Last Friday I got my insurance renewal notice. Of course I got the notice that I have to go through Air Care, as my car is what they would consider a ‘throw away’. I decided that I should go right away, because I’m not much for procrastinating and I don’t want to be having to rush around at the last minute, if it doesn’t pass. I just had the girl in to see her mechanic and he had mentioned that she had a hole in her muffler. I decided to give him a quick call before heading over to the Air Care Station. He said not to worry about it… just go and see what happens… ok, I will.

Here I am in the line up at Air Care. It’s such a beautiful day… nothing could go wrong! I decide to tweet about the fact that I’m the sixth car in the line up. Low and behold, somebody was actually manning the Air Care Twitter account and I got a response immediately!

Got up a bit closer… the line moves fairly fast and they started letting cars into bay 4.

I decide that I would not keep my car running and I only moved my car after each two cars moved ahead…. I was having fun, listening to the radio, tweeting and taking pictures with my iPhone.

I got right up to the next one to go in, when the unthinkable happened…

Apparently too much of a good thing. I walked into the bay while people in all the other cars in the line were sitting there wondering, ‘what’s this woman doing WALKING in?’

He assured me that it happens all the time. Not sure, but, I’m thinking he was just being nice.

She started up and purred like a kitten. I pulled up to the first section where I was told to present my papers and $ and put on my emergency brake.

Looks like I’m in for the $45 dollar deal. Thank goodness they have the in-car ATM machine!

All he needs now is my Odometer reading….

Now, I’m allowed to pull ahead… The guy at the next section is beckoning… but, something is wrong. My car isn’t moving. Turns out he isn’t beckoning after all… he’s motioning to me to release my emergency brake!  I never use my emergency brake and I didn’t remember being told to put it on only minutes ago… now I feel silly…

I’m now in the booth watching my girl go through the rigorous testing that is done a BC Air Care. I can’t help but wonder… will she pass their careful scrutiny?

You can see the monitor above the big fan, that the technician has to pay attention to as he holds her petal to the floor.

I’m in the room… I can see her, but, I can’t get to her! she’s under a great deal of stress!

Finally, the door opens and I’m allowed to get back into my car. The next step is to pull up and get the print out of the results.

As you can see, the result is, that I get pretty bad gas mileage. Gee… I already knew that!

Turns out that my 92 Honda still has lower emissions that a brand new Ford Taurus! Compare!

I love twitter! I love my iPhone! I love my Honda! I love my mechanic! I think I even love AirCareBC!… although it may not have been such a good experience without Twitter and my iPhone!

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I look forward to this each year, and this, my third year was no different. (more details on the project in last years post) I got up early (for a Sunday), got showered and dressed in black with my jewels and headed downtown to the Rennaisance Hotel. It was a glorious, sunny Vancouver morning as I cruised along Hastings St. with a big smile on my face. A cup of coffee, good music, sunshine, the expectations of a fun-filled day, compiled with the fact that the big vehicle cruising along beside me, contained an unusually comfortable looking passenger.

Cute guy in the car next to me.

This year Deb told us that the parkade across the street was only $6 on Weekends, so I pulled up in front of the Hotel and unloaded my two sewing machines and my sewing kit, went to park and then skipped back across the street into the Hotel Lobby. One of the guys there gave me a hand up to the event, which was great, because I would have had to make 2 trips otherwise, since my coffee was taking priority.

Every year the alterations area is set up on the stage by Deb, the day ahead, then everyone who comes brings a machine or two. I was the last one to arrive and I think there were about 10 of us this year. It’s alway so much fun to see everyone, and it was particularly nice to be asked by several people how the Buggy Bag business is going. We had a chance to catch up with each other for the first half hour and then it was dress time!

The entire Ballroom is transformed for the day. There are racks and racks of dresses and suits, tables and tables of shoes, accessories, undergarments, there are hair stations and make-up stations, rows and rows of change rooms and food and drink stations. It is amazing.

Our job is to alter the dresses that the girls pick out. Our team is made up of volunteers who are professionals in film costume, or the garment industry. Deb does all the fittings and then hangs the dresses up where we then choose which one we want to work on.

Here’s a picture of Deb at work marking a dress for alterations.

Deb works her magic on the fitting platform.

Here’s a shot of Petra working on a silver lame dress.

