sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 18, 2017

decoration, beauty & the beast, and le diplomate
posted by soe 1:04 am

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to look back on three beautiful things from my past week:


1. Downtown D.C. spends a lot of money on flowers, regularly replanting tree boxes and planters. Last week, these hibiscuses showed up on one block.

2. I’ve mentioned before that since the advent of the inflatable movie screen, outdoor film showings have really taken off. Tonight we headed across town to watch the live action version of Beauty and the Beast with several hundred other fans of Belle. While I don’t know that I loved it as much as the original cartoon, I still liked it quite a bit. And, yes, my heart fluttered a bit in the library scene.

3. We were walking home from a protest rally last Sunday when we discovered one of the fancy French restaurants in the next neighborhood was selling house-made ice cream out front. I might not be able to afford a whole dinner there, but I can definitely afford a couple cones. I mean, check out that weird wafer cone! Mine has a scoop of lemon verbena ice cream and a scoop of black currant sorbet. Both were delicious.

Double Scoop

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

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.

August 16, 2017

mid-august unraveling
posted by soe 11:18 pm

Mid-August Unraveling

Wednesdays during the spring and summer are home to Rudi’s evening bike ride and happy hour, which means I can take myself out someplace and do what I like, which in this week’s case means knitting and reading.

The sock is the second in a pair, which I hope to have done early this weekend, so there can still be time to finish another in-progress pair before month’s end. I have at least one more that’s languishing on the second sock. I hate the yarn, which explains why they sat so long. It simultaneously feels cheap and insubstantial (in that it requires me to go down to 0s on the foot to get a fabric I feel will hold up to wear), which I hope means it’ll last forever. Whichever pair I pick up next will definitely be one that’s more pleasing to the touch.

The book, Murder on the Ballarat Train, is one I picked up at the library Monday, having remembered last week when I moaned about needing a book that had been turned into a tv series that I was not restricted to American broadcasts. If you enjoy the show, I highly recommend these quick novellas by Kerry Greenwood. You’ll find all your favorite characters from the small screen, as well as a Mrs. Butler to provide delectable meals. If you’ve neither seen the show nor read the books, what are you waiting for? They’re set in 1920s Melbourne and feature a well-off flapper detective and the misfits she befriends (lesbian doctor, Communist cab drivers, savvy police detective). Lots of fun!

I finished Roxane Gay’s Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body on audiobook earlier this week and haven’t yet figured out my next listen. It may be Shadowshaper, which was this week’s YA AudioSYNC download, or maybe something will come off my holds list on Overdrive.

Elsewhere, I’m reading A Tyranny of Petticoats (a collection of multicultural short historical stories), Bronze & Sunflower (a middle-grade novel translated from Chinese), Sleeping Giants (epistolary sci fi), and the illustrated version of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Check out Kat’s blog for links to what other folks are reading and knitting.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.

August 11, 2017

open, dupont circle, and take me out
posted by soe 1:25 am

Sunset in Dupont

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Cooler weather means an open window instead of air conditioning.

2. As I walk home from a cafe, I’m filled with affection for my neighborhood.

3. A night at the ballpark in August where long sleeves are desirable. Who could ask for more?

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

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.

August 8, 2017

a trip to the country
posted by soe 9:33 am

Rudi and I try to make it out to Poolesville, Maryland, at least once mid-summer for a visit to the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management, where they have several fields of sunflowers (as well as fields of other plants). We were late this year, so the first field had mostly grown over, but the third field was still in okay shape. (We skipped the second field, because it requires going through the marsh and I can’t find our bug spray. Given the state of my calves right now, I’m going to say that was an excellent call. So itchy!)

Here are some of the highlights:




Rudi and the Sunflower


Small Sunflowers


We didn’t just see plants. There were lots of insects (in addition to the unseen mosquitoes) and thus a lot of birds. The birds were too quick for me (I’m pretty sure I saw a mountain bluebird, but it could have been an Eastern one, and there were definitely gold and purple finches, as well as their plainer avian relatives), but I caught a few of the bugs:

American Lady Butterfly
An American Lady Butterfly


Dogbane Leaf Beetle
Dogbane Leaf Beetle


Common Green Darner
Common Green Darner

Finally, the advantage of coming out at the end of the season, rather than the beginning, is that you find out that a lot of people have a sense of humor:

Sunflower Faces

Sunflower Graffiti

In case that last shot is hard to see, people have picked out seed coverings to depict crosses, initials, and other designs. Essentially, agricultural graffiti.

Category: dc life. There is/are 3 Comments.

August 7, 2017

book bingo progress
posted by soe 1:14 am

I haven’t been good about posting my Book Bingo progress, so I thought I’d give you a sense of where I am right now:

Book Bingo through 8/6

My apologies that some of those lower titles are hard to read. I’ll try to fix that in the next version. In the meantime, know that for “Set in a place you’d like to vacation,” it’s Piecing Me Together for Portland, Ore., where I’ve visited before, but not in a long time (and it doesn’t say it has to be a new-to-me place, after all). For “More than 500 pages,” we have The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (which obliged me by being 513 pages); for “Audiobook narrated by the author,” we have The Princess Diarist, read by Carrie Fisher; and for “Person on the cover,” I’ve put in Amina’s Voice.

I’m trying to decide if Roxane Gay’s Hunger is enough about food for that to qualify for that square, but I’m thinking not. I’ve got two cookbooks out of the library, which I may include instead. I’ve started Tyranny in Petticoats for an author/editor from D.C. I have a copy of Al Franken’s new book, but I’ll have to steal it from Rudi. I took a book by a Chinese author and another set in Kenya & the Congo out of the library and have one published in the 1800s on my bookshelf. I’m thinking I’d like to sit down with the first book of the Harry Potter illustrated editions, so that’ll likely be my re-read.

I think that leaves the month/day of the week and the tv series categories unfulfilled. I have ideas, but welcome any suggestions.

I may or may not read all these categories by summer’s end, and my filled squares certainly don’t represent all the books I’ve read so far this summer. But by and large, I’ve made a good number fit without having to strain anything, which is nice.

Category: books. There is/are 2 Comments.

August 5, 2017

early august weekend to-do
posted by soe 12:17 am

Socks in Progress: Aug. 4, 2017

While four weeks remain until Labor Day weekend and six to the summer season, it’s helpful to remember that time is fleeting and I should make the most of it, rather than sleeping until noon every weekend. Or, if I do, I should leap out of bed and on to my tasks at hand. This weekend that includes:

  • Put the apartment back to some semblance of order. We’re still hanging the rug out to air, so furniture and containers are all over the place. I’d like to see all of them back in place, on top of a washed floor, by Sunday night, because until that happens, we have nowhere to dry laundry. To accomplish this task, I’ll need to buy a new Swiffer, since our first generation one finally disintegrated. I should probably also track down some new vacuum bags, since our last one has been loaded down with baking soda.
  • De-stone whatever fruit remains in the refrigerator and freeze it.
  • Go swimming. Because summer.
  • Write an Into the Stacks post
  • Refill the tea canisters, so I can have more choices again.
  • Finish my library book and return it and several others, all overdue, to the system.
  • Turn the heel on the sock you see above. It’s a Christmas present for Rudi. From last Christmas.
  • Go to the garden. See if my tomatoes survived the deluge. Pinch back the basil. Maybe plant some beans.
  • Buy corn, peaches, and tomatoes (also, maybe grapes) at the farmers market, because what meal is complete without at least one of those these days?
  • Find out if the sunflower fields in Maryland are still in bloom. We were supposed to head out there on Tuesday, but then we returned to a flooded apartment, so now we’re aiming for Sunday.
  • Attend the Miles Morales (Spiderman) book launch party at the comic book shop in my neighborhood. I’m really excited to read it, and not just because author Jason Reynolds is living in D.C. right now.

How about you? What are you hoping to do this weekend?

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