Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Blogging at 30,000 ft

The following was written on a plane earlier today.

I’m on my way home from my whirlwind Christmas holidays and realized that I have to do 9 blog postings in the next 2.5 days to achieve my goal of publishing 116 blog postings in 2016. So I figure I better get writing! I have a few year-end blog postings that I typically do that will fill out a number of these, including:

  • Year in Review
  • Items I Knocked Off My List of 101 Things To Do List
  • Books I Read in 2016
  • New Foods and/or Drinks I Made in 2016
  • How Did I Do on My 2016 Goals?
  • Goals for 2017
  • Favourite tweets
  • Nerd Stats 2016

So I just have to write all of those, plus this one, and mission accomplished!

I guess before I get cracking on writing all of those, I can tell you about my whirlwind Christmas holidays! We arrived back at my sister’s after our four days in NYC on the night of Dec 23. Happily, we got in earlier than expected, as we had whizzed through security because we got TSA-Pre clearance so we made it to our gate before the previous fight to Toronto had left and we were able to get three seats on that flight. This meant that we got home before my niece and nephew had gone to bed, so I didn’t have to wait until the next morning to see them!

The next day was Christmas Eve and we woke to pancakes that were made by my nephew, Thomas. He got a cookbook from the school library on the last day of school specifically so he could make those for everyone and they were delicious (I should add that Thomas is 5 and a surprising good cook (and baker) for his age.. with a wee bit of assistance with the stove part). After that, we mostly just lounged around, though I did wrap my presents and about eleventy billion trips were made to the grocery store for various things that we remembered we needed (as the stores would be closed the next day!), each thing being remembered only after the last shopper had returned to the house. I should note that I didn’t make any of those trips because it was cold outside and I am a delicate west coast flower. Christmas Eve dinner was a cornucopia of appies – crackers and breads and spreads and jalapeño poppers and shrimp thingys and chicken fingers and various things wrapped in various pastries and we were all stuff to the gills will deliciousness.

Christmas Day was as Christmas Day should be – awaking early to see what Santa had brought for the kiddies and what everyone had gotten for each other and the biggest winners of the present getting were my niece’s three guinea pigs and my cats. That is not to say that the rest of us were deprived, as we spoiled each other rotten, but the fluffy members of our family got some pretty sweet gifts. My mom made fritattas and a hot potato salad for breakfast (I was supposed to help, but she got up at the crack of dawn while I was still in dreamland1, so my contribution consisted of the sophisticated work of toasting English muffins and crumpets.). My sister made an amazing turkey dinner and for dessert we had individual-sized banoffee pies made by my mother and I (I actually did help make those!) and they might now be on my list of top desserts ever2. There may also have been a PokéWalk3 before dinner for my niece, my nephew, and I, as I figured that I should probably leave the house at least every other day. It was cold, but worth it.

On Boxing Day, we were supposed to go to my Aunt Wendy’s place for an open house, but a combination of icy conditions and that fact that all of us had a pretty nasty cold (that we didn’t really want to give it to the various babies who would be there) kept us away. Boxing Day consisted of lounging, building Lego things, playing various games, and eating our weight in leftovers.

On Dec 27, my mom, sister, and I went to the spa for pedicures (a Christmas present to us from my mom), followed by lunch with my Aunty Eileen and Aunty Lynn. That evening me and Nancy met up with Dr. Dan, Rick, and Rob, another guy we’d all gone to high school with that Dan keeps in regular touch with but who I hadn’t seen in 20 years. We stuffed our faces with Mexican food, drank margaritas the size of our heads4, and then went to another restaurant and stuffed ourselves with more drinks and desserts.

Yesterday Nancy, Jeff, Madeline, Thomas and I went to see Rogue One. I won’t say any spoilers in case you haven’t seen it yet. My mom is not a Star Wars fan, so she stayed back at my sister’s house and made a trip to the bakery, because clearly we hadn’t food shopped enough! That evening, Sarah and Dave and their munchkins came over for dinner. Their munchkins seemed to have a pretty fun time playing with Madeline and Thomas and I had a pretty fun time catching up with Sarah and Dave!

At some point in all of that, Nancy, Jeff, my mom, and I found time to watch the first season (all 10 episodes) of The Man in the High Castle5. Or as we called it “The Man in the High Tower”, “The High Man in the Castle”, “The High Man in the Dark Castle Tower”, and “Professor Plum in the Library with the Candlestick Holder”6. If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out. I can’t wait to watch season 2, which I only just learned existed yesterday.

