When we returned from our trip North to the Yukon on July 24, I had great enthusiasm that I would keep updating our journal here with the many things we still planned to do through the summer.
It is now the end of the first week of January 2023 and I haven’t written a bit, so in order to catch up I’m taking this opportunity to write a blast of some highlights of things we did.
On Wednesday, July 27, for the first time since we’ve had the girls, we took them downtown for the Vancouver Celebration of Light fireworks show. Thankfully Susan’s workplace is reasonably close to Kits beach, at least close enough that we were able to park at her workplace then walk down to the beach to watch the fireworks. With COVID still a thing, we weren’t that comfortable to go right down to English Bay which is the really busy section, but we had a great view from where we were on Kits Beach.
Then to take advantage of the August long weekend immediately the weekend after getting back from our northern trip, Kayla, Melissa, and Glen drove to the cabin. Kayla got up waterskiing reliably and took a few trips around on the lake. Then on the Sunday afternoon, Melissa took advantage of one of her Christmas 2022 gifts and went white water rafting on the Adams River along with Kayla, Jessica, and Rebecca who all joined her. Glen, Glen’s parents, and Jimmy and Ellen hiked up the trails on the side of the Adams River to get some pictures as the raft went by.
Kayla continued to play Ultimate with the Vancouver Ultimate League on Team Havoc through the summer, usually taking transit to some Vancouver park or another a couple of times a week to practice and play.
Glen and Kayla took another trip to the cabin mid-August for a bit more waterskiing and a hike to Onyx Falls.
At home, our neighbors (the Thomson’s old property) were really underway with construction on their new house when we got back from up north. The house is really quite a mansion, so was underway in the summer but is still being built in the winter.
Then on the Labour Day weekend, we were all back at the lake for some boating, waterskiing, a nice trip up past the narrows for some swimming, paddleboarding, and visiting with family.
After Labour Day it was back to school for the girls, Kayla in grade 10 and Melissa in her first year of high school at Burnaby North in Grade 8. I guess we could also say that Spot was in school as well. When we first got Spot and realized he was going to be a challenging dog, due to COVID the only dog trainer willing to work in person were trainers who got a good review but used the e-collar method. In the summer we had decided we would try to move to a more traditional method of training, and so had one lesson before we left on the trip North, and then a few lessons after coming back. Those training lessons using positive reinforcements have been working slowly, but need continuous work to keep it working.
Mid September on our anniversary (22nd) we took advantage of a Cactus Club Cafe gift card we had received just before COVID started, and went out as a family to the Cactus Club to celebrate our 22nd.
We took advantage of the long summer we seemed to be getting and on the first weekend in the latter half of September went out on Deer Lake, Kayla and Melissa in a tandem kayak and Susan and myself in a canoe. The last weekend of September saw Glen, Kayla, Melissa, and Spot hike at Mount Seymour to Dog Mountain. The first weekend of October saw Glen, Melissa, and Spot make a bigger hike to First Pump at Mount Seymour. Thanksgiving saw us all back at the cabin for our final trip there of the year.
Later in October saw Glen’s parents come to town, mostly since they hadn’t been here since almost a year earlier, and we celebrated with many dinners, both at home and out at a wonderful restaurant hosted by Susan’s mom. Part of the celebration for going out was to (early) celebrate Melissa turning 13.
For Halloween Susan dressed wonderfully as Charlie Brown, with Spot doing a stand-up job standing in for Snoopy. Pumpkins were carved and put out, and there were a surprising number of kids who stopped by to trick-or-treat even though it was a cold evening.
Proving we aren’t exaggerating about the sudden change in weather, with Melissa, Spot, and Glen dragging due to the heat on a walk to Burnaby North in late October, by November 6 there was snow at reasonably low levels in Burnaby. Spot and Glen went out and walked up a ways on Burnaby Mountain to get first-hand confirmation.
