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A wee bit of catch up to do here I’m afraid. First off, in my own defence, I’ve worked on average 75 hours per week since my last blog post. To put it in perspective, that’s more than twice what the average person works in a week. When I work an eight hour day, I feel like I’m getting off at lunch time. So, think about it… what does that leave time for? Well, I have to sit down and pay bills, make invoices, go to the bank, and get groceries. I have to make meals for my daughter and I, clean up after, feed my cat, do laundry, and vacuum. I have to shower, dress, sleep and do pilates. I have to fill Buggy Bag orders, tweet and post to the Buggy Bag fb page. Yeah… you get the idea…there’s not been a whole lot of time left to blog! I’ve been off now for 2 weeks. Some of that time was spent recuperating from the last 5 months. Some of it was spent blowing off steam with my friends. I went to the Cloverdale Rodeo, several parties and over to the island for a night.

I’ve sold out of Large size Black Lap Blankets! I’ve put in a new PO with the factory and should be receiving the new shipment by September, just in time for the cold weather.  Toys ‘R’ Us (.ca) has increased their re-oder amount steadily since they took on the stroller and jogger blankets, so that’s good news for me, however, I still can’t for the life of me find the product through any search on their site!!! I wonder how they’re selling them.

I missed the Abilities Expo at the Roundhouse this year because I was working on a movie, which upset me, because I really enjoy that event.  I did get to go to the Recreational Resource Fair at GF Strong

though, which was really fun. The pic above is of David from Vivify. It was nice to see his big smile from where I was sitting this year. I also, had a great chat with the author of a blog called Priority Seating. Check it out.

I have done more than that, obviously, but, it’s past my bedtime, so, that’ll be for another day.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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 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.

It’s been how many days since my last post?… Wow, 3 weeks, too long… Today, was the first full day I’ve been off in at least three weeks, but, I’m thinking that in reality it’s more like 6 weeks. I can’t really remember. What have I been doing?… I can’t really remember that either, but, I’ll try.

Let’s see… oh yeah, 26 costumes for Red Riding Hood, 9 costumes for Fairly Odd Parents, one suit, with long coat for Jim Byrnes‘ character on Sanctuary, 2 jacket linings for my friend, 10 pairs of pants for Sanctuary, 6 T-Shirt for Stargate Universe, and a skirt for myself…I draft the patterns, cut them out and construct them, so it’s fairly time consuming. As you know, I’m also working on my Buggy Bag® business, which has, for the most part been phone calls, emails, filling out forms, approving samples, Trademarks, Patents, manufacturing, Stuffed Articles Act Registrations, Duty Judgements, PO’s, Proforma Invoices, working with designers on hang tag designs, trying to line up bridge financing….shelling out much, much money…. which leads us to the real reason that I haven’t taken any time off. I need to finance my business start-up costs and, support my daughter and myself, at the same time. The build up to this falls commercial airing and it’s outcome is absolutely exciting! I have put so much into this thing… especially the wheelchair lap blanket, that I just can’t wait to get it out to more people. The feed back on last falls batch was so positive, that I just know that this falls’ line is going to be met with even more enthusiasm….it’s even better than before! The Stroller and Jogger models are really looking fantastic too. The commercial is going to focus mainly on them, with a 10 second spot on the wheelchair. The idea is to get a demographic read on the market based on the purchases made, through 150, 1 minute spots… This is going to be really interesting.

Because I work as a contractor, for the film and TV work that I do, I feel compelled to take everything I can possibly manage to do, and sometimes it gets so busy that I don’t see any time to relax… this has been one of those periods. It’s great though, because it is one of the things that I simply love doing.

Ok… well, that’s not quite true… even if I haven’t had a day off, I’ve taken many evenings to enjoy live music, dancing, friends and playing my guitar…. it’s just sometimes hard to squeeze all this fun into one lifetime!

