Is it July Already?!

Hello, fellow readers!

Can you believe it is July already? I feel like June flew by so fast. Probably because a lot of life changes have been happening. Unfortunately, there will probably be no anime content for at least a week, so you have to slum it with me and my personal life updates.

I am excited about the Summer 2021 releases. There are a handful of shows that I am looking forward to posting opinions about. I am kind of looking for to this season’s sports anime. So, look forward to those snippets of opinions coming in the next week or so. The season goes into full swing on Saturday with a lot of potentially good shows debuting.

THE LIVING ROOM

I am sad to report that we STILL do not have our flooring. I am beginning to really lose my patience with these people. On one hand, I know materials are out of their control. On the other hand, we should have been properly warned that materials are taking a long time to gather. I wouldn’t have gotten rid of our couch so soon. We’re going on a month of walking into a disaster zone every time we come home. And, again. First world problems. At least we have a roof over our heads. I need to get a little perspective here. I recognize that. Until we get the flooring done, the new furniture is going to sit in a warehouse until we can get it delivered and installed since the set is powered.

FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND

As you may know, this weekend, the United States will be celebrating our nation’s declaration of independence from the British. It’s typically a day celebrated with BBQs and fireworks. This year, I suggested we go to a Round Rock Express baseball game and watch their fireworks show. Now, this is important because I very rarely suggest anything where I have to deal with crowds. People irritate me in even the smallest groups, so this is a great step forward for me. I might even cook steaks for lunch. In addition, my husband has agreed to take me to a parade. I have always loved parades. I don’t know why since large groups make me anxious and irritated. We’ll get to see two fireworks shows this weekend because of the timing of the holiday.

BACK TO SCHOOL

In a month and a half, I will be returning to university to complete a bachelor’s degree. This will be my third degree. I’ve been slowly preparing myself for the reality of working full-time and going to school full-time. I’ll be taking all of my classes online, so it shouldn’t be too much of a burden. I’m not sure how I will fit in all of my studying, but my co-worker manages, so I think I will be able to manage, too.

This semester, I am taking an introductory class to liberal studies, arts in contemporary society, protest song in America, and computer impact and technology. I’m majoring in liberal studies with minors in English, fine arts, and business management.

In anticipation of the course load, I procured a Samsung S7+ tablet. I like handwriting notes, but I hate keeping up with paper notebooks. This will solve the problem as I can take notes in the tablet and save them to PDF for use later. I’ve been on the fence about tablets, but I think with this very mobile world, it was a must buy. I also despise laptops. Sorry laptop users. I just don’t like them. The tablet was a small compromise for me.

I am excited, and scared, for this newest chapter in my life. I’ve always wanted to complete my bachelor’s degree. I think for a lot of selfish reasons, but I’m not worried about that. I know having one will make me more marketable than I am now, but at the same time, I just want to be able to say that age doesn’t matter. I got my third, and hopefully, final degree at 44.

Anyhow, that is what’s happening in my world. Anime content should be resuming shortly!

Life Goes On

Thought I would give everyone a real life update.

The Floors

*Insert stupidly long irritated and annoyed sigh*

The arrival of our flooring and installation should have been done by now. In fact, our living room furniture was supposed to be delivered on June 12th, but we had to delay its delivery…twice. Unfortunately, my husband got the call that the manufacturer is having an issue and now my floors are delayed another ten days. I’m pretty annoyed. We went with a pretty well-known contractor, so I am not worried about the company running off with our money or never doing the floors. It’s just an inconvenience.

Currently, my living room looks like we were robbed.

Since we prematurely got rid of the couch, I have no where to just unwind other than at my computer desk. Sometimes, you don’t want to be at your computer desk when you just left your computer desk. You know what I mean?

It is what it is. Life goes on. #firstworldproblem

Antihistamine Did What?!

On a June 4th, I took a day off from work. I was feeling under the weather. I also started a new medication, hydroxyzine. It is an antihistamine. It is commonly used to treat anxiety on top of the normal things antihistamine does. I was basically drunk by overdose from the 5th through the 8th. I had taken full doses that Friday, Saturday, and then stopped. It wasn’t until the afternoon of the 8th that I was finally confident in my ability to drive. After an exchange with medication management, we cut the dosage in half and I’ve been fine since. I never knew antihistamine could do that to you. I’m not talking about Benadryl-induced sleepiness. I was straight-up not functional.

At one point, I was cognizant enough to go to Target with my husband that Saturday. While shopping, I am told by my husband, I started walking around with an invisible taquito in my hand. When we got to the car, my husband took me to QuikTrip to get a spicy chicken taquito, some chips, and a drink. He figured I was hungry or my blood sugar was crashing. He then told me that I devoured the taquito, ate some chips, and drank some of my drink and stared off into the distance as we drove home. When we got home, I almost cried because I thought he tricked me and didn’t take me to get a taquito. He had to point out that there were chips and a drink and the empty taquito wrapper. I had slurred speech and stumbled around like I was drunk. Once he got me up the stairs, he tucked me into bed and told me to rest. I don’t remember much about the weekend, let alone my trip to Target. I vaguely remember wanting a taquito, but everything else was a blur.

Yeah, that stuff really messed with me. So, be careful, folks.

I Might Have Bipolar II Disorder

Ah, yes. This is always a fun conversation to have. Mostly because I know how uneducated I was about the disorder, so I can only assume most people that have not been directly affected by it are also uneducated.

