Monday, September 21, 2009

Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up Yours.” – Robert Byrne




September 21st, 2009 at approximately 10:30am.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mentally prepared, I think not….

I’m usually a cool headed cucumber, I don’t worry or fret the small stuff or stress out at the littlest sign of defeat.  I take everything in stride…but there is one thing I wish I could control… SNOW.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love snow and a good snow storm. However…….

Last night, Hughie and I walked home from an evening of workout (boy am I stiff this morning, first official work out since returning from vacation is rough).  When we walked outside the detachment we were greeted by white cold little flakes falling from the sky.  Now, I don’t know why this surprised me, as we had snow on  June 21st (First official day of Summer & Aboriginal day) and a few days of flurries since we returned, but this snow was different.  It was sticky snow – there was snow on my front and back steps this morning.  Now, the sun is warming things up nicely so the snow is melting away as quick as it came.  Although, if you look out my front window you will see a scary sight.  The snow is still on the “mountains” which means, WINTER!

Time to dust off the parka, and give my toques a wash I may need them sooner than I thought.

Monday, September 14, 2009

All Hands Hoay! Avast Ye…


(All Hands Hoay – Avast Ye means: All Hands on deck stop and pay attention)

The Maritimer finally  made it out to sea.  Yesterday, along with Lindsay & Corey (with the wee-ones) and their family from afar we took the boat out into the bay.  The weather was beautiful with just a little bite to the air. 

The salt air was breathtaking.  There is something medicinal about the smell of salt air..however when you are seeing nature at its best it is hard not to feel relaxed and honoured to be seeing what few others ever do.

We didn’t see any wildlife, unless you count the gulls that were milling about the coastline.  However, with the bowhead whale hunt going on and the boats making frequent trips between the hunting ground & the docks I’m sure the seals have learned to steer clear of the area.

One of the best part of the day was that I didn’t have to cook supper.  I came out of the bedroom to see Hughie pouring a can of soup into a pot.  What a husband I have.  The soup was delish and I added some ham & cheese sandwiches with fresh Yellowknife tomatoes & iceberg lettuce..Yum!

I’m looking forward to spending many more afternoons out on the water, however with the upcoming deep freeze that wish may be placed on hold for the next 8/9 months.





Sunday, September 13, 2009

Returning to Normal


Well, we’ve been back for 11 days now and things have finally settled down.  The dogs have returned to their normal schedule and are enjoying sitting out in the backyard in their dog run to relax in the cooler weather.  Before long they will be enjoying snow and subzero temperatures.  Side note:  There was ice in the water behind our house this morning and had some flurries mixed in with rain last week…winter is coming. 

Hughie and I have yet to start in on the workout routine but if all goes well Monday will be the day.  Drinking for 30 days is hard on the system!!  I’m definitely looking forward to spending lots of time on the elliptical over these next 7 months to make up for this past vacation.

With the barge order and vacation behind us, I am now preparing for the Christmas season.  I have started online Christmas shopping for the kidlets in my family as well as for Hughie.  What I will be getting the other people in my family and extended family is outside the realm of possibilities right now.  Kids are so easy to shop for. I am a firm believer of giving novels for Christmas presents – even if they are not at the reading age yet. A good book can last forever and when they do read the novel the story will never be forgotten.  

In all honesty I’m not even sure what I want for Christmas this year – I’m glad I still have a couple of months to figure it out! 

Hughie and I are already planning for our next IPA in April (or March…or May).  Considering how we plan our trips we need to take advantage of the next 7 months.  We are contemplating a all-inclusive trip to someplace warm and sunny where they have little umbrellas in frosty beverages.  If anyone has any ideas let me know, the only place that we are not considering is Cuba and/or Mexico – we know they are beautiful locations although they are not the locations for us as this time.   We are looking towards Barbados or Jamaica… so as you can tell we are a bit on the fence, so any help would definitely be appreciated. 

I am now the proud owner of a Kilt.  Considering I am a Celtic Folklore and Scottish History buff I’m surprised it took me this long to get one.  Hughie ordered me a kilt from (Sportkilt) the states before our vacation started and it arrived sometime while we were away.  I tried it on for the first time today and it fitted perfectly (I guess drinking for 30 days doesn’t make that much of a difference…well not a huge difference )….although I put it back in the box until our next vacation – no place to wear a kilt in Kugaaruk… … …. I suppose if I wore it with thermal long johns, but that isn’t the clothes statement I want to make… YIKES!

