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.
This was a pretty pleasant week! It started off slow, but got pretty fun. My Good Guy doll arrived (a gift from our partner), Mwako’s visit began, and Christopher and I got to have some alone time since our partner had to travel for work. It’s been a week of little progress in regards to my goals, but I expected that for this week and the next too.
I’ve also been really lax in some things that I shouldn’t have gone astray on (mainly regarding books and toys) but even though it may not seem like it, it is still less than before. After Mwako’s visit is done I intend to buckle down again on it all. Anyway, on with the summary!
🌈 Monday 🌈
I don’t have much to share for this day, but I took a couple of fun photos in the studio. Here is Sweet Potato looking cozy in my bed:
I really love how my setup is looking at night right now…
Here’s some video of the wallpaper:
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
On Tuesday I took this photo of Elliot lounging inside the cooler:
This snailboi was looking around rather strangely…
Here’s some video:
In the evening, the Ring door camera detected a “person”…
Well, he certainly is a fine little guy.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
For Wednesday, have some of my yard friends.
In the afternoon I took a walk; here’s a pretty flower I saw:
The cooler-turned-hut continues to be a popular spot, but Kotoko has basically claimed it completely at this point.
Christopher and I had Wednesday evening to ourselves since our partner was on his business trip. We really missed him, even though it was just the one night. Our partner is VERY loud and always laughing and cracking jokes, so when he is gone, there is a massive emptiness in the air.
However, I’d also been forever since Christopher and I had an “us” date night, and even if all we did was sit and play LEGO as usual, it made me really happy.
Christopher had fun too, while building his “white whale”, LEGO 10194 Creator Emerald Night:
I built some of my Christmas presents, the LEGO City Wildlife Rescue ATV 60300 and LEGO City Chicken Henhouse 60344:
We ordered pizza and watched a totally bizarre 1986 movie about haunted dolls. It was called, simply and appropriately, Dolls.
It was, in my opinion, terrible, but in that cheesy and charming way an 80’s movie about haunted dolls would be. I freaking LOVED it.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
On Thursday I did a little shopping, alas! I broke my resolution, but I came home SO HAPPY. For starters, as it gets close to spring, the local craft store had new snails:
How could I resist them at 40% off, really? And this, well, this looked like too much fun:
But my favorite find of the day was quite random. I’ll start by telling you that I am expecting an Aliexpress order of like, six toy dinos. I decided to give it a shot because even though there were no reviews, the page showed video of the toys and everything, and they looked fantastic. I didn’t buy them all, though I wanted to. Well, imagine my surprise when I ran into one of them at T.J. Maxx! I recognized it instantly, even though mine have yet to arrive.
I was happy to see that the size and quality were fantastic, just like the photo showed, though the ones in the packaging are of more realistic colors, while the ones I will be receiving are very bright.
I can’t begin to tell you the love I have for dinosaur toys of this sort. And to have just happened to run into one of the two I didn’t order! It made my day.
🌈 Friday 🌈
Our partner came home Thursday night. Chucky arrived early on Thursday but I waited til the next day so I could open the box with him there, since he was the one who got me this lovely toy. You can’t imagine my delight. He is so big and perfect and creepy. I legitimately and unironically adore him!
Now he sits right next to me just looking like a creep.
If I sleep on my bed, he’ll be in the exact position to stare at me, I just realized… hah.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Saturday was SO busy! I did chores all day long, but also something else. At some point this week I made the decision to stop taking commissions permanently and make a push to find a job again. So I’ve spent hours revamping all of my online presence. The taking of commissions was firmly intertwined with every bit of my online life. Removing that in a manner that was permanent and I couldn’t easily undo was a massive undertaking that is still underway.
That aside –have you heard of Hot Ones on YouTube by First We Feast? Here’s a playlist:
Basically, Hot Ones involves celebrities being interviewed over a platter of increasingly spicy chicken wings, and by spicy I do mean spicy. People cry. People throw the towel. The infamous “Last Dab XXX”, the last sauce in every set, has a Scoville rating of over 2,000,000 SHU. So of course our partner decided to order the box that covers a full season of sauces.
