Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Mixed Bag-A rant

The last couple of days have been rather interesting for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about it at first, but now I feel like I need to. Friday I found out that the coach that I have now is going to be leaving in September. He is going to teachers’ college. I was so proud of and happy for him, but that leaves me high and dry 3 months before our World Championships. Anew coach is supposed to take his place, but we don’t know who that is going to be and if they have the creativity to coach a blind swimmer. It’s not completely different than teaching a sighted athlete, but it requires a lot of hands on and description. Also, whenever any athlete gets a new coach, the coach has to test them to see where they are in their training and to understand their skills and abilities as well as sites of improvements. This is slightly troubling when I am supposed t be at my peak of training. It could impact my performance at the World Championships. I emailed the head coach of Swim Canada and he gave me a few suggestions as how to deal with this situation. He said I should talk to the head coach of our club and discuss who will be coaching in September and whether or not that person will be delegated as my coach. He then suggested, that if this does not work out, that I will have to move. That is creates a whole new set of problems in itself and I think it will take away from training, which was the point of moving in the first place. I’d have to find somewhere to live, learn how to get around-which worries me the most-find a coach, a tapper and a sublet for my room here in Waterloo. I’m scared! Not to mention, I have to been able to get to the pool in the last 2 weeks because of construction. The entire place outside of the Athletic Complex is torn up and Jetta sees it all as obstacles. I have tried to get there, but somehow it just has never worked. I have even phoned the CNIB-Canadian National Institute for the Blind, they help with things such as cooking lessons and Orientation and Mobility lessons-they told me that they would not have an open lesson spot until the beginning of June. I do not appreciate how the CNIB is run and try to avoid them at all costs. My coach here told the head coach, who in turn phoned and emailed me about the situation. I can understand both of them being angry and frustrated, but they have to remember I’m annoyed as well. I want to be there. It’s not like I’m not showing up because I’m lazy an don’t feel like it. So, anyway, I’m in big trouble with the head coach now. *snort*
I’ve also been dealing with a low sugar problem for a long time. In fact, I can’t really remember not having it. It’s like I have to eat enough to satisfy a 6 foot 5 man who weighs 300 pounds. It’s ridiculous. I have asked people what they may think it is and they just keep telling me to eat more. They say I don’t’ consume enough calories, so I increased my eating. The issue has not subsided. Ashley and I were talking the other day and she suggested that I get a hold of the team’s scientist. He tests for lactic acid at competitions and helps athletes to manage their bodies properly. I emailed him yesterday and this is what he wrote back.

Jess (and Jetta)

It really sounds like you are hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar). That would cause
the dizziness, shaking, disorientation, etc. My first inclination would be to
suggest that you try and eat 6-8 small meals rather than 3 or 4 large ones.
Also, try to get some extra protein & fat in the diet to keep the blood sugar up
(because they take longer to digest), as well as keep you feeling full. Cheese
is great for this, as are nuts & legumes.

The other alternative, which is not that bad, is to go see your physician and
ask them for an oral glucose tolerance test. This is a good indicator to tell
you if you are diabetic (does your pee smell sweet? Do you have to go often?
These are signs of diabetes). Don't freak out. It is better to go get checked
and then get the Yes or No rather than try a bunch of things before going and
getting it checked out.

I do agree that a blind athlete will need a higher caloric intake than a
non-blind athlete. The concentration does consume a great deal of calories, and
mainly glucose.

Let me know what you think - you can try the smaller meals with more protein &
fat for a week or two and see how that works, or you can go get the blood test
done or both. Just let me know so that we can work through this together.

I am going in to san Antonio a bit early, so we can sit down and talk about
things a bit more, but we need to get this figured out quick so that you can
train properly (and live a semi-normal life as an athlete).

