Not To Be Trusted With Knives











With all the weddings I’ve been going to lately, and the ensuing discussions about removing “obey” from the old wedding vows, I’ve decided that, should I ever get married again, this post’s title is the vow I would want my partner to make.

In other news, I’ve nearly recovered from the trauma of discovering a wolf spider crawling amongst my dishware. I’m no longer completely terrified1 to enter the kitchen and have even progressed to being able to open up the cupboard in which said monster was found with only minor heart palpitations.

1my terror has been downgraded to merely “severe”.



{August 15, 2007}  

Look at me, posting at a reasonable hour on a school night! Now let’s see, what have I been meaning to tell y’all about Erika & Paul’s wedding… oh yes, here we go:

Congratulations Erika & Paul!!

This past weekend, I was privileged to witness the marriage of two fantastic people – my good friends, Erika & Paul. I’ve known Erika for several years now – we first met at a science outreach conference where she was representing SFU and I was there on behalf of UBC, but we really got to know each other and become good friends when Erika’s lab moved to UBC and she joined our chapter of the science outreach organization. Erika has managed to juggle completing her Masters (and now working on her PhD), family, friends, teaching, volunteering more hours than there are day (I’m pretty sure she must have a time machine, or an army of clones, because I don’t see how else she could possibly get all the things done that she gets done!). Despite having long hair, she never, ever wears her hair down. I once, in all the years I’ve known her, saw her take her hair down. It was at a bar in London, Ontario and within 2 minutes of her taking it down, it was completely submerged in her beer. I’m not just like the end of her hair either, I’m talking like a good 3 or 4 inches of her hair were sitting in her beer when I pointed this out to her. True story. Erika and I have enjoyed such adventures as pairing up 200 volunteers with 100 teachers one night while she Norway and I was in Vancouver (god bless msn messenger!) and her being the greatest cock block ever (on the same trip to London, Ontario as the above-mentioned hair-in-beer story, but at a different bar). Blog That Needs a New Name readers may remember her in such roles as:

I don’t remember the first time I met Paul, but I’m willing to bet it was at a pub. I can definitely tell you that he was at my half birthday, was a co-host of the 12 Bars and invented “Beth’s Law“. Paul proposed to Erika at the top of the Chief after they hiked up it (how freaking cool is that??). And, get this, he put the ring instead a kindersuprise egg! Now that’s a story to tell the grandkids! Paul has a wicked good sense of humour and is a super nice guy – and I’m really happy that he and Erika got married! W00t!

As for the wedding itself, I have alluded some of the many cool features in my previous two postings, but I’ll elaborate now that I’m not typing under severe sleep deprivation1:

  • the wedding was held at this cool property out in Langley – there were a few buildings, a little pond, and even piggies!
    IMG_2424
  • Erika & Paul wrote their own vows and they were really touching
  • I have heard, but have not yet seen, that there is a picture of Erika sticking out her tongue at Paul in the middle of the ceremony! That’s so Erika & Paul!
  • the first dance – they started out dancing to the Princess Bride song – it was very romantic, with the dipping and spinning and suchlike and then, partway through the song, the music cut out, and everyone in the room sort of gasped in shock that the DJ would allow a fuck up like that to happen at this critical moment… but then another song came on and then another and then another – there was jive, there was swing, there was country and yes, there was Michael Jackson’s Thriller – and they had a dance routine for each of the songs. Like I said: best. first dance. EVER!
  • Linda’s sister, Gloria, did my hair. She did Linda’s hair too. Doesn’t our hair look wicked awesome?
  • speaking of looking wicked awesome, check out my eye makeup. I was in Shopper’s Drug Mart the day before the wedding and got suckered in by the marketing of “eyelash jewels” – while the “jewels” looked much more like water droplets than jewels2, I still thought they looked pretty cool. At least until they got all mushed up by my nicely straightened bangs and so you couldn’t see them anymore (which was pretty much before the ceremony was even over).

And this concludes my reportings on the wedding adventures of Erika & Paul!

1Just moderate sleep deprivation, so it’s all good.
2the ad for these jewels have an eye where the drops are photoshopped to look like there are sparkly, cut diamonds on your lashes! Good thing I wasn’t expecting that to happen in real life!



