I was feeling really down, so our partner took me out for a walk around some shops. We went to Barnes & Noble and to Petsmart. The guinea pigs were very cute.
Recently our partner and I went for a walk in Aventura. It was overcast, with some thunder and lighting, tree covered all the way, and so pleasant. We saw many doggies and also these ducks!
They were very friendly. The moment I crouched down for photos they surrounded me!
This is surely due to people feeding, not a great thing. But they were very cute.
Are you ready?? I know I am… even if it’s only the middle of September! I got the whole house and my blog decorated already, and plan to host a Halloween party in a few weeks. I haven’t invited anyone yet though, as I don’t have a date in mind for the moment.
Anyway, today we went to Sebastian get the new Ioniq serviced (it was just a software update really) but since we bought way up there, we had to drive all the way there for it. Two hours each way but, I had fun with my iPad and listened to music while cuddling Spooky. Spooky is my new fox plushie!
While the car was being serviced we went to Spirit Halloween, Target, and Dollar Tree to kill some time. Christopher got me these socks at Target:
The best stuff I got today was from Spirit Halloween! First there’s this new knife for my Good Guy doll:
Then there’s this Child’s Play shot glass:
And the BEST part, this Chucky throw pillow!
At Dollar Tree I got some Halloween decorations:
I also got this card for scrapbooking, and I found a coloring book I didn’t have!
These are for my stuffies:
All in all, it was a fun outing. In the evening I did some more cleaning, and we played LEGO. I started building my Medieval Blacksmith set that I got for Christmas. We ordered pizza for dinner, and then went for a walk.
And that’s it! Tomorrow I should be entering a few more books into LibraryThing and FINALLY get some drawing done. Maybe I’ll work on a coloring page, too, and watch some cartoons.
Hi, everyone! I had about a week’s break between the cruise and this long-awaited Orlando trip. It was pretty awesome! I got right to blogging about it, although, just like with the cruise post, I didn’t decorate the photos. I just don’t have time at the moment.
This was my first time going to Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I especially loved our time at Universal, with all of the Chucky stuff and the Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary special things. Let me tell you about it!
💔😿 Dropping Kotoko Off 😿💔
Up until now, I’ve never been very concerned about leaving our cats to fend for themselves for a few days –three days is my max without someone dropping by. They have each other for company, I have cameras all over the house, litter boxes are plentiful, and I leave enough food and water available that it never runs out before we return.
But Kotoko is old now and needs multiple medications per day, as well as extra encouragement to eat. So, for the first time, we dropped her off at Christopher’s mom’s house on our way to Orlando (this was on Saturday morning). It’s about two hours to get there, and Kotoko pooped in the crate within the first ten minutes. Joy! Thankfully we were fairly well-prepared, though we did have to stop to clean up and buy some wipes (the one thing I forgot to pack).
Now that we have the Hyundai IONIQ, we have to stop for charges more often than we did for gas (but it’s cheaper and we’ve never loved a car more. It is so comfortable!) We had to do this once on the way, and we stopped to let Kotoko out for a stroll since she wouldn’t run away. Even if something were to startle her, she is far too old and stiff. But there was no one around, anyway. And we watched the skies just in case of a hawk or something.
Here are some photos of her stretching her ol’ creaky leggies:
We dropped Kotoko off shortly afterwards, and after some breakfast, arrived in Orlando just before noon.
🐸🐘 Our Hotel 🐘🐸
Our partner booked us a stay at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This is one of Universal’s own resorts which means you get extra park perks, including admission to Chucky’s Twisted Playground. It’s also a four-star hotel. I’m not sure if I’ve ever stayed in one before; I certainly can’t remember ever being in such a very luxurious hotel before.
Granted, luxury isn’t everything. I’ll never forget staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with Christopher. It may not have been four stars, but it was unforgettable too.
My favorite thing was the fountain with the elephants in the middle:
The grounds were unbelievably beautiful. Turtles could be spotted sunning themselves among multitudes of lily pads.
Cute frogs lined the walkway that led to the lobby:
While these are all the photos I took, our room was gorgeous too. The beds were queen-sized, but that meant I got more cuddles. 😁
🦖 First Day At Universal 🦖
I would go on (and regret) a single coaster on this trip, as you may know, I cannot stand them. I am not afraid for my life. I just hate the feeling of high speed and drops, no matter how small. I hate them in kiddy coasters, even. I hate it so much that if our partner lifts me up in his arms and spins me around, I can start crying very quickly from the mild stomach-drop feeling that even such a spin gives me.
For me, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world, but I always end up getting pressured anyway. I didn’t give in to the famous (or infamous, depending on who you talk to) Jurassic World VelociCoaster. But I loved getting to see some of the queue and statues:
Here’s a little video:
After some time in the park and a wonderful lunch at a very nicely themed restaurant, we went back to our hotel to freshen up. Then we returned to the park for Halloween Horror Nights.
I was very apprehensive about the scare zones, and we had to go through one to get to our first haunted house. But thankfully, the first scare zone was funny and honestly cute. It was called “Vamp ‘69 Summer of Blood” and was all hippie zombies. I am glad we got there early because this was a very colorful zone, much better in the daytime. I loved it and wished I’d dared take a photo with one of the performers. But I was so busy enjoying myself that I didn’t take any pictures of this area.
Once past this zone, we did our first haunted house, Chucky’s Ultimate Kill Count!
Between hiding my face because of strobes and being terrified, I think I saw 60-70% of it. But I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I hurt Christopher in my fear. I grabbed his arm so tightly that he had severe bruising on it even after the weekend. I even bit him once, somehow… I guess his arm was too close to my face when I screamed. I felt really bad.
This photo spot was at what I thought was the end but wasn’t. It was maybe the middle?
After this, we went to do the YETI: Campground Kills house. This would be my last house. I was so overwhelmed by the flashing, the intense screaming, and not being able to keep my face against Christopher’s arm (we had to move faster) that I was crying when I came out.
Since I refused to do any more houses, the boys convinced me to try the Revenge of the Mummy ride. After watching some videos, I really thought it might be okay. Even with the first few, unpleasant scary/fast/going-backward elements, right up to when the real coaster part kicked in, I thought I would be okay. But I really wasn’t.
It’s such a pity because even though I didn’t love it at first, I felt safer than on any other coaster I’ve been on until now, and as it slowly progressed I felt more and more hopeful. But when it shot up in speed and the drops and curves began… I didn’t panic, but I felt so BAD. It’s not queasiness, but I think it’s the worst physical feeling I could ever have, that isn’t actual pain.
I never want anyone to feel what I feel on a coaster, but I’m sure anyone who did would never ask me to ride one again. It is just the worst. By the time the ride was over before we were fully stopped, I was full-on sobbing. I think part of the reason for that was that I was so upset that I couldn’t take it. I really wanted to make them proud, but I couldn’t force myself to enjoy something my body hates so very much.
So… that was the end of rides for me since they only did coasters that day.
We met up with our friends later in the evening and walked around the park drinking together. We also saw a wonderful show, Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream, which I really enjoyed. Our friend Ana had a Chucky-related surprise for me which I’ll show you later in this post.
We got back to the hotel past 2:00 a.m. and were more tired than we would be on any other day. Our feet hurt so much, and Christopher’s back was killing him. But it was a very fun day.
🎃 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 🎃
For some context on just how utterly exhausted we were, we didn’t even wake up until like, 1:00 p.m. on this day (Sunday). After a shower and a scarfed-down sushi lunch, we were on our way to Magic Kingdom.
So hot. So much queueing, so much rushing and waiting. I saw this Woody just chilling in a girl’s backpack. It made me giggle.
In fact, I saw many adults with toys at the park (I mean adults without visible children or strollers). Usually, the toy was cheerfully peeking out of a bag, just like that. It always made me smile. And no, I didn’t have a stuffie friend with me at any point, even though I brought Beta and E.T. on the trip. It really was too hot to carry them.
🌹 Dining At Be Our Guest 🌹
This was one of the nicest experiences we had this weekend and a highly anticipated one at that. Our partner worked so very hard to get us reservations months in advance. Here’s the three of us at the entrance:
And waiting to be called in the Beast’s sitting room:
I took a photo of our just-married friends, Jessie and Ana, too:
This place is basically a Beauty and The Beast fan’s wet dream. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
The Beast wasn’t going table to table, but I was able to get some photos of him:
We got so lucky to be placed in the coolest room within this restaurant, with all the ripped drapes and the enchanted rose! Christopher loved it.
This happened a few times per hour:
I really tried not to overeat so I could enjoy the desserts but was still pretty full and couldn’t finish them all. They were delicious and so pretty!
We took photos next to the rose. I got some video, too! A petal fell every once in a while.
Now for the pics. Christopher and I…
With our partner…
And Jessie and Ana:
I was able to get a better picture of the beautiful entrance with our partner:
And I took a photo of Jessie and Ana by Cinderella’s Wishing Well:
I’m always happy to see Huey, Louie, and Dewey around!
I took this photo of Main Street as we were walking towards our spot to watch Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade. It looked so pretty:
Even more sparkly in video!
We had reservations for Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Dessert Party for after the parade. It was a much nicer way to enjoy the fireworks show!
🌈 Last Day At Universal 🌈
We checked out pretty early so we could have one last enjoyable morning at the parks. Here’s Christopher as we waited for our partner to bring the car around.
Once at the parks, I got Christopher’s photo with his beloved DeLorean time machine:
🌚 E.T. Adventure 🌚
I was so happy to finally be able to go on the E.T. Adventure ride. I’m not actually 100% sure if I went on it maybe some 19 years ago, or if I saw a video of it. It felt slightly familiar. In any case, I loved it. Our partner treated me to this photo souvenir after we rode it:
The photographer allowed me to take photos of the other display which was also an option that one could do instead of the bike:
🦕 Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary Tribute Store 🦕
For Jurassic Park’s 30th anniversary, Universal had a special store with many wonderful photo-op displays and memorabilia. I had a limited amount of time to spend here, but here’s an article that goes into a lot of detail about this incredible place.
This is what greeted you as you walked in:
The maquettes on display were very cool:
Other cool odds-and-ends:
A very neat display of old merch:
I hope I get another chance to go here before they close it. There was so much more I didn’t get to see!
🎀 Hello Kitty Store 🎀
They had a very cute Hello Kitty store! I was a bit taken aback by the merch… some of it was downright bizarre, but very unique and cool!
🔪🩸 Chucky’s Twisted Playground 🩸🔪
We did this at the very end, before getting on the road. How glad I was not to miss it! First, we had a LONG walk to the hotel where this attraction had been tucked in. It was hot, but it was such a beautiful day:
Christopher somehow was a trooper throughout, even though he was so worn out.
Finally, we made it. It was a series of photo-ops, basically. I loved it!
I was able to get a bunch of cool photos. After all, that’s why we were there. This first batch is all the photos we’re in (well, mostly me):
And here’s the rest. I loved this place and was so happy I didn’t miss out on seeing it. The dolls definitely struck me more as movie-Chucky than TV show-Chucky, though. His pupils were really small, making him more scary and less cute (but I love Chucky in any form!).
💕😺 Heading Home With Kotoko 😺💕
While Kotoko ruled the cats-and-dog roost that is my mom-in-law’s house, she spent the weekend looking for us and missed us terribly. As soon as I opened the door she began meow-screaming in joy. It broke my heart, but also made me happy to see her affection. I picked her up and held her and she kept rubbing her face all over mine, and her purr sounded like a motorcycle. She is a deeply loving and affectionate old cat.
Once in the car, she kept purring all the way home on Christopher’s lap. If I turned around and said her name, she kneaded the air and squinted happily.
We had another charging stop, where Kotoko got to enjoy walking around one more time.
✨🎁 Goodies! 🎁✨
I am so happy with the souvenirs I got. My favorite one is this baby Dronkey from Shrek! I couldn’t believe I found one. Our partner got it for me.
As I mentioned earlier, our friend Ana surprised me with a lovely gift of a Chucky fan. I love it so much I could hardly bear to use it. I’m going to put it somewhere in my studio, or maybe in the movie room.
I also got a Chucky bucket hat! It’s reversible. I love it so much!
