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cue the violins and violas

maura @ 3:31 pm

We went to the island of Hawaii over Spring Break and I left my hiking boots in Puna as we headed home. Hawaii was amazing. (This is not a post about Hawaii.)

Hiking boots

I left the boots on purpose, it was not an accident. They were on their last legs before the trip so I’d thought I might leave them, but the rainstorm we got trapped in while hiking to the Thurston Lava Tube sealed the deal. They were so, so, so wet that little chunks of the suede even started breaking off. Luckily they lasted a few more days after that, to Lava Tree State Monument and Kapoho tidepools and back to the rental house near Pahoa where I snapped a farewell photo of them on the porch, above the backyard where a family of chickens from next door were free-ranging.

(Maybe just a little bit about Hawaii I guess. It was amazing.)

I’d had those boots since 1993 when my mom bought them for me, unaffordable on my paltry grad school stipend, before a 9 week stint on an archaeological survey in western Ireland. I knew it would be wet there, too, and while the boots were technically waterproof they weren’t completely so. Rubber boots would have been drier, but I wanted something that would give me some decent grip and ankle support as I walked through fields up and down hills and over endless limestone rocks, rain or no rain. And they were field boots after that, too: the following summer in New Jersey and a summer after that back in Ireland and 2-ish summers in Brooklyn, some time later.

They fulfilled their true role as hiking boots in between, on vacations near and far. After the kid was born my feet got bigger and they became more useful as warmish weather boots than cold, as I couldn’t wear very thick socks anymore. And the older they got the less waterproof they became as well. I wore them snowshoeing visiting family up north for years until finally my feet were just too cold and I couldn’t do it. I wore them walking to work in the snow until they just got too leaky for me to cross the gross dirty melting snow puddles that form at each intersection in the city after a storm.

I got some new hiking boots for xmas last year and wore them for snowshoeing earlier this year, and it was lovely to have warm and dry feet. But I knew I’d want to wear actual boots in Hawaii, and it’s hot in Hawaii, and the new boots are kind of heavy. The old boots were perfect, even despite the rain soaking. It felt a little sad to let them go, but they were good boots, they served me well, and no one can ever say that I didn’t get my (mom’s) money’s worth out of them. Thanks, boots.

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k is for the kid in her

maura @ 8:30 pm

Woah, what happened to the summer projects list? Blame the vacation, about which I’ll write more soon. It was very relaxing (yay!) and involved much more reading than writing.

The call of the blag has grown louder the past few days, so here I am to finish out the list. These are the less exciting projects, I have to warn you. But in the interest of completeness (and of keeping myself to the tasks by making them public)…

3. Ebay the old Legos
We’ve used ebay off and for years to get rid of old stuff, especially technology stuff which tends to fetch a decent price. Most of our stuff slated for removal from the apartment goes to our annual stoop sale and, thanks to my new vow never to bring stuff back into the apartment once it goes out to the stoop, off to Goodwill on the same day if it hasn’t sold. Stoop sales are easy but don’t usually net us much unless we have something biggish to sell, like a bike or a tape deck. Ebay is kind of a pain — all of that taking pictures and describing the items and setting the prices and mailing things out — so we tend to use it only if it seems like we’ll make decent money.

Legos are different from most of our other stuff. Gus has some sets that he really likes, but has never been the biggest lego fan (which still somewhat surprises me). Because I am a packrat and because I bought some legos as late as college (like the nerd I am), there are a bunch of my old sets that Gus doesn’t want. And it turns out that they’re actually worth some ca$h, too. So, ebay it is. And maybe I’ll share my loot with the kid. Maybe.

4. Clothes shopping
I hate clothes shopping, as I’ve often complained. I could bore you with the details about why, but Mimi Smartypants says it so much better so I won’t.

But the time has come: my wardrobe is in dire straits and I’m looking even frumpier than usual, even given the generous librarian frumpiness allowance. With summer Fridays kicking in I won’t have my usual excuse, which is that I can’t shop on the weekends because it would be so unfair to take time away from Jonathan and Gus on the weekend when I only see them for a few hours a day during the week.

