August 25, 2010

June 17, 2010

Exit Pang, Enter Qik...

Well, I've officially left Pangnirtung and, though I may have some teaching assignments there in the future, my home right now is the small hamlet of Qikiqtarjuaq, just north of the Arctic Circle. As a result, I can't stay at 'pang-bound'...instead, I'm putting together a whole new look. By the time I head north again, I will have a better site designed to keep you updated on my adventures - because 'adventures' is the only word you can use to describe anything in my life these days!

June 12, 2010

Time to look for dog poo...

And so the previous post was a midnight picture...this one is taken at noon. Not much of a change, I know.

Today I woke up and all I could think of was 'camping'. I had left the window open to air out all that nasty dog smell (which didn't entirely work BTW) and when I woke up, the dogs and I were wrapped like a chihuahua fajita with a cold nose.

Now that I have my coffee in hand, things are starting to look up. I still have to find some rogue spot of 'dog sickness' somewhere, but I'll keep my nose in my coffee cup until I start the search. I was so close to getting out of this housing unit without any serious dog emergencies!

Lesson: Be really careful with your garbage...I don't even know the extent of what was in there let alone what the two of them consumed. Now, if you can believe it, this is actually the cleaned up *censored* version of my place. Nasty.

More later...boxes await...

It still smells like vomit...

I just made it home, and this picture is one I snapped of Duval. It's not a masterpiece and I'm using a crappy camera, but I thought it would be nice to document what it looks like at midnight. It's actually brighter this picture makes out.

So this time next week I'll be in Qikiqtarjuaq. It's becoming more real now...I literally spent the last 12 hours at school doing work. Evaluations. Reports. Cleaning. Organizing. Blah, blah, the list goes on. But it's done now. I locked up the school at 11:39 and started the trek home.

Walking home tonight I realized that it was the first time I was actually out that late since I moved here 10 months ago. In Ottawa I was out until 2 am at least once a week, but here I don't think I've roamed around later than 7 pm (unless I had my skidoo). That certainly is an eye-opener to what my life is!

I unlocked my door tonight and was greeted not by just the dogs, but one of the most vile smells I've encountered in more than three decades. Nasty. You see, last night I had been cleaning out my fridge and cupboards of stuff that had expired; to fill up the bag, I added a bunch of the dogs' used pee pads (yes, they're house trained). Unfortunately, I forgot to take it out this morning. And there must've been something that smelled good. The butter wrapper was licked clean and there were rancid rice-filled grape leaves all over the kitchen. There was a soggy ginger snap halfway down the step and a big pile of vomit at the bottom. Nasty. Who knows what else they ate! Perhaps I'll find out later when it works its way out one end or the other.

I have someone from the housing office coming to inspect the place on Monday, and I have finally decided that it's not worth the stress of cleaning it out on my own. I'm just going to hire someone. I know that, for some, this is the height of laziness. I don't care. I refuse to feel guilty for starting my vacation and packing boxes is frustrating enough!

I'm working up to a sealift for this year; I couldn't face trying to buy everything in the north again. Using the company I'll actually be able to get the goods delivered by mid-August! Now that's impressive (and so is the price tag).

Hmmm...I would like to go to Greece.

Well, I guess that'll be it for today.

June 09, 2010

Today's post... post today can be found here...

June 08, 2010

Yes, I'm procrastinating...

So I'm watching Hell's Kitchen...bizarre. It's like a loose tooth. It hurts when you push the root back against the gum, but for some reason you do it anyway. Chef Ramsay just railed a contestant for the quality of her poached egg. I guess if you want to walk you have to learn to crawl, but he's so nasty about it! And you know what? With that British accent, we let him. I call it the 'Simon Cowell Effect'. There you go.

Now that the snow is gone, The Beast is just a huge chunk of metal parked out by my garbage box. Good news, though. One of my students in on the Co-op's executive board and, last night, she stepped up. When I got the thing, I had so many problems. Pull cords, plugs, starters, sprockets...all of this and trying to figure out how to operate the thing. I was unsure of the terrain and too nervous to adventure up and down the mountains. Basically, for the entire dark season I stuck to the roads and scraped my skis to shit (not just the runners). Because of the crappy service I received last November, I'm going to get all the parts I need restrictions! Saa-weet! That will be one last thing to focus on for the sealift.

Ok, I got lost on a tangent. The reason I started to mention The Beast in the first place was because, without it, I have to walk. That - along with the 24 hour sunshine - gives me so much time to check out the scenery. Pangnirtung Fjord. Mt. Duval. Those are two sites I see every day, and I will really miss them. In one week I'll be sousing out the sights of Qikiqtarjuaq.

Didn't I tell you this week's posts would wax poetic?

June 06, 2010

A few last looks...

The school year has officially ended here in Pang...well, classes have. I don't actually have much to do after that; I've kept up-to-date on my marking and supply-ordering, so most of what I have left is packing and prepping for the move. Fortunately, my job is going to take care of most of that stuff, but I'll still have to wrap the dishes and find a way to transport some pretty crazy dogs and artwork. The fantastic news is that I've convinced my employer to move 'The Beast' with no cost to me.

Yesterday a group of us went out to enjoy the weather for the day; it was sunny, warm, and a BBQ is just what the doctor ordered. I wasn't sure how the whole thing was going to turn out but, with a 'celebration budget' from the college, the group of us thought...why not?

This whole year has been such an interesting amalgam of 'firsts'. No matter how you look at it, you can never truly walk into a situation with an absolutely objective palate. I admit to having a few myself. For some reason, yesterday had me thinking about quite a few of them. Take, for example, the scenery. How many of you in the south think the word 'tundra' and imagine a flat, snowy desert. Be honest now. Isn't that what our high school geography teachers taught us? Now check out this...
This would be on the way up the mountain.

Walking through the town is always interesting. No one in Nova Scotia can dock a boat in quite the same way, nor can clothes be found stretched in a comparable fashion.

I suppose the next week or so of posts is going to be rather sentimental...the last vestiges of a year in a new community. I've lived in quite a few places and have gone through several waves of culture shock in my life and, despite the brushes with truly negative experiences, I would have to say that Pangnirtung was a great place to live for 10 months. For more than that? I guess I'll never know. last look down on the hamlet of Pang spliced by the tiny airstrip, the crushed ice of the shore, the cuticle of the breakwater, and the background of the Cumberland Sound.

June 02, 2010

From Pang to Qik...

Up until this point, it hasn't really registered in my immediate consciousness that I'll be leaving Pangnirtung soon. There always seemed to be more classes to teach, more papers to mark, and just...more. Not so true anymore. I have exactly 2 more weeks here before my snowmobile, my chihuahuas, and my was too many books move to Qikiqtarjuaq. Qikiqtarjuaq, a small community north of Pang, is where I've been transferred. It seems weird to be leaving, but I'm looking forward to a new adventure.

First negative part about moving? I don't know anyone who can split a sealift order with me. I'm not really sure how much I will need, but I'm sure it'd be more cost effective to share a shipment. I'll need bunches of dog food, flour, and skidoo parts - all very expensive in the north - but, other than that, Canada Post can take care of.

Anyway, the time has come to log out...I have no creativity tonight.

Mt Duval...again.

Now that my parents have left and my qiniq subscription has been renewed, I have no more reason to stay away from this blog. You see, both of my parents had blogs to tend to when they were here and, when they weren't keeping in touch with the outside world, we were out doing things. This meant that I was able to go ages without logging in. Oops!

Ok, ok...I guess the last journey out was, again, to the tip of Mount Duval. As long-term readers might remember, I made it to the peak last August; it was the first time I was really able to appreciate the beauty of this place. I think I had been in Pang for about 4 or 5 days, and the panarama from up there was literally breathtaking. Up there, with the solitary road snaking hundreds of feet below, was definitely a new experiece...I've never really lived around mountains before.

Now, although the journey 10 months ago was excruciatingly steep (we missed the fact that there was a more gradual ascent in the back), this year there were other challenges to face. I was convinced that it would be easier now that I knew about the alternate path...I was sorely disappointed. Instead of the 4 hours it took last August, it took us 7 hours to complete the trip; thank god for PB and J sandwiches! This (on the right) is what most of the climb looked like...if you look really carefully at that picture, you can see me and the tiny figure of my dad farther along. Huge chunks of rocks everywhere. When this wasn't the view, then this was the view...
Isn't this an amazing view of Cumberland Sound and Pangnirtung from above? Beautiful. Although I'll be in Qikiqtarjuaq at this time next year, I think this is a picture that will stay with me. Pang has such a distinctive look (for me, at least), that it will be forever in my mind. Check it out...have you ever seen such a small chunk of land spliced with a teeny tiny airstrip which takes nerves of steel to land on? Seriously? There's nothing like the flight into Pang.

Anyway, back to the hike. Heading to the summit was so discouraging at times! We would be heading along a promising path until, all of a sudden, we were cut off with swathes of waist-deep snow. This led to a fair amount of doubling back and trying to find an alternate route. My parents were hell-bent on making it to the top, though, so I kept going with my mouth shut when my muscles started their husky mountain yodeling. It was always "just one more ridge". For anyone who's tried to climb it - which excludes a surprising number of locals - this frustrating characteristic is realized very soon. Just when you think you're almost at the top you reach a point which introduces a whole new stack of rocks to climb.

We did make it though...

Mom and dad got some awesome yoga pose pictures but, unfortunately, my camera died on the ridge below; I still have to scam the ones I like from my dad's new digital wonder.

Once we reached the top and drank some fantastic crystal clear water we scooped up from a stream, we had to face the daunting descent. Let me tell you: I was not looking forward to so much back tracking and circling. My feet and ankles hurt, my body was so tired, and all I could think of was the ton of homework I had to complete for the following day. So we took a few shortcuts. Yes, that's a picture of me sliding head-first down a patch of snow on a garbage bag. Now, the first time I tried this, it was great...with a smooth swoosh I was at the bottom. Somehow, though, the snow was different here and all I could do is pull myself along with my arms. I was laughing so hard I thought I wouldn't be able to make it past the first few meters.

That's Mount Duval on a beautiful Victoria Day weekend...I can't wait to see what Qik has to offer in the way of hiking opportunities!

May 19, 2010

The lament of a lonely Cat...

I spoke too soon...I started out my last post with an observation that, perhaps, I should've kept secret from The Powers That Be; I simply stated that I hadn't been subject to a whole lot of  'precipitation' walking to and from work. Sorry fellow Pangnirtung residents - I think I was responsible for the morning of wet and nasty snow we received yesterday. Although it had disappeared by lunch, the nature of beast left me soaked by the time I got to school. I miss being able to take The Beast over the ice and the faint smell of gas in my hair any snowmobile leaves . Strange, I know.

Actually, pictures show it best:

...about 3 weeks ago...

...about 2 weeks ago...

I suppose this means my Cat is retired for the season. Right now all I have to do is get someone to look at it and help me prep it for storage as well as compile a list of things which may come in handy in Qik next year. I definitely need new skis, a few extra sets of carbides, another belt (just in case), and a replacement for a piece of the starter system. I don't know the particular name of it, but I know what it does and what the problem is. The nasty rattling I've been hearing for the past few months - the one which sounds like a rock caught up underneath somehow, is actually caused by this mechanism. Anyway, I need a list of things to buy in the south and throw on my sealift order...the deadline to which, I might add, is dangerously close.

Well, I suppose that's it for my 'lunch-time entry'. Back to work for me! Perhaps I'll update you on my Bingo prowess next time instead of boring you with, like the title says, the 'lament of a lonely Cat'.

May 17, 2010

Derby drama...

Walking home from school today it occured to me how few times I've had to travel around in the snow or rain. Why? I'm not really sure. Could it be that everything gets dumped during school hours? At night? I just don't know. As far as I can remember it appeared, then the sun. I didn't notice the change until it had happened. Selective memory; I really believe I only notice the extremes up here.

So this is a pic of Pang from uptown. It looks so different without the snow! I don't remember what it looked like in the fall.

Anyway, this is the first foray into the events during my internet AWOL session. The Fishing Derby. Ah, what a rush. There was originally a question about whether I should go. I really wanted my parents to get the chance to ice fish, but I knew the melt was full-on. I didn't really trust 'The Beast' to keep us safe...nasty skis, fried carbides, and a mysterious scraping sound along the left side of the hood. Eeek!

I think I probably would've given up if I hadn't thought it would be the last of the snow and ice. I bought some carbides made to fit gawd knows what kind of machine and a jerry can full of gas. I got a neighbour to drill some holes into the bottoms of my skis to patch everything together. This pic shows the full thing through the screen of one of my windows...and I think this flip is where the scratches on the back end of my Cat got started.

The day of the derby started out bright and early with the packing of emergency kits and lunch bags. We had gotten our licenses the week before and were set on the legal front (as much as can be expected). The night before, my mom was on Skype with her brother in Kelowna, learning how to tie the perfect knot so by the time we were ready to go, our lures were firmly attached to my two trusty wooden spoons (more on that later).

To get onto the ice here in Pang, you have to get through a forest of ice shards about a baseball field long. This is pretty standard from what I can tell; Pangnirtung Fjord has tides which roar second only to the Bay of Fundy. Incredible. This is a picture of my mom and me on the crushed shore. This is what I needed to get my snowmobile through, over, and under. Ho. Lee. Crap!

Because of the temperature, the surface slush was incredibly deep and, at times, simply puddled water. About three minutes after our journey began we had to give 'er over a patch about 2 meters wide and a half a meter deep. I didn't think I'd be able to make it through. Without that speed. in fact, I knew I wouldn't. Three minutes in, and I was already soaked. The water smashed over the windshield and into my parents on the back the side splash more fully.

Yes, my parents. There were three adults piled on The Beast that day for a trek two hours out and two hours back. Yeeowch! Back end suspension? Check.

So we made it out without flipping. I was so impressed with myself! Balancing the weight over the ice chunks and rocks is something that took time to learn, but I was a master. I suppose it would've been kind of funny to watch. To counteract the tipping, I had to literally stand and lean 90 degrees in the other direction. Seriously!

