Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waiting on the whale



The town is buzzing because the whale is on it's way into town.

Cape Dorset was lucky to be one of the few (three I think) Nunavut towns who have been given permission to hunt bowhead this year. There was a moratorium placed on their hunting in the 60's and they now allow a very limited few to be caught every year. To get the hunt is quite an honour and the town has been excitedly waiting for it to start all summer. The last 2 weeks the crew have been out looking for one and today it all came together.

The talk started around lunch time that 'they got the whale'. Then around 6 we heard that it was in so we excitedly packed up and went out to the beach. Turns out it was a false alarm. The hunters where still quite a ways out and the boats had supposedly run out of gas so some of them came in to get more. We now hear that they should be in around midnight so we sit and wait. I'm not much for dead things but you can't help but catch the fever. Seeing it will be a once in a lifetime thing for most people here. It's been so long since a bowhead was caught in the area that most of the town, even some of the elders, have never seen one. I'm truely excited to add this to my northern experience.


We've decided that no matter how late it is we're going to go check it out because we'd like to see it all in one piece. I'm told that it will take days to get it all butchered it's that big. They are also going to be on polar bear watch because the smell of the carcase is sure to attract them. Maybe I'll get lucky and get to see my first bear too.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have pictures for you.

A few quick facts about bowheads:
-They can grow up to 20 meters in length and can weigh up to 136 tonnes.
-They have the record for the larges mouth of any animal in the world.
-They can stay under water for as long as 40 minutes at a time.
-New born calves weigh approximately 1000 pounds.
-These whales can live up to 150 to 200 years and are believed to be the longest living mammal on earth.
-Their only real predators are orcas and humans.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

'Green' with envy?



I bought a carving today. It seems to be a common theme with some of the 'new to the north' bloggers and I totally get their excitement. When Nick and I got here we bought so many carvings that we finally had to put a moratorium on it. Now we only buy if something is really special which doesn't always happen from the house to house salesmen. Well, special showed up at my door today and I couldn't resist.

The bear was carved by Noah Kelly who we have bought from before for other people. His trademark pointy headed bear is one I've admired but didn't have any of my own. The reason he's so special? He's green! The rock is green serpentine I'm told and it's hard to come by around here. Noah said he hadn't carved with it since he was a little boy. I have to say that the quality of the carving and the polishing is a little lacking. Even a novice like me can see that. But even so, for me the color made it a must buy. I liked the shape too. He's called a smelling bear as his head is up, smelling the air, hoping to catch a whiff of seal for dinner.

Mom, he needs a name. You always have suggestions on such things.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Newbie visits Cape Dorset



Today Oliver and I got to meet Sarah from Newbie in the arctic. She's been in town since Wednesday and I was happy she was able to fit us in to her busy schedule. We had lunch and and a great chat and it was a delightful afternoon. What a treat to meet another northern blogger and get to know the person behind the writing. I hope we get to hook up again sometime, maybe in Pang next time? You owe me lunch :)





Merman











Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Meat and potatoes



With his mom coming to town, Nick has been anticipating some good old mom cooking. Tonight was his first taste and she didn't disappoint him in the least. We had roast beef, roasted potatoes and corn, one of his favorite meals. I have attempted to make this same meal from him a few times but I just can't seem to make a decent roast beef. I'd imagine I'd get better at it if I tried more often but honestly, I don't like roast beef. I'm not a 'meat and potatoes' person. Don't get me wrong, I'm a carnivore and really love cow, I just don't enjoy slow roasted meat for some reason. This weekend we're having a huge turkey and Nick just can't wait.

On a completely different note... Today Oliver and I had our first play date in a while. Meaghan and Mercedes are back from their long vacation down south. It was great to have them back in town and Oliver was really happy to see Mercedes again. The only thing missing was Jen and Ezri. The kids kept trying for the same toys over and over and we almost ended up with baby UFC a few times. It was pretty cute. Nice to have you back guys, we'll do it again soon.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An eventful day



Today has been a little more interesting than the usual ho-hum that goes on in my life. Not that I don't like my life but the daily routine of being a mom just isn't that exciting sometimes. Now, when I tell you about it you may feel sorry for me that this is what I consider eventful but that's ok. It all started out as a regular morning. I went to the airport at 930 to start my shift and then....

I got to meet Leona Aglukkaq who had just arrived. In case you don't know, that's Canada's health minister. Today was her stop in Cape Dorset on her tour of the aboriginal communities. It was just a quick hello and welcome to Cape Dorset. She asked about Oliver (who was my co-worker today) and she told me she had a one year old at home. It's not like I think meeting her is a big deal cause she's just an regular person but still, something you don't do everyday.

