Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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It’s time for a bulleted list!

As usual, I have so many things I’d like to blog about and so little time, mostly because all of the aforementioned things taking up all of my time1. So, in the interest of getting all these things out of my brain, I give you this brain dump in the form of a bulleted list:

  • After a year and a half, all the hard work of the organizing committee (of which I was a member as a program co-chair) led to a highly successful Canadian Evaluation Society conference at the start of May. I’ll be writing up more specifics on the conference content on my other blog2, but I do have to say that I am so happy that the conference was extremely well attended and everything went off without a hitch. And also that I’m relieved to have a lot fewer meetings in my calendar going forward!
  • The week before the conference my team and I had to make a surprise move to a temporary new office space3. It’s just four blocks from my old office space, but it’s surprising how many new restaurants there are to discover that I never realized were so close by4! Also, one of my coworkers brought a breakfast sandwich maker to the new office and now I live in heaven.Breakfast sandwich maker
  • The temporary new space in which I’m working lacks a phone, so work is getting me a Blackberry. So now I live in 2006. Even more sadly, Pokémon Go is not available on BB (at least not in a very functional state from what I’ve read) (or else I’d be able to double my productivity when it comes to evolution binges when I have a Lucky Egg!).
  • Speaking of Pokémon, I have caught all of the Pokémon from the initial release in Pokémon Go that are available to catch in North America, plus the Australia-specific one5 + all the babies. The last of the originals that I caught was the one I wanted the most: this Flying Spaghetti Monster Pokémon: Tangela
  • Of course, before I caught all the originals, Niantic released a bunch more Pokémon, so I still haven’t caught them all! I have caught a fair number, including this tree: Pokémon
    This communist6 teddy bear: Pokémon and this thing that really needs to pee (both male and female editions. You can tell she’s a girl because she’s wearing lipstick) UntitledUntitled
  • And one more thing about Pokémon. Among the new group of Pokémon that were release, there were two that allowed me to test the question of “If there were a Pokemon that looked like a spider, would my fear of spiders or my love of catching Pokémon win?”
    Pokémon
    Pokémon Given that I’ve caught 151 Spinaraks and 15 Ariados, I think I have my answer.
  • I took a sewing class with Cath and Stephanie as my thing that I learned in April (towards my goal of learning 12 new things this year). There’s a whole blog posting on that which I have partway written, so stay tuned! I’ve also learned something new in May, so that will be another blog post!
  • I’m co-teaching a class in the summer intersession (read: a 12 week course that’s taught in 6 weeks, so I’m extra glad to be co-teaching it!). I don’t really have anything to say about it, but it’s taking up a bunch of my time, so I thought I should probably include it in this laundry list of random things.
  • I’m still loving Strong Side! I’ve just started my third program. The first program was 5 weeks of building a foundation, then there was 5 weeks of hypertrophy (i.e., building muscle), and my new program is 5 weeks of intensity that is probably going to kill me. I’ve only done the instructional week, where the trainers teach you all the exercises in your new program, but you don’t have to do nearly as many sets as the following four weeks. Thursday is my first day on my own for this program where I will have to do eleventy billion sets of all kinds of things that will surely make me exhausted. But I can really see some significant improvements in strength since I started going there, so I’m going to trust the program!
  • There was a provincial election in BC on May 9 and it ended up in a hung parliament. The BC “Liberals” (which I put in scare quotes because the party that goes by the name “BC Liberals” are not liberal at all – they are conservative) won, on the initial counting of the ballots on election night, 43 seats in the legislature m, which is one seat shy of a majority. However, there are more than 170,000 absentee ballots that weren’t counted on election night and some ridings had very slim margins that could easily flip based on absentee ballots – including one riding where the NDP won by just 9 votes! They’ve started the count of the absentee ballots and the NDP are now up by 101 votes in that riding, but there are still more that have to be counted tomorrow, so it’s still possible that the “Liberals” could win that one. If that flips to the BC “Liberals” and none of the other ridings change hands, there will be a majority government and things will continue on as they were before the election, but with fewer MLAs in the ruling party7. But if everything stays the same as the election night results, or if seats flip to the NDP, we could end up with BC “Liberal” minority or, if more seats flip to the NDP, we could end up with an NDP minority, and in either minority scenario, the Green Party holds the balance of power. Needless to say, we’ll be waiting with baited breath for those absentee ballots to be counted!
  1. In fact, as I’ve sat down to take these notes from my phone, where I’ve been writing this blog posting in bits and pieces on my Skytrain commute, I noticed that I haven’t posted anything March 31 and it’s somehow the end of May now!! []
  2. Which I am sure are far too boring for anyone to want to read! []
  3. I actually have two offices and to clarify, this is for my non-hospital office. []
  4. I bring my lunch to work most days, so it will take me awhile to try all the ones I want to try []
  5. I caught the kangaroo one that you can only catch in Australia when I was there last fall. I did not catch the Asian one when I was in Hong Kong (due to not having a data plan and there being very limited free wifi around) and I haven’t been to Europe since Pokémon Go started. Clearly I need to book a European vacation! []
  6. I keep calling that bear a communist because the crescent on his reminds me of the sickle on the Soviet flag. Scott thinks it’s more of a Turkish teddy bear. []
  7. Unless a BC Liberal MLA dies, crosses the floor, or resigns due to a scandal, and a riding is subsequently lost in a by-election. []

