Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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2020 Still Sucks and I Still Hate It

In the continuing saga of 2020 sucks and I hate it:

  • I started off my trip to NYC by losing my belt at security. I took my belt off and put it in the bin with all my other stuff. And when the bin came out the other side, there was no belt. I’m guessing that it must have fallen out of the bin at some point in the process, but I didn’t want to cause a fuss at security, plus it was an old belt and I wasn’t overly attached to it, so I just went without a belt (and had to continually keep pulling up my pants).
  • I got sick on the Thursday night of the NYC trip – I’m talking fever and chills. Like the kind of chills were you have to sit in a hot bath – with a touque on – to not feel like your bones are made of ice. And then you go to bed in multiple layers – t-shirt, hoodie, long pants, socks, and again the touque – and you still feel cold. So I lost Thursday night and the whole day of Friday of my trip where I had to just sleep until my fever subsided.
  • I’ve had a wicked sore throat ever since then (so that’s been 11 days and counting). Like, swollen lymph nodes and it hurts to swallow. Like, it feels like my throat is some combination of on fire but also covered in ulcers that someone also took sandpaper to. And just when it starts to feels a little bit better, the pain comes back with a vengeance. It was so bad that I even went to my doctor because I was worried it was strep throat, but my doctor tested me and the culture came back negative. So basically it’s just something viral and all you can do is treat the symptoms and wait. Basically, the exact same advice as I was given about Crick.
  • And Crick still isn’t fully better from whatever she’s been sick with. Her coughing/sneezing isn’t as frequent or prolonged as it was, but she still sneezes or coughs at least once a day and for the past few days she’s had a runny nose. I wish there was something I could do to make her feel better.
  • More than half my team at work has also been hit by whatever plague has befallen me, which is just adding injury to insult given the super crappy stuff that’s gone on work-wise.
  • Also, I lost my wallet.

So this year sucks and I hate it.

But. I am nothing if not a glass half full person. So on the bright side:

  • Other than getting sick, NYC was fun. We did and saw lots of super fun stuff. If I ever catch up on all my side jobs that I’m hopelessly behind on enough that I can spend some time uploading my photos and writing, I may even do a blog posting about it.
  • When I got a fever in NYC, I was worried that (a) I’d not be able to fly back into Canada due to the COVID-19 epidemic (even though I’d had no exposure to any of the cases of COV-19 in BC and New York had not yet had their first case at that time) and/or (b) I’d get sicker and need to use the American healthcare system, because even though I have travel medical insurance, I’m never confident that it will cover everything. Fortunately, neither of these things happened.
  • None of the credit cards in my lost wallet got used and none of the most important things that could have been in my wallet (driver’s license/health card, main credit card, debit card, Compass Card, passport, Nexus card) were in my wallet. These were all in my cell phone case, except my passport and Nexus card, which were in my backpack. So I canceled the credit cards that were in there and I’m just out a little bit of Canadian cash that was in there, plus a few minor cards that are no big deal. So it could have been much worse.

OK, can 2020 start being nice to me now?

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2020 Sucks And I Hate It

So far, 2020 has not been the year I expected it to be. I went into it with high hopes – it’s a repdigit year after all! When have numbers ever let me down??

But I got food poisoning. The day before my birthday. Like the kind that hits you suddenly and then you barf on the bus. And then you still have to get on the Skytrain to complete the rest of your journey home, with a little bit of barf on you. And then you have to cancel the massage appointment that you were so looking forward to so that you can lie in bed feeling hella nauseated until you barf more. I managed to get through my birthday party the next day – I felt a lot better after all the barfing on Bethmas Eve – but then after that I continued to have an upset stomach. For weeks. And that’s put me behind on a bunch of side projects I’m working on, because I’ve needed to rest to try to get better. And I hate being behind on things.

Also, Crick has been having sneezing fits for a few weeks. I thought it was just a cold and that it would pass, but it’s still happening, so I took her to the vet on Friday to figure out if it’s something worse than that and/or if there is something we can do about it. But the vet said “It’s probably just an upper respiratory tract infection. There isn’t anything to do but let it run its course. Sometimes that can take weeks. Now give me $90 please!” Ok, she didn’t say it exactly like that, but that was the gist of it.

Then there’s big time crappy stuff going on at work. Stuff I’m not going to get into the details of here, but it’s crappy for a lot of really great people. That stuff is still new and raw and it’s unpleasant and making me sad.

So this year sucks and I hate it.

But. It can turn around, right? (Please tell me it can turn around). I’m trying to remind myself of the good things. Like Crick’s sneezing fits that had me worried are not a big deal and she will be fine. And people at work have been reaching out to me with kindness and offers to help and offers of commiseration, and it reminds me that I have many good people around me. And a friend of mine got a kitten and I got play with it.

