More Christmas Games

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tonight after getting my door knob replaced (yeah!) myself and another teacher who is staying up here for the holidays ventured down to the Christmas Games at the gym. Tonight, the Northern Store was 'hosting' the games ... and there was prizes, candy and toys flying all over the place.

In the Knot untying game, if you rolled a one on the dice you got to run to the middle and untie one of the knots in the rope. Who ever unties the last knot wins the game.

In this game, we had to roll a two to be able to run to the middle and un-tape a nail before hammering it into the chunk of wood. Who ever is the lucky one to hammer in the last nail wins the game.

Oh, how I loathe my Door

Oh, door knob?
Why must you hate me so?
Freezing up and locking me outside is not acceptable.
Neither is locking and then not unlocking.

I have tinkered with you to no end,
Trying to make you work nicely,
Alas, you choose not to work completely.

So I have called the handyman again
and they are going to bang you around until you work.

So yes, yet again, my door knob is on the fritz . I don't know what it is with door knobs these days and me. Sigh. With any luck it will be fixed in a little bit (this is only the fourth call to housing today to get it repaired. Let's see if the fourth time is the charm :-) )

What is my next step? Probably calling up Holmes on Homes and pleading my case for his need to come up North (I know, I can dream and wish).

Hide and Seek

Monday, December 29, 2008
Although I am pretty sure many of us have seen this before (I think I got it in an email over the summer) ... it has finally hit a 'newspaper'.

Mmmm, looks like dinner time

I'm gonna getcha

The Daily Mail (a UK Newspaper) reports on a "Chilling game of hide and seek with a hungry polar bear".

UPDATE: for any one curious, I have found what I believe to be the originating site / post of these photos that the Daily Mail is using : Alaska HDTV: A Bad Day at Work and Alaska HDTV Podshow Flckr Stream.

Garbage Bag Twisty Game

One of the games played tonight at the games I've dubbed the "Garbage Bag Twisty Game". Essentially, a garbage bag (or two) is tied together into a figure eight shape and with a partner you have to pull the bag from your head down your body and then pass it on to the next team. Which ever team has the bag when the music stops is out.

Update from the North

Nothing much has been going on up here in the frozen land of Arctic Bay. The weather ... well.. has been pretty craptacular as of late. Temperatures can't quite make up their mind wether they want to stay below 40 or above -20, which is causing all sorts of weather drama - ice fog, snow and of course the wind. Oh how I hate the arctic wind - it just burns the skin.

Christmas games are going along as planned, I hope to get down to the gym tonight to watch some more (if the weather doesn't turn on me again).

I've been getting more lessons prepared up for my classes that start in January - oh, it's gonna be a wonderful month of grammar, grammar, and more grammar (hope my students will enjoy it).

What have I been up to? Well, the same'ol same'ol. Listening to new tunes, reading and of course catching up on my TV shows (how I love being able to get my TV on DVD now .. so much easier, especially when the satellite up here goes on the fritz and I can't get any TV).

Past that, I've just been relaxing and enjoying my last couple of days off .... as soon, it will be back to the grind of edumacating.

The Go Find Game

Saturday, December 27, 2008
At least that is what I call it. In this game, all of the kids, 7-9 are given instructions to 'find' certain objects in the crowd. It could be mittens, a quarter, a red sneaker or a Toronto Maple Leaf's logo. I always enjoy watching this game as the kids just scramble all around the gym spying who ever might be sporting the required element.

Arctic Jig

Friday, December 26, 2008
Tonight I ventured down to the community gym where our Christmas Games are going on. The games were being 'hosted' by the Hamlet tonight, which were primarily for the kiddies although, later on in the night it does switch over to 16+ games and a dance.

While I was there, I got to watch my first (I know, how sad is that??!! I've been in the Arctic 1.5 years) 'arctic jig'. It's more or less like what we do down on the East coast ... minus the techno-squeezebox music.

Santa Made it to Baffin Island

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa and his fleet or Reindeer flew over Baffin Island tonight dropping off some nice goodies at my tree.

