Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm famous... well sort of... in the smallest way possible

While at a public meeting being held by the City of Yellowknife Wednesday, I was spotted.
I was interviewing a man, who was clearly very knowledgeable about the project being discussed, when another gentleman approached us and joined our conversation.
It couldn't have been more than two minutes before the second man looked at me and asked, "Are you from Gold River?"
Shocked, I turned to him, blushed and said, "Yes. Who are you? Are you from Gold River?"
As he came up with his answer, I quickly did an inventory of Gold Riverites, but I couldn't place him.
With a laugh, he said, "You have little stories in the Recorder, right?"
It turns out the man, whose name I never did get, has visited my hometown in the past and has a passion for small town papers.
Since his visit, he has been reading The Record, the paper I write a biweekly column for.
He said he reads every issue online, and read in one of my recent columns that I'm now in Yellowknife.
Then, last week, he saw my photo in the Yellowknifer, the paper I'm currently working for, with a story I had written.
After checking to make sure the name was right, he thought he better keep his eyes peeled for the reporter from Gold River.
Then low and behold, there I was Wednesday night, covering a meeting that he was attending.
It was a surreal experience.
I always think of my column as a way of keeping in touch with everyone at home. I never thought it would reach all the way to the North.
That is of course, unless I were the one showing it off to my friends, or my blog readers.
Anyway, that's my fun anecdote for this week.

As for delicious kitchen creations, I have put a bunch of my excess fruit to good use in a fruit salad. Although not creative, it definitely gave me some more room in the ol' fridge.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Turned around

This weekend was supposed to be awesome.
Ian and I were going to visit Inuvik to see our friends Kira and Andrew, but the weather kicked our butts.
We managed to get on the plane and even flew half way there, but a lack of visibility and a power outage in Inuvik turned us right back around.
So, here I am, in Yellowknife, not working on Friday, wondering what to do with my weekend.
I have a suitcase worth of fresh veggies and fruit that I was supposed to deliver.
I guess I'll have to spend the weekend making and eating delicious food.
I'll let you know what creations I come up with.
Speaking of delicious food, on the plane Ian and I got fresh bannock with strawberry jam.
How Northern is that!? It was amazing and warm. Yummmm...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Non-existent home

This morning I watched a documentary called Welcome to Pine Point.
It's about the village of Pine Point, NWT, which in the 1970s and 80s was a mining town.
With the mine as the only industry, when it shut down in 1988, so did the town.
Today, there is literally nothing left except some pavement with grass growing through the cracks.
In the film, former residents reminisce about what the town once was and who they once were, and the narrator raises questions about what it's like not having a hometown to return to.
While I watched, I couldn't help but think of my own hometown of Gold River, BC.
It's currently about the same size as Pine Point was, with a population of less than 1,400 people, and in 1998, it went through it's own closure. The pulp and paper mill, which was the main industry, closed, causing nearly 1,000 people to relocate.
Unlike Pine Point, though, Gold River survived the mill closure and the population decrease, and I have to say I'm grateful for that.
I can't imagine what it would be like to drive on the Gold River Highway to find the burning boot is no longer there to greet me when I arrive. Or to find the house that I lived in my entire life is no longer there. Or the elementary school where I learned to read, write, count, and make apple sauce has been reduced to a patch of concrete.
I'm so thankful that despite the mill closure, Gold River was able to hold tight, making logging and tourism the new lifeblood of our little village.
While thinking about all of this today, I began to reminisce myself.
I thought of Luna, our beloved orca, who spent years in Nootka Sound. I thought of the mountains, the ocean and Peppercorn Park, where we spent so many summer days swimming in the river's freezing cold glacier water. I thought of Girls Guides and camping at the Lion's Campground on the way to the government dock. I thought of being the timekeeper at hockey tournaments.
There are so many memories in that little village that always come to life when I make the trip home.
In the documentary, the narrator suggests Pine Point no longer existing can in some ways be considered positive. He says that because it's no longer there, it's not subject to the changing times, so all of the memories remain intact. No one returns home to see their home has been painted or a store has been renovated. Everything remains as it was.
Even so, I think I would still prefer to have a home to return to, and I'm happy to say my home is in the centre of Vancouver Island in a bowl of mountains, surrounded by rivers, lakes, wildlife and trees.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bedroom art

Awhile ago my girlfriend posted photos of her favourite places in her house, which got me thinking about the things I love in my own home.
And I came to realize that rather than loving places, the things I love the most are the pictures on my walls. This is what they look like:

Here are some close-ups:

From the left: In the black frame is a tree that I drew. You can't tell from the photo, but I put a black screen over it, so it looks like you're looking through a window.
The teal painting with the pink bird was done by my friend Leah. It's something I bring with me everywhere I move.
The birds in the centre are from a card that a friend gave me when I moved here.
The picture of bright blue water and mountains is from Kelowna. I have also taken it with me everywhere.
The purple picture was made by my girlfriend Kira. She gave it to me for Christmas and it wasn't even five minutes before I found a place for it on my wall.

This is the right side of my wall. The two scenic pictures are of Kelowna. I bought them at a flea market. I find them to be a nice piece of home that I can take with me wherever I go.
The picture of the people with the ginormous dog are my friends Jen and RJ -- their dog's name is Charlie. He and I had a cozy drive to the Hopewell Rocks last summer. He literally takes up the whole backseat of Jen's car, which meant him lying on top of me.

