Tag Archives: Dollies

Week 21 Summary: An Emptying Store And A Visit To Mom ๐Ÿง‰๐Ÿฅฐ

Wow. I blinked and this week was over and done! It actually started pretty well, but my mood tanked massively by the end, for a variety of reasons.

I visited my mom this week which was really nice. Other than that, our store is slowly being emptied, and customers are getting more and more horrid.

I spent part of the week working on an entirely new system of blocks. I’m concerned about my retail therapy this year, and it’s not even June (well, almost) so I feel that I still have a chance to resume my “no more toy, book, or game purchases” this year. We’ll see how it goes –I’ll go into more depth about this renewed attempt in the summary

Anyhow, let me tell you about this week!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Monday was uneventful. At work, I had a salad for lunch and enjoyed it much more than I expected.

There was another cute dog to take a photo of today:

In the evening I played Diablo with our partner and then cuddled in bed with Kotoko.

It was a calm beginning to a week that would be full of up-and-downs.

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Tuesday I was able to draw a little. Here’s the art I completed on this day:

Just seven pieces to go!

Now I’ve got some doll-related stuff to share! Kalinka’s custom-made clothes arrived. I further customized them by adding this E.T. patch! The pink of the letters was a perfect match:

She looks so incredibly cute. I am thrilled!

Here she is with little sister Natasha. Both turned out adorable:

I had the person who made this outfit make bloomers for Camila too, because she had no undies. Incidentally, I hadn’t taken a really good photo of Camila’s outfit, so here it is:

And a bit of impropriety as she holds up her dress to show off her yellow bloomers and polka-dot stockings. ๐Ÿ˜ There’s definitely a clownish vibe to her outfit, but I love it!

Finally, little Fiorella has been put back together. She is dry, combed, with a lovely new ribbon, and very happy!

I got to visit my mom this Tuesday! As always she had an amazing snack spread in the evening. Even though we had to have some difficult discussions about stuff in the future (mostly regarding the most sustainable way to go about her retirement and future housing) we still had a wonderful time.

There was a wonderful storm raging outside, and the thunder made Sweeney clingy and afraid. He was a lovebug for the rest of my visit!

Then it was sleepytime with Femur. I was exhausted.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

I had a lovely day with my mom. She made torta fritas! We had that, and mate. I loved it.

Femur did too!

We watched the movie Missing, which was great. In the late afternoon, I got picked up by our partner and went home.

There, I found that the My Twinn dolly that was going to be named Emily was not in good condition in spite of the great photos, and would have to be returned. The seller sent her with a broken neck, not something I can ignore on a My TWINN doll sold for over $100. Oh well.

I still have a few more toys coming, but Iโ€™ve decided to create new blocks on my computer just like I did when I got out of control with Charlie Bears a couple of years back. At the time, this completely solved that specific issue.

So I’m going a little nuts and blocking even Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Target, and Walmart, along with basically every online toy store I could have any interest in. These are “permanent” blocks; they do not “time out” at any point, so if I need to order something for the house I would do it from Christopher’s account, and he would know.

Let me end this day with this wonderful bear graham cookie. He even has a bandana! These cookies come in Lunchables only and are much yummier than Teddy Grahams. I wish I could find them on their own!

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Waking up on Thursday morning was a struggle. I napped for an hour on the couch but it did not help my energy levels at all. Usually, it does. Maybe it didn’t help that a purring blob had melted on top of me.

But off to work it was. The day started out great. Our boss bought us ice cream and I just went through the aisles eating it and trying not to skip too much.

Somehow I got ice cream on my glasses, mouth, and hands. But it was worth it.

A bit later we got the worst kind of family/customers in the store. It happened shortly after I was done with my ice cream treat, and these were the events that took place:

  • I saw the family gather near one of the containers I mentioned in a previous post, which we call โ€œcagesโ€ and are huge containers made of solid metal mesh, inside of which I could easily fit around five of myself. Here’s a photo for context (not our location):

The mother of the family was alternating between cooing at the cage, taking photos of it, and saying playful things like “Where did [name] go? Have you seen her?”

Her child had climbed into the “cage” (which was full to the brim of decorated Christmas stockings) and hidden herself among the merchandise. The family eventually walked away, and shortly thereafter I saw the child emerge: not a toddler, but a grown-ass eight or nine-year-old girl. As she climbed out, many stockings fell on the floor. She did not bother picking them up. She carelessly walked on them with her dirty sneakers, just as she had done over many of the ones in the cage. This henceforth will be “Older Child”.

  • Next, the family’s “Younger Child”, a girl maybe four years old, began to climb our tallest rolling ladder. The ladder had a chain that said “Employees Only”, and the parents noticed, but found the activity amusing. This ladder is dangerous, even for us, so I quickly got the manager who swiftly pulled Younger Child down (playfully) and rolled the ladder away.
  • Older Child then began pulling large baskets off tables and shelves onto the floor. The parents walked past, unbothered by this.
  • Father then decided to test some bath maths. He did this by putting them on the dirty floor, taking off his flip-flops, and standing on them with his dirty-ass bare feet. After making his decision, he left his discards on the floor.
  • I would later find an entire large bag of Easter grass destroyed inside a “cage” nearby. While I didn’t witness this firsthand, I will make an educated guess and blame Younger Child, as it happened in the same space of time and the store was mostly empty.
  • At some point, one of the children passed by a display of shell-shaped mini-lights and turned all of them on, leaving the batteries to be drained (I caught it in time).
  • As they moved on to the register, Younger Child decided to climb a glass table and play with its heavy patio umbrella. This time I said something. The potential injury to the child was too great. I asked the mother to please look after the little girl. She called to her but seemed mostly unconcerned.

