Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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My Last Vacation Was So Fun, I Think I’ll Have Another. And Another.

Last week I was on holidays to spend time with my mom and my aunt, who were visiting for my graduation. We had a lovely time being Vancouver tourists, doing such activities as:

  • shopping on Robson Street
  • various delicious meals with various delicious wines
  • visiting Granville Island
  • walking along the New Westminster Quay about a million times
  • my graduation
  • dinner with project group from school after graduation at Cioppinos
  • grad party on the Yaletown Keg rooftop patio
  • chocolate tasting at Xoxolat

This week I was back at work. And while I love my job, work has significantly fewer lunches where someone says “Let’s share a bottle of wine” than does vacation, so I’m going back on holidays after tomorrow.

Actually, I’d already planned this second vacation even before all the wine-based lunches of last week. I’m going to a conference in Ottawa the following week and since I had to pay for the flight out east, I figured I should take some vacation time to visit my family. So all next week I’ll be in Toronto, visiting family and friends, getting in some very important aunting time – I haven’t seen my niblings since Christmas! – and, undoubtedly, having more wine-based lunches. Then it’s off to Ottawa, where I’m going to the Canadian Evaluation Society conference. I’m staying with Sarah & Dave while I’m there and I would not be surprised if there was some wine drinking involved.

But lest you think I’m drinking too much wine – do not fear! I’m starting my holidays on Friday night at a craft beer event with Cath. Right after my massage appointment.

And as if my two vacations weren’t enough, just 9 days after returning, I’ll be setting out for a long weekend in San Fran to celebrate Kalev’s birthday! In those 9 days, I’ll be running a half marathon and moving, so I think I’ll  be ready for another vacation!

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Vacay

The first of several mini-vacations I’m having over the next ~month started at 5 pm on Friday. So, naturally, a wicked sore throat started at about 4:15 pm on Friday. Because why get sick during work time, when you can be sick on the weekend and vacation1? I’m trying very hard to kick this sore throat’s butt, with copious amounts of lounging, tea, water, kitty cuddles, and Buckley’s mixture. My throat was feeling significantly better today than yesterday, so I went for my scheduled 18 km run today, which I can only assume helped me sweat out the virus/bacteria/prion/evil spirit that has taken up residence in my throat. Because my mom and aunt Eileen arrive to visit me tomorrow and I want this sore throat gone by then! But I digress.

This upcoming week is my first of three mini-vacations. As I just mentioned, my mom and aunt Eileen2 are coming to visit me. And they are coming to visit me to attend my GRADUATION! That’s right, though it seems like forever ago that I finished my MBA, graduation comes but twice a year at UBC, and so I will be graduating on Wednesday! I’m really looking forward to this graduation, as the MBA program is cohort-based, so unlike the graduations for my previous degrees, I will actually know a tonne of the people who are graduating3 and even the valedictorian is from my cohort! Plus, I get to wear the awesome bright pink robes and puffy hat of the PhD again! Long live the puffy hat!

After this week off, I’ll be back at work for a week, and then I’m off for mini-vacation #2. Specifically, I’ll be heading to Toronto to visit my family, then catching a ride with Sarah & Dave to Ottawa, where I’ll be going to a conference. Then I’m back at work for 5 days out of 6 possible work days (I’m taking one day off in there to move into my new condo!) and then I head out on mini-vacation #3 – a 4-day weekend in San Fran for Kalev‘s birthday!

Hooray x3!

  1. Incidentally, I think this may be why I have like 800 hours in my sick bank at work. []
  2. You you make recall from our fabulous European vacation last summer! []
  3. In addition to my part-time cohort, there will also be the full-time cohort, the Executive MBA cohort (and I’ll know a few of these people), plus a few other programs graduating. []

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Bulleted Lists Are The New Black

Just finished a weekend of classes. As per usual, I learned a tonne of stuff, the people are super awesome and I’m freaking exhausted. Freaking exhaustion will thus be my excuse for a lack of coherence and plethora of typos I will likely make in this blog posting. Apologies in advance.

