Happy Birthday, Mad Hatter!

To my darling Mad Hatter,

Happy birthday! You have blessed this world for 9131 days! And as of today, you have blessed my world for 747 days.

I started working on a present, to celebrate our 730 days together. But of course, I didn’t finish in time. Guess that means I’ve got to pamper you even more this Christmas!

In the mean time, I’ve compiled some journals of our most recent week together. As my first blog subscriber, I dedicate this post to you. ❤

 

Adventures in Wonderland, October 21 – 28, 2018

—Sunday—-

At long last, I have arrived! And I got to meet the newcomers!

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Meet No-Face and Sootsprite, Hatter’s new pets! No-Face is the lighter of the two. I call them “Nofie” and “Sootsie” for short. They are about 3 months old, and are like two peas in a pod. When they get separated, they meow until they are reunited. I think they miss their momma cat.

Mad Hatter cooked me a delicious steak dinner, and I made the baked potatoes. Or at least, I tried to….

The skin did not crisp, as expected. It turns out you’re only supposed to drizzle a bit of oil, rather than rub the oil all over the potatoes. Oh well, you live and learn. The cheese and meat juices gave the potatoes all the savour they needed.

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—Monday—

Shopping, first day home alone with the kitties, and a mysterious brown package.

I broke out in horrendous hives this week. Okay, they had technically started the week before, but today they flared up all over my legs, arms, and hands. I walked with Hatter partway to his work, and then went to the drug store to buy anti-itch medicine.

Downtown Wonderland is pretty quiet in the mornings, but it does provide some nice street-side topiaries. And some of the neighbours really go all-out for Hallowe’en.

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A mysterious package arrived from Amazon.

And…I think I’m in love.

Mad Hatter bought this for me, in hopes that I could use it to work comfortably on my animation assignments. Now, even 800+ MB Maya files open, and run like a dream. On top of that, Steam works again! I haven’t used it in four years…

I’ll make you proud, Hatter. I’ll make cool things using this laptop. And you’ll be all, “why, my pretty girlfriend made all these amazing things, using the laptop I gave her!” Thank you, I love you. ❤

 

—Tuesday—

Today was a fiddle day. By which I mean it was a day to fiddle with the shiny new laptop. Sadly, I didn’t accomplish much, with all the hive itching.

I finally played Fez. Look at this fellow, walking around!

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Four years ago, I would’ve had more in-depth things to say about this game. If I recall, I originally bought the game, to write a game development blog about it. For now, my verdict is: Fez is fun. Play it, and try to find all the secrets.

At least the previous night’s dinner, made for great leftovers. (Failed) Goulash, alfredo pasta, and green peas.

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The rest of the night contained kitten shennanigans. The kittens discovered the stairs… and how to fall down them.

I gave the kitties a jingle bell ball. 18 hours later, it vanished.

 

—Wednesday—

We let the kitties wander about the apartment. But then we realized a little too late that….someone had a poop butt. Gross!

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Who, me? (*This might actually be Nofie)

*sigh* Apparently, we forgot the problems of long haired cats…and things getting stuck to their fur. So after he left several “butt prints” on the already-brown floor, we had to give Sootsie a bath. He wasn’t too happy about it, but he seemed a lot better after I held him in my arms, while he was wrapped in a towel burrito. I gave him a treat, for being a good bather.

The rest of the day consisted of general housekeeping. After a summer of getting paid to do this, I…actually kind of miss it? The getting paid part, anyway.

The hives had caused my hands to swell, when I washed the dishes, so we decided to eat out for dinner. OF COURSE, guess who decided to show up unannounced, and uninvited, just as I was getting all dressed up? Nobody’s favourite fairy! Mad Hatter bought us burgers. It was still a lovely night, even if we stayed in. Perhaps we can dress up, and go out another time.

 

—Thursday—

The day we (maybe?) ate laundry detergent.

I braved the red fairy’s curse, to cook spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner. The recipe called for corn starch.

screenshot_2018-11-02-00-26-14I opened a plastic baggie containing what I thought was corn starch, and immediately noticed it smelled…nice. Like, artificial, floral-scented nice. Curious, I gave it a taste… and it felt like I had licked a bar of soap. I texted Hatter, and he assured me it was indeed corn starch. I took his word, (I had never tasted straight up corn starch before) finished cooking, and awaited the return of my hatter.

It did smell nice, and the spaghetti turned out perfectly springy.

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And then…. we both started to get suspicious. The sauce had a soapy taste to it, and it was a lot darker than Hatter was used to. I texted Shoonie, the baking/cooking expert, voicing my concerns about the white powder. She responded:

She ended up calling us in a semi-panic. XD

We’re fine, don’t worry. We didn’t eat much of our dinner, and I hadn’t been feeling well enough to eat much that day anyway. It kinda sucked that we had to throw away all the sauce, but we managed to store the remaining spaghetti. Hope it’s not still there as I post this…

After that incident, we took Nofie and Sootsie to their first vet visit. It turns out they’re both boy cats! No wonder they love to rough house, like brothers often do. Sootsie growled, when the vet poked him with the vaccine, but otherwise, both were well behaved boys. I felt like a proud parent. XD We had to give them some follow up medicines when we got home, which proved to be a struggle at first. Poor Mad Hatter faced the long claw of the law, when he tried to pin one, and squirt the medicine into their mouth. (Translation: Hatter got scratched)

*Protip for giving pets oral medicine: squeeze the syringe gradually, and let your pet lap up the medicine. It’s less stressful for them, and for you, too!

 

—Friday—

Working from home….

I had the worst morning. Not only did I barely sleep the night before, but I woke up with my right eye swollen shut! I forced myself out of bed, to see Hatter off to work, and we sat at the breakfast table together. I remember feeling woozy, and the only thought was, “I need to lie down.” Next thing I know, I’m on the floor…

Hatter worked from home, while I napped on the couch for the rest of the morning. When I woke up, we made a trip to the walk in clinic, to finally see about the horrendous hives. (They had not changed all week) Sure enough, within minutes of taking the medicine, I felt my face melting back into its original shape. And the hives died down quickly, though as of writing this, they do flare up from time to time. But at least now they’re under control.

I gave Hatter an early birthday present. Let me take a moment, to apologize in advance, to anyone who was subjected to his dreaded toe shoes…

I bought these from Muji. Next time I see him, I’ll bring my Rainbow Brite toe socks.

Oh yeah, we had fish and chips for dinner.

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—Saturday—

Last full day in Wonderland… Let’s start the day off, with the most important meal of the day.

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I have shared pictures of our meals, because they represent my favourite parts of the week: when the Mad Hatter and I sit down to a delicious meal. Sometimes he cooks, sometimes I cook, and sometimes we cook together. But in the end, we sit down to eat, relax, and just be together. Whether we’re at East Side Mario’s in our nice clothes, or just at home in our pyjamas making spaghetti, I hope I’ll be able to share many more meals with my Hatter.

After a week with the kittens, I have observed that Sootsprite is more interested in human cuddles, than No-Face. I’ll just pick him up and carry him like a baby, and he dozes right off. He purrs really, really loudly.

On the other hand, No-Face appears to be the smarter of the two. He’s figured out that he needs to cover his business, after using the litter box. He’s also the more peaceful of the two brothers: if he’s going for a toy, and his brother gets to it first, he’ll go “eh…” and sit quietly until it’s his turn. Sometimes I’ll throw a toy for No-Face, and zooom! Sootsprite will run to steal it.

Click here to witness the circle of pets.

Mad Hatter’s good friend, Paul, came for dinner. We made spaghetti carbonara, watched Spirited Away (too bad Nofie and Sootsie weren’t interested in seeing their namesakes…) and served tea and cookies for Paul’s parents, when they came to pick him up. And I think Paul’s mom, conquered her (fear?) of cats. Paul and his parents are nice. Last year, they invited us to a Christmas party, which is where I first met them. I wonder, if we will see them again this Christmas?

 

—Sunday, October 28—

Before they got married, my friend Kitty would recount how he and Bear would cry, when they had to be separated again. I don’t cry when I have to be separated from Hatter, because I know I’ll see him again soon. But I do feel that sense of emptiness. This week, it felt like I had my own little family, of a Mad Hatter, and two “hairy babies.” Mad Hatter, Nofie, and Sootsie… I’ll be with you again real soon. ❤

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Happy birthday, Ben. ❤

*plays the song you sent last night*

Pika, so happy~

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Tea and Gondor – DIY #11

I made a cozy for the Mad Hatter’s sister, Kate. It features a cross stitch pattern of the Tree of Gondor, from Lord of the Rings.

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Click to see the video demonstration.

This cozy is part of an art exchange. Kate made me this adorable earring and necklace set. Now I can always keep the Mad Hatter close to my heart. ❤

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Unfortunately, I don’t know much about Lord of the Rings, (I was more of a Harry Potter fan) aside from this ancient meme. I do know however, that cross stitch is not my forte. Multiple sources have tried to teach me over the years, yet the stitches never look right. That’s when Mad Hatter designed this pattern, which accounts for the chunkier floss (yarn) used in the project.