Not even a week later, November 12, Kayla and Glen were up skiing on Cypress, one of the earliest opens for a North Shore mountain in many years.
We celebrated Melissa becoming a teenager a day later.
The weekend after our financial planner put on a wonderful celebration by taking out his clients to a wonderful dinner at The Dirty Apron, where we got to make our own dinner under the tutelage of a staff chef. We had originally invited Jennifer and Zac, but with Zac being a bit sick at the last moment, our joint friend Michelle came along to take Zac’s place. Not only did we get a wonderful dinner on this Friday night, but we also got a Dirty Apron cookbook that inspired Kayla to make us some wonderful Crepes on Sunday morning. We have since that time had Susan spoil us with a wonderful paella dish we had learned from the Dirty Apron how to make.
By December we were up skiing basically every weekend as the snow was getting better and better. As winter break started, Kayla and Glen went up one day early for skiing (on the chairlift by 9:02 with it only opening at 9:00), and met up with an old work colleague of Glen’s and spent the morning with them skiing. It was a very cold day and so their daughter needed to go in to warm up by a little after 11:00. Kayla and Glen lasted until almost 11:30, then went and had lunch in the car. We had brought up snowshoes as we had wanted to try them out, having never used this particular pair before, so we would know of any problems before we took them to Jim and Ellen’s over the break — which was a planned outing for our upcoming trip to Kamloops. So after eating lunch in the car we put on our snowshoes and showshoed in to the Bowen Lookout. It was such a foggy day that we really couldn’t see a thing, missing the usual great lookout into Howe Sound and the many islands visible. We got back to the parking lot at about 2:30 and were walking back to our car when Kayla noticed that the Shanks were just getting out of their own car. We stopped in to talk, and upon realizing they were about to start their day of skiing, we offered to join them and so put on our skis again and had another round of skiing until a bit after 5:00. What a strenuous day! Due to all the heavy snow, the drive home was very slow and took over an hour. Believe me, I could barely walk in the days following!
My legs recovered just in time to deal with a heavy snow in the city that happened a few days later. Glen, with a considerable contribution from Kayla, and some from Melissa as well, took over 3 hours to shovel the driveway. During the shovelling there was a bit of fun taken as well, mostly by Melissa.
Two days later on December 22, we left on our planned trip to the interior. We picked a good day, as although the roads were far from perfect, they were a lot better than the following days. Jessica had come to the lower mainland to visit some friends and had then planned to come back to Kamloops with Zachary on the 23rd, but the roads had deteriorated so badly that they didn’t come until a white-knuckled drive on the 25th. It didn’t stop us from having fun, we along with Rebecca and Glen’s parents in their car, drove out to Jim and Ellen’s and went snowshoeing on their trails for the day. New Years Eve had us doing a tradition of going out for dinner at Moon Wok restaurant in North Kamloops. Santa was nice to all, bringing Spot a big bone that he thoroughly enjoyed! Boxing day saw all visit the mall for a bit of shopping, and then we drove home on the 27th. The 27th was the first reasonable day again to travel on the Coquihalla, so we were very lucky to not have either end of our plans needing modification. While in Kamloops we had heard from Shirley that our driveway had been a bit of an ice rink, and with the weather supposedly having freezing temperatures, freezing rain, and heavy rain, were disappointed but not surprised to find that we had a few potholes in our driveway. We’ve contacted a few paving companies but know we’ll sensibly wait to apply fixes until the weather is more reliably dry and above 5°.
A couple of nights later saw us having Grace, Richard, Ben, and Josh over for a wonderful dinner. The following night saw us over at Susan’s mom’s social room for dinner for family and the must-do Bingo game. New Years Eve itself saw us all go to the theatre to watch the latest Marvel Movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and then after we all went out for a few games of laser tag (Melissa slaughtered us all). We had originally planned to stay up til midnight to welcome in the year, but after all the running around in Laser Tag, we were all pretty tired by about 10:00 and just went to bed.