Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

By

My New Bar Cart

Because of the state of the world, I decided I needed a bar cart. Ok, that’s not actually true. I actually decided I needed a bar cart because my friend Amy has an awesome bar cart and I was super jealous and also because I was sick of storing my booze in a broom closet. I’d been looking for one that would meet my needs1 for a while and finally found one that I liked, and then it went on sale for 50% off and so it was totally a sign that I needed to buy it.

Naturally, the kitties were very eager to help me build it:

Kitties helping me build my bar cart

Watson says, “My claws don’t count as a “sharp” instrument, do they?”

Here are the kitties doing a thorough inspection to make sure all the parts were shipped to us:

It was a little complicated to put together – this is clearly not an IKEA piece, but hopefully that means it will actually last a long time! Thankfully, Scott came over to put it together with me!

And here it is in all its splendour:

My new bar cart

The part at the bottom fits my wine collection as well as some short bottles of booze, like Cointreau and Chambord. The cart doesn’t actually even fit all my booze – well, it would if I put some bottles on the top, but I want to make sure that the cats don’t plan to go up there (so far, they haven’t). For the moment, my lesser used boozes are on the top shelf of my broom closest and the other shelves of the broom closest can now store other stuff. Hooray!

To celebrate, some wine may have been enjoyed:

Watson and a wine bottle

Crick is my dinner companion

  1. Translate: one where I am reasonably confident the cats will not knock over all the bottles. Not that my cats knock things over very often (certainly they break stuff much less often than I do), but I feel like if they were to knock anything over, I wouldn’t want it to be bottles of booze. []

By

Happy adoptiversary to my kitties!

Three years ago today I adopted my little fuzzballs, Watson & Crick. When I first got them, they were very much people cats, but they’ve gotten even more cuddly and affectionate. Crick started out as a kitty who would like to be curled up next to me on the couch or in the bed, but now she’s a full on lap cat, who will sit on my lap when I watch TV and who more often than not curls up on my chest to go to sleep at night. Watson still likes to sit just out of arm’s reach and meow at you because you are not petting him when you sit on the couch, but now he’s willing to curl up next to me on the couch or the bed and on the weekend he even sat in my lap while I watched two full episode of The High Man in the Crooked Tower! I was in heaven!

In honour of their third adoptiversary, I bought the kitties a cat house that looks like a shark because that’s hilarious. Here’s a video of them checking it out when I first gave it to them:

I like that they politely took turns getting into it. Much unlike their cat tree situation, where Watson inevitably attacks Crick if she sits on any level of the tree, even though he only ever wants to sit on the very top.

So far, Crick seems to like the shark more than Watson, as she spent a fair bit of time hanging out in there:

Cat in a shark

Watson went back in again after that, but quickly got out once I started taking pictures:

Cat in a shark

Happy adoptiversary, my sweeties! You make my life better every day!

Watson on the small cat tree

Crick

By

Another Running Season = Another New Pair of Running Shoes

Just like last year around this time, I found that my shins were kind of hurting for the first several kilometres when I went out for a run, which is a sure fire sign that I needed new running shoes! Fortunately, when I popped by the Running Room on the weekend, they were having a sale, so I did what I always do, which is try on every pair of neutral running shoes they have in my size and then end up buying a pair of Asics Nimbus. I actually told the sales guy that this was what was going to happen and he said, “That won’t happen this time! I have a pair you are going to love!” and he handed me a pair of shoes that I tried on and decidedly did not love. I have high arches and the shoes he gave me (I can’t even remember what kind they were) had completely flat soles – no arch support at all. I told him that I didn’t like them and why, and he proceeded to completely ignore more for the rest of my time there1! He handed that pair of shoes to another women, who put them on, went out to run around the block in them, came back and said “These shoes have no arch support!” Despite the sales guy abandoning me, I had a pile of shoes that he had grabbed while he was grabbing the pair that he was sure I’d love, so I tried them all on, ran up and down the street in a couple of them, and bought, as usual, the Asics Nimbus. (I wanted to buy two pairs and alternate them, which is what I did with my previous pair of pairs, but they only had one of this shoe in my size, so I couldn’t. I really should go check out other Running Room locations to see if they have sales on too!)

