Tag Archives: Sweeney

Week 21 Summary: An Emptying Store And A Visit To Mom 🧉🥰

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

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

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

Anyhow, let me tell you about this week!

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! 💘✨💕

🌈 Monday 🌈

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

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

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

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

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

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

Just seven pieces to go!

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

She looks so incredibly cute. I am thrilled!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then it was sleepytime with Femur. I was exhausted.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

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

Femur did too!

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

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

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

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

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

🌈 Thursday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🌈 Friday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🌈 Saturday 🌈

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

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

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

There’s not much else to say about Saturday. It kind of sucked after this happened. 🤷‍♀️

🌈 Sunday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then –have a great week, everyone!

Week 17 Summary: A New Job And A Cruise! 🤯🚢

Still working on LOADS of art!

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

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

🍃🦝 WARNING! 🦝🍃
This post will contain some spoilers for Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Grow: Song Of The Evertree.

🌈 Monday 🌈

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

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

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

The basic “ending” feels very abrupt, which makes sense since it isn’t the “true” ending. But this is the point at which I allow myself to put down a game that, at times, I have not enjoyed very much at all. At least temporarily.

Maybe I should have known better than to pick it up, considering it was a game focused on my least favorite aspect of Pokémon (this being, catching them —I’m someone who far prefers to battle). But that I could have gotten past, perhaps… if only it was enough to catch a Pokémon once and you’re done, and if you didn’t have to deal with the ridiculousness that is the subduing of frenzied Pokémon… though I admit I found it easier as it went along.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The atmosphere is so wonderful, everywhere…

There are great side characters to meet and areas to explore:

I’ve only progressed a little so far, but the game is bringing me a lot of joy.

On a less positive note, after all the intense rains and flooding, we found a sunken area in our driveway:

We live in Florida —sinkhole land. So you can imagine seeing anything like that is always scary. I’ve been calling around to have someone come take a look.

In the evening, I went to my mom’s. She’s sick (not COVID, we tested) and she was feeling poorly enough to ask me to cancel our celebratory fancy dinner, which is a big bummer.

But we had our little “picada” as always, though it turned out to be a fondue for dinner.

I played my new video game a little more before calling it a night fairly early. I was very tired.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

Wednesday my mom and I just relaxed. Natasha had a bad case of bed head in the morning —a reminder of why I don’t sleep with dolls! I combed her hair and she was alright. But I enjoyed cuddling her during the night.

My mom surprised me with a little box full of things she had accumulated for me. Some I don’t really know what to do with, but they all made me smile.

This li’l guy was my favorite (the tiny typewriter is a jewel box I had from before):

Here’s Sweeney being sweet…

And being sweet some more…

My mom made fried potatoes and eggs for dinner. Hers are the BEST!! My favorite childhood meal.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

While out on my morning walk, I passed by a local market, which is about 10 walking minutes from our house, and saw a “Help Wanted” sign for a full-time cashier position. Because my job has been giving me such few hours that it barely counts as employment (I’m talking about 5-9 hours a week) I decided to apply.

The first interview went very well. I was told I’d probably be coming in again to see the owner in the afternoon, but I never received a callback. I kept my fingers crossed, but I was cranky about it.

For lunch, I had a potato and an egg sandwich and kept reading this weird book about wizards:

🌈 Friday 🌈

Still no callback from the market at all on Thursday… I was pretty bummed out about it. It was a stressful day, as the process of finalizing our cruise booking began in earnest, and I was in charge of it. It was finalized by Friday night, sans payment. So, finalized, but kinda-sorta. I can’t emphasize enough how stressful this was! Everything happened so quickly. The cruise is happening in just about one hundred and twenty days.

I was checking the Ring camera, as I do sometimes, and saw the old tomcat that tends to visit our front door area. As I was watching the video in the quiet of the morning, suddenly there was a massive CRASH!!! that seems to come from inside the house. I couldn’t figure out what it was! Take a look (with sound). You’ll notice the tomcat is startled as FRICK and takes off like a bat out of hell:

Later Christopher figured out that this was probably Elliot crashing furiously against the window blinds as the tomcat walked underneath them. What a racket –and what a fright for the marauder! Lol.

On this day I noticed that Buddy had shown up!! In April!

I like to think he’s just trying to watch over me because I’ve been so stressed, and it makes me smile. I wonder how long he will stay.

On this day I also finished this commission for Adri:

🌈 Saturday 🌈

I got up early to cook braised beef on the Crock-Pot for Saturday night’s dinner. In relation to the cruise, this was the most stressful day. The morning involved some very tense discussions about money at home. I found myself crying fifteen minutes before I was slated to go in to work, and pulling myself together was not easy.

Yet, a few minutes after I went in, the atmosphere at work and my coworkers had already perked me up.

I really do enjoy my current job. I love my coworkers, the customers, and the store. If the market calls back eventually, I guess I will be leaving it. But I desperately need more hours, to the point that I’m seeking full-time employment now, after all. So I found myself with a lot of mixed feelings as I worked on Saturday.

Around 5 pm, I took a fifteen-minute break to see if there were any news about the cruise planning… and found a voicemail from the market’s manager!

I figured this meant I had the job… which made the remaining two hours very odd. I still did my best with everything. Getting customers’ emails, helping my coworkers finish some projects… This had actually been the day I felt the most like “one of the team”, no longer a newbie, just, accepted. Fooling around as we worked, everyone doing their best. I felt a lot of sadness thinking that maybe, probably, that would be my last day.

Why couldn’t that place have given me more hours… 😔 But as it stands I’m not even sure the store will survive. [EDITOR’S NOTE: These words will become tragically and hilariously prophetic as will be elaborated on next week’s post.]

I texted the manager at the market during my break as well as called them back when I left work but did not get a response on this day.

I came home around 7 pm. Even though I was tired and a bit down for a bunch of reasons, the evening went well enough. I got some chores done and dinner turned out pretty great.

Here’s some small things I got from work. Candy, primary-colored pacifiers for my stuffed animals, a rainbow plate, and pink “Solo-like” cups (they’re super thick and strong) one for me and one toy-size, for toy photos:

I haven’t made a clip-on stuffie pacifier in like forever. But primary-colored ones were impossible to resist! I gave one to Beanie and one to Tritium. In the end, I didn’t make them into brooch “pin-style” pacifiers. I left them as they were, around their necks.

Here’s a bonus Tomoyo watching us from the couch during dinner:

In the evening I figured I should reinstall the NCL app. The new cruise is already showing up!

🌈 Sunday 🌈

There was no communication from the new job, but it was Sunday after all. Anticipating a potentially busy workweek ahead, I got up early so I could get as much done as possible. I worked a little on the blog, got dressed, showered, did my chores, and then worked on art. Finally, I finished some pieces:

Polenta accompanied me during lunch –leftover pasta with some added radish coins.

On this day I cleaned the snail tank. I have some photos and a video to share, as is often the case on tank cleaning days.

I caught two of the Roman snails going at it. ‘Tis the season!

Afterward, they were spent:

A couple more random cute pics:

We got Jersey Mike’s for dinner, and I got to use my new plate!

And that is it for this week. My goals continue to be on pause. But that’s okay: it is for good reasons. I firmly believe everything will fall into place by the time I am doing an end-of-year wrap-up. 😊 Have a great week, everyone!

Week 14 Summary: Jury Duty And Seeing Mom 🥰

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

🌈 Monday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The blind bag has this wee white tiger cub:

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

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

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s some video:

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

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

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

This time she also surprised me with empanadas!

Here’s a pic of grumpy old Sweeney:

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

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🌈 Thursday 🌈

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

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

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

Later I accompanied our partner on some errands and then we went shopping for groceries for dinner. At the supermarket he bought me my favorite flowers again –these are the biggest sunflowers I’ve ever had!

I still haven’t named my new little dino gang, but here is my stegosaurus with one of the flowers:

We played LEGO for the first time in many weeks. I finally started working on Emma’s Art School:

Dinner was incredible! Our partner made quesadillas. He put so much effort in them, no shortcuts taken.

🌈 Friday 🌈

Friday was a busy day. It went by quickly. Chores all morning, some commission work too, but I did set some time aside to check out my new dinosaur book:

I do not normally record video of books, but I did in this case because I wanted you guys to see just how beautiful it is. I’ve amassed a respectable collection of paleontology, natural history and dinosauria related books now, but this one blows them ALL out of the water. I got the book on sale, but had it been twice the price, I would have still felt it was a bargain for what you get:

Then I was driven to work, and worked until 8:00pm. Work was very busy and enjoyable. I found out that I and a few other workers have only one day next week due to budget cuts from above, but hopefully the week after that will be better for everyone. I intend to use the time well, and work on commissions all week long.

(On that note, you’ve probably noticed that ever since I got the job, a lot if not all of my goals have been temporarily paused. I decided that this was a better course of action than trying to juggle a million things at once. I need to, above all, to finish the final commissions. Once they are done, using my free time from work to work on hobbies and personal art won’t be stressful.)

Anyway, I got picked up around 8:00pm by our partner and got home to Christopher serving a wonderful meal.

We relaxed together for a while after dinner and then they went for a walk while I got ready for bed.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

Friday I only worked four hours in the morning and early afternoon. But, I got up at 6:30am and, after a shower, finished these three commissions!

Then I went to work. It was only four hours, but being a Saturday, it was quite busy! As always I was a little early, so I doodled a snail for one of my coworkers, who did most of my training. I left it on a post-it note on her mouse. When I went back upstairs to clock out, I noticed that she had stuck it in the place where she keeps all her post-its, haha.

The guys picked me up at two, and we had Mod Pizza for lunch!

When we got home, my new little alien was waiting for me at the door. I opened her right away. She turned out to be even more wonderful than I was expecting! I’ve named her Tritium:

Even though I bought a couple of outfits for her in newborn size, they are still too baggy… I’ll have to figure out something else.

After a shower, our partner and I played Diablo II some more while Christopher napped.

For dinner, I had a potato and a rice cracker with cream cheese:

In the evening we went for a walk together. I took my little triceratops just in case I got a good idea for a picture somewhere. Eventually I did take a photo of it with a baby mango.

Our partner convinced me to go out for the evening which I did though I had a lot of housework to do. Gotta live a little. We went to Salt and Straw in Coconut Grove and I had a black olive and goat cheese waffle cone (as in, ice cream) and even though it tasted just like it sounds, it was truly delicious.

Then we stopped by a little cafe/restaurant and had some drinks and fries before heading home.

