Tag Archives: Thomas The Tank Engine

Naturalization Day ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโœจ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

๐Ÿฑ Patriotic Kitties ๐Ÿฑ

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

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

๐Ÿฅณ The Party ๐Ÿฅณ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a selfie round-up:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

๐ŸŽ€ Sunday ๐ŸŽ€

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

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

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

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

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

Placing the pole!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Train Time ๐Ÿš‚

Here, have a train photo dump! After a month of playing, this is our setup before being dismantled. I’m sure we will make another in the future, but for now we need the space. This takes a LOT of room. ๐Ÿ˜…

Nothing else to add, really… just wanted to share the photos. Oh yeah, and it turns out our three new battery powered engines (Percy, Diesel and Thomas) are actually not compatible with other brands of track. So I’m trying to decide whether to modify or sell them. ๐Ÿค”

The Weekend’s Treasures โœจ๐Ÿฆ•๐Ÿš‚

Good morning everyone! I’m still doing lots of things… even more laundry, still unpacking, very busy… I did say I would make an additional post to share my new treasures and souvenirs, so here we go! In no particular order…

These are the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway goodies we snagged. Three battery operated engines! Diesel, Percy and Thomas. Very happy with these finds!

Then, as you can see, we got a few “destinations”. A water tower, a search light, a quarry mine tunnel and a winter fuel station!

The store had a lovely friendly attendant who surprised me with a cute little doodle of Thomas when we went to the register to pay! ๐Ÿฅฐ

Here are some goodies from The Sound Exchange in Tampa Bay. We found a brand new record of the music from Tales From The Crypt (which we are currently binging!) a Laserdisc featuring How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who, and another of the Dead Poets Society.

Something else they had at the Sound Exchange was old books and magazines. I decided to take this one, from 1966, partly because it had some pages about dinosaurs.

It’s an interesting little magazine, with lovely illustrations. It was one hundred percent brand new, as it must have looked the day it was made.

Continuing the dinosaur topic, we visited Mojo Books & Records across the street from our hotel. This is actually a place we visited on our second anniversary trip. We loved it then and now! I decided to look for more dinosaur books, because why not. I found a few:

They are all beautiful, but my favorite is the first one (The New Dinosaurs). The biggest book, The Prehistoric World Of The Dinosaur, had a child’s drawing inside:

I almost discarded it, and perhaps eventually I will, but Christopher pointed out that some kid loved dinosaurs and this book so much, that he carefully drew them and placed the drawing inside. Thinking that, it felt wrong to remove it.

And now, let me share the best part, which is my haul(s) from Dinosaur World! One haul wasn’t enough… Christopher took me back on Saturday. He really indulged me all weekend long. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’•

First off there are these tiny, tiny books! About the size of my hand. Little stories about dinosaurs.

I got a visor and a tie-dye shirt! ๐ŸŒˆโœจ

I found a wonderful foam dino in the same general vein as Mojito and Fuit Gummy, but a completely different color and pose. I think he will make a great friend for them! I’m calling him Churrasco.

I also got this medal which I will hang from my cork memory board:

And a few more odds and ends; a patch (also for my cork board, at least for now) a pencil case and a rubber bracelet:

They had so many beautiful statues… it was really very hard to pick what to buy. I ended up getting this little guy:

And this beautiful… beautiful, massive gal… The jewel of everything I got this weekend. I adore her. I could go on, but I’ll leave you to look at the photos:

And that’s it! There are a few things that stayed in my mind as “wish I’d gotten that” but I had to stop somewhere. ๐Ÿ˜… One was a foam triceratops that I didn’t buy at the store where we got the Thomas stuff. I looked for it online, and all I could find is that it’s by a brand called Best Choice and is out of stock everywhere. Another was a raptor lamp at the Dinosaur World, and a lenticular print, also from there… but I’m sure if I’d gotten these things, there would be something else I regretted leaving behind. So it’s alright. ๐Ÿ˜

I do wish Christopher had found more things he liked, but he didn’t really. We both had a good time, though.

