Not To Be Trusted With Knives

“It’s as clean as a button”1.

“She’s so tired that her head could pop off!”

“Mommy says a lot of bad words.”  To which my dad asked, “Does Aunt Beth say bad words?” To which my niece replied, “No. Only your other daughter.”

And my personal favourite was this conversation that we had while she was painting and I was uploading pictures to Flickr:

“Lugubrious,” she said, pretty much out of nowhere.

“What’s that mean?” I said, thinking that it was a word she’d made up, sort of like the name Sposheila2.

She looked at me very seriously: “Lugubrious3 means miserable. My teacher taught me that.”

1Apparently she likes to attempt similies, but doesn’t always get them quite right. My sister tells me that one day she walked into the living room, which had just been cleaned and said, “This living room is as clean as a horse in a living room!”
2Her toys are often named Sposheila. Or Sholo.
3Pretty much everyone I’ve told this story too has said, “Lugubrious is not a word.” But it is. I looked it up.
2I love that “miserable” is the word she uses to dumb down the other word to explain it to people. Because “miserable” is a pretty big word in itself. Especially when she could just say “sad.”


{November 23, 2008}   Pig Party!

Today was the day of my niece’s pig-themed birthday party!


The menu included “pig slop” (a.ka. soup) and pigaroni and cheese.


with a pig-in-the-mud cake for dessert:


The birthday girl blowing out her candles!


And gets to enjoy the pig cupcake!


Happy birthday, little piglet!


I generally like to start my Christmas shopping around Dec 23.  Living across the country from my family means that I can’t really do that, so I generally do my shopping around Dec 18, buying everything in one frantic day and then praying to the FSM that Canada Post will deliver in time for Christmas.  This year, however, I’m going to visit my family in late November for my wee niece’s 4th birthday, so I’ve decided to be responsible and do my Christmas shopping before then so that I can bring all my presents with me to Ontario.  This may also have to do with my cheapness responsible frugality, as bringing presents on my trip means I won’t have to pay the exorbitant shipping costs I usually face come Christmas time.  Thus far, I have purchased a grand total of two – count em, two! – Christmas presents, as well as a few things for my niece’s birthday.  So, yeah, still a ways to go, but it’s a start!

{October 17, 2008}   Oink!

Plane tickets have recently turned mega-cheap, so my sister booked a flight for me to go to T.O. for my niece’s birthday weekend in November.  Madeline is turning 4 when, apparently, she is going to be a big girl.  And have a pig-themed party.  So excited!

{July 2, 2008}   Stuck at the Airport

Oh three hour delays at Toronto airport, how I hate you. And I’m way too cheap to pay the $9.95 it would cost to log onto the internets, so I’m writing this in BlogDesk to publish when I get home.

My flight was supposed to be at 4 p.m., so I left my sister’s place at 2, in case traffic was bad, which it wasn’t, so I’ve been here since 2:30. And around 3:30 they announced that our “aircraft is unserviceable” and that they were trying to locate us a new one. Which they finally did – a plane scheduled to arrive around 5:30, which we can board around 6 to leave at 6:40. I suppose it’s better that we found out the plane was unserviceable now, rather than finding it out when we fall out of the sky. But it’s still not fun. I’ve been filling my time with reading a book1, chatting on the phone, sending text messages, eating french fries2, chain drinking diet colas, and lamenting the things that I realized I forgot at my sister’s place3.

And did I mention that my niece is the cutest thing EVER? More cute things that she said included:

  • While reading The Cat in the Hat (which, for the uninitiated, is a story about two little kids who are at home while their Mother is out and a Cat in a Hat (“Ooh, he’s a troublemaker!” my niece says”) shows up with tricks and games that make a great big mess in the house), at the part just before the Mother gets home: “It’s not safe for children to be left home alone!”
  • “I see a SMART CAR!” – every single time we saw a Smart car.
  • After I told her I had to leave today, because I have to go back home, she asked, “Why?” So I said that I had to go back to work. And she says, “Oh. Can you come back after work?”
  • “Mommy, why are you yelling at that man?” after my sister told the jackass at the butterfly conservatory in no uncertain terms that he was ignorant because he kept touching – and thus, killing – the butterflies, completely disregarding the “do not touch the butterflies” signs.
  • “Let’s show up the road!” (instead of “let’s get this show on the road.”)

Probably the best was what she said yesterday at lunch. My sister has this technique where, if my niece is misbehaving, she tells her “If you don’t start doing what you are told/stop being rude/whatever the misbehaviour is, we will take away your gum/toy/trip to the park/whatever thing she really wants for one week.” And that works pretty well, because she learns that there are consequences to her actions and that she has a choice: behave properly, or lose out on something you like. So we are at a restaurant for lunch yesterday and the waiter gives Madeline a lollipop. But we are on our way home for naptime, so my sister says that she can have the lollipop after her nap, not before. And M is like, “But I can ride my bike holding on with one hand and lick my lollipop with the other hand” (clearly not appreciating that the issue here is the sugar before naptime). So Nancy says “no” to that and Madeline gets very serious and says, “Mommy, you are NOT listening to my good idea. If you don’t listen to my good idea, I will take NO naps for one week.” Oooh, that kid is a troublemaker! And very, very clever!

1Infinite Jest, which I’m still reading but getting very, very close to finishing. For reals.
2Because every restaurant in this airport appears to have the yucky kind of veggie burger. And I already bought a veggie sandwich from Tim Horton’s to eat on the plane, so I didn’t want to have two of those in one day.
3A pair of socks, a wallet my mom gave me, the diet Pepsi I meant to bring to drink in the cab on the way to the airport, and, most distressingly, my phone charger4
4I can charge it up using my USB synching cable, but it’s mch slower than the real charger

{June 26, 2008}   A Blog Post in Pictures

Had a burning desire to write a blog post on the plane on my way to Toronto, but there were no electrical outlets in which to plug my laptop. And my laptop battery sucks. Hence, I give you this:

Props to my sister’s bf, Jeff, for (a) lending me his camera to take those pictures and (b) fixing my damn computer and it’s messed up DNS so that I could actually get on to the internets to post this.

Now I will get back to my regularly scheduled lounging in the backyard.

{June 25, 2008}   Summer

And speaking of grad school, when you are a grad student, you don’t really get vacation.  Sure, you might not run experiments over Christmas holidays and you get to go to the occasional conference, but you are still working.  Or, if you are goofing off, no one’s paying you to do so.  But along with my big girl job comes such things as benefits, like vacation days.  Here’s how I’m planning on spending some of those days off:

Well, I’m not actually taking vacay days for the August stuff (I don’t work Fridays, so I’m doing my lasers in my eyes on a Friday and am supposed to be fine to be back at work on the Monday.  But it still looks to be quite an eventful summer!

{June 23, 2008}   A Weekend In Pictures

It’s late Monday night and I’m only just now getting around to blogging my weekend… where does the time go? As you know, Friday morning I did the Grind and you don’t know, Friday night I stayed home and did a whole lot of nothing. Honestly, I can’t remember what I did on Friday night. I intentionally stayed home with plans to clean my apartment because (a) I’m going on holiday on Wednesday and I hate coming home to a messy apartment, (b) I figure when you’ve been saying “I can’t even remember the last time I vacuumed” for so long that you don’t remember when you started saying it, that’s a sign it’s really been too long since you vacuumed and (c) sentient lifeforms had started to evolve in my shower. But my mad procrastination skillz took over and I didn’t actually do any cleaning. I know I must have done something, but I really can’t remember what. I’m sure it had something to do with the internets.

Saturday I went to the bank to deal with my big girl investments, which I get to have because I have a big girl job. And then I actually did, in fact, clean. I cleaned the counters in the bathroom & the kitchen. I folded laundry, which had heretofore been sitting in various laundry basket, unfolded, since I did laundry 1, 2 or 3 weeks ago1. I scrubbed the shower. I vacuumed ever inch of carpet. And I swept and mopped the kitchen floor. I knew that you probably wouldn’t believe any of this, so I now provide you with some photographic evidence:

In celebration of my newly cleaned apartment, I went with Rachel & some of her friends to Republic. Republic is a fairly new club on Granville – if memory serves, it just opened up last summer – one that I hadn’t checked out until this weekend. And my assessment of Republic is this: not worth the $18 cover. That’s right, $18 cover. As in 1-8. The club itself was fine – the music was good, if a bit monotonous2 – but the place was a bit small and there were probably 5 girls to ever guy in the place3. And here be the photographic evidence of the night (although I have no idea what Rachel and I are looking at):

Despite being up until the wee hours of the morning, I managed to get myself out of bed and out the door in time to meet Kalev for brunch. And then we decided to check out Greek Day, for which a chunk of West Broadway is closed down to celebrate all things Greek, including, um, cotton candy, bubbles, people on stilts and, um, light sabres?

So, ya, not much really going on for Greek Day. But all was not lost, as we went to see a matinee of Kung Fu Panda. Yay Panda!

Sunday night brought hockey in the form of a hard fought battle against the Rebels, which we lost 4-2. But really 4-3 because we scored this one goal that totally went in but the ref didn’t keep up with play, so didn’t see that it went in and bounced out. Not that we’re bitter or anything.

And then today was a busy day of work, trying to get a bunch of stuff done before I leave for holidays. Did I mention that I get to see my niece, the greatest child ever to grace the earth with her presence?4. And now there’s just one last work day before my trip where I (did I mention?) get to see my niece.  Things I’m looking forward to: actual summer weather, delicious Indian buffet, seeing as many friends as possible in a very short period of time, lunches in the park, going to a pool with a really big slide.  You know you are jealous.

1Um, ya, I do laundry, take it out of the dryer and dump it into a laundry basket, never get around to folding it and just pick through the basketful of clean laundry to find clothes to wear. And then the next week I just dump the newly cleaned clothes on top of whatever as-of-yet unworn clothes were still in said basket. And repeat.
2Somehow they managed to make Sean Kingston, Michael Jackson, Brittany Spears and Bon Jovi all sound exactly the same
3So guys, if you are wondering where all the women are – apparently the answer is Republic on a Saturday night.
4Expect to see copious use of the “aunty blogging” tag here for the next week, btw.

No, I don’t have plans to cut my hair. Nor to stop being a girl. That’s a quotation from my wee niece. My sister asked her if she wanted to get her hair cut and Madeline said, “No, I want to have long hair like you, Mommy.” And when my sister said, “Well, I’m thinking of cutting my hair,” M paused and said, “If I cut my hair, will I still be a girl?” I swear, I used to think stories about kids saying stuff like that were made up.

Only 11 more days ’til I get to go see my niece!  Decided it was time for an impromptu trip to see the fam and work on a top secret project with my sis.  Other plans including seeing some friends, seeing the parental units and having as many dinners as possible in the park.

{June 9, 2008}   Weekend Update
  1. Went to my laser eye surgery consultation on Friday and after watching a cheesy “educational” video – some of which was about the surgery, some of which told me such non-informative things as “hey, did you know glasses and contacts are really annoying?” – and having an ultrasound measurement taken on my eyes, I was informed that I’m a good candidate for either PRK or LASIK due to my above average corneal thickness.  I’m thinking I’ll go with LASIK as it has a much shorter healing time (2-3 days vs. 10 days).  Although I have to admit that I am a bit freaked out by the idea of having a flap cut in my cornea (which is what they do in LASIK; in PRK, they do the surgery without cutting a flap first).  Also, I’m leaning towards going to the more expensive place.  The surgeon is super experienced and I liked him, so I’m thinking it’s worth the money.  I may think differently when I can’t afford to eat because I spent all my money on eye surgery, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
  2. Finished watching Season 4 of 24.  In celebration, I suggest you check out this pie chart.
  3. Booked a flight to Ontario for the end of the month to visit the fam.  My sister has vacation then, so I figured I could take some vacation days as well and hang out with her.  And my wee niece, who we all know is the greatest child ever to have lived.
  4. Won our hockey game last night!  I got an assist!  I can haz 3 game point streak?
  5. Also in the hockey game, I got the flukiest injury ever.  Correction – *before* the hockey game I got the flukiest injury ever.  While getting dressed for the game, just as I reached down to tie up my skate laces, my friend Kim kicked her foot up to tie up her skate laces and nicked my wrist with her skate blade.  Thankfully it was on the side of my wrist and was just a nick – but if I had my hand turned just slightly the other way and if she’d kicked her foot up just a bit higher, that could have been right nasty!
  6. Spent the evening, after the hockey game, playing with Wesabe.  I’ll have more to report later, once I’ve played with it some more, but so far, it’s pretty damn cool.
  7. It’s my dad’s birthday today.  Happy birthday, Daddy!

{March 25, 2008}   Off To The Great White North!

This afternoon, I’m off to Yellowknife!

In honour of my trip to the great white north, I bought a hat. A hat to replace the one I lost on the subway in Toronto on my trip there over the holidays. I have a matching pair of mittens, but the mittens are on a string… you know, like 3-year-olds have, so they won’t lose their mittens. Seriously, I lost the hat because it wasn’t on a string that was attached to my body.

Anyway. I really, *really* liked that hat. And, fortunately, the place I bought it from still had them, so I was able to get a new one:

Some random facts about Yellowknife:

  • Population: 18,700 (compared to: GM Place holds 18,630 people for a hockey game)
  • Average high temperature in March: -11.2 degrees Celsius
  • Margot Kidder (better known as Lois Lane in the Superman movies) was born there.

I also wanted to share with you this cool animation I found on Wikipedia,showing the evolution of the provinces and territories of Canada:

I was surprised to see that, at one point, much of our country was part of the Northwest Territories!

Image credit: From, republished here under the terms of this copyleft license

{March 22, 2008}   Yellowknife-bound

On Tuesday, I leave the cherry blossomed bosom of Vancouver to spend two days in Yellowknife. I’m going up there to do to some work, so it’s an all expense paid trip.

For my non-Canadian readers1, Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories. A territory is sort of like a province, but not exactly. To be honest, I don’ t actually know the difference between a province and a territory (*hanging head in shame*). But I digress… take a look at this map of Canada and look up, waaaaay up:

Image credit: Natural Resources Canada

Yup, up there near the Arctic Circle. I checked the weather in Yellowknife the other day and this is what I saw:

Apparently their thermometers have negative numbers on them. Interesting. We don’t have that here in Vancouver, because temperature, as far as we know, only exists in positive numbers.

OK, now I’m ticked off that I don’t know the difference between a territory & a province. So I’ve looked it up. According to Wikipedia,

The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that a province receives its power and authority directly from the Crown, via the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territories derive their mandates from the federal government.

And since I cannot easily find the answer to this question on the Government of Canada website, I’m going to assume that Wikipedia is not steering me wrong on this one.

Anyhoo, I’m very much looking forward to my trip. I’ve never been to any of the Territories before and seeing as one of my goals in life is to visit all the provinces and territories in Canada, a free trip to Yellowknife is a great way to get closer to that goal! Also, the furthest north I’ve ever been is, I believe2, Beaversmouth, BC, a town on the Trans Canada Highway between Golden & Revelstoke whatever the northernmost point on the Trans Canada between Toronto & Vancouver (ok, not Toronto exactly, but wherever the hell I got onto the Trans Canada after I left Toronto). Which means that even my stopover in Edmonton en route to the Northwest Territories will beat my record for northerly-ness.

My itinerary says that my hotel has wi-fi, so hopefully I’ll be able to post some photos while I’m there. Provided I can see over the snow to take photos.

1Now, I’m making the assumption that non-Canadian readers won’t know where Yellowknife is. Please feel free to tell me that I’m an idiot if this is incorrect.
2I don’t exactly remember going through Beaversmouth, but my map tells me that it’s the northernmost point on the stretch of the Trans Canada that I drove when moving from Toronto to Vancouver.My map is a liar.

{December 29, 2007}  

I’m writing this on the train from Ottawa to Toronto. I’m too cheap to pay to use the VIA Rail internet access1, so I’ll post it later. But there’s an electrical outlet at every set of seats, so I can actually use my laptop for the whole trip and not worry about the battery dying. It’s sweet to be here in the future.

I put together the syllabus for the course I’m teaching in January and gone so far as to start putting together my first lecture. And I’ve even jotted down a few ideas for assignments2. So I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something, sort of. So now I can goof off and blog and perhaps take a wee nap as I’m kinda sleepy3. However, I am suffering from a wicked case of writer’s block4, so nap time it is! Night!

1but it’s nice to know that it’s available in case I some day make enough money to both buy a train ticket *and* pay for Internet access.
2It’s my first time teaching this course and I’m not in love with the assignments that were given last year, so I’m trying to come up with new ones.
3This may or may not have anything to do with staying up ’til 2 a.m. watching Veronica Mars.
4Which may or may not have anything to do with being distracted by the teenagers sitting next to me, yammering loudly about how they are in the cadets. It’s all “drinking game” this and “drinking on army base” that.

{December 29, 2007}  

Either Ottawa hates1 or loves me so much that it really, really wants me have a reason to return, because everything we tried to do today was a no go.

First, we couldn’t go to the Diefenbunker as the tour was all booked up when we called to make a reservation. Then, The Green Door was inexplicably closed when we tried to go there for dinner. Bah!

It worked out in the end though. We hung out at Sarah’s parents place, where we had lunch, chatted for a bit, and then Sarah’s mom gave me three (3!) pairs of shoes2! Then we watched more Veronica Mars and we ended up going to another restaurant, a veggie Thai place, that made most delicious food, for dinner. And, honestly, Sarah & Dave are just fun to hang out with, no matter what you are doing. And now I have an excuse to come back to O-town – ‘cuz I totally need to check out the Diefenbunker!

1Since they put a giant spider in front of the National Gallery, I’m leaning towards the former.
2And you all know how desperately I need more shoes!

For my Christmas present, Sarah and Dave offered me a “choose my own Ottawaian adventure.” In the interest me not having to carry a bunch o’ stuff back on the plane, they gave me some options of fun things to do in Ottawa, including:

I chose: most of the above. I’m unable to go to the National Gallery due to the fact that they have sculpture of a giant spider outside. And you know how I feel about spiders. Museums of Civilization and/or War are out because, um, I’m neither civilized nor war mongering.

Today, Dave had to work today in order to keep us in the style to which we have become accustomed while Sarah & I picked up the cats from the cat spa3, then went to the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The C.S.T.M. kinda made us feel like Canada hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot in science and technology that isn’t related to snow and/or hockey. Although we did learn that Ernest Rutherford did the work which earned him his 1908 Nobel Prize while in Canada. Which, you know, you think they would have mentioned when we learned about the Rutherford model of the atom in high school and university chemistry classes, given that we went to high school and university in Canada. But whatevs.

After the C.S.T.M., we came home and Sarah made us some super delish veggie sushi. Just like The Eatery, but with much better service. We chain smoked the first four episodes of Veronica Mars, which Sarah has been telling me about forever, but which I had never watched before. Now I’m totally into the mystery and need – and I mean NEED – to find out whodunit. Then we watched the Sens game, followed by the Canucks game – both which had happy endings. And now I be tired. But before I head to bed, I give you me, in a stupid large snowbank. With a pink hat on:


1although not live, since it’s sold out. But with PVR-y goodness, we can watch it without pesky commercials
2I can’t link to this site, because I am afraid that a picture of the giant spider will be on their site.
3Where they had been living a life of cat luxury while S & D were away for a few days of family Christmas visiting.

et cetera