HORRIBLE. FUCKING. PEOPLE!!! ๐Ÿ˜ก Zero consideration for others, or for property that isn’t theirs! I hope they step on multiple rakes and LEGO pieces. I hope they get gum in their hair. I hope a car zooms through a puddle next to them when they are walking down the sidewalk and covers them in muddy nasty water!! Ugh.

But I do hope their children don’t get hurt due to the parents’ total neglect of their safety. It’s not the kids’ fault (though I believe an older child should know better than to walk over store merchandise or climb into displays, no excuse).

That aside… the back is getting more and more empty and echoey… it’s sad and eerie all at the same time.

Then it was lunchtime! I put cilantro in my salad which made it AMAZING.

I also had a special panda “emotion” cookie from the Japanese candy box. This one was angy:

Overall this was a good workday. I went home happy.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Early in the morning, I deep-cleaned the snail tank. I think the mite issue might be resolved… again.

Look at this guy. He looks like he dropped his ice cream cone.

I’ve been getting a lot of crap at home for buying too many toys recently, so I decided to make use of this sign I found at work:

When I got to work on this day, I found that the witch had been assembled. Kinda neat.

Lunch was not as exciting as the day before but still good.

The wonderful thing about this evening was dinner: our partner worked for hours and hours to make the most wonderful ramen! Well, it was wonderful at the time.

You know, the thing about eggs –they don’t go bad right past the date. As long as they pass the float test, you can still eat them. But I wouldn’t recommend soft-boiling somewhat old eggs, even if they pass the test. You should hardboil them.

I was the only one to add eggs to my ramen and did not hardboil them. Not even close. This very purposeful decision would not end well for me the next day.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

It seemed that Saturday was going great! I was in a wonderful mood. It was a short workday, and I was happy about that, too.

Then… at 6:20 pm, everything took a DRASTIC turn. I got a horrible stomach ache, the kind that makes you sweat cold and leaves you nauseous. I was sure after a (probably unpleasant and fulminating) trip to the toilet I’d be right as rain, but this excursion failed to be “fruitful” and my pain only got worse. So in spite of only having about 30 minutes left on the clock, I had to leave work early.

The next few hours at home were not great. It took a while for things to go out of my system (it eventually did, spectacularly –thankfully I did not throw up). We had good friends visiting, which was a welcome distraction. I had some rice and Gatorade afterward to recover.

There’s not much else to say about Saturday. It kind of sucked after this happened. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

CW: BAD BRAIN STUFF. I went through a bit of a thing at the end of this week that included some of the worst types of negative thoughts. Please do not read below if that could potentially upset you.

Before I tell you about Sunday, I want you to know that I was okay the next day, physically and emotionally. I ended the day well, and good things happened. My mood had normalized by Monday evening and I am okay again. Normally I finish the weekly summary on Mondays, but postdate them to the prior Sunday, and that is the case for this post as well.

I give this preamble because Sunday was a bad, BAD day for me, most of all emotionally.

I’ve never done well at having a full-time job. Many of my fellow artists can relate to the horrible feeling of spending most of their waking hours doing something that isn’t creating for an extended period of time. It puts me in a deeply toxic headspace and sends me into regular bouts of depression. Even if I’m told “no one likes to work” I think it doesn’t really measure up to how bad these feelings can get for me.

Right now, for a few more weeks, I am on full-time hours. On part-time hours I can more or less deal. But on full-time, I’m unable to properly look after the house and my family. The house is dirty, I can’t clean the litter boxes every day, I haven’t cooked for the guys in a week, and haven’t been able to do the grocery shopping. I am moody in the evenings and I dread waking up in the mornings.

The state of things at work hasn’t helped. I am not the only one dreading going in. But between the frustration of unfinished chores, my growing desire to visit my mom-in-law at her home (something I haven’t done since March because I work weekends), feeling generally unwell, having so many small joys gone by the wayside (I haven’t been able to exercise, game, write, scrapbook, or anything else that is just “for me” in a while) and a maddening desire to draw above all else, a feeling that so many hours and days of not drawing amount to a wasted existence for me, I went into a small bout of intense depression.

And it was really bad. It was “fantasizing about having a seizure so I wouldn’t have to go to work” bad. It was “I am so unhappy that I wish I just wouldn’t wake up the next morning” bad. While I am a person who tends to work in hyperbolics whenever emotions are high, I generally make an exception for anything ridiculous such as wishing for my health to be affected or wishing to not be alive.

But no matter how nonsensical or entitled our feelings can be, no matter how aware we are of the need to put things into perspective, we can’t really help our feelings. We feel what we feel. For me, the awareness of these things only serves to make me feel guilty about my misery, but it certainly doesn’t help it go away.

So all these feelings were swirling in my head on Sunday and I was in some level of turmoil. I’d been unsure as to whether even go in to work, not just because I really REALLY didn’t want to, but because I still felt physically unwell. I still had a remnant of stomach pain and the fear of it becoming fulminating again. But I also felt like I really was able to work, so I should go, and I did. I had never called out and did not want a first time.

Well, I had a bit of an argument with Christopher right as he dropped me off. Then I realized I’d left my phone at home –this after being told that both he and our partner would likely be at a BBQ and I’d have to take an Uber home. This was further exacerbated by my being unable to remember either of their phone numbers while at work (eventually I did remember his). My mild malaise seemed to get so much worse, and I was so emotionally fucked and on the verge of tears, that the neverending day ahead of me (another six hours still) suddenly became absolutely unmanageable.

Any pretense of trying to make it through dissipated when Christopher unexpectedly showed up with my phone and offered to wait for me in the car while I talked to my manager if I wanted to go home. This lifeline was far too tempting when I was still about to completely lose my marbles, so I took it.

My manager reassured me that plenty of employees were on the floor, and they would manage just fine. I should go if I needed to. But when I was leaving and asked another manager to look at my bag (something all employees have to do before they go) I basically got a dressing-down: I shouldn’t have come in at all, I should have called out, other employees actually want the hours. Even though I told him I was leaving because I was feeling too queasy to stay, he kept holding me back, shaming me for leaving, until he finally looked at my bag and I could walk away.

This really upset me, for two reasons: the first is that this guy is one of the managers but he is not my boss. The second is that other than this blip (a half hour early the day before and leaving on this particular day) I’ve been a pretty stellar employee. I’ve been used as a good example for others and repeatedly overheard how fast I am, both with projects on the floor and especially at the register, and about the good way I have with customers.

I don’t complain about any jobs and do them with a smile. I had not called out until this weekend or had any issues whatsoever. I worked weekends without complaint in spite of the unhappiness it caused me. So, especially after another manager had given me the okay to go, and even encouraged me to do so, this was very upsetting –not that I betrayed those feelings at the time.

But I left in a terrible mood, even crying a bit in the car. I kept thinking about my commission “Years of Plenty”, and feeling like I would do anything to go back to that happy time (but I won’t take commissions again: I truly feel like the clientele is no longer there). I felt so hopeless.

And all of the feelings I mentioned at the start of this specific day’s summary intensified by 1000%, even though I went home.

I did some chores but otherwise felt unable to concentrate on anything that could bring me joy, so I did something stupid again: I remade my Tumblr account. Guess how well that went?

I wanted to try Tumblr again for two reasons. One is that, elsewhere, my community is disappearing. The websites I used to interact with my peers are being abandoned or collapsing. I know a few of my friends returned to Tumblr and said it’s not like it used to be. But I refused to believe it, dug in my heels, and said I would never ever return to Tumblr.

Well, over time I began to wonder if I was being unreasonable. A friend of mine who used to get death threats there went back and seems happy there. So I thought maybe I should try again. I created a page and loved how it looked. I began to look up the names of some friends so I could follow them, and that’s when things began to go downhill.

In no time I found call-outs and “bewares” full of fabrications and misinformation about people I love. Some of them were squeaky-clean type friends, the sort you could only “cancel” if you made up total lies. It didn’t matter that I found 2-3 posts debunking those lies because the people who made the call-outs don’t care. They just want to hurt others. These people would like hurting me, too, and I know they would, the moment any of my art got even a little traction.

So I deleted it all, only about three hours of effort, but gone nonetheless.

Then, after work, I felt upset that I let fear of a few potential inconsequential bullies rule over me, and I remade it all over again (faster this time).

And then I saw more, including death threats to my friends, and deleted it… again. And I didn’t remake it a third time.

I think Tumblr is actually worse now than when I was there years ago. The level of bullying there is so scary to me. If I had to be there I would be constantly stressed, I don’t know how anyone does it. Well… I tried.

Though I would end this day feeling depressed and defeated, things would pick up the next day. I guess you’ll see that in the next weekly summary. Sorry to end this one here, it’s just how the day ended, but it would improve and I’ll be sure to tell you about it by next Sunday.

Until then –have a great week, everyone!

Week 20 Summary: A Demoralizing, Funny, And Bizarre Experience ๐Ÿ™ƒ

This week I went back to my job at Christmas Tree Shops, which, as I’ve mentioned, is closing down (my location is, anyway) meaning that in a few weeks, we will all be out of a job. But I came back here because the job at the market/bakery was awful.

CTS was/is the first true corporate job that I actually stayed at. I don’t count Citel since they didn’t need me after all, and it was an office job that lasted barely a week or two. In addition to that, CTS is my first experience working at a big box store that is being liquidated and closing. As the title of this post mentions, this experience can at times wear you down and demoralize you. Other times, it’s really funny. And it is very bittersweet.

I am glad that I am in such a privileged position to get to do it without panicking about what my next job will be. I can just take it all in, and have fun with it, which gives me a lot of material to blog about. ๐Ÿ˜

This post also has more doll stuff and more art. Let’s get to it!

SIDE NOTE: Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ’˜โœจ๐Ÿ’•

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

On this day I went back to CTS. The vibe was certainly… weird. At times, people joke and laugh. At times, it feels very sad. Overall, everyone is stressed out of their minds. The sales are bad right now (for customers): mostly 10% off, with our 20% off coupons gone. This means that the prices are technically more expensive than before we were closing. But perception is everything, and people come in droves, spending hundreds at a time, and in one case, over a thousand dollars. It’s very tiring right now.

Seeing all the signs from my spot at the register really gave me a sinking feeling.

Literally every transaction involves the customer saying a form of these things:

“I’m so upset that you’re closing! I’m so disappointed! How long have you known? How long will the sale last? Why can’t I use coupons? When will the discounts get better? Which day are you closing? You guys didn’t do enough advertising/your name is confusing/I didn’t know you were here. How many stores are closing? Why are they closing? If you’re closing, why am I still getting coupons/emails?”

So with every customer, I repeat the same song and dance:

“I am disappointed too. I also love the store. I am sad about losing my job and my coworker companions. We found out the same day as everyone else, including customers. You can’t use coupons or return items because everything in here no longer belongs to CTS but to the liquidator. We don’t know exactly how many more weeks we will be open, just an approximate. You’re right, corporate didn’t advertise enough. We, the employees, did everything we could. Yes, the name is confusing. It’s not like we could change it. The fact that you didn’t know you were here is part of the reason why we are closing. Only ten stores are closing. We are the only Florida store that is closing. We are the only Florida employees not close enough to get reassigned elsewhere. They are closing stores because they filed for bankruptcy protection and we are a low-performing store.”

Repeat ad nauseaum.

If all the above, in a paragraph with no breaks, reads as tiresome, exhausting, drone-like… imagine saying this to every customer for hours and hours. There isn’t a SINGLE transaction or phone call to the store that doesn’t involve some form of the above. No one stops to think that we have heard it all a million times that day.

