Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

7 Ways to Leave Your Lover Wondering What You’ve Been Doing with Your Time

Way back in 2011, just as the days could get no shorter and the music at the mall could get no more annoying in my corner of the world, Dana from zona pellucida found enough light in her day to nominate me for the Seven Links Blog Award. While it is inevitable to be occasionally slapped with blog love of some kind or another, this particular honour excites me because, aside from the fact that I think Dana is awesome and her reading my blog still blows my mind occasionally, it motivates me to really look back at my blog and my best posts.

I have a whopping 80 something blog posts to my name and yet this task of mine is stunningly difficult. What posts do I want to highlight? Which of my mangled moments are my favourite? How can I possibly find controversy and helpfulness in such a quiet blog? But I’m working on doing things despite being unable to -also why you’ll find way more than seven links- so here I go:

1. Most Beautiful

A most beautiful post? Yikes. I don’t generally go for beautiful, nor am I mega-comfortable calling what I do beautiful. But if I must, *batting eyelashes*, my Thanksgiving weekend post Meandering through life keeping fed and watered, about higher education and reuniting with Calgary after 7 years takes the prize. Woman Recovers in Vegas from Assault by Arizona Desert, about my near-death experience,  and Not quite speechless, about finishing school, come in a close second.

2. Most Popular

I’ve written about this before. My post, Words (and other things resembling words) that warm my cockles: #6, about anemones – really the word anemone – is far and away my most popular. This kills me since the post is not exactly a piece of brilliance. It has almost no personal significance. However, it also serves as a reminder that what sells most isn’t always what’s best. Sometimes, people are just confused about sea creatures. Happy to help.

My second and third most popular posts, are Grad School: Deep and Delicious and A Considerate Person’s Guide to Riding the Bus, or Don’t be an Ass, respectively. The first I would find just as perplexing except that consumer products seem to win the google hunt every time and the second makes sense because it had the one-two-three punch of humour, lists, and being the only post I’ve ever put up on Facebook.

3. Most Controversial

While statements I’ve made against James Bond and Malcolm Gladwell could be seen as controversial if anyone had cared/commented I hazard a guess that my most controversial post may be the one in which I question our western, self-affirming, just believe and you will have everything you’ve ever wanted perspective. In Anything I set my mind to – Part 1 I wrote about whether we can get there just because our mommy or mentor said that we could.

4. Most Helpful

It occurs to me that the most helpful post on my blog should be one that gives others something: information, inspiration, perspiration… something. Unfortunately, such posts are few and far between. Vindication for Foot Sufferers Everywhere may prove helpful to those with evil, evil feet and Just Overshoot Me, which tries to explore and explain the issue of ecological overshoot, may provide solace to those who feel alone in a world where we’re constantly striving to use bigger, better, more.

5. Most Surprisingly Successful

As I’ve said, I remain astonished by my top post. But looking a little further along the list, I am most pleasantly surprised that I Prefer My “Maiden” Name and You Can Too (or Not) has achieved relative success in views and comments. It is exactly the sort of post of mine that doesn’t usually receive much attention. It was very fun to write and I’m still excited about the name change. I must admit that I’m pleased this one struck a chord.

6.Most Underrated

Underrated posts are often “underrated” for reasons that have nothing to do with the  posts themselves. It’s a holiday weekend. You published it at two in the morning. Everyone and their dog posted in that period and people are simply fatigued. But sometimes, the post just isn’t that great, or just doesn’t evoke any particular interest are reaction at the time its published. Either way, the flops can be frustrating. Especially the flops you like the most. My first flop, It’s Not Me, It’s Him, was also my very first post, so no big surprise there. It was about a (purely fictional – ha) loss of a developing friendship. This loss may have occurred for any number of reasons but I’ve decided to blame hypothetical people. The second flop I’ve chosen to highlight is my rant about language and generalizations, Warning! Lecture Zone: Generalize at your own risk. I am persnickety about language at the best of times but when it’s hurtful I really get going. I didn’t manage to get many others going with this post.

