I’m moving on from my workplace of 11 years and while this is a change I really wanted to make, I also feel very strange about it now?!
I started here when I had just turned 25, and now I am turning 37. Where did the time go? I’ve really valued the friendships I’ve made here and my colleagues are great people, but I came to the realization that with just under 6 months left before my sabbatical, it was time to make a more permanent change and leave my current office.
I’m staying in the same position but handling some different aspects, something I haven’t done in oh, about 7 years?? But the change is necessary and important for both my mental health and personal growth. I need to take more proactive steps towards a future that I can believe in.
I traveled a fair bit over the Christmas holidays (narrowly avoiding what turned out to be an absolute disaster of travel later, as many airlines cancelled due to their staff getting Omicron… ) and it went well!
I wasn’t in a great headspace due to the issues mentioned earlier (colleague dying, being way understaffed at work, Oats lame with what turned out to be a months-long abscess journey- thankfully that was it though?!!) but I figured it’s better to be away from all of that nightmarish mess, isn’t it?
I visited my family in Kelowna and it went completely fine. We had lots of activities and I enjoyed being in a winter wonderland for Christmas, we we don’t normally get snow here (and as I write, we have had the WORST weather in all the years I have lived here sooooo yeah we have a lot of snow here this winter?!).
We enjoyed skating outdoors in a beautiful little outdoor rink in downtown Kelowna, we went to Mission Hill winery for a truly fantastic little private tasting event, we went to see House of Gucci, we decorated gingerbread houses, I took my mom cross-country skiing to a hill near their place, and we went to a lovely and extremely pricey dinner at the Eldorado Hotel.
It was a very nice experience and something I didn’t know I needed- to get away from my own life.
Next up- actual Christmas in Courtenay at my in-laws house. And they had a ton more snow? Why/how is this winter weather chasing me?!
Actually, I had pre-Christmas blues instead of post-Christmas and WOW they were horrible. I wrote a cheery blog post two days before I had time off, I had talked with a counselor and I was feeling pretty darn great!
And then my last day of work, basically everything exploded and it was horrible.
I learned that two of our staff members were leaving, to add to the two who had already left in Dec. I went to the gym for lunch, and came back to work and was called in to my friend and former manager’s office urgently.
I was curious, wondering why she needed to see me so urgently?
Our friend and my former colleague had died that week. 😦
I was completely shocked, stunned and heartbroken. She is so young, only in her early thirties. I knew she had been sick, but I had no idea how bad her illness had been, and how long she had been in the hospital for. It was heartbreaking.
I numbly went back to my desk and felt terrible.
I stumbled through work that day, talking with our mutual friends and colleagues. I felt like I was sleepwalking, that this wasn’t happening to her. When I came home, I cried.
I also learned that Oats was lame again, literally three days before I was also supposed to be flying to visit family in Kelowna. WTF.
I collapsed, basically. I didn’t know what to do and it felt like my entire being, not just my brain, was collapsing inward on itself like a dying star.
My dear friend who is a total sweetheart came by and gave me some of her delicious toffee-bark and chocolates (she is the best!!) and she could tell that I was having a terrible time of it. I was.
So there I was, a few days before Christmas and my world imploded.
It’s not a secret that I find the holiday season very difficult and I am usually in the WORST mood before Xmas. Ugh, I just find it very depressing, phoney and fake and this is partly due to work usually blowing up in my face right before Xmas, and my family being a collection of nutbars…
But I take steps to combat this!
Chiefly by making things I like to do a priority and giving back to my friends, who have had hard years themselves. I also make sure to take time OFF at Xmas, so I don’t poison everyone around me with my horrible mood, lol. (Plus it’s just easier on my mental health if I am not slowly being ground down by work at the same time, so a win-win).
This year we have already been to one Xmas party and we had a BLAST!! Omg it was so fun- at my husband’s work. We made ornaments, enjoyed amazing food (an entire seacuterie!!) and danced and sang karaoke 🙂
And then last weekend we made and decorated cookies as gifts for my friends and trainers 🙂
This weekend we got a tree! We also watched the Jon and Roy Christmas revue and it was really good, wow it was LONG lol we didn’t get home until after 11pm on Friday!
I also invited a friend/former colleague out to see Oats and have a pony ride and she came on Saturday and they were so good together, makes my heart proud to see people enjoying my pony too!
Soooo bad mood at Xmas or not, I am trying to make the best of things and I am on the home stretch- 2 DAAAYSSS!!! Let’s do it!
