Category Archives: Fun with Work Mates

Clay Party

This time of year it’s always crazy busy time for me at work.  It’s about 1/2 way through the term…lots of marking!! What better way to de-stress and forget about work for a bit…than to go out with a group of co-workers.  We went to Snug Harbour Restaurant  for dinner…to start off our evening.  The food was amazing… East Coast Salmon + Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie = happy gal! Perfect start to the night… clay-mug-_0001

After dinner we headed just down the road to 4Cats Port Credit for a little bit of team building while we got our hands dirty and made a hand build clay mug! Such a fun bright amazing creative space…they offer all kinds of art & craft classes for kids, adults and families. clay-mug-_0002

It’s been a few years since I’ve had my hands in clay. The camp that I worked at when I was in my late teens and early 20s I spent a lot of time in the craft shop… where I made a few creations…mugs, candle lanterns, bowls, vases and a bunch of other gifts for family and friends! I was excited to get back at it and make another mug…and see if I still had it in me to make something.  clay-mug-_0003

Starting off…used a wire cutter to cut off a piece of clay off the slab…then had to drop it onto the canvas…from an over hand throw…to get any air bubbles out of it… clay-mug-_0004

Then it was time to roll out the clay…the trick is evenly spread out the clay evenly–if you don’t… you’ll have a thick edge of your mug…and a way too thin side! clay-mug-_0005

You need to ‘scratch’ and ‘slip’ your clay whenever you join up two pieces.  (If you don’t… when the clay dries…it shrinks and pulls apart.) Just make up a few scratches on each side that join… then add a bit of water…and press them together! clay-mug-_0006

The next step was to trace out a circle for the bottom of the mug…scratch and slip it, and press it into place! Then I pulled a handle for my mug…decided to go for a big one… clay-mug-_0007

…our teacher was great to explain all the steps and help out if we needed.  But mainly we did our own thing…and had a lot of fun! Isn’t that what team building nights are all about?


The night was more than just making mugs…it was fun to share stories and laugh.  It was totally what I needed.  It also made me realize how happy I am when I’m making stuff… maybe I should look around for another class or something.


…the last step was to paint our clay with glaze.  The colours are a wee bit muted, but once they are fired in the kiln they will get all shiny and a bit more bright.  All of our mugs & vases look so pretty and unique just like us!


I work with a bunch of great people…this was not something new I learned last night.  I was glad to spend time with a few of these awesome people outside of the office..hanging out and playing with clay.


I decided to leave the seam..but most others smoothed out the joint so they had a smooth mug. I free-handed a few stars to cut out and then add to my mug…. and then with the left over clay I had I made a small pinch pot, I figured I could use for a tea bag holder or hold some spare change!


Can’t wait to see my mug in a few weeks once it’s all glazed…not sure that I’ll actually drink a tea out of it, but it will make a really fun pencil holder for my desk!

Relay for Life- Iqaluit

Last Saturday was the Relay for LIfe here in Iqaluit.  I joined up with 9 other friends and work colleagues to create a team called “Education for Life”!

Everything always seems to happen last minute.  On Friday morning I causally mentioned I was a ‘cape-making-expert‘ partly because of the capes I made last year for my amazing Indigo Raven Road Trip in the Yukon.  So that lead to me making capes on Friday evening and the wee hours of Saturday morning for our team to wear!  (I finished and was in bed by 3am!) But I think they turned out great.

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…we are just missing the ‘!’ member of our team! I also made 3 kid sized capes with the following on them EDU FOR LIFE

When I decided to walk in the Relay for Life immediately I thought of two people: My gramma a survivor of Breast Cancer…who just finished her treatment a year ago in July and has been in remission since.  The other person was my friend Andrea.  Andrea is my friend from my Toronto livin’ days.  She actually left Toronto and relocated to Australia before I left Toronto to move to Nunavut.  We have kept in touch and had many a late night/early morning convos over the years.  My heart and prayers are with her as she is currently in treatment for Breast Cancer. This was was for you! Wish I wasn’t on the other side of the world…and a wee bit closer for a visit.

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I might be biased but our team had the best “set-up” on the turf…. (the letters spell out E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N!)

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Now one of the fun games as we walked was to see what we could spell with our ‘cape letters’… here are a few we caught on camera! It’s not every day you get to be a walking member of a D-U-I!  (I was wearing the U cape!) Relay 4 Life-Iqaluit_0004

Or maybe you just want to say N-O…. or be proud to live in N-U!  (Though my head often thinks  NU = Nipissing University in North Bay where I got my undergrad degree, not NU= Nunavut!) Or you might want to have a ‘N-U-D-E LIFE* !’   (*that’s what’s on the kids’ cape spelled LIFE!)

