Thoreau and My Quest for New Shoes

When Barrett and I started sorting through our things to move to Portland from Madison, I thought after we moved that I would start to live a Thoreau-like existence of simplicity. Henry David ThoreauSure, we were moving to the city, not the country, but what with all of the trees around, what difference would that tiny detail make? The point was that we were getting rid of more than 3/4 of our things and we were starting fresh across the country where I had no commitments, no job, no committees, very few things and I would lead a simple non-materialistic and stress-free existence.

Then we got here and I realized we needed SOME material possessions. Not many, but there were some things essential to life that I hadn’t realized i would miss so much. Dinner is better when you have the utentils to make it (instead of eating fromage blanc out of the tub with bits of baguette) and a table to eat it on, sleep is much more fun in a bed with a nightstand and a nice reading lamp, and lounging is much more enjoyable when you have a couch.

So we seccumbed to two solid weeks of shopping and excessive materialism. It was a blow, but we recovered.

Things settled down and now, I thought, we were back on track. I could lead a simple life writing & reading, contemplating the trees, sucking out the marrow of life, etc.

And then… I decided to register for the SCBWI National Conference in LA in August. The deadline was looming and I suddenly realized that my life would be unfulfilled if I didn’t go.

Now the big question: What shoes do I wear?

I mean, I can’t go to the conference barefoot (or naked either, for that matter). And if I’m going to get shoes, I might as well get the PERFECT summer in LA conference shoes ever, right? Clothes can come later, without the right shoes, you’ve got nothing.

My non-consumer, non-materialistic ambitions went up in flames surprisingly fast. Nothing like the thought of new shoes to fan the flames.

So I’ve put aside marrow sucking, at least for now, to contemplate the eternal question: What makes the perfect conference shoe?

Some facts and important questions:

The conference is four days long, I’ll be there for six (do I need more than one pair?)

It’s in LA in August (sandals?) At a hotel with air conditioning (will sandals be too cold? Or should this be addressed when we get to Non-Shoe Wardrobe Issues?)

Attendees will include editors and agents from New York who by the very act of living in New York are more fashionable than most people because of Fashion Osmosis (fashion/cuteness factor?)

I don’t currently have a job or a source of income (where can I get the perfect shoes cheap?)

If you have any suggestions, please post in the comments! My last conference/footwear dilemma was solved by the inimitable Kristin Daly of Harper Collins who recommended the cutest inexpensive boots which work for all fall and winter conferences. That’s the kind of suggestion I need! And I just might make a video about it if I get a good recommendation, so your suggestion could live on in fame and glory right here on this website.

In other news:

— over the past weekend, we found a new favorite taco place called Por Que No? They put the greatest combinations of things together and include great toppings like pineapple.  Yum.

— also discovered a new favorite sushi restaurant on 23rd Avenue called Yuki. Lots of vegetarian items here. They even have a sushi roll with mangos, avocados, AND cherries. (two new favorite restaurants in one weekend — how cool is that?)

— accidentally went to a street fair on the east side of town with tons of great street performers from the mundane — a musical group of men dressed as women and bumble bees, to the extraordinary — post modern Kabuki-esque dancers with tattered umbrellas.

— also accidentally ended up on the Run Like a Girl race course on the mansion to forest walk we like near our house (Thurman St. after 29th where the houses seem to get quite a bit larger than average up to the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park to the Lower Macleay Trail which brings us home). The runners took it pretty well that we were invading their course and we even got to listen to the free band at the end.

Have a great week!


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  1. I don’t know if you read comments on your old entries, but had to say this made me laugh out loud! We moved from Australia to the UK a couple of years ago and went through the same process. Free of clutter! Unable to cook! Finally giving in and getting a bedside lamp (this was only a few months back)! I’m glad we aren’t the only Thoreau want-to-bes that backslid 🙂

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