Category Archives: Dungeon Crawlers

Week 19 Summary: Mother’s Day, Our Anniversary, And More 💘

First week at the new job! 😀 Also, last week at the new job. 🙃 We celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, and Mother’s Day. Our family came to visit and we ate out a LOT. Our partner’s computer suddenly died which meant not much Diablo this week.

I finally opened my anniversary doll, but it turned out to: a) be FUGLY and b) have a manufacturing defect, so we contacted the seller and after some back and forth got a full refund and got to keep the doll regardless. But, I’ll sell her, I don’t see myself enjoying her ever. I got a different doll as a replacement already on the way.

I also did lots of art this week. I’ll tell you about that, and about other things too. Let’s go!

SIDE NOTE: Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 🥺💘✨💕

🌈 Monday 🌈

Monday was the first day at my new job. I was up at 7:00 am to take care of the day’s housework. Then I worked until 3:30 pm.

Now that I’m not there anymore (as you will learn more about later into this summary) I feel more comfortable sharing more about this place. It was (well, is) a local Italian Bakery and Market.

They have some interesting products, and, generally, is what I would consider a higher-end store as far as prices, which you wouldn’t know judging by the unbelievable crassness of some of the clientele. It was the sort of rudeness I encountered in my gas station days.

Granted, most people were okay, but some definitely consider you (the cashier) of a lower class because you are there to serve them. I encountered some of the worst of this on my first day. But the day went by quickly enough, even though, unlike my experiences at CTS, I found myself unhappy very fast.

On the way home, our partner treated me to lunch. Then I took a short nap, showered, and made dinner, which would cook for a few hours in the slow cooker. I was pretty proud of how the meal turned out.

I spent the rest of the evening alternating between chores and drawing. I got another commission and a Patreon reward nearly done.

Dinner was enjoyable, and after that, I did a few more chores and played Diablo with our partner. We beat Mephisto!

Before bed, I ran Kalamata’s brand-new dress through the wash and put it on her. It looks perfect! A brand new hair bow would arrive for her on Wednesday, and at some point in the next week, some “shoes” I got her on AliExpress should show up too. They’re technically mittens, but she has stuffed feet, so I think they will work best. I’ll post a photo once everything is here.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Another workday. I was up early again and finished all the chores before heading to work.

I would begin to grow frustrated at work very quickly. By this day, I knew that if you were even cents short on the register, it would come out of your own pocket. This is illegal here without prior written arrangement and notice. In addition, counting the cash drawer had to be done off the clock, on your own time.

At CTS, my register was always okay (except for one day when I think I was a dollar or so over?) I didn’t have to count off the clock, and I didn’t have such stress over my head about being slightly short or over, which meant I wasn’t anywhere near as likely to make mistakes because I was relaxed.

Moreover, the unhappiness of all the other employees was becoming more and more evident to me. Everyone looked tired and upset, the cashiers were always complaining about their lives and their job to each other. There was zero positivity. This, coupled with the managers’ conflicting rules and their “when I’m here we do things my way, when he’s here you do things his way” ethos, made for an anxiety-ridden workplace.

By this day, I told myself “I’ll stay here just until the cruise”, though ultimately I wouldn’t even be able to last the week.

In spite of being so tired, I completed a commission and a Patreon reward on this day:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

Wednesday I got to stay home. My period hit pretty hard so it was a relief that I was given the day off because it had been made repeatedly clear to me that being sick is NOT okay at my new job. Even upon hiring I was asked, “You don’t have no medical issues, do ya?” I said no, of course… 🙄

But I do have endometriosis, and while my uterus has been kinder to me in my 30s than in my terrible, terrible 20s, it’s still scary to live with a condition that can completely incapacitate me more or less at random, while working at a place that will have zero tolerance for this.

I wasn’t able to get much done on this day, but I worked all day long on Christopher’s anniversary present and did the most pressing chores. Then we went to Mezes Greek Taverna for dinner:

🌈 Thursday 🌈

Thursday was our seventh wedding anniversary! I left Christopher’s gift and card on his desk for him to find in the morning when he sat down to breakfast. As usual, I drew our little Subrosians, this time being visited by friendly little alien soots:

Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a foul mood most of the day, between the remnants of my period and the fact that I absolutely HATED being at work and dreaded going back the next day. Even though today I was allowed to open my anniversary doll, I didn’t. I felt that low.

Also, our partner’s computer died on Thursday (or rather, Wednesday night) so no more Diablo this week.

One highlight of today is that my mom sent us a $75 gift card to a really fancy local restaurant that I’m dying to try!

