Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


Some Quick Facts About Daycare in Canada

I recently came across this report on Early childhood education and care in Canada 20081 and was checking out their quick facts sheet2: 1.274,000

  • Regulated childcare spaces in Canada: 867,194
  • Kids age 0-5 year for whom there was a regulated child care space: 20.3%
  • Child care spaces that were for-profit: 25%
  • Median income for full-time, full-year child care centre staff (2006  data): $25,100
  • Also, the median monthly cost of having an infant in daycare in BC is listed as $765.  This seems low to me, knowing how much some people actually spend on day care.  The report doesn’t seem to have this information for all the provinces, which seems like something that would have been relevant for a report on daycare.

    Out of curiosity, for any of my readers who have kids in daycare (or are looking to put their kids in daycare), how much does it cost you?

    1. since everyone I know seems to have babies all of the sudden, it’s a topic that I’m kind of interested in []
    2. it’s like having Coles Notes for the report. W00t!).  Some of those quick facts:

      • Kids age 0-5 years whose moms work ((of course, there wasn’t too much information on dads. Even though lots of dads provide great care for their kids, it’s still thought of as primarily a woman’s responsibility []


    Happy Re-retirement, Daddy!

    My dad got word this week that he will once again be retired.  He had retired once before, but it didn’t take.  The full story there is that the factory he worked for laid everyone off, with the work all being sent to Mexico and, since he was 63 years old at the time, he was effectively retired. But then they called everyone back to work, as the factory in Mexico wasn’t working out so well.  That was sometime in the spring and he’s been working again since then. But now there isn’t enough work again, so the layoffs are back.  And so my dad is retired again.  But he told me that he could still get called back and he’s not 65 years old until next June, so he’s not throwing his work T-shirts out just yet.  My dad is practical like that.

    DSC00459 by you.My Dad, with my niece.  In honour of his retirement, I shall refrain from comment on the jersey he is wearing.

    My Dad spent the lion’s share of his career building Mack Trucks.  I have many a fond memory of the Christmas parties that Mack Truck used to throw for employees’ children. One of my uncles also worked there, so me, my sister and my cousin would all go for a great party, a visit with Santa and a present labeled with your age and gender!  And then we’d all go to Swiss Chalet1.  My dad worked at Mack Truck for, if I’m not mistaken, 22 years and in that 22 years he can tell you the 12 or so days that he missed work.  He missed a day when my sister was born and another when I was born. He took a day for my grandmother’s funeral and another for my grandfather’s and another for one of his best friends’ funeral.  One time he had pneumonia and so he was off sick for a few days.  If there’s anything I’ve learned from my father, it’s how to do an honest day’s work.

    When Mack Truck closed down, my dad went to work at a factory that makes Brake Parts where he’s been ever since2 – I believe it’s been about 15 years.  And in that time, he has had perfect attendance.  And I mean *perfect*.  Never missed a day and never been late.  If you ask him, he’ll tell you, “I’ve just been lucky. Sometimes people get sick and people get injured – I’m just lucky to have been healthy.” But, for the record, the man showed up to work when he had shingles!  I think it’s something more than just luck. 3)

    This reminds me that I never wrote a blog posting about my mom retiring!  My mom retired in the spring, around the time that my dad un-retired.  She had worked for the Royal Bank for 45 years.  FORTY-FIVE YEARS!!  That just doesn’t happen in today’s world!  Like my father, my mother is not quite 65 yet, but when all the work from her department was sent to India, due to her age and her many, many, many years of service, she was offered a retirement package.  Funnily enough, just like my dad’s work, a number of people have been called back to their jobs but, unlike my dad, she had officially retired (as opposed to having been laid off) and so did not have to return to work.  She’s been enjoying her retirement quite a bit and now my dad will get to join her!

    IMG_0411_mod by you. My Mom at the Empress for High Tea.

    Another thing I’ve just realized: I don’t have very many photos of my Mom & Dad!  I need to rectify that next time I visit!

    Happy retirements, Mom & Dad!

    1. that was back when I ate meat. And when I considered eating at Swiss Chalet to be exciting :S []
    2. and where I worked for one summer during university.  By far the hardest job I’ve ever had! []
    3. He also missed my high school graduation because it conflicted with his work schedule.  Not that I’m holding a grudge or anything ;- []


    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 []


    Mosaic FAIL

    So, over on on Laura’s blog I saw a funky mosaic of her tweets as photos.  It’s from a website called Portwiture, which takes the words you tweet the most, searches for said words in Flickr and makes a mosaic of  said photos.  And, of course, I just had to try it out for myself.  Forgetting, of course, that my most recent tweet was about a spider that was crawling on the Pope when he gave a speech the other day.  Can you guess what my mosaic looked like1 ?

    I think I’m going to have nightmares.

    1. I just told Tod about this and he tried it on his computer and, despite the fact that I hadn’t tweeted anything new since I tried it, he appears to have gotten different pics than I did.  Of course I get the mosaic that is all pics of spiders.  And not just little teeny ones, which would be bad enough, but giant ones with horrible beady eyes, staring at me as they plot my death. EVIL, I tells ya! []


    Protect Insurance Companies PSA

    Protect Insurance Companies PSA
    Hollywood speaks out to help insurance companies

    Props to Kalev for bringing this important public service announcement to my attention!


    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 []


    Proud Owner Of A Shiny New MacBook Pro!

    I’m typing this blog posting from my shiny new MacBook Pro!  She’s shiny and beautiful and I am calling her Chloe. 1 The story of how I ended up with a shiny MacBook Pro starts with this:

    IMGP0118 by you.

    That is what I saw2 when I sat down at Madame Psychosis yesterday evening. I was intending to spend the evening finishing my slides for today’s class and then get to bed early. Best laid plans, right?  Seeing only these terrifying lines upon my screen, I did the only thing that one could do – the old turn-it-off, turn-it-back-on-again.  And the Windows booting up screen came on fine, followed by my desktop…. and then the crazy lines again.  And so it was off to the store and a couple thousand dollars later, I’m the proud owner of Chloe!  I’ve been wanting a Mac for some time now, but I couldn’t really justify buying it when I had a laptop that was functioning perfectly fine3.  Granted, having to purchase it in a mad rush and then get it set up quickly in order to get my lecture ready by the end of the night wasn’t the ideal way to go, but beggars can’t be choosers.  Fortunately, I had been looking at4 MacBooks just the other day, so I had an idea of what I wanted. And also, Tod was more than willing to set up my new baby5 for me while I worked on one of his Macs to finish creating my lecture6, so I was actually able to get the lecture done and get a little bit of sleep rather than having to pull an all-nighter to get the computer bought, set up and the lecture ready to go.   And speaking of sleep, I’m totally overdue for some right now!  So you’ll have to wait to hear more about, and see a picture of, my Chloe!

    1. I know that I had named my office computer Chloe, but the name didn’t really stick, so I’m renaming the office computer “Edgar” and MBP shall be Chloe. They are my gadgets and I’ll emend if I want to. Also, I just learned the word “emend.” []
    2. is it wrong that when I saw this, the first thing I thought was, “I have to get a picture of that. I’m *so* blogging that!”? []
    3. insofar as a PC can be said to be functioning “perfectly fine” []
    4. ok, drooling over []
    5. as well as fix – and improve – some of my PowerPoint slides that I was converting over to Keynote []
    6. one of the many benefits of dating a nerd! []


    Procrastination Doesn’t Pay

    Two years ago, I registered for the Royal Victoria half marathon, but training – not so much and so I ended up with an injured foot.

    This year, I’ve been training for the Royal Victoria half marathon, but registering – not so much.  And now, despite it being almost a month away, they are *sold out*!

    I didn’t even know that could happen! Whenever you register for a marathon, there is always a list of prices based on the date on which you register: “Register by July 15” = $65, “Register by Sept 15” = $75, “Register between Sept 15 and race day” = $85.  Which, you know, kind of implies that you can still register up until the day of.  Apparently not.  When I went onto their website to register today1 or I could register for the 8 km2, but not the half3.

    So why didn’t I register earlier, you ask? In my typical procrastination fashion4, I was sort of afraid to register in case I was a bit fat failure in the training department5.  So now6, I’m contemplating doing the Seattle marathon in late November instead. But I’m choked that I can’t do the Victoria half – I was really looking forward to it!

    So let this be a lesson to you, children. Winners don’t procrastinate!

    1. as I’d put it into my calendar that today was the deadline to not have to pay the more expensive late registration fee), a taunting “half marathon sold out” greeted me.   I could register for the full marathon if I wanted ((I dont’ []
    2. I might []
    3. for which I’ve been training []
    4. there will be a long-winded, naval-gazing-y posting coming on this topic… where I get around to it []
    5. especially after I found out that my training buddy, Alicia, is preggers and can’t run the half with me. Alicia motivated me to get out and do the training for the Vancouver half – we scheduled our long runs together every week and that always made sure I got out there. I wasn’t actually sure I’d do it on my own []
    6. and by “now” I mean as of about 3 minutes ago, when I Googled it []


    My Legs Are Sore

    Because apparently I’m a masochist. Or perhaps I thought I could get my entire year’s worth of exercise into two days.  At any rate, my weekend consisted of:


    Hiking Eagle Bluffs with Rachel (about 3 hours)

    • neither Rach nor I had done this hike before and it was a really nice, a fair bit of uphill at the start, but then it was pretty easy going; great view (especially since it was a perfect day with not a cloud in the sky)
    • along the way, some other hikers told us that they had seen a bear.  We contemplated the option of turning back or just talking loudly, clapping our hands and jingling keys1 – we chose the latter. When we got to the top, a woman and her two sons were there, so we asked if they’d seen the bear and she said, “No. We heard there was a bear, so we were being very quiet because we wanted to see it. But you were being so loud, we knew we didn’t have a chance.”   Apparently no one told them that BEARS KILL PEOPLE!

    Stick & Puck with Kim (30 mins)

    • since I knew that the first game of the season was on Sunday, I wanted to get out on the ice, you know, just to make sure I still knew how to skate.  As it turns out, I do still know how to skate, although my shot didn’t miraculously become unsucky over the summer, as I was sort of banking on happening.
    • we didn’t stay long at Stick & Puck because, despite the fact that it was supposed to be Stick & Puck2, about 30 people, mostly very large men, showed up in full gear taking very hard shots all over the place. There was barely any room to skate and the whole time we were worried about getting hit ‘cuz we weren’t wearing full gear!  The big men were running over the few small children out there, so we figured they’d have no qualms about running the only two women on the ice over either. I felt a bit like I was letting down womankind, but I’d be no good to my team if I broke my neck at S&P before the season started, now would I?


    18 km run (2 hrs 17 mins)

    • it was pretty hot out yesterday, my calves were aching from all the hiking up the mountain and I knew I had my first hockey game of the season that night, but such is my dedication to3 my upcoming half marathon that I went out for an 18 km run.
    • the run was slower than I would generally like because my legs felt like lead, but FSM bless the lovely people at the snack bar at Spanish Bank West who re-filled my water bottle for me. And put ice in it!  By the time I got home, I was *covered* in salt.  I know, sexy, right?

    First hockey game of the season (1 hr)

    • despite the fact that I like to go bed by 10:30 p.m. on school nights4, I was at the rink last night at 10:15 p.m. playing my first game since playoffs in April, facing off against the same team that gave me a concussion the last time we played them
    • it was a really close game, but we won 3-2! w00t!
    • and *I* got an assist!  I worked hard for that assist – it may have looked to the untrained eye that the puck just bounced off of me and directly to my linemate, but I assure you I worked very hard to be place just in the right spot at just the right time to strategically bounce that puck off my body to my linemate who was a wicked good shot. Strategically, I say!

    Anyway, all in all, it was a pretty good weekend, but my legs are barely functional. My calves look great, if I do say so myself, but they are stiff as all get out5

    1. because bears don’t want to see you, so if they hear you coming, they’ll make themselves scarce. The problems occur when you sneak up on them and they get startled. []
    2. which means people show up with just skates, helmet, gloves & stick for a bit of skating around, stick handling and such []
    3. or perhaps fear of []
    4. which I’m clearly failing at again today, since it’s 10:50 p.m. as I type this []
    5. what the hell does “all get out” mean anyway? Is that even an expression? []


    Because I Know You Are All *Dying* To Know What I Wore To Class Today

    So, I totally wrote this on Thursday night and was completely sure that I posted it. Apparently not.  Anyway, better late than never, right?

    Today was the first day of class. And for the first time in many, many years, I’m not teaching a brand new class!1 Hooray for being able to use the same syllabus and some of the same slide decks again! And to be able to implement some of the what-I-can-improve-for-next-time ideas I always have after teaching a class for the first time!

    The class I’m teaching is probably my favourite of all the classes I’ve taught. It’s all active learning, where the students learn by engaging in formal debates and giving interactive seminar presentations. And this year I’m trying something new – instead of a writing a paper, students are going to be creating (or substantially revising) a Wikipedia page. It’s an idea I got from hearing Brian Lamb talk at a teaching & learning conference about this guy’s assignment. Rather than having students write a paper that will only ever be read by one person2 and then never be heard from again3, why not have them contribute quality information to a public project that will be read by thousands of people?? And learning about working in wikis. And learning about the strengths and limitations of online resources like Wikipedia. And working collaboratively with colleagues (and total strangers) through an ongoing editing and revision process, learning from feedback and being challenged to support their points with evidence4. I figured the students would either think this assignment is awesome or think it’s crazy and, despite the fact that only one person in a class of 40 has ever edited a wiki before, they seem to think it’s awesome5.

    And, of course, the question you really all came here to read about: what did I wear on the first day of class?  I chose this fabulous ensemble:

    outfit by you.That’s my current favourite skirt. I bought it at a thrift store6 and I get compliments every time I wear it.  And it is the skirt I wore to the job interview for my current day job, so that counts for something.  And the boots, of course. Gotta have the boots.

    In addition to what you see in the above photo, I also had with me my new sweater, which is black and awesome and kind of cape-like, which pretty much makes me Batman. But I didn’t wear the sweater to teach, because I prefer to teach as my alter ego, Beth Wayne Snow.

    1. which just so happens to be #37 on my 101 list! []
    2. i.e., me []
    3. the papers, not the students []
    4. I mean, I challenge students to do this, but it’s usually feedback on a paper they hand in, and then there’s not an opportunity for them to respond and thus learn from that feedback. []
    5. either that or they are just sucking up. But they did seem genuinely excited about it, so I’m going to say it’s the former []
    6. of course []