In a Perfect Wedding World

Braving the cold and the pouring rain, a scrappy group of faux wedding party participants came out to Vancouver’s famed Robson Street on Sunday, April 10, 2011 in support of Dress for Success Vancouver.

Proving that people don’t like to come out when it rains, the estimated dozens who were expected to attend got whittled down to an enthusiastic few who withstood the heavy downpours with big smiles and even bigger hearts.

They handed out pamphlets, informed passers-by about the upcoming Dress for Success power walk and provided donation cards for anyone wishing to make a contribution.

The organizers are trying to raise awareness for Dress for Success Vancouver, an organization that empowers low and no income women to transition into the workforce by providing them with professional attire and a small working wardrobe to get them started in their roles. They also provide other services including a clothing stylist, career counseling and an ongoing mentoring program.

http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/210313–dozens-of-brides-and-grooms-swarm-vancouver

All this in support of the Perfect Wedding Show taking place this Sunday, April 17 at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel in Richmond featuring traditional vendors offering unique wedding options for all bride-to-be’s.

And this is how the article SHOULD have appeared on all the local newspapers if I had any say in it. Oh well.  2 news outlets out of how ever many there are in Vancouver should be good enough for now.

Shooot!

Photo provided by Tempest Photography - http://www.tempestphoto.com

The End is Nigh!

Well the end of the year is nigh, at least.  So nigh, in fact, it’s pretty much here already. By the time you read this line, there will be less than 2 weeks till the ball drops for 2011. Rather than dropping the ball and waiting for Jan 1, 2011 myself (how passé!) I want to be the first to drop my 2010 Retrospective highlighting one top  post from each month. So without further adieu, I present to you:

2010: A 2010 Retrospective looking back at a year of blogging in 2010. Retrospectively.

January 2010: Why should polar bears have all the fun?

Tempting fate and Mother Nature by taking an ice cold dip in the Pacific Ocean. If you think a person has to be mad to do it – you’re just about right on that. The madder the better.

Would I do it again? I guess you`ll find out in less than 2 weeks…

February 2010: Please, oh please, won’t you be my anti-valentine?

Inspired by love and all its BS, as well as this hilarious antivalentine’s day card courtesy of www.Meish.org/vd:

 

March 2010: End Game

Olympic Fever hit me as early as January and I had several posts on the Olympics over a 2 month period culminating in this final, sad entry. Olymmmmmpicsssss! Those who lived it just know. Those who didn’t could be better off not feeling the loss of a time when the city of Vancouver was engulfed, enthralled and enchanted by all that was and might never be again. Sigh. So as you can tell it’s a fun, uplifting post. 😉

April 2010: Supporting the Arts

Oh Septocus! How I wanted this great performance art piece to be bad. I’ve never been so happy to be disappointed in my life. (Contrarily, I really wanted this performance art to be good and it was…not that)

 

May 2010: I’ve got your future right here

I paid $40 to be told the equivalent of what I could have discovered using a Magic 8-ball. Thinking of getting your palm read and your crystals analyzed? Simply remove my name in this post and paste in yours. Bam! I just saved you $40.

June 2010: Love thy Father

My heartfelt salute to my most favouritest man in the world – Daddykins! Interestingly enough, he doesn’t read my blog – the bastard! 😉 Xoxo!

July 2010: Festivus of Beer

Ah yes, an alcoholic’s dream come true… Assuming the alcoholic liked beer. Unfortunately I don’t. Read on for the details of this living nightmare.

August 2010: Pie Times

22 pies to taste and one spork with which to do it. As any 12-year-old girl with an eating disorder would say: OMG. Get a napkin ready and read on about the best day of my life!

Pies as far as the eye can see! Wheeee!

September 2010: Peaceful Anarchy

Cycling for hours just for the hell of it. If we cause a little anarchy while we’re at it, so be it.

October 2010: The Grouse Grind®

Took on this bitch and it kicked my arse. Twice! Argh! I don’t take defeat very well. I’ll see you again in the spring, you sanctimonious whore! If you don`t know what the grouse grind is, count yourself lucky. And probably lazy. Yah you heard me. Take the challenge! 

November 2010: Wedding Fever

I finally learned about the fun in marriage Weddings! The glam; the photographers; the planning; the fun; the cake (oh my, the cake!); the party; the gifts; and the most important part of that day – the open bar! Marriages do not = weddings.  A wedding is the drug: an ecstasy pill coated in butter cream frosting, served with free flowing champagne.   Marriage is what comes after the drug fuelled, champagne high. Like the hangover if you will. heh heh heh. Hey, there’s always the simple cure (divorce) and then you can have another wedding, woo!

December 2010:

What? A 2010 retrospective looking back at a favourite blog from each month in 2010? What a great idea. 😉

Is this considered a paradox thingy?  Nope. Apparently it’s called Recursion. Learning is fun! (except when it isn’t)

December 2010 (the real one): `tis the season (pt II)

Get in the spirit with this handy guide that should motivate you to get off your couch!… or stay on it. I have tips for you lazy folks too. And yes, you’re welcome.

The Nigh at the End

There you have it. A non-comprehensive 2010 retrospective on the year 2010 (a retrospective).

What’s next for 2011? What’s next on the agenda? What will happen over the next 12 months? What predictions or speculations are on the horizon for the coming year? I haven’t a clue but after seeing that fortune teller back in May 2010, I do know one thing for sure:

Neither does she.

`tis the season (pt II)

‘Tis the season to pretend to care, to fake niceties to those you’d rather not, and to show love and affection to people you`d normally ignore in the street (in-laws & coworkers anyone?). ‘Tis the season where everyone is forced to be generous, to show goodwill towards mankind and to repent our selfish ways (relax though- it’s only for a few weeks).

Yes ’tis the season of guilt.  Face it – when was the last time you donated to a charity because you wanted to? Gave money to a homeless person on the street because you felt like it? And dare I ask: When was the last time you donated your spare time to a worthy cause out of the goodness of your heart?

What`s that now – feeling a little guilty? Perfect because ‘tis the season for it.

You should also feel pretty normal too because only 33% of the population volunteers their spare time to worthwhile causes (compared to 26% of our American counterparts). But don’t go cheering and patting yourselves on the back just yet because within that 33%, the majority of them are at least in their ‘60s and 10% of this entire group do most of the work.

Alas, my fellow young/lazy folks (young being aged 59 & under, lazy being lazy), we can’t just let those active sexagenarians show us up. What we need to do is both painfully obvious and obviously painful: We need to get out there and give. We need to do more than plan on doing something one day and actually do something right now.

Volunteering can be hard and I sympathize with your hesitation. We have to pencil in the time, find the money to give, donate the hours, and worse yet – actually show up as promised. We can’t TIVO giving and we certainly can’t PVR our volunteer time (trust me, I’ve tried).

JLo posited correctly when she sang about love not costing a thing. Something else that don’t have to cost a thing: Volunteering! That’s how much you get paid too so everyone is equally @ $0. Equality rules!

So put your wallets away, get your butts off that old couch and tell your tired excuses to go to bed. It’s Volunteer Time.

Get your butt off that dirty thing!

Nelleytimes’ Lazy-Guy/Gal guide to volunteering:

Lazy-Guy/Gal Complaint #1:  Do I have to leave my couch?

Heck no!

  • You can sponsor a child online
  • Heck, you can sponsor a whole gosh darned village online
  • Sign online petitions (use your JohnnyBong or Emma6969 email addresses for extra points)
  • Send emails to friends and family members to donate to various causes you’ve signed up for
  • Clothing/toy/appliance donation pick up – right at your front door. Get rid of that old 42″ flat screen to make way for the 52″!
  • Make an online donation to a charity of your choice

Lazy-Guy/Gal Complaint #2 Do I have to spend money?

Heck no!

  • You can help pick up toys at drop boxes
  • Go through your closets and give your 2 sizes-too-small pants you`ll fit into again one day to someone who can actually fit into them now
  • You can be a Santa (you might even get paid in some instances!)
  • You can donate those dusty cans and boxes taking up space in the back of your cupboard
  • You can be an xmas meals on wheels driver
  • Ask any charity in the area how you can help out
  • How about serving or preparing food at a soup kitchen?
  • You can box up donations at a local food bank
  • Volunteer as a clown/helper at a local hospital

Lazy-Guy/Gal Complaint #3 – Hmmm. That all sounds like too much work. What else can I do?

