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!


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.


Short attention Sp- oooooh… kittens!

5.10.2010 | 3 Comments

I’ve come to realize of late that I have a rather limited attention span. I’ll get these great ideas, stick with them for a week or so, then get really bored and walk away. I’m essentially a toddler in my spare time.

I’m going to move to the UK! YAY!

*looks up info, does research, has conference call with potential employer in Wales, gets everything ready to go*


I’m going to take martial arts! YAY!

*Researches which discipline I’d like to practice, scouts out the nearest facility, pays for a month’s worth of classes, attends two weeks of said class*


I’m going to take up oil painting! YAY!

*Buys paints, buys canvas, buys brushes, buys small easel, paints 127 paintings in 3 days*


So, there it is. I’ll admit it – I’m flaky. I get an idea, try it out, then ditch it. It’s like having one-night-stands, but with leisure activities. “Don’t worry baby, I’ll call… you know I respect you…”

But then here’s the thing: I CAN’T DITCH KILI! (Not that I want to!) It’s just that… well… I’ve always had to have an ‘escape route’, you know? For example, I have to drive to parties by myself so that I can leave when I want to. I have to be able to get out of any situation at any time, or I feel trapped and anxious. Sometimes I get freaked out at the start of yoga class because I know once that door is locked, I’m in there for that hour and a half, no matter what!  But this Kili thing – I can’t shake it! There’s no escape. There’s no leaving early. There’s no subbing in some other poor sap to climb for me. It’s all ME.

I get on the plane

I get to the mountain.

I summit.

It scares the living daylights out of me. There’s no escape.

You know, I should probably stop reading Papillon right about now. I have *got* to stop reading non-fiction!

Anyway,  let me take a moment to divert my attention and reveal the next Kili Gala Raffle Prize that will be available to win on June 5th at the big ‘ol fund raiser I’m doing for the Delta Hospice Society…

Ahhhhhhhh, perfection. What other name have thee? Oh sweet, sweet perfection, I know you thus: La Belle Auberge. Yes, that’s right, Bruno and Tobias have donated a $50 gift certificate to the best restaurant in the entire universe*.

So, if you’ve got a special occasion coming up, or if you just want to treat yourself and/or a loved one to a wonderful evening out, drop your raffle tickets in for the gift certificate to La Belle Auberge. I promise I won’t touch them. I won’t throw your raffle tickets away and keep only mine in the box… maybe… ok, ok, I’ll try.

…sort of.

*Yes, it IS the best restaurant in the entire universe.


Peace, Love, Eternal Grooviness…

5.02.2010 | 3 Comments

Yesterday Ali and I went to Open Space Yoga‘s 5year Anniversary shindig. Michael had graciously invited us to go and sell tickets to the Kili Gala, and we happily took him up on the offer. When I showed up, Michael already had a little Kili station waiting for me

Awesome, huh!? I borrowed a few of my mom’s rhinos from her collection to add a little African flair, but Michael did all the hard work, and set up a place where I could easily chat with people and accept donations without awkwardness. Thanks Michael!  xo

Open Space Yoga is truly a well-loved place, as is easily evidenced by this photo I took of the studio a mere 15 minutes after the doors were opened.

Lots of people came to help celebrate, and Michael threw a fabulous party for us all. There was a woman doing reflexology, a fantastic array of incredible food by Jini’s Ethnic Gourmet, and there were art pieces hanging on the wall from talented local painters. Oh! And there was a really talented young woman there doing henna!

There were also a couple of very talented guitarists providing background music, and we were all treated to a fabulous belly dancing performance by Fanny, who also teaches belly dance classes at Open Space Yoga! The music snaked its way around the room, and Fanny confidently and seductively showed us her moves…

How does she MOVE like that!? While watching her, I got into a discussion with a couple of women about body image, and how western culture values all the wrong things, making women push themselves to illness trying to be like the ‘ideal’ woman we see on magazine covers. And even if women DO finally achieve that look, are they happy? No. There’s no confidence, no assurance, no peace. Watching Fanny dance was a great way to remind myself to dance to the music, and not to the image. Hey Ali, Lil’ Miss Fat Girl… what do YOU think of Fanny’s performance?

That’s what I thought.

By the way, that little red cup that Ali is holding – this is what’s in it:

I had about 14 cups of it.

Which may not have been a good idea…

…wait. I’m climbing a mountain?! That doesn’t seem like a good idea at all!

