Tag Archives: Inuvik

Sharing My World 45

image
What my kids and I looked like when we lived in Inuvik, although not for the entire time because we were there for four years. We were not always sepia coloured.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 2

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?

In the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie when Evelyn is asked if she is in a relationship with Douglas she says “Well, we are not NOT together.”  That’s how I feel about aliens.  I do not NOT believe in them. Still, if one were to come up to me in the grocery store and ask me how my day was going, I would be very surprised.  But just because I can’t imagine that happening doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.  I don’t think life as we know it is the only kind of life there is in the universe.  If there is something beyond death as we know it, perhaps we will be astounded at how limited and biased and deluded we were in our beliefs, no matter what they were, one way or the other, before we got there.  And if there’s nothing, there’s nothing.  No point in getting your shorts in a knot about it.

So I try to keep an open mind.  Live and let live.  It would be foolish to believe we are the most intelligent life forms in existence when you consider some of the bizarre things we’ve been up to.

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

  1. Saugeen township farm until age six (Ontario)
  2. Arran township farm until leaving home
  3. Orchard house while attending teachers college in Stratford
  4. Shared 2 bedroom apartment, substitute teaching in St. Catharines
  5. Room and board in private house in St. Catharines while attending Brock U.
  6. Rented garage sized house in Kenora after getting married.
  7. Basement apartment in private house, Dryden
  8. High rise apartment in Guelph when W went back to University
  9. Basement student campus co-op apartment in Guelph – baby daughters first home
  10. Government house in Cambridge Bay, NWT, baby sons first home
  11. Government row housing in Inuvik, NWT.
  12. Government house in Pond Inlet, NWT.
  13. Government house in Yellowknife, NWT.
  14. Current house in Sherwood Park, Alberta.  (Bought and paid for…yay!). It’s nothing fancy but it feels like home.

If you were given $22 million tax free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you would do?

Put it in the bank and think about it.  I’m sure I would suddenly have lots of advice and suggestions pouring in from all directions filling up this open mind of mine.  I might move to a new house.  It’s been awhile for us nomads.

The Never List: What are things you’ve never done? Or things you know you never will do?

Never say never!  Because you never know!!  I’ve never communicated with extraterrestrial beings.  Or have I?  How would I know for sure?

One thing I feel certain about at this moment in time is that I will NEVER take a trip to the South Pole.  But if I do I will send you a post card saying sorry, I was wrong about that.  Wish I weren’t here.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Since I mentioned all the screaming going on in Midsomer Murders whenever a body is discovered (and there can be up to five in a single episode) there has suddenly been a marked lack of it.  I’m grateful for the depiction of other plausible reactions, even though now I could be seen as a sarcastic exaggerator for mentioning it in the first place.  Like that might be the worst thing I’ve ever been called.

I was sad to learn of David Bowies death today, but I’m looking forward to all the tributes and flashbacks of his extraordinary life.

Death is such a funny thing.  We know it happens to every one of us, but no matter how much warning we might get when its imminent, we are never prepared for it.  There’s that ‘never’ word again.  It’s like a hard punch to your heart, ready or not.

So let’s be grateful for the memories.

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Sharing My World 25

Share Your World – 2015 Week #14

What type of music relaxes you the most or do you prefer silence?

Sometimes I think there’s no such thing as relaxing music.  For me it is never in the background, no matter how soft and sweet.  It feels intrusive.  It gets in my head and interferes with everything else.  I hope that proves that there are actually a few things in there.  I especially don’t like music playing when I’m on hold on the phone or loudly blaring at me when I’m shopping.  Or when the next door neighbors’ son starts his car in the morning. That kid cannot possibly have much left of his ear drums. Recorded water sounds (rainfall, waterfalls, waves) and weird and random nature noises just make me nervous.  A harp makes me feel sad.  Piano music grates on my nerves because I used to play piano and I am constantly listening for mistakes.  Even the sound of somebody humming annoys the hell out of me.

Okay.  I guess the answer here is that I prefer silence.  Or white noise, like a monotonous fan, which filters out everything else.  I will probably be the happiest old deaf person you have ever seen.

Show us a two of your favorites photographs.  Explain why they are your favorite.   If you are not a photographer, think of a two favorite scenes in your life and tell us about them.

