Enjoy your meal, your loved ones and a good book.
I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I've been very ambivalent about preparing for the holiday. Although I'm certainly not ambivalent about eating the food. Since Ricky is home with us now I decided I should make the effort and enlist his help since who knows when we'll be able to celebrate it together again. So, today I took the first step and bought a turkey. Now I really do have to start cooking. I wouldn't mind so much if I didn't have to cook our regular food as well. Guess I'd better get started making pickled pineapple, applesauce and my late Hungarian grandfather's pickled cucumbers.
Enjoy your meal, your loved ones and a good book.
Yesterday Ricky and I drove to Glens Falls, New York for the Chronicle Book Fair. We were thankful for daylight savings time since the extra hour made it easier to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and leave the house at 7:30a.m. for the more than two-hour drive. It was a beautiful, if cold, day with patches of bright blue sky and the sun often peaking out from behind ominous looking dark gray clouds. We had thought the foliage was finished but bright yellow or red trees here and there proved us wrong.
It was my first book fair and I wasn't sure what to expect. Nancy Means Wright, a wonderful prolific Vermont author had taken part in several of the Chronicle's book fairs and said it was her favorite fair so I decided to give it a try. I had such a good experience I am now a convert, and I hope to take part again next year.
I sold several books, which went a long way towards my enjoyment, but I also had a wonderful time chatting with other writers and with potential book loving customers. There were so many interesting people there. Book lovers are a very different breed, one I feel at home with having grown up in a family of them. The fact that most of the shoppers were actually there to buy books made this experience quite different from book selling ones I've had so far. Usually, when I give book talks most people are there for the "story," not to buy a book. Other venues I've set up at have not targeted book lovers so I felt lucky when some happened to pass through.
We met a writing teacher with stories to tell who happened to have an adult daughter, a geologist by training, teaching English in Osaka. A woman wearing a gorgeous wooden necklace explained to us that her son, who is a rustic furniture maker, made the necklace for her from the root of a lilac bush. Another woman told us all about the summer month she'd spent in Japan and her food experiences with her home stay family.
The woman I shared a table with was the author of a novel. She was originally from the upper New York area but lives in Maine. Her whole large family still lives in the area. She was telling me she used to be a crafter with all its ups and downs. On the table she had one beautiful and meticulously drawn lighthouse in a frame. Although lighthouses had been her specialty (each an original - no prints) she also made jewelry from beach glass - each piece unique. Store owners wanting to buy from her just didn't understand the concept of natural and unique. They would say, "I'd like to order10 of these and 15 of those."
Then there were the people who attended the craft shows and said to themselves, "Hey, that looks easy, I could do it." Their customers would remember having seen Mary Lou's booth and mistakenly think she'd made the defective object. They'd bring her things that had fallen apart. She would have to tell them to look at the sub-standard imitations they'd bought and see how different they were from her originals. "Maybe you'd like to buy a real one this time?" Mary Lou was an artist not a craft making machine and she finally gave it up.
Just before we started packing up a woman approached. She was all set to buy a copy of my book though she hadn't even picked it up to look through. She just knew she'd want it. I chewed her ear off and read her some excerpts. She had sparkling eyes which seem to glow like the necklace she was wearing. Her jacket or scarf also had threads that sparkled. I wondered if she'd been an actress. She had a special presence and warmth. She mentioned that my mother's story was like "A Majority of One," a movie with Rosalind Russell which had earlier been a Broadway play starring Gertrude Berg. I told Marian that as a matter of fact, my mother and father had been given tickets to see the show when my mother won the essay contest and the prize trip to visit her pen pal in Japan.
This "kindred spirit" had lost her husband several years ago. He was a professor, writer and publisher. I googled him and was quite impressed with his body of work. Although I don't recall actually reading them, the titles sounded very familiar to me. I'm sure, voracious reader of books that she was and avid reader of the Times Book Review, my mother must have read at least some of them. Although my mother has been dead since 2008, when I got home I had the urge to call her to ask if she knew of him and them.
