Disordered Eating And Me 🍴

Content Warning:

If you haven’t figured it out from the title, this will be a heavily triggering post to anyone who struggles with body image, has weight loss problems, suffers from disordered eating, or has an eating disorder. I do have to give it a relevant title, so I apologize if the title alone was enough to trigger anyone.

But please realize if you click below on “read more” you are literally choosing to read this post. If you do so, please do not, afterwards, do the equivalent of subtweeting in your platform of choice. Particularly if we are friends: this hurts me. I may be absent from many of these platforms, but I do still visit them, and I do see those posts. I am going out of my way to beg you not to hurt yourself by reading this post if it is a trigger to you.

For what it’s worth, I do not go to those platforms looking to trigger myself with subtweets (that would be hypocritical) but merely to catch up on friends’ lives. But I have ran into stuff like that after a personal post and it sucks. And maybe it wasn’t about me but it happened multiple times, so… 🙄

I’m writing this post as a therapeutic sort of thing, to sort out my thoughts. It is definitely one in which I feel vulnerable, since I am trying to come to some humbling realizations about my current mental state.

The most important thing to remember is that this post is about ME, not you, the reader. Nothing I am writing here is directly or indirectly referencing anyone but myself or my own struggles. Sometimes when I write about this topic or post my weight loss journey or goals, some of my followers take it as being a form of insult as to their own person or physical body. It is not. This is about me. Please understand.

If you are in the right frame of mind to continue reading, just click below. Thank you.

Continue reading Disordered Eating And Me 🍴

Weekly Summary: Old Friends 🥰

This was, for sure, a much better week! It’s been a bit of a battle, but slowly I’ve been clawing my way back to more successful days, with more goals accomplished. This week we got to have dinner and hang out a little with our beloved friends Kitty (whom you might know as Blankit) and her husband Dan. That was a huge treat, as we hadn’t seen them in forever. Let me tell you about that, and about the rest of my week, below!

🌈 Monday 🌈

The week started off a little rough. Work has been deeply stressful for poor Christopher and it was having the worst effect on his mental health at the end of the weekend and start of this week (you might recall me mentioning last week that he wasn’t doing so well). So that was on my mind a lot on Monday.

I did a lot of laundry and worked a lot on my fantasy novel on this day, to catch up on what I couldn’t do the previous day. I wrote a total of 1,540 words which was really satisfying. Other than that, I don’t have much else to share about this day beyond this photo I took at bedtime:

I was feeling so cozy in my little corner playing Pokémon that I decided to take a photo to remember that pleasant feeling. 🥰

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Another day on which I missed writing, but since I caught up so much on Tuesday, I was still good for my weekly goal. I also exercised and gamed a decent amount.

Tuesday I made the decision to set up a cohost account, finally. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, and I was very pleased with the result:

I think it looks pretty nice! I also got cohost Plus! to help support the site. Staff activated me for posting the same day, and I have been enjoying interacting with people over there since.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

This was a special day –and a very busy one! As usual, it started with breakfast on the couch, reading a book, having mate and enjoying Elliot’s company:

Afterwards, I spent a few hours doing chores and straightening up the house. This included cleaning the snail tank:

At noon, I had the usual Zoom call with my mom. I worked on commissions and did more chores before hopping in the shower. Soon after I got out, Kitty and Dan arrived! We showed off the house to them and then left to go to Nine Five Phở together for a nice little dinner.

Kitty and I talked a lot about all sorts of things, including many recent furry debacles. It was really nice to discuss these things in person with someone. We also caught up on each other’s lives, and got a couple of photos together…

Afterwards we went back to our house, where we had snacks and played the Fronks game on the Wii U. Then we switched to the latest Mario Party. I performed horribly as per usual, but Dan really gave Christopher a run for his money the entire game. It was close at times, but eventually Dan won!

After the game, it was time to say goodbye. We hadn’t seen one another since Megaplex 2019… I didn’t realize it had been so long. Truly, COVID warped my sense of time. I haven’t been to any conventions since. I was starting to think I never would again, honestly, but seeing Kitty and Dan put an ache back in my heart for memories of those days. Then again, can those days be recaptured? I’m not sure… but I feel maybe I should return to the con scene, and to old friends.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

I worked hard all day to have all my chores done and still have time to watch TV. I wanted to finish binging through The Book of Boba Fett, and finish an overdue commission for Kiba. But first, here’s a photo of Elliot and Tomoyo doing their usual morning window watching, while touching butts:

I feel regret about sleeping on Boba Fett all this time. I hadn’t realized it was pretty much a continuation of The Mandalorian. I enjoyed it immensely, the ending was so awesome and adorable, honestly to a fanservicey degree, lol. I just loved it.

I finished Kiba’s commission and then left to do the grocery shopping so that the timing would be just right for Christopher to pick me up on his way home from work. Once home, I put the groceries away and he started cooking. He made this really weird chicken chili soupy thing with tortillas that was extremely comforting to eat and I can’t wait to have again.

Then it was LEGO time! It was date night, after all. I got some nice progress in on my Sesame Street set:

The guys worked some more on their lighthouse. Then we cuddled and watched anime together.

🌈 Friday 🌈

This day I felt very accomplished. Not only did I get over 700 words written on my novel, but also exercised for over an hour and burned over 600 calories. It felt like a very successful day! I also got more gaming done, and reading too:

I really thought I’d have to read a few other books alongside Stephen King’s “It”, because it is over a thousand pages long and seemed so overwhelming, but it’s been so utterly engrossing, I just can’t put it down to read anything else! I’m making good progress on it, too.

On another topic, you know those fuzzy caterpillars everyone here calls woolly bears? In Argentina, people called those “gatas peludas” meaning “furry cats” (specifically, female cats, for some reason). When I was looking at the misshapen lump that was Rosie on the cat tree, it made me remember that… she might as well be a giant fuzzy caterpillar for all you’d know:

After getting all my chores done, I made dinner (salmon croquettes) for me and the guys. We watched Chucky again (the TV show –we’re on season 2). It was a very wacky episode. Just like with the movies, I both love and hate the show. It truly is exactly like the movies in feel. If you dare take it seriously/get attached to anything or anyone, or expect it to make sense, it’ll slap you on the face, give you the finger, and laugh.

I was unable to have Project Day on Tuesday as is normally scheduled. Didn’t plan my day out properly and also just wasn’t feeling it. So, I did it on this night instead, right after dinner. Since all of my scrapbooking stuff was now organized, I figured I’d give it a go and finish a new page for my Squelf-Book:

And, to add another tick to my “enjoy my toys” resolution, I brought Clicky down for company. I really love my little clicking dino, but I’ve not played with or enjoyed him at all, so it was about time. Clicky helped me pick scraps and cut-outs to decorate the page with!

He even helped stick some of them in place:

When it was all done, we were both pleased with the results!

By this time next week, I’ll be on to my next video game. I truly loved Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, it’s a game that will remain in my heart forever, so I wanted to do this page to commemorate my playthrough.

After this, it was time for anime and cuddling. We are watching the original Trigun. We were going to watch the recent remake, but not only were Christopher and I slightly put off by it –we also found out that our partner has never seen the original Trigun, and this situation must clearly be remedied.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

This was a very busy day! I did lots of chores, and exercised + gamed a ton. I finished Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX! It was such a lovely game that I’ll always remember fondly. Tomorrow, I’d pick up Legends: Arceus where I left off.

I also did lots of outlining for my novel, and worked lots of commissions, catching up on the changing table badges:

I got a little video to show you that I took on Saturday. This is how snails groom their shells so the edge doesn’t hurt them:

Not unlike a cat grooming, snails do this daily. Usually, they do it after they wake up and before starting their daily roam for food, water and, er, companionship. 😏

At bedtime, Rosie was waiting for me:

I took my Switch to bed and after about an hour, I’d beat the game:

I took one last picture of Rosie cuddling next to me and purring up a storm before we both fell asleep…

🌈 Sunday 🌈

Sunday was utterly exhausting. It was time to make a proper dent on commissions, so I practically did nothing else and finished eight by the end of the day. No exercise, no writing, no chores… just art until my eyes bled. In spite of the progress, I ended the day a bit unhappy because being able to exercise and write are the two things that make me feel the most accomplished.

And yet –in spite of this, I beat the writing goal this week, with 3,611 words. When you consider all the outlining done as well, it’s a huge success. And I beat a video game and finished a scrapbook page!

A nice thing that happened on this day is that our partner finished adding a different band to the Bluey watch he got me for Christmas. The band that came with this watch is total garbage, the watch would come right off a kid or adult’s wrist. It was unusable. But the watch is very cute. It took a lot of work to make the 20mm rainbow band I bought for it fit, but he did it, and it looks great!

Sometimes, if they are sleepy enough, these two get along…

Lately Rosie has been super cuddly, every night… she’s always purring, stretching her little paws to touch me, getting up and then letting herself fall heavily against me. She is so sweet, I adore this little cat.

I played a little of Arceus at bedtime. Still can’t quite get into this game, and I find it a bit difficult, but we’ll see how the coming week goes with it.

It’s That Time! If You Like This Blog, Please Read…

I’ve never pretended that I write this blog for anyone but myself. I am its primary enjoyer. Writing the posts and revisiting them brings me so much happiness! But I have heard time and time and again from friends and strangers that my content brings them happiness, too.

This site does also serve as my portfolio. I choose WordPress.com as a host after trying many other options (one of which was hosting elsewhere using WordPress.org). WordPress.com is NOT a cheap host for such an enormous website as mine is, but after trying different options, I feel it suits my needs best and should for a long time to come.

It takes me $300 a year to keep this site running. It’s worth it to me, but it is HARD to raise those funds every year. So, this year, I’ve allowed a little banner to appear for a while, at the top of the blog, which could allow a very generous person to sponsor it. You could also click here to do so.

I doubt anyone can just go and dump $300 on a random blog, so a partial donation via PayPal or Zelle (marina@marinaneira.com works for either) would be equally immensely appreciated if you enjoy the content I post here regularly. Thanks for reading!

Weekly Summary: Not Always Easy ⛈️

Ups-and-downs are normal to have, but it’s rare to have such a good week be followed by such a bad one. No major catastrophes took place, and a lot of what made it so hard to handle the smaller difficulties was my period, which for some reason was very unusually long and harsh on my body. It, combined with other stuff, managed to sink me into a days-long depression. Most of my goals fell by the wayside.

This journal is pretty dismal overall, though it picks up in tone near the end of the week. I apologize that it’s not as cheerful as usual. It was just a really hard week for me. 😥

💔 CW: pet loss discussion in this blog post. 💔

🌈 Monday 🌈

Right from the start, Monday was not an easy day. Physically, I was still feeling down from the day before. I had been unable to stay on top of my goals for days for a variety of reasons. In addition, it was very cold, and the guys wanted to sleep with the windows open. This made for some truly miserable nights and mornings for me. And bad mornings tend to throw my entire day off track. I just felt unhappy, unmotivated, and like everything was a struggle.

I pushed myself and cleaned the snail tank this day, so my little guys didn’t suffer from my lack of motivation:

The cats stayed in cozy corners all day. Even Elliot spent time indoors. Here’s Kotoko hiding in one of the cat condo nooks:

Speaking of Kotoko, in the evening I decided to give her a bath in spite of the cold because she was just so dirty. She’s old and can’t groom herself very well anymore. As I was drying her, she peed, on my Jurassic Park rug no less. So that was great. I was upset about the rug, but above all because it felt like I put Kotoko through hell for nothing. 😟

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

This was another cold morning. At least Kotoko had forgiven me… I think the cold might have helped with that.

This day I went to visit my mom. From early on, I felt very depressed. I’d been down since the day before and just continued feeling increasingly worse. I wanted to take her to the movies this week, to cheer her up (she’s still not doing okay after Shampoo’s passing) and there is rarely enough money in the family finances for that sort of thing.

I was really down about that, but ultimately managed to sell a commission to take my mom to dinner and a movie the following Saturday. Thank you, Snow, for that.

Throughout the day, before I went to her place, I did my best to do my chores, work on art, finish another book chapter, take care of the pets. I did whatever I could to get through the motions, but it was hard. I hadn’t had to push through feeling so bad in a long time.

Once at my mom’s, whatever good cheer I’d managed to bring up hit the hard wall of Shampoo’s absence.

Seeing all of her special spots without her in them was terrible. Seeing her pretty little urn, while not hearing her usual loud meows… it was all very hard.

I managed to keep that pain to myself for my mom’s sake. But truly, more than my heartache over Shampoo’s passing, the fear and grief that an event like this brings is always mostly about Kotoko. I’m not afraid that I won’t be able to handle her loss when it happens. It’ll hurt, but eventually I’ll be okay. But I am very afraid for my husband’s sake. And I fear that the man he is now will sort of die when Kotoko dies, and whoever he will be after that, I don’t know, but I am very afraid that he will never be the same again, and I will never have this version of him again.

I don’t know what to do with that fear, and every passing year it becomes worse. Sometimes I feel like our beloved old cat is a ticking bomb of grief. This event has redoubled that, especially because I think he is in some deep denial about her advanced age and the limited time she may have left. This literally keeps me up at night.

Anyway… as usual, my mom had a little snack spread ready when I got there:

Then we had baked potatoes for dinner:

And seeing Sweeney was nice, but I couldn’t help thinking that he is the age Stimpy was when he passed, and Stimpy seemed pretty okay until near the end too. I guess I am full of grim thoughts right now.

For some reason, during this visit a lot of old fears and worries hit me very hard. Though I appeared cheerful to my mom, and I know she thought I was okay, I ended Tuesday feeling the most depressed I have been in a very, very long time. It was an overall feeling of hopelessness for the future, that I’m sure (I hope) I can shake off.

But it’s a hard feeling to carry for any length of time. I know what it’s trying to say. It’s whispering in my ear, cruelly, insidiously, “things aren’t going to be okay, but no one really cares”. It is a lonely feeling to carry.

