Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
- One Christmas piano recital for 11 children under the age of 13
- One personal finance exam on mortgages and personal loans
- One finance assignment on risk management and insurance
- One 15-20 page research paper on the roles of economics and policy in determining optimal wind penetration levels
- One job interview
- One energy economics final exam
- One final exam on applications of Excel to economic data management
- One essay on the evolving Senatorial attitude towards imperial successions in 1st century Rome
Saturday, November 6, 2010
All through the summer, we met for lunch downtown when he had a day off, we went for walks and other dates on the weekends, and in general had a wonderful time together. By the beginning of August, we had determined that we were interested in dating each other exclusively and had a very happy and fun relationship. About a week after we had starting dating, we were already getting comments on how tall our kids would be (with me at 6'1" and him at 6'6", it's a valid observation).
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
The people at the consulate were super helpful, they contacted my family and told them how they'd have to take my birth certificate over to the Calgary passport office and how they could wire me some money to tide me over. They lent me money for lunch and found me a charger for my cell phone. I was especially grateful for the latter when I got a phone call around 2:30 pm (while still waiting in the consulate lobby).
It was a Bishop from the Stake Centre from the previous day. His wife had helped me look for my back pack and had written down my number in case anything turned up. He told me that the missionaries had been at the building that morning when a woman showed up with my backpack, claiming that she had found it on a nearby dumpster. It was still missing my wallet, my money, my travel snacks, and the few souvenirs that I had stuck in there, but my journal was back, safe and sound. I couldn't believe it. That kind Bishop even offered to drive the bag into Boston from his home in Cambridge during the rush hour so that I could have it back as soon as possible. There were so many kind people that helped me out during this whole process.
Another one was the Generous Restauranteur. I met him in the consulate lobby, where he was also waiting for an emergency passport. He had overheard my discussions with the consulate staff about how I had no money and was without any form of ID. we chatted a little while we waited, and just before he left, he turned to me and asked,
"Are you ok for money and everything? Do you need any more help?" I assured him that I was ok, that my parents had been able to send me sufficient funds. He then persisted, "I still want to help if I can. I own a restaurant here in Boston, so I'm going to call my secretary and have her call the restaurant and leave a giftcard at the front desk for you. You can eat there as long as you're stuck in Boston." I thanked him profusely and then spent the next day - until I was eventually able to leave - eating the tastiest food at the Elephant and Castle.
Since I had been told that my passport would take anywhere from 24 hours to three days, I was prepared to wait a while. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the consulate the next day and was handed a shiny new white passport, ready for travel. I called Delta, got my flight rebooked for later that afternoon (for free!) and had enough time to stop at the Elephant and Castle for lunch before heading home, after a very exciting adventure.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Ok, ok, so I've heard enough people bugging me to see a picture of Benjamin that I finally insisted on taking one yesterday (I realized that I didn't actually have one). Here's Benjamin and me when we went for a walk on the bluffs above the Bow River by our old house in Varsity. It's not super flattering of either of us, since we're both squinting, but it gives you the general idea.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I was scheduled to fly out on Logan airport on Sunday at 6:30 pm, so I figured that I had time to check out, go to a 1:00 sacrament meeting in Cambridge, and get to the airport with plenty of time. I lugged my luggage (I just noticed that those two words are remarkably similar - can any English/linguistics majors illuminate me on that?) to the Stake Center in Cambridge and arrived about an hour early. Since I had three bags including my backpack, I searched the building for the always-present cloakroom that one finds in Mormon buildings. The one I found was kind of hidden behind some walls and so I figured that it was a safe enough place to leave my bags. Since my backpack contained my wallet and passport, I debated bringing it in to sacrament meeting with me, until I remembered how awkward I had felt with my big bulky backpack last week at sacrament meeting in Washington DC. I ended up deciding to put it under my other suitcases and calling it good. Besides, I was at church! Churches are safe! Luckily, I decided to take out my phone so that I could work on typing up an email to my missionary cousin while waiting in the foyer.