The only sour spot of the day was being cornered in front of my table by a short, German man with a white moustache who said he was born in Germany in 1934 and came to the States in the 50's. I listened politely to this soft spoken man, who sounded like he was making a memorized speech, not exactly sure what he wanted to tell me and what the connection was with my mother's story. There was no connection. He was using the old argument about Hitler having been good for Germany, returning its self-respect and ending unemployment. I fell in and started to say that it was at the cost of millions of lives systematically murdered. To him that was inconsequential and America did . . . I started to edge away from him hoping he'd leave, but he had entangled Ricky in his web. Seated on a chair on the other side of the table, my son was wiser than his mother. He just nodded politely as the obscene garbage quietly spewed from the old German's mouth. Finally, the man left. Ricky was a bit angry that I had escaped and left him cornered. I'd really been on the verge of saying excuse me and asking Ricky to come with me someplace when the man left and proceeded to talk at the next table on a theme about the U.S.
As I was waking up this morning I went over in my head ways I could have, and should have, asked the misplaced Nazi to leave my table area. I could have thrust a book at him and asked if he wanted to buy it or even two. I could have simply asked him to move aside since customers couldn't see my display (which was true). I could also have been more direct and said I didn't want to listen to this Nazi apologia any more. I honestly hope I never have an opportunity to deal with someone like this again. Luckily, he was not the last person I talked to so I am left with much happier memories.
I feel like going back to bed right now, but i suppose I shouldn't miss any of this beautiful day. The sky is blue and there isn't a cloud in the sky. I'm also beginning to get a bit hungry.
I wish you all happy reading and writing. It's a good season for both.
Next Sunday, November 2nd, I'll be taking part in my first book fair. I'm looking forward to it but not to the long drive to Glens Falls, New York. Check out my Talk Schedule page for more information about it. If you are in the area, I'd love to meet you. I've heard it's a great fair with over 100 authors, publishers, stores and other book-related vendors.
We've been considering a trip to Japan this fall/winter, but Toshi is so busy with so many JASV things we've decided to put it off until next spring after Matsuri 2015 (April 19th is the date to save.)
The first week in December is going to be a very hectic one for us. We will be in Boston for the annual Emperor's birthday celebration one evening. The next day Toshi will be attending the annual meeting of the New England Japan-America associations. We'll have to rush home right after that because the next morning we have to be at the Champlain Valley Fair Grounds to set up for the first day of the three-day Vermont International Festival. Just writing about all of this is kind of daunting.
Yesterday Ricky and I attended the Tech Jam in Burlington. I am not a fan of technology, though I don't follow in Lord Byron's Luddite footsteps, wanting to smash all the machines. But it was exciting to see how much interesting work is being done in this small part of our country. Combining the humanities with technologies is most interesting to me - the potential applications of the technologies. The most exciting thing I saw was the IGlobe, invented by two brothers from New Hampshire. Check out their website.
It is continuing cold, rainy and dreary—the perfect day to curl up with a book. Enjoy!
Last Wednesday Toshi, Ricky and I drove down to Boston to attend a reception in honor of the new Consul General of Japan and his wife given in their residence in Brookline, Massachusetts. The very large house was guarded by police officers. We wondered if they are on duty at all times. Perhaps. I didn't feel comfortable wandering around even the first floor of their home as many others were doing, so I only saw a couple of the rooms. But those I did see were quite sumptuous and decorated with Japanese art. A gorgeous tea ceremony set including a table of black lacquer with gold makie decoration stood in the main room looking a little out of place as we entered.
Consul and Mrs. Himeno are a charming couple from Osaka who have been married for 37 years. We're three years ahead of them having celebrated our 40th anniversary on August 24th. We wish them good luck here in the U.S. As we were introduced to them on the receiving line, we presented them with a piece of Toshi's pottery and a copy of my book. We hope they enjoy them both, although I doubt they will have much time for reading.
