Monthly Archives: April 2010

9 Hours Radius

Hi-C and I have been travel-restless lately. To scratch the itch (or at least apply a mild salve to raging poison ivy) we had decided on flying to Halifax for a long weekend. Some brainstorming and sticker-shock later and we’ve narrowed it down to a road trip to a major American city within an 8-10 hour radius of Toronto. Our options are (from West to East): Chicago, Washington DC, Boston. What would you do?

One major criterion I was using has become obsolete: all three cities have world-class aquariums (although the one in DC is only $9 compared to over $20 in the other destinations). LibrariMan tried to help by breaking down the city by baseball team and their respective parks. Needless to say: we’re still stumped. Plus we’re hoping to couch surf for money-saving reasons but groups of 4 are hard to place for a long weekend. Did you know that many of the Smithsonian museums in DC are free? Did you know that Boston was founded in 1630? Did you know that the first ever American blood bank was started in Chicago in 1937?

ETA: The Chicago Public Library is the world’s largest public library!

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Treasure Therapy

Last week I picked myself up the game Cariboo Island. It is for 4 yr olds and it rocks at targeting so many different speech goals. Basically, you put plastic coins into the game and then you look for them by opening these little doors with a ‘key’. (Sorry, that makes no sense, but trust me). The grand finale is, once all of the coins have been found, they go in the ‘sand’ and the treasure POPs open! Except…woi woi…..mine didn’t open. So I returned it. Woohoo….oh, wait, this one doesn’t open either.

But I have to give props to Hasbro (yep, Cariboo Island is made by Cranium which is owned by Hasbro…). I used their online chat customer service and within 5 minutes they were shipping me a new game to my door, no questions asked. This next treasure had better OPEN! So now I’ll have two cariboo games but I still need Pop Up Pirate!

You are built to run for 4 Hours at a time

I’ve read more of my fascinating book (See below) and this should have been the title of my last post. Why can’t I make it more than 25 without quitting?

A Whole New Way to Look at Feet

I’ve been on a bit of a blog-hiatus. It isn’t for lack of excitement in my life but for the abundance of it and the inability to talk about any of it! Basically placement is a time-suck, but mostly in a good way. I am learning so much and have had so many cool experiences (and some bad ones too, of course!) but they are all confidential. Everything in this biz is confidential. I feel like I’m working for CSIS. If I wanted to transport anything with client info (even client initials) then protocol is to place the pages in a locked briefcase and place the locked briefcase in the locked trunk of the car. Even yesterday, I had the coolest session: the end. That’s all I can really disclose.

This post isn’t really about how much I can’t tell you, though. It is about a book I’m reading and how it has changed the way I look at my feet. Actually, it made me stop and take the time to consider my feet. You see, I’ve been running 3-4 days a week since September. Dedicated I’m not and I’m not really improving but I just want to be a person who loves to run. In comes this book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

The author, an injury-prone runner, sets out to find a cure for his aching back and plantar fasciitis and ends up in one of the most dangerous regions of Mexico (both for terrain and narco-wars) to race with the Tarahumara, a secluded tribe that lives peacefully, parties hard and run super-human distances. McDougall begins to research the culture of ultra-running (races of 50, 100, 250+ miles!) and gains a whole new perspective on what humans were made to do. There is a growing movement to shed fancy running shoes that weaken arches and cause us to strike the ground with our heels: something human feet were never meant to do. Out of this has come the barefoot philosophy; that feet are a marvel of bio-engineering that can handle what we have to dish out all on their own without fancy cushions or springing heels. In fact, the book cites studies that have shown two things: sports injuries do not decrease with ‘better’ (more techonological, padded) shoes; since the advent of cushioned, engineered running shoes in the 70s the incidence of running injuries has actually increased!

This is where the barefoot movement comes in. Let feet do what they do naturally: support us, flex around surfaces, feel the ground beneath them. Of course, shoes also provide protection from sharp rocks, street filth and other foot hazards. The new rage is Vibram Five Fingers, basically a foot-glove that protect your feet while letting them grip, bend and support. Apparently they generate quite a few stares when worn out and about, though.

Tonight, I walked the 5km home from placement (I stopped trying to jog it because I have to lug my 15lb backpack too). All I could think was my ever-weakening arch until I flipped off my Nikes for the last km and gently trotted home in socks. It felt wonderful (except for the stones….).