Tag Archives: Anime

Week 16 Summary: Drawing And More Drawing 👩‍🎨

Another week down. Rain is still plentiful! Most of my goals continue to be on pause. I’ve reduced my queue workload to just 15 items, having completed 21 since the new job began. I estimate about a month’s worth of work left. It’s tiring: I want to be done, so I can draw my own things. But the progress is encouraging.

Other than LOTS of due artwork being completed, some interesting things that happened this week were: another doll arrived (yes… yes, really) Christopher bought a robotic arm (???) I received a surprise of 🌻 flowers 🌻 and a box of Japanese candy. Let’s get on with the summary!

CW: There will be a spider photo in this post! It will appear shortly below the Thursday header.

🌈 Monday 🌈

Worked on some more necklaces on Monday. Rosie has been so affectionate… she kept me company:

I’ve been reading this biography of the lives of Stan & Jan Berenstain, creators of The Berenstain Bears. It’s very charming and interesting, particularly their lives prior to creating the bears.

(I’ve also been eating a lot of potatoes).

Here’s a Patreon reward I finished on Monday:

After I was done drawing for the day, our partner and I played Diablo II some more!

Then, when Christopher got home, we all played LEGO together. All I have left now are my Castle/Medieval sets, so I started with this one:

I cleaned the tank on this day. Here’s some happy and energetic snails:

And a little video, because why not:

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday morning I took this very adorable photo of Christopher and Kotoko snuggling. I know Christopher probably won’t be super thrilled to see this photo on my blog but I can’t resist. He’s even smiling in his sleep! And Kotoko looks so happy to be snuggled.

Necklace-making continued throughout this day. This is just a fraction of what I’ve made! When all is said and done, from beginning to end, I made about 30.

More Diablo II in the afternoon! We started a new act.

Recently, our partner surprised me with the news that he’d gotten a big box of Japanese candy for me. It finally arrived. It’s really pretty!

Laffy Taffy, my little Dilophosaurus, investigated…

All the candy is very cute and interesting to look at…

Finished a couple of Patreon icons on this day:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

By Wednesday, I was done reading the Berenstain’s autobiography, so I started with some of their actual bear books:

For whatever reason, Rosie continues to be all over me, or near me. She’s full of affection and purrs and seems very happy lately.

We played a little more LEGO in the evening. Progress on my castle continues!

I had my little trike, Bubblegum, for company.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

On Thursday, the first thing I did after my morning chores was putting dinner in the Crock-Pot. It made the house smell wonderful all day.

I went out to lunch with our partner and ran some errands. It was really hard to get gasoline, we had to visit four gas stations before we got some… it’s due to the flooding that took place last week, and is affecting a lot of areas.

Once back home, I worked more on the Patreon rewards that are due while he had to go to work outside of the house for a while. Later, out of the blue, there was a flower delivery to our house, a surprise from our partner for no reason. I was so happy, they are really beautiful! 🥰💞

Dinner turned out wonderful and worth all the hard work in the morning. In the evening, after dinner, we three went for a walk together, and saw this big spider. Our partner thought it was a brown recluse:

🌈 Friday 🌈

A doll that Christopher bought for me arrived today! When I bought Nellie, I was very torn between her and this doll. So, I am really happy to have them both after all. She has a very dopey but adorable smile:

I’ve named her Sunny! Interestingly, she is hand-signed by the artist, Johannes Zook. It’s a legit hand signature with a personalized message, on the doll’s neck.

I wish dolls weren’t so creepy to most people (sometimes, even to me). Dolls like these fill me with joy. Holding them, I feel the same as when I hold my bears.

When I try to rationalize my intense desire for these things, I always go back to my friendless childhood. While it’s true that I never could have had toys like these then, what I lacked most were friends. As I mentioned before, my toys were my friends. So even to this day, I heavily anthropomorphize toys, and humanize them. I could try to get therapy so I don’t want/need dolls or bears, or just… hold them, brush them, comb their hair, and enjoy them.

It’s pretty cringe I guess, but it doesn’t hurt anyone. I’m really glad sometimes that no one can see me quietly hugging a doll or combing its hair while having a play-pretend conversation with it in my head when I’m pushing 40. And god is it weird to write that. I don’t feel very different from when I was in my 20s, and when it comes to toys, my feelings towards them are exactly the same as when I was 11 or 12. When I think about this image of myself, doing these things even in private, it’s kind of pathetic. Maybe very pathetic. But, well… it’s one of my joys.

I think I went on this weird tangent because I’ve been browsing r/reborndollcringe, which I found at first hilarious, but more and more makes me really sad.

I wish it wasn’t cringe for adults to play with toys in the same manner as children would. I wish it wasn’t seen as unhealthy or strange. We live in such a crappy world sometimes, whatever refuge we can find for our hearts, we should treasure.

On Friday I completed four Patreon rewards. I’m pretty proud of them:

That means there’s just one to go for the month.

The snailios were happy and active in the evening, having been cleaned and freshly fed:

🌈 Saturday 🌈

Finally a workday. I’m getting very few hours… but as long as I’m working on the commission queue still, I don’t mind too much. I’m just too busy. Overall, for the last three weeks I’ve been working from early morning until night, with some breaks here and there to spend time with the guys.

Christopher and our partner went to Sebastian to pick up Christopher’s new toy (the robotic arm) and see his mom. Sadly I missed out on this visit.

I walked to work, and before going in, cooled off in Best Buy. They happened to have this on display. Seeing it made me smile.

Work was okay. I got praised by the big boss, but I also made more mistakes than usual, and felt very tired as the day wore on. After Christopher picked me up, I got to see the robotic arm in action at home. Though I didn’t say it, I thought it was way cooler than I originally expected it would turn out to be.

Our partner was sleeping and Christopher didn’t want dinner, but he let me order my favorites from Wahbi-Sabi and took me to pick them up (and went inside to get it too).

I found an adorable sponge at work. It’s a Cleanosaurus! It stands up perfectly by itself so I’ll put it somewhere around the studio.

Even after eating, though, I felt very worn out, even a little sad for no reason, I think it was just the desire to do things combined with the complete lack of energy. So I decided to call it an early night.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

This started as a bit of a bad brain day. I’d written a lot on this post that I later removed; it was a lot of whining so I decided that I would make it a good day even if the day didn’t want to be one.

Thankfully my husband and our partner humored me with a lot of whims today, and I got a lot of chores done in the morning, which also helped my mood. Once I was done, we went to brunch:

After that, we walked together around T.Y. park, then dropped Christopher off and our partner and I went grocery shopping. It was very pleasant, and while I got stuff for the week, he bought stuff to make chili for dinner. His chili is amazing so I was immediately excited!

Then we got home. I put everything away, and made them both coffee and grabbed a snack for myself. We played LEGO for about an hour. My little castle is well underway:

After LEGO, we showered while the chili cooked in the Crock-Pot. Then we had dinner and watched The Good Doctor. Dinner was AMAZING. The Good Doctor is starting to get a little silly, but it still made me cry at the end.

Christopher was wonderful and did the dishes while our partner and I played our Diablo II session for the day.

Then it was bedtime. I quickly fed the cats and we watched anime and YouTube. We’ve reached the middle of Hikaru No Go which I think the guys are somewhat relieved about. They don’t find this anime as enthralling as I did. 😅

It’s unfortunate that this anime isn’t gripping them like I hoped (though they do love making fun of it). It’s one of my top five of all time as far as personal favorites. I’ve always been baffled by how many cliffhangers between episodes left me desperate to continue binging it.

Sure… it has cringy moments. It has a LOT of cringy moments –I can’t even call that a product of its time. It just does. I do believe some of those cringy moments are NOT cringy in the manga –it’s like it just didn’t translate well to animation when it comes to some shots and scenes. But overall I think it holds up so well.

As a side note, I am feeling more and more isolated. This isn’t something individual friends can help with: it is the grief of coming to terms with having lost a community. I tell myself that this was by choice, but whenever I poke my head into my old haunts, it is very obvious that what they used to be, is no longer. So, it’s not like my old community is still there for me to go back to.

I guess these days I feel a lot like I did circa 2011: aimless and adrift. Not as lonely, though. I do have friends, and most importantly, I have my husband and our partner. But having known a tightly-knit community, its loss is palpable. I’ve been coping by buying new dolls and playing with my toys.

I’m never been someone to want to see the future. Never have and never will be. But I wonder, in maybe ten years, or even less, what will it all look like? My finding of a community, seeing it grow, seeing it eat itself and collapse along with most of the sites that were once our havens, and losing it and being where I am now, took maybe six years. Things could still change dramatically, maybe for the better.

I’ve been on FA just a little under twelve years, and began to feel things change starting around 2019, maybe a little before, 2018? 2016? Maybe at the start I just had rose-tinted glasses on.

But anyway, even before I had “community”, I was happy. I concentrated a lot on my personal work. Soon I will be doing that again.

With those closing thoughts, that is it for this week. I’m visiting my mom next week and we will go to a fancy restaurant to celebrate her green card. I’ll see you all throughout the week with new art, and on Sunday with the next weekly summary! Have a great week, guys.

Week 5 Summary: Working On Myself 🐣

CONTENT WARNING: There will be some minor references to struggles with food and eating in this post. It will be from Friday onward and will have a reminder content warning so it won't surprise you. This stuff will diminish with time, right now it is a big thing in my life, so I apologize if it is annoying.

Happy Sunday, everyone! Firstly, let me address something you may have noticed (perhaps with relief) if you’re a daily subscriber: the 2023 Goal Tracker post notifications are no longer being sent out.

This is because I was apprehensive about flooding people’s inboxes with something that interested only me (I mean, more than the rest of a lot of this blog’s content, even). Sharing the posts imbued me with a definite sense of accountability, but it wasn’t worth causing people to unsubscribe. So I still publish them, but now they are all private, for my eyes only, and so, no one gets notifications for them. You can still keep track of my progress on my 2023 resolutions page if you are so inclined. 😊

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

🌈 Monday 🌈

Christopher has been a little low, so I baked cookies to cheer him up! And well, I also wanted cookies. They were great! We still have a package left, I’ll probably make it next week.

It was tank cleaning day, so have some photos. Excuse the poop. They’re literally always pooping.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

I worked on art lots on this day, getting this piece almost to completion –here’s a WIP:

And here’s a random photo I took of Kotoko on this day. She was being extra adorable.

Being Tuesday, Project Night was next! Grogu kept me company as I worked on a Mandalorian Valentine page.

It was especially fun, and I’m glad I grabbed the card while grocery shopping to do this. 😊 Even if its message seems oddly threatening…

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

Christopher stayed home on this day, as he wasn’t doing so well. I did my best to look after him. I also finished the art I shared a WIP of for the day before. Other than that, it was a normal day of doing my best to stick to all my resolutions.

One of those has been riding my stationary bike almost every day, and playing Legends: Arceus at the same time. I found that it was easier to go from Violet to Arceus, than it was on my first attempt when I went from Sword to Arceus for a bit. Violet got me a little more used to the whole open world business.

I’m also glad I finished Violet before going back to Arceus because otherwise the graphics in Violet would have bothered me so much more. Arceus does have glitches and frame rate issues as well, but I still find it utterly beautiful.

The utter disappointment in Mai’s Munchlax face after losing the battle was SO cute. He looked so crestfallen! I felt kinda bad…

WAIT –Bambi’s dad!?

Nevermind it’s just Wyrdeer.

I can’t be the only one who thought “Old Prince” when I saw him in that pose, though!

CONTENT WARNING: Going forward for the rest of the post, there will be occasional discussion of disordered eating, fitness, and weight loss. It will be in a mostly positive note, but please don't continue reading the post if this topic is triggering for you. 🙏

🌈 Thursday 🌈

On this day, you may recall that I made this post. It was a self-reflection that was very long overdue. I’d mostly ignored a lot of the issues presented there, because I am neither worryingly skinny nor morbidly obese, nor does my weight fluctuate wildly, nor am I engaged in seriously physically harmful practices in relation to food.

But I could tell that my relationship with food was becoming problematic, obsessive, and distressing on an everyday basis. I started to feel that if I continued to ignore it, it could verge into actually dangerous territory. So, I made changes to my everyday life that began on this day.

The primary change, really, is simply a drastic reduction in my snacking. I have lunch, a snack, and dinner. Because I’d been so obsessive with eating a small snack whenever I felt like I could, I’d forgotten how to read hunger cues (indeed, I had not had them for a very long time). You could say I am really bad at hearing my body’s signals. So, for me, limiting my snacking to very set times is very important, as is planning everything I will eat that day on the day before.

