Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Moon and Venus at Sunset

Just a second picture of the sunset.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Women of the Sky, chatting

Well, everyone else posted one... so I thought "me too, me too"
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Milestone Blog

I forgot to mention that I hit the 25,000 hit mark... granted that I'm guilty of probably at least 30-40 % of those hits and granted that I installed the hit counter originally on my old blog somewhat after I started the blog - so the number is kind of meaningless in some ways .... still.. its makes for a cool milestone. So - "so long and thanks for all the" hits.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The World Spins On

This is one of my "blizzard" pictures. I just liked it, even though I don't know why it came out the way it did. The weather actually hasn't been bad... or its the same and I've simply gotten used to it. I'm noticing the cold less and less.

I am guilty of reading the newspaper again... and yes... the stupid comments that people make on it and as usual... it has merely left me feeling that there isn't so much hope for our species as I hoped there would be. But I'm sure that there are lots of good people out there with more dignity than to make ignorant comments on news items that seem to serve no other purpose but to give the writer a chance to say something inflamatory anonymously... I do have to give Ignatieff credit for insisting on reading and discussing the budget before giving his opinion... imagine that - a politician thinking before doing something. Even if they already have their minds made up, they at least have the sense to pretend to make an informed decision... the other two parties are guilty of being blatently and shamelessly irresponsible. If they want to vote down the budget, they should have at least pretended to consider its contents first... better still- they could have actually considered the contents first. But most of the comments have next to nothing to do with the article. Its just a convient place to bash the opponents to their favoured political party. Sigh.

I played Badminton for the first time in nearly 20 years on Sunday and was surprised in two ways... First, it turns out that some part of my brain still remembers how to play - so as long as I don't think, I seem to do okay. Second.. its 3 days later and I still ache... who knew that something as tame looking as badminton would be such intense exercise...

I may be somewhat more sparse in my posting in the next few weeks/months as I'm going to have to save up all my inclination to write and funnel it into finishing my thesis. I'm so close to done and my choices are write it now and enjoy a summer of visiting people from coast to coast or... spend my summer tethered to my computer, inside and miserable. Then again.. it might just drive me to post more... I guess we'll see... wish me luck though.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Trillium Socks

After being very excited about all the new knitty projects... I decided to do one that I've had in my head for nearly a year. It is also important that I get my two-handed knitting down pat so that I can start my sweater kit that I've had nearly a year.... So far I'm very happy with them... I'll keep you posted so to speak on their progress...

The pattern is from Sock Hop, by Joseph Madl. Its based on the trillium sweater pattern that was designed by Philospher's Wool.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ikea Okay

The first time I saw this material in their online catalouge I knew I needed to have it for curtains. Its is as bright and cheerful as you could hope for - but its even cooler with the sun shining through it.
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B's Building in a Blizzard

I warned you that these pictures were going to be a little bit bland.... :D
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Get my drift

This is our garbage box... fortunately we normally use the one closer to the road that we share with our neighbours. I love the way that the snow makes such interesting drifts.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009


One of the few things I miss in the north is trees... one of the somewhat little known facts about me is that I complete 4/5 of a degree in forest engineering before switching to civil, so I could fit all the civil electives I wanted to take into my schedule. I guess it is just as well, my knowledge of forestry is largely useless up here, but my knowledge of municipal infrastructure and construction actually fits quite nicely into our science curriculum here. Still, I do love forests - and trees - in all seasons. This is a particularly special tree. Anyone who spent any serious time at this place would recognize this birch, most with fondness. There is a folk tale that this birch has magic invisible bungy cords that it sets in the hearts of anyone who spends much time near it... they may leave this place for a while, but the bungy cords will always pull them back. I have to admit to being one of the trees victems, although its more of a comforting tug..... its hard to begrudge a longing for such a beautiful place.

Fortunately for me, in my new home, my second favourite ecosystem, after the boreal and maple beech forests is.... the bog. So, I'm not feeling too deprived. It is certainly beautiful here, but I may have to have people send me videos of walking through the forest in the fall every few years with an envelop of aspen leaves just for effect and I really hope I manage to visit this tree at least for a bit of an afternoon or maybe Friday night campfire.

We've finally been hit full force by the blizzard. Visibility is definately below 0.2 km, but the weather station isn't updating environment Canada, so I can't give any accurate information save that the outdoor temperature is currently -27.6 C. I'll try and take some pictures, but I fear that they will rather bland. I think there will be some neat snow drifts once the sun comes out on the weekend.

On one final note, thank you to everyone who gave me your vote of confidence for best New Nunavut Blog. I am pleased to announce that I came in second in my Catagory. Congratulations to the winner, Cindy, Matt and their Furry Friends. Congratulations also to TownieBastard for winning in the Best Post Catagory. The Best Blog contest ended in a tie resulting in a run-off vote between TownieBastard and Port Town Ghosts.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well... I suppose I could post just one more picture

This really is my last post before the Voting for the Nunies 2008 is over.... Its just so bright and summery and even though the "Blizzard of Dire Warnings" is late in arriving, the warning has if anything become more dire than before and contains an unusual amount of information about the meteorological conditions they believe will cause a multiday blizzard - I guess I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I should be glad that my mail snuck into the north before the conditions made it impossible to land....

As a final aside, to this aside, Kara mentioned that there is somewhere in the Yukon where you can buy Fireweed Honey... doesn't that sound amazingly good.
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I'm Not Fuzzy, Really!

Ah.... I just finished writing a post. It was a good post - I even read it over and editted it... and then it disappeared into the neverworld of nowhereness when I pressed publish post. It was mostly a lot of rambling about my sleeping bag upgrade - so I guess you are all saved because I don't have time to rewrite it.

This is my last post before the virtual polls for the Nunies close in 2 hours. Vote for the blog you truely believe is best!

In the meantime.. Enjoy the arctic plant above. I don't know what it is.... but it was one of the first pictures I took when I arrived in August.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Winds of Change

I felt the dire weather warning of "Persistent Blizzard" required me to post up something bright and happy and cheery. So take this picture of summer - ye olde nasty blizzard! Actually, I'm still hoping to experience a full-fledged-visibility-reduced-to-zero kind of blizzard and with the recent snow fall, we finally have something for the winds to pick up and blow around up here.

When I first arrived here I was charmed by the abundance of Fireweed literally painting swaths of town in warm shades of purple. Today I was charmed by weather so balmy I nearly could have walked to the store without my coat - well, I certainly did not need a full fledged parka at any rate. This will change quickly as the snows set in an the winds pick up - assuming that they don't chance their minds and do something entirely contrary to weather predictions. But, its nearly a given that that it will get cold again. The mean temperatures for Jan., Feb., and March are all just slightly below -30 C - but it quickly warms up to more pleasant winter temperatures come April and by May its nice.... I've heard so many things about how amazing the spring is here. I do remember April in Repulse Bay and I do remember being amazed by the 2 am sunrises and 11:30 pm sunsets.

So much living to do and not enough hours in the day to live it all at once.... so for now I will go back to enjoying my rare and costly treat of a can of diet coke and just enjoy all the looking forward there is to do.

Final Hours to Vote for the Nunies

The Nunies are coming to a close, with polls shutting down tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 20th, 2008 near midnight - Eastern Standard time.)

There are 3 polls - Best Blog, Best New Blog, and Best Post 2008. You can vote for them at Nunavut Blogs or at The House and Other Arctic Musings.

The Bog Blog of the Tundra has been nominated for Best New Blog. But I think that all of the nominees, especially some of the posts, are worth investigating.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Scope of my Horo

Almost anything you could wish for is available now, apart, perhaps, from the opportunity to do what you think you most want to do. Don't be fed up when so much else of a positive nature is offered.

What I most want to do is go outside and play and take pictures... definitely not in the cards today... but maybe there is hope for the things that I don't want to do getting done soon. I guess the upshot is that even if I've been working all weekend, I really have little call to complain. I have an amazing job and I live in an amazing community and really after I get all this stuff done and squared away - it'll be smooth sailing. I just need to get over this hill.

I don't know how the guy at the paper manages to create such creepily accurate horoscopes. Maybe there is something to this science of interpreting the stars...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Winter Wings

I was randomly visiting some old pictures and I found this [chickadee] Red Breasted Nut Hatch from Erb Settlement.......

Update: I have to admit my embarrassment to have mislabeled this bird. While my repertoire of birds that I can recognize is somewhat limited, both chickadee and red breasted nuthatch are included in it. I didn't really look too closely at the bird, I sort of recalled (from 2005) watching a chickadee, however, we visited the camp often enough that year that the chickadee must be another time and picture...