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Things I Did On My Long Weekend, in No Particular Order

  • attended a Canada Day event at the Gallery in Queen’s Park as part of board of the Arts Council of New Westminster
  • watched some horses running around a track
  • did not bet on said horses
  • but did enjoy a dinner paid for with the winnings of someone who did bet on said horses1
  • enjoyed some free jazz
  • BBQ’d some steaks
  • reviewed textbooks for the course I’m going to teach in September
  • watched a terrible movie on Netflix
  • tried to watch a better movie on Netflix, but fell asleep during said movie
  • wore this awesome compression sock2 to keep the swelling of my ankle down:

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    • cleaned the frogs’ tank:

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    • played with my kitties
    • read my book club book ((So far I’m *really* enjoying it, but I absolutely *hate* the protagonist’s name.)) in a park
    • read my book club book at the New West Pier Park:

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  • booked a ticket for a trip on a float plane from Salt Spring Island3
  1. I realized that given that the odds of gambling are ever in the house’s favour (and not the gambler’s), the “joy” of betting, imho, is in giving you a horse to cheer for (since one is more likely to experience the sadness of losing their money rather than the joy of winning it). So I just cheer for the horse of whoever I’m hanging out with. All the fun of cheering, no risk of losing any of my money! #Cheap []
  2. My options were this, solid black, or leopard print. I think I made the right choice. []
  3. Taking a ride on a float plane just so happens to be #35 on my list of 101 things to do! []

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Quarantine: Day 1

So I’ve been in quarantine for more than a full day now and I have to say: quarantine is not for extroverts. I’m pretty sure I’ve got cabin fever, which, happily does not involve an actual fever but, sadly, does not involve a cabin. I kind of wish I was at a cabin. Anyhoo, here’s some random thoughts I had today, in handy bullet list format.

  • Last night I decided to make pasta for dinner, with homemade pasta sauce. Figured it would be soft on my sore throat and full of healthy veggies. Didn’t think through the part about how the first thing I do when I make homemade pasta sauce is chop onions. Did not feel good on my zombie eyeballs.
  • Being home alone is very boring when it is forced upon you.
  • I can’t believe I am bored when I own several devices that are capable of accessing all of human knowledge and entertainment. Yet here I am.
  • Some have suggested that I’m having all the illnesses right now because for the first time in a long time, my stress level is low, so my adrenaline & cortisol levels have come down, allowing infectious agents to take over. Last semester was super busy and stressful because I was teaching a new course that I’d never taught before and then right at the end of the semester I went through an unexpected relationship break up that was really hard on me. I’d just sort of recovered from all that stress when my immune system decided to go on vacation, leaving me undefended. The lesson here is: never be not stressed.
  • I do not like the sensation of squirting saline up my nostrils, but I’m doing it in the hopes that it really will help make my sore throat and cough go away.
  • Things I have missed out on – or will be missing out on – due to my illnesses:
    • two hockey games
    • Arts Council fundraiser
    • movie with Kalev
    • book club
    • strata AGM
    • my boss’s birthday tea (for which I bake cupcakes that have now gone to waste)
    • massage appointment
    • cleaning person coming over to clean my place (I had to tell her she can’t come on her usual day because I’ll be here, being all highly infectious)
  • I also had to reschedule two important work meetings that could not be conducted without me there in person (Not going to lie – that does make me feel a wee bit special!)
  • I’m choked that I bought a monthly transit pass for March. You need to take transit most weekdays out of a month to make it a good deal and since I’m being forced to stay home four days this week, plus I stayed home sick two days last week, I would have been better just paying per trip.

