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Fruit Fly Invasion Update

5 Sep

In case you don’t know the first part of this story I’ll put a linkย hereย so you can read about the fruit fly invasion I was dealing with.

I say “dealing” like it is all in the past but it isn’t. sigh.

I thought I won the war, but I got smug and complacent and that was the fruit flies opening to re-invade my apartment. Wiley little things!

As I mentioned in my original post I had a battle plan and I did my best to not only kill the fruit flies that were hanging around but remove anything that would entice them to stay, or entice new ones to move in. This meant I did everything I could to remove their food sources, down to the last crumb, I laid traps, I squashed as many of them as I could. Whatever I could think of I did.

The combination of doing almost no food prep or cooking for days, taking compost items out immediately instead of having a little compost container in my kitchen, scrubbing everything down way more often, and good eye hand co-ordination got the fruit fly numbers way down. Then I went out of town and that was what put me on the winning side of the war, or so I thought! With me out of town for two and a half days there was no new production of crumbs, no new food brought in to the apartment, basically the kitchen became way less hospitable and by the time I got back from my weekend away I couldn’t find any fruit flies.

It was my little summer miracle.

I didn’t trust it though so I kept looking around for them, waiting for one to fly in front of my face and mock me for thinking they had all left.

But that didn’t happen.

So I got complacent in my battle plan and started keeping compost items in the little compost bowl I have instead of immediately taking them out to the larger compost. And that my friends was all it took for the little brats to return.

There isn’t even good stuff in my compost! It still is comprised of tea bags, banana peels and egg shells. You’d think they’d at least set up their home base in the kitchen of someone who has more variety in their compost. *rolls eyes*

The compost got cleared out, my eye hand co-ordination was tested again, and their numbers did not decrease. Crap.

I decided to lay traps early this time, mostly because I was eating a banana and a bit of it fell and when I picked it up I realized I could smoosh it and use it as bait. I put the smooshed banana in the bottom of a glass, put saran wrap on top, used a toothpick to poke about 6 holes, and went to work. I didn’t really expect it to work since my other traps failed miserably, but I felt better for at least trying.

To my happy surprise when I got home that night there were 4 fruit flies trapped in the glass!

There were still other ones flying around, and they didn’t seem inclined to go in the glass so I made a second trap, following the same steps, and placed it in the same area.

New problem though, all these posts online about how to make the trap, none say how to get the fruit flies and the banana out without the flies getting loose. So I left them in there. But they were quite determinedly trying to find a way out and I worried one of them would eventually figure out the holes in the saran wrap work both ways. Not knowing what to do, only knowing I really really don’t want any of them to escape, I put another layer of saran wrap over top. So called experts say suffocating is kind of like going to sleep, and is painless, and I thought if I block the holes they will suffocate and not feel pain while they die.

Listen, I know its weird but I feel bad about this whole prolonged death thing. If I kill a bug I kill it quickly, I don’t draw out the process, give them a chance to feel fear and pain. I’m not cruel. Well…except for the whole deciding to kill them part…but I mean the actual death isn’t done in a cruel way…does that make sense? So having this glass with fruit flies on my counter where I am basically just waiting for them to die, it’s not going over so well with me.

I figured by the next morning they would be dead and then I could just put them and the smooshed banana in the compost. Turns out fruit flies need very little oxygen. As in, teeny tiny amounts of oxygen, because they have been trapped in there for days and none of them are dead. In fact, there were originally four of them in there and now there are five! So not only are they not dead, they are procreating. I don’t know if I’m impressed with their determination to live life to the fullest, or pissed I’m still dealing with them.

On top of that, the ones that are flying about have not taken the bait of the second trap. I’m worried this means the ones that didn’t go in the trap are the smart fruit flies, and if only the smart fruit flies are left flying around than that means smart fruit flies are mating with smart fruit flies and what if this results in the next generation being super smart and having special skills, like flying faster, or even better eye sight? I’ll never be able to kill them then!

fruit fly 3

Stupid freakin super smart fruit flies. Some days I hate survival of the fittest. Grr. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yesterday I took things up a notch, I still have the trap out and I did a full apartment cleaning, walls, ceiling, floors, and everything in between. Hopefully the combination of every surface being cleaned, me still managing to squish some of them, traps being out, and no compost to hang out in, will have me back on the winning side of this war soon.

fruit fly 4

#truth

 

 

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Oatmeal Squares

2 Sep

Do you have a recipe that you have always wanted to try but are sure it is too complicated and too much effort to be worth it? My mom’s Oatmeal Square recipe is that recipe to me. I have asked her for it I don’t know how many times, and each time she has emailed it to me, and then I don’t print it out, I lose it in the dark void that is my Inbox, and I never attempt to make the squares. Which is ridiculous because I love them, but there ya have it.