🌈 Friday 🌈

On Friday I quit my job. My husband and our partner both told me that the job sounded crappy and toxic and I should leave. Then my mom also said that. Up until then, I’d still been trying to work it out. I really enjoyed working at a grocery store in the past, and I enjoy working at a register and exchanging pleasantries with customers.

There was no major event on this day that “did it”. I knew it was my chance to leave while being able to get full-time hours at CTS for 6-8 more weeks until they close (they really need people right now). If I waited any longer, I’d be removed from CTS’s system. But if anything did throw me over the edge at the new job, it was the combination of these things:

1. Having my scheduled hours changed 3 times for this day alone. On Monday I was told I’d work until 3:30 pm on Friday, so I made plans with my family. On Thursday I was told it might be 4:00 pm, or 5:30 pm. On Friday I was told it could be 5:30 pm, or 6:30 pm, or maybe until closing? Who the heck knows, it’s not like I have a life, right?

2. I got there early to count my register. It was slightly off (about $0.23 over). So I counted it again. When I told the manager that it was off, and by how much, the manager stood over me watching me count for the second time, which almost made me want to scream. I actually turned around to ask if I could help him. Bitch, if you want to double-check, count it yourself. Don’t breathe down my neck. Anyway I counted correctly, it was still off.

3. The realization by a comment from the manager that he wanted me to be totally alone at the register within two weeks –with no other cashiers in the store. 😳 At a place where I have to memorize a ton of breads and produce by sight, that is NOT happening! I am also expected to answer the phone, redirect calls, and now, I found out, make cappuccinos and shit. And don’t forget, my register better not be off by a penny while I try to handle all of this at once! Going to the bathroom is also supposed to happen only during my 15-minute break so I better make sure my body adjusts.

4. Oh but it’s okay: “You can page me any time, and I’ll come help,” said the manager. This is the nice manager everyone (sort of) likes, by the way. Well, there were a lot of fires to be put out on this day, things that needed a manager. The other cashier and I both paged him multiple times –he wouldn’t come out or reply, and would lock himself in his office, which resulted in very frustrated customers. Meanwhile, the manager everyone considers to be a hard-ass, actually comes out when needed, but I digress.

These were just the highlights, really. When I went out on my break, I spoke to my old boss at CTS. He still needed me until the store’s closing. So, after asking Christopher for advice, I came back from the break early so I wouldn’t be discussing this with the manager on the clock, and told him it wasn’t working out for me, but that I would be glad to work the rest of that day until 5:00 pm.

The manager asked me what could be done to keep me, what made me unhappy, etc. I didn’t get much into it. In the end, he said I could just go, and come back on Thursday for my check. I’ll have to see the hard-ass manager for that, so I hope Christopher or our partner come with me. It was the atmosphere of the place that was the worst for me, so I am very stressed about returning for my check.

Still, I walked home practically floating on air from sheer relief. 😌 After a few texts back and forth with my CTS boss, I saw a lot of hours pop up on my schedule for next week. Hooray! 🥳 I got busy with housework until our family got there, and also finished this Patreon reward:

At some point in the late afternoon, I opened my anniversary doll and had a real “thanksIhateit.jpg” moment. I chose this doll after seeing it in many non-stock photos and videos. She has a very peculiar face mold, and I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t like her IRL, but was crossing my fingers for her. Either way, it would be a “love it or hate it” sort of thing. Unfortunately, it was the latter. I was very relieved to find she had a defect: a poorly-glued eyelash. So, I contacted the manufacturer and would hear back the next day. More on that later…

By the time my mom-in-law and Christopher’s grandma got there, I had a little surprise ready for them on the table:

Gifts for each of them and cards too! Speaking of cards, here are the anniversary cards that I (we) got –from mom-in-law to us, from Christopher to me, and from Grandma to us:

Grandma also got this custom Christmas ornament for us:

And socks for me!

For dinner, we went to Blue Ginger as the Mother’s Day meal. It was Grandma’s first time, I’m really glad she enjoyed it. This is what I had, it was very filling:

After we got home, we all got comfy, some of us in our jammies, and we played Uno and had good wine! Kotoko joined us. Christopher often sets out a chair for her because she likes to observe:

She’s helping with his next play:

Even Rosie came to hang out!

So did Tomoyo, photogenic as, er, per usual…

*UuuuUuuuuh*

🌈 Saturday 🌈

While I still hadn’t heard back from the doll manufacturer, Christopher graciously allowed me to choose a replacement for my anniversary gift. I decided to peruse eBay this time, looking for a doll from a specific line that I wanted to add to my collection: a “My Twinn”.

My Twinn dolls are… well… they’re something. You’re either going to love or hate this concept. Basically, back when they were a thing, this Denver, CO company could make a 23″ tall doll to look just like your child, or perhaps the child’s parent or grandparent as a child. I think it’s both creepy and adorable, uncanny yet charming. In addition to the photos below, you can find more information at Logan’s Ladies, an excellent My Twinn resource.

I have found a lot of the My Twinn dolls to give me “haunted doll” vibes, in that “Good Guy” doll sort of way. To add to their creepy feel, some of the dolls’ eyes do this after years in storage:

They turn red!! Haha… And if you frequent haunted doll YouTube and TikTok, you’ll find My Twinn dolls just tend to give people that feeling. So, I thought I never wanted one. But the more I looked at some, the more they grew on me. Eventually, I came across a My Twinn doll that, to me, looked just like AG’s Samantha Parkington should:

You see, I love Samantha as a character, both in her books and movies. I always felt that the American Girl doll, pretty as it is, doesn’t do Samantha justice. To me, this doll looks more like I imagine a Samantha doll to look, so I’m going to call her that!

She comes with the box and everything! And since she was cheaper than my original anniversary doll, I also got an outfit on the way for her:

My heart was really set on this My Twinn, but the seller declined my offer. It was a pity, she is so beautiful and I completely fell in love. But the lowest the seller would go was $109 and I couldn’t afford her. 💔💔💔😢 I’m still a bit salty about that. I really adore her, even if I love my second choice. Wish it was closer to my birthday! 😭 Oh well. I am glad to have held on strongly to not trading more art for toys, though. I am proud of that.

Something else that is on the way is dresses and shoes for Penny and Molly (of course Molly has to have a patriotic dress):

Finally (this is definitely my “doll phase” year… geez… what happened to my resolution?! 😩) a dear friend gifted me this little girl from eBay. I’m learning a lot more about doll brands, materials, and eras this year. This is a Zanini Zambelli Italian doll, a brand I was unfamiliar with. She looks to be in pretty good shape, though her hair needs some TLC:

Her face is very sweet and thoughtful…

All I bought for this little lady is this ribbon (I love her outfit so much, that I don’t plan to change it):

On Saturday morning we went to the Swap Shop. I did most of my walking with Christopher, while our partner walked with Grandma and my mom-in-law. It was nice to spend time alone with my hubby. It’s a wonderful thing to spend most of our time the three of us together, but I also always treasure one-on-one time with either of them. It’s special. 🥰

I found a few wonderful vintage books at the Swap Shop, and also some Franklin ones! All hardcover, even an annual of British girl’s magazine, Judy!

My favorite find is the 3 Minute Bedtime Stories book, because in addition to being beautifully illustrated, I don’t actually know any of the stories.

After the Swap Shop, we went to have dim sum for lunch at a very popular, local Chinese restaurant. The place is huge, and was absolutely packed due to Mother’s Day. Grandma took this photo while the three of them waited outside (Christopher and I waited inside for our number to be called):

Photos at the table…

It was my first time having dim sum. I liked it; it was alright. But the atmosphere of the restaurant was too busy and overwhelming for me.

Back at the house, naps were had and we all relaxed for a while before dinner time.

In the evening, we had our anniversary dinner courtesy of my mom-in-law. We went to The Pub. Christopher and I both really like this place, and we got a very nice table. Here’s a photo that the very kind waiter took of our group:

Christopher and I! We were happy. 🥰

I had my favorite, bangers and mash, and an alcoholic coffee drink. We also ordered a great spinach dip:

I had bread pudding for dessert but it wasn’t what I hoped. Nothing beats the one I had in Tampa!

🌈 Sunday 🌈

On Sunday I worked all day long, both on housework and art. I finished two Patreon rewards and a little gift for Bogie. Now there are just eight pieces left to go –and the Patreon rewards are all completed!

I have a busy week ahead, with many hours at CTS. I wonder what I will find when I go in tomorrow. Will it be a mess? Busy? Quiet? I guess I’ll find out.

I’m estimating finishing four more pieces this week, so please look forward to that. I hope everyone has a lovely week!

Week 17 Summary: A New Job And A Cruise! 🤯🚢

Still working on LOADS of art!

What. A. Week! The cruise with my mom got finalized –for the most part. We sail in August! Hopefully. I applied to a new job because of the few hours at the other one –and got it! I (sort of) finished Pokémon Legends Arceus, and started a new game, Grow: Song Of The Evertree.

I visited my mom and got lots of art done throughout the week. I also prepped some new outfits for my dolls. I actually don’t talk about that last bit in this post; I created a separate post for it which you can read here.

