Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Paris red

With one hour of polltime left as I write this post, 10 of 13 voters would like to see more of my shoes on Wednesdays, 2 are indifferent, and only 1 would like me to stop. I apologize to that one voter and whomever else s/he may represent, but I'm taking a mandate here to keep posting shoes.

I'm relieved because I really wanted to show you at least this one more pair before I stopped the series. I spotted these in a window on St. Germain when we went to Paris in 2005, several weeks before my dissertation defence.

After waiting through years of kids, budget restrictions, and then my years of grad school, we were very ready for a trip to Europe. So when my dissertation was finally committee-ready, we started planning a celebratory trip to Paris. Our problem is that our vacation times don't coordinate well: classes finish at the end of April, and if I finagle carefully, I can get away in May or June, even if I have to make up prep, committee, pro-d time later; Paul, though, enters a particularly busy time in June and stays busy throughout the summer. Until at least one of us retires, we really can't manage a month away together in the summer. We decided, though, that we could wangle ten days if we timed them carefully. Once my supervisor set a date that worked for her and we checked with the rest of the committee, I started the paperwork in motion with the university, and we booked our flight and hotel for a Paris celebration.

Except that one of the committee members didn't realize the document had to be read and approved six weeks before said date. By the time she realized, that date was an impossibility, so I had to start again, negotiate dates with the committee (my supervisor had moved across the country and, although willing to travel back for the defense, had a challenging schedule to accommodate). All fine but for one little detail: my celebration was now going to take place before my defence, during a week should have reserved for study. Luckily my supervisor was very supportive of my going away: she said that if I wasn't ready ten days before the defence, I never would be. Since she knew I was very well prepared, she said, the best thing for me to do would be to head off to Paris and distract myself.

She was right: it was surely the best preparation I could have had. There is so much to see and smell and hear and taste, so much walking to wear out one's nervous energy -- Paris (as many cities) is perfect for keeping one's mind and body in the present. Occasionally, I would be panic-stricken at a sudden recognition of the hurdle ahead of me, but I'd take a few deep breaths and then just return to the world around me -- which included fabulous shoes by the windowfull!

So these shoes have become somewhat of a talisman for me. They signify that complex of anxiety, struggle, self-doubt and, finally, triumph over a challenge. They also please me enormously because of the classic simplicity of their design -- the penny loafers I wore as part of my school uniform in the 60's weren't so much different from these -- and because that classic design is tweaked here with the pointed toe. Especially, I love these shoes for this perfect, perfect shade of red and the way the leather is burnished to emphasize that perfection -- somehow this red seems particularly Parisian to me. In a window full of classic, fairly conservative shoes, these truly called to me (okay, not truly, they can't vocalize in addition to their other charms!). When I got home, I googled Clif until I found their website where I learned that the patina I love in this shoe is a Clif specialty. If you're a Parisophile as I am, you should check out the site for the history of the area the shop's located in as well as for links to worthwhile places to vist in that area. Here they are on the rich colours of a tribal rug, showing their suitability to the darker months of the year as to the brighter ones suggested in the photo above.


  1. I'm slow on the uptake but I'm sensing a theme with your footwear: handcrafted details, interesting colors and those Medievally inspired upturned pointy toes. Nice!

  2. You're not much slower than I am, deja -- not until I got a ways into this series did I realize such an obvious pattern. It's actually quite pleasing to recognize it and note my consistency.

  3. I think they call that "individual style," and it's what we all aspire to. Congratulations! :-)


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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