Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Tomorrow is Christmas Baking Day

My baking plans for tomorrow include:

  • shortbread cookies, the cookies that I’m legally obligated to make every Christmas
  • amaretti, which I’ve never made before but expect to be delicious!

I will report back once all the baking is complete!

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What recipe are you known for amongst your friends and family?

Here we go with using the Dec 2014 blogging prompts.

What recipe are you known for amongst your friends and family?

Shortbread cookiesI make the best shortbread in the world. I learned my Great Granny Snow’s secret recipe from my Aunt Wendy. Why Great Granny chose Aunt Wendy from among all her granddaughters to teach, and why Aunt Wendy chose me from among all her nieces to teach, is a mystery, but I believe it’s ‘cuz Aunty Wendy loved me the best! (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that, Aunt Wendy).

Now, there are two things about this recipe. One thing is that it is really all in the technique. I could give you the list of ingredients (even the super secret tip about one of the ingredients) and the instructions, but you wouldn’t be able to make these cookies. When my Aunt Wendy taught me this recipe, she showed me something about the dough that I have never told anyone and never written down. And it is the key to making the best shortbread in the world.

The second thing is – I don’t even like shortbread.

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OMG, it’s December tomorrow

So, it’s December tomorrow. How, exactly, did that happen? Wasn’t it January just like 5 minutes ago? Looking at my calendar for the next month, I see that December will also be flying by, because I have an insane amount of things in my calendar, including:

Plus a variety of other meet ups with people I haven’t seen in ages and, you know, Christmas and New Year’s! Let the festivities begin!

  1. This is how you can tell that the 12 Bars of Christmas crowd has gotten old. []
  2. Where DDG = Drinks/Dinner with Dr. Girls – where me and my PhD grad school buddies get together to catch up []

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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!

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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!

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Mon 13ème demi-marathon: Pas le résultat que je l’espérais, mais je suppose que si je vous écris ce titre en français il sonnera plus impressionnant

Translation of the title (assuming that Google Translate translated it correctly): My 13th half marathon: not the result I was hoping for, but I figure if I write this title in French it will sound more impressive.

I was hoping to have called this blog posting “Lucky #13” and to be writing about how I’d finally run the elusive sub-2 hour half marathon that I’ve been aiming for, but alas, it was not to be. In fact, I didn’t even beat my time in the BMO Vancouver half marathon in May, as I clocked in at 2:03:07 in yesterday’s race, compared to 2:02:24 in May.

Those 43 extra seconds, however, are likely due to the fact that I had to take a pee break during the race because I was waiting 45 minutes from the time the race started and when I actually crossed the *start* line. The race started on Pont Jacques Cartier (i.e., a really big bridge in Montreal), so the pre-race portapotties were just before you go on the bridge, so we went pee there and then had to walk eleventy billion miles to get to the corrals. I was in corral number 17 (of 26) – they put runners in corrals by speed, so the fast people are in the first corral, then the next fastest and so on. Daniel was in corral number 2, so we went up to our corrals about 10 or so minutes before the 8:30 am start time.

The first thing I noticed in my corral was The Flash, so naturally I asked for a selfie with him:

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Then I spent 45 minutes looking at this:

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Because that’s how long it took for all the runners in the corrals ahead of me to go.

Also, did I mention that it was eleventy billion degrees below zero? And I was dressed in a tank top and shorts because it was going to warm up to 21 degrees, so basically after waiting – did I mention? – FORTY-FIVE minutes!! I was frozen and I had to pee again!

UntitledSo I finally got to start running at 9:15 am, at which point I was so cold that I couldn’t feel my hands or my feet. It was really weird to be running and not be able to feel my feet! I contemplated whether I could run the whole race without stopping to pee, but I realized that I had to pee so badly that if I tried that, I wouldn’t be able to run as fast and I’d probably end up taking a pee break later anyway, so I should just stop at the first opportunity. I saw a bunch of people peeing in bushes in the first few kilometres, but then I saw a sign in some of the bushes that said “Beware – Poison Ivy”, so I decided to keep running until I found portapotties. At about the 4 km mark, I found some and went pee and I’m pretty sure that it took me 43 seconds (give or take).

After that, I felt much better – not only did I no longer have to pee, but I’d warmed up enough that my hands and feet had regained feeling. The next many kilometres I actually felt good – I was running at a good pace and feeling strong. I was using my Runkeeper app to tell me my pace1 every km, but because I’d taken a slight detour to the portapotty and also because GPS is imperfect, the pace it was reporting was a bit off – it would tell me I’d reached a kilometre about 200 m before I hit the kilometre marker. Which meant that the app was thinking that I had run further than I had and thus, was reporting a pace that was faster than my actual pace. Unfortunately, I suck at math in my head at the best of times, so I certainly could not figure out the correction required to know my actual pace while exerting myself on the run! However, since the app was telling me that I was a bit faster than my target pace for most of the race, I figured I was in the ballpark.

It definitely started to feel harder in the last third of the race and I knew from looking at the elevation map prior to the race that I’d be running up some hills toward the end of the race, including a big one in the last ~1km.

My mom, my sister, my niece, and my nephew had driven out to from Toronto to watch the race, as had Sarah & Dave and their kiddies from Ottawa; I knew they were intended to be at about the 19 km mark and I managed to see my family, who were on the far side of the road, but completely missing seeing Sarah & Dave et al, who were on the side of the road closet to where I was running! Seeing friendly faces in the crowd always gives you a boost when you are running!

The big hill, however, had the opposite effect. It was steeper and longer than I had envisioned based on the elevation map, so it definitely slowed me down, but once I caught my breath after cresting the hill, I decided that with just 1 km to go and being somewhere in the ballpark of meeting my goal, I would increase my speed as best as I could without dying and then sprint once I saw the finish line. So I did all that and when I got across the finish line, I stopped my Runkeeper app and looked expectantly at my time, thinking I was reasonably close to my goal. But much to my surprise, it said 2:03! Wtf? I really thought I was close, but it turned out I’d done worse than my run in May! Not by a lot, but still. This made my very grumpy, as all I could think was “I trained for 4 months to get slower. I should have just sat on my couch eating Doritos for the past 4 months!”

On the plus side, while I didn’t achieve my top goal – run a sub-2hr half marathon – I did achieve my consolation goal, which was to run my first half marathon where I don’t do 10 and 1s. So there’s that. And I suspect from the results of my second fitness assessment, that it was my insufficient zone 3 training that prevented me from achieving the elusive sub 2-hr half. I did do my zone 3 training after that assessment, but it was too little, too late. So at least I know for next time2

The way this race was set up, all the half marathoners and the full marathoners started together. Daniel started at 8:30 and, since I was told I should expect to start at 8:45, I expected to be done around 10:45, which would give me enough time to get my medal, my post-race food, and find my family and friends, and make way back to the finish line to watch Daniel complete his race around 11:45. However, since I started at 9:15, I didn’t finish until 11:18, which was not enough time to do those things, so I didn’t even get to see Daniel finish. He set a new personal best of 3:17, putting him 1 minute better than May but 2 minutes shy of his goal of a Boston qualifying time. So both of us were a wee bit disappointed in our results, though everyone else thought we were slightly crazy because our times were good.

After we managed to find our respective families/friends/each other, the next event was the kids run… I mean, the P’tit Marathon. Daniel’s kids and my niece ran this 1 km race – they all did really well and had a great time!

And also on the plus side: shiny new medal3!

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It’s a big 25 because this was the 25th running of the Montreal marathon. And for the record, the green bit in between the 2 and the 5 is not a crocodile, as one of my coworkers thought upon first seeing the medal. It’s Montreal island, on which we ran a bunch of the race!

  1. As I’d lent my running watch to Daniel, because he forgot his at home. []
  2. I haven’t decided when my next half marathon will be. I’m registered to run the Rock’n’Rock Vancouver 10 km next month, and my tentative plan is to maybe do the Chilly Chase in January (assuming that next year’s medal is like this year’s, which was gorgeous and I was so sad i didn’t do that race once I saw the medal!), the Delta triathlon in the spring, run as part of a relay team for the BMO Vancouver marathon, and then maybe do the Scotiabank half? Or maybe some other half marathon that I haven’t done before? I’m not sure, but I am reasonably confident that I can say that I’ll do another half marathon in the near future. And in the far future, actually, as Sarah has us pencilled in for the Ottawa marathon in May 2017! Half marathons, I just can’t quit you. []
  3. The kids got s smaller version of this for their race too! []

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Happy Birthday, Nancy!

Beth & Nancy Christmas 2013

Apparently the Earth has gone around the sun a significant number of times since my sister was born. How many times that was, I will not say!

But if it makes you feel any better, Nancy, you were born two months early, so if we are talking gestational age, you aren’t [redacted] years old until September!

Happy birthday, sis!

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Here and Gone

So remember that time I told you about howall thehouseguestswere on their way to my place? Not only did that trip whizz by in the blink of an eye, but it’s been a week since they left and I’m only just now blogging about it!

In no particular order, our adventures included1:

  • wenttoBowen Island2, where we had some amazingly delicious food at the Old Orchard Grill3
  • delicious dinner atForage– I’ve been there a couple of times before, but omg, is their food ever fantastic. And their wait staff is amazing!
  • delicious breakfast at Angelina’s
  • went to my hockey game – well, my mom did. My sister was busy at her conference that day.
  • went to Daniel’s hockey game
  • went to Granville Island, where we did some shopping4 and enjoyed some Lee’s Donuts5and some drinks at Liberty Distillery. I also bought myself an herb garden to put on my balcony6 – it contains parsley, sage, chives, marjoram, and peppermint and it only cost $13!
  • my sister and Dan got to meet my kitties! My mom had already met them on her last trip, but was happy to see her grandkitties again!

Pursuing my phone, I realized that I was a delinquent in taking photos, so I have no proof that anyone actually visited me. But I did take this photo of me stopped in front of a “no stopping anytime” sign on Bowen Island, in my ongoing project to chronicle people disobeying signs.

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So there’s that.