I am flexible: generally, I simply have mate for breakfast (it’s like tea, no calories, so it doesn’t break my intermittent fast) but on this week there were been two mornings where I had a handful of Raisin Bran because I am trying very hard to increase fiber in my diet and every extra bit helps. One night, after a full dinner, I was still so hungry that I had a banana, and that was okay. I listened to my body and gave it something good.

On that note, the primary reason for my intermittent fast is to have a set time for dinner and not go to bed too soon after (a healthy practice) and to actually be hungry for lunch. So, it is not a diet practice as much as a lifestyle change that I want to keep for every day.

Anyway, on to more fun things, this was date night! We went to Tijuana Flats for a treat, and I snuck Toro inside my backpack. 😊

He enjoyed some tortilla chips!

Once we got back home, we played with LEGO, and I completed my first set of the year!

123 Sesame Street is full of adorable details and it has to be my favorite set I’ve put together yet, along with the LEGO Friends Friendship Tree House.

Later that night, I happened to spot our littlest possum visitor through the dining room window. He was so cute! I went to the door (without opening it) so I could get some photos and video from the narrow window on the side.

I’ve been making an effort to clean this area before night to discourage the guys from visiting, much as I love them. They get really close to the house and I wouldn’t want them to get aggressive. They come after the bird seed that the birds dropped during the day, but admittedly there is never much that is edible. They mostly sniff around for a few minutes and leave.

After our nightly anime watching, I went to write for a while. It wasn’t until the clock showed well past 2:00am and Christopher came into the room to make me go to bed and turned on the lights that I saw that the Boba Fett plushie I longed for had been hidden among other green friends! It was there all the time, for hours, and I hadn’t seen it!

This was such a lovely surprise from Christopher, and I can’t wait to make him a bandana and kandi necklace like the rest of my toys. I’ll show close-ups of him in and out of the box a little later in this post. Needless to say, I went to bed very happy!

🌈 Friday 🌈

To start this day, here is Tomoyo laying on my chest while we hung out on the couch in the morning:

On this day I started to watch 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (母をたずねて三千里, Haha o Tazunete Sanzenri) a Japanese animated television series directed by Isao Takahata that aired in 1976. You may recall me mentioning this anime when I was reading Corazón: Diario De Un Niño by Edmondo De Amicis earlier this year. The GIF that started this day’s summary is from that anime.

Corazón is the daily diary of an Italian schoolboy growing up in the late 1800’s. Included in the novel are twelve stories that Enrique has to copy for school, which the teacher provides to the students. The stories all have morals about family or patriotism, or the like. The anime is loosely based on one of these stories, “De Los Apeninos A Los Andes” (From the Apennines to the Andes).

While this short story is the longest in the novel, it’s still but a few pages long. The anime greatly expands upon it, turning it into a 52-episode epic that had me crying with just the first one! It is full of heart, and definitely a drama. Not something you’d see being made for kids nowadays, I’m sure. It would be considered traumatizing.

Very sad, given that stories like these recognize the real pain, loss and fear children experience daily all over the world throughout history and across all generations, regardless of whether adults today like to think about it. Anyway, I’m looking forward to binging it over the next few weeks.

I didn’t have time to free poor Boba from his bindings this day, but I took a close-up photo of him:

I went grocery shopping on this day. Before doing so, I’d trashed a lot of my unhealthy snacks. I did keep some, and I put them out of my easy reach. But sometimes I pick one to have the next day and leave it where I can get it. Believe it or not, I have the rest under lock and key, and I give the key to Christopher during the day. I guess perhaps a detail such as this might make it more clear why I feel my lack of self control is such a problem (the key was my idea, mind you).

It took me longer to shop for groceries because I was much more careful with my choices. I came home with a lot of healthy foods, non-processed stuff, fruits, veggies. I very much enjoyed my meals the rest of this week and surprised myself with how delicious I could still make meals without smothering everything in cheese, or frying stuff.

I made tilapia with potatoes for this night. Normally I’d have made a second side. But we were all full without one. That was a good choice too.

Afterwards, I enjoyed playing more Legends: Arceus and riding my stationary bike. Once I finish, I always lay on the couch with Tomoyo for a bit, who by now is eager to get fed, but tolerates some love anyway…

What a face!

On this day, I finally began using my food diary. I decided to use a Google Sheets document rather than a written book after all. I find this more useful, I am more likely to enter the data, and I can add up calories and subtract exercise.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

As the week went by, my feelings towards food and eating improved more and more. I began to eat much more mindfully, not snacking became easier, and food was tastier as a result. I felt more satisfied and happy, and a lot of my feelings of guilt began to go away. This week I had salad for every lunch. I’ll switch once the salad mix is out, but I know I’ll make it again soon because it was so delicious!

It has krab (which I seasoned with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning) boiled egg, some crunchy topping, a cracked black pepper ranch dressing, and a base of iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, carrots, red cabbage and radishes.

I’ve been trying to use meditation techniques to control some of the obsessive snacking thoughts. I acknowledge the thought, and let it pass, or try to. I do not guilt myself over the thought. It’s just something that crosses my mind, and I remind myself it doesn’t actually have the power over me that I think it does. It was hard at first but it’s been helping a lot, too.

On the afternoon, I finally found time to free Boba Fett. He is so flippin’ cute! I love his little fists. I’m not sure he should trust the rocket launcher, though. It’s not the most reliable. I also cut up the box for more scrapbooking materials!

For dinner, I made turkey burgers with avocado. 🍔🥑🍟

Random snail photo of the day:

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

🌈 Sunday 🌈

It was a rainy weekend, and a lazy, relaxing Sunday. I had my usual breakfast early in the morning as the sun was coming up, and read a little more, too.

Afterwards I took a little nap and Tomoyo napped on me too:

I had an unexpected gift card later in the day. I was really happy that I could buy a simple board game to play with my mom the next time I visit her!

Since I had enough left, I got something off of my wish list… I’m gonna say this doesn’t count against my resolution since it was a gift card. I’ve been wanting this little guy sooo much!

Afternoon snack was rich in fiber. Did more reading, and Blue kept me company this time!

Having worked on Patreon rewards all throughout the weekend, I decided it was ok to take some “me” time to scrapbook. I really wanted to make a couple of Child’s Play / Chucky themed pages.

Here’s the “Good Guys” page before everything is pasted in!

And here it is all finished:

This was the more “gory” page. Here it is underway…

…and all done!

I had a lot of fun! Dinner was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, some avocado slices and kale salad. Pretty small portions, so on this night, after exercising, I had a banana, too.

I finished the week with much more positive feelings than it started with. I hope I can carry them on into the next, and have fun things to share with you all! Have a great week, guys!

Week 2 Summary: A Happier Life 🎈

Another week down! This one went really fast. I’ve continued to write, read, and play video games, as well as make commission progress. Slowly, the small things that make my life worth living are taking more and more of my time.

Podcasts and music instead of YouTube. More gaming and reading instead of mindless doom-scrolling. Getting acquainted with my characters again. My stress levels decrease, and certain parts of my brain, like rusty machinery that’s been freshly oiled, shed more and more gunk and move more smoothly and fast with every passing day.

Every day I do fail in one of my resolutions in some small way. Most often, weight goals and hydration goals. But the failures don’t discourage me at all, because every day I still do what makes me really happy. I wish I hadn’t put simple pleasures off for so long… anyway, I’m trying to make up for it now.

🌈 Monday 🌈

On this day I received the curtain rod I’d ordered, and was able to hang the Grogu curtains I got for Christmas! I love how they complete my studio’s look:

My studio looks a bit like a “hidden picture” puzzle image. 😅 There is a lot going on. But I love it.

Today was a bit of a lazy day, but I did all my chores and worked on art. I took time to game and relax with Kalamata in the afternoon.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday means Project Night! But before that, I had to go to the gynecologist to get my pap. This time, it didn’t hurt at all. I really like this doctor, I was so relieved when it was over, though.

Normally, I would walk back, and get myself a nice treat (stickers, a small toy and maybe a snack) after an appointment I had been dreading so much. But I was determined to stay good to my resolution, so I called an Uber to go home.

My driver was friendly and funny, and gave lots of colorful conversation during the ride. He told me about his dog, and said he’d show her to me. I assumed he had a photo or something, and he’d pull it out when we got to my house –but instead, he picked up the doggy (named Chica) right from the front seat!

