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Canada Post vs UPS

28 Nov

I know, I know, we are all cranky with Canada Post because they are on strike during the holiday season throwing all our parcel delivery dates out the window. But ya know what? Even though we, the consumer, are cranky, and the Canada Post employees are having a crappy time right now, their customer service is still amazing.

When I was out yesterday I got a phone call, I couldn’t answer because I was driving and I sorta forgot about it. Once I got home and was chilling I checked and it turned out I had a voicemail. I was expecting it to be a scam call because there had been no caller ID but instead it was my mail carrier, from Canada Post.

She left me a voicemail saying she had a parcel for me she didn’t want to leave at the door and was wondering if I would be home at some point today so she could bring it back to me.

shocked

The shock is real.

Can you believe that? I sure couldn’t!

I called her back, left a rambling voicemail about how I was home now but what time I was leaving and how I did have a parcel waiting for me when I got home so maybe she ran in to my land lord and gave it to him, or maybe there is a second one, I’m not sure, and then I left my number, thanked her I don’t know how many times, and hung up. It was quite possibly the most ridiculous voicemail I have ever left a person. *rolls eyes*

She texted back, probably grateful she didn’t have to actually talk to the crazy person, saying the parcel I had was the one she was talking about, she did in fact run in to my land lord as he was coming home so she left it with him.

This, is in contrast to when I was coming around the corner of the house last week and the UPS guy was delivering a box that had the word “Fragile” written on every side of the box in massive font and he literally dropped the box on to cement steps. And I don’t mean dropped from a short distance so it is no big deal, I mean from standing height he threw it down, the box made a huge thud noise when it hit. Pretty sure he wasn’t expecting someone to appear from around the corner and catch him being a jerk. Tsk Tsk UPS.

I’ll admit, I don’t know much about why Canada Post is striking, and I definitely made some of the jokes about how they always strike leading up to Christmas, and I also whined about parcels being late because of the rotating closures, but with customer service like that I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut because those mail carriers are doing a physically demanding job, that allows me to be lazy and shop from home vs going in to stores, and if they feel they need to strike to get fair treatment than who am I to judge? Plus, my mail carrier is awesome and I want her happy!

parcel

The all important parcel!

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Pet Parent Guilt

18 Nov

Anybody who has a pet that they consider to be part of the family is probably familiar with Pet Parent Guilt. That guilt that settles on your shoulders when your pet is unhappy, or sick, or living anything less than their perfect life.

The cat that owns me (because that is definitely how our relationship goes! lol) is unhappy, and the only things I can do to make him better long-term are making him miserable short-term, sigh.

Last week I came home late and found Striker had ripped out a chunk of fur from his neck / upper chest area. The exposed skin was raw and weeping and looked like it must hurt terribly. I scooped him up, kinda freaking out because omg I was looking at a chunk of sore looking skin and what does he do? He starts purring and acting like everything is cool.

What. The. Hell.

Of course this happens at night, on a long weekend, because cats definitely have excellent timing. *rolls eyes*

We went to bed and he slept like the angel he most definitely isn’t while I kept waking up to check on him. In the morning while I was distracted getting ready for work he started messing with the area and made it bleed. The fur in that area is white so he looked like he’d been through some sort of massacre. Again with me freaking out and not knowing what to do, and being even more panicky because I had to go to work and no vets in my area would be open on the stat Monday. While at work I was telling some co-workers what was going on and they told me about a new 24/7 vet hospital near-ish work that had opened. So I did what any sane person would do, I left work 2 hours early so I could go check this place out and see if I could get Striker in to see someone.

The place looked nice, I spoke with someone about what to do to treat Striker at home, and off I went to buy gauze, and Polysporin for kids, and more gauze. Then for the fun part, bandaging a cat’s neck, which is kind of like taking your life in your hands, only you’re putting your life in the hands of the cat’s claws and that is much much worse. πŸ˜‰

Surprisingly he let me put polysporin on his wound, and wrap gauze around his neck (and a bit around his torso to make it harder for him to get it off), without any complaint. He then went in to “I can’t function” mode because putting anything around his neck or body is like putting kryptonite around Superman, makes him unable to do anything and collapse where he is. He is quite dramatic about the whole thing, which is hilarious when it is me putting his harness on because we are about to travel or putting his Christmas sweater on for a quick photo op, but makes me feel horrible when it is a bandage that is going to have to stay on for a while.