We got home very late, around 12:30am. Still, I did as many chores as I could. I was in bed by 2:00am.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

Sunday I worked a little on commissions in the morning and then went out for a stroll. I needed someplace to go to encourage me to walk, because I’ve been feeling very unmotivated and tired. So I decided to see if I could find a better outfit for Tritium, but being Easter, everywhere was closed.

I walked into buybuy BABY, a place I never go into. A store full of baby stuff felt kind of bizarre to walk through. I saw some very cute toys, including this floppy puppy, and I finally ran into a Benny Phant in the wild! I came so close to caving and getting one!

Some cute dinosaur puzzle toys…

I liked these bandana bibs for my stuffed animals, but not at that price!

I came home with what I really wanted, which was a better outfit for Tritium. I’ll make her a bandana myself.

Once back home, it was time for lunch and more Diablo II with our partner. We had açaí bowls!

Diablo II has some effed up imagery… 😳 That aside, Squirrelman has acquired a crowd of critters. He now has five wolves, five ravens, a spirit, and one of those thorny plant viney things.

Have an Eastery picture since it’s Easter:

In the evening we ordered Chinese food and watched Legend!

I’d always wanted to watch this movie. Plot-wise, it is as flat as a board and incredibly dull. The acting is overly theatrical, but that aspect has some charm. What really sells this movie is its unbelievably detailed sets, costuming, and makeup. It was wonderfully trippy, and had I watched it as a child, I’m sure that it would have had a tremendous effect in my young psyche.

Anyway… that’s all I’ve got to share for this week. It was long, busy, eventful, for sure! I wonder what next week will bring…

Week 10 Summary: Christopher’s Birthday! 🎂

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.

🌈 Monday 🌈

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.

💞 Pet Illness/Loss CW Starts Here 💞

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 could be two months. We could get unlucky, and it could be less, or we could get lucky, and it could be longer. We are going to do all we can to enjoy whatever time is left with her. We might just get lucky in how much time that is. Why not think positive? But even if we don’t, I know I’ll take a lot of comfort in the fact that, at 15, Kotoko has had such a long and happy life. She could have hardly had more loving or dedicated pet parents, if I do say so myself. She also had kitty friends, and many human friends to boot.

You might have seen me mention something very vague on Mastodon. It was about this. I didn’t want to go into detail, because even someone who understands pet loss may not realize why this loss will be so major to us. We’ve experienced severe heartbreak over pet loss before –this will be of a different magnitude. We will be okay. But because this isn’t a normal pet loss situation (I don’t think I could properly explain why) it will be a while until we are.

But I also want to concentrate in the here and now: with daily Cerenia, Kotoko already is showing a big improvement. No more vomiting, much bigger appetite. She just looks more lively. She’s a sturdy cat, and as long as she is here, we will love her and be grateful for her. Later we will have time to grieve. Before that time comes, I am also doing some things like a cute little cast of her paw, and a stamped imprint of it as well. I might do more things if I can think of them.

Something interesting that you can see in this other x-ray is that Kotoko has an extra rib, like some people or animals have an extra toe:

Let me close this part with a little more positivity. I really liked this vet, which is walking distance from us. They also have some chill office cats, three of them. Here’s a photo of one of them:

💞 Pet Illness/Loss CW Ends Here 💞

Monday evening I completed the Snoopy Run, 13.1 miles! I walked it, though.

My medal should be here by the weekend.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

The most significant event that happened on this day is that my mom’s immigration case entered the last stage on USCIS. She should have her residence soon… I hope!

A funny thing happened too. Tomoyo has a tendency to fling her toys high in the air when she plays. Well, while I was having lunch, this landed on my plate:

It actually landed ON my food (gross) but I moved it off right away. Meanwhile, she was just innocently waiting for me to return it to her:

Here’s a random photo of our sweet old lady:

In the evening I got dropped off at my mom’s. She gave Christopher his birthday present before he and our partner left. Then we had snacks, and wine, played Generala, and talked about a million things.

For dinner we had a baked potato:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

Wednesday was a calm day. Here’s Sweeney being very cute:

In the afternoon my mom made really delicious egg bites, and we watched TV together.

Later I lay down a while and played more Legends: Arceus.

Not long after, our partner picked me up. Once we got back home, I made the guys dinner, then tea, and just did my best to keep Christopher cheerful. Between the bad news this week and his back hurting so much without a break, it’s been really rough for him.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

Thursday was Christopher’s birthday. I prepared his presents on his desk before he woke up:

I also hid one in his book bag so he’d have something to open at work. He liked most of them. 😊 In the evening, we had dinner at Blue Ginger to celebrate. It was really good!

On this day I finished reading another book. Though it was comics, it was really long, as it was an omnibus of all the Muppet Babies comics, plus the comic in which they first appear (The Muppets Take Manhattan). That marks the seventh book I’ve read this year. With it being March already, this may not sound like much, but “It” was well over 1,100 pages… so that took a while.

The Muppet Babies Omnibus was delightful. Some frames made me do a double take! 😳

Baby Rowlf was adorable…

There were a lot of funny fourth wall breaking moments. This one was particularly amusing!

Next, I’m going to finish The Last Days of the Dinosaurs by Riley Black.

I decided to move one of the cat stairs to the porch to make it easier for Kotoko to access the chairs, particularly in light of her spine degeneration. She uses it, but right now, mostly sleeps on the bigger step rather than the chair, I guess because it became “new” again. Elliot sleeps on the chair.

