Cold Hands, Warm Heart.

I feel cold most of the time.  This has worsened as I get older, and now it seems that I get a chill in October and it does not lift until May.  The irony is not lost on me; I grew up in rural Alberta, where the average Winter temperature is more than 5C lower than where I currently live in Southern Ontario.  I am Canadian, I am outdoorsy, and yet I cannot shake the absorption of cold into my bones.

But I’ve learned to cope quite well: I sleep with a heater beside my bed and I wear merino wool socks at night.  My husband teases me because I leave my parka on to unpack the groceries and my mitts on in the car.  I drink tea by the gallon and fill my water bottles with warm water, and I’ve just discovered that running tights work perfectly as an extra layer beneath jeans.

Alongside my recent layered running tights discovery, the other factor that’s really changed my attitude towards the cold is ‘Project Winter‘ that my family embarked upon last year.  Project Winter was my undertaking to try to embrace rather than dread Canada’s longest season and so far it’s been a big success.  Last year, my husband and I invested in ski equipment for ourselves and rented equipment for the kids; we skied a handful of times as a family and loved it.  This year we’ve upped the ante, complete with weekly ski lessons at Glen Eden (thus making Tuesday night my favorite of the week), and I can honestly say that a snowy forecast now makes me happy.

As a born-and-raised Albertan, I was lucky enough to ski regularly in the Rocky Mountains but, truth be told, it was never my passion.  I enjoyed the mountains themselves and the fresh air and the exercise, but the actual skiing part was always secondary.  All that’s changed now that my kids are old enough to be involved.  I have loved seeing their evolution from nervous and off-balance to confident and capable; my four-year-old skied her first black diamond run last Friday.  My heart swells with pride and they’re sick of hearing me say “well, this has been the best day.”

Winter is still not my favorite, but I’m shifting my attitude.  I’m still cold, but I’ve changed my perception.  And if that isn’t a life lesson, then it’s not a blog day at

So, to my first patient of the day, whom gets my ice-cold cold hands, I’m sorry.  Please know that I come by it honestly, and I’ve likely just spent ten minutes cuddling with the hydrocollator heat packs to no avail.


Because I am me, but I could’ve been her.

I am not afraid for my life.

My children are getting an education.

I have access to healthcare and antibiotics and clean drinking water.

My home is safe.

I don’t worry about bombs or air raids or war sirens.

I have two cars and three bedrooms and big, beautiful trees.

I did not happen to be at a concert hall in Paris, or a funeral in Baghdad, or walking in a suburb of Beirut.

I was born in Canada.

So I am lucky.  

I am certain that there are 36-year-old female Syrian refugees who do not have loving husbands and healthy children and dream jobs and safe, secure homes.

I am also certain that if the situations were reversed, if I just so happened to be born in Damascus instead of Provost, if I just so happened to be unlucky instead of quite possibly the luckiest ever, if I just so happened to be fleeing my home and my country, while clinging to my children and screaming, crying, shuddering in terror while trying to keep them safe and nourished and not witnessing human atrocities daily and seeing the very worst of the very worst, well then,  I am quite certain that I would want her help.

So I am lucky.

And I will help.  Because I am me, but I could’ve been her.


I’m excited for the sport

“What should I blog about this week?” I asked my husband.  He’s my editor, my second opinion, my sounding board.  He’s got a BA in English and can spell any word you throw at him.  We disagree on my use of short sentences, the redundancy of my verbage, and my overuse of adjectives.  But. I. Love. Short. Sentences.

2015_Pan_American_Games_logo.svg“The Pan Am Games,” he answered, “you haven’t shut your pie hole about it all week.”  Okay then.  Apparently I’ve made my excitement known.

I bought our Pan Am tickets way back in December, as the heart of Winter approached and the sun of July seemed to be in the far-off future.  Well, here we are.  TO2015 has descended upon Southern Ontario and the buzz is in full swing.  My Facebook feed is bombarded with pictures of friends at events, Pan Am highlights are on our TV every night, and Pan Ams are my main conversation topic with patients these days.  Add to that, the fact that I got to run with the Pan Am flame in June (the torch is now proudly displayed at Burlington Sports & Spine Clinic and has been a frequent photo op for passerby), and life is #panamazing.

I’m excited for the crowds and the noise and the sun and the cheers.  I’m excited for the patriotism and the wave and the ‘Oh Canada’ and the photo ops.  I’m excited for the fitness and the competitors and the athleticism and the impressions on my kids.

This afternoon we are watching the Women’s bronze medal and gold medal Beach Volleyball matches at Pan Am Park; Team Canada is battling for the bronze.  On Thursday, we’re heading to York University to take in the morning session of track & field.

I’m excited for the sport.

Go Canada Go.