Mid Year Check In

Well, maybe I’m a bit late, but I will call this a mid-ish- year review…. what’s happened in the last 6 months?  Where are the next 6 months headed?  Goals met?  Accomplishments achieved?

Well it’s a bit overwhelming to even think of the last 6 months of 2018.  I am definitely certain about one thing – 2018 has produced the biggest, most dramatic amounts of changes in my life than most any other year – or years combined- that I can think of.

It’s been a non stop ride of one thing after another and I am definitely learning for the first time in my life (better late than never, right?) to just ride the ride, and not try to steer the damned thing.

After starting out the year sick as could be with the flu and my truck needing more repairs than any sane person would ever consider doing thus, getting a new car, it barreled right along to my boyfriend’s car being stolen, deciding to move, buying a new house, getting a new job, selling my horse trailer, and of course……  a major change in my life…. as I said final tragic goodbyes to both Luke and Chewbacca on March 2.

Isn’t that enough?!  That was all literally the first 3 months of the year.  I’m happy to report at least that since March things have slowed down a bit… my boyfriend got a new car as well, my new job has been going along well.

I do my best to control my severe anxiety issues, which do get triggered by non-sense too much more than I care to admit.  God bless my incredible boyfriend who can manage to deal with me and my anxiety.  I’ve had a few major meltdowns since the start of the year, but that’s a few less than last year and the year before.  So that’s all good, right?

This summer is flying by – it’s hard to believe it is July 8 already.  I’ve been driving little Jesse once a week, and looking forward to some upcoming fun activities with my boyfriend.  In just a few weeks I get another candle on my cake, and we are going to go ziplining!  Cool!

Nearly 14 months ago, we made reservations on a Bahamas cruise.  That cruise has been paid for a while, and we are closing in on the date!  We have a 10 day trip to Florida and the Bahamas cruise coming up in November, and I can’t wait.

And in very exciting potential upcoming events… we started ring shopping!

2 years ago I absolutely knew beyond a doubt that I was broken, unwantable, and unloveable.  I did not even think I would so much as find a good man to treat me decent enough to not insult me if we managed to get through a dinner date.  My my my how times have changed.

I met the perfect man – on a free online dating site, so they do work after all – and now he’s seriously thinking about committing himself to me, ring and all… hey, we already bought the house, right?

I do dream of wedding bells in my future now, and even of the pitter patter of little feet- and I am not talking about a kitten (or a foal..).  I’m also dreaming about ziplining, the Bahamas and whatever surprise day when the love of my life decides to pop out that ring and ask me.

Oh my my my!!

Very exciting stuff.

Overall – this has been one big – GIANT – year of changes, and there are still 5 1/2 more months left to it……

Can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

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The End of An Era…. The Start of More

Everything is different now.

Life, as it tends to do – has been rolling right along, bringing changes and ups and downs as it always does.

I will admit, my life has blessedly had far more ups this year (and last year) than downs, but the downs it did have were massive.

Not a single day – not one – goes by that I don’t mourn the loss of Luke and Chewbacca.  I think about the happiness they brought into my life for so many years, and I remember all the adventures I was lucky enough to have with them.

Everything is different now, though.  All of Luke’s things are gone – his cart, his harness….  what I have left is packed away. My horse trailer is gone, my truck that pulled it is gone….anything I had left of tack for Chewbacca has been sold or packed away.

I think about the path Luke and Chewbacca took me down, and I see the perfect straight line guiding me from exactly where I was to exactly where I am now – to where I needed to be.  It was all – all of it – meant to be.  They were there to guide me, to get me to where I was supposed to be, and their job here on Earth was fulfilled.  God wanted them back and He spoke loudly enough so that I could hear.

It was heart wrenching, and I wanted to have them in my life forever – but nothing lives forever, and to think Luke or Chewbacca would have been around for years and years and years to come was naive.  Sure they should have or at least could have made it into their 30’s, but not every horse that lives gets to make it that long.

I’ll see where Dixie and Jesse get to, but they are 23 and 21 respectively.  After losing Luke at 21 and Chewbacca at 19, I know that, of course, there is a time limit on how long I will have Dixie and Jesse too.

For years and years, throughout the last 25 years of my life since I first put a saddle on a lesson horse and took that first ride (Western….) I had pursued actively – to the point of literally putting every penny I had into it — horses.  I wanted to ride, to jump, to show, to win.  I wanted to train and compete and be good at something.

And I was so lucky.  I got to live a life for over two decades that not a lot of people get to even experience for a day.

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Some of them built me, some of them broke me.  I plowed forward no matter how many broken bones, difficult horses, scary episodes, and I did often choose between horse showing on the weekend or buying food.  I chose horse showing.  I was do or die with horses, and if you weren’t showing, then you just weren’t “doing it” right.

I thought I was working towards becoming something when it came to horses.  I never realized the horses were channeling me into something special and the horse era of my life would end.

But it has.  It is over, and it is a little sad and bittersweet, but the ride I rose with those horses I took on trail, over jumps, and down the road, has brought me to exactly where I needed to be.

Too long to get into my life’s history and how it all was gearing up to put me where I am now, but it suffice to say, I know it is true.

Luke and Chewbacca were two of the angels that watched over me in my life, and I was blessed to have them.

I had part of their tails turned into a single, beautiful, bracelet from Tail Spin Bracelets.

Luke is on the bottom, Chewie’s is on top.  They are a single bracelet with 2 braids and the sentiment is beautiful and powerful.  The horses were always side by side and intertwined in life, thus they are connected side by side in this bracelet until I have it cremated with me when I die.

 

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Luke and Chewbacca will always be in my heart and memories.  I have no doubt they were angels on this Earth just for me.

Now, I am ready – FINALLY after 25 years – to allow my life to be reshaped into something entirely different.  I can only hope and pray for what is yet to come, that it is good and wonderful, and I know – because I’m exactly where I should be – that it will be.

One era ends, and all new things start.

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The Saddest Post I’ve Ever Made

I  can not even begin to wrap my head around how crazy this entire year has started off, and it’s only March!!!!

I forewarn you, if you’re reading this… very sad things are coming up.  So be warned.  It is almost impossible to comprehend what’s been happening.

I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately – failing at my blog posting not due to lack of things, but on the contrary, due to soooo many things happening all at once.

This has been a roller coaster of a year that started off with my truck dying, buying a new car, having my boyfriend’s car stolen, deciding to get a new house, closing the deal and moving all within 2 months… and now we are moved into an amazing new place that is beyond gorgeous and more than either of us could have ever imagined.  I have a new job, leaving my job that I enjoyed for the last 5 years, too.

The whole time that all these changes were happening, other events have been happening simultaneously that have been some of the most impossibly difficult to deal with in my life –  and having been through abuse, cancer, and more in my life…. I cannot over emphasize how hard this has been to deal with.

It’s taken me weeks just to finally get up the will power to write this post.

Let me start with a trip down memory lane…  to January 2007.  I headed out to look at a $600 Hackney Pony in the middle of nowhere over 3 hours from home.  He was a bit scrawny, undermuscled, obviously not used or ridden or really in any kind of program.  The 10 year old pony was also carrying strangles, little did I know.

He was hitched up to the owner’s rickety duct-taped together cart with a harness partially composed of bailing twine, and I was told it had “been a while” since he was last driven. Down the long dirt road the pony went like a pro, and immediately I said SOLD.

That long dirt road has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.  Knowing Luke and having the privilege to be around him has been one of the greatest honors I, as a measly and unaccomplished amateur horse owner and competitor could have ever been bestowed.

Then, a few years later, as a birthday gift to myself, I headed out over 2 hours away, in 2010, to take a look at a chestnut horse as a new riding mount for me.  I was so reluctant to get a riding horse again, because I had soooo many issues with previous riding horses.  I was very nervous to get invested into another riding horse, because of all the serious issues.

So, I went to look at the great big 16.2 chestnut 11 year old and … it was immediate love.  SOLD once again.

3 years after bringing home Luke Skywalker the hackney, his new best bud Chewbacca came home, too.  The two bonded pretty instantly.  They were both capable, quiet, and smart, working alone, and when they were together, they went and did everything together.  They were totally bonded and for a long time, they lived in the same paddock together.

My two perfect horses- easily two of the very best horses I’ve ever know, and two of the very best horses God ever graced this planet with.  And I was lucky enough to have them both as mine.

In December 2017, we moved to a new barn.  Chewbacca had been at the same barn since I owned him, and Luke had been at the same barn for over 9 years as well.  Luke was a happy go lucky kind of pony that got along with every horse.  Chewbacca was not.

I worried so much about how the two of them would adjust to a new herd of 14 others, when they had been living alone together for so long.  I figured really Luke would be fine, but I worried about Chewbacca.

Happily, they adjusted instantly.  They were both so happy to have a new group to hang with and large fields.  I couldn’t wait until the summer grass grew in and the horses got their first opportunity to run through the tall fields.

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^^ Day 1 at the new barn.  So happy.

LukeandChewie Dec 16

^ A sunny day in December with the horses waiting at the gate for me, knickering and happy, looking for more food because obviously 3 pounds of carrots is not enough…..

So all was well.  Life was progressing forward with my boyfriend and I, and the horses were happy and settled.

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^ Two weeks after moving into the new barn, all was well.

A month later, Luke and Chewbacca were doing fine in the herd, no interaction issues.  But, right around Christmas time I did notice Luke was losing just a bit more weight than I wanted him to be losing.  I upped his treat rations to include some more weight building support.  He was always an easy keeper, so I figured no big deal of course.

And then, it all changed.  Another two weeks passed, and January 2018 was upon us, and Luke was still losing weight.  Very odd for him.  Ponies in general were always just easy keepers, and Luke was always more inclined to be obese than anything.

He was eating quite a bit of hay, of higher quality and higher quantities than he had been before, and now he was also eating far more grain in a single feeding than I’ve ever fed him, plus weight building supplements that he’s never needed before.

Another two weeks, into the end of January, I was alarmed because Luke was still losing.  The vet was out and did several blood work tests and we talked about options and possibilities and a support strategy.  Turned out, the blood work was all normal.  No infection, no liver issues or kidney issues, no malabsorption problems.  He had been heavily dewormed, his teeth were in good condition, and he was eating a ton of food.

Luke was only 12.2h, and he was eating more grain than 16.2 Chewbacca, and he was still losing.  I mean… within a month, he went from a body score of a 6, to a 3.  No exaggeration.  I cannot, for his sake, even share a photo of his body condition, but I was taking them weekly to track progress.

Luke was emaciated.  He looked like he hadn’t been fed for months.

An aggressive support plan was initiated and I was doing everything I could for my special and perfect sacred pony that had been my blessing in life for 11 years, but I also had to be realistic – which meant Luke was now on a time line.  The clock was ticking.

If improvement was not made with the support I was providing, I would have to reevaluate what was happening to my pony.  I hoped throughout the month of February that he would improve.  I wanted to drive him again this year, even though I had bought a car, which meant I’d have to sell my horse trailer, which meant no more showing.  Still, there were plenty of trails near the new barn, and Luke was scheduled to be on them this summer.

As it was, by the end of February, Luke’s condition was critical.  I cannot share the photos of him, but if you’ve seen a horse with a body score of 2, you will know what I was dealing with.  For two months, I did everything  I could.  Everything feasible for me, and fair to him.  In a matter of 8 weeks, Luke lost over 20% of his body weight, dropping from 600 to just over 400 pounds.  It was the worst thing to deal with – just futilely trying to support him in any way I could and watching him fail.

After talking to the vet repeatedly, the only real conclusion we could assume was that Luke had cancer.  It was obviously highly aggressive and quite literally eating him alive from the inside out.  He was skin and bones and had developed some abdominal edema in the last week.  I could also hear him breathing sometimes (granted not often), but the sound of his breath passing through his airways was totally abnormal in the first place.

The date had already been set previously just in case.  I figured if there was improvement, I could always cancel the vet appointment.  I held off on calling the livestock remover until the last minute.

On Friday March 2, 2018, Luke went off to be an angel in God’s herd.  I was at his head, and I reminded him I loved him and I was sorry for what was happening to him.

The vet had told me that Luke’s blood pressure was critically low.  He was dying.  He would have been dead in a day, maybe a week.  He was 21, and had been my beloved pony and dream driving horse for 11 years.

There never has been, nor will there ever be, an animal as amazing as Luke.

He was loved, and he will always be remembered, treasured, and missed.

And, to make that fateful day even harder, a second decision was made – and not lightly.

Since 2015, Chewbacca had been lame with bad suspensories.  He was getting slower as the years passed, and he had always been Luke’s protector, friend, and companion.  They had been together, bonded, and faithful companions with each other for nearly 8 years.  They have lived alone together for almost half that time.  There was no way I could separate them and put Chewbacca through the loss of his friend, while watching his bad legs swell and bother him.

Chewbacca was once (well.. more than once…) referred to a  saint for dealing with me.  I rode him, jumped him, taught him to drive, hauled him all over creation to take him to events.  He was a Saint.  And he became an Angel.

The single hardest day in my life, the saddest thing I’ve ever had to deal with- was losing both Chewbacca and Luke at the same time.

I have some small level of consolation knowing that Luke would have been dead in a day or two – probably at night, alone, with only Chewbacca keeping guard.  I wanted to be able to say goodbye to him, and I did.  Additionally with Chewbacca, my peace of mind does come from believing that I did all I could do to support him for years in comfort despite his lameness, and that I provided him – them both- with the best life I could.

It’s a small comfort, but still, a comfort.

For me, it’s been almost two weeks.  The barn is different now – they aren’t at the gate to greet me.  I don’t get to hear Luke’s high pitched whinny or Chewbacca’s quiet nicker any more.  I don’t get to run my fingers through their coat and mane, or feed them or just hang out with him.

Dixie and Jesse are still there, and I am looking forward to driving Jesse this year on those trails I mentioned, but there is an emptiness at the barn – especially considering I did sell my trailer, and Luke’s harness, and his cart will soon be gone as well.

I have no intentions of getting another pony his size at any point in the forseeable future.  If I ever do, I will happily buy new equipment when I can do it properly – truck and trailer and all.