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Overall it was a fantastic event…great exercise with great people!  There was live music for parts of the event as well as a good dj with tunes to keep us walking. Relay 4 Life-Iqaluit_0005

There was also a Zoomba Class which looked like heaps of fun, but I might have been chicken and didn’t join in that one!  (but at the end of the Relay… Christine came back and did a Yoga cool down, that I did join and enjoy!) Relay 4 Life-Iqaluit_0007Relay 4 Life-Iqaluit_0008

During every Relay for Life participates are welcome to purchase a paper bag and decorate it in memory of loved ones that are currently fighting Cancer, Survivors as well as people that are no longer with us.  This year I decorated two paper bags and was given two candles for them to turn them into Luminaries…. one for my Gramma and one for my friend Andrea.

These Luminaries are lit and then the house lights went down…we did a walk basking the light of the luminaries remembering all of our loved ones who have been affected by Cancer.
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Slowly the house lights came back on after walking a few laps by light from the luminaries. Relay 4 Life-Iqaluit_0012 Relay 4 Life-Iqaluit_0011

The Relay for Life is a fundraising event for the Canadian Cancer Society.  Thank you to all my friends and family that generously sponsored me.  I met my fundraising goal of $750!  One of our team members–Melanie was a fundraising superstar! She was the top fundraiser for the event and was gifted a return ticket from Iqaluit to Ottawa via Canadian North…

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Our Team Education for Life raised a total of $12, 385!!!! We were the top team….for fundraising.

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All money raised stays here in Nunavut…it was a great event to be able to take part in…So thankful that I was in Iqaluit and able to participate!

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Everyone is touched by Cancer at some point in life…it was great to be part of such a fun and positive event that is for such a worthy cause.  Overall the Iqaluit Relay for Life made over $38,000…money that will go to good work here in Nunavut via the Canadian Cancer Society! Way to go to all the teams and walkers!

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Meet You at the Fishing Lake

On Friday it was time to head out of the office Avataaqtu Lake for a day of fishing.  The last time I was at Avataaqtu lake was in 2009! The reason was time for our Department’s Spring Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) Day.  Here’s more about our time in 2012 and 2013.

It was windy in Pangnirtung but we all met at the beach…and then took off across the fjord and up over the Kulik Trail.  As we got on the way…the wind stopped and it was just clear skies…but still pretty cold! (Around -22C plus a wind chill).

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The coldest part of the day was the time it took to get to the fishing lake…riding in a qamotiq is cold, but if you are dressed and prepared for it…it’s not too bad. Fishing IQ Day 2014-002

A quick stop to move and get blood flowing to all parts of your body along the trail! Fishing IQ Day 2014-003

Finally at the fishing lake… we went to work clearing the snow from the top of the ice… and then the guys started using the auger to drill all the holes.  In some spots even with the extension on the auger the ice was ‘almost’ too thick! (like 5 feet) Fishing IQ Day 2014-004

Everyone quickly took to their holes…there were prizes for the First Fish, the Most Fish, the Biggest Fish and the Smallest Fish caught. I didn’t win any of the prizes…but within probably the first hour I had caught 3 fish (see below)…and had about 3 get away.

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Photo Credit for left photo: Delia Siivola

The rest of the day was just spent jigging away… the bearded lady hat didn’t bring much luck, instead just an old weight from a net…my hook got pretty tangled up in that!  I had to get help from a friend to get it off.  My phobia of fish hooks still is alive… they seriously freak me out still.

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Photo Credit: Delia Siivola

The day was pretty awesome…we had blue skies with the sun shining, then it started to lightly snow at some point…and then back to blue skies! It’s amazing to me how even though it was probably -22C I was comfortable enough to fish just in my hoodie!

