Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Happy Birthday Nancy!

Today is my sister’s birthday.

This excellent photo of me and my sister was the result of us trying to take a selfie that got both of us and the “Snow’s Lane” lane in the background into the same shot on our recent trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the only shot where we managed to do so and neither of us are looking at the camera.

Snow's Lane

Happy birthday, Nancy! Here’s to many more years of fun trips, ambitious projects, excellent photo ops, and general high jinks with my favourite sister!

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Trip to Newfoundland and Labrador

Except I didn’t actually go to Labrador, but the province is officially called “Newfoundland and Labrador”, so it’s technically correct to say I went to Newfoundland and Labrador without setting foot in the Labrador part. It’s kind of confusing, but there you have it.

Canadian Provinces and Territories

Map of Canada highlighting the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The island is Newfoundland and the part on the mainland is Labrador. Image source: By TUBS

The reason for the trip was to attend the Canadian Evaluation Society’s 2016 conference being held in St. John’s, NL from June 3-6. I won’t bore you with all the conference stuff1, but I will tell you that my sister and I did a pre-conference workshop on a project we’ve been working on together, along with her partner, Jeff, and it got a fantastic reception2. As well, I did a presentation on my big project at work that also drew a good sized and much engaged audience, which made me happy.

The most exciting non-work part of the conference was the screech in ceremony at the closing reception. Screeching In, for the uninitiated, is a Newfoundland and Labradorian tradition whereby people “from away” (i.e., not from NL) take a shot of screech3, say some NL phrases, and kiss a cod and are then declared an honorary Newfoundlander and Labradorian. Everyone was quite excited by this event and I have to say I quite enjoyed it, though the screech was probably the worst rum I’ve ever had and kissing a cod is disgusting!

Screeching in ceremony at CES 2016 conferene

My sister and I with our shots of screech

Screeching in ceremony at CES 2016 conferene

Me, just after kissing the cod (Didn’t manage to capture the kiss on camera). It was truly disgusting.

Screeching in ceremony at CES 2016 conferene

Official certificate to provide that I have, in fact, been screeched in. I will frame it and hang it next to my Official Irish Whiskey taster certificate.

Since we’d flown such a long way to get there and neither Inor my sister had been to Newfoundland before, we decided to tag on a couple of vacation days to check a bit of it out. NL is actually quite huge, so we only got to explore a tiny fraction of it, but we did get to:

  • Dildo: Seriously, there is a town in NL called Dildo and I made my sister drive there just so I could take this picture:

    Dildo, NL

    There is nothing in the town of Dildo. You pretty much just go there to take a photo with the town sign.

  • South Dildo: Somehow, I think South Dildo is even funnier than Dildo. Sadly, we did not see a town sign when we drove through South Dildo, but I took this screen shot of Google Maps as we drove through it to prove we were there:South Dildo, NL
  • Harbour Grace:My Great Granny Snow (my dad’s dad’s mom) lived in Harbour Grace when she immigrated to Canada from England, so my sister and I decided to go check it out. We had no idea where exactly she lived beyond the fact that it was a house on the water near some trees, which describes pretty much every house in Harbour Grace4. It’s not a very big town and we drove along the aptly named Water St, so we think we probably drove by where her house would have been. The day we went to Harbour Grace was my dad’s birthday. While we were looking around we saw a big church that we wanted to check out, but it turned out to be under renovation and had a gate with a “no trespassing” sign on it. Anyone who knew my father will tell you that he viewed a “no trespassing” or “do not enter” sign as not so much a notice that you should not go to that place, but as an indication that you probably should. “They wouldn’t put a sign up saying to “stay out” unless there was something good in there that you would want to see!” he used to say. So I decided to take this photo in his memory5.
    Trespassing in Harbour Grace, NL

    Me, trespassing in Harbour Grace, on my Dad’s birthday. He would be proud!

    My sister said she was spending her vacation driving around taking photos of me for my blog. She was not wrong in this statement.))

  • The Easternmost Point of North America: which is in a place called Cape Spear, which is quite close to St. John’s. Though, as my friend Linda (who was the first person to mention this place to me as a place to go) pointed out, you aren’t *actually* at the most eastern point since this viewing spot that says “You are at the Easternmost point of North America” is not actually at the shoreline, but I think this can be considered the easternmost point of North America that you can safely go to, as that ocean looks scary! So I say it still counts. I took a selfie of me there because of course I did.Me at the eastern most point in North America, at Cape Spear, NLCape Spear also has a cool old lighthouse that you can visit and learn about how the light keepers lived in the old timey days (as well as a new, functioning light house that still provides signals to ships that they are getting close to St. John’s Harbour and also don’t come over this way because it’s super rocky) because GPS can fail you sometimes.

