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When Nature Attacks

17 May

For all that I go hiking and for walks and dragon boat I wouldn’t call myself an outdoorsy person. I can handle being outside for various activities as long as nature keeps its distance.

Well, a couple weeks ago I was out walking with a friend around Burnaby Lake and nature attacked! It was brutal, and tragic, and involved the end of a life, and I hope it never happens again.

A small black flying insect suicide bombed in to my eye. My eye! And I don’t mean it came near, I blinked in time, and it bounced off my eye lid, or that it hit just under or over my eye, no no no. I mean it flew right in to my eye ball, made contact, and died. Now granted, it might have died when I rubbed my eye because a bug just flew in to it, but whether it died from the impact or my reflexive action is irrelevant. The end result was a dead bug…in my eye! Ugh.

So. Not. Hygienic.

The plus side to that day, and the walk I did the week later with the same friend at that same lake, is the other wildlife, you know, the ones that aren’t deciding to suicide bomb in to my eyes.

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So sure, the only wildlife I took pictures of were the Canadian Geese but c’mon, did you really want pictures of the slugs on the trails? No, I didn’t think so. And who can resist little floofy baby geese? They are so adorable, especially the ones that are all chilling on the grass in a row. Let’s all just admire the adorable while we can, because soon they will be grown and mean, it is their destiny after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Race Day, Port Moody Style

29 Apr

Ok so yes, race day was two days ago but hey, I’ve been busy, and tired, so it took a while to write about it lol

We competed at the Inlet Spring Regatta in Port Moody this past Saturday. It is the second year of the festival, and the second year we have competed in it. Both years have been great!

inlet spring regatta

https://www.inletspringregatta.com/ย  – here’s the Regatta’s website if you want to check it out.

You know those jokes about Canada where people tease about how you can experience all possible weather patterns in one day? That was what Saturday was like.

There was wind, sunshine, more wind, cloud coverage, even more wind, rain, hail, did I mention wind, then sunny…with a side of wind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Each team was supposed to race 4 times but the water conditions became too dangerous and they cancelled the last two races of the day. Doesn’t happen often, so you know it isย  bad when!

What I found slightly amusing is that after they declared races 3 and 4 cancelled, did the math to figure out who placed where (based on Races 1 and 2’s results) and the medals were handed out, the wind calmed a bit and the sun came back out. So personally, I think we could’ve kept going, but it was too late at that point. Can you imagine trying to get all the teams to return their medals so they can go race again and hopefully still win them? Not a thing that would go over well lol

For this festival they don’t hand out medals, they hand out woodals, because they make their medals from wood. They are really nice, and unique, oh, and did I mention yet that my team won one? ๐Ÿ˜‰

We won Gold in Division B, were ranked 5th for the entire festival, definitely not a bad way to start the race season!

 

port moody 2019 3

My team being goofy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

port moody 2019 4

The day after at work, yes I know I look tired! The filter couldn’t save me this time lol

 

When I’m Old

25 Apr

How will you move when you’re old? How will you get in to bed? Or out of it? How will you maneuver around your home, your yard, your neighbourhood? What habits do you have now that you’ll have to change in order to be safe?

Do you ever think about things like that? I do.

I often joke that I’ll be that person who dies alone in their apartment from a totally preventable fall and is nibbled on by their cat before being found a week later. It sounds ghoulish and stupid, but is a thing that could happen.

I’m lazy, and used to being tall and able to reach just that little bit more so I can grab something I need. Which means, instead of walking around an obstacle to get what I want, I lean over it. Leaning to the point where I’m on tiptoes on one foot, while the other leg is kicked out behind me to balance out how far forward I am leaning and I’ve got one arm stretched out in the hopes I can reach with my fingertips what it is I’m after. If I try this when I’m old for sure I will topple over and if not die, get injured.

