everything i’ve been up to recently that hasn’t been nablowrimo (a half-finished painting of what my life looked like the last two weeks of november)

if this was the 2nd of december, here’s an incomplete list of everything that happened in the last 3 hours of my life:

  • i accidentally killed a fly that has been trying to make a home in my hair for the better part of the last one hour.
  • i also came back from a two-week vacation and spent 36 hours alternating between watching tv on planes and dozing on airport chairs. (i realize that this isn’t something that has happened specifically in the last 180 minutes, but you need context)
  • my cats are overjoyed at having my undivided attention again (or like any attention because all they got for the last fourteen days was cat-snacks from the neighbours). i always assumed they were in this for the food but apparently they like me a little too. happiest day of my entire frickin life, thanks.
  • i also bathed and submitted to a coding challenge 24 minutes late because i couldn’t figure out how to edit things on my phone, and i drank tea and thought about caramel popcorn and affectionately scolded my cats for growing up while i wasn’t there to see.
  • it’s currently 4 am and i have become a night monster. although some people call it jet lag.
  • but monster’s cooler. so we go with that.

(before we go in for real though, A COUPLE THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED TO KNOW TO UNCONFOUND YOUR BRAIN BECAUSE THE TIMELINES DON’T ADD UP IF YOU LOOK TOO CLOSE. something ridiculously close to 80% of this post was drafted on the 2nd of december, sometime in the wee hours before sunrise. and so the past-two-week-long-period it occasionally refers to and that most of these paragraphs talk about is the 15th november to 1st december weeks, and not the. you know. ACTUAL past two weeks. the december ones. december has been comparatively very unlively)

(not really though. i’ve got cats who slip 20 times because they want to be the ones to get into the house first every time i open the door. i’ve been rudely freaked by them about 2764 times in the past week alone. it doesn’t get un-lively in a life like that)

to chicago. i went to chicago and it was amazing.

  • i fell in love with a science museum and saw orcas and dolphins and real live penguins and one emmitt otterton and mused over adopting baby chicks (although it never went past that because my mum kindly pointed out that my cats would be very interested in having them for dinner. so no chicks)
  • i lived in fall. because that’s never an actual season at home, and i’ve never seen trees with dried brown leaves except in movies, and grounds stained with reds and yellows and greens, and so many colors everywhere. fall is beautiful. I LOVE FALL.
  • i’ve never met people who smile so much. i have never waited for the bus in freezing cold before, or travelled everywhere by metro for an entire two weeks (because where i live, the station’s too far and the buses are expensive and the cars go too fast, so nobody walks) or been inside a public library that wasn’t in my city. laughed over signs decorating the bus stops. chicago was kind of fabulous like that.

i saw real snow for the first time in my entire mortal life I’M NOT FREAKING OUT YOU CALM DOWN OKAY.

  • it was insane. i popsicle-d and froze off about 28463 fingers by trying to build a snowman with my bare hands and wore 24 layers of clothes everytime i went out after.
  • but it was beautiful and maybe i’d one day like to live in a place where it snows in winters but i also happen to be a desert animal allergic to the cold so i’m not sure how that would work out.
  • AND DID I MENTION I SAW REAL HALLOWEEN PUMPKINS AND ATE MY WEIGHT IN PRETZELS AND CRANBERRIES AND TOUCHED CHRISTMAS TREES THAT WERE TALLER THAN I AM? and to think that just a couple weeks ago i hadn’t ever seen a christmas tree that wasn’t built of plastic.

(but snow’s an insanely great excuse to drink too much hot chocolate and i drank about 29 cups during the whole of those two weeks. LIFE WAS FABULOUS)

i lived my life-long dream of wearing a winter scarf.

  • DON’T LAUGH OKAY. i don’t ever get to wear them where i live because i live in a desert like we’ve already established about 37464 times before and the winters here are weak. (wearing a scarf in them would look plain hilarious)
  • SO I WORE A SCARF AND GLOVES AND 1 JACKET AND 2 SWEATERS AND IT WAS STILL COLD WHICH IS RIDICULOUS. i’ve never breathed in minus temperature before (by which i mean minus in celsius. i’m not a penguin)

(we also went on a boat ride in the middle of a snowfall and the world would be lying if it didn’t tell you that everyone on that boat froze. my sister joked about how we’d better not drown that day, because the water would be so cold it’d be painful and we’d turn into ice sculptures and nobody wanted that. best day to fall into water would definitely be the middle of summer. which isn’t to say i WANT to fall, though, because that would be disastrous. i can’t swim)

i cooked boiled chicken at 11 in the night.

  • and woke up all the cats within a 100 meter radius (actually i suggest you don’t take my word for this because i don’t know how to estimate and i’ve never really taken a tape out to measure the length of the streets. it was just all the cats in my compound) to feed it to them at 4 in the morning (see this happened two weeks ago because i freaked out about leaving everyone (by which i mean the cats because humans are idiots and i don’t cook for them) behind for an entire 336 hours AND i had to leave for my flight at 5 and it rained in the night so this wasn’t a voluntary first choice)
  • they went wild over it. which made the mere 2.5 hours of sleep i’d managed to get that night worth it. so i decided to go wild too.
  • i then got scolded by everyone in the house for making us late but we didn’t miss any planes so i’m guessing my life was a success. (even if no one ended up apologizing for the making-us-miss-planes accusations that were hurled my way. PEOPLE ARE RUDE. i prefer cats)

i waved at pet dogs.

  • because the street we lived on and temporarily called our own in chicago had an abundance of them. (no seriously. you go out at any time of day and there’s always someone out on a walk with dogs on leashes. if you go out in the mornings, there’s usually five. WELCOME TO HEAVEN, BUT IT’S MINE) i want to live on a street like that one day and host dog parties where only the animals attend and it’s chaos everywhere.

i’ve been watching copious amounts of television.

  • kind of because it snowed for three days straight and we’re desert people (not really. we just live in one. it’s very hot here) and then it rained and we stayed home and wore 20 different layers of clothes and walked around with jackets on. watching tv was the only option.
  • three days before leaving for america, me and my sister obsessed alternately over the cats and over suits, which is about a bunch of lawyers and a kid who gets caught smuggling drugs but he’s a slight genuis and gets recruited to work as a lawyer by the main character instead. it’s perfect and everyone’s sassy and i love it.
  • i also watched alexa and katie for the 749th time this year. i maybe have an addiction. i’m obsessed and can’t be stopped (trust me on this one. people have actually TRIED. but everyone fails)
  • a mission mangal rewatch. because i am also addicted.
  • and emily in paris (i have no idea what i think about this except that the food made me hungry). i watched the entire first season in a day WHICH IS INSANE because i don’t DO things like that. (the fastest i’ve ever watched a tv series before this was probably the little women kdrama remake, which i spent an entire week on. which is to say: i’m SLOW)
  • the day it rained, i watched a beautiful mind with my mum in the morning. it was sad and beautiful and i’m sworn off of watching sad movies (but i’m exceedingly drawn to them anyway SOMEONE DO SOMETHING) after i was hungover on twenty-five twenty-one for 28 days after finishing it. i didn’t know this was going to be sad though so it isn’t entirely my fault. I PLEAD INNOCENCE.
  • in the night, we all hijacked the two couches and every single blanket in the house, and watched leo over a dinner of pretzels. i’m smol and disney movies about talking animals make me ridiculously happy.
  • a movie i forgot the name of but watched on the plane. it was about three black women in nasa AND PRETTY PHENOMENAL i loved it ok.
  • and hindi movies. lots of hindi movies.

i read stuff while i was there

  • i lived in a smol cottage and there were books on the shelves and i vowed to read them all, but then i kind of didn’t.
  • ok so maybe that’s a lie. i,,, just,,, didn’t. i started an agatha christie and the journey to the center of the earth and i got through about 30 pages of both and then i ditched.
  • i re-read ciara smyth’s not my problem for the second time in 30 days and i finally finally got to the falling in love montage (exactly 2 years after stuffing it onto a tbr list, BUT SHUT UP OK. i make the rules here and treason gets you a death sentence) so it’s not a COMPLETE tragedy. i also read lori gottlieb’s maybe you should talk to someone on metro rides and in the mornings and late at night. because it was fabulous and i couldn’t be stopped. (that book’s perfection and i LOVED it. thank you, sumedha, for being responsible for 20% of all the five stars i’ve given this year) (because goodreads is cruel and says i’ve only five-starred 5)
  • i got caught reading under the blankets (maybe they should miniaturize books because i need a better strategy) and ate too many pretzels and got crumbs everywhere. i read neil degrasse tyson’s astrophysics for young people in a hurry for the first time and have since read it thrice.

i watched as all my reading plans crashed and burnt

  • see i spent about 80% of the total trip-planning time creating myself a grand-looking tbr and i was supposed to read through both plane rides and ace my reading goal and get to 100 and build up a 2-year streak and be generally amazing and ridiculous and a massive success, but then i only read two books on the way there and none on the way back and i watched iron man for the second time instead.
  • (except like the fact that i slapped my last chance to make goodreads proud in the face and blew it forever. BUT IT WAS FUN AND I ATE SO MUCH FOOD AND PLANES ARE AMAZING so we’re telling ourselves it’s fine)
  • (IT’S FINE)

i missed my cats

  • i have amazing neighbors though, and they fed them ALL and none of my cats ran away while i was gone although they did kind of freak out when we returned in that they refused to leave the house or stop brushing against people’s legs while meowing profusely. everyone’s guess is that they were afraid we were going to leave them alone again, which is so sweet because it means they like us. IT’S ALWAYS SO INSANE WHEN THE CATS ACT LIKE THEY LIKE US BECAUSE OHMYGOSH!!! CATS LIKE US!!! THEY COME HERE TO MEET US AND GET PET AND NOT MERELY FOR THE FOOD AND THEY WAIT FOR US TO RETURN WHEN WE’RE AWAY FOR TOO LONG. i love cats. they’re so perfect and amazing and beautiful and sweet.
  • so everyone’s clingy like that and i’m not the only one anymore, which is nice. they run so fast they slip everyday because they want to get into the house and never leave and winnie’s taken up permanent residence in our backyard and biscotti runs amock in the house twice every 24 hours and has to be chased after for at least a half hour until he finally decides he’s had enough fun and will be going back out now. biscotti’s so naughty and he purrs whenever i speak to him or pet him on the head which is so SWEET okay. char’s scared of everything and he likes to rub against the outside broom until it falls and he runs into the bushes every time a car goes by and sticks to people’s legs every time someone goes out or he decides to come in. MY SMOL LITTLE SWEET KIDS.

we’re still debating over whether this qualifies as an excuse-for-failing-nablowrimo post or a HI-I-WENT-ON-VACATION-HERE’S-ALL-THE-DETAILS one, but i failed so bad this year. i wrote a total of 2000 words, WHICH IS TERRIBLE AND PLAIN HUMILIATING AND MOST OF IT ISN’T EVEN POSTED WHICH IS TECHNICALLY AGAINST THE RULES I SET. we’re never talking of this again THANKS BYE.

most exciting part of the last half of 2023?? plans for christmas?? WHEN DID YOUR WINTER BREAK START? when does it end? have you ever been to chicago or museums or lived through fall or met penguins or adopted a fish? what’s the best place you ever visited? the WORST? your favorite christmas books? MOVIES? HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED ALEXA AND KATIE? gimme details and tell me about your christmas. because i don’t celebrate and therefore MUST KNOW.

merry christmas, universe!!

22 thoughts on “everything i’ve been up to recently that hasn’t been nablowrimo (a half-finished painting of what my life looked like the last two weeks of november)”

  1. You had a very eventful two days! I love going to Chicago when I can. It doesn’t snow where I’m at often and it snowed when I was there. Also, the one movie you mentioned with the Black women in NASA may be _Hidden Figures_. It’s a good film and I liked the clothes.

    1. AHAHAH I DID!! ohmygosh that’s so cool though!! YOU GOT TO SEE SNOW IN CHICAGO TOO. YOU’RE RIGHT ABOUT THE MOVIE. i just looked up hidden figures and that IS the one. i’m so glad you liked it!