Anyway that’s all for my trip, I have to go grocery shopping now. Hope your week is off to a great start!

Anniversary Trip: Day 2 (And Home Again) ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿš‚

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 โ€œfree, 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 didnโ€™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 โ€œwhat the hellโ€ inside a church, but Iโ€™m a heathen now so thatโ€™s okay. The train popped three eggs. ๐Ÿฃ

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.

๐Ÿ’‚ Jack’s London Grill ๐Ÿ’‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜…

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.

๐ŸŒˆ Bear Haven Land Company Vintage Toys ๐ŸŒˆ

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 PhแปŸ place. The food was good, but the place was dingy, the lights flickered, and the service was so-so. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

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… ๐Ÿฅฐ

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

๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿก Home Again ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ’•

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. โœŒ

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!

Date Night! ๐Ÿš‚๐Ÿ’•โœจ

Tonight was date night! I awaited it very eagerly. We played with our trains and went out to dinner, too. We went to Nami, and it was really nice. I had the Buddha Tofu and a Thai iced tea as per usual:

We also stopped by Five Below where I saw some LINE Friends blind boxes. I love LINE Friends, most of all Cony and Brown, so I grabbed one.

I got a plushie of Choco taking a selfie! It’s really cute, too:

After we got home we played with our trains. Often we let the cats in, and they will rampage over our tracks with much pleasure:

Christopher had a wonderful surprise for me. When I went to play with my brand new roundhouse, Gordon was mysteriously sleeping inside! I really, really wanted him, so it was wonderful when I pushed the button and he came out. It made me so happy.

The roundhouse is really beautiful, if a little fragile.

Here is James proudly emerging:

And a few more random pics:

The gang’s all here! Well sort of. I’m still missing a few of the really important trains.

We watched a few old episodes of Thomas, and then at one point the sounds in the roundhouse began to malfunction, so Christopher started what we hoped would be a quick fix…

…it turned out to be anything but, so the roundhouse is in pieces for a little bit while we try to find ways to fix the problems.

I’m very tired writing this, so I leave you with another rampaging black kitty. This time, it’s Tomoyo:

Goodnight, everyone!

A Snell ๐ŸŒ (And Other Stuff)

I finally finished catching up with old posts! Last few days have mostly been working on commissions, studying for the citizenship test, and getting stuff done around the house.

A week or so ago I went to Hobby Lobby and found a rare snail figure. I tend to snag them when I can. He now sits in the snail book shelf:

Isn’t he a cutie?

I’m terribly excited because my new Thomas roundhouse is coming today. Buying on OfferUp makes me nervous…I really hope it’s not damaged, and that the sound works. Hopefully all is good with it so we can play with it tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to date night. I’ll have my roundhouse, Christopher will have his new special locomotive that reacts to special cards, and I have a few little houses and such to decorate the town with.

I’m also so, so excited about our upcoming trip. I have a new bag to wake on this trip specifically:

It is neither too big nor too small, it just about fits my iPad and necessities. And it not as toddler-y as other Thomas bags out there.

Anyway it’s almost time to Zoom with my mom so I have to cut this short. Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

An Outing ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ›’

Yesterday I went shopping for groceries and visited a few stores for fun. I went to the Salvation Army, which was as gross as ever, and to Party City. Oh, and to Goodwill. I did find a few goodies.

At Party City I got a cup and some napkins and paper plates. Unfortunately it’s all the new 3D style. The hand-drawn art of the “generation” prior to this one is hard to find now, all they had left is a pack of thank you cards. ๐Ÿ˜ž

In the mail when I got home was a little packet I’d been expecting, with a couple of signs and the thing I actually cared about, a little Fat Controller of my very own.

At Goodwill I found two books. One was a very interesting books about unicorns and their history in different cultures:

The other one was a Rugrats book about Christmas which is kinda weird since Tommy’s family is Jewish and this is told from Tommy’s POV:

The art was cute though:

At the Salvation Army (did I mention this place was gross? matches their politics I guess) I found a giant checkers set, brand new in its wrapping, for $6.99. I’d been wanting one forever, so I got it.

The little Big Bird keychain was from Party City.

Here’s an after-lunch treat I had while playing Cafรฉ Enchantรฉ. I’m finally on Ignis’ route. The main story took FOREVER!

That’s all for this post!

Weekend Recap & Time To Relax

Now that family has gone home, I can finish catching up on my blog. All my fitness posts that wered backed up have been published!

We went to Dragon PhแปŸ again. Grandma had phแปŸ for the first time:

I had rice, salad, a fried egg and tofu. The grilled tofu here is really amazing. I can’t wait to go again.

Later in the evening, as a final celebration, we went to Texas de Brazil near Gulfstream. One of my favorite restaurants. So it was very disappointing that everything, from the food, to the service to the atmosphere, was so sub-par.

This place is ridiculously expensive, and since Grandma wouldn’t do sushi (Christopher’s actual birthday pick) we went here, which was my choice. I felt SO bad that I subjected everyone to such a mediocre yet overpriced meal. Enough that today I left a pretty scathing review, my first time leaving one for a restaurant. I think we still all had a good time… but I keep thinking of that bill and feeling so responsible.

Anyway! Other news… I’ve found a Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Deluxe Roundhouse on OfferUp for a very affordable price compared to, well, anyplace else –not cheap, certainly, but cheap enough that I do have a concern the seller might decide to cancel the order on me. Seller still has the box, and it seems it’s been put together but never played with, at least it’s described as such. It looks like this, but the one I found is an older model:

My friend Island readily got it for me in exchange for some artistic freedom art. Now, to see if it actually makes it to me… I haven’t had much luck with mail lately. My BigJigs dinosaur set has seemingly been lost in the mail, and I’m in the middle of a PayPal claim for some keycaps I ordered last year.

ALSO, I may or may not be planning to wear this during our upcoming anniversary trip:

Not sure how long this new special interest is gonna last, but while it lasts, I’m gonna enjoy it. It was certainly an unexpected one to get. Though at this point, I admit it’s become more about the Thomas stuff (well, the books/old tv show rather than Thomas the character) than about anything else. I just didn’t expect to love it this much. He’s such a smug bastard. They all are.

One BIG bit of news I have is that my citizenship interview finally has a date: April 21st! So I have to get to studying.

I have nothing left to share, just chores to do. Oh yeah and Kotoko seems to have a UTI. So, dealing with that as well. Hope everyone reading this had a nice weekend.

Christopher’s Birthday! ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿฅณ And Other Stuff

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m sorry that Iโ€™ve been quiet for a few days. Iโ€™m overwhelmed, tired, and today just kind of sad too, though I donโ€™t want to talk about that here.

I meant to make this post on the 9th, Christopherโ€™s actual birthday, but didnโ€™t manage it. We had a lot of fun! Even though it was just us, I had a bit of a party atmosphere ready when he got home, including the presents you all sent:

Iโ€™m really grateful to Mikey, Kinder and Wish who were sweet enough to send train track switches for him. I got him one as well, which made for five packs, or a total of ten switches. He was really surprised and happy, and we played with them all evening!

For โ€œcakeโ€, I made him brownies and decorated them:

We tired ourselves out playing and even had vintage episodes of Thomas running on the projector. It was wonderful. Afterwards we had pizza. I meant to even decorate the pizza but I forgot.

Playing with trains with Christopher is the only time I feel fully comfortable being Little with someone. Like, not self-conscious at all, not forcing or faking anything. Only happiness.

