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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Like, OMG! Shoes!

November29

I got shoes that fit for the first time in 1994.

I have very wide feet, and prior to that I stuffed my feet into whatever shoes (usually shoes designed for older, adult women who were on their feet a lot… nurses, for example) I could. My feet are actually deformed from this. I used to literally walk on top of my little toe, which was turned entirely under my foot. I know a lot of women who have this problem. In the summer of 1993, I’d gone on a trip with my mom to Australia to spend a few weeks with her best friends who’d moved out there years before (this was back before the internet was commonly used, before email was pervasive, back when Air Mail still existed and my mom would get packs of Onion Skin Paper (translucent!) and write in tiny, cramped handwriting on both sides of the paper, and it was so incredibly expensive to send just a letter, never mind an actual package, and phone calls were arranged far ahead of time and were short because of the expense) and for some reason we went to a discount shoe warehouse place while we were there and I got a pair of cordovan leather lace up shoes that almost fit, and the shoe seller told my mom to look for Dr Martens when we got back home. They were this shoe from England that ran wide, she said, and were very sturdy. Hard to find outside of England, a little pricey, but worth looking for.

We called around and eventually found a pair of 3 hole greasy black leather shoes at, I think, Marshall Field’s… not just any Marshall Field’s, but the one in down town Chicago (which is now a Macy’s because hey, who needs history or continuity?). I was appalled at the price, something around $100. People actually spent that much money on shoes? Really? This is a thing, that people do? But we got them, shoes that fit, sturdy shoes, shoes that didn’t cause pain. They fit like a dream. The actual topography of my feet started changing, to the point where my toes now look like normal toes and not like those weird sausages you find in jars that started out round but turn kind of square from being packed so closely together, and my pinky toes are straight and I walk like a normal human being, and I have better balance and posture and my foot bones don’t ache the way they used to. I wore those shoes until I literally wore them out. I wore them every day for five years, and that wear involved building sets and getting drywall screws and broken glass stuck in the soles and digging them out with pliers, and walking all around campus both High School and College, miles and miles of walking, and walking in the hot summer and walking in the freezing cold (and well salted) winter. The leather got softer and softer and conformed entirely to my feet. I replaced the laces multiple times.

And then one day I was walking across the quad after a rain storm and realized that my feet were soaking wet. Like, sloshing slopping squishy wrinkled feet wet. I’d worn the tread off the soles years ago (and this was back when Dr Marten’s had deeper treads, so that’s saying quite a bit) and now the soles had deep splits in them and every time I walked through a puddle they sucked water up.

And I was heart broken. I actually held on to those shoes for something like 5 years after they bit the dust, with grand plans to take them to some magical cobbler and get them resoled. At one point the company used to resole shoes but in general they don’t do that any more. And no pair of DMs I’ve gotten since them, even the same style, has fit as well or lasted as long or been as comfortable. Maybe it’s because my feet have changed shape, or because I’m older; maybe the quality of the shoes has gone downhill. But I’ve bought, in my life, 5 pair of DM shoes and 2 pair of boots (prices ranging from $100-$150 each) and after that first pair have only gotten about 2 years worth of wear out of them before they start getting really uncomfortable (one pair barely lasted a year. A buckle broke off after a month or two, only, and they became extremely uncomfortable to wear after about 11 months, and I still have them because Christ they were expensive and I hate the idea of throwing out money like that. I’ve gotten more wear out of $20 kicks from Payless.). They just wear down in ways they didn’t used to. The uppers are mostly fine, but the bouncing soles, the flimsy-seeming (to me, anyway) “new” treads, the inner foot bed… they wear out so fast. Most shoe repair places explicitly state they don’t repair/resole DMs because of the bouncing sole/AIR WAIRE. There’s a place in Boston that will resole SOME DMs for $60 if you also pay postage both ways (or, you know, are in the neighborhood and bring ’em in).

So I was kind of excited to see that Dr Martens has a line of shoes and boots with the label “For Life.” They’re guaranteed, you see. If they wear out, they will repair or replace them. That’s exciting! They cost more (The style I love and keep coming back to costs US$95 for “regular” on their site and US$130 in “for life” version) but not that much more, right? $130 is a big chunk to drop on shoes, but if I can wear them for 4 or 5 years, that amortizes out pretty nicely.