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I went for a float and it wasn’t of the root beer variety

I-sopod Flotation Tank.jpg

This isn’t the tank that I floated in, but I forgot to take a photo of it when I was there, so I got this picture from Wikipedia to give you the general idea.

My friend Alicia took me for a float for my birthday. For the uninitiated, a float (a.k.a., floatation therapy or sensory deprivation tank) is where you get into a big tank with water that has about 1000 lbs of Epsom salt in it so that you can lie in and, as the name suggests, float. You wear earplugs and you close the lid of the tank so that it’s pitch black. The water and the air are skin temperature, so the idea is that you don’t feel anything. And you just float there – ideally clearing your mind of any thoughts – for 90 minutes. It’s supposed to help you relax and is supposed to be good for stress relief, reducing muscle tension, and all sorts of other things1.

My experience

When we got to the float place, they had me watch a little video on what you need to do. You have to take a shower to make sure you won’t get anything icky in the tank (like hair gel or makeup), then you put in the earplugs, and make sure your face is completely dry. You have to be careful not to get any of the tank water in your eyes because there’s 1000 lbs of Epsom salt in there and omg, that would sting like hell. Then you get in the tank, close the lid, and float! They suggested that you could try different postures – like arms down at your sides, arms up above your head – and that while you didn’t have to worry about your head sinking because of all that Epsom salt in the water, there was a pool noodle that you could put under your neck if it made you feel more comfortable.

When I first stepped in the tank, and before I closed the lid, the thought that sprung into my mind was “This would be a perfect setting for a death in the next Final Destination movie!” But then I thought that visions of the tank rapidly filling up while I panickedly scratched at the door which would inexplicably not open – all with my eyes stinging like a mofo – wouldn’t really lend itself to relaxation, so I dropped the thought.

The actual floating experience was quite interesting. It felt like I was floating in zero gravity (or what I imagine that would feel like, since I’ve never actually floated in zero gravity) and at one point when I tried putting my hands under my head, it actually felt like I was tumbling head over heels2!

Somehow, the time in the tank felt both long and short. My mind was flipping around from thinking about one random thing to another, so I tried using my mindfulness training, which seemed like a logical thing to do on such an occasion. I found that focusing on my breathing was the most effective way to help me clear my mind of thoughts. In the end, I think I fell asleep, as I remember thinking about something and then the next thing I knew it felt like time had passed and I was hearing the music that they play to inform you that your time is up.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience. I mean, I won’t be getting a membership and going on a regular basis or anything – I think I get better meditation through running and massage is still my preferred method of working out muscle tension – but I’d probably go back for another float again.

Image Credit:

I-sopod Flotation Tank” by FloatguruOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Footnotes:

  1. According to the Wikipedia page – the neutrality of which is disputed because it totally sounds like someone who runs a float tank shop wrote it – research has shown that it also helps improve creativity and performance in a variety of sports. []
  2. Even though I knew I wasn’t because (a) physics, and (b) my face would have gotten wet and I could feel that it wasn’t! []

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Decorating

Day 2 in my quest to respond to all of the “daily blogging prompts” for December (as part of trying to reach my goal of publishing 115 blog postings this year).

Do you decorate for the winter holidays? Tell us about your decorations.

I feel like I’ve blogged about this before: here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and also here.

Come on, daily blogging prompts, give me something new to talk about!

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Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365Last night I had a dream that I was running a half marathon on the Simon Fraser University campus. A spectator yelled that I was doing great and I looked at my running watch and saw that I’d been running for 1 hr and 45 mins and I was only at 12 kilometres… “Doing great?” I thought, “That’s terrible! I’m so slow!” But then I realized that my watch was showing my distance in miles, not kilometres. 12 miles. I only had 1 mile to go and as long as I could run it in less than 15 minutes, I would achieve my elusive goal of running a sub-2 hour half marathon! I finished that last mile and felt triumphant as I crossed the finish line… only to look down and see that I had no race bib and no timing chip. I wasn’t registered for this race and so there would be no official record of my sub-2 hour half marathon. So deflating!