Being the crazy cat lady that I am I arranged for my Tuesday shift at work to be covered, cancelled on my friend that I work out with Tuesday nights, cut back everything I had to do all week to the bare minimum so I spent as much time at home with Striker as possible. All he wanted to do was curl up either on or right beside me, so that is what we did. I sat and he picked where he wanted to cuddle, and we both spent hours not doing much more than that. Turns out you can end up napping due to sheer boredom, who knew? We worked daily bandage changes in to our routine and each time I tried something new in an attempt to make it more comfortable for him, harder to get off, and harder to damage with claws…I won’t say I was all that successful but points to him for enduring all the things I tried out on him.

It’s been a week and we have downgraded to a bandanna around his neck. This wasn’t actually my choice so much as when I was at work Friday he got the bandage that was under the bandanna off and I thought we’d give wearing just the bandanna a try. He scratches at the bandanna and twirls it around his neck, which is kind of adorable, but also results in fabric damage. Only two days of wearing it and I had to take it off yesterday because it was shredded and I was worried he’d end up eating pieces of it. sigh. My hope was the area was far enough along in the healing process he didn’t need anything covering it anymore but he got all obsessive about cleaning that area and he was getting dangerously close with his back claws when he was scratching his neck so I found some cloth I could wrap around his neck, just temporarily, until I can find something better to put on him.

I can’t figure out if the area is actually itchy or if he was messing with it just because…I mean, he is a cat, I can see him messing with it just to screw with me lol

So this is where we are at. I have guilt because he was unhappy enough, or itchy enough, or whatever enough, that he took out a chunk of his own fur, hurting himself, and even though it has been a week he is still miserable because I keep wrapping things around his neck.

A random thing, how impressive is it that this wonderfully complex creature sits so quietly and lets me wrap things around his neck, he doesn’t even try to get away, just waits till I am done. The level of trust that he has in me is humbling.

Another random thing, when he is upset he stops eating and drinking, which is another thing I have been stressing about. Until I realized if I bring his water dish to him and encourage him to drink he will, and if I bring his food to him and encourage him to eat he will. For days I have been serving him where ever he has decided to rest all in an effort to keep him hydrated and fed…which seems to have created a bit of a monster because not only did I serve him I also put dishes of food and water on a table that is the same height as my bed so he could easily reach them when I had to go out, and now he meows at me to refill those dishes before we go to bed so he can have late night snacks without actually having to leave the bed. What have I done?!

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So graceful, so majestic, so spoiled.

Green Dragons

27 Oct

Every year my dragon boat team has a season end party, it is always a potluck and I always take a dessert because, well, that is what I know how to make lol Last year I took a cupcake cake shaped like a dragon and felt like I should take something this year also dragon themed. But what to take? I did some internet snooping to look for inspiration and came up with this…

IMG_2417

Green Dragons!

Ok yes, admittedly he is a bit ghetto looking, but he was the first one made and there was a bit of a learning curve for how to move them around once they were frosted lol In the end I resorted to using an offset spatula to scoop them up and move them to their carrying container, and even then some of them lost frosting on their torsos. *rolls eyes* Looking back I realize I should have frosted and decorated them a couple hours prior to when I had to package them up, give the frosting time to set a bit, instead of packing them as soon as they were decorated. My impatience was showing. πŸ˜‰

They are super easy to make, and would probably be a fun adult and kid project. Especially since you don’t have to decorate them to make them look like a dragon.

The base is Rice Krispie squares, only cut in to rectangles to give more of a “body” impression vs just a head. Cause ya know, totally normal to eat the entire body of an animal, but it’d be weird if it was just a decorated head…

Start with a tray of Rice Krispie treats, made exactly as the box says. Let them cool completely before cutting.

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While the treats are cooling you can whip up some buttercream frosting, dye it any colour you want, and prep your decorations.

I bought the eyes ready made because it is halloween and candy eyes are everywhere, so why not take advantage? All the other decorations are candies that I manipulated. I cut a Fruit By The Foot in to triangles for the ears. I pulled apart a pull apart Twizzler and then cut the strips short to make spiky hair. I found this white malleable candy at the dollar store to make the fangs. Lastly, I used Smarties for the nostrils.

Originally I wanted to make them all uniform, so if the frosting was going to be green than I wanted green spiky hair and ears. However, candy companies are not thinking of my baking decoration needs so I couldn’t find things that would work all in green, or all of any colour so I changed my mind and decided to go rainbow themed. After all, just because a dragon has a green body, who says he can’t show his individuality by dying his spiky hair? And who says genetics would make his ears green? Maybe dragons thrive on showing their personality by having multi-coloured hair. Or maybe they are a mix of colours to better blend in with the unicorns and rainbows.

