My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

4 Articles in January 2013

  1. The infinite majesty of the snow day

    For the last two weeks, I took the bus between Bury and Thetford to get to work, since the teacher who normally gives me a ride was off on paternity leave. The bus ride itself is pleasant and not that long (nor is it ever crowded), although the twenty-minute walk to and from the bus station can be inconvenient when you’re half-awake in the morning or tired at the end of the day! I would leave twenty minutes early, set a brisk pace with my long legs and some energetic music (Florence, Amanda Palmer, and Of Monsters and Men are high on my list these days), and venture forth into the darkness. Then we got snow, which was exciting but didn’t necessarily make those walks easier.

    Last Wednesday, I woke up to find the ground covered in a thin layer of snow. It wasn’t much by my Canadian standards—I brought neither my heavy winter coat nor my snow boots, and I don’t regret that decision so far. I pulled on my running shoes, tossed my dress shoes in my bag, and made my usual trek to the bus station. My bus was on time despite the snowfall, and I got…

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  2. Goodbye, Grandma

    Last week I got a Facebook message from my sister: “Grandma died this morning. Mom is OK. She just wanted you to know.”

    My maternal grandmother was 78 years old. Her death was not a surprise but rather the conclusion to a slow decline that had begun a year prior. My grandmother had diabetes, and had coped with it for decades. Until a few years ago, she had also seemed to be reasonably healthy given her age and medical condition. Complications to her circulation, however, necessitated surgeries, which themselves caused more problems. For the past year, she had been in and out of the hospital—and when home, she was still confined to a bed. This was a trying time for my grandfather and mother (not to mention Grandma herself). Grandpa wanted Grandma to be at home, but taking care of her and meeting her needs was a daunting task. Yet constantly bouncing from hospital to home was stressful in its own way. It was a vicious and unforgiving cycle, and recently we had reached the point where no one was giving us good news. Despite the occasional days of seeming to rally, my grandmother was not going to get better…

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  3. You can go home again

    I’ve spent the past eleven days back home in Thunder Bay, enjoying my break and catching up with friends and family. It has been good. I have reconnected with our cats, who began merrily disassembling the Christmas tree one ornament at a time approximately an hour after we put it up. I saw my 3.5-year-old nephew and gave him some gifts courtesy Scotland. I hung out with my mom, watching movies and drinking tea and baking cinnamon buns. And I did much the same with my dad, minus the cinnamon bun part (he did bake two pumpkin pies, though, while I happened to be in the house—does that count?). I saw a few groups of friends, learned how to play Cards Against Humanity, Munchkin, and a few other fun games. Good times.

    Now they are over, and I fly back to Toronto in slightly more than four hours. From there, I take an 8 pm flight back to England and a four hour coach trip up to Bury. Perhaps my least favourite part of travelling (aside from the travelling) is how much time it consumes! However, there is nothing I can do about that. I can only make…

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  4. Top 10 best and worst books read in 2012

    As I’ve done for the past four years, I now present my top 10 best and worst books that I read last year. This was a good year for reading. Although I’m not quite back up to where I want to be, at around 150 books per year, I beat last year’s total by ten books. And once again, I read only four 1-star books—though I gave up on four books, the most I’ve ever abandoned in a single year. I don’t like giving up on books; I like sticking through to the bitter end and then writing a snazzy invective of them. But some of the books I tried to read last year just weren’t working, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to write cogent reviews of them, so I decided to move on to the next one on the list.

    Speaking of the list, here are the lists:

    You’ll notice you can’t comment on this blog post. For the past year or so, I’ve been receiving an increasingly impressive amount of spam on my blog, which baffles me because I don’t know where my blog…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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