Cut Long

"September seemed to be cut short this year . . . . "
- Angel's songs, by Paige Aufhammer


September is such a darling month, and this past one has been so especially kind to me that  I feel a little churlish for not posting during it at all. I had a lovely afternoon tea at a cute little tea place in Ellicot city, drank compressed pu-erh that had been packaged in an old tangerine skin, ate chocolate cake provided by kind coworkers, enjoyed a frightfully bright  bouquet of daises, and spent a quiet little weekend at the beach.


 The only things I didn’t do, really, were sew, post, or make progress on the insurmountable mountain of reading I have left to do for the year. Well, the last one is only half true – I am halfway done with a book about Magellan. The book is unbelievable. It’s written in a style reminiscent of a certain era in children’s literature, something between Kipling’s Just So Stories and Nesbit’s Enchanted Castle. And the redundancy! If he mentions one more time the fickleness of Portugal’s king, or draws attention again to Magellan’s limp, I really don’t know what I shall do. Laugh, probably, for I can see that under other circumstances the absurdity of the author’s style would be quite amusing. Mountain climbing is no laughing matter, however, and I keep thinking he could shave about a hundred pages off if he stopped repeating himself.


And so that’s how October is starting for me. Cold and dreary and gothic, just as I like it. I like feeling warm and snug and well provided for in my little house while the rain blusters about, and the only small shadow looming ahead is that I have managed to book myself up right through the end of the month. In fact, there is one particular Saturday on which my presence has been requested for no less than three events. It cannot be a complaint, not exactly, but I must stop and wonder at myself – me, a homebody – for gallivanting about during this delightful “stay indoors” weather.

Here’s to lovely evenings-in and friends worth going out for!



First Snow


“. . . a gleaming carpet of faery was springing up everywhere.”

– The Wind in the Willows


It’s the first snow in my new house. I love the affect of snow, although sadly it does not show off my pond as well as ice does, or the still calm days that make it a dark mirror full of grass and tress and sky – a sky so much closer and personable than it’s distant original. Snow is just like faerie dust, sprinkled over the world to hide the slumbering limbs of the trees and make the brown plants sparkle. From my garret window the world was still and gray, but when I opened my door to take pictures with The Camera, I found a world full of light. I tried to master the “manual” focus:

Branch in Semi-focus

But crouching on my doorstep trying to get the focus wheel to spin got cold fast. I closed the door on the new world and turned to toastier pursuits. Fifteen minuets later, when my hands were finally wrapped round a warm mug of oatmeal, the sun poked its head above the tree line opposite my house. I have great windows for dawn, and so I couldn’t resist trying to take a picture through the plastic and screen.

It’s a pretty dramatic beginning, isn’t it?

Monday-Tuesday Bento

Maryland has been in a cloud. Not a nice, cozy, fleecy cloud either, but a damp, wet, almost-fog of a cloud. Today promises just be just as gray – the kind of days I loved in college for their gothic beauty. They aren’t so pretty when you’re out driving in them, let me tell you. Which means I had to make my own pretty this week


A little too cheesy?

Aren’t they cute? These are the products of one of my Christmas presents, a set of aspic cutters {{1}}. [[1]] I here by vow to take a picture of them all squashed in their adorable tin, with a quarter for size comparison. [[1]] Here’s the whole bento, sans artsy angles:

Rice, Umeboshi, Carrots strips, and Lentil Balls

And then Mondays:

Rice, fish soboro, chicken, carraot-ginger kinpura

The pink stuff was supposed to be Maki-san’s Sakura Denbu, but I 1) managed to mush in into granules instead of threads and 2) put in way too much pink food coloring. In real life it’s more of a hot pink – crazy fun to look at but a little scary to eat. I have about two more cups of it stored up in my freezer.

Putting this together took mere minutes, even if you count washing the rice before putting it in the rice cooker. I was so elated to find I had made something both cute and practical that I almost showed it off at work, but I restrained. What kind of oversized ego would you need to actually do a thing like that? No, I contented myself with the knowledge that I would be posting about it here, on the blog completely dedicated to me. I couldn’t resist with the stars though. For some reason it doesn’t seem as shameless to show of a Christmas present.

Todays bento promises to be pretty boring looking – spring soup and lentil balls – but maybe I’ll spice things up visually with a sprinkle of stars, or a handful of hearts. As long as the clouds are here my attempts at cute will have to go on.

Clouds for Cookies

It’s a cold, clammy, cloudy day. Everyone trudges to their rooms and shuts their door tight, as if able to lock out the lack of sky. For there is no sky today, just a whiteness above us. And not just above us, but around us, stretching down the sides of the mountain, seeming to continue behind distant buildings. It feels as if the whole world is encircled in fog, or perhaps it is only our lives here that are so shrouded. At any rate, the cold seems to creep even into our bones as we, the pressured, stare paralyzed at the approaching due-dates that have popped up with all the warning that accompanies a mushroom. If only we could turn our clouds to cookies. 

                But it’s okay, we had our sun on the weekend. For those who are interested it went really well, by the way. The ball, that is. My dress was finished in time, my safety pins stayed pinned (more or less), and the actual dancing was thrilling. For some strange reason the ladies out numbered gentlemen 2.5 to 1, which caused a quite a bit of laughter and merriment for the simple reason that, when two people wearing hoop-skirts do anything together, they take four times the room usually required.  Lots of skirts were stepped on, but no dreams were trampled. 
Oh, and I managed to drop and break my camera just before the ball. 
              The above mentioned due dates have driven me to knitting, which should seem counter intuitive – if not, I’d advise therapy. I’m knitting fish with my sister, lakes and lakes of fish. They are about as brainless as you can get, all garter stitch glory. They are also as colourless as the clouds, in other words, nothing to make conversation out of.  Another way of, uh, encouraging that inspirational nirvana known as last minute panic, I’ve started thinking about my books, and even my scripts. The later being very appropriate, considering it is Script Frenzy month, according to the blogosphere. 

                In honor of this event I downloaded Celtx, a nifty piece of script writing software, and started transferring old projects into it. I’ll write you a full review in a few weeks (read: May), but at first glance it is ingenious, free, and not technically meant for novels.