Petra's cutting so fast her scissors are a blur.

I think it was while I was working on this dress that a very sweet ‘godmother’ came up to me and said, “I’m looking for the dress my ‘goddaughter’ picked out… it’s got a crinoline  and glass beads”. I looked around the room and smiled back at her and asked… “can you give me any more detail?” Then she laughed, as she realized she had described all the dresses that were up there.

Here’s a shot of me working on the pretty lace dress with six layers of tulle to be hemmed.

Here’s Ruth, enveloped by frothy tulle….

Often we had to get down on the floor to get the hem straight through all the layers. Here’s Rosalie doing just that.

Rosalie

Here’s a picture of Sarah and Jayne working together on a piece.

Deb shortens a hem.

One of the team, I wanted to take a picture of because she had the cutest shoes with tape measures for bows  on. Her name was Kathryn and she designs very elegant bridal wear.

All the photos with black frames were taken by the incredibly creative Enigma Arcana Designs.

The whole day ends with a wand with a chocolate star on the tip… a thank you from the amazing organizers of the Cinderella Project.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m listening to my favourite Canadian Singer/Songwriter, Bob Rylett. His music makes me feel happy and soft.  I’ve started four different blogs in the last two months and haven’t finished any of them so, I’m starting a fifth right now, only I have to have it complete 20 minutes from now so I still have time to play my guitar before going out to meet my friend Rina for dinner.

Last night I made a dinner for my friend Kai and myself. She actually does a food blog, so, she’s a bit of a ‘foodie’. The meal turned out so well that I wanted to write it down for you to try, and for me to remember what I did!

This is something that I just made up from a bunch of different recipes I had looked at. It’s kinda like my own version of a ciopinno, but, I’m pretty sure I broke a whole bunch of rules. Doesn’t really matter because it was absolutely, mouthwateringly, amazing!

INGREDIENTS

1 bag frozen Mussels (Costco)

1/2 bag frozen Scallops (Costco)

1/2 bag frozen Prawns (Costco)

1 full chicken breast (local meat market)

6 skinny hot Italian sausages (local meat market)

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

1/2 bottle of white wine (something cheap, I used Fuzion)

1 large red pepper

1 fennel bulb

2 celery stalks

3 shallots

6 cloves garlic

1″ piece of ginger

3 tsp hot chilli sauce

1 tbsp oregano

1 bunch of cilantro (coarsely chopped)

First sear the chicken breasts in the coconut oil. Don’t cook them too long just get the outside browned and then pull them out and slice them into small pieces and put aside.

Put the sausages into the same pan and cook them, then pull them out cut into 1/2″ pieces and set aside.

Finely chop the Celery, Fennel Bulb, Red Pepper and set aside.

Finely chop the Shallots, Garlic and Ginger, saute them in the butter, just until they are soft. I used a great big huge Wok for this. Add the tomatoes, and coconut milk and wine and get it bubbling, then you just start introducing the other stuff in this order: Chicken, Sausage, Fennel, Celery, Red Pepper, Chilli Sauce, Oregano. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, then introduce the Mussels, Scallops and Prawns. When the Prawns are cooked, throw the Cilantro on to and serve it up!

Leslie's Seafood Soup

Hope you enjoy this! Any questions…. feel free to ask!

Leslie

I’ve been having a really hard time posting anything lately…. I’m always trying to keep it ‘light’ and ‘positive’, so when times are tough, I find myself with very little to say.

Time to lay it all out there… to bare my soul, as they say, or as close as I can get to that.

Last Christmas, my daughter and I kept a really low profile. We stayed home by ourselves. We went out for dinner one night and saw a movie with coupons someone had given us. We put up our tree and enjoyed our new little kitten, who entertained us by running up the centre of the tree, over and over again.

As this year winds down, I’m asking myself, how the heck I ended up here… more broke than last Christmas, wondering how on earth I’m going to pay my rent.  I feel like I worked every second last year and really didn’t have time to even stop to evaluate my finances. I just had to keep moving ahead with my goals with little time to stop and reflect on my personal situation.

I’m just going to start by trying to remember all the things that I did accomplish or put into action.

In the fall of 2009, I started working with Teresa, from Blacklake, who I’ve been working with ever since to establish quality manufacturing for a price that would make it possible to start selling Buggy Bag® at wholesale to retailers.  The manufacturing costs here made the price untouchable at that level, so I was only able to sell  the product one at a time, directly to end users… I wanted more people to be able to find it and use it.

The year 2010 started out with work for the movie ‘A-Team‘, going to a local theatre to fix a velvet stage curtain, and the construction of some Fencing Jackets for the Arts Club Theatre.

Much work with Rina from Liddleworks, and a photo shoot with the lovely Jessie Claveau for our new flyer which Rina designed.

Got my first set of samples back from Hong Kong. They looked pretty good, but, I wanted to make some changes to the fabrics, and components, and see what the prices would be like….shipping costs $350

My generous friends took my daughter and I to Whistler for Easter weekend where I was able to prove to my self that I could still ski. That weekend was such fun!

Went to the Dragon’s Den auditions and was told I didn’t have enough sales to move ahead. That was fine, and it was a benefit to me to work on the numbers etc. with Rina before hand. These exercises always shed light on the value of planning ahead and setting goals. My friend Wendy from PumpEase made it through the auditions, and onto the show which aired in October.

I was contacted by LandMark Direct, who do TV commercials like the ‘As Seen On TV’ ads. I decided to have them make a 1 minute commercial for me that would run in 150 spots across the US. The purpose being to test the market to evaluate where advertising $ are best spent. I sent some samples of the Stroller, Jogger and Wheelchair weather blankets, and the process began.

Received another round of samples from the factory … shipping $340

I met with the SCISN Board for the Rick Hansen Institute where I met with Gary McPherson about designing some custom wheelchair weather protection for him. I made a few sales there and met some lovely and inspiring people. It was through my work for former Vancouver mayer Sam Sullivan, that I ended up there. I had done a custom wheelchair poncho for him in the fall of 2009.

I did a bit of work for a friend who had a contract to do some costumes for the Olympics. Then, an old school friend of mine moved back here from Singapore. She needed a place to land while she settled back into the Vancouver workplace and found a place to live. It was really nice having Kai here for that time and we had many fun times and good meals together. We went to many free Olympic festivities. It was really fun being in Vancouver at that time!

I shortened many, many sleeves for a TV show called ‘Human Target‘, did some pattern work for two local women’s wear designers, then I headed over to my friend Deb’s studio to help her with a bunch of gaberdine 50’s styles she was manufacturing for a TV show called ‘Fringe‘. I think I spent a few weeks over there. Nice to get out of my place… even though my place is like heaven, I still get lonely… I know I talked her ear off… I miss working with people.

Got another set of samples back, decided to focus on just the three main products for now, because of the minimum order quantities. The zippers and fabrics now looked good, but we still have to work on the reflective logo…. shipping costs $275

Found a US Patent and Trademark Lawyer and started to proceed with this process…$2500 later, I find out that even though, I have the trademark Buggy Bag Registered here in Canada and have owned the buggybag.com address since 1998, and I make and sell mobility accessories…. they feel that there will be some ‘confusion’ with the other company that makes shopping cart covers and uses my name only with an extra “g” on the end….I should have applied for the US TM back when this company first offered to buy my URL…. who knew they would just add another ‘g’ to the name. The patent is still in process… and the cost is unknown, but a fair guess would land it in the $10,000 range.

Had Lawyers read contract with Landmark Direct… $500

Found out I need some very pricey licences to be able to sell a ‘stuffed’ article in Ontario, Quebec or Manitoba. One for each province and for each year at $500 each! Ouch, there goes my rent for that month.

Next, I stumbled across a blog written by the mom of a beautiful little guy by the knick-name of Bugg. I was moved by her ability to document their life and the wonderful quality of her blog photos. http://thebuggslife.blogspot.com/ I sent this little guy a Buggy Bag Stroller Blanket to use on his tiny wheelchair. I was so happy to meet this family and help make Bugg’s outings a bit cozier. We still keep in touch and I hope to one day meet them in person.

I then built some leather dresses for the character ‘Ginn’ on ‘Stragate Universe‘, and started working on another dog movie called ‘Treasure Buddies‘ featuring lots of cute children’s costumes, and also squeezed in an alteration of a down jacket for the movie ‘The Big Year‘, hemmed some shirts for ‘Ice Road Terror‘, and a bunch more custom work for ‘Stargate Universe’.

Got some more manufacturer samples still with issues …. shipping $400

It was around this time that I met a great guy by the name of Brian Bell, the founder of Interfit in North Vancouver. Some friends and I went to their fundraiser, which I also blogged about.

Got many different script revisions over this time and finally approved one and then had to get the money together before the commercial production could begin…. $3000

I made 9 pairs double layer fleece leg warmers for Sam Sullivan to give out to his associates, the moved onto yet more alterations for ‘The Big Year’, much more work for ‘Stargate Universe’ and the leather coat I made for ‘Sanctuary‘, which I also blogged about. It was right around this time that I got the sad news that Gary McPherson had passed away.

More one on one work with Liddleworks… business plan.

Got a first copy of the actual commercial. It looked great and I was really happy with how our conversations went. I was so apprehensive about the whole thing to begin with and the amount of $, but, if everything went well we would be getting lots of sales and valuable information about the marketplace, not to mention the commercial to use in whatever way we liked…$3500

More work with Liddleworks… hangtag designs…. three tags with usage illustrations. Had a friend help with the french translations and found a hangtag manufacturer close to the factory in China.

I made a dozen various aprons for ‘Red Riding Hood‘ before starting on the years fun show…. ‘The Fairly Odd Parents’ I always have fun working for Angus Strathie and this show was no exception! Many wonderful costumes for this show.

More work on business plan…more $$$ I owe Liddleworks.

Right after that I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Byrnes and making him a pair of trousers and an overcoat for ‘Sanctuary’.

A man I  spent two years trying to forget, suddenly appears in my life again, only to vanish again two months later.

Another photo shoot featuring 5 wheelchair models and one stroller model, a mom and a sweet working dog…$600

Pay for hang tags… $1100

September finally rolled around, the commercial was ready to air, the production was in place and would be ready to ship at the end of Sept. I had to decide where to have the product shipped to, and decided that most of the sales would likely be from the US, so I found a ‘pick and pack’ place in Blaine.

Volunteered at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. So fun, met lots of athletes and got to see some of the games.

Commercial aired to no sales and therefore no stats… frustrating, but, must keep looking ahead.

Landmark proposed an agreement to sell the product through catalogue sales.

Lawyer read another contract…. $500.

Chris, my brother and I head down to the ABC Kids show in Vegas to see what the competition is like, what to expect when we go to the show as a vendor, evaluate what kind of a booth we need,  to look for sales reps and get a bit of R&R. We walked hundreds of miles that week and most of it was in the convention centre. We also, visited just about every hotel in the  city, we won $76, and we had some fantastic meals.

Launched new version of the Web Site that has been in the works for many months… it looks great and it’s only Phase I! Was immediately “de-friended” on facebook by the fellow that did the last version of the website.

Went on a sailing trip to Molly’s Reach with some friends, which was another stellar weekend!

Product is ready to ship, need to get financing… bank turned me down… evidently I should have bought an apartment instead of trying to make this great product available… at least that’s what they would have me believe!

Went to a private investor, who saw the real reason I’m doing all of this and wants to help make it happen…. $17,000 debt

Landed the product in Canada and the US and took delivery the same day that we had our Buggy Bag reception for friends, customers and media…$550. Had a blast even though no media showed up, the important people were there. Including David Rountree, who I met when I volunteered at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships back in September. He brought his ‘Floor-Board‘ for all of us to try. Sylvi MacCormac was a special musical guest at our event, who was also one of our models at the last shoot. We felt so honoured.

Inspected the shipment that arrived here in my living room with Teresa from Blacklake. We realized there was a small QC issue with the shipment and had to look at our options…. do we send them back? I’m totally against that idea. I try a few different methods to deal with the issue and discover that I can solve it 100% with the use of my commercial iron.

One of the perks of working in film is the ‘wrap party’ at the end of the show. I went to 4 wrap parties and a gala benefit for Spinal Cord  Injury. I wore the same outfit to 3 of them!

Got an order for the stroller and jogger blanket from Babies’R’Us… a small trial order for the Canadian web site.

Had to buy a Universal Bar Code number for the company… $500

Dear friend Barbara passed away, which left me in a blue funk for some time. Sadly missed.

