Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mama and Papa days continued

My snowmobile has been having some trouble so Richard took it to Gabriel to have it looked at.  Gotta love the Cape Dorset Canadian Tire (dump) as some bits and pieces Richard had found there were exactly what my machine needed to get up and going.  He found this crazy big spring and it worked perfectly as my rear spring so my machine doesn’t bottom out any more.
The big news of today is Rick’s new purchase.  Since arriving here he has been admiring Richard’s seal skin mittens.  We have been asking around but no one had mittens for sale.  I mentioned this to one of the women I sew with.  About an hour later she showed up at the house on her snowmobile saying that she had gone on the radio asking for mittens and had received several phone calls.  She had two pairs of mitts with her unfortunately neither fit Rick but she said not to worry because she had two more leads to follow.  She called and said one of the women would be by shortly with a pair.  Rick saw them and fell in love.  They were full gauntlets and are beautiful.  He got a very good price on them.  They fit him like a glove (ha, ha) and are keeping his hands toasty warm in our yucky weather.
The search for water continued today.  We were okay being patient until we heard that some houses had gotten water delivered twice while we (and everyone in our building) had received nothing.  So Richard called the garage and asked for water.  About 10 minutes later the water truck arrived and partially filled our tank.  The water is coming from Dead Dog Lake.  This is not the best of water and so we will be boiling our water before drinking.  Nobody else seemed to know where the water was coming from so I spent a while on the phone telling as many people as I could.  Even if we can’t drink it we can SHOWER!!!!!
Richard and Rick went for a ride after dinner.  They said it was absolutely beautiful!  Although the floe edge is disappearing quickly and is completely gone in the spot we took them to the other day.  They were having a great time and stopped on a mountain peak to look around.  When it was time to return they discovered that my sled wouldn’t start.  They towed it to Gabriel’s house.  It looks like my carb froze over again.  Gabriel managed to fix it but time for some long-term repair as this is the third time this same problem has occurred.  We also got some amazingly generous help from a neighbour and I would like to thank him very much!  Richard also found a man selling a complete engine for our type of machine and so there is now a snowmobile engine sitting in the living room drying out.  Ah, the North!
Rick, Maureen, Richard and Lily went to visit the artists Co-op today.  They had a great time, were given the full tour and got to see some beautiful art.  Unfortunately most of the works had been packed up ready to send to galleries down south.  But they got to talk to a working artist and see lots of things.  Everyone came home with samples of that great art.
I spoke to my principal today who asked me for some help spending money.  It doesn’t seem like a hard job but it was.  Just before school let out for the holiday we received a grant from the municipality for ‘Arts and Crafts’.  Five of us met and made a list of projects we would like to see happen.  The end, I thought.  Now we need to actually order everything and I was asked to do it.  Some of the project I know a lot about and felt comfortable ordering but a few I have never tried, like leather work.  It is hard to order basic supplies when you don’t understand what tools are needed.   Thank goodness for the internet is all I can say!!  PS I have 24 hours to get supplies ready for all 11 projects.
This evening I was called to an emergency meeting of the Resource Center Committee.  We had been working on a proposal for funding for the year ahead and just found out we have been denied.  All the application said is that our project is too similar to another in the community and we should join with them.  Nobody could think who this ‘other group’ might possibly be which makes it hard to join with them.  So it was decided that I would call and see what information I could find out.  We have 4 days left to appeal the decision.  Why is it that everything happens all at once?!
I spent the morning trying to finish up business.  I spoke to a very nice woman about the proposal. 
Along with some other helpful information she was able to give me the name of the other group applying.  I called Mary, one of the other committee members who wrote the proposal, she recognized the name.  Mary had in fact also helped with their proposal and so knew for certain it was nothing like ours.  There we go crisis averted.   Looks like a misunderstanding and so I will now write the appeals letter and will be able to discuss how our group cannot join with the other group and that we do in fact need the funds we have applied for.
For those of you who don’t know I should clarify.  Back in October I began to sew with a group of local women at the resource center.  Anyone is welcome to join and can just come and sew.  I began to learn parka making and have now completed four.  I thoroughly enjoy this group.  There are some wonderful women there with some amazing knowledge to share.  I was nominated for and voted onto the newly formed committee two months ago.  The group has always been fairly informal but the committee is the beginning of trying to make it slightly more formal – while still welcoming any and all women who want to sew.  (I still don’t know exactly why men can’t join us but I know they never do more than stick their heads in the door to let their wife or mother know that their ride has arrived.)
I also finished the Arts and Crafts shopping list and sent it off.  Done and done.
While I was hard at work the rest of the family went off to the park.  It is snowy and blowy but they had a great time.  They also stopped by the store which Lily always thinks is a good time.  Home for lunch.  We tried to put Lily down for a nap but as is happening more and more frequently she is refusing to nap.  She did stay in her room having quiet time so everyone got a little down time, we grownups played some dominos, but all too soon she was up and about.  So nap kyboshed we decided to head up to the GN (Government of Nunavut) building.  Rick and Maureen are so enjoying their visit that they are contemplating moving here.  We went up to check out the building as it is beautiful but also so that Rick could meet a few people and talk about possibilities.  We had a very nice visit.  Got to see Amy and Lily took to exploring the offices on her own.  It is a big circle so she went for a little walk.  I found her in a nearby office chatting with a woman at her desk.  She just made herself right at home.  What a little nut.  Luckily everyone loves her and so she rarely gets herself in trouble.  Rick got lots of good information and so they are left to debate what life is going to look like.  But then aren’t we all?
Thanks again for reading and I hope we will get the photo thing sorted out soon!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Floe Edge