7. Most Worthy of Pride

Finally, as proof that things really can come full circle, my proudest post is a response my first blog award, also from Dana, where she gave me the once in a lifetime chance to reject an award: Who me? Well if you insist. No, thanks. That post was incredibly fun to write. The fact that it occurred to Dana to fulfill my dream was absolutely priceless!

Once again, this post has meant much more to me than it could to someone else. But I’m grateful for this time down memory lane and the wonderful bloggers that have encouraged and inspired me. For some of my favourite bloggers, cruise my very limited blog roll. [Hi, blog world. I’m trying to keep myself under control. It’s tough. Forgive me.]

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Community, Hypotheticals, Self-reflection, Waste, Writing | , , , | 6 Comments

The Wedding Dress that Keeps on Giving

Given my inner burn to recycle, reuse, avoid buying, and decrease the flow of stuff to the place that stuff goes to die, it may come as no surprise that I actively seek ways to wear that item, often cursed in the closet for its girth, its awkwardness, its expense: ye olde wedding dress. Lawn bowling, bathtub cleaning, and the water park are a few of my favourite dress destinations. This inner burn is perhaps, um, less than classy. I can hear it now … you might be a redneck if … you wear your wedding dress to parties and people ask you where the other half is.

[For those of us not interested in the ridiculousness that is a relatively boring wedding dress shopping narrative, skip to the ridiculousness of me photographing myself in it earlier this week.]

In a classic example of the battle of wits between mice and men, or in this case, mother and daughter, the wedding dress search and purchase was a compromise. I wanted colour, maybe electric blue. My mom wanted conventional, virginal white. Aside from that whole purity thing which irritates me, and the princess thing which makes me uncomfortable, I really wanted a dress that I could wear again, at least in theory. My mom – somehow – got that I was pretty strong on the white issue and didn’t put up too much of a fuss, though she fought me to the death on high heels. They were a must in her book. When I suggested, every so gently I’m sure, that I wouldn’t be able to walk at my own wedding, she said with a smile, “too bahdd.” Take that, contrarian daughter! (In Retrospect #1: I still regret not pushing back harder on that one. Matching ballet slippers would have been pretty fun.)

So, along comes my mother for dress shopping, and magically, things went relatively smoothly. I tried on a few bridesmaids’ dresses before finding something that we both really, really liked. It was dark brown. I love brown. My mom primly suggested we look at the other colours available. Being so completely reasonable, I agreed to look at the swatch card, which had a number of colours that excited me and a number of versions of white that caught my mom’s eye. Then, our gaze magically landed on the silver square of fabric at about the same time. We looked at one another, our eyes meeting like two people in a bad movie who thought they hated each other until they discover their love in one another’s brow, scent, and sheen. (Is that a weird thing to say about your mother?) We were of one mind. (In Retrospect #2: I kind of let my mom get her way by agreeing to silver, it’s not a colour after all, and could be mistaken for an almost-white sort of dress. It certainly didn’t make an electric blue statement.)

To fast forward, the silver dress was ordered, it was a hit (with me, anyway), and I later wore it shamelessly at my 29th birthday party – a “wear something in your closet you have no excuse to wear” party. I couldn’t have been more pleased to get the news that I had an excuse to wear it again, at a black tie affair with dignitaries and other lesser life forms, that I was invited to by association. The affair was fun, the dress appropriate, the food excellent, and the company lively. There was however no dancing. How I love to dance (link includes a full length view of said dress). I also learned that the affair may be an annual one, which means that rather than selling or cocktailing (it’s a term) the 3 – seriously, three – full-length gowns in my closet as I had planned, I may in fact hang onto them, or let the closet hang onto them.

Sadly, my camera is happily bumming around in Calgary like some sort of teenage delinquent driving her mother crazy and I was unable to get a proper picture of the full effect. We’ll have to accept my impressions of a three-year-old twirling in a tutu in the dark that I took at the END of the night.

