Kili Gala

Kili Gala


To The Roof of Africa!

8.12.2010 | 3 Comments

On January 1st, 2010 I started my journey with this blog entry:

I am going to climb a mountain. Well, I’m going to walk up one, anyway.

I haven’t done anything like this before. In fact, I can probably count the number of times I’ve gone hiking, and I know I haven’t been camping more than half a dozen times. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I’m getting into. I’ve watched videos about climbing this mountain. I’ve submitted questions about the climbing of this mountain to semi-popular websites. I have bought (although not yet read) books about this mountain. I feel about as prepared as someone who listens to a song on the radio and then starts hiring roadies to prepare for a world tour.

In August of 2010, I am going to fly to Tanzania, Africa and climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a way to raise money for the Delta Hospice. The Hospice holds a very special place in my heart, and it is my absolute honour to take on this journey to fund raise on their behalf. But this will be no simple journey. Oh no, this will be a flat-out epic.

Aside from the parent-induced membership in Brownies and Girl Guides, I have managed to avoid the outdoors quite sufficiently for about 30 years. I am the anti-camper. I do not like being cold. The sound of rain drops falling on a tent is nearly trauma-inducing. I would rather be in prison than a sleeping bag. (Some of you more astute readers may be able to pick up the subtle hints I am dropping in regards to my views on outdoor life). To climb Mount Kilimanjaro means that I will need to… oh, man… camp for 10 days.

And so, purely for your entertainment, I am going to allow you into my world as I train for this adventure. For the next seven months, I will allow parts of my life to become an open book, and permit you to laugh, cry and shake your head in total disbelief as I attempt to turn myself from Robyn the Indoor Princess, into Robyn the Sobbing Mess of Outdoorsy Semi-Competence.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!

And today, on August 12th, 2010, I am boarding that flight to Tanzania, Africa knowing that $10,000 $11, 850 has been raised (so far!) for the Delta Hospice Society.

I hiked once, twice, three times and four, five times, six times, and seven

I trained

I attempted to camp

I ate, ate, ate, and ate, and ate, ate, and happily ate, and ate, and ate, shamefully ate, ate, ate and attempted to explain sarcasm, ate, and ate, and ate, and tried to avoid eating, and thought about what to eat, and ate.

I fundraised, and had help with fundraising

I was sponsored and sponsored again

I was humbled

I remembered.

This has been an incredible journey on the way to having an incredible journey. I learned a lot about myself in these past eight months, and I learned a great deal about the power of human nature and the strength of community kindness. This whole experience has left me awed. And I am grateful for it. Thank you for letting me share it all with you. This became such a personal blog, and I’ve met some very wonderful people because of it.

And so today, I leave this blog in the capable hands of Chris, who will update it as often as he hears from me. I’m not sure how or when I’ll be able to make contact, but please know that it’s a priority for me to be able to keep you posted.

I want to thank you all so very, very much for following me and for reading this blog. It means more to me than I could ever express to know that I’m carrying your support and kindness in my heart as I scale that mountain.

And guess what?

I’m crying.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!

xoxo

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Fund Raising Effort

7.04.2010 | 3 Comments

As you can see, the donations have gone from deluge, to trickle to tumbleweed-esque.  The lovely Suzanne at Delta Hospice sends me emails to update me on donations that have come in.  She doesn’t send me WHAT was donated, but WHO made a donation. It’s so cool. I always look forward to seeing her name in my inbox.

However, my inbox has been Suzanne-less of late. It sucks.

I realized that I have fallen behind on my fundraising duties – I guess after the Kili Gala, I sort of stopped altogether. But I need to get back on that fundraising wagon and get ‘er done. I’m trying to raise $10,000 here! I mean, you’ve all been so generous, that I’m honestly humbled by the fact that I only need to raise about $4500 more. That seriously rocks the rock.  Awesome possum, people!

