Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Procrastination

I've been working on an assignment this week for my Psychology of Disease course and have been trying to find little ways to procrastinate in between.  I haven't had much time to pick up the camera these days, at least not in an artistic sense, so I went through some of my old photos for a little walk down memory lane.

 Here are a few photos that I've processed the past few months:

Trip to D.C. 2010

tracks

2x2=cute

Koi in Osaka

***

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Burning House Project


Last week, Robert came across this post on My Modern Met and it got the two of us thinking what we would bring in the case of a house/apartment fire.  Now, realistically, we would grab the cats and our wallets and run like mad with just the clothes on our backs. This made me realize I'd probably be in a comfy over-sized tee and shorts and Robert in his boxers and fuzzy slippers.

Here are a few of the items which speak to me most:


1. 15 x magnified mirror and tweezers.  You do not want to see my eyebrows get out of control.

2. Amadeus: Director's cut.

3. Kokeshi, our adopted doll from Miyajima, Japan

4. Chopsticks, a beautiful wedding gift from our friend Yumiko.  Also a great eating tool.

5. Sony Cybershot camera.  I would have put the Canon 7D, but I was using it for the shot.  Consider it as part of the picture.

6. Beeswax candle. 

7. Michel LeRoux art book.  My favourite Canadian artist, his paintings put me in a happy place

8. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.  A childhood classic.  There are so many books I would want to take with me but the illustrations in this one really bring me back.

9. Photo album

10. My grandmother's jewelry and my mom's wedding band

11. My favourite childhood photos which would obviously be included in my album.

12. Lighter, to light the beeswax candle or to pick up smoking again (joking)

13. iPod carrying ALL my music, bejeweled and mahjong.  (although not shown, earphones are a must)

14. Passport. 

15.  Package of Beef Jerky

16.  One of the first cards Robert wrote for me.  This card actually sits between the covers of the Michel LeRoux art book, a birthday gift from when we first met.  Sweetest card ever.

17. My wallet.  I'll pretend it's loaded with cash for the sake of the photo.

18. Uncooperative cats.  Nami and Mushi were too hyper during the taking of the photo.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saving Mushi

I caved and bought an air conditioner on Saturday and I'm embarrassed for my reasoning.  My cat. 

The past few weeks, Mushi has really been struggling with the heat.  We've been doing all we can to keep him cool and hydrated (extra water in his food, rubbing him down with cool water around the neck and laying him in front of the fan).  Unfortunately his health weakened and he developed quick shallow breathing, panting, fever and unintentionally playing dead.  I felt bad for the little guy, it's his first summer and he has a much denser coat than Nami.  Nami has also been laying around feeling the heat, but her energy levels are much better.  She also has a few summers under her belt and her coat is finer.

With the weather reaching 49C with the humidity last week, it was a little too much for even Robert and I.  I've never owned an air conditioner and felt that not having one made me stronger.  After purchasing a behemoth portable a/c, it makes this particularly hot summer so much more tolerable. 

After 12 hours of running the a/c, Mushi was back to normal.  His breathing is steady and he's running around causing trouble like a cat should. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Potential Crazy Cat Person?


Baby Mushi

My husband and I both agree that when one of us dies, there is a great chance that either of us could become a crazy cat person.  We love kitties and who could resist a face like that?  They're great company, independent, highly intelligent and did you look at that face?

Let's look at our personalities to see if there is a potential for such a label.

According to a study on the differences between dog and cat owners, people who own only cats tend to be relatively introverted, which is true for the both of us.  We're home bodies, although I'm a little more sociable.

The study also states that cat owners are reasonably cool (low in warmth or agreeableness) which I would assume would go in hand with introversion.  Who wants to be agreeable all the time, anyway?  I sense this question is low in "warmth".
 
Eleanor Abernathy aka Crazy Cat Lady

"Cat owners are relatively low in dominance. People who are high on dominance are generally described as being forceful, assertive, persistent, self-assured and self-confident. They are the people who stand out in social gatherings as opposed to people who are low in dominance that come across as being more timid, bashful, shy and unaggressive."  This is why I suck when meeting someone for the first time, I never know what to say.  I'm a classic wallflower.  This also sucks in job interview situations, it's a wonder that I've even gotten jobs . . but I digress.

Cat owners also appear to be fairly trusting.  Hooray for trust!

Let's look at some awesome cat facts:
  • Cats have three blood types: A, B and AB. The majority are type A.
  • Although a kitten is blind at birth, the touch receptors in the nose are already developed, and touching noses helps a kitten make contact with his mother. This practice of nose touching remains a friendly greeting for other cats (and humans) throughout a cat's life 
  • Humans and cats have a similar range of hearing when it comes to low-pitched sounds, but cats have a much greater ability to hear very high notes-better, even, than dogs. 
  • More than 20 muscles in each ear enable a cat to move her ears like radar dishes and pinpoint the source of a sound. The two ears can rotate in different directions, as well. 
  • A domestic cat's sense of smell is about 14 times stronger than a human's. 
  • Cats can make more than 100 different vocal sounds. Dogs can make about 10.  
  • Cats purr at about 26 cycles per second, which is the same frequency as an idling diesel engine. 
  • Cats of all types get more sleep than just about any other animal. They average 16 hours of sleep a day, most of it in short naps that allow the cat to quickly become fully alert. 
  • The cat's canine teeth (the long fangs) sit in beds of sensitive tissue. A cat adjusts his grip on his prey until he feels a tiny depression in its neck, just behind the skull. The canine teeth are designed to fit perfectly into this depression, so the cat can sever his prey’s spine with one quick bite. 
Part of the Cat Lady charm is owning many cat things.  Trinkets, pictures. clothing, furniture, notepads and door mats, mugs . . the list could go on.

I had a look around my apartment to survey my own craziness and I can assure you it's VERY minimal and what I do have is tasteful (in my eyes).  However, there is also the issue with friends and relatives having knowledge of your affinity for the feline.  I have had some gifts over the years of tacky cat trinkets and the such.  This is why a smart cat lover keeps their affinity on the down low or they'll be getting some interesting gifts.

I had three cats growing up, Maggie, Tessa and Mr. Louis.  Maggie and Tessa aka Tessie are long gone, but Mr. Louis is still with us at 15 years.  Three cats is borderline crazy, but my mom states she got them because she was feeling maternal and really wanted a baby.  I'm sure my begging as a child also had something to do with it.  It also makes me wonder if our reasons for getting a second cat had to do with underlying baby wants.

Nami
I never thought we'd get a second cat, especially living in a one bedroom apartment, but they can be hard to resist with their sweet little kitten faces and "love me" mews and purrs.  Robert kept hinting for awhile that he wanted a second cat and I kept saying no.  I'd bring up food costs, space issues and possible ill relations with our resident cat Nami.  I wanted another kitty too, but I layed the con cards every time until I saw Mushi's sweet little face on the interwebs.  That's how they get you.  I'm waiting for the day when Robert hints at kitty number three.  If this happens I will be completely convinced that he has the crazy cat person disease more than I do.

Yes, our future could be filled with more kitties, but if Eleanor Abernathy and Hoarders has taught me anything is that being a crazy cat lady is . . . well, crazy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

kokeshi

These Japanese traditional wooden dolls called Kokeshi melted my heart in every souvenir shop I visited.  I just had to adopt one and this little girl with her fancy sleeves and little red bow sold me.  She's so sweet!  I didn't pick up a lot of souvenirs for myself other than some local art from Kurashiki (yet to be framed, I'll post a photo when it's all glamored up and matted) and a couple of postcards. 

I also realize I haven't really posted about my trip other than my digestive horrors on my other blog.  I still plan to write while the memories are fresh, but I dove right into studying chemistry in preparation for school in September.  good times

Sunday, May 15, 2011

little poser

Mushi was hanging out in the bathtub tonight so I decided it was a great opportunity to grab the camera.  He's almost a big man now at 9 months, the same size as Nami who is 3 years old.  He's going to be a beast!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

hunting season

It's that time of year when the pigeon's flock to our balcony.  Sex, violence and tender moments, we've seen them all.  Nami has been enjoying this spectator sport for a few years while this is Mushi's first.  It's going to be a good hunting season.