The point is, there are no rules when it comes to stuff like this, so I purposefully went colourful. Having said that, I opened the bag of Smarties and they were all muted colours. When did Smarties stop being vibrant and instead become pastel and blah looking? That was kind of a let down, sigh.

Here is the candy prepped and ready for use. I had no idea how much I would need so I guessed…and definitely over estimated on the amount of hair I would need lol

Once your candy is prepped, your frosting is made, and your Rice Krispies are cooled all you do is cut the Rice Krispies, eat one for quality control, frost and decorate to your hearts content.

I would frost and decorate then move on to the next one instead of frost them all and then move on to the decorating part. You need the frosting to be soft enough it will accept you sticking candy in to it so if you wait to decorate until all of them are frosted it might be harder.

There was also going to be a line drawn in black gel frosting between the fangs to create a mouth but I thought that was too risky. Frosting Rice Krispie treats is not easy, well, not easy in the sense they are bumpy and will never look good, and that mouth was just going to end up wobbly and unattractive, so I left their mouth area as just having fangs. I think that part looked ok though so no biggy.

Voila! Green Dragons!

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Definitely not my best work, and I’m sorry I didn’t test them out the week prior to discover I wasn’t going to like how they turned out so I could make something else, but oh well. They are cute in a kid type of way, which is why I think its a great idea as an adult and kid project. Just maybe not quite right for an adult’s dragon boat season end party.

I’m already plotting for next year though, just you wait, it is gonna be great!…hopefully lol πŸ˜‰

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

18 Oct

I’m a bad food blogger. You’ll understand why I wrote that once you see the one, sad, pathetic, picture I took of the pumpkin cake. *rolls eyes*

The baking part I’m good at, just not the documenting part…oops?

The recipe was originally called Pumpkin Cake Bars, which led me to believe the cake would come out firm and, oh I don’t know, bar like? Oh how wrong I was. The cake came out super moist and very cake like, not at all like a bar. Which kinda messed with my plan for the final product.

See, I had intended to bake the bars and use them for two separate events, oh, did I mention this all happened two weekends ago, for Thanksgiving? Yet one more example of how I don’t rock at this whole food blogging thing…but let’s ignore that shall we? πŸ˜‰

I was going to a small get together on the Sunday and then a Thanksgiving dinner on the Monday. The plan was to make these bars and take half to each event. Since they were supposed to be bars it made sense they would be plated as an already cut item, like if I’d taken Nanaimo Bars. You wouldn’t bring Nanaimo Bars to a party and not already have them cut and plated right? I’m going to pretend you’re nodding your head in agreement right now and not googling “Nanaimo Bar”.Β  So if these bars were cut and plated when I took them to each event it wouldn’t be obvious that I didn’t bring the entire quantity. Not like I cut a cake in half and you can see the inside of the cake along the cut edge!

Except that these bars came out as cake, not bars, which meant the cut that exposed the inside of the cake was super obvious…

For the Sunday event I tried cutting half the cake as bars but it didn’t work very well. It just looked like I was bringing cut pieces of cake, which I was if we want to get technical about it. Also, the top of the cake was tacky to the touch, which I also wasn’t expecting. Seriously, it is a very moist cake! This wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d had time to do a crumb coat with the frosting but I didn’t, so I ended up with crumbs in the frosting. A personal pet peeve of mine.

Now, to be fair, I seem to be the only one with an issue with this cake. The people at both events really liked it and didn’t seem to care at all about the crumbs in the frosting or that it was supposed to be a bar recipe and it came out a proper cake instead. So perhaps I am too focused on the look of the food when other people are more concerned about the taste?

The Ingredients:

4 large eggs

1 2/3 C white sugar

1 C vegetable oil

1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree

2 C all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

6 ounces cream cheese

6 Tbl butter, softened

3 C confectioners sugar

The Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F

Grease and flour a 9×13 pan

In a large mixing bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin.

In a different bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix thoroughly.

Pour in to the prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, allow to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

Beat cream cheese, softened butter, and confectioners sugar together. Evenly spread over the bars after they are cooled.

Ok, so that is the original recipe, here is how I changed it!

I added 1/2 tsp nutmeg and a 1/2 tsp cloves to the dry ingredients at the same time I added the cinnamon. Next time I would bump up the quantity of all three seasonings as I found the flavour to be quite subtle, but that could just be me because everyone else seemed to love it as-is.

The frosting makes a huge amount, way more than you need. I would say you could easily make half the quantity and still have plenty to frost the cake, because this really is a cake.

