Thursday, November 14, 2013

Movin on over....

Hello everybody.
I don't know if you know but I have a few blogs. They just sort of developed...and, I am not really good at keeping them all up to date because...well...I'm not very verbose. It's silly to just cross post the same things on all three. I have a blog to track my fitness/workouts besides this one, as well as a sadly neglected recipe blog with my friend Magnus. And now, I admit, I am finding it recently a lot to keep up with...

So - if you find I'm not here much posting, do not worry. I am fine...I am dealing with my newly diagnosed breast cancer chemo and smiling and living my life with my lovely J and my 2 old cats. I am finding that I don't want to split up my thoughts right now and so I have decided that, at least until I'm done chemo, I'll begin to keep all my posts together in one blog for a while.

Sooooooooo...If you want to know how life is here at Casa Geo - please head on over to my other blog Uberfrau and see my posts there. Since I will be working hard to stay fit and healthy during my breast cancer treatments I will likely will be posting there regularly. Hope to see you over there :)

Much Luv,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Goo goo cachoo

I am waiting for my hair to fall out. I'm so curious...the 3 chemo drugs I started receiving on the 1st for my breast cancer all cause hair loss so I'm guaranteed to be bald...and it could happen at any time. I'mm so very curious as to when. I feel like I should shave my head as a preemptive strike to avoid shedding all over (ew), but I have no idea *when* it will fall out. They say anywhere from 8-10 days on...which is now.
I have wonderful friends and family who are making me hats to wear and I've found a few pretty headscarves and hats online that are in the mail to me now I just wait. Soon I will be the eggman.
But when?
Inquiring minds want to know.

That's right I'm the eggman
Driving around king of the town

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why Wear a Poppy

-Don Crawford
"Please wear a poppy," the lady said,
And held one forth, but I shook my head.
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old and lined with care;

But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along on care-free feet.

His smile was full of joy and fun,
"Lady," said he, "may I have one?"
When she'd pinned it on, he turned to say;
"Why do we wear a poppy today?"

The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered; "This is Remembrance Day.
And the poppy there is a symbol for
The gallant men who died in war.

And because they did, you and I are free - 
That's why we wear a poppy, you see.
I had a boy about your size,
With golden hair and big blue eyes.
He loved to play and jump and shout,
Free as a bird, he would race about.
As the years went by, he learned and grew,
And became a man - as you will, too.

He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,
But he'd seemed with us such a little while
When war broke out and he went away.
I still remember his face that day.

When he smiled at me and said, 'Goodbye,
I'll be back soon, Mum, please don't cry.'
But the war went on and he had to stay,
And all I could do was wait and pray.

His letters told of the awful fight
(I can see it still in my dreams at night),
With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,
And the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.

Till at last, at last, the war was won - 
And that's why we wear a poppy, son."
The small boy turned as if to go,
Then said, "Thanks, lady, I'm glad to know.
That sure did sound like an awful fight
But your son - did he come back all right?"
A tear rolled down each faded cheek;
She shook her head, but didn't speak
I slunk away in a sort of shame, 
And if you were me, you'd have done the same:

For our thanks, in giving, if oft delayed,
Though our freedom was bought - and thousands paid!
And so, when we see a poppy worn,
Let us reflect on the burden borne
By those who gave their very all
When asked to answer their country's call
That we at home in peace might live.
Then wear a poppy! Remember - and Give!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I mumble mumble hate mumble mumble pink

Am I the only one annoyed with the fact that everything to do with breast cancer and breast cancer awareness month is so damn PINK?
What if you con't like pink? I mean I don't. I can't be the only one?
Why does a cancer (that isn't just for women ya know) have to be
I mean really?

Friday, October 11, 2013

turkey coma in 5...4...3...

Hello all. I've been away. I know.
Good reasons and many of them. But I'm still here doing that thing I do.

Wanted to just say happy thanksgiving. I hope you all have a bit of time to be grateful for all the good things life brings. Really - take the time to look at all them. It's the little and big things that make life so amazing.
We're off to see dad and make a big turkey dinner for all his friends and. Lots of laughs and turkey and cider. I've mostly kicked my cold so hooray. Bring on the turkey.

Love and light to all of you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


It's odd. Work has gotten me a nice PC with dual monitors to do my job better and it helps with some of the data I have to work with but I just can't find the time to move over everything from the Mac laptop I've been using for work for almost 2 years and wrote most of my thesis on.
Thing is, I like laptops. After thesis research and writing it seems clunky to be at a desk. Consequently it's turned into a bit of an overpriced sticky note board. If I ever get some time I have to switch because I dread breaking my lappy and losing everything. The PC automatically backs up to a server, which I could then access from my lappy if's just not happening.

Ah well.

On the plus side?
I am now caffeine free -it's awesome. Now that I've reached happy normal again I will do my best not to go back.


Monday, September 16, 2013

talk amongst yourselves

Ah. What a nice weekend. I hunted down caffeine free colas and cheesy penguin crackers and relaxed and went for a few long walks. Still caffeine free and starting to feel normal again, and realizing how much I relied on caffeine to fight tiredness. Now I'm finding other ways. Fall is starting and the evenings are really cooling off now. Sweater weather is upon us. Arm warmer time :)

Tonight my sister gets in from ontario on the plane and we'll be visiting my brother tonight. Tomorrow she and I are off for  a week to visit my Dad. As much as I am sad J can't make it up with us I am really looking forward to this. He'll survive at home without me. I'm gearing up for some forest runs and getting set for some good reading (I've been saving most of Let's Pretend This Didn't Happen for this week), relaxing and catching up. I need a holiday. It's supposed to be nice all week and I can't wait to read in the sun and go for a few canoe rides.

 There's no internet up at the lake so I'll be signing off until next week.
Talk amongst yourselves :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


6 days into my caffeine detox and I'm feeling a bit more human again. I still drag my ass in the afternoon and the half a cup of coffee I've been allowing myself have been blissful, but I am crawling out from the fog and tiredness and do believe I shall soon achieve normality.
Only a few more days and I can have a few days off away with my sister and Dad. I need a break. I so very much with J could come with me, but unfortunately he can't...I'm such a suck. I miss him already...

