Friday, December 14, 2012

Electrified Cats

There are few joys equivalent to watching confused cats electrocute themselves on their favorite rug.

The winter is dry. The cold ensures that any moisture freezes in midair. The cold, plus wood heat puts my little kitties in precarious situations. Here's how I picture my Cat's logical process: "to walk on the metal stairs, or not walk on the stairs...... maybe I'll just lie on that a-hole T's side of the bed to get it all hairy".  Then the cats (and I) laugh maniacally.

Today I watched Wink try to be affectionate with Noodle. Her innocent little nose made a snapping noise at it touched his face. Taking affront to her aggression, Noodle attacked and rolled her around the carpet to show her who was boss. A flurry of snap, crackling, and kitty hair rolled around the living room. When they play in the dark I can see a ball of sparks rolling through the house.

They love to get petted and they HATE it!. "please pet me......... ouch! bitch!.... Pet me, pretty please pet me....WTF! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!.....purr purr purrr pet me pet me pet me!....SNAP! CRACKLE! MEEEEOOWWWWRRRR!... kitty glare.......look at me! look at me! look at my GLORIOUS tummy, don't you want to rub it?.... YOU COW! how are you stabbing me with nothing?! WHAT KIND OF DARK MAGIC IS THIS?!"

The winter shedding does not bring me joy. When I decided to get Noodle, I was determined to have a black cat. None of this light hair all over everything BS.  He's black as a rotund, tiny panther. But that little F'er has a WHITE undercoat! Wink was a short haired kitten. Now she likes to leave that short hair right under T's spot at the kitchen table- also on his blanket, shoes, couch, rugs that he painstakingly picked out for the house, and his pile of clothes.

T and the cats have a love hate relationship. The cats LOVE to torment him and he HATES them.  "cats, what are they good for - all covered in shit and piss mumble grumble.. New Zealand accent... mumble mumble...." Today I saw him encourage one of the cats to continue chewing on the Christmas light cord in hopes that she would electrocute herself. He had a spray bottle at the ready. He complains about the mess from the cats - cleaning their crap,puke, hair, feeding them all the time yadayada" This was right after I had finished cleaning the bathroom - a process he is unfamiliar with - and cooked him supper, done the dishes, yadayada.  He also likes tummy rubs and back scratches....

Noodle staring at T's hair in the drain

Wink sprawling out on T's side for maximum hair spread

*Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY criticizing T's housekeeping or girlfriendkeeping skills in the slightest. He is wonderful and I could not ask for a harder working, kinder man. The timing of the cat thing was just impeccable. And no, he did not strong-arm me into this disclaimer - I haven't even told him about this blog.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My house is a pyramid


 My house is a pyramid

I live in a log pyramid with cedar shingles and windows that look like  ethereal eyes. Sometimes it feels like the building might rise up out of the inconvenient artesian well that it's slowly sinking into and walk/fly/whatever away. My mom was interested in Atlin in the 80's where strange "spiritual" things were happening. She was pretty into the occult when she was younger and Atlin was of particular interest. When she converted to Christianity she was creep-ed out more than anything. She had heard of a healing centre created with the power of prisms - and here I am living in it. I expected the house to have a creepier feel to it. Maybe that spirits would have been left behind from whatever shenanigans the Brannigans brought with them when they opened the Atlin Healing Centre. As far as I can tell, the worst we've got is a creaky chimney and doors that fall open due to the foundation shift. Come to think of it, I think there are only 2 or 3 doors in the house that actually shut. People have mentioned they sensed spirits in this house back in the day. I have a theory. The building is basically a giant bird perch. Unbeknownst to the birds, a real good wind could give just enough momentum to drop a happily sun bathing seagull right down the chimney chute. Lots of room to get down, none to fly back up. The duress and struggle of birds would likely resemble a poltergeist right? T said that when he moved in there was a layer of burned bird carcasses. He HATES birds.

We have a guard on the chimney now.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


It's getting to be about the time of year where the fall/winter doldrums are driving people nuts enough to get out of the house. October and November are two of the most difficult months of the year due to the clouds and drastic drop in temperature. The first year that I was here I was completely unaware of the concept of hibernation. I knew bears did it - I didn't realize that people did. After about a month of needing constant sleep and copious amounts of coffee, I mentioned to a group of people that I could not stay awake! Responses such as "oh, I know what you mean, I slept in until 1pm today"... "Weren't you supposed to work?"...."yeah, but I slept in until 1pm!" and "oh yeah, you're hibernating" followed. The changes in amount of light can really mess with your body. I've experienced summer insomnia where I have happily gone to bed at 2pm every night for months and easily made it through the days without needed any down time. Then October hits and I'm ready to sleep the winter away. Its an interesting phenomena in this little town where fall begins to end and everyone hides in their houses for about a month and half without seeing another person other than work (If you're lucky enough to have it) or the (liquor)store. In the end of November a magical thing begins to happen. People start to emerge from their houses like the Grinchs' Whos on Christmas morning and begin to sing and dance and have events here and there. Seriously - this town is full of musicians and if they have a place to play, play they will. People start to cook unnecessarily large amounts of food, bake and craft. Here is a potential week in Atlin during this time: Yoga (2x per week), Waffles (a weekly event Saturday morning at the T.'s house - everyone is invited) BINGO!, curling, sewing saturday morning with D. at the Teen Centre, Dinner at the Inn, Craft fair, Thrift store sorting, Thrift store shopping (from 2-4 on Fridays), snowshoeing with the ladies, Chili at the Rec Centre lounge, Beers at the bar, Search and rescue practice, Fire hall meetings, PAC meetings, Joint Clan Meetings with the Tlingits, and churches of three denominations if you are so inclined. If you plan on heading to any of these events, I strongly advise that you say hello to everyone you come in contact with, even if you don't know them - you wouldn't want to be labelled as rude, would you? Welcome to our small town in the winter!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A year and a half

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve blogged here. I lost track of my writing while the “simple” life whirled around me. It’s been an experience to say the least. Whoever said that moving to a small town would help you appreciate the simple things must have been playing a joke on the city-dwellers. Living in a small town doesn’t simplify life – instead life becomes an absurd collection of strange little stories strung together from day to day. I feel like an obligatory update is in order: The teacher and I are roommates and we’re great friends – even in the dead of winter where others have nervous breakdowns. I have a job – a real one, working for the first nation here. It feels great to be actually putting my education to use. Most of the entertaining goings on in my life takes place at work. Since real people are involved in my work, I will likely never be able to share these stories publicly. It is for this reason that I have avoided writing (well blogging). I hope at one point I will be able to mesh stories so well that they will take on characteristics to the point of fiction.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The New Teacher

The new highschool teacher arrived this week and I met her today. We have a friend in common and so she knew who i was before she got here. Our meeting today went basically like this: "Are you N's friend?" "Yes!, oh oh!", then excited jumping up and down (me), jumping up from seat (her) then followed by hugging (both of us). Apparently now I hug complete strangers.

We're going to get along fabulously.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I am employed, Oh so employed....
I have four jobs, possibly five in the next week or so. As it stands I am bar tender, substitute teacher, rec center janitor as well as laundromat janitor. I have been told that now I am an official Atlinite. Apparently you're only official once you have more than one job at a time. I'm not sure how many hours this will all work out to be, since one cleaning job and obviously the substitute teaching job varies from week to week. I'm still applying for jobs because i would really like something a bit stable, but so far I think I'm surviving.

My current jobs were all offered to me within the week of being laid off. It worked out well that's for sure. I haven't had the chance to teach yet and honestly it freaks me out. I have never had a class to myself and each of these classes span three grades so there's lots of juggling. I've decided to volunteer some time at the school in the library since they don't have funding for a librarian. Organization here I come! Plus the principal would like me to tutor some of the kids who are having challenges with reading. I think the volunteer time is what I'm excited about the most. I love helping kids learn to read!

