How did Stella get her groove back?

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot recently. It used to be a life-line, then it turned to a hobby. Now it just seems to represent a gap.

‘A gap in what?’ you ask. Well, life I suppose. At least in the public life I choose to share. Since my last update on July 3, 2013 – 7 months ago today – a lot has happened. I’m not ready to go into some of the bigger details, but that might happen someday.

I just need to get my groove back…the truth is, I miss writing. I have yet to encounter a new situation when I’m not narrating the whole thing in ‘blogspeak’.

FYI: For those of you who are interested, ‘blogspeak’ is a term that I came up with to describe that mental articulation of an experience when you can actually imagine what you would write. I know the Urban Dictionary does not define it as such, but this is my blog. So there.

One thing that had me swirling in the abyss was the whole question of where to start. My summer vacation is neatly filed in my iPhoto library in the form of thousands of pictures, but are the chronicles of a cross-country roadtrip where a ‘northern blog’ should go? Probably not.

As a result, I’ve decided to mentally re-categorize this blog. Yes, I live in Canada’s Artic region…in a place where, when the temperature rose as far as -36C yesterday, it felt balmy. Yes, scarf and hat be damned! However, unlike some, I feel trapped in the finite boundaries of a defined northern blog niche. There’s more to me than that.

By eschewing any one niche, this blog may seem scattered. But that’s the way I am. Scattered. Now, in going this route, I fully expect to lose some readers. I get a lot of people surfing through here after doing a websearch for ‘life in the north’. Fear not…I will make sure posts are tagged with applicable subject labels if that’s all you’re interested in.


Top Left: Kugluktuk; Right: Rankin Inlet; Bottom Left: Baffin

Some new things to note that haven’t been touched on? Well, I no longer work at Nunavut Arctic College. Throughout my 4 year tenure I was afforded the opportunity to experience all regions of Nunavut: Pangnirtung and Qikiqtarjuaq showcased Baffin’s rugged mountains, Kugluktuk introduced the stark landscapes of the Kitikmeot, and Rankin Inlet has centered my life in the Kivalliq. It’s such a shame that most Canadians of my generation will only imagine them as the same empty pictures found in those old geography books. There is so much more.

New workplace and new apartment complex.

New workplace and new apartment complex.

Boler heading west_450

Flying south then heading west.

These days I am employed at the Rankin Inlet Healing Facility. As a correctional institution, I can’t really say a whole lot on that matter. Discretion’s the best rule to follow here. A change in employment, however, also brought about a change in residence.

Epic Roadtrip 2013…best summer vacation EVER! J and I flew from Rankin Inlet to Winnipeg then drove to Prince Rupert (northern BC) to catch a ferry to visit my brother in Haida Gwaii.

Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii.

Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii.

We stayed in a 1977 Boler with 2 chihuahuas. We smashed the windshield of our GMC Yukon Denali and had to spend an unscheduled 3 days in Edmonton.

Unscheduled stop.

Unscheduled stop.


We slept in a treehouse for a weekend. We took the inner passage ferry to Vancouver Island and camped in Victoria for a week surrounded by pooping otters and floating houses.

Yes, those are otters on the wharf.

Yes, those are otters on the wharf.

We skipped town earlier than expected to catch the closing ceremonies of the Calgary Stampede where we dined on bannock tacos and deep-fried butter.

Butter patty wrapped in pastry then deep fried...

Butter patty wrapped in pastry then deep fried…

We drove (for the last time I hope) through the ‘bays’ of northern Ontario (Thunder Bay, North Bay etc.) with next to no contact with the outside world. We slept in more Walmart parking lots than you would want to know. We stopped on the side of the Trans-Canada, put on the hazard lights, set up the Coleman stove and lawn chairs and watched the sunset while roasting hotdogs.

Walmart somewhere in Northern Ontario.

Walmart somewhere in Northern Ontario.

J had his first McLobster Sandwich and discovered McDonalds coffee wasn’t the sewage he had expected.

…and that doesn’t even bring us to Nova Scotia yet! We bummed around there for a bit, then visited my brother in Toronto before dipping through the States to make it back to Winnipeg for our flight north.



Epic. There’s soooo much.

And J and I didn’t kill each other! More than a month and a half of hours of driving and camping in a 13’ fiberglass trailer with 2 small dogs, and we didn’t kill each other! Instead, we got engaged.

Heading home.

Heading home.Ok, I feel like my memories are on a FFWD speed of, like, 2.5. I’m trying to keep up, but there’s so much! I think I’ll continue with my description of the trip because I’ll want to record it, but I’ll do it in short blips and file everything, retroactively, in the correct folder. The same will be true of the wonderful month my parents spent here in Rankin Inlet over the Christmas holidays.

Xmas with Fam_458I’ll get back in the groove soon…my middle name is, after all, Stella!


  • Dad

    Great to see you ‘back’! I really enjoy your writing.

  • Geoff Johnston

    Welcome back 🙂 I wondered where you had gone to and was looking forward to reading the latest installment of your northern adventures.

  • Tab Bourguignon

    I really love this post, and for more than one reason. I can completely identify with that process of “getting your groove back” – I’m convinced it’s a 2014 thing. Or maybe a turning 37 thing; either way, it’s time.

    Glad to see you writing again. 🙂

  • Tara: So pleased you are back—doing something you really love..Know your heart is broken, but this just might keep your mind otherwise occupied.So pleased J.was with you, and is with you.God bless and give you strength to persevere forward…As ever your friend,Marie

  • Amy

    Great post Tara! I’ve missed reading them. 🙂

  • chris muise

    Tara, your writing as always is a treat …the photo montage is really great too. Please continue your posts. Great to see your groove back.

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