I have officially started the countdown:

103 days until CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hauling it in

On Friday we all awoke to a strange red beast in our bay, however on closer inspection it was realized that it was not a beast but a saviour . The Coast Guards had arrived.


The Terry Fox was in our bay bopping around the currents and having a hard trouble latching into our cold Arctic Bay flooring.  It was breathtaking to see a “real” ship in our bay and not just our little dory’s with our locals fishing Narwhale.  I know I’m a true Maritimer when I can stand and watch a silent ship for hours without thinking that I’m wasting my time.

Unfortunately for us, and a few other teachers etc our goods were on a bigger ship that only arrived on Sunday.  Hughie and I went down to the ‘dock’ on Sunday to find that during the night another Coast Guard ship had joined the Terry Fox.  Our stuff had arrived.  While sitting around the dock on Sunday admiring the boats and the Pay-loader Ballet we found out since there are very few personal items our sealift order was more likely shoved down in the hold. Meaning:  We won’t get it until Monday


We waited and waited on Monday jumping up (okay I was jumping) every time a Pay loader drove by the house, which wasn’t often because yesterday was Labour day.  So about 4:30/5:00 I decided to curl up on the chair and have another little catnap while Hughie killed time with the PS3.  I awoke to a rumble and a very excited Hughie – our box of goodies had arrived.

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Before and after shot:

IMG_5418   IMG_5435

We are well stocked in the “treats” category – Hughie has enough Willowcrisp & Macaroons to get thru a month of Blizzards.  I on the other hand, have enough cleaning goods to get me thru a month of blizzards so it is the perfect handoff. 

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So let the bay freeze up, I’m now prepared for winter! 

(The pictures don’t do our barge room/kitchen justice – for only two people and two dogs I’m sure we will have food left over when we move out of Kugaaruk this time next year…. yikes the food!!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

19 Landings


A month seems like a long time when you look back over your thoughts.   However, with a title called “19 Landings” you may be curious to know the meaning behind it, so I will start with that.

1. Kugaaruk to Taloyoak                    11.  Halifax to Toronto

2. Taloyoak to Gjoa Haven                12.  Toronto to Chicago

3. Gjoa Haven to Yellowknife          13.  Chicago to Cincinnati

4. Yellowknife to Edmonton            14.  Cincinnati to Chicago

5. Edmonton to Toronto                    15.  Chicago to Winnipeg

6. Toronto to Halifax                            16.  Winnipeg to Calgary

7. Halifax to Newark                            17.  Calgary to Yellowknife

8. Newark to Orlando                          18.  Yellowknife to Gjoa Haven

9.  Orlando to Newark                        19.  Gjoa Haven to Kugaaruk

10. Newark to Halifax

That my friends is the quickest overview of my vacation – as you can see we had a busy month flying all over North America but it was definitely worth it.  It looks like we won’t be taking another vacation until after the Olympics so we had to make this vacation as memorable as we could and I do believe we did just that!

As I don’t want to bore you with too many details of our vacation I’m going to take a page from my last vacation post (March 2009) and give you the “Top 20” memorable moments of August 2009.   I will apologize now if I forget something in this post, it isn’t my intention to forget an important event or a special moment.  Just remember this, just because I don’t blog about it doesn’t make it any less special or tarnish the memories that I have of that moment.  Now with that said, let the countdown begin!

20.  Leaving KUGAARUK – I wish I could give you a play-by- play of the month of July but the month just kept getting darker and darker as the days clicked by so when August 3rd arrived the sun peaked over the clouds and we were FREE!

19.  Starbucks – Caramel-Lite Frappucinos.. .. I drank oodles of them, hence the reason behind ordering the Lite versions…

18.  Beer – Bud-Light Limes were my best friend this vacation they were so smooth and easy drinking that I did my best to promote this new beer at every venue and sporting event that we attended. 

