Advertisements

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.

thumbnail_IMG_2848

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

thumbnail_IMG_2885

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.

thumbnail_IMG_2891

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™‚

 

Advertisements

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.

airline striker

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…

airline edmonton

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.

Cat Tales: The Scarf

17 Dec

Last month I wrote about my cat Striker hurting his neck and the bandaging we had to do so he could heal.

(ClickΒ Pet Parent GuiltΒ to read all about that cat drama!)

When he got to the stage of no longer needing a bandage on his neck but needing something wrapped around his neck so he couldn’t scratch at the area while it finished healing a friend at work came up with a brilliant idea and knit him a scarf.

Can you believe that? I was going to go buy dog bandannas and she knit him a scarf! An amazing scarf that he absolutely loved.

It’s confusing because he doesn’t like wearing things, ever, but he took to this scarf and was really enjoying it. He could take it off easily, he just chose not to.

He is still a cat though and cats scratch their necks, which means Striker was scratching at his scarf. Not in an attempt to get it off, and he didn’t seem in distress or unhappy, it was like a habit or something. He learned if he scratched at it he could twirl it around his neck which quickly became a fun little game to him. But hey, whatever keeps that scarf on his neck I’m down with!

Because he was scratching at it he started fraying the scarf, plus it was a little big for him, so my friend made him a second one, a bit less wide and a bit longer with a snap closure at the ends.

The day I brought it home I was petting Striker, he was purring, then I took his old scarf off and he immediately stopped purring and looked so upset. I tried comforting him but he was having none of it, I took the new scarf and started wrapping it around his neck and boom! Purring!

He’s such a little weirdo lol

This second scarf is a much better fit, he loves it more than the first one, and even though he can take it off he almost never does. The rare times he has removed it he has used it as a pillow so it doesn’t seem like he is trying to get away from it, just cuddle with it. He has frayed this one quite a bit also but lucky for me my friend is making him a third scarf which he will hopefully have in time for our flight tomorrow.

This second scarf, oh man, the other day he was on my lap and not settling so I thought I’d take the scarf off and give him a good neck scratch. Well, bad move me. As soon as the scarf was off all he cared about was the scarf, he was nosing it, pawing at it, trying to get it back. *rolls eyes* I put it back on him and what does he do? Immediately settles down and has a nap on my lap.

Something about these scarves!

striker scarf

That is his grumpy “you woke me at 5:30am human!” face, not a grumpy about the scarf face, I swear!

The next three pictures are of Striker with his second scarf, isn’t he dashing?

I wonder if he likes it because it keeps him warm and our place is a bit chilly? Or maybe it is comforting, the way a child hugs their teddy bear for comfort? Or maybe he is just a tad bit special and I should stop trying to figure it out because it is just so darn cute!

 

4 Pairs

16 Dec

I seem incapable of travelling and taking any less than four pairs of shoes. Why four? I have no idea!

I am packing for a Christmas trip, and by packing I mean I am sitting here blogging, but ya know, close enough, and trying to figure out how to cull weight from my suitcase. I’d love to say an easy one would be to remove shoes but they all seem so necessary…even though logically I know they aren’t lol

My packing process always starts with a mental list of things I want to take, and that list always starts with shoes. Why pick outfits first and then choose shoes to match when you can pick shoes and then more shoes and then get an overweight bag?

To be fair, not all the weight in my suitcase is due to shoes, I have Christmas presents in there, and 6lbs of coffee…don’t ask, it’s a long story lol

But yeah, I always start with the shoes…

So this year I was determined to not go shoe crazy, after all, I need room to bring home the new pair I will probably buy when there. πŸ˜‰ I managed to get down to three pairs, my workout runners, a pair of grey converse, and a pair of black ankle boots. Theoretically those options should cover all possible scenarios, and thick socks will make up for the fact that none of my shoes are all that warm and definitely not meant for Alberta winter. The boots are the heaviest so I’ll wear those, and if desperate I can easily fit the converse in to my carry on, save a little weight in the suitcase, but hopefully I won’t have to do that.

Hopefully. *crosses fingers*

shoes

Not my shoes, but you get the idea lol

Only three pairs of shoes coming with me, I’m already missing my cozy boots, and my red converse, and my knee high boots, sigh.

 

Canada Post vs UPS

28 Nov

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

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

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

shocked

The shock is real.

Can you believe that? I sure couldn’t!

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

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

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

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

parcel

The all important parcel!

Pet Parent Guilt

18 Nov

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

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

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

What. The. Hell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_2557

So graceful, so majestic, so spoiled.

Green Dragons

27 Oct

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

IMG_2417

Green Dragons!

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

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

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

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

IMG_2406

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voila! Green Dragons!

IMG_2423

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

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

%d bloggers like this: