sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 2, 2020

virtual advent tour 2020: day #2
posted by soe 6:00 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

Welcome back to the second day of our Virtual Advent Tour!

Behind today’s door we have a post from long-time Tour contributor Deb Nance at Readerbuzz, with a joyful post you’re going to want to bookmark filled with her and her colleagues sharing holiday picture books. I now know how I’m going to start each workday before my morning calls.

Inspired to join us? Sign up here. And do stop back tomorrow for another mystery Advent reveal!

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top ten books i want to read again
posted by soe 1:44 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl asks us to share ten books we want to reread. I love rereading books (why own them, otherwise?), so this is a lovely and easy topic:

  1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling — every few years.
  2. The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde — ditto. Both Rowling and Fforde are very imaginative and I appreciate their world-building and their snark.
  3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows — I’m a sucker for rereading letters.
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern — I admit I’ve never reread this one, in part because the first reading was so perfect I fear repeat viewings will suffer in comparison.
  5. Landline by Rainbow Rowell — I haven’t read this one since it first came out, but maybe it’s time again this month.
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott — I don’t reread these one constantly the way I did growing up, but I enjoy dipping back in again from time to time.
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery — I mean, sure, I maybe appreciate Marilla’s POV a little more than I did when I first read this book, but it still inspires raptures when Anne first comes through the White Way of Delight with Matthew.
  8. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill — I enjoyed this so much I bought myself a copy for purposes of rereading.
  9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen — I like her other books, but I love Elizabeth.
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — I just wish it would stop being so relevant.

How about you? Are there books you want to reread?

Don’t forget to stop by the Virtual Advent Tour if you haven’t yet!

Category: books. There is/are 1 Comment.

December 1, 2020

virtual advent tour 2020: day 1
posted by soe 6:00 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Virtual Advent Tour! I am your host, Sprite, and for the next 24 mornings (around 6 a.m. Eastern U.S. time), I’ll be directing you around the internet, where various bloggers will be sharing parts of their holiday celebrations with you. This is the 13th time we’ve held this event for the entire 24 days and my sixth year as host. I hope you enjoy this tradition as much I do. Should you want to get in on the fun, please leave me a comment on our signup post.

Today’s post is from … me!

2020 Christmas Swag

This is my Christmas swag, my first decoration of this year’s season. I opted to wait until next weekend to put up our tree, but I wanted to feel festive.

Swags are an alternative to wreaths, and are usually a collection of branches, leaves, and berries, tied together at the stem with ribbons and other decorations and suspended from that end on your door.

Traditionally, it seems, swags are often festoons/garlands, decoratively hung curved over a door or window. I suspect, although I can find no support for this theory, that this current door decoration definition comes from a single end of that, since it resembles that end piece.

Unlike wreaths, swags are relatively easy to make, particularly if you have a real Christmas tree where you are trimming the bottom branches to fit it into the stand. Mum usually opts for this method, as do many tree farms. Or you can gather natural materials specifically for this task, which is what my great-grandparents used to do.

This year, because I wanted a door decoration before I had a tree and because I don’t have ready access to living trees I can just lop pieces off of, I opted to buy one. The garden shop where I purchased it (they were advertising 22 types of wreaths, and I had my fingers crossed) had three varieties. I liked the largest one, but it would have taken up half my apartment door and that seemed silly. So, I opted for this medium-sized one, which seems to fit the bill nicely.

Should you want to make one yourself, it’s an easy craft project and could be a fun one to do with kids or as a gift to leave for neighbors you might normally gift food to.

Here are a few tutorials, should you be interested:

Modern Door Swag Tutorial

How to Make a Christmas Swag Wreath

DIY Christmas Door Swags

Do you decorate your door(s) at the holidays? Do you use a swag or some kind of wreath or a door wrap? Let us know in the comments.

And please stop back tomorrow, where we’ll have a great post waiting for you.

Category: christmas/holiday season. There is/are 1 Comment.

November 30, 2020

coffeeneuring 2020: ride #7
posted by soe 1:13 am


2340 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Saturday, Nov. 21, evening
Conditions: Lovely

For my final Coffeeneuring ride of 2020, I headed back through Georgetown, but this time veered north, aiming for Glover Park and a new dining hall spot that had opened earlier this fall, Ghostline.

Their concept is that they have food from several different chefs and you can order it in one spot. Sort of like a food court, but classier and with high-quality food.

But en route I made a surprise stop — at a hot chocolate stand.


The boy running the stand had built it himself with entrepreneurial plans to run it three seasons, with lemonade, apple cider, and hot chocolate rotating out as the weather and supply dictated. He showed me with pride how he’d made the sign out of paper, so he could switch out what he was advertising. When I asked him what his schedule was, he told me that the day before he’d been waiting at the door when his mom (the sous chef in charge of making the cocoa) arrived home, but that today it had been a little later because he’d been forced to take a nap.