I always thought bipolar disorder meant that you have drastic mood swings. At least, that is how family members diagnosed with it would tell me. I think those diagnosed with the disorder often don’t fully understand. It was explained poorly to them by their doctor, and thus it was poorly explained to me.

I am by no means an expert on the topic. My diagnosis hasn’t even been finalized, but I’ve done enough research that I am confident that I check enough of the boxes.

Like all mental disorders, there is much disagreement about what is or isn’t part of a disorder. Bipolar disorder is no different. Currently, bipolar disorder is classified into two major categories: I and II. And, even then, there is a lot of disagreement on whether there should be two categories.

It is so much more than “mood swings”. SO much more.

Bipolar disorder I is often characterized by “manic” episodes. There are not merely “mood swings”. A manic episode usually lasts a week or more. Often, the behavior is risky and shows poor judgment like spending a lot of money without a thought to the consequences. For some, it is engaging in risky sexual behaviors that one wouldn’t normally do. The manic behavior gives confidence, self-importance, or elated behavior that is not normal. They might even need hospitalization during a manic episode. Some even experience hallucinations and psychosis. Manic episodes are often extreme, not just a sudden, quick, and temporary change in mood. It isn’t the “hot one minute” then “cold the next” that I associated with bipolar disorder. It’s important to distinguish that these episodes lasts days, not minutes.

Bipolar disorder II is often characterized by mostly depressive episodes with “hypomanic” episodes. The hypomanic episodes are typically less severe than a full-blown manic episode, however, it is not a less severe bipolar disorder. A hypomanic episode still causes a person’s behavior to differ from their normal state. Instead of having extreme highs, bipolar II usually has more extreme depressive states.

In my case, I am constantly depressed. Looking back over my life, I can’t genuinely say that there were periods of true happiness. Sure, I smile. I laugh. I learned those behaviors to adapt. I don’t mean that as an insult to friends and family, but the truth is, happiness is a feeling I am not familiar with. I am not saying I’ve never been happy. I’m saying it is rare and that depression has been such a long-term companion that I’m not even sure how to tell the difference anymore.

My first psychiatric APRN had told me one day that I am probably so depressed that periods of happiness go undetected because to others it seems like normal behavior. She never just told me she suspected bipolar disorder, but I guess it takes a long time to really nail down a diagnosis. Let that sink in for a minute. I am in such a constant state of depression that burst of true happiness, energy, or elated behavior goes undetected. It will just seem to those close to me that I am in a “normal” state. That’s depressing thinking about it.

What does this mean? It means therapy and medications for the rest of my life, but I’m already a well-practiced pro at lifelong imprisonment to health. It’s no different than diabetes. It’s just one more log to add to the fire.

But, as they say, life goes on.

I’m not really embarrassed by the potential diagnosis. I’ve always lived pretty openly. I’m not ashamed of my mental struggles. But you know what? My mental struggles never stopped me from achieving so much at such a high level. It may have hurt like hell to do it, but I always powered through the best I could. This makes it no different. Whether I finally get diagnosed with something, or not, life goes on.

A Few of ChibiChonk’s Favorite Things

I am being evaluated for Bipolar II.

I bet that wasn’t the introductory line you were looking for.

This post is not about my potential diagnosis, however, this potential diagnosis is, arguably, how I found my new favorite things. If I do have Bipolar II Disorder, I experience “hypomanic” episodes.

Hypomania is an abnormally revved-up state of mind that affects your mood, thoughts, and behavior, and is a potential symptom of bipolar disorder, particularly type II.1

A hypomanic episode commonly manifests with unusual gaiety, excitement, flamboyance, or irritability, along with potential secondary characteristics like restlessness, extreme talkativeness, increased distractibility, reduced need for sleep, and intense focus on a single activity.

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-hypomania-how-is-it-diagnosed-380313#citation-7

The first time I read this, I thought, this is me. I believe there is a lot of misconception regarding Bipolar disorder, but I won’t get into it here. I will say be careful with generalities and forming opinions on something you haven’t researched. I thought Bipolar disorder was just someone who had crazy mad mood swings, and I now know that isn’t really the case.

How does this tie in with my favorite things? I believe that shopping tends to be something I engage in when I am in a hypomanic state. I spend money without thought of the consequence. When I am not in a hypomanic state, I am constantly worried of the opposite. I watch our finances like a hawk, but every once in awhile, I spend with abandon. Thankfully, it has never progressed to a point where I damaged relationships or finances with my spending, but I think the possibility is there. My potential hypomanic episodes are very brief, therefore, have never progressed long enough to do any real damage.

Recently, I found these random things that have rocked my world.

**DISCLOSURE – I HAVE NOT, AND WILL NOT, BE COMPENSATED FOR ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS. I HAVE NO AFFILIATIONS WITH ANY OF THE BRANDS MENTIONED BELOW. ALL PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN PURCHASED WITH MY OWN FUNDS. MY OPINIONS ARE ORIGINAL AND NOT INFLUENCED BY MONETARY GAIN.**

THE GOODFUL TEA TUMBLER

I saw this tumbler on a Facebook targeted ad. I know there are so many of you that hate targeted ads, but I love that I am introduced to new things without having to look for them. I love to drink iced tea, however, when I make a large amount of it, I can drink it in one day. You might not know this, but the tannin in tea can cause kidney/liver issues. Too much tea can be bad for your health. This tumbler allows me to greatly reduce the consumption of tea. Since it takes time to brew a new tumbler, it really makes me ask myself whether I really need that next tumbler of tea versus raiding the fridge without another thought. What makes me happy about this item is I can use loose leaf tea without having to worry about a tea steeper. The design of this tumbler allows you to dump your tea, any muddled fruit (yes, muddled fruit), and any sweetener in the bottom. You let it steep. Then you push the inner chamber that is filled with ice down. What you’re left with in a 16 ounces of tasty iced tea. If you like iced tea and need a way to slow your consumption down, this is a great purchase. At $19.99, it is totally worth it.

HACKBERRY TEA

To go along with my tumbler, I needed good tea. I don’t recall how I stumbled upon Hackberry Tea, but they make some pretty tasty tea. Their bright peach black tea is amazing. They carry a good variety and even sell sample bags so you don’t have to commit to a tea you might not enjoy. They’re a small family company, so I feel good about supporting them.

BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP

Are you ever too old to have an awesome stuffed friend…or three?

TATCHA JAPANESE BEAUTY PRODUCTS

When it comes to skin care, I am lazy. I know what I SHOULD be doing, but I don’t. I happen to have an Ipsy subscription where I get samples of various makeup, hair care, of skin care products. It’s been really fun because I feel like I am refreshing my makeup stores without actually going and spending a lot of money to do it. In the last Ipsy bag, I received a sample of Tatcha. With one use, I was in love. My face never felt so smooth and dewy. I picked up their dewy skin set. It was a bit pricey, but worth it.

Anyhow, those are a few of my favorite things…currently. Next week, we might have a complete other list. Take care, friends!

Do You Have a Toxic Workplace?

I have a friend. They have been having to take mental health days due to their work environment. They have been opening up to me for a few months now about their issues. Mostly, they were seeking confirmation that they weren’t crazy. Over time, it has made me angry and sad.

Before I continue, I have to express that I am blessed. Not only do I have the best bosses, I also have the best co-workers. For a group of people from different walks of life, we all get along pretty well. It’s a very laid back, family-like environment. I think I can truly say we all care about each other beyond being co-workers. Despite receiving numerous opportunity offers throughout the 12 years at my workplace (some with SIGNIFICANT salary raises), I have never felt like I needed to escape. Except that one time…but we will expound on that more a little later. All of my co-workers in my location are kind, compassionate, and treat each other with respect.

I understand that a lot of people can’t say the same. They work in a culture where disrespect, intimidation, and gaslighting are accepted behaviors.

GASLIGHTING

In our talks, my friend consistently puts forth scenarios where their immediate supervisor makes them question their abilities at every turn. This, friends, is a form of gaslighting. For those not familiar with the term, gaslighting is a psychological manipulation/abuse of a person, or group of people, that results in that person, or group, questioning their own abilities or sanity.

A person experiencing workplace-related gaslighting may:

  • Start finding it difficult to make simple decisions;
  • Become withdrawn, unsociable, and/or not themselves;
  • Begin to second-guess one’s abilities;
  • Constant apologies to the abusive person;
  • Begins to feel hopeless, joyless, worthless, or incompetent.

Gaslight abusers are well skilled in manipulation and are masters of mind games. They know exactly when and how to apply insincere apologies, praise, or appreciation. That’s the thing about gaslight abusers. They’re good at what they do.

Have you ever had a co-worker accuse you of being difficult? You might have answered a question, but it wasn’t the answer they wanted, so the only reasonable reaction/expectation/conclusion was that you were being difficult? Did that co-worker conveniently leave out any self blame despite there being overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Did that person overreact to something completely innocent? Did that person verbally attack you with an audience? Did they possibly belittle your expertise? Was the language they used condescending? After insulting you, blaming you, criticizing you, and refusing to own up to their own involvement, did they then proceed to extend a self-serving olive branch? “Despite you being totally unreasonable and bad at your job, we need your help, BUT if you don’t want to kiss my feet while doing it, I need someone else.”

This scenario is classic gaslighting and also traits of a highly toxic person. An abuser that uses this technique will tear you down, then try to immediately lift you up but just enough to make you second-guess whether you have the right to be angry at them. This means of abuse is meant to psychologically trick the victim into doing what the abuser wants them to do.

If someone you work with immediately comes to mind, and you are left in a state of self-doubt, you work with an abuser.

NARCISSISM

I think many people use this term, but don’t really understand what it means. A narcissist and/or a person with narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Needs constant admiration or attention;
  • Shows a lack of empathy;
  • Believes that they are special or better than everyone else.

From my example above, I mentioned a person who verbally attacks with an audience. Whether it’s in front of a crowd, or they carbon copy everyone in the office in an email, narcissists require constant admiration or attention at the expense of being a decent human being. They wholly buy into the thought that they are never wrong and that fact is never up for interpretation. Their need to put on a show and become the center of attention outweighs common sense. Where a decent human being would have a private conversation out of respect to the other person, a narcissist simply lacks the ability to use empathy.

