2010 in Blogs

I am shamelessly stealing this idea from Dr. Beth at NTBTWK. I am also going to steal her modification! I am shameless! To sum up the year, I am going to post the first 2 lines of the first blog for each of the 12 months of 2010. Here we go!


Here is my 2009 review post. I took this meme from Facebook. Seeing as all my blogs end up being posted in facebook, I thought I would do it here.


NaBloPoMo suggests a blogging theme for each month. In December it was ‘mitzvah’ which means giving. I chose to deviate from the theme as I did not want to post everyday about doing something nice as I thought it would be artificial.


Today I was a rebel. Today I did something I have never done before. Today I removed a tag that said “Do not remove this tag.”


I am always pleasantly surprised at how intuitive dogs are. I am pretty sure that our dogs are not an anomaly in their behaviour.


I am too tired to blog today. It has been a crash and burn kind of day.


Visits with my mother have never been an easy thing. Certainly they have never been considered a good time. I thought it was bad before.


So now there are sexual misconduct allegations against Al Gore. Of all of the male politicians in the US, Al Gore always seemed the most pure.


Busy day. A bit of plants vs zombies and a dinner guest.


Woo hoo! I am 2 days away from my 2 weeks off. I love to take time off in September.


One of my guilty pleasures is ‘The Apprentice.’ This week the teams were tasked with running a doggy day care.


Today I went to the dentist. This was an event as I am dental phobic and the dentist we have had for the last 10 or so years has retired.


So, we now have 4 candidates in the race to replace Gordon Campbell. First up is Moira Stillwell.

I am going to add a few things that have made this year memorable:

  • I was not hospitalized at all in 2010. Ok, yes there are a few hours to go but barring any major catastrophe, I should make it. It was also a year that saw my colitis get quite out of control. I am still trying to overcome a flare.
  • I have gone for blood tests every week since June. That is a lot of blood tests! Most weeks it is a CBC (Complete Blood Count) to monitor my counts. For most of this time, I have been able to access my results online. It has worked very well as I am able to get important information quickly.
  • I have had to come to terms with the fact that I am depressed and I have an anxiety disorder. I do far better on Pristiq than off. In getting that link I just read that Pristiq is being marketed as a non-hormone replacement treatment for menopause. While I am not there yet, I guess I can look at that little pill as me being proactive.
  • We marked the passing of Gemma, Kirby and Madison this year. They are all missed and we wish they were still with us.
  • I passed the 2-year mark at my current employment.
  • I loved how we all became believers during the 2010 Winter Olympics. This was one of my favourite posts of 2010.

Bring on 2011. I will be ducking for sure!

Day 2

I am still feeling like crap. I don’t  have a great deal of energy to blog. So, instead, I shall leave you with a link to a graph of water consumption in Edmonton during the gold medal hockey game.

Closing Ceremonies Music

I have been waiting anxiously for iTunes to put the songs from the closing ceremonies up. I really wanted Neil Young’s song and Wunderkind by Alanis Morrissette. They are up finally but you have to buy the whole album! They won’t sell the songs individually. After the Opening Ceremonies they put up an EP of kd lang’s Hallelujah. You had the choice of which version you wanted to buy. This is a really annoying end to what was a fantastic Olympics. Oh and to add insult to injury (for some) the Russian National Anthem was not there.

NB: In case you are all wondering, yes I bought it all for the 2 songs I wanted. I am sure I will get my utility out of the purchase. Music is very central to my life and if I want something I will not be happy until I get it.

We are all believers it would seem

When the Vancouver Winter Olympics started 17 days ago I was very cynical. After the opening ceremonies and the first couple of days of the games it appeared that Vancouver was going to fail. There was no snow on Cypress, the Olympic Cauldron was behind a chain-link fence and our athletes did not seem to be doing that well. Our “Own the Podium” program not only seemed completely un-Canadian, it looked like a failure. Half-way through the games the ‘Own the Podium’ people came out and said their hopes were too ambitious for this games. If we didn’t own the podium in 2010, many were hopeful that we had at least put down a foundation for future games.

Then something happened. I am not sure what but things began to change. We started to win medals, many more medals than we had ever won at any other Olympic games. Plus we won gold on home soil! People became proud to be Canadian as we watched our athletes win. Canadians are not an overly nationalistic people. Historically, we have not had a galvanizing event around which we could gather and point to as a significant event in the formation of our nation. The Americans have the Civil War. Canada was formed as a result of a very successful set of negotiations. Canadians rarely feel nationalistic in the way other nations experience it. Countries like Russia, Japan, and the United States display their nationalism unfettered and without apology. For a short amount of time, our nationalism galvanized, we displayed our hopes and dreams for our country as one. A very rare event in quiet, staid, apologetic Canada.