So, after passing several abandoned snowmobiles and qamatiks wedged into the ice, we finally got to the lake and came over the crest of the hill; the panorama was amazing. Not only was the scene completely out of a postcard, but what seemed like the entire hamlet was out there! I wish my camera had a setting which could capture it all.

Now comes the wooden spoon. Jigging for fish. I never really spent too much time thinking about jigging paraphernalia. Truth be told...jigging paraphernalia in Nova Scotia means shoes and a fiddle! All you need to fish at a derby is a wooden spoon, fishing line, and a lure. Tie it all together, and this is what you awesome meal the next day.

Although I am skilled in certain endeavors - I am particularly talented in sleeping - I have learned that fishing is beyond me. Boo. Kneeling on the ice over a hole, wooden spoon in hand, and waiting. Not waiting for a stove bell to ring, but waiting for a jerk on the line. My dad mentioned fishing in Haida Gwaii which consists of boating out through the rubble of  rocks, hooking up rods, then cracking a beer. A thermos of coffee on Baffin Island is the same somehow; it's the drink that fits the environment.

Well, I wasn't a successful fisherwoman, but my license is good for another year. My dad, on the other hand, 'rocked the casbah'. Although he didn't win the derby (and the accompanying $7,000), we got to take home a great char to chow down on. Caught, cleaned, and cooked up near the Arctic Circle!

Oh yes, of course, you need a pic of the fish. Ta da!!

...and mom's infamous 'Bog Boots'...

May 15, 2010

The eagle has landed...

You know what's difficult? When you have a blog, you write and write, and you ask for comments...and no one says anything. The ultimate frustration? Stopping. When you stop, only then do you figure out your readership. It's kind of a shame.

Anyway, I guess that means I'll be starting up again; Pang Bound has returned to the blogosphere!

Now how do I catch up? My parents have been here for almost a month, 'The Beast' (my snowmobile) has had its turn of harrowing excursions, the local fishing derby kicked butt, I'm a kickass radio-Bingo player, loonie-toonie bread machines rock, math modules make me want to vomit, my pups are lovin' the walks they get in the warm weather. Oh...and I'll be leaving Pang in about a month. I'll be 'Qikiqtarjuaq Bound' this time next year! Yup, more polar bears, fewer people, and new adventures to write about.

I'll be back to elaborate sometime soon...

April 09, 2010

One Nation Under Dog...

The book I'm reading right now is called One Nation Under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food. It starts with the author promising to his wife that they wouldn't become those people after adopting their St.Bernard. Those people who buy the Kong chews when a dog would prefer something a whole lot cheaper. Travelling en masse (leaving the family pet is no longer an option). Spending money on pet health insurance when we don't have a dental plan ourselves. Anyway, you get the drift...

April 08, 2010

I want pictures!

Grrr...I have some great stories to tell. Well, things that I feel like writing about anyway. Unfortunately, I think my monthly gigs are almost up (that's what I get for downloading all those audiobooks); it looks as though I'll have to call to get some more internet usage, then write my stories. I have pictures that they just won't do without. Tomorrow night, I suppose.


April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

These days it gets bright around 4:30 in the morning; I know this because I've been staying up way too late and sleeping away most of the day. And, if you can believe it, this is not not the worst habit I have! Fortunately, the curtains I have keep out the sun,

April 03, 2010

New stuff...

So, I'm back! Yes, it's true...your wayward Pangnirtung blogger has been AWOL for, truthfully, no good reason. It's the strangest thing; though recordable things have happened, I haven't actually added anything here for 2 weels. Part of the reason for this is, I think, because I've been on a less 'rigid' schedule than regular.

March 16, 2010


Woohoo! Internet's back up! Yes, it's true, what's a blogger to do without it? Today I got my modem fixed in just enough time for my snowmobile to go on the fritz again. Perhaps it's too much to ask for both at the same time.

March 15, 2010

Qiniq and Cracker Jacks...

I read an email today from a guy who said something along the lines of : what does a blogger do when his/her internet is down? That isn't a preface to a 'lightbulb-type''s an honest question. What do we do indeed?

March 09, 2010

The northern kitchen...

A few weeks ago I entered that hallowed place...the online ordering section of the Chapters website. I couldn't help myself. After keeping to a relatively strict diet of W Network weekend tv shows, I decided that I wanted to try out some of the cookbooks that were so often reviewed. So here it is...

'The Joy of Cooking' (75th Anniversary Edition) and Jamie Oliver's 'Cook With Jamie'. Now, although it's not a very original idea, I'm going to head into the realm of foodie blogs anyway. No, I don't expect any type of movie to develop from the key-tapping here (a la 'Julie and Julia'), but I think it'll be a nice way to keep things recorded. Not only that,'s a northern foodie blog with a southern book. Can you imagine how many substitutions I'm going to have to make? That will be my challenge.

Check it all out at:

Hope to hear from you there!