shoe summer

So this summer I have been having shoe/feet problems of the like I have not experienced since I broke my ankle 20 years ago. Those who have read this blog for awhile might remember how I hate shoe shopping. Feel free to think I am weird. [like you need that permission]

I started the summer knowing I needed shoes badly, I especially wanted good shoes for India. Summer shoes are always more of a challenge for me, because I was shooting for sandals styles and most sandals are not suitable for inserts. However I was willing to spend money on good summer shoes, ok not $300 a pair but I was not going to look for sales and settle for less. I was ready to shop for shoes!

Seriously I did my best. And I bought 3 pairs. Merrill clogs, Clark dressy sandals, Teva sandals and Keen sport water sandals. Prices $68, $60, $40 and $98 I believe. See I did not go cheap. I have had good luck with Clarks and Tevas in the past, I have never heard a bad word about Keens [my chiropractor loves hers] and the Merrill clogs felt really good. It was all a big shoe lie.
My feet, especially my right heel, hurt almost constantly. [I have never had problems with my right heel before] And since I basically bought the shoes at the same time I had a hard time narrowing down the culprit. It was especially horrible in India, because guess which shoes I brought? And then I was sitting so much it was making everything worse, and then because I hurt I didn't want to move, and the lack of movement made other stuff worse and my heel ached all the time. You can probably see the vicious cycle.

I got home depressed about my shoes and feet. So I threw the clogs away, and went shoe shopping again. I was going to get something with lots of heel support that I could exercise in and well I just prayed that my shoe luck would turn.

Happily it looks like it has. I just happened to stumble on a sale at Nordstroms and I got a pair of ASICS gel-kinetics for $89 and they are working out pretty well. My heel is not getting any worse, it is certainly supported and I have spent long hours on my feet and still felt pretty good at the end of the day.

I was feeling a bit cocky about my shoe luck even. While I was on vacation, I pondered on what shoes I should get for work. I can't wear my tennies all the time. After mulling it over I came up with what I thought was the perfect solution. Short, brown, low heeled square toe boots with room to put in a good insert that gave me plenty of heel support. A great solution. Then last weekend I took the shoe goddess shopping with me for guidance. HA! The boots in my head do not apparently exist at this time at least not in the zillion of stores we went into, I may turn to Zappos online.

So was I too cocky about shoe luck turning? Are the Asics just a fluke? Do I bring all this bad shoe fortune on myself? Ah well. Wish me happy hunting.

indian food, still yummy

There was some concern that India would ruin Indian food in the US for me. I am happy to report that this did not happen although some things have changed.

Eating Indian food every day for a month, well as you may have gathered from the previous post, it did get to be a bit much. Part of the problem was not only was I eating Indian food everyday but I was virtually always eating at the same place. I believe I ate 6 meals at restaurants other than the hotel and ate at 2 potlucks at work. Perhaps 3 poor meals at the work cafeteria. For the whole month. So more than getting tired of Indian food I got tired of eating in that hotel, everything started to taste the same there. At the same time it was a mistake while at the hotel to eat the more European offerings, for the most part they were bad. Hyderabad is considered one of the spiciest of Indian cuisines but I always had my raita/yogurt ready and if it was hot to me I just cooled it down. It worked perfectly, I was ready for a change but for the most part I enjoyed it.

I got the impression that Indian food in India was going to be wildly different from Indian food in the states but really I didn't find that to be the case. Probably the biggest difference is that most dishes there are not served with rice, everyone eats it with bread instead. [and I love fresh Indian bread] Though the rice dish Biryani is hugely popular in Hyderabad, rightly so. Even the potlucks at work had all recognizable food, to me at least. Now the desserts were really different [interesting to be a potluck with 8 desserts and none were chocolate] but as I don't eat sugar and most were super sweet it really never came up.

So I ate a lot of Indian food, missed salads a lot and beef, tried a lot of stuff, some of which was excellent and came home ready for garden fare. However 2 weeks after I got back I was ready to have Indian at our favorite place again. We ordered some of our favorite dishes, medium as usual since the raita here at the states is an extra $4 and we usually don't get it.