When I feel this way, holding strong to my “do not buy toys” resolution is incredibly hard. I would love a small toy from my wishlist right now to distract me even for a moment from feeling the way I do, no matter how fleeting that relief is.

On the upside, earlier in the week a kindly commissioner sent me a set of colorful drawers where I will be able to sort all of my scrapbooking supplies for Project Night, which is set to arrive on Thursday. I’m thinking about that, to feel happier and excited about something to do.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

After a Tuesday night full of nightmares and unusually strong cramps that lasted into the morning, Wednesday began.

It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I felt a bit less depressed, but now I was in a lot of pain instead (continued from the night). Maybe rather than feeling less depressed, I just felt like I was settling into my depression, I guess? Getting used to it? Maybe I’ll feel this way for some time.

We had mate for breakfast, but because I was in pain the whole time, I didn’t want any. Anyway, have some Sweeney toebeans:

I was slow, achy and tired for a lot of this day. Whenever I’m at my mom’s feeling really low, it’s hard, because I want attention from my husband and our partner, but I feel too low to even tell them I’m not okay or try to reach out for that affection. And if I do attempt to convey that, and don’t get a response, my frame of mind makes me read that as neglect and it can be very painful when I’m feeling deeply vulnerable already.

So it was really nice that at one point our partner did send me a random sweet little message, I don’t usually hear from him when I’m at my mom’s. Almost like he knew. That helped a lot, though I didn’t tell him I wasn’t okay, only that I was in a bit of pain. But it meant so much to get that message from him just out of the blue.

Still, mostly I just lay on the couch miserably for hours, though I did play more Pokémon Violet here and there and work on a couple of commissions. I did also read a little (still working on “It”) and since my mom was interested, we began to watch the original movies.

For dinner, we had these little mac ‘n cheese balls and fries:

And for dessert we had strawberries and cream! 🍓

Sweeney was very affectionate towards my mom all the time that I was at her place. I think for years, he’s been relegated to the background in all kinds of ways. Shampoo took most of my mom’s time, affection, and even vet-related finances. It could hardly be helped when it felt for years as though every day might be her last. Now Sweeney has my mom all to himself and will hardly leave her lap.

It is sweet, but also a little sad. He must have felt neglected all this time. My mom took him for a check-up today because he hasn’t had one in a very long time for the reasons I just stated. Hopefully all the labs come back with normal, reassuring results.

My mom and I got almost halfway to the second part of “It” (the 1990 version) when the guys came to pick me up. I would find later find out that Christopher, like me, had a pretty terrible day. But once we were all home together, things started to feel better, and I think he felt more cheerful too, though we both continued to feel physically miserable.

Something to note that has happened this week every time I slept (weather at night or a nap) is lots and lots of nightmares, or, at best, really bizarre dreams, usually connected to people or events present very recently in my life rather than those important or consequential to me. I’ve even had people I’ve never spoken to from one group chat I’m in appear in these bad dreams, multiple times. The topics are as varied as they are ridiculous.

Usually, but not always, the dreams are distressing, upsetting, or at best very annoying, so I’d categorize them as nightmares, but they aren’t the sort you wake up upset from. Just the sort that makes you go “huh” when you wake up. It’s as though my brain were going through some clean-up or organizing of thoughts at this time. It’s just bizarre.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

Although on Thursday morning I woke up still in a lot of pain and sort of weakened by my way-too-long period, my mood was a little lifted.

I’m not sure why. I had a lot to do, and didn’t feel great yet. I suppose partly was just being with the guys. Just hearing their voices and seeing their faces, sometimes, lifts me up and is all I need.

All throughout this week, I struggled with, and mostly did not meet, my goals. I decided to call this week a wash. My body really, really conspired against me in the worst way.

We did play LEGO for date night, though Christopher was unwell and our partner had to work, so he couldn’t join us… but we did have LEGO and that was still fun.

Later, Christopher and I cuddled and watched TV. Rosie joined us too; here she is, blepping beautifully:

Unfortunately our partner continued working. He was concentrating hard on his coding and didn’t want to stop. He worked until past 5:00am.

🌈 Friday 🌈

Even on Friday morning my body still had the odd cramp. Frankly, I was really impressed. It never lasts this long. But this was the last day. In the morning, I built the new set of drawers. Mercifully, in spite of the terrible quality (which I was aware of) nothing was broken in transit, and it came out pretty good:

I’d spend the next few days completely reorganizing my scrapbooking supplies into this new colorful piece of furniture.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

On this day we took my mom to the movies, the three of us (Christopher, our partner and I). I spent the earlier part of the day doing chores and then we were off! I had my Totodile with me, and Pokémon graham crackers. I’ve been in a big Pokémon mood recently.

After picking up my mom, we walked around Brickell City Centre, a really cool and upscale outdoor covered mall in Downtown Miami. Our partner bought me the fancy French candies he’d long promised, and was kind enough to get some for my mom too. We walked around and took this picture at one point:

Then we headed to the movie early, because it was CMX Cinébistro and we had to order our food. Right before the movie, I had a drink called Strawberry Fields. It was pretty good. I actually hadn’t had a drink in a while. I do not drink much by anyone’s standards, but by my own, I felt I was drinking a little too much, so I decided to cut back.

The movie, a “horror” comedy titled M3GHAN, was pretty silly, but hilarious. I’m not sure it was always trying to be funny, but it pretty much was the entire time.

After the movie, we got ice cream and walked around some more. Our partner bought a tiny but really fancy candle, and then we dropped my mom off before heading back to the house.

When we got home, I had two nice surprises. The loveliest was this drawing from YuriFairy, featuring both of our fursonas, and it’s one of my favorite depictions of my squirrel fursona in a few years. It’s so beautiful:

A package from ODU with a sample of a new design by me also showed up:

It’s so exciting to see a product featuring my art again after a couple of years! Here’s another photo:

We went to bed shortly after. Our partner just went straight back to work though, and had another late night. Christopher and I cuddled for a while and then fell asleep.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

Between yesterday and today, I sat for several hours sorting all of my scrapbooking materials and labeling them, like so:

There are many, many of these rugged plastic envelopes. Every single drawer is full!

Unlike before, everything is sorted by topic, not material. This makes it infinitely easier to pick out the materials I need for the theme of the page I’m working on, and everything is sorted out alphabetically.

Outside of the drawers, I sorted all my playing cards (which I collect specifically for scrapbooking purposes) like this:

Then I labeled the front of the drawers, too. Now, everything is really easy to find.

An added bonus of borrowing the labeler and of sorting all my scrapbooking supplies was that I finally sorted a bit of a mess I had in the studio closet, which now looks nice and neat:

This guy has been with me for so many years…

I re-sorted all of my beads and kandi-making supplies, too. This is also where the Furbys live. It looks a lot better now.

During this process, I ran into some traditional art I hadn’t filed away…

Not just this, but so many sketches, and so many unfinished things. It made me tear up with this intense nostalgia for something I lost without even realizing it. I decided to move things around and create a new permanent area for traditional art, because somehow, I didn’t have one anymore. This is what it looks like:

And here is a close-up:

I hope I can make traditional art a part of my life again.