Unfortunately, running shoe makers having come to their senses in terms of not making every pair of shoes in garish neon colours was short-lived, so unlike the shoes I bought the last time, which were reasonable looking white-with-blue-trim and white-with-green-trim (I had two pairs I was alternating between), this time I had to buy these garish orange things:

New ugly running shoes

I guess on the plus side, at least they aren’t hot pink with neon green!

For the record, I tracked my mileage on the two pairs of running shoes that I was using and I ran 342.8 km in my Asics and 300.5 km in my Sauconey. According to my extensive research (i.e., Google search), you should be able to run about 300 miles – which is 482 km – before you need a new pair of running shoes, so just like my previous pair, these guys did not last as long as they should have.

I’ve taken this pair out twice so far and so far, they feel pretty good. Here’s hoping they last me 300 miles instead of 300 km!

  1. This was actually quite surprising. Usually the staff at the Running Room are great. []

By

Gone With The Wind

Totally thought this posted a few days ago, but just came onto my blog to write a new posting and discovered I hadn’t. Anyway, here it is now!

So it turns out that I bought my last phone a really, really long time ago. Like more than 3 years ago, which in phone-years, means my phone was 892,386 years old. It was an iPhone 5 – not even a 5S, let alone the newer 6 or a 6 Mega-Double-Plus size. A lot of features have come out on iPhones since I bought that phone – like TouchID (where you scan your fingerprint rather than typing in a passcode to unblock your phone, which is super useful),or the phone being able to count the number of steps you take (slightly less useful when you leave your phone sitting on your desk or your kitchen counter for half the day, but kinda cool when you do carry it around) or a camera that can actually take decent photos in light that is less bright than full-on sunshine at high noon). But I am cheap and I don’t like throwing out things that are useful and replacing them with a slightly newer and shinier version. The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was that my battery, after 3 years of constant use, decided that it no longer wanted to hold a charge, so it wouldn’t last me anywhere near a day (despite the fact that I put the phone into “Low Power Mode” pretty much all the time), which necessitated me constantly having to bring my charging cord with me and always needing to find a place to charge it.

My problem then became what phone to buy. I really love my iPhone, but I did *not* want a phone that is bigger than the one I had. I run a lot and when I do, I have my phone strapped to my arm. And I am a small person, so the iPhone 5 already takes up most of my upper arm – I couldn’t even imagine having something bigger – it would be so cumbersome! Fortunately, Kalev keeps abreast of all the iPhone rumours and told me a while back that Apple had a plan to bring out a phone that basically had all the feature of the iPhone 6, but in the iPhone 5 size. And so I waited and lo, the prophesy was true! The iPhone SE has basically all the features of the iPhone 6 that I wanted: TouchID, wicked good camera, Apple Pay, stuff that makes it faster than my old phone1.

While I was deciding it was time for a new phone, I also decided that it was time for a new cell phone provider. I was with Fido and while I never had any issues with their service, their price tag seemed a bit high for what I was getting. So I decided to switch over to Wind. Wind is a lower price carrier – I’m able to get everything I had in my Fido plan (unlimited calling and texting in Canada, caller ID, voicemail) plus 5 times as much data (5GB vs the 1 GB I had with Fido) for less than half the price I was paying to Fido. The trade-off is that the Wind network doesn’t have as good of coverage as Fido, though I’m so rarely out of the city, it’s not really a problem for me2.

I consulted a few people who use Wind and they all told me that they’d not had issues and one person even pointed out that since you don’t sign a contract with Wind, I could try it out and if I don’t like it, I can always go back to one of the bigger carriers. So I decided to take the plunge and sign up for Wind. After a couple of technical hiccups3, I was up and running with the new phone and am ever so happy with it.

