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Posts Tagged ‘update’

I may as well give up promising not to go AWOL for months on end, because it always ends up happening anyway. Stuff likes to happen in big chunks, it seems. And then I’m exhausted for weeks afterwards.

Anyway, where were we? After my last post the Christmas season really kicked in full force and it was busy, busy, busy right up to the end. Once again, I was very thankful for my wonderful co-workers who did not, at any point, freak out or cause me to get stressed out. We just all pitched in and got stuff done.

I had the week between Christmas and New Year’s off (well, from the 23rd to the 30th), which was perfect since Sandrine was moving into her new house over Christmas weekend. So we spent Thursday evening loading all her stuff into the truck, drove up to Calais on Friday, then on Saturday we took the Channel shuttle train and drove up to Sandrine’s house.

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Inside the shuttle

The rest of the day was spent unloading and unpacking (and many, many trips up and down some VERY steep stairs). By dinnertime the house was starting to look like a house, although there were still quite a few boxes left. We tackled those the next morning after Sandrine opened her presents (the rest of us saved ours for New Year’s Eve).

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All in all, it was a decidedly un-traditional Christmas, but those tend to be the ones we remember the most, I think.

I was fully ready to crash for a few days after we got back, but the very next day we got a call from Aunt Susie saying that Grandpa had passed away. He hadn’t been doing well for a while, so it really wasn’t unexpected, but the timing could hardly have been worse. We were all pretty much running on fumes at that point, and somehow we had to pull ourselves together to make it through the family New Year’s dinner at my uncle’s and a last-minute trip to the States. Said trip went well, overall, even if we did have a bit of a blizzard on the day of the funeral (we all agreed Grandpa would have found that hilarious). It was good to spend a little time with family, even under less than cheerful circumstances. Plus I got to spend an afternoon with BJ, which was a bit of a miracle and very much needed.

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Me and my bestest friend

Since we’ve been back, I’veΒ finallyΒ gotten to unwind and process a bit. Things are pretty quiet at the moment, so I should be able to get caught up on things.

Until next time, have a little Lucy cuteness:

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“Umm, how do I get down?”

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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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Hello everyone!

I meant to post this much sooner, but between my new job and recent events, it kind of got pushed down the priority list (okay, and I’ve been procrastinating too).

Anyhow, December (and therefore winter) may be upon us, but these pics from June should warm you right up. They’re from the barn’s end-of-the-year show, which was a ton of fun and featured some pretty awesome costumes:

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More to come shortly…

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In a few days, my sister Sandrine and I are going to embark on an adventure we’ve been wanting to go on for years. She’s been living in California for the last two years, attending the Bethel Supernatural School of Discipleship. After her graduation next week, she’s moving back to Virginia for a bit, which means a cross-country drive, and I’m going with her. We’ve wanted to do a cross-country road trip together for a long time, so naturally we’re both super excited about this. πŸ˜€

We’ve got our itinerary mapped out, and barring any incidents, this trip should take us about ten days. We’ll be visiting with friends along the way, and I’ll get to meet a few people I’ve been wanting to meet for a while. I can’t wait!

Naturally, I will be bringing my camera and posting pictures along the way. There will probably be lots of anecdotes to share as well. This is going to be an adventure, after all. πŸ˜€

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Hi everyone! Apologies for another long silence; I don’t even really have a good excuse this time, except possibly that I’ve been spending a fair amount of time working with “my” horse. I mentioned a while back that Mountain Blue had basically become my project horse. Well, as of October, that is officially what she is. I’m leasing her, as is another lady, who, incidentally, happens to be the other resident French-American at the barn. What are the odds? Anyway, we each work with her 3 days a week, and between the two of us, we’re making quite a bit of progress. We still have a long way to go, but Fred and Lucie (and others) have said that she’s improved significantly over the past year, so we’re on the right track at least. If nothing else, this will teach me more patience.

All right, I know you probably want pictures now, so here you go:

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As you may have guessed from my long silence and this entry’s title, I have been very, very busy these past few months. I finally have a couple of weeks to catch my breath, so I can tell you a bit about what’s been going on.

My job at the snack bar lasted until August 31st, and no sooner was my contract up than I got drafted back at the big nougat factory. I was there almost six weeks, and to be honest, I’m glad my contract ended a few days early. The folks there are generally nice, but I can only take working in a huge, loud place for so long. Plus, at the time they were still attempting to get reorganized after buying out one of the other major factories back in January. In other words, things were decidedly less organized than before, and guess who felt it the most keenly? That’s right, all of us floor workers. Not a day went by where I didn’t hear at least one person complain about it. My team leader was particularly vocal in her displeasure, and the whole situation had her nerves so frazzled that her temper was on a hair trigger most days. Needless to say, I frequently found myself praying for an extra dose of patience. Oh, and did I mention that this was also in the middle of the rush to get the (huge) Christmas orders done? Which meant working overtime every day? My bank account was thankful for the extra hours, but my feet and head were not. πŸ˜›

I think that after that experience I won’t be going back there if I can avoid it. Some things just aren’t worth a massive headache.

