Maranda’s Rainbow Connection

29 09 2012

So, you want to make a difference in someone’s life. You have always thought of different ways you would do it. You have imagined yourself winning the lottery and paying off all of your friends and families debts and then taking everyone on an exotic vacation. Perhaps, you have had images run through your mind of yourself plucking a homeless person off of the street, cleaning them up and helping them get back on their feet.  Maybe, after reading a story in your local newspaper about a family who has lost everything in a fire you have pictured yourself purchasing new clothes and furniture so the victims did not have to go without.

Maybe you give back to the community already. You may coach a local sports team, sit on an executive for a local charity or serve on the Parents Advisory Committee at your child’s school.

These are all commendable ways to make a difference but you can make a huge difference in someone’s life right now without winning the lottery or putting in endless volunteer hours. You can make a difference in someone’s life by simply grabbing a piece of paper and some crayons and drawing a picture of a rainbow.

Maranda is a 10 year old girl living in Regina Saskatchewan who suffers from an undiagnosed syndrome. Part of her illness is caused by Microcephally which is when the head is smaller than normal because the brain has stopped growing .Miranda has a long list of medical difficulties and suffers from repeated illnesses. She has seen some of the best genetic doctors and specialists in the world and so far no one has been able to determine just what to diagnose Miranda with, her prognosis or how to treat her.      

Maranda loves rainbows and says that they are universal and connect the world.  Through her facebook page (Marandas Rainbow Connection) she is requesting that people take the time to take a picture of or draw a picture of a rainbow and send it to her. Her goal is to receive a rainbow from everyone in the world. As an adult I know that this is virtually an impossible wish but I do know that if we all work together in our communities and spread the word to everyone we know by word of mouth, email and social media that we can do a pretty damn good job of making sure that Miranda  has thousands upon thousands of pictures of rainbows arrive at her front door.  

I would love to see entire schools, offices and families take this on as a community project. I have been involved with fundraising the community for many years and have always felt a sense of extreme satisfaction when I have the opportunity to give back.  I was afforded the luxury of having time to volunteer and give back to my community because my ex husband and I owned our own business and I was able to work around my schedule to enable myself to put in hours within the community. Not everyone has the opportunities to give back because of their personal circumstance don’t allow them to. If you have always wanted to give back and have not had the opportunity please take a few moments to draw your best rendition of a rainbow or dig out that picture you took of a rainbow way back , include your name, city and country. If you live in my home town of Victoria, B.C then please drop them off at the following locations

Top Dog Pizza – 2 locations – 3218 Jacklin Rd- Western Communities and 262- Island Hwy – View Royal

Breathe Athletic: 1031 Fort St

The Condo Group-Burr Properties: 3388 Douglas- there is a mail slot for after hour drop offs.

 If you are not in the Victoria area please mail them Maranda’s Rainbow Connection C/0 Shoppers Drugmart 2028 Park St, Regina, Saskatchewan S4N 2G6.

Happy Birthday!!

17 09 2012

Madison ( middle) at her graduation with her friends Mackenzie and Nicole

Yes, the rumours are true. I know it is hard for you to all believe because of my well maintained youthful appearance (thank you Arbonne) but today I am the proud mother of an 18 year old. I remember this day 18 years ago vividly. Thirty four hours before I gave birth I was sitting in a Taco Time having a soft taco because I had been told that Mexican food could cause you to go into labour. I had been told that castor oil works well also but with my easily triggered gag reflex this was not going to be an option for me. I ate my taco and prayed to the labour gods to please make this happen quickly.  I remember going to bed that night feeling that tonight was going to be the night. I was had an uneasy feeling (not just heartburn, I had already downed half a bottle of Gaviscon to alleviate that issue) and could not sleep. I had been having troubles sleeping lately because that is when the munchkin inside of me liked to play (still a night owl) but this was different.  I just lay there waiting for the labour to begin!

Low and behold at about midnight I felt a pain I had never felt before. It was an extreme tightness. Not the type of tightness you feel when you first put on your jeans right out of the dryer but a feeling you would get if your body was trying to expel a melon from your insides. Then it happened again and again and again. Oh crap!! I remember thinking. I am going to have this baby!!

