Sunday, April 30, 2006

Winds of Change

Around this time, if you live in a university town, everything starts changing. People are going home for the summer, some people are graduating and leaving permanently and still others are are swaying in the balance between going home and being stuck for summer courses. For example, Ashley is moving into a new house as I write this and the guys in the second half of our house moved out for good yesterday. (We get new house mates tomorrow).
When you walk down the streets, whether they are quiet residental streets with expansive lawns, or busier main drags with tall apartments and concrete drives, there is unwanted, used furniture lining the sidewalks. Old couches, not-so-gently loved chairs, kitchen tables and bed frames huddle together in hopes of someone rescuing them from their impending doom. It's interesting to walk by and scan the jumbles of belongings-they seem to tell a story of a life they had lived with very interesting people. My roommates and I aren't moving out any time soon, but I wonder what our couch would say if it could talk? Would people see the rip in the cushion and chalk it up to drunken Tom-foolery by university students, or will they know it was from 2 cats and 1 dog using it as their trampalene?
It's not just the appearance of the town that changes too. The flow of traffic seems to slow down and I am positive there are less vehicles on the roads. The university campus is quiet and peaceful-you can actually find somewhere to sit outside on the picnic tables, or in the concourse-which is the hub of activity during the school year. People are just more at ease, regardless if they are taking courses or not. They're just happier. Maybe it's the good weather, or maybe it's just more friendly because there are less people and you can get to know them better.
In a way it's kind of sad, watching everyone packing up and moving on. It means another yearis over and I'm one step closer to leaving this place. On the other hand, it's a happy time because it's the start of new adventures that you will get to laugh and talk about when everyone gets back together in the fall.

Word Varifications and Spammers

If anyone has left me a "comment" they will have noticed that I don't have my "word varification image" option tunred on. There is a reason for this. Unfortunately, spammers have noticed as well. I can't turn the word varification image on because it is not compatible with my computer screen reader software-this allows spammers to leave whatever they want. Kind of annoying. Also, if someone has protected themselves against spammers by turning their word varification thingy on, I can't leave them a "comment." I can read what they have said and what others have said, but I can't read the image and thus can't type it in. There has got to be some other way that I can keep spammers out and be able to use my own blog. The only problem is, I am completely and utterly helpless when it comes to computers. I hate them, they hate's a great relationship. :) And for those of you with word varification turned on, I may have visited you, I just couldn't say anything! lol Anyway, if anyone has any brilliant ideas, please let me know. And for the spammers, if you even read this, please leave me alone! lol

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thursday 13 Number 3

Top 13 sweetest things someone has ever done for me-these are in no specific order.
1. bought me 6 roses for my efforts at a rough swim competition,
2. filled a container full of my favourite skittles and plopped a stuffed yellow lab puppy in it, and gave it to me for no reason (skittles are one of my favourite treats)
3. give me random hugs when I look like I need one, (thanks Ashley)
4. tucked me in when i was sick (moms are great aren't they)?
5. sent me the lyrics to a song that had sentimental value (they were a kind of pick-me-up, and a way for me to know that this person still cared)
6. looked after Jetta when I was too sick to get out of bed (my roommates even took her to classes with them so she didn't get too bored)!
7. went to a carnival with me and didn't make fun of me when i screamed the whole way down on the scariest ride ever (he even won me a stuffed puppy)
8. came to the hospital with me and stayed the whole night in those awful uncomfortable hospital chairs, when I had a concussion
9. built me a birthday cake out of my favourite cinnamon coffee cakes because I hate cake (there were even candles perched within the jumbled pyramid of sweetness)
10. bought me a Tinkerbell calendar as a "good job" present for a singing performance I did last semester (never mind, just coming was enough)
11. wrote me a poem (a love poem, need I say more)?
12. played "our" song and danced to it in his living room
13. ran track and field with me as my guide runner even though everyone gave him hell because it would take away from his races
There are so many more things that people have done for me-listen to me when I need to vent, made me food after practice when I am a ravaging beast that needs to eat, kept me company when I was recently sick and needed someone to be there, symbollically adopted me a tiger from WWF, or gave me 3 dozen of my favourite flowers (orchids) for my birthday-the list could go on and on. It's amazing the things that stay with you and how a small act of kindness can brighten your day just that little bit I sound like a Hallmark card-I think I'll stop now. :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Growing Up In Northern Ontario

