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

 

Surf sisters!

This weekend we went surfing in Tofino (yes in January, ha) on kind of a whim.

Surf sisters!

Surf sisters!

I’d been looking to kind of ‘escape’ from the hassle of everyday life, and what better escape than surfing? It’s literally the activity that makes you focus SO HARD on what you’re doing- so you can’t think/obsess about anything else.

I had a great time, my friends is very good at surfing so she gives me pointers when we go. I asked for a beginner-friendly soft-top this time, because last time I kept falling over the front of the nose of my board! I figured I could get up better if I had the bigger board, and I was right!

Boards up

I achieved my goal of standing up, and even rode it through a few times- very briefly- before either falling or stepping off. Success!

I think they keys to that success were waiting more- instead of jumping up right away, I felt like I could ‘sit chilly’ and then get up without flinging myself up and falling over the front of the board. Also, the bigger board was helpful too.

We had a barbecue on the beach, and then I started getting cold so I took off my wetsuit a bit earlier and changed into sweatpants so I could do a bit more beach exploring. The peeling off of the wetsuit was like a 30-minute ordeal…Jesus.

I was sweating and swearing and fighting trying to pull the damn thing off! haha.

I had a great weekend, and a super busy one. It felt really good to ‘leave my life’ for a little while and get out of my normal zone. I think it’s important you make time for that in the winter, because it’s just too easy to get ‘stuck’ bored and depressed.

I did even ride Oats on Sunday when I got back (he was good and cute to see again!) and I even went on a quick run with my husband, and we went to see Interstellar at the IMAX theatre. Very neat. Still confused…

I guess that’s why I have a super fun filled winter season ahead of me- the run series, a vacation in Hawaii, auditing a clinic with Jim Wofford, Olympic eventing coach/rider, and other fun things coming up. Winter has never been busier and more fun!

I also think it’s important that I do these things to kind of distract myself from the real-life drama right now. Otherwise, it’s very easy to get dragged down and sad all the time.

Here’s to going and DOING IT!!

People who run are running from something

Sometimes.

Oaty pony

This week has been challenging, but in a different way. Last week felt like full-on emotional crisis mode, with a lot of downs and sadness. I felt more like myself when I was doing things ‘for me’ like my riding lessons, hanging out with Oats, my husband (even though I got mad at him for no real reason sometimes) and running.

This week, my riding has been pretty good (not amazing, but when is life always amazing?) My lessons have been tough but fair, I am learning and dealing. My new boots are killing my feet, so I am taking those to cobbler today to make them less hellish to deal with.

Now I wish I could take my life to a cobbler, patch up the hole that I feel right now. It’s not the urgent-sadness of last week, it’s more of a resigned tear in myself, one that family usually fills when you’re not really thinking of them. It’s an absence?

But, I’m keeping on, and trying not to let it get to me. It’s weird- should I feel more sad? More mopey? Or better at just going ahead and living? I feel better when I do things for me, and get annoyed when it feels like people are just going on and on, ‘rehashing’ problems. Newsflash- while extremely tempting, reviewing the same problem doesn’t help you.

Anyways, Oats was good for my jump lesson yesterday, and I felt fairly relaxed. Something about keeping jumps low and non-confrontational is really doing wonders for my confidence! He was a bit slow and balky though, and that made my straightness really suffer. Wonder of wonders, when he was forward and better off my leg, we nailed every distance to every fence. HA!

So this weekend, I am running away a bit from my life, and going surfing in Tofino. A bit of a girls’ surf trip weekend, again.

I’m quite looking forward to it, even as a bit of an escape from reality. Work has been extra tough this week too, with two events next week back-to-back. Can’t I catch a bit of a break sometimes? Oh well!

Tofino and back again

Tofino and back again

How loud your heart beats: Tofino/Ucluelet

That’s right, jet-set me was off on another adventure this past weekend!

Florencia Bay

Florencia Bay

We went camping in Ucluelet (close to Tofino) and surfing and to the music festival Otalith. Jam-packed weekend, if I do say so myself!

I drove myself and a friend up on Friday, where we picked up the tix to Otalith and scoped out our camping situation. We decided to go see ‘Bear Mountain’ that night performing at the main stage in Ucluelet. It was chilly!! Summer in Tofino is like winter everywhere else, unfortunately.

The next morning we were up bright and early to go surfing. We rented our gear, loaded up the surfboards on my little Honda Fit and headed out to Long Beach. Surfing was great! I am reallllllly bad at it. I couldn’t get up at all, only managed a few times to really clamber on and try to stand. We surfed for hours too. My friends were pretty good at it, I was super jealous. I stopped surfing when I got ‘rocked’ ie- knocked head over heels into a wave twice and got clonked on the head HARD by my surfboard. OUCHHHHH and it happened twice, one right after another. ARGH.

Got water up my nose, and out my mouth. My sinuses cleared riiiight up. Haha.

We had to pack it in to return out surf boards by 4pm and get ready to go back to Otalith for some more music! A short (long) hot tub visit later, and a few drinks and we were ready to go. We caught the shuttle bus for the venue and enjoyed listening to Ages and Ages and Wake Owl (actually I really disliked Wake Owl) and the Allah-lahs (were okay…kind of boring). We cruised into town to grab dinner after Ages and Ages performed.