Thank you for the correction Clare.
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Meanderings of the Mind while Marking
I just wanted to post up this link for anyone who'd like to learn how to knit Muskox Slippers

I've got the tunes going to keep me running in overdrive and I'm finding myself in a total Sarah McLaughlin mood tonight. I have a very small and odd selection of music here - a bunch of Bare Naked Ladies and Arrogant Worms mixed with various old mix CD's, 2 new exercise mixes and the 2nd Volume of the Due South Soundtrack.... Nothing like going from Carrot Juice is Murder (Arrogant Worms) to Nothing Else Matters (Metallica) to a dance mix of Clocks(Coldplay) to Ice Cream (Sarah McLaughlin). The Sarah McLaughlin songs make me think wistfully of my new guitar which I've only had time to take out twice. I just have too many neglected hobbies.... like the watercolours that I haven't even taken out once since I've gotten here. I stumbled across the above picture the other day and doesn't it just beg to be painted in water colours? (Sunday Creek - August 2006 - Algonquin Park)

I am camping in Algonquin this summer. I don't care how busy I am.... it'll be over two years since I've camped there (the last time I spent overnight in Algonquin was in April 2007 - we camped at Grand Lake (Archay Campground) - but I think I need to do some serious hiking - well I guess I could give up Algonquin in exchange for a 5 day trip through the Cloche Mountains, although chances are that its too late to book any interior sites and too early for me to know when I'm free.... ah well, one bridge at a time.... and its clear that if I spent less time rambling along on my blog I might have more time to paint, knit and play guitar... but alas... I enjoy blogging too....

Well, we're onto Finger 11 I think..... or Daughtry maybe... and I hear a faint clamour from that desk over there - "mark me, mark me, mark me..."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tagged - 6th Pic Meme

I was tagged by Kennie of Tales of the Arctic along with 5 others. I was to take the 6th picture in the 6th file folder in whatever folder my photos were in.

Of course, the way my photos are organized... I seem to only have 4 folders in a lot of directories. So I went to Picasa where I deal with all my photos put them in order by name and took the 6th picture from the sixth folder.

Here is a picture of me taken on Halloween in 2004 by my roomate. I was a half-elven Ranger, for all of you D and D folk out there.... Wait a second... that looks shockingly like the costume that I wore for Halloween this year, and last year and the year before that.... Actually, I've been a half-Elven Ranger for the last 8 Halloweens, in 2000 I was a backpacker, and I worked the 4 proceeding Halloweens as Student Security or a First Responder and my first year at Lakehead I went as genetically defective smurf because I'd had a midterm lab exam on Halloween and they were nearly out of blue face paint when I got back to my residence. I wonder what I did with my smurf hat......

The Cloak I'm wearing in the picture is kind of special. I bought it on a spontaneous road trip to an SCA event in Maine. I had been thinking about going, but not really planning on it when I discovered a paper I really wanted to read for a project I was working on at work was in the Orono Library of the University of Maine.... so, armed with that excuse I convinced my boss to let me have Friday afternoon off if I'd work Sunday afternoon in Maine.... and so at lunch I raced home, threw a random assortment of camping gear into the trunk of the dragonfly - a much beloved and long deceased 1993 Grand Am in Teal and I was off. I stopped in Houlten to buy food (easier than trying to get fruit or meat over the border) and drove south on the I-95 past Mount Katadyn (everyone should go visit there if they love amazing, beautiful, rustic, challenging hiking), past Orono, past Augusta in a rain storm so intense that I couldn't see enough past the end of my car to pull over and stop for fear that someone would hit me from behind, and to a campground located somewhere in hilly, green country that is nearly as breath-taking as Mount Katadyn. I was immediately directed to the part of the campground where the Fredericton people had set up and immediately people just made me feel included. I didn't know anyone before I got there and I never had much chance to take part in the SCA once I got back... but I had an amazing time. I met a zillion people eager to show off their Armour or their hand sewn costumes or their latest bit of craftwork. I watched archery, I learned some calligraphy and some sewing skills. I spent a weekend camping in a skirt and a blouse. At night, a new friend and I wandered from camp fire to camp fire (or from kingdom to kingdom) and listened to folk play instruments both historical and more recent, sometimes singing, sometimes just learning about where people were from or hearing stories about other events. Extremely cool... Perhaps one day I'll make it to Penstock.

And that ends the tale of the 6th picture in the 6th folder... here are the official instructions to be modified as needed depending on how you house your pictures.

Here are the 'rules'

1. Go to your documents. (or if you are a mac user, go to your pictures folder)
2. Go to your 6th folder.
3. Go to your 6th picture.
4. Blog about it.
5. Tag 6 others to do the same.

I shall tag Shelley of the Big Move, Treena of Treena's Travels, Lizard of Lizard Knits, Geoff of Araska, Colin of Grog, and Gabriel of What a Life?.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Phase two of the Nunavut Blog Awards

The first phase of the Nunavut Blog Awards aka "The Nunies" is complete and the nominations have been tallied and the 5 blogs in each of the "Best Blog" and "Best New Blog" Catagories have been posted. There are also 8 author-nominated posts that are competing for "Best Post of 2008". If you are interested in discovering some of the best of what the Nunavut Blogging commuity has to offer... here is the link to the contest. The last day for voting is January 20th, 2009 at 11:59.