I was reading a fellow blogger's blog this morning and her debate about muffins and cupcakes inspired me to write about my experience growing up in Northern Ontario. I told her about smore cupcakes that I ate the other night and that reminded me of camping as a kid. My parents were also out camping this past weekend-at a spot that we always went to when I was growing up, so I guess it's appropriate that I write about that specific area. (It is impossible to write about every camping spot we ever used, but this particular one is a sentimental spot for me).
Every spring the rainbow trout run up this particular waterfalls to spawn. During this time it's legal to fish them and so my family has been going up there to fish these trout for as long as I can remember. We usually go up for a few weekends in a row-hooking up the trailer or the overhead onto the truck and drive the 2 hours out into the midddle of nowhere. We set up camp by the river that feeds the falls and usually cook supper using the combination of the stove in the camper and the fire. The weekend consists of early mornings, where it's still cool enough to see your breath. The dew usually hangs in thick wet strands and it washes your face when you walk through the thick underbrush to the falls. We cross a few creeks and squish through a few mud holes. The mud is clay, so it is thick and sticks to your rubber boots. When I was little, I often got stuck because I was not strong enough to loosen the grip the mud had on my bright red rain boots. You can hear the falls in the distance-kind of a soft rushing sound, but as you get closer the roar becomes so loud that you have to shout to each other. The water is usually high at this time of year because of the run-off the snow has provided and thus it is very cold. You can feel the temperature change as you get closer. There's this crooked, scary as hell bridge that you walk across. It spans a little canyon and has no railings. It's just wide enough for one person and I used to think that it would give out and i would go plummetting to the tree scattered, rock jumbled ground below. The smells are phenomenal. They are so clear here with no interference from city life. You can smell the cool water, cedar and pine trees, damp earth and mosses-it's heavenly. I usually planted myself on a little ridge above the rushing water, where I would sit and enjoy the sounds of the people and birds around me. Around lunch time I would clamber down the rocks to where my parents and the other dults were fishing and sit on a rock eating my lunch, soaking in the sun. By noon, the chill would be out of the air and you would have to start peeling your layers of clothes off because it was too hot. At that time, I had a giant yellow lab and he and I would play fetch for hours, while my parents fished. Tenie, who was just as small as me back then, would often come along and we'd break out our Barbies or go trudging through the bush-trying to find as many different kinds of plants as possible, or cool new hiding places. One year we made a fallen log covered in mosses our spot for the weekend.
At night, we'd sit by the campfire, listening to it crackle and the river gurgle by. You could hear owls, crickets, a moose tramping through the underbrush and once we heard a wolf howling. It was beautiful and erie all at the same time. We'd roast marsh mellows or hot dogs. We'd cut little slits into the ends of the hot dog, perch it perfectly balanced on a stick and cook it until the slits curled up-making spiders' legs. We'd smash the warm sticky marsh mellow in the middle of graham crakcers with chocolate chips. The chocolate would melt and we'd have smores. We'd help tie spawn bags (thin mesh tied into a little package of fish eggs), dig in mud holes, fish in the river with nets pretending we were great anglers, drag dead branches back for the fire as if it were gold and we had just saved us from being cold all night, and whatever else our imaginations could come up with.
There was a group of men who came up fishing every year from West Virginia and we'd have fish fries with them and spend the night playing in their rented cabin while my parents and grandpa drank and bullshitted. They'd play cards, we'd climb trees, they cleaned fish, we found pretty rocks by the river to collect, they fished, we explored they collected campfire wood, we begged for more and longer four-wheeler rides-it wasn't glamourous by no means. We'd wear sweat pants, flannel jackets for warmth at night, rubber boots and tons of bug spray and sunscreen. :) But it was one of the happiest times of the year for me- blackflies, stinky fish treacherous bridge, giant hill that even the dog took a break at the top of, included.

Monday, April 24, 2006

To Bike or not to bike, that is the question

So, I've been thinking lately that I should join the Waterloo cycling club. It would be something different to do and it would be social. The only problem is that it might conflict with swimming a bit because of the times. Also, I would have to find someone willing to ride my tandem bike with me. Well, either way, I know a few people who are involved and maybe if I ask them more questions I can get a better idea of whether it would be beneficial or not...then again, maybe I'll get horseback riding lessons for the summer. :) I can't decide.

