E.T. and Bluey both have bandanas now, but E.T. still needs his necklace.
Jello, Cookie and Dusty have their bandanas too! 🌈⭐️ They just need to be decorated maybe with a pin or such. 🤔
Of course, Squeak has one now too! He helped, after all.
Yoshi, too, finally has a bandana too. A lot of my stuffies have been waiting a while.
A little later, I also made necklaces for Bowser, my new Giga (Cilantro) and the T. rex I showed off during Mwako’s visit (Curry) and my little purple Trike that I’ve had for over half a year (Grape Jelly). And I did make one for E. T. too. It makes me really happy to make these accessories for my toys, once in a while. 😊
You see… I’m very lucky to have friends now, but when I was a kid, I was truly all alone in that regard for almost my entire childhood. My toys were my friends, to an unhealthy degree. I know I would have put myself in physical danger to protect my toy “friends” when I was a little girl.
They were all I had. As tangible stand-ins for imaginary friends, those toys were the way my young brain coped with deep ostracizing (the lovely result of neurodivergence) and the resulting years of solitude, at least when it came to my peers. That, and books.
These days, while I still have an unhealthy *amount* of toy friends, they thankfully are no longer a replacement for real, human ones. But they are still friends and they still make me so happy. I know it may seem cringy and dumb, but I’m grateful that I never outgrew this.
And, that I have partners and family who don’t care at all if I carry a toy around. Someday I’m going to die, and in the grand scheme of things, eventually over the course of time I’ll be completely forgotten. As will we all. So I will be myself, and be happy, while I’m here, and keep sharing my silly toy stuff with you. It’s more than a bit cringe but I hope it makes you smile.
Hi hi, everyone! This was a pretty good week –and with this post my blog will be finally caught all up! It was certainly eventful, and I’ll go into the mishap that occurred on Saturday which I mentioned on Twitter –so, let’s get right to it!
🌈 Monday 🌈
Monday we had tickets for Studio Ghibli Fest 2022, which begins with Ponyo. I really like that movie, but if I’m honest I was most excited to get to to take a photo with the Jurassic World Dominion display!!
Literally my entire outfit (shirt, backpack, the blanket I brought to keep warm) and my coordinating colors were Jurassic… can you tell I’m hyped? Haha…
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Just odds and ends from Wednesday, starting with a lounging Rosie…
Sometimes I find that our partner has been screwing around with my dinosaurs. I found Bumpy on my Brachiosaurus’ head:
My big Ankylosaurus was trying to rescue his friend…
On my recent Target outing I came across a little Jurassic World lamp in their cheapy toys section! 😁
🌈 Saturday 🌈
And now… oh boy. Now to Saturday’s events. We’d been talking about heading to Shark Valley for a while, especially since I’ve never been in the Everglades proper, and I wanted to see gators so badly. So I was pretty excited to go, as it was put to me “for a couple of hours”, even if it was at the hottest time of the day, in an area with NO TREES. At least not for most of the way. I can handle this, I thought. And in truth, that much I could handle.
Let me start by saying that our partner insisted I leave Jello behind and instead bring water. I wasn’t worried –I had my hat, it was only for a couple of hours, I wanted to carry Jello for pictures. Anyway, he brought water, I brought Jello. That was my first stupid decision –though again, I’d been a bit bamboozled. Stay with me here.
We could rent bikes, he says. I’m picky with bikes, so I demur. This is my second stupid decision, one on which I changed my mind less than a mile into our walk, after I was informed that we are, in fact, going to walk FOURTEEN miles, at noon, with a stop in the middle that has shade and water. What?!
But at this point, he doesn’t want to go back to get bikes, and this would be one of his stupid decisions. Another of mine was not being more insistent. But he promises me a National Park passport as a treat from the gift shop, which closes at six, and I’m a sucker for a treat in exchange for being a good girl, so common sense is promptly thrown out the window.
We press on, as I am not yet in too much pain, and way too distracted by turtles, birds, SO many gators of varying sizes…
We get to see a gator hunt something (a turtle, a fish?) doing the typical gator roll, mere feet from us. A huge thrill! I also get close enough to a softshell turtle to touch it (of course, I don’t). It was massive, the size of a small dog. We were very entertained.
As we continue walking on an asphalt path with no shade and under blazing sun, I bitch and moan that I know my limits: I cannot walk more than, max, six miles at noon with no water, in Florida, in the Everglades, in the summer. But he insists, and hey! I’m a people pleaser. I bitch and moan and cry, but ultimately I’m a people pleaser, just a very whiny one.
