Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Tougher Than it Looks

Last night our temperatures warmed up about thirty degrees from -31 F (-35 C) to just below zero. As I write this, the airport instruments are showing -2.9 F (-18.8 C). That probably doesn't sound like much of a warming trend, but it makes a big difference, believe me.

Two nights ago, I took my dog out for a walk...or at least I intended to. He was certainly up for it, but about thirty feet from the building he started picking up his feet. Those of you who live in colder regions know that's a sign that it's too cold for unprotected feet. My old dog never got the hang of wearing booties, so he either has to be willing to tough it out or stay inside. When he started falling down, I helped him decide that it was too cold and quickly took him back inside.

Last night was a completely different story. At -2.9 he seemed fine outside, frisky even. He showed no sign of pain at all. Temperatures around zero just don't seem to be all that bad. I can always tell when temperatures drop to about -10 F or lower because the moisture inside my nose always begins to freeze (nice gauge, huh?).

However, this is a windy place and the windchill today has been in the negative 20's, so unprotected skin is still at risk. A couple of my students already have nasty frostbite marks on their faces. So it makes sense to dress warmly and be careful to cover up everything. That sounds simple enough, but it's not always an easy task.

Especially if you're three.

Check out one of my favorite beauties getting into her gear. Those zippers can be tricky...even for me!


By the time I walked up, she already had her inside shoes off and her snow pants on. I caught her struggle with her zipper on video (so cute). Watch her feel for the emblem on her hat. Smart girl. :)

Then Aaka helped with mittens...


...and the overcoat...and the scarf...and the boots.


Finally, if the kid is still breathing, he or she is ready to go outside!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Community Quote

“It’s all ready to go except for the guts.”

Said by an elder at church as she offered me a goose.
(Gotta love small communities!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Really Great Shew!

The talent show went off without a hitch.

It was a team effort between school staff (who organized) and Healthy Communities (who supported with funding).

All I can say is...Ed Sullivan would have been proud.

It was a variety show with variety in spades!

Not only was there great singing...




Poetry from sweet lips

mechanical impressions,


a completely original handpuppet video,


and an amazing guitar solo.


There was even one act that literally defied definition!


And the refreshments were pretty awesome too!


In spite of being sick, I was really glad to have attended. And I was so proud of all the contestants. I think performing in front of family and friends with absolutely no chance for anonymity might be even more difficult than facing an audience of strangers. But each performed beautifully. No one choked or cried or backed out at the last minute. It was a fun night full of laughter and applause...just the way we like it around here.

One of the highlights of the evening (besides the Sisters of the Boa Act, that is) was when quiet, unassuming, Peter took a walk on the wild side with his electric guitar. I was expecting him to play some sweet little ballad on his acoustic because I knew he was self-taught and a little shy. I just figured he'd play something low-key and safe.


Think big time rocker without the absurd persona.

I think the entire gym was shocked and awed as his fingers fluttered up and down the strings. He ended up walking away with a well-deserved first place prize. Congratulations, Peter! Can't wait to hear more.

If the video above doesn't work for you, give it a try here

Didn't see your favorite act in this post? Look for more photos on my Flickr account (click any photo and you'll be sent there automatically).

Saturday, November 14, 2009



A nasty bug has invaded my body and made me sick, sick, sick.

So, although there are tons of things that need doing today, I don't have the energy or motivation to move much less accomplish...anything.

This couldn't have come at a worse time (as if there is ever a good time).

Tonight there will be a (first ever) community talent show at school and I am supposed to take pictures. There will also be some guitar music that I've been looking forward to and don't want to miss.

I've heard rumors that there will be a faculty "act" and I've been warned NOT to video tape it. know what that means, right? :)

I'm hoping that this virus will run its course and I'll be feeling well enough to not only attend the talent show, but grab some photos and (of course) blackmail-worthy video too.

It should be a hoot.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a little flashback from summer involving two of my favorite little guys who are obviously experts at making the best of a bad situation.

What do you do when your bicycle falls apart? Cry? Curse? Complain?

Let these masters of the half-full glass show you...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big Night


So what do you do on Halloween night when temperatures are hovering around zero and you live hundreds of miles off the road system?

You make your own fun. That's what you do!

Puuqtaluk is an annual Halloween event that involves costumed dancers and a full night of silliness and laughter. For a more detailed explanation, click here.

It's difficult to appreciate the craziness of Puuqtaluk unless you experience it for yourself. The costumes can be a if viewed out of context.


If you're not a local, it's hard to imagine just what might be lurking behind the gruesome grins.


The whole idea is to remain anonymous.


See what I mean?

But Atqasuk residents know that it's all in fun. No one relishes frightening anyone. The costumes are meant to conceal and distract from the dancer's identity and sometimes they actually pull it off.

Take this guy, for instance.


You'd never know it by looking at him, but there is a stand-up comic buried beneath all that ugly. (A very creative dancer as well). This year he won first place in his age group and then went on to compete against all age groups, including adults, to win the grand prize!

Here he is after winning for the second time that night. Awesome!


So here's the drill...

#1...a space is cleared for dancing...dancers on one side and the audience on the other.


#2...loud music is played in two-three minute segments allowing participants to dance individually as well as alongside competitors.


#3...judges judge.


#4...spectators spectate.


#5...the winner reveals his/her identity and collects a prize.


#6...everyone repeatedly watches videos of students and friends dancing their crazy dances (or am I the only one that does that?).