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Posts Tagged ‘update’

I know, it’s been 4 months, and I’m pretty sure I swore I wouldn’t take so long between updates, but… well, it happened. So, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and just for good measure, Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Easter, happy birthday, and whatever other holidays you feel like celebrating. πŸ˜›

It’s been a mix of crazy busy and not-so-busy around here lately. We had a conference in early December (which was pretty mind-blowing, by the way), and we had our annual youth conference a week and a half ago (also mind-blowing), plus we’ve already got a few more planned through June. As for me, I’ve done three shows, had a couple more odd jobs, been leasing Leslie since early January, had a bit of an adventure fixing my car and my laptop, and been having loads of fun playing with my new camera. In between, it’s been ridiculously quiet.

Oh, and I recently started playing around with Photoshop and Gimp, learning how to make my pictures even prettier. Which will likely come in very handy in the near future, since I officially have one foot in the door as a professional photographer: I got my first paid photography job last month. I got a phone call one morning from one of the local temp agencies saying they had a client who needed someone to take some pictures for them, and since I’d listed photography as one of my hobbies on my resume, was I interested? I think it took me all of one nanosecond to think it over. πŸ˜‰ Said job consisted of taking pictures of a vacant lot slated for construction, plus a few of the neighborhood, presumably for an ad. It was just a few miles from my house and the shoot lasted all of one hour, so, really not bad at all for my first paid shoot. Plus I managed to grab a few extra shots for my portfolio while I was at it. Of course, Murphy’s Law had to intervene in some fashion, and it took me about 3 times as long to email the pictures as it took me to take them. I did eventually get them all sent, and since I received no word to the contrary (and got paid), I assume they were found acceptable. Just goes to show that it literally pays to list your hobbies on your resume. πŸ™‚

I’m still sorting through and editing the literally thousands of pictures I’ve taken over the past couple of months, so no pics in this post. But I should be able to post some soon. *fingers crossed*

As for the other jobs I’ve had recently, I’ve been back to the plastics factory for a week, which went well despite being on the morning shift (which starts at 5 am). I also worked a few days at a local print shop, which was interesting.

Getting to lease Leslie kind of came out of the blue; I’d been riding her almost every week since September, and around Christmas, after noting that I’d made quite a bit of progress with her, Fred asked me if I’d be interested in leasing her. After getting him to explain to me what all that entailed (and how much it would cost – less than I initially thought), I said yes. And it’s been great. I get to come out to the barn almost every day and work with her and spoil her rotten. πŸ˜€ Mind you, some days are better than others, but I’ve learned to roll with the punches. Besides, working with horses (and animals in general) requires a fair amount of patience. And most days are a lot of fun. Plus it’s made for some great impromptu photo sessions. For example, one day I went for a trail ride, then took some shots of Leslie grazing afterwards, and when I got back from bringing her back to her pen, I found my friend Lucie getting ready to exercise her horse. So I grabbed my camera and tagged along, and got some great shots. Or last week when I showed up to find Leslie had been borrowed for a horse camp class; I had my camera with me, so I took pictures of the class. One of the girls actually asked me if I charged for my pictures, to which I responded, “No, I’m not a professional… yet.”

Which reminds me, my friends Sissi and Olivier got engaged a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve officially been drafted to be the photographer for the wedding, which is tentatively scheduled for sometime next year. ‘Tis very exciting. πŸ˜€

As for my car-fixing adventures, back in early January I had a slight mishap while pulling into a parking space and cracked my left headlight and turn signal. I had my car inspection coming up at the end of the month, so I needed to get it fixed ASAP. So, I went to the local Renault dealer/parts shop and showed them the damage. They had the turn signal cover in stock, but not the headlight. In fact, that model had been discontinued a while back (not too surprising since my car is a 1986 R5 – still popular, but old). My best shot at finding a replacement was a junkyard. Problem: I couldn’t remember where the nearest one was, and when I checked the yellow pages, the nearest one listed was a couple of towns over, and, as it turned out, the address listed was wrong. I must have spent an hour turning in circles looking for it. Then, remembering there was another headlight model available for my car, I went back to the Renault dealer, only to find that it too had been discontinued. They did, however, give me directions to another junkyard which, while further away, was very easy to find, and had what I was looking for. Then came the fun part of replacing both headlights (as far as I could tell, the two models were extremely similar, but both headlights needed to be the same model, so I had to replace both). It took about an hour of fiddling and nearly freezing my fingers off, but I finally got both properly installed. I made an appointment to get my car inspected the very next day, and it passed. Whew.

So… that’s pretty much all that’s been going on lately. Now back to picture sorting and editing…

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As promised, here’s the first part of my picture-heavy update.

