Monday, February 24, 2020

Marimba 7 thru 10

I'm happy with her hooves and eyes.  I'm not happy with her mane and tail.  We'll try a post with only 6 pictures, Hah!!
Paradoxically I feel as though I have plenty of time.  However, I may not always have nice weather.  It keeps clouding up and the forecast is for rain.  Nonetheless, things look hopeful.  A few more dinks, solve the mane and she'll be done!  YES, you can do it [other NMPM painters]:  I've managed so much in less than a week.

Yesterday Layers 7, 8 and 9 came together.  I am reasonably pleased.  Although dry-brushing the Pearl-Ex gave a lovely lighter overcoat, it did not solve the deeper streaks, merely disguising them.  They may always be with her!  But she's finally starting to seriously grow on me.  That happened this morning, with the hooves and eyes.
I found only one colored pencil, of all that I owned, which would work:  which would actually draw on the rough Gesso surface and not slide off.   I painted the eyeball white, then penciled in (graphite) where I wanted the iris and pupil.   The colored pencil was a Berol Verithin and luckily it was the very color I'd wanted most: a turquoise blue.  (It's labeled Sea Green.)  The pupil was done with drafting ink, carefully maneuvered with a pin.  Two coats of nail polish finished the job.
For someone's very first blue eye, it's not too bad.

An amazing part of Layer 10 was how much nail polish I used.  All the pink on her is nail polish.  It is the most unforgiving of mediums.  I had to be right the first time.  Not much shading was possible, yet I blobbed onwards, swabbing with a microbrush, and somehow it came out all right.  Ears, muzzle, udder, eyes, hooves, the skin at the elbows, under the tail -- everywhere I thought she should be pink, she got nail polish.  Even the socks were given a light coat of it (though not that pink, which was a custom mix).  I learned this from Brasenose and Ambolena, my previous NMPM horses:  Gesso for a sock base, then warming and protecting the coat with polish.   Alas, the chance to shoot her mid-swab and really show the difference (between polish-coated and not) went by like a freight train and I didn't take it.

The hooves caused me trouble.  There is a yellowish base under there (thank you Christina Riley!) sealed with clear nail polish.  The hind feet behaved relatively well, but the front ones, perhaps because there was no white primer layer, fought like tigers.  I had to brush and brush, reapply and struggle to get them to match the hinds.  The alcohol I was using kept melting off what I'd applied.  Then I went and put too much color on all four.  Painting these hooves was largely a matter of removing color.  At the end I was layering on my Almay Creme light pink nail polish, the same as for the socks.


Marimba is hard to photograph.  I'm sure you're tired of hearing that!  Here at last I feel I'm closing in on a good angle of view.  Not too much exaggeration of the head, and it shows the eye and hooves, just not much of the tail.



Saturday, February 22, 2020

Marimba 1 thru 6

Marimba is my third NaMoPaiMo horse.  As the woman of the family (stallion Brasenose in 2018 and filly Ambolena last year), she is naturally the most difficult, most mysterious and temperamental of them all!  You see her here mid-metamorphosis, after Layer 6...  Six of who knows how many more layers.  Perlino is hard.

I started prepping on the 17th.  This is my only prep picture.
This is Mufida, sculpted by Margaret Malova of Bologoye Russia.

She is quite difficult to photograph.  Not only is the mold challenging, though that's bad enough:  The long curved neck, with its long splayed ears, combined with my camera's somewhat fisheye approach makes her head often look much too large.  The long lanky body and slender legs, while appropriate for an Akhal Teke, make most shots downward ones, resulting in a warped viewing angle.  But combined these with the Perlino!!  The pearl layer causes serious washouts, reflections and white glares that obscure her color and just don't show what she actually looks like.  This post has a variety of shots -- and not one of them is really her.

I have learned so much painting her these past two days.
To begin with, I'm astounded I got so far in only 2 days.  The 22nd happens to be the day I finished Ambolena last year... !!  I was just so derned busy for most of Feb.  The first week taken by being in Tucson; every day since then has been crammed with chores, errands, and setting up and testing (and downloading fixes on) a complete new computer, plus maintenance of everything normal.  Oh and I was intent on working on TSII #457.  (Which is going well, by the way.)  I don't really know why I've been so consumed with my own busyness.  Only in the past few days have I just decided to ignore the other calls on me, ...  and we'll see how long that lasts.