What you can do is get the hell off your lazy ass and get out there and pick something to do and give back to your community you no good son of a …Er -what I mean is, if none of the options above are available to you for whatever reason, then please feel free to check out other options online:

So there you have it. Problem solved. Pick any 10 items from the above lists and get to it. This is a great start. If everyone gets involved, we can conquer Christmas! (cuz that’s the point, right??). Plus, once that’s done we can start working on bringing about world peace, ending world hunger, and then fix this whole global warming thing we used to hear so much about (if that’s still even broken). It’ll be lots of work, it may take up a lot of our spare time and it might just be a thankless task. This won’t be a problem though because who do you think is up to this challenge and is ready to sign up?

Well personally, I volunteer you.

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I was originally very charity minded in last year’s ’tis the season.

Couch pic source/ gift pic source

 

What a day!

Justice Rocks in the beautiful open fields of Strathcona park and the Latin Festival situated at picturesque Trout Lake nearby. Also on the agenda– the Salsa Fest in downtown Vancouver, the Blueberry Festival and the Chariot Parade Festival of India a few cities over. From 11 am to 11pm – my Sunday was planned!

Shame about the sleeping in part though. I’ve learned that you can’t plan for 11am events and stay out way past 3am the night before. No matter how good the music is and no matter how much fun the people are and especially ESPECIALLY no matter how freely the drinks are flowing. 11am will still come @ 11am. Sigh. Waking up at the crack of 1:37pm, I eventually headed out to seize the day at around 3pm (after stopping for a coffee first).

Bring on the day! First up, Justice Rocks:

Justice Rocks: Featuring live music shows, interactive social justice presentations and festival fun. A park shakedown in the sunshine

As penance for my previous night’s overindulgences, Justice Rocks was the perfect place to go. Although touted as a fun summer event, its various booths and presentations stirred your emotions from shame to guilt, and from passion for change to anger -not what I’d call ‘fun Sunday feelings’ (if I wanted to feel guilt, shame and remorse on a Sunday, I’d still go to church!).

The two issues that caught my eye the most were homelessness and poverty.  I liked that each booth directed you to do something if you wanted to assist the organization. Whether it was to simply sign a petition to be sent to the powers that be (Santa?) or donating to their cause and joining and supporting their action group, they had something for everyone to do at any level.

Most surprising to me – an amnesty international booth that showcased a small, 10 by 10 shack (or smaller!) which serves as a home for several people in poorer nations. These shacks lack electricity and plumbing and any other basic necessities.


Funny enough, if this shack were placed in Yaletown (an upscale area in downtown Vancouver) it would go for $800! So what this all really means is location, location, location.

with a little paint...

My Solution: Simply move these shacks to upscale neighbourhoods and their values will increase exponentially!

Amnesty’s Solution: Housing is a right. Donate, join or take action today

Next, walking past the Redtents.org booth, I was immediately taken aback by their banner:  Ending homelessness would save Canada more than 2 Billion per year. As a business major, this definitely caught my eye and I searched further for proof of their claims.

Red Tent is national campaign that invites the participation of all persons and organizations wishing to end homelessness in Canada.

From the RedTent.org website, we learn how they get to the $2billion amount: According to a 2001 study, the combined service and shelter costs for an average homeless person in Canada are $10,000 higher than the combined service and housing costs for an average housed person.

Thus,

$10,000 per homeless person per year
X                 200,000 homeless in Canada (very low estimate)
=$2 billion spent needlessly per year

Hmmm. Interesting theory. It would be cool if we had a couple billion dollars hanging around and could just make it happen. Homes for everyone! I’ll take a Yaletown shack please. I hear they’re very popular in other countries…

Latin Summer Fest: To Promote Latin Culture in a one-day outdoor festival, through its colourful spirit, arts, culture and food

As a reward for my previous night’s overindulgences, the Latin Festival was the perfect place to go. Walking up to it from several blocks away, I could already hear the staccato beats of Spanish music in the air. This festival featured 2 stages and 2 dance floors because they know their audience well – we like to dance.  Unfortunately it was so hot out that the dance floors, which were poorly located in the hot, hot sun, remained vacant. People were still dancing of course – just from under the cool shade of nearby trees or under the awnings of various food vendors.

