Deep Breath In…now hold it until you find sensible workout clothes!


Early yesterday morning I was extolling the virtues of yoga for back care to a friend, and the conversation goosed me to do what I’ve been putting off for a year, buying new workout clothes.  Should be easy, no? Everywhere you look are women wearing yoga pants and capris, with oh so cute little bondage straps–err, sports bras.

I’m picky.  Yoga gear should be form fitting enough that you can easily check your alignment, and not have everything rolling up, rolling down, and twisting under you.  You should be able to move freely in whatever you’re wearing.   I had looked online last week.  Good grief, $100 for a pair of yoga pants?  By the time $60 began to look reasonable, I knew it was time to step away from the laptop.  And so I went to the local discount sporting goods store, where I was sucked into the vortex of fluorescent pink sports bras with perfectly coordinated checkered capris.  A mere $75 for an outfit.  No. Went home, went back online, found some things that were more reasonably priced, and purchased nothing.  Better prices aren’t really better if I can’t tell exactly how something is going to fit, if it will actually be comfortable to move in but discreet enough to throw a long t-shirt on top and run the girl to school.

Yeah, I’ve seen some of those inexpensive pieces in person, and they’re barely opaque enough to qualify as tights.  And the rest–including some of the very priciest ones–seem to be manufactured and promoted by the same sadists who came up with Spanx.  How the fuck am I supposed to execute a smooth downward facing dog if I’m busy trying to force air into my lungs?  Now I’m sure the idea is to hold in and hide all the rumply bits you’re trying to smooth away with exercise, but they seem to have forgotten one thing.  That excess of skin/cellulite/*gasp*/flab?  It doesn’t actually disappear with the bondage gear, just gets pushed up over the waistband and down under the rib band.  Thanks, I feel so attractive.

And ah, the sports bras. I get it, if your workout is high impact, you might want something with more hold. But for yoga?  With the way most of these things are structured, I expect mammogram results to pop out when I take them off.  And why is the choice that either they come with pads thick and durable enough to walk by themselves or no room in the design for nipples, let alone breasts?

When, exactly, did workout clothes become yet another haute couture arena?  This may be sacrilegious to say in 2016, but as long as it’s reasonable enough to get on and off the subway in, I don’t care what this stuff looks like.  I don’t care if the sports bra matches the t-shirt matches the shorts.  Maybe I’d feel differently if I worked out in a gym, or a class, and was being seen by others.  Actually, this likely contributes to why I prefer to stick to the privacy of my living room.  If you’re headed to an appointment, or date, or work, after you work out, go ahead and live a little by getting dressed in real clothes.  They don’t have to be fancy, just yanno, clean–something you haven’t spent an hour sweating in.

So yes, I went shopping in one of the basic discount stores yesterday, determined to be successful.  If I don’t care about the fashion statement, how hard could it be? First off, I thought it was the perfect time of year to replace my workout shorts (I like to wear shorts for yoga in the hot weather, sue me).  There were indeed two racks of shorts in the clearance racks of the “athleisure” department.  Are you freaking kidding me? Lycra microshorts.  Just right for the woman who wants her already sagging butt cheeks to fall out during child’s pose.  Fine, forget the shorts.  I grabbed every sports bra, yoga pant, and capri that I could find that looked like it might fit, didn’t feel like it was made from that magical duck tape/spandex blend, was under $20 and headed to the dressing room.

I could have skipped the early morning yoga session, because just trying all this crap on certainly counted as a workout.  Mrs Fringe is not a large woman.  That said, as a woman-of-a-certain-age, I’m not as small as I used to be.  These things are obviously all designed for the prepubescent among us.  In real clothes, I wear a size 6 or 4, depending on the cut and the “designer,” usually need a petite (except in pants, my legs are oddly long for a short woman), and I needed– needed–mediums in this stuff.  What the fuck?  What about women who are truly curvy?  Or, god forbid, a bit more than full figured?  Are they banished to the dismal plus-sized rack at the back because they wear a size 12 (which doesn’t necessarily mean more than full figured)? When I came home I saw the brouhaha online about a well endowed teacher in a dress that covered her completely but was, ahem, form fitting.  I wouldn’t wear it, but I like things that are roomy.  Not sack cloth and ashes, but what I consider breathable. Appropriate for work? I don’t know, but I know for sure that is a woman who would be hard pressed to find something off the rack that fit her without being either tight or tent like.

Wikipedia tells me the goal of yoga is moksha–liberation.  Looking at the western yogi-gear offerings, I suspect something has been lost in translation.  If you’re wondering, I did wear my new gear this morning and got on the train wearing my new (see above photo) slightly baggy olive-green capris, crayola-box purple sports bra, and big ocean-blue long sleeved t-shirt. I left the falsies behind.

Halloween decor?

Halloween decor?

Making It Up


 I don’t wear makeup frequently, which means that buying makeup is a rarity–usually prompted by leprosy or pink eye caused by wearing really old makeup.  Recently, Art Child has been curious, and wanting to play with some of the stuff out of the oh-so-fancy ziploc bag that holds my war paint.

The day before yesterday was a fabulous one; Man Child and Miss Music had come down for a couple of days, and so we went to the beach together.  Perfect, fun, relaxed, I was still feeling good from it.

Exactly the right mood.  It was gray and expected to rain yesterday, so why not hit the makeup store?  It’s been a long time since I went in anywhere and had my face done, but I figured this way I could update my look (ha!) and the girl could watch and see how it’s supposed to be applied.  And what better way to ignore the story idea knocking at my brain than to walk away from the laptop and pretend I’m a normal woman who doesn’t imagine living houses and talking trees?  I told the make-up artist that I don’t wear the stuff often, and when I do, I like a “natural” look, minimal products.  Apparently it has been a reeeeeally long time since I did this, because there’re about 12 new steps and layers that I’ve never even heard of.  Something about priming and contouring, I don’t know.  From what I could tell, these new steps involve varying shades of gray and beige painted on, dried, and then painted again until your face has been appropriately shellacked so you look like a cadaver–this is all before applying the steps and products I’m more familiar with.

When it was all done, I looked like I was ready to jump onstage with David Bowie, circa 1981, and it was pouring outside.  Serious, monsoon time. By the time we walked the three blocks home, I had a slime coat dripping from my forehead to my knees, black gook rings covering two-thirds of my face, and my back and hip were screaming in pain. I guess the combo of high humidity, heat, and sitting still in the makeup chair for an hour wasn’t the best plan.  Nerd Child was awake by this time, looked up from his computer, recoiled, and said “What did you guys do?”

By the time Husband came home from work, I had given up and was in pajamas, in bed.  “What’s the–oh! Umm, did you put makeup on today?”  I could hear him snickering as he went to grab me a pain pill.

This morning the humidity is down, the rain is gone, my face is clean, and I’m feeling much better.  Still, I think I should stick to my algae studies on the beach. Besides, I hear green hair algae is a great wrinkle cure.

IMG_4997 IMG_4999 IMG_5000 IMG_4992 IMG_5010

Strange Days

Wake up!

Wake up!

I should have known it was going to be an odd weekend, since it appeared I woke up on Mars Friday morning.

Art Child presented her too familiar puddle on the couch interpretation–bonus of a low grade fever– so I kept her home from school and we spent the day engaged in a marathon viewing of the tv series, Once Upon a Time.

Saturday was her second to last art class for the year and the fever was gone, so she went.  I took Little Incredibly Dumb Dog for a walk, and ran into a friend I haven’t seen all winter.  She asked me if I would like to go with her on a yoga retreat, she knows somewhere reasonably priced.  After posting about never doing anything remotely like that just last week, I was intrigued.  Then she mentioned staying in dorms, something like six women to a room.  I promptly remembered why I don’t do things like that.

I decided to hit the Goodwill up the street from the art class.  It’s the nicest one in Manhattan, and the last time I went in I scored two great dresses.  Woot, covered for Man Child’s graduation!  Yes, it’s a two day event, I needed two outfits.  When I showed them to Fatigue, he told me I was channeling Alice Kramden.  Works for me. Except for shoes, because mine are all either snow boots, flip-flops or high heels.  Flip-flops don’t seem appropriate for the occasion, and I’m not stable enough for high heels yet, so I thought I’d check for shoes.  Saw what could have been a great pair, but then I realized one of them had a thick streak of what looked like black permanent marker down the side of one.  Red shoes + black marker = no.

Then I saw a very cool skirt.  High waisted, cream linen with black appliqués. I couldn’t decide if it was a score-cool or just weird-cool, and it was $20, so I left it on the rack.  Waited for Art Child to get out of class, I chatted with a couple of the moms who are seriously skilled thrift shoppers, and they offered to go back to the store with me to give an opinion.  Me and my big mouth. It was still there, they liked it and encouraged me to try it on.  It wasn’t a skirt.  It was a strapless dress.  I don’t do strapless. A very short strapless dress. I also don’t do very short unless paired with leggings or thick tights.

No worries, the truth is I’m bored with shopping inside of fifteen minutes, and the girl needed to rest. Art Child and I went home.  I went to put my mug in the sink and I don’t know what the fuck happened, but a glass that had been sitting in there exploded. Really exploded.  Not only was the sink filled with broken glass, but shards flew across the kitchen floor into the hallway to the left, the dining area to the right, and one embedded itself in my wrist.  I had to throw away my sponges, it took me forever to clean up, and the girl was convinced my arm was going to fall off if she didn’t apply a bandaid on it immediately. Bloooooood!!!  Sigh. Seriously, it was maybe two drops, no big deal.

Last week three of the four turbo snails in my reef dropped dead.  In my experience, these snails never live long, but I haven’t had three die at once.  The blenny, however, is thrilled, since he’s made a new home inside the empty shell of one.

Yup, that's the blenny's little head sticking out.

Yup, that’s the blenny’s little head sticking out.


Thank you, oh mighty snail, for leaving me this beautiful new house, and thank you, evil bristle worms, for eating his remains so it would be nice and clean. 

I think these are all signs that this year should be over.  It should be beach time, don’t you think?

Gray Morning Adventures

Well timed, it should be pouring when I pick up Art Child.

Well timed, it should be pouring when I pick up Art Child.

Since it’s the most intimate of relationships, that between myself and the ever growing circle of people I’ve never met who read here, I thought I’d share my morning.  I think it’s the Benadryl, lowering my inhibitions.

I needed to get my legs waxed.  I have one woman that I use and have used for years, I’ve followed her to three different shady nail salons at this point.  Great for her, not good for me is that she’s the least kept secret in the neighborhood.  And always booked on Fridays.  My plan was to go yesterday, but the girl was home sick.  Now, did I really have to do this today? It’s cool and gloomy, I won’t be putting shorts on in the next three days.  But yes, I had to do it today because I have to believe the rain will stop and the temperature will rise any minute now.  I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I last went.  I don’t want to say how long, but the odds are “Summertime and The Living is Easy” was playing on my iPod.  Don’t judge, getting waxed is a luxury in my budget, why stretch the dollars when my legs are encased in socks, jeans, and snow or rain boots?

A new place opened across from the grocery store.  Much higher end than the “salons” I generally frequent, but I was certain they’d be able to take me right away.  Excellent, I figured I could bring my little cart, get waxed, and then go straight to the store for dinner ingredients.  And beer, because Friday Night Madness.  Since they’re new, maybe they’d even have a special discount.  Which they did offer, a free eyebrow wax your first time in, as long as you’re getting something else waxed too. I don’t generally get my eyebrows waxed.  A couple of times a year I go to the threading place, $7 takes care of it.  But, free!

Along with the contrast of bright lighting, clean corners, and elegant bottles of lotion, their wax was different.  Fancy.  A lovely color, and the woman peeled it off without needing to use strips of cloth.  Cool.  Friendly gal, chatting away as she worked, asked me questions, “complimented” me on how ungorilla-like (paraphrasing here) my legs were considering the amount of time since my last wax, told me all about the benefits of this special wax and lotions of more complicated than it needs to be process they use. I wanted to tell her to relax.  I’m not about to become a regular, but I wouldn’t forget to tip her.  My upper face started feeling a little weird.  At first I didn’t notice beyond the normal hey, someone just plastered hot wax on your skin! But by the time she was finished, I felt like I was having to push my eyelids open.  Hmm, mirror time. Yes indeed, big welty hives around my eyes, across my forehead, and starting to go down the side of my face.

“I think I’m having an allergic reaction.”  I kind of couldn’t believe I had to say this, since she was, yanno, looking at me.

“Oh? Oh no.  It’s just sometimes if it’s been a long time since you’ve been waxed, the body releases histamines, causing a few hives.”

What the fuck, is she Mel Brooks?  Anyone else remember History of the World, Part I?

Clerk:  Occupation?

Comicus:  Stand-up philosopher

Clerk:  What?

Comicus:  Stand-up philosopher.  I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension.

Clerk:  Oh, a bullshit artist!

I could have run straight home, but it hadn’t begun to rain yet and I was right across the street from the grocery store, so I did my shopping, kind of amused by people noticing and not commenting but staring at the welts on my face.  To complete the perfect morning, it was a long, long line.  There was a baby/toddler in a grocery cart next to me, cute little girl.  She stared too, so I smiled at her in the hopes that my face wasn’t so scary she would begin crying.  Her response in a really loud and clear voice, “I did kaki.”

Maybe she was offering it for my next wax.

All I know is it isn’t even one in the afternoon, and I’m thinking about a beautiful moon I saw the other night, wondering if it’s bedtime.

Yup, I am still trying to capture a good moon photo.  :)

Yup, I am still trying to capture a good moon photo. 🙂

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Get Your Kicks

Mine came in the mail, how do you get yours?

Mine came in the mail, how do you get yours?

Until 5 minutes ago, I didn’t own any sneakers, hadn’t owned any in years. I’m just not a sneaker gal.  They usually require laces and socks, and I’m not a fan of either of those.  Not to mention how closely associated they are with athletic pursuits.  Let me say right now, if you toss a ball to me, my only instinct is to cringe and cover my face.

Still having issues with my back which rule out many of the shoes I already own, and to my great disappointment, it’s still too cool outside for flip-flops.  But…it’s also getting sort of warm for the practical, comfy, fake shearling lined shoes I’ve been wearing.  Hence my online shopping extravaganza. I hoped for gray or white, but no such luck.  You know what they say, beggars-who-are-too-cheap-to-pay-full-price can’t be choosers.

Not too bad, as far as third choice colors go.  I remember my first pair of Pro-Keds, banana yellow.  I know, my mother couldn’t believe it either.  I have a clear memory of sitting in the elementary school gym and squeaking the soles against the inch thick polyurethane glazed floor, trying to tell myself that Susie McSnobby may have new tell-tale threads from a new ear piercing* dangling from her ears, but I had cool sneakers.  Just as good.  Almost as good.  Ok, it’s true, I hated the fucking things from that moment on.  Come to think of it, that may have been the last yellow anything I ever chose.  Converse are still fun, though, and I’ve owned several pairs since then–all suitably white or black.  And now some of my favorite songs from high school are running through my head.  Mostly from The Who.  Maybe I wore sneakers to that concert.

**A long time ago, in an alternate universe where parents never heard of car seats or cabinet locks, and didn’t think twice about a 14 day course of antibiotics because kiddo sneezed twice, ears were pierced with needles and threads.  The needle got pushed through, the thread left behind to keep the hole open until it was “healed” enough to stick an earring in.


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Winter is Coming



This year, I’m trying something new.  I’m going to do/wear whatever I need to in order to stay warm.  That’s right Fringelings, I am going to blow the dust off my change purse and go with the warmest, not the least expensive.  I say this every time I need to get new winter gear, but this time I mean it.

There’s a pair of boots I’ve been eyeing for three years, super waterproof and warm but silly overpriced.  I finally found them online in a size sort of close to mine (in August) for a greatly reduced price and bought them.  They’re a silly color.  Have I mentioned the ugly factor? And they are *gasp* flats.  But they are warm.

“Improvised winter boots”. Improvised Winter b...

“Improvised winter boots”. Improvised Winter boots. Battle of Stalingrad. Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Русский: «Эрзац-валенки». Эрзац-валенки. Сталинградская битва. Великая Отечественная война 1941-1945 годов. Россия, Волгоград (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I researched the warmest winter coats.  Yes.  Research.  I’m an obsessive lunatic, remember?  Found the perfect coat two years ago.  It’s been discontinued and isn’t for sale anywhere.  Ok, found the second best one.  More expensive.  After two years of watching, I accept that this brand never goes on sale, doesn’t matter where you buy it.  Never seen it at any of my usual discount haunts.  Two weeks ago I dragged Husband to a fancy department store I haven’t been in since my pre-children days.  Found the coat, tried it on.   Very, very warm.  And ugly.  And expensive.  Now picture Husband’s face when I said, “okay, let’s go home.”

