Category Archives: ๐Ÿ“š Books And Reading ๐Ÿ“š

Ultimate Dinopedia By National Geographic Kids + The Hagwood Trilogy ๐Ÿฆ•๐Ÿ“š

Recently, I’ve been reading much more. And I did mean to blog more about my renewed reading habits, but there just hasn’t been any time. I’ll try to remedy that a little with this post. While I’ve been reading all sorts of things (including a LOT of manga) on this post I’m going to concentrate on two things: the book I am reading right now, and the series I just finished.

๐Ÿฆ– Ultimate Dinopedia By National Geographic Kids ๐Ÿฆ–

I’ve started reading this beautiful National Geographic Kids “Ultimate Dinopedia” and it is AMAZING:

When I picked it up some months ago, I was impressed at a quick glance –especially by the illustrations. But I did not expect it would be so informative or so respectful of its audience. If you are a dinosaur fan who actually knows little about dinosaurs, you will love this book, even if its intended audience is children.

Scientific books for kids do not usually (in my experience) give so much “we suppose”, or “it is believed” or “we imagine, but can’t actually know”. At least growing up, I saw much more “this is how it was” and now why or how we “knew” it was so. This book, however, tells you of specific paleontologist’s theories, and whether most other paleontologists agree with them or not. Even on the slightest illustrated detail, like a bit of flesh on a dinosaur’s face, it will tell you: “we think it might have had this thing –we have no way to know”. It is a book of suppositions and generally agreed upon ideas about these wonderful creatures.

For all my love of dinosaurs, I do not know much about them. I hope as I read this book I can at least learn to identify basic species as well as the time periods they lived in.

๐Ÿ“š The Hagwood Trilogy ๐Ÿ“š

Over the past few months (starting at the time of the ill-fated New England trip that didn’t happen as planned) I’ve been reading The Hagwood Trilogy. It is comprised of Thorn Ogres of Hagwood, Dark Waters Of Hagwood, and War In Hagwood. It is written by Robin Jarvis. Without a doubt, it has been an unforgettable journey, the sort of dark fantasy series that will stick with me for a while, and I do not come across often.

The protagonist is a little werling boy called Gamaliel Tumpin. Werlings are a species that can shapeshift (AKA “wergle”) into animals of approximate size of their own or smaller –think hedgehogs, birds, squirrels, mice. They can also wergle into insects or other things, with potentially grave consequences, which definitely plays into the story.

I was familiar with Robin Jarvis’ writing from The Deptford Mice Trilogy. Much like in the Deptford Mice books, the Hagwood series is a pretty gruesome affair involving tiny cuddly critters, none of whom (and I do mean NONE) can you afford to get too emotionally attached to, because Jarvis has zero hesitation about giving major protagonists (including very likable ones) quite grisly ends, often completely out of nowhere. Once you are familiar with his work, you basically hold your breath through any book of his, praying that your favorite character doesn’t die.

Jarvis also has an uncanny knack for generating villains that not only do you love to hate, but you can actually be afraid of. Every time Rhiannon, The Queen Of Faerie, appears in the Hagwood books, you are very glad that you are safely on the other side of the page, and you half wonder if she can still reach you with some of that horrendous dark magic.

WARNING: I’m gonna get extremely spoilery below, so do not proceed unless you’ve read this whole series or don’t care if it’s spoiled for you.

HEAVY SPOILERS BELOW!

A Perfect Saturday! ๐Ÿ’–

What a totally amazing day! We went to the Swap Shop. It brings back a lot of old memories. It was much deader and emptier, but somehow smelled worse than ever. Still, good company will make the dirtiest and most mundane place in the world wonderful, as is always the case. We had a lot of fun. And, I bought three books! I only spent $3.00.

My original goal was to keep Pinocchio in my library, while the other two would be for scrapbooking. However, upon inspection at home, all three books turned out to be so nice and in such lovely condition, that I cannot bear to use them in such a manner. They will all be permanent library additions.

In particular, while flipping through the Little Golden Books Story Land compilation, I came across a blast from my childhood. This was, in fact, the first-ever book in English I ever owned:

As a child, I understood very few words in this story. It’s really odd to see it again and now understand the words. Not all of the illustrations from the story are in this book, but reading it, I see the missing illustrations that are seared into my mind. This book stuck with me, because I could NOT figure out the story from the illustrations alone, and I remembered this frustrated me a lot! ๐Ÿ˜…

Here are a couple of photos of the other books:

We were done with the Swap Shop fairly early, and from there went garage saling. We didn’t buy anything, but it was fun anyway. Then we went to get coffee, did some work around the house, and went out again for lunch. We had Mod Pizza!