In retrospect, I could have repositioned the computer, moved further away, and turned on a light

I also could have smiled and moved the barometer

I shall return to things of relevance, or things that involve less shopping, in my next post.

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Brackets, marriage, Waste | , , , | 8 Comments

Putting the Freak in Freecycle – a Halloween special

I’ve written some about a lack of focus and motivation. It should come as no surprise that when I got a freecycle email at 10pm on a Wednesday announcing that a working stand up lamp is out on the street a few blocks away, I jumped in my car (thinking this time it might be smart not to attempt a retrieval by bike. I am, after all, still recovering from the superman incident).

I drove along the darkly lit street feeling like a desperate junk collector looking to score. I was sure that people were hiding behind their curtains and blinds, writing down license plate numbers, repeating inaccurate descriptions of me and Forest in their heads should the police come knocking tomorrow. I was jittery with the thrill of the chase. In the dark, I looked longingly for 947… or a lamp parked inconspicuously at the curb … 901, 907, 923 …. The anticipation was building as well as the sense that I should be prepared for disappointment. You’ve been scooped before, Rose, it could happen again. I cursed myself for not wearing running shoes and a headlamp. … 927, 931…

Then lo and behold, from the corner of my eye, I spotted it standing tall but oddly embarrassed in the shadow of the streetlamp’s glaring light. Thar she blows! The little freebee was feeling emasculated under all that towering city light glory. It may have perked up a little as I approached, but things go fuzzy for me after 9, so maybe not.

I parked, pulled the secret seat hatch that gives me alternative access to the trunk, and left the car running, which is strange for me. I had gone from feeling like hunter to hunted. What if someone came from behind a tree with a bat, growling “Myyy laahhmp!” Thud. Probably a camera or two with crimestoppers on speed dial. At the very least, there were ghostly forms watching stealthily from keyholes and attic windows. A gate creaked eerily in the distance.

Despite all this paranoia, I took a moment to inspect the lamp, pretending to be picky, pretending I could see anything in the dark. I stumbled on a neutral grey yoga mat looking clean, unbuggy and tidily rolled. Why not? I slunk back to the car with the lamp in one hand and the mat in the other, working on not tripping over the cord, dropping the lamp, or unfurling the yoga carpet, more convinced than ever that someone was dialing 911 right at this moment to report a robbery. I hoped that the arresting officer would not cause permanent damage.

Back at the car, in the trusty light of the trunk the mat become substantially more lavender, not exactly my colour of choice. It did however remain free and unbuggy. It would also allow me to have one at home and one at the studio. Lavender shmavender. The lamp too came with a little surprise, about as much dust as anything in my home has on any given day. I wondered temporarily if other people’s dust was grosser than mine before wondering no more and popping it into the car. And by pop I mean struggle. I jiggled, I eased. I did not need the extra space afforded by the secret seat hatch. I am now one of those Darwin Award winning criminals you read about and snicker.

I jumped into the getaway car, sure that all the tires would deflate driving over getaway car foiling spike strips, waiting for the hiss. Only as I got a few blocks away, safely nestled into my parking garage, did my racing heart begin to slow. Just another non-adventure turned into excitement.

And the lamp? It only leans mildly to the left. Though occasionally it breathes, which is creepy.

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Free and cheap things, Travel and intrigue, Waste | , , , , | 6 Comments

Minimalism and Making Room for Rice

I have been itching to tackle consumption and minimalism in a post for some time and putting off actually doing the tackling. A recent blog post by Karim Osman that generated many comments got me back in gear. It discussed the merits of minimalism and emphasized getting rid of things, purging, clearing out and otherwise freeing your material and digital self. There are after all environmental, financial, and personal reasons to keep it simple. He wrote:

Back then I spend most of my money on clothes and footwear. Yet I never knew what to wear and always wanted something new. Over the years I lost my obsession and went from 50 to 6 pair of shoes. Do you still remember which shoes you had 5 years ago? Not really right? That’s how “important” they were to you. Remember the trip you did with your family or friends 5 years ago? You probably do! It was definitely worth spending money on that because it’s something you’d never forget.