17.  Toronto – 1.  Getting my body waxed at Elizabeth Milan Day Spa at the Hilton and having my chin ripped apart from the waxing.. Ouch! but it did heal quickly.  2.  Toronto Blue Jays verses New York Yankees my first game at the Rogers Centre had a great evening with Hughie, Andrew and Murray.  Lots of Bud-light limes were consumed.  However, the Blue Jays did lose…. and that is all I will say on that subject.

16.  PEI – 1.  My parents had their big 25th Wedding Anniversary Party which was a blast – I was able to see all my family without having to visit them all individually.  It was fun answering all their questions about Kugaaruk and my life in the North.  2.  Hanging out with my siblings and Brookie & Dawson – they are growing up so quickly I can’t wait to get back East (fingers crossed for a years time) to see them grow up and to help feed them lots of sugary goodness!  3.  Cavendish has not changed in years – the only place that was missing is Rainbow Valley and really if you look across the street there is a version of Rainbow Valley just without all the trees.  4.  Cavendish Maples – our cottage that we rented while staying in Cavendish was beautiful and my only regret is that I only used the hot tub once….5.  Cows Ice Cream… Mmmmm I love Wowie Cowie and Cow Crunchy… Mmmm I’m very glad that we purchased two tins of Cows Hot Chocolate while we were in the Cows Creamery.. the warm smooth goodness of chocolate will taste excellent when it is –50 outside.

15.  Nova Scotia – 1.  Andrew & Laura’s wedding – it was a beautiful (warm) day with the sun shining down on the newly- weds.  Laura was stunning per usual in her wedding dress and Andrew looked very handsome in his tux.   Hughie was Andrew’s Best man so he looked very handsome as well.. (I told him the next time we get married he will be wearing a tux…very very handsome….).  The heat did little to dampen the spirits to the wedding guests!  (I would however be interested to find out how many beers were consumed) 2.  Visiting with the Fidler clan is always an adventure and a party rolled all into one.  We were able to see everyone at the wedding but sitting around the house chatting without the lag time of the usual phone conversation much much better. 3.  Pomquet Cottages – the one with the “sex shower” – Long story….but if Jen reads this blog she’ll understand as she in a slightly drunken state named our shower when we stayed in the exact same cottage almost two years ago for our “Honeymoon”.   The cottage was peaceful and beautiful as I remembered and look forward to spending future nights there.

14.  Walt DISNEY World – it is and continues to be as magical as people hope and dream it would be.  The grounds are lush and there seems not to be a bug in sight.  I did however see Alligators (not in Disney) but along the roadsides – and they are as big as you would imagine.

13.  The Polynesian Resort – picture lush greenery with piped in Polynesian music with the high August humidity and a Volcano pool with barefoot walk up bar (Pina Coladas and Orange Dream Frozen Drinks)…add in a white beach and the Wishes Fireworks that are held every evening above the Magic Kingdom and you basically get my version of heaven.   Our room was spacious and very clean and did remain clean every day of our stay.   The only negative to this resort was that they shower head was very low so even I had to stoop just a bit – however this resort is one of the original resorts on the Walt Disney property and we all know people were much shorter back then.

12.  The Magic Kingdom – I am not ashamed to admit that tears came to my eyes when I saw the Castle looming above me as I walked onto Main Street USA .  I was in shock and felt like I had to pinch myself to remember this is not a dream… Rides:  Thunder Mountain – Roller Coaster Thrill Ride – we did this ride twice, once at night and the other during the day.  I recommend doing both.  Splash Mountain – I learned all about Brier Rabbit a story I have not read and at the end got a good soaking.  Haunted Mansion – we did this during the day so it lacked a certain scare factor however I don’t believe there was suppose to be…I would definitely recommend this ride to all ages as the ghosts even have a cartoon image.  The Dumbo Ride – Just because it was a classic we had to ride it.  The Winnie The Pooh 100 Acres woods – I love Eeyore.  Pirates of the Caribbean – Another classic as well as the Jungle Cruise we both rode because of their history.  We came back to the Magic Kingdom 3 times during our stay and enjoyed WISHES (firework show) and their parade where all their floats are lit up with thousands upon thousands of little twinkle lights.  The Great Escape = STITCH – there is no way to explain this except feeling a warm onion burp and water being spitted in your face…it was awesome but the smell of the burp stuck with me for hours…

11.  Animal Kingdom – I’m not sure if I was heat exhausted or not but I didn’t like this park as much as the other three – I could have been because we were unable to ride their biggest attraction Everest because by the time we arrived at the ride the Fast pass option was at its limit for the day.  Although one bright spot was the ride called Dinosaur which was another Thrill Ride which allowed you to be strapped into a “Car” to be shot back into time to catch a specific dinosaur..AWESOME.  We did manage to ride the safari they have and it wasn’t as good as I expected- I’m sure when the parks are not quite as busy the safari would be longer than 5 minutes however I did get quite a few photo’s of animals living in their “natural” habitat.

