Today was our sorta-weekly Adventure Day! We went to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. I liked this park a lot more than I expected from the photos I saw online. And it was really empty, which was lovely and peaceful.
Parks generally make me feel very small, so I tend to wear my kiddy outfits when I go. I took my froggy backpack and wore one of my favorite shortalls, and an ODU print that I like a lot.
I brought one of my stuffies today too, Gumdrop. I managed to make him a bandana before we left the house. Sometime next week I’ll get him some pins for it so it’s not so plain.
We got Starbucks on the way, since it was quite a long ride to the sandwich place where we would have lunch in Downtown Miami. And I had one of my cute snack holders with strawberry and cream gummies that I bought at The Fresh Market.
I had a breakfast sandwich for lunch. It had chorizo and cilantro and lots of cheese. I couldn’t finish it, but it was great!
I was actually a bit upset when I realized where we’d be having lunch. The last time I ate at this place was some three years ago, during one of the worst times of my life, and the experience of that entire day, and the meal itself, was a really bad memory. I felt like I just did not want to be again at a place where I had been so deeply unhappy and trying not to cry through my meal back on that awful day.
But in the end, I’m glad we did eat here, because now the bad memory is pushed away by a much happier one, and I’m looking forward to eating there again. It’s a nice place other than the music being super loud all the time.
🌳 At The Park 🌳
Cars couldn’t go into this part at all. You just parked in the little available area at the entrance. There was a place to pay for entrance, you just left the money there, as there was no one to monitor who came or went.
There were a couple of bodies of water which were very pretty and calm.
Gumdrop had fun exploring some rock formations. He even did some cave exploring!
Just some random pretty pictures…
We didn’t see much wildlife, other than lots of tiny lizards, a random snake, some orb weavers, a beautiful big butterfly, and a tree snail. Oh, and a wild chicken. I guess we did see some stuff. Here’s one of the spiders:
I was out of my mind excited to finally see a Florida tree snail in the wild!
Oh and wasps. WASPS EVERYWHERE. I’d never seen so many in one single park. It was a little scary. I spotted three nests I believe.
I tended to walk a bit ahead or behind, just taking pictures of things. Christopher had my umbrella to shield himself from the sun, and it made things extra colorful.
All the other random photos of Gumdrop enjoying nature:
This is a trail that we really wanted to explore. But it was closed due to debris, so we just stared from a distance… 😞
I will now take a brief intermission to show you Tomoyo’s attempt to contribute while I work on this post:
On the other side of the park there was a stone wall that looked like something out of a fairy tale. Like it would lead you to some secret garden. In the end I only took this couple of pictures.
It was very cool looking! After a couple of hours we headed home, passing first by Wawa for snacks and drinks. Then it was a lovely evening at home, just relaxing after our fun day out. I can’t wait for next time. I’ll never get tired of park outings!
I got suddenly taken to the mall by Christopher and he bought me new skirtalls?! What?! 😭😭😭
Really wasn’t expecting today to go in this direction, I’m losing my s**t from utter delight!
That aside –I completed all the YCHs today! Over the past 30 days I have done 42 commissions/gift art, some fairly complex and with multiple characters. I’m not counting multiple book illustrations in that! Holy crap. I’ve never been so happy or confident in my artistic abilities before. Thank you for supporting me on my journey!
Yesterday afternoon, before our date night, Christopher drove me around for a little bit so I could take care of some errands. I wore my new dino shirt for the first time. I love it!
My errands were all fun ones. I went to JoAnn where I was both delighted and a bit eye-rolly at all the Pride stuff. Michaels, Target, JoAnn, have all embraced this. Unsurprisingly, Hobby Lobby has not. You can find some very obviously pride rainbow ribbon, but I think they just consider that “rainbow” and that’s it. However, particularly Target and JoAnn, carry items with the newer, updated Pride flag, with the Trans and Ace flags, and I know, I KNOW it’s all capitalist pandering, but at the end of the day it still makes me happy.