Two of my favourite things are my adult children who both have families of their own now, although I still often think of them like this:

popsicle kids

The best place to enjoy a drippy popsicle is wherever the juicy stains are least likely to be noticed.

paint your brother

I apologize if the sight of this furniture damaged some of your brain cells.  If colour made noise, this couch would probably give you a migraine.  It came with the government housing in the late 1970’s in Inuvik, N.W.T.  It was not my fault.  My daughter painting my son was also not my fault.

What is your favorite tradition? (family tradition, church tradition, whatever)

It doesn’t matter what we’re celebrating or where or why,  just being with family is what’s important.  As long as they don’t have their music turned up too loud.

If you could go back and talk to yourself at age 18 what advice would you give yourself?  Or if you are younger than 25 what words of wisdom would you like to tell yourself at age 50?

When I was 25 I could not imagine ever being 50. Now that I’m well past 50 I can’t for the life of me remember what I was up to at the age of 18.  Maybe I would just tell that girl to enjoy the music, because one day she’s going to kind of hate it.  I would also let her know her kids are going to one day paint each other for no apparent reason other than finding it funny.  She should laugh too. There can never be too much laughter in your life.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I love Netflix when they send me notifications that some crazy thing I watched for 15 minutes 5 years ago has new episodes.  Because how would I know that otherwise?  I love that I can take time off from writing or painting or thinking and sit down and watch six episodes in a row of whatever I want, putting off what I actually should be doing for another time when I might feel like getting it done.

I don’t know what I’m looking forward to other than putting something on a really beautiful background I painted. I promise I will post it soon.  I don’t know why I’m taking so long to decide on something.  Maybe I’m afraid of ruining it. Maybe procrastination is just my all time favourite thing ever.  I can almost hear my 18-year-old self yelling at me from my past to get the hell off my ass and get some things accomplished before there are no years or months or days left.  Sorry, my fan is on high and I can’t understand you.  Netflix sends me an email.  Maybe try that in a couple of decades.

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Twenty Five Cent Caribou

Daily Prompt:  Buffalo Nickel

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

I live in the land of Beaver Nickels and Sailboat Dimes.  Here is the first coin I came across this morning (and what do you know, it was in the zippered change purse of my wallet, no scrounging around on the dirty floor mats of the car for me).

1977 quarterSo what was I up to in 1977?  Well, probably my ears in toys.  My son turned one year old in February of 1977, and my daughter had her third birthday in July.  We were living in Cambridge Bay, Northwest Territories, land of bleak and frozen treeless tundra.  It’s the year we moved to Inuvik, NWT, land of bugs and mud and utilidors.

It’s the year my sister got married, and we came south that June to thaw out and delight in all things green and sunny for a couple of weeks.

We went canoeing on the Saugeen River with the soon to be newly weds and our brother and sister-in-law.  I wore long sleeves so my pasty white winter skin wouldn’t burn and look ridiculous with the peach colored bridesmaid dress.  Unfortunately my hands were the only thing that got too much sun, so they stood out rather nicely in some of the photos.  Such a silly thing to remember.

It’s the year we cut off my sons beautiful blond curls so that he looked more like a little boy and less like an angelic cherub.  We moved in to an end unit in a row house amidst a sea of similar row houses.  We let our daughter ride her tricycle on the board walk but only as far as the hospital and back.  She recounted her adventures to everyone who would listen – I rode my bike-a-dose to the hos-pi-dose!  Impressive story.

1977 was the beginning of our four-year stay in Inuvik.  It was where the kids started school, where I played baseball, drove a beat up old blue Volkswagen, went down the MacKenzie River to a real whaling camp, worked as an enumerator for a federal election, made friends and watched them move away, and then lost touch and made new ones.

In 1977 I was just busy being a wife and a mom, living with the most gawd-awful looking furniture ever issued by a government to a federal employee.  The kids did not appear to be bothered much by this at all.

inuvik popsicles 001
Inuvik, 1977 When you see faces like this, you know you must be doing something right.

Astute Observations on Goddamn and Crap

English: Overlooking Inuvik with the fall colo...
English: Overlooking Inuvik with the fall colors in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we lived in Inuvik (circa 1980) W thought it would be a lot of fun to put together a dog team, so he did.  The frustration and hard work involved in raising and training the dogs far outweighed the fun I’m afraid .  And the dozen or so dogs didn’t just disappear with the snow.  They required care throughout the long summers,  when the town became a sweltering dust bowl in the heat, and a slippery filthy mud hole in the rain.

 

One muddy Inuvik afternoon my daughter and I had this conversation:

Mommy, goddamn is a really bad word.