Earlier in the day our friend pointed out this lovely little mushroom to me. I am always in wonder at how quickly they pop up and how perfect they are. Nature is so beautiful. Anyway, I had to take a picture!

After our friend left, Christopher, his mom, and I hung out, I finished the daily warm-up, watched Christopher play video games, and generally amorously harassed him as the entire morning left me feeling a little too hyper.

Before having my dinner, I went on another walk. I was doing quite well with my calories (and not feeling overly hungry or tired!) and I didn’t need to, but I wanted to finally have a banana pudding cup. ๐ŸŒ It was worth it and the walk made me feel even better anyways! ๐Ÿ’

During my walk I spotted another cuban snail shell, it was even more frustrating than usual because it was still brown (as in, not sun-bleached) and had snail remnants! Aaagh. ๐Ÿ˜ซ Most of it had been eaten by ants, but looked fresh. Where ARE these guys??

Our friend promised me he’d get me some of those snails from his yard and I hope he doesn’t forget and gets me a LOT. I’ll gladly put out the other tank again for some cuban snailios.

Also during my walk, I was able to create an Einiosaurus!

Just look at this cutie!

Oh yeah… some stuff came in the mail, such as my last Jurassic World dino (Baby Blue) and my pre-order of Kitaria Fables. Also –I paid yet more debt!

Now I’m off to do my chores. I feel rejuvenated for sure. I feel like I’m improving my art speed, making progress with debt, improving my physical shape and health, and I have fun things to look forward to next week. I just feel good. It’s a good Saturday.

Last Bits Of Birthday Stuff (Part #2) ๐ŸŽโœจ

Iโ€™d mentioned yesterday that I was waiting for two last birthday things. ๐Ÿ˜Š They arrived! One was the Heeler four wheel drive family vehicle. Itโ€™s really cute! ๐Ÿš— โœจ

I haven’t opened any of my Bluey toys yet. Waiting for special occasions.

I really like the detail of the car seats and the accurate location of the steering wheel:

The other thing that came in was one more book for scrapbooking. Itโ€™s also very cute. However, it has some minor water damage so Iโ€™m having it replaced.

And thatโ€™s it for all my birthday stuffs. Now Iโ€™m doing some chores and from afternoon until night itโ€™s going to be a serious buckle-down on commissions! ๐ŸŽจโœŠ

Birthday Tea Time!

My cramps were terrible this morning โ€”the worst theyโ€™ve been in maybe 3 years. Tea almost had to be cancelled! But four painkillers and a hot compress later, I managed to get ready to goโ€ฆ no fancy dress this time. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ I couldnโ€™t handle it feeling like that. I still felt decently cute, though.

Oh yeah –somehow, I forgot to show off this bag until today! The reason is that I got it during the recent vacation, as an early birthday present from Christopher. By which I mean I saw it at Boxlunch while Christopher was miles away (we spent that day in separate places) and I told him I’d had to have it even if I overdrafted my bank account. So, would he go halfsies with me on it as a birthday present?

In the end, he covered the whole cost, knowing how much this movie means to me on a spiritual level. ๐Ÿ˜ But I wasnโ€™t allowed to touch or take photos of it or anything until my actual birthday. And then I forgot because I’d hidden it. Anyway –here it is!

Christopher wore one of Grandpaโ€™s shirts today, so I took this photo to send to Grandma. Itโ€™s been just a couple of days since the first anniversary of Grandpaโ€™s passing… The flag was a gift from Grandma too so I included it in the photo:

Mignon was my companion for this outing!

๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŽ€ Time For Tea ๐ŸŽ€๐Ÿฐ

Hereโ€™s Mignon with my first tea pick, a peaches and cream tea. Itโ€™s a favorite of mine.

Then we had quichรฉ and tomato soup!

Finally the best part came! I didnโ€™t take a photo of the tray this time… It’s the same as usual –lots of delicious finger sandwiches and sweets.

They always put so much effort in the little details!

We took our time and really enjoyed ourselves. It’ll be a while before we get to go again.

