January 23, 2010


Well, things have been a bit crazy here recently. As a result, I won't be updating this blog for awhile. I do appreciate those of you who read and will still be keeping up-to-date with everything on the other blogs.

Be well...

January 16, 2010


Hmm, I've just spent the last huge chunk of time trying to set up a wordpress.com blog; I've seen some great ones which seem to offer a lot more than blogger does. Is there anyone out there who has used both? Which do you prefer? Wordpress seems to have a huge learning curve. What do you think?

January 15, 2010

Thank you Mama Bear and Papa Bear...

My birthday / Christmas presents finally flew into Pang...yay! A beautiful Friday, a whole weekend to rest, and two packages to tear into. What do you think of my fancy star-stamped postal pick-up? Nice. Oh ya...and what do you think of my post-it privacy notes? I can't have you mailing me or my parents random scraps of snail mail. Actually, that might be a bit cool, but I have a strict policy of not putting personal numbers, addresses, or pictures of people who don't want to be there on my blog. Yes Amy, that means you!

After making it home I tore into them and this is what I found:

As soon as the top popped, I knew there was some kind of food in there. I can't smell anything, but the pups sure could!

Ah-ha! Aren't they all purdy? All wrapped up like that? That would be the work of my mom. When you take all the same items you were originally going to give, then wrap them individually, it's just so much more satisfying...

Ok, the funniest? Rain coats. For the dogs. Since my chiweenie's gained weight, hers won't fit, but the wee one looks absolutely hilarious. I can't wait for it to warm up and rain!

And what about this one...

So, the mass of treasures? Chocolate, calendars, CDs, puzzles, dog stuff, spatulas, incense, books, writing paper, and some kind of weird thing which is supposed to cook potatoes. Check it out...it's that black thing called the 'Muise Tater Baker' (yes, it's personalized). You're supposed to put some potatoes in it, throw it in the microwave, then wait with your sour cream and dill. Yum!

And yes, that is a Starbucks cookie laying out there in the front. I had to swat both the dogs away just to take this picture, but I wasn't quick enough to block the both of them...I will have to scrape off the layer of frosting they attacked before I eat it.

This is what we do to those southern polar bears up here...

Lots to say about my snowmobile today, but that's something for another post. Yay for Christmas and birthdays coming late!

January 14, 2010


There are few things that will generally have me laugh straight out for an unsustained period of time...watching teeny dogs pushing each other for slurps of yogurt is one of them. So is watching them lick the rogue yogurt off each others' heads. Aww, so cute.

Tonight was my first real independent tinkering session with the Kitty Cat. I know it sounds stupid, but there was just such a feeling of satisfaction when finally got those spark plugs out the belly of that thing; I understand, now, why guys are prone to spending so much time with their noses under a hood! Unfortunately, I couldn't get that whole 'heat them up on the stove' thing to work...maybe because it was an electric burner? Tomorrow I'll be walking to the Co-op to get a few more plugs. Oh yay me.

But that's beside the point. Tomorrow is, after all, Friday. Sa-weet! Although there are no open roads to escape down, there is still the possibility of exploring the sea ice with a thermos of hot coffee. Perhaps I'll do that. Yup, that's what I'll do.

Final note: voting for the Nunies will be running until the 21st. Of course I would love your vote (wink wink), check out the other blogs listed...my work days generally start by reading those blogs instead of checking my work email. Now the cat's out of the bag. But, hey, that's why I go to work early.

January 13, 2010

Vote, vote, vote...and other such tales...

Ok, I'll admit it...I'm a shameless hussy. The nominations for the Nunie Awards have been compiled and I actually made it into both the Best New Blog and Best Blog Post categories! I have to say, being one of the top five is pretty awesome...and it's because of you guys!  Thank you for reading, thank you for nominating, and - I'll just put it out there - thank you for voting. You can head over here to place your votes.

Now, on to other issues...

Townie Bastard is right, today was a horrible day for thousands. Hundreds of thousands. It's difficult to fathom what such devastation is like - especially when living in northern Canada. Every channel has uncensored pictures of Haitian buildings and bodies, both crushed beyond repair. From here I suppose all I can do is donate money, but it still seems like a mere drop in the bucket. What a way to start the new year...

On a 'lighter' note...the sun seems to be stretching out the kinks in its rays and shows a little bit more of itself every day. Today I headed out at about 7:30 in the morning and you could actually see the outline of the mountains! Aaaand the sky didn't start up with its firey sunset until after 2pm. The spring is on the way.

