Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When She Was Good, She Was Very, Very Good...

... and when she was bad, she was horrid.

I married a bad boy.  But I think my husband believes, fairly justifiedly, that he married a good girl.

An anxious girl, a girl who aspires to organization, a girl who'd rather reinvent a scone recipe than do the dishes afterward.  But a good girl. A girl who could figure out the negative consequences she'd like to avoid before making most rash decisions. He, on the other hand, learns from experience.

He calls me pollyannish, a word I despise. But it's hard to argue. I am mostly not a cynical person.  Angry, maybe. But that's different, right? I am decidedly NOT a churchy person, but I've always had hunches that things happen for a reason, maybe not a grand plan, but that we walk away from most experiences, even the painful ones, with, at least, experience, understanding... something has happened to us.  Maybe I can say that because I've walked away from all my experiences so far.

I could find a thousand reasons to become cynical, but maybe what keeps me hopeful is taking the opportunities I can to be bad. Not bad bad. Just, maybe, a little bit, less obedient.  Maybe, just a little bit, subversive. Maybe, just maybe, a small part, selfish. If I feel free to subvert, exercise my civil disobedience from time to time, for reasons grand or petty, as long as I can make my points to myself, it contributes greatly to my pursuit of happiness.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Cooking

This summer, I found an electric juicer at a thrift shop for $3.  A good juicer.

I also had a hard time choosing watermelons.  No matter what, they all seemed a bit spongy or mushy.  Sweet, juicy, but with an unappealing texture.

The result was that I enjoyed a lot of watermelon juice.  "I" instead of "we" enjoyed it because my children are freakish changelings who for some reason don't like watermelon juice.  Weird.  Thankfully, they have redeeming qualities.

With my watermelon juice, I invented and modified other recipes to create watermelon limeade, watermelon-lime granita and tasty watermelon margaritas.  I have a thing about lime juice.

Watermelon Margaritas
Four reasonably-sized margaritas, or two Saturday-Night-At-Home sized margaritas
(As usual, my measurements are approximate.  If I ever write a cookbook one day, I'll get it more down to a science.)
3 cups fresh watermelon juice
2 tbsp - 1/4 c lime juice (to taste)
2 tbsp simple syrup
4-5 oz good tequila (or however strong you want it)
2-4 oz triple sec

Amounts of simple syrup and triple sec will adjust how sweet it is (plus a little alcohol).  If you don't like super-sweet drinks, you could probably leave out the simple syrup altogether.
Serve over well-crushed ice.  I think a sprig of mint would be nice, too, but I didn't have any.

Apple Buttermilk Scones with Apple Spiced Caramel Glaze
I made these on a day my kids asked me to bake something for them like muffins.  Then out of nowhere after morning tennis camp, one of them said, "Actually, I feel like a scone."  I thought that was a funny thing for them to crave, given how limited their scone-sperience is.  So, although it heats up the kitchen miserably in the summer, I baked.

Apologies to Nigella Lawson, who would slap me silly for making her simple, beautifully textured buttermilk scones into a complicated American-style mess.  However, they still aren't too sweet (the sin of many coffee-shop scones) and we really enjoyed them.  Plus, I can't follow a recipe.  I start getting ideas along the way, and I can't hold back, which is why I did the following in the first place, and I think Nigella could appreciate that.

So, I started with her recipe:

I mixed the dry ingredients as listed, substituting brown sugar for white, adding a bit of salt and adding an additional 1 tbsp flour 

I prepared apples:
  • Dice 1 large apple (I used red delicious because that's what we had but a tarter apple would add more flavor.
  • Grate about 1/2" of fresh ginger over the bowl and scrape all the juice and pulp into the apples (probably about 1tsp fresh ginger; the recipe could have taken even more)
  • Grate about 1/4 tsp nutmeg into the apples
  • Add about 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Toss lightly with fingers so the spices coat the apples
When preparing wet ingredients, I added about 1 tbsp honey, just because I had some and it couldn't hurt.

Before mixing wet into dry, I tossed the apples throughout the dry ingredients to coat them with flour.

Shaped and baked as directed.