But all is well. I snarfed down a few of the decadent desserts that Jini had brought, and the sugar went right to my brain and destroyed that wretched clarity. Thanks sugar!

All in all, it was a lovely afternoon. I spoke with a lot of interesting people, and met with more of the beautiful generosity that this community shares. I had people coming up and giving me whatever spare change they could find at the bottom of their purses and pockets. Every single donation makes a difference, and I can happily, PROUDLY say that $3296 has been raised for The Delta Hospice Society to date. YOU ROCK!! Thank you so much.

And even though I am continually worried about how the Kili Gala will turn out, and I constantly fret over making sure that we get all 250 people through the door, after a day like yesterday, I’m reminded of something that I so often forget to do…

I think I need to take more time to focus on my breathing. It will probably be very beneficial when I’m climbing, considering that I’ll HAVE TO focus on my breathing when I’m climbing. Practice makes perfect, right? There’s something to this whole ‘breathing’ thing. It gives you life, yes. But more importantly, it helps you live. Right eternally-smiling-and-forever-peaceful Buddha?


Happy 5th Anniversary to Michael and to Open Space Yoga – it’s a joy to have you here.


I think I’m still Drunk.

4.25.2010 | 6 Comments

Last night my good friend Elli and I went to La Belle Auberge restaurant in Ladner. It was beyond amazing.

Bruno Marti is a genius. There’s really not a whole lot more to say. For those of you that have been to La Belle Auberge, you are most likely nodding your head in agreement right now. I have no idea how someone can make art out of bananas and butter. It makes no sense! We Ladnerites are so, SO fortunate to have his restaurant in our little town.

And then there’s Tobias. TOBIAS! Now, I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that Tobias wakes up each morning at dawn, hops in his winged chariot and races toward the sun. He knocks on the door of our favourite heavenly fireball and God himself answers. “Tobias!”, God exclaims, “I’ve just made espresso. Come on in and put your feet up on these 40 virgins while I fetch you a cup.” God and Tobias sit and chat for a while, talking about all sorts of important things, like flaky pie crusts, asparagus foam, and how to perfectly bake an apple in a sea of brandy.

God leans in. He looks left, he looks right…

“Now Tobias”, he whispers, “I think that it’s time you finally told me what I need to know. You can trust me, my friend.”

Tobias puts down his cup.

“Listen God”, says Tobias patiently, “I’m not telling you, ok? You and I have had this conversation many times, and every time we do, I have to remind you that you’re GOD. You’re all omnipotent and stuff. You have crazy, freaky monkey powers! I mean seriously dude, you created like, a universe in less than a week or something! You’re just going to have to figure this one out on your own.”

Tobias gently waves away the satyr who is fanning him with a golden palm frond. He leans back, picks up his cup once again, and sips his espresso.

God ponders.

“… would you like a profiterole?”, he asks.

“Don’t try and bribe me God”, says Tobias knowingly.

Raging, God stands- “Dammit, Tobias! Why are you so freaking stubborn!?” He crosses his arms. He sticks out his Godly bottom lip.

Tobias hands his cup to the waiting mermaid beside him. He stands, “listen God. I’m doing this for your own good. I’ve done everything I can, but I feel you really must learn this on your own. I’ve already given you a lot of secrets, haven’t I?”

“Yah”, says God as he kicks at the dirt in a pout.

“Remember the lion?”, Say Tobias

“Uh, huh”, God nods.

“That was a good one, right? I mean, you even gave him that poufy thing at the end of his tail like I suggested! You did a really good job with that. And what about that whole Peace on Earth concept? You really ran with that one! I mean, the idea came to me, and I told you about it, but you really made it your own!”

God bashfully raises his eyes. “Yah… that was pretty good, eh?” (God is Canadian)

“God”, Tobias says as he rests a hand on God’s shoulder, “you’re talented. You should know that by now.  You are capable of some pretty funky things, my friend. So you need to learn to trust in your abilities. I can only teach you so much, the rest is up to you, ok?  Ok? God… are you listening to me?”

“Yah,” says God as he drops his hands, “I’m listening. Thanks Tobias. It means a lot to have you believe in me, you know.”

