February 25, 2010


This is Gryphon. Watching me. As I try to figure out this new blog format. I'm still not sure what I think. Any suggestiongs?

Doggy woes...

This is Rocky...the Pang version of a cairn terrier. He's pretty cute, but he's an unneutered male who is gawd-knows how old. Though he has lots of grey hair, I don't think he's that old.

Crazy wiry hair with a thick undercoat...I have no idea how I'm going to clean him up. Right now he's waiting for his flight out of here and needed a place to crash. I guess my place is known throughout the community as the 'small dog' place. Fair enough.

Rocky seems to be incorporating well enough into the pack and, with a bit more time, I think he'll be happy. Fortunately, because of his coat, he can go out for walks...that helps with his mental state. Scarlett and Gryphon have been bouncing off the walls all winter; I can't wait to take them out again!

Boo. I just got a phonecall from a friend who 'lost' her dog today. Someone came to her workplace, accused her of napping it off their doorstep, then physically assaulted her. Ok, so she doesn't have a black eye, but seriously! How can you call it a cherished family pet if you haven't noticed FOR TWO WEEKS that it was roaming the streets with no collar and foraging for garbage! Also, this woman hadn't even seen the dog. She had just heard that my friend has started taking care of one!

It's a rough world for a dog in the north. And really not fair.

February 24, 2010

Online puchases...useful and not so useful...

One of my co-workers is moving this weekend and watching her getting ready has put me in the mind a few things. Well, that and the fact that my mother made her first purchase on eBay recently...my brother, of course, stressing the fact that it's easy to get carried away with online purchases. Sometimes, though, it's a commen behaviour in certain areas (the north, for example).

Like I mentioned, one of my co-workers is moving and having one of those epic house sales that everyone in the community waits for. I have the feeling when it's my turn it'll be rather informal - I have a history, after all, of just giving everything in my apartment to any charity that picks up before leaving the country. Not so true with her. Weeks ago she had everything inventoried and ready to go...right down to the 143 cans of tuna in her sealift room. Crazy, right? I'm a sucker, though, and have ended up with quite a few things. I only got 10 cans of tuna (for the dogs), but there were many other things I had delivered. I managed to avoid the big flatscreen tv, but couldn't resist the dvd player.

Anyway, the reason I mention all these superfluous purchases in because I'm finding that I have definitely started to view online buys in a different light. Sometimes you need certain things, but it's still a habit I have to learn how to rein in. Before coming here (Pangnirtung), I read as many websites as possible about online ordering. Without further ado, I'm going to relay what I have learned.

First off, check out Jen of Nunavut's blog. It was posted ages ago, but it's still an awesome place to start. Personally, I haven't bought big ticket items because I'm not yet sure how long I'll be here; Jen, on the other hand, spent a few years here and knows it ins-and-outs of big purchase.

Me? Small things that add up. I have found the best place to order stuff is from family and friends but, barring that option, a few things caught my eye:

Moving here at the end of August, I didn't yet need a heavy coat and boots. Instead, I opted to buy them online.


This is where I got my Canada Goose jacket. Any of you who have looked into buying one knows that you pay more than pennies. I searched and searched for the right style (I was determined to get the Kensington model), and it took me quite awhile to find one. As soon as I did, I put in my order. And waited. And waited. I did not receive any confirmation email even though I could see the payment on my credit card. About two weeks later, an unmarked package arrived - a really small one. There was my jacket. I think it was great that there was no record (on the outside) of what was being delivered, but not getting a confirmation email was really uncool.

The Tannery

I ordered some 'Joan of Arctic' Sorels here and, although I think they would have arrived (I got several follow-up emails), the didn't have the style and size that I wanted. I couldn't believe how difficult it is to get that style in 'hawk'! Eventually I went for the Baffins...


These guys were awesome. Great customer service on the 1-800 number with very knowledgeable people. They were able to guide me into choosing the right model I needed for this climate and, thinking about it now, the Baffin boots I got are definitely a better choice for what I want to do up here.


