Family Day long weekend: Doing ALL the things!

We had a long-anticipated long (ha) weekend and boy, did we cram it full of things to do!

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The day was PHENOMENAL! Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

I even got up early-ish both Sat/Sun to be able to get stuff done. So what did we enjoy this weekend?

Saturday:

  • Got up, had a great breakfast (pancakes!) courtesy of my husband, and then up and off to ride Oats. Great ride, someone left a bunch of jumps up to a reasonable height (small verticals) so we schooled those.
  • Trimmed up his mane and then rushed home, to run my long run. It took forever.
  • Got home, took Gidget for a walk, showered and rushed downtown to do a happy hour crawl with husband. It was GREAT!
  • We started at Table 21 for $5 prosecco, (their food isn’t really great, and not a good deal), and then went to Perro Negro for their awesome $6 charcuterie platter and $4 glasses of wine, and then to Famous Original pizza for their fantastic pizza deal- can of PBR and a slice for $6. We got another slice each after that!!

Sunday:

  • Get up early for my riding lesson with Karen Brain. It was tough to get up that early, but my friend was at the barn and brought me coffee!! Sweet!
  • The lesson was awesome- I was really happy with Oats’ efforts, and minimal drama from him too. A focused and good lesson.
  • Got dressed at the barn and ran hills on my way home. PHew. My legs were fried!
  • Got home, and collected husband and Gidget and we went to check out Oak Bay for a change of pace. Grabbed some candy, bought raspberry hot chocolate and cruised around. We saw three otters swimming in a pack! So cute.
  • Husband made a great shepherd’s pie for dinner. Yumm.

Monday:

  • No early mornings here! Waffles thanks to my husband, and we packed lunch to go hiking up Mt. Wells, near Goldstream.
  • It was a good trail- I am not a skilled hiker, so I find it tough but it was quite fair. Lots of steep climbs though and great views to round out the experience. Gidget loved it! The weather was soooooo good. Cold, but sunny and so bright 🙂
  • Ate sandwiches on our way to the barn after the hike, and a quiki ride on Oats. Some minor lateral work.
  • Home, and the climbing gym for husband, and the couch and Baileys for me 🙂 Chores to round out the evening and some TV.

I LOVE long weekends!!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I was a bit bummed at first, because I was DYING to go to the Turkey Trot schooling event at High Point and nobody was going and I didn’t have a ride up there 😦 so I couldn’t go…But when it dawned rainy and kind of blahh, I was like, ok fine.

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View from the top

At least I had the chance to school Oats at High Point earlier in Sept. Win win!

And then the weather cleared up beautifully- just in time for my husband’s excellent race at the Victoria Marathon (running the half marathon in a shocking 1:29. MAN!!!) I would kill for that time haha.

It was a great day, so I went riding and then we shared some wine at the beach and read and relaxed in the sun. Ah…. Our Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t turkey- I am not a big fan. Instead we had salmon and mussels! Yummy!!

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The Monday I rode Oats in the field very briefly, just to jump a few things and then we went up on a hike to Mt. Finlayson at Finlayson Arm, so Ian could show me his route during the Finlayson Arm 28k. It was….long. But so picturesque!~ His legs were tired and so were mine though, a busy and very physically active weekend. That evening we capped off a great long weekend by making won-ton soup. It was GREAT!

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I wish I could have a three-day weekend every weekend. Man…

Back from holidays! (nothing was the same)

A week away feels so much longer, particularly when I was coming down from several months of extreme stress, pressure and sickness.

And WOW it was worth it. Such a great holiday, such a great time.

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Greetings from sunny Sayulita!

We visited Sayulita in Mexico, close to Puerto Vallarta – roughly an hour away. An easy place to get to, and an easy place to like. Eternal summer.

We did everything. Horseback riding on the beach, hanging out with friends, boogie boarding at the main beach, swimming in the ocean every day, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, I went on one run, and a boat trip to the Marietas Islands (more on that later…).

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We even got to gallop on the beach!

I miss it. I feel sad to be back.