I had intended to write a longer post, but my 20 minutes of Yoga was dominated by relaxation, namely one of my poses twistings itself into a comfy curl up on the floor post and wisely, I decided it was best to pack it up and actually sleep in my own comfortable bed rather than wake up in the middle of the night half frozen and sneezing from the carpet.

So good night, with one eye too sleepy to stay open and the other one struggling to pretend its not.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blizzard Day 2

Well, I managed to catch the winds in a bit of a lull. Sadly, I don't think I'll ever know what the winds were last night, but at least our weather site is back up again. I can just make out the snow fence from the kitchen window or the shadow of it.

I woke up feeling kind of off. Not quite sick, but groggy, faintly congested and feeling as though I was running a bit of a fever. I seem to have shaken most of it off, but I thought a bit of something liquid would help in the off chance that I'm just dehydrated. I've just started running my new humidifier, but still I've found that I've really been dry since coming back. My milk gave up the ghost on Sunday - so I decided to crack out some of the powdered milk I ordered this summer and make a smoothie with that. (I do have enough sense not to drink powdered milk straight - but I thought all the other parts of the smoothie would overwhelm the processed overly sweet taste.... obviously... it has not. This is by far the grossest smoothie I've ever eaten - although B. says she puts spinach and flax seed and maybe fish oil in hers... so its not that gross... but I see most of my skim milk powder being donated to the school or the food bank. I'll keep a bit for emergencies. But real milk is not that expensive... not for the 1 L I drink a week and I'm sure there is someone out there who will bake it into something that isn't nearly so revolting. I think it is the sweetness that is grossing me out - I'm going to finish the smoothie since it does contain an entire precious banana and a cup of frozen fruit and lots of nutritious goodness that I'm sure my body will appreciate even if my mouth doesn't.

On the heels of my powdered-milk smoothie mishap, I had a jello disaster. I opted to use a dish that was shallow and just big enough and spilt half the jello on the floor. I hope I got most of it off the outside of the dish before putting it into the fridge as it'll be a pain to clean the fridge otherswise and I managed to pick the one box of jello I possess that isn't sugar free... sigh.

I was writing posts in my head last night and if I hadn't fallen asleep accidentally I might have even posted it then. It was the first time in a long time that I actually did yoga. I frequently do bits of yoga as part of other exercising, but its been a very long while since I did the kind of yoga where you think about relaxing and breathing and exact positioning. It was incredibly nice and while I did the best to clear my mind of thoughts outside the exercises themselves... I found myself reflecting on my relationship with yoga instead. My first encounter with yoga was through my drama teacher - who taught us (among other important lessons) how to do the salute to the sun cycle. I learned it in a classroom with at least 20 others. We frequently started drama classes with it... and I've probably used this skill more often than anything I've learned in Math or Science even. Its a good way to warm up when I get cold from sitting too long or stretch when I'm stiff. I often use it as a warm up before exercising in general since it stretches most of the important muscles... and likewise the other skills I learned from Mrs. LeRiche.... How to project my voice, how to perform in front of a crowd, how to apply make-up (stage anyway), how to organize other people (as a stage manager), how to communicate with others,.... especially as a teacher, but even in many of my other roles, I've used my drama skills every day. The math and science is important - I'm the last person to argue that they aren't - but honestly, in terms of useful life skills drama really has all my other subjects beat. The rest of the yoga I taught myself from a library book during my second year of university - thus I'm certain that I probably do half of the exercises wrong, but they feel correct, which is good enough for me. I guess I went to a handful of yoga classes through parks and rec and with my mom. So, my methods are completely out to lunch, just my repertoire is limited to the poses included in "Yoga:Mind and Body" so it'd be good one day to take a few weeks of classes to improve my skills, but in the meantime - I'm going to try and spend at least 20 minutes each day running through my set of exercises - its kind of an experiment to see how much I can improve and how quickly.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

On rages the blizzard

I spent a good bit of last night lying awake listening to the wind rattling against my house, gusting hard enough to jostle the coffee in my mug and push against the house hard enough that I could feel it. The visibility is not zero, but that house isn't even as far away as it looks (wide angle lens). I can't actually tell you what the windspeed is or the visibility as the internet feed from environment Canada for Baker Lake has been Down since last night. Although, it seems a bit calmer than before I went out to take pictures. I most certainly can't see the snow fence or beyond the nearest row of houses - so probably about 100-150 m of visibility. I tinted the photo above to match the tint on my goggles - to match what I was actually seeing. They do actually help a lot with the fogging up problem, so perhaps I'll start wearing them regularly.