By mile marker six, with the observatory shimmering in the distance like a mirage, my moaning and whining has turned to tears and mild occasional hyperventilating. The gators are no longer of interest. After some coaxing, I’ve drank all of our partner’s water, told that at our rest stop we can both have more. Jello has become a bit of a drag to carry.
We make it to the observatory only to be met with large “BOIL WATER NOTICE” signs. We are in disbelief, but no matter: there is a tour tram, we can see one in the distance. Surely if we explain the situation they will take us back. Walking back seven miles with no water at high afternoon in Florida, in summer, in the Everglades, is very literally dangerous, especially since we are already dehydrated.
We wait for the tram and I take a few photos of the observatory view, which was indeed breathtaking:
Even from this height you can spot multiple large gators in the water.
We come down as the tram approaches, and upon explaining the situation, we are told that it is a paid tour. They do not care about our problems. Our partner asks if they have water, we cannot continue without drinking water, which we were explicitly told was available here. The tour lady tells us they do, for a dollar each. We have no cash.
It is baffling that to us park employees would behave in this manner with people in a bind, especially since we paid a whopping $30 just to enter and walk. But anyway –very reluctantly she gives us two small bottles, and when a tram passenger offers to pay for us, she definitely takes the money. 🙄
So it is time to walk back. And now I really start to cry and I cry for a while, quietly, because I seriously don’t think I can do this. My feet and legs are killing me, my eyes sting with sweat, did I mention we had no sunscreen? I know, real winners. I have one tiny bottle of water that I have to make last for seven more miles, which is one more than our partner had, because I drank his on the way there.
For a while I cry, on and off, having random fits when a wasp or fly gets too close to my head. It is misery. Eventually I am doing too poorly to bitch, moan or cry, a signal our partner smartly takes to feel concerned for my welfare (if I go quiet, you know shit’s serious, because I never shut up) but there is nothing he can do. He was dumb to suggest our situation and I was equally dumb to go for it. We are two dumbasses, and all we can do is walk. And so we do.
The tram passes us, with at least a couple of empty seats. It is the last tram of the day. When it disappears from view, my crying, which had subsided, starts again. Further dehydration, and my water is gone. I no longer care about the promised National Parks passport. I no longer care about the gators, or our partner’s jokes, or even not having water. Everything has stopped mattering.
He decides to play Shrek on his phone, and so we walk for two hours listening to the entirety of Shrek in a strange sort of fever dream.
I text Christopher a few times, updating him on our ordeal. Please don’t die, he says. I tell him I’ll try not to.
At one point I send him this photo, when I couldn’t walk anymore, and our partner massaged my feet for a while:
So many times both of us stared at our smartwatches, counting miles, checking heart rates. Mine, never above 135 even when jogging for three miles straight, eventually reaches 150 and more or less stays there.
Strangely, near the end of the fourteen miles, I began to recover, while our partner was crashing. Nauseous at times, not really able to say much by the end. We made it to the car with just fifteen minutes to spare before being actually locked IN the park for the night (!!) The gift shop had closed –there went my reward! Ultimately I was promised I could have any toy as a treat, which really made up for it.
But to tell you the truth, something else happened as soon as we began to recover, and I mean even as we were driving home. We began to bask in the glory of our accomplishment. It was sort of exhilarating. We did something stupid, surely, that should not be repeated. Water is a requirement, so are hats (he didn’t have one) clothes that don’t chafe, and sunscreen.
But we also walked fourteen miles in five hours, a record for both of us. It sucked, but we didn’t feel as bad physically as we thought we would. And we ACTUALLY did it.
We also knew it was our max: another mile, perhaps another half mile, and I think we would have called emergency services. It really was that bad, you have to understand, it’s the heat. 90 degree weather, perhaps higher, with very high humidity. But that didn’t happen, thankfully.
By the next morning, I’d basically recovered (it took him about another day). But I was ready to walk again, and felt (and still feel) a strange, inexplicable urge to further punish my body in this manner. I’m not sure what to call this. I was miserable. Why do I crave this? Maybe I felt more alive than usual. I don’t know.
I do know we will not do something stupid like that again. But push ourselves like that, and further, in a smart and safe way? For sure. I said I couldn’t walk fourteen miles in the hot Florida sun, at noon and afternoon, in the Everglades, with little water, with no sunscreen. And I did it –we did it.
Who knows what else we can do? I really want to find that out.
Hello, everyone! First of all, I want to apologize for my absence/commission delay which I hinted at but did not fully explain. Being sick three times (never COVID but always sucky) having a weekend-long Easter visit with family, an almost week-long visit of my dear friend Mwako during which time I did not work at all, dealing with important travel paperwork AND having my period on top of it all, meant that no commission work got done whatsoever.