This means all the sauces being used in the episodes of the current season. And he and Christopher invited some friends of ours to suffer through this. Since Mwako arrived in the afternoon of this day, he joined in the “fun”. But I feel like I was the one having the most fun just staring at them all getting really red in the face and almost crying while I calmly ate my non-spicy popcorn chicken:
That photo was taken at Publix as triumphant proof that the coveted crispy treasure had been acquired, since it ended up being quite a feat and I was a pain in the ass to everyone until my popcorn chicken was secured.
Anyway, everyone suffered, except me, and only my two valiant gents managed to eat every wing with every sauce. I know it’s not a proof of manliness, but I was fuckin’ proud. 😁
Went to bed completely exhausted this night. Grover and Rosie were waiting…
🌈 Sunday 🌈
On Sunday Mwako and I went out for a little while. We got some new LEGO for the week, and Christopher indulged me by allowing me the treat of another Dino Scribble Scrubbie by Crayola. I can’t wait to play with it!
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. 🥰
Today Mwako and I stayed home! It was a more relaxing sort of day. After I finished all my chores, we watched cartoons, colored, and made bead necklaces. I also played some Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX while Mwako took a short nap, and then he watched me play for a little while. Below are some photos I took!
🌈 Coloring ‘n Cartoons 🌈
Cartoons and coloring was our first activity! We watched Courage The Cowardly Dog, and Mwako colored giant Bluey coloring pages while I worked on (finally!) finishing my squirrel page:
All done! This page took me forever. Now I have to laminate it.
At this point Mwako laid down for his nap. I played Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, and when he woke up again, he watched me play for a while. Then I did more chores and brought down all we needed to make stuffie bead necklaces!
🌈 Making New Name Necklaces! 🌈
I was overdue to make necklaces for Totodile, Beta, Ludwig, Soufflé, my pyroraptor Fajita, and my incoming polar bear, Igloo. I didn’t manage to finish them all, but I finished a few.
We had juice boxes and watched Franklin while having our fun with beads. Franklin is one of my all-time favorite “kiddy time” shows. Nothing makes me feel so small as watching this cartoon. It is so very lovingly done, and watching it on out giant CRT is a huge treat.
I know this CRT is on the way out, having occasional issues, and I have to say that now that the game room is looking so nice and neat, I really don’t want that to happen. 😞 I feel like I’d rather invest a little to keep it going longer. It doesn’t have the best picture, but it has that special something, particularly in this room.
Here is Mwako’s puppy, Patch, with his awesome new necklace!
And here he is showing off the page that he helped Mwako color:
For dinner I made panko-crusted chicken breast which turned out really good. I’ve started to add a little milk in my egg mixture for breading and the result is amazing. I went to bed fairly caught up with my chores.
Mwako goes home tomorrow, but tomorrow is date night. So it’ll be a day of chores and then spending time with my partners. By Friday I’ll be back to commission work!
Happy Sunday, everyone! I’m back with another weekly recap. I should first say that while this post is post-dated for the week of Monday 4th-Sunday 10th of April, it’s about two weeks late… my apologies. It’s been very hectic, if in an on-and-off way. The subsequent week is also being posted momentarily.
As you will see in both posts (and a few additional side posts) my days have been packed with activities –though nothing much happened during this particular week that wasn’t me working on art, taking walks, playing video games (which I’m sharing on separate posts), shopping for dinner ingredients, or cooking (at least until the weekend).
🌈 Monday 🌈
First off, now that the house is fully painted, let me show you better photos of what it looks like. I feel like it’s the prettiest colored house anywhere near us. But maybe I’m just biased.
The entrance looks so bright and colorful. I love it so much!
On the topic of colorful things, here is a friend I picked up at the craft store’s spring section. This time of the year is always great to find new snail-themed decor, and of course I added it to the collection on display around the snail tank.
On Monday night we made mojo chicken bowls. We all worked together on different parts of the meal, and marinated the chicken for about a day. It was pretty great!
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
On Tuesday I went for a walk, just for fun and to pick up dinner ingredients. At Dollar General I found the Harold Mega Bloks set, I was really happy to add him to my collection that already has Thomas and Percy:
I also found this super cool Crayola dinosaur kit. I love the box so much that for now it’s on display on a shelf. Someday I’m sure I’ll open it though.