And now – a bulleted list1!

  • My mom, sister, and baby nephew came to visit last week. And I totally didn’t blog any of it because I suck. Or perhaps because we were having way too much fun to spend time blogging. Yes, I think it was latter. They were only here from Friday to Tuesday, which was waaaay too short!  But we did manage to have such adventures as fish & chips for dinner on Friday at Cockney King, checking out the boardwalk at the New West Quay (since I now live near there and all), a trip to Granville Island, and, because my family is so awesome, finished setting up the apartment2
  • We also had our housewarming party last weekend which I also failed to blog. It was super awesome to actually be able to host a party3 and to be able to show off our lovely view – which was the first thing that pretty much everyone commented on when they came into the apartment. And Devon got to show off his mad bar tending skills, which were also highly appreciated. Thanks to everyone who came out and made it such a great party. Also, we somehow seemed to have ended up with more booze than when we started, so you all need to come back again to drink said booze.
  • Another thing I failed at was taking photos while my family was visiting was taking photos. I took a grand total of one – it’s my mom holding my baby nephew Thomas, who in turn is holding a pint of Guinness4:

Grandma, Baby Thomas and pint of Guinness.

  • My nephew Thomas is the best baby in the whole wide world! He’s adorable and hilarious and extremely brilliant5. He also loves to watch kitchen appliances in action – especially the mixer and the coffee grinder. Seriously, he lost his little mind anytime the coffee grinder was turned on – wherever he was in the apartment, as soon as he heard the coffee grinder, he’d crawl as quick as a flash into the kitchen and insist on being picked up by whoever was closest to the grinder. And then when it was done he’s stick his hand out towards it, which is his baby way of saying, “More! Grind more coffee! This is the most entertaining thing in the entire world and I MUST SEE MORE OF IT!” Now I can’t grind coffee without feeling guilty that Thomas isn’t here to watch it.
  • In class this weekend, we spent some time with students visiting from Shanghai, where UBC has an MBA program (known as the “International MBA”), which was pretty cool. We had lunch with them at the Hotel Vancouver and then they joined us for a discussion on a case study of a trade dispute between China and the US over solar panels. It was pretty cool getting to know the students and hear about what they are up to in China. We will see them again in just under 2 weeks to do another case study – this time on Cirque du Soleil!
  • I have sooo many more things to blog about6, but it’s way past my bedtime, so those things will have to wait!
  1. Somehow bulleted lists make my lack of coherence seem less obvious than if I tried to write paragraphs with segues and suchlike. Or so I like to tell myself []
  2. We had only gotten the key to our storage locker just a few days before they arrived, so it was actually a bit of a miracle that we got our place *mostly* set up before they got here, but there was a coffee table to put together, furniture to rearrange, and things to clean! []
  3. As the vast majority of people would never come out to my old place. Not that I’d blame them! []
  4. For the record, in case anyone is thinks I’d actually give a baby a pint of Guinness, let me clarify that that was a stress ball in the shape of a pint of Guinness – also known as a “stress pint.” []
  5. Not that I’m biased or anything. []
  6. Note to self: Those things include, but are not limited to: my new plants, my new t-shirts, the May Challenge, Prosper, a whole bunch of photos that I have collected here, there, and everywhere []

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Countdown to Vacation!

I am a mere five workdays away from my first true vacation in a year and a half! I say “true” vacation because, though I have had time off from work, my last two trips have been to Ontario1 and trips to Ontario are not restful for me. I mean, I have a great time seeing family and old friends, but there is so much pressure to run around and see everyone that I really don’t get to relax at all. So my last relaxing vacation was my trip to the Dominican in January 2010! That is just waaaay too long ago.

