Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

By

Jumpstart

I’ve been watching a lot of the World Juniors Hockey Championship Tournament this year, since for the first time in eleventy billion years I have cable TV1. The games go by pretty fast compared to NHL games, as there are a lot fewer TV timeouts, but when there are commercials, they’ve played a lot of commercials from the Canadian Tire Jumpstart charity ((As per usual, I have no affiliation with this organization – I just think what they are doing is awesome and wanted to share it here on ye old blog)) , which have been totally tugging at my heartstrings. I can’t find any of the current ads online, but here’s one from 2007 that will give you a sense of what they are like:

Obviously, I’m a big fan of sports and I was lucky enough that my family was able to afford to put me into sports when I was a kid – softball, skiing, and swimming were my main ones, but I also played some extracurricular sports at school: volleyball, track & field, and cross country skiing2. And I got a lot of benefit from this – keeping fit (and setting me up for a lifetime of physical activity), mastering skills, and learning about teamwork, for example. So these commercials about how many families can’t afford to put their kids in sports make me sad! I can’t even imagine what it must be like for a kid to want to take swimming lessons or play baseball or join a hockey team and not to be able to because their family can’t afford it. As I said on Twitter, well played Jumpstart! Those commercials definitely convinced me that some of my 2014 charitable donations should go to this organization. And I also wanted to spread the word about them here, in case others are looking for a good organization to donate to.

Also, watching World Juniors makes me think of my dad, as he loved watching that tournament. And my dad was not a big fan of charity as a whole, because he was concerned about how much of the money went to administrators as opposed to the cause you thought you were donating to3. So I was pleasantly surprised when I checked out the Canadian Tire Jumpstart website that 100% of donations go directly to families in need to pay for their kids’ registration fees, equipment, and transportation to their sport, as the Canadian Tire Corporation itself funds the administrative costs of running of the program. So I feel like supporting this charity is a nice way of honouring my dad.

  1. But only because Shaw offered me 6 months of free cable. I’m sure they assume they’ll get me hooked on cable so that I’ll want to keep it after the 6 months are up, but I think they are underestimating my cheapness. []
  2. Ones I was never any good at included badminton (I just could *not* get the serve right), jumping rope (for some strange reason), and, unsurprisingly, basketball. []
  3. My dad was more of a direct action kind of guy – he’d prefer to give his gloves to a person out on the street in the cold who didn’t have any rather than giving money to a charity where he didn’t know what the money would be used for. []

By

Nerd Stats 2014

Here is a quick summary of my blog and Twitter stats for 2014, in delightful Google spreadsheet form:

My blogging and tweeting stats are continuing their downward trend, which is not at all surprising, given that my blogging was very inconsistent this year. Case in point, I only blogged twice in the entire month of November – and I didn’t even remember that November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) – the month when I usually blog every day- until the past few days when I was writing up my year in blog postings! Ah well, apparently I was having too much fun this year to spend my time blogging! And it’s quality over quantity, right?

Also, if you are interested, you can also check out my blogging annual report from WordPress.

By

Goals for 2015

Is it wrong that I’ve been excited about making my 2015 goals list since about mid-November? I’m not sure why I’m such a goal fanatic but the idea of setting goals and working towards them makes me unnaturally happy. Anyway, I now present to you my 2015 goals, some of which are old familiars by this point (either from my previous years’ goals lists and/or taken from my 101 list), but also a few new ideas to keep things interesting.

Health

  1. Run two half marathons. I’ve already registered for the BMO Vancouver half and then I’ll pick one in the fall – Montreal Rock’n’Roll in September is a possibility, depending on my work schedule.
  2. Run a sub-2 hour half marathon. I’ve had this as a goal since I started running half marathons, but if I’m honest with myself, I’ve never really dedicated myself to the amount and type of training needed to achieve it. So this year, I’m really going to dedicate myself to the training for the BMO – and no amount of cold, rain, or hills will be allowed to be an excuse this time. I’ve even signed up for a Sunday morning running clinic so I’ll always have someone to do the long runs with. 2015 will be the year that I will get this one done.
  3. Run 800 km. I’m betting I can do better than the 82% of this goal that I managed in 2014, especially given that I’m planning to be more dedicated to my half marathon training.
  4. Add 5 new medals to my collection. The two half marathons will give me two medals, so I’ll just need to find 3 other races with medals. There’s the Hot Chocolate 5 km in March where you get a medal AND a hot chocolate, which is pretty much a no brainer. So I guess I just need to find 2 more.
  5. Complete the 100 pushup challenge. I haven’t tried this one in a while, but I figure it’s good for me to do something related to upper body strength, given that I have none.
  6. Bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work. I have been absolutely abysmal at bringing my lunch to work, pretty much since I started my MBA, when I got too busy to do such things as buy groceries. I used to be really good about it before that, bringing my lunch almost every single day, but somehow I have not been able to get back into that routine, despite being done school for a year. I really just need to be a tiny bit more organized at getting groceries and doing some meal planning (because I love having leftovers for lunch!)
  7. Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. If I do the above 4 things, I think I’ll have a good shot at this one.

Wealth

  1. Set up a new investment plan. As I mentioned, I did this last year, but now I need to do it again!
  2. Write a will. This is on my 101 list, but I’m putting it here as a prompt to do it sooner rather than later. Have to make sure that my kitties inherit my vast estate! ;)
  3. Pay off 7.5% of my mortgage principal. According to my trusty spreadsheet, just making my regular accelerated biweekly payments, I will pay off 3.4% of my remaining principal. But since I have the option to put lump sums on my mortgage, I figure I find some extra coin to pay off a bit extra.

Misc

  1. Complete 15 items from my 101 list. This is a bit more than 1 per month – that should be do-able.
  2. Apply for at least one research grant. I don’t have any specific ones that I’m planning on, but I really should get on doing this!
  3. Make 15 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before. I have a few ideas for this, including trying my hand at making puff pastry from scratch.
  4. Organize all my closets. They are a disaster, but I have a good idea of how they should be organized.
  5. Write 115 blog postings. That’s only 2.2 blog posting per week.

So there are my 15 goals for 2015!

By

Reviewing My Goals for 2014

Since it’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to check in on how I did with my 2014 goals!

2014 Goals Achieved (Y/N) Comments
Complete Rick’s 90-Day Fitness & Accountability Challenge! Y I appear not to have actually blogged about this after the fact, but I did manage to complete 85% of my goal for the challenge (my goal was 6 workouts per week, which was a stretch goal from my usual 4 days per week at the time). I was happy with that, because it was a lot more than I’d usually do at that time of year, so I’m counting this one as a success.
Run two half marathons. Y Hollywood Half Marathon (April) and Scotiabank Vancouver (June).
Run a sub-2 hour half marathon. N Sadly, I yet again did not achieve this one. But it’s totally going on my 2015 goals list and I’m making it a priority to go after this one!
Run 800 km. N I was doing really well on this one thanks to being in a running study at the start of the year, then training for my two half marathons and then for a couple of 10 kms at the end of the year. But then I had no races left to train for and it got really cold and I totally wimped out. So I ran a total of 661.2 km or 82% of my goal, which really is a fair bit of running – and an improvement on last year’s 604.5 km. So while I didn’t reach the goal, I’m still happy with the amount of running I did.
Bike 800 km N This, on the other hand, was an abject failure. I biked a mere 105.4 km
Lose 10 lbs. N I’ve lost 5 of the 10 lbs I wanted to lose, so at least I’ve been moving in the right direction! I’m not quite down to the point that I can fit into all of my pre-MBA clothes, but I can fit in a few things that I couldn’t get on at the start of this year.
Return to freelance work. Y This one happened without much effort on my part. I got offered a contract for a cool little project out of the blue, which was very exciting.
Set out a new investment plan. Y I did set up and implement a new plan in March, but since my financial situation changed both with buying my place and getting a new (and better paying) job, it’s actually time to reassess my strategy yet again. So I guess I know what’s going on my 2015 goal list!
Write 314 blog postings here on NTBTWK. N Not even close. In my worst blogging year ever, I only managed 88 posts in 2014 – a mere 7.3 postings per month or 1.7 postings per week! Obviously, I was having far too much fun doing all sorts of other fun things to be blogging much this year!
Write 52 blog postings on drbethsnow.com. N Another epic fail. I only managed 19 postings and pretty much all of them are just me having a place to keep notes on webinars/conferences I’ve attended and stuff that I’ve been reading for work (i.e., probably not of interest to anyone but me)
Knock 28 items off my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. N  With only 16 items completed, this one was a fail.
Make 14 new food items that I’ve never made before. Y This one was a solid success, with 19 new items made!
Find a reliable cleaning person. Y Got a recommendation from a friend and I now have someone coming in regularly to clean up after me and my cats!
Find a solution to my spice situation. Y  Check.

So that’s 7/14 or 50%, which is worse than last year’s 65%, but better than the previous years’ – 2012 at 44.5% or 2011 at 40%). Given that I achieved a whole lot of other epic things that weren’t even on my radar when I made my list of goals, I’m still pretty satisfied with 2014!

And now I’m sure you know what’s coming next…

By

2014 – Year in Review

Just had a look at last year’s “Year in Review” blog posting for inspiration for this year’s “Year in Review” blog posting and saw that I ended last year’s “Year in Review” blog posting with: “I feel like I need to start making some plans for something epic for 2014!” I had been commenting on how my 2013 was basically one amazing trip, but everything else was just lots of school1. Well, I didn’t actually plan a bunch of epic things for 2014, but they just sort of happened2.

I started the year off by completing my MBA, which had been my primary focus for the past two years. In fact, I got word that my final paper was accepted – meaning my MBA was 100% complete – on my birthday! That was a pretty spectacular birthday present and a great start to my year!

Then I got my kitties, the awesomest kitties to ever have kittied. They are cute, smart, funny, and very loving and they make me happy every day.

IMG_0744

Other epic occurrences included my MBA graduationbuying a condo, and getting an amazing new job. And then, as if all that epicness weren’t enough, in July I met an amazing new guy. Like 100% made of  awesome. You may have noticed him on such blog postings as this race and this race. And he makes me happy every day!

And while minor by comparison to the above, I also won a hockey championship (and came within one game of winning the summer season championship too!) and ran a total of 5 races3, including achieving my second best ever half marathon time in Hollywood and my personal best 10 km at the Rock’n’Roll Vancouver. I worked on a successful political campaign, improved my hockey game by taking lessons and started salsa lessons. I’ve also started on a top secret project with a friend of mine that I’m hoping with turn into something awesome, but that will be revealed in due course.

So, long story short, 2014 = best year ever… so far. I’m anticipating 2015 will be pretty epic too!

  1. And work, which I didn’t even mention, basically because it was just status quo. []
  2. Well, except for finishing my MBA. That was definitely planned. []
  3. Hollywood Half Marathon, BMO Vancouver Marathon’s 8 km race, the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, the Night Race 10 km, and the Rock’n’Roll Vancouver10 km []

By

Twelve Months of NTBTWK

As I’m doing a bunch of year-end type postings, I figured I’d do the “twelve months” one where you post the first line of the first blog posting of each month of the year (and the name of the month is a link to the full posting). But I like to post the first *two* lines of every posting, because it’s my blog and I’ll post the first two lines if I want to.

January 2014

As you know, I love setting goals. And what better time than New Year’s Day to do some goal setting!

February 2014

For the next week, I’m going to be curating the @PeopleofCanada Twitter account! From the @PeopleofCanada Tumblr blog:

About

A rotating crew of Canadians sharing their lives in with Canada and the world.

March 2014

So, I totally thought that I’d written a blog posting about this before, but apparently not. Sometimes I compose blog postings in my brain when I’m not in a position to write stuff down and then forget that I never actually wrote them down

April 2014

Hey, remember that time I played hockey for 10 days to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis? Well, yesterday when I picked up a copy of the Royal City Record (my local paper), I saw a familiar face from that game: Bill Markvoort.

May 2014

Today marked the first time since before my MBA program started that I *wasn’t* in class during the BMO Vancouver International Marathon. Since I just ran a half marathon less than a month ago, I didn’t think it was wise to run another half marathon so soon, and thus I registered for the 8 km race instead.

June 2014

Last Wednesday, I attended my fourth – and final – university convocation as a graduate1, receiving my hard earned MBA2. It’s hard to believe that just 28 months ago3, me and 50 other brave souls embarked on the intense and life changing journey that is the part-time MBA program at UBC.

July 2014

Hey, remember that time I bought a condo? That was pretty awesome and also stressful but mostly awesome.

August 2014

Apparently I’m really into theatre all of the sudden, as last night I saw Red Rock Diner at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage.

Here the trailer.

September 2014

Last week was a bittersweet one1. Sweet, because I started my awesome new job.

October 2014

Photos of my running shoes tend to be some of my most favourited photos on my Flickr account. So my all the running shoe aficionados, here are some photos of my newest pair of running shoes.

November 2014

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 doing, 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!

December 2014

My 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.

By

A Few of My Favourite Tweets, 2014 edition

It’s been a year since I last shared my favourite tweets here on ye ole blog, so I took some screen shots for you. It seems that more of my fav tweets were related to politics than in the past, which makes sense given that 2014 was a municipal election year, but there’s still quite a few funny ones in there. (These are in reverse chronological order, because Twitter). Enjoy!

Twitter Favs 2014 - 01

This reply by my friend Cath to the Prime Minister really made me laugh:

Twitter favs 2014 - 02

Twitter favs 2014 - 03

Twitter favs 2014 - 04

Twitter favs 2014 - 05

Twitter favs 2014 - 06

Marcy’s dress reminds me that I could always be crazy cat lady-er.

Twitter favs 2014 - 07

Twitter favs 2014 - 08

Twitter favs 2014 - 09

Yes, those are McDonald’s coupons on my fridge. I have a weakness for Egg McMuffins.

Twitter favs 2014 - 10

By

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. []

By

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!

By

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:

IMG_7382

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!

IMG_7483

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. []