Tag Archives: Dungeon Crawlers

Week 19 Summary: Mother’s Day, Our Anniversary, And More 💘

First week at the new job! 😀 Also, last week at the new job. 🙃 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! 🥺💘✨💕

🌈 Monday 🌈

Monday was the first day at my new job. I was up at 7:00 am to take care of the day’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 Kalamata’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 “shoes” I got her on AliExpress should show up too. They’re technically mittens, but she has stuffed feet, so I think they will work best. I’ll post a photo once everything is here.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

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:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

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… 🙄

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:

🌈 Thursday 🌈

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!

🌈 Friday 🌈

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. 😳 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. 😌 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! 🥳 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*

🌈 Saturday 🌈

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. 💔💔💔😢 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! 😭 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?! 😩) 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. 🥰

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. 🥰

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!

🌈 Sunday 🌈

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 16 Summary: Drawing And More Drawing 👩‍🎨

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

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

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

🌈 Monday 🌈

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

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

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

Here’s a Patreon reward I finished on Monday:

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

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

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

And a little video, because why not:

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

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

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

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

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

Laffy Taffy, my little Dilophosaurus, investigated…

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

Finished a couple of Patreon icons on this day:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

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

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

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

I had my little trike, Bubblegum, for company.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

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

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

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

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

🌈 Friday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🌈 Saturday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🌈 Sunday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 15 Summary: Dreary, Rainy Season Is Here ☔

It rained a LOT this week. It rained so much, in fact, that Broward County closed its schools for two days, and Ft. Lauderdale closed down its airport. Some areas experienced unprecedented levels of flooding: a historic volume of rain exceeding 2 feet. I read it described as “an event so intense the chance of it happening in any given year is just 0.1%”.

It felt like the rain would never stop, and while it did stop by the weekend, it’s the rainy season now. We may or may not get flooded areas again, and thankfully I saw no significant flooding where I live, but rain on an almost daily basis will become the norm for quite a while. Then it will be hurricane season. That’s Florida for ya!

The rain, which I normally enjoy, really brought me down this time around. My period wreaked havoc on my mood this month: I would call it, too, a rare event. My crankiness does not usually last this long nor is it this intense, and overall, it made the week unbearable for me and those around me.

There were good, bad, and boring sides to this week. Let’s get on with it!

🌈 Monday 🌈

It began to rain in earnest, but still we had sunny moments throughout the day and the humidity wasn’t too bad yet. It rained more and more as the day got long in the tooth. Anyhow, Monday was a busy day. I did loads of chores, went grocery shopping, played Diablo II with our partner, and completed this commission:

Our partner made a ham quiche for dinner. It was delicious!

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Rain, rain and more rain. It seemed to drag everything down with it. I felt useless, sleepy and sluggish, with no energy whatsoever. Eventually, I forced myself to move, and slowly started doing things around the house, such as organizing the studio, and setting some stuff aside to put into storage or give away. I wanted to make more room for new toys, mostly dolls.

Something really odd happened on this day. Sarah mysteriously appeared among the bears!

She didn’t have her hat. I am not sure why she is here. Frankly it’s a little unsettling. I hope all is well between her and Buddy.

Something important happened on Tuesday:

At the time, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but this was an important step in my mom’s paperwork being finalized once and for all. More developments would come later in the week.

Rosie was being a cutie and trying to get my attention while I had lunch:

So I played with her a bit:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

On Wednesday I completed a commission and a new banner, which you already saw at the top of this entry, and a commission for Pilou that I’m really proud of:

I also had the usual Zoom call with my mom. You’ll notice I make no mention of work so far. That is because this week, I would only work on Saturday. Last week, I only had three days. Next week, I only have five hours again. I’m not the only person dealing with that, but I am not happy about it. From what I read online, it’s a common issue with this company: most people leave due to very limited hours. I hope I won’t have to do the same.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

To say that Thursday was momentous would be an understatement. As mentioned, on Tuesday, I’d received confirmation that my Form I-130, Petition For Alien Relative (for my mom) had been approved by USCIS. We have been waiting for years, just for this specific step. But, my mom still hadn’t been told that her Form I-485, Application To Register Permanent Residency, was approved. Though unlikely, it could still have been denied.

