Let the festivities begin!

For Christmas, I mean. Ian and I set up our decorations on the weekend, in preparation to start the holiday season (which apparently starts the first weekend of Dec. Who knew?).

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We also had his Christmas party and I enjoyed it a lot. A little too much, actually. I need to rein it in after one big blowout, I can’t handle that much fun these days! (Or I can, but my stomach can’t. yeeesh). It was a night filled with blackjack, dancing, good food and lots and lots of wine, my ultimate downfall.

Sunday was a write off, thanks to the wine-related hangover and accordingly sour clenched fist of a stomach…Thanks body you really got me this time! I did make time to go riding on Oats while Ian made a special trip to Greenhawk for some Xmas shopping. Yessss!

This week no dressage lesson tonight, so I’m bumming around on Oats. Lucky because it is also COLD this week, like 0 deg at the barn at night. Ouch. Still going riding though and maybe a little shopping myself! Oats was very pleasant to ride this week, some disagreement on ‘collected canter’ aka he doesn’t know wtf I am doing/asking for, but oh well it’s a work in progress.

Jumping on Thursday, as per usual. Christmas cookie decorating with a friend on Saturday!

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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!

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.

 

Christmas party season begins!

Last year I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to 3 Christmas parties on the same.night. ARGH!

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Photo booth!

I wanted to go to them, honestly I did! So, I went to two in one night.

This year, luckily things are a little more spread out- phew! So, we went to my husband’s work party, which usually kicks off the holiday party season. The food was quite good this year, we got 3 free drink tickets each, and were completely robbed in the draw prize selection…Out of every table, everyone won at least one thing. One table even had every person from their table win a sweet draw prize! Our table? Sat there empty-handed the whole freaking night! So unlucky eh?

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Silly photo booth! Note to self- strapless dresses make it look like you’re naked…

Also the cab situation- you could NOT get a cab for love or money that night. Not one. Grumble…There was a band playing and gotta love them for their ‘try’ but jeeeesh, they were pretty bad. Like, sucked the energy out of a room bad. Nobody really danced- a few made an effort, but like, the songs were all CCR or ZZ Top. Not my cup of tea, thanks!

The night went really quick though, and I enjoyed myself.

We got home around 11:30 p.m. or so, and I had my jump lesson with Oats and my trainer on Saturday at 2 p.m., so I didn’t have to really worry about waking up early hungover or anything. Not that I was…But I was congested/sinus headache from hell.

We went to my friend’s craft sale- I participated in it last year but decided selling isn’t my gig, and opted out this year. I bought a loaf of fresh bread! Love it. Then I went off to my lesson, and I’ll post more about that later…

Saturday night I went with a friend to eat at Foo’s Ramen Bar, and then go see the last installment of the ‘Mockingjay’ franchise. Good film but freaking long. Wow. Foo was awesome, the ramen is a super good deal ($13 for the special, pork belly miso ramen) and very filling and delicious. I would definitely recommend it!

Overall, a very pleasant weekend- except that I also forgot it was my dad’s birthday and my phone was acting up (again) so I missed a message from my mom telling me it was his b-day! Ack!

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Happy Birthday Dad!

Bath & Body- Crafty time~

Not only do I love riding, like running and being active, but I love crafts. Normally my crafts involve glue guns but I have been maturing in my skills…

So, earlier in the season I experimented with lip balms. I made peppermint ones and they were a success!

Now I’m combining my lip balm skills and adding in a lip scrub, so now people (friends, family, loved ones) can not only have a nice pepperminty lip balm but also a smoothing scrub to start things off!

Bubblegum lip scrubs and lip balms

Bubblegum lip scrubs and lip balms

This makes great little gifty things for Christmas.

I call my lip scrubs ‘Bubblegum’ lip scrubs and dyed them pink!

It’s so easy:

  • I used 1/2 cup white sugar,
  • 1 drop pink food dye,
  • 1 tsp vanilla (white),
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, and
  • 1 tsp cocoa butter (melted).

Mix the whole shebang together, add your pink food dye, and voila! Bubblegum lip scrub. Parcel it out into cute little containers. I used jam jars, with the labels removed and the lids spray-painted blue. Just boil them first!

Gifts

Gifts

This also feels super nice on your hands, if you want to make a bigger batch to use as a really nice gelato-type of hand scrub.

Next up- I am going to try my hand at making a peppermint foot scrub with salts. Should be good!