It was a very nice party. There were tables with food set up both inside and out. Besides sushi, which disappeared in a flash as usual, there were a variety of other delicious foods as well as interesting people to meet. Unfortunately, I only chatted with a few guests, among them a Japanese sculptor whose beautiful work can be seen around the world and an American psychiatrist who is acquainted with some friends of my family from my childhood. I constantly find myself amazed at how small the world really is.
The next day, on our way home we stopped at a huge Korean supermarket outside of Boston. Aside from Korean products, they also sell many Japanese products, which delighted us. Looking around at all the exotic food, I imagined how happy ex-pat Koreans must feel when they step into the store for the first time and see all the foods from home that they've missed. We know exactly how that feels. Among the groceries we bought were two 50 pound bags of a Japanese variety of rice grown in California. The large Japanese supermarket we shop in when we visit New Jersey and New York doesn't even carry bags that large. Or if they do, we've never seen them.
Tonight is the last of the Super Moons and it is also the Harvest Moon. If you haven't gone outside to look at it yet, please do. The night here in Vermont is beautifully clear and the moon is spectacular. You can see both the American "Man in the Moon" and the Japanese "Rabbit Making Mochi."
Pleasant dreams to you all.
In case you haven't noticed, I've been away for over a month. Toshi, Ricky and I were traveling around the UK. Ricky ended up doing all the driving - over 3,200 miles!!! Ever driven on their roads? Except for the highways, they are generally narrow, full of hairpin turns, and often like roller coasters - with a steep ascent to the top and then "whoosh" to the bottom. I, as the assistant to the invaluable GPS, had the dubious pleasure of sitting in the "death seat." If I had claws like a cat, I would have embedded them in the ceiling in my attempts to save myself. Being summer, the roads were not only full of the normal drivers speeding like maniacs, but also wide "caravans" (RVs) which we thought should have been banned from the narrow roads. We generally were the car to pull over when facing another vehicle on the narrowest of roads - basically made for one-way traffic.
At the beginning, we were amazed there weren't signs of accidents, but our amazement soon disappeared as they started to appear. We saw a van completely overturned on the road. Then we saw two cars which had obviously smashed into each other. They were followed by the shocking sight of a truck by the side of a highway with fire and smoke pouring out of it.
We arrived in Heathrow and headed south immediately after picking up the rental car, which turned out to be a Mercedes-Benz complete with some bells and whistles that took getting used to - like windshield wipers that turned on automatically when it rained and lights that went on and off on their own. Ricky never did figure out how to flash them, which is the way that drivers tell you to go ahead while they patiently wait for you to proceed.
Most disconcerting of these "extras" was the shrill beep that warned us if we were too close to anything or anything was coming too close to us. There were many times when it was overzealous and I nearly jumped into Ricky's lap trying to get away from the ubiquitous hedgerow which was always on my side of the car. Sometimes the car seemed to beep for nothing.
After visiting a Roman villa with the remains of a bath complete with mosaics, we headed towards Southampton where we spent the night. The next day we headed towards our next stop - Exeter and Dartmoor. On the way, we dropped in at Portsmouth and had some seafood from a stand and our first tastes of ice cream made with clotted cream (yummy!). We stumbled upon the birthplace of Charles Dickens and spent some time there before pushing on.
After I'd had a taste of the moor and Toshi had had his fill of the prehistoric stones circles found there, we continued to Penzance. We didn't get to see an outdoor play but we did get to walk over to St. Michael's Mount - a cousin of France's Mont St. Michel - having arrived when the tide was out. Once reached, we (I) had to struggle uphill on large, uneven cobblestones. Coming down was even worse. By the time we were ready to leave the tide had come in and we had to take a "boat" which was a sort of land and water vehicle - almost like an amphibious tank. It took us out to the "real" boat.
Oh, I forgot to mention a highlight. Down on the beach Ricky found a giant dead jellyfish. None of us knew there were any that large. If I ever get my photos together and can figure out how to incorporate them into this, I'll show you it with Ricky near it so you can get an idea of its true size.
We stayed what turned out to be a rare two nights in one place - Penzance - though we had to change hotels for the second night. From there we headed along the coast to Tintagel (whose proper pronunciation I learned, having thought it quite different when reading about King Arthur over the years). This was the birthplace of Arthur, if he really existed. It was a cold, rainy day and the three of us got separated. Toshi is the only one who actually was able to tour the vast castle remains. Ricky got as far as the entrance and I only looked at it from a distance.
I finally couldn't take waiting any more and returned to the main street of the town to have "cream tea" which I'd been looking forward to. The hot tea was welcome since I was like a wet cat but had to sit outside so that I wouldn't miss the guys if they passed by. The shop was across from the road leading to the castle so I figured they'd have to pass eventually. The tea was accompanied by two large scones, a container of thick, buttery clotted cream and strawberry preserves. I was determined to order this again one day but never got to. Probably just as well for my cholesterol, but oooooh how delicious it was.
Lucky Ricky showed up as I was beginning to tuck into my food. There was enough for both of us to enjoy. Poor Toshi missed out. Just down the street was a wonderful Cornish pasty bakery. Toshi did get to enjoy a pasty. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them - pasties are pockets of dough filled with steaming hot ingredients such as steak and potatoes (traditional). The dough is crimped together and the whole thing baked. Pasties used to be taken down into the mines by the miners for their lunches. On a cold day, they are especially delicious as they warm your hands and the hot steam is trapped inside until you take a bite. Days later, in Wales, we went down into a mine on another cold, wet day and I found myself wishing I had a pasty with me.
I will stop here other than to say that from Cornwall we went into southern Wales and worked our way up to Northern Wales after taking a boat over to Caldey Island (recommended by one of the tour guides in the mine). From Wales we went into Ireland, paying a fortune to take the car with us on the ferry, and then to Northern Ireland to perhaps the highlight of the trip - the Giant's Causeway. This marvel of nature is truly amazing. There are similar basalt columns in Japan, but we all agreed that the Irish ones were more spectacular.
From Belfast we took another ferry across to Cairnryan, Scotland, going as far north as we thought we could considering how quickly the days were passing - driving around Loch Lomond and Loch Ness (never really caught a glimpse of Nessie). Glencoe, a place of tragedy perpetrated by the English so long ago, had magnificent mountains.
Lodging in Scotland proved to be even more difficult to find than it had in Wales and England. The reason - the
British Commonwealth Games were being held in Glasgow. People were having to stay a couple of hours away. We ended up driving hours out of our way and in the direction we'd just come from to find anything. In Edinburgh, we paid premium price for a B & B listed in Ricky Steve's book. It turned out that a few blocks away was the pool where the swimming events were taking place. If we can ever afford to travel again, we will only do it in the spring when fewer people travel.
We worked our way from Edinburgh south towards the North Yorkshire Moors and York. I was in search of heather which usually doesn't bloom until September or October, but was beginning to bloom early. We detoured towards Hilltop, Beatrix Potter's home. It was a miserable rainy day and Ricky bravely plodded on behind the wheel over scary roads (What were all those idiots doing out on such a dreadful day?!). We arrived only to find out that the place was closed (Who closes on a Friday?). However, we weren't alone. We were not the only idiots to venture out without checking first. Apparently, Monday is their busiest day and they get about 700 visitors so they must "tidy up," a bit.
We double checked before heading for Haworth Parsonage, the former home of the amazing Bronte family. I knew that the brother Bramwell had been an artist, but hadn't realized that Emily and her sisters were also remarkably talented not only at writing but at painting. The children died quite young (Bramwell killed himself) but their father lived to the good old age of 86. Toshi didn't go into the museum since he said he had never heard of them and photography wasn't allowed. Ricky and I enjoyed our visit. We would have liked to have spent more time in the both the house and the charming village, but we had already reserved a room elsewhere for the night.
We did stop at the nearby moor. As I gazed around through the rain I didn't see the ghosts of Heathcliffe and Cathy, but I did see heather. I took photos while holding an umbrellas overhead. Soon Toshi and Ricky came out and joined me to film. I was feeling pretty well satisfied, and the guys also appreciated it. In the distance were rolling hills covered by farmland. I found myself wondering if the land had looked much the same when the Bronte's were alive.
We stopped at a marvelous Roman fort (the remains of course) near part of Hadrian's Wall. Toshi was delighted to later be able to walk on a portion of the wall. Over the centuries, sections have disappeared - taken to be used in "new" construction. York was our next two-day stop. Great weather, though a little hot for my taste. Ice cream from a cart - panacotta apricot - was the highlight. The Railway Museum with free entry was our first stop. The Yorkshire Museum was a good one. We only looked at the cathedral - The York Minster - from outside because it was so expensive to enter. It was impressive, but the photos I saw of the inside didn't make me feel like I had to see it. We had to be careful and choose which admissions to pay and which to skip. We saw Clifford's Tower when we first arrived but didn't visit it. It was where, in 1190, 150 Jews sought refuge when they were about to be massacred. Most chose to kill themselves rather than be killed.
As far as food is concerned - nearly all was overpriced by our standards and most not that great except for ethnic food (Indian and Chinese in particular). Ricky and I agreed that the best meal was a Greek one. We stayed at a B & B near Holyhead the night before going over to Ireland. The chef is Greek and one night a week he prepares a Greek menu as well as the regular one. We lucked out, arriving on Greek night.
I was determined to visit Hampton Court Palace and we finally made it on our next to the last day. We didn't have enough time to see everything.
We only spent a few hours in London - the day before our departure. We'd actually changed our minds having decided at the beginning to stay away completely (We have visited before and it's dreadfully expensive.) Most of our time was spent in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is wonderful. It was a Thursday and we were surprised that Trafalgar Square and the theatre district was teeming with people. We ended up eating in a pizza place which was tiny and overcrowded, and we were not feeling very happy our last night. It was a cool evening and I asked if the guys wanted to spend more time there, but Ricky had had it and said if we wanted to stay we could, but he was going back to the hotel (which was in the suburbs about 30 mins. away). I'm glad we didn't stay, since we'd have been in terrible shape for our flight the next day.
As it was, we went to the wrong Travelodge. It was on the opposite side of the highway from the one we'd reserved at. The guy gave us back alley directions to save us having to go on the highway to get there. There were terrible speed bumps and the area was warehouses. It was pitch black, and there were no signs and it was a miracle that Ricky could find the place finally. We checked in, exhausted, and found Ricky's bed hadn't been set up so we had to change rooms. The place was sleazy looking. In general, the few Travelodges we stayed in were fairly depressing, but this one was the pits. Not a great way to spend our last night. The beds were all right, which is important, and Toshi was happy with the water pressure in the shower. A lot of places had weak water pressure and many had erratic toilets.
On this note, I will stop and eat breakfast before it's lunchtime.I have a lot to do, but would actually prefer to get back to the book I'm reading. I'd started it before the trip. It's one in a series of books in which the heroine is a Mary Russell, "partner" and then wife to the much older Sherlock Holmes. This particular book takes place on Dartmoor, which I'd wanted to visit even before I began reading it.
Happy travels or happy reading or both.
Sorry it's been awhile. I've been dealing with health issues and spring has come and gone. I don't deal well with the heat. We did have three absolutely gorgeous days last week - cool with sunny blue skies. The third was perfect for the JASV annual meeting and potluck picnic at the Sand Bar park. As it was windy, it was a bit chilly in the shade for those who didn't have sweaters with them. Stepping out into the sun solved that problem. We enjoyed good company and had a variety of delicious food - Japanese and other.
The JASV is going to march in the Montpelier (Vermont's capital ) July 3rd parade. I do not know why they have changed the date of the holiday but they have. Some of us will wear yukata (cotton summer kimono) and we'll be carrying all sorts of Japanese things like koinobori (windsocks shaped like carp which are traditionally displayed on Boy's Day in Japan). Some will be carrying branches of plastic bamboo which represent the holiday Tanabata which takes place on the seventh day of the seventh month (July 7th). These are usually real bamboo branches decorated with colorful paper on which wishes are written. If anyone wants to join us, we'd love to have you. Just let us know.
In fact, I thought I'd posted the previous message but apparently I hadn't. The parade took place today. Well, officially, it was cancelled because of thunderstorms, but those groups who had already made it to the appointed starting areas (most after a grueling walk in the hot sun) decided we'd do our own parade as we marched back towards the high school parking lot. We had a good turnout of people for the JASV. We were the 46th group out of 82 participating.
I dressed like a Japanese rice farmer (which I have experienced first hand), and I dressed a UVM student, Zoe, in one of my yukata (summer kimono). She looked great as did Ricky in yukata. Toshi never made it into his judo clothes. One family from Bristol arrived all dressed in yukata and other Japanese clothing. I think a good time was had by all in spite of the cancellation. Afterwards, seven of us ate Japanese food in Montpelier. I think we'll all sleep well tonight. I don't look forward to putting everything away.
I'm off to bed and don't know if I have the energy to hold up my
Figure that one out! In truth, it must be spring. Our lilacs are blooming beautifully and aromatically. Our creeping phlox in pink and purple are creeping. And our hyacinths and grape hyacinths are also adding touches of color here and there The weeds, as ever, are a challenge. They are without doubt survivors. Some wind themselves around and around the standing phlox which grow taller every day. The roots of others are entwined with the roots of other plants and cannot be rooted out. My back, calves and hamstrings are so stretched out that for each day I bend down and work intently, I hobble around like a cripple for three more and can't sleep at night.
For now, I've put aside the old letters from Japan I wrote about last time. They're still piled up on the floor and desk, but I've managed to keep myself from opening one after another and going back in time to relive my life of nearly forty years ago. I'm still working on the Japan memoir, but it goes slowly. I've been reading some strange books recently in my attempt to reduce the size of my home library. Some I've had for years, intending to read for just that long. Others were my mother's. When she died six years ago I brought home more than 600 of her beloved books. My sister took even more to her home. These are harder to send on their way after I've read them.
I hope you've all been having as nice weather where you are as we've been having in this little corner of the northeast. I hope you can get out there and enjoy the fresh air, but don't forget to put aside time for a good book as well.
I've been experiencing flashbacks to nearly 40 years ago. No, they aren't spontaneous; and no, I'm not losing my mind (yet). I've pulled out all the letters I wrote to my mother, sister and one of my friends during the years I lived in Japan. Everyone saved the letters because they found them so interesting, chronicling my daily life in a foreign country. I cringe when I read how much of many letters is preoccupied with attempts to get pregnant and to lose weight. My brother-in-law once said to my sister, "How can you say that your diet is successful when you've only been on it for just one meal?" He was right. There are numerous instances of me thrilled that I'd managed to stick to the diet for a meal or two or even a day. Few and far between are mentions of actual weight loss.
Once I push beyond the guilt I feel for inflicting such stuff on my loved ones, it's interesting to see that the letters do contain some good descriptions of my personal experiences, Japanese traditions and such. Noted in their pages, there are some things I'd forgotten. Some memories of events perfectly match their descriptions in my writing. And some experiences have changed as they've become memories. It's a bit disconcerting at times to find that my memories are somewhat skewed. Yet it's very satisfying when the writing matches the memory exactly.
Before taking out the letters, I'd already written about 350 double spaced typed pages of my Japanese memoir. Now, the trick is to separate the chaff from the grain and try to find things worth adding to the book. I'm finding it very difficult! Life is a mixture of happy and sad, good and bad and every other feeling and experience there is. Reading through my life in Japan is like reliving it. My moods swing with the neat written words on the blue airletters or white stationery. I wish I could still write as neatly as most of these letters. I don't know how I kept the lines so straight. I don't know how I could write such tiny letters when I had a lot to say and little room to say it. Words escape the confines of the letter and are found all over the envelope in every empty space on the back. They spiral around and some are upside down. I don't have the patience to try to decipher them and need to get new reading glasses if I really want to attempt it.