(Yes it is, and telling me that is not an acceptable way to get away with saying it.)

Little kids should NEVER say goddamn. right mom?

(No, they shouldn’t, so now would you please stop saying it?)

But mom, its okay for dads to say goddamn.

(Really? Why do you think it’s okay for dads?)

Because there’s GODDAMN DOGS and GODDAMN MUD!

She sounded just like him.

**********

Fast forward about twenty-five years to a conversation I had with my granddaughter when she was three or four.

crap
crap (Photo credit: matiasjajaja)

Crap is not a nice word, grandma.

(Nope, it isn’t.  So let’s not say it, okay?)

But sometimes you can say crap and its okay.

(Really?)

Yep.  Like when you’re feeling sick, you can say “Mommy, I feel like crap.”

(Ah.  I see.)

But if your mom looks at you when you’re sick and she says you look like crap, THEN its a bad word.

(Huh. You are your mother’s daughter, and I totally get your point.)

Important Stuff

40 Below in Inuvik 2

What’s more important – where you live or what you do for a living? As soon as I decide which leg is more important to me, my right or my left, I’ll be able to answer that question. Where you live and what you do are often inextricably intertwined. One defines the other. If you’re offered your dream job on the other side of the world you will find a way to relocate to where it’s based to pursue your passion. If you cannot bear to leave the place where you grew up and your family and friends and the house you built yourself, you will find employment in that locality and be thankful for a job that pays enough to allow you to stay where you want to be.

My husband asked me once if I’d follow him to the ends of the earth. How he failed to notice that I’d already done that is a real mind boggler. We’ve lived in Cambridge Bay, Inuvik, Pond Inlet and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories where he worked as a Wildlife Officer, which proves that I was either in love or insane for those eleven years. Perhaps a little of both. But we went wherever his job took him while our kids were small. Then we had to make a choice in their best interests and we moved “south” where schools and facilities and activities and opportunities were so much better for them. And now that they’re both all satisfactorily grown up and on their own, we can go back to making more selfish choices.

It’s hard to measure and compare the importance of things when their values fluctuate. It’s not a perfect world. Every day we make compromises and concessions and trade-offs in our search for harmony and balance. And if we’re very lucky, no matter where we live or what we’re doing, we find it.

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Great Moments in Baseball

July 25

Great Moments In Baseball

If you were thinking this blog might have anything to do with major league, sorry to disappoint you.  It’s not even about minor or bush league.  More like inconsequential shoestring type baseball for personal entertainment purposes only.

I LOVED baseball as a kid.  At SS#1 Aaron (our little one room schoolhouse) I played it (or reasonable facsimiles of it) for 8 years straight.  When I was six in grade one, the bigger kids would let me play fielder.  I would do that for the entire game, happy as a lark to go chasing balls,  especially if it meant having to climb over a fence.  I could never throw worth shit, but I could run fast, and hand the ball over happily for a smile and a pat on the head.

There is something very satisfying about swinging a bat, connecting with the ball and sending it soaring.  I did get to be very good at that part of the game.  Our diamond consisted of a woodshed as backstop and blocks of wood for bases.  The blocks were supposed to be sunk down flush with the dirt, but there were always edges high enough to trip over.  Skinned knees were common, and no one ever considered sliding.  There was a huge tree right behind second base, so that became a very popular position to play if you liked to be in the shade.  It also stopped a lot of home runs with it’s trunk and branches.  We picked team captains and new teams every day, and each team had to rotate every position with every inning.  You went from pitcher to catcher, around the bases including short stop, and then to the outfield if there were enough people on your team.  Usually we were happy if each team had at least a complete infield.  If there weren’t enough kids to make up teams, we played with two batters, and whoever was responsible for an out got to change positions with that batter.   It was soon apparent where you played well, and where you sucked.  Surprisingly enough, I was a pretty good pitcher until I got all self conscious about it,  and as long as I kept my mind on the game the ball would go over the plate.  If my mind was wandering I could demonstrate a whole new meaning for the term ‘wild pitch’.  A few times we accepted challenges from other small schools and took our ‘best’ team to a competition.  We had good sportsmanship drilled into us by our teachers, and those lessons were very helpful, because invariably the scores would be ridiculously lopsided, one way or the other.

