Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Yes, you read that right. I spent three weeks in the States last month and the camera was largely forgotten during most of that time. To be fair, I was having too much fun with various friends and family members to take very many pictures. Living in the moment and all that (I’m not always good at it, so actually this is a good thing).

I spent most of my visit at BJ’s, getting “kidnapped” by her family almost every day (not that I was complaining) for Starbucks, shopping, and silliness. There is never a dull moment with this crew, let me tell you. πŸ™‚

When I was not out and about, I was making friends with BJ and Mike’s pets, including this very photogenic (and ironically somewhat camera-shy) lady:


Her name is Pooka and yes, she really is as soft and fluffy as she looks.

I also got to spend a few days in Charlottesville with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Naturally, there were some shenanigans as well:


I even managed to go back to Fredericksburg one Sunday and meet up with some old friends there.

And of course I made sure to indulge my geeky side: I was able to see Black Panther opening weekend (fantastic movie, by the way), plus I picked up a few fun odds and ends like this guy:


Yes, that is an Ant-Man keychain. I couldn’t resist.

So, that’s basically my vacation in a nutshell. There was also the usual trip out to Triple-R where I got to be barn staff again for a day, which was fun.

I’ve been back home again for a month now and not too much has been going on, aside from starting up the job hunting process (yippee). I do have a jumping show coming up on Sunday, though, so at the very least I’ll have some new pictures to share soon.


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Back in July, I did a photoshoot with my friend Marie and her horse Armis (his very first shoot). It was a lot of fun, funky light and derpy horse moments notwithstanding. A few of my favorites:


From the “outtakes”:


“I wuv you, Mom…”

He’s such a goober. πŸ˜› But a very handsome goober.

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My friends Thomas and Melodie got married in July, and it was a beautiful day for all involved, despite the rain.

A few shots of the ceremony (apologies for the random heads; I was in a slightly awkward spot):dsc_0052csdsc_0059csdsc_0069csAfter the ceremony:


My sisters and me with the lovely bride:


A few from the reception:


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Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up. πŸ˜‰

The past few months have been busy with work, weddings, and assorted “stuff.” Add a hefty dose of procrastination, and, well, here we are. I’m not quite even sure where to start at this point.

Work-wise, things are still going well. This summer was pretty busy, as I expected, but nothing overwhelming. I have to say, it’s nice to have a boss and co-workers who don’t freak out over everything. Looking back, we made and processed a ton of nougat (lots of huge orders for the rest stop, plus quite a few tourists coming through), but we always managed to get everything done without anyone having a meltdown. I was still pretty pooped at the end of the day, but nothing compared to when I was at The Big Nougat Factory That Shall Not Be Named. Things have slowed down a bit since September, but Christmas season is approaching fast, and we’ve already started on the nougat logs (they’re fun to eat, but a pain to make). At least I’ll get a break after Christmas.

As far as the critters go, I unfortunately have some sad news: we had to put Twilight to sleep back in July. Her arthritis had gotten really bad and the pain just wasn’t manageable anymore. Needless to say, it’s been a little rough on everyone. 😦 Lucy had a pretty bad bout of anxiety for a couple of weeks afterwards. It didn’t help that just a few days after Twilight passed we all went away for the weekend to attend a wedding. Lucy stuck to me like glue for days after we got back. She’s doing better now, but she is definitely a lot cuddlier than she used to be, even with the others. Before, I was pretty much the only one she’d snuggle with, and even then only occasionally. Now she wants cuddles at least once a day, and she’ll even ask other people for petting.

Blue is still as energetic as ever, though she’s certainly settled down quite a bit lately. She still has the occasional spazzy moment, but overall she’s much more focused. We mostly worked on jumping over the summer, and both Fred and Lucie have been very pleased with her progress. For the last month or so we’ve been focusing on dressage, which is what she’s had the most trouble with, and miracle of all miracles, she’s been improving significantly there as well. I might finally be able to do eventing with her this year! In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the little victories. πŸ™‚

In other news, there were two weddings this summer: Thomas and Melodie got married in July, and Olivier and Sissi in August. Both weddings were accompanied by lots of rain, which was mildly inconvenient, but supposedly it’s good luck. In any case, everything went well, everybody was happy, and I got lots of good pictures, so yay. πŸ™‚ That said, I hope the next wedding I go to doesn’t last until the wee hours of the morning. I was kind of a zombie after those two.

Sandrine was here for 3 months before heading over to Wales, where she plans to settle permanently. *sniff* My little sister is all grown up and leaving the nest. Okay, she was already pretty much gone with those 5 years in the States, but this is the Big Move. Naturally, this has been a mixture of exciting and mildly terrifying. But mostly exciting (I hope).

