Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kitlope, no, something, whatever, Field School

Eight months ago a friend of mine told me that there was this really amazing field school that NWCC puts on in the Summer where you go to the Kitlope. The Kitlope is a ways down the Douglas Channel, past Alcan, past Kemano and into the wilderness where the 1st Nations people used to have villages before European contact. Sounds great right? Even better is that the course is two weeks long and is worth 6 credits, a geography and an anthropology. Right up my alley. I went straight down to registration and signed up.

So there I am, totally set, 8 months in advance, I booked the time off work, let everyone know what I was doing, and didn't really think about it for another 7 1/2 months.

Then what happens? I got a phone call from the college, two weeks before the class began, letting me know that it wasn't looking good. There were some problems happening between the college and the 1st Nations group that was supposed to take us and it looked like we were going to have to do something else instead.

So, like a trooper, I'm like, ok, no big deal, I trust that we'll do something interesting and worthwhile, and I guess it'll cost a bit less, so that's a bonus. NO WORRIES.

Ok. So there has been some give and take. Our first field trip consisted of a cancellation of our hike at Glacier Creek because it might have been flooded, but no one was sure either way, so instead we drove the 20 minutes to Old Remo to look at culturally modified trees, but SURPRISE the road was flooded out, so we had to turn around and go somewhere else. (Oh, did I mention we had already left late because the teacher had forgotten to book something for the next day so we had to wait for her to get her shit together?) Where? 30 minutes out of town to a deactivated logging road that had completely grown over. We had to trudge through solid bush, shoving juvenile spruce trees out of our way and braving steep, muddy, embankments. Not a trip for the faint of heart, or knees. We then arrived on the bank of the Skeena, and apparently we were looking for culturally modified trees and cache pits, which were used by the 1st Nations to store food during a hunt. We walked around for about 20 minutes, didn't find them, (because of course the INSTRUCTORS didn't know where they were), and decided to leave, because OH WELL I GUESS THEY AREN'T HERE.

Most of us decided to walk back on the tracks because the trek in was beyond ridiculous, until we heard a shout in the woods from the teacher saying that they had found them. We then hiked it back in so that we could look at, wait for it, a bunch of holes in the ground. Holes in the ground that contained food 300 years ago. HOLES.

This is my two weeks of holidays for the entire YEAR, PEOPLE! Sigh.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Activities

The weather here has been gorgeous for the last three weeks and although we've been enjoying it immensely, we've had a rather limited amount of time available to get out and enjoy it. So after much griping and moaning on my part, we took the day aside. In the morning we did loads and loads of yardwork and cleaning and then we went on a lovely little jaunt down the Centennial Trail and then up the Bench. I road my bike and Dave rollerbladed. It was a great day and we got to enjoy some breathtaking views while panting and hacking from overexertion.

The view from the top of Kalum Hill

Dave looks miserable but he's just exhausted.


Friday, June 12, 2009

A Little Glimpse of Nonna

My Dad's side of the family is Italian. And when I say 'Italian' I mean, live across from Giovanni Cabotto Park, shop at Spinelli's, attend Santa Maria Goretti Catholic Parish and drink wine with an alcohol content resembling screech. I mean the dish-flinging, over-bearing mothering, plastic sheets on the 50 year old 'chesterfield', singing O Solo Mio while drunk at 400-plus guest weddings kind of Italian. When I'm with my Nonna and Nonno I love every minute of it. That is, until Nonna starts fretting over me and asking when I'm going to move back to Edmonton and why doesn't Leannie have a boyfriend yet and why isn't Jon in school and while we're at it lets talk about grudges that originated over 40 years ago but are still going strong.

Oh what the hell, I still love it then too.

One of the most distinct things about my grandparents is their house. All of their furniture is exactly the same as it was when I was growing up. Most of their belongings remain as well. They have blush pink couches bearing intricate dark wood detail. Their coffee table is a dark wood with space in cubbies for trinkets and little statues, of which there are many. The china cabinet, kitchen and dining room table, their bed and dresser have all been in that house since before my birth. Their belongings are so distinct, (tacky), that whenever I (or my sister or my mom) see "Nonna" stuff, whether that be decorative items or clothing, we always take the time to stop and point it out. Often, one of us will stop and cry out at a particularly sequined, colourful confection, "oh god, that is SUCH a Nonna sweater." And the rest of us will stop and admire.

Not having had this experience in quite some time here in Terrace, I had to stop and take pictures of these "bouquets" that I saw at a local shop here. Nonna has these EXACT displays in her home and I was shocked to see they still sell them....somewhere.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Self - Help by Norm Foster. Pics Volume One.

The show closed on Saturday night with what was undoubtedly our best performance. For those of you who couldn't be there, some pictures will have to suffice. Too bad for you.

These are from opening night and were graciously provided by my one of my colleagues, Gloria, and her man, Sandy.

"Mr. & Mrs. Savage, the people who live here."

"Okay, time to switch to plan B"

"Flatter you be damned!"

"Is it because I said Mitchell Quinty was a pantywaist?"

"Please Detective, call me Ruby."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


If you aren't already familiar, definitely do some research on Shepard Fairey. He's the guy that did that very famous poster of Obama with the red and blue hues. Fabulous artist, and he has some really cool posters and prints for sale. Getting to understand this guy's passion and vision is worth a couple hours of internet surfing.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Skeena Flooding?!

Last summer, I swear to you I nearly died from a vitamin D deficiency. It was, hands down, the worst summer EVAR. With only a couple weeks of sunny days, inerspersed with rain, clouds and more rain, I tell you, there was more than a few times where I nearly dropped dead on my computer desk at work from the heartbreak of it all.

Meanwhile, this being my first summer in the Northwest, everyone in Terrace was saying, "Oh, Amber, no, this is such unuuuusual weather, this neeeeeeever happens, we always get hot summers and it's just so great and wonderful and we don't understand why this summer is in the shitter...."

Needless to say I was skeptical.

It seems however these local yokels may have actually been genuine in their defense of Terrace weather. For the last 6-7 days we've been having 30 degree heat! YAY! It's been fabulous. And I don't think I've ever heard so many conversations starting with the sentence: "Hot enough for ya?" Love it.

It seem however that in this area, heat like this all at once comes with a fairly heavy cost. THE SKEENA. Everyone is freaking about how high it is, understandably, because with all this hot weather the levels are ridiculous bordering on 'run for your lives!'

To view a handy mathematical chart that outlines the water levels, click here.

Video of 'The Flood of 2007', to which all things are compared.