Thursday Tidbits

Posted on December 17, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

A Christmas tradition – a 1000 piece puzzle


“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.

If one went strictly by the weather, then it has looked like Christmas for quite a while up north. We’ve had snow on the ground and chilly temperatures for a few months now so that’s not the indicator that Santa will be soon arriving. It’s not even the fact that outdoor Christmas decorations are springing up around the village or that the energy level at school is off the charts. Honestly, I haven’t heard any Christmas music other than what I have produced myself in my class.

So, tell us Len, what has put you in the Christmas spirit?

Last evening, I trotted out mom’s shortbread cookie recipe and I put together the outer border of a 1000- piece jigsaw puzzle. Now, if that doesn’t have Christmas written all over it, I don’t know what does.

While contemplating making the cookies earlier this week, I reached out to my colleagues to borrow a few Christmas cookie cutters. Someone mentioned that the local Northern store, one of our two grocery outlets, had some on sale. I found this quite surprising. I thought that these would be in high demand with Christmas fast approaching. My surprise was compounded when I discovered that a box of three cookie cutters was only 99 cents. I took three boxes, being the big spender that I am. When I got to the checkout, I was astonished to learn that the price on the box was not the sale price. The cookie cutters were 50% off so I got three boxes for $1.50. I’m quite certain that my euphoria will be short lived when I calculate the cost of the ingredients for the cookies.

The Northern store also houses the Canada Post outlet and while I was in the store, I was alerted by the postmaster that I had a parcel. It was from my children and grandchildren. I sent a message to them when I got home to thank them and placed the box on the floor of my apartment with a few other gifts. You’ll notice that I didn’t say that I placed them under my tree. Balsam firs are hard to come by and very expensive when you live above Canada’s tree line. Artificial trees can be purchased at the local stores or online but a trip around the world might be less costly.

A few minutes after arriving home, one of my daughters told me to immediately open the box. Sitting at the very top of the pile of contents was, you guessed it, cookie cutters galore. I now have enough cookie cutters to open my own retail operation in Kangiqsujuaq! I will carry two items in my store. The other will be postage stamps. After my plea for stamps a few months back rendered an avalanche, I now have more stamps than any Canada Post outlet in Canada! I might even franchise this idea. I’ll call it Stamps and Cutters.  Like most other franchises, it will be a cookie cutter operation. I hope this gets your stamp of approval. Yes. Len needs a vacation… badly, as you can tell.

I want to say a few words about our local medical clinic. Last year, I walked by it many times but luckily never had cause to enter its doors. In the past few months, it seems that I am a regular visitor. I needed to have my cholesterol checked and arranged an appointment. The facility is staffed almost entirely by nurses. Doctors fly in occasionally from the south. Because of Covid, the protocols are rigid. You enter by one door and exit at another. Every person who arrives has their temperature and blood pressure taken. My appointment was on time and I was able to have blood drawn on the spot. The sample was flown the next day to the region’s capital of Kuujjuuaq. It wasn’t that my blood was special. I just happened to luck out that that was the day that bloodwork was being sent out. I received my results in a timely fashion.

While I was at the clinic, I mentioned that my knee was bothering me. I was given some painkillers (there’s no pharmacy in the village) and the promise of a meeting with a doctor at some time in the future to discuss a cortisone shot. After multiple knee surgeries, ten years of marathon running and a few years of marathon walking, I think the old knee might require some new parts one of these days.

(Are you bored reading about my medical conditions? So am I).

A few weeks ago, I woke up and one of my eyes was bloodshot. No, I wasn’t arm wrestling a bottle of tequila the night before. I ended up making several trips to the clinic as things got worse before they got better. I must admit that my eye looked grotesque, but it was a source of great curiosity at school as I made monster sounds when kids stared at me.

Alas, my doctor’s appointment won’t happen until the new year. I received the call a few days ago. I wasn’t at all surprised. When you live in a remote fly-in community, there are no guarantees. The nurse expressed concern about my knee pain over the holidays and was able to get me some stronger medicine to tide me over.

I have nothing but praise for the men and women who staff our hospital. They are very competent and friendly. We are extremely fortunate to have them in the community.

You knew that I couldn’t write this post without making one last pitch for donations to the Christmas Dinner Fund. I am happy to report that we are getting closer to our goal of $3,000. I have to tell you one beautiful story. I received a donation on Tuesday from a complete stranger. Many of my readers will remember my late niece Audrey (Brosha) Hibbs who passed away a number of years ago. Unbeknownst to me, he has been reading my posts for several years. He mentioned in an e-mail that he had befriended Audrey when they were both going through a very difficult time in their lives. He wanted to make a donation to the Christmas Dinner Fund in her memory. I can tell you that when you receive a message like this, you don’t need a Christmas tree or presents to feel the warmth and sentiments of this season.

Have a great weekend.


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