I take this dream to mean:

Image Credit: Posted by Nicole Pierce on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

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My brain is tired

The blogging dilemma – when you have no time to write, the ideas about what to write about come at every moment, but when you have time to write, you have writer’s block. Right now, I’m deeply in the former situation. And so I find myself typing this on my phone as I Skytrain to work, and even then it’s only because I didn’t get a seat on the train this morning so I can’t read the journal articles that I intended to read.

The reason for my extreme lack of time these days is the new course I’m teaching, which is taking up my every waking moment. Don’t get me wrong – I’m having an absolute blast teaching, but it is *a lot* of work to teach a class you’ve never taught before. There are lesson plans to create, lecture notes and slide decks to prepare, which means a *tonne of reading*1 (because, despite the fact that I’m teaching a topic that I’m an expert in, it’s important to be up-to-date on the literature, to read different ways that people present the same material so as to have a few ways to explain things because everyone learns differently, to think of different in-class activities that you can do because no one wants to listen to me drone on for three hours on a Wednesday night), guest lectures to book, emails to answer, and the marking. Omg the marking. During my MBA program I was reminded how annoying it is to hand in an assignment and then not get a mark back for several weeks and I vowed to improve my marking turnaround time2. And to be honest, I enjoy reading student papers and providing feedback. But actually giving a number grade on an assignment is not my cup of tea. I want to ensure that the grades are a fair representation of what the student has achieved, are fair across the different students, and are transparent to the students as to why they got the grade they did. And that’s a lot of work!
And all of this is on top of the fact that things are super busy at work, which means both long days and a tired brain by the time I get home and am able to work on my lecture notes and my marking.

Anyway, the point of this posting was not to whine about how busy I am3. The purpose was actually to jot down a bunch of ideas for future blog postings so that when I get through this crazy busy period and have some time to write, I’ll have ideas to write about. But now my Skytrain ride is up and it’s time to get to my day job. I guess that list will have to wait ’til next time. Which at this rate will probably be December :S

  1. Hence the aforementioned journal articles I wanted to read on the Skytrain this morning. []
  2. Which I’m happy to report I managed to significantly improve in the stats course that I teach in the January semester. []
  3. Or, at least, that wasn’t the purpose when I started writing it. []

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I *Never* Run Into People I Know

When my mom and sister were visiting, I said  “I *never* run into people I know”, which I always find surprising because I feel like I know a lot of people1 And, of course, about 3 minutes after I said that, as we were walking across Pacific Boulevard, a driver stopped at the light starts yelling my name. It was a former coworker of mine who just happened to be driving by. “So, what’s that about never running into people you know?” my sister said.

Since that time, I’ve been constantly running into people I know. This includes, in no particular order:

  • a former colleague from my previous job, who also has a new job in the same area of Vancouver as me, who happened to be on the 84 bus when I was taking the 84 bus
  • another former colleague who was walking down 8th Ave while I was walking the other direction on 8th Ave
  • a friend of a friend who was running west along the seawall by Olympic Village as I was running east
  • my friend Alicia who was sitting outside of Whole Foods while I was walking past on my way from work to Canada Line2
  • a professional colleague who was walking past a restaurant patio I was sitting on while having a beer with a friend
  • my boyfriend’s brother-in-law’s aunt, who I met at a recent family function, while taking the elevator at work3
  • two of my MBA classmates, who were in a pub that I was in with some friends before our book club meeting

That’s 9 people4 in less than 5 weeks! I don’t know how often other people randomly run into people they know, but I feel like I probably didn’t randomly run into 9 people that I know in the previous 5 years!

Extremely tangentially related: This song just popped into my head and now I can’t get it out.

  1. I have friends and acquaintances from 6 years of PhD school – including tonnes of people I met through the science outreach that I did – plus from 8 years of working in three different health organizations and from several hockey teams – and from playing in the 10-day long hockey game (where there were 40 players and dozens upon dozens of volunteers) – and a surprising number of people from blogging and then the 49 other people who I did my MBA with (plus profs and staff at the b-school) and then I know a bunch of friends groups of some of my friends. I’m one of the most extroverted extroverts who ever extroverted. []
  2. What was extra funny about that was that I hadn’t seen in her ages until the day before this, when we had gone paddle boarding. So it was funny to run into her the very next day! []
  3. This one wasn’t super surprising, as we’d discovered that we work in the same building while chatting at said family function; really, the surprising part was when we discovered we work in the same building. []
  4. And I feel like there might be more that I’m forgetting! []

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Random Things I’ve Been Thinking About in No Particular Order

Here are some things that are too long to tweet, but too short to make into whole blog postings on their own.

