Friday, 10 August 2018

1999 to present day

I remember back in April 1999 as I, (travelling alone and delayed by 10 hours), came out of Miami international airport to be hit by the heat and humidity and the sound of crickets. Even exhauisted as I was, I felt that I had truly reached paradise.
I recall that hotel night, the next day breakfast and the ride to the Keys in a Greyhound bus. We went through Homestead and made our way down the chain of islands until we entered the city limits of Key West. I encountered strange and interesting people on this adventure at 24 years old.
That evening I sat on a bar stool at a locals haunt in Geiger Key and drank a pina colada as the sun set and felt again that I had found myself in paradise. The emotion, the overwhelming amazement at just being there is still a strong memory.

The years that followed found us, Paul and I, back in Florida as often as financially possible. We endured 9 hour flights once a year (once we got to do it twice :-) ) for two blissful weeks. We added Orlando to this bliss and Bahama Bay where our children learned to swim in the hot tub there, and then St Augustine with its Prairie Creek.
We started to bring our children up with Florida in their lives. People used to think that the draw was the theme parks and the shopping, and while the theme parks are great, it was actually inane things like stop signs, crickets, heat, drive through coffee, different wildlife, fresh seafood, space in house, wood floors, firepits, cinammon rolls, pontiacs and chevrolets etc. Add to that funky restaurants - Conch House, Mangrove Mamas, Mangoes, Creekside Dinery, Bahama Breeze, Tradewinds.... (even the names are romantic and tropical).

When I was in Florida I used to walk, endlessly, soaking it all in. When we left I sobbed all the way to the airport. Arriving back in the UK I would then spend the next 50 weeks of the year planning 2 weeks when I could live in the present moment.

Fast forward to present day where I very much live in the present moment and have done now for 7 years.
Returning to Florida is still a trip of the heart. That drive to the Keys through Homestead down fills me with the same emotion. Orlando makes me feel like I am in paradise still. The only difference is when I am not there, I dont live waiting for the next time.
Summer here in Nova Scotia on Canadas East Coast is quintessentially that Spring that we enjoy in Florida. Same heat, same humidity, same crickets. Its called the Maritimes for a reason and it has the same laid back friendliness. Its a Canadian Florida Keys to me.

I love this Key West bumper sticker

It has beautiful beaches, seafood and the very same cinammon rolls. Stop signs and drivethrough coffee, along with a large spacious home, pool and a hot tub is my everyday. My July and August is that 2 precious weeks that I used to live for.
The rest of the year is very much Canadian which is everything I envisaged it to be.

So freakin blessed.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

love July

As seems to be normal for July its been freaking hot. Thankfully not (so far, touch wood) wildfire hot like its been in California (new normal?) and Greece where people are seriously in trouble, but definitely hot.
We have constant heat warnings as hot air masses hang around causing high humidity and temps in the early 30's. I do indeed love it.

I love walking the dogs at 6.30am. Its such a pleasure to see the neighbourhood at that time of day. Hanging out in the pool after work is also so joyous and I am so grateful we have it.
Last Sunday morning I woke early at 6.30am and it was summer dark. That kind of dark thats not really dark but does allow for all the little lights to be put on around that make the ambience so adorable. I was a happy bunny (small things please me).

Unfortunately due to the intense heat it hasnt been a good riding month for Ace and I. I just dont want to ride hard in this weather, I dont think its fair on him and frankly its not enjoyable. I may have to come to the conclusion that July isnt a riding month really due to heat. It seems so far that March to June are easy to ride in (obvs the temps change but they are do-able) and then September to December. I think August is pretty similar to July in that you really need to get it in in the early morning. Not really possible on a working day.

Happy birthday mum

Thursday, 26 July 2018

A little beach photo shoot

We were fortunate enough to have a beach mini photo shoot that turned out well. We are so very fortunate to have great beaches here in NS and every year I say I will spend one day every weekend on the beach.
So far, I have failed, again, in this plan.
Its almost the end of July and the only beach we have set foot on is this one for the photos.

Friday, 20 July 2018

The grass is greener where you tend your lawn

Back in April we were facing large costs to repair the drains and the resulting mess in our front garden, as documented by me, in a frustrated manner here:
The drains situation

Now its July, the plumbers were paid and the grass has regrown. It did not cost us $8k as we decided to repair the ground ourselves and with help from our friends we tillered and dug and laid down grass seed. We watered and fed that baby seed and now have a healthy flourishing front garden.. in short the $4k quote to have it done was actually $600 and a ton of sweat equity #happydays

June and July - England and Maine

Its been hot. I have been busy. I have to update this blog with my England trip, with Ace and my latest horse show (2nd of the 3) and our family trip to Maine.
So much to document while summer rolls in with a blast of heat warnings.