Narcissists carry internal expectations of how everyone is supposed to behave, act, think, and just be. They hold an internal image based on these expectations. Yet they don’t ever communicate this with you. You are just supposed to know how you are expected to behave, act, think, and be. Not only that, but their internal image and expectations often change on a whim. How things are supposed to be one day will certainly not be the same the next day. No wonder we all go crazy around them.

https://universallyus.com/2020/07/06/unreasonable-expectations-of-narcissists/

A narcissist typically seeks out career paths with a lot of upward movement. Narcissists often clash with those in positions above them because their need to be better than everyone else supersedes the need to be a decent person. Typically, narcissists are quarrelsome, arrogant, and exploitive. The short-sidedness of a narcissist’s goals lead to the long-term destruction of an otherwise healthy workplace. In other words, in a workplace environment, workplace relationships are all just means to an end. A narcissist has an over inflated sense of self importance. This also leads to unrealistic expectations of their subordinates. They become “too important” to do every day tasks. They want to delegate, but then set subordinates up for failure. One day, their expectation is A, but the next day their expectation is B and somewhere the subordinate is supposed to magically know the expectation changed.

A narcissist makes a toxic workplace.

If someone you work with immediately comes to mind, you have a toxic workplace.

NEGATIVITY

Earlier, I wrote about a time that I wasn’t really happy with my workplace. There was a span of about two years where I was applying for other jobs. I even went to a couple of interviews. I was convinced that my workplace didn’t appreciate me and that I was undervalued. You might be thinking, “But, wait! You just said that you work for the best place in the world!”

At the time, my judgment was clouded by someone else’s misery. The hard part about that is you don’t even see that it is affecting you. It creeps in slowly. It usually starts as a little office gossip and by the end, you’re not happy, they’re not happy, and you are all ready to quit.

Another person’s drama, hatred, loathing, and any other negative emotion can, and will, affect you. Especially if you care about that person. Being less wise, I had no clue it was happening to me. I thought I was being a good listener and friend, and, to an extent, I was. But, I was also an enabler. I enabled this person rather than detach myself from the situation. I am not putting blame on this person. I blame myself. I was not mentally strong enough to say, “I would rather not talk about that. How about we talk about something more positive?”

Instead, I gossiped and complained with this person and it ate at me like a disease.

In my case, I was lucky to have a few unanswered prayers. I couldn’t find a job, at the time, that met my needs and looking back, I am quite embarrassed that I fell into that trap. But, as said, it was MY fault.

So, if you know of a person at work that spews nothing but dissatisfaction with the state of things, kindly bow out. Save yourself the trouble and find a more positive person to hang out with.


In the end, I suggested to my friend to consider looking for another place to work. They are absolutely miserable and from what they have told me, the workplace culture isn’t going to change for them. I really have no advice if you feel you are in a toxic workplace. Everyone’s situation is unique. In the end, you have a duty to protect your own mental health. If you work with a gaslighting narcissist, you need to learn how to either deal with it, or be prepared to leave. Often more than not, the gaslighting narcissist has dug in like a tick and won’t leave without a fight.

There are plenty of resources online. What I ask of you is IF you can identify or relate to any of these issues, make sure to protect your own mental health. There is nothing healthy about taking mental health days because your boss/supervisor is causing that much stress.

Good luck to those of you in a toxic situation. Just remember that there are people that care about you. Let them help you.

My Love of BTS

It’s time to address the elephant in the room: Hi, my name is ChibiChonk and I love BTS.

When I first told my son, he told me, “Whoa, Mom. Their fans are toxic. Are you sure you want to go down that path?”

And this statement made by my own flesh and blood is exactly why I dislike generalized opinions based on conjecture and not one’s own research. The world is not black and white. There is always a lot of gray area. I do my best to try to see all sides of the issue. That doesn’t mean I always do. It just means I try. The same went for BTS. I had also heard their fandom was “toxic”. I heard that any dissent regarding BTS would result in getting attacked. I had read articles about fans bullying other fans, tv anchors, commentators, and hosts. Even though I didn’t quite like my son’s generality, he wasn’t exactly misinformed. A quick Google search will bring you a ton of bad behavior by Army, but on the flipside, there is a lot of good, too. That being said, I never condemned Army or judged them. I was just very indifferent.

At what moment did you acknowledge BTS’ talent?

It happened on August 3, 2020.

I was browsing YouTube when one of the suggested videos was BTS Carpool Karaoke. At this point, I had never actually watched BTS. I couldn’t tell you their names or the titles of any of their songs. While I knew of BTS and the alleged toxicity of their fans, I had never actually cared enough to listen to them. I was not particularly interested in K-Pop and overall, I was indifferent to their existence. I have always enjoyed the Carpool Karaoke skits, so I thought, “What the hell. Let’s give these guys a shot.”

My first impression was: These guys make me smile. BTS opened with their song, Mic Drop. I found myself bobbing my head and thinking, “Wow. This isn’t really ‘boy-bandy’. This is catchy as hell.”

After their first “performance”, RM was explaining how he learned English. It is a well-known fact that RM learned to speak English by watching the show, Friends. That’s when Jin says in the background, “Well, I’ve watched Friends, too. But, I can’t speak English…”

That’s when I belly laughed. I was shocked that the smile that began at the beginning of the video had not dropped and, now, this adorable Korean man was making jokes. They all seemed genuinely happy to be there, and they all seemed like they were being themselves. A lot of times, you watch boy bands and it can be obvious they don’t want to be there, or having a bad day. I recall not really feeling that even though there was a language barrier. I was impressed with RM as well. I later found out RM has a genius IQ. No wonder he could learn English from Friends.

Then…Jimin happened.

As they sang the next song, I distinctly remember Jimin’s voice. The smile faded from my face. I remember being dumbfounded. Is that his real voice?! It was as if the angels swooped down from heaven and took my heart. It sounds stupid, but I was breathless. I was literally entranced by his voice. That’s when I noticed his face. Could a man be any more beautiful?! He sings like an angel and looks like one, too?! How unfair, life!

The next part of the skit was James Corden asking about their nicknames. The whole time, I smiled. My heart felt full. Who are these guys? Why do their smiles make me smile? Why do I want to give all of them a hug?

Their next song was ON and the musician in me was “Whoa.”

Is this the type of music they sing? It had that getting out of school, starting your beater car, rolling down the windows, hitting play on your portable CD player connected by that weird tape adapter, putting it on full-blast, peeling out of the gravel parking lot vibe. Not that I did that…much. I remember thinking, “Is THIS what I’ve been missing out on?”

It finally ended with a dance class and I was blown away. I’ve always known boy bands center around the entertainment aspect, but I could tell they were next level. Jimin gets up to teach part of their choreography and I remember I leaned back in my chair and said, “Whaaaat just happened?”

And, that’s where it started y’all. That’s where it started.

I probably spent a week learning everything I could about the group. I listened to all their music. Learned their names. Developed my biases (Jimin/Jin/Suga). It only took a week to consider myself a part of Army.

What do you most admire about BTS?

I admire their work ethic. Not their innate talent, or dance moves. Their work ethic. If you take the time to learn about BTS, it is hard to not acknowledge how hard they work. They set high standards for themselves always working to perfect whatever task is in front of them. You quickly learn they have dedicated their lives to this group. They work through exhaustion. They cry when they feel they let someone down. They acknowledge their weaknesses and do everything in their power to make up for their lack of dance experience, or singing experience. They will perform with injuries. Their professionalism is so high, you would never know that they were in intense pain if it weren’t for the eagle eyes of Army. I have a lot of respect for musicians that work hard and continue to work hard. They sing all of their performances live. Yes, they do it with tracks, but I dare you to pull up a performance and not be able to tell that they’re singing. I am always in awe of their stamina to do what they do.

They genuinely make me happy

When I am feeling run down, or in a bad mood, I can turn on YouTube and watch a video. They make me laugh so hard, it hurts. Just a few of my favorite clips:

Suga – Bullfrogs and Water Deer (I dare you to not immediately Google the sound of a water deer.)

All Members – Complaining about their choreography difficulty

Is Army toxic?

I think any fandom can be toxic. It is no lie that Army has its share of blemishes. But, you know what? I’ve also seen their generosity. When I ordered a keychain from Etsy, the seller also enclosed a second keychain, Jimin photocards, and a Jimin mini-button for free. In her note, she wrote that she made all of the items in hopes to see BTS in concert before the pandemic. Her plan was to hand it all out to fellow Army. How sweet is that? Since she couldn’t do that until after the pandemic, she was including it with all of her BTS handmade merchandise. That is the Army I want to focus on. I acknowledge there are fans that are over the top. Paying for billboard trucks to express your dissatisfaction on how the group is being managed is crazy. You are straight-up crazy. I can’t imagine anything more toxic and I can only imagine how it makes the group feel. People call themselves fans, but then partake in such selfish actions without consideration on how it makes the artist feel. Honestly, I would be embarrassed if my fans did things like that. Like, damn. Take a chill pill. It is crazy to spend money on the illusion that you have any control or influence on an artist. Like, find some reality.

If you’ve never given BTS a chance, I suggest their cover of Fix You by Coldplay. You don’t have to enjoy K-pop to appreciate their musicality.

Is Age Just a Number?

POTENTIAL SPOILERS: PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Age difference in relationships will always be a polarizing topic. One of my favorite anime from the spring 2021 season is Koikimo. This anime features a relationship with a ten-year gap in age.

Ryou is a successful salaryman with a womanizing reputation. He has gone through life using women for pleasure and then not even bothering to remember their names. On the outside, he is good-looking and sought after, but has little room in his heart for meaningful relationships.

After a night of pleasure, Ryou finds himself irritated that the woman he slept with kept him up all night. Tired and dizzy, he made his way to the station. While distracted, another person bumps into him just as he was at the top of the stairs. Realizing that he is about to be seriously injured and/or possibly die, all he can do is say, “Oh shit.”

Enter our female protagonist, high-schooler Ichika. Ichika saves Ryou from certain injury, perhaps, even death, by using the handle of her umbrella to grab his coat collar and pull him back. As he gathers himself, she apologizes for strangling him in her attempt to save him. She notices he is pale and asks if he had breakfast. Replying that he had not, she rummages in her bag to see if she had anything to offer him. Glancing at her watch, she realizes that she is about to be late for school. In a swift action, she shoves her lunch in his hands and takes off running wishing him health.

At first, Ryou is annoyed. Why would this stranger give him her lunch? He was about to throw it away when he suddenly had a change of heart and opened the lunch, presumably, to eat it.

The day has ended and Ryou heads to his family home. There, we meet his younger sister, Rio. She announces that she has a friend over. That’s when Ichika and Ryou make eye contact. He then enters playboy mode when his sister leaves the room to take a call. Under the guise of “properly thanking her” for saving his life, he first offers her shoes or clothes, then a kiss, and then offers to go even further.

Ichika, with a disgusted look on her face, replies, “You’re creepy. You’re offering up yourself as thanks for saving you? What are you thinking? That’s not why I saved you.”