So, now I have to figure out what I am going to do with this. I think I am going to try the meal thingy-even though I have been a different version of it-and then get the blood tests afterward. I had so many different emotions after I read this. I actually cried. Jetta was out on the living room couch and came into my room and started doing her silly snorting tail wag thing. I gave her a hug and it felt a bit better. I think it was because someone finally believed me and had a helpful suggestion. It was also scary.
The final thing I am going to bitch about today is one of my very best friends. She is leaving in Ottawa with a complete moron. She phoned me last night and it was the first time we’ve spoken in a long time. We kind of had a weird falling out at Christmas and things just haven’t been the same since. But last night, we talked for 3 hours and we filled each other in. I’m trying to convince her to leave him and come live here for the summer. He treats her like crap and controls every move she makes. It’s not healthy! I also missed her birthday in April-completely by accident!-and I feel like a complete idiot. I’ve never missed her birthday before. In talking to her I also realized that I missed another friend’s birthday at the beginning of May. Yikes! What is happening to me? Anyway, I think she should move here. She could sublet from Tenie and it would be super cheap. She could get away and clear her head and there are plenty of jobs available because all of the university students went home for the summer. I’ve even threatened to phone her parents and tell them to move her out. Her dad has already said he’d move her out at any time and to wherever she wants to go. So, if you’re reading this, what are you waiting for?!
I think that is all for now. I needed to vent.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Final Chapter

Sunday May 14 2006
Sunday was the last day of competition. We rose early, as usual, and headed to the pool for my last 3 races. I swam the 50 metres freestyle again, 100 metres breast stroke and the 100 metres back stroke. My breast stroke was feeling off all weekend and although I placed second, the time wasn't exactly where I wanted it to be. I also took gold in the 100 back and bronze in the 50 free. All in all, I think it was a pretty successful swim meet. The point was to get there and swim tired. I think they were trying to create the worst scenarios possible in order to see how we handled the stress. Some people cracked and others managed themselves quite well. The key with this kind of thing is drink litres and litres of water, sleep only at night, wake up early, do some kind of physical activity and eat properly. I personally think that some of the swimmers suffered as badly as they did because they weren't eating. They didn't like the meals so instead of sucking it up and eating, they would eat bread and drink Coke. I mean, I don't like lamb and it was served to us one night, but I knew that if I did not eat it then I would feel it in the morning. So, I ate it. Your body needs fule in order to accomplish every day tasks, never mind racing your brains out. :)
The session ended at noon and we headed back to the hotel with our bag lunches in hand. Christena and I were staying an extra day because we couldn't fly through England with Jetta-a different story-and so, could not fly until Monday. The other swimmers started getting packed. We inhaled our three buns smothered with butter and adorned with either cheese or lunch meat, these little gummy things that were shaped like buses-those amused me-long skinny pears that looked more like a fat carrot than a pear, juice and a chocolate waifer. Very tasty. One of the swimmer's had to be out of her room earlier than planned so, she came and hung out with us. When they departed, Christena, Jetta and I went downstairs to see them off. I think Jetta was a little confused as to why everyone was leaving without us. After the team had left, Christena, Jetta and I hopped on a city bus and headed back down to the main square. We weren't sure what it would be like because it was a Sunday, but it was bustling with activity.
There were streams of tourists taking pictures, darting in and out of shops and watching the different shows that buskers had set up. There was a mime dressed as a statue that depicted the workers that had built the cathedral. I told Christena to get a picture of him, but she shoved me up with him and so now we have a picture of me holding the hand of a "statue." It was pretty cool. (Oh, and Jetta was there too). There were a lot of dogs down there too. Jetta felt the need to be a little over protective a few times, but after I made her do an obedience session, things seemed to settle down. She was attacked bya dog last summer and ever since then she has been a bit jumpy with strange dogs. Okay, back to my story. A man riding the largest uni-cycle we have ever seen was performing juggling tricks for an awe-struck crowd. After his show concluded, which it did shortly after we arrived, a man with a violin arrived and began playing. It was beautiful. Of course I grumbled and groaned about how romantic it was and Christena laughed at me. (I've always been a romantic. Ssshhhh don't tell anyone). We always had visited this area in the morning, so it was interesting to be there in the late afternoon/early evening. There were so many people and plenty of locals too.
We puttered around the square some more, tasting more chocolate and visiting our favourite tourist shop. We ran into some of the American team's swimmers and I took Jetta's harness off so they could give her some love. She was very happy to see them and Christena even went in and bought one guy's postcards for him because he didn't want to leave Jetta. :) We asked the guy at a shop that we frequented often where a good place to eat supper was and he suggested a restaurant. He warned us it would be a bit pricy, but we went and checked it out anyway.
When we arrived, there were a few local people sitting on the patio already. We had read in our little tour guide book that a place filled with locals was a good place to eat. We sat down at a little round table and waited for a menu in english to appear. We both ordered steak as it is a Belgium's specialty, and I got a Coke. The sweet grossness that is Coke tasted golden! I had drank juice, Gaitoraid and water for the past week and I wanted something unhealthy. :) As we ate, horse-drawn carriages clopped past with curious tourists in them. The church also was chiming every fifteen minutes and the sounds of happy Dutch and French speaking children reached us. It was at that meal, I actually felt I was in Europe.
With full bellies and new memories, we headed back to our hotel to pack. Tenie ran next door to a convenient store and bought junk food-chocolate, Coke and a brand of Belgian beer we had been told to try-so we could over indulge before heading back home. As I crawled into bed that night, I was filled with a great sense of satisfaction. It had been a great meet for me, an interesting trip and nothing had gone too awry. :)
We caught a coach bus the next morning to the airport, that got stuck in traffic. We hopped our plane to Germany and landed late. The airport staff ushered us onto the little car that they drove madly through the crowded halls. We were going so fast that Jetta's ears were flapping. At first the employee was worried that Jetta would refuse to get on the car, but I assured her that Jetta would oblige. It made me realize how many strange things I asked Jetta to do and she does with hardly any hesitation. I guess that is what being a good guide dog/handler team is about. We both trust each other and don't question one another when it really matters.
We made it to our gate just in time, but it didn't matter because the flight had been delayed three hours. Tenie and I found some lunch and parked it on the floor, as all of the seats had been taken. An older gentleman from Canada sat down on the floor with us and started talking about botched flights, the Edmonton Oilers and motorcycles. It made the time pass quickly. We boarded the flight finally and flew home with no other mishaps.
We took the air shuttle back to Waterloo and arrived to find that Christena's mom had come a day early-she was coming to visit and then drive Christena back to our home town-and we were having Chinese take out for supper. It was delicious! We handed out a few presents and spent the rest of the night chatting. Sidenote: Every time we go to a new country, Christena brings her mom a diet Coke container, a can or a bottle. She is always excited to get these and I think would be satisfied with this and no other presents. This time we had smuggled 2 large glass bottles up to our room in our team manager's purse. Mommy-Lois, AKA Christena's mom, was delighted to find that she got two. I couldn't believe how heavy they actually were. Unfortunately, Christena and I were very jet lagged and headed to bed quite early, but the excitement of her mom visiting continued the next day.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I met some really cool people-the swimmer from the Netherlands and I exchanged email addresses-and competed at a mental level I did not know I was capable of doing.