For the glaze I started with this recipe because it was a caramel glaze that called for buttermilk, and hey, I had buttermilk from making the scones:

While cooking, I added the same spices to the glaze as were in the scones:  Cinnamon (maybe 1 1/2 tsp), nutmeg and ginger.  Instead of grating the ginger, I sliced a thick coin of it and cooked it in the glaze mixture.  The fresh ginger lent a great little punch of true spiciness.  I almost eliminated the vanilla, but I'm glad I included it because it adds to the caramel side of the flavor and lends a caremelly color. I cooked the glaze extra long because it didn't seem to develop much caramel color with the cooking time specified.  

When the scones came out, I let them cool a few minutes and then glazed them, let the glaze cool a little and gave them a second drizzling.  The glaze was really, really good, though pretty gooey.  I would love to get these flavors but figure out how to get more of the texture of a powdered sugar glaze.  It might have hardened up better if we hadn't eaten all the scones so soon.

I did freeze some unbaked ones, and they baked up nicely a week later.  The glaze kept in the fridge and I rehydrated it with some buttermilk and warmed it in the microwave. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We Heart Tennis Camp at Reffkin!

I need to plug the tennis camp my kids attend.  This was G's 5th summer.

Reffkin Tennis Center (formerly Randolph Tennis Center) is a jewel in central Tucson as part of Randolph park, right next door to the Recreation Center and right on the walk/bike path.

Each summer Coach Meghan Houk recruits an outstanding team of coaches who lead the kids in age-appropriate, fun and non-competitive tennis games and drills.  The camps start early in the morning, which can be painful, but it's really the best time to get out of the house and get moving.

While one of my kids is in camp, I can drink my coffee and catch up on Facebook or reading, or if I'm feeling perky take the other child to the practice wall and mess around and hit some balls. The same group of tennis afficionados greet us on the way to the practice wall each summer, and ask if my child is "doing good" at tennis.  Families gather in the bleachers or on benches or folding chairs in the shade and chat about schools, other camps, Parks and Rec programs, parenting, crafts, etc., etc.  I see as many dads and grandparents there with their kids as I do moms, and the crowd largely represents Tucson's diversity.

On Saturdays, camp participants can choose to participate in fun, non-elimination style mini-tournaments at Reffkin in the evenings.  We haven't made it this summer, but they're fun and give kids the feel of a real, scored game.  The Bonanza at the end of the summer is similar, but highly festive.

In addition to the programs at Reffkin, the camp has sites all over town at the high schools and Pima college.  Wherever they could get courts and campers, I suppose!

Reffkin's program is an affordable, fun camp, and I have seen my kids develop not only physically, but also socially and emotionally in terms of motivation, sportsmanship and their self-talk.

I truly appreciate the efforts and enthusiasm of the coaches.  It's clear they love tennis, and kids as well.  Thanks, Coach Meghan!

Here's to Otter Pop day!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Gentrified Tucson Farmers' Markets

On the way home from picking up our dogs at my brother's house in Green Valley on Monday, I stopped by one of the local farmers' markets to grab some produce.  We had been on vacation for a week, and I had two tired kids and two dogs in the car.  I wasn't about to stop at the grocery store, and I happened upon the market.

I'm pretty sure it was one run by Earth Made Farmer's Markets, a company that I believe is run by Ed Dubis.  (I previously blogged about an attempt to start a CSA in the Broadmoor neighborhood where I used to live, and my negative experience with that.)

I'll share my shopping experience and then make my point:

First of all, the signs said the market would be open until 2:00.  I pulled up just before 1:00, and vendors were already packing up their shade structures and leaving.

I remember seeing one table of tamales, tortillas, etc.  Those looked good but I didn't have a lot to spend and needed fruits and veg.  The next table had aloe products, and the lady immediately pounced, explaining all the benefits of aloe.  The free-range beef guy was packing up (too rich for my blood, anyway, though they have good products.) 

The produce guy right at the front was getting talked into doing this for a living by another man (I sensed he was hired help, not someone who had developed his own business) and maybe because I was in a hurry I was suckered into paying $1.50/ lb for jicama that ended up being half-rotten (partially my fault because the gashes were underneath and they looked great on top) and 2.00/lb for in-season tomatoes.  The same jicama was $.59/lb. this week at Fry's, but it didn't look like this:

Then I wandered way to the back of the courtyard behind the large tent of beaded and semi-precious jewelry, and met Hector.  For the same $8 I had spent up front, I walked away with ten more tomatoes, 5 limes, two small watermelons, a butternut squash, and four nice sized Mexican grey squash, plus a bonus jalapeno. The produce was not local, but it appeared fresh.

