The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Irony: Not Just for Unwrinkling Clothes-ies

It is unlikely that I am truly my mother's daughter--rather, I am almost certainly a changeling, swapped out in the nursery when my mother wasn't looking. Her real child is probably enjoying a life with Imelda Marcos. I say this because of the horror that crossed my mother's face when she realized I did not share her love of accessories. Indeed, I'd rather wax the driveway with my tongue than go shoe-shopping, a truth that may well have cost my mother a portion of her sanity.

My mother, you see, collects purses and shoes and jewelry and sweaters and scarves and quite possibly a number of other things I've never heard of in a way that puts even my yarn collecting to shame (which is saying something). I, on the other hand, will wear a pair of shoes until I can feel the date on a penny while standing on it with the shoes on, or until they explode off of my feet in protest. Whichever comes first. I once carried a pair of beloved but absolutely beat-to-crap shoes into a shoe store and announced that I wanted to purchase another pair of precisely these shoes. The salesman looked as if he rather wished he had a nuclear waste suit handy, and he did not touch the shoes as he explained--in the same tones one uses to explain why a 3-year-old child's goldfish had to take a toilet ride--that they did not make this sort of shoe anymore. Indeed, he did not EVER remember seeing a shoe like this, and perhaps I should consider something more....current. I didn't tell my mother about this. I feared she might faint dead away, strike her head on her giant jewelry chest, which would then tip over into the dresser, whereupon 230 sweaters would fall down on her and smother her. You think I'm kidding, but she counted once--and she really did have 230 sweaters at that point.

My handbag issue is just as severe. Unlike my mother who used to change out handbags according to her shoes, her coats, the seasons, her mood, and quite possibly the price of hot sauce down at the Walmart (they say "the Walmart" where she lives--see my earlier post on trailer trash), I have carried the same sensible brown purse for about 3 years--which is when I purchased it at Value Village for about $6.99 + tax. I have not changed it to match my shoes--I figure they can get along or not but it's none of my concern. I have not worried about whether it "worked" with the current fashion season (it's a purse, for the love of wool--it can't POSSIBLY have feelings of not belonging) and my mood, where handbags are concerned, really only ranges from "Crap, I forgot my purse" to "Crap, I slammed my purse handle in the car door" to "I know my keys are SOMEWHERE in here beneath all this crap."

Having said all that, I am occasionally struck by a stray something or other--a momen of odd girliness that causes me to do things like purchase lip gloss, put product in my hair and, sometimes, actually be enchanted by handbags. I don't know if it's a full moon thing, or what--but I will go from "yeah, all my stuff fits in it and whose going to notice if the handle is held on with a safety pin?" to "oh, look at the little pockets! And the zippers! And all this other stuff that I'll never use but looks really cool!" I'll even take the damned things off the shelf and sort of pose with them--hold them casually against my body while I glance down to see if I look anywhere in the neighborhood of chic (actually, the freeway of my life doesn't exit in that particular neighborhood, but hope springs eternal). All of which is to say that:

Last night Mr. K and I stopped at Fred Meyer and all their purses were 40 - 60% off and something goofy and pink and frilly inside of me squealed with delight and the next thing I knew I was pressing my face against smooth leather and holding purses against me like a moron. What can you do?

A quick note here: you probably picked up on the Fred Meyer thing. I may have a goofy squealy girl in me, giddly burying herself in trendy handbags, but even she isn't dumb enough to pay hundreds of dollars for them. In fact, a price tag over about $20 is all it really takes to send her packing. She's hopeful, but she's really not all that persistent.

And it was like this that Mr. K found me some moments later. I was feverishly comparing the merits of a round sort of bag that would match nothing I owned and hold about 1/4 of my stuff, and a giant shiny studded thing that would really require a much larger knowledge of dominatrix sorts of things than I have in order to successfully pull it off. My eyes were bright and shiny, I'm sure. When he came up to me, I started holding up bags and pointing out the wonderfulness of this vs the chicness of that (proof that my brain was addled by polyurethane fumes--that I thought for a moment to share this wealth of information with my beloved husband who once used a plastic bag from Victoria's Secret as a lunch bag because it was the first one he grabbed) and I even went so far as to ask him what he thought of this one or that one (fumes again) and that's when he said it--the phrase that actually makes me start to believe that men may in fact be alien. He creased his brow a little as he said it, too--"But, you have a purse. What's wrong with the one you have?"