So, I have to say that I’m *very* much looking forward to my upcoming eight day sojourn to Portland, Oregon. As I mentioned before, my sister and her posse are flying to Portland and I shall be driving Zaphod Beeblebrox the Car to meet them. Our plans for Portland consist of doing whatever the hell we feel like, whenever the hell we feel like it. Portland is supposed to be a super awesome city, so I’m sure we won’t have much trouble finding fun things to do each day.

Driving across the border on a long weekend, however2, is going to suck donkey balls, but my plan is that I’ll leave super early on Saturday morning, which hopefully means the border lineup will only be half crazy instead of completely batshit, and I can always entertain myself in a long border lineup by doing some studying. Then I can take my time driving down the coast (Sarah‘s suggestion is that I check out Mount St. Helens on the way) and then putter around in Portland until Nancy et al arrives that evening.

But before then – five more workdays3. So I should really get to bed so that I can get up for work!

  1. December 2010 and June 2011 []
  2. Especially a long weekend where the Canadian dollar is so strong []
  3. And about 10 days worth of work that need to be done in those five workdays! []

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More Visitors!

For the second weekend in a row, I was spoiled with visitors!  Sarah, Dave and Teddy came to town on Friday and spent the whole weekend here before leaving on their cruise down the Pacific coast today.

After I got home from work on Friday, Tod and I met up with them at their hotel room.  Teddy, trooper that he is, managed to stay up ’til 7 p.m. Pacific time, even though that’s three hours later than his normal bedtime (due to the time zone difference) which meant (a) we got to meet him right away and not have to wait ’til the next morning, (b) we got to see him a bit before he went to bed and (c) he was pretty quickly onto Pacific time for his trip.  And he was as smiley as smiley can be!  Now, I’d like to say that he was smiley because he just took such a shine to his Aunt Beth, but he is honestly the happiest kid I’ve *ever* met!  His smile is huge, adorable and always there!  Poor little guy was teething and he was still smiling most of the time!

After the Tedster hit the hay, Sarah, Tod and I grabbed some dinner at the Twisted Fork1, while Dave generously stayed back at the hotel with T. To that Dave for his generosity, he was rewarded with poutine from Fritz. Mmm, poutine.

Saturday brought us across the Burrard Inlet to the lovely city of North Vancouver to visit Sarah’s friends Deepa and David and their baby, Soji.

DSCF3103 by you.Sarah, Teddy & Aunt Beth on the SeaBus.  Most smiley baby ever!

Deepa made a wicked delicious lunch for us and we had tonnes of fun meeting Soji and catching up with Deepa & David, who I last saw the last time Sarah was here, when both she and Deepa were preggers.

DSCF3108 by you.

Baby Soji has the biggest eyes of any baby I’ve ever seen!  So freaking adorable!  It was absolute baby adorableness overload (in a good way!)

Saturday evening brought us back to Sarah & Dave’s hotel for T’s bedtime and some takeout sushi.  There are many reasons I’m proud to be a Vancouverite and one such reason is our ridiculously good sushi that comes at ridiculously cheap prices.  Mmm, sushi.

Sunday was filled with brunch at the Flying Swan2, a quick trip to Granville Island in a futile attempt to buy cans of Granville Island Brewing’s Maple Cream Ale since Sarah was unable to find it in cans at the Liquor Store3, and the arrival of Sarah’s parents4.  In the evening, Dave, Teddy & Sarah’s parents headed to Stepho’s for dinner5 while Sarah and I headed to my hockey game.  I’m so glad that Sarah was willing (and able!) to come to watch me play hockey. Most of the people I play with are from Vancouver and so other players’ family come to watch their games and it always makes me a bit wistful because my family are so far away. So to be able to have Nancy, Jeff & Madeline watch me play last week, and Sarah watch me play this week, was a real treat for me!  Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull out a win, but we did play really well6.  After the game, Sarah and I went to the Naam, as Sarah has been to the Naam on all of her previous trips and needed to keep the streak alive. Also, it was 9 p.m. by that point and we hadn’t eaten since lunch.  We both opted for the cashew & avocado burrito.  Mmm, burrito.

