Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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The Best Thing I Got

The best thing I got on my trip wasn’t even a Christmas present. It was something that my sister gave me when I first got here – my dad’s old French fry cutter.

My Dad's French Fry Cutter

My brother-in-common-law is renovating my mom’s basement and while they were clearing out the old stuff, my sister asked him to save this for me. Apparently, when they got it, it was so rusty that they didn’t think they could save it, but after a lot of hard work scrubbing off the rust, it was, in fact, salvageable. I’d actually been thinking about it just before I came here and I had been assuming that it would have been rusted beyond recognition and would have have been unceremoniously thrown out.

When she gave it to me, honestly, I nearly cried. Not just because I really wanted this French fry cutter, but because it showed that my sister knows me so well that she knew how much it meant to me.

This French fry cutter, which we think my dad got from a restaurant when it closed down, holds a lot of great memories of childhood for me. As you may or may not know, I love French fries. As you also may or may not know, my Dad made the best French fries in the entire world. He had this French fry cutter attached to his work bench in the basement – he’d skin and clean a potato, put it into the cutter, and bring down the handle, and it would slice the potato into the perfect size French fries.

Day 171

I have many a fond memory of the French fries my Dad would make1. At one point, he learned that the guy who ran the local chip wagon used peanut oil in his deep frier, so my dad got peanut oil and omg, those fries were delicious. Sometimes we’d have fries with grilled cheese sandwiches, where the grilled cheese sandwiches were made in the waffle iron. Sometimes we’d have French fry sandwiches, because there is nothing fries need more than to be stuffed between two slices of Wonder bread with Imperial margarine on them. And sometimes we’d just have a basket of fries, with vinegar and salt on them. But no matter how we ate them, I’d always be in heaven.

Thanks, Nancy and Jeff, for this most thoughtful and touching gift.

  1. I also have one scary memory – the time that my dad splashed burning hot oil out of the deep frier into his EYE! He has to wear an eye patch for a while after that while his eye healed. []

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Presents!

As we all know, the true meaning of Christmas is presents. And there sure were lots and lots of presents under the tree this morning! My niece and nephew got lots of nice toys – Madeline’s were dominated by Monster High dolls and Thomas’s included dinosaurs, trucks, and a few toys from Monsters University1. I gave a fair number of presents from Ireland – because Ireland.

As for me, I was spoiled, as always. Here are a few highlights:

A Christmas tree ornament with a picture of my niece and nephew:

Christmas ornament

This book about bears:

Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants

Not shown here: my mom gave me some money to buy two things on my Christmas list – money both because then I don’t have to worry about carrying these presents in my suitcase and because I need to pick the right size. First, a pannier for my bike (since I’m planning to start biking to work once the days get longer so that it is is daylight when I go to, and come home from, work). And second, a pair of minimalist running shoes (both because I tried a pair on once and I loved them and I have been reading Born to Run2 ).

And a molecular gastronomy starter kit and book (because I need new hobbies now that I’m done school3.):

Molecular Gastronomy

There were also countless others things: chocolates and mittens and scarves and jewelry and makeup, etc.

Spoiled!

  1. Specifically, Mike Wazowski, also known (to Thomas) as the Baby Eyeball Monster. []
  2. Also, as part of the running study that I’m in, I get 15% off at the Fit First store where we start all of our Sunday runs, so I’m totally buying them there! []
  3. Well, done except for that pesky industry project paper that I need to finish []

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Frog Prince

My friend Heather1 gave me a very thoughtful present – a frog that turns into a prince2!

Frog to Prince!

Isn’t this a cute little frog?

Frog

Part of me didn’t want to turn him into a prince – I kind of liked him as a frog! But I couldn’t resist seeing the science happen, so I followed the handy dandy turn-your-frog-into-a-prince instructions:

Frog to Prince - instructions

Of course, we all know that what really turns a frog into a prince is a kiss, so I made sure that I did that first:

Kissing a frog

The instructions said that you just needed to add water and in a “few minutes” your prince would turn into a frog. And I figured that I should record this event for posterity and science. Of course, what the instructions *don’t* tell you is that by “a few minutes” they actually mean *42* minutes. What follows are 42 mins worth of video, most of which is just a frog with bubbles coming out of it. At one point an eyeball falls off and then many minutes later another eyeball falls off. Then more bubbling for ages and ages until finally there is a prince. I highly recommend not watching these videos, unless you are suffering from insomnia and are looking for a cure.

The funny thing is, I posted these videos several days ago, when I turned my frog into a prince, with the intention of blogging about how they are unwatchable. But then a few people – who I assume must just follow my YouTube “channel”3 actually watched them and then were all like “omg, that was boring” or “you need to learn to edit!” So, apologies those folks!

Eventually I did get my little prince:

Little prince

And, just like the instructions said, over the next couple of days, he grew to be a bigger prince:

My Prince!

Who now sits on my mantle, near my frogs. It’s like the circle of life!

Thanks for my frog prince, Heather!

  1. Who happens to read all my footnotes, just like Martha and Loren! And Kalev too! []
  2. Which, of course, is a pretty darn good present for a frog lover who is looking for a prince! []
  3. Where by “channel” I mean, the place on YouTube where I post the biannual video that I actually bother taking, usually of something extremely boring. []

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The Christmas of Fitness

Just discovered this mostly written blog posting that I wrote on January 3rd, but appear to never have posted. Because I am awesome like that. Anyway, I don’t care that it’s fully a month after Christmas – I’m posting it anyway!  Plus, I added pictures that I hadn’t even taken back when I original wrote it and then I also tweaked the writing, so that’s something.

So I was totally spoiled, as usual, this Christmas. But many of this year’s presents seemed to have a theme: fitness! It started with my trip to Ottawa, where Sarah & Dave gave me a gift card to the Running Room to put towards a new pair of running shoes. This was well thought out as (a) it circumvents the shoe-buying ban of 2010, should I happen to have found a good Boxing Week sale and want to get a pair before year’s end, (b) I’ll need new running shoes since the ones I have now won’t last me ’til the half marathon I plan to do in May, and (c) it prevented me from having to fit a gift in my luggage.

The trend continued on Christmas Day, when I received:

Day 200

Shameless photo of my heart rate monitor1

This awesome watch/heart rate monitor was from my parents. My chiropractor, who is also a runner himself, said that to get serious about running, I really should be monitoring my heart rate during training2. Combine that with the fact that my watch fell apart3 and a watch + heart rate monitor was a super duper gift.

Also in the above shameless photo is a running top I received from my Uncle Harry & Aunt Arlene. Harry & Arlene are big into biking, so they got me that top and a matching yellow triathelon jacket – great for layering when I’m training in the cold rainy weather, or wearing separately when it’s a bit warmer. Also, the bright yellow colour and reflective stripes on the jacket are perfect for running in the dark , since I generally do my runs after work and the sun sets awfully early in January.

Then, to round out my Christmas of Fitness, my sister and her bf gave me money to pay for hot yoga! They know that I really, really love my hot yoga, but also that I was having a hard time justifying spending money on it when I already spend so much on playing hockey and running4.  My parents then added to the pot of hot yoga money for my birthday. So my plan now is to do hot yoga once or twice a week5 and then I’ll need to find some extra money once my Christmas/birthday money runs out.

  1. note that this isn’t even how you actual wear the heart rate monitor – you wear it below the chest, not above. But I figured a picture where my breasts look not half bad would be much better than a photo exposing my flabby abs []
  2. plus, you know, all the running books say that. And all the cool kids are doing it []
  3. same thing as happened to this one happened again to my new one []
  4. running itself is free, but shoes and races fees do start to add up []
  5. can’t really do much more than that when I’m playing hockey twice a week and running 3-4 days a week []

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‘Tis the season…

…to receive.  I mean to give. And receive.

OK, I have to admit that I’m a bit of a child when it comes to getting presents.  I can’t help it – I love ripping open wrapping paper to see what someone’s given me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not completely selfish. I love buying presents for other people (especially when I find just the most perfect thing that I know they will love!). But if we didn’t like getting presents, wouldn’t there be no joy for the giver of the gift?  OK, enough with the rationalization. On with the prezzies.

Kalev and I exchanged gifts earlier this week, since I’m going to be gone to Mexico soon.  In addition to the last installment of Y: The Last Man, all the prior installments of which he’s given me previously and the story of which I’m just dying to find out how it ends, he got me a Quatchi hoodie:

IMG_4422 by you.

As you know, Quatchi is my favourite of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic mascots.  Inexplicably, they don’t make adult-sized clothing with Olympic mascots on them1, so Kalev had to get me a child-sized hoodie:

IMG_4425 by you.

Good thing I’m child-sized, because this totally fits me. And it’s cosy and warm!

I think the best thing about the hoodie is that inside the hood is lined with pictures of all the mascots playing winter sports:

IMG_4426 by you.

Look, there they are playing hockey!  And Quatchi is the goalie!

IMG_4429 by you.

In other present-related news, I also received this package in the mail from my parents:

IMG_4431 by you.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Luongo card is from my dad.

I know of two other packages that are winging their way towards me, but which I’ll just have to wait until I get back to open, as I leave on Monday first thing in the morning.

And then there’s the best gift of all… a trip to Mexico!

In conclusion, I’m spoiled.

1Adults can too like Quatchi!