My thinking right now is I’m capable, so who cares? Except, what if I don’t recognize in myself the signs that signify change, that will make that maneuver unsafe? What if I don’t notice my balance isn’t as good, or my core strength, or my ability to stand on one foot? Maybe I won’t be acknowledging to myself how I am more prone to injury, or that my arm can’t stretch as far as it used to, or that the strength in my arm might not be good enough to pick up that item I want. There are a lot of things that change within our bodies as we age, some changes happen slowly and we either adjust without realizing or don’t realize the changes, don’t adjust, and then harshly get confronted with our decreasing ability when we have a fall.

It is so much easier to see the changes in others, and so incredibly easy to ignore the signs in ourselves.

It might seem obvious to you that a man in his late 80’s shouldn’t be walking a distance that leaves him shaky, weak and sweaty, to run a couple errands when he could easily have those items delivered. But to him, being able to make that walk, run those errands, is proof that he isn’t as old as the years say, he is still capable of taking care of his wife and himself, he has usefulness.

In our bullheadedness to prove we are useful, and not old, we make stupid decisions, refuse to make lifestyle changes, all to prove to ourselves and others we what? Have value? Are independent? Are capable?

Society takes away so many things from our seniors that we grow up thinking are markers of entering adulthood. Their drivers licence, living in their own home, making medical decisions, cooking, working. And sure, some of those things might not seem like a big deal to give up, I mean c’mon, who really wants to be cooking everyday? Not me! But if all of a sudden my microwave and toaster were taken away and my cook top was disconnected, so I can’t cook, even if it is for my safety, how will that affect my self-worth?

Just to be clear, I’m not saying things like licenses, and living alone, and solo medical decisions, are things that shouldn’t be changed. Eventually we all become unsafe drivers (some much sooner than others lol), we all become unsafe living without some level of care, we can become isolated and depressed from being alone so much (do you know how many seniors are isolated and depressed? A lot! Go visit your grandparents people!).

I thought, because I work with seniors, I already knew all this and I dunno, was aware? But oddly enough, I saw a series on YouTube by The Try Guys about becoming old that made me think about aging in a more specific, how will I be physically affected, kind of way.

There are four videos in the series, I recommend the first and the third. By wearing a special outfit they physically feel what it is like to be old, their range of motion is decreased, their stamina is lower, a bunch of things are affected, and they try to go through their regular day like this. It showed how grocery shopping, baking, exercising, simple walking, all these things are harder, and in ways I hadn’t really thought of.

Did you know your arm won’t reach as far up as it does now, so getting things from the top shelf at the grocery store will be difficult? Even though I have contact with seniors on a regular basis, I never put that together in my brain. Sure I know their range of motion for arms is less than mine, but in how many simple day-to-day tasks does that affect them? A whole bunch more than I ever thought of I bet.

The videos got me questioning things but it all culminated in my head when I was getting in to bed one night. I like a high bed, I climb in to my bed, one arm holding a hot water bottle, the other holding my iPad or a book or the cat, so I put one knee on the bed, and climb on to my bed with no arms keeping me balanced or providing aid. And remember, I like a tall bed, so I’m going up on to a bed, not down or level with where my knees are when I’m standing. I do this, every night, without thinking. Just sorta climb up in to bed, then scoot around, get comfy, and pull the blankets up.

One day I won’t be able to do that. Hell, one day I’ll have to acknowledge it is unsafe for me to be in a high bed and get a lower one, and the only way I’ll be able to get in to it is by sitting on the edge and slowly swinging my legs up on to the bed. The entire way I get in to bed will have to change to accommodate my aging body. It might seem a silly thing to be contemplating, how getting in to bed will change for me, but it is one small thing that will be part of a larger amount of life changes I will have to make.

I’ll probably have to change the style of living room furniture I have, I have a low chair but I’ll need to invest in higher ones, I’ll have to have less items in my little hallway so it can be clear of any hazards, I’ll have to have more lights because my vision won’t be as good, I’ll have to stop leaning over things to reach items, I’ll have to leave outlets exposed instead of hidden behind furniture, there’ll have to be fewer cat toys lying around waiting to trip me up.