So, I went to The Underwear Affair last night at The Red Room downtown to see a GREAT band called Waiting for Sunday. They really were kick butt, and they have a decent following for a local indie band.  They’re just about to go on tour, and I wish them very well, indeed.

But the way people were dancing around when Waiting For Sunday was on stage got me thinking; I need a band like that to draw people in to a fundraiser night! That would be RAD! Just imagine a cool bar like say, The Anza Club, where you could go have a drink, hear great live music and dance up a storm all in the name of charity! Doesn’t that sound fab?! I mean, what if that night were held on, say, July 22nd… and started at like, 7pm? Maybe it could be even called, oh I don’t know… THE KILI CONCERT

Wait a second… AHA!!

Ali of Fatgirlclimbskili fame has beaten me to the punch! She’s got her head on straight and has planned a new fundraising night for The Heart & Stroke Foundation AND The Delta Hospice! As the Kili Gala was to Ladner, The Kili Concert is to Vancouver. This time we’re going downtown, baby! Awwwww… yeah…

So here’s another chance to donate to a good cause in a  great way. I’ll be happily manning (womanning?) the bar for the Kili Concert, and I’d love to see you there. And I’m sure Ali will drink lots of beer and dance around like mad, so you REALLY don’t want to miss that.

Come on out to The Anza Club on July 22nd to help support the Climb Kili 2010 team!!  Wheeeeeeeee!

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Done and done!

6.06.2010 | 3 Comments

Well, that’s that. The Kili Gala has come and gone, and the donations are still being counted.

I just wanted to thank the many, MANY people who came out and lent a hand. My mom was there setting up tables at the beginning, selling tickets through the night, and cleaning up at the end. Good thing she won a bunch of raffle prizes to make up for her hard work!!  I went to her place this morning, and she has Tyler’s elephant photo put up on her wall already!

MJP  was a huge help, too. Bringing the slideshow, helping clean up at the end of the night, and kicking my arse in Jenga. Word to the wise: do NOT play Jenga with this guy for money.

Chris Udy was a mondo rad DJ, and thanks also goes to Fernando at Mirmor Productions for lending the mondo rad Chris the gear he needed to put on a great show.

Ali’s parents were tireless in their clean-up efforts, and they made that blah-est of tasks go by quickly at the end of the night when all we wanted to do was fall over and go to sleep. Her dad also manned the bar so that I could go get my arse kicked at Jenga.   xoxo

Ali’s brother Brian and his lovely (lucky raffle-winning) wife Pam were fab bartenders who handled the dying beer fridge with aplomb. THANK YOU!

Min Banwait came, she saw, she drummed. She set up, she made things look pretty and she helped my tireless mom, too. Thanks Mun!

Chris Bruckshaw from El Camino VolunTours was there, too! He set up a booth, chatted, gave out info, and inspired a whole bunch of people to look at vacations in a new way. Love that I’ve connected with El Camino!

And to all those that drove from afar – THANK YOU. I know Ladner is a bit far for some of you, but you came out and you got home safely, too. YAY!

Finally, I want to thank EVERYONE who came out last night. Maybe you stayed for a few hours, maybe you stayed for a few minutes… it was really, really great to have your support. That meant so very much. I can’t express my appreciation enough. I am humbled by your generosity. Truly.

And now… I need to spend the day cleaning out my car, sorting empties, cleaning my neglected home, doing laundry, walking the dogs, grocery shopping, paying bills soaking my feet and eating chocolate.

THANK YOU.

xoxo

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Checklist for Tonight…

6.05.2010 | 0 Comments

Posters? Check.

Raffle prizes? Check.

Raffle tickets? Check.

Beer? Check.

Wine? Check?

Snacks? Check.

Decorations? Check.

Slideshow? Check.

Drummer? Check.

DJ? Check.

Nerves? Check.

Anxiety? Check.

Fear? Check.

Hope? Check.

WELCOME TO THE KILI GALA!!

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Voluntour?! YES!

6.04.2010 | 1 Comment

So the other day I was walking my dogs around town, and decided to take a new route of sorts. I cut through Memorial Park and I saw a poster advertising a slideshow and talk by El Camino Voluntours owner/operator Chris Bruckshaw. Now, I had seen an article in The Delta Optimist about Chris, and was intrigued by what he was doing.

So, I went to the slideshow presentation.

El Camino is pretty damn cool, if you ask me. A socially aware, big-hearted, culturally significant organization that works at creating vacations with impact. I was very impressed! As soon as Chris started talking about who El Camino is and what they do, I knew that I would be booking a trip with them next year. No doubt in my mind that this is what I want to do.

Basically it’s this: you go with El Camino to Mexico, Nicaragua, or Guatemala and do volunteer work there either building a home for a family, creating water catchment systems, helping build a radio station, or taking part in wildlife conservation. 60% of your trip is volunteer – hard work that makes a huge difference. The other 40% is fun – Chris has set up some great excursions to help you relax and be a total goofball after your volunteering. This is obviously a well-thought-out, creative and thorough organization who have done their research.

I have been looking for something like this for a long time, but haven’t ever found an organization that wasn’t religion-based, or expecting me to pay $3000 for the chance to volunteer… or both.

So… I have asked Chris to come and set up a booth at the Kili Gala and chat with people who may have the same thoughts as I do: I want to go and volunteer in another country, but I’m not a doctor, or a nurse (like the AWESOME Haiti-visiting Melissa Glen!), or have a bazgillion dollars to spend. I know there are people out there like this. I’m right, aren’t I?

How cool it’s going to be to combine travel with a social conscience. I can’t wait for next year!

But first, I’ve got a mountain to climb…

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ROAD TRIP!!

5.29.2010 | 0 Comments

Only one week to go until the Kili Gala!

And then the real worrying begins…

I’ve been fretting and stressing about this Kili Gala since I first decided to actually throw it. I’m anxious, I’m nervous, my face has broken out, I’m jittery, on-edge, and concerned. As has been well documented here, I am NOT an event planner by any stretch of the imagination. It freaks me out! So, as I plan this mondo gala, I’m throwing all my fears and anxieties into it with full force.

How very, very convenient.

Anyone else out there know exactly what’s going to happen as soon as the Gala is over?

That’s right, I’ll be able to focus my energy on stressing about the actual climb. Until now, I’ve been able to hide behind the Kili Gala in order to avoid thinking about the actual climbing of Mt. Kilimanjaro. But once the music stops, the hall is cleaned up, and the happy raffle draw winners have danced home… well… it’s just me, the mountain and my brain.

It’s not going to be pretty.

SO! Until then, let me keep amusing you with tales of woe and strife surrounding this most epic of fundraising events – the Kili Gala. And since I haven’t revealed a raffle prize in a while, I think I’ll toss a whopper your way today…

Big Sky Golf and Country Club in Pemberton, BC has kindly, generously, fabulously donated a round of golf for two to the Kili Gala Raffle Draw. Let’s see, what does Golf Digest say about Big Sky… “4 1/2 stars!”  and… “One of the Top Ten courses in Canada!”. NICE! What about Fairways an Greens Magazine? …”Top 5 in the west (in North America)“. Not too shabby there, either! “BC Facility of the Year” says the BCPGA

You getting the picture here? This course kicks serious butt. Wow. What a prize! I mean, it doesn’t get any better than th… what’s that? It DOES get better?!

That’s right, as a way to make this raffle draw prize stuffed incredibly full of awesome-o-rama chunks, The Pemberton Valley Lodge has stepped in and donated one free night’s stay at their beautiful resort to go along with the golf pass at Big Sky.

This raffle prize alone is worth approximately $400*, and you could have it for the price of admission and ONE raffle ticket: $22.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!? (of course, buying just ONE raffle ticket for this seems sort of silly, doesn’t it?)

Come on out to The Kili Gala and throw a handful of raffle tickets into the box for the Big Sky/Pemberton Lodge prize. Maybe it’s something you want to win for yourself, maybe it’s something you’d love to be able to give to a spouse/friend/parent/employee of the month… whatever! It’s all yours, baby!