After tea, we went to walk around Tateโ€™s Comics. Then Christopher began to look for some other place to go before heading home, but so many old places we frequented had shut down permanently because of Covid… I just sat and played with Mignon while he looked on his phone.

Mignon might have gotten a little restless after a whileโ€ฆ

Eventually we went to a retro antique store and to a thrift shop. We didnโ€™t have any intention of shopping, but I found this book for just $1:

If you know these characters (you probably donโ€™t) you know how hard this stuff is to find! Canโ€™t beat it at just one dollar.

It really was a wonderful time. I didnโ€™t have the heart to tell Lia (the owner) that it might be months/over a year before we can go again. ๐Ÿ˜ขWith our current situation, I think we will be lucky to be able have such a treat for our next anniversaryโ€ฆ but it was such a lovely time, and I feel so lucky that we didn’t have to cancel it.

Last Bits Of Birthday Stuff (Part #1) ๐ŸŽโœจ

My last bit of birthday stuff (mostly Amazon gift card stuff) is arriving today and some arrived yesterday! I really ended up spoiled beyond belief… I will say that, considering that luxuries such as these are gonna go out of the window starting in August, Iโ€™m so glad that I have so much stuff to have fun with for a long while.

๐Ÿฃ Littlespace Stuff ๐Ÿฃ

First is this Bingo night light! Iโ€™m going to enjoy looking at it every day on my desk while I work:

Here she is all lit up! You can’t turn the light off –it goes off by itself after a few minutes.

Here are some more vintage unopened trading cards. Canโ€™t wait to open these during Littlespace and then scrapbooking with them!

These things can be really hit or miss though. Sometimes I get a lot of “puzzle piece” type cards…

Next –more stickers!! Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Crayon Shin-Chan this time. ๐Ÿ‘€

Then there’s another book for scrapbooking art into my journal. I have one more of these coming later today.

๐ŸŒˆ Other Cool Things ๐ŸŒˆ

I had a lot of these books on my wish list and was really glad to get at least one. Itโ€™s absolutely fantastic! If youโ€™re a writer I highly recommend it.

The way it works is, you look up an emotion, and for each emotion you get a wealth of expressions that you can use to express that particular state of mind. It’s just so cool.

Finally โ€”this wasnโ€™t a birthday present. I preordered this AGES agoโ€ฆ it finally came today. (*๏ฟฃโˆ€๏ฟฃ) โœจ

I really did buy a lot of crap before things went south recentlyโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜… and other than Grandmaโ€™s check (which I saved) I pretty much spent all birthday money right away, tooโ€ฆ I wanna make sure it is clear no donation money went to any of this junk. It was either purchased before or with gift cards/money given to myself with the caveat that it was to be used for birthday treats.

Also. I think you all know this, BUTโ€ฆ my spending sprees often coincide with depression. Especially if itโ€™s my Little side that is hit. ๐Ÿ˜“ You can often tell Iโ€™m depressed even if Iโ€™m seemingly super happy by how much s**t I buy in a given period of time, even if I seem super happy in my posts.

With that said, it definitely wonโ€™t be possible going forward for a while, so Iโ€™ll have to find a different coping mechanism. ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ’ฆ Thankfully, I have a lot to entertain myselfโ€ฆ and the Zoom meeting with other Littles did me tremendous good too!

To be clear, no one has given me a hard time about this at allโ€ฆ but I worry about perception, so I wanted to set that straight.

I think that’s all for this post. I’m working really hard. Things are still fairly stressful at home, but taking time every few days to be Little is doing wonders for my mental health. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

Taiyaki + Manga Time! ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ“š

Fish is part of a good diet, right? ๐Ÿค”

I really enjoyed this. Just lay on the couch with a few volumes of a brand new manga, my favorite coffee, and some taiyaki fresh out of the oven:

Also, I guess TokyoPop came back from the dead? Iโ€™m surprised they would dare/try to continue using this brand to publish under, but then again, I did buy this. Lol.

Speaking of –this manga is like, SUPER furry. You guys would love it.

This is just pure gold. By the way, the dude is a wolf bakemono in human form.

