7 year later…

It is perhaps, a little hard to believe that 7 years ago today, I brought home this amazing animal!

5

(Meeting his new best buddy for the first time)chewieandlukesmall

7 amazing years – this horse has been the most pleasant and patient soul I’ve ever known.  He put up with me “training him” to jump, perform in Dressage, then finally drive (and perform in Dressage again! LOL!).  Trails, roads, whatever…he was just always awesome.

Living a well deserved retirement now.  He’s 18 years old already, hard to believe.  The photos below are from a photo shoot last week that my boyfriend did for me.  I wanted photos of the horses for my birthday.  Yes, it was my birthday.

7 years ago, Chewbacca was a birthday gift to myself.  Happy birthday me, and happy anniversary, Chewie!Chewbacca 07-29-2017 cChewbacca 07-29-2017 fGroup 07-29-2017 eGroup Photo 07-29-2017

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July Horse Show

Well, it is July already!  Who can believe it?!  We are a solid 6 months into the year and what a year it’s been.

Any and every expectation or goal I’ve had for this year has been completely achieved and/or blown away in the best ways possible.  There is no possible way I could have ever imagined or envisioned myself living the life I’m currently living!  A year ago, it didn’t seem possible.  2 years ago, it definitely didn’t seem possible, and every year before that, I didn’t even bother dreaming up a life like this, because there was no point.

All I can say, is whatever struggles you’re going through – don’t give up hope, don’t stop praying, and don’t stop thanking God for what you do have now.

So, every mid-year, I like to reflect back on the list of goals I set for myself for the year and see how I’ve done.  Let’s see…. 6 months ago my list was something like this:

*Be happy (I think this is reasonable, right?)
– I’d say it’s pretty safe to say this has been achieved!

*Live every day to the fullest (OK, I did this in 2016, so I am well practiced, right?)
–  Definitely doing this, and will continue to do so!
*Lose 30 more pounds (hey, I lost almost 70 in 2016…)
–  Eh…. OK, we’ll we can’t hit every goal, can we?

*Stay Healthy  (this is a given, right?  5 years cancer free down and done.  I’m ready for 5 more…)
–     Done!  And keeping done!

*Enjoy every minute I possibly can with the most amazing new man that has blesses my life
–  Yes!!!  Still doing and always will!

*Photograph Eagles (that’s the bird, not the football team…and it involves a long trip to find them)
–  Done, several times.

*Photograph at the Everglades ( yep… this.  This is happening in 2017).
–   Well, this one got put off to 2018, but that’s fine.  The trip is booked- we are going to the BAHAMAS!!!! And since the port is in Miami, which isn’t far from the E-glades, we’re going to make it a combined trip and do it all then.  So, it didn’t happen in 2017, but it will be worth the wait.

*Complete my newest costume (already started in Sept 2016 – ETA to finish, end of Jan 2017)
–  DONE!  That was the angel of death, which I debuted at C2E2.  And it will appear again at Dragon*Con in a few more weeks.

*Put together 1-2 more costumes for 2017 for myself
– eh… this is on the back burner.  That’s OK.  I’ve got more than enough costumes right now.

*Build 1-2 costumes for my boyfriend
–  already beginning!  Can’t wait to see this exciting costume for my BF completed!!

*Suit up at C2E2 2017
–  Heck yea!!! Done and did!!!

*Suit up Wizard World Chicago 2017
– Still to come, this is in August.

*Attend Dragon*Con 2017  (already on the docket! Ticket bought, hotel room paid!)
–  Still to come, this is in September.  But it’s all booked/paid, so can’t wait!

*Attend New York Comic Con 2017 (hmmm… maybe!??!)
–  This is happening, too!  Hotels booked, tickets bought.  My BF and I are taking a massive 1800 mile adventure through 5 states as we head to Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey before we make our way back home to the Midwest.

*Go to Seattle with my most wonderful man!
– well, unfortunately, 2 major trips in 2017 puts this one on the back burner as well.  Still – I’d say with basically 90% of my goals for this year already done…  it’s been an amazing year, and it’s only half over!

There are big– HUGE — things yet to come and I can’t wait for each and every one.

In the mean time, there was one thing I did NOT have on my goal list, that I still ended up doing as well, which just made for an even more awesome year (or weekend as it was).