Also, I have vacation carry over time from last year that I have to use up, so I have two weeks of vacation starting on Monday. The first week will be used to catch up on the side projects that I’m behind on. The second week, Scott and I are going to NYC. On my previous (and only so far) trip to NYC I had a blast, but it was short and I didn’t get to see and do so many of the things that I wanted to see and do. So I’m excited to go see and do some of those things. Recommendations accepted1!

And wish me luck that the year will get better overall!

  1. So far, at the top of my list are the 9/11 memorial, the Empire State Building, The Top of the Rock, MOMA, the Met, Natural History Museum, and finding a few shows to watch. And food. All the food. []

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More Than You Probably Care To Hear About My Laptop

Crick standing on my laptop

Once upon a time, I bought a Macbook Pro. Where by “a time” I mean “6 years ago”. I named that computer Daenerys and, much like her namesake, eventually that laptop became somewhat unhinged. Where by “unhinged” I actually mean her hard drive was inexplicably full all the time, though I couldn’t quite figure out with what, so she was running super slow and constantly telling me she couldn’t do stuff because there was no room left on the hard drive. I was on the brink of buying a new one, but my sister and brother-in-common-law said “Why don’t you wipe it and do a factory reset?” And then Kalev got me a 4TB external drive for my birthday (to replace my previous external drive that died of old age), so I backed up my overly full harddrive to that, then saved all the things that I wanted to make doubly sure I didn’t lose (like my Photos library and all my documents), made sure I had the necessary codes to reinstall any of the software I wanted to be able to keep using and then I took a really deep breath and wiped my hard drive clean.

I’ve now reinstalled a fresh version of the operating system, put my Photos library back into Photos, and started downloading the software that I want to use.

Kitties

Prior to this reset, I was using Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. As it turns out, Microsoft doesn’t support software from nearly a decade ago. Who knew? So I decided to try out LibreOffice, which is a free open source product that has equivalents to all of your Microsoft favourites (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). I figure I can try it out for a bit for free, and if it doesn’t meet my needs, I can always pay for MS Office later 1. I believe Microsoft is trying to make everyone use Office 365, which requires you to pay a subscription rather than just buy the product, and I hate software as a subscription (I know I’m probably fighting a losing battle on that front). So wish me luck!

  1. In a pinch, I can always borrow Scott’s computer, as he has Office 365. []

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The End of A Decade

Hariyama 2019

So 2019 is now in the books and today we start the 2020s! That makes me feel old, in that I remember being a kid, when the year 2000 was “the future” and we all wondered what the world would be like in the future. And 2020 now 20 freaking years in the past! So 2020 should be super futuristic and in many ways it is. We carry around powerful computers in our pockets and can use them to talk to our friends around the world instantly. Also, the Earth is on fire and we are facing a mass extinction event and that’s totally the kind of “the future” that we read about in futuristic dystopian literature.

On a personal level, I guess a lot has happened for me over the last decade. Some highlights – and lowlights – of the decade:

2010

2011

2012

2013

  • went to Ireland
  • pretty much spent all of my time working on my MBA

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

The twentyteens for me saw four different homes in three different cities, five different boyfriends, two different day jobs, and teaching gigs of five different courses (all taught two or more times) at three different post-secondary institutions.

Here’s hoping the twenties holds lots of fun adventure and personal growth!

Untitled

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I submitted the last of my grades on Friday…

…and just like that, another semester is over.

I mean, I still have all the online courses that I’m developing to work on, but I get a reprieve from prepping lectures, schlepping out to campus to teach once a week (plus schlepping out to a difference campus on two weekends at another university), marking assignments, creating exams and then marking them too. At least for a few weeks until next semester starts!

Next semester shouldn’t be so bad (famous last words, right?) because I’m teaching a course that I just taught this semester so everything is fresh and doesn’t really need to be changed very much and the online stats course that I’ve taught for eleventy billion years (so it pretty much teaches itself). And one of the online courses that I’m developing will be pretty much done.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I have a glorious month of (relative) freedom! Huzzah!

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Half Way Goals Check-In

So, the year is half over. I know that every year I, like most people, marvel at how fast the year is going by, this year it’s way worse than previous years. Like, the year is half over and I haven’t really done anything… and I haven’t even planned stuff.

Anyhoo, I thought that maybe I’d do a check in on how my goals for 2019 are going since the year is half freaking over, but honestly doing this just made me feel like I really have done nothing with the first half of the year! Correction: this has motivated me to get going on my goals!

Anyhoo again, of my 19 goals, I’ve completed a grand total of 1. So yeah, I’m a wee bit behind. But the one that I did complete was monumental:

I TRAPBAR DEADLIFTED 100 KG!