I was talking to one of the teacher's spouses about knitting and discovered that despite the fact she was an avid knitter, she'd never heard of Ravelry - if you haven't heard of it either - its like facebook for knitters with Patterns and Yarns and groups of knitters with something common - a love of fairisle, a local yarn store (LYS), felting, location - you name.. there is a group for it.

I now have my heart set on some new patterns, whenever I find time to knit them. There is the fish hat, fargyles and amused sweater from the Winter 2008 edition of Knitty. Oh and there are others... not to mention my already queued Trillium Socks from Philosopher's Wool and my Kilim Sweater and my job and that bit of writing I need to finish if I want to have a summer vacation.

Happy Blizzard Day!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Murphy's Law

This morning's Toronto Star has an article on the origins of Murphy's Law, which I'll let people read if they wish, rather than summarizing it here. There is a geeky engineering piece of me that appreciates this saying almost as a cultural adage as apposed a saying "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong" as I've most often heard it stated. I myself am a fan of plan C and D, even when so often it seems that I end up doing something I never planned in the first place. The plans make me feel better.

There is a pretty strongly stated weather warning suggesting that it may be the type of blizzard I've yet to see. The wind is gusting audibly outside my window and our house shudders occasionally with the impact. I'd like to take a hike up to the snow fence - although that is a long (500 m) trek into the wind, so I might wait until this is all over - to see what exactly the snow is doing at the snow fence and what the drifts look like.

The photo was taken back in early September when the arctic was charming me will its coat of many bright autumn colours. The ring of tents belong to this years geology themed Science Camp.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sunspot Cluster 1010

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I saw the Northern Lights for the first time in a long time on my way over to Becky's to watch Due South. With the perigree moon glowing in the sky, it wasn't the brigthest or showiest, but it arced clear across the sky and might have had a hint of colour in it. I, of course, did not have my camera and since I was only going 100 m - I also was not dressed for standing around, setting up a tripod and patiently setting up for long exposures.... even if I'd had my equipment and I was certainly too late to go back and both dress for the weather and grab my camera and set up the tripod... so... I admired them... chided myself for not checking the spaceweather lately and bounded on to my destination - where I sucessfully turned the heel of my second sock.. I'm really hoping for new socks by bedtime today.

So, I usually check the space weather and the regular weather frequenty.. at least daily for for some reason (end of term and lack of recent interesting changes) I haven't checked them much the last few days... and what do you know.. a new sunspot group (1010 - the first of the new year - sunspot number 14) see the NOAA, NASA picture that I scooped from spaceweather above and one of the most intense blizzard warnings we've had yet since the last time I'd looked. Thepredicted peak number of sunspots has been recently lowered and the timing of the peak pushed back, based on the slower than expected start to Solar Cycle 24 (at least according to NASA's Dr. Hathaway.) However, there is still hope for a light show sooner or later...

Asleep for the season

This concrete mixer is snuggled under a blanket of snow (well assuming that the rising winds haven't scoured it bare since I took this picture yesterday at lunch.) There is a threat of a multi-day blizzard starting tomorrow. We sound as though there is a good bit of wind already and there is a big high pressure ridge to the north and a low pressure system over Hudson's Bay - and air moves from places of high pressure to those of low and the bigger the difference the harder they blow.....

Anywho, I'm sure its gotten to the point where it is too cold to pour normal concrete with normal equipment and so likely there won't be any footings or floors poured in the near future....

Our gift of unseasonably comfortable weather has passed and we are back to -31 C. I did get a few good suggestions for fighting the fog from southerners. I do actually have contacts, but I try to only use them when necessary because every time I put them in an image of the eye-disease poster in my optometrists of flashes through my mind. I like being able to see and would feel it wise to take as few risks as possible. To the long term northern folk - is there any danger of wearing contacts in rediculously cold weather? Can they freeze to my eyes or otherwise cause harm?? I used to wear them when I worked student security at Lakehead in February and I don't recall that I ever had problems and certainly I worked in weather as cold as it is here now, not often, but not all that rarely either. But if anyone knows some reason that I should be wary of wearing them outside in the cold, please let me know.

Anywho... I was hoping for a nice sunny day (as originally forcast) to collect up some pictures, but it seems that it is neither sunny or warm and it is unlikely that it will improve tomorrow from the sounds of the forcast - however - I will see what I can do. Else... the middle of a blizzard might be a nice time to showcase some of my favourite garden photos.


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Friday, January 09, 2009

Shingled Iglu

Here is one of the more unusual landmarks in Baker Lake. A geodesic dome painted to look like an iglu. I believe it is used as a church or a meeting place for a youth group, however, I've never seen any sign of people entering it or leaving it. Nor have I ever seen any lights on or anything. So, I'm not sure how often it is actually used.