I called my mom and girlfriend who were both accompanying me to the hospital and remember thinking (while rechecking my hospital bag for the millionth time) that when I arrived back home with my little bundle of joy (I did not know what was I was going to have) that I had to write a thank you note to Taco Time and suggest that they promote their soft taco’s as labour inducers.

Off to the hospital we go. I was well prepared. I had two of everything all of the guides instruct you to bring in your bag. That is one thing I can say for myself, I am well organized and always have a plan. I had a plan for the birth of my baby as well. I would arrive at the hospital with my hair done perfectly and with my make up immaculately applied. I was going to dilate at mach speed and have an easy labour with no tears, tears or tribulations. This was going to be one of those births where you tell your story at a baby shower about just how easy the whole process was for you and all the other women who had less than a wonderful experience look at you with daggers shooting from their eyes and call you a bitch. I wanted to be an “easy labour bitch” if I ever had to be referred to as a bitch at all.

Well, right from the start my plan was off course. Because it was just after midnight when the first labour pain hit and I was a little panicked at the idea of the labour being real. I had to settle with my hair being quickly touched up. The makeup was not perfect at all but since I had not taken the time to remove it before I went to bed I simply removed a smudge or two and was on my way.

Checking in was a breeze because I had done all of the pre check in paperwork through my pre natal classes and now I was raring to go and wanting to use every single breathing technique those classes has taught me.

They wanted of course to check out what was happening inside and I was more than willing to let them because I was sure by the sheer agony of the pain ripping through my body that they were going to say “Well Cheryl, You are 10 centimetres and fully effaced and you can start pushing now!! I was sure to be on the cover of Parenting Magazine as the woman who had the perfect birthing experience.

I of course was stunned when the nurse said “you aren’t even a full centimeter”.  You have a long way to go my dear!!” “We will see about breaking your water”.

Now for those of you who have not had the experience of having your water broken in a non natural way I will tell you that although I was not impressed with them putting what resembled a very large crochet hook inside me to break the membranes I very much enjoyed the feeling of the warm fluid. When I am not feeling well I like to have a bath and this very much felt like that. It was warm and comforting and I would have been happy if it flowed during the entire labour.

About24 hours into this whole wonderful, amazing, life changing experience they sent a specialist in to examine me and just as he was about to check me my male bff who had come to support me says “hey doc, before you go there can you help me out with this crossword”? What’s a 4 letter word for a medium used for growing bacteria in a lab?    The doc without hesitation replied” AGAR”.  I will never ever forget this because it put me 30 seconds further away from having my baby and trust me I wanted this child out of me more than I ever had.

Now, this doctor, the specialist just happened to have the largest hands I had ever seen on a man. All I could think about was where they had to go and I remember whispering to my girlfriend that small hands really should be a pre requisite for being and obstetrician. I was however, willing to endure almost anything at this point because after 22 hours of my labour pains progressing but my insides not I just wanted this over with. “Well my dear” he said after the examination “you are not quite over one centimetre dilated”. “I have good news and bad news he said.” The good news is that we will put you out of your misery and order a epidural for you, the bad news is that your baby is in some distress because it is trying so hard to get out and can’t so we are going to order a caesarean section so that you and your baby don’t have to suffer anymore.” He said that there weren’t any anesthetists available at the moment so he wanted me to try the laughing gas to labour with and that I was next on the list for an epidural.

I swear that my brother who had also joined my ever growing audience heard nothing about an epidural, caesarean or the baby being in distress because he was way too excited about the laughing gas. He in fact took the first hit of if before handing it over to me. I think he became more annoyed at my contractions than I was because when I had one he had to hand the mask over to me.

An hour and a half later I received an epidural. The most painful 45 seconds I have ever endured was when they first injected the painkilling drugs into my back (via a fine hollow needle) into me but I would still recommend it as the rest of my labour and delivery was pain free.

