Updates Galore!

In lieu of doing a real post this week, I’m going to update on a few things I’ve posted on in the past few months. Things change over time, and posts lose their veracity. So…

1) I’m almost done the art project! I just need to do a few touch ups, and then all four of them will be ready to go. I’m very excited to share the finished results!

2) I have discovered that my “lazy” way of knitting is only the correct way if you’re doing stockinette. If you’re doing garter (or knitting in the round), the old way is still better. My mind is still blown, because I can’t even count how many scarves I must have done wrong over the years…hopefully nobody notices.

3) It took me quite a while to realize that changing my name really wasn’t what I wanted. Since I spent over a year trying to convince myself that it was what I wanted, I’m a little confused as to why I didn’t realize that sooner. The reality is, for me, that my name is mine. Sure it came from my dad. But our family isn’t the Smiths. It’s not even the Robert-Smiths. Our mothers and our fathers all had family names, which would mean to be true to the actual family we are, we would have to manage 4 last names. Unfortunately, taking the first letter of each of those last names doesn’t really work (too many consonants). So we’ll keep our names, and decide what to do with kids when we get there. We might even consider hyphenating. What’s the point in having kids if you can’t torture them with long, hard to learn names? (Kidding…)

4) As for the upcoming move, we have mostly decided that in the short term, we will be remaining in the Vancouver area. We are still seriously considering buying, though, so we’ll have to move into one of the Vancouver suburbs if we want to afford that. Even then it will still be a townhouse (at best), instead of our own detached house. One day…

5) Our “little” Boots is as cute as ever!

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(The hay all over the ground is the fault of the degus, we don’t live in a barn, I swear)

I only wish I could always be as happy as she looks in that picture. Sunbeams really are the best thing ever. If she hadn’t taken that one, I probably would have.

That’s it! May your week be full of sunbeams and contentedness!

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Meet Boots

This is Boots:

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Look at those eyes! How could I refuse those eyes?

She is the newest member of our little family.

Just chillin'

“Did you want to use this chair? That’s too bad, it’s my chair.”

I found her by using the BCSCPA pet search over a month before we were able to bring her home. She had been surrendered with her brother. They were 10 years old, considered senior cats. I wanted them both. For the first time ever, my partner agreed–instead of his usual (somewhat eye-roll-y) “oh honey”. So we set to work getting our apartment ready for a cat. As hard as it was, we knew we wouldn’t be ready until after Christmas, so it was entirely possible they would be adopted beforehand. Which was why we waited to go meet them. I didn’t want to get attached only to lose them. And, after a few weeks, her brother was adopted. It was a bit disappointing, but mostly okay, since I wanted Boots more anyway (based only on some pictures and a bio…yeah). We’d just get a different second cat.

Finally, we made it to the big day, and met Boots. She was lovely, and we agreed she was a great cat. The caveat: she’s better being the only cat. Oh yeah, and getting her into the cat carrier was a messy (and bloody) affair. She meowed pitifully the whole way home.

We put her in a smaller room, for the first week, and visited her frequently. She clawed and bit more than we’d like–mostly because she had a very low petting threshold before she became overstimulated. But as time went on, she came out of her shell. Her stress levels went down and we get clawed and/or bitten very rarely now (partially because we have better reflexes, I’m sure).

She loves blankets, cuddles, and running after a thrown cork only to wait for you to throw it again. But she loves things on her terms. If she gets tired of something–you’ll know. She meows for attention, then you bend down to pet her for a few seconds and she’s off to go have a bite to eat.

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“No, I will not get out of my house to play, that wasn’t in the contract I signed”

As my partner said just last night, “Boots is the exact cat I wanted”. I couldn’t agree more.

2013 – An Awesome Year

Some years are better than others, just like some days are better than others. This year happened to be a great year for me.

  • I got married
  • The wedding went wonderfully!
  • I found a new positive outlook around my job
  • I saw a lot of healthy growth in my family (which lowers my stress levels)
  • The condition of my back, neck and arms has improved enough that I can knit again
  • I got back into yoga
  • I found friendships where before I was annoyed and shutting them out
  • I enjoyed the whole year as a vegan (with some mishaps, as is bound to happen)
  • We got an elliptical and I still use it, 6 months later! (although not very regularly)

While there are lot of things I’d like to improve, I think I have room to be  proud of myself for those 🙂

I must confess, I’ve been avoiding setting New Year’s resolutions the past few years. They really seem like empty promises, made to make a certain person who is not me feel better. (And no, it’s not my partner either, don’t worry) But after such a good year it’s hard to not want to make some of those resolutions in an attempt to push myself. Really, though, every resolution ever boils down to:

“Be a better person”

(If you can name me a resolution that you’ve made (no cheating!) that doesn’t fall under that category, I will knit you something. Or make you jewellery. Your choice.)

