Memory Mondays #4 | Having Mate ๐Ÿง‰

I realized before I left on my trip that a Memory Monday would come while I was gone, and another right as I got back, so I quickly pre-scheduled both of them. These will be shorter, but I didn’t want to break my streak.

In the photo above, my dad is giving me mate to sip. Mate is like a tea you drink in a wooden, metal (with wood on the inside), leather or natural gourd, and drink with a metal straw that has a filter at the bottom (this type of straw is called a “bombilla”). Something like tea leaves is packed into the gourd, and sugar is sometimes added. Most people in Argentina drink it with hot water. Some people drink it cold, and in that case it’s called Tererรฉ (a word of Guaranรญ origin) but we always had it hot.

Mate is pretty high in caffeine, but in general, as soon as you are old enough to sip through a straw, you’ll be given at least some mate. even as a very young child. This is because the ritual of drinking mate, usually daily in the mornings and afternoons, is an important family-and-friends bonding experience, so your parents wouldn’t want to leave you out. Everyone drinks from the same straw and gourd. The gourd is refilled for each person.

A fun tidbit: if you don’t want any more mate, simply say “Gracias” (thank you). But don’t say thank you too early! If you say it when you are returning the gourd to the “cebador” (person making the mate for the group) after just your first one, they will assume you don’t want anymore, and you’ll be skipped in subsequent rounds.

It can feel odd if you are new to it, to be continually served without giving a word of thanks until you’re done –but that’s how it is.

A final note: did you know there is a mate emoji? I used it in the title of this post too. It’s this one! ๐Ÿง‰

National Squelfpoonโ€™s Vacation: 6/26

To begin with, Iโ€™m probably done taking photos because my heart isnโ€™t in them. It feels stupid to post them when I feel so utterly down.

Not much has changed. My mood is still absolutely awful and I cannot let it out anywhere (of course it spills out of me regardless, no matter how much I try).

I donโ€™t want to bring Christopher down anymore. I know it makes him so sad. He wants to cheer me up, but he canโ€™t. So, this is my only outlet.

I remain so stressed about the house and the cats, so bummed and disappointed by the canceled plans, I am so uninterested in this weekโ€™s plans and literally counting down the days until I am home againโ€ฆ I SO donโ€™t want to go to the parks. I donโ€™t want to go anywhere. I want to go home and mourn what we couldnโ€™t do, and work on art, which invariably cheers me up. Thatโ€™s all I want and I wouldnโ€™t be a sad sack, Iโ€™d literally be happy if I could only do that at this point.

I really was fine with the last two vacation cancellations. This third one, followed by a week of plans I really donโ€™t want to do, is just breaking me.

Every activity on its own would be a fun weekend. But itโ€™s not stuff I want to spend a whole week doing. And it is SO MUCH. It is too much. There is no rest, only frantic packing and unpacking, three different hotel rooms, no privacy, a total of ten hours on a rattling train, walking for hours in 90ยฐ + weather with burning hot sun and insane humidity, and multiple hours total of waiting for rides that I (mostly) don’t want to go on.

The worst part is having to be grateful about it all, even though I never wanted this. I am well aware that not wanting this makes me a bad person, a killjoy. But it’s not like Iโ€™m against everyone else being happy and having fun. I just donโ€™t want to be here.

Well… itโ€™s not like everything is terrible. Iโ€™ve enjoyed playing cards and having dinners together, very much, I always do.

Iโ€™m really mostly in a bad mood because of the week ahead, because of wanting no part of this, and having to force myself to be cheerful and grateful about things I donโ€™t want to do. Otherwise, so far it is a very nice time.

Anyway have a random Sissy, my mom in lawโ€™s cats have cheered me up a little at times:

Iโ€™m all packed now (hooray?) and I had to leave Beanie in the car so I have as little stuff to hunt for in the morning as possible. I hated leaving him alone so I kinda tucked him in.

Going to sleep I guess. Up at 5:45am.

Oh Wellโ€ฆ

Hey allโ€ฆ So as previously mentioned the trip was definitely canceled. We couldnโ€™t even do part of it. Most was refunded.