The goal was actually just to deadlift 90 kg, and I did for 2 reps of a 90 kg trapbar deadlift on Jan 13, and then again for 2 reps on Jan 20, and then I did a single rep of 100 kg. For those of you who prefer to think of weight in pounds, that’s 220.5 lbs. Trapbar deadlift is easier than regular deadlift, but it’s still technically a deadlift!

I came close to one of my other weightlifting goals: I back squatted 85 kg on Jan 24, just 5 kg shy of my goal of 90 kg (i.e., 198 lbs).

I have made some progress on a few other goals. For the goal of making 19 new foods and/or beverages that I’ve never made before, I’ve made 5:

So I’m 26% done that goal – behind schedule, but I can definitely catch up.

For the goal of read 20 books, I’ve read 7 (5 of which I’ve already blogged about), and I’m in the process of reading 5 other books right now. So I feel like I’m on my way with this goal, although I wonder if I should focus my reading to get some of these books done, rather than sporadically reading from all 5 of them, just to make myself feel like I’m accomplishing something! I should also try to pick a few shorter books – most of the books I’m currently reading are quite long, which doesn’t help in the feeling-like-I’ve-accomplished-something department.

A number of my things on my list are home improvement-y/organization-y, so I probably should just make a plan to get some of those done, as some are the type of thing I can get done in a weekend here or there.

I haven’t sewn anything and I have a goal to sew 5 things, so I really should decide what I want to sew and get cracking on it. I have a goal of sleeping an average of 7 hours per night and though my Fitbit tracks my sleep for me, I can figure out how to find out what my average since Jan 1 has been. Looking at the graphs by month, I can see that I haven’t hit the 7 hour mark for any single month, so I know I’m not meeting the goal, but I guess I’ll have to download the data to calculate the yearly average myself. I have a goal to write in my journal once a week and I have written 23 entries, so I’m 44% done that goal. And I have a goal to have people over for dinner 5 times, and I’ve only hosted one dinner, so I should do some planning for that (anyone interested in coming over for dinner? Hit me up!)

As for my blogging goal, which was a *very* modest 78 blog postings, as soon as I hit “publish” on this one, I’ll have published 23 for the year (or 29.5%). Perhaps another thing I can spend a bit of time on!

 

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Happy 5th Condo-versary To Me!

Mortgage

Five years ago today, I got the keys to my condo. And since five years was the length of my mortgage term, it meant I recently had to renegotiate my mortgage. Last year at this time, I was concerned because mortgage interest rates were higher than what I’ve been paying and I figured I’d end up with a higher rate when I renegotiated this year. As it turns out, mortgage interest rates dropped and I managed to get myself the same interest I’ve been paying for the past five years, which makes me happy because (a) it’s a low interest rate and (b) I have a spreadsheet where I track my mortgage payments, including “prepayments” (i.e., lump sums I pay in order to pay off my mortgage quicker),  to calculate how much I’ve saved in interest rates by doing so1 and the spreadsheet doesn’t have an easy way to change the interest rate mid-way through the mortgage, so I’d have had to have figure out some spreadsheet kung fu to have made the spreadsheet calculations continue to work and now I don’t have to. I probably should be happier about (a), but honestly (b) makes me quite delighted.

Stock Photography - Canadian Coins

Also, for the record, I have officially paid off 71% of my original principal (up from 53% last year). Which means I own 78% of my condo – based on the price I paid when I bought it. If I use the most recent assessed value, I own 88% of my condo. My new principal is less than 1/3 of my original principle. Math is fun!

If I make no more lump sums, I will be done with my mortgage in July 2024, making it 10 years to pay off the mortgage (rather than the 25 years that was my original amortization). The earliest I could pay it off without any penalty (i.e., if I paid the maximum allowable lump sums per year as early as possible in each mortgage year), I could be done by Jan 11, 2021 (i.e., 1.5 years from now – and on my birthday, no less!). Given the low interest rate, that doesn’t make the best financial sense (i.e., I could make more by investing any extra money I have than the interest rate I’m currently paying on the mortgage). But it’s still fun to do the math!

 

Image source:

  • Mortgage image was posted on Flickr with a Creative Commons license requiring a link to Got Credit.
  • Coin image was posted on Flickr with a Creative Commons license
  1. And also some scenarios to compare having bought the condo compared to if I’d continued to rent instead. []

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I’m Home For A Good Time, Not A Long Time

Hey, remember that time I went to Prince George? Well, I’m back from that trip, but not for long as on Saturday I’ll be heading east to Halifax.