What more can I say? They have wonderful stuff, and you'll never regret buying a few pairs of 'wigwam wool socks' (product # 5001-651). They're soft and perfect for living here in the winter. The snowpants I bought here were fantastic as well (Magma: product #5013-297). They are soft, amazingly thin...and soooo warm. Don't forget to buy the long underwear (Capilene 4: product #5010-867); they're awesome.

NB: I'm allegic to most wool, but the socks don't bother me at all. I have no idea why.

Free delivery on any order over over $150 (or something like that); it's not difficult to spend that much, but certainly worth it. Quick delivery. Easy return policy (I've replaced sizes). Good help on the 1-800 number. The problem? Everything that MEC produces seems to be made for tall skinny people. How many actually fit that body type? Be careful with sizing.


When in Pang, I occasionally have 'pangs' missing my southern clothes - especially shoes. Heels, I miss my heels. Ok, ok...I miss my skirts and tank tops, but my heels and spikey boots I miss regularly. So I have ordered shoes. I can, after all, wear them at school. And it just makes me feel better to have them. Not the best reason, I know, but it's true. Very consumer based.


Awesome awesome. Although it's based out of New York, delivery was quick and painless.


Great company. And I would say this even if the owner wasn't a friend of mine. Hi Jesse!



You can't live here and not know about this. Free shipping anywhere in Canada and, if they make any sort of mistake, you get a replacement, hand-written card, and extra products. That's only happened once, though. They are fantastic and have really quick turn-around time.


Awesome! Cooking with Jaime, The Joy of Cooking, and Cesar Milan's latest book are awesome finds.



This website was a pain-in-the-butt at first because I kept being booted to the American site. I tried .ca, but for some reason it didn't work. When I finally made the purchase, I was quite relieved...if it wasn't something essential, I probably would have given up (I needed puppy pads, not chewy toys and treats). For those of you who regularly use puppy pads, you know the panic that sets in when you're running low; I need them because my two chihuahuas just can't go outside in this weather. I use about 2-3/day and only had enough for a week left when I made my order. The new stuff arrived before I ran out.



Really quick delivery and the email updates were great.


I guess that's about it for today. I'm going to go and try not to spend anymore money. Good luck to you!

Pizza Pizza

Generally, I like to cook...there's something really cathartic about mixing ingredients and have something appears from nothing. However, sometimes it's really nice just to have take-out. Something that is delivered. To the door. In Ottawa, one of my favorites was Greek on Wheels. Soooo good. Of course, the generic 'Canadian' Chinese food and pizza made an appearance, but pretty much anything Greek is ok in my books.

...so what happens when you want a greek pizza? Black olives, red onions, feta - those are the basics. That last ingredient is essential and near impossible to get most of the time. Recently, though, the Northern got a big order in for the 'super-low' price of $13 / container. I don't care. I love it. Tonight I made my favorite pizza: olives, red onion, feta, mozzarella, green pepper, and broccoli. I know it sounds weird, but it's amazing. My local Pizza Pizza delivery place even started to recognize the order!

Oh, and something I learned? I finally found a replacement for the cornmeal that I always put on my pizza pans when I cook. For some reason you can't get it here, but if you use Italian herb Shake'n'Bake, it works out really well - crispy thin-crust.

...and another thing? In a dry community the yeast needed for breads is kept under lock and key along with the vanilla extract. It's a good thing I asked where it was! I had already planned making a few pizzas for different people and several loaves of bread. I think they recorded my name at the Northern, but I don't think I bought enough to get a home-brew business up and running. Pizza and bread! I just want pizza and bread!

Well I'm going to go back for seconds.

February 20, 2010

Leftover tasties...

Scarlett, my heroine; she knows everything's good down to the last drop. And, like me, she has the growing belly to prove it.

Wow, that pic really accentuates the fact that I need to get her nails clipped!

Kitty close calls, kites, and a few little pup pics...

It came to my attention last night that, whenever there's a huge lull in my blogging frequency, it's because I'm focusing on negative ('un-bloggable') things. It's kind of stupid really...having unbloggable things going on doesn't mean that there's nothing bloggable.