More work for  the TV shows ‘Stargate Universe’ and ‘V‘.

Teresa and I head down to the States to deal with the QC issue on that part of the shipment. One day and two very sore backs later and we are back in Vancouver, satisfied that the product is 100% perfect.

December rolled around with no movie or tv work for me, so I started making phone calls. I always said I wasn’t a sales person, but, one call led to another and another and by mid December I had already shown the wheelchair weather blanket to at least 7 places and got it into 4 stores and 10 locations in the lower mainland. This is the easiest thing in the world to sell. It just makes sense because it’s easy to use and  it helps people stay warm. I’ve been focusing on the  wheelchair weather blanket, but, also got the jogger weather blanket into two stores as well.

I read a blog that really touched me and I responded by sending a wheelchair lap blanket to the autor, Patrick, for his wife Patti. The response I got was worth every bit of the hard work I’ve done this year!

I put 2 paid ads on Craig’s List one in Seattle area and one in NYC, looking for commissioned sales reps to rep the wheelchair weather blanket… $50. There may be a few potentials among the responses… I sure hope so. And it looks like I may have a rep in the Chicago area, who is a friend of Teresa’s…. Yeah!

Ok… now it makes sense!  As a single mom, with no financial help from anywhere, I’m just getting deeper and deeper in debt. This year of business has cost a lot. I’m financing my business with my income from film work, my lines of credit and those kind enough to help me.  My coffee maker, my kettle, my watch, a computer, and my hair dryer have all become incapacitated in the last couple of months… not sure if I’m just noticing all of this because I can’t fix or replace them at the moment….but, it just adds to my anxiety levels. I have to keep reminding myself of the quote I put up on my facebook wall a while back:

‎”I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” — John D. Rockefeller

I sure hope that’s true… because my intention is to keep on keeping on, no matter what, because I believe that it is the right thing to do, and to continue to count my blessings.

This year I:

posted 171 times on the facebook fan page….

tweeted 684 times….

wrote 28 blog posts….

responded to 479 emails about the offshore production….

did work for 16 different production companies

responded to 275 emails from Liddleworks….

added a store front to my FB page as a way to sell old stock…

had 750 Buggy Bag units manufactured

took 49 guitar lessons….

spent 60 hours in dance classes….

got to 99% on Brain Challenge….

hugged my daughter 730 times….

toilet trained my cat….

After reflecting on the past year, I know what my blessings are as clearly as I know everything is going to turn out great.

I’m thankful for my daughter, my brother, my parents, my friends, my guides, my supporters, my vision, my health, my atitude, my customers, my humour,  my suppliers, my teachers, my dance partners, my employers, my mentors and everyone who has crossed my path for whatever reason…..please know that every single one of you are responsible for at least two of the things I’m grateful for.

I’ve been asking on Twitter if anyone would like to hear a bit about the building of the Stargate Atlantis Wraith Queen costumes. I say ‘a bit’ because… well, it was some time ago and I don’t have pics from building the first one, but, I’ll give it my best  from what I can remember.

I had just finished a four year stint working as the head cutter in the costume shop on a show by the name of Andromeda. One of my friends was co-ordinator for SG-1 and SG-Atlantis…. yes, two distinctly different shows working out of the same costume shop! A huge job for a shop co-ordinator, but, my friend is that kind of amazing. She asked me if I’d like to come and cut as part of her huge team in her shop, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with her again.

The designer for Stargate Universe was Christina McQuarrie and she gave me the honour and challenge of executing one of her amazing designs for the Wraith Queen. This one was to be made out of a white leather, and utilized a textured pale kid leather along with white StingRay.

As I said, I didn’t have any pics of this, so I found these ones on-line to jog my memory. It seems that the top pics may be action figures… how exciting to think that one of the costumes that I built was made into an action figure!

The coat was very fitted in the top and if I recall, we padded out the bust (a common thing to do) You will notice that the top two pics have blue trim… this is not the original costume. This is someone else’s interpretation of it. The lower pic is an on-set shot and shows the more subtle contrast of the different leathers. The waist cincher was the most difficult aspect of the costume. It was cut out of stingray, which is similar to cutting through a piece of glass that is glued to leather! Very, very horrible to work with. Couple that with the fact that it was bound with leather to finish the edges…. huge job.