CHRIST

Silliness aside, I legitimately recommend it. I’m too busy to go into details about the story, but if you’re into Japanese folklore and animals turning into humans, and the idea of a tsundere fox god and his incredibly cute tanuki cub companion, you’re in for a real treat. ๐Ÿ‘Œ

National Squelfpoon’s Vacation: 6/27 – 7/4 ๐ŸŽข๐ŸŒˆ

Alrighty! Here’s the summary of the rest of the week. I’ve separated each day in sections while including everything in a single post. It doesn’t include the couple of days I already blogged about, so this is from Sunday 27th and onwards.

Looking at it all, photos, etc, it really should have been more enjoyable for me… It was a trip full of fun things after all… I wonder if I would have had a much better time were it not for my period, which came on the third morning. Then again, Christopher believes stress triggers my periods to come early, because they always seem to come when I’m anxious or stressed out. So it was this time. ๐Ÿ˜ž

(CW for fairly detailed period related talk below.)

I don’t know though. Last 3-4 months my period has been slightly abnormal. It’s regular, but comes on very suddenly –no physical warning other than bad mood, and it’s like BAM it’s there ๐Ÿ˜ณ without the usual mild few days of spotting. It also leaves very suddenly, whereas it used to be gradual.

This time felt so sudden that I got scared and thought something else entirely was happening to me, like, something serious. But no. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Well, who knows. ๐Ÿ˜… I really do have to go see my gynecologist this month so I can be properly examined and make sure everything is okay. ๐Ÿค”

BTW, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO DIAGNOSE ME OR GIVE SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE GOING ON WITH MY BODY –not even in the form of shared personal experiences. It feels presumptuous and makes me super anxious. Just don’t, okay.

(Period talk ends here.)

๐ŸŽฅ Disney Hollywood Studios ๐ŸŽฅ

Sunday, June 27th

We were up early on Sunday. Got to have McDonald’s which was a nice start to the day. Now all of this was several days ago so I don’t really remember everything… ๐Ÿค” The ride to Orlando was okay. We went to Disney Hollywood Studios, which, you know ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ I don’t do rides, so… I wasn’t exactly excited.

Ultimately, this day wasn’t too bad, it was one of the better ones. I did a bit of shopping, went on more rides than I normally would, including Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge. That was EPIC. Also, terrifying. Mostly because I’m scared of Stormtroopers, and Christopher basically pushed me towards them, I can’t imagine another ride where it feels so much like you are literally inside a movie. I wish everyone who is into Star Wars could experience it, I want to go again.

If you don’t mind the ride being spoiled for you, here’s a sort of rundown of it (the GIF above is borrowed from that Buzzfeed article.)

My interest in Star Wars was always just kinda mildly there, but not fanatically so, however the stuff I experienced in Galaxy’s Edge has me wanting to rewatch all the movies.

Honestly… part of why I’ve always been “eh” about Star Wars is that The Phantom Menace is my favorite movie, because it was my intro to the franchise maybe, and when you’re talking to other fans that’s just kind of a non-starter? People either are disgusted at your taste or make fun of you, so… I gravitated towards Star Trek instead. ๐Ÿ˜… But maybe I’ll stop holding back.

Lunch was interesting. They had a “lobster” roll, with quotes on the menu, because it was vegetarian:

The “lobster” was a hearts of palm salad. I love hearts of palm, and I did love this meal.

Everyone else had burgers, chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Here is my mom-in-law and (Christopher’s) Grandma during lunch:

I took video of the entire lightsaber-building experience of my sis-in-law and another family member, Brayden, who is kind of Christopher’s nephew, I think? It was really cool:

Here’s the video, in two parts because I had to stop in the middle of recording to do I forget what:

Made a GIF of this part because it was โœจ SO COOL โœจ:

Truly the entirety of Galaxy’s Edge was awesome and I really wish I had not been in such a foul mood. I would like to go again when I’m not feeling like that. I got on Star Tours too, though that was technically outside of Galaxy’s Edge. I liked it.

Other than that, I did end up getting on a number of other attractions and rides. It’s ironic because when I look back it was not a bad time at all. I think it was the knowledge of the immensely packed schedule ahead, the fact that I was still-reeling from the heartbreak of the original canceled plans, and my impending period, that made actually enjoying it so difficult. But, I’m really glad for the things I enjoyed, particularly the Star Wars parts.

๐Ÿฆ Animal Kingdom ๐Ÿฆ

Monday, June 28th

The next day was Animal Kingdom. I brought my iPad on this day to draw a little more during the queues, and really did try to be in a happier mood. Still, I failed at times, but I think my mood was better on a chunk of this day than on any of the other days.

We went on a Kilimanjaro Safari first thing. Got great seats. I was excited to see baobab trees, but it turns out they are fake. I didn’t know that until we got home. Apparently they used to have a single real baobab tree several years ago, but it died during a cold winter.

I didn’t take photos of the animals but there certainly were many about, as it was early in the morning and they were feeding.

At some point in the afternoon, the biggest highlight of the entire week happened for me: I won a beautiful stuffed animal at a game of chance in Dinoland. This was a big deal for three reasons:

  • The stuffed animal I wanted was the biggest prize in any stall (well, one of two options, but it was the hardest to win.) It wasn’t even available on every stall, just two.
  • The game I tried my hand at was ridiculously hard, with a minuscule chance of winning this specific toy.
  • I never win at these games –ever. So I never try, because I end up crushed and frustrated every time.

I’ll go into more detail about this down below on a different segment since I don’t have photos of this stuffed animal from this specific day. My long-suffering family, already dealing with my shit mood, patiently sat in the baking heat for about an hour until I got my prize. I really don’t deserve them.

I did lots of window shopping while at Animal Kingdom. We went on two rides in Pandora: Na’vi River Journey and Avatar: Flight of Passage. Both were stunning, the latter certainly scared me a good bit but it was incredible. Here’s a POV video someone else took of this ride:

You have to realize this envelops you completely unless you look behind you really craning your neck (which I did a few times to stop myself from pissing my pants) so it REALLY feels like you’re flying. It’s hard to convince your brain that you’re not, and it’s really hard if you’re afraid of heights as I am. But I loved it anyways. The River Journey was also unbelievably gorgeous, with really impressive effects.

On the way out, I ran by the Rainforest Cafe gift shop and bought some baby dinosaurs. Then we went to dinner and finally back to the hotel.

๐Ÿ‘ Savannah, GA – Day One ๐Ÿ‘

Tuesday, June 29th

I don’t remember we did during the morning… I do recall that the afternoon train was more or less on time, and I got to sit with Christopher and had a window seat, so other than my period making me kind of miserable, it was an enjoyable ride. The photo below was taken early-ish during the ride, just past 2:00pm. It was a little over five hours to Savannah.

Truly, I don’t know what delayed us so much, because I know we went from the train station to the hotel, and even as we got there we were desperate to get some food and everything was closing. The photo below was taken at like, 10:30pm, and we’d gotten our food maybe 15 minutes before that at a “hole in the wall” burger place that was literally called “Hole In The Wall”. We were all exhausted.

Went I went back to get a milkshake by myself, the lovely owner of the Hole In The Wall high-fived me over my Pride wallet and wished me a happy Pride Month. Told me about her husband, who came out to her as bisexual, and a few other related things. I told her a little about me, too. I wished I could have talked with her longer. She was so nice, and it was a rare moment of validation for me.

Here are some photos I took of that area, while everyone else ate:

After we got back to the hotel, I settled down to keep reading the first volume of The Hagwood Trilogy with my new iguanodon friend, Femur:

I first saw this guy at the gift shop in the Dinosaur dark ride in Animal Kingdom, under a display case. To my utter dismay, he could not be purchased. I was directed to where I could win him in a game of chance. Normally, this is a non-starter for me. As I mentioned earlier, I just do not do well at these games, and I do not take it well when I lose. But I wanted him too badly, and against my better judgement, decided to try.

Now, to give you an idea of how hard he was to win, see this article and scroll down to the Comet Crashers game. As you will notice, only very few cups have colors. All the ones without colors are losers. Of the cups with colors, I only saw two that were yellow –meaning, the biggest prize, the one I wanted so badly. One at each end. To make it worse, the spots were the third from the front in both cases –near impossibly difficult to get into as they were so close to the edges. Just going by number of slots, according to a redditor who calculated it, it’s roughly a 9% chance of winning.

I used multiple tickets, buying $35.00 worth of them from the get-go, really sure that I would not win him, or that I would win some stupid Mickey or Minnie toy. I just felt I had to try. And win him I did –on my fourth attempt. I remember my utter disbelief. I could have cried! I held him close for the rest of that day, and hugged him every night of the remainder of our trip, even gave him one of my bandanas to wear.

Anyway, with a cuddle from Femur and my book, that was the end of the first night in Savannah –we didn’t do anything but dinner.