Santa is now en-route across the rest of Canada now .. keep your eyes to the sky ... you might just get a glimpse of him in the sky.

And incase you missed him along his journey, you can catch up on the highlights of his visits around the world.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Light and Dark in the High North

Sunday, December 21, 2008
As sometimes it is difficult to really explain the whole dark and light season that occurs here in the North .. here's a diagram that will hopefully shed some light on the subject.

The Longest Night of the Year

Today, is the winter solstice .. which makes tonight, the longest night of the year... and also marks the beginning of the winter season.

The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observers' hemisphere. This year, solstice occurs at 12/21/08 at 12:04 UTC (7:04 PM EST) -- which means, winter officially begins this evening :-D

The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradually lengthening nights and shortening days ... or in our case up here in the North, it's when we start going back towards the light, as the solstice marks our halfway point in our dark season.

I'm way up in that dark area in the Arctic Circle

(this concludes our little educational moment).

Bonfire: the Movie


Saturday, December 20, 2008
Tonight down on the ice the town had a huge bonfire. Yes I know everyone. A bonfire on the ice. No worries though, as the ice on the bay is at least six-feet thick (if not more) and the fire barely made a dent in the ice too.

At first, I was just going to stay home and continue watching TV ... and since I knew it was going to start around 7:00pm, I figured that it probably really wouldn't start until 7:30-8:00. Well, around 7:00pm I could see a little glow starting up on the ice and skidoos starting to head down onto the bay. I decided, well I probably should leave my 'bat-cave' for a while and see the outdoors again for a bit, and pulled on my outside gear again.

By the time I got down onto the main drag (the road along the bay) the bonfire was nice and big ... now all I had to do was hop along the frozen bay for a bit to make it to the bonfire.

It was a nice little gathering down on the ice with a fairly large group gathering around, chatting, drinking coffee and chowing down on hotdogs (as there was a little BBQ going on as well).

I walked around, followed by a nice gang of kids from school (who all wanted a turn with my camera - I just let them take it now, they love taking pictures - most of the ones here were taken by my little photographers too).

At the bonfire there was a draw going on for 45 liters (or maybe it was gallons ... I can't quite remember) of gas. Now this is a great ticket raffle prize considering that gas up here is around 1.60$/L (from what I've heard). After the draw, the gathering died down pretty quickly with everyone taking off and heading back home for the night.

Christmas Concert 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008
This evening, we held the Inuujaq School's Christmas Concert 2008 in the gym. We had a full house and many great performances by our students at school - from our pre-school group all the way up to our high school Inuktitut class. Even us teachers performed in our own little skit for the parents and students of Arctic Bay.

I held the dual role of photographer and videographer this year (which was tricky at times) - but I made it out in one piece with 90 pictures and a full tape of footage ... now the fun part begins ... the editing process. Guess what I will be doing tomorrow morning ;-)

Tomorrow, not only marks the last day of school for the year but also Santa's arrival to school! At Christmas time, we give out Christmas gifts to each student in the school (our local DEA organizes the event). The kids love getting their gift, and we all love seeing their eyes light up when they receive it from Santa and then we watch them tear at the wrapping paper. It brings a smile to all of us. Sadly though, this gift, for some, is the only gift that they may be receiving. So it is very special to them.

AND Vacation officially begins tomorrow at 2:30pm! It is going to be a nice relaxing 14 days filled with reading (yes, I am going to get caught up on all of my 'brainless' reading), Six Feet Under (thanks Kara!!!), Dexter and what ever other DVD's Santa brings me.

I hope all of our staff heading southward to the sun, yet still chilly south (haha - it's warmer up here than down there in some places) get out on time with no weather / mechanical delays. I've been called crazy many times this month for not packing up and heading home for the holidays ... but the flight schedule, by the time I even considered looking for flights was pretty bleak (as in I could fly out Dec 23, get home early Dec 24, and then have to be back in Ottawa on Dec 28 so I can fly up North on Dec 29); IMHO, so not worth the aggravation of holiday flying and the cost. I'll just be taking a really nice trip in the summer ... or maybe getting a new MBP :-D

Please, Christmas Don't Be Late

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When I was younger, I apparently drove my family and extended family slightly insane one Christmas with this song, and the rest of the album. Not my fault you gave me the tape and a tape player :-)

So, to bring back a long lost tradition, and since we are all spread across the country, I will drive you all insane through the power of the intertubes :-)

The year is winding down ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Another school term is starting to wrap up here in town. High school exams finished this afternoon which now leaves us high school teachers in a marking and grading frenzy ... well, some of us. My marks have been inputed into the system since Monday, so I've spent today getting CTS courses inline for next terms new group of students.

