Sunday, November 30, 2008

Go Blizzards Go

I missed our games yesterday owing to a terrible headache (likely caused by my fellow Canadian's scary newspaper comments). Today, I did get to watch my first Basketball game and our kids were awesome. They can get that ball into the hoop from nearly anywhere, while I can only sometimes get it in when standing directly in front of the hoop - although in my defence our neighbours tree has overgrown our net - creating a different kind of challange. We won handily (I think the score was 72 - 40 give or take 2 points) against Whale Cove and they will be playing in the playoffs tonight. Our girls are also in the playoffs and I hope to catch their game against Chesterfield Inlet too.

I've also been hit by comment spammers - so I'll try to keep on top of deleting their comments, however, I may have to enable comment moderation in the mean time. The internet has been touch and go here so I may be slow to keep up.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why I shouldn’t read comments on Newspaper Articles…

Honest. I am going to kick the newspaper comment reading habit. I don’t know why I started reading them today, but the result is that I’ve gotten an eyeful of angry, bitter partisan nonsense ruining my otherwise nice day. I think 90% of the folk who comment on the news (particularly of the political stripe) are speaking from the backdoor of their digestive system. For a long time, I thought that I was center-left leaning in my politics. I think governments should manage the country and its assets (both human, monetary and environmental capital) in a responsible manner. (fiscal conservative) Yet, I am a teacher. My job is to help others obtain the tools they need to be responsible, successful citizens. I know that they can do this best when they have a roof over their head, food in the bellies and adequate medical care. I know financial insecurity effects their lives. I believe this makes me a social liberal.

What I’ve discovered is that I really don’t have a party affiliation. In fact, I detest partisan politics intensely. I hate the mud-slinging. I hate the games. I hate the tendency to destroy something just because it was the other party’s policy, then reinvent it and call it yours. I hate the amount of energy that party politicians spend trying to make each other look bad, even if it’s bad for my country.

What I’d like to see is every MP being chosen because they have something to add to the team of politicians whose job it is to make major decisions around how this country can be run best while representing their individual ridings. I would like to see real leadership. I would like to see a PM who doesn’t care about beating the other party at the next election, only about being a leader, a role model and getting done whatever needs to be done, running our country efficiently and in-line with the values of the majority of Canadian's. I would hope that this leader also is the kind of person who’d offer a stranger a quarter to make a phone call or would roll up their sleeves and help out during a disaster. Somebody human.

After my foolish reading of the comments on an article about the current situation in our federal government, I have learned the following about the folk who write these comments. A handful of people actually think before they press submit. A handful of them understand our governmental system. Most of them are just spewing partisan nonsense with a level of hatred that I fail to comprehend. Now, I’m hardly a social studies major – but I do know how a minority government works (which apparently our current Prime Minister is pretending he doesn’t, even though I’m quite sure he does indeed know that its perfectly reasonable for the opposition to oppose his will and also to request the Governor General’s permission to form a coalition government).

It is funny. Everyone gave the Liberals a hard time for not bringing the government down when they disagreed with the conservatives, for sitting on their hands (i.e. boycotting the confidence votes). They were accused of abdicating their responsibility as the opposition and taunted by the conservatives for not bringing down the previous government. Finally, Stephen Harper was forced to break his own promise to bring the government down in hopes of getting the majority that he wanted before the economy unraveled and the political climate to the south changed because he’d been unable to force the Liberals to do it. As the PM, he had the right to do that… it was perfectly legal. They even benefited by getting more seats. But to get upset because the opposition finally stands up to him because he’s gotten into the habit of mostly being a majority – well, that seems unreasonable. Its actually the oppositions job to oppose policies that they feel are not in the best interests of Canadians.

Obviously, the political funding issue is getting the bulk of the limelight. It certainly was a nice little touch if you wanted to make your opponent look bad. Certainly, a good tactic to draw attention from a slew of other issues – like taking the right of public servants to strike away or ignoring the current economic crisis. Nobody likes the idea of a political party we don’t like getting public money to campaign unless perhaps we consider the alternative…. Lobbyists and people with enough money to donate to political campaigns buying the support of various parties… i.e. how do I write my platform to get enough donations to get elected – which inevitably requires me to tailor my platform to the type of people who have money and are likely to donate that money to politicians rather than medical research or helping feed people in 3rd world countries…. Think about that for a moment – How does that change the perspective and goals of our government?