I generally agree, though I think there is something to be said for keeping some generally useful but unused things when they aren’t getting in your way. A costume box/ridiculous items of clothing, a couple of dresses that I can rarely wear places, blankets, and buckets come to mind. The used Tupperware veggie-serving tray I bought two years ago that has not yet been used could probably go. But it doesn’t have to if I think I will be out buying a new one within a year to serve the same purpose. Of course, if that serving tray starts dictating that a larger home is in order, it’s time to reevaluate.

Purging is great, but the biggest problem on my list of modern temptations I deem sinful, is that we’re as good or better at accumulating things again than we are getting rid of them.

But what I’d like to take to task is the questioning look, spark of anger, or downright disdain for those who work hard to get life down to the necessities plus a few items of great pleasure, and stay there; those who want to avoid buying new stuff; or those who limit the luxuries available to their kids (while they can). People seem pretty quick to judge those that make an effort not to consume. There are minimalist-types who are preachy about their life choices and that can be annoying and inspire retaliation – that’s not really what I mean. I’m more concerned about the general belief system that underlies the uninvited judgment on those who try to keep it simple.

A Globe and Mail article by Rachel Jonat prompted my original draft. It chronicles the story of her Vancouver family  and illustrates this potential for judgment:

Family and friends have been supportive, skeptical or adamant that we are making a huge mistake. We have been gentle with our words on the subject, and often tell people that it’s not for everyone.

I documented our journey on a blog (theminimalistmom.com)  and found it to be the best way to connect with other minimalist families. There aren’t a lot of us. The home is mostly a female domain and women tend to be shoppers, gatherers and collectors. Deciding to live with less and not spend money as a hobby or an emotional pick-me-up has alienated me from a few friends. While I don’t preach about it in person, several friends have read my thoughts on the subject on my blog and have quietly stopped inviting me to social events. I’m okay with this. My closest friends, regardless of their affinity for minimalism, have been supportive even if they are holding onto over-stuffed closets themselves.

It strikes me as pretty powerful that she’s actually experienced warnings of a “huge mistake” and alienation from friends as a result of this shift but it doesn’t surprise me. Though my life is not nearly as pared down as hers sounds, some of the most awkward times for me have occurred for similar reasons. For example, when I’m talking to a person who loves gadgets, has all the newest technology and thinks that I should too, it can be difficult to explain that I don’t feel the need, would prefer not to spend the money, or like to keep it simple without provoking a defensive reaction or a mild insult. I recognize that this person has no more than many others and I try to be respectful about it, making fun of myself, but that doesn’t cure the discomfort, or sometimes, the judgment.

I’ve certainly taken flak from certain members of my family for discouraging presents, random unnecessary items, and – most prominently – for refusing to buy a rice cooker, of all things. The rice cooker has now become my minimalist logo. I have no moral vendetta when it comes to the little space machines, but to my mind the principle is simple: I need and have pots. Pots cook rice well. Right now I don’t mind getting up to turn down the heat or check whether it’s done. I am not a rice fanatic that could justify to herself the purchase of a rice cooker. I’m sure there are others who reasonably could, like I justify my camera. Likewise, I don’t have a kettle. Pots are good at boiling water, too. However, I continue to receive comments about things like the cooker that would change my life. I’m stubborn, I’m cheap (I am cheap, but that wouldn’t stop me), or I’m a contrarian. Actually, I just really get off on not having stuff I don’t need, and clutter is my mortal enemy.

I am keenly aware, however, that this approach will get more problematic as time marches. I remain unprepared for the battles I might endure if I were to have kids. I’ve got a mental rulebook regarding number of gifts, newness of gifts (used!), questionable nutritional quality of gifts, and pinkness of gifts (unrelated issue) that could really generate some tensions with grandparents and others. I’m positive it will generate closeted criticism, but I guess that’s parenting. Friends of mine have told me about their experiences, including grandparents mourning the loss of their right to spoil and people questioning the quality of life of a 14 month old without a relatively fulsome set of toys.

In case it’s not obvious, that worries me. Are we so concerned with justifying our own stuff that we insist that babies have it all, too? Do we really think that toddlers are missing out on childhood because they have far more toys than they can remember? Is my life less worthy without the rice cooker? Was I put on this earth to annoy people? Do people have some point that I’m just ignoring?


Apparently my writing could use some minimalism – my apologies!

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumption, Irritated, News, Waste | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

I don’t get out much

I wrote the following four sentences six months ago as a draft.

“As I believe I’ve said before, my life is not a run away train of Huck Finn adventures (clearly, if Huck Finn is my reference). There’s mainly a lot of computer sitting, interspersed with some domestic activities, bike rides, movies and yoga. I don’t mind at all, but I think many would perish at the mere thought of such an existence. The bonus, obviously, is the excitement over little things.”

Sadly things have slid to a lower level of excitement in the last couple of months.Unfortunately, right now, the list of little things to celebrate has been downgraded from bike rides and yoga to items such as

  • making a complete and tasty meal, which still happens but not as often as I would like
  • cleaning the kitchen
  • having the bus arrive just as I do but without the stress of the half-block jog
  • scavenging enough food for my lunch (PB&J, chunk of halveh, banana, chunk of cheese – yay, can’t find anything green in there? you got it!)
  • the days I don’t need long-johns
  • movies
  • watching my plants grow
  • grapefruit
  • daydreaming about going to physio again
  • phone calls
  • and, ever so rarely, writing something, anything.

Of course, this is a snapshot of a particularly busy time that is equal to much less than a whole life (hopefully). But I am still keenly aware that I am allowing life to pass me by. I can’t even say I’m watching it, because I am a bit of a prisoner in my own head. Moments of lucidity are rare. (The other day I noticed a tree was budding and I nearly fell over from surprise, at the budding and the noticing.) I am still enjoying life, or parts of it, on a daily basis, for which I am eternally grateful. But I am acutely conscious that if I die tomorrow it will not be atop a mountain peak either real or metaphoric but in a relatively dark canyon or crevasse, with it’s own beauty and wonder, but lacking the glory of the skies.

It’s a good thing I’ve crammed in some planned fun for this summer!

March 5, 2011 Posted by | Brackets, Cycling, Doing it the hard way, Law, Self-reflection, Waste | 4 Comments

Just Overshoot Me

What follows includes an offensive amount of cheese and brackets. Today, I will not apologize. Check back tomorrow.

I am a hesitant reader of non-fiction. Like opera, I can appreciate its value but reap little enjoyment. Despite my desire to be truly post-modern, I really enjoy a “clear” but fictionalized narrative. I want a story, with a beginning, end and a bunch of intriguing thoughts sprinkled throughout like candy at a parade. I don’t mind intriguing thoughts being thrown at my head. Such books feel like pure Creation with a capital rainbow. (I am currently resisting the urge to link to Kermit the Frog singing the Rainbow Connection. Thank me later).

Despite this fiction obsession, I was telling some aged environmental gentlefolk of my interest in hearing from or reading something of a different sort. I had spent months reading environmental and political news without seeing anybody discussing the fact that there is a finite amount of everything on this earth (except maybe love and road rage) and that we are quickly working ourselves into some potentially dreadful results (this is me avoiding terms like “mass hysteria” and “earth-sized mound of chicken poo”). These two dudes recognized my ignorance and my failure to be around in the 70s and took the opportunity to recommend a couple of books for me to read: Limits to Growth and Our Ecological Footprint. And oh, did I read.

