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Archive | September, 2018

Book Review: What Remains Of Her

27 Sep

I spent a lovely afternoon with the cat sprawled on my lap, a cup of tea on the table beside me, and the book “What Remains Of Her” by Eric Rickstad in my hands.

what remains of her

Can’t really go wrong with that combo. 🙂

Someone I watch on YouTube mentioned the book so I borrowed it from the library and have had it sitting on my desk for about a week, waiting for a chance to dive in.

It’s a super easy read, took me about 4 hours give or take, not hard to follow, not taxing on the brain, which is good because I have a cold and lemme tell ya, the brain fog is real!

The story swaps between the point of view of Lucinda, a child at the beginning of the book who through the magic of the words “25 years later” is all of a sudden an adult, and Jonah, the father of Lucinda’s best childhood friend Sally.

Jonah’s wife and daughter go missing, there are random little clues, little lies told by multiple people, secrets not shared that may help the investigation, ya know, all the stuff you expect from a mystery novel.

The repercussions to Jonah, Lucinda, and Lucinda’s father (the town Sheriff) are massive, setting them all on new life paths that none of them particularly care for.

On the 25th year anniversary of Sally’s disappearance another little girl, who is roughly the same age and physical description as Sally, goes missing and has Lucinda (who is now a town deputy among other things) finding correlations between the new disappearance and her best friend’s disappearance.

Like I said, it is an easy read, enjoyable even, but it is fairly predictable. Sure there is a twist at the end that might not be expected, but it isn’t so shocking or out of the blue that you’re all that surprised when you read it. Also, and this could just be me, but I swear lately a lot of books and tv shows have so many similar scenes that what was creepy or suspenseful the first time now just has me flashing back to all the other books I’ve read with similar scenes.

A creepy man in the woods, kids sneaking off to a section of the woods that is forbidden by their parents, a child encountering the creepy man in the woods, tampered evidence, clues from the past resurfacing at just the right moment, the same sort of who-done-it twist…

None of those are bad, I think I’ve just been unfortunate to read quite a few books lately that all seem to have some combination of those scenarios, and even seen a couple tv shows that have them, so they no longer seem like an organic extension to the story.

I realize that the way I am writing this review makes it seem like it isn’t a good choice of book, and that isn’t the case! If you like easy reads, maybe you need a book to take on vacation, or to read on a lazy afternoon, this is a good choice, just don’t plan a book club meeting around it. 😉

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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 link here 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. 😉

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

 

 

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. 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! 😉

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. 🙂

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