        1. christmas in chicago would probably look BEAUTIFUL. even in late november there was SO MUCH decoration on the streets, so i’m guessing it must be insane about this time?? WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU WENT? yay to having a fun time though!!

          1. I was in a smaller area but what I saw was amazing. I’m from a small city in the US, so being a small part of Chicago felt humongous and well decorated even inside the stores, but not brash and campy like some places. When you ever have the chance, you have to come to an area where Christmas is celebrated because honestly it’s amazing and very vibrant.

            Where I live, it’s a lot of Christmas decorations on houses and in lawns.

            1. that’s actually so beautiful!!! experiencing christmas in real life instead of in books/movies definitely makes the top spots on my i-really-want-to-do-this-someday list, SO FINGERS CROSSED!!

              aww that’s wonderful I HOPE YOU HAVE THE BEST CHRISTMAS, FEETS!!!

  2. ANOUSHKA. I love this post so much. Your enthusiasm for the cold puts things in perspective (i am very tired and it took me three tries to spell that) because I live in a cold place (not too far from Chicago) and I HATE IT. But it was very fun to read about how much you loved it. And I love your cats’ names!!


      (anywho, I’m hijacking this lovely ladies comment this time, cause I know she won’t mind)

      HI ANOUSHKA!!!!! you are so wonderfully INSANE!!! I love it, the chaos! (I’m an agent of chaos, it’s an official thing). I’m glad you liked Chicago, I can’t imagine having never experienced fall, or cold, or snow, or Christmas decorations, that’s just my life, seeing your perspective WAS SO CUTE!!! I’m curious, where do you live? If you don’t want to say, that’s perfectly alright. Also, how can you talk about your kitties that much AND NOT GIVE US ANY PICTURES OF THE PURELY PRETTY PURRING PRISSY PUTTY TATS???? (That last word pairing is a movie quote, just in case that wasn’t known). I love the cold, I want to live in Alaska. OKAY BYE FOR NOW

      1. lmao it’s ok hijacking’s so much cooler anyway. MAYBE EVERYBODY SHOULD FOLLOW YOUR LEAD AND HIJACK COMMENTS INSTEAD OF PLANES ALL THE TIME. that would be a fun life.


        ha yeah i guess i’m also kind of lucky because i get to experience so many different cultures like that. i live in a country that celebrates different festivals than the ones i do, and it’s very fun. SO LIKE COUNTING ALL THE BOOKS I’VE READ ABOUT THE US, I GUESS THAT’S THREE NOW? i live in the middle east, but i’m not from here. what about you?? DOES IT NOT SNOW WHERE YOU LIVE??

        WAIT I DO HAVE PICTURES IN SOME PREVIOUS POSTS I’M NOT THAT EVIL OKAY (linking them here if you do want to go admire those purely pretty purring prissy putty tats of mine (also did not know that was movie quote WHICH ONE IS IT FROM??) the first one’s from a year ago, so everybody grew up now, BUT THEYRE SO CUTE and the second and third links feature new-born kittens THEY’RE LITERALLY SO PRECIOUS IT’S ILLEGAL THEY DESERVE THE WHOLE WORLD AND SO MUCH MORE OKAY: 1) https://dippedinink.xyz/january-inked-on-paper/ 2) https://dippedinink.xyz/july-2023-inked-on-paper/ 3) https://dippedinink.xyz/august-2023-inked-on-paper/) WOW ALASKAN WINTERS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE INSANE RIGHT?? YOU’RE BRAVE.

    2. i live in a place that’s so hot, you basically can’t leave the house without getting entirely cooked in the summers. the winters arent too cold, but i hate them anyway because cold sucks. SNOW IS KIND OF A DIFFERENT STORY THOUGH. it’s so pretty and weird and extraordinary. but living somewhere that cold forever WOULD be inconvenient. you’d need like 20 layers of coats to go out every day and probably still freeze. I GET YOU LIKE THAT.

      it’s very nice to know SOMEONE appreciates my lunchtime inventions, THANKS SO MUCH.

