Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Happy Birthday Nancy!

Today is my sister’s birthday.

This excellent photo of me and my sister was the result of us trying to take a selfie that got both of us and the “Snow’s Lane” lane in the background into the same shot on our recent trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the only shot where we managed to do so and neither of us are looking at the camera.

Snow's Lane

Happy birthday, Nancy! Here’s to many more years of fun trips, ambitious projects, excellent photo ops, and general high jinks with my favourite sister!

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Frogs Need Birthdays Too

Celebrating the kitties’ birthday got me to thinking about how I have no idea when the froggies’ birthdays are. I don’t know if they all share the same birthday or if they have different birthdays. And, come to think of it, I don’t even know if you are supposed to celebrate the day the frog eggs were laid as their birthday or the day that the eggs hatched or even possibly the day the tadpoles metamorphosed into frogs. They just don’t tell you such things when you adopt frogs!

So, I have made an executive decision to celebrate the frogs’ birthday on February 19, which was the birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus, the great mathematician and astronomer after whom Copernicus the Third, and his forefathers Copernicus and Copernicus the Second, were named after.

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Also, I’m just realizing that I haven’t yet blogged about the recent frog tragedy at Chez Neige. A few weeks back at frog feeding time, only 3 frogs came out to eat. And, as we all know from the back of my car, I have 4 frogs. Now, the frogs are *very* good at hiding, so it was possible that perhaps one of the little guys was just having a snooze in the castle. Unfortunately, the fourth frog never materialized and so after a few days of only seeing 3 frogs, I ended up taking stuff out of the tank to make sure (s)he wasn’t hiding the castle or in one of the plants. And then I had to admit that the frog was MIA. I’m guessing that somehow, despite the lid being on the tank, the frog made a great escape (the lid doesn’t cover the entire area, as there’s some room between the lid and the filter cube in the tank, so it’s possible (s)he jumped out). Aquatic dwarf frogs can’t live more than 20 minutes out of water, so once a frog leaves the tank, that’s pretty much it for them. And there’s really two possibilities as to what happen to the froggy cadaver. Either I will find their dried husk under a piece of furniture at some later date or a kitty got a snack. If it was the latter, I wouldn’t blame whichever kitty it was – they are obligate carnivores, after all, and I don’t even know what would be a worse – slowly dehydrating to death or being devoured by a cat. I hope whichever way my froggy went, it was the less bad way.

Also, I have a bit of a conundrum as all the frogs had grown to be the same size, so I was no longer able to tell them apart. So I don’t even know which frog is missing and presumed deceased! So now I’m going to make another executive decision1 – RIP Raspberry. You are missed.

  1. Based solely on choosing the least creative of the 4 frog names. []

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Happy 4th Birthday, Thomas!

Saturday was a lovely day for an Ironman-themed 4th birthday party. My nephew, Thomas, has recently become obsessed with Ironman (which he pronounced “eye-ron man!!!”), so he decided that he wanted an Ironman cake instead of his previously requested Superman cake. My sister had borrowed my aunt’s Superman cake pan, and fortunately, it’s quite easy to cut the cape off of the cake to turn it into basically any other superhero. So there was an Ironman cake, complimented by a giant Ironman balloon, and Avengers table cloth, Avengers Happy Birthday banner1, Avengers plates, etc. Sadly, I didn’t get photos of any of that because although we decorated inside the house, everyone went outside because it was a nice day out, so the whole party ended up taking place in the backyard.

My Aunt Eileen got some great photos though2:

Ironman cake. The icing didn’t turn out quite as red as we would have liked, despite putting in a full container of concentrated red food colouring (!). Thankfully, it was the no-taste red food colouring:

Thomas, taking the candle off the cake:

Thomas, with his entire piece of cake on his fork:

My niece Madeline, and my mom:

The only decent photo of me from the entire party, which I’m posting just to prove I was there. Uncle Harry and his dog Frosty also look good in this photo:

I like this photo because it looks like that glass of wine is Madeline’s. (For the record, it is not.):

My Uncle Harry & Aunt Arlene’s dog, Frosty:

Thomas:

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Happy 4th birthday, little buddy!