Oddly… I think it is highly brave of the opposition parties to form a coalition government at the beginning of a major recession. Look what inheriting a government at the onset of a recession did to Bob Rae’s reputation. Nothing good. Furthermore, there are so many complications. The liberals have a leadership vacuum – that could go very wrong for them. Neither the Liberals or the NDP stand to benefit from the optics of working with the BLOC. None of the parties will look good if we are forced back to the polls, but only the Conservatives have the money to campaign. The easiest thing to do would be for the opposition to let Harper bully them into giving in and supporting or at least failing to cause a non-confidence vote – the hardest thing is for them to stand up to something they disagree with, risk the political hazards of governing a country about to be slammed by economic disaster, put down their partisan hatchets and work together – even it if means working with a separatist party – something that the conservatives will surely flog them with at the next election. No… I disagree that the opposition is doing this out of selfishness. They are merely trapped between a rock and a hard place.

My apologies for ranting – I promise – I’m quitting newspaper article comments cold turkey starting now and in the meantime, I’d really just like the government to get their act together and run this country and worry about the next election when it happens. I plan to vote for the best team player.

Yellow Skies and Mmmmmuffins

So Far its been a quiet weekend of sorting out and tidying and cleaning. I'm off to mark and watch basketball up at the school soon and I justed wanted to post something to prove that I'm still alive... oh... and I made muffins. Yum. Actually, my thought on muffins was that I'd make them all the time so I ordered a bunch on the barge... and this is the first set I've made. However, they are pretty healthy, so maybe I'll make some more soon.

Anywho, I will try and get some new photos to post, because as nice as these sunsets are... they were all taken on the same day some time ago.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Down went the sun and lit the horizon up

Tales from the Arctic has some very humourous cats acting out the "Six Phases of Teaching". A must see link for teachers and catfanatics (and I meant that to be one word :P)
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Spiritual Sillhouette

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Shake Your Booty

I searched for them all summer (starting in May). I even begged the manufacturer to sell them to me direct. I finally ordered them on Sept. 3rd and now... they have arrived... real winter boots and warm ones too. So now I don't have any excuse to bail on taking photos of the northern lights just because my feet are cold... but I can still use the excuse that my hands are cold.

In other "new arrival" news. I just got updated to Picasa3 - which has a rather neat tool for removing blemishes from photos. You can actually try out a bunch of different spots and pick the nicest replacement. Otherwise, aside from the interface and the icons... it still is the same old simple, but useful Picasa Software and its free :D can't complain about that.

I also want to post up a few really cool links that I shared with my Wildlife CTS class. - fun cartoon spoof on the Davinchy Code (and I know that is spelt wrong) that talks about human responsibility with respect to the web of life. - a nice set of slide show intros combined with some nice overview information on a bunch of different environmental issues. Related to the site above - I actually used the version that you could browse through from the WWF website, but its nice to find a pdf of the entire section. This covers the 10 most at risk rivers in the world and does a nice job of summing up the troubles facing rivers. - this is a nice piece about the Narwhals trapped in Pond Inlet on one of my favourite blogs. It sums up nicely the actual situation and there is a haunting video clip of panicking Narwhals gasping for air at a small hole. I've lived in enough different parts of this country to know that there is definately different feelings about hunting in different parts of the country. Both here and in the maritimes, hunting or other wild harvesting (fish, seals, lobsters) are key parts of the the economy and also an important source of food in many places. Where I grew up, hunting was something that no one I knew took part in.... and even the killing of cows for steak was enough to make some folk uncomfortable. I like how this piece somes up the practical end of the problem. There is no reasonable or natural way to save them, so the only reasonable thing to is make their deaths count.

Anywho... I must go test out me boots and play with math.

