This week, like the last, was eventful and busy, but there was time to breathe too. Overall, it was pretty good! The nice thing about writing these posts and looking back on them is realizing how full of fun things my weeks usually are and how different the days can be. Life is always full of surprises and fun experiences!
🌈 Monday 🌈
On Monday we had our belated Valentine’s Day cooking class! I got a beautiful sunset shot on the way there…
And some funny photos during the class itself:
Even though it wasn’t my favorite type of cuisine, the meal was pretty yummy, and the custard we had for dessert, in particular, was delicious! I also got to have a little drink.
I’m sure we will do this again, it was a lot of fun!
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
On Tuesday we went on our (again, belated) Valentine’s Day dinner. We ended up doing everything on different days. This was a promising French restaurant, and the drinks were wonderful:
The guys liked their food a lot, but I found it all very bland, though the presentation was very nice:
In fact I would say this was my least favorite fancy restaurant experience so far. The only place I wouldn’t care to go back other than the drinks. But it’s still fun to try new places!
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
I made a new type of salad for Wednesday’s lunch, a variation of the previous salad. This one had a baby spinach base. I think I liked it even better!
Later, after struggling a lot to decide how to handle this drawing, I printed it out into two different 8.5″ x 11″ pages and now I am tracing it onto a large piece of watercolor paper:
I really wish I had a bigger printed to print out my sketches onto directly in non-photo blue or other light color. Maybe later this year. I’ve been doing research on it, and I have one picked out.
This was tank cleaning day. Here’s some happy snails enjoying fresh foods and a clean cage!
🌈 Thursday 🌈
I feel like I post too many photos of Tomoyo laying on my bed, but she is so cute…
Recently, during grocery shopping, I came upon a wonderful find. I’d first spotted this guy well over year ago in the same section of our Publix:
I’ll get him later, I told myself. I think I went the day after, or two days later. No dice. I waited for weeks, then months, for a restock. I found out it was scalped all to heck online. Such a bummer! This is a cheap little dino from the cheap toy section at the grocery store. But official JP babies are uncommon (I’ve yet to see that nasutoceratops IRL… 😞).
Anyway, this week, lo and behold there he was again, and somehow he had not suffered from inflation. The price was the same as the first time I saw him. So this little guy came home with me, and now sits between the sturdy legs of mama brachio!
I don’t want to keep finding excuses to fail on my resolution, but it sucks when this was something I missed out on before and it happened to show up, finally. Sigh… 😩
🌈 Friday 🌈
I’ve been drawing a little almost every day. On Friday, I worked on another badge!
Here’s Tomoyo laying on the laundry I’m trying to put away. She can be terribly cute sometimes.
Before bedtime, I got a good amount of writing done. Well over a thousand words. So that was good.
🌈 Saturday & Sunday 🌈
The weekend was really nice! Our partner bought these red ceramic knobs for our kitchen cabinets that he knew I’d been wanting, and we installed them together. Objectively, I can say (I know) they look bad. 😅 But also, red is the accent color all over our kitchen. So, subjectively, I love it. Christopher was about as horrified as we expected he would be.
We had pizza for dinner on Saturday, and I also did our taxes on this day. It was nice to get that off my back.
After a few missed Project Nights, I did a little bit of scrapbooking on Sunday afternoon, and completed two new pages, a Jurassic World one (themed after my new Pyroraptor friend) and a Sesame Street one. Here they are in progress…
And all finished!
On Sunday morning I finally finished reading Stephen King’s “It”. This was a big deal to me, because “It” is the longest book I have ever read (that wasn’t a compilation of multiple books). It never, ever bored me for a minute. I’m going to read a comic collection next, before tackling another “real” book.
I’ll end this post with this GIF of Rosie hiding in the Kallax:
Happy Sunday, friends! Here I am with another weekly summary. So far, I still haven’t been able to recover my determination for all my yearly resolutions. It’s very frustrating when life gets in the way of them, even if it’s fun things that get in the way, but I haven’t completely fallen of the wagon. Anyway, let me tell you about our Valentine’s week!
🌈 Monday & Tuesday 🌈
Not much to say about Monday –I spent it getting everything ready for Valentine’s Day, which was Tuesday. Tuesday morning I gave Christopher his present. I wish I’d taken a picture of how I set it all up –the canvas all wrapped up, his bunny next to it, the card and the chocolates. It was there for him to find when he came down to breakfast. But, I can at least show you the drawing I printed on canvas for him:
Our partner ate his Valentine brigadeiros throughout the day. Around noon he took me to Best Buy to pick up some pretty Razer RGB headphones he bought me as a surprise, but they ended up being the wrong ones, so we returned them and ordered different ones later. We got lunch while we were out and it was still a really nice outing, especially since I’d still been feeling pretty low from the week before.
In the evening I went to see my mom, but before leaving, I left his card on his nightstand, and Christopher gave me mine. 🥰 It was actually one of the nicest cards he ever gave me.
When I got there, my mom had a whole fondue spread prepared!
Then we played the new chutes and ladders game. It was really fun and reminded me of playing it with my grandma when I was little!
I gave my mom a card, some chocolates, and a little potted orchid. She had a card for me too!
This was actually a really fun evening. It cheered me up.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
On Wednesday morning, we had mate as usual. E.T. had some, too!
