I can’t believe it took me so long to put the first puzzle of the year together! At least I’ve been doing moderately well with my other resolutions. This one was just 100 pieces, but I really enjoyed it.
Last night we built LEGO together for a little while. Christopher is still working on his Atari console. I’m building set 31132 LEGO Creator Viking Ship and the Midgard Serpent. It’s really big!
Today was such a well-balanced day. I drew traditional art outside, inked some more (traditional ink), wrote a HECKTON, built a puzzle, played LEGO, and did some more reading. I also exercised and did all my chores. A great day! Let’s see if I can make it as good tomorrow.
Good evening, friendly folk! Yesterday and today I visited with mom. Very pleasant as usual –we checked out apartment listings, played Generala, and had a few meals together. I also started reading Bamboo Kingdom:
We watched RRR, a really cool (if somewhat problematic) Tollywood movie, and had chicken milanesas with mashed potatoes for dinner.
Art-wise, today was really productive, enough that I’ll talk about it in separate posts.
When I got home, my copy of Guts by Raina Telgemeier was there. I can’t wait to read it! With that said, I got cranky rather quickly. Doing chores and going up and down the stairs with the downstairs AC broken isn’t the greatest… but I got everything done, and played some WoW before bed.
Hope everyone had a nice hump day! 🐪 🌈 And that this heat wave is over soon… 🥵
Today I finally got around to watching Season 3 of The Mandalorian. I’m only about three episodes in. While I watched from the couch, where I was working on art for The Tale Of Horus and Master Sequin’s Assistants, I was pretty amused by Rosie who was having a tremendously good time watching the critters on the birdfeeder. I gave her an old laptop desk to lay on, which is the perfect height for this purpose:
She really loves kickin’ that towel, too. 😅
Just Kotoko. She hadn’t used this bed in a while. Our little old lady is still living happily.
On this evening I slept on my own bed (it doesn’t happen too often). I took a photo of this corner of the bed because it makes me smile. My bedding, decorative pillow, and curtains are all Mandalorian themed, and of course I keep Grogu there with me. I might take him with my when I visit my mom this week.
Once I got in bed, Kotoko and Rosie came to lay with me. You can easily see how happy Rosie is to be with me at night. I’ve never felt so loved by a cat before Rosie, though she is pretty independent.
Of course, I adore her too. She’s my favorite cat that I’ve ever had.
So this week was very blah. Even though all the dates will be correct, I am, in fact, writing this entry almost three weeks late. I’ve been low, keeping my resolutions has been a struggle and I’ve failed often. But hey, it’s only February, every week brings little triumphs and stumbles. All I can do is keep going, right?
🌈 Monday 🌈
This was an unproductive day. I was tired, in a low mood (as was Christopher) and I wasn’t able to get any writing done. But I got a new board game to play with my mom (a remake of the 70’s version of Chutes & Ladders) which arrived on this day.
I also added three new goals to my 2023 resolutions. I firmly believe all are achievable, in spite of less than ideal weeks like this one. A lot of this may be put on pause or adjusted if and when I find a full or part time job, but for now, I want to add them. They are as follows:
🌈 Watch One VHS Tape Per Month
🌈 Catalog All My Books Into LibraryThing
🌈 Play Every Unplayed Board Game In Our Shelves At Least Twice
After dinner, I baked some cookies to cheer us all up:
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
On this day I went to Publix. I got Valentine’s cards and chocolates for everyone, as well as wrapping for Christopher’s Valentine’s Day present, and ingredients for the present I’m making for our partner (brigadeiros). I scanned the scrapbook pages I’ve made so far and added them to the Resolutions page, but you can see them here as well:
I’m going to make a cover page for my scrapbook next.
On this day I also received this lovely Halloween themed surprise from TheWanderingShepherd on FA! Thank you, Shep!
I watched more of 3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother while drawing the February Patreon rewards…
For lunch I had a turkey wrap and some veggie chips…
Later in the day, this guy came. He’s one of my favorite dinosaur plushies ever! Paralophosaurus are one of my favorite dinosaurs.
I’ve yet to think of a name… I got him with a gift card so I am not counting him against my goal for the year.
For dinner, we had handmade salmon burgers, they were great:
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
It being Wednesday, I zoomed with my mom as usual. Christopher didn’t feel well, so he stayed home. I did chores all day, and for dinner, made a chicken salad:
🌈 Thursday 🌈
On this day I decided to finally make a Mastodon account. Following a friend’s advice I’ve decided not to limit myself so much on social media, for the sake of my livelihood. So, my art account is back on Instagram too, and I made a Retrospring to connect with my commissioners as well.
I had an egg, radish and cheese sandwich for lunch, on french bread. It was really good!
During date night, I built this little pirate ride:
For dinner, we had pizza!
After I made the bed, I took this photo of Grover because he’d ended up doing a floppy fall on top of the blanket that made him look really playful:
Grover has become my permanent sleep buddy so he always wears his PJs. He’s slept with me for well over a year now, longer than any other plushie.
🌈 Friday 🌈
This was another very blah day. I can’t remember what happened on this day, I’m sorry. But I did discover that popcorn is a really nice low-calorie snack. 🍿🤷♀️
🌈 Saturday & Sunday 🌈
We didn’t do anything special this weekend but it was a busy one. Saturday morning, while our partner still slept, Christopher and I hung out together and watched Kotoko walk all over his desk, very rare for this old lady to do. He thought it was hilarious when we showed him the pictures.
Throughout the weekend, we worked hard to clean the porch, mow the lawn, and just tidy things up. As a little reward for working hard, our partner took me out to dinner to Five Guys, and then to have frozen yogurt at Menchie’s. Both were such wonderful treats!
I badly wished Christopher had joined us but he was neither hungry nor did he feel up to going out. But I sent him this picture of Asuka that I saw on the doodle board at the restaurant:
And that’s it for this week. Definitely not as exciting as others and I apologize for my mood not being so great throughout. But at least I blogged it still. That’s gotta count for something. 😊
CONTENT WARNING: There will be some minor references to struggles with food and eating in this post. It will be from Friday onward and will have a reminder content warning so it won't surprise you. This stuff will diminish with time, right now it is a big thing in my life, so I apologize if it is annoying.
Happy Sunday, everyone! Firstly, let me address something you may have noticed (perhaps with relief) if you’re a daily subscriber: the 2023 Goal Tracker post notifications are no longer being sent out.
This is because I was apprehensive about flooding people’s inboxes with something that interested only me (I mean, more than the rest of a lot of this blog’s content, even). Sharing the posts imbued me with a definite sense of accountability, but it wasn’t worth causing people to unsubscribe. So I still publish them, but now they are all private, for my eyes only, and so, no one gets notifications for them. You can still keep track of my progress on my 2023 resolutions page if you are so inclined. 😊
Overall, this was a positive week. Let’s get on with the summary!
🌈 Monday 🌈
Christopher has been a little low, so I baked cookies to cheer him up! And well, I also wanted cookies. They were great! We still have a package left, I’ll probably make it next week.
It was tank cleaning day, so have some photos. Excuse the poop. They’re literally always pooping.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
I worked on art lots on this day, getting this piece almost to completion –here’s a WIP:
And here’s a random photo I took of Kotoko on this day. She was being extra adorable.
Being Tuesday, Project Night was next! Grogu kept me company as I worked on a Mandalorian Valentine page.
It was especially fun, and I’m glad I grabbed the card while grocery shopping to do this. 😊 Even if its message seems oddly threatening…
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Christopher stayed home on this day, as he wasn’t doing so well. I did my best to look after him. I also finished the art I shared a WIP of for the day before. Other than that, it was a normal day of doing my best to stick to all my resolutions.
One of those has been riding my stationary bike almost every day, and playing Legends: Arceus at the same time. I found that it was easier to go from Violet to Arceus, than it was on my first attempt when I went from Sword to Arceus for a bit. Violet got me a little more used to the whole open world business.
I’m also glad I finished Violet before going back to Arceus because otherwise the graphics in Violet would have bothered me so much more. Arceus does have glitches and frame rate issues as well, but I still find it utterly beautiful.
The utter disappointment in Mai’s Munchlax face after losing the battle was SO cute. He looked so crestfallen! I felt kinda bad…
WAIT –Bambi’s dad!?
Nevermind it’s just Wyrdeer.
I can’t be the only one who thought “Old Prince” when I saw him in that pose, though!
CONTENT WARNING: Going forward for the rest of the post, there will be occasional discussion of disordered eating, fitness, and weight loss. It will be in a mostly positive note, but please don't continue reading the post if this topic is triggering for you. 🙏
🌈 Thursday 🌈
On this day, you may recall that I made this post. It was a self-reflection that was very long overdue. I’d mostly ignored a lot of the issues presented there, because I am neither worryingly skinny nor morbidly obese, nor does my weight fluctuate wildly, nor am I engaged in seriously physically harmful practices in relation to food.
But I could tell that my relationship with food was becoming problematic, obsessive, and distressing on an everyday basis. I started to feel that if I continued to ignore it, it could verge into actually dangerous territory. So, I made changes to my everyday life that began on this day.
The primary change, really, is simply a drastic reduction in my snacking. I have lunch, a snack, and dinner. Because I’d been so obsessive with eating a small snack whenever I felt like I could, I’d forgotten how to read hunger cues (indeed, I had not had them for a very long time). You could say I am really bad at hearing my body’s signals. So, for me, limiting my snacking to very set times is very important, as is planning everything I will eat that day on the day before.
I am flexible: generally, I simply have mate for breakfast (it’s like tea, no calories, so it doesn’t break my intermittent fast) but on this week there were been two mornings where I had a handful of Raisin Bran because I am trying very hard to increase fiber in my diet and every extra bit helps. One night, after a full dinner, I was still so hungry that I had a banana, and that was okay. I listened to my body and gave it something good.
On that note, the primary reason for my intermittent fast is to have a set time for dinner and not go to bed too soon after (a healthy practice) and to actually be hungry for lunch. So, it is not a diet practice as much as a lifestyle change that I want to keep for every day.
Anyway, on to more fun things, this was date night! We went to Tijuana Flats for a treat, and I snuck Toro inside my backpack. 😊
He enjoyed some tortilla chips!
Once we got back home, we played with LEGO, and I completed my first set of the year!
123 Sesame Street is full of adorable details and it has to be my favorite set I’ve put together yet, along with the LEGO Friends Friendship Tree House.
Later that night, I happened to spot our littlest possum visitor through the dining room window. He was so cute! I went to the door (without opening it) so I could get some photos and video from the narrow window on the side.
I’ve been making an effort to clean this area before night to discourage the guys from visiting, much as I love them. They get really close to the house and I wouldn’t want them to get aggressive. They come after the bird seed that the birds dropped during the day, but admittedly there is never much that is edible. They mostly sniff around for a few minutes and leave.
After our nightly anime watching, I went to write for a while. It wasn’t until the clock showed well past 2:00am and Christopher came into the room to make me go to bed and turned on the lights that I saw that the Boba Fett plushie I longed for had been hidden among other green friends! It was there all the time, for hours, and I hadn’t seen it!
This was such a lovely surprise from Christopher, and I can’t wait to make him a bandana and kandi necklace like the rest of my toys. I’ll show close-ups of him in and out of the box a little later in this post. Needless to say, I went to bed very happy!
🌈 Friday 🌈
To start this day, here is Tomoyo laying on my chest while we hung out on the couch in the morning:
On this day I started to watch 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (母をたずねて三千里, Haha o Tazunete Sanzenri) a Japanese animated television series directed by Isao Takahata that aired in 1976. You may recall me mentioning this anime when I was reading Corazón: Diario De Un Niño by Edmondo De Amicis earlier this year. The GIF that started this day’s summary is from that anime.
Corazón is the daily diary of an Italian schoolboy growing up in the late 1800’s. Included in the novel are twelve stories that Enrique has to copy for school, which the teacher provides to the students. The stories all have morals about family or patriotism, or the like. The anime is loosely based on one of these stories, “De Los Apeninos A Los Andes” (From the Apennines to the Andes).
While this short story is the longest in the novel, it’s still but a few pages long. The anime greatly expands upon it, turning it into a 52-episode epic that had me crying with just the first one! It is full of heart, and definitely a drama. Not something you’d see being made for kids nowadays, I’m sure. It would be considered traumatizing.
Very sad, given that stories like these recognize the real pain, loss and fear children experience daily all over the world throughout history and across all generations, regardless of whether adults today like to think about it. Anyway, I’m looking forward to binging it over the next few weeks.
I didn’t have time to free poor Boba from his bindings this day, but I took a close-up photo of him:
I went grocery shopping on this day. Before doing so, I’d trashed a lot of my unhealthy snacks. I did keep some, and I put them out of my easy reach. But sometimes I pick one to have the next day and leave it where I can get it. Believe it or not, I have the rest under lock and key, and I give the key to Christopher during the day. I guess perhaps a detail such as this might make it more clear why I feel my lack of self control is such a problem (the key was my idea, mind you).
It took me longer to shop for groceries because I was much more careful with my choices. I came home with a lot of healthy foods, non-processed stuff, fruits, veggies. I very much enjoyed my meals the rest of this week and surprised myself with how delicious I could still make meals without smothering everything in cheese, or frying stuff.
I made tilapia with potatoes for this night. Normally I’d have made a second side. But we were all full without one. That was a good choice too.
Afterwards, I enjoyed playing more Legends: Arceus and riding my stationary bike. Once I finish, I always lay on the couch with Tomoyo for a bit, who by now is eager to get fed, but tolerates some love anyway…
What a face!
On this day, I finally began using my food diary. I decided to use a Google Sheets document rather than a written book after all. I find this more useful, I am more likely to enter the data, and I can add up calories and subtract exercise.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
As the week went by, my feelings towards food and eating improved more and more. I began to eat much more mindfully, not snacking became easier, and food was tastier as a result. I felt more satisfied and happy, and a lot of my feelings of guilt began to go away. This week I had salad for every lunch. I’ll switch once the salad mix is out, but I know I’ll make it again soon because it was so delicious!
It has krab (which I seasoned with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning) boiled egg, some crunchy topping, a cracked black pepper ranch dressing, and a base of iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, carrots, red cabbage and radishes.
I’ve been trying to use meditation techniques to control some of the obsessive snacking thoughts. I acknowledge the thought, and let it pass, or try to. I do not guilt myself over the thought. It’s just something that crosses my mind, and I remind myself it doesn’t actually have the power over me that I think it does. It was hard at first but it’s been helping a lot, too.
On the afternoon, I finally found time to free Boba Fett. He is so flippin’ cute! I love his little fists. I’m not sure he should trust the rocket launcher, though. It’s not the most reliable. I also cut up the box for more scrapbooking materials!
For dinner, I made turkey burgers with avocado. 🍔🥑🍟
Random snail photo of the day:
During the night we received a rarer visitor: one of the local raccoons! He was just passing by.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
It was a rainy weekend, and a lazy, relaxing Sunday. I had my usual breakfast early in the morning as the sun was coming up, and read a little more, too.
Afterwards I took a little nap and Tomoyo napped on me too:
I had an unexpected gift card later in the day. I was really happy that I could buy a simple board game to play with my mom the next time I visit her!
Since I had enough left, I got something off of my wish list… I’m gonna say this doesn’t count against my resolution since it was a gift card. I’ve been wanting this little guy sooo much!
Afternoon snack was rich in fiber. Did more reading, and Blue kept me company this time!
Having worked on Patreon rewards all throughout the weekend, I decided it was ok to take some “me” time to scrapbook. I really wanted to make a couple of Child’s Play / Chucky themed pages.
Here’s the “Good Guys” page before everything is pasted in!
And here it is all finished:
This was the more “gory” page. Here it is underway…
…and all done!
I had a lot of fun! Dinner was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, some avocado slices and kale salad. Pretty small portions, so on this night, after exercising, I had a banana, too.
I finished the week with much more positive feelings than it started with. I hope I can carry them on into the next, and have fun things to share with you all! Have a great week, guys!
Another week down! This one went really fast. I’ve continued to write, read, and play video games, as well as make commission progress. Slowly, the small things that make my life worth living are taking more and more of my time.
Podcasts and music instead of YouTube. More gaming and reading instead of mindless doom-scrolling. Getting acquainted with my characters again. My stress levels decrease, and certain parts of my brain, like rusty machinery that’s been freshly oiled, shed more and more gunk and move more smoothly and fast with every passing day.
Every day I do fail in one of my resolutions in some small way. Most often, weight goals and hydration goals. But the failures don’t discourage me at all, because every day I still do what makes me really happy. I wish I hadn’t put simple pleasures off for so long… anyway, I’m trying to make up for it now.
🌈 Monday 🌈
On this day I received the curtain rod I’d ordered, and was able to hang the Grogu curtains I got for Christmas! I love how they complete my studio’s look:
My studio looks a bit like a “hidden picture” puzzle image. 😅 There is a lot going on. But I love it.
Today was a bit of a lazy day, but I did all my chores and worked on art. I took time to game and relax with Kalamata in the afternoon.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Tuesday means Project Night! But before that, I had to go to the gynecologist to get my pap. This time, it didn’t hurt at all. I really like this doctor, I was so relieved when it was over, though.
Normally, I would walk back, and get myself a nice treat (stickers, a small toy and maybe a snack) after an appointment I had been dreading so much. But I was determined to stay good to my resolution, so I called an Uber to go home.
My driver was friendly and funny, and gave lots of colorful conversation during the ride. He told me about his dog, and said he’d show her to me. I assumed he had a photo or something, and he’d pull it out when we got to my house –but instead, he picked up the doggy (named Chica) right from the front seat!
She was so quiet, curled up in her little bed, I never even knew she was there! It really surprised me. She was very cute, but seemed rather suspicious of me.
After I got home, I cleaned the snail tank. Here are two of my snabies, soaking happily…
For his project night, Christopher worked on his Asuka puzzle that my mom got him many Christmases ago. It’s a REALLY hard 1,000 piece puzzle!
My project night consisted of a continuation of last week’s coloring. This was my setup! I listened to 90’s Disney music while coloring.
It’s worth noting that this is not an activity I did as a child. Any creative endeavor, and even a lot of my play, had to involve some sort of way of gaining inspiration towards my “serious” projects like my book, which I was working on as early as age 12. Coloring cartoon characters with crayons is something kid me would have seen as a frivolous waste of valuable time. So, allowing myself to enjoy an activity such as this today, is important to me.
This time, I had Scout as a companion! And I had a chocolate soy milk for my snack.
I finished my Christmas coloring of Sister Bear! Here it is underway…
…and finished + laminated! Still needs the last stage of decorating with stickers. But that’s the first page of the year down –one out of twelve to complete my resolution!
…and I’m already working on the next one!
At bedtime, I took a picture of my sleeping pal, Grover, with the book I am currently reading. But for some reason, Grover seems to have a creepy, bedroom-eyes demeanor in the picture… 😅
On that note, this book (Corazón) is way more depressing and guilt-trippy than I remembered. Patriotic to a gagging degree (such as a father telling his son “if you wouldn’t die for our country I couldn’t love you) and, I don’t know, every time the child narrator slightly screws up he has his father/mother/sister leave letters in his diary in which, though they profess their love for him, they basically scold him to the ground. The book feels a big wagging, scolding finger at times.
If you know me, you know I am less liable to put today’s morals upon a long-ago creation. But even so, I was a bit put off by the descriptions of native people (some of my original country of birth in the “From The Apennines To The Andes” short story) and most of all by the high degree of ableism by today’s standards.
But I try to remember that, in fact, this book went a long way to try to bring attention to the suffering of disabled people, to the point that it takes many pages and scenes throughout the book, and points out many kinds of disabilities in detail –something unusual for a children’s book written in the 1800’s. Unfortunately, this is done by encouraging an extreme degree of pity towards differently-abled folk, and to value them based on how they can be still incorporated into society to “contribute in the same way as others” so to speak. 🙄
So yeah, that felt a bit icky to read, but context and time period is of great importance. It is very obvious the writer’s heart was in a good place and he felt a painful degree of sympathy and compassion for disabled people he saw all around him –above all, children. It’s interesting how something written with the best of intentions then, would surely get this man “canceled” now.
This is still a work of literature worth remaining in print and allowing children to read, with proper guidance. But I imagine as our society “progresses”, works like this will be further banned or modified to fit current societal standards. This is part of why I collect antique and vintage children’s books.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
This was a pretty normal Wednesday! Though, I could already feel PMS doing its usual number on me. Hopefully it won’t be too bad this month.
I cleaned the snail tank early in the day. They got a special treat today:
One more photo –enjoying some cuttlebone:
Partner and I went to Tree Tops Park on this day, and I’ve got pics and video to share! But first, sleepy snail conga line:
The weather was cool and mild, a rare treat in Florida. We got to see a few critters on this outing. First there was this big raccoon VERY high up a large tree, digging fiercely in a clump of one of those parasitic air plants. Every once in a while, it would stare at us intently, but it was clearly very focused on whatever it was doing.
We also saw tortoises. People feed them (something you shouldn’t do) so they readily come when they hear someone.
Seeing the little heads pop out of the water and stare at us, I’m overcome with emotion. It reminded me of the bear staring into my eyes at the zoo, which had me actually crying. There is something about the connection when an animal notices you, stares deep into you –the reason (even as simple as “do you have food or are you food?”) doesn’t matter– that is so primordial, holy even, if I still believed in such things. I can’t explain it very well, but it gives me a rush of intense joy tinged with sadness, and it can easily bring me to tears. I love animals so very much.
Another little burst of joy was coming across a burrowing owl.
It gave me a squint.
I’d snuck Bangers into my backpack, and our partner, who usually doesn’t have patience for this sort of nonsense, waited while I took some pics. Bangers stood out really nicely among the greenery, and even found some berries!
🌈 Thursday 🌈
I was really excited for today, both to resume working on my current LEGO set, and to have ice cream and pizza for dinner. But date night was sort of canceled. Christopher had been unwell for days (his usual back pain) and working on his puzzle for a few days exacerbated it. So, today, he couldn’t play LEGO, but his puzzle looks amazing. I wish I’d taken a photo, because it’s over halfway done now.
I spent a lot of the day working on art and binging The Book Of Boba Fett, and after the promised pizza and ice cream, our partner went back to some important due work and I hung out with Christopher while leveling my Pokémon Violet team. I reached pretty close to end-game!
🌈 Friday 🌈
Christopher stayed home today. He still didn’t feel great. Our partner worked late, into the early hours of the morning. I spent all day doing housework and packing to leave for my mom-in-law’s in the evening.
Earlier in the day, I had Christopher download an anime from the 70s for me, by the same studio that did Heidi. It is called “3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother”, and is an extended adaptation of the short story “From The Apennines To The Andes” that appears in the old children’s novel I’m currently reading (Corazón: Diario de un Niño). In the original book, this story is one of the monthly stories that Enrique reads in school. It is, however, the longest short story in the book. I’m looking forward to watching the anime as soon as I finish The Book Of Boba Fett.
In the early evening we were off to Sebastian! When we got there, we had nachos for dinner. Then Grandma brought out some chocolate cupcakes she made.
They had Tom Kitten picks! Good ol’ Grandma. She knows what I like.
I slept in an inflatable mattress which is never very comfortable for me. I’d rather sleep with Christopher if he didn’t snore, especially because it was so cold, and it would have been nice to cuddle. The cool thing is that the mattress was put in the same room as our partner’s and it’s just so nice that it is such a non-issue for us to sleep together in the same room, since it was the most convenient. Even with Grandma there, no one bats an eye and is so accepting of the three of us and “our thing”.
Anyway! I still made it colorful and cozy:
I’d brought Beta with me, and “It” to read. Scary books aren’t scary when you’re sleeping with a raptor for comfort!
I even had my Jurassic World jammies so it was very much a mood.
🌈 Saturday 🌈
On Saturday we went on a long car ride, to Okeechobee. My mom-in-law showed me some old haunts where she used to live with my sis-in-law (but, I think, not Christopher). It was very interesting and reminded me of some areas in Belén de Escobar, the area of Argentina I last lived in before coming to the US.
For breakfast, we had really crispy bacon (my favorite) eggs, and spicy sausage gravy on biscuits.
At one point I couldn’t find my phone, then I realized our partner had hidden it from me. He took some funny pictures as I pounced on him to give it back…
Then we were off to Okeechobee!
🌳🐮 Okeechobee 🐮🌳
On the way to Okeechobee, we saw all kinds of animals. Cows, horses, wild hogs, even ostriches in an ostrich farm! We went to a flea market, but there wasn’t much to see. It was also freezing cold!
Finally, we made it to my mom-in-law’s old “homestead” house. They put so much effort into this house and raised dozens of animals. My mom-in-law showed us the very long fence she put up by hand, all by herself, still standing. They dug the pond themselves.
But the house now lays in ruin, abandoned after it was sold. It was honestly a heartbreaking sight.
It looked so spooky, and I really wanted to go into the house to explore. But you never know what you’ll find. I was scared that we even drove past the gate, because in this country, and in particular in this state, you just never know who’s gonna shoot you for trespassing into their property. 🙃
We later went to another house where they’d lived, and my sis-in-law’s name, which she’s written into the country when she was just a little girl, was still there, which was very poignant.
Then, after a Wawa and Dunkin’ Donuts stop, we went back to my mom-in-law’s house in Sebastian. I complained a lot because my legs really hurt and it was such a long ride. But eventually we were in Sebastian again. Overall, I had a lot of fun.
🧩😴 A Relaxing Evening 😴🧩
After we got back, we were exhausted. Christopher and I lay down (me to play Pokémon, him to nap with his bunny, Ribbon) while my mom-in-law cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner.
The meal after Saturday’s activity (if it’s home cooked –usually something on the grill) is often the highlight of a visit for me. Not gonna lie, Christopher and I are pretty lazy, so we are often resting while family cooks dinner around us. It is such a comforting, happy feeling, hearing the kitchen noises and smells, our feet usually intermingled under a blanket, him gently snoring while I draw, read or game. It feels like a moment to treasure, of hard-to-come-by complete peace.
After dinner, we played a game called Spoons, which was really fun and a little hectic. Then, I played Pokémon some more while the rest of the family played Crowns and eventually moved to help Christopher finish his very hard 1,000 Asuka puzzle. And finish it they did, at like 1:00am!
I was in bed before that, with a happy achievement of my own:
I’m still going to do a bit of end-game content, but I was really happy to get the first finished game of 2023 under my belt!
🌈 Sunday 🌈
On Sunday, after breakfast, we went to a pottery studio, then to lunch at Casa Amigos, a Mexican restaurant that served MASSIVE portions. After that, we walked around the dead mall that the restaurant is attached to. But let me tell you about the pottery studio first, which was called “The Painted Frog”. This place is where my mom-in-law painted the cute little snail she gave me for Christmas.
🎨🐸 The Painted Frog 🐸🎨
The first step was to pick our pieces. Christopher picked a turtle, our partner, a shot glass, and I picked a gator, because I love them so much and because our partner and I have had a few gator-related (mis?)adventures.
All the colors you see become much more intense and sometimes much darker than you see here. Even though it looks pastel, the colors I picked should turn out very bright. I used different shades of green for the base, including mottling and spattering here and there, with a sponge and with a toothbrush. To make it more “me”, I dotted it all over with red, blue and yellow dots:
I was afraid to mess up when doing his eyes, but I think it looks okay!
Christopher’s turned out really cute, too:
Our partner seemed a real expert at this in spite of never doing it before:
Here are Christopher’s and mine together:
They had a section of unclaimed, already fired and glazed pieces. You could buy any of them for just one dollar, and I couldn’t resist this little guy:
Here you can see them together –a piece before being glazed and fired, with one that has been. I believe my gator’s color is the same as the one in the finished piece, if not very close. So, as you can see, the end result is very different.
Ours should be ready in about a week. I hope they survive the process… they don’t always. Overall, I really loved this experience, and there’s a few similar places in our area, so I’d like to go to others too.
🍃🏬 Visiting A Dying Mall 🏬🍃
This used to be a lively mall. My sis-in-law’s first job was at its movie theater. Now half of it is taken up by a “chain” church and its many related storefronts/offices, from a coffee shop, to a fitness center, including a Sunday school, a store of religious stuff such as books, clothing and knick-knacks, and even a TV station.
Most areas of the mall though, were eerily empty… very liminal.
The H.A.L.O. No-Kill Rescue is still there. There was a cat at the front desk!
And many, many cute kittens…
Here you can see some video of them playing:
I was fascinated by the many old abandoned rides. Most were in working condition, but you never really see kids riding these anymore. Here’s a little carousel…
And a shiny steam locomotive!
This carousel, though out of service, was the most interesting. It was Jungle Book themed, and featured Bagheera, Kaa, an elephant (Hathi? doubt it… lol).
…and, err… Simba?? Who knows.
It also had Mowgli, but I really didn’t like how he looked so I didn’t take a photo.
They had Jay Jay The Jetplane, too. Boy, this brings back memories!
A cute little bear was riding this truck:
We passed by an eclectic little game store, where Christopher treated me to this Ewoks VHS tape. This reminds me, I need to add a VHS-watching resolution goal to my 2023 list.
After we were home, and all unpacked, I was able to look at Natasha, who arrived over the weekend from Latvia, the country of my grandparents. Her box looked a lot like other Spanish doll boxes:
She is truly lovely! Not too big and not too small. Part of me wishes she was a little bigger, but this way she’s easier to take places with me.
Her face is as sweet as the pictures!
I also loved that her cloth body is skin-toned, rather than white cloth.
Later, in bed, I went through our Ring front door camera. We get many animal visitors so I like to look through all the recorded motion before I fall asleep. I caught a very funny moment when one of the local squirrel decided to engage in some wild acrobatics, much of the annoyance of the birds!
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to share for this week. I think my proudest accomplishment this week is getting almost 4,000 words down on my book. I hope you all had a wonderful one! I’ll see you here again next Sunday with another weekly summary. 🥰
Today was our holiday house party! To our delight/horror, Buddy decided to contribute:
You don’t have to look THAT thrilled at the show, Sarah…
Unfortunately none of our guests wanted to sample Buddy’s special lemonade. 😞
Today’s Jurassic World Advent Calendar friend was Dimetrodon! I kept telling everyone I showed this to earlier that it was Spinosaurus, I got confused. 🙈
Today’s LEGO City Advent Calendar prize was a mailbox! I built it with my friend Shelly and it was really fun:
Now this kiddo has someplace to drop his letter to Santa!
The party was SO much fun. Shelly and I watched a movie before everyone got there: Samantha, An American Girl Holiday.
I’d seen this movie long ago and it was just as lovely as I remembered. It’s also a little bittersweet for me. When I watched it, I’d really, desperately wanted a Samantha doll. I’d eventually get one, on what was a deeply special occasion. She was precious to me. Even at the point I owned the most dolls, it was only three. But, when I did one of my toy purges, I worried that dolls were something I couldn’t really collect because so many people find them creepy. It seemed like one of the things I had to let go of, at the time.
People who visit may think I have a LOT of teddy bears but they still find them cute. Dolls really go off the creepy charts when you pass a certain number. I felt I couldn’t take them our or enjoy them as I enjoyed teddies, and while I now have my friend Shelly, back then I had no one who loved dolls as I did. So all my dollies were donated. It is one of the rare cases where I regret every one of those cases. I never regretted donating my horses for example, but I really miss my dolls.
Shelly loves her Samantha as much as I loved mine. I get to see her Samantha doll whenever she visits, and that makes me really happy! Besides, I have my Marzi, and when our partner asked what I wanted for Christmas, I asked for a new doll from Spain. So I’m going to have a new doll again. This time, I’ll try to just enjoy and not worry about what others think.
The doll is made by a brand called “Así”. It’s a very beautiful child doll with vinyl head and limbs and a soft, cuddly body. She’s big, almost 23″ tall!
Because it’s coming all the way from Spain, it’s not 100% sure that it will arrive in time for Christmas, but I’m hoping with all my heart! I think I’ll name her Kalinka.
Anyway, ramble over –here’s the only picture I took for the night, of two of our friends being very cute together:
My favorite part was giving everyone their presents. I was so happy. And Shelly had a surprise for me too! She knows me so well now, and everything she picked showed it. There was a Grogu blanket, neck pillow and eye cover set that I LOVE:
Dinosaur-egg shaped Belgian chocolates:
And a little Boo!
It’s so nice to get a bunch of little surprises that show the friend who picked them for you really thought about and remembered everything you like. That was the best part.
Shelly even made this lovely little hairbow for me. I wanted to wear it right away so we could be matching, but in wearing my Santa hat, I forgot. So for now I am displaying it by the LEGO Advent Calendar because it’s so pretty:
As an aside, I took these photos of Rosie during the party. I think she’s feeling better.
Before bed I also snapped this photo of the lights in my studio, which I’ve changed to Christmas colors. I really love them.
I went to bed before everyone else and read a little bit more of Marcella: A Raggedy Ann Story. I’ve been really enjoying this book:
Stories from the POV of toys are among my favorites, and it reminds me that creating stories with my toys as the characters is something I really want to do. But I don’t want to start new projects, so whenever I get this urge, I work on my book some more. So I’ve been doing that a bit this last week.
Anyway that’s all I’ve got to share for this post. Tomorrow is my chore day so I’ll be busy! But next weekend we go to LEGOLand. I’m so excited!
Hi all! I have some random toy photos to share from when I’ve been out and about recently.
For starters, I saw a LeapReader at Walmart. I didn’t even know that LeapFrog was still producing things with Tad in them!
At Target I saw this very, very cute new Grogu toy. It has such sweet animations.
I was surprised to run into a brand new (fifth in the series) Star Wars Galactic Pal! It’s another Ewok, a girl, with pointy ears (so it’s not the same mold). I am not interested in having her, but I am very excited about other Galactic Pals, so definitely keeping my eyes peeled.
They also had an adorable Grogu doll that blinked and made noises when hugged:
Today I went to look at toys! I bought a couple of tiny small things, and groceries, and one big thing, but mostly I looked at things and took pictures which is always fun. I also enjoyed a really nice bike ride on the way there! Thankfully the rain that began in the morning stopped by the afternoon.
Here’s a Mei plushie from Turning Red!! It was so cute!
Look at this cute Stitch eating a watermelon slice. 🍉 I wanted to buy him for Christopher!
Even though this is “fake” Little People I really love this set and may get it eventually to use with my official LP’s. It’s awesome!
This Walmart exclusive LEGO promo really caught my eye!! 👀
This baby kitten doll was very cute too. And big!
This was really cute:
I’m getting mixed messages from this bag…
After Walmart I went to sam’s Club to pick up the Little People camping set I wanted. I bought it without consideration for the package’s size, shape, nor my transportation method of choice for the day, and once I went back to my bike, a thought fleetingly crossed my mind: perhaps I did not think this thoroughly. 🤞🤞🤞
So began the most awkward bike ride home ever. A woman gave me an extremely amused smile as I awkwardly rode by her on the sidewalk. I was so glad people around didn’t know I bought this for myself.
Then again I was wearing my dinosaur shirt by Wen, my bike has pink decor in the tires and a huge sunflower in a pink basket plus a large perler bead heart, a squirrel bell AND a squirrel horn. And furry stickers. 🙃 And with the kicker of having this backpack on me at the time, I probably wasn’t fooling anyone.
Me: ducks to avoid low branches My giant toy box: smash smash smash smash
Anyway I made it home with my treasures and my groceries. It was a fun outing.
I’m trying to catch up on posts regarding new goodies I’ve gotten. I can’t really post everything as my blog was really neglected for a long time (though, you wouldn’t be able to tell since I post a lot when I catch up and it’s all properly post-dated). Anyway! Today’s post is about coloring books.
Even though I’ve been collecting coloring books for the better part of five years, I don’t think I’ve actually ever voiced that. I don’t use them: I keep them for scanning and then printing into Bristol board, my favorite method for coloring. This also allows me to keep certain irreplaceable books pristine, such as the NIB collection I got on eBay of Muppet Babies coloring books (from the original show) or the set of Moomin coloring books, all in Swedish, that I found brand new at Goodwill of all places.
One of my newest finds is this Mandalorian coloring book. I love it!
This might be one of the few that are more for collectible purposes only rather than ever printing and coloring, but I never know if a friend I happen to have over might like to color them.
Ok, this was a HECK of a find! If you know me well, you’ll know that I love, LOVE Hercules. It’s one of my favorite Disney movies. Herc merch isn’t that easy to find, but a coloring book?? In 2022?? What? I jumped on it. It even has holographic stickers!
Here’s one of the inside pages…
So, the Bluey one I’ve had for a few months. But I don’t think I’ve showed it yet. Since I’m showing the Berenstain Bears one, I figure I might show this one also. I’m so excited for the season, so I can use these!
The Berenstain Bears one is AMAZING. It is SO thick, and the scenes are my most favorite sort of thing to color. I can’t wait!
The Bluey one is actually an activity book for the most part. But I’m really excited about it too!