Earthquake!

So we had an earthquake the other day just before midnight. I’d been having a miserable time trying to get to sleep, and suddenly the bed was shaking and all the dishes were rattling in the cupboards. I was freaked out!

Luckily it passed without any harm or damage, but I was really wigged out for the rest of the night, adding to my already sleepless time. I kept running disaster scenarios in my head…Thinking the upstairs neighbour’s bed was going to come crashing down on us, to full on post-apocalypse world where nothing is ever going to be the same again.

Thinking back, I was expecting the ‘other shoe to fall’ and waiting for another, bigger and worse, one. I was like, this is exactly how people in natural diaster movies feel! Out of control and panicked!

Also thinking back- I should stop drinking anything with caffeine in the evening. Yeeeesh, it makes my sleeplessness, paranoia, and anxiety 10000% worse.

And yesterday I also finished my course of Montelukast (Brand name Singulair), and I don’t think I will bother renewing my prescription. It doesn’t seem to really ‘do’ anything that OTC allergy meds can’t do, and it is very expensive and on top of that, I have to stack OTC allergy meds on top of taking Montelukast every day to function anyways. So…..what is the point?

I’m just going back to taking OTC Reactine every day instead.

My litmus test for allergy meds: do they minimize my allergies enough, or do I have to stack OTC allergy meds on top of them to function every day, like how I would normally?

If yes- they don’t work. So, I’m off it for now and going to see how things go. If I feel worse, I will go back to the doctor’s and pick up another prescription.

So far, Avamys (nasal spray) didn’t really work at all, I’d buy it, use it for a bit and still have to take Reactine, and then they spray would run out in weeks. Each one costs like $50 WITH insurance?!

Then I moved to Nasonex, and that was even worse…I had to take a nasal spray loading dose for 2 weeks before it was even effective, it never felt effective at all, and I’d run out before a month was over. And yes each one cost $65/month (like 2 weeks, at 2 doses/day every day…) WITH insurance. WTF?

And now I tried Montelukast. Eh….Can’t really tell. Will monitor carefully and see if I need to go back on it. Interestingly the side effects for it include suicidal ideation, depressive thoughts, anxiety and sleeplessness.

 

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A white Christmas? Not here!

We said ‘seeya’ to our condo and zipped up island to Ucluelet to the Black Rock resort for a few days of R&R before we did actual Christmas with my in-laws at their farm.

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Our fake Christmas tree. It looks nice, even though I still prefer real.

And it was SO worth it. The drive up wasn’t bad, there was snow on the pass/summit but nothing on the road (thank god. I was having flashbacks of our nightmare road trip to California a few years ago, where we had the most disasterous time…I was sure we were going to die).

All was good. The resort allows pets, so Gidget came with us! We had the hot tubs to ourselves, a really neat condo-type hotel accomodation, bathrobes galore, a rain shower, ’90’s movies on cable (Hook and Jumanji) booze, snacks, beers, chocolate and lots of lazing around.

We also did some storm watching, and it was quite violent. The beaches nearer to Tofino were closed for both watching/walking and surfing, because the surf and risk of rogue waves was so high!

It snowed at night, and Ian, Gidget and I enjoyed a walk in the snow- damn it was slippery-and we threw snow/ice balls at each other and at the dog. It also hailed a lot at night and man it was so loud.

We ate at Shelter, and it was good but I really wanted to try Wolf in the Fog, but they were closed when we were there, bummer. We also grabbed a coffee the next day in Tofino and put Baileys in it, and walked around town. It was absolutely FREEZING on the beach- so much so that we spent like, zero time on it…Got blasted off by the insane wind. So.Cold.

Sadly Ucluelet has a real lack of good restaurants- the best one apparently is Norwoods, with Black Rock’s Fetch being a close second, so we pretty much head to Tofino for any fine dining otherwise. They have a booming selection, compared with when we used to come in university.

Then we packed up and headed to the farm for a family Christmas- it was fine, I wished we had a tree there, because it doesn’t feel quite like Christmas to me without one. Oh well! The food was great, and it was nice to enjoy company without feeling pressured to do too much ‘family togetherness’ which always spells disaster in my family…

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sleepy time at home

 

Christmas recap: The horse edition

Actual Christmas update to come later- this one is all about the horses over the holidays!

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Merry Christmas from our family!

As mentioned earlier, we had our barn party on the Saturday Dec. 19th and it was a blast! It was super nice to chat with everyone, and we opened our Secret Santa gifts. I loved mine- saddle soap that I truly needed, and some really fun extras like a small bottle of Baileys (that is done already, ha), chocolate covered spoons, and a mug with blackboard paint and chalk, that you can write on. Cute!

Sunday Ian and I went to the barn and he kindly agreed to take videos of me jumping! I had to include italics here because this is a rare event, people! Oats and I were jumping so-so (our trot fences were not bad, some lousy blips where we ground to a chip, and then crawled over the fence…trying to get away from doing that!) and some really nice fences! Oats was quite sassy, threw a small buck in at the trot too!