I had one shelf that was cleared of scrapbooking supplies that got sorted into the new drawers, so I moved the decorations that were on this desk to it:

Speaking of, I haven’t shared my little collections in a while, particularly since I displayed them after opening my Christmas presents. Here’s the shelves with some of the newer Jurassic World additions…

A close-up of my lovely little Parasaurolophus, I love him so much:

There are a lot of dinosaurs in my studio…

(But not too many. There is no such thing.)

I feel like every day I love dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park / World franchise more and more, like it’s almost becoming a part of my personality. That phrasing seems wrong… I guess I mean it feels less like something I’ll emotionally outgrow and more like a deep-seated, truly lifelong interest, that I don’t think can ever go away because at the core, it’s about dinosaurs and nature, and I’ll never not love those things.

Finally, here’s Kalinka and Natasha. I decided to display them side by side because they look a little like sisters:

Because I spent so much time doing this, I was up until 3:00am doing housework, including cleaning the snail tank. Here’s some happy snails:

I’m trying to keep in mind the fact that, outside of my resolutions, I would normally consider this a wildly successful week. In spite of unusual physical pain, I did a lot of writing, took my mom to the movies, reorganized all of my scrapbooking supplies, revamped the studio closet, and reworked my traditional art work area. I went grocery shopping and worked on my blog. It wasn’t all so bad.

But I also can’t deny the obvious: this may have been a terrible week for me, but bad week or not, I failed at ALL of my resolutions outside of reading. So, I’m allowing myself a fresh start with my fitness chart. I also set a more reasonable goal, which would have me at my goal weight by April. I won’t beat myself up over the missteps. Instead I’ll celebrate what I did manage, dust myself off, and tomorrow start again with new renewed vigor.

The Right To Create Without Fear

CW: This blog post will mention a myriad of offensive and/or distressing topics. If you have any common triggers, assume this post includes them.

There’s a feeling in whatever is left of an art and writing community today, that was very different, at least when I was a young creator. It wasn’t something people ever truly discussed at very great length because it was never under the sort of attack it is now, at least not during my childhood and adolescence. I grew up in a time were the right to self-expression was very treasured, and any degree of censorship, even one that would make us more comfortable on a personal level, would be seen as a dangerous attack to us all as a community.

Sure, society at large might say, pearl-clutchingly or not, “This content is immoral/violent/dangerous/makes the baby Jesus cry/you shouldn’t be allowed to draw/write this”. Such attacks, coming from society, were normal and not unexpected. You’d give it all the middle finger, high-five your fellow creatives, and continue writing or drawing or both, whatever you wanted. What mattered was that you felt supported by your fellow creators. And we, as creators, all held the right to create any content whatsoever, as sacred.

I hear people say, time and time again: no one is preventing anyone from saying or writing what they want to say or write. They’re simply reacting/expressing an opinion/and, if they’re part of a community and they don’t like what you have to say, rightly showing you the door.

In practice, I don’t think this is what is happening.

You see, when I was young, and going to art school in a country more easily scandalized than this one, there was still a “feeling”, at least among artists and writers, that self-expression trumped all. It didn’t matter how gross or morally objective you found your fellow artist or writer’s creations. You would judge the artist by their actions, and how they treated other people, completely outside of their work, because the work was sacred, and separate.

Most of us as artists were outsiders already. This was true for multiple art groups I joined, some of kids, some of adults, and some a mix. Already often misunderstood as kids, artists and writers find refuge in their work: from deep-seated trauma that gets poured out in a way that induces relief not unlike vomiting, to dark intrusive thoughts that may plague you and you have to get them out in a page, all mixed with more mundane, acceptable things, we create stories and make pictures that reflect our feelings and experiences, sometimes (but certainly not necessarily) our creeds or beliefs. And we hope someone out there in the audience relates.

The ability to do this without fear and share it without judgement was always paramount. While I remember having a few conversations about this with teachers and mentors, it was generally an obvious, unspoken truth. Never judge a fellow artist for the content of their work as if it were a reflection of their personality. Never ever support anything that would even remotely censor or silence a fellow artist: this was the worst, most shameful thing you could do.

Your colleague could be someone you hated. It could be work you found repugnant: you’d still fight for its right to exist and for your colleague’s right to not be judged as a person for the material. This was so obvious, that no writer or artist that I knew would have considered the alternative. Because if they came for the content you hated, yours could easily be next. Most of us didn’t want to create cookie cutter, inoffensive nonsense. We wanted to create stuff with bite, that made you think, and that sort of material will invariably offend someone, somewhere.

Judgement of the quality of the work is a different thing (and one which we would be taught to take with aplomb, no matter how soul-destroying). Taking criticism poorly was something to be ashamed of as well, I recall. The better you took the most brutal criticism, the better. So it wasn’t about that.

Just as the right to create without fear of people associating your creation with your moral fiber or seeing it as a mirror of your heart’s actual desires was the most important thing in the world, it was equally understood that being able to share said work freely was vital, as we all had that deep-seated need to share, to connect with an audience. These were treasures to be protected.

I can’t emphasize enough how important all of this was. We knew that it was, even as children. The world we are living in now would have seemed like a dystopian nightmare to us.

Stuff like what is happening on FA right now would have been right out of an artists’ horror scenarios. And yet I see all of these young artists in journal comments going “Well, this content is obviously gross and morally objectionable, it shouldn’t exist”.

You poor kids! The sadness I feel, and yes, even pity, isn’t mocking or thinking less of you as people. A lot of the content that is being banned I find gross as well, but I’d never even dream of reacting this way to its censorship. The stakes are so high! I realize you weren’t raised with the same awareness of how fragile and precious the right to create without judgement from your peers is. Having a community where you can share such works without this fear, as we did in a few art and creative writing sites for a precious short few years, is a treasure that needed to be protected if it was to remain… but it’s already gone.

Some of you are so young, that you never even existed in a world where most of your fellow artists would defend your right to create anything and everything. The world at large might judge you, but other creators would always be a haven. Not so, not anymore. You don’t realize the depth of this loss, not yet.

The only English-speaking site remaining for such free expression in fiction, unfortunately, takes it much too far and well into “real life” in a jarring and disturbing way. I am referring, of course, to InkBunny.

I wouldn’t join Inkbunny because it literally welcomes people who ARE morally objectionable. People who make journals with titles such as “I’m a p*doph!le and proud if it” and then make a list of reasons why they should be able to have sex with a nine year old girl. People on Inkbunny make these journals, other people comment on them in agreement, Inkbunny staff knows these journals exist, and feels they and those members should remain. I disagree because this is reality we’re talking about.

Inkbunny also allows artwork that makes me gag. But for that matter, so does FA. So does Twitter, Tumblr, anywhere else. There’s a lot of art that the community at large is okay with, that I find absolutely sickening in nature. But I’ll defend to the death its right to exist, to be shared, without it being considered a reflection of its creator’s moral fiber or real life desires.

