Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Happy Bethmas Eve!

Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Bethmas weekend, yet here it is 365 days since the last Bethmas Eve! Since Bethmas falls on Monday this year, I’ve decided to extend Bethmas celebrations for the whole week as having my birthday party before my birthday seemed too early in January. Celebrations start with a birthday lunch with coworkers1 and then dinner with some friends at New West’s hot new restaurant on my actual birthday and culminating with a Bethmas party next Saturday2.

As for Bethmas Eve, it’s pretty low-key. This morning I’ve been doing such exciting things as checking in on the discussions in the online course I’m teaching, doing laundry, and finally taking down my Christmas tree. Though I do have a hockey game later, so the plan is to finish up all this being-a-responsible-adult stuff before then and officially kick off Bethmas Eve with hockey! w00t!

  1. Which was actually set up by my Business Analyst who, have I mentioned, is super awesome? []
  2. Actually, those are all the things. There’s nothing birthday-related between those two days. []


A Blogworthy Bethmas

Blog worthy

A “happy birthday/congrats on finishing your MBA” card from my lovely friend, soon-to-be-Dr. Martha!

Yesterday was Bethmas. Apparently I was so busy preparing and then celebrating that I never even gave you the usual Bethmas Eve greeting1. But now I’m here to give you a recap.

I decided that, since my industry project paper – i.e., the very last thing I needed to do for my MBA – was due on Jan 15, which is ever so close to Bethmas, that it only made sense to hand my paper in early and throw a big bash to celebrate both my birthday and the completion of my MBA2! I handed my paper in on Thursday, crossed my fingers that my prof wouldn’t ask for any revisions3, and then threw a party.

Because I am a Snow, I made tonnes of food because that is what Snows do when they throw a party. There was chili chicken4, mushroom puffs5, potatoes wrapped in bacon6, spinach dip, guacamole deviled eggs, 3 bean salad, chips7 and, for dessert, mocha ganache cupcakes with mascarpone cream. Suffice it to say that I spent pretty much all of the day prepping and was still decorating the cupcakes when the first guest arrived! I didn’t even have time to run to the store and had to make poor Kalev pick up ice and a loaf of sourdough for the spinach dip on his way over8.

I decided to make the house drinks related to the theme of having finished business school and this is what I came up with:

House drinks

The Suffering Bastard is a drink I found on the Internet and, since I’ve been a suffering bastard for the past two years, I figured it was appropriate. However, it’s a gin-based drink and I don’t actually like gin, so I needed a second option that *I* would actually like to drink9. I came across a drink recipe that I liked, but the name didn’t fit my theme, so I rebranded it The Leveraged Synergy and off I went. I described the Leverage Synergy as a “spiked Shirley Temple“, but then when I went to make one for Kalev, he said, “Why aren’t you putting orange juice in it? Oh right, you’re from the east!” Apparently out west, a Shirley Temple has OJ in it, whereas where I grew up, it does not (and, I’ll add the Wikipedia article does not say anything about OJ in it. And Wikipedia is always right!). So I added a third house drink – The Value Add Leveraged Synergy, which was The Leveraged Synergy, but with orange juice added.

Also, my friends are so generous that, despite the fact that it felt like there was a drink being made every minute, I ended up with significantly more alcohol than I started with by the end of the night. So I probably will have to have another party now to use up all this booze!

Also, speaking of my generous friends, Dr. Erika brought me a gift in this lovely gift bag:

Congrats on your MBAby!

Congratulations on your MBAby! Because really, giving birth to an MBA is much like having a baby. It’s painful, takes up all your time and attention, and you are sleep deprived for two years.

But honestly, the best part of my birthday was getting to spend it with so many good friends. There were friends from work and school and the other time I was in school and social media and various other people that I’ve met who ever remembers where and it was so much fun to hang out with them all for the evening. I’m a lucky girl.

