Category Archives: Trips And Outings

Week 10 Summary: Christopher’s Birthday! ๐ŸŽ‚

This was a week with some painful lows but still some happy moments. I went to see my mom, we had family visit, we celebrated Christopher’s birthday, my mom’s immigration process finally had movement, and I completed my first race (well, it was a walk) since restarting my daily strolls. I also took Kotoko to the vet, some tests were done, and the results were not good.

Because of those test results, I want to warn you that this post will discuss pet illness and impending (though not immediate) loss. Because it’ll come right away, under the Monday summary, there is no cut: if you keep reading, it’ll be after the “soot” photo. So please be aware of that. Anyway, let’s get on with the summary.

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Let’s start Monday with something utterly delightful. Remember the soots from last week? The blue soot at this employee’s desk has been graced with a tiny hat!

I love the idea of someone possibly purposely bringing this hat to work for this soot. It’s so cute.

๐Ÿ’ž Pet Illness/Loss CW Starts Here ๐Ÿ’ž

Now, with much regret, I must move on to a more somber topic. You might recall I mentioned on my last post that I planned to take Kotoko to the vet on Monday. Her projectile vomiting is somewhat controlled by occasional Cerenia, but with no specific cause, I wanted to try the vet near our house and see if anything else had developed that our usual, beloved and trusted vet, Dr. Pisano, had not seen at the time. It was also time for a new blood test.

Kotoko was quite noisy as everything was done to her –check-up, x-rays, blood work. She was in discomfort, her tummy tense, and the x-rays would show other motives too. Here she is attentively listening to the vet talk about her:

After the x-rays were done, the vet took me to the back to show them to me. In this first one, if you know what you are looking at, you will catch a few things: the first being the spacing between her last few vertebrae, where an irreversible degeneration is occurring. This is painful for Kotoko, and probably made the x-rays more uncomfortable too.

The more important one is the thickening, or potential mass, in her stomach:

Because of her long-standing other symptoms, there isn’t exactly a multitude of possibilities here. It is almost certainly IBS or lymphoma, or IBS that became lymphoma. Kotoko’s blood tests also came back, and they showed the first stage of kidney failure. So as you can see, she is dealing with a lot.

The prognosis is not good. Kidney situation aside, this is a fast-acting disease, and Kotoko is 15 years old. We could do an ultrasound, and possibly need a biopsy to boot ($1,300 at a minimum if both are needed) but all this would tell us is how little time we have left. The course of action would not change.

We have decided to not subject her to any more diagnostics. Instead, we will use our funds for the best prescription foods, for daily medications that will substantially improve her comfort, and in paying for the service that will allow us to say a comfortable goodbye at home when the time does come (this is very expensive, hundreds of dollars).

And really, it could be fast. It could be two months. We could get unlucky, and it could be less, or we could get lucky, and it could be longer. We are going to do all we can to enjoy whatever time is left with her. We might just get lucky in how much time that is. Why not think positive? But even if we don’t, I know I’ll take a lot of comfort in the fact that, at 15, Kotoko has had such a long and happy life. She could have hardly had more loving or dedicated pet parents, if I do say so myself. She also had kitty friends, and many human friends to boot.

You might have seen me mention something very vague on Mastodon. It was about this. I didn’t want to go into detail, because even someone who understands pet loss may not realize why this loss will be so major to us. We’ve experienced severe heartbreak over pet loss before –this will be of a different magnitude. We will be okay. But because this isn’t a normal pet loss situation (I don’t think I could properly explain why) it will be a while until we are.

But I also want to concentrate in the here and now: with daily Cerenia, Kotoko already is showing a big improvement. No more vomiting, much bigger appetite. She just looks more lively. She’s a sturdy cat, and as long as she is here, we will love her and be grateful for her. Later we will have time to grieve. Before that time comes, I am also doing some things like a cute little cast of her paw, and a stamped imprint of it as well. I might do more things if I can think of them.

Something interesting that you can see in this other x-ray is that Kotoko has an extra rib, like some people or animals have an extra toe:

Let me close this part with a little more positivity. I really liked this vet, which is walking distance from us. They also have some chill office cats, three of them. Here’s a photo of one of them:

๐Ÿ’ž Pet Illness/Loss CW Ends Here ๐Ÿ’ž

Monday evening I completed the Snoopy Run, 13.1 miles! I walked it, though.

My medal should be here by the weekend.

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

The most significant event that happened on this day is that my mom’s immigration case entered the last stage on USCIS. She should have her residence soon… I hope!