Prepping, while not as difficult as Ambolena's, revealed a few divots.  The worst was this near fore cannon.  I eventually filled the hole with multiple layers of Elmer's.
I think this is Layer 3 (below).  After Layer 2 , (and until now, that is, 7)  each layer of pastels has been only on the points:  mane, tail, knees, hocks, pasterns and face.  Unless you count the pearl.

This is the last shot before the pearl.  The wash of yellow is from another light source and not paint.  Note the blue tape stockings.  What was a good idea with Brasenose and Ambolena turned out much less useful with this horse.  Her hind legs are delicate and bendy and her body long and weighty, so I can't just 'hold her up.'  But I can suspend her upsidedown by her ankles.
Very undignified.  But it allows sealant to reach the belly.  :)
Photo by Arthur Baboev
I was in love with the Pearl-shaded Akhal Tekes.  After the success of Ambolena's gilding, why not?  I wanted to try the same procedure on the mare.  On the 21st I gave into greed and started painting with rubbing alcohol as a solvent. 

 With disastrous results.
What had worked on a filly with 10 layers of buckskin and sealant was much less impressive on a Trad mare with only 2 layers of near-white.  The alcohol melted through and caused streaks.  The size of the brush -- small -- was making the streaks worse.  I had a lovely overcoat of glittering pearl -- Yes, that part worked!! -- but to extend it over the whole horse turned the entire project into a mess.
 I also did the mane and tail with alcohol, resulting in a water-color-like texture.

Again, it is really hard to photograph this phenomenon.
The last thing I did on the night of the 21st was to revert to pastelling, and put another layer on the knees and hocks.  Spraying it revealed a softness and color that was pleasing.  With this small comfort I went to bed.  Next morning I shot Marimba outside.
So here we are, amazed at our own progress, and annoyed that I forgot things like the Ugly Stage, or that I was greedy enough to try alcohol too soon.  Overnight more ideas came:  more pastelling, and to try pastelling the Pearl-Ex itself.  Clearly a brush, even a big soft one, is doing too much damage with the alcohol at this scale.  If I were an airbrusher, that would probably solve the problem; it could apply a smooth thin layer in the fashion I wanted.  But I'm not.
"Not done yet."
Photo from Google images
I'm having fun and the weather is fantastic.  I painted Brasenose in the dark in sleet, rain and snow; Ambolena was done in snow and cold.  But Marimba promises spring.  Being a redhead myself, and not forgetting about Flame Manes (unlike Brasenose, she has mane enough -- thank you Margarita!), I'm well on my way to Claybank Dun.

Thank you, NaMoPaiMo.  Come join us.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Hock Deep: Engraving

Timaru Star II #457 is making progress, though often against what feels like a stiff wind.  On the one hand, we are way ahead of where the last Goehring saddle was at this time in its creation.  Five months (instead of 15) and we're already halfway!  On the other hand, there has been no work at all done on Marimba, my NaMoPaiMo horse.  :(   I had not figured on February being hock deep in everything!!  Where does the time go?!?  I only know that, as an artist, I must follow my Muse, ... and it has been saying, as strongly as it knows how, that I should engrave silver and work on tack.
So I did.
Engraving is a multi-step process; and each step is a separate art.  We have already seen the cutting out, filing and shaping of the pieces.  Next comes the soldering of the silver wire loops on their backs.  At this time not every piece is done,... but we have only 9 to go, out of a grand total of 40.
I  kind of forgot to dome some of the conchos before this step.  That's going to create an interesting challenge.  I can think of a couple of halfway workable procedures for that,... tackmaking is like this...

The next step in engraving, as we've seen before (Goehring Breastcollar Engraved),  is the making of holding blocks for the individual pieces.  This is necessary because they're so small.  I can't just clamp them in the vise by themselves; they need a matrix, an embedding material of some kind, for the actual engraving.  Enter Thermaloc.  This is the brand name of a heat-softened plastic.  The smallest amount the company sells is two pounds.  So,... I bought 2 pounds (and now I have enough for me and every other model tackmaker I know for years... !).  Each piece of silver is stuck into a lump of Thermaloc's grey plastic while it's still soft.  As I mentioned, it's hard to work with, being impossibly sticky when too hot and useless when it's too cold.  The working time feels like half a minute.
You might recognize the largest piece:  it's the center of the breastcollar.

After engraving, the next step, -- after prying the piece out of the Thermaloc -- they usually pop out easily -- is to set the concho in the breastcollar.  This is not just gluing.  This is a whole 'nother step of fitting, filing, cutting and adjusting so that the silver sinks down into the leather.  That tiny line of shadow around the concho is the difference between 'just another toy' and professional model tack that breathes life,... that looks so like the real thing,... that wows.