Life's Possibilities: Fragments From Jess's Busy Mind

I should be sleeping: I have swim practice tomorrow morning and I have to wake up at 5 A.M., but for some reason I just can't sleep. My brain is running in circles-more like twisty loops that inter-connect then drift in tangled patterns away from one another. I should be relieved, exams are over. I am free for the next little while-well, at least until summer school starts. I've talked about my "itchy feet" before and I am not sure if I am experiencing this phenomenon, or if I just need a break from Waterloo. But, I feel trapped-like I am living in a concrete cage. I can feel the sky, I know it's there, but the sea of pavement just keeps going in an endless, perfectly smooth sheet. It feels like the sun is blocked out by buildings;massive walls keeping me down. I feel like a bird who has had their wings clipped-a shell of a body that is breathing, talking, eating and sleeping, but not feeling. Just going through the motions-slipping silently by unnoticed. Well, noticed as a body, a body walking with a guide dog, but not a person, not a girl. A girl who wishes, hopes and inspires to do something monumental with her life. A girl with brown hair and green eyes, a big smile and a free spirit. A girl of many quirks and many dreams. A girl who feels like she is screaming and the words are falling out of her mouth and splatting on the pavement in front of her, soundlessly. I know I'm young, but I had so many plans for me by the time I was this age. I should have been graduating from university this year and headed off to massage college; I should have broke a world record by now. I want to go home. I want to go somewhere I can breathe fresh air, hear the birds sing, the insects buz, the water lapping on the sand. Feel the sun on my skin, smell campfire smoke, lay on my back in the grass and let its sweetness wash over me. I want to wake up every morning and have someone to hug, to walk outside in bare feet and let the coolness of the morning dew soak through my bones. The possibilities of this world are so beautiful. Why do people rush through it and force you along with them? Why can't they just let me be who I am? Why do people paint over the flaws of nature with their brushes of perfection in order to make themselves feel better? Why don't people smile more? Hug more? Dance more? Laugh more? Why are people afraid to love,? Why do we feel the need to squash others in order to make ourselves feel better? Why do we shut the people out that we care about the most? Our lives are much too short, we should enjoy them and we should help others around us enjoy theirs too. Why is there so much hate? Slow down, breathe the air, taste the coffee you drink, smell the supper you or your partner has cooked, feel the rain on your face, hear your friends laugh-just live and appreciate life for what it is. And yet, why is it not this simple? Why are there people who sweep you up and shove you along in front of them at a break neck speed, wrecklessly stuffing you and your feelings into little boxes, little boxes that they assume you fit. Why can't we all be a little less agressive and a little more loving, compassionate and considerate? Why can't we all start loving ourselves instead of thirsting for more money, clothes, fancier cell phones, bigger houses, cars...why can't we just love more?

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Lion, The Witch and The Bathtub?

All right so it was a dog, 3 bitches and a bathtub, but let's not get too technical.
Wednesday night we went over to the cafeteria to eat again. Everyone had exams on Thursday and we were too swamped and fried to cook anything. Ashley came with us and we all settled down at a lovely picnic table in the shade of some very large pine trees. The meal went well, we chatted about our upcoming exams and whatever else crossed our minds. When we were finished Christena and Ashley decided they wanted ice cream, so Carmen and I told them we'd meet them back at the house where we would all engage in some heavy duty studying. But as Medley stood up, Tenie and Carmen realized that there was something very wrong with his fur-he had laid in a giant pile of pine sap. His whole haunch was covered in the sticky goop, and, as we discovered when we got home, so was his poor little member. They pulled the big chunks off of his leg and they went and got ice cream. Upon arriving at our house, the ice cream was stored in the freezer and the dog comb, shampoo and butter were all taken out and Tenie set to work. I found an old towel and some hair dryers and set them up in the bathroom. Ashley sat on the floor with Tenie and Medley, trying to keep him from squirming too much. Tenie picked as much as the sap out of his fur as possible with the comb and then started rubbing the butter in. (An old trick you learn from living in northern Ontario). Unfortunately for her, she also had to rub the butter on Medley's "wee." She was quite mortified and kept exclaiming, "I have never done this before!" I found Ashley some of my old clothes that I didn't mind getting wet, or furry-an old giant T shirt that looked like a dress on her, and a pair of shorts that disappeared under the shirt. I nearly bust a gut. After the application of the butter was complete, we coaxed Medley into the bathroom where I lifted him into the tub. It's an old-fashioned tub with the claw feet on the bottom, so the sides were nice and high. Ashley blocked his head so he didn't get any ideas of escape and Tenie began hosing him down. (Thank God our shower head comes off). After she hosed his back end, I took the shower head from her and began watering down the front of him. Tenie rubbed huge dallops of shampoo into his fur and the butter wahsed out cleanly, taking the pine sap with it. (Yes, his "wee" was freed from its sticky imprisonment). We hadn't planned on giving him a complete bath, but Ashley figured we were already half way there, why not finish the job? While Tenie was leaning over him, Medley got the bright idea to "shake" and soaked her. I was in the kitchen at that time and heard slapping of ears and high pitched screaming-she was very wet and furry after that.
Medley was towelled off and I got the honour of taking him outside onto the back dec to get him to "shake." Christena instructed Ashley to hand over the leash and I would manage him outside. We, me and Ashley that is, were both confused as to why, but I just thought it was because he was huge and I could keep him from shaking all over the kitchen on our journey out the back door. Ashley figured it was because Christena didn't think she knew where the door was. We were both wrong. In fact, Christena thought Ashley was not wearing any pants because the T shirt hid the shorts. Ashley came outside anyway and danced around the deck trying to get Medley to shake. I am sure the neighbours were concerned. Here's a pantless girl dancing around singing in a very high voice "shake, shake Medley shake." Medley shook a few times and we got him back inside where he underwent some serious blow drying. He wasn't impressed, but it had to be done. (So, you probably know who the three bitches are and the bathtub, what about the lion)? Whenever Medley has just been bathed the Bermese in him makes him all fluffy and the fur around his face stands up like a mane. So, I call him my "lion face." And there you have it, our version of "The Lion, The Witch and The Bathtub." Moral of the story, make sure your dog, whether it is a guide dog or not, is not lying in pine sap. Oh and of course, make sure your friends are wearing pants.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two romps in the park, 2 exams and way too much good cooking by my parents later...