A funny thing happened too. Tomoyo has a tendency to fling her toys high in the air when she plays. Well, while I was having lunch, this landed on my plate:

It actually landed ON my food (gross) but I moved it off right away. Meanwhile, she was just innocently waiting for me to return it to her:

Here’s a random photo of our sweet old lady:

In the evening I got dropped off at my mom’s. She gave Christopher his birthday present before he and our partner left. Then we had snacks, and wine, played Generala, and talked about a million things.

For dinner we had a baked potato:

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Wednesday was a calm day. Here’s Sweeney being very cute:

In the afternoon my mom made really delicious egg bites, and we watched TV together.

Later I lay down a while and played more Legends: Arceus.

Not long after, our partner picked me up. Once we got back home, I made the guys dinner, then tea, and just did my best to keep Christopher cheerful. Between the bad news this week and his back hurting so much without a break, it’s been really rough for him.

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Thursday was Christopher’s birthday. I prepared his presents on his desk before he woke up:

I also hid one in his book bag so he’d have something to open at work. He liked most of them. ๐Ÿ˜Š In the evening, we had dinner at Blue Ginger to celebrate. It was really good!

On this day I finished reading another book. Though it was comics, it was really long, as it was an omnibus of all the Muppet Babies comics, plus the comic in which they first appear (The Muppets Take Manhattan). That marks the seventh book I’ve read this year. With it being March already, this may not sound like much, but “It” was well over 1,100 pages… so that took a while.

The Muppet Babies Omnibus was delightful. Some frames made me do a double take! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Baby Rowlf was adorable…

There were a lot of funny fourth wall breaking moments. This one was particularly amusing!

Next, I’m going to finish The Last Days of the Dinosaurs by Riley Black.

I decided to move one of the cat stairs to the porch to make it easier for Kotoko to access the chairs, particularly in light of her spine degeneration. She uses it, but right now, mostly sleeps on the bigger step rather than the chair, I guess because it became “new” again. Elliot sleeps on the chair.

It’s been so much fun to feed the birds and squirrels at the front of the house. Here’s a photo I took on this day:

Down the road, I would like to buy a bench and a birdbath, so I can enjoy seeing them up close while I’m outside reading a book.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Let’s start Friday off with this photo of Tomoyo lounging on my chest. Really, she’s just waiting to be fed.

It was cage cleaning day, so here’s a couple of photos of a cutie:

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Saturday morning we went to look at garage sales, a favorite activity when family visits. You never know what you’ll find!

For lunch we went to Chili’s. I had Palmito in my backpack so I took photos of him on this day:

You very likely have never seen Palmito, Robito or Rosemary (the skunk, not the cat). These little plushies were the first I ever took places with me back in the heyday of Toyvoyagers.

Though the website is still accessible on the date of me making this post, and the odd Travelog still updates, Toyvoyagers are sadly very much defunct. The idea was that you bought a little metal tag with a unique number for your toy, and left it places, and hoped someone would update its Travelog. It did happen! Alternatively, you could send your toy to one person elsewhere in the world, and then they would come back. Or you could have it join a “round robin” of locations.

All of my Toyvoyagers went places and brought me back souvenirs. It’s nice to be taking them out again.

When we got back from lunch, I found my latest medal in the mailbox. It’s really pretty!

I also have the t-shirt (though I won’t make a habit of ordering those) and the race bib with my number, which I’ll probably use for a scrapbooking page.

Christopher gave me $5 and I got some goodies while out garage saling:

This book is for dungeon masters but really cool and inspiring nonetheless!

And I couldn’t leave this little guy behind:

I’ve washed and disinfected him, so he’s ready for cuddling!

For Christopher’s birthday dinner, we went to Buca Di Beppo. We had chicken parmigiana, stuffed shells, meatballs, and garlic bread. We had a coupon for a free dessert for Christopher that was big enough for the five of us!

It’s really nice to be taking Palmito out for photos again. It’s been many years.

After we got home, we hung out at the house watching Christopher play GTA 5 (always fun) and then our friend Jessie came over, so we watched the two of them and our partner play the Stick Fight game on Steam. It was a really nice and chill evening.

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

I went on my usual five mile walk, and stopped by Target. I hadn’t been to Target all year. They had a new version of their Sesame Street figures that was really cute:

Christopher made a really good pasta with zucchini for dinner. It looked far too healthy to be so delicious, I was pleasantly surprised. Can’t wait to have it again.

I usually only sleep with Grover, but on this night I wanted to cuddle my new triceratops friend too. Grover didn’t mind sharing!

Before we know it, March will be over… the rainy season will come, with it the humid and oppressive heat, and then hurricane season. Time is flying, but I’m trying to make the best of it, and I hope you all are too. Let’s make this coming week a wonderful one!

Week 8 Summary: More New Experiences ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

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… ๐Ÿ˜ž).

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… ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

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.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday & Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

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. ๐Ÿ˜… 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:

She is very sneaky.

Week 5 Summary: Working On Myself ๐Ÿฃ

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Overall, this was a positive week. Let’s get on with the summary!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

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.

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š Even if its message seems oddly threatening…

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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. ๐Ÿ™

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

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 (ๆฏใ‚’ใŸใšใญใฆไธ‰ๅƒ้‡Œ, 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 Corazรณn: Diario De Un Niรฑo by Edmondo De Amicis earlier this year. The GIF that started this day’s summary is from that anime.

Corazรณn 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.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

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. ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿฅ‘๐ŸŸ

Random snail photo of the day:

During the night we received a rarer visitor: one of the local raccoons! He was just passing by.

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

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!

Week 4 Summary: Old Friends ๐Ÿฅฐ

This was, for sure, a much better week! Itโ€™s been a bit of a battle, but slowly Iโ€™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 hadnโ€™t seen them in forever. Let me tell you about that, and about the rest of my week, below!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

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 wasnโ€™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 donโ€™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 Pokรฉmon that I decided to take a photo to remember that pleasant feeling. ๐Ÿฅฐ

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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 wasnโ€™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.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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 PhแปŸ 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.

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

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.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

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 Pokรฉmon 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.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

This was a very busy day! I did lots of chores, and exercised + gamed a ton. I finished Pokรฉmon 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. ๐Ÿ˜

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…

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

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.

Week 3 Summary: Not Always Easy โ›ˆ๏ธ

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. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

๐Ÿ’” CW: pet loss discussion in this blog post. ๐Ÿ’”

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

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 didnโ€™t suffer from my lack of motivation:

The cats stayed in cozy corners all day. Even Elliot spent time indoors. Hereโ€™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. Sheโ€™s old and canโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

This was another cold morning. At least Kotoko had forgiven meโ€ฆ I think the cold might have helped with that.

This day I went to visit my mom. From early on, I felt very depressed. Iโ€™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 (sheโ€™s still not doing okay after Shampooโ€™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 hadnโ€™t had to push through feeling so bad in a long time.

Once at my momโ€™s, whatever good cheer Iโ€™d managed to bring up hit the hard wall of Shampooโ€™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 momโ€™s sake. But truly, more than my heartache over Shampooโ€™s passing, the fear and grief that an event like this brings is always mostly about Kotoko. Iโ€™m not afraid that I wonโ€™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 husbandโ€™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 donโ€™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 donโ€™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 couldnโ€™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 Iโ€™m sure (I hope) I can shake off.

But itโ€™s a hard feeling to carry for any length of time. I know what itโ€™s trying to say. Itโ€™s whispering in my ear, cruelly, insidiously, โ€œthings arenโ€™t going to be okay, but no one really caresโ€. It is a lonely feeling to carry.

When I feel this way, holding strong to my โ€œdo not buy toysโ€ 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. Iโ€™m thinking about that, to feel happier and excited about something to do.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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 Iโ€™ll feel this way for some time.

We had mate for breakfast, but because I was in pain the whole time, I didnโ€™t want any. Anyway, have some Sweeney toebeans:

I was slow, achy and tired for a lot of this day. Whenever Iโ€™m at my momโ€™s feeling really low, itโ€™s hard, because I want attention from my husband and our partner, but I feel too low to even tell them Iโ€™m not okay or try to reach out for that affection. And if I do attempt to convey that, and donโ€™t get a response, my frame of mind makes me read that as neglect and it can be very painful when Iโ€™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 donโ€™t usually hear from him when Iโ€™m at my momโ€™s. Almost like he knew. That helped a lot, though I didnโ€™t tell him I wasnโ€™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 Pokรฉmon Violet here and there and work on a couple of commissions. I did also read a little (still working on โ€œItโ€) and since my mom was interested, we began to watch the original movies.

For dinner, we had these little mac โ€˜n cheese balls and fries:

And for dessert we had strawberries and cream! ๐Ÿ“

Sweeney was very affectionate towards my mom all the time that I was at her place. I think for years, heโ€™s been relegated to the background in all kinds of ways. Shampoo took most of my momโ€™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 hasnโ€™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.

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

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.

Iโ€™m not sure why. I had a lot to do, and didnโ€™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.