267: Fresh as a daisy

Daisies in the meadow

Well.  That was a wonderful retreat.  It was all of the “re” things.  Relaxing, renewing, recharging, refreshing.  I’m sure there are more, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.  I feel like a new person.  To be honest, I was tempted to tack on another three days, but I don’t have any blog posts ready to go.  Besides, a glance at my email makes it clear that I’ve gotten pretty far behind.  There was a lot of blog posting going on while I was busy being not busy and doing things to take care of myself.

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New shoes and a Camelbak

(069:  My feet hanging out by the pond.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I’ve been doing my part to help stimulate the economy lately.  I bought another pair of new shoes, this time for wearing in the boat.  My old boat shoes were looking pretty gross after accidentally stepping into the pond (instead of the boat) a few times.

I was thinking this photo (above) might be my new avatar.  Those striped socks are getting a little old.  A change in footwear occasionally might be a good thing.

My new hydration/day pack arrived yesterday.  I ordered a Camelbak Day-Star.  After looking at a lot of different hydration packs and reviews of them I finally decided on the Camelbak Day-Star because 1) it got excellent reviews, and 2) one of those glowing reviews involved a short woman who raved about how wonderfully it fit.  I’m not extremely short but short enough that sometimes backpacks just don’t fit comfortably.

I wore the Day-Star around the house for a little while and it fits wonderfully well.  I’m impressed.  Now I have to fill up the bladder and throw a few things into the storage pockets to see how I do carrying around 2 liters of water and supplies for a day hike.  I’ve been working on getting in good shape for our trip to Colorado and that includes being able to carry my own stuff.

(Sunday’s sunset.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.  I’m off to turn a big bag of fresh basil into a batch of pesto, make a salad with a bunch of lettuces and other veggies, and then work on a zucchini-tomato gratin that I got a recipe for over the weekend (from Vegetarian Times).

We’ll be eating well.  🙂


Hiking shoes

(058:  Unidentified flower in the wildflower meadow.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

M and I are planning a trip to Colorado to visit with the newlyweds and to do a little hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park.  In preparation for the trip, I ordered new hiking shoes from NB Web Express.  I normally wouldn’t even think of ordering shoes online but these are New Balance shoes.  New Balance is one of the few trustworthy brands that come in extra (and extra-extra) wide shoes.  I’ve been buying and wearing New Balance shoes for years now, and got to the point where I could order them online because there is (or was) consistency in their sizing.  And whenever they recommended that you order a half size bigger or smaller, they were right.

My new hiking shoes arrived on Wednesday and were obviously not an extra wide no matter what was printed on the label.  I could barely get the widest part of my foot into the shoe and that took a great deal of pushing and force.  I realize hiking shoes should be a little snug.  This was beyond snug.  This was so tight my toes were squished on top of each other.

I’ve never had that problem with New Balance shoes.  Never.  I was disappointed.  And a little frustrated as there aren’t many choices in hiking shoes that come in an extra wide.  This particular style seemed my best bet in terms of the type of hiking we’ll be doing.  I’m trying to avoid boots because I don’t like wearing boots.  They’re uncomfortable to me.

The good news is that NB Web Express has free return shipping.  It’s quick, easy, and painless.  I shipped the shoes back yesterday.  The problem now is figuring out where to go from here.  New Balance doesn’t have the shoes I want (or need) in an extra wide.  Finding someplace around here that actually carries hiking shoes in an extra wide will present a challenge because I usually go to the New Balance store when looking for something that will fit my wide feet.

I’m sure I’ll figure something out.  I can always wear my old hiking shoes if need be (which happen to be New Balance hiking shoes).  It should be noted that this has not put me off New Balance shoes.  I’ll still buy my walking and running shoes from them.  As far as I’m concerned, they are the best.

I’ve been spending a lot of time outside lately.  The weather here in the Bogs has been amazing.  It started to warm up a bit yesterday and it’s expected to be pretty hot (in the 90’s) today.  The garden wouldn’t mind some rain.

Speaking of the garden, I often wonder why I struggle with myself over the weeding.  Once I’m actually in the garden, pulling weeds, I find it to be an enjoyable pasttime.  Hard work, yes.  But it slows down my thoughts.  Sometimes I reach a point where my mind is quiet and pulling the weeds is all there is.  Sometimes it’s cathartic and/or symbolic, pulling the weeds of my thoughts (believe me, my mind can get pretty cluttered with stuff that turns out to be nothing more than weeds).  It’s also great exercise.  I must remember all of that the next time I put off going out to the garden to work.