First intent to swim beach of the year!

We had our first beach with intent to swim adventure this weekend.

I specify because I like just going on field trips to walk around the beach or explore areas near beaches all the time.

It was still pretty post-tropical stormy, but it was hot out, so we figured the waves would be epic and the beach might not be crowded.

Problem was, we failed to factor in that ocean windy is different even compared to the harbour windy we live every day.

We also forgot that it is still really early in beach season in these parts and that tropical storm/hurricane just passing through would mean cold water.

We got to the beach and the sign read that the air temperature was 16 and the water temperature was 13.  

But, I am stubborn and Patrick is insistent.  We drove an hour.  I put on my bathing suit already.  We are going swimming!

Child and D dug a giant hole in the beach.  They weren’t as hearty stupid as we were.

You kind of felt this searing pain followed by numbness as you entered the water.  It was the kind of cold that made you think you might actually have a heart attack and die.  It was the kind of cold that numbed my still sore-ish toe enough that I couldn’t feel it even when I knew I landed on it wrong jumping in a wave.

The waves were awesome, though.  And there were no jellyfish (probably because the rough waters were murdering them all offshore.  

We might have only stayed in for under 20 minutes.  We might have had to change right after to try to get warm.  But we swam.  And that was awesome (so was Child and D’s hole.  It was as long as Child’s leg.).  Other bonus was that I didn’t get much of a sunburn because I didn’t stay in the water longer than the lifespan of my SPF fifty million and two.  Last bonus was that I got to read some of my current fun book.

I love the beach.  And I love summer weekends where I don’t work (even if I had to spend the rest of my night on clinic prep and reading).

My Olympic Sport

The Olympics start today.  I know tons of people are thrilled.

I too find the whole thing rather exciting.  I mean, it must be cool to be so athletically abled that you can run or jump or swim or do something to an international competitive level.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an olympic swimmer.  I could swim.  I was good, for a kid.  And that was my dream.  I am pretty sure every kid had some sort of dream like that.

But, as it turned out, I developed other interests.  And I lack athletic ability (I may or may not have broken a finger once rolling a basketball on the floor).

They say, those who can’t play coach.  I can’t play, but I am a fair spectator… So long as I find the sport interesting.

My strengths lie in other areas… Some of the more, well, geeky ones.  Like music.  Or trivia type stuff.  Only certain types of trivia.  Because I don’t remember things that aren’t important to me… Like movie stars or geography.

I remember in high school, we had a stellar Reach For the Top team.  Like  they made national finals kind of good.  I wasn’t on it.  I wasn’t interested.  I have a poor reaction time and wasn’t really all about that sort of thing.  And again, I am very selective in what I remember.  But, they were like the brain athletes of high school.  Pretty cool (now… not so much then).

Today, we had Paraneoplastic Syndrome Jeopardy as a part of resident clinical rounds.  A paraneoplastic syndrome is a condition that people develop as a result of something your body produces against a tumor or something the tumor itself makes.  It is pretty physiologically cool.  Not so much cool for people’s health.  Anyway, we are generally weak in these sorts of things, as there are tons and they can be pretty obscure.  So, the resident presenting today thought it might be fun to do a Jeopardy style learning activity complete with prizes for the top three competitors.

It was a low turnout for rounds today with vacation and such.  The crowd consisted of myself and another resident, a med student, they physics resident and three attendings.

The person running the game took it very seriously.  She made us call her “Alexa Trebeck” and required us to all have our own buzzer noises (I must say, I was the only on who used it consistently) and phrase our answers in the form of a question.  We were all terrible at using the form of a question for our responses.  She almost beheaded us all.

Somehow, I won.  And thus, I got to pick a prize.  I chose a pack of three water guns from the dollar store.  What I will do with them, I am not sure.  The department head came in second.  The 5th year resident came in third.  They won a Frisbee and a Velcro glove and ball set, respectively.