๐Ÿ‘ Savannah, GA – Day Two ๐Ÿ‘

Wednesday, June 30th

Ok, so… by this day I was so exhausted, I’d count the rest of the days and just, inwardly cry. Also, Savannah is pretty and all, but a 1 hour trolley tour and a 1 hour boat tour are NOT worth 10+ hours on a train and dealing with a hotel room for two nights, not to me, anyway. Especially not being able to be alone with my husband (or by myself) quietly, at all, at no point (though at the end of this day I really stopped giving a flip and excused myself to be alone, which cost me one of the nicer meals of the trip. I ended up getting UberEats.)

I really would have enjoyed it WAY more if I hadn’t just been to two Disney parks, two different hotel rooms and five + hours on a train AND if I had been able to, you know, walk around and enjoy it which we couldn’t do, unfortunately, because it is not easy for Grandma to get around. From the trolley tour we were told of so many wonderful places to visit, but we couldn’t visit any of them. That made me really sad.

Below are some photos of the trolley tour. The houses were very pretty, but these are the only photos I got, literally nothing special at all in them.

We almost didn’t make it in time for the boat ride, but we did get on.

This was one of the times I excused myself from the family for a long period. They wanted to be inside in the AC which to me felt like a total waste of being on that boat in the first place. I wanted to look at the river, so I spent the entire hour standing, and watching, even when it rained on me a little.

The sun was blistering, but if you stood at the right end of the boat you could feel the wind in your face, at it was refreshing.

It was after this that everyone went to dinner and I just couldn’t force myself to leave the hotel room again. I showered, got some Japanese food ordered to the room, and finished reading my book with Beanie.

This book would also be a highlight of my trip, it was incredible, my favorite of Robin Jarvis’ books so far.

๐Ÿš‚ Intermission ๐Ÿš‚

Thursday, July 1st

And now we come to my lowest point. By 5:30am we were at the train station. I’d run out of painkillers, and of coffee. I was just a bundle of pain and misery, with a bumpy and painful train ride and like, four more days of not being home to look forward to.

At least, I told myself, I’ll be sitting next to Christopher, the seats are fairly comfortable, I can just put my head on his shoulder and I will feel better. Every moment I had alone with Christopher would raise up my HP by a few points, so I was eagerly looking forward to our “alone” time on the train, even in as much physical pain as I was.

Well… we ended up in the cafe car, four to a table, which doesn’t even have full-back seats (so you can’t sleep) and this would have been temporary, but my mom-in-law wanted to play cards or something and asked if we could be left there for the full FIVE HOURS. At this point I just lost my shit so much that I hid my head for a while and cried, there was nowhere for me to go.

Eventually I asked to be moved; it meant not being with Christopher, but I physically could not take the ride otherwise. I was moved to sit with a stranger, on an aisle seat. I begged to be moved to a window seat and eventually was moved to this…

It was kind of hilarious at this point, but at least I could lay against the side and try to sleep my pain away. But I was so lonely and miserable without Christopher. I felt that I hated everything, the train, the entire trip, just everything, but more than anything, by far, myself –for not being happy, for not handling well being tired and in pain the way everyone else did, for crying, for just being the way I am. I really wish I could be someone else, someone pleasant and easygoing, someone not selfish or whiny.

Though I don’t think my family would believe this, I really do fight against these sides of me constantly, but they are so bad, that none of that effort is noticeable. When my unpleasantness shows, it’s because my effort is finally cracking. I feel so much guilt for being the way I am. It really was the worst moment of all.

I felt better when we reached the train station. We went to Olive Garden for dinner and it was lovely. I felt my spirits lifting a tad.

Maybe that was just being next to Christopher again. He truly is the one single person in this world who doesn’t drain my energy, but replenishes it. Literally the only one. Just by being there. My appreciation and love for him was increased by the experience of this trip.

Later we just relaxed in the room, watched TV, I had some sweets and worked on this illustration which I’d also been working on during the train ride:

It’s a two-page spread for Meganeea featuring young Gideon, as well as the new chapter banner, since things have entered a new stage story-wise, the banner of little Faahvrigรผo is a tad outdated.

That marked the end of the day.

