The Zen of riding

This is a scaled-back week for both Oats and myself, for a variety of reasons.

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My patio last weekend. Ah..

Sunday we had our dressage lesson and we had backslid considerably from when I left on my trip, darnit!! Oh well, that’s where things go I guess. Monday I rode in the outdoor and it was a pretty zippy ride, fast and fairly quick. I didn’t want to drill anything from Sunday= cranky horse.

Tuesday I promised I was going to ride indoors, but when I got to the barn, it was SO nice out, warm, sunny…and the indoor was incredibly dusty and choking and stifling. Gag. So another rider and I took to the outdoors (she convinced me, ha twist my rubber arm) and you know what? I didn’t do a whole lot of anything and it was so nice.

For someone who likes drilling, focusing, being prepared and really riding HARD it was a real change-up for me.

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Professional candy-buyer

We warmed up, worked over trot-and-then-canter poles (Oats was GREAT!) and then just…chilled and walked around the arena chatting with my friend. I really liked it, and it made me feel super zen and just ‘ok’ with life. It’s a good feeling, that one of contentment and happiness.

I hopped off, and for once didn’t feel exhausted or tired or anything. I just felt fine with the world. No lesson tonight (I am kind of broke after the Peru trip and May has five Thursdays in it, so I paid for four and am taking this one off). It actually works quite nicely with my week schedule of low-key, quiet rides.

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My review: Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl and bonus an opinion!

Thank you to my colleague for the tasty treat. I very carefully practiced willpower when you gave it to me last week, and that lasted until I got home with it unopened, and then I immediately dove into it and ate a few spoonfuls while proclaiming that it ‘needed something’ like pretzels or whatever to add to the flavour.

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And just like that, the top half of the jar was gone. Ian said it was surprising I was saying it needed something while also shoveling it into my mouth via large spoon. At the time the only option I had cracker-wise was Ryvita and just…no.

Anyways, I did end up spreading it on a toaster waffle and while it is pretty good solo, it was GREAT with the waffle. The stripes of cookie butter blend well with cocoa, adding a bit of textural interest and granularity. I am someone who likes crunchy peanut butter so your mileage may vary on that account. One quibble-the cocoa stripes tend to dominate and take over the spread. It becomes more of a ‘cocoa with cookie butter’ spread rather than the other way around. So die-hard cookie butter lovers (there could be some, I don’t judge as a peanut butter fiend personally) may not love this as much as I do.

So yeah a week in there is like half a jar left, yikes. I have added it to homemade waffles as well (and marshmallows, crackers, etc) and it is a true delight! At the risk of sounding like a monster, I have also *gasp* added peanut butter to the cookie butter for waffles. I know eh, where does it end???

Also here is my opinion: The Reese’s Eggs are not as good as the flat Reese’s Eggs. Do they find this as confusing as I do?

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The best! 

 

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Merely ‘good’

Sweet, simple things

This weekend was a real low-key, quiet time. The weather was sooo nice, finally coming up to the double-digits. The sun was shining, and I didn’t really have to do much of anything. I did keep fairly busy, but I made lots of time to sit around and enjoy myself.

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The Chinese Cemetery in Oak Bay. Cool eh?

I rode Oats on Saturday and he was in snooze town. To be fair, I did ride on Friday night as well (and had an intensive dressage lesson on Sunday) so he’s going on a fairly consistent string of rides….

Went on a long run, watched TV and sat on my deck and drank a cider while reading my book. A great day.

Sunday I got to the barn a tad too early and got ready for my dressage lesson with Karen Brain. It’s been awhile in the making (because of Oats’ illness) so it felt good to get back on that train. We worked on some moderate leg yields and then on some horse-body-shaping, which Oats did protest at so we had to move it up to canter, because he was getting VERY bogged down. HA, poor OAts!

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I think my real job should be candy purchaser. Or reviewer! 

The day was beyond gorgeous. The only fly in the ointment is the extreme DUST that is taking over the arena. That, combined with a very high pollen count= my eyes, nose, ears and throat are on fire. I was coughing, wanted to gouge my poor swollen eyes out. Can’t stop rubbing them right now. Soooo itchy! ARGH.

We enjoyed our lesson despite the extreme dust and the sunshine just make it so lovely. I got changed into shorts (I know! shorts!!) and ran some hills on my way home from the barn.

We then went and took some photos of the Chinese Cemetery at Oak Bay. A very unique place!

I wish the weekends could last forever….

A Halloween riding lesson

The horse knows when you know, and knows when you don’t know. Ray Hunt.

And boy, ain’t it the truth!

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So much candy…Aftermath

Last night was our semi-private dressage lesson with Karen Brain, and we worked on a VERY deceptively challenging exercise- a diamond pattern, using the dressage letters in the ring as a guide for the diamond.

The goal: Straightness to each letter, horse forehead lands on the letter, and then a mild pivot – front legs only- to the next letter in the diamond shape.

The reality? A muddle of lateral movement, extreme wiggling, fussy behaviour, sucking back behind the leg, throwing hips around, front legs move too laterally again…Oh it went on!

Also the reality: Riding lessons during Halloween night= nonstop fireworks. Constantly! UGH it felt like we were riding during some sort of war. The horses were as good as gold though and saved our butts. I think it also helped that the exercise was very technically challenging and required a lot of focus, so not a lot of ‘fluffing around’ time for them to start getting silly.

The exercise was at the walk, and then we’d go walk- canter-walk from each letter in the diamond shape. It became QUITE evident that the pieces would fall apart quickly here- and we, as riders, didn’t really know what we were doing…And the horses picked up on it fast.

Oats expressed his concern at the exercise by ‘dolphin-leaping’ instead of say, picking up a nice canter. HA. He did it a few times and luckily I didn’t get unseated, but I sure did lose my reins and had to collect them up in a hurry!

We got say, 2-3 nice transitions out of oh..100. And that is progress! It was a very tough and technical lesson, but everytime I got frustrated or annoyed, Karen was like this is hard, it’s hard for the horses and hard for you so just keep trying and something will work out. It did!

Lots of learning last night for sure.

New Reese’s Easter Egg: My review!

Thanks again to the generosity of Stephen May, and as promised- a review as soon as I had time/ate it! As you can see, my Reese’s Egg had a fold where the second eye was supposed to be so the chick is giving me a jaunty wink…

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Opened it up and it has a patterned egg with festive Easter designs and the Reese’s logo. It seems they try harder than Cadbury’s, but also my suspicions are that the Reese’s Egg is slightly lighter than Cadbury. Can we get an exact weight on each, please? Want to make sure nobody is getting ripped off here in the cut-throat world of Easter candy.

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Opening it up, it’s glorious. Full peanutbuttery glory, full to the brim and it tastes EXACTLY like a better Reese’s peanut butter cup – chiefly because the ratio of peanut butter filling to-chocolate- is even higher. YUM!

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It does have a strange, almost licorice after -taste that I am noticing 3 minutes after eating it, but that’s not going to detract from it for me! It’s very good, and it beats Cadbury’s hands-down. (But I will still buy & hoard Cadburys too, because who are we kidding?!). The chocolate shell may be a bit cheaper and thinner- it seemed much softer than Cadbury’s right off the bat.

Fly in the ointment- the price is silly. I saw them at Save-on for $1.19 this weekend and as high as $1.29 at the less competitively priced Pharmasave and Shoppers. Please- this is a small treat and the price is not competitive. Wait for these things on sale, or better yet…cut out the middle man and buy a jar of Reese’s spread- less festive but so good! I like eating it with pretzels. And a jar does not last long around me.

That is my one caveat for all Easter (and probably Halloween) candy- it’s just not worth what the price is for novelty items.

My review: Oreo Creme Egg

Simply labeled ‘Oreo’ it looks exactly like a blue Cadburys Crème egg, not very inventive and tiny as anything. Package graphics done by the laziest of designers. Aren’t they at least supposed to be called Oreo Crème Egg or something?

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For size reference. Pathetically small

For size reference I have it next to my Blerch stress ball/voodoo doll.

Sidebar rant: Size and quality of Cadbury’s Crème eggs have declined drastically so off the top I can’t necessarily recommend ever buying these full price at Easter. That being said, this was a gift from my lovely colleague Brent and it is still January and these are now in the stores for $1.29 at my local Pharmasave.

The quality I mentioned? The shell seemed much thinner than I recalled, and the chocolate gone in an instant. Like, two bites gone leaving only the slightest whiff of chocolate and a greasy feeling on my teeth. The inside was curious, not quite a fondant, more like the delicious dirty-pleasure of eating Duncan Hines frosting straight out of the can, mixed with some mildly interesting crunchy cookie pieces. Not outstanding but not offensive, and I also immediately wanted to eat like, 10 of them.

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Eating this reminded me of the time I bought and hoarded close to 30 Crème eggs in my freezer one year. That was a great year.

I can say this is a nice one to try on sale, if you like frosting out of the can. Also, if you find the actual Crème egg too sweet due to the fondant, give this one a try. It’s different, I’ll give it that.

My review: Reese’s Big Cups (King Size) stuffed with Reese’s Pieces

New Reese’s Big Cup (King Size) stuffed with Reese’s Pieces: Too decadent? Read more and find out!

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Looks tasty

My friend bought this for me, because she knows I am 100% obsessed with Reese’s. Were they as good as the packaging promised?

They were! The cups were large, so there were only two of them. The Reese’s bits add a really nice textural crunch to the famous Reese’s peanut butter filling. Visually they look like chunky Reese’s, and taste just a little bit more interesting than the traditional cups. The only quibble I had was that the Reese’s pieces tended to be more like ‘shards’ rather than full pieces. Towards the back of the cup a few full-sized pieces showed up, so I guess it’s not completely false advertising. I am definitely a fan of the filling, and I liked it even more than the traditional cups because per cup, you got a lot more peanut butter.

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The inside- as you can see, shards of Reese’s Pieces.

To sum up, if you’re the type of person that can easily eat the half pound Reese’s cup in one sitting, this is the BEST THING EVER. Even if you’re not, it’s still really great. I would definitely eat these again! (and yes I can easily eat a half pound cup in one sitting). I am unsure if they also come in ‘regular size’ as the packaging indicates ‘King Size’ at this point.