And then, almost as soon as they arrived, they were off!  I’m so happy that they came out to spend the weekend with me before their cruise and I’m super stoked to have *finally* met Teddy!  Hope you guys are having a great cruise!!

Photo credits: Dave McLean.  All rights reserved, yo.

  1. which I’d never even heard of before; it was pretty good. Notably, their menu and drinks come adorned with forks that are twisted.  Don’t you like my insightful restaurant review? []
  2. can you tell we like to eat? []
  3. spoiler: they no longer sell it in cans []
  4. who are joining S, D & T on the cruise and the sight of whom made Teddy’s ever present smile even smiley-er, which I didn’t think was possible! []
  5. again with the delicious food for ridiculously cheap []
  6. we outshot them by almost double!  Couldn’t quite seem to put the puck *in* the net though []

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My 4.5 Year Old Niece Climbed A Mountain This Weekend. What Did You Do?

My sister, her bf and my niece1 were in town this weekend, just to visit little ole me! And we had a freakin’ blast!

They arrived on Saturday morning and I was there at the airport to greet them and to give Madeline a ride in my Smart car! Being only a two-seater, Smarts come with a weight sensor in the passenger seat so that if you are giving a ride to a kid in a car seat, the air bag is deactivated. A quick stop at my house to drop off my car and pick up my bag, we headed to the Hotel Vancouver, where we stayed for the weekend. And after checking in to the hotel, we did what anyone who just got up at the crack of dawn to travel across the country would want to do – we climbed a mountain! The Grouse Grind to be exact.

IMGP0119 by you.

Requisite photo of us before we start the Grind. I think I have a photo of me with everyone with whom I’ve ever done the Grind in front of this sign.

IMGP0121 by you.

Madeline doing her best bear claw pose.  We’d told her that there were some grizzlies bears we could go to see at the top of the mountain (hence the bear hat)2.

People on the Grind who saw us with a 4.5 year old reacted with either judgementally judginess (“Are you planning to carry her 3/4 of the way??3) to amazement (“She’s doing great! I brought my 10 year old daughter, and we had to turn around at the 1/4 mark”4)

We finished the climb in 1 hr 59 mins  33 seconds. And that includes many a water break, plus about a 5 minute stop to eat granola bars.  ‘cuz who doesn’t like a little carbo-reloading along the trail?

Once at the top, we wanted to savour the accomplishment, take some photos and just enjoy the moment.  Madeline – she wanted to see the grizzly bears.  No recognition of having climbed a mountain and how impressive that was.  Just grizzly bears.

IMGP0123 by you.

We asked a woman who was selling gondola tickets5 at the top of the Grind how to get to the grizzlies.  She told us that we could go around the building to the right, but it was a bit of a rocky hiking path, or we could take the long way around to the left, which is smoother.  “With the little one,” she said, “you might want to take the smoother path.”  Uh, we are at the top of a mountain that she just climbed!!  I’m pretty sure she can handle a few more steps of hike-y goodness!

IMGP0130 by you.

One of the Grouse Mountain grizzly bears. I’m not sure if this is Grinder or Coola6, but I can say that they look *a lot* bigger in real life.  Their claws are as big as my head!

It was mother flipping cold up on that mountain, what with it being September and all7, but we hung around long enough to see the bears, get a beaver tail and some hot chocolate and watch the end of the horribly overacted lumberjack show.  At this point, we could no longer feel our hands due to the cold, and so we headed for the gondola.  The entire gondola ride, Nancy just kept repeating, “I can’t believe we just climbed that!”

At the bottom of the mountain, there are some timberwolves8 and Madeline was as excited to see them as to see the bears.  The timberwolf we saw was howling, so that was even awesomer than just your regular run-of-the-mill wolf.