This Friday we work, because of the July 4th holiday, but next Friday I’m off to the shops. It’ll be Friday the 13th, think that’s a bad idea?

And I’m thinking of bribing myself to clothes shop by dangling a prize: if I go shopping and end up adding a few more work outfits to my stash, I can treat myself to a new pair of sneakers. My favorite sneaker shop in the Village closed last year so I’m thinking of springing for the extra $30 to make my very own custom Sambas. What do you think?

Screen shot 2012-06-16 at 7.16.48 PM

5. Sew a new phone cozy
This one’s easy because it’s almost done! I’ve chosen the fabric and sewn the pouch already, so only the most labor-intensive parts remain: sewing on the ribbon edging. The old sock I’ve been using for a phone cozy is long LONG past its prime, and since I broke out the sewing machine a couple of weeks ago to convert some long-sleeved t-shirts into short-sleeved for Gus, I thought I’d get started on a new cozy too. This would be a good project for watching a movie or something similar as hand sewing’s not really a 100% of yr brain task.

6. Umm…
I swear there was a 6, but now I can’t for the life of it remember what it was. Blag more, probably — I’m long overdue for post on the library blag I write for and the games network folks have a plan for more blagging, too. So let’s call it blagging, deal?

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it’s all in the details

maura @ 5:23 pm

I needed new work shoes recently. Because I hate shopping (and fear change), I just wanted to get another pair of my same old Dr. Martens black wingtip oxfords that I wear practically every single work day between October and April (except if it’s a skirt day — then I wear Dansko Mary Janes). Since I am decidedly Not Good at Fashion it’s just easier to have few choices, and those Docs are just nice enough to make it seem okay to wear Docs when I’m trying to look all professional, while still being super comfortable w/that bouncy air sole.

As you can probably guess, if I’d just bought another pair of the same shoes I wouldn’t be writing this right now, would I? Of course Dr. Martens has changed their styles in the past 5* or so years. And you can now buy gray suede wingtips and purple suede wingtips, but not just plain old black leather wingtips unless you have bigger feet than I do. Which is to say that they’ve decided that only men deserve plain black wingtips. The purple are gorgeous and tempting, but really they are far too expensive for something I decidedly wouldn’t be able to wear every day.

* This is totally an estimate — in fact I have no idea when I got those old shoes. Maybe they’re even older? Which makes it even more amazing that they’ve lasted this long.

So I somewhat sadly ordered up a pair of very pedestrian Gibsons in black, those most basic Dr. Marten’s ever. I used to have them in the mid-calf boot version in green, which I’d gotten for something insane like $5 somewhere like Marshall’s a million years ago, but like so many of my shoes I had to get rid of them after Gus was born and my feet got permanently bigger, sigh.

Then the Gibsons arrived, and they looked and felt, well, weird. A little too big, a little too clompy. I suspected that the next size down would be too small, but these were so big that I felt like I had to try on the smaller pair. There’s a Dr. Martens store in Manhattan, so one day after a meeting a few weeks ago I made the trek. Damn, those wingtips that are too big for me look even nicer in person. I moped around for a while looking at all of the options (the store was very crowded). I picked up a pair of gray Gibsons and a pair of green ones, both of which are pretty but not what I need.

And then I saw them: plain black oxfords, but with slightly different details that makes them look a bit smarter. Black stitching on the sole rather than yellow. Only 3 holes for laces, with the grommets on the inside rather than the outside. Black leather interiors rather than tan. All of which combine to give the shoes a bit more formality and make them seem better for work to me. And they’ve added a bouncy insole as well!

Reader, I bought those shoes, even though it meant I had to send the other ones back through the mail. Strangely enough they even fit better than the mail-order shoes, even though both are Gibsons. Which is something else that totally gets me down about shopping — that sometimes even the same size in the same brand has a totally different fit — but that is another rant for another day.

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