Friday, October 29, 2010

My Cat (Again)

I received an email this morning from PetSmart. Before you rush to conclusions (I'm not really sure what conclusions you'd rush to, given this information, but sometimes I like to cover my ass [other times I like to leave it bare, obviously]), I'd like to give you some background information: I signed up for the frequent shopper thingie at PetSmart, where they give you a keycard thing that they swipe and, supposedly, you get a discount for shopping there frequently (sorry for the long sentence and the absurd amount of brackets/parentheses contained therein). I have yet to see this discount, but I will continue to shop there when it is convenient for me. Given that PetSmart is a huge chain that is soaking up the pet merch money from the other small pet supply businesses in town, I only shop there if I know they have something the other places don't. I just like to support local businesses, y'know?

Anyway, I was talking about Friskies... Um... I forget... Oh yes, I got an email this morning from PetSmart about nutritional supplements for cats and dogs, and I'm not sure what scares me more: how excited I was about PetSmart now carrying GNC pet vitamins, or how efficient PetSmart's marketing tactics are.

Yesterday I spent more money than is defensible on food for my dear feline. I justified this by the fact that she is getting older and creakier (she is 13 and I remember when we got her, so that makes me feel old too) and she needs good quality food so she doesn't die so soon, and she is also fat, so she needs special low-cal food, and she needs cranberry extract because she has pissing problems from time to time. Maybe I feel like I have to buy her love because I feel guilty about keeping her indoors.

In summation, I fucking love my cat.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Food Etc.

So the tactic I embraced last post of only using up half an hour worked pretty well. Another rapid word regurgitation coming your way right..... Now!

The commute is still going well. With my new phone (you'll hear about that in a minute, I promise) I've been taking pictures of funny things I see along my commute, as well as things I've seen at school. I'm starting to think I should create a blog just around my commute to Victoria, because you really do see so much more when you're not the one driving. I recently had my first carpool with another woman who lives here in the CVRD. She is a professor at Camosun, so our schedules work out quite well. Here are some photos of my commute:
Yup, that truck says "Skookum Tools". Would sending this picture to my Dialectology of Canada professor be really nerdy?

Here is a cute tiny bunny at UVic. I'm surprised there are still little ones around- it seems like they're usually only little in the spring time. I hope this one doesn't die... Actually, I think I had a dream about finding a warren of tiny baby bunnies last night. Or maybe it was reality. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

A cool stencil I found on a wall at Cornett. I've been seeing more and more spray-painted stencils around lately but most have not been as well-executed as this one. Maybe I just like the subject matter here more than the others.

This is the sky at UVic at 8am. Days like this make commuting not so bad.

So, my phone. As you may or may not know, as of August I had had a Motorola (not even sure of the model number because of reasons that will soon become clear) phone for around three years, although it seems longer than that because of how deep our relationship was, and how outdated it was already when I got it. It is so old I couldn't even find a picture of it online so here is a picture of it taken by yours truly:
Those are all fruit/vegetable stickers. I'm not sure how it started, but it became a mild obsession for me to see how abused I could make my phone look, not because I hated my phone, but because I wanted it to be unique in the growing sea of phone facsimiles. It served me well: it went through half a cycle in the washing machine before I realized it was in there and fished it out. It has been dropped more times than I could count. The ringer volume button is so worn that it's black instead of silver, and the stickers are so fused with the body of the phone that if I wanted to take the battery out it would be impossible to open the compartment. It might actually be waterproof now, with all the stickers on it.

Anyway, my phone and I have decided to part ways. It was getting tiresome to text when the phone's T9 vocabularly was so limited (it didn't know swear words, and those make up most of my texting speech). The plan was expensive, too, and it didn't even have a camera. I still keep it around for nostalgia and because GP and I have a friend with the same phone who periodically needs parts. I get the feeling he doesn't take care of his as much as I did mine. I now have a Palm Pre and I am continually in awe of the technology that most people have been acquainted with for several years.
Last night GP and I watched Food Inc. I didn't really learn anything new from it, but it did remind me why I continue to make conscious decisions regarding where I buy my food and especially my meat. It's fairly easy for us, here in the Cowichan Valley, to find locally grown produce and it's cheap as dirt. We're very lucky in that regard. Meat isn't much of a worry either, because of Quist Farms' Meat Market. I remember how difficult it was to find local produce and meat in Victoria, though. And what the hell?! Victoria is the greenest city I know, yet most of the organic fruit and veg in their stores is from California. Yesterday GP went to the store for dinner stuff and the only organic bell peppers they had were from Argentina and were six times the price of the BC hothouse peppers. They, of course, had every reason to be, given that they were shipped from way too far away.