In this, Inkbunny is a staunch defender of this fragile right, and I do admire them for it, even if I’d never join the site for the reasons stated above.

Fiction, however vile the topic, is fiction. True, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but it is fiction. Artists’ own feelings and opinions do seep into fiction, unintentionally and on purpose, but it isn’t on the work of fiction to teach right from wrong. Not ever, in my opinion. Not even in work created for children with an undertone to teach a moral. This is for caregivers to do, the same ones who pick and choose the content a child consumes. After all, the morals each parent wants to impart their offspring will vary.

Teach a child to recognize subjective writing early: I was in third grade when I learned this. Then, as a child grows and your ability to control the content they consume wanes, what you taught the child is what will matter. The child will be able to know when a work of fiction is trying to impart a message, if it is at all, and will make his or her own judgement, and come to you with any questions, or do objective research on their own.

I don’t want to feel safe when I read books or comics, listen to music, or watch movies. I didn’t as a child, and I don’t as an adult. Surprise me, scare me, make me think, offend me, even! I mean –if you can.

I’m a stutterer, and I’m an epileptic: I’d rather see a million offensive depictions of these things in media, than live in a world where creators sit down to work and are afraid to use these topics in their work. My Uncle shot himself in the head: I don’t want anyone to be afraid to include a scene like this in their work of fiction, whether seriously or as a joke. My grandma died of cancer. Draw or write whatever you want about this topic as far as I’m concerned. An old boss would smack my ass because he knew I was too afraid of losing my job to report him, and call me “this fucking idiot” in front of uncomfortable customers, all because he could. Include this, too, in your fiction, do it in the most thoughtless way for all I care, make a character like my boss your antihero. Will I read or enjoy it? I guess it depends on whether or not it’s entertaining. But I won’t be offended. If I am, maybe I won’t consume the content. But I won’t assume you’re a woman-hater.

I want to live in a world where everyone, me and you, can create any content free of fear. I don’t care what polite society thinks. If polite society hates any of my work, I can live with that. I just want that embrace of other creators, having that shared awareness that creating without fear is invaluable to producing actually *good* work.

I would rather be offended a thousand times than have a fellow creator sit down to write or draw, with their hands hovering over keyboard, tablet or canvas, frozen, thinking “Can I write this? Is it okay to draw this? Will someone be offended? Does the origin of this word have an offensive meaning? What about its synonym? Will someone think I’m a bad person because I gave my antagonist one humanizing trait”?

I am not saying those things should not be taken into consideration, obviously. But they should not be paralyzing. I would always rather err on the side that allows most expression because people can always close a tab. No one is forced to look at anything. You can change the channel. You can close the covers. You can tap “next” on Spotify or YouTube.

You can do all of these things without demonizing or silencing a creator, or implying anyone who supports or enjoys that creators’ work automatically supports every decision of every character in that creator’s roster. You don’t need to tell every creator how (gasp!) disappointed you are that they chose to use this word or draw this thing, as if you were their grandma. Sometimes, you can say to yourself “that’s not for me” and just… look at something else.

The pendulum tends to swing back and forth over the years in these matters, so I suppose in ten or so years it may start heading back in the other direction. I guess we will see.

As long as people on art sites simply accept fictional works being banned with little fanfare or pushback because they find it gross (FA being the most recent example) or because it doesn’t affect them (yet) it won’t be done swinging to the side of censorship. It will get worse. You may be next. You may think your stuff is so innocent, so inoffensive. But don’t fool yourself. Someone, somewhere, thinks it shouldn’t exist.

Personally, I feel that artists and writers are under enough attack from society with stuff like A.I. generated art and writing, but hey, what’s a little more shit in the chamberpot, right? It already reeks, so people don’t notice a little more stink. They will, though, when they can’t breathe anymore.

Some people won’t know how precious what they still have is until they lose it. Meanwhile, those of us who already see it happening, can only sit and glumly watch that pendulum swing slowly to the worsening side, waiting patiently until gravity brings it back down to reason.

Weekly Summary: A Happier Life 🎈

Another week down! This one went really fast. I’ve continued to write, read, and play video games, as well as make commission progress. Slowly, the small things that make my life worth living are taking more and more of my time.

Podcasts and music instead of YouTube. More gaming and reading instead of mindless doom-scrolling. Getting acquainted with my characters again. My stress levels decrease, and certain parts of my brain, like rusty machinery that’s been freshly oiled, shed more and more gunk and move more smoothly and fast with every passing day.

Every day I do fail in one of my resolutions in some small way. Most often, weight goals and hydration goals. But the failures don’t discourage me at all, because every day I still do what makes me really happy. I wish I hadn’t put simple pleasures off for so long… anyway, I’m trying to make up for it now.

🌈 Monday 🌈

On this day I received the curtain rod I’d ordered, and was able to hang the Grogu curtains I got for Christmas! I love how they complete my studio’s look:

My studio looks a bit like a “hidden picture” puzzle image. 😅 There is a lot going on. But I love it.

Today was a bit of a lazy day, but I did all my chores and worked on art. I took time to game and relax with Kalamata in the afternoon.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday means Project Night! But before that, I had to go to the gynecologist to get my pap. This time, it didn’t hurt at all. I really like this doctor, I was so relieved when it was over, though.

Normally, I would walk back, and get myself a nice treat (stickers, a small toy and maybe a snack) after an appointment I had been dreading so much. But I was determined to stay good to my resolution, so I called an Uber to go home.

My driver was friendly and funny, and gave lots of colorful conversation during the ride. He told me about his dog, and said he’d show her to me. I assumed he had a photo or something, and he’d pull it out when we got to my house –but instead, he picked up the doggy (named Chica) right from the front seat!

She was so quiet, curled up in her little bed, I never even knew she was there! It really surprised me. She was very cute, but seemed rather suspicious of me.

After I got home, I cleaned the snail tank. Here are two of my snabies, soaking happily…

For his project night, Christopher worked on his Asuka puzzle that my mom got him many Christmases ago. It’s a REALLY hard 1,000 piece puzzle!

My project night consisted of a continuation of last week’s coloring. This was my setup! I listened to 90’s Disney music while coloring.

It’s worth noting that this is not an activity I did as a child. Any creative endeavor, and even a lot of my play, had to involve some sort of way of gaining inspiration towards my “serious” projects like my book, which I was working on as early as age 12. Coloring cartoon characters with crayons is something kid me would have seen as a frivolous waste of valuable time. So, allowing myself to enjoy an activity such as this today, is important to me.

This time, I had Scout as a companion! And I had a chocolate soy milk for my snack.

I finished my Christmas coloring of Sister Bear! Here it is underway…

…and finished + laminated! Still needs the last stage of decorating with stickers. But that’s the first page of the year down –one out of twelve to complete my resolution!

…and I’m already working on the next one!