Easter weekend was very good. My parents got here Friday night and basically fed me for the next three days. :) This is very good in my books, since all I pretty much do is eat. Jetta was bugging me Friday morning when I was studying and I had no idea why. She was dancing around and laying her chin on my leg and staring at me. I had taken her out a million times and could not think of what she wanted. Christena had just woke up and said to me, "Maybe she wants to go for a walk." Well, that was it. The dog's entire body began to wag and she raised her eyebrows at me as if to say, "come on! She's on the ball, how come you aren't?" So, I threw on some clothes-since I was still in my PJ's for study purposes-and Jetta and I headed out. I let her pick the route we walked and, surprise surprise, she took me to the park. I called Tenie on my cell and told her to come for a picnic. Jetta and i played while we waited for Christena and Carmen to arrive. It was pretty refreshing to just sit there and listen to the birds singing and people laughing as they walked by. (My ass did get soaked since it had rained the day before,but it didn't really bother me. I was enjoying myself too much). Jetta sprawled in the grass with a stick and chewed while watching everything around her. The girls arrived and we had a fantastic lunch and then wandered around the park. We headed to their little zoo thingy and saw some very strange animals, such as peahens (very cranky) and miniature goats. I also met my very first Newfoundland dog. He was massive and beautiful! I never realized how big those dogs can get!
Saturday, Christena my mom and, oh and Jetta of course, headed to one of our main drags and checked out the little stores along the way. We found a little place that makes Italian ice cream and we just had to stop. (I must admit we have been back since). We ate outside and got to meet these very fluffy easter bunnies handing out chocolate eggs. One bunny handed me eggs and somehow one managed to drop out of his/her giant furry hand-or sorry paw-and Jetta was on it before we had even known it had fallen. I grabbed her upper snout and my mom shoved her hand in to rescue the very slobbery, but uninjured chocolate egg. The bunnies felt bad, but we just laughed. Oh Jetta.
Sunday, we just ate a lot and my parents and I went to see Ice Age 2: The melt Down. Very funny. I think it is a must see, as long as you have seen the first.
Yesterday I had a crazy practice that I finished and thought I couldn't. I felt so good afterward. It's a feeling that is hard to explain. Anyway, my parents and i went for breakfast before they left and then I headed home for a nap. When I woke up, Christena, Carmen, Jetta and I went for a walk back to that lovely ice cream place and then stopped in at the drug store for necessities, such as lip gloss, and wandered back home. (Oh, and a quick stop at the Stag Shop). After a mishmash dinner of leftovers, we all settled down to more studying, but couldn't seem to concentrate. The good weather was getting to all of us-including Jetta. So, we phoned up Ashley, made a stop at Timmy's (Tim Horton's) and marched our asses over to the park. We visited the animals again and then parked ourselves on the swings while the dogs ran around. Medley kept Jetta in check and she didn't dash off too far. We also showed Ashley how to spider someone on a swing. She had never seen it before, so Christena and i demonstrated first and then Ashley and I did it so she could see what it was like. Tenie helped stuff her onto the swing and get her legs into the right spot. I was laughing so hard I nearly fell off backwards. Speaking of falling off backwards...I managed to find myself on my tush in the sand. I was trying to demonstrate the way I used to lie back on a swing, my feet in the air wrapped around the chains, but my jacket was too slippery and instead of stopping where I should have, I just sort of kept sliding through. How embarrassing. :d Once our rears were sore from sitting the swings and we had begun to get chilled, we headed back to our house-Ashley too since it is her second home-andwe finished the night off with a very educational chat about blind people and vibrators...actually it was about sexuality, religion and disability and sexual experience. It was quite interesting. I may elaborate later, but then again maybe not. It was kind of private thoughts that should stay between the "bitches."
Anyway, I have two more exams to write and we're heading over to the cafeteria to get supper. (Something we don't do very often). And I think I have written enough of a novel for now.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Random Stuff

