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.