Mary Anne Mohanraj


November 24 -- 2:31 PM

Writing day. Had lunch with Valya, Mary Robinette, Julie, Kat, and new writer friend Amanda, with wine and curry and sweets and fruit and good conversation. Now writing with tea. Tippy-tippy-typing away. One scene down; should be able to squeeze out one more before Kavya comes home from school.

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November 24 -- 8:07 AM

I have friends coming for writing and lunch today, so I ought to be cooking. But the weather is mild now, and will be dropping rapidly over the course of the day -- I have about a two hour window before it gets chilly out. So I'm going to delay cooking so I can both finish packing up the dahlias and yes, get a few more bulbs in the ground. I know, it's ridiculously late to be planting bulbs, but hey, if I have one more warm hour to squeeze in a few more, you know I'll be happy for it in spring. Going to try anemones, which I haven't planted before; we'll see how they go!

I know -- Smith and Hawken make beautifully-designed (and functional) garden objects. They're only in Target stores right now, I think, but if the economy improves, maybe they'll get to open their stores again.

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November 23 -- 7:48 PM

Whomever scheduled NaNoWriMo
was not a mother. Probably not a woman
at all. If you’re going to write a novel
in a month, November may be the worst
month to try it in. Sandwiched between
costume-candy frenzy and cookie-baking-
present-giving-home-decorating extravaganza
(that at least comes with a week or two
of vacation, for most of us), November is,
if not the cruelest month, the most harried.
The pressure to make memories warmer,
ideally, than those of your childhood, rises up
and smothers what is left of your brain
in recipes, lists, and anxiety that something
crucial will be forgotten; your children
will never forgive you. Forever a gaping
hole will wait in the pit of their soul where
cornbread stuffing and gravy should live.
And if you are the one who hosts the
meals, who fills the house with laughter
and arguments and togetherness, then
you are the one who has filled at least a
work-week of hours with the planning
and the shopping and the chopping
and the stewing. You don't want thanks
exactly. You do this so you, and they,
will enjoy themselves, and if they really
thought about the labor involved, they
might fret about that instead, which would
ruin the whole endeavor. All I'm saying is,
November is not a month for novels,
unless what you're actually saying is
mothers should just stick to poetry.

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November 23 -- 5:01 PM

Mischief, managed!

Actually, turkey ordered, chairs and serveware arranged. I haven't actually thought about the menu yet at all!

I feel like a landscaper -- okay, folks, the hardscape is down. Now we get to start thinking about the backbone of the meal, the shrubs.

I guess appetizers are annuals in this metaphor. And liquor is perennial?

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November 21 -- 4:39 PM

Kat and I stepped into a consignment store briefly, to look for a piece of furniture she needed, and I walked out with china. It's a curse, I tell you.

But in my defense, the pieces were utterly delightful, and are valued at something like four times what I paid for them, and they will get plenty of use at my tea parties. I found a tray, creamer, sugar bowl, and coffeepot, all for about $30 together, and it looks like the individual pieces sell for more like $30 each. (I am not normally an antique-hunter, but I can see how people get the bug.) The coffeepot is missing a lid, but I will use it for my tea parties anyway. The tea doesn't really sit around long enough to get cold.

Mostly, I'm just delighted with the pieces -- fantastical hot air balloons and flowers, in whimsical colors -- particularly funny since I'm planning to paint something similar in the children's playroom (with stencils, fewer colors, and decidedly less skill). I wouldn't call it steampunk, but there ought to be a name for this style. Steamgarden? Hmm...

The line is Villeroy & Boch, Le Ballon, and apparently was discontinued years ago. I don't love all the pieces in the line, but I may try to hunt up the pickle dish, which is also delightful.

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