{August 14, 2007}  

How the hell did it get to be this late already? I’m yet again too tired to do anything but phone it in, so today I’ll share with you the best lines from the speeches at Erika & Paul’s wedding:

  • “I’d like to thank Erika’s six concussions.”
  • “Paul, I’m really glad you asked me to be your girlfriend. On our first date.”

And here’s a photo, ‘cuz photos make the blog entry longer, so it looks like I wrote more. Worth a thousand words and whatnot. This is me and Erika. I have straightened hair and fancy dress. You can’t really see Erika’s dress that well in this photo, but it was very, very pretty!

IMG_2464

This photo is notable in that it is one of the few photos of me & Erika in which Erika actually has her eyes open.

Beth sleep now.



{August 13, 2007}  

Too tired to do the full report tonight, but just thought I’d post a quick message to say that Erika & Paul’s wedding totally rocked1. Great venue2, great vows written by the bride & groom, great speeches, great party and the best first dance I’ve ever seen at a wedding. I mean, how many of you can say you’ve seen Thriller incorporated into a first dance?

IMG_2447

Other exciting news from yesterday: Linda’s sister Gloria straightened my hair with her flat iron and it looked so wicked good. I totally need a flat iron! And props to Linda who came over to my house to kill a friggin’ wolf spider3 that was crawling through my kitchen cupboard. I’m pretty sure that fact that I screamed like I was being murdered while on the phone with her when I saw it alerted her to the seriousness of predicament.

OK, it’s lights out for little Bethy right now, as it is a school night and I’m up way past my bedtime. Will report more soon. But for now: Congrats Erika & Paul!

1notwithstanding the part where we waited for over 2 hours for a friggin’ cab to come and pick us up and take us to our hotel afterwards.

2including piglets!

3 I would link to “wolf spider” on Wikipedia here, to show you just how effing big and effing disgusting these mofos are, but that would risk me actually seeing a picture of one and I’m already going to have a hard enough time getting to sleep just knowing that there was one in my kitchen yesterday. *shudder*



…but there are two “I”s in “Team Icing.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m putting it out there anyway.

Having just revived from the sugar-induced coma I entered yesterday as a result of just the sugar that was being absorbed through my skin by the end of a day which included preparing over 60 cups of icing, which we then put onto 150 cupcakes (not to mention baking a layer for actual wedding cake too!), I can now share with you, gentle blog reader, the adventure that was Team Cupcake.

As you know, my friend Erika is getting married this weekend. And weddings require cake, in this case, of the cup variety. Erika’s good friend and labmate, Linda, is making the wedding cake, and when I heard that she was to be making scores of cupcakes (for the eating) in addition to the actual wedding cake (for the ceremonial cutting and looking pretty), I offered to help out, as did some of Erika’s other friends. Thus was born: Team Cupcake! Go Team Cupcake!

In addition to Team Cupcake, there was Team Icing, a sub-team of Team Cupcake, consisting of Linda and I. Team Icing spent the day retrieving un-iced cupcakes from the bakery, perfecting the protocol1 for making icing, sending Linda’s sister to the store to procure us further supplies2, using this protocol to produce ridiculous amounts of said icing and preparing the facilities for large-scale assembly line cupcakery. Also, upon discovering that the ridiculous amounts of icing we had prepared were insufficient for our hyper-ridiculous number of cupcakes, we later whipped up another double batch during the cupcake assembly protocol, impressing our fellow Team Cupcake members with our domesticity and skill. Go Team Icing!

Of course, no event would be complete without me whipping out my digicam to take pictures of even the most mundane things, so now I give you a few pics of the day….

We used 4 lbs of butter…

<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1296/1066096287_e142c7fa07_m.jpg” alt=”
This is just 1/2 lb. So picture this times 8.

… and 5 kg of icing sugar

<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1052/1066095259_444c81cdbd_m.jpg” alt=”
Again, this is just a portion of the total used.
…to create over 60 cups of glorious white buttercream goodness…

<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1172/1066962356_e88ca6e277_m.jpg” alt=”

…which then went onto assemble-line production of an effing large number of cupcakes, which were further garnished with hand-made icing decorations…

<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1327/1066097961_42a7e6bfb6_m.jpg” alt=”

…and a good time was had by all!