Next, Oliver was 'recognised'. Someone asked if he was the baby from 'Babies and Bulldogs'. I was excited because it was someone I didn't know. It was a nice confirmation that people are reading.

And then.... one of the passengers today turned out to be someone that I went to Mount Allison University with a lifetime ago. He recognised me and after a few 'where are you from, do you know so and so' questions we figured out where we knew each other from. He's been travelling to the north for the last 10 years as a teacher and then as a carving buyer. I got to catch up on a few people I haven't thought of in years and once again confirmed that it really is a small world.

And finally, we have a visitor!! Oliver's Grammy (Nick's mom) arrive this evening on a much delayed flight. Unfortunately, by the time she got here O was so exhausted that he was was fast asleep before the tour of the town was over so they barely got to see each other. It's so nice to have another adult in the house to talk to. I love my husband but we are together 24/7 and we don't really do anything so there is only so much to talk about. Another voice is a welcome change... for a 2 week visit anyway.

Well, that wraps up my eventful day. Not exactly a day that rates on the southern exciting day scale but for my life lately, it was a good one.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

And the winners are.....



I am pleased to announce the winners of this round of P(l)ay it Forward. Drrrrrrrrr (this is supposed to be a drum roll) If I call your name, please stand up and take a bow! Julie in Atlanta! Sarah in Pang!! and Nicole in Saint John!!!

I'm thrilled that the winners are from a wide spread area so the acts of kindness will reach farther out in the world. I hope you keep up your end of the bargain by doing something nice for someone in the next little while and encourage them to continue the trend. Spread the love people! If you're one of the winners please send me an email at morena steeves at gmail dot com (no spaces) with your address and I'll get your prize in the mail this week.

Thanks for everyone who chose to play and congrats to the winners.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

If you can't beat 'em, make money off 'em.


I'm sure there are many of you out there who read or at least have heard of HeatherArmstrong. Her blog Dooce is pretty well known, especially among the moms of the world. I became aware of her on Oprah last season during that wildly informative show about the dirty secrets mom's keep on how they feel about and deal with motherhood. After seeing her on the show I was loaned her book and now I often check out her posts. I will be the first to admit that she's not my favorite blogger and found her book a little bit more than whiny. Having said that I do find her entertaining.

Anyway, the reason I bring her up is because no matter how I feel about her writing, I now think she's genius on a whole other level. Her post yesterday was all about her hate mail, or hate comments I guess I should say. On the suggestion of a friend he has decided to publish all her hate mail for us to enjoy... and the kicker? She has put adds all over it so she makes money off the crazy, hateful and just plain mean things people say. I read through the the first 8 pages or so and I must say I was was blown away. I'm fine with people disagreeing with her opinions but I can't believe people are so hateful on things like her looks, her marriage or what her kid wore to school the first day. Check it out if you want a good laugh, it's called Monetizing the Hate and it's worth a quick look. I'm sure she and her kids college fund will thank you.

On a personal note... Reading the comments made me think about my experience with this type of thing, like when Nick and I went to Las Vegas this past May. While going through the airport one of the baggage screeners made a point to comment on the amautik vest that I was wearing Oliver in. Her exact quote was 'I don't agree with that, that's not safe'. Nick was quick to comment back on how that was how everyone does it 'where we come from'. It was the same when Nick played 'airplane' with O. (See below. Oliver LOVED this but he's too big and heavy now) It never bothered me at all but there was no shortage of people saying he shouldn't do it, that it wasn't safe.

It annoys me that people feel the need to criticize other people so openly. Sure, I have my opinions on how others may parent or things people say on their blogs but my mother taught me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all. Unless someone is abusing their child (or their dog) I would never put in my unsolicited 2 cents. Just because it's not my way doesn't make it wrong.

He was 10 weeks old here.

Damn spacing problem.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The finished product


I've been working on a summer amautik the last few weeks and it's finally finished...just in time to get out my winter one.



BTW: Great spot for double-faced quilted fabric is Elkabee. It's not cheap but they have a great selection.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Snow Day




We've had flurries here a few times this month but no real snow yet. Today we finally had some that stayed and I was very excited. Tanko was too, he ran around like a crazy dog. Unfortunately it only lasted about 2 hours then the temperature went up and it started raining. It's gonna be muddy tomorrow!!!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's my turn



Welcome to the next round of P(l)ay It Forward.

Last month Kara held a draw on her blog to win a prize. It was simple, anyone who wanted to enter only had to leave a comment on her post to participate. Then after a few days she drew names to choose the winners and those lucky people received a hand made gift as a prize. The catch... You then had to pass on your good fortune to someone else.

I was one of the lucky winners and today in the mail I received my prize. It was a jar of Kara's home made dandelion syrup. I had never even heard of this delicacy before so I was very excited to try it. I have to say it's amazing! Kara said it's best on pancakes and very nice in tea. Well, I thought it was great on my peanut butter toast and super yummy straight up. Thank you very much Kara, we will enjoy every drop.