 

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We also had an opportunity to take our annual Christmas photo with the family (aka Gidget and Mr. Oats).

And then I rode Monday and think we did some flatwork? I do recall that my energy lately for flatwork has been ‘high’ and Oats is certainly feeding off it…When I wanted some contact, Oats wanted to canter. Rinse, repeat.

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Hm…

 

And then Oats got some time off! I’m sure he appreciated it. He was off while I was taking a small Xmas holiday in Ucluelet and then at Christmas with family up-Island. When I got back into riding him on Saturday, he was not so full of beans…The opposite actually.

Saturday’s ride was fine, popped over a cross-rail, a lot of half-seat canter. Nothing demanding.

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then jumped…Awkardly.

Sunday’s ride- now I wanted a bit more- popped over a small course a couple times, trot fence, and some bending/contact work at the trot.

Monday– a bigger (oooh) few fences set up and we jumped them! Only once each, but hey…My diagonal fence suuuucked so hard I almost saw my trainer yelling at me from the shadows. I have to get that one figured out. The one on the quarter line was great! Also some curving fence x-rails, and those were super fun!

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Contact work at the walk, which was harder than Oats and I thought it had any right to be….

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And dressage lesson tonight! Can only anticipate what it will be like….And I am back to work this week, which is totally and utterly non-awesome.

And the countdown is ON!

Yep, on my last day at work here before Christmas holidays….And I can’t complain about my last day. My whole week, sure, but today? Nope! Things are ok as of right now.

I had to go back and edit this- no, I’m STILL overworked, and feeling swamped, done, tired and stressed. WHEN WILL THIS EFFING WEEK BE OVER>? I ask you….

Buster shares a moment

Buster shares a moment

Other than not being able to control my ‘must eat all the Christmas treats’ desire, things are fine. It looks like my Buster Bunny is on the mend, though stubbornly refusing to eat his rabbit pellets in another hunger strike…I got him some hay to play with, so maybe that distracts him into actually eating his normal food again…

Had a fun jump lesson last night, and you know what? We tried some interesting things and I quite enjoyed being ‘challenged’ in that way. We tried wide-hands jumping, wide-hands jumping over a tiny grid, wide-hands AND phyllis ‘carriage rein’ hands over the grid, one-handed grid-jumping – we almost smoked the standards though, yiiipes! And then we wrapped up with phyllis rein wide-oxer grid.

A good day!

I’m really liking trying new things jumping. It’s cool, neat and keeps Oats and I engaged. It was also nice to see my trainer again, I know she is grieving and going through a difficult time, so I was glad to see how well she is holding it together right now. One foot in front of the other, at this point.

We have the barn Christmas party tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it- my husband promised to help me make meatballs to bring (while I am a good baker, I am a terrible cook). I also have to arrange my secret santa gift, no guesses on who it is but it is someone special to me and my horse! 🙂

Looking forward to taking some time to uwind, relax with family, and enjoy the holidays with my horse, husband, dog and rabbit–the little troublemakers.

Also, my colleague gave me a Christmas card at work today and it was so nice and thoughtful. She is one of the most heartfelt people I know, and I think the world is a better place with her in it.

Also a shout-out to my husband, who handled my stressful week really well and helped me clean Buster’s gross butt last night, and even brought lentil tacos and beer on Wednesday when things were particularly rough! You’re the best!

When your day feels like a really long night

It’s so dark these days, and I can’t help but hate the ‘leaving for work in the morning at “night” and then coming home from work (late, ugh) in the pitch black, driving to the barn for my lesson in the dark, riding under lights, walking my dog at what feels like midnight’…

Me right now

Me right now. Funny, I use this every Christmas, and every Christmas feel incredibly grouchy. Hm..

It feels like my whole day is just one long night.

I was also spectacularly grouchy, work stuff in general, the countdown is on for my holidays and man, they can’t be here soon enough! I also feel like the lack of daylight on my skin is affecting my energy levels.

Went into my lesson with Karen with mixed feelings- I barely had enough time to take my dog out, get changed and zip out to the barn (see work thing) so I was feeling stressed and kind of irritated in general. I was also curious how the vibe of the lesson would be, as my fellow rider has been having several issues with her horse – issues that I am intimately familiar with as I’ve gone through the same training problems- and things escalated very poorly last week.

I admit, I was starving and kind of like, can we cut to the chase? When my lesson partner was having an in-depth conversation with Karen and I was getting antsy and tired- hell-o, long day here! Let’s get this show on the road!!! I wasn’t too rude, but when she started talking about her second horse, I was like, um hey let’s GO!

So we worked on some things in the lesson and as I mentioned to my husband before I left, that I was on a repeated cycle loop yesterday and was doomed to repeat myself, not knowing I was doing so…And yeah, that theme presented itself handily in my lesson.

Cue Oats ‘hopping’ into the canter instead of oh, coming off my leg in the trot nicely. So, we cantered. And cantered. And cantered. I was tired. This is a training thing with him that I am used to, but it still bugs me.

Meanwhile, my lesson partner had to dismount and work her horse from the ground, as the training issue came up again and was frightening her. Fair enough, that’s what I would do – when I was in that situation in the past.

So, I worked Oats through his ‘hopping’ and we finally got a nice engaged/straight trot (finally!) and I was a little annoyed that this issue came up and we had to spend the whole lesson on it,  again,  hello groundhog day here? But Karen reminded me that consistency is KEY, and it’s simply a matter of repeating your request until the pony gets it.

He finally got it, haha.

Overall, his work is fine, but yesterday I was not in a super productive mood, so I’m glad we were able to work through his training holes without drama at least, haha.

Good pony.

It felt just like Christmas

Borrowing a title from the band ‘Low’ for a minute for a weekend update.

The update is again, good and bad.

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Can you believe this was 2 years ago?

Good: My work lunch was fun, I ate way too much and drank even more. The delight I discovered was in my work gift x-change- Fireball whiskey and hot chocolate. Mannn…Wish I didn’t know about that the next day, that’s for damn sure!

Also good: Decorating the tree! Finally had a free night (Saturday) to set up the fakey tree we got. Confession time: Also bad because I just don’t like fake trees. I am trying to be a convert because our fascist building rules say no more real trees but damn, it just isn’t the same. It looks ok though.

And great: A jump lesson on Saturday with Nicole and Oats! He was good, I was…well, less good and pretty hungover. Gak. He was very forgiving and I couldn’t see or ride a distance to save my life, despite crowing recently about how much of a rockstar we have both been in our solo jump efforts. Oh well!

Bad: My trainer’s mom died very suddenly Sunday night. She had a stroke from what I understand, and when she was removed from life support, passed away instantly. I’m very sad for Nicole and feel that life for sure has dealt her the toughest blows this 2015. From putting down her old horse of 17 years a month ago, to some relationship troubles, to getting injured a few weeks ago, to her mom passing–she has not had a good or easy time of it.

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Feeling sorry.

Also bad: The weather. WTF! It was soooo insanely windy and crazy all weekend, but Saturday in particular. Last week was pretty nuts all week too. And now it is freezing again. We seem to be stuck in a cycle of windy/rainy storm cyclone, then freezing with frost on the ground, back to windy/rainy. Can I get off this carousel please?

Bad: Fake trees. Blah!

More bad: Hangovers! But they come from a fun place, so….Take what you can get maybe.

And to wrap it up: An ok ride on Sunday, can’t quite remember what we were working on but it was fine. An equine counseling session yesterday that was quite cathartic and emotional for me, so I elected not to bring that to Oats for a ride.

Instead, I worked him free-longing to do some ‘join-up’ work and it wa really nice to see him follow behind me! I was sooo late coming home though, eeek.

 

No lessons, but still learning

Rescheduled my lesson from Thursday again to Saturday, due to coach time changes.

No prob, I thought I’d go early on Thursday, and see what kind of horse I had with me- well, I didn’t factor in that I was rudely interrupting Oats from his dinner (grabbed him to tack up before he had dinner and boy, he was pissed). He was antsy in the cross-ties, fidgety, snatchy and irritated.

When I went to ride, he was GOING PLACES.

I actually appreciate that on him, as most of our rides are me convincing him to get his pony butt in gear, but wow…He just kept on it. Our canter transition in the warm-up was a buck!

Not an obnoxious buck, a very enthusiastic one. He was like the Energizer Bunny of horses last night- going, going, going, going. I was getting tired?! We schooled over some (very low but fun) fences, trot a x-pole, canter the hay bales, canter the lattice jump, canter the x-pole and he was not tiring a single bit. Apparently angry Oats is energetic Oats?

I got tired of jumping and he was literally still raring to go. Need I remind you of how extremely unusual that is? His preferred movement is ‘stop.’ We worked on more canter, and then worked over tiny x-pole on a canter circle, both directions, starting with the left.

I know, me doing circle jumps on my own, voluntarily. Who is this person??

We switched to right, I wanted to try it at the trot and he would NOT trot. Only canter. Okay then…We cantered, and it was at times great, and other times, very awkward.

I then continued to work him at the trot, a bit of spiraling in and out – I know, it was A TON of work to ride him last night, just very physical- and he was okay but not really tuned into me at the trot.

We did some deep bend left and right, and big trot- he continued in big trot, which was surprising. He was much better at it on the right, which is not his good side.

I finally walked and even his walk was very motivated. I hopped off to cool him out, because by this point, he was so sweaty and needed a good long cool-down time.

I was tired! Wow! I do wish I had this kind of energy when I really need it- like during my jump lessons or in a horse show.