Tag Archives: Jurassic Park

Halloween Horror Nights + Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party ๐ŸŽƒ

Hi, everyone! I had about a week’s break between the cruise and this long-awaited Orlando trip. It was pretty awesome! I got right to blogging about it, although, just like with the cruise post, I didn’t decorate the photos. I just don’t have time at the moment.

This was my first time going to Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I especially loved our time at Universal, with all of the Chucky stuff and the Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary special things. Let me tell you about it!

๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ˜ฟ Dropping Kotoko Off ๐Ÿ˜ฟ๐Ÿ’”

Up until now, I’ve never been very concerned about leaving our cats to fend for themselves for a few days –three days is my max without someone dropping by. They have each other for company, I have cameras all over the house, litter boxes are plentiful, and I leave enough food and water available that it never runs out before we return.

But Kotoko is old now and needs multiple medications per day, as well as extra encouragement to eat. So, for the first time, we dropped her off at Christopher’s mom’s house on our way to Orlando (this was on Saturday morning). It’s about two hours to get there, and Kotoko pooped in the crate within the first ten minutes. Joy! Thankfully we were fairly well-prepared, though we did have to stop to clean up and buy some wipes (the one thing I forgot to pack).

Now that we have the Hyundai IONIQ, we have to stop for charges more often than we did for gas (but it’s cheaper and we’ve never loved a car more. It is so comfortable!) We had to do this once on the way, and we stopped to let Kotoko out for a stroll since she wouldn’t run away. Even if something were to startle her, she is far too old and stiff. But there was no one around, anyway. And we watched the skies just in case of a hawk or something.

Here are some photos of her stretching her ol’ creaky leggies:

We dropped Kotoko off shortly afterwards, and after some breakfast, arrived in Orlando just before noon.

๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ˜ Our Hotel ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿธ

Our partner booked us a stay at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This is one of Universal’s own resorts which means you get extra park perks, including admission to Chucky’s Twisted Playground. It’s also a four-star hotel. I’m not sure if I’ve ever stayed in one before; I certainly can’t remember ever being in such a very luxurious hotel before.

Granted, luxury isn’t everything. I’ll never forget staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with Christopher. It may not have been four stars, but it was unforgettable too.

My favorite thing was the fountain with the elephants in the middle:

The grounds were unbelievably beautiful. Turtles could be spotted sunning themselves among multitudes of lily pads.

Cute frogs lined the walkway that led to the lobby:

While these are all the photos I took, our room was gorgeous too. The beds were queen-sized, but that meant I got more cuddles. ๐Ÿ˜

๐Ÿฆ– First Day At Universal ๐Ÿฆ–

I would go on (and regret) a single coaster on this trip, as you may know, I cannot stand them. I am not afraid for my life. I just hate the feeling of high speed and drops, no matter how small. I hate them in kiddy coasters, even. I hate it so much that if our partner lifts me up in his arms and spins me around, I can start crying very quickly from the mild stomach-drop feeling that even such a spin gives me.

For me, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world, but I always end up getting pressured anyway. I didn’t give in to the famous (or infamous, depending on who you talk to) Jurassic World VelociCoaster. But I loved getting to see some of the queue and statues:

Here’s a little video:

After some time in the park and a wonderful lunch at a very nicely themed restaurant, we went back to our hotel to freshen up. Then we returned to the park for Halloween Horror Nights.

I was very apprehensive about the scare zones, and we had to go through one to get to our first haunted house. But thankfully, the first scare zone was funny and honestly cute. It was called “Vamp โ€˜69 Summer of Blood” and was all hippie zombies. I am glad we got there early because this was a very colorful zone, much better in the daytime. I loved it and wished I’d dared take a photo with one of the performers. But I was so busy enjoying myself that I didn’t take any pictures of this area.

Once past this zone, we did our first haunted house, Chucky’s Ultimate Kill Count!

Between hiding my face because of strobes and being terrified, I think I saw 60-70% of it. But I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I hurt Christopher in my fear. I grabbed his arm so tightly that he had severe bruising on it even after the weekend. I even bit him once, somehow… I guess his arm was too close to my face when I screamed. I felt really bad.

This photo spot was at what I thought was the end but wasn’t. It was maybe the middle?

After this, we went to do the YETI: Campground Kills house. This would be my last house. I was so overwhelmed by the flashing, the intense screaming, and not being able to keep my face against Christopher’s arm (we had to move faster) that I was crying when I came out.

Since I refused to do any more houses, the boys convinced me to try the Revenge of the Mummy ride. After watching some videos, I really thought it might be okay. Even with the first few, unpleasant scary/fast/going-backward elements, right up to when the real coaster part kicked in, I thought I would be okay. But I really wasn’t.

It’s such a pity because even though I didn’t love it at first, I felt safer than on any other coaster I’ve been on until now, and as it slowly progressed I felt more and more hopeful. But when it shot up in speed and the drops and curves began… I didn’t panic, but I felt so BAD. It’s not queasiness, but I think it’s the worst physical feeling I could ever have, that isn’t actual pain.

I never want anyone to feel what I feel on a coaster, but I’m sure anyone who did would never ask me to ride one again. It is just the worst. By the time the ride was over before we were fully stopped, I was full-on sobbing. I think part of the reason for that was that I was so upset that I couldn’t take it. I really wanted to make them proud, but I couldn’t force myself to enjoy something my body hates so very much.

So… that was the end of rides for me since they only did coasters that day.

We met up with our friends later in the evening and walked around the park drinking together. We also saw a wonderful show, Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream, which I really enjoyed. Our friend Ana had a Chucky-related surprise for me which I’ll show you later in this post.

We got back to the hotel past 2:00 a.m. and were more tired than we would be on any other day. Our feet hurt so much, and Christopher’s back was killing him. But it was a very fun day.

๐ŸŽƒ Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party ๐ŸŽƒ

For some context on just how utterly exhausted we were, we didn’t even wake up until like, 1:00 p.m. on this day (Sunday). After a shower and a scarfed-down sushi lunch, we were on our way to Magic Kingdom.

So hot. So much queueing, so much rushing and waiting. I saw this Woody just chilling in a girl’s backpack. It made me giggle.

In fact, I saw many adults with toys at the park (I mean adults without visible children or strollers). Usually, the toy was cheerfully peeking out of a bag, just like that. It always made me smile. And no, I didn’t have a stuffie friend with me at any point, even though I brought Beta and E.T. on the trip. It really was too hot to carry them.

๐ŸŒน Dining At Be Our Guest ๐ŸŒน

This was one of the nicest experiences we had this weekend and a highly anticipated one at that. Our partner worked so very hard to get us reservations months in advance. Here’s the three of us at the entrance:

And waiting to be called in the Beast’s sitting room:

I took a photo of our just-married friends, Jessie and Ana, too:

This place is basically a Beauty and The Beast fan’s wet dream. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The Beast wasn’t going table to table, but I was able to get some photos of him:

We got so lucky to be placed in the coolest room within this restaurant, with all the ripped drapes and the enchanted rose! Christopher loved it.

This happened a few times per hour:

I really tried not to overeat so I could enjoy the desserts but was still pretty full and couldn’t finish them all. They were delicious and so pretty!

We took photos next to the rose. I got some video, too! A petal fell every once in a while.

Now for the pics. Christopher and I…

With our partner…

And Jessie and Ana:

I was able to get a better picture of the beautiful entrance with our partner:

And I took a photo of Jessie and Ana by Cinderella’s Wishing Well:

I’m always happy to see Huey, Louie, and Dewey around!

I took this photo of Main Street as we were walking towards our spot to watch Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade. It looked so pretty:

Even more sparkly in video!

We had reservations for Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Dessert Party for after the parade. It was a much nicer way to enjoy the fireworks show!

๐ŸŒˆ Last Day At Universal ๐ŸŒˆ

We checked out pretty early so we could have one last enjoyable morning at the parks. Here’s Christopher as we waited for our partner to bring the car around.

Once at the parks, I got Christopher’s photo with his beloved DeLorean time machine:

๐ŸŒš E.T. Adventure ๐ŸŒš

I was so happy to finally be able to go on the E.T. Adventure ride. Iโ€™m not actually 100% sure if I went on it maybe some 19 years ago, or if I saw a video of it. It felt slightly familiar. In any case, I loved it. Our partner treated me to this photo souvenir after we rode it:

The photographer allowed me to take photos of the other display which was also an option that one could do instead of the bike:

๐Ÿฆ• Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary Tribute Store ๐Ÿฆ•

For Jurassic Park’s 30th anniversary, Universal had a special store with many wonderful photo-op displays and memorabilia. I had a limited amount of time to spend here, but here’s an article that goes into a lot of detail about this incredible place.

This is what greeted you as you walked in:

The maquettes on display were very cool:

Raptor selfie!

Other cool odds-and-ends:

A very neat display of old merch:

I hope I get another chance to go here before they close it. There was so much more I didn’t get to see!

๐ŸŽ€ Hello Kitty Store ๐ŸŽ€

They had a very cute Hello Kitty store! I was a bit taken aback by the merch… some of it was downright bizarre, but very unique and cool!

๐Ÿ”ช๐Ÿฉธ Chucky’s Twisted Playground ๐Ÿฉธ๐Ÿ”ช

We did this at the very end, before getting on the road. How glad I was not to miss it! First, we had a LONG walk to the hotel where this attraction had been tucked in. It was hot, but it was such a beautiful day:

Christopher somehow was a trooper throughout, even though he was so worn out.

Finally, we made it. It was a series of photo-ops, basically. I loved it!

I was able to get a bunch of cool photos. After all, that’s why we were there. This first batch is all the photos we’re in (well, mostly me):

And here’s the rest. I loved this place and was so happy I didn’t miss out on seeing it. The dolls definitely struck me more as movie-Chucky than TV show-Chucky, though. His pupils were really small, making him more scary and less cute (but I love Chucky in any form!).

๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ˜บ Heading Home With Kotoko ๐Ÿ˜บ๐Ÿ’•

While Kotoko ruled the cats-and-dog roost that is my mom-in-lawโ€™s house, she spent the weekend looking for us and missed us terribly. As soon as I opened the door she began meow-screaming in joy. It broke my heart, but also made me happy to see her affection. I picked her up and held her and she kept rubbing her face all over mine, and her purr sounded like a motorcycle. She is a deeply loving and affectionate old cat.

Once in the car, she kept purring all the way home on Christopherโ€™s lap. If I turned around and said her name, she kneaded the air and squinted happily.

We had another charging stop, where Kotoko got to enjoy walking around one more time.

โœจ๐ŸŽ Goodies! ๐ŸŽโœจ

I am so happy with the souvenirs I got. My favorite one is this baby Dronkey from Shrek! I couldnโ€™t believe I found one. Our partner got it for me.

As I mentioned earlier, our friend Ana surprised me with a lovely gift of a Chucky fan. I love it so much I could hardly bear to use it. Iโ€™m going to put it somewhere in my studio, or maybe in the movie room.