All these things are silly I suppose, but they have been occupying my mind lately, the changes I will have to make to accommodate my body as it ages and becomes less physically able to do the things I want it to. I wonder, will I be the person who acknowledges the changes I have to make and adapt to them willingly, or will I be the person who insists on doing things I shouldn’t be doing anymore to try to prove I still can when in reality I’m just putting myself in unsafe situations? I think I’ll probably be a mixture, adapt well to some changes but poorly to others.

To think, all this introspection because of some YouTube videos! I should be more careful what I watch lolย  I’ve linked to the two videos I’m talking about just below this sentence, in case you want to risk watching them. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Sauerkraut

17 Apr

This is the meal where I discovered sauerkraut is not the condiment for me, and I love condiments!

sauerkraut

This was my dinner last Sunday, and yes I know, that is a hella lot of gravy but I didn’t plate it and it’s rude to judge…just sayin… ๐Ÿ˜‰

It is beef, with potatoes and veggies, as well as the gravy and sauerkraut. I decided to splurge on this dinner since my normal Sunday dinner is a sandwich, or maybe a bowl of soup, nothing as protein filled and tasty as this promised to be.

The meal was delicious, as I fully expected it to be lol Too much food for one person, but what I ate of it was yum!

Since the sauerkraut was there, and apparently it is a condiment used with beef, I figured why not give it a try? Uh yeah, bad plan there, it was um, well, kinda gross. No, that’s not fair, because I know some people really like it (you weirdos you! lol), it just wasn’t for me. I think part of it is that I liked the taste of the beef and didn’t find the sauerkraut complimentary to the beef, rather, it was over powering.

It’s like when people season the hell out of their vegetables and now their vegetables no longer taste like vegetables, instead they taste like the seasoning. I just don’t get that. Veggies taste great, why hide the taste underneath a bunch of seasoning? That’s how I felt with the sauerkraut, why hide the taste of the beef under the sauerkraut?

Maybe I’m just some sort of weird food purist at heart…says the woman who firmly believes ice cream is an acceptable option for dinner…not dessert, dinner. Yeah, let that sink in and wonder who decided to let me adult! lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Hippie Snacks: Cauliflower Crisps

7 Apr

I went to Safeway after work with the intention of buying more bandages (for the cat, loooong story!) and a piece of cake for me (loooong day!). I ended up with the bandages, much to the cat’s dismay, but instead of cake I sampled and then bought Cauliflower Crisps by a company called Hippie Snacks.

cauliflower crisps

Who am I?

I went in for cake and I bought a vegan version of a potato chip that is made out of cauliflower!

It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore. ๐Ÿ˜‰

They also make a version out of avocado, which you would think would be amazing cuz hello, avocado! But no, not really, don’t do it ok? If you’re going to try one of them try the cauliflower version. They come in original and ranch flavour, I wouldn’t mind trying a dill pickle flavour, or bbq, ooooh, that could be nice…but I don’t think those flavours exist yet.

The tag line on the bag is “Real food tastes better”, the ingredients are cauliflower, coconut milk, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, tapioca starch, sesame seeds, water, sea salt, and mustard flour. I bought the original flavour so no ranch flavour added to my ingredient list.

I could definitely make the argument that a piece of chocolate cake would have tasted better, and is still “real food” but these aren’t bad. I’m not really a chip person so I don’t need a healthy alternative for that particular junk food category but if you’re trying to cut down on chips this might be a good option for you.

Cauliflower is a pretty forgiving vegetable, with no real taste of its own you can do to it whatever you want. so mix up some guacamole or make some salsa and dip these in, it’d be yum! Maybe even top with a bit of cheese…see now I’m starting to see possibilities for these chips, which is a good thing since they cost me over $5 for a 70 gram bag. *rolls eyes*

A high price point, which will put me off buying them again because while yes I value healthy food I value sticking to my budget more but if you can afford them why not jump on yet another cauliflower food train and give em a try?

cauliflower crisps 3

cauliflower crisps 2

 

An Ongoing War: Cat vs Human

24 Mar

Ok so yes, this is yet another post about the cat, I swear I’ll stop writing about him so much soon…actually, no, that’s not true. In fact, it is a bold faced lie. So consider yourself warned, cat post ahead!

