I meant to write this post last year, and ran out of time… so for a year, a scrap of paper with scribbled addresses has had a prominent spot on my magnetic board.

Tonight was a beautiful night, so Lorie and I drove around to confirm the houses were still showing the outstanding displays that we saw last year.

MANY houses and neighbourhoods have lovely displays.  I am proud of our Morningside neighbourhood. (Springdale Drive in Pitt Meadows) but there are no houses that are EXTRAORDINARY !!!

Here are the houses that Lorie and I have come across, in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, that have AMAZING Christmas light displays.

(And if you find others, PLEASE let me know !!!)

Pitt Meadows

    •  11749 192A Street, Pitt Meadows, BC

Maple Ridge

  • 12147 – 201 Street, Maple Ridge
  • 20298 Lindsay Avenue, Maple Ridge
  • 12266 – 203 Street, Maple Ridge
  • 21456 – 122 Avenue, Maple Ridge
And for a grand finale…
  • 21614 – 122 Avenue, Maple Ridge

Hopefully this can help folks enjoy the Holiday Season !!!

Merry Christmas, everyone !

PS A suggestion from a reader, named Steve:

  • 11940 Hood Street, Maple Ridge

This morning I got up early, got ready, and headed over to the Hammond Community Centre for the Terry Fox Run.

Stop…

Stop laughing !!!

I was volunteering… not running.Maple Meadows Terry Fox Run - BobBlahBlah.com

 

But, on a serious note, it was the 30th Annual Run…  (but I’m ashamed to say) …my first one.

Sandy Wakeling, a friend on Twitter, and I had been “talking” during the recent Stand Up 2 Cancer broadcast, about our HATE for Cancer.

(Usually, HATE is too strong a word… but with Cancer, I’ll make an exception.)

He asked me if I was participating in the upcoming Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge Terry Fox Run.  I said no, but I would love to help if he knew where I could volunteer.  He did, and so it was that I found myself, just before 8 am on a drizzling Sunday morning, headed across a parking lot to find out what I could do to assist the folks who were there.

We set up tents, carried juice boxes, unloaded t-shirts… all amid a crowd of smiling folks.Maple Meadows Terry Fox Run - BobBlahBlah.com

Met some awesome folk:  Joanne, Betty, Hank, Tami, Barry and a couple of Bruce’s.  (There were more folks, but I’ll do better with names next year !)

As the race got closer to being underway, I was asked if I was okay with directing traffic, and sent out to guard and guide traffic and pedestrians at the intersection of 114 & 207.

The Run was broken down into three distances:  1 kilometre, 5 kilometres & 10 kilometres.

When I got to 207th, Officers from the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment were already there, and waiting to help control traffic… so our jobs became the more joy-filled purpose, of simply cheering the soggy runners on.

Shortly after 10 am, the run started.

… and so did the rain.

 

Maple Meadows Terry Fox Run - BobBlahBlah.comIt started with gentle showers, and progressed to a monsoon-like deluge.

I have never been outside in such a downpour.

And from the smiles and grins on the face of the runners… you would never have known the sun wasn’t shining.

 

The crowd was (reportedly) bigger than ever, and I can’t remember ever volunteering at an event, where so many people were so happy to be there.

And then the light show started !

Lightning and thunder… pretty close to overhead.

Those participants holding umbrellas and those of us holding Stop signs, gave a gulp of surprise… shook off the rain, and kept going.

There are many stories that I came across today… those of Cancer survivors, and some folks who came in memory of someone who had lost their fight…. but none touched me as much as the lady who about 9:40 came along, and asked me if she was going the right way.

Maple Meadows Terry Fox Run - BobBlahBlah.comMany people had been asking directions to the Community Centre, where the start was, as it is buried in the midst of a residential neighbourhood… so I started to give her directions to the start, and she interrupted me, and explained, they had already been there.

This was her 30th year doing the “Run“, and every year, it was taking her a little longer to get around.

So, because she didn’t want to hold anyone up, and to avoid being jostled by the crowd… she and her companion (maybe a daughter ?) had started early.

They came across my intersection again… which means they did at least the 5 km route… close to the end of the crowd, as the Run was winding down.

Soaked through, but grinning from ear to ear, you could tell she was pleased that she was close to completing another year’s Terry Fox Run.

I wanted to take her picture… but the rain was lashing down, and my Blackberry was already soaked through (along with the rest of us) so it will have to wait for next year, when I’m sure I shall see her again !

Thanks to all the cheery people who came out on a rainy day to play in the big puddle the roads turned into… the volunteers who laughed in the rain… and the one special lady who reminded me that sometimes to just complete the race, is its very own reward.

 

Here is a link to a Video on Youtube, done by ESPN in tribute to Terry Fox.

One of my nieces, Hayley Woodin, is a BC Ambassador.

Hayley Woodin - BC Ambassador 2010 - BobBlahBlah.comHayley is a former Miss White Rock, who continued on, and became one of three BC Ambassadors for 2010.

Neither one of these programs is a beauty pageant… the criteria for both contests, judges the applicants on knowledge of the region, a personal interview with the panel, public speaking, presentation ability, and a talent portion.

There is also an expectation that while they are holding the Title, they will travel throughout the Province, promoting the mandate of Education, Motivation and Self-Esteem.

They have also, for the past two years, been working towards helping Craig Keelburger’s Group: FREE THE CHILDREN to build a school in Kenya.  The Free The Children group has now morphed into WE… who run WE DAY.

With that goal in mind, the BC Ambassador program has held cookie sales, selling bird houses, a few garage sales and other fundraisers, to raise thousands of dollars necessary to make this dream a reality.

