Friday, December 26, 2008

One year

New Year's eve marks some anniversaries for me. One year not within in 10 or even 1000 miles of the 400 series highways! YAAAAA! One year of missing my daughter. One great year with Alan.

One year of firsts. So many to consider where does one start? First snow mobile ride on Frobisher Bay. First Toonik Tyme. First time in an iglu! First Celebration of the Seal. First catch on the Sylvie Grinnell River. First taste of seal and muktuk. First joy of cooking my very own arctic char. First arctic hare siting. First boating across the bay. First lick of an iceberg! First taste of arctic wild blueberries. First time ever getting moss on my butt!

New language skills; hearing the language was baffling, after a couple of courses I am able to discern a few spoken words. Though not very capable of answering in same I can manage a few basic phrases.
My daughter is moving here! She has accepted a job which includes housing and some other nice perks. This will be all new to me. Living in town but not together. We have lived together or miles apart. It will definitely be nice to have her over for an evening meal or movies together. Or to help her decorate her new digs (I haven't been able to in the past..)Recently I have considered ending this blog. I figured the first year will be most exciting to blog about. What else would I have to say?
We'll see.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

and ...and..YES!

After countless delays and an all nighter, Katie finally made it out today by switching airlines. Original booking; Wednesday!
With so many re bookings on her connector, I am not even sure when she arrives in Toronto tonight.

Deeps sighs of relief all around.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

down but not out!

Northerners recognize this posture. Cancelled.

...and home again?

While my daughter is preparing to leave we decided no trip to Iqaluit is done until we visit the Hudson Bay building in Apex. Once finished there we naturally drop in to see Rannva and find she has beautiful rosette hair ties fashioned from rabbit fur....a fashion must have!
Also, this being her last day we took in the vistas and tourist sites to round out her vacation.

The "other" airline cancelled. Nearly in tears, Katie re booked the flights for tomorrow. Tonight she enjoys the hotel, and three meals gratis and some much needed solitary rest up. We try again tomorrow, hopefully it doesn't come to a scramble for seats on a Friday flight south!

From the top:
The view from Apex
The Hudson's Bay company building.
Katie and Daniel racing on the lake.
How wind chills at -45C really feel.
Alan looking amused.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

to a strange land....

My daughter arrived after some planning, shopping and after announcing to friends she was going to the north pole, flying! First present she brought:
this photo of trees near her work in Ontario. Snow draped on rock isn't nearly as romantic!
Her stay is a short one and she has a busy itinerary!
Next at the museum, the irony of the seal exhibit while donning sealskin kamiik.
Picture of sunsetting around 1:30..dusk!

Katie asked what was happening across the street, I answered school's out! She replied; "what?" "It seems like it's 9:30 at night!" I reminded her that it was out!

The most amusing for me was definately watching her at the grocery store. She wanted peppers for salad, but said not to bother. I asked; "because they are $8.99 for 3?" "Ah YES!" Never mind just grab a decent one!

We celebrate Christmas this weekend, with full turkey-lurkey dinner and fixins'. Plans for the week ahead should be fun and keep us both busy. For sure the short visit will come to an end before we're ready.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

lights in the night

It doesn't occur to me that all my equipment is going to get extremely cold, extremely fast when the temperatures are -25C --doh!
So, with frozen fingers I tried to capture the Aurora Borealis. This is what I came away with. Kamiik didn't disappoint either as my toes stayed toasty warm!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All righty then...a little of this 'n that

Weather here has been frosty, despite the wind chill of -40 or so we got the sled moving today! Yipee! Mike of course is the brains behind the work! Since he snowmobiled down and continued to work in the wind, his face was glowing white on old frostbite injury. It was painful to see. Nakurmiik Mike

In other thoughts; are there any other northerners who feel cheated with the Winners commercial advertising goods straight from the North Pole heading to stores near you? Firstly, I'd give my eye teeth to have a Winners shop, secondly ...dude...make a few stops on the way down!

Lurkers. You know who you are...well the ones south anyway! You drop by, visit blog, discuss it with friends and family.
Once in a while, an email arrives or perhaps a phone conversation reveals the dedicated following I didn't know I have. A generous surprise each time.

Please feel free to leave your comments, even if it's just; "hey just checkin' things out."

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Hello Western friends!
For Matt, Kara and Hunter! I'm very pleased and proud to own this pair. (Today I added an insulated insole which helps get my feet off the snow).

For those who may be interested the boots are constructed of sealskin.
Sealskin can be factory tanned or prepared in a traditional way. The woman scrapes the hide, stretch it on a rack which dries it, cut and hand sew into the required garment.
Bearded seal (which is very thick) constructs the sole and foot of the boot, ring seal is used on the upper leg. The white upper is also made from the bearded seal only it has been picked clean of the black top surface. This pattern is typical of a women's design in rounds. Men's on the other hand generally have a long contrasting piece down the front (at least in this corner of the north). Kamik can be made from caribou, though not as tough they are also very beautiful. Either way the sole is always bearded seal.
The duffel liner is crafted from felted wool, hand sewn into the shape of the boot and is removable. The decoration on the top is also hand stitched with a woollen yarn.

I was showing Alan the inside of the boots when he noted that there is an inner slipper. Completely surprised by this I removed the slipper to have a look! Wow! It's more boot than I ever imagined.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

holes in the snow

Every girl loves a sale, today was the pre Christmas craft sale (we're still allowed to say Christmas here instead of "Season"). We headed off, well prepared to line up in the snow and wind to wait for the door opening.
I had in mind to get two things only; kamiik for myself and a print to send to friends south. It was with some hope that Noah Maniapik would be there for I do like his work.

Both my wishes were fulfilled, as I came upon beautifully rendered kamiik. I kept one on my foot while I spoke with the sellers. Many people came along and handled the remaining one on the table. I felt lucky. They fit.
Noah was here and had stretched artistically from his standard style and had on hand two impressive compositions. Nervously I waited while a man handled the one that caught my eye. He decided against it. WhooHoo- Mine!
I won't say more about the artwork as I've yet to post the item south and want them to be surprised.

Exhausted we headed out for a brunch. Though Alan didn't join us he did offer to pick us up post meal. When he returned, he assured me that the kamiik were safe from the dog as they smell seal-y. No, he hadn't put them on the top shelf, yes they were in the bag on the chair, no the dog won't get to them....soon I discovered the reason; Caesar was waiting patiently in the truck.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

seedy side of small time

This is a blog I had started in mid August. At that time I had decided to hold off publishing it ain't pretty!

Early on I had decided that very personal information would not be blogged . However, this extraordinary event requires acknowledgement.

My friends car had been targeted, vandalized and several untraceable pieces (which were well hidden) were taken. Knowing that the goods would show up circulating informally for sale around the local dining and drinking places, I purposefully stayed home. Finding a stranger passing off his stolen goods would only make me angry and that wouldn't be good.
Finally a neighbour and I went for dinner and sure enough around comes a tray full of the missing pieces. The seller was prepared and his lies were fluid and forthcoming without hesitation I got the full scoop. Since I got his name (he offered) we were able to narrow down a list of people who may be involved.

After I carefully examined a few pieces, I purchased one and returned the piece to my friend.

What happens next is what is remarkable. The seller tries to dump a large quantity in a shop, who notifies the police. The police arrive, friend arrives, seller disappears. Not for long as he calls my friend to tell him where the balance of the goods are. Seems he doesn't want anything to do with the stuff anymore. Police take the stolen property into "evidence" though no one is receipted.

Now we await the police retrieval of the remaining missing pieces.
and wait
and wait
No the seller wasn't interviewed, the person reported holding all the stuff was not interviewed, or visited, or called. My friend was not "updated" (no point we did all the work so far...)

(The piece which "broke" the case I respectfully suggest should be held on to, perhaps framed as it now has a place in our history.)