The next step in the process was that I needed a name for my phone. I’d totally phoned4 it in one my last phone (the iPhone 5) and named her Bellatrix 2, as the previous phone (the iPhone 3G) was Bellatrix. I name my electronics, with some exceptions, after female literary characters (see: Bellatrix, Hermione, Ginny Weasley (my external hard drive), Marla, and Daenerys), and the name for my new iPhone SE just came to me as I thought about the fact that I’d “Gone with the Wind”. Everyone, meet Scarlett ((I absolutely loved the movie Gone with the Wind when I was a kid and watched it many times, as we had it on a VHS tape. Because, like my previous phone, I am 892,386 years old. I even dressed up as Scarlett O’Hara one year for Hallowe’en.)):

My new iPhone SE

I thought that since I was getting a new phone that is the exact same size as my old phone, I’d be able to keep using the same case, but my old case has a slight problem:

My new iPhone SE

As you can see in the above photo, my old case covers the home button, which was fine with the iPhone 5, as you can still press the home button through the silicone case. You cannot, however, do Touch ID through the silicone case because the home button needs to be able to scan your fingerprint, which it cannot do through silicone, and Touch ID is my favourite thing that this phone offers. So I ordered a new case that won’t have this problem. It also gave me the opportunity to buy a case with a slot on the back to put my Compass card5 in.

My new iPhone SE

I currently keep my Compass card stuck in the back of my case, but it’s a bit of a pain to have to take my card out from there, especially given that 5 days a week I have to tap my card a total of eight (!) times going to and from work and the faregates cannot read the card through the silicone case. Apparently once I set up Apple Pay, I won’t be able to leave my Compass card in my new case when I scan it (as Apply Pay interferes with the Compass Card system), but even still, it will be a lot easier to slide it out of a card slot than it will be to half remove my case every time I want to tap my Compass card. I’ve ordered a new case from Amazon – should be here next week. Hmm…. I suppose I will have to name my new case Tara.

  1. It doesn’t have 3D Touch, but I don’t really care about that. []
  2. I looked at Wind 3 year ago when I got my Fido account, but at the time I had a job where I covered the Fraser Valley and beyond and Wind didn’t have coverage out there, which would have meant that every time I went to, say, Abbotsford for a meeting, I wouldn’t be able to use my phone. Wind now has coverage there, but I don’t have that job any more, so it doesn’t actually matter to me. []
  3. First, they messed up porting my number from Fido by accidentally typing my Fido account number in wrong. Fortunately, since they typed the account number in wrong, Fido didn’t know that I’d cancelled, so they didn’t give away my number and Wind was able to port it the next day. Second, because I was on the temporary number (which was only supposed to be on my phone for ~1 hour until my original number ported) for half a day, my iMessage got all messed up and kept trying to use the temporary number (which I no longer had access to once they fixed my porting problem) instead of my real number. The Apple engineers were able to help me out with that one though. []
  4. Pun intended! []
  5. For my non-Vancouver readers: Compass card is the card you use to pay for travel on our Skytrain, buses, and Seabus in the greater Vancouver area, and you have to tap in and tap out as you enter/exit fare paid zones of the transit system. []

By

My New Messenger Bag

Generally speaking, I’m a cheap, cheap frugal woman. I prefer buying my clothes at thrift stores over paying retail prices1 ,2. I collect AirMiles and Shoppers Optimum points and various other points that I can turn into money. Today I was very excited to learn that the cobbler near my office has a “buy 10, get the 11th one free” card for shoe re-heeling, as I wear out heel tips pretty quickly and I’ll re-heel a shoe several times rather than throwing them out and buying a new pair3.

However, there are certain things I’m willing to spend money on. Laser eye surgery was one – I wasn’t going to trust my vision to a pay-for-one-eye, get-the-other-eye-zapped-for-free scheme. Getting my hair coloured is another – I figure my hair is beside my face every single day, so it makes it worth my while to pay Jenny Lynn to work her magic rather than go to a cheaper place (or try to do it myself at home!). I also made a deal with myself once I finished paying off my student loans that I wasn’t going to buy any cheap Ikea furniture again – when I want a new piece of furniture, I look for a good quality piece that will last me, rather than something disposable.

