Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Bad

I think I'm in rebellion against myself--against my goody-goody environmentalist, anti-consumer, health-conscious, plastic-hating, literary, too-good-for-pop-culture, self-improvement self. In the last week I have:

-Spent more money on new shoes and clothing than I have in the last five years put together.

-Bought Easter candy for my children's Easter baskets, and eaten it at night after they go to bed.

-Had a Michael Jackson (re-)conversion after listening to an original, mint-condition record album of Thriller. (I now waggle my hips in time with "Billy Jean" humming inside my head while I walk across the parking lot at work).

-Started re-reading Bridget Jones's Diary (for the third time) while taking my weekly Spa Night bubble bath.

-Bought a (plastic) bag of salt & vinegar potato chips and ate nearly all five servings in one afternoon (I don't even like salt & vinegar potato chips!) I can feel new layers of muffin top splooching out over my new low-rises.

More, perhaps, on some of these topics later, but for now, how 'bout a fashion show?

I realized that, after my existential crisis Friday, that maybe a new wardrobe might just be the cure to all (or at least some of) my ills (I do agree with commenters that I need to get some new artwork and my very own computer, and I would also like to add that a new couch--a midnight blue velvet camel back with curved arms and affixed cushions that have no fort-building potential--would also help, but those will have to wait).

So I made my way coastward with a friend on Saturday, and came home with some springy fabrics (organic canvas and mushrooms) and a pattern for a jacket--crazy talk? Perhaps.

But first, for a little instant grad (or would that be instant grat?), I made this jaunty little scarf from a half yard of voile.

I thought I might make a pile of these for gifts, but that thin fabric was not easy to work with (my sewing machine just wanted to eat it!). Perhaps a smaller (or sharper) needle? Perhaps ironing under the hem rather than trying to use the hemmer foot? We'll see. (Tempting to add "new sewing machine" to my list of life-altering necessities!)

I also ordered two pairs of pants from Sweetgrass, feeling all excited about getting clothes that won't be tainted by toxic materials or sweatshop labor. I thought their website said something about plastic-free packaging, but they came in a Tyvek Priority Mail envelope. I can add it to my Tyvek recycling pile, but still. And, to top it all off, one pair arrived medium, rather than large (ahem) so I'll be getting a second envelope (but I'll reuse one of them to send back the mediums).

Onto the shoes. I first fell in love with these when I was shoe shopping for C's birthday, back in September, and haven't stopped thinking about them since. I tried stopping at the little independent shoe and leather shop in Damariscotta, but they were on vacation for the month! The nerve. So I settled on a Maine-owned chain, which never seems to have anything in stock (in their Augusta store), but they were more than happy to find my a pair in one of their other stores. I do feel bad that I didn't look for the woman who ordered them for me when I went back to pick them up--I'm sure they work on commission. Here they are with my new sailor jenny pants. I do heart them.

So I guess I should start feeling buyer's remorse about now, but I have to say, I think them marketers are onto something--the clothes really do make the woman! And I have several good excuses for not feeling too guilty:

1. I bought sustainable materials.

2. I purchased locally where possible, from a small online company where not (thereby keeping the US Postal Service solvent).

3. I have not bought a pair of shoes in nearly three years.

4. The only items of clothing I bought last year were 2 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 badly-needed bras and a hooded sweatshirt to replace the one I bought in New York City when I was eight months pregnant with M nine years ago.

5. When I started working full time my take-home pay doubled but my childcare costs only went up by a third, so I have to do something with all this cash.

6. Just ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you, I never buy new clothes and I'm a total cheapskate, so this is totally out of character, yet totally deserved.


  1. May I suggest another reason why you shouldn't feel too guilty?

    With a couple of your recent posts (especially the bathroom clean-out one) playing like a soundtrack in my head, I have placed my family on a buying freeze. We won't buy anything that we have a suitable substitute for in our house. So far, so good for our wallets and our consciences.

    I know that sounds simple, but it's amazing to me how powerful a basic intention can be.

  2. So you're saying that because your family's buying less stuff, I'm freed up to buy more? Awesome.

  3. What do you mean a couch with no fort-building potential!!???? That's a horrible thought. Gees.

    As I read your blog I am amazed (but not surprised) at how very different we are. And yet I am fascinated by what you write. A lot of this stuff is far, far off the radar of anything I'd ever think about. Guess that makes it enlightening.

  4. because i'm bad, i'm bad-
    come on
    you know i'm bad, i'm bad-
    you know it

    oh, those shoes are spectacular! i hope the pants are perfect too! and, have you seen this?:

    you are doing your part for your community!

  5. You're too funny. What the heck is wrong with listening to Michael Jackson or reading Bridget Jones? Interesting that I too wrote a post this week about my funny pop culture habit. Perhaps this video will help:

    If you think that commercial is funny, you are truly done for and lose all your green cred. Along with me and Crunchy Chicken. :-)

    Anyway, if you feel guilty, please reread the section called "Scolding and Guilt" in my interview with Annie Leonard. Perhaps it would be a good idea to memorize it.

  6. I was JUST about to leave a comment asking if you'd seen or read Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff. (She is a parent at my kid's school, though I don't really know her) Anyway, I saw her interview on Colbert yesterday and thought of you. You make good purchases so stop feeling guilty!!


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