Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Books I Read in 2014

Making this year’s list of books that I read was much easier than last year, since I started using GoodReads to track my reading1

Fiction books I finished in 2014:

  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  • Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
  • Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
  • The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh2
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo3

Non-fiction books I finished in 2014:

  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall4
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot5
  • A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout6
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Catalan7
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi8
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Books I’m currently reading:

So I read 14 books this year with 5 more in progress – the exact same numbers as I had last year 11 – which surprises me, since I was still in school in 2013 and I figured that in 2014, with both not being in school and the addition of my Skytrain commute to work, during which I do a lot of reading, that I’d have read a lot more books this year. Perhaps I’ll make one of my 2015 goals to read even more books!

  1. If you know me and we aren’t yet friends on GR, feel free to friend me! []
  2. A book that I read with my book club. []
  3. Final book club selection of the year – for January 2015’s book club meeting, but I finished it a couple of weeks ago. []
  4. This was a Christmas gift from Sarah and Dave a few year’s ago, but which I didn’t get around to start reading until last December thanks to all that pesky school I was doing. Finished it early this year. []
  5. Another Christmas gift from Sarah & Dave. They know me well, as I loved both this and Born to Run. []
  6. Another book club selection, but this was a memoir rather than fiction, which all the other book club books have been. []
  7. Borrowed this one from Daniel. Totally fascinating! []
  8. This is an amazing book and everyone should read it. []
  9. I went to the book launch for this as Kalev is friends with the author, so I have a signed copy! []
  10. This book was funded by a Kickstarter – the first and only Kickstarter I’ve ever taken part in. []
  11. Though I suppose there are still a few more days in the year so I might complete some of those “in progress” books in 2014. []

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Merry Christmas To All!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Chez Beth – feline, amphibian, and homo sapiens!

Cats and bows

This was the closest I could get to a picture of the cats with bows on them.

Frogs

Likewise, the frogs were not keen to have a bow on them. But they wish you all a “Merry Christmas” nonetheless!

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New Foods I Made in 2014

Another item from my goals for 2014 list that I figured deserved its own posting was make 14 new food items that I’ve never made before1. And this goal I not only achieved, but I actually surpassed!

This year, I made:

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Salad rolls that I made with my friend Kim

Homemade Spinach Pasta

Homemade pasta that I made with my friend Linda. Topped with pesto and feta!

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BBQ chicken, corn-on-the-cob, roasted potatoes, and grilled zucchini

I also made guacamole devilled eggs a couple of times this year and I think the first time I made them was in 2014, but I’m not 100% sure I didn’t make them the previous year, so I’m not going to count them just in case. As well, I made *5* new drinks that I’d never made before – The Suffering Bastard, The Leveraged Synergy, and the Value Added Leveraged Synergy (all at my “I’m finished my MBA” party!) and the Mortgage Margarita and strawberry lemonade (for my housewarming party) – but I’m not counting those since the goal stated “food items”, but not beverages. But I don’t need to since, as you can see from the list, I actually made *19* food items this year! Hopefully I won’t regret using up extra new ideas this year when it comes time to try to come up with 15 new food and/or drink items to make in 2015!

  1. I see now that I look at the goals that I said that all the items “must be blogged about”. And while I didn’t blog about them all at the time I did them, I did keep track and now I’m blogging about them, so that totally counts! []
  2. This one has a back story. I was having a bunch of friends over for dinner and decided that I would try my hand at Baked Alaska. When I told Kalev, he got upset, saying “What are the vegetarians supposed to eat??” And I was confused and said, “What’s not vegetarian about ice cream and meringue?” It turned out, he was thinking of Beef Wellington, not Baked Alaska! So another time when he was coming over for dinner, I decided to make a vegetarian version of Beef Wellington, which turned out to be quite delicious! []
  3. I’ve made lasagna before, but not with tofu in place of ricotta cheese. It actually was quite tasty! []
  4. I wasn’t too big a fan of these myself. []
  5. I had a bunch of limes leftover from margarita making, so I tried this recipe, but it turned out that I much prefer the honey mustard dressing that I first tried making earlier and which is now my staple. []

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101 List Calendar Year End Check-In

Seeing as the end of the year is fast approaching, I’m starting to work on my typical year-end blog postings. And in doing so, I’m looking at my goals for 2014, which I haven’t looked at in quite a while, to see how well (or how poorly!) I’ve done on those goals. While there will be an upcoming positing summarizing all the goals, I thought I’d first do a preliminary one where I look at how many items I’ve knocked off my lists of 101 things to do in 1001 days, compared to my goal of 28. I say “lists”, plural, as my second 1001 day list ended on July 8, 2014 and my third one started on July 12, 2014, so I completed some goals from each of those two lists this calendar year. So let’s see how I’ve done, shall we?