Went a touch radio silent due to a lot of different factors all colliding at once, unfortunately:
Major stress at work/burnout
Bad flareup of my chronic disease, ruinining an entire week of my life again
Oats went lame and I had a total meltdown over it
Gidget had a really bad flare up of her reverse sneezing and went into dog-shock for a few days. It was really hard to see 😦
So yeah…It was a very challenging period of weeks for me, Oats and the family.
Some bright sides: Oats lameness was temporary! He had a small abscess (in the same spot as his 2018 big abscess that summer) and now he is good to go. We even had a working equitation lesson on Sunday and he was a champ though I definitely felt quite rusty.
Work is ok for now and I am counting down the days until I am off on holidays!
My disease is back in remission until the next flare-up, and Gidget has a vet appointment today to figure out our next plan of attack. I don’t really expect that they will have any answers but…We made it over 3 weeks ago when we desperately needed it, so I still am hoping for some kind of solution or treatment for her symptoms.
I guess even through the blackest days, there is still hope?!
Also a bummer, but one I really knew was going to happen: My jump trainer who I have been with for over a decade (?!!) is not travelling to coach us anymore. I totally get it, no issue from me but it’s also a bit sad to see the end of an era.
I’ve reassessed mine and Oats relationships after his serious injury and jumping for competitions just doesn’t seem that worth it anymore? We’ve shown for so many years and it’s not always about ‘higher/faster/stronger’ for me– it’s about enjoying the journey and our relationship these days. I still love horse showing, but it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be, you know?
Things were going fine, until they suddenly weren’t. Tucker stopped eating for two weeks, his longest stint yet. My stress fractures got aggravated and I was limping again. 8 months of progress/trying to heal = over. And I have a race this weekend?! Yay. 😦 Eff my life.
My feet also have the return of chronic arch pain, so love that too. GOD damn this fall has been tricky.
At least we have some fun things to do, like going to a beer fest this past weekend (it was great!) and planning lots of fun horsey events with buddies.
Lessons have been going very well, had a nice jump lesson on Saturday where I couldn’t find a distance to save my life, ha and a WE lesson on Sunday where we upped the technical requests of Oats and it went fairly well! Tough tough, damn those L-shaped poles backing through…It’s our toughest. Plus I couldn’t pry my fingers off the garrocha pole to be able to grip the ring. At all. Like…If I tried I would drop the pole. I suspect it’s because I have incredibly tiny hands?!!
Something to work on!
No more riding in the fields I suspect- the rainy season is definitely upon us. Tucker did eat his rabbit food last night- I watched him! First time in weeks!!! It’s small progress, but progress nonetheless.
We are also made to go back to work full time, so no more WFH allowed. SIGH. Why can’t we be trusted? Oh that’s right, because they hold all employees with a degree of suspicion and mistrust. It’s been making me reconsider who I work for these days, to be honest. I would like to be treated with respect and value, and I do not feel that way. I have been very clear about this with others, so I guess we’ll see what happens next.
Last Thursday’s dressage lesson was alll lateral work and it was pretty tough, but the good thing is that it doesn’t get Oats too sweaty, which is great because he is ALL FUR and sweating his butt off! Poor Oaty! He gets clipped (with dorm, for safety) this weekend. Thank god, because it takes forever to cool/dry him out at night these days.
So we had the fun show this weekend and we were going to do it allll: Hack classes in the AM, and games in the PM!
Ok in theory…
What actually happened was the hack classes- and we did showmanship first! We got third in it! Whee 🙂 I had no real idea of what it was going to be like but I knew we had to trot in-hand, so I made sure Oats was trotting with me and it went nicely.
We then tacked up and warmed up in the postage-stamp-sized area, and it was ok. I figured he’ll have some ‘go’ but he’s getting worked a lot, so no problems right?
Oats chose this opportunity to become a raging, fire-breathing dragon/psychopath. He was SO out of control, wowza. He bucked, twirled, spun, spooked, launched and generally went completely psychotic.
He would trot fine, a little nuts and tense and then just GO FOR IT in the canter and generally try his hardest to get me off and scare everyone in the audience. I had airtime. It was pretty terrible, particularly since the other riders were trying their best to stay the hell away from our absolute shitshow and every time we cantered he’s lost his goddamned mind.
I managed to stay on literally by the skin of my teeth. He repeated that little fun maneuver EVERY. SINGLE.TIME. in the show ring. We did, however, place very nicely when he wasn’t being an absolute nutcase!
So I’d go back, and run him w/o stopping in the teeny tiny warmup in between every class. And he cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered, cantered fine in the warm-up, and then BLEW UP in the show arena. I was exhausted. My arms hurt the next day.
Good christ, this horse needs turnout something awful. He’s never been such a shithead as he has this year- don’t get me wrong, I am looooving our field jump lessons, the energy and presence, but GOD DAMN every show/event I have been to, he’s losing his mind and broncing with me. I have to ride him down for hours at a show- hours! He’s 20!
I want my hack/dressage and jump pony back, not just at home but like, for all times! sigh…
Anyways after lunch he was tired, ha thank god. We did the trail class and it took an absolute eternity- 2++ hours?! So many entrants! I was very pleased with Oats during it. His big flubs were his miserable backing (but we all know that is his weak spot) around the barrels in a ‘figure eight’ where he just backed into one and knocked it flat, haha.
Otherwise he rocked trail and came third! Out of maybe 30 riders??
And then it was 4pm! The show was supposed to end at 3pm! Eeek..
We were pretty tired but wanted to do 1 games (we were supposed to do like 4 games classes but I scratched to go home b/c it was taking too long, horse is tired, I’m tired, my hauler has to go).
We did pole-bending and it was a blast!! Oats is too slow to win, but he had fun anyways. Go Oats go!
Many thanks to the volunteers who did a marathon day out there- wowza. You guys are the real VIPS here!
Ah, the most exciting day! I was very anxious. Oats had been pretty amped the day before (hence the need for two rides, ha) but I was most worried about the two natural obstacles in the course: water, and a bank.
And I was right to be worried 😦
We went in for our first round and I immediately got DQ’d, lol. I ‘crossed my line’ on my way to start through the gates, whoops! But it went ok for the first obstacle (barrels) and then we went straight over to the bank for obstacle 2 and the wheels came off Oats’ brain. He was TERRIFIED of the bank. Would NOT go near it, at all. Well-meaning folks were like, well if you tried walking up to it slowly? Hahahahhah yeah, if he would stop rearing and running backwards, maybe I could…But I couldn’t get near it. Not one iota.
He was stressed and amped as hell, and we got permission to move on, having been disqualified already. He felt very tense and rigid, and was thinking about bucking me off. We went over to the garoccha line and he was good until we went to the bull for the rings and he spooked at the bull and I dropped the ring, and almost my pole! Hahaha.
The rest of the course was edgy and very tense but manageable. He didn’t really want to go through the water but then he did! I was surprised he did, when the bank was such a major issue?! I then messed up the entry to the double slalom (missed going through the cones the correct way) and got confused, ha. DQ number 3 or 4??
And then we hopped over the jump, got the jug, and cantered through the finish lines, where Oats started building up a head of steam and tried to buck me off going through the finish gates!! I had to pull him up, roughly, and then salute to the judge. They were laughing! hahaha.
Then for the Speed Round, same course (ARGHHHH) but no jug, only single slalom and one way through the cattle pen. Still the bank 😦 So I knew we’d get DQ’d and I was thinking about scratching, to be honest.
But, we took a break (Oats was SO THIRSTY allll weekend, poor dude), untacked and then chilled out. It was quite hot out too.
Afternoon, we tacked back up for Speed Round. I was kind of dreading it, but also thought who cares? This is all for schooling. And boy, was it! We went in for our round, and I took special care to NOT cross my lines hahah. We started well again, the barrels and then had a different idea for the bank- a trainer there suggested we go up above it, and then down to it. Did it work? A resounding NOPE! He danced, ran, spun, reared and generally freaked out.
And we skipped it, and he only had one ‘gonna buck you off!’ moment immediately afterward heading to the Garrocha line (where he was good but I missed the loop, shit!). Otherwise he was even a real trooper about going into the water, slightly hesitant but good! 🙂
We did get permission to school the bank after the competitors were done. I had someone come with me (my trainer who is helping me practice the obstacles at home) and I led him up to it in-hand. He snorted bigtime, but then happily followed me up the bank. And then down and then back up. I hopped back on, and we walked up to it and over on a loose rein. Easy-peasy! 🙂 How I WISH we had been able to do that in the competition…It would have saved him and me a lot of tension and angst eh?? Five minutes of introducing it to him and done! Good Oats.
It was a challenging weekend but did help me get out of my own head for a bit.
Ha, I had some kind of disappointing rides on Oats the past week that led me to not being thrilled about writing about them. In a nutshell, he’s suddenly feeling good. REALLY good. So he’s been a little hot rod to ride, spicy and bouncing (literally) hot to trot and I hated it!! I felt out of control, unsure and unused to it.