I spent the entire month of August (and part of September) working at this place:It’s one of the local artisan nougat makers, and definitely one of the more interesting places I’ve worked around here. My co-workers told me they seem to have a habit of attracting all the oddballs, both when it comes to customers and temps. According to them, I’m the most normal person they’ve hired in years, and, after witnessing the disaster that was the other temp (she lasted all of one week), I’m inclined to believe them. It’s actually kind of sad when you think about it, but on the flip side it’s nice to know my work ethic is appreciated. πŸ™‚
In my spare time I grabbed a few pictures here and there:

One weekend some friends who own a fish farm out in the mountains of ArdΓ¨che invited a group of us for fishing, fun, fellowship, and baptisms for three of them. My camera batteries died just before the baptisms, so I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures of those, but I did get quite a few of the rest:

Heeere fishy, fishy, fishy…

 

My goofy friends πŸ™‚

 

Welcome Desk Kitty is on a nap break

 

These were everywhere – so pretty! πŸ™‚

 

Bonfire – and roasting marshmallows, of course

 

 

 

 

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Those are just three of the things I’ve encountered/dealt with over the last two weeks. It’s been a bit interesting, to say the least.

Two weeks ago I got called in to work at the nougat factory again, this time to help prepare the almonds (one of the main ingredients). I spent a good chunk of the first three days sitting behind a conveyor belt, picking out bits of shell and any other stray objects. Not terribly exciting, and only a bit more glamorous than cleaning stalls, but hey, I got paid for it. And said conveyor belt was in an air-conditioned cubicle, so it really wasn’t bad. Cleaning up around the machines was actually the most physical part of the job. The fourth day, we were pretty much done with the almonds, so my supervisor spent about half the time finding stuff for me to do. And despite my best efforts, I was still done an hour early. Apparently I work far too efficiently. But, as my dad pointed out, there are worse reputations to have.

On the 14th, my friend Sissi came over to watch the parade on TV with me (our friend Thomas’ unit was in it – they marched by too fast for us to get a good look though). Afterwards we had a movie marathon while waiting to head out for the city’s fireworks show. I brought the camera, as usual, and I think my first attempt at taking pictures of fireworks turned out pretty good:

Two days later, I was in shutter-happy mode again and took these:

Wednesday through Friday was spent working at a packaging company, packing perfume bottles and prepping boxes for said bottles. The latter very nearly made me go cross-eyed: the boxes were very glittery and we had to meticulously check every single one for flaws. Still, it made for a little more much-needed money in the bank, so I’m thankful for that. πŸ™‚

The circus arrived in town the other day, and yesterday my friend Ombeline and I went to see the animals:

The geese seemed quite indignant with me

Baby llama

Sleepy llama

Llama, llama, duck. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Lion down on the job, are we?


Yeah, yeah, I know, bad pun. Par for the course for me, really.

Anyway, after that, we headed over to see her little equine herd, including the newest addition, a 2-week-old colt named Chadow:

Is he not adorable? πŸ™‚

Venus and Chadow

Maya

Apollon and Beauty

Dumbo stuck to us like glue

Mimi

On a purely geeky note, after catching a few random episodes on TV, I finally decided to sit down and watch Stargate SG-1 from the beginning. I’m currently halfway through season 4 and loving it so far. Doctor Who is still my favorite sci-fi show, but this is fast becoming a close second. πŸ™‚

And with that, I wish you all a happy Sunday! πŸ™‚

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*checks calendar* Apparently, yes.

Whoops.

Things have been a mixture of crazy busy and extremely not busy around here.

After New Year’s, the biggest thing was gearing up for the youth conference at the end of February. Said conference went really, really well. We had quite a few familiar faces and some new ones, and just about everyone got completely and thoroughly blasted. πŸ˜€
Things ended on a bit of a bittersweet note, though: during the last meeting, we got a phone call saying that my grandmother had passed away. That in itself wasn’t really a surprise; she hadn’t been doing well for the last several months and we knew it probably wouldn’t be much longer. Still, the timing could hardly have been worse. My mom had to go up to the nursing home and meet with her brothers to start the funeral arrangements, and the rest of us had to pack up and clean up by ourselves. This was when everyone proved how much of a family we’ve become: nearly everyone stayed and helped, and we finished in record time. They also prayed over us and loved on us, which was exactly what we needed. Breon (Sandrine’s boyfriend) was especially wonderful. He helped me stay awake and keep it together on the drive home: I’d been up and running around like mad since 6:00 that morning and I was wrecked. If I hadn’t already adopted him, I would have then. Breon, if you’re reading this, I love you, bro. πŸ™‚

The funeral was March 1st, exactly three years after my grandfather passed away, appropriately enough. It was just a short graveside service and then we all gathered at my cousin’s house for some much-needed family time.

