March 2010 Archives

Media Dream

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In my dream, I saw the most interesting media format. It was a tea brown cylinder attached to the ceiling, like a meter-long candle hung upside down. It had a wick with a small flame or light and as it moved from the start of the film at the bottom upward to the end, each frame of the film projected itself onto the wall then disappeared. It could only be viewed once.

In the dream, Mom was watching a memorial film that showed dancers on a stage. I interrupted her with an urgent question and she missed part of the dance. I felt sad and guilty that she had forever lost part of her one viewing.

But what an interesting delivery system. It seems quite impossible, but beautifully steampunk.

Blondify, Pinkify

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Jojo cut my hair in the afternoon and I bleached it blonde before dinner. Japanese bleach is strong but there are still traces of pink in the top. Should be ok, though.

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I painted the dye on by myself; I hope I coated the back enough and didn't put pink where it doesn't belong.

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This dye claims to glow in UV light but it's hard to check; my only blacklight is in my LED hoop. Seems to be glowing.

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Here it is all dyed and styled. It is shorter than last time, brighter pink, and more punk. I like it!

Equinox at Manazuru

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We took ourselves and a bottle of whiskey down the coast to a wee little cape at the end of Kanagawa to celebrate the equinox and note the anniversary of my father's death.

The village of Manazuru is a charming port town. Its marina sits at the bottom of a natural amphitheater with alleys and staircases defining semicircles of houses, shops and ryokans. To the south of town there is a 700 year old kusunoki and kuromatsu forest on a hill above the rocky tip of the cape. It is a pleasant walk to the cape along the ridge road or the shore road and there are two lovely public parks with lots of hooping space.

I foresee future excursions. Maybe even a summer home...

After Party Attitude Shift

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This morning I was sulking a little because last night Tod had promised to wash the last batch of party dishes but there he was about to head out to work with the sink still loaded with unwashed china. When he noticed my moping, he asked about it and I told him what was wrong.

But then I saw the light. This wasn't something to be even a tiny bit upset about. Washing a half a dozen wine glasses, a handful of cutlery and some serving plates really isn't a big deal, even if they loom large in the sink. The problem was my expectation that Tod would do it. So I mentally took on the task myself, changed my expectation without any bad feeling, and my negative mood lifted.

It took Tod by surprise and he worries about repercussions, but there will be none. I gave him the gift of a Pi Day Dinner with friends. It was my pleasure to do it. The dishes are done, the rooms are all tidied and vacuumed and the day looks bright.

I wanted to note this because it is another example of how my increased happiness works. A year ago, this "undone dishes issue" would have blown up into an argument or a day of resentful housekeeping. Now, it is just another blip to be noted and passed by. We are fortunate people, Tod & I, with sufficient resources to do pretty much anything we could ever want to do. It is silly to sully that great fortune with trivial madness.

Why did it take me so bloody long to figure this out?

Pi Day Recipes

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Tonight I am hosting a Pi Day dinner to celebrate one of my favorite mathematical constants, 3.14. The menu will consist entirely of pies: broccoli quiche, blue cheese mashed potato and carrot pie, raw vegan mandala pie, mushroom pot pie, impossible lasagna pie, and coconut custard pie. Some of these are recipes worth sharing, so here they are for your own Pi Day celebrations.

Raw Vegan Mandala Pie
1 regular-sized pie

1 cup walnuts
1/2 sweet salad onion
2 sundried tomatoes
1 small zucchini
8 button mushrooms
1/2 bulb fennel
18 cherry tomatoes
small handful babyleaf or mixed fresh herbs

Combine the walnuts, onion and sundried tomatoes in a food processor, adjusting consistency with water until it is a spreadable paste. Salt and pepper to taste.

Using a mandoline, thinly slice rounds of zucchini and distribute evenly across bottom of a pie plate. Spread the walnut paste over the zucchini. Using the mandoline again, slice 6 mushrooms and the fennel into the pie plate. Smooth and press the vegetables a little to make a flat surface.

Prepare the mandala decorations: halve the cherry tomatoes, thinly slice the remaining mushrooms, mince the ends parts of the zucchini, mince the babyleaf or herbs. Of course you can use any other colorful raw vegetable you wish: carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber.

Create concentric circles of vegetables to make the mandala. Chill the pie and serve with extra babyleaf and a simple salad dressing if you wish.

Impossible Lasagna Pie - Vegetarian Version
1 pizza-sized pie

1 cup brown lentils
2 cups water
1 T vegetable stock
1 cup cottage cheese
1.5 cups pasta sauce + extra for serving as gravy
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 T butter
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 eggs

Cook the lentils in the water and vegetable stock. Allow to cool, then mix with the pasta sauce.

Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Rub the butter in with your fingers until you have a mixture the texture of velvet. Whisk in the milk, water and eggs to make a thin batter.

In the bottom of a deep dish pizza pan or a casserole dish, spread the cottage cheese. Layer in the lentils, ad sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Aerate the lentils with a couple of holes, then pour the batter over everything,

Bake in a 350/180C oven for 30 minutes or until the top is set and golden. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella, and bake another 15 minutes to melt and brown the cheese.

Serve hot with extra pasta sauce on the side.

Me and Jack

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Me & Jack

Jack and I practice our different forms of physical fitness at the local park. He's 84 and certainly in better shape than I am. After his daily 900 strokes with a wooden kendo sword, he runs up and down the slope several times. Today he did 20 swings on the chin-up bar; I managed about 5 before my arms gave out. But I was able to hang and hoop simultaneously, which was fun.

Jack has lots of stories to share when we take breaks from our exertions. He's been all over the world, traveling to construction sites in South America and Asia. He tells me all about his experiences during the war and on the job. We talk about exercise, the people around us, our families, Japanese culture, and whether or not I should be a famous hoop performer. Often we are silly together, like in this photo where I am trying to make Tod jealous.

For the past few months, I hadn't seen him around and I wondered if he'd fallen ill, but I think our schedules were just off kilter a bit. I am sure as the weather warms, we'll see each other more.

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