Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Countdown

No, we're not all tucked up snug in our beds, but several of us have been sick. Bram was sick all week but is definitely better today. However, he shared whatever he had first. Rose came down sick Friday and had to come home early from work yesterday. She came into our room at 3 am last night to tell us she was feeling awful and then ran into our bathroom and puked in our sink. Lloyd also seems to have caught the bug. Thankfully, I'm not feeling sick yet. Maybe it's because I had a flu shot this fall. I hope that'll make the difference.

Some of our friends have gone away for the holidays and we're looking after their house and dogs. That means that we need to go over several times a day to let the dogs out. They only live about three blocks away but we're driving instead of walking. Lloyd's not feeling well enough to want to walk, and although it is warmer out, I just don't feel like walking three blocks at -20. (Besides, if Lloyd's driving, I'm catching a ride).

We have done some Christmas baking. Bram and I made Christmas pudding yesterday. I couldn't find the traditional family recipe in my recipe box, so looked on-line and kind of made up my own recipe. I just tried some and it tastes right. Rose made peppernuts. Again, we couldn't find our traditional recipe, but used one from a cookbook. Lloyd says it's not like mom used to make, but we've managed to choke down most of them anyway.

Rose distributed resumes on Monday of this past week, had an interview Tuesday and started work Wednesday at Reitman's. She had Friday off, but has been scheduled to work every other day this week. However, she came home early yesterday and phone in sick today. Hopefully this bug will be a short-lived one. Two years ago the family celebrated Christmas by being really sick. Rose was sick before Christmas at the movie theatre. Bram followed shortly thereafter and Lloyd and I spent Christmas sitting on our respective thrones. The kids heated up leftovers for Christmas dinner. I have no desire to repeat the experience.

Lloyd and I are off work for the next two weeks. We have some plans of what we'd like to do over the break, but part of the time we just want to have a break. Really looking forward to it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Rose is home once more

But it wasn't an uneventful trip home. She was supposed to fly home Friday. However, I had it in my head that she was flying home Saturday - so she also had it in her head that she was flying home Saturday. She didn't check until it was too late on Friday to catch her flight. So... her flight was rescheduled for early Saturday morning.

Bright and early Saturday morning (think, before 6 am), Rose was at the airport to catch her flight. She boarded on time, and says, "I must have fallen asleep because an elderly lady woke me up as she was getting off the plane." However, they weren't getting off the plane in Edmonton, they were still in Regina. The plane had computer problems. Then fog rolled into Regina, and they had trouble getting a replacement plane so it was actually 2:15 before she flew on to Edmonton. They made several postponements... "the flight will leave at 10; the flight will leave at 12," etc. She says that the new plane was a prop plane and she was sitting right beside the props; it was noisy and it made the plane shake.

Anyway, she arrived in Edmonton at about the same time she left, thanks to the time change. However, the flight to Yellowknife didn't leave until after 8 pm. So, she has lots of time to kill in the Edmonton airport now. Finally, at five minutes before the flight was due to leave, they announced that the flight was cancelled. Rose phoned collect, in tears. "I have no money, I'm hungry, they've cancelled the flight until tomorrow morning, what do I do?" I told her not to wipe her tears, to go to the ticket agent looking as forlorn as she sounded on the phone and to ask for a meal voucher, a hotel room voucher and a breakfast voucher for the morning. Air Canada came through with all of those things, and she did catch the flight Sunday morning at 6 am. She was home by 8:30. It was really good to see her, and we put her right back to bed for another four hours. Somehow she felt like she had been shorted on her sleep the night before. (When she set her alarm Sunday morning in order not to miss her flight, she had forgotten to reset her clock to mountain time, and so was up an hour early).

It was the Christmas concert at church yesterday. Bram had a small part; it was of course, the little kids who stole the show. There were a few angels (one with a soother), that were really cute. Jenna was also an angel, but she's so tall for her age that she didn't look quite as adorable. Bram read part of the scripture from Luke, and organized props for the little kids, hanging them up at the right time.

This is Lloyd and my last week of work before Xmas break. All government employees have an unpaid break between Xmas and New Years. I'm really looking forward to the break.

