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Revelstoke, BC

7 Aug

Lauren and I went away for 3 nights, 4 days, to Revelstoke, BC. For those of you who don’t know, (and I don’t judge if you don’t know because I didn’t!) that is in the BC interior, about a 6 hour drive from Vancouver.

It was great to get away from the normal day-to-day, though a bit odd to be travelling while there is a pandemic going on.

The trip was designed so we could have minimal contact with other humans. We just wanted to drink, and hike, and drink, and throw axes, and drink, and shop. Ya know, standard summer stuff lol

We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to, but we had fun and that’s what matters. Oh, and we didn’t melt, though it sure felt like we would, that also matters! Trust us to pick 4 incredibly hot days to travel and plan all outdoor activities for.

I attempted to edit the pics into a video, instead of showing a slideshow on here like I always do. Here’s hoping it turned out!

Canada Day 2020

1 Jul

Happy Canada Day! Hope it was fun, not too wet, involved at least one person you are fond of, and that you were safe while celebrating!

Canada-Day 2020

Not the usual Canada Day message lol

I worried this year, that people would be stupid, say screw the self distancing and masks and being careful, all because they wanted to enjoy the day. I think partly that didn’t happen because so many events and celebrations were cancelled, and partly it might be possible that I should give people a bit more credit to not make a dumb choice that puts everyone they come near at risk.

Or hey, maybe there were tons of parties happening, and people breaking all the rules in place to keep us safe, and two weeks from now we’ll have new outbreaks. What do I know? πŸ˜›

My day was spent at work, enjoying the Canada Day celebration we had there, which was odd, but fun in its own way. Then I did a quick workout and came home. That’s it. It is possibly the quietest Canada Day I have ever had.

Thanks to Canada Day celebrations being online I got to enjoy fireworks in the comfort of my own home, I’ll put a link to the video below. I could have gone outside at 10pm, pointed my phone at the sky, and apparently seen virtual fireworks but it is raining here and that just wasn’t a thing that was gonna happen…by me anyways. I’m sure some people went out and tried.

I also enjoyed some of the concerts put on by various Canadian artists, or I suppose it was technically one concert with each artist being in a different place, and clips being shown one after the other.

I’m adding a small selection of some of the clips, they are all on YouTube if you want to find more.

You probably didn’t spend today how you wanted to, just like you haven’t spent the year how you wanted to, and that sucks. The restrictions we follow seem that much tighter on special days, because aren’t those days supposed to be exempt some how? Except of course they aren’t, we just wish they were.

I’m sorry if your Canada Day wasn’t what you wished it was. I hope though, that you were safe, and those you care for are safe, and that you can find some bit of the day that made you smile.

Goodbye 2019! Hello 2020!

31 Dec

The end of not only the year but the decade, I hope the transition from 2019 to 2020 is a happy and fun one for you!

Some years have more change than others and I feel like 2019 had a lot of changes for me. Some happy, some sucky, in the end they are all hopefully moving me towards a better place…and not like a “better place” as in death, just ya know, closer to my goals an such.

Have a great night, ring in the New Year in whatever way makes you happiest. Striker and I wish you a joy filled 2020!

Circle Craft Holiday Market

12 Nov

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

A Holiday Market? Hell yeah!

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11/11/2019

11 Nov

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

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

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

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

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

 

flanders field

Christmas Movie Countdown

11 Oct

Since I’m already counting down to Christmas (only 75 days away!) I thought I should buckle down and start watching some Christmas movies. Nothing like getting in the spirit early, am I right?

daddys home 2

Tonight I watched “Daddy’s Home 2” which doesn’t sound like a Christmas movie, but is. Well, it is a movie set at Christmas time, it isn’t just about Christmas.

It’s from 2017, stars Mark Wahlberg (yum), Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, and John Lithgow. The basic gist is Mark and Will’s characters are co-parenting Mark’s kids since Mark’s ex is now married to Will. They are total opposites, which is where a lot of the comedy comes in from the first movie. Now they have a bit of a system working for them, a faux balance to things, then each of their dads shows up for Christmas and basically screws with that just by being there and being themselves.

There is a lot of macho one upping, random reveals about how people really feel, kids trying and succeeding with getting in to the eggnog and getting drunk, all those classic Christmas tropes.

It is funny, funny enough that I legit laughed out loud a couple times, well, more like snorted in a lady-like kind of way, cause ya know, I’m totally a lady. πŸ˜‰

Now that I’m watching Christmas movies I should probably start with other Christmas activities, right? I don’t decorate, and people may get a touch upset if I start bringing them Christmas baking before Halloween, so what else is there? There’s no snow so I can’t start a snow ball fight…hmm…I’m thinking I’m just going to have to continue on with my informative (though some would say annoying) Christmas countdown, and keep watching those fun Christmas movies!

So, just so you know, it is:

75 days until Christmas

11 weeks and 1 days until Christmas

1779 hours until Christmas

Don’t you feel more informed now? And not at all annoyed right? Right!

Eton Mess

3 Jul

For Canada Day (that’s July 1st for all you non-Canadians) I went to Squamish to hang with a friend and her peeps. We went for a walk with her dog, then back to her place where she made a delish dinner and I took care of dessert.

My only vague self imposed guideline I have for dessert on Canada Day is I want it to be red and white. I figure, if I’m going to have a flag on my car, and wear a t-shirt that has some sort of Canada pride image on it, and be all in your face about how it is Canada Day then that might as well extend to dessert. Listen, it may be weird logic but it is my logic, so let’s just all pretend we are ok with it, ok? πŸ˜‰

Now granted, Eton Mess is a very English dessert, but the two countries still have a connection, and well, it is one of my fave desserts and I wanted to try making it. The first, and only, time I had it was in Wales at some random restaurant. The menu didn’t adequately describe it so I had no idea what I was getting in to when I ordered it and oh wow was I happy when I got my first taste. It is a light, not too sweet, perfect for the summer dessert, aaaaand, it is red and white!

The most simple version I have found online involves meringues, whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and cut up strawberries.

Basically, you make meringues (or buy them if you can find them ready made), blitz some strawberries to make a strawberry sauce, cut up the remaining strawberries in to bite sized pieces, and make the whip cream (or I suppose you could buy that ready made also if you wanted). Once all the ingredients are prepped you crush about three quarters of the meringues and mix them with the cut up strawberries, then you mix in the whipping cream. Add some of the strawberry sauce and lightly mix so it gets swirls of red. Then you evenly distribute between serving bowls and top with the rest of the broken meringues and maybe a sliced strawberry if you want to try to be artistic about it. I opted for saving some of the strawberry sauce and put a layer of it in the middle of each of the servings. If I make it again I’ll also drizzle some on the top of the dish, ya know, for prettiness sake. πŸ™‚

Eton Mess 2019

Eton Mess, Canadian style!

The recipe I used is from the BBC Good Food website (www.bbcgoodfood.com), they also have an app if you’re interested, bbcgoodfood.app.link . I can’t vouch for the app, I haven’t used it, but it is there if any of you want to give it a try.

The ingredients measurements are:

2 large egg whites and 120 grams castor sugar to make the meringues

500 grams of strawberries, chopped. 1/3 of the strawberries get blitzed to turn into sauce

450 ml double cream (I used whipping cream) and 1 tbsp icing sugar for the whipped cream

A minor annoyance is that the recipe says to “spoon dollops” of the meringue mixture on to the baking tray, and cook on the bottom rack in the oven for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.

What, I ask you, is a dollop? And why in the world is it being used as some form of measurement? In a recipe! For a food that can easily burn! Oooooh, if the BBC could have heard the names I was calling them when I saw the word “dollop” they’d have ducked for cover. I ended up using the large sized spoon that comes in your cutlery set, and put similar sized “dollops” on to the baking tray, it made ten “dollops” in case you were wondering.

Other than the “dollop” issue and having to call my mother to get help converting Gas 1 to an oven temp that makes sense over here (ended up using 250F), the recipe is easy to follow, and has good results. So here is a link to the recipe I followed, in case you want to take a look:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/eton-mess

If you’re American you could always top with some blueberries and make it a red, white, and blue dessert for July 4th. And as far as I know there is no rule that says you have to use strawberries so you could always use raspberries, or some combination of red fruits to jazz it up a bit, get a new flavour in there. I might try making a raspberry sauce next time for the middle layer…we shall see!

My friend’s dog and I taking selfies, he has the best expressions! lol

 

It’s Christmas!

25 Dec

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Merry Christmas!Β 

If you don’t celebrate Christmas than have a kick-ass December 25th just because lol

May you all have a happy day filled with love, time with people you care about, cuddles from your pets, and a feeling of contentment and joy.

And if all that is too much to ask for, just try to have a lovely day, however you choose to accomplish that.Β  πŸ™‚

Some Edmonton Stuff

24 Dec

I’ve been in Edmonton for 7 days and have a smattering of random pictures I thought I’d share. None are all that special but ya know, it’s my blog and I can put on it what I like…assuming the cat approves that is! πŸ˜‰

I’ve been to West Edmonton Mall I think four times now? It is one of my happy places lol Especially at Christmas, with all the decorations and sales…I try my best to ignore the crowds and line-ups. Sort of my own version of rose coloured glasses, only they are covered in glitter from wrapping paper. πŸ˜‰

Some decorations from WEM. There are way more but taking pictures in the mall basically labels you as a tourist so I only took a couple.

Apologies for the glare on the glass when I took the picture. That is the empty wave pool at the Waterpark (inside WEM). I’ve never seen it empty like that, it was so weird.

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There was a petting zoo in the mall on one of my trips and I couldn’t resist pictures of the goats and the one and only pig. I find pigs adorable and wish I could’ve gotten closer but I don’t go in to petting zoos since I have no desire to smell like barnyard animals.

Cotton candy shaped to look like a unicorn. Why? Because I thought it was cute lol

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December 23rd is my birthday and I was lucky enough to get two desserts! If I’m not careful I’m going to have to be rolled through the airport on my way back lol

My mom made a Victoria Sponge for me, one of my favourite cakes. πŸ™‚ It is two layers of sponge cake with jam and whipped cream in the middle. Oh, and topped with icing sugar. Simple yet lovely.

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Then when I was out with friends we went to a restaurant and I got some chocolate, because what is a birthday without chocolate I ask you?

And yes, I ate every bite. Yum!

I had a day spent with my nephews, one at a time since they are not really at ages where the same activity will do for both of them. With the younger one we built a gingerbread train. The original plan was to ice it blue because he wanted it to look like Thomas the Tank Engine but once he tasted the icing he wanted minimal decorating because he thought he’d be able to eat any left over icing lol Kids right? So the icing eating didn’t happen, but the decorating kinda did…

All in all it has been days filled with simple fun, more focused on time spent with friends and family than anything else, which is exactly how it should be. πŸ™‚

 

The Traveling Cat

19 Dec

This cat of mine is a decently well traveled cat. Sure he hasn’t left Canada but most cats stay in one city their whole lives and this little guy keeps going back and forth between BC and Alberta. Not only does he travel he does it in style, and with such attitude!

Our drive to the airport was uneventful, as was the rainy walk from the parking spot to the shuttle that took us to the airport. During check in the person working kept trying to make him meow, she’d lean down to look him in the eyes and meow at him. Striker was having none of that and just stared her down each time. But when I leaned down to check on him he’d give me a little meow, I swear he only did that to annoy the person working lol

The airport was surprisingly quiet so check in was quick, the line up for security screening was short and fast moving, all was going great…until!

