Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Some New Ornaments for my Christmas Tree

And speaking of blog postings I wrote a while ago, I apparently forgot to finish this posting, which I started last week!

I’m one of those people who have an eclectic set of ornaments for my tree. Rather than having a coordinated set of decorations that would make Martha Stewart proud, I have a tree full of ornaments that I have collected over the years… a tree full of happy Christmas memories, as it were. Each ornament has a story1. Like the gingerbread girl who has a tray full of freshly baked gingerbread cookies that I got in 1988 – a fact I only know because it says “1988” on her apron. My sister got an identical one and so I put a sticker on the bottom of my gingerbread girl’s cookie sheet because it was very important that I be able to distinguish which one was mine and which one was Nancy’s…. even though they were identical, so I really can’t fathom why it would matter whose was whose, but it was very important to us at the time. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster ornament that I made with my very own hands – one for me and ones for a few special friends who I know love the FSM too. Or the mouse that was given to me by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Morley. Or the ones my niece made out of peanuts. This year, I decided to add a beautiful set of ornaments that have a special story too. I first heard about Tradeworks on my friend Paul’s blog. From the Tradeworks website:

We work with inner city women and at-risk youth with multiple barriers to employment. We provide training in life and employment skills, and hands-on work experience in the of trade carpentry. After finishing our program, our graduates are ready for steady gainful employment.

The intricately designed ornaments are handmade from BC blue-stained beetle kill pine wood. I bought the Twelve Days of Christmas set and they are absolutely gorgeous:

Having the set of 12 is really awesome, because it ties my whole eclectic tree together and because I know that I got to support a really cool organization too.

  1. Well, I do have a set of plain blue Christmas balls whose story is basically that I didn’t have enough ornaments to fill up my tree because I got divorced and my ex took his half of the ornaments and so I went to London Drugs to buy a Christmas tree and got this set of blue balls to fill up space. Tee hee – blue balls. []

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Holidays Begin

Written earlier today, on a plane where they don’t have the Internets.

On a plane, heading to see the fam in Toronto for the Christmas holidays. I’m strangely antsy – we’ve only been flying for an hour so far, but I’ve alternated between deciding I should nap, then that I should read and then flipping endlessly through my kobo trying to decide *what* to read1, finally settling on a book I’ve been meaning for read since forever: Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. But then halfway through the first chapter, despite it being very interesting and well written, I decided that I should be writing. The woman next to me is marking exams2, which is making me both slightly anxious – because it reminds me that somewhere out there, there’s a prof who either is, has, or soon will be marking the exam I wrote last weekend3 – and happy that I’m not marking exams right now4. I think my antsiness is, at least in part, due to my discomfort with having the freedom to actually *decide* what to do, as opposed to immediately moving on to the next assignment once the last one was completed. It’s been two years since I’ve had to make such decisions – I’m not sure I remember how!

Granted, I still have my industry project to complete – it’s a super cool project that I’m doing for work, but with the added bonus that I get to write it up as a paper and it counts for 1.5 credits, but also I have a supervisor from school who is advising me, so it’s kind of like having a high price consultant for free5. So I suppose I could be doing that right now, but I feel like I’m at a stage where I need to lay a bunch of different papers out over a big surface so I can sketch out my strategy, which isn’t very conducive to the tiny fold out table tray on this plane… plus all the papers I need are in my checked baggage. I figure I can work on that in this upcoming week as everyone will be working – and my niece and nephew will be in school and daycare, respectively – during the day.

I also have a bunch of other exciting plans for my trip to Toronto, including, in no particular order:

  • dinner with Jen & Jody at some trendy new restaurant that Jen knows6
  • the Ontario Science Centre with Sarah and her crew – and I get to meet the newest member of the MacDonald-McLean gang!
  • annual Christmas baking – non-cyber edition
  • an evening of nerding out with Dan and Rick7
  • making homemade eggnog
  • various family events
  • a creative project with my sister
  • a trip to the Aquarium – which was a gift for my niece’s birthday from my Aunt Lynn

And probably a bunch of other stuff that I’ve forgotten. Now that I look at that list, this might be the nerdiest Christmas I’ve had in a long time!

Ok, now that I’ve started thinking about my industry project paper, I’m starting to get all angsty that I should be working on it. And, really, there are some of the background pieces that I could work on writing up right now that don’t requiring spreading all of the paper in the world over a great big table. I should probably work on that now. Will post this once I get back to the land of the Internets!

  1. I’m currently already reading two books – Ender’s Game, which I’m reading as an audiobook while I do my treadmill running for the running study I’m in, so I want to save that to listen to while I’m running, and Born to Run, but I’m about 9/10ths of the way through that, but it’s a paper book and I didn’t want to have to carry that with me on the plane as I’m carrying all the electronics ever so my carry on bag is already way too heavy for my own good. []
  2. Incidentally, marking is one of my least favourite things to do… next to taking exams! []
  3. Despite the fact that I told myself when I started the MBA that I don’t care about my marks and I’m really just interested in what I’m learning… I kind of care about my marks. I can’t help it! Since the start of the program, I’ve gotten good marks and the more I got, the more felt like I was on a roll and didn’t want to break my streak! I managed to be above the class average in every course with the exception of two courses where I got exactly the class average, but both of those had quite high class averages, so I was OK with that. And now I just have one mark left to receive for the rest of my life – the one for the course that I wrote the exam in last Saturday. And even though grades mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things… I’m totally freaking out about it. Fingers crossed! []
  4. I am going to be teaching my stats course starting in January, so there is marking in my near future. But Future Beth can deal with that – December Beth is happily not carrying a giant pile of exams with her giant pile of techno-gadgets in her carry on. []
  5. Free, unless you count my massive tuition fee. []
  6. Last time I was in T.O., we did the after work (for them) dinner & drinks thing, and I was totally undressed as the Toronto business crowd is all suits and whatnot, and I was in casual attire that would fit in back in Vancouver. So this time I made sure to pack a dress and fancy boots. []
  7. Lest you doubt the level of nerdery of this event, the title of the Google Calendar invite is “The Researchiest Researchers Who Ever Did Research”. []