After that, we headed back to the hotel for some quick showers so that we could then head out for dinner. Unfortunately, when you combine a 3 hour time difference and a 2 hour mountain hike, Madeline was out like a light by the time we’d all showered.  Like, unwakeably asleep.  So Jeff generously offered to stay back at the hotel with our sleeping beauty while Nancy and I went for sushi with Tod. 9

Sunday consisted of an early morning swim for Madeline and Jeff (while Nancy and I slept!), the Madeline went for breakfast with her dad (who has just moved to Vancouver from Toronto) while Nancy, Jeff, Tod and I went to the Omlettery for our own delicious breakfast. And then we picked up Madeline and I made everyone come to watch me play hockey!  To reward their kindness in coming to watch me play (as none of them could really care less about hockey10, I scored a goal!  It was my typical “screen the goalie, wait for someone with a good shot to make an attempt and then pick up the garbage rebound and shovel it ungracefully into the net.” But a goal is a goal and I gots me a goal!  Yay me!

After that we went to White Spot for a late lunch so that Madeline could have a Pirate Pack and then off to the swimming pool at the hotel again.  By the time we were done that it was time for dinner, so off we went to sushi and Madeline, poor kid, fell asleep pretty much as soon as we got to the restaurant.  Sushi is one of her favourite things to eat and the poor kid missed both our sushi dinners!

Monday I had to work, but I decided to work at home ‘cuz (a) I had some writing to get done for a Tuesday meeting and it helps to be away from the distractions at my office to do that and (b) I could save the time I would have spent commuting and spend that with my fam.  More swimming, coffee at Caffè Artigiano and Indian buffet at All India capped off a most awesome trip!

IMGP0135 by you.

Madeline enjoying some steamed milk at Caffè Artigiano

An older gentleman started talking to us at Caffè Artigiano and before we left he wanted to give Madeline a toonie11, so he asked her, “What’s 1 and 1?”  Without missing a beat, she replied, “Eleven.”

That kid rocks!

  1. or “Team Nancy” as Tod called them []
  2. the bears, for the record, are in an enclosure. We weren’t just taking the child out into the woods to sneak up on any grizzlies! []
  3. to which we responded, “She’ll be carrying us!” []
  4. When we were nearing the top, we told Madeline she was doing an awesome job, to which she replied, totally straight-faced, “Yeah, not like that man’s 10 year old daughter. []
  5. you can buy a ticket for $5 to ride the gondola back down, rather than trying to walk down the Grind which, while some people do it, is pretty much insane []
  6. I thought their names were Bella and Coola. Grizzly name knowing FAIL! []
  7. stupid autumn []
  8. like the bears, they are in an enclosure []
  9. Thanks Jeff!  You are super nice! []
  10. except for Tod. I’ve turned him into a hockey fan! []
  11. for my American readers, a “toonie” is our two dollar coin in Canada. Yes, we have a two dollar coin []

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A Month of Babies

For me, September is going to be a month o’ babies.  First up, I’m babysitting my friends Clayton & Jodelene’s baby next Saturday while they go to a Sarah McLaughlin concert.  Mason is six months old and so so so so cute!  I’m really looking forward to hanging out with Mason for the afternoon.

The next weekend brings Sarah and Dave and their baby, Teddy, to town from Ottawa.  Teddy is seven months old and so so so so cute! And I’m the worst aunt in the world, ‘cuz I haven’t even met Teddy yet, so I’m ridiculously excited to finally meet him!  While they are here, we are also going to meet up with Sarah’s friends Deepa and David and their baby, Sarojini. I’ve only seen a couple of photos of her from when she was born (so so so so cute!) and she’s about five months old now so she’ll be sooo much bigger than those photos.

And then the weekend after that my sister, her bf and my neice are coming to visit.  And, ok, my neice is almost five years old, so she’s not exactly a baby anymore. But she’s always be my little baby!  And I’m super duper excited to see all of them. And to take Madeline for a drive in my Smart Car!  Also, they are going to come and watch me play hockey. Yay!