Yesterday was my first true almost 'Bruce Willis worthy' stunt on my snowmobile. No, I didn't do some fancy flipping up and down the mountains; I didn't jump over deep chasms in the ice; I didn't spiral into pinpoint stops on the corners of precipices. My poor little Kitty slammed into a boulder, ceased to move, and threw me about 3 meters. Not so bad all-in-all. It was as if it were occuring in slow motion...basically hoping there were no other rocks to smash into. Fortunately, but for a bad case of snow burn on one cheek, I came out unscathed.

Trying to get that B-och out was another story. The reverse worked, but the snow was so deep and powdery it just slipped back. I found out that I'm strong enough to pick up and move the back end, but the front end is a tad too much. I'll have to work up those muscles...raaawwrr!! Since the tread was firmly pushed up and jammed on a rock, I basically had to hike home and try to figure out a way to get it back to my place. It didn't take long. Within the hour someone came and knocked on my door and asked whether it was my machine and whether I wanted him to get it out. Yes, everyone knows the crazy southern single girl who can't seem to keep a hold of the one thing that so many would love to have. Ah, whatever...it's out in front of my place right now - no damage done. I have to say, though, my body has taken a beating. I can still feel the ache on my left side despite the 2 extra strength ibuprofen!

So today, when I was laying around with my painkillers, this is what I saw through my front window. Since I'm in the government residential end of town, the buildings you see are pretty much the same as mine. First they got the tent up with some sort of air-blowing device and then they used it to keep a heated bubble around. It looked like a lot of fun, but I don't think anyone was about to get off the ground for very long (not windy enough).

Not bad, eh?

You see? There are lots of bloggable things to write about in times of unbloggable depressions. Sure there are things that get me down, but when you're this close to the Arctic Circle, the temperature is a mere -6 degrees celcius, how could you not resist running out with these cuties? It's fun enough to just wrap my pups up in a bunch of clothes, put some paw protector on their little toes, and let them have some fun out of the house. The wee one is Gryphon...Scarlett's the pup with her nose in the snow.

So that's it for now. My blog entry on an unbloggable day...

February 14, 2010

Mangoes and asparagus...

Well, anyone in the north knows that, if you see relatively fresh fruit and vegetables, you should buy them. I did. Mango sorbet and awesome cream of asparagus and cheese soup filled me up tonight. 'Nuf said.

February 13, 2010

Pre-northern blogs and a shot of the 80s

Before getting my official job offer to move to Pang and start this year of craziness, I was very much like my readers who email me with questions about life in the north. I spent so much time reading everything I could about life in the north - all-the-while praying that my resume would eventually get me the interview I needed - that I began going through withdrawl symptoms if I didn't check them out a few times a day. It was at this time I decided that blogs were kinda cool. I mean, years earlier I had tried, but it never really got off the ground.

Waiting around in Ottawa last August, I decided to start constructing my own page. This is when I first met (online) my friendly neighbourhood bloggers in Iqaluit, Jordan and Steph...they were preparing to move north at the same time and, for awhile, I even thought we'd be on the same flight (it turned out that they jumped on the plane the day after I took off). I didn't want to jinx my job possibilities (yes, I'm superstitious) or let people know what I was up to until everything was finalized, so I started a 'non-northern' blog.

Anyway, all that leads up to this next part...

I woke up this morning, brewed a cup of coffee, grabbed a cookie, flipped on the tv, and fired up my little netbook - my regular Saturday morning ritual. Nothing on the usual channels (up too early today), so I ended up watching one of those 'Top 10' shows. This one was on MTV...'Top 10 80s Videos'. Anyone around at the time must remember Samantha Fox and her after-school video countdowns...at least my Canadian readers. She was classic! The 80s were the golden era of videos - in today's world, they rarely hold such a prestigious place in the hearts of music lovers.

...all of this to to say my morning MTV shot reminded me of this post on my old blog. Check it out.

Oh, is it cheating to recycle a blog post? I don't mind receiving a 'regifted' item, so I don't think it's such a bad thing.

February 12, 2010

Olympic news and a Welcome to the Sun...

Ok, there are a few things I wanted to mention here, but I'll keep it down to two (since one of them has lots of pics).