That shadow-line is why I tool down the backgrounds for my conchos.  That line is movable,... you wouldn't believe it, but it is, as is the edge of the concho.  But, naturally, at this stage the moving is expensive and difficult.  One aims for as little as possible.
Here's a glimpse of the back side.  Leather lace is threaded through the tiny loops.  The stress on the lace is so great it often breaks -- as it did here.
Here's the back of the top 4 conchos.  Lace ends are glued down.
All this will be covered later with a lining leather.  Not only will that protect the horse from scratches, it will hide the details of construction.  Instead of relying on a glue bond, this breastcollar relies on a soldered-metal bond and the strength of the lace.

As usual this time of year, I have a few soft deadlines and a hard one for tack.  The hard one is early May when I leave for Colorado.  To make that journey one more time! -- it's a miracle every year.  Surely this saddle will be finished before then.  But I do not feel I can promise anything.  This kind of work is dictated by diverse pressures I feel only partly in control of.
The Muse wishes we could work on Marimba too.  I'm not saying we can't!  She might yet greet the light of day.  But we'll just have to see.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

TSII #457: Starting the conchos

Work on TSII #457, the second Clyde Goehring Mexican Silver Parade saddle, is recommencing after more than 2 months.  I know, I know!  Much happened in that interval,... including finally losing my Mac mini after a long battle.  I made the binocular cover and took two out-of-town trips, each one multiple weeks long, amoung many other things.  (November 17 - January 23.)  During that time a whole new strip of Argentium arrived (see below).  Even though this year will see an important milestone in my age (I was born in 1960), at the moment I feel much more in control of artistic pursuits.

Above we see one of my favorite little tricks in making such an elaborate breastcollar:  the use of packing tape for controlling the pieces.
The packing tape is laid down sticky-side-up, itself controlled with Scotch tape (the sides).  As each of the 26 concho pieces is cut out and filed, it is stuck in place as a temporary holding measure.  This is the third time I've drawn up this particular breastcollar pattern! --- originally developed in 2013, based on the real thing (the Clyde Goehring is a portrait saddle).  If the conchos don't look like they quite match their drawing, it is because I'm actually matching them to the leather breastcollar, already tooled, but not shown.

The large curved piece to the right is the back of the cantle.  This is the largest single piece of Argentium on the whole saddle, and a real bear to work with.  Already it is seriously bigger than the first time.  It will take more work,... and generate more tears!,... than any other part of the saddle.  (Except maybe the Alta Cincha; but more on that later.)  TSII #457 is a bespoke order and not for sale.

Here's my Argentium before I started cutting it up.  Two inches by six inches, 22 gauge, costs approximately forty dollars (wholesale).
AgGe sold by Rio Grande

Earlier progress.  The work is slow and hard.  Each piece is made by hand, cut out with wire cutters and small punches and then filed a lot... which means holding it with fingernails.  Often I am hammering the conchos flatter and larger, resulting in a thinner gauge.  I try to catch the clippings, never mind contamination by masonite dust.  I am spurred on by some mad idea that Rio Grande might melt down my waste chips, roll it out and return it to me as usable metal.  Minor contamination would not bother me at all!!

Here is a link to one of the previous (2013) posts on the making of the breastcollar to the first Clyde Goehring, TSII #451:  Goehring Breastcollar Rough Cut 

As bonus, here is a shot of the skirts of the current, second, incarnation.  Put this down as a true Sneak Peek.  Differences between my first and second Mexican Parade saddle are accumulating, and this is one of the more obvious:  the tiny patches of leather and buckstitching that cover the join between the two halves of each skirt.  I call them Hatch Patches -- totally my own term (!), based on my calling the lacing between the skirts, incorrectly, "hatching."  This word, which refers to shading in drafting, is a holdover from my drafting career in college.

The saddle tree has tiny rear corners, and those will fit between the upper and lower skirts.
My first Clyde Goehring has only one hatch patch, with six buckstitches on it.  This second saddle has two, each with four stitches.

In other news:
I have joined NaMoPaiMo... with the personal resolve to do tons more work on this saddle first.  We shall see whether my resolve can equal the peer excitement and glorious rush of communal artistry.