In conclusion, next year, I’m going to keep trying to be better. And with luck, 2014 will be even better than 2013.

After all, I won’t have a wedding to pull out all my hair over plan.

Fan Friday – Penguin Edition

For any of my regular readers, it must be fairly obvious by now that I love penguins. And if you didn’t notice…well, now I’m telling you. Penguins make me happy.

Fan Friday Presents…Penguins!

I think the awesomeness of penguins speaks for itself, but just in case it doesn’t, check it my super awesome mug:

Image from the Pier 1 page. Come on, you can’t tell me you don’t want one for yourself!

Just in case that isn’t enough penguin-ness to keep my happy at work, I also recently discovered the webcams in the penguin area at sea world (here and here). While I have to admit, I’m still not sure how I feel about the living conditions they’re in, they do look reasonably happy. (Wait til you see some of them walk with their wings out for balance!)

What’s the one thing that makes you unreasonably happy? You know, the one where you squeal like a little child and people give you funny looks.

A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

I thought I might feel left out, when at our first Thanksgiving (lots of family means multiple feasts!), there was turkey we would not be sharing. But my partner made a delicious casserole, that everyone tried and said was good, and all was well.

For second Thanksgiving, however, with two vegetarians also in attendance, veganism got to rule the show. Yes, my dad made a few faces, but he had himself a turkey the previous weekend to make himself feel better.

What does one eat for a fully vegan thanksgiving? Well, honestly, we didn’t really know until the day before, when we started looking up recipes (the internet is a glorious thing). But the menu took shape pretty quickly, and I started to get excited.

So excited, that I helped cook. That’s right, I looked past my normal dislike of cooking for this special occasion.

It started with a fake chicken. How many times does a story start like that? Not often, I bet. Anyway. It was made out of bean curd, textured like chicken and shaped like a bird. Fake chicken needed to be cooked, so he was placed reverently on a heaping mound of chopped veggies (with a bit of oil and some spices).

Weird, right?

Weird, right?

Next up was a replacement for my family’s traditional dish of sweetened mashed yam, topped with marshmallows and baked. If you haven’t had it, try it, it’s delicious. However, it’s also a big, super-sweet sticky mess that is a challenge (to put it mildly) to clean off of the dish. Instead, I found Oh She Glow’s Sweet Potato Casserole–and I knew that was the recipe. But by the time I’d put finished the sweet potato (okay, I confess, I actually used yams instead) part, the topping seemed like way too much. I kept it simple, instead. I sprinkled on some pecans, and some sugar, and left it at that.

Next was the mashed potatoes and gravy aspect. Can’t give up gravy because we’re vegan, that would just be no good. The mashed potatoes were mixed with unsweetened almond milk and some earth balance. That was pretty easy. And it turned out, so was the mushroom gravy.

So far so good!

So far so good!

To round out the meal, we (my husband) made a rice pilaf, also from Oh She Glows. It turned out very tasty, and very purple. Something to do with the particular type of rice we used.

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A more flattering photo of the rice pilaf

I also concocted some cranberry sauce, with the easiest recipe ever: 1 (12 oz) bag of fresh cranberries + 3/4 c water, in a sauce pan. Put on high heat until it boils, then turn the heat down. Try to remember to stir it frequently, instead of letting half the cranberries burn onto the bottom of the pan. When it’s getting pretty thick, add in maple syrup for sweetness, to taste. Why add the sweetener later? Well, it allows it to be really customized for the taster. Like it sweeter? Add more. Like it less sweet? Add just enough that the bitterness goes away but you can still taste the pop of the cranberries. That’s what I did, and it was awesome.

Mmmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmmm (I swear it looked more appetizing in person than it does in the photo)

Are you jealous? No? Well, you should be. Especially since we had lots of pie (pumpkin AND apple-raspberry) for dessert.

What’s your favourite Thanksgiving feast dish?

Fan Friday #14 – Kicking Cones

This week, I bring to you some adorable. Some people just think in cute-o-vision. And an even smaller portion of those people are able to translate it into images the rest of the world can enjoy. I am extremely grateful for those people.

Fan Friday Presents…Kicking Cones!

When my husband (eee!) sent me a link to this website, I was overwhelmed (and overjoyed) with cuteness.

From the genius over at Kicking Cones

C’mon! Didn’t your heart just melt a bit? I know mine did. And the artwork over there doesn’t just cover penguins. There’s some Dr. Who art (okay, still penguins), elephants, and, well, isn’t it about time you just head over there and see for yourself?

What’s your favourite full-of-cute website? Don’t hold back, cute makes my day!