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. []



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.


  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 []


The Present My Sister Made For Me

My sister made this for me for Christmas:

FSM Plate by Nancy

FSM plate, painted by my sister.

FSM Plate by Nancy - back of plate

Back of the FSM plate that was painted for me by my sister. Clearly, she was inspired by His Noodliness.


It’s perfect for eating your pasta on!



Today I received a surprise package in the mail!  It contained house warming presents from my niece, my sister and her boyfriend.

This is a jar that my niece made for me1)


Here’s the pattern on which the painting is based2


And here’s the other half the gift, which Nancy admittedly did not make herself, but is pretty awesome nonetheless:


The awesomeness lies in the fact that Dr. Pepper was a popular drink in the Snow household when we were kids. Our dad liked to drink it, which meant we liked to drink it. I have fond memories of be allowed to drink Dr. Pepper on Saturdays when Dad was taking care of us and we were hanging out at the pigeon coop3.

Thanks for the presents, guys!

  1. with a bit of assistance from Jeff. M drew it, but Jeff had to trace the drawing with paint because the paint bottle was super difficult to squeeze the paint out 0f. Pretty impressive for a five-year-old, eh? (The five-year-old being my niece, not Jeff. []
  2. can you tell her Mom is an artist and teaches at art college? I can just see her telling M she needs to draw a model of what she wants to do first, just like she does with her college students! []
  3. What? Doesn’t every kid hang out at the pigeon coop on Saturdays?  In our world, Saturday was pigeon racing day.  Our mom worked on Saturdays when I was really little – after I was in school full-time she went back to working full-time, but before that she worked Thursday & Friday nights and Saturdays – and so Saturday was Dad’s day to take care of us, so off to the coop with promises of Dr. Peppers it was []


Secret Santa With A Twist

My office is doing Secret Santa, but it’s not just the typical buy a present for a randomly chosen coworker type of Secret Santa.  We have to buy three presents (~$5 each) for a randomly chosen coworker and somehow find a way to sneak those presents into the coworkers office without being seen on three separate occasions sometime between Dec 1 and 15.  I’m pretty excited to see what kind of presents everyone is going to get, but also already stressed out about the possibility of getting caught sneaking into someone else’s office!

Anyway, if you have any ideas of what would make a good $5 present, I’m all ears!

Image Credit: Posted by allerleirau on Flickr.


In case you are wondering what to buy me for Christmas

My Wish List at



I seem to have received a heck of a lot of nice presents lately!

First up, this Calathea plant, given to me by the trainees on my last day at my old job. They said it was for my new office! So sweet!

Calathea plant  by you.

That same day my then-boss gave me these roses to thank me for all my work with the program:

Roses by you.

And then, to welcome me to my new job, my new boss gave me this plant for my office:

IMG_4914 by you.

I didn’t know what kind of a plant it was (and nor did my boss), but the interwebs came to the rescue when I posted the pic on Flickr and asked, “what the heck is this?” Turns out, it’s a Kalanchoe. Wish me luck keeping my plants alive, as I totally suck at plant keeping alivery.

And the final gift I’ve received lately, which I’ve also used in decorating of my new office is this:

IMG_4944 by you.

This is a thank you present from the class of grade 3 and 4 students that I spent six Friday mornings teaching science to.  I had soooo much fun teaching those guys – I told them that I would put this up in my office and every time I see it, I will think of them!


‘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!