And then, to put the cherry on the top of a wonderful night, after everyone left I checked my email and there was a message from my prof saying that he approved my industry project paper, no revisions needed, so I’m officially 100% done every single thing I need to do for my MBA! Best. Birthday Present. Ever!

And then today – a.k.a.Bething Day10 – I spent the day in practically non-stop exercise. First up was a 12 km run – it’s part of the running study that I’m in, but I had to do it on my own instead of with the group because I didn’t have quite enough time to do a 12 km run and then get to my early hockey game. The run was a bit of a slog, both because 12 km is a long distance to run on one’s own and because it was pouring out, so I was trying carefully not to step in too many of the deep puddles that seemed to be *everywhere*. But I got it done and had just enough time to get home, dry off, scarf down some oatmeal and then run off to my first of two hockey games. Due to the terrible flu that’s going around, we were a little bit short benched, having only 8 skaters11! But we played hard and we managed to pull out a 2-2 tie12 and I got an assist on one of our goals. And then I went home, scarfed down some leftovers, and headed back out to game #2. For this game we at least had 11 players – which seemed like a lot by comparison to game #1 – but it’s my higher division team, so the play is much faster. We had a great game – and managed a 1-0 victory! Now I’m sitting on my couch drinking tea and I fear that I might not be able to stand up again from the sheer exhaustion that has overtaken my entire body, but it’s the good kind of exhaustion. Overall, quite a successful Bething Day.

Oh yes, I also, because I’m a nerd, want to point out that last year I turned a square and this year I turned a prime number. I better make this a smashing good year, because next year’s age doesn’t have anything special about it, numerically speaking13. Given how this year is starting out, I’d have to say that I think I’ll be able to do that.

  1. Though I did tweet it. []
  2. Also known as: getting my life back! []
  3. I’d given him a much, much earlier draft in December and gotten feedback on that, so I felt like I was on the right track. []
  4. Something that I’ve never made before, so it counts towards my 2014 goal of making 14 new food items that I’ve never made before []
  5. Ibid. []
  6. Always a bit hit. []
  7. Because, omg, I love chips but they are sooo bad for you, so I never have them in the house other than when I’m having a party. Omg, chips. []
  8. Thanks, Kalev! You rock! []
  9. For the record, gin drinkers seemed to like the Suffering Bastard. []
  10. The Bethmas equivalent of Boxing Day. []
  11. Which really wasn’t what I needed on a post-party day when I had to run 12 km and play two hockey games. []
  12. So, yeah, on top of having so few players, we also went to overtime. When we scored our second goal to tie the game near the end of the third period, the ref said to me, “You guys sure want to go to overtime.” And I replied, “Yup, we don’t feel like we’ve been getting enough ice time.” []
  13. Dr. Dan, correct me if I’m wrong on that. []



36I have just realized that I haven’t posted anything about my birthday – well, other than posting on Bethmas Eve. As it turns out, I was just having too much fun celebrating my 36th trip1 around the sun to post anything!

On Friday night – i.e., on Bethmas itself – I got a group of friends together for dinner at Rogue on Broadway. Rogue has really excellent food and a fantastic beer selection – in fact, I had a sampler so that I could try 5 different kinds of beer! Best of all was the chance to spend my birthday with some great friends!

Yesterday – i.e., Bething Day – Devon and I went skiing at Cypress Mountain2. Bething Day is the Bethmas equivalent of Boxing Day, which typically would mean shopping, but it’s my Bethmas and I’ll make up – and change – the rules as I go along if I want to. Skiing was lots of fun and made me ask myself, “Why the hell don’t I do this more often?”3