Unfortunately, it seems as if sunlight and temperature are inversely related (this week, at least). It's so cold that I barely got my snowmobile started after school yesterday, and this morning it wouldn't even turn over. Fact: right now I have blistered palms and a ripped open index finger. After school I tried it out a bit more (yes yes, I know, be careful with the plugs), and got it going after what seemed like a hundred pulls. That lasted about a minute before it sputtered and died. Took out the spark plugs and, sure enough, black and greasy. "No matter," I thought...I had prepared for such an eventuality and had some stored in my porch. Wrong size. Crap. Tomorrow I'll try out that little trick of heating them up on the stove and see what happens.

These days Pang looks like some sort of weird smokey Avalon. The stars are bright sparks in the sky - very cool - but the air around the surface is this strange swirling fog. I think I have part of it figured out; well, I have a theory. The temperature is so low that most people mix more than a splash of Yamalube with their gas everytime they head to the co-op pumps to fill up their machines. Too much oil in the gas equals lots of black smoke. Warming up your sled takes a good 15 to 20 minutes...no joke! This means that you inevitably create billows of the black stuff several times a day. You know what's really funny? The 'rush-hour' smoke here is just as visible as the rush-hour traffic in the south.

Well, that's it for now...again, please head over to Clare's website and vote for the Nunie's; it's so great to know that you read.

January 11, 2010

Agility training and the Nunie Awards...

It took hours to pick apart the tree and peel down the Christmas lights, and now I sit with boxes piled around my 'empty-ish' place with the door blocked with a fake tree chopped and rolled into three bushy chunks. It's about this time every night that the dogs got their spurt of crazy energy; usually this involves flying up and down the stairs and wrestling, but this time it was complicated by the obstacle course of seasonal decorations. All I can do is sit, watch, and laugh. They definitely have some mad skillz...I should get them involved in flyball or agility training. I wonder if my purebred has what it takes to be the 'Best in Show'. Perhaps not...although he's a cutie, he's already been snipped. Most dog shows won't allow 'altered' dogs, right? Also, who ever heard about chihuahua agility (obstacle course) competions? I really can't imagine the breed jumping through hoops and up/down see-saws.

Anyway, enough about that. The nomination deadline has passed for the annual Nunie awards...did you get your nominations in? Did you find any blogger gems out there? I definitely found a few more things to distract me! Not cool - it takes me forever just to get through the normal stuff I have to do in the day; from this day forth there will be more listed in my blog roll...

Well, I suppose it would be best if I head back to work. Though it's 8pm and one of my favorite shows is on, a teacher's job is never done. Ciao!

January 09, 2010

Bits'n'Bites and a scalding splash of H2O...

Yesterday was the first day that it was actually cold. Sure, I've been through the -30, but that's not really so bad. Yesterday was the first day it felt like someone was pouring scalding water over my face. It was -40 with the windchill and, after warming my snowmobile up for what seemed like forever, the drive to work added even more wind. I'm not sure exactly how cold is was but like I said, scalding water on the face doesn't really feel the best. What I can say is that my Canada Goose jacket and my MEC snowpants are quite enough to keep me warm...too bad I can't say the same about my scarf!

It's January 9th and my Christmas decorations are still up. In fact, I just finished a big cup of tea in my snowflake and reindeer mug I bought in Iqaluit. The tree lights just make the room so cosy, it makes the 2 pm darkness bearable. I suppose I'll just have to deal with it and start peeling away the layers of stockings, lights, candles, candy canes, gingerbread...I'll be peeling away all the vestiges of Christmas for another year. Boo.

Today a girl came to the door convinced that I had stolen her dog. I have no idea how she got my name nor why she would think that I have a german shepard mix, but she was insistant all the same. She said she'd be back with a search warrent. What's that about?  Right now I'm a bit worried about my machine sitting out front; it seems so vulnerable and open to vandalism. I think I'll get some chains at the Northern tomorrow and hook it up to the stairs. Sure, it's not fool-proof, but it's something.

With only two days left, I think I'll mention the Nunies again. I know that some may not feel it's worth their time to nominate or vote, but try to throw us bloggers a bone! The rules are pretty straightforward; there are three categories: Best Blog, Best New Blog, and Best Blog Entry. As a reader, you can nominate up to five blogs in the first two categories; the blogs with the most nominations go on to the voting round. Let me say this...for the person keying in their entries it gives a weird sort validation. All too often I hear people tell me they read but never comment. Anyone out there?

Back to the point: Clare up in Arctic Bay runs this whole deal and has set up an email address to collect the nominations: nunavutblogs@yahoo.ca First, brew some tea and check out a few Nunavut blogs, then send in a few nominations. Happy reading!

Well, my puppies are getting a bit pudgy (what with not being able to take chihuahuas out in this weather), so I'd best sign out and throw one of their chewy toys around for a bit...they're as lazy as I am these days and basically only eat, sleep, and meet crazy people at the door on the weekend.

