A Love Letter to Snow Days

Dear Snow Days,

I’ll admit it, I once took you for granted.

When you grow up with at least a couple of the magical, unexpected days off, it’s easy to assume that the trend will continue. I remember, when I moved to Thunder Bay in high school, that we were sent home less often because it was too snowy than because it was just too cold. (Yes, that’s correct. When it’s so cold even the school board deems it better to stay warm and indoors.)

Snow day in Halifax
The eve of a snow day in Halifax.

As a professional (and adult) there was no decline in the pure delight of receiving the notification that business days were cancelled. Instead of mornings with my ear glued to the radio, I would make sure my phone was next to the bed with the alerts system activated so that I would know right away if I could count on a few extra minutes beneath the covers the next morning.

Snow day in Baltimore
A snowy day in Baltimore. 

Even living in Baltimore afforded more snow days than we had expected — although, yes, the criteria for a cancellation was significantly lower. If there was enough snow that required sweeping (yes, sweeping, not shovelling) from our front stoop, then a snow day was imminent.

Being both self-employed and working remotely with clients (possibly in much warmer regions), brings with it a loss of that hopeful, enchanted announcement. I miss the relief of the broadcast that declared, “Go ahead and cozy up for some pancakes folks. All that’s expected of you today is to stay warm and *maybe* shovel the driveway.”

Blowing snow in Cape Breton.

Perhaps one day I’ll find something that bears an equivalent source of joy but, until then, don’t go changing. While some people spend their winters wishing away the snow, I only wish for more.




A Love Letter to the Women who Swim

Dear Women who Swim,

I’ve spent so much of my life in a pool or on its deck. Some of my earliest memories are of walking though the open-concept showers on my way to lessons or practice or camp. Hearing the happy chatter of women post-swim in this communal, safe environment. Some in their suits, but many not, I think it was seeing so many of you pragmatically going about your exercise, then showering and dressing for the day, that encouraged me to be comfortable in my body.

I will always appreciate the freedom of being able to change without judgement, next to the much younger and much older women. Of course, there are the exceptions who favour modesty…but…I think it’s something special to a women’s pool change room that doesn’t translate to every other gym or fitness locker room. I’m so grateful to have been surrounded by the many shapes and sizes, some hairy, some dangly, all human. The women who swim.


I also love our shared ability to change entirely without showing an ounce of skin — if we so choose. At the peak of my competitive days I could strip into or out of a my swimsuit in a minute flat, somehow without removing any other item of clothing. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

In my teenage years I watched from the deck as you swam laps after the children had finished their lessons, or pre-dawn before the school bells started to ring. So many of you so consistent in your routine, I could predict your arrival, your strokes, and your departure down to the minute.

When I first started teaching Aquafit, I overheard a few of you complaining that I wasn’t as good as the usual instructor (the woman who had been teaching for a decade or two). You didn’t see me cry for a minute as I retrieved the pool noodles and flotation belts for that workout but I took your words to heart. I was only 16 or 17 and, after all, I had bounced with you so many days of the week as a participant in the class. As I invested my weekends in the training course, I was excited to share some new moves for targeting different muscle groups. I had been writing down every action with acute attention to detail — pairing moves with songs to the  precise measure so that each swivel or step matched the accompanying music. So many of you gave me good feedback those beginning weeks though. I try to hold onto that…but, like so many instances of criticism, it pulls me immediately back to that moment of feeling inadequate and undeserving.

I’m glad I now enjoy my time in the pool as only a participant — whether it be in an aquafit class or just swimming lengths. I can take in the comfort of the (usually over) chlorinated water and not have to worry about keeping everyone else happy or challenged or safe. It’s just time for me. Just time for fun.

I love to hear you discussing the days when you were devoted to training or just practicing your flip turns. I was delighted to watch your eye-rolls when you informed me that the sauna is “co-ed.” (Can you imagine?)

I can’t wait to spend another few dozens of years swimming in your company.





A Love Letter to Podcamp Halifax

Dear Podcamp,

It has been so many Januaries now, that I’ve come to anticipate your glowing presence. Although I was unable to attend the 2018 iteration, I am hoping that my attendance and volunteering this year will more than compensate.

I have been attending Podcamp since its inception; each year another opportunity to build community virtually and face-to-face with so many bright and brilliant individuals working across the digital landscape.

The first year I attended Podcamp (and its first year being held in Halifax), I had lived in Nova Scotia for only two short months. I was working for Symphony Nova Scotia who had tasked me with “figuring out Twitter” and so I thought it a good opportunity to learn a little more about social media and marketing opportunities.

I didn’t know anyone, nor did I know the city. I sat awkwardly alone in the hallway of Alderney Landing during lunch — unsure about where to venture in search for food and too shy to introduce myself to anyone. But, I had been captivated and learned enough to feel compelled to return for a second year.

In year two, I invited someone I only knew through blogging and Twitter. This time she was the newcomer to town — having only moved to NS herself that summer. It was the first time I bridged the virtual-IRL divide and what a pay off that leap had for me. Not only do I still consider her a friend, but she introduced me to another with whom I’ve been able to connect in profoundly important, personal ways. My community was growing richer still.

Over the next few years I came to anticipate Podcamp with a vigour nearing that of Christmas morning. As I bounded from session to session, I unabashedly exclaimed “hey! I follow you on Twitter!” as a truly under-appreciated but highly-effective ice breaker.

On one occasion I saw a cluster of attendees from my workplace. There were individuals from a few different departments, including a faculty member or two and a couple of students. (I guess I missed the memo.) They were clearly there for business purposes. Admittedly, I did receive the requisite nod of recognition and a “hello” but there was no invitation to join the cohort.

I didn’t belong with them. I didn’t belong with them but it was okay because I did belong at Podcamp. Podcamp is for everyone.

Now when I attend Podcamp I recognize so many faces from online interactions and real-life friendships. Beyond that, I feel the kinship with even those whom I don’t recognize because I know we share a passion for something that is an integral part of Podcamp. It extends beyond a love for social media and online business and into a real bringing together those who seek to make connections and actively participate in Community.

I try to emulate this intangible magic in other aspects of my online work (like through hosting BlogJam for bloggers of Atlantic Canada), but know that you, Podcamp, are the impetus for it all. Through the noise of the new and shiny and promises of something “we’ve never had before,” we have you.

Thank you to the Podcamp Halifax organizers for their steadfast devotion to building this event. Your efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I know that there’s someone attending who was in my shoes that first year. So, thank you for creating and nurturing a space for that person to belong.

See you soon, #PodcampHFX