Tag Archives: Stuffies

Date Night At The Village Tavern! 💘

Hi everyone! Today was a wonderful day. Just getting a lot done, we had a wonderful date night, and in general, little things here and there are just… making me very happy.

To begin with, here’s a morning photo of Tomoyo and Elliot creepily staring me down. They held their pose and stare for several minutes, it was rather unnerving:

Then I have a daily owl from today’s walk:

I published a new chapter of Meganeea today, with three illustrations. You can read it here if you would like. 😊

In the afternoon I played Legend Of Mana for a little while. A while after that I had a big burst of energy/emotions for… reasons, that I desperately needed to walk off 🙈 so I took my second walk in spite of this insanity:

When I got back, Christopher was home. I was able to coax him into having a date night dinner out. So I put a new outfit together (parts of it are new) and I brought Vanilla Bean with me. We went to the Village Tavern.

I took this photo of Vanilla Bean in the car but she ended up looking kind of wonky. This also distracted me into not putting my seatbelt on until a few streets later. I’m not sure why, I’ve been forgetting that once in a while. I’m paranoid about wearing a seatbelt, so it’s weird.

Our wait wasn’t very long. I took this selfie of us while our table was being readied. I hope we can take photos like these without masks soon…

I felt like celebrating tonight, so I got a chocolate martini. Vanilla Bean had a sip too:

Rather horrifyingly for a $120+ teddy, she got some chocolate on her paw in the process. Thankfully it was easily wiped off! Well… ultimately I want to enjoy my stuffies, and take them on adventures, so the odd stain or such is not the end of the world if it happens. It’s just life.

I should say, this drink always does a number on me. I’d have to drink four glasses of wine to get as plastered as this one drink gets me, I don’t know why. Christopher says there’s vodka in it, which I never drink, so I guess that would explain a lot.

Needless to say I was absolutely obnoxious the entire evening, and yet in my drunken state managed to beat him at two rounds of Tetris. By the end of our game time, however, the pieces seemed to be going all in the opposite directions I wanted them to go. The connection between my hands and my brain was quite fuzzy. But I didn’t care, it was so much fun.

Tomorrow should be fun too. Goodnight, everyone! 😊

A Happy Little Sleepover 🍟🌈🖍️

Hi everyone! 👋 How was your weekend? The LAN is over now, everyone is going home. My friend Shelly just left and so our Little sleepover is over as well. We had soooo much fun together! We colored, built a puzzle, played board games, watched cartoons and a Disney movie and ordered Happy Meals! It was the best night ever. I want to tell you all about it on this post.

🍟🖍️🌈 Saturday Evening🍟🖍️🌈

Last night, before Shelly got here, I got everything ready with Ricky Parky standing guard over our many snacks, coloring books, board games and puzzles! It was a magnificent spread of Littleness.

I hadn’t brought down my crayons and coloring things in quite some time. It was nostalgic seeing them again. 🥺💕

(Um… I’d rather you keep watch over the snacks from a distance, Ricky…)

I had our first movie all ready to watch. The Great Mouse Detective. I hadn’t seen it in ages! It’s Shelly’s favorite, and I like it a lot too.

After this movie I introduced Shelly to Bluey. She loved it! Always good to indoctrinate new people into the Bluey cult, lol.

As soon as Shelly arrived, we ordered the perfect Disney movie night/sleepover meal… Happy Meals for dinner!

I ordered a cheeseburger and Shelly had nuggets. For our toy, we both got Lola!

After eating we began coloring while continuing to watch our movie. I colored one of my vintage printed coloring pages:

It was so nice to touch and smell my crayons again and to just, make positive Littlespace memories to replace bad ones. The whole evening was a healing experience for me. 😌

When we were ready to take a break from coloring, we played the Lucky Ducks game which was really silly and fun!

The pond board even quacked! The mechanism is so loud though, lol.

This photo of Shelly it’s my favorite of the night because it’s so cute:

The game was a bit dumb (in that, there was no real challenge but it was cute and fun regardless and we enjoyed putting the stickers on the ducks. 🦆 Basically each of you gets a shape. The shapes are in the duck’s bottoms. On your turn, you pick a duck. If it’s your shape, you keep it. If it’s not, you have to show it to the other players before returning it to the pond. The first player to find 3 ducks with their shape wins.

