Tag Archives: Dinosaurs

Toy Shopping! ๐Ÿฆ–โœจ๐ŸŒˆ

Today I went on a liโ€™l spree! ^-^ I got some little carry cases for my earbuds, a super-soft Animal Crossing blanket, some bandanas for my toy pals and a yard of sparkly rainbow star fabric to make a bandana for myself.

But most importantly I made two new dino friends! They are BIG, and poseable!

These are officially licensed Jurassic World dinos which, in spite of LOVING Jurassic Park, I kind of avoid. I prefer simply dino toys with no sounds or fancy features and no branding. These two fit the bill so amazingly well that I couldnโ€™t pick just one, and got both the raptor and the t-rex. ๐Ÿ˜

I also bought some more little cases to organize my necklaces in the bathroom cabinet, a few more toys for the cats, and the main thing Iโ€™d gone shopping for: a bunch of oversized cheap t-shirts to use as nightshirts. I wanted enough for all the days of the upcoming trip without needing to do laundry.

For dinner we had beef tacos that Christopher made. They were great!

Overall Iโ€™m having some good days. Iโ€™m very busy and tired as we get closer to the trip but Iโ€™m trying my best to have everything ready, from the animals to packing to my artwork, to my mom’s immigration paperwork, while still taking care of myself in between. I’m really grateful to everyone who is being so patient with me as I get all the work done.

Naturalization Day ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโœจ

Hello everyone! ๐Ÿ‘‹ My weekend is wrapping up so itโ€™s finally time to write a proper post telling all that happened since Friday morning. It was a fateful and eventful day, with big highs and big lows but overall fantastic really, when all is said and done. Letโ€™s do this!

โค๏ธ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™ Naturalization Ceremony โค๏ธ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™

We left the house at 6:30am. The ceremony was at 8:15am, so we went to Dunkinโ€™ Donuts to get breakfast first, since Dunkinโ€™ was the first thing my mom and I ate when we landed on the US almost 20 years ago at 4:00am. ๐Ÿฉ So on such a special occasion, of course we had to start with that. We met my mom at USCIS in Hialeah.

The ceremony, I have to say, was really lackluster. ๐Ÿ˜ž I did expect that to a degree, with COVID and all, but the masks, the social distancing, the Judge having to be there over Zoom, none of that was the issue. Even not being able to have guests there was much of an issue to me.

More than anything, it felt like this particular USCIS location didn’t give the event the gravitas it deserved. The thing that sucked most was that the USCIS employees werenโ€™t ready, so as the Judge was talking to us, and saying all of these important things, they were talking over her. ๐Ÿ˜  Wtf?! They were trying to get everyoneโ€™s paperwork and such and we just couldnโ€™t hear the Judge. All stuff that should have been done before we entered that room.

Another thing was that, for all they tell you to dress to mark the dignity of the occasion, there were people with tank tops, torn jeans, visible panties (?!) which did also kinda spoil the mood for me a tad. ๐Ÿ˜’

But even that wasnโ€™t the worst. At one point the Judge asked that we all take out our paper with the Oath of Allegiance. No one had it because they failed to give it to us! So we all repeated after the Judge as best as we could but that was so upsetting, some of the words were hard to understand. This was also the Oath with which you renounce allegiance to your country of birth. It’s a big deal and was supposed to be so solemn. And EVEN AT THIS TIME, some employees are still talking over the Judge and walking around! Give me a break.

Another bummer was that the video of Biden welcoming us didnโ€™t play. I was looking forward to that so much. And then the Judge asked us to take out the little flags we had been given but we had been given NO FLAGS! I was so upset by this too. We did get our flags by the end, with the Naturalization Certificate, after the ceremony was over. But not on that special moment. Worse yet, we could see on the livestream that people at other locations got them properly and in time.

As we left we did get some photos outside with me holding my little flag, though, so that was nice:

Here is my Naturalization package… ๐Ÿ˜ the flag, certificate (I edited out all sensitive info) and my voter registration and passport papers to fill out! It’s official!

Later, during the party, I got a frame from our friend Fern to put my certificate. I’ll frame it and put it on the wall this week. I got a stand for my little flag too. Displaying everything properly this week.

We were supposed to go to lunch with my mom a couple hours after, so we went to our house to relax a while until it was time. I was so excited about this lunch! But alas, it was not to be, because…

โ›ˆ๏ธ Elliot’s Emergency Vet Visit โ›ˆ๏ธ

Elliot got very sick, very suddenly. He must have been developing an UTI for a few days. But he was fine, eating and drinking well, playing and running like crazy. Suddenly, he began crying, dragging his front on the rug, panting heavily and desperately, trying to pee everywhere, without success. So right before we were about to leave for lunch, my mom had to go home and we ran to the vet as an emergency.

It was clear that Elliot was suffering terribly all the way. Between that, the lackluster ceremony, and the canceled long-awaited celebratory lunch, my spirits were so low. It felt like my day might be ruined. How can I be happy when my kitty is suffering.

Elliot had to have multiple medications to treat his infection, and manage his pain. We went home with a $330 bill… I didn’t even dare ask that we still have a meal out. We went home and I did my best to cheer up as I continued getting the house ready for the party, but at this point I wasn’t in the mood for partying anymore. ๐Ÿ˜”

๐Ÿฑ Patriotic Kitties ๐Ÿฑ

As I cheered up and decorated I began to fool around. I may have gotten Kotoko and Rosemary involved:

No Elliot, because he was sick, and no Tomoyo, because I didn’t feel like being hospitalized.

๐Ÿฅณ The Party ๐Ÿฅณ

I was barely ready when guests began to arrive. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ The first was my new friend Shelly and her boyfriend Ben. Shelly is a fellow Little whom I met online almost two years ago. We were supposed to attend Little Scouts together but that fell through because of… stuff happening in both our lives, and soon after I became so jaded on having Little friends and doing Little things, that I didn’t pursue further and you know, time just passed, and then COVID hit.

So, a month or so ago (I may have told this story in passing on my blog actually) a pest control truck was parked across the street from my house. I’d been looking for someone to do pest control inside our house and I saw a girl near the truck; I thought, great! I want to support a woman-led pest control business. I never see that. So I ran outside in my rainbow socks like a crazy person.

I approach the truck and ask, and this girl, who’s now in the truck with a gentleman, looks at me really intensely while explaining that they only do outdoor pest control. I go back inside and get a text from Shelly, the girl I didn’t get to meet long ago, and she’s all like, did you just ask me about pest control?? Of all the crazy coincidences, right?

Anyway, thankfully Shelly is better at remembering people from photos than I am. We began texting again but I couldn’t manage to make some spare time to meet, so I invited them to this party, and thankfully they both came and hopefully weren’t too put off by my obnoxiousness. ๐Ÿ˜… They were both so nice.

A lot of people began to arrive soon after them. Some couldn’t make it, but people who I wasn’t expecting to see made it, and we had a great turnout. Christopher made great burgers as usual and a lot of the snacks I got were eaten.

Before I veer off from the topic above, it seems a Little-geared event may soon happen among a bunch of us, all girls, and more Middles than Littles really… I feel excited in that small, happy way about Littlespace for the first time in the longest time ever, so it’s a big plus to this party.

I wrote a lot, so I’m going to interject with some pictures here:

Something that I was NOT expecting was presents. Danny and Amanda gave me a card and fifty bucks that I had a lot of fun spending at Barnes & Noble the next day (more on that later.) My mom in law came dressed in patriotic colors and gave me a flag cookie, a $50 Amazon gift card, a beautiful bracelet with USA flag colors, and at some point I lose track of what was from her and what was from Grandma… I got a pole and a USA flag for the house, and I do mean a real proper full size all-weather flag, and I believe one was from my mom in law and the other from Grandma. There was also napkins and a tablecloth and a garden flag, and a dish towel, all USA themed, it was really all too much… I was floored.

Grandma also sent this pair of flags. I have a similar one already on the porch, so I will rotate them as they wear out:

There was a lovely note from Grandma too. My friend Jen got me some fancy liqueur and my very dear friend Kris and his lovely girlfriend Sivan got me a tic-tac-toe set. You may not think this sounds very special, and I was a bit puzzled, until I opened the actual pieces and screamed. Here it is in the library!

It’s handmade in Puerto Rico. Needless to say, they know me well…

We drank a fair bit. Christopher is such a delightful drunk.

I just get more obnoxious. For my drink, I asked Leo to pop the cork in my champagne, and he somehow broke the mouth of the bottle and cut his finger, so I gave him a Cinderella printed band-aid and filtered my champagne through a Keurig reusable pod. There were no crunchies. ๐Ÿ˜

Here’s more drunk Christopher. This was near the end of the night. You can hear my mom in law telling him to just be quiet. Lol.

