Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A little vacation time

Waving Good-bye
Originally uploaded by esmereldes
Hi everyone! I know it has been ages once again, but it is just so hard to find time to blog when I am so very busy! My job at the cake shop has just been taking up all my time and energy lately, but Greta has just come back from her trip overseas, and I'm going to go back to part-time at the shop. Which is good! Classes are starting up again! (So maybe I won't be any less busy, but I am hoping so!)

I did get to have some fun on my summer vacation tho - I went with Yuiko and Falada on a little trip to DC, Virginia and NYC. We took the train, so it was easy to make a couple of stops. That first picture is of me waving good-bye to everyone at the station. Falada used to own a horse, but she had to give it away to her friend when she went away to boarding school. She's been pretty sad about it, but I think Yuiko is hoping she can find somewhere for her sister to ride here in the States. It turns out that Falada's old riding instructor ended up moving to the States too (unfortunately not to Boston tho) just recently, and he invited Falada to come and visit. He also let Falada ride one of his horses in the horse show he was participating in while we were down there.

Falada was thrilled, but she looks really nervous in this photo because it is just before she was due to go in the ring...

Almost Time!

Falada did really well! She got a second place! :)

Yuiko, of course, went down with her sister as a chaperone. I just tagged along to do some sighseeing. Here's a photo of me at the botanical gardens in DC:

Atsuko Again

It was a short trip, so I didn't have time to see a lot of sights, but it was sure nice to be away from work for a while! After all of that, we stopped in NYC for some shopping on our way back. Here's me in Times Square:

365 Toy Project: A Pullip in Times Square

It was so crowded! But it was really fun! We bought lots of cool stuff. I can't wait to go again! I better not go too often tho, or I'll just burn through all the money I make at the cake shop that way... ^^;

Anyway, if you'd like to see more of our trip, you can look here!

I hope I can post a blog entry again soon, but I think I may be busy for the next week or two helping Greta prepare for some big sale event she has planned for her return to the cake shop. She won't tell me what it is, she just keeps laughing every time I mention it. To tell you the truth, I'm more than a little scared! ^^;;

Monday, July 28, 2008


365 Toy Project: Sisters
Originally uploaded by esmereldes
Hi, I'm Falada. I asked Atsuko if I could write the introduction for my sister and I. I wanted everyone to know what a brave person my sister is, and I know she will never tell anyone this on her own. Also, I want to be an author when I grow up, and they always tell you in writing classes that you should write about what you know. So I am writing to you about my sister's life, and thus a bit about my life too. Like any good story, it begins "Once upon a time" and ends with "They live Happily Ever After", but lots of things happen in between...

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful woman. She was so beautiful that no one was surprised when the Prince, soon to be crowned as King, proposed to her and brought her back to the castle. They lived together, seemingly happily, for several years, and had together two lovely girls. But even though most of the Kingdom loved to see their beautiful royal family together, among those close to the castle there was uneasiness and the faintest whisper of unpleasantness. The Queen was not as kind as she was beautiful. The King was perhaps strange in ways that Royal Eccentricity didn't entirely excuse. Still, no one could put their finger on any serious complaints and they ruled the Kingdom and upheld the laws in ways that everyone found satisfactory. And if people were maybe not as sure as they'd like to be of the King and Queen, no one had any complaints whatsoever about the Princesses. The eldest looked as tho she would be as beautiful as her mother someday. And if she was a bit more serious and quiet than necessary, she was also intelligent and as kind as people secretly hoped that the Queen would be. Her younger sister was a charming little girl that everyone loved to spoil. But she didn't become selfish with it, she just kept trying to assert her independence in ways that everyone agreed was really very cute. Her older sister clearly adored her, and had a protective attitude that everyone found very touching, even if they - perhaps deliberately - never wondered what she would ever have to protect her from.