I took my incredible BF and my lovely Luke to a horse show.  It was my BF’s first horse show, of course, and while I think he was fairly bored, he definitely was wonderful, kind, charming, and stepped right into the role of being horse-show-boyfriend…  He took photos and held ribbons, and I am happy to say that Luke pulled in THE ribbons!

My showing days are getting very close to being behind me.  It’s possible that 2017 may be the last year I show at all.  If not, 2018 more than likely will be.  One major life’s goal I had for the last 20 years or more, was to be a “real” horse shower.  I wanted to compete, (of course I wanted to win) and the nature of that showing changed with my ever-changing interests.

First, I wanted to breed racehorses (yep, really.  Just breed them, though, not train them).
Then I wanted to be a competitor in Grand Prix level jumping.  That *one time* I jumped a 4′ fence I guess really went to my head.
Then, I wanted to be a Grand Prix Dressage rider when I figured out I couldn’t jump worth a damn.
Turned out I didn’t have the elitest level of income necessary to be a half-decent Dressage competitor, either, so my goals eventually changed to wanting to run a boarding/training barn.
I guess I dreamed of being a horse -flipper.   I wanted to teach lessons and train and resell.  For a while, I was actually teaching lessons, and I tried the whole training and reselling… but ended up selling for half what I paid because I couldn’t train.
So, that pretty much covers the first 15 years or so of riding.
Then, about a decade ago, I bought Luke, and my driving dreams quickly developed from there.
Turned out, I LOVED  driving.  Loved it!  And I decided I wanted to get a hackney pair (2), and then, heck, why not get a team of hackneys (4).  Plus a carriage that costs about $10,000, and a trailer with truck to pull them all in so I could work my up from open shows right into the world level FEI driving.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?  Remember that whole issue I had about not having an elitest level income?  Somehow, I seem to forget that.
That’s OK, because I was going to buy cheap hackneys and train them up through the levels.
Well, at least that part did kind of happen.

Luke was definitely cheap.  I paid $600 for him.  He was thin and unmuscled and started a strangles outbreak in the barn.  And he has basically won every. single. thing I’ve ever put him into.  Now, of course, for years and years, it wasn’t me showing him.  But I trained him, and Luke became a horse that someone else could show and win with without having to put in any effort.

Eventually, about 4 years ago, I got to show him for the first time, and I chose to do a CDE with him.  It was a blast, and finally the days came when Luke was mine to show.

Ironically, now though, as I said, our showing days are starting to wind down, and I’m OK with that.  Luke has 2 events on the calendar- one show and one fun event.  And he’s already done with one.  Jesse has 1 event on the 2017 calendar, and that’s in September.

Luke and Jesse are getting up there in years.  In fact, I realized not too long ago that they’re practically the same age.  Luke is 20, and Jesse is around 19.   Dixie is 22 and Chewbacca is 18, so everyone is senior and/or retired.  My interests are changing – while I love my current horses and always will, my dreams no longer include this high level showing I dreamed up.  My dreams for the future include big life changes with my boyfriend and just keeping my little zoo crew happy and healthy for as long as I can.

Luke2 Luke07-01-2017

Still, at 20 years old, with 10 years of history with me driving and showing, and probably around 40 horse shows in total, Luke still has it.  He goes into the ring a true showman and commands attention.  He rounds up, prances and struts, and is 110% spot on with every command.  He has never been a “cheater” (listening to the loud speaker instead of his driver), he just waits for whatever cue I give him and he does it immediately.  He finally stands in the line-up (that only took 9 years…), and he still strides around and wins again everyone.

This weekend’s show was no different.  First class in, first blue ribbon.  Second class in, he won overall reserve champion.  I’ve never won a neck-sash ribbon ever, and I’ve been showing horses since 1999 and this is only my 2nd or 3rd reserve champion ribbon ever.  Next class was a stakes class, no ribbon, but Luke came in 1st and won the top prize, $20 cash.  By the time the next class got around, Luke was getting tired.  He stepped on a rock and got a little sore and ended up 4th.  The day was done and  I couldn’t be happier, though.

Luke3 Luke4

He sure did look good sporting his neck ribbon!  I forgot to take a photo of him wearing it at the show before I unhitched him.  Oh well.  It was a great day!