Christopher rarely drinks and for this reason I LOVE it when he does. He’s the best kind of drunk, just fun and happy. We had to carry him up the stairs though.

My mom in law took several photos, but most of this night’s photos were taken by my friend Andrea, who, by the way, came looking SUPER patriotic. She’s very good at just constantly taking random candid photos for which I am always grateful.

Here’s a selfie round-up:

Speaking of Andrea being great at capturing moments, some DDR actually happened since Christopher fixed the machine. Here he is playing with dad-to-be Leo:

Here’s both Christopher and I, happy and drunk. A wonderful night almost over.

I took this photo right before getting in bed. Getting Christopher to bed was a whole ordeal. Bert was a big help. Christopher was so happy and loopy, poorly coordinated and consequently difficult lol. As soon as he passed out after brushing his teeth, Kotoko protectively lay on him.

And that was the end of this wonderful night. One more thing I want to mention is that I got to hang out with my old friends for a long time, I mean my pre-Christopher friends, for the first time in years. Properly, I mean.

You see… a few years ago, I felt so fulfilled by Christopher and by the couple of friends that we were deeply close with at that time, that I unconsciously (or perhaps somewhat consciously) stepped away from my old friend group, I can even say I pushed my friends aside. The friendship we had with that couple truly and utterly filled my heart and the free time in my weekends. When it wasn’t that, I was so absorbed with my furry friends and my Little side/lifestyle that I felt it didn’t merge well with my old friend group. I didn’t lose touch completely, but I did by a big amount.

Now, other than seeing one of our old friends sometimes (since I had a terrible and very painful falling out with the other) that “couple” friendship is gone and it left a huge gaping hole. There’s no more hanging out every weekend, no more meeting up to cook a meal at our place or going to an art walk or a thrift sale. It took a long time to get used to that. But I didn’t feel like just trying to rekindle old friendships either. I was left quite jaded and afraid by that experience and a similar one that followed. No longer in pain, but tired by it, just jaded.

Now a lot of time has passed since the last truly painful, traumatizing stuff. Two plus years. Other bad stuff happened but it’s more easily brushed off. And I saw my old OLD friends again. Almost all of them came. They didn’t have to, you know. None of them forgot me. They all came to celebrate me and treated me as if I’d been part of the group in the same way the last five years (which I have not been.)

I felt more comfortable and more like myself among them than I ever did before. Like the old me and the new me came together and I’m comfortable again. And now I better see how precious friendships are. I was so careless with them.

Our MAD anime group had its share of drama but most of us have always gotten along and sorted out conflicts. I knew that before but didn’t realize its value. My friends are all very different but they are good people and I’m really lucky to be back among them after I kind of discarded them temporarily. Maybe I thought I didn’t need them but that is not true. No friendship should ever be taken for granted. We get less in a lifetime than we think, and I was and am lucky to have them.

We have the next MAD meetup planned, at our place! I haven’t hosted one in years, so I’m really excited. It’s on June 12th.

Sorry to get so verbose… let’s move on to Saturday!

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Since I didn’t get a nice meal with my mom, my mom in law treated me to the same place I wanted to go to for Saturday’s lunch (The Tavern). I brought Beanie along for this one:

I had crab cakes, teriyaki brussel sprouts and cole slaw. I wanted to have crรจme brรปlรฉe for dessert but in the end I was just too full.

After this we went to the book store. I saw this cute book but I didn’t buy it, I got a picture though:

It KILLED me that we ran into Thomas stuff, and they had Harold, Edward AND Cranky!! I didn’t dare ask Christopher for any of it… ๐Ÿ˜– He’s been spending way too much because of me. But seeing this stuff in person and not getting it was kinda killer, haha… at least I got a photo:

It was Cranky I wanted most of all. ๐Ÿ˜ญ But now, for what I DID buy. I got this Sesame Street tote:

It’s big and very thick and fits my iPad:

I also got a couple of dinosaur books and a li’l t-rex friend:

These books may be for little kids, but I want them for character design tips and ideas. The illustrations are amazing, and the quick facts are super useful:

Later we went to Brandsmart. We didn’t buy anything, it was just to look. Brandsmart always feels larger than life to me:

After that we went to PhแปŸ 79 for dinner, and then home. Before bedtime we played Rummikub and Mille Bornes. I had patriotic cakes with my new dino friend:

I went to bed very tired and happy. It was a wonderful day.