And Hector was pleasant and engaging, eager to talk with me about the vegetables, how I would prepare them. He had been working with produce for 21 years. He said that the organizers had kicked him out of another market and didn't like him at this one either because he sold things at good prices. I believed it.

When the farmers market (also Earth Made) first started in Broadmoor at the Broadway Village shopping center, folks came who had grown herbs in their back yards, families who had harvested nopales from their back yards, a guy who lived in a grapefruit orchard and needed to unload the booty, a guy who was selling pastries made from mesquite flour he had harvested and ground himself...  there were also the solar flashlight dealers, jewelry makers and guys playing guitar and selling their CD's, but there were plenty of neighborhood folks and a diversity of products.  Prices were a bit high, but you could find a bargain.

That changed quickly, and now there are only a couple of produce people, some horchata and tamale makers, and sometimes baklava and grape leaves.  The coffee truck shows up.  But I can't shop there anymore because I work.  And it's expensive.  I once wrote to Ed Dubis to suggest holding the market Fridays from 3-6 so that folks could stop for happy hour and also patronize the restaurant in the plaza, so that working families could shop there.  He said they were doing fine with the time slot they had going.

I'm not sure of the inner workings, but I have a feeling that the cost of a vendors' stall in these markets must be high.  And the foot traffic is not great except for the more established locations such as St Phillips Plaza.  I can't see the whole system lasting until it can serve more of a broad spectrum of people, and truly tap into the roots of food culture and gardening/ farming in Tucson.  I have a feeling a lot of folks are turned off to the way the markets are managed right now.  I know I am.  I am a would-be shopper, definitely.  I love farmers' markets.  But not artificially inflated prices, wilting, rotting produce, products I don't need and an exclusive attitude.

In contrast, the Community Food Bank's farmers markets have truly attempted to create a diverse and sustainable food supply and support the small backyard farmers.  They have tried to reach out to real, working class neighborhoods and families.  The Earth Made markets have become, in large part, a gentrified upper-middle-class experience that is most easily accessed by single professionals, stay-at-home parents, and retirees.  The prices, products, hours and even the P.R. simply does not meet the needs of families who work during the day and need to buy their produce at market-competitive prices in order to stock their refrigerators with healthy food. 

Let's hope things change.  I refuse to shop at farmers markets just for the romance of it.  They have to meet my needs, too, or else they are simply a tempting and spendy form of entertainment that I can't afford.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Emerson's Ideal Teacher

Working on a freelance project, I found the following words of Ralph Waldo Emerson to be inspiring, and a worthy and high set of goals for any teacher.  Back to work in less than a week.  Let's hope I can please the master of the American aphorism and the weaver of a prose of poetry...   

(from "Education")

     "I believe that our own experience instructs us that the secret of Education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know,  what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained, and he only holds the key to his own secret. By your tampering and thwarting and too much governing he may be hindered from his end and kept out of his own. Respect the child. Wait and see the new product of Nature. Nature loves analogies, but not repetitions. Respect the child. Be not too much his parent. Trespass not on his solitude.
     But I hear the outcry which replies to this suggestion — Would you verily throw up the reins of public and private discipline; would you leave the young child to the mad career of his own passions and whimsies, and call this anarchy a respect for the child’s nature? I answer — Respect the child, respect him to the end, but also respect yourself. Be the companion of his thought, the friend of his friendship, the lover of his virtue — but no kinsman of his sin. Let him find you so true to yourself that you are the irreconcilable hater of his vice and the imperturbable slighter of his trifling.
     The two points in a boy’s training are, to keep his naturel and train off all but that — to keep his naturel, but stop off his uproar, fooling, and horseplay — keep his nature and arm it with knowledge in the very direction to which it points. Here are the two capital facts, Genius and Drill. This first is the inspiration in the well-born healthy child, the new perception he has of nature. Somewhat he sees in forms or hears in music or apprehends in mathematics, or believes practicable in mechanics or possible in political society, which no one else sees or hears or believes. This is the perpetual romance of new life, the invasion of God into the old dead world, when he sends into quiet houses a young soul with a thought which is not met, looking for something which is not there, but which ought to be there: the thought is dim but it is sure, and he casts about restless for means and masters to verify it; he makes wild attempts to explain himself and invoke the aid and con- sent of the by-standers. Baffled for want of language and methods to convey his meaning, not yet clear to himself, he conceives that thought not in this house or town, yet in some other house or town is the wise master who can put him in possession of the rules and instruments to execute his will. Happy this child with a bias, with a thought which entrances him, leads him, now into deserts now into cities, the fool of an idea. Let him follow it in good and in evil report, in good or bad company; it will justify itself; it will lead him at last into the illustrious society of the lovers of truth."