    Cape Spear, NL

    This is the new lighthouse. I didn’t get a good photo of the old timey lighthouse, though we did go into it.

  • The Eastern Terminus of the Trans Canada Highway*: While we were meandering around NL, I got a Facebook reminder that three years ago today, I was at the Pacific Terminus of the Trans Canada Highway.
    Beth at the Pacific Terminus of the Transcanada Highway

    Three years ago

    So I thought it would be super cool to go to the Eastern Terminus of the Trans Canada Highway on the same date! Unfortunately, there isn’t a marker anywhere to show you where the Trans Canada Highway ends in St. John’s – it just sort of ends out of nowhere:

    TCH eastern terminus

    So I took a bunch of selfies as my sister drove through that section and so one of these photos has to be correct. They basically all look like this:

    Driving through the eastern terminus of the Trans Canada Highway

    At the Eastern Terminus of the Trans Canada Highway. Probably.

  • Snow’s Lane: While we were looking for the eastern terminus of the Trans Canada Highway, we noticed on the map that there was a street called “Snow’s Lane”. So naturally we had to go there. The road itself was nothing much, but at least we can say we’ve been there!Snow's Lane in St. John's, NL
  • Signal Hill: This was the hill upon which Marconi received the first ever trans-Atlantic radio signal6Signal Hill

Other random things about our trip:

  • Every restaurant we went to in St. John’s was fantastic! My favourites were Yellowbelly – a brew pub that makes the best french fries I’ve ever eaten and a pretty solid wheat ale – and Oliver’s – a fancier place where we had amazing sea scallops, I had a bourbon chicken and risotto to die for, while my sister had Atlantic salmon7, and we shared a delicious creme brûlée. Other great restaurants included the Celtic Hearth (my sister got a turkey soup that was like homemade, I got an excellent club sandwich on the freshest of breads, and I tried Quidi Vidi Iceberg beer, which is made from water harvested from icebergs! At first sip, Iceberg seems like a meh lager, but then a fraction of a second later it hits you with an outstanding flavour8. I highly recommend it!
  • It was bloody cold in St. John’s, to the point that on Wednesday it felt like biting winter cold. We were told it was unseasonably cold and it wasn’t helped by the knowledge that I was missing out on 30 degree9 weather back home in Vancouver!
  • I took this photo for my Uncle Harry. Don’t know what Harold Snow of Newfoundland was advertising, as this sign literally just said his name:IMG_2720

When I set foot in St. John’s, I officially completed my quest to visit every Canadian province. Now I just need to visit the two territories that I haven’t been to yet (Yukon and Nunavut) and I’ll have been to every part of the country!

  1. If you are interested in reading about that, you can check out my professional blog where I will be writing about that in the coming days – I’ll update the link to the specific blog posting once I post it. []
  2. I’ll probably blog about it more once it’s ready for prime time – right now it’s in a beta phase. []
  3. i.e., crappy Newfoundland rum/ []
  4. Not to mention that it’s entirely possible that the house isn’t there anymore []
  5. And, of course, to add to my collection of me doing things that signs say not to do. []
  6. For some reason, I always thought he sent the first trans-Atlantic radio signal, but he did not – he received it. []
  7. I’m a bit of a salmon snob, in that I much prefer Pacific salmon. I tried some of my sister Atlantic salmon, just in case the Atlantic stuff is better when it is fresh (which I don’t get in Vancouver), but it just isn’t as good as the Pacific stuff, imho []
  8. I’m sure the water harvested from an iceberg thing is gimmick rather than being what makes the beer awesome, but it really is an awesome beer. []
  9. Celsius. []

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One Week Today….

… I’ll be co-presenting a workshop in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with my sister! I am very excited about this for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to) and in no particular order:

  • the content we are presenting on is very cool and I’m excited to share it with colleagues
  • the conference that we are presenting at is a good one – I always learn a lot, meet great people, and have a lot of fun
  • I get to hang out with my sister
  • Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province I’ve never been to, so when I go there I will have collected the entire set of provinces in my travel history

The one thing I’m not excited about is the weather forecast. St. John’s is going to be cold while we are there:

St. John's forecast

And in the meantime, I’ll be missing out on summer weather in Vancouver:

Vancouver forecast

I’ll have to make sure to pack some warm sweaters and my coat!

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Happy 93rd Birthday to My Grandpa!