At $2 a cup and with the ability to have both marshmallows and whipped cream added to your drink for free, it would be hard to beat the economics of this stand, which was located on a corner lot by a bike lane.

After finishing my cup, I waved goodbye, wished him and his mom luck, and rode on.


Ghostline is across from the old Whole Foods and the baseball field in a row of other restaurants and small storefronts. There was a bike rack to lock up to, but I could see that getting crowded on a summer evening.


I was able to walk in and quickly place an order. I opted for a cup of tea and a vegan poptart, the latter of which is made by the people who ran Red Velvet Cupcake and Bakers and Baristas downtown, which I took across the street to the ball field. I sat at a picnic table and chatted with Rudi for a bit on the phone while I carefully avoided dripping raspberry jam down my front. So sweet, but also very good.

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #7

I briefly contemplated a stop at the grocery store a block away before deciding I was too tired and that I just wanted to go home. So I took myself the back way past the vice president’s house and pedaled home for the night, content with my season of Coffeeneuring rides.

Total miles: 4.35 miles

Category: dc life,sports. There is/are 1 Comment.

November 29, 2020

one day left
posted by soe 1:46 am

One day left to salvage all my time off, which seems to have devolved to an awful lot of napping on the couch.

I’m planning to see if they have any trees at the farmers market. Going and cutting down a tree by myself just sounds depressing, I have a work event all next weekend, and Rudi’s thinking he’s gone until the middle of December, so finding an urban solution is my best hope. But if I don’t, there are tree lots open during the week.

Of course, my apartment isn’t ready for a tree, so I’ll also need to work on that. If they’ve sold out of trees in the appropriate size by the time I get to the market, that will be my one solace.

I’m a third of the way into one book and two thirds into two others.

Tomorrow is the last day of operation of one of my favorite restaurants, my local popsicle shop (which also serves other things). Their landlord is a jerk and notified them he wasn’t renewing their lease, but when I stopped by Friday for a pumpkin spice chai latte they said they had a lead on a new location. Fingers crossed, but I’d like to get over there for one last lunch order, which I can then take to the park for a bit with a book and soak up some sunlight before the rain moves in Monday.

And I would like to get over to Capitol Hill. The aforementioned work event is going to put a cramp in my local shopping, and since I didn’t time today properly, I didn’t get over there like I’d planned. But there is today.

So that’s today’s plan — farmers market, popsicle stand, park, shopping, and cleaning the apartment. (If the tree thing doesn’t work out, I reserve the right to switch out baking for cleaning.)

As long as I do not nap, it will all work out.

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November 28, 2020

still in a food coma
posted by soe 1:09 am

Thanksgiving Supper

Okay, so apparently I was still in a food coma today (when you eat supper right before midnight, you have to carry it over to Friday), even though I only managed to make four of the ten items on my original Thanksgiving menu.

Above are stuffing, cranberry jelly, and the weird looking mashed potatoes that happen when you forget you only made one person’s worth of potatoes and add four people’s worth of milk to the pot. The shiny nature is because eventually I just wanted to eat, so I added tapioca to dry it out some. I’ll cook another potato and mix it in when I heat up the leftovers.

Not pictured is the corn pudding, which was also a little wetter than I’d hoped it would be, probably because my corn was frozen, rather than fresh. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will dry out a little more when I reheat it in the oven. My cranberry and my stuffing were excellent, so at least I had that going for me.

I’ll be making a couple more of my menu items over the weekend and will let you know how those culinary misadventures go.

Also over the weekend, I’ll get to the things that I was supposed to cross off my list today, including contacting folks about the Virtual Advent Tour. I will definitely send emails today. If any of you want to proactively volunteer to give me a post for the 5th (Saturday) or 7th (Monday), that would be really helpful, since I have a work event all next weekend. But I’ll be in touch either way.

Finally, before I go, let me put in a plug for Small Business Saturday. Local economies are hurting this year in unprecedented ways and small business owners are struggling to keep up with increased safety requirements and decreased foot traffic. If you have the ability to support your local shops, please do. They pay taxes in your town (and, hell, your country), employ local workers at decent wages, and put their dollars back into your community. (Remind me to show you a picture of Jeff Bezos’ guest mansion one of these days. It’s just up the road.) If you don’t have a local bookshop or yarn shop, the internet can help you buy small elsewhere. Many small businesses are offering specials today (including sometimes free shipping), and that gift card or small purchase you make could end up being the sale that keeps someone in business another month. You could be a hero today and get your holiday shopping done!

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