I made my guys quiche for dinner:
🌈 Thursday 🌈
During my Tuesday walk I passed one of the buildings that they are tearing down. They were an eyesore for a very long time; years. It is weird to see them disappear so quickly.
Here’s a little GIF I made of Kotoko greeting me with a silent meow:
Of course today we had date night again. My husband and our partner played the new Kirby game while I enjoyed watching. I got some screenshots to share this time:
It’s an adorable game, we’ve already had a few enjoyable evenings with it.
🌈 Friday 🌈
I’ve started having bagels with smoked salmon for lunch sometimes; I like them a lot.
Some cute photos of Kotoko, including a tiny blep and an old-lady yawn:
Today we made a sort of (fake) grass carpet on the porch. Our partner was using this stuff to decorate his old apartment, and now that he’s living with us, he didn’t know what to do with it. He suggested this as opposed to trashing it and I think it looks interesting.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Here’s a photo I took on Saturday of Rosie enjoying the new “grass”:
This day I got up early and prepped the slow cooker to cook beef for tacos all day. After cooking for like eight hours, it was amazing for dinner:
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Sunday was our adventure day. Our partner and I went to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (being outdoors, we could not convince our favorite vampire to come along). This is a very beautiful place that our partner had never been to, so I was really excited for him to enjoy it since he loves flowers and nature.
I took lots of photos that I will caption here and there, and had a little risky adventure.
First, a pretty brook…
Just general photos of the garden’s beauty:
Speedy getaway 😁
Ok now for a little story. You wouldn’t think so by the manicured look of this place, but there are multiple gators living here (in spite of the sign saying crocs, this is an alligator area):
Now I’ve been living in Florida for twenty years, and whenever I see these signs I get so excited to see a real, live alligator. Not to get close. Just to see one. They are basically dinosaurs. But I never had seen one in the wild. Today though, would be the day!
Prior to this encounter, we were walking down a nature trail –here’s some pictures of it:
Anyway there we were, when I pointed down to our partner a strange gathering of bluish flies at our feet. They were flying in a curious pattern. Cue him going “oh shit” and grabbing me and quickly pulling me back. What I had assumed to be flies, perhaps close to an animal carcass or waste, was a nest of blue-winged wasps!
We didn’t know at the time that these wasps are not super aggressive, and it is possible to gently walk through a swarm unmolested (we would come across a second nest later after the gator encounter, and again felt lucky to not be stung, since we didn’t see it until we almost stepped on it, just like this time).
A bit rattled by the wasp nest sighting, we doubled back and took another trail. Barely five steps into the trail I wanted to take a photo of the lake before going right.
…well, I didn’t when taking the photo above. But then I looked again, and my gasp of “Is that real?” was greeted by another “oh shit” from our partner (we were about twenty feet away from this quite massive guy –you can best gauge the distance in the photo above, as the one below is significantly zoomed in):
The scary thing is that he blended in so well. I could have gotten a lot closer before noticing him.
Now I want to point out a few things. The weird tag-like thing on his tail. His almost comical grin. His way-too-white teeth. His goofily beady eye. And of course he (she?) was perfectly still. All of these things together would have me bet money that this was not a live animal. I wasn’t stupid enough to approach him, just trust me that we were far away enough, but I did feel very sure that this must have been some decoy thing placed there by the garden keepers to keep people from approaching the water and actually risking a real encounter.
Since we were at a distance to make an easy getaway if needed, our partner began throwing very tiny pebbles at the water, and kinda near the gator’s head. I’m talking the size of my thumbnail, nothing that would have hurt the guy, but perhaps I dunno, made him blink? I will say again I was quite sure this gator could not possibly be real. So many years of never seeing one… My companion, wisely, told me one must always assume they are, but we both found the gator’s complete lack of reaction surprising.
We tossed maybe three very tiny pebbles. The last, rather than hitting the water, fell upon the gator’s butt with “toc!”. And here I can tell you this was a very real creature that immediately and quickly looked at his ass in a totally unamused way before resuming his sunbath, and then we left very fast and very respectfully and I felt very very bad for having done anything close to harassing him while he enjoyed his siesta.