I tasted it, 'oh they forgot and made it mild, too bad.' My wife tasted, 'it isn't mild.' I was amazed but she assures me that it was their typical level of medium heat. When I tasted it more carefully I could tell it wasn't bland and flavorless which is how mild would normally taste to me, it just wasn't spicy [at all] Then I bought a clue, I was different not the food. Apparently the month of eating much spicier food, even with curd at times, had tweaked my spice tolerance to a higher setting. It felt odd to realize that I had changed without being aware of it. I seem to be having a craving for spicy peppers on and off as well.

Not sure what I'll do the next time we eat out Indian though. Is this the end to sharing dishes?

squirrel stew

I am deliriously happy that my garden was kept alive while I was in India. There is nothing like being in a country where you are told over and over again to not eat raw vegetables, in August, to make you obsess a bit about your garden at home. Not too mention the weekly CSA deliveries you are missing.

By week 4 I was ready to fly the plane home myself in order to get a salad. Indian anecdote; There were 4 of us in the car coming home from work, 9:30pm, heading to the hotel. I was in the front next to the driver, we had been in the country for 3+ weeks.
From the back seat to me: 'what do you want to have for dinner?' Me: "Steak, fresh sliced tomatoes and corn on the cob." ho,ho
Back seat: 'try again.' Me: "a huge green salad?" sadly this time
Back seat: 'and again.' Me, throwing my hands in the air and shouting gleefully: 'Indian food!' The driver and everyone else in the car cracks up. Really the oddest things would make us laugh.

So fast forward to now and my tomatoes are ripening beautifully and are tasty as well. It has not been a very good year for my CSA in tomato land so we aren't getting tons...not enough to freeze but still a lot and I love them. I am even making salsa and salsa verde with the tomatillos and I am also seriously thinking about squirrel stew!

Those little rat b@st@rds! Not only are they stealing tomatoes but they are taking the best ones you know that need a just one more day to be at their peak. However I would not grudge a couple of tomatoes to my furry neighbors if they ate them! but no they take a bite and then cast them aside and wreak more havoc AND as if that wasn't bad enough they leave the barely eaten succulent tomato on the outside windowsills in a totally mocking way. The little thieves. I am not a particularly squeamish person but I don't think I can finish a tomato with squirrel slobber on it.

Something has to be done, at least by next year. Any ideas on how to squirrel proof tomatoes?

It didn't happen but welcome back

Welcome back to me and you.
My plans to blog regularly while spending a month in India just didn't happen as you all can tell. Granted, I have never spent a month working in India before so not a huge surprise that some plans just did not work out.

Ok that sounds ominous. Nothing 'happened' to me while in India in fact I frequently jotted down notes of things I wanted to blog about. But then poof when I was back in the hotel room. No blogging.

I couldn't quite figure it out, I was really tired of course between the 60 hour work week and well I found Indian culture shock pretty tiring too. But then I have been back in the country [how I love my country] for over 3 weeks and still no blogging.

Finally though I think I have figured it out and it took days of actual vacation with no work to manage to do it. It wasn't just that I was tired from working 11+ hour days and it wasn't just that India is very overwhelming in many ways especially when you are new to it. The thing that really but the kibosh on blogging was the fact that I was always, always talking, sharing and 'on'. Constant teaching for me was like blogging, because I was not there just to teach but to 'build relationships' this took a lot of effort, a lot of sharing and had a bit of weirdness to it. And apparently it is much the same part of me that I would use to blog. It was just all used up!

Now I just feel more like myself and ready to blog again. I can once more delve into what I have been doing, eating and pondering online. I know that there are a few people who read my blog but it also seems to me that the people who read my blog aren't too fazed if I just disappear for a few weeks. I wonder if anyone will start reading it again ... well I won't worry about it.

A teaser of things to come: veggies, squirrls, patios, paint, indian food and parties.