And the activities at school are starting to get into full swing too. Tomorrow night we are having a staff potluck and Secret Santa exchange, Thursday brings our Christmas Concert (and it looks like it is going to be a long one this year with a whopping 12 acts), and then Friday we are all caroling in the morning.. and then Santa comes to Arctic Bay in the Afternoon! (Stay tuned for pictures :-) ).

Outside here, the weather is quite nice - cold, but it is nice out [temps are between -25 and -35 right now], and we still get a glimmer of light (well, dark pink sky) around noon. But have no fears, soon we will be heading out from the darkside of the moon.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2008
Happy Holidays to y'all! Hope you all have a great time where ever you are in the world (in the sun or in the dark :-D )

"It's time for The .... Price ... Is .... What??!!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Welcome to another episode of The Price is What??!!

I love pomegranates ... and I mean love. And they are only around during the Holiday Season, so I try to get in as many of them as I can.

We had a shipment of them arrive in at our local Northern (I'm guessing yesterday or today) and they were calling to me. So I bought some ... 4 to be exact.

Yeah, I know what you are all thinking - "Kennie, you did what??", "Dude ... what did you have to sacrifice to get those?" and "HA-ha, I'm only paying 2.99$ for those down south!".

It might surprise you how much I actually did pay for these 4 Pomwonderul fruits.

Any well educated guesses?

Melt Frosty Melt!

For the last couple of days, we have been on a water conservation order as both of our water trucks are 'broken'. This sent us into the ever so wonderful "I-wonder-when-we-last-got-water" mode. Well ... just as luck would have it we (myself, Darcy and Monty) wound up with an empty tank last night ... which meant the dreaded no shower in the morning (I hate it when that happens) ... and with the no-shower-in-the-morning also comes the 'brushing-of-the-teeth-with-Perier'. It was either that Sprite. I went with the Perier.

Expecting the worse (as in days without water), I brought a couple of hydration bags with me to school today so I could at least have water for the basic necessities (coffee, coffee and coffee).

Hoping that the water Gods were good during the day and there would be water in the tank when I got home was short lived. No water. Sigh. Well, gotta get some water from somewhere so I can flushy-the-loo and maybe, just maybe wash my hair in the morning.

This is how desperate I was:

Melt Frosty Melt!

Just when I figured I'd be melting snow all evening, the most wondrous sound filed the air - the water truck was pumping our tanks full of water! Oh what a joyous sound! And then I started running around gathering all of the empty water jugs and started filling them up.

Hello shower tomorrow morning!

Movie Mania

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sometimes I really do love Canada Post (but, most of the time..... I'm not too thrilled with them ... well, more to the point, the people that deliver the mail to us up here in the North .. but anyways)....

I got some movie packs from Amazon today!!! And they contain all of the new releases that I pre-ordered! Whoo-hooo!

Yesterday, I got X-Files: I Want to Believe and Wall-E in (and yes, I did stay up all night watching them.. you know, I do have to preview movies before I show them to my students... that's the responsible thing to do ya know :-) ).

And today .. oh, today was excellent! Horton Hear's a Who arrived!

Along with The Cat in the Hat ... and of course, my all time favorite Canadian move: Bon Cop Bad Cop. Gonna have some good movie viewing over the next couple of days (and that's a good thing as there is nothing on tv as of late - got to love the rerun season).

Now... if Hollywood / Produces / Writers are reading this ... how-a-bout making a full-feature film of The Lorax next?