The clock is still ticking down in preparation to Arctic Winter Games. We've got about half of the volunteers we're needing (1200 or so), which is doing fairly well; but we've only got 83 more days until the games. The deadline to register as a volunteer is Feb 1, so the time is really going quickly. We still don't have anyone planning to come see us during the games - would love to have you visit. March 9-15.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


It's Sunday afternoon - I've just gotten up from my traditional Sunday afternoon nap. I need to think about making supper right away. I think we're going to have grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

While I was warm and cozy napping, Lloyd and Bram were wrestling with our little utility trailer outside. It has one very flat tire. I purchased a new tire for it, and seeing as it had warmed up to -20 today, it needed to get put on. I'm so thankful I have menfolk who can do that kind of thing and don't end up freezing the way I do. Once the tire's on, they're loading the fourwheeler in it and taking it back to the dealership so that it can be looked at. Lloyd was using it on Wednesday to clean the snow off our driveway when it slipped into reverse and now he can only get reverse and neutral. It should be covered under warranty because it's new.

I'm feeling particularly thankful right now. It's a little bit warmer out, after -35, -20 is positively balmy. In addition, Rose comes home next weekend for Xmas holidays. I'll be really glad to have her home. The family seems incomplete without her. Bram has completed his math in entirety. That means that in the new year we'll start him on Grade 9 math. It has been a good decision to homeschool Bram, and I'm very thankful that I was cut back in hours so much that I had the option to do that. I enjoy my job, and new options are possibly opening up for next semester. I'll write more on that if they come though.

I did the sound this morning at both services. I always feel sort of incompetent when I do that. Kind of like, what happens if something goes wrong? There's so many dials and buttons that surely I can't know what to do with them. In addition, not only am I manipulating all the dials and buttons on the sound board, I'm also doing the media shout on the laptop alongside it. There was a video clip to play this morning, and to do that I had to manipulate two remote controls. When I was shown what to do with them, my response was, "Don't you know that because remote controls are strictly the province of the males in the house - I don't know how to use these things?" However, everything went well.

My tomato soup just boiled over on the stove and I can't find either bread or cheese for grilled cheese, so it must be time to stop and finish getting supper ready.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Winter arrived with a vengeance last weekend. Woke up Saturday morning to -30; Sunday and Monday was -35. Since then it's been between -17 and -20, which is much nicer but still pretty cold.

I started out today rather poorly. Went to work, parked the van and got stuck. As I walked around the van to see how badly stuck I was, I noticed the back tire was really low as well. When I got home after lunch I also found out that I had forgotten to unplug the van before I drove away. All in all, not a great start to the day.

I have been doing a lot of work this past week volunteering for AWG. I have made presentations to opposite ends of the age spectrum (teenagers at one of the high schools and then seniors). I also made informal presentations to both of my classes. Bram helped me prepare the PowerPoint presentations. There's also been several meetings and tomorrow there's a big rally with the hopes of signing up more volunteers (I'm on the committee that's job is to get and train the volunteers). For AWG we're going to need about 2500 volunteers; to host the approximately 2000 athletes, cultural performers, coaches, etc. When you consider that Yellowknife has a population of approximately 20 000, that's a lot of volunteers. More than 1 in 10, especially since you have to be 12 or over to volunteer. So anyway, I will have done about 12-14 hours by the end of this week.

Rose is talking to us on the phone right now. She's confessed that she's lost her bank card, is broke and has also misplaced her student card (so she can't eat in the cafeteria). I have suggested that she start looking for things. This week she's missed supper every night, for a variety of reasons. Also something I'm not encouraging. Several of them she's slept through, so Lloyd's talking to her about setting an alarm to go off right before supper.

Bram has been working most of the week on his English. He's been writing a short story. He doesn't like writing stories. He's also not finished, but I'm not letting him off the hook because my deadline for him was today. So he's going to have to work on it over the weekend, because he does have other subjects besides English to keep up with. Having said that, I'm really behind on the WebCT course that I've been taking. I need to get back to work on that. I'm also a little behind on my marking.

Lloyd has had a hectic week at work, but he says he's gotten through nearly everything he wanted to, so that's good.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bram's powerpoint

I'm trying to post this so that you can see it. Here it is:
You'll have to download it and then press F5 for it to run properly. If you don't have PowerPoint, you may have to go to Then go to the Office link and download a PowerPoint viewer to see it (when I was there it was the third from the top).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Long Weekend

Last weekend was a long weekend, which was good. What was better was that Rose came home. I hadn't seen her since she went to Western the last week of August. It was really good to see her again. We're delighted with how well she's doing at school but it was about 10 weeks since we'd seen her, so it was good to be able to. I wonder how the parents do that send their kids from further away, and only get to see them at Christmas.