Today we loaded everyone onto the snow mobiles and took a drive out to the floe edge.  It is amazing how much has melted since we were last there.  It is so incredibly beautiful!  I realized how much I have been stuck in the house lately.  Being out there reminded me of how amazing my life really is.  I get to live in this beautiful, spectacular, breath-taking place that most people will never even get to visit.  I am thankful for my life!  I think everyone felt the same today except maybe Lily who was distracted rolling down the hills and throwing ice off the edge of the ice into the water.  We carried on to the park and had a great time swinging and playing.  Came back home for lunch where Lily ate more of the caribou stew I made yesterday and arctic char with soya sauce.  She has been off and on with naps lately but went to bed without fuss and fell asleep before Mama had even left the room.  While she slept, Maureen and I rested but Richard and Rick went for a big snow mobile ride out to Fish lake.  They had a great time.
In the evening we headed over to Richard's Vice Principal Mike's house for another Kitchen Party.  Lily was specially invited so dinner was nice and early (Thank you very much!).  Richard and Rick both brought guitars and treated us to one song after another.  Lily went bananas and was dancing and singing with everyone.  She always hates to leave a party but eventually I did have to bring her home.  Again she went straight to sleep.
There is still no word on the water situation.  We can see lots of activity up the hill and Richard stopped to talk to them today but all we really know is that the pipe is Badly frozen.  They seem to be plowing a road up to the lake I think the idea being that if they can make it to the pump house they can fill the trucks from there.  No idea if that will actually work or not but hey at least they are trying.  We would all really like water back in our lives.  And a shower without thought would be lovely!!!  Maybe tomorrow...
Drink up all, and drink one for us (water that is).

Mama and Papa Day!!

Tuesday April 12th was declared Mama and Papa day. We were all very excited that Richard's parents, Rick and Maureen, would be arriving in Cape Dorset in the afternoon. We all went off to school and then afterwards headed up to the airport to pick them up. Lily was so excited!! They arrived safely and in fact were the only people on the plane. They said it was quite the experience! It is so nice to see familiar faces we have missed them very much. After dinner we went up to my school to attend the penny sale. These are a regular occurrence in Cape Dorset and we wanted to give the parents the full experience. Lily has discovered a deep love for participating in the cake walk and got Papa and Mama to do it with her. I think she walked 5 or 6 times. Between that and the running around with the kids she was a tired little bean when we got home.
On Wednesday Richard and I had to go to work but Lily got to stay home.
On Thursday Richard and I had to work and Lily went to school as well so that Rick and Maureen could come and visit our schools and meet our students. They spent part of the morning with me. The kids have a game they play we call 'dice math'. I roll two dice on the Smart board and two people compete to see who can add the fastest. Rick and Maureen were great sports competing against my kids. They then went down to the high school where they were doing a big lunch for the kids and then house sports. While they were there I had to stay at school for parent teacher interviews in the afternoon. Things were going well until one of the dads who is also the SAO of our hamlet told me that the pipe that brings water into town was frozen and broken. This meant that there was no more water being delivered and they did not know when it would be fixed. I called home and let them know and we went into water conservation mode. I was supposed to go back for more interviews in the evening but a storm came up and they were cancelled. This made us all very sad!!
Friday. No School. A nice day we all got to stay home and heaven love grandparents, Mama got up with Lily so we got to sleep in. What a great way to start our holiday. Richard's principal called us just before lunch to let us know that the Co-op was having a sale on bottled water so Richard loaded up the qamatiq and headed down many of the other high school teachers were there as well so Richard filled the qamatiq full of water and delivered it to their houses. He is such a nice guy!!
Saturday. We went sledding in the morning on the hill outside our house. We brought Lily and the dogs so it was good old fashioned chaos.  Amy came over for dinner to meet the folks.  We all had such nice time and Amy, an Ontario girl, was well acquainted with the "cottage rules" we are living with.  Well done everyone!  Still no water but we are managing.
I am getting closer and closer to being up to date!!!
Take care everyone and appreciate every little thing you have (especially your water).