I remember all of us being passionate about playing baseball every recess and lunch break every day of the week while the weather permitted.  And even when it didn’t.  We played in drizzle and fog and once in lightning.  (The teacher was inside and didn’t notice, or I’m sure she would have put a stop to that one.)  We played when the base lines were dusty, and we played when they turned to mud.  We fought over balls and strikes, safes and outs, and even the score, since an umpire and a score keeper were unheard of in our day-to-day games.  It was my mom who suggested we keep right on playing all summer by joining a league.

It didn’t take a lot of persuasion, and my sister and I decided to join a girl’s team where we went to practices and took instruction from an actual coach, and where we would compete against 4 other small town teams.  It was an amazing experience for both of us, playing with people who knew what they were doing and were good at it.  It was a no brainer that Ann would make the team because she was good in whatever position she played, and I made it based solely on my ability to hit and run.  My fielding was pathetic.  She mostly played short stop.  I always got right field, behind a great first baseman and beside an excellent center fielder who could cover my ass.  I don’t remember a lot about those games except for hitting some home runs and always getting on base.  I was patient waiting for the perfect pitch, and took a lot of walks.  Ann swung at everything and mostly connected, but also had some colossal strike outs.  When that happened she would always come back mad and swinging and hit it out of the park.  I couldn’t catch a fly ball if my life depended on it.  Once I even pulled my glove back at the last second and let the ball drop at my feet.  When the coach asked me what the hell I was doing, I told him I had a panic attack.  He didn’t think that was funny.  I chased a lot of balls, and stopped a lot of grounders, but I was only ever able to throw them to a cut-off person.  It didn’t seem to matter how much I practiced, or how hard I tried.  I should have been a pinch hitter, but they didn’t have those in our games.

One night we were playing a crucial game that we really needed to win.  The game went back and forth, the score up and down, until we were leading by a run in the bottom of the ninth.  We got the first two outs, high fly balls to the infield and to left field and I was almost starting to relax.  Then there was a base hit and a runner on second.  The next up to bat was a girl who consistently hit line drives into right field.  I wanted to puke.  I could see my team mates glancing in my direction.  They probably all wanted to puke too.  It plays like a little mini video in my head.   First pitch – strike one.  YES!!  Kick the dirt, take a deep breath, get into position, pray.  Second pitch, strike two.  ALRIGHT!!  You can’t cross your fingers inside a ball glove, you moron.  Please please please if there is a God, don’t let her hit that stupid ball to me.  Third pitch – THWACK – a line drive right at me, but  ohmygod, so high.  FUCK!!  I swear there was a collective sigh from the rest of my team, and my heart dropped down to my knees at the thought of letting them all down.  They’d all gather around and say comforting stuff, like good try, that one was gone, don’t worry about it.  And I’d want to bawl.  So I gritted my teeth and decided to at least make it look good,  at least leave the ground and get my arm and my glove up there – reach goddamit…..jesusfuckshit…..and then SMACK – the ball hit my glove and nearly knocked me over backwards.  The silence was deafening.  And then the screaming began.  I will never ever again be the sports hero that I was that night.  If they could have hoisted me on their shoulders and drenched me with champagne I think they would have done it, but that would not have made the moment any more mind-blowing.  No home run before or since ever felt so good, and the rest of my baseball memories pale in comparison.  Of course nobody remembers it but me, but it doesn’t matter.

The ladies team I joined in Inuvik consisted of a bunch of bored housewives with varying degrees of talent.  We all went to tryouts where we had to run laps around a gym.  What a pathetic out of shape bunch.  Half of us ended up lying on the floor red-faced and gasping for breath.  The coaches, who were CFS guys who picked the team,  made the mistake of overlooking a couple of ladies who were very talented.  These girls were also not all that good-looking, and both of them were over weight.  There was a lot of discussion amongst us about that – we had a couple of hot chicks on our team that couldn’t even swing a bat.  Both the rejected girls joined another team, so we let it go.  But every time we played against them, we pointed out to our coaches how they really missed the boat on those two.  So maybe I was chosen for my beauty.  HAHAHAHA!!

Seriously, I don’t think so.  Of course it was my superior ability and my obvious dedication and my complete lack of sarcasm that made me stand out.  Great uniform, hey?  I’m wearing long underwear under that, and two pairs of socks and a turtle neck.  We played in some darn cold weather.  So cold that we sometimes wore our parkas on the bench.  So cold that we couldn’t take this picture outside I guess.  My house is a complete disaster, because what athlete has time to tidy up?  Notice the incredibly ugly macrame thing hanging on my wall.  I made it myself.