Ahh.. for the Marketer side of me

For those of you who don't know ... I'm not only a teacher, but also a Marketer (well.. at least that's what I honoured in, in university ... but for some odd reason, never did make the big leap to the corporate world .. hmmm...) - but in either case, for those of you who are like me, a multi-discipline person, or someone who just likes taking cracks at the corporate world .. go get yourself some chuckles here


The school year (at least first term) is starting to wind down .... or in some cases wind up. High school students have begun to kick it up a notch knowing that this is the last couple of days that they have to get all of their assignments and questions in before exam week (that starts next week). My elementary students ... well... they have been rather hyper so far this week (don't know whether it's all of the excitement of the holiday season coming to light or if they are just naturally this hyper) - but it's been fun.

I've been teaching my l'il ones holiday songs .... so far so good. My grade 2 group is really surprising me at how quickly they are picking up the words to the songs - and the English language taboot. It's pretty neat having them remember the words to Frosty the Snowman after a weekend break .. and it's even more of a hoot listening to them sing "Thumpety-thump-thump" all through the hallways as they get all of their snow gear on for recess.

Now all i have to do is figure out what song to teach them for tomorrow ....

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

Saturday, December 6, 2008
Since there were no other pressing matters in life up here in the Arctic Today (got to love the weekends - I've gotta stop working so hard during the week so I can at least have some work to do at home :-) ) ... I dug out the tree and set it on up today.

the Advent Calendar from my Momma (part of her efforts to keep me from opening up the actual gift bag before the big day)

Let's Get Ready to RUUUUUMMMMMBLE!

Yesterday afternoon during the last period of the day, we had a spur-of-the-moment, Staff vs. High School Students volley-ball match. Yes, you are reading that correctly - staff vs. students.

Around 2:45 everyone piled down into the gym to watch the chaos. I figured, ok, these high school kids are going to take our heads off with the volley-balls (as I know when I was in high school and we had anything to do with staff vs. students, we always brought out the 'big guns' and tried to inflict as much damage on our teachers as we could - usually with the purpose of revenge in mind). That didn't happen here though.

The younger grades covered the walls of the gym, watching with great interest, the game - we teachers even had a pretty impressive cheering squad from the younger kids with them yelling "teachers! teachers! teachers!" every time we scored against the high school students (it was quite cute).

We teachers made some good plays against the high school students (I don't think they thought we had it in us :-) ), and likewise, they made some pretty good plays against us too. Don't really know who won, but everyone left with a smile on their face.

I did have a camera down in the gym for pictures, and I'll post them as soon as I get back to school (as I left the camera there).

Ohhhh-Ahhhh .....

Friday, December 5, 2008
This morning on our walk down to school, Monty turned around and pointed to the sky "Northern lights up there today b'ye". And they were really there - and not too faint either, I could actually make out the dancing green. Sadly, I did not have my camera with me :-(

With any luck, maybe they will be out again tonight ... camera is on the tripod and ready for action

Phew! Something smells stinky .....

Thursday, December 4, 2008
...and it's not the current state of Canadian Politics.

Gotta love science ... up here in the Arctic, in the land of the cold, the ground is emitting methane gas .

The Trail that Leads to my Classroom

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
It's always great in the morning, when the unexpected happens (or I guess, in our case, the expected).

This morning, one of my students left an interesting trail down the hallway. Of course, this trail went from the high school wing (which has dark blue tile) all the way through the junior high wing, and into my classroom (where there is off white flooring). One of our SSA's noticed the trail going through the jr. high and was wondering what / who was hurt .... as... guess, what the trail was .... shoe prints of blood.

The trail lead right to my class, (of course it just had to be my class) and there was great concern about this trail as no one was sure if someone was hurt or if it was just from out doors.

Turns out that one of my students was skinning and cutting up a seal before coming to school and stepped in it. Now, there was a lot of foot prints along that hallway - - I'm thinking not so much as stepping in it, but soaking his sneakers in it :-).

It was quite funny. And, as good students, my boys that were in attendance volunteered right away (no requests made) to get the mop and bucket and clean up the trail. Aren't my student's great? Now only if I could get them to clean the classroom after they've made a mess :-).