It's a tough decision to make: do I eat obscenely expensive produce shipped using ridiculous amounts of fossil fuel, but that has no yucky pesticides, or do I eat pesticide-poisoned food that requires intensive energy to produce but has been grown a few hundred kilometers away. There's always the choice in this situation, if we really love bell peppers and couldn't live without them, to move to Argentina, which is ridiculous. I don't like bell peppers that much. I think the best, sanest choice is to eat locally, regardless of whether or not pesticides are used, because if it's a small operation many times there is very little pesticide use and, if they don't use any, it is labour-intensive and expensive to seek certification by an organic food board, so farms don't bother. Jesus, that was a long paragraph.

Speaking of farming (ok, not a great segue, but go with it), I plan to plant spring bulbs this weekend!What we have above is a delightful assortment of narcissus, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, crocuses, and snowdrops. My mum has been busy making window boxes for us (me, I guess, GP has nothing to do with this) to put on the railings of the balcony. I'd like to fill them with flowers in the spring and then, if possible, grow veggies in the summer. Hopefully I will be done enough homework today and tomorrow that I'll be able to carry out this plan. Oh hell, who am I kidding? I'll be planting this stuff regardless of whether or not I'm done my homework.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hiatus? No, Just Busy-ness

If you're reading this, my thanks go to you for not giving up on my now pitifully backlogged blog. I have been so busy with school and life in general that updating my blog has seemed more frivolous an exercise than knitting, although I guess that doesn't mean much coming from me. GP and I have been very busy on many fronts, so allow me to update you, dear reader.

On October 1st we moved to a new and, happily, better living situation. I'll give you the bad news first: There is only one window that opens and it is in the bedroom and it faces a somewhat noisy street, so we can't really have fresh air at night without listening to noise. I guess that's the only bad news about this place... Oh, wait, no, our neighbours often have noisy sex. But that's kind of entertaining, so I'm not sure it can be counted as bad news, except that they are very unnattractive. They tend to talk a lot (weird...) and I'll admit that GP and I have sidled up to the wall to hear what they're saying on more than one occasion. I wish they would enunciate more because their words are very muffled. The only other thing I can think of negatively about this place is that it is on the second level and let me tell you, that sure was a bitch when we were moving our heavy furniture. Thank god we had done P90X not long before, otherwise we would've been passed out half-way through the gruelling 24-hour move. Yup, getting stuff packed up and put into the truck took around 12 hours and taking it all out again took another entire day. All I can say about that is thank you, U-Haul.

I would put a picture of the mess that was our furniture and earthly belongings, taking up most of the parking lot on the day we moved here, but we were too tired to even think of taking pictures. We were obscenely lucky that it was a sunny day.

Here are the great things about our new place: the second floor part makes me feel slightly safer, even though anyone could climb the stairs to our place because they are on the outside of the building. I can also imagine it being noisier on street-level, especially when the guy with the huge Dodge truck leaves for work in the morning. (Incidentally, that guy is the one living next to us and we are fairly certain from the sounds we hear from his girlfriend that he has that truck for a reason, if you know what I mean. Sorry, too much information?) The balcony is spacious enough for our BBQ, various gardening stuff, and a little table and chairs. My mum is even going to build us some boxes to put on the railing so that we can have flowers in the spring and veggies in the summer. I can't wait to get planting! Our worms had to come inside, now that it's getting chillier, and they seem happy in the kitchen. The good news is that there is a lot more room in this place, so we can actually fit the giant worm box inside without having to knock a wall down. And no, it doesn't smell because we are exceptional worm stewards. The new place has carpets in the spare bedroom/Kim's office and in the master bedroom. The only bad thing about that is that Friskies loves scratching it, so we've had to put up a kitty gate that she still manages to climb over:
She should talk to Alanna Kostiw about going climbing sometime because even after us having made an overhang, she STILL gets over the damn thing. Besides that, though, she has adjusted well.

Another great thing about this place is that it's SO much brighter than the last place. We are facing east, so we get the morning sunshine, whereas our last place was facing north so we got... Bupkiss. Also, this place has a full-size dishwasher, which is awesome because now I can cook whatever the hell I want and GP can stay as happy cleaning it up as he was when he was eating it, and I can bake and cook all sorts of amazing food with my Kitchenaid and Cuisinart and not worry about having to hand wash the damn things when I'm done. What have I made so far? Well here's the first dinner we had here:
A simple but delicious meal of roasted chicken and root veggies (parsnips, carrots and beets, to be exact). And a few weeks ago I marinated some chicken in red wine (surprising, I know) and sundry other delectable things and made a salad to go along with it. Needless to say it was delightful.
The picture doesn't do it justice, so just believe me when I say it was yummy.

I think that's enough of an update for now. I'm trying to limit myself to only spending half an hour on this and my time is almost up. I'll try my darnedest (weird spelling) to make sure this hiatus was a one-off and, as I said before, I'll post soon about my new phone, about which I still feel ambivalent.