Treena's Travels

This blog was set up to journal my experience of living in Nunavut and keep friends and family up to date on these happenings. It's a wonderful place, this hideaway in the north, and I'm loving my time here. An unforgettable place with unforgettable people. I'm lucky to be here.

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Location: Baker Lake, Nunavut, Canada

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Well, the fishing derby was a huge success! A lot of people came out and braved the snow and wind and took part. A huge thanks to Chris, Todd, Tom, Chad, Bill and everyone who helped drill all the holes. We were out there for two hours and only one fish was caught but it was a gooder. Congrats to Jenesta for pulling in the big one! I, as per my reputation, did not even get a nibble. Granted, I spent the majority of my time snapping photos and that could have something to do with it. :o)

Good times.....

Komatiq loaded up with gear for the trip.

That there ice be deep! Over 6 feet still...

The big winner!

Temp: -12
Windchill: -17
Sunrise: 4:48 a.m.
Sunset: 9:54 p.m.
cloudy and snowing

Well, as I type this I have a cold and am watching Coronation Street. I love Sunday mornings. Sitting with a cup of tea and watching some 'Corno' does a girl good. Especially since I didn't sleep last night due to a running nose. There's a silly cold going around the community and I'd thought since I'd put in my time with illnesses the first year I moved here that I was done with all that. Wishful thinking on my part. Ahh well. Now to see if the fishing derby we have planned to celebrate the 40th birthday of a friend will pan out today. It was supposed to be yesterday but it was windy and not nice so we postponed it to today. Now we have light flurries and it's overcast. But, we still have a few hours and it could turn around so we shall see. I don't mind flurries and overcast but we want it warm enough for everyone to enjoy themselves as there is no windbreak once we get out there.

Lets see.... since I last wrote I had a very interesting interpreting experience. I interpreted for Twink-Elle the clown and it was definitely a challenge and definitely fun! She was up here visiting her sister Erica and the kids loved having her here. Good times!

And for Easter I conned the gang into making Easter cookies with me to take to Todd and Jenesta's Easter party. It's a bit of a tradition with my family to decorate cookies so I decided to force the fun on my friends too! :o) Heh heh, they were very good sports about it and it turns out it was a very interesting form of creative expression. Too funny.

Friday night Tania/Chad and I had our house sales to prepare for the big move back down south and it was a huge success! We all got rid of almost everything which is great. Only a few tidbits left to get rid of so there will be a lot less to pack. It seems a bit early to get rid of things as we still have 7 weeks left but it's better to do the sale early while the weather still isn't that great because once it warms up everyone heads out on the land hunting and fishing every chance they get. It's a big relief to have it over with; it was very full and busy in my tiny apartment but it was a lot of fun and great to have so many people come out.

And as for spring coming, the temperatures are definitely milder now but we still have a lot of snow and have yet to hit plus digits for temperatures. The wind still kicks up and makes it not very pleasant which is tiring and a bit draining. But, in another couple of weeks spring should be here in full swing. This week is Hamlet Days and I remember last year at this time we had some blustery weather and the year before it was down-right blizzarding so I expect that we will get at least one more blizzard before Mother Nature calls it good for the season.

So today is the fishing derby and tomorrow we have off for Hamlet Days so that is a treat. I love Hamlet week because it's great watching the kids participating in the traditional sports. Talk about athletes! Friday was our Jump Rope for Heart event in the gym and I was pooped doing the Caribou Skipping for only a couple of minutes!

Well, off I go to the derby. Here's hoping I catch my first fish in the north!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Temp: -17
Windchill: -25
Sunrise: 6:09 a.m.
Sunset: 8:41 p.m.

Well, here we are on the Easter long weekend and I do mean loooong weekend! The way our school calendar fell this year we ended up with 6 whole days off. Sweet!! So yesterday was spent watching home renovation shows and lazing about and it was awesome! Today Oli and I got up reasonably early, went to Tania and Chad's for waffles (something I am REALLY going to miss doing in a few months) and then headed out for a walk with the posse of pooches onto the ice.

This week saw the end of soccer with the little ones that my friend Erica and I coached. We had a blast doing it but the best part was for sure the parent/kids game last Saturday. It definitely does a heart good to see parents playing with their kids. One of the girls came up to me at one point and pointed out that they were winning. I'd have been embarrassed had they not since there were 10 kids on a team and 4-6 parents on the other! Too funny.

Lets see.. what else is new? Oh! I got the most BEAUTIFUL homemade quilt from Chad's mom a couple weeks ago. Big shout out to Jean!!! I absolutely love it and look forward to many years of curling up with it and staying cozy. I'm a lucky girl for sure.

And as if that wasn't enough, my dear friend Tania knit me this beautiful sweater! It is my first ever homemade sweater and also super cozy. Yup, I am totally spoiled and absolutely blessed.

And for Nunavut's 10th birthday our class went down on the ice to play some Inuit games and just have fun. We had a great time and had some elders in to make caribou stew and bannock, which we enjoyed once we headed back inside. As well, some kids from the high school volunteered to come in and play games with us and help out. It was great to see several generations in one room, celebrating the culture. What a great morning!

And last weekend we took a trip out to the ice shack and let the dogs romp for a bit. It was such a beautiful day and delightful to get out as we really haven't taken the opportunity this winter to do so. Here is Chad bringing Oli out for me; he ran nearly the whole three kms. Needless to say he slept like a baby that night.

This is Kent, getting in some rays and fishing in his terribly snazzy chair. Blends in very nicely with the surroundings....

Oliver catching a ride back to town. Fitting for the little fella I'd have to say. :o)

An ice fishing jigger.

And this week Chris went out of town and Tania/Chad and I took turns babysitting Diesel. Lunchtime the day Chris left I arrived at his apartment to find this waiting for me. Check out the title on the book. Yup! Dog Training for Dummies! Too funny...

And Kara, I haven't forgotten. You wanted the pink popcorn recipe that I had used for our party at school. I used the first one, and it turned out quite well. I'd be very interested to try the second one though as it may taste a wee bit more like the original.


1 cup white sugar
4 Tbsp water
3/4 tsp red food coloring
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
12 cups popcorn
Boil the first 4 ingredients to the thread stage (about 230F on the candy thermometer). Add vanilla. Mix well. Pour over popcorn and mix together well until it dries. (A big roaster works good for this). It is much better to use a candy thermometer but if you don't have one try the old fashioned method to determine the right stage is reached.

Thread Stage: At this relatively low temperature, there is still a lot of water left in the syrup. The liquid sugar may be pulled into brittle threads between the fingers. Or, take a small amount of the syrup onto a spoon, and drop it from about 2-inches above the pot. Let it drip into the pan. If it spins a long thread, like a spider web, it's done.

Pink Elephant Popcorn

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
4 tablespoons dry strawberry flavored gelatin
2 quarts popped popcorn

Melt butter over low heat. Stir in marshmallows until they are soft but not melted. Add flavored gelatin mix. Stir until everything is a nice pink color throughout. (The gelatin may not dissolve completely, but that's all right.) Pour evenly over popcorn and stir until all flakes are evenly coated.

I don't have a picture of it but a few weeks ago Brad, our gym teacher, had Olympic Badminton athlete Andrew Dabeka come to the school and run a clinic for the kids, as well as give a demonstration. He was great and the kids loved him. And much to my embarrassment I got pulled up as one of the staff to try and return one of his smashes. Yikes! I was able to connect (albeit poorly) with two of them but he was so skilled he practically aimed it at my racquet so I couldn't miss. 330 km/hr is how fast those hits have been clocked at and I can believe it!

And so, we find the year winding down quite quickly. The days are getting noticeably longer and soon we will not see darkness again for some time. That's always an interesting time of year. And with that, I am going to come right out and say it - Spring is here! We still have a windchill off and on which means the spring gear can't come out to stay just yet, but it's such a nice reprieve from the cold weather. It has been a very long, bitter, winter and this is the first year that I've experienced joint pain from the extreme dryness. Thirty-five and I have joint pain. Yeesh!

So, with that, all good things must come to an end. I've decided to make this my last year in the North and have mixed feelings about it. I am happy to be going back to Alberta and have four seasons again (I haven't seen a southern fall in four years!), be near conveniences, and be less isolated. But, having said that, I am going to miss Baker Lake terribly. I have made amazing friends here and have LOVED my job. The culture is so interesting and I feel privileged to have lived here and shared in it for all this time. Still, it is time to head back home and be near my family and friends that I haven't seen in wayyy too long. I hope to head back to college in the fall; that is one of the many things I have come to realize while living up here. That I want to become a teacher. So, off I go to head in that direction. But, I still have two months to the day left and I plan to enjoy the time I have left. Amidst the packing and mailing out of parcels (which began a month or so ago), a house sale to be held the first week of May, working on an English correspondence course to qualify for college, trying to relish the remainder of time spent with friends, and finishing up with work, it is going to be a very busy and fast two months.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Temp: -36
Calm and sunny

