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Our river valley in Edmonton is particularly amazing during the fall.

Hey folks, just contemplating on the gradual change in the weather here.  Summer has had her last gasp and now the parade of crisp mornings and cool afternoons has begun.  Autumn is my favourite season, especially once we’ve had a killing frost or two, as it cleans the damn mosquitoes right up.

Now begins the ritual of trying to ascertain whether it too cold for to go out in shorts or not each morning.  My reasoning is thus – we here in Alberta have the potential for a very long winter season from October to March most years and that, dear friends, is entirely to long a spell to exclusively wearing pants.

I do have limits, usually -5 centigrade is the lowest I’ll go before I shelf the shorts and bring up the long pants for the autumnbirks1winter.  The other wardrobe factor, of course is the hated closed toe shoes (we won’t mention the socks either :P).  We hates them and will put off the transition for as long as safely possible.  The Birkenstocks stay on till there is more than a centimetre of snow that stays on the ground (stuff that falls and melts doesn’t count:) ), till then, the sweet freedom of sandals reign supreme.

Other concerns include getting the back to school work schedule down, making time for piano and voice practice and getting the yard and car ready for the long dark cold ahead.   This year though, I think we’re going to add lights to our backyard fence that will really brighten the winter nights. :)  It should be all good, and as an added benefit more light to see the frozen dog poo that needs collecting. :)







highheelsvbirks   “The Problem with Birkenstocks”  by Annie Kreighbaum illustrates so perfectly the fantastical through-the-looking-glass distortions of reality that we collectively we know as “Fashion“.  Unpacking this article was kind of fun in the “Wow..really??” sort of way.  What wasn’t so fun is that amount of shaming that is going on and the expectations of self-policing and in general the absolute necessity of being hyper-aware of you looks and how others perceive you.

  “Birkenstocks are the Chipotle of footwear. Like opting for a burrito bowl and a side order of guac at the end of a long workday, you wear them when you’re in no mood to try. And you don’t feel too bad about it either, because they reek of integrity and liberalism and therefore don’t invite the same harsh criticism as things like foam flip-flops or Arby’s. But still, too much Chipotle is never a good thing.”

Just so we are clear where the biases are, as a person who wears Birkenstocks all the time, the idea that they are somehow the Chipotle of footwear just leaves me scratching my head.  That somehow they are a last resort when you are “in no mood to try” – well that grinds against my feminist fancy in an entirely different way and is definitely the topic of another post.

“Your foot might splay a little bit,” said NYC podiatrist Dr. Hillary Brenner in response to a rumor my coworker’s friend, this girl Alison, heard from her shoe sales guy at Jeffrey that all the Birkenstocks and locker room slides women are wearing nowadays are making their feet bigger—thus forcing them to size up on their Fall ’14 footwear purchases. 38? Guess again, now you’re probably a 38.5.”

[Alarm Klaxon]  Whoop whoop whoop!  Ladies it is with considerable regret that I have to inform you that your feet are getting….*whispers* bigger.   You thought Cinderella was just a story!  Oh no no no,  Double XXers – you have to live by this shit because the grotesquery of moving from a 38 to 38.5 must be considered a horror that should not be named.

Unless of course you’re a bland, humourless, feminist killjoy like myself who lives for blaming on this sort normative buncombe.

“Splay” is a great word, and by that Dr. Brenner simply means that the muscles and bones inside of your feet are getting a nice little stretch and they don’t want that feeling to end. So it’s not like they’re gaining weight—they’re just not as toned.”

Gaining Weight!?!   Gaining Weight?!?  Good Lard! Anything but that…  Is there no hope?  Also, how do feet that are squished inside shoes that don’t fit = toned?

“Your foot gets comfortable in these types of shoes and only certain muscles are working. Then when you go into a high heel that’s more narrow and stiff, your foot can’t splay as much. Different pressure points are being loaded, and you’re having to use muscles you haven’t used in a while.”

Wait, what?  It sounds like you’re making an argument that it’s just ‘different muscles’ being used when you go from ergonomic brikenstocks to the damaging instruments of torture known as high heels.  You’re not actually making that argument against healthy feet and promoting the damage high heels are responsible for?

“But there are abs somewhere under the mushy softness of your lazy Birkenstock feet, and they can be un-splayed and ready for the heel-loving city life.”

Holy hell, you are toe-tally going there.  Because having footwear that fits is completely the equivalent of “mushy softness”.  Did you feel the lip curl of disgust there?  The comparison between flabby abs and now your damn flabby feet?  Can we get a little more hate and shame on for female bodies?

What, exactly the fuck, is heel-loving city life?  Who loves manoeuvring around in the frigidly winter-dark icy streets in high heels?  I want Dr.Brenner to try the icy-fun-dance in high heels – the pain of his twisted ligaments would bring me a great deal pleasure (keeping with the theme of the post, would that be shodden-freude ?).

‘Dr. Brenner suggests training your feet back into a pair of your old heels rather than buying new ones, “You still have the same foot as you’ve always had, it’s not growing wider, it’s just getting put into a different device.”

“Oh,” says the doctor who, in theory. has sworn to do no harm – you ladies just need to acclimatize to having your toes squished and your tendons abnormally stretched.  It is like taking a round with the thumbscrews before heading to the rack…you just need to warm up!