Our Ecological Footprint introduced the mainstream to the idea that everything we do leaves a crap-patch on the earth the size of which is within our control, to put it in articulate terms. Despite all the cartoons and “let me break it down for you” moments, I found it difficult to read. For me, reading about science is like sewing about sex. I do not compute. That said, I did get through it in a few weeks with some new tools and language to use when discussing that thing I’ve never been able to describe beyond saying, “stuff can’t just keep growing.”

Limits to Growth was a more formidable challenge – I want to say 3 or so months – that included a lot of swearing while holding the book. And that’s a book I wanted to read. Just imagine what I was like when my boss handed me The Tipping Point, a book that still sends my pulse soaring, probably mainly because of Malcolm Gladwell’s slam on Sesame Street (or maybe for other less personal reasons). I got a lot of really good sleep during the Limits to Growth period, though that eventually ended when I finished the book. That said, certain ideas really clicked for me. I earned the language to further discuss my irritation with the meta-b.s. (google it) of never-ending progress that normally gets me incoherently, um, RAGE-rific. There were a couple of pieces that really stuck with me. In one particular spot I found the explanation of “overshoot,” a fundamental concept when talking about the world eventually wretching all over me (as I picture it), particularly useful. Maybe I liked the not-quite-irony of it too. I have sat on this quote long enough that it has lost some of its lustre. Though the a-ha moment has dimmed, I still find it really comforting, but not.

“The final contributor to overshoot is the pursuit of growth. If you were driving a car with fogged windows or faulty brakes, the first thing you would do to avoid overshoot would be to slow down. You would certainly not insist on accelerating. Delay in feedback can be handled as long as the system is not moving too fast to receive signals and respond before it hits the limit. Constant acceleration will take any system, no matter how clever and farsighted and well-designed, to the point where it can’t react in time. Even a car and driver functioning perfectly are unsafe at high speeds. The faster the speed, the higher the overshoot, and the farther the fall.”

Limits to Growth the 30 Year Update, p. 175

November 6, 2010 Posted by | Books, Brackets, Childhood Complaints, Consumption, Doing it the hard way, Irritated, Uncategorized, Waste | , , | 5 Comments

Damien the Dishwasher

I’ve never lived with a dishwasher before even as a kid, unless you count the human kind. I’m not a huge proponent, given all the water usage. I imagine it’s something I’ll appreciate when family comes to visit and so forth. But most of the time, I’d rather just do the dishes myself. Unfortunately, other hypothetical people don’t agree.

My problems? you may wonder…yet another bulleted list:

  • I don’t have that many dishes, so it’s hard to actually fill a load before needing what’s in there again
  • I use a ton of containers that are too light to wash in the dishwasher and tend to pool water even when they don’t flip over like a pool of yuckiness so I have constant arguments with myself over what to wash by hand and what to load, not loading them makes it even harder to fill and you can see how this can go on…
  • water spots
  • the noise. That sounds cranky, but the noise makes me feel guilty about the excess water consumption
  • the space restrictions. I use more bowl-like things than flat-like things so it’s hard to fill the bottom rack
  • I have an obsessive master-packer problem that mostly doesn’t interfere with my life. Suitcases, boxes and dishracks have all been a source of joy in the past. However, finding the “best way” to fit things together becomes more like a penitence when I fight daily with the dishwasher over its inflexible hold over me.

Crown Jewel of Master Packing/Stacking

For those who think that water worries are unwarranted, I’m feeling impatient today so I’ll just say you’re wrong:

“From an ecological perspective, we have no water to spare. Canada has 7% of the world’s land mass and about 6.5% of the world’s renewable supply of water – meaning we have just about enough water to meet the ecological needs of our land mass (Institute for Research on Public Policy, Canada’s Water Challenges). To complicate matters, the renewable supply of water is expected to decrease with climate change (Natural Resources Canada, Canada’s Water Budget).” http://www.flowcanada.org/security/water-matters/environment

July 10, 2010 Posted by | Excessive organization, Hypotheticals, Irritated, Waste | | 5 Comments

On an appreciation kick

At the risk of sounding goober-tastic, I decided to list all of the things that are giving me mini-thrills in the new home. There’s been no painting, so mainly they having nothing to do with ownership.