Can’t wait to see you there!  xo

*Just a wee reminder (that I’m sure you wise, intelligent, common-sense-filled people know): NONE of the raffle draw prizes at the Kili Gala can be redeemed for cash, mkay?

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Gala Galore-a

5.19.2010 | 3 Comments

So, Ali and I were sitting around the other day putting together packages of Raffle Prizes for the Kili Gala. There has been an incredible amount of items donated from businesses local and beyond. After all was said and done, Ali and I were able to combine some great things and created a total of 28 different raffle prizes to be won. The  best part was naming them all…

The Fit For a Bit package (A gift basket from Parsley Sage & Thyme – with cleanse kit, and a personal training session with Cara!)

The Leave Me Alone package (a lovely basket of all things girly and bathtime-esque, complete with a bottle of wine!)

The Wakey-Wakey package (a pound of Hazelmere coffee and a month of Bootcamp!)

The Boys Night Out package (4 Whitecaps Soccer tickets AND a $25 gift certificate to The Landing!)

We’re having way too much fun now!

So today I am off to apply for the temporary liquor license, and I’ll probably be picking up some beer and wine, as well. I had a VERY generous donation of 4 dozen Granville Island beer, so that really helps to keep costs down AND appease the beer-snob masses.

I need to make a Costco run at some point, too. We can’t have a Gala without snacks now, can we?! Mmmm… snaaaaacks.

Drinking, dancing, snacking! Raffle prizes and a 50/50 draw! Entertainment-laden fundraising at its best, and all in the heart of little ol’ Ladner!  Wheee!

SO. Get your friends, your dancing shoes, your twoonies, and your designated drivers ready, because in 17 days, we’ve got a party going on!!

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Waxing Philiosophic.

5.16.2010 | 1 Comment

Before I start today’s blog, I just want to point out to the entire world that Tyler Garnham admitted to me that he drank a few bottles of Bud Light beer last summer. Not only that, it was Bud Light LIME. Seriously. Yah, I know. My respect for him as a total Beer Snob just dropped considerably, too. It hurts when your world crashes down like that, doesn’t it? Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, marrying for money, Tyler being a beer snob… its all just crumbled away. My god. What is there to believe in anymore?

Aaaaaaaaaanyway…

The other day my dad brought me an article from the Financial Post section of The Vancouver Sun newspaper. Now, it wasn’t the entire article that caught his eye, it was merely two paragraphs (which is good, because the rest of that article was booooooring!). And so what did those two paragraphs say that made my dad think of me?

Three years ago, at age 54, Palmer climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for Cerebral Palsy. His story began in a conventional way, as he urged entrepreneurs to: achieve clarity in their mission, set lofty goals, and prepare (he walked 32 kilometers a week for a year).

But when he neared the top of the 5,790 metre mountain, as the thin air tore his lungs and he could barely lift his feet, Palmer learned the true secret of success. Many factors kept him going: knowing he had come so far; the faith of 200 sponsors for his cause, and the anticipation of a breathtaking sunrise at the top. As his African guide told him later, “it’s not the strongest people who make it to the top of Kilimanjaro, but the ones with the best attitude.”

That got me.

For some reason, after reading that short recap, I felt as though I’d been hit by a truck. It was just very honest, and very real. It made total sense. So much of what we achieve is only achievable because we simply believe it’s achievable. That’s why I decided to make my fund raising goal $10,000 – because I believe that it can happen. I believe that this community can raise that money for The Delta Hospice Society. I believe that there are good people in this community, and across the globe (I’ve had donations come in from 5 different countries!), and that together we can make this happen. I believe it.

Don’t you?

Speaking of fund raising…

So, what’s on deck for the Kili Gala Raffle Prize Reveal today? Something quite unique. Something quite… well, revealing, really.

