Scarf Season

19 Nov

Last year Striker (the cat) scratched so much at his neck he created a bald sore spot. And by spot I mean decently large sized wound. It took a lot of gauze neck wraps, kid polysporin, and me physically stopping him from getting to the scab when it hit the itchy stage, before it all healed up.

This is when he started wearing scarves. He hit a point in his healing where he didn’t need a gauze wrap but he did need something around his neck to make it harder for him to scratch the scab. My friend L made him a scarf, which he loved! So then she made him two more, and cat scarf season officially became a thing.

He never wanted me to take them off, if I did he’d get upset and try to get it back on. They were sized to be loose enough he could easily slip it off if he chose, I was worried about the scarves being a choking hazard if he got up to mischief while I was at work, but he never took them off. Unlike the gauze wraps I tried my best to make impossible to take off, which he got off multiple times. Cats!

Today I got home after work and exercise class to a fur massacre on my chair.

Of course he pulled out the white fur and left it on my black chair. He is nothing if not dramatic.

So I did what any sane person would do, I pinned him on his back on the bed and made him let me look at his neck and what did I see when I moved fur around but an area he’d yanked that fur from and the beginnings of an owie. Oh, and in case you worry I was hurting him, he was purring through all this because he thought it was a game, or a chance to get a good chin and neck scratch.

We had a good long cuddle, where I alternated between reminding him about last year and how much it hurt and how annoying the gauze was and how stressed he made his human, and just holding him and giving him love and telling him he was perfect and I’m so sorry this happened again.

Yeah I’m a sap, so what?

Then I grabbed his favourite of the three scarves and it instantly became Scarf Season.

scarf season 2019

So dapper. So handsome. So stress causing.

He hasn’t taken it off yet and it has been a couple hours. In fact he’s sleeping in the blanket fort I make for him every night and seems perfectly content. Let’s hope the scarf stops this whole situation from becoming like last year, and instead we can just enjoy a lovely, slightly longer, Scarf Season 2019.

Oh, and if anyone has a tip for where to get him more scarves I’d appreciate it, I feel bad asking my friend to make more when she doesn’t even make them for her cat.

WestJet Scam

16 Nov

I’ve been on the lookout for a seat sale to get back to my family for Christmas. There is mild panic starting to settle in now that it is mid November and I still don’t have a ticket. Usually there is a seat sale in October, I buy the cat and myself a ticket, and I’m done, nothing to worry about. But this year it is like they are purposefully not having seat sales on the days I need to travel. Like its some sort of travel conspiracy!

Anyways! I was comparing Air Canada and WestJet today, thinking I might have to suck it up and buy a full priced ticket but at least go with whichever company is cheapest…and yes I know WestJet is owned by Air Canada but they are still kind of separate companies, aren’t they?

air canada vs westjet

I had to call WestJet because I wasn’t positive Striker (the cat) could travel on a WestJet plane around Christmas time and their website wasn’t being super useful. The person who answered the phone was quite nice, answered my questions, was unable to tell me if any sales were coming up (I didn’t think she’d be able to tell me but hey, a girl can try!), and didn’t pressure me to buy the plane tickets I was inquiring about.

About ten minutes later, if that, I got a phone call on my cell from Malaysia. I don’t know anybody in Malaysia, and none of my friends are currently travelling there, so I probably shouldn’t have answered but I wanted to hear what scam it was. What can I say, I’m curious.

The automated voice on the line said that my flight confirmation number for my WestJet flight was chosen as the winner and I have won a flight to blah blah blah. To be honest, I forget where it said I won a flight to because I was so horrified at the call.

scam alert

Now, obviously it was a scam because (1) calls like that always are (2) I hadn’t bought a ticket so I didn’t have a flight confirmation number and (3) calls like that always are! Don’t be scammed people!

What a freaky specific call to get, right after talking to WestJet and going to their website on a computer to check flights.

So uh yeah, I’m not a huge freak out person when it comes to big brother or conspiracies or things like that, but this definitely gave me a start.

I mean, what the hell, how did that even happen?

Sure, it could be coincidence, but whose gonna believe that?

Creepy times I tell ya. Creepy.

Necks are Stupid

14 Nov

You would think that evolution could come up with something better than a neck to hold up our weighty heads. sigh.

The other night I must have slept funny because I woke up with a sore neck and a headache. Not cool. But whatever right? I mean, the world isn’t going to stop and pat me on the head because I’m not feeling 100%…though, wouldn’t it be nice if it did?

On my drive to work I realized necks are stupid.

Follow my logic here…

If my shoulder was hurting I would rest my arm in a way that took pressure off the shoulder, so the shoulder could rest. Same with an ankle, an elbow, a wrist, all kinds of body parts But a neck or a head hurting? Can’t exactly prop it up on something to ease the pain while still going about your day. Well, unless your day involved not moving.

