sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 18, 2014

(not) yarning along
posted by soe 3:13 am

I’m in a funk and find myself unwilling or unable or unmotivated to pick up the needles and finish the thumb gusset portion of the fingerless mitt you saw a couple weeks ago. It looks not especially different from that shot, except that I tinked back to where I should have started the gusset increases when I was knitting on it last year and have knit that ripped yarn back up.

Usually when I hit this point in a project it means I ought to be working on something else, but a) I don’t especially want to work on anything else and b) I wanted these gloves done this year so I could wear them for the Christmas season, which now measures three more weeks. So I should just suck it up, buckle down, and finish them. We’ll see how that goes…

(Not) Yarning Along

The good news is that I have not suffered from similar problems with my reading. Yes, it’s slowed down some from the pace I had earlier this fall, but I’m still on pace to surpass my goal of reading 60 books this year.

Delancey (my apologies for the incorrectly focused shot) was written by Molly Wizenberg, who writes the cooking blog Orangette and co-hosts the food podcast Spilled Milk. I don’t remember how I stumbled across her blog, but I follow a handful of food writers and she is one of them. She has a light style that I appreciate, and when she and fellow food writer Matthew Amster-Burton decided to talk about food in an audio format, Rudi and I took to it right away, enjoying their humor and their willingness to visit any subject, from less common apple varieties to the junk food of the 1980s. I did not read Molly’s first book, but Delancey is a) about opening a pizza restaurant and b) has appeared on several best-of lists, so I figured I’d give it a shot. It seemed particularly timely since Rudi is currently trying to figure out what his career dreams look like from here in our 40s and how to get himself on the pathway to achieve them. I’m hoping that seeing how another couple worked through it will prove enlightening, at the very least, if not helpful.

Not yarning along with Ginny.

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December 17, 2014

the play’s the thing
posted by soe 2:46 am

While I have hopes in the final two weeks of the year of sharing some of the things I’ve been reading in 2014, I thought it was time to start planning for next year. I know I’ve been woefully bad at blogging books since I did that stint of judging the Cybils two years ago, really, and I’d like to get back to writing about what I’m reading again.

I’d also like to broaden my reading a bit and so am planning to join a few reading challenges/readalongs in 2015 in addition to my annual participation in Carl’s Once Upon a Time challenge.

First up is Play On, hosted by Half-Filled Attic. This challenge asks participants to read a play a month for the first four months of the year, divvying them up by era: ancients, Renaissance, post-Renaissance, and a freebie of your choosing.

This seems reasonable and jibes with my desires to read more non-novels, to read more classics, and to read a Shakespeare play a year. I may be looking for some suggestions as we get closer.

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December 16, 2014

music on monday: silent night
posted by soe 12:55 am

A child of the ’80s, I can’t help but be a fan of John Denver and the Muppets:

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December 15, 2014

mid-december weekending
posted by soe 2:47 am

As you may have seen, I had an ambitious weekend filled with holiday activities planned for Rudi’s absence.

It didn’t go according to plan.

I mean, I still got things done.

I hit three holiday markets/craft fairs — the DC Women’s Business Center Holiday Bazaar, the Upshur Street Art and Craft Fair, and the GRUMP Market — and did some shopping at each one. I’m not done shopping, but I’m probably in better shape than usual this far out from Christmas (yes, I totally realize I just gave you early planners a heart attack with that statement). I need to finish my online shopping over the next day or two and then hopefully finish the local shopping next weekend.

I rode my bike to take advantage of the mild, dry weather.

I vacuumed, did a load of laundry, and cleaned off my desk. Apparently it had been longer than I’d thought since I’d done the last did that latter item. But I couldn’t work on my Christmas mix or write my Christmas cards without taking care of it. (Yes, I suppose I could write Christmas cards in ink that isn’t red or green, but that’s what I like to do. But I did really need to clear things out of the way to access my cd drive on the computer before I could import some of my new holiday tunes.)

I learned all about the new composting system at my community garden and helped get it set up for us to begin using it.

