Major Photo Blast!

It was a warm day in April, and luckily, I had the day off. Since, sadly my husband did not have the day off, I chose to spend the day hiking. I had anticipated spending maybe 2 hours at most.
I ended up having one of the best birding days I’ve had …. pretty much ever… and spent a total of 5 hours hiking. I’m sad that I got to experience all this without my husband, buuuuuuttt I was so glad I got the chance to take a day to go hiking and have it absolutely perfect.

The variety of birds I spotted that day was just amazing, but the best experience was the two male-ring neck pheasants fighting right in the parking lot outside my car!! Before the opponent showed up, one of them ran over to me and nearly tried to jump in my car. It was a close encounter for sure! He was on the defensive to say the least, and when the other male arrived on the scene, things heated up quick!

I’m so happy with those photos; it was just a matter of right time and right place (and right time of year). Mid April is the full-swing of breeding season so the males are all fighting for mates, and if you’re super lucky like this, you can find them doing all kinds of things to impress a female. That said, if there was a female pheasant near by, I never saw her.

The other huge win of the day was the Northern Harrier hawk, photo’d above (the whitish bird with the black wing tips). Every single time I go to this particular location for birding, I spot the Northern Harrier Hawk. I have also spotted this species in other locations repeatedly, and again and again, I fail to get decent photos of this elusive bird.

Harrier Hawks are fast, I suppose that’s why their name is Harrier. It’s alternate (and original) name is Marsh Hawk, but Harrier seems more fitting. Like a Harrier jet, this bird can stop all motion and hover in the air. It will dive down with lightening speed, and can usually be spotted very quickly flying over the tops of tall reeds looking for prey. When it dives, it spirals down, like a plane that’s been shot down. It almost looks like it’s falling right out of the sky.

I’ve seen this bird so many times, and I was utterly elated to not only see it this hiking day, but also shoot off about 20 useable photos of it, which are definitely the best photos I have taken.

In other brief news, Jesse had a minor brief relapse of the staph skin infection again, which caused a few small sores around his mouth again. Fortunately, another shot of antibiotics and some topical treatment and it seems to be under control. If it happens again, I will have to explore possible allergen issues with him. Very odd for a 25 year old horse to develop allergies like that, but… you never know.

I’ve also been using the Olaplex shampoo treatment system on my hair for several weeks now. I have been using #3, #4, and #5- which accounts for the most expensive shampoo I’ve ever purchased in my life. #3 is a bonding treatment/hair therapy mask, #4 is the shampoo, and #5 is the conditioner. I did not opt to get the rest of the 8 bottles in the system just due to costs!! I can’t say yet if I achieved the results I hoped for, but I do like the Olaplex system so far. My hair still feels thin, my part line is very wide (a symptom of that thinning hair), but my hair does feel over all less dry and frizzy, so there’s that!

I know, that was a very important update that everyone was wondering about.

Have a good one!!

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Hair Care and Selfies

So here’s a weird blog post for me. Weird because it’s actually a somewhat more “girly” post than I usually do… like at all.

I listen to K-Love Radio if you never have, I highly suggest you tune in. Everyone can use good, clean, uplifting music right. Positive. Encouraging. K-Love.

Anyway, a few days ago, they were talking about a problem with women. I don’t know what surveys they get their survey statistics from, but they said that according to statistics, 90.%… 90%… of females use some kind of filter/photo enhancements before posting a selfie online.

Ninety. Percent.

It sprouted a number of calls and conversations about loving yourself and your uniqueness because we are all made the way God wants us to be.

Me? I don’t even post selfies usually. I don’t like having my picture taken, and I don’t like looking at my pictures. Maybe I don’t mind looking at photos of me when I was 20… but I didn’t even like photos of myself then. I am obsessed with photos – I take pictures of literally everything – especially my husband, horses/animals, and vacation sights. But not myself.

Ironically, when I was 18, I tried to get into both modeling and acting. I went on casting calls, auditions, and I went to Manhattan multiple times a month to find tryouts and casting calls. I even went to Virginia for a model casting call. I did a few small model jobs. I guess I should feel proud that I was even selected over the hundreds of other young hopeful girls.

But I was also rejected. A LOT. And one reason agents declined me was my weight. No matter what I weighed, I was nearly always a solid 20 pounds over the “industry” weight. Now, when you consider “industry weight” was anorexic levels of thin… it wasn’t like I was obese by “real” standards. Another reason was my height. I was not 5’7″ or better.

Weight issues plagued me when I was 20, and still plague me to this day. Between 2004 and 2006 – I gained as much as 70 pounds. 70.

But this post is not exactly about weight or really even selfies. It’s about hair. And for the purpose of this post, I am going out of my comfort zone and posting a selfie. (And I will not use a filter or anything to adjust it).

Whew… here we go.

This is pretty recent. Isn’t my husband gorgoues!? From Valentine’s Day 2021.

So this post is about hair and hair care.

Amongst my many dislikes of my own self image, besides my weight and that my teeth aren’t blindingly white, is my hair. My hair is awful.

When I was young, I had thick, lush hair. I remember being around 7th or 8th grade and being teased and bullied by the little assholes I went to school with because my hair was so shiny it was too perfect, and my breasts were larger than most of the females in my class all combined together. No, I did not wear a wig or stuff my bra, but that’s what went around the school and everyone who saw me would laugh and snigger and point. Ugh.

That’s a whole other diatribe. My hair stayed nice and lush and healthy until I was into my 20’s. I used to use Pantene products, and then it just stopped working, so I switched hair care products. My hair started getting thin, and split ends.