Monday, September 09, 2013

my fix

After my morning workout and a regular day with a slight headache I just had my first and only half cup of coffee for the day at about 3 PM. This is a good thing. I'm doing it!


...and I am slightly embarrassed at how good I feel right now...

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Cranky panda

I am Geo's soon to be conquered caffeine addiction.

To try and learn more about why my self enforced caffeine withdrawal is so much "fun" (if by fun you mean cranky exhaustion...sigh) i put on my investigating hat. Turns out caffeine is addictive because the molecule  fits perfectly into our brain's adenosine receptors. Adenosine is responsible for signaling the brain that it is time to rest or sleep. Since these receptors are blocked with caffeine molecules, dopamine (the happy time brain chem) works more efficiently. Add to that the fact that excess adenosine signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and you feel more alert too. Happy and energetic! What could be wrong with that?

Well, over time, the brain adds more adenosine receptors to compensate for the caffeine, which causes a tolerance to build up to the caffeine molecule. So you can drink a tonne of caffeinated beverages to feel normal or don't even feel it's effects anymore (ahem. me.) So when I have the order to cut back to a cup or less a day like I have been the last 3 days, my brain is then flooded with adenosine, and dopamine doesn't do it's job properly for a while. The sudden drop in adrenaline levels my body is accustomed to has produced many of the caffeine withdrawal symptoms I have read about. Thankfully keeping a strong cup of Earl Grey in the am menu has staved off any particularly evil headaches and I have tried to fill my days with things I enjoy to be occupied. Even so-I am glad J is working all weekend. I have been a cranky moody tired little hermit and I dearly hope I level out soon and get back to a more decaffeinated normal. 

Thankfully I found some really good swiss decaf. I am one of those  weirdos who really loves coffee and tea. Hot drinks comfort me. I actually drank a cup of hot water with lemon like a granny on friday at work because I had no herbal tea. I am a (sad to admit) caffeine addict. I get a warm rush when I smell roasted coffee...feel elated when I have a sip. To think I drank almost double this to cope with grad school...jeez. I thought I *was* cutting back...

 I am glad my doc told me to do this or I don't know how well I would comply otherwise...

My peeps, I am a sad jittery cranky panda at the moment. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Berry nice

My sister in law works weekends at the local strawberry u-pick ranch. She texted me a few times today saying I should pick some since there were so many ready. Usually I am not a berry farm person, but I decided to come by since today was pretty mellow for me. 
She was right. The strawberry Ranch is a few minutes out of town so came out to visit her and leave her a cup of some great locally roasted decaf I had been drinking in my kitchen which she sipped while I picked...for all of 10 minutes. I kid you not that there were so many berries ready that I picked 8 Lb of strawberries (which was all I had $$for) in under 10 minutes. I would pick berries more if it were that easy all the time! She didn't even finish her coffee before I headed back home. I was making meat buns and they were rising while I was out so this was a perfect tasty diversion.
I have eaten my fill of them by now and think I will can some in light syrup (I am all jammed out) and freeze the rest...I might make 1 or 2 jars of jam...honestly not sure if I have any jars left, so that will be the deciding factor.
I am on a strawberry thing today...even racked over my strawberry beer for one last settling out to get it off the fruit after a few weeks into the carbuoy. It smells delicious. The few mouthfuls don't seem to have as much fruit flavour as last batch tho where I put the fruit in the primary with a wheat beer though...we'll see.  This time it's a lager style-I was hoping it would let the fruit shine thru more...we shall see.
After all that, I'm off for some beer and craftiness in the craft pit. J needs a thingamajig for the 200th episode of his show tomorrow and I'm gonna try and make with something...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's for your own good you know

So if anyone feels like buying me a birthday gift (aw come on you know you want to) please consider this apron. I makes me larf like a little kid and I do need a new kitchen apron, so hey - everyone wins (Well except maybe you because you'd be spending $20...but come on - it's for me and you *love* me...don't you? *blink blink*).
Really - you'd make me smile. I'd even make you cookies of your chioce...and then mail them to you before I ate them all. Honest. *And* I'd think of you whenever I cooked with it. True, yes, I realize that making and mailing you baking is probably the same cost of me just buying the apron myself but I don't want to deprive you of the warm fuzzy feeling you'd get doing it (in addition to some damn tasty baked goods).

Monday, August 26, 2013

This is why I can't have nice things

This weekend, while racking my really small batch of apricot wine I somehow managed to get fermented fruit on the walls, my hair and in at least 3 cupboard drawers.
And on the cat.
He tastes delicious...

At this rate I will be lucky to have enough left to get a few bottles out of it once it's *ready* to bottle in a few months and rackings. 1 gallon test batch. Pff.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Do we know how to party or what

Well the beer is on the berries. Tonight I'll rack the apricot wine.
That and have a nap.

Yup - swinging friday night :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

leaks. I haz dem.

Last night we met with the contractors to finalize the re-shingling and resurfacing of our roof, capping off the chimney and installing new eavestrough. I am satisfied we will get the best quality materials and the company seems decent enough and doesn't appear to be gouging us...I just wish it didn't come to $10K with tax, but what can ya do? The roof is rather important on a house and ours is in pretty terrible's also low sloping so it's prone to leaks and needs particular kinds of roofing materials. Meh. Just crossing my fingers everything will go well and we'll be set for another 20 years or so. I kinda had to arrange it mostly on my own, so I worry that I somehow screwed up, but you do what you need to do and then move on. With amounts that large floating around I get all nervous...a friend of a friend works for a roofing contractor so we could pick his brain about things and he thinks things seem reasonable so I'm not going to worry...much...

On the upside - gonna put my strawberries in my beer tonight. With all this hootch I'm a-brewing we should be able to drink away our winter woes in our dry new roofed house


Thursday, August 15, 2013

White Minstrel brewery at your service

Well...I'm really going crazy with the brewing. Just started up some beer tonight. Will rack it onto 6 Lb of pasteurized strawberries in 5 days or so once the krausen falls...and the cider is starting to clear, the apricot wine has started fermenting nicely and the blueberry wine is looking nice in the carbuoy.

Beer should be ready by my birthday.
For the rest?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

wine update

I racked the blueberry wine into the carbuoy last night. Not really sure of the alcohol content since there was too much berry goo to take measurements, but we'll see. It's been ~ 2 weeks so I figure primary fermentation shoudl be nearly doneby now, if not done already. Next racking in a month or so I'll have a look at the SG and make sure it's fermented out. I managed to not get blueberry goo everywhere and tried to keep everything clean and sanitized as I did my best to squeeze some of the juice out of the floating blueberries and not get get too many in the carbuoy. Used a strainer and a cheesecloth. Hoping I didn't muss with it too much to contaminate it. We shall see. Messy business this winemaking...

Also started some apricot wine. Apricots were cheap at the market on the weekend so I set up a 1 gallon batch with the following recipe:
2 Lb apricots (20 decent sized apricots, washed and cored and diced up)
1/2 Lb chopped golden raisins (1 1/2 c)
3 Lb sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1 t pectic enzyme
7 pints (14 cups) water
1 campden tablet
1/4 t tannin (didn't have so didn't add...may add a bit of tea when I rack it)
EC-1118 yeast
I combined the raisins sugar and hot water (I boiled it first) and stirred to dissolve the sugar. Then I chopped and added the apricots and lemon juice and other items except the yeast and stirred and let it cool covered overnight. Tomorrow I'll pitch the yeast. We shall see what happens...

Plan on starting up some strawberry beer on the weekend. The cider seems to be slowing on it's fermenting and is starting to clear. Man, I feel like a distillery here...I'm going to need some help with all this hootch!!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Ever been to a junkyard? I hadn't until this weekend. It's a crazy place...acres and acres of abandoned, slightly stripped vehicles. Sad and intriguing, and very dusty.

You see, about 3 weeks ago I ran an errand and left the car unlocked overnight. Someone took advantage of that and looted our car. Thankfully it had nothing in it but parking change and an old stereo so all they snatched was the spare change...and the ashtray. Yes. My ashtray. A new ashtray for my car is $40, so to try and get a cheaper one I headed out to the auto wrecker junkyard 10 minutes outside of the city to get a used one for $5. J had to work so I set out on my own adventure and it was one interesting day let me tell you.

I got there on a nice sunny day and after waiting in line with some other characters I talked to the corset lady and the snake arm tattoo guy and told them what I wanted and they grinned and said "well that should be easy - we'll get you fixed up". So they gave me a photo map of the junkyard telling me where the Mazdas were and I wandered off in to the wasteland and found a few Protege5 and luckily one of them had an unused matching ashtray I could take back and buy for $5. Yup - you needed a map for this place. It was HUGE. All was well and I put it in the car and left to go back to take a few pictures of the strangeness of it all and pet the 3 legged yard dog they had on the lot (you can't make this sh*t up...and he was a friendly little guy)...and realised shortly after I had locked my keys in the car.
Yes. Good one.
So the yard looked at it and after a bit of head scratching realized they couldn't help me because of a lack of proper tools ("generally when we unlock a car ma'am we don't try and keep it pretty") so I called CAA and hung out in the sunshine with the 3 legged dog, watching the scavengers and chatting with the local colour. Kind of absurd, but not a bad day for it. I had nowhere urgent to be and in about 40 minutes the tow truck came and freed me and I was sheepishly on my way, new ashtray installed. After a few errands I headed home and as an apology to the car washed it and cleaned it inside and out, touching up the trim and vacuuming the interior.
The rest of the weekend was much more mellow,  using a rainy day to start up some cider mini-batches and relaxing with J. My blueberry wine is bubbling along nicely and the cider (1gallon with white sugar, 1 with brown sugar, 1 with a star anise tossed in) was fizzing away this AM too, so the brewing is well underway. Still plan on rhubarb cider, a gallon of apricot wine and some strawberry beer by the end of the month...I have to juggle my brewing gear to stagger it all but we should be well n our way to a full wine cellar come Christmas. As it should be. :)

Hope your long weekend was equally exciting :)

Saturday, August 03, 2013

To market to market...

Just hit the farmer's market for:
-3 Lb saskatoon berries
-5 Lb strawberries
-tomatoes (cherry and green)
-yellow beans
-peppers and onions
-fresh scones
-smoked bacon
-homemade yogurt
-BC peaches and apricots (just few...not quite ripe yet)

Now I'm off to the brew supply store and some other errands...I love this time of year!

Friday, August 02, 2013


The spare room smelt mildly of pie yesterday. We have friends visiting overnight so hopefully they didn't mind sleeping in the "pie room". I pitched the yeast last night before I went to bed and hope it will be burbling shortly. With all the berries I don't really have a starting gravity bit I plan to let it ferment a few weeks and then move it over to the carbuoy for a few months before I bottle it. Think I'll be picking up another carbuoy and fermenter pail on the weekend to get some mead going. He hee.

It's a long weekend here and I really can't wait. Fringe Festival and Farmer's Market here I come. :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Blueberries are on sale at the moment. I just picked up 10Lb for under 20 that means it's wine time. Last blueberry wine I made was delicious! So...once again, I'll make another batch. I may add 10Lb berries instead of 8 Lb since I have them and see what flavour it imparts as they aren't quite as flavourful as last year......

My recipe was (for 3 gallons):

8Lb (10??) blueberries washed and cleaned and skooshed up.
5 Lb (11 1/4 c) sugar + 10L water (boiled 2 minutes) and pour over the fruit
Stir in:
1 1/2 t pectic enzyme
1 1/2 t yeast nutrient
1 can welches grape juice concentrate (~1.2 cups)
2 t acid blend
3 crushed campden tablets.

Bleaching the pail as we speak...
I'll get it all going sans yeast tonight and tomorrow ~ 24h later, I'll take the S.G. and then pitch the EC-1118 yeast and let her bubble away until it gets down to racking S.G. and tuck it away into the 3 gallon carboy to it sit until it clears.