Except on top of the premium you pay for the shoes, it also costs $25 in handling fees (and additional postage both ways) to get them repaired or replaced. And damage to the “foot bed” (aka insole or inner sole) isn’t covered. I don’t know about you, but my shoes? Show wear in the foot bed. I have worn through the foot bed and into the filler (the material between the foot bed and sole) in some shoes, which is not very comfortable at all, but shoes aren’t exactly free so I just keep limping along. I don’t know how one would prevent wear in the foot bed, either. Would an insert-able insole be enough protection? And would there be enough room in the shoe for both an insole and my foot? (possibly not)

I’ve been looking for shoes both online and in retail stores for months now. I do not currently have a pair of shoes I can wear to walk or stand for a long distance/period of time, which is severely curtailing my physical activity and outings with my kid. The closest parks/play lots to use are about a mile away and if I walk there and back with Niko, I wind up with pain in my feet, ankles, left knee, right hip, and lower back (I supinate when I walk; the outer edges of my shoes wear out faster than the inner edges. When my shoes get old/worn enough the difference in wear is enough to throw my entire body– feet, ankles, knees, hips, back– out of line and puts tremendous stress on my joints). I spent 20 minutes at a shoe store last night (that doesn’t sound like much time, I guess, but they primarily had high heels, clogs, and boots in the lady section and no smaller men sizes, so I was picking over the same handful of shoes over and over and over) and couldn’t wedge my feet into most of the shoes.

So, you know. The idea of quality, comfortable, fitting shoes with a guarantee is appealing as hell. But I don’t think this guarantee covers the way I wear shoes, and honestly, I’m not entirely confident in the quality level of DMs anymore. So I’m still looking.

It’s really frustrating.

Children’s Fashion

June17

Nesko and I watched “The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen!!!” recently, although since I’d never seen “The Exorcist” before any version would be one I’d never seen. I was afraid it wouldn’t stand up, that it would be hokey or awkward or corny. It wasn’t! It was a good movie, very interesting, and I’m keeping me eyes out for a copy of the book it was based on.

One of the most interesting things in the movie (to me) was the way Regan dressed. In the first part of the movie, because she’s dressed in nightgowns and kept to her room/bed, she wears jeans and plaid shirts. She’s a girl, 12 years old, and she’s wearing clothing that’s really gender neutral. Other than possibly having buttons/zippers on the “wrong” side, or minor fashion detailing/stitching, her clothing is something a boy or a girl could wear and look good and feel good. I didn’t pick up on her being presented as a “tomboy” either. She was just wearing clothes.

I was walking around outside the other day and a big group of kids and their caregivers was walking in the other direction. There were 15-20 girls in the group, and every single one of them was wearing pink. Most of them were also wearing ruffles on their shirts and jeans. They weren’t dressed up, but they were ruffled and pink and heavily gendered. Some of the boys had non-gendered clothing, plain jeans and t-shirts, but most of them had macho things like “king of the playground” or “here comes trouble!” or something (as opposed to, you know, “‘princess” or “diva” or “flirt” or “cute”).

Children’s fashion is so excessively gendered at this point that seeing a girl in plain jeans and a plaid shirt jumped out at me as something to be noticed. There are people who claim that there’s no point in being a Feminist any more, no point in pushing a Feminist agenda, because wow! Feminists won! The world is a Feminist playground and women are in control and men are on the decline and becoming weaker and less powerful and less effective every single day. But there is an incredible divide between what’s acceptable clothing for “boys” and “girls,” and while it’s considered appropriate to dress a girl in “boy” clothing it’s not acceptable to dress a boy in “girl” clothing because that will turn him gay or something. Because “male” is still the default, and female the exception to the rule.

posted under clothes, feminism, life, women | Comments Off on Children’s Fashion

Shoes, betch

July23

Dear Internets:
I got fat feet.

It is hard to be a lay-dee with fat feet because shoe designers apparently think that all women have narrow feet and lack toes and have shortened Achilles tendons and therefore are very comfortable on stupidly tall heels.

Fuck that noise.

I had a pair of all-purpose slip-on shoes that I would wear to check the mail or take the trash out or do laundry. They were by the back door, and were very convenient and looked pretty decent, too. And then one day Nesko dropped my set of glass stacking bowls on the floor and they exploded into a million glittering shards, many of which landed in those shoes. In the interest of not getting glass bits embedded in my feet, I threw those shoes out. This began the quest for replacement shoes.

By “quest” I mean “wandering down to Payless and scowling at their limited selection.” They only had 3 pair of shoes total in wide widths in my size, and those were 2 pair of sneakers and 1 pair of insanely tall heels. I headed into the dude’s shoe section, which greatly disturbed the only man there, as well as everyone working there. They kept asking me if I needed help. OH NO I AM TOO STUPID TO KNOW THAT I AM LOOKING AT DUDELY SHOES.

I am apparently a 6.5 or 7 in dudely shoes, and am now the owner of a pair of slide on sandals. They don’t have a toe-thong, so I can wear them with socks if I want to (why would I want to? eh. It’s good to have options) and have 2 straps over the top of the foot with buckles so I can adjust them to my fat feet. I think they will work out pretty ok.

I also looked at baby shoes. They are so cute I almost died. Right there. In the store. While listening to Electric Six. Then I looked at the prices and came back to life. Shoes for infants: biggest scam in the world, or simply misguided?

posted under baby, clothes, CONSUME, life | Comments Off on Shoes, betch

I win at life. And tights giveaways.

June20

I posted earlier about the We Love Colors giveaway at Elle In Wonderland.

I totally won! Holy crap. Hoooooly craaaaaaap.

I have requested this striped pair in black and scarlet red.

When they arrive I will post a review and possibly pictures of my bad self wearing them.

Win A Pair Of Tights From “We Love Colors”

June8

Elle in Wonderland is running a promo to win a pair of tights from “We Love Colors.” I’ve been browsing their website for awhile now thinking about what kind of tights I could encase my fat legs in, so this promo has me very excited.

My top choices are these white striped tights, these black striped tights, or solid color maroon which will match this really wild dress I have that I’m, frankly, a little scared to wear because it’s PATTERN! and COLOR! and OMGCLEAVAGE!

Swing by her blog to leave a comment entry.

They have dude hosiery, too.

posted under advertising, clothes, fat | Comments Off on Win A Pair Of Tights From “We Love Colors”

ATTN: Chicago-area thrifty fat women…

April28

The Unique thrift store on Sheridan (Unique is a chain of thrift stores and they. all. smell. the. same.) has a LOT of plus-size high quality clothing. I was shocked to see this! Previous thrifting has been a very frustrating experience, but everything is half off at Unique on Mondays and I had time to spend pawing through racks.

It went a little like this:

0
5
6
10
0
2
18… what the fuck?
22… holy HELL? *grab*
4
small
xs
2XL
14
18
18
18
18
20
16
0
24
18
18
18
18
22
6
Size 18 seemed to be HIGHLY represented. I grabbed 4 pair of pants, all of which looked brand new. I put one back in the store because HA-HAAA! Spoiled for choice! They weren’t ALL THAT, even at only $2.00. (one pair is too small, but I might lose weight and fit them. This is not wishful thinking on my part, entirely. If I don’t keep losing weight I’ll give away or sell them, not hang on to them forever). I snagged 4 shirts, one of which is slightly snug, but same caveat as the two-small pants. I also grabbed 1 dress from Torrid that I intended to wear over jeans, but hell, it looks good on its own. If you are a size 16-24 and have some time to spend pawing through thrift store racks, check this place out. AMAZING.

I also got Nesko 2 pair of pants, picked up a giant wad of super cute baby clothes, many of which still had the original sales tags on them, 2 kids’ books, and some play-dough fun-factory stuff for $1.50. In all, I spent less than $55.00.

My guess is that some local fat woman either suddenly lost or gained a bunch of weight, or else massively cleaned out her (their? maybe it was several women?) closet of PRACTICALLY NEW CLOTHING. Whoever you are, local fat donating woman or women, thank you. Thank you so much. My fat fluctuating-size ass thanks you. My wallet thanks you. My closet thanks you. My sad, shoddy, worn out clothing thanks you. thank you so much.

Meanwhile, dudes who wear size 38 30 pants… What the fuck, why are your thrifted jeans in perfect fucking shape except missing the top button? I rejected some 15 pair of jeans and khakis that were otherwise perfect because the top button was gone. GRR. ARGH.

In other news, I finally (finally!) have a diagnosis of PCOS and have a ‘script for Metformin (“Just so you know, the first week? You WILL have diarrhea.” “Oh, hooray.” “Not, like, OH GOD RUN TO THE BATHROOM NOW, but, you know.” “Thanks for the heads up.” “Also, this might make you super fertile.” “Double hooray.”) All other test results (thyroid, testosterone, iron (finally!)) were normal. I am pleased, and double plus pleased to finally have a fucking real diagnosis with accompanying medical treatment.

posted under clothes, fat, health | Comments Off on ATTN: Chicago-area thrifty fat women…

The State of the Brigid

May1

Sooo… just wanted to post some blather about what’s going on in my life. GRIPPING I KNOW.

