Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Time Thieves Strike Again

I swear the days are getting shorter. And not in the sense that we are well into fall now so there are fewer hours of sunlight every day, but like there is less actual time in a day despite the fact that the clock tells me 24 hours have gone by. Because it seems like every day I get fewer things done than I intended and it totally can’t be because I want to do way more things than is humanely possible nor that I am just too slow at doing all the things. It absolutely must be because time is speeding up. Or time thieves are stealing all the time when I’m not looking because I’m too busy doing all the things. Or trying to, except time thieves thieved all my time.

Part of the problem could be that a number of balls that I had in the air all decided to land at exactly the same time! Said balls include:

  • Peer reviews from a journal article that I submitted in April just came back and some revisions are required.
  • I need to review revised chapters for the update of my textbook and they are coming in fast and furious!
  • I’m teaching a course this semester and I totally thought it wouldn’t be too big of a deal since I taught it last year. But last year was the first time I taught it and it turns out that I had a lot more ideas for revisions than I remembered I did, plus things keep happening in the news that I want to incorporate into my lectures, so that all ends up taking a bunch of time.
  • Two guest lectures that I agreed to give a long time ago both decided to happen around now and apparently guest lectures don’t write themselves.
  • My actual day job, which is always crazy busy, decided to get CRAZY BUSY, with some overnight trips to collect data at various locations.

Now, before you say “Beth, if you are so busy, how do you have time to write this blog posting about how busy you are?” Well, truth be told, I wrote most of this on my phone while Skytraining to work, because Skytraining isn’t really amenable to getting all those other things done, but I can write stuff on my phone. And tonight I’m in a hotel room for one of those overnight work trips and my brain is too fried to do more than copy and paste this into my blog and then write this sentence about how I’m copying and pasting this into my blog and writing this sentence. And even that made me tired. But it’s OK – it’s only another about 8 weeks of this and then I can sleep again. And the way that time is flying these days, that will go buy in a flash!

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For The Record

In tangentially related news to yesterday’s posting (in that it’s about hockey), I’ve been meaning to post the following two screenshots from the summer season. First up is the stats for the regular season and would you look at that, my name is right at the top1!

Team Leader for Points! Summer 2017

This is the first time I’ve *ever* been the points leader on my team and, since it very may well be the *only* time that ever happens, I figured I should capture it for posterity. I would also like to add that the number of goals I scored is in error – I actually got three, but my third goal was credited to someone else on the team by mistake (the refs and/or scorekeepers don’t always record these things correctly). Which means I should have been second highest goal scorer as well (and the first highest of our regular players, as the person who got the most goals on our team was a spare who scored all of those goals in the one game they played for us). Unless of course one of the other people who are recorded as having 2 goals also had one of their goals erroneously credited to someone else.

Next up is the stats for the playoffs, and would you look at that, there I am at the top again!Team Leader for Points! Summer Playoffs 2017Unfortunately, there was also a scorekeeping error here, as the goal they credited me with was not my goal – it was someone else’s that they gave to me by mistake. So really, it should be a four-way tie for points leaders for the playoffs, with 4 of us each having 1 point (We only played two playoff games before we got knocked out, so not really a lot of opportunity to score goals, especially given that we were last place and we played both our games against first place.) But I still was one of those people, as I got an assist in the first game, so it’s not technically incorrect for me to be at the top of this list.

Now, what accounts for this spectacular showing on the scoreboard, after what feels like ages of me getting very, very few points? I think that it’s probably the fact that I got a new stick:

But also I have been working out 3 days a week for six months now, so I’m pretty sure that’s not hurting either. At any rate, here’s hoping it continues into this season – I am currently tied for second place (with three other people at 1 point each) for points this season so far (though at only 3 games into the season, it’s probably too early to be bragging about such things. Probably.).

