So, my blog has been a bit abandoned… 👉👈💧 I’m so sorry about that. I also seem to be becoming more and more of a hermit. I am sorry about that, too.
There’s been a bunch of reasons. I’ve been reading a lot (and I do mean a LOT), been kind of busy deep inside my own head, perhaps having not exactly a mid-life crisis as much as a mid-life reassessment, plus preparing for upcoming trips, and then going on them.
Let’s start with the Alaska cruise: it was amazing. When it comes to the trip’s details, this time, unlike last time, I’m making an effort to blog more about it.
To make it easier, I opted not to decorate my photos with purikura this time around, because I think that wanting to do that and not having time to do it was the main reason I didn’t properly blog about the Alaska trip last year. So, I apologize if things are a little less colorful on this post.
With that said, this will be a very long and extremely image-intensive post. So I’m posting it under a cut.
I can’t believe it took me so long to put the first puzzle of the year together! At least I’ve been doing moderately well with my other resolutions. This one was just 100 pieces, but I really enjoyed it.
Last night we built LEGO together for a little while. Christopher is still working on his Atari console. I’m building set 31132 LEGO Creator Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent. It’s really big!
Today was such a well-balanced day. I drew traditional art outside, inked some more (traditional ink), wrote a HECKTON, built a puzzle, played LEGO, and did some more reading. I also exercised and did all my chores. A great day! Let’s see if I can make it as good tomorrow.
WARNING: Short little video at the end of the Saturday summary, which shows a tiny, tiny snake that really looks just like an earthworm! But might still give some the heebie-jeebies.
Well, it is finally over. No more Christmas Tree Shop. I will miss it, sincerely… but now I am free to finish the last three commissions, to work on scrapbooking pages, to read, to game! 😃 To binge Prehistoric Planet and The Mandalorian, and to finish 3,000 Leagues In Search Of Mother. 🤓 For a while, free to kinda do anything –I won’t seek another job until after my Alaska and Orlando vacations. 🚢🎈
But for the rest of this week, I worked a lot, determined to give my last week at CTS my all. ✌ I must have cried like three times, twice on the last day. I wondered why at the time… I’ve only been there three months.
It’s true that I grew very fond of the team, above all, and the work was pleasant. But I think that I may still be reeling from the recent drastic actions to altogether remove myself from my online home and community of almost twelve years. 😔 CTS closing is a small ending in my life, but that other, far more significant ending is still in the background of my mind and my heart. Perhaps my brain connected the grief of both.
Anyhow, let me tell you all about this week. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting!
Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a little while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
On Monday I worked on commissions and housework for most of the day. I also played a little WoW. I finished the last official commission for Snow. Just three to go!
I’ve still been going back and forth in my mind regarding Instagram. I know it’s pointless to have it and yet do not feel quite ready to delete it. Maybe once I adjust to being without FA. I found myself trying to browse the site still (FurAffinity, I mean) so I blocked it on Cold Turkey Blocker.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
This day started off badly. I overslept. Barely made it to work on time, and was cranky and tired. When I got to work, the discount was even lower:
This meant people behaved even worse. They always do when the price goes down, for some reason. The store was even more condensed and empty…
There’s not much of a store left at this point, really.
Lunch was the usual salad, but I had a Petit Pot for dessert, which felt special.
On this day I finally finished most of my leftover purchases. Here’s a cute rat card I got for scrapbooking:
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Last workday before my day off –at least it was a short one! After I got back, I showered, changed into my deer kigurumi, and had Kid Cuisine for lunch. Can’t beat that!
I’d run out of coffee the day prior, so I had a caffeine-withdrawal headache until the late afternoon when Amazon delivered it. 😖 I coped by napping until it arrived.
We had pizza for dinner and in general, it was a nice relaxing evening. I went to bed excited about my day-off plans.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
This was a special, and very wonderful day. I recently got paid. While my prior paycheck went entirely to my mom’s fund, I had different plans for this one. Since I do not intend to work again until September, I needed to make sure all of my bills are covered until then. I paid the ones I could pre-pay and set money aside for all the others from now through December.
I also bought a couple of gifts, and set aside spending money for the cruise and for the Orlando trip. Finally, I had a “me” day, just a day in which I allowed myself to dress cute, go out, have breakfast, enjoy my own company, and spend a little money on myself without regrets or guilt. Ok, maybe just a little guilt. 😅
I took a selfie before heading out; I hadn’t done this in a while.
My first stop was Target, where I found (and bought) this amazing Smurf and Snail hoodie!
I have been wanting to change my pillowcases for a long time but never saw any I liked enough. But this time I found two!
They are a bit wrinkled, but here are my favorite sides. I threw them in the wash which should smooth the wrinkles out.
I also found Bluey bowls to match my plates, cutlery, placemat and cup!
This is something that I didn’t buy, but seeing it filled me with nostalgia:
When I was very little, this is what TMNT toys used to look like. I never really liked them; they looked angry and… veiny? Lol. I remember being upset because I liked the cartoon and wished they looked friendly like they did in the show.
A little boy in my neighborhood had some of these toys, and seeing it now I very vividly remember holding it in my hand, moving its limbs, and just how it felt against my skin; its weight, all of its sharp edges, the shell, etc. So it was nice seeing it again, and remember.
I took a photo of some bright, weedy grass because it had many different shades of yellow and green, and was so pretty. Wildflowers were popping out of it here and there.
Then I made it to the mall! I passed by the quirky dino rider thingies. This time I took photos of different ones. One looked kinda like an axolotl but also somewhat like Toothless… only pink. My favorite was the parasaurolophus, hands down!
Then I went to “Cutie”, a store that is very fun to browse but I almost never buy anything there. They sell toys that were sold on close-out at other stores in the mall, only super overpriced, and a LOT of Aliexpress junk as well as fake Sanrio stuff sold for the price of the real thing. With that said, it’s a super cool store to just have fun in, and they have this giant raptor statue!
This guy looked so friendly:
I took a photo of this particular toy because it looks so much like the sort of weird, made-in-China hodgepodge I would get at markets when I was a little girl. Just look it over carefully and keep reading; it gets consistently more hilarious.
Finally, it was time to go to Build-A-Bear! This guy was greeting (er… guarding?) the entrance. I get that he’s supposed to be waving, but he also kinda looks like he’s gonna deck you one…
I really scored with my BAB finds this time! Put together three whole outfits:
Freckles was the main reason I went to Build-A-Bear. He needed clothes, and now he has a proper outfit! Although I think he needs a hat, still:
He doesn’t look very happy, but that’s okay. Freckles is hard to please. Hard, get it. Because he has a wooden face.
Cool dress at Hot Topic!
Loungefly backpacks are a work of art. So unaffordable though… I only own one (and a tiny bag). It’s rare I even take photos of them but I love this one:
Here’s a decoration at a Toys “R” Us display:
Looks like a Christmas decoration that got left behind, but it’s still cute.
My dream Cranky keeps taunting me everywhere I go… 😞 I want him so badly. There are a bunch of Cranky models, I only want the one that comes in this very specific box. It is the “Brendham Docks” model by Fisher-Price and has a woodgrain band to the right of the box. This one, specifically.
Unfortunately, he’s really expensive and I can never bring myself to blow an entire special day’s budget on him. I’ve had him on my wishlist for so long now, updating it as different versions of him come out. He never goes on sale, at least not this new version. Someday…!
See, the problem with other Crankys is that either they aren’t compatible with regular track, or their faces are wrong. Cranky HAS to look cranky. It’s Cranky after all! And this line has made the best facial expressions by far.
Anyway, here are a couple of cute plushies I saw:
One of my favorite finds of this outing was this Child’s Play shirt and lounge pants. They were sold separately, I just really loved the pants so I looked for a shirt that would be a good set:
I think it’s a pretty perfect match!
In the afternoon, I repotted my Norfolk Island pine. It’s in a massive pot now. Here’s hoping it shoots up nice and strong!
I also managed to make time to install my new lights: purple lights over the bookcases, shamrock lights in the bed, and heart lights by the window:
I was SO delighted with my Chucky loungewear!!
Then it was time for wine and WoW. I kinda wasted my time since I tried a couple of dungeons but it is obvious I cannot solo them yet. Oh well.
An otherwise happy and relaxing evening for all of us took a bit of a downturn as Kotoko, who hadn’t been quite right since the morning, refused to eat and acted more and more unlike herself, clearly uncomfortable and not purring at all the way she usually does. We are hoping it’s a blip… she’s been doing so well. But we also know that she could go at any point, given her condition.
🌈 Friday 🌈
In the morning, Kotoko came to look out the window which meant climbing from the floor onto my lap and then the table. I also heard her open her food bowl but I’m unsure if she ate very much. She wasn’t interested in fresh wet food, but she did take some treats from me and actually purr while eating them.
Throughout the week, my relief at deleting FA has only increased. I did, however, notice that not every old friend wants to stay in touch with me, even though I haven’t had anyone explicitly come out and say it, in a couple of cases it was pretty obvious. I’m not gonna lie, it does sting a little, but the reasons are precisely the same reasons why I am leaving the community as a whole. There is a certain attitude towards certain things that I personally find toxic and preposterous, and this puts me at odds with a lot of people.
But it is each person’s prerogative to stay in touch or not. They probably feel the same way about me. On the one hand, it reinforces my decision: I read the room accurately when I chose to leave. On the other hand, it feels sucky to be right.
I know this is pretty rambly, so I will quote what someone else said elsewhere: come the day that FA’s grace period regarding their updated AUP ends, a lot of people are in for a painful wake-up call. This includes many people that consider their work to be “totally SFW and non-k!nk”.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t exactly want to see people upset. But I’m not gonna shed tears when they, too, begin getting takedowns and bans. We warned them, after all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Here’s a Random Raikes bunny I ordered. Couldn’t resist his “I’m trippin’ balls” face. I’ll name him Romaine.
That’s the eBay photo; I’ll show him off again once I’ve dressed him in a proper outfit and all that.
The workday was good. Kotoko appeared to be feeling a little better when I got home. I gave her more meds, had lunch, and then, a snack:
Then it was time for housework… lots and lots of housework. When I was done, I sat down to work on art until bedtime, with a break for dinner.
I switched my pillowcases with the new clean ones. They’re still a bit wrinkly, but I love them! It’s only two but I do love both sides of the Jurassic World one:
🌈 Saturday 🌈
For most intents and purposes, this was the last day at CTS. We told all customers today was the last day, and it was the last day on which I would see several coworkers.
This photo is of how the store looked when I came in. If you compare it with a photo taken just about four hours later, the difference is quite stark.
I got this unexpected message when I logged in to my register…
A silly joke by a customer:
For lunch I had an egg salad sandwich and one of the jelly donut holes I found in the break room.
I shared it with Bargain:
Bargain and I partook in some “strong apple juice”. It’s just something that happened throughout the day on the down-low, though “strong apple juice” wasn’t everyone’s comfort drink. We didn’t go nuts of course, but it was a nice little thrill on this last difficult day…
Here’s a pupper photoset. This guy was a bit shy, which you can tell in the photos, but also friendly, and did little jumps at me and licked my hands all over. He wanted to be friends, but was also somewhat reserved. His name was Loki.
I took a few selfies with some of my favorite coworkers (mind you this is not all of them):
In the first photo is Sandra, whom I originally spoke to the day on the day I first applied to work at CTS. She was the first one I ever met. Sandra is no-nonsense but very kind and very hardworking; you can tell she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, yet she still was very patient with me all the time that I was there.
In the second photo is Carolina, or just Caro. She is a very sweet person with a warm and caring demeanor, who has an incredibly contagious and loud laugh, which you could hear from the other end of the store, even over loud music. Invariably it would cause customers I’d be ringing up at the register to raise amused eyebrows and to comment that “it sounds like someone is having fun over there”. Hearing her laugh was always a highlight, and on the first few days after we found out about the store closing, it would make me tear up thinking I’d no longer get to hear it every day.
In the last photo is Lucy. Lucy is kind of the “star manager” of the store, the one customers always ask for, and whom everyone else (other employees as well as other managers) invariably speak highly of. She trained me, and thanks to her, I gained a lot of self-confidence in areas that ended up bettering my life outside of work. I learned a lot from her and I really will miss her terribly.
There are other people I like a lot with whom I didn’t get to take photos (yet)… I either didn’t have a chance or felt too shy to ask. Some I would have a chance later in the week –my boss, Lazaro, being one of them. He is one of the best bosses I ever had, with a very strong but caring, honest and hardworking personality. I always really wanted to please him, but I also annoyed him a lot. 😅
Here’s the other photo I was talking about. It’s less than four hours later, yet you can see how much emptier the store appears. You can see Caro and Sandra posing for me in the middle (this photo, like the other one, was taken from the upstairs office):
In the last few days at the store, even this TV gave up…
A photo from my register when it was close to my time to leave, around 6:30 pm. Hardly anything left by this point.
Christopher came into the store a few minutes before 7:00 pm and chit-chatted with my coworkers as I said my goodbyes to those I wouldn’t see again. I was really glad about this, so he could meet the people I’d come to care a lot about, if only for a little while.
I took a photo of this punch-out, because even though I’d punch in and out on Sunday, this day felt really momentous and I didn’t want to risk my Sunday schedule perhaps being changed or canceled and then I didn’t take one last photo. After all, this was still the “last” day (technically) so this punch-out felt more significant.
Christopher took me to The Pub for dinner:
Our partner was with our other friends on this afternoon, discussing arrangements for their wedding, and going out and having some fun with them, so Christopher and I had a rare night out by ourselves. 🥰 It felt special. We also walked around Target a little just for fun, holding hands, and he showed me that he’d bought me these ugly but adorable Raikes beavers from eBay that I really wanted. He’s been spoiling me a LOT lately.
Actually, both he and our partner have been spoiling me so much. Since March and until now, I have been extremely difficult to be around as I try to adjust to schedule changes that simply do not work for me and my delicate-ass psyche. At times I even inferred extremely hyperbolic stuff like basically not wanting to be alive (and at the time, it felt like I meant it) because I was basically in an extended mental breakdown.
To be honest, I hardly know how they dealt with it. Particularly as it’s reaching the end, I realize that the last few months were, for them, a constant battle to accommodate to my desires, whether by ordering what I wanted to eat, giving me attention/petting me when I demanded it and then leaving me alone when I wanted that instead, taking me out to eat, buying me stuff to cheer me up, giving me rides to and from work, listening to SO much bitching and crying, being on the brunt of random explosive fits of rage, and more.
I know most of all for them, my next job *has* to be something I can handle better, without falling apart. I cannot do this to them again and I am lucky that it didn’t damage two of the most important relationships in my life. Here’s hoping I’ve learned a thing or two and can do better next time.
WARNING REMINDER: Short video below which shows the tiniest snake!
In the evening Christopher and I found a tiny wee earthworm-like snake in the movie room. Well, Rosie did. It turned out to be a Brahminy Blindsnake, also known as a Flowerpot Snake. They are non-native, but very common to Florida, and completely harmless.
Some fun facts I learned:
“During the hot summer months in Florida, we receive numerous reports from people finding small, shiny black, thread-like snakes on the floors inside their houses, especially the bathrooms.”
“Blindsnakes eat termites and the eggs and pupae of ants. Therefore, if you are seeing several of these snakes inside, it is possible that you have ants or termites living in or near your house as well.”
Indeed, we have plenty of ants and termites. Our tenting should occur within the month. We placed the little lady safely outside.
Another fun fact about these snakes is that all are female, and a genetic clone of their mothers.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
The week comes to an end… and so does my time at CTS. I started this day doing all the chores I could. I wanted to come home to relax and draw when the workday was done. After doing all I could, I went to work. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of what we would be doing, but when I got there at noon, the store was still serving customers:
I said hello and went upstairs to put my lunch away. I noticed no one was hiding the comfort drinks anymore…
We no longer had the official store music going on, everyone was playing whatever they wanted, sitting on the desks at the registers, no one cared much about anything, but we were still unfailingly serviceable to any customer that came in.
Customers were very few. After all, there was very little left at the store…
While we waited for stuff to sell and some of my coworkers did some cleaning here and there, I took another picture and a bit of video of the empty store:
It was super eerie and echoey (though I removed the sound, as it was loud and annoying):
Ultimately, while we had a few customers buy something here and there, a single couple would buy all that was left, to resell it. They came with a cute doggy friend:
And with that, we were done. Closed forever. All the stores across the country that are also closing were supposed to close today. We managed to be the first store to do so. My coworkers then began to take all the signs down. They shut the doors. And well, I finally kind of lost it a little, and did some proper “ugly crying”.
But then, food arrived! For lunch, we all pitched in for pizza (Christopher pitched in for my part). Normally I take my photos of Bargain on the down-low, but today I really didn’t care:
We had a very pleasant meal all of us together. Afterwards, I took some more pics as we disassembled stuff…
That last pic is where the carts used to be stored.
Then we went upstairs to continue the clean-up and I got to take a selfie with another favorite coworker of mine, Letti:
Letti bought a bunch of these cute St. Patrick’s Day decorations and gave one to each of us. She wrote a very sweet note and her contact info on the back of mine. Letti and I both grew on each other while I worked there, even though we both have strong personalities. I’m really happy that I met her.
The calendar from the upstairs office…
Before I left, we all took a picture together. Well, some people left before this could be arranged, but as it turned out, I still managed to get all of my most favorite people in there –at least, the ones that worked today, and that I worked with the most. There are definitely people I still wish had been in the photo, though:
We actually got two really good shots. They are different, so I wanted to share them both –and, appropriately, this is my last CTS-related photo ever:
I am so, so glad I got to work here. In spite of me not dealing well with the closer-to-full-time hours near the end, it’s still a really happy memory that I won’t forget. I hope you enjoyed my sharing of the experience with you on the blog.
Once we were home, Christopher asked me to go check the closet. I did, and he’d hidden a surprise for me there!
He’d bought it secretly after dropping me off! I was really touched, it was such a sweet and unexpected gesture. 🥰
I did lots of chores, and then sat down to dinner:
At some point in the evening, I found that Rosie had gotten cozy with Chucky. I’m not sure that’s such a great idea. He doesn’t have the best track record with cats.
At the very end, people called dibs on store stuff that was being thrown away or not being sent back. The Ty display would be trashed, so I removed this plastic heart logo from it, as a memento, and later stuck it to my bed:
And that is it for this week! Next week I hope to finish all the due commissions. Not sure if I’ll make it –they are all complicated pieces. But once I do, then I am actually going to resume my for-fun endeavors and my book progress.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week! As a reminder, if you haven’t yet –you’re welcome to join my Telegram chat. I am quite active there! Just read the rules before participating. See ya there!
Hectic, bittersweet days continue at work. Next week will be our last week left together. A few cute puppers visited the store, and as usual, I took photos of them to share with you. 🐶
In some BIG news… I deleted my FurAffinity account this week. I would say that was the most momentous event. Also, this week I didn’t draw. I may or may not draw next week… right now I’m just going through the motions to complete the last week at CTS. But I will definitely resume drawing when the store closes!
Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a little while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
Someone had drawn a little sad face by the board countdown…
I really enjoyed my lunch on this day. I had an egg salad sandwich.
A customer with a lovely golden retriever came to the store! He was so friendly and happy.
When my husband and our partner came to pick me up after this long and busy day, I was surprised to see that Kotoko had joined them for the ride!
She seemed very interested in everything there was to see:
I took a little video, as well:
Our partner was in charge of dinner this night. He made an amazing sous vide steak with some newfangled equipment he bought. For some reason, Christopher decided to drink and got pretty hammered, which made the evening… interesting.
I ended my night playing World of Warcraft as I have been doing recently.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
I had salad again for lunch.
The store empties further, not just with passing days but with passing hours. So, I continue to take photos…
It’s eerie and can be very disorienting. For some employees, coming back to this after having one or two days off, and seeing the store look alien and unrecognizable, can be rough to say the least, and makes them understandably depressed. 😟
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Wednesday was my day off. I went for a walk for the first time in a very long time. I saw some interesting mushrooms:
And a tiny lizard!
In the afternoon, the little outfits I commissioned for my new pair of Duendys by Nines D’ Onil came in. They fit pretty well! I also made them two necklaces each (one with a snail and one with a primary-colored pacifier) and keychains with toy toys. They still need name necklaces, but their names are Trapper and Keeper. I meant for Trapper to be a boy, but then realized these are anatomically correct dolls, and both are little girls! 😅
In the evening I played World of Warcraft while Rosemary kept me company nearby.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
As I came back to work on Thursday, I noticed that there was now a countdown sign by the entrance:
My boss, Lazaro, had written a message to the team on the board. It made me tear up…
Had salad for lunch:
We played a little LEGO in the evening. I have two wonderful HUGE sets to do, but just don’t feel emotionally ready to tackle them. So I grabbed my last two tiny sets. I’m hoping Christopher will get me some smaller sets to add to my backlog. Sometimes, I just need a few sets like these (well, a little more complex than these) in between builds to clear my head.
🌈 Friday 🌈
Friday morning, some stuff had been added to the board:
Later, before my boss left for the day, I wanted to tell him some stuff that I didn’t want to lose the chance to share with him before this is all over. One of the things I wanted him to know is how much the team appreciates him.
A manager doesn’t usually get to hear what employees say behind his back, only to his face. He has a really strong personality. He actually gets on people’s nerves a lot. But even when employees vent to one another about him, they have kind things to say. Even someone complaining about him will end the sentence with “but he’s a good guy/boss/I like working for him.” I saw this consistently in the few months I’ve been there, but even more so, recently.
The weird thing is, I haven’t been emotional at work, but after I spoke to him, as I walked back to the register, I suddenly became really overcome with sadness. It took a huge effort not to start crying as I rang up the next person. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been there just three months. I love the store and my coworkers. I am so sad that this is ending.
On this day, the store had a special visitor. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but Corgis are my absolute dream dog. Having one is a big item on my bucket list, an “I must do this before I die” thing. Right now we have too many cats and preoccupations. When I get a Corgi, I want to have the economical and time-availability resources to give it my all.
I was able to pet this sweet little lady and take many photos. Looking at them now just reinforces my desire! Someday, someday…
When I got home, my new Imaginext Parasaurolophus had arrived! It’s such a surprise to see them make this Cretaceous hadrosaurid –a favorite of mine, right when I am working on a book about one, too! Its mouth opens and closes:
It makes gentle bellows and stompy noises too!
Something important that happened on this day was that I finalized my decision regarding FurAffinity, and by extension, most of my leftover social media. I deleted cohost, Gumroad, Carrd, Mastodon, Retrospring, and Toyhou.se (haven’t decided about Instagram yet). I sent deletion requests for my two FA side accounts and would be sending the one for my main account on Sunday night.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Saturday was a slow day at work. We tried to keep busy as much as we could, but the hours dragged on so slowly. It rained and stormed heavily all day. I had my usual salad for lunch:
We had two doggy visitors on Saturday! As always, I got pictures:
The second dog belongs to one of my coworkers. Her stepfather had come in with the dog and was walking around the store holding the dog up in the air to embarrass her. It was honestly adorable, she literally went to hide among the merchandise, she was so mortified, haha.
After a nice shower, a good dinner, and making the beds, I settled in for some wine and WoW:
It was sooo nice! 🍷😩👌
I finally went to sleep around 2:00 am. Grover makes the bed look so inviting!
I have been going to bed very late recently. Work is very exhausting, which makes me want to relax for longer in the evenings, but then obviously in the mornings, I am dragging ass… 😬 Very soon life will go back to normal though, so at least there is that.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Lunch was similar to other days, but I keep taking photos of my lunches because there are only a handful left of them at work. Also, the fruit and veggie Good2Grow juice was my favorite so far!
On Sunday evening, I sent in the deletion request for my FurAffinity account. I originally created the account on January 1st, 2012. That is a long time. I have not been on any other website as long as I have been on FurAffinity.
I am not sure what my daily Internet life will turn into now… For the last 12 or so years, I checked FurAffinity multiple times per day. Now, this will be gone, along with most other online social spaces I had left. I am unsure regarding Instagram… but it’s so full of bots anyway. So maybe I will also leave.
I see pretty monumental changes happening all around me when it comes to the Internet. A lot of younger people are anxious to be untethered from smartphones. Twitter and Reddit are imploding. FurAffinity became a wasteland. DeviantART destroyed itself, and Tumblr is full of “antis”. Cohost is running out of money and a recent, very poorly handled AUP debacle saw many people leaving. And who’s still on Facebook? 🤷♀️
Most people I know have left most social media or are thinking of doing so, or wish they could do so. I think everyone has wanted to for a long time, but it’s a hard habit to break. It took this implosion, and the virtual self-immolation of these websites, for people to begin to jump ships en masse.
I’ve wanted to leave the fandom communities of which I have been part for years now –they have long become deeply toxic for my psyche– but the monumental level of loss that it entailed made this a step I could not bear to take until my community practically ate itself and its online hangouts became barren.
Now that the time has come, the sense of loss is very much secondary to intense relief. I have no regrets.
