Tag Archives: shoes

Shift

After two weeks in the country, my American twang has settled down and I sound pretty much Irish again. (All my American friends are wondering what I’m talking about. As far as they’re concerned I don’t have any American accent.) It just takes a little time for the shift to occur, as my ear gets reaccustomed to the intonations and the vowels and the nice crisp consonants.

I’ve been obsessed with black boots while we’ve been here. I’ve watched people go by from the ankles down, mostly. I’ve been to the Clarks shop at least three times. I’ve ascertained that shoes here are habitually a measurement wider than the regular size in America, which means that everything in the shop should fit me. I have to take advantage of this, because in the States I always have to order shoes off the Internet.

I cruised around the clothes shops a few times, but before I could commit to anything, I had to wait for my eye to shift fashion-wise too. And then I had to be realistic about what I would buy and wear if I lived here versus what I’ll actually wear once I return to my jeans-and-tops real life in America. I bought a pair of black trousers that are slim-fitting enough and of soft enough material that they will function as leggings, but with more heft to them. They’ll go inside my boots, and under long tops.

Then, eventually, I bought a pair of black ankle boots, after trying on every pair in the shop. I was delighted with them for a few hours, until they started to hurt my feet. So I brought them back and today, with my Irish money apparently burning a hole in my wallet, bought a different pair. These ones are less biker and more arctic, but they’re definitely comfortable and will suit my needs better, as well as going with my skinny jeans and the black not-leggings in a very casual, not-dressy way. Which, to be honest, is the way I need them to be, for my casual, not-dressy life of grocery shopping and school pickups and the odd committee meeting.

Tomorrow we shift once more, back to Americans. And so it goes.

View of the Pidgeon House from Blackrock

Bipedal

I went to the doctor this morning and came away with the deeply unsexy diagnosis of “hammer toe”. Unlike hammer time, this is not even arguably a good thing.

First, the nurse saw my Kindle and carried on an entertaining 15-minute monologue about how she found a book in the library that had streetnames she recognised and it turned out to be written by a girl she knew from her neighbourhood in Philly, and she called her up and said “Did you do all that stuff? Because if you did, you nasty,” and the girl said, “Just don’t read my other books.” Which was all a bit surreal.

Then she asked about my foot, which was why I had come, and I showed her where it hurts and she considered it critically and then said,

“You have a pedicure recently?”
I wasn’t sure where she was going with this.
“Does it look like I had a pedicure recently? If I’d had a pedicure and my foot looked like this I’d be asking for my money back.”

She said she’s seen a lot of pedicures gone bad lately, from old black ladies (her words) who start getting their feet done every two weeks and all the skin comes off.

I’m not an old black lady, nor do I play one on TV. Also, I haven’t had a pedicure since last summer. So obviously I could not have a pedicure gone bad.

Then the doctor came and looked at my foot. I confessed that it wasn’t so sore now, but I’d made the appointment because I was pretty sure that would make it get better, and my tactic seemed to be working. But that I’d come along anyway, and look, here’s my stupid foot and right here underneath where it looks perfectly normal – or as normal as my foot can get – is where it hurts.

First he asked to see the other foot. Then he asked me if my feet had always been that way.

“You mean weird? Yup.”
“Okay.” He said. “So this is the normal foot – I mean, the asymptomatic one, since they’re not all that normal—” (Not a man to mince words, this one. I like him.) “—and see where this toe bends up?”

So the reason the bottom of my foot hurts is because the toe on top is stupid. I have stupid feet.

“It’s usually genetic,” he remarked, helpfully allowing me to shift the blame to my father, where it belongs. Why the DNA couldn’t have picked my mother’s feet instead of her nose to give me, I don’t know. I already had his eyes, his mother’s hair, and his liking for bad puns; did I have to have his hoofers too?

But I’m sort of pissed off about this. I mean, it’s not like I have a large collection of Jimmy Choos that will now start gathering dust, but it was hard enough to find shoes that fit pyramid-shaped feet to begin with (short, wide, high arches, your basic pyramid), and I’m already wearing the cushiest, most comfortable, most German-looking shoes you’ve ever seen.  

I have a two-day blogging convention to go to this summer, you know, I wanted to shout at the doctor. Where I will be meeting women I want to impress with my personal effortless sense of style. (Stop snorting. It makes your nose look funny.) I have to wear shoes that I can walk around Chicago in that also look okay with whatever I’m going to be wearing, into which a lot of thought will have gone.

I AM NOT READY FOR NUN SHOES. DON’T MAKE ME WEAR NUN SHOES.

Ode to shoe

Ah, Zappos, how I love thee. And also hate thee, for you try so hard and so well to part me from my money.

Zappos, in case you live under a rock or on the tragically Zappos-less rock of Ireland, is an Internet mail-order shoe-selling company. They sell other things too now, but shoes are their main stock-in-trade. If you say Zappos, I think shoes, and so do many, many other women who have fallen into their supple, shiny, suede-trimmed trap.

It’s not that they’re bad. It’s just that they’re very very good.

So you go to the site and you look at lots of pretty pictures of shoes. You can see the shoes from every angle, you can zoom in to examine the stitching detail or the pattern on the sole, you can even watch a video where someone wears the shoe and then holds it and bends it to show how delightfully flexible it is. You can read reviews by other people who were delighted with these shoes, or disappointed by them in some specific way, and thus you can make an educated guess as to which shoes are best for you. They have all those odd sizes that are so hard to find in stores, like wides and narrows. You can sort them out by size or style or colour or brand or season – or emotion they inspire, probably.

But here’s the best bit. Shipping is free, and return shipping is free. So you can order as many pairs as take your fancy, safe in the knowledge that if they’re not quite right once you have them in your own hands, and on your own feet, you can send them back and not be a penny out of pocket.

Oh, those canny Zappos people, they are so clever. Because once you have the shoes not just in your hands and on your feet – as you might at the mall or on the high street – but in your very own house where you can try them on with all thicknesses of socks, with trousers and jeans and skirts and everything you own, the temptation to just let the nice people in the computer keep your money while you keep these shoes that are so nearly right, but maybe just not exactly what you had been initially envisaging, that temptation is great. These shoes that you might not even have picked off the display in the store, because you could see immediately that the shade was wrong, or the leather was oddly wrinkly, or you were actually looking for sandals, not boots – now you can see that really there could be a place in your collection for these shoes too. Maybe you’d be crazy to send them back.

Also, of course, sending them back requires action. You have to package them up again, and your children have already run off to pop the bubble wrap. You have to seal the box, and you can’t find the packing tape. You have to print out a return label, and the printer is all the way downstairs in the basement and sometimes the wireless connection doesn’t work so you have to go down there and manually turn it on. And then you have to drive to the post office or the UPS store and bring it inside. (I’ve heard you can just give it to your mail carrier too, but I don’t ever trust my mail carrier to actually take things as well as deliver them. That sort of thing would never work in Ireland.) Sure, you don’t have to pay anything, but all that activity, when you could just let them keep your few paltry dollars (eighty, whatever, were these on sale, I don’t remember) and have these shoes in your collection for the day when you do own the perfect pants/skirt/suspenderbeltwhatIdon’tjudge . . . well, you see how it goes.

Right now, as you might have guessed, I have two pairs of shoes upstairs, all nicely re-packed in their boxes with the fiddly plastic mouldy things and the tissue paper and the inner bags all perfectly replaced. One pair was gorgeous, the perfect colour, but not comfortable enough. The other pair was blissfully comfy but the wrong colour. I’m trying very hard to either just let it go and send them back or find some good reason why I need the brown ones so that I can keep them.

Oh, Zappos. I just can’t quit you.

Unshopping

Now is the time on Sprockets when we blog…

That is, the children are wending their way to sleep and I am off duty, so I’d better come up with the goods. Whatever they might be.

