Tag Archives: Holidays

A Brand New Year ๐Ÿฅ‚

Happy New Year, everyone! We had a few friends over last night, not many, just people who were part of our “bubble” already. And I guess we are all getting old because after ringing the new year we all said our good nights. But was it ever lovely.

It was the first New Year’s Eve in a few years that I felt like things are going to be okay again, our little friend group can just remake itself and we can keep enjoying each other’s company, and I can do that without thinking so much of the past. I was so happy.

I also learned more about my friends, things I didn’t know that help me understand them better.

I had a pretty busy New Year’s Eve… day. I finished another commission, prepared a lot of stuff in case several people wanted to spend the night (in the end, no one did, but I had to be ready). Moved more posts from Instagram over to my blog, cleaned… cleaned lots. Repotted one of my plants. Sold a few more commission slots. I also went around adding a bit more decor here and there, just making the house a little nicer, particularly the porch:

Then I got dressed. I tried to dress a bit classier for the evening.

I wore the fancy silver bracelet that Grandma sent me for Christmas:

Tomorrow, my blog will go back to normal. And starting today, I’m changing my eating habits. Not a diet. I’m just going back to my old way of eating, the way I abandoned when COVID hit. Well, I’d started already, but I’m going to try even harder, now. I hope you all enjoy the start of this new year!

๐Ÿฅ‚ Here’s To A Happier Year ๐Ÿฅ‚

Here’s my early wish to a happier year for everyone who follows me. It would be disingenuous to tell ourselves that our problems will be solved at the stroke of midnight tomorrow, and I have to say, if we have even some sense of normalcy returning by July 2021, I’ll feel infinitely grateful. In this winter of our times, I believe we still have a good few difficult, cold months ahead. But if I squint a little, I can already see a glimmer of hope in the horizon. I hope you can see it, too.

I leave you with the lyrics to the opening song of one of my favorite Disney sequels, which inspired this drawing and has both lifted my spirits during sad times and made me smile during happy ones with the reassuring reminder that yes, things worked out in the end, and will again.

Have a happy 2021, everyone.

Under the snow, beneath the frozen streams,
There is life…
You’ll have to know, when nature sleeps she dreams,
There is life…

And the colder the winter, the warmer the spring,
The deeper the sorrow, the more our hearts sing,
Even when you can’t see it, inside everything,
There is life…

After the rain, the sun will reappear,
There is life…
After the pain, the joy will still be here,
There is life…

For it’s out of the darkness that we learn to see,
And out of the silence that songs come to be,
And all that we dream of awaits patiently,
There is life.

Songwriter: Friedman David Allen
There Is Life lyrics ยฉ Walt Disney Music Co. Ltd.

It’s New Year’s Eve Eve! โœจ

Lately, as in the past few months (or maybe itโ€™s been during the duration of the pandemic?) my motivation for really basic things like doing my chores, showering, going out for a walk, has been really low. Itโ€™s almost painful. I still do these things every day just as I should. But itโ€™s hard.

Today I had to go grocery shopping, it couldnโ€™t be put off anymore. So I made myself get up and shower early, and did all the chores I could in the morning, and off I went, and got it done, and now I already have everything put away so that’s a relief.

Tomorrow we will make burgers and hot dogs and greet the New Year with people from “our bubble” that we have either been hanging out with already, or Christopher has been seeing due to work. I got chips and dips and drinks. I’m excited to end the year on a high note.

Last night I was really at a loss as to what to make for dinner. We were out of most things. But I defrosted some beef, substituted onions for shallots and butter for margarine, and with Mojito’s help somehow managed to scrounge up meatballs with mac ‘n cheese for Christopher.

Yesterday I got a huge number of posts moved from Instagram to the blog. It’s still such a small amount… from almost 2,000 posts I am down to 1,778. You may think it’s a pointless thing to do, but Instagram was my diary. I want to get away from that toxic atmosphere without losing all those memories.

Today, though, I have a Zoom call with my mom and commissions to work on. I leave you with some slimy bois:

Having a drink:

Merry Christmas!! ๐ŸŽ„โœจ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ…

It’s here! And what a wonderful one it was… I am so happy.