Given my renewed interest in skiing4, I decided it was high time to invest in some new ski wear, given that my current stuff is one zillion years old and not all that good for its stated purpose5. Since there was a sale on ski wear at Atmosphere in Metro-town – I knew this since Devon had gone there to get some ski pants prior to our trip to Cypress – I headed there today with the birthday money my mom had given me6. Unfortunately, this was the tail end of the sale and, thus, the pickings were slim. In fact, there was a grand total of one pair of small ski pants in the entire store7 and it was just a wee bit too snug to have been comfortable for skiing8. Oddly, a medium sized pair of the same brand (North Face) was giant – I probably could have fit two of me in them – so I’m really not sure what to do about that. Is there such a thing as size small-and-a-half9? Happily, though, I found a really nice Burton ski jacket at a great price, so I picked that up. I’m still on the hunt for a new pair of ski pants, but my jacket is black so I figure I can get any colour of pants and they will go with black.

In addition to all that fun, I also played a game of hockey today – which we won in OT! – and managed to do some reading for fun, a bit of homework, and some teaching. All in all, a pretty spectacular Bethmas weekend!

Image Credit: Posted by Stephan Mosel on Flickr.

  1. Also known as 62. Because who doesn’t love a number that’s a perfect square? []
  2. I was originally thinking of going to Whistler but then I remembered that I haven’t been skiing in a while and even the last time I’d skiied, I was beginner level, so then I thought it might make more sense to start off with a local mountain. []
  3. On a related note: Mount Seymour has a deal where ladies can get a “free” lift ticket in exchange for a donation to the BC Cancer Foundation. If any ladies are up for skiing on a Monday night, let me know! (Except tomorrow, because I have a webinar I have to do for school). Similarly, Thursdays is Student Night at Seymour, lift tickets are $22 for students – so if any students are up for skiing on a Thursday night, let me know that too! []
  4. Translation: I hope to hit the slopes a few more times this year. []
  5. For example, my ski jacket doesn’t even have a hood! No hood = frozen Beth! []
  6. Thanks Mom! []
  7. Other than the ones that cost $300+, which I wasn’t willing to spend. Or the ones that are Spyder brand, because they have a freaking spider-shaped logo on them and I just *can’t* wear a pair of pants with a freaking spider on them. The salesguy clearly thought I was crazy when I told him this, but seriously. Spiders. GAH! []
  8. And I certainly would not have been able to fit long johns underneath for particularly cold days []
  9. Truthfully, I think it was just the different styles of the pants. If they’d had a medium in the style that I tried on small, it probably would have been fine, and vice versa for the pair that I tried on the medium. []


I’m 35 Years and 365 Days Old – but I’m Not 36 Years Old Yet!

Ah, Leap Year – letting me have one last precious day as a 35 year old1

In related news, this has been sitting on my coffee table since my Christmas presents arrived from my mom in December:


Being the frugal ladies that they are, my mom and my sister included my birthday card and my birthday present in the package that my mom mailed me for Christmas. And I have been waiting impatiently to open said card and said present since then. Soon, my precious. Soon I shall open you.

I hope you are all having a joyous Bethmas Eve!

  1. I do realize that Leap Year was last year, but since my birthday happens before Leap Day, I don’t feel the effects until the following year. It’s the same with the Chinese zodiac – since my birthday comes before Chinese New Year, I fall within the zodiac sign of the previous calendar year. Which rocks, because 1977 was the Year of the Snake and who the hell wants to be a snake. Except Voldemort. Instead, I get to be a dragon and dragons, as we all know, are the most kickass of all the Chinese zodiac signs. []


Shooting Guns, Baking Cupcakes

So it appears that I did, in fact, turn 35 today. And the world did not, in fact, end. Surprising, I know. And I suppose you are all wondering how I celebrated the big day. Well, first off was Bethmas Eve dinner. Since I live in the boonies and I didn’t want to drive all the way to Vancouver (where all my favourite restaurants are) given how limited my time is these days and how much driving to Vancouver I’m doing this month1, I had to decide on somewhere out this way. There’s a good Greek restaurant near my place, but we’ve been there a few time recently and I didn’t feel like going to the brew pub, and that’s pretty much all I know for restaurants out here. So I decided to try The Keg. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s really good and my sister assured me that it’s good “even though it’s a chain restaurant”2, so it was off to the Keg for a peppercorn encrusted steak and garlic mashed potatoes. I have to admit – pretty delicious! And since it was my birthday3, I got a free dessert! Already, my birthday was starting off awesome and it wasn’t even my birthday yet!

