10:12 PM

Gobble, gobble!

Happy Snow Day everyone! Here's a look at the view from my place earlier today.



Just as well that we were home-bound today. It gave me a chance to recover from our annual 0T1 Christmas bash. Jamie and I hosted this year, and it was lots of fun. It'd been a while since we hosted a large dinner event. This year, I took over turkey duty from Barry which made me quite nervous; after all, he'd done such a great job for 3 years running that living up to that kind of standard is tough. Nevertheless, we pushed ahead and got ourselves a 15lb free-range bird from Cumbrae's at Church and Wellesley (who was recommended to me by the nice people at The Healthy Butcher).

I got a turkey and stuffing recipe from a post-doc in our lab. It came out of the Canadian Living Christmas Book, so it was a time tested set of instructions that in the end were pretty easy to follow. I made the stuffing the night before, and the bird the day off. I think the biggest challenge was just dealing with the size of everything and finding fridge space. In the end, the turkey was deemed a success, and I feel like I've earned yet another cooking skill. In his ever-present geekiness, Jamie commented that having tackled the turkey allowed me to level up my proficiency in cooking (it's an AD&D or RPG reference so don't feel bad if you don't understand). There was so much turkey left over! I think Jamie and I will be quite sick of turkey before the month is over. I've already made turkey stir-fry!

The gift swapping was chaotic as usual. For those of you who read this blog who don't know how we do it, we draw numbers and then select gifts from a big pile in numerical order. The gift is opened, and the person after has the option to pick from the pile, or steal from one of the people before them. A gift can only be stolen once per round to prevent a gift from just going back and forth. So, you can see how getting a later number can be advantageous, and how everything can change in the last round. This year was no exception! A few hot items that got stolen more than a few times: Cranium, Krazy Karpet + 2 sled discs, and 365 Days of Duct Tape Calendar. Barry gave what I would consider the most altruistic gift: 3 books donated to children's hospitals across Canada. That item wound up getting stolen from Jia by Naana.

Lots of food, and lots of fun! I'm already looking forward to next year :D

9:56 AM

This is how rumors get started

I know it's Wednesday already, and the weekend feels like it was so long ago, but the story I have from this Saturday is just too funny for me not to tell.

My good friend Nick from PEI, who I met at Shad Valley all the way back in '96 (who is now in Calgary doing his Paed's residency), was in town for his cousin's wedding. Since we only see each other once every two years or so, he thought it would be a great idea for me to attend the dinner portion of the event with him since he has no significant other to bring. I figure, sure - why not? His joke was that since he missed my wedding, it was only fitting that I go with him to one so it could sort of even out.

We sit down, drinks are served, bread, wedding party enter - all the usual wedding stuff. And then the MC gets to the part where they start introducing out of town guests. Sure enough, they announce him...and then me as his girlfriend. We start protesting, and his parents who are close enough to the MC correct him by saying that I'm already married. What they neglected to say was that I wasn't married to Nick. So, the MC misunderstands and announces "Oh! Sorry. Didn't know they were already married." Gah! So now Nick's whole extended family is wondering how come they weren't invited to "our wedding", so we have to explain to them that I'm married, but not to him. We think it's all cleared up, but there's bound to be someone out there who thinks that Nick is dating a married woman (haha!)

Things get better when another Shad friend (who is also an old family friend of mine) arrives. So now it's me, Nick, and Krissy. Nick now has not one, but two dates with him, all of whom look very comfortable together. I bet there was more talking after that.

To top it all off, when the bouquet toss happened, Nick's cousin tried to get me to go up too. I laughed and said that it wouldn't really work since I was already married. Then she laughed and told me she thought I was joking when I said I was married. Guess the wedding band on my left hand's not a good enough hint (haha!).

Happy Wednesday everyone!

11:05 AM

Benefits and health coverage

At the beginning of November, I went to see the optometrist to get my eyes checked out. My work health benefits do include a little bit of vision coverage, though at a paltry $90 every 24 months, I wouldn't really call it much of a vision plan.

But here's the kicker. My visit to the optometrist isn't covered by this $90. The one thing that I have that's eye related that comes out to under $90, and it's not covered. I called Sun Life, and the nice lady on the phone told me that glasses and contacts are covered, but the actual visit to the optometrist isn't. I don't know what you guys think, but I thought that was pretty stupid.

1:49 PM

Pack rat-ness is in my blood

So, my dad dropped by my place yesterday so he could park his car while he had a meeting downtown. Since he was coming, he decided to bring me this box of odds and ends they've fished out through the process of cleaning stuff out of my old room. And when I say odds and ends, I really mean it.

Included in the box:

  • a doll that I don't remember ever belonging to me, but also looks like it's from the 70's
  • a poem that I wrote in grade 4 that had a photocopy of a photo of me, and laminated to put on display in class; the poem consisted of 4 lines and was quite ridiculous
  • a project on squirrels that I did in grade 3. It's written entirely in French since I was in French immersion at the time. Again, this was also laminated
  • not one, but two penholders full of pens and pencils
For the pens and pencils, I'm pretty much going to throw them away. I haven't used them in 10 years, so I obviously can't be missing them too much. I'm not even going to go through them because once I do, I know I'm going to want to keep certain ones. I'm trying very hard to break out of my pack-rat tendencies.

But the school project stuff is what really cracked me up. I think it's a hint from my parents that they'd kinda like to keep it, but just don't want to keep it at their place. But I have a little condo compared to their two-story house, so there's a 99% chance that I'm just going to ditch it.

There were some photo albums that I'm planning to keep, but other than that, I think I'm gonna chuck it all. I don't think I'm really that nostalgic that I have to keep it all in a place that's easily accessible so I can reminisce on a regular basis. And if you wind up shoving it away and forgetting about it until the next time you have to do a massive cleaning, then what's the point, right?

I'm trying to convince myself of this so I don't fall back into my "let's keep it for the heck of it" instinct.

12:55 PM

Stupid HR

For those of you who live in Ontario, you may have heard about this new statutory holiday that our provincial government has instituted. It's called Family Day, and it falls in February. At first, I thought 'Hey, this is great. I get another holiday!' Except it doesn't work out that way for me. Here's why.

Here at UHN, we get 2 holidays a year that they call 'float days'. We can't bank them, but we can take them when we want. What HR has now done is they've taken away one of our float days, and given us Family Day. Grrrr. Their logic is that UHN gives us more than the 9 legislated days off, so we're still ahead. But the truth is I'd rather have a float day instead of being forced to take it on some random day in February. I personally like to use my float days around Christmas time so I can get a whole week off instead of having to be work.

I feel kinda cheated, actually. I feel like I totally didn't get an extra holiday at all. Am I just looking at this the wrong way?

8:51 AM

Happy Halloween!

So, what's everyone doing this year? Each year, I think I do less and less for Halloween. I don't really have a desire to come up with an original costume idea, and put together said costume. Jamie and I went to a Halloween Party on the weekend, and while Jamie did dress up, I have to admit that I cheaped out and just brought a witches hat with me. While some people really did have some great costumes (the Crocodile Hunter one that Mark - Pierre's brother - had comes to mind), I think I'm quite content to just admire other people's costumes.

8:58 PM

Great dinner!

My brother took me out for dinner tonight as a belated birthday present. We went to Hiro Sushi, which is on King, near Jarvis. We had the omakase meal, and the food was really great. We started with a sardine and veggie appetizer. Then came two soups - the first was a pumpkin miso soup, and the other was a sort of mushroom soup that came in a very cute teapot. The soup was poured into this little sake cup with a slice of yuzu in it. Very light and refreshing. then came a chilled duck and eggplant dish, and a quail and tofu roll. The duck was amazing. The quail tasted really good, but all the little bones in it were annoying. Then there was a boiled fish in sauce (very tasty), and this persimmon + black miso + seafood dish that was really amazing. Lastly was a big plate of sushi. At first, my brother asked me how come there wasn't any wasabi on the plate, and the reason is that you're supposed to trust that the chef will always put the right amount of wasabi on there for you. Needless to say, there were a few times when we got hit with wasabi bombs and felt like crying. But wow, did my sinuses feel better after that!!

All in all, I have to say that the meal was amazing, but the service was a bit slow at the start. Things got better, but it was a bit annoying to have to keep asking them to refill our teacups.

9:30 AM

Please vote

Just a little public service announcement:

Today, we're having our provincial elections, and referendum on changing the way we provincial elections. I don't care who you vote for, or whether you like MMP or not; if you are eligible to vote in the province of Ontario, please do so. Thanks.

12:04 PM

Okay...that was random

So, by now, I'm guessing that many of you have heard that Jason Blake has been diagnosed with CML (and the more grammatically correct term is actually chronic myloid leukemia, not chronic mylogenous leukemia). Well, I was returning to the office from lunch and found a reporter and cameraman there talking to my boss. Out of the blue, they decided to drop by the hospital and wanted to talk to an expert in CML. My poor boss didn't have any time to prepare or anything. It was pretty amusing from our point of view though, that's for sure. And yes, he tried to get the reporters to say myloid instead of mylogenous.

I guess I should've expected some media to show up here at PMH; it is the leading cancer center in Toronto after all. But even still, it was pretty random.

9:15 PM

Volcano!

Well, CDW is now done our gig at the Lantern Festival for another year. Hooray! It's been a sorta tough set of performances - for one of the dances, we had a different configuration of it for each night, and that really messed with our heads a little. But like the consummate professionals that we are, we pulled it all off in the end.

However, dancing a performance night after night kinda makes my muscles a little sore. Enter a wonderful recommendation from Gabrielle, a post-doc who sits near me. Lush makes this product called Volcano, which is like a mud mask for your feet. You're supposed to slather it all over your feet, and then put them in plastic bags to get the nice heating effect. I tried it on my feet, and they really felt amazing afterwards - seriously refreshed. Since my calves felt similarly tired, I decided to apply it to my legs, and then wrapped them up in saran wrap. And I really have to say that it felt SO NICE! I highly recommend it to all you dancers out there who want a treat for their tired legs. A little funny looking, but REALLY nice!

5:23 PM

Mini update

Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes! I really appreciated it.

Things I did recently:

  • went to Kim's bachelorette
  • spent some quality time catching up with Katty and Mita in the car to and from Ottawa
  • met Ernest's daughter Claire
  • met Jensen's daughter Alyssa
  • hung out with Nolan and Mike while they were in town from New Jersey
Things coming up:
  • Kim's wedding (duh)
  • Joe and Patty's wedding in Vancouver
  • Lantern Festival performance
I'll write a more comprehensive post about some of the stuff I did later. This was probably more for me to figure out what I can actually write about! :D

10:02 AM

Getting sick, I think

You know when you can kinda feel it coming? I'm kinda achy, and my throat is feeling kinda scratchy and sore. Hoping I can ward it off with some rest.

Anyone out there with some good cold remedies they'd like to share?

3:00 PM

Wow, I'm stupid

I am living proof that it is not always the man who forgets anniversaries. This morning, I woke up and Jamie said "Happy Anniversary"to me, and I had to pause because for a minute my brain was saying "Oh, who's anniversary is it today?" Yes, I forgot my own wedding anniversary...

And thus, we have no dinner plans, no presents, or anything (haha).

Oddly enough, I do this very often for my birthday as well...guess I'm just not good with dates.

8:41 AM

Rough start to work already

Okay...by 10am, I already knew it was going to be 'one of those days'. Today, I passed out in clinic. Yup. Out cold on the floor. How embarrassing is that?! I was observing my first bone marrow aspiration, and those who know me well might know that I'm not the world's best needle person. But, to my credit, I was doing alright for the first bit. It wasn't until the doctor started to describe what he was doing to the patient as he was going did I start to feel kinda weird. So, I thought I should probably excuse myself from the room. Made it to the door, opened the door, and I don't remember what happened after that. Next thing I knew, I was on the clinic floor with a pillow under my head, and three nurses around me. I vaguely remember all the papers I was holding going flying to the floor, one nurse trying to get me to a room with a bed or chair, and then when I woke up, I heard another nurse saying "She's back". We were laughing together later about how I didn't even make it to the bed, and wound up on the floor.

My boss was really nice and didn't mention it afterwards; I wonder if he thinks I'm the biggest wimp in the world though. I mean, I wasn't even the one who was getting marrowed! We've got another donor coming in on Friday, but after I consent him, I think I won't sit in on the extraction (>_<)

9:35 PM

Much Ado About Nothing

I saw the Driftwood Theatre's production of Much Ado About Nothing in Trinity Bellwoods park tonight. It was fantastic! Yes, I'll admit that I did love that play already, but boy did they do a great job of it. I highly recommend going to see it if you can. Fresh air and great theatre; it's really hard to beat for a night out.

Seeing that show also reminded me of just how funny witty repartee is, and how much I like it. And to think that sort of cleverness was considered the 'Dumb and Dumber' of Shakespeare's day.

3:22 PM

Fun Weekend

This weekend, Jamie and I got to see a lot of our friends. First was the 2nd annual Kratt BBQ. Lots of food, and fun. Discovered that it's a pretty small world out there; either that, or the aerospace world is just really small. Got to see Barry and Monica, Richard and Heather, and Glenn and Olha which was really nice. It's been a while since we'd gotten together.

On Sunday, after having lunch with my parents (oh man, seafood congee is GOOOD), Jamie and I went to see Janice, Harold, and Anderson. We got the grand tour of their new house, which is really nice, and got to meet the little monkey.

I look a little uncomfortable, huh? Well, no one ever wants to be blamed for breaking their friend's baby, right? But I suppose he survived my, and Jamie's, awkward attempts to hold him.

He's a pretty big baby for 3 weeks old!

3:20 PM

Why is it...

...that I always pick the days that I wear white to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce, and days that I wear black to handle bleach?

I swear, it never ever fails.

8:23 AM

Ever have one of those days...

...where you just feel grumpy and crabby for no good reason? It was only 8:30am this morning when I realized that I was having one of those already.

Any tips on how to combat this?

9:42 PM

Update!

Wow...been a while since I last posted. I got my laptop back from repairs earlier this week, and I was very happy to find that the people at HP didn't wipe out my hard drive when they replaced the DVD drive. I was told that happens sometimes, and was fearing the worst.

Last weekend, had dinner with Mike, and the rest of the St. Mike's boys. It was a lot of fun, and I realized how long it had been since we last got together. We all get busy with our day-to-day lives, and don't live as close to each other as we used to, but it's always great when we get together. It also hit me that we've all known each other for just about 10 years now, and I felt really lucky to have made such amazing friends. I was so happy to hear that Mike and Jess are doing well in their new home, and I wish them all the best. One day Jamie and I will come and visit you ^__^

On still on the topic of friends, I had lunch with the fabulous Naana today. It's been way too long since I last saw her, so I really enjoyed having a chance to actually sit down and talk with her after so long. I miss talking to you, Naana, but I'm glad that I can still keep up with things in your blog, and that when we do get together and talk, it seems like old times ^__^

Saw Ian tonight too. It was great to catch up with him post show; review notes on what we've been doing since then, and the feedback we got from it and what our own impressions were. Even though I didn't know anyone else at that party/fundraiser thingie, I had a really great time.

So, here's to all of you, my good friends. I'm looking forward to lots more fun in the years to come, and thanks for always being there...


(hmm...what's with me being all sentimental today?)

9:58 PM

Yay! Show's over! Boo! Show's over :(

Wow. Before I knew it, our season at PushPull was finished! Our show, 'In Our Element' played to 5 spectacular audiences, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was definitely feeling tired after about the first 2 shows, but every time I heard the music playing, and the audience cheering, I got an instant energy jolt. Thanks to everyone involved!! I loved working with all of you, and I'm already excited about the video party!!