Ryou is taken aback by her honesty.

Almost immediately, Ichika apologizes for expressing her thoughts.

And, this. This is the moment Ryou feels something stir in his heart for the first time. Moved by her sincere gesture of giving him her lunch to her honesty to his shallow offer, he gets down on one knee and tells her, “I’m moved…I’ve never felt this way before.”

The balance of the show spends the bulk of its time building the relationship between Ryou and Ichika. There are so many memorable scenes of Ryou acting like a love-sick puppy and Ichicka being disgusted by him. It’s well done, and actually quite funny. What starts as a one-sided love eventually blossoms to mutual feelings. But, there is a glaring issue. Ryou is ten-years older than Ichika. At one point, a pursuer of Ryou brings up this fact in a moment of jealousy. Can Ryou and Ichika be happy together? Can they make it work? Will the age gap bring Ichika misery instead of happiness?

I don’t believe that age is a sole determinant on whether a relationship will be successful. I have friends that have successful marriages with much older spouses, and friends that could not make it work. I, personally, believe that there are other factors that determine whether age will affect a relationship such as personality, maturity, and willingness.

For example, I’m pretty young at heart. I wear youthful clothing; I dye my hair funky colors; I like stuffed animals; I watch anime and Asian dramas; I used to stream video games; and, for the most part, I am interested in things that people my age “gave up” or “moved on from”. When I went to college orientation with my now 21-year old son a few years ago, the students thought I was his older sister and/or a student myself. One student was pretty shook and told me he didn’t think I was a day over 25. At the time, I was 38.

At my son’s college orientation

Unless the person is also the same, someone older than me would most likely be a deal breaker. On the flip side, I am confident that I could maintain a relationship with someone quite younger than me. As long as they’re responsible and mature, or have the willingness to hear me out when I might have a bit more wisdom on the situation, we’d be fine. Do you hear me, Park Jimin or Kim Seok-jin?? I’d make it work!

Is age just a number? For the most part, I think so. In this particular show, I believe whole-heartedly that these two can make it work. She’s mature for her age and he’s willing to do what it takes to make it work. If they date for a few years to allow her to grow a bit more, they’re going to be fine.

So, there you have it. Large age gaps don’t bother me unless the situation is illegal, of course. Obviously, I don’t support predators that target young men/women. I’m talking about normal, healthy, good-intentioned relationships. It doesn’t bother me one bit that this show highlights such a large age gap between the protagonists. While I may not understand marriages with 20, 30, 40 year gaps, I don’t disapprove of them. Everyone’s situation is unique and it really is none of my business or my place to judge who people fall in love with.

A Totally Unnecessary Purchase

Hey, everyone!

For my fellow Americans, I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and spent at least a silent moment thanking those that have sacrificed their lives for our nation.

This Memorial Day weekend, we spent a lot of time on the house. Currently, the house is still in a state of disarray. The supplies to our floors still have not arrived. Once the supplies arrive, we’ll schedule installation. We packed up all of our decorative items, pictures, DVDs, etc. that were on display so the installation crew doesn’t have to mess with anything but the furniture. My husband got a chance to move around the television and bookcases to get an idea of what our new configuration will look like when the floors and done and the new furniture arrives. So far, he’s pretty happy with the potential.

I painted our dining room walls. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to take “before” pictures, but be assured. The previous green was hideous and I hated it from the minute we moved in. I would have painted it years ago, but a combination of time, money, and sheer lack of will to do it had a hold of me. We chose a color that almost matches our new furniture. It’s a deep red and we love it. I think a splash of color is all you need to reinvent a room. Ignore the trim at the bottom. They’re replacing it so I didn’t bother taping it off.

Also, meet Snickerdoodle a/k/a Doodle a/k/a Snickerdoo a/k/a Dooweedle.

Almost as if our interior garage door felt change happening, the door knob broke. Well, let me back up. It had been going the way of dinosaurs for a while, but we were ignoring it. The husband comes in and says, “Yeah, that door knob needs to go.”

So, we started researching door knobs. As a joke, I showed him the smart lock configurations for your entryway door. We were making jokes and talking about how unnecessary they are, but somehow, we convinced ourselves that we needed a smart lock. Did our front door mechanism need to be replaced? YES. The outside door knob was absolutely disgusting. It was old school bronze and it had this gummy residue that we couldn’t quite wash off. Also, the mechanism was on the fritz as well. Did we need a smart lock? Absolutely not. It was, quite literally, an unnecessary purchase. We also discovered that our front door matches our dining room and new furniture. We totally didn’t plan that. In fact, we completely forgot our front door was red. How sad is that? We had a storm door, but the husband removed it. At some point, it broke and we were just ignoring that, too.

It has a fingerprint scanner, y’all. FINGERPRINT. SCANNER. Again, I forgot the “before” pictures, but rest assured. It was an ugly bronze and sticky residue green knob and an ugly deadbolt thingy. Just take my word for it. It was time.

Don’t worry. The garage door was also remedied. We got a much nicer handle for it and both my husband, and my son, are completely happy with it. I rarely go into the garage, but they’ve had to deal with that malfunctioning door knob for awhile.

We felt so badass…until we were walking our dogs and realized we are probably the last people in the neighborhood to have one, so there’s that.