For now, I just want to move forward with life with my boyfriend and see what else can possibly happen this year.  I pray for only good things.  I know all things happen for a reason, and I also know that Luke and Chewbacca are both safe and happy and loved by God who made them so perfectly in the first place.  I also know I will see them again, along with the other wonderful horses I’ve loved and lost in my life like my wonderful first horse, Lady, my beloved 2nd horse, Lickety Split – not to mention cats I’ve loved and lost, too.

One day, I will see them all again.

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Kicking off 2018 with a Bang!

I don’t even know where to begin!  The last year of my life has been rocketing forward for me in unbelievable ways.  Like my banner says – dare to dream Big.  One of my previous banners said “Life is about saying “I can’t believe I did that instead of I wish I had tried.”  Both are applicable and appropriate for my life.

A little over two years, after escaping an abusive marriage that was killing me, I was an emotional train wreck.  I proceeded forward on a rocky, PTSD-smattered path and slowly began pursuing some of the dreams I had considered long lost.

Meanwhile, I rebuilt my life in a new apartment that I loved, absolute in the knowledge that I would never be loved, that I wasn’t worth a damn to any one, and I would be alone for the rest of my life.

Well, that didn’t last too long!  I was free and escaped just about one year, almost to the date, when I met my boyfriend via a free dating site.  The day in 2016 when we had our first date was the day my life changed forever.  I could never have imagined the life I was beginning to build that day, and now, just over a year later,  my life is taking curve balls in all new directions.

2017 ended a little rough for us, and 2018 began a little rough.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned – ABSOLUTELY – from hard lived personal experiences — it’s that GREAT GREAT things happen after rocky moments in life.  Every challenging situation opens a door for amazing new things.

Exactly one year after we started dating, I moved in with my boyfriend.  For me, that meant leaving the apartment I was sure I would never leave…. switching barns for the horses when I was sure they would die where they were…. switching jobs… moving states… doing all the things I was sure I’d never do, all because the door was opened for me and I walked through.

It’s all been scary for the last (almost) two months, and the first two weeks of 2018 are slamming us both with exciting, albeit scary, moments of our lives that will change us forever.

The last few weeks of 2017 were rough on my truck.  I bought it only not quite 3 years ago, but it had 120,000 miles on it then.  It had a little over 182,000 and just before Christmas, it basically gave up on life.  It was leaking from every possible place it could leak and nothing was working right.

The truck had been a dream for me – a necessary step to hauling the horses myself, which also helped me as I escaped my marriage.  By the end of 2017, that dream hemorrhaged it’s last breath.  One thing I was sure of, was that I would never own a new car.  I had told my boyfriend as much many times over the last year.

When my truck died, we had a discussion about a vehicle that suited my needs best.  I wanted a nice fancy (albeit used) SUV that could haul.  He felt I should get a new (like brand new) vehicle, with a warranty, so I wouldn’t have to worry about being stranded or paying expensive repair bills which I never had the money for.

Ultimately, I realized that I could combine the two – I couldn’t own a new vehicle that could haul, and I didn’t want to buy a used bucket-of-potential-problems  I couldn’t afford even if it could haul.

I caught the flu the day after Christmas, which knocked me on my butt.  It was horrible.  I was sick for over 2 weeks.  None the less, on New Year’s Eve, he and I went to a car dealership and I financed a new car.  Brand new.  For the first time in my life, I own a brand new car.  It had 34 miles on it when we test drove it.  It’s a little 2017 Kia Rio, but it’s mine.

Thus, a hard decision had to be made – I have to sell my horse trailer (another dream I had).  Which means in turn, that my days of hauling to shows and parks with the horses are over.

Hard decisions, but they are for the best of circumstances.  All of my horses are a little older now anyway.  Chewbacca will be 19 in April and has been retired since 2015 due to lameness.  Luke and Jesse are both 21 this year, and while they both work and work well, I have some concerns about Luke.  He just doesn’t seem quite right to me, so I’m watching him carefully.  Dixie will be 23 this year, and has been pretty much retired since I can’t even remember.  Never did like driving her much anyway.  She’s not fun.

So, for me, the path ahead is changing.  I can see a time in the future that I will no longer actively drive horses at all, and I’ll sell any tack and equipment I have.

But as one door closes, others open.

One week after I bought my new car, we had an issue at home.  In the morning on Friday 1/5, my boyfriend’s car was stolen out of the garage.  It was scary and distressing knowing that someone drove up to the house, had a cohort jump out of the vehicle, run into the garage and take his car.  The timing of it made us wonder if someone was watching the house and knew our habits.

7 hours later, Milwaukee Police located the vehicle- amazingly undamaged and nothing was taken.  Crazy!

None the less, the whole situation rattled us, and my boyfriend made a decision that I support fully – we should move.  He and I both feel the current home he owns is small, in an area that clearly isn’t safe, and is not in a location we’d like to raise a family…..

WHOA… yes… I said raise a family. No, I’m not pregnant, but I hope and pray that this in our future.  I’m getting a bit up there to be new-mom age, but despite a late break in life for happiness and family planning, I do hope very much to have children with him.

