Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese



I decided to take this week off work. Figured it was a good chance to recharge my brain before I have to really start prepping for my fall classes. Plus Scott and I went to Kelowna this weekend and I got some produce that I want to pickle, so I figured that it’s better to do that during the week while the produce is still nice and fresh. And, as previously mentioned, I have a bunch of little things that I want to do around the condo, so since COVID has taken any substantial travel off the table, I figured that I may as well make the best of it.

The things I want to do off the top of my head:

  • make pickles and spicy pickled green beans
  • paint the insides of my closets1
  • steal Kimli’s idea and do this with my spices2
  • frame photos/artwork and hang it on my walls
  • organized the eight million papers I brought home from my office so that I don’t have giant piles of paper all over my home office

I also thought I’d check out my 101 things to do in 1001 days list to see if there is anything on that list that I could get done. Much to my surprise, that 1001 days ends in October! Quite a few things on the list are travel-related3, so I’ll just have to concentrate on the non-travel-y ones. Some of the ones I think I can do include:

  • Make Christmas presents for at least 5 people for a single Christmas
  • Make something useful with my chalkboard paint
  • Mend Baby Mr. Moveable Bear’s paws
  • Make a list of all the gift cards I have
  • Spend all the gift cards on that list
  • Compile a list of all my accounts and other relevant information for the executrix of my will
  • Make homemade marshmallows
  • Eat at Hawksworth
  • Make a key lime pie
  • Make Eggs Benedict
  • Mend all the clothes in my “to fix” box
  • Finish Konmari-ing my apartment
  • Frame my New Westminster map
  • Refinish my kitchen table
  • Refinish my bedside table
  • Clear all the draft blog postings out of my “Drafts” folder (either finishing writing them or give up on the idea and delete it)
  • Make a list of 100 things for which I’m grateful.
  • Make a living will
  • Complete a healthcare proxy document
  • Establish a regular mindfulness meditation routine
  • Publish 333 blog postings during these 1001 days

That should keep me busy!

  1. I have leftover paint from when I got the condo painted and figure that paining the insides of the closets is a nice, low stakes way to do some painting, since I’ve never painted before. []
  2. I’ve ordered the necessary jars and magnets, so will do this once they arrive. []
  3. Oh Beth of the Before Times, if you only knew! []


Happy 15th Blogiversary to Me!


Somehow, I have been blogging for 15 years. Not sure how that’s possible, but given that in these pandemic-y times a month seems like a year, maybe I’ve only been blogging for 15 months? Who knows, really? It is impossible to tell.

Despite my long and storied blogging career, it has come to my attention that my tagline of “The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese” is no longer accurate. Once upon a time, if you Googled “radicalized geese”, my blog was the #1 hit. I’m sure anyone who did that (and my sources1 tell me that people did, in fact, Google that) and ended up here was thoroughly confused, as there are very few mentions of geese, radicalized or otherwise. I wonder if I’ve said “radicalized geese” enough times to reclaim my throne? I guess I’ll have to publish this to find out.

Geese in Calgary
These geese may or may not be radicalized.

All this reminiscing about the good old days of my reign of Internet glory (at least amongst those who searched for information on the radicalization of geese) now has me wondering: what search terms are people using that land them on my blog these days? Since I don’t blog as much as I used to, I’ve looked at the top search terms that have landed people on my blog in the last year. Some of the top trends include:

  • people wanting to know what the collective term for a group of nieces and nephews is called (the answer is: niblings)
  • people wanting to know how many calories you burn while playing hockey (you can read my in depth ponderings on that here)
  • several requests for shirtless pictures of various NHL players (see here for a compilation) and hockey phrases that sound sexual (see here)
  • several people inquiring about knife laws in the Dominican Republic (wtf?)
  • a disturbing number of searches for pictures of hand injuries, exemplified by the search term “girls hand fracture selfies”

There were also 4 people who ended up on my blog from searching “2020 sucks”, which I think is actually quite an accomplishment, as there must be A LOT of people on the Internet who are saying those words. Although I was calling this year out for sucking earlier than most people, so I am a bit of trendsetter, really.

Canada Geese
These geese are totally radicalized.

Image Source:

  1. Where “my sources” are Google Analytics. []


Random, Rambling Thoughts

I know I say this every year – even years without pandemics – but how the hell is the year half over? The year seems to be flying by, especially given that March was three years long.

I recently finished teaching a summer intersession course at SFU. “Intersession” is Latin from “cram a 12 week course into 6 weeks”. At least, I think that’s the translation. This course was already planned to be an online course even before The Virus, so I was quite lucky that I’d already created a bunch of online materials (including videos that I filmed using a lightboard which was my favourite thing ever) between Nov and Feb, back when one could do things like go onto campus and be in the same room as a camera person.

I’m not a huge fan of teaching a 12 week course in 6 weeks at the best of times – I feel like it’s really hard for students to absorb the material and have time to apply what they are learning in such a short period of time – and doing it in the middle of a pandemic, like everything one tries to do in the middle of a pandemic, is that much harder. Usually I pair up teams of students with non-profit organizations and they develop an evaluation plan for that non-profit (as it’s such a good experience for students to work with real clients and the non-profit parnters tell me it provides them with useful learning and ideas too). But this year I felt like NPOs had enough on their plates without having to work with a bunch of students on a super tight timeline while everything they usually do is up in the air. So we just made do with working on evaluation plans for programs that students either already were familiar with or that they could find enough information online to work with. Then George Floyd was murdered and there was a global uprising in response, which was a lot for students to process, especially Black, indigenous, and students of colour, on top of everything else. And this was, for many students, on top of working, doing practicum placements, taking care of family, etc.

On my part, I was dealing with trying to figure out how to connect with students in this new remote way, marking stuff for a larger-than-I-expected-class as quickly as I could (which still didn’t feel fast enough), while living in this pandemic world, while also trying to learn more about white privilege and how to be an anti-racist (both personally and within my profession), so that I can contribute to equity and racial justice instead of just benefitting from our white supremacist society and being ignorant of my own complicity1. So I guess maybe that’s why the past six weeks have been a bit of whirlwind for me.

Now that that course is done, and all the side projects I’ve been working on for the past year are also done, and I don’t have any courses to teach until September, I’m in that weird (to me) place where I just have to work my regular workday from Monday to Friday and then I can do whatever I feel like with my evenings and weekends2. It’s such an unusual place for me, and it makes me feel a little bit uneasy, to be honest. But I do have a very long list of books I’ve been wanting to read, and I’m kind of excited to do that.

I also figure I need to take some vacation time at some point. Can’t really go anywhere (thanks COVID), but it would be good to get a bit of a mental break. And maybe do some of the things I’ve been meaning to do around the condo – like get some new (cat-proof) blinds and paint the insides of the closets and purge my filing cabinets of all the many papers that I no longer need. And write all the blog postings that I’ve been meaning to write. I also want to make more jams and pickles this year. Maybe go for some local hikes. Feeling very lucky that I live in a place that is spectacularly beautiful in the summer and where the pandemic is reasonably well under control, so I can do these things.

  1. This is very much an ongoing work-in-progress for me. []
  2. Hence why I’m here writing out a long, rambling blog posting. []



Today would have been my dad’s 75th birthday. What can I say about my dad that I haven’t said a million times before?

Jack, the shiny Pidgey

In honour of his birthday, I have named my shiny Pidgey Pokemon after my dad and have made him my buddy for the day.

In truth, Pidgey looks less like a real pigeon than Pidove, another Pokemon that was recently added to Pokemon Go. But I dont’ have a shiny Pidove. And if my dad were a Pokemon, he’d definitely be a shiny.

My sister made a cake, which is probably a more practical way to celebrate, because then you get to eat cake. And who doesn’t want an excuse to eat cake, right?

Jack, the shiny Pidgey
Jack, the shiny Pidgey

Miss you, Dad.


Happy 9th Birthday, Thomas!

Having a birthday in a pandemic-induced quarantine is probably not anyone’s first choice for a 9th birthday. But that is the situation that we find ourselves in, so for my nephew’s 9th birthday today, we decided to have a group video chat to share birthday cake. My niece baked a tie-dye birthday cake at my sister’s house, my mom baked a cupcake at her house, and I baked a cake at my house, and then we all got on video call, along with my nephew’s other grandparents, aunt, and cousins, to sing “Happy Birthday” and wash our hands eat birthday cake.

In order to build some extra excitement, I made a movie trailer for the event. This may be because I had to fire up the old iMovie to add some intros and outros to some videos I’d made for an online course I’ve been working on and I noticed that iMovie has templates to make movie trailers. Clearly, an online birthday cake eating party warrants an action-movie trailer, right?

I had to improvise a bit with the clip of the cats, as that part of the trailer required a video clip for slow motion, but I don’t have any video clips of my nephew. I also have almost no photos of my and Thomas together, so that’s something that I need to rectify the next time I see him!

Also, here’s the cake I made:

Pokéball birthday cake for my nephew’s 9th birthday

Thomas and I like to play Pokemon Go together, so I though the design was appropriate.

For the record, this cake adds three new things I’ve never made before for this year’s goal of making 20 foods or beverages I’ve never made before1:

  • vanilla buttermilk cake – I usually make cakes from a mix because it’s easy and I’m lazy, but I wanted to make a small cake since it’s only Scott and I here to eat it, so I decided to try a new recipe from scratch rather than using just part of a cake mix.
  • caramel sauce – surprisingly easy to make. Surprisingly easy to ruin as well, but my second batch was perfect. And I needed caramel sauce to make:
  • caramel buttercream icing – this was tasty, but sooooo sweet. I mean, caramel is mostly just melted granulated sugar with a splash of butter and cream, and then buttercream icing just butter and a tonne of icing sugar, so I’m not sure why I’m surprised by this.

So the cake was a vanilla buttermilk cake with caramel buttercream filling. It was decorated with regular buttercream icing because I didn’t want the caramel to mess with my colours. Also, I used a bucketload of gel food colouring to get that vibrant red and black. Totally worth it.

While we were on our video chat, Thomas told us about how his best friend, Jack, and Jack’s little sister and brother drew a birthday cake and wrote Happy Birthday Thomas in sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk outside of my sister’s house. I thought that was really sweet.

Thomas also reminded us that in just 10 years it will be his champagne birthday and we will all be drinking champagne. Here’s hoping we can do it in person!

  1. Which I’ve already surpassed, because what else are you going to do in quarantine? But that is for another blog posting. []


9 Weeks And Counting

So somehow we are 9 weeks into this whole stay-at-home/isolation/quarantine/shelter-in-place/lockdown thing. I struggle with what to call it, as here in BC we’ve actually not been ordered to stay-at-home or shelter-in-place or quarantine (unless you are coming across the border or have a specific reason, like you’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive or have tested positive yourself). We were just asked nicely to stay-at-home unless we were in an essential job and then we (mostly) all just did. Or, as Justin McElroy put it:

As other provinces started to announcing their plans to re-open, BC was getting criticized for not announcing plans to re-open stuff as soon as other provinces. But the province pointed out that other provinces were opening things that we never closed. In fact, that only things that were ordered closed in BC were dine-in restaurants and personal care services (like hair stylists, massage therapists, physiotherapists, nail salons – stuff where the practitioner has to get close to you to provide their service). Three of the health authorities in BC ordered gyms to close, though that was actually quite recent (and I learned at one of Dr. Henry’s pressers that that was because there were cases of COVID-19 that were spread at gyms) and the vast majority of gyms closed voluntarily.

It helped a lot that many businesses, organizations, and post-secondary institutions quickly moved to set up working-from-home where possible. Not every type of business can easily be moved to remote work, so there were many companies and employees who made huge sacrifices by shutting down voluntarily. And we’ve seen that some businesses haven’t been able to weather the storm and won’t be reopening ever again, which is really sad. Some companies found have ways to creatively continue to operate in new ways that are safe in the middle of the pandemic. I guess it’s kind of like evolution of organisms – “survival of the fittest” is context dependent. When the context changes, sometimes it’s just luck of the draw as to whether you fit well – or can quickly adapt – to the next context.

Many people are talking about being excited to get a haircut once we move into the next phase of re-opening society. I only usually get my hair done like every 6 months in normal times and I had it done in January, so I wouldn’t even be thinking about a haircut for another month or two anyway. (I love my hairstylist and will be delighted when I get to see her again, when she feels that it’s safe to re-open her shop, but at least as much because I want to catch up with her as friend as because she makes my hair beautiful). I’m most excited to see my massage therapist! When he feels it’s safe to start seeing patients again, of course.

Every month Google sends me an email to tell me where I’ve been the previous month. Because, as my mother puts it, my phone is spying on me. I found the email from April hilarious. Here are some of the images from it:

Clearly, Google can verify that I’ve been staying close to home and not doing anything frivolous.

Due to the lack of going anywhere, my car battery died (We’ve been taking Scott’s car for grocery trips). I used to only drive my car once or twice a week (to hockey mostly), but I probably hadn’t driven it in about a month when I tried to start it up to go to the store and it was dead. Figuring that I didn’t really need it since I don’t really go anywhere, I didn’t bother to call BCAA to get a a boost for a few weeks. But then I needed something from my car and since the battery was dead, I had to use the actual key to unlock the door instead of the fob. But then the key wouldn’t let me lock the door! I mean, it’s in my parkade and I don’t have anything valuable in there and it’s not like anyone could steal the car because the battery is dead. But then I got a reminder in the mail that I need to renew my car insurance. And I remembered that there is a discount if you driver fewer than a certain number of kilometers in a year, so you have to take a picture of your odometer and the insurance broker compares that to your odometer reading from last year to see how many kilometers you have driven. But my odometer is electronic, so without being able to turn on my car, I can’t see my odomter reading! So I called BCAA and got my battery boosted (Fun fact – the battery in a Smart car is underneath the passenger’s feet and is a huge pain in the butt to get to when you need to boost your battery). The guy who fixed it said to run it for 30 mins, which I did, and then to take it for a spin at least once a week. When I tried to start it again the next week for it’s weekly drive, the battery was dead again. So I guess I need to buy a new battery. The car is 11 years old and Google tells me that car batteries last about 3-5 years. I don’t recall ever having bought a new battery, thought it’s possible I bought one at some point during a routine maintenance appointment and I just don’t remember it.

Speaking of things that stopped working: the seal on my dishwasher decided that it didn’t want to seal things anymore. We were super lucky that it only caused a small leak and not a full on flood! After some Googling, we learned that it’s relatively easy to replace, so parts were ordered. They were supposed to be here in 3-5 business days. That was on May 1. I know the postal service is super busy with everyone buying everything online these days, but it’s been 10 business days, and the Canada Post tracking service says they are still “in transit”.

Canada Post time travel
I’m really excited about Canada Post’s new time travel technology. I can’t wait to have received my packaged on May 12!

So we’ve had to wash the dishes by hand like in the Olden Days. (The Olden Days were long before the Before Times, which is what I have taken to calling the time before the pandemic. Given that we were already running the dishwasher way more than usual due to always being at home and my stress reduction baking habit, this is really getting untenable. Hopefully the parts will arrive on Tuesday (curse you, holiday Monday!) and we can get the dishwasher back into action. I think in the not-to-distant future, I should probably just buy a new dishwasher. While looking at the manual to find out the make and model to be able to order parts, I found a receipt from when the former owner of my condo had the computer board in the dishwasher replaced… in 2009. So the thing must be over 10 years old (given that they paid for the replacement, it must have been past its warranty period). And the last thing I want is my dishwasher to have a full on meltdown!

Random thought: people’s Christmas letters are going to be hella boring this year.


Pandemic Playlist

You know how some songs just resonate with you at a given time based on whatever’s going on in your life? Maybe it’s a song you’ve heard a million times before, but a lyric just jumps out at you in a different way because of where you are at the time you hear it?

Since the pandemic started, I’ve actually gotten (a little bit) back into running. You may recall that after a decade long (very) amateur half marathon running career, I stopped because I sprained my ankle, which led to (excruciating) hip bursitis, and even after my hip got better, I never went back to running because my ankle never fully healed and I’ve been terrified of getting hip bursitis again. Well, not being able to play hockey or go to the gym was making my antsy. I’m doing at home workouts, which are good for me physically, but I don’t think have the same mental health benefits as my usual exercises, especially since I’m doing them in the same place where I now spend my entire workday, my evenings, my weekends…. So I decided to give running a try again. Just to see how my ankle feels. And not super long distances. And really paying attention to my form so I don’t overcompensate and put stress on my hip again. And did I mention not for super long distances?

Anyhoo, getting back into running means I’ve been listening to my Zombie Running app – which is still really great storytelling, but I have to say that listening to a story where you are a character running missions during a zombie apocalypse was maybe not the best choice in the early days of living in a viral apocalypse – and interspersed through the story you listen to music from your playlist. And as I listened to these songs that I used to listen to on the regular, but haven’t listened to in more than three years, more than a few of them jumped out at me with a new resonance. (There have also been a few things I’ve heard listening to the radio or to various Spotify playlists that have had similar effect). And so I give to you, in no particular order, my pandemic playlist (I reserve the right to add to this list later as the pandemic is ongoing).

Evacuate the Dancefloor by Cascada:

Untouched by the Veronicas:

Contagious by Avril Lavinge:

Poison by Groove Coverage1 (particularly the line “your lips are venomous poison”)

Don’t Stand So Close to Me by the Police2:

Break My Heart by Dua Lipa (particularly the line “I should have stayed at home):

Breathing Underwater by Metric (particularly the line “Is this my life?”, which I find myself asking myself a lot these days. But also knowing that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that, when severe, causes pneumonia, which causes fluid in the lungs making it difficult to breath, well, the title also works).

  1. Yes, I know this song is originally by Alice Cooper. But I have the Groove Coverage cover on my playlist. []
  2. Props to Cath for point this one out []


Livin’ Covida Loca

It’s been a 5 weeks of working from home for me – I haven’t set foot in my office (or on campus for the one in-person class I was teaching) in all that time. It’s been 5 weeks since I last hung out with a friend in person. It’s been 5 weeks since I last took transit. These things that were just taken for granted as part of everyday life suddenly stopped and we have no idea when we will do them again.

Five weeks that seems like a year. They say time is an illusion – pandemic time, doubly so.

With apologies to Douglas Adams

And just like time seems to run at the speed of molasses, so too does my brain. Case in point: I started writing this blog posting because I had so many things I wanted to say and now that I’m sitting at the keyboard, they have all escaped from my brain.


My molasses brain is also why I haven’t blogged in so long. When the pandemic hit I, as usual, had too many things on the go. Full-time job, teaching gigs, course development side projects. I’m extremely lucky that all of these things were things that I can do at home, but my brain seems to function so slowly that everything takes me eleventy billion times as long as it used to. Plus, using remote access to do all my work for my day job is exceedingly slow, which means everything takes even longer to accomplish than it used to . Connecting with my team requires more effort. Teaching that was supposed to be face-to-face had to be switched to online. And in the early days, policies and recommendations and guidelines were being updated so fast, that just keeping up with them required a lot of time and brain space. The onslaught of emails about how everyone was dealing with COVID-19 was overwhelming1. Daily briefings from various levels of government are also a new edition to my life2. And I need to take time for self-care and to connect with loved ones to keep my sanity. All of which translated to me just not being able to get things accomplished in the way I used to be able to.

So for the past month, my weekdays have been working my day job from home, taking a short break (often to go for a walk with Scott when he gets home from work), then work for several hours on some combination of teaching and side projects (with a short break for dinner and to ring cow bells on my balcony at 7 pm to cheer for healthcare workers, and another break around 9 or 10 pm to feed my sourdough starter3 ), eventually heading to bed around midnight or 1 am, when Watson starts loudly meowing at me that it’s time to go to sleep. Weekend days I let myself sleep in and then get up and work on my teaching and side projects for most of the day, usually with a break at some point to go for a walk or a run, or to bake something, or maybe a trip to Costco. So it’s been a lot of sitting at my desk in my home office – side note: I think it’s time I bought myself a proper office chair. The one I have I bought at a garage sale like a decade ago.

There’s been lots written on what one should do while living in quarantine/isolation/lockdown/sheltering-in-place. And I feel like for every thing I read, I then read the complete opposite. “10 Tips for Being Productive While Working from Home” will be followed by “Don’t Expect Yourself to Be Super Productive in the Midst of a Global Crisis!” “It’s Important to Stick to Your Routine” (get up at the same time you used to, get dressed and do your hair, keep the same office hours as before) will be followed by “What Was So Great About Your Old Routine, Anyway? Now Is The Time To Figure Out What You Really Want From Life!”

I’ve thought a lot about my routine. I think it’s important to have a routine, but the more I’ve thought about it, I’ve come to realize that I did not love some aspects of my routine in the old time-y days of the pre-pandemic. I used to get up at about 5:30 am, which gave me enough time to feed the cats/make my coffee/get ready for work and do my ~40 minute commute to start work at 8 am. I liked working from 8 to 4, as I could get home before 5 pm, which gave me lots of time in the evening to do things like go to the gym or do some marking/lecture writing or get to an early hockey game4. But I did not like getting up at 5:30 am. I’m a night owl and find it hard to go to bed before midnight, which meant I typically only got about 5 hours of sleep on weeknights, which is just not enough sleep. If I were to follow the advice of sticking to the same routine as when I went to work, I’d get up at 5:30 am after not getting enough sleep, feed the cats/make the coffee/get ready for work including putting on work clothes and do my hair and makeup, and I’d be able to start work at about 7 am… but why? Why wear work clothes when I can wear a t-shirt and yoga pants? Why do make-up? Why be sleep deprived just to start working at 7 am for no real reason?

So my routine now looks more something like this: sleep until 8 or 8:30 or 9 – whenever I feel like starting to work. Get up and feed the cats/make the coffee (unless it’s a week when Scott has to go into the office, in which case he’ll already have done that). Work in my fuzzy warm bathrobe. Around noon, put on my workout clothes for a virtual 30 minute yoga class run by my friend Cheryl5, then I’d shower and put on clothes (translation: t-shirt and yoga pants). Have some lunch (if I remembered to) while I start my work for the afternoon. And you know what, I like some aspects of this routine. I am actually getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night instead of 5, for example. I like moving my body in the middle of the day, to break up the 8 hours of sitting in a chair. Whenever the world gets back to a place where I can actually go into my office to work, I’ll have to give some thought to what I want my new routine to be.

Image Credits:

Snail photo posted on Flickr by Cinzia A. Rizzo with a Creative Commons license.

  1. It probably doesn’t help that I work for one health organization (but with connections to two other health organizations as well) and three post-secondary institutions and I get updates from all 6 of those organizations, all of whom have a lot of things they need to deal with in relation to the pandemic. []
  2. In truth, I stopped watching the federal ones weeks ago – I just read the highlights later – but I still watch the provincial ones unless I have a meeting scheduled at the same time – and even then I usually watch the video of it afterwards. []
  3. Some evenings I’ve also had a break for Zoom drinks with friends. []
  4. Side note: I miss my gym and hockey a lot. []
  5. The yoga class was a new edition to my life last week. Prior to that, I would typically spend my lunch break going for a socially distanced walk or doing my at-home workout. []


Sourdough Starter

And speaking of pandemic baking, I finally did something that I’ve been meaning to do for ages: make a sourdough starter1!

Well, I’m attempting to make a sourdough starter, at least. I won’t know for several days if it worked out or not. I decided to go old school and create it from just flour and water and whatever wild yeast are floating around. It takes a bit longer – and I’m sure has a higher failure rate – than making it from packaged yeast, but I figure I have time to spare, so may as well go for it.

My plan is to make this sourdough starter and maintain it and pass it along to others, so that generations from now people will say “This sourdough starter was created during the great pandemic of 2020!” And maybe people will search on the Wayback Machine and find this blog posting and say “So that’s what my sourdough starter looked like on the day it was born!”

The recipe is literally to just mix together and 4 oz of flour and 4 oz of water and then let it sit on the top of your fridge for a day, and then you feed it over several days and hope the yeast start doing their yeast thing.

Here’s what it looked like when I mixed it together today:

Sourdough Starter - Day 1

The consistency at this stage is thick and sticky:

Sourdough Starter - Day 1

And here it is, sitting on top of my fridge:

Sourdough Starter - Day 1

I’ve set a reminder to feed it after 24 hours have passed. Very excited to see what happens over the next few days!

Also, like a good scientist, I decided to make a lab book to document my process:

Sourdough Starter - Day 1 - Lab Book

My friend Paul informed me that if this batch doesn’t work, I should try using pineapple juice instead of water, as it’s the right pH to favourite the good wild yeast. So I have a plan B if this batch doesn’t work.

I promised my friend Heather that she will be the first recipient of my sourdough starter once it is ready to be shared. Heather is a public health nurse on the front lines of the pandemic – translation: she’s a freaking hero! Thanks for everything you do, Heather! You are a rock star!

  1. Since sourdough starter something I’ve never made before, it counts towards my 2020 goal of making foods that I’ve never made before. And then when I bake my first loaf of sourdough bread, it will be another thing I’ve never made before and will count towards my 2020 goal of baking 20 times. And I also have “bake sourdough bread” on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, so really this is like the most efficient goal achieving act I’ve ever done! []


Cyberbaking – It’s Not Just for Christmas Anymore!

As you may recall, my family and I love to bake. And sometimes at Christmas, if I’m not in Ontario visiting, we cyberbake: I bake in my kitchen in BC and my mom and my sister bake in my sister’s kitchen in Toronto and we videochat while we do said baking1.

Well, I’m really missing my family while everyone is isolating in our own homes during the pandemic. I know it’s kind of silly, because I often only see my family at Christmastime anyway, but (a) before the pandemic hit, I was planning to go to a conference in Ottawa in June and was planning to see my family then (but of course that is now not going to happen), and (b) it’s different when you don’t have a *choice*. Back in the old timey days where we could just hop on a plane whenever we wanted to, I at least had the option to go see my family. Now, since non-essential travel is a no-no, that choice is taken away, so it feels harder. I know it’s important that we all hunker down at this point to manage this pandemic, but I’m still acutely aware of missing my family. AnywayI digress…

A few days ago, I suggested that we all get on our webcams and bake together today. My mom in her house, my sister and her family in their house, and me in my condo. It really is fun to just chit chat and bake and be “together” even though we are apart.

My sister made cinnamon rolls and two loaves of bread shaped like turtles. She also taught my about “parbaking” – where you bake bread to about 80% of the way done and then freeze it. When you want to eat it, you bake it the rest of the way. So that’s a pretty great idea for when you have the urge to bake a bunch of stuff but you are stuck in a condo with just two people who shouldn’t each several loaves of bread in a day. I also realized that since “parbaking” means “partway baking”, that “parboiling” just means “partway boiling”. I would face palm, but touching one’s face is frowned upon these days.

My niece made snickerdoodles and my nephew made chocolate chip cookies. Last Christmas I gave my nephew a “virtual reality” baking set because I knew he likes baking and apparently he only wants to use the measuring cups from his set when he bakes. So nice to see that he likes his present!

My mom made a modified shepherd’s pie, using up some things she had around the house.

I decided to make carrot cake. I’ve never made carrot cake before, so it counts towards my goal of making 20 new foods this year). Plus I have a giant bag of carrots from the last time we went to Costco, so it seemed like a good way to use some of them up! I got my mom to send me my Uncle Stephen’s carrot cake recipe and I have to say, it is delicious.

I posted that before I made the cream cheese icing. Mmmm, cream cheese icing!

As always, the down side of cyberbaking is that you can’t taste what each other are baking! Fortunately, I have a bunch of carrot cake with which to console myself.

  1. As aside: this past December was so busy that I didn’t do any Christmas baking at all. None! That’s the first time in my life that I can remember not doing Christmas baking. I think maybe I upset the balance of the universe and that caused our current apocalypse. If so, sorry about that! []