Party Karma!

4.10.2010 | 1 Comment

Ahhhhh, the Kili Gala. Although a wonderful idea, and one that I believe will help to raise a great deal of money for the Delta Hospice Society, it is totally stressing me out.

I am not a party planner. I know some people who are incredible at event planning, and sadly, I am not one of those people. In all honesty, I’d rather climb a mountain than plan an event.

…oh. Right. I *am* climbing a mountain.


As stressful as I am finding the planning for the Kili Gala, I have been overwhelmed by the support of our community. As you may already know, The Kili Gala will have a raffle draw with a whole bunch of really great prizes. Most of the prizes come from local businesses, or from local business owners who have their businesses in another community. The donor list is incredible! Seriously, have a look!

Gift certificates, baskets of goods, golf passes, dinner at fantastic restaurants… it’s all so very, very awesome. And the best part? Raffle tickets are going to be cheap!  My plan was for the raffle to be a big draw, and so far, it’s working out pretty well, I must say!

SO… I think you and your friends have a date for JUNE 5th! Come to the Ladner Community Centre at 7pm and partake of the Kili Gala – have some fun knowing that all your donations are going to a worthy cause. It’s Party Karma!

You can email me at climbforhospice@gmail.com (or just click the ‘contact’ tab) and request tickets. I’ll even hand-deliver them if you live in South Delta!

You can also purchase tickets in person at Open Space Yoga and Evolutions Hair Design in Ladner. Michael and Wade have graciously offered to sell tickets for me, and, well…  I think they’re wonderful for doing so.

Can’t wait to see you on June 5th – considering what we have planned (and what we’re planning on wearing), you’re won’t want to miss this…

*If you would like to donate an item for the Kili Gala Raffle, please send me an email!*


New Sponsor!

2.27.2010 | 0 Comments


GREAT NEWS! My fabulous friend Laura of Better Still Day Spa has generously offered to sponsor me for this trip!

Better Still Day Spa is so cool. Really, it is. It’s a home-based business that provides high-end service in a relaxing, serene environment. Tinky-tonky spa music included!

(I am not just saying this, but Laura gives the BEST massages).

Laura and I will be working together to come up with some great promotions and fund-raising ideas in the near future. In the meantime, I will post her link to the right for when you feel you may just need to pamper yourself or someone special. The fireside pedi would be a very, very good choice!

Better Still Day Spa
(604) 946-5500


My Hips Don’t Lie

2.04.2010 | 0 Comments

Last night at yoga, I was very clearly given the hint that I needed to be honest about something…

This past Autumn, I was experiencing a great deal of pain in my right hip. This leg had always been a bit wonky, and as a kid I thought it was rather cool that I could move the joint around in weird ways, and have it make awfully disgusting popping noises that caused friends to recoil in horror. It was also very handy in getting me out of 9th grade gym class on more than one occasion (sorry, Mrs. Salt!). So, when I was having pain in my hip one day a few months ago, I wasn’t concerned. I knew it would go away. It didn’t go away.

For seven days I was limping around, stubbornly waiting for the pain to magically disappear. It got to the point where I was I was having so much discomfort, that I wasn’t sleeping, and was having moments of extreme nausea and vomiting. That was when I knew something was really wrong.

By this time my very patient mother was chauffeuring me to and from work, so she dutifully drove me to the UBC hospital emergency ward on a physiotherapist’s recommendation. Now, I must say this: the UBC emerg is absolutely amazing. I went in, registered, and was called in less than 10 minutes later. An initial exam was complete, blood work was done, I was given pain medication, and was seen by the doctor less than 15 minutes after that. I was taken to x-ray (after the pain medication kicked in), and the x-rays were ready about 20 minutes later. There was barely enough time for my comfy, fuzzy heated blanket to cool off!

When the ER doc came to see me, she told me that the x-ray showed that I had considerable calcium deposits in my hips, the right one especially. They had been there for a long, long time, and were indicative of arthritis (something that runs in my family, anyway – gee, thanks mom and dad). I had to stop my personal training, something I had been really enjoying doing 3 times a week. I had to stop running. I used to run 10k every other day, and now I couldn’t take a step. Everything came to a grinding, unhappy halt in my life. I felt really, really… old.

Over time, the pain went away, but my hips always feel “tired” now, like I’ve run a thousand miles or so. And now, as more time passes, I am slowly introducing things back to my life: training, running (walking), yoga, and climbing the world’s largest free-standing, snow-covered equatorial mountain. You know, simple things like that.