So, anyway, back to baseball.  The first year we played we came in first over all.  I think there were three or four other teams.  Maybe four in all, but I don’t remember.  The things I do remember are how crazy competitive the coaches were, how they kept everyone’s stats, and how they begged us not to bring our kids to the games and sit them on our bench.  Sorry guys, sometimes a babysitter is hard to find.  We called ourselves the Snowbirds.  The first year we had all kinds of fans.  The second year we found out that everybody hates a winner, and we were the team that everyone LOVED to beat.  It kind of got us down after a while, especially when we played the team that consisted of all native women.  We were all white.  The other teams were mixed up, so our two teams kind of stood out, and created the biggest rivalry.  The all native team had a pitcher who was crazy as a loon.  She screamed and yelled and swore for the entire game, but mostly while she was on the mound.  It was a bit disconcerting to be called a whore by the pitcher while you were up to bat.  We thought there should probably be a rule against that kind of thing, but she could really draw a crowd.  Those girls were better players than we were, and they were positively jubilant when they took the final deciding game.  We were scared to death to shake their hands.  Well, hers anyway.  The rest of them were an okay bunch.

My sister went on to play baseball in a lady’s league for years.  She was a star on “Bert’s Beanery”.  There was no actual Bert’s Beanery, it was just a name they all liked.   Her husband played in a league as well, and then coached, and two of their kids were serious baseball players.  My nephew played on a team that won All Ontario championships two years in a row.

My illustrious career ended in Inuvik, and neither of my kids ever showed  much of an interest in the game, although they both have vague memories of sitting behind a wire mesh waiting to go home.   We took them to a Blue Jays game at Skydome once and they were bored out of their minds.

Maybe one of my grandkids will take up baseball, you never know.  If they do, I’ll be their biggest fan.

Inuvik

July 21

Inuvik

I have managed to turn a three-week holiday into 4 blogs, and a two-year portion of my life into two blogs, so now I’d like to cram a four-year stay in Inuvik into ONE blog.  Just for the hell of it.

When we landed at the airport in Inuvik in the summer of 1977, K. was a beautiful happy one and a half year old, and D., spirited and full of life as always would soon be celebrating birthday number three.  We were met by W.’s new supervisor who made a big fuss over D. (because that’s always what she demanded and got) and then he asked us how old our other little girl was.  Both of us looked at K. with his angelic smile and long blonde curls and decided he was well past due for that first hair cut.

Our new home was an end unit in government row housing.  There must have been a dozen or more four-plexes one after the other, all painted different colors, all in various states of disrepair.  Right away we dubbed it rainbow valley.  We had been told we’d be moving into the NEW row housing (which was on the other side of town and much more modern), so here already was disappointment number one.  These places were old and small and there were doors everywhere.  In fact I counted the number of doors that first day – there were 12 – 14 if you count the double doors at the front and back entrances.  And that didn’t include closet doors.  There was a small entrance way with a storage room to the left, and the kitchen on the right.   All the major appliances were jammed into this space, including the washer and dryer and there was a kitchen table and six chairs.  We would joke later that I could do 90 percent of my housework standing in one strategic spot in the kitchen.  The kitchen cupboards were painted lime green and the floor was checkerboard white and turquoise tiles.  The walls were yellow.  It made me a little dizzy.  The living room had a dark blue carpet, mint green walls, and three pieces of overstuffed furniture covered in a wild orange, rust, green and yellow-flowered pattern.  Only two of the pieces matched, although the third one came close.  The drapes were gold.  There were radiators all over the place,  but because of the time of year the heat of course wasn’t on, so the banging and clanging involved in the heating process was something we wouldn’t be aware of for a couple more months.   There was a door to a hallway, another door to another hallway to yet another door which led to the outside on the other side of the unit.  All green.  Then  came the stairway (some kind of pukey green carpet on that) leading up to a small landing with doors in every direction – three bedrooms and a linen closet and the bathroom.  More freakin’ green everywhere.  To this day the sight of anything painted green makes me slightly nauseous.  We were promised that all kinds of renovations were scheduled for our unit, and we actually believed that.  Man, it took us a long time to clue in to the demented ways of the territorial government housing people.  But we did learn, eventually. In a couple of years they did paint the whole place white and we got a rust colored carpet that went with our gross furniture, and I got rid of the lime green cupboards on my own.   It was not exactly the accommodations we had been lead to expect, but each child had a bedroom, one of which was large enough to convert half of it into a great play area.  I always felt a little claustrophobic on the main floor, but I never once forgot to empty the dryer.  And after we removed about six doors and stored them in our crawl space under the house, we seemed to have a whole lot more room.

