Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Stephanie.

Today's your birthday and it's probably the first time you've had a snowy one. . . Since the logistics are so unreliable when it comes to shipping items, I found it hard to get you exactly what I wanted this year so, just so you're completely aware of my good intentions on this momentous occasion, I've decided to list (in picture form) all the things I wasn't able to get you on your birthday this year because of our current address.

But you did get this . . .so . .

. . . since you're not one for materialistic objects I'll just leave you with this:

I love you Stephanie Nadine Laird.

Happy Birthday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dear Ontario . . .

. . . comment . . .nicely. YES, it's still September and back home our old hometowns are getting ready for their "Fall Fair" weekends while we were getting ready for the "Snowfall Warning" (as stated in the bold red headline there). YES, that says "feels like -6" and we did get a foot/ a foot and a half of snow last night.

No, we're not jealous.

The snowfall was magic. You could compare it to being stuck inside a winter globe. It was windy, sure, but it wasn't bone-chilling. The snow just fell lightly and stuck around. Ontario doesn't get snowfalls like this. At home (when the snow falls) you just get ready for the headache of snow shovelling, starting your car early and the traffic that follows. The snow excited everyone around me and that by itself is a major reason why people love it up here so much. Some how we still sweat the small stuff but aren't all that affected by the usual major inconveniences. It's hard to explain really . . . I know that I used to dread the first snowfall but, it felt like an early Christmas last night and the walk home felt more like a treat than a hardship. We love being here.

UPDATE: Here are some pictures of the aftermath.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Move.

Thanks so much to everyone who has given us such great feedback on the videos. We'll keep'em coming the best we can.

Here's one that has taken me an unbelievably long time to finish. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The White Stripes Under the Great Northern Lights

Before we moved up here we'd read a fantastic blog about the White Stripes playing here in Iqaluit. Since arriving, we've researched the event and talked to people that went. A few weeks ago I had the privledge of seeing "Hey Rosetta!" here and it really is a rare and special event when acts make the effort to play here.

The White Stripes documented and filmed their events here in the North and even shot a video for their single "You Don't Know What Love is ...". Jack White has since taken that footage and compiled it into a release do out this fall/winter. At the Toronto International Film Festival he screened the film and held a press conference talking about his experiences in Nunavut. I thought I'd share the video since so many people enjoyed the concert itself.

Here's a link to the Video:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


We were told it came early.

This was our morning view:

It's + 19 in Milton and my whole family is in Hawaii. Still, there are very few things more beautiful than the first snow fall........ Even Kanye West couldn't take this moment away from me! ba ha ha

(That's right Steph. Current and Funny joke, "Whaddup?")

Monday, September 14, 2009

You can take the girl out of the South . . .

Yay for my first blog post! Normally it is Jordan's responsibility to update our blog, but lately I've been feeling like I should make an effort to chime in every so often, especially when I want to share a little gem that's so much easier to explain from the first person. Not to mention, I was fortunate enough to be put on call last night - the last shift of my set - and managed to get all the tedious housekeeping and laundry done that normally sucks up my first day off. With Jordan at work while I'm home alone, why not curl up on the couch with my Mac and a cup of tea? Here goes . . .

In keeping with our continued happiness here in Iqaluit and our quest to be involved in our new community, Jordan and I were excited to participate in our first ever Mass Registration this past Saturday. We had already discussed joining the Curling Club to learn the sport, which apparently has quite the following in town, as well as to see what other fun clubs/events we could participate in. Sadly, Jordan was scheduled to work Saturday so I headed over to the Cadet Hall with our new friend and fellow northern blogger Jaime. After a quick pit stop at Jaime's place where I turned green with envy over the size and luxury of her apartment vs. ours, we were ready to wait out the cold as we stood in the long line to get inside.

As a shift worker, my schedule makes it very hard to commit to things because I never have the same days off work. You wouldn't have known it on Saturday. I made short work of the booths, not only signing up for the Curling Club, but also the Badminton Club, Greenhouse Society and registering for a group trying to initiate the Green Bin program here in Iqaluit. For those that aren't familiar, Green Bins are a mandatory composting program in many regions in Ontario and other parts of Canada and aims to reduce the amount of bio-degradable waste headed to the landfills. It takes very little additional effort and has a positive environmental impact. Apparently I am such an obvious supporter of the program, that as I stood at the booth explain it's merits, I was asked to consider joining the Board! So all in all, it was a super fun morning and I'm excited to get involved in my new activities. My apologies to anyone that may have wanted to hang out with me on my days off - I now have none.