Well, the week went by pretty fast but it was still a lot of fun. Tania and I flew down to Winnipeg Sunday night and spent a few days shopping before coming back yesterday. On Monday when we got to Polo Park Mall we both just stopped and looked at each other; we were both a bit overwhelmed by all the stores and selection available. Ah it was good though. We got haircuts which was important, though I have to say I have never had visit to a salon last as long. I was in the chair just shy of three hours for a cut (into a long bob I wanted) and color (nice natural highlights that will grow out well). What I got was dark brown hair, BLONDE BLONDE highlights and a short to med length shag haircut. Hmm... It's not bad, but definitely not what I wanted. Ahh well. Lesson learned. :o) Tania on the other hand looked fabulous so that's good.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent starting off the day with a swim in the pool and dip in the hot tub at the hotel. It was awesome! Then breakfast and off we went shopping again. We didn't get to do as much as we'd hoped (movies, fancy dinner out..) but it was nice because we took our time. Driving around Winnipeg was fun too as it's very similar to Edmonton and felt very familiar. Except for all the one way streets! Man, they do have a lot of them. But, it was great to get out and the weather really cooperated with us. It was between -5 to -20 the whole time we were there and Tuesday we got this beautifully warm snowfall. It was so pretty and refreshing.

Tuesday night we met up with a friend who used to be an interpreter in Baker Lake (Dianna) and it was great to catch up. She's pregnant too so her and Tania had lots to chat about. Then Wednesday we picked up Diesel at the airport (a puppy from Doyle's place in AB that Christopher wanted) and I have to say he is the best puppy. He's a charmer, doing well with the potty training, and cute as a button!

And what would a trip be if you didn't have some Calm Air excitement to go along with it? As we were taxiing up the runway to take off in Winnipeg the plane did a quick stop and Tania turned to me and said 'Hey, there's Diesel. They forgot the dog!' Sure enough the luggage cart was racing towards the plane with one lonely little kennel on it. Thank goodness the flight attendant had thought to ask the pilot to turn the heat on in the cargo compartment for the puppy because that's when the realized that there was in fact no puppy on board. Too funny. And then our semi-direct flight turned into the milk run because another plane went mechanical. Of course it did. And once we got in the air out of Chesterfield Inlet we had to turn around and go back because not all the latches were closed on the cargo door; all I could picture was poor Diesel having the ride of his life so it may have felt a bit inconvenient, but I'm glad we turned around. Yeesh... Anyway, here are some pics.

Diesel has arrived!

Helping Tania with her packing

Wiped out after a long day of travel

Not a great picture from the dirty window of our plane :o)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sunrise: 8:07 a.m.
Sunset: 5:09 p.m.
Just beautiful

Well, the week that started out hectic and bizarre has pretty much held course. Hopefully, tomorrow will be easy to get through and, voila! The weekend is here and the trip to Winnipeg on Sunday. Barring any unexpected blizzards of course. I say 'unexpected' but at this point it wouldn't surprise me if one popped up.

We've had a bit of excitement here in town this week. Both schools were broken into over the week, which is pretty unfortunate. At least no damage was done; it seems only money was taken. Only. The money that was taken from our school was money that the grade fives had fundraised for their commencement into grade six at the end of the year (when they switch over to the high school). How unfair is that? Essentially stealing money from kids. Nice.

But, on an absolutely more positive note, Tania and Chad have announced that they are going to have a baby!! They are due Sept long weekendish which is pretty cool. Chad's class surprised him with a shouted 'Congratulations Dad' yesterday morning when they found out and one of the little girls came up to me afterwards and told me 'Treena, Chad's gonna have a baby! I'm so proud of him!' Heh heh, I told her I was proud of him too. :o) Man I laughed. How cute is that?!

Other than that, I'm off to read more for my course. Got my first paper back and got 84% so not too shabby. Three more papers and the final exam to go. Will be nice to have it out of the way.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Temp: -21
Sunrise: 8:17 a.m.
Sunset: 4:59 p.m.
Sunny and amazing

Well, I'm not sure what was in the air today but the kids were pretty much off the wall. Between kids terrorizing each other with that blasted AXE underarm deodorant spray and others Crazy Gluing their friends hands together, it was a down-right insane day. I'm exhausted I have to say; it was a day for putting out fires, calming nerves and it was trying because to be honest by the end of the day I was done. Then, upon arriving home I found that poor Oli had been sick repeatedly in my apt. Excellent.... And to top off my day I've just discovered a pretty good sized lump on my right middle finger on the knuckle. I've been having a lot of problems with my hands the past couple of months and I'd just chalked it up to the cold weather and signing all the time just taking it's temporary toll. It's not lookin' good though. A sign language interpreter with possible arthritis in her hands... not an ideal situation to be sure. But, thank goodness we only have four more days until PI week and we're off. The rest will do me good. I'm thinking some hydro therapy in a hot tub somewhere may give me the reprieve I'm looking for. Sore fingers crossed....