So... I had a visit to the UK. I saw as many people as I physically could, put 800 miles on a rental Hyundai Ioniq at the cost of half a tank of gas (hybrid car, LOVED it) and saw my grandmother who was the real reason I was there as shes sick. The weather was sweet and I memory lane tripped constantly. I went back to Nannys house and honestly, wanted to move back.

But I came back and Ace and I almost immediately attended another horse show where it was very hot and we had no photographer.. so a complete 180 from the last time but fun nonetheless. We even almost missed a class as we were lunching, with tack off, having misunderstood the loudspeaker.

A couple of weekends ago we went to Maine for a lake weekend with some friends. We decided to make the trip at night

but what should have been an 8 hour drive which would have seen us roll in at 2am turned into a 12 hour drive complete with flat tire on I95 at 2am.  To compound the flat, which by itself was a pain in the butt was the fact that no one could locate the spare until we you-tubed it (2018 Dodge Caravans have them under the car, nut is in the console) and Lily had a melt down. People went missing in the night and the mosquitos were enormous and clearly starving. I recall lying on the road in the dark with the light on my phone looking for the spare and thinking how dangerous it all was.
The cottage when we eventually limped in at 7am was blissful.

It was a true break and we loved every darn second of it.

Complete with the Nissan (thank you Enterprise, I love Enterprise) that we swapped the caravan for (spares can go 271 miles by the way, dont let anyone tell you differently!), we made it by via IHOP and chik-filet, and the lookout at Mount Kathadin and are already planning next years foray to the same place.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The first show of the season

Last weekend Ace and I attended the first horse show of the year. We try to attend the three Salmon River ones as I just love the showground more than anything. You can also get points towards a series which is always fun.
This year I went with the new barn and despite the constant torrential rain and resulting mud it was a really nice day. Good team spirit, horses tried hard and an air of thankfulness to even be able to go made the day memorable. And then of course there was the rain, have I mentioned that yet?

Whilst Ace and I didnt place in Hunter, I was so pleased as he was more forward and easy to ride than hes ever been. He still has the annoying pull down but we can work on that this year. I am also no longer afraid of it, so thats a big step in the right direction for me.

These  pictures above are the first two classes, we were moderately wet but the ground in the arena was still pretty good at that point.
Ace sporting his north american style braids that I managed to conquer... first attempt too.

The three above were after it had hammered down with rain continously for about an hour. The warm up was decidedly iffy and I wasnt chancing any injuries  with him. I was also soaked as was he. For someone who was wading through a lot of water at that point, he was very sporting.
Here we were jumping in a very sodden way, those breeches started the day much lighter.
We got second place in senior road hack and here we were making our way back to his stall as his day was over, finally. We had been back for hay and water breaks and retacking three times at this point so it was good to be finished. I was so pleased with him.
Home with legs wraps and a warm bran mash, it had stopped raining by this point and the sun was out, naturally.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

April update

A little update on where I am at:

Eating - too much crap again, I must return with a happy heart to healthy eating. I was doing so damn well until a month ago.

Feeling - grateful for this life, even though the weather sucks.

Waiting - for summer to turn up, this weather sucks. I am, as usual, sick and tired of the cold. I want to ride in long grass in an endless evening, walk the dogs before work, have windows open so that I can listen to the crickets, lie with one foot in the pool, soak up the heat and humidity that everyone else bitches about, feel that I simply have to put AC on in the car just to cope. Bring.It.Back

Watching - North Woods Law. I rather like it and it has the wonderful effect of sending me to sleep at night after about 20 minutes, why did I refuse a TV in the bedroom for all those years?

Planning - road trips this summer - yay!!!!!!!!! And how to get to Florida next winter now we cant just go when it suits me. Oh and what to do with Ace this year, primarily how to get him to showgrounds.

Wishing - we had pushed the plumbers to locate the backwater value inside the house instead of allowing them to dig up the entire front garden. The fight against their outrageous over-inflated final invoice goes on whilst we face a new bill to repair the construction site lawn. By the time this is all over we will have paid around $9k - ugh!
Hindsight is always 50/50.

Pondering - how much life changes as you grow and how many lessons I have learned from watching Marley and Me. The movie thats not just about a dog.

Considering - all my shortcomings as a person and how to work on them. There are many.

Facing - children that are growing up too fast and the fact that university for the oldest feels like its literally around the corner.