  3. First and foremost..
    OMG HOW DID I MISS THAT YOU HAD CATS?? I loveeeee!! And yay about them liking you tooo 😂

    Omg Chicago sounds amazing!! I went to the US for the first time last year (around this time actually!) but not Chicago! Your Fall (or Autumn) pictures look amaaazing and I really wish it was here too (alas, sand is what we have)

    It really looks like you’ve been through the seasons because whoa, Fall AND winter?? Red leaves AND snow?? Luckyyyy

    Okay, so I just realised that I got very roped into reading the rest of your post AND FORGOT TO WRITE MY THOUGHTS DOWN BUT THATS OKAY BC I WILL REMEMBER IT (go brainpower!)

    I’ve only watched a bit of suits with my parents bc they were watching it and what else am I supposed to except crash on their TV time! Alexa and Katie were my COVID companions so I completely get that!! I’m currently watching Anne with an E (it’s sooooo good) while reading Anne of Green Gable!!

    ALSO!! Your photos!! They’re amazing and make me want to go to Chicago now so bad!! (Also did you go to an aquarium or something towards the end?)
    -btw I think I used the word “amazing” too many times but what can I do?

  4. no but this post was SO FUN to read and i had a smile on my face the ENTIRE time. i absolutely love the serene pictures of chicago and your time there sounds absolutely wonderful (29 cups of hot chocolate in 2 weeks??? wow). also all your stories about your cats and feeding them are so nice, your cats sound like the best cutest cats ever! i’m so glad you liked maybe you should talk to someone and 20% of your 5 star reads is a lot to credit (even if it was 1/5 books) and i’m HONOURED.

    my “winter break” was me applying leave from 21st to first and happily not working lol. i initially planned to go on a trip but none panned out and it’s fine because i get to sleep and blog and read and have a quaint time at the end of the year so i’m not disappointed! honestly need to have a chill vacation at home every year to heal from the year’s stresses lol.

    merry christmas and i hope you have a wonderful end to the year/start to the new year!

  5. Wow… sounds like you had a fun trip!

    Answering in character: It’s not the last half of 2023, it’s the first half of 1998, and the most exciting thing is that I graduated! Christmas 1998 is still six months away, but I’ll be at my parents’ house again. I’ve never been to Chicago. I’ve been to a couple of museums, but it’s not really my thing. Fall here kind of happens, some trees have leaves that fall but not all of them, and it’s more like a gradual weakening of summer for the first half of fall, and then suddenly in early November, someone turns on the winter switch. But it doesn’t snow here. The best place I’ve ever visited is my great-grandma’s house a couple hours’ trip north of here, it’s so fun to explore in the hills around there, but she passed in 1994 and the house isn’t in our family anymore. Not really sure what the worst place is; I’m the kind of person who can find anywhere inherently fascinating if I’ve never been there before. I’ve never met penguins. We had goldfish when I was a kid, but that was a long time ago. I don’t really read Christmas books or watch Christmas movies. Alexa and Katie doesn’t exist, because it’s 1998.

    Now, answering from actual 2023 as an adult: Most exciting part of the last half of 2023? Hmm… that’s a good question… my life hasn’t exactly been exciting lately… but I did go to four concerts, so that was awesome. I believe you read a story I wrote last winter called “Thrill Ride,” about a lonely, grumpy middle-aged man being late to a concert and meeting his celebrity crush. That may or may not have been based on a true story, and at one of the aforementioned four concerts, I may or may not have met “Ashley” a second time, and I met “Seth” and “Mike” too, and “Ashley” took a group selfie of all four of us on my phone… I have this week and next week off… I have been to Chicago once, in 2005 (three times if you include just changing planes there). I was only there for a day and a half; I went to a Cubs game and ate deep dish pizza and went to the observation deck at the top of what was then called Sears Tower (it’s called something else now, it was the tallest building in the US at the time) and met up with an Internet friend. I’ll tell that story if I ever write JTTL. I like museums better than I did when I was a kid, but I haven’t in a while. I’m not sure if I could pinpoint one best place I’ve visited, because like I said, visiting new places is always inherently fascinating to me… My favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I still have never watched Alexa and Katie. And the questions I didn’t answer are pretty much the same as they were in 1998.

  6. Eheh Merry Christmas!!
    Okay but i’m so happy you discovered snow and falling leaves?! They are truly beautiful! But yes.. I hate the cold coming with the snow. Which talking of that- there’s still none here 😂💀 it snowed before Halloween, then it rained alot and poof gone no show for christmas.