I got three E.T. souvenirs. Our partner got me the lanyard and lanyard pocket which I used throughout the weekend:
And I got this E.T. glass and plush keychain:
This was a wonderful trip. Of all the times I’ve been to Universal, this time I enjoyed myself the most of all by far… even if I cried twice. 😅 I would go again next weekend if I could. I loved it so much!
But we are done traveling for a while, and I can certainly use the break. Maybe I’ll become a little more active on my blog again. We will see! For now, I thank you very much for reading.
So, my blog has been a bit abandoned… 👉👈💧 I’m so sorry about that. I also seem to be becoming more and more of a hermit. I am sorry about that, too.
There’s been a bunch of reasons. I’ve been reading a lot (and I do mean a LOT), been kind of busy deep inside my own head, perhaps having not exactly a mid-life crisis as much as a mid-life reassessment, plus preparing for upcoming trips, and then going on them.
Let’s start with the Alaska cruise: it was amazing. When it comes to the trip’s details, this time, unlike last time, I’m making an effort to blog more about it.
To make it easier, I opted not to decorate my photos with purikura this time around, because I think that wanting to do that and not having time to do it was the main reason I didn’t properly blog about the Alaska trip last year. So, I apologize if things are a little less colorful on this post.
With that said, this will be a very long and extremely image-intensive post. So I’m posting it under a cut.
Tonight we had dinner at Fogo de Chão! It’s a very fancy, all-you-can-eat-, buffet-style Brazilian steakhouse. This particular location is in South Beach and has amazing service and very good food. I had a Caramelized Pineapple Old Fashioned to drink, something I hadn’t tried before. It was delicious, I think I really like whiskey cocktails!
I call this a non-birthday dinner because I wasn’t supposed to get dinner for my 40th birthday. This is because all my Alaska excursions were paid for by Christopher as a big present. To top it off, there’s a massive trip coming up after Alaska too! But… my mom-in-law won’t be here for my birthday, my mom came and everything, and it felt like a very special occasion. 🥰 So I celebrated secretly on the inside.
I love buffets so freaking much. Especially fancy buffets. I can’t wait for seven days of this during the cruise!!
We took some silly selfies outside. Seeing my mom be part of the family makes me really happy.
When we got to my mom’s to drop her off, she gave us her old treadmill. Let’s see if it helps us all get in shape…! 🏃♀️
A recent while ago, our old cat Kotoko caught a big curtytail lizard –an invasive species here in Florida and as big as a mouse sometimes. They are everywhere! Well, it escaped inside the house. It happened recently that one died under the trash can and rotted… it was awful. I didn’t want that to happen again, and I also didn’t want the poor thing to starve.
Well, it may be that same one, it may be another one, but I found one!
I was able to get it out gently, with much help from Christopher and a lot of screaming.
My mom-in-law is visiting us, so in the evening we went to Nami for dinner.
I tried a mango tango roll for the first time and liked it a lot!
Other than that, today I posted a lot of art and did a good amount of reading. It’s corny and very typical Erin Hunter fare, but I’m enjoying Bamboo Kingdom. I could do without the Warrior-style “last names”, but otherwise I like it. Not as good as Seekers, but I’m biased toward that series.
Well, it’s at least “so long… for now”. You never know what the future may bring in a few years. Communities evolve, devolve, and change. I may decide to return. I hope I do, someday, feel comfortable enough to do so. But for now… it’s accounts deleted, commissions finished: I’m free!
Free from the discourse, free to write, free to draw, and it’s for me: no one else has to like or approve of it. Free from the queue, free from drawing topics that do nothing for me. Free from a page of disclaimers regarding community issues that I have to consistently tweak to please people who aren’t my friends and whose thoughts I do not even care about. Free from DNI lists that pop up in every social media space. Free from losing sleep regarding who I’m supposed to block or who blocked me. Free from any concern about the AUPs of other sites.
Now, around me, there is… silence… other than the chatter of my friendly little Telegram chat, and it is precious, at least for now.
It’s true that a lot less eyes are on me and my work… a LOT less. That is both good, and bad, but at least for a while, I think it’s very good.
With all the above said, I would like to clarify a couple of things. The first is that to me, fandom ≠ friends. Me leaving the fandom behind, and closing commissions, isn’t a rejection of my friends. I have said this over and over, but there are still people who took it this way.
I don’t entirely blame them for this, but to all my furry fandom friends, I say, we will only stop being friends if my belonging to the fandom is a requirement for said friendship, or if my drawing certain types of art is a requirement for friendship.
Another thing I want to be clear about is that the littlefur art I drew for twelve years brought me a lot of joy. I am so grateful for those many hours, months, days, years of great happiness. So, when I refer to being “free from drawing topics that do nothing for me” you have to take that joy into consideration. Drawing for the community made me very happy 95% of the time. However, you can’t deny that there is a certain… emptiness to always drawing the same cutesy scenes ad nauseaum for over ten years.
I like to draw cute characters, but it is far more rewarding to draw them as part of nuanced, engaging stories. I like dramatic scenes, scenes full of feeling; feelings which sometimes include fear, anger, and grief. These were rarely present in my commission work. I was (mostly) restricted to drawing the following feelings and expressions in my commission art:
- Pouting / Grumpiness
- Sadness (very rare)
- Anger (very rare)
Unless a character was sleeping, closed eyes tended not to be an option. Ideally, I would be forced into giving a commissioner a full, 3/4 view body, even when I would love to try a different composition or angle, lest it be taken as me not giving their money’s worth.
For these reasons, no matter how happy I was with my commission work, I really do feel “freed”. But even so, I know I’ll do small commission work for close friends from time to time later this year. These friends know that I will reach out to them. It will never be a situation where I *need* to constantly do commissions again (I hope). So, those pieces will be a joy, since most of my time will be dedicated to art I am passionate about.
Free, But Also Lonely
Long ago, well before FA, before I even had a deviantART account, I had less “noise” and toxicity around me, it’s true. But I was also very lonely.
It’s easy to romanticize the way things used to be. As we say in my country of birth, “Todo tiempo pasado fue mejor”, or “Every time that has passed was better”. Nostalgia will do that to you. It’s easy to forget my desperate attempts at seeking connection –any kind of connection, with anyone who might remotely have something in common with me. Before things went so wrong, the Internet did give this to me. And now, in my attempt to get away from stuff that upsets me greatly, I am losing a lot of connections.