"I confess myself utterly at a loss in suggesting particular reforms in our ways of teaching. No discretion that can be lodged with a school-committee, with the overseers or visitors of an academy, of a college, can at all avail to reach these difficulties and perplexities, but they solve themselves when we leave institutions and address individuals." 


     "Nature provided for the communication of thought by planting with it in the receiving mind a fury to impart it. ’Tis so in every art, in every science. One burns to tell the new fact, the other burns to hear it. See how far a young doctor will ride or walk to witness a new surgical operation. I have seen a carriage-maker’s shop emptied of all its workmen into the street, to scrutinize a new pattern from New York. So in literature, the young man who has taste for poetry, for fine images, for noble thoughts, is insatiable for this nourishment, and forgets all the world for the more learned friend — who finds equal joy in dealing out his treasures.
     Happy the natural college thus self-instituted around every natural teacher; the young men of Athens around Socrates; of Alexander around Plotinus; of Paris around Abelard; of Germany around Fichte, or Niebuhr, or Goethe: in short the natural sphere of every leading mind. But the moment this is organized, difficulties begin. The college was to be the nurse and home of genius; but, though every young man is born with some determination in his nature, and is a potential genius; is at last to be one; it is, in the most, obstructed and delayed, and, whatever they may hereafter be, their senses are now opened in advance of their minds. They are more sensual than intellectual. Appetite and indolence they have, but no enthusiasm. These come in numbers to the college: few geniuses: and the teaching comes to be arranged for these many, and not for those few. Hence the instruction seems
master to require skillful tutors, of accurate and systematic mind, rather than ardent and inventive masters. Besides, the youth of genius are eccentric, won’t drill, are irritable, uncertain, explosive, solitary, not men of the world, not good for every-day association. You have to work for large classes instead of individuals; you must lower your flag and reef your sails to wait for the dull sailors; you grow departmental, routinary, military almost with your discipline and college police. But what doth such a school to form a great and heroic character? What abiding Hope can it inspire? What Reformer will it nurse? What poet will it breed to sing to the human race? What discoverer of Nature’s laws will it prompt to enrich us by disclosing in the mind the statute which all matter must obey? What fiery soul will it send out to warm a nation with his charity? "

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Finding my Inner Performer at the Poetry Center

I'm spending the next two mornings in Poetry Out Loud training at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Yea!

Today we spent time sharing teaching ideas, and Sarah Kortemeier led us through several simple and useful exercises to promote proper use of breath, physical relaxation and comfort, and a sense of community where we can all get over ourselves a little bit in order to serve the poem.

We spent time familiarizing ourselves with our poems (mine is "Ecology" by Jack Collom) and working on memorization.  We also had a bit of time to think about the lesson idea we will share tomorrow.

Tomorrow, after (I'm really hoping!!) some hard-core performance work and feedback, we will recite our poems on video, which will be shared online.  Yikes.  If I would have known that it might have motivated me to eat a little more carefully this summer.  I am not at the height of my physical confidence. However, if you'd like to witness our performance, it is at 12:30 at the Poetry Center.

I've got some studying to do tonight... I know about half the poem.  I wonder if the ellipticizer at the gym is conducive to poetry memorization.  I'll let you know.

Here's some further reading for me by Collom, in Exquisite Corpse: http://www.corpse.org/archives/issue_9/critiques/collom.htm

Here's the poem... I am completely swallowed by the poem when I read it.  I love its rolling, lengthy sentences, his use of sound, and how the interconnectedness of the words themselves creates its own ecology of language, which underscores the idea of our unavoidable place in the natural ecologies of the planet.  I also like the spiritual overtones of the ending.  I'm sure I don't have this poem "all figured out," whatever that means.  Anyway...