At bedtime, I took a picture of my sleeping pal, Grover, with the book I am currently reading. But for some reason, Grover seems to have a creepy, bedroom-eyes demeanor in the picture… 😅

On that note, this book (Corazón) is way more depressing and guilt-trippy than I remembered. Patriotic to a gagging degree (such as a father telling his son “if you wouldn’t die for our country I couldn’t love you) and, I don’t know, every time the child narrator slightly screws up he has his father/mother/sister leave letters in his diary in which, though they profess their love for him, they basically scold him to the ground. The book feels a big wagging, scolding finger at times.

If you know me, you know I am less liable to put today’s morals upon a long-ago creation. But even so, I was a bit put off by the descriptions of native people (some of my original country of birth in the “From The Apennines To The Andes” short story) and most of all by the high degree of ableism by today’s standards.

But I try to remember that, in fact, this book went a long way to try to bring attention to the suffering of disabled people, to the point that it takes many pages and scenes throughout the book, and points out many kinds of disabilities in detail –something unusual for a children’s book written in the 1800’s. Unfortunately, this is done by encouraging an extreme degree of pity towards differently-abled folk, and to value them based on how they can be still incorporated into society to “contribute in the same way as others” so to speak. 🙄

So yeah, that felt a bit icky to read, but context and time period is of great importance. It is very obvious the writer’s heart was in a good place and he felt a painful degree of sympathy and compassion for disabled people he saw all around him –above all, children. It’s interesting how something written with the best of intentions then, would surely get this man “canceled” now.

This is still a work of literature worth remaining in print and allowing children to read, with proper guidance. But I imagine as our society “progresses”, works like this will be further banned or modified to fit current societal standards. This is part of why I collect antique and vintage children’s books.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

This was a pretty normal Wednesday! Though, I could already feel PMS doing its usual number on me. Hopefully it won’t be too bad this month.

I cleaned the snail tank early in the day. They got a special treat today:

One more photo –enjoying some cuttlebone:

Partner and I went to Tree Tops Park on this day, and I’ve got pics and video to share! But first, sleepy snail conga line:

The weather was cool and mild, a rare treat in Florida. We got to see a few critters on this outing. First there was this big raccoon VERY high up a large tree, digging fiercely in a clump of one of those parasitic air plants. Every once in a while, it would stare at us intently, but it was clearly very focused on whatever it was doing.

We also saw tortoises. People feed them (something you shouldn’t do) so they readily come when they hear someone.

Seeing the little heads pop out of the water and stare at us, I’m overcome with emotion. It reminded me of the bear staring into my eyes at the zoo, which had me actually crying. There is something about the connection when an animal notices you, stares deep into you –the reason (even as simple as “do you have food or are you food?”) doesn’t matter– that is so primordial, holy even, if I still believed in such things. I can’t explain it very well, but it gives me a rush of intense joy tinged with sadness, and it can easily bring me to tears. I love animals so very much.

Another little burst of joy was coming across a burrowing owl.

It gave me a squint.

I’d snuck Bangers into my backpack, and our partner, who usually doesn’t have patience for this sort of nonsense, waited while I took some pics. Bangers stood out really nicely among the greenery, and even found some berries!

🌈 Thursday 🌈

I was really excited for today, both to resume working on my current LEGO set, and to have ice cream and pizza for dinner. But date night was sort of canceled. Christopher had been unwell for days (his usual back pain) and working on his puzzle for a few days exacerbated it. So, today, he couldn’t play LEGO, but his puzzle looks amazing. I wish I’d taken a photo, because it’s over halfway done now.

I spent a lot of the day working on art and binging The Book Of Boba Fett, and after the promised pizza and ice cream, our partner went back to some important due work and I hung out with Christopher while leveling my Pokémon Violet team. I reached pretty close to end-game!

🌈 Friday 🌈

Christopher stayed home today. He still didn’t feel great. Our partner worked late, into the early hours of the morning. I spent all day doing housework and packing to leave for my mom-in-law’s in the evening.

Earlier in the day, I had Christopher download an anime from the 70s for me, by the same studio that did Heidi. It is called “3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother”, and is an extended adaptation of the short story “From The Apennines To The Andes” that appears in the old children’s novel I’m currently reading (Corazón: Diario de un Niño). In the original book, this story is one of the monthly stories that Enrique reads in school. It is, however, the longest short story in the book. I’m looking forward to watching the anime as soon as I finish The Book Of Boba Fett.

In the early evening we were off to Sebastian! When we got there, we had nachos for dinner. Then Grandma brought out some chocolate cupcakes she made.

They had Tom Kitten picks! Good ol’ Grandma. She knows what I like.

I slept in an inflatable mattress which is never very comfortable for me. I’d rather sleep with Christopher if he didn’t snore, especially because it was so cold, and it would have been nice to cuddle. The cool thing is that the mattress was put in the same room as our partner’s and it’s just so nice that it is such a non-issue for us to sleep together in the same room, since it was the most convenient. Even with Grandma there, no one bats an eye and is so accepting of the three of us and “our thing”.

Anyway! I still made it colorful and cozy:

I’d brought Beta with me, and “It” to read. Scary books aren’t scary when you’re sleeping with a raptor for comfort!

I even had my Jurassic World jammies so it was very much a mood.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

On Saturday we went on a long car ride, to Okeechobee. My mom-in-law showed me some old haunts where she used to live with my sis-in-law (but, I think, not Christopher). It was very interesting and reminded me of some areas in Belén de Escobar, the area of Argentina I last lived in before coming to the US.

For breakfast, we had really crispy bacon (my favorite) eggs, and spicy sausage gravy on biscuits.

At one point I couldn’t find my phone, then I realized our partner had hidden it from me. He took some funny pictures as I pounced on him to give it back…

Then we were off to Okeechobee!

🌳🐮 Okeechobee 🐮🌳

On the way to Okeechobee, we saw all kinds of animals. Cows, horses, wild hogs, even ostriches in an ostrich farm! We went to a flea market, but there wasn’t much to see. It was also freezing cold!

Finally, we made it to my mom-in-law’s old “homestead” house. They put so much effort into this house and raised dozens of animals. My mom-in-law showed us the very long fence she put up by hand, all by herself, still standing. They dug the pond themselves.

But the house now lays in ruin, abandoned after it was sold. It was honestly a heartbreaking sight.

It looked so spooky, and I really wanted to go into the house to explore. But you never know what you’ll find. I was scared that we even drove past the gate, because in this country, and in particular in this state, you just never know who’s gonna shoot you for trespassing into their property. 🙃

We later went to another house where they’d lived, and my sis-in-law’s name, which she’s written into the country when she was just a little girl, was still there, which was very poignant.

Then, after a Wawa and Dunkin’ Donuts stop, we went back to my mom-in-law’s house in Sebastian. I complained a lot because my legs really hurt and it was such a long ride. But eventually we were in Sebastian again. Overall, I had a lot of fun.

🧩😴 A Relaxing Evening 😴🧩

After we got back, we were exhausted. Christopher and I lay down (me to play Pokémon, him to nap with his bunny, Ribbon) while my mom-in-law cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner.