After checking out the many booths (clothing, jewelery, knick knacks, etc.) I finally got into the spirit by ingesting as much Latin food as possible: corn tortillas, chips and salsa, tacos, carne asada, pupusas, quesadillas, churros, and of course the always popular and well known Latin dessert – fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Mmmmm.

pupusas!

Belly full, we waddled to the presentation stage where Mexican dancers performed the traditional hat dance. Their dancing was great but I was more impressed by their ability to do it in full Mexican dress and in 26+degree weather. Ay dios mio.

muy caliente!

By this hour there was no time (or desire) to visit any other festivals/events/causes for the day.  The two festivals I did get to attend were interesting in their own rights but complete opposites. Where one focused on social issues and empowerment, the other focused on food and fun. Justice Rocks tried to create a light mood within a summer festival atmosphere but no matter how hard you try, it’s hard to make homelessness and poverty fun…

Even in a great location.

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Pupusas Images: http://www.wpclipart.com

Climbing, on the rocks

Challenge: Climb 48 flights (or 739 steps). Straight up. All in support of research for the BC Lung Association and their 9th annual Climb the Wall: The Stairclimb for Clean Air fundraiser at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel.

Challenge Accepted: Before signing up, I prepared myself by going to the gym and using the ‘ol StairMaster. 10 minutes of ‘training’ later, feeling strong and confident and ready for any challenge, I signed up assuming this was all the training I needed.  I would soon find out that I was so very, very wrong.

Climb me!

The night before the event, I planned to do some yoga stretches, have a large salad with a side of pasta for dinner (carbo- loading), drink plenty of water and then get to bed early. With healthy plans made, I imagined nothing would get in the way. After all, no one will want to go out on a rainy Saturday night anyway, right?

Wrong.

The best laid plans…

I received the invite via text at 5pm that evening -the day before the climb. I tried to ignore it but it was followed by a reminder invite via text just after 8pm. A fun friend we hadn’t seen in awhile was back in town and it felt like a one night only thing. Especially when my friend said it could be – for one night only. I didn’t need much convincing and gathered round the usual suspects and headed downtown. As we trekked downtown, I told my fellow party people “As long as you make sure I’m home by 12:30 1AM, I’ll be fine.”

1AM: You can’t leave yet. Have another gin and tonic…

1:30AM: Cheers everyone! Tequila shots for all…

2AM: Lemon drop shots are more lemon and ice than vodka anyway…

2:15AM: Hey, weren’t you supposed to be asleep by now?

Home at the crack of 2:45AM, I intelligently reset my alarm from 8:35AM to 8:45AM. There. That should do it.

The longest morning of my life

Sundays are sacred. Yes for Him of course, but mainly I’m talking about me. Well, Sunday mornings are sacred at least. It’s the last day before the workweek begins that I get to sleep in. Getting up before noon is ridiculous; before 11AM is crazy and before 9AM should be considered a sin (and I like to think that He would agree).  After dragging myself out of bed then tossing myself into a cold shower, I haphazardly pack a bag and head out, wondering what I was thinking and why I’m even doing this in the first place…

FIREFIGHTERS

Grammatically speaking, I really don’t need to bold and capitalize the word FIREFIGHTERS. However, after meeting a menage of them in person I realize now that there’s definitely a physical need to emphasize the word FIREFIGHTERS. I’ve seen them on TV and in the movies but I have never really seen or paid attention to them in person. Consider me a newfound fan. Captain of the fan club in fact.

I arrived at the event just after the first few FIREFIGHTERS had finished their heats. This was in perfect time to see them strip out of their heavy firefighter jackets to reveal wonderfully formfitting, dark blue firefighter shirts and tanks. I slowed my pace and watched as their shirts stretched across their broad shoulders and bulging biceps. I came to a dead stop as some removed their sweat soaked tanks to expose their glistening chests and well-defined abdominal muscles…

Ooof. Where was I now?

Oh yes! I now see why FIREFIGHTERS support the BC Lung Association because they definitely took my breath away. Ha ha ha. (Promise: next time I’ll warn you when there’s a bad joke ahead)

Registration taken care of and my free shirt & climber # in hand, I met up with some of my teammates. Immediately, I noticed the many firefighters in the area.  6 foot plus, broad shouldered, dark haired and gorgeous, I’m forever grateful to my outgoing friend for getting the attention of these nearby specimens and beginning a conversation with these 2 gorgeous lads.