The End

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Instaulment 2 of The Belgium Adventures

Friday May 12 2006
Friday was spent doing much of the same things as Thursday. We rose early to have a hearty breakfast and then took the bus to go explore the down town some more. We found a statue of a water spirit that was alleged to have harrassed people during foggy nights and a plaque dedicated to Canadian soldiers that liberated Belgium during World War 2. It was pretty humbling to see that dedication. We were standing on top of a peer that over looked the ocean and just happened to see the plaque as we left. Christena's great uncle had fought in this particular area and we all fell silent after she read it allowed. We hear about the war in Canada, at Rememberance Day, from family members, but we do not understand the whole implications or conditions under which people had to survive. I have always been against war and will continue to be, but it was in that moment that I realized just why I am so anti-war. We also witnessed a woman with her young children throwing a white rose over the railing into the choppy, salt water below. We could only speculate as to why she did this, but it kind of added to the impact the war monument had on us.
We returned to our hotel for a fantastic lunch and then headed off to the pool for another practice. The practices were a little out of control and I found myself getting very frustrated. The pool was way too full and the waves were giant because of all of the extra bodies in the water. The lane ropes were not what I am used to. They were smaller and didn't stop any of the water from pounding into you when someone passed in the opposite lane. Not to mention, some members of the American team kept sitting on the ropes causing me to float into their lane. (When I swim in the lane with ten other people, I have to trail the lane rope, either with my hand or shoulder, to make sure I don't float out into someone's path). We did a few dives and sprints and I was very impressed with my results. I even swam butterfly and the head coach was flabberghasted. He said, "Wow Jess. I have never seen you swim butterfly like that before. Want to start swimming it as the 100 metres?" (Hell no)! :) It's ok to start the individual medley, but as its own race? Forget it. :d
That night I slept well and Saturday morning I was ready to race.

