Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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My Dad’s Legacy

In honour of what would have been my Dad’s 72nd birthday, I give you this photo of me entering a door that has a sign explicitly stating that only authorized personnel, which I am not, may enter:

Authroized personnel. Pfft!

And so my father’s legacy lives on every time I see a sign that says “do not enter” and I think “There must be something good in there. I should go check it out!”

In all seriousness, though, I was thinking about this the other day and as much as I enjoy the rebelliousness and hilarity of disobeying signs the way my dad liked to do, I think there are two important character traits that I learned from my dad reflected here. One is confidence. I remember him telling me that it’s easy to get away with going where you aren’t supposed to go: “Just walk in to a place like you belong there, and no one will question you.” Acting confident can often get you want you want. And in my life, acting confident often has gotten me what I wanted! The other is questioning authority. The sign may say “Do not enter” or “Authorized personnel only” – but why does it say that? Sometimes there is a good reason, but sometimes not. When I saw the signs at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland that said “do not cross this fence”, I knew that many people have accidentally slipped off the edge of those cliffs and fallen 700 ft to the death, so I thought “that’s a sign to take seriously”.

IMG_5563

But this “no entry” sign on an open gate in Freemantle, Australia, where there was clearly no danger, not so much:
Freemantle, Western Australia

So I guess the take home message here is not to automatically not do something just because you are told not to, but to ask the even important question “Why?” Asking “why?” has also gotten me things that I want (or, in some cases, the knowledge of the reason why I can have what I want – but at least I know). I think these are two pretty cool things to have learned from my dad.

I wish you were still here for me to wish you a happy birthday, Daddy.

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Speechless

Watching the US election results. Don’t even have words…

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The Agony of Da Ankle

Hey, remember that time I rolled my ankle one week before the Scotiabank half marathon, but I was all “it’s just a little tweak and I’m totes going to be fine to run 21.1 km in a week”? Yeah, so, apparently that “little tweak” was a “grade 1 sprain” and I was totes not fine to run any number of km on Sunday.

On Monday and Tuesday I was in denial that this was really a sprain and was convinced I’d be fine by mid-week.

On Wednesday I realized that I probably shouldn’t play my hockey game, as my ankle was still swollen and I didn’t want to aggravate it such that I wouldn’t be able to run on Sunday1.

Ankle.PNGOn Thursday, I slowly started to come to the realization that I might not be able to run the race I’d just spent three months training for and it made me really sad. Like, I was on the edge of tears much of the day. Frustrated that I wasn’t going to get to add a new medal to my collection, despite having done my three months of training. Frustrated that the Scotiabank half marathon has a “deadline” for withdrawing from the race due to injury that is *two weeks* before the event, as if you can’t get injured in the 14 days leading up to race day2. Frustrated with yet another health issue that, while minor, was enough to screw with my running season this year. Wishing that I’d gone running last Sunday, when it wasn’t raining, instead of Saturday, when it was pouring to hard that there were giants puddles to hide such things as uneven bits of pavement on which an unsuspecting running might roll their ankle.

By Friday, with my ankle still just as swollen as it was on Monday and still not able to walk, let alone run, without limping, I had accepted that I really, really wasn’t going to be able to run. And I found myself in the bizarre situation of having to justify to a variety of other people that it really wouldn’t be a good idea to run on an injured ankle. Usually I’m the one who is all “I can just walk it off” and everyone else is all “Don’t be silly! You’ll make it worse and then put yourself out of commission for even longer!”

I went to the race expo on Friday to pick up my race package – since I wasn’t able to withdraw my registration due to injury thanks to the Scotiabank half marathon’s absurd deadline for such withdrawals, I figured I may as well pick up my race shirt – it is now officially the most expensive shirt that I own!

When I try to look on the bright side, this is actually the first race I’ve ever missed out on due to injury. And when you consider that I’ve run 13 half marathons, as well as 13 races of other distances, over the past almost 10 years since I started racing, that’s actually not a bad track record. And while I missed out on a medal, this year’s Scotiabank half marathon medal doesn’t really look much different from the medal I got from running the Scotiabank half in 2014, so it’s not like I missed out on an exciting medal for my collection.

Other random thoughts about my ankle predicament:

  • Not being able to do any physical activity for the past week and a half has been killing me. When you are in a routine of doing regular exercise, you get really antsy when you can’t do it. I only just occurred to me the other day that, while I can’t do any of my usual forms of exercise – running, hockey, or biking – I could use this opportunity to do some upper body weight training (while sitting, so as not to aggravate my ankle. In fact, I’m going to head down to my building’s exercise room to do that right after I finish this posting).
  • Also killing me is that I’ve had to wear flat shoes! Last week was particularly bad, as it was too cold and wet out for sandals, and I discovered I really only have one pair of non-sandal flats that I can wear to work. Clearly, I need to do some shoe shopping!
  • Even hobbling on a gimpy ankle, I’m still faster than at least half of the people in the Skytrain station.
  • Even with a bandaged ankle, precious few will offer you a seat on the bus or Skytrain… there were even people who I saw look at my bandaged ankle and then go back to reading crap on their phones. On one Skytrain ride a woman got up to give me her seat… and she was pregnant! I said I couldn’t take a seat from a pregnant woman, but she refused to sit down, insisting that both her legs were at least working. All around sat many non-pregnant, non-bandaged people watching this conversation, until finally one person actually offered to give up her seat as well.
  • When my mom heard about my sprained ankle, she suggested I try out Voltaren, a topical gel that works to decrease pain and swelling. I’d never heard of it before, but when I mentioned it to some people at work they were like “OMG, it’s the greatest thing every invented!!!” I’ve been using it since she suggested it; my sister asked me today if it was working and I said “I don’t know. I have no control ankle to see how it would have healed without it.” Her reply “Common Bethy…sprain the other one along with that one when it heals to test it out!” Obviously, I have failed as a scientist.
  • Speaking of Voltaren3, I keep forgetting what it’s called. I may have said that I’m putting Voltron on my ankle at one point, and I may also have said that I have to put some Virtanen on my ankle a few other times4. Jake Virtanen, for the uninitiated, is an adorable player for the Vancouver Canucks (who just so happens to have been born in New Westminster!).

My ankle definitely felt better this week compared to last, so I’m hoping that another few days of rest will have the swelling gone. I’m going to start rehabbing it with some ankle strengthening exercises. And I’ve already looked into another half marathon to replace this one: the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon on Labour Day weekend. You get to run through Kelowna, which is beautiful, you get to go to a wine festival afterwards, and there is a medal (though I don’t know what it looks like, I do know it will be one I don’t have yet!).

OK, I’m off to go do some biceps curls now!

Image credits:

Drawing of ligaments in the ankle. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1176993

  1. In retrospect, I think this was the “bargaining” stage of grief “If I skip hockey, I’ll get to run the race” – I seemed to have skipped right past the “anger” stage of grief. []
  2. I think they should at least let you transfer your registration to next year if you can produce a medical note to verify your injury. Because these races aren’t cheap! []
  3. Which autocorrects to Voltaire. Autocorrect, you are so pretentious! []
  4. The first time by accident and the other times because I thought it was hilarious. []

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Frogs Need Birthdays Too

Celebrating the kitties’ birthday got me to thinking about how I have no idea when the froggies’ birthdays are. I don’t know if they all share the same birthday or if they have different birthdays. And, come to think of it, I don’t even know if you are supposed to celebrate the day the frog eggs were laid as their birthday or the day that the eggs hatched or even possibly the day the tadpoles metamorphosed into frogs. They just don’t tell you such things when you adopt frogs!

So, I have made an executive decision to celebrate the frogs’ birthday on February 19, which was the birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus, the great mathematician and astronomer after whom Copernicus the Third, and his forefathers Copernicus and Copernicus the Second, were named after.

Untitled

Also, I’m just realizing that I haven’t yet blogged about the recent frog tragedy at Chez Neige. A few weeks back at frog feeding time, only 3 frogs came out to eat. And, as we all know from the back of my car, I have 4 frogs. Now, the frogs are *very* good at hiding, so it was possible that perhaps one of the little guys was just having a snooze in the castle. Unfortunately, the fourth frog never materialized and so after a few days of only seeing 3 frogs, I ended up taking stuff out of the tank to make sure (s)he wasn’t hiding the castle or in one of the plants. And then I had to admit that the frog was MIA. I’m guessing that somehow, despite the lid being on the tank, the frog made a great escape (the lid doesn’t cover the entire area, as there’s some room between the lid and the filter cube in the tank, so it’s possible (s)he jumped out). Aquatic dwarf frogs can’t live more than 20 minutes out of water, so once a frog leaves the tank, that’s pretty much it for them. And there’s really two possibilities as to what happen to the froggy cadaver. Either I will find their dried husk under a piece of furniture at some later date or a kitty got a snack. If it was the latter, I wouldn’t blame whichever kitty it was – they are obligate carnivores, after all, and I don’t even know what would be a worse – slowly dehydrating to death or being devoured by a cat. I hope whichever way my froggy went, it was the less bad way.

Also, I have a bit of a conundrum as all the frogs had grown to be the same size, so I was no longer able to tell them apart. So I don’t even know which frog is missing and presumed deceased! So now I’m going to make another executive decision1 – RIP Raspberry. You are missed.

  1. Based solely on choosing the least creative of the 4 frog names. []

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70

Racing pigeon

Isn’t this racing pigeon beautiful? You can tell it’s a racing pigeon because it has bands on its legs.

My dad would have been 70 years old today.

I think of all the stuff he’s missed in the past 3+ years since we lost him. My little nephew was just a tiny baby when my Dad died and now he’s getting ready to start school. My niece was only 7 – now she’s such a grown up 10 year old! He would have been so proud of the amazing people they are growing up to be.

My sister and I have both finished the Master’s degrees that we were starting just before he died. We both have big fancy new jobs. He would have been so proud of our respective accomplishments.

We Call Him Paddy

Another pretty racing pigeon, just like the kind my dad used to have.

My mom, my sister, and I have all gone on various trips, near and far, that he – not being much of a traveller himself – would have loved to have heard all about. My mom is enjoying her retirement and he should be here, enjoying it with her.

This is, by sheer coincidence, my 2600th blog posting. This is not be design – I just happened to notice it when I went to write this post. I think my dad would have liked that.

I miss you, Daddy.

Image Credits:

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One of my favourite Dad stories

When my dad was young, he was in the Sea Cadets1. And when you got in trouble in Sea Cadets – which for my Dad was, apparently, quite frequently – they made you do chores. Now, my dad hated to do the dishes2, so when he was assigned to dish duty, he made a big show of playing with the bubbles and pretending to have lots of fun. “That’s it, Snow! You aren’t getting dish duty anymore!” Unlike dishes, he loved to peel potatoes. So when he got in trouble and was assigned to potato peeling duty, he made a big show of “Aww, man! Not peeling potatoes!!!”, and so henceforth whenever he got in trouble, it was off to peel potatoes that he went. Given that, as previously mentioned, he got in trouble a fair bit, when he got some time off3, he went into town and bought a potato peeler, because they only gave you a knife with which to peel the potatoes. A potato peeler is, of course, much easier on the hands and you lose less of the potato, so you have to peel fewer potatoes – and it takes much less time – when you use a peeler than when you use a knife. So when he was on potato peeling duty, he would take the bag of potatoes up on the ship’s deck, quickly peel all he needed to peel with the potato peeler that he had hidden in his pocket, but he’d put a bunch of the peeled ones in the bag with a few unpeeled one on top to make it look like he was only partway done. And then he would sit and relax in the sun and when his superior came by to check on him, he’d have a knife in his hand and would appear to be peeling the potatoes in the amount of time it should take if one were peeling potatoes with a knife.

Three years ago today, we lost my Dad. Today, I’m thinking of him telling that potato peeling story – which I heard many times during my life – and I’m smiling at his cleverness and how he liked to know that he was sticking it to The Man. I miss you, Daddy, and I think of you every single day, especially when I back into a parking spot4, put on my hockey gear5, or peel a potato.

  1. Or were they called Navy Cadets? []
  2. Clearly, I have inherited my loathing of doing dishes from my paternal DNA. []
  3. I think they called it “shore leave”, but I could be mistaken. []
  4. Which I *always* do. []
  5. And tie my skates really, really tight. []

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Two Years

Two years ago yesterday my Dad went into brain surgery, which he didn’t survive. We wouldn’t know that he hadn’t survived for three long days, during which we sat at his bedside willing him to wake up. We didn’t know his brain had suffered too much damage during the surgery and could no longer do anything but the most basic functions to keep his body going, but even then only with the assistance of artificial life support and even with that life support, it was barely able to do that and his body started shutting down over those three days. He couldn’t hear us talking to him, he hadn’t had a thought since he’d gone into surgery, scared but hopeful that the massive tumour in his brain would be removed and he would be OK. He also hadn’t known the tumour was malignant melanoma, as on the scans that they did before the surgery, it looked decidedly like a benign meningioma, which would have meant that removing it would have made him feel better than ever. I’m generally not a believer that “ignorance is bliss”, preferring to face facts over being in the dark about things, but in this case I’m glad that the surgeon wasn’t able to tell what kind of cancer my dad had before the surgery. It would have done my dad no good to go into his surgery knowing that his cancer was incurable and that he would only have suffering, debilitation, and death ahead of him. Given that the surgery turned out to be non-survivable, I’m willing to accept that in this case, where knowledge of the stark realty would have offered no way to have done anything differently and only would have served to make my dad’s last weeks of life that much more depressing, ignorance was preferable.

Around this time of year, I can’t help but think of my dad’s death and everything that surrounded it – the diagnosis, the waiting for surgery, the surgery, sitting vigil by his bedside, the moment that he stopped breathing and then, shortly after, when his heart stopped beating, the funeral. But I don’t want his death to overshadow his life. My dad was a man who believed in living life to its fullest. He was larger than life. The life of the party. He loved his family and we loved him.

I think of the things that have happened in the past two years. I did a whole MBA. I moved into a new place with a boyfriend. And then we broke up. I got pet frogs – that I think my dad would have liked – and pet cats – that I think he wouldn’t have1. My nephew has grown from a wee baby to an energetic, hilarious little toddler. My niece has continued to blossom into an intelligent, creative, and hilarious little girl. My mom and I went to Ireland together, and we know he would have loved to hear all about our trip. So many things he never got to see. So much life he will never get to live.

Last night, his Toronto Maple Leafs played my Vancouver Canucks and for the first time in more than TEN years, the Leafs won. And I would have given anything to have gotten a phone call last night after the game for him to tease me about it.

I miss you always, Daddy.

  1. My dad liked birds, so he didn’t like cats. []

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Shadow

As part of my “take a self-portrait every day for 365 days” challenge, I took today’s photo while sitting my beloved purple chair. I figured it was nice and sunny and you can see a bit of my beloved river view in the background. But when I saw the photo afterwards, I nearly fell over. My profile in shadow looks exactly, uncannily, hauntingly like my dad. I can’t stop looking at it.

I’ve searched through my photos and can’t find any photos of him in profile, but for those of you who knew him – don’t you think that looks a lot like him?

Day 16

I miss you, Daddy.

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Goodnight, Sweet Frog

All my froggies are dead. Even my beloved Copernicus! =(

The babies started dropping off, one by one, just like the last time. First, I found Loki floating one day, but unlike his previous floating that tricked me into thinking that he was dead, he actually was dead. =( Several days later, Balboa was found leaning up against the side of the tank and looking directly upwards. That pose isn’t all that abnormal and neither is holding the same position for a long time – the frogs tend to do that for a few minutes, but eventually they swim away. But when I saw that he was actually swaying with the water current, I knew it wasn’t good. Another frog down =(

At that point, there were just two frogs left – Fonzie and Copernicus. But one day at feeding time, I tapped on the glass and only Copernicus came swimming out to get his food. I searched everywhere – including taking the castle out of the tank in case Fonzie was hiding there, but no luck. Fonzie was gone =(

I suspect the Copernicus might have eaten him – he looked a little pudgy and he got really lethargic and started spending a lot of time floating. At one point, I even saw him swimming as hard as he could towards the bottom, but he just couldn’t manage to stay down – whenever he stopped swimming for even a second, he would float right back up to the top. It looked very frustrating. He spent the next several days floating most of the day, though every so often he would manage to make his way down to the bottom of the tank and I’d think “Thank god, he’s pulled through again!” And then he’d go back to floating some more. He was also moulting but the skin wasn’t coming off, which made him look extra sickly. Normally, when they moult, they either pull the skin off themselves (or pull most of it off and the rest comes off when they swim quickly across the tank), or another frog pulls it off them to eat it1, but he seemed to be too lethargic to do the former and there were no frogs around to the latter. Then one day he was floating upside down (!), which makes you think he’s a goner for sure, but upon attempting to scoop him out with the net… the moment the net touched him, he swam away!

Then, two days ago, I came home to see Copernicus sitting on the bottom of the tank, all peaceful and relaxed, looking out through the front wall of the tank. And I thought yet again, “Oh good, he’s feeling better!” But, being that I’m super paranoid because I’d been so worried about him for so many days, I tapped the front of the tank, which usually gets him to swim over to see me. Nothing. Then I picked up the glass water bottle next to the tank and set it down loudly, which usually startles the frogs… nothing. And I knew that he was gone. Poor little Copernicus. I can only hope that he died as peacefully as he looked and that he didn’t suffer. I miss him.

In a sad coincidence, I had just that day brought some frog cupcakes to my work potluck and I was all excited to do a blog posting about them. Now the photo just makes me sad.

Frog Cupcakes

Frog cupcakes. They were delicious.

  1. Gross. []

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Last Frog Standing

Note: I wrote this posting on March 11 and totally thought I’d posted it (and I was wondering why no one had commented on it), but I just discovered it in my drafts, so apparently I had saved it rather than posting it.

Things have not been going well in the tank.

When I last mentioned the wee frogs here on the blog, we had just got two babies. They didn’t last a week. One day they were happily swimming and playing, floating on the surface and then scooting around. And the next thing I know – we’ve got a floater. I have no idea why they died, but at first I was thinking that maybe they were too little – that perhaps they shouldn’t have been sold so young because they needed special froglet care. At least, that was my working hypothesis… until the other frogs started dropping like flies.

First I found Starsky lying on his back at the bottom of the tank one morning. Honestly, he looked like he was playing dead, but sadly, you cannot train a frog to play dead. Then, a few days later, the same thing happened with Hutch. Hutch had been floating on the surface for much of the previous evening, and I got worried about him, because that was actually how one of the babies was behaving before he died1, but I gave him a little tap and he moved, so I know he was alive. But the next morning, he was lying dead on his back at the bottom of the tank. So now my working theory is that the babies had some kind disease that they brought into the tank and infected the others.

And then there was one.

Copernicus the Frog

Copernicus is the last frog standing.

Around the time of Starsky’s & Hutch’s deaths, Copernicus was acting like they were – a bit lethargic and not his usually little froggy self, which got me really worried. But yesterday after he had his dinner2, he really perked up and has been more peppy and playing in the tank, so I’m really hoping that he’s managed to fight off whatever killed the other frogs.

We plan to get some more frogs – African dwarf frogs are social creatures, so it’s better for him to have some frogs than to live solo – but this time I think we’ll keep them in a separate tank to make sure they are really healthy before we put them in the big tank with Copernicus. We tried to get some last week, but the store was out, so we’ll try again this week. Hopefully we can get some little pals for Copernicus!

  1. and how he was when he died – floating on the surface. []
  2. Delicious bloodworms! []