Thanksgiving Dinner Casserole

Ingredients:
-butter or margerine-chopped onion
-1 package frozen mixed veggies (I use Western Family California Style)
-2 cups leftover turkey (I cook turkey drumsticks or buy 1/2 a rotisserie chicken)
-1 package Knorr® Roasted Turkey gravy mix, prepared according to package directions
-1/4 cup dried cranberries
-2 packages dried mashed potatoes (or leftovers)
-1 package stuffing (I use the sodium reduced chicken stuffing)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cook onion in margarine in frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Meanwhile prepare gravy. Boil water for stuffing and potatoes. I make the stuffing in a bowl by adding boiling water and margarine. Let sit. Add vegetables to onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are heated through. Stir in prepared gravy, carved turkey, prepared stuffing, and cranberries.
  3. Make mashed potatoes. I omit the margarine, just mixing powdered potatoes and water in the bowl the stuffing was in.
  4. Evenly spread vegetable mixture into 8-inch baking dish, then top with mashed potatoes. Bake 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve, if desired, with additional Gravy.

Adapted from Leftover Thanksgiving Casserole

 

Barred Owl

After work this week Chris and I quickly had dinner and went out looking for owls. I knew a location nearby where some owlets had been spotted so we decided to take a look. It didn’t take long to locate one of the owlets up in a tree watching the trail. We could hear in the trees a Robin making a lot of noise, and occasionally a hoot. We went onto the other side of the treeline and there was an adult Barred Owl hunting. A robin was swooping in and attacking it although the owl pretended not to notice. 4L1A4802 4L1A47834L1A4909 4L1A4887 4L1A4870 4L1A4840

After watching the owl for awhile we went back to the owlet, there was then two visible. The mosquitoes were eating us alive so we headed back to the car and safety.

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White Rock Pier – New Years Day

On New Years day we were planning to go snowshoeing on the North Shore but the snow was not very good (non-existent). So we decided that instead of going and paying for a trail ticket when the snow is bad we would wait for better weather. Instead we went out to White Rock to walk along the boardwalk to the pier. Along the boardwalk we saw seagulls, common loons, and killdeer. Once we got to the pier there were bufflehead and surf scoters. Bufflehead we see often but surf scoters are new to me.4L1A0084 4L1A0101 4L1A0106 4L1A0091 4L1A0126 4L1A0157

Once done on the pier we went into town for a snack and searched for a gelato place that was open. We finally found a place and enjoyed some outside on the patio. We then walked back to the car and headed over to my parents to set up their new computer.

That evening we went out to Famoso with our fiends for a pizza date.

Shadow Lake – Boxing Day

Over the holidays we went to Manning Park snowshoeing. Me did lightning lake earlier but this time decided to do Shadow Lake in the Strawberry Flats. The trail crosses over a cross country skiing trail then into the forests. The trail goes thru the woods around stumps and fallen trees towards the lake. The snow was fresh and fluffy and we could see tracks of bunnies and little mice. After a little over an hour we made it to a clearing which we believed to be the lake. We followed a creek along the trail a little ways longer until we decided to turn around and head back. It was a beautiful trail and definitely worth the effort.IMG_8351 IMG_8352 IMG_8357 IMG_8367 IMG_8369 IMG_8341 IMG_8342 IMG_8343 IMG_8344 IMG_8347 IMG_8349 IMG_8350

A Week In

Today is the one week anniversary of Trouble coming home after her surgery. It also marks one week until we can go have her stiches removed and burn the cone of shame. I look forward to that day, I will sleep amazingly from that day forth.

When Trouble was sedated for her x-rays and ultrasound she was pretty messed up. She couldn’t walk, blink, keep her tongue in her mouth. It was sad and sleeping with her was nerve wracking to say the least but compared to the cone it was easy.

She spent the night after surgery at the vet office so we didn’t see her until the following evening. She was wobbly but nothing like sedation. She couldn’t jump up or down due to balance issues and walking didn’t get her far. She was supper cuddly and wanted to be with us but she was uncomfortable. How do you sleep with a cone on? So every night around 4am she wakes up bangs into me and everything in the bedroom, demands pets, sticks the cone in my face and in general is a nuisance. After the first day we decided to take the cone off when we are home and that makes life better. She sleeps and finally was able to clean herself. Her mood improved and she started walking. Of course now I think twice anytime I want to leave. Is it worth leaving if I have to put her back in the cone to be a martini glass again?

