Monday, September 22, 2014

NTTS Blog Hop: What do you do besides ride? (lots of pictures!!)

I've been absent from blogging lately, but luckily I got back in time to join in on Now, that's the Spot's cool blog hop.  She asked, what do we do besides ride horses?  Oh boy, I have a LOT of hobbies!  Too many, actually.  I'll try to mention which ones I'm currently still involved in and which ones are kind of waiting for me to find the time to indulge in them again.  They are not in any sort of order.

My days are filled with the usual stuff like working, cleaning house, cooking, building my house (we've been working on it almost two years and it's almost finished, just the kitchen counters and some painting left to do), worrying, sleeping, etc.

Photography!  One of my favorite hobbies is photography.  Sadly I've been unable to practice lately because my camera died.  To break up this post, and because you all know by now I hate posting without pictures, I'm going to share some of my favorites.  Not all of them are my best, but I love them for whatever reason so I'm going to use this as a chance to share them (again).  You can definitely tell which ones were taken after I dropped my camera because they are out of focus.  Ugh!  I can't wait to get a new camera.  Anyway these are all taken with a Fugifilm Finepix digital camera (two different versions) and most were in automatic settings.  I only learned how to take pictures manually this year and most of the time I'm too lazy to mess with the settings (animals move too much!).  I'll get back into practice when I have a new DSLR (fingers crossed!).  :D  So the pictures have no relevance to the post besides just sharing one of my hobbies.

 Art.  My big thing lately has been my art.  I've always done a lot of drawing with graphite, but this year I discovered charcoal and I LOVE it!!  Charcoal has to be my absolute favorite medium so far.  I've been experimenting in watercolor, zentangle, ink, figure drawing, still life, colored pencil and I'll be trying oil pastel soon.  It's so much fun!  I'll be doing a post soon on all of my art work because it's been a while since I shared anything.  Here is a sneak peak of one of my charcoal drawings though...

Sorry the picture is so horrible!!  There is no brown in it.  I don't know why it looks like that.  It was dark outside so I had to take the picture in our crappy indoor lighting.  I promise I will get a new picture in natural light when I share the rest of my art.  Disregarding the bad photography, you can get an idea for how far I've come.  That's a vast improvement from my first charcoal drawings that I shared on my other blog here (LINK)!  Those were only a few months apart.  I did it all from watching Youtube videos and a little help from an artist friend of mine (who isn't very familiar with charcoal but can still point out where I need to adjust value or whatever).  The funny thing is she helped me through text messages because we couldn't find time to get together.  I think I've improved a lot!  :D  The windmill isn't my best one.  I am saving the best one for my next post.  :)

Youtube (and Pinterest).  I absolutely LOVE Youtube and I can get lost for hours and hours on that stupid site.  For someone like me who doesn't have the money to take classes or pay for formal instruction in my many hobbies Youtube is a valuable resource.  I use it to research everything from equine yoga, art techniques, clicker training methods and trick ideas, etc.  Sometimes I just mindlessly waste my time watching T.V. shows that I LOVED as a kid (who else watched all of the T.G.I.F. shows??).  Pinterest is almost as bad.  There are so many great recipes, craft ideas, decorating ideas, genius storage ideas and sooooo many animal pictures that are great inspiration for my art.  :D  Before I started using Pinterest I thought it was so stupid and did not see the point in it at all, but now I'm hooked and I'll actually intentionally avoid going there because I know I'll lose hours.

 Writing (and blogging).  Since I have a blog it's kind of obvious that I like to write.  I started participating in NaNo in 2009.  I participated in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013 (didn't get to in 2012 and don't know if I will this year) and won all four times - one was actually 50k works in 14 days because I forgot about it until halfway through November.  I've been writing little stories since I was nine or ten years old (I've been taking pictures and drawing since before that hehe).  Some of the novels I still write in I've been writing for ten years or more (I keep rewriting them as my interests, perspective and world experiences change).  I keep ALL of my old drafts though and it's so fun to go back and see how much my writing style has changed.  I like to write (horse related) young adult fiction, but my favorite is fantasy (bring on the dragons!!!).  I've been blogging since 2008 and I LOVE it!  I hope I can always keep a blog.  :D

I love sunsets!

Reading.  I still remember the first book I read voluntarily (not for school).  I was seven or eight and it was a simple little story but I remember thinking it was the best thing ever (still have that book... I'm starting to sound really sentimental lol).  From that day on you could not make me stop reading!  I've probably read thousands of books.  As a kid I read everything from the classics (Wuthering Heights was actually one of my favorites...), Saddle Club and every single Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey book I could find.  I also read stuff like the Cat Who and Aunt Dimity books.  Lately I've been into mysteries a lot and I'm LOVING the Anna Pigeon books by Nevada Barr.  I also love fantasy books like the Sword of Truth series and the Wheel of Time series.  I enjoy series more than stand alone books because I get so attached to the characters hehe.  I read constantly!  When I'm stressed (during bad weather afraid of tornadoes or in doctor's offices), when I'm bored (sitting at railroad crossings when I wait on trains), at night to go to sleep, when I'm sick, when it's too hot or cold outside... yeah I read all the time.  :D

 Piano.  I started teaching myself to play piano out of lesson books (before I discovered Youtube) when I was a young teenager.  I took a year of lessons as a late teen, but my teacher moved (military transfer) and I hated the new teacher so I kind of gave it up.  I still play sometimes, but not as much as I should and I'm horribly, horribly out of practice.  I still love it though.  One of my favorites to play is Fur Elise, but I also LOVE the Disney songs like Beauty and the Beast, A Part of Your World, A Whole New World, etc.  I miss playing and I hope I can pick it back up and maybe have lessons again someday when time allows.

 I have to put a line of text to separate these two pictures because they create a really weird optical illusion next to each other lol.  LOVE macro!!

 American Sign Language.  My brother has cerebral palsy and can't talk so I've been using sign language since I was a little kid.  It was very basic though like eat, drink, sleep, etc.  When I found my parents' sign language book I was fascinated and started learning it.  I was probably around fourteen or so.  The book was in Signed English.  I learned enough to sign some of my favorite songs at the time (Crash and Burn by Savage Garden... I still remember all of the signs... too bad I can't sing LOL!), but I never learned how to form sentences.  A year or so ago I discovered a website called Lifeprint that gives free lessons in American Sign Language so I've been using those to learn about sentence structure in ASL.  It's so much fun!  I love it!  I know probably two hundred signs, but I still have a long way to go.  I need more time in a day though!!  I've been so into my artwork lately that I kind of let this fall by the wayside.

 Dog Training (clicker training).  Anyone who has followed my blogs long knows how much I love dog training and clicker training.  I've used clicker training with Chrome, Zep, Storm, Jackal. Jasmine (a goat I use to have), Faran, etc.  I still consider Jackal my biggest success.  I got him when he was seven weeks old and I started using clicker from day one.  I honestly believe he is smarter and has better problem solving skills than most dogs just because of clicker.  He knows over forty tricks and he would probably know five times that many if life hadn't gotten in the way.  I've been a total slacker on dog and horse training lately.  Between building the house and Storm being sick for so long and dying I just haven't had it in me to do anything.  Hopefully someday I'll get back to it though because Chrome and Jackal both love it.

Fishing.  Going out on the lake in my dad's boat with him and my husband is one of my favorite things ever.  I enjoy bank fishing with my husband too, but the boat is icing on the cake.  Sadly we haven't had much time for it this summer because of building the house and work schedules.  Hopefully next year we will be able to make up for that!!  I don't even care if I don't catch a fish.  I just love being out in nature, enjoying the company of my family and friends, taking pictures, etc.  So relaxing!

LOVE the lake!

Computer Games.  I don't like to admit it but I'm a total gamer geek.  A lot of the people in my life think gaming is a stupid waste of time, but I can't help it.  It's so much fun!  I love Nintendo (especially Nintendo 64), Sims on PC, Fable on Xbox, WOW on PC, etc.  I'll even admit to playing those dumb little games like Hay Day on my tablet hehe.  I guess I'm just a computer addict.  :D

Gardening.  I love growing my own food, herbs and flowers.  Sadly I kind of suck at it.  I either over water or under water everything.  The longest thing I've kept alive (seven years) is a cactus hehe.  It's HUGE now.  It started out about four inches tall and now it's so big I can barely pick up the pot.  We didn't have time to grow a garden this year because of building the house, but I'm hoping next year we can.  I also hope to get all of my flowers in the ground when I know where everything is going to stay in my yard layout (the dog yard has moved several times hehe) and when we don't need room to get big vehicles in for moving appliances, lumber, sheet rock, etc.

 Shooting.  Growing up I learned to shoot BB guns and .22s.  I tried a rifle once but the kick back scared me.  I'm such a wimp even now that I don't like a gun that kicks back.  For that reason I LOVE handguns.  My favorite is my EAA Witness .40 1911 style.  I like the weight of a .40, but a .45 is a little too heavy and a 9MM is too light.  I'm picky lol.  I always loved guns, but my husband was a competitive shooter and he got me into handguns.  Now we love to go to the range together.  :)

 Four Wheelers (and mudding).  I LOVE riding four wheelers!!  My best friend used to race dirt bikes and she got me into four wheelers.  I've always loved them and jumped at the change to ride but it wasn't until I met her that I had the opportunity to ride regularly and to try mudding.  Considering how prissy and germ phobic I can be you wouldn't think I would like mudding, but it's a total blast!!

 Biking (and hiking).  Another friend of mine LOVES biking and I really enjoy going with her (although she's twenty years older than me she can out bike me any day lol).  I need to get back in shape though because I get so exhausted riding these days.  I really enjoy biking though because it's kind of like trail riding on a horse, but you move a little faster.  You can stop and take pictures, enjoy the silence and the scenery.  It can be very peaceful.  I'm too much of a wimp to do much mountain biking though I think it would be fun.  I REALLY need to get back into shape!!  I miss it!  Hiking is great too because I love exploring new places and it's great for taking pictures.  I did a little hiking and biking this year, but not as much as I would have liked.  Hopefully now that I'm feeling better I can get back in shape and get back to exploring and having fun.

 Misc. Outdoor and Physical Activities.  I used to be a really active, outdoors type person before my health declined.  I'm hoping now that I've got the Celiac and Thyroid diagnosed and treated that I can start feeling better and getting back to the things I love to do.  Things I've done in the past, enjoyed and would love to do more of include yoga, Pilates, kayaking, swimming, running and weight lifting.  Of those things the ones I enjoyed most were Pilates, kayaking and weight lifting. I love swimming but I only recently learned to do that and I still have fear issues about deep water (yet I love to kayak with a life vest.... lol).  Unfortunately when I stop working out I have a really hard time getting back into it.  I really want to get back to all of these activities though because I gained a lot of weight this year (which I've actually been losing again without doing anything other than removing gluten from my diet) and I feel so weak.  I have no muscles anymore!  I almost forgot to mention I love camping too!

 Arts and Crafts.  I love trying new things.  Some of the things I've tried during my life are needlepoint, crocheting, scrapbooking, latchhook, web design, jewelry making, beading, sewing, decoupage, papier mache, stained glass, dreamcatcher making, origami, puzzles (LOVE doing puzzles and I even have some framed and hanging in my house), etc.  Out of all of those the ones I liked most were scrapbooking, web design (one of the reasons I change my blogs around all the time... well I used to), puzzles and jewelry making.  I think the only one I've done any time recently is the jewelry making.  It's been a long time since I've done the others.  One of the things I still want to try is pottery making.  That looks like fun!

Miscellaneous things I enjoy doing when the opportunity arises includes billiards, chess, basketball, Sudoku, bowling and various card games.  Things I still want to try are calligraphy (I am FASCINATED!), rock climbing, dancing, pottery, wood carving, archery, paintball, sailing and kick boxing.  I would actually love to try several types of self defense training to see which I prefer, but kick boxing has always been the most fascinating.

 So yeah I have many, many, many varied hobbies and interests.  Probably the ones that I'm most interested in and will actively pursue are all things horses, dog training, photography, drawing, writing and American Sign Language.  I will always read and fish too.  Everything else comes and goes, but that's the way I like it.  I get bored very easily hehehe.  That should be obvious by now.  :D  So I'll be quiet now since you're probably all sick of reading and I'll leave you with the rest of the pictures (I hope I don't bog your computer down).  It took me FOREVER to narrow it down to this many pictures.  Sorry!!


 Oh and I love travelling too!!!

 Thanks for reading and please join the blog hop.  I would love to know about all of your hobbies.  :D


  1. I forgot to mention the SCA!! Jousting, dresses, music, crafts, food! LOVE!

  2. Your enthusiasm is inspiring. I saw a lot of great photos I haven't seen before. I'm sorry your camera bit the dust. I used to have a bunch of hobbies I loved, but never had time to do, many of which are on your list.

  3. I love charcoal too! beautiful pics and its always fun to learn more about each other!

  4. Wow! How do you find time for all that? Fantastic stuff by the way. And for the record I'm a major gamer geek too. I keep thinking I'll "grow out of it" but nope! Is it bad that right now I have Blogger open on one screen and WoW on the other? Heck, is it bad that I have two screens? lol

  5. Thanks guys!! Story!!!! I have two monitors too! And I'm so jealous you're playing WoW. I had to stop playing because I couldn't afford it anymore and I miss it so much. I don't think we will ever outgrow it. :D

  6. Gorgeous photos, you have so many hobbies!
    Have you published any of your YA stuff? I ridiculously love reading YA stuff as its such easy reading, lol!


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