Saturday May 13 2006
The swim meet was constructed in a very strange way. Usually, heats are swam in the morning and finals for the same events are swam at night. The top eight swimmers from the mornings races compete against each other in the evening sessions to win medals. This meet had only three sessions and no finals. For example, Saturday morning I swam the 50 freestyle and in the afternoon I swam the 100 metre freestyle and 200 metre individual medley. The strangest part of it was that the 50 metre free in the morning had a final at night, but none of the other races did. I also had to swim it a third time on Sunday. (Swimming is divided into different classifications for swimmers with a disability. It is the way people attempt to make swimming a level playing field for all disabilities. If you want to read more about it go to:
and there should be a link explaining the classifications for SWAD-that stands for swimmers with a disability). So, Saturday I swam the fifty free twice, once for heats and once for finals,. That was multi-disability and did not use the classification scoring system to determine the winners. They just picked the fastest time, which normally does not work because someone who is a leg amputee is going to swim faster than someone with cerebral palsy. On Sunday I had to swim it again, but only against totally blind swimmers. (Confused yet)? I was!
During the heats of the 50 free, my head coach suggested that we swim a stroke (back, breast, or butterfly), probably to try to keep us out of the finals for the random 50 free. It was an event that no one had planned on swimming, but even though I swam back stroke, I still ended up making finals. I was shocked! (During a freestyle event, a swimmer can swim any stroke that is legal. So back stroke, breast stroke or butterfly, but not side stroke). :)
I ended up winning bronze in the random fifty free, silver in the 100 free and bronze in 200 individual medley (IM). The 200 IM was the event I had worried about the most and I was surprised to find that the girl who beat me for the silver only out touched me by 1 100th of a second. (Apparently I should keep swimming this event)? The head coach was impressed, which happens rarely, and he was very pleased with my butterfly... He suggested, again, swimming the 100 butterfly. (Again, are you nuts)?
The day had been long as we had spent approximately seven hours on the pool deck. (There have been meets where we have been stuck on the deck longer, but this was long enough).
Well, I think this is long enough. I will complete the tale of our adventures to Belgium, tomorrow. Or, perhaps the next day. I have not been very good at keeping my blog up to date, have I? :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Belgium Continued

