in love with it.  I love it so much I thought I could easily carry it all year long because I think the color will go nicely with all the seasons here in Michigan.
My neighbor, Heather, who knows about that kinda thing told me, rather quickly I might add, that in no uncertain terms, I could not haul it around all - year - long.  We decided I'd get one just like this one - in black.  Thank you, Heather, for keeping me from committing a huge fashion error.  Whew.
Now for you guys:  there must be stuff that you love.  Wallets?  Baseball caps?  Sneakers?  Help me out here, gentlemen.  I don't know what you are passionate about.
Ladies: how do you feel about your purses.  Are you toting one that you love?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Family Wedding

Sunday morning Petey, my sister, Lisa, and I drove up north to Crystal Mountain Resort for a family wedding.  My cousin, Scott McDonald's, son, Tavis married a beautiful young woman named, Maureen.
Absolutely everything about the time up there was fantastic.
The resort itself was great.  Our accommodations were very comfortable.
We didn't have a lot of time after we'd checked in before we had to hurry off to the chair lift.  Yes, that's right - we had to take a chair lift TO THE TOP OF THE SKI SLOPE for the ceremony!  Petey and I have never been on one.
It was thrilling but not terrifying.  We were proud of ourselves for not squealing like little girls.
Once we arrived safely on top we entertained ourselves by watching others get off the lift.  Especially the girls in 5 inches heels - and, of course, the bride.
The reception afterward was great.  The food was very tasty and the carrot wedding cake was a surprise and yummy.
The absolute best part of the entire time was hanging with our cousins.  We see, Scott, on the right, once a year when he brings my mom's brother and sister-in-law to meet us for lunch but we haven't seen our cousin, Richard, on the left for many, many years.  We did a lot of hugging - and laughing.
That's my sister, Lisa, next to me.  She looks like that because she had just snorted she was laughing so hard.  We didn't have another opportunity for a second picture.  Oh, well.
Reconnecting with family meant a lot to all of us.  I sure hope I don't have to wait another 50 years.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dinner Club

Petey and I belong to a dinner club.  Those of you who know me well are smiling right now because you know how much I don't like to cook.  If you've been reading along, I blogged about that a while back in a "kitchen" post.
No one in the group (there are 6 couples) can remember exactly how many years we've been together.  Every now and then the subject comes up - we start doing the math and then get distracted.  It's a chore.
Last night we assembled at Rosie and Tom Hunter's home.  Just to give you an idea of the lovely setting - here are two pictures: the potting shed (I could move in tomorrow) and the pond (which Petey covets with every fiber of his being).

Hotdogs and hamburgers could have been served in this setting and no one would have cared.  Isn't it beautiful?  Dogs and burgers were not on the menu last night, however.
Sometimes we have a theme for dinner which is left up to the hosts.  We've had:  come as your favorite TV character from the 50s, cowboy night, good/evil night (that time Tom and Rosie came as a two-headed baby), and many, many more.  This crowd will run with anything you throw at them.
We always dine in the home of one of the couples; rotating 6 times a year.  One time we tried to go out which was embarrassing because we're very loud and the manager of the restaurant had to ask us to turn it down a notch or six.  Must have been when we burst into song which happens often.
We also have trouble taking turns when it comes to sharing a thought or story.  Imagine at least 6 different conversations going on at the same time.  Not for the faint of heart.
A while back someone brought a "talking stick" with them and thought that might solve the problem.  Yeah, that lasted about three minutes which in "dinner club time" converts to a decade.  Must be someone was in the bathroom. 
No people pictures in this post because my battery died before I got everyone and I don't want to hurt anyone's feeling (Jim and Becky) so you'll just have to imagine how terrific we all looked last night, eh?
In closing (I sound like a keynote speaker, don't I?) I must tell you how much fun we have had over the years with this crew.  Good friends and good food is a combo that simply can not be beat.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bad Habits/Addictions