By Jack Collom
Surrounded by bone, surrounded by cells,
by rings, by rings of hell, by hair, surrounded by
air-is-a-thing, surrounded by silhouette, by honey-wet bees, yet
by skeletons of trees, surrounded by actual, yes, for practical
purposes, people, surrounded by surreal
popcorn, surrounded by the reborn: Surrender in the center
to surroundings. O surrender forever, never
end her, let her blend around, surrender to the surroundings that
surround the tender endo-surrender, that
tumble through the tumbling to that blue that
curls around the crumbling, to that, the blue that
rumbles under the sun bounding the pearl that
we walk on, talk on; we can chalk that
up to experience, sensing the brown here that’s
blue now, a drop of water surrounding a cow that’s
black & white, the warbling Blackburnian twitter that’s
machining midnight orange in the light that’s
glittering in the light green visible wind. That’s
the ticket to the tunnel through the thicket that’s
a cricket’s funnel of music to correct & pick it out
from under the wing that whirls up over & out.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, July 9, 2012

Testing out Grooveshark.

I've been frustrated recently because Playlist.com has become completely lame.  I don't listen to a lot of online music besides Pandora, but Playlist was a great tool because students could use it to create a soundtrack for a work of literature or for personal writing, and then embed it within our wiki sites to publish for each other.

Well, Playlist got rid of the embedding feature.  But my mom (of all people) showed me Grooveshark, and so far it looks COMPLETELY superior to playlist.  For one thing, I see a lot more song variety, and, so far, the sound quality is much higher.  I'm not an expert on how these sites are built, but I suspect that Grooveshark must have a lot more backing by the music industry and have a much more profitable model based on the use of mobile devices, etc.  The user interface is also much more pleasing and professional-feeling than Playlist

At any rate, it appears that on the free account available with Grooveshark I can create and EMBED playlists... so let's see here...

Testing Grooveshark by Amethyst on Grooveshark

Somewhat of a random playlist for starters... what do you think?

I'm always looking for more webtools, especially those that are free and useful in the classroom.

Friday, July 6, 2012

What I've Learned This Week(ish)

1.  The definition of "neoliberalism" which I came across multiple times in this article, in the Utne Reader, an excerpt from a book about the historical context of organized labor and its relationship to today's working class and labor movements.  I find it fascinating how relatively meaningless the terms "liberal" and "conservative" really are in terms of any kind of coherent system of thought, making their social and political connotations really important to understand.  Neoliberalism, in terms of its emphasis on free markets and privatization, seems like it would be desirable to "conservatives," and yet I suppose it is the loss of jobs in the U.S. that makes conservatives and their (typical) strong sense of nationalism object to it policy-wise.  Hm.  Anyway, it's a good article and gave me a little hope.

Teachers are somewhat stuck between "labor" and white-collar professionals.  Because public school teachers are under-recognized, under-respected and under-compensated as a group (although the public is supportive of individual teachers), we really can't abandon whatever organized labor groups we can still get moving, and yet we want to be trusted, respected and compensated as professionals, and if we were truly considered a profession our issues would be more distanced from "labor" issues.  One thing (I think) that keeps teachers (and firefighters, police, etc.) in this in-between group is the idea that we are public servants. We are expected to have a certain degree of altruism about what we do (which makes me wonder-- do public defenders and prosecutors feel the same way?  I suppose, but lawyers have such a long-standing status as professionals...)  What gives firefighters and police a little more cache than teachers is that their lives are on the line each day, lending a sense of urgency and public obligation to their causes; also, sadly, I think that the fact that those careers are still more male-dominated and that teaching has been more and more feminized keeps teacher-groups from finding more political and professional footing.

2.  I took my kids and my mom kayaking when we were camping at Patagonia Lake with my sister and her family.  Mom was (as she put it) being a stick in the mud and almost wimped out, but we didn't take no for an answer.  Benchy told her that if she couldn't get out of the boat, they had a little crane lift down on the dock.  :)  It was a calm morning, sunny, with the puffing clouds we get during the day around monsoon season.  None of us had done it before, but I used to absolutely love canoeing in Girl Scouts, so I figured we'd be okay.  It was much easier that canoeing.  I now covet a kayak.

Mom and G

The Kiddos

3.  I visited our neighborhood carniceria for the first time.  For our 4th of July barbecue, we made carne asada and guacamole along with the typical (and fantastic) family potato salad (NO PICKLES), corn on the cob roasted on the grill and watermelon.  The carniceria was great.  My dad got hooked on it last summer, but I had never gone.  The man behind the counter helped me pick out which meat to use and how much to buy, and marinated it for me.  The meat counter was large and full.  The fresh chorizo looked very tempting.  The rest of the store was a wide selection of Mexican products and American snacks and drinks.  I will definitely go back.