:D and maybe throw up another picture or two to tide everyone over until the weekend - unless I catch the northern lights on the way home.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lupine Interlude

Just felt like sharing this....
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More Blizzard/Post Blizzard Pictures

Okay... not some of my best photos.... but you get the picture.
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Blizzard cheers on the Blizzards

Our soccer teams are doing quite well - so the local weather whipped up a little blizzard action to cheer them on. Although, by the standard of blizzards, this was a pretty tame event - it was definately different walking home though.

Its actually warmed up to -7.8 degrees and the winds have died down and the visibility is maybe a bit rough for landing planes, but okay for walking. Of course, I have some serious marking and planning to do today, so no walking for me.

And on that note, I'm going to throw up a few more pictures. There is still the possibility of another blizzard in the near future (Tuesday), but hopefully for the 99 visitors in town for the soccer tournament they'll be able to escape back to there homes.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Sunrise

We are now getting to the point where I don't see the sun very often. It is dark when I get to school and dark starting about the beginning of period six (3pm) It makes it pretty dim in the room when I turn the overhead on. So, today I'm enjoying seeing some times of day I don't usually see. We still will continue to lose daylight for another month. I think we have about 4.5 hours of light left when it reaches its minimum. Right now, I'd say that we are down to 6 hours... maybe a bit more if you count the twilight part.
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My First Knitting Stash Addition Shot

Here it is... I thought this wonderfully Yamma Aight coloured wool was definately blog worthy. On the advice of Tales from the Arctic, I checked out the Yarn Forward site and I've been working on rebuilding my stash, much of which didn't make it up north. I've been stocking up on some gorgeous Cascade 220 wool and as an aside I picked up two balls of this Freedom Spirit in Verve (I think that is the name of the colour scheme). I think there is enough to make a hat from it or possibly a small scarf.

I've also begun my plot to spread the knitting additction to other having begun to teach 2 folk yesterday. I'm currently working on finishing up the socks pictured below and another simple scarf.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Time for a nap

Life is tiring when you have a metabolism faster than a Japanese commuter train or cars on a German Autobahn...... Now if only my metabolism was that fast... I could live off total junk and not worry a bit.

Its getting decidedly cold here, colder than I've experienced in the last couple of pampered years living in Toronto. Last time I was out when it was this cold was the last Winter Camping Trip to Fundy Park. That was cold enough for me to spend quantity time hanging out in the heated bathroom building to warm up. In spite of years of outdoor activity in the winter, even in somewhere as cold as Thunder Bay, I'm finding that my gear isn't warm enough for the same temperatures up here. I'm okay for walking around town - but I wouldn't want to be in a situation where I was out for a long time. We still haven't had our winter boots shipped - I'm not sure what i s up with that since we ordered them Sept. 3rd... some kind of weather crisis so I've been told. I'm going to have to see if I can get a pair somewhere else. I mean - I understand not having boots in stock in August, but by November they should be out on the shelves. And I do understand that it is still warm for winter here..... and we haven't had any nasty winds or blizzards yet. I'm sure I'll toughen up some.

In other news, we are hosting a soccer tournament here this weekend and the students are decidedly excited about it. I'm kind of looking forward to watching some soccer. Our students are pretty good players. :D


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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tadaa!!! Haticus Completus

Okay.. now I can get back to my regularly scheduled life.

Well its not quite done.. it needs 2 i-cords and possibly I"m contemplating blocking it to make it happier.
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Lone Pine Hat

Ear flaps, Cascade 220 wool and my first attempt at a knitted group of 7 tree.... results coming soon.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life in a 8 store town

Yes... after living in a 1 store town.... the shopping opportunities here are mind boggling. However, this is where I do um... so far 98 % of my shopping. I finally discovered that in spite of appearances the Saanvik Coop is indeed open. It just doesn't have windows - so it looks closed. They actually have a good selection of household goods there. So - I'm sure I'll be shopping there at some point. Another suprising thing is the number of trucks here. Even when I was in Rankin 8 years ago I recall snow mobiles dominating and I thought the parking lot full of snowmobiles in Repulse Bay was really "north". I guess a lot of folk haven't pulled their snowmobiles out yet owing to the very thin layer of snow.