Thursday May 11, 2006
Seeing the Sights
Thursday morning we rose early, 6:30, and headed down to the restaurant for a fantastic breakfast buffet. There was so much food we didnt' know what to do with it all. There different kinds of cereals, fruits, mini pancakes the size of loonies you sprinkled icing sugar on, bacon, eggs, different kinds of cheeses, little round potatoes, and this yummy yogurt. The yogurt in Europe is so different from North American yogurt. It's much thicker, creamier and tastes delicious. We stuffed ourselves full and then headed outside for a morning walk. Our coach suggested stretching our legs and also, if we were outside, we couldnt' go back to sleep.
We wandered down a bike path that twisted and turned along the highway and then branched off into a park. We stopped on a bridge overlooking a dried up river bed-thank you human expansion-and took some nice pictures. The sun was shining and it felt nice to get out after being stuck in airports and on airplanes. There are bike paths and pedestrian paths along the roads. The bike paths are red and where you walk is grey. This keeps the bike traffic and pedestrian traffic from merging and killing each other. )Everyone bikes there)!
After our walk we returned to the hotel and were given bus passes so we could head down town and actually see some of the city. The man who shuttled us down there told us of the legend that had given the city its name. I can't spell it, so I won't try, but essentially the myth goes a little something like this.
There was an evil giant guarding the river that flows through the city. He would not let anyone pass unless they paid a hefty price. If they couldn't, I forget he ate them or something. :) One day, (now this is where the myth can differ), either a Roman general or another giant, not sure which one, decided that enough was enough. The general/giant confronted the evil giant and managed to kill him. He cut off the evil giant's hand and threw it into the river. So, the name of the city litterally means-hand throwing. Or something like that.
We walked around the square that was lined with different shops and the hugest church I have ever seen. Apparently it's one of the biggest in Europe and it took 170 years to build. Even after that it wasn't totally completed. The spire was huge and the bells would chime every fifteen minutes or so. On the hour it played a song, but the quarter of an hour noises reminded me of a huge magic wand sound you would hear in movies. Christena lifted me up on her shoulders-and the other totally blind swimmer-to we could see the sculptures that were on the pillars overhead. (Once I get the pictures I'll post them on my Photo Bucket).
There were plenty of people walking their dogs along the cobble stone streets and wonderful smells of restaurants and chocolate shops wafting on the morning breeze. We found the fountain that was the tribute to the defeat of the evil giant and got more pictures. The fountain is of the victorious standing over the fallen giant and there is a spurting hand. I don't think it's supposed to be anything gruesome-just water pouring out of the hand. There are little sea creatures celebrating too. :)
We went into a chocolate shop after much debate with the shopkeeper. She said she didn't want Jetta in the shop, so I opted to stand outside. She must have felt bad or something because she relented and said I could come in. I just went in the front door and tucked Jetta behind a plant and asked her to lie down. That way she was out of the way and not causing a scene. Between the five girls that I was with-Tenie and I included-we spent close to 200 euros in that store. I am sure she was glad she finally let me in. :) Our bags were so loaded down with chocolate it was rediculous! The Belgian chocolates are nothing like the ones we have here. They are filled with real cream-some flavoured some not-and you have to refridgerate them to keep them longer. They are extremely creamy and taste heavenly. Tenie and I bought some for ourselves, which I had on Thursday and Friday, but refrained from until the meet was over. The first thing I did on Sunday upon returning to the hotel after my competition, was eat a chocolate.
We also stopped in a tapestry shop. They had a replica of the "Captive Unicorn," not sure if that is its exact title, and since i love unicorns I bought it. Belgium is famous for its tapestries and there is a certificate of authenticity on the back. Christena got her mom a pillow with a rose on it and her little sister a wallet with cats stitched on the front. Another girl that was with us purchased a purse and it too came with a certificate of authenticity.
We stopped in at a tourist shop and bought a few postcards to send back home. It was the first place I had gone where they did not give me a hard time about Jetta. There was a lot of herchandise of the little "pissing" boy that has become Belgium's pride and joy. There is a statue-very small in a back alley on some building-of this little peeing boy. There are many mixed stories of whether he was real or not and a sculptor just sculpted him or not, but there is an entire museum dedicated to the 650 costumes that have been made in his honour. Christena bought her Grandma a snow globe of him because her great uncle had sent a postcard home of the peeing boy during the second world war and it reminded her of him. We made a few more purchases-which I will not mention here because we have not given all of our friends their presents yet-and headed back to the hotel for a very tasty lunch.
That afternoon, we went back to the pool and trained with part of the American team. There were no mishaps with Jetta this time...thankfully. We had a great supper of seafood stew and then tried to stay awake until at least 8:30 this time. It sort of worked. Jetta was so jet lagged that she was sleeping in five minutes of returning to our hotel room. My poor Jetta. Stay tuned for more adventures tomorrow. :)

The Beginning-Only told in Retrospective

I wasn't able to keep a blog while I was gone, so I thought I'd tell my story from the beginning-only at the end of the trip.