On the creative note, I did mention I’ve been working on a costume for my BF, so pictures of that will come eventually.  It’s in the very preliminary stages right now, the head piece for it is constructed and I’m adding detail, but I have the whole rest of the body to do.  I’m hoping to have it done by October for New York Comic Con.  We’ll see.

In the mean time, I’ll share the latest painting I made, a black crowned night heron.

heron

And last but not least, I was also commissioned by someone to make a display piece for their Ninja Turtles.  My BF posted photos of the display I made for his, and someone liked what he saw and asked for on.  This is the completed brick wall.  It’s made out of insulation foam!  So much fun to make, and I enjoyed painting this very much!! wall1

Enjoy your 4th of July!!

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Horses and Art Projects

Just an update since it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything.  I have had tons and tons going on.  Expanding my creative skills into new areas and planning out and prepping new costume builds, working on dioaramas for display pieces, making artwork, and messing with the horses now that the weather has turned finally sunny and beautiful.  Only took until June!

First things first, the horses are all just doing awesome.  My little gang is likely to be going be experiencing some major new changes if all goes as planned towards the end of

the year.  Fingers crossed!
It’s hard to believe, but I have owned Dixie the longest.  I bought her in April 2006, which means not too long ago, we had our 11 year anniversary.  I didn’t bring her flowers.  LOL.  But I did bring her carrots.   She is 22 years old and she is showing her age and out of shape-ness from not being worked in at least 6 years.  Dixie doesn’t do much, but she does whatever she wants.  She’s getting gray through her face, and her top line is getting pretty thin, but the old lady will still be an uncooperative pain in the butt.  Still, it’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years.  Her foaling date is, I believe without looking up her records, June 6, 1995.  So, Happy Birthday Dixie.

June2 DixieJesse I’ve now known for 8 years, and I’ve been driving him since 2011.  He was just about 10 when he came to the barn, which makes him around 18 or 19 now.  All of my horses are getting old!  Jesse is still working and going strong, but you can see the grays on his head now too, and his top line is getting a little weak.  He was off all winter, so he’s just getting back to work this summer now, with his teeth recently floated, and coggins pulled and shots/worming done, he’ll be headed to his first (and probably only) show in 2017 in July.

June2Jesse

And the next horse I purchased was Luke.  I brought him home in January 2007, and he was also around 10.  I’ve never been much of one for young horses.  I prefer them over 10, so every single one of them was at least 10 when I bought them.  Luke looked nothing like he does now when I brought him home.  He was a scrawny, thin, unmuscled little thing, but he was a driving machine then, and a driving machine now.  He is approximately 20 this year, I don’t know his exact foaling date, so I just gave him the honorary birthday the same day as Chewbacca’s, which is April 25.

Luke has been with me, and working every step of the way, for 10 full years now, and he has countless hundreds of miles on him.  He knows his job, and although Jesse has only been working with me for about half that time, the two of them are experts at their jobs, with the same training and experience.  Luke doesn’t love going through water, but he will do it after a while with a lot of coaxing and a lot more fighting.  Jesse will practically swim for you, so that’s the only real difference between them.

June2LukenChew

And Chewbacca, who I purchased in August of 2010, is 18 this year.  He’s been retired now since about April of 2015 unfortunately due to suspensory degeneration and lameness in his hind legs, but there are moments he has where you’d never know he’s lame.  He’s doing great, holding his weight, unlike last summer when things got pretty hairy for a while, and is just a wonderful and happy go lucky kind of dude.  Every once in a while when I hang out with them, Chewbacca will decide it’s my job to scratch/massage him, and he will stand there for half an hour and let me do it, without even moving.  If I dare stop, he will follow me and present whatever area he wants done and gives me the “you’re not done yet” look.  I feel so privelaged when he gets into a lovey mood.  LOL!

So anyway, some of the artwork I have been getting into trying to do some different things, include painting canvases and making some display pieces for a diorama for toys.