  • trees and other greenery out the window
  • a new bed (which didn’t come with the place but came the same day so it seems related enough)
  • a second bedroom, even if right now it’s a bit of a dumping pile
  • a non-tiled bathtub/shower (no icky grout)
  • two sink kitchen
  • storage (not in a pile behind the bedroom door)
  • relatedly, knowing I have camping equipment without looking at it every day to make sure
  • windows on multiple sides and the resulting breeze
  • lack of carpet
  • a kitchen bar/counter situation into the dining room
  • having nothing I own at my mother’s house or my in-laws’ house
  • sights, sounds and smells from the neighbouring park including guitars, playing, swinging and scolding as well as  day camp kids instructed to run from one end to the other screaming for five minutes straight
  • being allowed to have a bbq, even though there isn’t one yet
  • not sharing the bathroom with the cat
  • the cat sharing a bathroom with the recycling closet (a closet dedicated to recycling is pure luxury)
  • biking right into and out of the building
  • still being a block from a grocery store
  • watching the cat explore hesitantly, then act like she owns the place a day later
  • in suite laundry
  • being closer to the ferry for those 6am sprints rare though they are
  • and that commute is still pretty fun too

Most of this stuff didn’t even bother me before, but I really appreciate how not getting too fancy early on has allowed me to  enjoy these little improvements. My “simple life”, though still much more complicated than the lives of many, gives me all the more to have fun with, which may just sound silly, I don’t know.

That said, there are downsides besides expense. The main one is the well-meaning (read: colourful adjective) dishwasher. duh duh dunhhhh

July 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumption, Cycling, Hypotheticals, Waste | | 2 Comments

Feet Gripes

Sometimes I think my feet are more trouble thn they’re worth. Then it occurs to me this might be a mild overstatement. For the most part I am able to walk on them and put them to somewhat good use. But they have in the past and continue to cause various problems:

  • Balance issues. This may be made up, but the way I see it, small feet provide less stability. I’m a hypocrite though because I also like that my feet are small. Worse than that though are tiny toes, good-for-nuthins that for the most part only pretend to do their jobs. Exhibit A:

Balance so good my feet are blurry.

  • Rogue toe X2. Related to small feet and good-for-nuthin toes with no balance is my rogue toe, number 5 on both feet. GROSS ALERT: It makes up for length with width, being almost square. Worst of all, it doesn’t touch the ground. EVER. This makes shoes challenging. Everything rubs this toe. Even running shoes will eventually send this toe singing for its naked supper. I’ve given up on preventing rogue toe pain. Some sandals it just plain sticks out of, not even pretending to want to fit in with the other little piggies. Indeed. Exhibit B:

One, two, three, four... yep, that's it, four toes!

  • Shape. A wide toe region and narrow heel make for a frustrating trip to the shoe store. I’m still waiting for the revenge of the triangle foot people.
  • Skin. While being difficult to callous is good for the daintiness (not that it matters with the above mentioned problems), it makes hiking and wearing birkenstocks for prolonged periods difficult. The skin on my feet hovers in a state of constant potential pain just waiting for any old excuse to half-callous or blister. On walking vacations I have to take enough pairs of shoes to switch twice a day, in case blisters form with one pair, and then another. But worse than the blisters is the itchy phase, often lasting multiple days and causing the most distress while I’m trying to get my beauty sleep. It is not uncommon for me to get up at 2am and splash cold water on my feet hoping to numb them until I fall back asleep.
  • Buying shoes. It is impossible to know what will bother my feet until I go for a stroll outside. This does not go over well with the shoe store gods, who look down on soiled soles. Shoes that do work for me tend to be pricey and still cause problems. When I do find shoes, I feel eternally grateful, I promise. Exhibit C (praise current running shoe):