🍃🦝 WARNING! 🦝🍃
This post will contain some spoilers for Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Grow: Song Of The Evertree.

🌈 Monday 🌈

Monday was an uneventful, but busy day. In the afternoon I made time to play more Diablo II with our partner:

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday was a weird day. On the positive end, I accomplished a TON of commission progress. I exercised, and finally got to see the credits roll in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It is VERY frustrating that Game Freak decided not to allow the player to screenshot the end screen.

The basic “ending” feels very abrupt, which makes sense since it isn’t the “true” ending. But this is the point at which I allow myself to put down a game that, at times, I have not enjoyed very much at all. At least temporarily.

Maybe I should have known better than to pick it up, considering it was a game focused on my least favorite aspect of Pokémon (this being, catching them —I’m someone who far prefers to battle). But that I could have gotten past, perhaps… if only it was enough to catch a Pokémon once and you’re done, and if you didn’t have to deal with the ridiculousness that is the subduing of frenzied Pokémon… though I admit I found it easier as it went along.

Avalugg was particularly easy. For me, Arcanine was the hardest. But I didn’t enjoy any of them.

The story was okay. I found the casting out of the protagonist to be interesting and unexpected. Really enjoyed these scenes…

…particularly those of the protagonist contemplating her situation all alone, and being visited by Pokémon.

Looking back as I work on this post, I realize that as much as I grumbled about many aspects of this game, I had enough fun to want to return to really finish it and see its “true” ending. So maybe I will in a couple of weeks.

I also really enjoyed some of the scenes featuring Cyllene, particularly this one:

Very true words. This battle was also very cool as far as visuals!

I needed something completely different as a follow-up, so I started Grow: Song Of The Evertree.

Oh my goodness do I LOVE this game! ✨😭✨ Let me start by saying that I am fed up with so-called “cozy” games. I can only play the same variation of Animal Crossing so many times. There are SO many farming sims and other games of this genre –from Story Of Seasons to Stardew Valley to everything in between. I fully expected Grow: Song Of The Evertree to be a drag, and yet, for some reason, I still bought it.

I find this game’s chores to be different enough, and delightful enough (even the fishing mechanic!) to be completely sold. In addition to the lovely character customization, what really makes this game for me are Book and Copperpot. Here’s Book:

These two have cared for you, the protagonist, since you were a baby.

The atmosphere is so wonderful, everywhere…

There are great side characters to meet and areas to explore:

I’ve only progressed a little so far, but the game is bringing me a lot of joy.

On a less positive note, after all the intense rains and flooding, we found a sunken area in our driveway:

We live in Florida —sinkhole land. So you can imagine seeing anything like that is always scary. I’ve been calling around to have someone come take a look.

In the evening, I went to my mom’s. She’s sick (not COVID, we tested) and she was feeling poorly enough to ask me to cancel our celebratory fancy dinner, which is a big bummer.

But we had our little “picada” as always, though it turned out to be a fondue for dinner.

I played my new video game a little more before calling it a night fairly early. I was very tired.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

Wednesday my mom and I just relaxed. Natasha had a bad case of bed head in the morning —a reminder of why I don’t sleep with dolls! I combed her hair and she was alright. But I enjoyed cuddling her during the night.

My mom surprised me with a little box full of things she had accumulated for me. Some I don’t really know what to do with, but they all made me smile.

This li’l guy was my favorite (the tiny typewriter is a jewel box I had from before):

Here’s Sweeney being sweet…

And being sweet some more…

My mom made fried potatoes and eggs for dinner. Hers are the BEST!! My favorite childhood meal.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

While out on my morning walk, I passed by a local market, which is about 10 walking minutes from our house, and saw a “Help Wanted” sign for a full-time cashier position. Because my job has been giving me such few hours that it barely counts as employment (I’m talking about 5-9 hours a week) I decided to apply.

The first interview went very well. I was told I’d probably be coming in again to see the owner in the afternoon, but I never received a callback. I kept my fingers crossed, but I was cranky about it.

For lunch, I had a potato and an egg sandwich and kept reading this weird book about wizards:

🌈 Friday 🌈

Still no callback from the market at all on Thursday… I was pretty bummed out about it. It was a stressful day, as the process of finalizing our cruise booking began in earnest, and I was in charge of it. It was finalized by Friday night, sans payment. So, finalized, but kinda-sorta. I can’t emphasize enough how stressful this was! Everything happened so quickly. The cruise is happening in just about one hundred and twenty days.

I was checking the Ring camera, as I do sometimes, and saw the old tomcat that tends to visit our front door area. As I was watching the video in the quiet of the morning, suddenly there was a massive CRASH!!! that seems to come from inside the house. I couldn’t figure out what it was! Take a look (with sound). You’ll notice the tomcat is startled as FRICK and takes off like a bat out of hell:

Later Christopher figured out that this was probably Elliot crashing furiously against the window blinds as the tomcat walked underneath them. What a racket –and what a fright for the marauder! Lol.

On this day I noticed that Buddy had shown up!! In April!

I like to think he’s just trying to watch over me because I’ve been so stressed, and it makes me smile. I wonder how long he will stay.

On this day I also finished this commission for Adri:

🌈 Saturday 🌈

I got up early to cook braised beef on the Crock-Pot for Saturday night’s dinner. In relation to the cruise, this was the most stressful day. The morning involved some very tense discussions about money at home. I found myself crying fifteen minutes before I was slated to go in to work, and pulling myself together was not easy.

Yet, a few minutes after I went in, the atmosphere at work and my coworkers had already perked me up.

I really do enjoy my current job. I love my coworkers, the customers, and the store. If the market calls back eventually, I guess I will be leaving it. But I desperately need more hours, to the point that I’m seeking full-time employment now, after all. So I found myself with a lot of mixed feelings as I worked on Saturday.

Around 5 pm, I took a fifteen-minute break to see if there were any news about the cruise planning… and found a voicemail from the market’s manager!

I figured this meant I had the job… which made the remaining two hours very odd. I still did my best with everything. Getting customers’ emails, helping my coworkers finish some projects… This had actually been the day I felt the most like “one of the team”, no longer a newbie, just, accepted. Fooling around as we worked, everyone doing their best. I felt a lot of sadness thinking that maybe, probably, that would be my last day.

Why couldn’t that place have given me more hours… 😔 But as it stands I’m not even sure the store will survive. [EDITOR’S NOTE: These words will become tragically and hilariously prophetic as will be elaborated on next week’s post.]

I texted the manager at the market during my break as well as called them back when I left work but did not get a response on this day.

I came home around 7 pm. Even though I was tired and a bit down for a bunch of reasons, the evening went well enough. I got some chores done and dinner turned out pretty great.

Here’s some small things I got from work. Candy, primary-colored pacifiers for my stuffed animals, a rainbow plate, and pink “Solo-like” cups (they’re super thick and strong) one for me and one toy-size, for toy photos:

I haven’t made a clip-on stuffie pacifier in like forever. But primary-colored ones were impossible to resist! I gave one to Beanie and one to Tritium. In the end, I didn’t make them into brooch “pin-style” pacifiers. I left them as they were, around their necks.

Here’s a bonus Tomoyo watching us from the couch during dinner:

In the evening I figured I should reinstall the NCL app. The new cruise is already showing up!

🌈 Sunday 🌈

There was no communication from the new job, but it was Sunday after all. Anticipating a potentially busy workweek ahead, I got up early so I could get as much done as possible. I worked a little on the blog, got dressed, showered, did my chores, and then worked on art. Finally, I finished some pieces:

Polenta accompanied me during lunch –leftover pasta with some added radish coins.

On this day I cleaned the snail tank. I have some photos and a video to share, as is often the case on tank cleaning days.

I caught two of the Roman snails going at it. ‘Tis the season!

Afterward, they were spent:

A couple more random cute pics:

We got Jersey Mike’s for dinner, and I got to use my new plate!

And that is it for this week. My goals continue to be on pause. But that’s okay: it is for good reasons. I firmly believe everything will fall into place by the time I am doing an end-of-year wrap-up. 😊 Have a great week, everyone!

Week 16 Summary: Drawing And More Drawing 👩‍🎨

Another week down. Rain is still plentiful! Most of my goals continue to be on pause. I’ve reduced my queue workload to just 15 items, having completed 21 since the new job began. I estimate about a month’s worth of work left. It’s tiring: I want to be done, so I can draw my own things. But the progress is encouraging.

Other than LOTS of due artwork being completed, some interesting things that happened this week were: another doll arrived (yes… yes, really) Christopher bought a robotic arm (???) I received a surprise of 🌻 flowers 🌻 and a box of Japanese candy. Let’s get on with the summary!

CW: There will be a spider photo in this post! It will appear shortly below the Thursday header.

🌈 Monday 🌈

Worked on some more necklaces on Monday. Rosie has been so affectionate… she kept me company:

I’ve been reading this biography of the lives of Stan & Jan Berenstain, creators of The Berenstain Bears. It’s very charming and interesting, particularly their lives prior to creating the bears.