Tobias and God shake hands. They walk quietly through the Lotus Flower garden toward the Dinosaur sanctuary. God waves his hands this way and that, as imps and sprites collect armloads of Heaven-grown herbs, and woven baskets of angel-blessed vegetables. God and Tobias walk along, continuing to talk about all things gastronomical. They stop by God’s kitchen where Tobias teaches God how not to over-stir scrambled eggs. God is grateful, because he really sucks at making scrambled eggs for some reason. God waves his hand over Tobias’  head and bestows upon him the gift of butter-fat-imperviousness. They high-five each other.

And then, with Tobias’ chariot laden with cloud-grown goods, the two shake hands and say goodbye. God presents Tobias with a floating bag of profiteroles. Tobias puts it in the glove-compartment, and with the help of extra-cute fluffy puppies and ridiculously adorable wide-eyed kittens, he gets into the chariot.

And as Tobias descends back to Earth, God leans against the door of the sun, wiping his hands on his goldleaf apron and shaking his head. God looks down and sees happily dancing broccoflower at his feet. He smiles and walks back to his kitchen.

Tobias and his chariot full of God Veggies alight at the back door of La Belle Auberge. Bruno stands at the door with arms crossed. “So”, he says, “been dicking around with God all morning again, have you? Which of your secrets did you give away THIS time, Tobias?”

Tobias looks up, smiles, and says, “I didn’t tell him about the sablefish, Bruno. I promise.”

And as Bruno and Tobias step into the La Belle Auberge kitchen, lightning forks across the sky.


Thanks Constable Dales!

4.19.2010 | 4 Comments

Since yesterday was Ali’s birthday, we thought we’d spend it doing something awesome…

We have been fortunate enough to secure a FANTASTIC gift certificate from Kaymaran Adventure Tours (KAT) for the Kili Gala raffle draw, and so I called up KAT owner Tony Dales to check the place out before I raffle the certificate off. That’s right… Tony Dales. Not only the owner of KAT, but he was also the DSS liason officer when I was in high school. I am so glad my truancy was off his radar, or this could have been an awkward reunion.

Anyway… Ali and I were really looking forward to a nice, relaxing paddle on the river. We signed our waiver, got our PFDs, maps, safety gear and a bottle of water, and we were ready to go!

As Tony set up our boats and chatted with us, Ali and I were positively agog with thrills!  Tony said, “now, the Harbour Seals are out right now, so…”

And Ali and I interrupted with, “Awwwww! That’s so cute“, and “Alright! They’re so adorable!”

To which Tony replied, “…did you READ the waiver?”

Apparently Harbour Seals aren’t all that nice to kayak around. Ooops. But hey, at least we knew to keep away from the swans and geese!

And so, we were soon good to go, and were pushed into the water, happy as larks and excited as could be. Now… for those who know me well, you will know that I am inexplicably *terrified* of kayaking. What you are about to see will both shock and amaze you…

That’s right – that’s me HAVING FUN in a kayak! I particularly like the quality of that last photo. Alison sure has en eye, doesn’t she?

It was a gorgeous day. I mean, a totally awesome, still-water, sun-shining, birds-swimming-by, perfect day.We meandered past the houseboats, paddled through the marsh, and got a little lost. I can’t for the life of me understand why! I mean, Ali was guiding us with the map!


Ali and I spent a couple of hours on the water, and could have stayed out far longer… but someone started to talk about sandwiches. Then we both started talking about lunch. And since there isn’t a kayak-up cafe anywhere around, we had to head back in and go to Speed’s Pub.

However… Ali and I will certainly be going back out there soon. Kaymaran Adventure Tours is AWESOME, and I am shocked that I haven’t ever been brave enough to try kayaking like that before. Poor Tony. He’s never going to get rid of us now.


Long Walkies to Freedom

4.14.2010 | 0 Comments

Last night, I was subjected to the mind powers of the most convincing eyes in the world:

Looooook into my eyyyyyyyyyyyyyyes… You will take us on a loooooong walkies tomorrow morning… a looooong walkies, just like you used to before you and the couch became one…

It’s true. I used to take Jenn and Luna on long walks in the morning before I went to work. But I lost some motivation, then I got pneumonia, so they’ve been having short 10-15 minute jaunts for about 3 weeks now. I feel pretty guilty. Perhaps I *should* take them for a long walk…

*The next morning*


*pokepokepoke*  *nosenosenose*


I’m up! I’m up! Ok, ok… Let’s go for that long walkies…

It was a beautiful morning. It has finally become One-Jacket Weather in good ‘ol Ladner. The morning was bright, the birds were singing, my mocha was perfect, and Jenn and Luna were running around like idiots (my friend Sheena calls this “The Zoomies” – which if you’re a dog owner, you will completely understand), happy to be out and about in the fresh Spring air of the morning. I love these 6am walks, I really do. So why have I denied the girls AND myself this most wonderful of rituals?

