My once-yearly, you know I’m good for it, and I’m really sincere fundraising ask

Little known fact about me: several years ago I thought I might like to be a Victoria Hospice volunteer, and I signed up for an information session and tour to see if it might be a good fit for me to go on and take the training.

20140206-082914.jpgIf I’ve already convinced you to donate, just skip to my fundraising page: bit.ly/ToriRide and leave a donation. If not, please read on …

Turns out it wasn’t right for me at that time, but my eyes were opened to what Hospice care means for terminally ill people and their families. I saw first hand the importance of hospice facilities and care, the unique requirements involved, the dedication of the staff and volunteers. After experiencing the loss of family members myself, I am astonished (in a good way) at the strength, caring, and courage of people who work to make someone’s last days and hours more comfortable.

Those who know me, know I’m not one to throw a bucket of ice on my head and post the video on YouTube (more power to those who do!), but I do like to help my preferred charities in other ways.

This year, I’m riding my bike for 60 kilometres to raise money for Victoria Hospice on September 7. My team (Team Blood, Sweat, and Gears) has set ourselves a modest goal of raising $250. It won’t take much to meet that goal, and that’s why I’m asking for a little bit of help from my friends.

It goes all the way up to 11

It goes all the way up to 11

You know I only go to the well (my friends and family) at most once per year. You know I only raise funds for organizations I’m personally involved with in some way, doing good work in the community. I believe wholeheartedly in the work of the Victoria Hospice. Won’t you help me reach my team fundraising goal today? I won’t ask you again. Not even at Christmastime!

Just a $10 donation will help. Twenty or more would be better, but $10 is all I ask. It only takes a minute: bit.ly/ToriRide. And you have my gratitude. If you donate $50 though, you have my gratitude and an invitation to our next dinner party. :)

I’m only asking once, so please head over to bit.ly/ToriRide and get out your credit card.

 

 

TriStars volunteers desperately needed for the Victoria Triathlon June 15

I am taking part in this Ironman Canada 70.3 race as a swimmer on an Olympic distance relay team. PLEASE CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING…

Triumphant smile at the end of the race

After last year’s Victoria Triathlon (my first Olympic distance) I went for a dip in the lake. Ahhh!

Just like last year, Lifesport is offering a $500 honorarium to teams that provide a minimum of 25 volunteers. The $500 that TriStars (my team) received last year was applied to the costs of our Christmas party, to which TriStars volunteers are invited! Last year I danced all night. :)

The honorarium applies to set-up crew on Friday (8:30am-12:30pm or 12:30pm-4:30pm) and Saturday morning (8:30am-12:30pm), tear-down crew on Sunday afternoon (2pm-6pm), and bike/run marshals during the race.

If you’re interested in volunteering please sign up using the link below, and make sure to choose TriStars as the “Group” under the Volunteer Registration section. Please note that each volunteer needs to register with a unique email address as this ensures that the volunteer captains are able to communicate with their respective teams. Thanks!!

https://www.shiftboard.com/SubaruWesternTriathlonSeries/register.html

A day and a half to fall in love with Vancouver all over again

Sometimes good deeds are rewarded. Last year I volunteered for the Victoria Marathon; while at the orientation event I entered a draw sponsored by Diggit Victoria and I won a one-night stay in a downtown condo and a $100 gift certificate to the Glowbal restaurant of my choice.

I was finally able to take advantage of my prize on May 16-17. I took the day off work and booked a Harbour Air flight. Then I promptly fell in love with Vancouver all over again during my 36 hours there.

My first order of business was to visit my tenants at my Marpole condo to check things out and help with a minor repair. I realized, as I took the Canada Line, that it had been almost two years since I’d been in Vancouver for personal reasons. Every other time has been a business trip.

It was a sunny, dry day, and in the middle of the day the train was not full. When I lived there, I began to resent the crowded train ride twice a day, but I did get a lot of audiobooks read …

Rather than take the train back downtown after my visit, I took the bus back up Granville Street. Marpole has changed quite a bit in two years. The Safeway on Granville is completely rebuilt with a condo tower above it. I think it can only enhance the neighbourhood by bringing new residents, new businesses. I was glad to see Mirchi (my favourite little East Indian restaurant) is still there.