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My strategy was to stick to the same hole all day.  Others in the group don’t do this…they move around, and probably caught more fish than I did…but honestly 3 is more than enough for me!  Fishing IQ Day 2014-008

Joavie who was the outfitter that helped transport part of our group to the fishing lake…prepared some char for us to eat! Fresh fish right on the fishing lake is soooooo good!  Fishing IQ Day 2014-009

On our way home there were a couple times that the snowmobile got stuck going up the hill…partly because of the fresh snow on the trail…and the fact it was pulling two qamotiqs!  So we jumped out…. dropped on qamotiq off the train… the snowmobile continued the way up the hill then we used our power to pull/push the other one up the hill.  It was a good workout.
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The scenery along the trail is so stunning…everywhere you look is amazing stellar view. Fishing IQ Day 2014-011

Just at the top of the Kulik Trail we jumped out of the qamotiqs and walked down.
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This part of the trail is pretty freaky…especially this winter because there isn’t much snow on it at all.  It’s a trail that’s literally made on the side of the mountain.  It’s maintained by adding fencing/boards to the side to help stop you from sliding off the mountain.  Anytime going down it’s easier for the snowmobile driver to have their passengers walk…because it’s less weight in the qamotiqs. Fishing IQ Day 2014-014

As you can see…it’s a steep drop down to the river below. Fishing IQ Day 2014-015

Looking up on the left and looking down on the right… Fishing IQ Day 2014-016

Stopping to take a shot of Pangnirtung across the fjord! Fishing IQ Day 2014-017

Almost home… just waiting at the end of the Kulliq Trail for everyone to make it down safely.  Then we had a short ride across the fjord home!

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Photo Credit: Markus Siivola

It was a fantastic day out on the land… During my time fishing Joavie helped with learning some more Inuktitut words and phrases. Days like this is what living up in the Arctic is all about.

Inuktitut 101

Disclaimer: This post has been sitting in my dashboard patiently waiting to be posted!  I thought I had it scheduled to go up immediately following my Northern Lights photos…but apparently it was just saved and not scheduled.  I’m down in Ontario for a bit as my mum had surgery on October 4th…and I’m taking care of her in her recovery phase. This is the first moment I’ve had some time to sit down and work on my blog. But enough about that…without any further ado here’s the post!


For the last two weeks in September I was a student!  Pirurvik brought an Inuktitut Course to Pangnirtung. It was an Inuktitut as a Second Language course-the first level PIGIARVIKIt is designed to help people who have no background with Inuktitut to help learn the essentials of the language and work on correct pronunciation.  This website is also another great tool for helping people learn more about the language.  If you live in Iqaluit you can sign up to take this course over 12 weeks with two sessions a week for an hour and half.  Our course in Pang was a bit more intensive it was for 2 weeks…every morning for 3 hours!  We also had homework every night as well…but it was so worth it! Practice is everything when you are working on learning a new language.


Here is our class… (missing 3 people!) {Photo Credit: Joy from Life in Nunavut}

I was pretty stoked to be able to take part in this course. It was the first time since January of 2011 a language course was brought to Pangnirtung.  So for two weeks I went up to Pang’s Arctic College Campus for 3 hours every morning.  On day 1 my first shock was that it was 100% immersion…so all instruction was done in Inuktitut. To be honest my first reaction was “oh crap”.  But then I took a deep breath and went with it.  We had an extremely talented instructor we worked our way through our lessons…learning about basic conversations, talking about how we are feeling, the weather, questions about having tea and coffee…learning my department, and job title!  Plus other things along the way.  Our instructor was from Pang but has been living in Iqaluit…she just recently moved back to Pang. It was great because she was able to teach us lots of ‘local’ dialect…which is helpful when you are learning a language!

The Jerry Cans are a band from Iqaluit…they just released their first music video of their popular song, Mamuqtuq (which means Delicious!) It’s a song about the thrill of the seal hunt in the spring…and pretty catchy tune!  For the first time after listening to this song I realized that I understood more of what was being sung…it was a pretty awesome discovery! I suppose it is true that languages can be learned easily from music.

Languages have always been a bit of a struggle…added to the fact that I switch around letters and numbers that makes life a bit more interesting.  Especially when you are learning a language where little changes like that can make DRASTIC changes to the meanings of the words.  But the more class time I had and practice…slowly my Inuktitut skills improved.  I must admit I am in no way fluent.  BUT I understand so much more about how the language is put together.  It also helped increase my vocabulary.

My friends in Pang have been really helpful listening to me as I practice…and my hope is to continue to learn and practice what I know and gain new words! For now I can say this though: Inuktitusuungnujunga mikijumik (I can speak a little Inuktitut).

Professional Development 101: ‘After Hours’!

Last week I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Gatineau, Quebec.  It was a great week full of lots of professional learning…my brain is still spinning from all the new knowledge gained.  I can’t wait to share all this information with my colleagues back up north!  