First up, two brick building facades I made for my boyfriends’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures.  The addition of a street and sidewalk will be coming in the near future.

walls
walls2

bttf

Above is a painting I made for him, since he likes Back To The Future, too.  Well, it was my first – and probably only- attempt and painting a person,  so hey, I’m no artist, but I tried.
canvas

Above, the first canvas I painted this year and below are a couple vases I painted up too.  They all have Bible verses on them.  I’m pleased with how they came out.

vases1vases2

heron

Above and below, my next couple of canvases I painted.  I decided to paint some of my photos I’ve taken over the years so I started with the Great Blue Heron in flight and then tried a green heron.

green heron

After that, I just haaaad to paint this, after watching the movie 😀

titanic

Back to birds, I painted up a little Goldfinch next.

goldfinch

Then I painted up a downy woodpecker, and I think I see improvements now.

woodpecker

The most recent canvas I painted, I actually just finished up a few hours before posting this photo, was another green heron.  I can definitely see major improvements but of course I also see the mistakes.  Either way, I’ll be painting more and more over the summer, I have to hit up Hobby Lobby again for canvases.  I’ve even gotten a request for a Sandhill Crane painting, so I’m  happy to say I’ll be working on my first commission piece.

All of these paintings will be for sale soon, but first I might enter a few into a fair.  I never thought I would ever be the type to paint, but it’s super enjoyable!  Love doing it.  Sooo many projects this summer to look forward to!

heron2

Have a great day!!!

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C2E2

Last year, 2016, after a solid 10 years absent from one my great loves – Sci Fi & Comic conventions, I returned to my very first one.  I admit; at the time, my life was a whirlwind of emotions and turmoil and being back in the thick of things – the massive crowds of people, loud music, tons of toys and collectibles, and the costumers – oh the costumers! – was actually overwhelming.

At that time, I did not have the costume I was working on ready yet.  That was my Predator.  This year… I was ready.

My boyfriend (eeeek!  I get to say that, it’s so awesome!!!) and I attended C2E2 (his first, my 2nd) and I brought not one… but TWO costumes.

First of course, my Predator…

Pred C2E2

(And yes, that IS a baby in my arms.  I did make that myself, too.  Actually I made 2 of them, and I have parts to make a 3rd one, but I just have not done it yet.)  Very cute and fun little thing for something different.

And second… something quite different.  I started working on this one back in September 2016, after Dragon*Con.

Over 10 years ago, I first saw Hellboy II and I said to myself — Self, you are going to make that amazing costume some day.

So, I finally did.  I spent a solid 6 months working on it, and this past weekend at C2E2 was the debut I had been waiting for!

Here’s the clip from the movie, in case you are not familiar with it.

 

And… I introduce my own Angel of Death:

Aod3Aod2  Aod4

AoD

I also made it into this video at 00:24, with my amazing boyfriend standing nearby.  He was an incredible “handler” helping me dress into this thing, which I absolutely could not do myself. I also could not walk, and I could barely see.  But I made it to 7 foot tall, and in my home, my wing tips nearly hit the ceiling when I tried it all on.

The wings each have about 350-400 real feathers on them.  They are completely finished, front and back, but for safety’s sake I stood backed up against a wall.  The wings move, if you look hard enough you can see fishing line attached to them and to my arms.  The wings “flap” back and forth and they curl down into the position as pictured above.  In the video below, they are flexed out all the way.

The head and chest pieces are made out of foam – just those little 8 x 11 “sheets” of “fun foam” that you can purchase for about $1 at any crafting store.  Yep.  That’s all.

Overall, I was thrilled with the costume and it’s first debut.

Future fixes/modifications include :  more feathers on the left wing and a slight repaint of the chest piece.

Below is the video I made it into at 00:24.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April Showers

It has literally been raining here non stop since the beginning of April.  We are submerged.  Seriously!  It can stop any time.

But, to that end – lots of rain sure does make for lush spring grass.

Horses 04-04-2017

Here is a very, very rare photo of all four in one frame!  This does not happen very often for several reasons… besides the fact that the 4 horses to 1 human ratio can be challenging at best, especially when there’s bright green grass as incentive, Dixie (at the front) is also easily the worst one to lead out of all them.

HA!

I mean it, she really is!  At 22 years old, I’ve given up on ever trying to get her to be a cooperative or mannerly animal.  (Heck, I gave up on that 10 years ago…)  She is a little butt.  A smart little butt, but still a little butt.

And another reason for not brining them all out together is because Luke and Chewbacca (especially Chewie) absolutely despise the minis.  Literally every other horse on the entire property gets along fine with the minis, except the 2 that I own.