Earlier I tried to tempt Dash to do his homework, or at least think about his homework. I called out to him from the kitchen as I figured out something to make plain pasta and chicken a little more grown-up for me and B. “I’m not on the menu,” he replied.

I had to laugh. I’m not sure I’m ready for such a smart-arse kid, but it beats yelling, I suppose.

****

I don’t usually go in for reverse shopping, (as I believe Marian Keyes called it, though maybe she’s not the only one), but this morning I got a great sense of satisfaction and freedom out of returning two items I’d bought and regretted.

The first were the red jeans I got at the start of the month. I tried and tried, I really did. I got things to go with them, which I still like and will wear with other things. I readjusted my sensibilities and recalibrated my whatsits and learned to love my hips even when they weren’t balanced by big wedges of fabric flapping comfortingly round my ankles (and soaking up the rain from the ground at every wintery opportunity). I thought I could make them work. I was sure the answer lay in the footwear.

Last week I got a lead on a pair of boots. On Sunday, I bought them. They were on sale, and I had a coupon, and they looked exactly like the boots I needed to go with the jeans. They were even comfortable, which is quite a miracle where my feet are concerned. It was meant to be. I was delighted.

Then I came home and put on the jeans and the boots. (No, I hadn’t worn the jeans to go shopping. What sort of sensible person do you take me for? For one thing, I couldn’t because I didn’t have the right boots to… oh, yeah.) And I was underwhelmed. In fact, I was pretty sure that this wasn’t even just not a great look, this was a downright undesireable look. I looked kind of, well, I have to say, skanky. And not in a good way. Not in a sexy way. Just in a “She shouldn’t have worn that” way.

So I came to the conclusion that if you have to try so hard to make something look right, it’s not going to. The jeans were an unflattering fit to begin with, but just because they were less unflattering than some others I have tried, and because I loved the colour, and they were a good price, I made an impulse buy. Usually, my MO is to spot something I like, mull it over, decide I wanted it after all, go back and find it’s left the shop, and spend the next three months searching in vain for something similar. When you find something that’s right, you should buy it, but I obviously misinterpreted “right” in this case.

So this morning I brought back the jeans and the boots. (Amazingly, I was able to locate the receipt for the jeans.) The nice ladies gave me my money back and I continued on my way with a feeling of freedom and lightness heretofore known only in tampon ads.

The world is my oyster! I can start again! I have fifty-two dollars (woohoo!) back in my wallet and some other poor mug can buy those jeans, and those boots, and I wish them the best with them. They’ll probably know better than to try to wear them together.

So I still don’t know what I’m wearing for Christmas, but I think I’ll be looking more like me in whatever it turns out to be.

The little things

My aim, as I sit here on Thanksgiving afternoon, is to get the children out of the house with their father so that I can read a book, or write something, or just veg out, under the guise of doing Very Important Cooking That Will Affect Their Dinner. Since it’s 2.20pm and Dash is only now, finally getting dressed – at least, I think that’s what he’s doing upstairs, and the Superman and Spider-Man costumes he was sporting before don’t count – it’s taken a while to get to this point. But I’m still aiming for it, and at least B is outside supervising Mabel now, as she climbs trees barefoot in a tutu.

The tutu, if I may digress, has become ubiquitous lately. She has one that’s almost legitimately skirt-like, and two that came from parties and are really just a lot of tulle on an elastic waistband. I don’t really care so long as she has underpants on. She wears different tops and tights or leggings underneath every day, and she will countenance a dress in between times; but no trousers have been worn for months, and jeans are totally verboten.

Personally, I can’t imagine life without my jeans. Pry them from my cold dead hands (legs) if you can, but until then I’ll be happily denim-clad. Despite all my overthinking, and all the plans I may have for honing the perfect capsule wardrobe for our three weeks of festivities in Dublin, and whatever I end up buying – or planning to buy, or thinking maybe I can buy when we get there – I know that I’ll end up packing a selection of jeans (bootleg, flare, skinny), a bunch of tops that all more or less go with the bottoms, a few cosy cardigans, and a dress or two just in case I get the opportunity to wear them. And then I’ll end up in the same old jeans and the same comfy shoes 90% of the time anyway, and nobody will notice.

