Friday, November 29, 2013

Working in Nunavut, Part 2: Choosing Balance

A while back, I wrote about working in Nunavut for a blog community I subscribe to in my professional life. I was asked to write another post recently, but thought I would share it here as well, since the work posts seem to be popular searches when people are researching Nunavut.

Someone made a comment that it's a choice to be made whether you decide to find balance between your work life and your home life, and while that is true - it is nice to have the option. Sometimes when it feels like it is too competitive or the norm to work extra hours, the choice isn't really yours to make. I'm thankful for the ability to choose to be balanced as I feel it has made me much more productive both at work and at home.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Shoes = Service

When you walk into certain places here in Baker Lake, you will often be met with a pile of shoes near the doorway. Not so much in the summertime, but once it starts getting muddy and then winter hits, you will absolutely see them. The schools, health center and hotels/restaurants all have signs that ask you to remove your shoes before entering so as not to trek mud and snow through their hallways. People who are in these establishments all day tend to have a pair of indoor-shoes to walk around in all day, but not everyone does it. So it's no big deal to see everyone walking around in socked or even bare feet.

Taking our boots off when we weren't at home was definitely something new to get used to. We just weren't used to walking around, or having lunch without our shoes on. I've taken to carrying a pair of fold-up flats (those are SO handy) in my jacket pocket for when we find ourselves in situations where we have to take our shoes off. They may not be the most supportive shoe, but it makes me feel more comfortable.

Just one of those quirks of being here, I guess. Different communities have different "rules" - a woman I was talking to recently was amazed that she had to take off her shoes in another community's arena since we don't do that here. I mentioned that we don't have to take our shoes off in public anywhere we go, no matter the time of year, and she was shocked by that too. So...roll with the punches, I guess! If you're not comfortable with the thought, have a pair of shoes handy and you're always ready no matter where you end up. :)


Monday, November 25, 2013

Movember Update

We are nearing the end of November, and this year I'm not only happy that it's almost Christmas, but it also means that Jeff's horrible moustache is going to be gone soon. I am all for raising money for a good cause, but the moustache really is horrible-looking!

Jeff trying to look dapper!
Just a few more days to donate to the cause! If you haven't been to Jeff's page yet to make your donation, please do so soon! The Movember Canada page talks about all the programs it funds, the research it supports and most importantly, the awareness it raises for men's health.

Counting down the days until December 1 when my clean-shaven husband returns!

Friday, November 22, 2013


After a 14 hour travel day - most of it waiting around airports - I finally arrived home last night. The moon was full and shining brightly over Baker Lake, and it felt good to be back. Even the -41 weather didn't deter me from rushing off the plane. :)

Jeff and my lovely neighbour were at the airport waiting for me and we headed to the house where I was attacked by puppy kisses. It was wonderful.

I love the opportunity to travel for work and I enjoyed my time away, but home is where my family is. And it feels so good to be home.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Missing my boys.
Just one more sleep and I'll see you soon, my loves.


Monday, November 18, 2013


Hello from Edmonton!

Friday afternoon I got the go-ahead to travel to Edmonton for some training that was (will be) this week. I was originally going to fly out on Saturday but the weather forecast looked ominous with an impending storm, so the afternoon became an unexpected whirlwind!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chillin' in the Kitchen: Zucchini Bread

Recently, I've gotten into the habit of making love-loaves on Sunday. What's a love-loaf, you ask? It's basically what I call the loaves of goodness that come out of the oven, because I love them so much. (You can stop the eye rolling now!) I like baking something over the weekend that we can grab quick breakfasts throughout the week, and lately it's been a quick-bread of sorts - either banana or pumpkin, etc. (though I have made muffins or breakfast "cookies" as just depends on what's in the pantry and how lazy I am).

This past week I had a couple of zucchinis sitting sadly in the fridge that needed to be used, so I thought I'd make Zucchini Bread. One of my favourite kinds of bread, this loaf is light and moist with an almost savory taste. It's not overly sweet, and the zucchini really shines through due to the citrus accent. I replaced some of the fats with unsweetened applesauce to make it healthier and it still tasted amazing. The key is in draining the zucchini of its moisture as much as possible - so don't skip that step or you'll end up with a dense, gummy loaf! A warm slice of this beauty with a drizzle of honey and a hot cup of milky tea...makes any morning a good one!

Zucchini Bread
adapted from The New Best Recipe
makes 1 9-inch loaf

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Last week was strange because the weather decided to change as though mother nature flicked on the A/C switch - one day it was okay (-20 or so) and the next it dropped to about -40. It was unpleasant to say the least. The cold snap lasted a couple of days through the weekend and today it seems to have warmed up back to the much more tolerable -20s. I laugh at the pre-Nunavut-Lily who used to complain when it dipped below 22 degrees in Ontario because it was too cold. If only past-Lily really knew what cold was!

I was going through the blog and noticed that our first blizzard of 2012 was November 8, and that was followed by 2 more over the course of the next two weeks. This year there is much less snow on the ground at this time compared to last year, but I feel it in my heart that a blizzard is coming. Soon.

