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.


Project Winter

My kids are now 6 and 3, rounding the bend to 7 and 4.  Beyond the baby stage, there’s no more naps, no more diapers, no more babies in our house.  And while I may or may not have cried when we took down the crib last year, I am excited for what this new chapter of parenthood brings.  Enter skiing.

I grew up in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and skied many times a year.  But I wouldn’t say that it ever became a passion of mine; I do love the outdoors and the exercise and the scenery, but the actual skiing part is a medium on my list of loves.  And lately, my distaste for Winter has grown.  You would think that an Alberta-girl would be used to sub-zero temperatures, but my theory is that I got my quota of Winter as a child….. these days I freeze solid in November and don’t thaw out until April.  “Embrace the winter,” my mother says, “there’s nothing you can do to change it.”  Sigh, I’m trying.

You probably already know my views on keeping kids active, and skiing seems like the perfect way to accomplish that goal through our long Canadian winters.  Plus it’s a great lifetime sport, a way to have fun together, and a justifiable excuse for hot chocolate in a ski chalet.  So we’ve made the investment.  My husband and I just purchased full ski gear (Merry Christmas to us!) that we hope will last for many years (as did my previous 1989 Salomons), and we plan to rent equipment for the kids for this, our inaugural ski season.

I’m calling it “Project Winter” and we’ll see who wins the battle between myself and Mother Nature.  We’re embarking on the ski-family journey of two hours to get ready, three runs on the bunny hill, forty-five minutes to complete a bathroom break, and sleeping kids on the drive home.  And if you see my husband, ask him about the time I left him stranded on a ledge at Sunshine Village in Banff….. on the day he proposed…..