Archives for posts with tag: sister

That’s the best name we could come up with.

My sister came over and we hung out for a minute while I did some tech stuff (sort of) to get my new iPhone working properly and setting up my old iPhone to give to my husband.  We took a break and went to The Trolley Stop in the Oregon District where I was super excited to find that they could accommodate my dietary restrictions.  I had a salad and a cup of homemade roasted red pepper hummus with carrot sticks and celery.  I couldn’t actually finish the hummus, but husband was more than happy to finish it for me when he found it in the fridge later.

Even though I wanted to go to another coffee place, my sister is a stubborn one (she only just found out she’s stubborn) so she persisted until I agreed to go to Press instead (I really make an effort to write about a variety of places, but sometimes I get out voted).  I’m glad we went to Press because they are featuring an amazing artist who is selling these amazing pieces for not as much as you would think.  I might need to grab one of these for my house – they are so unbelievably pretty.

We had iced coffee because it was 100 degrees in the shade.  And when it was time to leave, we saw these beautiful doors to the church near Press and Beth was kind enough to let me take a few pictures…

Even though she had to hold all my stuff.  Thanks, Beth!

Best Beth Day ever.

Below, my sister, Sad Robots, tries to convince you of all the ways barefoot running is better than regular shoe running.  However, I want to point out that she never really goes in to how much not running prevents all running-related injuries.

Sad Robots’ Controversial Science Things

As a graduate in the field of psychology, the applied aspect of my degree was learning how to get whatever results I wanted to find from whatever test I was doing. I learned how to manipulate statistics to support theories like, “The belief in zombies is directly correlated to fitness levels in American males between the ages of 18 and 25.” Well, that might actually be legit, but you get my point.

What I’m really saying is that I’m difficult to sway when it comes to “scientific proof” of anything, specifically involving health. When it comes down to it, everyone is different, and some stressed-out grad student’s findings don’t necessarily negate last year’s stressed-out grad student’s opposing findings on the same topic. So when I read headlines like, “Heroin is healthy for you!” I realize that there are a multitude of factors to consider before I decide to become a druggie.

I tend to hand-pick random crap to obsess over (my dear sister calls these things my “schemes”) and trust that someone else has done the “scientific proof” for me. My “scientific proof” is using myself as a guinea pig because hey, if I’m going to do crazy things, it might as well be for the sake of science.

So, to answer some Sad Robots FAQ, here are the things I do and why in a series of guest posts I like to call “Sad Robots’ Controversial Science Things.”

Barefoot Running

In my last guest post, I recommended some handy dandy fitness gear, including the ever-awesome Vibram FiveFingers, and because of that, I have officially gained Girl About Town’s approval to delve further into the topic of barefooting.

To begin, I’d like you to consider what you wear on your feet while you’re at home. The answer is probably “nothing” or “socks.” Ask yourself why. If the answer is, “Because it’s more comfortable,” then I don’t get why you need to read any further.

Being barefoot is just more comfortable.

I get a lot of flak for this theory and I don’t know why. People really love their Nikes and they don’t like that I tell them that Nike is a huge factor in the American obesity epidemic. Nike is the reason you’re not happy with your body. Nike is the reason you don’t like running because you get shin splints. Nike is the reason you believe in crap like “arch support.” (Arch support doesn’t even make sense. Your foot arches support your body, like arches are wont to do [see: doorways, etc.] so why would your arches need support? If they did, we would have no doorways and we’d all be trapped in sad, dark rooms.)

Without citing my references, because, really, I don’t click on citations and I’m also just pulling from memory, the short of it is that in the 70s, the guy who made Nike decided that people needed cushioning for their feet. So instead of doing rigorous empirical testing on what that would do to the human body, he just decided to make it, market it, and shove it down the throats of the public. And we sure took it like a champ.

It turns out that putting a solid inch or so of rubber under our feet is really, really bad for our bodies. Just like having huge gloves on in the winter makes it more difficult for you to pick your keys up in the snow when you drop them, wearing sneakers on your feet makes it really hard to judge what kind of ground you’re walking on, what kind of steps you should be taking, how fast or slow you should be moving, where your center of balance should be, and so on and so forth. It ruins your walking gate, your running gate, the way you step, and how hard you step. For some reason, the image of putting rubber boots on a pug always comes to mind when I explain this to people. The pug has no idea what these atrocious, gaudy feet-thingies are, and so it starts to walk around all funny, trying to shake the boots off because it suddenly can’t feel the ground anymore.

I don’t need to tell you any of this because this great guy named Christopher McDougall wrote an amazing, enthralling, life-changing book called Born to Run. That’s my source. Read it.

Like a good narcissist, I’m going to bring this back to me now.

What has barefooting done for me other than make me a total snob? Well I’ll be happy to give you my first-hand account of spending the past year mostly barefoot.

It all started last July when I wanted to get into running. Like all good academics, though, before I ventured out my front door, I had to read 8,000 books on the topic before I was convinced that I should do this complex, difficult activity called “running.” Before I picked up Born to Run but after beginning my research, I had started jogging at the gym in a pair of Pumas I had on hand and had barely worn. After about two weeks, I got this horrible pain on the side of my leg accompanied by some swelling. I went to the doc, and he said to stay off it for a couple weeks. So I did.