On Thursday, my mom’s application was also approved:

It’s hard to overstate the significance of this moment. I know my mom spent the day crying on and off. I still haven’t been able to process it, myself –though I did tear up a bit when the paralegal CC’d me on an email congratulating her. It felt more real then.

Some of you know how long and arduous the road to legalization has been, both for me and for my mom. I still lived with fear that the response would be a denial and my mom would be deported. Even though I myself have been sorted out for many years (and a citizen for two) nothing really felt done until I could truly stop fearing for my mom’s welfare.

I wasn’t even ten years old when I decided that someday, somehow, I would live in the USA. My mom worked for my dream and made it hers. We would eventually abandon all we had for a huge gamble and an unsure future in the United States, knowing the gamble could cost us everything.

We have been in the USA since 2001: this is the first time I truly breathe in complete relief for both of us. So many years later, it feels complete. I’m numb and not really having an emotional reaction yet because there were so many times I thought this would happen and it didn’t. It’s hard to believe it’s finally over. I am a citizen and my mom is a legal resident, forever. Hopefully someday she’ll be a citizen, too.

And for those who have heard many times my little story regarding An American Tail (which I’ll retell at some point soon) yeah, my mom and I are getting together to watch it. Finally after 15 years I will allow myself to watch it again.

Christopher had the Apple IIe out and functioning on Thursday night. It looked so cool.

Here’s a little lady I have coming to me. She’s a Pat Secrist doll. I’ve been learning about these dolls recently, their high quality and (if you’re patient on eBay) incredible affordability. She’s a big one, too. I don’t have many blonde dolls, I’m looking forward to playing with her. Her dress is so lovely, too! I’m going to call her Nellie. She reminds me of a schoolmate I had in elementary school, who had that name.

For date night we played LEGO. I finished Emma’s Art School!

🌈 Friday 🌈

The sun came out again!! Finally! ✨🌞✨ But, now it’s very, very, VERY hot. That aside –Friday was extremely productive! I finished three Patreon rewards:

Then I did a few chores, before setting everything up for some fun!

🌈 Fun With Pony Beads 🌈

I’ve been putting off making new toy necklaces. This is pretty bad because I don’t really enjoy a new toy until, at a minimum, it has been christened and given its necklace, but ideally until they have an outfit that I’ve put together myself rather than the original one (this mostly applies to dolls), or a bandana, or just something to make it look like it’s my own, and loved.

Between Friday and Sunday I decided to dedicate time to the toy name backlog. I started by setting everything out, surrounding myself with toy friends, and putting one of my kiddy playlists on!

Sometime in between making necklaces, I played some more Diablo II with our partner.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

In the morning, I played with Reddit’s avatar maker thingy today, that was fun and also dumb. This day was finally a workday! I worked from 4:00pm to 9:00pm after getting all my chores done.

Things were tense at work. Because of the rain, sales were very low the entire week so everyone’s hours were cut. As a result, there were less people available to finish a project that has been stressing all the managers out for weeks now. I was put to work on the floor, pricing and placing merch, and even though it was only five hours, it left me completely exhausted.

An upside (or downside??) of the day is that I kinda got called out in front of everyone else for doing better than anyone else in my first week (second only to my training manager) in getting new emails from customers. They really, REALLY care about employees doing this. I’m pretty shy, so it takes a lot out of me, but I do ask and engage with everyone, and most people do sign up.

Apparently, other employees don’t really try, so when they released the numbers of my first week, the manager wrote a note underneath calling me out by name as an example and saying how I’m not doing anything unusual, only what I am supposed to do, and how others are failing to do so. 😬💧

There was an undertone of “It’s unacceptable that this brand new employee is doing better than everyone else, so, get it together” to the other employees, and another manager said to the first that I did that “because I’m an overachiever” which kinda sounded like “you can’t expect everyone else to do that”. Haha… I don’t know. It was nice but also very awkward for me.