One lady who called to inquire about the closing decided to have a 15-minute chat with me, an aimless conversation about all of the above. I couldn’t get rid of her. I heard about five iterations of “When God closes a door, He opens a window” on Monday, and by the last, I wanted to tear my hair out. Two people decided to let me know that they were not, as they put it, “happy campers”.

It is not cute. It is not helpful.

Still, one thought was in my mind all day long: “This is so much better than that other job.” One’s team is everything, and our team is fantastic. My coworkers are already talking of following our manager elsewhere if possible… while that probably won’t happen, it’s a testament to how good of a vibe we had.

I often heard some of the assistant managers complain about this or that decision taken by our store manager. People would often gripe; sometimes I heard about little tiffs with raised voices between the assistant managers and him, but I think he is well-loved by most. In spite of saying these things, many of the assistant managers would happily follow him to the next store and so would I. He’s a great boss, and the assistant managers are SO good, positive, the kind of people that just make you want to do your best. So I’m going to do my best until the bitter end.

Christopher let me grab a $20 rug from the store to cover my very stained carpet that simply cannot be cleaned properly anymore. It looks pretty good!

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Tuesday was a very exhausting day. My coworkers and managers had warned me: it is going to get SO much worse. On Monday, I was unsure of what they meant. By late Tuesday I had a better idea.

As the same questions and comments from customers repeat in a never-ending cycle, our partner had some ideas of how I should respond to the “You’re closing the store? Why??” questions:

“We’re closing because Christmas is canceled.”

“We’re closing because an atheist family bought the company and they hate Christmas.”

“What do you mean we’re closing?! No one told me this! Oh my God, am I losing my job?”

“How did you find out that we’re closing? *looks around in a conspiratory manner* It’s supposed to be a secret. Who told you?”

Unfortunately, I don’t have the balls to give any of these responses. ๐Ÿ˜…

I saw a cute doggy on this day:

I wasn’t sure I would ever get the chance to see Christmas trees for sale at Christmas Tree Shops, but lo and behold!

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Since Tuesday, our partner has been very, very sick. It’s just a head cold (he has no fever and did two COVID tests) but, it’s quite bad. So I’m trying my best to take care of him, even though there really isn’t much I can do.

On this day I completed a gift for Seven, in gratitude for a great kindness recently shown to me by her when I closed commissions. Of course, it also includes Snow and Ember. I finished it in an old-fashioned style:

For dinner, I made salmon and rice:

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Another day of the same. On Thursday, I had a customer turn around as she was leaving and ask me, “Do you have another job lined up?” When I responded that I didn’t, she laughed in my face and left. I didn’t even know how to react! Wow. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Then later in the day, we found these bowls filled to the brim with water. These were in a “cage”, also called a “dump bin” in retail. It’s a massive container that can fit four or five of me, and a LOT of merchandise. Anyway, apparently there was a leak in the roof and these filled with rainwater, which a customer noticed. It was pretty funny.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Day off! I took care of the snails and the house, worked on art, relaxed, made the guys a nice dinner, and played with my dolls a bit. Yesterday I listed a bunch of old items hoping to make money to buy the other My Twinn doll that I’d missed out on. But then I realized that eBay holds the money for a while now, after a sale. There was no way I would have it in time. So Christopher let me borrow some funds to get her. She is very beautiful. I’m going to call her Emily.

Much like with my upcoming Zanini Zambelli Italian doll, this is a case in which I have no desire to change the doll’s outfit. It is truly gorgeous as-is.

On this day I finally took Samantha out of her box and dressed her up. She looks so beautiful in her new clothes!

In the afternoon I noticed that Buddy moved again, this time to a high shelf. I wonder how long his unseasonal visit will last?

In the evening, we played LEGO. I had wine and a little snack and felt very happy.

I also finished building this Creator 3-In-1 Medieval Castle. It was a pretty neat build!

For dinner, I made fajitas over rice with cilantro and avocado. It was delicious!

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Saturday morning was dark and stormy. Elliot didn’t want to be outside because of the thunder, so he stayed near me.

Our partner indulged me in getting another toy, a bizarre and adorable Monchhichi clone –a bear. I think I’ll call him Calisson. These are the Etsy photos, he’ll take a while to arrive yet:

I’ve been getting a lot of toys this year, which, if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know to coincide with me being Not Okay โ„ข. And I have NOT been okay. The job stuff is stressful, sure. But it’s the community stuff that has me on a downward spiral and has for months.

Just as I did in my childhood, when I feel isolated and lonely, I seek refuge in toys –their cuddliness, their cute faces. They’re friends that will never go away, or suddenly have terrible hidden pasts, or decide to replace me or not like me anymore. Toys are safe and always have been. They never mock me, I can’t accidentally hurt their feelings and lose their friendship.

So, as self-indulgent and unwise as I know my purchases appear (and they are, make no mistake) I can tell you they’re my current coping mechanism because I don’t really know what else to do with my feelings. Please try not to judge me too harshly. ๐Ÿ˜…

I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but my snails got mites again. ๐Ÿ˜ž You might remember how expensive, difficult, and upsetting an experience that was the first time around. I’ve been very aggressive in treating it, so hopefully they’ll be okay. Here’s a photo of some snails kissing.

Muah.

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

Though this was a workday, in the morning I found some time to de-stuff Fiorella and throw her body and clothes in the wash.

I also washed her hair twice and conditioned it…

Then set it all out to dry. Her thigh has a little tear, but it’s easily fixed.

I will stuff her with brand-new stuffing, fix the tear, and comb her hair. I made her a necklace, and I got her a brand new big ribbon to match the one on her clothes. She’ll look so cute when I’m done with her!