But, boy. Was I over the moon! Going forward I will assume all are real (and so should you)! It’s uncanny how fake they can look. I just did not expect a gator to have such a goofy smile. It was rather cute. Definitely made my day. But I will say, please don’t do what we did. I know our partner humored me because we were at a safe distance. But had I been more sure that he was a real animal I would just have looked and walked away.
On our way back around we took another photo from the other side, and warned people we saw heading in that direction, so that he would be unbothered.
We continued to go around the garden, smelling flowers and studying leaves:
I made a GIF of our walk through the path above, because it was so pretty:
This tree had a face:
Here’s a photoset of many pretty flowers that we saw:
For a light lunch, we had crepes!
We had a wonderful (and adventurous!) time. Once home, I made korean beef bowls for dinner for the three of us. It came out pretty good:
Next week we are visiting family for Easter. And the week after that, Mwako is visiting us! I’m so excited. Are you excited for Easter too?
I worked really hard today. Got a massive amount of commission progress underway! I was able to finish all my chores and artwork in time for Isolation Storytime. After having so much fun during my first event I was very excited for today’s.
Already I had my area all prepped in the afternoon! This time I got ready in the library. I think this will be my place for it going forward.
And here’s my little table for coloring with both of my fancy sharpeners and aaaall of my crayon boxes! Though not all are visible here I suppose… 🤔 My big pink case was still in the other room.
Bluey helped me pick my outfit for the evening! I chose one of my own designs that I created for ODU, the Dino Nuggies pattern!
It was very fitting given my dinner…
Tonight was the night I picked to open all of my Bluey toys at once! So I had those in that area as well.
I had fun opening and posing them while listening to stories.
My favorite parts were the afterparty (well, the little bit I stayed for… I was tired) and the reading of Danger Moose and Bunny Boy… and Mavis’ singing “Imagine”. I’m really happy that I have this to look forward to every week. I did some more crayoning too!
I hope to finish it this weekend, so I can start another, but it’s also really important that I get all commissions to the line art stage before Monday. I want all the overdue work to be done before next weekend, and so far, I’m doing well.
I’m not sure if I’ll attend the next Iso Storytime because next Friday is the Evangelion release… but I’ll definitely attend the Friday after that!
Anyway… it’s sooo late… well past my bedtime. Goodnight, everyone…
Alrighty! Here’s the summary of the rest of the week. I’ve separated each day in sections while including everything in a single post. It doesn’t include the couple of days I already blogged about, so this is from Sunday 27th and onwards.
Looking at it all, photos, etc, it really should have been more enjoyable for me… It was a trip full of fun things after all… I wonder if I would have had a much better time were it not for my period, which came on the third morning. Then again, Christopher believes stress triggers my periods to come early, because they always seem to come when I’m anxious or stressed out. So it was this time. 😞
(CW for fairly detailed period related talk below.)
I don’t know though. Last 3-4 months my period has been slightly abnormal. It’s regular, but comes on very suddenly –no physical warning other than bad mood, and it’s like BAM it’s there 😳 without the usual mild few days of spotting. It also leaves very suddenly, whereas it used to be gradual.
This time felt so sudden that I got scared and thought something else entirely was happening to me, like, something serious. But no. 🤷♀️ Well, who knows. 😅 I really do have to go see my gynecologist this month so I can be properly examined and make sure everything is okay. 🤔
BTW, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO DIAGNOSE ME OR GIVE SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE GOING ON WITH MY BODY–not even in the form of shared personal experiences. It feels presumptuous and makes me super anxious. Just don’t, okay.
(Period talk ends here.)
🎥 Disney Hollywood Studios 🎥
Sunday, June 27th
We were up early on Sunday. Got to have McDonald’s which was a nice start to the day. Now all of this was several days ago so I don’t really remember everything… 🤔 The ride to Orlando was okay. We went to Disney Hollywood Studios, which, you know 🤷♀️ I don’t do rides, so… I wasn’t exactly excited.