I am now back at the tablet and getting things done, so you all will be getting your WIPS and/or finished pieces over the next few days. But before that –here’s this week’s summary!
🌈 Monday 🌈
Monday was a special day. It was the Jurassic World Dominion street date for the new toys! Christopher and I made a deal: I could spend up to $200, and anything I purchased would be set aside for my birthday and Christmas. This suited me fine! I went to Target and Walmart and came back with a cart full of things. 😁 Although, the new displays were not out at Target, a very nice employee got me everything I wanted from the back.
I also passed by Five Below on the way back and scored a few nice Super Mario finds!
A Super Mario Easter egg and Mario Kart UNO cards! The UNO cards I plan to use for scrapbooking. I loved that the puzzle below had Bowser Jr. in it!
It was otherwise a quiet, busy day, prepping the house, doing chores, and drawing.
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
On Tuesday, it was more and more prepping. I had a lot to do. But I did take some time to myself in the morning, walked to the mall, had a snack there, and bought some pins to decorate my new Galactic Pal bags:
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Wednesday I was up at 5:00am to finish prepping the playroom. It took more work than you imagine, simple though it looks (lots of lugging stuff downstairs, plus putting the mat together, moving furniture, building the tent –tricky on my own) but I think the end result turned out really nice!
The couch looked cozy…
Stuff for outdoor play!
Ricky Parky had not been down to play in quite some time!
Tomoyo was really interested in all the toys…
At least she couldn’t bite this. She definitely tried to bite other things.
I used my travel pillow as a chair for Cookie:
Everywhere you looked it was colorful and full of toys and things to do, games to play, books to color…
Out of the Jurassic World Dominion release, there were a couple of cheaper dinos that I bought for myself so I wouldn’t have to wait to play with them, such as this cute Imaginext gal. She’s really expressive! You can move her up and down and side to side by the tail, open and close her mouth, and change her facial expression! Her arms move too!
Coloring books and games…
I love this Jurassic World version of TOMY’s classic Pirate Pop-Up game!
My new T. rex friend was looking for trouble…
Here’s Ricky all ready to “pretend” camp indoors!
Bluey was ready to welcome Mwako, too!
More friends and fun things to do! 🌈🌟🚂 Socks was a little surprise gift for Mwako.
On Mwako’s first night with us, we went to Blue Ginger, a fancy sushi restaurant where the food is served in little floating boats. It was wonderful, I was so happy we got to go because it’s one of Christopher’s favorite places that we can so rarely afford, and Mwako treated us all.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
On Thursday we took Mwako to my (currently) favorite park, Marhham Park. I picked a very colorful outfit, and brought Cookie along on her first outing:
First we did a quick Starbucks run for breakfast at the house.
Cookie tried her first cake pop!
Once at the park it was time to explore. I love this place, with its pine-needle covered floors. It looks kind of otherwordly in places. The more I explore Florida the more I find beauty I didn’t know it had.
Here’s a couple of pics I got of me and Mwako:
It was overall a super nice time. I did at one point get chased by a few bees and really panicked and ran for a long, long stretch, leaving Mwako and my partner well, WELL behind. Later they told me that as I did that, they heard what had to have been a gator jumping into the water, mere feet from us. They said it definitely sounded like something bigger than a grown man.
What makes that a bit scary is that on recent Googling I found out a woman was attacked by a gator during a jog at this same park. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was that same area. 😬 I guess it’s a good thing that I was running!
Anyway, I’ve been doing stops at Walmart/Target/Dollar Tree/etc, and here are some finds. First, a couple of Uncaged Wild Pop-Ups:
A couple of super cute cups from the dollar store, Berenstain Bears and Arthur-themed:
And some Jurassic Wold stickers:
🌈 Friday 🌈
On Friday, we went to Butterfly World. This is truly the perfect time of the year to go! The amount of butterflies was off the chart, like stepping into a fairy tale world.
First, here’s an all-butterfly set of photos. They were just so pretty.
A cute caterpillar friend!
The birds here are very tame and friendly:
This one was taking a little bath:
This one was… feeling territorial?
I didn’t know canaries ate lettuce, did you?
This little guy was tucking in for a nap. 😊
In the museum and insect area, the moths were my favorite, but everything was beautiful and interesting:
Here’s a wriggly mealworm. These guys are small, but they can bite! If they didn’t I might want to have them as pets.
We bought a couple of plants before leaving. An almond bush which was part of the reason behind the trip, and a mimosa plant as a gift for our dear Christopher. 🥰 After Butterfly World, we went back to the house to play some games in the playroom I’d set up.
We played the T. rex pop-up game first. It was lots of fun! I jumped every time. 😅
Then we played Yeti In My Spaghetti for a while, before it was time to set the table for our burger dinner.
I had special fancy dino paper plates for the occasion! I had to get another one though because someone spilled his drink all over me and my T. rex… 😑
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Let’s start this day with a photo of Tomoyo, laying elegantly as she does:
Mwako continued to humor me by driving me to Targets so I could look for more Jurassic World Dominion stuff. So in the morning we were off, first breakfast at Starbucks and then to Target.
I was very excited at this particular Target because it was my first time finally seeing a Dominion display!
Some neat things I saw (but didn’t buy) were this Pokémon themed Labyrinth game by Ravensburger and this Jeep Wrangler R/C car, Jurassic World themed. I was really tempted by the car… 😅
Ultimately, I came home with this super cute Elmo backpack and Jurassic World Dominion set of minis, both of which Mwako was kind enough to treat me to:
Once home, it was time to move on to some backyard fun! Well… back porch fun. We blew some bubbles, for starters, but I don’t have photos of that. It was fun, though. Ricky sat and watched, it had been a while since he came out to play, as I mentioned:
New T. rex was excited to get into the chalk so we quickly moved on to that.
Playing with chalk was so much fun. I never got to do this as a kid, believe it or not. Chalk was something we only had at school, and colored chalk? What is that, anyway? So, silly though it may seem, this made me really happy.
Ricky Parky had a blast too!
The cats were very curious about the chalk, smelling it, rolling in it, and just being generally very interested and wanting to be involved in our playtime.
Rosie was arguably the most interested of all:
I tried drawing Mwako, a snail and a subrosian for Christopher (that one ended up being my favorite):
I also drew one of our house “soots”:
Mwako did a pretty spiffy job of drawing Stitch!
After that it started to sprinkle, so we went back inside to continue our fun.
A pause for more Tomoyo, this time giving me a half-hearted but playful air-swat:
Time to play some more! First some Jenga…
We each had a cute snack. Since today was special, I picked one of my Good2Grow Podz. Grogu is so cute!
I had my veggie chips in my Bluey bowl, not that you can tell…
The movie for the evening was Brother Bear, an old favorite. It’d been a while since I last saw it. We colored with crayons while watching and just had a nice time.
After the movie, Mwako, my partners and I all went to mini golf. That was a lot of fun to do late in the evening! They closed just as we left.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Today, Sunday, was the last day with activities, since Mwako is leaving tomorrow.
I opened my minis in the morning while having some quiet time to myself. They are so cute!
Look at that adorable tiny carnie, a perfect little chonk:
Being time for another outing, I got dressed up, new backpack and all:
I picked Dusty to accompany me today:
We took Mwako to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park today. This was a lovely setting to take photos of Dusty in, just like Marham Park with Cookie:
Here are some random pics without Dusty in them. Of course I still have to add stickers.
Here’s Mwako looking super cute in the outfit I picked for him to wear. Pink looks great on him, I think!
Our time at the park was fun but exhausting because it was so hot. Once we got back home and freshened up, we sat down to have some “kiddy time” again. First we laid down the Richard Scarry’s Busytown Eye Found It! board game:
It’s a high quality game, with a massive board and very cute pieces:
It’s a collaborative game, either all players win, or the “pigs” win. We enjoyed it, and it certainly has lots of replayability.
At some point, I don’t remember when, I ate this cute chocolate Easter sheep:
After the board game, we played with blocks. It may seem silly, but don’t knock it til you try it. With LEGO, you still have to “think”. There’s something incredibly relaxing about playing with big-ass blocks. Once you let go, all your adult worries melt away, if only for a little bit.
I “play” in a bit more of a conventional manner, making “houses” for my Thomas The Tank Engine Mega Blok figures:
In you go:
Incidentally, I was wearing my bear kigu. It really helps put me in a certain kind of mood when I play with toys such as these. 🐻
Mwako, for his part, is far more chaotic, creating some impressive (and sometimes slightly frightening) creatures:
This here has to be one of my favorite photos of this visit…
We drank as we played and ended our evening in the little tent, just laughing and kinda pouring our hearts out to each other in a tipsy haze. This ended up being the most memorable portion of the week for me. It was such a lovely end to the visit, and left me feeling much closer to my beloved friend of now quite a few years, and looking forward to another visit later this year.
I know this was a very long post. If you read it all, I’m so grateful! Hope it was enjoyable. 😊
Marina's furry art, fantasy writing and daily life!