Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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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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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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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! []

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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!

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Scientists Like Lasers

Two words for you: laser tag. Anyone who didn’t celebrate their milestone-birthday-whose-number-shall-not-be-named by playing laser tag really missed out.

Laser tag for my birthday!You will not find a finer group of laser taggers than this crew.

I knew I wanted to do something different for my birthday this year and after much deliberation, I settled on laser tag. I hadn’t played laser tag since high school, but I remembered it being really fun and also, it seemed like something epically ridiculous to do for my birthday. And hence, I scheduled two private games of laser tag (or should I say “lazer” tag) at the laser tag place in New West and gathered a group of peeps who were up for the challenge of spending an hour shooting at each other in a dark labyrinth. The first game was a free for all, where it was every man, woman, and child for themselves. In this game, I learned that I have terrible aim and was very glad that there is no cost for ammo when it comes to laser tag. In the second game, we were put into two teams and your objective was to only shoot people on the other team while not shooting people on your own team. As it turns out, Team Red’s strategy of strategizing bested Team Blue’s approach of not strategizing. Who knew? Despite my poor performance, I had so. much. fun! It was even more fun than I remembered it being! Everyone else was also raving about what a blast they had too (even a few who had been skeptical before the game), which made me very happy!

After the games were over and we all had a chance to examine our score cards in detail1, we headed over to my place for the after party, where we (along with some other peeps who weren’t up for (or available for) laser tag but who were up for partying) ate, drank, and were merry into the wee hours. As usual when it comes to parties, I didn’t get nearly enough time to chat with anyone as much as I wanted to, but I did really have a great time and was reminded that I have the best friends ever.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with me. And if anyone wants to go play laser tag again, I’m game!

  1. For the record, in game two I only shot one of my own team members, though I did shoot her twice. []

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Happy Bething Day!

As we all know, Bething Day is the Bethmas equivalent of Boxing Day, so I naturally had to go out and buy myself something. Or I happened to go out to do a bunch of errands and happened to buy myself something while I was out doing said errands and then I happened to retroactively called it a Bething Day purchase. For the record, I got a new purse at Winner’s. Actually, I also got myself a couple of speed pourers when I was at Canadian Tire1, so they count too.

The less exciting part of Bething Day was the errands part. I had to go out to a mail depot to pick up my mail which has been piling up at said mail depot since Canada Post smashed up my mailbox in mid-December. So I finally got all the Christmas cards that everyone sent me! I also had to go pick up a package from Amazon that was at the Puralator depot – a package that I didn’t even know was waiting for me (because they never bothered to leave a notice or call me) until I got an email from Amazon that was all “how do you like that new thing you bought?” and I was all “weird, I never got it” and then checked Amazon tracking and found out they’d supposedly tried to deliver it four days earlier. When I walked into the Puralator depot, the woman at the counter was telling a customer “Well, they should have called to tell you it was here”, so I guess Puralator just has really crappy customer service. After that I had to pick up my duvet from the dry cleaners because one night Watson decided to attack Crick in the middle of the night while we were sleeping and literally scared the piss out of her. Poor Crick! And poor me, because it’s been eighty billion degrees below zero and that is not a time to be without a duvet! I also had to go to the grocery store and the liquor store to stock up for my Bethmas party this weekend2. Anyway, after all of that, I felt like I deserved a purse3 for Bething Day!

I hope y’all bought yourself something nice today too! 🙂

  1. Where I also got some light bulbs, which hardly counts as a present for myself. []
  2. And tomorrow I will have to go to Costco to do more stocking up. []
  3. I also was in need of a new purse to replace on that I have that is falling apart. []

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My 21st birthday is old enough to go out drinking

40 anos UniritterSo today I turned 401. It seems pretty hard to believe because I don’t feel a day over 26 and I’m pretty sure I don’t look a day over 35! But the calendar tells me that it was, in fact, 40 years ago that I came into this world. I’m so lucky that it’s 2017 and we have the technology to keep people of my advanced age alive!

Birthday festivities started on Monday when some co-workers surprised me with a birthday cake and diet Pepsi (clearly, my co-workers know me well!). I was lured to this surprise by a meeting invitation, so I showed up ready to talk about the health care IT adoption and instead was greeted with singing and cake! Yesterday, my team took me for a delicious sushi lunch! Last night, birthday wishes started coming in from friends who live in the future (i.e., Australia and Japan), where it was my birthday already.

Today I treated myself by not having to set my alarm, since I have today off. I woke to find a bunch of birthday wishes from my Ontario peeps, who also live in the future (just not as far in the future as Australia or Japan) – including the first ever text that I have received from my mom! I spent a leisurely morning enjoying coffee and some French toast and then did some planning for the birthday party I’m having on the weekend. As per my usual party MO, there will be enough food for at least three times as many people as will actually be at the party.

Right now I have some tradespeople installing some new shower doors on my tub, since the ones I had previously got broken2, so I guess my birthday present to me is that I will no longer have to take showers with a cheap shower curtain duct taped to the frame of the old shower doors. #Adulting The cats are trying to decide if they are more curious or scared by all the noise – Watson has just come out from under the bed, where he’s been since they got here, so I guess curiosity is winning. Crick ran under the bed at first but soon came out to see what was going on, though she’s tending to stay close to me. Ooh, and just as I was typing that last sentence, one of the tradesmen ripped a piece of paper packaging and Watson bolted back to the bedroom!

Tonight I have not one, but *two* hockey games to play, which makes me a happy camper. And my new boy is coming to watch my hockey games, also making me a very happy camper indeed!

All in all, although I am a less than 14 hours into this whole being 40 thing, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as I was thinking it would be – but probably because I still kind of don’t believe it’s true!

Image Credit: Posted by Thainá Gaieski on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. For my American friends, the legal drinking age here in BC is 19, so my math in the title is actually correct. In two years, my 21st birthday could go down to Seattle to go drinking. []
  2. For the record, it was not me who broke them! []

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Teaching

Tonight was the last class of the course I’m teaching this semester. Since it was my first time teaching this class, it was a crazy amount of work and I am so, so, so, so, so, so tired. But I have to say that I really enjoyed teaching this class! The material leant itself well to active learning – though I definitely want to increase the amount of activities and decrease the amount of me-as-a-talking-head even more next year. The students did their class presentations this week and last and they were excellent – they really went above and beyond to produce some stellar work. A few students stayed behind after class to chat with me – they said that they agreed that more in-class activities would be better and even had some ideas for possible activities. And they said that they got a lot out of the class, as it was so different from any of their other classes, and that they found the little extras (like stories I told that brought the concepts into real life situations and videos I shared that touched on the concepts we were learning) really added some depth to the class, and that they really appreciated the work I’d put into it. That’s the kind of feedback that puts a smile on this very tired instructor’s face!