Speaking of which. I was inordinately pleased with myself the other day simply because I employed some shoe polish for its intended purpose and it did what it says on the tin. (Maybe I need to get out more.) But shoe polish is the sort of thing I tend to feel is only necessary for men of a certain age, or people who are a little too fussy. Tim Gunn, for instance, or my father, who has shined his shoes weekly – or perhaps morningly – for his entire life. At home we had a little basket containing polish (black and brown), brushes (one hard and one soft for each colour) and a cloth for final buffing. My dad showed me how to use them many moons ago, and every now and then I’d give my black-or-brown lace-up school shoes or mary-janes with brass buckles a bit of a swipe.

So last Spring I got a pair of blue mary-jane flats that were obscenely comfortable. As soon as sandal weather was over, in about October, I re-embraced them – but was sad to see that all the blue had been scuffed off the tips of the toes. They looked pretty shabby, and I feared that I’d have to abandon them. I wore them anyway, but felt less than – aha! – polished. What to do, I wondered. Was this the untimely end of obscene pedal comfort? And then inspiration struck – polish! I needed shoe polish!

A mere three weeks later, I finally remembered to look for navy shoe polish when we were somewhere that might sell it. And lo, I bought it and used it (because luckily my husband also owns some little shoe brushes and a rag for buffing), and my shoes are like new again. Hooray!

It really is the little things that can make you happy, if you’ll let them. So today I’m thankful for shoe polish.

I’m also thankful for my beautiful crazy family, and all the luckiness I have in my life. And the Internet, which has made things much better in many ways than they would otherwise be.

And now Dash is dressed, Mabel is probably ready to come in again, and I have to legitimately busy myself with something to do with pie.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone, whether you celebrate it or not. Thanks for being here.

My drawers (fnar, fnar)

A few bad nights for Mabel meant I mostly fell off the exercise and housework wagon this week, but I’m proud to announce that our winter clothes are more or less sorted out. (Not B’s; he’s not included. He wears the same thing all year, minus some shorts and plus some sweaters in the winter. And if he wants them organized he can do his own.)

But my closet looks like this now:

Tidy closet with shoes and sweaters

The box holds bags/purses, and the tops/sweaters are organized thus: short sleeved, 3/4 sleeved, long sleeved, wool. The chunky wool ones are on top or hanging. Three pairs of boots are to the right of the box. I don’t use a lot of hanging space because it’s mostly dresses, skirts, and jackets, and I don’t have a lot of any of those. You can see from this that I will be wearing a palate of mostly greens and dark reds/purples this season. Just like every season, because that’s what I like.

I didn’t take a before picture of the closet, but this is what my pyjamas/stuff drawer still looks like, so you can extrapolate from that:

Messy drawer of t-shirts and tanks

I’m not saying this is all I have: most of my days are spent in jeans (stuffed-full jeans/chinos drawer not pictured), and I have another of yoga pants and one of underwear and one of nicer clothes I might wear once in a blue moon, and a whole suitcase full of things that don’t fit but I’m not ready to give up on, and some more odds and ends in an under-the-bed storage thingy; but the important part is this – this is all the stuff I’m getting rid of:

Pile of sweaters, tops, pants, and trash bag full of shoes
See? Even the stuff I’m getting rid of is greens and dark reds.

The trash bag holds six pairs of shoes, one of which dates from pre-emigration – that is, more than 10 years ago. The toppling pile has about twenty t-shirts, tops and sweaters, and one pair of jeans that I never liked much. This has now been joined by some summer clothes Dash and Mabel have grown out of (that aren’t nice enough to pass on to friends), and a few shirts B is discarding. All this will go to the next yard sale we’re involved in, or the thrift store.

I got Dash to try on about twenty pairs of trousers, took away a few, and ascertained that my six-and-a-half-year-old still has 5T-length legs, just about, though his hips have grown out of the slimmest-fitting pants. Since he also refuses to wear any shirts that come below about mid-fly (because they might look like dresses and people might think he’s a girl, yaknow), he doesn’t need anything new.

(No photo because his room is dark like a man-cave, and his stuff is all stashed in drawers that don’t make nice pictures.)

And then, I sorted out my box of things that might fit Mabel this season and reorganized her shelves. She can’t reach everything herself, but she’s getting more inclined to choose her own clothes, and I’m trying hard to hold my tongue if her choice is reasonable. At least I’ve put away the high-summer stuff so she’ll be less tempted to try to wear a sundress or short shorts on a morning when it’s 49 degrees outside. (That’s about 9 celcius.)

Her clothes are in IKEA dividers (like this) that are supposed to separate things within drawers. When we moved in here, I had no dresser for Mabel and wasn’t using these metal shelves for anything, so we stuck them in her closet and I found the dividers handy (since her clothes were still practically baby things that took up so little space). But her clothes still don’t take up much space individually, and though I’m always on the lookout for a small white chest of drawers for her room, this system works fine for now. From the top, L-R, they hold pyjamas, socks, leggings, long-sleeved tops, capris/long shorts, t-shirts, underpants, bottoms/pants, and skirts/dresses that aren’t hanging up. There are some chunky sweaters in the basket at the very bottom. The top shelf is a mess of hand-me-down shoes that don’t fit yet and summer clothes awaiting sorting.

I could do with another box for the tights stashed on the top left, and I should think about bringing all the upper stuff down so that she can reach it more easily. She needs more dresses, especially since she’s lately become very partial to them; I’m working on that and have enlisted e-Bay. I was very disappointed to miss a really good local used-children’s-clothing sale last weekend, and I’ll miss our local clothing swap next weekend, so my opportunities for snagging the perfect thing are reduced to the thrift store (always there) and the nursery-school yard sale in a few more weeks’ time. And the clearance racks at Old Navy, Target, and Gap, of course.

In case you were wondering, this is what the other side of Mabel’s closet looks like:

Open closet with just three items hanging, and two large boxes on the top shelf

I wouldn’t bother showing you, except for my genius sorting system comprising those two boxes. The brown one says “Too big; next season” and now holds summer things from this year that might still fit next, and any summer age 4 stuff I have. The Pampers box says: “Too big; distant future” and contains everything else I’ve amassed for her that will fit at some point when she’s bigger That way I don’t have to re-mark the boxes every year when they’re no longer holding 4s but now 5s and 6s (Mabel, fitting age 6 clothes? Inconceivable!), and so on. 

Personally, I’m just pleased that I’m the sort of person who uses a semicolon when labelling a box of clothes. I think it says something about me, don’t you? Yes. Well.

Things to do

Things I am not doing right now though I’d really like to:

Buying these boots (black) online or in person, even though they’re reduced and I waaant them like zombies waaaant braaains, but I tried them on and they’re too narrow for me and I’m not sure I want to gamble that much on the possibility that they might stretch to fit my freaky feet.

Buying these other boots (brown) which are clearly too expensive as they’re the same price the first ones were before they were reduced, but these are also beautiful and I don’t know yet that they don’t fit me.

Rushing off to the mall where I saw it two weeks ago and buying a down jacket that was more reduced in real life than it is online, because it’s too far to go and it wouldn’t still be there and I’m not sure about the colour and I don’t really need a down jacket except it would be nice to have something warm that was light and had a hood.

Booking tickets to go to a family wedding in Italy this summer, because the prices are just insanely crazy, and we’re already going to Ireland in March because we didn’t go at Christmas. But this is good, because we might finally get to have a beach holiday at the Outer Banks, which is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I saw the Outer Banks on a map. I imagine us looking like one of those beautiful families in one of those beachside houses in a Land’s End catalogue. The truth may be sandier and more sunburned, but I’m willing to risk it.

Making oatmeal raisin cookies.

Things I am not doing right now even though I should, because I have no desire to:

Cleaning any part of my filthy house.

Sorting and filing all the papers that are ranged on the shelf where I keep my computer.

Finding the hole punch so I can file the notes from last night’s committee meeting.

Most of these things are beyond my control, or my budget, but I suppose I could get cracking on the cookies.

On the loss of the career so cruelly denied to me

Last night my pilates teacher told me – and the room at large, for that matter – that I have amazing, prehensile feet. Luckily, I’ve been watching Animal Exploration on Qubo lately, because until about two weeks ago I would have thought she meant they were better suited to cavemen and should have gone out with the ark.

When my children were born, the first thing my mother asked on being informed that she had a new grandchild was whether they had my feet. (Okay, practically the first. After whether they had curly hair.) The funny thing is that even on a newborn, it was easy to see that they didn’t. This is because my husband’s toes look like fingers, and my toes look like toes. Or tiny nubby things, depending on your perspective.

My feet are basically pyramid-shaped. They’re short and wide with a very high arch. I try not to bore people with the litany of all the shoes I have bought that didn’t fit me, and all the shoes I can’t even try to wear because they would fall off immediately or not even go on. They are my father’s feet, except his are even worse, mostly due to the accident he had 40 years ago, resulting in a smashed patella, a broken femur, a broken tibia/fibula, and something wonky happening on down at foot level. He was lucky to keep the leg and is on his second artificial knee. Which, I suppose, should put my finding it hard to find nice shoes into perspective. But hey, I’m shallow.

I never thought much about my feet as a child, until one day my so-called friends from high school saw me barefoot and did the point-and-laugh thing about how intensely weird they were. After that, I knew for certain that my feet were not just difficult to sandal, shoe or boot, but also freakish and probably malformed. Even reading that a high arch was considered a sign of good breeding in years gone by wasn’t really enough to take out the sting.

Then, a few years ago, I started taking pilates classes. My teacher is an amazing woman – a librarian who used to be a ballet dancer. She’s 70 years old, and an inspiration to everyone to keep at it. In class, she doesn’t take things too seriously, and knows that we probably don’t managed to put spine to mat in between classes. One evening she was exhorting us all to practice more regularly: “Just imagine how you’d feel if you did even ten minutes a day!” she told us enthusiastically. “It would be amazing.”
“Well, yes, it would be amazing,” we all replied dryly.

When she saw my feet, she asked if I was a dancer.
“No,” I replied.
“Ah, those that have it never use it,” she said enigmatically.

One thing partaking in an exercise class like this does that no DVD can do is to show you how many variations the human body comes in. I always assumed that everyone could bend their limbs about the same amount, that everyone’s head could touch their knees if they tried hard enough, that everyone’s toes pointed all the way down. But looking around my class, it’s amazing to see how far, or how little, we can all twist or bend or gyrate when doing the same silly exercises. For instance, when I sit on the ground with my legs out in front of me and my toes pointing up to the ceiling, it’s very hard for me to stop them from doubling over and pointing towards my head instead. They don’t want to go straight up from my feet. If I sit the same way and point my toes as hard as I can towards the wall, they almost touch the ground. I suspect this is peculiar.

Clearly, I have the feet of a great ballerina. (I stashed the rest of her in the freezer.)

But this amazing genetic trait went unrecognised by my parents. I even read the books – Ballet Shoes, and A Dream of Sadler’s Wells and its companions are still on my bookshelf in Dublin. The kicker is that I did take ballet from the age of four until the time for the class for my age group moved too close to dinnertime for comfort, and then my Mum took me out and put me in drama instead. A great career stymied by something as prosaic as dinner. And, probably, lack of innate talent and too much of a taste for the easy life, but that’s just splitting hairs.

Sadly for their dance careers – though happily for their shoe-buying futures – neither of my children have inherited my feet which are both amazing and prehensile. But I will be paying attention when presented with my first grandchild, and if they have short, fat toes, I will not depress everyone by discussing how much they’ll have to spend at the orthopedist’s, but rather celebrate the newest proto-ballerina in the family.