So, that brings us up to two weeks into the new year.  New Year. New Car.  New life’s path… and a new house?  We shall see……

We made an offer on a beeeeaaautiful place.  We already sold his house.

We’re moving.  There are absolutely no “downs” about the house we’re moving to.  It’s new(ish), freshly updated with high end appliances and new carpet, etc… it’s in a beautiful location surrounded by parks and golf courses.  It’s close to the barn and it’s a great place to do a little family planning.

I’m still on the hunt for a job locally, but I am driving the longest commute ever to get to work.  I’m training my replacement and hoping that God has everything lined up so that exactly what’s meant to be will happen.

What a year so far!

I’ll try to get better at posting in 2018!

 

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The end of One; The Start of Another

It’s that time of year again !   In just a few hours, we will be ringing out 2017 and welcoming in 2018… (if you’re one of those high-falutin elite people that can actually stay awake until midnight).

This is definitely a time of year to reflect on the former 12 months and think about the unknown future.

For me, the amount of changes my life has offered in 2017 has been mind-blowing.  Just one year ago, I was welcoming in the New Year with the most amazing man that I had only begun dating a month before.  Now, I live with him, and have every hope for a wonderful and incredible future in 2018 and beyond.

We’ve done so much and been to so many different places already just in 2017!  It’s been an incredible year and the last two months have been full of changes!

Just over a month ago, I moved in with that incredible man, and it’s been an amazing blessing every day to share these last few weeks of my life, highs and low, with him.

There have been many highs, and well… a few issues that definitely qualify as low, and disappointing.

First and foremost, I’m very happy to say that not only is life at home for me going amazing, but the horses are also all very happy in their new home.

 

Dixie and Jesse 12-16-2017LukeandChewie Dec 16

It’s wonderful to have the horses living in a new and different situation that they enjoy, and while it’s bitterly cold right now, in the summer, Luke and Chewbacca will have more than 10 acres of belly-tall grass to enjoy and I couldn’t be happier at that.

At home, we celebrated a perfect Christmas and certainly are looking forward to ringing in a happy new year.  Of course, I ended up with a few issues that always….just always…. seem to happen on the Holidays.

On Black Friday, my vehicle broke down (for about the 50th time in just short of 3 years that I owned it).  It had a recurrent issue with oil consumption, and it was getting worse.  My vehicle that I wanted so badly to haul the horse trailer, was dying.

It got an expensive fix on Black Friday and my boyfriend and I were able to rent a truck and get my furniture moved all the same.  I currently drive 70 miles one way for work, while I search for a job locally.  The strain on the truck was taking a toll quickly.

One month later, Christmas Day, it happened again and the truck broke.  I took it back for warranty repair which was done the very next day, and the moment I pulled out of the parking lot of the shop, the issue happened again.

Yep.  It was time to get a new vehicle.  Thus, the conundrum….. of course, hauling the horses was very important to me, so I very much wanted to get a new/used vehicle that could haul the horse trailer.  However, then I end up in the same circle — buying a heap of someone else’s problems and a high maintenance vehicle that I just can’t afford.

So, the best choice seemed to be to buy a new vehicle – no repair issues, right?  Of course, the cost of a new vehicle is also something difficult to afford, and immediately ruled out vehicles that could tow.  I’ve also never in my life owned a new vehicle.  I figured I never would for sure, and told my boyfriend as much many times throughout the year whenever issues with my truck popped up.

A tough decision had to be made quickly.  I fully believe that God closes doors for reasons and great things happen when He does.
So, just yesterday my boyfriend and I went out shopping for a new car.  Brand new.

rio

Well, it certainly is certainly no towing vehicle, but it is new.  We drove it off the lot yesterday with 34 miles.  Yes, 34.  It’s a 2017 Kia Rio.  My life definitely changed a little today in an unexpected way, because I got a new, expensive something that I was not exactly expecting (and not totally sure I can afford), and I’m also shutting the door on hauling horses – which I have had the luxury of being able to do (more or less) for the last 10 years.  That’s a huge hard bummer.

Unfortunately I’ve also been sick with the flu… sick like death warmed over and over and over sick.  It’s been a bit rough of a week driving to work in a rental car while being sick, then spending hours and hours and hours at the dealer to buy a new car while sick.

Saturday evening I fell really sick and sometime around 3:30 am Sunday morning when I couldn’t stop coughing and everything hurt, I figured it was finally time to go to the urgent care or ER.

So my wonderful and caring boyfriend helped me out to my brand new car sitting in the driveway… and if you know me, you can already guess where this story is headed.

It wouldn’t start.

Dead as a paperweight.

No turn over, nothing.  Just a “click” like it’s saying “nope! screw you, I’m not running your diseased butt to the ER.”

So needless to say, our Sunday morning did not start off so well with having to contact Kia Roadside support not once but twice for help, which ultimately led to getting my brand new car towed back to the dealer.  Towed.  Brand new.

Sunofabeeeeeaaaaatttcccchhh…..

 

So, seeing as it’s a holiday and a Sunday, I must await Tuesday to see what I’m going to do with my shiney new car that doesn’t want to run.  I’m rather shocked about it all, because I never would have expected a brand new vehicle to have a mechanical issue right off the bat.  I mean — really?  REALLY????

 

Well, I did at least get to spend a little time painting in between car ordeals, being sick and mostly just wanting to stay curled up under many blankets.  This is my latest, and I’m really proud of it!!!

Heron

(by the way, that yellow “frame” around the painting is my wall in my work room!  My boyfriend let me paint bright yellow on the wall!  I love it!!!!)

 

Happy New Year!!!!  May your 2018 bring you amazing and wonderful things!

 

 

 

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More Big Changes!

Wow – this was supposed to post on 12/3.. I just now realized it never posted!!!!

 

This is a post I can barely believe I’m writing.  Life truly is about saying “I can’t believe I did that!”  instead of “I wish I tried….”

For way too long I didn’t try and I can’t believe I did that.
Now, I’m living life quite differently and I can’t believe all the things that are flying forward for me, leaving me hopeful and optimistic about the future.

Ever since I met my boyfriend a year ago, my life has changed completely.

Now, as of Thanksgiving 2017, I have moved in with him.  Needless to say, that’s a big step and a big change unto itself.  Of course, this move also involved leaving the state I’d been calling home for 13 years to be with him.  It also involved moving the horses to a new barn after nearly 10 full years at their old barn.

It involved leaving behind a family that I had come to love and rely on for a decade, and of course, the move also involved a change a driver’s license and a new job.  Everything is going to be different now, and I can only hope for all great differences and positive everything in the future.

It was scary to move away from my apartment I loved, my barn that was home, uproot the horses and see them transition into a new place to call home, and I’m still working on finding a job, which means I’m currently commuting 70 miles one way to work, which is a whole set of challenges unto itself, especially with my car the way it is.

As far as the horses go, the changes for them were HUGE.  For years, Luke & Chewbacca lived in a private small drylot.  Now they’re on 14 acres of pasture with 16 other horses.  They’ve got huuuuuuuuge grass lots to run around in, and I’m hoping Chewbacca thrives.

When I bought him, he actually had a big grass field to call home, and since I’ve had him in a grass-less dry lot situation, I had always hoped I could get Luke and Chewbacca into a grass field finally in their lives.  Of course I had also hoped that field would be attached to a dream home of mine and a barn to go with it, but some dreams are best left unfulfilled, because I have no complaints whatsoever about seeing them run around in someone else’s big huge grass lots.

They met 16 new horses (well… 15 horses and a donkey), and Dixie and Jesse got their own private drylot now.  Since they can’t go out with the huge herd, especially because of Luke & Chewbacca, they’ll be alone together for the rest of their lives (I hope!).

Meeting the herd:  (They didn’t meet the full group at once, half at a time, and it went quite well)

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Of course there’s got to be rearing and squealing and kicking and establishing who’s who.  That’s to be expected.  I just worry it could get out of control.  Fortunately on day 1, nothing was horrible, so I’m hoping day 2 (today!) everyone will be pretty straightened out.

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I think these photos though, really show how Luke and Chewbacca feel about having those huge grass lots to be in!

 

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I’ve got to get some better photos of the minis in their set up, but they’ve got access to a stall at their will with water inside & out, and a private dry lot with electric fencing.  Dixie does not like the electric fencing at all.  They aren’t used to it, as their paddock for the last 10 years didn’t have any.  Luke & Chewbacca know about electric fencing and were quite smart to stay away from the fence rails on night 1.

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24174646_1794784623865640_2079844326680297917_nSo… today is day 2.

Wish us all luck!

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Big Adventures. Big Changes. BIG dream.

My life has literally turned completely around in the last few years.  I fully believe in what my blog banner says – dare to dream big.  It will happen.  It takes its time, and apparently (in my case anyway), those dreams come true BIG time in ways, or at times that you least expect them, but they do happen.

This year has been full of big adventures and big changes, and big dreams that I was sure would never come true, all suddenly unfolding right before my eyes and I can barely believe I am living my own life.

In the last year since I met my boyfriend, I swear sometimes that I’ve been transplanted into someone else’s life, or that I’m just in a dream every day and I definitely do not want to wake up.

Just one month after DragonCon 2017 came time for he and I to take a BIG road trip.  Now, mileage wise, it was not as long of a road trip as I took when I went to DragonCon 2016 (that was 2700 miles, this one was 2240 miles), but we jam-packed a week’s worth of sight seeing into about 3 days, so it felt like a lot more! hahah!

Where to begin?  This post is going to be about as big as the road trip, so get ready!

We started out our week of epicness with a lot of this:

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and a lot of these:

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Highways, “welcome to _____” signs, and hotels.   Our first destination was to my hometown.  Now, if you’ve ever seen “The Office”, you’re going to know exactly what I am talking about and this may look familiar to you.

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Yes, I am from that Scranton.  So no, it isn’t a made up place.  Someone from The Office was surely from Scranton, because there are an awful lot of Scranton-accurate references in the show. And that sign used to actually be on a street not far from my home.  After it was used in the opening credits of The Office, it was removed and brought into the Steamtown Mall for display.

Now, I have not personally been to Scranton since 2007.  That’s right.  It’s been 10 years since I was last home, and also 10 years since I have seen some of my family that lives there.  While I got to see my dad & step mom several times in the last decade, it’s been 10 years since I’ve seen my mother, aunt, uncles, step-sisters or brother.  So it was very nice to get back home and meet back up with some of my mostly -estranged family that I am definitely (obviously) fairly separated from.

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This is a view I took of the… well view… not far from my home both day and night.  It’s called Lookout, and it overlooks a good chunk of the Scranton Valley.
My boyfriend took a super cool panorama, which I love.

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If there is one thing that Scranton has that most places in the Midwest definitely do not, it’s mountains and beautiful views.   Living in the Midwest most definitely dulls your senses as to how beautiful this world actually is.  While we do have lovely expanses of farmlands, it’s mostly very flat flat flat here.  Scranton, on the other hand, is in a valley between two mountains.  The area is referred to as “the endless mountains”, and that they most definitely seem to be.

I took my boyfriend on a grand tour of some of Scranton’s finest hills, and he was quite sure the car’s transmission was going to burn up before we got to the top of some of them.  He asked how the heck we managed in the winter, and the truth was, since I grew up there, I just never knew anything different.  It just was.  We never had trouble getting up the sides of the mountains or dealing with snow.  When I moved to Georgia and it snowed there (once) all of 1/2″, I couldn’t believe disaster it was!

It was hard for me to realize that there were places in the world where people didn’t deal with snow and hills.

Now… speaking of driving under crazy or difficult conditions….  Have you ever heard of a little place called “The Big Apple”?

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Growing up in Scranton, New York City was just a 2 hour drive away, so I actually have been there quite a bit.  I can tell you from personal experience – there is absolutely NO experience quite like trying to drive a car down Broadway street, Times Square.  Nope.  In fact – just trying to drive anywhere in Midtown Manhattan is insane.

Don’t like your commute to your job?  Be grateful you don’t live where it takes you an hour to drive 10 blocks.  Because it did.  That’s what it took us to navigate just 10 blocks on a Friday morning.  Yeeeaaa…..

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Well, I do love Manhattan.  I really do.  I think it’s full of adventures and a very fun place to visit.  Would I want to live there (or anywhere within 2 hours of it?) No.  Not a chance.  Not fun.  But I love Manhattan a whooooole lot more than I enjoy Chicago, that’s for sure.
Now, my boyfriend on the other hand did not care much for Manhattan at all.  The driving.  The crowds.  The bustling busy craziness.  I don’t think it was quite his cup of tea.

He described it as being like walking through a busy con, just all the time.  Ha !  Truth!  Shoulder-to-shoulder walking down a sidewalk, lost in huge crowds.  Yep.  Manhattan is definitely crazy.

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However, during our Manhattan fun and games, we were in town for one special event:

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We’re both geeks.  And this was too geeky for us to pass up!  In fact, we had been planning this geek-venture for months, and my boyfriend got a photo taken with Mark Hammill!!!!  We had a full-on Star Wars geek fest, and loved every second of it during our jam-packed day of sight seeing.
We attended the comic con with my dad and step-mom, which was super great, too.  This kind “of thing” isn’t her cup of tea, but it was nice to get in an extra day with them and do some sightseeing.

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Our trip to NYC also included a Ghostbusters inspired tour of town to see some filming locations from the movie, and a couple other places, too.

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We visited the World Trade Center Memorial, and saw Freedom Tower.  Two towers were replaced with 1, which stands 1,776 feet tall ground to antenna tip, and the memorial itself is an absolutely gorgeous neverending waterfall with every name etched into it.

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Our tour of Manhattan also took us to Central Park, Tavern on the Green, the apartment building used as a setting for most of Ghostbusters, the actual Ghostbusters firehouse, which is not very far from the World Trade Center, many subway rides in between everything, and also to the New York Public Library & Columbus Circle, as well as Madison Square Garden, up and down Broadway street a few times, and oh yea… that other big tall building in New York…

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It was definitely one heck of a couple days.  We spent one day and another half day running around the city, and it was hot and when it’s hot in NYC, subways are even hotter.

Once we recovered from nearly heat -exhaustion, we skipped out of the Big Apple and headed down the road to our next destination:

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We were definitely covering all the bases here!  From flat corn fields, to mountain vistas, to the concrete jungle, to the ocean.  We pretty much covered all the variety of sights there are to cover in America…in about 2 days.  LOL!

