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The Golden Hour

Just before sunset today, I took my camera and went for a walk down to St. Joseph’s Lake, and was promptly attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes.  I thought I was being smart by wearing long sleeves and long pants, but apparently the bugs are wylier than I’d imagined: in the course of about 5 minutes my hands were bitten 11 times, and the bites had started to swell somewhat alarmingly.  Most of them have gone down somewhat by now, since I applied some toothpaste (which, btw, is a fairly decent home remedy) as soon as I got back, but my left pointer finger is still a funny shape, and I’m itching away as I type (must not scratch…must not scratch…)

On the flip side, I got some really nice shots and was able to somewhat successfully practice adjusting shutter speed and aperture width (which I’ve been learning about recently).  I found that I had to do very minimal post-processing afterwards (mainly just tweaking contrast, saturation, and color balance).  On some photos, I even managed to get my exact, desired exposure while shooting and didn’t have to do any pp’ing at all.  I was quite proud of myself.  So I suppose the mosquitoes were worth it!

Here are a few of my favorites:

And – just for kicks – a favorite shot from a party I went to this weekend (the hostess has the most beautifully decorated apartment…)

I’ve posted more pictures of my lake walk on picasa.

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My seventh grade geography teacher used to set aside certain Fridays during each marking period as “ketchup days” (intentionally spelled that way), during which we could “catch up” on classwork.

I thought “ketchup” was appropriate for the title of this post, as it’s really a backlog of bento, with a few other pictures of food mixed in. Buckle in your seatbelt if you have a slow connection…we’re going for a bit of a ride! (To reduce loading time, I’m going to split this into more than one post. Watch for another of these ketchup posts soon).

Notre Dame Bento (made for the plane ride to ND – 3/26 or 27?):
Main container: egg salad sandwiches, peppermint tea for my tummy (i get airsick), individually-packaged walnut cookie (in foil packet), spicy pumpkin seeds (in orange packet with spots), mini custard, ginger candy, clementine. Sidecar: Diced honeydew melon.

3/29 (I cooked dinner for myself one night while I was at home for Spring Break because my parents were out with guests and I was tired from my flight back from South Bend):

From top, clockwise: Slices of leftover lamb, a red French rice whose name I can’t remember (my grandparents received a package as a gift and didn’t like it – but I absolutely loved it for its texture and nuttiness, so I helped them make a dip into it) seasoned with butter and salt and pepper, a spiced-up variation on apples n’onions “hash” (carrots, apples, shallots, slices of leftover baked potato, fried together and seasoned with thyme, cilantro, lemon juice, and some apple juice and raw sugar). I was quite proud of this dinner – it was very very yummy and when my parents came home, the house smelled so good, apparently, that my Dad (who normally won’t eat anything I’ve cooked since he’s such a good cook himself and he’s almost as picky about quality of food as me) asked me how to make it…


And this was my bedtime snack – chamomile tea with lemon (I added milk and sugar to it after I took the picture), and two digestive biscuits. Mmmm.

3/31 (for the flight back to California):

Main container: lox and cream cheese sandwiches, mixed-rice onigiri (with leftover boiled mustard greens as filling), cherry tomatoes, ginger candy, mini-custard, spiced pumpkin seeds (hidden beneath the other food), peppermint tea (tucked in with the napkin); Sidecar: tropical fruit salad (fresh papaya mixed with canned pineapple and juice). Not pictured: Apple (see photo at the top of this post).

That’s it for now. Part II will have three bentos that I’ve made since the beginning of the quarter (there were actually more, but I didn’t have a camera lens for about three weeks, and my phone’s camera really didn’t do anything justice, so those poor bentos in the middle just didn’t get documented).

– s.

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Oops.

I just realized that I’ve been posting on EST (probably because when I first set up the blog I was at home).

Oops.  Sorry about that.  The timestamps of my past posts can’t be fixed, but future timestamps will be correct).

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Sobering news.

The student body of the current senior class at my high school experienced two losses due to fatal car accidents in the last week.  Two students died.  A third student is in critical condition and might lose a limb.  Also, earlier this month, someone on the school’s staff passed away.  What a heavy load to hit this group of young people in such a short period of time.  And just before Christmas, too.

I don’t know anybody in the high school anymore (it’s been four years since I graduated), but it was nevertheless very sad to hear about all this when I came home on Saturday. 

My heart goes out in prayer to the families, and also to the students who survived, and their classmates, and to the teachers, who will be shouldering the task of helping to guide everyone through this period of darkness. 

The one thought that keeps going around in conversation is, “Graduation will be very heavy this year.” 

Indeed. 

– s.

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