Friday, March 31, 2006

As I hit the link to create a new post, I realized that I still have not changed the time on this thing yet. That's something I should probably do.
Life has been fairly uneventful for the past week, seeing as all I've done is sleep and drink tons of water. Christena and Carmen handed in their last essay of the semester and I'm sure they both felt pretty good. I'm still not very well. All I do is sleep and when I'm awake I want to go back to sleep. It's really annoying. My parents sent me flowers with a little note attached that said, "Wish we were there to look after you." It was a nice gesture and the flowers are beautiful. They are so fragrant the whole kitchen smells of them.
It was beautiful here yesterday, so Ashley and I took Jetta and Medley outside for a grooming session. We then just sat there for a while listening to the birds and soaking in the sun. I think Jetta thoroughly enjoyed herself. She sat staring off into the neighbours' yards, plotting the fluttering birds' capture. The yard is not fenced in, so it is not a good idea to let her off her leash. It's so strange to me that dogs should be tied up. I've grown up with dogs and the first command they learned was "come." Leader Dog, for all of the great things they have done, did not give the dogs a recall command. I've heard this is how it is at most schools. It must be the kind of training the dogs undergo or something. Whenever I'm at home, Flash just goes outside with you, prances around in the yard and then usually comes back and lies at your feet. My yellow lab I had while growing up-his name was Sasha-always did the same thing. That is why when I went to guide dog school and they told me that Jetta had to be on a leash at all times, I was so surprised. If I were to go outside with her, the way I do with Flash, and let her wander about, she'd be gone. A lot of my friends who are guide dog handlers say the same thing. I guess the dogs have grown up always attached to a human in some respect or another, so when they are given freedom they dont' know what to do with it. Oh well, Jetta does get to go places most other dogs can't. Maybe it's a fair trade off. Anyway, I'm sleepy again. Back to bed for me.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

So I am not 100 percent yet, but at least I am on the road to recovery. It's slow, but I'm hoping by this weekend things will get better. The weather has been gorgeous here and it's killing me to have to stay inside. Ihave been sleeping for about 16 to 18 hours a day. It's insane! I didn't know that was possible. All of my friends have been super great to me. Christena has been my main caregiver. Carmen has helped out too and Ashley stops in to make me smile. That girl can make me laugh even when I feel like I'm dying. Christena has been taking Jetta to her classes so that Jetta gets exercise and gets out of the house. If she had been stuck in here for the past six days she would have destroyed it. I have a little doggy jacket...more like a vest thingy...that has the university's logo on it. It allows Christena to take Jetta onto campus without people questioning her. It's kind of handy.
Speaking of Jetta, she's been really sweet. Actuallly the cats have been really cute too. They have slept with me and whenever I'm flaked out on the couch, 99 percent of the time I have someone fuzzy curled up with me. Loki crawled up on to my stomach this morning and was purring. It was a nice feeling. His purring just kind of seeps right into your bones; very soothing. Jetta has been sleeping squished up beside me or with her chin resting on one of my legs. I swear fuzzy therapy works. Anyway, sleepy time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

