My friend Brandy noted today that my blog has been pretty quiet since the beginning of November, and attributed it to the writing I must be doing for Nanowrimo. If only that was the reason. Life has conspired to keep me from my daily writing goals for the last week, and I am insanely behind. I will catch up at some point, but I don’t know that I’ll finish by the end of November.  I’m trying something outside my comfort zone for this book, and it’s kind of kicking my trash. In my Nanowrimo experience, I have either completely planned out the entire book beforehand (which is necessary for mysteries), or gone in with nothing at all and just babbled my way through the whole thing. (That book was the most fun to write and is full of things that I love. I don’t know that anyone else would like it, but it delights me. Secret agents from a covert organization investigating Cthulhu related happenings in the 1920s. Total joy. )  I started this one with a general idea of what I was doing but no concrete plan, and apparently I do not work well that way. I’ve been skipping around writing sections from different parts of the book, and to say it’s not flowing well would be an understatement.

So that was already a fight, and then some curtains that I ordered online arrived and were the wrong size, and it took days and the help of one of my Japanese speaking friends to figure out. That’s one of the cons of living in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language- all of my English speaking friends agree. No matter how intelligent and capable you know you are, there are times when you just feel completely stupid and incompetent, because you can’t understand something, can’t read something, can’t just call and talk to someone to figure something out. So that took 3 days at the beginning of the week, while at the same time I was trying to get the household back on a schedule- something we all function much better with- and the shenanigans with the stupid curtains were kneecapping those attempts.

Add to that the fact that I’ve been reading Catherynne M. Valente’s The Melancholy of Mechagirl, which is a bunch of short stories set in Japan that deal with mythological creatures and deities and is precisely the kind of thing I dream of writing but that’s not my style at all so it’s not going to come out of me, and I’ve been ready to throw in the towel.

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All that to say, writing has not been happening. It will, but it’s not right now.

So what has been happening? Well, there was the debacle with the curtains, of course. It’s been getting colder, which is one of the reasons we need the curtains. We have heaters in every room, but we’re trying not to use them too much. We did stock up on long sleeved shirts this week, and I got a new fuzzy coat.  It rained today, which made it a bit colder than it would have been.

I’ve been watching the series Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries on Netflix, which is based on the series of books by Kerry Greenwood, and it is marvelous. (I recommend the books and the show.) It’s set in 1920s Melbourne, Australia, and the Honorable Phryne Fisher is a scandalous, rule breaking private detective. The casting is beautiful, the scenery is beautiful, and the acting is excellent. Pretty people saying witty things, that’s all I ask of a show.

I have a factory of stuffed animals to make- ok, only 8, but still. Nieces and nephews are getting them for Christmas, as well as some for a friend who needs them for some kids in her life. At this point they’re almost all cut out; the assembly line sewing comes next. It should be fun, there’s a few that I’ve never done before.

We went to the National Art Center today and saw some Impressionists. There were more Van Goghs than I’ve ever seen in one place, and I was overcome when we walked into the room. Very moving. There were also Seurats and Signacs, which were absolutely stunning. There were some Ganguins, and I realized that after reading the Van Gogh biography and how he treated Van Gogh, I can’t look at his art without the filter of thinking he’s a jerk. I snuck this picture for you all.

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I did find a new painter to love, Johann Thorn Prikker. Below are his Christ on the Cross and Madonna in a Tulip Field. So beautiful. (I stole these from the interwebs, I didn’t risk taking pictures of them in the museum.)

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There was also a Japan Fine Art Exhibition, that consisted of galleries and galleries of art in different mediums. We only went through the “Western style painting” and “Craft as art” galleries before the girls were done. The paintings in the Western style gallery were absolutely breathtaking. I’d love to go back and just spend hours there.  These were some of my favorites.

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I’m currently obsessed with Lorde and keep listening to her album over and over. I’m also obsessed with this song. I have a thing for songs with “HEY!” in them.

I’ve been ranting internally about the decline of people’s understanding of literature (I blame it on an increased emphasis in schools on reading non-fiction, but that can’t be the entire reason), based on hearing/reading about people who are furious with a certain YA author for having the main character of her book sacrifice herself for the good of humanity at the end of the series- calling it irresponsible to her fans; and reading about parents who either let their kids read things that are WAY too mature for them in the name of openness, or who don’t read things themselves that they wouldn’t let their kids read. I mean, I understand the underlying principle of that, but HELLO, LITERATURE. And in a similar judgypants vein, it bugs me to see links on Pinterest etc. to “recipes” for cheap kids art supplies. Flour, water, and food coloring do not paint make. I’m not saying people should break the bank or get their kids oil paints or anything, but for goodness sake, it’s amazing what kids will come up with when you give them actual supplies. HELLO, ART.

Right now I’m reading Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger and it is absolutely wonderful. After I finish it, I think I’m going to reread Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, every time I read about or see the Impressionists I feel drawn to read it again.

Let’s see, what else? We’re having tacos for dinner tonight. I tried turnips for the first time the other day- I shredded them and fried them like hashbrowns. They were yummy.

The leaves are changing colors all around, and it’s really pretty.
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Christmas decorations are out everywhere, and they’re beautiful.

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The girls begged for their picture in front of this statue, and Tiny was posing like a crazy person.

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Random cool picture from a temple. A candle is 50 yen (approx. 50 cents). I don’t know for sure, but I think they’re similar to Catholic prayer candles.

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A cool shot of the inside of the National Art Center.

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I think that’s all I’ve got.