K. & D. with popsicles on the chesterfield from hell.

Just for fun, here’s a picture of my grandchildren.  Can we all say deja vu??

Inuvik itself was an awesome place to live.  There were a couple of big grocery stores, a hotel (with a restaurant!) schools, a library, churches, an arena, a pet shop of all things, an actual craft store, a bakery, board walks, a hospital.  It was practically civilized!  We had roads to drive on!  And we bought a little blue Volkswagen that I was thrilled to drive around all over the place.  Our utilities were now provided by the utilidor – a network of above ground pipes enclosed in slippery steel.  We warned D. to never go up on top of them because it was dangerous and she could fall off.  She used to go out onto our back porch and scream at the kids who climbed onto them and over them to get down before they killed themselves.  Such a sweet child.  W. had dabbled in wildlife photography when we moved north, and here his skills in that department soared.  We actually began a small business and sold many of them.  Can’t say we made a fortune, but it was a lot of fun.  This is also where he decided to be Joe Inuk and create his own dog team.  Which to his credit he actually did.  He got a bunch of pups and built himself a sled and trained himself and his dogs so well that he actually once took his mother for a dog sled ride.

We made some of the best friends we would ever have during our stay there.  At that time there was a Canadian Forces base in Inuvik, and I was asked to join their lady’s baseball team.  I had a uniform and everything and they stuck me out in right field where I would cause a minimum of trouble.  I was pretty good at bat, but the worst fielder in the league I think.   We got our black lab while we lived in Inuvik – Wintoba’s Alaskan Crusader.  Good grief.  We called him Toban.  This is also where I started to draw and paint.  After a lot of experimenting I decided acrylics were my favourite medium.   It was another self-taught endeavor and my efforts surprised everybody, including myself.  I had an artist friend look at my stuff and he told me to just carry on, don’t ever take lessons.  If I did, I might lose that natural originality and je ne sais quois.  That’s artistic gobbledygook for ‘even though your stuff is totally wrong in every way, there’s something about it I like.’  I did lot’s of arctic scenery and pictures of Inuit people and children and even some of animals, although those always ended up having way too elaborate expressions on their faces to be believable.  I painted pictures for everyone in both our families for Christmas gifts.  I would never consider now doing such a crazy thing, and burdening poor unsuspecting people with artwork that they might find not even close to their personal taste.  My mother and my MIL turned out to be my biggest fans – MIL still has two of my paintings – one of a man driving a dog team and the other of a hunter’s shack – hanging in her living room!  I don’t know whether to be flattered or depressed by that fact.

We got two paid-out vacations a year, which were originally supposed to be to your place of hire (which would have been Toronto) but they changed that to mean the closest large city, which in our case turned out to be Edmonton.  So twice a year we forked out the extra cash and flew from there to Ontario.  We had learned that our trips home helped to keep us all happy and sane.  People were able to fly up and visit us a lot more easily here as well.  Most memorable visits were from W.’s parents, and my sister and her husband.  They both still talk about W. going out on the back porch with a big hunk of frozen caribou to saw off a slab for a roast for supper.

Many people remarked over these four years about how well our two kids got along with each other.  I guess we were just blessed in that respect because they really never had any huge disagreements about anything for very long.  D. continued to be a live wire who entertained, and K. kind of kept her grounded.  He continued to be a loveable happy child, easy to get along with and as deep and focussed as D. was flighty.  I guess it’s true that opposites attract.  They used to play together for hours.  They also had lots of little friends and now got to go to birthday parties and on play dates.  We started them in skating in the winter and took them on lots of camping trips up into the MacKenzie delta in the summer.  For over a year I babysat two little girls for a friend while she worked at her government job.  When D. went off to kindergarten, K. and April went to preschool together, and Lori went down for her nap.  I was practically a free woman for a couple of hours every day.

We used to go down the main street on the boardwalks with the kids on their new tricycles, D. with little Lori standing on her back runner, and K. and April taking turns on his bike, either driving or riding and me with the dog on a leash.  Our own little parade.

W. still went away on trips, but they were usually short and became few and far between.  This part of the NWT was very different from being above the tree line, and for four years he didn’t get lost once.  Hallelujah.