sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 16, 2017

birthday photos and mid-february yarn along
posted by soe 1:35 am

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday was my birthday, and, as is my wont, I took the day off to do fun things. First, I slept in. On a weekday. Very luxurious. Then after a late breakfast, Rudi and I headed over the river to catch a showing of Sing, which we’ve been looking forward to since seeing a preview last summer.

Since we were already in Virginia, I suggested to Rudi that the new hat I’m going to make for myself might benefit from one of the faux fur pom poms that are very hip right now and I thought I should buy one for myself as a birthday present. It’s blue. You’ll have to wait for the hat to see how it looks, though.

Sweets with My Sweetie

We stopped by a local coffeehouse for some hot beverages and to enjoy a late-afternoon sunbeam, picked up cupcakes and doughnuts for dessert and breakfast respectively, and played some ping pong at a park we walked past on the way back to the car.

Alexandria Ping Pong

We supper with our friends John and Nicole and their baby, all of whom are moving away on Saturday, at our favorite pizzeria. We went back to their place to talk and collect some of the food goods they aren’t moving, before bidding them a tearful farewell.


We timed the bus wrong, so walked home, which let me enjoy the new purple coat my parents gave me for my birthday.

Birthday 'Cakes

We finished up the night with our cupcakes, hot tea, and some presents. All in all, a lovely way to mark turning 43!

A quick Yarn Along, since today is Wednesday:

Mid-February Yarning Along

I have put my Very Important Books on hiatus in favor of reading lighter romances this week: Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments (her first novel, which I’d put off reading until she stopped being quite so prolific), Stephanie Perkins’ Isla and the Happily Ever After (the final book in a loosely linked series of teen romances), and Gemina, the much anticipated sequel to Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s space opera, Illuminae.

The knitting du jour is the Violet Waffles hat (previously seen balled up here) and the Partridgefield Cowl, which gets knit on when I don’t want to pay attention to my project (tonight it was while we were watching Minions).

Make sure you stop back on Friday, because I have my first FO of the year to share.

February 4, 2017

early february weekend to-do
posted by soe 12:28 pm

With civic responsibility becoming part of my new weekend norm, I need to be a little more organized (and a little more early rising) than is my wont.

Here are some things I hope to get done before weekend’s end:

  • Get outside while the sun is shining.
  • Buy makings for pizza for supper tonight.
  • Finish a knitting project. Start a new one (or two).
  • Mail a card.
  • Order new checks.
  • Read.
  • Unearth my rocking chair from beneath the pile of clean laundry.
  • Complete my first ukulele lesson.
  • Wash handknits.
  • Make pie dough.
  • Paint my nails.
  • Pick up roll of quarters for laundry.
  • Go to the farmers market.
  • Catch up on book reviews.
  • Stand up for democracy.

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

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December 17, 2016

pre-christmas weekend plans
posted by soe 3:37 am

My weekend is looking very full, but I think that’s okay. I have a lot I’d like/need to get done, and Rudi is off in Pennsylvania for the first week of his team’s ski training. (He’s there right now, in fact, since winter weather was predicted to make the roads slick come morning.)

Here’s the to-do list:

  • Go to the post office, the grocery store, and the library.
  • Do laundry. (Most of the hand-knit socks are done; on to the stuff that needs to go into the washing machine!)
  • Write Christmas cards.
  • Complete a knitting project.
  • Poach quince.
  • Work on my holiday mix.
  • Drink egg nog. (We polished off the light stuff from Trader Joes; but I’ve got a full-octane version from my local dairy. I expect it to be a sipping beverage.)
  • Paint my nails.
  • Wrap some gifts.
  • Watch cheesy, made-for-tv Christmas movies. (Two down; more to go!)
  • Hang up the Christmas cards we’ve received.
  • Finish my shopping.
  • Sleep.

I think it’s doable, but the amount of time I just sit idle watching those cheesy Christmas movies is going to have to be limited. Time to multi-task!

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

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December 9, 2016

virtual advent tour: day 9
posted by soe 5:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour logo
Welcome to Day 9 of the Virtual Advent Tour!

Christmas music is one of the most important parts of my holiday celebration. My parents have lots of Christmas albums, and Rudi and I do, too. (I’ll be honest; they’re mostly mine.) For years, my dad made Christmas mixes — first on tape and more recently on cd — and I’ve made my fair share, too. You can read about my process in an earlier Virtual Advent Tour post here.