It’s been painful, but not entirely surprising, to see how tied some relationships I valued were to some websites. This was the truest of Twitter, but now, also of FA. People that expressed great affection for me basically forgot me when I left one or two sites. This is not a guilt-trip attempt; I could absolutely see myself doing the same, it is the nature of the game, but it still sucks.
And now I feel lost and lonely, and it isn’t something any one person can help me fix. I need to adjust and begin nurturing my closer friendships. Sometimes closer physically, and sometimes those that, while long-distance, were always very close emotionally but I didn’t give them as much time and attention as they deserved. I’m hoping I can do so, going forward.
Anyway –beyond this great rambling preamble and some minimally captioned photos, this will not be a very detailed entry. I was very busy for a lot of this week, as you will see below!
Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a little while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
I had an afternoon snack with Mothball. He still needs to be cleaned up, but I’ve grown quite fond of him.
For dinner, I made toasted rice balls with edamame and some avocado from our neighbors’ tree which they gave to us. Sadly, the avocado was no good. I liked the rest, but the guys didn’t like the edamame so much.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Christopher needed to buy some stuff, so we went on a little IKEA outing! I brought Romaine along, and we had a nice lunch.
We also went to Goodwill and I found a few neat used books.
In the late afternoon, I finished my very last commission, for Cosu. It took an entire week to complete, but I am proud of the results!
In the evening, our friends Ana and Jessie came over and we had a Fourth of July BBQ! I asked Christopher to really burn my hot dog ’cause that’s how I like it best. 🌭🔥 I used all of my Bluey stuff for dinner.
Then we sat outside waiting for our across-the-street neighbors’ fireworks to start. They hadn’t done fireworks in a few years. These are the same neighbors who gave us the avocados. A very nice family. I am glad that they are our neighbors. They even gave us some headbands and glowsticks! 🎆
Here’s some video I took of the fireworks around the neighborhood:
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
On Wednesday I did a little scrapbooking! It has been a while since I was last able to find the time to do so. Super Mario was the theme!
I wasn’t able to get as good a scan, so I want to share both a scan and a photo. Here’s the photo, first:
And the scan:
This is the ninth scrapbooking page so far this year. I’ll do one more Mario page before moving on to another topic.
On Wednesday evening I decided to make a Threads account, but I’m unsure if anything will come from it. 🤷♀️
🌈 Thursday 🌈
Went for a walk with our partner in the evening. A little snail was sliming about!
An ant was walking over him, but I don’t think he was bothered by it.
Rosie cuddled with me at bedtime…
🌈 Friday 🌈
I don’t have anything to share on this day because I began my studio revamp, which I talked about extensively in this post published on Thursday. It was an extremely busy day. The new drawing board arrived, too.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
By Saturday afternoon, a great deal of progress had been made. The drawing board was put together by our partner, though I am still missing a stool:
I also decided just what I wanted to do with the wall. Ultimately, that entire side of the room is being dedicated to traditional art going forward. Everything touching that wall (furniture or not) is either supplies to create traditional art, or places to display it (though perhaps I’ll display any OC pieces on the wall, digital or traditional, especially since I mix the two a lot anyway).
We tried to go for a walk in the afternoon but it began to rain, quite hard too. The umbrella our partner brought wasn’t cooperating at all.
In the end, Christopher picked us up.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
As of today I am about 90% done with the studio revamp, and very, very, very exhausted. Many bins worth of stuff still need to go into storage. But it looks right –very inviting. I can’t wait to create in this new space!
I also mowed the lawn. It was a very tiring day/week. I expect to continue to be busy with final odds and ends until late next week.
I’m sorry I don’t have anything else very interesting to say. I’m so tired! But also very excited.
I don’t have a big preamble this time around. The rainy and stormy season goes on and on… and on. All of this week I worked on commissions. I also visited my mom, and later in the week, we went to see my mom-in-law! It was a VERY busy one, but I also found time to game and spend time with my toys. Let’s get on with the summary!
Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a little while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
You might recall that last weekend, Kotoko wasn’t doing so well, though she got better later on Sunday. By Monday morning, she was all better, with a strong appetite and bright eyes!
Here’s a little snack I had in the afternoon. I didn’t eat the whole bunny, just a piece.
I saw Bluey yogurt at Publix! I didn’t want it but I took a picture:
In the late afternoon, I made time for WoW and some wine! 🍷🎮
I took a few snaps of Stromboli because I love him so much.
Slimy man. Best man.
At some point, I noticed that one of the soots decided to perch upon Ribbon’s head. It was so cute.
After Monday night dinner, Kotoko lounged on our partner’s leg. That was unusual; she usually picks Christopher. But it was adorable.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
My pair of Raikes beavers that Christopher so sweetly bought for me arrived on Tuesday! Christopher can usually tell when I am legitimately losing my mind over a certain toy, even if I just came across it. This was one of those cases, and when they arrived, I loved them even more than I thought I would! I’ve named the girl Russet and the boy Yukon because they are just two huge potatoes (and these are actual names; Russet is unisex, while Yukon is a boy’s name):
Their outfits are a little stained from storage and old age, but that’s okay. While I love the look of their outfits, I have to re-dress them anyway as that is a big part of my putting my own touch as I create their personalities.
Here’s Rosie already getting cozy with them:
Speaking of Rosie, here is a perfectly cut scream.
By Tuesday afternoon I’d finished two more commissions:
With this, there was just ONE left! Then I left to visit with mom.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
As always, mom had surprises for me. The nicest one was this Mafalda mate gourd! I love it so much. I placed it with my other Mafalda collectibles. I really do want to use it, but I’m so afraid of breaking it.
She also gave me this cute little Ivysaur which I placed in the game room:
🌈 Thursday 🌈
On Thursday I got around to brushing and dressing Romaine. He looks a lot happier!
I felt pretty exhausted all day since my period was about to hit (and would, the next day). So I napped in the afternoon. Rosie came to lay with me. She was purring and looking into my eyes and seemed so happy.
After I got up, I did more chores and made dinner, and after that, tried to play LEGO with the guys, but couldn’t get very far with my set… I was just so tired. I got ready for bed and after anime, played WoW for a little while, mindlessly hunting for more dragon glyphs.
At one point, as I flew through some dark areas, I turned around and was surprised by a very beautiful spot, glowing and snowing, with a massive dragon flying about. Many of my favorite WoW memories are moments of sudden beauty such as these, at night, with no one else around in-game.
My server is a highly populated one, but few people can be found in some areas at such an hour. So I experience eerie, special moments like this one.
A good while into playing, the message I’d seen a couple of weeks ago popped up again!
It was a very random hour, like 1:15 am? I am not sure why it pops up. I must have turned on some setting at some point on my account, perhaps many years ago, but I can’t find anything about this. In particular, the all-caps and exclamation mark makes me think that it’s something that I myself wrote. Well, in any case, both times it popped up I went “Hmm, it IS late” and decided to stop for the night.
I found a cozy spot to land my dragon and fell asleep with Stromboli, Pippi and Snailio Iglesias keeping watch. Pippi is off camera though.
Right before bed, I took some photos of the freshly-cleaned snail tank. I hung some clover/shamrock lights on top, and it looked very pretty in the dark:
My little guys were just having a nice time, eating, drinking, and going for evening strolls:
🌈 Friday 🌈
Friday evening we left for Sebastian. I was so excited! I’d seen my mom-in-law when she visited us, but I hadn’t been able to visit her place for a good three months. I brought Raisin for company:
The sun began to set just as we arrived. It was very pretty.
Once we got there, we had chicken nachos while watching my mom-in-law and her friends play cards. I also cuddled and said hi to the cats, whom I hadn’t seen in ages:
We enjoyed each other’s company for the evening and played Blokus.
As usual, Pan got some cuddles from our partner.
We had many plans for Saturday, so we didn’t stay up too late.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
On Saturday we went to a bunch of really fun antique shops. Actually, the first one was really just a thrift store. I found a few cool books. One, in particular, was a super bizarre addition to my “material to indoctrinate children” collection:
I’ll just give you a few sample pages. It’s… interesting, to say the least. On the surface, it seems pretty harmless, and certainly is compared to other material I have on my shelves, but it’s pretty out there regardless.
With that said: I mean no disrespect if this sort of thing forms part of your spiritual comfort. I’ve generally made it known, however, that having been a Christian most of my life (now somewhere between Agnostic and Atheist) and indoctrinated into Catholicism from a very early age, I have strong feelings regarding indoctrinating children into any sort of religious belief. I think it’s confusing at best, and with some subsets of religion, actual child abuse at worst (Sky Daddy loves you very much, but if you don’t love him more than your own mom and dad, he’ll burn you in a fire forever! Wait, WHAT?)
This isn’t one of those cases, it’s just a little weird, but then again I haven’t read the whole book yet. Some things seem harmless on the surface (the placebo effect of believing you can heal yourself isn’t necessarily bad and can even help) but its wording appears to be setting the ground for believing in actual spiritual healers, which regularly scam people and sometimes keep them from seeking actual medical help. So… .🤷♀️
Anyway! I also got these two:
I’m super excited to read this one!
The second store had lots of interesting things, but it was the sort of place where the owner was very attached to his collection. So, his prices were somewhat unreasonable, in some cases he didn’t know the value of the items offhand, or I, being fairly knowledgeable about some toys, knew that they were massively overpriced. But it was still delightful to browse!
I happened to run into a porcelain doll I liked for the first time ever. Porcelain usually really turns me off as a material. Had she been more reasonably priced, I would have probably bought her. She looked so sweet and it would have been nice to make her pretty again.
The next store was mostly furniture, but the building used to be a bank! You could look inside the old vaults, which was really interesting. I also saw a couple of interesting animal figures. The little mouse perched upon a piece of Roquefort was my favorite.
The final stop was actually a bunch of vendors under one massive roof. It was the Wildwood Antique Mall. After we all went in, our partner was nowhere to be seen. It was because he’d found this massive moth outside and stayed back to take a picture:
Moths are so pretty. I really love them.
It was really interesting to come across a little pride booth. This isn’t really an area where I would feel safe setting up such a booth. This person, I felt, was brave.
Anyway, this place had so many cute things, I had to restrain myself all the while. I knew I could probably get one treat so I had to choose carefully. I took photos of many lovely or interesting things:
It was so cool to see a Maple Town lunch box! The dinosaur was a Universal Parks item, and very well made. I am eager to see what I may find when we go in September. The Thomas pillow was the one thing I truly hated to leave behind… but as I said, I felt it was best to choose just one item.
Eventually, I would find it in the form of the most scratched-up, dirtiest Raikes bear I ever came across. His clothes were filthy, and his face was in bad shape. Who knows how long he’d been there! So of course, my “need to rescue” gland immediately went into overdrive.
He was in a booth with the most haunted-looking dolls ever. You know I love dolls, even creepy dolls, but boy, these were something else!
As we were heading to pay my new Raikes bear’s “adoption fee”, we came across this cute doggy:
I named my new bear Mothball. He’ll need lots of TLC, but I am looking forward to freshening him up! 😊
We went to Heavenly Wings for lunch.
I’ve now made peace with the fact that I don’t like so-called “good” boneless wings. I like Buffalo Wild Wings, as terrible as everyone says they are. I guess I’ve also made peace with the fact that no one ever wants to eat there with me, ever. Sigh. 😞
Then we went to paint ceramics. I’d looked forward to this so much! I picked a penguin this time.
Our partner painted a zombie squirrel for me. Once he was finished, he was bored, so he also colored me a frog. I asked him to sign it and he pretended to, but in the end, he just wrote “frog”. 😒
In the photos above and below, my penguin is finished. He looks pale, but I used the closest colors I could find to the pan flag colors. We will see how bright he turns out after firing! Below you can see the back:
Here are all the figures together: zombie squirrel (our partner) toucan (mom-in-law) mouse with mushroom (Christopher) and my penguin:
In this photo, the figures are less visible but Christopher looks so cute:
Christopher has turned out to be really good at this, particularly at simple but expressive, well-painted eyes. It’s really easy to screw up the eyes.