8:35 AM

Happy Birthday, Nahawna!!

Just wanted to send out happy birthday wishes to my dear friend, Nahawna Afooa. Here's wishing you health and happiness, and ice cream and cake! (Green tea ice cream with hot fudge sauce, anyone?)

12:34 PM

Animal trafficking?!

Those of you out there who work with cell lines will appreciate this little story. Here's a pseudo-transcript of a phone conversation that I had with a guy at ATCC.

Me: I'm interested in the marmoset cell line B95-8, but can't seem to find it on your website.
ATCC: Ah, you want to make EBV? Well, I can tell you that you can't get your hands on that if your life depended on it
Me: Oh? [I'm not really interested in making EBV, but I wanted information on that cell line]
ATCC: Yeah. The endangered animal people have made it illegal for us to sell it now because selling it would mean we were trafficking goods produced from an endangered species. Unless you have approval that shows that the only reason you're buying this cell line is because you're going to use it to do research on how to save the marmoset, you can't get it.
Me: (O.O) Wow.

Pretty crazy, huh? In the end, the question that I had didn't get answered, but boy was it an interesting phone call!

9:46 AM

New cut and colour

I saw Mita last weekend and was all inspired by her awesome hair colour to make some changes to my own. I realized that I'd been growing my hair out for no particular reason, and that I was just putting it up every day instead of actually doing anything with it. So, it was off to the hairdresser's for a bit of a change.



I don't particularly like that photo of me, but it's a good shot of the hair. So please focus only on the hair, and not on the messy kitchen, poor posture, or wrinkly clothing. The colour I picked was actually fuchsia, but it turned out a little different on my hair. I still like it though. I was a little afraid it might be a bit too crazy for the hospital, but I haven't been chastised for it yet (^_^)

8:24 AM

Long weekend! And an update from Sr. M.C.

I don't know why, but if feels like it's been forever since we had a long weekend. I know Easter wasn't that long ago, but now that the weather is getting nicer, I guess any time you're stuck indoors just feels that much longer. What's everyone planning to do with their weekend?

In other news, I received a letter from Sr. M.C. the other day. She's doing well, and has finished her student teaching stint. She enjoyed it, but did find it frustrating at times. Now that she's done her teaching degree, it's been decided that she's going to get her Masters in music now. She's also going to be teaching grade 7 and 8 science at their school, not too far from the Motherhouse. She mentioned to me that she was glad that she didn't get sent away on a mission because she felt that she really needed at least another year to be at home. So, it sounds like things are moving along nicely for her. She sends her love and prayers to everyone, and hopes we're all doing well. I'll let you all know when I get another letter from her.

9:23 PM

A few pics from Elaine's wedding

I don't know why it took me so long to post these up, but here they are.


[It was really hard to get pictures of them as they walked in and out]



9:58 PM

Inspired to cook

I know this is going to sound really weird, but I am ecstatic with my new rice cooker. Jamie and I went to Pacific Mall today to buy the cooker that I've been scoping out for 2 weeks now. Brought it home and tried it out, and IT'S AMAZING!!!

First of all, you have to understand that for the entire 28 year span of my life, I have only ever used one rice cooker. It belonged to my mother, and was a one button wonder. I mean, it's gotta be pretty hard-core to survive over 30 years of use and abuse. But as its one-button status would imply, it can only do one thing. However, I kept using it because it's nice and simple and is really a workhorse. Unfortunately, lately I've noticed that the pot of rice isn't getting cooked all the way through, leading to super-hard rice in the middle - not fun.

So, we decided to retire 'Old Faithful' and get a shiny new one: the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10. This puppy was expensive ($200 CAD), but comes with so many awesome features. Like re-heat; I never imagined that this would be something that I'd be really interested in, but it's going to make lunch prep so much better for me. I'd always wanted to make onigiri from left-over rice, but the problem was that I could never heat it up adequately in the morning in the little time I have. But now with this cooker, I can combine the use of the re-heat function with the timer, and voila! I can set everything up before I got to bed, and have it ready by the time I get up! I'm also looking forward to making congee with it too. But yes, the timer function is KEY. I see myself using it a lot.

Flush with our purchase at P-Mall, which included a quick stop-over at Market Village where I got some rice moulds, we headed to T&T. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, T&T is a Taiwanese chain of Asian grocery stores that has opened up in Canada over the past few years (though I think Ontario and BC are the only provinces with them. Please correct me if I'm wrong). The beauty of this store is that it's an Asian grocery that's clean like a Western grocery. Well lit, no offensive meat or dead fish smells, rotting veggies piled in the front - you know, all the things that usually turn you off an Asian grocery. And they have this huge section of cooked foods where you can buy stuff to take home. I wanted to buy a little of everything!

Anyway, back to my original story. Being surrounded by all the wonderful food-stuffs, I felt all inspired to make good use of all the different kitchen appliances and things that I have at home to make yummy, nutritious meals. About a year ago, Jamie's mom bought us a food steamer that we had never used. I pulled it out and made meatballs on one rack, and Chinese broccoli on the upper one. It's really easy to use, so I think I'm going to use it more often now, which I suppose is good because it means I'm frying less.

Sometime this week, I want to try my hand at making dango. And I think I'll make onigiri for lunch on Monday.