And now, it what feels like a blink of the eye from when I left, I’m on a plane back home! It’s always so sad to say good-bye to my family, but I am excited to see my kitties. I have a suitcase full of presents for them.

  1. You may notice a trend in this blog posting of my being a lazy SOB on my holidays. []
  2. Alongside chocolate amaretto cheesecake and espresso cupcakes with mascarpone cream. []
  3. Where one goes on a walk for the expressed purpose of catching Pokémon. Yes, I am still playing PokémonGO. []
  4. That may have been just Dr. Dan and I. []
  5. A TV show on Amazon Prime that is based on a Phillip K. Dick novel, in which the Nazis and Japan won WWII and the story is set in a post-war America in which Germany and Japan control the eastern and western parts of North America, respectively. []
  6. For some reason we kept screwing up the name of the show. It started with someone accidentally calling it “The Man in the High Tower”, and then we all started screwing it up like that and it escalated from there. []

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Niece

Happy 12th birthday to my fabulous niece, Madeline!

Me & Madeline

A few more years and we’ll be cheers-ing your birthday with real champagne!

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Adorable Things My Nephew Said

On my trip to visit my family for the holidays, I had the great pleasure of getting to spend lots of time with my niblings. And I want to capture some of the adorable things my nephew Thomas, who is 4, said while I was there. My blog has several funny comments from my niece when she was little too and I love when I look back at them and remember how hilarious she was (She’s still hilarious, but in a much more sophisticated way now, at age 11), so I want to capture some of Thomas’s hilarious comments so I can look back on them when he is older.

The thing I heard Thomas say more than anything else on this trip was “I think…” and “I’m not sure or not.” It’s like he never wants to commit to anything he’s saying. [Insert sexist joke about men never wanting to commit here]. A question like “Thomas, did you like your breakfast?” would be met with “I’m not sure or not”. But so would a question like “Are you wearing a blue shirt?”, which he could totally just look at and be sure.

Oddly, another thing he said a lot was very definitive: “Of course, I’m am!”

On Christmas Eve, he and I were sleeping in the attic, which has a skylight. He looked up through the skylight and declared, “I can see Santa!” So I said, “Oh no! Santa won’t come to the house because he can see that you are awake.” So he closes his eyes and says, “Now he’ll think I’m sleeping!”

He also has a few cute mispronunciations, like “Rice Creepies” instead of “Rice Krispies”, “Mickeldonald’s” instead of “McDonald’s”, and best of all, he refers to the superhero “Hawkeye” as “Hot Guy”.

We all went to the wedding of my sister’s best friend on New Year’s Eve, which was held in a deconsecrated church. All the stuff of the church is still in place, including a large statue of Jesus on a cross. Thomas saw this and declared, “Oh no! A zombie!”1

  1. My sister explained that it wasn’t actually a zombie, it was a guy named Jesus and the story goes that a bunch of people didn’t like what he was saying, so they killed him. Thomas had *a lot* of questions about this, so he was directed to my friend Sarah for further explanation. Apparently there was an Ironman analogy involved. []

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Happy 11th Birthday, Madeline!

Happy birthday to my niece! I’m glad you enjoyed your crazy sleepover party on Saturday and that you had delicious cake and got some cool presents today. Love you!

Beth and Madeline at Montreal race

Madeline and I after our respective races at the Montreal marathon in Sept 2015. Yes, she is nearly as tall as me!

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YHZ to YUL to, sadly, YYZ instead of YTZ

I wrote the following on the plane flying from Halifax to Montreal on Tuesday, which, as it turns out, was an unnecessary place for me to go.

On a plane, somewhere between Halifax and Montreal. My flight was delayed, so I’m going to miss my connection to Toronto City Centre – though when I got on the plane they told me I’d be able to catch my connection, but then we sat on the plane at our gate for eleventy billion years and as we were taxing down the runway the pilot casually mentioned that we’d land in Montreal at 8:30 pm (instead of 8:00pm, which was when our flight, with its delay, was going to land)… and my flight to Toronto City Centre leaves at 8:30 pm. Rather wishing that I’d just booked a direct Halifax to Toronto Pearson flight and made my sister drive all the way out there to pick me up – I figured flying into City Centre would be much easier for the pickup – didn’t think about the possibility of delayed flights! The flight attendant assures me that the agent will have already booked me on another flight by the time we land (“It’s her job to do that!”), so I’m hoping that’s actually how it goes!