Oh, and I never “grease and flour” a pan, I just spray with baking spray, or sometimes I soften some butter and spread that on the pan, but I don’t do the flour bit. The cake came out of the pan no problem, so I say grease the pan in whatever way your normal style is, it should be fine.

And here, the one, lone, sad, picture of a piece of the cake…go ahead, laugh, I deserve it…*big epic sigh*

 

pumpkin cake 2

crumbs in the frosting, I don’t even want to look at it πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

Cat Tales: Flight Instinct

16 Oct

The poor cat.

Yesterday I was in the bathroom and I heard a noise from the kitchen. It sounded like a glass or cup fell, but didn’t break. Thing is, I only had two mugs out, both were sitting on top of the stove and from what I remembered, neither was near the edge.

So what fell…and how?

When I step in to the kitchen I see the cat’s water bowl on the opposite side of the kitchen from where it normally is, the water that is usually in the bowl is all over the floor, and the cat is nowhere to be found.

What. The. Heck.

I’m more worried about the cat than the water so I step over the little pond that is now on my kitchen floor and call out for Striker. I noticed him hiding in the living room, behind the ottoman, looking so worried. I step towards him, softly ask what happened, and the poor little guy comes running over, jumps in to my arms and clings to me.

I don’t know what happened, but whatever it was scared the bejeezus out of the poor guy.

The only thing to be done at that point was hold him, reassure him, for a couple minutes I basically stood there, with his head tucked under my chin, his claws gripping my sweater, while I rocked back and forth…imagine how you instinctively move when trying to soothe a baby, that was me, with the cat.

He kept looking over at where his water bowl usually is, like he was making sure things were ok. I kept looking over wondering if whatever scared him was going to reappear. I’m imagining a massive spider scaring him while he was drinking, and I’m just waiting for it to pop back out from wherever it is hiding so I can scream like a ninny and then kill it.

Both the cat and I are afraid of spiders but only one of us kills them, the other one hides behind the one killing the spiders…sigh…

You know how there is that whole “fight or flight” thing we all have? He only has flight.

At least he knows he can jump in to my arms and I’ll make things better. Soooo, a smart scaredey cat?

striker 1

Must be exhausting being so cute.

The Purse Is Innocent

13 Oct

I yelled at my purse today. You read that right, I yelled…at my purse, cause ya know, apparently I’m a psycho. *rolls eyes*

yelling

Pretty sure I don’t look this impressive when yelling…

I’m not usually that person who catches every cold bug that floats around. Not saying I don’t get sick, just that when I do it usually hits hard, lasts three days or so, then goes away, and it doesn’t happen frequently.

Except for this fall, it would seem my immune system has chosen a new life path, that doesn’t involve defending my body from germs, and now I am getting sick far more often than normal while my immune system is doing who knows what! Maybe taking a nap on a beach without me? Hibernating? Reading a book? Wherever those little white blood cells are they better be happy because if I ever see them again I’m…I was about to threaten them but who are we kidding? If they come back and start working again I’ll be super grateful for two days then I’ll forget about them and go about my regular routine. sigh.

The end of September I caught a cold that had me off work for a day, and feeling like crap for a bit over a week. Just when I thought I was better it had a resurgence (which I really feel shouldn’t be allowed), and I was sick for another week or so. Eventually I was able to breath through my nose again, not feel like I needed to nap every hour, and my body stopped alternating between being feverish and chilled, basically, I got better. Yay!

Last night I went to bed with a sore throat and a freezing body and a just in general feeling of ick, I was hopeful I would sleep off whatever it was and wake up fine.

Obviously I am delusional.

unicorn meme

The cat woke me up around 8am because he decided puking up a hairball on my bed was a good life choice, the sound had me springing in to action, carting him as fast as possible to a room with linoleum floors so he can be sick there. Lovely way to wake up. Just lovely.

When the cat was on the floor and I was waiting for him to finish so I could clean up after him, (I lead such a glamorous life lol), I realized my throat was still killing me, talking was not a thing that I was going to attempt, and I felt like crap. Again. I texted a co-worker who covers shifts and arranged for her to work for me and crawled back in to bed, so I could be unconscious while I felt like crap.

Alternating between sleeping and sort-of sleeping is how I (and the cat) spent most of Saturday. When I (and the cat) eventually got out of bed it was to sit in the living room, still in pj’s, and cuddle under a blanket while mindlessly watching YouTube and wishing for the energy to make a cup of tea.