Here’s a final photo of us holding our figures:
After this, we went home, had burgers, and watched the new Mario movie, which I very much feel was extremely stupid. It’s a bummer. I am exactly the audience for it, being a huge Mario franchise fan. But it was so bad. Oh well. At least it was visually beautiful, and I have the RPG to look forward to!
🌈 Sunday 🌈
On the long drive back after Sunday lunch, I took off all of Mothball’s dirty old clothes. He enjoyed the hot sun on his fur as he watched the cars go by:
We got home in the early afternoon. I unpacked and did all the chores before relaxing with some WoW.
Before bed, I undressed Russet and Yukon, cut off their tags and loose strings, brushed them, cleaned their faces, and dressed them in their brand-new outfits. I am immensely pleased with how they look!
Name necklaces are next, and possibly a tail ribbon for Russet. 🥰
And that was it for this week. Next week, my last commission should be finished, and I will try to do a “reset” of my goals. I hope you all have a lovely week, and I’ll see you next time! 🙋♀️
WARNING: Short little video at the end of the Saturday summary, which shows a tiny, tiny snake that really looks just like an earthworm! But might still give some the heebie-jeebies.
Well, it is finally over. No more Christmas Tree Shop. I will miss it, sincerely… but now I am free to finish the last three commissions, to work on scrapbooking pages, to read, to game! 😃 To binge Prehistoric Planet and The Mandalorian, and to finish 3,000 Leagues In Search Of Mother. 🤓 For a while, free to kinda do anything –I won’t seek another job until after my Alaska and Orlando vacations. 🚢🎈
But for the rest of this week, I worked a lot, determined to give my last week at CTS my all. ✌ I must have cried like three times, twice on the last day. I wondered why at the time… I’ve only been there three months.
It’s true that I grew very fond of the team, above all, and the work was pleasant. But I think that I may still be reeling from the recent drastic actions to altogether remove myself from my online home and community of almost twelve years. 😔 CTS closing is a small ending in my life, but that other, far more significant ending is still in the background of my mind and my heart. Perhaps my brain connected the grief of both.
Anyhow, let me tell you all about this week. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting!
Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a little while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
On Monday I worked on commissions and housework for most of the day. I also played a little WoW. I finished the last official commission for Snow. Just three to go!
I’ve still been going back and forth in my mind regarding Instagram. I know it’s pointless to have it and yet do not feel quite ready to delete it. Maybe once I adjust to being without FA. I found myself trying to browse the site still (FurAffinity, I mean) so I blocked it on Cold Turkey Blocker.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
This day started off badly. I overslept. Barely made it to work on time, and was cranky and tired. When I got to work, the discount was even lower:
This meant people behaved even worse. They always do when the price goes down, for some reason. The store was even more condensed and empty…
There’s not much of a store left at this point, really.
Lunch was the usual salad, but I had a Petit Pot for dessert, which felt special.
On this day I finally finished most of my leftover purchases. Here’s a cute rat card I got for scrapbooking:
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Last workday before my day off –at least it was a short one! After I got back, I showered, changed into my deer kigurumi, and had Kid Cuisine for lunch. Can’t beat that!
I’d run out of coffee the day prior, so I had a caffeine-withdrawal headache until the late afternoon when Amazon delivered it. 😖 I coped by napping until it arrived.
We had pizza for dinner and in general, it was a nice relaxing evening. I went to bed excited about my day-off plans.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
This was a special, and very wonderful day. I recently got paid. While my prior paycheck went entirely to my mom’s fund, I had different plans for this one. Since I do not intend to work again until September, I needed to make sure all of my bills are covered until then. I paid the ones I could pre-pay and set money aside for all the others from now through December.
I also bought a couple of gifts, and set aside spending money for the cruise and for the Orlando trip. Finally, I had a “me” day, just a day in which I allowed myself to dress cute, go out, have breakfast, enjoy my own company, and spend a little money on myself without regrets or guilt. Ok, maybe just a little guilt. 😅
I took a selfie before heading out; I hadn’t done this in a while.
My first stop was Target, where I found (and bought) this amazing Smurf and Snail hoodie!
I have been wanting to change my pillowcases for a long time but never saw any I liked enough. But this time I found two!
They are a bit wrinkled, but here are my favorite sides. I threw them in the wash which should smooth the wrinkles out.
I also found Bluey bowls to match my plates, cutlery, placemat and cup!
This is something that I didn’t buy, but seeing it filled me with nostalgia:
When I was very little, this is what TMNT toys used to look like. I never really liked them; they looked angry and… veiny? Lol. I remember being upset because I liked the cartoon and wished they looked friendly like they did in the show.
A little boy in my neighborhood had some of these toys, and seeing it now I very vividly remember holding it in my hand, moving its limbs, and just how it felt against my skin; its weight, all of its sharp edges, the shell, etc. So it was nice seeing it again, and remember.
I took a photo of some bright, weedy grass because it had many different shades of yellow and green, and was so pretty. Wildflowers were popping out of it here and there.
Then I made it to the mall! I passed by the quirky dino rider thingies. This time I took photos of different ones. One looked kinda like an axolotl but also somewhat like Toothless… only pink. My favorite was the parasaurolophus, hands down!
Then I went to “Cutie”, a store that is very fun to browse but I almost never buy anything there. They sell toys that were sold on close-out at other stores in the mall, only super overpriced, and a LOT of Aliexpress junk as well as fake Sanrio stuff sold for the price of the real thing. With that said, it’s a super cool store to just have fun in, and they have this giant raptor statue!
This guy looked so friendly:
I took a photo of this particular toy because it looks so much like the sort of weird, made-in-China hodgepodge I would get at markets when I was a little girl. Just look it over carefully and keep reading; it gets consistently more hilarious.
Finally, it was time to go to Build-A-Bear! This guy was greeting (er… guarding?) the entrance. I get that he’s supposed to be waving, but he also kinda looks like he’s gonna deck you one…
I really scored with my BAB finds this time! Put together three whole outfits:
Freckles was the main reason I went to Build-A-Bear. He needed clothes, and now he has a proper outfit! Although I think he needs a hat, still:
He doesn’t look very happy, but that’s okay. Freckles is hard to please. Hard, get it. Because he has a wooden face.
Cool dress at Hot Topic!