I have a headache and have had it since before I woke up. A can of Coke, a small caramel latte, and a fistful of excedrin have done nothing for it. Neither has sucking back a bunch of water. I am a sad panda. I think a short nap of five or six hours would set me right.

I am going to be travelling for work, going to St. Louis MO and Rochester Hills MI in June and August respectively. I haven’t flown since the summer after I graduated eight grade, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be flying to both these places. Or taking Super Bus or something, I don’t know. I’m kind of looking forward to that and also apprehensive because I haven’t packed for a flight in… uh… my entire life. When we went to Australia, we were staying with friends, so didn’t need to pack shampoo and conditioner. Also, there were no liquid restrictions. I can’t use hotel shampoo and conditioner and soap because I get a rash. Oh, look! I’m finding things to worry about! Go me! Other than that, I’m looking forward to it. I love travelling and don’t get to do it very often.

I’ve been barrelling forward on changing my name. I have a new state ID, new voter’s reg card, and will get a new SS card and new debit cards soon. The guy at the bank said not to bother getting new checks unless I write a lot of checks, which I don’t. People keep asking me if it’s hard spelling my new last name. It’s not. No, I haven’t been practising signing my name, either. I just do it. My initials are now BB and one of my friends has started calling me BB Gun. D’awww. I won’t mention what they used to call me when my initials were BS.

I’m getting more and more worn out by my commute. I’m looking at apartments closer to where I work, but our lease is not up until December (Ugh! moving in the winter! They were 4 months late getting our new lease to us so it has a wacky end date) and we have a housemate whose commute and my commute are basically in opposite directions, so… I don’t know what we’re going to do about that. But taking 2-3 buses and a train is just major ugh, and a commute that ranges anywhere from an hour to two hours? That is very depressing. And also means that I get up, dash to shower, and run out the door with no seconds to spare, and usually no breakfast.

Our downstairs neighbors had another screaming match the other day, complete with slamming doors. This time it was the adults only and didn’t involve the teenaged kid who lives there. I’ve been with Nesko for ten years and we’ve never had a screaming match and I am so incredibly greatful for that. Has there been screaming? Yes. Usually on my end because I’m loud. But it’s rarely directed at him (usually it’s all “FUCK YOU COUCH WHY YOU GOTTA STUB MY TOE ARGH FUCK FUCK DAMN ASS POOP” or “HOLY CHRIST GALLON OF MILK WHY YOU GOTTA BE A SOLID BLOCK OF STINKY CHEESE I HATE YOU WHAT THE SHIT” or “COMPUTER! WHY GOD WHY I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME GIMME BACK MY FILE” or whatevs) and it blows over pretty fast and then Nesko is making fart jokes and shooting me with his kiss gun and I’m throwing dirty socks at him. Our love, it is a beautiful thing. Or a strange thing. Beautiful and strange.

I made sugar cookies last weekend. I haven’t made sugar cookies in years. I rolled out the dough and cut it out with cookie cutters and baked them and iced them with colored icing and it was fun. And then Nesko cleaned everything up! yay! And now I want to make sugar cookies again. Maybe a bunch of dinosaurs. Or sharks. Or bats… with knifes. I scored some pecan halves from work (organic pecan halves. oooooh.) and so want to make my turtle cookies, too. I wonder how well those freeze. Anyway, I’ve been talking for awhile about doing step-by-step instructions on baking, complete with photographs, so if Nesko and I are free this weekend we might do that as a special project. Or we might just watch James Bond movies and do laundry. We do so love living dangerously!

I’m allegedly receiving the Stimulus Package tomorrow. Dates these are sent out are based on the last two digits of your SS number. Lucky me, I’m spending mine on bills. What are you spending yours on, if you get it? Oh, I also might splurge and get a magazine subscription. See my above sentence about living dangerously!

I’m also cleaning out my closets. I have two garbage bags full of plus size clothing (size 18-22 ish) mostly business casual (light sweaters, vests, jackets, button down shirts, some skirts that are roughly knee length). if you live in Chicago and can come to my apartment let me know if you want to paw through these things and take some home. I will charge you like $1 per item.