It continues to be winter here. The ice on Frame Lake is thick enough that Lloyd has been taking out the four wheeler and plowing a number of paths for the pedestrians that walk across the lake to work. It's been well appreciated. Bram and I went out with him this morning on the snowmobile while he was on the four wheeler. It's still a balmy -5 out, so it wasn't cold. We had fun. The ptarmigan have migrated south to Yellowknife for the winter, however, and I've included a picture of what they look like.

It was report cards at work for me last week. I had one student who couldn't make the student/teacher meeting because she had a court appearance, but everyone else made their interview time - which is good. Generally speaking, they're all doing well, and I'm pleased. Rose and Bram are also doing well at school. Bram did a really impressive powerpoint presentation for his Bible class, and once I figure out how to post it on here, I'll let you see it. Rose brought a bunch of homework home with her last weekend, and got most of it done. She had a five-hour layover in Calgary, so I'm hoping she finished up her homework then. I'm supposed to be working on my WebCT course, but haven't done anything much on it. I need to get an extension, I guess, and then work on it without interruption for awhile.

While Rose was home we tried to take family photos. We had tried over the summer to get them commercially done at some (inexpensive) place like Walmart. However, Walmart up here doesn't have a photostudio and down south you have to come back in ten days to pick up your photos; they won't mail them to you. So, we didn't get them done. We posed outside beside City Hall, but none of the pictures of the family turned out. So then we tried outside by our front door. But Rose looks like she's acclimatized to the warmer weather down south and looks freezing instead of happy. So we tried a third time on our couch. They're not great photos, but they're ok. I'd still like to get some professional photos done.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An invitation

Lloyd and I have finished our First Responder's Course (level 1). We took the final exam on Sunday and passed. It was a very intensive course; forty hours in two weeks - all outside of regular working hours. We learned lots, enjoyed the course and are very happy it's finished. One of the instructors was telling me that we should really take the level 2 course now, but I don't think so. I'm happy with what we've got.

Lloyd took the course because he volunteers with Yellowknife Search and Rescue and it'll be helpful for him to have the First Responder's Course for that. The reason I took the course is because I'd like to volunteer at Arctic Winter Games, which will be in Yellowknife, March 9-15, 2008 (or 124 days from now).

What are Arctic Winter Games, you ask? Check out - to find out more; but think Olympics (only a lot smaller) with many different events that the Olympics don't have (things like Snowshoe Biathlon, Inuit Games, Dene Games, dogsledding and many cultural events). It's only for the circumpolar world (Alaska, Yukon, NWT, Northern Alberta, Nunavut, Nunavik, Greenland, the Saami people from Europe, and a couple of Russian provinces), and it's quite an event. Here is your opportunity! If you'd like to come visit - the AWG is an excellent time to come. We have a spare room (seeing as Rose is at Western), and Walter and Faye also have a spare room (I'll volunteer them too). Come see us! Plan your holidays now!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Winter Wonderland

After predicting the arrival of winter for at least a month, it has finally arrived. Snow arrived in a blizzard on Wednesday. Lloyd had to get the four wheeler out with the blade to clean out the driveway. He then did some of the neighbour's driveways as well. The temperature today is only about -6 C, but it likely won't get above freezing now until April sometime. So it is now definitely winter.

In other interesting tidbits of news from other spots in the north:
In Inuvik, the Northmart store mistakenly received 1200 litres of buttermilk instead of the six to twelve litres that they normally get. The manager had ordered 1200L of UHT milk (what's called shelf milk here, because it can sit on the shelf forever until it's opened), and got buttermilk instead. Check out the rest of the story here:

In Fort Good Hope, the annual barge shipment didn't arrive. Fort Good Hope, (population 585) is on the Mackenzie River and doesn't have road access. Access is only by the river or by ice road in the winter. Each year the inhabitants order a year's supply of goods, which arrive by barge in late summer. However this year the shipping company got off to a late start and was several weeks behind. By the time they got the barge headed down river to Fort Good Hope, it was already freezing nights, and the river had gotten too shallow to get into the community. So instead, everything was unloaded at Norman Wells (145 km away). This means that the community has run out of toilet paper and other basic supplies (think heating oil), which will have to be flown in at a tremendous cost, as the ice road won't be ready until likely late January. Construction projects have had to be put on hold for an entire year, as the building supplies didn't arrive and can't be flown in.