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My boyfriend and I had an idea for eating a fancy 3 Michelen Star dinner in Manhattan while we were there.  We would get all dressed up for a super fancy evening and enjoy a meal that cost more than our grocery bill for 2 weeks.  Well, while we looked at a variety of restaurants in NYC, we actually found most of the selections pretty gross.
Apparently, if you can afford a $200 meal, it also means you enjoy eating liver pate and sushi.  Gross and gross.  Ick.

So, we changed our plans and opted for eating some actual normal food (ha!) and instead found a Gordon Ramsay restaurant at Caesar’s Atlantic City.  We got dressed up to the 9’s… no make that the 10’s.  We looked sharp.  I bought a beautiful backless red glittery dress, and he bought a stunning white suit.    We looked smashing.

I know, I know… fancy dinner, super dressy formal wear, romantic setting, a fun evening in a casino on the beach with my boyfriend that I love and treasure and has been the greatest man I’ve ever known.
Did the evening go down that road that you’re thinking it probably seemed ripe to go down?

No.

Sadly it did not, but I had suspected anyway that this evening was not going to involve any rings … although I sure had hoped he might still surprise me anyway.  But there are great things to come in our future and I can only hope that day is coming!
But our fancy dinner evening did include entirely too much food! I ordered lamb chops, he ordered Ramsay’s Beef Wellington.  We also ordered a smattering of sides and appetizers which were all amazing, and we ended up having left overs.  It might have cost more than our 2 week grocery bill, but it was mighty fine eating.

I admit, though, I found the beef wellington to be just gross.  ick.

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Now, while my boyfriend might not have enjoyed Manhattan very much, I can tell you he absolutely loved the Ocean.  We put our feet in the water and spent as much time as we could enjoying the sound of the waves and the beauty of the beach.

Next year, we have a trip planned to Nassau, Bahamas.  I cannot wait to spend a few days in the sand and sun with him, and I hope the weather will be as amazing as we got during this trip!

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After our visit to the beach, we headed onto the start of our journey home, but we still had just one more stop to make!

As if the food in Atlantic City wasn’t enough for us, we drove back home via Philadelphia and had a National Treasure style tour or Philadelphia.  We went to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, and stopped for a bite to eat- a real Philly Cheesesteak in real Philadelphia.

The Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philly, not far from the Liberty Bell, was also featured briefly in National Treasure.  It was great to swing in there and experience the wonder of aisle after aisle of food.

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After that, we were finally on our way back home.  Really, we spent 3 days running around Manhattan, Atlantic City, and Philadelphia.  It was a jam-packed itinerary, but it worked out really well, and despite some hang ups and delays, we still managed to do everything we had intended to do and see everything we meant to so.

While I’m sure a trip to NYC won’t be high up on my boyfriend’s list of things to do again, I know we are both over-anxious to get our passports and go to the Bahamas!  That trip is more than a year away, and so many things can and will be happening between now and then, that while it might seem like a long time off, it’s probably going to feel like it flew by.

In a year, I’ll be posting something to the effect of “holy crap, has it been a year already?”

I know the horses were overjoyed to see us return.
Ok maybe not.  LOL!

 

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Jesse, I’d like to add (the black mini) has been officially added to our family a few weeks ago.  After 6 years of training, driving, and showing him, he is officially mine.   That change was made because there are plenty of big changes happening before the year is out.

While no rings were involved in the making of this vacation, I am going to be moving in with my boyfriend at the end of November.  For me – this brings forth a whole set of exciting (yet also a little scary) changes of circumstances, and another out-of-state move!

I really never thought I would be moving again.  I figured the apartment I moved into 2 years ago was going to be “it” for a long, long time.  At least a solid 10 years.  I never would have expected that after just 2 years, my life would have changed in the way it has.  But oh boy is it going to be amazing!

And of course, for the horses, that also means a move.  The four of them will be heading north, as we all relocate.  Luke, Chewbacca, Dixie, and Jesse are going to have a change of scenery, and I just hope they adjust well to their new digs and new friends.

Dixie and Jesse are doing to go from a larger group and big paddock to a private paddock and no group.  LOL!  Meanwhile, Luke and Chewbacca are doing the opposite- going from a private small paddock to a massive large field of grass with a large herd.  The new farm sits on about 16 acres, and I think about 10 of those acres is Chewie & Luke’s new field.  If they ever decide they don’t want to run up out of the long fields of grass to the gate to see me, I’m probably never going to catch them again.  Oh this will be fun. LOL!

Seriously, I hope they adapt well to their new life and new barn and herdmates.  Things are going to be interesting soon!  I can’t wait to see how they react to the size of these huge grass fields!

And as for me – I am just moving blissfully forward hoping for many great new things, and also just trying to ride the ride one day at a time.

 

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