  1. “Making a delicious meal onmy BBQ” didn’t end uphappening and “trying my delicious home-brewed beer” happened for Dr. Dan, but not my sister (my mom and Dan’s student don’t drink beer, so I wasn’t expecting them to). []
  2. which just so happens to be onmy list of 101 things to do []
  3. Best. French fries. EVER! []
  4. I bought a new dress and got FOUR compliments on it the first day that I wore it! []
  5. Dan and his student agreed with me that Lee’s Donuts kick the butt of Cartem’s Donuts! []
  6. which just so happens to be onmy list of 101 things to do. []

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All The Houseguests!

I believe that I may have mentioned 1 that my mom and my sister are coming to visit me this week. My sister is presenting at a conference here in Vancouver and my mom, being a retired lady of leisure, is coming along for the trip.

So far, our plans include:

I’m sure we’ll get up to a variety of other things, being all spontaneous-like.

But not only are my mom and sister going to be here, but I’m also having another pair of houseguests this week! As it happens, my sister told Dr. Dan about the conference she’s going to, as it’s a conference for post-secondary educators, so he also is going to said conference. Then, as it happens, through what I can only assume is some bureaucratic nonsensicality, Dr. Dan and his graduate student don’t have a hotel room on Tuesday, the day they arrive. There is, apparently, no room at the inn. They are like Mary and Joseph but without the donkey or the imminent arrival of a baby4. I had told Dan that he was most welcome to stay here if he needed, as long as he doesn’t mind it being a little cozy, what with all the houseguests and current feline and amphibian and homo sapiens residents. He agreed that this was a most cromulent arrangement and so that’s how I now will have All The Houseguests at my place on Tuesday.

Dan and his student are arriving in Vancouver on Tuesday morning, but I will be at work, so I told him that he can just drop by my office to get the keys to my place. And then I sent him this email with directions, which I’m posting here because I happen to think I’m pretty hilarious.

Dear Dr. Daniel J. Gillis,
Thank you for booking your accommodations at Chez Neige, New Westminster’s most exclusive hotel, for the night of Tues, June 16th for two guests.

Check in:

You can pick up your keys at our inconveniently located check-in desk at Beth’s office, located at [address redacted]. You can get to this location by taking the Canada Line from the YVR airport to the Broadway-City Hall station. https://goo.gl/maps/u32pa

Upon arriving at [address redacted], you can call or text Beth at [phone number redacted] and she will bring you the keys.

Getting To Your Accommodations:

From the key pick-up location, you can take the 99 bus eastbound (which leaves from in front of the Broadway-City Hall station) to the Commercial Drive Skytrain Station and then take the Skytrain eastbound to New Westminster Station (you can take either of the the archaically named Skytrains – the Expo Line or the Millennium Line from Commercial Drive Station – both of them go from Commercial Drive Station to New Westminster station): [link redacted]

Once there, it’s just a short walk to the condo. Although my address is on [street name redacted], the door to my building is not actually on [street name redacted]. The easiest way to get there is probably to just walk [directions redacted].Or you could just take a taxi to all these locations, if you are so inclined.

Hotel Amenities

Chez Neige features world class amenities, including:

  • a roof over your head
  • the finest of air mattresses
  • free booze
  • complementary cat companions for the duration of your stay

My mom and sister arrive late on Tuesday night, but they didn’t get a fun email with directions because they’ve both been to my place before.

Let the festivities begin!

  1. If I’ve seen you in real life in the last little while, I’m sure I’ve mentioned this to you eleventy billion times! []
  2. Well, my sister is anyway. My mom doesn’t like beer. []
  3. Well, my mom is anyway. I have a 6 pm game in Burnaby on Saturday, but my sister’s conference presentation, which is in downtown Vancouver, doesn’t end until 5:30 pm, so she won’t be able to make it to my game. My sister has been to see me play hockey on a previous trip, but my mom has never seen me play in real life (she saw me play online as the Longest Game for CF was live streamed), so I’m super excited that she’s coming to my game. No matter how old you get, it’s always special when your mom comes to watch your hockey game! []
  4. Well, as far as I know, neither of these two men are preggers nor are they bringing a donkey. As far as I know. []

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70

Racing pigeon

Isn’t this racing pigeon beautiful? You can tell it’s a racing pigeon because it has bands on its legs.

My dad would have been 70 years old today.

I think of all the stuff he’s missed in the past 3+ years since we lost him. My little nephew was just a tiny baby when my Dad died and now he’s getting ready to start school. My niece was only 7 – now she’s such a grown up 10 year old! He would have been so proud of the amazing people they are growing up to be.

My sister and I have both finished the Master’s degrees that we were starting just before he died. We both have big fancy new jobs. He would have been so proud of our respective accomplishments.

We Call Him Paddy

Another pretty racing pigeon, just like the kind my dad used to have.

My mom, my sister, and I have all gone on various trips, near and far, that he – not being much of a traveller himself – would have loved to have heard all about. My mom is enjoying her retirement and he should be here, enjoying it with her.

This is, by sheer coincidence, my 2600th blog posting. This is not be design – I just happened to notice it when I went to write this post. I think my dad would have liked that.

I miss you, Daddy.

Image Credits: