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Really, it wasn’t one of those “wow.. that was quite the Gong Show” sort of events. It was a fundraiser for Interfit Integrated Fitness Society. It’s an event that I not only attended last year, but will likely become known as a ‘regular’ at in the future. This years’ event was themed as a ‘Gong Show’, with lots of entertainers attempting to upstage one another in front of a panel of judges, with mallet ready to strike the gong.  There were the good, the bad and the ugly, and the utterly breathtaking, rocking and hypnotizing. It was sheer entertainment.

Silent Auction Table

My friend Rina from LiddleWorks came with me,  and we bought a glass of wine and began making our way along the super long table sporting all of the donated items that were up for silent auction. There were a huge variety  of items ranging from vacation get-a-ways, original art, jewelry, sports accessories, and of course there was my very own contribution, Cairns Technical Gear (aka. buggy bag, story to follow) Wheelchair Blanket,… oh, and not to forget the huge beanbag cushion. Lots of cool stuff. We bid on many items and then staked out a seat on the groovy low white leather ottomans  in the centre of the room. All the couch seats were already gone, or we would have been there.

Rina and me

Looks like I’m making some wise-crack out of the corner of my mouth….

All the volunteers at the event were dressed in 70’s outfits, some of which were just stellar.

Gong Show MC

We were also entertained by a very handsome man who kept bringing little yummy bits over for us to sample.

Yummy.... um... hors d'œuvres...

One of the entertainers that really stick out in my mind was a very young guitar player that played so beautifully, in the realm of Steve Vai…  wow… he’s going to be even more amazing when he gets older. And the best part of his act was the fact that he was sporting the long, free-flowing hair of the 80’s rocker… totally fit into the gong-show theme.

Here’s a picture I took of Interfit founder Brian Bell.

Brian Bell

Last year I promised myself that I would take my good camera with me, but, I forgot, so you get my iPhone pics instead. Maybe next year I’ll remember.

 

 

 

 

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I was running late. Had to drop off a costume to Sanctuary first and then whip over to Costco for some chocolates. I thought it would be nice to be able to offer visitors a treat when they stopped in to chat. I had put together a little slide show loop of pics from photo shoots, and had that on the end of my table playing on my laptop. The other end of the tabel had a list I had made up of all the retail locations where you could buy Cairns Technical Gear, some brochures and business cards. In the centre was a sample of the Cairns Full Protection Lap Blanket for wheelchair users and the Cairns Rain Protection Apron for scooter users.

I was a little disappointed by the location of my table. It was in the middle of the east side of the room, and because there was a projection screen in that corner, the lights were off. This wasn’t an issue for any of the tables around the outside of the room because they had spot lights aimed at their tables. In between presentations they would turn on the ceiling lights and cast some light onto my table… this is where the bowl of chocolates come in….

...all that glitters... and smells like chocolate...

I had some past customers come by to visit me and see the new product, which was a real pleasure for me. One of the customers who dropped by already owns two of the Cairns Full Protection Lap Blankets, one in each colour. It was the first time that I met her and it was such a treat. She was using her red one that day.

See how dark it is?

She was the second customer, that I had not met before, who approached my table for a chat. I just love that part of the Abilities Expo. I get to meet the people after they’ve been using the product for a winter and find out what they think, get their views and talk about new ideas.

I even had someone I’d been chatting with on Twitter come by and introduce himself. He writes a cool blog ‘Priority Seating’ about accessibility on transit in Vancouver. His Twitter handle is @nextstoporbust, if you’d like to join him. It’s so nice to be able to put a face to a name.

I had Rina Liddle and Prophecy Sun stop by from LiddleWorks to chat… we would be meeting up again later in the week to do a photo shoot.

Me and Rina

Me and Prophecy Sun

The afternoon was a whir of visitors and lots of people that came by 3 and 4 times to grab one of the chocolates. It was fun to watch as some people would saunter by for the 2nd time and act like they didn’t notice the bowl, only to turn back and grab a few more for later.

The entertainment was really good. The CanDance Team performed to a number by the Black Eyed Peas. And there was also a singer/guitar player that I really liked, Glenn David Loft. I’ve looked all over for the info and can’t seem to find it. Here’s a picture of him. If anyone knows his name, let me know in the comments.

For the last month I’ve been trying to find an active, younger guy who would like to assist me in my design process. I’m designing a pair of adapted street-wear pants that would be appealing to younger hip guys, that don’t want to look like they’re wearing adapted pants. Then, from across the room I spotted the best looking man I’ve seen in years. I started having one of those moments where I was thinking…”I can’t approach him… he’s WAY too good looking”. I’m glad I did because he was not only interested in helping me, but, he was full of ideas and enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to having the time to work on this new project.

Our friends Ken and June showed up for a chat as well. They have modeled for us in the past and are much fun to chat with. They have both been so supportive of what I’m doing.

Ken and June

The afternoon was a whir of visitors and lots of people that came by 3 and 4 times to grab one of the chocolates. It was fun to watch as some people would saunter by for the 2nd time and act like they didn’t notice the bowl, only to turn back and grab a few more for later. Can’t wait til next year. It’s a great event that ConnecTra Society puts on at the Roundhouse in Vancouver.

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

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.

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