When I came to get my bags a little over two hours later, my backpack was gone. I looked all over the cloakroom and everywhere I had sat. Not finding it in any of those places, I went to both Sunday School classes and asked if anyone had seen of moved it. No one had. I think it was at this point that I first called Daddy in a panic. Then I enlisted the help of the Bishop and a few people helped me look. When we didn't find anything, I called the Canadian Consulate to see what my options were. A helpful man named Mark told me that we should probably cancel the passport and that I would be able to get an emergency travel document the next day. So I went ahead and rescheduled my flight, canceled my passport, and got all the necessary information to go to the Consulate the next day. Mark told me I would need a police report as well, so we called the Cambridge police.
When officer Callinan arrived, he told me in a great, classic Bostonian accent that since I needed a copy of the police report ASAP, my best option would be to go to the station first thing the next morning where they could take my statement, get it approved in person, and print out a copy.
Faced with the prospect of an extra night in Boston and no wallet, I was eternally grateful when a retired couple from Cambridge offered me their spare room for the night. I was able to use their wireless and their phone to finalize all my arrangements to leave the country. They also fed me a delicious dinner made with fresh vegetables from the farmer's market and washed down with the most incredible fresh Massachusetts apple cider.
People have asked me what i was able to do with my extra two days of vacation. Mostly, it was spent at the consulate and running from one official to the other, but the one extra touristy thing I was able to get in was with this older couple, and ended up being on of my favourite things in Boston.
The couple I stayed with both had PhDs. His was in chemical engineering and he taught at the university of New Hampshire and then I think at MIT before he retired. Hers, finished after their children were in school, was in American History and she currently teaches at Harvard. After dinner, they asked me if I wanted to go for a walk, since they live only about 5 minutes away from the main Harvard campus. They showed me around Harvard and she was the best tour guide I could have! She knew the dates of all the buildings, who the architects were and whether they were actual Georgian, revival Gothic or revival Georgian. She had interesting facts and stories about each building, for example, in the freshman dorms (which are mostly buildings from at least the early 1800s) they keep a list of who has lived in every room and when you arrive, they tell you which famous people lived in your room as students. A freshman might write home and tell their parents that they're living in the same freshman dorm room as John F. Kennedy. The tour of Harvard was amazing and one of the best parts of my trip.
I was so grateful to the ward in Cambridge for all their help. The couple who had me to stay were so kind and thoughtful and accommodating. One theme of my whole experience with theft (which I think I'll finish in another entry) was the kindness of people that I met.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I've always wanted to go on a vacation by myself. I'm not really sure why, but I just thought it was a cool and grown-up thing to do. Well, it's gotten me some weird looks since I've been here, from most people who are not Australian/German backpackers at the hostels. It started with the US Customs lady in Calgary. She asked me who I was travelling with. No one. Who was I meeting there? No one. Do I have any family there? Nope. Then she gives me a very suspicious look and asks dubiously, "Why are you going to Washington DC and Boston?" The even more suspicious look she gives to my answer "for vacation" leaves me thinking that unless I elaborate, I might be put on the terrorist watch list and then it's goodbye to passing through the border ever again.
I hot similar looks from most Mormons I've met on my trip, other than one girl in the Washington singles ward that seemed to think I was some sort of Mormon hippie just travelling through the states ojn a prayer and a song. Which I fully am not.
It's been nice, though. I've been free to do exactly what I want every day. If I feel like getting up early and being in line for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for the first tour of the day, I do it. If I feel like sleeping in and then wiling away the morning in the antique shops and boutiques of Beacon hill, I do it. The only downside is that I don't particularly like being out alone when it's dark and getting late, so pretty much after dinner (which I've been eating late to maximize my time), I don't have much to do. I've mostly been reading and going to bed early, which is also nice because on the hostle mattresses and with 5 roommates in the hostel room, I'm never going to have a great sleep, so it might as well be a long one.
The trip alone has been great, but I can't help wishing every once in a while that there was someone to share my giggles when the tour guide said "the Hahvahd Yahd" for the twentieth time in five minutes.