She was so quiet, curled up in her little bed, I never even knew she was there! It really surprised me. She was very cute, but seemed rather suspicious of me.

After I got home, I cleaned the snail tank. Here are two of my snabies, soaking happily…

For his project night, Christopher worked on his Asuka puzzle that my mom got him many Christmases ago. It’s a REALLY hard 1,000 piece puzzle!

My project night consisted of a continuation of last week’s coloring. This was my setup! I listened to 90’s Disney music while coloring.

It’s worth noting that this is not an activity I did as a child. Any creative endeavor, and even a lot of my play, had to involve some sort of way of gaining inspiration towards my “serious” projects like my book, which I was working on as early as age 12. Coloring cartoon characters with crayons is something kid me would have seen as a frivolous waste of valuable time. So, allowing myself to enjoy an activity such as this today, is important to me.

This time, I had Scout as a companion! And I had a chocolate soy milk for my snack.

I finished my Christmas coloring of Sister Bear! Here it is underway…

…and finished + laminated! Still needs the last stage of decorating with stickers. But that’s the first page of the year down –one out of twelve to complete my resolution!

…and I’m already working on the next one!

At bedtime, I took a picture of my sleeping pal, Grover, with the book I am currently reading. But for some reason, Grover seems to have a creepy, bedroom-eyes demeanor in the picture… 😅

On that note, this book (Corazón) is way more depressing and guilt-trippy than I remembered. Patriotic to a gagging degree (such as a father telling his son “if you wouldn’t die for our country I couldn’t love you) and, I don’t know, every time the child narrator slightly screws up he has his father/mother/sister leave letters in his diary in which, though they profess their love for him, they basically scold him to the ground. The book feels a big wagging, scolding finger at times.

If you know me, you know I am less liable to put today’s morals upon a long-ago creation. But even so, I was a bit put off by the descriptions of native people (some of my original country of birth in the “From The Apennines To The Andes” short story) and most of all by the high degree of ableism by today’s standards.

But I try to remember that, in fact, this book went a long way to try to bring attention to the suffering of disabled people, to the point that it takes many pages and scenes throughout the book, and points out many kinds of disabilities in detail –something unusual for a children’s book written in the 1800’s. Unfortunately, this is done by encouraging an extreme degree of pity towards differently-abled folk, and to value them based on how they can be still incorporated into society to “contribute in the same way as others” so to speak. 🙄

So yeah, that felt a bit icky to read, but context and time period is of great importance. It is very obvious the writer’s heart was in a good place and he felt a painful degree of sympathy and compassion for disabled people he saw all around him –above all, children. It’s interesting how something written with the best of intentions then, would surely get this man “canceled” now.

This is still a work of literature worth remaining in print and allowing children to read, with proper guidance. But I imagine as our society “progresses”, works like this will be further banned or modified to fit current societal standards. This is part of why I collect antique and vintage children’s books.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

This was a pretty normal Wednesday! Though, I could already feel PMS doing its usual number on me. Hopefully it won’t be too bad this month.

I cleaned the snail tank early in the day. They got a special treat today:

One more photo –enjoying some cuttlebone:

Partner and I went to Tree Tops Park on this day, and I’ve got pics and video to share! But first, sleepy snail conga line:

The weather was cool and mild, a rare treat in Florida. We got to see a few critters on this outing. First there was this big raccoon VERY high up a large tree, digging fiercely in a clump of one of those parasitic air plants. Every once in a while, it would stare at us intently, but it was clearly very focused on whatever it was doing.

We also saw tortoises. People feed them (something you shouldn’t do) so they readily come when they hear someone.

Seeing the little heads pop out of the water and stare at us, I’m overcome with emotion. It reminded me of the bear staring into my eyes at the zoo, which had me actually crying. There is something about the connection when an animal notices you, stares deep into you –the reason (even as simple as “do you have food or are you food?”) doesn’t matter– that is so primordial, holy even, if I still believed in such things. I can’t explain it very well, but it gives me a rush of intense joy tinged with sadness, and it can easily bring me to tears. I love animals so very much.

Another little burst of joy was coming across a burrowing owl.

It gave me a squint.

I’d snuck Bangers into my backpack, and our partner, who usually doesn’t have patience for this sort of nonsense, waited while I took some pics. Bangers stood out really nicely among the greenery, and even found some berries!