๐ŸŽ€ Sunday ๐ŸŽ€

Sunday was a quieter affair. I got up, had my coffee and got ready to head out on my walk. I wanted to check the Pride section at Target. Speaking of, my pansexual pride bandana did come in, at least, which you can see in the photo above.

It was a rainy day, everything gray and dull and wet. My outfit really stood out (and I’m not even holding my dinosaur umbrella here):

Before I went out though, my mom in law helped us install our brand new flag!

โค๏ธ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™ Installing The Flag โค๏ธ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™

Honestly, they did all the hard work. But I made sure the flag didn’t touch the ground.

Placing the pole!

We had to get at least one photo of me next to it:

Here’s the way the flag looks from the door, and from the street:

Here it is waving in all its glory! A waving flag makes a beautiful sound. I never paid attention to it until now.

At dusk we brought the flag in. We won’t actually take it out again until Thursday, as that is when we will be installing a light so it’s not in the dark at night.

I think that’s everything. A very busy week looms ahead, with cleaning-up to do, overdue warm-ups, immigration paperwork for my mom, answering lots and LOTS of congratulatory messages, and scheduling doctor appointments.

I’m going to take care of my snails now, and then head to bed. Thank you so much to everyone who read this!

A Relaxing Weekend ๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒผ

Despite being so busy, and a hiccup here and there, I think we really had a good weekend. Yesterday we played cards and did rebus puzzles. And I’ve gotten so much done in terms of exercise, commissions, and housework too. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The dishwasher broke down today. Well, it broke down a while ago, and wasn’t drying the dishes. Opening it up, and doing research, Christopher found the issues and came to the conclusion that we’ve reached a point where a fix does not make economic sense (this dishwasher has been fixed a few times by him) so, a new dishwasher it is.

We got super lucky, and managed to snag one for delivery tomorrow. With the upcoming party, we really needed it.

My t-rex Patriotic garden flag came in!

Here it is, installed:

With Christopher’s blessing, I also put this by the front window:

Unfortunately things have become such that overt displays of patriotism can cause people to assume that we hold a certain political leaning/viewpoints that we strongly disagree with. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ So I wanted to make it clear where we stand, regardless of all the USA flags.

That aside, I’ve been working on making the back porch prettier. The little gnome girl was a present from my mom:

I had one of these today while working on commissions, they’re pretty cute:

For dinner, Christopher obliged my rather selfish request and made me absolutely fantastic teriyaki turkey meatballs with rice (I think it was teriyaki, anyway… I made the rice, to help.) It was a great dinner!

Tomorrow I’ll be up at 6:30am again. Lots ‘n lots to do… ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Busy, Busy Monday ๐Ÿ˜ด

It’s bedtime! So, let me wrap up the day real quick… I’m heading to bed with a book but probably will be too tired to read.

Today I went grocery shopping. I dressed a bit crazier than usual –I’m accustomed to getting looks, but this getup generally gets me even surprised glances more than usual. ๐Ÿ˜…

I always get nice comments too, so honestly, if I made someone smile or amused them enough to distract them on a bad day, it’s a bonus. I had to laugh though, when an old Publix worker came up to me, excitedly asking if I was the lady who’d been giving out balloons on a different day. So basically I look like a clown. ๐Ÿคก I’d probably have done clown gigs if I had the charisma… I like clowns, I’m too shy for that though, and kids scare me. They’re all sticky and smelly. No thanks lol. ๐Ÿ˜‘

But yeah I went and I also got a little trolley to push my groceries in, so I can save money on Ubers and don’t have to bother Christopher for rides –plus, more walking, more exercise! Happy about all those things. And it was kind of fun to push it around. ๐Ÿ˜

Among many chores, I took care of my little snails, removed a couple that had passed, and fed and cleaned them all. The baby roman snails are thriving! Here’s a photo of one of my milk snails who was eating his lettuce with a lot of noise:

I think Kotoko missed me. She’s been spending lots of time in the studio with me. She seems to have recovered from her UTI, but it exhausted her. Here she is, snoring and dreaming…

For dinner, I made salmon, potatoes and salad. It was quite good and Christopher liked it too, which is the most important part:

I’m disappointed because I was unable to complete all my chores. I still have a lot to do. I guess I’ll have to finish tomorrow, it can’t be helped.