I also have schemes for rhubarb mead...once this wine is in the carboy I'll be on that as well. A friend's girl who is the mead goddess has given me her rhubarb mead recipe and I have enough to try it. I also have a scheme for some cider from the 2 gallons of apple juice I have...but need to figure out my carboy situations. I may need another primary fermentor, or a few smaller fermentors for the few 1 gallon batches of wine I want to try out (peach and maybe pear too) and I want to get some beer brewing again too. Fact is I want some delicious homemade beer for my birthday end of October and since it's berry season am thinking another batch of the strawberry wheat beer I made previously would be a great idea...Just need 5 Lb of strawberries and a beer kit...which I think I can get at the berry barn and brew store this weekend. 
Oh yeah.
Brewing up some science...yo!

Monday, July 29, 2013

garden goodness

What started off as a very lame weekend ended up a great one, with us visiting Dad at the lake, going fishing, relaxing and just drinking coffee and visiting with him, playing around with the wood lathe he bought recently.  And then we stopped for supper and a visit with my in-laws on the way home from the lake too. As a huge bonus, after supper I got to pick raspberries in their garden - they have 2 HUGE hedgerows of raspberries and I came home with all kinds of garden fresh goodies in the end - tonnes of rhubarb, about 18 pints of fresh raspberries (they get that much every 3-4 days for all august, can you imagine??), some fresh peas and baby potatoes, and even some jams, pickles and sausage she had made earlier...I felt guilty at how much I came home with, but they insisted. They were happy to have me come and pick and she even picked with me so I could have a LOT to take home for freezing for jams and such...cuz I have a freezer now. He heh. Bazinga!

I plan to make some small batches of rhubarb and raspberry mead, as well as some jams. Soon there will be much a brewing and canning at Casa Geo. Oh yes....This has given me the itch to go berry picking next weekend's time for the local u-pick farms to have lots of saskatoon berries and strawberries to pick, so I can get another bounty for the freezer and future wine cellar then too. Bwahaha! I want to try a bunch of small experimental types of wines so I know what is good to make bigger batches of next year...

This sort of thing makes me crave a garden. Reminds me of gardening with my mum and grandma and there is NOTHING like garden fresh veg. Next year I will have raised beds in my front yard for planting and I can't own carrots, beets, peas, lettuce and tomatoes? Yeah!!!

Got me so pumped that this morning I decided it was back to basics with my life again. We are done holidays until at least mid-september and I honestly have done not much at all this July exercise wise and so now, thanks to the help of the plyo box I made with my dad, it's back on. 


thinking outside the box

Dad and I made a plyo box. It will help me kick my own ass.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nice afterthought

Jus got a letter from the Dean saying my thesis was one of the ones that won an Thesis Excellence Distinction award last year. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

One! One hat! Ah ah ah!

Just stayed up too late to finish off my pixie hat. It even fits!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Operation non-nibble

I have been biting my nails again over stress from my new job and I'm determined to stop again. Oh I've tried all the old hot sauce-random motherly-advice nail-bite-stop remedies and have found that only determination and a few sparkles works best for me.
Hence, Exhibit A:

OK so yes that's my summery sparkly orange toes (meep) but as you can see my fingernails have a few sparkly glittery bits on them...which oddly is enough for me to go "ooh shiny things!" when I look at them and give my brain the 2 milliseconds it needs to go "Oy! you don't bite them then..." and move on. So far so good. 1 week in and my nails are recovering.

And, I also tried pineapple upside down pancakes by putting pineapple rings inside a batch of regular pancakes for sunday breakfast.

Yup -It's the little things. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Just chillin

I am quite overly excited to have a new mini deep freeze. I want to do more baking and freeze more fruit and veg and like having the space for freezing water for camping and other random things. Our current ancient fridge is half freezer but isnt actually wide enough to put a pizza box in and so after many annoyed years of never having enough freezer space we broke down and got one while we had the spare moolah? It was $10 more for a 7 cubic foot over a 5 so now we have more freezer than I think we would ever need for the 2 of us. I bought local too which pleases me...and now I can buy part of a cow or bake large amounts of things or...or...

Is it lame to be this excited about a freezer??

Monday, June 10, 2013

Get your gurl on

This weekend I had a girly weekend with an old friend I never get to see. We have the same name and are both nerdy lab people...yes, a bit of synergy there! I admit, neither of us are naturally too girly by nature but I was up for a day of whatever with an old friend sans men and was so. much. fun. :) We got up and met for greasy diner breakfast and wandered over to the local anime/comic fest for a while. When we'd geeked up enough we set out to be as mellow and girly as possible.
We went lingerie and makeup shopping, had random coffees and a decadent fruity late lunch at Cora's and then got some sparkly toenail polish and wandered through the mall and a few other stores we never spend much time in because our husbands get pained panicked looks when they're in there for too long.
Later we came to her place with our goods and took over the basement with mojitos, snacks and got caught up on life and painted our toes. Then came the hard core all night Tomb Raider...muahaha. Got quite far in the new Tomb Raider and we traded off playing until we crashed around 4 and called it a night. I crashed in the spare and headed home the next AM after some breaky and coffee with her family and spent the rest of the day with my J :)

I love my husband but sometimes there is nothing like hanging with an old friend and just being...whatever there is to be. Such a fun weekend :)

Saturday, June 01, 2013

so close

I noticed to day during my second fine options shift at the Sally Ann that the racks requiring most work were the mens racks. There were so many take off an item to look at it or try it on and then drape it over the rack and hang the hanger back up. I ask you...why not just hang it on the hanger and hang it up?
Ahem, men I'm talking to you. :)

I will say though -I will definitely not ever put anything back where it doesn't belong in a store again after doing this fine options work. Realized just how annoying that can be today :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Feeling overwhelmed at work today. Too much to do and too many assholes in the way.

I need a cattleprod and a bottle of scotch.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Just chillin at the sally ann

I had my first saturday shift working off my traffic ticket (2 more left) at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and I liked it for many reasons. While it took away form time I need to spend on my yard and house (Oh, I have schemes for this summer let me tell you!) it felt good to give back to the community instead of just handing over some cash (which admittedly I don't really have to hand over). Everyone I worked with was really nice and I actually enjoyed the time - didn't seem like work at all!

