Dispatches from The Swamp – the ‘EWM edition’


Derek Hough and Amber Riley
Derek Hough and Amber Riley


This is day 4 of of prednisone for me. I really struggle when I have to take this drug – it ramps up my anxiety like crazy and makes me very emotional. Yesterday I was in tears when my GI doc’s office called and suggested an emergency scope for next week. I don’t need another colonoscopy. In fact, it was the one I had in April that seemed to start this all off. I was also under increased stress at work starting then as well so it is hard to know what to blame for sure. Being bullied certainly makes it worse. Losing my job as a result of the complaint I made about the bully definitely ramped things up more. I was so sick in September, I could hardly eat. I don’t know what the answer is but I am getting sick of being so sick all the time.

We have been going swimming at our local pool in the last couple of months. Both of us love it and it is such good exercise. The only thing that annoys me about the pool are these old, entitled white men (EWM). They stare at us and make us feel quite uncomfortable. Today, we were treated to one of the most annoying EWMs to date. He seemed to relish going up and down the pool with his flutter board kicking his feet above the water to let everyone know he was there. I suspect he missed that lesson where you are taught to kick under the water. Even the life guard was eyeing him funny. Today we also tried out the other pool. It is much warmer and has this amazing water fall that gives the most amazing massage. I just stood there moving my shoulders all around. It felt so good!

Stevie Ray is doing so well. She has learned to sleep through the night without making a mess so we graduated her from the x-pen to a crate in our bedroom. We tend to sleep longer hours than normal so the fact that she can hold her bladder all night is a huge step forward. It has also improved her toilet training overall. She also regulates her food intake; she doesn’t eat more than she needs. This is so different from the  starved, neglected rescued dogs to which we are more accustomed. Quite often those dogs come here and think they have gone to heaven and gain weight. It really demonstrates the difference between a healthy puppy and a rescued dog who has been through hell. Every once in a while it is nice to be reminded that healthy dogs do exist.

So Amber Riley won Dancing with the Stars. I am finding it interesting that the usual flood of post victory blogs and news stories are very quiet. Is it because Amber is a fat, African-American? She certainly did not fit the mould of the usual DWTS star winners. I think she has done so much for young women who have now witnessed one of their own, who probably looks more like them than they look like Kellie Pickler (last season’s winner).


Dispatches from The Swamp – the ‘swimming’ edition


The pool we swim at in Maple Ridge, BC
The pool we swim at in Maple Ridge, BC

Recently we have taken up swimming. I have always loved the water. As a kid we spent a lot of time taking swimming lessons and playing in the pool. My limited mobility as a result of obesity and chronic pain issues from ulcerative colitis make exercise an extremely difficult undertaking.

Swimming allows me to feel free. I am able to move my body however I want to and nothing hurts. I can feel the strength in my arms as I pull myself through the water. Kicking loosens up the muscles in my hips. I also do some water running with pool barbells. Those same barbells work really well for resistance work for my arms. Given that I carry all my stress in my shoulders this is an amazing way to work those muscles and loosen things up a bit. The effects last for a couple of days.

Getting out of the water really sucks. By the third step out of the pool, I feel all the effects of gravity magnified. Thankfully it only lasts for a few minutes.

Swimming has been a great way to deal with some of my anxiety. Moving my muscles seems to release some of the tension they hold. I also feel very strong in the water and graceful – two things I don’t have much acquaintance with on land.