Oh, and guess what? I HAVE A NEW CAR!!! πŸ˜€ I finally saved up enough to buy a very nice (slightly) used car at the start of the summer, and here she is. Folks, meet Lizzie!

20160708_110356bThis car is a real blessing, let me tell you. For one thing, IT HAS AIR CONDITIONING. You never appreciate stuff like that until you have to go 7 years without. Driving in the summer suddenly got a lot nicer. Particularly when we went to the beach one day and got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way back.

Anyway, that’s pretty much what’s been happening lately. Pictures to follow at a somewhat more civilized hour. Right now, sleep beckons. Good night/morning/whatever…

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I spent the first week of June in Virginia Beach, where, as the post title suggests, I got to meet up with quite a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. I stayed with BJ’s parents, which meant lots of meet-ups for coffee/lunch/dinner with her and her mom (and occasionally the rest of the family). She also kidnapped me for a day, which we spent at the ranch. Definitely no complaints there. πŸ™‚

There was a fair amount of running around that week, trying to fit in as many meet-ups as I could. Definitely worth it, though. I got to catch up with a friend of mine from high school who I hadn’t seen since 2002. We’d more or less kept in touch on Facebook, but it was nice to be able to talk in person again. πŸ™‚ I also got to see some family friends who I’d last seen 4 years ago.

However, the most unexpected and most heartwarming reunion for me was with my childhood best friend, Sophie. I’ve known her since I was six years old, and despite having mostly grown up on opposite sides of the Atlantic, we’d stayed close up until my second year of college, at which point she pretty much dropped off the radar. Then, after a decade of radio silence, I got a message from her on Facebook, and we got to meet up for lunch one day:

Besties reunited :)

Besties reunited πŸ™‚

Other noteworthy incidents from my stay include going to church with Dale and Diana (she’s the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Knotts Island, North Carolina) and getting drafted to sing in the choir. I was also introduced to The Big Bang Theory (I’d heard of it but never seen it – surprisingly pretty funny), and was thoroughly entertained by the cats:

vroom vroom

All in all, my visit went by far too quickly. The trip back was, thankfully, uneventful, and my luggage arrived with me. I did need a nap when I got home, though.

And so concludes my account of my epic trip to (and across) the United States. Hope you enjoyed. πŸ™‚

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After our 3 days in Dallas, Sandrine and I met up with her friend JulieAnn and drove down to Montgomery, Alabama, where we spent the night. On the way, we drove through Louisianna:


We saw sights like this:


And this:

Proof that we were indeed in the Bible Belt ;)

Proof that we were indeed in the Bible Belt πŸ˜‰

The next morning, Sandrine and I went with JulieAnn to the barn where she worked and helped with the morning chores (yes, we really are horse freaks). After a hearty breakfast, we headed back out, this time toward South Carolina. We stopped in Birmingham, Alabama for lunch, and I finally got to meet my online friend Tina, who is just as awesome in person:

tina and me c

That was the high point of the day. Shortly after we got back on the road, the sky started looking like this:


And soon after that, we found ourselves in the middle of a torrential downpour. Then we got stuck in rush hour traffic in Atlanta, and to top it all off, for the last 20 miles or so, we had to deal with a trucker who seemed determined to run somebody over. Did I mention it was still raining and pitch dark by this point? Yeah, we were really happy to finally make it to our friend Michael’s house.

We stayed two days in South Carolina, which we mainly spent unwinding. I got to meet Michael’s mom and sister, and one evening we were all invited to dinner with the grandparents (who are lovely people, by the way). Michael also took us to one of his favorite places: a French bakery/cafΓ©, owned by an actual French lady. Naturally, she was very excited to have French customers, so much so that she forgot that Michael doesn’t speak French. πŸ˜›

The rest of the visit went pretty much like this:


Sandrine and Calamity Jane, Destroyer of Tennis Balls

Sandrine and Calamity Jane, Destroyer of Tennis Balls

I told her to sit, and as soon as she saw the camera she posed

I told her to sit, and as soon as she saw the camera she posed

"Get outta my spaaace!"

“Get outta my spaaace!”

Sibling rivalry at its finest. πŸ˜‰

The final leg of our epic road trip went very smoothly. Aside from one very brief shower, the sky was clear:


And we made it to Virginia with no trouble:


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The next leg of our epic roadΒ trip was driving down to Dallas, Texas. It rained most of the way down, and the whole time we were there, so I only got a handful of pictures.

DSC_1229cs DSC_1232cs DSC_1236cs

We spent two days in Dallas catching up with our friends. We even got to attend a Messianic church service, which was pretty cool. πŸ™‚

"I'm gonna get your nose!"

“I’m gonna get your nose!”

Sandrine and I with our host family

Sandrine and I with our host family

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