At this time, Iโ€™m still just getting over it. Spending time with family for the entire week with alternate plans is nice and ordinarily I would simply say that Iโ€™m having a wonderful time. But I am also so bitter and disappointed, this being the third cancellation of our vacation, I donโ€™t care about anything anymore.

No one is showing feelings of disappointment, though surely we all have them, so Iโ€™m hiding them too, but, even as Iโ€™m having fun sporadically, I get bursts from time to time of just wanting to be home and alone with the cats, and like I donโ€™t care about anything at this point. Our alternate plans areโ€ฆ โ€œokโ€. Itโ€™s not NYC or Walpole, itโ€™s not lifetime dreams, I honestly couldnโ€™t care less.

We will be doing some Orlando parks instead, starting tomorrow. I could pass on the parks, to put it mildly. Itโ€™s rainy and the heat is terrible and I donโ€™t go on any rides (I donโ€™t like them) soโ€ฆ ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ honestly I think a good chunk of this week is gonna be me just trying to work on commissions to forget the world and hope for the week to be over.

At some point weโ€™re getting on a train for eleven hours to go to Savannah, GA on some sort of tour, and I was mildly excited about that, but having looked at whatโ€™s in Savannah, I donโ€™t care anymore about that either.

Sorry to sound so bitter in this post… Everyone here is being very cheerful and Iโ€™m making damn sure I put up that front too. But Iโ€™ve felt like crying a few times and still do once in a while. Iโ€™m so angry and sad. I just need to put those feelings somewhere (here) so I can make sure that they donโ€™t spill over with family because it doesnโ€™t help anyone.

In a more lighthearted note, there was a silly conversation about shrooms in the car and we picked one in a parking lot to give to Christopher.

(He gracefully declined to touch it.)

Then we played cards. That was fun, we laughed a lot. I had one of my little Japanese coffees. An extremely xenophobic comment was made about my drink. That was less fun. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

And then it was bedtime, at which time I wrote about half of this post.

And the rest now (Saturday morning.)

I put my negative feelings here, but it didnโ€™t help much haha. Breakfast came, my drink is wrong. Every small thing is making me see red, lol. I wish I could disappear, if only so my family and friends didn’t have to deal with me.

Change Of Plans ๐Ÿ’”

I’m heartbroken and at a loss for words. Our long awaited, twice-cancelled vacation is cancelled for a 3rd time: Southwest cancelled our flights. I think we are all in shock. So many plans, reservations, dreams, cancelled. We are trying to figure out where we go from here.

There may be a last minute cruise. I don’t know. My mind is a blank, I can’t believe this is happening AGAIN. Maybe we are just not meant to take vacations.

FYI, my away time isn’t changing, I just have no idea what is actually going on.

Pre-Trip Announcements ๐Ÿ›ซ

Greetings, everyone! I am giving the last touches to my packing today. As you may already know, I am leaving on a family vacation. I will be gone from tomorrow 6/25 until Sunday 7/4. We will have a friend staying over to look after our house and our pets.

During this time, you will not be able to reach me. Or rather, you will be able to, but I would ask that you avoid doing so. I will try not to look at my phone/Telegram/emails. Mostly, I will monitor for emergencies.

โ›” Please do not insistently reach out to me after June 26th (which when our plane actually departs) if you don’t have an emergency. An emergency is something that absolutely cannot wait until I return (hint: anything commission related CAN wait until I return). Please wait until my return on July 4th to contact me.

On a lighter note, not only is this the longest vacation of my life, but also my first big family vacation (with my husband, mom in law and sis in law, Christopher’s Grandma, and a good family friend). These are all people I obviously love tons and the idea of going on this trip with all of them, of seeing New York City for the first time, of seeing the cabin in which Grandma lived with Grandpa, who will have been gone a year next month, of visiting the American Museum of Natural History, seeing the Statue of Liberty, and so many more things, of doing lots and lots of driving in beautiful places, it’s all a dream come true to say the least. ๐Ÿฅบโœจ

With that out of the way, I wanted to make clear what this means in terms of commissions.