(I’ve also been eating a lot of potatoes).

Here’s a Patreon reward I finished on Monday:

After I was done drawing for the day, our partner and I played Diablo II some more!

Then, when Christopher got home, we all played LEGO together. All I have left now are my Castle/Medieval sets, so I started with this one:

I cleaned the tank on this day. Here’s some happy and energetic snails:

And a little video, because why not:

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday morning I took this very adorable photo of Christopher and Kotoko snuggling. I know Christopher probably won’t be super thrilled to see this photo on my blog but I can’t resist. He’s even smiling in his sleep! And Kotoko looks so happy to be snuggled.

Necklace-making continued throughout this day. This is just a fraction of what I’ve made! When all is said and done, from beginning to end, I made about 30.

More Diablo II in the afternoon! We started a new act.

Recently, our partner surprised me with the news that he’d gotten a big box of Japanese candy for me. It finally arrived. It’s really pretty!

Laffy Taffy, my little Dilophosaurus, investigated…

All the candy is very cute and interesting to look at…

Finished a couple of Patreon icons on this day:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

By Wednesday, I was done reading the Berenstain’s autobiography, so I started with some of their actual bear books:

For whatever reason, Rosie continues to be all over me, or near me. She’s full of affection and purrs and seems very happy lately.

We played a little more LEGO in the evening. Progress on my castle continues!

I had my little trike, Bubblegum, for company.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

On Thursday, the first thing I did after my morning chores was putting dinner in the Crock-Pot. It made the house smell wonderful all day.

I went out to lunch with our partner and ran some errands. It was really hard to get gasoline, we had to visit four gas stations before we got some… it’s due to the flooding that took place last week, and is affecting a lot of areas.

Once back home, I worked more on the Patreon rewards that are due while he had to go to work outside of the house for a while. Later, out of the blue, there was a flower delivery to our house, a surprise from our partner for no reason. I was so happy, they are really beautiful! 🥰💞

Dinner turned out wonderful and worth all the hard work in the morning. In the evening, after dinner, we three went for a walk together, and saw this big spider. Our partner thought it was a brown recluse:

🌈 Friday 🌈

A doll that Christopher bought for me arrived today! When I bought Nellie, I was very torn between her and this doll. So, I am really happy to have them both after all. She has a very dopey but adorable smile:

I’ve named her Sunny! Interestingly, she is hand-signed by the artist, Johannes Zook. It’s a legit hand signature with a personalized message, on the doll’s neck.

I wish dolls weren’t so creepy to most people (sometimes, even to me). Dolls like these fill me with joy. Holding them, I feel the same as when I hold my bears.

When I try to rationalize my intense desire for these things, I always go back to my friendless childhood. While it’s true that I never could have had toys like these then, what I lacked most were friends. As I mentioned before, my toys were my friends. So even to this day, I heavily anthropomorphize toys, and humanize them. I could try to get therapy so I don’t want/need dolls or bears, or just… hold them, brush them, comb their hair, and enjoy them.

It’s pretty cringe I guess, but it doesn’t hurt anyone. I’m really glad sometimes that no one can see me quietly hugging a doll or combing its hair while having a play-pretend conversation with it in my head when I’m pushing 40. And god is it weird to write that. I don’t feel very different from when I was in my 20s, and when it comes to toys, my feelings towards them are exactly the same as when I was 11 or 12. When I think about this image of myself, doing these things even in private, it’s kind of pathetic. Maybe very pathetic. But, well… it’s one of my joys.

I think I went on this weird tangent because I’ve been browsing r/reborndollcringe, which I found at first hilarious, but more and more makes me really sad.

I wish it wasn’t cringe for adults to play with toys in the same manner as children would. I wish it wasn’t seen as unhealthy or strange. We live in such a crappy world sometimes, whatever refuge we can find for our hearts, we should treasure.

On Friday I completed four Patreon rewards. I’m pretty proud of them:

That means there’s just one to go for the month.

The snailios were happy and active in the evening, having been cleaned and freshly fed:

🌈 Saturday 🌈

Finally a workday. I’m getting very few hours… but as long as I’m working on the commission queue still, I don’t mind too much. I’m just too busy. Overall, for the last three weeks I’ve been working from early morning until night, with some breaks here and there to spend time with the guys.

Christopher and our partner went to Sebastian to pick up Christopher’s new toy (the robotic arm) and see his mom. Sadly I missed out on this visit.

I walked to work, and before going in, cooled off in Best Buy. They happened to have this on display. Seeing it made me smile.