I like to be annoying

One of my favourite things to do when I play hockey is to screen the goalie. I like to get right in her way so she can’t see, which means that when one of my teammates gets the puck, they can take a shot and the goalie will have a hard time seeing it (and I’m also right there to pick up a rebound, should one occur). Obviously goalies don’t like this and they often call their defenceman to come and move me out of the way, which is, to their surprise, difficult, since I’m so little. My little size is misleading though, because they totally think they should be able to move me, but since I have a low centre of gravity, I’m harder to move than you’d think. Which then means there’s both me and the defenceman who is trying to move me screening the goalie. The more the goalie and/or defenceman expresses their frustration, the more I know I’m doing a good job, and so it only encourages me to do it more. Anyway, I recently realized that I have an office equivalent of this – arguing with one of my coworkers for the sake of arguing. Things we’ve argued over recently include (1) this study (which he holds up as a reason to not to go out running – and to warn me that I’m probably going to die when I go out for a run on my lunch (he also enjoys being annoying) and I provide a critique of the methodological issues with the paper that makes me question the conclusions) and (2) what time of day does “evening” start.

The Bus Lane Bandit

One of my other coworkers got his first ever ticket – it was for driving in a bus lane. He was in an area he’d never driven before and he didn’t notice the bus lane sign and he was very offended that the cop didn’t just let him off with a warning. I have now dubbed this coworker “The Bus Lane Bandit” and refer to this incident as his “crime spree.”

Google Translate

I am currently working on the revisions to a journal article for which one of the reviewers suggested a few papers that I might find helpful to refer to in my paper – and one of those articles was in French, which, of course, I can’t actually read (beyond some basic high school French I learned more than 20 years ago). So I put the paper through Google Translate and was mostly able to get the gist of the paper, but there were some obvious errors. One such error was Google’s translation of a subheading in the paper that read: “Rencontres après les entrevues semi-­dirigées”. Based on my understanding of the journal article, this should be translated to “Meeting after the semi-structured interviews”, as that section of the paper talked about a meeting that was held after the researchers conducted semi-structured interviews. Instead, Google translates it to this:

Which has a whole other connotation entirely.

Another error I came across in Google translate is its translation of “I love my cats” into French. If you ask Google to translate just “I love” it gives you the correct “j’aime”. “Je” means “I” and “aime” means love and since “aime” starts with a vowel, you replace the “e” in “je” with an apostrophe to get “j’aime.”

But when you ask Google to translate “I love my cats”, you get “Je aime mes chats”.

Why Google Translate gets it right in the first instance but not in the second instance is a mystery to me. And it doesn’t matter what word you put at the end of the sentence – you can ask it to translate “I love my frogs”, “I love my mom,” or “I love job”, it still gives you the incorrect “Je aime”1. It also gives you “Je te aime” instead of “Je t’aime” for the translation of “I love you.” WTF, Google?

Octopus!

And finally, I saw this over on The Bloggess’ blog and it is the coolest thing in the history of ever:

  1. And I did check this with Daniel, who speaks French, to make sure that this isn’t some weird quirk of the French language – it’s actually that Google is crazy. []

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This and That

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well, not “beginning”, so much, as I actually put up my tree at the end of November.

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Kitties checking out the pieces of the Christmas tree before I assemble it.

Christmas Tree

I like the way my windows surrounding the tree reflect the lights. Not shown in the picture, but my big TV also reflects the lights, so it kind of looks like I have a forest of Christmas trees in my living room, all from one tree. So efficient!

But I also added a few extra Christmas decorations to the mix – specifically, I made a wreath (item #83 on my 101 list)1 and I got stockings for the kitties, since the frogs have stockings and I didn’t want Watson & Crick to feel left out.

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Watson checking out all the pieces before I assembled my wreath. He ended up covered in glitter.

My first wreath

My wreath!

Stockings

Stockings! From Left to right: Crick’s, Watson’s, mine, Copernicus the Third’s, Timbit’s, Tyrion Froggister’s, and Raspberry’s stockings.