I walked from the bus stop downtown to the Lions building where I was staying, in the West End. The condo is a privately-held property – I had originally thought it was a vacation rental property, but it doesn’t seem like it – my guess is it’s for frequent business travellers. It’s a cute, small, completely self-contained “junior” suite, which means it has a tiny bedroom with a single bed, and really psychedelic wallpaper! Good thing I didn’t come here with someone else as I had originally planned, back in January-February; this is not a romantic get-away-type place.

False_Creek_May_2014I promised Connie from Diggit that I would document my stay. Unfortunately, I had issues with my phone battery and was unable to take a lot of pictures, but the apartment is super-clean and modern, with a lot of windows, a huge-screen TV, wifi, a kitchenette with stainless steel appliances, and a full bath. There is a concierge at the front desk and parking available (including locked bike parking). I contacted the owners afterwards to see if they’re in the market for new short-term renters and they said no, so I won’t advertise any more than that. Suffice it to say this tiny apartment is adorable.

I stashed my bag and went off in search of a bike rental place. I ended up at English Bay Bike rentals where the friendly and helpful staff fitted me with a cruiser bike with balloon tires, a helmet and U-lock. They’re located right on Vancouver’s waterfront bike path and rates are quite reasonable – almost a third less than another place I checked out in the West End. I took advantage of the glorious weather to cruise the path all the way around False Creek to Granville Island – a route I ran many times when I lived in Vancouver.

At Granville Island I ambled, and shopped, and had tea, and ambled some more, until I realized I had to meet a friend at 6. I made my way back via the Burrard Street Bridge, which is a great bridge for cyclists – but they’re making it even better – WTG Vancouver! Realizing a) I was exhausted and b) I still needed to shower and get ready for dinner, I postponed pre-dinner drinks and took a cab met my friends at the restaurant.

dessert platter

Yum

Trattoria in Kitsilano is part of the Glowbal group, which has several Vancouver restaurants. If they’re all as good as this, I’d like to get to them all eventually. I rounded up two Vancouver friends to accompany me and, in short, that was one of the most delicious, enjoyable meals I’ve ever had. I had the special of the day: a vegetarian risotto which was the best I’ve ever tasted (and I dated an Italian guy for a while who was an amazing cook, so I know my risotto). My friends loved their meals too: K had a steak which, according to him, was very good, and I honestly can’t remember what B had, but I know she loved hers as well. We shared a dessert platter afterwards. I couldn’t eat a lot of it because of the preponderance of dairy, but what I did taste was nothing short of exquisite. Our waiter, Faraz, was funny and personable and was a big reason why our meal was so great.

From there, the evening turned into an impromptu rooftop party in Gastown. You’ve all had those evenings, right? Not a rooftop in Gastown per se: but an evening that just turns out to be more fun and interesting than you had planned; where you meet new people and have great conversations, and realize life is just amazing and the world is right here, right now and nothing needs to change. Where you get home incredibly late and wake up only slightly hungover, and think: “Well, that was fun! I couldn’t have organized anything better if I’d tried.”

I did wake up too early the next day – which was OK because I had more exploring to do before I left for home. I took the cruiser and headed around the Stanley Park Seawall: another running route I used to do nearly every weekend. Seawall_Stanley_Park_May2014The day was perfect for it.
I will note at this time the weather forecast had called for rain both days I was there. I was prepared with my rain gear, and bought a nifty rain hat at the Hat Shop on Granville Island, but there was nary a drop. It was like the weekend was made for my enjoyment. Hah.

I ended the bike ride by returning the cruiser to the bike shop, then wandered down Denman and eventually met up with B for brunch. Then I headed to the condo, packed up, took the garbage out (as instructed), handed the key to the concierge, and caught my flight home.

Thanks Connie at Diggit Victoria for the great prize – I had a blast and I am looking forward to more personal (not just business) trips back to Vancouver in the future.