My stomach tells me it's time for food.
If you can't work in the garden, or don't enjoy it, take out a good book or sit down and write.
I guess I have to admit that spring seems to have arrived. The darn birds are trying to nest in our dryer hose as they do every year. Holes are appearing in our siding. The woodpeckers are at it again. The first year they attacked our house, I wrote a nasty poem about them: "A birdie with a long sharp bill hopped upon my window sill. Poked a hole inside my wall and so I ate him tail and all." My sister loved it so much she asked if I had any poems about squirrels or rabbits. She was having a lot of trouble with squirrels both inside the house and out. They were walking the clothes line like trapeze artists and making their way into the house somehow. The rabbits were taking bites out of her veggies and flowers. Here a bite, there a bite, everywhere a bite bite. Bats stopped by to use the bathroom whenever her husband was away on business.
She set up a live trap outside and caught so many squirrels she was beginning to feel like she was running a free taxi service for them. She finally became suspicious that she was trapping the same creatures over and over. One cheeky fellow, when let out of the cage, turned around and scolded her before he ran off. To cheer her up, I pleasured her with a few poems which, while fun to write, made me cringe. I called them "My Cruel to Furry Creatures Poems."
I once caught a chipmunk in our son's bedroom. He ( the chipmunk) sat in the middle of the floor looking at me in the doorway and then around the room for a place to hide. There was so much stuff piled everywhere that he decided to take his chances freezing right where he was. I'm sure he thought he was invisible in the middle of all the clothing and other things strewn on the floor. I sent Toshi for a fish net from the garage. He couldn't find it and came back with a huge mess of plastic netting I'd used to keep the birds from eating my seeds in the garden. Since the little fellow was still standing there when he returned with it I was able to drop it over him.
Carrying the huge mess of netting containing the chipmunk, along with some of Ricky's socks caught in the crossfire, we rushed out to an area with tall grasses far from our house and tried to let the poor thing go. The problem was that, in his attempts to escape, his head had gotten stuck in the netting. Back to the house ran Toshi to get a pair of scissors. When he tried to cut the netting around the furry neck the chipmunk's eyes and cheeks seemed to bulge. To me it looked like he was being choked to death. I started to get hysterical imagining how frightened the little thing must be, and I yelled for Toshi to stop. I gave it a try but soon gave up—afraid I'd cut the little captive while cutting the netting. Back went the scissors to Toshi who took a breath and made a cut. Out popped the chipmunk. He dashed off but suddenly stopped after he'd gotten just a few feet away. There he stood his ground, turned and stared at me as if committing my face to memory. I guess it was something he never wanted to see again.
Toshi will take part in Middlebury College's Japanese Club's Spring Festival tomorrow (Sunday). He'll be doing a display and talk about Japanese pottery.
On Sunday, there will be an open house from 12-4 at the Japan-America Society of Vermont's office with an exhibit of Japanese dolls that are displayed on Girl's Day and Boy's Day.
I guess I was right not to count on spring just yet. Yesterday was 80. Today the wind blew and it rained heavily all day. Although I heard two flocks of Canada Geese passing overhead. They say "April showers bring May flowers," but this evening the rain stopped and we now have snow on the ground. The lilacs all have buds and I only hope that they and the other flowering trees and plants will not be nipped in their buds.
The rain kept me a prisoner in my home so I was forced to work on my Japanese memoir(s). I just keep slogging along.
Today was definitely a good day to curl up with a book. Keep those pages turning.
Hi, I'm Susan Saitoh, author of "Encounter with Japan: An Adventure in Love." I am a baby blogger, taking my first steps. This is my first blog and it's part of my first website. Hope I'll get the hang of it fast.