In other weird and wacky news. Since I put up that link to "Is your cat planning to kill you?, 24% of the key word hits on my site are related to that topic. Are they looking for the website or is the world full of people wondering if their cat's are homicidal plotters? I guess that is one way to improve traffic on your site.

Anywho, the dishes are done, the coffee is made and its time to make up for inadequate amounts of cardio all week....

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The Scarf :D

My Scarf Model bailed on me and its actually pretty hard to take a picture of a scarf on yourself. So here it is on the ladder. It doesn't look as warm hanging on the ladder as it does wrapped around my neck... its super warm... and yes Gabe 5.5 ft.. not m :D
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Interwoven Sky

Maybe I've got fiber on my mind. I just finished a beautiful alpaca scarf. :D (Paton's Rumor) Its 5.5 m long and has a fringe. I need a model to photograph before I post a picture.

I had some stuffed squash for supper. I appreciated it muchly. Squash is available, but dear. It was a nice switch. I've been so busy this week that I've mostly been eating stuff I froze a while ago or stuff out of boxes and cans.

So... Its going to be a busy weekend. I have at least 3 classes of notebooks to mark on top of anything else I'd normally do on the weekend. So, I'd better get my space organized and get to.. sooner started, sooner done.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is your cat planning to kill you

This link comes from my friend M. - it was too cool not to share. It makes me glad, perhaps, that I don't have a cat. :D

Meanwhile.. the sky is clear and the sun has a nice sunspot, but nothing exciting is predicted for the next month. Tomorrow is the end of my third month here - and I'm not even sure where the time has gone.
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Musical Associations

I switched the playlist on my iPod to an older one entitled "A Wind Driven Snow" - I might have to do a remake once I really know what the term wind-driven snow means. The first song on the playlist is "Coffee Spills" by Stabilo. Its a song I listened to a lot when I went through my Stabilo phase last year. I was suddenly hit by an intense image of driving my car from Guelph to Cataract on Hwy 24 in a snow storm. (I swear it snowed nearly every time I tried to drive up to Orangeville last winter). It was so weird - almost like being there - and so foreign to my current existence - I haven't driven anything in nearly 3 months. In fact, the last time I was behind the wheel was probably coming back from the Swiss Chalet the night before I flew north - unless I went for a second coffee later that night. I've hardly even been a passenger in a car since leaving. I like the fact that I don't have any need for a car - although I miss being able to go on a roadtrip. I enjoyed the drive to Orangeville. I used to come on on Mississauga via Belfountain - some nice topography and scenery. I'm going to miss the Halton Ski Club trips up to Stayner and Mansfield too.

In other random notes on my life -

I went for my first cross country ski yesterday. It was -7 C with a bit of fresh snow - so I took my opportunity and skied partway to the airport and then back to the school. There were a few places that could have used more snow and less grit, but otherwise it was pretty good. We even got another bit of snow to day. Hopefully, we'll get a nice bit soon - although looking at the historic weather - we really don't get much snow past October. Still, our temperature are still above the long term average - so it seems reasonable that there could still be a decent dump of snow to improve the ski conditions.

I ran into a nurse at the store who has been to Kash in recent years. Its funny how small a world it is. I still often wonder how my Gr. 8's are doing. I also hope well - but I know that things have been tough with all the evacuations and upheavals the last few years. She says the Northern in Kash is really nice. They built it the year after I left. When I was there, the rumour was that they used yellow rope to keep the building from falling apart. I'm not sure if that was true - but that was the going tale.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Not the best photos.. but here are the scarf and socks that I'm currently working on.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

And they rode a Kamatik into the sunset

Okay... misleading caption. I took a picture of a random kamatik witht the sunset behind it and I'm tired and I don't want to organize myself to take pictures of my current UFOs. I turned the heel on my jaya's prism socks last night. So I'm hoping to have them done next weekend. Today, I decided what I really needed was some serious me-time - so I indulged in knitting and watching multiple episodes of Due South - thank you kindly :D. I wandered onto the For Better or Worse Website and ended up reading about Elizabeth Patterson's life.. and really my mom does have something there - her life definately has some strong echoes of mine.

As for knitting, aside from continuing to work on my socks. I started a nice scarf out of Paton's Rumour Alpaca wool..... nothing fancy - just kpkpkpkp with a side selvage - 32 stitches wide on a pair of 7.5 needles. Its a sort of horizontal garter stitch I guess. I'd meant to do another in seed stitch, but in the end I'm actually very happy with my error (need an odd number of stitches for the seed stitch). The wool is various shades of red twistd together.... its alpaca.. so I'm covered in bits of hair and it'll probably be a pain to wear until I've washed it a bit. However, its soft and squishy and wonderful to touch. I think I'm going to finish it with tassles.

I think I'm going to switch over to hats once these projects are done. There is a norwegian ear flap hat I have a pattern for that I think will turn out nice in the Cascade wool. I think I'm going to make myself knit at least 30 minutes a day - see if I can't get a bit more finished. A nice pair of trillium sockes in reds and greens is also on the list and maybe some dishclothes. I'll have to get some pictures taken and up date my ravelry stuff soon. Once I get home I'll have to get that shawl finished up and the thumb on my mitts that have been sitting aroudn for a few years... A thumb should only take a 30 mintues with finishing stuff up..... my hands aren't very big.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fishing at the fishing hole

This was the best of the lot for catching the crazy sky.
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Winter and Spring

Winter may be settling on the land here, but down south a new face has joined us in the world. Wishing the best to another friend who has just become a new mom and her baby.

In other news, I just about took out my ankle a second ago, stumbling over a stray hand weight which suggests to me that I should blog short and spend the spare moments tidying my room before I really do myself injury. All the icy fog has decorated every twig and blade of grass in Baker Lake with ice crystals making for some very cool looking plants.

Okay.. time to do some early winter cleaning.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008


To my surprise today, I recieved many compliments on my Parka. It is not a fancy Canada Goose one. It was manufactured by Sears at least 27 years ago ; making it nearly, but not quite, older than me. Its a hand-me-down from my Aunt Andrea from when she lived in Thunder Bay. I wore it up to Repulse Bay when I was there 7 years ago and I used it when I lived in Kashechewan too. So, I know its warm although I'm not 100 percent sure that'll be good enough once it gets colder. So far though, no problems.... well there is one problem and it is one of features that is both good and bad. It has a wonderfully warm, deep hood, but between my glasses either being fogged up or removed and the degree to which my hood restricts my vision... I have to hope that anyone zipping by on a skidoo can see me because I can barely hear them and can only see them when they fall within the narrow field of view that I have with my hood zipped up. So who knows.

I do however need to do something about my mitts. I do have some okay ones here, but my hands get icy cold so easily that even on this calm, relatively warm day I was wishing I could figure out how to pull my hands deeper into my parka or better still tuck them into my armpits to warm up.

It was a very awesome day for taking pictures. The sun was obscured by a bank of icy fog and while it was -15C at least, it was dead calm - so we hardly had to worry about getting cold. I went ice fishing with a bunch of other fold not far from town. But it was my first time outside after the Lake froze - so I was so glad that I opted to play rather than work even if it means lots of working tomorrow. I learned a bit about ice fishing and one of the teachers caught a beautiful Lake Trout. Photo credit goes to B. since I'm the emparkaed lass in the front and centre of the least I'm somewhere under all those clothes... I spent more time taking pictures and reminiscing about Thunder Bay with some other ex-Lakehead Folk.... I think we form the second largest group of outsiders after the folk from Newfoundland. I did briefly try my hand at ice-fishing, but I quickly came to the conclusion that I'm probably not going to become a hard core ice fisher. Aside from getting cold quickly when I stand still... I don't think I have the patients to stick with it for the time required to catch anything. But I did enjoy being there.

It was a good day... actually.. its been a good few months.
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The Moonbeam Shineth Overhead Singing Hey-ho, my dearie

The title is my favourite song that we ever did with the choir back home.... I think it is called the Orkney Lullaby. As for the moon, its half full and bright on the snow.
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