๐ŸŒˆ There Are No Warm-Ups During My Vacation Week ๐ŸŒˆ

As this was established when the 100 Days Of Warm-Ups journal was posted, it will not affect anyone’s delivery dates. ๐Ÿ˜Š I took this week of vacation into account when I made the Warm-Up schedule. So, when you don’t see Warm-Ups posted for the next eight days, please know that everything is running as it should. This week was always a Warm-Up-less week from the start.

๐ŸŒˆ 4 Overdue Commissions ๐ŸŒˆ

Due to a lot of stuff going on in my life, including vet trips and special care for Tomoyo, my mom’s lengthy immigration procedures/paperwork, as well as the completion of my citizenship process last May, I had a few commissions go past my self-imposed “overdue” deadline, and one which I know will be overdue while I am gone. While it’s not like, terrible, and they are all for commissioners who are friends of mine and have always given me a long leash time wise, I want to write below which commissions are overdue, for full accountability and transparency.

I fully expect to complete these commissions before any others reach their due date.

  • Mwako (2 characters, fully rendered, already colored and currently shading, but won’t be finished until I return)
  • Island (3 characters, fully rendered, not yet started)
  • Snowthebear (5 characters, flat colored, not yet started)
  • Tugscarebear (2 characters, fully rendered, not yet started, will pass due date while I am gone)

I am bringing my iPad, so it is possible that all four of these commissions will see moderate to significant progress while I am gone. But my goal during the vacation will be to enjoy the vacation –if I draw it’ll be because I got tired of gaming and reading during my downtime. I really want to relax. I need it, badly.

๐Ÿ’– Thank you ๐Ÿ’–

I want to end this post by extending my gratitude for all the support I have received so far this year. Thanks to you all, I am slowly accomplishing important life goals. I appreciate all of my commissioners.

I hope to have lots of photos and fun anecdotes to share with you upon my return. ๐Ÿ‘‹

(I do expect to make one last post tomorrow, as it’s just a day of prep, we leave in the evening. So you’ll hear from me once more, but already, tomorrow it may be difficult to contact me, and you won’t get a response after Saturday. Ideally though, I prefer you just wait until my return to contact me. I never know if a friend or family member may contact me for an emergency, so getting messages means I can’t ignore them and it will be stressful to get them. Thank you so much.)

๐ŸŒˆ 100 Days Of Warm-Ups [077 – Kiba] ๐ŸŒˆ

โœจ Here’s warm-up 77 of 100! โœจ This one is for Onikiba.

Please note: sometimes, I may add very simple backgrounds to these warm-ups. This is completely on a whim, not guaranteed, and not likely. Please do not expect anything beyond what is agreed to in the original commission. If it happens, it happens. ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐ŸŒˆ If you would like to participate in my 100 Days Of Warm-Ups, please see this journal:

๐Ÿ“Œ Please make sure to read it carefully and fully, and follow all the rules to get your slot/s!

๐Ÿ„ Artwork is ยฉ 2022 by Marina Neira McKinzie. You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Only the commissioner/giveaway winner & those featured in the artwork may repost with credit and following my Terms of Use.

๐ŸŒˆ 100 Days Of Warm-Ups [076 – Blue Moon] ๐ŸŒˆ

โœจ Here’s warm-up 76 of 100! โœจ This one is for Swimmingintheinkwell.

Please note: sometimes, I may add very simple backgrounds to these warm-ups. This is completely on a whim, not guaranteed, and not likely. Please do not expect anything beyond what is agreed to in the original commission. If it happens, it happens. ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐ŸŒˆ If you would like to participate in my 100 Days Of Warm-Ups, please see this journal:

๐Ÿ“Œ Please make sure to read it carefully and fully, and follow all the rules to get your slot/s!

๐Ÿ„ Artwork is ยฉ 2022 by Marina Neira McKinzie. You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Only the commissioner/giveaway winner & those featured in the artwork may repost with credit and following my Terms of Use.

My Little Panther

I’m continuing to try to give Tomoyo as much daily attention as possible. I’ve bought her a cat tree and a giant cardboard scratcher, and several new toys. I’ve also been steaming her in the bathroom when I take my morning shower, and giving her her asthma inhaler daily.