My parents are coming for the Easter weekend today. I am pretty excited. I haven't seen them since reading week in February, so it'll be nice. I got up this morning and put a roast in the crockpot so that we can have a half decent supper when they get here. Actually, I shouldn't say that, my roommates and I eat pretty healthily. We have to because of my swimming. If we didn't, I'd pass out and waste away to nothing in practice.
Christena did a mad cleaning of the main house yesterday while I was studying for my bio exam. My room is a disaster though, so I will have to tackle that before they get here. They don't expect things to be spotless, but I would like things to be presentable. I think Jetta will be happy to see them. She always gets soooooo excited and pouts when they leave. The cats have only met them once, but Loki took a liking to my dad, even though my dad does not like cats, and Sisu attached herself to my mom. Ashley and I were going to take Jetta and Medley to the local shelter's Easter egg hunt for the dogs tomorrow, but she went home so that won't be happening. I don't think I want to go by myself. It would be more fun with more than one dog. It is a fundraiser for the shelter. It was kind of a cute idea.
Our friend, Jeevan, who is currently in Australia working, phoned yesterday morning as I was heading out the door to the massage therapist's. I only got to talk to her for about 10 minutes, but it was great to talk to her. Ch4ristena and Jeevan talked for about an hour and a half! I don't want to see that phone bill. I think I would like to go somewhere abroad to work for six months or a year; kind of the way she is. It would be interesting. Ever since I started travelling with swimming, I have gotten "itchy feet" and can't seem to stay still. I love it so much! Hopefully I'll be able to do more of it in the future. This year has been a little dry for travelling to exciting places. :) Although, even if we go to a new city in Ontario I have a fun time exploring their little restaurants and such things. So, I guess things can become exciting if you know how to make them that way.
My biology prof emailed me my mark this morning and I was absolutely shocked and thrilled at the results. I got an A- isn't that exciting?! I should have no problems getting into massage therapy school with a mark like that. *breaths sigh of relief* I have three more exams to go. For some reason my exam schedule is really late. I don't end up finishing until the 22-yes, an exam on a Satturday, how evil-and that is really late. Well, I better get going. I need a shower and then I must rustle up some lunch.
Have a great Easter...or whatever you do this weekend just enjoy the time off.:)

Better Late Than Never

Ok, so my Thursday 13 is going up late, but I had a biology exam today and so I haven't been able to do it until now. So here it is!

Top 13 Strangest Things Our Animals Do
1. Sisu: Almost every time the toilet is flushed, runs helter-skelter into the bathroom to lean her paws over the porcelain bole to watch the water swirl to its doom.
2.Loki: continually devising ways to convince people he has not been fed. (Ex. rubbing against legs purring happily while running back and forth between human and food bole; human peers in; bole is full because different human filled it not even five minutes ago.). Nice try!
3. Sisu: perches herself comfortably in your lap and busies herself sucking on-can you believe it?-yes, her own nipple! (Usually results in her falling asleep in your arms).
4. Loki: is convinced he is a gymnast (lays stretched to his full length in unsuspecting victim's lap; flops on to his back; and hangs his head so far over their legs they must save his life). You would think he'd learn after the many times that people have retrieved him from his flight of disaster.
5. Sisu: feels it necessary to examine human's hole that is eminating high loud sound; also known as me singing. (often when i am singing she will weave around my legs, climb one leg, or at least attempt to and then press her mouth against mine). Weird!
We've talked about the cats, so what about the dog you ask?
6. Jetta: engages in self-gratification, or pillow dominance, whatever you want to call it. Either way, she balls her bed, blanket and pillow (only one certain pillow), together and humps it every night after her supper. Should I be concerned?
7. Loki: well..he just, barks He also yawn meows. (It's not his fault, really it's not. He had an infection in his nasal cavity as a baby...long before we adopted him). He still needs meowing lessons. Any takers?
8. Jetta: should have been a paramedic (When human is sleeping and Jetta is not, she must stuff her nose in human's face and stamp violently on human until some kind of noise comes out. "Are you alive?"). The best part is, once she's made you get up, she goes back to bed. How is that fair?
9. Loki: sits on Carmen's banister, which is above a twisting, steep staircase, and bats at his tail through his legs. (I think he has a death wish).
10. Jetta: hates water! Will not walk through puddles, go swimming...a lab who hates water! Need I say more?
11. Sisu: thinks it is very important to sit on sleeping humans' chest and meow loudly in their faces (Hmm, could she be taking a cue from her big sister Jetta)?
12. Jetta: Refuses to show humans any kind of affection unless they are asleep and unsuspecting (She often lies curled up against my back when I am sleeping, but if I am awake she will be in a different room or across the room). Do I smell?
13. Sisu and Loki: Can we say tag team? Loki often gets locked in the food closet-refer back to number 2-since his meow is not very powerful-refer back to number 7-humans are not aware of his predicament. Loving sister Sisu, sits outside of closet brrrrring-also called squirrelling-trying to alert humans to Loki's unfortunate circumstances. If the brrrring does not work, Sisu resorts to Brrring/meoooowww, which is much louder and more effective. Humans finally realize that the "man kitten" has, once again, been locked away. Upon rescuing, humans are confused as to why Loki has not eaten the open bag of cat food he has been sitting on. (Again, refer to number 2. He is perpetually hungry). This tragic story has played out more than once. :)