After Lucky Ducks we played the Mystery Garden game:

I like this game a lot and it was so nice to be able to play it with a fellow Little. One player plays the Gardener. That player grabs a card, looks at it and hides it. The card shows something in the board. It could be the pumpkins, the dragon, the sun, etc. The other players have to guess what it is by asking “yes” or “no” questions.

Each time the players get a question wrong, the Gardener can move a step on the board. If you guess the card, you get to keep it. The first player to get three cards wins. You take turns being the gardener.

Then we put together a puzzle! I’ve had this puzzle, a gift from
my friend Kitty (AKA Blankit) for the longest time, but there was never a good occasion to put it together until now.

We had fun building it and had some pretty deep discussions while doing just that. It turns out we had a lot more in common than we realized (including some sad things –but realizing that doesn’t make me sad, it makes me feel so much less alone. Ironically those conversations were the most important part of our time together.)

Here is the puzzle, all done!

I liked that the pieces were big. 😁 I’m not very good at puzzles.

🌞🥣🌈 Sunday Morning 🌞🥣🌈

This morning we colored a little more and watched Bluey and Courage The Cowardly Dog! Just some relaxing Little time before Shelly was picked up. It was really pleasant.

I didn’t get to finish my coloring because I do so many layers. Maybe next time!

Here’s a photo of Shelly coloring. 😊💕

It was such a lovely time and I can’t wait for Shelly to visit again. It was everything I hoped it would be. I’m so happy today!

Naturalization Day 🇺🇸✨

Hello everyone! 👋 My weekend is wrapping up so it’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. Let’s do this!

❤️🤍💙 Naturalization Ceremony ❤️🤍💙

We left the house at 6:30am. The ceremony was at 8:15am, so we went to Dunkin’ Donuts to get breakfast first, since Dunkin’ was the first thing my mom and I ate when we landed on the US almost 20 years ago at 4:00am. 🍩 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. 😞 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 weren’t ready, so as the Judge was talking to us, and saying all of these important things, they were talking over her. 😠 Wtf?! They were trying to get everyone’s paperwork and such and we just couldn’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. 😒

But even that wasn’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 didn’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… 😁 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…

⛈️ Elliot’s Emergency Vet Visit ⛈️

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. 😔

🐱 Patriotic Kitties 🐱

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.

🥳 The Party 🥳

I was barely ready when guests began to arrive. 😲 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. 😅 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. 😁

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!

🌈 Saturday 🌈

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 crème brûlée 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… 😖 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. 😭 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 Phở 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.

🎀 Sunday 🎀

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!

❤️🤍💙 Installing The Flag ❤️🤍💙

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 Moon Pie For MoonPie! 🌛🌟🧸

I’ve had my little bear, MoonPie, for quite some time now. I wanted to find an actual Moon Pie to give him for a photo, but for the longest time, I couldn’t. But the today I finally did!

So yeah… that’s it… just a photo of MoonPie with a Moon Pie, which by the way, are vastly inferior to Argentinean alfajores. I really don’t like Moon Pies all that much. Lol. But it makes for such a cute stuffie name!

Anniversary Trip: Day 2 (And Home Again) 💕🚂

Here’s the second day summary of our wonderful anniversary getaway! We were up pretty early. I was excited to wear the outfit I had planned for today.

It was my cheeky Thomas sweatshirt, a brand new blue plaid skirt, my black boots with new black rainbow socks, and my Thomas backpack. Oh, and my Doctor Who scarf. I wished I could get a full OOTT photo but there was no full-body mirror in the room, so I got a regular selfie.

And a photo of the rest of the outfit, like this:

Then I got Coffee Cake out of his little sleeping bag and had breakfast while I waited for Christopher to be ready.

Soon we were on our way. We stopped to get breakfast first, but due to COVID (understandably… I guess? this really could have been done better while still keeping things safe) the “free, all inclusive” breakfast buffet was, err, interesting:

Leaving the “buffet”, we went to the train show. Coffee Cake continued to enjoy the views afforded to him:

The train show was a collection of extremely elderly people selling extremely old trains in a packed, very rickety church room. I didn’t get any video or photos here, but they had a cute little display with a train running and the guy controlling it would make chocolate eggs jump up into the air with a loud POP! that really startled me and made me yell “what the hell” inside a church, but I’m a heathen now so that’s okay. The train popped three eggs. 🐣

After that, we went what was supposed to be the highlight of this trip, HR Trains & Toys, Inc:

This was followed by Zitnik Trains. Both were a letdown, for a few reasons. We’d been to HR Trains’ original location on our second anniversary trip, and while we didn’t buy anything, it was a huge highlight of our trip, and the seed for my interest in wooden track trains was planted then and there. But it seemed too silly, I suppose; I thought Christopher’s main interest were the HO scale and such. I had no idea then how much the liked the wooden ones.

By the time we visited again, HR Trains had been sold and moved to a new, smaller location, that did not have the magic or size of the original. In particular, the wooden track area was sad and minuscule, most its space taken by an old guy in an office chair, making it difficult and embarrassing for me to peruse anything without being in extremely close quarters with him. I saw some items I liked, but was so annoyed and generally let down, that we didn’t buy anything here either.

Other than that though, we enjoyed looking around the store, in particular I had fun looking at the G scale trains. Zitnik trains was smaller and less interesting, so I don’t have much else to say about that. We found no wooden track stuff at all there.

💂 Jack’s London Grill 💂

Then it was lunch time. I’d picked a place called Jack’s London Grill for our itinerary, and here was another highlight. This was an AMAZING place, the chef was from Surrey in England and the food was genuine and superior in taste, texture and presentation.

I had a pear cider, bangers and mash (well, one banger and mash –I asked for the lunch-sized portion) and a puff pastry stuffed with hot melted brie. For dessert, we ordered bread pudding.

Everything I ate was incredible. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I guess I’d pick the bread pudding because it was so different. Christopher had Shepherd’s Pie:

I took this next photo after asking him to smile properly. In his defense, I think his mouth was full. 😅

The order of things escapes me slightly here –we went to record stores, to bookstores, and to game stores. We also went to a vintage toy store that really stood out! That’s what I’ll be talking about next.

🌈 Bear Haven Land Company Vintage Toys 🌈

This store was called Bear Haven Land Company Vintage Toys. It was much bigger than it looked on the outside and an absolute delight. They graciously let me take a bunch of photos. I’m sure you’ll recognize many toys you’d like to get your hands on, as I did! It was a real treat.

Here, I found a wonderful little Raikes bear! He was affordable, small and charming, so I brought him home with me. I decided to call him Raisin, because his color was just like that of the raisin-filled bread pudding we had earlier.

His face and paw pads are made of carved wood. Isn’t that cool? I’d seen bears like him before but none were cute enough for me to want to buy.

After that, we went back to the hotel and napped/watched TV. For dinner we went to a Phở place. The food was good, but the place was dingy, the lights flickered, and the service was so-so. 🤷‍♀️

After dinner we went back to the hotel for the final time, to toast our anniversary!

We cuddled and watched the last episode of Horimiya afterwards, which was very fitting to end the weekend… 🥰

We were tired, but happy. It was a wonderful way to wrap up our anniversary getaway.

💕🏡 Home Again 🏡💕

And that brings us to today! We left quite early in the morning, after grabbing one final McDonald’s breakfast. And, yeah, Friday-Saturday-Sunday I am not doing fitness logs. I ate like a beast, though we also walked a lot. It was a time to enjoy to the fullest, so I have no regrets. ✌

When we got home, I found that that my Brown and Cony keycaps had finally arrived, after a million years delay. They’re very cute!

I spent the day taking care of the cats and snails, blogging, unpacking, doing laundry, and resting. We ordered Bento for dinner and I had some coffee and a Vauquita from Argentina, another sweet treat I hadn’t had in years. Vauquitas ( a play on the word vaquita, which means “little cow”) are “dulce de leche” bars covered in powdered sugar. They have a harder shell with a soft and crumbly inside. It’s very sweet and delicious but you can’t eat more than one at a time. It’s too sweet like that.

Tomorrow I have to shop for groceries and finish my chores 100% because Tuesday begins my 100 Daily Warm-Ups project and I have to study for my citizenship test all the harder! So I will end this post here. Also, tomorrow I’ll share all the treasures I found with you. I hope you enjoyed the recap of our trip!

Anniversary Trip: Day 1 💕 🦖🦕

I’m so happy, I’m so happy, I’m so happy…! 😭✨ I don’t even know how many times I’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 can’t wait to tell you about it all. I’ll be dividing my weekend summary in two posts, plus a third one for all the goodies I got. This is day one —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! I’d never worn my Lazy Oaf overalls until this day. They are my only “designer” 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. 🤔 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 didn’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. 🤷‍♀️

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

Compared to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, there wasn’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…

🌴 🦖 Dinosaur World 🦖🌴

I’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 hasn’t been a special interest that ever had a period of intense obsession, yet it’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, it’s always been this thing in the back of my mind, I’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 it’s always just there, but it’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. 😊

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 —Percy and Diesel. We didn’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 kid’s magazine.

Shortly afterwards we arrived at the hotel. The town wasn’t too promising. The hotel, called The West Wing and described as a “boutique” hotel, wasn’t like, dirt cheap, but it wasn’t expensive… it seemed like a good middle-of-the-road hotel though. Despite the area it was in, from the outside it didn’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 they’ve yet not managed (or bothered to) take down. 😐

So I guess this used to be a cheaper motel, with a poorly slapped-on coat of paint. 😫 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 doesn’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 wasn’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! ✨

In spite of what I read in reviews, and in spite of mask wearing, this place didn’t exactly take COVID seriously. 😅 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 I’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 wasn’t great to encounter at this time of our country’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 couldn’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 I’m so glad it happened. It was an expensive meal, but it’s a memory I’ll hold very dear.

As you can see in the photo above, for dessert we had a Crème Brûlée, the most perfect one I’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!

Happy Hump Day! 🐪 🌈

Hello, everyone! How are you? It’s the middle of the week. I spent today at my mom’s too, including dinner, but I’m finally home now. I have a lot to do tomorrow, and I’m buzzing with excitement for our weekend trip!

I mentioned that I’d gotten my hands on some rare Argentinian snacks from my childhood that I would share with you. This Turrón & Maní by Arcor is the most significant one.

Turrones were the cheapest of snacks when I was growing up, costing just pennies. They are kinda dry and lightweight, a bit like eating cardboard. But they are rather filling, not just for a kid with a meager allowance ($0.25 a day, though eventually it went up to $0.50 a day… still very little you could buy with that money) but also for my mother when she was a young girl working in a furniture store that was commission only (no sales, no pay). These turrones kept my mom from starving at work during those days.

The recipe has not changed at all, not from her days, nor from mine. Even the package is very close to what it was, and fills me with nostalgia.

It’s a great snack to accompany my coffees, and under 100 calories. I got a few, but I asked my mom to get me a bunch more.

Sweeney was the same as last time. I got hisses, but I also got playfulness. He’s very excited and happy when I arrive, but he won’t let me get too chummy.

I tried to spend more time with Shampoo. She looks so different these days… She’s 17 years old and must be shaved to avoid swallowing her fur and dying of a blockage.

She’s fine, affectionate, energetic and healthy, but full of little scabs from overgrooming regardless, and so thin. You feel every bone… it makes me sad… She was once an absolute beauty:

I hope my beautiful Rosie doesn’t suffer the same fate. I do miss so much how Shampoo used to look.

Anyway. My mom made my favorite again, homemade fries and fried eggs. No one can make these things like she can –no one. In particular the eggs. There is a perfection to the consistency of the yolk that I have not seen accomplished in any setting, be it someone’s house or restaurant, no one else can do it. It’s a real treat.

Afterwards, we shared the surprise Easter egg I got from Christopher. He got it at Buenos Aires bakery.

It was so, so beautiful! It also had candy inside.

It was high quality, delicious chocolate.