Force feeding has been a pain. She will eat if you heat the food up and spoon feed it to her. Once she’s eaten 3/4 of it then she starts licking without actually eating. Then she stops doing even that. We get the last bit into her but not without first frustrating everyone involved. Pill giving has been similar. She is feeling better so her attitude is coming back and since she has been thru so much her patience is waning. We had a really good day where she ate most of her food without to much fuss but then we had to up the amount she eats every day and that has been a setback.

It has been neat seeing little bits of her old self coming back. When we took the cone off she gave me a good head butt. The day I came home and her tail was in its usual straight up position. Then there are her new tricks. Sleeping in the crook of my arm (I think she uses my arm to rest the cone on), and her not so great habit of avoiding the litterbox and preferring the sink. She is also getting quite fond of her cat bed.

It’s been a hard tiring week but I am glad she’s back and with hard work will be well again.

Trouble with Trouble

The last week has been hard. For the last few months we have noticed Trouble losing weight. We had put her on a diet many times and really had no success. When we restricted food Trouble ate her regular share and Flair went without. Flair would then wake us up at 4am hungry. So we got the automatic feeder and slept thru the night. The cats started to lose weight we thought we had found a solution. After awhile Flair stopped losing weight and Troubles dropped more and more. Then food was being left in the bowl. We switched the flavor of food we bought back to their regular stuff, and she seemed much happier. It was now summer, and the temperature got hotter, and they stopped eating as much (which they always do) and Trouble lost more weight. We started talking about taking her to the vet. Her annual visit should be coming up but the card didn’t come in August or September. She then started looking really thin. You could feel her hips but she was happy, cuddly, and playful like a kitten again. But I decided she needed to go in so I made an appointment and then pushed it up to get her in sooner.

The vet could tell something was wrong. She had lost 6lbs. She had gone from from 18lbs to 12 over the summer. During the exam he checked her kidneys which were really painful and immediately ordered a blood and urine test. We went home hopeful a kidney infection was what was causing her to stop eating. The next day we got the news she had a UTI but her liver enzymes were off and that was a concern. We needed to bring her in to get a shot of antibiotics and then later in the week have an ultrasound and xrays. We brought her in to get the antibiotics. She hated it and we could hear her yowling in the back.

A few days later I brought her in for the xrays and ultrasound. I waited all day for news. They weren’t good and added more pieces to the puzzle. From the tests her liver appeared smaller, stomach wall seemed thick and there was a questionable spot on her lymph nodes. Given the other tests it looked like lymph sarcoma, a cancer that causes tumors and often times in the digestive track. In order to know for sure and what all was affected and how bad it was the doctor needed to see the organs. He would then biopsy the questionable stuff, remove anything that was cancer, and then we would do chemo.

I was a mess, a crying, sad, mess. I went and brought her home for the night. She was refusing to eat for the vet and really couldn’t walk she was so sedated. When I got her out of her carrier it was like I had a seal pup. She fought me to walk even though she would fall over and she went straight to the food dish. I was thrilled and after she ate she let me cuddle her while she fought to stay awake. She was lost. She couldn’t walk straight, couldn’t clean herself, and couldn’t remember to keep her tongue in her mouth but come bedtime she refused to do anything other than sleep with us. Or she slept, I watched her, and Chris hung onto the edge of the bed.

The next morning she went in for surgery, I was fine until I drove to work. Then I lost it. I went home early to rest before the official diagnosis. I didn’t get much sleep though since my heart was pounding waiting for the diagnosis.

So here it is. Trouble has hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease. As soon as they opened up her abdomen the doctor knew that is what was making her so sick. He didn’t even do biopsies of her other organs. Hepatic lipidosis is a condition unique to cats and I am familiar with it from reading about cats in shelters. When cats stop eating their bodies convert fat deposits to energy but cats livers are not able to process fat so as the fat enters the blood stream it gets filtered by the liver and just stays there. You can’t see this on ultrasounds or x-rays but when you look at the liver it is visible. Honestly this is what I had feared was happening or could be happening when she started losing weight.

So the treatment now is to force feed her and maintain a special diet for the next 7+ weeks. She needs an appetite stimulant, pain killer, and nausea medicine to help her get better.

I am so glad she doesn’t have cancer. I cried. This will be hard work but no chemo, no cancer, it sounds good to me.

Books Lately

The last few years reading has been pretty scarce. I have read a few books here and there but nothing I really liked. There was a few I tried to get into and just couldn’t do it. There was a book club I tried for a while but that seems to have stopped. The books weren’t the best either but at least it got me reading. I read Gone Girl and hated it. Maybe it’s just me, I am contemplating watching the movie just to see if I was missing something, if the awesome just happened to not dawn on me. A chance at redemption for a book so wildly popular.