Monday, September 6, 2010
So far, I have managed to take the plane by myself, check into the youth hostel, make my way out to the suburbs for the biggest singles ward I've ever seen, ride a bicycle from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Monument and back, eat two cans of tuna for two separate meals today and yesterday, visit the Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of American History, and take pictures by the White House, all without serious injury or mishap. Which is good, because I only recently (read: today) acquired health travel insurance. Tomorrow it's off to the museum of Crime and Punishment and then the Washington DC temple - if I can navigate two jurisdictions' worth of transit systems, that is.
You'll hear from me again in Boston!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This spring, I heard on the radio that one of mu favourite bands, the Barenaked Ladies, was coming to town. I was so excited that I bought four tickets that very day. Elena and I took some friends and we had an amazing night. The Barenaked Ladies exceeded all my expectations by playing all my old favourites. We sang along to "If I Had a Million Dollars", "Lovers in a Dangerous Time", "Testing, 1, 2, 3", and "One Week".
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Today I discovered that there is a warrant for my arrest.
It all started back in my second week of work. It was still May, and my U of C bus pass ran out at the end of April. I didn’t want to buy a May bus pass when I’d only be using it for a week and a half of work, so I found some bus tickets around the house, and when those ran out after a day or two, I bought another book. I had exactly enough to get me through to the end of the month, when I’d buy a June bus pass. It was all organized and perfect. Then, unexpectedly, I had to use two of my bus tickets on the weekend and didn’t give it much thought. BIG MISTAKE.
On May 31, I was running to the ticket validation machine and scrambling through my pockets when I realized—I had no tickets left. Running quickly through my options left me no better off than before. Since I also had no money on me, my only choice would have been to take an extra 5 minutes to run to the bank across the street. But wait, unless I wanted to pay $20 for a single ticket worth $2.75 (the ticket machines don’t give change) I would have to find a store willing to give me change for a twenty. Did I mention that this is all taking place at 7:20 am? I’d have to walk quite a way to get change.
This all puts me in quite the dilemma. You see, I’m an honest person. I don’t like riding the train without a ticket. In fact, on the days where I’ve forgotten my ticket, I’ve been known to buy an extra ticket on the way home to pay for the morning’s free ride. One time I even got to my destination, bought a ticket, and threw it in the garbage. Today, my choice is either take half an hour to somehow get a stupid ticket and be late on my 5th day of work, or else ride without one, get some cash at lunch, and buy two tickets for the way home. I naively picked the latter option.
Just as I passed University station, three ticket-inspectors revealed themselves and started making their way down the train. They came in from all the entrances and I was trapped. Dang. They gave me a ticket despite all my protestations.
Now, foolishly, I totally forgot about the ticket until I saw it in my wallet early this week. It was due on Tuesday. I read over the back of that smug little pink piece of paper and I saw the words “deadline”, “court appearance”, “overdue” and “warrant for arrest”. Dang, dang, dang! All I could picture was transit cops busting in to my office, looking like the characters from Flashpoint (although I wouldn’t mind Spike or Sam coming to visit…) yelling things like, “Everyone on the ground! Nobody move!” I was suddenly glad that I haven’t officially changed my address yet. If they tried to bust me at home, they’d find Mum and Dad but I’d have flown the coop to my new place. I decided that it was high time I paid my fine and so I headed over to the courthouse at lunchtime. It was surprisingly easy, they didn’t even blink when I handed them my late and unpaid ticket. Perhaps the real surprise and/or miracle, though, was that they didn’t even slap on a late fee. It was still just the original $150 (still a difficult sum to part with). Feeling a little gypped and let down (why weren’t they reading me my Miranda rights and slapping on the cuffs?) I asked about this warrant. “Oh, there’s probably one” the girl replied. “It’ll take 2-3 months for this payment to show up in the police and RCMP databases, though, so keep this proof of payment on you at all times in case you get arrested.” That’s what I’m talking about!
