Hello, everyone, and Happy 2023! As of writing this post, the first week of the year has come to an end. I hope your first week was great! Mine was very satisfying as far as accomplishments go, but also tinged with sadness.
💔 CW: pet loss discussion ahead. 💔
You might remember Shampoo. Most recently “my mom’s cat”, Shampoo was in fact our shared cat for many years, along with Sweeney. We got her when we’d only been in the US a couple of years, and she was around 10 when I got married and moved in with Christopher. Here’s an old GIF I’d made of Shampoo and I many years ago:
As you can see, while in recent posts outside of this blog I put the focus on my mom’s grief, I loved Shampoo very, very much. I’d picked her out of the litter myself, and until I bonded with Rosie years later after I moved out, I had never had a cat I felt as close to as I did with Shampoo. She was on a different level, and so cheeky and playful.
This changed a lot in her last five or so years. She’d started to have painful blockages because of her long fur, which necessitated shaving it monthly. This seemed, to me, as though it changed her personality too. But perhaps it was that around this time she was already quite old.
Shampoo had MANY (very expensive) close calls in the last few years, and made it to an impressive almost 19 years old. But on Monday, it was all too much. She was severely anemic and in serious kidney failure. She was made comfortable for the next 24 hours, which allowed her to rest, eat normally, and just feel alright, until the next afternoon, when it was time to say goodbye.
Shampoo’s passing at home was as ideal as possible. Her body had not yet resumed failing and giving her pain. She’d eaten multiple times, napped peacefully, and enjoyed many pets from my mom. When the vet came (it was done at home) she did not even move from my mom’s lap, on the favorite chair they shared. She fell asleep there, happy and peaceful. We could not have asked for a better send-off.
I process grief a little different from most people. I think, I grieve my pets when they are alive. I remember when Shampoo was around nine years old. I was holding her and thinking how much I loved her, how unique a cat she was, and how I’d never have another cat like her. Shampoo was not sick: she was at her prime, and just being extra cute that day. I remember I started crying, then sobbing, as I held her. She was not amused.
It would not be the only time this happened, nor the only pet it happened with. Certainly I’ve cried with every pet that passed. But, I think I am recovering a little faster, in spite of my sadness, because of this –and because I wasn’t living with Shampoo for the last few years so she wasn’t as much of a constant in my life.
For my mom, it is very different. She tells me she is okay, but she’s also in deep, racking grief, wondering if she did enough (something I think no one would dispute). She told me how how she feels a constant anxiety right at her throat, and how she keeps looking for Shampoo in her usual sleeping-spots. I can’t really help my mom other than to listen, and knowing that she is in pain and will be for a long time is hard for me to accept.
That’s all I have to say about that, but as it was a major element in the week, I wanted to give it its own space. Now I’ll move on to the rest.
I’ve decided to go back to weekly summaries for posts (other than my daily resolution summary) because, now that I’m giving more priority to other things in my life, my blogging time has been reduced. And that is fine! I am very happy. I just want to make sure I can maintain a consistent posting schedule, and I believe this will be the best way to accomplish that.
✨🌈🧉 New Year’s Eve 🧉🌈✨
I’m allowing the New Year weekend to slip into this post, though in reality the post is about the first week of the year. On New Year’s Eve morning, I had mate and did some reading. My mom came in the early evening.
We had a pretty quiet New Year’s Eve. Our partner went to a party for a while, and we played board games –both by ourselves and with Christopher. Partner was back in time to ring in the New Year with us, and we did the customary eating of grapes at the stroke of midnight. You have to make a wish on each grape. I have one thing I want most of all in this life, so I made the same wish on every grape, with all my heart. It was my wish the last two New Year’s, too. Then we went to bed.
✨🌈🧸 Sunday 🧸🌈✨
On Sunday, I finalized prepping everything to start the first week with a bang. Part of this involved sorting all paperwork and for the first time in our lives, clearing out the filing cabinet of too-old, unnecessary stuff, a lot of which was kept while my immigration paperwork was in process (we waited until my citizenship was done, and even then, another full year.) This took a few hours.
One of the things included in this process was sorting through the prior day’s mail, which included a couple of late holiday cards. One was from an old friend of my teddy bear Franklin, a kindly gentleman named Stephen.
Franklin has been receiving letters from Mr. Stephen for all of his life. Many people used to write to Franklin back when he was a small celebearty, but most eventually stopped. Not Mr. Stephen. Even though Franklin never replied, he’s been writing consistently over the last 10+ years, on all of Franklin’s birthdays and at Christmas.
The last card was very long and had an odd feeling to it. It made Franklin feel that Mr. Stephen may not write anymore. Franklin had wanted to reply in recent years, but the envelopes with the return address kept getting discarded. So we are trying to see if it’s possible to get in touch with Mr. Stephen via Facebook, so Franklin can show him how many friends he has now, and how he’s enjoyed all the cards over the years and in fact, kept them all.
I also went around the house, just doing accumulated chores, to make sure nothing went over to the next day. I was tired by the time the day was over, but it was a really successful day.
✨🌈🧉 Monday 🧉🌈✨
I drank mate for breakfast every day this week and enjoyed many of the leftover holiday snacks. I went back to written to-do lists, as well, and continued to enjoy reading multiple times a day. My coffee intake is decreasing thanks to the mate, and because I’m putting priority in things that matter to me, I am becoming happier and happier.
✨🌈🖍️ Tuesday 🖍️🌈✨
Tuesday was Project Night! It’s an idea I had recently, a companion to our Date Nights. Every Tuesday evening, for at least two hours, we all work on personal projects. This past Tuesday, Christopher and our partner worked on turning a V-Tech Talking Whiz-Kid Notebook into a “real” computer by using a Raspberry Pi. Now it has a mouse, a battery pack, it’s really cool:
You can even view my blog! Although, it’s too big for the screen… 😅
I did something less cool, but it was important to me. Since one of my 2023 goals is to finish more coloring pages, I spent time with my coloring pages and crayons. I had a little snack, listened to music and had one of my dolls, Kalamata, for company (I’ll tell you a little more about her later).
I’m still working on a Christmas coloring page. I haven’t finished it yet, but I had a lot of fun. I’ll finish it on the next Project Night. I’ll use these nights for my coloring page goals, puzzles, scrapbooking pages, and more –such as pyrography.
Kalamata is a Zapf Creation doll, made in Germany. I was very excited when I bought her. But when she came to me, she smelled like cigarettes and her skin was sticky (some vinyl degradation). One of her sleepy eyes was (still is) slightly sunken. Worst of all, her legs were fabric! Even her feet are fabric. I wanted a doll with vinyl arms and legs. I was so upset that I immediately decided to donate her. She even made it into the donation box. But something about her expression just kept tugging at me. It is impish and very unique. Her skin color is also quite unusual.
I decided to give her some TLC. Since she had the old fashioned, tied-on style of head, I removed it, and washed her body. I bought some extra filling, and made her floppy arms a bit firmer. I washed, conditioned and combed her hair (her wig is beautiful; it feels almost like human hair, and after some research on these dolls, I think it may be the case, which is kinda nuts!) The wash and dry removed her vinyl stickiness, which thankfully has yet to return. The bad smells were also gone. She looks happy and mischievous!
I’m looking into a solution for her wonky eye, but even if I can’t fix it, I’ve grown very fond of her. I think she’s a very special doll full of personality, so, I will be keeping her.
✨🌈👧 Wednesday 👧🌈✨
Speaking of dolls –on Wednesday I finally opened some dolls that had arrived. One is the JC Toys/Berenguer Boutique “Chloe”, whom I’ve named Polenta. Her box was really beautiful:
She looks just like in the photos. Her vinyl is very soft. I generally prefer hard vinyl, but she’s a gorgeous little doll. She can turn at the waist, which is unusual. I’m sure I’ll enjoy taking her places.
Then there is Paola Reina’s Lidia, whom I’ve named Camila. She is the most luxurious doll I’ve ever owned, with a myriad points of articulation. Her ankles, wrists, elbows and knees are all articulated, as is her head.
She can be put into lovely poses, such as kneeling! And she is very big.
She also smells strongly of vanilla pudding –in particular, a vanilla pudding I had as a little girl. I am filled with nostalgia when I walk into the studio now, and smell it!
Our partner and I have been walking every day. On the way back during our walk on this day, we passed by the burned house. I’d been there when it was still burning, months ago. Back then, the damage didn’t seem so bad. We thought it was just the garage. But I guess the house was damaged very badly. The family appear to have left, and the house sits quiet and eerie.
The burned area reminds me of how, in The Neverending Story, things and even creatures would have chunks taken out by “The Nothing” (or, “La Nada” in Spanish). This house used to always have really nice vintage cars outside. I hope the family is doing okay.
Also on this day, I managed to ship a bunch of packages. A Little People train my friend Snow had me purchase for him, some books I’d been holding onto, a badge, and an exchange for one of my mom’s Christmas presents. Normally I really procrastinate on this sort of thing. It requires printing, packing, measuring, taping, filling out forms (for international packages) dropping things off… mailing packages is always a hassle but mailing international ones even more so for my ADD-addled brain. So I was really, really proud that I pushed through and did it all! 😊
✨🌈🧃🥟 Thursday 🥟🧃🌈✨
Tomoyo has been struggling a lot with her asthma during these colder, drier days. We’ve bought her a humidifier, and I plan to invest in an air purifier soon. Anyway, here’s a photo of her relaxing:
I need to weigh her again soon, to see if her very expensive weight-loss diet is doing anything (which would also help her asthma).
On Thursday I continued to read Kaya’s Story Collection, and also enjoyed a little lunch.
Afterwards, I worked some more on commissions and watched dinosaur documentaries downstairs. It was a welcome respite from sitting at my computer alone, and from YouTube.
Then Christopher got home, and it was time for Date Night to begin!