The cat and I are having a battle and seemed to have reached an impasse. I say that to be generous to myself, he is winning, oh how he is winning. sigh.

When he had his vet appointment and they took blood they shaved of a patch of fur on one of his front legs. No biggy right? Well, no, not for this guy. His thinking went something along the lines of “hey look, a section with less fur on me, this must mean I should lick and bite and fuss with this area as much as possible until I have created an open bloody wound!” and then he commences with said behaviour until he reaches the aforementioned result.

In other words, the little brat licked his leg so much he created an open wound.

Words. There are so many words in my head right now describing him, none of them are polite…

I did what any person would do, I wrapped his leg up after cleaning and disinfecting the wound and prayed to all the gods he wouldn’t get the bandage off. We went to bed. I woke up the next morning only to find the bandage off and he had the nerve to be laying at the end of the bed, licking the freakin wound!

Oh the audacity!

So I create a better, thicker, hopefully harder to remove, wrapping. The first layer is a non-stick square bandage, which is then wrapped with gauze to keep it in place, which is then covered with tape so he can’t get at the gauze. Easy peasy. It was barely on him before he managed to move it enough to expose part of the wound. I then create a second wrap and place it just above the first one, so more of his leg is covered, thinking it will keep the wound covered.

It seemed to work, he fussed with the bandage, licked at it an such, but no break in the tape, no damage to the gauze, no removing the bandage from the leg.

Clearly a victory for me.

Then yesterday about a half hour before I have to leave for work I take a look at the bandage, I was planning on redoing it that night when I got home but had to immediately take if off because when I thought he was fussing with the bandage but not causing any harm he was actually twisting it around his leg and parts of the gauze had gotten scary tight on his poor little ankle. He wasn’t acting like he was in pain but no way could I leave a bandage that tight on for the length of time I would be at work, or any length of time really.

So while he cries the cry of his people, surely making the humans upstairs think I am torturing him, I cut the bandage off him. Just so you know, despite his loud protesting meows he actually lay in my arm, not resisting, completely compliant with whatever way I moved him so I could get a better angle on the bandage. So the meowing to inform others of the abuse I was tossing his way was purely a psychological tactic to get other humans to turn on me.

Sneaky little guy.

After I get the bulk of the bandage removed I discovered that when he was fussing with the bandage and twisting it around that caused the non-stick pad to move and now covering was wound was gauze. Plain ordinary gauze. Crap. Combine gauze being on the wound with the saliva he kept licking on to the bandage making its way down to the gauze layer and the gauze and wound have now become one. Seriously, the gauze couldn’t have been more attached to the wound if someone had super glued it on. Double crap. So I lock us in the bathroom, dampen a bandage, and soak the area in order to loosen the gauze. All the while I have visions of having to explain to work I will be late because I need to make an emergency run to the vet and already wincing at how much that is gonna cost me. Luckily my trick worked and I was able to get the gauze removed with no visible pain to the cat. Phew!

But now what. I can’t re-bandage him the exact same way, since it obviously has massive flaws, but I also can’t leave him without a bandage since he has zero self-control and will just fuss at the wound the entire time I am at work. What I need is a cat babysitter! Since I don’t have one of those I do the next best thing and try to create a better bandage system.

I take two of the non-stick squares, tape them together to make one larger one, then I tape that around his leg (it is now large enough to go completely around his leg, no exposed fur), then I wrap it in the dreaded gauze, then I cover in tape, then, and brace yourself because this was truly a masterpiece idea, I take one of his scarves that he is currently not wearing and wrap it around and around and around his leg.

Yup, that’s right, I had that sucker wrapped around his leg so many times his leg was easy double his regular size.

To say he was not impressed is a tad bit of an understatement.

He wouldn’t even say goodbye when I left for work, just kept his back to me and refused to acknowledge I was there.

I spent my work shift wondering how long it took him to get out of the scarf and curious as to how long he will hold this particular grudge.

When I got home he had the nerve to meet me at the door with no scarf, no bandage, as if they never existed!

The best part of all this? I still can’t find the discarded scarf or bandages! It’s been over 24 hours and they are still hidden somewhere in this apartment, un-findable by yours truly. I would have sworn I knew all his hiding spots but apparently not…

So I spent last night barely sleeping because when he’d start licking I’d shoot awake and put my hand in the way, or gently move his mouth aside, or just grab him and force him to cuddle in my arms. Neither of us were impressed when the alarm went off this morning.

I decided I had no better idea for how to wrap his leg so I was going to have to chance it and leave him at home while I went to work sans bandage. I almost dreaded coming home and seeing how much damage he did during the day.

He didn’t make the wound much worse, its not any better, but definitely not worse, which makes me wonder if the lecture I gave him about personal responsibility and how the big scarf leg wrap was the consequence for his own poor life choices got through to him.

Then I remembered that he was sleep deprived because of how we spent the night and more likely he didn’t fuss with the wound too much during the day because he was catching up on sleep.

I however came home with what I hope is my ace in the hole.

Bitter Apple.

bitter apple

Please please please work!

Heard of it? It was suggested to me by someone at work, it is marketed for dogs but according to my good friend Google is also safe for cats. Though a small percentage of cats actually like the taste of Bitter Apple, making it ineffective on them (what do you just bet he is one of those cats?!).

My research says you wrap the wound, then spray the bandage with the Bitter Apple, it makes the bandage taste so gross they won’t lick or bite it, which in theory, means the bandage will stay on. You shouldn’t spray it directly on to the wound because it could sting.

Since I’ve been home I haven’t bandaged his leg. It is good for the wound to be exposed to air, help it scab up quicker, which means he is getting no privacy, if he goes to a different room I go with him, and I stay within reach of him so if he starts to fuss with the wound I can stop him. He’s no dummy, he figured out early on what I was about and caved, instead of going in to a different room he sprawled on my lap, making my feet go numb as a form of silent protest to my continued harassment, and every now and then when he subtly tries to lick the leg I reach down and stop him.

It’s a system, not a great one, but a system none the less.

Before we go to bed I will once again attempt to wrap the leg, and spray the bandage with Bitter Apple, and hope this time the bandage manages to stay on and not fussed with too much, giving his wound time to heal overnight and tomorrow while I am at work.

If this doesn’t work I am out of ideas so cross fingers for me this works!

$1456.82

17 Mar

What, you may be wondering, cost $1456.82?

Was it a ridiculously over priced purse?

Was it a plane ticket to somewhere far away?

Was it a deposit on a new apartment?

Before you get excited for me and my shopping take a deep breath and calm down, because it was none of those things. Nope. That was the cost of the vet bill for my cat Striker.ย 

Yup, that’s right, my little bundle of floof just cost me $1456.82 and while he is worth spending any amount of money on, omg that is such an expensive bill! His appointment, while stressful, did have some funny moments so feel free to grab a drink, settle in, and enjoy our little vet adventure.

Striker has been feeling off for a couple weeks, not eating normally, not sleeping normally, not pooping normally (sorry for the tmi, he’ll kill me if he finds out I’m sharing his personal business online, but lucky for me he doesn’t know about my blog! lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) just in general something wasn’t right. I started trying him with any and every type of food out there, hoping to entice him to eat but he barely touched anything. I didn’t know what was wrong but knew something was so I booked an appointment for him. About three days prior to his appointment I noticed a wound of some sort on his lower lip and over the course of the next three days it got noticeably worse. Me being me I started freaking out that he has cancer, severe infection of the gums, he’s gonna need his jaw removed, all sorts of things.ย 

We get to the vet and Dr. H takes a look, weighs him, tries to see the wound on his lip, manages to squeeze a bit of puss out and notices that the wound (whatever it is) is swollen and his upper canine has pierced it so every time he closes his mouth his fang is going in to the wound, effectively stopping it from healing and keeping it open to infection.ย 

The recommendation from Dr. H is that Striker stay there for a couple hours, be sedated, blood and urine will be drawn, the wound will be looked at and thoroughly cleaned, and we’ll go from there.