Every Sunday evening I talk with my parents on the phone, it is a habit we got in to when I moved a province over and it has stuck.ย My parents are currently in Europe, lucky so-and-so’s (I can’t call them lucky bastards, they are my parents! lol), so no Sunday evening phone call tonight, or for a couple more weeks to come. I was thinking about them this evening, hoping they are having a kick ass time, and for some reason my neurons fired and boom! Oatmeal Squares are forefront of my mind.

oatmeal squares 4

Figuring it was a sign I braved the dark void of my Inbox with a well worded search and found the recipe. I then wanted to hit my head against the wall because oh man is it an easy one.

I can’t believe I haven’t made them all this time because I thought they were hard when they have only 4 ingredients and a child could make them. smh.

The ingredients are:

1/2 Cup butter or margarine

1 Cup brown sugar

2 Cups oats

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ready for the directions? Brace yourself!

(1) melt the butter in a sauce pan

(2) once butter is melted take it off the heat, mix in the brown sugar, oats, and vanilla extract

(3) put mixture in to an 8×8 baking pan

(4) put in oven for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees

(5) cool for 5 minutes before cutting

That’s it.

That is all there is to it. I can’t believe I put off for years making these! Note to self, and all of you, before deciding a recipe is too hard maybe take a couple minutes to ya know, read it. *rolls eyes*

Mom’s notes did mention that sometimes the mix stays cohesive, sometimes not. That is something I remember, that they are crumbly and messy, but also delicious and worth cleaning up every crumb you make.

I put them in a circle cake pan because my square pan is 9×9 and I worried the extra space would make the mixture too thin. I timed them for 12 minutes since I didn’t know how long this oven would need on the above mentioned 10-15 minute range and I have no idea how to tell if an oatmeal square is cooked. I still don’t know so if anyone wants to share their tricks feel free to leave a comment!

oatmeal squares 1

Started cutting before I took a picture, I’m such a bad food blogger lol

I left the squares a little longer than five minutes before cutting but even with that extra time they ended up looking like this when I tried plating them…

oatmeal squares 2

oops?

After that disaster (visual disaster only, the taste was perfect) I let the rest sit in the pan longer before plating in the hopes a longer cooling time would help the squares become more solid and less granola-esque.

My plan worked! I left them in the pan for a couple hours, and the remainder of the squares came out much better. I didn’t want to risk trying to cut them smaller and making another mess so I cut the remainder in to two large triangles. When I cut them in to the large triangles they were fine, when I tried cutting them smaller they tended to crumble so they are staying large…for now! ๐Ÿ˜‰

oatmeal squares 4

Final product!

I know the recipe is simple, only 4 ingredients and barely any time in the oven, but I think that is what makes them great. You probably have the ingredients lying around the kitchen, it is quick and easy, and most importantly they tasted like home…er, I mean delicious. They tasted delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

I Sometimes Listen

31 Aug

Do you listen to what your body wants? I sometimes do, I’m kinda working on it, some days…

trust my body

I find that I often tell myself I have to do this, or my responsibility is to that, when really, my decisions should be based more on what cues my body is giving me, what it is saying it needs, than what pressures I feel from others or myself to fulfill certain obligations or duties.

That is harder for me to do when the activity is something I usually enjoy, and in general, look forward to.

Like my Friday night workouts.

I work two jobs on Fridays, after job number 2 I head to the gym, usually start my work out around 10pm and depending on what muscle groups I am working end up home around 11:30pm or midnight. Midnight is more because I’m trying some new moves or took extra long stretching, or maybe fit in some extra cardio, generally I aim to be there an hour and a half.