Other blog posts brewing include a requiem for a car, a barn, stable blankets, a look at a 35 year old model saddle in perfect shape, Kathy Moody's workshop of old, and any number of canoe trips and Florida vacation spots.  Not to mention grist for the NaMoPaiMo mill!  Of course, what's slated next?  A weeklong trip to Tucson, returning Feb 7.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Palatlakaha in Florida

We were down in Florida over Thanksgiving.  The main horse with me was Palatlakaha, my Emerson.  I took pictures of him at a couple of places; one was near Fort Gadsden and the other was the High Bluff East tract of Tate's Hell.  These are both in the panhandle of the state, near the city of Apalachicola.  This city happens to be one of my family's favorite FL spots.  We have been there many times before, but a hurricane did great damage to the area and we wanted to wait until things healed up some.  I am pleased to report that very little sign of wreckage remains.  (Unless you count the way trash beer bottles floated inside bushes, but that's another story...!)

So here is Palatlakaha, wearing his beautiful Nichelle Jones blanket at first.  This is what we saw when we drove down the road to Fort Gadsden.  The place was closed.  We had to content ourselves with the forest on either side of the road.
Gate to Fort Gadsden
The weather was beautiful and there was nobody around.  We were mainly birding and looking for little flowers for my husband to shoot.  As I recall, we were successful, and got in a good hike.  

Next day, we took a hike at High Bluff East.  There is also a West, which we've done in the past.  This time I had more horses, more time and yes, more tack.  To start with, just out of the parking lot there was a fine sign which I could not resist getting into the shot.
High Bluff East, Tates Hell
It says "No Motorized Vehicles Allowed."

The foal is Pyr, son of Palatlakaha.  His full name is Pyr Panjshir  [peer  pan-juh-sheer].   I'm sure Pim was originally named after British cookies, but I wanted something similar yet different, and he passed through Pym rather quickly.  He landed on Pyr, probably because I was reading about Afghanistan and other central eastern countries at the time ("The Heart of War" by Kathleen McInnis) and that sounded Middle Eastern to me.  I was enchanted to discover that Afghan's Panjshir Valley was famous for its emeralds.  Great Scott!!  I was making an emerald set for one of my other Akhal Tekes.  Well that settled it.  Pyr has since had more than his share of Florida adventures, mainly because he is so small and light and easy to carry.  He is also down here on the Christmas trip.  It is unusual for a horse to qualify for back to back trips like that.
Pyr's mother is Palustris, my name for Celeste the pearl gray Lippizaner mare, aka Carina.
The foal is accompanying the ride as a dog would:  trusted to run loose, but not away.

The next view was down the trail.
High Bluff East trail, Tates Hell
This English saddle was built in the 1990s from a kit released by Kim and Lenore Jacobs, alas long discontinued.  (I still have the patterns and instruction booklet though.)  I'm always amazed at how easily these horses break to ride.  One tacking-up and they're ready to go. 

 Palat was really hesitating.  He was giving that trail a good long hard look.
Was that crazy foal going to behave himself, or would he have to be chased?

Time to switch gears a little.
This was taken on the picnic table near the parking lot.  This saddle was made by Lianne Bondurant in the 90s.  I customized it with braid-covered Rio Rondo stirrups and by doming all the conchos.  There is just something about this saddle I love -- it is one of my favorites of all my collection.  I think this is because it's so smooth.  It's truly an old working saddle in perfect scale; it just looks like it could be really good to ride.  Plus it's easy to fasten, which never hurts.
The blanket is by me.
Back to the trail. 
 The hackamore is Fancy's.  This particular bosal hack is probably the most famous and storied of my whole tack collection.  It has 4 blog posts all to itself, of which this is the first:  Fancy's Hackamore.  All we need say now is that it's gaining back its Florida vibes and experience, replacing what was lost.  It's also dandy for breaking in new horses.
Yeah, he can be trusted...  He has good gaits, even in sand...

Well look who's tagging along.  Pleased to see ya, son.  Now let's get some hiking in.



Sunday, December 15, 2019

How I Beat My FOMO

Beating Fear Of Missing Out is no small thing.  This might be one of the last posts about The Jennifer Show 2019, and THAT was a big thing -- very big.  How to bridge opposites is a pertinent question.  How did I bridge between generations, between haves and have-nots, between greenhorn newbies and old pros?  How did I manage to attend a show whilst I was over a thousand miles away?  With model horses and their gear -- and a big dose of trust on both sides, -- that's how, -- and of course, with the ever-more-personal and ever-lovin' Internet.