    I love all the photos, but especially the aquarium!! I love aquariums, i’m sad we don’t have any nearby anymore.

  7. The amount of hot chocolate you’ve drunk sounds like high heaven. I wish I was there lol. Plus all your photos from your vacation are super amazing!! More cat photos on your next post pretty please

    The film about the Black women in nasa is called hidden figures. I watched it a couple of years ago, but I remember loving it. Glad you enjoyed it too!

    My winter break is only a week long and my uni starts back on 1st of January.


  8. fun recap! ✨ i’ve been watching a lot of tv recently mostly older stuff I used to watch like mystery shows or cartoons, also trying to get back into anime!! I need to catch up on spy x family <3

  9. Anoushka HIIII it’ve been so long (my fault for ghosting 😅) but it’s so refreshing for me to open my reader after a while, and see one of your posts – absolutely in love with your enthusiasm… so happy you had a magical trip and got to see snow for the first time, truly a core memory!!! and living our your dream of wearing that winter scarf. AMAZING. hope 2024 is filled with more of these good times, and that you’ve been doing well!!! sending love 🩷

  10. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you’re over the jetlag by now. I hope the cats are also continuing to enjoy lots of attention.

    Wow it sounds like you had a fabulous time in Chicago. I’m glad you got to experience Fall & snow like that. Its pretty rare where I am and generally never deep enough for things like snowmen 😑 sounds like you saw some incredible animals too and enjoyed lots of food.

    I bet that boat was freezing! It was cold enough when I did one once and it wasn’t snowing then. We were so cold we had soup in the cafe. It was worth the cold though for the waterfall walk that followed.

    I haven’t seen any of the shows that you mentioned 🙈 I’m glad you’ve been enjoying them though. Oh was the NASA film Hidden Figures? I havent seen it but its definitely on my to watch list if so.

    I’m glad you managed to get some reading done too. I’m surprised you got to so much actually so well done!!

    I had a lovely Christmas thank you. Mostly played games, saw a Pantomime and watched a couple of Christmas specials. I saw the lights at a safari kind of near me too which were amazing. They were based on well known children’s books like Narnia, Wind In The Willows, Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan etc. Oh and I visited a Christmas Market too. I didn’t get anything but I love looking around them.

    I hope that you have a wonderful 2024.

  11. Ahhhh, Anoushka, this post was just perfection!! 😍 The chaos? The gorgeous vacation pics I couldn’t stop staring at? Your heartwarming descriptions of your first snow and scarf encounters? Your reading plans crashing and burning? The way you missed your cats who maybe like you for more than just you feeding them? IT WAS ALL SO HEARTWARMINGLY ENGROSSING AND RELATABLE AND I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF READING THIS!! (Even if I am horribly late responding because I’ve been on my own very epic vacation which you’re probably going to get a very annoyingly excited post about soon 😁🙃 Sorry for being so perpetually tardy!!)

    Also, did I mention how gorgeous your pictures are? 🤩 You’ve made me want to visit Chicago, too, and drink hot chocolate, and go to an aquarium to stare at the fish… It sounds like such a great time!

    And, since you asked – my Christmas was great! 🥰 There was lots of baking, lots of eating, lots of family board games, lots of caroling, Christmas tree decorating, presents, music, and all in all, it couldn’t have been more perfect!

    Anyway, happy New Year, Anoushka! I hope you’re having an epic start to 2024!

  12. Ok but those Chicago pics! Gah I really want to visit sometime and it’s purely because one of my favourite series is set there. But those photos look stunning and now make me want to go like yesterday. I adored this post so much and I hope you had a lovely end to 2023 and a happy new year to you Anoushka!

  13. I remember how I felt the first time I saw snow. I was born in Texas and lived there until I was 13. My grandparents lived in Ohio and we visited for Christmas when I was 7 or 8. It was AMAZING! Then when I was 13 we moved to Ohio and now I hate the snow… hahaha! Mostly, I hate driving in it! I also don’t know how to feel about Emily in Paris. haha I have binged it all so quickly but I still don’t know!

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