Prince George highlights:

OK, so apparently my trip to PG was entirely food focused, but in my defence the day time was filled up with work and I had work I had to do in the evenings too, so pretty much my only non-work time was dinner!

Also, as I mentioned previously, the people were super friendly, which made the trip pretty great.

And now I’m four days into my seven days at home before I jet off to Halifax for a conference for four days and then I get a few days of vacay in Ottawa to hang out with Sarah and Dave who I haven’t seen in far too long! Now I just need to make it through three more workdays where I need to accomplished about 27 days worth of work… including writing the presentation I have to give at the conference! Wish me luck!

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So Many Plans!

So, 2019 is more than one quarter of the way done. I’d say “where has the time gone?” but I know exactly where it has gone – it’s gone into the teaching of the way too many courses that I’ve been whining about. Happily, all I have left of that is to mark the final assignment for one course, the final exam for another course, and mark the two final assignments for the third course. So really, I’m practically done!

Which means I can soon turn my sights to doing stuff around the condo that I’ve been itching to do (and which makes up like half of my list of goals for 2019). There is painting and building and installing and organizing on the horizon and it’s going to make me SO HAPPY! Also, if anyone has any tips for painting and building and organizing, I’m all ears!

I am also excited to set up my balcony herb garden again (and I’m sure the kitties will be delighted to have fresh catnip back on the menu). And also I need to clean out the frog tank and re-stock it with new frogs, because all the previous frogs passed away. So if anyone has suggestions for frog names, I’m all ears for that too!

I also want to do something creative – perhaps more sewing classes? Or jewellery making? I really, really want to take a stand up comedy class, but the next offering of the course I want to take starts when I’ll be in Halifax for a conference, so I’ll have to wait until the summer for that one.

And then I guess Scott and I need to figure out what our next trip is going to be1. We’ve been talking about wanting to go to Japan, but haven’t made any concrete plans. Any suggestions (for either a Japan trip or suggestions of other trips we might want to consider), I’m all ears for that too! 

  1. Hopefully I will actually get around to blogging about our Scotland trip and our Palm Springs trip before our next trip! []

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Elevators

Elevator buttonsThe elevators in my office building are very, very slow. It’s only a 7 storey building, so I’m not sure why it takes eleventy hours to get from the ground floor to the floor on which my office is located but it does. You often have to wait several minutes for the elevator and it’s super annoying when you just want to get to work – or you just want to leave! The other day, as I walked up to the elevator and the doors were closing, I pressed the button to get the doors to re-open, knowing that if I didn’t it catch it, I would be stuck there waiting for several minutes. Someone from my office was in the elevator, saw me press the button and *pushed* the “close door” button. I mean, the doors were closing, I pushed the button and they started to open again, and she pushed the freaking “close door” button and the doors started to close again! So I pushed the button again, and the doors opened and I got in. And this person does this big exaggerated sigh at me. I was stunned. So I said, “I really didn’t want to have to wait 5 minutes for the elevator to come back.” And she’s like “Well, I just wanted to get going.” Seriously. She didn’t want to be delayed by 12 seconds, so I should have to be delayed for 5 minutes! I figured I won that round, because she actually ended up costing herself more time by not just letting me get in the elevator the first time I pressed the button.


Elevator ButtonOne of the two elevators in my condo is broken, with just a sign telling us “We are waiting for parts to be shipped to us to fix the elevator and we have no idea when they will arrive.” So there’s also a bit of a wait for the elevator when I’m at home. But funnily enough, I’ve not had anyone try to close the door on me. What’s more, I’ve had some variation of this conversation several times since the one elevator broke down:

Me: Thanks for holding the elevator! I can’t believe what a big difference in wait time it makes having just one working elevator.

Other Person: Yeah, it really does. On the plus side, I’ve met so many more of neighbours because it seems like there’s alway someone else in the elevator with you!

“I get to meet more of my neighbours!” is *such* a New West thing to say.


Elevator ButtonsSo I wrote the above two parts a few days ago and hadn’t had a chance to post them… and then the elevator situation at work got weirder. Yesterday, the elevators would not come to the floor my office is on. They would go to all the other floors, but not mine. I may have been listening to too much of the SAYER podcast, but I’m pretty sure I have offended the elevators – probably by complaining about how slow they are – and now they are plotting against me! And then today the office admin person sent around an email saying that they were aware of the broken door handle on the first aid room and maintenance had been called to come and fix it. So basically the elevators are out to get me and they’ve sabotaged the first aid room so that when said elevators attack, there will be no way to save me.

 

Yes. I’ve definitely been listening to too much of the SAYER podcast

  • First photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/raeallen/8049027193/ 
  • Second photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/phelix/3148944/ 
  • Third photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aloha75/16275579257