Part of my weekend plan is to work on my Christmas mix, but in order to do that I like to review as much of the new holiday music as possible. If you follow mainstream music, you’ve probably heard She & Him have a new album out, as do Kacey Musgraves, Pentatonix, and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Aaron Burr from Hamilton). Instead of sharing their songs, which you’ve probably heard on the radio or tv or in the shops, I thought I’d share a half-dozen lesser-known 2016 Christmas tunes with you:

This is an album of electronica. I particularly like the third track, “Gungla the Snowman” by Nonsens:

I know nothing about Woodsy Pride other than that they’ve recorded a Christmas album. Their version of “Greensleeves” is a little dark and a little ponderous, but I like it:

I feel like Best Coast is on the cusp of hitting it big, but that they might still not be on everyone’s radar. Their singer, Bethany Cosentino, has a ’60s girl group sound.” They recorded “Christmas and Every Day” for an American Girl holiday movie streaming on Amazon:

You may be familiar with Low, who released their LP, Christmas, in 2009. (I really loved “Just like Christmas” off that album.) “Some Hearts (At Christmas Time)” is sad, but sometimes you just need sad and not everyone gets that.

Sloan has been around forever, or, at least since I was in high school. While they’re very popular in Canada, I don’t feel like they’re as well known south of the border. Here’s “December 25”:

Finally, here’s The Christmas EP from Mike the Prophet, which includes the fastest version of “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” I’ve ever heard:

Check back here tomorrow for the next stop on the Virtual Advent Tour. And if you’re interested in taking part in the tour, badges, details, and sign-up info can be found here. We’d love to have you participate.


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November 28, 2016

posted by soe 4:48 am

After heading north on Wednesday and celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, I still had three days in Connecticut to enjoy.

On Friday, Karen and I got to have lunch. We walked and talked and ate. I drank a very tasty hot eggnog with a shot of gingerbread syrup in it.

Hot Eggnog with a Shot of Gingerbread Syrup from Victoria Station Cafe

Yesterday was a low-key day. Rudi went to watch ski racing. I slept in and then bummed around for a while with my knitting. (No, the Christmas mitts are not done yet. I’m hoping tomorrow night.) My parents went and bought their tree and then the three of us went out for pizza. We finished the evening with a fire in the fireplace and viewings of Prancer and Going My Way.

Lights at 30 m.p.h.

Today was a busy day. I got up early and wove in some of the ends on my knitting while watching CBS Sunday Morning with my folks. Dad and I took Cranberry, their dog, for a walk, and then I did a little raking. We got their tree into the house. Mum and I made cookies. Dad and I played pool. We all enjoyed one last weekend meal together, and then Rudi and I headed south, leaving just after 8. Traffic was light the whole trip, and we enjoyed all the outdoor light displays folks who live along the highway had set up. We pulled in an hour ago, much to the delight of our cats. Now, it’s time to sleep.

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November 23, 2016

top ten tuesday: thankful
posted by soe 1:46 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish asks about the things I’m thankful for:

I’m thankful for my family. I’ve got Rudi and we’ve both got our folks, and Josh and Matt. Not everyone’s so lucky.

I’m thankful for my friends, both near and far.

I’m thankful for our cats. Posey and Jeremiah are getting old and cranky and they and Corey do things that drive me absolutely crazy, but I wouldn’t trade for anyone.

I’m thankful to have a roof over our heads. D.C. has a growing homelessness problem, so I know that’s not something to take for granted.

I’m thankful to have a job. I’m thankful that I like my coworkers most of the time and that I get to research and write for a living.

I’m thankful for my 23-year-old car and it’s glowing toothpaste green color. (I’m also thankful for my mechanic, who fixed the exhaust system earlier this fall so we don’t have to drive north tomorrow with the windows down the whole way.)

I’m thankful we have relatively good health and thankful we have healthcare that will take care of us when we need it to.

I’m thankful we have such a good public library system, with many branches, generous hours, and plentiful books and movies that we can borrow for a long time for free. I’m thankful for the weekly Twitter book chat they host and their download services.

I’m thankful to live in a city with so many bookstores. Even though the charity bookstore that was close to our house closed earlier this year, we still have lots of great options.

I’m thankful for an impressive collection of yarn and for the skills I have learned about how to turn it into garments.

How about you? What are you thankful for?

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