Don’t really have much to report on my time in Halifax beyond what I wrote in my previous posting – Sunday was really my only tourist day – I spent Monday and today (Tuesday) in the conference that I’d gone to Halifax for1. It was a good conference and my presentation was very well-received, which was awesome. Made some good connections too, so very happy that I went there!
Now I’m looking forward to some time visiting the fam. I haven’t been to Toronto since last Halloween, which is more than half a year! As luck would have it, my nephew’s birthday is in May, so I get to be in town for his 4th birthday party. By sheer coincidence, I happened to be in town for my niece’s 4th birthday, six and a half years ago, so it’s nice that I get to do the same for Thomas’. I’ll just tell them that one’s 4th birthday is the extra special aunt visiting birthday!
It actually looks like I’m going to be spoiled with seeing family & friends over the next few months. I got to see Sarah a few weeks ago in Seattle2, and now I’m visiting Toronto, and then my mom and sister are coming to visit me in June3, and then Daniel and I are going to Montreal to run a full and demi-marathon, respectively, and my Mom (and maybe my sister and her family) and Sarah and her family are planning to come out to Montreal to watch (plus I’ll get to see some of my extended family in Montreal, who are also going to come out and cheer us on). So I’m going from not seeing family for more than half a year, to 4 visits in a 6 month period!
Now I’m writing this next part on Thursday at my sister’s place.
So, after landing in Montreal at 8:27 pm, I went directly to the gate agent to see if my other flight had left (I was hoping that maybe they too had been delayed), and she tells me that that flight regularly leaves 15 minutes early because it’s going to Toronto City Centre and the people in the city like don’t like planes flying there late at night, so to they try to get in as early as they can. But we put you on this other flight” and she hands me a boarding pass for a flight to Toronto. “Wait, this doesn’t say ‘Toronto City Centre,'” I say, “It just says ‘Toronto'”. “Oh yeah, the flight you just missed was the last one into City Centre. You have to go to Pearson.” And then my head explodes.
Seriously. If they hadn’t kept telling me that I’d totally my flight – or even if they’d told me that my flight to City Centre was the last flight of the day to go there and there was a chance I’d not make that flight – I would have just asked them to switch me to a direct flight from Halifax to Pearson. Because the *only* reason I’d booked through Montreal was to go to be able to end up in City Centre, which is way more convenient for me to be picked up, given that it’s in the centre of the city, near to where my sister lives, rather than way out in the boonies like Pearson. And had I done that, at least I’ve have gotten into Pearson at a reasonable hour, rather than at 11 pm. So props to my wonderful sister who went all the way out to Pearson to get me4!
At any rate, I’m here now and enjoying spending some time with the fam. Going for dinner with my friends Jen and Tanya tonight, tomorrow we are doing a belated Mother’s Day high tea and then baking an IronMan cake for my nephew’s birthday, which we will celebrate on Saturday!
  1. I did take some notes from the conference, which I quite enjoyed and learned a lot at, on my “professional” blog (Day 1 and Day 2), but those notes are probably of interest to no one other than me. []
  2. Note written after the fact – I totally thought I’d blogged about that, but now as I’m proofreading this posting before I post it, I looked for the posting and discovered that I never did post about it! []
  3. I have to say that the most exciting part of this upcoming visit is that my mom will get to watch me play hockey live, for the first time EVER! I didn’t start playing hockey until I moved to Vancouver and the times she’s visited in the past, I haven’t had games. She’s seen me play on the Internet, as the Longest Game for CF was streamed online, but she’s never been to a game in real life. I’m very excited for that! []
  4. Apparently they are going to be starting train service from Pearson to Union station, which is long overdue. It will cost $30 a trip, which is a heck of a lot more than a Canada Line Skytrain ride from YVR to downtown Vancouver ($9 – or less if you are exempt from the YVR Add Fare), but also a heck of a lot cheaper than a cab ride from Pearson to downtown Toronto. []

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More Adorable Things My Nephew Said

Before I went to visit my family, my sister Facebooked something adorable my nephew had said. She’d told him that it was time to go to Vaia’s (Vaia is the lady who runs the daycare that Thomas goes to) and he told her “I am not going to Vaia’s. I am going to a meeting. I am big”1. Apparently this is a strong association in his mind, as he told me the same thing the other day. “I am big. I am going to a meeting.” I was unaware that being big is a pre-req for going to meetings. I’m surprised they let me in.

