Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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On the eight and ninth day of donating…

I missed doing a blog posting yesterday because I take the red eye to Toronto and then got distracted by seeing my family and going to the movies and also being super tired from taking the red eye.

So, for yesterday’s donation, I asked my family for recommendations of a non-profit and my brother-in-common-law suggested charity: water. Their mission statement is:

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

https://www.charitywater.org/about

Also from their website: “We work with local experts and community members to find the best sustainable solution in each place where we work, whether it’s a well, a piped system, a BioSand Filter, or a system for harvesting rainwater. And with every water point we fund, our partners coordinate sanitation and hygiene training and establish a local Water Committee to help keep water flowing for years to come.”


And for today’s donation I’m going to do another local (to me) non-profit: Lookout Housing and Health Society. Lookout is a New Westminster-based non-profit that provides low barrier access to housing and other support for individuals who are already facing many challenges, such as poverty, mental health issues, substance use, disabilities, and more. Their mission statement is:

We provide housing and a range of support services to adults with low or no income who have few, if any, housing or support options. Because the people we serve have challenges meeting basic needs and goals, we place minimal barriers between them and our services.

https://lookoutsociety.ca/

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On the fifth and sixth day of donating…

So I got distracted for various reasons yesterday and forgot to do a blog posting. So today I’m writing about two non-profits that I’m donating to for my fifth and sixth day of donating.

First up, the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS). I went to a fantastic workshop there this year and decided to read more on the services they provide, in addition to the beautiful venue. Their mission statement is:

“To provide practical tools for accomplishing our visionary ends through socio economic programs and services that empowers self reliance; responsibility; success and prosperity, for all urban Aboriginal individuals, family and community.”

http://www.vafcs.org/about/donate.php

They provide all sorts of great programs, including:

  • recreation for urban Aboriginal youth
  • Elders Wisdom, which “provides a nourishing environment for elders to apply and maintain their traditional practices in a social environment”
  • family support services
  • Aboriginal shelter
  • Family place for people with young children
  • community navigation
  • volunteer opportunities
  • catering

Next up is KidSport New West. Their mission statement is:

KidSport™ is a non-profit organization that is part of a national and provincial network of community based volunteer groups whose goal is to ensure that kids in financial need have access to the positive experience of sport and physical activity. We believe that sport and physical activity provides a life-long opportunity for self-expression, goal setting, dedication, positive thinking and increased self confidence for kids.

http://www.kidsportcanada.ca/british-columbia/new-west/about-kidsport-new-west/

Sport has always been an important part of my life and I like that this organization is helping to ensure that financial barriers don’t prevent kids from having a chance to participate.

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On the third day of donating…

Today’s non-profit is Aunt Leah’s Place, an organization that support youth who are “aging out” of the foster care system at 19 years of age, as well as helping mothers keep custody of their children.

Aunt Leah’s Place helps prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless and mothers-in-need from losing custody of their children. To support them on their journey to self-sufficiency, we provide supported housing, job training, and coaching on essential life skills.

https://auntleahs.org/about/

As they point out on their website: “In BC, 7 out of 10 parents with 19 to 28 year-olds at home provide groceries and free rent. Today, nearly half of young Canadians age 20-29 live in their parent’s home[2], mostly to defer rising housing and education costs. Therefore, extended supports for young adults past age 19 is already de facto ‘social policy’ – Aunt Leah’s works to catch up to the ‘best practice’ of average Canadian families and give young adults from foster care similar opportunities to succeed.”

Aunt Leah’s provide provides such services as:

  • supporting housing for youth transitioning out of the foster care system and for young mothers in need
  • education and employment programs
  • life skills programs

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On the second day of donating…

BC is in the middle of a housing crisis, not to mention an epidemic of loneliness, and there are so many seniors living in situations of low income and social isolation. So for today’s non-profit, I’m donating to the Senior Services Society. They are located right around the corner from my home and directly across the street from my gym, but I didn’t actually know that much about them, so I just checked out their website.

Their mission is simply put:

To connect adults 60+ with individual supports & housing navigation services to enhance their lives. 

http://www.seniorsservicessociety.ca/Values.html

They run a number of services to help seniors live independently in their own home, as well as running a shelter for seniors who don’t have a home to live in. Some of their program include:

  • Better at Home, which provides non-medical services to help seniors live independently in their own homes
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Bus Outings that provide an opportunity for social connections with other seniors
  • help completing a variety of government forms, like taxes and applications for social assistance programs
  • Santa for Seniors – providing gifts to seniors living in isolation

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On the first day of donating…

I enjoyed my 12 days of giving last year so much that I’m doing it again this year! And just like last year, I’m starting with Purpose Society.