I once worked at a camp, Twin Valley's, that had originally been a 1970's drug rehab centre for well-to-do kids. Many of the buildings were geodesic domes including the room we used as a gym/theatre. My best friend and I taught kids to juggle there and when the balls dropped there was a loud echoing thud. The kids didn't mind - gosh knows I was dropping the balls as often as they were having only learned the weekend before..... its still something I find a good exercise for focusing.
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Summer Moss Socks

This is the sock that I knit on the plane from Pearson to Baker - its about 12 hours of work give or take. I've got the cuff of the second sock started and I'm aiming to turn the heel tonight and hopefully get past the part where you pick up stitches tonight.... maybe finished it sometime next weekend.
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Midday Sun

I took this shot on the way home from the Iglu Inn. A bunch of us there went there for lunch to try out their new dining room and menu. On the way back it was the 2nd or 3rd time I'd been outside during daylight hours (I know... still a bit of a wait for that at all in some necks of the woods.) So I thought I'd take a few quick pictures. This is the sun at about 12:30 pm just above the Arena.
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

An Old Fashioned Ice-Box

Our food arrived in this coffin sized box and two smaller ones. If you could see the other side of the wall facing us, you'd see what looks almost like sagging cloth made of snow. Sometimes it makes me think of a bus shelter or a guard house... mostly I wish I could think of something useful to do with all that would because I'd hate for it to go to waste.

Its actually been nearly warm for January. Only -13 C, and almost no wind besides... My new work around for the fact that I'm sick of never being able to see when I'm outside is, weather and wind permitting, to pull back my hood and unfog my glasses 100 m from wherever I'm headed, so at least for a brief stretch of time I can actually enjoy the winter scenery. I have an opportunity to take part in a guided overnight trip on the land near Arviat. I'm torn between taking advantage of a chance to do something new and really experience the north and a fear that I'll be spending 2 days miserably numb, blind and being jounced around in the back of a kamotik. I think I'd be cool with the jouncing and cold if I could have any hope of seeing - but its hard when you can't see too... I guess when we were visiting Repulse Bay (granted it was April) we spent quite a few days out on the ice and on the land (well, part days anyways) and I don't recall it being unpleasant and I don't recall getting frost bite and we actually nearly got caught out in a blizzard although I don't think we thought of it in that terms... the wind picked up enough snow that town was getting hard to see from the spot we were exploring so we figured on it being time to head back.... and I checked the weather records for that month - it was plenty cold. I've actually done plenty of hiking in -35 (prewindchill) weather in Thunder Bay and Fundy Park. I remember 2 years in a row our winter snowshoe trip fell on the bitterest weekend of the year and I enjoyed the trip without a parka or any fancy gear save a decent pair of wind pants and fleece expedition weight long johns. Okay.. I think I've talked myself back into it now... I'm sure it'll be awesome - but its hard not to be nervous... especially after reading the climate data.... anywho.. sleepyness has won - so I'll have to decide later.
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Nunies - Nunavut Blog Awards

After I made the decision to come to the north, I turned to the web to scavenge as much information about my new home as possible. At first, I had little luck, until I stumbled inadvertently across Treena's Travels, a fellow blogger from Baker Lake. From her blog, I came across the Nunavut blog list and thus came to discover a whole world of northern bloggers and a wealth of information about moving up here, including lots of advice for the wonderful folks of this community. I subsequently reincarnated my original blog as The Blog Bog of the Tundra shortly before I had the honour of being added to the Nunavut Blog List last June to fit this new stage of my life.

This January is the second annual Nunies - the awards organized by Clare of the "The House and Other Arctic Musings". I've pasted the details from the Nunavut blog site below...

Its time for... the Nunies!

Its that time of year again, award show time. Nominations are now open for the biggest and best blogging awards in Nunavut (well, okay the only one) - The Nunies. Once again there will be three categories which are:

1) Best Blog
2) Best New Blog
3) Best Blog Post

Nominations for Best Blog and Best New Blog can be made by anyone. You can nominate up to five blogs in both categories. Nominations can be sent by email to nunavutblogs AT yahoo DOT ca and must be received by midnight January 12, 2009.

Blogs nominated must be by current or former Nunavumiut, and/or primarily about Nunavut. Blogs nominated for Best New Blog must have started blogging in the 2008 calender year. The House and other Arctic Musings is not eligible for nominations.

Nominations for Best Blog Post can also be sent by email to nunavutblogs AT yahoo DOT ca, however posts must be nominated by the blog that made the post. Post must have been made in the 2008 calender year. Only one post can be nominated so chose one that you feel best reflects your writing, your blog, or you.