Monday, March 21, 2011

reminiscing through the jewelry box

The gold studs
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with earrings.  I had a pretty extensive collection for a 10 year old and looking back at my earrings now, I realize I had some pretty grown up taste.

I haven't worn earrings in the last five years and every once in a while I jam some in for a couple of minutes to freshen up the sealed holes.  I try to leave them in, but find I get irritated and so put them away to try again another day.  I'll probably never wear earrings again...

The first photo is my first pair of earrings, the ones that were blasted into my ears when I was nine.  I love the emerald green jewels embedded in the rich gold.  They're still pretty after all these years.

The lanterns and the folding fans
The next photo were two of my favourite pairs, and I suppose they still are.  The glass lanterns and the folding fans.  The fans still open and close but they've lost the little tassels that used to hang from below.

It's nice to look back at my collection. Most of my childhood earrings have lost their counterpart while others are damaged. But I like to go through it every once in awhile and look at them. It takes me back.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bokeh and Kitties

Robert bought me the SLR Bokeh Kit from Photojojo for my birthday and it is Awesome.  We took it out for a test drive this evening and I love the results.  Looking forward to testing some more while we're in Japan.

















Mushi was particularly crazy this morning, writhing around the chair in a playful manner.  I decided to snap some photos of his silliness and also caught a picture of Nami watching him from afar.  Below is a diptych to tell their story.  To me, the photo represents their individual personalities.  Nami is quiet, contemplative and an overall sweetheart while Mushi, still in his kitten stage, is a little ball of adorable destruction. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

11. 03. 11

Inspired by many graphic artists and illustrators (just google image "save japan"), I had a go tonight at my own little poster to remember the day and the people of Japan.

We decided to cancel the hotel in Tokyo based on the unpredictable nature of radiation levels at this time.  I'm still very excited for our trip, but it breaks my heart with the news of continuous aftershocks, rising death tolls and radioactive leakage.

USTREAMS stream of NHK World has been an incredible source for information.  I find Canadian and American news to be a little more sensationalist.  I like the straight forward fact approach of the directly translated Japanese network.  The stories are touching and I've spent most evenings alone, sobbing over the horrific events.  *sniff*

At this time, plans are a little in the air with the state of the nuclear power plant.  If things look good closer to the date, our plan is to explore the central and western parts of Japan, from the Kansai area west to Hiroshima and Miyajima.  The hotel/ryokan we booked in Miyajima for one night looks incredible.  I can't wait to stay here. I'm also excited to be able to add Koyasan to our itinerary.  Okunoin Temple looks like an incredible photo opportunity; a cemetery with over 200,000 tombstones. 

Keeping our fingers crossed.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Treat Named Coffee

My initial reason for giving up coffee this year was because of the elimination of dairy in my diet. I enjoyed a coffee a few times per week and over a few months towards the end of 2010, managed to ween the sugar out and drink my coffee "white" with a good helping of heavy cream (roughly 5 - 7 tbsp per cup).
Unfortunately, dairy is not my friend with the exception of butter. I haven't been able to drink a glass of milk in years without the agonizing cramping of my guts. All types of cheeses have a slightly less severe effect, but still noticeably uncomfortable. I consumed plain yogurt for a number of years, but decided to also give it up this year as part of my dairy elimination. I love yogurt, but admittedly I don't miss it. I have pondered making my own ghee which would eliminate any milk proteins, lactose and casein usually responsible for intestinal mishaps, but butter is a loyal friend, and it doesn't result in ill effects (yet).

I thought gone would be the days I could enjoy a creamy cup of coffee what with the 2011 elimination, but then I discovered Coconut Milk.

4 heaping Tbsps of coconut milk in a cup of coffee and my caffeinated indulgence has returned! I now experience life with 0% bloating, which you can imagine is an incredible feeling. Digestive life just keeps getting better!

Let's just hope that butter hangs in there for me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dreams

Dreams are weird.  My dreams are weird.


the internet is also weird
I woke up at 6 am this morning.  Mushi was purring away beside me, his head on my pillow facing me with his little kitten breath on my nose.  It was really sweet cause he's been a bit of a jerk cat lately, but that's for another post. 
As I woke from my deep slumber, I was momentarily convinced in my dreamy state that Mushi was an Organic Salmon and I was petting it.  You know your salmon is really fresh when it purrs and what with it's shiny coat and all.  I think I may have visited St. Lawrence Market one too many times this week.  Dreams are weird.

When I was a kid, my stepfather got me into the habit writing down my dreams when I woke up.  As most kids do, I had nightmares frequently.  I had my notebook handy by the bed and when I had a bad dream I would write down what I could remember.  Also, I would draw a cool picture of my accounts, which made it fun!

One dream that I can still vividly recall now makes me laugh.  I was about 7 or 8 years old.  I was the last human on earth and it had been taken over by cows.  After failing to hide from them, I was captured and enslaved to put up posters for milk.  As I brushed the paste on a fence and put up a poster, I peered over the fence to find a huge vat of milk being stirred by the cows. Then I woke up screaming.  That has to be a terrifying way for parents to wake up.

Writing my dreams down when I was a kid was fun, but I don't think I'd enjoy the task now.  I'd sooner forget many of the dreams I've had in my adult life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cherry Blossom Super Happy Dance

I've been dreaming of going to Japan for a number of years.  I've had the opportunity to visit a few times in the past with friends always inviting me to come back with them on their way to visit their family. My issue was always that I couldn't afford it.

I've never travelled off of the North America continent (Cuba and the Dominican Republic don't count) but have enjoyed a few parts of the United States (I love Seattle) and will never go back to Mexico (I don't like being haggled).  I've also seen much of this country, Canada.  British Columbia is my favourite province, so far.  Driving through the Rockies was a breathtaking experience and a 4 hour murderous hike from hell up a glacier was totally worth it when I got to the top.  The view was incredible and it will always stay with me. Then I twisted my ankle on the way back down, which sucked balls along with a severe lobster sunburn, but I digress.

The east coast is also beautiful and I have fond memories of the pebble beaches in Nova Scotia and the winding roads of Cape Breton Island.


Folding Fan - A gift from Yumiko

Robert and I have officially booked a 3 week vacation to Japan!!  I am so excited and scared out of my freaking mind!!  We'll be flying to Osaka to stay with our friend Yumiko and her mom.  It's so incredibly kind of them to let us base ourselves there while we take day trips to Kyoto and Nara.  Robert and I will be heading off after a few days on our own to Tokyo for about a week.  I'm mostly nervous about the language barrier and getting around.  I've taught myself the Japanese characters of Hiragana and know some characters from Katakana.  I have to start working on my numbers because I can only count to ten.  I figure we'll just be playing a lot of charades.  Yumiko thinks it'll be a good experience for us and she plans on "losing us" at some point to see how we make out.  She thinks it's important to struggle in a foreign country and it will put hair on our chest or something.

I'm mostly excited for the photography opportunities.  Since we're going the first 3 weeks of April, we'll be right in the middle of Cherry Blossom (sakura) season.  I think I might die a little (in a good way) when I see the awesomeness of the blooms.  It will be weeks of Shrines, Temples, Castles, parks, incredible history and of course the food.

The weeks are going by quickly and we'll be there in no time.  I can't wait!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blogging Cats and Purple Squirrels

What would it be like if a cat had a blog, you ask?  This made me laugh today:

My non-adventures

This sort of reminds of the time I made a Myspace page for a character called "The Purple Squirrel".  This rodent stemmed from a childhood inside joke that my friend Caitlin and I had from public school and the character stuck with me.  Noticing a lot of oddities and animal characters created on Myspace pages back in the day, I decided to unleash my creativity by giving the Purple Squirrel a persona.

He wrote journal entries about long lost squirrel loves and squabbles with homeless people in the park over food.  He even had a message to his 1000's of friends letting everyone know to "stay in school, bitch".  I kept the page up for a couple of years, but found the upkeep to be tiresome with the constant friend requests and questions to the Purple Squirrel.  I thought, "these people need to get a life", but here I was . . . a twenty something hiding behind a colourful squirrel.  I needed to get a life. 