It's not all based on feelings though - there's actually a "hat-trick" of conditions that usually needs to be met in order for a blizzard to occur:

  1. Snow: there has to be enough snow on the ground that has fallen recently or is falling from the sky (or else there is nothing to blow around and cause the white-outs, etc.)
  2. Wind: it's not a blizzard unless there's blowing - officially it needs to be 70km/hr or higher 
  3. Change in temperature: someone told me this when we first arrived in Nunavut, and that is - if you see an abnormal rise in temperature...something is amiss.
That all being said, how come I feel like we're going to have a blizzard soon? Environment Canada is pretty much spelling it out in the long-term forecast!

See Friday's forecast? The rise in temperature, the snow and in the details it lists "Windy. Blowing snow." Boom. The trifecta of storm components, brewing around and waiting to be unleashed. We shall see if Environment Canada is right, but it's been pretty accurate since we arrived...

Let's see if the first blizzard of 2013 is going to be soon!

Monday, November 11, 2013


It's that special time of year again! I know what you're thinking - only one more day before Christmas music starts playing in department stores. While that is also true, I'm talking about the fundraising event known as "Movember".

Here in Baker Lake, moustaches have been sprouting all over town, and most of them are downright creepy-looking, mine included. There's a link at the bottom of this post for my donation page, and from there you can see the other men of Baker Lake. Please consider donating to our campaign to raise money for prostate and testicular cancer, and mental health.

The other good reason to donate is that my poor wife Lily has to endure the truly unpleasant task of watching my moustache fill in every day, and it's been a painful process. She even offered to donate money if I didn't grow one, but that would be counter-productive (and a lot less entertaining), so please make it worth our while and contribute to a worthy cause as well.

In case the photo isn't clear, I've opted for the split 'stache, like Captain Jack Sparrow minus the goatee.

Thanks in advance for your support and help in making this Movember a special one. Stay tuned for next month's Decembeard :-p


The donation page can be found here:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Early Retiredment

Normally, I look forward to Fridays, especially this one, as I work the late shift, so I can sleep in. This time, though, I'm less excited as I feel like I've picked up a bug somewhere. You know that sensation - shivering constantly, yet sweating because of all the layers, body aches, and just general malaise. Today's post (as I am writing it on Thursday evening) will therefore be a little shorter than usual, as Mr. Sandman is bugging me to answer his call.

Today is girls' night, with a number of female neighbours coming over to keep my wife company, which is another reason I'm happy to be working late. We men should have a night to ourselves as well, but getting it organized is a real pain. We should probably hire the women to do it. :-)

The nights are getting longer, and there has been snow falling several times in the past week. It's too cold for Pepper to walk outside, but he's a hardy trooper and insists on braving the elements....for now. Although this morning I grabbed his leash to take him outside and he went and hid in his maybe he's not so hardy after all. We bought one of those daylight-simulation lamps and have been using it when we're in the living room - I'm not sure it works, but I know that it lights up the house brighter than a spotlight. I also noticed that the vitamin D has showed up in our daily vitamin pile as well, so we hope to combat the darkness before it catches up to us.

I just dozed at my computer for ten minutes, so I'm off to bed. Until next time.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

School's in!

It has been too many years since I first stepped inside a classroom, although I still recall my first day of grade seven, having transitioned to a new school. Yesterday I had a similar experience, albeit in a different role. I had my first substitute teaching gig, and for those of you that follow this blog, you'll know that day was a long time coming.

I was covering Science for grade 10's and 11's, and it went pretty smoothly. The first and last class got to watch a film about the brain, which was fascinating. It covered the brain's role with respect to fear, risk-taking, psychopathy, and sexual response, the latter topic generating the most interest and the longest period of whispered giggling.

The middle class enjoyed ("enjoyed" might be too strong a word) a worksheet on the properties of corrosion. Going through the video and the worksheet made me appreciate the value of science in school, more so than when I was in high school. All in all, it was a great experience, and I look forward to repeating it.

I'm back at work at the store today, and while the prospect of a 7 day workweek isn't awesome, it beats the alternative.

I used to look forward to Mondays as my first day off in a week - now it will be because I'll have an opportunity to get back into a classroom. I can't wait!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Our (Unexpected) Stay in Rankin Inlet

When we were coming back from our holidays, we had an unexpected stay in Rankin that delayed us getting back by a day. Everyone we've met refers to Rankin as "the black hole" or a similar version - because you never know whether your plane will leave when it's supposed to, and if it does leave it doesn't mean your bags will follow. It's a central hub in Nunavut that planes must stop over, and I fear the traffic is overwhelming for the small facility. It's also in a community where weather is always questionable to boot - so there's a lot of stuff that can go wrong when you reach it (if you can reach it).

We have been lucky to date that none of our trips have meant that we needed to stay overnight in town. Yes, we have been delayed (once by 6 hours...which, in an airport that is the size of a small school gymnasium feels like a LONG time), but we have always managed to get out the same day we flew in. Until this time.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy day-after-Halloween! Hope you aren't in a sugar coma like I was...I admit I ate too many goodies at work and was pretty hyper all evening as I was giving out candy! It had been snowy and blowy the past couple of days and there was a sliver of a chance that Halloween may be deterred because of a storm, but the skies cleared up and it turned out to be a windy, but otherwise lovely evening.

Here's a picture taken around 5pm, looking towards the lake. The dark part right in the center is the open water that hasn't frozen over yet, and the white part on the right (in the middle) is the iced over/snow-covered lake. I imagine by next week the whole lake will be frozen over and it will be thick enough for snowmobiles to ride across it.