🌈 Thursday 🌈

I was really excited for today, both to resume working on my current LEGO set, and to have ice cream and pizza for dinner. But date night was sort of canceled. Christopher had been unwell for days (his usual back pain) and working on his puzzle for a few days exacerbated it. So, today, he couldn’t play LEGO, but his puzzle looks amazing. I wish I’d taken a photo, because it’s over halfway done now.

I spent a lot of the day working on art and binging The Book Of Boba Fett, and after the promised pizza and ice cream, our partner went back to some important due work and I hung out with Christopher while leveling my Pokémon Violet team. I reached pretty close to end-game!

🌈 Friday 🌈

Christopher stayed home today. He still didn’t feel great. Our partner worked late, into the early hours of the morning. I spent all day doing housework and packing to leave for my mom-in-law’s in the evening.

Earlier in the day, I had Christopher download an anime from the 70s for me, by the same studio that did Heidi. It is called “3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother”, and is an extended adaptation of the short story “From The Apennines To The Andes” that appears in the old children’s novel I’m currently reading (Corazón: Diario de un Niño). In the original book, this story is one of the monthly stories that Enrique reads in school. It is, however, the longest short story in the book. I’m looking forward to watching the anime as soon as I finish The Book Of Boba Fett.

In the early evening we were off to Sebastian! When we got there, we had nachos for dinner. Then Grandma brought out some chocolate cupcakes she made.

They had Tom Kitten picks! Good ol’ Grandma. She knows what I like.

I slept in an inflatable mattress which is never very comfortable for me. I’d rather sleep with Christopher if he didn’t snore, especially because it was so cold, and it would have been nice to cuddle. The cool thing is that the mattress was put in the same room as our partner’s and it’s just so nice that it is such a non-issue for us to sleep together in the same room, since it was the most convenient. Even with Grandma there, no one bats an eye and is so accepting of the three of us and “our thing”.

Anyway! I still made it colorful and cozy:

I’d brought Beta with me, and “It” to read. Scary books aren’t scary when you’re sleeping with a raptor for comfort!

I even had my Jurassic World jammies so it was very much a mood.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

On Saturday we went on a long car ride, to Okeechobee. My mom-in-law showed me some old haunts where she used to live with my sis-in-law (but, I think, not Christopher). It was very interesting and reminded me of some areas in Belén de Escobar, the area of Argentina I last lived in before coming to the US.

For breakfast, we had really crispy bacon (my favorite) eggs, and spicy sausage gravy on biscuits.

At one point I couldn’t find my phone, then I realized our partner had hidden it from me. He took some funny pictures as I pounced on him to give it back…

Then we were off to Okeechobee!

🌳🐮 Okeechobee 🐮🌳

On the way to Okeechobee, we saw all kinds of animals. Cows, horses, wild hogs, even ostriches in an ostrich farm! We went to a flea market, but there wasn’t much to see. It was also freezing cold!

Finally, we made it to my mom-in-law’s old “homestead” house. They put so much effort into this house and raised dozens of animals. My mom-in-law showed us the very long fence she put up by hand, all by herself, still standing. They dug the pond themselves.

But the house now lays in ruin, abandoned after it was sold. It was honestly a heartbreaking sight.

It looked so spooky, and I really wanted to go into the house to explore. But you never know what you’ll find. I was scared that we even drove past the gate, because in this country, and in particular in this state, you just never know who’s gonna shoot you for trespassing into their property. 🙃

We later went to another house where they’d lived, and my sis-in-law’s name, which she’s written into the country when she was just a little girl, was still there, which was very poignant.

Then, after a Wawa and Dunkin’ Donuts stop, we went back to my mom-in-law’s house in Sebastian. I complained a lot because my legs really hurt and it was such a long ride. But eventually we were in Sebastian again. Overall, I had a lot of fun.

🧩😴 A Relaxing Evening 😴🧩

After we got back, we were exhausted. Christopher and I lay down (me to play Pokémon, him to nap with his bunny, Ribbon) while my mom-in-law cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner.