  1. Ignore the fact that there was a very, very low number of goals scored by my team in this 14 game season. That’s not what’s important here, people! []

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Beth and Sidney’s Excellent Adventure

So I have a new hockey team this season – we are called the Penguins! On this team, they have a tradition. The player of the game is awarded a Sidney Crosby stuffy, which they get to keep until the next game. And during that time they must take Sidney on an adventure, which they must photograph and send to the team. Apparently Sidney has gone on a variety of adventures – he’s gone mountain biking, he’s gone to the spa, he’s played dress up, he’s gone for an acupuncture treatment, and so on.

Well, as luck would have it, I was awarded this great honour in my second game on the team, which we played this past Sunday. The honour was bestowed upon me for scoring a goal with just 4 seconds left in the game. The goal was one for the highlight reel – a beautiful wrist shot, top shelf! Or perhaps I just skated up to the goalie, who quite possibly wasn’t expecting anything to actual happen in the last 4 seconds of the game, took a shot right at her which she easily stopped, but it fell between her knees and then when I kept skating towards her hoping to poke at the rebound, she fell over backwards and knocked the puck into her own net. It could have been either of these things, really. I guess we’ll never know! At any rate, my teammate kindly named me player of the game for my never-give-up attitude and making the other team’s goalie, who was quite spectacular all game, look silly. And so it was that I brought this hottie home with me:

Sidney came home from the rink with me!

Watson and Crick smelled him for an unusually long time (They smell pretty much everything I bring into the condo, but usually it’s a few sniffs and they are on their way. But the each spent several minutes smelly every inch of this guy!)

Crick smelling Sidney

Watson smelling Sidney

Now, I only had a few days in which to adventure with Sid, as our next game, when I had to pass him along to the next player of the game, was tonight (Wednesday). So I really only had Monday and Tuesday and I was working those days, plus I am teaching a class at UBC on Tuesday nights this semester. So Sidney ended up having a very nerdy adventure. He came to work with me (I actually had him at the table during our team meeting1 and one of my team members was like “He’s staring at me!!”):

Sidney

Sidney

And then on Tuesday night, he helped me give my lecture on business strategy and marketing:

Sidney gives a guest lecture

Students cut out of the photo to protect privacy! But I wanted a photo with students in it to prove that I didn’t just take him to a lecture hall and pretend to have him in my class!

And finally, we ended our hard day’s work with a fine beer from Steel & Oak:Sidney

  1. which I totally neglected to get a photo of. Epic fail! []

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Things Fall Apart

Apparently all the things got together and decided that they should fall apart this year. You’ve already heard about my car’s clutch actuator and my kobo1 and my toilet and my mouth and my cat’s mouth. In addition to those things, the following other things decided that they too should fall apart:

  • my bathroom counter top. Specifically, the edge of it that came loose:Bathroom counterAnd before I got a chance to buy some Gorilla glue to fix it, I accidentally leaned on it and snapped that piece off. I glued it back on and since it’s on the side, I don’t think anyone will really notice (other than that I’ve now pointed it out to the whole world).
  • my bathroom floor. Specifically, the transition strip between my bathroom floor and my walk-through closet’s floor, which came loose:Transition stripGorilla glue also solved that problem.
  • my dresser. Specifically, the dresser that Kalev gave me way back when he moved to Toronto a million years ago.Kitties exploring my broken dresserOver the last little while, the drawers of the dresser started to slide less smoothly. And then the little plastic slider thingys and all their associated ball bearings started to fall out. Now only the top two drawers can actually be opened and closed without falling off their rails.In fairness to the dresser, it was from Ikea and was moved from Kalev’s place to my place in Vancouver, then to my place in Surrey, then to my first place in New West and then to my current place, which means it’s survived four more moves than can reasonably be expected from a piece of Ikea furniture. I thank it for its service. I’ve ordered a new dresser, one that will go with the rest of my bedroom set and should last me a very long time (locally made, solid wood, costs a stupid amount of money), so in 5-7 weeks I will have a new home for my clothes.
  • my kitchen cupboard door. Specifically the cupboard door that I opened the other day to retrieve something from said cupboard and then it fell completely off its hinges. Given how heavy it was and the fact that I wasn’t prepared to hold up its entire weight with my fingertips on the little handle, it dropped to the counter top beneath the cupboard, where it knocked a wine bottle that landed hard on my foot2 and it knocked over my glass of wine, so my kitchen ended up covered in red wine!
    Cabinet door fell off!

    Every time I go into the kitchen, I instinctively reach up to close the non-existent cupboard door

    Here’s the piece of the hinge on the cupboard frame:

    Broken dresser

    And here’s the piece on the cupboard door:Broken dresser

    It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but they are both a little warped, so I went and bought replacement hinges at Home Depot and I guess fixing it is on the to-do list for this weekend.

In addition to all those things, I also re-sprained my left ankle (stupidly, I was running for a Skytrain and rolled it again), which has made my right hip tight again. However, I’m attempting to learn from my previous mistakes and instead of just thinking it’s OK after a few weeks and running on it, I’ve been going to massage and physio and dutifully stretching out my hip so that it won’t continue on to bursitis again. I asked specifically requested the physio give me some ankle strengthening exercises to do, since no one gave me any the first time I sprained my ankle but clearly my ankle is wimpy and needs to do something about it.

To add injury to injury, last weekend on an easy stroll through Lighthouse Park I rolled my right ankle! It didn’t feel great for a few days, but it seems OK today (*knocks on wood*). Sigh.

Tangentially related: This sign was set up like this in my office and my new hire asked if it was indicative of the quality of the office coffee. For the record, it is.

This sign in my office does, in fact, reflect the quality of the office coffee

  1. Incidentally, I did get a new kobo, but my new kobo needs a name []
  2. Thankfully, my foot broke its fall so that the wine bottle didn’t break! []

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Happy Workiversary To Me!

Yesterday was the my third anniversary of working in my current job! It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s been three years, as I still think of it as my “new” job. And as much as I can sometimes be frustrated with the bureaucracy of working in a big organization (while, several big organizations, actually, as the project I’m working on crosses quite a few), overall I quite like my job. I’m doing work that’s challenging, where I can see that I’m making a difference, and where I have a lot of leeway to figure out how to do my job best – it’s actually got the three keys to motivating someone to be a high performer (autonomy, mastery, and purpose), now that I think about it.

The other thing I really like about my job is the people I get to work with. Case in point: I found this on my desk the other day:

Workiversary card from my team

It’s a card, handmade by one of my team members, that my whole team had signed with some really thoughtful comments to celebrate my workiversary! I’m very lucky to have a team that are not only very good at what they do, but also a super fun group of people to work with!

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Stuff I Learned This Year: Car Part Edition

Much like the Plumbing Edition of Stuff I Learned This Year, this is a lesson I’d have been happy not having learned. It all started on my drive home from work on Friday – I was slowing down for a red light on Stewardson Way and my car jerked (sort of like it would if you were driving a manual transmission car and accidentally put it in the wrong gear) twice, and then as I stopped at the red light, it died. Like, it would not start. And I was on a busy road during rush hour! I put on my four-way flashers and called BCAA to get some emergency roadside assistance. Pretty soon, a couple of women came up to my car and asked if I need some help: “We can push your car around the corner and into this parking lot”. A guy from the business whose parking lot they were referring to, Kirmac Collision1, also came out to help push. Since I drive a Smart car, they were very amused at how light it was to push! I was so thankful that they took the time to stop and help me – no one wants to be the car that they talk about on the traffic report: “A stall on Stewardson Way is blocking the right lane, so there’s only one lane getting through eastbound and everyone just wants to be home already!”

The BCAA tow truck driver showed up in about 20 minutes, which is exactly the time the BCAA dispatcher had estimated (and was more than enough time for me to take over the Pokemon Gym that was there), and he was super nice. Here was where I learned the first thing of this adventure: the location of the battery in my car! Now, lots of things in Smart cars are not where they are in other cars – the engine is in the back and the ignition is in between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, near the gear shifter, for example. Well, it turns out that the battery is located under the foot well on the passenger side! Also there was the tow hook for the car! I’ve never needed to check my battery before – it’s never been a problem. And the only other time I had it towed was when I had a flat tire and that time it was still under warranty, so I had Smart Car roadside assistance still, and they just took care of it. I knew the battery was working, as I could still roll up my windows and the radio was still working, but the tow truck guy tested it, and decided that I would indeed have to get it towed somewhere, because whatever was making the car not start wasn’t something he could diagnosis on the spot.