The high school has just hired a new teacher. She comes this week and I'm already excited. Proof of settling into a small town is when you get excited for outsiders to move in because they might be your friend. Apparently she's very nice and about my age. I hope she likes me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why I am Here

My reasons for coming to Atlin can mostly be summed up to an impulsive urge for adventure. I've wanted to move North for a few years, but the plan was to do so after a nice secure master's degree - probably in occupational therapy. However, as the end of my B.Sc degree came into view, I decided I needed a change right away.

My mom has cancer and for the last harrowing year my time has been divided between taking care of her, doing school full time, and working. Understandably, the dark forces of chemotherapy plus her impending death took a toll on her and the rest of the family. Some beautiful things can happen in the middle of such a terrible ordeal, but for the most part the learning has been through hardship and the beauty has occurred in the moments where mom was too sick to move. There has been a delicate balance between keeping sanity and fear in check, while attempting to prepare ourselves for reality. The prognosis was that we would have mom around for 12 months at best - probably 6. The 12 months was with the chemo fighting for her.

She did not die

My mother is not getting sicker. The doctor's cannot explain it. In fact, up to this point the cancer has been shrinking. Mom smiles at the doctors and says "I told you my God would save me". This has been her year to shine. As miserable as moments have been, I guarantee that the hospitals will never be the same. I watched her turn a Neurosurgery ward upside down. Nurses and workers stopped in to visit with her when they weren't even working. Patients went into surgery comforted by her. All while she could barely piece together a sentence (she had a tumour attacking her speech center and putting pressure on her brain). A couple of staff members had tears in their eyes when she left.

Through this experience I've had a chance to reevaluate my own life. I have a drive for adventure that I generally squish down to a small more responsible weekend activity. But over the past year I haven't been able to tone it down. I don't want to squish it any more. In fact, it grew to the point where I had to act. I realized the only reason I would stay in Prince George was because I was waiting for mom to die. I didn't want to miss the moments where she needed me. And I wanted to be there to watch over her just in case things quickly took a turn for the worse. Meanwhile she was off gallivanting in Mexico, Florida and California. We had a conversation one day and she told me that I was taking too much responsibility for her. I was waiting for her to die, and she had no intention of doing so. She told me that I should go live my life doing something that I would love - to go have adventure and excitement. She promised that if she got sicker and needed me that she would call me home.

This brings me to Why I'm here. Why go North? Why not go to a big city with hot weather and an exciting social life? I can't really explain why I don't like heat or lots of people, but I don't. It was like the North was calling me. My mother says that its in my blood. When I was little I lived in Cassiar, B.C now a building-less area. Maps now read "former town site of Cassiar". I still had memories of the biting cold, northern lights and dark days. People say that when the north is in your blood, you can't escape it. So all I can say is that I was driven north by some internal, insatiable thirst for the mountains, the northern lights and the cold. Talk to me after the winter and we'll see how I've done.

I used to paint mountains in watercolour. I painted them the way I thought mountains should look, not how the mountains around me actually looked. I made a mistake on one of my first paintings and where there should have been a crevice, there was a large smudgy looking glacier. That smudge is approximately where a rock glacier sits on the mountain right in front of me as I write this (the picture that I have posted is of a different mountain). I accidentally painted this mountain without ever seeing it. I realized when I got here that I had been painting the mountains of my childhood. That's why so many mountains - even in the Rockies - never looked quite right to me.

Moving north, my goal was to get a cushy government job in Whitehorse (it still is). The problem is that they rarely hire people who don't live up here. I'm not the only person who wants to come North for adventure. However, most people get here then run back home, so employers are wary of hiring outsiders. The cold desolation does not continue to appeal to people by the middle of February. I have a friend who lives in Atlin. I've been hearing about the place for so long that I fell in love with it before I even saw it. He invited me to stay with him while I looked for a job. I needed a northern address for a good job to take me seriously. So far I haven't found that job, but I will! And I'm so glad I came.