The meal after Saturday’s activity (if it’s home cooked –usually something on the grill) is often the highlight of a visit for me. Not gonna lie, Christopher and I are pretty lazy, so we are often resting while family cooks dinner around us. It is such a comforting, happy feeling, hearing the kitchen noises and smells, our feet usually intermingled under a blanket, him gently snoring while I draw, read or game. It feels like a moment to treasure, of hard-to-come-by complete peace.

After dinner, we played a game called Spoons, which was really fun and a little hectic. Then, I played Pokémon some more while the rest of the family played Crowns and eventually moved to help Christopher finish his very hard 1,000 Asuka puzzle. And finish it they did, at like 1:00am!

I was in bed before that, with a happy achievement of my own:

I’m still going to do a bit of end-game content, but I was really happy to get the first finished game of 2023 under my belt!

🌈 Sunday 🌈

On Sunday, after breakfast, we went to a pottery studio, then to lunch at Casa Amigos, a Mexican restaurant that served MASSIVE portions. After that, we walked around the dead mall that the restaurant is attached to. But let me tell you about the pottery studio first, which was called “The Painted Frog”. This place is where my mom-in-law painted the cute little snail she gave me for Christmas.

🎨🐸 The Painted Frog 🐸🎨

The first step was to pick our pieces. Christopher picked a turtle, our partner, a shot glass, and I picked a gator, because I love them so much and because our partner and I have had a few gator-related (mis?)adventures.

All the colors you see become much more intense and sometimes much darker than you see here. Even though it looks pastel, the colors I picked should turn out very bright. I used different shades of green for the base, including mottling and spattering here and there, with a sponge and with a toothbrush. To make it more “me”, I dotted it all over with red, blue and yellow dots:

I was afraid to mess up when doing his eyes, but I think it looks okay!

Christopher’s turned out really cute, too:

Our partner seemed a real expert at this in spite of never doing it before:

Here are Christopher’s and mine together:

They had a section of unclaimed, already fired and glazed pieces. You could buy any of them for just one dollar, and I couldn’t resist this little guy:

Here you can see them together –a piece before being glazed and fired, with one that has been. I believe my gator’s color is the same as the one in the finished piece, if not very close. So, as you can see, the end result is very different.

Ours should be ready in about a week. I hope they survive the process… they don’t always. Overall, I really loved this experience, and there’s a few similar places in our area, so I’d like to go to others too.

🍃🏬 Visiting A Dying Mall 🏬🍃

This used to be a lively mall. My sis-in-law’s first job was at its movie theater. Now half of it is taken up by a “chain” church and its many related storefronts/offices, from a coffee shop, to a fitness center, including a Sunday school, a store of religious stuff such as books, clothing and knick-knacks, and even a TV station.

Most areas of the mall though, were eerily empty… very liminal.

The H.A.L.O. No-Kill Rescue is still there. There was a cat at the front desk!

And many, many cute kittens…

Here you can see some video of them playing:

I was fascinated by the many old abandoned rides. Most were in working condition, but you never really see kids riding these anymore. Here’s a little carousel…

And a shiny steam locomotive!

This carousel, though out of service, was the most interesting. It was Jungle Book themed, and featured Bagheera, Kaa, an elephant (Hathi? doubt it… lol).

…and, err… Simba?? Who knows.

It also had Mowgli, but I really didn’t like how he looked so I didn’t take a photo.

They had Jay Jay The Jetplane, too. Boy, this brings back memories!

A cute little bear was riding this truck:

We passed by an eclectic little game store, where Christopher treated me to this Ewoks VHS tape. This reminds me, I need to add a VHS-watching resolution goal to my 2023 list.

After we were home, and all unpacked, I was able to look at Natasha, who arrived over the weekend from Latvia, the country of my grandparents. Her box looked a lot like other Spanish doll boxes:

She is truly lovely! Not too big and not too small. Part of me wishes she was a little bigger, but this way she’s easier to take places with me.

Her face is as sweet as the pictures!

I also loved that her cloth body is skin-toned, rather than white cloth.

Later, in bed, I went through our Ring front door camera. We get many animal visitors so I like to look through all the recorded motion before I fall asleep. I caught a very funny moment when one of the local squirrel decided to engage in some wild acrobatics, much of the annoyance of the birds!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to share for this week. I think my proudest accomplishment this week is getting almost 4,000 words down on my book. I hope you all had a wonderful one! I’ll see you here again next Sunday with another weekly summary. 🥰

Weekly Summary: 2023 Is Off! 💥

Hello, everyone, and Happy 2023! As of writing this post, the first week of the year has come to an end. I hope your first week was great! Mine was very satisfying as far as accomplishments go, but also tinged with sadness.

💔 CW: pet loss discussion ahead. 💔

You might remember Shampoo. Most recently “my mom’s cat”, Shampoo was in fact our shared cat for many years, along with Sweeney. We got her when we’d only been in the US a couple of years, and she was around 10 when I got married and moved in with Christopher. Here’s an old GIF I’d made of Shampoo and I many years ago:

As you can see, while in recent posts outside of this blog I put the focus on my mom’s grief, I loved Shampoo very, very much. I’d picked her out of the litter myself, and until I bonded with Rosie years later after I moved out, I had never had a cat I felt as close to as I did with Shampoo. She was on a different level, and so cheeky and playful.

This changed a lot in her last five or so years. She’d started to have painful blockages because of her long fur, which necessitated shaving it monthly. This seemed, to me, as though it changed her personality too. But perhaps it was that around this time she was already quite old.

Shampoo had MANY (very expensive) close calls in the last few years, and made it to an impressive almost 19 years old. But on Monday, it was all too much. She was severely anemic and in serious kidney failure. She was made comfortable for the next 24 hours, which allowed her to rest, eat normally, and just feel alright, until the next afternoon, when it was time to say goodbye.

Shampoo’s passing at home was as ideal as possible. Her body had not yet resumed failing and giving her pain. She’d eaten multiple times, napped peacefully, and enjoyed many pets from my mom. When the vet came (it was done at home) she did not even move from my mom’s lap, on the favorite chair they shared. She fell asleep there, happy and peaceful. We could not have asked for a better send-off.

I process grief a little different from most people. I think, I grieve my pets when they are alive. I remember when Shampoo was around nine years old. I was holding her and thinking how much I loved her, how unique a cat she was, and how I’d never have another cat like her. Shampoo was not sick: she was at her prime, and just being extra cute that day. I remember I started crying, then sobbing, as I held her. She was not amused.

It would not be the only time this happened, nor the only pet it happened with. Certainly I’ve cried with every pet that passed. But, I think I am recovering a little faster, in spite of my sadness, because of this –and because I wasn’t living with Shampoo for the last few years so she wasn’t as much of a constant in my life.

For my mom, it is very different. She tells me she is okay, but she’s also in deep, racking grief, wondering if she did enough (something I think no one would dispute). She told me how how she feels a constant anxiety right at her throat, and how she keeps looking for Shampoo in her usual sleeping-spots. I can’t really help my mom other than to listen, and knowing that she is in pain and will be for a long time is hard for me to accept.

That’s all I have to say about that, but as it was a major element in the week, I wanted to give it its own space. Now I’ll move on to the rest.