Otalith

Otalith music festival

Dancing at the last act – Allah-lahs, a girl approached us and asked if we wanted to dance with her guy friend, she said it would ‘really make his day!’ if pretty girls danced with him. I was feeling pretty generous and laid-back so I was like sure, why not. We danced with Steve, her friend, and you know? He was a fine guy, nice and not a weirdo or a creeper. He seemed pretty shy but wasn’t grabby or strange or anything! Just seemed happy to say “hi” to some pretty girls and dance for a bit. On the way back, on the ‘party bus’ (shuttle) he high-fived me haha.

Rocking the music festival

Fun times in Ucluelet

I was flirty (why not?) and when we left the bus I said ‘have a good night Steve’! and tapped the brim of his hat. My intentional flirting only extends so far, I guess. Hahah!

The next morning we headed out for a walk with some friends to the Pacific Coast Trail near the Black Rock Resort and then grabbed soup at a little bakery in Ucluelet (Zoe’s). Then we packed up the car and drove home- not without some peril, as I would soon find out…

Driving along the road back from Tofino is tricky. It is windy, twisty and I was tired. Near the river, a lot of people stop to take a break, and check it out. A car pulled out in front of us with NO room and NO warning. I was driving like 70 km/hr or so.

I SLAMMMED on the brakes and held the horn as hard as I could. It was like HOOOOOONNNNNKKKK.

The trailer behind us could barely brake in time. I could hear the brakes squealing. It was SO scary. There were horns and cars slamming on the brakes for awhile behind us. OH man.

Phew. A bit of adrenaline and a near-smushing to get the heart rate up. Yikes!

To cool down (actually to warm up) we cruised into Sproat Lake, put on our bikinis and chilled in the sun for an hour or so. It was soooo gorgeous. So hot. Such a nice end to a cool weekend- literally- it was clammy and wet and cold the whole wknd! Even though it didn’t rain once! Ha, so crazy.

So, that’s my weekend in a nutshell. A fun girl-power adventure!

Cool Rummings- Lesson update, and weekend plans!

So, Tuesday was our regularly scheduled lesson with Karen Brain. I was ready. Or so I thought…I’m usually ready to get my ass kicked around the ring by her, but I was feeling pretty tired by the time the lesson came around and my resolve started wilting…

But no matter! We did a lot of ‘controlled’ work, ie- controlling Oats’ every body movement, including bend and pace around a circle and over trot poles. Interestingly, once we were through the poles, Oats wants desperately to lift his head, and TANK off.

“Bend? How about FORWARD!” He said to me. “Wrong answer, but nice try. More bend, pretzel up, bend, curve, slower,” is what I said.

So, it was challenging. He looked like a giraffe. My arms felt so tired!

Oats protests bending at the canter

Oats protests bending at the canter

After each trot circle over the poles, we worked harder at maintaining more of a ‘shoulder-in’ bend. And we took the show on the road too- large around the whole ring. GOD that was tough- it was like left-right-left-right fall in-fall out, ARGH.

He was being kind of jerky about it, because it was challenging. That’s ok. I told Karen I felt like we didn’t have any real ‘good’ steps, and she said actually we did- but that this stuff is HARD for Oats. And did I feel tired? My arms ache? That means I was mentally present during the whole ride, and that is also a small ‘win’ for us. Building mental stamina and ‘staying present’ instead of drifting is something we really struggle with.

More cooperative over the poles

More cooperative over the poles

So, even if it feels ugly, hell, looks ugly, something good is happening.

Oh and my weekend update? Surfing in Tofino and quite possibly attending the Otalith music festival! Hells yeah! I leave tomorrow morning and won’t be back until Sunday. Looking forward to a fun weekend with friends, a mini University reunion of sorts. Love those guys.

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And here I was

And here I was

For the whole weekend! Yep, pretty tempestuous, but it was a desperately-needed break.

I wanted to go either surfing or kayaking this weekend, but unfortunately my husband and I were too sick to even pick up a surfboard (ughhh) so we did some light hiking and a lot of sleeping and sitting in a hot tub.

I’m feeling a bit better, still have a cough but the majority of symptoms have abated, like chills, sore throat, extreme muscle/joint pain and body aches. PHew!

The weather was not great, it was ok when we arrived and then the next day it HAMMERED rain all day. Gidget was less than impressed.

That’s ok though, we visited the adorable Ucluelet aquarium, went to Tofino and had lunch at the great Sobo (not cheap but worth it!!) and then visited the Tofino Brewery. They’re a fun bunch those guys, not much more than a warehouse in the industrial district, literally, it is on a road called ‘Industrial Road’ but they have so much heart!

And then back to the folks for Easter dinner, and riding on Monday.

Oats was very good, having some really fun times with him these days–Monday we just hacked around and then trotted and cantered some small crossrails set up.

Tuesday we rode during a lesson (blah!) and there were quite a few other riders…So my hacking was a bit distracted, disjointed and lousy. BUT we cantered a small vertical so smoothly…My coach said she didn’t even see it as a jump, it was so quiet. Nice!

Go pony go!