Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{December 28, 2008}   Mi Navidad Mexicana

My Christmas vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico went a little something like this:

10:45 a.m. Wake up1.
10:55 a.m. Arrive at breakfast buffet restaurant.  Acquire coffee, refried beans, papaya and pineapple. Big decision of the day #1: French toast, omelette or fried eggs.
11:30 a.m. Grab beach towels. Apply sunscreen. Order non-stop delivery of Coca-Cola Light2 with a slice of lime from poolside server.
11:35a.m. Lay in sun. Alternate between reading, chatting with people and swimming. Reapply sunscreen as needed.
2:00 p.m. Have lunch, where lunch = french fries, onion rings, nachos with fresh guac and salsa.  And Coca-Cola Light.
2:30 p.m. Tod’s naptime. Big decision of the day #2: Decide between having a nap, reading, or going for a walk on the beach.
5:00 p.m. Nap (if not already napping)
6:30 p.m. Shower.  Dress up pretty.
8:00 p.m. Big decision of the day #3: where to have dinner.
10:30 p.m. Go to the disco, possibly followed by hot tub.
2:00 a.m. Order sandwiches from room service.
2:45 a.m. Re-order sandwich because they put bacon on my vegetarian sandwich.
3:15 a.m. Sleep.

Repeat for six days.

Seriously, I could get used to a life like that.

Highlights of the trip:

  • Los Cabos is gorgeous. Gorgeous!
  • The people we met were very friendly. Friendly!
  • Being a Vancouverite, I’m not used to sunshine, especially not in December.  Los Cabos was sunshine-y almost the entire time.
  • In Los Cabos, I didn’t have to think about work at all.
  • Standing on the beach, listening to the waves break3 and feeling myself sink into the sand as the waves rolled in and then back out.
  • 3 a.m. room service sandwiches. So. Tasty.

Lowlights of the trip:

  • Apparently, I’m the first vegetarian to ever set foot in Mexico.  To the point that on Christmas Eve, I was told that they couldn’t make me anything for dinner. After talking with one of the guest services peeps (who said, “Oh, would you like them to make you something special?” to which I replied, “No4, I just want something vegetarian!”) they agreed to make me… a salad. Because, you know, us freaks only ever eat salad. And who wouldn’t want a salad for Christmas dinner? In the end, I  managed to convince them to give me both the salad and a turkey dinner, hold the turkey.
  • Sitting in the San Jose del Cabos airport writing this blog posting. Our flight was supposed to have left 5:30 p.m. and it’s now, as I type this, 8:30 p.m.  The plane we were supposed to be on hadn’t even left Phoenix by 5:30 p.m. And apparently they can’t get us any other plane. And so now we are scheduled to leave here at 9:20 p.m. Which is going to make it rather difficult to make our 8:59 p.m. connection from Phoenix to Vancouver. So. Looks like I’ll be staying either in Phoenix (given that the 8:59 p.m. is the last Phoenix to Vancouver flight of the day) or here in Cabos5 (if this stupid plane decides never to arrive).

Books Read on This Trip:

  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (start to finish)6
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks (about one-third of the book)
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (about half a page)
  • Research Design by Creswell (the chapters I hadn’t yet read) and Conducting & Reading Research in Health & Human Performance by Baumgartner & Hensley (bits and pieces – since I’ve been stuck in this airport)

Things I Learned On My Trip:

  • Spray on sunscreen, which starts out invisible, turns green. The towel you lay on while wearing said sunscreen will look like it has grass stains on it.
  • Coffee whitener is highly flammable7.
  • Broken bones don’t hurt until you move them8.
  • Los Cabos airport appears to be a tent.

1Important, as they stop serving breakfast at 11 a.m.
2Which is what they call Diet Coke in Mexico. I didn’t see diet Pepsi anywhere.
3Of course, being a Vancouverite, I can easily get to the ocean. This was a reminder that I should make a point of doing so more often.
4Seriously. I’m not asking for the moon here. I’m like, “just give me the veggies from the turkey dinner, hold the turkey!”
5Kicking myself for joking in my last blog posting about deciding to stay in Mexico. Staying sounded nice, but not if it means staying in the airport!
6Thanks to Sarah & Dave, who gave this to me for Christmas.
7Didn’t actually have the opportunity to see this in action, but we were assured that it is true.
8Didn’t learn this firsthand, but one of the people we were hanging out with broken his toe playing beach volleyball. I was sure it was just dislocated, given that it didn’t hurt and bones have lots of nerves in them. But when the doctor showed up, he said it was broken (as he was able to move the joints normally, meaning the joints couldn’t be dislocated) and that it didn’t hurt because it wasn’t moving.



{December 5, 2008}   Foie Gras

As a vegetarian, I’m not going to be eating foie gras. Foie gras, in case you don’t know, is the liver of a goose that has been force fed to the point that it has developed fatty liver. Sounds rather disgusting to me (both the idea of eating a fatty liver and the force feeding of the poor geese), but people who eat it swear it’s delicious. Anyway, I watched this TED video of a story of foie gras being made a different way:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Dan Barber’s surprising foie gras par…“, posted with vodpod

I especially like how he takes what he learns about this “natural” foie gras and extends it to industrial agriculture as a whole.



Ice cream cake sporting my hockey teams logo. Mmmm, ice cream.

Ice cream cake sporting my hockey team's logo. Mmmm, ice cream.

My hockey team had a year-end pool party this past weekend, commemorating our championship, Vegas tournament, trip to provincials in Kelowna and all around hockey good times. The party was held at team captain Karen’s parents place – they have the super awesomest backyard ever, complete with pool1, hot tub, and multiple BBQs. We were further spoiled with goalie Meghan’s husband, Chef Brian, cooking us a gourmet dinner2. And then, to top it all off – a Dairy Queen ice cream cake AND a cheescake!

We also got to see a slide show of photos from the year – in addition to professional ones we had taken of us in action on the ice, there were photos from our fundraiser pub night, Vegas and Kelowna. All of which are no-Facebook, no-Flickr, no-blog. For reasons that I’m sure you can imagine! Then there was also a presentation to one of our team members, Nancy, who retired at the end of the season after an illustrious career with the Blazing Blades. Her jersey was framed and her number (44) has now been retired in her honour. We are hoping that she’ll come back to coach us in the new season!

Speaking of which – it starts next week! I’m so stoked, because I’ve totally been missing the hockey. And now that I have my superhuman vision, I’m sure to tear up the ice this season! I’ll keep you posted, because I know you are just *dying* to hear all about it!

1Although I was technically supposed to go swimming for a full two weeks after my laser eye surgery, I went for a swim, but just made sure not to put my head under. And to go in the pool before everyone else got in so I wouldn’t risk getting splashed in the eyes. I can’t wait ’til my eyes are reading for swimming!
2And, professional chef that he is, he accommodated my vegetarian ways by making me my own special chickpea creation. Which was AWESOME!



{August 18, 2008}   Update on My Knee Injury

Yesterday, I wore these bacon band-aids to cover up my hideously scraped knee:

Props to my sister who gave me a pack of bacon band-aids. She thinks it’s funny to get me things that look like meat, what with me being a vegetarian and all. These band-aids got me a fair bit of attention and I am, after all, an attention whore.



I wonder if this would work with soy bac’n?

No one likes to wake up, especially by an alarm. This clock gently wakes you up with the mouthwatering aroma of bacon, just like waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of Mom cooking breakfast. Unless you’re Jewish.

Check it out here.

Props to Jeff for bringing this fantastic innovation to my attention.



{June 27, 2008}   Blogger’s Block

Conversation earlier tonight:

My sister:  I’m tired.

Me:            Me too.  But I need to blog something.

My sister:  What are you going to blog about?

Me:            I don’t know.

My sister:  You could blog about how awesome our backyard is.
               Or how about the delicious Thai dinner we had tonight.
               What are you going to blog about?
               You could blog about how you don’t like veggie food items that pretend to be meat.
               Hey, how about how peaceful our backyard is?

I can’t blog under this kind of pressure!

Oh wait, but I do have to tell you about my niece, who I may not have mentioned is the coolest kid ever.  Last night I went out for dinner with my friend Jen in the Po Cred and by the time I got back to my sister’s place, everyone was already asleep.  Including my niece, who was asleep in my bed.  Apparently she had declared “I’m sleeping in Aunt Beth’s bed tonight” and, because it’s too hot to wear pajamas, “I just want to sleep with my body on.” She cracks me up.