By the time my mom came downstairs this morning, I had the table set, every Christmas light on, and gentle Christmas music in the background. We arranged our presents on the table:

We exchanged presents as we had breakfast. It was so lovely and peaceful. We had Grandpa’s photo right by us and it felt almost like he was there. I’m glad I made the little display for him.

From my mom I got a snail shirt, a squirrel shirt, an Amazon gift card, and a Switch otome that I really wanted, CollarxMalice. From Mwako I got some Posca markers, another otome (Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~) a board game called “Lion In My Way” and two manga volumes, both Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid related.

And then… I finally let myself open the present from Buddy, Sarah and Santa.

It was the wonderful keyboard that I’d fallen in love with. It was a frivolous, unnecessary want, that I think must have put Santa in a tough spot. I didn’t expect or deserve it, and I definitely didn’t cry when I tore open the package. Okay, maybe just a little.

Truth be told, when I took it out from behind the clock I strongly suspected what it was and my anticipation and emotion was so great that I just sat on my chair hugging it and almost not daring to rip open the paper. It was heavy, too. I’m waiting a while to actually open the box just to extend that joy, but for now here it is with the rest of my spread:

When I went upstairs to bring the presents to my studio I snapped this cute photo of Rosie and Kotoko together in the sun:

I also did a quick little check on my snails and wished them a Merry Christmas. They were just doing their snail thing:

After opening presents and finishing our breakfast, we went out for a long walk. It was really cold (for Florida) so we bundled up:

I don’t think I ever went out for a long walk with my mom in my neighborhood. When it comes to such things, she is like me, in that we will point out little bugs or leaves as we walk, that are interesting. I can’t do that with anyone else in the same way, so it was really fun.

After we got home my mom began making the shrimp salad. It’s a salad I haven’t gotten to have in AGES so I was really excited. While I waited for her to be done so I could prepare the roast chicken, I had a little snack:

All the while we had country Christmas music (and ONLY country, haha) going on all over the house. God, it was glorious.

After my mom was done with the salad and it was set to chill in the fridge, I prepared my second roast chicken ever. My mom really liked the humita empanadas I made, but this was my big test. So far, I’d had the house perfect, the porch beautiful, nothing out of place. I knew my mom was proud and impressed, and above all so happy. She kept saying so. I really wanted this to be the finishing touch, and for her to feel that I can take care of her and keep her happy. It’s really important to me.

We watched Scrooged while the chicken cooked. I made SO much smoke, the smoke alarm went off. But the chicken itself didn’t burn, just some of the grease. All was good, but there was so much smoke that our eyes were burning.

The dinner spread was simple, but lovely:

As for the chicken, while it was very slightly drier than my first, it was still great:

My mom’s salad was too… everything was delicious. I gave my mom most of the chicken to take home, since I can roast Christopher another anytime.

My mom left shortly after dinner, and Christopher arrived home less than ten minutes after she left, bringing with him several presents from Grandma!

She sent me a photo of me and Grandpa dancing together on Christopher and I’s wedding day, a beautiful silver bracelet, a Precious Moments watch that once belonged to her, two lovely Christmas lanterns to decorate (as well as an addition to the Christmas village, but that’s for both of us, along with a photo of Grandpa and Christopher to put on the fridge.) She also sent me two gift cards, and with one of them I got Cafรฉ Enchantรฉ, the last otome on my wish list. ๐Ÿ˜

My Christmas joy was (and still is) so unparalleled, so overwhelming, that I feel a little guilty. I’m this happy because I spent Christmas alone with my mom, and the way Christmas was disjointed this year should be sad, and nothing else. But you have to understand… we all treasure the memory we have from childhood if it’s a good one –sometimes, nostalgia makes us look back fondly upon it even if a big part of it was sad, because we hold on to the small happy bits.

From the time I was nine years old and my parents separated, my mom and I endured many years of either bad company that resulted in more than one Christmas with fights and crying while I sat somewhere plugging my ears with my fingers to avoid hearing it, to being just us, alone, struggling for money in an unfinished house. But at that point of being alone, we finally had peace, so while we were bordering on poor at times, and our presents would literally be things from the dollar store, our Christmases were very happy.

After we immigrated, we spent over fifteen years of Christmases alone. All very happy Christmases except for the utterly devastating one that came four days after our beloved cat Stimpy died. But when I met Christopher and we married, those Christmases were gone forever. I could not bear to spend a Christmas apart from him. And my mom and I’s rituals are extremely different from the family’s. We never expected to experience them alone again.

For this reason, this Christmas is one we will treasure for the rest of our lives, even though we wore masks throughout, even though I could not kiss her, it still was a precious time, and if I said I would have preferred to have it any other way, I would be lying.

There’s also the fact that this year I’ve become far more aware of my mom’s age, and her fragility, her tiredness and how unhappy she is, and how precious the time I have left with her is. So this coming year, I’m going to start working towards some changes to prepare the house to have her here, because I think when her oldest cat dies and only Sweeney is left, it will be time.

My mom is starting to approach 70, slowly but surely. Were it not for her sacrifice, I would not have made it here, nor met my husband… I want to give my mom some happiness on her golden years.

This topic aside, as I sent a bunch of Christmas greetings, I reached out to a friend of Christopher and I’s, whom we have barely seen this year and had a minor disagreement with, but enough to result in hurt feelings and some distancing. To my surprise we ended up talking and somewhat patching things up. Seems he’s been quite lonesome, and I felt so glad to have sent that message, glad as he was to receive it, that the whole thing left me a little bit choked up. Really added to the magic of the day for me. I hope we can see him soon.

But anyway… I ramble on… here’s one last photo, one that my mom took of Rosie:

I hope your Christmas was happy… I hope you feel lucky, in spite of the grief this year brought. Six days from now we will leave this year behind, and it is disingenous to tell ourselves that all will be well on January 1st. I think if we are lucky, things will *start* to get noticeable better around July-August. It’s okay. We can do it, we made it this far after all.

I want to send my love and my most sincere wishes for good fortune, good health, strength, and an ability to see and appreciate whatever blessings are present at this time, to everyone reading this. Whoever you are, whether you like me, love me or hate me, or don’t know me, whether you enjoy my blog, or hate-read or cringe at it, even if you just randomly found it today on WordPress’s Reader… truly, truly whoever you are… I hope you find happiness.

Blissed Out ๐Ÿ˜ด

This may or may not have been me earlier.

Christmas Eve was wonderful… just wonderful; I havenโ€™t had a Christmas Eve that was just my mom and me in many years. And we havenโ€™t had time to ourselves at all in so long. In spite of wearing masks and being careful it was still a happy time. It was a precious time.

We had lots of snacks. We drank a lot (didnโ€™t get like, drunk, but we still drank two bottles so now Iโ€™m drinking a lot of water.) SO many good things to eat, oh my god. Then I baked her my frozen humita empanadas and they were perfect, she ate a lot. I was really proud.

While we snacked, we watched A Christmas Story. My mom had never seen this movie before, one of my favorites. No one ever wants to watch it with me willingly, and it was really nice to have her enjoy it. We also watched A Muppet Christmas Carol.

In between movies we each opened a present. I gave my mom a little perfume she wanted and she was so happy she looked like she might cry. It was only like a $30 perfume from her wishlist but I guess she never felt like she could justify it… I think I need to stalk her list a little during the year and surprise her from time to time.

I chose to open Buddy and Sarah (and Santaโ€™s) letter rather than a gift. It was a really funny card, I loved it!

As you can see, the card said I would find a present behind the grandfather clock (itโ€™s actually a grandmother clock but I guess they didnโ€™t know that), however, I couldnโ€™t open anything else, so Iโ€™ll have to wait until tomorrow. I wonder what it could be! ๐Ÿ™Š

Anyway, I have a headache and Iโ€™m so exhausted and sleepy that I can hardly think straight enough to type, but I wanted to share a few kitty photos I took today before I end this post. The first couple were taken when I was waiting for my mom to get here, and the cats were chilling on the porch:

Afterwards when we were relaxing in the living room Tomoyo was super affectionate. In this photo she is laying on my stomach, she was kneading and purring so much:

I guess thatโ€™s it, Iโ€™ll have to proofread this tomorrow… I wish once again a happy Christmas Eve to all my friends and followers!

Merry Christmas Eve! ๐ŸŽ„

Finally, it’s here! For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas Day, it’s really Christmas Eve. When I was little, we never opened presents on Christmas Day. It was Christmas Eve and you weren’t allowed to open them until midnight, not even one. And the next morning everyone went out to play and show off what they had.

When we came to the United States, in our zeal to assimilate we began opening presents on Christmas morning (with usually one on Christmas Eve.) But even twenty years later, my real excitement is for tonight.

On an exciting note, I was quite sure that Buddy and Sarah went away for the year, but they had a final surprise in store! I found them under the Christmas tree when I went to turn it on:

The letter is from Santa, too. I wonder what it could be! But then, should I open it tonight, or on Christmas Day? ๐Ÿค” I’m excited about the mystery so I kind of want to leave it til last…

I’ve been slow with my chores due to my tummy still not feeling exactly fantastic. I can tell the experience left me very dehydrated. So I’m getting everything done slowly but surely, while drinking a lot of Gatorade.

My mom is probably still sleeping or perhaps about waking up. She’ll be here around 3pm, I believe. I know she was very tired, as she always is these days… In the back of my mind I feel the time to take care of her is approaching faster than neither of us wants to admit. Mainly because I don’t want to wait until she gets sick or has an accident at work that prevents her from enjoying life.

I think if she didn’t still have Shampoo and Sweeney (the kitties… Shampoo is VERY old though) I probably would be seriously considering moving her in, but we have four cats already, Tomoyo would torture Shampoo, and Sweeney would fight with everyone. My mom is so alone and unhappy, and increasingly overwhelmed, and I worry more and more, but I know she treasures her independence, as we do ours.

It is not something anyone wants to rush, but while I hope it’s a few years away still, knowing my husband has always been supportive of such a thing has always given me so much peace. I’m not sure any other man I’ve known would have been okay with that.

Then again perhaps if I began to do more work so I could help my mom and she could take more time off, that time could be extended. I’ll certainly have to work if she moves in, so maybe it’s time I begin considering that as a first option.

Anyway! The post got derailed. I’m mostly caught up on posts now. It’s time to finish getting ready!

Final Christmas Prep Day! ๐ŸŽ„

My mom arrives tomorrow morning! This will be our first Christmas alone in quite a few years. I did the grocery shopping and today Iโ€™m organizing and cleaning stuff around the house to make everything ready for her. Before she gets here Christopher will leave for Sebastian.

Itโ€™s a little odd because it feels as though Christmas already passed, and in a way, it did. I’m trying to get in the Christmas mood again.

This morning I caught Buddy trying to set one of my fake candles alight. Thankfully Sarah was standing by with the fire extinguisher:

Today my little desktop Baby Boy Sad Sam plushie came in the mail, I got him with the Christmas gift card from Snow. Really though I cannot help but think of this little guy as a tiny version of Nate and it’s probably half the reason I bought him. The other half is that he’s freaking adorable.

I’ll leave you with a couple of snail photos, this is one of my cornu aspersum:

Anyway, I guess it’s almost time, huh? “Christmas Eve Eve”. ๐Ÿ˜Š I hope you all have a good one.

The Elf Report ๐ŸŽ…

This morning, I found Buddy and Sarah in my studio, writing their report to Santa:

Apparently Buddy and Sarah think I have too many stuffed animals. ๐Ÿ˜‘ But my stuffed animals are my friends so I donโ€™t think thatโ€™s a very nice thing to say. They probably got help from my stuffed animals to move Christopherโ€™s laptop in the first place.

Anyway, their report overall was positive. I guess I havenโ€™t been so bad this year. ๐Ÿ˜‡

Since they are writing their report, I guess that means theyโ€™re going home very soon. It is almost Christmas after all.

Buddy and Sarah really made my December brighter with their antics. I do hope they know how much I appreciate them and their efforts to make me smile. I often say they are โ€œbad elvesโ€ but the truth is they are very good at what they do and the perfect elves for our household. I look forward to them every year.

End of Christmas Weekend ๐ŸŽ„โœจ

Good morning everyone! Though Christmas is this week, our weekend Christmas with family is officially over (although my mom is coming on Christmas Eve.) Yesterday my sis and mom in law went home, but we enjoyed a very nice day together before they did.

I found Buddy and Sarah in the living room yesterday, on top of the projector screen:

In the morning the weather outside was so wonderful that I went out by myself to the porch to have my coffee with the cats.

It was chilly, but the sun felt so nice. I wish everyone had come with me, but they were inside in the dark living room (no windows) playing Animal Crossing, so ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ but I had a nice little time to myself before I joined them.

Rosie sat on my lap, and was just so sleepy and a melted ball of hair and purrs.

Tomoyo would alternate between relaxing and running around with her little bursts of energy:

Kotoko quietly sunned herself…

Whilst I spent time there, I enjoyed watching the squirrels eat the food I put out for them.

Last week, our wonderful vet, Dr. Pisano, sent me a photo of Maddie in her Christmas tree:

You might remember Madeline and Croissant, our last two rats which joined our vetโ€™s mischief when we decided to stop having rats for a while. Croissant sadly passed away this year from a tumor that Dr. Pisano found too advanced to remove, but Maddie is still enjoying life as you can see.

This past week, between his work and my Christmas preparations, Christopher and I didnโ€™t have much quality time to ourselves. Even though I know he was really tired, after our family left he took me to a nice little local church event in the evening that had loads of Christmas lights and such. It was really romantic walking around together in that atmosphere even though the decorations were so old and corny.

Christopher took a photo of me next to one of the trees. I brought Ricky Parky with me; after a whole weekend of acting as non-Little as possible, being able to carry him around did wonders for my state of mind.

Later at home we decided to give one more go to chestnut roasting. Itโ€™s our fourth try… we always got bad batches before.

Itโ€™s more work than you might think. You have to make a cut in every chestnut so they donโ€™t explode in the oven. But first you boil them in order to moisten them:

Most of the floating ones tend to be bad, so we discarded those. It was only a few that floated, and indeed most of those werenโ€™t good (mold inside.)

Then they go in the oven for 15 minutes:

After they come out, you wrap them tight in a towel for, I believe, ten minutes or so. Here they are fresh out of the oven:

The results were… okay? Chestnuts are weird. Theyโ€™re very fleshy; meat-like, really. They taste good but it really feels like they should be eaten with something else, I just donโ€™t know what. In the end Christopher didnโ€™t like them but I had a few. Mostly I enjoyed the experience of roasting chestnuts together.

While they roasted I got the living room looking all festive for movie watching:

We watched another old movie, The Holly And The Ivy. It was nice. It just gives me so much unmitigated joy to watch these old movies with Christopher. Itโ€™s one of my more niche interests and to have him show a genuine interest in it makes me deeply happy.

Overall the evening together was delightful. All my stress melts away when I am with him.

The older we get and the longer we are married, the more I understand that โ€œfinding your home in a personโ€ feeling. I know I complain a lot on my blog, sometimes I mention feeling very lonely in some aspects. Thatโ€™s bound to happen sometimes… no relationship is perfect. But taking it as a whole I do think ours is one of the closest to perfect I have ever seen. I would be hard pressed to find a kinder man, who understands so much about me and accepts me so completely โ€”even the parts he doesnโ€™t understand.

But I am rambling, and today is going to be a busy day. I have to shower, take care of the snails and the rest of my chores, and then draw like thereโ€™s no tomorrow.

Oh โ€”a final note because I noticed this literally as I am wrapping up the post. I just found Buddy and Sarah for the day! They were in the Furby area of my studio bookshelf:

I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful day, and please stay safe this week!

Early Christmas! ๐ŸŽ„โœจ

Yesterday we celebrated Christmas! My mom and sis in law are visiting. So I got to give them my presents and viceversa. Also to Christopher since he will be spending actual Christmas with them, while my mom will be visiting with me, due to COVID.

I got the thing I wanted most of all, the “Slugs and Snails” book by Robert Cameron. It’s an expensive, niche book from the UK, very scientific type stuff. I think it will take me at least a year to read it thoroughly. Because of the cost, that was a present from everyone. From my mom in law I also got an Uber gift card and Piofiore: Fated Memories, an otome I’m really looking forward to playing. She also gave us presents for all the cats and a Petsmart gift card to get a little something for the snails.

After presents we watched The Shop Around The Corner. It was a very cute little Christmasy movie from the 40’s.

CW: Body image / eating talk under the cut, PLEASE stop here if this topic is upsetting to you.

Continue reading Early Christmas! ๐ŸŽ„โœจ