Hi, my name is Ellen and I'm a lip biter.  There - I've said it.  Now everyone knows.  I don't have to hide anymore. 
I bite the inside of my lips - often moving to the inside cheek area.  I've been doing this all my life with periods (sometimes years) of remission. 
Why do I bite?  It's not a nervous habit.  I wish I knew.  I'm blaming my tongue.  My tongue is the culprit.  It roams around in there until it feels a rough patch and decides my teeth should get busy and clear that spot.  And the biting begins.
This habit gets so bad sometimes that I then have rather serious pain in my TMJ - tempero-mandibular joint.  That's where the jaws join right under your ears.  I haven't let it get to that point in a long time.
To help me when I'm in "super-bite mode" I've had a mouth guard made by my dentist.  Not the big, ungainly thing that boxers wear - mine is very thin and practically invisible.  I can do everything while wearing it except eat. 
I don't have the bite guard in right now and I'm biting.
That sentence that I just typed is a perfect example of how this habit of mine is more of an addiction.
I quit gnawing every day about 100 times.  I hate that it has such control over my life.  I know it causes wrinkles in my upper lip and who needs more of those?  I know it distorts my face and nobody wants to look at that.  I actually think my self control is weaker when it comes to my lips than it is with regard to chocolate chip cookies.  Now you know how serious it is.
I thought I had it licked (no pun intended) in Florida.  I went two or three weeks with nary a nibble and then one day I caught myself goin' for it - failure.
In a small way (extremely small) I sympathize with smokers.  I understand nail biters - my cousins in crime.
Ok, I've talked myself into it - I'll go brush my teeth and put in the mouth guard.  I hate that I have to rely on it; like a crutch, but I do.
Good thing I never took up crack, eh?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sticky Situations

If you've lived long enough and you've been paying attention, you have experienced a sticky situation - or two.

1)  Two of your good friends don't like each other.
2)  Someone you know uses the "N" word in a casual conversation.
3)  A co-worker tells a "gay" joke and then laughs their ass off.
4)  Dodging a social commitment while living in a small town.
5)  Trying to deal with a "friendship failure" while bumping into the former friend in the grocery store.
6)  Working with someone you previously respected only to be disappointed in their ethics.

I've experienced all of the above and many, many more.  If you were looking for me to help you resolve a sticky situation - keep looking.  I've struggled with all of them except the "gay" joke thing.  That guy really pissed me off and I called him out on it.  I'm sure he's still an obnoxious homophobe and I've had to be in his presence since then but I avoid him like the plague.
Dodging the social commitment isn't one I've had to deal with very often but in keeping with the honest pledge of my blog (Did I make a pledge?  If not, I do right now), I will say - it has happened.  Being asked to do something and fibbing up an excuse and then having to hide in your house - or sneaking out of town so you won't be seen.  Feels like middle school, doesn't it?
The last sticky situation is writing about sticky situations in a blog with your real name in the title and living in a small town. ha!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dance Like Nobody's Watchin'