93My Grandpa Snow was born on March 16, 1923, which means he turns 93 years old today. Out of curiosity, I checked out the year 1923 on Wikipedia to see what other things happened that year. Some of the highlights include:

  • the first live broadcast of an ice hockey game was called on Feb 16, 1923 by the legendary Foster Hewitt – it was the third period of an Ontario Hockey League game and it was broadcast on the Toronto radio station CFCA (my grandpa is a big hockey fan, so that is kind of cool)
  • the first hockey game to be broadcast on the radio in its entirety – a Western Canada Hockey League matchup between the Regina Capitals and the Edmonton Eskimos – was called on March 14 (2 days before my grandpa was born) on CKCK Radio in Regina, with play-by-play by Pete Parker (who I believe is also Spiderman, if I’m not mistaken)
  • the first issue of Time magazine was issued on March, Warner Brothers was founded on April, Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, and the Walt Disney Company was founded on Oct 16
  • the Hollywood sign (which originally read Hollywoodland) was inaugurated on July 13
  • the Ottoman Empire ended after 624 years on July 24
  • Canadian Sir Frederick Banting received the Nobel prize of Physiology/Medicine for discovering insulin
  • Hitler was arrested on Nov 11 for leading an unsuccessful attend to overthrow the Bavarian government a few days earlier.1

Happy 93rd birthday, Grandpa!

Image Credit: Posted by Boris Mann on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. I always think of things like Frederick Banting winning a Nobel prize or Hitler even existing as being so long ago in history but both of those things happened in my grandpa’s lifetime! []

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Happy Bonus Day!

Leap Day 2012Today is February 29th – you don’t get to say that very often, now do you? This year is going way too fast – as years seem to do – so I’m happy to have an extra day. And, since I’m 39, I’m especially glad that this year is a leap year, as it means I get an extra day to be a thirty-something! I also get an extra day to use my February transit pass (note to self: buy March transit pass.), which is nice because it’s annoying that the price of a February transit pass is the same as every other month despite it usually being 2 or 3 days shorter than the other months!

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t wish my cousin-once-removed, Samantha, a happy 6th birthday, despite the fact that she was born 24 years ago. I have a lot of cousins (14) and cousins-once-removed (10), and even cousins-twice-removed (4)1, so it’s hard to remember all those birthdays, but Sam’s is one I never forget ((I also remember by my cousin Kimberly’s birthday because she was born the day right after Samantha – I remember in early 1992 wondering if I was going to have two leap day babies in my family!)).

Image Credit: Posted by Dan Moyle on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. Actually, now that I think of it, I have more cousins-once-removed and twice-removed, as these numbers only count those who are in the generations after me, but I also have cousins who are removed by a generation or two ahead of me, though I honestly have no idea how many people that would be! []

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I Have My Dad’s Cough

My Dad had a chronic cough, as far back as I can remember. To hear it, you would swear it was a smoker’s cough, though he never smoked a cigarette in his life1.

That sore throat I was complaining about decided to turn into a full on nasty cold late last week – I was all stuffed up and had a most disgusting phlegmy cough, which has now turned into a hard, dry cough that sounds exactly like my Dad’s used to. I don’t get sick all that often, but when I do, my phlegmy coughs generally turn into this cough and lasts a while and I find myself thinking “Am I going to have this cough forever, just like Dad did?” It also gets me to thinking – what is it, exactly, that I inherited that gives me that same cough as my Dad had? Is it something about the shape or physiology of my lungs? About the way my immune systems works? Did I just pick up his way of coughing as a behaviour?

It was four years ago today that my Dad took his last breath. And there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to hear that cough again.

I miss you, Daddy.

  1. I assume it was actually from working so much at the barn with the pigeons and the chickens and the various other birds and breathing in that barn air so much, but that’s just a theory. []

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Birthday Report

So I had a birthday. Apparently my cats knew it was my birthday, because they gave me a present: one of their toys was in the bag that I take to work when I got up on Monday morning. So thoughtful of them.

Kitties gave me this present for my birthday

At work, some of my coworkers took me out for lunch, which was very sweet of them! And that night a group of friends took me out for dinner to El Santo, a new Mexican restaurant in New West that everyone has been raving about. I completely forgot to get a photo of all of us at dinner, because I’m old and senile. But I did manage to get a shot of me with my birthday dessert – Potted Tres Leches – which the restaurant gave to me for free, what with it being my birthday and all. It was delicious!

Birthday dessert at El Santo

The next day I received a hard copy of the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, in which I have an article!