4.  After a break of a couple of years, I took the kids and their cousin to BICAS to fix four flat tires, fix G's shifter which seemed broken, fix my basket and adjust my brakes.  I love that place, and I learned last week that they are truly kid-friendly.  The little girls were worried about getting their bikes down the steep ramp into the basement, and a volunteer came right out and helped them down (since I was holding my own bike).  My helper Isaiah patiently explained to me the basics of how the shifting systems on our bikes worked and how to adjust the shifting, and he scavenged for a new combined shifter/brake handle for G's bike and installed it himself (probably because he saw I was distracted by the kids.)  When the two little girls became bored, Colin gave them a spray bottle full of water and they found about 90 minutes of fun in that.  We were all very damp by the end of things.  The basement was cool, well-equipped and an artistic space.  We did all of the above plus installed two kickstands for $18 total, and when I tried to pay for neato artsy BICAS stickers for our bikes, they wouldn't take our money.  They said that since the kids were with me, the stickers were going to a good cause.  SWEET.  Love that place.

OK.  There's more to say, as always, but that is plenty enough for you to digest for one blog entry. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thrift Shop Sculpey

I found two huge bricks of terra cotta colored Sculpey at Goodwill yesterday. O for some reason wanted to make a life sized hot dog (middleground). G is making a dollhouse Wii, television and entertainment center, and my Chicago Dog pen holder is in the foreground. I'll make it into a refrigerator magnet. Sculpey can be painted, so that's what I'll do for mine. Cheap thrills for summer.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Rich's New Footing. (Ha! Pun. Groan.)

Well, it's high time I let the world (or at least my six oh-so-important readers) what is going on with my husband Rich. 

I've been guilty recently of a little whining on Facebook about how much I miss him when he's away, and he's been getting a little bit of flack from his friends about it.  But he is not mistreating me or the children.  In fact, he is continuing on a big adventure that started over two years ago. 

He has gone back to work full time for Ability Dynamics in Tempe, Arizona.  For the last two years, he has been working closely with the other founders of the company to develop their new Rush foot, a prosthetic foot that is made of a brand-new material and is designed mostly for active users.  The demonstration videos on their site are pretty amazing, especially this one by Lance Blair:

Lance Blair - Rush Foot Testimonial from Ability Dynamics on Vimeo.

Rich and I have shared many, many adventures together, some more challenging than others.  Separating our family into two different cities (for the time being) has been a difficult decision, lonely for both of us at times, and with challenges on both ends.  My challenges have been balancing home and parenting responsibilities, work responsibities, and doing the things that I would like to do such as summer professional development, getting to the gym, hiking, reading... it's been a lot harder to find time for myself because every time I do, I need a babysitter.  Rich will be doing a lot of travelling as the National Clinical Manager, and so I know one challenge for him is having the energy to put his heart into his job all week, travel for work and then have energy to drive back home to Tucson for the weekends.  He misses the kids, too, and hopefully me.  :)

However, I have not seen him this enthusiastic and invested in work in a long time.  He is an excellent REALTOR, but that has been a difficult road recently.  This position plays to his greatest strengths:  a sincere desire to help people have a better quality of life (which is why he became a prosthetist); a firsthand knowledge of life as an amputee and the qualities of a product that makes it both practical and pleasant to use; a thorough knowledge of prosthetics and the prosthetics business (which he has had a chance to learn even better through this process); a great personality and ability to listen and give and take feedback; a drive for success in business. 

He has actually worn and tested the various versions of the foot as the company has gone through the process of developing and refining it, and has worked closely with the CEO, the distributors and the engineers to secure investment funding, work within medicare coding guidelines and create a product that he can stand behind.  I have never seen a product built from the ground up, and it has been fascinating to see the complexity of the entire process.  Now they are working on marketing, and getting into clinics to teach practitioners and patients about the product, and to continue to get feedback on it. 

Despite my little pouts and bouts of whining, I am so proud of my guy.  He is an amazing man, and this job is perfect for him.  I have never seen him so happy at work.  I hope that if you are a prosthetist or an amputee, and you get a chance to meet him, you will also recognize how committed Rich Sainz is and has been to this foot and getting it onto folks who could benefit.

Happy walking!

Also, P.S., he wore the foot to Big Surf with the family last weekend, and it stood up fine!