Chewbacca has, in the past, viciously and aggressively attacked Jesse,, trying to pick him up by the back of the neck and shake him.  He was trying to kill Jesse.  Luke had once viciously attacked Dixie, knocking her to the ground and kneeling on top of her, biting her before I was able to break it up.

When I say my horses do not get along – I mean it.  I’ve never dealt with truly aggressive horses before – I mean, they all fight and bite and pick and do the squealing kicking baloney, sure, but Chewbacca is downright a pit-fighting horse.  He has been in serious fights with other horses – actually trying to kill them.  It can be a little shocking to see 2 horses truly trying to kill each other, and when you know Chewbacca is a sweet and gentle horse that would never do wrong around a person, then he turns and violently attacks another horse trying to kill him, it can be shocking to see.

Just call him Jekyll and Hyde.

He used to live with a small group of geldings, then a couple mares, and he got along fine with all of them.  His aggressiveness started about 2 years ago – not coincidentally around the same time he went lame due to his suspensory ligament desmitis.  Hmm…

But he loves Luke.  They are buddies.

So they get to run free on the property sometimes and eat the front yard up.  This day, I also brought the minis with us.   And after I brought the minis back to the barn (down a hill, around the house, and well out of sight of the front yard…. I simply rattled a bucket of treats and watched Chewbacca and Luke come shooting down at full on gallop to get their treats.

What good horses!

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Transformation

I realize that it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything.  Certainly not for lack of anything going on!  Quite the opposite, actually – I’ve been crazy busy.

I’m still waiting on spring to arrive and the weather to turn so I can enjoy some outdoors time, but for now, I am biding away the last bits of cold weather battling the flu which attacked me twice in 6 weeks  (ugh!) and exercising in the gym.  I’m also spending every second I can with the amazing blessing in my life that is the man of my fantasies come true 🙂

I also, of course, spend time with the horses, but I have yet to put anyone back to work yet.  It’s just too cold.  It will probably be late April or maybe even May before Luke or Jesse get up and running again for 2017.

EveryoneMarch 22 2017

Lined up and waiting.  It’s a small, medium, and large assembly line!

 

I have almost no plans to show either of them, but I do hope to get them out to a couple trail drives.  There are 2 fun shows I might be interested in doing, I usually do them every year and have a blast.  It will just depend on if I am available on those weekends.

chewie21Chewie March 2017

Then and now. Chewbacca from the week I got him, back in 2010 at 11 years old.  And just the other night in March 2017, at almost 18 years.  I guess he doesn’t look that different.

 

Chewbacca is doing just fine.  He’s holding fairly consistently lame at about a grade 2. Some days he is terrible- with a severely swollen fetlock and cannon area, and quite lame.  Some days, he runs like he’s got thrusters on.  So as long as he’s mostly happy, I’m happy.  He is 18 years old this April.  I would hope he will make it plenty of more birthdays.

 

Dixie 2008 Dixie Feb 2017

A little then and now of Dixie, sort of.  I actually purchased Dixie in 2006, but I don’t have any photos on the computer of when I first got her.  The photo on the left is from 2007 and the photo on the right is just a couple weeks ago in early March 2017.  10 years later.  She shows her age.  I really can’t believe the difference when I was looking through other older shots of her.

But, she is still Dixie and still her usual happy self, the Queen Diva of the barn.  At 22 years old, she is showing her age.  I’ve noticed not only has her face turned gray far more this year than ever before, her body shape is changing, muscle mass across her back is going and she is just starting to look like an old lady.

 

Luke Jan 2007Luke March 2017

Luke, the first day I got him, January 2007 (left), and on the right, a few weeks ago in early March 2017.  10 years later.  I’d like to think there’s a tremendous difference in how he looks.

Luke isn’t far behind Dixie in years, at 20 years old.  He is still one solid pony and will be happy to get back to work this year, I’m sure.  OK, well, maybe he won’t be happy, but he will go work.  Luke recently had an issue pop up (literally!).  I noticed a lump on his face.  At first feel, it seemed apparent to me that his tooth was broken and was pushing out under his cheek.  When I looked in his mouth, I did not see anything that appeared to be a broken tooth, and nothing seemed painful to him.  I thought maybe it was something else, but none the less, Luke was scheduled to see the dentist.

If you think going to a human dentist is bad…. be glad you’re not a horse.  Just sayin’.  You’ve never seen tooth extractors the length of your forearm until you have a horse with a broken tooth.

Turned out, that was indeed the culprit of Luke’s lumpy face.  My first instinct was right.  His 2nd molar on the top right was split clean in half.  Well, at least he’ll be feeling better and will no doubt be more comfortable when I finally do get to driving him this year.

tooth2    tooth1

I titled this post “Transformation”.  I guess it’s appropriate, because there have been quite a few before & after photos.

In a recent post, I mentioned that I am learning airbrushing skills, and using them to complete movie-props.  well of course, by “movie props”, I mean Predator stuff…. so here’s a transformation of that as well:

beforehead

Before and after.  On the left is what I started with – a “raw” cast of a lifesize Predator head.  It required cleaning, fixing, and assembly.  On the right is my completed head.  I made the dreadlocks and the beads in them., and for that, I learned how to sculpt, make silicone molds, and cast using foam and resin.  The entire  project was a 7-month long learning curve, but I was so pleased with the final result.  I made the head solely for the purpose of learning and selling, and it has recently been sold all the way to Hong Kong!

And, the final transformation I wanted to share.  The hardest one to share…. ME!
I cannot obviously take a photo to document the emotional and spiritual changes I’ve gone through in the last couple of years, but I do have a then and now of the physical changes.

As I move on with my life in my new relationship, and experience – quite literally for the first time in my life – what a healthy, happy, normal relationship is, I find myself every day growing more and more happy internally and externally.

There is an immense spiritual peace in coming to Jesus, and truly experiencing happiness on this Earth.  I actually find myself thinking (more often than I truly want to) about my ex, and the torture he put me through.

I look at a photo like the one below left, taken on Valentine’s Day in 2015, just two years ago, and I can only think about the ridiculous argument we had that morning, the tantrum he threw that I was working at the barn in the morning to cover for someone who had surgery; the fight we had about where to go and what to do that day; the fact that I had to pay for all of it; and the way I had to force getting this photo taken.

02-07-2015

In the end, I’m glad I have the photo (obviously, I cropped the ex out of it), because it also shows something else – the physical effects on my body that stress, depression, anxiety, and abuse had on me.  I spent the last 60% of my marriage enduring endless snide insults about my weight (from someone who weighed almost double what I did) and my “unattractiveness”…  it was nothing short of mental and emotional torture and I wore the effects of that torture in a pair of size 20 jeans.
I actually know a girl that is going through the same kind of abuse as I endured, and also like me, the physical effects of that abuse are visible on her waistline.  This kind of cruel abuse has both deep as well as superficial effects and quite literally cause the complete breakdown of a human being.

That’s what he called “love”.

Now I know what love actually is.  I’m experiencing every time I am with my new dream– no, fantasy– man.  He makes me smile and laugh and feel good about myself and I’ve never known a more kind and passionate person.

We “met” on a dating site.  So there’s that –at the risk of sounding like a dating site commercial — what they say on those commercials about a “spark” and “instant chemistry”… it’s 100% true.  I am living proof of it.  And I was on the dating site about 20 hours when he first contacted me.

I could almost not believe his profile was real.  I couldn’t believe someone so kind and smart and funny and gorgeous was really on a dating site — and really interested in me.  But we talked more and more and finally met about 10 days later.  And the first time I saw him, I just about squealed like a little kid.  I wanted to simply take his hand and never let go.  He was perfect. He is a true Gift from God and a blessing in my life that made all the shattered roads it took to get to him, worth it.  It is like he is made out of diamonds, and shines like a beach full of them in the sun.

He took the photo of me below, on Valentine’s day – just two years later – 2017.
Not only am I living a dream come true, I have lost 70 pounds in the process, and I’m still working this year of a goal of 15 more.  These last 15 pounds don’t seem to agree with me that they should come off, but I am hopeful that by Dragon*Con time this year, they will be gone.

If these two photos don’t speak for themselves, I don’t know what would.

 

2-12-2017

 

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Living The Dream

Well, 2017 is well under way, and it’s about time I got up a post and made a few changes to the look of the blog.  So here it is.