And Sweeney enjoyed some cat grinder time:
We found out that E.T. can cross his fingers! Doesn’t this snack spread look nice…
Also, man, it’s so weird but E.T. has always reminded me of my dad. Even when I was a toddler, he was really old and wrinkled. My child brain always thought they looked similar, and I know I even said so… poor dad. 😅
Also isn’t this Daniel Tiger juice cap super cute?
With Shampoo gone, Sweeney has gotten more and more affectionate with my mom…
Don’t mind his swishy tail at times, Sweeney is a bit of an oddball. He was really happy, purring intensely.
This was a really enjoyable visit. I was home with enough time to do a bunch of chores which is always good.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
I was very busy most of this day, but here’s a photo of Christopher’s (slightly) late Valentine’s Day present!
Always thrilled to get Godiva, I’d be surprised if they last me a week, haha. The Santa chocolates were an extra sorta freebie. 🎅
🌈 Friday 🌈
On this weekend, Christopher’s Grandma and my mom-in-law came to visit. They brought the little ceramics we painted on our last visit. I think they turned out adorable!
Friday night was really special. For no particular reason other than family visiting, we all went to a nice, fancy restaurant, “Jaya at the Setai”. It was a very glamorous place! There was a huge pool in the middle. Not a swimming pool, I mean a decorative pool:
Here’s Christopher and Grandma…
I had a Fig Old Fashioned. It was my first time drinking whiskey. I LOVED this thing! The cinnamon stick had been burned just a little. It smelled so good.
It had an odd menu –some Thai stuff, some Indian, some Japanese. At first glance, I struggled to find something I thought I’d enjoy. But everything I ate was an amazing experience, it didn’t feel like simply “eating dinner”. I think it might be my favorite fancy restaurant that I’ve ever eaten at!
There was a colorful gallery attached to the hotel/restaurant. While a lot of the stuff was cute (and I love anything with Harvey characters) the idea of rich-ass people buying stuff with these moneyed characters and even Bitcoin symbols is SO cringy to me, haha. 😅 But it made for some fun photos:
When we got home, we saw this pretty beetle hanging on our door:
I’ve gotten to a point with my manuscript where I desperately need guidance of a sort that many, many Google searches have proven unhelpful with. I tried to use my old Nook e-reader to just get free e-book versions with my accumulated credits, but it was sticky and gross (the material that it is made of degraded horrible with age) so I bit the bullet and got some manuals. They are very useful and are being pivotal in preventing a block I can’t get past at a key moment in the book:
🌈 Saturday 🌈
To start this day, here is a cute photo of Kotoko napping outside in the late morning…
We had Mod Pizza for lunch!
After that, everyone went inside JOANN to find a frame for the Asuka puzzle that was recently put together. I stayed in the car to avoid temptations, and our partner surprised me with a Blue lollipop holder when they came back!
Later, I spent some time drawing for myself and reading about mapmaking. I spent time outside with our partner doing these things. The weather was mild and it was a highlight of my weekend for sure. Kotoko even kept me company after he left:
Later in the day we went out to buy coals for our partner’s hookah, and he treated me to a geode which you could hammer open. I didn’t actually know what it would be like inside, so it was a magical experience for me. And it looks like a perfect little dinosaur egg!
In the evening, after dinner, we watched the work-in-progress version of Beauty And The Beast on Laserdisc.
It was a really fun experience!
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Grandma and my mom-in-law went home on this day, but first we went to have breakfast together:
It was the first time I really didn’t like my food at The Village Tavern. The potatoes were undercooked, and the crab cakes were really fishy. But the little muffin was delicious.
Now I have to tell you about a definite conscious decision to make an exception to my no-new-toys rule –one I would and will do again if another release like this happens. Outside of the Colossal line, my most favorite Jurassic toy line is their Imaginext toys, and within them, the SUPER cheap, super sturdy, XL dinos.
These are released rarely. It’s been such a long time since the last one. Well, they decided to come out with a rainbow chicken I mean pyroraptor. I was not going to pass it up, especially not under $10! I finally opened the box after family left:
I love the art on these boxes and had to save it for future scrapbooking!
You can see next to my hand what a sizable boy it is, and so colorful and cute. I was over the moon when it came in. A colorful highlight to my week! Absolutely no regrets about this one.
I’m gonna call them Salsa, or maybe Fiesta. 🤔 I still haven’t decided.
Anyway, that’s all for this week! Also I want to say, if you are reading this on your email, MANY times I edit mistakes immediately after posting, but you’ll always see just the first version in your email, I think… sorry about that. You’re generally better off reading posts directly on the site.
Hello, everyone, and Happy 2023! As of writing this post, the first week of the year has come to an end. I hope your first week was great! Mine was very satisfying as far as accomplishments go, but also tinged with sadness.
💔 CW: pet loss discussion ahead. 💔
You might remember Shampoo. Most recently “my mom’s cat”, Shampoo was in fact our shared cat for many years, along with Sweeney. We got her when we’d only been in the US a couple of years, and she was around 10 when I got married and moved in with Christopher. Here’s an old GIF I’d made of Shampoo and I many years ago:
As you can see, while in recent posts outside of this blog I put the focus on my mom’s grief, I loved Shampoo very, very much. I’d picked her out of the litter myself, and until I bonded with Rosie years later after I moved out, I had never had a cat I felt as close to as I did with Shampoo. She was on a different level, and so cheeky and playful.