I love to dance.  I really love to dance.  Besides the greatest work out ever and all the friends I've made through Jazzericse, the dancing is why I love it so much.
I have to say - if we're being perfectly honest here - and I am, of course - that I'm a pretty good dancer.  I have moves and I'm not afraid to use them.
My husband is not as in love with the dance as I am.  He'll get out there for a few songs but there's always a bit of coaxing involved.  I don't really need him, though.  I never hesitate, even for a moment, to dance by myself.
When I dance in public it never occurs to me that people are watching me.  Oops, I said I was going to be honest, didn't I.  Ok, then, maybe - just maybe it enters my mind that one or two people on the side lines are thinking, "Wow, check her out, that one with the white hair can really move."
Yeah, the "white hair" has been making me re-think the whole "shake your money-maker" thing.
You've all been there; either in a bar or an outdoor festival and watched (while cringing) an older lady dancing.  She has her shimmy going full blast and the butt shakin' has gotten out of control.  You're trying not to look but it's like a car wreck - you can't not look.  All the while feeling embarrassed for the poor thing.
I don't want to be her.
So I need to find a happy medium.  I'm still going to use my shimmy at Jazzercise because, people, I'm not kidding - it's award winning.  The world should not be denied. 
However, I don't want to look like some old fuddy-duddy out there on the floor either.
Looks like I'll need to put in a little practice time in front of the bedroom mirror, eh?  How's that for a pathetic picture.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I know - this topic is a departure for me but it's been sitting in the back of my mind, pushing its way forward.  I've been thinking about putting my thoughts regarding suicide in my blog for a long time and this morning I
woke up to the news that Bobby Kennedy Jr.'s wife, mother of four, has died by suicide.  I guess that was my cue.
It's difficult to write about suicide because it has touched me personally - more than once. 
Two very good friends died by suicide; one with a terminal disease and the other suffered terribly with mental illness. 
The saddest death was a young family member.  Another victim of mental illness.
I understand wanting to die.  It has never crossed my mind but I understand it.  I don't condemn anyone who takes that action.  My heart breaks for the feelings of hopelessness they must endure.
I've always supported physician assisted suicide.  Alas, we don't have that option here in Michigan so people are forced to break the law.  It becomes some kind of covert operation.  Doesn't seem fair.
In my capacity as a hospice volunteer in bereavement I listened to a grieving mother talk about her son's death by suicide.  Her heart was broken and her voice was full of tears.  She said something that was very thought provoking and it has stayed with me since.  The term "committed suicide" comes from the fact that it was considered a crime many years ago.  A crime?  Really?  How do you punish someone who has "committed" suicide? 
I've tried to not use the term but it's difficult - we're so used to saying it.  "Took his/her own life."  "Died by his/her own hand."  "Suicided."  That one pops up on spell check because it's not a real word.  I will continue, however, to leave "committed" out.
My family member was a gentle soul.  When I think of her as a little girl, I think of a tiny bird.  As she became an adult, she was still a tiny bird - almost fragile.  Her smile wasn't tiny, though.  It was big and beautiful and reached her eyes.  We just didn't see it very often.  We watched the ups and downs and hoped for brighter days every time life looked good.  There were so many downs, though.  Too many.
I hope to never see the face of a former student on the news because she walked into the swampy forest and never came out.  I hope to never hear of an elderly family friend who disappeared into a local lake leaving his dog at the water's edge - waiting.  I hope.
I've heard many people refer to suicide as selfish.  I don't agree.  I've heard others say it is the coward's way out.  Bullshit.  It is a way to end the pain and anguish.  A desperate way.  A sad way but their way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Holiday Door Decorations

While walking Augie the other day I saw a house in town with one of those plastic door covers showing the fat man himself - Santa!  Really?  IT'S MAY for cryin' out loud.
Are you one of those people who can't manage to take down your door decorations in a timely manner?  Is it because it's been there so long that you just don't see it anymore?  The Christmas stuff seems to have real staying power.  I'll give you January.  Maybe you went away for the holidays or you're still hung over but if the wreath is still there on Valentine's Day - I'm calling the cops.
The outdoor lights are another issue.  I get not taking them down afterward because the weather can really get in the way. Many people just leave them up year round; particularly people in really big houses - but maybe could ya find the plug and pull it so that they're not twinkling and blinking all friggin' night long?
There is another group of people that rush the holidays.  Scarecrows in late September and reindeer  in the windows overshadowing the poor pumpkins at Thanksgiving. 
I feel sorry for Turkey Day.  Ill placed.  Coming on the heels of all that candy at Halloween and trying to compete with toy soldiers and candy canes; doesn't seem fair.  I mean, those Pilgrims suffered for their meal and the Indians should get more accolades for being so friendly.  Maybe we could get a petition going to put it in another month.  Which one do you think would be appropriate?
Oh, and how about the Christmas music.  One year it was still playing at our local grocery store way after Santa had left the building.  I nicely mentioned to the manager that the "fa-la-la" was inducing thoughts of strangling an elf and the poor guy confessed he couldn't figure out how to turn it off.  That was a rough year.
Christmas is probably the worst offender but let us not forget Easter - plastic eggs hanging from the bushes and bunnies everywhere - next to the tulips and daffodils.  Shamrocks for several weeks after St.Patrick has gone back to Ireland.  Uncle Sam and the red/white/blue bunting still hanging off porches when Labor Day rolls around.
I could probably go on but I have some errands to run. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Care to Talk About Your Eating Habits?