I mentioned this over on FA, but blog posts aside, PLEASE bear with me for the rest of April. I cannot talk on Telegram, I can’t respond quickly to anything that isn’t business related. If you have a commission inquiry, please don’t just say “hi”. Please send a message with what you want, all the info, etc. I don’t have time for long conversations this month because of a long queue and because I am studying for the citizenship test. If it’s commission related, I will respond, but otherwise you may not hear back from me for days, possible not until May. I do apologize. ๐Ÿ™‡โ€โ™€๏ธ

I’m going to try to get some rest. Goodnight, everyone! ๐ŸŒ™โœจ

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!

Anniversary Trip: Day 1 ๐Ÿ’• ๐Ÿฆ–๐Ÿฆ•

Iโ€™m so happy, Iโ€™m so happy, Iโ€™m so happy…! ๐Ÿ˜ญโœจ I donโ€™t even know how many times Iโ€™ve said this over and over during the last 48 or so hours.

Not everything in our getaway anniversary weekend went as expected. Some things were way more amazing than planned, others were kind of disappointing, and others were unexpected surprises that we enjoyed a lot. I took lots of pictures and I canโ€™t wait to tell you about it all. Iโ€™ll be dividing my weekend summary in two posts, plus a third one for all the goodies I got. This is day one โ€”the best day, really!

(I should add, our anniversary is actually on May 11th. But the timing worked best for this weekend, so we celebrated it early.)

We left a little after 7:00am and had McDonald’s for breakfast. It was unusually good, we enjoyed it a lot. As a side note, I was really excited for my outfit for this day! Iโ€™d never worn my Lazy Oaf overalls until this day. They are my only โ€œdesignerโ€ overalls:

They also marked the beginning of the pandemic for me: the last thing I did before serious lockdown began, was go to the tailor’s to pick them up after adding some extra buttonholes. It was my last day out without a mask. The world changed a lot right after that.

My companion for this weekend was Coffee Cake:

Coffee Cake was pretty excited for his first-ever road trip:

Our first stop after driving a few hours was lunch at the Whistle Stop cafe (the name appears differently on the menu for some reason). This is one of the places that was a bit of a mixed bag. ๐Ÿค” The restaurant felt like much of this little town: run down and with caked-on dirt in places. But it was also so old, established in the late 1800s as a drugstore! A lot of its original appearance was still in place, which I found fascinating.

The food was okay, but because the place was fairly dirty, I didnโ€™t have much of an appetite. I had tuna salad, potato salad and a root beer float:

The root beer float didn’t look pretty or appetizing so I didn’t photograph it. I did enjoy the train theme of the place. It was perfect for our train-focused trip! And the staff was very nice, and there was an old man playing an old, slightly out of tune piano. Honestly if the place had been cleaner I would have liked it a lot more. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Almost across the street was our next stop, the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum:

Compared to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, there wasnโ€™t much to see here (again, comparatively). But they had a lovely model train display:

I got some video of it as well:

Here’s a couple more pics I took from this area:

Then, it was on to a stop that I was very excited about, but I didn’t really understand how awesome it would actually be. That was…

๐ŸŒด ๐Ÿฆ– Dinosaur World ๐Ÿฆ–๐ŸŒด

Iโ€™m making a separate section in this post to further emphasize how utterly incomparable, amazing, highlight-of-the-weekend this place was. I spent hours since then, thinking how to best describe its magic to accompany the 150-odd photos as well as videos that I took to share with you. I hope I can do my experience justice with words.

Imagine a literal Jurassic Park frozen still. Just as larger than life, just as mouth-gaping incredible. Craning up your neck to look at these massive dinosaurs that look like they could begin moving again any moment. I was LOSING MY FREAKING MIND (and wishing Nate was there to enjoy it with me because he would have lost it just as much). I was grateful for my mask that hid my face because for the first twenty minutes I was so overcome with happiness, surprise and excitement that I was trying not to cry.

For a bit of context… dinosaurs are my oddest special interest because it hasnโ€™t been a special interest that ever had a period of intense obsession, yet itโ€™s always been there, probably since I saw The Land Before Time as a very little girl (to this day, this is still my favorite movie of all time.)

The original Jurassic Park movie would later intensify this tremendously, but when I was younger, dinosaurs were a very boy-centered thing as far as toys, and I never ran into any very interesting scientific books about them growing up.