In horse-related news, I did a few more shows. Some went better than others (Naika can be a bit temperamental and some days I was not quite all there). I did manage to place fifth in one show, and I always took a boatload of pictures, with quite a few gems each time. I’ll post some of my favorites next time.
Also, if all goes well, at some point this summer I’ll get to take my Level 6 horsemanship test. I moved up to the Level 6-7 class a few months ago, and so far it’s been going pretty well.

May was probably the busiest month of all for me. We had a conference from the 4th to the 8th, and I missed the last day because I was flying out to the States for BJ’s wedding, which was on the 9th. Good thing said wedding was in the evening, because I’m not sure I would have been completely awake otherwise. Anyway, I made it, the wedding went well despite being moved indoors at the last minute because of rain, BJ and her new hubby Mike are very happy… all is well. πŸ™‚

I spent 2 weeks in the States, and they went by insanely fast. I got to spend some time with Sandrine, which we both needed and thoroughly enjoyed. I got to help out at the barn she works at, which, while tiring, was a lot of fun. Like I told her, you know you’re a horse freak when you get excited about getting to clean stalls. πŸ˜‰ We also went to see The Avengers (great movie) and I got to meet the family she’s staying with – and their pets. My mom flew in the week after I did, and we put together a belated birthday party for Sandrine. I have to say it was a little weird to be buying the cake this time instead of making it. At least I was able to find one that was not eligible for Cake Wrecks.

I also got to spend a good chunk of time with BJ’s family (they all adopted me years ago so really they’re my family now too), which was a lot of fun. I got to meet up with a few other friends as well, and just before I left I got to spend a day at the ranch. Even better, I got to ride in the Parade of Breeds that night, which I hadn’t gotten to do in years. Thanks, Marilyn! πŸ˜€

When I got back, I basically hit the ground running. Just a few days after I flew back in, I got drafted to help a friend of mine move up here from Nice (about a 600-mile round trip). I drove the U-Haul, which actually wasn’t nearly as tricky as I’d feared. Driving through a torrential rainstorm on the way down was a tad nerve-wracking, though, I will admit. But I managed, and she’s all nicely settled in now, just 10 minutes from here, which is nice. πŸ™‚

The weekend after that, a group of us (mostly from the last youth conference) got together for some fun and fellowship, which was great.

Since then, it’s been fairly quiet around here, especially since Audrey’s in London now, working at the Olympics. Yes, you read that right, and yes, I am just a tad jealous. But just a tad. πŸ˜‰

We’ve got another conference comingΒ  up this weekend, and despite being incredibly short-staffed this time around, I think it’s going to be great. πŸ™‚

That’s what’s been going on, in a nutshell. Pictures coming soon. And I won’t leave you all hanging so long next time, I promise!

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Happy New Year!

Yes, yes, I know, I’m almost a week late (and a couple months overdue for an update). But better late than never, right? OK, I promise, that’s the only clichΓ© I’m using in this post.

This will be relatively short; I mostly just wanted to reassure everyone that I haven’t forgotten about this. I have a boatload of pictures to sort through and share – I’ve gone positively shutter-happy these past couple of months. I’ve been told I should go into photography and I’m starting to think these folks might be on to something. I’ll post some of my favorite recent pics and let you be the judge of that.

In other news, for those who might not be aware, I finally started competing. December 4th was my first show jumping competition and while I didn’t win, I didn’t fall off or knock over any fences, which is already pretty good. And I had fun. πŸ™‚

Sandrine was able to come spend Christmas with us, which was wonderful. πŸ™‚ The two of us got to go on an all-day cross-country jumping outing with our riding school on the 30th – great way to end the year. Even if I did fall off twice and was incredibly sore for two days afterwards. πŸ˜›

As far as the new year is concerned, so far I don’t have too many plans aside from attending my best friend’s wedding in May. There’s also the youth conference in February, which is shaping up to be AMAZING (not that I’m really expecting any different). We’re also planning conferences in May and June (still in the early planning stages). I’m hoping to fit in a visit to Brussels somewhere in there as well; it’s been 9 years (!) since I’ve been back there.

That’s it for now; pictures to come soon!

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Howdy! No, I did not fall off the face of the earth; I’ve just been semi-busy and had a good bit on my mind. OK, and I’ve been procrastinating a bit too. My humblest apologies.

Anyway, the past two months have been spent entertaining guests, celebrating birthdays, riding horses, going to soccer games, concerts and wedding receptions, and taking LOTS of pictures. I’ve already posted most of those on Facebook, but I’ll post some of my favorites here too.

