Help CBC Help the Hungry

I’m a self-confessed CBC Radio nerd. I figure I’ve been listening non-stop for at least the last 40 years! The voices of CBC legends Peter Gzowski, Bill Richardson, Arthur Black, Vickie Gabereau and Barbara Frum still make me smile, even though I haven’t heard them on-air for years.

And I love my local CBC heroes in Vancouver – I never miss Rick Cluff on Early Edition, Gloria Macarenko on BC Almanac and Stephen Quinn on On the Coast during the week. It’s those people I and so many of my fellow Vancouverites will flock to see on Friday December 4 at CBC Vancouver’s annual Open House in support of Food Banks BC.


There’s never, ever been a more important charity to support.  Did you know that in BC, 100,086 individuals are relying on a food bank each month – and one out of three of these people is a child?

Last year through the national food sharing system, Food Banks BC distributed more than 1.8 million pounds of food worth close 4.5 million dollars to its 97 food banks throughout the province! Additionally through its BC Share program each year, Food Banks BC receives more than 1 million dollars of fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

So, come down to the CBC Vancouver studio at 700 Hamilton St., meet your favourite personalities, enjoy live entertainment throughout the day and tour the CBC studios.

Image 2015-11-24 at 11.05 PM

And donate, please. You can donate online any time starting now.

The pledge lines will be open on Dec. 4 from 5 a.m. – 6 p.m. PT
Onsite donations will be accepted at CBC Vancouver: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.

I’ll be there for most of the day – with my camera, of course.

Hope to see you there, Vancouver!


And Then, CBC Called…

Yesterday, I posted on the significance on November 17th for me. Not only was it my late husband’s birthday, burt it was also World Prematurity Day, and as a middle-aged preemie myself, I wanted to celebrate the occasion by telling my story. I was really touched by the response!

And then today, I got a call from CBC Vancouver, wanting to talk to me as a follow-up to my piece and my life as a tiny survivor. I was excited, happy and terrified! But I had met  host Stephen Quinn a few times before, and was very comfortable, so I made it through!

You can hear the CBC On the Coast interview at approximately 1:16:55.

I’ve discovered that I’m also in an article on the CBC web site. I am truly blessed.

But it’s not just about me. It’s about every tiny baby who’s struggled, survived and is a miracle, no matter what they achieve in life. Anything and everything is possible.

Stay scrappy kids. This old gal did.

It’s Time for Kindness

It’s getting close to the holiday season, a time of giving and receiving, of joy and family and good cheer. But it’s not a happy time for many people, who may be homeless, poor, hungry and struggling.

It’s time for all of us to be kind, to give back. And I can’t think of a better way than to be part of my friend Marc Smith’s 4th Annual #30DaysOfKindness campaign. Marc has a huge heart, and a keen sense of community, and it’s a testament to his hard work and ability to motivate people that the 30 Days Of Kindness is one of the most popular features of his 30 Day Adventures series.

I participated in the 30 Days Of Kindness last year, and felt so good about my contribution that I’m doing it again! This year, I’m supporting one of the most inspirational organizations I know – Beauty Night Society, founded by the amazing Caroline MacGillivray. Beauty Night is dedicated to building self-esteem and changes lives of improvished women and youth in Vancouver through wellness programs, life skills development and makeovers.

This month, Beauty Night is in the process of soliciting donated items for 1500 Christmas stockings that are being sewn, decorated, filled and delivered to their clients. The stockings are created by fashion designer Nancy Perreault, and are sewn by volunteers. Other volunteers dressed as elves hand out the stockings at shelters, transition homes, housing locations, drop in centres, and health care facilities.

I’ll be donating a few bags of goodies myself – but I need your help to make this act of kindness the best it can be.

Here’s what we need:

Journals (the most requested item)
Coffee Cards
Granola Bars
Body Care Products
Nail Care Products
Dental Care Items
Skin Care Products
Hair Care Products
Makeup Samples

From 2-5 pm on Monday, November 23rd, I’m camping out to accept your donations at one of the most community-minded businesses in my South Hill neighbourhood – Eastside Fitness, located at 5854 Fraser Street at 43rd Ave. Please drop in – I’m happy to take whatever donations you’d like to give! And if you’re unable to make it on Monday, let me know by commenting below, or emailing me. I’ll be happy to facilitate your contribution.

I can tell you from my experience that nothing feels better than offering help, no matter how insignificant it may seem. I have been helped by so many people myself – and I’m forever grateful. The best way to repay people for their kindness is to give back as much as I can as long as I can.

Won’t you join me? Your kindness will never be forgotten.

Remembrance Day in Photos – No Words Necessary

Photo by Cathy BrowneIt was a glorious day to celebrate Remembrance Day and commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces, and the next generation of Canadian military.

Under the canopy of a brilliant blue November sky, I joined thousands of men, women and children standing in respectful silence, and when we could, erupting in heartfelt, grateful applause for everyone who has fought, suffered, and died keeping us all safe and free.

I am letting my Remembrance Day pictures speak for themselves. There is not much more to say, except Thank You.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by CAthy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne


Surviving Winter

“November came roaring in with gusty winds and more wet weather. Mandy’s depression would not go away. Her garden seemed sad, too. It was virtually empty now, and the few brave flowers that remained there were flattened by rain, their yellows stalks sprawling in all directions. Most of the trees were bare, and the woods had a wet carpet of leaves.” – Julie Andrews, Mandy

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”
– Emily Dickinson

It’s one of those oppressive, dreary November days in Vancouver when the rain is never-ending, and living in a basement suite means leaving the indoor lights on all day long. The cats are restless and cranky. And I’m trying to get up enough energy to put on some coffee.

The first few weeks of November that usher in that change from the blue skies and bracing air of October are always the hardest for me. I hate the heaviness, the grayness, and the sudden darkness at 5 pm that epitomize the phrase “night fall”. It sure does. With a thud.

I know I’m not alone, that the loss of sunlight and long dark nights is hard on many people. In fact, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects as many as 35% of Canadians in varying degrees, from the winter blues to crippling depression. I was surprised to discover that as many as 80% of those people who experience SAD are women.

Here’s an informative clip fron the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) regarding SAD.

So, I need to work on how not to let November and the long winter to come get me down.

  • I need to keep busy. Luckily, this #NaBloPoMo exercise of a blog post a day for this month is already built in, and it is challenging me in a very positive way. And I also have many activities related to my advocacy work in the disabled community already scheduled for this month. It’s a good beginning.
  • I need to set a schedule. The last several months have been pretty unstructured, and while it did help me tremendously, I need to get more disciplined again. That means earlier to bed, and getting up at dawn, for a start.
  • I need to resurrect my job search. It’s no secret that I need paid work, badly. My months away have eaten into a concerted search, so I need to devote at least a few hours a day to that task.
  • I need to get out of the house every day, no matter how bad the weather is. My tendancy to hunker down in the winter months isn’t beneficial. I actually feel better being out in bad weather, rather than looking at it from the inside. So, it’s more walking for me.
  • I need to see more people. I’ve been spending too much time alone. I always blossom in the company of friends. I need to be more proactive and make plans with people I care about.
  • I need to pursue my interests more actively. I have tons of things I love to do. I need to hear more music, see more art, explore more of my city.
  • I need to take care of myself a bit more. A little self-care wouldn’t hurt, now would it? More bubble baths, and the odd bag of caramel popcorn!

So, that’s my short list. It’ll take some doing, and I won’t be perfect, but it’s a goal to aspire to.

What will you do to get through the winter? I’d love to hear from you!