While Fiorella dried in the warm sun, I moved some stuff around in my studio. I missed seeing my Monchhichis, so I put them where I can see them better. These three are Melon-Pan, Minoru, and Ponzu:

This was my first time getting a really nice photo of Ponzu:

Before work, I had leftover roasted cauliflower and black olive pizza for lunch, topped with cilantro:

Work went fast. It was busy. People continue to be a bit obnoxious about the store closing. But, I saw another pupper!

What a happy guy. Speaking of happy guys, here are some littler ones I saw in the parking lot while waiting for Christopher to pick me up after work:

Mama wasn’t happy about me getting too close and herded them all away. Sorry, Mama Duck.

The evening was wonderful! We met our friends for dinner at Shooters Waterfront. I got some nice photos…

I had a couple of coffee drinks that unexpectedly knocked me on my ass, and a wonderful plate of risotto, shrimp, and scallops. We shared a couple of cheese plates. It was SO good.

Here’s a photo of two of our best friends. They are getting married really soon! ๐Ÿฅฐ

After dinner, my drunk, stumbling ass bullied everyone into a short walk at the beach at 11:00 pm. So off we went, and I asked to go back and be carried after taking like, ten steps. No one carried me.

Anyway, I got some beautiful photos!

We also came across this. Just stuck there in the sand, facing the sea. There was some dribbling around it as if a dog peed on it. Maybe someone had dribbled something over it on purpose as part of a ritual. This was in pitch-black darkness, I wonder what it meant?

On the drive back, I saw the Hard Rock guitar showing off an unusually pretty light display, so I got some video:

Anyway, that’s it for this week! Next week I’ll be visiting my mom, and getting more doll clothes in the mail. It’ll be quite busy at work… Hopefully, I’ll continue to find time to blog and keep you all posted. Have a great week, everyone!

Week 19 Summary: Mother’s Day, Our Anniversary, And More ๐Ÿ’˜

First week at the new job! ๐Ÿ˜€ Also, last week at the new job. ๐Ÿ™ƒ We celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, and Mother’s Day. Our family came to visit and we ate out a LOT. Our partner’s computer suddenly died which meant not much Diablo this week.

I finally opened my anniversary doll, but it turned out to: a) be FUGLY and b) have a manufacturing defect, so we contacted the seller and after some back and forth got a full refund and got to keep the doll regardless. But, I’ll sell her, I don’t see myself enjoying her ever. I got a different doll as a replacement already on the way.

I also did lots of art this week. I’ll tell you about that, and about other things too. Let’s go!

SIDE NOTE: Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ’˜โœจ๐Ÿ’•

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Monday was the first day at my new job. I was up at 7:00 am to take care of the dayโ€™s housework. Then I worked until 3:30 pm.

Now that I’m not there anymore (as you will learn more about later into this summary) I feel more comfortable sharing more about this place. It was (well, is) a local Italian Bakery and Market.

They have some interesting products, and, generally, is what I would consider a higher-end store as far as prices, which you wouldn’t know judging by the unbelievable crassness of some of the clientele. It was the sort of rudeness I encountered in my gas station days.

Granted, most people were okay, but some definitely consider you (the cashier) of a lower class because you are there to serve them. I encountered some of the worst of this on my first day. But the day went by quickly enough, even though, unlike my experiences at CTS, I found myself unhappy very fast.

On the way home, our partner treated me to lunch. Then I took a short nap, showered, and made dinner, which would cook for a few hours in the slow cooker. I was pretty proud of how the meal turned out.

I spent the rest of the evening alternating between chores and drawing. I got another commission and a Patreon reward nearly done.

Dinner was enjoyable, and after that, I did a few more chores and played Diablo with our partner. We beat Mephisto!

Before bed, I ran Kalamataโ€™s brand-new dress through the wash and put it on her. It looks perfect! A brand new hair bow would arrive for her on Wednesday, and at some point in the next week, some โ€œshoesโ€ I got her on AliExpress should show up too. Theyโ€™re technically mittens, but she has stuffed feet, so I think they will work best. I’ll post a photo once everything is here.

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Another workday. I was up early again and finished all the chores before heading to work.

I would begin to grow frustrated at work very quickly. By this day, I knew that if you were even cents short on the register, it would come out of your own pocket. This is illegal here without prior written arrangement and notice. In addition, counting the cash drawer had to be done off the clock, on your own time.

At CTS, my register was always okay (except for one day when I think I was a dollar or so over?) I didn’t have to count off the clock, and I didn’t have such stress over my head about being slightly short or over, which meant I wasn’t anywhere near as likely to make mistakes because I was relaxed.

Moreover, the unhappiness of all the other employees was becoming more and more evident to me. Everyone looked tired and upset, the cashiers were always complaining about their lives and their job to each other. There was zero positivity. This, coupled with the managers’ conflicting rules and their “when I’m here we do things my way, when he’s here you do things his way” ethos, made for an anxiety-ridden workplace.

By this day, I told myself “I’ll stay here just until the cruise”, though ultimately I wouldn’t even be able to last the week.

In spite of being so tired, I completed a commission and a Patreon reward on this day:

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Wednesday I got to stay home. My period hit pretty hard so it was a relief that I was given the day off because it had been made repeatedly clear to me that being sick is NOT okay at my new job. Even upon hiring I was asked, “You don’t have no medical issues, do ya?” I said no, of course… ๐Ÿ™„

But I do have endometriosis, and while my uterus has been kinder to me in my 30s than in my terrible, terrible 20s, it’s still scary to live with a condition that can completely incapacitate me more or less at random, while working at a place that will have zero tolerance for this.