I bought an ankle brace, and that helped a little. Then I splurged and bought the best reviewed, best priced pair of shoes I could find: Saucony Jazz 13s. When I put them on, it was like I was walking on clouds. I started getting more serious about running and I was logging more mileage per week than my car (Note: severe exaggeration). Like all things I get really manically obsessed with, something horrible happened that put a plug on my irrationally-founded dreams: I broke my foot.

It wasn’t like I tripped over a rock or got into a fight with a bear or anything cool like that. It was a stress fracture, so it took a couple weeks to set in. It took three times longer than that to heal, and my thus-far successful weight loss had to go on hiatus.

While I was healing, I read Born to Run. Suddenly I found myself walking around downtown Dayton during my lunch hour barefoot, holding my heels in one hand and my iPod in the other. In most other cities, you’d probably get stared at for this behavior. In Dayton, I didn’t get a second glance. That’s why I love this place.

What I found was that it was fun to walk around barefoot. I got asked, “But what if you step on something?” and my answer was, “I just pay attention to where I’m walking.” I mean, you don’t randomly grasp at things without looking at what you’re picking up, so why do you walk around without attending to what you’re stepping on? It really doesn’t exert that much mental effort. It’s the same as paying attention to stop signs while you’re driving. They may be in your peripheral vision, but you still, consciously or unconsciously, know to stop the car or you’ll probably get hurt. When you walk around barefoot, you eventually begin to attend to the ground unconsciously, and you avoid stepping on things that will hurt you.

My stress fracture eventually healed and I got a pair of Vibram FiveFingers to test out. I read so much literature on them and how to use them and what you should do before you run in them that I was pretty sure running in them for the first time would be a death sentence.

What I found was that all the pain I had while running in my Pumas or Sauconys just… disappeared. Instantly. What I also found was that my center of balance shifted downward while I ran and my heels didn’t touch the ground. I moved faster, lighter, and for longer distances. I was amazed.

Fast forward to last week: I’m kind of sick of getting guff for my VFFs. I still wear them when I run and when I go to the gym, but I find that the pair I have, the Sprints, aren’t really good for hiking. They’re for running on pavement. Vibram makes hiking FiveFingers, but I also decided I would like a pair of more “normal” looking barefoot shoes, so I settled on the Merrill Pace Gloves. It’s only been a few days, but I’m happy with them so far. They’re pretty and comfy and make my feet happy.

So here is my advice to you: Go outside without shoes. Step carefully. Take note of the things you’re thinking and feeling. Go inside and do a Google search on barefoot running. Read some reviews on barefoot shoes. Maybe read Born to Run if you wanna. Or maybe just take my word for it. Whatever. The point is you read this, and maybe it answered some questions for you that you were too afraid to ask that weird guy with dreads you saw at the bookstore wearing VFFs. Maybe you have more questions. If so, feel free to email me, or contact Girl About Town with your questions and I can answer them in YET ANOTHER guest post on barefooting, which I’m sure she’ll love. Really. Do that.

If you liked that, Sad Robots would be delighted to write about one or all of the following schemes topics:

Intermittent Fasting

Polyphasic Sleeping


Obsessive Researching

A while back, I accompanied my sister on a Saturday filled with adventure.  Well, first we went to Bob Evan’s, but then… Adventure!

We went to Truth & Triumph to get her ears pierced.  Beth has some serious issues with ear piercing (she even had to get earrings surgically removed one time, and it was Prom!) so she decided to go to a professional piercing place to ensure the highest precautions were taken.  The people there are wonderful and made sure she had fun even through the inherent pain of having sharp surgical steel forced through her ear lobes.  Sorry for the bad photo but I was trying to hide because every time Beth looks at me, she laughs.

Next, we went to Salon Noir so she could get a pixie cut for the first time!  I love Salon Noir and now Beth does, too.  It’s a very neat place to spend some time while your sister has her hair cut.  There are so many things to look at, like empty frames on the wall, or silhouettes.

Here’s what she looked like after all the adventure was over:

Thanks for participating in my poll, here’s a free coffee.  How do you take it?  ::tiniest barista ever!!::

So on my 200th blog post, I threw in a poll asking for some direction on where to go from here.  I thought it might be fun, and I think it was fun but I’ll admit, I am a little baffled by the specificity of your requests.  But, hey! Customer service is in my blood so my immediate response is just to see what I can do to meet your 4 demands.  The following fell under the winning category, Other Answer:

  • challenge your paradigm
  • complete review of coffee shop options in the entire miami valley
  • Lauren endorsed products!
  • More posts about things in Dayton connected to lengthy, entertaining memoirs

Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that my sister is behind each and every one of these…

Ok, so challenge my paradigm?  This one will have to go on the back burner for a little while so that I can have time to ponder what my paradigm actually is.

The coffee shop one is possible, but it will take a lot of work.  Delicious, delicious work.

I thought I posted about products too much.  It’s nice to know that it’s being well received and that I should keep doing it.

And I’m glad to find out that my memoir babble doesn’t put you off, either!  This is a good day for me!  Thanks!!

My sister made this from one of my previous posts and it’s making its way around the internet.  I love it!  Visit her blog, too.