I also got a Chucky bucket hat! Itโ€™s reversible. I love it so much!

I got three E.T. souvenirs. Our partner got me the lanyard and lanyard pocket which I used throughout the weekend:

And I got this E.T. glass and plush keychain:

This was a wonderful trip. Of all the times I’ve been to Universal, this time I enjoyed myself the most of all by far… even if I cried twice. ๐Ÿ˜… I would go again next weekend if I could. I loved it so much!

But we are done traveling for a while, and I can certainly use the break. Maybe I’ll become a little more active on my blog again. We will see! For now, I thank you very much for reading.

On The Encore Again ๐Ÿšข๐Ÿป [Alaska With Mom]

So, my blog has been a bit abandoned… ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ’ง Iโ€™m so sorry about that. I also seem to be becoming more and more of a hermit. I am sorry about that, too.

Thereโ€™s been a bunch of reasons. Iโ€™ve been reading a lot (and I do mean a LOT), been kind of busy deep inside my own head, perhaps having not exactly a mid-life crisis as much as a mid-life reassessment, plus preparing for upcoming trips, and then going on them.

Let’s start with the Alaska cruise: it was amazing. When it comes to the trip’s details, this time, unlike last time, Iโ€™m making an effort to blog more about it.

To make it easier, I opted not to decorate my photos with purikura this time around, because I think that wanting to do that and not having time to do it was the main reason I didnโ€™t properly blog about the Alaska trip last year. So, I apologize if things are a little less colorful on this post.

With that said, this will be a very long and extremely image-intensive post. So I’m posting it under a cut.

FULL TRIP SUMMARY BELOW

Week 24 Summary: Counting Down The Days ๐Ÿ“…๐Ÿƒ

Hectic, bittersweet days continue at work. Next week will be our last week left together. A few cute puppers visited the store, and as usual, I took photos of them to share with you. ๐Ÿถ

In some BIG news… I deleted my FurAffinity account this week. I would say that was the most momentous event. Also, this week I didn’t draw. I may or may not draw next week… right now I’m just going through the motions to complete the last week at CTS. But I will definitely resume drawing when the store closes!

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

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Someone had drawn a little sad face by the board countdown…

I really enjoyed my lunch on this day. I had an egg salad sandwich.

A customer with a lovely golden retriever came to the store! He was so friendly and happy.

When my husband and our partner came to pick me up after this long and busy day, I was surprised to see that Kotoko had joined them for the ride!

She seemed very interested in everything there was to see:

I took a little video, as well:

Our partner was in charge of dinner this night. He made an amazing sous vide steak with some newfangled equipment he bought. For some reason, Christopher decided to drink and got pretty hammered, which made the evening… interesting.

I ended my night playing World of Warcraft as I have been doing recently.

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

I had salad again for lunch.

The store empties further, not just with passing days but with passing hours. So, I continue to take photos…

It’s eerie and can be very disorienting. For some employees, coming back to this after having one or two days off, and seeing the store look alien and unrecognizable, can be rough to say the least, and makes them understandably depressed. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Wednesday was my day off. I went for a walk for the first time in a very long time. I saw some interesting mushrooms:

And a tiny lizard!

In the afternoon, the little outfits I commissioned for my new pair of Duendys by Nines D’ Onil came in. They fit pretty well! I also made them two necklaces each (one with a snail and one with a primary-colored pacifier) and keychains with toy toys. They still need name necklaces, but their names are Trapper and Keeper. I meant for Trapper to be a boy, but then realized these are anatomically correct dolls, and both are little girls! ๐Ÿ˜…

In the evening I played World of Warcraft while Rosemary kept me company nearby.

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

As I came back to work on Thursday, I noticed that there was now a countdown sign by the entrance:

My boss, Lazaro, had written a message to the team on the board. It made me tear up…

Had salad for lunch:

We played a little LEGO in the evening. I have two wonderful HUGE sets to do, but just don’t feel emotionally ready to tackle them. So I grabbed my last two tiny sets. I’m hoping Christopher will get me some smaller sets to add to my backlog. Sometimes, I just need a few sets like these (well, a little more complex than these) in between builds to clear my head.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Friday morning, some stuff had been added to the board:

Later, before my boss left for the day, I wanted to tell him some stuff that I didn’t want to lose the chance to share with him before this is all over. One of the things I wanted him to know is how much the team appreciates him.

A manager doesn’t usually get to hear what employees say behind his back, only to his face. He has a really strong personality. He actually gets on people’s nerves a lot. But even when employees vent to one another about him, they have kind things to say. Even someone complaining about him will end the sentence with “but he’s a good guy/boss/I like working for him.” I saw this consistently in the few months I’ve been there, but even more so, recently.

The weird thing is, I haven’t been emotional at work, but after I spoke to him, as I walked back to the register, I suddenly became really overcome with sadness. It took a huge effort not to start crying as I rang up the next person. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been there just three months. I love the store and my coworkers. I am so sad that this is ending.

On this day, the store had a special visitor. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but Corgis are my absolute dream dog. Having one is a big item on my bucket list, an “I must do this before I die” thing. Right now we have too many cats and preoccupations. When I get a Corgi, I want to have the economical and time-availability resources to give it my all.

I was able to pet this sweet little lady and take many photos. Looking at them now just reinforces my desire! Someday, someday…

When I got home, my new Imaginext Parasaurolophus had arrived! It’s such a surprise to see them make this Cretaceous hadrosaurid –a favorite of mine, right when I am working on a book about one, too! Its mouth opens and closes:

It makes gentle bellows and stompy noises too!

Something important that happened on this day was that I finalized my decision regarding FurAffinity, and by extension, most of my leftover social media. I deleted cohost, Gumroad, Carrd, Mastodon, Retrospring, and Toyhou.se (haven’t decided about Instagram yet). I sent deletion requests for my two FA side accounts and would be sending the one for my main account on Sunday night.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Saturday was a slow day at work. We tried to keep busy as much as we could, but the hours dragged on so slowly. It rained and stormed heavily all day. I had my usual salad for lunch:

We had two doggy visitors on Saturday! As always, I got pictures:

The second dog belongs to one of my coworkers. Her stepfather had come in with the dog and was walking around the store holding the dog up in the air to embarrass her. It was honestly adorable, she literally went to hide among the merchandise, she was so mortified, haha.

After a nice shower, a good dinner, and making the beds, I settled in for some wine and WoW:

It was sooo nice! ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ‘Œ

I finally went to sleep around 2:00 am. Grover makes the bed look so inviting!

I have been going to bed very late recently. Work is very exhausting, which makes me want to relax for longer in the evenings, but then obviously in the mornings, I am dragging ass… ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Very soon life will go back to normal though, so at least there is that.

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

Lunch was similar to other days, but I keep taking photos of my lunches because there are only a handful left of them at work. Also, the fruit and veggie Good2Grow juice was my favorite so far!

On Sunday evening, I sent in the deletion request for my FurAffinity account. I originally created the account on January 1st, 2012. That is a long time. I have not been on any other website as long as I have been on FurAffinity.

I am not sure what my daily Internet life will turn into now… For the last 12 or so years, I checked FurAffinity multiple times per day. Now, this will be gone, along with most other online social spaces I had left. I am unsure regarding Instagram… but it’s so full of bots anyway. So maybe I will also leave.

I see pretty monumental changes happening all around me when it comes to the Internet. A lot of younger people are anxious to be untethered from smartphones. Twitter and Reddit are imploding. FurAffinity became a wasteland. DeviantART destroyed itself, and Tumblr is full of “antis”. Cohost is running out of money and a recent, very poorly handled AUP debacle saw many people leaving. And who’s still on Facebook? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Most people I know have left most social media or are thinking of doing so, or wish they could do so. I think everyone has wanted to for a long time, but it’s a hard habit to break. It took this implosion, and the virtual self-immolation of these websites, for people to begin to jump ships en masse.

I’ve wanted to leave the fandom communities of which I have been part for years now –they have long become deeply toxic for my psyche– but the monumental level of loss that it entailed made this a step I could not bear to take until my community practically ate itself and its online hangouts became barren.

Now that the time has come, the sense of loss is very much secondary to intense relief. I have no regrets.

On that note, I’d kept every “shout” since I joined FA in 2012, so I used an extension that screenshots an entire webpage and screenshotted all the shouts I had ever received. A shout is a 200-or-so-character message on a person’s profile. I’d screenshot, delete all shouts in the current webpage, and when the new ones loaded, and then screenshot again. It was 40 pages, so a good bit of work, but I feel that it’s worth it to have those memories. ๐Ÿ’•

And so an exhausting week came to an end. I’m off Monday (tomorrow) and then it’s back to work to finish my last week at one of my favorite jobs that I’ve ever had. After next week, I’ll be finishing the last few art pieces, and then… it’s back to drawing and writing for me! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Have a happy week, everyone! Thank you to all who are sticking with me and remaining friends. It means so much to me!

Week 23 Summary: An Outing To The Everglades And More ๐ŸฆŸ

Happy Sunday, everyone! The rainy season continues. My dental crisis temporarily resolved itself this week, though I do have to look into getting a procedure done. I played a lot of WoW, worked a little bit on art, went to the movies, and on a mosquito-infested outing with our partner. Let me tell you about it.

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

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

CW: Slightly gross medical stuff.

Christopher stayed home this day. He keeps having headaches that debilitate him and leave him bedridden, making it impossible for him to go to work. It’s a lifetime issue for him but it upsets me so much that he won’t get the MRI he was told to get years ago… sometimes I feel that he gets no proper medical care unless I arrange it or sufficiently guilt him about it. ๐Ÿ˜ž

Anyhow, with my pain level down to almost nonexistent, I finally had a good night’s sleep on Sunday night. However, as soon as I lay my head down on the pillow, something odd (and gross) happened: the right side of my nose became uncontrollably weepy for a short while. I didn’t think much about this at the time, but in the morning, when I was throwing my tissues out, I noticed that the discharge had been yellow and reddish. It would later become apparent that I’d had a goddamn infection drain through my nose! ๐Ÿคฏ

My dentist appointment was at 3:00 pm. In spite of now being mostly pain-free, as you know I have an intense, uncontrollable clinical phobia of dentists. So much so, that when I originally made the appointment, I cried, simply out of the anxiety related to discussing my symptoms over the phone. And I do mean that I cried and was visibly shaking throughout the phone call. This is not a thing I deal with very well at all.

I was nauseous throughout the morning and even had the runs a couple of times –all anxiety related. I was also crying when I walked into the office. When they told me that they made a mistake and don’t actually take our insurance, my light crying became full-on sobbing, prompting the people at the desk to very quickly talk to the doctor about seeing me anyway and giving a deal on the price.

I felt so bad that they had to deal with someone like me. I kept apologizing. If treatment for a phobia was more affordable I would absolutely get it. I hate how helpless this makes me.

Eventually, I calmed down. The appointment went well. They took many x-rays and I did fine with those. The dentist scraped and tapped my teeth with her tools and I actually kept it together. I held my little triceratops, Poupon, throughout, and I’m glad I brought him along and didn’t worry too much about feeling embarrassed, because he was a big comfort.

It was ultimately determined that I have a couple of cavities (small ones, and maybe just one) but the reason for my pain was that I developed a dental fistula. Basically an extraordinarily painful infection. It burst, which caused the sudden lessening of pain and gross nose discharge (which would still continue over the next couple of days).

The reason for this was that the root canal done many years ago on that tooth wasn’t done correctly and needs to be fixed. So I am looking for a place that does IV sedation in order to get this taken care of. In the meantime, I’ve been given antibiotics and for now, I am okay.

Our wonderful partner not only took me to the dentist but waited outside for close to two hours for me. I was still very rattled when I came out of the dentist’s office and a bit weepy. He took me to Kimchi Mart where we got tons of Asian snacks and as an extra treat, he got me a very cool present: an official Jurassic World bento cutlery set!

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing World of Warcraft. In the evening, our partner created a new render and included a snail in it for me, so I have to show it off on my blog:

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

I was home on this day as it was my actual day off, and thank goodness for that. I had strong period cramps and still felt emotionally and physically exhausted from my weekend dental ordeal. I did a few chores and played WoW the entire day… have a look at my babies:

Christopher stayed home with headaches yet again.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Still had some leftover cramps this morning, but it was finally time to return to work. I got up early and took care of a lot of housework, including cleaning the snail tank…

Speaking of snails, our partner made me a new render. It’s my new desktop wallpaper!

Work was okay. A little more World Of Warcraft in the evening. He’s a pretty scene I came across:

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

We continue to empty out the store, prepping pallets and pallets worth of stuff to put into the coming truck. The store looks more and more eerie and empty.

A couple of times now, they bought pizza and soda for everyone. Morale isn’t great but little things like these do help.

I helped one of my managers put all the candy away to be sent off to other stores. Bargain helped too!

On this day I reached $1,000 in savings for my mom. So, I’ve recovered half of what my fund used to be.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Pasta for lunch…

I thought this tree skirt looked exactly like a fancy poncho:

In the evening we went out with friends! We went to see Transformers. It was terrible! But I enjoyed the food and being out together. I brought Palmito along.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

One more commission was completed:

Just four to go…

When I came in to work, I noticed someone started writing a countdown on the office board:

Lunch was just rice and an egg:

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

CW: Insect photos and video.

Today was a day for me and our partner. We did invite Christopher, but it involved “outdoors time”, so he declined. It was a good thing; he would have been absolutely miserable.

I brought Robito along, and after getting gas and air on our tires, we stopped by McDonald’s for lunch:

We went to the Everglades and attempted a few trails. Our prior experiences, slightly earlier in the season last year, weren’t bad bug-wise, so we were surprised that the number of insects was abysmally overwhelming. Bees, wasps, and mosquitos abounded –most of all the latter. There was also an innumerable amount of huge dragonflies, which is fine, except when you are also surrounded by less friendly bugs, it’s hard to tell what is what. I freaked out many times, and even cried, because I’m a little bitch like that. Our partner lost patience a few times since he couldn’t deal with me not dealing, so we’d go back to the car, but later, he admitted it didn’t feel great for him either so he wasn’t actually mad at me.

Even though we bought bug spray and covered ourselves with it, it only helped but a little. We returned home covered in mosquito bites and two days later, a couple of mosquitoes were somehow still alive in the car.

All that aside, I still got some nice photos to share:

There were some controlled fires going on. We even got to see them working with flamethrowers as we drove by! There was a good amount of smoke.

BUG WARNING AHEAD! I got to see some guys I hadn’t seen in a while. Eastern Lubber grasshoppers! These guys are massive and native to Florida. Here’s one of these monsters on a parking sign:

Roughly 3 to 4 inches in length, they are slow-moving and rather clumsy:

Seeing one, or maybe two or three of these guys is what I would call interesting and fun. I love critters. These are no exception. But there is something about masses of Eastern Lubbers spread in front of you –many crushed and being eaten by other Lubbers while even more are procreating feet away from where this grasshopper cannibalism is occurring, all with a crunching cacophony in the background, that is, shall we say, A Little Much. I actually had to step away as I felt very much like I was going to vomit.

But all in all, it was a really fun trip. Both our partner and I would still be thinking of it and talking about it the next day. Our outings of this sort tend to have some hiccups, this one did as well, but it really helps us bond and we look upon the memory fondly, every time.

We had fancy pizza for dinner, and I relaxed by playing some more WoW.

This wasn’t a bad week overall, but it was physically and emotionally draining. I feel like I’ve done the bare minimum on this post, but maybe it’s just me. I can’t wait for the store to close, then I can take a sabbatical, see my mom-in-law, finish the last few commissions, and use the downtime to reset myself.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I’ll catch up with you all next Sunday!

Week 15 Summary: Dreary, Rainy Season Is Here โ˜”

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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:

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

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.

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

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!

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

The sun came out again!! Finally! โœจ๐ŸŒžโœจ 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!

๐ŸŒˆ Fun With Pony Beads ๐ŸŒˆ

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.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

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. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ’ง

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? ๐Ÿ˜…

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. ๐Ÿ˜ณโ“โ“โ“

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:

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

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. ๐Ÿฅฐ

Week 12 Summary: Mwako’s Visit And A New Job ๐Ÿถ

Mwako’s visit was this week! He spent from Sunday to Wednesday with us. We looked at toys in many stores and even bought some, had some nice meals, and went to the zoo which was amazing. Other than that we just hung out though unfortunately I was really busy a lot of the time.

I also started applying to jobs again, and got one! I should be starting next week. I also took a pretty serious decision: to close commissions permanently. And we went to the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, where I got to see an incredible dinosaur exhibit! So, all in all, it was a pretty eventful week. Let me tell you about it.

OH YEAH: CW for lotsa snakies and a spooder. ๐Ÿ

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Monday Mwako and I went to the zoo. I’ve been to Zoo Miami lots of times, so, at this point, I tend not to take photos. But it had been a while I’d been in the daytime, a whole five years (last time, in December of last year, was at night). I had no idea how much the zoo had changed, how the enclosures had been made so much nicer. You feel like the animals are closer somehow.

Not only that, but I’d never seen the animals look so energetic and sociable. This has always been a great zoo, but it’s clear that it has improved even more, and for good reason it is called one of the best in the country these days. It was a huge treat –here’s photos and video!

Wombat…

Tree kangaroo!

Southern cassowary… I think?

Warthogs!

Buru babirusa (I think).

A turtle –not sure what kind.

Lots of lovely snakies!

Got a bunch of videos too –they were active!

Patch had his picture taken with one!

Green and black poison dart frogs:

No idea about this guy, sorry! But he was cute.

I’m guessing a tarantula?

Red-eyed tree frogs, sleeping peacefully…

Amusingly (and worryingly) Steve was nowhere to be seen:

This guy was there, though. Possible a Baja blue rock lizard, but not sure.

Northern caiman lizards, just chillin’:

Southern screamer! These things have detachable wing-daggers, it’s nuts! We got to see it, too.

Just a gator. He’s not real, but he’s still a good boy.

Crocodile monitor (I think).

Plumed basilisk!! A cheerful lad.

I really tried to look it up but cannot remember or figure out exactly which type of (bull)frogs these are. They were very cute potatoes though.
This indoor aquarium was amazing! Some redtail catfish…

Ocellate river stingray:

Blue poison dart frog:

The Mold-A-Matic looked like fun!

In this one, you could make a little otter.

I decided to give it a try!

โœจ Ta-daa~! โœจ

I think this beauty was a harpy eagle:

A blue-billed curassow!

Four-eyed fish:

Four-eyed fish, or Anableps anableps, do not actually have four eyes. They are surface dwellers and have eyes adapted for seeing both above and below the water surface. The eyes are on top of the head, and each is divided into two parts, an upper half for vision in air, and a lower half for vision in water; hence, the common name.

An anole, maybe?

Mission golden-eyed tree frogs:

I’m not sure if we caught them chilling, or in an amorous moment, but it was very cute.

Black spider monkey:

African bush elephant:

Gulf fritillary butterfly:

This is part of the wildlife that just roams the zoo, and, I’m pretty sure, even my neighborhood. It certainly liked to pose.

Addaxes:

Adorable dholes!

And some Bactrian camels:

Playful and alert African wild dogs!

Watch the whole thing to see one of them jump in the water:

These spectacled bear were having a blast being cuddly with each other:

๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ˜ That was it for the zoo! ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŒˆ

We were EXHAUSTED by the time we were done. From there we had a really nice lunch at Five Guys and then headed home.

After Christopher got home, we three played LEGO together! Unfortunately our partner was out working. I built LEGO Ray the Castaway 40566:

…and LEGO Creator Panda Bear 30641:

Christopher built yet another train and Mwako built a few different things but unfortunately I didn’t take pics of those before they were put away.

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Tuesday Mwako and I went out again. At the craft store they had this โœจ BIG โœจ boy for just $10! He was so well made and so massive. I originally left him behind, but on the way home I just had to stop by again and grab him. He is the cuddliest thing.

Look how big! I still can’t believe it was so cheap.

We went to Buenos Aires Bakery for lunch, it was a big treat. I also got my yearly Argentinean Easter egg. Will have to start decorating that basket soon.

We went to Nami Sushi for dinner and I brought Robito, one of my oldest toys, along. I wasn’t very hungry and Christopher was feeling down, which made me fret a lot. But we went for a walk and still had a pretty pleasant evening on Mwako’s last day with us.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Wednesday, we still had a bit of time before Mwako left, so we went out one more time. We went to Barnes and Noble, Petsmart, and Five Below. I took an outfit selfie for the first time in a LONG time, and took Sugar Lump with me:

I actually felt cute for the first time in a while. I haven’t been taking that many photos of myself compared to before.

But first we got our pals safely strapped in:

At Barnes and Noble I came across this book. I’ll be buying it on Amazon down the road. It is absolutely massive (over 700 pages) and a beauty to hold –just look at this amazing cover! The inside pages did this cover justice, I’ll tell you that much.

At one point I went to the restroom and someone had left this little positive message in the stall:

Mwako treated me to lunch at The Pub. I had bangers and mash and we shared a scotch egg. Everything was incredibly delicious and we wound down talking about all sorts of things.

Then we went home and soon it was time to say goodbye, until we meet again. When we parted, Mwako entrusted me with Tiny Tina, AKA Tina the Tiny T. rex. I’ll take very good care of my new palm-sized Tyrannosaurid!

Christopher was a little down in the evening again (both times it was a side effect of medication) so while he slept it off, I proposed to our partner that we go pick up Pollo Tropical, since I know Christopher’s usual, and it would be nice to wake him up with something he likes. While we were in the drive-thru doing just that, we saw this car’s helpful little skeleton man!!

He just looked so happy. You couldn’t help but smile back!

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday – Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Thursday was a very busy day catching up on all the housework. I also had a phone interview with the place I sent my resume to, and they scheduled me for an in-person interview on Friday. It went well –I was hired, and start on Monday! I haven’t worked retail in a few years, so I hope I can get back into that groove without too much trouble.

It’s also near the house and it is part-time, so it shouldn’t get too overwhelming.

After the interview I went grocery shopping for dinner. I made salmon! It was really good.

I happened to notice my roman snails mating for the first time in many months! So I immediately put the dish they picked for their date in the little tank (AKA “The Love Shack” AKA, later on, “The Nursery”). I hope they’ll lay eggs in it!

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Saturday we went to the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science! I’d wanted to come again for a few years. The only time I was here was during one of the worst times of my life. It was such an unhappy day. So it was really nice to be able to push those bad memories away with good ones.

The reason we came was to see the Ultimate Dinosaurs: Meet a New Breed of Beast exhibit. First though, we had lunch at Panera Bread:

The dinosaur exhibit was only one part of the museum, but it was really wonderful. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. If you know me, you know what sort of reaction I had in a place like this!

Look at the size of these!!

Little toy dioramasโ€ฆ

Loved this display at the entrance.

Waterbear!!

These things are freaking ADORABLE! Tardigrades, also known as “water bears” or “moss piglets” are a “phylum of eight-legged segmented micro-animals (Wikipedia).” Tardigrades are among the most resilient animals known. They can live almost anywhere! They have even survived exposure to outer space.

If you’ve never heard of these guys, please watch this:

Some fishies:

And a bit of video:

“Feathers To The Stars” Exhibit:

Psittacosaurus model:
Amazing Yutyrannus model:
Sinornithosaurus and Bambiraptor models:
Space exploration display:

Mammoths: Ice Age Giants Exhibit

Adorable Eastern screech owls:

The view at the top of the museum:

Dogs and Cats Walkway Sculpture Garden:

For a souvenir, our partner got me this little pteradon plushie. It’s the cutest thing!

We had dinner at Tijuana Flats and then hung out together at the house watching TV and watching Christopher play video games. It was a really tiring but extremely enjoyable day.

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

Sunday was, at least, productive. All the laundry got done and put away, snail tank cleaned, did dishes like three times, did the grocery shopping, filed the paperwork for the new job, and just did a whole bunch of chores. So as far as getting stuff done –I did.

But come 9:30pm, I found myself pretty frustrated and upset, having done nothing I really wanted to do, knowing I am due to orientation at my job tomorrow, and honestly, really nervous about working retail again. I have no idea what this will be like compared to prior experiences and can’t really plan my week since I don’t have a schedule yet.

Though I spent my day running up and down, I wasn’t able to go on my walk. I haven’t been able to do anything toward my writing goals in like two or three weeks now which is super demoralizing but it truly was due to simply too much going on, rather than moments of “I could write right now, but I don’t feel like it.”

So before bed I made some tea and at the very least met my writing goal. It’s something. Maybe tomorrow I can somehow squeeze some more in. It was a really good week, but everything feels off until I settle into my new routine. We’ll see what it looks like by next Sunday!

Week 11 Summary: Chucky’s Finally Here! ๐Ÿ”ช๐Ÿ’•

This was a pretty pleasant week! It started off slow, but got pretty fun. My Good Guy doll arrived (a gift from our partner), Mwako’s visit began, and Christopher and I got to have some alone time since our partner had to travel for work. It’s been a week of little progress in regards to my goals, but I expected that for this week and the next too.

I’ve also been really lax in some things that I shouldn’t have gone astray on (mainly regarding books and toys) but even though it may not seem like it, it is still less than before. After Mwako’s visit is done I intend to buckle down again on it all. Anyway, on with the summary!

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

I don’t have much to share for this day, but I took a couple of fun photos in the studio. Here is Sweet Potato looking cozy in my bed:

I really love how my setup is looking at night right now…

Here’s some video of the wallpaper:

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Tuesday I took this photo of Elliot lounging inside the cooler:

This snailboi was looking around rather strangely…

Here’s some video:

In the evening, the Ring door camera detected a “person”…

Well, he certainly is a fine little guy.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

For Wednesday, have some of my yard friends.

Squirrely video:

Little fluffballs…

In the afternoon I took a walk; here’s a pretty flower I saw:

The cooler-turned-hut continues to be a popular spot, but Kotoko has basically claimed it completely at this point.

Christopher and I had Wednesday evening to ourselves since our partner was on his business trip. We really missed him, even though it was just the one night. Our partner is VERY loud and always laughing and cracking jokes, so when he is gone, there is a massive emptiness in the air.

However, I’d also been forever since Christopher and I had an “us” date night, and even if all we did was sit and play LEGO as usual, it made me really happy.

Christopher had fun too, while building his “white whale”, LEGO 10194 Creator Emerald Night:

I built some of my Christmas presents, the LEGO City Wildlife Rescue ATV 60300 and LEGO City Chicken Henhouse 60344:

We ordered pizza and watched a totally bizarre 1986 movie about haunted dolls. It was called, simply and appropriately, Dolls.

It was, in my opinion, terrible, but in that cheesy and charming way an 80’s movie about haunted dolls would be. I freaking LOVED it.

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Thursday I did a little shopping, alas! I broke my resolution, but I came home SO HAPPY. For starters, as it gets close to spring, the local craft store had new snails:

How could I resist them at 40% off, really? And this, well, this looked like too much fun:

But my favorite find of the day was quite random. I’ll start by telling you that I am expecting an Aliexpress order of like, six toy dinos. I decided to give it a shot because even though there were no reviews, the page showed video of the toys and everything, and they looked fantastic. I didn’t buy them all, though I wanted to. Well, imagine my surprise when I ran into one of them at T.J. Maxx! I recognized it instantly, even though mine have yet to arrive.

I was happy to see that the size and quality were fantastic, just like the photo showed, though the ones in the packaging are of more realistic colors, while the ones I will be receiving are very bright.

I can’t begin to tell you the love I have for dinosaur toys of this sort. And to have just happened to run into one of the two I didn’t order! It made my day.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

Our partner came home Thursday night. Chucky arrived early on Thursday but I waited til the next day so I could open the box with him there, since he was the one who got me this lovely toy. You can’t imagine my delight. He is so big and perfect and creepy. I legitimately and unironically adore him!

Now he sits right next to me just looking like a creep.

If I sleep on my bed, he’ll be in the exact position to stare at me, I just realized… hah.

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Saturday was SO busy! I did chores all day long, but also something else. At some point this week I made the decision to stop taking commissions permanently and make a push to find a job again. So I’ve spent hours revamping all of my online presence. The taking of commissions was firmly intertwined with every bit of my online life. Removing that in a manner that was permanent and I couldn’t easily undo was a massive undertaking that is still underway.

That aside –have you heard of Hot Ones on YouTube by First We Feast? Here’s a playlist:

Basically, Hot Ones involves celebrities being interviewed over a platter of increasingly spicy chicken wings, and by spicy I do mean spicy. People cry. People throw the towel. The infamous “Last Dab XXX”, the last sauce in every set, has a Scoville rating ofย over 2,000,000 SHU. So of course our partner decided to order the box that covers a full season of sauces.

This means all the sauces being used in the episodes of the current season. And he and Christopher invited some friends of ours to suffer through this. Since Mwako arrived in the afternoon of this day, he joined in the “fun”. But I feel like I was the one having the most fun just staring at them all getting really red in the face and almost crying while I calmly ate my non-spicy popcorn chicken:

That photo was taken at Publix as triumphant proof that the coveted crispy treasure had been acquired, since it ended up being quite a feat and I was a pain in the ass to everyone until my popcorn chicken was secured.

Anyway, everyone suffered, except me, and only my two valiant gents managed to eat every wing with every sauce. I know it’s not a proof of manliness, but I was fuckin’ proud. ๐Ÿ˜

Went to bed completely exhausted this night. Grover and Rosie were waiting…

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Sunday Mwako and I went out for a little while. We got some new LEGO for the week, and Christopher indulged me by allowing me the treat of another Dino Scribble Scrubbie by Crayola. I can’t wait to play with it!

Tomorrow we will go to the zoo. I’m so excited!

Week 10 Summary: Christopher’s Birthday! ๐ŸŽ‚

This was a week with some painful lows but still some happy moments. I went to see my mom, we had family visit, we celebrated Christopher’s birthday, my mom’s immigration process finally had movement, and I completed my first race (well, it was a walk) since restarting my daily strolls. I also took Kotoko to the vet, some tests were done, and the results were not good.

Because of those test results, I want to warn you that this post will discuss pet illness and impending (though not immediate) loss. Because it’ll come right away, under the Monday summary, there is no cut: if you keep reading, it’ll be after the “soot” photo. So please be aware of that. Anyway, let’s get on with the summary.

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

Let’s start Monday with something utterly delightful. Remember the soots from last week? The blue soot at this employee’s desk has been graced with a tiny hat!

I love the idea of someone possibly purposely bringing this hat to work for this soot. It’s so cute.

๐Ÿ’ž Pet Illness/Loss CW Starts Here ๐Ÿ’ž

Now, with much regret, I must move on to a more somber topic. You might recall I mentioned on my last post that I planned to take Kotoko to the vet on Monday. Her projectile vomiting is somewhat controlled by occasional Cerenia, but with no specific cause, I wanted to try the vet near our house and see if anything else had developed that our usual, beloved and trusted vet, Dr. Pisano, had not seen at the time. It was also time for a new blood test.

Kotoko was quite noisy as everything was done to her –check-up, x-rays, blood work. She was in discomfort, her tummy tense, and the x-rays would show other motives too. Here she is attentively listening to the vet talk about her:

After the x-rays were done, the vet took me to the back to show them to me. In this first one, if you know what you are looking at, you will catch a few things: the first being the spacing between her last few vertebrae, where an irreversible degeneration is occurring. This is painful for Kotoko, and probably made the x-rays more uncomfortable too.

The more important one is the thickening, or potential mass, in her stomach:

Because of her long-standing other symptoms, there isn’t exactly a multitude of possibilities here. It is almost certainly IBS or lymphoma, or IBS that became lymphoma. Kotoko’s blood tests also came back, and they showed the first stage of kidney failure. So as you can see, she is dealing with a lot.

The prognosis is not good. Kidney situation aside, this is a fast-acting disease, and Kotoko is 15 years old. We could do an ultrasound, and possibly need a biopsy to boot ($1,300 at a minimum if both are needed) but all this would tell us is how little time we have left. The course of action would not change.

We have decided to not subject her to any more diagnostics. Instead, we will use our funds for the best prescription foods, for daily medications that will substantially improve her comfort, and in paying for the service that will allow us to say a comfortable goodbye at home when the time does come (this is very expensive, hundreds of dollars).

And really, it could be fast. It coul