After January 12th the top five nominees for Best Blog and Best New Blog and all of the nominees for Best Post will be announced. Shortly after that voting will be opened.

So, get your nominations in, and help spread the word. Not everyone reads The House or Nunavut Blogs (I know, I can't figure it out either) so the more people that know the better the Nunavut blogosphere will be represented. Prizes this year are a nifty badge to post on your site, bragging rights for a whole year, and a knitted hat from Arctic Bay. If anyone wants to donate any other prizes let me know via email and I'll see that your kind donation gets acknowledged.

Good luck and I look forward to the next round.

So, for all of my non-Nunavut readers, I encourage you to check out as many blogs as you can and go ahead and make nominations. I have some on my links bar, but I'm long overdue to update that bar as there are a number of blogs I read that are not even there. There is a full list of blogs at Nunavut Blogs and
at Way way Up there is a list of blogs showing who has updated recently.

Good luck to everyone. I've really enjoyed being part of this blogging community and I'm very excited to find out who wins.



Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Preview... this was my favourite part of Science North
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Underneath a Whalesskin

This whale skelaton was carefully prepared and then reassembled in the stairwell of Science North in Sudbury. I have to say that it rivals the totem poles of the ROM for its impressiveness. When it was first recovered - the remaining flesh had to be removed and various parts required reconstructive repairs. The backbone is a metal pipe along which the spinal column is strung. A local arena was used to house the skelaton for part of its reconstruction.... I was awed and impressed with the information about the structure.... Yeah Science North. I still haven't seen the new Dynamic Earth display... hopefully this summer.
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Monday, January 05, 2009

The Joys of Christmas

Well, I'm slowing using up the footage I shot over the holidays and with exams and report cards and semester 2 looming - not to mention that going outside requires me to wander nearly blind sans glasses and peripheral vision until warmer weather comes. In the meantime, its all I can do to use the visual cues I have to walk in a mostly straight line on the roadway and not crash into anyone walking nearby. Crossings roads requires I do a spinning parka circle check - which I'm sure would look rediculous to anyone who had sufficient field of view to see enough of what I was doing clearly to realize that I'd done a nice little random 360 in order to ensure that no nearly as visually impaired folks are speeding my way on a skidoo with its roar masked by the sound of the wuthering howling wind. I guess better lame than skidooway kill. So, long and short, I can rarely see much outside and so I'm not so often able to notice the beauty around me - oh.. and its usually dark too.... but soon , soon we'll have more light and the odd day where it is safe to go without a tunnel-hood and then more current photos. Although, it is supposed to warm up to -16 C tomorrow, which I think is balmy for a Baker Lake January.

Enough about my parka induced blurry tunnel vision... here is a a friendly dosing nanuq (polar bear) gaurding the tree from toppling babies - along with baby, mom and the softest, squishiest dinosaur you've ever met. Actually if you look closely there is a second small polar bear bweside the elephant... and the shadow... justification for buying a flash for my camera - the shadow is actually my lens blocking the built in flash.

The story behind the giant stuffed polar bear - he is actually one of 3 bought on sale after christmas some years ago as a practical joke on my parents - but he's very popular with visiting toddlers and makes a nice cushion for sitting and reading in bed... although my dog generally believes that all stray stuffed toys are meant for her to destroy... she has the sense not to bother nanuq there... maybe because he is bigger than her and has dangerous looking pleather claws.
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Sunday, January 04, 2009

French River Visitor Centre

I almost never drive past the French River without stopping. In my younger days, there was little more here than some picnic tables, lats, garbage cans and a view of the river from the safe side of a chain link fence. The addition of the Skidoo Suspension Bridge makes it much nicer to walk out and get some shots of the river and now there is a huge visitors centre with historical displays and a standard Parks Ontario gift shop. One of the neatest thing about the center is that it was clearly designed to blend in with its rocky wooded suroundings - I wonder if the pier above is meant to look like a tree - and the engineer in me wonders about the amount and arrangement of rebar - but what can you do? The mirrored glass reflects the forest and the building hugs and mimics the shape of the rocky rise its built upon... and there are now flush toilets there in the summmer although this time of year everything is shut down.

This was the leg of the trip where it was dry, aside from flooded sections of road, but there were 100 km gusts of wind to pummel us. We tried to drive down the snug harbour road to get a view of the waves on Georgian Bay, but the best bet of a road was under a significant amount of water (more than I was willing to drive my car through by a great amount) and the other options led only to places where there were private cottages between us and any view and no view appearred worth risking trespassing as much of the lake was frozen and the waves we hoped to see were not in evidence. We probably should have tried for Kilbear Park - at least it is public and the road probably wider and better cared for - but it was getting on in the day and we had still a fair ways to go before reaching Sudbury.

