Six things Sam wants to blog about

It’s January and I’m super busy. The dean’s office is busy as we get ready to return to campus January 31. I’m also in the middle of three different grant applications.

At home we navigated the challenges of coming down with COVID, being sick (briefly and not that sick, thankfully) and then re-entering the world at large. It all felt very complicated.

In the world of Zwift, I’m captain of one bike team (hi TFC Dynamite!) and helping out with another (hey TFC Phantom!)

There is a lot on my plate right now. It’s not the case that there aren’t blog worthy things on my mind. Instead, it’s more like there a lot of different things I’m thinking about and they are still in the percolating stage, mid-mull, as it were.

Nothing seems to be settling down into a blog post.

Here’s my list:

Book review time!

I’m reading a book and writing a review for the blog. It’s Let Get Physical by Danielle Friedman. Here’s the blurb, “For American women today, working out is as accepted as it is expected, fueling a multibillion-dollar fitness industrial complex. But it wasn’t always this way. For much of the twentieth century, sweating was considered unladylike and girls grew up believing physical exertion would cause their uterus to literally fall out. It was only in the sixties that, thanks to a few forward-thinking fitness pioneers, women began to move en masse. In Let’s Get Physical, journalist Danielle Friedman reveals the fascinating hidden history of contemporary women’s fitness culture, chronicling in vivid, cinematic prose how exercise evolved from a beauty tool pitched almost exclusively as a way to “reduce” into one millions have harnessed as a path to mental, emotional, and physical well-being.”

Let’s Get Physical by Danielle Friedman

Silly Little Walks

me going on a stood little daily walk for my stupid physical and mental health

I’ve been fretting for a little while about walking and mental health connection and while we’ve all been taking silly little walks for the sake of our mental health, I worry we’re putting too much pressure on the humble walk break. Not all problems can be solved with a lunch hour walk. I’ve been worrying too about what it means for those of us, like me, who can’t walk very far or very fast.

Snow Days

Sarah, Mallory, and I are just back from a lovely weekend away which involved lots of time outside in serious Canadian winter. It’s January and we’re in the days where the high is still in the negative double digits but everything feels better because there’s sunshine and longer days. It’s why I hate November typically and do okay in January even though it’s colder. We all joked about having moved into our serious winter clothes– long underwear, snow boots, snow pants, parkas and real mitts.

I’ve helped a few newcomers to Canada get ready for winter and I know it’s a costly business. Most of us who spend time outside in the winter have multiple winter coats and boots for different activities and conditions.

In addition to the clothes, we also all have snow shoes and poles and yak tracks for walking on the ice. Again, it’s okay being outside when you have the gear but when streets and sidewalks aren’t plowed, it’s super cold, and you don’t have the right clothes and gear, it can be a long indoor winter. We often message people, for physical and mental health reasons, to just get outside but the reality is that it’s not simple.

Sunday hiking on the Georgian Bay Trail to the grotto in the Bruce National Park
Saturday was warmer but windier

Knee surgery

I’m trying not to think too much about knee surgery. It makes me angry and sad. I know, it’s just knee surgery. It’s not cancer treatment, but the pandemic delays feel endless. I first saw the surgeon about total knee replacement, in the hospital, in August 2019. This August that will be three years ago. I have tentative sabbatical plans to go to Australia and New Zealand. I have hiking plans that without the surgery won’t happen. I mean travel might not be possible anyway but if it is, and I can’t do any walking (or tramping as they call it in NZ) I’m not sure what I will do.

I’ve considered traveling to the US for surgery and paying. I’ve considered just ignoring the whole thing and focusing on what I can do, which is walk 2-4 km without much trouble. But it hurts. My knees always hurt. Pain wakes me up at night. I try to think about people who are worse off, the people with more serious surgeries delayed because of the pandemic and even people waiting for knee surgery who can’t walk at all.

The poles helped on our walk today and I might invest in a pair, or just borrow Sarah’s more often.

Here’s me with poles!

Mallory and me at the end of our hike


We also watched a movie that readers with younger children will know all about. I loved seeing the depiction of Luisa, the strong and muscular sister in Encanto. I also loved reading that children related to her. This is possibly the first time I’ve seen a muscular woman in a children’s movie or book who wasn’t the butt of jokes. Now I want some Luisa merch too.

Less than 60 days until spring

I try not to start the countdown too early but this year when I want to see friends outdoors and we’ve got another brighter pandemic spring ahead of us, I’m ready for spring anytime. In many ways 2022 feels an awful like 2021, as this video points out.

We’re all looking forward to spring and summer in my house.

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