I woke up in the morning and she was staring right at me, about an inch from my face.  “Good morning Aunt Beth!  I slept in your bed!”  Too. Freaking. Cute!



{May 8, 2008}   Veggie Marshmallow Update

These Sweet & Sara veggie marshmallows are the bomb¹.

Since it costs a freaking fortune to have them shipped from the US², I decided that it was high time that I once again emailed the local fru-fru organic grocery stores to tell them that they really, really should carry this product.

One grocery store has, thus far, ignored my email.

The other, at first, told me that “this product is not available in Canada yet.” Hmm, really? Ever heard of a little thing called “importing”? I mean, I know that we hardly do any trade with the USA, so it might be complicated. So I wrote back and informed them that the Sweet & Sara website says that other BC companies stock this product, but just not ones that are in Vancouver and I’d like to be able to get them here (translation: your competition is getting this product). That got their attention and I received not just one, but two, emails informing me that they will be looking into this ASAP.

Lesson learned: squeaky wheel gets the marshmallows.

¹Remember when everyone used to say things they liked were “the bomb”? Ah, those were the days.
²And, since Canada Post has “issues” with bringing them to my house.



  • Why, oh, why didn’t my travel agent tell me there would be a free meal on my flight? Because “chicken or pork” really doesn’t work for a vegetarian. It didn’t even occur to me to request a veggie meal, because it’s only a 1.5 hr flight and in the south, you don’t even get meals on a 5 hr flight anymore. I guess I’ll have to make due with my salad and yogurt/fruit parfait that the flight attendant got me from one of the meaty meal trays. And the peanut butter cups I bought in the airport ‘cuz I assumed there would be no meal. And which I made the mistake of reading the label of. 280 Calories, 15 g of fat. And don’t get me started on the ingredients. But, you know, you can really taste the TBHQ.
  • I really should fly north more often. You get a free meal, a hot towel and I have three seats to myself, so I can spread my books and papers and laptop all over the place.
  • Why don’t we give tips to flight attendants? My flight attendant is super friendly and helpful! Although it was strange that when she saw my boarding card she said, “Uh oh, Air Canada”1. But she’s been totally friendly and helpful, so I guess she’s not holding it against me that I’m from the south2
  • {Break for dinner}
  • OMG. What I mistook for a yogurt/fruit parfait was actually a dish filled with about 7/8ths whipped cream, and 1/8th tiny cubes of fruit and cake. O. M. G. – delicious!!
  • A bubble just popped up on my screen “Wireless network unavailable.” Thanks, Windows!
  • My toes are froze4. I suppose [snicker] I could put my boots back on, but I just can’t stand wearing shoes on a plane.
  • I just heard the flight attendant say that we are going to land soon. I must go to the bathroom! I always go to the bathroom on flights, even if I don’t have to go.

1This flight is Canadian North, but my YVR to Edmonton flight was on Air Canada, which is where I got my boarding card from.
2It probably helps that I’ve been saying things like “Wow! We get dinners and hot towels? I’m going to have to fly north more often!”3
3I’m such a suck up.
4With apologies to Grammar Girl, I couldn’t resist the rhyme.



{March 1, 2008}  

So, I totally forgot to blog yesterday. I realized it at around 1:30 this morning, just as I was about to go to bed. And so my daily blogging streak for 2008 ends… an entire *month* earlier than it did last year¹! In my defense, yesterday was Feburary 29… that’s not really a real day².

Now, that it’s March, it seems that spring has sprung here in the ‘couve³. It was gorgeous and sunny today and so I went on a nice long walk to do some shopping on W. 4th and Broadway. The two main things I went out to buy were: (a) new headphones for Marla, because the ones I had spontaneously stopped producing sound in the left earphone and (b) new running shoes. And the reason that I was on a mission to make these purchases? Because it’s time to start my training for my next half marathon! You may recall that my last half marathon was less than ideal, but I’ve learned my lesson and I’m bound and determined to train properly this time. Also, from talking to the salesdude at the Running Room5, part of the problem leading up to my foot injury may have been that my shoes were worn out. So, $200 later, I’m the proud owner of a pair of Asics Gel-Nimbus running shoes:

 

They are like running on a cloud.  Seriously.

Other, more spontaneous purchases on my shopping spree included: 2 skirts & a top at a thift store (total cost $15!); various card making supplies and some much needed oven mitts from a dollar store; a bluetooth headset for my cell, which I’m returning because it totally sucks; a pack of stamps at the post office; and a veggie dog from a hot dog vender. Mmmm, veggie dog.

¹When I imported my blog into WordPress from Blogger, I didn’t set the time zone to Pacific before I did the import, meaning that it imported everything at GMT instead of PST. So here in WordPress land, it looks like I did post on March 30, 2007, but if you look on my old Blogger site, you’ll see that that posting was actually on March 29, 2007 at 8:21 p.m. PST when I originally posted it. Similarly, I did actually post every day in 2008 until yesterday, but here in WordPress land, it looks like I didn’t because the ones I imported went under GMT. Anyhoo, I’m sure I’m the only person who cared about that and now that I’ve bored you to tears with the world’s longest footnote, you may return to your regularly scheduled blog post, already in progress.
² Speaking of which, happy belated birthday to my cousin Samantha… she turned 16 yesterday, on her 4th birthday.
³ One of many annoying nicknames for Vancouver including, but not limited to, Vancity, the V-dot4, and, my least fav, Vangroovy.
4Which, I will point out, makes no sense and is only used by people from the T dot.
5And this wasn’t like a salesdude who was trying to upsell me into buying some news shoes. I brought my old shoes in to the store to compare them with new shoes and he was able to show me just how worn out they were.



As you know, I’m a fan of the Egg McMaster1. I often buy them for breakfast at the caf at work2 when I’m too lazy busy to make breakfast. And, being vegetarian, I always get mine with no meat, but a slice of tomato instead.This week, however, held a surprise for me. The caf changed its menu and, in the process, eliminated the “no meat” discount. I’m now expected to pay the same price as someone who is getting bacon, sausage or ham on their E.M. When the cook informed me of this as she was making my breakfast,I asked why that was. It hardly seems fair that I’m paying for meat that I’m not getting. And she said, “Yeah, well, customers were getting away things. You are getting a slice of tomato and those extra ingredients cost money. Getting away with something.” Ignoring theinaccuracy of pluralizing “ingredients” inthat sentence, I said, “Yeah, but a slice of tomato doesn’t cost anywhere near the same price as meat!” She shrugged dismissively. So I asked, “And if I don’t get the slice of tomato, are you going to give it to me for cheaper?” I get a resounding “no” in response. And then she gives me a very, very undercooked Egg McMaster. Homemade Egg McMuffin

Photo by Mike Monteiro


Remind me not to argue with someone who is making my food, even if I am right.

1As a public service, I am pleased to report that Googling “Egg McMaster” now yields 10 hits, up 4 from the last time I blogged about this. Granted, two of new hits are my blog about Googling “Egg Master” both on my old blog site and on my new blog site. And one appears to be in a .pdf in a different language ((EgG): McMaster-Verfahren). But there is now a photograph of a bonafide Egg McMaster right here on the internets! Granted, it kind of looks disgusting, but trust me – food of the gods.
2They don’t call it an Egg McMaster, but we all know that’s what it is.



Typing this out on my Palm Pilot on the bus on the way to a free screening of Cloverfield. Won’t have time to write blog posting when I get home as I have to finish my lecture for tomorrow. My wicked cool lecture about the BC Nutrition Survey, about measurement and about dietary assessment. But I’m so very, very tired…

So, some random thoughts. A recent study found that 75% of people in the study who called themselves vegetarians ate animal flesh sometimes. wtf? They put new floors in the hallway to the caf at my work. The new floors muffle the sound significantly compared to the old floors. I’m thinking they put the new flooring in because my new boots are like the loudest things ever when I walk down the hall in them. My ski buddy busted her knee & is out for the season; now looking for people with whom to ski. Is it wrong that I’m not done my lecture, but I decided what I’m going to wear to my class tomorrow 5 days ago?



et cetera