From List #2, I completed the following 3 items in 2014:

5. get a cat
9. own property
43. make homemade pasta

From List #3, I have so far completed the following 13 items in 2014:

13. Install screen doors on my balcony doors
16. Get a jewelry armoire
18. Get a strong structure on which to place my frog tank
20. Clean my new BBQ
23. Replace my mishmash of old dishes with a nice set of dishes
26. Unpack everything from my recent move
29. Get a rack and pannier for my bike
32. See a show at Bard on the Beach
44. Go to Chicago
57. Participate in a political campaign
78. Get a promotion or a new job
80. Have a picnic
83. Make a Christmas wreath to hang on my door

So that’s 16 items total – far shy of the 28 I’d hoped for1. A quick perusal of the list shows me a few that I could probably complete by 11:59 pm on Dec 31 if I tried, but not 12! Oh well, at least I did manage to accomplish a bunch – and I’ve made progress on some of the other items on the list as well, so I’m reasonably content. But I have to think seriously about what I’ll set as my number of items to complete as a 2015 goal…

  1. I’d picked 28 items for 2014 because I thought 14 would be too easy, so I doubled it. As they say, pride goeth before the fall! []

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Christmas Baking 2014

Sadly, this year I did not get to cyber-bake with my family, as my sister et al decided to spend the past week in Jamaica. Before they left was too early to do Christmas baking, so they will be doing their Christmas baking in the next few days. I have to work until Christmas Eve, so I can’t do my baking when they do theirs. And so I did my Christmas baking on my own, spread out over a few different evenings, instead of one giant 12 hour baking day like I usually do.

This year’s holiday treats included a few new recipes and a couple of classics.

Biscotti

My first ever batch of biscotti
My first ever batch of biscotti

I’ve never made biscotti before and I was surprised how easy it was to make. It’s a simple dough, baked in a loaf shape, cut into biscotti shape, then baked again. And then you drizzle some melted chocolate over them and omg, so delicious! And fancy looking! Here’s the recipe that I used.

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Chocolate peanut clusters
Chocolate peanut clusters
Chocolate peanut clusters

I chose this one because it was an extremely simple one. Throw various types of peanuts and chocolates into a crock pot and let everything melt. Spoon melted goo onto parchment paper and let it set. The end.

Here’s the recipe I used for these.

Fudge

I also decided to make some fudge, basically because fudge is made using sweetened condensed milk and Christmas baking is not complete unless I get to lick the lid from a can of sweetened condensed milk1. However, my first attempt at making fudge this year was an epic, epic, delicious but gooey failure.

Attempt at maple fudge

Fudge attempt #1: FAIL!

I decided to try making maple fudge, the recipe for which was basically sweetened condensed milk (read: sugar sugar sugar and a wee bit of milk), brown sugar (i.e., sugar), and maple syrup (also known as sugar). Sadly, the fudge never set and, in retrospect, I realize I probably should have used a candy thermometer instead of being lazy and just cooking it for the length of time mentioned in the recipe.

So instead I decided to go back to tried and true chocolate fudge, which started to set pretty much as I melting the chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk.

Chocolate fudge

Fudge attempt #2: Tried and true!

Shortbread

And since it’s Christmas, I am obligated to make shortbread cookies because I was long ago entrusted with my Great Granny Snow’s shortbread recipe, which makes the best shortbread in the world, according to people who like shortbread2. I didn’t bother to take any pictures of it, since it looks the same as it does every year.

While I definitely missed virtually hanging out with my fam while we baked, I can say that splitting up Christmas baking across a few evenings is way less exhausting than a marathon baking session. Also, based on feedback from those to whom I have given some of these baked goods, the quality of said baked goods did not suffer3. At any rate, Christmas baking is done and everyone who gets some of this baking will probably gain 5 lbs because it’s 97% butter and/or sugar. Hooray!

  1. Usually this is accompanied by my mother going “You’ll cut your tongue if you do that!” and me never cutting my tongue. And I’m happy to report that I have successfully made it through my 37th year without actually cutting my tongue on the lid from a can of sweetened condensed milk. []
  2. Which I don’t, so I can’t really verify personally. []
  3. Maple fudge failure notwithstanding. []

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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.

Grouping-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! []

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Congratulations Councillor Johnstone

And speaking of things that are long overdue for posting, I have been remiss in writing a congratulatory posting to my friend, Patrick Johnstone, on his recent election to New Westminster City Council. As you may recall from this posting, I was helping out on Pat’s election campaign because I thought he’d make an excellent city councillor and, apparently, other people in New Westminster agreed with me, because Pat was one of 6 people elected to city council, along with a new mayor and 7 school trustees. On election night I actually went to city hall to watch election results roll in, which was a lot more fun than you’d expect from staring at a screen with tiny little font where nothing happened for long periods of time and then the results would pop up from another poll and everyone would start excitedly talking about where in that city the poll was and who got lots of votes from it and what it all meant. After that, a bunch of us headed down to the campaign office and there was a big party!

Incidentally, “participate in a political campaign” is on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, so that means I get to knock that item off the list! Which means I’ve done 15 things from my 101 lists ((3 from my previous list and 12 from my current list) in 2014. Which is far less than my goal of 28 things, so I really better get going, as there’s less than a month left!

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A Three Brewery Tour. A Three Brewery Tour.

Brewery Tour gift certMy going away present from my coworkers at my old job was two tickets for a tour of three breweries – obviously, my former coworkers know me very well! The tour company, Vancouver Brewery Tours1 picks you up at Waterfront Station, takes you around to tour three different breweries – going behind the scenes to see all the cool equipment and learning about all the cool techniques of how they brew their beer – and then drops you back at Waterfront, so you can enjoy all the beery goodness – a flight at each brewery – in a responsible fashion. Due to my and Daniel’s crazy schedules, we hadn’t actually found a time to go on said brewery tour until two weekends ago – and then due to my crazy schedule, I haven’t found a time to blog about it until now!

Vancouver Brewery Tour Van

The first brewery we went to was Brassneck on Main St. We got to go backstage to see their cool stuff, tasted some grains that are used in the brewing process, and learned how they do their brewing. Breakneck doesn’t sell their beers at any restaurant, bars, or liquor stores, so the only way to try their wares is to either go to the tasting room at the brewery or to get a growler. After all the learning, we got a flight with the following four beers:

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Now, the tour started at noon and these beers are on the rather high side as far as alcohol concentration goes and given that I am the world’s cheapest drunk, I was already pretty tipsy after this first brewery! My favourite of these beers was the Cherubeque, a Belgian Amber Ale. The Changeling was interesting – Changeling is a kettle soured beer that Brassneck makes that differs by time of year – in the summer they use whatever fruit is in season and right now they are using gerwurztraminer grape must. So it looks like a beer, but it tasted more like wine. I think it would be perfect for anyone who doesn’t like beer, but wants to look like they are drinking beer. I enjoyed the little glass of it, but I think it would be too sour for a full pint, at least for me.

IMG_0314After Brassneck, we went to Bomber. Bomber is actually named after the hockey team that the founders play on – the earliest Bomber beers were actually home brews that the main brewer made and brought to the rink for after game beers – so I really wanted to like it, but their thing is really hoppy beers and I’m not big on super hoppiness. I mean, the beers were objectively very good beers, but just not my preferred style. When we got the behind the scenes tour, they showed us Bomber’s new canning machine – a lot of craft breweries just do bottles or growlers, but not cans and apparently it’s not just because cams are thought of as lower quality than bottles. The canning machine was described as costing “the same as a small condo in Vancouver”. Also, though they told us what the beers were when they brought us out flights, by the time I went to log them on my Untappd app  (about 5 mins later), I couldn’t even remember what 2 of the 4 beers were2. The ones I did remember were the IPA and the Belgian Blond.

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Our finals stop on the tour was at Steamworks‘ new production facility in Burnaby. I was familiar with the Steamworks Brew Pub in Gastown, but I didn’t know that they’d opened this new factory in Burnaby. Unlike the other breweries we went to, which were small breweries with tasting rooms, this was a really big facility to make lots and lots of beer (plus a tasting room). Steamworks is evidently ready for the big time. They also told us that the owner of Steamworks also owns the Rogue restaurants3.

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Despite their expansion, Steamworks still manages to make great beer. I much enjoyed the four beers that I tried at their brewery: Pilsner, Kolsch, Black Angel IPA4, and something else that I appear to not have included on my Untappd app and thus do not remember!

