Monday, July 27, 2009

Sarah MacLachlan Sucks

Well, I eluded to animal rights nuts in my last post and this article naturally got my blood boiling so I thought I'd have at it again. And yes, I realize this is old news but long-time readers and those who know me know that I take no prisoners on this issue. I really don't care how famous a person is or what organization they purport to represent. I recall back on Canada Day catching a short CBC interview with Sarah MacLachlan prior to her performing on Parliament Hill. MacLachlan sported a yellow t-shirt picturing the face of a baby seal. When the interviewer questioned her on it she responded by saying that she was wearing it to protest the seal hunt. According to her enlightened view, the hunt is cruel and barbaric and should be stopped.

Nice. So because some "famous person" says something shouldn't happen then that makes it so? Give me a break! What makes her think that she is anymore enlightened on the issue of the seal hunt than any of these other hippy protesters? So other than your feelings, Sarah, do you have any proof or facts to back up your stance? So you just demonstrated on tv that you have nothing of substance, that you appeal only to emotion. Hardly an original tactic. I'm very sorry to have to tell you this but in the natural world when something eats, something else has died. Pure and simple. And this includes plant life as well, not just animals.

As the interviewer pointed out just before asking her about her choice of t-shirt, MacLachlan hasn't put out an album in 6 years. I would respectfully suggest she focus on what she knows and avoid what she only thinks she knows about. Get back to me when you can formulate an argument that doesn't focus on a knee-jerk emotional reaction to a way of life important to Northerners.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Food Security

I intended to do a write-up on the issue of food security awhile ago. A newspaper article I read during my flight down from Iqaluit a little over a week ago caught my attention and I was reminded to finish up my intended post after a trip to a grocery store here in Brockville a couple days back. During the shopping trip I was floored by the amount of food choices in just one store. I quipped to Lisa that I could easily spend an hour in the bread section alone trying to decide what kind of bread I'd like for sandwiches. Humour aside, I have to admit to being a little overwhelmed by it all at first. And it wasn't just the selection that amazed me of course, but also the prices - substantially cheaper than the prices you'd find in small Nunavut communities. Long time readers of my blog (or anyone randomly searching through any of the Nunavut blogs on my sidebar) will no doubt find a mention of some of the crazy food prices there.

Here is the original article I read, referencing the Qanuippitali Inuit Health Survey - Half of Nunavut's Children Go Hungry.

As if to drive home the seriousness of the issue, I came across another article on this issue earlier this evening -
Seven in 10 Nunavut Families Go Hungry

For the sake of balance, people need to take responsibility for their actions. Lifestyle choices play an important role as this article illustrates. I'm not out to make policy or dictate how people should live their lives. In some ways I offer this post up as a rebuttal to the animal rights activists who put forth the facile argument that Inuit should just consume store-bought goods rather than harvest country foods. I know for myself that, even with sea lift orders and food mail, I'm finding it much easier (and less stressful on the wallet) to eat healthy now than I did just a couple weeks ago.

I wonder how many people entering a grocery store in an average southern urban centre realize just how good they have it when it comes to food availability.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Way Way Up...The Book?

Before Way Way Up, I kept a diary. I started it late in my rookie year of teaching to record my experiences and to help me reflect and cope during the rough days. And I was pretty consistent with it. I kept it for about 4 years and still managed to write in it occasionally after I started blogging. Gradually though, despite my best efforts, I found it easier to record my Nunavut experiences on my blog so my off-line diary petered out. So, in addition to my blog, I have plenty of little anecdotes down on paper from my pre-Nunavut days.