This changed a lot in her last five or so years. She’d started to have painful blockages because of her long fur, which necessitated shaving it monthly. This seemed, to me, as though it changed her personality too. But perhaps it was that around this time she was already quite old.
Shampoo had MANY (very expensive) close calls in the last few years, and made it to an impressive almost 19 years old. But on Monday, it was all too much. She was severely anemic and in serious kidney failure. She was made comfortable for the next 24 hours, which allowed her to rest, eat normally, and just feel alright, until the next afternoon, when it was time to say goodbye.
Shampoo’s passing at home was as ideal as possible. Her body had not yet resumed failing and giving her pain. She’d eaten multiple times, napped peacefully, and enjoyed many pets from my mom. When the vet came (it was done at home) she did not even move from my mom’s lap, on the favorite chair they shared. She fell asleep there, happy and peaceful. We could not have asked for a better send-off.
I process grief a little different from most people. I think, I grieve my pets when they are alive. I remember when Shampoo was around nine years old. I was holding her and thinking how much I loved her, how unique a cat she was, and how I’d never have another cat like her. Shampoo was not sick: she was at her prime, and just being extra cute that day. I remember I started crying, then sobbing, as I held her. She was not amused.
It would not be the only time this happened, nor the only pet it happened with. Certainly I’ve cried with every pet that passed. But, I think I am recovering a little faster, in spite of my sadness, because of this –and because I wasn’t living with Shampoo for the last few years so she wasn’t as much of a constant in my life.
For my mom, it is very different. She tells me she is okay, but she’s also in deep, racking grief, wondering if she did enough (something I think no one would dispute). She told me how how she feels a constant anxiety right at her throat, and how she keeps looking for Shampoo in her usual sleeping-spots. I can’t really help my mom other than to listen, and knowing that she is in pain and will be for a long time is hard for me to accept.
That’s all I have to say about that, but as it was a major element in the week, I wanted to give it its own space. Now I’ll move on to the rest.
I’ve decided to go back to weekly summaries for posts (other than my daily resolution summary) because, now that I’m giving more priority to other things in my life, my blogging time has been reduced. And that is fine! I am very happy. I just want to make sure I can maintain a consistent posting schedule, and I believe this will be the best way to accomplish that.
✨🌈🧉 New Year’s Eve 🧉🌈✨
I’m allowing the New Year weekend to slip into this post, though in reality the post is about the first week of the year. On New Year’s Eve morning, I had mate and did some reading. My mom came in the early evening.
We had a pretty quiet New Year’s Eve. Our partner went to a party for a while, and we played board games –both by ourselves and with Christopher. Partner was back in time to ring in the New Year with us, and we did the customary eating of grapes at the stroke of midnight. You have to make a wish on each grape. I have one thing I want most of all in this life, so I made the same wish on every grape, with all my heart. It was my wish the last two New Year’s, too. Then we went to bed.
✨🌈🧸 Sunday 🧸🌈✨
On Sunday, I finalized prepping everything to start the first week with a bang. Part of this involved sorting all paperwork and for the first time in our lives, clearing out the filing cabinet of too-old, unnecessary stuff, a lot of which was kept while my immigration paperwork was in process (we waited until my citizenship was done, and even then, another full year.) This took a few hours.
One of the things included in this process was sorting through the prior day’s mail, which included a couple of late holiday cards. One was from an old friend of my teddy bear Franklin, a kindly gentleman named Stephen.
Franklin has been receiving letters from Mr. Stephen for all of his life. Many people used to write to Franklin back when he was a small celebearty, but most eventually stopped. Not Mr. Stephen. Even though Franklin never replied, he’s been writing consistently over the last 10+ years, on all of Franklin’s birthdays and at Christmas.
The last card was very long and had an odd feeling to it. It made Franklin feel that Mr. Stephen may not write anymore. Franklin had wanted to reply in recent years, but the envelopes with the return address kept getting discarded. So we are trying to see if it’s possible to get in touch with Mr. Stephen via Facebook, so Franklin can show him how many friends he has now, and how he’s enjoyed all the cards over the years and in fact, kept them all.
I also went around the house, just doing accumulated chores, to make sure nothing went over to the next day. I was tired by the time the day was over, but it was a really successful day.
✨🌈🧉 Monday 🧉🌈✨
I drank mate for breakfast every day this week and enjoyed many of the leftover holiday snacks. I went back to written to-do lists, as well, and continued to enjoy reading multiple times a day. My coffee intake is decreasing thanks to the mate, and because I’m putting priority in things that matter to me, I am becoming happier and happier.
✨🌈🖍️ Tuesday 🖍️🌈✨
Tuesday was Project Night! It’s an idea I had recently, a companion to our Date Nights. Every Tuesday evening, for at least two hours, we all work on personal projects. This past Tuesday, Christopher and our partner worked on turning a V-Tech Talking Whiz-Kid Notebook into a “real” computer by using a Raspberry Pi. Now it has a mouse, a battery pack, it’s really cool:
You can even view my blog! Although, it’s too big for the screen… 😅
I did something less cool, but it was important to me. Since one of my 2023 goals is to finish more coloring pages, I spent time with my coloring pages and crayons. I had a little snack, listened to music and had one of my dolls, Kalamata, for company (I’ll tell you a little more about her later).
I’m still working on a Christmas coloring page. I haven’t finished it yet, but I had a lot of fun. I’ll finish it on the next Project Night. I’ll use these nights for my coloring page goals, puzzles, scrapbooking pages, and more –such as pyrography.