The Lower Mainland Purpose Society for Youth and Families is “a community-based multi-service organization that delivers a continuum of programs to children, youth and families.”

http://www.purposesociety.org/

As you may recall, Purpose Society is the non-profit for which my recent powerlifting competition raised funds. They do awesome things for our community and I’m happy to be able to support them.

Also, the trainers at my gym have to lift the same kilograms as we donate in dollars. Here’s their video from week 2:

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Gains

So I’ve completed the first phase of my training for the powerlifting competition. My training consisted of working each of deadlift, back squat, and bench press to see if I could increase my theoretical 1 rep max. In the first week of this phase, I found my 3 rep max by testing out heavier and heavier weights until I found the maximum amount that I could lift 3 times in a row. From that, I calculated what my theoretical 1 rep max would be (using a handy dandy online calculator like this one). Then, for the following four weeks, I lifted a percentage of that max for 8 reps, then 6 reps, then 3-5 reps, and finally 2-3 reps this week.

Here are my 3 rep maxes from my first week and my theoretical 1 rep maxes calculated from those 3 rep maxes:

Exercise3 rep maxTheoretical 1 rep max
Deadlift80 kg84.7 kg
Back Squat75 kg79.4 kg
Bench Press45.5 kg48.2 kg

And here are the amounts I lifted for 2 reps this week, along with my theoretical 1 rep maxes calculated from them and the % change from my first week:

Exercise2 rep maxTheoretical 1 rep max% increase
Deadlift87.5 kg90 kg6%
Back Squat85 kg87.5 kg10%
Bench Press46 kg47.3 kg-2%

So that last one is a bit puzzling. I’m pretty certain that I didn’t lose strength over 5 weeks of training my bench press. I definitely feel like I’m stronger! I’m guessing that because I wasn’t actually testing to find my 2 rep max, but was just taking a guess at what I’d be able to lift for 2 reps, I must have underestimated my strength and chosen something that was less than what I could really lift for 2 reps. Though to be honest, that 46 kg felt really freaking heavy.

But look at the gains on my deadlift and squat!

And I still have 22 more days to train! I’m starting the next phase of my program on Sunday. So excited!

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Powerlifting!

Weights

Remember that time I joined Strong Side, the best gym ever and became obsessed with lifting heavy weights and then putting them back down? Well, in addition to all the other things I love about this gym (like the super knowledgeable trainers that help me get super strong in a safe way and the wonderfully supportive and fun nature of my fellow Strong Siders), I love that the gym embraces the community and finds ways to give back. They sponsor local community events, they do fundraisers in partnership with other local small business, and they even provide some classes for people in need with a local non-profit.

For the past few years, they’ve done a fundraiser for Purpose Service Society where the trainers have to lift 1 kg for every dollar that Strong Siders donate. Well, this year they decided to take their fundraiser up a notch by hosting their first ever powerlifting competition to raise funds for Purpose! Those who want to compete pay an entry fee and those who want to spectate pay for a ticket, with the proceeds going to Purpose. There will probably also be some donation opportunities on the day of. And I’m sure that my astute readers have figured out where I’m going with this….

Weights

So I’m competing in a powerlifting competition in November. For quite some time I’ve been intrigued by the idea of this type of competition, but I’ve not been in a place where I feel I can dedicate the time to entering a “real” competition. Some of the people at my gym do these – two people just competed at provincials – and I see the amount of time and dedication they put into it, and I know that I am just not in the position to do that right now. But when I heard about this fundraiser competition, I immediately wanted to take part. To me, it’s a low barrier way to try out a competition to see what it’s like. I can do my usual 3 days-a-week at the gym, learn about how competitions work, and compete in the supportive environment of my own gym surrounded by cheering friends! I’m super stoked about the whole thing.

My trainer, Dee, wrote me my first powerlifting training plan. And while the competition will just involve deadlifting, I am going to train all three of the big lifts that are usually done in competition (deadlift, back squat, and bench press) just for fun. My first week of the program involved finding my current 3 rep max (i.e., what’s the most I can lift three times in a row). My 3 rep maxes turned out to be:

  • deadlift: 80 kg (176 lbs)
  • bench press: 45.5 kg (100 lbs)
  • squats: 75 kg (165 lbs)

And now I work through my program for 4 weeks where I lift a given percentage of my max for a bunch of reps, lifting progressively heavier weights for fewer reps each week to make some sweet, sweet gains and see just have far I can get. Or, as my new t-shirt says:

My new tshirt

Given that I’d just starting getting back into the heavy lifts after rehabbing my knee injury, the competition is coming at a perfect time for me. Plus, two of my 2019 goals are to deadlift and squat 90 kg, so this competition will be the perfect opportunity to work towards those goals!

Anyway, long story short, if you see me between now and Nov 30, I’ll probably bore you to tears with talk of powerlifting. And I may also hit you up for a donation, once I figure out what the donation system is going to be (maybe donate $1 for every kg I lift? I’m open to suggestions!)

Bicep

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Summertime!

OK, so it’s not technically summer until Friday, but you’d never know it from the weather we’ve been having. It’s sunny and warm and the sun is up until nearly 9:30 pm.

Things I’m excited about for the summer, in no particular order:

  • The New West Grand Prix – watching professional cyclists ride around and around and around and around my home is actually a lot more exciting than one might expect. Plus my gym will have beer and snacks
  • playing tennis – Scott and I bought some tennis rackets that were on super duper sale at a sports store that was closing down, right before I sprained my MCL. And while the MCL healing has been going slower than I would like, it’s definitely getting better. So much so that I’ve been able to play hockey with a knee brace – so I think I’ll give tennis with a knee brace a try too!
  • the New West Farmers market – while the Farmers Market in New West runs all year, the winter market is uptown on Saturdays and somehow I never manage to get all the way uptown! But the summer market is at City Hall, which is just a short walk (up a very steep hill) from me on Thursday afternoons/evenings. I haven’t gotten out there for the first few weeks, but I’m planning to go soon.
  • canning/jamming more stuff – my friend Patricia has some pear trees near here that have those most amazing tasting pears EVER. I can’t wait until they are ready because I’m going to pick some and can them!
  • tackling stuff from my 2019 goals list – I am VERY behind on my goals for this year (I blame teaching too much in the January semester), but now that that is behind me (along with all my work travel for May), I can actually do some of that stuff
  • Fridays on Front Street and the New West StrEAT Food Truck festival – two New West traditions. I have a couple of friends who are moving/have moved to New West this year, so I’m excited to indoctrinate them into our New West ways
  • hiking – every summer I say I’m going to do more hiking. Hope springs eternal!

I also have a bunch of vacay that I need to book, but I don’t really want to go away when it’s so nice out and there’s so many fun things going on. Perhaps I’ll take some days off to do stuff around here (especially if a certain friend of mine comes to visit and wants to jump out of a plane with me, as we may or may not have previously discussed).

And maybe I’ll look at the fall for a trip somewhere…

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Another Beer Company

Another Beer Company brewery

Another Beer Company opened up in New West this week. Like, that’s the name of the company. You see, we had one beer company in New West before this – the amazing Steel & Oak – and now we have another beer company.

This company has been in the works for quite some time, as beer companies have to do, what with all the finding of a workable location, doing renos, getting permits and so forth. Not too long ago, I joined the ABC Original Patrons, where you give them $250 and you get a $250 gift card, a hoodie, invites to exclusive patron parties, and glory.

Of course, the soft opening for patrons happened when I was out of town, so I went in today to check out the place and pick up my swag. It’s quite a small brewery – see the little black machine in the picture below:

Another Beer Company taps

That’s the device they use to hand can their beers. Seriously, they can their beer BY HAND. Right now you can only get tasters at the brewery, as they are waiting for their lounge license to come through, and then you’ll be able to go there and have a pint. But not a growler fill, as apparently they don’t make enough beer to do growlers.

Another cool thing about this brewery is how you get there. It’s located in the Braid industrial area of New West, which is where there is industrial space for such things as breweries. It’s a bit tricky to access and if you don’t want to drive there, up until recently you’d have to risk your life running across a very busy road where people drive very fast in order to get to that area.

But now Translink has opened up what was formerly a fire exit at the Sapperton Skytrain Station to be a regular exit, so you can take stairs down from the the Skytrain platform to the Braid industrial area. And even if you haven’t ridden the Skytrain and are just walking there, you can tap into the station and then tap out of the station at the bottom of the stairs and you won’t get charged. 

When I went there today, this sign was on the door at the bottom of the stairway:This sign was totally lying

But I just pushed the door open and it was totally fine. And today would have been my dad’s 74th birthday, so I am yet again honouring his memory by ignoring a sign and going through a door that says “do not go through this door.” Wish my dad was here for me to tell him this story. 

Anyhoo, I made it to the brewery, safe and sound, picked up my swag, enjoyed a couple of tasters (my favourite was the Belgian saison), ran into a couple of people that I know (because New West), and all-in-all, it was a lovely Sunday afternoon.

 

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On the fifth day of donating…

Rounding out the New Westminster-based non-profit organizations that my students worked with this semester is New Westminster Family Place, which is “a community hub where families access support, opportunities for engagement, and community resources.”

They run a variety of programs for families with children, including arts, cooking, and nature-based programming, and have drop-in locations around the city. As a community hub, they bring families together so that parents can connect with other parents, children can enjoy a variety of activities and learn social skills – and it’s all free for families!

New Westminster Family Place welcomes all families by supporting them with services and resources that empower them to thrive! 

New WestminSter Family Place Mission

As we hear more and more about the negative effects of social isolation on mental and physical health, I think that an organization like New West Family Place, which provides opportunities for engagement and community building is well worth supporting!