First off, the Olympics. As I write, it's quite possible the answer to this ponderance is available...I'm really not interested enough to pay attention to tv times. The question? Who is going to be the final carrier to light the cauldron. I have seen many people weighing in on the matter - Wayne Gretsky, Terry Fox's mother, a holographic representation of Terry Fox (what's that about?), Rick Hanson...etc. Famous athletes. Fair enough...they've worked incredibly hard to reach the heights that they did in their in their professions; these are the faces that represent Canada to the world. But what about the faces who don't usually make it as far as the tv screen?

This is what I think: the torch-bearer for the Olympics hosted in Canada should be someone that represents the normal person. I was never really into sports growing up, but I think it would be great to have the coach who makes it to the rink for 6 am practise, the face who works as a spotter to a kid on a balance beam, the face standing by with a whistle and encouragement, etc. to represent the rest of us who aren't part of the physical elite. Am I really alone in this opinion? When Wayne Gretsky sold out and started putting his face in truck commercials, I think he gave up his right to speak for amateur athletes.

Holy crap! The news just came and announced that a luger (athlete on the luge) flew over the side and died when practising for the upcoming events...speeding down the track at 85 m/hr. OMG...it's heartbreaking! Could you continue with the competition knowing that someone died there on the day the Olympics opened? I think I would just be sick.

Well, I wasn't expecting such a shock halfway through my blog. It's kind of pushed me off track...like the carbides I need replaced on my snowmobile, I'm having difficulty staying on track. I suppose that's ok, though; it is, after all, just a blog.

Alright, done with the Olympics and ready to party it up, 'Pangnirtung style'. Today the schools in town organized a 'Welcome to the Sun' celebration across the ice, and most of the community came out 'to play'. Everyone headed out on their snowmobiles in a caravan-type formation - some pulling kaamutiks, others just packed with passengers.

The drive out was amazing and, honestly, there was one point that just completely gave me flashbacks to 'The Fellowship of the Ring'. Do you remember the scene when the bunch of them were heading through the mountain...snow everywhere...Gandalf the Grey disappears? Well, there was one point where the ice on both sides of the track had smashed up and collapsed during the freezing process leaving just a pitted, cracked, and winding ice path which was elevated about a meter and wide enough only for my skis (and maybe a small kaamutik). One-way traffic all the way.

Along the way, we passed this little team hanging out on the ice. Pang sled dogs have the reputation of being super lazy. In fact, there is some sort Inuktitut expression / local saying that explains it. They only run when they want...day trips'n'all.

When I finally made it to the camp, this is what I found...

Then, more people started to arrive. This picture is the son of one of my students...his parka and kaamiks were so cute!

So then it was time to relax. Have any of you ever hung out in an igloo? It's so quiet and peaceful! I just wanted to stay in there with a hot coffee...there was an exploded can of frozen coke in there, but it just wasn't the same.

And then there was the whole issue of sliding out...

So, I don't know how many of you have read my blog for awhile, but for those you who have, you might remember my entry on Lasaloosie (you can check it out here). These next two pics are of him prepping some tea outside of his igloo...check out the meat speared on the harpoon outside the entrance...and check out that super-warm wolf parka. I've never seen one like it.

So there we were, all gathered and in awe of the sun. We had headed out, south of Pang...down the fjord to the mouth of Cumberland Sound. We were on a ridge which, when you're in the hamlet, blocks the sun. It was 3 o'clock and still bright! At this time of year it's usually twilight at 3!


Although there were a few igloos already, some of the guys set about cutting up snow blocks to make a few more. The kids, of course, headed for the edge of the peak to slide down to the sea ice. It looked like a lot of fun but, you know, I just wasn't up for the hike back up the hill.

So, nope, I didn't go sliding down the hill; this was more my cup of tea...

The guys putting together the igloos were pretty impressive. Check these two out! The snow was so perfect...it really did feel like plaster-type bricks. Each time they had a block in place, they would take out a machete and shave the edges to make a perfect fit. The cracks between the bricks are left there on purpose to fill in with snow later (added insulation).
They start their training young!

So that was it...that was my day. Not so bad...I guess it was worth the mild frostbite on my cheeks and the tingling in my toes and fingers.