Now, I’ve never had any trouble with my car before and I’d only ever taken it to the dealership for its regular maintenance (while it was under warranty I had to take it there or else the warranty would be void and once the warranty was up, I just kept going there out of habit/being too lazy to find an alternative). Smart cars are sold at Mercedes dealerships, so you know that there is going to be a bit of a premium on their prices. But I really wasn’t prepared for how bad it would be!

First, when I called the dealership to say I was going to have my car towed there, they said it was no problem even though they would be closed for the night, the driver could just drop off the car and put the keys in an envelope with my name and number on it through the drop spot they have for just such occasions. However, the next day when the service guy contacted me, he was all “We have 68 cars with appointments ahead of you, so we can’t even look at it until Monday and I won’t do anything until you approve the $200 minimum fee to diagnosis it. Plus it is due for a major service appointment (replace spark plugs, belts, oil, etc.) and that costs $970. So with have halted everything until you approve the fees”. My first thought is “why is he making a big deal that other cars have appointments. My car died with no warning. Sorry I didn’t make an appointment for that!” And my second thought was “why would I approve $1000 of maintenance if I don’t know what is wrong the car? What if it isn’t even fixable and they just do all that maintenance on a car I’m going to throw away?” So I said I’d pay the $200 diagnostic fee, but not approve the maintenance before I knew what was wrong with the car.

IMG_4775On Monday, they contacted me with a diagnosis – the clutch actuator motor had died – and an estimate – $900 for the part, $800 for labour (including the $200 diagnosis fee). So in total they wanted $2700 + tax to fix my car, which is 8 years old and only worth about $4000 (if it weren’t broken!). So this made me an unhappy camper because I have a lot of more exciting things that I would want to spend $2700 + tax on, such as anything else. I would rather spend that much on pretty much anything else. Also, they would have to order the part of Toronto and it wouldn’t arrive until Friday, and that’s only if they placed the order that day (i.e., trying to pressure me to make a quick decision!).

So this is the major car part thing that I learned: what the heck is a clutch actuator motor? I knew what a clutch was from my years of driving manual transmission. When you drive manual, you step on a clutch pedal, which allows you to shift gears (or to start the car moving from a stationary position) – basically, stepping on the clutch pedal disconnects the running engine from the turning of the wheels so that you can shift gears; then you release the clutch pedal, which allows the engine to continue turning the wheels with the car in the new gear you’ve just selected2. However, Smart cars don’t have manual transmissions – they have something called a Tiptronic – with this type of transmission, you can shift the gears yourself, but you don’t need to step on a clutch pedal and if you fail to shift correctly, the car will just shift it for you so that the car doesn’t stall. In the photo above, you see that there is Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive, which in an automatic car and you can just drive your Smart as an automatic using those. If you want to do the shifting yourself, when in Drive, you push the stick over to the left (where the + and – are) and then you push up (towards +) and release to shift up or down (towards -) and release to shift down. I did this when I first got my car, but it just wasn’t as satisfying as driving a real manual, so I’ve driven it as an automatic after about the first month of owning. Anyway, the clutch actuator is a part that basically takes the place of the clutch pedal that you would step on to change gears in a manual transmission car. So, the fact that the clutch actuator died and was making my car not work was like insult to injury –  it’s a part that my car has because of a feature I don’t even use!