This is going to be a bit of a ramble. It's supposed to be theraputic for me, but we'll see. So, i you're looking for a pick-me-up, it won't be today
I am soooooooo sick! I have never been this sick ever! Why am I blogging then, you ask. Well, because health services does not open for another five hours and I have to do something to try to keep my mind off of the pain that is consuming my body. Yes, sounds mellow dramatic, but it's so true. I can't stop crying. Everything hurts. My fingers ache for crying outloud. There is so much pressure in my head that I can't lay down because it makes it hurt worse. Sitting up hurts because the core of my body is so fevered that the temperature change makes me ache. And standing hurts...well, I don't know why, but it does. I really need a tranquillizer...probably spelled wrong. Even my teeth ache. I was thinking of going to the emergency room, but it seems like there are so many more worst things happening to people. The nurse might look at me and tell me to go home because they have someone who's bleeding, coughing or...well, I don't know dying. Hospitals are only supposed to be very sick people, and I think I am very sick, but the medical professionals are the ones that have to judge that. You know, the whole legitimate patient thing. (Oh God, Soc. haunts me even when I want to be shot). I took seven adville in the span of three hours and they did nothing. They knocked me out enough that I was able to sleep for 2 hours, but that is about it. Since I swim for the national swim team, everything is illegal. I can't even take Asprin. I drank some tea, but I hurt too much to make more. Did I mention my teeth hurt? All right well, I can't sit here anymore. I have to lie down. Hopefully i fall back asleep for a while...highly unlikely though. Good night. :(
PS: I feel so sorry for Jetta when I am sick because she doesn't sleep well when I don't because I am always tossing and turning. But it's nice that her and the cats have been sleeping with me. That helps a little...oh and the teddy bear my parents gave me for Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Since it is World Wide water day, and we are all concerned with making the world a better place, I thought I'd post the lyrics to one of my favourite songs. The lyrics are brilliant. Enjoy!

Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say Im a dreamer,
but Im not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