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All in all, it was an excellent brewery tour and I highly recommend it if you like beer. Thanks, former coworkers, for such a thoughtful going away present!

  1. As per usual, I have no ties to this company (or any of the breweries I’m blogging about) other than having enjoyed my tour! []
  2. Did I mention that I’m the world’s cheapest drunk? []
  3. Fun fact: I once times the trip from my desk to the front door of Rogue on Broadway and it took 3 mins and 33 seconds. And that included waiting for the light to cross the street. I’ve also since moved to the first floor of my building at work, meaning one fewer flights of stairs to walk down. Clearly, I need to time that again []
  4. IPAs are not my favourite, but I could still tell it was a good beer. []

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We’re Not In Kansas Anymore!

In fact, I haven’t been in Kansas in more 3 weeks1! Hopefully I can remember all the stuff I wanted to blog about it2!

  • I added FOUR new states to the list of states to which I have been: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. The first and last of those were just in airports, but technically I was in those states, so I’m counting them.
  • And speaking of technicalities, I can now check off “go to Chicago” on my 101 list, as I had a stopover at Chicago O’Hare. Someday I’d like to go back and actually see the city, but for now, this satisfied the requirement. To prove I was there, here’s a photo I took in the airport.
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  • And speaking of photos I took in airports, here’s a photo I took in the Denver airport.
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    You’d think that would be a photo from Kansas, what with all the house-lifting, witch-crushing tornadoes they have there, but nope, that was Denver.
  • And speaking of Kansas, a few of my colleagues were surprised to learn that the Kansas City we were going to was not in Kansas. I’m not sure why I knew there were two Kansases, one of which was in Missouri, but it probably has to do with my being a huge baseball fan as a kid and the Kansas City Royals playing in Missouri. What I didn’t realize was that the two Kansas Cities are right next to each other, separated by the Missouri River in the north and by the aptly named State Line Road in the south. During our time at the conference, my colleagues and I waxed poetic about wanting to go to Kansas City, Kansas, which seemed like it made more sense than Kansas City, Not in Kansas. On our last full day, we had time between the last conference session and the evening conference party, so we decided to grab a cab to the outlets to go shopping. On the way there, we went over a bridge and, knowing that Kansas City was separated from Kansas City by a river, I was like, “Hey, are we going to Kansas?” And indeed we were. So we got our wish to go to Kansas, which we were mostly wishing to do so that we could later say “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” Which we did.
  • And speaking of the conference party, it was quite an event. The conference itself was massive – with 11,000 conference delegates, it apparently brought more than $11 million to the local KC economy for a 3-day conference! – and the party was no exception. They closed off the club district of Kansas City, located in the KC Power & Light District, just for the conference delegates. This area has a bunch of restaurants on the ground level, and then a bunch of clubs on the second level, all surrounding a giant courtyard where they had a concert. Here’s a photo, though it really doesn’t do justice to the size of it (while lots of people were outside at the concert, all the clubs and restaurants were also full).
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  • And speaking of restaurants, before I went to KC, lots of people told me that KC is famous for BBQ, but I only got to try one BBQ place3, where I had an amazing steak dinner; the second night they took us to some museums and had appies stationed throughout the museums, but none were BBQ, and on the third night was the big party, where they had food stations in all the restaurants as well as in a giant food tent and there was where we finally got some BBQ.)) and it really wasn’t very good. I took one bite of the ribs and immediately said, “I get way better ribs at Re-Up BBQ in New West!”
  • I was pleased to see that weapons – concealed or otherwise – were prohibited from the conference center.
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  • One of the side benefits of attending the conference (in addition to the conference itself, which was quite useful in terms of learning stuff that is useful for my job) was that I got to spend a bunch of time getting to know three of my co-workers. At work, everyone is so busy that there is rarely time to talk about anything other than work, but at the conference, we ate all our meals together, got to do some shopping, hung out at the parties, and I ended up being on the same flights home with one of those co-workers, so I got to chat with her while we were traveling too. It’s really nice to feel like I have some friends at work now.
    1. I just realized that the last time I blogged was three whole weeks ago and I talking about going on my trip and so you all probably thought I died in a fiery plane crash! Well, I’m happy to report that I did not died in any sort of plane crash, fiery or otherwise. []
    2. Naturally, I’m only going to blog about the non-work things, as I’m sure that though I find the minutiae of closed loop medication management and the latest in electronic health record sepsis alerting systems to be fascinating, you may have a different opinion on that! []
    3. All three nights had hosted dinners – the first night they took us to an Irish pub ((And they had Murphy’s Irish Stout at the pub – very unusal to find it outside of the southern part of the Republic of Ireland!
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      []

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Trip

Wrote this on a plane on Thursday night. Plane arrived at 1 am. Then I spent the next two days having fun with my family and completely forgot to post this. So now I’m posting it from the Toronto airport as I await my next flight. Better late than never, right?