My personal rule is that I go every Friday, the only exceptions being if I race the next day, have picked up an early morning shift the next day, or am sick or injured. Otherwise, rain or shine (or snow!), feeling energized or kinda sleepy, I go. I’ve never regretted going, never regretted a workout, even if some of them are definitely not me at my peak, lol. I figure a workout, any workout, is better than none, and to not go is me giving in to my lazy side, which fyi, my lazy side is loud and demanding and must be reigned in often lol.

Tonight however, even though I had my gym bag with me and was planning on going to the gym after work, I was tired, and kind of didn’t want to. Ok, no “kind of” about it, I really wasn’t feeling the idea of going to the gym. I tried convincing myself that once I was there I’d be fine, even better than fine. I told myself to just go through the motions of getting changed, follow the routine, get in that gym and everything will fall in to place and I’ll have a good workout.

Nothing I said made a dent in the yawning, or the tiredness that I was feeling. Hell, the person who replaced me at work even mentioned I looked really tired.ย There was no good reason for me to be so tired, I slept my normal amount last night, I always work two jobs on Fridays, today was my normal routine, but today it was hitting me harder than usual.

I told myself I would aim for home but when I was passing the gym if I felt like it I’d stop. Then, when walking to my car it was so nice out I thought that if I didn’t stop at the gym the least I could do would be to go for a walk. I like walking at night, and I feel I should take advantage of the warm weather while I can since fall is sneaking up on us and soon I’ll need another layer *rolls eyes*.

Confession time, I did neither. I drove past the gym, got home, hopped in the shower, felt like I could have dozed off in the warm spray, got cozy in my pj’s, and curled up with my book, a cup of tea, and the cat. Aaaaand that is pretty much where I have stayed since I got home.

My body was sending me all these signals that working out, even if it is my normal Friday night routine, was not at all what it wanted to do this evening. Normally I would have ignored it, had a not so great workout where I most likely would have put myself at a higher risk of injury because of being less focused while working out, or I would have just drawn a blank when at the gym for what to do because my brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity, and what is the point in that?

Where is the harm in listening to the signals my body is sending, paying attention when it says it is tired and needs a break, and then giving it that break?

Admittedly, a big part of me feels like I’ve failed in some way, failed because I always work out on a Friday and my not working out tonight wasn’t because of any of my previously mentioned reasons. But…it isn’t a failure to take care of myself. If anything I think I might count it as some sort of personal growth. Imagine that, personal growth! How adult of me lol

can not adult

I think a lot of people stop listening to what their bodies are telling them. We get in to our routines, we go on auto pilot and hit the gym or the hiking trail or the running path or the whatever, not when our bodies are wanting to go but when it fits in our schedule. I get that, I do, not like I can skip out of work half way through my shift to have a workout because that is when my energy peaks. So we make sacrifices, we go after work, or fit it in early morning, or do extra on our days off, and probably, for the most part, that is ok. Our bodies are adaptable, which is a handy perk, but even an adaptable body needs a break every now and then. Needs an early night curled up on a comfy chair resting.

I’m working on feeling comfort in my quiet evening, not guilt for a missed workout. Feeling glad that I could understand what my body was saying it needed, not worry this will be the beginning of a trend of missed workouts. I’m reminding myself the gym will always be there, there will always be another chance to work out, and one night off won’t be the end of my workout plan, or my active-ish lifestyle.

Basically, I’m working on listening to my body, following through to give it what it needs, and accept that is the right choice. Friday night gym session be damned! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

28 Aug

dear amy book

I just finished this book and wanted to chat about it, while trying to not give away any spoilers…let’s see how well I do! lol

If you just want a quick yes or no, I vote yes. Is it the best book I have ever read? Well, no, but it was good, an easy read, bit of a mystery to solve. I enjoyed the main character, her name is Margot. She is a bit of a spazz, due to her history, which I can’t get in to without giving things away, but trust me, she is the way she is because of legitimate reasons.

In some ways it is a very stereotypical story. Margot is going through a big life change she doesn’t want at the beginning of the story, something happens to her which gives her the choice of action or inaction, she takes a deep breath and chooses action, meets a guy she likes but for many reasons she doesn’t approach in that way, people doubt her, she doubts herself, personal life trouble rears its ugly head to complicate things, her resolve eventually strengthens but perhaps a tad too late to solve the big story arc problem…or maybe not!