The meal after Saturday’s activity (if it’s home cooked –usually something on the grill) is often the highlight of a visit for me. Not gonna lie, Christopher and I are pretty lazy, so we are often resting while family cooks dinner around us. It is such a comforting, happy feeling, hearing the kitchen noises and smells, our feet usually intermingled under a blanket, him gently snoring while I draw, read or game. It feels like a moment to treasure, of hard-to-come-by complete peace.

After dinner, we played a game called Spoons, which was really fun and a little hectic. Then, I played Pokémon some more while the rest of the family played Crowns and eventually moved to help Christopher finish his very hard 1,000 Asuka puzzle. And finish it they did, at like 1:00am!

I was in bed before that, with a happy achievement of my own:

I’m still going to do a bit of end-game content, but I was really happy to get the first finished game of 2023 under my belt!

🌈 Sunday 🌈

On Sunday, after breakfast, we went to a pottery studio, then to lunch at Casa Amigos, a Mexican restaurant that served MASSIVE portions. After that, we walked around the dead mall that the restaurant is attached to. But let me tell you about the pottery studio first, which was called “The Painted Frog”. This place is where my mom-in-law painted the cute little snail she gave me for Christmas.

🎨🐸 The Painted Frog 🐸🎨

The first step was to pick our pieces. Christopher picked a turtle, our partner, a shot glass, and I picked a gator, because I love them so much and because our partner and I have had a few gator-related (mis?)adventures.

All the colors you see become much more intense and sometimes much darker than you see here. Even though it looks pastel, the colors I picked should turn out very bright. I used different shades of green for the base, including mottling and spattering here and there, with a sponge and with a toothbrush. To make it more “me”, I dotted it all over with red, blue and yellow dots:

I was afraid to mess up when doing his eyes, but I think it looks okay!

Christopher’s turned out really cute, too:

Our partner seemed a real expert at this in spite of never doing it before:

Here are Christopher’s and mine together:

They had a section of unclaimed, already fired and glazed pieces. You could buy any of them for just one dollar, and I couldn’t resist this little guy:

Here you can see them together –a piece before being glazed and fired, with one that has been. I believe my gator’s color is the same as the one in the finished piece, if not very close. So, as you can see, the end result is very different.

Ours should be ready in about a week. I hope they survive the process… they don’t always. Overall, I really loved this experience, and there’s a few similar places in our area, so I’d like to go to others too.

🍃🏬 Visiting A Dying Mall 🏬🍃

This used to be a lively mall. My sis-in-law’s first job was at its movie theater. Now half of it is taken up by a “chain” church and its many related storefronts/offices, from a coffee shop, to a fitness center, including a Sunday school, a store of religious stuff such as books, clothing and knick-knacks, and even a TV station.

Most areas of the mall though, were eerily empty… very liminal.

The H.A.L.O. No-Kill Rescue is still there. There was a cat at the front desk!

And many, many cute kittens…

Here you can see some video of them playing:

I was fascinated by the many old abandoned rides. Most were in working condition, but you never really see kids riding these anymore. Here’s a little carousel…

And a shiny steam locomotive!

This carousel, though out of service, was the most interesting. It was Jungle Book themed, and featured Bagheera, Kaa, an elephant (Hathi? doubt it… lol).

…and, err… Simba?? Who knows.

It also had Mowgli, but I really didn’t like how he looked so I didn’t take a photo.

They had Jay Jay The Jetplane, too. Boy, this brings back memories!

A cute little bear was riding this truck:

We passed by an eclectic little game store, where Christopher treated me to this Ewoks VHS tape. This reminds me, I need to add a VHS-watching resolution goal to my 2023 list.

After we were home, and all unpacked, I was able to look at Natasha, who arrived over the weekend from Latvia, the country of my grandparents. Her box looked a lot like other Spanish doll boxes:

She is truly lovely! Not too big and not too small. Part of me wishes she was a little bigger, but this way she’s easier to take places with me.

Her face is as sweet as the pictures!

I also loved that her cloth body is skin-toned, rather than white cloth.

Later, in bed, I went through our Ring front door camera. We get many animal visitors so I like to look through all the recorded motion before I fall asleep. I caught a very funny moment when one of the local squirrel decided to engage in some wild acrobatics, much of the annoyance of the birds!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to share for this week. I think my proudest accomplishment this week is getting almost 4,000 words down on my book. I hope you all had a wonderful one! I’ll see you here again next Sunday with another weekly summary. 🥰