It felt great to get out and exercise, too. I’ve been so stagnant, and so lazy that I forgot how lovely it is to just walk around my community. The seals bark at me from the river, the swans gracefully ignore me, the ducks nervously mumble-quack as I stroll by, my fellow early-walkers greet me with a smile and a nod. What a perfect start to the day.

From here on in, we’re rockin’ the long walkies in the morning.

It’s good to be back.


Dea and the ‘Seven Day Hold’.

4.04.2010 | 0 Comments

And so, as I bravely unfurled myself from the fetal position, dared to rise from the couch-dent and leave my pity hovel, I realized that fresh air is somewhat invigorating.

Yesterday Ali and I decided to do SOMETHING, because we have been doing nothing for far too long, So many excuses! “The olympics are on… my knee hurts… I’m functioning on single-lung capacity… I don’t want to get blown off the top of The Chief and smoosh onto the Sea-To-Sky in all my gory glory…”  lame things like that. But today, we just got out there and walked. We decided to walk along the Deas Island trail in Ladner…

Or, ummm… Dea’s Trail…

Dea has such a lovely trail. Thank you for letting us walk your lovely trail, Dea!

It really is a beautiful walk. Full of the wonders of nature. Look! A rare Transiticus Busicus! How fortunate to get it on film!

In all seriousness, it IS a nice trail. It winds through Ladner for a bit, then crosses under Highway 99 by the tunnel, before leading one along the river to Deas Island Park

And once in Deas Island Park, you sort of wend your way through a quiet forest

Taking the time to just enjoy nature. Watching the birds on the river, smelling the damp, mossy forest, feeling the wind against your face as it blows through the trees, hearing the beautiful sounds of all that is natural and beau…


Anyway… Ali and I walked for 2 hours, chatting and laughing, wondering how we were going to actually pull this Kili Gala off, wondering how we’ll actually manage to do this whole ‘climb-a-mountain thing’, wondering how we’ll ever afford all the gear, wondering how we’ll fit everything that we want to do into three short weeks, wondering how we can not defecate for seven days while we’re climbing in order to avoid the whole ‘used toilet paper bag’ idea… you know, the important things.

It was a really nice walk and I totally recommend it to all Delta residents (Deltans? Deltaites? Whatever.) as a nice little jaunt through the large beauty of the small place in which we live. I felt a great deal better after my walk (especially after the epsom salt footbath), and I think the fresh air did me some good.

I haven’t been eating much, and so have lost a fair deal of weight, which has led to a diminished energy level. However, by next weekend I am sure to be back at 100%, and so Ali and I have decided that we’re going to take on The Chief on Saturday. I hope.

Happy Hidden-Chocolate-Egg Day!


Whine Warning in Effect

4.03.2010 | 0 Comments

FINALLY! I can breathe, I have some energy, I’m not coughing up small bits of highly important internal organs… today is the day! Ali has had a fitness goal of climbing all 3 peaks of the Stawamus Chief, so we’re going to do that today. I’ve got my lunch packed, my camelback filled, my hiking boots in the car… what’s left? Oh! Better check that weather report before we head off…

Let’s see.. mmm, hmmm… Squamish – ah, here we go! So, ‘5 degrees Celsius’. Not a problem. That’s practically balmy for Squamish!  ‘Light rain’ – pffft, no worries there at all. ‘Wind warning in effect for Howe Sound’.


Hmmmmm. I *really* want to do this hike. But do I *really* want to be standing atop one of the world’s tallest granite monoliths in a gale force wind storm?

Processing… processing…

*dials phone*

“Hey Ali. Soooo… how are things? Mmm, hmm, that’s great. Good to hear.  Yah, so, about this hike today… oh, yah, yah, I’d still love to go! Absolutely! Funny thing, though… I don’t really want to, you know… DIE or anything, so I was wondering if you may want to do something a little… lower. Sure. Sure. Yep, you bet. Mkay, see you then. Bye-bye”

So, today is the day! Ali and I are finally going to walk the trails around Ladner…



3.28.2010 | 4 Comments

I’ll admit it: I’m a law-breaker. I walk my two dogs without leash.

Call me in! Tell the cops! Have me tossed in the hoosegow!