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More new shoes

Shocking, I know.

My friend Therese is in town for her cousin’s kids baptism, so we met up for dinner (poutine at The Templeton) and shopping (for shoes, of course). First we went to the Aldo liquidation outlet on Granville and I found a super hot pair of red boots. Marked down to $70, plus 50% off. How often do you find boots for $35?? The only hitch – they didn’t have my size!! The horror, the horror!

Not to be deterred, we headed next door to the new Payless store, where Therese got two very cute pairs: one a shiny brown pair of flats, the other, an adorable open toe pump… in tweed! For serious!

As for my shoes, despite trying on virtually every heel they had in my size, I ended up with this pair:

Which I quite like. So cute! So comfy!

P.S. Don’t forget to scroll down to my previous post and let me know who you think is the hottest NHL hockey hottie!

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Nom Nom Nom at the Naam

Sarah at Tsunami Sushi

Sarah at Tsunami Sushi

Ah, the Naam.  One of my fav restaurants in Vancouver, and one of the places that Sarah gets to at least once (and sometimes more) on every trip to Vancouver. This trip has had us eating at not only the Naam and the Eatery, but also Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe (great veggie burgers), Tsunami Sushi (not highly recommended), and Cactus Club (yay yam fries!).  Nom nom nom.  Also, we went to see Tropic Thunder, where Sarah used a variety of Famous Player gift cards and I used Scene points, so the grand total for both of us to watch the movie was $2.30.  Our frugality rocks!  TT was a pretty friggin’ funny movie – best part, in my humble opinion -  (quasi-spoiler warning here): the movie trailer at the beginning with Robert Downey Jr & Tobey Mcguire.

So, yeah, Sarah and I have been having an awesome time just chillin’.  Since Sarah has already done virtually every touristy thing in Vancouver on previous trips here, and since we hardly ever get to just hang out (given the 4000+ km between us), we’ve had a nice time just hanging out and catching up.  Going for walks. Hanging out by the water.  Having tea. Eating at various eateries. Endlessly riding the #7 bus.

Also, I had my one week post-op check-up to see how my eyes are doing since my laser eye surgery.  My optometrist was very impressed with my eyes, saying things like “Wow, you must be a really good healer!” and “Your eyes look like most people’s look after a month, and it’s only been a week!” and “You are the poster child for laser eye surgery.”  I do have an unattractive looking subconjunctival hemorrhage, which I noticed looked worse last night than it had the previous day, but my optometrist explained that it’s normal for subconjunctival hemmorrhages to look worse before they look better.  Essentially, it’s like having a bruise, caused by blood vessels bursting due to the suction used during the surgery. But since your eye is clear, it’s bright red instead of being black & blue like a normal bruise.  The reason it looks worse today is because gravity is pulled the subconjunctival blood down, where it sort of pools near the iris.  It’s harmless and will go away over the next few days.  But, because I’m me, I decided that you all would want to see a picture (quasi-grossness warning here).

My eye lashes are kind of clumped together due to the sticky lubricating drops I put in every two hours.  I’m sure that it’s religiously sticking to my eye drop regimen, as well as wearing sunglasses at all times when I’m outside, that is helping me recover so fast.  Well, that and the lab accident involving a radioactive rat that happened when I was in grad school, giving me superhuman healing powers.

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Summer

And speaking of grad school, when you are a grad student, you don’t really get vacation.  Sure, you might not run experiments over Christmas holidays and you get to go to the occasional conference, but you are still working.  Or, if you are goofing off, no one’s paying you to do so.  But along with my big girl job comes such things as benefits, like vacation days.  Here’s how I’m planning on spending some of those days off:

Well, I’m not actually taking vacay days for the August stuff (I don’t work Fridays, so I’m doing my lasers in my eyes on a Friday and am supposed to be fine to be back at work on the Monday.  But it still looks to be quite an eventful summer!