There was a twist, isn’t there always? Only thing was, I figured out the twist before it was revealed. Either I’m especially intuitive or just cynical and well read enough to see where the story was going. Figuring it out first didn’t ruin it for me though, and probably won’t ruin it for you if you figure it out first, because it is well executed.

Something I didn’t realize when I borrowed the book from a friend is it is set in England, which doesn’t actually matter, I’m just so used to books being set in the States that when I clued in where the story was happening it took me a page or two to adjust my thinking and give all the characters appropriate accents in my head…am I the only one who does that?

This was a book that took a while to read, not because it was hard or boring or I didn’t want to read it, but because it is so perfect for carrying around and whipping out of my bag when I am in a waiting room, or have a couple minutes to kill because I got somewhere early, that I kept not reading it at home so I would have it for various outings. Life being what it is though, whenever I remembered to take it I ended up not having the waiting time I anticipated having so I never pulled the book out. Figures right? In the end I decided I wanted to finish the book more than I wanted to save it for the next time I was going somewhere so I sat and finished it at home, comfy in the living room, cup of tea at my elbow and the cat on my lap. Which for me is a fairly perfect way to spend some time…the cat doesn’t seem to mind either! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

23 Aug

A classic is a classic for a reason, and sometimes, when you feel like baking you don’t want to fiddle with some annoying recipe but you want a forgiving one, that yields an almost guaranteed tasty treat. A classic.

I really wanted to bake oatmeal cookies, just plain, nothing fancy, old school, soft oatmeal cookies. Thing is, I don’t have a recipe for that. I have oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I have cranberry oatmeal, chocolate chip oatmeal, walnut oatmeal, and more. Many of those also come with the option of drizzling melted chocolate on top, or melted peanut butter, or melted whatever you think sounds good.

But none of those were what I wanted to bake. So I did what anybody in need of a new recipe would do, I googled. A lot of the oatmeal cookie recipes I found included other things, mostly chocolate or nuts, but eventually I found a soft oatmeal cookie recipe that wasn’t plain sounding, but also not a fidgety annoying recipe I would regret trying.

They turned out great!

IMG_2149

The Recipe:

  • 1 Cup butter, room temp
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cups quick cooking oats

In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add this mixture in to the creamed mixture.

Mix in oats.

Cover and chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, place two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Dip a large fork in to white sugar and use to flatten each cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before lifting them off and placing on a cooling rack.

This is the recipe I found, and I would provide you a link to it but I found this recipe when searching on another computer and I can’t seem to find it again. If I find the original I’ll add a link to it in an edit on the bottom of this post.

Some things I noted when I was trying this recipe out: My oven took 8 minutes for all but the last sheet of cookies I put in the oven (that last sheet took 10 minutes). You don’t need to grease the cookie sheet after each batch. On one cookie sheet I used a silicone mat so I didn’t need to grease that, on the other sheet I greased once and after that each batch lifted off just fine. Don’t flatten the cookies too much, you still want them a bit thick. The flatter the cookie the less chewy / soft it will be.

Oh, and it makes a lot of cookies! I don’t have an exact count because as soon as they were cooled I packaged the majority of the cookies up and gifted them to my landlords as a thank you present (they took care of my cat while I was away a couple weekends ago). The original recipe says it makes 24 cookies, I used a cookie scoop, like an ice cream scoop only smaller and meant for scooping cookie dough, and I got a heck of a lot more than 24 cookies. Next time I’ll count them.

So there we have it, a good ol’ fashioned soft oatmeal cookie recipe. A definite keeper!

IMG_2152

My Best Time – So Far!

19 Aug

I have made a habit of hiking the Coquitlam Crunch one to two times a week for I dunno, a couple months or so? A friend suggested it and I got hooked.

It is described on the city website as a steep urban trail that offers a great workout, which I’d say is fairly accurate. The city website also says it takes 1.5 hours to complete, but they always overestimate for the trails.

The first time my friend and I went we were around the one hour and fifteen minute mark I think…I don’t really count the first attempt at a new trail though because you don’t always know where you are going, and there end up being pauses to figure out are you turning left or right because the trail branches off both ways, reading signs, stuff like that. Second attempt and onward though, those get tracked and turned in to times to beat!…not that I’m competitive with my stats or anything lol

This trail has three road crossings, and depending on if traffic stops or not that can really affect your time, which sucks. There have also been two times where I paused to watch deer, but only on the way down. Pretty much nothing stops me on the way up, I have a mission and am determined to keep moving! The first time we went up I paused to read all the signs, they mostly have blurbs about the area, the wildlife, things like that.