I’ve decided to go back to weekly summaries for posts (other than my daily resolution summary) because, now that I’m giving more priority to other things in my life, my blogging time has been reduced. And that is fine! I am very happy. I just want to make sure I can maintain a consistent posting schedule, and I believe this will be the best way to accomplish that.

✨🌈🧉 New Year’s Eve 🧉🌈✨

I’m allowing the New Year weekend to slip into this post, though in reality the post is about the first week of the year. On New Year’s Eve morning, I had mate and did some reading. My mom came in the early evening.

We had a pretty quiet New Year’s Eve. Our partner went to a party for a while, and we played board games –both by ourselves and with Christopher. Partner was back in time to ring in the New Year with us, and we did the customary eating of grapes at the stroke of midnight. You have to make a wish on each grape. I have one thing I want most of all in this life, so I made the same wish on every grape, with all my heart. It was my wish the last two New Year’s, too. Then we went to bed.

✨🌈🧸 Sunday 🧸🌈✨

On Sunday, I finalized prepping everything to start the first week with a bang. Part of this involved sorting all paperwork and for the first time in our lives, clearing out the filing cabinet of too-old, unnecessary stuff, a lot of which was kept while my immigration paperwork was in process (we waited until my citizenship was done, and even then, another full year.) This took a few hours.

One of the things included in this process was sorting through the prior day’s mail, which included a couple of late holiday cards. One was from an old friend of my teddy bear Franklin, a kindly gentleman named Stephen.

Franklin has been receiving letters from Mr. Stephen for all of his life. Many people used to write to Franklin back when he was a small celebearty, but most eventually stopped. Not Mr. Stephen. Even though Franklin never replied, he’s been writing consistently over the last 10+ years, on all of Franklin’s birthdays and at Christmas.

The last card was very long and had an odd feeling to it. It made Franklin feel that Mr. Stephen may not write anymore. Franklin had wanted to reply in recent years, but the envelopes with the return address kept getting discarded. So we are trying to see if it’s possible to get in touch with Mr. Stephen via Facebook, so Franklin can show him how many friends he has now, and how he’s enjoyed all the cards over the years and in fact, kept them all.

I also went around the house, just doing accumulated chores, to make sure nothing went over to the next day. I was tired by the time the day was over, but it was a really successful day.

✨🌈🧉 Monday 🧉🌈✨

I drank mate for breakfast every day this week and enjoyed many of the leftover holiday snacks. I went back to written to-do lists, as well, and continued to enjoy reading multiple times a day. My coffee intake is decreasing thanks to the mate, and because I’m putting priority in things that matter to me, I am becoming happier and happier.

✨🌈🖍️ Tuesday 🖍️🌈✨

Tuesday was Project Night! It’s an idea I had recently, a companion to our Date Nights. Every Tuesday evening, for at least two hours, we all work on personal projects. This past Tuesday, Christopher and our partner worked on turning a V-Tech Talking Whiz-Kid Notebook into a “real” computer by using a Raspberry Pi. Now it has a mouse, a battery pack, it’s really cool:

You can even view my blog! Although, it’s too big for the screen… 😅

I did something less cool, but it was important to me. Since one of my 2023 goals is to finish more coloring pages, I spent time with my coloring pages and crayons. I had a little snack, listened to music and had one of my dolls, Kalamata, for company (I’ll tell you a little more about her later).

I’m still working on a Christmas coloring page. I haven’t finished it yet, but I had a lot of fun. I’ll finish it on the next Project Night. I’ll use these nights for my coloring page goals, puzzles, scrapbooking pages, and more –such as pyrography.

Kalamata is a Zapf Creation doll, made in Germany. I was very excited when I bought her. But when she came to me, she smelled like cigarettes and her skin was sticky (some vinyl degradation). One of her sleepy eyes was (still is) slightly sunken. Worst of all, her legs were fabric! Even her feet are fabric. I wanted a doll with vinyl arms and legs. I was so upset that I immediately decided to donate her. She even made it into the donation box. But something about her expression just kept tugging at me. It is impish and very unique. Her skin color is also quite unusual.

I decided to give her some TLC. Since she had the old fashioned, tied-on style of head, I removed it, and washed her body. I bought some extra filling, and made her floppy arms a bit firmer. I washed, conditioned and combed her hair (her wig is beautiful; it feels almost like human hair, and after some research on these dolls, I think it may be the case, which is kinda nuts!) The wash and dry removed her vinyl stickiness, which thankfully has yet to return. The bad smells were also gone. She looks happy and mischievous!

I’m looking into a solution for her wonky eye, but even if I can’t fix it, I’ve grown very fond of her. I think she’s a very special doll full of personality, so, I will be keeping her.

✨🌈👧 Wednesday 👧🌈✨

Speaking of dolls –on Wednesday I finally opened some dolls that had arrived. One is the JC Toys/Berenguer Boutique “Chloe”, whom I’ve named Polenta. Her box was really beautiful:

She looks just like in the photos. Her vinyl is very soft. I generally prefer hard vinyl, but she’s a gorgeous little doll. She can turn at the waist, which is unusual. I’m sure I’ll enjoy taking her places.

Then there is Paola Reina’s Lidia, whom I’ve named Camila. She is the most luxurious doll I’ve ever owned, with a myriad points of articulation. Her ankles, wrists, elbows and knees are all articulated, as is her head.

She can be put into lovely poses, such as kneeling! And she is very big.

She also smells strongly of vanilla pudding –in particular, a vanilla pudding I had as a little girl. I am filled with nostalgia when I walk into the studio now, and smell it!

Our partner and I have been walking every day. On the way back during our walk on this day, we passed by the burned house. I’d been there when it was still burning, months ago. Back then, the damage didn’t seem so bad. We thought it was just the garage. But I guess the house was damaged very badly. The family appear to have left, and the house sits quiet and eerie.

The burned area reminds me of how, in The Neverending Story, things and even creatures would have chunks taken out by “The Nothing” (or, “La Nada” in Spanish). This house used to always have really nice vintage cars outside. I hope the family is doing okay.

Also on this day, I managed to ship a bunch of packages. A Little People train my friend Snow had me purchase for him, some books I’d been holding onto, a badge, and an exchange for one of my mom’s Christmas presents. Normally I really procrastinate on this sort of thing. It requires printing, packing, measuring, taping, filling out forms (for international packages) dropping things off… mailing packages is always a hassle but mailing international ones even more so for my ADD-addled brain. So I was really, really proud that I pushed through and did it all! 😊

✨🌈🧃🥟 Thursday 🥟🧃🌈✨

Tomoyo has been struggling a lot with her asthma during these colder, drier days. We’ve bought her a humidifier, and I plan to invest in an air purifier soon. Anyway, here’s a photo of her relaxing:

I need to weigh her again soon, to see if her very expensive weight-loss diet is doing anything (which would also help her asthma).

On Thursday I continued to read Kaya’s Story Collection, and also enjoyed a little lunch.

Afterwards, I worked some more on commissions and watched dinosaur documentaries downstairs. It was a welcome respite from sitting at my computer alone, and from YouTube.