So now I have to keep up my end of the bargain and have a draw of my own. The rules- Leave a comment on this post anytime this week. I'll draw three names on Sunday who will be declared the winners of this round and will receive a gift by mail. Then it's your turn. Please note: You don't have to be a blogger to participate, and you don't have to hold a contest if you win. I just hope you do something nice for a couple of people to keep the acts of kindness going.


Good luck all!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thanks Christa for making me think


I read something today that has really stuck with me. Christa in Gjoa Haven wrote, "I was told that Southerners come North for one three main reasons. To be a missionary, and save the North. To be a mercenary, and get something out of it for themselves. To be a misfit, or perhaps because they are a misfit."

I'm not sure why but I just can't shake this statement from my brain. My first thought was that it's soooo true. I'll be the first to admit I'd fall under the mercenary category. We decided to come north as a quick fix for our debts and hopefully the ability to choose our next posting. Having said that, I hope that I came with an open mind and the desire to learn about the local culture. I hope that I contribute to norther society and give back at least a little. After thinking about it for a while this is what I've come up with. I think it's possible to come here for one reason and end up being happy here for others. Money won't keep you sane for the years you're here. Save the north? If that means imposing southern standards, it's not going to happen. And I don't know that it should. Misfits are just people who look at life from a different angle than most.

Why are you here?


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Questions I'd love to ask my dog


-What is it about the broom (swiffer, mop, guitar hero guitar, garbage can, rubbermaid tub, didgeridoo, food dish, box vacuum, suitcase...) that scares you so much?

-I know you scratch at the food drawer when you want something. Would it be possible to use some some sort of code so I can better serve you? Perhaps one scratch for food, two for a denta-stick and three for ice cubes?

-I would really love to know what is it you smell that tells you that THIS is the spot to poo on.

-What are you dreaming about when we wake up at 5 am to you humping the blanket in your sleep... ok, that one may not require an an answer

-Do you do the same excited dance at the window when you see me coming up the hill to the house that you do for your Dad? or do I maybe have my own version?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A sad goodby



Tomorrow is a day I've been dreading for months. Tomorrow Jen and Nathan move back down south and I'm very sad. Jen has been a life line and my go to person for the last year and it's just not going to be the same here without her. I met Jen via Blake's Blog when I was googling information on Cape Dorset. I posted a message on his comments page and Jen contacted me after seeing the post. I was thrilled to find she was also part of the RCMP family so I knew we were going to see alot of each other if. For the next few months we emailed consistently. I asked all the usual questions and she was full of great information. I can't imagine having made the move without her. Actually, I can imagine. I would have showed up without rubber boots... what would I have done then? That of course was not the only good piece of information I got but it's one appreciate to this day.

Early on we confided that we were both planning on starting families soon. I remember she wrote, 'as long as we're not due in the same month' as it would be hard for both our husbands to get time off at the same time. Not long after, Jen told me she was pregnant. Well, I was too but hadn't told her yet. What a shock it was to find out that we were not only due in the same month, but the SAME WEEK! Two days apart actually. Luckily, it all worked out and Nick and Nathan both got home in time. And would you believe that our kids were born exactly 12 hours apart? It was great having another pregnant lady and mom along for the crazy ride.

I'm going to miss Jen for lots of reasons but the biggest one is that she's a do-er. I'm a homebody and a follower by nature so I really like having an instigator to get me out of my routine. Jen is always the one planning getting out to penny sales, walks with the dogs, ski-doo afternoons, girls nights, spa nights... I could go on. With her gone I may never leave my house again!

For their last night as northerners we decided to have a group dinner. Our dinners have become a regular part of our social life so it was a no-brainer. Not to mention their house is packed up so otherwise they wouldn't eat. Tonight sort of brought us full circle since they hosted our first northern meal. It seemed only right that we host their last.

So farewell my friends. I wish you well and hope 'down south' treats you well. Think of us often and know that you'll be missed.


I love this picture! And a good example of why you need rubber boots.

Meaghan was pregnant along with us and had her baby three weeks after our kids were born.

Tank and Jen have a special connection. He listens to her much more than he does to me.

Ezri, Oliver and Mercedes. This was the last time the three of them were together. O will miss you Ezri!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Leftovers




As a rule I hate leftovers. But as you know, there are exceptions to every rule and this is mine. I love cold, home-made chicken balls. With ketchup.... and I use alot. I'm going to have them now, before Nick gets up, so I don't have to listen to him comment on my ketchup intake.



Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thanks



Today I don't have any stories to tell or any pictures to post. I spent the day scrapbooking and playing with O while the wind howled outside. Oh! We got our first snow, that was exciting. No accumulation, just blowing. Anyway, since I don't have anything better to say I thought this would give me the perfect opportunity to say thank you.

When I decided to start this blog I was apprehensive, wondering if anyone would read. I could say I started it for my family (and I think I did on post #1) but truth be told, I hoped it would reach a wider audience. I'm very pleased with my level of readership and am thrilled that you keep coming back to see what's going on and what I have to say. So THANK YOU! I would also like to send out an extra big thanks to all the other northern bloggers. I've found it to be a great community to be part of and feel like I'm making friends with people I've never met all over the north. Thanks for adding me to your side bars too. I'm sure many of my readers are yours. Thanks for sharing them.

Ok, this is getting sappy so I'll leave it at that. I hope it isn't too cheesy a post, I just though it was time for an acknowledgement. Thank you, Merci, Nakurmiic (Inuk spelling as per omniglot.com?) and Dank Ja (for my reader in the Netherlands)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Can I get a Nine?



I think Oliver is playing with me. (If you havn't read in a couple if days please read my previous post to put this one in context) At 5:20 am the red light on the monitor went up to the maximum and a I woke up to a screech. Here we go again. As I always do I took 10 minutes to get myself together while he plays in his crib. I ended up dozing off and when I woke up 15 minutes later, there was silence. OMG! He went back to sleep. YEAH!!!! I was back off to dreamland.

I woke up again at 7:20 and there was still silence. At 7:45, SILENCE! At this point I'm cranking up volume and the monitor and putting it to my ear to it to see if I can hear him breathing. Wow, a nice change from the fives. Well, would you believe we made it to the nines? NINES!!! He was awake a 9:02!!! I don't want to complain but I didn't even get to enjoy it because I spent most of the eights listening to the monitor to make sure he was actually still alive. But I'm not complaining. You know who was complaining? My wonderful husband. Nick and I each take a weekend morning for sleeping in while the other gets up with the boy. He chose to take Sunday as his day to get up and now figures he made the wrong choice. What are the chances O will sleep late again tomorrow? haha! too bad sucker :)


Seven, six, five, four....



I don't even know why I'm still awake.

The last couple of mornings my darling son has decided that waking up in the fives is appropriate. The fives, as in 5:10 am yesterday and 5:50 today. While I disagree wholeheartedly on this plan of action I unfortunately don't have a say in it. I could turn off the monitor and just sleep through his calling but I'm guessing that would be classified under bad parenting.

I wonder what's going to happen tomorrow. The great news... O was so tired from being up so early, which means early nap schedule of course, that he was dead on his feet by 6pm. He was down by 7 which is an hour earlier than his usual bedtime. I really hope that doesn't mean he's going to be up in the fours. I think if that happens I may just have to be a bad parent and ignore him. I just can't do fours. Then again, maybe I'll get lucky and he'll go back to his usual schedule and be up around 7 or 7:30.

Sevens are acceptable. I can do sevens. I'd better get to bed. Goodnight all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder



Nick complained to me the other night that even though the blog is called Babies and Bulldogs, the baby posts far outweigh the bulldog ones. That is true. I guess like most parents, the first born dog somewhat falls out of favor in photos and stories once the human baby comes along. With that in mind today it's all about Tanko.

I always joke that Tank is the biggest celebrity in town. When we arrived last summer we couldn't go anywhere him without a mob of kids (and a few adults) swarming us. Most told us they had never seen a bulldog in real life which makes sense since they are not exactly a cold weather breed. The first question we always heard was 'Does he bite?' I always found that a funny question to ask about a pet but I guess his toothy smile could make people wonder. Now a year later the mobs have stopped but I don't think I've ever out with him that I don't hear 'Hi Tank!' from someone.



Tank is faring very well in the north. He's always loved the snow and will frolic when there's some one the ground to play in. Watch him 'sliding' by the house next door. He'd do this over and over.
video

I was worried that we would have a problem with him in the cold and he would have to use pee-pee pads in the front hall. I wasn't pleased about that considering how long it took us to train him. I even bought him boots and a coat to keep him toasty so I wouldn't have to deal with that. As it turned out, it wasn't a problem and he won't have anything to do with his cold weather gear. We just don't keep him out too long.

The only downside of having a bulldog is that not everyone appreciates their unique um... shall I say beauty? I can't tell you how many times people have told me he's the ugliest thing they've ever seen. I hate hearing that because to me he's a gorgeous boy. Some lady in Iqaluit said, 'he's got a face only a mother could love' to which I replied. 'Yup, and I do'.





Spacing??

If anyone can tell me what's up with my spacing I'd love to hear it. I don't know anything about HTML, if that has anything to do with it I don't know. On my preview it looks just fine so I'm stumped.