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We have a cookbook of authentic Civil War era recipes, and the other day Mara—ever the adventurous cook—was the first to make a dish from it: beef stew with homemade dumplings. She did deviate from the recipe by adding herbs, a choice with which I completely agree. It's soooo good. Beef stew may possibly be the Best Thing Ever.

At my tea ceremony lesson, I did my first chabako temae. (Temae means “tea ceremony procedure”; if I say “ceremony” I think it sounds too solemn.) Cha means tea, and bako means box; chabako is a tea ceremony where all the utensils are carried in a lacquered box, making it portable enough for an outdoor tea gathering, none of which I've ever seen, but that's the theory. I performed a basic summertime chabako temae, unohana, which means deutzia blossom. I was far less flustered this time than when I did my first ryakubon (tray) temae; a lot of ryakubon procedures are directly applicable to chabako unohana. This was my last tea lesson before we go to Japan, and I got all sorts of advice about Kyoto: where to buy tea ceremony utensils (department store basements) and specialty foods (Nishiki Market), viewing the city (go to the roof of Kyoto Station), and visiting our tea school's headquarters (say hi to Yoko Satou). I'm so excited!

I picked up the Gothic Lolita-style dress I mentioned, and I tried it on to make sure it fits now. Indeed, the arm cuffs no longer cut off my blood circulation, but somehow I had an even harder time getting out of it than before. The shoulders are tailored in a such a way as to require nearly unhinging one's shoulder joints to slide one's arms out of the sleeves. I'm not sure how long I spent in the dressing room, maybe twenty minutes, but it seemed like an eternity in my epic struggle to get the darkly cute garment over my head. I wonder what the proprietor thought I was doing in there. :) My victory reward: thai bubble tea. Yum.

Our new laminate flooring was a good excuse to get Robomaid, sort of a Poor Man's Roomba that works on hard, smooth floors. So far it seems to work, but that's almost beside the point: it's worth its price as entertainment alone (not unlike the Roomba), especially if you share your house with a cat.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2005 09:16 am (UTC)
Awesome; I look forward to hearing all about your Japan trip. Congrats on the chabako temae, too.
May. 24th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
Curse you natural-born femles!
I wish I were petite-enough, cute-enough, and freaking female enough to pull off Gothic Lolita. Curses!

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )