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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Scranton Lookout 2

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.

Freedom Tower

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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Apartment 1 Library 13

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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DragonCon 2017 and a Fun Show

I know I don’t keep posting terribly often.  Certainly not for lack of things happening!  Quite the opposite!  I’m just so busy that I don’t always remember to get on here and post a new update of life in 2017.

I’ve got to say – life in 2017 is pretty damned good.  I am in a place that is so so so so so far away from  where I was at this time last year, although of course one thing 2017 and 2017 both share in common is my beloved DragonCon.

I was so thrilled to get back to Atlanta again this year – and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to get there two years back to back.  I wore all 3 costumes almost every day, and they were all a hit.  I’m still coming up with pictures and some video of me from all over the internet.

They call DragonCon the “Superbowl of Cosplay”, and it really is in every single way.  What an amazing event, and an incredible privilege to be there.

 

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I’m quite proud of all of my cosplays, and I am still not quite done yet for this year.  I’ve been building what I think might be my very best costume yet for my incredible boyfriend, and we are both going to suit up in just over two weeks in Manhattan at our last big hurrah of the year.   (He could not attend DragonCon with me)

We will be attending New York Comic Con on Thursday October 5.  It’s the “slowest” day of the con (which for being that it’s in Manhatten will likely mean very little….) but none the less, it’s the only day we’re able to attend, so we’re doing it!
I’m bringing my Predator and my boyfriend will have his very first costume with him (it’s a secret until it’s revealed!) – his first costume and first costuming experience — at one of the 4 largest conventions in the U.S.  Not a bad way to start, I’d say.

Oh, and did I mention that on our 2000+ mile roundabout the country, we will also be visiting my good ole’ home town of Scranton, PA, going to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and the Ground Zero Memorial, heading to Atlantic City for an amazing dinner at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant, and visiting Philadelphia historical sites like the Liberty Bell and amazing eats at the Reading Terminal Market.

Whew, that’s going to be a LOT of driving – but I love it.  I hope my boyfriend survives the trip, though.  hahahahah!

But speaking of road trips, my jaunt down to Atlanta and back included some side adventures of their own. I  visited with friends who live along the way and on the way home, I stopped by the little rack track you might recall ever hearing about once or twice….

 

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Talk about a massive race track.  I’ve never seen it before so I just had to stop by.  I was in the middle of what would turn out to be a 15 hour drive back home in a single day, so I did not stay long!  I was exhausted when I finally got home around 10:30 at night, but it was a good trip!

My 176,00+ mile, leaky/burning oil car made it without issue, and only burned through 3 quarts of oil.  This is good.

An oil change (if there’s any oil left….) is in order before the next road trip. LOL!  Since I love road trips so much, maybe at some point I will invest in a vehicle that a) doesn’t leak/burn oil and b) gets better gas mileage.  How about that notion?
Aaaaaannnnyway….  just a couple weeks after DragonCon was yet another fun event I look forward to every year.  It’s an annual play day/funs how event for riders and drivers that includes nothing but fun classes.  It’s a super laid-back event with a great group of people of all ages who attend.  It’s also my one time a year I get to play around in a competitive setting on barrels & poles.

Last year I took Luke, which meant that this year was Jesse’s turn to go.

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We did Flag Race, Barrels, Poles, a driving obstacle course which we messed up just enough to put us out of the ribbons, and also a keyhole race which we completely bombed.  It was quite comical.  Jesse just couldn’t understand why I wanted him to spin around, but there was no barrel to spin on.  He just flat out said no.  I’m not pivoting.  He was quite sure I was wrong, because obviously we need barrels to spin around.

It was a hoot and a great time, and we ended up 3rd out of 15 in flag race and 4th out of 15 in barrels – not bad considering the people who placed in the top were mostly half our ages (horse and driver).  I don’t know how we did not place in poles, because he went quite quick.  Or maybe we did place and I just missed the announcement.  Oh well.  At any rate, it was a blast.

And, if you’re wondering who took those wonderful photos – it was my amazing boyfriend of course!  He endured 7 hours in the sun being mostly bored to tears, with a smile on his lovely face and such grace and charm that I can’t even wrap my head around how amazing he is!

It was a wonderful time!   Show 09-16-2017

I can. NOT. get over this man.  And Jesse loves him too.  They actually got along very well and Jesse’s behavior towards him made me think Jesse really really loves him.  We just sat on the ground, all 3 of us, hanging out at the horse trailer.  I did not take a selfie of all of us, but I should have.

Well – there are MANY more BIG BIG BIG things coming up in the next several weeks, so there will be additional posts this year.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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7 year later…

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

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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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