Tuesday May 09 2006
The Amazing Race (Jess, Jetta and Christena's Version)
Tuesday afternoon Christena and i put the finishing touches on the packing for our trip to Belgium. The Airway Transit van picked us up at quarter to three and that was the beginning of our adventure. We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. We sauntered up to the check in counter only to find out that Jetta had been "cancelled." For some reason, someone had informed the airport that I would not be bringing my guide dog with me. After much deliberation, and a pissed off airport employee phoning around, Jetta had been re-instated as a "passenger" and we were able to continue on our way. I have never experienced Jetta being considered a "passenger" before, but I guess it works.
Upon arriving in Germany, life became crazier. We flew over night and so it was Wednesday by the time we landed. Everyone was in a huge hurry to get off the plane only to push their way out into a squishy entrance where we were all penned in by more passengers. The customs line was a giant mess. I have discovered that Europeans do not line up. They are friendly, great people, but the concept of the line-up has escaped them. After shoving our way with the rest of the crowd, we found that part of the hold up was the giant, broken escalator we had to climb. We jogged up it-since we had only an hour to get to our next flight-and found ourselves in another holding area with shoving passengers. An hour and two terminals to run through to get to the next flight-things did not look good. :) When we finally escaped the customs "line," if you could call it that, we dashed through the rest of the airport-skipping down moving sidewalks, dodging rolling carry-on luggage and side stepping slow movers. When we finally reached the other gate, they had just begun to board and we had lucked out. We were worried about our luggage not making the flight, but somehow it came spewing out of the conveyer belt in Belgium. The rest of the day was spent getting acquainted with the hotel, pool and eating fabulous food. In Belgium, they like their steaks rare so if you order a medium rare steak, it will come still mooing. I discovered this after ordering steak for lunch.
We went to the pool for a bit of a loose swim-trying to work some of the jet lag off. There we ran into another problem with Jetta. They had given her an acreditation, which is a pass that allows staff and swimmers on the pool deck. (I had never seen a competition do this before, so I was optimistic that we would have no problems, but was I ever wrong).
It read:
Guide dog
The only problem was that they did not expect her to actually come on the pool deck. They thought I'd leave her out in the stands. After some heated discussion between my head coach and the owner of the pool, all was solved and Jetta was allowed to stay. After practice, we returned to the hotel, showered and headed down for supper. Tenie, Jetta and I tried very hard to fight the ravages of jet lag that gripped our tired bodies, but we were all in bed and asleep by 7:30. Jetta included. Since our day ended there, I guess I'll stop now and continue with this tomorrow. I have to get up for practice, even though I just got back and it's late.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"On the Road Again"

So Jetta, Tenie and I are off on another whirlwind adventure. Tomorrow our flight leaves for Belgium, where I will engage in kicking some international ass-well, at least that is what we hope happens. We're going to Belgium because of a swim meet. We have to fly through Germany instead of England-where the rest of the team is flying-because England's laws against bringing dogs into the country are so stringent. We'll be there until Monday May 15, which doesn't really meana very long trip. I'm a little worried about jet lag, but oh well, I'll just have to go over there and do the best I can. Hopefully the results are much better than the last swim meet I went to. (The one in London Ontario. The one where I was very sick and was still taking anti-biotics...very bad). The results weren't so impressive there, but I'm confident things will turn out better this time.
I just got an email this morning about the World Championships that I am working towards. The trials are in August and that will be the next big meet after this one in Belgium. We also have a crazy insane training camp in Calgary at the end of August-that is if I make the team of course. (Keep your fingers and paws crossed).
Tenie and I have to go pick up our passports this morning, yes I know cutting it very close. We also have to go find snacks that won't be taken away when we go through security. For example, bananas, since they are a fruit, are not allowed to leave the country-or enter another one for that matter. :) I also have to do some laundry, pack and go to see the massage therapist. My shoulder is acting up again and I want to make sure everything is in working order before I leave. I know Jetta won't be happy when I get the suitcase out. She always mopes and refuses to go to the bathroom. But, I bought her a new bone, which I will give to her when we get to Belgium and hopefully she'll forgive me by then. Also, she gets to see the team's massage therapist and Jetta loves her, so that might console her little doggy anger too.
Anyway, I need a shower and some more breakfast.

PS: Medley was able to come home last night. The gravel started moving and they did not have to operate. He will be going to his regular vet this morning just to make sure everything is still healing properly.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Keep Our Paws Crossed

Poor Medley is sick. We all went to the park last night-even though the weather was meant for ducks not dogs and people-and he ate some gravel that is now stuck in his stomach and intestine. He had to go to the emergency vet clinic and has now been put on fluids by IV. Ashley went to the vet by herself, but Tenie and went out there after I told her a million times we'd come. I left Jetta at home with Carmen just in case there was something contageous there. Besides, Jetta did not need to go, she would just have gotten all stressed out. She hates the vet. I brought along one of my stuffed black lab puppies and gave it to Ashley for comfort. Tenie brought her food since she hadn't eaten supper yet and it was almost 10 pP.M. She had been too busy cleaning up dog vomit all day and trying to decide whether he was just sick from eating grass at the park, or if there was something really wrong. She finally decided to take him and it's a good thing she did. It's the first night they have ever spent apart and I feel sad for her. I remember the first time Jetta and I spen the night apart, and it was horrible. We'll find out more tomorrow morning about what needs to be done. The vet is hoping the fluids will flush the gravel out and they won't have to operate. So, cross your fingers-or paws-for Medley and Ashley. They need it!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I've been tagged!