  1. Thomas is very into reading out any letters or numbers he sees, so upon seeing the banner, he proclaimed “H-A-P-P-Y-B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y! That spells Avengers!” []
  2. All photos in the posting are courtesy of Aunt Eileen. Used with permission – All right reserved! []

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Bethmas Weekend – A Recap

Hey, remember that time when I was born? That was a pretty fortunate thing to have happened as all the other things I’ve done since then would have been rather difficult had it not. Serious props to my mom and dad for having me on a cold and snowy day in 1977.

And since that cold and snowy day was 38 years and two days ago, I spent my weekend celebrating the holiday known as Bethmas! On Saturday I had a fabulous Bethmas Eve party. The great thing about having a party is that I get to see a whole bunch of friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in awhile. The less great thing is that I don’t get to spend as much time catching up with each friend as I would like ‘cuz there are just so many people to chat with and only so many hours in an evening. Happily, all my friends are made of awesome and despite many of them not knowing each other (or not knowing each other very well, having only met once or two at previous parties I’ve held over the years), everyone was chatting and getting to know new people and seemed to have a good time.

As I discussed with Cath that night, due to my family’s tendency to make way too much food for any event, I have an inability to make appropriate amounts of food for party1 due to my unnatural fear that someone might ever go hungry at my house. Saturday was no exception. I did have fewer leftovers than I usually do, but only because I usually have enough leftovers to feed *two* armies. As well, I had been inspired by Cath, as it so happens, who had made some fancy, delicious foods for our book club meeting last week, to find some fancy new recipes to try. Googling “party appetizers that are easy to make but look fancy” yielded some excellent results, as did asking my sister for ideas, and I ended up making 5 new food items, along with some of my good ole standbys2

Combined with the fact that I made homemade sour mix for the house drink – as it turned out to be impossible to find sour mix anywhere5 – and I made chocolate butter cream icing for the first time for Daniel’s birthday cake earlier this month, I’ve now made a total of 8 new food or drink items towards my goal of making 15 new things in 20156!  The house drink was also new, but since I enlisted Kalev to make the drink as I was running late, I can’t claim to have made this drink.

I also made chocolate cupcakes from scratch, which I have made before, but this time I mad them using a recipe from my Aunt Lynn, who gave me a recipe after I said that I’d never found a recipe for cake that turned out as good as a cake mix. And I have to admit, they were pretty good! I think I’d need a head to head comparison of it with a cake mix to tell which is best (as it’s hard to really compare without having the two at the same time), but even saying that means this is the best cake I’ve ever made from scratch!

Sunday consisted of going for a run (because half marathon training knows not of birthdays), cleaning up the party mess (thanks Daniel for helping with that task), watching a kids’ hockey team earn its first win of the season (no doubt in honour of my birthday), and a lovely dinner out. I may also have eaten my weight in leftover cupcakes (which I kinda forgot to put out before a number of people had left the party, so they didn’t all get eaten by those who remained after I remembered to put them out).

So, in conclusion, birthday celebrations rock and I highly recommend you have them when the anniversary of your birth comes around. Speaking of which, you now only have 1 year and 363 days until my birthday for which I will be going on a surfing trip where it is hot in January, like Hawaii or Australia7, and not somewhere where it is freezing cold in January, like I did on my last milestone birthday that ended in a 0. So that gives you 729 days to save your pennies if you want to come with me!

  1. Or just, like, a regular every day dinner. []
  2. Like potatoes wrapped in bacon, veggies and French onion dip, and spinach dip in a sourdough bread bowl. []
  3. This was supposed to be cucumber cups with salmon whip, but I decided to make some with dip whip so that the vegetarians could have some and then I ran out of time to cut the cucumbers into 3/4 inch slides and then scoop out a bit of the seeds to make it a cup, so I just put the whip out in dishes and served them with cucumber slices to dip in the whip. []
  4. This recipe was from my niece, as my sister told me that my niece has been making cheese puffs that are the best thing in the world, which I thought was a bit of a tall tale, but turned out to be pretty true. []
  5. Thanks to everyone on Twitter and Facebook who pointed out how ridiculously easy sour mix is to make when I tweeted to ask if anyone knew where I could buy some. []
  6. i.e., I’m more than halfway done and it’s not even two weeks into the new year! []
  7. I’m leaning towards the former. []

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Happy Birthday, Watson & Crick!

Today my kitties turned 3! Since this is the first birthday on which the cats have been with me, I wasn’t totally sure what the appropriate way to celebrate was. I mean, they don’t eat cake and cat nip shooters seemed like that might be overkill. But then when I went to the pet store to buy some food and litter the other day, I discovered this:

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And that seemed like a super awesome birthday present for them. Sadly, however, when I tried them this evening they were an epic fail! The solution doesn’t make bubbles at all – I dipped the wand in the solution, but it wouldn’t make a film and so all that happened was catnip-filled drops fell on the floor. Which the cats did lick, so I guess the manufacturers were only lying about the bubble part of “catnip bubbles”. To make it up to the cats for the epic fail, I gave them some real catnip and then blew some regular bubbles1. They liked the catnip, but were terrified of the bubbles! Poor kitties.

Their birthday was, however, brightened up by a video call with my nephew, Thomas, who sang “Happy Birthday” to the cats while they ate their birthday treat of dried herring. Thomas, like the cats, is 3 and singing “Happy Birthday” is an awesome thing to do when you are 3. Also awesome is seeing kitties on video. And, apparently, watching your aunt put her hair in braids for her hockey game. Many things are awesome when you are 3. As well, my mom called to wish her grandkitties a “happy birthday” – these kitties are so loved!

And so cute! Look at these faces:

Watson, close up
Crick, close up

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Watson is so cosy on the couch

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Happy birthday, my little fuzzballs!

  1. Which I just so happened to have from my own birthday, thanks to my friends Monica and Chris who gave me a container of bubbles that looks like a ninja. Because ninja bubbles = amazing. []

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Another Day, Another Jet Plane On Which I’m Leaving to Blog About

It’s been a whirlwind last few days. On Monday, my big real estate deal (i.e. the condo that I bought) completed. On Tuesday I took possession of my fabulous new home and on Wednesday I moved (including getting my Internets hooked up and having the carpets in my old apartment steam cleaned so I could give my keys back to my landlord, which I did yesterday evening). And now I’m at the Vancouver airport, awaiting a flight to Portland where I will have a brief stopover on my way to San Francisco for Kalev’s big birthday celebration! I will blog more about the new condo when I get back1 and will worry about all the unpacking and setting everything up when I get back too2. But there will be plenty of time for that after I return – right now, I’m excited to be heading to California for the second time in three months3 and to San Fran for the first time in far too long4. There’s a group of us going down to celebrate Kalev’s big birthday and we have lots of fun stuff planned – a fancy dinner on Saturday night, a bunch of partying (it is Pride Weekend, so there is no lack of partying opportunities), Kalev and I are taking in some short films at the queer film fest this afternoon, along with lunch at Lucky Creation, the best veggie Chinese restaurant in the world!

Excitement!!

  1. Was far too busy with moving to even contemplate blogging it at the time. []
  2. Right now my place is stacked with boxes everywhere, which Watson & Crick are loving as it gives them lots of high perches on which to nap. []
  3. Hollywood Half Marathon, I’m looking in your direction! []
  4. I can’t remember for sure when it was and I’m typing this on the WordPress app on my iPad and I’m far too lazy to go search my blog to find out. If I had to guess, I’d say it was probably around 2008? []

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Happy 9th Birthday Madeline!

Beth & Madeline at Powell's Books

Happy birthday to the best niece an aunt could ever ask for! Love you, kiddo!

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Long Weekends Give You 50% More Weekend!

Why can’t every weekend be a long weekend?

This weekend was so freaking wonderful. I mean, there weren’t any crazy awesome adventures, or really even any hijinks, and barely any shenanigans. But there was sleeping in – a big plus to any weekend, in my humble opinion1 – and there was a nice combination of relaxation and getting shit done.

Friday night I did a whole lot of nothing. It was awesome.

Saturday I ran 18 km with Alicia, followed by brunch. We planned our route such that we ended up at the Tap & Barrel, where a couple of other friends also planned their run to finish2. Alicia’s hubby met us there with their kids, and good brunch times were had by all. After that I had to go home, quickly shower and get ready to head back to Vancouver for Kalev’s birthday bash3,4, which consisted of seeing the new Star Trek movie5, dinner at Banana Leaf, drinks at Craig’s, then clubbing at Junction. And here’s the awesome present that I got for Kalev:

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In the box is a mug with a bunch of famous gay people on it, but you only see them when there’s hot liquid in the mug. Without hot liquid, you just see a bunch of closet doors.

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*Extra* old.

He seemed to really like the mug, but didn’t seem overly impressed with the “Extra Old” rum6,7.

Sunday was a day of homework. Because I had two papers due on Sunday, plus a bunch of other homework that I had to work on. I also watched the Penguins-Senators game because apparently hockey is still happening8. It was quite an exciting game, despite it being low scoring. The goaltenders were both outstanding9.

Today, after a glorious sleep-in, I had some pancakes for breakfast, then went out for a run along the pier, where I was chased by zombies. And then I got a whole bunch of domestic shit done – groceries and laundry and meal planning and picking my outfits for this week10, AND, mostly importantly, I finally got around to moving most of my office stuff from my living room to my spare room, which is now my office11. It’s not totally set up yet – I’ll take some photos once it is – but my desk, filing cabinets and bookshelf are all in the right places12 and I’m sitting at my desk typing this. It’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

And now, alas, the weekend has come to an end. But this week is looking like it will be a good one – it’s only 4 days long13, I have a massage appointment after work tomorrow AND then I get my new teeth on Wednesday! And there are some interesting meetings to be attended and interesting projects that I’m working on, so I think it will be a good week. And now I am off to hit the hay!

  1. Something I don’t get nearly as much as I like these days! In fact, for the next month the only weekend I’m not in class is the weekend that I’m going to the Island to run the half marathon, so I’ll have to get up early on the Saturday to catch the ferry and then early on Sunday to run the race. It’s madness, I tells ya. Madness! []
  2. They are training for the Scotiabank half marathon, which is a few weeks after the one that Alicia & I are running, so they had to run a 14 km today rather than an 18 km. []
  3. Even though Kalev’s birthday isn’t for another 8 days, he celebrated it this weekend ‘cuz I’m not available for the next one billion weekends. []
  4. The ample Skytrain riding that day gave me lots of time to do some homework. Hooray for multitasking. []
  5. My movie review: I liked how lots of stuff blew up. Yay! []
  6. I make myself LOL! []
  7. Kalev’s ample rum supply, almost half of which appears to have come from me, has prompted talk of a rum-based party. And my half birthday is coming up soon. So stay tuned for that! []
  8. Who knew? []
  9. In related news, I totally have a crush on PJ Stock. []
  10. #mayehalth ftw! []
  11. It used to a guest bedroom/Devon’s office, and my “office” was the back of the living room. The living room gets a lot more sunlight, but it’s nice to have a separate space for work, where I can shut the door on my work when I don’t want to think about it. []
  12. Plus, I figured out which outlet the wall switch controls in this room, so now I plugged the floor lamp into that outlet and can now turn the light on much more easily than before. Hooary! []
  13. Well, except for the fact that I have school all weekend, and then work all the next week and then school *again* the following weekend, so it’s a 13-day week for me. Crap. []

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Things My Niece Taught Me

Madeline having some OJ (Powell's Books)It seems like only yesterday that my sister gave birth to a tiny baby girl, but today that baby girl turned seven years old. SEVEN! And in the seven years that Ms. Madeline has been my niece, just like her mother, her grandpa and her grandma, she’s taught me a thing or two.