Before I go, I just have to say that last night I went to see a Cuban band by the name of Wil Campa…. an absolutely sexy band and music… fantastic…. Which leads me to my next question… Why don’t more men learn how to dance cuban salsa? It is sooo sexy and at most events there are usually about 4 women to every guy. Last night the place was full of women wanting to dance… here is a link to a fantastic Cuban dance instructor if any of you guys want to learn… Latidos!

Last Saturday night, 3 of my girlfriends, my brother and I, went to the 2010 Spring Frolic. It’s a fundraiser for the InterFit Integrated Fitness Society in North Vancouver. If you’ve ever come to visit  Vancouver, or you are lucky enough to live in this amazing place, you know, that there is nothing that takes you closer to the wonder of this planet than a walk in our great forests. That is what the Integrated Fitness society is all about.

We got all dressed up and headed out to the Delbrook rec Centre. I didn’t know what to expect, because I had never been to one of their events before. The event used two large rooms, one of which was decorated in a magical way with twinkle lights and tables of 6 or 10, each with white linens and the most lovely floral arrangements. The floral arrangements were mostly indigenous flowers, placed into a wide bamboo tube… really beautiful. Surrounding two sides of the dining room were about 10 gambling centres… if that’s what you would call them… there were Black Jack tables and Roulette and Craps and a few other games…. by now, you probably have guessed exactly how many times I’ve gambled… well, I did win 10 cents when I was in Vegas at a slot machine!  Anyway, it turned out that I had some kind of magic touch with the dice that night and ended up winning $500! When we arrived at the event, we were given $300 worth of “funny money” to gamble with. It was so fun! There is something really great about gambling with pretend money…. I just loved it.

One end of the room had a stage where Adam Woodall entertained. I really enjoyed him. I had never heard him before and am pleased to say that he was really great… and, as a one man band, he had people up and dancing. Nice work.

The other room harboured the food, and the silent auction items. I had put a few Buggy Bag Lap Blankets in, so I was hoping they would get some action.  Both of them sold and I got to meet both of the people that bought them, so that was really cool. It’s always exciting to get to talk to and meet the people that use the product.

There was also a live auction with a very good auctioneer. What makes a very good auctioneer you ask? Well, to me, if I can understand what they are saying… they’re good!  MC Denny Williams also had my girlfriends and I chuckling numerous times…. oh, yes, and, did I mention the bar tenders? There’s something about a man in a Tux…. 🙂

My only regret about the evening, is the fact that I got so wrapped up in the fun, friends and food, that I forgot to take pics for my blog… I did put a plea out to people, for some shots, and, if any come, I will insert them later… sorry! Pics are always the best part, especially when you are weeding through the banter of my brain….

… come  to the next event… I’ll be the one blowing on dice at the craps table!

“Always was a skier, since I was about 8 or so. The fresh air, the snow, the rush of adrenaline… these are a few of my favourite things! Out with my family every weekend, which was no small feat for my parents since we lived in Kingston, Ont. usually it was a weekend event because the drive was more than 2 hours… into PQ, NY,  Maine or Vermont. Boy, we were lucky kids! When I moved away from home, I found out that it was a super expensive sport and I didn’t have the same opportunities for many years… until, I moved out to Vancouver. Mountains everywhere, and you could get to them in 45 minutes or less! I was in my bliss.  I bought myself brand new equipment and went out as often as my poor paying job would allow. About 5 years of that and it became apparent that I had inherited the knees of my great grandmother… but, I wasn’t alone, my mom and her mom had also won the lottery! I wasn’t going to give in that easy and I bought myself a Brodie mountain bike and began commuting to work in an effort to build the muscle around my knees.

