Monday, August 31, 2009

Cat Lady Capers!

They look really familiar.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Aren't they sweet? Don't they look innocent? They are. They really are good girls...most of the time.

This morning I was having trouble getting back to sleep, and was tossing a turning. The cats, realizing that I was awake, came to visit. The early morning visit is really to see how soon I'll get up, which equals how soon they get fed. I think they enjoy a little scuffle to get me going because they know I'll get up to break up the fight if there is any hissing.

As you may know Prima is a bit of a trouble maker, and she likes to attack Gigi when she feels it is called for (i.e. when Gigi isn't aware of her being there, or sometimes when Gigi is aware of her being there). Gigi had braved the hallway --where attacks could come from any direction-- and had come into the bedroom (definitely Prima's territory) to see if I was going to get up soon. Prima crept around the corner from the hallway and made her way under the bed (the perfect spot to plan the surprise attack). Gigi knew something was amiss, but she hadn't spotted Prima yet. I decided to get involved and to try and anticipate Prima's plan of attack. I knew she'd pounce from the end of the bed where Gigi would be forced into a corner. I sprung up (as best as I can spring first thing in the morning) and tried to stop Prima in mid pounce. When I fell back my foot hit the bed frame and smashed my big toe with great force. It felt like my whole toenail had lifted up. I think some of it did. Cats flew out of the room while I cursed, held my breath in pain, and hobbled around trying not to scream.

The cats succeeded. I was up, but doubled over. They did get fed after I cleaned up the blood (I know it's gross, but it did bleed) and bandaged my toe. Not only did they get fed, but they got treats before I left for work as well.

I've done some damage to my poor toe. I guess I was still a bit stunned (or just plain stunned) when I went ahead and did some yoga anyway. My upward dogs transitioning into the downward dogs were done with one foot raised off the ground. It was a little awkward, but I did my yoga and I needed it after not having slept well.

After yoga I iced my foot.

After a long day at work I came home and iced my foot again. I can move it slightly, but it looks nasty.

As for running? I'm not sure how it will feel tomorrow. For now it's staying raised and rested.

Tomorrow morning I'm just going to get up and feed them and then go back to bed. Why fight it? The cats will always win, which is just how it should be.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ricky Gervais - Extras - Wizard! You shall not pass!

And this one is for my sister. Sir Ian's definition of acting.

I loved this series! Extras was brilliant. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you do.

kittens inspired by kittens

My sister told be about this video and I laughed out loud when I saw it. It reminded me of a cat book I had when I was little and looking at the pictures.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dinner this Week in Whoville.

Guess who's coming to dinner? Primavera sits in her favorite spot. Whenever db and I are busy in the kitchen, she'd like to be on the counter or the island, but often has to settle for the stool instead.

Our meals this week varied from our usual fare. It's amazing how the season and the weather of the day can affect how we plan our meals and cook that day.

Blueberry season is in its final days. I bought some organic blueberries at the farmer's market to make a fruit cobbler. We served it with a creamy cashew whipped topping. No photo available I'm afraid. Sorry.

Eventhough I started with desert, I assure you that db and I had dinner first. Honest. db made the Dragon rice bowl from our refresh cookbook. It's grilled veg over rice with miso gravy. db made marinated crusted tofu to go with it.

Later in the week the summer returned bringing warmer temperatures. I had been reading about mushrooms (thinking about our next hike into the woods) one day, which led to me dreaming about them that night. The next day I was thinking veggie burgers with portobello mushrooms, a lighter meal that would require the stove to be on for as little time as possible. By the evening I decided it would just be portobello burgers. A work friend had given me a giant zucchini harvested from her garden so we sliced it thick and decided to grill both mushroom and zucchini on the bbq. db made a nice balsamic sauce to brush over the portobellos. While he grilled I tossed up a spinach, yellow beet & heirloom tomato salad. It seemed like such a simple idea and then it turned into such a treat.

Since I'm starting to work all Saturdays at my new job in September, I won't have any more 2 day weekends with db. C'est la vie. We wanted to do something a little special this weekend. We stayed close to home, played some tennis, went for a couple of runs, and of course cooked.

Saturday we decided to take on something new and more challenging. One of us suggested an Ethiopian meal. We were off. While db worked on the Berebere spice mix and the clarified vegan butter, I prepped all of the veg, stock, lentils and split peas. We decided on three dishes, split peas, potato and green bean stew, and stewed lentils. The key to such an Ethiopian meal is the injera. Everything is served on this sponge bread and you eat with your hands using the bread to scoop up the food.

I had made injera once before, but it didn't turn out as I had hoped or as I had tasted before in a restaurant. Typically the bread is a longer process where the flours and water sit overnight or for several days. Being short on time I found a quick recipe in our flatbreads book that only require a couple of hours for the mixture to sit. I mixed buckwheat, garbanzo, and spelt flours together, added water, and then added the yeast. We covered the mixture and went to play tennis. By the time we came home the batter looked as the book said it should: bubbly. It had the consistency of a crepe batter. We were ready to go.

The whole apartment filled with the spicy aromas from the Berebere seasoning. Once all of our stews were made, I started to make the injera. I followed the directions, watching the bread bubble and cook. It turned out beautifully, even the flavour was correct. What a meal. What a week of meals.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hike No. 6

This weeks hike took us to the famous Stawamus Chief in Squamish. It's a popular hike and was indeed a busy trail, but well worth it. It's a fairly steep climb. We discovered that while I prefer climbing over descending, db is the opposite. He prefers the descent over climbing. It shows in our pace because I'm faster going up while he's much faster going down while I peck my way down the rocks and tree roots.

That is the trail. It is all rock and tree roots. There is a creek near the bottom and another trail that leads to Shannon Falls, but that's another hike.

How do so many massive trees grow in amongst this rock? I guess it's possible because there they are, all those trees growing mostly in the gullies.
Near the top of the second peak (we skipped the first peak just to save on time and we were following a hike outlined in my book) you have to leave the gully and climb up onto the rock. I was surprised because I wasn't expecting chains to guide us, which were very necessary in several parts of the climb.
There was one junction where we had to wait while several people descended because one particular spot is a bit of a stretch while you hang onto the chain. When db and I first arrived at this spot we were alone, and he went first and hopped across to the next landing. I started to follow, but then baulked at the small jump onto some tree roots. I just didn't feel steady enough even with the chain. That's when the first group of people coming down appeared. I stayed on one side while db was on the other and we watched person after person climb down the rock and then make the jump some with great ease and others with some hesitation. Meanwhile another group from Australia arrived behind us. I felt the pressure to take the first step after everyone of the descenders had passed. One of the Australians motioned to the chain and said "after you." I grabbed on and jumped and it was no problem really. Perhaps that rest and watching everyone cross that junction made it easier for me. I didn't even think about it.

After that you just hang on and keep climbing until you reach the top.

It was very cloudy. It had rained earlier in the day, but not enough to leave any water behind on the trail or the rock.
The clouds would break and we could see Squamish below and the other two peaks on either side of us. I loved the rock surface so rough and weathered looking. There are bits of dried moss and patches of colour where the rock changes. It's also quite hilly in parts where it looks like you might climb up and be on the edge of a cliff. There are a few trees that look stunted and as weather worn as the rock itself. I found it quite beautiful up there.

We found a spot to sit and watch the clouds drift before us. We did get a few misty droplets of rain as the clouds came and went. It looks like some got on the lens.

The water was such a beautiful colour.

On a clearer day I'm sure we could have seen some of the snowy peaks to the north, but I really enjoyed watching the clouds sweep over the rock. In the above photo that's the first peak just below us and I believe it's the mouth of the Squamish River
On the way down we decided to save the third peak for another time and take the less travelled North Gully back to the campground/parking lot. There was a great view just between the two peaks and the sky cleared enough to see the town below.
The North Gully was a really nice hike. It wasn't well marked at the trail head, but was well marked the whole way down. It was much quieter. We only saw a couple of people on the way down until we reached a rockface where a couple of climbers were scaling up the side of the rock. Very brave. Eventually the North Gully hooked up to the main trail near the bottom and we were back on the busy route, but by then we were so close to the bottom of the climb I didn't mind the traffic.
It's definitely on the list for when my brother and C. visit again. They'll love it.

Back at home I was happy to see that my President clematis finally bloomed. It's probably not happy that I had to move it this year, but at least I got one bloom. Next year hopefully more will show.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friday night Rainforest Stri-Fry

It's hard to tell from the photos but the sauce for this dish is now my favorite sauce, a spicy mango sauce.

The recipe is from refresh. It called for veggies I didn't have on hand (bok choy) so I used beet greens and broccoli instead.

The sauce couldn't be easier since everything is simmered in a pot for 20 minutes and then thickened with cornstarch before adding it to the veggies & tofu. Lesson learned? A sauce made from scratch is 50 times better than anything you can buy in a bottle.

Our garden Tumbler tomatoes provided the red colour in the dinner and added another sweet flavour to go with the spicy jalapenos. I also opted for the round flavour of Soba noodles instead of rice noodles.

It turned out to be a success. db suggested that I make gallons of the sauce to have on hand. So...I think he liked this dish.

(It looks like the tofu and that one slice of jalapeno pepper are trying to escape in this picture, but I think they were just a little camera shy. I ate them first. Delicious.)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hike No. 5

Monday was B.C. day (it may be called another name in the province you live in, or it may not be a holiday at all if you live in Quebec, Newfoundland & Labrador, or the Yukon).

We had planned to hike to Joffre Lakes, but because of the wildfire situation in that neighbourhood we couldn't. We picked a hike closer to home just behind Cypress Mtn, which is one of the ski hills.
Mt. Strachan was the destination. We followed the hike listed in my book 103 Hikes of Southwestern British Columbia. This route is not a direct route to Mt. Strachan, but rather takes a little longer going to the west before ascending easily (at first) to the meadows before heading up the steeper climb to the first peak.