See, Striker is what you call a nervous traveler. But it isn’t that he is nervous so much as he will go bat shit crazy and try to run away if he hears a dog bark when he is out of his carrier. For those of you who haven’t traveled with a small pet, when you get to security you take your pet out of their carrier and carry them through the metal detector while their carrier goes through the x-ray machine. I find it highly annoying, as does Striker. There was an incident one year where a bin dropped which caused a dog to bark which caused Striker (who was in my arms) to leap out of my arms and desperately try to run away. Only because he was wearing a harness that was attached to a leash that I was holding on to did he not disappear in to the airport. Since then I tell security he is a nervous traveler and we get a private room for his security check.

Someone holds his carrier while I go through security. Once I am cleared I get Striker back and we go in to a private room so he can be brought out of his carrier. I hold Striker while someone takes the carrier back to x-ray for it to be scanned. Striker and I aren’t left alone, and depending on who is watching us Striker may or may not be patted down. I’m not even kidding about that!

Now that I’ve bored you with that explanation let me get back to the story!

We get to security, I tell the guy I have a nervous cat and we need a private room and he looks at me blankly, so I repeat myself and still nothing. He calls over a supervisor and I make the same request to him. Supervisor doesn’t know what I’m talking about either. Sigh. So I point towards where the room is and I explain, slowly, my cat can’t be taken out of the carrier here, we always go in to that room so he is less stressed while you guys x-ray the carrier.

I don’t know that he believed me but he seemed ok to go along with it. He takes the carrier, I go through security, he calls over a second person and gives her the carrier, we all go to the private room (which is a glorified closet), I take Striker out of the carrier and feel the need to explain that Striker is wearing a scarf because he likes it, not because I’m forcing him…something else I don’t think they believed lol One of the ladies watching over us just kept staring at him, like a cat is an exotic animal or something lol while a different lady swabbed me for contact with drugs then patted down Striker, something he didn’t approve of.

After security Striker and I had a smooth time. We were early enough I had time to get some soup and a drink. I tried to take a picture of Striker in his carrier but each time I tried he turned away from me, he is a master at the silent protest.

Once on the plane a miracle happened, I had an entire row of seats to myself!

airline seats

So much room!

It is hard to tell in the picture because it is so dark but that is the empty row beside me. It was lovely. πŸ™‚

There was a classic Vancouver send off…rain…

airline window view

My window view…

I got Striker settled under the seat in front of me, by this point he is basically resigned to his fate.

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Striker, ready to go!

A short nap, some boring tv, a snack and a drink later, and boom! We are in Edmonton!

My Edmonton view from the plane…

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Where’s the snow??

It was surprisingly warm when we landed and there was a distinct lack of snow and ice, this can’t possibly be Edmonton in December!

Because I didn’t have to wait for other people in the row to get sorted I was able to grab my backpack from the overhead bin and get Striker out from under the seat in front of me and be all ready to go once the doors opened. So I was one of those people that is standing there awkwardly, waiting for the doors to open, and now forced in to close proximity to other people who are also standing. A lady from a row back noticed Striker and commented she saw him when we came on to the plane but he was so quiet she completely forgot there had been a cat on the plane. Which started a conversation about traveling with pets, specifically with cats, and just talk about cats in general. By the time we were able to move there were about 6 of us, all crammed awkwardly together, chatting away. Travel sure does make for interesting situations lol

All in all, Striker did great, the people on the plane who saw his scarf thought he was adorable, he was quiet and seemingly pretty chill the whole time…I think he keeps himself occupied by imagining all the ways he is going to kill me once we are at our destination. πŸ˜‰

And now he is here, at my parent’s place, stealing chairs and keeping us all entertained just by being his cute self.

edmonton dec 2018

He keeps stealing my dad’s favourite chair lol

 

edmonton december 2018

My…I mean Striker’s bed.

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