Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Goals 2017 Check In

We are more than 5/12 of the way through 2017 and first of all, how is that even possible? It feels like it was just New Year’s! But secondly, it seems like a good time to check in on my goals to see if I’m even remotely on track before the year completely gets away from me.

Let’s dive right in, shall we? Below is a list of the goals with notes on how I’m doing on each one. I’ve also colour coded them: green for those that are done or on track, orange for those where progress is made but the goal needs a bunch of work to get back on track, and red for those that are seriously in danger of not getting completed (or are already failed), plus grey for one that has been superseded.

1. Learn 12 new things (1 per month). So far I’ve learned: plumbingfolding a fitted sheet, strength trainingsewing, and growing balcony potatoes – I’ve also learned about one more thing but haven’t written it up yet, so I’m actually ahead on this one!
2. KonMari my condo. I have started this one, but have gotten a little stalled after I got through all my clothes and shoes (still have jewelry and purses to do before I can consider the “clothing” category done). Got a little distracted by teaching a course for the past 6 weeks, which took up a lot of my spare time, but that’s done now so I can get back to making giant piles of my belongings to decide which things bring me joy and thanking the ones that don’t make the cut for their service (lol!)
3. Do yoga at least 2x per week (either at home or in a class). Haven’t done it even once this year!
4. Establish a weight training program and actually do regular weight training, where “regular” = at least 2x per week for at least 3 out of 4 weeks per month. I’m doing excellent on this one! I have gone to the gym 3 days a week, every week, since I joined Strong Side on March 3. Hooray for me!
5. Get back to journalling regularly (where “regularly” = once a week). I forgot this one was a goal. I should really do this! Good thing I’m doing this check in to remind me!
6. Travel somewhere awesome. Scott and I are doing a road trip next week1 and one of the places will be going is Jasper. Though it’s not far away, I do believe it constitutes awesome.
7. Get gum graft surgery done.  Booked for July 4!
8. Get a Nexus card Oh yeah, I should do this!
9. Send an actual physical birthday card on time to all my family members and close friends Already failed at this one! Maybe next year…
10. Bring my lunch to work 80% of the time. I’ve been tracking this on a weekly basis, but hadn’t looked at the actual percentage until just now. I’m only at 56% Clearly I need to up my lunch game when I get back from my holidays!
11. Complete the 100 push up challenge. This goal has been superseded by my joining Strong Side. Hopefully I’ll start to get better at pushups – I’ve managed to make great improvements in my strength, but pushups remain tough for me.
12. Submit 5 papers for publication. I’ve gotten one submitted, I’ve got one that is about 85% of the way done, I’ve got one that I’ve planned out with my co-authors (but we haven’t yet started on), and I’ve got one in my brain. Better get working on the lesser done ones (and also come up with the 5th one!)
13. Read 17 books. I’ve only finished one so far this year (Maria Kondo’s book), but I’m in the middle of reading 4 different books at the moment, plus I have my friend Cath’s new book sitting on my coffee table waiting to be read. So I’m rather behind on this one and I mostly blame the fact that I spend my commute doing my Pokemon inventory management rather than reading
14. Make 17 new foods and/or drinks that I’ve never made before. I’ve only done 6 so far, but I’ve got some good ideas for other things, so I think I’ll manage this one.
15. Write 117 blog postings! Counting this one, I’ll have done 26 blog postings so far this year. I better step it up!
16. Finish the plan for mystery thing #1. I’m actually working on this in earnest this week – my mystery collaborator and I have the week off work to focus on this, so this goal is well underway.
17. Finish the letter of intent for mystery thing #2. I did finish this, so technically I completed my goal. Doesn’t look like this mystery thing is going to go anywhere, so let us never speak of it again.

So I’m doing OK on several, have quite a few that are not on track, and a few on which I’ve made progress. So I guess now it’s time to turn some of those orange and reds into green!

  1. Attention would be robbers: My cat sitter will be here, so don’t even think of trying to rob me! []

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Going Postal

Way back in the old time-y days of 2016, the mailbox in my building got broken.

Mailbox

Apparently it was quite old and it had been repaired several times, but this time it was no longer repairable. So we had to order a new one. But it was December and the mailbox making place was on holidays. So like a month later we got our new mailbox delivered…. and it turned out that half of it was defective. So they had to make another one.

We now have half a mailbox

Well, after two long months of not getting mail delivered, we finally got a new, not defective mailbox installed last week! Hooray!

New mailbox!

It turns out that if you have a b0rked mailbox, Canada Post holds your mail at a depot place where you can go pick it up during the extremely convenient hours of 10 am to 2 pm, Monday to Friday. Given that I don’t work in the same city that I live in (and hence where the mail depot is), I found this pretty ridiculous. I managed to pick up my mail two times in those two months – once during my Christmas holidays (before l left for Toronto/New York), and a second time on Family Day (because it’s a provincial holiday, not a federal one, so federal employees, such as those who work for Canada Post, don’t get the day off). I talked to some people in my building who didn’t pick up their mail even one time for the entire two months!

The whole ordeal confirmed for me what I’m sure most people know – mail is mostly irrelevant. When I did pick it up, my mail was full of RRSP statements (which I can check online anyway), pay stubs (though the money had already gone into my bank account, so I wasn’t too worried about it), and my property assessment (which I already checked out online). The only thing that I really even needed out of the entire two months’ worth of mail was a royalty cheque from my textbook – my publishing company is American and apparently it’s impossible to send money electronically through the US-Canada impenetrable border. I also got the notice for my strata’s AGM (which eventually also was sent electronically – one of the items on the agenda was how to pay for the new mailbox. lol! Also, now that the mailbox is fixed, my T4 slips are arriving, so I guess that’s a thing that I need to get in the mail (as only some places seem to have those online).

Anyway I think what I’m saying here is that everyone should mail cool stuff to me now that I have a functioning mailbox again!

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Scientists Like Lasers

Two words for you: laser tag. Anyone who didn’t celebrate their milestone-birthday-whose-number-shall-not-be-named by playing laser tag really missed out.

Laser tag for my birthday!You will not find a finer group of laser taggers than this crew.

I knew I wanted to do something different for my birthday this year and after much deliberation, I settled on laser tag. I hadn’t played laser tag since high school, but I remembered it being really fun and also, it seemed like something epically ridiculous to do for my birthday. And hence, I scheduled two private games of laser tag (or should I say “lazer” tag) at the laser tag place in New West and gathered a group of peeps who were up for the challenge of spending an hour shooting at each other in a dark labyrinth. The first game was a free for all, where it was every man, woman, and child for themselves. In this game, I learned that I have terrible aim and was very glad that there is no cost for ammo when it comes to laser tag. In the second game, we were put into two teams and your objective was to only shoot people on the other team while not shooting people on your own team. As it turns out, Team Red’s strategy of strategizing bested Team Blue’s approach of not strategizing. Who knew? Despite my poor performance, I had so. much. fun! It was even more fun than I remembered it being! Everyone else was also raving about what a blast they had too (even a few who had been skeptical before the game), which made me very happy!

After the games were over and we all had a chance to examine our score cards in detail1, we headed over to my place for the after party, where we (along with some other peeps who weren’t up for (or available for) laser tag but who were up for partying) ate, drank, and were merry into the wee hours. As usual when it comes to parties, I didn’t get nearly enough time to chat with anyone as much as I wanted to, but I did really have a great time and was reminded that I have the best friends ever.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with me. And if anyone wants to go play laser tag again, I’m game!

  1. For the record, in game two I only shot one of my own team members, though I did shoot her twice. []

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Happy Bething Day!

As we all know, Bething Day is the Bethmas equivalent of Boxing Day, so I naturally had to go out and buy myself something. Or I happened to go out to do a bunch of errands and happened to buy myself something while I was out doing said errands and then I happened to retroactively called it a Bething Day purchase. For the record, I got a new purse at Winner’s. Actually, I also got myself a couple of speed pourers when I was at Canadian Tire1, so they count too.

The less exciting part of Bething Day was the errands part. I had to go out to a mail depot to pick up my mail which has been piling up at said mail depot since Canada Post smashed up my mailbox in mid-December. So I finally got all the Christmas cards that everyone sent me! I also had to go pick up a package from Amazon that was at the Puralator depot – a package that I didn’t even know was waiting for me (because they never bothered to leave a notice or call me) until I got an email from Amazon that was all “how do you like that new thing you bought?” and I was all “weird, I never got it” and then checked Amazon tracking and found out they’d supposedly tried to deliver it four days earlier. When I walked into the Puralator depot, the woman at the counter was telling a customer “Well, they should have called to tell you it was here”, so I guess Puralator just has really crappy customer service. After that I had to pick up my duvet from the dry cleaners because one night Watson decided to attack Crick in the middle of the night while we were sleeping and literally scared the piss out of her. Poor Crick! And poor me, because it’s been eighty billion degrees below zero and that is not a time to be without a duvet! I also had to go to the grocery store and the liquor store to stock up for my Bethmas party this weekend2. Anyway, after all of that, I felt like I deserved a purse3 for Bething Day!

I hope y’all bought yourself something nice today too! 🙂

  1. Where I also got some light bulbs, which hardly counts as a present for myself. []
  2. And tomorrow I will have to go to Costco to do more stocking up. []
  3. I also was in need of a new purse to replace on that I have that is falling apart. []

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My 21st birthday is old enough to go out drinking

40 anos UniritterSo today I turned 401. It seems pretty hard to believe because I don’t feel a day over 26 and I’m pretty sure I don’t look a day over 35! But the calendar tells me that it was, in fact, 40 years ago that I came into this world. I’m so lucky that it’s 2017 and we have the technology to keep people of my advanced age alive!