On that note, I’d kept every “shout” since I joined FA in 2012, so I used an extension that screenshots an entire webpage and screenshotted all the shouts I had ever received. A shout is a 200-or-so-character message on a person’s profile. I’d screenshot, delete all shouts in the current webpage, and when the new ones loaded, and then screenshot again. It was 40 pages, so a good bit of work, but I feel that it’s worth it to have those memories. 💕
And so an exhausting week came to an end. I’m off Monday (tomorrow) and then it’s back to work to finish my last week at one of my favorite jobs that I’ve ever had. After next week, I’ll be finishing the last few art pieces, and then… it’s back to drawing and writing for me! 😊
Have a happy week, everyone! Thank you to all who are sticking with me and remaining friends. It means so much to me!
This week I went back to my job at Christmas Tree Shops, which, as I’ve mentioned, is closing down (my location is, anyway) meaning that in a few weeks, we will all be out of a job. But I came back here because the job at the market/bakery was awful.
CTS was/is the first true corporate job that I actually stayed at. I don’t count Citel since they didn’t need me after all, and it was an office job that lasted barely a week or two. In addition to that, CTS is my first experience working at a big box store that is being liquidated and closing. As the title of this post mentions, this experience can at times wear you down and demoralize you. Other times, it’s really funny. And it is very bittersweet.
I am glad that I am in such a privileged position to get to do it without panicking about what my next job will be. I can just take it all in, and have fun with it, which gives me a lot of material to blog about. 😏
This post also has more doll stuff and more art. Let’s get to it!
Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a little while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
On this day I went back to CTS. The vibe was certainly… weird. At times, people joke and laugh. At times, it feels very sad. Overall, everyone is stressed out of their minds. The sales are bad right now (for customers): mostly 10% off, with our 20% off coupons gone. This means that the prices are technically more expensive than before we were closing. But perception is everything, and people come in droves, spending hundreds at a time, and in one case, over a thousand dollars. It’s very tiring right now.
Seeing all the signs from my spot at the register really gave me a sinking feeling.
Literally every transaction involves the customer saying a form of these things:
“I’m so upset that you’re closing! I’m so disappointed! How long have you known? How long will the sale last? Why can’t I use coupons? When will the discounts get better? Which day are you closing? You guys didn’t do enough advertising/your name is confusing/I didn’t know you were here. How many stores are closing? Why are they closing? If you’re closing, why am I still getting coupons/emails?”
So with every customer, I repeat the same song and dance:
“I am disappointed too. I also love the store. I am sad about losing my job and my coworker companions. We found out the same day as everyone else, including customers. You can’t use coupons or return items because everything in here no longer belongs to CTS but to the liquidator. We don’t know exactly how many more weeks we will be open, just an approximate. You’re right, corporate didn’t advertise enough. We, the employees, did everything we could. Yes, the name is confusing. It’s not like we could change it. The fact that you didn’t know you were here is part of the reason why we are closing. Only ten stores are closing. We are the only Florida store that is closing. We are the only Florida employees not close enough to get reassigned elsewhere. They are closing stores because they filed for bankruptcy protection and we are a low-performing store.”
Repeat ad nauseaum.
If all the above, in a paragraph with no breaks, reads as tiresome, exhausting, drone-like… imagine saying this to every customer for hours and hours. There isn’t a SINGLE transaction or phone call to the store that doesn’t involve some form of the above. No one stops to think that we have heard it all a million times that day.
One lady who called to inquire about the closing decided to have a 15-minute chat with me, an aimless conversation about all of the above. I couldn’t get rid of her. I heard about five iterations of “When God closes a door, He opens a window” on Monday, and by the last, I wanted to tear my hair out. Two people decided to let me know that they were not, as they put it, “happy campers”.
It is not cute. It is not helpful.
Still, one thought was in my mind all day long: “This is so much better than that other job.” One’s team is everything, and our team is fantastic. My coworkers are already talking of following our manager elsewhere if possible… while that probably won’t happen, it’s a testament to how good of a vibe we had.
I often heard some of the assistant managers complain about this or that decision taken by our store manager. People would often gripe; sometimes I heard about little tiffs with raised voices between the assistant managers and him, but I think he is well-loved by most. In spite of saying these things, many of the assistant managers would happily follow him to the next store and so would I. He’s a great boss, and the assistant managers are SO good, positive, the kind of people that just make you want to do your best. So I’m going to do my best until the bitter end.
Christopher let me grab a $20 rug from the store to cover my very stained carpet that simply cannot be cleaned properly anymore. It looks pretty good!
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Tuesday was a very exhausting day. My coworkers and managers had warned me: it is going to get SO much worse. On Monday, I was unsure of what they meant. By late Tuesday I had a better idea.
As the same questions and comments from customers repeat in a never-ending cycle, our partner had some ideas of how I should respond to the “You’re closing the store? Why??” questions:
“We’re closing because Christmas is canceled.”
“We’re closing because an atheist family bought the company and they hate Christmas.”
“What do you mean we’re closing?! No one told me this! Oh my God, am I losing my job?”
“How did you find out that we’re closing? *looks around in a conspiratory manner* It’s supposed to be a secret. Who told you?”
Unfortunately, I don’t have the balls to give any of these responses. 😅
I saw a cute doggy on this day:
I wasn’t sure I would ever get the chance to see Christmas trees for sale at Christmas Tree Shops, but lo and behold!
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Since Tuesday, our partner has been very, very sick. It’s just a head cold (he has no fever and did two COVID tests) but, it’s quite bad. So I’m trying my best to take care of him, even though there really isn’t much I can do.
On this day I completed a gift for Seven, in gratitude for a great kindness recently shown to me by her when I closed commissions. Of course, it also includes Snow and Ember. I finished it in an old-fashioned style:
For dinner, I made salmon and rice:
🌈 Thursday 🌈
Another day of the same. On Thursday, I had a customer turn around as she was leaving and ask me, “Do you have another job lined up?” When I responded that I didn’t, she laughed in my face and left. I didn’t even know how to react! Wow. 🙃
Then later in the day, we found these bowls filled to the brim with water. These were in a “cage”, also called a “dump bin” in retail. It’s a massive container that can fit four or five of me, and a LOT of merchandise. Anyway, apparently there was a leak in the roof and these filled with rainwater, which a customer noticed. It was pretty funny.