Anyway, I’m home again, I’ve fed Christopher and made sure he had lunch for tomorrow. Now that I’m nearly done unpacking it’s time to get ready for bed. Tomorrow is gonna be a day of prep and packing –we leave early on Friday! I can’t wait!!

Visiting Mom! 🌈💕

Hello, friends, foes and strangers! Today was a good day too. Worked on art (even streamed!) exercised, did a heckton of chores and studied for the citizenship test for hours, and I also completed another route (the normal ending) for Nicola in Piofiore.

I’ve got an ✨ outfit of the day ✨ for today too:

I came across some cute chalk scribbles during my morning walk… 🌈✨💕

I also snapped photos of these pretty flowers around the neighborhood:

Over the last few days I’ve paid several more hundred worth of my debt! ✊ The lightbox has seen an update:

Tonight I’m visiting my mom. It’s her 67th birthday this week, and we celebrated tonight by going to Oggi’s, a very fancy local Italian restaurant that we had a coupon for. The entire meal was free, sans the tip. I had crab ravioli with lobster sauce. It was exquisite!

We also polished off a wine bottle between the two of us. 😅 The restaurant wasn’t very far, and we walked both ways. It brought a lot of memories. I know my mom will miss these views when she moves in with us…

Today I was able to get a hold of some Argentinian candies I have not eaten in like 10 years (some of them 20 years) so I want to talk about them in more detail in a future post. Right now I’m falling asleep so I’ll end this post here. Goodnight, everyone!

Finally Visited Mom Again! ✨💖

Last night I came to visit my mom for the first time since last February! It’s been a whole year… I’m so happy. I’ve seen her since then in person, a few times, and we’ve zoomed weekly, but our overnight visits were on pause until she got the vaccine and the necessary time had passed.

She made me a long-promised dinner of eggs and fries, one of my favorite things from childhood. It was all perfect. My mom’s fries are always the absolute best —I say this objectively. Mealy and soft inside, crispy outside… just perfect.

We talked TONS, and watched part of Mary and Max (which I saw the other day and loved, and now I’m having her watch too.) We are watching the rest later today.

I got quite a reception from Sweeney, one of my mom’s cats. Sweeney was mine originally… I picked him, named him. But when I moved to be with Christopher he stayed with my mom. Sweeney is a bit neurotic. He bites, sometimes goes from purring to hissing while being pet. Can be incredibly sweet or sometimes mean and a little scary.

After I moved away and only came to visit once or twice a month, Sweeney would get a bit grumpy with me, especially if it had been a long time. I assumed he forgot me, especially because I came smelling like other cats. Still, my mom said both he and Shampoo (her other cat who was also mine/ours for many years) would get very excited when, with me maybe 2-3 minutes away, she would tell them “Here comes Marina!” and they’d perk up and go wait for me by the front door.

Last night my mom did this just as she used to a year ago. Well, the cats certainly remembered. Sweeney in particular got very excited. He was running through the house, being super playful. I could chase him or poke him in the butt or ribs and he’d run off joyfully with playful poses, he stuck his head in my shoes and played with them, and more.

Still, I could not pet him. He would bite me, hiss, be very scary. Eventually he let me pet him by the end of the night. This morning, it was different, he let me pet him lots and even hold him. I was so happy. I really love this grumpy old guy.

As you can see from the photos, I brought Barley along. Barley is one of my favorite bears. He’s a limited edition Boyds, more luxurious and bigger than the average bears of the brand. But he has a very special feel. Somehow he’s firm and incredibly soft and squishy at the same time. I’m not sure how to explain that, I guess you’d have to hold him.

Barley doesn’t like to be without his hat but I had him take it off for bed:

My fitness posts will happen, I just can’t do them properly on my phone while I’m here. I’m still very tired because the apartment is noisy especially with the dog next door so I didn’t sleep very well. I’m going to try to sleep some more.

Continuing this post after my nap and breakfast. We had mate and it was the first time since Christmas, but it was even more delicious than it was back then. I gave Barley some too:

Not long after this, Sweeney decided to come and lay with me! 😱

Alas, I couldn’t resist touching him. He didn’t like that. But he settled down and didn’t leave.

We finished watching Mary and Max. I cried even more the second time despite knowing the ending.

Also, I realized this was the part of the movie that touched me most deeply, even more than the very end:

It is so poignant, sad and glad, and full of earnest feeling, it just guts me, but in a good way.

This morning I did some more worm research. I think I’ll be ordering me some worm friends as soon as I get home!

It’s a bit unorthodox, but I guess I’m just going to continue updating this post as the day goes on. 😁

Next…

… we put together a gas station model! It’s a present for my mom’s boss. We had a lot of fun, even if it was mostly putting stickers on.

Later, we played cards. I taught my mom to play Mille Bornes. She caught on very quickly and beat me twice in a row!

It’s one of the family’s favorite games, so I’m looking forward to her playing it with us.

While playing, I arranged two new commission requests (yay for more money to pay off debt!) and got a call from my neurologist. They moved my appointment up to tomorrow to discuss the recent tests.

Now my mom is making dinner.

We had asado and salad! I had a delicious Jello cheesecake dessert. Now I’m waiting for Christopher to take me home!

And now, I’m home. This was an odd post, being updated through the day like this. I have to unpack, take care of the animals, and prepare my fitness posts.

I ordered red worm food, and red wrigglers (eisinia fetida) just 20 or so of them. Tomorrow I’ll prepare their tank, and as they grow and multiply, I’ll add some to the snail tanks. I want to keep them on their own too though, because worms are cool.

I also ordered some toys… 👉👈 But I think it’s for a good reason. More on that probably next week.

I think I’ll end the post here for real. I hope you all have a good night. I had a really fun day with my mom.

A Super Fun Weekend! 🌈🚂✨🚲

This weekend, Christopher’s mom is visiting us. We’ve already had a lot of fun —the three of us together, but also I’ve had fun with Christopher and by myself too.

Last night we went to Nami Sushi for dinner. I had the Buddha Tofu as usual and a Thai iced tea. It was very good:

The only bad thing is that, while they’ve had an excellent track record of caution during COVID, they rather overfilled their tiny restaurant with a massive party that sat right behind us. They were loud and obnoxious and I truly felt unsafe; I think the most unsafe I’ve felt in any situation since COVID started.

The next day, having made preparations the day prior, I woke up very early, at 6:30am. By 8:00am I was out and going on quite a long ride, almost another 20 miles. But this time I had a book, a picnic of onigiri and chocolate covered raisins, water, a thick picnic blanket, and a stuffed friend. I brought Turrón with me:

Here are some photos of our little picnic. I really was in heaven, and hardly anyone was around, I didn’t feel embarrassed to have Turrón with me. My onigiri was really good, too.

I took this particular photo at the same time as the photo above. But this one is a selfie, of course:

On the way home, I had a treat! The cow (actually, bull/steer?) that I always see on this field was right by the fence this time. He was really friendly! Someone gave him an apple, but he had already eaten it.

After I got home and showered, we all went to a Pho place for lunch. I had some tofu and a mango bubble tea. I liked the restaurant a lot, so I expect we will be back. I brought Circo along this time, for a cute picture:

Once home we relaxed on the couch, watched some TV… Christopher had a coffee. Tomoyo was being very cuddly and I was able to snap a couple of shots while she kneaded my stomach:

The most fun of the evening came after this. Christopher finally opened all the wooden train and train set parts he received. I had some trains of my own. I was really looking forward to this experience and it didn’t disappoint.

Coffee Cake was with me. He really enjoyed having his own little train.

The cats were just all over everything, as cats do. Kotoko was particularly affectionate this evening:

Tomoyo ran around harassing everyone, including Kotoko who just wanted to “fit and sit”.

Here’s Kotoko looking at the trains:

And Tomoyo’s reaction:

After we were done playing for the night, I went to do chores and Tabby and Christopher cooked amazingly delicious manicotti. I burned my mouth because it was so good I couldn’t wait for it to cool down:

Then we played Mille Bornes. Kotoko wouldn’t stop lovingly headbutting Christopher, she was being so adorable that I kept missing my turn with the cards:

I guess that’s all for this post. I tried to be brief, I am very tired… oh I did order my first Atelier game for the Switch today… I am super excited about that. I hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far. Goodnight, everyone.