Ultimately, this day wasn’t too bad, it was one of the better ones. I did a bit of shopping, went on more rides than I normally would, including Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge. That was EPIC. Also, terrifying. Mostly because I’m scared of Stormtroopers, and Christopher basically pushed me towards them, I can’t imagine another ride where it feels so much like you are literally inside a movie. I wish everyone who is into Star Wars could experience it, I want to go again.
My interest in Star Wars was always just kinda mildly there, but not fanatically so, however the stuff I experienced in Galaxy’s Edge has me wanting to rewatch all the movies.
Honestly… part of why I’ve always been “eh” about Star Wars is that The Phantom Menace is my favorite movie, because it was my intro to the franchise maybe, and when you’re talking to other fans that’s just kind of a non-starter? People either are disgusted at your taste or make fun of you, so… I gravitated towards Star Trek instead. 😅 But maybe I’ll stop holding back.
Lunch was interesting. They had a “lobster” roll, with quotes on the menu, because it was vegetarian:
The “lobster” was a hearts of palm salad. I love hearts of palm, and I did love this meal.
Everyone else had burgers, chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Here is my mom-in-law and (Christopher’s) Grandma during lunch:
I took video of the entire lightsaber-building experience of my sis-in-law and another family member, Brayden, who is kind of Christopher’s nephew, I think? It was really cool:
Here’s the video, in two parts because I had to stop in the middle of recording to do I forget what:
Made a GIF of this part because it was ✨ SO COOL ✨:
Truly the entirety of Galaxy’s Edge was awesome and I really wish I had not been in such a foul mood. I would like to go again when I’m not feeling like that. I got on Star Tours too, though that was technically outside of Galaxy’s Edge. I liked it.
Other than that, I did end up getting on a number of other attractions and rides. It’s ironic because when I look back it was not a bad time at all. I think it was the knowledge of the immensely packed schedule ahead, the fact that I was still-reeling from the heartbreak of the original canceled plans, and my impending period, that made actually enjoying it so difficult. But, I’m really glad for the things I enjoyed, particularly the Star Wars parts.
🦁 Animal Kingdom 🦁
Monday, June 28th
The next day was Animal Kingdom. I brought my iPad on this day to draw a little more during the queues, and really did try to be in a happier mood. Still, I failed at times, but I think my mood was better on a chunk of this day than on any of the other days.
We went on a Kilimanjaro Safari first thing. Got great seats. I was excited to see baobab trees, but it turns out they are fake. I didn’t know that until we got home. Apparently they used to have a single real baobab tree several years ago, but it died during a cold winter.
I didn’t take photos of the animals but there certainly were many about, as it was early in the morning and they were feeding.
At some point in the afternoon, the biggest highlight of the entire week happened for me: I won a beautiful stuffed animal at a game of chance in Dinoland. This was a big deal for three reasons:
The stuffed animal I wanted was the biggest prize in any stall (well, one of two options, but it was the hardest to win.) It wasn’t even available on every stall, just two.
The game I tried my hand at was ridiculously hard, with a minuscule chance of winning this specific toy.
I never win at these games –ever. So I never try, because I end up crushed and frustrated every time.
I’ll go into more detail about this down below on a different segment since I don’t have photos of this stuffed animal from this specific day. My long-suffering family, already dealing with my shit mood, patiently sat in the baking heat for about an hour until I got my prize. I really don’t deserve them.
I did lots of window shopping while at Animal Kingdom. We went on two rides in Pandora: Na’vi River Journey and Avatar: Flight of Passage. Both were stunning, the latter certainly scared me a good bit but it was incredible. Here’s a POV video someone else took of this ride:
You have to realize this envelops you completely unless you look behind you really craning your neck (which I did a few times to stop myself from pissing my pants) so it REALLY feels like you’re flying. It’s hard to convince your brain that you’re not, and it’s really hard if you’re afraid of heights as I am. But I loved it anyways. The River Journey was also unbelievably gorgeous, with really impressive effects.
On the way out, I ran by the Rainforest Cafe gift shop and bought some baby dinosaurs. Then we went to dinner and finally back to the hotel.