🌈 Friday 🌈
Day off! I took care of the snails and the house, worked on art, relaxed, made the guys a nice dinner, and played with my dolls a bit. Yesterday I listed a bunch of old items hoping to make money to buy the other My Twinn doll that I’d missed out on. But then I realized that eBay holds the money for a while now, after a sale. There was no way I would have it in time. So Christopher let me borrow some funds to get her. She is very beautiful. I’m going to call her Emily.
Much like with my upcoming Zanini Zambelli Italian doll, this is a case in which I have no desire to change the doll’s outfit. It is truly gorgeous as-is.
On this day I finally took Samantha out of her box and dressed her up. She looks so beautiful in her new clothes!
In the afternoon I noticed that Buddy moved again, this time to a high shelf. I wonder how long his unseasonal visit will last?
In the evening, we played LEGO. I had wine and a little snack and felt very happy.
I also finished building this Creator 3-In-1 Medieval Castle. It was a pretty neat build!
For dinner, I made fajitas over rice with cilantro and avocado. It was delicious!
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Saturday morning was dark and stormy. Elliot didn’t want to be outside because of the thunder, so he stayed near me.
Our partner indulged me in getting another toy, a bizarre and adorable Monchhichi clone –a bear. I think I’ll call him Calisson. These are the Etsy photos, he’ll take a while to arrive yet:
I’ve been getting a lot of toys this year, which, if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know to coincide with me being Not Okay ™. And I have NOT been okay. The job stuff is stressful, sure. But it’s the community stuff that has me on a downward spiral and has for months.
Just as I did in my childhood, when I feel isolated and lonely, I seek refuge in toys –their cuddliness, their cute faces. They’re friends that will never go away, or suddenly have terrible hidden pasts, or decide to replace me or not like me anymore. Toys are safe and always have been. They never mock me, I can’t accidentally hurt their feelings and lose their friendship.
So, as self-indulgent and unwise as I know my purchases appear (and they are, make no mistake) I can tell you they’re my current coping mechanism because I don’t really know what else to do with my feelings. Please try not to judge me too harshly. 😅
I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but my snails got mites again. 😞 You might remember how expensive, difficult, and upsetting an experience that was the first time around. I’ve been very aggressive in treating it, so hopefully they’ll be okay. Here’s a photo of some snails kissing.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Though this was a workday, in the morning I found some time to de-stuff Fiorella and throw her body and clothes in the wash.
I also washed her hair twice and conditioned it…
Then set it all out to dry. Her thigh has a little tear, but it’s easily fixed.
I will stuff her with brand-new stuffing, fix the tear, and comb her hair. I made her a necklace, and I got her a brand new big ribbon to match the one on her clothes. She’ll look so cute when I’m done with her!
While Fiorella dried in the warm sun, I moved some stuff around in my studio. I missed seeing my Monchhichis, so I put them where I can see them better. These three are Melon-Pan, Minoru, and Ponzu:
This was my first time getting a really nice photo of Ponzu:
Before work, I had leftover roasted cauliflower and black olive pizza for lunch, topped with cilantro:
Work went fast. It was busy. People continue to be a bit obnoxious about the store closing. But, I saw another pupper!
What a happy guy. Speaking of happy guys, here are some littler ones I saw in the parking lot while waiting for Christopher to pick me up after work:
Mama wasn’t happy about me getting too close and herded them all away. Sorry, Mama Duck.
The evening was wonderful! We met our friends for dinner at Shooters Waterfront. I got some nice photos…
I had a couple of coffee drinks that unexpectedly knocked me on my ass, and a wonderful plate of risotto, shrimp, and scallops. We shared a couple of cheese plates. It was SO good.
Here’s a photo of two of our best friends. They are getting married really soon! 🥰
After dinner, my drunk, stumbling ass bullied everyone into a short walk at the beach at 11:00 pm. So off we went, and I asked to go back and be carried after taking like, ten steps. No one carried me.
Anyway, I got some beautiful photos!
We also came across this. Just stuck there in the sand, facing the sea. There was some dribbling around it as if a dog peed on it. Maybe someone had dribbled something over it on purpose as part of a ritual. This was in pitch-black darkness, I wonder what it meant?
On the drive back, I saw the Hard Rock guitar showing off an unusually pretty light display, so I got some video:
Anyway, that’s it for this week! Next week I’ll be visiting my mom, and getting more doll clothes in the mail. It’ll be quite busy at work… Hopefully, I’ll continue to find time to blog and keep you all posted. Have a great week, everyone!
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.
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 🌈
In the morning, I played with Reddit’s avatar maker thingy today, that was fun and also dumb. This day was finally a workday! I worked from 4:00pm to 9:00pm after getting all my chores done.
Things were tense at work. Because of the rain, sales were very low the entire week so everyone’s hours were cut. As a result, there were less people available to finish a project that has been stressing all the managers out for weeks now. I was put to work on the floor, pricing and placing merch, and even though it was only five hours, it left me completely exhausted.
An upside (or downside??) of the day is that I kinda got called out in front of everyone else for doing better than anyone else in my first week (second only to my training manager) in getting new emails from customers. They really, REALLY care about employees doing this. I’m pretty shy, so it takes a lot out of me, but I do ask and engage with everyone, and most people do sign up.
Apparently, other employees don’t really try, so when they released the numbers of my first week, the manager wrote a note underneath calling me out by name as an example and saying how I’m not doing anything unusual, only what I am supposed to do, and how others are failing to do so. 😬💧
There was an undertone of “It’s unacceptable that this brand new employee is doing better than everyone else, so, get it together” to the other employees, and another manager said to the first that I did that “because I’m an overachiever” which kinda sounded like “you can’t expect everyone else to do that”. Haha… I don’t know. It was nice but also very awkward for me.
Back when I used to hold jobs like this one, I struggled a lot, and was definitely the sort of person to get reprimanded for mistakes, shyness or sluggishness. I’ve changed a bit, I can do things better and push through better. So I won’t lie, all the praise I’ve received since I started feels really good, but at the same time, isn’t a call-out like that the sort of thing that makes coworkers resent you? 😅
Anyway, I only got to help two people at the register on this day, which bummed me out because I don’t want to forget everything I learned, but working on the floor I learned many new things, so there’s that.
At some point today I noted that Sarah’s hat had somehow materialized upon Toklo’s head, while Sarah herself had disappeared. 😳❓❓❓
I keep worrying that this is Sarah trying to send S.O.S. messages that I’m failing to interpret correctly. I hope she’s okay…!
Normally, after getting up at 7:00am, a day full of chores and then going to work, getting comfy and having dinner, I would just want to stay in. But I want to start making a habit of going out with our partner more on Friday or Saturday nights. For one, Christopher really treasures time truly to himself, and doesn’t get much of it. And I want to make sure our partner is having fun since he’s much more outgoing.
Lately, I’m trying to think of different things I can do with him and with Christopher (as well as for them) to make them feel loved and appreciated –as in, individual things, one-on-one. Soon I’ll be able to play visual novels with Christopher again, and with our partner, I’ve been playing Diablo II. I want to start going out for the odd lunch or dinner date with Christopher, and watch at least a couple of movies a month with him, maybe cuddled in the game room couch.
Anyway, my plan was to repeat the outing of last week with our partner, but somehow he convinced Christopher to come! This is a rarity given that it was late at night, and we were really happy about that. We took Christopher to Salt & Straw. I had the same black olive brittle and goat cheese ice cream as last time:
We also went for drinks at the exact same place…
…and had a mediterranean plate for a snack:
On the walk back, I took this photo of a neighborhood’s gate. It looked spooky:
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Sunday was a very nice and sunny day, even if the humid Florida heat is back in full, unbearable swing. My laurel fig continues to grow beautifully. It’s hard to believe it was once a little tiny branch that found refuge in a crevice of our roof!
Later in the day I went for a walk to get more beads. I saw a cute lizard on the way to the stores.
Though I really went out for beds I ended up coming home with this. What a find! Last one left, too.
After a pizza dinner, our partner and I played Diablo II some more. I really liked the Arcane Sanctuary area.
After that, I finished a few more necklaces and actually put them on toys. I’ve made a total of twenty one necklaces. I still have to make a few more, but those are for toys that I have yet to name.
Rosie decided to relax in the area normally occupied by my bead boxes:
She was being so loud, too!
My new doll, Nellie, should be coming by Wednesday, which has me really excited! Hopefully she has no funny smells, since she is a used doll after all. I have her necklace all ready to put on her. 🥰
This was an eventful week! I had jury duty for the first time in my life, and finally got to visit mom again. I started playing a new video game with our partner, a new doll and book came in, got to have lunch with my old boss, finished a few more commissions, and was finally able to play LEGO for date night again. Let’s get to it!
🌈 Monday 🌈
On Monday I was up by 6:00am, because we had to leave by 7:00am so I could be at the courthouse on time for my first jury duty ever. Normally, I would be super excited. As a still kinda fresh citizen (just two years) I’ve long wanted to be called. But now that I have a new job, it really complicated everything.
For this week, I had to call out on Monday to be there, and even though I got enough days off to see my mom without even asking for them, if I was selected for a trial all that might not happen. Plus, if I couldn’t get rides for every day, Uber would add up a lot. So I was concerned.
Anyway, that didn’t completely remove my excitement. The waiting room was very large and comfortable, plus, there was a lounge for jurors. We were shown a video first explaining the process.
It was a “hurry up and wait” situation until you got called for a jury pool. Sometimes you also had to fill out a questionnaire if the judge requested it. I waited a couple of hours before I was called, and in the meantime had cookies, coffee and read a little more.
I was finally called, filled out a questionnaire, waited a little longer, and then we all walked a whoooole lot, took an elevator to the 16th floor, and lined up to wait outside of the courtroom.
I should mention that the building was huge and beautiful. The view from up there was honestly amazing.
It was a civil case, not a criminal case —a lawsuit between a couple of homeowners and Citizens Insurance. As soon as that name was said I knew I would be excused. We are insured by (and feel great antipathy towards) Citizens. So I definitely have heavy bias. It was a good thing too because the trial would have lasted until Thursday.
Everyone had to talk to the judge, and we passed a microphone down the line. That was a little nerve wracking; my heart was pounding out of my chest by the time it was my turn. But the judge was really nice and kept cracking jokes with everyone.
I told him how I’d been excited to be called. He pointed to the door and said there was mental health counseling available if I needed it, which made everyone laugh (people aren’t usually excited to be jurors). But later, privately, he thanked me for my enthusiasm.
Once I began to explain my feelings toward Citizens he had me stop because it would taint the rest of the jury pool. So when everyone went to lunch, the judge had a few people stay behind and called them one by one to the bench, where the lawyers also were.
A few people were excused due to biases; one woman due to poor English language skills. When I explained my own bias, the judge asked me if I would ignore the law because of my bias if it was clear that Citizens wasn’t in the wrong. I said that I wouldn’t, but that I couldn’t say the same if it came down to a grey area, which is very true. That was enough for him and both sets of lawyers and I was excused for that trial.
I thought I might get picked for another pool, but when I got back to the selection room, they sent me home. So now I am done for at least a year. Even though I wasn’t selected it was still an interesting experience.
After that I went for a walk. Christopher let me have some spending money so I went to Dollar Tree and had lunch at Panera. I saw this cool theater on the way:
Here’s another nice photo I took during the walk:
I got quite the haul at Dollar Tree: a Bluey sandwich box, a Grogu cup, a Crayola coloring page and stickers, a few packs of cards for scrapbooking, dinosaur stickers, a tiny parasaurolophus friend, and a blind bag toy. Oh, and a snail greeting card.
The blind bag has this wee white tiger cub:
After I got home and took a shower I played more Diablo II with our partner. I had a drink and some chips and brought Churrasco downstairs because his “gotcha” day would be Tuesday (2021) and I felt like he needed some attention.
For dinner, we had fajitas. I don’t normally like them because of the onions, but Christopher took them all out so it was pretty good.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Tuesday was a pretty good day, even though I began to get my monthly irritables (PMS) and felt quite irate at times for literally no reason. One good feeling I had throughout the day though, is excitement to go back to work on Friday. Maybe I do like the job after all.
Anyhow, Tuesday was a day of chores and of working on art, but I still made time to play Diablo II with our partner. Playing this together is our little “thing” and I really do enjoy it a lot. My character is called Squirrelman. I wanted to play a Druid and it’s been pretty fun having ravens and a wolf and this vine thing with us. And some sort of spirit.
Our partner plays a necromancer so we have a bunch of little skeleton men follow us, plus two hired hands. We’ve got quite the band.
It reminds me of similarly setting an hour aside to play visual novels with Christopher, something I miss very much. I’ll have to see if I can convince him to do that with me again.
I’ve been catastrophically failing at not buying any toys or books this year. Honestly, I’m not exactly upset about it. It’s still helped: I’ve skipped out on a lot of video games and scrapbooking supplies. But I do not regret any toys I’ve gotten this year at all.
I think I may adjust my goal for the year, and, when it comes to toys and books, setting up a rule of getting rid of something before I get something new. That may be more manageable, because honestly I love new toys far too much.
After our partner ordered the little alien doll for me, I began to look at baby dolls, something I’ve never really been into. Babies are just not really my thing, not even as dolls. But I did see two that I liked a LOT, enough to add them to my wishlist and perhaps get one next month. One is another little alien, but two are more conventional babies.
I really like Crabby Cakes and her pouty expression. It’s very funny and unique. She’s more of a toddler doll. The other one is Honey Bunny and more of a simple, sweet baby boy doll. Both look very huggable with their soft bodies. I’d like to get them this year, but I definitely need to make some room first. If I can decide on something to donate/sell, I’ll probably get Crabby Cakes in May.
I should mention that not a single penny of my new job earnings are going towards toys. Instead, I reserve my modest Patreon earnings for my frivolous spending, which otherwise would be zero. Thanks to Patreon I’ve been able to get things like an ice-cream at work, lunch when I went to jury duty, the dinosaur book I saw at Barnes & Noble, some canned coffee and snacks for the month, etc. It makes me really happy to know that the art I still draw is for stuff like this. So, I am really grateful to everyone who is supporting me there.
In the evening my guys took me to my mom’s. I brought her birthday presents with me:
As soon as I got to my mom’s I saw a big slug. I was immediately excited of course. It was a big little guy and rather speedy for a slug.
Here’s some video:
I brought this little carnotaurus friend on this visit. He doesn’t have a name yet.
We were set to play Jumanji this evening but in the end we had too much to catch up on.
My mom always has a lovely snack spread set out, usually by the time I get there, and it’s one of the things I look forward to the most when I visit her.
This time she also surprised me with empanadas!
Here’s a pic of grumpy old Sweeney:
I continued to read Raptor Red in bed. I had my little trike with me, he doesn’t have a name yet either. I really have to fix that.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
I was up by 7:30am, working on art after my coffee. I took a shower and worked on the blog while waiting for my mom to wake up. It was a pleasant and quiet start to the morning.
Oh yeah, I was looking through the Ring camera on this morning and saw this funny black cat who was a bit suspicious of one of my decorations:
After my mom got up, we had mate and cheese bread!
While my mom did some housework, I had lunch (she had a big breakfast). I had a ham and cheese empanada and read Raptor Red some more.
Then I worked on art some more. I worked on a commission for Nero, on a YCH, and on a badge for Willy Joe.
We went to walk around Target and PetSmart and we had a little snack at Starbucks. On the way there, I saw this weird clock on a building:
Target had this super cool Super Mario basket!! 🍄🌈
At Starbucks I had a pink drink and a banana walnut loaf:
There was a super cute little gremlin of a dog at the Starbucks line:
During the car ride home, I found a ladybug on my clothes! It started flying around, so I caught it and held a finger out of the window until it flew away.
I came home with a nice haul. First, I got these super cute decorations for the snail tank:
Then I got these outfits, the two small ones are for my little alien doll, the snail one doesn’t have a designated stuffie or doll yet, but it was on sale AND it had snails! I was not going to pass it up.
Finally, I got a little Aggretsuko blind box because it came with a dangler and I wanted a new one for my work lanyard but… it is a little wonky, especially for the price…
We had pizza for dinner and watched YouTube, and I cuddled Sweeney, but he wasn’t very thrilled about it… 😅
With PMS and all I was extraordinarily irritable in the evening, but was able to get some chores done and ready for the next day.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
It’s date night again! It was also Rudyard’s birthday. Not his “gotcha” day, but the day he was made at the factory, back in 2020. So Rudy is now three years old. His “gotcha” day, when I first got to hold him, was September 27th of the same year.
Also, I got to have lunch with my old boss, Al, today. We had SO much to catch up on! We went to Cracker Barrel. I tend to only eat there with him, so it had been a very long time since I last was there.
In the afternoon I cleaned the snail tank and put in some new decorations…
Later I accompanied our partner on some errands and then we went shopping for groceries for dinner. At the supermarket he bought me my favorite flowers again –these are the biggest sunflowers I’ve ever had!
I still haven’t named my new little dino gang, but here is my stegosaurus with one of the flowers:
We played LEGO for the first time in many weeks. I finally started working on Emma’s Art School:
Dinner was incredible! Our partner made quesadillas. He put so much effort in them, no shortcuts taken.
🌈 Friday 🌈
Friday was a busy day. It went by quickly. Chores all morning, some commission work too, but I did set some time aside to check out my new dinosaur book:
I do not normally record video of books, but I did in this case because I wanted you guys to see just how beautiful it is. I’ve amassed a respectable collection of paleontology, natural history and dinosauria related books now, but this one blows them ALL out of the water. I got the book on sale, but had it been twice the price, I would have still felt it was a bargain for what you get:
Then I was driven to work, and worked until 8:00pm. Work was very busy and enjoyable. I found out that I and a few other workers have only one day next week due to budget cuts from above, but hopefully the week after that will be better for everyone. I intend to use the time well, and work on commissions all week long.
(On that note, you’ve probably noticed that ever since I got the job, a lot if not all of my goals have been temporarily paused. I decided that this was a better course of action than trying to juggle a million things at once. I need to, above all, to finish the final commissions. Once they are done, using my free time from work to work on hobbies and personal art won’t be stressful.)
Anyway, I got picked up around 8:00pm by our partner and got home to Christopher serving a wonderful meal.
We relaxed together for a while after dinner and then they went for a walk while I got ready for bed.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Friday I only worked four hours in the morning and early afternoon. But, I got up at 6:30am and, after a shower, finished these three commissions!
Then I went to work. It was only four hours, but being a Saturday, it was quite busy! As always I was a little early, so I doodled a snail for one of my coworkers, who did most of my training. I left it on a post-it note on her mouse. When I went back upstairs to clock out, I noticed that she had stuck it in the place where she keeps all her post-its, haha.
The guys picked me up at two, and we had Mod Pizza for lunch!
When we got home, my new little alien was waiting for me at the door. I opened her right away. She turned out to be even more wonderful than I was expecting! I’ve named her Tritium:
Even though I bought a couple of outfits for her in newborn size, they are still too baggy… I’ll have to figure out something else.
After a shower, our partner and I played Diablo II some more while Christopher napped.