Allright so things are a bit strange, but at least they're interesting.
PS: Tenie and Carmen bought me 6 pink-tipped roses for my efforts in the pool this weekend. (They also are to soften the sting I received from my coach's negative attitude this weekend). They are soooooo sweet!!! Thanks girls! :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Jess's Public Service Announcement

So, today I have decided to encourage all of you to be active participants in the society around you. :)
My first rant of the day will be about the polar bears and how we are killing them. If you go to the WWF website you can click on a bunch of links that will explain to you how they are drowning thanks to global warming and how they have to swim up to 100 kilometres just to find food. (This not normal for them). And how some of the chemicals we are using, I believe they are called POD.'s, are poisoning the food chain and so by the time it reaches the polar bears they concentration of this chemical is so high that it kills them. NOT GOOOOOOODDDD!!!! So, since everyone has special people in their lives that need to be reminded, symbollically adopt them a polar bear. Or maybe even a polar bear family!
Secondly, if you are a Canadian citizen, you need to help lobby the government. Their budget comes up in a little less than ten days and it is important to send them letters to remind them of their promises to give sport and physical activity a 1 percent budget increase. Yes, I know there are other pressing issues out there such as, child care and health care, but sport and physical activity can be assist with both of these social issues. Below I have pasted the email I received and you can judge for yourself if you think it is important enough to send an email or letter.
Have a great day!
Let’s get this budget started.

Yes, we are just about one month away from federal budget day. And it turns out we have less than 10 days for sport to make a difference in how that budget
looks, to convince the Conservative Government to convert their campaign pledge into fiscal policy in this budget. This would provide unprecedented funding
for sport and physical activity equal to 1% of federal health spending or at least $300 million/year. (See below for more info on Conservative Party election

It seems to some, including me, that despite the election promises, budget commitments to sport and physical activity may not surface.

What’s up?

Parliament is in motion and the Conservative government is crafting its first budget to focus on the 5 main priorities. Still, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
is taking a page from the populist’s handbook by turning to Canadians like us to determine what will be implemented now – and by default, what may happen
later in the life of the minority parliament, if ever. This presents a unique window of opportunity for the millions of sport participants and volunteers,
plus the tens of thousands of sport and physical activity organizations in communities across Canada.

The government wishes to hear from Canadians - from families, from community groups, from friends of Canadian sport, and from Canadian sport and physical
activity organizations. And they stop hearing from us on April 19th - just 10 days away.

So, let’s speak up…now. And pass along this email to others.


It’s easy. Send an email to the Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty (
That’s it. Copy your MP
(click here for a list).
You could blind copy us too if you want (bcc:

What to say?

Something in your own words, that’s for sure. It doesn’t make sense for everyone to send the same story. Use your own experience to describe what the 1%
can accomplish.

One Friend of Canadian Sport, Victor Lachance, already wrote something this simple, “Dear Minister Flaherty: If you care about families like mine, you’ll
move ahead with your promises to sport and to physical activity. Best wishes, Victor Lachance, Riding of Glengarry Prescott Russell. cc to MP, Pierre Lemieux”

We all heard the messages from Torino and Melbourne too - that every child is an athlete and that every athlete has a hometown. We can remind the Minister
that our children and athletes are ready for Canada to become an active nation again. And about what it will take to get us there – the 1% investment.

Some sport organizations are preparing formal letters outlining how the 1% investment in Canadians now is better than an investment in the health care system

Others are describing how sport – from playground to podium – is one way to address the root causes of crime in our urban communities.

Pick an approach that works for you. Pick another angle. The important thing is that you send the message. For help, call us at 1 800 670 5785, email,
or visit
PS: update, talked to coach yesterday. didn't kill each other, but I'm not sure how much he actually heard me say. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Rant: very angry!