Speaking of the kitties, for some reason they thought that the tree was delicious, and spent the first week or so that I had it up trying to eat the branches. Watson also decided that most of the ornaments were toys that were to be swatted out of the tree. Happily, he got bored of this after about a week, so my patience at taking ornaments that I found in various locations around my apartment – he liked to carry the ornaments around for a tour of the place before dropping them off in, say, the bathroom – and returning them to their rightful place on the tree eventually won out.

My big goal for 2015

So, I’ve said many times that my goal is to break the 2 hour mark on a half marathon. And then just as many times I’ve half assed my training and not met my goal. So I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t believe me when I said that I’m planning to break the 2 hour mark on the half marathon at BMO Vancouver marathon in May. But this time I’m really, really going stick to it. I’m good at doing the long runs in training so I can go the distance, but this time I’m going to do the hill training and interval training that are required to ramp up my speed to break that elusive 2 hour finish time. I’m emboldened by setting a personal best at the 10 km in November and I’m well past the MBA hangover that still lingered during my training for the 2014 half marathons in April and June.

Groupon-Based Fitness Planning

A long, long time ago I got a Groupon for the West Coast Hot Yoga studio in South Surrey and I loved it. I went virtually every morning before work and I was so alert after starting my day with some deep stretching and core work and so much sweating. Sadly, regular priced hot yoga is too expensive for my blood and, besides, I moved too far away from that South Surrey studio to be practical anyway. Since then, I’ve tried two other yoga studios via Groupon (or one of those other deal sites – I can never remember which one I’ve bought which deal on), both in New West, neither of which I liked. The first one to Bamboo yoga, and I didn’t really love the studio itself (it felt like being in a warehouse) or the instructors, and the second was Bikram New West (which very soon after became Hot Yoga New West) and I hated having to do the exact. same. routine. every. single. time. Plus some of the instructors were really militant, which I understand is intentional with Bikram, but which is totally not my thing. I guess it has been long enough since that experience though, because I’ve gone back to the Groupon well and got a one month of unlimited hot yoga at Oxygen yoga studio in New West. I figured that I could spend a month de-tensifying my muscles and working on core strength and balance and then I’ll be in tip-top shape when I start my half marathon training in January.

Speaking of which, I just bought a Groupon for a half marathon training clinic run by FitFirst in Burnaby, the same place as I did the running study I was in. I really enjoyed the clinics they ran for that study – the group running atmosphere is lots of fun and it basically means that I’ll always have people to do my long runs with. Long runs get very boring when you have to do them by yourself, so despite the fact that this means I won’t get to sleep in on any Sundays (as it runs every Sunday morning) from Jan 18 until BMO race day, I think I’ll be happy on the whole that I signed up for the clinic.

And speaking of good deals…

When I left my old job, one of the things I left behind was unlimited massage therapy in my health benefits plan. Being a hockey player, a runner, and a person who sits hunched over a computer all day at work, I made good use of that particular benefit to deal with my various muscles tightness and such. My new job, while amazing in many ways, has a much more limited amount of massage therapy benefits and since my 2014 limit was all used up2, I’ve needed to seek out a more affordable option to meet my massage therapy needs. Enter: the West Coast College of Massage Therapy. This school, which trains aspiring registered massage therapists, runs a clinic where students get to practice, under supervision of a fully qualified RMT, and where clients can get a therapeutic massage for a fraction of the cost. The cost is $40 for an hour long appointment – though only 40 mins of that is massage, with the rest being taken up by assessment before the massage and teaching you stretches to do at home after the massage – compared to $100 for a 1 hr massage with a fully qualified RMT. And as an added bonus, during December if you donate 4 or mor items to the Food Bank at your visit, your massage only cost $20! Everybody wins!

  1. Where by “made” I mean I bought the green wreath and then attached sparkly things I bought at the craft store to said wreath. Notice the drum at the top – I picked that one because it made me think of The Little Drummer Boy, which was my Dad’s favourite Christmas song. []
  2. Since the benefits plans of my old and new employer, despite being different plans, are somehow linked up in Pacific Blue Cross’ system, so they actually counted the massages I claimed under my old plan in 2014 under my new plan, which meant that my small massage allotment in my new plan was all used before I even started my new job! []