Now, for my actual birthday, there were two things that I wanted to do. And, as I mentioned, both of these things were on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. And those things were:

17. visit a shooting range and shoot a gun!
92. make Dark & Stormy cupcakes

Shooting Guns

Just before Christmas, there was a Social Shopper4 deal for the shooting range in PoCo that I keep hearing about on the radio5. The deal was pretty good – $29 got you on the range and you got a 9mm gun and 50 rounds of ammo to do some shooting6 and knowing that this item was on my 101 list, I convinced Devon to get this deal with me. So after a glorious morning of sleeping in (something I won’t get to do on any other day in this entire month!) and lounging around drinking coffee, we were off to PoCo for some shooting! After signing a waiver saying that “hey, shooting ranges are dangerous!” and that my heirs can’t sue the shooting range if I get injured or die7, we got our ear muffs and safety glasses and headed into the range. The instructor told us all the rules8, showed up how to work the guns and then we got to do some shooting! The instructor had to watch us each shoot a round individually, to make sure we were doing it right, and then we could both shoot the rest of our bullets while the instructor watched. I made Devon go first, because I’m a big chicken, and I have to say it was kinda scary to watch. You always hear that it is surprising how much recoil there is on a gun when you shoot it but, holy crap, it’s a surprising how my recoil there is on a gun when you shoot it! Also, the bullet casing fly every which way – bouncing off the wall, off you, off the instructor – just everywhere! Once I tried it myself, though, it wasn’t so bad – you can feel that the recoil is big, but it somehow doesn’t look as big when you are shooting as when you are watching someone else shoot. And I didn’t see where any of my casings flew, because I was intently staring at my target. Why did I need to stare so intently at my target? Because, naturally, I chose a zombie target!

Me & My Zombie Target

Me and the target I used for the first time I ever shot a gun! I feel much more prepared for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

I practised aiming for the head because, as everyone knows, you’ve got to destroy the brain when it comes to zombies. Headshots. Double tap. It’s elementary stuff.

My & Devon's Zombie Targets
My target on the left, Devon’s on the right. Out of the 50 rounds, I got 30 hits and he got 27. Not bad for a first go!

Baking Cupcakes

After we finished at the shooting range, it was back to my place for some lunch and to bake some cupcakes. You see, I long ago discovered this recipe for Dark N’ Stormy cupcakes, based on the Caribbean drink of the same name. The drink is a delicious concoction of lime juice, ginger beer, and black rum. The cupcake has a bottom layer that is essentially a gingerbread-flavoured cupcake9, a top layer that is a rum and lemon rind flavoured white cupcake, and then the whole thing  is topped with a rum cream cheese icing and some candied ginger on top10

Dark & Stormy Cupcakes

Dark & Stormy Cupcakes - Close-up

Cupcake verdict: Delicious!

In the evening, Devon went off to Irish Gaelic class, and my friend Kim came over for tea and cupcakes! She also graciously helped me take down my Christmas tree, which I hadn’t yet had time to do this month and figured that I wouldn’t have time to do it until sometime next week if I didn’t get it done tonight. And now, I’m finishing up this blog posting and then heading to bed! Because apparently shooting guns and baking cupcakes is tiring work!

Happy Bethmas, everyone!

