Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cheers to a New Year - A Time of Reflection

I don't make New Years Resolutions, never had.  Instead I look at the year that has past and look forward to the future.  I am looking forward to 2015 and what it will bring to Craig and I and our little family in the Arctic.  2014 was a sad year for us, as most of you know we lost 2 of our pets, about 6 months apart.  It was tough, extremely sad and I thought I couldn't make through it...but I did.  I know it's part of owning a pet, you have such a short time with them when compared to a human and we will have more in our lives but for the time being we will enjoy the Princess Warrior Molly and Blitz.

We enjoyed having Craig's parents visit us this past summer.  We had fun taking them to many places we love to hang out at and introduce them to our northern friends.  I know they had just as much fun as we did and I'm glad that they got to experience a bit of our life up here.  The weather was perfect during their visit and from there it turned to fall then winter faster than normal.

Summer work for both Craig and I have always been busy, for Craig it's the time to do any maintenance an their field equipment as who wants to go out when it's 40 below. For me it's harvest time and of course we look forward to seeing our friends Les and JS every summer.

We had many fishing days with our friends - some days were successful and others not so much but it wasn't so much about the fishing but instead spending time with friends.  We had days at the beach of relaxing and walking along the sand of the Northwest Passage or just getting together at someone's home to play games, music, dinner or just for a visit.

We had a great vacation in Arizona this past October.  We did so much in such a short amount of time and we are planning our next visit.  So much so that we are seriously looking for some property in Yuma.  The biggest highlight for us was meeting up with Mary, Teri and John in California, some wonderful friends whom I met through our GSP group.  We got to see the California coastline, sand dunes, desert and the Grand and Antelope Canyons.

Christmas for us was quiet and spent with 3 of our friends at our home for a complete turkey dinner along with Papa's tourtiére as a highlight.  I started my holiday baking the week before and we are still eating some treats with more in the freezer.  Craig worked Christmas day and he will work again tomorrow, no holiday for them as they work Monday to Saturday, no exceptions.

I came down with a nasty virus the week before Christmas that put my in bed for about 3 days straight.  I'm still not fully over it but much, much better than I was.  Yesterday I had a lump removed from my back and after removing it the doctor said it was only a cyst which was good news.  It's sore today but what can I expect with 7 sutures in place.  A blizzard started here yesterday and will continue until tomorrow so last night Craig spent the night at the site and will repeat the same for tonight.  I will bring in the New Year with Molly and Blitz but I'm afraid we all might be sleeping by then.  ha-ha

I have picked 12 of my favourite pictures, one from each month in 2014 to share with you today.  I wish all of my readers a Very Happy New Year.
Had the opportunity to photograph Elaine - a co-worker's daughter

I have photographed this boat and building on many occasions
but this was a total white out

The month we realized that our time with Hannah was limited
She was having a good day so we took her out to enjoy the sun

The beautiful blue ice of the Arctic Ocean - myself and Blitz

The final day with Hannah

Craig's parents arrival - visiting The Maud

Another day at the beach with the dogs

Helping out at the CamBay Vet Clinic

My trip to Manitoba with Molly, great day spent at the Zoo with Sandy

Our Arizona trip - Lower Antelope Canyon 
Photographing our GM for Country Guide Magazine

Saying good-bye to Mocha
Talk soon

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Cat Named Mocha

This year has been a tough year for us in regards to our pets.  We are preparing to say good-bye to Blitz's cat Mocha. In August she had her 3rd cancerous tumour removed and pathology came back as invasive mammary cancer.  Her quality of life is declining fast so Craig will make the final trip with her on Monday to Yellowknife alone.  I am staying home to look after Molly and Blitz.
Mocha was one of the first cats that came into the newly formed shelter I managed.  She was put into a foster home in the beginning as she has two kittens but that didn't last long as she clawed our foster parent and drew some blood. She was nasty as hell, would attack any dog that came through the door.  It took 3 of us to clip her nails and many customers would come into the shelter and ask what kind of mood Mocha was in. 
Through her tough exterior I knew there was a sweet, loving cat in there...somewhere.  When I decided to leave the shelter I also decided that Mocha was coming home with me.  Yeah me, a dog loving, cat allergy girl was going to bring home another cat. Staff, volunteers and customers were all surprised as we had another cat at home and 3 dogs.  She was a long time shelter resident and I wanted to give her a loving home, one that she deserved. 
What a different cat she was, right from day one at the house.  We lived just outside of Winnipeg where our property had lots of trees and I fed the squirrels, birds and bunnies so she had a better view than a busy street.  She even got to go outside on a harness and leash and she loved feeling the grass under her pads and also the taste of grass.  She still had her moments when she would give you a warning look when she had enough petting or brushing but overall she turned out to be a typical tortie cat.
When we first brought Blitz home he was bound and determined to become Mocha's best buddy. I think he was so persistent that Mocha just gave into him.  After that they were pretty much inseparable.  If Mocha wasn't taking a cat nap she would follow Blitz everywhere he went and sometimes Blitz would be the follower.  When Blitz was laying chewing on a toy she would come up to him and give him a few head butts and if he walked away she would follow him and give him more.  Blitz would go between her and anyone wanting to pet Mocha, as if to say she's mine. A few weeks before Mocha's last surgery Blitz's attitude changed, he would growl at Mocha and would jump on the couch sometimes between me and the couch just to get away from her.  I guess he knew something was terribly wrong.  These past days he has been going up to her and smelling her and yesterday when I was taking a few pics of Mocha he laid his head on her bed. I hope he will fine after she is gone.
I will miss the non-meow she would give us on Sunday mornings while she waited for Craig to give her some bacon off his plate and some toast with margarine for this queen.  I wish I could go with Craig to say good-bye and for support. Even though I was the one who brought her home from the shelter she had always been Craig's cat. 
She would play with this toy forever