Dr. H brings me a contract to sign saying I authorize them to care for Strike and blah blah blah. Then he asks me if I authorize life saving techniques if they are needed or do I want a DNR in place. What?? Seriously? You’re asking me if I want to sign off on a Do Not Resuscitate while Striker is staring right at me?

striker sink vet

Striker watching me from the sink in the vet’s exam room

So I grill him on just what this all means. If life saving techniques are used does this mean that after he’s been gone for 20 minutes they’ll manage to bring him back but he’ll be half brain dead and have a shit quality of life? Does this mean he’ll be on the other side for 10 seconds and they’ll get him back and he’ll be fine just down one life? Is this basically CPR because CPR on people rarely works so does it work on cats? Just what is he envisioning here because this is not a yes or no question. Dr. H looks at me and asks “do you work in healthcare?” lol I said no, I just work with a lot of seniors and have to deal with DNRs often.ย 

In case you’re wondering, in the end I said yes to life saving techniques. Mostly because he said if something goes wrong they will start implementing life saving techniques and immediately call me to let me know what is happening and we can decide in the moment what to do. Which would be a horrifying convo but lucky for us we didn’t have to go there.ย 

I get a phone call after a couple hours that went something like this:

Dr H – Sooo, here’s what happened. Striker is a very determined cat, and he really doesn’t want to be here. He shook off the effects of the sedation much faster than normal and we were only able to get the blood drawn. We couldn’t get a urine sample because his bladder is empty and we never got a chance to look at the wound on his lip.ย 

Me – smiling and kinda proud at how strong willed Striker is

Dr H – We decided to take the catheter out and go from there. When the tech went to remove it Striker turned around and bit them. So we put him back in his kennel to give him some quiet time, help him calm down and regroup, but we can’t send him home because he still has a catheter in.ย 

Me – absolutely beaming at the vision of Striker defending himself.ย 

Dr. H – we instructed the tech to go to the doctor to have the wound looked at

Me – wait! Striker isn’t in trouble is he? This isn’t his fault. You’re not going to put him down because he bit someone the way its suggested with dogs right? It’s the tech’s fault!

Dr. H – No, Striker is fine, we expect this from cats.ย 

So there I am grinning like an idiot, so proud of Striker for defending himself when in a scary situation. He is much more prone to flight than fight when shit goes down so I’m impressed with his reaction.ย 

Dr. H then says they need to sedate him again to get the catheter out and hopefully look at the lip wound and do I authorize that. Obviously I said yes since I don’t want him sent home with a catheter in.ย 

I get a call a couple hours later, they got the catheter out but Striker shook off the effects of the second dose of sedation quickly and they still can’t get a good look at the wound. Dr. H feels that Striker would do better at home and even though they normally would want a cat to stay a bit longer for observation after so much sedation he thinks I should come get him. Teehee. They were kicking him out lol

The test results showed negative to cancer, hiv, all sorts of things. He did show as being at the end of a pancreatic flare up, which could be why he gets sick and throws up, and why he goes off his food. He also showed as having some sort of marker in his blood that indicates he’ll potentially have kidney issues at some point but right now he is fine. So they don’t know the underlying cause for the lip wound, and weren’t able to clean it out. The doc gave Striker an antibiotic shot and an anti-inflammatoryย shot in the hopes the lip would will go down in size and his tooth will stop piercing it and if there is an infection it’ll die and give the wound a chance to heal. He said he wasn’t going to send Striker home with medication for me to give him since he didn’t think Striker would be too keen on taking it. As if Striker treats me the same way he treats the vet and the tech? Pfft! I do appreciate not having to deal with medicating him though.ย 

I am to watch his appetite and the wound, if he doesn’t start eating I have to take him back, and I need to keep an eye on the wound to make sure it doesn’t get worse.ย 

So far his appetite has come back with a vengeance. He is eating way more than he used to, but I figure he has two weeks of barely eating to make up for so that’s ok. Would be nice if the only food he decided he will now eat wasn’t a $3 per can wet cat food but really, if that’s what he’ll eat, what am I gonna do, not buy it?ย 

Oh, and side note, he has let me open his mouth and look at the lip wound daily without issue. He’s such an awesome little guy. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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