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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

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No. 52 looks just as good off the field as he does in uniform.
No. 52 looks just as good off the field as he does in uniform. (Photo: Tyler Gajewski/Green Bay Packers)

Look on the "blonde" side

I don't usually go for blondes. And I really don't watch football. (Silence your gasps.)

But, a flaxen-haired Adonis has captured my interest and is keeping my bottom glued to the couch during Packers games.

It started innocently enough. I was turning the pages of the latest issue of W Magazine while my husband was being mesmerized by "the game." Unexpectedly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw sun-bleached strands flying in slo-mo across the screen.

I did a double take. I even had Chuck rewind. Was that Thor charging down the field? Had David broken free of his marble prison and found life in Wisconsin? Did a younger version of Fabio find out that it really isn't butter?

My football crush is No. 52, Clay Mathews.

His name evokes a classic film star whose name was emblazoned across the silver screen in westerns and romances.

His jaw is impossibly square, chiseled at an angle only Marvel comic book heroes can rival.

His physique is powerfully carved out; all 255 pounds of his 6-foot-3-inches deliberately sculpted for speed and power – and I'm sure, other physical endeavors.

How I've been oblivious to this California import the last three years is a tragic loss for only me, but I am down to play catch-up. I am officially into Packers football this year. Call me a Cheesehead, but I'll be watching every time my new favorite linebacker removes his helmet and tosses his golden locks.

I am inspired to hang a poster in my bedroom, wear a "Claymate" tee on Sundays (that moniker just seems so inappropriate for Clay Aiken now) and start a global chapter of the Clay Mathews fan club.

As everyone else focuses on the robbery that was last night's game, I'll be looking on the blonde, I mean, bright side.

Wedge sneakers, booties and more, oh my!
Wedge sneakers, booties and more, oh my!
Jeffrey Campbell's "Mooncage" bootie.
Jeffrey Campbell's "Mooncage" bootie.

Fall fashion "shoe"-ins

I am going to have a major shoe problem this fall. Not that I don't already have one. But, this season's offerings are so my speed, I'm going to have to use restraint not to go all Imelda Marcos in the footwear department. (Besides, my closet just isn't tricked out enough for a major shoe collection and my bunions are already screaming at me for even considering some of the heel heights I'm lusting after.)

Boots in every length, heel type and color, platform ankle booties and – I can barely even take it – high top wedge sneakers are going to be shuffling on fallen leaves everywhere.

Forget flats (unless they are Charlotte Olympia Kitty Flats) or anything that isn't a true statement below the knee for Autumn 2012.

The look is tall, thick, strong and edgy and should be rocked in leather or suede (or a faux version,) embellished with buckles, laces, fringe or studs.

Neutrals are fine, but bright colors, metallics and patterns are still making a strong splash. Twisted shapes, geometric silhouettes and gravity defying elevation rule the shoe forecast!

Here is a selection of my wish list for fall:

Colin Stuart Lace Up Wedge Bootie: Colin Stuart's Fall 2012 boot collection has all kinds of shoe-hoarder enticements and they are all available for 20 percent off at Victoria's Secret right now. This lace-up wedge bootie is classy, funky and somehow classic all at once. If your feet can take the altitude, this shoe is perfect for everyday with jeans or for a relaxed evening out. The shape lends itself to being tucked under my beloved leg warmers, which, when pulled over the top of these booties, elongates even the shortest of statures.

Jeffrey Campbell Fall 2012 Mooncage: If I were granted the ultimate shoe coveter wish – that one shoe designer would send me one pair from every collection each season – that genius would be Jeffrey Campbell. This season, if I have to choose just one pair, the "Mooncage" is the bootie that has stolen my heart and sole. Practical? Hells…

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Who's a pretty birdie?
Who's a pretty birdie?

The bird catcher

I open the door to the most daunting place in our home – the garage.

I gasp as some sort of airborne hellion descends from the ceiling and across the man cave. I think to myself, "This is why I do not mess with this place. Menacing flying creatures may attack at any moment."

But, the garage is the only passage into my car and the husband is in Europe – too far too save me from what my mind has exaggerated as a "Wizard of Oz"-ish flying monkey, so I am forced to investigate on my own what is lurking on high.

My greatest fear is that this is a bat or perhaps some sort of overgrown insect waiting to gain entry to my home or find roost on my person.

The winged invader is clearly stressed and reveals itself to be only a trapped little birdie. I am unable to discern what type of bird this is ... she is tiny, maybe only slightly bigger than a hummingbird with wings flapping so quickly I can barely even see them.

I decide the quickest remedy is to leave the garage door open and hope she finds escape.

A day passes and no progress, the little bird remains and is now taking up residence in one of the beamed hollows.

I am forced to bring in assistance.

My teenage stepdaughter has been catching insects, birds and lizards since she could crawl, so clearly she is the proper authority to free this petite critter.

However, I know a thing or two about Alisha and if she gets close enough to snare this bird, we will not be rid of the fowl anytime soon.

I alert Alisha to the situation anyway and am pleased at her knowledge and enthusiasm for the project. She enlightens me that the reason the bird cannot exit is that when they sense danger, they only fly upwards ... thus imprisoning the avian in our garage. There is no end to what this girl teaches me.

I leave her to "Operation: Free Bird."

An hour later, my stepdaughter, whose outward glamor belies the tomboy that lives within her, emerges with oversized Callaway-mittened hands and the varmint encased within her covered …

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There's no easy way to say it...
There's no easy way to say it...

It's so hard to say goodbye

So, maybe I'm not built to be a roadie.

I jumped off tour to return to my previous, more stationary life.

In the process, I had to break away from new friends I bonded quickly with. Living together, working together, eating together, kind of showering together, sleeping together (quiet your minds – on a bus in separate bunks) will get you close to your colleagues fast.

I hate goodbyes.

Hellos are so much more exciting and satisfying, filled with newness, mystery and clean slates.

Even when the exit is desired from a specific situation, relationship, job or even a dinner party – uttering the words that traditionally signal "aufedersein" to people that I have a connection with is highly difficult for me.

I stutter at the anticipation of the "buh-bye" moment. I falter to find the words to encapsulate everything I want to say, unlike in an email where I can get everything out in one screen shot. I find myself wanting to hit the send button in order to evade the in-person parting moment altogether.

The more difficult the departure, the awkwardness multiplies and avoidance ensues. I shudder at the ditch dance from lunches with friends, cocktail parties or family get-togethers. I'd rather just disappear.

Although many "so longs" are bittersweet, filled with conflicting sparks spanning the emotional spectrum, the sadness of relinquishing anyone or anything seems to triumph over the joy of whatever lies ahead – at least temporarily.

Although I used to crave the chaos and unexpectedness that comes with change, my almost 36 years have quieted that urge for upheaval. The most transition I desire now is adjusting to taking an extra inch off my bangs.

I am sure this is a product of a childhood filled with constant traveling back and forth between states and households, losing close family members too early and an inborn heightened dramatic flair for everything, but the background psychology is insignificant once the residual baggage rears its subconscious head whe…

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