Hard copy of a journal article that I wrote

Then I didn’t really do anything birthday-related until Saturday, when I had my birthday party, by which point I’d kind of forgotten that it was even for my birthday, which seemed like eons ago. Before the party I told myself “I’m totally going to remember to take photos, because I never take photos when I have a party and I totally should.” And then I took zero photos. Cath took a photo of Watson smelling her sock, because he was smelling her sock for like 5 minutes1, but as far as I know that is the only photographic evidence of the event. I suppose this is actually a sign of a good party, as I was too busy actually chatting with all my guests2 to think about photography. Anyway, the Coles notes version of the party is that I had a blast – my friends are awesome and my cats were very entertaining – despite not going onto the very top platform of their new cat tree despite everyone’s attempts to get them to do so. Thanks to everyone who came, thanks for all the lovely gifts (which you totally didn’t need to bring), and special thanks to Michelle for making a delicious salted caramel chocolate cake and to my sister for sending an edible fruit arrangement3

I would also like to point out that since 2016 is a leap year, I get to have a whole extra day before I turn the big 4-0. I think this was an excellent choice on my part.

  1. Cath has two cats, so I’m betting Watson was picking up Google and Saba’s scent. []
  2. As well as mixing the occasional drink and putting out the way too much food that I made. []
  3. And she wasn’t even able to come to the party! []

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Adorable Things My Nephew Said

On my trip to visit my family for the holidays, I had the great pleasure of getting to spend lots of time with my niblings. And I want to capture some of the adorable things my nephew Thomas, who is 4, said while I was there. My blog has several funny comments from my niece when she was little too and I love when I look back at them and remember how hilarious she was (She’s still hilarious, but in a much more sophisticated way now, at age 11), so I want to capture some of Thomas’s hilarious comments so I can look back on them when he is older.

The thing I heard Thomas say more than anything else on this trip was “I think…” and “I’m not sure or not.” It’s like he never wants to commit to anything he’s saying. [Insert sexist joke about men never wanting to commit here]. A question like “Thomas, did you like your breakfast?” would be met with “I’m not sure or not”. But so would a question like “Are you wearing a blue shirt?”, which he could totally just look at and be sure.

Oddly, another thing he said a lot was very definitive: “Of course, I’m am!”

On Christmas Eve, he and I were sleeping in the attic, which has a skylight. He looked up through the skylight and declared, “I can see Santa!” So I said, “Oh no! Santa won’t come to the house because he can see that you are awake.” So he closes his eyes and says, “Now he’ll think I’m sleeping!”

He also has a few cute mispronunciations, like “Rice Creepies” instead of “Rice Krispies”, “Mickeldonald’s” instead of “McDonald’s”, and best of all, he refers to the superhero “Hawkeye” as “Hot Guy”.

We all went to the wedding of my sister’s best friend on New Year’s Eve, which was held in a deconsecrated church. All the stuff of the church is still in place, including a large statue of Jesus on a cross. Thomas saw this and declared, “Oh no! A zombie!”1

  1. My sister explained that it wasn’t actually a zombie, it was a guy named Jesus and the story goes that a bunch of people didn’t like what he was saying, so they killed him. Thomas had *a lot* of questions about this, so he was directed to my friend Sarah for further explanation. Apparently there was an Ironman analogy involved. []

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The Penultimate Night of the Year in Our Nation’s Capital

Spent the day driving to Ottawa with my family, as we are going to a friend’s wedding tomorrow night. The invitation says it’s a fancy-schmancy attire sort of occasion, so I’ve got a fancy dress, impractically tall shoes, and even some full length gloves for the occasion. My friends Sarah and Dave and their crew will also be in attendance, so it will be nice to ring in the new year with them. My niece baked the wedding cakes and I hear there’s a late night pierogie bar! Rock on!

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Christmas Baking 2015

For the official record1, the following baked goods were baked at the annual Snow family Christmas baking extravaganza 2015:

My Mom:

    • Tiger Cookies

Tiger cookies

    • Cranberry Nut Clusters

White Chocolate Nut Clusters

  • Fake Nanaimo Bars2

Fake Nanaimo Bars
Nancy (my sister):

    • brown sugar jam cookies

Jam sandwich cookies

  • cheese crackers

Daniel (Nancy’s friend):

  • lemon squares
  • almond crescent cookies

Beth:

  • shortbread cookies
  • amaretti
Ameretti

Amaretti dough

Ameretti

Amaretti cookies – pre-baking

Ameretti

Amaretti cookies – baked

Ameretti

Amaretti cookies – close up

  1. My blog is the official record. []
  2. Which I’ve been referring to as “Parksville Bars”. Parksville is the town next to Nanaimo. []