Fast forward to September, a young woman is trying to sell more of his stolen goods. The shop keeper informs friend and police. She splits! Police let him take the goods home this time, interviewed him, took another statement. Wow a second chance! Wasted.

Now it's November and the police who seem only interested in how much press coverage they can garner have yet to advance on the given information, recovered the goods, nor have they returned goods they took into "evidence".
I plead with my friend to call them weekly, get a receipt for the goods they took, to get answers, if no charges are to be laid (uh ya think?) then at least get his stuff back. Optimistically he believes the police will ante up and place charges. I got a weeks pay that says nope. When they want to arrest someone they do...right away...simultaneously calling the CBC.

As a culture I don't have much to say about the "thin blue line", but living here listening to this and other stories, nightmarish by measure really have me disgusted with our national police.

People could fill books on the miscarriages of justice in the north, rapes, murders, incests which continue to this day. People don't get arrested, if by chance they are arrested, serve little or no time and guess what? They move on to serve in public office. Thats the north for ya!

Seems they don't ever "get their man", they are just to busy, too unorganized, too transient to be effective. Busy with dealing with domestics and drunks. The good hard working tax paying citizen doesn't even get the courtesy of a phone call.

Next time you think the cops in your neighbourhood need an upgrade....think again...your neighbours weren't raped outside the grocery store and still waiting for an arrest!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

sun fall down

Upon rising today, like most days I take a in view of the bay. Two reasons; one to check out the flags below for the wind and the other because it's a seaside vista. Today it was a crystal seascape; shoreline frozen over in icy pebbles, the sky clear, and the hills white.
Since I was home for the holiday and not busy running errands I decided to take a series of photographs on the sun setting. It seems to fall out of the sky! The first was taken at 2:27pm and the last at 3:10pm. As I write this it is dark and 3:50pm.
In other news; the final sea lift boat couldn't make it due to the sea ice. Soooo, we unpacked the sea crate and dragged the stuff back upstairs. There it will wait for spring to bring another shipping season.
For friends and family south, this is autumn. Not the one we grew up knowing, now the wind chills are consistently below -20C. Winter is a whole new season, since I've only one winter here I know that we can expect temperatures to hover around -40C and the wind last year brought values of -52C. That's winter! Now maybe I can get some boots that live up to their claims. Kamiik?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A place to hang your hat

Alan took this photo recently, I was surprised that the entrance is built first. Perhaps then the GN can say it can offer you a place to hang your hat. Housing is an ongoing crisis here, companies rent or purchase "staff houses" meaning you get to share your housing. The wait for housing can be quite long. If you're hired by the government of Nunavut, then you don't get too much choice. The housing guy will show you a place, you may accept or decline. This is not like moving to town, finding the location and housing you prefer. You take what you get.
As often noted on this blog, my housing was previously a bootleggers house. Only recently have I been getting late night knocks again.
This weekend our project has been getting the waiting Polaris up'n running. She started today but I didn't get a chance to take her out around the block before she putt putted out.
Neighbour and friend loaded up her southbound sea crate. By the time it was ready to nail, my feet were numb and in pain. Darn those new boots! Serendipitously a man came down the stairs and in a few minutes had the whole thing nailed shut.
I can hammer, but men just have this upper body strength. And no matter how hard we swing there really is no comparison.

Our sun sets at 3:30 now, I'm still adjusting to afternoon break in complete darkness.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

smiley day

Happy days are here again! Snow snow snow! Hopefully, soon, there is enough snow to get out on the machines. The bay won't be safe for some time, but when the rocks are sufficiently buried it will be fun times ahead!
Mike has offered to teach me to shoot! His new rifle arrived and we oohed and aaahed when he opened the case. I've never fired a firearm before and am nervous that I will lose an eye or knock my shoulder out. He has reassured me that safety first and the rifle won't kick like in the movies. We have a accumulated number of cans to use for target practise and now we wait for the snow.

Since we don't live in a "suburb" we had only two little ghouls knock on the door last night. I realized that I miss the hallow'een adventurers. My house in Ontario was in a downtown neighbourhood and we would get all comers; from baby winnie the poohs in strollers to ghoulish, or hobo-ish teenagers. I never really minded, after all it is supposed to be a fun night for all. Usually I could determine which kids ran home made a quick "costume" change and ran back around the neighbourhood. I would tease them to let them know they hadn't "tricked" me but in the end they were "treated" for their efforts.

The blizzard day off Thursday made Friday seem like Monday with the bonus of it being a rent free pay day. Poor pup came in from morning constitutional with snow packed on his forehead. While it was indeed a nasty morning, I haven't experienced a true northern blizzard yet. We expect to lose water, cable (hopefully electricity stays on..),and internet service. This past summer I purchased the latest David Sedaris book he now has the honour of expectation and anticipation. He is my first blizzard book.

Monday, October 27, 2008

There and back again

Last Wednesday I went out for a medical appointment. Most northerners will understand the term "out". For my southern friends, lemme 'splain; specialists arrive here for clinic visits, any further tests and follow up appointments may be booked in Ottawa or other southern destination. Such was my case, further testing was required and off I went. Really I didn't want to go. Too much noise, too much traffic too much of everything. However I had to go and decided to make the best of the trip south.

The weather in Ottawa was beautiful, somewhere between 6 and 12 C, no rain, sunny days, and no wind!

This was the first time I had been in Ottawa since the grade eight class trip. A friend toured me past the Parliament buildings, the market downtown and we dined on real Sushi!

She was kind enough to take me shopping after my appointments and remarked that I was like a kid. Can you imagine 10 light bulbs for 10 dollars!? A box of laundry soap for $8! Honestly! I filled my luggage, the extra bag and a box, full of goodies to bring home. Yes soap is a goodie, so is white sugar at $10/2lb bag.

A girl can't have too many shoes, and lets face it, the high heal spikes just aren't practical considering my climb to the tree house over the open metal steps. New shoes are shining on the shoe rack, new clothes to match. Might as well make the best of the opportunity and I treated myself to a manicure and haircut! Wheee I'm a girl again!
My birthday came and went and was fun. I got to fly in a plane, was treated to a nice dinner and a party followed! Most of all just being home for my birthday was the best part of the whole thing. My friends were generous in their kind wishes and the evening rounded off the trip home perfectly

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Food Chain

Such is the dogs life. The raven in their cunning ways pester an animal to exhaustion. Each taking turns at the game "distract and rob" I couldn't believe my eyes when I counted a dozen birds awaiting their chance at Aputi's spilt kibble.
Persistence wins the day as the tied dogs usually tire of the game and the ravens win their booty.
They may squabble and caw and fuss, but they're a co operative lot willing to wait their turn. They are not fussy eaters and will take any opportunity to rob a dog of it's meal.
Last week, a neighbours dog slipped her collar and spotted a murder of ravens on the hilltop. She promptly ran up, stole their food and took it to her home! One for the dog!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

taaadaaa-my first time sea lift

Sea lift has arrived! It was a chilly and gusty morning. We headed down to the dock to unload early. The only thing we ordered on sea lift was 1120lbs of dog kibble. The problem here with dog food is: it is not always available, it's poor quality food, and it costs a fortune. We didn't have a crowbar, but friends arrived with one; the skid was split between two households. I hired a young neighbour to lug the 16 (40lb) bags up the 28 stairs...I forget how strong men are..he carried them 2 at a time! Didn't even get winded!
Purchasing on sea lift was the equivalent of buy 2 get one free. And we got a top grade Canadian product. We bought one bag of Nutri Zoo in the winter and for the first time in his life, Caesars perma-ear infection cleared up! (I don't mind giving them free promo)
The other household will make good use of the wood product, it isn't pressed wood, but plywood and the hardwood skid ( a rarity) will be used to ship goods south. Angela and I seen whacking the crate used this opportunity to cleanse our frustrations, it was very cathartic!

This weekend we all will be enjoying the good food!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

ilinniaqtunga inuktitut....again (atilu)

Learning Inuktitut it seems to me is somewhat mathematical. In re writing the exercises I have discovered that performing a mathematical type equation works well in remembering the rules. Interestingly the order of the words is unimportant, the meaning comes in the construction of the word. It is not incorrect to say ilinniaqtunga inuktitut or alternately to say inuktitut ilinniaqtunga.
umiak= boat (pron. oo me ak)
-juag = large, big, (pron. ju ak)
umiak+juag = large boat, ship
umiakjuag= umiarjuag. Sound 'k' must change to sound 'r'.
-kkut = by way of.
umiak+juaq+kkut = umiakjuaqkkut =
umiarjuaqkkut = too many consonants q has to go.
umiarjuakkut!- by ship, by way of big boat (pron. oo mee aar joo aak koot)

Tikit= arrive, (pron. tee keet)
tunga= self or I.
So it becomes tikitunga. (no tricky rules here) (pron. tick ee tunga)

A two word sentence: umiarjuakkut tikitunga or for fun tikitunga umiarjuakkut. "I arrive by ship"
Whew! that sure seems like a mouthful!

Incidentally I arrived by plane.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Accidental Owl?

My friends have seen them, even have beautiful pictures to prove it. Not me, not yet. I didn't see the blip on the monitor as I was taking this picture across the bay. While editing the photo I figured there was dirt on the lens. There it is, definitely not a dirty lens, not a raven, perhaps an owl or other bird of prey.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Never have seen snowflakes this big! Honestly they were the size of a toonie! As it happens this one on Caesar's head was also heart shaped.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

big moon, low tide

The night has returned and the sealift ship sits in the bay at low tide. From my window we watch the moon sail across the horizon out of view. Last night we couldn't resist the photo op.

The full moon brings the biggest tides. This tide is to be one of the most extreme of the season; the highest high tide and lowest low tide. Another chance for the fish to jump up the falls to winter in the lakes. The ravens have returned, the blossoms gone to seed and the buntings song is silent. The wind has a frosty bite to it and the flags are out straight!

I worry about the old dog, he winces when he climbs the stairs or stands up. I hope he can manage the extreme cold this winter. I guess that autumn has arrived for the dog and the land.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

sale season

This is the sale flyer from Arctic Ventures and I'm told it is the best prices you'll find from either retailer in town.

I really hope that one day these prices do not seem normal or heaven forbid good!

Someone smack me if I call up excited and say hey I just got the best deal on paper towel..only $8.33 a pack!

Monday, September 8, 2008

long shadows and sunny days

Take 'em while they last. That goes for about anything here from toilet paper to warm sunny days to the one-in-a-million type pictures.
Here Kai and Caesar play together after they ran across the hill to each other. Makes me think of daisies swaying in the gentle summer breeze, violins playing, soft filter image..Actually Caesar ran past Kai to Angela and Kai had to pull a 180 to catch up to him....then they played! BAH

Here I have grouped together the fireweed in it's different stages. (I think in a previous post it was mislabelled, oops). From the bottom: the plant blooms, then it makes wizard hats and finally looks like spider legs. Summer must be over now!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


It is harvest season in places south of Nunavut (thanks for the reminder friend!), it is my favourite season. Favourite veggies hit the market: turnip, squash, beets, potatoes and fresh crisp apples, blueberries still have some time. Having lived near the farmers market I would go and pick up a turnip for (get this) fifty cents, a cauliflower for a buck. Ahh the good old days.
Here we have those good root veggies,

but they are priced per pound, as in 4.99 per pound!
I finally shopped with a shopping cart last week and used my points card! No longer in denial, I did the northern thing which is get what you want, don't wince and sign.
The big deal is the toilet paper that which cost 29.99. The dog food which costs $89 or the milk at 8 bucks.
Northern creed: at least it's on the shelf. No fun going to get a salad and have to wait three days for it to show up. So we take what's there and enjoy the bounty.