So — that’s what we did all weekend. I haven’t had a chance to watch much anime, so I am quite behind. It may next season before I get back on track, so you’ll have to suffer with some real-life content for awhile.

I hope you’re doing well in your adventures and that your blogging/gaming/manga-ing/writing are all going well. ChibiChonk, out!

Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a virtue.

Or, so they say. Me and my husband were pretty hopeful that the release of vaccines would mean the world going back to a modicum of normalcy, and while that has slowly been the case, it has not been the case regarding international travel. Two days ago, the United States issued a level four travel advisory for Japan. Not that it mattered. Japan’s borders have been closed and I suspect they won’t open anytime soon.

This makes me sad, but I fully understand. It will probably be another 1-2 years before our trip happens.

I can still dream about my visit, though. We already changed up our original itinerary. Originally, we were going to stay a few days in Tokyo, then travel to Hakone, then onward to Kyoto. It was an itinerary that I solely put together without any substantive input from my husband. At first, he told me he only wanted to do two things: visit a maid café and go to Akihabara. With those two things in consideration, I quickly filled the itinerary with things I wanted to do.

Well, the thing with making plans so early is that they quickly change, and there is nothing wrong with that! Suddenly, he wanted to go to Super Nintendo World. At first, I was hesitant because why would you go to another country to spend a day at a theme park? But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be an opportunity wasted if we didn’t. I quickly re-planned our itinerary. We are now spending two days in Tokyo, then spending a day in Kyoto, and then two days in Osaka before traveling back to Tokyo for a night before returning to the States. Truth be told, I wanted to go to Osaka to visit the Cup O Noodles Museum, so I get to do one more thing.

Our plan will probably morph and change many times. I think my major hurdle is to not be discouraged by negativity. As I research, there are so many people that judge how other’s travel.

“Don’t go to X. Why spend money to go to X? You might as well have just stayed at home!”

“Don’t travel to another country just to do what you could have here!”

I know many of you have read comments or opinions like that. People feel like it is their job to judge how you want to spend your time and money in another country you’ve never been to.

I know there is a lot of truth to their opinions. Why would you spend thousands of dollars to stay in your comfort zone? Are you truly “experiencing” the country if you’re “comfortable”. I’ve pondered that quite a bit.

When planning the first iteration of our trip, I was heavily affected by the “you must do things out of your comfort zone to fully experience Japan” and you “must avoid all tourist traps” mentality. For some reason, I really cared about how someone else thought I should spend my trip. I was really hung up on the thought that I wasn’t experiencing Japan if I didn’t go to some super local izakaya and communed with the locals. I wasn’t experiencing Japan if I didn’t find some off-the-beaten path place to stay.

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

The pandemic has brought me to the two strongest warriors, Time and Patience. While waiting and contemplating my trip over the last few months, I realized that time has changed my view. Where I was once plagued by the burden of someone else’s ideals, I am now free of that burden.

The simple fact that I will be getting on a 15-hour flight to a country and culture I adore is enough.

I was originally against going to Universal Studios/Super Nintendo World because of this notion that someone else planted in my head. The only reason I didn’t want to go was because someone convinced me that you don’t go to another country to do something you can do in your own country. Reflecting on that statement, I realize how stupid it is. True, we can visit Universal Studios here in the States, but the experience won’t be the same. The merch won’t be the same. Trying to navigate and communicate won’t be the same. It will be its own, unique experience and that doesn’t make it lesser.

There is a lot of pressure to plan “the perfect trip”. After all, you invest so much time and money to making it happen that it is only natural. The pandemic has taught me that life has a way of throwing you curve balls. This trip is not going to be any different. I have to expect that things aren’t going to go smoothly. I’m going to have to practice patience and be able to roll with the punches.

Throwing away other people’s ideals, I asked myself what I really want from this trip.

Memories.

I want memories. I want to remember being happy. Will I get that trying so hard to be different? I don’t think so. Will I be happy doing touristy things and running into other gaijin? Absolutely.

Every experience will be new to us from entering a konbini to riding a bullet train (shinkansen).

Our trip will be packed with new experiences regardless of how hard we try to make it conform to someone else’s standard of what a trip should be. I, for one, am looking forward to the maid café. I’m totally looking forward to making my very own custom Cup O Noodles. I’m looking forward to buying a ridiculously expensive watch at Super Nintendo World to track my progress as we hit blocks. Yes, I want to see Sky Tree. Yes, I want to see Tokyo Tower. Yes, I want to cross Shibuya Crossing. I don’t care that they’re cliché or touristy. Simply being there is enough.

Now, I have to sit with Time and Patience for a little longer. I am sure our plans will change with time as we find new things we want to do and I am perfectly fine with that.

Life Finds a Way: Part Two

Hi, readers!!!

Thought I’d take a few minutes to update you on my unannounced hiatus.

I have been keeping up with this season’s anime. So far, it’s a solid season. I had plans to write about some more of the shows I picked up with the new season, but life found another way to interfere with that plan. Instead, I hope to wrap up the season with more content. At least, that is the plan.

I still haven’t decided on what kind of YouTube content I want to make, or whether I even want to pick back up where I left off with streaming. So, until I really have a direction, my YouTube and streaming content are on a indefinite hold.

Currently, my personal life is in a state of disarray. I can assure you it is nothing too negative. My husband and I have owned our home for eight years. With any home, there are going to be things you love and/or hate about your living space. For years, I have been wanting to get rid of the carpet downstairs. We have pets, and it is gross. No matter what I do, the floors just feel gross and look gross.

As for my dining area, I had, at one point, turned it into my quilting area. However, all that really did is create a visual mess that I regretted on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, the carpet and the dining room has been causing me a lot of anxiety. I would walk in after a long day’s work and just hate what I was looking at. I felt overwhelmed and out of control. I didn’t even want to be downstairs. I would immediately retreat upstairs where I felt living conditions were okay.

But, like many homeowners, finding the right time to do something can be tricky. In years past, we were heavily involved in my son’s high school extra curriculars, so it left no time to get the floors done. Then, there is always the financial aspect. Home renovations are not cheap. I finally hit a point of critical mass. I just absolutely could not take the carpet anymore. After weeks of hemming and hawing, we had an appointment this weekend where I picked out new flooring for our downstairs area. All of the gross carpet is being pulled up and replaced with luxury vinyl planks. Installation hasn’t been scheduled yet, but it should happen in the next 2-3 weeks.

Our living room furniture was also well past its life expectancy. We had a very large sectional couch that we have had for almost ten years. In fact, we are very pleased that we got ten years out of it. It was a great couch. However, my husband started getting aches in pains after sitting on the couch for too long which made watching movies a bit unbearable for him. We had considered selling the couch on the cheap as we thought it might have another few years, but after inspection, our cats had torn up the bottom and did some other damage. We decided, ultimately, we couldn’t, in good conscience, sell it. So, in addition to purchasing new floors this weekend, we also purchased new furniture.

Currently, our living/dining area looks like total chaos. We had a junk truck pick up our sectional, an old dining table, my old sewing table, and an old computer chair. I also packed up all of my fabric and listed it for sale.

During this whole process, we discovered that I have a tendency to want to hold onto things. I wouldn’t call it hoarding, per se, but definitely a hoarding state of mind. The thought of letting my sewing supplies go created a lot of anxiety. The reality is, I had shoulder surgery last year, and my ability to quilt is no longer an option. I had no more use for my supplies, however, I kept telling myself that I can use it. I had tubs of scraps that were unusable, but I had convinced myself they had use. After really asking myself if they had use, I realized that I was just hoarding it because I couldn’t stand the thought of waste. I grew up fairly poor, so I guess I understand that attachment. You’ll be happy to hear that not only was I able to part with the scraps, I was also able to sell my good fabric to someone who needed it. I got a little cash in the process, so I felt better at the end of the day.

Our new furniture is red. After looking at our dining room, we realized that the current color scheme will not match. So, this weekend, we will paint the dining room to match the furniture. We think that will tie the two rooms together and put that pop of color we need. Then, I found more things I want to change. Currently, we don’t have draperies on our windows, and I think we will change that as well to match the furniture.

So, that’s where I am at. We’re focusing on cleaning up clutter and simplifying our downstairs living arrangement, and hopefully, I can get to a mental place where I feel like I can focus on creativity again.

I hope everyone is doing well. Stay healthy and happy!

Do You Even Disc Golf, Bro?

The whole theme of this blog is doing things casually. It’s a place to celebrate our casual natures whether that be because we work 60 hours a week, or we have the attention span of a goldfish. I’m the latter, by the way.

My husband and his BFF have been into disc golf for awhile. I was pretty indifferent to it because I had shoulder surgery a year ago. I still don’t have full range of motion back and I knew that I would just get frustrated with not being able to use good form…or at least something similar to good form. The husband had been inviting me to go and I finally caved in…and I had a pretty good time.

My shoulder was killing me, but in a good way. Playing disc golf moved and stretched my shoulder in ways that I wasn’t able to accomplish with my physical therapy stretches. I had noticed that my range of motion was improving. A year after surgery, I was still unable to pull my arm behind my back and rest the back of my hand on the small of my back. About a month after playing disc golf once a week, my flexibility to do that improved. It’s not fully fixed, but it IS definitely going in the right direction.

In the short month that I’ve “picked up the sport”, my husband has purchased me watermelon-themed gear worthy of ChibiChonk. I have a sweet watermelon disc bag. He even got me a matching golf towel that’s on its way. I bought myself a watermelon umbrella and a pink hat to shield my weak body from the sun. You may or may not know that I take a lot of medication for diabetes and other conditions. Many of those medications caution my sun exposure. The umbrella and hat should keep me well shaded during downtime.

We even bought a wagon. They have really cool disc golf carts, but four times the cost of a cheap Academy wagon. We went with the wagon. After all, we’re filthy casuals. Not pros.

We’re terrible. Simply awful.

Despite that, we’ve invited others out and had a good time. The great thing about the sport is all you need is a disc or two. There are courses all over the place and it is usually free. If you like being outdoors and don’t have the money to go “all-in” into another hobby, try disc golf. You can get started for probably less than $30.

We currently have plans to travel to Glen Rose, Texas to try out a new course at Dino Hills Disc Golf Course. They recently opened and it looks like a pretty fun course. The weather is not supposed to cooperate, so we might have to postpone, but for now, we’re planning on toughing it out. If we get to go, expect a follow-up post about our time out at the course. They have cows, guys. Cows.

Anime and gaming is great way to spend your time, but also make sure you’re finding time to get some sun. Disc golf is very COVID friendly. You’re usually in a park with social distancing and more than likely, you won’t run into any other golfers. It can be a fun way to reconnect with your family outdoors.