So props to our fearless leader, Linda, the captain of Team Cupcake!

<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1316/1066096513_0076c33004.jpg” alt=”

I’m very much looking forward to eating one of these cupcakes on Saturday!!

1Linda is also a scientist and in the lab you don’t have recipes, you have protocols. Like recipes, protocols are developed by trial and error and what works at any given time seems to differ from lab to lab (er, kitchen to kitchen) and from day to day.
1 we ran out of clear vanilla. Clear vanilla is the secret to this icing.



{August 8, 2007}   But Did I Mention the Bling?

So Sunday night marked the final of Shalu & Deepak’s wedding events – the reception. And so I have photos for your viewing pleasure.

First up, photos of my bling, which I didn’t capture in any of the photos from the wedding ceremony day, although I was actually wearing all of this.

Here’s my necklace:

IMG_2332

…with matching earrings:

IMG_2333

And, of course, you have to have the bangles:

IMG_2340

And, while this is a terrible, bug-eyed photo of me (wherein I’m somewhat reminscint of that runaway bride from a couple of years ago), but it’s the only photo I got where you can (kinda) see my bindis (yes, that’s bindis plural… if you look closely, you can see there’s one beside my left eye):

IMG_2346

But enough about me, now here’s a photo of Shalu with me:

IMG_2374

I’m pretty happy with that one, because Shalu and I rarely get good photos together and we actually both look good in this one. Although it’s hard to look bad in beautiful saris! And bling!

And last, but certainly not least, a photo of the happy couple – don’t they look like royalty?

IMG_2377

And this concludes my reportings on the wedding adventures of Shalu and Deepak. While, at least until we have her bachelorette next month. Yes, we are having the bachelorette *after* the wedding. It’s a long story.


{August 5, 2007}  
Congratulations Shalu & Deepak!

Yesterday, I was privileged to witness the marriage of two fantastic people – my good friends, Shalu & Deepak. I’ve known Shalu for several years – ever since she started her Masters in my lab. Shalu was, if I recall correctly, thrown into the middle of my (ridiculously large-scale) experiment and informed that she was to learn our lab protocols by “helping out with” (translation: doing half the lab work of1) my PhD experiment with me, at the same time as taking her graduate level courses. Once my big experiment was done, we soon moved on to her (also ridiculously large-scale study)… oh wait, there was her pilot study before that, and a pre-pilot, and a pre-pilot-pilot. Plus, we decided to do a “small” (translation: normal size for anyone else’s lab) unrelated side-study during her pilot, because “wouldn’t that be an interestingly little study to do and sure, we have enough time to do them simultaneously”2. What this meant was that, for stretches of three or four months at a time, we were together in the lab from about 8 am to around 5 pm, with no breaks, 7 days a week3. And the astonishing thing about all of this was that, when a study ended, not only were we not sick of each other, as you would imagine two people spending that much time together would be, but we actually missed each other after a day or two of not seeing one another! Shalu is just that kind of awesome person – so much fun to be around, such a great person and a great friend!

Fortunately, after she finished her Masters, Shalu and I have stayed in close touch. Blog That Needs a New Name readers may remember her from such events as:

And fortunately for me, Shalu got a job working at the same site4 that I work at even before I got my job, so I had a ready made lunch buddy when I started work!

I’m trying to remember the first time I met Deepak and, although I’m not positive5, I think it might have been the Seattle trip. And I do know that he bought me my first ever Jager Bomb, on my half birthday. And he was there to help me move too. Like I said, Shalu and Deepak are awesome peeps. And now they are married to each other – how cool is that?

And speaking of cool, their wedding ceremony was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen6. Coolness included (but is not limited to):

  • Deepak making an entrance on a horse, led by a marching band and surrounded by his family, dancing
  • Shalu & Deepak wearing absolutely gorgeous outfits
  • seeing Shalu & Deepak so very, very happy – they were smiling, and laughing, throughout the ceremony and you could just see how happy they were to be wife and husband
  • more delicious Indian food – there was a lunch held at the temple after the ceremony
  • I got to wear a sari! Shalu & Deepak helped me pick it out – I absolutely love it!

Here are but a few photos (you can go to my Flickr to see all of them7):

IMG_2269
IMG_2286

IMG_2314

IMG_2326

And the festivities continue tonight – the reception! Stay tuned for more photos and stories!

1our lab couldn’t afford a lab tech, so we had to do all the lab work ourselves.

2upon retrospect, that was a rather silly idea. Although we did get a published paper out of it, so I guess it was OK in the end.

3we would also often have to come into the lab late at night, around 10 pm to midnight-ish, to take blood samples, but we usually traded off so that only one of us would have to come in, whenever possible.

4different group though, doing different things, but in the same building complex

5at Shalu’s wedding shower, we discovered that Shalu can’t exactly remember the first time she met him either, so I don’t feel that bad.

6granted, it was almost all in Hindi, so I couldn’t actually tell what was being said, save for the odd word in English (“exemplary couple,” “McDonalds,” “pizza”, “you have to buy her beautiful clothes now Deepak”), but Shalu had written up what each part of the ceremony means in the program, so we could follow along.

7I didn’t get any good ones during the ceremony as the scene from where I was sitting was back lit, so my photos came out grainy. I can’t wait to see the ones from the professional photographer which, at last count, will number over 3 billion.



{August 3, 2007}   Shalu’s Mehndi

Wednesday was Shalu’s Mehndi (a.k.a. henna party). Like the Sangeet last week, this was a first for me. As many of my friends will attest, I’d been looking forward to this for a while1.

When we arrived, Shalu was already being hennaed. As the bride, she got very intricate henna work done on the front and back for both hands and forearms, and both feet. This is how she looked when we got there, with the henna artist working on her foot:

IMG_2212

The henna artist that they hired was amazing! Now, I know that I’m not really qualified to judge that, as I’ve never even seen a henna artist at work before, but several people who have been to many henna parties remarked over the course of the evening about how impressed they were with both the speed and the quality of her work. I was astounded by watching her – she had a small plastic bag filled with henna, with a hole cut out of the end, not unlike the way you decorate a cake2 – and she would draw these really intricate patterns, flawlessly, faster than most people could draw with a pen!

And look at the result! These are Shalu’s hands:

IMG_2214

I recommend clicking on that photo to see the bigger sized picture, so you can fully appreciate the detail!

In total, Shalu was being decorated for an hour and a half! Also, in the pattern, the artist wrote Deepak’s name and then Shalu had to try to find it!

After Shalu, anyone who wanted could put their name down on a list and get their henna done. There was a page of different patterns that you could chose from and you could chose to have either the palm of your hand or the back of your hand done. Henna turns out darker on the palm of your hand, because the skin there contains more keratin3 than the back of your hand, but apparently it also wears off faster. I decided to get the back of my hand done because I want it to last until Erika’s wedding next weekend. And because it’s more noticeable and you know me, I like attention.

Here is the henna artist working on my hand:

IMG_2220

And here is what it looked like once she was done:

IMG_2223

In the above picture, the henna paste is still wet. The longer you leave the paste on, the darker the resulting design will be. So there were a lot of girls walking around the party only using one hand, trying not to disturb their henna paste.

Eventually, the paste dries out and starts to flake off and the design appears as a bright orange:

IMG_2250

The henna artist assured those of us “who have never had henna done before”4 that the orange was temporary, the colour would turn brown overnight.

And it did, as you can see here in this photo that I took the next day:

IMG_2258

Also, when we had arrived at Shalu’s house, there was a giant S in the driveway, made out of candles. Mina decided that Kai and I should fill in the ends of the S to make a yin yang:

IMG_2236

Did I mention that there was wine? Lots of wine. Every time I turned around, Shalu’s dad or her friend Sonny was filling up my wine glass. Literally, I wouldn’t even be looking and I’d turn around and one of them was pouring more wine into my glass. And the food was incredible! I think Shalu’s mom is the best cook I’ve ever met!

And now I’m off to the tailor to pick up my sari5 and buy some bling to go with it. I’m going to wear my sari to the wedding ceremony tomorrow and to the reception on Sunday. So excited for the rest of this weekend!

1 translation: I haven’t shut up about how excited I was for the henna party for weeks.
2 in fact, someone mentioned that to the henna artist and she said that she used to decorate cakes before she got into doing henna.
3a protein in skin.
4translation: “hey you, lone white girl! Yeah, I’m talking to you!”

5fingers crossed that it’s ready!



{July 28, 2007}   My First Ever Sangeet!

Last night I attended my first ever Sangeet (or Ladies Party, as it is also called). And I must say that you have not partied until you have danced to a mash up of “My Humps” + Hindi music.

OK, maybe I should back up a little. Since this is my first ever Indian wedding, when Shalu gave me my invitation (which, by the way, is the most gorgeous invitation I’ve ever seen!), I had to have her walk me through what the heck everything was, since my invitation had FOUR invitations in it!1 The invitation to the Sangeet indicated that there would be Appetizers, followed by Chunni & Tilak, then dinner & dancing. Appies, dinner & dancing I am familiar with, but chunni & tilak, not so much. Around about the time that we were waiting for our ride to pick us up, Shalu’s friend, Mina (who I met at the wedding shower last weekend and arranged to carpool with) and I decided to Wikipedia2 those terms to see what we could expect. Chunni, as near as we could tell from Wikipedia, is a piece of red fabric the groom’s family puts on the bride’s head. Tilak is a mark on the forehead.

Here’s a pic of the happy couple after the Chunni & Tilak part of the night. As you can see, Shalu bears both the chunni and the tilak. Wikipedia did not steer us wrong!

IMG_2108
Don’t they look amazing??

OK, a few highlights of the night:

  • the food. omg, so delish! I *love* Indian food. Plus, it was all vegetarian!
  • everyone’s outfits – they were soooo beautiful! Shalu looked radiant in her beautiful green dress and Deepak was dashing in his blue outfit.
  • the music! As I mentioned at the start of the post, it was Hindi music mixed with pop. Billie Jean, plus Hindi. Sexy Back, plus Hindi. It went surprisingly well together and had a great beat, which made for great fun dancing.
  • And speaking of dancing, I got a few compliments on my dancing abilities. Now, I’ve never danced to Indian music before, so I just sort of looked at what other people were doing and tried to imitate it… just feel the beat and go with it! I think people were surprised to see the only white girl there dancing to the Indian
  • And speaking of dancing, the DJ told us that “this next song will be the last song of the night” about 6 times. At once point, they had turned the lights up for the “last song”, but we kept on dancing, so they turned the lights back down and kept playing music! After the actual last song, we decided we still needed to dance some more, so a bunch of us headed to Ginger Sixty-Two. Deepak told us it was Indian Night there, which we didn’t believe, as Deepak likes to make things up just to see if you will believe them. But he turned out to be telling the truth, because when we got there, they were, in fact, playing Indian music! Of course, Shalu & her “entourage” (as the DJ there called it) were the only ones wearing Indian outfits, which everyone there thought was very cool.
    Here are Shalu & Deepak outside of Ginger Sixty-Two. Party like a rock star.
  • We stayed ’til Ginger Sixty-Two closed (for those of you who are counting, that’s right, we stayed right to the end of *two* parties last night… ya, we are that hardcore!) By then, I was pretty much unable to walk due to my feet deforming shoes. In my defence, the shoes are very pretty. Some peeps headed off for pizza, but me, Andrea & Mina decided that it was time, since it was after 2 am and Andrea had to work in a few hours, to head home.

OK, that’s enough with the writing. But I’ll give you a few more pictures, what with them being worth a thousand words and all.

<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1025/921577139_3dfa7fd769_m.jpg” alt=”

Me, Radha (sister of the groom) and Mina (friend of Shalu’s (and now my friend too!))

<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1219/922427514_6648ddd72c_m.jpg” alt=”

Mina, me & Ritu in the back row. Deepak & Shalu in the middle. Meenu up front.
<img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1114/921585443_09f3dce059_m.jpg” alt=”
At Ginger Sixty-Two.

Stay tuned for more exciting wedding events next week. Next up, the wedding tradition of Mehndi on Wednesday!

1See here for a brief description of the different events.

2I also discovered through Wikipedia that Shalu’s name is also the name of a “special type of sari.”



et cetera