On with my story . . .

Following registration, I was high on community spirit and felt like a true Iqalumiuq (disclaimer: I truly have no idea of the proper use of that word and may very well have just made a fool of myself). Jaime and I were headed home in her sweet ride and stumbled upon the Arctic Ventures sealift sale so we popped in to take a look around.

Oh. My. Lord.

The only thought that entered my mind was this: I am a complete phony and have obviously not lived away from Ontario long enough. There is no way I was going to be fooled: $100 for a case of toilet paper is not a sale. Neither was the $89 for 14 boxes of Multi-Grain Cheerios that Jaime and I split on.

If I needed any another proof that I am still obviously a Southern belle, the icing on the cake was when I decided to splurge on the alleged sale price for Diet Coke at $10.99 for a 12 pack. A large sign reading "Case of Pop - $10.99" was placed on the wall, directly adjacent to the pop. So up to the cashier we go, where we were promptly informed that the pop was $12.99. I politely informed the cashier this could not be so, and would another employee please verify the price. I stood there, holding up the line, as the cashier and I waited for the employee to return. A few minutes later, after being called over by the cashier, the employee nonchalantly stated that the pop was in fact $12.99 and it was just an old sign. My suggestion to remove the "old sign" was met with a shoulder shrug. At this point, I was very close to throwing an Ontario tantrum. The only thing stopping me was the fact that I haven't known Jaime that long, and couldn't risk scaring off my new friend when I don't have many others here in town yet. Through clenched teeth, I told the cashier that in fact, I didn't want any pop. And that was that.

There is no way that any store in southern Canada could get away with advertising a price, mistakenly or otherwise, and then refuse to honour it. But here in Iqaluit, that's just how they roll. "It's an old sign" is a perfectly reasonable excuse, and if you want the item, you'll pay whatever they ask at the checkout. I may have refused out of spite, but the only one who suffers is me. Well Jordan too, because he's still stuck with water, milk and the powdered PC Iced Tea mix we hid in our luggage.

I'll give it a few more months before I start throwing out terms like Iqalumiuq and Nunavummiut again. I still need to look them up anyways.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My 9/11

I'm writing this myself.

I don't deal with death very well. It triggers my anxiety immediately or it sneaks up on me when I least expect it. But I didn't have those anxiety issues until 9/11. I was 17 and it was the first time my mind was opened to the possibility of sudden tragic death. At the time I knew there were murders 20 minutes away in Toronto and Etobicoke, and I read about accidental deaths in local papers involving drunk drivers or truck tires. So, to say I was naive wouldn't be accurate; it was around me all the time. But the events of that September 11th and the images I saw blew open the hatchet in my mind.

I was in my entrepreneurial studies class when my teacher walked in and simply said "I don't know if any of you know this but, the World Trade Centre was struck by a plane this morning". I think a lot of people in the class that morning either didn't know what the WTC was or just weren't awake enough for the information to register because the rest of the class (some 20-odd) seemed unphased. She then said "I'm sure it's nothing to worry too much about. If any of you have family in the area and are deeply concerned, I'm allowing you to leave class at this time". For the next half hour that classroom felt like a prison; no information coming in, no information going out. All of a sudden a herd of people were marching down the hall outside the door and then a knock came. Our principal announced that "New York is on Alert Status Red and I'm suggesting that classes congregate in the Locker Bay. We've received a lot of calls from parents asking for teir kids to be removed from class. So, classes will now be optional with repect to what is going on". Panic control I figured. Some people stayed in the classes, unaffected, continuing on with studying or extra work. I went straight to the locker bay where the T.V. was already dialed in to CNN.

I watched that second plane hit and can picture it like it happened yesterday. I saw every piece of footage on rerun for the next hour and finally chose to go home. Whether you were at work or in class, Milton seemed to leave early from wherever they were that day. I'll never forget the rows of cars in traffic jams on roads that had never seen traffic jams before. People walking everywhere, some even running, all trying to get home. The safety of your own house was the warm blanket everyone needed that morning. To this day, no matter what the occasion or holiday, I've never seen my hometown so flooded.

You'll read a lot about 9/11 today. I chose to write about what I remember because I think it's important to. I don't do it for ratings or because I feel obligated or because it's the trendy thing to do today. I remember because it was something that profoundly changed me. I remember because it was a piece of history I'm sad to have been alive through. I remember because in 40 years, I hope the world doesn't reach lows like that. I've seen the documentaries, I've read the conspiracies, I have my doubts and I have my beliefs. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it happened. It happened and I hope nothing like that ever happens again. Innocent people died unnecessarily and that's the only way I look at it.

My reminiscence is through watching and listening to the footage and remembering how I felt almost a decade ago. has an extensive and amazing collection of appropriate videos on and about 9/11 ranging from Oliver Stone's WORLD TRADE CENTRE to the ever so detailed LOOSE CHANGE.

I personally recommend:

9/11:Phone Calls from the Towers

Also the most accurate portrayal of the events. The Filmmakers Commemerative Edition: 9/11. This is the one that was the accidental documentary of Ladder 1. It's unbelievable. It's in 3 parts but, if you want something that is opinion free and insightful, look no further.

And what I still consider the greatest possible homage to the events that happened that day: THE DAILY SHOW on the September 20th 2001. It's Google-able . . . it's what really confirmed how I felt. 8 years later when I watch it, it still brings me to tears and still comforts me.

In any way you deem fit, remember.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Comment if you wish but, this is more of a personal score I need to settle.


Twitter Page

Monday, September 7, 2009

Worldwide Bloggers Day?

I have so much to talk about.

It's snowing.

For us, the Labour Day weekend is the last cottage weekend of the year. A little chilly but, all in all just the last breath of summer. Tonight I watched a breezy snow fall. Our friend Tara up in Pangnirtung has had her fair share already; I think we got her left-overs. Speaking of left-overs, if anyone has any lasagna making tips for Tara, she's all for them! And speaking of Tara, if any of our Ontario friends want to see exactly what the north has to offer, I suggest you look at the pictures Tara has on her blog recently. Plus, her blog in general is just fantastic.

We've mentioned Townie Bastard before. It appears (like Tara) we have our own little blogging community here in our building. In months to come, I believe you will see an abundance of fun blogging going on. Not to mention an intense Wii competition. . .!

With all the warm blogging community happenings, it got me thinking that maybe it would be great for all of us to meet. I know that the mutual respect is already there and that the random encounters are awkwardly fun but, wouldn't it be great if we could all get together one day and meet eachother. Not like a convention but, just a gathering of great writers over a hot beverage and a lunch. I'd love that.

In an age where we have days to celebrate the brilliant and bold, alike with Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day and even Secretary's Day, why can't we have a BLOG DAY! or BLOGGERS DAY. I wonder if we can all make this movement happen and organize a day where we can celebrate our favourite new fetish and outlet. It started here folks!

I think it should be a Sunday too . . .

Now a quick Public Service Announcement:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Our North.

Iqaluit thus far, through our eyes.

You Won't Need 15 Coffee Cups

I feel like we may have overloaded on the “housewares”. Mainly because our apartment is a single bedroom but, shelf space is basic. You’ll have just enough space for the basic two-person items. We actually have 15 coffee cups for 5 living creatures and trust me, the last thing any of the cats need is caffeine (see list of broken materials and objects dating back to 2007 in all apartments lived in by said pets)

When moving here, don’t worry about your favourite dishes and focus mainly on getting your favourite foods up here. Even when you think you’ve brought enough food, just bring more. We hit Costco a few times and looking back on all we have stocked now, I would’ve traded Half my wardrobe and/or 9 mugs to have brought more food. If you think one bag of flour is enough, bring 4. I’m deadly serious. Your cart may look full at the store, but believe me, when you settle in and you’ve seen how much things really are up here, you’ll see. It’s not that we’re on short supply or anything. We just found that during the process of un-loading all our things we were questioning why we brought some things.

The real problem is: You don’t know how big or small your apartment will be until you get here. We’re very happy and comfortable in our quaint comfy space. (which apparently is somewhat of an Iqaluit institution, especially for bloggers!) Looking back, I think we would’ve tweaked our selected items for the 1500lbs we were allowed to ship. . . just a touch!