When Jeff suggested that we leave some carrots out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, along with the cookies for Santa, Thomas told him, “No! Carrots are for bunnies and I don’t like carrots!”

And in other vegetable-related shenanigans, Thomas calls potatoes “tomatoes”, so at dinner the other day, Jeff was trying to teach him the difference, since we had both vegetables in our meal. The conversation went something like this:

Jeff (pointing at a tomato): Tomato.
Thomas: Tomato!
Jeff (pointing at the potatoes): Potato.
Thomas: Tomato!
Jeff (pointing at the potatoes): Potato.
Thomas: Pa-tomato!

Christmas Eve dinner

A delicious bowl of mashed pa-tomatoes!

  1. Little does he know that all the big people would happily trade places and go to daycare and he could go to their meetings. Daycare has nap time. I’m just sayin’. []

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My Nephew Seems To Like His Christmas Present

For Christmas, I got my nephew a shark bath towel. It’s got a hood with shark teeth and a fin on the back, so you can dress up like a shark after your bath. I bought it even before I knew we were going to go to the Aquarium and so when we were there, I was quite happy to see that he loved the sharks. And he seemed to quite like the towel:

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Adorable Things My Nephew Says

Two-and-a-half year olds are hilarious. That’s how old my nephew is and he is a ball of energy and says the most hilarious things1.

There are some things that he says a lot, such as “Be careful”, “I’ll be careful”, “What happened?”, and “Can I eat it?” He’ll tell you to be careful if you are doing anything remotely dangerous, like walking up the stairs, walking down the stairs, or just walking. “Be careful, Grandma!” “Be careful, Aunt Beth!” He is always looking out for your welfare. Today when I went out for a run, he sent me off with an enthusiastic “Good luck!!”

He often asks, “What happened?”, as he always wants to know what’s going on. If someone tells a joke and everyone laughs, he looks at you very earnestly and asks, “What happened?”

“I’ll be careful” is his refrain when he’s told he shouldn’t be touching something. To a sentence like “Thomas, the Christmas tree ornaments are for looking, not touching.” he’ll reply, “I’ll be careful!” To a sentence like, “Thomas, that is your sister’s Monster High doll, not yours”, he’ll reply, “I’ll be careful!” I’m sure if there were a flame thrower or a chain saw in the house, he’d just tell you “I’ll be careful!”

The kid loves to eat, so “Can I eat it?” (or, alternatively, “Can I bite it?” or “Can we eat it?”) is another thing that he says a lot, even if the “it” in question is in no way edible. I mean, he definitely asks it about chocolate, chips, candy, the lunch you just made for the express purpose of him eating it, but he’ll also ask it about every single present you open, not matter what it is. When I asked Thomas if we should watch the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, he replied excitedly, “Can we eat it?”

Speaking of movies, he has his favourites. He likes Turbo: “We can watch the snail movie?”2 – and Monsters University: “Baby Eyeball Monster movie!” In the past couple of days he has been very interested in watching the Nightmare Before Christmas, which he’ll ask for by saying: “How about Halloween?” Yesterday, since it was Christmas Eve, we wanted to watch Arthur Christmas, but he said, “How about Halloween?” When my sister said, “How about Arthur Christmas?”, he replied: “How about Halloween THEN Christmas?”3.

He’s also said some good Christmas-related things. He’ll tell you, “I like Santa. He’s my friend” and when the power went out briefly due to the ice storm and he saw the Christmas tree lights go off, he said, “I can fix it!”

But the best saying so far on this trip has been Thomas’ thoughts on the Christmas turkey: “It’s like a monster chicken. I’m going to eat that monster chicken.”

  1. Of course, these things are more hilarious when you here them in his adorable little two-and-a-half year old voice! []
  2. He will also turn to you and whisper, “White. Shadow.”, which is very confusing if you haven’t seen Turbo, but very hilarious if you have. []
  3. For the record, we watched Arthur Christmas. []

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Happy 9th Birthday Madeline!

Beth & Madeline at Powell's Books

Happy birthday to the best niece an aunt could ever ask for! Love you, kiddo!

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Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Thomas!

Today, my adorable nephew turns 1!

For your birthday, Thomas, we made you this video:

Hope you like it!