And other than that, I just have a few pics of the prep for our Valentines Day festivities at school. I convinced Edna and Tania to help me turn regular popcorn into 'Pink Elephant Popcorn' the day before our party. We got together at my place and 'pinked' up more than 600 cups of popcorn. 1 lrg bag of popcorn: $15, Sugar etc: $40, the memory of doing something so ludicrous: priceless. Hee hee. Well, it was a bit of a gong show and left my house smelling putridly sweet and the kitchen filthy but it was worth it. The kids loved it and everyone had a great time at the dance. We even had a limbo competition at the end for the teachers. I had a bit of an edge because I'm the shortest teacher but I gotta tell ya, those 6 foot something boys that I work with surely did hold their own! In the end, the teacher I work with won the event. Too funny.

Boiling the sugar ~ sticky!

Careful not to cook it past the soft ball stage

That's a LOT of popcorn

And yes, that tub was bleached out and cleaned before the popcorn went in :o)

The kids loved the teachers limbo exhibition

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Temp: -24
Windchill: -35
Sunrise: 8:20 a.m.
Sunset: 4:56 p.m.
Sunny and beautiful!

Well, today was the first day in a VERY long time that I got out. The weather here has been cold and the wind not so friendly. We haven't gotten out much this year which is pretty unfortunate. But, today I did so I'm thrilled.

Todd and Chris had built a nice ice shack up at Todd and Jenesta's and today was finally moving day! I love the shack because it looks like a barn. So, it was mounted to runners and pulled by one truck while anchored to another. The move went off without a hitch and as I type this the boys have gone back out to the shack to fish. Very cool.

Just a pretty ring around the sun

Getting it hooked up

And onto the ice safe and sound

Almost home

And settled in place, town off in the distance just over the hood of the blue truck

Inside the shack checking out the beautiful ice

Cool shard of ice we saw on our way out to the point

And other than this wee bit of excitement, things have been chuggin' along up here. Feb has been busy so far planning for Valentines Day at school and now PI week is coming up at the end of the month. Tania and I are heading down to Winnipeg for a few days to partake in some shopping, get haircuts, go swimming, take in a movie and just enjoy the change of scenery. It's been so great having this to look forward to. I haven't spent a lot of time in Winnipeg before, mostly just waiting at the airport for connecting flights or tromping around Polo Park Mall if the layover is a bit longer. So, it will be neat to be a tourist in the city next week. Should be a lot of fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Temp: -28
Windchill: -46
Winds: 68 km/hr
Sunrise: 9:36 a.m.
Sunset: 3:36 p.m.

Well, today we are off due to a blizzard. It's not the worst blizzard I've seen up here but it surely is a nasty one. There's been a blizzard warning for the Baker area all week but until today we'd only been off Tuesday morning. It's funny how we all look so forward to having blizzard days up here; you'd think we didn't like our jobs or something but it's the exact opposite really. I love my job but living in the north you look forward to these days where mother nature unleashes her fury and you can stay home and just gaze at it from the comfort of your couch.

And I have to say it was a real treat to have Tuesday morning off as it afforded us the opportunity to watch President Obama's inauguration. How exciting was that?! It just leaves you with so much hope for the States and for Canada. Although, frankly, it also hits home how much charisma Canada's current leader does NOT have in comparison. Gee, is it any wonder he called his own election before the States?! Think perhaps he was worried about the ripple effect Obama's win would have on Canadians tired of our politicians and the lackluster leadership we have had for way too long?! Too funny.

But, other than that I have been spending my time working on an English Prose course I'm taking through Athabasca University. Well, I should say I've been procrastinating working on my course. Funny how things like scrubbing the tub, straightening closets, and organizing magazines seem like tasks that need immediate attention when one is supposed to focusing on something that actually has a timeline. Ahh well. As soon as I complete this post I will get right to it. :o) Thankfully there isn't too much quality television on during the day (or, honestly, in the evening for that matter) and after watching a bad movie called Bats: The Human Harvest, well lets just say it would be good to stimulate the ole noggin a bit.

Well, I'm hoping to get out this weekend and take some pictures of the drifts around town; I'm sure there will be some really good ones. Hopefully I'll have some cool ones to post in the next few days.