Kalamata is a Zapf Creation doll, made in Germany. I was very excited when I bought her. But when she came to me, she smelled like cigarettes and her skin was sticky (some vinyl degradation). One of her sleepy eyes was (still is) slightly sunken. Worst of all, her legs were fabric! Even her feet are fabric. I wanted a doll with vinyl arms and legs. I was so upset that I immediately decided to donate her. She even made it into the donation box. But something about her expression just kept tugging at me. It is impish and very unique. Her skin color is also quite unusual.
I decided to give her some TLC. Since she had the old fashioned, tied-on style of head, I removed it, and washed her body. I bought some extra filling, and made her floppy arms a bit firmer. I washed, conditioned and combed her hair (her wig is beautiful; it feels almost like human hair, and after some research on these dolls, I think it may be the case, which is kinda nuts!) The wash and dry removed her vinyl stickiness, which thankfully has yet to return. The bad smells were also gone. She looks happy and mischievous!
I’m looking into a solution for her wonky eye, but even if I can’t fix it, I’ve grown very fond of her. I think she’s a very special doll full of personality, so, I will be keeping her.
✨🌈👧 Wednesday 👧🌈✨
Speaking of dolls –on Wednesday I finally opened some dolls that had arrived. One is the JC Toys/Berenguer Boutique “Chloe”, whom I’ve named Polenta. Her box was really beautiful:
She looks just like in the photos. Her vinyl is very soft. I generally prefer hard vinyl, but she’s a gorgeous little doll. She can turn at the waist, which is unusual. I’m sure I’ll enjoy taking her places.
Then there is Paola Reina’s Lidia, whom I’ve named Camila. She is the most luxurious doll I’ve ever owned, with a myriad points of articulation. Her ankles, wrists, elbows and knees are all articulated, as is her head.
She can be put into lovely poses, such as kneeling! And she is very big.
She also smells strongly of vanilla pudding –in particular, a vanilla pudding I had as a little girl. I am filled with nostalgia when I walk into the studio now, and smell it!
Our partner and I have been walking every day. On the way back during our walk on this day, we passed by the burned house. I’d been there when it was still burning, months ago. Back then, the damage didn’t seem so bad. We thought it was just the garage. But I guess the house was damaged very badly. The family appear to have left, and the house sits quiet and eerie.
The burned area reminds me of how, in The Neverending Story, things and even creatures would have chunks taken out by “The Nothing” (or, “La Nada” in Spanish). This house used to always have really nice vintage cars outside. I hope the family is doing okay.
Also on this day, I managed to ship a bunch of packages. A Little People train my friend Snow had me purchase for him, some books I’d been holding onto, a badge, and an exchange for one of my mom’s Christmas presents. Normally I really procrastinate on this sort of thing. It requires printing, packing, measuring, taping, filling out forms (for international packages) dropping things off… mailing packages is always a hassle but mailing international ones even more so for my ADD-addled brain. So I was really, really proud that I pushed through and did it all! 😊
✨🌈🧃🥟 Thursday 🥟🧃🌈✨
Tomoyo has been struggling a lot with her asthma during these colder, drier days. We’ve bought her a humidifier, and I plan to invest in an air purifier soon. Anyway, here’s a photo of her relaxing:
I need to weigh her again soon, to see if her very expensive weight-loss diet is doing anything (which would also help her asthma).
On Thursday I continued to read Kaya’s Story Collection, and also enjoyed a little lunch.
Afterwards, I worked some more on commissions and watched dinosaur documentaries downstairs. It was a welcome respite from sitting at my computer alone, and from YouTube.
Then Christopher got home, and it was time for Date Night to begin!
We went to the food trucks, only to be absolutely sticker-shocked by a dramatic increase in prices. Some food trucks had prices higher than many of our usual restaurants. But we had ice cream, anyway. I made a mess of myself eating it, but it was such a treat!
We got chicken sandwiches for dinner and watched a bit more Chucky while eating. Then we started playing with LEGO! Here’s some photos of that:
Kotoko stayed near us. Our partner put her in a box and she stayed in it.
Afterwards, Christopher joined us on a walk. It’s the third time he does this week and I am so proud and happy. It is very hard for him to walk, and he hates it. But, it is good for him.
Here’s a photo I took on the way back:
✨🌈🧃🥟 Friday 🥟🧃🌈✨
Today, one of my last two dolls arrived. This was Antonio Juan’s Bella, whom I’ve named Penny. Her box was absolutely luxurious, and huge:
The dolly herself is about the size of an American Girl doll. Her vinyl is soft. Her clothes are very pretty and understated.
She has that immediately recognizable Antonio Juan trademark to her expression. Pouty rosebud lips, and serious, deep eyes with long eyelashes:
Here’s all three of my girls together, Penny, Marzi and Molly. I think Marzi would be happy to know she is still my favorite:
Kalinka, Camila and Polenta sit on the bunk bed instead, while Kamalata sits on my empty studio chair, and tends to be my constant companion, at least for this week.
Reading has been progressing very well! I finished both Jurassic Park/Jurassic World and Kaya’s Story Collection. Kaya’s Story Collection is now a firm favorite, equal to Samantha’s Story Collection. I badly want Kaya (the doll) but, having promised myself not to buy anymore unless I got them for special occasions, I am stuck. I did want her before reading her story, but so much more now that I have!
I hope she won’t be retired… it’s a sort of luck I seem to have, and a pattern with Mattel/AG these years. I’ve kinda hinted to my guys that I’d love her as a jointed Valentine’s present, but I know I probably shouldn’t hold my breath, nor should I use every special occasion as an excuse to get something new. 😔 She is so special though, and so different from any other AG doll…
I almost got her instead of Molly when I saw her at the store. I want to go to the store again so badly, too, and choose Kaya right there. Her character is wonderful. I was so sorry that the book was over so abruptly… I wished it’d been twice as long. I wanted to see Kaya find her wyakin, and take Swan Circling’s name. I wish I could even have seen grow into a young lady and perhaps court and be courted by Two Hawks someday. It just wasn’t enough!
Anyway, I had another nice little lunch, and began reading Raggedy Andy Stories.
The illustrations are very beautiful. It is always poignant to see Marcella mentioned.
It’s pretty saccharine writing, but I enjoyed it very much. I’ll would eventually finish reading it on Saturday evening, to then start on Stephen King’s “It”.
✨🌈🌳 Saturday 🌳🌈✨
Here is the line on Saturday morning to stare at the bird feeders:
After breakfast we went to IKEA to get nightstands for our partner’s room. We had Swedish meatballs and Christopher even treated me to a slice of cake! It is always fun to walk around IKEA, and I brought Giorgio to carry around.
After we put together the nightstands, I grabbed some coffee, a snack, and my Switch. I played Pokémon for hours before falling asleep (I’ll recap my playthrough in a separate, detailed post). It was so relaxing and blissful. I woke up when Christopher came downstairs from his own nap, then resumed my housework.
✨🌈📚 Sunday 📚🌈✨
On this day I began intermittent fasting, which gave my mom amazing results over the last two years. In addition to my extra exercise, we’ll see what it does.
I went grocery shopping, did a bit more housework, worked on art, began reading Stephen King’s “It”, and played video games. Elliot kept me company:
I now have all my Gym Badges, so the League is next! But maybe I’ll battle a few more Titans, first.
I also found an area to display my Jurassic Park Advent Calendar, and some other minis I had:
This has been a week of many accomplished important resolutions so far –but none as important as that of writing. I wrote 500 words a day almost every day, sometimes more, making up for the days I did not reach that number, to not only get to my total of 3,500 words, but completely surpass it, at 3,701 words. This was over two whole chapters!
When progress happens on my books, I feel, more than at any other time, as though my life has purpose. Considering this, you’d think I would try harder to make time for it. I’ve avoided it for so long, that my brain is still a little broken when it comes to working on my fiction, hence the small daily goal. But it’s getting better –as it is for reading, gaming, and simply letting my thoughts wander.
All of this time I’ve tried to keep up with news, with social media, with “the latest”. Making sure I am seen, not drowned out in the noise everyone else makes online, as they, too, try to be seen. I am accepting more and more than just having local friends, and a couple of online friends, is okay. That it’s okay if I lose touch with a ton of acquaintances, and it’s okay if I’m forgotten by people, it’s okay if I don’t keep up with every bit of news.
My own life and needs, the needs of those closest to me, and long put-off dreams and desires (often for the urge to make money to buy another toy) are slowly coming back into focus, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s only week one, but I’ll do my best to keep it up all year. For now, I’ll say…
Hello, everyone. It’s almost time! New Year’s Eve is upon us. I’ve been working on this post for a few days, deciding what my 2023 goals will be, and now I want to share it with you. I hope everyone has a very Happy 2023, and a fun celebration tonight! Or as relaxing and cozy as you might prefer. 😊
I have created a page which appears on my menu that I will use to track and remind myself of my goals throughout the year. You can see that page here.
🎈Get A Job 🎈
As was my plan for a while, starting in January/February I will resume my job search. Ideally I would like to find a part-time job, but if a full-time comes along, I’ll take it regardless. I do not plan to keep a full-time job long term, but a part-time is very likely. No matter what, a regular salary needs to be a mainstay of 2023 for me, so I can pay off debts and raise some necessary funds.
🎈 Set Aside FOMO 🎈
After this Christmas in particular, I’m starting to make peace with the fact that I can never buy or be gifted enough things to lose that “fear of missing out”. There will always be more wonderful toys. I will never have the space for them all. What I WILL eventually run out of, is my life. I’ll have spent it working to acquire toys and books and games that I never play with, read or enjoy, because by the time I get them, I am pursuing the next thing. Then I’ll die, having enjoyed nothing.
I know I live in a society purposefully engineered to make me always desire something. From friends’ accounts on Instagram, to carefully tailored ads, to new seasonal products assaulting me literally everywhere I go, it’s natural that it’s hard for my brain to ignore things made to appeal to me. People pay other people a lot of money to break our will and make us spend our money over and over. Only I can break that cycle.
I thought a lot about what concrete steps such a resolution would entail. Because it’s hard, actually. I know what I should do, but if I write it down and then fuck up, it’ll be REALLY embarrassing. Ultimately though: I have more books than I can read in a year. I have more video games than I can play in a year. I have more scrapbooking supplies and more traditional art supplies than I can use in a year. More puzzles than I can put together, more board games than I could play. More cute clothes than I can wear. More LEGO sets than I can build. So to make it more clear, my resolution is this:
I WILL NOT BUY ANY NEW TOYS, BOOKS, SCRAPBOOKING STUFF, GAMES OR CLOTHES IN 2023
That is my biggest resolution because it is by far the hardest. It will not count stuff that I am given as gifts for special occasions (birthdays, etc) or clothes such as socks or underwear that are actual necessities. And on days my family goes garage saling or to a flea market and Christopher gives me some spending money, I will allow myself that much if it is offered to me. But that will be my limit.
My biggest concern in this is the 35th anniversary Samantha doll on eBay. It is constantly on my mind, I know it gets more expensive with every passing day (currently sitting at $230 at the cheapest). So this is just a note to remind myself: if I buy this, there will inevitably be something else with that FOMO feeling soon after. The feeling will not go away. And the Samantha doll will most likely still be there for me to ask for on a special ocassion this year (birthday or such).
My next biggest hurdle will be back to school shopping, because I always see a lot of temptations around that time. So I know I should avoid Walmart and Target around July and August, or at least, those sections. Especially because by then, I’ll feel like I deprived myself a lot during the year.
This year my goal will be to enjoy my many blessings rather than to try to look for more items to fill a nonexistent void.
🎈 Love My Toys Better 🎈
This is something I especially want to do when some new toy is tempting me. I have a lot of things I can do with my current toy friends, things I’ve put off, like making sure they all have name necklaces, and that they all have pages on my blog. Those two things will be the concrete aspects of this resolution. By the end of ’23, I don’t want any of my toys to be nameless, and I want them all to have little profile “pages” on my site.
🎈 Lose 20 Pounds 🎈
In 2022, I slowly lost my joy for walking. I’m not sure why this happened, but I was unable to regain it. I’m sure it will come back (this goes back and forth, like my joy for bike riding or scooting) but in the meantime, I need another activity. So my goal as part of getting fit again will involve an hour on my exercise bike every day –with the encouragement of another factor mentioned in the next resolution.
As part of this resolution, I will restart my effort to drink 64 ounces of water daily, log some fitness data daily, and limit my snacking by only having coffee for breakfast, eating two meals a day (a light lunch and a normal dinner) and for an afternoon snack, having only mate.
🎈 Finish 10 Video Games From My Backlog 🎈
My backlog of video games is far greater than ten games… but gaming is something I can easily do while on my exercise bike. So all exercise time will also be gaming time. Since I hope to do one hour a day, hopefully this will be an easy goal to reach, and even surpass.
🎈 Build All The LEGO Sets In My Backlog 🎈
My backlog isn’t as large as Christopher’s, but I am a far slower builder. I imagine I have enough sets to last me the year, so I will not buy any new ones. I’d like to reach 2024 with all my current sets built. I don’t think this one will be too hard.
🎈 Complete 10 Puzzles 🎈
I love puzzles, but I’ve spent more time buying new ones than building my current backlog. This will be a challenging one, even if the puzzles are easy ones. I’d like to complete ten by the end of ’23.
🎈 Read 24 Books 🎈
What once was my favorite activity has become severely neglected, though I definitely did better in ’22 than in years past. This year, I want to read even more.
🎈 Create 24 New Scrapbook Pages 🎈
I have collected piles of wonderful scrapbooking supplies that have now gone unused for years. I thought I’d have done lots of pages in 2022, but I barely made time for two. That’s something else I want to fix this year, and get to the end of ’23 with a respectable amount of new pages on my scrapbook.
🎈 Color 12 Coloring Pages 🎈
This may seem like a very modest goal, but the reality is that I’ve only managed to color TWO coloring pages in 2022. I want to fix that in ’23.
🎈 Write 500 Words A Day (Or 3,500 / Week) 🎈
I want to forget about writing good stuff or working on X book project as a goal. As long as I am writing an average of 500 words of any of my fiction projects per day, I will consider it a huge success. I can’t imagine doing this and not having my books have considerable progress by the end of ’23.
🎈 Limit YouTube 🎈
As I blocked more and more of the Internet, YouTube became a sort of crutch as a way to absorb all of that clickbaity junk food type of media as I work on art. I am going to start blocking YouTube as well, though I’m not sure to what capacity. Cold turkey seems a bit extreme. YouTube does not distract me from my work, but I feel like it rots my brain with its lack of substance and overall repetitiveness. And yet it may be the only way. For now, my plan will be to only allow myself to watch YouTube on the weekends.
I want to work away from my computer more in ’23, perhaps watching TV downstairs, or at my other desk, listening to music or podcasts. I want to turn my computer off more during the day. And as my queue thins out and I feel less urgency to rush things, I think I’ll start doing my sketches traditionally again, too.
Hello, my dear friends, and Merry Christmas! Though it is the 26th now, this post will encompass the last three days, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Below you can see Buddy, Sarah and Señor Elf as I found them the morning of Christmas Eve –all together and getting along!
I hope with all my heart that Señor Elf belongs to our household now. Guess we won’t know that until next Christmas. If he goes back to Christopher’s job, I’ll worry about him all month long. 😞
The final surprise in the Jurassic World Advent Calendar was this MASSIVELY cool Jurassic Park gate:
Here are some pictures of the gate attached to the final setup:
Of course, the last reward of the LEGO City Advent Calendar was the man of the hour himself: Santa!
He came with a carrot to feed his pony:
Here is a final look at everything, elves and all:
The Advent Calendars were a great joy all through the month. It was so much fun! I hope I can have one again next year.
🎄 Christmas Eve Morning 🎄
In the morning, I worked on Christmas cards and had mate while Celeste kept me company:
I wrapped my White Elephant present to take to the family Christmas the next day, and placed a couple of surprises on our partner’s side of the bed for him to find at the end of the day:
The rest of the day was a busy flurry of chores, of packing for the trip, of making sure everything around the house was just right. Having stayed up cooking on Friday night with our partner until around 2:00am, at least I didn’t have to worry about that on this day.
🎄 Christmas Eve 🎄
Not long after my mom arrived, we got dinner on the table, and then we started with presents (around 8:00pm). We couldn’t wait til very late, because we were leaving early the next morning.
Before my mom got there, I had spent about an hour moving all the presents into the movie room, were we had the projector going with a merry scene and Christmas music, and sorted everything into piles for each family member, as well as hid a few very special presents for last.
One was a special record I managed to find for our partner. Another was a stuffed bunny from my mom to Christopher that he utterly loved, it was one of the highlights of his night:
Her name is Ribbon. We will be getting her a nice, soft black ribbon for her neck.
Yet another was the LEGO DeLorean that he wanted most of all (from his mom) and finally, the crowning glory of his evening, his famed LEGO “White Whale”, the LEGO 10194 Creator Emerald Night.
Naturally I couldn’t discuss this anywhere, but I got it around August, kept it hidden and have been paying it off since then (it’s a retired set of astronomically inflated price that will not go down, ever). All my excitement that you saw me have this year in regards to Christmas was tied to giving this present to him, which had its intended effect upon my beloved recipient. 😊 Very worth it, though definitely the sort of thing I can only manage once a great many years.
This was the entirety of Christopher’s LEGO haul. Everyone got him LEGO this year, he’s a lucky boy:
It was very cold, so we got unusually cozy. I was wearing my deer kigu.
More photos taken throughout the evening…
🎄 My Haul 🎄
Note --I took multiple photos since I couldn't fit my presents into just one, and spread them randomly through this section. They aren't necessarily placed to match any accompanying text (for the most part) and rather to generally illustrate this section.
Both in magical experiences throughout the entire season and in material gifts, this has been by far the most excessive Christmas of our lives. To such a degree, that I hesitated to share any of my presents. But, I AM so happy and I do want to express that happiness and gratitude on my personal space, at least. Ultimately, I figure that few people look at my blog, and it isn’t likely to upset anyone of the few people who do read it, so I will only talk about it here. I do want to acknowledge the people who showered me with wonderful things, somewhere.
In years past, when I got really nice things for Christmas I kinda told myself “think of how little you had as a kid” and then I felt less bad about having many nice things as an adult. But year after year, and especially this year, I feel like I’ve gotten spoiled to incomprehensible levels, to the point where all of these wonderful things fill me with guilt. Not just during Christmas, I mean in general. Whatever “balance” I was trying to adjust of feeling like I missed out as a child, has been firmly unbalanced in the opposite direction, and I think I need to Calm The Heck Down™.
At some point I need to start enjoying what I have in front of me. And right now I have a lot… I have years worth of incredible stuff to enjoy, books to read, games to play. Like, I was overwhelmed taking the photos. If I never received another Christmas present ever again, it would STILL be a lot.
From our partner I got the Medieval Blacksmith LEGO set and the beautiful Spanish doll I wanted so much –I’ve named her Kalinka:
I also got the Sesame Street figure set from him, and a Bluey smartwatch.
From Christopher, Santa, Buddy and Sarah I got my LEGO Holy Grail, the Lions Knight’s Castle, which brought me to tears even though I was pretty sure it was coming. And also from Christopher, I got two Rowdy Roars (Beta and Dilophosaurus) Mandalorian curtains for my studio, two Snap Squad dinos (velociraptor and triceratops) a Hammond Collection Parasaurolophus, a Camp Cretaceous Allosaurus, a Grogu puzzle, a Velociraptor click tracker, a Scribble Scrubbie Crayola dinosaur set, a Jurassic World Create-A-Scene book, a Highlights Hidden Pictures magazine (dinosaur themed) and two Crayola Art Edge coloring page packs –Jurassic World Dominion and Mandalorian.
From my mom I got a beautiful red mate gourd (a happy coincidence, as I am working towards replacing my coffee intake with mate) the Amnesia: Memories fan disc (Amnesia: Later x Crowd) as well as Paradigm Paradox for the Switch, a box of alfajores, chocolate eggs and chocolate strawberries, a luxurious dinosaur coloring book with thick pages and the most beautiful, intricate pen-and-ink artwork, and an E.T. Tervis cup.
Regarding the coloring book, I actually don’t want to color it. I wanted it as an art book, just to look at. It is just so beautiful.
From my sis-in-law I got one of the most coveted items on my list and one of those that made me cry from happiness, the Monchhichi girl I wanted so very badly. I’ve decided to call her Ponzu.
From my mom-in-law I got an amazing 3-in-one LEGO Castle. Together with the Lion Knight’s Castle and the Medieval Blacksmith, it will all make an incredible setup. I also got two smaller LEGO City sets from her, and Amnesia: Memories for the Switch. One of the most charming things I got was a little snail ceramic figure that my mom in law herself painted for me. It’s so adorable and silly!
I also ended up with two White Elephant presents. This bird feeder that my sis in law didn’t want (and I’ll definitely enjoy):
It’s prettier than I expected, and even lights up. I’m looking forward to hanging it.
And this little waterproof speaker, which I’ll bring along when we go kayaking:
I also got these very cute dinosaur lollies from my mom in law’s roommate:
I also got gift cards from my mom in law, Grandma, and my mom in law’s roommate. One Starbucks card, and few Amazon ones. So I now have a bunch of dolls and books coming, too. These were all high on my list, to the point that I only have like two dolls left I ever really want —someday. Someday in the FAR FUTURE.
The dollies I ordered are all high quality, made-in-Spain dolls. They will take a long time to arrive, but I hope to have lots of fun taking photos of my new friends. They are of different sizes, and a couple I should be able to take places with me as I do my bears. Below you can see their stock photos, along with the names I have picked for them (their original names were Bella, Lidia, Martina and Chloe):
Once I receive them, I’ll make posts about them. I am especially thrilled to have been able to get Martina/Natasha, since she was discontinued and already terribly hard to find. So now I’ll have dolls by Gotz, American Girl, Así, Llorens, Antonio Juan, Paola Reina and JC Toys. It’s a pretty well-rounded collection.
If THAT wasn’t enough, I also have these books on the way. I haven’t been able to read Corazón since I was in elementary school.
There was one more BIG present I got, but I’ll talk about that one in a bit.
🎄 Christmas Day 🎄
Christmas morning we got the car loaded and headed to Grandma’s. I was a bit grouchy. During a lot of the holiday I’d had mild headaches and the cold was making my skin shrivel like a raisin. But I got a peppermint mocha and my crayons and coloring pages, my wearable blankie, and Raggedy Andy for company. I spent the car ride relaxing and feeling small and cozy.
Christmas with family was okay. We were all very eager to head to my mom in law’s to play games, relax and have some actual fun, because the Christmas meal with extended family is always stressful. But here came the big low of the holiday: my poor mom-in-law got COVID. So it was a rush of tests, of quarantining, heading back home before we could even unpack, sis in law changing her flight, basically a hard stop to all celebrations.
My mom in law’s face as we were leaving her house barely an hour after getting there was heartbreaking, her eyes were filled with tears. She almost never gets to see my sis in law these days, so it was a terrible turn of events for her who does so much and sacrifices everything for others; all she ever wants is to spend time with her children.
Honestly I would have rather risked COVID than leaving her alone. I felt so awful. I know Christopher and our partner would have stayed, too (Christopher is on vacation at home anyway, I work from home and our partner doesn’t interact with people at his job, plus we are all vaccinated and boosted, and we have all had COVID already). It would have been risky and stupid anyway, I’m well aware, but leaving her behind felt worse than that risk.
But even if we don’t care if we get sick, my sis in law has an upcoming surgery, works with immunocompromised people and has a big event coming up, all situations where COVID is taken very seriously so she simply cannot get sick. And we had to take her back with us so she could catch a plane back. So that is how Christmas Day ended.
🎄 Monday 🎄
We made the best of things and enjoyed one last day with sis in law. She masked, and stayed some distance from us. We had hot dogs for dinner and just enjoyed each other’s company and watched silly YouTube videos.
Oh, I said I would mention: the last big gift was something my old boss sent me, the double doll bunk bed I had on my wishlist. I was really shocked that anyone bought it for me, it’s so big and silly, but I love it. Christopher was nice enough to put it together for me when we were relaxing early in the afternoon:
It is really beautiful, even more than I’d expected. I think my dolls are going to fight as to who gets to sleep on it…
In the evening our partner made Mexican hot chocolate for everyone. But, it had cayenne pepper in it or something. It was very delicious but also painful to drink. Lol. Christopher could barely touch his, and I had most of mine, but couldn’t finish it.
In spite of the ups and downs all of this has been… well, a LOT. The amazing trips, the once-in-a-lifetime MOUNTAIN of incredible presents, it’s been a lot of happiness but it also feels a bit as if I just ate three giant cakes in a row. I feel bloated and guilty, both physically and emotionally.
I feel like I want to go on a diet of EVERYTHING: toys, outings, food. I want to quietly and calmly work for a few months, heck, a few years, and just enjoy what I have without buying or asking/trading for any more things.
I have so many toys to love, games to play, books to read, and things to do. I really need a break from all this excess, and to do just that. But above all, I am craving the rest and respite that I can only get from hard work.
So, I’m going to put the mountain of toys away, put the house back to normal, and hunker down to do art. I hope everyone’s Christmas was happy. I’m as excited to return to normal as I was about the holidays!
Today, Christopher brought Señor Elf from his job. You see, Señor Elf belonged to a now-gone employee who wasn’t very nice and actually created a lot of discord in the company. When they left, Señor Elf was left behind.
Years ago he didn’t have a name, but another employee kidnapped him, and left creepy black and white printouts of him in precarious situations around the office. At one point Señor Elf even shacked up with a Barbie doll for a while. Anyway, eventually he came back with a Sharpie mustache and the dubious, somewhat un-PC moniquer “Señor Elf” given by some of the employees. And he kind of got lost or disappeared between Christmases.
But Christopher found him again. By this time, his original owner was gone. And I desperately wanted Señor Elf to have a nice home to visit every year. Finally Christopher brought him home, and I made him cozy and gave him cinnamon so he could move again.
I’m still not sure if he will move, or if he can stay with us. I hope next Christmas he will show up in our home and not at Christopher’s job. Let’s see if by tomorrow morning he’s recovered enough to move!