It was shortly after receiving the epidural that they prepped me and took me down to the operating room.  This was a harrowing experience for someone who before becoming pregnant would feel faint at the thought of even receiving a needle. I was happy to see the same specialist and the anaesthetist who had administered the epidural in the room with me. I opted to have my girlfriend in with me as well and she had planted herself firmly up by my head. I was all ready to go!!!The
one thing I can say without a doubt about my mother is that she is an
attractive woman. I have had men inquire about her before but I never expected
the anesthetist to inquire as to whether my mother was single or not. He was
quite taken with her and so I agreed that if he continued to keep me topped up
with the pain killing drugs that would ensure that I felt no pain I would see
what I could do about setting him up with my mom. I also had requested that he
serenade me during the surgery. A girlfriend of mine who had experienced a
c-section told me that she had heard sounds of the scalpel during the surgery
and I knew that I could not endure that. I would of course be listening for those
sounds now that I knew that they could exist. The anesthetist was more than accommodating
and did his best rendition of all of the Elton John favourites that I had
requested. My child had listened for nine months in uterine to songs like “Tiny
Dancer”  so it was only appropriate that
he or she hear something familiar when first emerging into the world


Fifteen minutes later I heard the words that I had been dying to hear.  “You have a beautiful baby GIRL”. My Madison Lily Jean was finally in my arms. I had not used any of the breathing techniques from pre natal and I definitely was not going to be on the cover of any magazine portraying the perfect labour but it was over and I had the most precious gift I could have ever asked for.

Happy 18th birthday baby girl. You have been worth every stretch mark, labour pain, grey hair, argument and sleepness night. You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I can’t tell you how proud I am of you!!!!

Arnold Churgin

13 09 2012

From the moment I saw you I wanted to be inside you. I love your smell, the way your tongue feels, the way you tighten and loosen as I move-mmmmm I love my new shoes!!!!

Aw a one week in Calgary. I had intentions of calling all of my cousins and aunts and uncles and arranging visits. I had my list of names and numbers all ready to make some calls and set up lunches, dinners and coffees where time permitted. I had seven days in my second favourite city and thought for sure that I would be able to fit in a lot of visiting time. Problem is, that I was staying with one of my best friends who I very much love spending time with and I really needed a week to just relax and escape the craziness of my life back home.

I had two musts for my trip! One was to visit the zoo and see the new addition of penguins and the second was to go to my absolute favourite shoe store- Arnold Churgin. I found myself being way too comfortable just hanging with my bff that all of a sudden it was the last day of my visit and I still had not made it to visit any of my family or to the zoo. I was disappointed in myself for not really giving my friend an answer when she kept asking me what day we were going to go to the zoo but it just means that I will have to go back to Calgary to visit the penguins. The one thing however I was not going to allow myself to miss was the 0opportunity to visit my favourite shoe store.

There is just something about Arnold Churgin that has always excited me. I am pretty sure that my mother brainwashed me at an early age that it was the be all, end all of shoes. My family would visit my grandparents in Calgary as often as we could and every trip always included a trip to visit Arnold. I know my mom used to disguise the trip to the mall by offering to take my Grandma to Sears. Grandma loved Sears so my mom knew it was a slam dunk. Grandma would be happy going to Sears and my mom would say at the end of the trip that she just wanted to pop into Arnold Churgin to see if there was anything that she could not get back home in Victoria. I think my mom’s pure excitement (she is not easily excited) made me excited and so the annual visit to this particular shoe store always left me with happy thoughts.

My recent trip to Calgary just could not end without a trip to see Arnold. I was on the hunt for a pair of boots that were the same colour as a purse that I have and the matching wallet that my bff had given me as an early birthday present. I didn’t have to trick my friend to take me there. I probably could have if I needed to by asking her if she wanted to go to Starbucks but it was not necessary. I mentioned the words shoe shopping and she has purse in hand and was heading to the door before I finished my sentence.

