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Last week was spent trying to get caught up on work, get the art studio portion of my office in order, clean the garage, and get the guest room prepared, because we expected my parents and sister to visit for the weekend/my mom's birthday.

Here is a photo of our slightly-more-finished-than-when-Sheryl-used-it guest room:



I ordered a Mystic Kids Vanetta as a gift for my mom, since she expressed a bit of interest in BJDs when I came down for the convention, last year. I actually wanted to get her an Angell-Studio RongRong, but, in addition to not being sure whether she'd arrive on time, she was just a little out of my budget, especially since I wasn't sure how my mom was going to react. Frankly, I'm still not sure how to interpret my mom's reaction. I think she just wants a grandbaby. She said that she liked the doll and even named her (Apple) right then, but I think, in addition to making her doubt my ever reproducing, it also made her sad about how busy she is at work.

So. I did a bunch of cleaning and reorganizing the house last week only for my Dad to text me telling me that because mom is stressed out at work, she didn't want to travel to see us. Which.. fine. Mom told me not to come down because there was supposed to be a storm and she didn't want to have to worry about me driving in bad weather. I told her "OK," but still wound up driving to Torrance and hitching a ride with Sheryl for the last two hours.

We got there around lunch time so my folks took us to the newly refurbished East-West buffet. The last time I went, Ben and I were still living in Mira Mesa and the place had a layout that made me think that in a former life it had once been a Hometown Buffet. Anyway, even though I'm kind of leery of all you can eat sushi, I ate a lot.





Pro-tip: Only eat the desserts of Asian origin at the Asian buffet. Flan and creme brulee do not taste right, but mochi and sesame covered dough balls with red-bean filling are legit.

Here's a photo of my Mom eating cotton candy and rocking a Hello Kitty purse on her 62nd birthday. #goals



My parents suggested we go to Barona for dinner, but Sheryl and I were so full from lunch that we were happy with a little bit of soup they had in the fridge. We both were ready for bed by nine, but my mom wanted to play, so Dad took her to Barona, anyway.

It was the first time we both slept in our childhood bedroom at the same time since a decade. Well, nine years and some change, and probably the last time we'll do it in a very long while since she's moving to AZ.

Sunday, Sheryl and I went to Universal Studios.



Sheryl used her educator's discount to get me a year pass thingy. All of July and the first half of August is blacked out, but I wouldn't want to go, then, anyway. I hadn't been to Universal Hollywood since I lived at home, so a lot was different. I found myself comparing it favorably to Universal Osaka, being that it was only a 20 minute wait to ride the roller coaster in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I think WWHP was bigger in Osaka, though. Spread out a little more.

I think we spent a whopping four hours at the park- 40 minutes of which was the round trip to and from the cars. It was enough to squeeze in lunch at The Three Broomsticks, a little bit of shopping, and a ride on Flight of the Hippogriff. At first I was surprised that Sheryl would go on it with me, because she tends to get motion sick easily. But it turned out to be probably the shortest and tamest roller coaster I'd ever been on.

Anyway.. Food at the Three Broomsticks was pretty good, especially the sticky toffee pudding (which, btw, is my favorite and unfortunately discontinued flavor of Haagen Dazs ice cream).



Around 4, we both headed our separate ways. Sheryl gave me her AC unit since she's moving to AZ where it's hot AF so the AC is usually already built in. Amazingly, our new home does not have AC built in, so it's nice to have a stand-by to keep in the bedroom in case of a particularly hot summer. Hard to imagine that weather, though, seeing as we've been having so much rain poor Science hasn't seen the park since we moved here.

I started getting sleepy on my drive, so I stopped at my favorite mid-point stop and took a 30 minute nap before getting back on the road. It was a good thing, too, because I needed all of my alertness to drive through the last leg through the "mountain pass" (in quotes b/c it's really just big hills, but to me it seems mountainous) in the darkness. It's a narrow, winding, two-lane road. It is really pretty and fun driving through in the morning/daylight, but kind of terrifying at night.

Ben had wound up working all weekend because the launch date in Vandy kept being pushed forward, so he wasn't even home when I got home. Science was good enough not to have had an accident inside the house, so yay for that.

Tuesday was apparently Valentine's day. I hadn't really spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I guess neither did Ben, though he did ask me, before I left for SD, what I wanted to do about it. We wound up going to the little sushi place again, which, unlike our first experience, was super busy!



We ordered the Shogun Boat, which was the most expensive party boat they had, but the bill wound up being really reasonable since they do it by how many people are in your party. Not pictured was the cali roll and plate of assorted sushi they brought later.



At the end of the meal, they served some green tea biscuits. I can't help but giggle every time I see the Sanritsu brand cookies. I wonder if the waitresses think it's funny, too.

Even though we didn't have anything planned, I did go out and get Ben a six pack of the hecho en Mexico real sugar Coca Cola, a Chuao bacon chocolate bar (that he had been certain we could not get without driving 30 minutes to the nearest World Market), and fixings for his favorite flower pot dessert. Well, in this case, it was a dirt cup with gummy worms, since the store seemed to be all out of flower-shaped lollipops. Pooh.



Thursday, I took Science for her follow up appointment. The doctor said she's completely clear, which I pretty much expected since she hasn't had any accidents and seems to be peeing okay. They still want to put her on a prescription diet, which we probably won't do unless the stones reoccur.

Friday, Ben came home early because the data center flooded (which happens pretty much every time it rains). We were supposed to have D&D that night, but other Sheryl and Bryan canceled, and apparently Claire got a new job that she was stuck at until 9 that night, so we just wound up canceling the whole thing.

Katie and Bob were supposed to visit, today, but Katie is not feeling well, and the weather has been bad, so I'd be worried about their whole drive up, so I told her to stay home and just come up when the weather is better. I keep seeing things about a category 5 storm. I dunno. I have a friend up north posting about keeping emergency rations and I'm like... for real? Well.

Today was a lazy day. After breakfast, we watched the first new episode of Seven Deadly Sins (which seemed weirdly like a filler episode), then I did my cello practice while Ben played DDR. Afterwards, we went to Red Robin and they completely messed up my order, but I was already halfway through my burger when I realized my meat patty was not meat. I got the Banzai burger, and all the teriyaki and pineapple makes it hard to tell because the patty isn't front and center. They did eventually serve my onion rings, at least. I feel bad for the vegetarian who got my real meat burger.

We got home from lunch around two, and I promptly fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up again until 5:30. Then we watched an episode of Occultic Nine, and part of Neon Demon. We got about halfway through Neon Demon before I googled the ending and asked Ben to turn it off because the tension was not worth the eventual ending- at least, not to me. Ben confessed it was recommended by Red Letter Media, which I usually jive with. And I could even understand where the recommendation was coming from, but... I don't know. What I saw was beautifully shot, but I could not get myself to care about any of the characters.

Afterwards, we tried to watch Cuddly Puppies on Netflix as a palate cleanser, but it started with the miracle of birth, which was a little bit too graphic to watch while having dinner. So we switched over to an old episode of Futurama.

Then I texted Claire to see if she and Lawrence wanted to come over for pizza and to watch the FP tomorrow night and chatted with Katie for a little bit.

I can't believe we're so into February. I am backlogged and I have a new contract. Trying to get my act together.
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