Lucy watches Little Ricky's birthday party fro...

Lucy watches Little Ricky’s birthday party from the window ledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Aren’t you going to buy it?”

Pfft.  He must have me confused with someone else.  I have to think about these things first.  It’s only been two years since I started watching it online.  Come on, a lot of money for an ugly coat?  Much angst is required.  Plus, then I stopped at another section of the store and tried on another coat.  $10,000.  For a coat!  Still, fun to put it on, and it gives me a giggle every time I think of the lewd joke Husband made after we left the store.  He’s the king of deadpan.

Ok, it’s getting cold.  I’m ready.  Still, no way I’m paying absolute full price for anything.  If I opened a credit card account in fancy shmancy store, I could get ten percent off.  Better than nothing.  Back to the store we went, in between dog walks yesterday.  Guess what I forgot?  These fancy stores only buy a few pieces of each item.  None left in my size or the color I wanted.  Pretty sure Husband’s head was going to explode if I didn’t Buy. The. Damned. Coat.  The saleswoman found one for me in another store across the country, and is going to have it shipped.

Now I didn’t dress up to go shopping, or put on makeup.  This was a quick run in between picking up dog poop,  come on.  It isn’t a fun day out for me, it is a necessary torture evil errand.  Plenty of time for the sweet saleswoman to chat while I filled out the credit card thingie and then she arranged for shipping.  Idle chit chat about how quickly those coats sold out, especially the smaller sizes (not as small as I used to be).  Why the smaller sizes?  Well, because we small Puerto Rican women love this particular coat.  Hmm.  For the record, the saleswoman’s accent was decidedly East European.  Have I ever mentioned that Husband is in sales?  Has been since forever.  He is an excellent sales person, always calm and friendly-but-not-too-friendly, never let’m see you sweat.  Did she just say?  Why yes, yes she did.  After 8000 years of being friends and then being together, this could be the first time I’ve seen Husband look shocked in public, in front of a stranger.  Shocked to the soles of his Dominican feet.

Before we could fully process this, the saleswoman helpfully, generously let me know I could get ten percent off of anything else I’d like to purchase that day.  Pause for a deep and meaningful look, complete with raised eyebrows.  “Anything.  Even cosmetics, you must need some.”

I don’t know why shopping isn’t more fun.

shop or hang , that is the question

shop or hang , that is the question (Photo credit: gandhiji40)

Things That Go Bump in the Day


Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We love Halloween.  Well, I’m not sure if Husband really loves it, but the rest of us here in Fringeland do, so he smiles along.   Man Child has been Jack Skellington twice, all three of my kiddos knew all the lyrics to the soundtrack of the Nightmare Before Christmas before they knew their ABCs.  This afternoon there’s going to be a party in my building for the kiddos.  A nice idea, and so I went out early this morning to hit the grocery store.  I saw a meme thingie on Facebook for mummy-hot dogs, what a great idea!  Easy, not too pricey, something in addition to candy to eat.  OK, I’m using tofu dogs, but still.  My sweetie is really looking forward to this.  I’m not sure why, but the Halloween oogie boogies, ghosts, vampires, and banshees don’t bother her at all.  (no gore though, please)

You don’t get the house to house trooping through dusk here in the city, we do vertical trick or treating, for the most part.  This has its advantages, no worries about your little superhero freezing in a costume.

I didn’t leave early enough.  The train reeked of young adults on their way home (subway of shame?) with last night’s booze steaming from their pores.  Cold outside, hot in the tunnels, lots of vodka sweat.

20101009 1818 - NYC - subway - tunnels - IMG_2309

20101009 1818 – NYC – subway – tunnels – IMG_2309 (Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))

Then the store was packed.  I was on line longer than it took me to finish my shopping–on both floors!

Fine.  I get back to my neighborhood and decide to stop in to the temporary Halloween store before going home.  Meant I was lugging groceries, but didn’t have Flower Child with me.  Sounds mean, doesn’t it?  I mean, here I am, going into the store to get make-up for her costume, but preferred to do so without her.  Bad, bad mama.  Practical mama, too.  Flower Child cannot make decisions.  I don’t know why or what misfiring synapses cause this, but she can’t decide.  Ever.  On anything.  So something like standing in front of a wall of makeup to decide which tubes of face paint could take two hours–and result in both of us needing to go home and crash–screw the mummies, let those other kids eat candy corn.  But I’m being a good mama today, damn it!  Supporting creative costumes!  Buying ghoulish makeup!  Supplying tofu mummies!  So I went without her.

Great!  Except now I’m looking at a wall of theatrical makeup, trying to decide what looks easiest to apply, wash off, most versatile, trying to fit into the budget.  Halloween costumes have come a LONG way since I was a kid.  I know, it’s hard to believe, but I was once a kid.  Wore my mother’s gold hoop earrings, red lipstick from my grandma, and a black nylon blouse from my mother’s closet–voila!  A gypsy!  I’m sorry, it was long before the idea of gypsies being politically incorrect for a Halloween costume hit Brooklyn.  Anyway, here I was  and somehow, I ended up one too-rapid breath from a full blown panic attack in the store.  What. The. Fuck.

I’ve had panic attacks before, but not in years.  Years and years.  Multiple children and lifetimes ago.  A tube of gray face paint had caught my eye.  The exact shade of gray I’ve seen on Flower Child too many times during seizures.  I don’t know what happened, I really don’t.  I mean, I know, it’s scary shit watching your kiddo turn colors human beings were never meant to be,  hearing a shriek like no other as the air is pushed out of their lungs, watching them stop breathing, feeling completely powerless, wondering if this will end quickly or be one of the ones that goes on and on until you’re in the ER reporting the sequence of events to the 18th doctor.  But it’s Halloween!  Fun scary, not mama’s flipping her lid for absolutely no reason whatsoever scary.

Flower Child was fine when I left, fine when I got home.   She’s happily playing with the makeup I grabbed.  I didn’t buy the gray.

Move Over on that Cross, Will ya?

Painting image of Joan of Arc

Painting image of Joan of Arc (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Checking my email this morning, I saw one of my favorite discount stores is having a sale. Today. One day only.

I needed gloves. It’s freezing out. I bought a pair last month, and they look fun in an ugly kind of way, but they’re a loose knit, no fingers, not even a thumb.  Why did I buy them? They were $6! Sure I saw practical, warm, pretty gloves too, but those were $50.  6 vs 50, on a day when it wasn’t too cold yet, no contest. Sure I’m a lifelong New Yorker, and understood it wasn’t going to stay 50* outside, but 6 dollars!

Once I dropped Flower Child off at school, I walked to the store. This left me standing in the cold for half an hour before they opened.  OK it was 25 minutes, I guess the manager  felt sorry for me and the other fools waiting for them to unlock the doors. The selection was pitiful, but I was determined to take advantage of the 25% off coupon slipping through my icicle fingers. Found a pair. Not what I really wanted. I was imagining something elegant or funky, interesting color, super warm pair with a touch screen fingertip.  I found warmer than what I’ve got, no touch screen fingertip, and I’m not really sure if they’re navy or black.

I’m in the store where it’s warm, not overly crowded, and agonizing over whether I should buy this pair of gloves, or wait and keep looking until I find the perfect pair at the perfect price on a day when I’ve got money in my pocket.  I’m sure you can all now understand why I own a very limited wardrobe. I decide to look around the store.  It really is a very good sale, and there are several things I could use.  I look at dresses.  I found this super cute wine colored knit–with sleeves! (why do they sell sleeveless winter dresses in the Northeast?)–my size, no obvious rule it out defects, for a very reasonable $50.  It’s just my kind of dress (though not a color I usually like), nice, practical, fine for a regular day but if I had an appointment for tea with the Queen I could put some beads around my neck with a nicer pair of shoes and look fine.

Portrait of a group of ladies at a tea party, ...

Portrait of a group of ladies at a tea party, Charters Towers (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia)

Don’t forget the 25% off coupon! I picked up the dress and carried it all over the store, inspecting everything else I wasn’t going to buy. I looked at coats.  I would love to have a warm down coat for everyday use. I spend a lot of time outside walking, and do not enjoy cold weather. At. All.

I have a coat I bought several years ago at another discount store. I hadn’t been coat shopping in a long time prior, and was shocked by the prices. So shocked, I called my mother to rant. She laughed at me, and I bought the cheapest one I could find.  Sure it’s down, but apparently it’s only got 3 feathers, because I’m shivering in it the second the temperature drops below 45*. I’ve got a fabulous and fabulously warm shearling I got when my Grandmother died, but I don’t like to wear it. It’s the only really nice coat I’m ever likely to own, and I feel kind of silly when I wear it.  Here I’m living this crazy broke-ass life; picking up dog poop in a shearling?  I’m like a character from a Depression era movie, “Well, de-ah, I’ve fallen on haahrd times.”

I put the dress back. Bought the boring but reasonably priced and warmer than what I’ve got gloves, and punished myself by walking home, instead of taking the train.  Why? I dunno, it’s the martyr instinct.  I’ve got it, and so do many of the women I know who aren’t shopaholics. It was perfectly reasonable to put the dress back. I’ve got to buy Christmas gifts for the kiddos, and there isn’t any wiggle room in the budget. I could use a new coat, but I won’t freeze without one, I’m absolutely fine wearing layers. I like my layers. I like the look, and they make me feel shabby chic instead of shabby. I did need a pair of gloves.

So why do I feel guilty for having bought them? Besides the obvious answer that I’m a lunatic. What kind of shopper are you?

Walked past my new favorite lady in the city.

Walked past my new favorite lady in the city.

And some perfectly elegant holiday displays.

And some perfectly elegant holiday displays.

Yo, Mrs Fringe–Put the Card Away!

So said the bank.


20120708-OSEC-LSC-0447 (Photo credit: USDAgov)

The twin entwined with the anxiety of Man Child and Nerd Child getting ready to leave for school is shopping.  I don’t love to shop, and the calculations involved make my stomach roll, so I try to minimize the amount of time and days spent shopping by getting as much done as I can in just a few days of whirlwind excursions, clutching my list, a pencil, and a highlighter.

Man Child doesn’t need much this year. But Nerd Child, oh-oh-oh. He’s been in dress code for the past three years, so he owned very little in the way of “regular” clothes and shoes.

shop or hang , that is the question

shop or hang , that is the question (Photo credit: gandhiji40)

He’s headed to an environment with snowier, colder winters, so obviously, more significant boots are required. Then there’s all the stuff needed to outfit a dorm room.

Yesterday, he and I shopped.  We did well, got just about everything he needed in terms of clothes–all on sale, whee!!, and came home.  A couple of hours later, we decided to make a family excursion of shopping for winter boots. Borrowed Father-In-Law’s car and headed out. Found boots for him, rain boots for the girl to replace the ones that have been leaking, even got a pair of rain shoes for myself, then another store for a suitcase. Then back to the first store after comparing prices to pick up a duffle bag.

After all this, we were starving, it was late, so we splurged and went out for dinner. We don’t do this often, and it’s fun when we do. The waitress was absolutely one of the nicest ones we’ve ever had, so sweet to Flower Child I wanted to wiggle with joy.  The check came, we gave her the debit card.  She came back and said something I didn’t quite catch to Husband, ending with “not going through.” He smiled and told her it’s a debit card, not credit.  She said she had tried it twice.

Now, I know we spent a lot yesterday. But, we’re pretty careful people. For all the spending, we hadn’t blown the budget, and had checked what was in the account and calculated what we could/should spend. In walks Mama Guilt.  Mama Guilt didn’t just sit next to me, but sat on my lap and drank the last of my iced tea, one eyebrow raised all the while, “What, you couldn’t have had water?” Then she started tapping her foot against the box of shoes I had purchased for myself. “You’ve been perfectly fine with wet toes for the last forty thousand years. You had to buy rain shoes for yourself?”

Ridiculous, my glass of unsweetened iced tea, and my shoes, had nothing to do with the debit card problem.  In fact, Husband called the bank immediately to find out what the problem was. Turns out the bank had noticed we spent a lot more dollars than we ever do, so they put a hold on the account to make sure it was really us.  A good thing, in a rational mind.  My mind, however, is still lecturing–you still have basic school supplies to purchase…

Money money money

Money money money (Photo credit: jainaj)

And the damn card is probably going to spontaneously combust when we get Nerd Child his new glasses.