Let’s Swim!

This return of warmer weather has me thinking about swimming – dipping my feet in a lake,* seeking out a pool. I’m still feeling cautious about being in proximity to people, even as pandemic precautions wane, which means that while I scope out swimming spots I’m also finding books to satisfy my urge.

Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey by Roger Deakin
Originally published in Britain in 1999 and now being published for the first time in the US, Waterlog is Deakin’s thoughtful reflection on swimming in wild places. Inspired by John Cheever’s story “The Swimmer,” Deakin began with a dip in the moat behind his farmhouse, and then conceived of a plan to swim the waterways of Britain, pristine and polluted alike. Swimming in seas, springs, rivers and ponds, he reflects on the history and geography of the waterways he visits, and on the general responsibility of environmental stewardship and maintenance of natural places that are open to all. Deakin’s work launched an international “wild swimming” movement; it’s good to see it published on our shores. (For a fantastic, in-depth review, check out Anelise Chen’s story in The Atlantic).

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New Year Resolutions: Exercise in the Time of Covid

Coming to you from the cyberpunk dystopia that will not end, a series of New Year’s Resolution-themed posts, because the only way out is through.

My fellow apocalypse-sters, you and I both know the importance of exercise. It keeps your meat sack in working condition, helps you sleep better, gives you energy, and can even boost your mood, which we all need these days, so desperately.

Remember when we used to go walking at the mall with friends? Or logging an hour on the elliptical at Planet Fitness? When we could learn Tai Chi in the park? Or maybe you’re like me and never did any of that?? Because exercise is hard to make yourself do under the best of circumstances and these are not even mildly okay circumstances. I don’t know about you, but my body is trying to become one with my couch these days, so I’m willing to try something.

If you, like myself, have hit rock bottom fitness-wise, you’ll be glad to know that SPL has a lot of online exercise videos through Kanopy, Hoopla, and the lesser known Access Video. Exercise videos are great – you just follow whatever the people on your screen are doing until you collapse into a sweaty heap, zero brain work involved. You can do Pilates Essentials, Bollywood Burn, or Dance and Be Fit. Find out what Jeanette is blasting next, may her body rest in pieces. You could even transform your entire actual life with yoga, according to Dashama Konah Gordon. This last one isn’t exactly an exercise video, but I couldn’t sleep at night unless I shared this Super Swordfighting Series for how to do cool movie sword fights. I think that would transform my life. Continue reading “New Year Resolutions: Exercise in the Time of Covid”

Animal Crossing in Real Life

So, I hear you spent a lot of time at home during the quarantine. Same here – I was getting out, though, here and there. Chatting with neighbors, planting flowers, even travelling via plane – all from the comfort of my own home!

Like the vast majority of Nintendo Switch owners, I’ve been playing Animal Crossing New Horizons since it released back on March 20th. While I can say without a doubt that no one is enjoying living through a pandemic, finding little social loopholes like Animal Crossing has made it a little more bearable. For those who aren’t familiar, Animal Crossing is a franchise started by Nintendo in 2001. Since then, the franchise has had 4 additional main titles, 3 spin offs, and even an animated movie. Much like The Sims, Animal Crossing is considered to be a “social simulation” game. However, unlike The Sims, you and the friends you may be playing with in the game are the only humans. All the non player characters are anthropomorphic animals.

Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing. Photo courtesy of Jaz W.

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Iditarod 2020: This Mush Is True

Since 1973, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, has united mushers, dogs, and spectators for a 938 mile run from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. This can take anywhere from 8 days to over 15! I’ve heard of the Iditarod, but it wasn’t until my husband started following Blair Braverman on Twitter a few years back that I really started getting into it. I read her book and started looking into other female mushers like Aly Zirkle and the Berington twins, Anna and Kristy. And the dogs – they have this amazing way of making you feel so happy and alive and grateful. They are pure energy and joy!

Photo credit: Braver Mountain Mushing

Below are a few books in our collection by female mushers! Continue reading “Iditarod 2020: This Mush Is True”

For the Love of Winter

Winter has always been the time for me to slow down, to cuddle up, to pause and recharge, especially after the holidays. But that slowing down doesn’t stop me from enjoying the season.

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Winterlust: Finding Beauty in the Fiercest Season by Bernd Brunner. In winter I’m not hiding out until the sun comes back–if anything I’m more present and taking full advantage of the season. This book offers essays on the meditative quality of winter and all that it has to offer us, such as the magic of snow and the activities it provides, as well as it’s ability to turn us back into children again. Winter is also the season of comfort, along the lines of the popular hygge movement of warmth and contentment. As you embrace the season, that in turn slows you down to be here and now–instead of the go, go, go. Continue reading “For the Love of Winter”