Telling the Olympic Story – One Experience at a Time

I’ve never been what you’d call athletic. I couldn’t play sports myself because I couldn’t see enough.  So over the years, I’ve channeled my passion for sports into being the best and most enthusiastic fan I could be.

From the time I could remember, the Olympic Games have given me the ultimate sports high.  Winter or summer, I’ve been in a state of perpetual bliss, parking myself in front of every imaginable TV screen, from the teeny black and white of my childhood to our 20 year old color set. (This year, for the first time, it’ll be an awesome HD flat screen we’ve just bought. I’m pumped.)

And what a rollercoaster of emotions – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed, yelled, screamed and bawled my eyes out over the years.  My heart has alternately ached and swelled with pride for our Canadian athletes.  I’ve been captivated by the Red Ensign and the dear Maple Leaf hoisted above the medal platform.

I’m ready to do the whole thing again in less than two weeks.  But this time it’s going to be different. I’ll be living the Olympic experience in my new home in Vancouver, the host city.  I’ll be taking in two curling matches at a beautiful new facility just a mile or so from my home, where I can assure you I’ll be beside myself.

And  I’m part of an Olympic team as well.  No, we’re not athletes, but we’re bringing our own brand of dedication and passion to the Games.  The Metro Blenz News Squad will be telling the Olympic story through a variety of social media – the blogs we write, the photos we shoot, our Twitter and Facebook activity, and the visitors and locals we meet.

Why have I decided to get involved?  I have a few reasons.

I want to try to help people feel as comfortable and happy to be here as I have been made to feel.  I’m still new to Vancouver, still discovering, and I’m hoping to bring my unique ‘local visitor’ perspective to the table.

I also don’t think I’m the only excited, proud and rabid fan out there, and I want to help convey this unique experience over the next six weeks or so.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not, if you’ll pardon the pun, wearing blinders. No situation is perfect. There are many challenges. Not everyone is happy. Having grown up in Montreal, I know it’s fact of life in an Olympic town. It may be part of what I get to hear.  And I’ll write it down, along with everything else.

Log on to www.metroblenznewssquad.com and follow along. And if there’s something you think I should write about, leave me a comment.

Let the Games begin!

A Bit of an Update

Well, we made it through the Hump Month of August, and did just about everything we set out to accomplish.

We managed to get our Ottawa house on the market – and it sold in mere days for the full asking price!  Miraculous!!

And I went back to Vancouver on September 1st and found a place to live – the main level of a little bungalow right in the Main Street neighborhood I’ve come to love so much.

Next steps – I fly back to Ottawa this coming weekend and supervise the packing and the move – and the most wonderful thing – I get to see the nice guys from 1-800-GotJunk drive away with a truckload of STUFF:-)  I’ll be a happy camper when that’s all done.

Then we close the house on the 30th, pay our bills and start a new chapter.

My husband Dave and I will begin a drive across Canada around October 2nd in plenty of time to meet the moving van at our new digs.  It’s a first for both of us and we’re very excited!  I’m hoping to meet up with fellow bloggers and Twitterers as we go…and of course, write about our impressions of a part of Canada that we’ll discover together.  I’ll be tweeting our destinations, so you all have an idea of where we’ll be stopping.

Praying for lots and lots of good Internet and cell coverage!

Wish us luck – and hope to meet many of you along the way.

In the meantime, though, I need to post a few more blogs this week to make up for lost time!

How I Spent My Twitter Vacation

When Twitter went down with no warning on Thursday morning, my first reaction was annoyance.  I was in the middle of my morning ritual of checking overnight posts, replying and RTing where it made sense, and generally getting up to speed – and this unexpected downtime interrupted my schedule. Drat.  Oh well, I’ll grab a coffee and it’ll be back up.

But of course, it wasn’t.

So I went over to Facebook, which for me isn’t my preferred vehicle of conversation.  Commiserated with a few fellow Tweeters who, like me, were starting to get twitchy. One dear old friend suggested to me that perhaps I needed a 12-Step Program…

I knew he was joking (really, he was!), but it did prompt me to realize that I was spending too much time staring at the screen, simply waiting for the bluebird to rise again.

So I walked away from the computer. I actually sat and read the paper. I called my mother. I curled up with my frail little 16 year old cat and told her how much I loved her.  And it felt good.

When Twitter came back up, I was relieved and happy – but I also reminded myself to approach this platform I love with a little more objectivity, a different perspective.  As much and as often as I am on Twitter, and as much as I value who I know and what I’ve learned there – there a lot more to savor.

So, no 12-Step.  But certainly one important one for me.

Building Connections, Two at a Time

Not sure how it’s happened, but I am hovering around the 3,000 mark in followers on Twitter.  And I follow just about that many people.  It’s amazing.  And overwhelming.  How can I possibly connect with all these wonderful, smart people?

Realistically, I can’t, although I try really hard to engage as many as I can.  And surprisingly, (to me at least) many people engage right back. I love when that happens.

So, I’ve decided to share my very positive Twitter experience.

This week I began posting what I’m calling my Introduction of the Day –  connecting two people I have met on Twitter who may share interests, or professions, or proximity.  Or they may just be two people I enjoy so much that I simply want them to meet and strike up a conversation.

After all, conversation is what Twitter is all about.

I’m looking forward to having fun with this.  And I hope it prompts you to introduce people you know.  I think it has the potential to enrich the Twitter experience for all of us.

Let me know how it goes.

Blogathon Vancouver – 24 Hours, Many Heroes

Yesterday, at the ungodly hour of 6am, several of my Vancouver friends plunged into 24 straight hours of blogging for charity.  Blogathon Vancouver has helped support the efforts of some 20 local charities – from the BC Cancer Foundation and the BC Children’s Hospital to the Vancouver Food Bank and the Federation of BC Writers.  And it’s also introduced the world to some of the most talented and caring people I know.

I was fortunate to guest-blog during the event.

Check out my post for @hummingbird604 on Making the Most of  Twitter in Real Life here.

And I took a slightly lighthearted look at how social media, especially Twitter, can level the playing field for disabled people. Take a look on @ganga_narayanan’s blog here.

For more comprehensive info on Blogathon, visit both @hummingbird604’s and @Miss604’s blogs for starters.  You’ll see references to the many people who participated and the charities they helped.

Next year, I hope to be part of this marvellous group in person.  Great job, everyone!

You are heroes.