All this is to day that it was suggested to me some time ago, that I might consider one day turning my blog and diary notes into a book. So who knows? I wrote out a bunch of stuff long-hand awhile back and would gladly re-visit it if it wasn't packed up in a box somewhere between Nanisivik, Nunavut and Brockville, Ontario at the moment. I'm turning the idea over in my mind and haven't reached any firm decisions yet. But the idea of someday having a book appeals to me more and more. Who know? I suppose we'll see. I think I may have come up with a title already...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Final Flurry

My last day in Nunavut (this past Monday) was pretty crazy but I managed to get all my last running around done (you can relive my angst here and here if you wish)....and there was a lot to get done and yes a lot of running (at times literally). The workout went something like this - start one last load of laundry; go to Post Office at the Northern Store, little ticket maker thingy still broke so I can't mail the rest of my boxes...BUT it is being worked on; pick up mail...oh look the package from my new school board is here....yay! Oh bills came!; go to Housing Office to remind them of my checkout inspection that was supposed to be 2 hours earlier; am told they will be by "shortly"; go to Hamlet Office an close my water/sewage account; run home to wait for the Post Office to call to tell me I can get my stuff sent; open package from new board; freak out over all the paper work needing to be done; curse inability to get anything done; pace apartment; take a deep breath; finish up with laundry; go to RCMP for criminal record check for my new board....yay! something accomplished finally; go back to Hamlet Office to pay my last bill; go back to Housing office and simply sign a form to complete check out for my unit; reassured that a note will be sent to the Power Corp. to transfer power costs from myself back to Housing as of my check out date; run back home; Post Office calls; pray for a miracle; miracle answered; head down to Post Office to finish paying for the rest of my personal effects to be sent out; briefly consider setting it (my personal effects not the Post Office) alight considering all the grief its given me; exercise restraint; head home in a daze that I managed to get my stuff sent off and not have to re-schedule my flight out thereby condemning myself to a few more nights in an empty, foodless apartment.

...and for the record, I am pretty organized, even organized to a fault. Just trying to juggle so many balls and work with a bunch of different people simultaneously threw me for a loop at times and I sure much of my stress was self-imposed.

I recalled afterward that when I first moved to Nunavut from Saskatchewan I was in a similar situation, cutting it close and getting my stuff sent off and then hopping a small plane less than an hour later. Monday was deja-vu. So at least I'm consistent.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On My Way

If all goes according to plan, I should be flying out of Nanisivik this morning for the final time.* Interestingly, it is 6 years to the day when I made my first flight up to Nunavut. It's been quite the adventure and a life experience few get to have. There is much more I plan to say but I will leave that for now. At the moment, I look forward to spending time taking a well-needed break in Ontario.


*If not then we'll all find out in a few more days since I am writing this up head of time (Saturday) and I had to return my modem on Sunday.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

From The Archives

Rather than bore you with my current plight I thought I'd dig back into the vault and pull out a few pictures of the St. George Society Cliffs. These pictures were taken about three years ago I believe.

Impressive views from 600 feet up.

The craggy finger of land is Holy Cross Point which separates Arctic Bay the water (left) from Adams Sound, on the right.

This was about as close to the edge as I was willing to get.

Can you spot the skidoo?

Friday, July 17, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The title pretty much sums up events of the past couple days. I'm fast learning that moving out of Nunavut can be just as challenging as moving in to Nunavut. I've managed to get all of my boxes to the post office. I had to get them to the post office over the course of a couple days since the man who gave me a hand Monday had truck problems so I had to recruit a couple students to help me move the rest of my stuff on Wednesday. Monday's boxes were sent out with Wednesday's mail so I had a modicum of success. Things seemed to be moving along nicely. After that though, things started to go a little down hill. The little ticket machine at the post office decided to go kaput, meaning I've been unable to mail out my remaining boxes. Add to that that the Internet also decided to up and die a couple days ago so I've been unable to use my credit card to pay for the second round of boxes. Obviously, the Internet is now working, but the little ticket gadget at the post office was still kaput when I stopped by there this afternoon. So, I now have to wait until Monday and hope it's working. Add to this that my flight out is scheduled out for Tuesday and you can see the bind I find myself in.