Two years, four tires, new gears, one “endo”, one broken nose and  roughly 5000 kms later, and I was finally ready to go skiing again. In October 2002 I told my friend Lana, I was ready to go to Whistler with her this winter! Then, at the end of November, I had a cycling accident on my way home from work, which resulted in completely shattering the top 6″ of my Tibia, severing the patellar tendon and the anterior cruciate ligaments. I lucked out and got this surgeon that was just about to leave Canada to work in the US. He did a bone graft from my left iliac crest bone and apparently he had some kind of an underground source for “skele-grow”, known in the doctoring world as “osteoset beads”. All this, a couple of shapely steal plates, and what looks like all the extra screws that happened to be kicking around at the bottom of his tool box (a couple look like drywall screws). Near the top, he had to put all the screws in at angles to form a triangular spot to stick the patellar tendon back into. The guy was genius…. look at this!

Leslie's Beautiful Left Leg

I spent most of my life being self-conscious about my legs. They kind of resembled  tree trunks. When I asked for advice my grade 10 gym teacher told me I would have to have my legs in two casts if I wanted skinner legs. I had what I had, but I tried to avoid dresses as much as possible.

The day after the operation, the surgeon sat beside my bed and told me that he had done the best he could with what he had to work with and that in every likelihood, he would be performing an amputation on my leg in the next three days. Best case scenario was that I would always walk with a bad limp. What he saw, was my face saying “uh, huh”…. but in my mind I was saying “f-you…not going to happen”! All I did from that point on was focus every bit of my brain into healing myself. I pictured the bone re-growing, and the tendons and ligaments re-attaching and healing. I pictured myself walking. I picture myself walking with no limp. And I pictured myself feeling great.

I was not allowed to flex my quad for 6 weeks, because of the tendon being so tenuously attached, but I had to start flexion of the knee joint within 4 weeks, so the new bone that was growing wouldn’t fuse to the patella. I rigged up a pulley thing and let gravity do the flexion work while I held the leg up with the other end of the rope from my wheelchair.

Three weeks after that I was in physio twice a week, and 3 months later I was at the gym doing 2 hours of cardio, one hour of weight training and topping it off with swimming, 5 days a week, every step focused on symmetry of motion. Seven months after the accident, I got on my bike and rode back to work…no limp what so ever.

The point of my story here, is that, I once saw my legs as ugly….. now I see them as a gift…. one of my biggest assets. Things don’t really change, only the way we choose to see them.

Tomorrow morning I’m heading off to Whistler to try my newer leg on the “Bunnie Slope” first time after 15 years! I can’t wait…

What a beautiful Vancouver day. I just watched a hail storm with the sun coming through the clouds, just magic. The hale wasn’t big and it may have only happened up in my neighbourhood, but, it sure made lots of noise.

In the last post I showed a picture of Rina that wasn’t extremely flattering. I was just showing the moment, and it was eerie lighting from the computers, but, I just did’t see her as looking bad, but, she’s my friend and I just see how beautiful she is in her ways. Here’s another picture of her, just to show that she’s looking good the rest of the time…

Rina

I woke up with a super runny nose this morning, making it difficult to accomplish much without the tissue break every 2-3 minutes, but, I have to get back to my grading. Grading is when you take a base pattern, say it’s a sample size medium, and grade it up and down to the other sizes. For instance the new style of Buggy Bag® lap blanket that I’m doing for next fall is going to be available in sizes XS, S, M, L, so I’ve had to grade it by 4 sizes. It will fit more wheelchairs this way. This is what a “graded nest” of one pattern piece looks like.

pocket pattern graded nest

It’s called a “graded nest” because the sizes have not been traced off and put onto individual pattern pieces, instead they are nestled together on one piece of paper. I have done this for each of the pattern pieces.

Did I mention the sneezing? OMG… I am planning on making my body a very uninviting place for this cold…. it’s going to be fleeing from me by tomorrow, if it knows what’s good for it!

buggy bag® mobility products

Buggy Bag® Mobility Products is dedicated to helping loved ones stay warm and dry while on the go. Buggy Bag® Stroller, Jogger and Wheelchair blankets protect against the cold and wet, while offering visibility in low light conditions.

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