Why do I do this to myself?

In March this year I did a foolish thing: I signed up to speak to new students during Orientation Week. 

Now I realize that I have to talk to 70 students. For an hour. Tomorrow.

Strong possibility that I’ll just drop dead from fear.

I hate public speaking, but I know I have to change that. I have these visions of myself-of-the-future saying,”I used to be unable to speak in public” – and no one would believe me because by then I’ll be such a fabulous orator. It will be a better day.

But the step in the middle sucks.


Look at my summer

Some pictures from my phone. It’s like Instagram for poor people. (Not really poor just iPhoneless).

Summer: The Hits

Best moments of my summer so far:


My brother, his girlfriend, some friends and I went camping at Cyprus Lake on the Bruce Peninsula. The campground was nearly deserted. The lake was bracing to say the least, but we’re used to swimming in Lake Huron. I actually love being the bravest person in the icy water. I went for a run to the Grotto and it was the first time I’d been alone there. With the silence, it was suddenly strange and wild even though it’s so familiar to me. The escarpment is one of my homes. Best of all was when we stood at the lake’s edge in sheer darkness, watching the stars reflected in the smooth water.


I went to Pennsylvania to do some field work, which was basically like getting paid to go on a vacation. We spent days dabbling around in streams and I discovered the joy of chest waders (they let you go anywhere you want in the water). Everything was lush and green, and we would go back to our cabin pleasantly exhausted in the evenings. I also dropped a fish down my waders at one point, which was an interesting experience.


I guess the highlight of July was Hillside festival. Just huddling under an umbrella, sheltered from the rain, with a good friend.

I also ran a 5K race and beat my personal record by a minute and a half, which I was pretty happy with.

And went to a Celtic music festival with my mom. Sunshine + lemonade + the lake + family + music = bliss.


This has been a bit of a challenging month, but I’m proud of myself. I gave two presentations – one at work, the other at a conference I went to in Ottawa. This is kind of a big deal for me because public speaking is my Kryptonite. 

Also, today I helped my brother move his stuff out of his apartment in Toronto and we had a great time wandering around Queen Street West. Since he went to Vietnam last year he’s been crazy for Vietnamese food, so we had a really nice meal at a pho place. Just good bonding time with The Bro.

Better Miley than me

So obviously everyone has heard about Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMAs (featuring inappropriate cultural appropriation and off-key singing). I’m not going to comment on her performance as that has been done ably elsewhere (I like this article from the AV Club). Instead I’d like to focus on what would happen if I had to perform at the VMAs.

First, massive avalanches of stress hormones would teem from every gland. All the erythrocytes would spontaneously flee in every direction, bursting out of my blood vessels like confetti. Most of my cells would lyse themselves to avoid the shame of showing the world that I can’t sing or dance. By the end of my performance, I would be a puddle of interstitial fluid and tissue fragments lying on the stage.

The techs would have to suck me off the stage with a Shop Vac, and then my remains would be packaged in sterile IV bags, kept on ice and occasionally brought out to cameo in Lady Gaga videos. After a few years I would be stolen and sold on eBay.

This might seem tragic, but every cloud has a silver lining: my remains would make the stage slippery,  causing Robin Thicke to trip and permanently strain the muscles that cause him to be a sexist pig.


My Friend Sunday

Paper Lions are an indie pop band from Prince Edward Island. I actually listened to them [HIPSTER ALERT] before it was cool. Pretty much the only band I can say that for. I was listening to them back in high school when they were called the Chucky Danger Band. The lead singer was my church youth group leader when I lived in PEI.

They’re finally starting to get noticed, with a song from their newly-released album topping the CBC Radio 3 Top 30. That song, My Friend, is also in the running for CBC Music’s Song of the Summer. So yeah… vote for them.


My lovely mother is taking me out for breakfast this morning. I’m delighted because breakfast really is the BEST meal of the day. I love crisp waffles, tender pancakes, granola, yogurt, fruit bowls, all things eggs, fancy coffee and morning sunshine – especially when shared with my mom, because I don’t get to see her enough.

But the downside of this wonderful happening is that I woke up at 6:00 (my body is still on work time) and my mother is coming to pick me up at 9:00 (which means probably 10, because everyone in my family is always late for everything). This means at least three hours without food. Normally I like to devour my brekkie within five minutes of waking, so this will be interesting. Let the hunger games begin.

nineteen things

1. I don’t know what cankles are and I can’t be bothered to find out.

2. The only TV shows I watch are Veronica Mars, Sherlock and Breaking Bad.

3. I never wear high heels.

4. I’ve been a vegetarian for half my life.

5.  I have watched every single James Bond movie ever made ever. This is my brother’s fault.

6. Super nerdy things I have done in the past: the national spelling bee; Reach for the Top (basically Jeopardy for high school kids); Yearbook club; working at the library all through high school.

7. If I were a meme, I would be the Socially Awkward Penguin. tumblr_l7yd1ehPlt1qa1crjo1_400

(I have definitely done this before… first time I met my boss, I went in for the handshake with my left hand. He pointed out that it was the wrong hand and I said it was because he was holding something in his right hand. Smooooth.)

8. I can drive standard.

9.  I used to have a blog about cheese.

10. Things I didn’t discover until university, and now can’t live without: 8tracks and grooveshark; coffee; Pinterest; Bulk Barn.

11. I want to get into epidemiology at some point.

12. I don’t drink.

13. List of cats I have had, in chronological order: Kitty, Minou, Tom Kitten, Tabby, Henry, Nicky, Pretzel, Climber, Edgar, Loki, Gatsby, Pandora, Hazel. My naming scheme became more creative as the years went on.

Hazel loves her Hugga Wubba.

Hazel loves her Hugga Wubba.

Also I have a feeling I’m missing a few cats…

14. I went to my first concert this year (Dan Mangan). Now I’m addicted. (This is not counting all the classical music concerts/violin recitals/bagpipe events I’ve had to sit through in the past).

15. My dessert of choice is not pie, cake, or ice cream, but rather pudding. Chocolate pudding, rice pudding, bread pudding, butterscotch pudding with caramelized bananas… ah pure comfort.

16. I think Rookie magazine is literally the best thing ever.

17.  Some people I admire very much: Paul Farmer, Tom Longboat, Jane Goodall, e.e. cummings, Zadie Smith, Alice Munro, and Mr. Reese (of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups fame).

18. The most embarrassing track on my iPod is “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic. With dialogue from the movie.

19.  As of today, my summer job is finished. Seven day weekend!


Hey. It’s been awhile since we talked. What’s up?

I know I haven’t posted in awhile but I have excuses…

First my computer broke and I had to excavate a newer model from an Aztec burial ground.

Plus it’s my last week at work and I’m trying to cram 14 weeks’ tasks into these five days. I’ve obviously been hanging out with grad students too much and picked up their work habits.

Oh and then I went to Ottawa for a conference thing. So yeah, excuses.

As my apology, please accept this photo I took of cows with holes.

ImageIs that how they pump the milk out?

Kidding, I’m kidding. I’m a country kid really.

But I have no idea what has been done to those poor cows… any ideas?