The food was so great, we cooked/ate a lot of meals at our VRBO rental- which was great, by the way. The only downside was the shared plunge pool that ended up being not-so-shared as our neighbour unit had a large family and kind of ended up occupying it. Oh well!

What did we eat? Octopus! Shrimps! So many shrimps, I felt sick. Shrimped out!

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Cooked my first whole octopus

We made fresh salads with avocado, queso fresco, salt and lime. That’s all you need for seasoning, as we found out. We drank Coronas (me) Pacifico (Ian) and then later, Agua fresca  Jamaica for me (when I was off booze).

Restaurants? We did that too! We ate at La Esperanza, pricier than the other joints but SO high quality- I had tuna steaks in hibiscus sauce on mashed plantains, and it was AMAZING. So much tuna I gave some to Ian because I was full and still kind of reeling from my hangover.

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Souvenir beach bag I bought for my sister.

We also did an entire night of street foot- we started with tacos el Ivan and got eight – ocho-tacos al pastor for super cheap, $100 pesos? Next we had hot churros, and then a beef tamale, and then corn in a cup. It was all so good! In the beginning of our trip, we ate ceviche from a street vendor and it was excellent and fresh. So much good food!

The only tragedy was our boat trip to the Marietas Islands. I was excited for it, and the boat ride out was really nice, we saw dolphins and blue-footed booby birds and their chicks at the islands!

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Ill fated boat trip, oh against my better judgement

We snorkeled a bit but I was freezing- the water was cold and kind of silty so it wasn’t great snorkeling so I swam back to the boat and hopped on a stand-up paddleboard. It was tough and tippy!

On our way back, we swam some more, had lunch and plentiful snacks, and ….my ultimate downfall, copious amounts of free flowing booze like pina coladas, margaritas, tropical drinks and shots. Jesus.

Anyways, you can see where this is going…I drank WAY too much, encouraged by the atmosphere and fun and I completely lost control. The minute I stepped off the boat and onto the bus to head back to Sayulita, I was throwing up uncontrollably. Ian gave me a water bottle and it fell uselessly out of my hands because I couldn’t even clutch anything.

Threw up out the window the whole way back, and we staggered to the plaza- we stopped there so Ian could go to the bathroom, and I proceeded to throw up over the back of the park bench in the middle of the day, bright sunlight. YUCK.

We staggered back to our place, and I was so sick I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom (yes puking in a bucket, please and thank you)…

Passed out apparently with my eyes open, creepily.

Threw up at night again.

Rinse, repeat.

So, Thursday was not a great day after but I rallied and we went to the beach and got a Chocobanana (great!) and I managed to eat some stuff later on. I wasn’t feeling too miserable, because I guess passing out at 5pm the day before gives you plenty of time to stew in your misery before getting it over with.

So, yeah I am kind of off booze for now, giving my poor liver and brain a break plus GAG.

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The endless summer of San Pancho

But, I LOVED Sayulita and San Pancho and would definitely go back. Love Mexico!

Victoria Day long weekend in Port Renfrew!

And now for something entirely different- we went camping in Port Renfrew for Victoria Day. I desperately needed to get away from my personal horse drama (that continued the week after, no thank you rotten Oats), and what better place to reconnect than the quietness of Port Renfrew.

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Ripe salmonberries

Unfortunately, everyone else on the entire island had the same idea. Port Renfrew is a hidden gem no longer. It was very busy on the campsite at Pacheedat, and we practically had a party/disco going on full blast around a km up the beach. I’m NOT kidding- it was nuts! They had generators powering huge speakers on stands, disco lights, about 50 tents in the area, and more than 100 people.

Sheeeeeesh.

Well, we tried hard not to let that ruin our weekend away. We had a good campfire going, and it was just me, my husband and our dog. A nice time. We even picked salmon berries and those were ripe already and totally awesome, if you can believe it. We roasted weenies, drank beers and just had a nice time.