Later, as an adult, I discovered very charming dinosaur things such as the Gon manga, and the Umasou movies, and realistic toys such as Schleich dinosaurs replicas, which furthered my interest in an intense but quiet way.

So, itโ€™s always been this thing in the back of my mind, Iโ€™ve collected a lot of dinosaur things, toys, clothes and books over many, many years, but without it ever being an all-absorbing focused obsession. Even recently, when I got into trains, I looked for dinosaur themed train sets. So itโ€™s always just there, but itโ€™s never been set afire like this weekend.

This is the first entrance you see when you approach Dinosaur World:

It’s followed by a long, tree lined road. The trees are super tall, with hanging vines and moss. Already, things feel larger than life –you really feel like you’re driving into Jurassic Park! Then there is the main entrance:

From the moment you park, there are cute dinosaur friends to see!

This one stands right by the entrance to the gift shop, which then leads into the park:

It was all I could do not to buy everything I saw before going to the park. The gift shop was incredible, absolutely MASSIVE. I wish I’d taken more photos of it. We even came back a second time, on Saturday, so I could go through it one final time.

This is what you first see as you walk into the actual park itself:

I can’t emphasize enough how small you feel next to these things. They’re so big!

A few more dinos from this area:

Right behind them, there was a museum. I liked the museum areas a lot, but my favorite part were the life-size models.

In the museum there were animatronics, though. I loved those! Here’s a still photo of one of them:

And here is video of them all!

Now I’m just going to add a whole bunch of photos. I took too many to add commentary to everything, but I do feel all are worth sharing here.

The dinosaur you see in the last photo above was to the right of this arch. It went into a different area of the park:

See the “river” down there, near number 5? Those arches are what you see above.

The boardwalk it goes into was beautiful, kinda rickety in a good, fun way. All around you found yourself surrounded in this scenery:

To the right of the boardwalk bridge, there was this:

Some more dinos to see as you continued to walk…

Then it was time to visit the mammoths!

The covered picnic areas were cute:

Nearby, I saw a squirrel friend in their tree-stump home:

Here’s all that was to be enjoyed as you made your way to the Skeleton Garden:

Here are some photos of the Skeleton Garden:

The moss hanging everywhere really added to the atmosphere for me…

After saying goodbye to one more friendly dino, we enter the Carnivore Boardwalk…

This area was interesting. It had a sign warning that it could be too graphic for younger children. In fairness, it WAS kinda graphic, but also dynamic, detailed and extremely interesting. Some dinos were well-camouflaged, and it was fun finding them.

As you will see in the photos below, the dinosaurs were depicted hunting, fighting, and defending their nests. I’d “content warn” this, but… there were several toddlers looking at this without batting an eye, so I assume my followers can handle some dino-on-dino “gore”.

Every once in a while Christopher would take a photo of me with the models. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Another photo batch…

To give you an idea of how tall some of these guys were, here I am next to one of them:

Another big batch of pics…

I even saw an Argentinean dinosaur! Given the name, I guess remains were originally found in Salta? But this wasn’t specifically clarified.

Last batch of random pictures…

And a couple more “just for fun” ones:

That was it! After this, I went absolutely bonkers in the gift shop, and I can’t wait to share what I got with you, but I’ll leave all my treasures for a separate post. This post is so, SO long already, definitely the longest ever on my blog, and it’s not even done! So… let’s move on to the next topic!

After Dinosaur World we went to a few hobby stores. One of them, Toys+, was in University Mall, and next door to the hobby store area (by the same owners) was a normal toy store. This toy store had a lot of wonderful toys, including a respectable Thomas Wooden Railway section! Unbeknownst to us this would be the best selection we would find in the entire trip. We bought two battery-operated engines here โ€”Percy and Diesel. We didnโ€™t buy anything else (yet) because we expected to find so much more at the train stores.

We also went to a record store, where we got a few Laserdiscs, a vinyl record of the Tales From the Crypt soundtrack, and I got a vintage kidโ€™s magazine.

