sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

June 23, 2017

getting literary, this bike’s the (yarn) bomb, and awesome (plus, unraveling!)
posted by soe 1:15 am

Before we get going on today’s topic, I wanted to share my unraveled photo for yesterday, because book and project coordinate so well today:

Blue Unravelings

The knitting is the baby blanket, which is noticeably longer than last week (although still a substantial ways from being large enough to cover a baby). The book is Julie Murphy’s Ramona Blue, which I’m just a couple chapters into. I’m also a little ways into The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher’s final book, on audio. So far, so funny.

Three beautiful things from my past week:

Solstice Sunset

1. The library hosted Roxane Gay for a sold-out, rock-star event of an evening. I’d procured two tickets, so Julia was able to go with me. Because I wasn’t attending alone, I’d made sure to get moving early, which was crucial, since they’d overbooked the venue and later line-goers were turned away. Roxane was as thoughtful, brutal, and funny as her work would lead you to expect.

2. Knitters especially will want to click over to Flickr to look at the original-sized photo of this bike, which does not, in fact, have an ombré-colored frame, but a ombré-covered frame, in one of the most impressive DIY bike fancifying I’ve ever seen.

Yarn-Bombed Bike

3. I had to work last Sunday at Awesome Con, a fan-going convention in the tradition of Comic Con. We had a very specific dress code, which ruled out costumes, but I really enjoyed the work and unabashed enthusiasm that others put into theirs. We had a photo booth area set up and two ’40s-inspired cosplayers stopped by. “He’s Captain America, so does that make you Agent Carter?” “In the flesh, ma’am.” We bantered for a bit, before she broke character to thank me for recognizing her. “I’d worked out a whole back story and then no one asked, so thanks for letting me use it.” Later on, a boy of eight or so gently put his costumed hand on my arm to ask about our (family-friendly) props of “f” words: “What does ‘foxy’ mean?” I paused to come up with an age-appropriate answer: “It means cute.” “Oh.”

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world recently?

June 21, 2017

top ten series i’ve been meaning to start
posted by soe 2:10 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish asks us about the Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start but Haven’t:

  1. Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood (You know her for her Miss Fisher books, but she also has this series about baker Corinna Chapman, which my dad highly recommends.)
  2. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (I started the first one once, but put it down. I own the third book and really should just start the series once more.)
  3. Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff (A YA verse series my dad recommended to me seven years ago.)
  4. Kopp Sisters by Amy Stewart (Another book I picked up and then had to return to the library before finishing. The third book in the series is due out this September.)
  5. Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams (This graphic novel series just released Vol. 2 last month.)
  6. Kick Keswick by Marne Davis Kellogg (I think I have to go join the Alexandria library to get a copy of this one.)
  7. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg (I’ve read adult retellings and YA retellings; now it’s time for one for the middle grades.)
  8. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (My Twitter feed has been very excited about this new series.)
  9. Inspector Morse by Colin Dexter (Because I’ve loved the Inspector Lewis series.)
  10. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (I actually have the first book of this series in hand right now!)

How about you? What series do you enjoy? Which do you mean to pick up?

Category: books. There is/are 6 Comments.

June 17, 2017

weekend to-do list
posted by soe 12:52 pm

Things got a little wonky with our plans last night when the other person with whom we were supposed to picnic got sick and then failed to let us know he wouldn’t be joining us. With the concert on the other side of town and Rudi not loving the music, he and I decided to abandon that and to head up to the outdoor movie happening on our side of town — except that, it turns out, that the movie we’d wanted to see had been shown last weekend and the inclement weather had moved the event inside. So, we recalibrated once more and opted for pizza with the possibility of watching a film later, either at home or at the theater a couple miles up the road from us. We ate the pizza, which was delicious, if haphazardly served (we’re thinking that location is in danger of closing), and then walked home, whereupon we decided we were too sticky and tired to even think about a movie anywhere.

This morning we slept in and now are facing the remainder of the weekend — how shall we spend it?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Work on some job stuff (I have to work an event tomorrow afternoon, and there are some other things that need to get done before Monday)
  • Refill the tea canisters
  • Do laundry (and deal with my clothing piles)
  • Knit on the baby blanket
  • Paint my toenails
  • Make something that uses the berries in my fridge (maybe blueberry muffins?)
  • Post my February reviews (if I want to be caught up by the end of the month, I really need to get cracking)
  • Watch a film (I have Moonlight out of the library and Wonder Woman might require a second watching)
  • Talk to my dad (and my mom)
  • Visit the garden (I really need to spend a chunk of time there digging up my strawberry/violet bed and replanting, but I’m thinking this weekend isn’t going to offer me that quantity of time)
  • Picnic at the park (did you know tomorrow is National Picnic Day?)
  • Eat ice cream (because shouldn’t every summer weekend include this item?)

How about you? What’s on your weekend to-do list?

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 2 Comments.