This is the left side of my wall. The two scenic photos are again of Kelowna and were from the same flea market vendor.
The third picture is of my favourite girls: Anna, Marika and Daniela. The photo was taken at our J-School grad gala. Daniela printed one off for each of us as a farewell gift, as we all went our separate ways in April.

Now this is the opposite wall. On the left, you can see some of my necklaces and bracelets hanging. When I moved to London, Ontario in May 2009, I started hanging all of my jewelry and belts on my walls. And since then, I have kept up the tradition wherever I move.
The large picture is a photo that Ian took. He had it blown up for me to make my room feel more homey. I love it.
Around the picture are lights that were on the tiny Christmas tree I cut down in December.
Next to the picture are a few of my purses. Although I'm used to having an accessory wall, this is the first time I've gone this far. I like it though. I find it keeps me organized.

Anyway, those are my walls. I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Goals and aspirations

I have always been a goal oriented person. I basically crumble and end up in the fetal position every time I find myself without an immediate goal. That's actually the reason I like school so much, there is always something to work toward and you constantly have a sense of accomplishment.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it is that I really want out of life. I know I'm still young and have tons of time to figure my life out, but I feel an intense need to make sure I'm on the right path.
That's why I drew this:
This is my 30 before I'm 30 list/my list of resolutions for 2011.
I know I've already talked about hating resolutions, but I think these are legitimate goals to pursue. It's not like I've written down, 'Lose weight' or 'Quit smoking.'
Instead, my goals are things like act in the vagina monologues, interview mom and dad, spend money on experiences not possessions, be more adventurous, write for pleasure, blog and learn Dutch.
There are so many things I want to accomplish and so many things that I could easily be doing right now, so I figure by putting my goals out to the world and by having this picture hanging on my wall, maybe I'll get the kick in the butt that I need to make my goals a reality.
I can honestly say that of those things, I'm already doing a number of them.
As you can see in my last post, I'm working on my photography skills and I'm blogging, which could also be considered writing for pleasure. I'm also working on surrounding myself with positive people. I'm definitely being more adventurous and I'm taking time for nature.
And most importantly, I'm working on my ultimate goal, which is reporting from every province and territory.
To date, I've reported in British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories. I'm not sure where will be next, or when that will be, but right now, I'm leaning in the direction of the Yukon or Newfoundland ... and yes, I know they're in completely different directions.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Turd of the year?

I figure since I wrote a post about my mission to take beautiful pictures, rather than turds that require extensive polishing, I should probably post some of my attempts.
What follows are photos I took while at a cabin on Prelude Lake this weekend.
Ian came with me, as you can see from the photo of him, so I had all different lens to play with. I was pretty nervous when he first had me switching them while standing in knee deep snow, but by the end of our photography adventure, I was asking to swap.

This is me learning to focus on one thing, not everything.

This is my cute instructor.

This is me attempting to illustrate how low the sun sits in the early afternoon.

This photo was taken by Ian. I really love the way the bark is peeling off the trees.

This is another attempt to focus on one thing. I think I like the other picture better.

This is Ian starting our pallet fire. You wouldn't know it from this photo, but it ended up getting so big and hot that no one could sit on the benches.

This is how far away you had to stand. This photo doesn't even do the flames justice.

This is a photo Ian took. He was really impressed with the sunlight and made me turn around for a mini photo shoot. I was awkward, but he got a few cute shots.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Northern blunders

This morning when I went to take the dogs out, I couldn't open the front door. It was completely frozen. Like seriously frozen.
I yanked. I used my foot as leverage on the wall. I jiggled the handle. I grunted. I groaned. I made unattractive scrunchy facial expressions. I jumped up and down. I pouted. I did freaking everything. But nothing worked.
When I finally gave up my stubborn, I am woman hear me roar, attitude, I woke Ian up, dragged his butt out of bed and made him try, but he couldn't open it either.
So we -- and by we, I mean Ian -- ended up chiseling away the ice with a drywall scrapper thing while using my hair dryer on the bottom and side seal on the door.
It was ridiculous and took about 10 minutes, but we finally got the door open.
So I guess this is Northern living.
Speaking of which, my friends and I have had so many 'Northern living' moments since I moved here.
Here are a few of my favourites:
  • My first week wearing my Canada Goose parka, I walked into the side view mirror on a parked truck because I have no peripheral vision when my hood is on.
  • To keep the draft out of our townhouse, my roommate used foam insulation on the patio door and when she was cleaning up, she put some of the excess foam down the kitchen sink, clogging it to the point where we had to have a plumber come. That actually also led to me doing my dishes in the bathtub.
  • While walking to a meeting, the same roommate brought a metal travel mug and when she took a sip of her tea, she almost froze her lip to the brim.
  • Ian suggested we go out and make a bonfire in the bush one day and I asked what we would use for wood. He said we would find some on the way, to which I responded in a snarky voice, "Ummm... it needs to be dry." Turns out, Yellowknife is ridiculously dry and even in the snow, the trees are dry enough to use for firewood. Who knew!?
  • I drove away in my roommates' car while it was still plugged in, broke the plug and had to learn how to rewire it. For those of you that don't know, people have to plug their cars in because it gets so cold here in the winter. Yup, I'm living the dream!