It’s been so much fun to feed the birds and squirrels at the front of the house. Here’s a photo I took on this day:

Down the road, I would like to buy a bench and a birdbath, so I can enjoy seeing them up close while I’m outside reading a book.

🌈 Friday 🌈

Let’s start Friday off with this photo of Tomoyo lounging on my chest. Really, she’s just waiting to be fed.

It was cage cleaning day, so here’s a couple of photos of a cutie:

🌈 Saturday 🌈

Saturday morning we went to look at garage sales, a favorite activity when family visits. You never know what you’ll find!

For lunch we went to Chili’s. I had Palmito in my backpack so I took photos of him on this day:

You very likely have never seen Palmito, Robito or Rosemary (the skunk, not the cat). These little plushies were the first I ever took places with me back in the heyday of Toyvoyagers.

Though the website is still accessible on the date of me making this post, and the odd Travelog still updates, Toyvoyagers are sadly very much defunct. The idea was that you bought a little metal tag with a unique number for your toy, and left it places, and hoped someone would update its Travelog. It did happen! Alternatively, you could send your toy to one person elsewhere in the world, and then they would come back. Or you could have it join a “round robin” of locations.

All of my Toyvoyagers went places and brought me back souvenirs. It’s nice to be taking them out again.

When we got back from lunch, I found my latest medal in the mailbox. It’s really pretty!

I also have the t-shirt (though I won’t make a habit of ordering those) and the race bib with my number, which I’ll probably use for a scrapbooking page.

Christopher gave me $5 and I got some goodies while out garage saling:

This book is for dungeon masters but really cool and inspiring nonetheless!

And I couldn’t leave this little guy behind:

I’ve washed and disinfected him, so he’s ready for cuddling!

For Christopher’s birthday dinner, we went to Buca Di Beppo. We had chicken parmigiana, stuffed shells, meatballs, and garlic bread. We had a coupon for a free dessert for Christopher that was big enough for the five of us!

It’s really nice to be taking Palmito out for photos again. It’s been many years.

After we got home, we hung out at the house watching Christopher play GTA 5 (always fun) and then our friend Jessie came over, so we watched the two of them and our partner play the Stick Fight game on Steam. It was a really nice and chill evening.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

I went on my usual five mile walk, and stopped by Target. I hadn’t been to Target all year. They had a new version of their Sesame Street figures that was really cute:

Christopher made a really good pasta with zucchini for dinner. It looked far too healthy to be so delicious, I was pleasantly surprised. Can’t wait to have it again.

I usually only sleep with Grover, but on this night I wanted to cuddle my new triceratops friend too. Grover didn’t mind sharing!

Before we know it, March will be over… the rainy season will come, with it the humid and oppressive heat, and then hurricane season. Time is flying, but I’m trying to make the best of it, and I hope you all are too. Let’s make this coming week a wonderful one!

Week 3 Summary: Not Always Easy ⛈️

Ups-and-downs are normal to have, but it’s rare to have such a good week be followed by such a bad one. No major catastrophes took place, and a lot of what made it so hard to handle the smaller difficulties was my period, which for some reason was very unusually long and harsh on my body. It, combined with other stuff, managed to sink me into a days-long depression. Most of my goals fell by the wayside.

This journal is pretty dismal overall, though it picks up in tone near the end of the week. I apologize that it’s not as cheerful as usual. It was just a really hard week for me. 😥

💔 CW: pet loss discussion in this blog post. 💔

🌈 Monday 🌈

Right from the start, Monday was not an easy day. Physically, I was still feeling down from the day before. I had been unable to stay on top of my goals for days for a variety of reasons. In addition, it was very cold, and the guys wanted to sleep with the windows open. This made for some truly miserable nights and mornings for me. And bad mornings tend to throw my entire day off track. I just felt unhappy, unmotivated, and like everything was a struggle.

I pushed myself and cleaned the snail tank this day, so my little guys didn’t suffer from my lack of motivation:

The cats stayed in cozy corners all day. Even Elliot spent time indoors. Here’s Kotoko hiding in one of the cat condo nooks:

Speaking of Kotoko, in the evening I decided to give her a bath in spite of the cold because she was just so dirty. She’s old and can’t groom herself very well anymore. As I was drying her, she peed, on my Jurassic Park rug no less. So that was great. I was upset about the rug, but above all because it felt like I put Kotoko through hell for nothing. 😟

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

This was another cold morning. At least Kotoko had forgiven me… I think the cold might have helped with that.

This day I went to visit my mom. From early on, I felt very depressed. I’d been down since the day before and just continued feeling increasingly worse. I wanted to take her to the movies this week, to cheer her up (she’s still not doing okay after Shampoo’s passing) and there is rarely enough money in the family finances for that sort of thing.

I was really down about that, but ultimately managed to sell a commission to take my mom to dinner and a movie the following Saturday. Thank you, Snow, for that.

Throughout the day, before I went to her place, I did my best to do my chores, work on art, finish another book chapter, take care of the pets. I did whatever I could to get through the motions, but it was hard. I hadn’t had to push through feeling so bad in a long time.

Once at my mom’s, whatever good cheer I’d managed to bring up hit the hard wall of Shampoo’s absence.

Seeing all of her special spots without her in them was terrible. Seeing her pretty little urn, while not hearing her usual loud meows… it was all very hard.

I managed to keep that pain to myself for my mom’s sake. But truly, more than my heartache over Shampoo’s passing, the fear and grief that an event like this brings is always mostly about Kotoko. I’m not afraid that I won’t be able to handle her loss when it happens. It’ll hurt, but eventually I’ll be okay. But I am very afraid for my husband’s sake. And I fear that the man he is now will sort of die when Kotoko dies, and whoever he will be after that, I don’t know, but I am very afraid that he will never be the same again, and I will never have this version of him again.

I don’t know what to do with that fear, and every passing year it becomes worse. Sometimes I feel like our beloved old cat is a ticking bomb of grief. This event has redoubled that, especially because I think he is in some deep denial about her advanced age and the limited time she may have left. This literally keeps me up at night.

Anyway… as usual, my mom had a little snack spread ready when I got there:

Then we had baked potatoes for dinner:

And seeing Sweeney was nice, but I couldn’t help thinking that he is the age Stimpy was when he passed, and Stimpy seemed pretty okay until near the end too. I guess I am full of grim thoughts right now.

For some reason, during this visit a lot of old fears and worries hit me very hard. Though I appeared cheerful to my mom, and I know she thought I was okay, I ended Tuesday feeling the most depressed I have been in a very, very long time. It was an overall feeling of hopelessness for the future, that I’m sure (I hope) I can shake off.

But it’s a hard feeling to carry for any length of time. I know what it’s trying to say. It’s whispering in my ear, cruelly, insidiously, “things aren’t going to be okay, but no one really cares”. It is a lonely feeling to carry.

When I feel this way, holding strong to my “do not buy toys” resolution is incredibly hard. I would love a small toy from my wishlist right now to distract me even for a moment from feeling the way I do, no matter how fleeting that relief is.

On the upside, earlier in the week a kindly commissioner sent me a set of colorful drawers where I will be able to sort all of my scrapbooking supplies for Project Night, which is set to arrive on Thursday. I’m thinking about that, to feel happier and excited about something to do.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

After a Tuesday night full of nightmares and unusually strong cramps that lasted into the morning, Wednesday began.

It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I felt a bit less depressed, but now I was in a lot of pain instead (continued from the night). Maybe rather than feeling less depressed, I just felt like I was settling into my depression, I guess? Getting used to it? Maybe I’ll feel this way for some time.

We had mate for breakfast, but because I was in pain the whole time, I didn’t want any. Anyway, have some Sweeney toebeans:

I was slow, achy and tired for a lot of this day. Whenever I’m at my mom’s feeling really low, it’s hard, because I want attention from my husband and our partner, but I feel too low to even tell them I’m not okay or try to reach out for that affection. And if I do attempt to convey that, and don’t get a response, my frame of mind makes me read that as neglect and it can be very painful when I’m feeling deeply vulnerable already.

So it was really nice that at one point our partner did send me a random sweet little message, I don’t usually hear from him when I’m at my mom’s. Almost like he knew. That helped a lot, though I didn’t tell him I wasn’t okay, only that I was in a bit of pain. But it meant so much to get that message from him just out of the blue.

Still, mostly I just lay on the couch miserably for hours, though I did play more Pokémon Violet here and there and work on a couple of commissions. I did also read a little (still working on “It”) and since my mom was interested, we began to watch the original movies.

For dinner, we had these little mac ‘n cheese balls and fries:

And for dessert we had strawberries and cream! 🍓

Sweeney was very affectionate towards my mom all the time that I was at her place. I think for years, he’s been relegated to the background in all kinds of ways. Shampoo took most of my mom’s time, affection, and even vet-related finances. It could hardly be helped when it felt for years as though every day might be her last. Now Sweeney has my mom all to himself and will hardly leave her lap.

It is sweet, but also a little sad. He must have felt neglected all this time. My mom took him for a check-up today because he hasn’t had one in a very long time for the reasons I just stated. Hopefully all the labs come back with normal, reassuring results.

My mom and I got almost halfway to the second part of “It” (the 1990 version) when the guys came to pick me up. I would find later find out that Christopher, like me, had a pretty terrible day. But once we were all home together, things started to feel better, and I think he felt more cheerful too, though we both continued to feel physically miserable.

Something to note that has happened this week every time I slept (weather at night or a nap) is lots and lots of nightmares, or, at best, really bizarre dreams, usually connected to people or events present very recently in my life rather than those important or consequential to me. I’ve even had people I’ve never spoken to from one group chat I’m in appear in these bad dreams, multiple times. The topics are as varied as they are ridiculous.

Usually, but not always, the dreams are distressing, upsetting, or at best very annoying, so I’d categorize them as nightmares, but they aren’t the sort you wake up upset from. Just the sort that makes you go “huh” when you wake up. It’s as though my brain were going through some clean-up or organizing of thoughts at this time. It’s just bizarre.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

Although on Thursday morning I woke up still in a lot of pain and sort of weakened by my way-too-long period, my mood was a little lifted.

I’m not sure why. I had a lot to do, and didn’t feel great yet. I suppose partly was just being with the guys. Just hearing their voices and seeing their faces, sometimes, lifts me up and is all I need.

All throughout this week, I struggled with, and mostly did not meet, my goals. I decided to call this week a wash. My body really, really conspired against me in the worst way.

We did play LEGO for date night, though Christopher was unwell and our partner had to work, so he couldn’t join us… but we did have LEGO and that was still fun.

Later, Christopher and I cuddled and watched TV. Rosie joined us too; here she is, blepping beautifully:

Unfortunately our partner continued working. He was concentrating hard on his coding and didn’t want to stop. He worked until past 5:00am.

🌈 Friday 🌈

Even on Friday morning my body still had the odd cramp. Frankly, I was really impressed. It never lasts this long. But this was the last day. In the morning, I built the new set of drawers. Mercifully, in spite of the terrible quality (which I was aware of) nothing was broken in transit, and it came out pretty good:

I’d spend the next few days completely reorganizing my scrapbooking supplies into this new colorful piece of furniture.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

On this day we took my mom to the movies, the three of us (Christopher, our partner and I). I spent the earlier part of the day doing chores and then we were off! I had my Totodile with me, and Pokémon graham crackers. I’ve been in a big Pokémon mood recently.

After picking up my mom, we walked around Brickell City Centre, a really cool and upscale outdoor covered mall in Downtown Miami. Our partner bought me the fancy French candies he’d long promised, and was kind enough to get some for my mom too. We walked around and took this picture at one point:

Then we headed to the movie early, because it was CMX Cinébistro and we had to order our food. Right before the movie, I had a drink called Strawberry Fields. It was pretty good. I actually hadn’t had a drink in a while. I do not drink much by anyone’s standards, but by my own, I felt I was drinking a little too much, so I decided to cut back.

The movie, a “horror” comedy titled M3GHAN, was pretty silly, but hilarious. I’m not sure it was always trying to be funny, but it pretty much was the entire time.

After the movie, we got ice cream and walked around some more. Our partner bought a tiny but really fancy candle, and then we dropped my mom off before heading back to the house.

When we got home, I had two nice surprises. The loveliest was this drawing from YuriFairy, featuring both of our characters, and it’s one of my favorite depictions of my little squirrel avatar in a few years. It’s so beautiful:

A package from ODU with a sample of a new design by me also showed up:

It’s so exciting to see a product featuring my art again after a couple of years! Here’s another photo:

We went to bed shortly after. Our partner just went straight back to work though, and had another late night. Christopher and I cuddled for a while and then fell asleep.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

Between yesterday and today, I sat for several hours sorting all of my scrapbooking materials and labeling them, like so:

There are many, many of these rugged plastic envelopes. Every single drawer is full!

Unlike before, everything is sorted by topic, not material. This makes it infinitely easier to pick out the materials I need for the theme of the page I’m working on, and everything is sorted out alphabetically.

Outside of the drawers, I sorted all my playing cards (which I collect specifically for scrapbooking purposes) like this:

Then I labeled the front of the drawers, too. Now, everything is really easy to find.

An added bonus of borrowing the labeler and of sorting all my scrapbooking supplies was that I finally sorted a bit of a mess I had in the studio closet, which now looks nice and neat:

This guy has been with me for so many years…

I re-sorted all of my beads and kandi-making supplies, too. This is also where the Furbys live. It looks a lot better now.

During this process, I ran into some traditional art I hadn’t filed away…

Not just this, but so many sketches, and so many unfinished things. It made me tear up with this intense nostalgia for something I lost without even realizing it. I decided to move things around and create a new permanent area for traditional art, because somehow, I didn’t have one anymore. This is what it looks like:

And here is a close-up:

I hope I can make traditional art a part of my life again.

I had one shelf that was cleared of scrapbooking supplies that got sorted into the new drawers, so I moved the decorations that were on this desk to it:

Speaking of, I haven’t shared my little collections in a while, particularly since I displayed them after opening my Christmas presents. Here’s the shelves with some of the newer Jurassic World additions…

A close-up of my lovely little Parasaurolophus, I love him so much:

There are a lot of dinosaurs in my studio…

(But not too many. There is no such thing.)

I feel like every day I love dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park / World franchise more and more, like it’s almost becoming a part of my personality. That phrasing seems wrong… I guess I mean it feels less like something I’ll emotionally outgrow and more like a deep-seated, truly lifelong interest, that I don’t think can ever go away because at the core, it’s about dinosaurs and nature, and I’ll never not love those things.

Finally, here’s Kalinka and Natasha. I decided to display them side by side because they look a little like sisters:

Because I spent so much time doing this, I was up until 3:00am doing housework, including cleaning the snail tank. Here’s some happy snails:

I’m trying to keep in mind the fact that, outside of my resolutions, I would normally consider this a wildly successful week. In spite of unusual physical pain, I did a lot of writing, took my mom to the movies, reorganized all of my scrapbooking supplies, revamped the studio closet, and reworked my traditional art work area. I went grocery shopping and worked on my blog. It wasn’t all so bad.

But I also can’t deny the obvious: this may have been a terrible week for me, but bad week or not, I failed at ALL of my resolutions outside of reading. So, I’m allowing myself a fresh start with my fitness chart. I also set a more reasonable goal, which would have me at my goal weight by April. I won’t beat myself up over the missteps. Instead I’ll celebrate what I did manage, dust myself off, and tomorrow start again with new renewed vigor.

Visiting My Mom 💞

Yesterday I visited my mom, and stayed overnight until today. As usual we had snacks and wine, and in a new tradition/routine, I brought along a board game. Battleship, this time. I also brought along Fidget Spinner, one of my Furbys. They’re so expressive!

My mom won the game. The next day, Shampoo had to go to the vet. She wasn’t doing so great. I stayed home working, and took this picture of Sweeney as he waited by the door for them to come back.

