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:
CONTENT WARNING: There will be some minor references to struggles with food and eating in this post. It will be from Friday onward and will have a reminder content warning so it won't surprise you. This stuff will diminish with time, right now it is a big thing in my life, so I apologize if it is annoying.
Happy Sunday, everyone! Firstly, let me address something you may have noticed (perhaps with relief) if you’re a daily subscriber: the 2023 Goal Tracker post notifications are no longer being sent out.
This is because I was apprehensive about flooding people’s inboxes with something that interested only me (I mean, more than the rest of a lot of this blog’s content, even). Sharing the posts imbued me with a definite sense of accountability, but it wasn’t worth causing people to unsubscribe. So I still publish them, but now they are all private, for my eyes only, and so, no one gets notifications for them. You can still keep track of my progress on my 2023 resolutions page if you are so inclined. 😊
Overall, this was a positive week. Let’s get on with the summary!
🌈 Monday 🌈
Christopher has been a little low, so I baked cookies to cheer him up! And well, I also wanted cookies. They were great! We still have a package left, I’ll probably make it next week.
It was tank cleaning day, so have some photos. Excuse the poop. They’re literally always pooping.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
I worked on art lots on this day, getting this piece almost to completion –here’s a WIP:
And here’s a random photo I took of Kotoko on this day. She was being extra adorable.
Being Tuesday, Project Night was next! Grogu kept me company as I worked on a Mandalorian Valentine page.
It was especially fun, and I’m glad I grabbed the card while grocery shopping to do this. 😊 Even if its message seems oddly threatening…
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Christopher stayed home on this day, as he wasn’t doing so well. I did my best to look after him. I also finished the art I shared a WIP of for the day before. Other than that, it was a normal day of doing my best to stick to all my resolutions.
One of those has been riding my stationary bike almost every day, and playing Legends: Arceus at the same time. I found that it was easier to go from Violet to Arceus, than it was on my first attempt when I went from Sword to Arceus for a bit. Violet got me a little more used to the whole open world business.
I’m also glad I finished Violet before going back to Arceus because otherwise the graphics in Violet would have bothered me so much more. Arceus does have glitches and frame rate issues as well, but I still find it utterly beautiful.
The utter disappointment in Mai’s Munchlax face after losing the battle was SO cute. He looked so crestfallen! I felt kinda bad…
WAIT –Bambi’s dad!?
Nevermind it’s just Wyrdeer.
I can’t be the only one who thought “Old Prince” when I saw him in that pose, though!
CONTENT WARNING: Going forward for the rest of the post, there will be occasional discussion of disordered eating, fitness, and weight loss. It will be in a mostly positive note, but please don't continue reading the post if this topic is triggering for you. 🙏
🌈 Thursday 🌈
On this day, you may recall that I made this post. It was a self-reflection that was very long overdue. I’d mostly ignored a lot of the issues presented there, because I am neither worryingly skinny nor morbidly obese, nor does my weight fluctuate wildly, nor am I engaged in seriously physically harmful practices in relation to food.
But I could tell that my relationship with food was becoming problematic, obsessive, and distressing on an everyday basis. I started to feel that if I continued to ignore it, it could verge into actually dangerous territory. So, I made changes to my everyday life that began on this day.
The primary change, really, is simply a drastic reduction in my snacking. I have lunch, a snack, and dinner. Because I’d been so obsessive with eating a small snack whenever I felt like I could, I’d forgotten how to read hunger cues (indeed, I had not had them for a very long time). You could say I am really bad at hearing my body’s signals. So, for me, limiting my snacking to very set times is very important, as is planning everything I will eat that day on the day before.
I am flexible: generally, I simply have mate for breakfast (it’s like tea, no calories, so it doesn’t break my intermittent fast) but on this week there were been two mornings where I had a handful of Raisin Bran because I am trying very hard to increase fiber in my diet and every extra bit helps. One night, after a full dinner, I was still so hungry that I had a banana, and that was okay. I listened to my body and gave it something good.
On that note, the primary reason for my intermittent fast is to have a set time for dinner and not go to bed too soon after (a healthy practice) and to actually be hungry for lunch. So, it is not a diet practice as much as a lifestyle change that I want to keep for every day.
Anyway, on to more fun things, this was date night! We went to Tijuana Flats for a treat, and I snuck Toro inside my backpack. 😊
He enjoyed some tortilla chips!
Once we got back home, we played with LEGO, and I completed my first set of the year!
123 Sesame Street is full of adorable details and it has to be my favorite set I’ve put together yet, along with the LEGO Friends Friendship Tree House.
Later that night, I happened to spot our littlest possum visitor through the dining room window. He was so cute! I went to the door (without opening it) so I could get some photos and video from the narrow window on the side.
I’ve been making an effort to clean this area before night to discourage the guys from visiting, much as I love them. They get really close to the house and I wouldn’t want them to get aggressive. They come after the bird seed that the birds dropped during the day, but admittedly there is never much that is edible. They mostly sniff around for a few minutes and leave.
After our nightly anime watching, I went to write for a while. It wasn’t until the clock showed well past 2:00am and Christopher came into the room to make me go to bed and turned on the lights that I saw that the Boba Fett plushie I longed for had been hidden among other green friends! It was there all the time, for hours, and I hadn’t seen it!
This was such a lovely surprise from Christopher, and I can’t wait to make him a bandana and kandi necklace like the rest of my toys. I’ll show close-ups of him in and out of the box a little later in this post. Needless to say, I went to bed very happy!
🌈 Friday 🌈
To start this day, here is Tomoyo laying on my chest while we hung out on the couch in the morning:
On this day I started to watch 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (母をたずねて三千里, Haha o Tazunete Sanzenri) a Japanese animated television series directed by Isao Takahata that aired in 1976. You may recall me mentioning this anime when I was reading Corazón: Diario De Un Niño by Edmondo De Amicis earlier this year. The GIF that started this day’s summary is from that anime.
Corazón is the daily diary of an Italian schoolboy growing up in the late 1800’s. Included in the novel are twelve stories that Enrique has to copy for school, which the teacher provides to the students. The stories all have morals about family or patriotism, or the like. The anime is loosely based on one of these stories, “De Los Apeninos A Los Andes” (From the Apennines to the Andes).
While this short story is the longest in the novel, it’s still but a few pages long. The anime greatly expands upon it, turning it into a 52-episode epic that had me crying with just the first one! It is full of heart, and definitely a drama. Not something you’d see being made for kids nowadays, I’m sure. It would be considered traumatizing.
Very sad, given that stories like these recognize the real pain, loss and fear children experience daily all over the world throughout history and across all generations, regardless of whether adults today like to think about it. Anyway, I’m looking forward to binging it over the next few weeks.
I didn’t have time to free poor Boba from his bindings this day, but I took a close-up photo of him:
I went grocery shopping on this day. Before doing so, I’d trashed a lot of my unhealthy snacks. I did keep some, and I put them out of my easy reach. But sometimes I pick one to have the next day and leave it where I can get it. Believe it or not, I have the rest under lock and key, and I give the key to Christopher during the day. I guess perhaps a detail such as this might make it more clear why I feel my lack of self control is such a problem (the key was my idea, mind you).
It took me longer to shop for groceries because I was much more careful with my choices. I came home with a lot of healthy foods, non-processed stuff, fruits, veggies. I very much enjoyed my meals the rest of this week and surprised myself with how delicious I could still make meals without smothering everything in cheese, or frying stuff.
I made tilapia with potatoes for this night. Normally I’d have made a second side. But we were all full without one. That was a good choice too.
Afterwards, I enjoyed playing more Legends: Arceus and riding my stationary bike. Once I finish, I always lay on the couch with Tomoyo for a bit, who by now is eager to get fed, but tolerates some love anyway…
What a face!
On this day, I finally began using my food diary. I decided to use a Google Sheets document rather than a written book after all. I find this more useful, I am more likely to enter the data, and I can add up calories and subtract exercise.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
As the week went by, my feelings towards food and eating improved more and more. I began to eat much more mindfully, not snacking became easier, and food was tastier as a result. I felt more satisfied and happy, and a lot of my feelings of guilt began to go away. This week I had salad for every lunch. I’ll switch once the salad mix is out, but I know I’ll make it again soon because it was so delicious!
It has krab (which I seasoned with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning) boiled egg, some crunchy topping, a cracked black pepper ranch dressing, and a base of iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, carrots, red cabbage and radishes.
I’ve been trying to use meditation techniques to control some of the obsessive snacking thoughts. I acknowledge the thought, and let it pass, or try to. I do not guilt myself over the thought. It’s just something that crosses my mind, and I remind myself it doesn’t actually have the power over me that I think it does. It was hard at first but it’s been helping a lot, too.
On the afternoon, I finally found time to free Boba Fett. He is so flippin’ cute! I love his little fists. I’m not sure he should trust the rocket launcher, though. It’s not the most reliable. I also cut up the box for more scrapbooking materials!
For dinner, I made turkey burgers with avocado. 🍔🥑🍟
Random snail photo of the day:
During the night we received a rarer visitor: one of the local raccoons! He was just passing by.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
It was a rainy weekend, and a lazy, relaxing Sunday. I had my usual breakfast early in the morning as the sun was coming up, and read a little more, too.
Afterwards I took a little nap and Tomoyo napped on me too:
I had an unexpected gift card later in the day. I was really happy that I could buy a simple board game to play with my mom the next time I visit her!
Since I had enough left, I got something off of my wish list… I’m gonna say this doesn’t count against my resolution since it was a gift card. I’ve been wanting this little guy sooo much!
Afternoon snack was rich in fiber. Did more reading, and Blue kept me company this time!
Having worked on Patreon rewards all throughout the weekend, I decided it was ok to take some “me” time to scrapbook. I really wanted to make a couple of Child’s Play / Chucky themed pages.
Here’s the “Good Guys” page before everything is pasted in!
And here it is all finished:
This was the more “gory” page. Here it is underway…
…and all done!
I had a lot of fun! Dinner was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, some avocado slices and kale salad. Pretty small portions, so on this night, after exercising, I had a banana, too.
I finished the week with much more positive feelings than it started with. I hope I can carry them on into the next, and have fun things to share with you all! Have a great week, guys!
This was, for sure, a much better week! It’s been a bit of a battle, but slowly I’ve been clawing my way back to more successful days, with more goals accomplished. This week we got to have dinner and hang out a little with our beloved friends Kitty (whom you might know as Blankit) and her husband Dan. That was a huge treat, as we hadn’t seen them in forever. Let me tell you about that, and about the rest of my week, below!
🌈 Monday 🌈
The week started off a little rough. Work has been deeply stressful for poor Christopher and it was having the worst effect on his mental health at the end of the weekend and start of this week (you might recall me mentioning last week that he wasn’t doing so well). So that was on my mind a lot on Monday.
I did a lot of laundry and worked a lot on my fantasy novel on this day, to catch up on what I couldn’t do the previous day. I wrote a total of 1,540 words which was really satisfying. Other than that, I don’t have much else to share about this day beyond this photo I took at bedtime:
I was feeling so cozy in my little corner playing Pokémon that I decided to take a photo to remember that pleasant feeling. 🥰
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Another day on which I missed writing, but since I caught up so much on Tuesday, I was still good for my weekly goal. I also exercised and gamed a decent amount.