The contrast pieces were made out of a lovely textured leather that I backed onto another leather to add stability. They were cut into asymmetrical patterns which were then riveted together and onto the garment. Cuffs were done in the same way and they had an interesting shape on the back side. The over belt was also made in the same way.

You know, it’s funny, the amount of work, time and money that goes into one of these costumes is just amazing… especially when you take into account that I can barely make out what it was or see any of the details from the pics, and I made it! I can only imagine what someone would go through to duplicate it from guess work!

Actually, I can imagine, as I was hired once to duplicate all the dresses from the Titanic as part of a touring theatre exhibit…. I sat for hours and drew pics frame by frame from the movie and I still had to use my imagination for almost all of the backs! I’ll save that story for another post.

I just found this picture of the original costume taken by the set supervisor. It’s a really good shot that shows the details and the fact that there was no blue on the costume.

 

 

That was my only season working in the shop at Stargate… many changes happened after that….   Christina McQuarrie moved on to become the illustrious designer of Sanctuary, I started doing contract cutting from my own studio and Valerie Halverson took over as designer of Atlantis (she is now the designer on SG-Universe)

Valerie asked me to do the next Wraith Queen that I built. This was the Hive Queen, her thrown was amazing and she was all connected into it. It looked like some kind of a web/goo…. creepy….

This dress was constructed from the base up. We started with a foundation garment. I cut and stretched the two layers of fabric over the bust, and then hand stitched it onto the bra to give it stability and shape.

This dress had a centre back invisible zipper and the skirt split in the centre front and had a long train.

The pic shows what a disaster zone my apartment turns into when I’m working… actually it looks pretty good in this shot!

The outer fabric layer is a gold mesh with sequins in it. It’s really effective because of its random nature.

I was good about taking pictures of the dress, but, I didn’t get any of the building of the the outer layer. The outer layer was like a leather corset, but it was not boned. The leather was extremely stiff and didn’t need any support. It was an embossed, stiffened cow hide that had a shiny finish. The whole thing was built by draping it and stitching it as I went. I then bound all the raw edges with a soft lamb. I think this was a very strong and effective costume for the Hive Queen. Lots of make up though.

If you have any questions you can follow me on Twitter and ask away…. @BuggyBag

I promised in my last post that I would let you know how I enjoyed the games. The first couple of Wheelchair Rugby games that I saw were while I was volunteering the day after my last post. I saw four games that day. There are two games being played simultaneously, so you can watch both at the same time. CAN v GBR, USA v GER, SWE v FIN and NSL v  ARG, were the four games I got to see that day.

All of the games were action packed and crazy and just a whole lot of fun to watch. It was fun volunteering. That day the stands were absolutely packed with schools from the lower mainland. A lot of the kids had made banners and were making lots of noise, so the air was vibrant surrounding those games. I enjoyed watching some of the guys I had met in the athletes lounge the day before, out there playing so hard. It was so much that I rushed back to the ticket desk and bought 4 tickets for Friday night. CAN v USA game.

Not sure if they call this the "Tip Off" or not....

I took my daughter and 2 of her friends to the game. Girls night was off to a good start. The Richmond Oval is such a beautiful building… unfortunately, we were a bit late getting going and by the time we got there, all the seats were taken in front of the CAN v USA game. We were able to sit just between the two games closer to the side of the GER v FIN game. Canada and the US were 1 point apart throughout the entire game… it was super close for all 4 periods, with Canada leading.

Canada leads....

The girls enjoyed the games just as much as I did and between the four of us, I think we figured out the basic rules of the game.

Nabilah, Emma, Devi and I... self portrait

I felt a bit sorry for the Germany and Finland teams because everybody was watching the Canada v USA game and kind of ignoring their game…. that part didn’t feel right, but, I guess that’s par for the course when there are two games being played at the same time….

This shot shows the German team watching the Canada USA game along side with some of the other athletes.  In the end USA overtook Canada and won by one point….and we headed home, all of us now, Murder Ball fans.

Last Friday I start a 3-day stint as a volunteer for the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. It was a slow start of putting promotional packages together and  poking holes in the credential holders and attaching the lanyards to them. It was still fun because the company was good…

Me, two other volunteers and a mountain of lanyards...

This morning started out at the Sheraton Hotel, with me merchandising some swag in the athletes lounge… that was fun. I was to keep the shirts, posters, pins, etc. in order and make sure that any visitors to the lounge had what they needed. I had lots of people come in to buy games shirts and I bought one of the delicious chocolates.

Games shirts and stuff

A few guys from team Sweden came in for a rousing game of foosball.

Foosball

Then, later in the afternoon, they were seen playing doubles tennis…

Doubles Tennis Match

Then there were the guys from the UK that were Rocking out on Rock Band

Rock Band Team GBR

Manni and Ash shot a great game of pool, although it turned out that Ash was a bit of a “shark”… it was a fun game to watch.

Manni and Ash

I met David Rountree, the inventor of the Floor-Board Wii Platform for wheelchairs. This is a really neat thing. The platform is designed to  be seated right on top of the Wii Balance Board. It tips/rocks down at the back as the wheelchair pushes onto it and then it even back out when the chair is perfectly balanced on the platform….Game On!

Original Floor-Board

David demonstrated to me how it worked and showed me how easy it is to slalom…yet later when I tried it myself, it proved to be much more difficult!

Tight Slalom David!

Travis from Canada, Vancouver to be more precise, gave it a whirl too.

David and Travis

From what David was saying, he’s just about to get the 3rd prototype back from the factory, each one better and lighter than it’s predecessor. I can understand what he’s going through, trying to get this great product out and into the hands of people that will use and love it. I feel like we have a lot in common when it comes to moving our products ahead…I have a lot of the same issues when it comes to buggy bag… it’s a long road, but, certainly an enjoyable journey.

David and 2nd prototype

I had such a great day and met so many wonderful people… I can’t wait til tomorrow when I go and volunteer at the Richmond Oval. I’ve never been there before and hopefully I will get to glimpse a few minutes of these sold out games.

Court 1                         Court 2

9:30               1 CAN v GBR 2 USA v GER

12:00             3 SWE v FIN             4 NZL v ARG

These are the games that will be on when I’m there tomorrow…. there will be others, but, not while I’m there. I’ve never seen the famous game of MurderBall played, but, I’m told it is very exciting…. anyway, I will let you know in my next post.

A whole week has gone by already since the shoot… I feel bad that I haven’t talked about it yet, I’ve been really busy this week… fittings for SGU, alterations, volunteering at the Wheelchair Rugby Games, getting fitted for contacts… many stories to come!

Last Friday, Rina from LiddleWorks, organized a photo shoot, so we would have some more shots for the new website. I don’t know how she did it, but, it all came together really fast and without a hitch. We had seven models, a dog, a photographer and Rina and me. Rina chose a wonderful park just to the east of Granville Island. It’s got a duck pond, a wooded area, and sea wall with city background. We got some really different looks without having to change locations.

Rina, Derek and Georgina at the duck pond

Georgina, and Duncan were the first to arrive. Duncan was fairly worried when Georgina was off with the photographer…. he stayed with me at our work table/bench and whimpered while keeping a close eye on her. Duncan is a working dog and he obviously takes his job seriously. Although, I have to say, I had a hard time taking him too seriously. I’ve never seen such “puppy dog eyes”… dark brown pools…sooo, cute!

Me and Duncan

Derek and Duncan

This was kinda funny… Derek was trying to get Duncan to go back over to to Georgina… Duncan had other ideas about how the day was going to go…

Sylvi was the second model. Now there is some talent, and I’m not referring to her modelling, although she was great at that! She is a multi-talented performer and composer of modern music. Sylvi has generously offered to let us use her music on our site, which we certainly will when we get to that point in its development.

Sylvi and Me in conversation

The next models were a team, my friend Samantha and her darling little Elizabeth, who is now about 10 months old. Elizabeth is just one very patient child. We had her in two different strollers and lots of pics were taken, she gave us smiles and was just a great model…. (so were you Sam)

Samantha and Elizabeth

June and Ken showed up next and went off with Derek while I hung around the table with our stuff.

June and Ken

Kent was the last one for the day and while Derek was shooting with him, Rina and I packed up all the things we had brought and folded up the table and started to move in the direction of the cars.

Rina, me and Kent

It was a good day. The light was flat, the rain held off, and there were lots of laughs. I feel so lucky to have such great people coming into my life…. Thanks to all of you…Rina, Derek, Georgina, Sylvi, Sam, Elizabeth, June, Ken and Kent… oh, and Duncan! …and of course Lydia from the British Columbia Paraplegic Association for helping us with the model search.

I bought the tickets last May, as a gift for my daughters birthday. Last week I asked her if she wanted to take one of her friends to the show and she responded with, “no, you’re alright”. I guess I’ll take that as a compliment, although at the time it felt more like a mercy comment. The rain held off all day… right up until we got off the bus at Deer Lake Park. We made our way through the security with our two bags of rain gear and blankets and headed over to stake out our real estate on the grass. I immediately made a B-Line for the beer tent, grabbed a glass and came back to join Emma on the grass.

These Kids Wear Crowns

The first band up was These Kids Wear Crowns from Chilliwack and it turns out the lead singer is my brothers friends nephew….haaaa…..kind of a funny coincidence. They were pretty good. We liked how they executed the cover tunes. I particularly like the way they covered the Beyonce single. A little bit of a punk edge to Single Ladies. They put lots of energy into their show.

By the time the next act came on, we were both wearing our rain coats and were pretty much wet and my beer was slightly diluted. We wandered up and got a couple of crepes…yummmy and ran into two of Emmas friends and one their moms.

Emma, Alex and Nikita

I really enjoyed the second act. It was Daniel Wesley and I will be purchasing his album soon. I had heard of him, but was unfamiliar with his music. Turned out to be right  up my alley.

The main act, Hedley, came on and the girls all rushed down to the front area while Cathy and I stayed back and watched, enjoying the fresh coldness of the falling rain and our beers. I have to admit that I really enjoyed Hedley and I was pleased to discover that they are from Vancouver. Indeed, all three bands were from the area, which was a really nice treat. Hedley, though, did seem truly Canadian, especially with the plaid shirt and the campfire!

Spotlight Operators

I love this shot of the back lit spotlight operators at work.  We met up with the girls after the show and Emma and I said our goodbyes and jumped onto our bus home. When we transferred and ran to catch the next bus, Emma realized she had left her wallet on the previous bus. Luckily it was still in the bay and she was able to get it. We had to wait another half hour for the next bus which was a bit of a bummer, but, oh well….All in all it was a good night, good music, fun bus trips and good company, and  we were at home and in bed by midnight.

I was in the Everything Wines Store a couple of weeks ago and I ran into Ivan, who works there and has helped me select great wines in the past. He told me about an evening of Peruvian Food Tasting and Wine Pairings that he was preparing to do in my neighbourhood. Well, those are two of my favourite things, so, I was in for  sure. Two of my friends and I went tonight to a small restaurant by the name of the Rustic Llama Peruvian Cafe. There were about 20-25 guests for the pairing. It was really great because Ivan, the host gave a very informative presentation about Peru and it’s rich cultural history, and we heard about the wines from several reps that attended.

Ivan

Luis and Carmen prepared some amazing dishes in Peruvian tradition, starting with  Ceviche de Pescado which was paired with  Pisco Sour, which is not a wine, but a cocktail containing pisco brandy, egg whites, lime and some other magic ingredients. It was a fresh start.

One of my favourites was the Causa de Pulpo  potato dish with octopus… paired with Olivares Rose wine.

Causa de Pulpo

The Arroz con Pollo chicken served with cilantro flavoured rice was amazing and  the Salvalai Primitivo Flaio only helped to enhance the already wonderful flavours.

Claudio, specializes in Pollo a la Brasa, which we got to sample tonight along with Ferrandiere Marselan. It was the most flavourful rotisserie chicken…. and oh so juicy!

Lana and Rina

Rina took some pictures… sure hope they turned out better than mine did….

Dessert consisted of the most delicate little pastry that reminded me of a very light shortbread with a delicious rich dark filling made from browned sweetened milk. With the desert wine, it was an even richer experience…

OK… the food, the wine… all good!!  But, the whole evening was made fantastic by great friends, conversations and laughs!

If any of you would like to try out some great food, I would recommend the trek out to Boundary and Hastings to the Rustic Llama Peruvian Cafe…but, make sure you only come out on Friday or Saturday, because they aren’t open the rest of the week!

If you want more details about the pairings and food and also way better pictures… be sure to stop in and see Ivans’ Blog!

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