And of course, when I'm not breathing in dead urethanes, I probably have the same sort of thought on the subject. But at that moment, I thought it the most ludicrous statement in the world--quite possibly heretical. And ironic, too (you were wondering where the irony came in, weren't you?). Ironic because of this photo:

See those 9 pairs of shoes by our front door? The 9 pairs of shoes that are almost all variations of running shoes? The 9 pairs of shoes that mostly all look brand new and barely worn? Yeah, 7 of them belong to Mr. K. And that's not half of his shoe collection.

Oh, the irony.

I did not, after all, purchase a purse (if only because I really couldn't come up with an answer to the "what's wrong with the one you have?" question). Neither did I purchase a three-pack of panties (a weakness of mine....I've heard of people who do the laundry when they run out of clean panties, but I can't wait that long because if I do, the clothes I put in the hamper will all be out of style by the time they come out of the dryer--I have a LOT of panties), a new bra, or a hair care product that is little more than a promise in a bottle for the frizzy among us who, nevertheless, dare to dream. But I'm remembering this the next time he wants to go shoe shopping.

Today's miner blanket update--I've started edging squares that need it, and have actually sewn some together. See what you think:

I'm still knitting them, too, but really wanted to start putting some together. Aren't they pretty? Aren't you guys wonderful?


  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    I totally get the not-getting-purses thing. Which is the main reason I wasn't tempted when my co-worker offered me several purses from her stash in exchange for my red mohair shrug. I get lots of comps on my red leather tote, which was on sale half-price at Franklin Covey and was still obscenely expensive in this girl's book. But there's a snap and a fob for my keys, and a place for my cell phone, and a pocket that's just the right size for my digital camera, and a pocket for a laptop that mostly just carries the magazines that one of my lawyers and his wife send home with me each month.

    Miner Blanket Mega-block will be on its way on Tuesday. Four short seams that you won't have to sew.

  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    You crack me up ... I go through the same girly faints at times. And I don't own a real purse!
    The squares look lovely sewn up. My two squares will be in the mail this week -- don't know how long they will take to cross the border, although you are just south of me.

  • At 4:09 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Argh...I am SO with you on the shopping thing...when Mom wants company while shopping...Havala gets to do time they both ganged up on me, told me I'd be home within the hour..they lied. Bold faced lied. We shall not speak of this again.
    I may have over 230 t-shirts. it's nuts.

  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Faren said…

    I know how you feel. I hate shopping for clothes and purses, etc. I really don't get the concept of having more than one purse at a time.
    The squares are looking good, I plan on making some before to long!

  • At 5:22 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Ooooh, pretty, yes!! Hurray for you! Hurray for us! ::does the happydance again:: I'm decently into my 2nd, and have more yarn on the way - including some black, so I'll be able to do edgings after all. We shall overcome and all that. Onwards!

    And lord, I am with you on the shopping. Mind you, I quite like wearing nice clothes when I go out somewhere. It's just that I rarely go anywhere that needs nice clothes. I have a secret yen to be Stevie Nicks, but alas, couldn't afford her clothes when I was her size, dammit. (And now I'm not her size. [g]) But otherwise - meh. My 'purse' is a backpack. My brother, on the other hand, was the one who had 30 pairs of shoes before he went off to college. When I went off to biz college? I had some heels, but most of 'em were boots. You shoulda seen my knee-high blue lace-up boots I wore with the embroidered, studded hotpants I made out of some cut-offs.

    Come to think of it, I coulda used that giant shiny studded purse in those days...

  • At 7:56 PM, Blogger ~Tonia~ said…

    Oh the irony of it all. I love bags off all kinds, but the totes/carry all's are my fave. Maybe it is bacause I can get everything that I need for myself and toddler into one bag. ;)

    The blanket looks great so far. They are going to be beautiful when they are finished.

  • At 10:02 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    You are hilarious but I'm with you on te purse thing, and shoes, I have quite a few pairs but at the moment my crocs are always on my feet, I'm thinking of stocking up just incase they go out of style and I can't get any more! The miners blankets looking great!


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