Anyway, I called a friend of mine who is into cars for advice and he said, “They are likely charging you a Mercedes tax. I know this other shop run by a good guy – they know their stuff and they are straightforward and charge fair prices.” So we contacted them and they gave me an estimate for all the same work (replace the clutch actuator and do the full maintenance service): $1200 + tax! So basically Mercedes was trying to fleece me out of $1500! So I called them back and said I would not be having them do anything more with my car – I would pay their $200 diagnosis fee and then have a tow truck come to take it away. He said it would take some time to put my car back together and he’d call me when it was ready. And then he called me back shortly after, said he’d talked to his manager, and since I’ve been such a good customer, they wanted to know what I was planning to do with the car3. I said that I was taking it somewhere else to get it fixed, where they are charging me a reasonable price and where they can get the part tomorrow, not Friday. He asked what the other place was going to charge me and when I told him, the guy says that because I’ve such a good customer4, they can match the price for replacing the clutch actuator ($1000 for parts & labour, instead of $1700), but he didn’t believe that the quote of $200 for maintenance (vs. Mercedes charging $970) could be right. “Are you sure it’s a full maintenance, with spark plugs and belts and everything? Are you sure it’s not just an oil change?” And I was sure, because I’d sent the shop the list of what was included in the list of things for maintenance. But he was all “nope, we can’t drop the price on that”5. And then he also dropped in that “We’ve found the part locally, so we can have it by today instead of 5 days from now”. At this point, I was just pissed off, and I said, “Well, if you can drop the price of replacing the clutch actuator almost in half, just like that, now I just feel like you were trying to fleece me! And that’s a very interesting coincidence that all of a sudden you found the part locally, once I told you that I taking it to another shop! I’m taking my car – please tell me when you have it reassembled so I can tell my tow truck driver it’s ready.”6

So that was Monday. They didn’t have my car reassembled until the next morning, but I got a tow truck to take it to Deckers Auto in Burnaby, who had the car fixed and all the maintenance done in about 24 hours, and the cost was right on what they’d estimated! And to put a cherry on top, when I got there, the guy was super friendly and helpful, he showed me the parts that had been replaced and explained what was wrong with them, and basically treated me like I was a person capable of understanding information about cars (which many mechanics do not do when they speak to women.). He also told me that my car is in great shape, so I shouldn’t have to worry about it for quite some time! I was just so pleased with their service and I will be definitely going back to them for all my maintenance from now on. If you are ever looking for a great auto shop, I highly recommend them!

Reflecting back, I have a lot of people to thank for helping me out in this situation:

  • the two lovely women who stopped to help me out when I was stalled in traffic, along with the lovely gentleman from Kirmac who helped them push my car. Also, the other nice guy from Kirmac who came out while I was waiting for my tow truck to make sure I was OK
  • the friendly and professional BCAA driver who came for emergency roadside assistance
  • my friend Tig who gave me a ride to our hockey game that night!
  • my friend Randy who recommended Deckers Auto and who talked with me through my options
  • the amazing mechanics at Deckers Auto who treated me fairly and professionally and who charged me a fair price for the work they did
  • my Dad, for teaching me about how cars work
  • my sister, for pointing out that my Dad’s legacy lives on through our tendency to call people out on their bullshit

Here’s a video of how a manual transmission works, in case you are interested:

Image Credits:

  • Cross section of Smart car showing engine location is from Wikimedia Commons shared with a Creative Commons license.
  • Gear shifter in my Smart car photo was taken by me!

Footnotes:

  1. Those of you from New West may be noting that Kirmac just so happens to be right next to New West’s craft brewery, Steel & Oak. And if I didn’t have a hockey game to play later that evening, I definitely would have meandered into S&O’s tasting room for a pint after the tow truck took my car away! []
  2. Here’s a simple explanation, if you are interested: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/clutch.htm []
  3. At this point, I was assuming he was going to try to sell me a Merc. []
  4. Interesting that they didn’t seem to care that I’d been such a good customer until I was threatening to leave! []
  5. Of course, he couldn’t drop the price on that because then if I came back for my next service appointment, they wouldn’t be able to charge me the hundreds of extra dollars anymore! []
  6. I was telling my sister this story and said that I wished Dad was here to help me deal with this car stuff – he is the one who taught me all the things I know about cars – and she said “It seems like he is. What you said to them was such a Dad thing to say!” I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! []