We took a trip to Chinook Center where I visited Arnold Churgin as a child and where I expected it still to be, tucked into an obscure corner of the mall. I think my heart skipped a beat and I felt an anxiety attack coming on when I saw that the door was locked and all the windows were papered so I could not see in. It was gone!! My favourite shoe store on the entire planet was missing. I was panicked for a minute. What was I going to do? The thoughts raced through my head. Would I have to change my favourite store to Town Shoes or Aldo? No it couldn’t be!! I want to have my fav store be a store that is not everywhere.  Remember when you could only shop at Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch if you were lucky enough to have your parents travel to the US? You would have clothes that not everyone had. You felt special if you have a Hollister t-shirt. Now they are venturing in to Canada and have a strong online presence so everyone is wearing their product. It is just not special anymore.

Don’t get me wrong Aldo and Town Shoes have nice shoes but you are bound to run into someone in your city that has the exact same shoes. I love having unique shoes that no one can buy in Victoria!! There is nothing worse for a woman to hear than “Oh I have those shoes, aren’t they great?”

Honestly what was I going to do? I looked at my bff in a mad panic. I felt my blood pressure dropping and my breathing getting shallow. I swear I was about to faint when I heard her say “the sign says they have moved to South Center Mall.” What???? They moved Arnold Churgin??? Why would they move Arnold Churgin?? Hmmm quite possibly I thought that perhaps they wanted more room. More room meant a larger store and a larger store means……..MORE SHOES!!!!!

Off we went at mach speed out of Chinook Center and back into the car and headed to South Center.   My friend had me google the store on my phone and call them so that we could find out exactly where in the mall they were so we could park strategically!! In case you are headed to Calgary and want to check them out they are on the second floor just outside of the entrance to the Bay.

When I saw that wonderful back lit sign with Arnold Churgin written ( not printed)  in the font that I love so much I felt my heart racing but this time out of sheer excitement. I entered the store and saw that it was indeed it was larger and a very beautiful store. I was overwhelmed by the spectacular leather smell and all of the choices. I took a stroll throughout the entire store first so I could take a look at all of their stock and then strategically chose two pairs of boots to try on. I was approached by a clerk named Anna Lee and told her what size I required. By the time she returned with them I had 6 more pairs that I wanted to try on and off Anna Lee went to collect those for me as well. I honestly felt like a child in a toy store when they are overwhelmed with all of the choices and just don’t know what to choose when their mother or father tells them they can only go home with one new toy.

At Arnold Churgin as always I received the personal touch. Anna Lee put every pair of boots on my feet herself. She was very knowledgable about every single pair I tried on. I modeled all of the ones I was interested in for Anna Lee and my girlfriend. I was amazed at Anna Lee’s patience. I probably drove her a little crazy that day. I kept trying on and taking off the same pairs of boots 3,4 and 5 times. I wanted to make sure that I made the right decision. If I was in Aldo or Town Shoes I  could change my mind the next day and return them to the store but I did not have that luxury so I had to make sure my decision was the correct one. I finally narrowed it down from the 16 pairs I eventually tried on to two pairs and with much encouragement from my friend and Anna Lee I decided that I would take both!! I informed Anna Lee of my decision and she quickly disappeared into the back and came out with a smaller box and pulled out a pair of very nice flip flop sandals. She slipped one on one of my feet and asked if it fit. I was puzzled and said yes and she said “my gift to you”. She was probably just so excited that I had finally made a decision and was rewarding me for it.  I felt a little bit like a puppy who had finally shaken her paw and was rewarded with a tasty morsel. My tasty morsel being a free pair of flip flops.

When we arrived up at the counter to pay we saw a sign that was offering a free pair of flip flop sandals if you purchased two pairs of shoes.  Aw, she was not rewarding me for my decisiveness she had to give them to me. I would have been appreciative either way and was happy with them as they were pretty cute and they bear the Arnold Churgin brand logo.

My trip was finally complete! I could now head to the airport knowing that my trip had been exceptionally successful! Thank you Arnold Churgin for another fantastic experience!!

You can find Arnold Churgin at several locations in Calgary.

Downtown:   227-8th Ave and in both Market and Southcentre Malls