One year ago, I was on a roller coaster.  Oh my my.  I was writing posts about my experiences with a narcissist, and the subsequent abuse and eventual mental breakdown that came with that.  One year ago today, I was writing about learning to love thy neighbor, and ultimately, learning to love thyself, though I had no idea how or if such a thing was possible.

One year ago, I was shattered and lost and not really sure where I was going, if I could afford it, or who would want me.  I had a simple goal in mind – attend Dragon*Con again.

Literally – that was it.

You wouldn’t think that some Science Fiction & Fantasy convention could have that much meaning and that much impact on a person’s life – but it does and it did.  One year ago, I was focused on going to Dragon*Con, and look at the ripple effect of it that completely changed my life.

I will be honest — going back to Dragon*Con (one thing that was taken away from me immediately after I said “I do” so many years ago) — was actually one of the many driving factors to getting myself out the marriage.  I knew in my marriage, among other things like being happy & wanted – I would never be able to do the things I enjoyed.  Dragon*Con being one of them.

So, in part, yes, that played a role in getting me out and free. So one year ago, when it came to realizing that simple (though expensive!) goal meant building a Predator costume.  In order to do that – I needed to learn new skills…. working with foam and latex… airbrushing.  All of those things became a newfound skill I discovered I loved and wanted to pursue more and more.

One year later, I try to airbrush as much as I can, and I am currently expanding into painting life-size movie replicas as well as experimenting with canvas.  I love airbrushing.  I want to airbrush everything.

One year later, I’m building another complex costume from foam.  I’ve learned beginning steps into sculpting, molding, and casting resin and latex costumes and props.  I’ve sold my own creations as well.

So, there’s one major change – I suddenly found an inner artist I never knew I had.    Ever. In fact, in the past, whenever I tried anything remotely artsy (photography, graphic design, drawing, you name it)… I was ridiculed endlessly.   I still don’t consider myself an artist (insult to artists!), but there is a creativity that my desire to attend Dragon*Con sparked.

And of course – as I began building that Predator suit, I realized I needed to change my body in a BIG way.  I was no longer the slim twenty-something that I was the last time I went to Dragon*Con.  In fact, I was more like pushing 40 and carrying 90 pounds more than I was so many years ago.

So, the journey began into weight loss almost one year ago to the date.  It was right around the beginning of February when I made one very simple change to my diet – I cut out processed sugars (high fructose corn syrup).  Then I made another change – I cut out carbs.  Then I made another change — that gym in my apartment complex… the one I said I would never use.  I started using.

One year later, I have lost 70 – yes seventy – pounds.  I’ve dropped 12 sizes of jeans, 4 sizes of shirts.

And I’m still not done.  If I’ve learned one thing in the last year – it’s that I can do anything at all I put my mind to.

So, the ripples expanded.  From that one simple goal of going to Dragon*Con, I completely reshaped my life, and it does not end there.  After Dragon*Con, I came back to my wonderful home which I love and am so happy at, and realized that I had finally gone through enough recovery I had done something I never thought I could — I began to love myself again.  I found confidence.  I found happiness.

And I took another chance.   One more chance that led to something incredible.

I signed up for a dating site and within 30 hours, I was contacted by a man that has literally been God’s gift in my life.  He is everything I ever fantasized about having in a man, and although I have only been with him now for 2 months, I have been happier in those 2 months than I’ve been in the last 20 years of my life.

So – the other night while I was laying watching him sleep, I realized something that truly floored me.  One year ago, I was dealing with the after-effects of living in hell.  Today – I am living a dream come true.

I am living in a place I love, working in a place I love.  I have my wonderful horses, a beautiful car (despite its maladies….), I’ve gone on 2,000 mile trips, I’ve found my soul and a soul mate and I’ve discovered a life I never knew I could have, and I have this man – this amazing and perfect man — in my life that is everything I could have ever wanted from a partner, a soul mate, a friend and a companion.

Today – I live a dream.

It took going through hell to get there, but yea … it was worth it.

What a year 2017 is going to be.

 

And – those horses… they are doing just fine.  I was very worried about Chewie, as he has some days that are very hard for him.  Then he has days like this, with the recent spring like weather we are being treated to in January… and well…..  he’s just fine.  His weight is up, he is happy, and he can still do this at nearly 18 years old.

2017 is going to be an amazing year.

I can’t wait to see what’s next.

DREAM BIG

 

 

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