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Camp-style

Do I kind of wish we’d done more? Maybe. But I was kind of fried and burned out, so it came at a great time. The next day we checked out Botanical Beach, got stuck on some rocks that led to us clambering around on them for wayyy too long (ha) and then wrapped up the day by grabbing burgers in Lake Cowichan.

A good long weekend and well-deserved break from reality.

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Dog-eye view of the campsite

Weekend part 2: The Farm!

As I mentioned, we had a crazy busy weekend with family visiting. Sunday we decided to go to my in-laws farm, as it’s a great place, they wanted to see my parents when they came, and bonus- lambs!!

I got up early (thanks, daylight savings time…) and drove to the barn to do a dressage school on Oats. I wanted to kind of get him revved up and working hard, something I really didn’t want to do with my sister riding him. And so this was a great chance to do it! We worked on an exercise that seems really simple, but as with horses ‘always simple, never easy’…Canter down the long side on the quarter line, as straight as you can do it.

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From my lesson on Thursday. No wonder I didn’t stick the landing well!

Yeah, that was a lot harder than it seems. Not straight, breaking to trot, swapping leads?! Oh, Oats!

So, it ended up being a tough, though very simple, exercise. We worked on it both ways, and I mixed it up a bit by asking for trot, trotting straight, walking on the straight line and then picking up canter. Medium rate of success on that.

My family met me at the barn and we zipped off to the farm. We had lunch there, and it was really nice! The weather SUCKED though. Pouring rain, blasting wind…UGH. A repeat of Wednesday’s hair-raising drive up the Malahat.

I did get to catch a lamb though! We had to rescue them, they got stuck on the other side of the fence from their moms. Dumb animals…it happened more than once actually. How do they survive past lamb-hood?

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Springtime!

We enjoyed our mucky farm visit a lot, and then when we got back to town, we took my mom for a hike up Mt. Doug. It was a good hike, except for the fact that when we got to the top, the wind and rain picked up again and the rain felt like needles stinging my freaking face! OUCH!

We didn’t take the trail back down, we hustled as fast as we could down the road and wow…the weather was sooo horrible. Tree branches were cracking off, it was pouring rain, and the wind was in a frenzy! I was so glad to get back to the car, and even the drive home was very frightening…A tree branch cracked off in front of us while we were driving and fell in front of the car!

Sheesh, can we have a good spring yet??? It is also absolutely FREEZING these days. I hate it! We wrapped up the evening by having my sister make a very tasty Italian potato pizza for us, and her friend stayed overnight because she was going to drive back up the Malahat and the weather was still too dangerous. I think she made the right decisions–I know all too well how scary it can be at night in a storm!

An Island getaway- Quadra Island!

We did something a bit unique this year for Easter. You may recall that in past Easter’s, we went to Ucluelet or Tofino for a getaway (and it always RAINED!).

This year, we booked a ‘fancy camping’ cabin on Quadra Island. The island is across from Campbell River, a 10-minute ferry ride and voila! You’re there! Although, it was HAMMERING down rain the entire drive from Victoria (3+ hours) and literally lashing the car on the ferry, it slowly calmed down to a drizzle and then cleared up. It was still cold though, as we’ve had an unusually cold and unpleasant spring so far.

A view from the cabin

A view from the cabin

The cabin itself was super quaint and rustic. A woodstove, a huge bunk bed, table, chairs and propane stove. There was an outhouse (yeah I know what you’re thinking! That’s why it is still considered camping) no shower, and you washed the dishes outside in buckets. The fridge was also outside. This is rustic, people!

Bunkbeds!

Bunkbeds!

We ate at the Herriot Bay Pub and had the hilarious fortune to encounter the WORST people I have seen in a long time. They took up two tables so they could plug in their laptops separately (rolls eyes here…) and it was busy there! They had two annoying children who pestered the already fairly harried server endlessly about the stupidest things. “What’s in the hamburgers?” The server: “Well, meat?”

GAH

I know where they got it from though. The parents were just as bad. They were complaining about ethically-sourced palm oil, asked the server if she was SURE they didn’t serve any salmon? And if there was no salmon, could she not take the cod, of the fish and chips meal, and grill it and serve it as a burger instead? (newsflash: no.).