What the hell evolution, you couldn’t come up with something better? *rolls eyes*

So there you have it, my weird rant of the day. I’ve decided necks are stupid, and I’m keeping my eye on backs because they strike me as a bratty body part when hurt also. 😉

"To the right, stupid. . . to the right!"

Even giraffes know necks are trouble!

 

Circle Craft Holiday Market

12 Nov

I finally got to go to the Circle Craft Holiday Market! It is a yearly market downtown that is always held on a long weekend. I wasn’t able to attend in the past because I was working but my days off have changed and when my friend asked if I wanted to go I didn’t even pause to think, I just said yes!

A Holiday Market? Hell yeah!

I went in with a budget, which I’m pretty sure I went over. I went in with the plan to buy Christmas presents, I mostly bought stuff for myself. I went in with a plan to buy a healthy meal at some point in the day, instead I ate all the samples.

Suffice to say, the day didn’t go as planned, which I’m glad about because the fun was spontaneous, I like the stuff I bought, and the samples were free!…which in my version of math helps offset the cost of oh say, the necklace I bought… 😉

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It was definitely not crowded, I guess most people went on the first and second day it was open? I like that it wasn’t crowded, no fighting to see the displays, easy to walk around without getting bumped, it was much more relaxing than some of the Christmas events I’ve been to. Plus, it was inside so we were cozy warm. 🙂

 

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One of my favourite booths was a company called JusTea. It is a Vancouver based, family run business. They go to Africa a couple times a year and source all their tea from there. The tea is all ethically sourced, and some of them are picked (or is the right word harvested?) by a woman’s co-op. Each tin has a picture of one of the farmers on it, so you can see who was making your tea leaves. The teas smell amazing! I kept taking deep inhales of the teas like I was trying to get high from them or something lol but really, it was just because it smelled that good. There was a fruity tea called Purple Rain that not only smelled delicious but had a taste to match. In the end I bought African Breakfast, which is their version of an English Breakfast or Orange Pekoe. It is a mixture of different tea leaves which gives it a more complex taste. Each tin also comes with a hand crafted spoon that took 9 hours to make. 9 hours on a spoon, talk about a personal touch! The gentleman manning the booth mentioned that when you want to buy more you can go to their store and they will sell it to you in a compostable bag, so you can refill your already existing tin, and not create garbage when throwing out the bag. Why doesn’t every company do that? That little touch makes me love them even more. Here is their website if you want to check them out: https://justea.com/

Another great booth is abeego, they sell reusable beeswax wraps that you can use to keep your food fresh and protected, whether it is covering the top of a bowl of leftovers you have in the fridge or wrapped around the sandwich you’re taking to work. I actually own a set of these, they were a gift, and I haven’t used them yet because they kinda freak me out. Instead of buying any at this booth I just grilled them to get a better understanding of how they work and I am kinda amazed. The beeswax has antibacterial properties so you don’t need to worry about your beeswax wrap touching your food. Like you see in the picture you can wrap it around the cut end of a vegetable (their sample is a cucumber) and it will keep the end fresh. You can take your cheese out of the plastic and wrap it in a beeswax wrap and the cheese will stay fresh and mold free longer. They are fairly low maintenance for care, rinse them off using cold water, use a mild dish soap if you really want, then let them air dry. They can be rolled or folded for storage. An important thing to remember is not to get them hot, they are made out of beeswax after all, and what does beeswax do when it gets warm? It melts. So if you’re putting hot left overs in a bowl and want to use the beeswax sheet to cover the bowl, wait until the food is room temperature before covering the bowl. Pretty easy right? Oh, and when they finally reach the end of their life, which is when they stop sticking to surfaces or itself (this can take a year or more to happen) you can either compost it or rip it up and use it as a fire starter when you next go camping. Which for me will be never, so compost it is! I’ve gone from wondering “what the hell I am supposed to do with these beeswax wraps?” to “I can’t wait to use these!” Super glad I stopped and talked with them. Oh, and they are also locally made and ship anywhere so if you are interested their website is: https://canada.abeego.com/

I bought myself a necklace I absolutely 100% do not need, but really wanted, and apparently wanting it mattered more in the moment than needing it lol

Again, a Canadian made product, well, work of art really. The holes in the charm are the Capricorn constellation, my constellation. It is simple, and pretty, and I can see myself wearing it often. She also had a necklace I’m regretting I didn’t get a picture of that is the word fuck, dangling down so you’d have to turn your head sideways to be able to read it if you were looking at someone wearing it. I actually also really wanted that one, but since I spend the majority of my time at work, where I would not be able to wear it, I opted for the one I could actually wear and enjoy on a daily basis. Go figure lol Rachael, the artist, has a lot of beautiful pieces, and since Christmas (and other holidays) are coming up you may want to check out her website at http://www.laughingsparrow.ca This was my most expensive purchase at the Market, and while I wish jewellery didn’t cost so much I can understand why a hand made piece, that is sourced from sustainable materials can’t be cheap. You get what you pay for, and I feel I got something great that will last.

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The other edible things I purchased are a jar of Pink Grapefruit & Champagne preserve, which I will instantly make less fancy by putting on toast. I don’t know how to describe it other than delicious. The Preservatory is a business out of Langley BC, they focus on small batch artisanal preserves, and lemme tell ya, they are good at their niche. I have seen them in a shop called All of Oils in Surrey BC but hadn’t tried them until they offered samples. Man am I glad they offered samples. Their website is: https://thepreservatory.com/

Sweet Thea is a bakery out of Langley BC, they are where I got the cookies. I know the package says I bought Ginger Crinkle, and I did, but if you notice, not all the cookies in the bag look the same. That is because the friend I went with bought a bag of Chocolava cookies and we swapped three for three. I honestly don’t know which I like best. Normally I’d be saying of course the chocolate cookies, but the ginger is also incredibly good. They are soft cookies, both types, and just so decadent. We split one of each cookie in half so for our first cookie we got half of each and while normally I am that person to keep dipping in to the cookie package, I didn’t reach again. Not because they weren’t good, but because they were so satisfying I didn’t need more. I didn’t even know that was possible, did you? You can find their website at: https://www.sweetthea.com/home The lady we bought from wasn’t as friendly as people at the other booths but I’m going to assume that is because it was nearing the end of the day and she was probably tired after a long three days working the market. We may have gone at a quiet time but I’m sure the other days were much busier.

That deceptively simple Lemon Square package is hiding an amazing lemon coconut  square inside. That small square is meant to be cut in to four pieces! The flavour is so strong, not in a bad way, that you don’t need more than a small square to satisfy you. Well, in theory, I am not cutting and sharing that square lol  Here is their website: https://thelemonsquare.ca/

And lastly, Whiskey Marmalade by Blaire’s Confectionery. They are a company in Kamloops BC that makes Scottish treats. They had various types of marmalade, shortbread, fudge that isn’t fudge (apparently in Scotland it is called something different), and probably other yummy items that they didn’t have at the booth or I didn’t notice. Hey, I can’t manage to see everything ya know, especially when I am sampling shortbread and fudge that isn’t fudge lol Their website is being redesigned right now and when I tried to go to it was directed to check out their page on Facebook so if you want to find them I’d search for them there. I didn’t sample the marmalade, I hate marmalade, but I thought my brother might like it, so I got it as part of his Christmas present. Don’t worry, he doesn’t read my blog so no ruined surprise for him! I also wanted to buy the fudge that isn’t called fudge but couldn’t bring myself to spend $10 on a food indulgence…says the woman who ended up buying cookies and a lemon bar *rolls eyes*.

Can a couple pieces of art be anymore Canadian than a beaver in a canoe or a mama bear and cubs in a canoe? I’m thinking no.

So there you have it, an afternoon of wandering the booths, buying stuff, hanging with a friend, and enjoying my first Christmas activity of the season. Only 42 more days until Christmas!

11/11/2019

11 Nov

Remembrance Day. A day where we pay our respects to those in the military, past and present, who have kept us safe and make it possible for us to live freely.

poppies

I’ll admit, I don’t take part in any of the ceremonies that happen around here, and I don’t watch the live feed from Ottawa. Most years I am working and do my best to pause at 11am to have a purposeful thought of thanks. On years I’m not working I avoid the craziness of the crowds and have a quiet, reflective time at home. I don’t think there is anything wrong with finding your own way to honour those who have protected our freedom, isn’t one of the bonuses of being free being able to choose how to do something?

Every year I do a bit of research in to Remembrance Day, and this year here is what I learned:

  • it was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth and was originally called Armistice Day
  • from 1921 to 1930 Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week of November 11th, in 1931 a bill was introduced to observe Armistice Day only on November 11th, the bill changed the name to Remembrance Day, was passed and the first Remembrance Day was observed November 11th 1931
  • more than 2,300,000 Canadians have served in the military, and more than 118,000 have made the ultimate sacrifice

Whatever you are doing this November 11th, I hope you find time to send thanks out to the universe for those brave men and women who join the military, our country wouldn’t be what it is without them.

 

flanders field

My Protein Smoothie Skills

9 Nov

I used to make delicious protein smoothies. Which I know is a stupid thing to be blathering about but hey, if it is something you are eating (or drinking) daily, you want it to taste good, and fulfill your nutritional needs…but mostly taste good lol

My preference was for unflavoured protein powder because then it wouldn’t interfere with the flavours of the other ingredients, or have that gross artificial taste that so many of the powders have. Also, the tubs are huge, and I didn’t want to be committed to a specific flavour for so long. What if I buy chocolate because when shopping I want chocolate but three days later I’m not in a chocolate mood anymore? I’d rather buy unflavoured and switch up the other ingredients to make the protein smoothie taste however I want it that day.

I got off the protein smoothie bandwagon a while ago, so haven’t made one in ages. I did however, in a half-hearted attempt to get back in shape, buy some protein powder maybe a month or so ago and started experimenting with smoothie bowls.

They were not good.

At all.

I thought I didn’t have ratios of ingredients in there correctly, I thought because I was making them thicker, more ice cream texture, vs a drink, I’d messed something up. Then I realized that it was the powder I bought.

protein powder gross

When I was at Costco they had a powder on sale and I figured I’d give it a try. It is a smaller sized tub, wasn’t too expensive, and sure it came in vanilla flavour but vanilla goes well with so many fruits and I figured mixing it with water or milk for just a simple protein drink will make it suck less than when I did that with the unflavoured powder…though I did add some cinnamon to the unflavoured one to make it palatable, but that’s a whole other thing.

So! I bought the vanilla bean flavoured stuff and oh the regrets! It is not good. The flavour is that horrible fake flavour I was wanting to avoid and the powder does a crap job of dissolving when mixed, even when mixed in a blender. How is that even possible?

I’d heard I could take it back to Costco, even after it was opened and tested, but I didn’t have the receipt anymore, so I was stuck with it. Which meant I stuffed the container in the back of a cupboard and tried to justify buying a different type when I have a protein powder already. Oh the perils of being cheap and trying to avoid wasting food, sigh.

Out of nowhere I realized something that others would most likely have thought of way sooner, I could add some vanilla extract to the smoothie, force a truer vanilla flavour, and that might drown out the fake vanilla flavour.

Right?

Well, maybe, but worth a try!

So this evening I made a protein smoothie, there was the protein powder, milk (I used to use almond milk but didn’t have any so regular milk it is!) plain Greek yoghurt, one frozen banana, frozen peach slices (cause peaches and vanilla are two flavours that pair well), and a bit of vanilla extract.

After almost killing my blender, it apparently doesn’t care for frozen peach slices, I taste tested it and decided it was a bit bland, so I tossed in more frozen peach slices and hit puree. On the second taste test I figured it was ok enough to be palatable so poured it in to a cup and voila! Protein smoothie.

protein smoothie

Peach Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Uh, yeah, so apparently my skills at making a delish protein smoothie are a tad rusty. It was not bad, but not good. Nothing I’d Instagram about, which is saying something considering how many food pictures I have on there!

I’m hoping my skills at making a tasty and nutritious protein smoothie will return, maybe they just need practice, it has been a while after all. If they have deserted me, well, I guess that is why Pinterest has so many protein smoothie recipes pinned on boards!

protein smoothie drinking

Proof I drank it!

The Three Things

7 Nov

Tonight I baked two loaves of banana chocolate chip bread, and since I know nothing is believed without proof I’ll pop a picture in here once they are done in the oven. Until then, you’ll just have to believe that my apartment smells amazing. 😉

I really like to bake and yet I’ve hardly done any baking this past year. 2019 has most definitely not been a year of baking for me. When this baking project came up I got excited I’d be baking, which got me wondering why I was so excited, and since I have an hour long commute that gives me plenty of time to think about things…in depth.

The conclusion I came to is that I need three things to align perfectly in order for me to bake:

Time to bake.

Money to buy ingredients.

Energy to bake.

These three things may not seem all that important but this past year has been a perfect example of how with even one of these things missing, baking just isn’t happening. At least in my world.

If I have the money to buy ingredients I most likely don’t have the time to bake because I’m working all the time. If I have time to bake it is probably because I’ve not been working as many hours, which means I can’t afford ingredients. And if by magic I happen to have both time and money I am usually exhausted and don’t have the energy to care about baking.

Those three silly things all of a sudden add up to some annoying results don’t they?

Truthfully, I didn’t really have all three aligning this evening but the baking had to be done this evening because it is for something tomorrow and I gave my word I’d bring it so I had to force two of those three things to fit. Which I mean, fine, this one random time is ok, but I can’t always do that…so maybe I need to change some larger things in my world so those three things can align more often…looks like I have something to ponder on my next commute!

I do after all like to bake, and winter is perfect baking season…not only does it keep my apartment warm but people are more likely to eat what I bake, sweater weather tends to make people more forgiving with their meal plans lol

For now though, I’ll just be content that I got to bake something this evening and I’ll enjoy the warmth of the oven and the smell of the bread while they last.

(apologies for the slide show below, I couldn’t decide which angle I liked best so you’re stuck with all of them lol)

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