๐Ÿฐ Disney Springs / Florida Mall ๐Ÿฐ

Friday, July 2st – Saturday, July 3rd

Friday it was just Grandma and me. While everyone else went to Universal, we went to Disney Springs (Downtown Disney). Our Uber was really something, I appreciated this guy’s passion:

I wanted to get a photo of the outside of the car but it was raining and I had to make sure Grandma stayed dry and didn’t slip.

At one point I saw this huge canvas print –while it is not my style, I know Christopher would have loved it. It’s a dream of his, to have a print like this, by this artist, of this character. It was $500, and if I had had the funds on hand I would not have hesitated. It broke my heart to not get it for him. But I got him a $10 magnet of the same image. ๐Ÿ˜…

I had to get a photo of Stitch. Always makes me think of Christopher and of Mwako.

The next day we went to Florida Mall, this time it was me, Grandma and my mom-in-law while everyone else went to Universal again. I mostly ran off on my own. The Florida Mall gives me funny feelings because it’s where I had my biggest “Shit! I’m kind of gay I guess!!” moment, and it was so intense that just walking by the spot where it happened I have to take a moment, and just stop. It was like a lightning bolt at the time. Very bittersweet even to this day.

We were supposed to go home the next day, but one of our petsitters left the back door open, plus I ran out of pads, plus I ran out of epilepsy meds, and between one thing and another, we drove home one day early. My joy knew no bounds! ๐Ÿ˜ญโœจ๐Ÿ’–

โœจ My Vacation Haul โœจ

I… did a lot of shopping… well… what can I say, it kept me sane. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’ง

I already showed off Femur, so I’ll proceed to the next thing I absolutely loved and which rekindled my desire to scrapbook. A beautiful book-bound journal from a delightfully cringy favorite of mine:

The cover looks a lot like the original featured in the movie:

Another favorite find was a Mandalorian pencil case with adorable stationary –this was my souvenir from Grandma, she insisted we all pick one:

Third favorite find was also Mandalorian related, another journal, smaller than the first but no less luxurious:

Those are my most favorite things (well, minus a MAJOR one, but it’s my birthday present, so I guess I won’t show it here yet, since I’m not allowed to touch it until then.) Here’s everything else:

(I think this is the first time I’ve found something with my name at a store!)

And that’s it. That’s my vacation. Made a few good memories, still would have rather stayed home. Divided into three or even two trips, everything we did would have been far more enjoyable and less utterly exhausting. I’m still in so much pain just from sheer exhaustion. Definitely would have been without my period and without the massive disappointment of the cancellation hanging over, but it is what it is… at least I am home and I’m so grateful for that.

Now, back to work!

Motherโ€™s Day Weekend In Sebastian ๐ŸŒˆ ๐Ÿงธ

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. First of all I want to apologize for the inactivity –I am finally home again, and I am feeling better. Just very tired.

Though commissions are still a tad delayed, I was able to finish the warm-ups, and will be posting them shortly. I also got progress underway on three more pieces. I really appreciate everyoneโ€™s patience.

We had a nice time with family. My mom in law has a new fish. It is called a Plecostomus or simply Pleco. Itโ€™s the type of fish that suctions onto the glass with its mouth a lot of the time. Heโ€™s really cute and I love him. Heโ€™s big, too. I got a couple of photos of him just lounging.

One of the kids at my mom in lawโ€™s school made these play-doh snails when she told him I liked snails. Didnโ€™t he do an amazing job? I love them!

I brought my new bear, Beanie, on this trip, and cuddled him to sleep…

In the morning, Beanie and I had breakfast together.

My mom in lawโ€™s fluffy cat Spaz came to me for cuddles. Heโ€™s such a softie!

After breakfast we left for Renningers Flea and Farmers Market. Beanie looked out the window all the way.

At Renningers I bought some books, a handbag, a huge snail magnet and a couple of mousepads –one for me and one for my sis in law. Here’s my haul:

Afterwards we had dinner at Makoto’s and then played cards in the evening. I tried to sneak in drawing whenever I could, so I didn’t play cards all the time, but it was nice spending time with family even when I was working.

Grandma didn’t spend much time with us while we were playing. She fell asleep on the couch. I think she fell asleep praying… it was really cute.

Before bed we played a few rounds of Trivia Murder Party and I won once.

Now I’m going to post some art, finish unpacking and then get more art done. I hope you enjoyed your Mother’s day weekend!

