Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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The Diefenbunker!


Beth at the Diefenbunker

The last time I was in Ottawa, Sarah and Dave’s attempt to bring me to the Diefenbunker was thwarted by holiday closure of said bunker. On this trip, to make it up to me, Ottawa gave Sarah & me free admission! More specifically, the Ottawa Public Library offered free admission and Sarah, a regular at said Library, picked up said free passes so that she and I could enjoy all the awesomeness of Canada’s Cold War Museum for free, free, free! Poor Dave couldn’t join us as he had to work, like a sucker!

Sarah at the DiefenbunkerThe Diefenbunker, which operated from 1959 to 1994 as previously alluded to, is Canada’s Cold War Museum. More specifically, it is a bunker that was built, under the government of Prime Minister Diefenbaker – who you may remember from my Prime Ministerial series as the blog posting guest written by the aforementioned Sarah – as a place that prominent Canada politicians – along with all the gold in the Bank of Canada – could go in the event that Ottawa got nuked with an atomic bomb. Back in those days, everyone was sure that it was pretty much inevitable that such a thing would happen, so a series of bunkers were built across the country, with the biggest and most elaborate one being the Diefenbunker, locate 30 km west of Ottawa and intended for the Prime Minister, the Governor General, various federal Ministers and military big wigs. The idea was that they wanted to ensure that Canada could be re-built and governed after a nuclear attack and so they needed the people with the power to do that to be kept safe in this bunker. Plus they needed the money to do it – hence the giant vault built to house all the gold from the Bank of Canada1.

Of course, such a bunker system was only useful in the event that there was enough forewarning of a nuke on its way that all these important people could be brought to the bunker before the bomb hit. Which was true when they started building the bunker – the delivery of bombs via plane from Russia at that time would have been slow and there would have been several hours warning of such a bomb on its way. By the time it was finished, that wasn’t really true anymore, but that didn’t stop the bunker from being staffed for many years after it was built! In fact, it was operated until 1994.

After decommissioning, the bunker was turned into a museum and much to the surprise of even the people running it as a museum, people were clamouring to see it! I mean, how often do you get to see the inside of a previously secret government facility like that? If you ever find yourself in Ottawa, I highly recommend you check it out. It feels like walking onto the set of a movie about the Cold War2 and I had to keep reminding myself, “no, this is the real deal!”

Also, in a move that I can only imagine coming from a guy like him, Dief never once set foot in the Diefenbunker. At some point, he was told that should he need to go to the bunker, he would not be allowed to bring his wife with him. The bunker was built to accommodate the government officials and bureaucrats deemed necessary, along with the support staff needed to run the bunker3, plus two CBC radio personalities who could broadcast messages in familiar and comforting voices to those left up on the ground – around 500 people in total – and stocked with enough food to sustain those people for 30 days (at which point it was felt that it would be safe to go back outside). If all those people were allowed to bring spouses (and not even their kids), it would need to be twice as big and stocked with twice as many supplies – and that just wasn’t feasible. And it was decided that if everyone else in the bunker was leaving their spouse behind, how could the Prime Minister not do the same? Dief decided that he wouldn’t leave his wife behind to get nuked and so he boycotted the facility, refusing to ever step foot into it.

Another interesting story that the tour guide told us was what happened to all the other bunkers around the country. When the bunkers were decommissioned, the government had to figure out what to do with them. After all, they couldn’t all be museums – and truly it’s just the Ottawa one that was really big and decked out – so what do you do with a series of underground bunkers designed to withstand a nuclear bomb? At first, they figured they could sell them to recoup some of the costs of building them all, and they sold one of the bunkers to a farmer. A farmer who proceeded to sell the bunker to some Hell’s Angels, who used it as a clubhouse! Realizing that they didn’t want the bunkers to fall into the hands of just anybody and that they could control what happened to them once they sold them off, they bought the bunker back from the HA and proceeded to fill them all up with concrete!

The next time you find yourself in Ottawa, I highly recommend a trip to the Diefenbunker!  They have guided tours as well as self-guide audio tours – we did the guided tour, which was cool because you can ask their tour guide questions and find out things that might not be on the audio version, and then after your guided tour you are free to roam around and check out the different exhibits!

  1. When we were talking about our trip to the Diefenbunker later at Sarah’s parents house, Sarah’s dad said his favourite part of this is that if the bunker ever needed to be used, it would take hundreds of people to get all the gold from the Bank of Canada in Ottawa onto a train, ship it to the bunker, and then load it all into the vault in the bunker. And then those men would be sent back on that train to Ottawa to wait to get nuked! []
  2. and, in fact, it as used as a set for The Sum of All Fears, because where else are you going to find a nuclear bunker that you can film your movie in? []
  3. think cooks, doctors, nurses, mechanics, etc. []

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At The Airport

I cannot believe that 18 days have gone by since I left Vancouver for the holidays. In some ways, it seems like I just got to Toronto and now I’m heading back. But then I think about all the things that I did and can’t believe I haven’t been here for six months. As I’m sure you noticed1, I barely blogged, tweeted or FourSquared the entire time I was gone. That’s how busy I was! It was not stop baking-visiting-cooking-hosting-shopping-visiting-hosting-playing-partying. Almost every night I was up ’til midnight or 1 a.m. or later, and then awakened at 7:30 a.m. by my wee niece, ready to play2!

And I must be getting soft in my old age – either that or it’s the sleep deprivation delirium talking – but despite the fact that it’s way too freaking cold and there are no mountains or oceans anywhere, I didn’t hate Toronto. I know! Who is this Beth that would say such a thing?? I think it may be due to living in the ‘burbs for the last ten months, so staying at a home with shops and restaurants within walking distance and accessible transit to get you wherever else you need to go seemed like a treat! And I love hanging out with Nancy, Jeff and Madeline so much. Honestly, they are freaking awesome! Plus, I was only a quick flight away from Ottawa, where I got to hang out with Sarah, Dave and the kids, who are also ridiculously awesome. And I got to see other family members and friends that live here that I haven’t seen in ages – though 18 days did not give me enough time to see everyone and those who I did see, I didn’t get to see for nearly enough time! So while my heart is in Vancouver, I felt this time like a piece of my heart is also in Toronto. </sappniess>

My flight will be boarding any minute now, so I better wrap this posting up. But be prepared for a bunch of postings in the next few days, as I have many, many awesome things to document and will have ample free time given the lack of anyone at my house to play brachiosaurus with.

  1. because I am, after all, a rampant narcissist []
  2. not that I’m complaining, because I get to see her so rarely that I cherish every moment I get, even if it means less sleep than I might like! Also, on those few days that I *really* needed it, Madeline did let me sleep in! []

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Twelve Months of Not To Be Trusted With Knives

So December 29 seems like a pretty good time to steal this year-in-review type meme from Cath’s blog. The idea is to post the first line of the first blog posting of each month of the year (and the name of each month is a link to the full posting). But I’m not much of one for following rules, I’m posting the first *two* lines of every posting. I know, I know – I’m *such* a rebel.  Here goes:

January

The roster for the Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey team was announced on Wednesday. Since that time, the analysts here at NTBTWK have been conducting a thorough analysis of the roster.

February

So, I’ve found a new place to live.  I have to tell you I was ridiculously stressed out when I got the news that I had to move.

March

When I was a kid, we had the Calgary ’88 Olympics glasses from Petro-Canada. I’d be willing to bet that most Canadians remember these glasses – everyone I’ve mentioned them to recently has said, “The ones with the gold that flaked off?”

April

Extra long weekend… = extra short blog posting. So happy to have four days off!

May

Tomorrow, Alicia and I will be running the 8 km race at the BMO Vancouver International Marathon.  We are training to run the Scotiabank half marathon in June1 and figured that the 8 km would be a nice training run2.

June

For the couple of weeks, I’ve been in the mood to try out some new recipes.  And, you know, every time I cook something new, I’m reminded how much I love cooking!

July

(*Note: This posting had no words, so I’m posting the title and the picture that comprised the posting)

Facebook doesn’t understand Canadian politics

Facebook doesn't understand Canadian politics

August

Yesterday was the first day of my weeklong vacation, which I decided to take before school starts up and things start to get crazy. I decided to spend the day taking a road trip down to Seattle with Kalev.

September

I have long wanted to try making cinnamon buns, but to be honest, I’ve been kind of scared that they’d be a disaster. I don’t know why – usually I’m confident in my cooking and baking – but cinnamon buns seemed like too big a mountain to climb.

October

So yesterday was Blasphemy Day and today, apparently, is World Vegetarian Day. If it turns out that tomorrow is International Hockey Player Day, I’m going to declare this Beth Week!

November

Yesterday was a double hockey day!  First up was a game with the Blazing Blades, which was all well and good until the goalie popped her knee! 

December

A couple of weeks ago Dr. Dan invited me to beta test a site that a friend of his created. I’ve been *dying* to tell all y’all about it (mostly because I’m usually the last person to hear about anything and it’s fun to be among the first), but I was sworn to secrecy until launch date.


So that’s covers hockey (including hockey hotties), running, cooking, politics, the Olympics, a road trip, moving, blasphemy, and one seriously phoned in blog posting. Seems pretty representative of the year to me.

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Being Six

Since I live so far away and rarely get back to Ontario to visit the fam, when I do get to visit, I’m a rock star as far as my six-year-old niece is concerned. She insists on sitting next to me at every meal, she insists that I sleep with her every night and she follows me around everywhere I go. “I like what you like,” she told me. All this is great as far as I’m concerned, ‘cuz she’s the most amazing kid ever and if she weren’t my shadow, then I’d be the one insisting on sitting next to her at every meal, sleeping with her every night and following her around everywhere she goes.

Right now, she’s big into dinosaurs. We’ve read her dinosaur encyclopedia about a thousand times1, watched both Jurassic Park I and II2, and have spent most of this holiday crawling around the house playing Mommy Brachiosaurus and Baby Brachiosaurus. When I was six, I remember being really into dinosaurs, but to my recollection, there were only ever like five dinosaurs: brontosaurus, stegosaurus, triceratops,  pterodactyl and, of course, the T. rex.  Now, there’s about a million different species of dinosaurs that they teach you about in grade 1 – including the velociraptors (which I never heard about until Jurassic Park came out) and the Albertasaurus.

Another big hit around here is Pet Shops. She has about a zillion little plastic animals of all sorts and, of course, there are accompanying pet shop houses, vet clinics, etc., etc., etc. So far, I’ve only been roped into playing Pet Shops once, which is pretty amazing considering how many of them she has and how much she likes them.  Of course, I may be entertaining her with non-Pet Shop related games, such as Hide and Go Seek and yoga. Yoga may not seem like a game to you, but to a six-year-old – totally a great game.

Probably my two favourite memories from this trip, however, are distinctly Christmas-related. One is singing “The 12 Days of Christmas” on the subway. Now, neither my niece nor I have particularly good singing voices – in fact, I think we both may be tone-deaf. So while we were singing it – she would sing “On the Xth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” and I would have to respond with the appropriate items – at first, all I could think was, “Everyone on this subway must hate us right now!” But then seeing the HUGE smile on her face as we sang, I didn’t care. We were having fun and that’s what counts! I mentioned it to my sister afterwards and she said, “Oh no, people were grinning their faces off!”

My other favourite memory from this trip happened on Christmas morning. Madeline and I slept in the attic, as my mom and dad had also slept over that night and they were  sleeping in Madeline’s room.  When we got up, there was a candy cane with a little bow and a string on it in the bed – a candy cane that had not been there when she went to sleep. “What’s that?” I said.  “A candy cane,” she replied. “Where’d it come from?” I asked. And she turned her adorable little face up to the skylight in the attic ceiling, her eyes wide. After a moment, she said, “I think Santa must have dropped it in.” And with that, it was time to open some presents!

  1. she also got a new dinosaur book for Christmas which shows which current day continents/countries each dinosaur lived in. So she’s learning the continents through that []
  2. plus she watched the Land Before Time this morning while I was sleeping in []

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Writings on the subway

I wrote this on my iPhone on the subway many, many days ago and then haven’t published it because I’ve been having way too much fun for such things as publishing blog postings. But now it’s Boxing Day and we are all so full from three days of non-stop eating that we can’t do anything more than lay around watching a marathon of Jurassic Park movies, so I’m actually sitting still long enough to post it.  Did you miss me?

I’m on the subway1 heading out to see my friend Jen, hanging on tight to my toque2 and lamenting the lack of Internet access. I’ve gotten used to the Canada Line and its blessed, blessed cell phone receptivity. Usually on a transit trip, I’d pass the time catching up on blogs, or Twitter, or reading the news online. All of which I’m hopelessly behind on, since I’ve been spending all my time interacting with real live human beings in the real world! I’m not complaining – having a blast actually – but it definitely an adjustment from my usual life of sitting at a desk 7.5 hrs per day and being on computer or iPhone most of the rest of the time. Since I can’t read stuff on the Internet as I transit, I decided to write stuff to put on the Internet instead. In draft form – FSM bless the WordPress app.

Since I last blogged3 we had the annual Snow Christmas Bakestravagnza. I’ll blog in detail, with photos, about that later, but suffice it to say we baked 11 different things – several of them in double batches – in just 6 hours. It was thoroughly exhausting and an absolutely fabulous time.

Then we watched the season finale of Dexter. Because my sister and her bf always watch it with my mom and this was the first time my mom had been over since it aired.