June 16, 2017

kindness, new reader, and whole, not holes
posted by soe 12:43 am

Summer at City Center

In addition to not having to hear the details of a murder, three more beautiful things from my week past:

1. A guy heads into a shop carrying a pile of boxes. He gets the door open himself and swings it wide, and a woman walking past doesn’t even break stride to grab it so it doesn’t slam into him before he’s fully inside.

2. A friend brought his five-year-old daughter to the baseball park with him, telling us that reading had suddenly clicked with her in the past few weeks. She had a backpack full of books, but she also kept turning her attention to the scoreboard to read all the words to be found there, too.

3. The contents of my underwear drawer had reached a shameful state, so when Target recently had a sale, I stocked up. Last week I wore new undies every day.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world recently?

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 10 Comments.

June 15, 2017

mid-june unraveling (with actual tinking!)
posted by soe 1:09 am

Mid-June Unraveling

What you see there, folks, is a baby blanket that’s only slightly longer than it was the last time you saw it. Is that because I’ve been slacking off and not knitting when I should? Well, yes, somewhat. However, it’s also because I was knitting on it during jury duty and made a key mistake that became obvious when I looked at it and then I had to rip back to before where I’d been to fix it. So I’ll be doubling down over the next week in order to make some serious progress.

Just before snapping this shot, I finished Phillip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke, the first in a historical mystery series I picked up at our local Little Free Library earlier this year. I had watched the BBC adaptation of at least part of the series when it came out a decade ago, didn’t realize it had been a book first, and then a couple years later happened upon the Maisie Dobbs books, which I mistakenly thought was the same thing. (I am not the only person on the internet to have made this error, by the way.) I also forgot the adaptation starred Billie Piper, whom I didn’t yet know from Dr. Who or Mansfield Park, until a librarian pal in my book group reminded me. The library has the dvds; I may borrow them at some point…

I also began David Arnold’s Kids of Appetite while on jury duty, but either my headspace in that setting was wrong for the book or the style didn’t lend itself to the situation. In either case, I hope to give it another shot this weekend.

I’m about to start Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, a friend of my friend Sarah, in honor of Ramadan. It’s gotten a great reception, so I’m looking forward to this middle-grade novel.

None of the audio books currently in my collection appealed, so I downloaded Exit, Pursued by a Bear last night thinking it was The Bear and the Nightingale. I do not know if it’s the same bear (the titles smack of wanting to be picture books in a similar vein to Jon Klassen’s Hat books), but since they’re different authors and story lines, I’m pretty sure we’re talking two different bears. Anyway, I’ll probably delete Exit, Pursued by a Bear from my phone and see if something else is available. I should get The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher’s final book, within the next week or so.

How about you? What are you reading? Head over to Kat’s to see other folks’ books and knitting…

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 4 Comments.

June 14, 2017

posted by soe 2:21 am

Yesterday, I had jury duty. It’s fine; it’s my fourth time being called in the 14 years I’ve lived here. D.C. has, in the grand scheme of jury duties, a relatively pain-free system, since although you almost certainly will have to report to the courthouse, unless you’re picked to serve on a trial, you’ll be dismissed to go home. There’s no need for you to remain on stand-by for a month.

My three prior jury duty sessions have ended with one criminal trial (which lasted about a week), one civil trial (which lasted a couple days), and being excused early in the afternoon.

I was in the later pool of jurors, which I appreciated because I am really not a morning person. Almost immediately after the orientation, they called out more than 50 people and took them off to be considered for a jury. Within ten minutes, they were back and took almost all of the rest of us for the voir dire process for a different trial in a courtroom down the hall.

Turns out this was going to be for a murder trial and it was going to last at least two weeks. The prosecution had a long list of witnesses they planned to call. Many of my fellow jurors answered the questions in a way that got them immediately dismissed, but my answers put me through to the end of the process. While I wanted to tell them that I am rather squeamish about graphic depictions of violence, I held my tongue. Should someone ever accuse me of murder, I’d want people to suck it up and listen to my side of things, so the Golden Rule dictates that I do the same.

However, because so many people had opted out, there were no longer enough potential jurors left for them to disqualify any of us themselves. And apparently that’s necessary. So the judge sent us home with the admonishment that we had to return again today, at which point she’d have repeated the process with a second set of jurors.

Instead of going home (or off to sit in the shade and read), I headed back to the office. If I was going to be out of work for two weeks, I decided I should let folks know, set up email and phone greetings, and get a little more work done.

Today I returned to the courthouse, where per her word, the judge had found a couple dozen more potential jurors, from whom she started filling the jury box. At this point the lawyers could start ruling people out, and they did. Of the original 14 people they sat in the jury box, probably only 3 remained by the end. And they’d made a good stab into the group of us returning from yesterday — the final person they picked was the woman sitting next to me.

But in the end, I didn’t find myself on the jury of a murder trial, and I’m really grateful for that.

And now I’m done with jury duty for at least the next two years.

Category: dc life. There is/are 8 Comments.