Anyway, right after that I had an interview at a small local company that specializes in, among other things, gift boxes composed mainly of local products. They get orders year round, but their busiest time is around Christmas. The past seven weeks have been a blur of boxes and bags of every description, cases and cases of wine, and tons upon tons of foie gras, patΓ©, nougat, and various other goodies. We had to put in some overtime the last week to get everything finished in time (the deadline was last Friday evening), and despite a late shipment of raspberry marshmallows, we managed to complete the last order with about an hour to spare.

Now that that contract is up, I’m taking a break until January. I’ve been working almost non-stop for the past six months, and the last three have really drained me. Between the long hours at the nougat factory and the unheated warehouse after that, I am utterly wiped. I did finally get a start on my Christmas shopping today, but I’ve mostly been resting the last few days.

My busy work schedule has meant that up until now I’ve generally only been able to ride once a week instead of twice, but it’s better than nothing. I’ve been able to do a few shows as well, which went well for the most part. The dressage show I did with Naika in October was kind of a disaster (I didn’t fall off but we finished dead last of our event), but surprisingly we did better in eventing a few weeks later. I still did better in eventing with Leslie a couple of weeks before that, despite having come down with a massive cold a few days prior. That little mare might be almost 18, but she’s still got plenty of oomph. πŸ™‚ Mountain Blue, one of our new mares, may have robbed her of the title of Resident Speed Demon, however: you barely touch her and she takes off like her tail’s on fire. I rode her for the first time a few weeks ago and as you can imagine, it was far from dull. And of course it was a jumping class (Fred really likes throwing me into the deep end, it seems). Still, she’s a fun challenge and I would love to work with her some more.

In other news, we’ve learned that hosting two conferences two weeks apart is a very bad idea. Said conferences both went really well and God did some amazing things, but after the second one we were all wiped out. And because I was still working at the time, I didn’t even get the luxury of sleeping in the next morning. That was one of those situations where you have to rely on some supernatural strength to get through the day. Playing some extra upbeat music in the car in the morning helps too. πŸ˜‰

Now, in case you’re wondering if I’ve had any time for photography with all the insanity, the answer is yes. Not quite as much as during the summer, but I still have plenty to share. I already posted a few back in October; more to come soon. One more to tide you over until I finish sorting:DSC_0328cbws

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OK, technically summer doesn’t start until Friday, but up until two weeks ago it seemed like Mother Nature forgot it was supposed to be spring (I was wearing sweaters until the 3rd) and then suddenly skipped straight to summer. It’s been a little disconcerting, to say the least. I’m not exactly complaining about the warm temperatures, but I do wish things had warmed up a little more gradually.

No pictures this time; my laptop crashed again and unfortunately I didn’t back everything up, so… I’m hoping at least some stuff can be salvaged, but seeing as I’m pretty sure my hard drive is toast, I make no promises. At the very least, I have everything I backed up a few months ago plus the pics I posted on Facebook, so not all is totally lost. Still, I think I will be investing in an external hard drive and backing everything up from now on.

In happier news, God provided me with a great new job a few weeks ago. I was making the rounds of the temp agencies in town when I got a call from my dad. He was also in town and just happened to walk past a snack bar that had a “help wanted – urgent” sign in the window. I hadn’t worked in food service in a couple of years, but I figured it was still worth a shot, so I headed over to check it out. Turns out the manager broke her arm falling off her horse, and when she saw on my resume that I also ride, she said – and I quote – “It’s a sign!” And I was hired on the spot. Two weeks later, I still can’t get over it. Things just worked out perfectly for everyone. It’s in the pedestrian section of downtown, just a mile away, so I can walk to work. And I have a nice long break between shifts, so I can still head over to the barn most days and ride (though I will be stopping the lease for the summer and save up some money for next year). At the moment my contract is just until the end of the month, but there’s talk of keeping me on for the summer if business continues to pick up (and seeing as tourist season is starting, I think it’s a distinct possibility).
Like I said, God definitely provided. As always. πŸ™‚

In other, completely geeky and inconsequential news, it seems that I’ve started a tradition of catching up on sci-fi shows over the summer. Last year was Stargate:SG-1 and Atlantis; this year is Eureka (I just finished season 1). Depending on how long it takes me to finish (probably not long at all at this rate), I may watch Farscape too. I know, I always seem to discover sci-fi shows after they’ve been cancelled. Well, except for Doctor Who (incidentally, I’m still a little in denial about Matt Smith leaving at Christmas). Well, better late than never, I suppose.

Anyway, it’s getting to be bedtime over here, so that’s it for now. I should have some pics salvaged for next time… keeping fingers crossed.

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