Woo hoo!!!

Well today is January 31st. I am very happy we are now at the end of the long, desolate month known as January. I hate January for many reasons. It is long and there are no holidays. The weather usually sucks but not this year. It seems like it is a long time to Easter when we get stat holidays again.

I have another reason to celebrate the end of January this year. I participated in NaBloPoMo for November, December and January. I finally made it through a month with a post every day! Now I am pondering doing it for February!

Another Quiet Day

Not much happening today. Lots of TV watching and relaxing going on. I did not make it out but I will tomorrow. I have to work on Monday which really sucks! Two Mondays in a row I will not be a happy camper! It seems like there is one deadline after another that does not allow me to take some of my lieu time off that I built up over the last 2 months. Hopefully I will get a week or so off very soon!

We have been watching 30 Days – a Morgan Spurlock’s (Super-Size Me) show about people and sometimes him living certain ways for 30 days. So far we have watched Morgan and his fiancée (now wife) try to live on minimum wage for a month, Morgan lived on a Navaho reservation and a pro-football player stayed in a wheel chair for a month. The episode where he and his fiancée lived on minimum wage was an excellent commentary on poverty in America. They found themselves literally having to decide to go to the hospital for an injury (or infection) or eating. The arrival of 2 children (niece and nephew) further hampered their finances. The show illustrated how living on minimum wage and working full-time leaves many Americans in poverty. Apparently, the minimum wage has not increased since 1997. Senator Ted Kennedy introduced a bill every year to have it raised and the bills were not passed. Spurlock effectively demonstrates the poverty and disenfranchisement of Aboriginal people living on the reservation. With unemployment at around 60% many people have to leave to support their families. Getting a business going takes a heroic effort. The Navaho had resisted opening a casino but apparently they planned to open one in 2008. If you can watch this show I highly recommend it!

Self-Care Day

I had today off and I totally indulged in self-care (except for the unexpected intrusion of my mother wanting tech support). I had an appointment with a counsellor to try to figure out how things could be done differently. I have a lot going on. I need to get a handle on how I deal with mother and some other issues. So we are going to start from the beginning. I think counselling is very helpful and can bring about positive change. I spent my undergrad in counselling but I guess it is time for a tune-up. It can’t hurt!

I also had a massage at a spa. It was awesome. I cannot get to see my usual massage therapist next week (I have an all-day conference in Burnaby on Wednesday) and my shoulders and my upper back was knotted up. I like the spa atmosphere. It is not one of those high-end spas – it is pretty down to earth. Generally I prefer a registered massage therapist as I have medical issues. However I have found that the 3 people I have seen at TAP have been quite skilled. One of the therapists, Quang, is awesome! He is in Vietnam on vacation but will be back in a week. He is able to work my sciatica and hip area without causing me pain which is hard to do.

I was going to do some errands and some shopping afterwards but I decided to just go home and watch tv and continue to relax. It was a very good choice. I was actually able to eat dinner tonight. Eating has been very difficult for several months. This week my solid food has consisted of soup and toast and a McChicken. The gastro doc thinks I may have developed ulcers and has put me back on pariet. It seems to have stopped the nausea and the pain in my stomach. She also changed my main ulcerative colitis med. Apparently it is the same drug but with a different delivery system. I am wary as I have trouble tolerating this drug in generally and she wants me on the full dose. I still don’t have much of an appetite and eating remains difficult. It is so strange that many of the foods that I used to love have no appeal to me anymore. I used live on eggs. I love on eggs. I tried to eat some a couple of weeks ago and I was quite sick from them. I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to try again. I am also completely off of coffee which is bizarre.

After I came home I watched a couple episodes of Six Feet Under and 24. I rented a movie from iTunes – The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. It was mediocre at best. I love Sandra Bullock but this was just schlock. She seems to like to play ‘fish out of water’ roles and while she is good at it she has more acting skill.

My weekend plan is to just do a bit of shopping tomorrow and then I am going into self-care mode for the weekend. Lots of cuddling with dogs, less time on the internet and lots of sleep. I am not sure how eating may go but I will certainly give it some effort. Next week is insanely busy until Thursday. We have our open house and raffle draw on Tuesday and an all-day conference on Wednesday. I am hoping the event will be laptop friendly as I don’t cope well without a computer for the day!

My Olympic Headache

I have just found out that the parking lot I usually park in for work will be patrolled for the Olympics. Damn. Apparently Hastings is going to be a non-stop zone. I have no idea what I am going to do. I cannot take the Westcoast Express because it does not run when I need it to get to work. Transit from Maple Ridge to Vancouver is a nightmare. I am not even sure how long it will take to get there.

Anyone know someone who lives close to the London Drugs on Hastings who would be willing to sell parking for the duration of the games?

Buddy & Sissy

Buddy and Sissy are 2 of the original SAINTS. The two, very bonded to each other, arrived at SAINTS with very bad skin conditions, stinking to high heaven. The duo, quickly dubbed the ‘icky chis’, became a fixture in front of the fireplace at SAINTS. The laid in separate beds but always side by side. Buddy passed away this week and now Sissy is alone. You can read more of their story here.

This brings up something we deal with often here at Chez Shihtzustaff. Some of our dogs are incredibly bonded to each other and have relationships that are very strong. Madison bonds, eventually, to most of the little dogs.

Mollie and Clio

The little girls also tend to cuddle a lot together. Madison and Kirby have an amazing relationship. They have been together for 10 years. They sleep side by side at night. Piper was quite bonded to Tucker and she visibly grieved for him for a couple of weeks. Quite often we don’t recognize that our dogs form relationships with other dogs.

Gemma, Mollie and Clio

Mollie and Clio are also bonded to each other. They are often seen laying together. Mollie seems to understand that Clio is blind and she does not bark at Clio when she comes into her space. She chases everyone else off unless they are cuddle buddies. Of course that all changes when Mollie has food and the land shark comes out!

Maddie, Clio and Mollie

I sure hope that things get a little better for Sissy quickly. That little dog has had a rough life and now to lose her brother and her best friend she must be devastated. I hope that she is able to bond with another dog at SAINTS who will be her companion.

Piper, Mollie and Clio

Way too bizarre!

I like TV. Actually, no, I love TV. I get involved watching shows and some shows I never miss. One show that I really enjoy is Big Love. For those of you not familiar with the show it is about a practicing Mormon polygamist and his three wives and children. It is highly dramatic and quite interesting to watch. Personally, I keep waiting for the women (or sister-wives as they are called) to decide to ditch Bill and do it for themselves…but I digress.

HBO, in its promotion of this show, has decided that one of the sister-wives should keep a blog. Of course, they one the choose is Margene – the youngest of the three. Margene is younger than the other wives and has exhibited many indiscretions over the three season previous. This season is no different. One of the ongoing story lines has been about Barb’s son Ben and his attraction to Margene.

In the episode last Sunday, an incident occurred that rightfully frightened Margene and Ben came to her rescue. Immediately the sexual tension ratcheted up 10 notches! Later on, before going on the air as an on-air television saleswoman, Margene and Ben kiss. Margene’s boss sees this and during the live broadcast she has the cameras pan to ‘Mr. Margene Huffman.” Margene is shocked and tries to stop her and Ben has no idea.

So clearly there is a problem here. Technically, Margene is one of Ben’s mothers so this is a very icky incestuous type relationship. Enter ‘Margene’s Blog.’ I could not believe it when I read it. It seems like real people are commenting on a TV character’s blog! It is weird enough that there is a blog in her name let alone people commenting on it. I am not sure if all the comments are from real people but it certainly seems that way. People appear to be giving her advice about her ‘situation.’

I am quite surprised that people would actually comment on this blog. Clearly, it is HBO’s attempt to leverage social networking as the blog is promoted on Facebook and likely through other sites as well. Are there actually people out there who have that much of difficulty in separating fiction and a tv show from reality? Do you know any? I am pretty sure I don’t but you never know. Rest assured my faithful readers* that I would never comment on Margene’s blog! Too weird for me!

*into the double-digits now!

Phoning it in…

I am way to tired and pissed off to blog anything constructively that does not contain a multitude of words that begin with ‘F’ and end with ‘K’. So instead, I invite you to check out this great post by the Wandering Coyote and how she channeled her anti-Olympic sentiment in spite of her local city’s Tourism Bureau trying to stop her! Way to go WC! Enjoy. I will be back to normal tomorrow.


After a couple of months wait, I see my new gastro doctor tomorrow. I am not hoping for much. I will likely leave with an appointment for yet another colonoscopy. I had one a couple of years ago. I doubt much has changed. My colitis is not as bad right now as it was then in terms of symptoms however the pain level is still very bad on almost a daily basis. There is also some fear that I actually have Chron’s disease as I am still having trouble eating. I also have pain in my stomach although it is not as bad as my colon.

Until I know for sure which disease I have (although they are very similar and differ really only in the areas of the body that are affected) it is hard to know which treatment is appropriate. If I have colitis I would like to have serious discussions about removing my colon. If it is Chron’s then I don’t really know what happens in terms of treatment. Hopefully I will have some answers tomorrow.

Experimenting with the Cloud

I have been using a flash drive to transport files to and from work. Recently, one of the upgrades to the Mac OS has created an error when one tried to copy large, multi-layered files an error ’36’ would occur. I did some research on it and according to some it is a problem and Apple is working on it. In the meantime, I needed a solution.

I decided to try Mobile Me. Mobile Me allows you to sync contacts, email, calendars and files across computers and hand-held devices. THe part that attracted me was the iDisk with 20 gigs of space. After I zipped my files, I uploaded to the web. It took a long time to get the files up initially but once they were up and initially synced across the computers it seems to be very fast. It seems that if you want to make big changes to what is on the iDisk it is best to do it from the web.

At this point I have not decided if I am going to use the other features. I have been using google calendar and gmail for my contacts for some time and I am quite happy with how it works. I do like the iCal interface better than google calendar which can be quite buggy at times. I may see if it is possible to sync it across both programs so far I have not managed to do it yet.

At $100 a year Mobile Me is a pretty good deal. I don’t have to remember to sync my files to my memory stick everyday – it is done automatically. I have noticed some lag with saving files to the iDisk and then immediately trying to attach them to an email. I will have to sort out how to do this more efficiently.

The Queering of TV Shows

I just watched this weeks episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It was such a pleasure to see queer people and their lives completely integrated into the show. Finally, something on television that seems to just ‘get’ the way things are for most people when it comes to, at least, lesbian and gay people in society.*

It was not too long ago that us queer people would cheer about a gay or lesbian storyline. We would all know it was coming up and many of us would tune in to see ourselves represented. Generally, the characters (generally they would be guest characters) would be labeled as gay or lesbian and we would all marvel at how the regular characters on the show would interact with them and one of them would have some kind of breakthrough understanding about homosexuality and then try to enlighten everyone else.  One of the characters would be a homophobe and would spew some vitriol at the lesbian or gay character. Generally this would be followed by an epiphany of sorts that the “homosexuals” are just like us. They live and they love only they do it with members of the same-sex. Then the show would end, the ‘homos’ would be gone and next week would feature some other kind of aberration. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Things are different now – at least on Grey’s Anatomy. This is a very good thing. A lesbian couple** is part of the fabric of the show with no explanation. Their characters go through their own trials and tribulations and they live and love. The sex scenes are just as hokey as the heterosexuals get and just like the heterosexuals sometimes they are hot. Straight and lesbian characters can interact with each other and talk about their partners and this is nothing different from 2 straight characters having the same conversation. This, my friends, is progress.

One of the things about growing up gay or lesbian or bi or trans is unless your parents are any of the above you really don’t have a role model. Teachers and other people who work with kids generally keep their sexual orientation quiet if they want to keep working with kids. We all know how some parents can react if their child has a gay teacher. How do queer youth learn how to be if they can’t know real people who are also queer? Television is a poor stand-in for real, live role models but it can help. Seeing yourself reflected in the characters of a TV show is normalizing. It says to the queer kid that they can be successful and fall in love with a member of the same-sex and that it will all be fine. It gives kids a name for what they may be feeling. It also gives parents an easy way to talk about these issues with their kids and find out if their kids are struggling with their sexual orientation.

It would be great if the integration would also include bisexual and trans people. There have been many strides forward made by gay and lesbian people that, unfortunately, do not translate to other members of the community. It is great to celebrate the progress but we must not forget that the struggle is not over until we are all integrated.

*I have yet to see any integrated trans or bi-folk on a TV show.

**Although it seemed like they were going to flirt with bi-sexuality for a while last season but I think that go too risky for the network.