Just another day 

Today is my birthday!

I’ve booked the day off, and I’m celebrating with a leisurely day: a hot bath, and a movie tonight (Star Wars, because Deadpool hasn’t opened yet) followed by dinner at a nearby pub. I’ve also hidden my birthday from Facebook notifications, and I haven’t made an effort to notify the people around me that the ol’ odometer (OLDometer – ha!) was about to flip. Why? Am I becoming increasingly hermit-like as I age? Am I having a mid-life crisis?

Maybe, and no. Beneath my layers of sage wisdom (lol) and child-like whimsy (I am, like, SO random!) lurk some deep-seated superstitions, mostly involving not poking the sleeping beast that is a happy  life. And that’s really what I’m living right now, so rather than tooting my birthday horn, I’d rather toot a regular everyday horn and enjoy the things I always enjoy and thank whichever lucky stars aligned to let me feel like almost every day is my kind-of birthday.

Work is a huge part of that. When I was little and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered with “teacher”. I’m pretty sure I meant to say “Twitter”, though. That was pretty soothsayerish of me. I didn’t book today off because working on my birthday would have been a drag – I really just wanted to sleep in.

And living in a house that floats on the ocean is a sweet deal! Since I love canoeing, staring at ducks, and diagonal wood panelling, it’s my personal dream come true.

Another day, another bufflehead .

Sharing this house with Scott is a dream come true-er, too. It’s one thing to come up with fun ideas like buying a house on the ocean to live in, or adopting a second cat (not all ideas have to be wacky to be brilliant), but to turn to the person next to you and know they’re totally on board (sometimes literally)? That’s solid gold. When I was a teenager, a really fantastic adult in my life told me that the only way I’d get by in life was to find a rich guy dumb enough to marry me. I’m not the type to gloat, but I keep that memory around exclusively for the purpose of gloating. Wrong on all counts, awful adult from the past.

Come to think of it, I spent too much of my childhood fielding dumb questions and even dumber remarks. And here I am now, looking forward to just another day.

New Year, same ol’ Brandy

As always, my resolution is to have no resolutions. And since I’m almost a month late in declaring this, I’ve done an incredible job of sticking to them (yay Brandy)!

I quietly resolved to ride my bike to work on my first work day of 2016. On the eve of that day, I threw out my back in a mysterious accident (backcident?). New Year’s resolutions and I are not friends, and I’m not looking to become friends with them.

That said, I’m hoping to update more frequently. Or ever! Either works. I tend to post my random thoughts on Facebook, but I think this is a better place. This thing belongs to me and my name is all over it. It makes sense to make it more mine. But who am I? It’s been so long, right? It’s time for a new paragraph.

I’m Brandy (hi, it’s me)! I like cats and downloading apps that promise to make me more productive. I share a cool house – it floats on the ocean! – with a guy who is great and two cats who are cats. I have a job that I love, and while it’s not a secret it’s also not a hot blogging topic. I would say I’m living the dream, but a) I hope I’m not obnoxious enough to actually type out those words intentionally and b) I never dreamed this far. I would mostly say I’m happy, which isn’t a very deep well of writing inspiration, but ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I’ll see what I can muster.

Two cats is better than one cat (if you’re lucky)

Let me tell you about my cats

Max, a large silvery-grey cat, looks on at us lovingly.
That magnificent beast.

My boyfriend and I are lucky enough to have two cats, and the two-ness of that statement is a recent thing. Max has been our buddy for over four years, and adopting him was a dream come true. He’s friendly, chilled out, really silly, and super fluffy. When we introduced him to our new floating home, it took him a whopping 24 hours to get used to it, and he’ll spend hours sitting on the deck, staring at the water like a wistful sailor. Here are some quick Max facts:

  1. He loves bananas. The day before Max came home was the last day I was able to eat a banana in peace.
  2. He’s probably a Viking. We don’t know his true genetic makeup, but I’m sure he’s got a lot of Norwegian Forest Cat in him.
  3. I once saw him gobble up an entire (abandoned) spiderweb. So he’s not perfect.

It became obvious that Max was lonely. After careful consideration, we brought home a Hershey. Here are my favourite Hershey facts:

Hershey, a small bicolor Siamese cat, gives us a concerned glance.
“What?!”
  1. She loves Hawkins Cheezies, so we have a lot in common.
  2. If she had a catchphrase, I think it would just be “What?!”.
  3. She likes to bite my hair, right at the scalp, and pull as hard as she can, and that’s her version of “good morning”. She’s a bit of a freak.

How to force two cats to love each other

Thanks to our impeccable taste in adopted kitties, solid advice from the internet, determination and tons of luck, we made it through a few weeks with two very good catfriends. The BC SPCA has some solid tips for introducing a new cat to your existing cat (http://www.spca.bc.ca/pet-care/care-behaviour/cats/introducing-your-new-cat-to.html), and we followed them as closely as we could. The only advice I could add to this consists of two words:

Size difference.

We knew we had a huge cat on our hands, and we specifically looked for a small cat to be his pal. This wasn’t some selfish aesthetic desire; Max has been bullied by medium cats, and he’s played well with small cats before, so we thought a tiny feliney would be less of a threat and more to his taste.

Before becoming a multicat household, I daydreamed about two cats cuddling, following each other around, grooming each other. What I didn’t expect was literal copycat behaviour.

Two cats curled up in identical positions.
Both cats in circle formation, tails tucked neatly under chins, pretending to sleep. They are the same cat, and yet they are so different.

I catch them doing this all the time. The fact that Hershey is less than half the size of Max makes this whole thing impossibly funny to me. But don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of cuddling, and grooming, and wrestling.

I can’t say that everyone should get two cats, or that it’ll be this easy – I know a few fightin’ fluffsters out there. But it was definitely the best kitty decision we’ve made.

Candy Corn part 2: Electric Boogaloo

The sea as seen from a canoe.

This is the second part of a totally doomed 2-part post. Check out Part 1!

Why you should never write a blog post about making candy corn

I swear, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it just wasn’t a very popular thing to do. After all, only a certain type of person even eat candy corn, much less is inclined to make it. And of that tiny sliver of humanity, I imagined yet fewer consider writing about it.

I had no idea writing part 1 of a 2-part blog post about making your own candy corn could kill your blog for almost a year.

I’m blaming the post itself, and not my pre-existing inconsistent blogging habit, even though that has been well demonstrated here. As I like to say in professional correspondence: LOLOLOL.

 Candy corn is OVER.

I’m not saying I’ll never try to make my own candy corn ever again, but I am saying that I haven’t attempted it since last documenting it. I’m not denying the fun times I had with it; I had plenty. But I’ve spent the past almost-year having other kinds of fun.

Other kinds of fun?

A large grey tabby cat touching noses with a small Siamese cat.
Max and Hershey are friends. Max and Hersey are distracting.

I’m torn between wanting to spend all my free time making candy, the undeniable draw of the outdoors, and how much I love sleeping. In the past year, I’ve nursed my bicycle back to road-readiness and learned to swim, and Scott and I have welcomed both a canoe and a second cat into our lives. For the most part, candy-making has taken a backseat to canoeing adventures in Burrard Inlet, riding my bike to the pool, or just staying in bed all day watching Max and Hersey wrestle.

I think these are all good decisions. I’ll get into more detail about all of these fabulous decisions, but first: closure.

Candy corn can’t hurt me anymore.

Broken Mixer Heartbreak

When something lovely and infinitely useful enters your life, it winds tough roots around the very foundation of your existence. Especially if it involves your favourite way to spend almost every waking minute of your time.

That’s how I felt about our Kitchenaid stand mixer as soon as it arrived. It was beautiful, shiny and faultless. It was heavy like a monster and strong like bunny legs. Who knew these things could break at all?

But it did break; suddenly, and mysteriously, and thankfully while under warranty. Thanks to Kitchenaid’s crackerjack customer service policies, a new one is on the way, and I’ll only be mixerless for a week.

Talk about a crappy week.

I’m near the end of it, and I’m thankful for that. Am I thankful that I spent one of those days sick in bed? I have mixed feelings about it, and of course that pun isn’t intentional. This is serious business and I am sad. I’ve learned a few things:

  • Bread machines can mix dough, too! They have a cycle for it and everything. I’ve known this, but I’ve never believed it. I mean, it also has a “Jam” cycle, and that has to be a lie, right?
  • This pie pastry recipe, which is fantastic despite the fact that the word “whisk” has an h in it, is just as fantastic made with a handheld pastry blender. It just takes a whole lot longer.
  • Shredding chicken with forks makes me angry now that I know there’s an easier way.
  • I almost had to buy brown sugar instead of making it. Hey, did you know the shocking story about how brown sugar is made? Here, let me ruin your life too:
  • When I have a lot of ideas I could carry out that don’t even require the use of a mixer, all I want to do is make cookies.
  • I miss that mixer so much.

For now, the broken mixer sits in its prime spot on the counter. I’ll take a picture of old and new together in case I need to make false claims of being a frivolous rich person in the future (I won’t). And then I’ll have something to do with my hands again.

Update: the shiny new mixer arrived the day after this posted, and of course I took the photo. I am whole again.

The difference is one mixes better.
The difference is one mixes better.