We went to the food trucks, only to be absolutely sticker-shocked by a dramatic increase in prices. Some food trucks had prices higher than many of our usual restaurants. But we had ice cream, anyway. I made a mess of myself eating it, but it was such a treat!
We got chicken sandwiches for dinner and watched a bit more Chucky while eating. Then we started playing with LEGO! Here’s some photos of that:
Kotoko stayed near us. Our partner put her in a box and she stayed in it.
Afterwards, Christopher joined us on a walk. It’s the third time he does this week and I am so proud and happy. It is very hard for him to walk, and he hates it. But, it is good for him.
Here’s a photo I took on the way back:
✨🌈🧃🥟 Friday 🥟🧃🌈✨
Today, one of my last two dolls arrived. This was Antonio Juan’s Bella, whom I’ve named Penny. Her box was absolutely luxurious, and huge:
The dolly herself is about the size of an American Girl doll. Her vinyl is soft. Her clothes are very pretty and understated.
She has that immediately recognizable Antonio Juan trademark to her expression. Pouty rosebud lips, and serious, deep eyes with long eyelashes:
Here’s all three of my girls together, Penny, Marzi and Molly. I think Marzi would be happy to know she is still my favorite:
Kalinka, Camila and Polenta sit on the bunk bed instead, while Kamalata sits on my empty studio chair, and tends to be my constant companion, at least for this week.
Reading has been progressing very well! I finished both Jurassic Park/Jurassic World and Kaya’s Story Collection. Kaya’s Story Collection is now a firm favorite, equal to Samantha’s Story Collection. I badly want Kaya (the doll) but, having promised myself not to buy anymore unless I got them for special occasions, I am stuck. I did want her before reading her story, but so much more now that I have!
I hope she won’t be retired… it’s a sort of luck I seem to have, and a pattern with Mattel/AG these years. I’ve kinda hinted to my guys that I’d love her as a jointed Valentine’s present, but I know I probably shouldn’t hold my breath, nor should I use every special occasion as an excuse to get something new. 😔 She is so special though, and so different from any other AG doll…
I almost got her instead of Molly when I saw her at the store. I want to go to the store again so badly, too, and choose Kaya right there. Her character is wonderful. I was so sorry that the book was over so abruptly… I wished it’d been twice as long. I wanted to see Kaya find her wyakin, and take Swan Circling’s name. I wish I could even have seen grow into a young lady and perhaps court and be courted by Two Hawks someday. It just wasn’t enough!
Anyway, I had another nice little lunch, and began reading Raggedy Andy Stories.
The illustrations are very beautiful. It is always poignant to see Marcella mentioned.
It’s pretty saccharine writing, but I enjoyed it very much. I’ll would eventually finish reading it on Saturday evening, to then start on Stephen King’s “It”.
✨🌈🌳 Saturday 🌳🌈✨
Here is the line on Saturday morning to stare at the bird feeders:
After breakfast we went to IKEA to get nightstands for our partner’s room. We had Swedish meatballs and Christopher even treated me to a slice of cake! It is always fun to walk around IKEA, and I brought Giorgio to carry around.
After we put together the nightstands, I grabbed some coffee, a snack, and my Switch. I played Pokémon for hours before falling asleep (I’ll recap my playthrough in a separate, detailed post). It was so relaxing and blissful. I woke up when Christopher came downstairs from his own nap, then resumed my housework.
✨🌈📚 Sunday 📚🌈✨
On this day I began intermittent fasting, which gave my mom amazing results over the last two years. In addition to my extra exercise, we’ll see what it does.
I went grocery shopping, did a bit more housework, worked on art, began reading Stephen King’s “It”, and played video games. Elliot kept me company:
I now have all my Gym Badges, so the League is next! But maybe I’ll battle a few more Titans, first.
I also found an area to display my Jurassic Park Advent Calendar, and some other minis I had:
This has been a week of many accomplished important resolutions so far –but none as important as that of writing. I wrote 500 words a day almost every day, sometimes more, making up for the days I did not reach that number, to not only get to my total of 3,500 words, but completely surpass it, at 3,701 words. This was over two whole chapters!
When progress happens on my books, I feel, more than at any other time, as though my life has purpose. Considering this, you’d think I would try harder to make time for it. I’ve avoided it for so long, that my brain is still a little broken when it comes to working on my fiction, hence the small daily goal. But it’s getting better –as it is for reading, gaming, and simply letting my thoughts wander.
All of this time I’ve tried to keep up with news, with social media, with “the latest”. Making sure I am seen, not drowned out in the noise everyone else makes online, as they, too, try to be seen. I am accepting more and more than just having local friends, and a couple of online friends, is okay. That it’s okay if I lose touch with a ton of acquaintances, and it’s okay if I’m forgotten by people, it’s okay if I don’t keep up with every bit of news.
My own life and needs, the needs of those closest to me, and long put-off dreams and desires (often for the urge to make money to buy another toy) are slowly coming back into focus, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s only week one, but I’ll do my best to keep it up all year. For now, I’ll say…