In the beginning the moving company we were assigned didn’t seem all that reliable. We began to feel really worried about our stuff, especially the fragile boxes which we marked very boldly. Don’t judge a book people. I think everyone is worried when they ship such a massive load such a massive distance. Out of the 35 boxes/items/miscellaneous objects we only had two broken items. One plate and one mug (define: irony). It was no fault of the movers . . . it was the decorative stones we packed inside of the box with all the dishes!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Life In Iqaluit

What is life like here?

I think a few people at home, as well as a few here in the North have been waiting for this post.
I'm no Nunavut expert and I've only been here a little over a week but, here are some of the things we've noticed and some of the great discoveries we've made being here so far. Some things are funny in comparison, others are a real taste of life, either way life up here is different in the best of ways.

I'd like to begin with the most important discovery yet. Steph makes unbelievably good pancakes. Seriously. Since we only brought a few essential and easy to make items with us on our flight, our diets have consisted of Pancakes, Tea, "Presidents Choice White Chedder Macaroni & Cheese", and Honey-nut Cheerios! But Steph is the Gordon Ramsey of pancake making. For 3 years now, I've known her to be a master of 2 dishes: Spaghetti and White Sauce (a Secret Family Recipe), and the aforementioned PC White Cheddar so, you can imagine my surprise when she woke me up asking "Would you like some Apple Cinnamon Pancakes?". At first, I thought she'd picked up some of those ready-to-make Eggo Pancakes. You should've seen my face when I saw her using real ground cinnamon and pieces of diced apple. So there you go, Steph = Pancake Goddess.

Since the first hour we stepped on Nunavut ground, the people here have been incredibly friendly. I think that's one of the most important things everyone needs to know about life up here. People wave at you, they say hello, they stop their cars to let you cross the road even if you aren't at a walkway. I've been working at the pub for a week and I have regulars. People who remember my name, asked to be served by me, bring things in to show me; you name it. I pick up Steph at work when I can and last week I saw her joking with one of her patients on her way out. It made me feel warm and happy. People here are less self-involved and more out-going. It's not a population of hippies of anything, there are still people who keep to themselves. It's just that people here are more trusting at first and seem warmer and more eager to be-friend you and welcome you in.

Talking to people back home has left me with the impression that some people are picturing life up here as a community of Igloo's in a winter Ewok Village, without food or clean water, Eskimos everywhere. It's just not true. It's like any other town anywhere else in Ontario/Canada, just without a Tim Hortons. The differences are what you make them. We came here for the adventure and the change of pace. So far, we've got a great dose of both. When you really do the math, life up here is . . . dare I say it . . . better than life at times in Ontario. Monotany up here is a choice, not a lifestyle. There is plenty to do, you just have to reach for it. And how convenient is it that everything you need here in town is within arms reach.

Steph and I walk around town warm and smiling. Sure, we haven't experienced the cold of the winter here yet but, we love this place without the snow already. Add a little shimmering white, it can only make it that much more beautiful. Bring the snow. We read countless amounts of blog's and received a libraries worth of advice so we're prepared to survive the cold.

We love how small and easy-going it is. Life here is simple. We take it as it comes and we make the best of what we take. It's not a tropical paradise or anything extravagant, but that's what we love about it. For us it's the culture, the lifestyle, the beautiful scenery, the crisp clean air, the healthier living. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's not for everyone but, it's definitely for us.

Last night we both caught our first glimpse of the Northern Lights. Even if there isn't much to do, there's no Beer Store, the food is more expensive, there aren't any trees and they don't have any beers on tap, seeing those lights is enough to make anyone alive live or be here.

With all of that said, let's lighten things up a bit. Here are some other observations:

- I've heard Jennifer Paige's "Crush" everyday since I've been here. Yes . . THAT song.
- Still no sign of PolarMan!
- Nobody Honks their car horn
- They don't play any Oasis on Raven Rock (the local radio station)
- Capital One will not let me change my address to anything in Nunavut.
- Tips here are amazing
- Uphill walking is slightly difficult when you're in the shape we're in!
- Northern Blogs are more than a community, it's a lifestyle.
- Townie Bastard might live above us
- We miss Draft Beer!
- Pizza Hut is healthier for you here!
- I've spoke more french in the past two weeks than the last 17 years
- Cats love Beer-Can Boxes
- Smoking was the stupidest habit I ever had.
- How beautiful the Northern Lights are

- How happy we both are here and how happy we are that we made this decision.