(insert coach’s name here)

It has come to my attention that this weekend did not go so well. Our communication was absolutely horrendous and I found you very controlling. I understand that you have my best intentions at heart, but sometimes your execution is a little elusive. I did not appreciate how you disrespected our massage therapist. She has been with the team for six years and she did not “fuck anyone” to get on to the team. She has many other diplomas than just her RMT and she is not “only a registered massage therapist.” (Should you be saying that to a girl who wants to be an RMT)? When she makes a recommendation that I do not swim a final, usually it’s pretty justified. She has only said this to me once out of six years and that was when I had a concussion.
I also know that I have to toughen up, but I cannot change my personality just because you think that I should in order to win medals. Staying myself is more important to me than breaking any damn records. And if you ask me, I was doing fine being a gentle loving person long before you came along. I also know you want me to learn to swim when I am not 100 percent. What do you think I did all weekend? I had just finished my anti-biotic a day before we got there and I was still feeling like crap. I bit the bullet and tried my damnedest to have good swims. Yeah the times were crappy, but I worked and focused on the things you told me to…like the starts and keeping my stoke even, and even splitting. That said, when my shoulder is not sitting properly in its joint and the RMT suggests that I do not swim my three finals, do not give me a lecture about the American gymnast who jumped with a broken foot at the 1996 Olympics to give her team the gold. Did you ever notice that she was at the Olympics and that she never competed again because she injured herself so badly? First of all, this meet was not the Paralympics, I have been there twice and I have swam there with ribs out of place because it was the Paralympics. Secondly, don’t use me as a pawn in your little control game you have going on with the head coach of the national team and the RMT. You only made me swim finals to make a point to them and it had absolutely nothing to do with me.
I know you were frustrated by the way the swim meet was run. I was too. I agree with you that there should have been media coverage and vendors set up with equipment for sale, like there is at able-bodied meets, but there weren’t and I can’t get worked up about that stuff until the meet is over. I go there to swim first and then make political change second. When I get to a meet, I am an athlete first and I will work out the other stuff afterwards when I can afford to focus on other things. Oh yes and when you’re mad at other people, do not take it out on me by making me swim a million kilometres before a race and then get pissed off when I am too tired to post a record breaking time.
Also, don’t give me a game plan and then change it after I’ve swam the race. When you tell me not to worry about the time and then get pissed when it’s not as fast as you wanted it to be…well, am I missing something here? And just a side note, when giving someone the silent treatment, it is more effective when the person knows you are there in the first place. Giving blind people the silent treatment doesn’t really work.
When you drop us off at our house and I ask you about the morning’s practice, don’t growl “yes” at me and then peel out of our driveway at high speed and burn rubber down our little quiet residential street. In fact, I have never known a fifty year old man to mope and pout worse than you. Do not control me! Do not get angry with me when I talk to the team’s scientist about nutrition; do not give me silent treatment because I talked to the RMT about my shoulder injury when you told me to; do not punish me in workout and tell me all of my pain is in my head when I have just spoken to the sports psychologist. I know you don’t like strong independent women…thus why you are so insecure when I talk to the RMT and the sports psych…and when I stand up to you when you tell me to abandon all sportsmanship conduct and swim zigzags down the lane and cause head on collisions. Don’t tell me that once I have had a few run-ins in the warm-up that I will learn. I have learned! It’s called a concussion and that means swimming circles like everyone else and having some respect for my competition and team-mates.
Just because you’re insecure with yourself, does not mean you can make me feel badly about me too. I like me. Yes, I have flaws and I have to be a little more aggressive when I compete, but generally I like who I am. Don’t try to change me. I will fight you every step of the way. I am a free spirit and the more you try to tie me down the harder I will resist you. Do not use my disability to your advantage. I am a blind athlete and thus I need objective opinions. Not some opinion you have contrived to make me a faithful follower. I do not follow faithfully until someone proves to me with mutual respect for me and the people around me, trust and no bullying. I guess the bottom line is, do not try to control me. I am my own person.

Wish me luck everyone, I have practice this morning and I think we may kill each other. Or, hopefully work things out as mature adults and actually talk about our differences instead of stomping around pouting...that would be my coach. It didnt' matter how much I tried to talk to him, it didn't matter. I know he's set in his ways, but my God! This is a partnership and in a partnership you meet in the middle. I cannot make all of the changes. Fuck that!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My First Thursday 13

Well, it seems a lot of people are partaking in their Thursday 13 lists. So, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm not sure I can keep it up every week, but we'll see.