  1. For the record, it’s 14 trips to Vancouver in the 31 days of January []
  2. As she knows how much I dislike most chain restaurants. I mean, there are a few good ones – I like White Spot veggies burgers, for example, and recently tried Red Robin and found that their burgers don’t taste like chain restaurant at all. []
  3. Well, birthday eve, but who’s counting? []
  4. i.e., Groupon-type thingy []
  5. Yes, apparently I am a slave to advertising, apparently. []
  6. In comparison, the range fee – i.e., just stepping on the range – costs $30! []
  7. Which would be a very sucky way to spend one’s birthday []
  8. Very sensible things like “always point the gun towards the range” and “don’t put your finger on the trigger except when you are all set up and ready to shoot.” []
  9. Molasses, sugar, fresh ginger, cloves, etc. []
  10. It’s also supposed to have a rum sauce poured over the cupcake before you ice it, but being brilliant such as I am, Devon made the rum sauce while the cupcakes were baking, and then he had to go off to Irish Gaelic class, so we quickly iced a warm cupcake for him to take, sans rum sauce. And then I let the cupcakes cool and then iced them, completely forgetting to poke holes in the cupcakes and pour the rum sauce on! So I just drizzled rum sauce on before I ate it and that saved the day! []


Bethmas Celebrations!

So last night was my big Bethmas celebration. I mean, I celebrated my Bethday in a variety of ways throughout the week – like with cupcakes and Indian buffet dinner on my actual Bethday and by buying myself a wicked pairs of boots. But last night was the big party, what with it being a weekend night and all. Carefully planned to be on a day there wasn’t a Canucks game, I got a group of friends to come out the Nuba, a Lebanese restaurant. I’d never been there before, but a few friends have been raving about it lately, and they were able to take a reservation for a big group on a Saturday night, so Nuba it was. And what a great choice!  Because it was a big group, they said we had to do a set menu, so I went with the vegetarian menu – I figured that (a) it’s my birthday, so I can be selfish, (b) about a third of my guests were vegetarians anyway, and (c) it’s my birthday, so I can be selfish.  The food was outstanding and really reasonably priced – it was only $15 a head and they gave us SO. MUCH. FOOD1! And the service was great too. I’ll definitely be going back there!

Doing a birthday dinner in a big group like that is always hard, because no matter who you are talking to, you always feel like you are neglecting everyone you aren’t talking to at that moment. For me this is compounded by the fact that most of my friends don’t know most of my other friends2, so I feel like I should be making sure that I’m paying attention to everyone who doesn’t know anyone else. Thankfully, all my friends are super awesome (if I do say so myself), so it seemed like everyone had some good conversations going even if they didn’t know the people they were sitting near when they first got there!

After dinner, a select few3 of us went dancing at Canvas. My friend Patrice works there and since she was working last night, I decided that it would be a good club to go to. And what a great choice!  As with Nuba, I’ve been to Canvas before, but it was awesome. The music was awesome and the dance floor was filled with oh so many hotties! Once we got up on the dance floor, we danced and danced and danced until it was late late late. And then we went for pizza. And then I slept the sleep of the just in the hotel room I’d booked downtown so I could not drink because I didn’t need to drive home. Happy Bethday to me!

Thanks to all my friends who came out to celebrate with me – I have the best friends in the whole world4 And special thanks to Shalu, Deepak, and Raul for buying me drinks and dinner and to Patrice for cover/drink at Canvas. And Cath, my Aquarius friend who bears alcohol instead of water! I managed to get sufficiently fed and sufficiently drunk5 and at the end of the night I realized I hadn’t spent a penny! So. Spoiled!

  1. as usual, I’m going to point out that I have no relationship with Nuba – I’m truly just raving about it ‘cuz it was awesome []
  2. a few friends do know each other – like my grad school friends know each other and my science outreach friends know each other, etc., but I only had a few friends from each “group,” so that translated into not many people knowing each other []
  3. and by “select few,” I mean the four of us who selected ourselves to go out dancing! []
  4. and thanks to those who wanted to celebrate with me but couldn’t make it due to sick pets, personal issues, previous engagements and vast geographical distances. I love you all too! []
  5. but not nearly the 12 Bars level of drunk, thank the FSM []