I see you with those glowing eyes

Favorite spot in the house when I first brought her home

Her and Shadow would tolerate each other

Shadow probably wondered why this cat was in her bed

Even shared the window with Molly and Calla

Always the sunbather

Favorite bed

Crazy look she gave me on her first visit outside on a warm spring day

Loved a good book

And a fire

But most of all, loved Blitz
This was when she came home from her surgery in August

Such a pretty girl

Even when she is not well she's trying to give Blitz a head butt

Best buds
 Talk soon

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bustling In The Bay

I love it when I get a friendly email reminder from our Auntie Madeline stating that it's been awhile since my last blog entry.  It shows not only that she enjoys reading the blog but also that she loves us and wants to know how we are.  Sorry Auntie Madeline for such a long delay but I have been so busy this month. 
In my own little photography world I had been asked to do a photo shoot of our GM at Kitikmeot Foods Ltd. for Country Guide magazine as they had done a phone interview and now wanted a picture to go along with the article.  I was pleased of course but also a bit nervous but once I took the first picture of Stéphane I relaxed and had a few laughs while doing it.  Here are the pictures that I gave them.

Since I had my camera at work I thought of taking a few pictures of the staff to update our Facebook page.  A Nunatsiaq reporter saw the picture of Alice and then asked if she could feature her in the paper. It was a really nice gesture as Alice has been working for Kitikmeot Foods Ltd. since 2006 and is one of our long time employees. 
This is the picture of Alice that was in Nunatsiaq News

Donna showing off our great looking fillets

Annie, Alice, Jonathan, Ida and Jeannie

Ida, Donna, Alice, Jonathan and Jeannie

The staff produced some fine looking fillets this past week.
Another magazine from Toronto contacted me as they did a story on our local girl band, Scary Bear Soundtrack and asked permission to use one of the photographs that I did last spring.  I was promised a copy of the magazine which will be sometime in January.  It's exciting not only for the musicians but also for me. 
It was our Annual Christmas Bazaar on the 22nd and again my friend Kim helped me out.  Not sure what I would do without her as it gets busy and I couldn't do it on my own.  It was another successful day for Denise LeBleu Images and we will do it all again December 6th for the Last Chance Christmas Sale.
John traps and was selling some of his Arctic fox pelts beside me

Scary Bear Soundtrack had a table across from me

Crowd at the Bizarre
Yesterday was the Santa Claus Parade here in CamBay but I totally missed it as I was helping out at the Coffee House.  The day was so much fun and I love helping out our friend Angela with her charity functions.  This time it was for our local food bank and our little village of 1600 people raised $3,100.00!  People donated baked items for sale and we also serviced tea, coffee, hot chocolate, hot dogs and chili - perfect for a cold winter day.  My favorite girl band Scary Bear Soundtrack was the main entertainment and other local musicians were invited to the open mic.  It was busy and it was nice to see people stay for the afternoon to mingle, eat goodies and listen to some music. 
Scary Bear Soundtrack

Anthony playing guitar and singing

Spice on Ice played a few tunes also

Our local throat singers took their turn at the mic

Alice and her children were enjoying the afternoon

Eva was enjoying her son Anthony's music

My friend Amy always comes out to support events
In between all of this I headed out with Blitz to catch our final setting sun for the next six weeks.  It was a tradition that I started when I first moved up here and yesterday was bitter sweet as it was Hannah that went out with me to take pictures of her.  Molly and I catch the first day of 24 hour daylight and now Blitz stepped into Hannah's paw prints and do the setting sun in November.


Some of you receive a LeBleu picture this time of year and here are some pictures that I took but I will not let you know which one will be one the card this year.  The wind chill has been nasty lately so we haven't been out long with the dogs but when we do I make the best of it - here's some pictures from this month. 
Deck the Halls

Waiting for Santa to arrive

Blitz was so tired this night, I decided to decorate & photograph him.
He didn't protest or move

The Arctic skies have been beautiful 
A game he plays - will roll it, watch it then pounce on it

Molly wanted the chair in my office but Blitz didn't want to move
so she laid on him - no one moved.
I am very sad to announce that this is likely going to be the last Christmas with our Mocha, also known as Blitz's cat.  As some of you remember when the vets were up here in August Mocha went through her 3 surgery to remove a cancerous tumour.  Well this past week I found two new ones and today I could feel more.  One tumour is weeping and one looks like it was as it has a scab over it.  I usually check her belly weekly and these were not there last week, that I could feel.  She is not eating as much as we would like and basically sleeps her days away.  Blitz doesn't love her like he did in the past and will sometimes growl at her or move away from her if she comes close to him.  It's sad to watch and I think he will miss her once she is gone but for now he senses that something is terribly wrong with her.
Our power has been going off a lot this month, I actually lost track of how many times.  First it was a fire at the plant so we were on a rotation of about 45 minutes on to 45 minutes off.  This was happening a few days.  On Friday it went off again, this time our house was out of power for about 4 hours before the rotation began.  A little too long when the temperatures were freezing and heard it was due to dirty fuel.  I know the guys work hard to keep us safe and it's not their fault as our station is about 47 years old but it's getting a bit crazy with all these outages this year.  Here are some more pictures of the sun sets and one when we had a power outage.

Sometimes you need to look behind you when you are
photographing the sunset

I fell into this ice crack while not paying attention
to where I was going - no worries I'm ok

Hand-held camera during a power-outage
Northern Lights over our house.
Talk soon!