Tuesday I made the decision to set up a cohost account, finally. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, and I was very pleased with the result:
I think it looks pretty nice! I also got cohost Plus! to help support the site. Staff activated me for posting the same day, and I have been enjoying interacting with people over there since.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
This was a special day –and a very busy one! As usual, it started with breakfast on the couch, reading a book, having mate and enjoying Elliot’s company:
Afterwards, I spent a few hours doing chores and straightening up the house. This included cleaning the snail tank:
At noon, I had the usual Zoom call with my mom. I worked on commissions and did more chores before hopping in the shower. Soon after I got out, Kitty and Dan arrived! We showed off the house to them and then left to go to Nine Five Phở together for a nice little dinner.
Kitty and I talked a lot about all sorts of things, including many recent fandom debacles. It was really nice to discuss these things in person with someone. We also caught up on each other’s lives, and got a couple of photos together…
Afterwards we went back to our house, where we had snacks and played the Fronks game on the Wii U. Then we switched to the latest Mario Party. I performed horribly as per usual, but Dan really gave Christopher a run for his money the entire game. It was close at times, but eventually Dan won!
After the game, it was time to say goodbye. We hadn’t seen one another since Megaplex 2019… I didn’t realize it had been so long. Truly, COVID warped my sense of time. I haven’t been to any conventions since. I was starting to think I never would again, honestly, but seeing Kitty and Dan put an ache back in my heart for memories of those days. Then again, can those days be recaptured? I’m not sure… but I feel maybe I should return to the con scene, and to old friends.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
I worked hard all day to have all my chores done and still have time to watch TV. I wanted to finish binging through The Book of Boba Fett, and finish an overdue commission for Kiba. But first, here’s a photo of Elliot and Tomoyo doing their usual morning window watching, while touching butts:
I feel regret about sleeping on Boba Fett all this time. I hadn’t realized it was pretty much a continuation of The Mandalorian. I enjoyed it immensely, the ending was so awesome and adorable, honestly to a fanservicey degree, lol. I just loved it.
I finished Kiba’s commission and then left to do the grocery shopping so that the timing would be just right for Christopher to pick me up on his way home from work. Once home, I put the groceries away and he started cooking. He made this really weird chicken chili soupy thing with tortillas that was extremely comforting to eat and I can’t wait to have again.
Then it was LEGO time! It was date night, after all. I got some nice progress in on my Sesame Street set:
The guys worked some more on their lighthouse. Then we cuddled and watched anime together.
🌈 Friday 🌈
This day I felt very accomplished. Not only did I get over 700 words written on my novel, but also exercised for over an hour and burned over 600 calories. It felt like a very successful day! I also got more gaming done, and reading too:
I really thought I’d have to read a few other books alongside Stephen King’s “It”, because it is over a thousand pages long and seemed so overwhelming, but it’s been so utterly engrossing, I just can’t put it down to read anything else! I’m making good progress on it, too.
On another topic, you know those fuzzy caterpillars everyone here calls woolly bears? In Argentina, people called those “gatas peludas” meaning “furry cats” (specifically, female cats, for some reason). When I was looking at the misshapen lump that was Rosie on the cat tree, it made me remember that… she might as well be a giant fuzzy caterpillar for all you’d know:
After getting all my chores done, I made dinner (salmon croquettes) for me and the guys. We watched Chucky again (the TV show –we’re on season 2). It was a very wacky episode. Just like with the movies, I both love and hate the show. It truly is exactly like the movies in feel. If you dare take it seriously/get attached to anything or anyone, or expect it to make sense, it’ll slap you on the face, give you the finger, and laugh.
I was unable to have Project Day on Tuesday as is normally scheduled. Didn’t plan my day out properly and also just wasn’t feeling it. So, I did it on this night instead, right after dinner. Since all of my scrapbooking stuff was now organized, I figured I’d give it a go and finish a new page for my Squelf-Book:
And, to add another tick to my “enjoy my toys” resolution, I brought Clicky down for company. I really love my little clicking dino, but I’ve not played with or enjoyed him at all, so it was about time. Clicky helped me pick scraps and cut-outs to decorate the page with!
He even helped stick some of them in place:
When it was all done, we were both pleased with the results!
By this time next week, I’ll be on to my next video game. I truly loved Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, it’s a game that will remain in my heart forever, so I wanted to do this page to commemorate my playthrough.
After this, it was time for anime and cuddling. We are watching the original Trigun. We were going to watch the recent remake, but not only were Christopher and I slightly put off by it –we also found out that our partner has never seen the original Trigun, and this situation must clearly be remedied.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
This was a very busy day! I did lots of chores, and exercised + gamed a ton. I finished Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX! It was such a lovely game that I’ll always remember fondly. Tomorrow, I’d pick up Legends: Arceus where I left off.
I also did lots of outlining for my novel, and worked lots of commissions, catching up on the changing table badges:
I got a little video to show you that I took on Saturday. This is how snails groom their shells so the edge doesn’t hurt them:
Not unlike a cat grooming, snails do this daily. Usually, they do it after they wake up and before starting their daily roam for food, water and, er, companionship. 😏
At bedtime, Rosie was waiting for me:
I took my Switch to bed and after about an hour, I’d beat the game:
I took one last picture of Rosie cuddling next to me and purring up a storm before we both fell asleep…
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Sunday was utterly exhausting. It was time to make a proper dent on commissions, so I practically did nothing else and finished eight by the end of the day. No exercise, no writing, no chores… just art until my eyes bled. In spite of the progress, I ended the day a bit unhappy because being able to exercise and write are the two things that make me feel the most accomplished.
And yet –in spite of this, I beat the writing goal this week, with 3,611 words. When you consider all the outlining done as well, it’s a huge success. And I beat a video game and finished a scrapbook page!
A nice thing that happened on this day is that our partner finished adding a different band to the Bluey watch he got me for Christmas. The band that came with this watch is total garbage, the watch would come right off a kid or adult’s wrist. It was unusable. But the watch is very cute. It took a lot of work to make the 20mm rainbow band I bought for it fit, but he did it, and it looks great!
Sometimes, if they are sleepy enough, these two get along…
Lately Rosie has been super cuddly, every night… she’s always purring, stretching her little paws to touch me, getting up and then letting herself fall heavily against me. She is so sweet, I adore this little cat.
I played a little of Arceus at bedtime. Still can’t quite get into this game, and I find it a bit difficult, but we’ll see how the coming week goes with it.
Ups-and-downs are normal to have, but it’s rare to have such a good week be followed by such a bad one. No major catastrophes took place, and a lot of what made it so hard to handle the smaller difficulties was my period, which for some reason was very unusually long and harsh on my body. It, combined with other stuff, managed to sink me into a days-long depression. Most of my goals fell by the wayside.
This journal is pretty dismal overall, though it picks up in tone near the end of the week. I apologize that it’s not as cheerful as usual. It was just a really hard week for me. 😥
💔 CW: pet loss discussion in this blog post. 💔
🌈 Monday 🌈
Right from the start, Monday was not an easy day. Physically, I was still feeling down from the day before. I had been unable to stay on top of my goals for days for a variety of reasons. In addition, it was very cold, and the guys wanted to sleep with the windows open. This made for some truly miserable nights and mornings for me. And bad mornings tend to throw my entire day off track. I just felt unhappy, unmotivated, and like everything was a struggle.
I pushed myself and cleaned the snail tank this day, so my little guys didn’t suffer from my lack of motivation:
The cats stayed in cozy corners all day. Even Elliot spent time indoors. Here’s Kotoko hiding in one of the cat condo nooks:
Speaking of Kotoko, in the evening I decided to give her a bath in spite of the cold because she was just so dirty. She’s old and can’t groom herself very well anymore. As I was drying her, she peed, on my Jurassic Park rug no less. So that was great. I was upset about the rug, but above all because it felt like I put Kotoko through hell for nothing. 😟
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
This was another cold morning. At least Kotoko had forgiven me… I think the cold might have helped with that.
This day I went to visit my mom. From early on, I felt very depressed. I’d been down since the day before and just continued feeling increasingly worse. I wanted to take her to the movies this week, to cheer her up (she’s still not doing okay after Shampoo’s passing) and there is rarely enough money in the family finances for that sort of thing.
I was really down about that, but ultimately managed to sell a commission to take my mom to dinner and a movie the following Saturday. Thank you, Snow, for that.
Throughout the day, before I went to her place, I did my best to do my chores, work on art, finish another book chapter, take care of the pets. I did whatever I could to get through the motions, but it was hard. I hadn’t had to push through feeling so bad in a long time.
Once at my mom’s, whatever good cheer I’d managed to bring up hit the hard wall of Shampoo’s absence.
Seeing all of her special spots without her in them was terrible. Seeing her pretty little urn, while not hearing her usual loud meows… it was all very hard.
I managed to keep that pain to myself for my mom’s sake. But truly, more than my heartache over Shampoo’s passing, the fear and grief that an event like this brings is always mostly about Kotoko. I’m not afraid that I won’t be able to handle her loss when it happens. It’ll hurt, but eventually I’ll be okay. But I am very afraid for my husband’s sake. And I fear that the man he is now will sort of die when Kotoko dies, and whoever he will be after that, I don’t know, but I am very afraid that he will never be the same again, and I will never have this version of him again.
I don’t know what to do with that fear, and every passing year it becomes worse. Sometimes I feel like our beloved old cat is a ticking bomb of grief. This event has redoubled that, especially because I think he is in some deep denial about her advanced age and the limited time she may have left. This literally keeps me up at night.
Anyway… as usual, my mom had a little snack spread ready when I got there:
Then we had baked potatoes for dinner:
And seeing Sweeney was nice, but I couldn’t help thinking that he is the age Stimpy was when he passed, and Stimpy seemed pretty okay until near the end too. I guess I am full of grim thoughts right now.
For some reason, during this visit a lot of old fears and worries hit me very hard. Though I appeared cheerful to my mom, and I know she thought I was okay, I ended Tuesday feeling the most depressed I have been in a very, very long time. It was an overall feeling of hopelessness for the future, that I’m sure (I hope) I can shake off.
But it’s a hard feeling to carry for any length of time. I know what it’s trying to say. It’s whispering in my ear, cruelly, insidiously, “things aren’t going to be okay, but no one really cares”. It is a lonely feeling to carry.
When I feel this way, holding strong to my “do not buy toys” resolution is incredibly hard. I would love a small toy from my wishlist right now to distract me even for a moment from feeling the way I do, no matter how fleeting that relief is.
On the upside, earlier in the week a kindly commissioner sent me a set of colorful drawers where I will be able to sort all of my scrapbooking supplies for Project Night, which is set to arrive on Thursday. I’m thinking about that, to feel happier and excited about something to do.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
After a Tuesday night full of nightmares and unusually strong cramps that lasted into the morning, Wednesday began.
It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I felt a bit less depressed, but now I was in a lot of pain instead (continued from the night). Maybe rather than feeling less depressed, I just felt like I was settling into my depression, I guess? Getting used to it? Maybe I’ll feel this way for some time.
We had mate for breakfast, but because I was in pain the whole time, I didn’t want any. Anyway, have some Sweeney toebeans:
I was slow, achy and tired for a lot of this day. Whenever I’m at my mom’s feeling really low, it’s hard, because I want attention from my husband and our partner, but I feel too low to even tell them I’m not okay or try to reach out for that affection. And if I do attempt to convey that, and don’t get a response, my frame of mind makes me read that as neglect and it can be very painful when I’m feeling deeply vulnerable already.
So it was really nice that at one point our partner did send me a random sweet little message, I don’t usually hear from him when I’m at my mom’s. Almost like he knew. That helped a lot, though I didn’t tell him I wasn’t okay, only that I was in a bit of pain. But it meant so much to get that message from him just out of the blue.
Still, mostly I just lay on the couch miserably for hours, though I did play more Pokémon Violet here and there and work on a couple of commissions. I did also read a little (still working on “It”) and since my mom was interested, we began to watch the original movies.
For dinner, we had these little mac ‘n cheese balls and fries:
And for dessert we had strawberries and cream! 🍓
Sweeney was very affectionate towards my mom all the time that I was at her place. I think for years, he’s been relegated to the background in all kinds of ways. Shampoo took most of my mom’s time, affection, and even vet-related finances. It could hardly be helped when it felt for years as though every day might be her last. Now Sweeney has my mom all to himself and will hardly leave her lap.
It is sweet, but also a little sad. He must have felt neglected all this time. My mom took him for a check-up today because he hasn’t had one in a very long time for the reasons I just stated. Hopefully all the labs come back with normal, reassuring results.
My mom and I got almost halfway to the second part of “It” (the 1990 version) when the guys came to pick me up. I would find later find out that Christopher, like me, had a pretty terrible day. But once we were all home together, things started to feel better, and I think he felt more cheerful too, though we both continued to feel physically miserable.
Something to note that has happened this week every time I slept (weather at night or a nap) is lots and lots of nightmares, or, at best, really bizarre dreams, usually connected to people or events present very recently in my life rather than those important or consequential to me. I’ve even had people I’ve never spoken to from one group chat I’m in appear in these bad dreams, multiple times. The topics are as varied as they are ridiculous.
Usually, but not always, the dreams are distressing, upsetting, or at best very annoying, so I’d categorize them as nightmares, but they aren’t the sort you wake up upset from. Just the sort that makes you go “huh” when you wake up. It’s as though my brain were going through some clean-up or organizing of thoughts at this time. It’s just bizarre.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
Although on Thursday morning I woke up still in a lot of pain and sort of weakened by my way-too-long period, my mood was a little lifted.
I’m not sure why. I had a lot to do, and didn’t feel great yet. I suppose partly was just being with the guys. Just hearing their voices and seeing their faces, sometimes, lifts me up and is all I need.
All throughout this week, I struggled with, and mostly did not meet, my goals. I decided to call this week a wash. My body really, really conspired against me in the worst way.
We did play LEGO for date night, though Christopher was unwell and our partner had to work, so he couldn’t join us… but we did have LEGO and that was still fun.
Later, Christopher and I cuddled and watched TV. Rosie joined us too; here she is, blepping beautifully:
Unfortunately our partner continued working. He was concentrating hard on his coding and didn’t want to stop. He worked until past 5:00am.
🌈 Friday 🌈
Even on Friday morning my body still had the odd cramp. Frankly, I was really impressed. It never lasts this long. But this was the last day. In the morning, I built the new set of drawers. Mercifully, in spite of the terrible quality (which I was aware of) nothing was broken in transit, and it came out pretty good:
I’d spend the next few days completely reorganizing my scrapbooking supplies into this new colorful piece of furniture.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
On this day we took my mom to the movies, the three of us (Christopher, our partner and I). I spent the earlier part of the day doing chores and then we were off! I had my Totodile with me, and Pokémon graham crackers. I’ve been in a big Pokémon mood recently.
After picking up my mom, we walked around Brickell City Centre, a really cool and upscale outdoor covered mall in Downtown Miami. Our partner bought me the fancy French candies he’d long promised, and was kind enough to get some for my mom too. We walked around and took this picture at one point:
Then we headed to the movie early, because it was CMX Cinébistro and we had to order our food. Right before the movie, I had a drink called Strawberry Fields. It was pretty good. I actually hadn’t had a drink in a while. I do not drink much by anyone’s standards, but by my own, I felt I was drinking a little too much, so I decided to cut back.
The movie, a “horror” comedy titled M3GHAN, was pretty silly, but hilarious. I’m not sure it was always trying to be funny, but it pretty much was the entire time.
After the movie, we got ice cream and walked around some more. Our partner bought a tiny but really fancy candle, and then we dropped my mom off before heading back to the house.
When we got home, I had two nice surprises. The loveliest was this drawing from YuriFairy, featuring both of our characters, and it’s one of my favorite depictions of my little squirrel avatar in a few years. It’s so beautiful:
A package from ODU with a sample of a new design by me also showed up:
It’s so exciting to see a product featuring my art again after a couple of years! Here’s another photo:
We went to bed shortly after. Our partner just went straight back to work though, and had another late night. Christopher and I cuddled for a while and then fell asleep.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Between yesterday and today, I sat for several hours sorting all of my scrapbooking materials and labeling them, like so:
There are many, many of these rugged plastic envelopes. Every single drawer is full!
Unlike before, everything is sorted by topic, not material. This makes it infinitely easier to pick out the materials I need for the theme of the page I’m working on, and everything is sorted out alphabetically.
Outside of the drawers, I sorted all my playing cards (which I collect specifically for scrapbooking purposes) like this:
Then I labeled the front of the drawers, too. Now, everything is really easy to find.
An added bonus of borrowing the labeler and of sorting all my scrapbooking supplies was that I finally sorted a bit of a mess I had in the studio closet, which now looks nice and neat:
This guy has been with me for so many years…
I re-sorted all of my beads and kandi-making supplies, too. This is also where the Furbys live. It looks a lot better now.
During this process, I ran into some traditional art I hadn’t filed away…
Not just this, but so many sketches, and so many unfinished things. It made me tear up with this intense nostalgia for something I lost without even realizing it. I decided to move things around and create a new permanent area for traditional art, because somehow, I didn’t have one anymore. This is what it looks like:
And here is a close-up:
I hope I can make traditional art a part of my life again.
I had one shelf that was cleared of scrapbooking supplies that got sorted into the new drawers, so I moved the decorations that were on this desk to it:
Speaking of, I haven’t shared my little collections in a while, particularly since I displayed them after opening my Christmas presents. Here’s the shelves with some of the newer Jurassic World additions…
A close-up of my lovely little Parasaurolophus, I love him so much:
There are a lot of dinosaurs in my studio…
(But not too many. There is no such thing.)
I feel like every day I love dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park / World franchise more and more, like it’s almost becoming a part of my personality. That phrasing seems wrong… I guess I mean it feels less like something I’ll emotionally outgrow and more like a deep-seated, truly lifelong interest, that I don’t think can ever go away because at the core, it’s about dinosaurs and nature, and I’ll never not love those things.
Finally, here’s Kalinka and Natasha. I decided to display them side by side because they look a little like sisters:
Because I spent so much time doing this, I was up until 3:00am doing housework, including cleaning the snail tank. Here’s some happy snails:
I’m trying to keep in mind the fact that, outside of my resolutions, I would normally consider this a wildly successful week. In spite of unusual physical pain, I did a lot of writing, took my mom to the movies, reorganized all of my scrapbooking supplies, revamped the studio closet, and reworked my traditional art work area. I went grocery shopping and worked on my blog. It wasn’t all so bad.
But I also can’t deny the obvious: this may have been a terrible week for me, but bad week or not, I failed at ALL of my resolutions outside of reading. So, I’m allowing myself a fresh start with my fitness chart. I also set a more reasonable goal, which would have me at my goal weight by April. I won’t beat myself up over the missteps. Instead I’ll celebrate what I did manage, dust myself off, and tomorrow start again with new renewed vigor.
Another week down! This one went really fast. I’ve continued to write, read, and play video games, as well as make commission progress. Slowly, the small things that make my life worth living are taking more and more of my time.
Podcasts and music instead of YouTube. More gaming and reading instead of mindless doom-scrolling. Getting acquainted with my characters again. My stress levels decrease, and certain parts of my brain, like rusty machinery that’s been freshly oiled, shed more and more gunk and move more smoothly and fast with every passing day.
Every day I do fail in one of my resolutions in some small way. Most often, weight goals and hydration goals. But the failures don’t discourage me at all, because every day I still do what makes me really happy. I wish I hadn’t put simple pleasures off for so long… anyway, I’m trying to make up for it now.
🌈 Monday 🌈
On this day I received the curtain rod I’d ordered, and was able to hang the Grogu curtains I got for Christmas! I love how they complete my studio’s look:
My studio looks a bit like a “hidden picture” puzzle image. 😅 There is a lot going on. But I love it.
Today was a bit of a lazy day, but I did all my chores and worked on art. I took time to game and relax with Kalamata in the afternoon.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Tuesday means Project Night! But before that, I had to go to the gynecologist to get my pap. This time, it didn’t hurt at all. I really like this doctor, I was so relieved when it was over, though.
Normally, I would walk back, and get myself a nice treat (stickers, a small toy and maybe a snack) after an appointment I had been dreading so much. But I was determined to stay good to my resolution, so I called an Uber to go home.
My driver was friendly and funny, and gave lots of colorful conversation during the ride. He told me about his dog, and said he’d show her to me. I assumed he had a photo or something, and he’d pull it out when we got to my house –but instead, he picked up the doggy (named Chica) right from the front seat!
She was so quiet, curled up in her little bed, I never even knew she was there! It really surprised me. She was very cute, but seemed rather suspicious of me.
After I got home, I cleaned the snail tank. Here are two of my snabies, soaking happily…
For his project night, Christopher worked on his Asuka puzzle that my mom got him many Christmases ago. It’s a REALLY hard 1,000 piece puzzle!
My project night consisted of a continuation of last week’s coloring. This was my setup! I listened to 90’s Disney music while coloring.
It’s worth noting that this is not an activity I did as a child. Any creative endeavor, and even a lot of my play, had to involve some sort of way of gaining inspiration towards my “serious” projects like my book, which I was working on as early as age 12. Coloring cartoon characters with crayons is something kid me would have seen as a frivolous waste of valuable time. So, allowing myself to enjoy an activity such as this today, is important to me.
This time, I had Scout as a companion! And I had a chocolate soy milk for my snack.
I finished my Christmas coloring of Sister Bear! Here it is underway…
…and finished + laminated! Still needs the last stage of decorating with stickers. But that’s the first page of the year down –one out of twelve to complete my resolution!
…and I’m already working on the next one!
At bedtime, I took a picture of my sleeping pal, Grover, with the book I am currently reading. But for some reason, Grover seems to have a creepy, bedroom-eyes demeanor in the picture… 😅
On that note, this book (Corazón) is way more depressing and guilt-trippy than I remembered. Patriotic to a gagging degree (such as a father telling his son “if you wouldn’t die for our country I couldn’t love you) and, I don’t know, every time the child narrator slightly screws up he has his father/mother/sister leave letters in his diary in which, though they profess their love for him, they basically scold him to the ground. The book feels a big wagging, scolding finger at times.
If you know me, you know I am less liable to put today’s morals upon a long-ago creation. But even so, I was a bit put off by the descriptions of native people (some of my original country of birth in the “From The Apennines To The Andes” short story) and most of all by the high degree of ableism by today’s standards.
But I try to remember that, in fact, this book went a long way to try to bring attention to the suffering of disabled people, to the point that it takes many pages and scenes throughout the book, and points out many kinds of disabilities in detail –something unusual for a children’s book written in the 1800’s. Unfortunately, this is done by encouraging an extreme degree of pity towards differently-abled folk, and to value them based on how they can be still incorporated into society to “contribute in the same way as others” so to speak. 🙄
So yeah, that felt a bit icky to read, but context and time period is of great importance. It is very obvious the writer’s heart was in a good place and he felt a painful degree of sympathy and compassion for disabled people he saw all around him –above all, children. It’s interesting how something written with the best of intentions then, would surely get this man “canceled” now.
This is still a work of literature worth remaining in print and allowing children to read, with proper guidance. But I imagine as our society “progresses”, works like this will be further banned or modified to fit current societal standards. This is part of why I collect antique and vintage children’s books.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
This was a pretty normal Wednesday! Though, I could already feel PMS doing its usual number on me. Hopefully it won’t be too bad this month.
I cleaned the snail tank early in the day. They got a special treat today:
One more photo –enjoying some cuttlebone:
Partner and I went to Tree Tops Park on this day, and I’ve got pics and video to share! But first, sleepy snail conga line:
The weather was cool and mild, a rare treat in Florida. We got to see a few critters on this outing. First there was this big raccoon VERY high up a large tree, digging fiercely in a clump of one of those parasitic air plants. Every once in a while, it would stare at us intently, but it was clearly very focused on whatever it was doing.
We also saw tortoises. People feed them (something you shouldn’t do) so they readily come when they hear someone.
Seeing the little heads pop out of the water and stare at us, I’m overcome with emotion. It reminded me of the bear staring into my eyes at the zoo, which had me actually crying. There is something about the connection when an animal notices you, stares deep into you –the reason (even as simple as “do you have food or are you food?”) doesn’t matter– that is so primordial, holy even, if I still believed in such things. I can’t explain it very well, but it gives me a rush of intense joy tinged with sadness, and it can easily bring me to tears. I love animals so very much.
Another little burst of joy was coming across a burrowing owl.
It gave me a squint.
I’d snuck Bangers into my backpack, and our partner, who usually doesn’t have patience for this sort of nonsense, waited while I took some pics. Bangers stood out really nicely among the greenery, and even found some berries!
🌈 Thursday 🌈
I was really excited for today, both to resume working on my current LEGO set, and to have ice cream and pizza for dinner. But date night was sort of canceled. Christopher had been unwell for days (his usual back pain) and working on his puzzle for a few days exacerbated it. So, today, he couldn’t play LEGO, but his puzzle looks amazing. I wish I’d taken a photo, because it’s over halfway done now.
I spent a lot of the day working on art and binging The Book Of Boba Fett, and after the promised pizza and ice cream, our partner went back to some important due work and I hung out with Christopher while leveling my Pokémon Violet team. I reached pretty close to end-game!
🌈 Friday 🌈
Christopher stayed home today. He still didn’t feel great. Our partner worked late, into the early hours of the morning. I spent all day doing housework and packing to leave for my mom-in-law’s in the evening.
Earlier in the day, I had Christopher download an anime from the 70s for me, by the same studio that did Heidi. It is called “3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother”, and is an extended adaptation of the short story “From The Apennines To The Andes” that appears in the old children’s novel I’m currently reading (Corazón: Diario de un Niño). In the original book, this story is one of the monthly stories that Enrique reads in school. It is, however, the longest short story in the book. I’m looking forward to watching the anime as soon as I finish The Book Of Boba Fett.
In the early evening we were off to Sebastian! When we got there, we had nachos for dinner. Then Grandma brought out some chocolate cupcakes she made.
They had Tom Kitten picks! Good ol’ Grandma. She knows what I like.
I slept in an inflatable mattress which is never very comfortable for me. I’d rather sleep with Christopher if he didn’t snore, especially because it was so cold, and it would have been nice to cuddle. The cool thing is that the mattress was put in the same room as our partner’s and it’s just so nice that it is such a non-issue for us to sleep together in the same room, since it was the most convenient. Even with Grandma there, no one bats an eye and is so accepting of the three of us and “our thing”.
Anyway! I still made it colorful and cozy:
I’d brought Beta with me, and “It” to read. Scary books aren’t scary when you’re sleeping with a raptor for comfort!
I even had my Jurassic World jammies so it was very much a mood.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
On Saturday we went on a long car ride, to Okeechobee. My mom-in-law showed me some old haunts where she used to live with my sis-in-law (but, I think, not Christopher). It was very interesting and reminded me of some areas in Belén de Escobar, the area of Argentina I last lived in before coming to the US.
For breakfast, we had really crispy bacon (my favorite) eggs, and spicy sausage gravy on biscuits.
At one point I couldn’t find my phone, then I realized our partner had hidden it from me. He took some funny pictures as I pounced on him to give it back…
Then we were off to Okeechobee!
🌳🐮 Okeechobee 🐮🌳
On the way to Okeechobee, we saw all kinds of animals. Cows, horses, wild hogs, even ostriches in an ostrich farm! We went to a flea market, but there wasn’t much to see. It was also freezing cold!