Incredibly, she’s finally grown used to it. When I first did this, it took me and Christopher, I got kicked on the face inside my lip and bled, and she had a terrible time, hiding for hours afterwards. Now, she complains, but has actually PURRED throughout and no longer hides from me after it is done. I think she’s learned that it brings her relief and is over with fast.

There have been many times when we regretted adopting Tomoyo. She is wild, feral, will not really cuddle (though in her own wild way, she is very affectionate), her high fever bout as a kitten (a near-death experience) seems to have melted her brain, she’s destructive, she’s a bully, and she has health issues, asthma being the most serious.

But she’s ours. Rehoming her is not an option; who else would be okay dealing with this? I think this is why she became ours. We do complain, and bitch and moan about her, but we love her, and I in particular love her very deeply, probably in a large part because of the sleepless night I spent on the couch with her laying limply on my chest, when she almost died. It’s so hard now to imagine this hyper-high-strung, neurotic cat being limp or calm at all, and really does make me realize just how close to death she came at the time…

And really, not to pat myself on the back too hard, but I think she would not have survived that night without my constant care, keeping her hydrated, bringing her temp up when needed and down when needed, trying to get watered food down her throat with a syringe. It was quite bad and scary a week, but definitely a terrible night.

As I give her more attention and allow her to be upstairs with me, she seems to be behaving very well. Here she is playing at my desk:

She enjoys lounging near me or just staring out the window:

I will miss her and worry about her while I am gone. I can’t wait to pamper the heck out of her when we return.

All Done Packing! ๐Ÿงณ๐Ÿงธ๐ŸŒˆ

Good morning everyone! Packing to spend an entire WEEK away from home is not easy… especially because I want to bring eight outfits (and I mean “Little” outfits, so, a lot of bulky overalls, accessories, etc including THREE pairs of shoes and three face masks to be able to match properly), eight nightshirts (I really don’t want to deal with laundry), basic toiletries (including necessities in case I should get my period), Franklin and Beanie (I will carry Beanie most of the trip), a blanket and neck pillow (there is not just the flights but so… so much driving… hours and hours… I want to be comfortable), my Nintendo Switch, my iPad, a book to read, and some snacks.

I think that’s it…It took effort and very careful sorting of everything into little packing bags, but everything fit quite comfortably. Considering how I normally pack for even a weekend trip, the fact that I went all out just to see how close I could get to actually bringing everything I wanted, and the fact that I am bringing TWO bears (since Franklin absolutely HAS to come to Vermont Teddy Bear factory) I really did kind of, well, amazing. This is all I’m bringing:

Franklin is snug inside, waiting for his special day:

Franklin has a lot of bittersweet memories attached to him. But ultimately I cling to all the good ones. Franklin was a very special birthday present special-ordered for me on July 16, 2011. That means on Franklin’s next birthday he will be ten years old. That’s kinda nuts.

I always wanted to bring Franklin back to his birthplace, Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, where he was made. I wonder if anyone will remember him. Franklin was well known by VTB staff at one point, and once, when his head came off (yes, really!) he even went to the hospital, and they sent me a photo of him in a gourney attached to a honey IV drip:


Realistically though… I doubt anyone at VTB will remember Franklin. Laura is no longer there, and in general, things do not seem to be the same at that factory and I believe they haven’t been since their “Crazy For You” bear gaffe that caused people at the company to even resign. But I still am excited to check this off my bucket list.

Speaking of excitement, I’m starting to allow that to happen. Our vacations have been repeatedly canceled due to COVID, so, it’s hard to get excited anymore, but slowly it’s happening in spite of myself. ๐Ÿ˜…

I’m insanely busy every day, working on commissions, doing last-minute adjustments to my packing, making sure the animals are ready… it goes on and on. Yesterday I went quickly on an outing to get snacks, the tiniest umbrella I could find, and a luggage tag. I ended up snagging a few other goodies I ran into:

This one was especially neat, for sure:

Also, those bandanas are incredible. I gave one to Bizcocho and the other one to Franklin. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Ok, I have to do some chores, get something to eat, get art done. Off I go!