She estimated their ages to be around 20 to 25 years old. I simply estimated their ages to be ‘old enough’. Swooning, I ask their take on the stair challenge versus the StairMaster. Handsome #1 replies: Completely different. Handsome # 2 chimes in: It doesn’t prepare you for this stair climb at all.

Gulp.

2 days of training out the window. My heart starts to beat rapidly in my chest.  Partially from staring at that droplet of sweat on Handsome #2’s neck that I want to wipe off (with my body) but mainly from the challenge ahead.

An average of 8 minutes, the BC Lung Associations’ website claimed, is how long it will take most people to do the climb. My very fit firefighting future husband and his buddy (the best man, perhaps?) took just over 9 minutes to do it. My friends estimate their times will be in the 20 to 25-minute range. I’m still clinging (probably falsely) to that average of 8 minutes because 15 minutes of climbing straight up sounds as appealing as taking my eyes off these 2 lovely firefighters (can I help you wipe the sweat off your abs, sir?)

Let’s get to it

With the warm-up and stretches complete, there’s nowhere left to go but up. As my turn at the stairwell approaches, I’m given the green light to go.

Step 1 (48 flights to go): Cheers and hoots and hollers and it’s all for me! I think to myself as I sprint down the hallway and up the stairs, “I can do this, woo!”.

Flight 4 (44 flights to go): Only a few seconds in and I’m out of breath already. Uh oh. Maybe that last gin and tonic wasn’t the best idea…

Flight 8 (40 flights to go): I catch up to my friends and slowly slip past them. They’re engaging in the slow and steady pace method whereas I’m employing the ‘go as fast as you can before your body realizes what’s going on and slows you down’ method. In a scientific study, both methods proved to be equally effective.

Flight 16 (33 flights to go): An un-amused teenager in a monotone tells me I can do it and wishes me luck. For some reason, I don’t feel her sincerity.

Flight 21 (How many damn flights are left?!): I have long since stopped sprinting. The walls are closing in on me. And I never knew I could breathe so loudly. Is it really only me breathing this heavy in here?

Flight 28 (20 fricking flights to go): the sound of my own breath now annoys me. And those cheering morons at every flight are starting to tick me off with their canned hurrah’s and phony encouragement. Just so you know – “Only 20 flights to go!” is NOT encouragement when your thighs only have 18 flights left in ‘em.

Flight 34 (too many #$& flights left): I seriously look at the exit door to the right and consider it for a second. Then I remember the sign at flight 20 or so that states: “Only losers take elevators!” or something along those lines.

Flight 43: A large sign announces: “Only 5 flights to go!” I want to take that sign and shove it down the throat of whoever had the balls to make it. I bet you he never walked up 739 #$& flights of #$& stairs.

Flight 48 (0 flights to go):  What? I’m here? I’m alive!? Oh yay! Thank goodness. I hug the cheering darlings and take their proffered cups of lukewarm water (I assume the bringer of ice has to take the stairs…) Strangers in the recovery break room hi- five and congratulate each other on a job well done. The room smells as well as you’d think a room that’s had 400 sweaty people passing through it would. Then add 100+ more.

They send us down via the elevator back to the main area where we’re met by a feast of fresh fruit, pastries, bagels, cupcakes, coffees and teas and lots of water to help us recover. A wonderful event made even better by the continued presence of many FIREFIGHTERS to congratulate us and thank us for our efforts (no mister firefighter sir, thank you). The organizers continue to applaud us and announce our times will be posted later that day and/or on the website the next day. After stretching, getting some coffee and noshing on a bagel or 6, we pat ourselves on the back, take one last long, long look at any remaining firemen and get ready to head out.

So after going out the night before, going the distance the day of the event, going for it all by going to the top, I definitely know what I’m going to do when I get home…

I’m going to take a nap.

Oh and my official TIME to climb 48 flights of stairs or 739 steps: 31st place (out of 235 women), coming in @ 8 minutes and 13 seconds, woo! However, I swear it felt like an eternity so I assume they rounded down.