Life is so different — simple — for me right now. It is partly because I have no phone or internet at home — oh dear, did some of you just faint? — so I work, eat, go for walks, talk with my roommate, listen to music or the radio (CBC North is it), or perhaps watch something on my computer. And write, of course! Oh, perhaps it goes without saying (or not), that I don’t have TV either. Uh oh, I just heard more people hit the floor!
When I flew up here to Wrigley a little over two weeks ago, I came with a few boxes of groceries so I’d have something to eat. Although there is a small store operated by the band (native government), there isn’t much there, so it’s understood that one has to bring groceries from Fort Simpson. I’m very lucky because the company I work for is paying for them, so I can shop and get whatever I need on its tab. I had a pile of produce, a few canned items and several frozen things, but when I arrived here, there was a problem.
The main freezer doesn’t work, so we have to store frozen food in the small above-fridge freezer. Since Mother Nature is a very effective freezer these days — I have often wondered why we northerners even use freezers in winter! — all we had to do was figure out how to store it. My roommate found a large pink plastic bin with a locking lid so we were in business! We put most of the frozen food in it, put the lid on and then had to figure out where to put it outside. We didn’t want it to attract the local dogs (there are many) or the local kids (who are quite curious). We decided to put it under our front steps, and cleverly concealed with a brown blanket, it was completely invisible. Woo hoo! Good to go.
Twenty-four hours went by with no incident, but on the second day, we noticed one of the locking handles looked a little ajar. We didn’t do anything about it just then, since we were on our way down to the Mackenzie River for a nice long walk. A few hours later we returned, and as we approached, we saw an abnormally large number of ravens in the front yard… oh no! The bin had been opened and mayhem had ensued, we could tell, as dogs and ravens fought for our precious frozen foods! We wandered around the front yard picking up garbage, and were surprised that there was anything left to salvage — there were 4 or 5 things that hadn’t been touched. We kicked ourselves repeatedly for not fixing the lid, dammit, but in the end, we decided to just be happy the bacon survived!
So, each week on Tuesday or Wednesday, I start a list of foods I need — I am slowly replacing the stuff I lost as well as ordering fresh produce — and I fax it in to the store so they can shop for me. The Northern Store has my order ready by 10 am on Thursday so that one of the pilots from Simpson Air can pick it up and fly it to Wrigley with the mail. Canada Post has an ongoing charter to fly the mail on Tuesdays and Thursdays and when it arrives, the band office takes it and people can get their mail there. What fun, eh? I get my food in the mail!
This week, I forgot to order more lemons (for hot lemon) and last week, I forgot to order lettuce. So, there you go…. slowly, I am making a list of foods I like, including the brand names and the sizes of the containers so that I can get what I want. Last week, I ordered “2 pieces of frozen haddock (or another white fish)” and I got Highliner pan fry fish, which was not the kind I wanted. So, next time, I will be more specific: “1 pkg of 2 pieces of plain haddock, or another white fish, in vacuum packaging.” That should get me what I want! I’m just glad I lived there long enough to know what foods they stock so I can order wisely. They have most things I like, so it works out quite well, and so far nothing has frozen enroute, so even better! The mail plane is a little old Cessna 172 with minimal interior heat (think of an old Chevette on wings).
I can’t seem to get maple syrup in Fort Simpson, so if you have any to send, just address it to “Wrigley CARS” and I’ll get it on the mail plane! Take care everybody!
Hi everyone! I’ve been saving these up for a while, but it’s time to share my top 10 Handy Practical Tips Around the House!
10. To minimize clutter in the bathroom, don’t buy any new products like shampoo or soap until you are completely out of the old stuff. If you have a lot of bottles cluttering up your shower, keep one of each product out and put all the rest into a storage box under the sink — or get rid of them completely.
9. To minimize closet clutter, whenever you buy a new piece of clothing, get rid of an old one. Don’t even let yourself buy a new sweater, for example, until you’ve decided which one in the closet you’re going to give away — that lumpy green one, perhaps!
8. Keep a box or large bag somewhere to collect items you no longer use and want to give away. This way, as you come across things in your life that you don’t need, you can easily put them in the box and forget about them! Once a month, take the box to the second-hand store.
7. If you’re cooking for one, why not cook up a storm once a week and make enough for 6 or 7 meals, and freeze the leftovers. If you do this consistently, you’ll always have a variety in the freezer which you can thaw for a quick lunch or supper. Plus, if you buy the grocieries right before you cook, you avoid food going bad before you can cook it.