There is another Garage Sale, this Saturday, June 19th, and all proceeds from it goes to Free The Children to help build the school.

It is being held at 11845 Springdale Drive, in Pitt Meadows, and will run on Saturday from 8:30 to 2:00. (No early birds, please)

Here is a link to Google Maps, showing the location. (Just in case you aren’t familiar with the Ridge Meadows area)

C’mon out !  It’ll be a hoot, a holler and a half !!!

 

 


I got to run in the Olympic Torch Relay today.

The enormity of that statement is just now, hours later, starting to kick in.

I didn’t write an essay.  I don’t work for a Sponsor.  I don’t have any pull.

I got lucky.

I was helping out as a volunteer at the Pitt Meadows Olympic Torch Relay Celebration… just doing whatever needed doing… like everyone else.

It wasn’t raining, when we showed up at 6 am, and the fog was starting to dissipate… it looked like it was going to be a good day.

Little did I know how good it would be!

I was busy, like a lot of other volunteers and organizers, running here and there, doing whatever the coordinators needed doing.  After a bit, I found myself in the Council Chambers, helping tie ribbons for lanyards onto the volunteer nametags.

One of the supervisors had left her Walkie Talkie on the desk, and suddenly, over it, I hear “Where’s Bob ?”

I’m alone at the check in at this point, so I stick my head around the corner of the hallway and, spying the Supervisor who’d called, asked if she was looking for me ?

This is where it all gets very hazy, as things moved VERY quickly.

“Do you want an opportunity ?”

“Sure, I’m happy to help !”

There is a chance you may get to run in the Torch Relay…”

“……….” (Stunned silence)

“If the person doesn’t show up, in the next ten minutes, would you like to do it ?”

Words at this point cannot express the magnitude of emotions, crowding into my overwhelmed thoughts.

“Of course !”  I croak.

A Torch Relay Tracksuit is thrust into my arms, and I am hustled to change, just in case.

My brain is packed with a million thoughts… How can someone NOT show up?  This would be so COOL!  I wish someone I knew was here to take a photo.  Have to remember to smile.  Why did they pick me?  This can’t be happening.  Hurry up, they’re waiting.  It won’t matter – the person will have shown up.  If the person shows up, can I buy the tracksuit?  Enjoy the moment.  Stop enjoying the moment, they’re waiting.  How could someone NOT SHOW UP?

Five minutes later, the “just in case” waiver is filled out, signed, and the Torch Relay Bus is leaving.

The man giving me instructions is talking so quickly, and my brain is working SO slowly, that I take in NONE of what he tells me.

“Am I carrying a Torch?”  I finally get a chance to ask.

“Yes, you are!”  he says, as he claps me on the shoulder.  “Get on the bus, we’re leaving!”

The bus ride was a humbling experience, as after check-in, my fellow passengers in turn, gave their name, shared how they got to run in the Relay, and what it meant to them to be participating.  One young girl in a wheelchair had been hit by a car only two weeks earlier, and although confined to a wheelchair, and having a broken pelvis, she was determined to take the Torch on her leg of the Relay.  Another was running for a family member who had passed.  Another had been involved in the original Vancouver Bid process.  Several had written essays.  Some had spearheaded programs at their work.

I got lucky.

When it was my turn to be let off the bus, I got dropped off at the side of the road, and was soon surrounded by a crowd of people.  Children and adults alike, goggle-eyed as I let them hold and pose for pictures with the unlit torch.  I tried, as much as possible, to give the crowd on the sidewalk the benefit that I had been given, of holding the Olympic Torch for a moment.  To share the joyous feeling of this unbelieveable honour. 

I was working my way back through the crowd, when the Officials came up to me, having thought I’d gone missing, and told me it was time to get ready to start my leg of the Relay.

It was then I chuckled to myself, as I realized that although I had probably posed for over 100 pictures, I had no photo for myself… I had no camera, and no time to ask anyone to send one to me.

Soon the run was started, and once the choreography of the flame being passed from Torch to Torch was done… I started off.

A steady jog… I wasn’t prepared to rush this.

Close to the end, I slowed to a walk, as I really didn’t want it to end… but seeing the next Torch-bearer, broke back into a jog, as I could sense their excitement and anticipation.

It was over, almost before it had begun… but it was a few moments I shall treasure my whole life.

Today I got lucky.  I was given a tremendous honour, priviledge and gift, by people I barely know… who I have no possibility of EVER coming close to being able to adequately say  “Thank You” to… But Thank you, Lorna !!!  I was humbled to be in the company of the people I met.  Both those who carried the Flame on other legs, and those kind people who tend to the Torch carriers.  Those people, who, despite having given the same instructions over ten thousand times, know each time, that the person isn’t listening, because their brain is screaming “I have an Olympic Torch in my hands!”  and yet just keep on smiling, high fiving and woo-hooing.

Wow, did I have a good day today.

Olympic Torch

2010 Olympic Torch

On Monday, February 8th, the Olympic Torch Run will pass through Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, on the way to the Opening Ceremonies on the following Friday.

There will be celebrations held in both communities.

Maple Ridge will “go” first, with their Party running from 6 am to 9 am… (although the exact time the Torch will be arriving is still to be announced).

There will be an official ceremony at Memorial Park, with some entertainment, an Art unveiling, and refreshments.

There will also be a Pancake Breakfast at the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

After Maple Ridge, the Torch will continue to Pitt Meadows, where the party will run from 7 am to 10 am, taking place at Spirit Square, next to City Hall.  Similarly, the Pitt Meadows celebration will have entertainment, a Spirit of Wood carving presentation and breakfast.

Different Torchbearers will be carrying the Torch through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and onto the Opening Ceremonies on February 12th.

Come on out, and help light up the Town !!!