🍑 Savannah, GA – Day One 🍑
Tuesday, June 29th
I don’t remember we did during the morning… I do recall that the afternoon train was more or less on time, and I got to sit with Christopher and had a window seat, so other than my period making me kind of miserable, it was an enjoyable ride. The photo below was taken early-ish during the ride, just past 2:00pm. It was a little over five hours to Savannah.
Truly, I don’t know what delayed us so much, because I know we went from the train station to the hotel, and even as we got there we were desperate to get some food and everything was closing. The photo below was taken at like, 10:30pm, and we’d gotten our food maybe 15 minutes before that at a “hole in the wall” burger place that was literally called “Hole In The Wall”. We were all exhausted.
Went I went back to get a milkshake by myself, the lovely owner of the Hole In The Wall high-fived me over my Pride wallet and wished me a happy Pride Month. Told me about her husband, who came out to her as bisexual, and a few other related things. I told her a little about me, too. I wished I could have talked with her longer. She was so nice, and it was a rare moment of validation for me.
Here are some photos I took of that area, while everyone else ate:
After we got back to the hotel, I settled down to keep reading the first volume of The Hagwood Trilogy with my new iguanodon friend, Femur:
I first saw this guy at the gift shop in the Dinosaur dark ride in Animal Kingdom, under a display case. To my utter dismay, he could not be purchased. I was directed to where I could win him in a game of chance. Normally, this is a non-starter for me. As I mentioned earlier, I just do not do well at these games, and I do not take it well when I lose. But I wanted him too badly, and against my better judgement, decided to try.
Now, to give you an idea of how hard he was to win, see this article and scroll down to the Comet Crashers game. As you will notice, only very few cups have colors. All the ones without colors are losers. Of the cups with colors, I only saw two that were yellow –meaning, the biggest prize, the one I wanted so badly. One at each end. To make it worse, the spots were the third from the front in both cases –near impossibly difficult to get into as they were so close to the edges. Just going by number of slots, according to a redditor who calculated it, it’s roughly a 9% chance of winning.
I used multiple tickets, buying $35.00 worth of them from the get-go, really sure that I would not win him, or that I would win some stupid Mickey or Minnie toy. I just felt I had to try. And win him I did –on my fourth attempt. I remember my utter disbelief. I could have cried! I held him close for the rest of that day, and hugged him every night of the remainder of our trip, even gave him one of my bandanas to wear.
Anyway, with a cuddle from Femur and my book, that was the end of the first night in Savannah –we didn’t do anything but dinner.
🍑 Savannah, GA – Day Two 🍑
Wednesday, June 30th
Ok, so… by this day I was so exhausted, I’d count the rest of the days and just, inwardly cry. Also, Savannah is pretty and all, but a 1 hour trolley tour and a 1 hour boat tour are NOT worth 10+ hours on a train and dealing with a hotel room for two nights, not to me, anyway. Especially not being able to be alone with my husband (or by myself) quietly, at all, at no point (though at the end of this day I really stopped giving a flip and excused myself to be alone, which cost me one of the nicer meals of the trip. I ended up getting UberEats.)
I really would have enjoyed it WAY more if I hadn’t just been to two Disney parks, two different hotel rooms and five + hours on a train AND if I had been able to, you know, walk around and enjoy it which we couldn’t do, unfortunately, because it is not easy for Grandma to get around. From the trolley tour we were told of so many wonderful places to visit, but we couldn’t visit any of them. That made me really sad.
Below are some photos of the trolley tour. The houses were very pretty, but these are the only photos I got, literally nothing special at all in them.
We almost didn’t make it in time for the boat ride, but we did get on.
This was one of the times I excused myself from the family for a long period. They wanted to be inside in the AC which to me felt like a total waste of being on that boat in the first place. I wanted to look at the river, so I spent the entire hour standing, and watching, even when it rained on me a little.
The sun was blistering, but if you stood at the right end of the boat you could feel the wind in your face, at it was refreshing.
It was after this that everyone went to dinner and I just couldn’t force myself to leave the hotel room again. I showered, got some Japanese food ordered to the room, and finished reading my book with Beanie.
This book would also be a highlight of my trip, it was incredible, my favorite of Robin Jarvis’ books so far.