“You’ll feel it at first, in the same way that your body will feel sore after the first time of doing a workout tape. But after a while your body gets used to that workout and new muscles are being stimulated. Eventually you won’t feel as sore. It’s a good idea to wear a variety of shoes overall, so that your entire foot is being worked on a regular basis.”

All you need is time to get used to wearing damaging footwear.  Awesome.

“So, and correct me if I’m wrong, the takeaway here is that you can eat as many burritos as you like, just do it while wearing heels?”

No.  The take away is that you’re advocating against women wearing shoes that properly fit and you’re attempting to shame them into wearing shoes that can potentially damage their bodies.

   Did you catch the "subtle" sexist trope?

Did you catch the “subtle” sexist trope?








All Hail the Double Face Palm of Fashion!

All Hail the Double Face Palm of Fashion!

Oh the consternation! Oh the anguish!  What are people to do when presented with such a horrible choicewhen their very societal presence and standing threatened by a humble German sandal.

Dear Fashion World and associated flaky devotees – you amuse the fuck out of me.  Someone ‘famous’ does something different and then whether it is a good thing or not, you ravenous lemmings go whole-hog-wild and make it a trend.

Case in point – Australian bedroom slippers:


uggs“Generally worn for warmth and comfort, Australian ugg boots had never been considered fashionable in their country of origin.[27] But the Deckers UGG brand emerged as a fashion trend in the US through Deckers’ actions to promote it as a high fashion brand. Deckers solicited endorsements from celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker,[29][35] Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez,[36] and product placements in television series such as Sex and the City, and films such as Raising Helen.[27][37] This marketing campaign “led to an exponential growth in the brand’s popularity and recognizability.”[38] Oprah Winfrey received a free pair when her endorsement was sought by Deckers; she then bought 350 pairs for her entire production staff, and eventually featured UGG brand boots as one of her “Favorite Things” on her TV talk show in 2000.[39] Other actresses who discovered UGG brand boots through surf shops began wearing them.[32] The company reported US$689 million in UGG sales in 2008,[40] almost a 50-fold increase from 1995;[41] By 2012, worldwide sales of Deckers UGG boots were over US$630 million a year, with 95% of world market share. By way of contrast, ugg boots in Australia were worn predominantly as slippers and associated with “daggy fashion sense, bogan behaviour” and the “outer suburbs” when worn in public.[42][43][44][45][2] According to Australian fashion stylist Justin Craig: “The only people who get away with wearing them are models, who give out the message: ‘I’m so beautiful, I can look good in any crap.[29]

Yeah and now these slippers are nearly ubiquitous – why? –  because the people on TV said they were cool.  *facepalm*

Birkenstock-Sandals-5Now, you people doing the same thing with Birkenstocks.  Someone who, arbitrarily appointed as famous, wears a pair of birkenstocks, and an article of footwear once considered “untouchable” is now hotter and more of a “must-have” than the preserved tears of baby-jebus.  It is a load of foolish bandwagoneering that illustrates how ingrained the herd mentality is and how pliable the term ‘fashionable’ is.

“Why Arb,?” my gentle readers must be asking.  “Where is this all this bitter animus coming from?” Well dear readers it comes from my adoption of Birkenstocks as footwear of choice based on the utilitarian needs these shoes satisfy for me.  From my shiny patent leather dress shoes, to my winter/teaching clogs, to my summer sandals, Birkenstocks have meant I can work and play in comfort and not have to worry about unergonomic footwear slowing me down or ruining my posture.  Birkenstocks are well made, high quality, highly – utilitarian products  –  that when associated with the frivolity of the fashion world, irks me to no end.


Oh, and I have not forgotten about Tom’s either with their insipid ‘feel-good’ marketing bullcookery.



Where we are…

Where I want to be…


Why yes, yes they can.  Someone (Why Oh why Stella?) went and designed a high-heeled version of the sandal and it retails for $625 dollars.

“Designer Stella McCartney‘s new shoe features a Birkenstock-esque buckled strap and the signature comfortable cork sole.

But unlike the functional sandal, which retails for around $70, this shoe has a spindly 5-inch heel – and costs a whopping $625.”

“The original Birkenstocks provide an incredible amount of foot support in four different places, according to the companys’ Web site. It’s unclear how much support the stilettos will offer.”

You don’t say.

I’ll be sticking with my comfy Birks, thank you very much. I’m just getting used to the toe-thong in my most recent pair.  :)

Footwear, when necessary, should be comfortable.

I am not sure what possesses people to make the abrupt switch from summer to winter clothing.  Well actually I do, the weather in Alberta has been getting steadily colder as we progress toward the icy cold death we know as winter.  My point is that I think our response is a little out oof context for the situation we have live in, here in Alberta.

We usually have 6 months of really inhospitable frigid winter weather.  Snow/ice/windchill… badness in general.  Our bodies are fully covered and rightly so, no questions asked.

However, when the temperature is still well above zero, and there is no snow on the ground.  Is dress like this justified?


With footwear like this?


Come on people.  We are in a cold weather climate, 3-10 degrees centigrade is *not* cold weather.

I am currently wearing these along with shorts and a t-shirt/shirt combo and am not freezing solid.


Let’s not overreact to the cool weather and embrace what little snow free time we have left.

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