13 Things I must do before I die
1. go sky diving
2. swim with dolphins
3. fall in love
4. back pack through Europe
5. horseback ride for a week through the Rockies
6. record at least one song
7. throw a huge surprise birthday party for my best friend and it actually be a surprise!
8. learn to surf
9. own a bed and breakfast (horses and massage clinic included)
10. break a world record
11. rescue as many stray animals as possible (5 so far and counting)
12. expand the Paralympic movement
13. go up in a hot air balloon

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Medley!

Today is Medley's birthday. He is turning five! We have invited a few of the other dogs that hang around us over for birthday cake that Tenie has so craftily constructed. It's made out of dog cookies, peanut butter and dog food. It's basically the same cake as Jetta's, only in the shape of a bone and it says "Med," on it instead of a heart with the number 5 that Jetta had. She wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings. :) Everyone is to arrive around 7 and the humans will partake in coffee cake Carmen bought and some hot chocolate, or alcoholic coffee. I'm not sure wo will show up, but we have invited:
Jetta *of course*
Medley *I'd hope so it's his birthday*
Foster *he's another guide dog who speaks french and is a Bermese mountain dog, not sure if I spelled that right*
Cotton *Chris's dog, he's french too and is Medley's half brother*
and Lelan *he's the new puppy I wrote about yesterday, but he can't come because his dad has a prior commitment...we'll just save him cake*
We also invited a little yellow lab, but she's currently in Ottawa with her mom visiting her mom's boyfriend. So, I guess she' can't come either. Oh and of course Sisu and Loki are invited, but I am pretty sure they'll make themselves scarce once all of the dogs start arriving. Anyway, I am off to buy new deck shoes for my meet tomorrow and do some laundry. *Oh and buy more goodies for the party tonight*.
PS: I think I may have changed the time and I even got the title thingy to's only been four months.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I’ve had a pretty good weekend. I started feeling better and was able to get some productive things done. In fact, I was feeling so much better that on Friday night Tenie and I went running in the giant down pour we had. We didn’t go very far, just to the end of our street and back. That was just long enough that we got soaked and had to change our clothes. It was very refreshing-kind of liberating.
Saturday I slept in very late by accident. When I woke up, Tenie and I went on a mad cleaning spree. The floors got washed, the bathroom was scrubbed entirely, the cat litter was over hauled and the crap load of dishes in the kitchen were washed. After that we headed out to a local pub with Ashley for supper. There were a few guys playing pool who kept picking songs on the jute box. They were all classic rock and we couldn’t help but tap our feet under our table or sing a few lines here and there. It was a good night. We came back here and Tenie made some very delicious, creamy hot chocolate and we blabbed the night away.
Sunday Carmen’s friend brought the puppy he just adopted from the local shelter. He is so sweet! He’s only five months old and nearly the same size as Jetta. He’s going to grow up to be a big boy. He’s a collie/shepherd mix and so gentle and calm it’s amazing. I think Jetta’s more hyper than he is. Ashley came over after supper and she and I played a four hour Scrabble game, which resulted in me winning. I haven’t won Scrabble very often so I was pretty excited!
Yesterday was my first day back in the pool after being sick for so long. It felt horrible! My limbs felt heavy and there were flailing everywhere. I also was absolutely exhausted when I was finished. Last night I was in bed by 9, even though I had an hour nap after practice. This weekend I have a meet and I’m a little worried. It’s supposed to be a big deal, but I am swimming like crap because I’m still recovering. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to go, have fun and do the best I can considering the circumstances.
Jetta also got new bones this weekend. Christena picked them up for her when she went to the plaza that houses both the grocery store and the pet store. Jetta was very excited about this. Medley and Jetta ar3 both big chewers and so when he comes over they chew the crap out of the bones that she has. We had to throw out about three of them this weekend because Jetta was pulling huge chunks off of them. So, now she has two fresh ones. We kept one old one for Medley when he comes to visit.
Anyway, I need breakfast. I’m starving. (Yes I still haven’t changed the time, it’s 6 A.M., not like 3).

Monday, April 03, 2006

Can't fight this feeling

I can't fight this feeling any longer.
And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow.
What started out as friendship,
Has grown stronger.
I only wish I had the strength to let it show.

I tell myself that I can't hold out forever.
I said there is no reason for my fear.
Cause I feel so secure when we're together.
You give my life direction,
You make everything so clear.

And even as I wander,
I'm keeping you in sight.
You're a candle in the window,
On a cold, dark winter's night.
And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might.

And I can't fight this feeling anymore.
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
It's time to bring this ship into the shore,
And throw away the oars, forever.

Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore.
I've forgotten what I started fighting for.
And if I have to crawl upon the floor,
Come crashing through your door,
Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore.

My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you.
I've been running around in circles in my mind.
And it always seems that I'm following you, boy,
Cause you take me to the places,
That alone I'd never find.
Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore.

REO Speedwagon Lyrics