Birthday festivities started on Monday when some co-workers surprised me with a birthday cake and diet Pepsi (clearly, my co-workers know me well!). I was lured to this surprise by a meeting invitation, so I showed up ready to talk about the health care IT adoption and instead was greeted with singing and cake! Yesterday, my team took me for a delicious sushi lunch! Last night, birthday wishes started coming in from friends who live in the future (i.e., Australia and Japan), where it was my birthday already.

Today I treated myself by not having to set my alarm, since I have today off. I woke to find a bunch of birthday wishes from my Ontario peeps, who also live in the future (just not as far in the future as Australia or Japan) – including the first ever text that I have received from my mom! I spent a leisurely morning enjoying coffee and some French toast and then did some planning for the birthday party I’m having on the weekend. As per my usual party MO, there will be enough food for at least three times as many people as will actually be at the party.

Right now I have some tradespeople installing some new shower doors on my tub, since the ones I had previously got broken2, so I guess my birthday present to me is that I will no longer have to take showers with a cheap shower curtain duct taped to the frame of the old shower doors. #Adulting The cats are trying to decide if they are more curious or scared by all the noise – Watson has just come out from under the bed, where he’s been since they got here, so I guess curiosity is winning. Crick ran under the bed at first but soon came out to see what was going on, though she’s tending to stay close to me. Ooh, and just as I was typing that last sentence, one of the tradesmen ripped a piece of paper packaging and Watson bolted back to the bedroom!

Tonight I have not one, but *two* hockey games to play, which makes me a happy camper. And my new boy is coming to watch my hockey games, also making me a very happy camper indeed!

All in all, although I am a less than 14 hours into this whole being 40 thing, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as I was thinking it would be – but probably because I still kind of don’t believe it’s true!

Image Credit: Posted by Thainá Gaieski on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. For my American friends, the legal drinking age here in BC is 19, so my math in the title is actually correct. In two years, my 21st birthday could go down to Seattle to go drinking. []
  2. For the record, it was not me who broke them! []

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Teaching

Tonight was the last class of the course I’m teaching this semester. Since it was my first time teaching this class, it was a crazy amount of work and I am so, so, so, so, so, so tired. But I have to say that I really enjoyed teaching this class! The material leant itself well to active learning – though I definitely want to increase the amount of activities and decrease the amount of me-as-a-talking-head even more next year. The students did their class presentations this week and last and they were excellent – they really went above and beyond to produce some stellar work. A few students stayed behind after class to chat with me – they said that they agreed that more in-class activities would be better and even had some ideas for possible activities. And they said that they got a lot out of the class, as it was so different from any of their other classes, and that they found the little extras (like stories I told that brought the concepts into real life situations and videos I shared that touched on the concepts we were learning) really added some depth to the class, and that they really appreciated the work I’d put into it. That’s the kind of feedback that puts a smile on this very tired instructor’s face!

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Hockey

Played my first (and second) game of hockey since my injury! As previously mentioned, my physio told me that once it felt OK to skate *and* it felt OK the next day after I skate, I was allowed to play hockey again. And since I felt OK on Friday after skating on Thursday night, I was approved to play today! My lower division team had a game at 2 pm, so I played that and it went fine – I’m definitely not as strong on my right leg as I’d like to be, but that will take some time and continued strengthening exercises to get to, and I wasn’t able to go as all out as I usually go, but I was actually surprised that I managed to have some jump in my step and didn’t suck wind too hard. My slightly higher division team had a game at 6 pm and since I felt OK after the first game, I stuck around and played that game too1. Game #2 also went well – I even got knocked down at one point and it didn’t hurt my hip (which was something that I worried might hurt). Afterwards, I came home, took some naproxen (an anti-inflammatory), took a long hot shower and did a bunch of stretching. I can feel that my back is definitely a bit tensed up, but that’s pretty typical when I haven’t played in a while – and it’s been three months since I last played!

Anyhoo, I’m going to see how I feel in the morning, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I might actually really be functional again!

  1. I brought some work to the rink with me so I could get work done in between the two games.Wasn’t a long enough break to make it worth going all the way home and then all the way back to the rink, but was long enough to get something to eat and get a bit of work done. []

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PhDiversary

Can you believe that it was a decade ago that my PhD was bestowed upon me? A *decade*!!

IMG_0378

I just cannot believe it has been 3,653 days since I walked across the convocation stage in my fancy shoes, my garish pink robe, and my puffy hat and officially became Dr. Beth. A lot has happened in those 10 years. I went from being an unemployed couch surfer with $72K of student debt to a job having, home-owning, cat-owning, student debt-free published author and absent-minded professor(ish) who added five more letters after my name beyond the PhD.

Also, would you believe that in all that time I’ve only once been called “not a real doctor”1 and that was actually just last week? True story.

  1. Not counting times someone said it in jest. []

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Busy

I knew that one of the days this month I was going to phone it in on a blog posting. And today is that day. Too busy finishing up tomorrow night ‘s lecture to write anything substantive here. But I have something to write about tomorrow, so hopefully I’ve have the energy to write that one up after class!

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Single

So, this. Again.

*sigh*