So now I have another pair of Pan socks, a more random rainbow hearts pair of socks, and that’s actually all I bought in that regard though I enjoyed seeing everything else they carried.
I bought their last two bags of Alpha beads because I’m determined to make necklaces for all my toys and stuffies that do not have them before this week is over. The paw and candy beads I’ll probably use for stuff for myself… the bells are for my stuffies too.
After JoAnn we went to Petsmart together, where I bought several toys for the cats (well, really, it’s for Tomoyo, whom I’m trying to shower with love and attention.) Then we went to Kimchi Mart and I got a whole bunch of yummy goodies.
In the evening we had a leisurely dinner, and then watched The Blair Witch Project, which I had never seen. It was pretty damn good. It was a wonderful night together, just the two of us. Watching horror movies with Christopher is one of my most favorite things.
Here is what I made for myself with my new beads today (Friday), having finally had a chance for some “me” time. A bracelet and a new necklace:
I also finally made necklaces for all my toys as planned. No one is unnamed. It’s a small indulgent activity but it really fills me with happiness.
Later in the day, my Amazon package with the new drawer-sorting things arrived. I forget what you call them, but my socks and underwear are nicely sorted now:
I can’t really say why, but this sort of thing is very relaxing for me, it’s kinda like… defragmenting my brain. Remember when defragging your hard drive was a thing you had to do? 😁 It feels like that. I’m also in the process of sorting all my necklaces and bracelets. ✨
That’s it for this post… hope everyone has a great weekend!
Hello, everyone! I hope you had a happy day. Mine was alright. I caught up on the warm-ups, read some manga, took care of the snails, was able to track my food and such today (which I’ve been struggling to get back on the wagon with) and went on a walk. I hadn’t tried to dress cute at home for a while, but today I did:
We had milanesas for dinner. My mom prepped them and gave them to me frozen, so I just had to fry them. They were great, but I think we’ve had enough milanesas for a while. I need to cook something I haven’t made in a bit.
I’m pretty excited because Christopher bought me an exercise bike. It’s not super fancy but it ought to do the trick now that the really intense heat and rainy season begins. It’ll be here on Sunday.
The deal is that I have to use it three times a week for a whole year or I have to return it/sell it/donate it. But I already exercise almost every day so, I think I can do it. 😁
In other news, in less than two hours we will have been married a whole five years. We already celebrated it so it really feels like a normal day which I do not mind. It was a wonderful early celebration. I really feel like the day already passed, so it’s a little odd, almost. 🤔
Anyway not much else to say… I have to get ready for bed. I am tired and still so busy. It’ll be a busy week. I hope everyone reading this has a great night!
Hello, everyone! I haven’t been terrible active on the blog (art aside) because I’ve just been working tons. I’m going to try to catch up on a few things so this post will be all over the place.
This is unrelated to everything else I’ll discuss on this post, so here is a Little outfit I wore the other day:
I have a few new skirtalls coming, so I’m pretty excited to create new outfits with these:
I finally paid off my PayPal Credit account and closed it (I may already have mentioned that) and a few days ago my last Amazon Card payment cleared so that account is zeroed again –well, until next Christmas. It was a big one, over $400, so I am very pleased.
I also set a little money aside and redecorated the kitchen with it:
This may not look like much, but in seven years I never really did put work into the kitchen, so it was important to me. The most significant things are the new trash can (which is motion activated) and the Instant Pot.
In addition to that, I’ve made good strides on my next goal of paying an old debt. It’s the last thing I have to pay before I can begin the fund to move my mom in with us. I wanted something to encourage me, so I put this neat lightbox on the studio wall:
It’s still a big number (but less as of writing this post, actually $3,950) but I paid a big chunk in just over a few days, so my expectation is that as long as I make this my primary goal, I might be done by June. And then I can begin saving the $10,000 I need to move my mom with us (not counting the money I’ll have to save to renovate the room for her, but I expect that to be under $1,000.)