The book I am reading right now though is awesome. I was reading news articles and came across one about Reese Witherspoon’s latest projects. One was based on a book, I watched the trailer and was hooked. I went home, got on my Kobo and ordered it from the library. They had 11 copies so I got it right away. Love it when that happens.

Wild is about the authors hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. A lot of the book focuses on the decisions, mistakes and events that led up to the decision to hike the PCT. I really hate books that complain where characters make stupid mistakes, it just makes me want to slam my head into the wall, this is not one of those books. The author made very serious mistakes following the death of her mother. These mistakes are never glossed over, she admits them, understands why she made those decisions and how they affected her life. Yet there is no wining, complaining, or pity seeking. This is her life and she’s owning it. I am only part way into the book and while I don’t agree with some of the directions her life has gone, I don’t hate her, I understand her. Was her decision to hike the PCT smartly executed, nope, but it’s perfect. It’s the culmination of 4 years of pain and decisions brought about by pain.

The writing is fantastic. The transitions between past and present flow effortlessly. The descriptions are believable without going over the top. I also don’t feel like the author is trying to make you like her. She’s just putting her story out there as it is, letting it stand for itself. That is admirable, humans are flawed and embracing that is rare. I feel like everyone tries to make the truth more glamorous than it is, that even their life story isn’t good enough. So far I am not getting that vibe from this book. It certainly isn’t another “A Million Little Pieces” if you catch my drift.

It’s so much better than the fluff I read before. I am truly enjoying this book and looking forward to the movie.

I’ll have to do a review when I am finished and then when I get to see the movie.

Milky Way

This weekend Chris and I went all the way up to Manning Park to see the stars. It was a clear night and the moon was new, the perfect recipe for clear night skies. We got some help setting up the camera and in the end I think I got some good ones.

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After taking photos at the lookout we wanted to take a few with trees so we drove higher up the mountain looking for spots. We found one so we took a few more photos including one hoping for star trails.

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IMG_7104-3The last photo took 11 minutes to take! Probably could have gone longer but it was after 1am so we decided to head on home. By 3:03am we were home and in bed.

Yellowstone – The greatest and oldest

For our two year wedding anniversary in June we drove down to Yellowstone National Park. It took 15ish hours to drive down and we stopped at Trader Joes in Spokane Washington to get our food for the week. When in the USA you gotta go to Trader Joes.IMG_5132

We made it into West Yellowstone early in the morning to a torrential downpour. Nothing we British Columbians aren’t used to but still, late, mice and elk on the road, not the best welcoming. We got our keys and got settled in our Kamping Kabin. I don’t think I have any photos of our accommodations, hmmmm. Well it was nice, kept the rain off, bugs out and with the heater on me warm.IMG_4667 IMG_4750 IMG_4772

We saw Bison right away which was high on my wish list. We saw all the gisers, steam vents, pools, ect. Even watched old faithful erupt twice. We took lots of pictures. We learned pretty quickly that Yellowstone in June is a finicky thing. In the sun and in the car its warm. Then you get out and its windy and cool. So we made sure to bring layers on our other outings.IMG_4942IMG_5129IMG_6282IMG_6305IMG_6351

Two mornings we got up at 3am and drove to Lamar Valley to search for wolves. The first adventure we half arsed and didn’t see any wolves. The second time we were determined, left the car and stoop with all the other wolf enthusiasts and low and behold saw one. Best thing ever.

We saw the Grand Tetons. . . If any American reads this they probably gonna hate me right now, but Icefields Parkway in Alberta is SO MUCH BETTER!!! Sorry, it is. Four hours of driving to see one mountain and a barn. The barn was great but the Mountains just aren’t as impressive as the Canadian Rockies. The story about the parks formation is kinda cool but I found that out after, online. Look up Moulton Barn, cool history.IMG_6193

We saw Pelicans, a Grizzly bear, Porcupine, Pronghorn, Mountain Sheep, Elk, Bison, Sandhill Cranes, Black Bear, American Flickers, Sparrows, Ducks, other stuff.IMG_5057IMG_5030IMG_6516IMG_6862IMG_6788IMG_6632

It was great.

Summer

It seems like forever since I posted, probably because it has been. There are so many things I need to share and so many photos to upload. Procrastination: the more you do it and the longer time passes the easier it gets.

My goal is to catch up sometime this week. Till then some spring photos from the heron reserve and of my dwarf lilac bush.

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