Written by: John Lennon

Monday, March 20, 2006

HAPPY SPRING!!!!!! Apparently today is the first official day of spring. Some could argue it's tomorrow, but I've decided that it is today because that means spring comes earlier. It doesn't really feel like spring out though. It's freezing, but at least the sun is shining. Tonight Christena and I are going to our university's pub to watch the open mic night. One of my friends is performing and he suggested we stop in. So, we're going. Anyway, I have to get ready for swim practice. Oh, and if I forget to post on the 22nd, it is World Wide Water day. In 1992, it was declared that World Wide Water day would be celebrated internationally in order to conserve water everywhere. So, on Wednesday, conserve water. :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Again, it's been about a week. Things around here have been crazy and my blog was not working for a while. Fortunately, it seems to be back to normal and I can now relay our adventures from the past few days. Friday was St. Pattrick's Day and everyone, at least the majority of the students at my university, celebrated. Although I refuse to celebrate this day because of its historical background, we had a few friends over and sat around chatting, playing a drinking game and dancing to the "Arrogant Worms." (Another thing not to ask about). Everyone headed home around 12:30 and I was in bed by one in preparation for the next day's swim practice. Saturday was another good day here. The sun was out, but it was freezing! Tenie and I headed to the pool around noon and we were home by 2:30. (Jetta stayed home with Carmen because there was no point in subjecting her to the heat and smell of the pool; especially since she would have had to have been tied up). We ate some lunch and I curled up on the couch for the rest of the afternoon watching "Love Actually," because I could actually afford to relax for once. Christena headed off to the library to research and Carmen was busy getting ready to go out to one of her friend's birthday celebrations. Around six, I collected Jetta and we headed off to one of my favourite restaurants. We met Tenie-fresh from the library-and Ashley on the way and we all went to supper. (This was the plan). We had a lovely meal just yammering on about everything and anything and then headed back to mine and Christenas house to have some hot chocolate. From there the evening got a little silly. Tenie sat with us while Ashley and I blabbed and she worked on her essay research. Then, for some reason, I cracked out the crayons and paper and Ashley and I set to drawing. (I would call it abstract art). Ashley-inspire by the Arrogant Worms-drew a flying, drinking pig. We laughed so hard my stomach hurt. I just drew some weird thing that two different people interpretted as either a sporting event with a court and a crowd, or a really crazy face. I also traced our hands in different colours and drew symbols that represent each of us in the palms. The hands overlapped each other, kind of like when a team does a cheer. The next thing I know, we're up and dancing around the living room: teaching Ashley the dance to "Time Warp" and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Jetta was also forced to dance with us to "Brown eyed girl," as she has very lovely brown eyes and Medley jumped on top of Ashley while she was dancing for he has never seen her dance before. (Perhaps, because she never really has...except for once and Medley was staying with us for the night). We then made chicken fingers and Tenie read us the dark side of our astrological signs. (Man, I'm a bad person)! Jetta and Medley just chilled out after their big dancing debuts and soon we were all yawning and heading our respective ways for sleep. It was a lot of fun and those fantastic pictures are going up on the fridge! Thanks girls, and one boy (AKA, Medley), it was a lot of fun. We should do interpretive dancing next time...or maybe make mosaics just for Christena.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Things have been very interesting around here as of late. Ever since Thursday I have been immersing myself in a fifteen page paper about Marx and the commodification of the health institution...and yes, that is a real word. At least sociologists use it. So, yesterday I needed a serious break. But when I first woke up, things did not go so well. I took Jetta out for her regular morning bathroom break. (AKA parking). She did not want to park in her usual spot as it was extremely water logged by the spring run-off. We argued for a while and then she finally decided she really had to go. She doing her poo dance-yes she dances when she has to go-and then stopped after two circles. I just figured she hd found a good spot. But she was taking a very long time! I went to check on her and found that she had managed to wrap the leash, closest to her neck, around the tree;including her choke chain. I nearly freaked out. I couldn't unclip the leash because the clip was wrapped around the tree branch too. They were cedar bushes and cedar does not break so well-they are supposed to be a bendy bush. I put my hand over her nose and she was not breathing. I finally dropped the leash and began threading it back out. Fortunately for me, I did the right thing and she came free. I have no idea what I would have done if I couldn't have gotten her undone. We went back inside the house and she was showered with kisses and cookies. It was pretty scary. I'm sure it took all of ten seconds, but it seemed so much longer! I settled back into essay writing keeping a close eye on little black Jetty. But I was restless. The sun was out and the air had warmed up so much that I didn't need gloves or a winter jacket-in fact, you could get away with a hoody if you really wanted. I worked for about two hours more on my paper, had some lunch and then decided it was way too nice to stay inside. Christena and I got a hold of Ashley and met her only to set off to one of our favourite shops. It's a little store that sells such things as, zenergy chimes, rocks, angels, Celtic jewellery, Etc, Etc. (It's very hippie/dippie, I love it)! After browsing around for a while, I found myself sifting through the stones. I found five that seemed to suit me and just couldn't pick, so I bought all five. (They are now sitting in the bole Christena and Carmen bought me for Christmas for that very purpose). I can't remember the exact names for all of them, but I'll look them up later. (For those of you who are not stone connoisseurs, each stone holds its own energy and meaning, again hippie/dippie). We then headed back out into the fantastic sunshine. And although we all had essays awaiting us, we could not bring ourselves to go home. So, we walked over to one of our favourite restaurants and ordered some supper and the best banana splits I have ever tasted! Mine was smothered in black, blue and strawberries. It was amazing! With full bellies, and a little taste of the sunshine, we were ready to get back to writing. Well, as ready as you'll ever be. We did run into a little road block on the way home though. As we were approaching one of the more popular pizza places in our area, Christena noticed glass shattered across the sidewalk. The pieces were thick and curled up: definitely dangerous for our babies' paws. I scooped up Jetta and carried her across with Christena guiding me. Then she went back for Ashley and Medley. Carefully guiding Ashley, Tenie carried Medley safely across as well. Jetta danced in anticipation as they got nearer. I think she thought there was something wrong with Medley. After the dogs greeted each other excitedly-even though they'd only been separated for five seconds-we continued on our way. We were lucky Tenie had been there, or something horrible could have happened to the pups' paws. (Thanks Tenie)! It was a good outing and Jetta thoroughly enjoyed it. (Carrying and all). Anyway, I should sleep, I have a busy day ahead of me and that essay is in its final stages of preparation. Sweet dreams all.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, so of course the Confederation of the Bitches celebrated. It wasn’t anything too crazy because we all have papers due in the next week or so, but it was a celebration nonetheless. Ashley came over for a shrimp supper and then we all settled in and did some school work. Around 9 or so, we took a break and indulged ourselves in yogurt and berry parfaits that Christena whipped up for us. There was much laughter and shoving in the kitchen as I was trying to make toast and peanut butter for Ashley and I because we were hungry and Tenie was trying to construct her parfaits. Sometimes I wish I could record our craziness. Carmen said all she could hear from upstairs was Tenie shouting about how Ashley had never had yogurt and then screaming “aaaaaah,” and me screaming “aaaaaah,” back at her because we were in each other’s way. Words cannot describe Tenie and I waltzing in the kitchen to some crazy Portuguese music I put on either. Carmen finally braved the chaos and made porn-stars and we toasted each other with the wine glasses we picked up from the dollar store our first meeting and decorated with nail polish to our individual taste. My stomach hurt so much from laughing and everyone had tears running down their faces from giggling. Jetta definitely enjoyed herself. She was toasted too, but she didn’t get any porn-star. All in all the night was pretty fun and I was in bed by 10:30 so I could get up go to class this morning and swim practice. Yes, I know very early, but I get so tired from running around all day that I need to sleep by a certain time or I become very incoherent. Speaking of sleep, it is time for my cat nap and then it’s off to writing about Marx and the commodification of health. I still have not fixed the time on this thing, but I’ll get there.
Our toast:
“To international Women’s day and to being a bitch.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to attend a networking dinner for women that are highly involved citizens of my university. Of course I accepted and tonight Jetta and I headed over to the university. (Okay, so I know I said before no more heels, but I wore them anyway. Jetta did a wonderful job guiding me very slowly and carefully. I am sure she was cursing me the whole way. Jetta is a fairly small lab and she is almost too short for me at the best of times. Wit the added height of the heels...well let's just say it was interesting). The food they served was fantastic-you know me, gotta love the food. We were all given name tags and put at tables to eat. We were also given interaction instruction. The point of the whole supper was to get women talking to each other and helping one another get stuff they either want or need. For example, one of the women at my table works for the Mental Health Association and they are in desperate need for volunteers. She was able to use this opportunity to recruit people to volunteer with her association. The woman who gave the presentation was great too-her name is Donna, but I can't spell her last name. She was actually training a guide dog as well. She had brought her with her and Jetta noticed at once. The dog in training was a black standard poodle named Scarlet. She was so excited to see Jetta: the poor thing nearly danced herself off the stage. After we ate our main course we were instructed to move to a different table for dessert. There we were introduced to more new people and worked on getting acquainted. I've never been a part of something like this before, but it was very interesting. I think this may come in handy for when I eventually get into massage therapy. Perhaps Donna will be able to suggest people I should talk to or schools that would be beneficial. Although I am almost certain I am going to end up in Vancouver. The school there is fabulous! Everyone commented on how well behaved Jetta was. And I must say she did a very good job. She lay quietly behind my chair and didn't even move when the server brought our desserts to us. (Good job Jetta, resist the chocolate). Anyway, I'm off to bed. I have an early morning tomorrow. (the time is not right on my blog. It is about 9:30 PM right now. I just don't know how to fix it).