10.  Hollywood Studios – TOWER OF TERROR was AWESOME and there isn’t a better word to describe it!  You walk up to this old hotel and learn the historical background and then you get into the elevator where you are transported onto the 13th floor and get a Twilight zone reception and then all of a sudden you are dropped 13th floor…a couple of floors at a time and then back up…and more floors..and back up…. and then the rest of the floors.. IT WAS Amazing.   Rocking Roller Coaster – Aerosmith – 0 –60 in 2.5 seconds or something crazy like that and you rush through the darkness doing loops and twists… I nearly lost my lunch that I ate hours before..this ride was Hughie’s favorite and while I did enjoy it I don’t think I could do it again…or maybe I would considering I now know what to expect.  The Muppets in 3D – Another Disney classic that had to be completed and it was fun.  Prince Caspian – I would recommend this ride/visit only if you have seen the movie otherwise I would not recommend this as it is a definite spoiler to the movie…I love this movie!

09.  Epcot – BEERS OF THE WORLD…Hughie and I managed only about 4 beers and that was enough to keep us going around all the world.  We didn’t do any of the rides here as we were visiting the World showcase.  We did get a chance to see Epcot’s fireworks and they were AMAZING.  The pyrotechnic guys are kickass.  I would be interested to finding out the amount of money that Disney pays on pyrotechnics per year…it must be astronomical. 

08.  Kennedy Space Centre – I’m sure whatever I write here would pale in comparison on what Hughie could write about this subject but I will give it a shot.  We had the full-monty when it came to this tour – we got an up close view of DISCOVERY the shuttle, that if you were watching the news lately finally made another successful journey to the International Space Station.  There is only 7 more shuttle missions left before they scrub that and move on to more of an economical “rocket” type model.  We were toured around the whole facility.  I also managed to catch very close view of a manatee that was swimming just outside the main viewing area of the launch pad.  It was an eye opening experience.  We also were allowed to have lunch with an astronaut and before we left Hughie was able to get a photo with him and his autograph.  (On a side note: while waiting in line to get a photo with the astronaut Hughie started chatting with the lady behind us, who turned out to be the Mother of the Mission Commander of Discovery…very cool and humbling)…. lol, like I said Hughie could do a better account of the day then I…

07.  Disney Dining Plan – Allowed for us to have two snacks, a quick service lunch and a sit down meal per day of our stay.  This was a special perk that the Resorts were putting on for their guests.  We took advantage of this special trying to use up as much of the plan that was allotted for us.  Mickey Bars (Vanilla ice cream in the shape of a Mickey Head covered in chocolate..yum) and Coffee were our two treats that we had per day…along with lots of water.  The quick service plan, we used a couple of times and most of the time the food was only sub-par I suppose that could be because of the amount of people they are serving so the food is all the same type (Burgers, nuggets, pizza etc).  The sit down meal was our favorite option:

Ohana’s – Polynesian Resort – was an all you can eat buffet – however the only difference is that they serve it to you – the food was fantastic but way to much for two people, they serve your Pineapple Coconut bread to start with a salad..they bring out wings and ribs as appetizers…then noodles with people walking around with meat on a stick for you to try…. Chicken, Pork, Shrimp and Steak….. and then after they force feed you as much as you can eat they come out with this to-die-for Pineapple dessert with ice cream and warmed pineapple/banana sauce… OMG!

ESPN Club – Disney Boardwalk – was your typical pub/sport bar type of food – the portions were huge! I can’t recall what we had but we both walked out of there stuffed

Sci-Fi Dining Theatre – Hollywood Studios – Picture it 1960/70’s drive in movie theatre and that is what you arrive at.  You sit in these little tables that are shaped like cars and you watch movie clips on the movie screen.  The food was typical nothing spectacular but the milkshakes were think and delish.. 