In yoga last night my right hip decided that it really had done enough work for the day, and just gave out. No more strength, no more listening, just pain. I was totally embarrassed at being forced to show my limitations. I was frustrated and, of course, I started to cry. (Again, I must really thank Michael for the soft, dim lighting in the studio). Michael quite keenly noticed my distress, and came over to gently speak with me. As I tried not to blubber away too loudly, he simply told me to stop, and to go into Savassana. I put down my yoga strap, sighed in frustration, and bit my quivering lip. Michael, the angel that he is, brought me over a tissue and a lavender scented eye pillow. I quietly snurfled away in embarrassment, while people around me were happily pretzling themselves into yoga bliss.

So, after speaking with a kind friend, I decided to tell you all the truth. Here we go: I am climbing a mountain with over-active tear ducts, a fear of camping, a loathing of the cold, and a wonky set of hips.

See you at the top.


The Gift

1.30.2010 | 0 Comments

Sometimes, I get completely overwhelmed with the generosity that I have been shown from the residents of this wonderful community. Once word started getting out that I was taking on this adventure to Africa, things have been happening that I would never, ever have expected. Things like this…

I was speaking with a fellow resident of Delta recently about my quest, and she seemed really interested, was keenly asking questions and showing genuine excitement. She said that she may not be able to make a monetary donation, but that maybe she could help in another way. I explained that I appreciated any help she could give me, and was grateful for her offer of… well, whatever it was she was offering. Apparently this woman works for a major airline, and so, she offered me this:

Starting in February, I have a ‘Buddy Pass’ to fly (for free) anywhere in the world that this major airline flies (ok, I pay taxes, but that’s a tiny cost considering what a flight costs these days).

I was stunned. Really just knocked off my feet by this amazing show of generosity. She didn’t have to do this, but she did! But, there’s a catch, right? Yes, there is. The one caveat is this: I have to actually use the pass. Take a weekend in Hong Kong, fly to London for a quick shopping trip, go see a concert in LA, use it for training in some way… Training… Training…

What if I flew to Colorado to do some high-altitude hikes? How about skipping down to South America for an entirely new travel experience? What about Hawaii, Mexico, or Cuba? Should I go visit my friends in Japan? Should I fly to Cranbrook, BC and conquer that bloody Fischer Peak once and for all?! (YES. THAT.)

Wait. Does this airline fly to…

…it does. I can fly to Dar es Salaam. I can fly to Nairobi.

With her generous offer, this wonderful woman cut out one of the most expensive parts of my journey. How do I ever thank someone for a gift such as this? For once, I am speechless, except to say this:

THANK YOU, my beautiful friend for this incredible show of generosity and kindness. I promise to do my best to make you proud, and to show my appreciation for such a truly amazing gift. May what you give come back to you many times over, and may you enjoy the same goodness and charity that you give to others.

With gratitude,


A Most Beautiful Thing

1.23.2010 | 1 Comment

Today is the long-awaited opening of the Centre for Supportive Care and Hospice Residence. Last night, volunteers were invited to have a look inside before it officially opens to the public. I knew this was going to be a beautiful facility, but I was still unprepared for what I saw…

I toured the Hospice Residence last night, and I am not ashamed to say that as soon as I walked through the front doors, the tears began to well in my eyes. The Residence is a simply designed, natural, welcoming space, obviously created with the residents and their families in mind. There is a beautiful kitchen connected to an intimate dining area, comfortable home-like seating areas, quiet hallways free of clutter, a childrens’ room stuffed with toys and books, a lovely spa room (with an all-important towel-warmer!), and a family room with a comfortable bed should family members wish to stay the night.

All beautiful, all welcoming, all perfectly personal and serene.

But it was the ten private suites that stole my heart. As I write this now, I have tears in my eyes as I think of how much thought and honesty went into these suites. They are made as much for the living as for the dying. I could tell you about the incredible lift system in each room, that comfortably and safely brings the resident to the private en-suite. I could tell you about the tasteful, simple furnishings that adorn each room. The small fridge, the variety of different lights and settings, the understated and non-institutional bedding of soft blankets and gentle sheets…

I can tell you about the reclining chairs that have been placed beside each of the ten beds. At a time when they are caring only of the comfort of their loved ones, family members have someone to think of theirs.

But the thing that really struck me, the thing that made everything fall into place was this: off each of the rooms is a small, private, covered balcony surrounded by immaculate, understated gardens and trees… and the doors to these balconies open wide enough to allow a resident’s bed to be gently moved outside. It was at this moment of my tour that I started crying and simply could not stop. The idea that someone thought so far as to ensure that even the most ill of residents, those who may be too weak to move, those who are living the final days of their life, could go outside and feel the sun, hear the birds in the trees, take a breath of fresh air, was more than my heart could bear. To me, that wide door was selflessness personified.