The story begins with my reasons for not attending TJS.  These were multiple.  I could have gone, I confess.  I was not physically restrained by injury; I could have afforded it, both in money and (in theory at least) in time.  I could see it coming, and ....  squirmed.

     I had gone on a 2-month family trip (May, June), which included Canada(!), and later gone to BreyerFest for 10 days (July) which had packed quite an emotional wallop (the hotel refused my next year's reservations!).  August had seen the Model Meet-Up day (which also walloped me: A Driving Adventure).  In late September, five days (25th-29th) were the chosen time for our Three Rivers canoe trip to Virginia.  To put it frankly, I was tripped out.  Yes, I had parents in Boulder; Front Range room and board was mine free if I wanted it, plus a car.  But in late August -- the last possible time to commit -- came word that my folks were shutting up the Boulder house in preparation for their fall migration to Tucson.  Mom actually said, Don't come.  I teetered.  I sampled the psychic winds of my soul, and realized that while I'd love to go for social reasons, I just wasn't a competitive shower and hadn't been for years.  I'd had 3 visits with Colorado model people during May and June (instead of the usual 1 or 2).  A four-day car trip one-way, or a flight (expensive so late, never taken for only a show), was just too much to ask.  The moment of decision passed me by.
Neys Point Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada
Having chosen not to go, I was seized with the most terrible FOMO.  Possibly this was my slender stock of prescience, foretasting the future, guessing how fantastic that show would be.  It turned out truly legendary, by the way.  The show was a unique landmark, never to be forgotten;  it would be referred to as a historic milepost of greatness -- proving prescience does exist.  :)  Also, the habit of Internet following was expanding -- vicarious enjoyment was becoming more of an art.  I knew so many of those who would be there!  Whatever the cause, I writhed in helplessness much worse than usual.  I needed a brainwave.

Nothing less than ElfQuest helped me then: that scene where Cutter breaks off contact with Skywise so he can help Dewshine fight in the great battle.  The younger generation has a right to call on the elder.  I knew a girl who would be attending TJS, at considerable cost, as a newbie.  She had never shown performance at a big live show, yet had wanted to for a long time.  She had visited me, we had corresponded, and we were good friends across time and countries.  Why shouldn't I lend her some of my props and tack and horses??   Such a wealth I had accumulated over the years...!  At the very least, my tack itself could attend the show...
(I knew of at least one piece of my tack which would be there, in the hands of an experienced old performance pro.  So Bobbie's case was not my only; but it held the lion's share.)
The idea would not have worked had I been less communicative with or less interested in the individual... or had I thought she would not value it sufficiently.
But she said yes.
Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission

A long series of emails and pictures between us gradually narrowed down the choices.  It is quite challenging to cobble together a show string using somebody else's unseen horses!  That's where I started:  I asked what she had.  One Roxy in bay and one standing black Arab resin, plus a smaller size resin pony, became my starting point.  Pile on them my own strengths:  Parade, Western and Driving.  I wasn't quite so fired up about the abnormal classes, sad but true.  It was challenging enough researching the classlist almost as entries closed.  I tried to keep things reasonable.  How much experience, after all, did she have?
"Have you ever harnessed a horse?"  I asked.
"Once," came back the answer.
Oh, boy...
Being who I was, almost my first choice was a Parade entry.  I would let her decide whether to untack the horse it was on and transfer the saddle.  I followed that with a vehicle, about the only one I had that could be shipped without too much damage to wheels -- because it didn't have any!   It was one that was so distinctive that, if anybody stole it, it would be recognizable.  Did horses run in harness?  i.e. could Roxy be shown with my red sleigh?  Of course they did.  It was hilarious how I KNEW horses galloped while pulling sleighs but couldn't find anything like a decent photo online!  (Documentation has always been my weak point in showing.)  In the event, Bobbie somehow found a much better picture than I did, of galloping horses in harness pulling a sleigh.  That was a wonderful sign.
Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission
A minor note in this miraculous symphony was a 1983 drawing of harness instruction I'd recently had returned to me (thanks Gretchen H!), which turned out to be more useful than the trio of emails I'd hastily sent off...!  (Embryonic Guide, anybody?!)
A fourth horse was added to the list:  Rocket the Emerson.  I had one of those myself, which just strengthened our bond.
In the end I assembled a wide variety of stuff:  Two small, primitive English saddles; an ancient Race set made by a younger me; a unique purple-and-black Trad English saddle and matching bridle (and a full set of matchy matchy gear with it, boots, earnet and all); a TSII Silver Parade Saddle ON a horse; an Akhal Teke neck collar with real emeralds; a pole oxer jump; a Newberry Western roping saddle and a fancy TSII braided Western roping bridle from my own braid case; an O.F. Smoky because Bobbie had a thing about Smokys; and my famous Red Sleigh with half the Pair Russet Harness, some fleece snow, some trees, and Steve my driver doll with his equally famous white fur cloak, made from the skins of 3 ermines back in the 1980s.
My "purple" set:  Saddle by Fara Shimbo
 My husband said, You have to trust her.  He was so right.  I faced the possibility, remote but not zero, that I'd never see any of this again.... or that it might take years to return... or, almost as bad, that it would get broken, and we'd have to work forever to heal both spirits and stuff.  And then I hit a real pain:  insuring(!) and shipping such a large heavy box.
I had chosen a big strong box we had hanging around.  It was a Dell, with the Holstein black and white markings.  Somehow Bobbie started calling it the Cow Box.  I realized long afterwards that this same box had been to Denmark and back (for our sabbatical, 1994-1995).  Given Bobbie's Japan connection, that just made things more magically appropriate...!
With characteristic wild glee I packed up everything I could bear to lend.  I don't recall the weight but it was huge.  Arriving at the UPS Store I belatedly realized this was really going to cost me.  The final ticket was over eighty dollars.  Even though I wasn't responsible for the return trip, I hesitated; but the clerk, someone I trusted, and my own experience of 40 years of mail order, both told me to do this -- to not take the cheap way.  This is what the Splurge Fund is for.  Was not this the measure of how much I wanted to attend?  and how I trusted her?  I swallowed hard and off it went, bearing my dreams.
And my FOMO evaporated and was gone.
TSII #406, well wrapped up
     I will spare you the details of how difficult the delivery connection was.  Thanks to the magic of FaceBook I watched Bobbie waiting for it for hours in person (which I hadn't expected).  I Google-mapped their neighborhood.  This level of detail about delivery is so far from my childhood memories of waiting for weeks for a parcel of model horses to arrive...!  But anticipation, I believe, is universal, down through time.  Finally the Cow box was safely delivered, and later I learned that even her husband Jeff was impressed.  (One of the factors that made this work was the willingness of the victim to post so much personally.)  The torch was passed.

On the day of The Jennifer Show I stayed close to my computer, dashing in often to update my FB feed.  Pictures were slow in starting [ahem, time zone!].  I had a small tack project for the day, which went swimmingly. 
Gradually the feed improved and revealed a splendid show.  I haunted it, picking out my girl in the distance and commenting on whatever took my eye.  The Sue Rowe Hitch Wagon appeared, with a pair of OF Clydesdale Mares; I had built those very harnesses.  As the hours rolled by the fun grew.  Bobbie won big to start with, which surprised me but shouldn't've.  By evening I was seriously pleased.  It was hard to disconnect that night; I knew something special was going on.  The good news just kept on coming.  Usually a show peters out after a few group posts, but this one just kept exploding.  It was like the grandest fireworks display:  it just kept sending up rocket after rocket, climbing higher and higher.  I remember drawings by Cameron Clow, and commenting about dolls watching the show themselves, wine glasses in hand.
Bobbie Allen at TJS.  Photo by Jennifer Buxton, used by permission
The next day I did not watch but took off on a family trip, long planned, to test our 2 new digital cameras (my old one had died unexpectedly).  There is a post about this drive: Visiting Colonel Drake
But that evening, and for many evenings thereafter, I peered and voyeured and watched and stared.  Elaine Lindelef took my breath away by sheer volume and quality of coverage (although there were MANY other photographers, Jennifer amoung them!).  This was the NAN photographer job that I myself had held in the past.  Elaine deserves a medal  -- it seemed to me she went above and beyond.

I found out some of what Bobbie had done.  Each shot was a fresh pleasure and surprise.  Much later there would be a Braymere post on the newbies: Viva les Novices.   The length of time spent absorbing all the fantastic details of TJS by blog was about five weeks by my count,... not counting present company!  No show I've ever heard of, not even NAN, has lasted so long.
Anne Sofia.  Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission
For a brief span of time I, who have no daughter, had one then.  I had passed along the gift, as the charity organization Heifer says.  Incredibly, for one moment, I saw that the daughter had passed along the gift too.
For all the lovely surprises that my approach yielded, this is the one that brought me to tears.
My FOMO was gone.
And I just may have helped create another performance junkie.