Still, I was glad to stop here as it was one of the first places I drove my car on the way up to a weekend camping in Killarny. You'll have to scroll to the bottom of the link for my Killarny pictures. I was last here for my Superior Alone Tour - aka my solo roadtrip to Thunder Bay and Back. That was in the fall and so it looked quite different.

Okay... I've got tasks to tackle - and I don't know when I'll next have time to take pictures here... so I'd best save a few.
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The Gingerbread House of Doom

This is a family tradition - baking a gingerbread and then coating it rediculously in candy. This year Erin and Geoff (I'm not sure if it was one or both) baked the house and I provided the candy and I believe Ali did the lion share of saving us all from eating it - although certainly I helped. It is a fun tradition with everyone getting together. No one fusses too much about beauty... although there is a bit of thinking that goes into what we are creating even if no one who wasn't part of the discussion would guess at the identity of the koi pond or the dinosaur grazing area.....
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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sunrise in Calm Air Tailfeathers

Well... it would have looked cooler if I didn't have the white balance off - this was the best I could fix it... better checking my settings next time.
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Thompson Airport in weird colours

I forgot to put the white balance on my camera back to auto after Gabe was fiddling with it at the Butterfly Garden in Sudbury. Thus, all my outdoor photos since then have come out terribly blue and it is beyond Picasa's ability to fix it - although I could try with my ancient but still effective photostudio software... but I thought this was actually cooler than the original picture... so here it is... Thompson Airport. What you didn't know about it - if you'd never been there - they have a Robin's Donuts there.......
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Yum Yum at the Buffet

Brian enjoyed his first trip for Chinese Buffet dining on cereal, milk and sweet potatoes. I enjoyed a significantly less healthy selection of sweet and sour spare ribs, egg roll, spring roll, noodles, rice, vegetables, lemon chicken, salad and a selection of desserts including a very nice taste of apple pie. I'm back to eating my usual fly-in diet of eggs, milk, frozen vegetables and canned soup. The Northern was looking painfully bare. There was no yogurt, milk or bread and the produce section boasted 3 sad containers of mushrooms, a selection of tiny abused looking green peppers, zuchini which were relatively large, but still sort of abused looking, a bunch of turnips and 2 baskets of onions, some prepackaged greens, some parsnips and a number of bags of carrots, apples of 2 or 3 types, 2 grapefruit, two unknown grapefruit like objects, a number of oranges and some nice pears and a large number of smallish, greenish bananas. There were a few packages of specialty things and possibly some cabbages and likely some other things that I would have overlooked as they were items I don't usually buy. Normally though, I wouldn't be able to recite the entire contents of the produce section. Usually - the selection is not too bad - there might be one or two things that you'd wish for and there is rarely anything that exotic, but it looks as though everyone came back from wherever and stripped the store of the basics. I was lucky enough to get the only 2 L container of milk on the shelf yesterday - so I'm good to go for now and I have a lifetime supply of canned soup and now I have a reason to bake some bread.... mmm bread... and although the shelves were bare - the store was not and I was glad to run into all sorts of people that I haven't seen since I left including no less than 7 students. Its one of the nice things about a small town - you actually recognize people whenever you go somewhere.

The trip back was pretty good. My luggage came with me and that was extra wonderful and I even managed to knit a whole sock and a bit of another. I'm wearing my finished prism socks as I type. My guitar made it in one piece and is happily tuned. I'm still dubious as to whether I think it is a decent guitar - I think I have to admit that aside from not being broken (and thus tunable) - it is not the equal of my old Acoustic although I found my dinosaur print stickers and put one on the front and attached my dubiously rainbow strap. Well, its definately rainbow, but I chose it when I was young and ignorant that rainbow guitar straps might have any other possible meaning than to announce that I'm fond of bright primary and secondary colours - well it looks more like the old one, and hopefully it'll grow on me, but in the mean time it is nice to play around with an acoustic. I've hardly played since my old one broke (the one I bought with my first real paycheck when I was 18 - so I guess I got a good number of years of dragging it back and forth on busses and using it at camp (i.e. evilly damp place likely responsible for the ungluing of the bridge). I'm surprised at what I do remember. I was never particularly talented - pretty much limited to playing camp songs, but I was still able to remember how to play the melody and a decent number of chords - so hopefully with a bit of practice I'll be back to where I was when I left off and maybe start working on getting better. In the meantime, there isn't much more relaxing than leaning on a comfy guitar and playing random strings of chords... well at least for me.
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