Saturday, August 18, 2012


Had a conversation tonight. We were discussing parents and grandparents, and some of the frustrations around them. I have always maintained that raising parents is more difficult than raising kids. Kids grow up. Some parents regress. And amid all of the frustrations we alluded to, my roomie came up with the most profound statement: : "When it's kids, we cuddle them." I should have cuddled my Mom more. So should we all.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dippity DEW Dah!

Me! In the bikini! What do you mean, only in my dreams?
Just a wee bit of mish mash from last week's activities.
My life in the past four years has consisted of a lot of firsts: first time really living on my own, first time travelling on my own (to a foreign country where  I don't speak the language, no less), whale watching, piranha fishing, zip lining, well, you get the drift. Nothing is too outlandish, but for this former scaredy cat, it's all bonus.
So last week, my buddy Elaine and I participated in the Cambridge Bay Polar Bear Dip, to raise money for the community centre. Now how many of your friends/acquaintances have been to the Arctic, besides me of course? None, for most of you. And how many of those crazy  adventurous friends have ever swam (swum?) in the Arctic Ocean? In the Northwest Passage, at least close to it? Even less. And since I still haven't seen a live polar bear in the wild, or the ocean, the least I could do was act like one. You know, live in its paws.
So, on a blistering 15 degree C day along with a handful of other oxygen deprived intrepid fund raisers, Elaine and I tested our collective mettle and took the plunge.
Frozen treats.
Nice 'do! And our Dr. McPherson, just in case.
Now I know why Arctic char fight so hard. They don't give a flying fig about the hook in their mouths, or the fact that this is their last day before landing on the Corelle.They are just trying to keep warm. And while polar bears, real ones, exude a certain grace while in the ocean depths, I doubt that the first word out of their mouths when they hit the ocean is along the lines of an f-sharp. Neither do they fall flat on their arses when turning around in 3 feet of water  trying to run back to shore. Neither are their arms frozen in their shoulder sockets, lips turning blue (their lips are black, if you want to know), nor does their skin turn red and then blue. And they certainly do not muss their carefully coiffed and lovingly lacquered hair. Clearly, I am not a polar bear. And while this was not necessarily on the bucket list, I'm striking it off anyways. Not. Happening. Again. Ever.
Anyone remember the DEW line? It was a joint venture with the States and Greenland et al to protect us, more like U.S., from the Russkies back in the days of the Cold War, when there were only 2 nuclear crazies in the world. Russia and the States. Nowadays, we have 15 or 16 nuclear crazies out there. Well, hot damn, we were invited out there for brunch. Picked up at the residence, and chauffeured there and back. Eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausage, fried baloney for the easterners, coffee, and SHOPPING! What more could two Ontario girls ask for?
Beer. Okay, got that last night. I'm a happy camper, and still the luckiest girl around.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Fish Tale

The last time I went fishing, I was in the Brazilian Amazon, looking for piranha. I caught the same fish that another tourist had caught 20 minutes before. How to tell? It was a black piranha with a googly eye that was looking south while the other eye was looking north. What a fish won't do for stewing beef. I pretty much figured that was it for my fishing days. I'll cook them and eat them, but the catching and the cleaning is best left to someone else.
This was my first cast.
And then, that Elaine, my roomie in the Arctic, told me we were going fishing. In 6 Celsius weather, probably in the negatives with the wind chill. And I said yes.
My first cast resulted in the hook landing 10 feet behind me, on the rocks, and an unmanageable knot. A knife solved that. The next cast resulted in the hook landing 10 feet beside me, on the the rocks, to the right. And another knot that didn't require a knife. A few f-sharps and a few tugs fixed it. The next cast, I hooked a man, our guide Norman. Fortunately, it was his jacket and not his skin. I threw him back.

In the meantime, Elaine, who had not been fishing since she was a kid let out a whoop, and my fishing rod and I were abandoned by Norman, who assisted her in landing a 10 lb. char. She did this in less than 5 minutes. In the meantime, I snagged a rock about 10 feet from shore, in the water this time. Elaine caught another fish. I landed the hook 10 feet beside me, in the rocks, to the left. Norman and Elaine both caught fish.
Finally, I caught one this big. I threw him back too.
The other one that got away.
Norman kindly offered to show us how to quickly dispatch a fish, picking up a rock. I let my fish go.

I think  finally found my cold threshold. I can handle -50C with an open jacket and just ear muffs for a hat. I cannot handle standing on a windy beach barely above zero throwing hooks anywhere but in the water for three hours. With no liquor for another 6 weeks. I feel like it is Lent, in the summer.
And then I had to pee. Across the bay was the hamlet. To my right were Norman and Elaine. All around me was rock. Not a tree in sight. Use your imagination. If that will give you nightmares, then don't.

Another throwback.
Then we switched sites. Norman and Elaine both caught fish. I caught seaweed. And then I caught another one that was less than this big. I threw him back too. This propensity for tossing things back might explain why I continue to be single. I snagged more rocks, and watched a couple of seals in the inlet who were watching us. I swear I could hear them laughing. The hook was finally landing in the water, well, most of the time. Then we were done. Norman, bless his heart, took all the fish home, and cleaned them. And God saw that it was good. And told me to keep my day job.

Neither the fish nor I were happy about me holding him.