If push comes to shove, I can always re-schedule my flight though I'll admit I'm getting quite anxious to get on my way. I can't keep re-scheduling my flight waiting for the problem at the post office to be fixed since I had scheduled my final check-out with Housing on Monday. (Not to mention I have to disconnect the phone, return my modem and close my water/sewage account at the Hamlet Office). The weather for Tuesday is looking a bit suspect at the moment so everything is quite up in the air. Sitting in an empty house the past couple days has been a bit trying but I'm managing. Did I mention I'm out of water too? Yikes! What is a fellow to do? I suppose I'm holding up pretty good, trying to be patient but I'd much rather be out of here as scheduled on Tuesday so I can start planning my move out West, which now seems as far off as ever. (I still have no idea when I'm expected to be there. My new employer sent me a package of information a couple weeks ago now, Priority Post, but of course being where I am, I haven't seen hide nor hair of it.)

I'm sure (I hope) I'll look back on this experience years from now and have a good chuckle and I'm doing my best not to let the events sour even further what has turned out to be a very trying and challenging year in many ways. In the end though, all I can really do is wait. There's a certain stoicism in my character I just have to reach deep down and grasp onto. In the end, I know things will work out. But man oh man what a ride!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Arctic Flora

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Relinquishing The Title

I'm not quite sure who came up with the moniker but for the past couple years Arctic Bay has oft been referred to as the "Blog Capital of Nunavut" among the Nunavut blogging community. With Kendra leaving for Yukon and yours truly soon to be heading to Chard/Janvier in Alberta, this now leaves Clare as the last Arctic Bay blogger standing.

And so, we reluctantly relinquish our title. Ah, but we were a pretty potent triumvirate. But alas, all good things must come to an end. It appears the new "Blog Capital of Nunavut" is now Cape Dorset as there are at least six bloggers there according to the side bare of Matthew and Michele's blog. Still, part of me misses the title. I briefly considered challenging a Cape Dorset blogger to an arm wrestling contest in order to reclaim the title, Jen perhaps. But Dorset is at least 1200km south of here and my arm (long and gangly as it is) just doesn't reach that far. Sigh, I'd probably lose anyway. Badly.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Worse Than A Little Old Lady!

Now that my packing is pretty much finished I can't help but roll my eyes and chuckle to myself at seeing just how much "stuff" I'll be sending off which I started this afternoon. I've decided (quite wisely as it's turned out) to spread my shipping out over a couple of days in order to lessen the credit card pain. And this is after I sold my television, living room carpet, assorted odds and ends and much of what was left from my August sea lift. After poking away at it for the past few days I've amassed 23 cardboard boxes (a great deal containing my library of books and roughly 1000 CD's), 19 plastic bins, 1 suitcase, 1 cardboard tube containing my wall hangings, my cross-country skis, one trumpet and one backpack. (I think someone really needs to explore the possibility of long-term storage.)

Now, as long as I remember to lift with my legs and not my back I should be just fine.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I find myself in a state of limbo at the moment...all packed up and nowhere to go. While the new position in Alberta comes with a housing unit I have yet to be assigned one. I was hoping to move my belongings from Nunavut directly to the new community rather than moving back to Ontario and then on Alberta. I emailed the HR at my new board asking when I might learn of my new mailing address and was told that housing is assigned by the school principal but the school is getting a new principal this coming school year and he has yet to arrive there. HR forwarded my email on to Housing who informed me that housing will be assigned once I get closer to my moving date. I'm just not sure how I'm supposed to nail down a moving date when I'm not sure where to send my stuff to. At least I've arranged for a man in town with a truck to help me move my stuff. He comes tomorrow. So I really hope I wake up tomorrow to see an email telling me the new address. At the moment, I've made up two sets of labels for my boxes - one with Lisa's address and the other for General Delivery to Janvier, Alberta. I'd rather not have to use the latter address yet until I know for sure where exactly I'm going. I've taught in Nunavut for 6 years. My reward for this is that I get no help from Qikiqtani School Operations and have to move myself.

I'm considering moving my belongings to Brockville as that would make it easier to move my effects and Lisa's from one location rather than two. I don't even know when my first work day is in Alberta other than it is sometime during the third week of August. So time is of the essence. I'm just leery of my belongings not arriving in Brockville in time before we have to head out from there as we plan to drive there to cut down on costs. That, plus we enjoy road trips.

I wouldn't describe myself as a control freak by any stretch of the imagination but the idea that I can't make firm plans because I have to rely on the actions (or inactions) of others, drives me around the bend at times. I recently saw a news item which mentioned that the Dominion Institute of Canada had given the province of Alberta a grade of "F" for the teaching of Canadian history. I would add geography to this as well as it appears that someone there has no concept of what is involved of moving out of a community in the High Arctic.

I'm sure everything will work out in the end. I am an optimist afterall. I just wish a few people would get the lead out so that I could get a move on and get out of this limbo-like situation with dancing unicorns and singing frogs in which I currently find myself.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Past Connections

I won't bore you with the minutiae of my day, which for the most part has been taken up with packing. I'll just say that while things started off slowly, it seems the pace has vastly sped up the past couple days. In my haste to pack I have yet to pack something up only to realize that I still need it (knock on wood). I discovered the other day that I had left my camera back in Ontario so I won't be taking any more photos up here. For the moment I'll just have to rely on older ones from my library.

So anyway...on to my thought du jour. As one who has traveled around the country quite a bit, my interest is always piqued when I run across people or things that remind me of other places I've visited in the past that I hold connections to. During my PEI trip at one of the lighthouses I saw, there was a little display about the history of the Northumberland Ferry Lines. I had seen a few signs with NFL on them but wasn't sure to what it referred (and, yes, I did at first confuse them with the National Football League, I'm embarrassed to admit.)

Among the nice visuals in one of the rooms was one which mentioned one of the ferry line's earliest ships. The "Waubic" was built in Collingwood, Ontario, where I was born. In the 1930's, the Waubic was damaged in a fire in Kingsville, Ontario, the place where I did a lot of my in-class practicums during teachers college. The "Waubic" served faithfully until the 1950's, when it was finally gutted by a second fire in Nova Scotia.

Northumberland is also the name of the county in Ontario I grew up in.

So a few interesting connections to places from my past. Perhaps not earth-shattering to most of my readers but I thought it was pretty neat.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Government Working Hard For You

One of my many tasks today, aside from packing like a maniac, was to pick up and then sort through the backlog of mail that had accumulated at the post office during my absence. Among the bills was a little gem from Nunavut Arctic College. (As I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts, one of the places I applied to during my big job hunt was to Nunavut Arctic College for adult education positions in various communities.) The letter from them (which they had sent via registered mail) informed me that I was screened out for an interview for one particular community which will remain nameless. No big deal now since I already have employment lined up. I can't help but wonder though if a simple e-mail would have sufficed. It would have saved the College, and by extension the Government of Nunavut, the $8.04 it cost them to mail the letter to me.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Grand Tour

I left Ottawa yesterday and after a great deal of flying I am now back in Nunavut. The airport out at Nanisivik is roughly 3100 km from Ottawa as the crow flies. Due to inclement weather though, I took the scenic route getting back, racking up a great deal of air mileage in the process. The journey went something like this - fly from Ottawa to Iqaluit, short layover and then on to Hall Beach for a "technical stop" as I was told; fly from Hall Beach to Nanisivik but the weather was too overcast and the winds were gusting in the neighbourhood of 80km/hour so on we fly to Resolute; spend the night in Resolute, wake up at 5 am; fly from Resolute to Nanisivik but again the weather is not conducive to a safe landing so on the plane flies -- all the way back to Iqaluit; wait in Iqaluit a couple hours then back on the plane en route to Nanisivik; again, no landing possible due to high winds so the flight diverts to Pond Inlet; wait in Pond Inlet about an hour; consider renting a boat of some sort to get back to Arctic Bay; finally, word comes that there is a break in the weather so off we go back to Nanisivik where we finally touch down. Whew! In total I flew about 7015 km in less than 36 hours.

Today is Nunavut Day, the day when Nunavummiut celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Nunavut Act in 1993. This year I guess I celebrated by embarking on a grand farewell tour of sorts!