Now the NWT has a number of communities without road access, but I believe that they all got their supplies this year, except for Fort Good Hope. You don't realize how fortunate you are, until you find out how other people live. The regular price for buttermilk in Inuvik is about $4 a litre. It would be much higher than that in Fort Good Hope. It's time to count my blessings again.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Family news

I just have to share how proud I am of my family. I'll start with Lloyd - he's such an incredible husband. He does so much related to house maintenance, etc. (stuff that not only do I have no desire to do, but also have no skill to do). Right now the new project is going to be replacing our fuel tank. The insurance company that we have been with for several years has gone belly up, so now we have to deal with a new insurance agent. Apparently the company we've been dealing with for house insurance doesn't allow you to just transfer agents - you have to reapply. And... because our oil tank is over 10 years old (likely over 20 years old), it'll have to be replaced in order to get insurance. Sigh. It's likely going to be close to $2,000. Not on our planned expenditures, but we'll manage. I think we have to pay someone to install and hook it up, but we can do all the foundation stuff ourselves (put down crushed rock and a cement pad).

Now, to share about Rose. She's informed us that she has an A average so far this term. This is totally awesome! She's never had an A average before, and she's not exactly taking a light load with both Chemistry and Physics (no, they're not A's, but they're good solid B's) as well as Math and three other subjects. So I can say that the move to Western has been really good for her. She is off to Minot for a Youth Rally this weekend I think. (I think is because it depends on whether her passport got to her on time or not. We express mailed it to her Tuesday morning.)

Finally, Bram. He has been working extremely hard at his home schooling. A lot of the time he's not supervised, because I go back and forth to work (I teach from 11 to 12 and from 3-4); but he's been very diligent. He's also doing very well. He was telling me this afternoon, on the way out the door to piano lessons, that he really hadn't practiced as much as he should have this past week. (I never thought I'd ever hear such an admission!) Anyway, I can really see the maturity that he's developing as he shows such responsibility.

As a total aside, both kids are still shorter than me (but not for long). I'm 5'2" (because I round up), and they're both about 5'1". There's about 1/2 an inch between my height and theirs.

This next week Lloyd and I are taking a First Responders course through St. Johns Ambulance. It's a 40 hour course, and we're taking it from 6 to 10 pm Tuesday and Thursday, and from 8 to 5 for Saturday and Sunday on next weekend and the weekend after. It should be fairly brutal, but it means we don't have to take time off work to take the course I think we'll learn a lot.

It's snowing outside right now. Bram should be very happy. All the snow we had did melt, and we've had lovely fall weather, but Bram's been moping around wanting snow.

Last night Bram and I cooked a supper "A la francaise". We had l'escargot avec le beurre ail, les champignon etouffes and la soupe d'oignon francais for les apperitifs. Bram said it was a lot more fun cooking it than eating it. He wasn't very impressed with any of the appetizers. Then we had les cotelettes de porc dijonnais avec les patates, les legumes Alfredo and la salade d'hote for the main course. Instead of dessert we had bread (baguettes of course) with cheese for a final course. I enjoyed it all. The escargot and French Onion soup brought back a lot of memories. Back when I was a penniless university student, those were usually the cheapest things you could order off a menu, so I got so I quite liked them both.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Toys

Lloyd has himself two new toys now; a new snowmobile and a new quad. He's had a lot of fun with the quad over the weekend and is eagerly waiting for enough snowfall to enjoy the snowmobile. Here in YK you can ride the quad on city streets provided you're licensed and insured (you can ride snowmobiles on city streets too) - so he'll likely drive it to work a fair bit. I drove it tonight for the first time, and enjoyed myself as well - but I think I'll primarily stick to the enclosed, heated space in the van.

A couple of weeks ago I also got myself a new toy - a brand new oven. It has a porcelain top and a convection oven. I tried out the convection oven for the first time cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, but tried it again over the past few days making muffins. And I have to say, I'm not overly impressed. One thing I've heard about convection ovens is that they consistently keep the same heat throughout the oven, so that you don't have hot spots. Well, look at these muffins! It looks to me that my oven isn't the same consistent temperature throughout. Because the oven is brand new, I think I need to phone Whirlpool and find out what's wrong.
In a way, this is kind of funny. Everyone else seems to post pictures of their kids - I post photos of muffins! (Maybe I need to get a life.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We had friends over for Thanksgiving yesterday. Had ten around the supper table, which is very manageable but not the real crowd that I remember having for Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful fall day, cool but not really cold. It warmed up to +7 during the day.

After supper we sat around and visited and then played cribbage. I won so it was a good game. This year I cooked a prestuffed turkey. I've never heard of such a thing before this fall, but I tried a prestuffed chicken a couple of weeks ago and it was quite nice. With the prestuffed bird, the instructions are to bake it from frozen - so it's really easy. Just pull off the plastic wrap, put it in the roasting pan and bake it. It was very good too. I made potatotes (courtesy of Clifford's garden), gravy, turnips, mixed vegetables, corn, salad and cranberry sauce (wild ones picked last year) and jello salad. Our friends brought over sweet potatoes and another salad. We had a choice of pumpkin pie or apple pie for dessert. As always, there was more than enough food, and I don't think I'll be cooking for a couple of days until we clean out the leftovers.

Looking out the window this morning, it is snowing again and it's not the large gentle first snow type of snow. It's driving pellets in a strong wind, so this snow may last.

We have so much to be thankful for. We worship a wonderful God who meets all of our needs in Christ Jesus. We are all in good health and have jobs that we enjoy. Our children are enjoying school. We have an abundance of possessions - we are incredibly wealthy. Although we may live a distance from our families, we have built new families here - and we can afford to visit our families if needed. Thank you Lord.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Where we're at

Because it's been so long since I have posted, I thought I'd bring you up to date with what's going on with our family.

Lloyd is still working for the Government of the NWT, being a tecchie kind of guy, building and maintaining databases. This fall he and I are planning on taking a First Responders course through St. John Ambulance. Lloyd has volunteered for several years with Yellowknife Search and Rescue, and this course will definitely make him more valuable for that team.

I am still teaching at Aurora College, but have changed the nature of my job this year. For the past three years I taught Adult Basic Literacy. This year I'm teaching Adult Basic Education. The difference? Literacy worked with adults who were reading below a Grade 6 level (many or most of them below a Grade 4 level). ABE works with people who don't have their complete high school and are essentially working on upgrading. They're same kind of folks, just a level up in abilities; in fact, some of my previous students in Literacy are now in ABE. I'm only teaching two classes this year, Nursing Access and Introduction to Computers. This means I'm only working 1/4 time, which allows me the time to homeschool Bram.

So, not in order of age, but in order of discussing my kids: Bram is 13 this year, in Grade 8. Because I am only working part-time, we decided that we would homeschool Bram this year. Bram has been quite happy with the change because he didn't have the greatest year last year. We've decided to go with Alberta Distance Learning for most of Bram's courses. He's taking Science (in French), Social Studies, English and Bible through them. I'm teaching Bram Math independently, and our friend Lorraine is teaching him French Language arts. He is also taking piano lessons (for music).

Rose is 16 this year in Grade 11 at Western Christian High school. She has found it to be a big adjustment to be at Western this year, but I think she's enjoying it a lot. (Some days more than others). I think she's lost (and found I hope) her wallet at least five times in the month she's been there so far. Her main frustration since arriving at Western was that her laptop's wireless internet wasn't working properly, but it is now, so life is good.

Summer is Past and Gone

I'm sure that's the line of a famous poem that I took sometime in school. However it's also true. Today it's a balmy +6 here in Yellowknife, the warmest it has been all week. Thursday morning I washed sheets and hung them out on the line, thinking as I did it that it would likely be the last time I did that until summer again.

The sheets froze just about immediately, but that was ok, I had all day for them to hang there. Then I went about my daily affairs, taught my morning class, had my piano lesson, etc. In the middle of my piano lesson, I looked out the window and saw huge, thick snowflakes falling down. By the time I got to school to teach my afternoon class, the snow was really thick and wet. I phoned Bram and asked him to bring the sheets in from the line. Later, when I asked him about it, he said it was still mostly dry snow and he just shook off the sheets. However by the time I started driving home from work, the snow had degenerated into sleet and then rain, so I was glad that he was home to bring them in.

We have had a much cooler, wetter autumn than we're accustomed to, but we've also had a fair bit of snow in the past week, so I think we're transitioning into winter. That's my bottom line, snow = winter. The picture is what it looked like Monday night from our front door. Now most of that has melted, but it has snowed twice since then.