They banged on about cooking bacon in olive oil on the Greek islands for some disgusting reason, and then ordered a Cesar salad with no croutons and no dressing (so, lettuce and ??).

We left after we finished our meal, but not before these lovely people were up to the front desk complaining about not being able to access the WiFi….

Some people DESERVE to live on an island, because nobody else wants them! These people were from Cortez, which is even further than Quadra. Anyways, the weather cleared up, though was windy as hell, and we walked out to Rebecca Spit, which was quite beautiful and very relaxing.

The next day the weather continued to hold steady, so we hiked up the Chinese Mountains, only doing the North peak. It was rated as ‘moderate’ but we did find it quite strenuous, lots of scrambling over what appeared to be a creek bed that still had water running through it, and lots of loose rocks. I was tired by the end!

Chinese Mtns

Chinese Mtns

We had lunch that we packed, and ate it and had a drink or two on the beach later. A great time to unwind after the hike, and Gidget decided to run around like a psycho and get overtired, haha.

A chilly beach

A chilly beach

We heated up the cabin a bit too hot later in the evening, and boy 1-rooms can really swelter! We left the doors open for a bit so we didn’t cook! The next morning, I set out on a jog by myself, which was actually quite invigorating. We packed up and left for the main island, and now I’m back at work and kind of feeling bummed that I’m back in the hurry-scurry of normal life…

Hit the ground running

Yup that’s me! Back from my fabulous trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

To spare anyone a tedious recap, I’ll bullet point it. In short, it was SO NICE. Weather could be a bit iffy, depending on where you were- rainy/windy, or sunny but quite windy. Overall average between 25-27 deg, sun was HOT when it was out, so had to reapply lots of sunscreen.

Ocean was chilly but swimmable, I’m a bit of a chicken there so others might find it easier!

  • Do go trail riding. We went to CJM, which does kind of quiet/boring walk-only rides but the length- 2 hours, and scenery is amazing. AMAZING!
Trail riding at CJM

Trail riding at CJM

  • Go to the Nepali coast. We did the hike, and the beach there (Ke’e) and bought coconuts off some young guys truck.
Hiking at Nepali

Hiking at Nepali

  • Go to the brewery (Kauai brewery in Port Allen) smart friendly owners. Their Lillikoi beer if amazing!
  • Go to the rum tasting at Koloa Rum. It’s in the Gaylord Plantation, friendly and fun!
  • Snorkel at Poipei. It was super windy but we saw TONS of fish really easily. Busy but because it’s one of the best spots…
Sea turtle at Poipei beach

Sea turtle at Poipei beach

  • Buy fish from the grocery store- I had king crab meat for $7 bucks, and we bought huge ahi tuna steaks for like less than $8.
  • Don’t buy bread- it costs more than the fish!
  • Go swimming at any beach- there are zillions! We liked the beach at Kaap’a that had the Andy Irons memorial.
Beach time!

Beach time!

  • Buy a taro pie at McDonalds. It looks super bizarre (purple?) but so tasty!
  • Stay at two places. We stayed in a super creepy, crumbling resort (the Aston Aloha) for a few days and wow, did it ever feel like its heyday was 20 years ago- creepy but cool. Then we stayed at a jungle lodge off the beach and out of town for a few days. Got the best of both worlds!
  • Eat fruit from everywhere! We got mangoes off a tree (well, from a crazy looking but nice Hawaiian dude who beckoned us over to give us some he had been busy collecting off the ground..) SO GOOOD.
Starfruit

Starfruit

  • Apple bananas, pineapple, citrus- any kind, mangoes, starfruit. Try them!
  • Do a luau at least once. We liked the Smith’s Garden Luau.
Smith's Garden Luau

Smith’s Garden Luau

  • Understand that going to see Waimea Canyon is a crapshoot. We ended up with this: after a hair-raising stomach-churning 10 miles of driving…
Waimea Canyon disappointment...

Waimea Canyon disappointment…