Letting Go and Limoncello

I have decided to make some changes in my life, starting from the ground up.

Super cute suede Pucci color block Mary James. Arrividerci!

Super cute suede Pucci color block Mary James. Arrividerci!

Today I removed nineteen pairs of shoes (including the ones pictured above) from my closet. NINETEEN!! I sent them away for consignment, which sounds a bit like I sent them away to military school for bad behavior. I assure you, though, none of these shoes has ever exhibited antisocial or narcissistic tendencies, which is more than I can say for their current/soon-to-be-previous owner.

These shoes represent about 16% of my non-athletic shoe collection. In all honesty, I haven’t worn most of them more than once and some never at all. They all still rest in the original boxes, toes stuffed with tissue paper, sleeper bags carefully folded beneath them. I estimate half of the nineteen pairs I bought on a whim; the rest I gave consideration and indeed chose them based on a distinct aesthetic rubric. I do, in fact, still love them all.

Moschino, Marni, Pucci, and others.

Moschino, Marni, Pucci, and others.

So why must they go? Well, number one: I have too much stuff. We all probably do, but I have a predisposition to gather. Once gathered, I tend to stack things until the stacks fall over (usually the act of a feline). Then, I generally ignore the toppled stack until I trip over something and get annoyed and curse hideously.

Number two: At some point, I need to recognize that I purchased those shoes for a type of life that I will never have and a type of person I will never be. I think we all probably make aspirational acquisitions from time to time (“This suit will make me look powerful!”), but I, embarrassingly, invest my shoes with all matter of transformational significance. I admire their architectural qualities and I believe—not that the shoes will make me look powerful, but that they will make me powerful. Confident. Grown up. Capable.

Regrettably, this has never occurred.

Dangerously high LAMB platform booties. They're going, too.

Dangerously high LAMB platform booties. They’re going, too.

Number three: These shoes represent hours of craftsmanship by shoe makers all over the globe. The shoes themselves deserve to be worn, loved, and shown to the world, not shoved in the corner of some early-20th century closet gathering dust and cat hair.

OK: I admit. Number three doesn’t really matter to me at all. I just put it in there to sound less like a whiny brat.

Camilla Skovgaard, two pairs from one of her first collections. Cheerio!

Camilla Skovgaard, two pairs from one of her first collections. Cheerio!

Obviously: I’m no shoe-sacrificing saint, here. I still have approximately 84% of my lifelong obsession sitting in the closet. Lots of red soles and pointy Prada toes and matchstick-slender stilettos continue still to occupy ample wardrobe real estate.

But hopefully—fingers and toes crossed, and eyes closed to make a wish—this tiny purge will mark the beginning of the end of things in my life that just don’t work. Big order, right?

In the meantime, I’ll take a minute to focus on something that does work every time: limoncello. It’s as sweet and as stern as your best friend who, in your time of wallowing in self-pity, gives you a hug and then slaps your face and says, “Get it together, already!” And limoncello is simple. You need very few things to produce a consistently excellent tipple:  lemons, alcohol, sugar, and time.

I ordered 10 lbs of late season Meyer Lemons from The Lemon Ladies and every bit of them went to use. The rinds infused this delicious limoncello.

I ordered 10 lbs of late season Meyer Lemons from The Lemon Ladies and every bit of them went to use. The rinds infused this delicious limoncello.

I used Meyer lemons for this batch, which gave it a vibrant yellow hue. I welcome the brightness in the rainy days of early spring: the limoncello is the booze equivalent of daffodils. The Kitchn gives a great run-down here (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-limoncello-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-197694). I collect funky bottles (see previous discussion of gathering), but you can always get nifty swing top numbers at Specialty Bottle.

Here’s something else that always works: happy, shiny pop music, like this stellar cut, “The Bleeding Heart Show,” from the New Pornographers’ excellent 2005 album Twin Cinema. If you can be unhappy during the last two minutes of this song, when the “Hey-la” bit hits, we need to have a talk.

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2 Responses to Letting Go and Limoncello

  1. Cathy says:

    Oh, yeah. I know you.

    I just took four bags of shoes, bags and clothes to consignment. Then I hired someone to make me a pretty closet with drawers and shelves sized to fit bags and shoes and neatly folded tops. I love how spare it looks, how there is room between the hangers.

    I feel like I have fewer emotional belongings, like my wedding shoes. Or the Nancy Gonzales croc bag that is too heavy to be useful, but it makes me look like a business woman. Or that suit I was wearing when I got my book deal. The upside of this kind of divesting? The cash dollars. I made enough to take a trip to Europe when all this book travel ends.

    It’s a good thing you’ve done, Jamie! Now, go make yourself a cocktail.


    • jamiesam says:

      Cathy: you DO know me. My secret hope is a plane ticket across the pond when all is sold…or a down payment on a trip to Camont for a life-changing experience.

      Thank you for your words of encouragement. It is almost cocktail time, after all.


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