In September, my mom’s best friend and her husband came to visit for 2 weeks. We had lots of fun showing them around town and taking them sightseeing pretty much all over. Oh, and introducing them to traditional French cuisine. Fun times. πŸ™‚
Sandrine headed back to the States the first week of September to start massage therapy school, which, last I heard, is going really well. Not that I really expected any different, considering how God opened up all the doors for her to get in. I’m really glad she’s finally going to get certified to do something that she truly enjoys.
Doors are opening up for Audrey too: she recently got to volunteer at a tennis tournament and is already scheduled to work at two more. She’s been wanting to do this for a while, so this is very exciting for her.
As for me, well, I’m trying to find something that’s a little more “me” than the jobs I’ve had recently. I enjoyed those for the most part, but ultimately they were just a way to make some much-needed cash. I’ve been looking at freelance translation, for starters (being bilingual certainly does have its perks). Another option that’s been brought to my attention is photography, which kind of makes sense considering how shutter-happy I’ve been lately. That said, at the moment I’m still strictly just an amateur. I would need a snazzier camera than the one I currently have if I were to go pro/semi-pro, and I’m not sure I can afford one just now. But I am keeping that option open and practicing as much as I can with what I’ve got.

In non-job-related news, we also celebrated my parents’ and my birthdays and topped it off by going to see a men’s Champions League game in Lyon (which Lyon won 2-0).

This month we did a bit of roadtripping: to Grenoble to celebrate Joshua’s first birthday (per his mom’s request, I won’t be posting pictures of him anymore, but rest assured he’s as adorable as ever), then to Paris to see Jesus Culture in concert and this past weekend back to Grenoble for a wedding reception.

Riding classes started back up the first week of September, and not a moment too soon, as far as I was concerned. It’s really great to be back and see lots of familiar faces, both human and equine. A few have left, and there are some new ones, but for the most part it’s the same gang. πŸ™‚ So far Fred’s been having me work mostly with my two favorite mares, Leslie and Naika, which has been lots of fun. A bit of a challenge (neither is exactly what you’d call a cupcake), but fun nonetheless. πŸ™‚ I’ve also gotten into the habit of hanging around after my class on Saturday and taking pictures of the next one (along with a couple of other shutter-happy friends).

I think that about sums it up. Like I said, not super busy, but enough to keep me from getting too bored. (And now that most of my favorite shows are back on, that provides me with some fresh entertainment as well.)

Pictures coming very soon…

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Apparently I do. πŸ˜›

Anyway, the past couple of weeks have been pretty quiet. Well, if you don’t count yesterday and the week I spent back at the nougat factory.

Yesterday I went a friend’s wedding, which was pretty awesome. I’m a huge sucker for romance, particularly when it involves my friends, and this wedding was the epitome of romantic, in my opinion. I will readily admit to getting rather teary-eyed when they exchanged their vows. Besides being beyond adorable, the two of them clearly took the time to get to know each other and let their relationship mature before taking the plunge, so to speak. And most importantly, they’ve made God the focal point of the relationship. I’d say their marriage is off to a great start. πŸ™‚

In other news, I’ve been following the Women’s World Cup for the past couple of weeks, and I have to say I’ve been enjoying it more than the men’s World Cup last year. For one thing, the French ladies played much better – even made it to the semifinals. This was a huge boost for French women’s soccer; at least, I hope so. I’m a tad disappointed they didn’t make it to theΒ  final, but considering that this was only their second World Cup and that in 2003 they didn’t even make it past the group stage, I’m more proud than anything. And USA is in the final, so I can’t complain too much. (Speaking of which, I better wrap this up quickly;Β  the game starts in 20 minutes.)

Not much to say about my week at the nougat factory, except I learned to always make sure that when I bring a lock for my locker, I also bring the matching key. Otherwise I have to track down one of the maintenance guys to cut the lock. Oops… πŸ˜›

Other recently learned lessons include:
– Always bring a pair of tennis shoes to the barn. You never know when someone is going to organize a bareback trail ride down the river, and your boots will thank you.

– Never drink iced tea while watching a 2-hour movie unless you can pause it.

– Hot leather car seat covers and shorts don’t mix.

Other item of note: got Peter Furler’s solo album the other day, and it is excellent. Honestly, I originally bought it because I’m a Newsboys fan and I was mildly curious to see (or hear, rather) what Peter’s come up with since leaving the band. I was kind of expecting it to be fairly Newsboys-ish, musically, so I was (pleasantly) surprised to find that it’s not. He was really doing his own thing with this album. Lyrically, some amazing stuff (not that I was expecting any different). This is definitely going to be in heavy rotation for a good while. πŸ™‚

OK, end of shameless plug. Off to watch soccer now…

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