Back when I used to hold jobs like this one, I struggled a lot, and was definitely the sort of person to get reprimanded for mistakes, shyness or sluggishness. I’ve changed a bit, I can do things better and push through better. So I won’t lie, all the praise I’ve received since I started feels really good, but at the same time, isn’t a call-out like that the sort of thing that makes coworkers resent you? 😅

Anyway, I only got to help two people at the register on this day, which bummed me out because I don’t want to forget everything I learned, but working on the floor I learned many new things, so there’s that.

At some point today I noted that Sarah’s hat had somehow materialized upon Toklo’s head, while Sarah herself had disappeared. 😳❓❓❓

I keep worrying that this is Sarah trying to send S.O.S. messages that I’m failing to interpret correctly. I hope she’s okay…!

Normally, after getting up at 7:00am, a day full of chores and then going to work, getting comfy and having dinner, I would just want to stay in. But I want to start making a habit of going out with our partner more on Friday or Saturday nights. For one, Christopher really treasures time truly to himself, and doesn’t get much of it. And I want to make sure our partner is having fun since he’s much more outgoing.

Lately, I’m trying to think of different things I can do with him and with Christopher (as well as for them) to make them feel loved and appreciated –as in, individual things, one-on-one. Soon I’ll be able to play visual novels with Christopher again, and with our partner, I’ve been playing Diablo II. I want to start going out for the odd lunch or dinner date with Christopher, and watch at least a couple of movies a month with him, maybe cuddled in the game room couch.

Anyway, my plan was to repeat the outing of last week with our partner, but somehow he convinced Christopher to come! This is a rarity given that it was late at night, and we were really happy about that. We took Christopher to Salt & Straw. I had the same black olive brittle and goat cheese ice cream as last time:

We also went for drinks at the exact same place…

…and had a mediterranean plate for a snack:

On the walk back, I took this photo of a neighborhood’s gate. It looked spooky:

🌈 Sunday 🌈

Sunday was a very nice and sunny day, even if the humid Florida heat is back in full, unbearable swing. My laurel fig continues to grow beautifully. It’s hard to believe it was once a little tiny branch that found refuge in a crevice of our roof!

Later in the day I went for a walk to get more beads. I saw a cute lizard on the way to the stores.

Though I really went out for beds I ended up coming home with this. What a find! Last one left, too.

After a pizza dinner, our partner and I played Diablo II some more. I really liked the Arcane Sanctuary area.

After that, I finished a few more necklaces and actually put them on toys. I’ve made a total of twenty one necklaces. I still have to make a few more, but those are for toys that I have yet to name.

Rosie decided to relax in the area normally occupied by my bead boxes:

She was being so loud, too!

My new doll, Nellie, should be coming by Wednesday, which has me really excited! Hopefully she has no funny smells, since she is a used doll after all. I have her necklace all ready to put on her. 🥰

Week 14 Summary: Jury Duty And Seeing Mom 🥰

This was an eventful week! I had jury duty for the first time in my life, and finally got to visit mom again. I started playing a new video game with our partner, a new doll and book came in, got to have lunch with my old boss, finished a few more commissions, and was finally able to play LEGO for date night again. Let’s get to it!

🌈 Monday 🌈

On Monday I was up by 6:00am, because we had to leave by 7:00am so I could be at the courthouse on time for my first jury duty ever. Normally, I would be super excited. As a still kinda fresh citizen (just two years) I’ve long wanted to be called. But now that I have a new job, it really complicated everything.

For this week, I had to call out on Monday to be there, and even though I got enough days off to see my mom without even asking for them, if I was selected for a trial all that might not happen. Plus, if I couldn’t get rides for every day, Uber would add up a lot. So I was concerned.

Anyway, that didn’t completely remove my excitement. The waiting room was very large and comfortable, plus, there was a lounge for jurors. We were shown a video first explaining the process.

It was a “hurry up and wait” situation until you got called for a jury pool. Sometimes you also had to fill out a questionnaire if the judge requested it. I waited a couple of hours before I was called, and in the meantime had cookies, coffee and read a little more.

I was finally called, filled out a questionnaire, waited a little longer, and then we all walked a whoooole lot, took an elevator to the 16th floor, and lined up to wait outside of the courtroom.

I should mention that the building was huge and beautiful. The view from up there was honestly amazing.

It was a civil case, not a criminal case —a lawsuit between a couple of homeowners and Citizens Insurance. As soon as that name was said I knew I would be excused. We are insured by (and feel great antipathy towards) Citizens. So I definitely have heavy bias. It was a good thing too because the trial would have lasted until Thursday.

Everyone had to talk to the judge, and we passed a microphone down the line. That was a little nerve wracking; my heart was pounding out of my chest by the time it was my turn. But the judge was really nice and kept cracking jokes with everyone.

I told him how I’d been excited to be called. He pointed to the door and said there was mental health counseling available if I needed it, which made everyone laugh (people aren’t usually excited to be jurors). But later, privately, he thanked me for my enthusiasm.

Once I began to explain my feelings toward Citizens he had me stop because it would taint the rest of the jury pool. So when everyone went to lunch, the judge had a few people stay behind and called them one by one to the bench, where the lawyers also were.

A few people were excused due to biases; one woman due to poor English language skills. When I explained my own bias, the judge asked me if I would ignore the law because of my bias if it was clear that Citizens wasn’t in the wrong. I said that I wouldn’t, but that I couldn’t say the same if it came down to a grey area, which is very true. That was enough for him and both sets of lawyers and I was excused for that trial.

I thought I might get picked for another pool, but when I got back to the selection room, they sent me home. So now I am done for at least a year. Even though I wasn’t selected it was still an interesting experience.

After that I went for a walk. Christopher let me have some spending money so I went to Dollar Tree and had lunch at Panera. I saw this cool theater on the way:

Here’s another nice photo I took during the walk:

I got quite the haul at Dollar Tree: a Bluey sandwich box, a Grogu cup, a Crayola coloring page and stickers, a few packs of cards for scrapbooking, dinosaur stickers, a tiny parasaurolophus friend, and a blind bag toy. Oh, and a snail greeting card.

The blind bag has this wee white tiger cub:

After I got home and took a shower I played more Diablo II with our partner. I had a drink and some chips and brought Churrasco downstairs because his “gotcha” day would be Tuesday (2021) and I felt like he needed some attention.

For dinner, we had fajitas. I don’t normally like them because of the onions, but Christopher took them all out so it was pretty good.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday was a pretty good day, even though I began to get my monthly irritables (PMS) and felt quite irate at times for literally no reason. One good feeling I had throughout the day though, is excitement to go back to work on Friday. Maybe I do like the job after all.

Anyhow, Tuesday was a day of chores and of working on art, but I still made time to play Diablo II with our partner. Playing this together is our little “thing” and I really do enjoy it a lot. My character is called Squirrelman. I wanted to play a Druid and it’s been pretty fun having ravens and a wolf and this vine thing with us. And some sort of spirit.

Our partner plays a necromancer so we have a bunch of little skeleton men follow us, plus two hired hands. We’ve got quite the band.

It reminds me of similarly setting an hour aside to play visual novels with Christopher, something I miss very much. I’ll have to see if I can convince him to do that with me again.

I’ve been catastrophically failing at not buying any toys or books this year. Honestly, I’m not exactly upset about it. It’s still helped: I’ve skipped out on a lot of video games and scrapbooking supplies. But I do not regret any toys I’ve gotten this year at all.

I think I may adjust my goal for the year, and, when it comes to toys and books, setting up a rule of getting rid of something before I get something new. That may be more manageable, because honestly I love new toys far too much.

After our partner ordered the little alien doll for me, I began to look at baby dolls, something I’ve never really been into. Babies are just not really my thing, not even as dolls. But I did see two that I liked a LOT, enough to add them to my wishlist and perhaps get one next month. One is another little alien, but two are more conventional babies.

I really like Crabby Cakes and her pouty expression. It’s very funny and unique. She’s more of a toddler doll. The other one is Honey Bunny and more of a simple, sweet baby boy doll. Both look very huggable with their soft bodies. I’d like to get them this year, but I definitely need to make some room first. If I can decide on something to donate/sell, I’ll probably get Crabby Cakes in May.

I should mention that not a single penny of my new job earnings are going towards toys. Instead, I reserve my modest Patreon earnings for my frivolous spending, which otherwise would be zero. Thanks to Patreon I’ve been able to get things like an ice-cream at work, lunch when I went to jury duty, the dinosaur book I saw at Barnes & Noble, some canned coffee and snacks for the month, etc. It makes me really happy to know that the art I still draw is for stuff like this. So, I am really grateful to everyone who is supporting me there.

In the evening my guys took me to my mom’s. I brought her birthday presents with me:

As soon as I got to my mom’s I saw a big slug. I was immediately excited of course. It was a big little guy and rather speedy for a slug.

Here’s some video:

I brought this little carnotaurus friend on this visit. He doesn’t have a name yet.

We were set to play Jumanji this evening but in the end we had too much to catch up on.

My mom always has a lovely snack spread set out, usually by the time I get there, and it’s one of the things I look forward to the most when I visit her.

This time she also surprised me with empanadas!

Here’s a pic of grumpy old Sweeney:

I continued to read Raptor Red in bed. I had my little trike with me, he doesn’t have a name yet either. I really have to fix that.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

I was up by 7:30am, working on art after my coffee. I took a shower and worked on the blog while waiting for my mom to wake up. It was a pleasant and quiet start to the morning.

Oh yeah, I was looking through the Ring camera on this morning and saw this funny black cat who was a bit suspicious of one of my decorations:

After my mom got up, we had mate and cheese bread!

While my mom did some housework, I had lunch (she had a big breakfast). I had a ham and cheese empanada and read Raptor Red some more.

Then I worked on art some more. I worked on a commission for Nero, on a YCH, and on a badge for Willy Joe.

We went to walk around Target and PetSmart and we had a little snack at Starbucks. On the way there, I saw this weird clock on a building:

Target had this super cool Super Mario basket!! 🍄🌈

At Starbucks I had a pink drink and a banana walnut loaf:

There was a super cute little gremlin of a dog at the Starbucks line:

During the car ride home, I found a ladybug on my clothes! It started flying around, so I caught it and held a finger out of the window until it flew away.

I came home with a nice haul. First, I got these super cute decorations for the snail tank:

Then I got these outfits, the two small ones are for my little alien doll, the snail one doesn’t have a designated stuffie or doll yet, but it was on sale AND it had snails! I was not going to pass it up.

Finally, I got a little Aggretsuko blind box because it came with a dangler and I wanted a new one for my work lanyard but… it is a little wonky, especially for the price…

We had pizza for dinner and watched YouTube, and I cuddled Sweeney, but he wasn’t very thrilled about it… 😅

With PMS and all I was extraordinarily irritable in the evening, but was able to get some chores done and ready for the next day.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

It’s date night again! It was also Rudyard’s birthday. Not his “gotcha” day, but the day he was made at the factory, back in 2020. So Rudy is now three years old. His “gotcha” day, when I first got to hold him, was September 27th of the same year.

Also, I got to have lunch with my old boss, Al, today. We had SO much to catch up on! We went to Cracker Barrel. I tend to only eat there with him, so it had been a very long time since I last was there.

In the afternoon I cleaned the snail tank and put in some new decorations…