Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sunny days, sunny shoes

It was a glorious day to be out on a bike today. The sun was shining for the first time in a seemingly unending streak of overcast skies. 4 degrees Celcius - very un-January like. Our long broken blender in need of a new blade (after self-destructing on a frozen strawberry. sigh.) seemed as good of an excuse as any to take the bike out.

For some reason, some cyclists around here "hang up" their bike between December and March. Alright, I know the reason, because that used to be me several years ago, its COLD out. And although sporadic nice days happen here and there, once the bike is moved to a more storage like location it becomes rather a pain to take advantage of the nice days. Of course the secret is with windblocking clothes and a bit of acclimitization its rare to find a day in Toronto that's too cold.

But the sunshine seems to bring at least a few of those that have been hibernating back out of the woodwork. Saw lots of working cyclists today - bike cops, and bylaw enforcement from Municipal Licensing & Standards. Saw a bike cop riding down the wrong side of the road in order to presumably make a left turn. Sheesh, citizen's arrest I say! Anyway I was just loving the sunshine, and basically had my face tilted up pointed sunwards trying to soak it up.

Went into the Eaton Centre. I detest malls, but there's a store in there that has appliance parts so it seemed convenient. When going shopping I much prefer traditional street-front shops, so when going from place to place I'm actually outside, and also not encapsulated in a consumerism bubble - I can walk past people on the street who are outside for a whole myriad of reasons, not just buying stuff. Picked up the blade - yay I can now make yogurt smoothies for breakfast again, without the whole trail of blueberry mess that inevitably results when I try to use the food processor for this purpose instead. Tried to quickly make my escape from the march of ants otherwise known as mall rats, when the magnetism of a shoe store (Town Shoes) sucked me inside right before I got to the escape hatch (the exit).

Now you have to understand a bit about my obsession with shoe stores and also my percentage disappointment rate with said shoe stores. My feet are size 11.5 AAA. (that's extra narrow) Traditionally women's shoes have only been made up to size 10. I've always had to go to a special store (usually Tallcrest), pick from a dismally limited selection of ugly shoes, only to find most of them too wide anyways, and then pay a small fortune for said pair of shoes I didn't really like to begin with. So whenever I pass by a regular shoe store, I walk inside, and drool over the funky shoes I could possibly wear if I just had normal feet.

In the past few years, more manufacturers have been making size 11B shoes. And more normal shoe stores have been stocking them. Of course when I was a teenager during the peer-conscious years, there was nada, nothing. I got teased for wearing men's shoes (too wide for me) in gym class. So now instead of just drooling I can actually get brave sometimes and ask "do you have this in an 11?". Now if I get past the "we don't carry 11's", the salesperson will go and check their stockroom, and almost always come back with a no sorry. I will come home and check ze Internet and find what sizes that shoe was made in and usually not above size 10. I become aware of all the manufacturers making shoes that fit me. Sometimes they will come back with a pair of shoes, all surprised they actually had them. And I will try them on, and say "sorry they are too small", and the salesperson will look completely shocked, as if women's feet were supposed to stop at size 10 because that's what they are made in. If the too small doesn't get me, the too wide always does. And of course 11.5 AAA is pointless to ask for unless I'm in the specialty store, which will have an assortment of dress shoes (of which I hardly ever wear), and really boring old-lady style walking shoes.

Anyway when I got sucked into the shoe store I immediately saw these shoes. Now I have had some luck over the years finding some funky shoes that fit, but never that I recall my favourites just going into a regular shoe store. Pick them up. "Michelle K" , hmm never heard of them, put back. Check out the teeny tiny 11 section on the sale rack. Pick up a funky pair of black shoes with velcro. These just look like the perfect urban biking shoes. (I have straps instead of spd pedals on the beater bike so can wear any shoes) Hmm "Michelle K". Try it on. Not too short. A bit wide (and I'm wearing really thick socks), bah try the other foot on. So ask about the funky blue-green ones in 11 too.

Decided the perfect bike shoes were indeed too wide. These, with laces, can be pulled in tighter. I think these will look pretty snazzy for biking 'round town too dontcha think? On sale for half price as a bonus. Sorry for the rather long shoe tirade, but when you have as hard of time buying shoes as I do its super exciting to find some fun ones! Hopefully the bright colors will keep me cheery through the winter!
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