The next day we went to my cousin Lori’s place for brunch. The last time I saw Lori, her oldest daughter, Imogen, was a wee tot and her youngest, Beatrice, was a newborn. Now Immy is in kindergarten and Baby Bea is not a baby at all! Lori lives in Milton, the town we grew up in, where I haven’t been since, to the best of my recollection, 2004.

After brunch we headed to Guelph for Christmas with Jeff’s family, where we were treated to much delicious food and more adorable children than should legally be allowed in one house.

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And that was where I got to my subway destination. But I forgot to post this last night and now it’s the next day (Dec 20) and I’m on the subway yet again, this time on my way to meet Dr. Dan, who is coming to Toronto to hang with us Snows. So I figured I’d continue writing this post.

After I arrived at the Royal York station yesterday, I met up with Jen, a friend I went to high school with, and she took me to the Cheese Boutique, a place that now rivals the Deifenbunker for the place I’ll be talking about as the most amazing of places ever in the history of ever. The Cheese Boutique is a foodie’s paradise – all of the fanciest fancy pants foods you can imagine and some that you never would have thought of. Like a 5 ft long cannelloni – how would you even cook that?? We picked up some stuff for a party Jen is having on Wed4, and I grabbed some fancy jams for a present and despite my tiny purchase, they gave me an awesome C.B. bag. Seriously, between my sister’s place and the subway this morning, I got three comments from complete strangers about my bag – one person who just thought the bag was awesome and two others who commented one how the C.B. is the greatest place ever.

After the Boutique of Cheese, we headed to Dr. Generosity, where we met up with our friend Jody for dinner. And Jody gave me an awesome button that says “left wing pinkos” right off her jacket! The story behind the button, of which I was not aware until Jody and Jen enlightened me, was that at the inauguration of Toronto’s recently elected uber right wing mayor, Rob Ford, Don Cherry wore a pink jacket and said it was for all the “left wing pinkos” who hate Rob Ford. You know, “pinkos”‘ who want things like transit in their city and for human beings to be treated like human beings.

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And that was where I got to my subway stop on that trip.  More to come, eventually.

  1. which I keep wanting to call the “Skytrain“ []
  2. as this is actually a replacement toque for the identical one I lost on a Toronto subway three yeas ago and how terrible would it be to lose this one in the same way []
  3. as far as I can remember about when I last blogged, given that I can’t check the Internets right now! [Note: given that I’m posting this waaay after I wrote it, this does not make much sense anymore] []
  4. which I don’t get to go to because I was already booked to go to the spa with my mom and sister []

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Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve and my wee niece is trying to go to sleep, but how is a six-year-old supposed to sleep when SANTA IS COMING?? My sister and my dad are both upstairs with her right now, ostensibly trying to get her to go to sleep, but putting two Snows in a room with a child that’s all hopped up on sugar and Christmas excitement really doesn’t seem like the way to go now, does it?

I’m having an absolutely fabulous – if exhausting – holiday with my family, despite the fact that I’m sick from Toronto germs1, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve hardly blogged since I’ve been here, and I really do have many, many things I want to blog about! I have a half written blog posting on my phone – I wrote it on my iPhone in the WordPress app while on the subway, since the subway doesn’t have cell reception, and thus I can’t read stuff from the Internets, I figured I’d write, but then never got around to posting it. And now I’m pretty much in a food coma from our Chrismtas Eve dinner – which isn’t even our big Christmas dinner, it was “just hors d’oeuvres” and yet was somehow enough food to feed an army – and I’m thinking that it’s time to get ready for bed, even though it’s not quite 10 p.m.2, because I’m sure my niece will have me up at the crack of dawn to see what Santa has brought. Which is how Christmas morning should be, imho.

So, yeah, good night, Merry Christmas, and I’m sure I’ll be back to blogging once I get home! I hope Santa is good to y’all!

  1. boo-urns! []
  2. in Toronto, remember []

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I am, in fact, still alive

This might be the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging!  I’ll write more about each of these things, but since I last blogged I have:

  • gotten a haircut and colour with an awesome new stylist
  • flown to Toronto
  • spent time with my parents (for the first time in TWO YEARS), my sister, her bf and my niece
  • hung out with Kalev
  • flown to Ottawa (my first time on Porter Air)
  • hung out with Sarah, Dave and the kids and Sarah’s parents
  • gone to the Diefenbunker!  Which just so happens to be the coolest museum in the history of ever.

So yeah, alive, but clearly too busy – and having too much fun – to blog. I will blog more soon, though. But not now, as they just called general boarding for my flight!

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Vote For Me!

Over on Cath’s blog, she picks her favourite comments every week for her “Bragging Rights Central.” Well, as it turns out, I’m in the running for “Comment of the Year” for the time I told the story of the cursed chocolate bar in response to one of her blog postings1 The final winner will be chosen by popular vote. The problem – I’m not allowed to vote for my own comment! The rules don’t, however, say I can’t lobby all y’all to vote for me. You’d think I’d be above such shameless self-promotion, but you’d be wrong.

So why don’t you mosey on over to Cath’s blog and vote for me?

</shameless self-promotion>

And while you are in the voting mood, why not go and vote for my friend Derek’s podcast, Inside Home Recording, in the Podcast awards?

  1. you can see my original posting on the cursed chocolate bar here. Then go here to see me bragging about making it into Bragging Rights Central here. []

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Random Photos

So I’ve got a few photos that I’ve taken recently thinking, “I need to blog that.” And then I haven’t. Backlog of photos to blog + not much time to blog = this blog posting.

First up, a Christmas tree ornament I got from my Secret Santa.

Day 170

And I’d been wanting more ornaments for my tree!

The other day on the way to a meeting I noticed that Zaphod’s1 odometer was approaching 33,333 km. And I totally meant to get a photo. And then I totally forgot about it after I got out of my meeting and missed getting the photo. I got this less cool photo instead:

IMG_1562

I mean, 33344 is neat and all, but it’s cold comfort when I know how close I was to 33333.

Yesterday was our holiday luncheon at work. We got food from Green Lettuce, a Chinese-Indian fusion restaurant2, which came with fortune cookies.  My fortune was pretty lame:

Day 171

Until I remembered to apply the fortune cookie “in bed”  rule.  Then it’s kind of awesome.

And finally, I made a chocolate amaretto cheesecake for another work holiday party that I’m going to tomorrow night. I’m planning to blog about said cheesecake at some point and took a bunch of photos for that purpose.  Here’s the best of the photos:

Day 172

I bake so that I can lick the spoon. In bed.  See! It does make every sentence better!

  1. Zaphod = my car []
  2. plus some Greek and some samosas. Mmm, samosas []

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Snow Much To Do

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that horrible play-on-words. Someone once gave me a “to do” list notepad that said “snow much to do” at the top and now I can’t even think the phrase, “I have so much to do” without that popping into my head.  Anyway.  I only have three working days1 left in 2010 and only four days left before I head off to Ontario on my Christmas holidays2. And before I leave I have:

  • three full days of work
  • a Christmas lunch at work tomorrow
  • finally going to see Harry Potter tomorrow night
  • a Christmas dinner for my office on Thursday
  • baking something for Friday’s Christmas party after Thursday’s dinner
  • Friday night’s Christmas party
  • hair appointment on Saturday3
  • potentially another Christmas party on Saturday4
  • marking papers on the plane, because when the hell else am I going to get to them?

And once I get to Ontario, the crazy busy-ness doesn’t stop.  Events in ON include, but are not limited to:

  • day with Kalev, which he has most awkwardly dubbed the Kethocalypse5
  • a trip to Ottawa to see Sarah, Dave and the kids and Shelley!
  • Christmas baking – CyberCookies goes live this year!
  • seeing a variety of family members and friends in the GTA6
  • at some point, I’ll need to finish my Christmas shopping
  • spa evening with my mom and sister
  • my sister’s ultrasound!
  • the whole Christmas thing
  • partying with Dr. Dan!

Tonight I fully intended to clean my messy, messy apartment but instead, I’ve been writing Christmas cards. I’m sure that Santa will clean my apartment while I’m gone, right? Omg, Christmas would be so much better if Santa showed up on Christmas Eve and cleaned your apartment.

  1. where by “working days” I am referring to my day job. I still have marking to do from this semester’s course and prep for next semester’s course – assuming there is sufficient enrolment for that course, which I should find out relatively soon, at which time I’ll tell all y’all about it []
  2. would be thieves – my landlords will be here, so don’t even think about it! []
  3. because omg my roots are ridiculous! []
  4. if I’ve finished packing before then, since I have a flight at at way-too-early-o’clock on Sunday morning []
  5. since I’m spending the holidays in Toronto, where he lives, and he’s spending the holidays in Vancouver, where I live, we cleverly booked our holidays to in such a way that we got a day of overlap in Toronto, but we both still depart before the end of AirMiles “low season,” so it didn’t cost us as many AirMiles as it would if we departed during high season []
  6. Greater Toronto Area, for my non-Ontarian readers []