2:01 PM

A funny thing happened...

Today was one of those days where I became grateful for a lot of little things. I am grateful that I live so close to where I work, and I'm grateful that I was at work at 6:30am today. That second point might be kinda odd, but once you hear this story, you'll understand.

Not long after I got to work, I got the back pocket of my pants caught on something. It made a bit of a hole, which I ignored thinking that it was just my pocket. Things would have gone the rest of the day just fine had I not chosen to sit down after a while. And that's when I heard it. A most terrifying sound...the sound of cloth ripping. Yes, I now had a big hole in my pants...

Lucky for me, my jacket was long enough to cover the hole, so I put it on and raced home to change. So, you see, had I arrived to work at my normal hour, my co-workers would have seen my embarrassing situation, and if I had lived further away from work I would've been stuck.

And you thought that stuff like that only happened in sit-coms!

9:57 PM

Which Muppet are you?

Yup...every time Kim does a fun personality test thingie on her Facebook, I have to do one too. So, here are the results of my Muppet's Personality Test

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

12:26 PM

Save your money...

Don't buy Dayquil or Nyquil. Neither of them work to stop your cold/flu symptoms. At least not that I've found anyway.

9:51 PM

Dance-a-ful weekend

Wow. This weekend was really busy! I had a hip-hop workshop, had my first ever belly dance lesson, and survived the run-through of PushPull's show as it stands so far. The belly dance lesson came via a bridal "showette" (i.e. racier than a shower, tamer than a bachelorette), and it was a lot of fun! The amount of isolations you have to master for that is NUTS! It was tons of fun though.

In addition to that, I went for karaoke with some Skule Nite cast members after running into Mason and Dan at random on Yonge street. It was lots of fun, and it really made me miss seeing the cast on a regular basis.

Okay...need to go...cat on my lap is whining and wanting attention....

11:18 PM

Birthday meaning?

Yes, Karen is a sucker for silly little quizzes...

Your Birthdate: August 31

You're a pretty traditional person. If it's lasted, it's probably good.
You seek stability - both in your career and your romantic relationship.
In return, you're very loyal and predictable. Which is usually a good thing.
Without a partner, you feel lost. Being with someone is very important to you.

Your strength: Your dependability

Your weakness: You hate being alone

Your power color: Midnight blue

Your power symbol: Shell

Your power month: April

7:06 PM

'Springing Forward' in the winter

Most people reading this blog will most likely be moving their clocks ahead one hour this weekend. This change is coming 3 weeks early, and will be ending one week late. I was chatting with my good friend Barry about this a few weeks ago, and we were wondering just where exactly all the purported energy savings were going to come from. Being the resourceful guy that he is, Barry went and looked it up!

Turns out, the savings are supposed to come in the form of a 1% reduction in lighting use. But even this theorized savings has come under criticism. For example, this article regarding a study of energy use with and without DST claims that there are no real savings because any savings that might be realized due to using less lighting in the afternoon is offset by the need to use more lighting in the morning to function in a darkened household. There are also some in the mental health profession who are concerned that those suffering from seasonal mood disorder will be adversely affected by this change as we are now forcing ourselves to wake up in darkness, upsetting one's biological clock.

But whatever the experts might say about the benefits/harms, I personally think that the most interesting part is the fact that the Canadian government adopted this change so that we can stay in synch with the US, and not be an hour off for 4 weeks of the year. I haven't quite decided yet it that fact bothers me or not. After all, I do appreciate the fact that the US and Canada do a lot of business with each other. But does one hour really make a huge difference when I already have to look up time differences whenever I make a business call to the states anyway?

I dunno...I guess I was hoping that Canada would come up with a better reason, and the proof to back it up, other than "Well, they're doing it."

8:05 PM

Measuring Productivity

I'm curious as to how other people out there have their productivity measured at their workplace. Is it the number of reports you write? Sales that you make? Patents or ideas you generate, or what? The reason I'm wondering this is because I had a really busy day today, but I think I produced just about no measurable work. How did my day get so busy? Well, I showed up to the clinic to collect a blood sample from a patient who's on my study right now. While I'm there, I see a patient who was previously on my study; the one who gave me the deer roast and bottle of wine. So, I stop and chat with them for a while as they wait to be called in to see the doctor. On my way out, I see my patient who left me the blood sample, and sitting right next to him is another patient who used to be on my study. So, I stop and chat with her for a bit before chatting with my current patient. Then as I'm leaving the clinic, I notice my current patient's mother sitting in the waiting area just outside the clinic, so I stop and talk with her for a while too. Before I know it, it's after 11:40am and I haven't even started any of the work I was planning to do.

While I felt unproductive for not doing all that desk-work I was planning, I can't quite bring myself to say that I had an unproductive day. But I guess if you look at my measurables, I'd fail pretty badly. So, what do you guys think? Is there any way for me to get around that?

1:12 AM

Best Band EVER!

On Friday night, I went to see the best band ever in concert at the Air Canada Center: the Barenaked Ladies!!!! Unfortunately for Jamie, he wasn't able to make it back for the concert, so I took Barry along with me. It was a really lucky thing for the both of us, actually, because one of Barry's heros, David Suzuki, came to the concert to give a little promo for his 'If I Was Prime Minister' campaign right now.