Are you a picky eater?  Never touch anything green?  Do you put A-1 on a perfectly good steak?
My husband used to work with a guy that would eat one thing on his plate at a time - completely consume the potatoes before moving on to the chicken, finish that up and then the brussel sprouts, etc.  Odd.
When I was a kid I didn't like my food touching.  I used my silverware as shims to make sure the juice from the beets didn't run into the mashed potatoes.  I'm mostly ok with food touching now - mostly.  If there was something cold on my plate - like those beets I was talking about - and I also had pot roast with gravy next to them - I would need a shim for sure.  Otherwise, hot with hot is ok.  Hot with cold is a huge no-no.
My likes changed radically as I grew into adulthood.  I used to put ketchup on everything to disguise the taste.  Now I rarely use it.
I also remember walking into the kitchen when mom was making acorn squash and immediately starting to gag.  Same with brussel sprouts.  We had to at least try everything - never forced to finish though.
I can't think of anything I don't like to eat now - well, except sushi.  Had a bad experience my first time.  I may revisit that at a future date - way, way, way in the future.
I was lucky with my son who will eat anything.  Now that he's been living in foreign lands I'm sure he has eaten anything and everything.
When Peter and I were a young married couple we had several discussions about food.  We came from very different backgrounds.  No gravy at Thanksgiving at his family table!  I know - thank goodness for my non-Italian brother-in-law who set them straight.  Peter also wasn't much for veggies except peas and corn.  And forget onions.  It took me several years but I finally got him to cross over into the dark side and he eats everything now.
The only difference of opinion we have left is - small chunks versus large chunks.  If he had it his way the salad would be chopped, just like the Outback serves.  Well, guess who's doing the chopping?  Right.  No thanks.  I prefer large pieces.  That's what the knife next to your plate is for . . . chop it yourself.
So, now's your opportunity to comment.  I know there's some weird stuff happening out there and you know how I love weird.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Little Yard

When we bought our house almost 34 years ago we had two priorities:  we wanted to be in town and we wanted a yard on the smaller side.  We accomplished both of those goals.
Let's start in the back first, eh?
We lived in our home for several years before we got into gardening.  This area on the side of the house seemed to be good for nuthin'!  Couldn't grow grass.  My best friend, Sue Lange, talked me into tilling it up and then forced me to take perennials from her beautiful garden and plant them here.  That was the beginning for us.  We then started looking around and realized there were plenty of areas to plant and off we went.  We call this specific spot "Sue's garden."
The next area to be transformed is this one directly behind our house.  There was a huge maple here when we bought our home back in 1978 and grass wasn't growing there either so . . .  That old maple went to "tree heaven" several years ago and this one we call "Jerry" because we bought it from Jerry Peterson.
The rock garden!  We didn't even know it was there when we moved in; it was so over grown.  Our neighbor was chatting me up one day and said, "You know you have a rock garden back there."  Really?  And we started grabbing weeds.  There must have been a fountain in the middle as well.  Petey has been talking about getting that fountain back into working condition . . . . for 34 years. hmmmmm
This is the rear corner of the back yard where a blue spruce stood for many, many years until last fall.  It had to come down because it had something called Needle Cast disease.  It's a great spot for hostas.
The side of our garage is flanked by ferns, a few lilies, a grass, a false sunflower and buttercups.  This will look much prettier when those buttercups are in full bloom.

This fence went in recently (remember we have a dog) and has really set off the yard giving it a bit more definition.  We love, love, love it.
Now we're at the front of the house.  Remember the old blue spruce that was taken down in the back?  Well, its sister stood here for like a thousand years and had the same disease so it came down too.  More hostas and some pots filled with annuals sitting on the stump.  If I remember I'll take more photos later if the summer - if they survive.
It's hard to see but this was our version of a raised bed.  I'll never forget when the dirt was delivered.  It looked like a small mountain and before Petey could get out there and work it - the sky opened up and it rained for all it was worth.  Poor guy was out there trying to cover the mountain with a tarp.  Oh yeah, it was windy as hell too.  We didn't lose it all but a substantial amount floated away in a river of $$$.
Lastly, this is a small spot filled with a few more hostas and a few grasses.  Hoping to put some color there this weekend.  On the opposite side of the stairs (didn't take a pic) is a row of lilies.
There - now I don't have to be on the garden tour - and you didn't have to pay to see my yard.  How nice am I?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm the "Middle Child"