🚂 Intermission 🚂
Thursday, July 1st
And now we come to my lowest point. By 5:30am we were at the train station. I’d run out of painkillers, and of coffee. I was just a bundle of pain and misery, with a bumpy and painful train ride and like, four more days of not being home to look forward to.
At least, I told myself, I’ll be sitting next to Christopher, the seats are fairly comfortable, I can just put my head on his shoulder and I will feel better. Every moment I had alone with Christopher would raise up my HP by a few points, so I was eagerly looking forward to our “alone” time on the train, even in as much physical pain as I was.
Well… we ended up in the cafe car, four to a table, which doesn’t even have full-back seats (so you can’t sleep) and this would have been temporary, but my mom-in-law wanted to play cards or something and asked if we could be left there for the full FIVE HOURS. At this point I just lost my shit so much that I hid my head for a while and cried, there was nowhere for me to go.
Eventually I asked to be moved; it meant not being with Christopher, but I physically could not take the ride otherwise. I was moved to sit with a stranger, on an aisle seat. I begged to be moved to a window seat and eventually was moved to this…
It was kind of hilarious at this point, but at least I could lay against the side and try to sleep my pain away. But I was so lonely and miserable without Christopher. I felt that I hated everything, the train, the entire trip, just everything, but more than anything, by far, myself –for not being happy, for not handling well being tired and in pain the way everyone else did, for crying, for just being the way I am. I really wish I could be someone else, someone pleasant and easygoing, someone not selfish or whiny.
Though I don’t think my family would believe this, I really do fight against these sides of me constantly, but they are so bad, that none of that effort is noticeable. When my unpleasantness shows, it’s because my effort is finally cracking. I feel so much guilt for being the way I am. It really was the worst moment of all.
I felt better when we reached the train station. We went to Olive Garden for dinner and it was lovely. I felt my spirits lifting a tad.
Maybe that was just being next to Christopher again. He truly is the one single person in this world who doesn’t drain my energy, but replenishes it. Literally the only one. Just by being there. My appreciation and love for him was increased by the experience of this trip.
Later we just relaxed in the room, watched TV, I had some sweets and worked on this illustration which I’d also been working on during the train ride:
It’s a two-page spread for Meganeea featuring young Gideon, as well as the new chapter banner, since things have entered a new stage story-wise, the banner of little Faahvrigüo is a tad outdated.
That marked the end of the day.
🏰 Disney Springs / Florida Mall 🏰
Friday, July 2st – Saturday, July 3rd
Friday it was just Grandma and me. While everyone else went to Universal, we went to Disney Springs (Downtown Disney). Our Uber was really something, I appreciated this guy’s passion:
I wanted to get a photo of the outside of the car but it was raining and I had to make sure Grandma stayed dry and didn’t slip.
At one point I saw this huge canvas print –while it is not my style, I know Christopher would have loved it. It’s a dream of his, to have a print like this, by this artist, of this character. It was $500, and if I had had the funds on hand I would not have hesitated. It broke my heart to not get it for him. But I got him a $10 magnet of the same image. 😅
I had to get a photo of Stitch. Always makes me think of Christopher and of Mwako.
The next day we went to Florida Mall, this time it was me, Grandma and my mom-in-law while everyone else went to Universal again. I mostly ran off on my own. The Florida Mall gives me funny feelings because it’s where I had my biggest “Shit! I’m kind of gay I guess!!” moment, and it was so intense that just walking by the spot where it happened I have to take a moment, and just stop. It was like a lightning bolt at the time. Very bittersweet even to this day.
We were supposed to go home the next day, but one of our petsitters left the back door open, plus I ran out of pads, plus I ran out of epilepsy meds, and between one thing and another, we drove home one day early. My joy knew no bounds! 😭✨💖
✨ My Vacation Haul ✨
I… did a lot of shopping… well… what can I say, it kept me sane. 🤷♀️💧
I already showed off Femur, so I’ll proceed to the next thing I absolutely loved and which rekindled my desire to scrapbook. A beautiful book-bound journal from a delightfully cringy favorite of mine:
The cover looks a lot like the original featured in the movie:
Another favorite find was a Mandalorian pencil case with adorable stationary –this was my souvenir from Grandma, she insisted we all pick one:
Third favorite find was also Mandalorian related, another journal, smaller than the first but no less luxurious:
Those are my most favorite things (well, minus a MAJOR one, but it’s my birthday present, so I guess I won’t show it here yet, since I’m not allowed to touch it until then.) Here’s everything else:
(I think this is the first time I’ve found something with my name at a store!)