I wasn’t able to get much done on this day, but I worked all day long on Christopher’s anniversary present and did the most pressing chores. Then we went to Mezes Greek Taverna for dinner:

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Thursday was our seventh wedding anniversary! I left Christopher’s gift and card on his desk for him to find in the morning when he sat down to breakfast. As usual, I drew our little Subrosians, this time being visited by friendly little alien soots:

Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a foul mood most of the day, between the remnants of my period and the fact that I absolutely HATED being at work and dreaded going back the next day. Even though today I was allowed to open my anniversary doll, I didn’t. I felt that low.

Also, our partner’s computer died on Thursday (or rather, Wednesday night) so no more Diablo this week.

One highlight of today is that my mom sent us a $75 gift card to a really fancy local restaurant that I’m dying to try!

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Friday I quit my job. My husband and our partner both told me that the job sounded crappy and toxic and I should leave. Then my mom also said that. Up until then, I’d still been trying to work it out. I really enjoyed working at a grocery store in the past, and I enjoy working at a register and exchanging pleasantries with customers.

There was no major event on this day that “did it”. I knew it was my chance to leave while being able to get full-time hours at CTS for 6-8 more weeks until they close (they really need people right now). If I waited any longer, I’d be removed from CTS’s system. But if anything did throw me over the edge at the new job, it was the combination of these things:

1. Having my scheduled hours changed 3 times for this day alone. On Monday I was told I’d work until 3:30 pm on Friday, so I made plans with my family. On Thursday I was told it might be 4:00 pm, or 5:30 pm. On Friday I was told it could be 5:30 pm, or 6:30 pm, or maybe until closing? Who the heck knows, it’s not like I have a life, right?

2. I got there early to count my register. It was slightly off (about $0.23 over). So I counted it again. When I told the manager that it was off, and by how much, the manager stood over me watching me count for the second time, which almost made me want to scream. I actually turned around to ask if I could help him. Bitch, if you want to double-check, count it yourself. Don’t breathe down my neck. Anyway I counted correctly, it was still off.

3. The realization by a comment from the manager that he wanted me to be totally alone at the register within two weeks –with no other cashiers in the store. ๐Ÿ˜ณ At a place where I have to memorize a ton of breads and produce by sight, that is NOT happening! I am also expected to answer the phone, redirect calls, and now, I found out, make cappuccinos and shit. And don’t forget, my register better not be off by a penny while I try to handle all of this at once! Going to the bathroom is also supposed to happen only during my 15-minute break so I better make sure my body adjusts.

4. Oh but it’s okay: “You can page me any time, and I’ll come help,” said the manager. This is the nice manager everyone (sort of) likes, by the way. Well, there were a lot of fires to be put out on this day, things that needed a manager. The other cashier and I both paged him multiple times –he wouldn’t come out or reply, and would lock himself in his office, which resulted in very frustrated customers. Meanwhile, the manager everyone considers to be a hard-ass, actually comes out when needed, but I digress.

These were just the highlights, really. When I went out on my break, I spoke to my old boss at CTS. He still needed me until the store’s closing. So, after asking Christopher for advice, I came back from the break early so I wouldn’t be discussing this with the manager on the clock, and told him it wasn’t working out for me, but that I would be glad to work the rest of that day until 5:00 pm.

The manager asked me what could be done to keep me, what made me unhappy, etc. I didn’t get much into it. In the end, he said I could just go, and come back on Thursday for my check. I’ll have to see the hard-ass manager for that, so I hope Christopher or our partner come with me. It was the atmosphere of the place that was the worst for me, so I am very stressed about returning for my check.

Still, I walked home practically floating on air from sheer relief. ๐Ÿ˜Œ After a few texts back and forth with my CTS boss, I saw a lot of hours pop up on my schedule for next week. Hooray! ๐Ÿฅณ I got busy with housework until our family got there, and also finished this Patreon reward:

At some point in the late afternoon, I opened my anniversary doll and had a real “thanksIhateit.jpg” moment. I chose this doll after seeing it in many non-stock photos and videos. She has a very peculiar face mold, and I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t like her IRL, but was crossing my fingers for her. Either way, it would be a “love it or hate it” sort of thing. Unfortunately, it was the latter. I was very relieved to find she had a defect: a poorly-glued eyelash. So, I contacted the manufacturer and would hear back the next day. More on that later…

By the time my mom-in-law and Christopher’s grandma got there, I had a little surprise ready for them on the table:

Gifts for each of them and cards too! Speaking of cards, here are the anniversary cards that I (we) got –from mom-in-law to us, from Christopher to me, and from Grandma to us:

Grandma also got this custom Christmas ornament for us:

And socks for me!

For dinner, we went to Blue Ginger as the Mother’s Day meal. It was Grandma’s first time, I’m really glad she enjoyed it. This is what I had, it was very filling:

After we got home, we all got comfy, some of us in our jammies, and we played Uno and had good wine! Kotoko joined us. Christopher often sets out a chair for her because she likes to observe:

She’s helping with his next play:

Even Rosie came to hang out!

So did Tomoyo, photogenic as, er, per usual…

*UuuuUuuuuh*

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

While I still hadn’t heard back from the doll manufacturer, Christopher graciously allowed me to choose a replacement for my anniversary gift. I decided to peruse eBay this time, looking for a doll from a specific line that I wanted to add to my collection: a “My Twinn”.

My Twinn dolls are… well… they’re something. You’re either going to love or hate this concept. Basically, back when they were a thing, this Denver, CO company could make a 23″ tall doll to look just like your child, or perhaps the child’s parent or grandparent as a child. I think it’s both creepy and adorable, uncanny yet charming. In addition to the photos below, you can find more information at Logan’s Ladies, an excellent My Twinn resource.

I have found a lot of the My Twinn dolls to give me “haunted doll” vibes, in that “Good Guy” doll sort of way. To add to their creepy feel, some of the dolls’ eyes do this after years in storage:

They turn red!! Haha… And if you frequent haunted doll YouTube and TikTok, you’ll find My Twinn dolls just tend to give people that feeling. So, I thought I never wanted one. But the more I looked at some, the more they grew on me. Eventually, I came across a My Twinn doll that, to me, looked just like AG’s Samantha Parkington should:

You see, I love Samantha as a character, both in her books and movies. I always felt that the American Girl doll, pretty as it is, doesn’t do Samantha justice. To me, this doll looks more like I imagine a Samantha doll to look, so I’m going to call her that!

She comes with the box and everything! And since she was cheaper than my original anniversary doll, I also got an outfit on the way for her:

My heart was really set on this My Twinn, but the seller declined my offer. It was a pity, she is so beautiful and I completely fell in love. But the lowest the seller would go was $109 and I couldn’t afford her. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ˜ข I’m still a bit salty about that. I really adore her, even if I love my second choice. Wish it was closer to my birthday! ๐Ÿ˜ญ Oh well. I am glad to have held on strongly to not trading more art for toys, though. I am proud of that.

Something else that is on the way is dresses and shoes for Penny and Molly (of course Molly has to have a patriotic dress):

Finally (this is definitely my “doll phase” year… geez… what happened to my resolution?! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ) a dear friend gifted me this little girl from eBay. I’m learning a lot more about doll brands, materials, and eras this year. This is a Zanini Zambelli Italian doll, a brand I was unfamiliar with. She looks to be in pretty good shape, though her hair needs some TLC:

Her face is very sweet and thoughtful…

All I bought for this little lady is this ribbon (I love her outfit so much, that I don’t plan to change it):

On Saturday morning we went to the Swap Shop. I did most of my walking with Christopher, while our partner walked with Grandma and my mom-in-law. It was nice to spend time alone with my hubby. It’s a wonderful thing to spend most of our time the three of us together, but I also always treasure one-on-one time with either of them. It’s special. ๐Ÿฅฐ

I found a few wonderful vintage books at the Swap Shop, and also some Franklin ones! All hardcover, even an annual of British girl’s magazine, Judy!

My favorite find is the 3 Minute Bedtime Stories book, because in addition to being beautifully illustrated, I don’t actually know any of the stories.

After the Swap Shop, we went to have dim sum for lunch at a very popular, local Chinese restaurant. The place is huge, and was absolutely packed due to Mother’s Day. Grandma took this photo while the three of them waited outside (Christopher and I waited inside for our number to be called):

Photos at the table…

It was my first time having dim sum. I liked it; it was alright. But the atmosphere of the restaurant was too busy and overwhelming for me.

Back at the house, naps were had and we all relaxed for a while before dinner time.

In the evening, we had our anniversary dinner courtesy of my mom-in-law. We went to The Pub. Christopher and I both really like this place, and we got a very nice table. Here’s a photo that the very kind waiter took of our group:

Christopher and I! We were happy. ๐Ÿฅฐ

I had my favorite, bangers and mash, and an alcoholic coffee drink. We also ordered a great spinach dip:

I had bread pudding for dessert but it wasn’t what I hoped. Nothing beats the one I had in Tampa!

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Sunday I worked all day long, both on housework and art. I finished two Patreon rewards and a little gift for Bogie. Now there are just eight pieces left to go –and the Patreon rewards are all completed!

I have a busy week ahead, with many hours at CTS. I wonder what I will find when I go in tomorrow. Will it be a mess? Busy? Quiet? I guess I’ll find out.

I’m estimating finishing four more pieces this week, so please look forward to that. I hope everyone has a lovely week!

Week 18 Summary: Thinking Of The Future โœจ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ญ

Happy Sunday, everyone! I have a lot to do, so I may be briefer than normal in this post. We shall see. It’s been a couple of really wild weeks, momentous ones with lots of ups and downs, and I’m just trying not to overstress myself, adapt, and keep it together. Let me tell you about this week.

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Monday morning I heard back from the market where I applied last week to work as a cashier. So, in the afternoon, I had a second interview, this time with the store owner. Everything went well and I filled out the paperwork. From there, it was off to my current job to give notice. But things took an interesting turn!

I had a really nice conversation with my current boss. He really made me feel valued and appreciated. He wanted to keep me part-time, so I could go back to more hours in the holiday season (and maybe switch back to this job after I raise the money I need so urgently). Because I’d rather work there, as I said before. I love this place and its team. Even though he understood I need money now, he wanted to work with me in whatever way possible that left me in the system as an employee.

So I was very happy, having secured a full-time job with the ability to sneak in some extra hours twice a month at my old one. Alas, this would turn out not to be. We’ll come back to that.

After talking to my boss, I happily went around the store looking for things to buy for my mom, for Mother’s Day as some surprises to give her Wednesday night after her residency celebration dinner. I don’t have photos of any of those things (she loved them all) but I did come across these hilarious and questionable stickers:

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Tuesday I went for a walk. I passed by Target and didn’t buy anything but took a photo of this cute little guy:

I also went to the craft store to look at potential replacements for my current traditional art area –still the old writing desk at this time. I may be looking into switching back to a drawing board later this year, something pretty simple, like this:

In the afternoon Christopher was playing with his robotic arm some more. Here are his two pets:

I was being sneaky.

I spent hours of the afternoon and evening on the phone, texting, and emailing with our travel agent and with NCL. Other than the excursions, we were able to get everything sorted out and paid for. It was so stressful.

On this day I completed a Patreon reward for Delph:

I was very tired and busy, having finished this at 2:00 am. It was while I was trying to work on this that I realized I probably need a proper drawing board again.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

This was by far the most special day this week. It was also one of the happiest nights of my life. I made a very long, separate post detailing the events of this day. YOU CAN READ IT HERE.

On Wednesday I was able to knock out one of the last very detailed pieces in my queue, for Song. It also features me, along with our mutual friend Kitty, AKA Blankit:

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

Natasha’s outfit is now complete. I can’t get over how adorable she looks!

I can’t decide if I love her more with or without the hat. This outfit is so much better for her. I am SO glad I didn’t pass this little sweetheart up.

Chucky ain’t looking half bad either. I combed his wild hair and adjusted some of his accessories. I also found a great way to protect his fingers from Tomoyo’s fangs that has him looking very casual and relaxed.

I love him so much. I begged so much until I finally got him… can’t wait for season 3 of the show!

Now for the wild stuff. On Thursday night, the company I loved working for, which was giving me very few hours (Christmas Tree Shops) filed for bankruptcy protection. They plan to close ten underperforming stores. Due to a terrible location, the store I was working at is exactly that.

It’s sad. I loved CTS and wanted that location and team to succeed. But I’m so relieved that I can land on my feet since I have another job lined up.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Friday morning I had a call from my new job. I’d told them I could start on the 15th, since I gave CTS two weeks notice, but there was definitely a feeling that they needed me to start and want me to start, and given the events from the day before, I REALLY wanted to start.

After a conversation with my CTS store manager, he agreed that it was best for me to fully move on to my new job without working the last week’s notice. Even though he’s gonna have a whole bunch of hours to give as an indirect result of the Chapter 11 filing, the job no longer feels like it’ll be a place to land if I miss out on my new job opportunity.

So I called the new job back, and I’ll be starting on Monday.

In the afternoon I went grocery shopping with our partner –groceries for the week and for the birthday party we are hosting Saturday night for a very beloved friend. I wrapped his birthday presents and did a small bit of the birthday decorating.

In the evening, I did a bit more adjusting of my traditional drawing area. I would have a couple of yoga wedges arriving on Saturday to test as a solution to a slanted working surface. I’m trying not to give up on this desk just yet…

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Saturday was extraordinarily busy and fun. I had to quickly go into the new job to discuss some stuff. Then Christopher and I went to Target, got some bins, to put away some of the built LEGO sets. Then we went back home, our partner started smoking the meat for dinner, Christopher mowed the lawn, I put the LEGO away and did a mountain of housework.

I didn’t take any photos of the party sadly, but it was so much fun. I also found out some… stuff that made me feel closer to some of our friends. It was a wonderful note to end the night.

Buddy, still enjoying his out-of-season visit, was hanging out with Chucky on Saturday:

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

By Sunday morning, he had stolen Chucky’s knife. Maybe I should be concerned…

The two foam wedges I got arrived, and now I can test out my drawing area again:

And I think that’s it –it’s still early on Sunday as I write this (only 2:15 pm) but I’m gonna go ahead and post this. I can always edit if needed. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Week 17 Summary: A New Job And A Cruise! ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿšข

Still working on LOADS of art!

What. A. Week! The cruise with my mom got finalized –for the most part. We sail in August! Hopefully. I applied to a new job because of the few hours at the other one –and got it! I (sort of) finished Pokรฉmon Legends Arceus, and started a new game, Grow: Song Of The Evertree.

I visited my mom and got lots of art done throughout the week. I also prepped some new outfits for my dolls. I actually don’t talk about that last bit in this post; I created a separate post for it which you can read here.

๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฆ WARNING! ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿƒ
This post will contain some spoilers for Pokรฉmon Legends: Arceus and Grow: Song Of The Evertree.

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Monday was an uneventful, but busy day. In the afternoon I made time to play more Diablo II with our partner:

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Tuesday was a weird day. On the positive end, I accomplished a TON of commission progress. I exercised, and finally got to see the credits roll in Pokรฉmon Legends: Arceus. It is VERY frustrating that Game Freak decided not to allow the player to screenshot the end screen.

The basic โ€œendingโ€ feels very abrupt, which makes sense since it isnโ€™t the โ€œtrueโ€ ending. But this is the point at which I allow myself to put down a game that, at times, I have not enjoyed very much at all. At least temporarily.

Maybe I should have known better than to pick it up, considering it was a game focused on my least favorite aspect of Pokรฉmon (this being, catching them โ€”Iโ€™m someone who far prefers to battle). But that I could have gotten past, perhapsโ€ฆ if only it was enough to catch a Pokรฉmon once and youโ€™re done, and if you didnโ€™t have to deal with the ridiculousness that is the subduing of frenzied Pokรฉmonโ€ฆ though I admit I found it easier as it went along.

Avalugg was particularly easy. For me, Arcanine was the hardest. But I didn’t enjoy any of them.

The story was okay. I found the casting out of the protagonist to be interesting and unexpected. Really enjoyed these scenes…

…particularly those of the protagonist contemplating her situation all alone, and being visited by Pokรฉmon.

Looking back as I work on this post, I realize that as much as I grumbled about many aspects of this game, I had enough fun to want to return to really finish it and see its “true” ending. So maybe I will in a couple of weeks.

I also really enjoyed some of the scenes featuring Cyllene, particularly this one:

Very true words. This battle was also very cool as far as visuals!

I needed something completely different as a follow-up, so I started Grow: Song Of The Evertree.

Oh my goodness do I LOVE this game! โœจ๐Ÿ˜ญโœจ Let me start by saying that I am fed up with so-called “cozy” games. I can only play the same variation of Animal Crossing so many times. There are SO many farming sims and other games of this genre –from Story Of Seasons to Stardew Valley to everything in between. I fully expected Grow: Song Of The Evertree to be a drag, and yet, for some reason, I still bought it.

I find this game’s chores to be different enough, and delightful enough (even the fishing mechanic!) to be completely sold. In addition to the lovely character customization, what really makes this game for me are Book and Copperpot. Here’s Book:

These two have cared for you, the protagonist, since you were a baby.