The Weekend’s Treasures โœจ๐Ÿฆ•๐Ÿš‚

Good morning everyone! I’m still doing lots of things… even more laundry, still unpacking, very busy… I did say I would make an additional post to share my new treasures and souvenirs, so here we go! In no particular order…

These are the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway goodies we snagged. Three battery operated engines! Diesel, Percy and Thomas. Very happy with these finds!

Then, as you can see, we got a few “destinations”. A water tower, a search light, a quarry mine tunnel and a winter fuel station!

The store had a lovely friendly attendant who surprised me with a cute little doodle of Thomas when we went to the register to pay! ๐Ÿฅฐ

Here are some goodies from The Sound Exchange in Tampa Bay. We found a brand new record of the music from Tales From The Crypt (which we are currently binging!) a Laserdisc featuring How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who, and another of the Dead Poets Society.

Something else they had at the Sound Exchange was old books and magazines. I decided to take this one, from 1966, partly because it had some pages about dinosaurs.

It’s an interesting little magazine, with lovely illustrations. It was one hundred percent brand new, as it must have looked the day it was made.

Continuing the dinosaur topic, we visited Mojo Books & Records across the street from our hotel. This is actually a place we visited on our second anniversary trip. We loved it then and now! I decided to look for more dinosaur books, because why not. I found a few:

They are all beautiful, but my favorite is the first one (The New Dinosaurs). The biggest book, The Prehistoric World Of The Dinosaur, had a child’s drawing inside:

I almost discarded it, and perhaps eventually I will, but Christopher pointed out that some kid loved dinosaurs and this book so much, that he carefully drew them and placed the drawing inside. Thinking that, it felt wrong to remove it.

And now, let me share the best part, which is my haul(s) from Dinosaur World! One haul wasn’t enough… Christopher took me back on Saturday. He really indulged me all weekend long. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’•

First off there are these tiny, tiny books! About the size of my hand. Little stories about dinosaurs.

I got a visor and a tie-dye shirt! ๐ŸŒˆโœจ

I found a wonderful foam dino in the same general vein as Mojito and Fuit Gummy, but a completely different color and pose. I think he will make a great friend for them! I’m calling him Churrasco.

I also got this medal which I will hang from my cork memory board:

And a few more odds and ends; a patch (also for my cork board, at least for now) a pencil case and a rubber bracelet:

They had so many beautiful statues… it was really very hard to pick what to buy. I ended up getting this little guy:

And this beautiful… beautiful, massive gal… The jewel of everything I got this weekend. I adore her. I could go on, but I’ll leave you to look at the photos:

And that’s it! There are a few things that stayed in my mind as “wish I’d gotten that” but I had to stop somewhere. ๐Ÿ˜… One was a foam triceratops that I didn’t buy at the store where we got the Thomas stuff. I looked for it online, and all I could find is that it’s by a brand called Best Choice and is out of stock everywhere. Another was a raptor lamp at the Dinosaur World, and a lenticular print, also from there… but I’m sure if I’d gotten these things, there would be something else I regretted leaving behind. So it’s alright. ๐Ÿ˜

I do wish Christopher had found more things he liked, but he didn’t really. We both had a good time, though.

Anyway that’s all for my trip, I have to go grocery shopping now. Hope your week is off to a great start!

An Outing ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ›’

Yesterday I went shopping for groceries and visited a few stores for fun. I went to the Salvation Army, which was as gross as ever, and to Party City. Oh, and to Goodwill. I did find a few goodies.

At Party City I got a cup and some napkins and paper plates. Unfortunately it’s all the new 3D style. The hand-drawn art of the “generation” prior to this one is hard to find now, all they had left is a pack of thank you cards. ๐Ÿ˜ž

In the mail when I got home was a little packet I’d been expecting, with a couple of signs and the thing I actually cared about, a little Fat Controller of my very own.

At Goodwill I found two books. One was a very interesting books about unicorns and their history in different cultures:

The other one was a Rugrats book about Christmas which is kinda weird since Tommy’s family is Jewish and this is told from Tommy’s POV:

The art was cute though:

At the Salvation Army (did I mention this place was gross? matches their politics I guess) I found a giant checkers set, brand new in its wrapping, for $6.99. I’d been wanting one forever, so I got it.

The little Big Bird keychain was from Party City.

Here’s an after-lunch treat I had while playing Cafรฉ Enchantรฉ. I’m finally on Ignis’ route. The main story took FOREVER!

That’s all for this post!