After getting some meds, Shampoo seemed to perk up a bit. She ate with gusto for the first time in a few days.

I pet her a little bit. I always know it could be the last time, she is so old. But anyway, I got to see her again, and overall it was a really nice visit.

Visiting Mom + New Snails! 🐌🥬

Yesterday I went on a little snail hunt as part of my daily exercise! 🐌🌈 It was rainy and perfect snail catching weather. ☔️💧💧💧 During my walk I spotted some BIG mushrooms! 🍄

I ended up adding 18 new snabies to my rout! 😁 Of course this is only their isolation tank. After deworming and monitoring for parasites, they will join the group in my 20 gallon tank. 🐌🥬

After that, Christopher took me to my mom’s! We had mimosas and played Kerplunk.

This was the Jurassic World Dominion version!

I brought Orion along with me. They watched us play! 🧸👽🌈

I always ask my mom for the same dinner… always involves fried potatoes made from scratch! 🍟🌈 We watched the first Jurassic World movie while we had dinner.

Last night I played a lot with the cats, especially with grumpy ol’ Sweeney. He seemed so happy in spite of still being grouchy and bitey. This morning they both perked up and began to follow me around as soon as I came out of the bedroom! 🐱💕

Sweeney kept talking at me and cocking his head in the cutest ways… 🥺

Now I’m sitting here with Orion, working on a commission and ready to watch Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom! Then I’ll be all ready for tomorrow… I’m so, so excited, I just can’t wait!

I have to say I utterly love this bear. For sure they’ve become one of my top favorites. So, so glad I didn’t miss out when they released them!

Anyway tomorrow is the big day. Jurassic World Dominion day. To say I am excited out of my mind would be an understatement! We have tickets at 7:00pm, CinéBistro! I am counting down the hours!

Mother’s Day Week 👩‍👧💐

It’s Sunday again! And this weekend is Mother’s Day. So Happy Mother’s Day to our moms and to any moms reading this. 😊 We all took my mom, Christopher’s mom and Grandma to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to celebrate. And I also visited my mom during the week. Anyway, let’s get on with the weekly recap!

🌈 Monday 🌈

This stuff is from last week but I didn’t have a chance to take pictures until now. Some Jurassic World finds. First, a puzzle in an egg! I haven’t “hatched” it yet. 😁

And a really nice coloring book, of the same sort as the Turning Red one:

This one actually was from today. We went to Sam’s Club and I found the most amazing Mandalorian activity book:

The pages are THICK. It has lots of activities, some with actual cardstock. I can’t recommend this enough! It will make for lots of scrapbooking fun.

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday I went to my mom’s. All I have from this day is this photo of Sweeney:

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

On Wednesday my mom’s gas station was closed down because they were recording a Ferrari commercial. We were allowed a sneak peek!

And have more photos of Sweeney, because why not…

In the evening I finally beat Pokémon Sword, so that was nice.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

On Thursday we got news of a fire near my beloved Marham Park. There was a storm the night before, and lighting hit somewhere. The fire was very big and we still don’t know if it was just the Everglades or the park itself affected. I hope it wasn’t the park. 😞

A new scratcher I ordered for the kitties came in on this day. Rosie took to it immediately:

For lunch we ordered açaí bowls from Raw Addiction, but they were much smaller than usual which was a bummer.

Anyway, my feeder is getting continuous visitors. They do make a mess, but I love them all the same.

🌈 Friday 🌈

Friday morning I went out for a long walk, and also to Target. I didn’t buy anything but these Jurassic Park Funko backpacks were really neat to see:

For lunch I had avocado toast and opened another Good2Grow Podz:

Got a trike this time! Really cute.

🌈 Saturday 🌈

This was the day we took our Moms and Grandma out! We were off early, first to pick up my mom and then to grab breakfast.

It is rare that my mom joins us on an outing like this one, and our partner was with us too, so these photos are really precious to me. I wish my sis in law had been with us too, then I could say all of the people I love most in the world were with me. All the photos below are of me and my family.

When I went a few weeks ago with our partner, none of the LEGO stuff was on display tet. But this time it was, and that made this visit a particular treat!

The slightly maddening thing is that the upcoming LEGO statue to be unveiled is a realistic snail on a mushroom… and I missed it! Sigh. 😞

Anyway –critters! The photo set below is all critters. My favorite is the lounging squirrel at the start!

And here are all the other photos… flowers, plants and such, things that didn’t fit in the above sets:

I got a bit worried because my mom seemed close to heat stroke by the end. But ultimately we made it to a restaurant and then she felt better. After that, we took her home. Then the rest of us relaxed back at our place.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

Breakfast this morning was SO wonderful! Christopher made me a fancy pancake again and my mom in law burned the bacon just the way she knows I like it. Not extra crispy. Burnt! It’s always a delight.

I got an even cuter photo from my squirrel feeder today!

And that’s all… family is now gone back to Sebastian so it’s time to get to work again and continue catching up on my backlog of, well… everything!

Welcome, April! 🌷🌼🌈☔

Happy April, everyone! Boy, this was one stressful week, but it did have good moments regardless. Not only was our house painted this week, but we cleaned the back porch (a grueling task every time as you might recall) I was on my period for half the week, had to do our taxes, go to an appointment at the Social Security Administration office, I visited my mom to celebrate her birthday, and went on a couple of outings with my husband and our partner.

This is my sorry face

So if you are among the multiple people I’ve left on read these past few days… I am so sorry, and you are still on my mind, and not forgotten… it’s been a heck of a week… I’ll be catching up with messages as the week rolls on.

I also played a lot of Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ (I’m on Cantarella’s story right now) and we are watching Tenchi Muyo so I felt the above GIF was appropiate. ^_^

🌈 Monday 🌈

Monday was fairly quiet. I worked on commissions and did housework, but was a bit subdued due to my period. Our house began to be prepped for painting on this day.

For lunch, I made toasted rice balls for our partner and I. He’d never had them before.

Got to use my new Bluey plate, cutlery and bowl, so that made me happy.

And speaking of Bluey –here is a coloring book I got recently:

The pages are kinda thin, so I’ll just scan and reprint on thicker paper when I want to color it. This is actually how I preserve most of my coloring books, including many vintage ones!

🌈 Tuesday 🌈

Tuesday was the Social Security appointment (for my name change). It went smoothly, other than the security guard at the entrance being so intimidating towards everyone, especially older people who could not understand English nor understand what was going on. Even though inside plenty of signage indicates accommodating if you need an interpreter, the officer was aggressive and angry towards these poor mostly Latin people who barely spoke English and were so confused and even frightened by his demeanor. 😠

Once that was done, I walked to Target. I saw these traffic cones on the way that grass had grown right through. Seems the grass around them was mowed without the cones being moved a few times. I thought it looked interesting enough for a picture:

By the time I got home, a lot of progress had been done on the house painting. Here is a before and after at that point in time (I’ll have a final update next week):

I didn’t have much time to admire the house. I had to finish all my chores, and pack, and then our partner drove me to my mom’s. She and I went to dinner pretty soon after I got there to celebrate her birthday:

I had primavera pizza! It’s my favorite because it has egg:

Once we got home, my mom opened her birthday present. Christopher bought her a laptop (her computer was ANCIENT). She was really happy –Sweeney tested it immediately! Meanwhile, Shampoo enjoyed laying on a crinkly paper bag. To each their own.

🌈 Wednesday 🌈

Wednesday was my mom and I’s usual peaceful morning of TV, mate, and conversation. I also drew and played a bit of Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ here and there.

Gumdrop had his first taste of mate!

My mom had a really big surprise for me! She was able to find my favorite childhood cookies, which I have not had for over twenty years!

They have zodiac signs on them:

A close similar cookie was Pepperidge Farm’s chessmen chocolate cookies, but I think they were discontinued in my area a long time ago. I can’t find them anywhere anymore. Anyway, my mom got me like three bags of these, so that was a wonderful surprise!

For Wednesday night dinner, my mom made fries (my favorite)!

As if that weren’t enough, she made a legit Argentinean bizcochuelo for dessert, another big treat. The mix was yet another childhood favorite that she was able to acquire recently through a shopping service.

After dinner, my guys picked me up. At home I had yet another wonderful surprise waiting for me! At first I couldn’t find Yoshi anywhere and I was sure our partner had hidden him or placed him in some sort of unfortunate situation, as he tends to do to my toys. But Yoshi turned out to be waiting for me on my desk, and he was holding the Limited Run visual novel I’ve been begging Christopher for!

It’s The House In Fata Morgana. I’ve heard many good things about it.

That, and watching TV and cuddling all together, made for a wonderful end to my day.

🌈 Thursday 🌈

I forgot to share this other surprise my mom gave me during my visit! Last time she got me the Mafalda figure and magazine. This time it was Manolito:

On Thursday I walked to Target to pick up an online order. I wanted to get one of these dino clickers, mostly as a desk fidget toy. His head and legs click when you move them. He’s really cute.

For date night, I made another massive snack spread, while the guys continued playing Kirby and I watched. Didn’t get quite so drunk on this day, but it was still a nice time.

Also, on this day, more engines arrived!

They are so, SO well made, utterly perfect in every way! I received Thomas, Percy, Gordon, and my favorite boy, James!

The facial expressions are great; Percy’s in particular is hilarious:

I wish they’d given James his angry face, but I love them all.

Can’t wait to get my hands on Henry, and Cranky when they remake him too.

🌈 Friday 🌈

Since we had our date night in on Thursday, Friday was our day out. First we went out to ramen!

The atmosphere outside was spooky. Not only was it rainy, but the Everglades were on fire, and you could clearly see the smoke amidst the clouds. Our car was covered in ash!

After lunch we went to Monster MiniGolf. It was really fun! We took this photo of one of the animatronics:

I don’t even know who won. I just know it wasn’t me and I had lots of fun. Before going home, we passed by Dollar Tree, where I got a couple of Arthur puzzles, a giant dinosaur coloring book, and a velvet dino coloring stand:

I also got a little bandana for my Grogu:

Then we went home to bed and watched TV for ages, it was very cozy. 🥰

🌈 Saturday 🌈

Saturday was exhausting. I did lots of chores, and helped a bit with the porch cleaning (I did a bigger amount of that yesterday, but on Friday our partner did most of the remaining cleaning). Then I put all the furniture back. It looks wonderful, even if it was a lot of work:

I also redecorated the litter box area a bit. 😸 Some things still need to be hung back up (a lot was taken down due to the painting) but there’s only so much time in a single week…

The porch and chores such as laundry basically took my entire day, but I was able to relax a little in the evening.

🌈 Sunday 🌈

On Sunday our partne