It’s not a bad thing, but after 8 months of rehab, and 10 months total post-rehab I felt completely out of my league with my new, fast, alert Superpony who was jazzed up beyond belief and NOT settling to his old, sedate Oats of past.
I didn’t know what to do? We hand galloped for 45 minutes last Saturday because he was so jazzed up and wasn’t settling, at all. GO GO GO like the Energizer Bunny?! I almost wished we HAD our jump lesson b/c I could really use that power and energy, but on my own hacking? Sheesh man, this is a lot to work with.
Sunday he was a touch calmer but still had a real undercurrent of BIG energy. We worked over some cross rails, and it was fine. Monday we did some quieter work- most at the walk/trot, and focused on lateral work at the walk and a touch at the trot.
Tuesday he was on fire again, and damn, we had a long, hard ride. Sort of a ‘Come to Jesus’ ride I guess? He was MOVING though and by the end, going incredibly nicely. It was just exhausting- physically and emotionally- to ride out the little pocket rocket first!
Wednesday I didn’t ride, man I was tired! So I put Oats’ halter on and we took a walk to a local park to watch the tennis players. People loved seeing him going down the sidewalk- ”Look, a horsie!!!” and I told them his name was Mr. Oats and the kids shouted ”I love you Mr. Oats!!’…so that was cute!
Thursday we finally had a lesson- I also chalk his bigtime energy to us not having jump lessons for three weeks, and no dressage lesson last week either. We need some help to harness this!! (and supervision, I guess!) ha. It went really well! I started off tense and wanting to get in a fight with Oats, but we did a big power warm -up that was basically hand galloping around over some teeny cavalettis with my lesson mate, and then settled and focused and this is funny, for the wild man Oats, our lesson was mostly done later without stirrups 😉 so, I guess not so wild after all??
It’s a matter of perspective. I’m beyond fortunate to have a zippy, SOUND hot to trot pony after so many years and if he’s feeling GOOD GOOD GOOD right now and wants to GO, well, I go with him and enjoy that ride! I have a real feeling it won’t last, and he’ll be back to little old draggy Oats, but until then…Hang on and gooooo!
(Ok so it will take a bit of convincing on my behalf to really enjoy that feeling of ‘too much’ but damn, he is looking and moving amazingly well right now).
Yesterday was a pretty crazy day- so many incidents with wildlife!
In the morning I was working (as per usual now that I am working from home during the pandemic) in my living room, and BANG! A poor little hummingbird just splattered hard against my patio glass door. 😦 I was instantly up and looking for it, and it did not look good…It was flat on the ground, all its feathers splayed out, not moving.
I yelled for my husband and we gathered the poor little hummer up on a book and I brought it some sugar water. I watched it (during a meeting for work, ha) and after about 15 minutes it started actually looking around at things, and then it perked up and flew off! 🙂 SO relieved. I was very worried about the little dude.
And then after work I had some time and the weather was pretty nice, so I went for a walk with my husband and dog, and I put my bunny out in my backyard for some fresh air. I went to check on him after the walk and to my surprise, a racoon was digging in our raised gardens!! I yelled at it and he took his sweet-ass time sauntering off, and I was pretty worried because my RABBIT was still out there too! Sheesh. Except…My dog saw the racoon and ran straight at it barking like Hound of the freaking Baskervilles…And scared the bejeezus out of my poor rabbit! He was terrified! He took off, so I had to chase the racoon off, catch the rabbit (thankfully contained in my yard) and chase off my dog from the raccoon. Chaos!!
There was fluffs of fur flying everywhere, so we were concerned that the racoon had somehow scuffled with bunny, but nobody had any injuries. Tucker bun did have a bloody spot on his foot, so we cleaned it up but there was no scrape or anything there today, so who knows?? He was exhausted after that, poor bun bun.
And THEN I had a jump lesson at the barn, which was great. I finished up and went to sweep out the crossties and found this:
Yeah, a baby bird kicked out of its nest. Not again 😦 I thought it was definitely dead, so I went to sweep it with the broom and it MOVED. OMG. I freaked out, called my husband, and put gloves on and picked it up. It moved so weakly… I couldn’t put it back into the nest it fell out of (in the window-well of a locked locker, behind a grate where the window was) so I found another barn swallow nest inside the barn, got a step ladder and kind of tossed the little baby up there. Hoping for the best for it!! I hope it survives.
So, that was a very exciting and emotional day for me. It’s so hard when it’s wildlife animals…I feel so bad for them. I want to help!!