January 06, 2010

Cats and contracts...

Fffyyooo! I've finally finished all the schoolwork I need to have finished by tomorrow morning. Lots of scheduling. Lots of typing. Lots of classroom cleaning. Is it bad to say that I can't wait for the weekend already, or should I wait to say that on Friday?

The weather's been so wonderful here recently...temperatures haven't really dipped below the mid-teens. What does this mean in snowmobile terms? It's a lot easier to get around on the roads, you don't need to worry about gasoline antifreeze, and the electric start works most of the time. Today I got in a few pulls in to start it, but the engine was already warm; what's going to happen when it finally gets cold? Having that machine is so awesome and frustrating and painful and fantastic...so much better than a car.

My dad brought it to my attention yesterday that I'm halfway through my contract up here in Pangnirtung; it's passed quickly. I wonder what parts of this experience will have survived by the time 2020 comes along. I wonder how long I'll be here. I guess we'll see as the Arctic moon waxes and wanes. The chihuahuas are doing well and my house is cozy...it's an adventure worth spending!

Yeeouch! Better head to bed - the day before class 'n' all.

January 04, 2010

'The Northern Lights have seen queer sights'...

In the past, there have been many mentions on my blog about the frustrations of learning how to maneouver a new Arctic Cat...perhaps some of that has to do with the fact that it's my very first snowmobile, but AHHHH. Sometimes it's just impossible. Well, today it was something new - my starter isn't working properly. The engine will start with the spiked disc, but the part that pops out to do the job won't pop back in; it just results in high pitched grinding. I took the front end off this afternoon so I could tap it back into place, but I'm going to have to pay someone to actually fix it. Yay! More money!

As you can see on any northern blog, Clare's Nunies made their annual debut today. Feel free to nominate me...doesn't that sound pompous? Or desparate? You should at least surf through a few of the sites to check them out; there are a lot of great writers in Nunavut. Is it because we have nothing else to do? I thought about that idea for awhile, but I don't think it's true. I think it's more closely related to a Robert Service type of thing...although the Cremation of Sam McGee is a bit explicit, I like this passage from one of his other poems:

Have you ever known the Great White Silence, now a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.)
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,

People in the north just have a lot to say...

Wow, I'm half watching the Rangers/Boston hockey game on tv right now and, I gotta say, there's one guy whose shorts are packed up in such a way that it really looks like a diaper. You know those Pamper commercials with the kid running around on his tip toes so he doesn't fall over? That's what he looks like when he skates!

I'm going to sign out now so I can go gaze at my tree with the Christmas lights. Like I mentioned before, the tree always stays up until after my birthday and the hours are ticking away...

January 03, 2010

Back to work...

Well my vacation is officially over. Even though tomorrow is my birthday, all I can think of is getting groceries and prepping classes. Weird. These past few days have been so lazy that even turning on the snowmobile is an adventure; I've just been feeling 'flu-ish'. Either that or just living in a trance-like sleepy state. Very probable actually.

Basically, tomorrow the textbooks piled on my coffee table will be piled on my desk, and I'll be back to drinking nasty coffee with powdered whitener. Sweet! You can't really appreciate the weekend when you don't work during the week.

In a teacher's world - especially those instructing at a college or university - work is broken into definite units. Semesters. I can't believe that the fall semester is already finished! The first set of marks are in, and the outlines for a whole batch of new courses are prepared.  I hope the next session doesn't have as many growing pains as the first.

I guess I'm speechless tonight; no real interesting words to tap out. I think I'll put on the kettle, make some hot chocolate, and try - yet again - to work with the dogs. Right now Gryphon is learning to sit, Scarlett is learning to stay, and both are learning to STOP BARKING! I think that last one might take awhile...

January 01, 2010

Last year's failures to this year's success...

Last night the full moon was so bright that every detail of Pang's landscape was visible...icy, blanketed in snow, and beautiful. It seems that time moves on, but incredible views remain. It is now 2010 and, as I look back, I can see how my life improved in 2009; I'm not going to make a list of important events - many of them are very personal - but I will remember them and how they've changed me.

This time of year always leaves me looking back; it's not only marked by New Year festivities, but it's also my birthday on Monday. Milestones that mark time (and its passing). I think that my pseudo-resolution should be to look to the future and focus on improvement. I used to make lists which were overly-ambitious and always led to failure. Is it overly ambitious to say you want to live? Try new things? That's what I'm going to work on; I will only commit to one - albeit difficult - resolution. I will live.

Everyone, join me and raise a glass to living. For those of you in a dry community (like Pang), raise something else. Cheers...