I really like living alone but would definitely appreciate someone being around when I am too sick to want to function…when will personal robots finally be a thing? I need a robot…

Hibernating all day, while tempting, wasn’t a thing I could do because I had to go buy cat food. The world of pet care doesn’t stop just because I don’t feel well after all, so to the store I went!

If I was going out I was going to run more than one errand so I stopped at two shops for various things as well as returned some books to the library…during all this was when my patience snapped and I yelled at my purse, like a loon.

It was so stupid, I was just back in my car after being in shop number one, feeling frustrated because I’m tired and having trouble staying focused on what I’m doing (so a super safe driver obviously πŸ˜‰ ) not getting all the items I needed from that store because they don’t carry everything advertised in their flyer (it is a small location) and I was trying to put my phone back in the little pocket in my purse, where it lives, in the dark while not looking. Something, fyi, I can normally do. Well, tonight I couldn’t. For some reason it didn’t matter how much I tried I couldn’t find the pocket and instead of just looking, or turning on a light, or doing any of the number of things that would make this task easy, I yelled at the purse. Not like a full on screaming match at it or anything, just a couple words yelled in frustration.

Frustration that isn’t actually aimed at the purse, it was just a handy target, but frustration that is aimed at me, and being sick again, and not functioning as well as I normally do, and thinking of how being sick yet again is going to impact my coming days. There goes some social plans I had, won’t be going to the gym, or for any hikes in the last of our nice weather, my brain is foggy so my focus is sucky which makes everything seem harder, my energy levels today were barely existent so all my daily tasks (like dishes) will tire me out more than normal leaving less energy for fun stuff, I’m missing two shifts at work so my pay cheque is going to suffer, a lot.

I know its petty, and such a whiny first world problem kind of thing to be complaining about. Oh woe is me, I’m sick again so I won’t be going on a hike. Life could be so much worse, and I know that. Right now however, in this moment, in my little section of the world, my being sick is what is affecting me the most, and that it is happening again, so close to the last time I was sick, is really pissing me off.

And apparently I’m taking out that anger on my purse, by yelling at it. Good thing the purse doesn’t have feelings or I’d be feeling sick as well as contrite for taking my anger out another.

For now though, the cat and I are going to crawl back in to bed, and try to sleep our way through my being sick…well, I’m going to try to sleep my way through being sick, he is just going to enjoy having an inert body around more than normal that he can lay on.

striker on back

He is laying on my back.Β  As long as he’s comfy, right?

Book Review: Jar of Hearts

4 Oct

You know what I should never ever do? Start a book at 11:30pm. Why should I not do this? Because if it is a good book I will keep reading and next thing I know it is 3:30am and I should be in bed. Oops?

I have zero regrets though, I like reading, it was a good book, I had nowhere to be the next day, and the entire time I was reading the cat was lightly snoring on my legs, so we were both happy. πŸ™‚ And really, isn’t it about making the cat happy?

The book Jar Of Hearts is by Jennifer Hillier and is definitely worth your time. πŸ™‚

jar of hearts

I don’t want to give anything away so let’s see if I can figure out a way to talk about the story while keeping all the good stuff secret…

The story’s point of view alternates between Geo and Kaiser – can I just say, on a random note, I don’t care for the name Kaiser, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the story so I’ll move on from that.

They knew each other in high school, along with their friend Angela. Back when they were all still in high school Angela went missing and things were never the same. Kaiser and Geo stopped being friends, the mystery of Angela went unsolved, eventually people moved on. Now, fourteen years after the disappearance, Angela’s remains have been found and the book starts at a trial where Geo is testifying about what happened to Angela all those years ago and Kaiser is a detective involved in solving the case.

The story jumps back and forth between current time and fourteen years prior, both from Geo’s pov and Kaisers. It is interesting to see how each perceived things back when they were teenagers and how they handle things now.

Five years after the trial Geo and Kaiser are brought back together when new remains are discovered that have a strong resemblance to how Angela’s were when found.

There are twists in the book that were very well written, and yes some things I figured out before they were revealed, but I didn’t figure out everything, and some things got resolved in a way I didn’t see coming. It was a nice mixture of curiosity, suspense, surprise, and general enjoyment while reading.

Oh, and according to an author note left at the back of the book she uses the same fictional town in other books she has written so if you have read her other books you will have recognized past characters popping up. I love when authors do that! Gives a sense of familiarity and comfort, and for me anyways, it makes it seem like those characters are still out there, doing their thing, not just forgotten by their creator…but that’s probably just me being a tad crazy, shrug.

I liked this book enough I’m going to go hunt up more by her, I’ll just have to make sure to not start them at 11:30pm if I have anywhere to be the next day!

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