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The body of the cozy was created using materials provided by Mother Top Hat. I used her cozy to make a pattern, and sewed the batting inside. The crochet cover took forever to make, but it was all worth it to see it come to completion. And I had a lot of fun cross stitching the Tree of Gondor. In the future, I might make the cover a bit tighter. I didn’t count on it becoming drapey in the wash. x_x

Mother Raichu was tickled to see a tea cozy again, after many years. Apparently, tea cozies were all the rage in the olden days. My grandmother Raichu used to cross stitch her own covers, too! Perhaps I will make a cozy for us, and decorate it with cross stitch flowers.

*yawn* As I type this, it is 1:50 AM, and I long for a cup of tea. We have just completed my first game jam with the Mad Hatter and friends. I hope to blog about our final game here soon. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, that as soon as I lamented not being creatively productive over the summer, Mad Hatter suggested this game jam. He’s always looking out for my best interest, and his cuddles warm me up like a hot cup of Forest Green. Kate is probably thinking, “my brother, cute? Eww…” XD

If you’d like to get to know Kate a bit better, you can read her blog, Peace and Pekoe. I blog about crafts while musing about life, and she blogs about life while musing about “a lot of things.” – Mad Hatter 2018

Are you a tea drinker? If so, what is your favourite kind of tea? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

 

Pika’s Soba Noodle Soup!

“Hey Pika, where have you been all month?” – Nobody

Regardless of the length of summer vacation, everybody seems to wait until August to do the really fun things. Maybe it’s because the weather evens out by then, maybe it’s because they spent July saving up money for August frolicks, but whatever the reason, August is the time of all the fun things. Case in point: I just got back from Washington, DC. I saw the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, two landmarks that I’d only seen in movies and TV shows. On the way back, we did some shopping in Grove City. Shoonie got a little green bow. BOW!!! |>o<|

And today… just feeling bleh. How to describe the feeling… it’s when you have more on your plate than you thought. Or when you take work with you on a trip thinking you’ll get it done, but you don’t because it’s a vacation. Or when you miss somebody. Or you remember the red Navi is coming soon. Whatever it is, it can be temporarily healed with comfort food!

Guess what I bought today? Soba noodles! These are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat. The ones I bought come in a pack of 6 individually wrapped bundles. Each bundle makes one serving of noodles. Genius! Why can’t we package spaghetti like this? In Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, you can cook buckwheat noodles with egg. That was the inspiration behind this improvised recipe, along with my Naruto-esque love for ramen. So, without further ado, let’s get comfort cooking!

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Ingredients

IMG_20150829_2013115901 bundle Soba (buckwheat) noodles

2 cups water

1 chicken flavoured bouillon cube

1 egg

2 sticks of imitation crab

Chopped chives for garnish

First thing’s first, boil the water and dissolve the cube to make your soup stock.

IMG_20150829_201710Crack the egg into a bowl and beat lightly. Set aside.

IMG_20150829_203043Then, take a bundle of soba noodles and pop them in the pot. Do not break the noodles! These are soba noodles, not spaghetti. They may look like cardboard, but they cook in about 5 minutes.

IMG_20150829_203423Meanwhile, chop up your imitation crab into bite size pieces. I don’t care what people say; imitation crab is tasty and convenient. But if you would rather have stronger tasting protein, you can substitute the imitation crab for ham, hot dogs, bits of cooked chicken or beef, or tofu if you’re an alie—-er, I mean vegetarian. 😀 Whatever you decide to add, make sure it’s cooked. This way you can simply toss it in to thaw and warm up.

Pour the beaten egg into the noodle soup, stirring constantly to disperse the egg. Look familiar? If you frequent Asian restaurants, it should; you’ve just made egg drop soup!

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Finally, add in your chopped crab meat. Turn off the heat and let the soup “rest” for about a minute before serving.

Pour into a bowl, top with a few chives, and you’re done!

Final Verdict

Tasty and comforting! This is a very versatile soup. Don’t like crab? Try ham. Think egg drop looks gross? Maybe poached is more your style. I think next time, I will try a meatless approach by substituting the crab for sautéed mushrooms, and instead of egg drop just hard boil and slice the egg.

Eww… these noodles turned out a bit slimy. I guess that’s why the package said to rinse the noodles after cooking. Basically, cook noodles separately, drain, rinse, and add to prepared broth. I wish I had read this blog post before hand. Also beware, egg drop soup does not keep well. It will leave a gritty feeling in your mouth when eaten cold, and congeals the next day. Bring a friend, or at least a large appetite!

I would definitely eat soba again, and in different ways. I said before that these are not spaghetti, but maybe I will try using these noodles instead of spaghetti sometime.

Have you tried soba? Do you eat your noodles with self-confidence? How do you prepare your soba? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~