Shortly afterwards we arrived at the hotel. The town wasnโ€™t too promising. The hotel, called The West Wing and described as a โ€œboutiqueโ€ hotel, wasnโ€™t like, dirt cheap, but it wasnโ€™t expensive… it seemed like a good middle-of-the-road hotel though. Despite the area it was in, from the outside it didnโ€™t look too bad…

Later, after seeing ants all over the place, a roach, and noticing the general layout of the hotel, we noticed the old sign, which theyโ€™ve yet not managed (or bothered to) take down. ๐Ÿ˜

So I guess this used to be a cheaper motel, with a poorly slapped-on coat of paint. ๐Ÿ˜ซ I cannot recognize the shape of the logo. The top makes me think Super 8, but it’s wider? I don’t know. Anyway this kinda sucked. Because it showed, too. It doesnโ€™t feel great to stay in a hotel where you saw a roach, and piss ants all over the tables. Plus our bed smelled like the sheets had been left sitting while damp a long time. Overall it wasnโ€™t great, but we were happy together, and we made do.

The hallway was… creepily long.

After some rest, we changed and went to Terra Gaucha, a Brazilian steakhouse. This would be another highlight of our trip! โœจ

In spite of what I read in reviews, and in spite of mask wearing, this place didnโ€™t exactly take COVID seriously. ๐Ÿ˜… To my horror AND delight, the buffet/salad bar was open normally! The tables were all very close together and the place was PACKED. So basically if Iโ€™m destined to get COVID I got it here, for sure. I guess time will tell.

We were already there, so I decided to just enjoy what (other than masks) really felt like a normal, pre-COVID experience. I knew that wasnโ€™t great to encounter at this time of our countryโ€™s struggle with this disease, but I decided to let myself enjoy it and had my most enjoyable meal in probably a year or more. Definitely made up for that awful experience at Gulfstream’s Texas De Brazil.

Everything was amazing. Everything. I ate until I couldnโ€™t eat anymore. I drank too much. I was in a stuffed, half-drunk haze of the most utter, intense bliss.

Even writing it I go back to it and Iโ€™m so glad it happened. It was an expensive meal, but itโ€™s a memory Iโ€™ll hold very dear.

As you can see in the photo above, for dessert we had a Crรจme Brรปlรฉe, the most perfect one Iโ€™ve ever tasted. They knew it was our anniversary and decorated it very beautifully. It was a very nice touch:

Then we went back to the hotel and, after such a long day, finally rested, relaxed, and watched TV together on Christopher’s laptop. It was a lovely end to our tiring day. I’ll share the next one in an upcoming post!

So, EMG Tests Suck ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Turns out having your limbs shocked with electricity multiple times and having your muscles pricked with tiny needles while you are directed to move them is about as fun as it sounds, which is exactly NOT FUN AT ALL.

What I had was an EMG test. For some people, it hurts a lot, for others not at all. I didn’t know where I fell (it was somewhere in betweenโ€ฆ some stuff that doesn’t hurt others was really painful for me, and some supposedly painful stuff I hardly felt). For this reason, I avoided going into detail about the test in my blog posts and journals, because I didn’t want to know anyone’s experiences. All in all it was a little worse than I expected, but it’s over now, and Christopher got me a dinosaur. I’m calling him Rusty:

Doctors are continuing to do multiple tests to figure out why my limbs are going to sleep randomly in the middle of the night (random limbs, and always the full limb.) Exhaustive bloodwork is all good, MRIs are all good, and now the EMG is (on the surface) also okay. But I may have more news in a few days.

Right now I’m mostly just relieved, but it was a scary and painful test. I’m glad it’s over. To be honest, I’m really proud, I was so scared, but I didn’t ask for Christopher to come with, I didn’t bring any toy to comfort myself, which I normally would have done. I know there isn’t much pride in deciding to act like a grown-ass woman at 37, responsible for my own health, but I’m so scared of medical procedures and tests, so I am allowing myself a little self satisfaction.

Anyway, after taking AGES (two months maybe?) my new spacebar arrived so my keyboard looks even cuter!

It’s A Cold Tuesday Morning โ˜ƒ๏ธ

Good morning! It’s cold again. Yesterday I got everything on my list done, and more! Winter Friends YCHs are shaded, more presents wrapped, and not only did I finish the line art for ODU, but I finished the whole design! And I did go to Homegoods, and got a Christmas mug, as well as a Christmas glass for my milk:

This morning I discovered that Mojito had helped Sarah carry Buddy down so he could have his cinnamon and move again:

I’m really glad that he is okay, though I miss them in my studio already.

Goals for today would be, prepare some Trellos, finish the Winter Friends YCH background, and flat several commissions. I also really need to get my last couple of Code: Realize entries posted before my memory of those playthroughs fades.