But man. The concert was just too much fun. I commented to Barry that once in a while, it's great to go to concerts to remind yourself just why that band is your favourite band ever. There were so many hilarious Scarborough/Toronto jokes and stories. And they also had this neat little gimmick where you purchase a wristband before the show, and then after the show was over, you trade the wristband in for a USB with the concert on it. Oh, and Barry, if you're reading this, it turns out that the concert was already loaded onto the key, so I'm not sure why that guy told you that it would take a few days before we could download it. We ended up buying one for Jamie so he could sort of experience the concert.

My voice was totally gone at the end of the night from all the screaming and singing along. It was awesome, awesome, awesome!!!!

Coming soon: Report on Dragon Ball wherein Karen is comic relief.

6:19 PM

Really nice people

Some days, you have little things that happen that make you realize that the world does have really nice people in it still. One of my former study patients came to clinic today. I was having a bit of a run-around day with a new patient getting treatment today as well, so I didn't get a chance to go and visit with my former patient in clinic like I usually do. The doctor came and found me and told me that him and his wife were looking for me, so I rushed down to clinic to see them, wondering if anything was the matter. Turns out, they had a bottle of homemade wine, homemade sausages, and a piece of deer roast for me. Back when he was on my study, he told me that he was going hunting in-between treatments, so the deer that he brought me was actually from his hunt. I thought that was honestly such a wonderfully nice thing for them to do. Him and his wife gave me a hug, and wished me Happy Valentine's Day before leaving, and that just put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Oh yeah...I had almost forgotten. Happy V'day everyone ^__^ Jamie's still in Ottawa, so I didn't have to do anything for it this year! Ha ha!

10:46 AM

Piecing things together

Okay...so the disaster of Monday has turned out not to be as bad as we thought. We've been able to reschedule our patient to next week, and the contamination that we had wasn't widespread at all. I've got my fingers crossed that everything will be okay. I think I told some of you about the crazy contamination problem we had last year thanks to Cambrex and their shipment of supposedly sterile media. I think I must have learned a lot from that experience about tracking down contamination problems. Things went really quickly over the week to nail down the problem, so I was pretty happy about that. Though it would've been best if this didn't happen at all, but what can you do.

And Jamie is coming home to spend the weekend in Toronto, but he's going to be going back to Ottawa again on Monday. Bleh. He's not sure if he'll be able to come back to have Chinese New Year dinner with my family, AND he might not even be able to go with me to the Barenaked Ladies concert on Friday that we got tickets for, like, a year ago. Grr...what a pain. I've also noticed that my incentive to cook or buy groceries has gone downhill. When it's just me, I don't pay as much attention to having regular meals. I know it's bad, and I shouldn't do that, but it just seems that my standards for myself are a lot lower. It sort of becomes, 'oh, it's okay to have a bowl of cereal for dinner'. Maybe I can drag my butt to a store this weekend...

5:02 PM

Rough Day

I think today has qualified as one of the most un-fun days I've had in a while. Today was a patient infusion day, so I arrived at the hospital at 7am to get working. Things seemed to start out well, except we have a slight equipment malfunction. Bit of an inconvenience, but nothing we can't handle. The procedure to harvest cells for infusion continues. Send the sample for a stat gram stain in. Usually, this is just a formality, because the contamination would have to be pretty drastic for it to come out positive. After all, our cells bags have nice, clear media in them, and the cells look really healthy. If they were contaminated, that just wouldn't be the case. HOWEVER, this time around, we get a positive. We send a couple more samples just to verify, and the all come back positive. So, we have to break the news to the poor patient who has been pre-hydrating for the past hour and half that we can't go ahead with the infusion. Ugh. And because of the result, you can imagine that we had a whole lot of craziness we had to attend to in the background that I won't really get into. So, thanks to that, 4pm rolls around, and I still haven't eaten lunch. Come home feeling drained and exhausted, looking for some hugs or something. Oh! Except that won't work either since thanks to ITAR rules, Jamie is currently in Ottawa doing work that he doesn't usually do, but was forced to go and perform simply because the person who normally does that work wasn't born in Canada. So, I figure maybe I can indulge in a little comfort food, like pizza or something, to de-stress. But that too had to get thrown out the window since I picked up some gastric bug last night and am limited to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast) to keep my stomach from being angry with me. Sigh...it's just been one of those days...

At least I can still have a hot cup of tea...

11:16 PM

WTF Japan?!

First of all, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's been reading my blog ^__^ I'm always super happy when I see comments from you guys. And you can be sure that I'll be revisiting the baby issue when it comes closer to my friends' delivery dates.

But for this installment, I wanted to post one more set of photos from Japan. As the subject line will indicate, these are all things about Japan that cracked me up or made me go 'Huh?'.

For a country that is so technologically advanced, they sure have some old looking pay phones

From 2006 - Japan ...


Can someone tell me the relation of ostriches and snow?
From 2006 - Japan ...


Does anyone else remember 'Battle of the Planets'?
From 2006 - Japan ...


You mean, you have swords made by the REAL Hattori Hanzo?
From 2006 - Japan ...


An entire movie of a cat just playing and doing regular cat things.
From 2006 - Japan ...

(NB: It's apparently insanely expensive to buy a cat in Japan. They even have services where you can pay a fee to play with a cat of your choice for an hour or so. I didn't know that when I took a picture of this DVD, but now that my friend living in Tokyo told me that, I can sorta understand why this movie was made)

Who knew curling was big in Japan. We found this DVD in a Tower Records.
From 2006 - Japan ...