Enjoy The Moment

Everyone says that having kids teaches you to stop and enjoy the simple things in life. When you see the wonder that a kid has as they look at the world, it reminds you to appreciate how wonderful and amazing things really are. When they ask questions about things that you don’t normally give a second thought to, they make you realize what you have been taking for granted. My niece was the first kid that I really had in my life that I have gotten to watch grow up from the time she was born, so she’s the first person that I’ve gotten to experience this with. Also, since I live so far away, I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I would like, and so when I do get to spend time with her, I treasure it. I treasure every conversation we have, no matter what it’s about. I treasure every smile, every laugh, every hug. I enjoy each moment that I get to be with her and I learn from her how to see the world with new eyes. I make sure that I’m really present in that moment, because I know that I’ll only get to have this moment with my niece once. She’s growing up so fast.

There Is Something Good and Pure in the World

When my niece was very small, I went through a really rough time in my life. And when I was really sad, I would think of my niece, a tiny sweet baby, and just thinking about her existence made me feel a little better, because I knew that there was something good and pure in the world. Someone so new, so full of potential. And that gave me hope.

A Surprising Number of Facts

I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent gal who is well-informed on a broad array of topics. But hanging out with my niece, I always learn new things that I had no idea about before. Like what an okapi is. Or the meaning of the word “lugubrious.”  Which she taught me when she was four years old. For reals. Or that there are more than five kinds of dinosaurs. Seriously, when I was a kid, we were taught about five types of dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus Rex, triceratops, stegosaurus, brontosaurus, and pterodactyls. Then Jurassic Park came along and we all learned about velociraptors. But if you go over to my sister’s house, it will not be long before my niece will sit you down with one of her two encyclopedias of dinosaurs and you’ll be learning about dozens and dozens of different kinds of prehistoric beasts. That kid is freaking smart.

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Being Happy Makes Me Happy

After  I blogged my list of 100 Things That Make Me Happy, my sister suggested to my niece that she make a list of the things that makes her happy. I loved her list because it gave me insight into how she sees the world. And one of her items, in particular, really struck me. In amongst the other things that made her happy, she wrote “Being happy makes me happy.” So simple, yet so profound. It makes me think of Dr. Brown’s talk that I blogged about not too long ago (and which I can’t seem to stop talking about!), particularly the part about how we often squander our moments of joy by thinking “This is too good. When is the other shoe going to drop?” instead of just experiencing the joy. Rather than doing that, I’m striving to follow Madeline’s lead and just be happy about being happy.

I love you, Madeline. I hope you had a very, very happy birthday!

 

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You Know When Is A Good Time To Throw A Surprise Birthday Party?

When it is nowhere near the person’s actually birthday!

So I went to my friend Erika’s 29.758904th birthday party today. Why a 29.758904th birthday party, you ask? Well, Erika’s birthday is in December1 and having a birthday in December is sucky, what with everyone celebrating the holidays instead. So Erika’s husband, Paul, decided that she really should get a birthday party where it was all about her. Also, it makes the “surprise” aspect of the surprise party that much more surprising when the party takes place months before your birthday. Paul is pretty damn good at surprises – we are talking about a man who proposed by reverse engineering a Kinder-Surprise Egg to put the ring inside. His ploy to get Erika to his sister’s house, which is where the party took place, was that he told Erika that it was a surprise party for his sister, who actually does have a birthday in September. It’s really the perfect ploy, because you can tell the person who is to be surprised whatever crazy thing you want – like “we have to be there exactly at 4 – we can’t be late because we don’t want to ruin the surprise for my sister!” – because said person thinks they are going to a surprise party for someone else, so it all makes sense. We are all really lucky that Paul uses his scheming skills for good and not for evil!

Here’s the card I made for Erika, because I just couldn’t seem to find one that had the right age on it:

Erika's "birthday" card Erika's "birthday" card

  1. you may recognize it as the event celebrated with the 12 Bars of Christmas []