End times

I could probably get all emotional about Monkey’s impending entry to kindergarden and thus Real School, if I decided to, but for now I’m okay with it.

“Okay”, actually, is how Monkey would describe his own feelings about starting school next Monday (with orientation this Thursday), if you had asked him. He says he’s not nervous or worried, though he was a bit earlier in the year when all the members of his nursery-school class seemed to think that kindergarden was a maybe-friendly, maybe-not leopard waiting in the undergrowth to spring out on them at any moment. In preparing the four-to-five-year-olds for things like raising their hand to ask a question, or doing homework (they had a homework week – it was so cute), I think perhaps the teachers didn’t stress enough exactly when the big K was going to happen, with the result that Monkey wasn’t the only one thinking in February or so that maybe it would be tomorrow, or then after Spring Break, or then as soon as nursery school ended in June.

As soon as I realised what was going on, I steered him up to my big wall calendar and showed him just how many pages needed to be flipped over before we would get to Big-School Time, and all the things that had to happen first. That reassured him. Since then he’s been making peace with the idea of being a kindergardener, moving slowly from worried to mildly anxious to pretty much okay.

And in the past couple of days, I’ve seen something I can only describe as actual excitement in his eyes when he’s asked me again how far off the first day of school is. Yesterday morning, inspired by that certain feeling of last-weekiness, I decided that the laundry didn’t look much like fun, and we took a hastily conceived trip to the outlet mall instead, to get them new shoes. (Children’s clothes and shoes are tax free in Maryland this week. So I sort of had to.) One light-up pair of Star Wars shoes, some new socks and a new t-shirt later, and Monkey is now really quite enthused about school. What’s more, he’s not wearing his snowboots any more.

And all it cost me was, well, some amount of money, and a chocolate milk in Starbucks, and a portion of my limited reserves of patience, as I sent longing glances in the direction of the Loft and Banana Republic outlets, so cruelly denied to me by my horrible offspring and their need for fripperies like food and sleep.

And now I have a few more notions of things to do with my scant few free hours a week after Labor Day when they’re both in school, most of which have more to do with spending money than earning it.

Mundanities

I seem to have been on a roll lately with posting. I used to post when I felt I had something specific to say, but I’m leaning more towards the “80% of success is showing up” angle these days and trying to make it a habit. Do tell me if I’m boring you, won’t you? It’s also quite nice just to start typing and see what falls out – sometimes the tangents turn out to be more interesting than what I was originally going to say.

Our autumn is about to get busy. Monkey went back to school last Tuesday (five mornings a week), and I have a couple of classes scheduled for Mabel and me while he’s busy there. Add the child-swap for the Correctly Hyphenated Doula Company and that will take up pre-nap every day, pretty much, with maybe one morning for doing the shopping. On top of that we have soccer for Monkey starting tomorrow – Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings; my pilates class on Wednesday evenings (first time I’ll have considered my “core” since I got pregnant with Mabel, so that should be lots of fun); and of course it’s coming up to marathon season so I’ll continue to be a running widow on a regular basis for the next month or two. Then there’s regular co-opping at school and the grannies’ visit in October and I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

We went and bought shin guards and a pair of cleats (soccer shoes with plastic studs) for Monkey today, to add to his new shorts and t-shirt ensemble for tomorrow. To say he’s quite excited would be an understatement. I just hope I can get him to take a nap tomorrow afternoon, because soccer doesn’t happen till 6pm, and a whole field full of unnapped, hyper, overexcited three-and-four year olds armed with soccer balls is really a terrifying thought. Which is why his father is taking him.

Everyone in the family got new shoes yesterday, except me. The fact that I got a new pair of jeans (for $22 – score) does not make up for it. Mabel now has two exceptionally cute pairs of shoes for this winter, and I’m dead jealous. My search for the perfect boots will soon begin again. Again.