I think the birth order is interesting.  If there is a bus load of kids in a family, the first couple of them usually have to "take charge" much earlier than most kids their age.  I'm not sure how fair that is.
We all know families that popped out a "surprise" after several years - I think that baby must grow up like an "only child" for the most part.  Spoiled or ignored?
If there are several years between kids, you wonder if a bond develops or not.  My sister, Stacey, is 4 years older than me.  We're very close as adults but, honestly, I don't remember playing together much as young kids.  Lisa is just 2 years my junior so my memories of playing together involve her.  We were in the same school at the same time.  That wasn't the case with Stace as we entered post-elementary.
I know all three of us were parented differently.  Mom and dad were very strict with Stacey as a teen.  Her curfew was down to the minute.  I remember a story about her being grounded because she was late getting home one night.  She was sitting in her boyfriend's car - IN THE DRIVEWAY.  Jeez, mom, give a kid a break.
As a teen, I had a curfew also but I was always home on time.  Not that I was a goody two shoes.  Not by a long shot but I think it was a combination of never being one of those "stay out all night" kind of kids and the fact that mom and dad had a very active social life and were more relaxed in the curfew department.
I remember getting home really late one night (morning?) because the car I was riding in went into a snow bank coming home from a night of dancing at The Note.  I was relieved to see that my parents hadn't arrived home yet either.
I think I've digressed from the original intent of this topic - The Middle Child.  Apparently I'm supposed to have grown up feeling neglected.  Big deal over that first child and cooing over the baby and the hell with the one in the middle.  Either that never happened or I was oblivious.  I'm picking the latter because that oblivious condition seems to have followed me throughout my life. Honestly, I never got the whole middle child thing.  When I talk about the birth order in my family, I get this response:  oooooh, the middle child.  My reaction has always been a question mark on my face. Sometimes I shrugged my shoulders for affect.
I think about my mom.  Thirteen months after she was born, my grandmother gave birth to twins!  A boy and a girl.  I'll have to ask her how she felt about that.
Is "birth order" used if there is one child in the family? hmmmmm  Something to ponder.  Go ponder.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cat in the Room

If you're a Facebook friend of mine you may have heard this story before but it bears repeating. 
A few years ago Petey and I were on our way back home from our PA Christmas visit.  We decided to split the 12 hr drive up and spend the night in OH.  This was before we had Augie or the story would have had a completely different outcome.
Our usual routine is: check in, forage for food, back in the room for some TV, lights out some time between 10 and 11p.  All that happened without incident.
I think it was around 5a when I woke up to see Peter standing by my side of the bed.  He must have shaken me awake - a soft "Ellen, wake up" wouldn't have done it - I sleep with ear plugs.  I looked up at his pale, concerned, (I was going to say "scared shitless" but that would be mean) face and, honestly, I was ready to hear him say he thought he was having a heart attack.
Nope, no heart news.  He woke up for some odd reason and glanced at the chair near his side of the bed and thought he was looking at a skunk sitting on top of the back of the chair!!!  When he reacted in what I can only imagine was some kind of Three Stooges move, the "skunk" jumped off the chair and up onto the window sill behind the curtains.
Now we were both on our feet, bed head and all, wondering what the hell we were going to do about the skunk which we soon found out was a cat; a black and white cat.  We were slightly less frightened upon that discovery.
We thought shooing the cat outside would be a good plan but then we realized it was a pet and didn't want to send it out into the cruel night/morning so we called the front desk.  When the young woman came to our room she said a lady from Rochester, NY had been a motel guest and checked out that morning and her cat ran from her room (not ours) and she spent hours looking for it but had to leave.
We were happy that the owner was notified and was on her way back to pick up her fur baby and even happier when our room was comped.
When I think back on that time, I wonder where the cat hid all night long.  Puzzling.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Beaddazzled's Spring Open House

Twice a year I open my home, ask some friends to bring their art/crafts and invite the public in.  Am I crazy or what?  I've been at it for over 10 years now and always have a blast.  I try to have a wide assortment of goodies to pick from and people go home with a smile on their face and a bag or two.