Monday, March 06, 2006

My roommates and I were talking last night about what small things make us happy. We all came to agree that the simple things in life are what make it enjoyable. So, here are a few of my favourites.
1. clean sheets, clean pyjamas and freshly shaved legs
2. warm towels right out of the dryer
3. drinking milk with a straw
4. How excited Jetta gets when she finds something I have asked her to find
5. Jetta’s joy when she gets her supper
6. genuine giggling
7. someone tucking me when I’m sick (most recently that’s been my best friend)
8. dancing like fools in our kitchen
9. smell of freshly cut grass
10. sleeping with Jetta curled up beside me
11. splashing in puddles
12. jumping in leaf piles
13. making snow angels
14. reading a good book
15. making a best time in practice or a race
16. making someone smile
17. giving/getting a hug
18. a long hot shower
19. surprising a friend with a treat for no reason (Example, cookies, hot chocolate, bringing their clean laundry to them)
20. sitting by a campfire and listening to it crackle
21. dangling my feet in the water on a hot summer day
22. having a long chat with a friend
23. having a picnic
24. going to the park and swinging
25. hearing birds first thing in the morning
26. eating my parents’ cooking
27. sleeping in my own bed at home
28. riding a horse down a little dirt road
29. singing
30. learning something new about someone

All right so the list contains a little more than a few, but I guess I got in a groove. There are so many more things. These things seem to be the ones that relax me and make me feel comfortable. There is a whole different list that would go under the “getting an adrenalin rush” category. I like taking a few risks every once in a while, but that list will have to wait for another day.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Have you ever wondered what it is that your pets see, smell or what they are thinking? It happens to me all of the time-especially since I spend the majority of my time with Jetta. For example, today we were walking back from swim practice-my swim coach sent me home because I couldn't breathe due to this stupid head cold-and Jetta was trotting along, as she always does, and was turning her head to the left looking across the street. She often looks around. I've had professors comment on how she lies under my chair staring at them the whole class. Quite often other guide dogs drift off, but not her. I think she's just too damn nosy...or perhaps she's just very inquisitive. I think it's the latter. Anyway, back to my original question. Since she is acting as my eyes, I would love to know what she is looking at. I can tell when she sees something interesting because she raises her eyebrows and perks her ears. When she sees someone she recognizes-and loves-her tail starts wagging and then her entire body begins to wag. One of the women who works in the Accessible Learning Office likes to say, "the whole dog wags." I often wonder what Jetta thinks when we trek back and forth between classes, go to swim practice and even when we're just hanging out and watching TV. Whenever we come to an obstacle, whether it be a car pulled out too far across a cross-walk or booths set up in the main area of our university, I can tell she's thinking; assessing the situation. On garbage day we have to navagate people's garbage cans and recycling bins. Jetta will stop in front of the obstacle, turn her head from side to side and stare intently. Then she makes a decision as to which way seems to safest. Sometimes, I help her by suggesting either right or left and depending on what she believes is the clearest way, she'll proceed. I once had a professor tell me that dogs do not have emotions and that they cannot assess situations-he was talking to the wrong person if he expected me to believe that. Jetta definitely has emotions and she definitely thinks things through. Perhaps she may not make the correct choice, or her doggy instincts may take over and she may need a reminder to as what her job is, but we all need reminders sometimes. I guess that was my ramble for today. It is a topic that can be elaborated upon, but I have to go make lunch and then head off to class. Hmm, I wonder what classes Jetta enjoys more: biology, sociology of disability, sociology of sport and physical activity or social theory?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

So, it's been a while. The past couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy. If you are planning on reading this, I suggest getting a cup of tea and getting comfortable-it might be a long one. The swim meet in Montreal went really well. I broke five Canadian short course records. (For you non-swimmers, short course means the pool was set up to be swam as 25 metres. Long course means it's set up for 50 metres. That is what they use at big international competitions like the Paralympics and Olympics). The day we left Waterloo was one of the craziest storms I have ever seen. It was only the second snow day for my university in the four winters that I have been here. The swim team rented a 14 passenger van and even it was getting blown all over the road. I'm pretty certain we shouldn't have been driving in it, but it all worked out. Christena, Jetta and I didn't know any of the swimmers beforehand because I usually train on my own. It's hard to fit practices in between classes, so my coach has been good enough to give up his time to run extra practices just for me. They were all pretty nice and we had a great time together. It was a nice feeling to be a part of a team. The weather was not much better in Montreal. When we arrived it was snowing and by the time we emerged from the pool that evening it had started raining. Over night we had flash freezing and everything was covered in a thick layer of ice. Poor Jetta's little paws kept sliding out from under her. I didn't really work her while I was there because she couldn't guide properly due to the ice. Jetta was not the only one havig problems staying upright. Friday morning, after the morning heats, the head coach was swept down a hill by the frigid, strong winds and his 9 year old son flew after him-when I say "flew" I mean heliterally flew! The wind picked him up and he slid down the road on his stomach. We were all sure he would have to go to the hospital, but surprisingly, he survived with not even a scratch. I almost joined them, but luckily for me, one of the senior swimmers was standing on clear pavement and was able to grab Christena's hand and help to yank me on to safe grounds. After that, he was always around to lend a helping hand just in case someone slipped getting out of the van or just walking down the sidewalk. The meet lasted four days and I swam 11 races. My body was definitely screaming at me by Sunday night, but it was all worth it. The van pulled into the Athletic Complex's parking lot at 2:30 Sunday night, and my God were we ever glad to be back. Everyone had been trying to sleep in the van, but it was way too squishy and it was impossible to regulate the temperature to satisfaction. (Jetta spent the whole trip curled up on the seat between Christena and I sleeping. Little brat). The next morning, Christena, Jetta and I headed over to the car rental dealership and got our wheels for our drive home. It was a pretty sweet car. A bright red G6, that turned into a coop because of its four doors, but that didn't make a difference to us. :) My cousin Chris hitched a ride with us as well because of my grandparents anniversary party. My time at home was spent reading articles for my 2 essays, watching television, eating way too much really good food and hanging out with my family. Christena, Jetta and I took Hannah, Christena's seven year old sister, to see Eight Below. It was a great movie, but I must admit I cried. I think Jetta had dreams about the dogs from the movie that night because she was overly active in her sleep-you know, the whole sleepy wuffing thing, jerking spastically. On Saturday, my family and I-Christena and Jetta included- headed out to the hall where the party was to be held and got everything ready. My mom and Auntie Carol cooked 2 hams, 2 turkeys, oven roasted potatoes, broccoli, pasta salad and others brought fresh bread and baking. (Somehow, I am sure there was more food, but I can only remember that). We decorated the hall in yellow streamers and balloons, fancy table cloths, chocolates in a pretty design on every table, Christmas lights, family photos and much much more. While we were decorating Jetta ran freely about the hall getting into everything possible. She attacked any balloon she could get her paws on and tried stealing things off of the tables-AKA chocolate decorations. It only took one time out for her to understand that chocolate is not for puppies. (Don't worry, the chocolate was removed from her mouth slobbery, but intact). When my grandparents finally arrived, they were truly surprised and excited. They didn't think anyone was going to do anything and had been a little upset. We spent the rest of the evening eating, drinking, dancing, more eating, opening cards, eating again and eventually cleaning up and heading over to the hotel my parents rented. Everyone's feet were sore, so I was employed as "certified foot rubber." (Tenie was nice enough to rub mine too. Note to self: next time skip the heels). Monday morning, we all piled back in our little red car and drove the 9 hours back to Waterloo. It was such a nice visit. I always love going home and sleeping in my bed-my grandpa, not the one that just had the party, made it for me when I was still in high school. It's sooooo comfy! Now that I am back, it back to the normal grind of university life. I've been to swim practice as usual, read for classes, researched for my biology paper and somehow along the way ended up with a head cold. The Confederation of the Bitches has also managed to score spa packages worth 350 dollars for an extremely reduced rate-I guess it's some kind of promotional thing. So within the next few weeks, we'll be treating ourselves to facials, nail treatments and many other wonderful things necessary to de-stressing. (I'm not usually much of a girlie girl, but sometimes it's nice to spoil yourself). Jetta is happy to be back. She loves working and she does more of it when we are here. The cats have been sleeping with me. I think they know I'm not feeling well. Between Jetta, Loki and Sisu there is barely any room for me in my bed. :) Anyway, this is probably long enough-and it was the condensed version. Jetta wants her supper and it poking me with her nose. Oh, one last thing. An update to a previous blog: the moron who nearly ran me over is now going to be barred from delivering to our university campus ever again. I have recently filed an official complaint with the harrassment officer of the university and he was pretty pissed. Students should not be treated that way, were his sentaments. So hopefully things get worked out there. Anyway, time to feed Miss Moo, AKA Jetta. I'll explain that nickname another time.