Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy boy ... Happy Grandma

This past week, the rainbow quilt reached Oregon and its new owner. Ben can now take the baby quilt off his bed and use his "Big Boy" quilt. I was so happy it had reached him safely as a former package had been returned to us as un-deliverable with the box empty. We have also had packages arrive that had been opened for inspection with box cutters which ruined the contents. This time I probably over-wrapped the box and sent it with a tracer. Unlike Japan, if you are not home to receive the package, you will have to go and pick it up within time limits unknown.
Attached to Ben's wonderful note was this picture I don't think he will mind sharing. Does he look happy? His sunny smile is catching.

We have been having rainy weather this week and it is getting colder.

I have pulled my down sleeping bag out of storage for colder nights. It is hard to believe how hot is was just a few weeks ago

The Toad Lilies are in bloom. Called "Hototogisu" in Japanese, the name of a bird, I think they are so beautiful.

When we lived in Suginami-ku, there was a house I passed on the back streets from the station to home. Every year I admired rows of these lilies along the front of the house.

Then one day, the house was being torn down and once the debris was removed, bulldozers  arrived and the lot was being turned into a parking lot.

Well, I just couldn't picture those lily bulbs covered with asphalt, so I went home and got a small shovel and a bag and dug at the place I had seen them growing. Sure enough, they were resting there un-knowing and I removed as many as I could locate. Some went home with my daughter and the rest were planted at the garden there.

When we moved back to Nerima, I remembered those bulbs.

The garden here is very small and has very little sun, as there is a wall and a three-story house to the South ... about a meter away.

I left most of the bulbs in the sunny garden but brought a small planter full, hoping they would survive here.

They do grow wild along the forest edges and they don't seem to mind the shortage of direct sun outside my garden door.

Aren't they charming?
I'm so glad they are not sitting under pavement in a parking lot.

Overlooking the lilies is this wonderful staghorn-fern.

The wife of a good friend died a few months ago.

She had been an avid plant collector and her husband had no idea how to care for her very large collection of exotic plants.

A few weeks ago, some of them came to Tokyo and after looking them over, ended up with a small collection of my own.

Right now this big fellow is hanging from my clothes poles. As it gets colder, I will have to rig a place to hand it in my little greenhouse. I do have one sitting in a bowl of rocks which once belonged to my #4 daughter. That one has fewer but larger horns. This one will have to be hung as there are appendages coming out in all directions.

Most of the other plants were exotic succulents from South Africa. I have quite a collection myself as those are the only plants that don't die from the heat of summer or the cold in winter (or the neglect while I am away).
I think my old cacti have perked up with the new members added to the family. Maybe they are practicing Afrikaans or teaching a bit of Espanol or English. One thing for certain, I will have to stop collecting, as there is hardly room to hang my laundry.

The Christmas tree skirt has been on hold waiting for promised snowflake patterns.

I have decided to wait no longer and need to get this finished and in the mail. If I hadn't waited, it would have been done long enough ago to be in the box with Ben's quilt.

I still have a door hanging to start and I really will do anything not to be caught in a deadline.

Tomorrow is a big family day as Leia will be all decked out in a beautiful kimono for "Shichi-go-san", the festival where boys and girls of the ages three, five, and seven go to visit the local shrines.

It will mean dressing up and taking pictures and eating a fancy meal. I hope it will stop raining. My rain shoes are anything but dressy and today someone took my umbrella!

In Tokyo there are two choices on a rainy day. One is that some stores have a dispencer of long plastic bags ... you take one and insert your dripping umbrella into the bag, disposing of it as you leave. (something that seems rather wasteful to me) But that is the usual system when you enter a store or building with many exits.
The other plan is an umbrella rack near the door. I have one at my house, the church has one at each door, the school has one on each floor outside the elevator, etc. Today I went out and left my umbrella in a rack at the clinic. It is easy to identify because it has a loop at the end of the handle. When I first got it I hung a tiny macrame bag containing a turquoise rock from the loop. Someone must have liked the idea because the bag and rock was removed ... not an easy thing to do unless it was cut off. So... I replaced it with a cute hanging owl charm. I thought the owl would be able to guard the umbrella better (more eyes than a rock) and certainly someone pulling it out of the stand would notice they had the wrong umbrella. I guess it didn't work. I came home in the rain and embroidered FUKUDA on all my remaining umbrellas. I hope I will not have to use one tomorrow.

I hope you all have a great weekend and it doesn't rain on your parade either.


  1. Touch wood, I've never lost an umbrella, but once I had to prise open the lock on the umbrella stand to get the brolly out.
    What a wonderful quilt for Ben, I can understand how pleased he must be!
    Let's hope the rain holds up tomorrow for Leiya's big day. She will look lovely!

  2. he looks so happy with his new quilt .. worth all the effort to make and get it there .. it does make me appreciate Royal Mail x It seems your umbrella was just TOO attractive .. hope it will be well cared for in its "new" home x

  3. That is a happy boy! Some of my folding umbrellas come with a sleeve. I keep the sleeve with me, so that I can put the wet umbrella in it, if necessary. The sleeve's dry quickly.

  4. Oh the quilt is fabulous. What a handsome young fellow your Ben is. Love the fern - and of course can't wait to see the finished snowflake project. We don't use umbrellas very much here in rainy NW Washington state. They say you can always tell a tourist or a newcomer because they carry an umbrella. We are so used to the rain that we don't bother with umbrellas - sometimes a hood - or even a knit hat - but no umbrellas -makes it easier too, to not have to worry about them. Hope yours stay with you instead of going missing.

  5. Oh! Ben looks positively delighted with his rainbow quilt. Lucky boy! I like the flowers you saved. Lovely. Sad about your umbrella. It has been raining often in our piece of Texas too. Today was a drizzle all day long.

  6. I remember having lots of umbrellas in Japan. Every time we went to the 100 yen store, we picked up more. With losing them and kids breaking them, I just couldn't spend anymore money on umbrellas. I love the quilt. It is so colorful and fun!! I'm hoping now that summer is over and all the canning is finally done, I can start quilting again. I just finally updated my blog; good grief, its been a year since I posted! ah!

    1. My husband has brought home so many of those 100 yen umbrellas and they hardly last beyond the second use. After a windy day you can see piles of dead ones along the streets.
      It is good to have you back. One day those kids will be all grown up and you will have lots of time for quilting and blogging.

  7. I am glad to hear your beautiful quilt arrived safely. On the other hand, sad to hear your umbrella went missing.
    I never heard of Hototogisu before and it's so beautiful! You are very wise to keep them alive for long!

  8. Your Ben sure looks handsome and happy with his quilt. Your investment in the Toad Lilies' future has paid off;). So interestingly beautiful. Ahhhhh umbrellas. We rarely use umbrellas here but when we do need one, I sure appreciate the high quality Japanese umbrellas we brought back in our sea shipment! They open so smoothly and they are so strong compared with most umbrellas made here.

  9. How lovely to see Ben and his quilt together. He does look very pleased.
    The plants are looking good and good luck finding room in side for the fern.
    The umbrellas missing is quite a strange mystery. I hope no more disappear.

  10. Beautiful Quilt and a handsome grandson.