It cannot go unsaid that these Olympic Games belonged to our women athletes. The women inspired us and their teams to achieve more. From the guts performance of Joannie Rochette to the free-spirited Ashleigh McIvor who came screaming down the mountain our women did not let us down. Clara Hughes, a veteran of both winter and summer games, won a bronze medal in an awesome performance. Our women’s hockey team played with heart and soul and won against the Americans.

In the lead-up to the Games, the February 15th edition of Maclean’s outlined a list of athletes to watch at the games. Out of 9 entries* only 3 were women and one of the women was the coach of the Canadian Women’s hockey team. This seems way out of line when compared with the actual results. They devoted an entire page to Jeff Pain and his wife discussing their marital problems. They featured Patrick Chan but not Joannie Rochette. Why Sidney Crosby but not Hayley Wickenheiser? I have my theories for sure.

Today it seemed like the entire country was holding its collective breath at the end of the third period when the Americans scored the goal that tied the game. We all breathed a sigh of relief when Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal. In Olympic hockey matches winning silver means that you lost. I have never seem more miserable athletes than the Americans, both the women and the men’s team, when they lost their games to Canada. I hate to think of what might have happened had Canada lost.

The Closing Ceremonies were much more Canadian than the Opening Ceremonies. I liked how they made fun of their own malfunctioning equipment. Neil Young, William Shatner, Michael J. Fox, and Micheal Buble – it does not get more Canadian. It has been a great 17 days and I can say that I believe – if only for a little while. Bring on the Paralympics!!

*Here are the athletes featured: Jeff Pain – Skeleton, didn’t medal, Alex Harvey – Cross-country Skiing, didn’t medal, Sidney Crosby – hockey, did medal, Larcellas Brown – Bobsleigh, did medal, Ashleigh McIvor – Ski Cross, did medal, Chris Del Bosco, didn’t medal – Ski Cross, Cindy Klassenm didn’t medal – Speed Skating, Manuel Osborne-Paradis – Alpine, didn’t medal, Mel Davidson – coach of the Women’s Hockey Team, did medal, Patrick Chan – Figure Skating, didn’t medal

Dispatches from the Swamp

Blogging every day is not an easy task. Quite often there is nothing I find inspiring enough to devote a blog post to it. Sometimes there are events that are happening which I either don’t have an opinion on or I can’t be bothered to formulate one. Today is one of those days. I could blog about the Olympics and the fact that we are kicking some gold medal ass. We actually seem to be owning some of the podium – the gold part. I do think our athletes have done very well and all the naysayers can suck it up.

On these days, I tend to blog about goings on at chez Shihtzustaff. I am going to do that today, in bullet form:

  • Clio is doing well today. She has not coughed at all. Ya Clio!
  • Deb has a new name for Zoe. She is ‘da piggy huntah.’ She has been given this name because that dog is completely obsessed with the guinea pigs. She barks at them, and tries to get into their cage (did so once because of human error). Last night while Deb and Angelina were cutting Edith’s nails, Zoe was literally trying to crawl up Deb to get to Edith. She is one crazy-ass little shithead!
  • Still on Zoe, AKA ‘da piggy huntah’ she has learned to play so well. For a dog who spent 9 years in a puppy mill she is definitely embracing life as she knows it today. Everything she does is done with gusto, her head and tail held high. She owns the world and she knows it! It is such a pleasure to watch a dog grow in this way. It is one of the true gifts of rescue.
  • I am constantly amazed at how loyal Piper is to me. She sleeps molded around some part of me every night. She knows when I am having a bad day and she sits with me. She never demands attention like some of our other dogs, instead she leans against you so you know she is there. She is incredibly cuddly in the mornings and even submits to have her ever-filthy wrinkle cleaned.
  • I suffer a great deal from very tense muscles in my neck, shoulders and lower back. Today I bought a shiatsu back massager for my chair in the living room. While it is not comfortable to sit on all the time as the roller protrudes far out, it works very well. Basically the roller goes up and down your back slowly. You can press into it for added pressure. It is going to work very well to my back in a little better shape. I also bought a heating pad to continue to help to reduce some of the pain I feel in my back. Maybe I will take less muscle relaxants now.
  • Gemma continues to do very well. We have not noticed any progression of her disease at all. She no longer behaves aggressively but we still keep her and Zoe apart. Zoe has a long, long memory and just seeing Gemma sets her off. She is a scrappy little girl!
  • My colitis is acting up quite a bit these days. I will spare you all the details.
  • I am back to work Monday after having 2 weeks off. I am not really sure how I am going to pull this off as I am still sleeping 12 hours a day. Should be interesting to say the least. I do feel rested and a little bit more relaxed. We will be going into a very busy time over the next couple of months.
  • If I blog tomorrow I will have actually completed a full month of blogging. There was a technical glitch that saw one of my posts submitted the next day so technically I guess I did not manage to do it. However, in my mind I know that I did. Now we are on to March. For those of you who blog, NaBloPoMo is a great way to help you blog daily.

That is it until tomorrow!

More Olympics!

This Olympics should be renamed the “Women’s Olympics.” Canadian women have now won over 80% of the medals awarded to Canada. Our Women’s hockey team has taken gold as well. I wonder if there has ever been research done looking at the difference in performance of women over men.

I would hazard a guess that women generally handle stress better than men. Women are used to having to work harder and be better all the time. I don’t think men handle the stress in the same way. Women are used to juggling competing priorities as we strive to be succesful. Women like Hayley Wickenheiser have children and are able to continue in their sport at a very high level. Regardless the reason, Canadian women have made us very proud at these Olympic games!

Olympics Overload

The Olympics have been great. I have enjoyed watching some of it – especially the figure skating. However, I have to say that I am getting tired of it now. So many shows that I like are not being broadcasted. I am so thankful for the Apple TV which gives me alternatives.

Speaking of the Apple TV, I had to clear out my hard drive the other day because all of the media for the ATV had filled it. I purchased a new 2TB drive to hold all of my stuff and to back up all of the computers in the house.

In other news, Zoe continues to charm us whilst being completely bad to the bone. She is the cutest dog! Her personality shines through all the time. She is a great little dog!  Sawyer is doing really well too. He is growing like a weed and he will be neutered in a couple of weeks. One of his testicles has not descended. I have read about another dog who is having testicle issues. Sawyer is doing well integrating with the pack. Some of the older dogs, Madison, Clio and Molly can’t stand him. Kiefer isn’t great with him either – hopefully that will improve once Sawyer is neutered. Sometimes neutered dogs don’t like other intact males – it’s a hormone issue. Kirby, Sienna and Piper are really good with Sawyer. Zoe is hysterical with him – she barks and he jumps. Wash, rinse, repeat. It is a very loud game.

Gemma continues to do well. She has gained some more weight and she runs like a demon. She is not showing any signs of cancer except for the odd behavioural issue. She is very interested in food and getting lots of cuddles. Gemma is one of the most beautiful dogs I hae ever seen. Her eyes are deep and soulful.

Gemma Joy with one of her 'babies'
Gemma Joy with one of her 'babies'

Piper is an intensely loyal dog. When I am having a bad day or not feeling well she does not leave my side. She leans against my leg when I am on the computer and she lies on my feet in the reclining chair. She is very comforting to me.

2010 Olympics Short Program

The womens’ short program was nothing short of amazing tonight. Joannie Rochette was spectacular in her skate tonight. Even more so given the passing of her mother. She is an amazing athlete to have been able to go out there and skate so well. I am really looking forward to the free skate and I am seriously hoping that Joannie wins gold!

Ashley McIver’s gold ski cross run was fantastic. Many of the skiing and snowboarding events rely on fractions of seconds. The race clearly showed Ashley clearly ahead of her nearest competitors. Congratulations Ashley. I think we officially own the right-hand corner of the podium – the foundation!

Woo Hoo!!

The performance tonight by Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir was picture perfect. Usually, I find ice dancing quite boring. Not tonight! I cannot believe the things they did on skates. The move where Tessa is perfectly balanced on Scott’s back seemed almost impossible except for the fact that they did it.

Tessa and Scott displayed such pride and amazing sportsmanship as they accepted their gold medals. They sang “O Canada” as it played and really gave back to the audience. The audience, in turn, gave even more love back to them.

Congratulations Tessa and Scott. I hope you have a very long career, you are already succesful at such a young age! The future is bright for you.

What it is going to take?

I get so frustrated when I am confronted with blatant sexism. The cover of the Province Newspaper had the headline: “You GOLD Girl” in reference to Maelle Ricker’s gold medal at the Winter Olympics yesterday. She is 32 years old and she is far from being a girl. If they were talking about a man winning a gold they would definitely not refer to him as a ‘boy.’ To refer to Maelle as a girl is completely insulting to her and other women athletes. The women competing at the Olympic Games are every bit as athletic and hardworking as their male counterparts. To dismiss Maelle in this way is very upsetting as it diminishes her accomplishments.

Language is a very powerful tool. Through our choice of words we can convey messages that are not contained in the text. In this example, referring to Maelle as a girl minimizes her accomplishments and takes away her adult status. Much in the same way that slave owners in the American South used to call African-American men ‘boy.’ The use of that word conveyed a vast difference in station like some how the man being refered to as a ‘boy’ was infantile thus robbing him of personal power and agency. The same thing happens to women when someone calls them a girl. This reduction in status allows some men to see women as less than and not equal. It is then a slippery slope to the point where some men might think they can do what they want to a woman because after all she is ‘only a girl.’ Who listens to a ‘girl’ saying no. This is the very essence of that which allows some men to assault and rape women.

There is no doubt that Maelle Ricker is an accomplished woman. To think she is anything less is insulting and demeaning.