So here I find myself on a plane heading to Toronto and I realize that I haven’t even mentioned a thing about my trip here on ye old blog! But now I’ve got 4+ hours on a plane and, sure, I have work I could be doing1, but my brain is pretty fried from all the work I’ve been doing of late, so I figure I’ll write this blog posting now and leave the work for later, as there will be plenty more flights and sitting around in airports in the next week!

So yes, about the trip. I found out about a month ago that I was getting the opportunity to go to a conference for work. The conference itself looks fantastic – so many interesting sessions to go see and lots of great networking opportunities. The conference is being held in Kansas City, Missouri2 and while Kansas City was not on the top of my list of places that I wanted to travel to – hell, it wasn’t even on my list at all – I’m not one to turn down free trips to interesting conferences and I have been assured there will be excellent BBQ to be had.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, there are no direct flights from Vancouver to KC, so I started looking at flight options and, weirdly, I saw a flight through Toronto. I say “weirdly” because Toronto is not on the way to KC and that flight had another stopover in addition to Toronto, but at any rate, it got me thinking about tagging on a leg of the trip to go see my family3. The conference starts on Sunday night, so I first thought I’d fly out after work on Friday and get to spend Sat with the fam. But then I looked at the calendar and realized that Friday is Halloween and no way was I going to be spending Halloween on a plane! So I took tomorrow off and booked my flight for this evening so I get to spend Halloween at my sister’s place. Which means I get to go trick or treating with my niece and nephew for the first time ever! I moved out to Vancouver before either of them were born and have not had the opportunity to be in Toronto on Oct 31st since then4, so I am super duper stoked to go out with them!

Also, my sister bought a pumpkin for us to carve and, because she’s the best sister in the whole world, she bought a big, big pumpkin, because she knows I love big pumpkins (and I cannot lie.). When we were kids, my parents would take us to the pumpkin patch and my sister would always choose the most perfectly shaped, round little pumpkin she could find and I would picked the biggest one (obviously compensating for my own short stature by choosing a pumpkin that is bigger than me. Go big or go home, I always say). So it’s super sweet that she got us a giant pumpkin, because her own pumpkin preference is little and perfect!

After Halloween, I get to spend Saturday hanging with the family some more and then I’m jumping on a plane on Sunday morning to make my way to Kansas City. I have a 1 hr stopover in Chicago – Chicago *is* on my list of places I want to travel to and so I’m a bit choked that all I will get to do is run through O’Hare airport to catch my connection. That won’t stop me from crossing “Visit Chicago” off my list of 101 things to do, but getting to actually go to Chicago and see the city is still going to be on my list of places to travel!

I’ll be in Kansas City for three days of learning all the things, and then Wednesday night it’s back to Vancouver with a 1 hr stopover in Denver. And then back to work on Thursday! No rest for the wicked!

As per usual, let me remind any would-be thieves that I do have a house sitter who will totally kick your ass if you try anything, along with 2 attack cats and 4 vicious (not viscous) attack frogs. You have been warned.

  1. In addition to work work, I also have to make some edits to my online stats course, which I will be teaching again at the Justice League and I have a talk to write for a workshop to give to some med students that I was just invited to do today and I have a journal article that I’ve been meaning to start for ages! []
  2. Not to be mistaken for Kansas City, Kansas. Why the hell Missouri decided it was a good idea to name their biggest city “Kansas City” when there is already a Kansas City right there in the state of Kansas, I’ll never know. It would be like New Brunswick saying “You know what would be a good name for a city? Quebec City, New Brunswick. Yeah, I like that way that sounds!” []
  3. Once you are flying, it’s way cheaper to tag on a side trip than to book a flight on its own. I have to pay the difference between what my flight would have cost if I’d only gone from Vancouver to KC and what it cost to add on the Toronto leg, which was only $150. A flight to Toronto from Vancouver is usually in the range of $800, so I’m totally fine with paying $150 to get to see the fam! []
  4. The closest I’ve been was a couple of years ago when I was in Toronto for the Hoot and Howl fundraiser at my niece’s school and we had Thankoween dinner. []