Something that really struck me was that since I have a great deal of pressure and responsibility at my current job it was so utterly soothing to just do simple repetitive tasks and let someone else tell me what to do. I swapped out old stock for new, tidied shelves and by the end of the day was very relaxed. I felt like I was helping. If I had the time it is something I might volunteer to do given the option. As a 40 hour a week job it would get tedious, but for me right now where I am it is definitely more than I thought it would be. Definitely less a punishment and more a therapy. Add to that the bonus that I found a neon green leather jacket for $20 and it was a kick-ass day overall!

Unexpected joy in little things.
Gotta love it :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

utterly childish

"I don't want to share. They can't make me share"


Yes a grown man said this to me in the lab today as his lab moved in and suddenly disagreed with the fridges and freezer space that he has, altho he had agreed to the space previously.

There is a big 5 foot fridge, but he wants 2 of his own...because he doesn't want to share. He is ordering his students around and being an overall PITA and I wanted to just scream at him.  Why? Well, there simply isn't enough space for everyone to have everything they want and there's nothing I can do about it. There is no room for him to have them, which is why we got a larger one for people to share. Which he said he would share...and there is no way to alter the space. No way to change things - nothing at all. I am trying to be accomodating. To see a grown man act like this is pitiful... changing his mind...and then wanting the world to give him a 2 year old.

Lab managing is like herding cats. I'm telling you...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Leaping Lizards

I will say this...USA is different than Canada.

Beer in the gas station, ridiculous roadside snacks...well, maybe that's it's just Montana and Idaho :) The whole trip down and back was a road trip adventure, complete even with a stay in a tiny Swiss motel that had a working rotating clock with a milkmaid, goatherd and smiling goat spinning around the tower clock...

...and the Idaho World Potato Museum... I saw it and on our way home I pestered and giggled until we stopped and giggled our way through the world's potato knowledge...complete with a potato signed by Al Gore and the world's largest potato chip.

*and* add to that a gorgeous part of the world that I now have melted onto my soul - Canyonlands near Moab, Utah. It is breathtaking there. Like a holiday on Mars. We had 5 full days there, with 4 full day hikes through salt flats, mountains and green rain washes. JJ had hs first taste of off trail mountain scrambly hikes with a guide, and he loved it too. Hooray. Being with friends and relaxing with fire, good local wine and laughter...just haven't had enough of that lately.
Sunset with my lovely friends & love
 Snakes! Lizards! Even a (*gibber*) black trail hikes all over up and over and around the white and red rock. We scampered up the rock ledges to see early puebloan ruins and petroglyphs and scrambled through and over rocks in sunny 25 C. We even took a half day riverboat ride down (and Iswam in) the Colorado river through the red rock and I must say...if there is a way to make me more happy and content in a hiking holiday I'm not sure what else to add in... :)
part of an amazing wall of paintings
ancient ruins
...and a final night of mexican food and margaritas on our last night!

yes...a few zombies and margaritas and we were into the hats :)
Ah. I feel like I've been away for weeks.

Friday, May 03, 2013

oh pants!

Last night we went out to drop of the tent to get the zipper fixed and pick up some good hiking kit. I now have a pair of shorts and pants (sale rack!) and a bandanna scarf and J has a few super light weight shirts and a few pairs of zip off pants. Most importantly, some good hiking socks.

And (surprise) I  have a little rant - why are there hardly no zip off pants for women? In the hiking camping store guys have all these awesome shorts and pants and zip off pants with lots of pockets and light weight fabric shirts of every description. Women? Nada. Overpriced shorts and crop pants for the most part and absolutely no zipoffs. Lots of styley overpriced workout tops, running jackets and skirts and sundresses (because lets face it ladies nothing makes me want to hike in the mountains like a but no similar shirts for women. I'm looking for practical hiking gear...a little style is nice, but it was almost insulting. The only shirts were fashionable, vaguely impractical and pricey but not at all what I need... so my husband who is so not outdoorsey has all the options in the world. Which is good...makes him more comfortable. But for me I think I'm gonna have to do a value village trip after work and check out their tank top tshirt situation cause I need some more lightweight clothes...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Power to the people alright...

This is bloody scary.
It is hard enough to get a well funded government grant.
Now the US congress (who are completely scientific experts I'm sure) want their fingers in how the grants will be decided and handed out?



There is enough bending over and pandering to the "hot topics" of the current science world to try and get funding for valuable research. There is already extreme peer review for national granting and this would place even more government restrictions on what science is allowed to study and research in theis country. Yes it's US, but the way our Canadian government has muzzled scientists and fired many environmental researchers and cut environmental controls and protections we may follow suit very shortly without even batting an eye.

OH yes, on the surface one could argue that this sort of thing would ensure science meets public and society needs without "wasting" money on rare and minute topics, but the fact is that those oddball topics rarely get funding anyways unless they're so fucking exciting that they can prove their validity and future quality. The fact that this even comes up shows a general disconnect between scientists and government as they genuinely do not understand, for the most part, just what we scientists *do*.

The conference I was at 2 weeks ago in London had a few sessions on what I so dearly hope will be the future of research funding in both medicine and science - Crowd funding. Seriously. Promote your lab and work and put out a topic there. Contact interest groups. If they want you to do your work they will donate, possibly even online, to fund your work. You will report back to them what you have discovered. Groups with particular diseases could put their money where their mouth is. I hear my hippy friends rant all the time about big pharma and governments corrupting research and medicine and to a small degree they are right. And you know what I tell them - if you want good research into areas you feel strongly about - lobby the government! Raise money for the agencies that fund their research...(or better yet) and together and crowd fund them.

Monday, April 08, 2013

we will be among you soon

I leave for my conference in 5 days.
Holy crap.
I have so much to do before then.....

Thursday, April 04, 2013


Being a manager is weird.
Suddenly I am the go to person. Me? When did that happen? Don't they know I still snicker when someone says the word duty?
It would be hilarious if it weren't so busy!
Plus I just had a few duties (he heh) added to my roster (which should be OK) but the main panic I'm having at the moment is that we are (finally!) starting to move in to our new labs and I am realizing just how much my job entails. Not just in the running the lab, but in getting everyone packed up, all the paperwork and permits and training done and helping the students and PIs keep working while they move. Add to that semi loads of new equipment arriving to unpack, set up and calibrate daily as well as culling old stuff and moving it without breaking it...and you've got a very tired and frazzled me. Add to that the strangeness of academia and it's pretty odd indeed.
We've gone form mellow underworked and waiting to "oh dear god what now?" in the span of a week. And in a week I leave for a week so I have to try and keep on top of everything.
Once we're in it'll be cool...ish...
I'm trying to learn to be a good manager. I vow to not be like one of the dicks I have worked for in the past...we shall see.  I've already had moments where I've been damn proud, so I'll take those and keep them with me for when I crash and burn and hope it all levels out int he end. It's a learning thing I guess...

Monday, April 01, 2013

Ring Ring

I have to ask since I'm wondering if I'm being unreasonable about something- would you call anyone at 9 am on a saturday (holiday saturday no less) to ask a mundane question? My brother and his wife have a frustrating habit of calling me early on the weekends, usually on the only day I have to sleep in to ask me something that could wait for later. They just assume that since they've been up for hours I am too, and if not I'll just ignore the phone ringing.

Thing is (as I keep reminding them), because of my new job, I have to be on call all the time and if the phone rings at an odd hour, I assume it's important and answer it. Getting out of my warm cozy bed to answer a phone and find my brother on the line asking me a question that he could have emailed or texted (like "can you bring an extra set of cutlery for supper?" or "what was the name of that book again?") or even just waited until later to call me about is annoying and I end up PO'd and can't go back to sleep after. Them worrying they'll forget to call is not a good enough reason to me. FB me. Text me. email me. I'm too polite to tear a strip off them but next time it happens I will. I don't call people before noon or after 9PM out of common courtesy unless it's very important. I ask them to do the same...but they don't respect that.
 I've explained it to them and asked them not to call early. I'm up at 530 all week and if I want to sleep in I want to sleep in dangnabbit. I'm trying to figure out how to tell them without telling them off...any ideas?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How rude

Last night I had a lot of pent up stress to wear off (there are a lot of layoff where I work right now and still 80 more positions they are going to remove...very stressful wondering if you or your team members are "next") so I was going to knit and relax with a glass of wine, but discovered my neighbors had piled a huge drift of snow from their yard up against the side of my house to shoulder height in some spots (some of it from their dog run. Yuck). It buried the AC unit and is the side of my house that tends to flood so I found a way to burn off my stress - I grabbed my new shovel and ice chipper and had at it for a few hours, clearing a 1 m trench along the house on that side. It wasn't easy because it was packed hard and frozen in spots and I had to walk the snow back behind or to the front to get it out (although I reaaaaaally just wanted to shovel it back into my neighbors yard!). I'd still like to do a bit more, but it's a very solid dent into the snow problem they created. It's twice the normal snowfall this year to begin with so I don't need help of added snow from other people. I'm amazed at the fact that they could do that without thinking...seriously rude. Like I want their dog pee snow in my yard... (they are generally really nice...I didn't go talk to them about it since I was too PO'd to be polite).

I rewarded myself with a lovely salmon steak and steamed broccoli and yams and it was very tasty indeed. Then I cracked open some blueberry wine and
set to baking up some treats for the bellydance hafla tonight. I had no eggs, so I put my newly poured glass of blueberry wine in a coffee travel mug (we're all for classy around here!!) and walked to the store and back for baking stuff. As a bonus, J called form work while I was out so I got to walk at sunset talking to my luv while sipping my own fine wine. Really put me in a most happy mood to finish off my day :) Got back and got down to baking. Made some banana muffins for us at home and haystack cookies for work. The loaf I made for the hafla looks deeeeelicious - banana coconut bread with lime glaze. Spent the rest of the late evening playing with costumes to find something fun to wear for dancing and finally plopped into bed happy, destressed and full of haystack cookies.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New shovels are cool

I just drove to buy a new snow shovel (my old one is utter crap) and then spent two and a half hours shovelling out my front walk, sidewalk and back path to the car. There were thigh high packed drifts for most of it. Whew! So glad on days like this that I have worked so hard for functional strength in my back and arms...I felt very amazon today hurling huge chunks of packed snow up onto the top of the shoulder high drifts in my yard. What a spring!

Now after a long hot shower I get a bottle of my favourite beer and a snack before I settle in and work on my poster. Ah! I feel a bit creaky but very much alive :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday morning rant

OK. I have to rant this out or I will explode:
If you're going to try and pick apart world issues or politics or science as evil and wrong, then take the time to learn about it. Study it. Experience it and learn as much as you can about it so you can find out what is REALLY going on. And from all angles - even those you disagree with. If you can, test it, empirically with controls and unbiased examination.
Then you can know what is known about it and if you dislike it - you can find other like minded people and work to change it! Or you can learn more about it and help people. YOU can make a difference.
Yes YOU.
Going with a "gut feeling" and what "sounds good" and ranting about the FDA and big pharma (or GMOs or police get the idea) as evil is not new...letting the media and others with agendas manipulate your opinion happens on all sides...and, sure, I will support some of your statements on some issues. I'm as guilty as the next person sometimes for simply trusting others to be honest with me...but sadly, we need to be more vigalent.
For the love of all that is soft and furry and purring please USE YOUR MINDS! Think! LOOK at the world! Learn about it! Does what you find shock you? Good! Then DO something! Don't just repost biased unresearched half-truths on facebook or and expect me to not respond. BUT if you feel you have something legitimate to say go for it! Put it out there and debate and discuss and make the world a better place by changing people's minds and making them think for themselves. I have a lot of my own rants and issues too.
Fact is...I'm tired of picking apart flaws in arguments that could be found if someone just spent 5 minutes to look for them. You're all smart. The truth is out there.
There. That's better.
Anyone want a waffle? *blink*

Thursday, March 14, 2013

So far so good

Almost ready to put the 5 rows of ribbing on the top of my first fingerless glove and sew it together. I am debating if I want to make it longer. Right now it should go slightly below my wrist...similar to a favourite pair I have at I have lost of of. This was rather painless and I am finally getting a regular tension going too...


Sunday, March 10, 2013

robot activate!