(You can bet that the game they won against Team Canada will be on there)

An adult dress-up store in Akihabara. I wasn't expecting it to be so prominent, especially not in what could be considered geek central.
From 2006 - Japan ...

11:50 AM

Is it just me, or...

...are a ton of people that I know all into having babies now? I found out yesterday that Jensen and his wife are expecting a baby at the end of June. So, now I can add him and Viv to the list of 'parents to be' along with Janice and Harold, and Ernest and Debbie.

Jamie and I have been married around the same time as all of them (except for Ernest and Debbie, who only got married in 2006), but we haven't even contemplated children. Then again, it might be because I'm of the general opinion that I don't want any. But geez, deciding to have kids seems like such a 'grown up' decision to make. I can't say that I feel ready for that kind of commitment yet.

11:10 PM

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Every year, the Yee Hong Foundation has a massive fundraiser called the Dragon Ball, and it's held right around Chinese New Year. My Chinese dance group often gets invited to perform at it, which is a pretty cool honour. We started rehearsing for it at class tonight, and I have to laugh. I have been cast as a wolf. Yes, a wolf. I apparently get to chase the little kid's class, who are dressed up as piglets.
...
......
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Okay...that's all.

(oh my god...still laughing)

8:15 PM

Visiting Sister Mary Cecilia

From Sister MC


Richard and I ended up making the trip to Ann Arbor for the January 6th visiting day. We brought along two big tins of Tim Horton's coffee, and with minimal hassle at the border arrived on a rainy Saturday at the motherhouse. Since we were there last, the construction has been finished, so no more mud being tracked everywhere. Glenn and Barry showed us photos of the completed chapel from when they were there, but it really is rather spectacular in person.

Sister MC is doing very well, and since our visit will have started her student teaching appointment at a nearby Catholic high school. She'll be teaching a few units of physics there. Their community is growing so much. They now have two separate living sections for the professed sisters, and the novices and postulants, and have just enough space for everyone right now. There are apparently plans for another phase of construction when they get the money for it.

I brought along the disc of photos from Aaron's wedding that Jessica made for me, and we looked through them all (Thanks Jess!), and talked about a lot of random things. I had forgotten how little she hears about Canadian politics down there, so we talked a bit about how the Liberal Party now has a new leader, and just what's been going on in and around the city. We also talked a bit about how things in a religious community work. Some of the Sisters have been sent on missions now, which was an interesting thing for us to learn about. I believe one cohort has been sent to Phoenix, Arizona, and I can't remember where the other group went. They are all teaching in schools there. We also discussed things like how a new Mother Superior is selected (there needs to be enough finaly professed Sisters before they can have a General Assembly, and when that happens, they meet every 6 years to go over their constitution and conduct other business. One of those things is to elect a new Mother), sports (Sister MC has taken a liking to college football), and just updating her on what everyone was up to. She sends everyone her love and prayers, and hopes you're all doing well.

Stay tuned for more information on her next visiting days. I originally thought that her sister would be taking the one in April, but it seems that Paulina has since moved to Montreal and may not be able to make the trek. Sister MC said she'd keep me posted though.

8:09 PM

Food, Glorious Food!

I'm going to let the pictures do that talking. But let's just say that I ate very, very well during this trip!

Tonkatsu with Miranda, Yen, and Naho

From 2006 - Japan ...


Chanko Nabe (Sumo wrestler's hot pot)
From 2006 - Japan ...


Sake served in bamboo flutes (Mt Takao)
From 2006 - Japan ...


Yakiniku grill in sand pit (Mt. Takao)
From 2006 - Japan ...


Fish skewers (Mt. Takao)
From 2006 - Japan ...


Start of our kaiseki dinner (Nara)
From 2006 - Japan ...


One kaiseki plate (Nara)
From 2006 - Japan ...


The aftermath - glad I didn't have to do dishes (Nara)
From 2006 - Japan ...

9:21 PM

Traditional beauty

So, as promised yesterday, here are some photos I took that I felt showed a glimpse of the history and tradition that is so engrained in Japanese culture. I haven't shown any of my photos from Kyoto yet (which all fall into that category), but I think I'll save those for another post!

Children in traditional garb at a Shinto temple

From 2006 - Japan ...


Cute lantern hanging from a shrine
From 2006 - Japan ...


A small Buddhist statue at the foot of a larger one of Guanyin
From 2006 - Japan ...


Japan's 2nd largest Buddha (Kamakura)
From 2006 - Japan ...


A Shinto wedding (Mt. Takao)
From 2006 - Japan ...


Momiji (Red Japanese Maple leaves)
From 2006 - Japan ...


Next post: The food!

10:07 PM

Memories of Japan...and no, not the sauce

So, back in November, Jamie and I went on vacation to Japan and Hong Kong. My cousin in HK was getting married at the end of November, so we used that as an excuse to go on a bigger trip. We arrived in Tokyo on the 13th, and stayed until the 25th, but bought a rail pass to travel around. One of the things that struck me most about Japan is just the contrast between insane high-tech and old-fashioned tradition.

Here are some photos that I thought could be considered 'typical Tokyo'

Outside a pachinko parlour

From 2006 - Japan ...


Inside a Toyota dealership in Ikebukuro
From 2006 - Japan ...