Wow, two in one day, you should be so priveleged. lol Anyway, I have been tagged by Coffee Addict. I don't think I know how to tag anyone back, but I'll at least answer the questions. Here it goes :)
What are 4 jobs you have held?
Well, I'm only 22, but I'll tell you about my volunteer jobs
1. working at a theraputic horseback riding facility with children with motor disabilities
2. I was a groomer and dog walker/cat player at my hometown animal shelter. I met some pretty special animals while there.
3. an elite swimmer (that is my current occupation) I have to go to practices 6 days a week, plus dry land training and soon I'll start cycling to strengthen my legs. It's pretty intense. This one is not volunteer in the sense that it does not better my community. I do it of my own will, but I get paid. (Now, don't go getting any wrong ideas-I don't make a fortune).
4. Volunteered with the Red Cross program that got youth involved with the community.

Four Movies I would watch over and over again
This is tough. I have a lot of favourites. In fact, we have 2 whole shelving units designated to our collective movie collections.
1. Ella Enchanted
2. Love Actually
3. The Little Mermaid
4. Brigit Jones

Four Places I have lived
That is complicated. Ihave lived in 3 different Canadian cities-all in Ontario, but I have had a few houses/apartments lately because of university moves.
1. Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Canada (My home town)
2. Brantford Ontario (I attended a school for the blind for 3 years and lived in residence there. No, my parents did not ship me off, I decided to go on my own). :)
3. Waterloo Ontario (My current city of choice because of university).
4. Here is a list of the places Ihave lived in Waterloo:
residence for 2 years,
a very tiny apartment that did not have a living room for a year,
and this lovely 156 year old house we are renting now

Four of My Favourite TV shows
1. American Idol (I am not commenting).
2. CSI Los Vagus (for the same reasons Coffee Addict picked it).
3. The Amazing Race (I think we need a Canadian one. I'd so go)!
4. House (He's so cranky)!

Four Places I have vacationed To
This is complicated again because most of my traveling is swimming related, but sometimes we get to stay a little bit longer and visit the country.
1. Sydney and Karnes Australia (In 2000).
2. Greece: Santorini, Paros, Athens, and Kos (In 2004).
3. Nancy France (In 2002).
4. Sheffield, Skipton and Manchester England (in 2005).
(I've been to Denmark too. It was lovely)! South Africa and Belgium are coming up next. I have also been to a handful of American and Canadian cities too of course.

The Four websites I visit The Most
1. hotmail (my email account)
2. my university's website (especially since I am taking distance education courses now).
3. tons of blogs
4. lol I don't like the internet much.

My four favourite foods
I can't pick! I love food!
1. barbecued steak
2. mashed potatoes
3. chocolate chip cookies
4. broccoli and home made cheese sauce
There are so many more!

Four Places I'd rather be Right Now
...I have itchy feet rmember?
1. at home (miss parents' cooking and our dog Flash).
2. Ireland (Always been a lifelong dream to go). Even Europe would be nice: want to backpack through one year.
3. Australia (One of my friends is there on an internship and I am so jealous).
4. Vancouver (Everyone is so dog friendly out there...and active)!

Four People I have Tagged
Well, I don't think I know four people to tag, so I'll tag 3 and hopefully they play along. I don't have their URL's though...I told you I was computer inept. :)
1. Laura and Willow
2. Katherine
3. Expat Traveler
That is all i have. lol Hope you enjoyed.

Top 13 Favourite Phrases in Our House

Warning: coarse language, reader discretion is advised. :)
This list will consist of the many phrases and words that we utter on a a regular basis-some of the words have been made, but their definition will be included.

1. "Ow fuck" (usually shouted by me when I walk into a misplaced piece of furniture, most often uttered by Tenie when she is in the kitchen, and most often uttered by Carmen...well, all of the time)
2. "Kittends! Are you being bad?" (They're always being bad, unless they're sleeping of course)
3. "What is this? Why do we have this? This is weird!" (My phrase: used when I have discovered something that I have never encountered in our house before. Example: Pomello)
4. "Loki, fuck off, you've already eaten" (told to kitten when he is weaving persistently around your legs nearly killing you)
5. "Fuck you" (always uttered with love) Can also be replaced with just giving the finger
6. "I'm hungry!" (Guess who that is besides a cat)?
7. "Want coffee?" (Always asked by Carmen since she is the coffee maker-more often used during exam period)
8. "blindar" (Used to refer to the spidy sense that we blind people supposedly possess. Do I sense sarcasm)?
9. "community cookies" (the imaginary rewards Carmen and Tenie get for "doing" stuff with blind people. Example? going out for dessert with us, renting a movie with us...stuff that everyone does with their friends. More sarcasm)?
10. "Jetta out of the kitchen!" (She knows she's not supposed to be in there, she just chooses to ignore this rule).
11. "My brain's broken." (Most often used around essay due dates, or exam times)
12. "My *insert body part here* is angry." (Example: noses are angry when you have a cold; shoulders are angry when you've swam 4.5 kilometres Etc.)
13. "Are you okay?" (Usually asked after someone's fallen down Carmen's "stairs of death," or if number one has been uttered).

All right, so we swear a little too much, but we mean well. And there are many nice things we say to each other this list may be a little misleading, but I thought it was amusing nonetheless.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank my roommates, Carmen and Tenie, for their help in compiling this Thursday's top 13 list. :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sunshine and Ice cream

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous around here as of late. Today, my roommates, Jetta and I headed outdoors to a little ice cream place. It's so tiny, that three people and a dog barely fit in its front entrance. We all wore skirts and sandals. People had their windows down and we could hear their music wafting over the hum of the traffic and construction that is going on over at the university. It feels like summer is here. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not. :) Carmen and Christena got 2 scoops of ice cream-black cherry for Tenie, and peach for Carmen-and I got a banana and mango shake. We plopped our rears on a bench in the shade and enjoyed our sugary treats. It was about the time that school had let out so there were crap-loads of little children scurrying into the ice cream shop and then dashing off to catch the city bus so they could go home. There were people flying by on bikes; a few women stopped to stop and admire Jetta; and the sound of flip-flops slapping on the pavement. It's amazing how many people actually live in this city. You tend to forget in the winter because everyone is hiding away from the cold. I had a meeting at four, so I headed over to the university and the girls went to Canadian Tire. They are buying new paint brushes to replace Carmen's grandpa's and a new blind for one of our living room windows. Jetta thoroughly enjoyed her little summer stroll, but was thankful to get home to the coolness of our rambling house. I gave her a heart shaped ice cube when we got back-a summer favourite of hers-and then guzzled some water. We're both just chilling out now, but I must get moving on my distance Ed. courses. Tomorrow's it's supposed to rain, so at least we enjoyed the sunshine while it lasted. Maybe tonight we'll take Jettta running in the park. Ashley is coming over with Medley to have water melon-no melon for the dogs of course-so perhaps a jaunt to the park is in order.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Utah Blue, Brandied Pineapple, and Celery Cluster

What do all of these things have in common?
They’re names of paint samples. Even though my roommates and I are renting the house we’re living in, we had been hoping since September that we would be able to paint the living room. The walls have been patched up a few times and whoever did the repair job, decided not to paint it. There are large white patches all over the walls and scuff marks and holes from someone moving out roughly. At first our landlords were not too keen on us painting it ourselves, but last night they gave us a book of paint samples. After much searching and deliberation, we all agreed on “dried palm;” a nice sort of muted green. The house has hard wood floors and wide wood window frames, so we figured a light warm colour would emphasize the room’s natural beauty. (Oh man, now I sound like those interior decorating TV shows). Anyway, the whole point of this was to highlight the frightening names people have given to paint samples. I mean, where do they get these ideas from?  Just to illustrate my point here is a sample of the names:
Bridal rose,
Muffin mix,
Warm muffin,
Chestnut stallion,
Peach bud,
Apple sauce,
Angel’s breath…
The list could go on forever! There was even one that was related to chicken-I have forgotten the actual name. We figured we could buy a whole bunch of different colours and paint the walls in food colours and have a meal! Either
Way, it was a good laugh.