Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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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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Happy Birthday, Nancy!

Beth & Nancy Christmas 2013

Apparently the Earth has gone around the sun a significant number of times since my sister was born. How many times that was, I will not say!

But if it makes you feel any better, Nancy, you were born two months early, so if we are talking gestational age, you aren’t [redacted] years old until September!

Happy birthday, sis!

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Happy Birthday, Sis!

Nancy & her Mexican hot chocolate It’s my sister’s birthday today and I want to wish her the happiest of days and many, many more!

For those of you who don’t know my sister, she is a remarkable woman. A harder working person you will not find1. She’s brilliant, creative, endlessly energetic, and hilarious, not to mention kind, giving, and willing to do crazy things like, say, hang off the side of one of the world’s tallest buildings. Despite having way too many things on her plate2, she’s never to busy to help a sister out when she needs, say, a poster or a logo designed3, or you need advice on just about anything, because did I mention she is brilliant?

She came to visit me in June and, because I’m a delinquent, I appear not to have taken any photos, so instead I give you this photo from our trip to Portland a few years back, at our favourite Mexican restaurant with a delicious Mexican hot chocolate. Nancy, may your birthday be as delightful as a million Mexican hot chocolates and a million Voodoo Doughnuts! Love you! Happy birthday!

  1. And coming from me, that’s saying something, if I do say so myself. Which I just did. []
  2. Full time grad school, practically full-time work, and raising kids to boot. []
  3. She designed that poster for me for a conference I went to, as well as the company logo for my MBA group’s business plan project, and helped me come up with a kickass card for a recent presentation I had to do with another group in another class, and now she’s working on a wordmark for my “professional” blog. []

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Schedule It!

So my sister brought up a pretty good point in her comment on my blog posting yesterday. I was talking about how I failed to do some sort of concerted physical activity every day in the month of August and my sister, in her great wisdom, reminded me of a conversation we’d just had a few days ago. Nancy is a college instructions and in addition to teaching her content area, she also teaches sessions on Time Management for first year students1. One of the things she teaches them about is the idea of taking your calendar and blocking out all the times that you are busy doing stuff. I mean, you probably already book in your meetings and classes and scheduled sports (like, say, hockey games). But then you block in other things that take up time that you don’t usually include in your calendar, and thus don’t appreciate how much time they are taking up, like eating, showering, and driving. And *then* you block in your guilty pleasures that you probably don’t even want to admit to spending so much time doing – surfing Facebook or reading blogs. Once you do all this, you can see how much time you actually have left for such things as exercise and getting work done.

“Of course!” I thought. Not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner. I’m pretty good at getting my exercise when it’s scheduled in – following my training plan for the half marathon means I know that I have to run a certain distance on a certain day, so I schedule that in2; if I have a hockey game or a hike with friends scheduled, that goes into the calendar. So all I need to do is look at what days don’t have exercise booked in and then block off some time to do some – even if it’s just some pushups or crunches or a stint on the exercise bike while I read a textbook.

So, here’s my upcoming week, with time for exercise booked in orange3 ,4 ,5 ,6:

weekly calendar with exercise

Thanks, Nance! Don’t know what I’d do without you and all your brilliant brain thoughts!

  1. This may come as a shock to anyone who knows me, but my sister has many jobs and does many, many things. Not that I know anyone else like that. []
  2. Though I’m being a total slacker and really only doing my long runs and *maybe* one other run during the week, instead of the 4-5 runs per week in the training plan. []
  3. Oh yeah, my Longest Game reunion is also in orange, because that’s the colour I use in my calendar for sports-related stuff, but I won’t actually be doing exercise during that time! []
  4. Note: I don’t have all my stuff booked in here yet. []
  5. Also note, “long walk on the beach” might be a joke. But I’ll definitely do something exercise-y during that time. []
  6. And another also note: I have *no idea* why my class schedule shows up in my Google Calendar twice. But I’m too afraid to delete one in case on is being updated and the other isn’t and I end up deleting the wrong one! []

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Happy Birthday, Sister!

today is Nancy's birthday

I found this sign on Flickr, so I didn’t even have to make one. Because I’m just that efficient. Hooray for the Internet!

Today is my sister’s birthday. And what can I say about my sister that I haven’t already said? If you’ve been a reader here for any length of time, you know that my sister is a made of kickass, wrapped in awesomeness, dipped in brilliance, and deep-fried in best-sister-ever-ness. My sister is my go-to person when I need advice, when I need to commiserate, and when I have an idea of utmost brilliance and/or hilarity to share. She talks me off the (metaphorical) ledge on which I often like to put myself1, she does all of the family responsibility stuff (since I’m not there to do it), and she can always make me laugh. My sister is always there for me and I’m so very lucky to have her.