This coming week, the public has an opportunity to tour the Centre for Supportive Care and Hospice Residence – I think you should go. All of you.

20 years ago, Nancy Macey had an idea to start a simple phone line where people who needed help or education regarding end-of-life care could call and get connected. Now there is a physical space where end-of-life-care is conducted with patience, dignity, and kindness. A place where individuals can go for support, education, and peace. A place where entire families can get the care they needed. Why? Because Nancy confidently asked the community of Delta to help raise over $7 million, and we said yes. There were donations of a million dollars, and donations of the simple, appreciated change that someone had in their pocket that day. Funds were raised by corporations, organizations, and individuals. Bottles and cans were collected, fund-raising Yoga classes were held, talented stylists donated their tips, and selfless children gave up anticipated birthday presents, choosing to ask for donations to Hospice instead.

And here, today, is the result.

This is the Hospice that our community built.


Yoga Schmoga

1.21.2010 | 0 Comments

Last night I went to Open Space Yoga to attend the first class I have been to in about a year’s time. I was a bit nervous, to be honest. What if can’t do the poses anymore? What if I forget how to do the Sun Salutation? What if I am standing in Tree pose and then fall over, knocking another student over, who in turn knocks another student over, who knocks one more student over, and that student hits their head on the wall, gets knocked unconscious and has to go to the hospital? What if I look over at other students and get jealous that they’re all way more bendy-bendy then I am? Right now, I am about as flexible as an empty cereal box. What if they… laugh at me?

I must admit, I was way more unprepared for this class than I had thought. I felt like a frozen marshmallow… being hit with bricks… while encased in a paper bag. I stumbled my way through the class, and was so very grateful for the soft lighting, given that my face was beet red from embarrassment.

I also quickly realized that I had forgotten the importance of, you know, breathing. Breathing is apparently a very key part not only of yoga, but of basic existence. I remember that when I started yoga a few years ago I was shocked at how ineffective my breathing was. I had absolutely no idea how to breathe properly. It was a very strange sensation to be awakened to the fact that for the past 30 years I had been breathing wrong. I blame my mother.

Even though it will be challenging, I am very happy to be back in the yoga studio. Just that one class really showed me how stressed out I am right now. I had no idea. I have a lot on my plate and feel pretty darn overwhelmed. It will be nice to have a chance now to stop, breathe, reconnect and focus on a regular basis. This sponsorship from Open Space Yoga is a gift in so many ways, and I am grateful for it.

And hey, if nothing else, I’m pretty sure that whole breathing thing will come in handy when I’m climbing Kilimanjaro, right?


My First Sponsor – Open Space Yoga

1.14.2010 | 0 Comments

2007 was a bad year for me. And when I say ‘bad’, I mean ‘horrendous’. And by ‘horrendous’, I pretty much mean ‘epically unfathomable’. I’m not entirely sure, but I believe the anonymous sympathy cards I was receiving were coming from Country Music songwriters.

I had a lot of support from family and friends during that time, and it meant a great deal more to me than I could ever express. However, I knew that I needed to try and heal myself from the inside out, and decided to explore some new avenues for doing so.

I signed up for a nice, simple Yoga 101 class at Open Space Yoga in Ladner, and was pleasantly introduced to owner/operator/instructor Michael Rudd. He is a very real, very gentle man with incredible heart. I was wary of taking yoga at first, as I wasn’t sure I wanted to become one of those soft-speaking, all-lightness-and-good women who float instead of walk. I can proudly admit now that I am in no way exaggerating when I say that yoga changed my life.

It took about three months before I was able to get through an entire class without crying. The studio was so welcoming, and the yoga was so peaceful that I was able to release a heck of a lot of hidden, crammed-down emotions. Why had I not done this before? I mean, aside from the healing and the peace, yoga really helped to tone up my physique and it made me see that I, in fact, had no idea how to breathe. Yoga gave me life.

Last night I received an email from Michael at Open Space Yoga. He had seen the article about me in yesterday’s Optimist newspaper, and he wanted to show his support. Michael has very kindly offered to sponsor me by generously donating classes to me until the day I leave, as a way to help me train. He has also offered to conduct a fundraising class to help raise money and awareness for Hospice in the name of this climb. As I admitted to him, I will admit it to you: I totally cried when I read his email. I COULDN’T HELP IT! It is just such an amazing gesture of giving and support, and one more reason why I love the people in this community.

Thank you, Open Space. Thank you, Michael. For the many good things you’ve brought to my life, and to the life of this community. Your support means so very, very much.


Ladnerite in the Mist

1.05.2010 | 1 Comment

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!