29 November 2014

First Snowfall!


At midnight I forced made Jw follow me out to Shoppers because I really wanted a bottle of coke and KD. We opened the door and were greeted by light snow!! The moment we left Shoppers, it got heavier and I excitedly ran in it and tried to catch snowflakes, before I made him hurry home with me so we could take Joggy out because I thought he would miss the snow in Montreal.. I don't think he remembers it. He spent a good chunk of that walk licking the ground. I'll admit, I was kind of hoping he would turn his head to the sky and yelp excitedly while trying to catch snowflakes, but that didn't happen, so I didn't get an Instagram-worthy picture, which is the only reason why I don't have a picture for this.

I brought him outside again this morning when I went to make snowballs to take inside for Dumpling (hedgehogs can't be out in snow, unfortunately), and the moment he laid his paws on the snow, he did a little hand-stand thing, kind of like how puppies do when they're too young to balance and eat. I don't think he liked it at first. His reaction to snowballs:

 (He later sneakily stole that snowball out of my hands and ate it, which means he liked it).

His face when I made him stop eating snow.

I love it whenever it snows. Watching snow last night was kind of therapeutic. I love how snowflakes fall so gracefully. It feels as though time stops as they fall.

Today was definitely chilly, so Jw and I had ramen at Benkei Noodle Shop at Cambie and Broadway (not that great. The best ramen shop here is Marutama Ramen at Robson and Bidwell! ). Their cha shu rice was better than their noodles, in my opinion.  



And then we got warm and toasty at 49th Parallel! Their maple apple bacon fritters are my absolute favourite, but I tried a PB&J doughnut today and it was sooooo good. I love this place. Speaking of which, I wrote a guide on Main Street for 604now (49th was the first one on the list. Of course). Check it out here if you like. Stay warm, everyone!

26 November 2014

Life lately: The procrastination edition

Tis the final week of this semester and I cannot believe I'm halfway (almost!) through third year. I have three essays due this week– on the 27th, 28th, and 29th.. and as usual, I put off writing them until the very last minute– in fact, i have about 24 hours til the first one's due and I have zero words as of now. This happens every semester and I tell myself that I'll do better the following year, but it never happens. I think I work best under pressure.. or I'm just really lazy. Or both. I just can't if it's school work.


Right now I am tucked away in bed with Joggy wrapped in my blanket cocoon. It has been a cold week and reports say that it's going to start snowing on Friday... I'm looking forward to waking up to a snow-filled patio that we can build a snowman in (and maybe have Joggy run through it eventually)

*muffled rap music in the background* 

I started this writing this as a way of getting out of reading my research paper sources, so there really isn't much to say except that I have been cooking and eating a lot the past week. Anything but work.


20 November 2014

Life lately: Little victories


It's 2am and I just remembered that my professor will be out of town tomorrow which means that I don't have to go to school!! Ah, unexpected victories.

Yesterday, Jw and I headed downtown and it was great because my goal was to just window shop and I did just that. I wanted to get a Hudson's Bay blanket so badly though, but then I figured it wasn't worth paying that much for a blanket that I probably wouldn't even use. I really wanted one just so I could wrap myself in it when we finally make it to the Rockies. In case you were wondering, I got this idea from Instagram–I follow wayyyyy too many PNW accounts.

Today I lazed around in blankets and slumber. By the time I got up, it was getting dark outside. I found Joggy at the foot of the bed and put my arm around him, and then he kind of did the same thing, but because dogs don't have elbows it just remained stiff and was not-very-cuddly but still-very-cuddly if you get what I mean.. kind of like a doggy hug. It was adorable.  Sometimes I wonder if I humanize my dog more than I should. On his walk, he met a lady beagle and we talked to the lady beagle's owner and bonded over things like "does your dog destroy everything in your house when you leave her alone?" and "does your dog like eating garbage as well?" It's a very special bond–the scared bond of heartache and watching your new shirt get destroyed.

For dinner I made salmon patties and butter and herb mashed potatoes, then I went to the store and picked up a block of pork belly because tomorrow I'm going to make siew yoke / roasted pork belly. I'm soooo excited!!

This post is about little victories I suppose– resisting the HBC blanket, meeting another beagle, and making dinner.. ha ha I'm just trying to think of a title for this

18 November 2014

One-Pan Spinach Alfredo Pasta




Inspired by Martha Stewart's one-pan pasta, I set out to make my own version of this last night. (Also because I found freshly made Alfredo sauce on sale and I couldn't just not walk by it without picking some up). This is really simple like all my recipes, because I am slothy. I didn't really measure out my ingredients because I am an ~instinctive chef~ so these are just rough estimates– I believe in adding more of what you like. I ended up serving this with pesto on the side, but of course it only depends on your preference. Here ya go:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
8 Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
100g Spinach
7 Cherry Tomatoes, chopped in half
3 tbsp Alfredo Sauce
200g Spinach Fettuccine (regular pasta is fine).
Salt

Directions:

  1. In a boiling saucepan of water on medium heat, combine salt, fettuccine, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, and cherry tomatoes. 
  2.  Stir occasionally, and drain when the pasta is al dente (about 9-10 minutes) 
  3. Set aside. 
  4. Add Alfredo sauce into saucepan, and place on low heat. 
  5. When it's nicely heated up, add in the fettuccine mix, and toss lightly. 
  6. Optional: Add salt to taste. 

