Ladner

Ladner


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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Two.

8.10.2010 | 9 Comments

I’m getting lots of emails and messages as Aug 12th comes ever nearer. It’s so frigging cool. People I know and love, people I’ve never met, people wishing me well, people asking me for advice, people telling me that I’m their “hero”. I never thought that this would happen.

I started this blog on January 1st as a way to invite people into my journey, and it has turned out far better than I could have thought. I get messages from all over the world! No kidding! I love it. LOVE IT! So, if you’re reading this, and haven’t ever written to me, please feel free to do so today. I’ve got a couple days on Canadian soil, and would love to have your messages in my heart when I trip the blue fantastic.

I’ve been getting requests about my itinerary, and so thought I’d repost it here today.

My climb starts on Aug 23rd, and we will be taking the Lemosho/Shira route that will take us eight days. I will summit on the 7th day (that’s right, I WILL SUMMIT), and then be back at the hotel for a final night on the 30th of August. It kinda’ goes like this…

Aug 23: Drive to Lemosho Glades and hike to Mti Mkubwa forest camp.
Aug 24: Hike to Shira One camp.
Aug 25: Hike to Shira Two camp.
Aug 26: Hike to Barranco camp.
Aug 27: Hike to Karanga Valley camp.
Aug 28: Hike to Barafu camp.
Aug 29: Hike to the summit and descend to Mweka or Millennium camp.
Aug 30: Complete the descent to Mweka gate and drive back to Marangu.

Shira 2 camp


So, please feel free to follow along. The time change is pretty big, so be prepared to do a little math if you want to know exactly where I am at what time. Ok, so it’s 10:03am on Tuesday, Aug 10th right now, and so that means that it’s 8:03pm on Tuesday, Aug 10th in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  Got it? I’ll be 10 hours ahead of you all in Ladner. On Summit Day, we are woken up at about midnight, then climb, climb, climb until we reach the peak at about 6am Tanzania time – that would be about 8pm Ladner time on the 28th.  So send your good vibes our way, ok? Thanks!

Now… onto my last To-Do list before I go…

Two more sleeps.

xo

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This Title is Irrelevant to this Post

7.29.2010 | 4 Comments

Last night I went to the Delta Chamber of Commerce to have a brief interview with the panel who will be choosing the Volunteer of the Year for the Hats Off to Excellence Awards. It was a nice little sit-down, we had a chat about various things, and it was all very comfortable.

We spoke about my being on the Delta Hospice Vigil Team, and what it’s like to sit with someone as their body prepares itself to leave this current world.

We talked about my Kilimanjaro climb, and why I’m doing it.

We talked about some of the risks involved in my doing this climb.

We talked about how much I really, really enjoy camping.

All in all it was a nice interview, and I hope I got across to them what my real goals and intentions are around this most amazing of adventures. They interviewed a whole boatload of people, and will now narrow the field down to three nominees.  Those three nominees will then be invited to attend a gala dinner in November – what an EXCELLENT excuse to buy new shoes!

However, they will be contacting those nominees in three weeks’ time. Right when I’ll be standing atop the World’s Highest Free-Standing, Snow-Covered, Equatorial Mountain.

And I’ll be singing.

Good luck to all the nominees! I’m thrilled to be in such fine, fine company.  xo

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Heart of LADNER. NIGHT. MARKET.

7.22.2010 | 0 Comments

On Saturday, August 14th, I will be touching down in Dar es Salaam to start my adventure as I endeavor to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for the Delta Hospice Society.

On Saturday, August 14th, the Heart of Ladner Night Market will be jumping from 4pm to 9pm on Delta St. in Ladner, with all proceeds benefiting the Delta Hospice Society. The Heart of Ladner Night Market ‘is a place where local crafters, artisans, and businesses can come together to raise money for a great cause’, and was started up by none other than my sponsor Michael Rudd at Open Space Yoga, and (Kili Gala Donor) Ali Roddam at Buttercups Children’s Boutique.

What a great idea! Get local people together to support local artists and raise money for a local organization. I mean really, what could be better than this? “Heart of Ladner”, indeed! Everyone is on-board and supportive! That’s some small town love, right there, and… wait…

What’s that?

REALLY?!

Seriously?

Nooooooooo… you’re kidding right?

Nope.

So silly. So very, very silly. You’d think the wise thing would be for the Ladner Village Market to work WITH The Heart of Ladner Night Market. But apparently not. That would just be too easy. It would give the Heart of Ladner Night Market some good press, and it would give the Ladner Village Market some good Qi.

Sadly, I am going to have to miss the Heart of Ladner Night Market, given that I, you know, won’t be on the continent.

Willingly, I am going to choose to skip the Ladner Village Market, given that I, you know, won’t be wanting to support the organization.

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The Waking Life

6.18.2010 | 0 Comments

I am a morning person. Always have been, always will be, and I’m totally a-ok with that.

I have woken up in many different places, in a handful of different countries to begin great moments in my life. I have woken in the mountains to the muffled sounds of avalanche bombs in the distance. I have woken on the rocky shores of rivers, to the gentle still of  quiet lakes, to the eye-widening blue of foreign seas, and to the sounds of four great oceans. I have woken in the echoing Rainforest, to the raging city, and among the wildflowers…

But there isn’t anything quite like waking up in my home town.

Ladner’s symphony starts early, with the harbour seals barking to wake the swans, and the ducks (mumbling) waddling to the water after they stretch the night off their wings. Handfuls of tiny birds, (looking more like puffy feather balls as they fluff themselves up and get ready to start the day), apparently sit outside my window and chat with one another about how best to go about the day ahead.

Aaaaand then I’m usually attacked by two ecstatic dogs with big, wet noses who are very grateful that I’ve finally stopped sleeping.

Morning in Ladner – there’s nothing like it in the world.

And I wonder; What music will I wake up to in Dar es Salaam? What will it be like to start a new day in Zanzibar? Will I know where I am when I wake on Kilimanjaro to the sound of no birds?

Well, it’s going to be nice to find out.

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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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Crouching Tiger, Gawking Cougar

5.20.2010 | 2 Comments

I love going to the swimming pool! I mean, it’s the best thing EVER! I wish I could go every single day, and spend lots and lots of time ogling. I MEAN SWIMMING! …and spend lots and lots of time SWIMMING.

I went swimming for the second time yesterday, and I have to say this: that’s freaking hard work! I could barely swim a length let alone attempt an entire lap. It was a very humbling experience given that I used to be able to swim a mile. But then again, at that age swimming wasn’t nearly as fatiguing given that I didn’t have to walk around the deck with my gut sucked in. That’s very tiring, you know.

Although I was fully intent on sauntering out of the change room and over to the lanes to dive in and start my swim, as I walked in I kind of freaked out, and simply made a bee-line for the hot tub where I could hide.

“I meant to do that. This is why I’m here. I’m… ummm… recovering from… surgery for my… uhhh… liver, and the doctor advised me to… to… to sit in the hot tub at the public pool!”  Yes. That’s it. Totally believable.

But here’s the thing about the hot tub – you simply cannot sit in it by yourself and look at all composed. You quickly realize that you have nothing to do but people watch. And then you realize that the pool is full of elderly women participating in the Osteo-fit class, and that you are now stuck watching bobbing flowered swim caps and listening to the Beach Boys.

However, as a welcome distraction, there are the (far too young) attractive lifeguards wandering around the pool deck, and you can make quite a game of looking at them. It was really quite exciting when I made eye contact with one of them, and he started to come over to the hot tub.

FYI: It is very difficult to be coquettish when one is looking like a wet rat in a black sausage casing. Why don’t they put bubble bath in that hot tub?

Anyway, the (far too young) attractive lifeguard came over my way, and as I smiled at him, he smiled back. ‘Direct hit!’ I thought to myself, preparing for the inevitable pick-up line he was about to give. But then he bent down and picked up a piece of wet paper towel that I had tracked in from the change room. Smooth, Robyn, reeeeeal smooth.

Ok, so now I realized that I no longer had a choice. I had to get out of that hot tub at some point. I mean really, you can’t sit in that hot tub for too long, especially when all you can do is either gawk at the (far too young) lifeguard, or spend precious moments promising yourself that you’ll never buy a flowered swim cap.

Ok…. here we go…

-Pull bathing suit out of butt.

-Suck in gut.

-Stand.

-Confidently walk over to the lanes, trying not to dwell on the nubbly, wet, fungus-deck.

-Bend down, splash water from the pool onto yourself. Try to muffle squeaky scream when you realize just how cold that water is after raisin-izing yourself in the hot tub for 30 minutes. Stand and act like an Olympic swimmer as you perch on the pool edge preparing to dive in.

-Realize that you have no idea how to dive, and now have to attempt to belly flop with grace.

-Shake hands out, take two steps back, pretend to stretch out shoulders pre-dive.

-Slip on wet kickboard, flail arms, turn backward and fall head first into the pool, completely destroying all hopes of keeping your hair dry and your dignity intact. Swear at yourself for not buying a flowered swim cap from the lobby gift shop.

-Come to surface. Secretly show gratitude for the overly-loud Osteo-fit class’ Beach Boys music, which perfectly covered the sound of your entrance into the water.

I spent the next 45 minutes doing lengths of the pool, mostly with the kickboard, and marveling at how tiring this whole swimming thing is. However, I should expect to be tired after 45 minutes of exercise, so it’s really not that bad. Then I actually looked at the clock and saw that I had, in fact, been in the pool for about 12 minutes.

Swimming is not easy. It is not the fun little way to spend time that it once was. How on earth did Ali and I swim ALL DAY when we were kids?! We were probably hopped up on sugar or something.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy my swim day hour minutes, and look forward to going back. Maybe I can convince Ali to join me next time…

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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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