This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. And the small town charm just refuses to wear off. The people are friendly and most already know who I am. This is a unique situation that I wouldn't change for anything. I'm happy here.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Last night the cook came to my house to inform me that I am out of a job. The Restaurant is shutting down for the winter. I found out less than 12 hours before my new shift. Obviously I am not impressed - I really like money. However, the absurdity seems somewhat fitting for my situation. I had to use the restaurant phone to call my boss and confirm if this was true...It is. So I did what any rational person would do - I looted the place...while on the phone with my boss. I told him "well, since I've got no job then I'm going to take some food with me". He didn't argue. I've got enough food to tide me over for a while. My boss mentioned that I could log some hours by cleaning up in there preparing for the shut down. I intend to do this at a nice leisurely pace.

Today was spent frantically getting together resumes and cover letters for possible job options. The small town magic has yet again worked in my favour. I went into a grocery store to see if they were hiring - they weren't. However, later in the day R. came by my house letting me know that he'd heard from the grocery store that I was looking for work and offered me a part time job. Now I'm going to try my hand at bar tending two nights a week. We'll see how that goes - since I have no idea what I'm doing!

I have also applied at the school as a substitute teacher and it looks promising. I go in tomorrow morning to meet with the principal again, plus hang out with kids and see how I get along with the teachers. I'm excited about that.

I really love this town. I hope I don't have to leave because I can't find work.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thrift Store

There is a thrift store here. It's open from 2-4pm Friday every Friday afternoon located in the tiniest building I've ever seen. From the outside, the building looks like a playhouse situated behind the Anglican church. The picture I've uploaded is hiding the thrift store, but I'm too tired to go take another one. I'm hoping at one point to find a winter coat there for cheap. This Friday I went in and got 3 sweaters plus some yarn for a hefty $1. Apparently they were having a bag sale - all you can fit in a bag for a dollar. There was a sign indicating that large items were not included in the bag sale....

I finally took a picture of the Atlin sign on my way into Whitehorse yesterday. Headed back someone rearranged the rocks to read KKKK. White supremacists with a stutter maybe?

I don't feel much like writing at the moment since I'm still not feeling well. I figured I'd do a tiny blog to appease my dad since I haven't written in a couple of days and he got after me for it. Next time I might delve into the story of how and why I came here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sick Day

I am a waitress in a restaurant here. It is one of two restaurants in town vying for customers, both fighting to make it through the winter. We'll see who wins.
Today I'm sick and couldn't go in. Luckily there is a helpful woman here who will take over for me if necessary. She's not actually a server, but a local woman willing to help out. If I were sick and she couldn't cover for me we would just shut down the restaurant. If the cook is sick we definitely shut down - its an interesting situation. The owners live in Whitehorse and we're on our own during the week here without them.

We don't have a phone at my house so this morning I had to go to the restaurant to phone my replacement. I've had lots of questions about why we have no phone (not from people here of course, they completely understand). It takes about 2 months to get a phone installed here - if you're lucky. There are a lot of other everyday conveniences that people have to wait for here - water is a major one. Most people do not have wells and must have water delivered in to big cisterns. Another "convenience" is heating oil. Pretty much all the houses are heated with diesel and of course this must be delivered as well. At my house we have a well but the water isn't fit to drink. Instead, we get our water from a spring about 5 minutes away. We are some of the lucky ones. Still, since we're on a septic system we have to limit our water consumption so it doesn't back up. I miss taking baths.

I'm sitting in the living room as I write this and have a pretty view of the shack next door. My car is in the way, but I'm posting a picture of it anyways - I'm too tuckered to move the car. This type of little shack is allover town - some are lived in, some just sit on people's property, many a remnant of the gold rush.