Work was okay. I got praised by the big boss, but I also made more mistakes than usual, and felt very tired as the day wore on. After Christopher picked me up, I got to see the robotic arm in action at home. Though I didn’t say it, I thought it was way cooler than I originally expected it would turn out to be.

Our partner was sleeping and Christopher didn’t want dinner, but he let me order my favorites from Wahbi-Sabi and took me to pick them up (and went inside to get it too).

I found an adorable sponge at work. It’s a Cleanosaurus! It stands up perfectly by itself so I’ll put it somewhere around the studio.

Even after eating, though, I felt very worn out, even a little sad for no reason, I think it was just the desire to do things combined with the complete lack of energy. So I decided to call it an early night.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

This started as a bit of a bad brain day. I’d written a lot on this post that I later removed; it was a lot of whining so I decided that I would make it a good day even if the day didn’t want to be one.

Thankfully my husband and our partner humored me with a lot of whims today, and I got a lot of chores done in the morning, which also helped my mood. Once I was done, we went to brunch:

After that, we walked together around T.Y. park, then dropped Christopher off and our partner and I went grocery shopping. It was very pleasant, and while I got stuff for the week, he bought stuff to make chili for dinner. His chili is amazing so I was immediately excited!

Then we got home. I put everything away, and made them both coffee and grabbed a snack for myself. We played LEGO for about an hour. My little castle is well underway:

After LEGO, we showered while the chili cooked in the Crock-Pot. Then we had dinner and watched The Good Doctor. Dinner was AMAZING. The Good Doctor is starting to get a little silly, but it still made me cry at the end.

Christopher was wonderful and did the dishes while our partner and I played our Diablo II session for the day.

Then it was bedtime. I quickly fed the cats and we watched anime and YouTube. We’ve reached the middle of Hikaru No Go which I think the guys are somewhat relieved about. They don’t find this anime as enthralling as I did. 😅

It’s unfortunate that this anime isn’t gripping them like I hoped (though they do love making fun of it). It’s one of my top five of all time as far as personal favorites. I’ve always been baffled by how many cliffhangers between episodes left me desperate to continue binging it.

Sure… it has cringy moments. It has a LOT of cringy moments –I can’t even call that a product of its time. It just does. I do believe some of those cringy moments are NOT cringy in the manga –it’s like it just didn’t translate well to animation when it comes to some shots and scenes. But overall I think it holds up so well.

As a side note, I am feeling more and more isolated. This isn’t something individual friends can help with: it is the grief of coming to terms with having lost a community. I tell myself that this was by choice, but whenever I poke my head into my old haunts, it is very obvious that what they used to be, is no longer. So, it’s not like my old community is still there for me to go back to.

I guess these days I feel a lot like I did circa 2011: aimless and adrift. Not as lonely, though. I do have friends, and most importantly, I have my husband and our partner. But having known a tightly-knit community, its loss is palpable. I’ve been coping by buying new dolls and playing with my toys.

I’m never been someone to want to see the future. Never have and never will be. But I wonder, in maybe ten years, or even less, what will it all look like? My finding of a community, seeing it grow, seeing it eat itself and collapse along with most of the sites that were once our havens, and losing it and being where I am now, took maybe six years. Things could still change dramatically, maybe for the better.

I’ve been on FA just a little under twelve years, and began to feel things change starting around 2019, maybe a little before, 2018? 2016? Maybe at the start I just had rose-tinted glasses on.

But anyway, even before I had “community”, I was happy. I concentrated a lot on my personal work. Soon I will be doing that again.

With those closing thoughts, that is it for this week. I’m visiting my mom next week and we will go to a fancy restaurant to celebrate her green card. I’ll see you all throughout the week with new art, and on Sunday with the next weekly summary! Have a great week, guys.

Week 15 Summary: Dreary, Rainy Season Is Here ☔

It rained a LOT this week. It rained so much, in fact, that Broward County closed its schools for two days, and Ft. Lauderdale closed down its airport. Some areas experienced unprecedented levels of flooding: a historic volume of rain exceeding 2 feet. I read it described as “an event so intense the chance of it happening in any given year is just 0.1%”.

It felt like the rain would never stop, and while it did stop by the weekend, it’s the rainy season now. We may or may not get flooded areas again, and thankfully I saw no significant flooding where I live, but rain on an almost daily basis will become the norm for quite a while. Then it will be hurricane season. That’s Florida for ya!

The rain, which I normally enjoy, really brought me down this time around. My period wreaked havoc on my mood this month: I would call it, too, a rare event. My crankiness does not usually last this long nor is it this intense, and overall, it made the week unbearable for me and those around me.

There were good, bad, and boring sides to this week. Let’s get on with it!