And this final pic? It beats my class graduation picture - no contest.

February 09, 2010

Ellen 'n' polar bears...what's the connection...

So I checked out American Idol tonight, and I'm still trying to figure out whether Ellen was a good choice for the show. Don't get me wrong - I think Ellen's awesome - but is she right to judge musical contestants? She does add an element of humour, replacing the element of 'crazy' that Paula provided...perhaps it'll be an acceptable fit after all.

Has anyone out there tasted polar bear? One of my students had some in the back of his truck at school today, but I couldn't convince him to give me a slice. What I'm finding about country food here in Pang is that, although most enjoy seal (every bit of it), caribou will disappear at a community feast before those little sea creatures. Apparently polar bear tops the horned beast! Some day soon I'll get a taste and will report back to you then.

It was another beautiful day here in Pang...the mountains were all shades of blue and pink. The thing is, that's not new; it's always beautiful. What I have to say is that there wasn't too much noteworthy going on today...at least nothing crazy enough to keep me up typing. I'm going to log off then close these tired eyes.

Talk to you tomorrow!

February 08, 2010

Exhaustion in the time of apple tart...

I have an ongoing love affair with Judge Joe Brown. We don't talk, but I check him out through the tube every evening when I get home from work, drifting in and out of consciousness. These days, if I end up joining the dogs a bit earlier, I click over to 'The People's Court'...the lady judge who's funny in contrast to Judge Judy's 'Simon Cowel-ness'. I think my brain might be turning to jelly. Yup, it is.

So today I had hardcore leftovers for lunch. Yum! It's so nice to go from a peanut butter and banana sandwich to a hunk of lasagne with a few teeny cinnamon rolls (though, truth be told, the former is pretty kickass with a splash of milk). Food might be more expensive up here, but you certainly learn to appreciate it much more. Such gastronomical dee-lights!

I bought some great-looking record keeping software off of an educational website; it arrived last week. Complicated, yes. But hawt daaam!! It sure does make everything look purdy. I am having certain problems with it though...it takes up quite a few GB and my poor little netbook is bursting at the seams. I need a nice 'computer colonoscopy' to clean out the bits'n'pieces of random detritus in my hard-drive.

Oops...drifted off again. My eyes are all sticky with contact dryness and my body feels like it's been doused in some sort of exhaustion juice. I feel tired right down to the dried and split ends of my static-y hair. I wish I could head to bed, but the stack of essays next to me assures me that that's not going to happen today. "Work through the pain," I suppose.

Time to make some tea, scoop up some more leftover apple tart, and slice into that pile of papers. I hope my pen can work quickly.

February 07, 2010

Online again...

I love to cook. Improvising different tastes and style - hoping it'll work in the end. Up here, that's especially true. Not only are certain ingredients absolutely impossible to find, but if you're working on something and it starts to migrate south you run the risk of wasting all the other elements unless you can adapt. Adaptability drawn from necessity. I would campare it to cockroaches - the ultimate survivors - but that generally sketches a really dirty kitchen. My kitchen is not dirty. It has, however, been a busy one this weekend...squash, cream cheese, white chocolate chip muffins; jerk chicken caesar salad; lasagne with slowcooker sauce; cantalope sorbet; and crazy poutine gravy that starts with homemade pork stock which has been on the stove for about three hours already...the freshly cut wedge fries have been prepared already. Nice. All of this for the SuperBowl Party without the actual SuperBowl; just a bunch of teachers and 'significant others' taking some time out.

So, what have I been up to here in Pang. Lots'n'lots - too much, in fact, to catch everyone up. But is that what a blog's about? I'm not sure. One of the great things, I suppose, is that it can be a bit about anything, everything, or nothing...like a Seinfeld episode. Hmmm.

February already. I can't believe I've been here for half a year already. It seems to have flown by more quickly than I'd expected. I've also spent more than expected. Not too much, but enough. For example, I never would have considered putting in a $300 Epicure order at this time last year! Weird.

No literary genius tonight. Actually, I'd never really say there is any genious around, but I have my moments.

Online again.