6. Keep all the ingredients for a favourite dish in your cupboard, so that if you run out of groceries and can’t get to a store one day, you have a fast and yummy dish to make. Whenever you use one of these staples, replace them the next time you shop.
5. Make your own laundry soap. It works every bit as good as store-bought soap and costs way less. I got the recipe here.
4. Buy bulk when it makes sense. You can certainly save some money this way, however, if what you’re buying is going to take up a pile of storage space, don’t do it! It will just add to your clutter!
3. Clip your fingernails in the bathroom sink (with the plug in, but no water). Then, the clippings don’t fly all over the place. When you’re done, “wipe” them out with a little toilet paper (dampened with water).
2. Make up a meal plan. I have found that even just a rough list of what I plan to make takes the stress off trying to figure out what to make at the last minute.
1. Pin your socks together before putting them in the laundry! Never lose a sock again in that mysterious sock-black-hole! Just pin them together with a safety pin before you put them in the laundry and they’ll stay together in the dryer or on the drying line. I even keep them together in my drawer and then just take the pin out when it’s time to wear them. This idea is thanks to my father-in-law!
and a bonus tip!
Make a system or schedule for anything important in life. When you have a system, whatever that may be, that important task is much more likely to be done quickly/efficiently and not forgotten. Figure out a system that will work for you and then implement it!
… and I just wanted to share that I’m pleased to get nearly 5,700 hits on this blog in March and over 6,300 in April! Wow! Thanks for stopping in, everybody!
There’s so much to say about what I’ve seen so far, it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve been here 3 full days and we’ve done some tourist things, but also visited some friends. I’ve drank no less than 35 cups of tea — most very small — and had 5 incredible meals. Last night, we went for “hot pot.” There’s a franchise restaurant that has a long counter top that winds its way through the room. There are holes in the counter in front of where each person sits, where the pot goes. Underneath, there is a shelf where the hot plates sit — this place must have a huge power bill! Anyways, you choose what broth you want (I chose “hot and sweet”) and then what types of meat or vegetables you want. Then, you drop them into the simmering broth, fish them out a few minutes later (depending on what it is) and enjoy! Yum. We also went for Korean barbeque, where there’s a hole in the centre of the table too. A man brings red-hot coals in a metal pail, and drop it into the hole, which is then covered by grates of various descriptions where the meat you have ordered is cooked. I think usually they bring all the stuff and let you do it yourself, but since we were foreigners, the waitress stayed and did it for us. She was very cute (all the waitresses are!), feeding us pieces of meat as they were done. We also went for “real Chinese” food, which was awesome! It was sort of tucked between and in several buildings, and on our way down the back-alley-like entryway, we passed a room full of huge aquariums and some really huge fish! I was officially in heaven at the first taste of curry lamb, and the chrysanthemum tea washed things down nicely! Oh, I could go on and on… I’ve also seen live fish, just slightly smaller than their aquariums, at the grocery store, along with live shrimp. I stood among a group of elderly Chinese ladies waiting to order breakfast food at a counter, and was surprised at the amount of deep-fried food. And they have many types of breads/pasta/flat bread/pastries. I’m an eggs-for-breakfast kind of person and I haven’t had them once (although Darren did have a sort of omelette which I will have to try next time).
We went to a tiny tea house and art gallery that a friend of Darren owns, which was nice. We chatted about what life is like in China, and sipped tiny cup after tiny cup of tea. I loved the lychee black tea, which was sweet and delicious. They all were, except this one very strong Mongolian one (I think), which made my lips pucker and everyone laugh. It was nice to sit and just be, watching people walk by.
Well, we are going to the Great Wall today, and everyone is almost ready, so I will have to leave my description of the back roads and taxi drivers for another day. Oh, yes, and the bathrooms too. And Tiananmen Square!
Except it’s actually west… A long way west… We are going to China! We leave tomorrow, and I am uber-excited about what we will see and do while there. I will try and get on the net while I’m there and blog, but if not, expect a torrent of blogs later on in November! I am planning on taking several hundred pictures — I can’t wait! The weather’s cool there, maybe even snowy, but nothing compared to here, I expect. I have packed lots of sweaters and fleece so I am not cold while I am doing all sorts of fun, touristy things. Food! Amazing, unique food! The great wall! I mean, the Great Wall (with capital letters, you know)! I am so excited!
But for now, a little nap, hopefully my stomach will settle down (it’s queasy again), and then packing and hitting the road! Woo hoo!