17 November 2014

Winter is coming.

The temperatures here dipped without warning last week– we went from 11 to 0 degrees in a day. Because I don't live in America, I refer to this (like all my other measurements) in Celsius.  I stocked up on TV dinners and canned soup because winter is when I go into human-hibernation mode where I sleep in and wake up when the sun is about to set on most days. Like most animals I grow my fur out,    store my food (as mentioned above), and try and keep as warm as possible. I am a tropical creature by nature so my body isn't built for the cold. With every day of winter that passes, it means that I am a day closer to spring (and warmth!) My first winter here was pretty depressing and I was very, very homesick. It's gotten better since but winter is still something I don't really like especially because it's windy and rainy here. I do like it when snow falls though. I can't wait to experience it this year with little Joggy in tow.

Anyway, the first few days when it got really cold was a tough time for Joggy because for some reason he didn't grow his winter coat out (i think because the weather changed so suddenly, but also i'm not sure if beagles grow winter coats)... and we didn't have sweaters for him. He'd shiver sometimes while we brought him out on walks and at home he was always on the electric blanket. The nearest pet store didn't have anything his size in stock, so in the mean time, we improvised...


Today in doggy fashion.

We cut holes in our old tee shirts and layered him up in 2-3 of them. I felt so sorry for him but it was the best we could do while we searched for doggy sweaters.

He ended up getting hipster sweaters with scarfs to match.
This guy does not do winter, either.

 ... and we found a friendly campus squirrel!! Before he approached us, he had his tail over his head like a little umbrella. It was the cutest thing.


Stay warm, everyone.

12 November 2014

Forest walking

What I love about the Pacific Northwest is the nature. There's the ocean, mountains and forests. The air here is different, it's cleaner, and every time I look out at the mountains, some sort of calm washes over me and for a while I feel thankful for a lot of things. 

The past couple of days were spent forest walking, and I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to get started on the trails in BC. Jw loves the forest! I had no idea that he spent a good deal of his childhood in the forest until he started telling me all these things about the berries and trees we passed. (I was also very happily identifying the mushrooms I found). I love the woods. I love the feel of the soft earth beneath my feet. I love having the vacuum of silence around me – we had a very if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest moment when someone let out a chain of farts. Which leads us to this question: If you let out a chain of farts in the forest and no one is around to hear/smell it, does it make a sound / smell? I think the trees managed to work their photosynthesis magic and clean the air pretty quickly ;) All in all I had a lot of fun, it was extremely calming and much needed after such a stressful week. 

Some pictures to do the talking: 


 In laymans terms: a ginko nut tree (in fall, even!) I love the yellow, kind of like sakura but in fall.

 A different kind of tree house. I hope to find a badger or fox hole under a tree one day. I guess Jw is pretty shocked at how much of a city bumpkin I am. I told him that I had never seen wild strawberries before and the look on his face said it all. Ha!


Ever since all my shoes got stolen I've only had one pair to rely on. These Sorels are made of leather and waterproof so they've been keeping my feet warm while temperatures have been dropping. I'm so happy I got them! (In case you didn't know, the best way to keep warm during winter is to ensure that your feet, upper chest, neck and head are warm).



These are the psychoactive Alice in Wonderland shrooms I was talking about in my previous post. They are sprouting up everywhere!! I kind of almost want to scrape off the white stuff on their caps and roll them about my fingers. I imagine they'd feel like sesame seeds. I just want to squish all the mushrooms I find. 

I hope the weather stays like this for a while. 


----
On a separate note. Last week I went for a seminar held by a monk because I was going through one of those 'meaning of life' phases. I found some answers, and while I'm still on my quest to cultivate inner peace I sometimes forget that it's always all in my mind.  Here's to being thankful for the little things, and attracting positive energy. Good vibes only.  

8 November 2014

Turning gloom to bloom




Decided to take a break from cooking so much Korean food this week (but I am proud to say that I make **the best** Kimchi jjigae) and made salmon burgers insteadРcombining salmon fillet, rosemary, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and soy sauce in a food processor. I also finally used worcestershire sauce in something that wasn't a caesar: saut̩ed vegetables. Mm.