The younger daughter, Falada, was born on a day and at an hour considered extremely lucky by those in the Kingdom, and so by tradition she was considered to bring luck to anyone around her. As such, the King kept her near during any negotiations important to the Kingdom. Her sister, Yuiko, of course also attended all such ceremonies, since, as the eldest child, she could be expected to be either the Heir or the wife of a King in another Kingdom. It was perhaps this fact that made the two girls more serious than most other children their age. People in the Kingdom became accustomed to the two girls attending all serious affairs of state, and were made very uneasy if Falada wasn't there to bring luck and Yuiko wasn't there as a symbol of the continuity of the Kingdom. The Queen never received quite as much attention, and perhaps some of that explained why when she became ill, she seemed almost to enjoy being the center of attention - for a time. In the beginning, she had all kinds of people attending her and cossetting her. Famous artists came in to paint her picture. One, done by a very famous artist, was a particular favorite of hers and she had it hung prominently in the front halls of the castle. However, as her sickness wore on and began to have a toll on her appearance, she shut everyone out more and more, as the Queen was rather vain. And when she finally passed away, everyone was genuinely sad, and the King was very public in his display of grief. Over time, as the royal family mourned and everyone gazed upon the beautiful woman in the portrait, it was gradually forgotten that the Queen was vain, and more than a bit unkind, and that she had made the King make her a very strange promise.

Before she passed on, the Queen told the King that he could not re-marry unless he found someone who was as beautiful as she. As time passed, people gradually forgot the strangeness of this request and began to take it as common sense - for looking at the beautiful portrait of the beautiful Queen, it seemed only right that the King could only re-marry someone as beautiful as her. And as Yuiko grew older and took after her mother more and more - physically at least - people meant it only as a compliment when they told her how much she resembled her mother. If it seemed Yuiko wasn't entirely pleased by the comparisons, no one noticed.

As Yuiko grew into a young woman, people began to speculate as to who she might marry. For, unless the king remarried soon, it was likely that her husband would rule the Kingdom eventually. Some people pressured the King to re-marry immediately. Others lobbied for various suitors for Yuiko. Yuiko just looked more and more uncomfortable, while the King grew to have a stranger and stranger look in his eyes when he looked toward Yuiko. Even still, it came as a shock to just about everyone when the King announced that he would re-marry and Yuiko would marry. But what he said next was more shocking still, as he announced that there would be only one wedding between the two of them, as he intended to marry Yuiko! Who else could be found that was as beautiful as his first wife? And who else could be more worthy of his beautiful daughter? The more obsequious of the ministers immediately agreed. The rest found themselves somehow swiftly banished to posts in far away areas.

Poor Yuiko didn't know what to do. When she protested the plan to her father, he merely remarked that Falada was growing up to be a beautiful young woman as well. At this Yuiko grew pale, and never seemed to quite recover her coloring again in all the days that followed. However, Yuiko was clever and Yuiko was brave. So the very next week, Yuiko said she would agree to the marriage on 3 conditions. Yuiko’s father said it didn’t really matter if she agreed or not, but he was generous and he was willing to indulge her. In reality, he was more than a little impressed with his own power, and Yuiko’s requests were entirely designed to appeal to his ego. For her first request, Yuiko said, “Father, I would like to be married in a dress made of Sunlight, that I might show the Kingdom that, like my mother was, I am more beautiful than the sun.” To this request, the King swiftly agreed, thinking that as any girl, all it took to buy her obedience was a few pretty things. This foolish thought was swiftly confirmed by Yuiko’s second request, “Father,” she said, “for my second request, I would like diamond jewelry that will make me sparkle and shine in the night even more brilliantly than then the stars so that the whole of the night sky will know of our Kingdom’s wealth, and of your generosity to your bride.” And her father swiftly agreed. Then Yuiko moved on to her third request, the only one she truly cared about: “Surely, father,” she said, “with a King as clever as you, and a Queen who has inherited a share of that intelligence directly from you, we don’t need anything as trivial as luck. Let us send Falada away to boarding school in a neighboring Kingdom. That way I will not be distracted from attending to you or to the Kingdom, and perhaps Falada will meet someone as a match that will bring further power to our Kingdom.” The King agreed. And the tiniest bit of color crept back into Yuiko’s face, which her father mistook for excitement about the upcoming wedding.

Immediately Yuiko went to explain her plan to Falada. Falada would go to the boarding school as swiftly as possible, but along the way she would switch places with her serving maid. The maid looked enough like her that the people at the school who, after all, had never seen Falada in person, would believe it was her. And the serving maid would go along with it because she was am ambitious person. In point of fact, Falada had never liked her much, but that is another story for another time, as is Falada’s journey to the school. What is necessary to know for this story is that Falada successfully slipped away and hid herself as a goose girl.