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There is one section with stairs, looks like this…

IMG_0038

Well, actually, I’m sorta lying. Oops! There are two sections of stairs, they are at the same section though, just one set is to the left the other set is to the right. I tend to go up the set to the left and down the set on the right. I find the set on the right easier because there are more flat spots so I save it for my way down when my legs are tired. On the way up I want as many steps crammed in together with fewer flat resting spots as I can get.

Pictures don’t do the Crunch justice. There are power lines the entire length of the trail and in pictures they dominate what you see, but when you are there it is easy to ignore them and just enjoy the view.

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My best time had been one hour and two minutes and I was determined to get it under an hour, even if all I managed was 59:59, I wanted it under an hour!

This past week I went and had no confidence in my ability to beat my best time, I was going to be happy if I managed to hit one hour and four minutes. It was mid-day, the worst time of day for me, I wasn’t as hydrated as normal, there is poor air quality thanks to fires, and my legs hurt from my previous days workout. If I hadn’t been in the area I don’t know that I would have gone to do the Crunch at all that day, but I was in the area, and if I am there I can’t pass up an opportunity to go up, so up I went!

Something about not putting pressure on myself to beat my best time seems to generate results. I only asked my body for the best it could do that day, and was going to be happy with whatever that was, and lo and behold, I got my best time, and it wasn’t 59 minutes!

IMG_2056

56:26!

Do you see that Fit Bit info? I completed the Crunch in 56 minutes and 26 seconds! wOOt! wOOt!

I don’t care if it is rude to celebrate yourself, I am happy with that! ๐Ÿ˜€

Yes I know there are people who can do the whole thing in a much shorter span of time, and yay for them, but for me, in this moment, I am excited I completed the Crunch in 56:26. And really, there will always be someone who can do what you are doing better, and that’s fine. I only compete against myself, I only look to beat my time, not the person next to me, as my coach says, race your own race.

So now the time to beat is 56:26…talk about setting myself up for a challenge!

Paddle Boarding, Attempt 1

18 Aug

I do not have great balance, in fact I have pretty sucky balance, but did that stop me from taking my friend up on the offer to try out her paddle board? No, of course not, because where would the fun be if I said no to new things?

So we went paddle boarding. I didn’t fall! Of course, I also didn’t stand, but let’s not get nit picky ok? ๐Ÿ˜‰

We each went out a couple times, the first time I stayed within the rope & buoy markers and stayed kneeling low to the board. The fear of tipping over was real I tell ya!

Me

My first attempt.

Kat

My friend Kat looking fierce!

That is my friend, using the paddle board as it is meant to be used. She is much better than I am – granted, it is her paddle board so she should be better at using it than me lol

She is also a great teacher, helping me get on and off, giving tips on how to turn, things like that. Though, she did wait until I was on the water and trying to figure out how to turn before she explained it to me, but hey, thinking you’re going to crash just keeps things interesting, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Me 2

You can’t tell, because I am a blip in the distance, but that is me, on the paddle board, beyond the buoy and rope divider. There wasn’t much danger since the only other people on the water were either also on paddle boards or were the two people you can see in the canoe in the above picture and they were not moving, just sorta floating along, chatting, having what seemed like a lovely date. Not that I eavesdropped or anything… *whistles innocently*

I didn’t get all the way to standing up but I did raise up so I was, I dunno how to describe it, kneeling, but not as low down as in the first picture of me. So, raised kneeling? If my knees were my feet, I was standing on them, does that make sense? Or just give you a weird mental picture? Probably both lol

Alice Lake BC

I took a panorama picture of the lake to try to give you an idea of how beautiful it was there. Just to the right is a little creek that feeds in to the lake so you had the constant sound of trickling water, and crickets making little cricket noises, and the sounds of paddles gently moving through water. It was tranquil, and soothing, and would be lovely to hang out at for longer periods of time. There are camp grounds near there so I imagine during the day it is louder because of people jumping off the docks, and swimming and all that but right then, at that time of evening, it was chill and relaxing…even if there was the constant worry of me falling in the water lol

Hopefully I get to go again, and if I do, hopefully I take a chance and stand up on the board!

 

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