The local fires (8 of them in the vicinity) are threatening, certainly, but Richard and I and the residents of Poplar Road are not currently in any immediate danger. Thank you to everyone who has called to check up on us and offer help. We have friends locally that have offered a hand and places to stay should we need it, for which we are very grateful. We spent some time on Friday preparing in the event of evacuation, after our neighbours to the south had to leave their homes. Thankfully so far, the Martin Mountain fire remains well away from our corner of the community, over 8km away. Closer to home, 5km away on the other side of the mountain above us, the Chase Creek fire has grown to 97 hectares but is 95% contained, meaning the fire fighting crews have built fuel-free guards around the perimeter that are holding. Here is a link to the forestry ministry’s website, so if you’re concerned you can get the same info we’re getting. We’re worried for our neighbours who’ve been evacuated but again, we are in no danger ourselves. We’ll know more about the effect of the hard work the firefighters are doing when the winds shift again, forecasted for tomorrow. Thank you all again for thinking of us. Be well.

UNniversary 2009, Part I

Here is the first installment of my photos from our fantastic long weekend “UNniversary” campout. I’m a little short on sleep and super busy, so I’ve put together just Saturday breakfast and lunch so far. It was really, really hot (40 degrees on Sunday afternoon as we headed to the river, for example) so everybody just sat around in the shade keeping cool and talking most of the time – not a good weekend for a stroll around the Wildlife Park or sports that didn’t involve getting wet! So the food was what brought everybody together – with big smiles all around. The boys got the grill and deep fryer going, the serving area set up and the canopies overhead for shade, and we were off and running. I think we were better organized than last year, and everybody pitched in wonderfully, so feeding everyone went pretty much without a hitch. And Richard outdid himself on this year’s menu. Everyone gave it a thumbs up!

Thanks For a Wonderful Weekend

Why would anyone spend one’s precious vacation hours camped out in somebody’s back yard? That’s the question that seemed to come up a few times in the past month, as we began extending our annual invitation to our long weekend “UNniversary” campout to new guests both from the coast and locally. Certainly as I was trying to paint a picture of the weekend for my colleagues at my new job on campus, the expressions of puzzlement on their faces made me look at our UNEvents with fresh eyes. When I was a child, camping meant stuffing our old VW pop-top van with all our vacation supplies and catching some sleep at barely-remembered campgrounds on our way across the country from Vancouver to Winnipeg to spend summers with my grandparents. I only have vague memories of actually pitching a tent in the woods somewhere, but I still treasure one night as a girl at my best friend’s house, when a casual sleepover was transformed by putting up the family’s cavernous manila-yellow canvas tent on the back lawn. Our whispers and stash of brightly coloured candy were interrupted by a typical North Vancouver downpour in the middle of the night that sent us dashing inside, leaving the tent to record the hilarity in sticky rainbow-coloured splotches on the floor. You can have adventures in your own back yard, and wonderful moments of laughter, excitement and true relaxation that keep you going when you return to the daily grind. That’s what we try to create with our UNEvents, something more than just a backyard barbecue on a sunny long weekend. It may look like an overblown backyard food fest from the photos, but I for one felt like I packed a year full of visits into those three short days that phone calls and the odd dinner get-together just can’t achieve. I made more of an effort at recording our UNniversary with the camera this year, and I know many of our guests did too (many thanks especially to Bob, who quickly showed me a few essential features of my own camera!). It may take me some time to pick out the best and share them here, but before the march of images begins, I wanted to say how much Richard and I love sharing this weekend with everyone, how happy we are at how well it went this year and how grateful we are that so many of you spent long hours in your cars to spend the weekend camped out in our weedy, sun-baked, work-in-progress back yard, despite extreme heat and holiday traffic and other challenges. You are a wonderful group of people, and if we could pull off this event once in every season, instead of once a year, just to see you more often, we would! Watching the three little girls, Anika, Olivia, and Daneaya, (and their mischievous little brothers, too) playing together so well, I remembered many times as a kid when I’d meet my parents’ friends and … Continue Reading →