Itโ€™s definitely that sort of activity (though I donโ€™t think he likes to be reminded of this). I canโ€™t help thinking of that aspect, though. And I am really one hundred percent in heaven, itโ€™s this thing that is “just for us”, and there was a moment when we were there sitting surrounded by trains, cross-legged, watching an episode of Thomas in that enormous projector screen, I felt so small and happy, and reminded yet again, that I really married my best friend. I canโ€™t believe I married someone who would do this with me and enjoy it unironically. To this day I am baffled by my good fortune.

This is unrelated, but Kotoko has been climbing higher and higher on the condo, which considering her arthritis, is quite an unusual sight. Here I got some photos of her and Tomoyo, whose ear happens to be flipped wrong. Thatโ€™s always funny.

Remember the whistle Christopher got me at the train museum? I removed the wrinkled sticker, sanded all the glue down, designed my own on sticker paper, trimmed it with washi tape, then added multiple coats of spray-on gloss Mod-Podge over the space of two days (of course I covered the tip with painterโ€™s tape). Afterwards I used a hard coat, brush-on waterproof Mod-Podge which gave it a nice wood-like texture and excellent protection.

Even the end tip of the whistle is red. It looks so much better than how it was. Itโ€™s all my own now! But Iโ€™m glad we got it at the museum. For one, because of the memory of getting it there and supporting the museum. But also because it just sounds so damn good.

That asideโ€ฆ Iโ€™ve been doing tons of housework. Also playing a little bit of Cafรฉ Enchantรฉ. And today, my little Percy came in the mail:

Percy is one of my favorite trains, but I donโ€™t think this train figure captures his innocent face at all, or even his proper shape. Maybe later Iโ€™ll find a better Percy.

Train Museum Outing ๐Ÿš‚๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’•

Yesterday was a huge, HUGE treat of a day! Christopher took me to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, and he bought me a little train there, and a whistle, and then he took me to The Falls for a walk and lunch, and then we went to a Learning Express toy store, and to Target (where we got more trains) and to IKEA, where we got more track, and a turntable and two bridges.

The weather was cool but sunny and windy, just wonderfully pleasant. I wore Lolita, and just felt so happy, like all my bad mood of the past week melted away. It was a proper, day-long date, and I was in heaven.

๐Ÿš‚ The Museum ๐Ÿš‚

First let me tell you about the train museum. I got way too many photos:

After the area you see above, was the gift shop. They had a whole bunch of Thomas stuff! As I mentioned above, Christopher got me a little engine (James) and a whistle. I was completely shocked that he said yes to James, he was very pricey, but I was so happy and couldn’t stop looking at him the rest of the day:

What I didn’t realize is that the wrinkles weren’t only on the packaging but also on the sticker on the whistle, which is peeling right off! However, that is okay. I’m going to remove the sticker, and decorate the whistle with a Thomas-themed transfer I’ll customize myself. The whistle sounds AMAZING, better than other whistles of the same price on Amazon, and it’s still special because we got it at the museum, so I still love it. Besides, customizing it will be fun!

We also got tickets for a little train ride that I really enjoyed (this gif is from the museum’s site, but this was the train we rode):

I have to be honest, the state of the museum itself is a bit… well… there is a lot of decay and you can tell they are probably doing their best with their limited resources, but there is an abandoned feeling to some parts of it. Nevertheless, being able to step inside these pieces of history is incredible to me:

This was one of my favorites because it was so bright. It’s the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) Caboose #0322:

That one in which I am sitting, you had to climb on, and it was pretty steep!

The Caboose was built in 1923 at the ACL Shops in Waycross, Georgia. It weighs 5 tons, and carried a pot-bellied stove, kerosene lamps, and leather cushions for seating. The Caboose was used on the rear of freight trains throughout ACL’s System.

This is the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) Passenger Coach #136:

Built in the 1920s, the FEC #136 played a role in the evacuation of a portion of the Florida Keys as part of preparations for the Labor Day hurricane of 1935.

The FEC #136 is an open air coach, that was typically used during the winter months. It was in passenger service between Jacksonville, KeyWest, and Havana. The FEC #136 was built in 1925 and retired in 1958.

These photos are just random ones that I couldn’t fit anywhere else:

One of my favorites was the U.S. Army Hospital Car #89436:

The U.S. Army Hospital Car #89436 operated as a hospital car, or ‘moving hospital,’ during World War II. The car was to carry one doctor, two nurses, four service personnel, and could carry up to 33 patients. It was majorly used to move military patients between medical facilities.

It was originally built in 1945 by the American Car & Foundry Co.

This is the only car we couldn’t see the inside of, unfortunately. It is the Presidential Pullman Passenger Car “Ferdinand Magellan” U.S. Car #1:

The Ferdinand Magellan is unique among Pullman railroad cars in that it is the only car ever custom built for the President of the United States.

Originally built in 1928, the Ferdinand Magellan was one of the last cars ever built as a private car and was one of a group of six cars named after famous explorers.These cars were all placed in the Pullman general service pool at about the same time and were operated by the Pullman Company over many of the nation’s railroads.

I really wish we could have seen the very fancy inside, but I guess in order to protect the historic artifacts/car, you had to go back inside and ask for a special tour of $5.00 per person. I think Christopher would have said yes if I asked, and I did want to see it, but felt too lazy to go back for that –I guess I didn’t want to see badly enough. ๐Ÿ˜…

Nothing of what we saw beat the steam locomotives. That was UNREAL. These are the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) Steam Locomotive #153 AND #113:

FEC 153 was one of a group of 7 pacifics (151-157) built by ALCO in 1922. The FEC Locomotive #153 served on the Florida East Coast Railway from 1922 to 1938. It even pulled a train carrying president Calvin Coolidge to Miami in 1928! 

FEC #113 was one of a group of 60 pacifics (77-136) built by ALCO between 1910 and 1917. It was used in regular revenue service over the entire Florida East Coast Railroad. 

The couple of photos below are from the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) Passenger Combination Baggage-Coach #259:

The SAL Passenger Combination Baggage-Coach #259 was called the โ€œcombineโ€, because the car is part baggage cart and part passenger coach. The car is Also known as a โ€œJim Crowโ€ car because of its segregated seating areas. 18 seats in the front section and 24 in the rear section.

It was rather jarring to bump into someone wearing a Trump/MAGA facemask as we stepped out of this train and they stepped in. Through the window, I saw the woman taking a photo of the man in this mask seemingly by the area where the “white” sign was. It was just kinda sobering.

Here are a few more photos that I didn’t know where else to fit:

And that was that for the train museum. Afterwards, we went to The Falls!

A lot of the info accompanying the photos is from the museum's website: https://www.goldcoastrailroadmuseum.org/
I recommend a visit if you want to learn more!

๐Ÿช The Falls ๐Ÿช

A full year of Covid has had an effect on The Falls. Much was closed or under construction, and due to the latter, my two favorite areas of the mall were destroyed, basically. Everything felt just a little bit more in decay. But there were still cats. This one was very friendly:

We ate at BJ’s. Food options were reduced, on the whole. BJ’s is just “ok”. We enjoyed our meal.

I ordered a sandwich and fries, it was okay, I didn’t eat much of it. It ended up being too heavy/rich.

After that we went to Learning Express (didn’t find anything too interesting) and to Target, where we got a bunch of Battat trains (I don’t think Christopher knew the brand; it was Battat) and I got these little food trucks which don’t fit on the rails obviously but that’s fine, trucks don’t go on rails:

They will be a fine addition to my “towns”. ๐Ÿ˜

Target did have a lot of Thomas but it was the plastic motorized garbage. ๐Ÿ˜ž

After that we went to IKEA for more track, and then home. And that was the end of our outing. It really was wonderful, though I am still tired, even today! That’s probably due to my period, too, though. Now I have to start my day properly, and get housework, art, and exercise done.