This is my Olympics.  Something I care about enough to try at and win a cool prize.  Sure it is all in fun and nobody really cares, but that is as close to real competitive sport as I seem to get (that and throwing balls or Frisbees with friends… And again, that gets dangerous when I am around).

But, on a more Olympic related note, I love watching everything swimming because I still love it best even after all these years.  Close head runners also include diving and synchronized swimming (suspiciously similar) and gymnastics (I always wanted to try them… At least when I was little, but I wasn’t allowed to because I dislocated so easily).  Just in case you wanted to know.

Starting Summer

Yesterday was the first day of summer.  I know, you know… Everyone knew.  I actually wandered around oblivious to that fact for at least half of the day.  That is what happens when your routine has been obliterated… You lose track of time.

Patrick and I decided to hit the beach to commemorate the first day of summer.  Okay, not really.  It was hot out and we decided we wanted to go swimming.  And then, on the way to the beach, we realized it was the first day of summer, so it seemed more appropriate.

We decided to go the beach that Patrick frequented as a child.  It is a bit out of town and is located at a campground where his grandparents once trailered.  The place has a lot of sentimental value and memories for Patrick.  For me, it was just my second time being there, so it was more of an adventure.

We get to take a ferry to the beach.  We clocked the speed of the ferry using out GPS because we are super cool like that… In case you wanted to know, the ferry peaked out at 13km/h.  So, there you go.  Random fact of the day.

Apparently, we have been told that people have been swimming  around here since May because it has been so unseasonably warm.  Patrick’s Grandfather thought we were pretty nuts for braving the water yesterday.  I think I agree.

Realistically, June swimming in lakes and rivers and the ocean doesn’t often happen.  More realistically, June swimming is cold.  Not that water around here ever gets particularly warm.  While crossing on the ferry, we noted the water looked cold.  And in case there was any doubt, it was. 

At a park in Ontario, there is a place where you can swim in a pool that is separated from the polar bear exhibit by one thick layer of glass. The water is of a similar temperature to that in the polar bear pool. Now, that is a cold swim. Image via

When I was a kid, I was fearless and would jump into the water regardless of temperature.  I have wimped out in my old age.  Unless there is somewhere where I can jump into water over my head and thereby forcibly submerge myself against my better judgment, I whine and wade in very slowly.  Patrick somehow manages to still be capable of running into the river.  I wish I could, but my evolutionary not dying impulse kicks in and I try to do everything possible to avoid hypothermia.  A little dramatic?  Yes.  But, my body doesn’t think so.

As a result, it took me quite some time to be fully submerged.  Patrick was very well behaved and respected my neuroticism, at least for the first 5 or 10 minutes.  Then, at my request, he human cannonballed me into the water because, as you may or may not know, you haven’t really gone swimming until you get your hair wet.  

The beauty of early summer swimming is not the near hypothermia.  It is that the beach is not crowded.  I value my personal space.  Okay, I covet my personal space.  So, crowded beaches are not my scene.  We were there with just a few other young families and gaggle of teenagers (who were jumping off the pier a safe distance away).  Much better than it will be in August when the water is only a degree or two warmer.

Image via

After swimming (and obsessively reapplying my sunscreen), we laid on the beach… I read, Patrick vegetated.  After about an hour or so, we were brushing the sand off our feet to head out when Patrick felt something rubbery under his toes.  He assumed it was some seaweed or what have you.  But it was black and round and moving.  We both stared at the creature for a few moments before we realized what it was… A leech. I have never seen a real leech before.  It was slightly smaller than I pictured and kind of squirmy and had just had a lovely meal of my husband’s blood.  Given that leeches are not shelled, it didn’t creep me out as if we had found an earwig or something, but I wasn’t quite sure how to react either.  Patrick did… He picked it up with a rock and redeposited it in the water.  Because the creature didn’t deserve to die.  How sweet.  He then checked his entire body for additional leeches.  There were none.

It was an interesting ring-in to summer.  The sun, the beach, the near freezing, the leech.  Hopefully a partial sign of things to come.  But, without the leeches.  Because that was just creepy.  Super creepy.