Alexa Birkam is a wonderful potter and she is always with me for these shows.  She's a constant.

Denise Allen is new this year and she is a seamstress extraordinaire.  These darling jackets are reversible.

Shirley Andress is the "Queen of Sweet."  We love it when she's involved in the open house.  She was right next to me today.  I did a bit of snacking.

Jenna Kastran has a whole lotta cute stuff.

My buddy, Alva Morgan (AJ Framing) is the gal you want to contact if you have anything to frame.  All the photos are hers as well.  Did I mention she makes the frames?  Cute cards, too.

Deborah Moe is a master weaver.  Her shawls and scarves are to-die-for.  Those pillows flew out the door.

I saved the best for the last - MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  My beads.  I had a bunch more but I don't want to bore you.  Yeah, like that could ever happen, right?

If you'd like to know more about any of these women, let me know and I'll pass on their contact info.
If you've never been to one of my open houses, keep the first Saturday of November free because I'll do it again then.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Still Getting Pimples

What's up with pimples in your 60s?  Come on.  Didn't I suffer enough in my teens?  I have to clarify the teen years, though.  No matter what my sister, Lisa, will tell you (she called me "Pimple Garden" - nice, eh?) I did not have a face constantly full of zits.  Yes, the T-zone was troublesome but not life threatening.
Ok, I get that.  Those years for many of us were spent in front of the mirror examining the horror.  I remember having what looked like a volcano ready to erupt in college on my chin.  I was sure it had to be something seriously serious so I went to the campus doc.  I would estimate that man's age to be in the mid-eighties (probably off by a decade or two but I was 18 - what did I know) and his hands had a slight tremor.  I should have turned tail but I didn't - I stayed for his form of torture.  He drove a needle right down into the volcano!!!  What the hell?  Where did that guy get his medical degree from?  Or - did he even have one?  I may have over-dramatized this experience a bit - I was 18 - but that's how I remember it.
Fast forward right past menopause.  Ahhhh, no more periods, every gal's dream come true.  Hot flashes and dry skin are certainly the down side but NO MORE PERIODSI just assumed that pimples were going to accompany "the curse" on their way out of my life but . . . . .
I was going to show you a closer look but you would have also been treated to a trip up my nasal passage and who needs that, eh?  I know what you're seeing slightly above my lip and near the corner of my mouth (in case you're having trouble locating the offender) is not horrid but I'm 63 years old now!  I should have taken the picture a day before when it was worse.  Or I could have taken a picture of the one I had last week at the entrance to that nasal passage I mentioned but that would have been too gross.  You're welcome.
Aren't you glad I don't have hemorrhoids?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Take Off Your Shoes!

You'll never hear those words from me - unless you just walked through a field of cow pies.  I mean, really, don't we all have door mats for people to wipe their feet on?  I do - front and back doors.
I understand that we live in MI and during the winter if I'm going to someone's home I'll bring my shoes along with me so when I take my boots off I'll have something to put on my feet.  Standing around in my socks - no thanks.
Think about the poor slob who arrives and doesn't know the "house rule."  What if the socks are the "ugly" ones?  Maybe the heels are worn thin or there's a hole and you can see their gross big toe.  Yuck!  Or if we're talking about women - how about pantyhose?  Now we see their whole foot.  What if they were 2 days short of a pedi?  Ohhhhhhhhhh noooooooooooo.  The polish is chipped!  Ohhhhhhhhh noooooooooooo.
And what if they (women again) wore heels?  Now they're 3 to 4 inches shorter and we all know what that does to the ensemble, right?  Kills the look.
Now, I have to be honest here - I've never had anyone actually ask me to take my shoes off but the message is clear when you enter and see a pile 'o shoes to the left or right of the door.  I pretend like I didn't see it.
I promise you - if I come to your home I'll make sure my shoes are clean before I sashay in for tea. hehe