Richard goes fishing

Richard had one further addition to my last post. He wanted to add the following:

April 5: Ice Fishing:

Yesterday I went out on the land with my students (grade 8/9) for a day of fishing and sledding. It was a challenge to find enough volunteers to bring their snowmobiles and Qamaitiqs which were needed to ferry the kids out the lakes. The morning was mayhem trying to find enough space for everyone and make sure we were all packed. There were about 75 students and 25 adults in all. I figure we had about 15 snowmobiles and 8 qamatiqs in all. Once everyone filled up at the gas bar we headed out. It was a pretty neat sight seeing so many machines travelling across the frozen landscape in a line. The day started out a bit cloudy but quickly cleared up to a balmy -16 (-27 with the wind-chill) at the lake. We drove for about 45 minutes, stopping from time to time to regroup. There was only one crash along the way when one of the qamatiqs hit a large piece of ice on a side slope and flipped. Luckily the kids were just a bit bruised. When asked if they needed to head back to town to see the nurse, they replied quite strongly that they were alright and wanted to keep going.

Once we got to the lake, most everyone pitched in and set up the cook tent and made holes in the ice for everyone to jig the Arctic Char in the freshwater lake we were at. It is interesting to see people up here ice fish. They lie down on their stomachs and peer into their hole in which they have placed there lure which is tied to a small length of stick (like a hockey stick or broom handle.)They wait for a fish to come near the lure and pull up trying to hook the fish with a large 3 pronged hook. Only 3 fish were caught in all, but when they were, everyone cheered for the fisherman.

The day was spent fishing, playing soccer, sledding and hanging out. For a little while, I made a towrope and was pulling kids around the lake which was a big hit. We stayed until about 2:30 and began our trip home after packing up and doing a head count. Sadly about halfway back to town, one of my qamatiq’s ski’s buckled under too much weight tipped over causing the ropes to loosen. I re-tied some extra rope to it in hopes of limping it back home. It would have been fine, but I think I had about 900 lbs on the sled. That combined with the uneven terrain caused it to break. The good news was I got the kids back to town (with a little help) and I have fixed it now.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Way behind the times

