Catching My Breath

I can’t believe how long it is since I wrote anything other than a shopping list of baking goods.

I have been a bad niece, cousin, sister, friend. I am soooooo sorry!

I didn’t send Christmas cards and I didn’t do a Christmas email…if it wasn’t for Facebook I’d be considered MIA.

This craziness started when I decided to try my hand at baking cupcakes and custom cakes SERIOUSLY instead of just for fun.

Even last summer’s Friday night market “Party in the Park” was mostly fun…though REALLY hard work.

This is a cliff-notes version of my life and events over the past year because right now I have a gazillion things to do.

Since we’re all so used to Face***k here’s a Timeline of Lynne’s life over the past year or so:

November 2010:  Jim is loving Musicworx and installing AV systems – working crazy hours and getting lots of satisfaction which led me to an epiphany of how I needed to be doing something I was as happy and passionate about.

Running a B&B is something I had wanted to do since coming back from Ireland in 1999. I researched the local by-laws  and realised that with very little modification, our house could easily morph into a most excellent lodging establishment.

Basically we had to install a new smoke detection system, get fire extinguishers, install emergency lighting and some signage. Then there were some cosmetic changes, new linens, a bit of decorating and a MASSIVE move of our home office from the main floor into my hobby room which is off the master bedroom.

We also had to put locks on the door and found a keyless front door lock which we can programme for each guest so we don’t have to worry about door keys being lost/stolen.

Jim, bless his heart, jumped on board with my idea and was amazing in sourcing the things we needed and installing everything for me.

December 2010:   I applied for RIVERVIEW B&B business license on 29 December!

February 2011:    We had a wedding to get ready for – Craig and Stacy asked me to make their wedding cake and cupcakes, so I decided to do some proper classes. So off to Dickens Sweet Shop I went and enrolled in the 3 Wilton cake decorating classes. Meanwhile I occupied myself painting half the house singlehandedly which was cathartic. I was grieving for Jean (Simpson) and I went into a productive frenzy of activity. In hindsight, I was probably channeling Jean since she was one of the strongest, most energetic and determined women on the planet.

March 17 2011:   Got the final inspection and approval by the Fire Department. We’re in business!

Amazingly, with just putting my website up, I started getting bookings. That increased exponentially when I took out a listing with BBCANADA and we had a really busy spring and summer with guests from all over the world.

June 2011:  The wedding. Jimmy and I bundled the dogs, all my baking equipment and our wedding clothes into the car and headed to Calgary for a week. We rented a wee condo with a full kitchen and I made 120 cakepops, 120 cupcakes and made and iced the wedding cake. Phew.

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When we got back to Chilliwack I had the baking bug, so decided to take a booth at our local summer night market. It was a blast and some nights I would sell 18 doz cupcakes.

One. By. One.

By this stage I was spending less and less time at the shop.The cunning plan was working.
I was also getting more and more orders for custom cakes and discovered a hidden talent for making people and animals out of fondant.

Over the summer my beloved little ferrets started getting sick…one by one. First of all our adopted boy Scamp was diagnosed with stomach cancer which is very common for ferrets. It broke my heart to have him put down. Then just a couple of weeks afterwards I went to cuddle them and found our favourite guy Poco just lying there  – gone. I had been out feeding them just a couple of hours earlier. I had been having Coco treated with a very expensive drug for lymphona. They wouldn’t operate on her because of her age. She responded well at first and then suddenly became very sick. Minnie, at the grand old age of 8 had also developed an enormous tumor on her spleen. So, in the space of 4 months I became ferret-less. Those of you who met them will know how much they all meant to me.

October 2011:  We re-hired Bob Grant, our old Sales Manager. He is a great addition to the team. His merchandising skills and energy were just what we needed and it also meant that I could step back from the day to day management of the store. Now all I needed was someone to do the admin and bookkeeping…

The loss of the fuzzies presented an opportunity for me to renovate the room at the back of our garage into a kitchen which I did in November/December.

December 2011: We welcomed little Maximiliano Alejandro Larson, Ryan and Ana’s baby and our newest nephew. He is adorable and we are gooey over him.

Christmas:  Ana’s mother Margarita was here for the baby’s birth. She came with Ryan and Ana and Ryan’s parents and grandmother for Christmas and it was a really fun, family time.

January 2012:   I got Health Department Approval for Love Cakes Bakery!

At the end of January I took a booth at the local Home Show. It was a great success and generated quite a bit of interest. It was a huge leap of faith and quite a risk. The booth alone was over $750 and then their was signage, printing etc.

I also solved my bookkeeping/administration situation…my bookkeeper and very dear friend, Lynne, told me she was planning to take on another client so I hired her to do my tedious, ghastly, stultifying work. Bliss.

Craig (Lineker) our first ever billet left to play hockey in Texas for a CHL team (The Killer Bees) and he`s playing really well…and the silver lining is that we’ve seen more of our Stacy than ever!

February 2012:  Jim’s Dad was back in hospital at the beginning of the month. He is weakening and not able to get around as much.

Then on 13th we finally got to go back to Mexico. I love Mexico. LOVE it.

This year the annual AVU trip was to Cabo – and we stayed at a beautiful hotel in San Jose for 6 days.

Jim and I then moved to a smaller hotel mid-way between Cabo and San Jose and had a 4 day food and sun fiesta for 2. We watched the whales every morning and swam in the ocean.

Bloody brilliant it was.

I frikken love Trip Advisor. We found so many great restaurants and activities.

As soon as we got back it was straight into ANOTHER show….the Women’s Expo. It was AMAZING – and really good for Love Cakes.

It’s hard work but so very rewarding.

Right now I’m working on a ton of commissions  – and I’ve been trying new recipes for a gluten free line of cakes and cupcakes.

The B&B has been going really well too – I’m full every weekend and I am loving the people we’re getting to meet.

Homesickness and “missage” is a constant for me…always has been. I miss my friends and family in England, Ireland and of course New Zealand.

But I feel truly blessed. My Jim is amazing – so kind and supportive and we have such a good time together. He has made it possible for me to pursue my dreams.

And I am so lucky to have a wonderful Canadian family: Stacy is truly the best daughter I could ever hope for and we get closer and closer as time passes. People say we look alike even…the destiny of our relati0nship is undeniable.

We’ve seen lots of our old neighbours, the Listers, too especially since Katherine moved to Abbotsford to go to uni. Emily and I still have a lot of fun hanging out and working on a variety of projects which all involve sugar.

We miss Craig terribly and it’s weird not having Brandon here. We’re so proud of him – he’s played the last 2 games for the Philadelphia Flyers and he’s looking AWESOME out there wearing #23. Oscar Moller (another billet) and his fiancee Charlotte are back in Sweden and are having a baby in a few months. Cluck cluck cluck. Ana and Ryan and little Maxie are amazing friends and we love them dearly.

So that’s the update.  From now on I am going to post more often and take more pics. Promise.


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