After de-activating the account, I immediately regretted it.  Sure it was silly, but it made people smile.  I even caught the occasional reference from his loyal fans messaging eachother to "stay in school, bitch".  I learned a lot with that little guy.  I also developed a lot of Photoshop skills what with all the squirrels I painted purple.

I miss you Purple Squirrel . . .


"Stay in school, bitch!"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Primal Ketchup

Quite a busy weekend and it's not even over.  Many of our regular chores were accomplished like cleaning, shopping and a kitty litter overhaul.  I fought with a laundry machine today which decided to quit part way and leave our clothes in a lake of dirty water.  I had to haul the soaked mass upstairs and wash it in the tub (I wasn't going to waste another $2 to wash it again).  To make matters worse, it was a load of towels and some sweatpants which equals frickin' heavy when wet.  I filled the tub with warm water and soap and did a grape stomp for a bit.  It made me think of this and I smiled.

I overcooked a beautiful Tri Tip Roast on Friday night and I'm debating over some ideas of how I can consume it so it's not wasted in the garbage.  We prefer our beef medium rare (and sometimes even on the rarer side).  This "thing" I pulled out of the oven resembles more of a grey brown.  It's tough, lifeless and probably because it's a fairly lean cut, dry as dust.  I haven't tried it yet, I just occasionally take it out of the fridge and peer at it through the glass container like some specimen in a jar.  This might be a case where I bring out the homemade ketchup and drown the poor bugger.

Homemade ketchup you ask?  Yes, I've mastered it!.  The recipe is slightly tweaked from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and it is AMAZING!

Primal Ketchup

Ingredients:

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 small cooking onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp ground allspice (I don't actually own allspice, so I combine cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves as a substitute)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp black pepper


















You can mince the onion and garlic together first in a food processor and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Whiz until smooth.  You can add a bit more water if the paste is too thick.  Store in a mason jar in the refridgerator.  Makes roughly 1.5 cups.

This isn't as sweet as commercial ketchup (we don't need a heavy insulin spike) and there is more of a vinegar bite, which is lovely in my opinion.  I added more onion than the original recipe calls for because onion is awesome.  Actually, I couldn't be bothered to measure 3 Tbsp of minced onion, so I just cut one in half and threw it in the food processor.  Close enough and makes a super awesome punch of onion!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Newedist Christmas

Merry Christmas!!  We received a lovely package on Friday with gifts from Chris and Laura.  Laura has made us some fantastic hats and I continue to be blown away with her knit work. 

I'm not sure if it was intentional, but the colour of my hat matches my eyes perfectly.  I've never seen my eyes "pop" so much with an article of clothing.  Robert said it was my best looking hat and that it suited me well.  :)

Robert received a lovely black hat with black ribbed detail at the edge.  Being a little camera shy, Robert didn't want to have his picture taken so I took a detail shot and one of the back of his head.  Laura's work is impeccable.  You can find more of her incredible knit work at Newedist.


Photo courtesy of Robert


Photo courtesy of Robert


Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Fortnight Challenge

In 2010, I attempted Project 365.  The object was to take one photo everyday for an entire year and I failed miserably.  This year, I am still determined to pick up the camera to practice my amateur skills, but felt another go at 365 was not doable.  I have too much on my plate as it is.

  I asked my colleague at work, who is also an avid photographer, if he would be up for a 365 challenge this year.  It's an intimidating challenge to take and one he has decided to possibly take on for another time in the future.  We did, however, decide to start a bi-weekly challenge.  The theme for this challenge was "The Colour Blue" and here are a few examples of my work this weekend.

Canon 7D, Tamron 90mm f/2.8
Flash camera left , Canon Speedlite 580 EX II 1/4th power




























Canon 7D, Tamron 90mm f/2.8
Flash camera right, Canon Speedlite 580 EX II 1/4th power








Canon 7D, Tamron 90mm f/2.8
Flash camera left , Canon Speedlite 580 EX II 1/4th power

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Play time

Lots of chasing and wrestling this evening.  I'm so happy they get along so well :)