I wasn’t sure I would know anyone when I registered for the conference.  Let’s just talk for a minute about what a small world this really is and how everyone seems to be connected by only 6 degrees of separation.  Within 15mins of the first evening I had found a former classmate from when I did my Master’s in ’07 – ’08, a guy that went to teacher’s college with a friend who lives in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut (I’ve known her since I was a kid when we frequently played with cabbage-patch-dolls together!).

By the end of the conference I had added in a few more connections some old and others brand new!!! Some of these included, two of my mum’s old colleagues that I had previously known.   I took some of the children I nannied to one of their programs and did a student placement while I was in Uni at another’s program. Then I also ran into a woman who I had asked into my classroom to speak to my ECE class while I was teaching in Winnipeg.  Then to top it all off…during one of the evenings there was live music complete with “contra” dances. (let’s just say I enjoyed the free-stylin’ as well as some good old fashioned line dancin’!) …so much fun!  At the end of the evening I went up to the band to say thanks for playing… and realized one of the fiddlers happened to be a guy that has come to Pang for the past 2+ years to do music camps with the youth there!  Talk about a small world…seriously!?


The hotel where the conference was held was gorgeous…a really nice conference centre, and amazing front lobby, the rooms were pretty darn cozy too!  The glass work in the lobby was just so amazing.  I also could stare at the ‘dancing’ statue forever!   There was also an amazing gym, pool and hot tubs on the lower level! Ottawa-Gatineau_0002Ottawa-Gatineau_0003I started at some point during the week making sure to have a photo-opportunity for all the different ‘fabulous’ carpets I saw in the hotel.  Because I started on Day 2… I only got 4 different carpets…but believe me there were other ‘fabulous’ carpets I didn’t get a snap of. I think carpet are totally overlooked and are definitely worth documenting!  Ottawa-Gatineau_0001 The hotel was attached to a casino.  I had previously been to Casino Rama but honestly didn’t understand the whole slot machine thing!  So on the first night of the conference I went to the Casino with $20 and some of my new friends.  They were very helpful to explain how the slots worked, betting and how to get the money out of the slot on a slip of paper…  I left the Casino that first night  with winnings of $2.06…(such a high roller!) I kept the ticket but didn’t get the cash back…partly because I wasn’t sure how to get my cash back! But until later on in the week I returned, played a few more slots, then figured out how to cash out, and then left that place with my $8.71 in winnings! Ottawa-Gatineau_0004The opportunity to visit the Museum of Civilization was also presented to me.  I had never been…it was such an amazing afternoon to walk around for a few hours! I was surprised about how much knowledge of Canadian history and stories came pouring back into my mind as I walked around the museum (my BA is in History- I guess I did retain some of that knowledge!).

The food in one of the cafés was pretty fantastic too…I had an open-faced Lobster BLT and French Onion Soup with Blue Cheese…so yummy!  Ottawa-Gatineau_0007Ottawa-Gatineau_0012Ottawa-Gatineau_0013One of the temporary exhibits I really enjoyed was called… “Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians”…which will be open until October 2013!  It was really a fun exhibition.

Insightful. Revealing. Surprising. The exhibition Double Take – Portraits of Intriguing Canadians invites visitors to discover unsuspected or little-known aspects of 59 prominent personalities who left their mark on their times. Bringing together more than one hundred paintings, photographs and drawings, as well as artifacts, Double Take offers to take a fresh look at these renowned individuals who shaped the history of our nation.

In the hallway before you entered this exhibit there was a spot to ‘strike-a-pose’.  And there was a holder with all kinds of awesome frames… my friend and I totally took the time to strike a pose… We took way too many photos, so here are a few photos that I choose to share on the blog!


Views from the Museum of Parliament Hill…Ottawa-Gatineau_0014Later on Friday night after dinner in the Byward Market... we stumbled upon a “Do-it-yourself Yogurt” Spot!  So yummy… basically you can pick from all kinds of different frozen yogurt… (I had vanilla and chocolate mixed and then had cookie-dough and red-velvet cake mixed together!) Then you can go and pick any of numerous toppings and sauces… then it is weighed and you pay by weight! It was such a fun idea… and apparently is the ‘best spoon in Ottawa!’ (At least that’s what it said on the wall at this place!)

Ottawa-Gatineau_0005 Ottawa-Gatineau_0006After yogurt my friend and I found a spot to listen to some live music…it was the perfect end to a great week!

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