Ever since daylight savings came to an end, my days have passed by quickly. Most days I just want to curl up in blankets and fuzzy socks and have soup all day. I guess it's a little bit of SAD and the fact that we have warm lights at home (the house isn't super bright because of this), but you can probably tell that I've been getting a little moodier as autumn progresses. The fact that it rains a lot around this time in Vancouver doesn't help as well. I find that keeping a hobby helps with this, though. On days where I lock myself inside because of this I like to keep myself busy by doing typical warm-fuzzy-feels things such as: cooking, curating my perfect life on Pinterest, and surrounding myself with comedy. I also spend a lot of time dreaming of our life in the next city we head to, so that keeps me preoccupied like, 30% of the time.

Before rainy November, it was an unusually warm October, so lots of mushrooms started popping up all around and I've taken an interest in them as well. On sunny days it's nice to head out and discover what's edible and what's not. Shrooms (and I mean the trippy Alice-in-Wonderland kind) started springing up around our neighbourhood as well! All I've learned is that they are highly poisonous and also native to Vancouver, and that shamans use them for tea and get visions.  They are nice to look at but we never get too close because we're always trying to keep Joggy away from them.

 Shaggy mane mushrooms.  These ones are edible (according to my mushroom identification app–but don't take my word for it) and are special because they started to dissolve the moment you pull them out of the ground. I walked by the next day and found that more of these had sprung up beside the ones you see here. The ones in the picture had indeed dissolved and turned black.

(still no luck with identifying these)

Yesterday was a good day because it was a sunny (okay, cloudy. Basically a bright day). We went to class and then walked around campus for a bit. Lots of squirrels were out as well, gathering acorns before they start hibernating. We saw so many scurrying across campus and there were a couple of squirrels chasing each other. It's really cute when you see one standing up with an acorn in its mouth.

Looking out at the mountains. One of my favourite views on campus (and also the money shot, duh. Why else would we have gone there? #ididitforinstagram)



They started tying swings to trees this year on campus and yesterday we found a double-swing. Wheeeeee. When we walked by later we saw a guy and his daughter swinging on it and it was the cutest thing...


Joggy making friends at daycare!  I got it off the daycares page. I'm sooooo happy that we've been slowly making progress addressing his socialization issues ^^ 

Happy weekend, everyone. 

6 November 2014

Why we rescue.


I know that I go on and on about Joggy in all my posts now... but.
This little doode started doggy daycare and has been making friends! As he was between homes previously, he hasn't been well socialized so we are working on that. Yay Joggy! In the words of the nice lady who runs the daycare: "he has not got a mean bone in his body".

Watching him experience new things just brings out allll the proud fur mama in me. I thought we were doing him a favour when we chose to adopt him but he has done so much more for us instead. He makes me laugh. A lot. The other day he pooped inside and he knew he was in trouble. I went to get paper towels and came back to find the poop gone, and a very pleased dog, licking his lips, as if to say "there's no mess now, so what are you going to do?'

Now if he'd only stop ruining every harness we get him...

3 November 2014

'My role model is Tina Fey'.

So the other day I went for an interview and one of the first questions they asked me was who my role model was, and my answer was obviously Tina Fey. Because she's funny, smart, and watching 30 Rock (sorry.. i talk about this show a lot) at age 19 taught me that:

1. Yes. I can be funny
2. It is OK to love cheese.
3. Sometimes you watch TV shows and you end up drawing your political views from them and comedy may not be a serious thing but sometimes what you see on TV is right.
4. Perogies are really, really, good.

Other questions they asked were things like 'what are your strengths and weaknesses' and 'what kinds of ideas do you have to help better this position' >> i never feel comfortable with questions like these. I always feel like people be stealing ideas and such when I get asked this. I don't feel like the interview went well at all.

You know how after interviews you're always faced with regrets and how-could-i-have-done-that-betters? I walked away from this one chastising myself for going with just Tina Fey. How could I had forgotten about Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler? I kind of wished that I had gone with all three so they would have known how good my sense of humour was, and that I was a strong, independent woman with a warrior name like Beyonce Pad Thai.

I didn't get called back.


1 November 2014

Halloween

Being raised in Singapore means that I never got to go trick or treating, which also means that, apart from having dressed up as a leopard every year since I turned 16, I have no knowledge of Halloween. This year, because we no longer live in the university, I thought I'd get to give out candy to kids and make them smile and say 'wow!!! Screme eggs are the best!!! This lady is awesome!!"

Yesterday, I went out and bought about 200 pieces of halloween candy, made candy bags and excitedly waited for kids to come and be impressed with my awesome treats (Besides Screme eggs, I also had, **but not limited to** Twix and Mars bars. Come on.). I even had to text a friend and ask what the acceptable amount of candy to give out was, and hung a skeleton on our gate.

Then evening rolled around, and I drew whiskers on my face, and I waited
and
waited

and

waited.


... And not a single knock on our stretch.

At least I have half a years' worth of candy now.

Freckles to match.