Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


Happy 11th Birthday, Madeline!

Happy birthday to my niece! I’m glad you enjoyed your crazy sleepover party on Saturday and that you had delicious cake and got some cool presents today. Love you!

Beth and Madeline at Montreal race

Madeline and I after our respective races at the Montreal marathon in Sept 2015. Yes, she is nearly as tall as me!


Write Blog Postings –> ? –> Profit!

I was searching Flickr for images for my slide deck for the class I’m teaching and stumbled upon this one:


It made me smile!

Image Credit: Posted by Owen W. Brown on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.


Conferences and Conferences and AGMs, Oh My!

PrintToday was the Canadian Evaluation Society BC and Yukon (CESBCY) chapter’s conference. Now, I may be biased given that I was the conference Program Chair, but I think we had an outstanding program of presentations this year! Now, before you think I’m being too arrogant, I will state for the record that the outstanding program was 100% due to the fantastic presenters – my job as program chair was easy given that incredible proposal we received from evaluators and non-profit organizations from around the region1.

I decided to take on the role of Program Chair for this conference because I’m also a Program Co-Chair for the 2017 CES National conference, which is being held in Vancouver, and I thought that gaining some experience on the provincial conference would be a good idea before leaping into the national one2. I quite enjoyed working on the program for this conference – the whole conference committee was fantastic and we had a lot of fun while also putting on a great conference, if I do say so myself3. In fact, I’m already starting to think about what we are going to do for next year’s conference. As well, I’m really enjoying working with the 2017 National Conference committee – we’ve already been meeting for several months, as pulling off a national conference requires *a lot* of planning!

And apparently I’m really enjoying being engaged with the evaluation community, because at the CESBCY Annual General Meeting that was held after the conference this evening, I got myself elected to the Executive Council as a member-at-large! Now, I realize that I do have a tendency to do all the things, which I’ve been attempting to moderate to “do most of the things”4, but I made a wise and considered decision to accept the nomination of my colleague for this position, because this is my professional organization and so it’s a totes good career move. Also, did I mention how much fun these people are?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, they just announced the call for workshop and presentation proposals for the 2016 CES National conference in St. John’s and I need to start brainstorming some presentation ideas!

  1. If you are so inclined, I’ve put all the notes that I took in the session I attended over on my professional blog. Note to self: my professional blog really needs a makeover! []
  2. I was on the conference committee for the CES national conference in 2010 when it was in Victoria, but I was the Volunteer Coordinator and only took that position quite close to when the conference happened, so I wasn’t involved in much of the planning for the conference. []
  3. There is a conference evaluation happening – because of course there is, we are evaluators! – but the feedback I heard from people at the conference, my impression of the sessions that I attended, and the fact that the conference was sold out and had a waiting list all indicate that the conference was a success! []
  4. Like, remember that time I went to my strata AGM and didn’t run for strata council? That was a big accomplishment for me! []


You forgot the “chill”

In class today, I was demonstrating a method of data collection formally called “Dotmocracy” (but now being referred to as “Idea Ratings Sheets”). The basic premise is that you are looking to get a group to rate ideas and you have them write their ideas on a sheet and then everyone in the group can rate it from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” – and they can also add comments about strengths or weaknesses of the idea. For this demo, the class decided that the topic would be “What is the best thing to do over the Christmas holidays?” and some of the ideas were things like “Spend time with family”, “Eat delicious foods”, “Catch up on TV”, etc.

After everyone did the rating, we checked out the results. And by far the best comment was on this one, where the idea of the best thing to do over the Christmas holidays is “Binge watching Netflix”:

Don't forget the

And the comment that one student wrote on it:

Don't forget the

“You forgot the “chill””.

And that explains why tonight I said a phrase that I never anticipated saying as a university professor in response to a student’s question about what a concept means: “You’ll have to Google “Netflix and chill””.

For the uninitiated: Netflix and chill.


Today’s blog posting is written by guest blogger: My cat, Watson

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That is what Watson typed by sitting on the keyboard while I had WordPress opened to “Add a New Post.”


Two New Ways to Help The Kitties

As you know, I’m a crazy cat lady. As you also know, I adopted Watson and Crick from the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA). They are a charitable organization that require donations to do their work of rescuing and caring for strays and surrendered cats and kittens, providing them with veterinarian care and shelter, and food and litter for the foster families who take care of them until they are adopted. They have two fundraising efforts going on that I thought I’d share with y’all.

First, you can buy the VOKRA 2016 calendar. And you might just recognize the picture of two adorable kitties in the January 11th square of the calendar1.