So this brings me to my latest purchase. As someone who commutes via transit, I need a good bag for carrying stuff to and from work. At a minimum, I’m carrying a wallet, phone, various keys, my eReader, an umbrella, and my travel coffee mug and these items are often joined by some combination of a notebook, journal articles, a laptop, my lunch, my breakfast, etc. Up until now, I’ve been using a variety of tote bags, but inevitably, they eventually fall apart (usually the straps end up wearing through and breaking). So I decided it was high time I invest in a really good quality bag that willl last, rather than continuing to buy bags that end up in the landfill after a year or two.

I had it in my head that I’d like to get a nice messenger bag, but after searching through a ridiculous number of stores, I couldn’t find anything I liked. A friend of mine recommend that I check out Saddleback Leather which admittedly has lovely stuff and, while I’m willing to pay for quality, when you factor in the current US exchange rate (which is roughly US$1 = $10,000,000 Canadian) and the shipping, the prices became pretty hard to swallow. Also, I can’t hear the word “Saddleback” without thinking about the Saddleback Church and, more specifically, Dan Savage’s definition of saddle backing [NSFW].

So then I started thinking – isn’t there anyone local I can buy from? So I googled “leather messenger bag Vancouver” and found Divina Denuevo. They hand-make also sorts of leather products and I want to buy all of them! After checking out the stuff on the website, I made an appointment to drop by their studio (which is conveniently located about a 10 minute walk from my office) to check stuff out in person. (They also sell their products on Etsy, but it’s cheaper if you buy on their website as you don’t have to deal with the US exchange rate or the markup that they have to cover their Etsy listing costs). I decide on the “Canterbury Briefcase Satchel” in “Crazy Horse Brown”, customized it with the pockets I wanted to have, and then patiently waited for two weeks while they made it. And let me tell you, it was well worth the wait!

Divina Denuevo

The photo doesn’t really do it justice – you just have to see it in person!

I am told that I don’t need to do anything to care for it and then the look of it actually gets nicer with use – the leather will get softer and will develop a nice patina.

Divina Denuevo

Anyway, I’m glad to have found this shop – I get a high quality product at what I think is a reasonable price and I get to support a local artisan. And if anyone is in the market for some hand-made leather wares (and/or is looking to buy me a present), it wouldn’t hurt to check out their website!

  1. Or I buy stuff from Beyond the Rack – if you haven’t joined and want to, let me know because if I send you a referral, I get a cool $10. []
  2. Disclaimer: As per usual, I have no relationship with any of the businesses mentioned on here, other than that I give them money in exchange for their products and/or services. []
  3. Or just wearing one of my other elevently billion pairs. []

By

Crazy Cat Lady Achievement Unlocked!

So I won a free photo collage mug. And I’m sure you can figure out what kind of photos I put on it!

Cats on a mug

Cats on a mug

Cats on a mug

Sorry the photos of the mug suck – the mug is really shiny, so you can see the reflection of me taking the photo in the mug. I’m a crazy cat lady, not a photographer.

By

Pedi

So today my sister and I went to the spa for pedicures because we are going to my sister’s best friend’s wedding on New Year’s Eve and I needed to have toenails that match my fancy dress. We may also have consumed some wine while we had our fancy pedicures. #RoughLife

Pedicure

By

The saga of my Irish marble ring

When I was in Ireland, I bought myself a Connemara marble ring, which I love and wear most days. One day back in August1, I looked down at my ring and noticed that a chunk of the marble was missing:

My marble ring, with a missing chunk

I knew I’d bought it at the Connemara Marble store that we’d stopped at on our bus tour, so I Googled “Connemara Marble” and sent an email to the email address I’d found on connemaramarble.com. And then I received a terse email saying that it wasn’t one of their rings and I should contact the store where I bought the ring. Which confused me, because I was *sure* I’d bought the ring at a store called “Connemara Marble” and so I was trying to email the store where I’d bought it! Turns out that connemaramarble.com is actually a website for a company that’s not called Connemara Marble at all (but they sell some stuff made with Connemara marble).