Then the thought occurred to me, “Wait a second… I’m leaving the country in just a few weeks. When they scan my passport, I’ll come up as a wanted fugitive.” I’ve been planning my trip to
Ten minutes later, and thanks to the nice semi-retired cop who mans the front desk at the Police administration building (apparently where the police go to do union stuff, not issue arrest warrants) I was eventually on my way to the right spot. The kind man acting as both receptionist and security guard wrote me the information I’d need: “
The Arrest Process Unit was decidedly less intimidating than it sounds. I showed up, talked to a lady behind glass, showed her my ID and the receipt of payment from the courthouse, and then she delivered the verdict: the warrant hasn’t even been officially issued yet! Here I was cowering in fear that the Flashpoint team would be busting into my office any second, and I’m not even officially a wanted person! Unfortunately, she tells me, the warrant is in the process of being issued, so if I don’t want to get arrested whilst returning from vacation, I’ll have to come back when the warrant actually exists to get it cancelled. Until then, she says, “Hold on to that proof of payment for dear life.” Apparently, if I don’t have it on me and I get pulled over for speeding or something, the cops can take me in.
Guess I’ll be driving carefully the next few weeks.
Overall, my brush with the law was exciting, but not everything I ever imagined. I probably watch too much Flashpoint, CSI, Law and Order, Criminal Minds, and Monk for my own good—be warned: real crime is not like tv!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an electricity market with high prices is in want of a remedy."
- Joanne Evans, in "Why did British electricity prices fall after 1998?"
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Well, I guess it's been a while since I was on here– my wonderful job is keeping me pretty busy, but I love it. So far, whenever anyone asks me what I do and I explain, most of them give me look of sympathy that I have a boring job where I read regulatory documents all day, then I tell them how much I enjoy it and the next look I get from them is more a look of, "Stay away from the crazy person" but I figure there's got to be someone who enjoys this kind of thing.
Earlier this week, I was reading a decision issued by the Alberta Utilities Commission. I came across a little gem of random vocabulary that I though some of you might enjoy. This is all on the public record, available on the AUC website, so I can be absolutely sure I'm not in breach of any of my confidentiality agreements.
"In the view of the MSA this will help to ensure fulsome* and rigorous discussion, in furtherance of the ultimate determination by the Commission.
And later on down the page: *Although the word ‘fulsome’ could mean characterized by abundance and copious supply, this meaning of the word usually connotes a situation of excess. The word’s other meanings, and the most commonly cited ones in any dictionary, are: offensive to the tastes generally, either morally or aesthetically, and exceeding the bounds of good taste. The Commission, however, assumes that the MSA did not intend any of these meanings, but rather meant more complete or comprehensive."
I thought it was hilarious that the AUC had to clarify that the MSA was calling the rigorous consultation progress neither morally nor aesthetically offensive, but rather complete. Kudos to the MSA for using the word 'fulsome' in the first place. MSA, you rock my world.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
One of the things I thought about a lot while in Finland was cross-country skiing. It seemed like my last 5 months were a continuous tempt-fest of kids hauling their skis out after school and skiing all over the woods while I tracted. I was so jealous of these lucky Finnish preteens who lived in a place where impeccable ski trails and virgin snow in the forest was halfway between their apartment and their neighbourhood school. I couldn't wait to get out to the mountains when I got home.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Number of kilometers travelled in a single day: 1,517
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I'm not sure how many people I've told about my goal for the summer, but for those of you who weren't around during my post-mission goal-setting frenzy, I've been training for a triathlon this summer. Last semester, that took the form of riding my bike to school as long as the weather held, going for a run every few weeks when I wasn't sick, and going to the gym maybe four times.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Valentine's Day was so much cooler when I was in the third grade. You had a ton of fun making the mandatory cards for everyone in your class, and then you got to spend an entire afternoon at school decorating envelopes to be your Valentine mailbox, eating cupcakes, and playing various red-and-pink themed games. You chugged cinnamon hearts and got to scarf down those yummy jujube hearts, all the while telling funny jokes with Necco conversation hearts (whoever came up with the "fax me" one is my hero).