Now that I’m… ummm. no longer 20-something, my hair, as you can see, is very thin, my part like is quite pronounced, and my hair ends are scraggly. I air dry my hair, never blow dry it, and it can air dry in less than 30 minutes. My hair has severe dry, frazzles spots, and frizzes easily and is prone to static. It also gets greasy quickly, like within 12 hours or so after washing it. My hair also – does not grow. It does not. Don’t say “oh it just grows slowly”. It doesn’t. It literally does not grow.

I guess it’s just age, ya know? Not 20 anymore.

I have a slight hair complex… you remember how I said when I was in 8thish grade my hair was so perfect I was bullied? Well… my mother decided when I was about 13, that I needed to have a hair style similar to hers. This was not too long before I left her by force, in a massive situation that involved the police. But that’s also another story I will not be sharing.

So one day, she dragged me – literally crying and screaming – into a salon to get my hair styled like hers. I had loooooong hair down to my butt. Anyone know who Crystal Gayle was? I wanted hair like hers.

In a miserable day of horror that I have never forgotten in nearly 30 years – my hair was cut to my shoulders, and permed. Yep. Permed. My mom styled my hair from ages about 10 – 14 with curlers just like her and her mother. I can recall sitting (forcefully) on the floor at my grandma’s apartment (we all lived together), and my mom yanking and combing my hair into curlers that I had to sleep on all night.

Since then, I have never… NEVER… been back to hair salon to have my hair cut. I did have my husband cut dead ends off my hair a few years ago. He took about 3″ off, and it felt so short. It has not grown back since.

I’m sure medications I’ve used over the years, especially one that I use consistently each month that affects hormones, has an effect on hair quality.

I have also damaged my hair through dyes. The cheap kinds you can buy at any store, to the expensive creme kinds, to hair salon dyes. I don’t dye my hair often – usually about every 6moths or so. So age and chemicals have definitely affected my hair. The only time my hair feels really nice, is for about the first 2 days after I dye it. Certain dyes no longer stick in my hair, especially blue colored ones. Purple is totally out. Some reds will still take, but mostly my hair just likes blacks.

But there is also another factor that I fully believe has affected the quality of my hair over the last decade. Radiation.

When I went through cancer treatment, I had radiation done in 2012. Now, it was concentrated on my leg, and I have some significant bone density loss in my right femur now due to it (one of the many reasons I can’t risk riding a horse again). I also believe the radiation simply absorbed into my body and it’s affects are obvious on my hair and nails which are also weak, peel easily, and break frequently.

Sooooo anyway… in an effort to try to get my hair to look any better, and do what almost all aging women (90% of us, apparently) do to fight age… I’ve been messing with various shampoos and hair repairs since about 2016 when my hair began to get noticeable thinner, or I just paid more attention to it.

I have tried nearly every product. Especially all the ones in the WalMart shampoo aisle. I’ve tried argon oil, coconut oil, sulfate free.. I’ve tried cheap Suave to expensive Matrix Biolage. I’ve worked my way through half of Ulta with brands like Pureology. I’ve looked at articles that list the top shampoos/conditioners and I’ve purchased some of the brands that I see across multiple lists.

I don’t think there’s one magic answer and I’m not totally even sure what I want to achieve with my hair. I’d like it to be thicker like it was when I was 20, but that just ain’t gonna happen. I’d like for it to simply just look healthier. I know, that’s very vague. I want it to not be so scraggly on the ends, not so fly-away frizzy, and not so dry. If my hair could in general feel less “heavy” with greasy oils, it might make my part like not look so wide.

So, I have now burned through most of the bottles of the most recent “best” shampoo/Conditioner and I was looking for something else. I may have spent a small fortune over the years on shampoos, but I still shy away from spending a small fortune on a single bottle all at once.

None the less, one hair care system I kept seeing on 2021 “best of” lists, was Olaplex.

It is NOT cheap. It’s nearly $30 a bottle, per bottle, and there’s like literally 8 different bottles you can get with this system. The grand total came to something around $230 for all the various bottles I would “benefit the most” from.

So I started reading up on blogs, reviews, and magazines, and tried to pick and choose the best bottles in the system for my needs.

Olaplex #3 is the company’s best seller. It’s a hair repair treatment – not a shampoo nor a conditioner. It’s some kind of bonding agent to help restore hair strength. It can be used once a week for minor damage or up to 3 times a week for severe damage. I’m pretty sure I qualify at the 3 times a week level.

Olaplex #4 is the shampoo, and from what I’ve read, it’s a good shampoo and part of the system, so it’s designed to achieve best results. But I’ve also seen a lot of blogs that simply don’t use #4 at all.

Olaplex #5 is the conditioner and bond maintenance

So… I broke down and got some. At $26/bottle, this is no cheap endeavour. I really hope it helps my hair.

Today was day 1, and I left the #3 Hair Repair in for 20 minutes before washing out and shampooing/conditioner. Directions say leave in for 10, but I’ve seen bloggers write that they have left it to sit for as long as 45 minutes. So 20 seemed like a good try for the first run.

My hair feels softer, but it’s still staticy. I can’t say I “feel any miracles” after try #1, but it is definitely noticeably softer. Again, though, my hair is severely damaged by both external and internal elements, so I imagine more than 1 treatment will be necessary to really see where this Olaplex takes me.

Oooo boy. Here’s to hoping for the best!

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Mystery Malady

So here is what happened. The timeline of events. The mystery unfolds….

It is Sunday February 21. I am at the barn for my normal routine, and as you know, with horses, things aren’t always normal or routine.

I found Jesse with a small scrape on the left side of his face, and a runny right eye. The scrape was about the size of a nickel, and the right eye was just runny. To be honest, I thought he just rubbed on a fence or banged his head during some play time with his buddy.

Not a huge deal. Life went on. I figured next time I was at the barn, I would bring some neosporin to apply to the scrape, which I (of course) subsequently forgot the next time I went to the barn.

That was Tuesday Feb 23.

Jesse’s face actually looked a bit worse! He had a bigger scrape on the left side of his muzzle and now also a very small scrape on the right side. His left eye, this time (not his right as the other day) was goopy, not just runny, but eye “boogy” goopy.

Oooooh- Kay horse… what are you doing? Playing too hard? Did you bash your head twice?
Kind of weird. None the less, nothing alarming. I cleaned up his face, wiped his eyes, and he was instantly back to (fairly) normal looking.

Well, when I went to do my next normal routine check on him, it was all about to change. It was now Thursday 2/25, and this is what I found at the barn:

To put into word what you are seeing here – both of Jesse’s eyes were red, irritated, goopy, swollen, and stripped of hair. There was crusting and hair loss, and bleeding lesions all around his eyes, both sides of his muzzle, and as the day went on and the vet came out, we also continued to discover sores throughout his chest, shoulders, and under his tail.

So…. what was going on???? The vet checked both eyes for injuries and found none. She thoroughly scrubbed all the lesions, took a skin sample to culture for bacteria or fungus, and drew blood to check for internal issues that could explain this problem. Jesse was started on SMZ, ophthalmic ointment, chlorhexadine and hydrocortisone scrubs and ointments, and I would await results to help direct me as to what was going on.

Well, Friday 2/26 and Saturday 2/27, Jesse continued to get worse. His hair loss amplified. The skin lesions grew, he was itchy.

These photos below are from Saturday 2/27. There is a video here, which shows everything in more detail.

You can see, while his eyes are definitely clearer and less goopy, the alopecia (hair loss) is dramatic. He has lesions and wart like bumps throughout his right nostril (just the right, not the left), muzzle, and under his tail all the way down between his hind legs.

Sooooooo……. Saturday we were blessed with nearly 55 degree weather. With snow still on the ground, but the sun shining, my husband and I headed to the barn armed with gallons of hot water, the chlorhex/hydrocortisone shampoo, and a bunch of towels.

Poor Jesse endured a full body bath in less than ideal conditions, and I got to fully inspect every square inch of him (literally– literally – with a fine tooth comb. He had no lesions on his legs or genitalia, so that was a relief. But he was very itchy especially along the front of the chest.

Still waiting on vet results, of course since it was Saturday, I also added to his treatment regime, a dose of Ivermectin, and I applied the Ivermectin oral paste topically into every lesion he had. I did it again on Sunday 2/28 in addition to his other prescribed medications.

He did not look worse on 2/27 or 2/28, but he also did not appear to be getting better. The skin was still crusted and new small lesions were appearing, along with dry, chapped, brittle skin just from being exposed to the elements. With the location of the hair loss near the muzzle, there was nothing I could come up with to help cover his skin and insulate it from the cold weather.

He continued on his SMZ twice daily and ointments topically, and I continued to anxiously await the results of all the tests the vet ran.

Now… I’ve seen a lot of random, weird issues with horses. Not only with my own, or other boarders, but working as an equine vet tech for 8 years, I saw a lot. Honestly, I would have said that I have probably seen everything with horses. I’ve seen a horse with Tetanus… West Nile… EPM… kidney failure… I’ve seen eviscerations and degloving field injuries, broken legs (like snapped like twigs broken)… I’ve seen the insides of a horse many times, and I’ve seen things like telescopic intestines, strangulating lipomas… I’ve seen horses with anyhdrosis and allergies and horses that had anaerobic bacterial infections under their skin, and horses that received bute IM (ooooh yessss… never give bute IM)…. ….. suffice to say, the list goes on an on and on.

I have never seen anything like this. Never.

There are many weird aspects to what was happening to Jesse- for starters the fact that he is nearly 24 years old and has always been healthy. In the 11 years since I’ve known him, he has never needed a non-routine vet visit. Ever. He’s never had a cut that needed stitches, or anything other than vaccines.

Also, he no longer shows and does not travel. He’s been at his current barn for 4 full months. A new miniature did come in about 3 weeks before all this and she is turned out with him and 5 other minis. No other horse has issues.

In addition, it’s winter. It’s cold. It’s not a typical allergy season, or the time of year you’d expect to see any kind of weather related issues.

Finally, by Tuesday 3/2, Jesse was starting to show some signs of improvement. He went from “not getting worse” to actually beginning show signs of healing. He was still quite itchy, especially across the chest, but some of the skin, like under his tail, was beginning to heal. His facial skin was dry and cracking, but I was continuing to apply ointment to coat and protect it.

By Wednesday 3/3 I finally heard back with the results of all the tests. The only thing that was positive was the culture performed on the skin scrapes – for psuedonomis and staphyloccocus equii. Basically, a bacterial infection of the skin. MRSA. Jesse had MRSA (not literally, but essentially – same bacteria)

The culture showed that the bacteria was not susceptible to SMZ (even though he was improving on SMZ), but he needed a different injectable antibiotic, so that was prescribed to him and now he is on that. His skin does look better; the oozy pustuous scabby and crusty skin is getting smoother and healed. Under his tail looks better, and the big lesion he had at his tail base is nearly fully healed.

I hope within the next week, after a 2nd dose of antibiotics, that he can fully heal and start to regrow his hair. I guess the good thing is it’s almost spring, so his hair should bounce back pretty easily since he’s currently shedding and growing a new spring coat anyway.

I have so many questions. HOW. HOW??! WHY??? Why out of the blue in a horse that’s never been unhealthy in his ENTIRE LIFE….

Ugh. Unanswered questions, I suppose. But thankfully, he will be no worse for wear (hopefully) and I can still say after all I’ve seen with horses, I have not seen it all……

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Living With a Bun Bun

Our little “Bun of Goodness” is getting bigger. She just turned 4 months old. A couple more months and she will be up for her big surgery.

She is being heavily limited to the kitchen only since she has now taken up a new hobby of inappropriate urination in the house, and until that’s curbed, she is being pretty restricted.

Growing pains, I imagine.

But, she is super lovey. She is learning a variety of tricks, which is great! The first thing we taught her was to come when cued. She does that pretty well, almost 100% consistently, but it’s harder to call her back to us when she is loose in the whole house. We’ve only had her 2 months so far, so there’s lots of years to come to work on that.

She is learning to give kisses on command and she is doing lovely with that. And, since our biggest issue with her right now is just holding/restraining her for things like a nail trim, we are working on her next, and probably most important trick – jumping into our arms on command, and accepting being held.

She is doing great with the jumping into my husband’s arms, and now she will jump onto both of us whether we ask her or not. Which is great!

On the not so great side of jumping… she recently learned she could use her “hidey house” (aka a cardboard box in the kitchen for her), to jump up onto the counters! Naughty bun. She keeps us humans thinking. We moved her hidey house, but we dread the day when she figures out she can (probably) jump the entire baby gate/playpen panels we have set up to keep her contained.

In other news, I received back a bracelet from Dixie and Jesse’s tails. I wanted to get one similar to the one I had made with Luke and Chewbacca, but as I learned … miniature horse tails aren’t always long enough to make a full -wrist wrap bracelet. So, the lady who made this worked with what she had and made this half and half bracelet. It’s quite nice, and I’m satisfied. Dixie’s tail on the left, Jesse’s on the right.

I have so much more tail hair from Chewbacca, Luke, and Dixie, and well, Jesse too of course, that I am going to try to make another bracelet, but I don’t think it will work since again, there is a short-tail hair problem.

And speaking of Jesse… there’s a massive post that will be coming soon with a big update about him.

Stay tuned!

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The Hidden Main Stream

Recently, a podcast my husband listens to talked about a subject that rather struck a nerve with me, because it is something that resonates hard with me.

It was a Star Wars PodCast and they were talking about displaying (or more to the point – hiding) your nerdy/sci-fi/geeky self to the public. This even can include in your own home – hiding it away from family and visitors.

I shall call it a Hidden Main Stream and it is something that most of us nerdy people living in a muggle world have to do.

Since Marvel movies came out, I think that was the biggest recent trigger of main stream nerdiness. Comic Books came to life in a huge way and for the most part, everyone probably saw at least one of those movies. Since then, costuming has become known main stream as Cosplay ( a term that’s been around for about 20 years). It’s becoming a little more known to the public what weird nerds do in weird places like conventions.
But, it is also still something that needs to stay hidden and hush hush. It’s sort of acceptable if it’s in a main-stream context, but the average person still does not want to see, hear, or identify with cosplay, cosplayers, or nerds in general.

If you liked Star Trek, Star Wars, or anything else even “weirder” you were definitely supposed to keep that quiet and hush hush… and really that just has not changed one bit.

I am a costumer.

DragonCon 2002 – DragonCon 2016

I got into costuming when it was still called costuming and not Cosplay (I’m that old, lol). I attended my first Sci-Fi cons (not in costume) with my Dad when I was around 5 years old. My Father is a published Star Trek novelist, and has had short stories published in magazines.

When I was 13, I attended my first convention in costume – as Predator. I was literally the first female Predator at a science fiction convention. I don’t think it was until I attended DragonCon for the first time in 2002 that I realized there really are a lot of people out there just like me.

At the time, Dragon Con was (if you can imagine it…..) super small. It got a few thousand people and was maintained in the Hyatt and Marriott. For comparison, if you’re unfamiliar with DragonCon – it is now hosted in 5 hotels, and additional surrounding buildings over about a 8 block area of downtown Atlanta.
The dealer’s room, which used to be in the basement ballroom of the Marriott, now takes up multiple floors of a massive building called the Amerismart building, and the attendance to the 5-day convention is usually around 80,000.

DragonCon was virtual in 2020, and I know every one of us is hoping against hope that it happens in 2021 (tickets bought, room reserved…) I think for people like me, DragonCon is like home. It’s a place where Geekdom shines and nerds get to spend 5 days enjoying the entertainment and creativity of our fandoms.

DragonCon 2004

I was a nerdy weirdo in school who loved Star Trek and other such things that were just not acceptable at that time. Now it’s a bit more “In” if you like Marvel movies and maybe “dress up” as Iron Man on Halloween, but when I was a kid, that was a huge no – no. I did Halloween as a typical acceptable creature like a vampire (I was never a Princess kind of kid).

I have learned to both embrace and hide my geeky nerdiness. It’s acceptable at a con, and it’s acceptable in a blog, or on FB in photos, but in the rest of the context of my life, it’s a hush hush type of thing.
Weird. Freak. Strange. Yep, yep, and definitely. And Proud of it.

In a work situation (specifically what this PodCast was talking about), I don’t even mention any of it. If I am taking off for a convention, I simply say I’m going out of town to an event. DragonCon? Forget even trying to explain… I need Labor Day Off for an event in Atlanta that I had to plan a year before it happened. That’s it. If someone wants more detail, I simply say it’s a big costume party.

There is such an irony about having a father who got me into sci -fi in the first place, who also was a huge pusher of the “hush, hush” thing. He “warned” me many times over the years (up to and including when I met my now husband) to skip over mentioning that I do that “Predator thing”. He did not want to me to scare away someone, or look weird to them. Yet, he also came to DragonCon with me in 2016 and we are all planning to attend DragonCon again in 2021 (yes!)

It’s a bittersweet blade- that urge to hide your fandom/nerdiness while also trying to embrace it and make it mainstream. I put it all out there for personal situations, but keep it totally under wraps in a work situation. I also don’t get into it with friends that I know don’t have any interest/familiarity with nerdoms or geekiness.

I put my love of costuming, Predator, and general nerdiness first and foremost when I met my (now) husband. He’s a Star Wars loving nerd too, and I love him for his geekiness. I’ve even got him into costuming as John Wick!

What gets me the most is, if…IF… I do mention anything about costuming to someone who is unfamiliar with it, I usually get a “surprised” response. (Oh, I didn’t know that about you.. I didn’t know you did that…). I’m not sure why they would know something about me I’ve learned to keep silent except in “appropriate” situations. It’s a given unspoken rule that your love of sci-fi and especially costuming needs to be…. well… unspoken.

(In the podcast, the person discussed how he ultimately left a job after getting in trouble for having Star Wars decor in his office.)

Some people see photos of me in costume, or see it in person, and they are impressed. Maybe they see the artistic side to it, or just think it’s cool. Some people stop talking to me completely and that’s totally fine. Cosplay conversations don’t “jive well” with the average ordinary and muggles of the world.

If you’re a fan of (insert common, familiar, and acceptable sport here…) you can probably wear a shirt out, or maybe drink from a mug with that logo on it at your office, and no one will think twice. But if you’re a gamer (like LARP gaming!), or a video game fan, or a fan of sci-fi, and wear a shirt/ drink from a logo mug… you’re just weird.

I’m not sure that is something that will ever change to the public at large. Costuming (or Cosplay) will probably always be a hidden main stream activity.

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Life With a Bun

I think Life With a Bun might be a great new name for my blog! LOL!

So here we are a little over a month since we’ve brought little Fizzgig into our lives. It’s been day after day of adorableness and we just love watching her personality shine.

Little bun bun chillaxin’ in a loaf position near my work from home space

This is our first experience with a rabbit, and it’s been a fluffy, soft-fur, adventure thus far.

I’ve been asked by several people – why a rabbit? Other than the obvious response of why not, there are other reasons. I’ve also encountered quite a few people who are shocked or at the very least surprised that she free roams.

I’d like to touch on that first.

As a horse person for most of my life, I have been at plenty of barns that have rabbits. They live in hutches, they are in a stall in a hutch, and they have their little water bottle and you give them some hay. The usually have a wire grate floor so it’s easier to clean a pull out tray underneath. They have no bedding, and usually no chew toys – and generally; they have no interaction or socialization either.

Much the same, as we have learned as newbie bunny owners, people who keep their rabbits in their house also buy cages to keep them in. Granted, those cages might be somewhat longer than a hutch, but with no real interaction or enrichment.

We bought Fizzgig a cage, and it’s huge. We bought it purely and solely with the intention of using it only when we need to leave her at someone’s house for bunny sitting and she can’t be free, and to keep her in a small, safe, recuperative space once she is spayed. We also had as a “just in case” if our baby gate set up failed.

It was always our intention to allow Fizzgig free roaming. While she might never have complete free access to every room in the house (as a bunny-conscious household we have to consider wires and chewing hazards), she does have free access to the kitchen, and supervised access to multiple other rooms.

And I can tell you – this little bun bun has qualities of both a cat and a dog, and it’s super adorable all wrapped up in a fuzzy little bundle of cuteness with big ears.

So… why did we choose to get a bunny instead of a cat or dog? The short answer would be allergies. My husband is allergic enough to cats and dogs that living for a full day with one with make him a red-eyed, runny nose, sneezing miserable guy.
Additionally, neither of us wanted the work of a dog. While I might like to have a couple of kittens again, we also really just aren’t set up for a cat.

So, a bunny seemed like the best fit after thinking about various pets to potentially bring into the fold. Considering I’ve owned almost every kind of house pet you can think of, but not a rabbit, it would also be a new experience for both of us.

And we both think it’s a good choice!

She has a big personality, and as we have now passed her 1 month at home with us mark, she is changing in demeanor and appearance a bit. Our little girl is growing up.

She has the zoomies every time we let her out of the kitchen. She just runs all over the house and zips around like any puppy or kitten would. She begs for food on her hind legs like a cat or dog. She follows us around like a puppy (a bit of a hazard when you’re trying to walk and not step on her). She lays down near us, and she very much wants to be with us. She will put her little paws up on our leg when she wants extra … attention (er…. treats). She drinks from a bowl of water like a cat or dog. Contrary to customary bunny keeping, water bottles are not appropriate for a rabbit.

She is also learning tricks very well. We have her just about 100% target trained as of now, and since she is naturally a “sit up and beg” bunny, we are teaching her to stand up on command. We have plans to teach her multiple tricks and hopefully even do some jumping.

Most of all – she is super cute. I can’t get over how cute she is.

She has gotten better (slowly and under protest) about being petted. Picking up is a no-no as of yet. We can get her and restrain her for nail trims, but unlike a cat that is always on top of you to be loved, a rabbit is a bit more skittish. She does want to jump up on us while we are on the sofa, but she’s also decided she “owns” us and the sofa, and has proclaimed her ownership by inappropriate urinating (oh no!). So until she’s spayed, no sofa for Fizzgig.

I expect as she ages a bit and is spayed, she will get better about being petted and become a bit more interested in sitting with us without the need for proving her dominance.

All animals have positives and negatives. For us, a bunny is small , quiet, easy to manage, fairly low maintenance, and allergies aren’t an issue. Drawbacks to a life with bunny are that they chew everything and a lot.

Kind of like a horse, a rabbit’s teeth always continually grow. (Rabbits and horses cannot vomit either… and they both eat hay. Geeze, it’s like having a little horse in the house). Since vets don’t come out to float their teeth, rabbits do it themselves by gnawing…. anything and everything. Corner mouldings and cabinet edging included.
For a house bunny, chewing can be destructive, even deadly when it comes to how much they love rubber coating over electrical cords, so there is a lot of bunny-proofing that needs to be done.

And, yes… bunnies poop. All the time, and everywhere.

Kind of like a horse, rabbits like to eat their hay and poop at the same time. But they will also poop everywhere else as they hop around and play. So, a bunny might not be ideal for someone not looking to pick up kernels of poop ten times a day all over the house.

We are looking forward to watching our little bunbun grow, and she really is a wonderful house pet. I am very happy we decided to get her, and I’m extra grateful for the ability to work from home and spend all our time with her.

And Jesse of course has not been forgotten! Right now, he is enjoying another winter off of driving. The temperatures have been dropping like crazy and IT. IS. FREEZING. Just look at my poor little dude all icy. I’m not sure how he ended up with hay all over him, but it was extra cute. Bad photo, but in my defense, I was shivering and it was -10 outside this morning.


Here’s to warmer days!!!

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Month 1 Almost Done

We are nearing the end of part 1 of 2021. Part 2 of 12 about to commence.

I have a lot of hopes for 2021 -mostly that events start to resume back to normal. I want to go conventions again; I’m building costumes. My husband and I have a trip to Jamaica towards the end of this year.

In the mean while, it’s winter and that means snow and cold, but at least the days are starting to get slightly longer.

My husband and I are greatly enjoying the company of our little Fizzgig. She is (so we were told) a Lionhead rabbit, but as she pushes 3 months of age, when I compare her looks to other lionheads of similar aging, I’m just not seeing it.

Whatever she is, she’s adorable and she is proving to be a lot of fun to have around the house. She is too young to free roam, so most of her time is spent in the kitchen, but when we are actively supervising her, she has full run of other rooms and the hallway.

As we work to further bunnyproof our place, she will get more access to different areas and more free time.

Her face is getting darker, the black stripe from her eye to under her chin on both sides was not there when we brought her home at the beginning of the year. Her ear tips are growing darker every day and she is getting bigger slowly but surely. She is now 3 months old. She’s been super easy to keep and maintain as far as litter and food, and any destructive chewing has been easily curbed with bitter apple spray.

In the mean time, the bigger kiddo has been … ummm… “enjoying”… the cold and time off driving for him.

He’s doing so well, which I am grateful for. He has not at all shown signs of mourning or missing Dixie, which I was worried about. He’s been super happy in fact, making friends with another gelding that’s a bit smaller than him and I often find the two running around like kids, rearing and playing.

In the last decade of owning Jesse with Dixie, I can not recall a single time I actually saw him play with Dixie. She would chase him and they would run around a bit, but it was more like Dixie chasing him away from a pile of food than actual play. If I put them in the round pen or arena and chased them, they would run and buck, but to do it on his own because he wanted to engage in play time, is not something I’ve seen Jesse do before.

This year he will be approximately 24. I still plan to drive him a bit this summer, so long as he still has a “go” in his step (and he sure does!), so it makes my heart happy to see him run and play, especially in the snow.

He’s definitely a cold-weather lover, and while I am not, he gets the winter off.

I can’t wait to move to Florida, but Jesse would be pushing close to 40 by the time that happens, so I have my doubts that he’ll be around for that move.

Well… Part 1 of 2021 wasn’t so bad. Hopefully Part 2 continues with more of the same. And if the new President wants to send out $1400, I’ll take it!

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First Week Down! An Interesting Start and a New Addition…..

Well, we are one week down into 2021. If you’re in the U.S., by now you’ve gotten your stimulus money hopefully.

Our New Year did not totally go exactly as planned (not that we had much of a plan, but still.. unexpected things arise!). We started out day 1 with taking down our Christmas decorations, which subsequently gets glitter and flocking alllllll over the place since we have a white flocked tree and some white flocked garland.

So, of course I go to vacuum. (I’m a rather obsessive vacuumer anyway…) …. aaaaaannnddddd the vacuum broke. My husband bought a Dyson cordless in 2017 and it has been having battery charging issues for about 3 months. We’ve managed to make it just keep going, until it couldn’t go anymore. Of course on the day the tree comes down.

So, we did have to buy a new vacuum, and we did choose another Dyson.

We also had some unexpected conversation turn into an unexpected reality.

My husband has not actually owned an animal since he was a kid and his parents had a dog. He’s allergic enough to both dogs and cats that after just a few hours of exposure, he’s having some definite trouble. He’s even like that at the barn with enough exposure to hay or horse dirt.

Me on the other hand….. I have a history of having too many animals and not by choice. If you’ve read anything on my blog about my past marriage, you maybe read any number of posts about the animals.

I love animals. I love them. I always have. (Thankfully, I have no allergies). My love of animals turned into a desire to get into the veterinary field and hit the equestrian scene hard, because of course, I loved horses ever since I was 5 and read Black Beauty.

However, my love of animals does not translate into wanting to own every single animal in the entire world. And me…. ME… of all people, hit a point in my life years ago where I said NO MORE. I do not want any more animals in the house, and when the horses are gone I will (regretfully) not be getting another.

I went from loving all animals, to really wanting to be absolutely done with them.

How did that happen, you might ask? What might turn a person away from wanting to have that which she loves?

See past entries about my abusive ex husband. Nevermind, I’ll sum up. The short short short version of a 12 year history of hell was that I had an ex husband (also mildly allergic to cats and dogs) who insisted on bringing every single animal ever into our home. (Our incredibly tiny home).

He also wanted a horse – then a 2nd one – to “share in my passion with me”. Over the course of 11 1/2 years, there was a simultaneous total of: 4 horses, 1 dog, 5 cats, 3 fish tanks, 1 salamander, 1 bearded dragon, 2 lovebirds, 1 parrot, and crickets for said bearded dragon, and 3 ferrets. Throughout our years, we also had a chinchilla, a 4th ferret, a tarantula, a salt water fish tank, and mice (not like wild ones… actual pet mice).

Did I also mention that for more than 60% of our entire marriage, my ex husband refused to work, had no income, and refused to care for the animals. I would always fight against bringing a new one home, and that meant it was definitely coming home. I had no way out of it, and often, I was forced by harassment, to name the animal, thus making it “mine” because clearly I wanted it since I named it, and now it was my responsibility.

All that inside a cramped up mobile home. (Long story, but yes, I lived in a mobile home). I did not want a dog. I argued, fought, begged, and pleaded not to get one. We had one inside of a week after his previous dog died. That trend went on and on until the house had more animals in it than sitting space. My morning routine consisted of (quietly- so I dared not wake up the ex while he was sleeping) – get up, take the dog out, feed the ferrets/clean litter, feed the bearded, then the crickets needed feed too. Feed the cats, and clean the litter and feed the salamander and then feed the dog, that I probably forgot I had outside in the first place so she was waiting to come back in.

And whenever there was a vet visit or emergency, or just routine vaccines, there was no money to pay for it since it was only my paltry income, so it went on the credit card. And every animal was kept annually up to date on vaccines, microchips, medical care. You name it.

When I finally left and got free, I only had the horses to care for. I had a 1 bedroom apartment I could barely afford, and the horses cost almost as much as my rent. I could not afford a cat even if I wanted one, and I became so used to not having an animal in the house that I said never again.

That was in 2015.

Thankfully, my husband now has had absolute 0 interest in owning a horse, but he has expressed a little curiosity about riding, so I do plan to try to get him on a horse in the spring when the weather is nicer.

However, he has expressed a bit of a desire (more than once over the years) to have a rabbit. Dogs and cats are out (mixed blessings, since while I do not particularly want a dog, I would love to have a pair of Siamese kittens), and after running through pros and cons of various animals, it seemed like a rabbit was the best choice.

So, apparently sometime around Christmas, I (must have been half asleep) started showing my husband videos of bunnies after he mentioned them again. We talked about it for a while, and the next thing we know, by the beginning of the New Year, we were placing a large order with Chewy for supplies, and had found a bunny.

Meet Fizzgig.

She is a Lionhead rabbit, just about 10 weeks old, and we brought her home Wednesday 1/6/2021.

For all the animals I’ve had in my life, including as a child with cats, mice, guinea pigs… 2 house pets I’ve never owned are rats or rabbits. So this is actually a first for me as well as my husband was hasn’t had a pet in 30 years.

There’s going to be hay in the house, and hair all around once she’s an adult, but once again, we have a house pet in our lives. (Hey, at least we have a new vacuum cleaner too!)

She currently lives in about 1/2 our kitchen. We also bought her a huge (absolutely massive) cage for the times we do need to contain her further. Eventually we will give her more and more access to the house as she grows and we continue to rabbit proof everything. She’s getting used to us, and we are getting used to her.

She’s a little skittish now, but she’s had lots of changes in a short period of time. In a few months she will get spayed, but for now, she is just chilling and enjoying her little bunny paradise. She’s been a pleasure to have in the house and it is admittedly nice to have a pet again.

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Welcome to 2021 — New Year, New Goals

Each year, instead of a list of “resolutions”, I prefer to put out a list of goals. I usually try to list goals that I can actually accomplish within the course of that year.

Of course those goals almost always include “weight loss” … let’s face it.. I’m not 20 anymore. I will be 42 in July. I probably won’t look like I did when I was college-age again, but that does not mean I can’t be healthy, active, fit, and aware of how I handle my body. I always try to exercise as much as I can, which in the summer means I will hike 4-6 days a week for at least 3 miles, and I do Yoga, and I have been working at the barn on weekend mornings as well, feeding and barn chores for 17 horses and 8 goats. Moving hay bales around is not exactly easy work.

To that end, my goals for exercise is to simply continue what I’m doing, despite having tremendous back pain, hemangiomas through my spine, 3 bulging discs, sciatic nerve pain, a torn meniscus and cartilage damage in my right knee, and my past surgery on my thigh! So many issues, but I simply do not want them to stop me from doing anything. Ever.

So, here are my goals for 2021 (no particular order). Hopefully we will see how well I’ve done around mid-year.

* Stay Healthy! Covid 19 is still wreacking havoc on everyone, and while I’m eager to get “back to normal” life, I also realize that “normal” might take a different shape for many of us.

*Hike more. There are a few parks around the midwest I have not been to and I would like to visit for day trips. I want to hike more and do more bird photography in 2021.

*Photograph a Pileated Woodpecker. A bird that you might only see once in your life is called a “lifer bird” For me, the Pileated Woodpecker is that bird. I don’t live in an area where they are very present, so part of my hiking goals this year include getting to parks in areas that are part of their habitat zone and hopefully find one.

*Attend DragonCon 2021. This one isn’t really a “goal” since the whole thing is booked, paid for, and done. I just *hope* it actually happens this year and doesn’t end up cancelled like it was in 2020 due to Covid.

*Complete 2 new costumes for 2021 convention season. We built my husband a very awesome looking John Wick for conventions, and I have plans to make a character to go with his – our first couple’s costume. I have half of it already, just need to put the rest together. In addition, we have another couple’s costume to do, which he can use most of his John Wick suit for, while I need to completely make everything for my character. So I’ve got some costume building to do before conventions do actually get started again in 2021.

*JAMAICA!!!! Also not a goal – it’s paid for. We are going to celebrate our 2nd anniversary at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and we can’t wait! Again – hoping this happens with Covid restrictions and all.

*Go Skydiving. I wanted to do it with a friend to celebrate my freedom from my past marriage, but we just never did. This year, my husband and I are hoping to put together a group of willing friends and do a group skydive for my birthday in July.

*Plan a 2022 Vacation. We definitely plan our trips a good solid 18 months out, and that gives us time to make payments ahead of time and plan for it. Right now, nothing is off the table and we’ve tossed around ideas like a 7 day Disney Orlando trip to an Alaska Cruise.

It’s never too soon to check off items on that bucket list – because you don’t know what will happen or how much time you have, or when a random virus could shut everything down… so do it if you can! I lost a huge chunk of my life without being able to travel, or afford too much, and now with the combined efforts of my husband and I – and enough time to make payments – big trips that were once impossible for both of us, are definitely a real possibility. We have quite the bucket list, which include Egypt, Alaska, Las Vegas. And we add things on that we never thought of before (like Jamaica.) So who knows what’s in store for us in 2022.

I think that sums up my hopes and goals for 2021. What about you? Have any good goals you want to accomplish, I’d love to hear about them!

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It’s a Wrap!

2020 has only hours left to go.

We will soon welcome 2021, and if you’re in the U.S., you’re probably looking forward to getting some stimulus money, be it $600 or $2000.

Of course, the latter would be wonderful, but I will be happy with whatever I can get! LOL!

It’s coming up on the end of a decade, and amazingly, it’s been since 2010 that I started this blog about nothing but life and living life.

I have been looking back at some posts from the early years, and the memories and struggles and painful emotions it brings up really shake me up sometimes. Then, I look back at the (much fewer) blog posts from 2016 on, after meeting my husband and the emotions are happy and fulfilled, but not without their own hardships (like losing 3 of my 4 horses in 2 years).

I really can’t believe how much life changes in a decade. I can’t even begin to imagine where my life will take me in the next decade.

A quick look back at some major life changing events since I started this blog in 2010:
2010: I bought Chewbacca
2011: I was diagnosed with Cancer
2012-2014: I continued to struggle with the abusive marriage I was in
2015: Chewbacca retired and I left my abuser
2016: I was legally divorced, finally got back to my first sci-fi cons, and met my now husband
2017: I moved in with my (then boyfriend)
2018: Started a new job and the very next day put down both Luke and Chewbacca, got engaged later in the year on our first ever Bahamas Cruise
2019: Got married in Key West!!!
2020: Corona. What more can I possibly say? Corona. My ex husband died (not Corona related)- Also euthanized Dixie, leaving me with 1 horse. Grateful every day for remaining sarcoma free.

Part of my annual New Year’s tradition is to set goals for each year, moreso than resolutions. A whole post on that will be coming. But here is something I would like to do since this is the first time I’ll be starting a new decade….

What do I think will happen in the next 10 years? LOL!! It’s impossible to predict. Who can ever know? I always think about being in school and being questioned “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
I never had an answer then, and my teachers/guidance counselors thought me a slacker with no drive or direction in life. But the truth was, I just simply did not know where I wanted to be in 5 years.

I can tell you that in 2010, I never imagined in 5 years I would have experienced all the things I experienced between 2010 and 2015. Never. And when I was in high school, not one single thing that I might have wanted after graduation came to fruition in the 5 years (or any years) after.

So, I can only say for the next decade, I just hope and pray for the best for my husband and myself.

Travels in 2021 will include DragonCon and Jamaica. I’d also like to go skydiving in 2021.

I’m hoping 2022 might include Disney.

I hope to purchase a new(ish) car in a few years (like around 2023).

I hope to be debt free (after what will be close to 15 years of working on it – by 2025). Debt Free. I left my ex with nearly $35,000 in credit card debt, so paying it off has been a long, patiently impatient effort, but I do see the end, finally.

I would like to revisit DragonCon around 2026 as well. Every 5 years or so going wouldn’t be so bad. As much as I would love to go every year, I also want to travel elsewhere in this world!

I hope my husband and I can travel to Egypt by the time we are around 50 (so, looking at around 2028 ish for that.

Other travel hopes include: Everglades, maybe a cruise or a trip to Europe with my Dad, and I hope to get to Alaska as well.

I also hope for good fortune, good health, and good travels for us in the next decade.

I of course, can’t realize the positive without the negatives. I know I will most likely have Jesse in 10 more years. He’s pushing 24 and while it isn’t unheard of that he might make it to 34, he won’t live forever. So I can reasonably predict in the next 10 years I will be totally horseless (see debt above, lol!). I do expect to retire him fully from driving by the end of 2021. Maybe 2022 if he still has spunk.

I don’t want to think about all the other possible changes that can come up in the next decade. I just look forward to ending 2020, getting some stimulus money, and hoping 2021 starts to see some normal life activities again!

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