Shibuya at night
From 2006 - Japan ...


Snoopy Town in Harajuku
From 2006 - Japan ...


Tomorrow: Tradition! Tra-di-tion! ♫ (how do you say Fiddler on the Roof in Japanese? ha ha)

11:34 PM

Countries that I've visited...

Okay, I know this is yet another 'Karen isn't really writing anything of note' kinds of posts. But I thought it was pretty neat regardless.



Create your own visited country map

Apparently, I've been to 5% of the countries in the world. And here I thought I'd been to so many places already. I think I'm going to make it one of my life goals to hit every continent.

Coming soon: Travel report from recent trip to Japan and Hong Kong

10:10 PM

Random

I like X-Men...so I couldn't help doing that stupid little quiz when it popped up. XD

You Are Shadowcat

You're like a little sister to some, but others see you as a sex kitten.
You are well trained in martial arts, a bit of a computer geek, and can totally kick butt.

Powers: the ability to "phase" through walls and other physical objects


Oh the internet...filled with such useless and random things. And so much fun (ha ha)

2:04 PM

Gunman update

Okay, so I learned that they wound up calling off the search around 11am or so. They didn't find the guy, but the part that I didn't know when I came to work this morning was that the Prime Minister was coming to Sick Kids (which is really close by) for a press conference today. And that explains why it was such a big deal.

Now, I just learned from my co-worker that they found the gun. And it was found at the public school right next to the hospital I work at. No details as to when they found the gun, but we did notice when we went out to grab lunch that there were police dogs sniffing around the school. We were wondering what was going on, and I guess that was the reason why.

Pretty crazy, huh? I mean, what kind of sicko leaves a gun at a PUBLIC SCHOOL by the PLAYGROUND??!! Especially when there are so many other places that he could have dropped it. Guh.

EDIT added at 6:03pm: Okay...I just read that the gun was buried in the playground of the school, and some kids found it. GAH!! Luckily, they told a teacher right away and no one got hurt...but seriously. Absolute worst place to statsh a gun.

9:12 AM

Excitement for the day...already

So, my day's hardly started and yet I have already had a nice dose of excitement added to my day. I heard on the radio news this morning as I was leaving for work that there was some armed gunman on the run in the downtown core, and the police were looking for him. And then just as I was about to leave, they said that they chased him to University and College/Bay and College area, and that they were surrounding various parking lots in that area. >__< Yeah. So, I decided to wait a little bit before coming to work.

But after about 10 minutes of not hearing any new reports, I figured that what the hell, I should just go to work. Considering they were scouring the parking lots, I wasn't able to take my usual route to work where I cut through the hospital parking garage. So, I walked along College (which is what pretty much everyone on their way to work decided to do) and passed by a gazillion emergency vehicles. When I came over, they hadn't closed any streets yet. But, I just talked to a doctor in my office area and she said that when she got here they had closed some parts off with caution tape, and were blocking roads with firetrucks. To this moment, I have no idea if they caught him or not. I'll update when I hear more news.

So yeah...pretty crazy, huh? My hats off to all those police, fire, and ambulance people who are putting their lives on the line out there. I mean, they've quite literally put themselves between me and a gun-toting criminal. They might say it's just part of their job, but dammit if it's not a terribly heroic thing to do.

9:38 PM

Awesome dinner

Kaiseki Sakura is an amazing, amazing, amazing place to eat. Jamie and I went there for dinner tonight and had the 6-course meal.

Course 1 - Appetizer plate
Seaweed; herring roe with seaweed; burdock with sesame dressing; Japanese asparagus and veggies with egg; sweet potato and chestnut paste; sweet black beans with gold leaf flakes

Course 2 - Soup
Zouni (which is a traditional Japanese New Year's soup) with fish cake, mochi, fish, and carrot and daikon

Course 3 - Sashimi
Aberjack to be dipped in soy sauce with grated chili-daikon; Grouper coated with crushed rice cake to be dipped in soy sauce with fermented soy beans and wasabi garnished with fresh water seaweed

Course 4 - Main Course
Lotus root with Japanese mustard; sake-marinated duck; shrimp wrapped in deep fried tofu skin; scallop sushi and shitake mushroom sushi wrapped in leaves; salmon slices filled with egg, seaweed, and carrot; deep fried potato with white miso sauce; lotus root chips made to look like snowflakes; lily root made to look like sakura petals; garnished with daikon cut to look like a crysanthyum flower

Course 5 - Meat Dish
Beef tongue stewed for three days in a miso sauce topped with green onion

Course 6 - Noodles
Fresh noodles infused with shiso in broth with green onion and shiso

Dessert
Sweet potato with caramel sauce; yuzu cake with whipped cream; sweet azuki beans wrapped in sticky rice cake topped with dried sakura petals

I totally recommend this place. It is quite pricy, but well worth it. The portion sizes, in my opinion, were perfect. The service was wonderful, as was the atmosphere. Simply amazing!

9:17 PM

3....2....1...BLAST OFF!!

While I can't claim that this is my first blog ever, this will be one in which I don't babble on about knitting. I apologize in advance for when the posts will get silly, but I figure this is a nice place for me to record my thoughts, and let everyone know what's going on in life over here.

The emergency exits are located here and there *points* Please fasten your seat belts. I hope you all enjoy the flight.