Happy birthday, sister!

P.S. I know that this blog posting should really be enough, but don’t worry, I sent you a real gift in the snail mail.

Image Credit: Posted by Sharyn Morrow on Flickr.

  1. Oftentimes this involves a spreadsheet of some sort. Figure that one out! []

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Things My Sister Taught Me

Today is my sister’s birthday. Like my dad, my big sister has taught me a thing or two over the years.

Numbers Don’t Lie

CIMG0445
My sister explaining her stock market investment strategies to me while we were on vacation in the Dominican. And, yes, there is a spreadsheet involved.

Despite her deep-seated belief that she’s not good at math, my sister is very, very good at math, especially when it comes to money. So whenever I have a financial question, I turn to her for help. Should I put extra money that I made towards my RRSPs or towards paying off my student loans? “Do a spreadsheet and figure out what gives you better results. Numbers don’t lie, Beth,” she’ll say. Similarly, despite knowing, logically, that buying real estate right now is a terrible, terrible idea, there is that piece of me that feels like “you are a giant failure if you don’t own any property!” To which she’ll say, “Keep your emotions out of it. Make a pros and cons list and see how you can get what you want from buying property in ways other than buying property. And do a spreadsheet – numbers don’t lie!”

Nifty Kitchen Tricks

Nancy and her cookies
Nancy and her USA PAN!!!!

I am a foodie and so is my sister. Whenever I visit her, I always learn new nifty kitchen tricks. Like how making your own homemade vanilla extract is super easy and super awesome. Or how freshly grated nutmeg is one billion times better than the pre-ground stuff and keeping a nutmeg nut and a little grater on your stove means you will put it in everything you cook and everything you cook will thus be 100% more delicious. Or that kitchen shears are the greatest, most awesome, most versatile tool one can have while cooking. And woe betide anyone who takes the kitchen shears and uses them outside of the kitchen!

Good For You, You Get a Gold Star

In addition to “Numbers don’t lie,” one of my sister’s other favourite sayings is “Good for you. You get a gold star.” These words of wisdom are spoken when one is complaining about some injustice done to you, or some instance where you know you are right and another party is refusing to acknowledge that. Her point is that it doesn’t matter if other people know you are right and complaining about things won’t make them better. If you just want someone to say that you are right, she’s happy to give you a gold star just like you got in elementary school – but does that really make it better? No, it doesn’t. Either do something about it (if it’s something about which you can do something) or don’t worry about it (because it doesn’t really matter is someone else knows you are right).

This Is The Show

We only get one shot at life, so we better make the ride worthwhile. “This is the show!” my sister will say. So don’t sit around waiting for things to happen. Don’t put things off because there might not be a “better” time to do them. Hell, there might not be *any* time to do them – we don’t know what tomorrow holds. This is the show, it’s not the dress rehearsal. Life is worth living, so get out and live it.

You Can Balance A Lot Of Things

My sister is something of a superwoman. She has a very busy career as a graphic designer, teaches several demanding university courses (in addition to the aforementioned full-time career job), and is raising two young (and freaking amazing) kids! She has also taken on the lion’s share of the daughter-ly, niece-ly, and granddaughter-ly responsibilities for our family, since I up and moved across the country and am effectively useless when it comes to such tasks1. And amidst all this, she has lots and lots of fun. And since This Is The Show, isn’t that what life’s all about?

We Aren’t So Different, You and I

Day 179

Me and my sister!

My sister and I grew up thinking we were very, very different, only to discover in adulthood that we are very, very similar. I look forward to many more years of visiting and traveling together and Christmas baking (in person and virtually) and trading lecture notes and Gmail chats. I’m so lucky to have won the sister lottery in getting to have you as my big sister!

I love you, Nancy. I hope you have a very happy birthday!

  1. This consists of things like visting family members, attending family events, scheduling everything for when I come to visit, buying presents for family members (for the latter, she (a) remembers occasions, (b) thinks of something to buy, (c) acquires said item, and (d) gets said item to its intended recipient. I, on the other hand, (a) email her some money for my half of the present, and (b) take credit []

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Random Whatever

So I decided to stay in tonight because (a) I’ve been doing entirely too many things lately and I’m freaking exhausted, (b) I still haven’t recovered sleep from last weekend’s hockey playoffs1 and (c) I have a bunch of end-of-term marking to do. And here it is 11:30 p.m. and I haven’t done a stitch of marking2 and I just realized that I hadn’t even blogged today! D’oh! Too bad I phoned in a blog posting so recently – so I can’t do that again! Instead, I give you a few random thoughts:

  • My sister was quoted in this news article about going to an organic spa as a preggo. They make a point of noting that she does not own a car. Hippy.
  • Looks like the riding I’m now in federally is a bit of a Conservative stronghold. Boo-urns.
  • Speaking of the Conservatives, this site is hilarious: http://www.stephenharperisatotallynormalguy.com/
  • Have you donated to the Longest Game for CF yet? The very first donation that was received in my name was from someone that I don’t know, but who I am pretty sure is one of my blog readers3. So thank you, blog reader of mine! Your donation is very much appreciated!
  1. seriously, who schedules games at the unholy hours of 10:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. on weekend days?? []
  2. though I did respond to some student emails, so that’s something at least []
  3. As the donation amount was $24.20, something that I mentioned in my blog posting. []

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My sister

Wnancy helicopter by you.hen we were growing up, my sister and I thought we were total opposites. I was the “smart” one. My sister was the “creative” one. Which meant I grew up thinking that perhaps I wasn’t creative and she grew up thinking that perhaps she wasn’t smart. Both of which could not be further from the truth. We spent our youth and early adulthood thinking we had nothing in common and pretty much went about our separate lives. Now, don’t get me wrong, we did have lots of fun times together as kids – we played baseball, were both on the swim team1, we loved going to Canada’s Wonderland in the summer, and I always slept in my sister’s big bed on Christmas Eve. But, for the most part we had separate friends, separate activities, separate lives. And, if you don’t spend much time talking to one another, beyond saying “YOU ALWAYS GET THE CAR!” or “BUT I TOOK THE CAR IN FOR THE LAST 3 OIL CHANGES IT’S YOUR TURN!!”2, 3, you don’t have much opportunity to discover that you have a tonne of things in common. Which really shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that we share 50% the same genes and grew up in the same environment4.

We seemed to get a lot closer the further we moved apart. First, while I was finishing my last year of high school in Milton, she moved out of the house to go to the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, putting about 50km between us. Not having to live together took away most of the things we used to fight about – the car, the phone, just generally annoying the hell out of each other. Then I moved to Hamilton to go to McMaster University, increasing the distance between us by another 30km. But we really didn’t get to see how similar we are until I moved another 4000+km to the west; apparently we needed three provinces in between us to get perspective. We started to be able to have conversations on the phone and online without annoying each other. We started to have actual, genuine, bonafide *fun* when I visited Ontario, or when she visited me in BC. We started to have, if you can believe it, a real relationship. When my marriage dissolved, I was able to turn to her for support. And I did. I knew I could call her no matter what hour if I needed someone to talk to, someone who would listen and understand me. Having grown up together, even in spite of thinking we were totally alien from one another, we have a lot of the same neuroses. A few months later, when my sister’s marriage dissolved, I was able to return the favour, and be someone she could call, someone who would listen and who would understand. I wouldn’t wish a divorce on anyone, but, man, if you have to go through it, it helps a lot to have someone else going through it too. It was really at this point that my sister and I came to see how many similarities we really have. Granted, we still have our disagreements5, but we are nowhere near the polar opposites we believed ourselves to be. And, since I’m an optimist, and I really do believe that whatever doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger, I like to see the silver lining of both my sister and I going throuogh some challenging times – we both got stronger and we became closer than we ever were before6.

Today is my sister’s birthday and I really just wanted to talk about how happy I am that my sister and I have been able to get to know each other these past few years.  Happy birthday, Nancy!

Man, I’m getting sentimental in my old age. Quick, Dr. Beth, say something irreverant! David Emerson is a whore!

1With the notable difference that my sister was actually good at the races, whereas I was mostly in it for the fun and the exercise and rather sucked at the actual racing part.
2I’d usually be saying the former and my sister would usually be saying the latter. Our parents Jeep, which we shared the use of in high school, was  a bone of contention, now that I think of it.  Also, I think we yelled a lot, hence the ALL CAPS!!!.
3I will concede that she did take the car in for oil changes more often than I did. But I still think she got to use the car a disproporitionate amount of time, so it seemed like she should take the car in for its oil change more often.
4We are only 18 months apart in age, so we really were raised in the same.
5We may or may not have had a fight on the phone not too long ago about correlation.

6Hell, we now both even teach postsecondary courses as sessionals and despite our very different fields (graphic design vs. nutrition/research methods), we even gave a lecture on the same topic (critical thinking/metacognition) this year!

Image credit: I went through my photos and found that I didn’t really have any good photos of my sister, other than ones at my graduation and I figured I shouldn’t be using photos where I am the centre of attention for my sister’s birthday. Although that would be a very sibling thing to do, wouldn’t it?  So instead, I (a) made a mental note that I’ve got to get better photos with her next time I see my sister and (b) stole a photo from her Facebook. This one is her about to go on a helicopter ride in Vegas. So. Jealous.