Kona Cafe – Polynesian Resort – we were unable to get into the Ohana’s Breakfast with Characters so we decided to try a breakfast anyways.  Hughie had the Tongo Toast and I the Macadamia Pineapple pancakes both are worthy to have again and I would highly recommend them…however if you don’t want to eat 4 pancakes I would ask for 2..or 3…. they were big pancakes.

Raglan Road – Downtown Disney – was by far one of the worst Irish bars/pubs we have ever been too.  The food was sub-par and the atmosphere was just bad…there is no other way to describe it.  If you are just looking for a beer or something simple I’m sure this would be the place for you – I just wasn’t satisfied with this table service and Hughie definitely agrees with me. 

San Angel – Mexican World Showcase Epcot – was the best overall for atmosphere you would almost believe you were sitting at the base of a volcano in Mexico enjoying authentic Mexican food and drinking margaritas….  I would highly recommend booking reservations as they were turning people away.  The only negative was that I found all the food looked the same, but it could have just been me. 

06.  Cincinnati – This city has some of the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen.  Old mixed with new. I loved just sitting around and listening to the local’s accents.  We stayed at the Hyatt and it wasn’t bad however the room we had, had a very shitty A/C unit…it was brutal

05.  Cincinnati Bengals, Reds & Creed w/Hoobastank – We didn’t just go on vacation to Cincinnati to see scenery we went with a full evening schedule.  We purchased tickets and t-shirts (to fit in) to the Bengals vs Rams pre-season game – neither one of us has ever seen a NFL game and now we can finally say we both have a team to cheer for – even when we know that the team sucked hard last year.  Cincinnati Reds vs Los Angeles Dodgers (Boooo MANNY) was a last minute decision, a very good decision we purchased upper bowl tickets and t-shirts (to fit in) to the game on Saturday afternoon…it was a great ball game and I had fun booing Manny and his need to get a hair cut.  Creed w/Hoobastank put an already worthy vacation up and over…. they kicked ass – Hughie and I found a new band we enjoyed  called “Like a Storm” they opened up for Hoobastank…I wish I could put into words how awesome the show was… okay maybe I can… It made suffering through the month of July worthwhile…

04.  Caribou Coffee – we had a secret agenda… we picked Cincinnati for a secret mission and that mission was “COFFEE” we love this brand of coffee – we fell in love with it while living in Manitoba – we were on our first trip to Minnesota while we happened upon Caribou Coffee in the Mall of America… We purchased 5lbs or so when we first moved up to Kugaaruk in October and we ran out in June.  So we had to restock – 8.5lbs later we have a full cupboard of Caribou Coffee to get us through the winter… OH, if anyone is travelling thru Minnesota or North Dakota in Jan/Feb let us know…we may need more by then. 

03.  Winnipeg – We hit Winnipeg running and I’m not kidding we did so much shopping in the 1.0 day that we were there I’m actually glad that we don’t have to shop for quite sometime.  We did the Wal-Mart-Canadian Tire-Costco run through picking up stuff we will need over the next 7 or so months.  I finally own a pair of skates again (scary to those who know me…lol) and Hughie has finally started in on the power tools – he purchased a Master craft Drill…that has a million components but that is for him to learn. 

02.  Chakotay & Sekaya – those who know Hughie and I, we love our dogs like people love their kids.  Being away from them for so long is hard on the heart – but knowing they are safe and cared for helps, but nothing can cure the little hole missing in my heart from being away for so long.  Seeing them after 30 days all happy with tails wagging…just makes life better.   Now they are hanging outside in their dog-pen and sleeping the afternoon away recovering from their vacation as well. .. although they did demand their presents pretty much as soon as we walked into the door.

01.  Being Home….. I know that sounds weird to some..but there is something to be said about walking into your comfort zone after being away for 30 days.  Organizing your new purchases and lighting candles…. the only negative is the mound of laundry that is waiting for you and the dust that accumulated over the 30 days.

My fingers are sore…yikes, I didn’t expect it to be so long winded.  I promise the next post won’t be anywhere as long.  Hope you enjoyed the shortened version of our August 2009 vacation.