So, about all that. Recently, I’ve been contemplating the entirety of last year, how much closer I’ve grown to my mom during our long Zoom calls, which regularly lead us into conversations deeper than we’d have when we were living together. How I’ve changed, and how she’s come to accept those changes in me. And other things… like how tired she looks —more and more every day. How even on her days off, she gets constant stressful calls even during the couple of hours we set aside to talk. It’s been so long since my mom had free time for any fun. I don’t even remember when it last happened, Christmas aside.
Then there’s the pandemic, the utter helplessness I’ve felt as she continues to manage a gas station in this situation at her age… her landlord continually bringing people to see the apartment which he has been trying to sell for years (so we never know when he’s kicking her out once each contract ends. Every yearly contract could be the last he gives her, and every time he raises her rent.)
But I think it was having her for Christmas, just her and I, that really cemented it for me. It was the first such Christmas in many years, and I realized just how much my assumed role has changed. How I want to cook for her and care for her, keep her safe, comfortable and happy. I enjoy my life so much, literally every day of my life is a dream, and were it not for all she sacrificed so we could be here, Christopher and I never would have met.
There’s something that has been eating at me more and more. I think Grandpa’s recent passing reinforced it too. When my mom and I left Argentina, we always hoped that if only we were patient, and worked hard, someday we would see my Grandma again. Actually, the goal was for her to move with us. But time passed without any possibility of this happening, let alone seeing her at all. Same with my dad. Patience, patience. The day would surely come.
But it didn’t. My Grandma died of leukemia in her 70s. My dad died of emphysema in his early 80s. I was 18 years old when I last got to see them.
And now my mom is in her late 60s. In four years, she will be 70 years old. How much time do I have with her? Hopefully, a good number of years still –but how much time I am okay losing until I can enjoy days with her while she still has her health?
I want to have breakfast in the morning with her, and to have dinner the three of us in the evening, and maybe play games the three of us together once her brain remembers how to do something other than work and stress 24/7. I want to go on walks together and have mate in the afternoons.
But most of all, more than anything in the world, I want her to wake up and not dread the day. I want her to think “I have nothing to do today. Nothing to clean. Nothing to cook. No stressful, dangerous job to go to.” I don’t think my mom has ever felt that since she was little. I want her to enjoy her life. And I want to learn to drive so I can take her places. I want to take her to dinner once in a while, something that used to be a once-a-year luxury for us… I want to binge watch tv shows with her, or go to a movie and not have her fall asleep halfway because her body and mind are so utterly and constantly exhausted.
I want her to be able to pick the colors for her room, to furnish it with new furniture that she actually likes and isn’t used or the cheapest thing she could afford.
And I know I may not always manage it with my art, and taking some “real” work may be necessary, but all that I can manage to do with the money my artwork brings is an extra source of pride. Of course I couldn’t do that without Christopher. He takes care of me after all. But if I can, in turn, use my art to take care of her and of my business expenses, I’ll feel like I am succeeding.
I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I have a great desire to be reliable, even if it takes me time and effort to become someone that can be described as such. Because of this, cooking is becoming more important to me, as well, and I’m trying really hard to learn. Paying my debts feels important. Looking after our house and after my husband, properly, feels even more important than before. Asking for help less and less becomes more important too.
I want them both to feel proud of me, to feel lucky to have me as a wife and daughter, rather than a “well, it could be worse.” But above all I want to believe that they are —lucky, that is— as I am to have them. So, I’m trying as hard as I can.
I know, deep inside, that part of what planted the seed for this was seeing my own reprehensible behavior and lack of responsibility to others reflected in someone else. In being disgusted by seeing that reflection, I also became angry with myself. It’s all well and good to look down on someone for being irresponsible and self-centered, but incredibly hypocritical when you are better than that only by some small measure. I knew I didn’t want to be that way, not anymore and not ever again.
So, now, my debt is my priority. And I want the people who love me and look after me to be my priority, rather than always my own self-centered ass. I want to be a source of comfort, not worry.
Anyway, are you all getting ready for Valentine’s Day? I’m working on a small surprise for Christopher but it’s terribly hard and I truly do not know if it will be ruined before I am done. For all the effort put into it, it looks more than a little clumsy (so far.) I’m hoping it will come together once it’s done. I’m working a little bit on it every day, because it’s really tiring.
That aside, believe it or not I’ve been writing (I’d say the next chapter of Meganeea is 80% done, illustrations included, and the chapter after that has the same level of progress in both aspects.) And somehow, in between hours and hours of illustration work, I’ve managed to sneak in a little gaming and reading. But I’ll save that for future posts. It may take a while… this blog is hugely important to me and that will not change. I’m just trying to be as responsible as possible and get my work done.
I guess I’ll end this here, go do the laundry, and then draw some more before it’s time to make dinner. I hope things are going great with everyone!
Hello everyone! 👋 It’s been a really nice few productive days! ☺️ First of all the other day I heard back from an old friend after reaching out. It was just so wonderful to know that he was okay, and that he’s happy and doing well overall (aside from the occasional poor mental health that the current state of the country plus the pandemic has caused to so many of us.)
I ended up joining his server and it’s quite fun to be in a place that is adjacent to my interests while also not being my usual group. It feels kinda fresh. 😊
That day I also wore one of the newest ODU releases of my designs. 🌈 I’m quite fond of it:
I’ve gotten a ton of artwork done during the week. 🙌 Got some cooking done. Grocery shopping done. Several baby snails have been born and overall my little clan is doing fine right now. 🐌
Kotoko continually kept me company during the workweek. She napped near my feet and got petted a lot:
Today (well, technically yesterday —Saturday) I couldn’t take the stir-craziness anymore and went to Hobby Lobby. A couple of things caught my eye. There was a kit for LINE Friends bag charms. I LOVE Brown and Cony so much, but these are fairly obscure characters in the sense that you rarely see them in mainstream places outside of the internet. The kit itself was crappy but I was excited to have come across it.
I also saw a Spirit stepping stone. I took a photo for Nate to see whenever he looks at this post. ^_^
For dinner I wasn’t very healthy but it was worth it. I made a big batch of homemade fries and had it with a little coke:
After dinner I finished shading all the shinies sketches so I might just finish all four tomorrow. 🤔
I’m too sleepy to be able to write any more… guess I’ll proofread this tomorrow. Goodnight everyone. 😴
It’s been a while! I’ve had a few drafts sitting for some time… Last week I really just worked too much, and then had to pack for our Sebastian visit. A lot of stuff accumulated, so my updates will be a little disjointed and spread out among a bunch of posts of varying substance (this one doesn’t have much.) 😅
Here’s a colorful little snack I had the other day (I’m also officially out of extra coffee, so I’m sleeping properly again, haha):
As I mentioned offhandedly in a previous post, Tomoyo has asthma. We’ve purchased the device to give her the medicine (via inhalers, which have also been ordered and are in the way). In the meantime, I am trying my hardest to get her used to it by giving her treats with it, so she gets used to having it near her face:
Kotoko has been slowing down lately… we think she is feeling her age. She seems to grow more affectionate with every passing year,
This photo is from before I went shopping for groceries and for a present for Grandma’s birthday last week. It was my first time wearing that onesie by ODU. I like it a lot, it’s one of my new faves!
That’s it for this post, I’m moving on to my other drafts… hopefully fully catching up today!
Today’s outfit! I can dress very colorfully since I’m not really going anywhere, not like that ever really stops me 🙃 Really love this look because the yellow of the shortalls mark the trim of my top, and of course, duckies!! 🐥 I’m wearing an onesie by Onesies Downunder in this photo, which I designed for them.
Marina's furry art, fantasy writing and daily life!