🌈 Monday 🌈

It began to rain in earnest, but still we had sunny moments throughout the day and the humidity wasn’t too bad yet. It rained more and more as the day got long in the tooth. Anyhow, Monday was a busy day. I did loads of chores, went grocery shopping, played Diablo II with our partner, and completed this commission:

Our partner made a ham quiche for dinner. It was delicious!

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Rain, rain and more rain. It seemed to drag everything down with it. I felt useless, sleepy and sluggish, with no energy whatsoever. Eventually, I forced myself to move, and slowly started doing things around the house, such as organizing the studio, and setting some stuff aside to put into storage or give away. I wanted to make more room for new toys, mostly dolls.

Something really odd happened on this day. Sarah mysteriously appeared among the bears!

She didn’t have her hat. I am not sure why she is here. Frankly it’s a little unsettling. I hope all is well between her and Buddy.

Something important happened on Tuesday:

At the time, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but this was an important step in my mom’s paperwork being finalized once and for all. More developments would come later in the week.

Rosie was being a cutie and trying to get my attention while I had lunch:

So I played with her a bit:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

On Wednesday I completed a commission and a new banner, which you already saw at the top of this entry, and a commission for Pilou that I’m really proud of:

I also had the usual Zoom call with my mom. You’ll notice I make no mention of work so far. That is because this week, I would only work on Saturday. Last week, I only had three days. Next week, I only have five hours again. I’m not the only person dealing with that, but I am not happy about it. From what I read online, it’s a common issue with this company: most people leave due to very limited hours. I hope I won’t have to do the same.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

To say that Thursday was momentous would be an understatement. As mentioned, on Tuesday, I’d received confirmation that my Form I-130, Petition For Alien Relative (for my mom) had been approved by USCIS. We have been waiting for years, just for this specific step. But, my mom still hadn’t been told that her Form I-485, Application To Register Permanent Residency, was approved. Though unlikely, it could still have been denied.

On Thursday, my mom’s application was also approved:

It’s hard to overstate the significance of this moment. I know my mom spent the day crying on and off. I still haven’t been able to process it, myself –though I did tear up a bit when the paralegal CC’d me on an email congratulating her. It felt more real then.

Some of you know how long and arduous the road to legalization has been, both for me and for my mom. I still lived with fear that the response would be a denial and my mom would be deported. Even though I myself have been sorted out for many years (and a citizen for two) nothing really felt done until I could truly stop fearing for my mom’s welfare.

I wasn’t even ten years old when I decided that someday, somehow, I would live in the USA. My mom worked for my dream and made it hers. We would eventually abandon all we had for a huge gamble and an unsure future in the United States, knowing the gamble could cost us everything.

We have been in the USA since 2001: this is the first time I truly breathe in complete relief for both of us. So many years later, it feels complete. I’m numb and not really having an emotional reaction yet because there were so many times I thought this would happen and it didn’t. It’s hard to believe it’s finally over. I am a citizen and my mom is a legal resident, forever. Hopefully someday she’ll be a citizen, too.

And for those who have heard many times my little story regarding An American Tail (which I’ll retell at some point soon) yeah, my mom and I are getting together to watch it. Finally after 15 years I will allow myself to watch it again.

Christopher had the Apple IIe out and functioning on Thursday night. It looked so cool.

Here’s a little lady I have coming to me. She’s a Pat Secrist doll. I’ve been learning about these dolls recently, their high quality and (if you’re patient on eBay) incredible affordability. She’s a big one, too. I don’t have many blonde dolls, I’m looking forward to playing with her. Her dress is so lovely, too! I’m going to call her Nellie. She reminds me of a schoolmate I had in elementary school, who had that name.

For date night we played LEGO. I finished Emma’s Art School!

🌈 Friday 🌈

The sun came out again!! Finally! ✨🌞✨ But, now it’s very, very, VERY hot. That aside –Friday was extremely productive! I finished three Patreon rewards:

Then I did a few chores, before setting everything up for some fun!

🌈 Fun With Pony Beads 🌈

I’ve been putting off making new toy necklaces. This is pretty bad because I don’t really enjoy a new toy until, at a minimum, it has been christened and given its necklace, but ideally until they have an outfit that I’ve put together myself rather than the original one (this mostly applies to dolls), or a bandana, or just something to make it look like it’s my own, and loved.

Between Friday and Sunday I decided to dedicate time to the toy name backlog. I started by setting everything out, surrounding myself with toy friends, and putting one of my kiddy playlists on!

Sometime in between making necklaces, I played some more Diablo II with our partner.

🌈 Saturday 🌈