The trail was very dry and even dusty in many parts since we haven't had any rain since early July. Even the moss on the rocks crunched underfoot in some parts. I can understand why there is a complete campfire ban in all of the parks and smoking is prohibited. You can be fined for smoking in or around parks. With over 500 wildfires burning in the province you can understand the concern.

db and I went with a friend who's a little older so we slowed our pace a bit. He also hadn't hiked in quite some time and is a smoker so I was a bit worried about his fitness level for such a long hike. It took us a little longer, but it did not take away from the enjoyment of the trails. The first part of the hike was mostly in the woods so we were well sheltered from the sun.

I think our friend did well. I'm not sure he's about to hike again any time soon, but he is keen on Joffre Lakes when the time comes.

We had lunch overlooking one of the meadows and a small pond. From there we headed up more steeply and came across the plane wreck from the 60s.There's a memorial plaque attached to one of the trees since 2 people died in that crash. db noted that it was the day after JFK was assasinated (he remembers such details).

The first peak of Mt. Strachan had great panoramic views.
The lions are the peaks in the distance (another hike for another day). We didn't hike up to the second peak since we felt we had suffered enough on the first climb and were satisfied with how far we had come and what we had seen.
As we descended we got some more great views of the lions that made them seem quite close.

You can see how hazy the sky was. On a clear day the water and islands would be clearly seen.

Lupines were abundant near the top and through the meadows.

Ah the descent that was steep, rocky, and straight down.

Near the end of the hike the fireweed lined the trail. It was so nice to see some bright colours.

db wants to make Sunday hiking day. It would be our only day to do this since it's our only day off together now that I'll be working Saturdays all the time.
I'll have to shuffle my running schedule as well, but I'm looking to try something new with my training as well so it may work out just fine. Besides we've only completed 4 hikes in our book, and have 99 to go.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Run Vegan Run

I did get my run in this morning with db. It was nice to run with him as always. I followed his pace along the trail. The air quality is not good and I think I can feel this when I'm running. Breathing is more difficult. Or it could have been the heat. Anywho...we ran to the same point as last week and then I ran out to the next marker (4 k) so I could get in a full 8 k.

It was hot, and it was only 9 am. By the end of the run I felt pretty sluggish and my face was quite red and sweaty (very attractive).

I think I've got a run planned, but I won't say yet until I've made up my mind for sure and have a little more distance covered. I'll let you know. At least I've got a possible goal now.

long weekends

Friday started with a sighting of the pileated woodpecker that lives in the area. He (I've confirmed he is a "he" by the markings) parked himself high up in a tree just outside our fence. Fortunately I've got an amazing zoom and could capture a few shots of him preening. I think he's actually doing his prehistoric call in this shot.

It hasn't been an entirely a long weekend so far since I did work my first day at Karmavore on Saturday, but I only worked for 4 hours so it's hardly a shift. The time flew by even though it was relatively quiet. It's a nice store that is trying to bring in vegan products that you can't find anywhere else. The marshmallows seem to be very popular. They're more like gourmet marshmallows since some of them are flavoured (strawberry, cinnamon, and coconut). I tried the raw tiramisu. They received a selection of raw dessert pies in individual servings. It's a nice treat. I also bought the locally made vegan (do I even need to say that anymore?) Nanaimo bars. I'll let you know how they are.

As for the rest of the long weekend...

db and I kicked off the end of our Saturday (he went into work to do a few chores while I was working) with margueritas and were planning on a lazy evening at home until my friend RB called. He doesn't live far from here and I've been wanting to take pictures of his garden so off we went. We were greeted with more margueritas (it's the heat. It just calls for margueritas). RB's garden is full of lilies. It's his favorite flower and the garden is a show of lilies right now.

When you walk into the backyard you see the raised beds first that were once full of foxgloves and delphiniums but are now full of liatris (sorry no close ups of that flower) and lilies. There is always a lily in bloom.

His workshop/garden shed is in the corner of the garden. All along the fence is greenery and mostly many varieties of clematis. He has over 30 varieties (I think. He's lost count).

He is a bit of a bad influence and inspiration at the same time. Because he has all of these beautiful tall heathly looking lilies everywhere, I want to get more lilies. While it is nice to get new plants I don't really have the money for them. I'll wait until we own our own place before I go nuts, but then we really won't have any money for plants.

Along the back fence is a huge maple, but the plants seem to get enough light to produce five foot lilies and the black-eyed susans aren't complaining either.

RB had some beautiful photos from the morning when the sun was rising and casting a glow over the garden. We were late in the day, but I did manage to capture the sun set light on this lily.

The skies are quite orange in the evening. I can't say it's a good thing since the air quality is so poor right now. I can't remember the last time we had a day of rain. That along with all of the wildfires not too far away creates a strange looking sky.

It's difficult to see the mountains. Usually you can see for mile after mile after mile, but now the view is limited.

Tomorrow we're planning a hike. We wanted to go to Joffre Lakes, but because of its proximity to Lilooet and the Pemberton valley that's not a great area to be in right now. We're going to try something a little closer to home. I'm afraid the views won't be as spectacular, but it's always nice to get out for a hike.

Right now I think we're headed to Ambleside park for the craft market that's on this weekend. Again I have no money, but it's fun to look at the one-of-a-kind crafts.