I inherited my mum's bread robot and I do so like it. I dislike kneading and it does the tedious parts of baking I dislike so well. The people at work keep lamenting about how I haven't brought baking lately, so I'm using it to whip up some dough to make some cinnamon nut twists to bring in for tomorrow so they'll stop whinging for a while. I love that I do nothing and the robot does it all and at the end I pull it out, roll it and make twists and everyone goes all gaga, especially when really all I've done this afternoon is drink good wine, waste time on the internet and make experimental soup and muffins for my week's lunches.. Pumpkin carrot ginger soup and muffins. Both are rather nice. I was sewing but I sewed something on backwards and it means ripping out a bunch of seams and redoing things and I can't be arsed, so here I am on the internet looking for amusement and trying not to open another bottle of wine. I picked up some tasty vanilla and caramel coffee syrups a while ago so I may crack them open and make myself a girly coffee instead. We shall see.
Tonight I am (perhaps, if the confusing ticket vouchers that we won but make no sense at all actually work for the show they may(?) be for this evening) going out to a play and will then psyche myself up for another week of whatsits and such. Work is ramping up. Life is trudging along nicely. I admit to being somewhat smug as I watch J be insanely busy while I am not - a worst I have 2 weeks to finish my poster to present in London, but it should be no big thing, since it's rather similar to the ones I made a few weeks ago so I'll just be a good little harvester and use that as a starter.
And perhaps open  another bottle of wine...

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Steps to Knitting

While rummaging for sewing stuff on the weekend I came across a box of Mum's knitting needles and her old book she learned to knit with and a bit of yarn. Neat huh?

I have decided that I am indeed going to relearn to knit. I have some needles and a basic easy cowl scarf pattern and once I try a few things with the practise yarn I think I will try this pattern out. I had to work late today and on the way home tonight I stopped in at the local craft emporium and found a few balls of nice simple yarn on sale-Browny black with colored flecks...and goes nothing :)
I'll post pictures for your amusement as I go!
If it works, then I'll go grab some more yarn and and attempt matching armwarmers....if not, we'll never speak of it again ;)

Monday, March 04, 2013

Fine options

I've never had a driving ticket. I drive carefully, and for the most part I figure I do OK. Many years of driving with nothing more than a parking ticket. Two weeks ago, apparently, I failed to come to a complete stop at a red light when turning right while out and about. And (lucky me) there was a camera I owe $230. It's right on film that I did it so I have to suck it up. Ouch.
After being mad at myself I tried to look at how I'll deal with this.

I'm seriously looking into fine options. I like it the more I look into it. I can work off my fine at places like the Salvation army store, the local soup kitchen, CFCR or the Bingo hall on evenings and weekends. It will take me a little while (I think you earn about $10/hr of fines), but I'm thinking it will be good for me to do. I don't really have that kind of cash sitting around and  altho I could pay it and hurt a bit financially, this option will remind me to be more careful. It will help me teach myself to be more attentive while allowing me to help out some local non-profits that need help. It seems like the thing to do - I always rant about how community helps out it's people and this is my chance to put my money where my mouth is. Yes, I am pissed off at myself for getting a ticket, but need to deal with it.

 I like giving back time instead of money. I have to wait until my court date next month to do it but the more I think about it the more it seems the right thing to do.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

eh? What's that whippersnapper?

I'm going to be a crazy old lady. I know it.
Already I love taking in the recycling, talking to the handicapped workers at Sarcan and taking my recycle money to the Salvation Army to wander through the store for bargains with my "free" recycle money. Yup, that was my swinging saturday afternoon before I did a few hours of work. I recall as a 13 year old wondering why my grandma's favourite thing to do was wander the sally ann store on saturday afternoon.
I totally get it now! :P
To be fair, I had a few boxes of stuff to drop off there and wasn't planning on going to go in, but there was a 50% off the whole place thing going on...sooooo I wandered in for a bit...and came out happily with a pair of cargo pants, pair of workout pants, pair of jeans that fit perfectly, some nice clunky dress shoes for work and a shirt I plan to harvest for bellydance stuff...all for $14.35.
Oh yes, you may mock me, but I'm styling for cheap :)

Honestly, I'm a sucker for buying used jeans...they're already preshrunk and generally about $10 or less a pair, so I can be my destructive self to them and not feel guilty. I have a pear shape with large hips and tiny waist and generally when actually I find a pair of jeans that fit right I'm scared to wash them, because usually they don't fit right lately, I've gotten all my fave jeans at charity shops.
Now I have a new pair...

I'm also thinking abotu learning to knit so I can make myself arm warmers.
yup...I'm doomed I tell you :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

well whaddaya know

Just got feedback on my posters from my old MSc supervisor, and...(don't fall over now)...she liked them.
No really.
After getting a lot of negativity from her lately it was nice to have someone look at my hard work and just offer some constructive advice and be overall happy with it.
It felt good.
Just minimal changes before they go to printer on the weekend. Ideas for publication too.
A pleasant change form being told I'm simply not capable of writing up things to her certain level of quality. I appreciate her bluntness and know it's a croatian thing and she's not meaning to be insulting, but sometimes it can wear you down. In the end it made me push and work harder to say "oh yeah? What about THIS lady?".

What about this indeed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I know how to wait

Just ordered come bellydance practice gear online. It's the same stuff you can get here in Canada in the dance wear shops, only from the Chinese distributor directly instead of through a halfway local person. About half the price. Anything "dancewear" here in Canada is stupidly marked up, even when it's simple I don't have a lot of dance gear I haven't made myself. Soon I will have new practice pants, a skirt, top, hip scarf and armlets. Not top quality, but not super cheap either...other people in my dance class have ordered from there so I know they're legit and the stuff they've recieved was decent, quality wise. And, since it was super cheap, I don't feel guilty spending a bit of my savings on it (I'm weird that way). Thing is, I was saving $$ for cool stuff at comicon, but since I'm not going to find cool things there, this is definitely a cool substitute for some of my $$...and I'll have something nice to wear to class and to the hafla in March. The tops will be nice in the summer sun too.
Now I wait...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy love day

In the hunt for a trekkie love day card to send to J I  came across this, which made me spit my coffee out laughing:

But no, you'll be happy I found something slightly classier too...
I have made red velvet cookies and have decided that today isn't so bad. J and I both work all day and all night so this is not a romantic day but it will be a good one.

Later taters :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

here we go again

My old supervisor (true to form) just let me know about a deadline next week that I didn't know existed that conflicts with work I already had to do...but means, if I can survive, I will have my MSc results presented as 3 posters  at the CAP conference in the US next month. She will take them as she is attending. And likely wants to cover them in red ink prior so I'm getting them to her with a weeks notice prior to their printing on the 25th... I just have to make them. In a week. Heh heh. I thought I had until May.
*whistle* ...apparently MA means MARCH not MAY.
I have the first one nearly done...I just wasn't spending a lot of time on them since I figure I had a few months.
I also have to complete the draft of my first paper for both of them to read over. Thankfully THAT is nearly done, and is my project of the evening, but with me having migraine headaches the last few days (due to weather I think) I am not done like I'd hoped to be at this point.
So...I am going into hiding and working on these. My "holiday weekend" this weekend will be one of work...but in the end, it means I will have lots of time in all of March to work on my poster for the conference I get to go to in April. And to spruce up my paper as well...
I'm calling on this little guy to get me through.

Just have to work hard like before for a few weeks. I can do that.

Talk amongst yourselves until the end of the month, K?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Illegally park that steed of damnation

Just ran across this cooking site.

How can you go wrong with instructions like:
 "First, find Death. Punch him right in the face and take his bitchin' stallion because no car can handle the fine trip to the store you are gonna make. Illegally park that steed of damnation and dominate that f*cking store... "

Giggling...and inspired. :)

Also this science one...he hee... :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

sneaky squeaky cheese

"You're scared of mice and spiders, but oh-so-much greater is your fear that one day the two species will cross-breed to form an all-powerful race of mice-spiders, who will immobilize human beings in giant webs in order to steal cheese." ~Spaced Beginnings

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


I was making my peace with the fact that I am likely not going to comic con this year since the buddies I normally go with have family obligations they can't get out of and I sudenly can't go with J because J goes there (lucky sod) with a  carful of Shaw guys to shoot segments so I can't take the car or ride along. It's just too expensive to justify to go on my own by bus and then stay in a hotel as just old me, so I just sucked it up and decided it was OK...and then today I stupidly I looked at the updated guest list of who will be there this year: actors from Game of Thrones (Peter Dinklage most notably- and my favourite actor from the show), John Carpenter (he who caused all my childhood zombie phobias), Briand Froud (Dark Crystal artist), Casper Van Dein (Starship Troopers), Linda Hamilton (Beauty & the Beast and Terminator 2- yes, she whose arms from T2 I try to sculpt for myself in the gym daily), Chris Sarandon (Fright Night and Princess Bride), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia!) and even Wierd Al Yankovic.

So much of the cheese of my youth in one place.
Yeah...I didn't want to go anyways.
So there.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

Soapbox rant of the hour

I ask this fervently to my friends out there:

So can there please be a polite debate between atheists and believers that doesn't just insult the intelligence of believers on one side, and blatantly disregard scientific facts on the other? Seriously - the "only stupid people have religion"  on one side and "science is evil, I'll pray for your soul"on the other side is inflammatory and does nothing to address issues and ask the questions that need to be asked. And it's getting old.  I have a few outspoken atheist friends and lately they seem to be going out of their ways to be dicks. Likewise with the religious ones...mostly in defensive response.

I get that never the twain shall meet, and I have my own opinions and I love to discuss things and look at them honestly. I simply do not like it when people feel the need to insult or verbally attack people to try and build their argument. If you have to do that, then you need to walk away, because either you *have* no argument or you've hit a wall and your arguments are not getting through to the other person - being mean at that point, in frustration or "righteous anger" is just being mean, period. And it's damn annoying to be around too...

And don't even get me started about the whole hippy happy medium side.
I have spent so much time debating and debunking crystal feel good chakra semi-hokey anti-science evils-of-vaccination stuff lately that I could scream. So to my hippy friends I ask you - If you're going to quote science, do the world a favour and research it first. No I'm not kidding -Look it up. No not just what some guru said on the internet...use (*gasp*) a book! A real, peer-reviewed journal maybe? Science is bloody complex...there are no Cliff's notes. Plus, if you feed me bullshit science to fuel your arguments, well, lets just say that it is my goal in life to logically and step-by-step debunk your BS and lay out whatever is known to be proven at the time for open discussion. I will not be told that facts are untrue by someone who hasn't even bothered to read them.
Consider yourself warned.
Take the time to question things. Because you can. Because you should. Your mind is an empty vessel and you choose what is put in it. Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. You won't like it. But it doesn't make it any less true. And it doesn't make the world anything less than spectacular :)

Oddly enough? Wacky conspiracy theorists I can take lately. They're just fun, and will let you differ in opinion. Generally, they take some time to look up things. They just want to say their piece and sometimes the odd connections they make are intriguing, if not bizarre. And well, my good peeps - When the tin foil hat people look the most logical...well, lets just say we've got issues!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Only on the prairies

It is -46 C with the wind today. A balmy -36 without.
Is it declared a dangerous day? A snow day? Are services restricted and everyone given a day home for safety because if you went outside it's so cold you could die?
Don't be silly.
It's "just a bit of cold snap".

I shake my head at it all. Yes, we're all in at work like it's no big thing.
Me? I bundled up like a sausage and came in on the bus to workout before work and the class was full as usual. Now I'm at work and we're all here, doing our thing.


It's supposed to lift to warmer more normal temperatures by Sunday and I'm glad.
Much more of this and I'll go all Shining on poor J...

Saturday, January 26, 2013


What is it with cats and plastic bags?
Our cat Gavin likes to munch on plastic...usually shopping bags, but he will dig around for any plastic he can find to lick it and chew on it. He won't eat it...just chew on it like it's some forbidden treasure or something. Likes to lick the metallic sides of oven mitts too. Mmm. Delicious plastic.
Blech. Never quite understood's obviously not hurting him since he's almost 19 and healthy as a kitten, and I take them away whenever he gets into them, but still...nothing is more annoying to be sitting reading or just about drifting off to sleep and being woken up to hear "crunch crinkle munch munch munch..."
Crazy furball.

Cunning Plans

 Life is wierd ya know. It seems a lot of things have been hitting me hard lately. Been distant from people, including my partner who is dea...