Let’s talk Sugar Box, baby! Jane Brookes is a perfectionist. Jane Brookes believes that women should feel as beautiful as they truly are. And with that, Jane Brookes decided to go into business as a ‘Waxing Specialist’. Jane believes that there are two places on a woman’s body that should always be immaculately groomed: the eyebrows and the… well… the Sugar Box. So she opened a waxing studio specifically catering to those two body parts. This may seem strange to some, but I can assure you, Jane tapped into an absolutely perfect market. She’s a genius.

I have been going to see Jane at Sugar Box for over 4 years now. Her studio on Homer St is my place of choice (she also has a studio on Commercial Drive and a new one on Main St, as well), as it is the ultimate in feminine awesomeness. Pink, but not ultra-freaky-girly, it’s decorated with taste and honesty, and comes complete with a fantastic chandelier. Jane knows exactly what she’s doing when it comes to everything she touches (pun intended). I love her. Everyone loves her!

Jane chats throughout the service you receive, and in all honesty, it’s over before you know it! And the weirdest part is that you almost wish it took longer! Aside from her immaculate hygienic practice (gloves, never re-using the wax sticks), she’s very… ummm… thorough, and not the least bit shy. Jane is a genuinely warm, welcoming, purely phenomenal gal. She’s beautiful, too (and married – sorry boys!), and always has the best things to chat about! And after it’s all said and done… she gives you a lollipop. Everyone loves Sugarbox!!

Jane has graciously, generously, incredibly donated a $100 gift certificate for services at Sugarbox. That’s enough to get a Brazilian AND rhinestones!! Oh, yes… rhinestones. Trust me on this one, ok?

But what about the guys? Sure this raffle prize is all well and good for a woman to win, but isn’t it discriminatory against men?

…I haven’t told you about Jane’s newest enterprise: Toolbox.

June 5th, come on out to The Kili Gala at the Ladner Community Centre. Think about it: if I’m advertising a prize like this, imagine how nutty the party is going to be.

SEE YOU THERE!!

xo

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The Dusk of a New Age

5.14.2010 | 3 Comments

Today is the last day that I will be 33 years old. When I turn 34, that means that I will have only 89 days before I fly to Africa.

That scares the crap out of me, man.

I bought a Lonely Planet East Africa guide yesterday. I balked at the $41 price tag, but about 5 minutes after I started reading it, I realized that it was pretty much priceless. I have to get from Kigali, Rwanda to Kilimanjaro, and figured out that I can either fly there for about $75, or I can take a bus for about $10. Obviously the frugal part of me knows that the bus is the better choice. But then I started to think about it… do I really want to take a bus through Rwanda? No offense, but no. No, I don’t.

I’d like to see Africa yes, but I don’t want it to be the last thing I see, you know? Maybe I’m overreacting. I’m not sure. I really have no idea what to expect. I’m the type of person that likes to be organized and have things planned out well in advance. I can’t do that with this trip, and this is the trip that I would like to have planned out as far in advance as possible.

But… what will be will be. Maybe in my old age I’m learning to just let go of things and ‘take it as it comes’. If that’s what 34 is all about, then I welcome it!

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Today’s Kili Gala Raffle Draw prize comes courtesy of Local Awesome Guy Tyler Garnham. When I was in 5th grade, my family moved to a new home in Ladner, and it just happened to be next door to where Tyler’s family lived. Being about 5 years older than I am, Tyler was ‘That Cute Boy‘ that lived on my street back then, and he was most assuredly the reason why I had so many girlfriends that wanted to play at my house.

In high school, Tyler was one of those Nice Guys that said hello to everyone, even to the 8th grade dorky chick with the mullet that lived next door to him. He could very well have been like those jean-jacket-wearing, puffy-haired weenies that liked to walk into mulleted waifs like me, but he wasn’t. Thanks Tyler!

I remember thinking that Tyler was really, like, you know, cool n’ stuff because he was like, you know, super like, talented n’ stuff when it came to like, arts n’ graphics n’ stuff. I also thought that he was probably pretty awesome because he got to hang out with Mr. Pelletier a lot. And THAT GUY was cool. Way cooler than Mr. Moorehead… but maybe not as hot. Ohhhhh man, Mr. Moorehead was really attractive! I mean, all of us girls would just pray that we got him as a teacher, and he was the only reason why we all looked forward to receiving our class schedules in August. Yah, he was pretty dreamy…

Wait. Where was I going with this?

RIGHT! Tyler… ok, so turns out that Tyler is uber-talented! I mean, sure we all saw that coming, but it’s great to see that he’s been able to make a living off of it. See? Nice guys DO finish first.

Tyler has donated a phenomenal photograph to the Raffle Draw. This is so totally, like, rad isn’t it!? Yah, I know! The Kili Gala now offers you an opportunity to have a Tyler Garnham photo in your home. No, not a photo OF Tyler Garnham, a photo BY Tyler Garnham. Settle down, ladies.

So, come on out to The Kili Gala on June 5th, and throw your raffle ticket(s) in for this truly awesome prize.  You’re going to be so glad that you did.

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What a Wonderful Woooooorld…

5.12.2010 | 2 Comments

What a world we live in! In the past week I have had an email from my friend who is traveling in Chile, an email from my brother who is wandering around Nepal with his lovely girlfriend, and this morning I received a phone call from my pilot friend who was walking around Hong Kong between flights.

Ducklings happily invaded the Delta Hospice, a friend of mine found a nest of baby bunnies in her yard (thankfully before the dogs did!), and HER friend watched as a baby cow fell off the back of a truck at a stop light (he’s ok!).

You just never know what to expect from day to day, do you? Thankfully, I am now fully prepared to capture whatever life throws my way – everyone, meet Gary.

That’s right, Gary is my new Handycam! As many of you already know, the Nikon D40 met with its sad fate while I was hiking up The Stawamus Chief trail. I knew I had to replace my camera, but wanted something different this time. I have a good point-and-shoot, so since Ali and I figured that we needed to do ‘video diaries’ while on Kili, a Handycam was the way to go.

Why is it named Gary? I have no idea. It just is.

So anyway, now I am going to spend the next 15 years trying to figure out how to use the thing. I am not what one would describe as ‘tech savvy’, and can become easily confused when I attempt to use my blender. And NO, my blender does not have a name. That would just be silly, now wouldn’t it? Sheesh… what kind of weirdo do you think I am!?

And so, with that fabulous news, I bring you ANOTHER Kili Gala Raffle prize that will be available to win at the June 5th Kili Gala… The Kili Gala is the fund raiser that Ali and I are throwing at the Ladner Community Centre on the evening of June 5th. We’re going to have drinks and dancing and a fab raffle draw in an attempt get closer to our goals of raising $10,000 for our respective charities (mine is The Delta Hospice Society, and Alison is raising funds and awareness for the Heart & Stroke Foundation). Tickets are only $20, and 100% of net proceeds will be going to charity, as Ali and I are paying for our Kili trip out of our own pocket. SO COME ON OUT!

Sami Christanson is an incredibly talented artist and designer. I met her a few years ago when I saw her work displayed at the Ladner Sunday Market. I loved her style and wondered if she would be able to paint a portrait of my dog Jake, who had recently passed away. She did. Incredibly well. So well in fact, that I cried and cried and cried when I saw the painting for the first time. She captured him perfectly. And so the next year I asked her to paint a portrait of Luna… AMAZING. Now, keep in mind, Sami is only 21 years old. Can you believe that?! All that talent stuffed into such a young person. She’s just going to get better and better…

Aside from being talented and just totally awesome, Sami is also very generous. She has donated TWO paintings to the Kili Gala Raffle Draw! So, on June 5th, you have an opportunity to get an original Sami Christianson piece of artwork. Seriously… this chick is going places. I just know it. Your grandkids are going to sell her paintings to an art dealer in 20 years and make a bajillion dollars. Mark my words, Sami is going places…

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