Friday, September 20, 2013

Bear with Us...

Posts may be a little sporadic over the next little while from our end...we will try to come and update when we can, but the schedule will be a bit (lot) more unstructured and quiet. That just means we will be full of posts and things to talk about later!

We appreciate your patience and continued readership and promise to go back to a regular schedule in a bit. For now....just a little "us" time as we enjoy our family together.

L and J (and P)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ᓇᓪᓕᐅᓂᖅᓯᐅᑦᓯᐊᕆᑦ - Nalliuniqsiutsiarit (Happy Birthday)

Does anyone remember the movie Benjamin Button? Lily has a cool characteristic in common with the main character. Despite the fact that the rest of us grow older as we reach successive birthdays, Lily appears to suffer the opposite effect. I swear, she looks no different that when I first met her, and even from photos predating that monumental occasion. Yesterday was Lily's birthday, and although she is chronologically older, you wouldn't know it by looking at her.

Pepper was really excited for Mommy's birthday...a little too excited. One of the side benefits of fixing your dog is that their energy levels tend to decrease. In Pepper's case, if that happened, it was either on a scale too small for the human eye, or he went from stratospheric to merely ridiculous. In other words, no apparent change.

I won't go into excessive detail about how we spent her birthday, but suffice to say, she was really surprised, and happy, I think. I believe it's important to make the extra effort, given how far away we are from many of our friends and family, although that will change very soon (the distance, not the effort part). It did include breakfast in bed, which she loved. I worry, though, that if I bring her breakfast in bed every morning, it will cheapen the specialness of the gesture, but she is adamant that it won't happen. I guess we'll see if she's right :-)

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife, Lily. You are everything I've ever hoped for, and I feel incredibly blessed to have you in my life. I love you.


Monday, September 16, 2013

A Day to Remember

Saturday, September 14th will be remembered as one of the most eventful days in the history of our time in Baker Lake. Not because many different things happened, but the few things that did were of historical significance. First, Pepper. Our favourite Yorkie went under the knife Saturday morning to remove some extra teeth, and received a courtesy neutering at the same time. When I arrived home, I learned that Pepper was confused, disoriented, and walking like he was drunk - amazing how much he resembles his daddy sometimes. :-p

Aww, I need a hug!

Poor thing isn't allowed to jump on the furniture or play with chew toys for a week, his two favourite past times by far. On the bright side, the vet said he is the perfect weight, and is in excellent health, so we must be doing a good job at keeping him healthy and happy. Also, while most dogs need a few hours to recover from the anaesthesia, Pepper was awake and moving almost immediately after his operation. He spent the majority of the evening staying close to mommy, and seems to be in much better spirits after sleeping through the night. He will probably still be a little tender when we fly home, which we are hoping translates into a more docile experience this time around. Though with the amount of energy he's showing today, he seems to be back to his normal, not-docile-at-all self.

The other newsworthy event was that Lily and I got our first real taste of caribou, when we were given a beautiful portion of fresh meat (we think it was either by the shoulder or a hindquarter?) For the uninitiated, caribou is very lean, compared to beef, and like most wild game, possesses a unique flavour that is hard to describe. Being the culinary whiz that she is, Lily served up a delicious slow-cooked caribou roast with a thick gravy, complete with creamy mashed potatoes and plenty of steamed veggies. The taste is wholly different from any I've tried before, but equally tasty. We also saved part and cut it into cubes for a stew to be made later. Caribou was a dish we were very excited to try, and the wait was worth it.

Now we have to start worrying about packing - a stressful event in our household, but when we stop to consider why we have to start packing, we find ourselves remarkably more excited to get the process started.


Friday, September 13, 2013

The Buddy Fund

We've spoken about the care of animals here in Baker before - particularly of dogs in general. We even ended up growing our family rather unexpectedly when we adopted Pepper from one of the families here. That being said, there is an organization here called the Buddy Fund that does amazing work to care for the family, pets and other animals within the community.

The Buddy Fund was actually recognized in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly earlier this week - this is an excerpt from the transcript:

The Buddy Fund supports the Canadian Animal Assistance Team in bringing veterinarians into the community for clinics, vaccinations, spays and neutering. One of the objectives of the Canadian Animal Assistance Team is also to support local mushers in keeping dog sledding and good sled dog lines alive.

The vet clinic starts tomorrow, and the team of volunteer doctors provide vaccinations, spaying and neutering for the community at no charge to families. We have Pepper's appointment scheduled to have him fixed and to catch up any vaccinations we missed when we were home last, and it's a service that we are so grateful for. (Our vet at home quoted us $700 to fix Pepper). Additionally, the Buddy Fund also provides dog houses, leashes, chains and even food for pets if a family needs it.

With so many mistreated animals around town, it's nice to know that there is a dedicated group of volunteers and animal-lovers who are working hard to provide the basic necessities for these animals to have a good life. I know we feel much better knowing that if we can't get south for Pepper's annual checkups/vaccinations, there are wonderful providers who come here annually.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So long, summer!

For those of you that follow the television series Game of Thrones, you'll recognize the oft-quoted phrase "winter is coming". As Lily mentioned in our last post, summer left us far too soon. Granted, autumn is the season that normally precedes snow, but without any trees, it's really hard to determine visually when that season is occurring. We went from warm days and cool nights to...snow flurries. I honestly think autumn lasted about twenty minutes this year.

Seriously, summer was much shorter and cooler this year than last, which makes me wonder if we are going to have a longer, colder winter ahead. If that's the case, I'm glad we're bugging out when we are. We're just praying that the inclement weather holds off long enough for our flight to exit Baker Lake. Oh, and maybe let us land and leave Rankin Inlet, too.

By the way, if anyone reading this knows of a way to safely and humanely calm a Yorkshire Terrier, we're open to ideas. We have tried a variety of methods, with varying results. There are dog treats that purport to contain calming ingredients, and while Pepper is happy to eat them, their cumulative effect appears to have no effect, or not significant of one to make a difference.

We tried using a product called BioCalm, which was recommended by a vet. It possesses a rather unpleasant odour, and our dog wants nothing to do with it. We even bought him a Thundershirt, which is a velcro-wrapped T-shirt that tightly hugs a dog's ribcage. It is supposed to mimic a hug, which makes a dog calm down. Based on what we've experienced so far, we need a ThunderStraitjacket instead.

On a brighter note, I finally have a source for caribou meat. Lily and I have been anxious to try it, and I look forward to crossing it off my bucket list. That just leaves muktuk (whale blubber), but I need a little more courage to make that happen.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Too Soon!

Note: September 8 was the first time we saw flurries here in Baker Lake this season.
Also note: The three of us were MOST displeased. (especially Pepper, who was soaked after his walk)

It later turned to rain and melted away, but it was enough to make me grumpy-faced. September 8? Come on now! That is...just plain wrong.

Also, there were flurries this morning on my way to work. You can safely say that I've got an official case of the Mondays now. 

Our current mantra: 2 more weeks. 2 more weeks. 2! More! Weeks!! :)


Friday, September 6, 2013

Stress Kryptonite

Lately, I've noticed a slight spring in my step at work, and the typical daily stressors have been strangely muted. On the one hand, I could contribute this to being more familiar with the office routines, and projecting a more positive attitude. I would be kidding myself, though. The real reason, I've no doubt, is the upcoming departure of our family back to Ontario.

Keeping that thought in the back of my mind is like stress kryptonite – nothing can bring me down when I have that thought floating in the back of my mind, and I imagine Lily feels the same way.  Don’t get me wrong – the first two factors I mentioned are helping as well, but the subtle wave of euphoria owes most of its existence to the near-imminent vacation.

Which reminds me, I have to start collating all of the rough notes I've jotted down and transform them into a stellar best man speech for my brother’s October nuptials.  Calling it ‘stellar’ is, I realize, is a bit superfluous – it is my speech, after all. J Still, my brother played the same role at my wedding last year, and he did me justice, so I have to respond in kind.

I think it’s a shame we don’t generate the opportunities to tell our family and friends how highly we think of them more often. The two most common times we say nice things about each other is at weddings, and unfortunately, funerals. That’s why I've enjoyed this process so much – going back through memories of childhood, adolescence, and growing up together, it’s been enlightening to remember all of the great qualities my brother possesses. I would list them here, but that might make my speech redundant and who wants to read a 500…sorry, 5000 word blog post?

It’s funny to think that between Adam’s wedding and my friend Tim’s wedding, and re-connecting with friends and family, we will have to try to squeeze some actual vacation time in. I’m sure we’ll manage, somehow.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Changing of the Seasons...

We had one last warm day over the weekend and it's been cool ever since...we turned on the furnace today and I've a feeling it's going to be staying on for a while (read: months) now. I actually had to wear mittens on the way home from work because I was so chilled.

With the changing of the seasons, the landscape is starting to change and that makes me sad. The fields are no longer the vibrant greens from the wild grass or purple from the lovely flowers. It's starting to turn brown with deep pockets of red as the weather gets colder and the nights get longer.

It's also been quite cloudy these days so we've started taking our vitamin D again just to combat the transition into shorter days. It reminds me of when we were popping vitamin D like it was candy, just a few short months ago...and how I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to summer just yet.

It feels like it was so fleeting; the long days, the clear skies, the beautiful blue of the lake....we are trying to take Pepper out more often but even as we start layering his sweaters and jackets on him, the poor thing is shivering so violently even as we walk around the block. Even he must know that winter is coming and his walks will be few and far between because he gets dressed like a trooper even though he hates it, just so he can get one more walk in.

We're all grasping on to the last remnants of summer with every fiber of our beings - not quite ready to let go before we face the dark, cold months ahead. One day soon I'll talk about how lovely it is to breathe in crisp, cool air; or how pretty the ice sparkles like diamonds under the starlight. For today though, I'll hold on to our summer for a little longer and absorb every bit of it that I can.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Time Warp

A steal at only $20!
Sometimes I feel like we live in a time warp and certain things here never technologically advanced the way that we're used to. Maybe we're from the future and this is like a strange re-enactment of Back to the Future....hrmmm. I may be on to something here.

Where else in 2013 do you find people looking for VHS players (and lamenting that the stores only sell DVD/Blu-Ray players), tape decks and rotary phones? This is the only place that I know of that can sell cassette tapes for $20 or original Nintendo games for the same price as it would have cost retail when they first came out. It makes me nostalgic, that's for sure.

Not to say that there aren't advances here as well. Many people are glued to cell phones everywhere you turn, iPods, houses with multiple satellite's a funny mixture of old and new technology. Things don't seem to depreciate in value here, which is good for when you're leaving and want to sell your stuff, I suppose. You can typically get what you pay for an item even after you've been hanging on to it for a while. It's a strange phenomenon. If you're ever missing the 80s (and really, who doesn't?), come on up and it'll feel like you're right back in it!