And that’s it. That’s my vacation. Made a few good memories, still would have rather stayed home. Divided into three or even two trips, everything we did would have been far more enjoyable and less utterly exhausting. I’m still in so much pain just from sheer exhaustion. Definitely would have been without my period and without the massive disappointment of the cancellation hanging over, but it is what it is… at least I am home and I’m so grateful for that.
Some cute things I got today while doing boring ol’ grocery shopping! 🌈💕💖
My geriatric ratty Queso is still hanging on. But he is so, so thin. I got him oats, corn, organic chicken, peas, carrots… all favorites… more Pediasure too. I hope I can coax him to eat. Anyway! I also got some cute body wash and lip gloss and bandaids! And had a wonderful lunch.
I’ve been busy having fun at Megaplex! It’s the last day of the con for me, so… time for a wrap-up!
Yesterday I got to go to the Crayola store with my friend Snow. It was actually our first outing just the two of us so it felt pretty special. I got a pretty nice haul:
A cute plate, freezer blocks for my Crayola lunch bag, a lanyard and a pen, a cute metal tag, an adorable little plush-blanky crayon, pink crayon socks, a very colorful cup and a patch for my jacket although I forgot to include that in the photo. 🧸🍄🌈💕
Snow and I had lunch at a little noodle bar in the Florida Mall.
It was really good! I’ll have to check if there’s one down in Pembroke Pines.
Look how cute my new bag is!! It’s lovingly handmade and featuring a print designed by my adorable little friend Kitty (AKA Blankit). You can still go to her table in the dealer’s den tomorrow and get your own!
She has several super adorable designs! Also featured in this photo are nerd badges by Madshy who has an amazing variety this year, this is literally the best her table has EVER been, go throw your money at her!! You’ll find her right next to Blankit.
The badge in the middle was done by ColbyHedgey on FA who isn’t vending but has the absolutely cutest art ever and you should also be throwing your money at her for commissions! She’s fantastic!!
It was apparently this doggo’s birthday judging by his hat.
It’s ok, pup, getting older it’s not that bad.
This was actually the first photo I took during this con, of Maplenut next to some of the biggest mushrooms I’ve ever seen!
For reference, Maplenut is like 18” tall. I was impressed.
Here is Maplenut on another photo from Thursday, when I was waiting to give everyone their badges!
I got another chance at a photo with Pacopanda this year!! 🐼 💕 So happy to have it to add to my wall! Last time we got a picture together it was really dark because it was poolside (Paco was in-suit) so I wasn’t able to include it with the others.
I wish someone had seen my reaction to this poster by Madshy when I first saw it. I stopped on my tracks like 3 times going like… is that? No… but… IS IT?! IT IS!!!!
I absolutely lost my shit in the middle of the hallway. I still can’t believe it! 😭💕💕💕 Here’s a close-up:
I received an 11 x 18 copy that I can’t wait to put up for display! This was part of my prize as one of the winners of the “I love Megaplex” contest.
I found a rather questionable page in one of the coloring books that Blankit brought along…
I had lunch with Drake and Mwako before decompressing for a few in my room prior to the Littles meet.
Photos at the Littles meet aren’t allowed, but this was my outfit for it:
I don’t get to wear this outfit too often. It’s a bit too silly for most settings so I usually only wear it to meets, and those are rare. But I like it a lot. I should wear it more at home.
Outside the meet, I got to take a photo with Jessica and Lexxi to add to my wall!
After the meet, I got changed, and we went to The Knife for our usual goodbye dinner. Thank goodness, Kitty is just tall enough to eat here!
This dinner invariable makes for an utterly amazing evening. My favorite part of this con hands down!
I have a lot of goodies to share… I will be doing that over the next few days. Now it’s bedtime, tomorrow will be a long day (and a LONG train ride!)