Bless them

  • Pretty shoes = enemy. I’m not going to pretend that I’m not a chunky shoe/running shoe kind of person. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t be wearing dainties every day, even if I could. But I might occasionally like to wear something not made by Teva or Keen. Heels are hell for me. Besides the aforementioned issues, the balls of my feet scream, “we’ll work out a bunion this minute if you don’t take those OFF!” Yesterday I bought some sandals that looked quite unthreatening. They’re just barely raised in the back. They’re quite strappy, which I knew was dangerous, but seemed very comfortable as I did laps around the store. After a ten minute walk in them yesterday, I had 3/4 inch long blisters on the bottoms of each foot. Awesome. They’re unreturnable so I’m going to try a home adjustment job. yay. Exhibit D:

They only look harmless. My punishment for buying shoes made in China.

As a result, I’ve developed a bit of a foot obsession. Some people thinks this means that I love feet or have a foot fetish. I liken it more to some sort of horrifying occasion that you can’t quite look away from. And oh do I look. Which might explain why I tried to convince the twenty women on my floor in my first year of university that they should all lie down under a blanket with their feet out and I would identify them one by one. They wouldn’t go for it. I had to settle for announcing the name of the person in the toilet stall next to mine and other shenanigans. It’s scary the number of feet I could identify. People have no idea.

A few other foot pics to round things out:

Healthy feet - not my feet!

Not feet at all. Whew.

June 6, 2010 Posted by | Childhood Complaints, Irritated, Waste | 4 Comments

Purchasing Mattresses: the devil you don’t know

It felt like a waste of a Saturday, but maybe in the end I will thank myself for the time spent. Or maybe I should get drunk and forget it ever happened.

I have been holding out on buying a new mattress – ok, a first mattress (non-futon) for some time after a bed bug incident that was a bit hard to shake. My thinking was that I couldn’t trust the building again, so until I was buying a place (i.e. committing), I wouldn’t get a real mattress. This is of course irrational. Bed bugs can  just as easily be introduced into a condo building as they can be into a rental, moving between units and so forth. I have no better explanation to offer.

Anyway, the time has come. I knew I was looking for a mattress only. I knew the actual platform bed frame I wanted* but needed to find the right mattress. Now I understand that I hate the sales pitch, and have low tolerance for that sales-y-ness, but this was enough to give me a headache. Prices were being slashed like it was a Malaysian street sale. A memory foam mattress listed at $2,500 quickly went to $1,380 and then $1,150. I desperately wanted a memory foam mattress but had heard that anything under $2,000 was not worth your money (goes hard and yucky and much worse than a spring mattress in a short time). Now would a mattress that started over $2,000 and ended under that amount be consider crap? So, thinking myself smart, I engaged El Internet in some research only to find infommercials and American outlet store websites without product specifications or anything I would deem INFORMATION. Blegh. I got cranky.

Anyway, keeping in mind the old addage that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is, I went with a different store and a coil mattress. Basically it came down to this: The man in the second store didn’t even try to pretend he wasn’t telling me what I wanted to hear. He basically admitted that he told me delivery was free so that I’d buy a mattress, even though it wasn’t free, then didn’t charge me for delivery in recognition of his previous pitch, which he’d forgotten. Same with some other um – what would you call them – oh yeah, numbers.

The up side? A mattress has been purchased. It didn’t break the bank (hopefully it doesn’t break the back). It will be delivered after moving day. It will be slept on. Pictures to follow.

Consider this an open invitation to share your mattress heaven or hell.

*Victoria has a fantastic (well, I know nothing about furniture, but it seems fantastic to me) furniture store called Woodpecker Furniture and Futons). They have a ton of products hand-made from BC wood, custom made in some cases, stain choices and all that jazz.

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Consumption, Irritated, Waste | 4 Comments