Finally, we made it to my mom-in-law’s old “homestead” house. They put so much effort into this house and raised dozens of animals. My mom-in-law showed us the very long fence she put up by hand, all by herself, still standing. They dug the pond themselves.
But the house now lays in ruin, abandoned after it was sold. It was honestly a heartbreaking sight.
It looked so spooky, and I really wanted to go into the house to explore. But you never know what you’ll find. I was scared that we even drove past the gate, because in this country, and in particular in this state, you just never know who’s gonna shoot you for trespassing into their property. 🙃
We later went to another house where they’d lived, and my sis-in-law’s name, which she’s written into the country when she was just a little girl, was still there, which was very poignant.
Then, after a Wawa and Dunkin’ Donuts stop, we went back to my mom-in-law’s house in Sebastian. I complained a lot because my legs really hurt and it was such a long ride. But eventually we were in Sebastian again. Overall, I had a lot of fun.
🧩😴 A Relaxing Evening 😴🧩
After we got back, we were exhausted. Christopher and I lay down (me to play Pokémon, him to nap with his bunny, Ribbon) while my mom-in-law cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner.
The meal after Saturday’s activity (if it’s home cooked –usually something on the grill) is often the highlight of a visit for me. Not gonna lie, Christopher and I are pretty lazy, so we are often resting while family cooks dinner around us. It is such a comforting, happy feeling, hearing the kitchen noises and smells, our feet usually intermingled under a blanket, him gently snoring while I draw, read or game. It feels like a moment to treasure, of hard-to-come-by complete peace.
After dinner, we played a game called Spoons, which was really fun and a little hectic. Then, I played Pokémon some more while the rest of the family played Crowns and eventually moved to help Christopher finish his very hard 1,000 Asuka puzzle. And finish it they did, at like 1:00am!
I was in bed before that, with a happy achievement of my own:
I’m still going to do a bit of end-game content, but I was really happy to get the first finished game of 2023 under my belt!
🌈 Sunday 🌈
On Sunday, after breakfast, we went to a pottery studio, then to lunch at Casa Amigos, a Mexican restaurant that served MASSIVE portions. After that, we walked around the dead mall that the restaurant is attached to. But let me tell you about the pottery studio first, which was called “The Painted Frog”. This place is where my mom-in-law painted the cute little snail she gave me for Christmas.
🎨🐸 The Painted Frog 🐸🎨
The first step was to pick our pieces. Christopher picked a turtle, our partner, a shot glass, and I picked a gator, because I love them so much and because our partner and I have had a few gator-related (mis?)adventures.
All the colors you see become much more intense and sometimes much darker than you see here. Even though it looks pastel, the colors I picked should turn out very bright. I used different shades of green for the base, including mottling and spattering here and there, with a sponge and with a toothbrush. To make it more “me”, I dotted it all over with red, blue and yellow dots:
I was afraid to mess up when doing his eyes, but I think it looks okay!
Christopher’s turned out really cute, too:
Our partner seemed a real expert at this in spite of never doing it before:
Here are Christopher’s and mine together:
They had a section of unclaimed, already fired and glazed pieces. You could buy any of them for just one dollar, and I couldn’t resist this little guy:
Here you can see them together –a piece before being glazed and fired, with one that has been. I believe my gator’s color is the same as the one in the finished piece, if not very close. So, as you can see, the end result is very different.
Ours should be ready in about a week. I hope they survive the process… they don’t always. Overall, I really loved this experience, and there’s a few similar places in our area, so I’d like to go to others too.
🍃🏬 Visiting A Dying Mall 🏬🍃
This used to be a lively mall. My sis-in-law’s first job was at its movie theater. Now half of it is taken up by a “chain” church and its many related storefronts/offices, from a coffee shop, to a fitness center, including a Sunday school, a store of religious stuff such as books, clothing and knick-knacks, and even a TV station.
Most areas of the mall though, were eerily empty… very liminal.
The H.A.L.O. No-Kill Rescue is still there. There was a cat at the front desk!
And many, many cute kittens…
Here you can see some video of them playing:
I was fascinated by the many old abandoned rides. Most were in working condition, but you never really see kids riding these anymore. Here’s a little carousel…
And a shiny steam locomotive!
This carousel, though out of service, was the most interesting. It was Jungle Book themed, and featured Bagheera, Kaa, an elephant (Hathi? doubt it… lol).
…and, err… Simba?? Who knows.
It also had Mowgli, but I really didn’t like how he looked so I didn’t take a photo.
They had Jay Jay The Jetplane, too. Boy, this brings back memories!
A cute little bear was riding this truck:
We passed by an eclectic little game store, where Christopher treated me to this Ewoks VHS tape. This reminds me, I need to add a VHS-watching resolution goal to my 2023 list.
After we were home, and all unpacked, I was able to look at Natasha, who arrived over the weekend from Latvia, the country of my grandparents. Her box looked a lot like other Spanish doll boxes:
She is truly lovely! Not too big and not too small. Part of me wishes she was a little bigger, but this way she’s easier to take places with me.
Her face is as sweet as the pictures!
I also loved that her cloth body is skin-toned, rather than white cloth.
Later, in bed, I went through our Ring front door camera. We get many animal visitors so I like to look through all the recorded motion before I fall asleep. I caught a very funny moment when one of the local squirrel decided to engage in some wild acrobatics, much of the annoyance of the birds!
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to share for this week. I think my proudest accomplishment this week is getting almost 4,000 words down on my book. I hope you all had a wonderful one! I’ll see you here again next Sunday with another weekly summary. 🥰
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…