I read Paul Auster’s holiday piece, “Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story.” It was, as Auster hoped, unsentimental, but also maybe not quite as cheering as I was looking for this weekend. Don’t get me wrong: it’s quite good. Just not an especially good match for my mood. If your mood is more upbeat than mine and you have a spare 10–15 minutes, I’d recommend the book. ISOL’s illustrations are particularly striking and fit with my Sesame Street-inspired impressions of New York City in the 1970s. I have Frank Baum’s and J.R.R. Tolkein’s Christmas books in my drawer at work, so I’m hopeful they’ll be more to my taste.

I ate the spiciest grilled cheese ever (it had habaneros in it) and drank a delightful housemade soda (plum-cinnamon).

I started work on my Christmas mix by eliminating some of the carryover songs from last year and by adding some new ones. I’m a little negligent about locating the tracks I’ve been wanting to include, so need to get moving more solidly on that.

I watched the Garfield Christmas special from the ’80s, the “Blizzard” episode of Fame (which did not take place at Christmas, as I’d misremembered it doing), and the first episode of the new TNT show, The Librarians. (I never saw any of the movies, but Amazon offers them for streaming. I guess I’ll have to decide if my boycott of them extends to their non-physical products…) The CW is airing the episodes a week later than the cable premieres and it’s online, so I’d recommend watching. It’s Indiana Jones meets nerds.

I’m still hoping to paint my nails, do the handwashing, and put away my summer clothes (not in that order) tomorrow morning, but as of right now, those are untackled, as is the baking (I got as far as planning what I was going to make, but not actually to getting off the couch). No cards got written, but I’ve pulled everything out that’s needed to get started on them, so perhaps that will happen tomorrow night after Rudi and I get home from the airport. I didn’t do as much knitting as I would have liked, but it required too much effort to open the knitting bag sitting next to me. And while I dozed on the sofa quite a bit (the one good thing about Rudi being away is that I had options for where to lounge), I wouldn’t really say I got enough sleep, and I felt it.

Speaking of which, I’m going to toddle off to bed now in hopes of getting up early enough in the morning to do those things before work.

Weekending along with Pumpkin Sunrise.

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December 14, 2014

jar opener
posted by soe 1:40 am

Have you ever had difficulty getting a jar open? If so, I have novel solution:

Place the jar on the floor. Feel free to leave it in the bag you used to carry it home from the store.

Take one cat. (You may borrow Corey if you don’t have one of your own.)

Add one bicycle, parked in its usual spot, but maybe not quite balanced.

Have the cat jump on the bicycle, as is his wont.

And, voila! The cat will tip over the bicycle, and the brake lever will cleanly puncture the lid of the jar, saving you the strain of trying to open it on your own!

Ta da!

What’s that you say? It seems unlikely that the events will unfold in just this way, and isn’t it far more likely that the jar will break, rendering its contents unusable?

Why, yes, I suppose you’re right. It does seem unlikely…

Punctured Jar Lid

(And, yes, my first thought was how glad I was that the brake lever encountered a jar of tomato sauce, rather than Corey’s head.)

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December 13, 2014

weekend to do
posted by soe 3:49 am

Rudi is out of town visiting his mom, so the cats and I are holding down the fort. We celebrated this tonight with a trip to the grocery store (just me), napping on the sofa, watching two Christmas-themed episodes of Saved by the Bell, and following a dinner of leftovers with a sleeve of snowflake-shaped Ritz crackers dipped into the peanut butter bought earlier in the evening.

I do live an exciting life…

Other things I hope to accomplish this weekend:

  • Attend some craft fairs.
  • Make a list of what else I want to buy.
  • Bake some cookies.
  • Do laundry.
  • Work on my Christmas mix.
  • Start my Christmas cards.
  • Put away the off-season clothes.
  • Learn how to use the new composting system at the garden.
  • Knit.
  • Read.
  • Paint my nails.
  • Sleep.

How about you? What’s on your agenda this weekend?

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