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I’m a Frankestein’s Monster

So I got a gum graft this morning. I’ve been putting it off since forever ago when my dentist said my gum line was receding on the lower left side of my mouth on a tooth near the back. Basically, the root of the tooth was slowly being exposed and ultimately that would just lead to the root rotting and no one wants that. I looked into an alternative procedure, but then it turned out that the alternative procedure is pretty much what my periodontist does but using cadaver tissue instead of your own tissue (which is an option with my perio1 as well), but some guy gave it a fancy name and patented it. So anyway, after looking into that and deciding it wasn’t worth it, I put off booking the actual surgery for ages because (a) it didn’t sound that fun and (b) my insurance doesn’t cover the procedure (apparently Pacific Blue Cross is the only insurance that doesn’t cover it – lucky me) and I did not like the idea of spending $1400 on this rather than any number of other $1400 purchases I would have preferred to make. What finally got me to do it, though, was the realization that since I had to spend a bunch of money out of pocket for physio on my hip in the fall (as my physio allotment of my insurance got used up pretty quick), if I did the gum graft within 12 months of the physio, I could lump the receipts together and they will probably add up to a high enough amount that I can claim them on my taxes. And so I found myself in the periodontist’s chair this morning.

Not thrilled to be getting a gum graft

As you can see, I’m not thrilled to be sitting in this chair

The procedure was fairly quick and pretty much painless other than the needle to do the freezing2. They also put a blood pressure cuff on me, which inflated every 15 minutes during the pressure just to make sure it wasn’t going crazy – and I hate blood pressure cuffs! They make me feel all claustrophobic and when I can start to feel my blood pumping, I get queasy3. Ugh! Once everything was frozen, I could only feel a bit of pressure here and there, and it was weird to see someone sewing stitches in my mouth! Basically, they cut out a bit of tissue from the roof of your mouth, sew that incision up, then open up a little pocket in the receding gum and stuff the tissue inside there, and then sew that up. And that’s it. She did also put a “bandage” on the roof of my mouth to protect that cut – it feels like a little pack of putty. It sort of protects that cut – I imagine without it, I’d just be running my tongue on those stitches, like you do when you burn the roof of your mouth! Before the surgery, they gave me some Advil and Tylenol and then said to take an Advil every 2 hours today4, and then just as needed for any pain tomorrow. My jaw is a bit achy, but that doesn’t bug me too much. I was worried there would be sharp pain in the roof of my mouth, as I’ve heard from other people who have had gum grafts, but so far, knock on wood, I’m OK. I can deal with just achy (so I’m hoping it stays at just that!). The periodontist also said I might have a bruise on my cheek, but one hasn’t developed yet. I guess we’ll see how I look in the morning.

Today I had to take it easy and for the next week or so I have to eat only on the right side of my mouth. I can brush my teeth except for the ones where the graft was, and I have to swish around a special rinse after that to keep the wounded parts clean. The perio even said that I can play my hockey game tomorrow night5, so I should probably get a good night’s sleep!

  1. And, in fact, my friend Rick is getting a gum graft done using cadaver tissue, so he is going to be a real Frankenstein’s monster. Or perhaps a chimera. I haven’t been to periodontal school, so I’m not sure which of those is technically correct, though I’m sure it must be one of them. []
  2. The only painful part was paying the bill! []
  3. On the plus side, my blood pressure was good – about 109/60, which is a bit high for me (I’m usually around 90/60), but way below the normal of 120/80 and also I was having surgery! []
  4. Which I kept forgetting to do, so it’s been more like every 3-4 hrs. []
  5. I thought she would say not to, as the written material I got before the surgery said I shouldn’t engage in any physical activity for 48 hours, but she said that the written material is very conservative – she said that they don’t want you to raise your blood pressure in the first 12-24 hours while the initial healing is taking place, but after that I’m fine to play hockey!)

    Sadly, I didn’t get any gruesome photos like I did that time I got crowns and veneers done, because there really wasn’t anything gruesome to see. I kind of wish I could see what the stitches look like, but the periodontist said not to try to pull at my lip to look at what’s going on with the wound (like many people do) as it will only disrupt the site and delay healing/screw up the graft and after $1400, I’m not risking that, no matter how many cool looking stitches I’m missing out on seeing.

    Anyhoo, I suppose I should take my last Advil for the day and hit the hay. Tomorrow is my first day back at work after two weeks of holidays ((Which I’ll blog about soon! []

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Goals 2017 Check In

We are more than 5/12 of the way through 2017 and first of all, how is that even possible? It feels like it was just New Year’s! But secondly, it seems like a good time to check in on my goals to see if I’m even remotely on track before the year completely gets away from me.

Let’s dive right in, shall we? Below is a list of the goals with notes on how I’m doing on each one. I’ve also colour coded them: green for those that are done or on track, orange for those where progress is made but the goal needs a bunch of work to get back on track, and red for those that are seriously in danger of not getting completed (or are already failed), plus grey for one that has been superseded.

1. Learn 12 new things (1 per month). So far I’ve learned: plumbingfolding a fitted sheet, strength trainingsewing, and growing balcony potatoes – I’ve also learned about one more thing but haven’t written it up yet, so I’m actually ahead on this one!
2. KonMari my condo. I have started this one, but have gotten a little stalled after I got through all my clothes and shoes (still have jewelry and purses to do before I can consider the “clothing” category done). Got a little distracted by teaching a course for the past 6 weeks, which took up a lot of my spare time, but that’s done now so I can get back to making giant piles of my belongings to decide which things bring me joy and thanking the ones that don’t make the cut for their service (lol!)
3. Do yoga at least 2x per week (either at home or in a class). Haven’t done it even once this year!
4. Establish a weight training program and actually do regular weight training, where “regular” = at least 2x per week for at least 3 out of 4 weeks per month. I’m doing excellent on this one! I have gone to the gym 3 days a week, every week, since I joined Strong Side on March 3. Hooray for me!
5. Get back to journalling regularly (where “regularly” = once a week). I forgot this one was a goal. I should really do this! Good thing I’m doing this check in to remind me!
6. Travel somewhere awesome. Scott and I are doing a road trip next week1 and one of the places will be going is Jasper. Though it’s not far away, I do believe it constitutes awesome.
7. Get gum graft surgery done.  Booked for July 4!
8. Get a Nexus card Oh yeah, I should do this!
9. Send an actual physical birthday card on time to all my family members and close friends Already failed at this one! Maybe next year…
10. Bring my lunch to work 80% of the time. I’ve been tracking this on a weekly basis, but hadn’t looked at the actual percentage until just now. I’m only at 56% Clearly I need to up my lunch game when I get back from my holidays!
11. Complete the 100 push up challenge. This goal has been superseded by my joining Strong Side. Hopefully I’ll start to get better at pushups – I’ve managed to make great improvements in my strength, but pushups remain tough for me.
12. Submit 5 papers for publication. I’ve gotten one submitted, I’ve got one that is about 85% of the way done, I’ve got one that I’ve planned out with my co-authors (but we haven’t yet started on), and I’ve got one in my brain. Better get working on the lesser done ones (and also come up with the 5th one!)
13. Read 17 books. I’ve only finished one so far this year (Maria Kondo’s book), but I’m in the middle of reading 4 different books at the moment, plus I have my friend Cath’s new book sitting on my coffee table waiting to be read. So I’m rather behind on this one and I mostly blame the fact that I spend my commute doing my Pokemon inventory management rather than reading
14. Make 17 new foods and/or drinks that I’ve never made before. I’ve only done 6 so far, but I’ve got some good ideas for other things, so I think I’ll manage this one.
15. Write 117 blog postings! Counting this one, I’ll have done 26 blog postings so far this year. I better step it up!
16. Finish the plan for mystery thing #1. I’m actually working on this in earnest this week – my mystery collaborator and I have the week off work to focus on this, so this goal is well underway.
17. Finish the letter of intent for mystery thing #2. I did finish this, so technically I completed my goal. Doesn’t look like this mystery thing is going to go anywhere, so let us never speak of it again.

So I’m doing OK on several, have quite a few that are not on track, and a few on which I’ve made progress. So I guess now it’s time to turn some of those orange and reds into green!

  1. Attention would be robbers: My cat sitter will be here, so don’t even think of trying to rob me! []

By

The Lady And The Lords

In not so serious but absolutely important news, Dr. Dan, Rick, and I have spent the last several months painstakingly exploring our respective genealogies to uncover a really random piece of shared ancestry. And for all it’s click-bait worthiness, you’ll be surprised to learn what that is.

Apparently, way back in the old-time-y days of yore we shared a Scottish ancestor who just happened to be of noble stock1. Crazy, right? What does that mean? It means that
Sir William MacPherson has had some influence I'm a Ladyon our genes2. It also means that his nobility has somehow been passed down through the generations to us5. I mean, that probably comes as no surprise, given how noble and royal-like we are. More than that, it means that we are rightfully the Reverend Lady Dr. Beth Snow of Glencoe, Lord Ricky Chin of Glencoe, and Lord Dr. Daniel Gillis of Glencoe6. Although it might actually be the Reverend Dr. Lady Beth Snow of Glencoe, and Dr. Lord Daniel Gillis of Glencoe – I’m not quite sure how the titles should be ordered.

Regardless – we be all sorts of noble, yo!7


1 No, we didn’t.

2 No, he didn’t3.

3 Though some of the records indicate that he may have changed his name to Sir William MacPherson from the noble Sir Billy MacChin4.

4 Actually, the records don’t show that at all. At least, we don’t think they do. We didn’t actually check.

5 No, it hasn’t.

6 No, we aren’t.

7 Yes, we are8.

8 This post might not be factually accurate. In fact, it’s probably mostly factually alternative in its factitiousness9.

9 Truth be told, we actually donated funding to support conservation efforts in Scotland, and in return we each “own” a one square foot plot of Scottish highlands and were given the titles of Lady and Lords of Glencoe10. But that doesn’t seem nearly as fun as the possibility of a shared ancestry.

10 Don’t worry folks; despite our newfound but obvious and noble birthrights, we promise to preside over the common folk in a fair and just way. We’re good like that.

By

Going Postal

Way back in the old time-y days of 2016, the mailbox in my building got broken.

Mailbox

Apparently it was quite old and it had been repaired several times, but this time it was no longer repairable. So we had to order a new one. But it was December and the mailbox making place was on holidays. So like a month later we got our new mailbox delivered…. and it turned out that half of it was defective. So they had to make another one.

We now have half a mailbox

Well, after two long months of not getting mail delivered, we finally got a new, not defective mailbox installed last week! Hooray!

New mailbox!

It turns out that if you have a b0rked mailbox, Canada Post holds your mail at a depot place where you can go pick it up during the extremely convenient hours of 10 am to 2 pm, Monday to Friday. Given that I don’t work in the same city that I live in (and hence where the mail depot is), I found this pretty ridiculous. I managed to pick up my mail two times in those two months – once during my Christmas holidays (before l left for Toronto/New York), and a second time on Family Day (because it’s a provincial holiday, not a federal one, so federal employees, such as those who work for Canada Post, don’t get the day off). I talked to some people in my building who didn’t pick up their mail even one time for the entire two months!

The whole ordeal confirmed for me what I’m sure most people know – mail is mostly irrelevant. When I did pick it up, my mail was full of RRSP statements (which I can check online anyway), pay stubs (though the money had already gone into my bank account, so I wasn’t too worried about it), and my property assessment (which I already checked out online). The only thing that I really even needed out of the entire two months’ worth of mail was a royalty cheque from my textbook – my publishing company is American and apparently it’s impossible to send money electronically through the US-Canada impenetrable border. I also got the notice for my strata’s AGM (which eventually also was sent electronically – one of the items on the agenda was how to pay for the new mailbox. lol! Also, now that the mailbox is fixed, my T4 slips are arriving, so I guess that’s a thing that I need to get in the mail (as only some places seem to have those online).

Anyway I think what I’m saying here is that everyone should mail cool stuff to me now that I have a functioning mailbox again!