I walk my two border collies each morning, happily sipping away at my mocha, as they gallivant through town, happy as waggy-tailed larks. They are well-trained beasts, and they listen to me. They can walk about 10 feet in front of me, but if I say “not so far, please”, they’ll come back a bit and walk closer.

To a dog, there is an entire world to sniff out there. Every day is a new day to them, and even though they’ve run their schnoz across the same ground 16 times in the past 4 days, it doesn’t matter – what is old is new again, thanks to the setting and the rising of the sun. My dogs are busy when they walk with with me; sniff here, run there, eat that thing, get yelled at for eating that thing, run over there, bring this thing here… it’s a never-ending Walk of Adventure.

So really, on walks, my dogs honestly don’t care much about anyone else but me. Unless you happen to be made of dog-cookie dough, Luna will ignore you. If you have a stick, Jenn would love to make your acquaintance. Otherwise, she’s got stuff to do, man. Border collies are known for being aloof and snobby. Even if Luna actually does stoop to approach a human, if you go to pet her, she’ll veer off to the left and leave you standing there looking like a fool.

Dude. You just got snubbed by a dog. Not cool. I feel really bad for people when Lu’ does this to them, and it’s so embarrassing to see them walk away nonchalantly as if they didn’t really want to pat that dumb dog anyway.

Generally when I come across people while walking my dogs, we exchange cordial greetings and carry on. Occasionally, I will get the impression that people are not keen on my having my dogs off-leash, and so I call Jenn and Lu’ to me and have them sit and wait until the passers-by have gone on. This usually invokes a ‘what well-trained dogs!’ or a ‘thank you’. But every once in a while, I get someone who is quite angry with me for walking my dogs off leash. Fair enough.

This morning, a lady who was walking her coat-bedecked cute fuzzball, quite angrily asked me where my leashes were. Then she lit into me, admonishing me for having my dogs off leash.

At least, I *think* that’s what she said. I couldn’t quite hear her over her precious little fuzzy angel’s incessant barking. The lady was having a difficult time yelling at me, as she needed to concentrate on holding her dog back as it was pulling and straining on its leash trying to sink its angel teeth into my leg. My dogs had long since passed this woman and her dog without even a sideways glance. There was grass to eat. There were things to pee on. That rock wasn’t there yesterday! OMG I THINK A SQUIRREL WAS HERE 14 HOURS AGO!

I listened to the lady for a short few seconds, but then as I was getting more annoyed at her dog’s YAPYAPYAP-ing, I realized that I needed to walk away before I said something I was going to regret. I wished her a happy day and walked on, leaving her words to bounce off my back as I carried on.

Here’s the deal: go ahead and get mad at me when you see me walking my dogs off leash. But if you can’t control your own dog while doing so, perhaps you should reconsider your rant.

This whole off-leash dog park business that’s been the hot topic of late is so simple to solve. It’s mind-blowing why it’s such a huge problem. Give dog owners a space. Just a small park where dogs can get the exercise they need, which ensures that non-dog people are comfortable in their own community.

I’m a law breaker. An evil, terrible, relentless criminal. I’m ok with that.

At least I know that I have the love of two very happy, well-trained, well-fed, much-exercised, dearly-loved dogs. To me, that’s all that matters. I offer no apologies.


All Together Now

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love this community.

The support I’ve received around doing this adventure has been incredible. I honestly wasn’t expecting the level of generosity that I’ve been so fortunate to experience.

Lately I’ve been finding that when I walk into an establishment (in the hopes of being brave enough to ask for a donation), I begin my little spiel about the climb, and something extraordinary happens. Right after I say “I’m climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Delta Hospice…” the person will usually say “Oh YOU’RE the one!”, or “I’ve seen your picture!”, and then they offer me a donation before I even have to ask.

And it’s not just business owners! Last night I was at The Snug wine lounge (which, by the way, is donating a $50 gift certificate!), and imbibed as I was, I loudly (and hopefully not too obnoxiously) proclaimed that I was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. A very lovely Tsawwassenite said, “I’ve seen your picture!”, then handed me $5 as a donation, and wrote down her name and number as she believed her employer may be able to assist, as well.

Just *poof* like that. Amazing.

And I really, really have to thank Jessica Kerr and the Delta Optimist for being the ones who are getting the word out so well. In fact, there’s another article about my climb and the Kili Gala in today’s Optimist!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I was right – this adventure is going to change my life. It already has.