Once she knew her sister to be safe, Yuiko quickly exchanged the largest and most beautiful of her diamonds for cash and promptly ran away. The King was incredibly angry, and did not acquit himself well in this disappointment. He searched everywhere for Yuiko, and then for Falada when he did not find Yuiko. However, neither of his children were to be found anywhere. And he made so many foolish decisions, and spent so much of the Kingdom’s coffers in the search, that even the most loyal of his ministers soon found it was to their benefit to curry favor with other power. Yuiko and Falada's father was eventually deposed, and had to spend the rest of his life in the castle’s tower. He lived well enough, tho not in a way that made him at all happy.

Rule of the Kingdom passed to a distant cousin of Yuiko’s, who was as kind as Yuiko’s parents were not. He swiftly found that he did not need luck either, because sound judgement and compassion were more than enough to rule a Kingdom well. Seeing this, Yuiko had no desire to go back to her father’s lands, and instead she collected Falada and the two girls came to the US where they hoped to meet many new friends and live Happily Ever After. The end.

p.s. I hope you don't think the bit about me being 'charming' is too much, Atsuko wrote that bit for me. She said I wasn't even really in my own story. I don't know if what she wrote about me is true or not, but I guess I wouldn't mind if it was. It's true everyone tried to spoil me, but I don't want to seem spoiled. I think I can be that way tho, I think maybe Atsuko was too kind... ^^;

Sorry I've been gone so long!

Hi everyone! Do you still remember me? ^^; I know, I know, it's been absolutely ages since I last wrote and I never even finished introducing everyone!!

School finished up for the summer, and the manager of the bakery I work at left me in charge for the summer! o.o She went off to France and Japan to further perfect her baking skills. I think she has some relatives over there she is visiting as well. It's been very stressful running the bakery in her absense because this is the first time I have ever tried to handle running the business side of things there. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think Manager-san is a little flakey. I've had my work cut out for me to figure out what is going on! And she is so hard to get ahold of! I get a random email from her every great once in a while informing me of what she is up to, and perhaps - if I am lucky - answering a question or two. So I found out that she thinks she has perfected her macaron technique (which is, actually, quite exciting! Yum!), but she didn't manage to tell me where we usually buy our candied apricots from. That sort of thing. I think I may actually have made some improvements while she was gone, to be honest!

But don't get me wrong, Manager-san is actually a wonderful woman and I'm really greatful for this opportunity - it's been great experience and (let's be honest) I could really use the money! ^^;

Smilla has been helping out too - she's filling in for some of the cooking that Greta usually does. Smilla is actually a wonderful cook, I think she could easily do this professionally! We have decided to have a special event coming up before Greta comes back. Watch for it! It will be fun!

There's also been a lot of activity back at the house. Yuiko's sister has arrived! We were all very surprised. Yuiko keeps to herself so much, we had no idea she was coming! But it's lovely to have her here, Yuiko seems so much happier. And Falada has filled me in on a lot of the details of our mysterious roommate's life. She's had a terribly tough time, it's no wonder she has always seemed a bit sad. Rather than tell you the story myself, however, Falada has agreed to write it here for you all. If it were just a story, I feel like I wouldn't even want Falada to read it, but since it is her life, I guess it is only fair to let her tell it if she wants to...

We also had a very strange girl move in next door to us. Yuiko seems to know her as well, although she says she doesn't *really* know her. I guess they travelled to the US together, but when they arrived, Angharad - that's her name - promptly disappeared, only to suddenly reappear next door! I honestly don't know what to make of her. She has green hair and cat ears! She also claims to be a pirate. o.O But even still, she's very friendly and bubbly and kind of fun to be around. I hope to get to know more about her soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh my! I've let a whole week pass once again without putting up any updates! For someone who spends as much time with their laptop as I do, you would honestly think that I would be better about posting. But there are always so many interesting forums and blogs that I have to keep up with, sometimes I just don't get around to keeping up my own! Plus, as I mentioned, I had been feeling a bit under the weather for a while there...

Anyway, here's some gossip! ~.^

As I may not have mentioned, I work at a cute little cake shop. It was sort of lame and corporate at first, but luckily the manager was lucky enough to buy out the location and open up her own shop! It's so much nicer now, and I really love to work there! The hours are very flexible, which is perfect for me, since - as a student - my schedule is not always as steady as I would like it to be.

First Day on the Job
A picture of me before the shop was remodelled...

The fact that the shop is independently owned means also that Janet is able to fill in shifts without having to keep a schedule at all. So when I got sick, Janet took over my shifts for me.

I will have to give you a better introduction to Janet soon, but as I believe I mentioned back in my first or second post, Janet and her boyfriend Tam are good friends with Wulf. Poor Wulf is still a bit shy around Enna and I! I suspect it makes him a bit nervous to know that as close friends of Smilla's, we might have some influence over his fortunes with her. He needn't worry tho, honestly! We're all rooting for him! Some days it is tempting to just be direct and tell Smilla that *clearly* Wulf is in love with her, but they are both so sweet and innocent that I can
never quite go through with it. So we're left with just hinting and subtle pushes.

Janet was the most recent of us to take a stab at getting them together - when she found out that she was filling in at the cake shop, she insisted that Wulf come and visit her. She also *strongly suggested* that he ask Smilla to come along. Of course Tam was there to visit Janet too, and Tam brought along his camera. Tam's not a bad photographer, even if his subject matter usually tends to be limited to one topic: Janet. :P

Cake Shop

At any rate, Janet says Tam told her that Wulf agonized for quite some time about how to ask Smilla to come and what he should say. The funny thing is that he doesn't really need to worry so - I don't think Smilla would ever refuse to go anywhere with him! She's a bit dense in the romance department, but she clearly loves to spend time with Wulf. It's just so hard to tell if she really sees him as anything more than a friend. I don't know quite what Wulf said to ask her to go with him, but talking to Smilla later, I don't think she did realize it was meant to be a date... ^^;
Still, how could she not?! She said Wulf even bought her cake for her! I guess maybe bringing her to a place that your friends are at might still seem too casual... Wulf needs to be a little bit more direct! Or, better yet, he should just tell her how he feels! But I think he is still too shy... Ganbatte, Wulf-kun!

365 Toy Project: A Date?

Tam did stealthily snap this picture of Wulf and Smilla together at the cake shop. Don't they look cute?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Here's what happened two weeks ago on Earth Day... Janet was trying to give Mimi a lesson of some sort, to fulfill her promise to Mimi's parents. She thought, since Earth Day was a beautiful spring day, it was a good day to do some work on her gardening. She figured it was a good opportunity to teach Mimi about what plants were native, and which were not, and what an invasive plant is, and maybe some basic principles of composting and some of the science of getting a garden to grow nicely...
Besides which, gardening was, after all, a nice princess-like activity besides. (Although Janet herself likes it *in spite of* rather than *because of* this fact!)

Earth Day 1

Unfortunately Mimi wasn't having any of it, and could not have been less interested. I heard her muttering about how she had no interest in some *tame* garden, when she could be out exploring the wilderness! And, furthermore, if there were any frogs, she was soooo NOT kissing them, and someone else was gonna have to, 'cause she'd done her part with that... XD

Earth Day 2

So Leda decided to tell her some basic information about the environment. Mimi was horrified. She never pays attention in school and didn't realize there were so many things to worry about!

Earth Day 3

Since she is a Princess, Mimi called home *immediately* to convince her parents that their Kingdom needed a recycling program. She was relieved to hear that they already got a substantial amount of their energy needs from wind power. (Being a small and well-hidden Kingdom, they really don't have much choice but to be self-reliant. Still, I think Mimi's dad actually has an interest in alternative energy... He was off attending a conference on solar panels not too long ago, Janet said...)

Earth Day 4

Meanwhile, Smilla and Wulf were cleaning up trash from a local park. It was Wulf's idea. I don't know if I can believe it, but I think his idea was to get some time off alone with Smilla... ~.^ Still, I'm not sure if anything happened...

Earth Day 5

At any rate, Mimi's parents were so pleased to see Mimi taking an interest in running the Kingdom that they wanted to talk to Janet to congratulate her for doing a good job with Mimi's "diplomacy and deportment" lessons. (Here Mimi is looking horrified to have discovered that she learned something her parents approved of... XD)

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Originally uploaded by esmereldes
Hi there!!! I have to apologize to my readers, if I have any, for being gone for so long. It's been so beautiful here that all I wanted to do was sit outside in the sun! But then the weather went back suddenly to being cold and grey and I caught a bit of a cold. I had to have Janet fill in for me at the cake shop I work at. But never fear! I do have more to fill you in on, and Janet even says Tam took some photos at the cake shop, so I can post those soon. I think he has some from Earth Day too, so maybe he won't mind if I post those as well...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Leda, Smilla and Wulf

Sunny Day...
Originally uploaded by esmereldes
Oops, sorry it's been a bit of time since I posted last! Spring weather has finally arrived, and it's hard not to spend all my time outside!

I wanted to keep going with my introductions though, so I could maybe start getting to some more current news! I think next I should introduce you to Smilla, Wulf and Leda. They were the first of us to arrive here, so I feel like, by rights, their intro should've come first!

Smilla's Birthday 1

This is Smilla. She's a cheerful and helpful girl that loves to cook and always tries to take care of people. She is here studying biology, which seems strange sometimes for many reasons - she doesn't strike you as someone who is going to be a scientist! She gets amazing grades, so you know she is very smart, but... well, sometimes in person she seems pretty ditzy!

Like me, Smilla is not a princess. She came from an ordinary family in Germany. Well, mostly ordinary. The one thing that was strange was Leda. Although neither Smilla or Leda have said much, Wulf says (since Wulf is also from the same area, at least sort of...) that the people in Smilla's village didn't like Leda very much. Smilla's parents were well-liked, and no one could really dislike Smilla, she's too cute! They called her "Little Red-Riding Hood" there because she was always wearing red, and had a red hooded cape she often wore when she was doing errands.


The villagers thought Leda was strange, and perhaps a bit rude. I feel unkindly towards the villagers for thinking so, since Leda is great! But if I'm being fair, I guess I could admit that Leda is sometimes a bit difficult... She's kind of abrasive and seems to like causing little bits of trouble...

This Is Me

This is Leda, looking maybe a little more demure than usual...

Smilla sometimes calls Leda grandma, but I think that is a joke, since Leda does not look old enough to be Smilla's grandma. As I think I said earlier, I'm not sure if they are actually related or not, but Leda definitely tries to look out for Smilla.

Another thing that was probably a big strike against Leda - she's a biologist and she was studying the wolves that lived in the forests near Smilla's village. She lived off on her own and since the villagers didn't really like the wolves, I think a lot of suspicion rubbed off onto Leda. I guess they thought of her as a witch! Leda said this one time jokingly. I was immediately interested, but she didn't seem to want to talk about it. You would think with my experience I could tell if someone was or wasn't a witch, but it's honestly not always easy to know... I haven't seen her do any magic yet, so I guess it remains a mystery for now...

Rock Star Leda

Smilla loved to go to Leda's house and learn about the wolves. Smilla's parents weren't so excited about Smilla spending all that time with Leda, or, I guess more importantly, with the wolves. They thought it was dangerous. And, apparently, their worst fears were confirmed when Leda was injured by one of the wolves! She had some nasty scarring on her back when one of the young wolves got too rough with her. See, generally Leda just observed the wolves, but one day she came across a young wolf with a broken leg. As a researcher, she isn't supposed to interfere, but this wolf was not part of the pack she was studying, and there was something strange about it. So despite misgivings, she took it in and helped it heal. It became something of a pet. Smilla loved it, the way any kid probably loves a pet dog and they became fast friends. But I guess it didn't know its own strength, and that's how Smilla got hurt so badly playing with it. Or, I think anyway. No one seems to like to talk about it.

Smilla wasn't angry at all about the injury, but I think it made her shy about her appearance... It didn't seem to make her lose interest in Leda or the wolves at all, either. Her parents stepped up their efforts to get her to stay away from Leda, but Smilla proved surprisingly disobedient and kept going back anyway!

Not too long after all this happened, Smilla was old enough to go to college, and her parents were all too glad to send her to Boston when she said that's where she wanted to go to school. No wolves there, they figured! I bet they are kicking themselves now, however, since Leda unexpectedly got a teaching fellowship here and came too. I'm sure this was no accident, but they both claim it was coincidence...

Leda brought along the wolf that injured Smilla. She says it is not advisable to do something like this, but she was afraid to leave it there on its own. It never was accepted by the pack, and the villagers were less forgiving than Smilla, so no one else would've ever taken it in. You'd never know it wasn't Smilla's wolf tho, as whenever she is around, it sticks to her like glue.

LRRH & the Wolf

I didn't really mention much about Wulf yet. He is very shy, but very devoted to Smilla. They seem to be childhood friends from back in the village. He clearly has a huge crush on her, but I am not sure if Smilla has figured it out yet! I think she might like him back, but... she can be sort of a lost cause when it comes to romance! I suspect he followed her here too, although this also is supposed to be "coincidence". Smilla seems to attract a lot of those, doesn't she? ~.^

Thanks elfinity!

Wulf doesn't talk much about himself, so I don't know too much about his family yet. Leda hasn't talked a whole lot about her family either, she mostly manages to just talk about work. But I do know she has a lot of brothers. I hope to meet some of them someday!!