Loungefly backpacks are a work of art. So unaffordable though… I only own one (and a tiny bag). It’s rare I even take photos of them but I love this one:
Here’s a decoration at a Toys “R” Us display:
Looks like a Christmas decoration that got left behind, but it’s still cute.
My dream Cranky keeps taunting me everywhere I go… 😞 I want him so badly. There are a bunch of Cranky models, I only want the one that comes in this very specific box. It is the “Brendham Docks” model by Fisher-Price and has a woodgrain band to the right of the box. This one, specifically.
Unfortunately, he’s really expensive and I can never bring myself to blow an entire special day’s budget on him. I’ve had him on my wishlist for so long now, updating it as different versions of him come out. He never goes on sale, at least not this new version. Someday…!
See, the problem with other Crankys is that either they aren’t compatible with regular track, or their faces are wrong. Cranky HAS to look cranky. It’s Cranky after all! And this line has made the best facial expressions by far.
Anyway, here are a couple of cute plushies I saw:
One of my favorite finds of this outing was this Child’s Play shirt and lounge pants. They were sold separately, I just really loved the pants so I looked for a shirt that would be a good set:
I think it’s a pretty perfect match!
In the afternoon, I repotted my Norfolk Island pine. It’s in a massive pot now. Here’s hoping it shoots up nice and strong!
I also managed to make time to install my new lights: purple lights over the bookcases, shamrock lights in the bed, and heart lights by the window:
I was SO delighted with my Chucky loungewear!!
Then it was time for wine and WoW. I kinda wasted my time since I tried a couple of dungeons but it is obvious I cannot solo them yet. Oh well.
An otherwise happy and relaxing evening for all of us took a bit of a downturn as Kotoko, who hadn’t been quite right since the morning, refused to eat and acted more and more unlike herself, clearly uncomfortable and not purring at all the way she usually does. We are hoping it’s a blip… she’s been doing so well. But we also know that she could go at any point, given her condition.
🌈 Friday 🌈
In the morning, Kotoko came to look out the window which meant climbing from the floor onto my lap and then the table. I also heard her open her food bowl but I’m unsure if she ate very much. She wasn’t interested in fresh wet food, but she did take some treats from me and actually purr while eating them.
Throughout the week, my relief at deleting FA has only increased. I did, however, notice that not every old friend wants to stay in touch with me, even though I haven’t had anyone explicitly come out and say it, in a couple of cases it was pretty obvious. I’m not gonna lie, it does sting a little, but the reasons are precisely the same reasons why I am leaving the community as a whole. There is a certain attitude towards certain things that I personally find toxic and preposterous, and this puts me at odds with a lot of people.
But it is each person’s prerogative to stay in touch or not. They probably feel the same way about me. On the one hand, it reinforces my decision: I read the room accurately when I chose to leave. On the other hand, it feels sucky to be right.
I know this is pretty rambly, so I will quote what someone else said elsewhere: come the day that FA’s grace period regarding their updated AUP ends, a lot of people are in for a painful wake-up call. This includes many people that consider their work to be “totally SFW and non-k!nk”.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t exactly want to see people upset. But I’m not gonna shed tears when they, too, begin getting takedowns and bans. We warned them, after all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Here’s a Random Raikes bunny I ordered. Couldn’t resist his “I’m trippin’ balls” face. I’ll name him Romaine.
That’s the eBay photo; I’ll show him off again once I’ve dressed him in a proper outfit and all that.
The workday was good. Kotoko appeared to be feeling a little better when I got home. I gave her more meds, had lunch, and then, a snack:
Then it was time for housework… lots and lots of housework. When I was done, I sat down to work on art until bedtime, with a break for dinner.
I switched my pillowcases with the new clean ones. They’re still a bit wrinkly, but I love them! It’s only two but I do love both sides of the Jurassic World one:
🌈 Saturday 🌈
For most intents and purposes, this was the last day at CTS. We told all customers today was the last day, and it was the last day on which I would see several coworkers.
This photo is of how the store looked when I came in. If you compare it with a photo taken just about four hours later, the difference is quite stark.
I got this unexpected message when I logged in to my register…
A silly joke by a customer:
For lunch I had an egg salad sandwich and one of the jelly donut holes I found in the break room.
I shared it with Bargain:
Bargain and I partook in some “strong apple juice”. It’s just something that happened throughout the day on the down-low, though “strong apple juice” wasn’t everyone’s comfort drink. We didn’t go nuts of course, but it was a nice little thrill on this last difficult day…
Here’s a pupper photoset. This guy was a bit shy, which you can tell in the photos, but also friendly, and did little jumps at me and licked my hands all over. He wanted to be friends, but was also somewhat reserved. His name was Loki.
I took a few selfies with some of my favorite coworkers (mind you this is not all of them):
In the first photo is Sandra, whom I originally spoke to the day on the day I first applied to work at CTS. She was the first one I ever met. Sandra is no-nonsense but very kind and very hardworking; you can tell she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, yet she still was very patient with me all the time that I was there.
In the second photo is Carolina, or just Caro. She is a very sweet person with a warm and caring demeanor, who has an incredibly contagious and loud laugh, which you could hear from the other end of the store, even over loud music. Invariably it would cause customers I’d be ringing up at the register to raise amused eyebrows and to comment that “it sounds like someone is having fun over there”. Hearing her laugh was always a highlight, and on the first few days after we found out about the store closing, it would make me tear up thinking I’d no longer get to hear it every day.
In the last photo is Lucy. Lucy is kind of the “star manager” of the store, the one customers always ask for, and whom everyone else (other employees as well as other managers) invariably speak highly of. She trained me, and thanks to her, I gained a lot of self-confidence in areas that ended up bettering my life outside of work. I learned a lot from her and I really will miss her terribly.
There are other people I like a lot with whom I didn’t get to take photos (yet)… I either didn’t have a chance or felt too shy to ask. Some I would have a chance later in the week –my boss, Lazaro, being one of them. He is one of the best bosses I ever had, with a very strong but caring, honest and hardworking personality. I always really wanted to please him, but I also annoyed him a lot. 😅
Here’s the other photo I was talking about. It’s less than four hours later, yet you can see how much emptier the store appears. You can see Caro and Sandra posing for me in the middle (this photo, like the other one, was taken from the upstairs office):
In the last few days at the store, even this TV gave up…
A photo from my register when it was close to my time to leave, around 6:30 pm. Hardly anything left by this point.
Christopher came into the store a few minutes before 7:00 pm and chit-chatted with my coworkers as I said my goodbyes to those I wouldn’t see again. I was really glad about this, so he could meet the people I’d come to care a lot about, if only for a little while.
I took a photo of this punch-out, because even though I’d punch in and out on Sunday, this day felt really momentous and I didn’t want to risk my Sunday schedule perhaps being changed or canceled and then I didn’t take one last photo. After all, this was still the “last” day (technically) so this punch-out felt more significant.
Christopher took me to The Pub for dinner:
Our partner was with our other friends on this afternoon, discussing arrangements for their wedding, and going out and having some fun with them, so Christopher and I had a rare night out by ourselves. 🥰 It felt special. We also walked around Target a little just for fun, holding hands, and he showed me that he’d bought me these ugly but adorable Raikes beavers from eBay that I really wanted. He’s been spoiling me a LOT lately.
Actually, both he and our partner have been spoiling me so much. Since March and until now, I have been extremely difficult to be around as I try to adjust to schedule changes that simply do not work for me and my delicate-ass psyche. At times I even inferred extremely hyperbolic stuff like basically not wanting to be alive (and at the time, it felt like I meant it) because I was basically in an extended mental breakdown.
To be honest, I hardly know how they dealt with it. Particularly as it’s reaching the end, I realize that the last few months were, for them, a constant battle to accommodate to my desires, whether by ordering what I wanted to eat, giving me attention/petting me when I demanded it and then leaving me alone when I wanted that instead, taking me out to eat, buying me stuff to cheer me up, giving me rides to and from work, listening to SO much bitching and crying, being on the brunt of random explosive fits of rage, and more.
I know most of all for them, my next job *has* to be something I can handle better, without falling apart. I cannot do this to them again and I am lucky that it didn’t damage two of the most important relationships in my life. Here’s hoping I’ve learned a thing or two and can do better next time.
WARNING REMINDER: Short video below which shows the tiniest snake!
In the evening Christopher and I found a tiny wee earthworm-like snake in the movie room. Well, Rosie did. It turned out to be a Brahminy Blindsnake, also known as a Flowerpot Snake. They are non-native, but very common to Florida, and completely harmless.
Some fun facts I learned:
“During the hot summer months in Florida, we receive numerous reports from people finding small, shiny black, thread-like snakes on the floors inside their houses, especially the bathrooms.”
“Blindsnakes eat termites and the eggs and pupae of ants. Therefore, if you are seeing several of these snakes inside, it is possible that you have ants or termites living in or near your house as well.”From FloridaMuseum.ufl.edu
Indeed, we have plenty of ants and termites. Our tenting should occur within the month. We placed the little lady safely outside.
Another fun fact about these snakes is that all are female, and a genetic clone of their mothers.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
The week comes to an end… and so does my time at CTS. I started this day doing all the chores I could. I wanted to come home to relax and draw when the workday was done. After doing all I could, I went to work. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of what we would be doing, but when I got there at noon, the store was still serving customers:
I said hello and went upstairs to put my lunch away. I noticed no one was hiding the comfort drinks anymore…
We no longer had the official store music going on, everyone was playing whatever they wanted, sitting on the desks at the registers, no one cared much about anything, but we were still unfailingly serviceable to any customer that came in.
Customers were very few. After all, there was very little left at the store…
While we waited for stuff to sell and some of my coworkers did some cleaning here and there, I took another picture and a bit of video of the empty store:
It was super eerie and echoey (though I removed the sound, as it was loud and annoying):
Ultimately, while we had a few customers buy something here and there, a single couple would buy all that was left, to resell it. They came with a cute doggy friend:
And with that, we were done. Closed forever. All the stores across the country that are also closing were supposed to close today. We managed to be the first store to do so. My coworkers then began to take all the signs down. They shut the doors. And well, I finally kind of lost it a little, and did some proper “ugly crying”.
But then, food arrived! For lunch, we all pitched in for pizza (Christopher pitched in for my part). Normally I take my photos of Bargain on the down-low, but today I really didn’t care:
We had a very pleasant meal all of us together. Afterwards, I took some more pics as we disassembled stuff…
That last pic is where the carts used to be stored.
Then we went upstairs to continue the clean-up and I got to take a selfie with another favorite coworker of mine, Letti:
Letti bought a bunch of these cute St. Patrick’s Day decorations and gave one to each of us. She wrote a very sweet note and her contact info on the back of mine. Letti and I both grew on each other while I worked there, even though we both have strong personalities. I’m really happy that I met her.
The calendar from the upstairs office…
Before I left, we all took a picture together. Well, some people left before this could be arranged, but as it turned out, I still managed to get all of my most favorite people in there –at least, the ones that worked today, and that I worked with the most. There are definitely people I still wish had been in the photo, though:
We actually got two really good shots. They are different, so I wanted to share them both –and, appropriately, this is my last CTS-related photo ever:
I am so, so glad I got to work here. In spite of me not dealing well with the closer-to-full-time hours near the end, it’s still a really happy memory that I won’t forget. I hope you enjoyed my sharing of the experience with you on the blog.
Once we were home, Christopher asked me to go check the closet. I did, and he’d hidden a surprise for me there!
He’d bought it secretly after dropping me off! I was really touched, it was such a sweet and unexpected gesture. 🥰
I did lots of chores, and then sat down to dinner:
At some point in the evening, I found that Rosie had gotten cozy with Chucky. I’m not sure that’s such a great idea. He doesn’t have the best track record with cats.
At the very end, people called dibs on store stuff that was being thrown away or not being sent back. The Ty display would be trashed, so I removed this plastic heart logo from it, as a memento, and later stuck it to my bed:
And that is it for this week! Next week I hope to finish all the due commissions. Not sure if I’ll make it –they are all complicated pieces. But once I do, then I am actually going to resume my for-fun endeavors and my book progress.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week! As a reminder, if you haven’t yet –you’re welcome to join my Telegram chat. I am quite active there! Just read the rules before participating. See ya there!