After some detective work, including searching through the photos we’d all taken, my Mom was able to find the place I bought it, which is called the “Connemara Marble Visitor Centre” and has the URL http://connemaramarble.ie/. So I emailed those guys and they were super friendly and said “Mail it to us and we’ll fix it for free and send it right back to you!”  And they did:

My Irish marble ringThanks Connemara Marble Visitor Centre!

  1. Holy cow, I can’t believe that was all the way back in August! []

By

I bought some stuff to hang on my walls

I’ve been looking for something to hang on one of my living room walls for a while, but I hadn’t been able to find something I liked that was big enough to put on this big empty wall, with the exception of a $2200 piece that I saw at Granville Island, but I just couldn’t justify that much money on a thing to look at1. The other day, however, I was browsing at my favourite consignment store, Champagne Taste2, and I came across this:

Silver art

It’s paint on canvas and it’s just big enough to justify going on my big empty living room wall.

Then this other piece – a print on canvas – caught my eye, mostly because I thought it would look good above my awesome purple chair:

John Seba - Pink Magnolias I

Right now it’s by my Christmas tree, but in January when the tree comes down, it will be directly above the chair. Unlike the silver one, where I have no idea who the artist was, this purple one came with the artist’s name – John Seba – and the artwork’s name – Pink Magnolias I – so I was able to Google it and find out what the original owner would have paid for this: $166.99. What I paid for it: $183 Since I have no idea where the silver one came from4, I have no idea what it’s value is, but I paid $255 for it, and I think that’s a pretty good deal.

  1. Clearly, I am not a sophisticated art connoisseur. []
  2. I.e., the place I got my awesome purple chair. Also, I have no affiliation with these guys – just love the stuff they sell! []
  3. Champagne Taste was having a tax-free sale, plus it had been marked down 40%. []
  4. It has the initials “RMA” on it, along with what kind of looks like a single triangle with a circle above it before the initials, but I can’t figure out who that is! []
  5. Also marked down 40% and tax-free []

By

Beer & Bling Report

Thursday night a few friends and I went to Beer & Bling, an event held at Working Silver, a silversmithing shop, where local jewelry makers were selling their wares while sampling some fine Steel & Oak beer, with beer proceeds going to the Arts Council of New Westminster 1. And I have to say that the turnout was great, both the beer and the jewelry were excellent, and it appeared that lots of both were being sold!
My friend Heather stopped by on her way to dance class, my friends Kim and Cath came in from Vancouver (with poor Cath making an accidental side trip to Surrey because she was on an Expo Line instead of a Millennium Line train2.) and my friend Erin came over from Surrey. Cath did the lion’s share of her Christmas shopping, Kim did a mix of shopping for gifts for others and gifts for herself, and I bought one gift for someone else and a few things for me, and Erin got herself a ring plus a bunch of business cards so she can go check out the artists websites and spend some time deciding what to buy3

I can’t show you what I bought as a present lest the recipient be tipped off, but I can show you what I got for myself!

First I got myself a Christmas tree ornament:

Christmas tree ornament 2015
It a Christmas tree to hang on the Christmas tree. Meta-Christmas, if you will.

And I also treated myself to this necklace and these earrings:

Earrings and necklace

They kind of look like (a) you could do some serious damage with them in a street fight and (b) you could use them to ask Scotty to beam you up.

  1. Full disclosure: I’m on the board of the Arts Council. []
  2. For those of you not from the Vancouver area, the Expo Line and the Millennium Line run the exact same route from Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver until they get to Columbia Station in New Westminster, at which point Millennium Line loops through New West and Burnaby, and back to Vancouver, whereas Expo Line crosses the river into Surrey. If you are Skytraining just within Vancouver and Burnaby, you don’t need to pay attention to which train you get on, so many a Vancouverite who ventures out into the ‘burbs has found themselves on the wrong Skytrain thinking “omg! Why are we going over a bridge???” []
  3. I don’t think Heather got anything, but I could be wrong. []