Well I just realized how far behind the times we truly are with the blog. So here goes some fast updating...
Our last post was in the middle of Professional Improvement week. So we both made it through! Lisa and I managed to finish our Kamiqs and they are gorgeous! I'll post pictures at some point but I have to learn how because the system has changed so for now just information. (Sorry.) We may have had no children but the week was jam-packed and tiring. On March 25th Sam Pudlat had a carnival in the afternoon. Arranged by Scott one of our grade 4 teachers the kids were so excited. It was hectic and chaotic but fun for all. I was in the 'chill zone' where we were showing a movie or colouring or just playing while others were at the carnival. The kindergartens came in the later afternoon and I actually had 2 fall asleep sitting colouring at desks. On the 26th Lisa and I organized a penny sale which very well thanks to the help of so many people at school. Our staff really is great about pitching in when needed.
On to April. April 1st is the day that Nunavut became a territory. Apparently someone has decided that it should be celebrated in July so April 1st is no longer Nunavut day is now Hamlet Day. So either way we got the day off work. On top of that they had another round of outdoor games like we did at Christmas. This time however Richard and I competed. I started with a crawl across the field and back race. We like to think it was a polar bear race. I was convinced by the children to participate and as I was standing at the start line waiting to go I noticed that everyone else was wearing snow pants and I was not! Uh oh! Anyway off we went. I was doing pretty well until I was attacked from behind. A crazy Lily decided that not only should she run with me but jump on me and sit on my foot. I continued anyway dragging her along with me. I lost terribly but she thought it was great and asked to do it again. My next event was the harpoon throw. I got up there and just threw it. But then was told my throw was disqualified as I had been using two hands. The down side of not knowing the rules is: you don't know the rules. So I got to try again (after asking for the rules again) and threw it as hard as I could. Many, many women competed but in the end I WON!!! Amazing! Plus I won $40.00. The last competition I did was sort of like a tug of war. Only two people compete at a time and you have your backs to each other with a rope around the back of your neck and under your arms. It was very hard especially as half way through I realized that wearing my Kamiqs was a big mistakes. They have no treads and are just bare leather so I was slipping and sliding all over the place. I gave a valiant effort but definitely lost! Richard had been keeping an eye on Lily most of the time but after each lady's event was the men's. He tried the harpoon throw but lost however he was the champ of strange tug of war. He had to defeat lots of people but did it with Lily and I cheering him on. Days later you should have seen the bruises on his arms where the rope was pulling. That evening there were more games at the Community Hall. We went down for a while and took Amy with us. Lily loves it there with all the people and the freedom to play and play and play. We all tried a few things but were knocked out pretty early until Richard and the dice game. He made it down to 5 people and because he was the last man he WON. He was especially excited as he won a Qamatiq hitch. Yeah. Didn't mean much to me either but Richard has recently built a Qamatiq (a sled for behind a snowmobile) and this hitch is worth $250.00. So YEAH Richard!!! We were just beginning to talk about leaving when another strength competition started. Some of the young people were encouraging Richard to try it. So after watching for a bit (and learning the rules) he decided to compete. We were a little bit worried about offending anyone with our winning but as he was being pushed into it he decided to give it his all. So Richard beat 4 men (16 and over) by sitting feet to feet and holding onto a broomstick between them and trying to pull each other over. He was finally beat by a young man. So we thought it was over but then our lack of understanding of the rules became obvious again. No it was not over because the man who beat Richard also beat 4 men he and Richard had to battle one more time. And...Richard WON!!! No doubt about how people felt as Richard was cheered in riotous fashion and swarmed by well wishers. He was pushed towards the stage where he was given his prize of $60.00. So all in all not a bad day. Tones of fun and $140.00 and a hitch to boot!!
Birthday notices: Happy Birthday (in date order not importance) Kala, Rosamond, Joy and Grandpa!!! The beginning of April has been busy for me as it is report card season. They were due last week. It is only my second round and I was very concerned if I was doing them right and if they would get done and make sense. But they got done and my principal was extremely complimentary of my work so all is well after all. On Friday April 8th the staffs of both Sam Pudlat Elementary and Peter Pitseolak High School went out on the land for a 'cultural day'. It was amazing. We drove for a good 40 minutes out over the water and over the land and over the water and on and on. We got out to a lake and set up camp. A tent was pitched with a stove to heat up caribou stew. Holes were dug with the auger for fishing and we all got to it. We followed the others lead and Richard brought on of our machines over beside the hole where we sat on it and fished. Nothing was biting despite my using all the Inuktitut I knew and learning more to try and get the fish to bite. I said the straight forward Qaigit (pronounced hi-gee meaning come here), the unusual Nagligivagit (pronounced Na-lee-gee-za-geet meaning I love you and here it is in sylabics ᓇᒡᓕᒋᕙᒋᑦ) and following Ernie's lead I yelled Iqalamai (I made up the spelling but it is pronounced EE-ha-la-may) or here fishy, fishy, fishy!! That got a lot of laughs but not a single fish. Lily was very disappointed that there were no fish and we had to go home and pull the two out of the deep freeze so she could poke them. The day was great but I am hoping that when we go next time we will actually catch something! The next night we went to a good old fashioned Kitchen Party. Ahh, the legacy of the Newfies. Actually very, very fun as our student teacher Jennifer is a harpist and she played as did David, a GN employee, Scott, one of our grade 4 teachers, and Richard. (They were all playing the guitar.) Everyone chatted and ate and drank and listened and sang. A very good time and a good send off to Jennifer who after being here for a month is headed back to Halifax. There I end this very, very long post as the next saga is the arrival of Richard's parents.... later I promise but it is bedtime now...
Goodnight to all and thanks for reading.