Second, you can actual get a donation to VOKRA for free by purchasing gift cards for places that you already shop. Basically, you buy a gift card through them and they mail you that gift card for the amount that you paid (e.g., you pay $100 and you get a $100 gift card). They get these cards at a discount (somewhere between 1 and 10% depending on the store) and that amount is what VOKRA gets. So it doesn’t cost you anything and they get money to do their work. Win-win! There’s a tonne of places you can get gift cards for: Safeway, Save-On Food, Thrifty’s, Shoppers Drug Mark, a bunch of gas stations, London Drugs, some pet stores, Chapter’s, Cineplex Odeon, a hole bunch of restaurants, and even some spas! Check out their website for the full list and how to order (You have to click on their order form to see the list).


Watson on the bed

Watson & Crick thank you for helping their kitty brothers and sisters!

  1. I tried to get their photo on their birthday, September 24th, but someone had already bought that one, so I went with my birthday instead. []


Safety Check

Yesterday during the terrorist attacks in Paris, I got a notice on my phone. An acquaintance of mine is in Paris and Facebook was notifying me that he was safe.

Facebook Safety Check

I’ve never seen this before. And while I’m relieved that he and his partner are safe, I’m sad that we live in a world where a feature like this needs to be added to a social media site. I’m sad that there were many, many people who did not get a message like this about their loved ones in Paris, because they weren’t OK. Not to mention the attack in Lebanon the day before and all sorts of other ones in other countries that don’t receive the news coverage here that the attacks in Paris did.

I’m heartened, though, by the acts of kindness in a time of tragedy. People in Paris were offering up safe haven in their homes by tweeting #PorteOuverte (translation: “Open door”) to let complete strangers know that if they didn’t have a place to go, they would be welcomed in.

Now I hope that the latter response, of welcome and kindness, will how most of the world will respond, rather than division and hate.

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


Goals 2015 – 317/365ths of the year check-in

So apparently I’ve rediscovered that I have a blog. Sadly, I totally forgot that November is NaBloPoMo1 – the month where you are supposed to publish a blog posting every day –  until about 2 days ago, which was 11 days to late to realize such a thing. I have, however, rebounded from one of my worst ever months for blog posting – I only posted 2 postings last month. Two! – having already posted 4 blog postings this month2 and the month isn’t even half over.

Rediscovering that I have a blog has reminded me that I have a list of goals that I aimed to accomplish this year, something I haven’t really thought about since, well, basically since I started working on the course that I’m currently teaching, which has pretty much taken over my life (outside of my day job) for the past three months3.

The last time I checked in on the list was in July, at which time I had completed 4 of my 15 +1 goals4

Well, I’m happy to report that I’m knocked 3 more items off the list:

  • run two half marathons (Vancouver and Montreal)
  • run 800 km (this one warrants its own blog posting!)
  • add 5 new medals to my collection (as does this one)

I’m also on track to achieve:

  • read 15 books in 2015 (I’ve read 14 so far5.)
  • complete 15 items from my 101 list (I’ve completed 11 so far)
  • bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work (I currently sit at 49.7%, so I need to bump it up to at least 50.1% and I have 22 work days left in the year, so as long as I bring my lunch 12 out of those 22 days, I’ll achieve this one.)

I’m not on track, but could get back on track with a Herculean effort, for this one:

  • Write 115 blog postings (I’ve published (including this one) 57 blog postings this year, which means I need to publish another 58 postings in the next 48 days (or 7.25 blog postings per week) to achieve this goal.)

I failed to achieve this one and am not going to have the opportunity again before year’s end (so I guess it goes on next year’s goals list!):

  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon.

I’ve continued to neglect:

  • Complete the 100 push up challenge.
  • Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. I
  • Write a will.
  • Apply for at least one research grant.

and the second and fourth ones of that aren’t going to happen without a miracle. But the first and fourth are things that I can still tackle – and now that I remember them, perhaps I will start on them!

  1. National Blog Posting Month. []
  2. 5 is if you count this one that I’m writing now, which will be published by the time you read this. []
  3. Incidentally, I teach on Wednesday nights and since yesterday was a holiday, there was no class. Which gave me a bit of a breather and reminded me about the gloriousness of having free time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving teaching my class, but it is so much freaking work to put together three hours of lecture ever week, plus marking, plus communicating with students and guest speakers, etc. I’m really going to enjoy the break I’ll get when this is done. []
  4. +1 because I added in a bonus goal in that blog posting. []
  5. A few too many of these are textbooks for my liking, but I needed to read them to prep my course and they still count! []


Happy birthday, Mom!

Me, my Mom, and my sister at the Windsor Arms Hotel for high teaToday is my Mom’s birthday.

I was really lucky this year as I got to see my mom three times! First when I went to visit in May on my way back from Halifax, then again in June when she and my sister came for a visit, and then again in September when we went she and my sister and my niblings came to watch Daniel and I run in the Montreal marathon and half marathon, respectively. We’ll have to make sure we plan some more trips for next year!

Happy birthday, Mom! Hope you are having a fabulous day! I love you!


Lest We Forget

Red poppy - amapola roja

Image Credit: Posted by perlaroques on Flickr.