sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 18, 2021

noticeably lighter
posted by soe 1:38 am

The sun is setting at 5:15 this week, which means there’s ambient light until nearly six. I haven’t done a great job recently at getting outside the apartment during daylight hours, so I’m appreciative that the sun is now working in my favor.

I’m wondering about the feasibility of packing up my work laptop when I’ve got 3 hours between video meetings (which, to be fair, is only like 3 times a week) and taking it up to the park to work at a picnic table on my cell phone hotspot. I did it some in the few weeks between being sent home and the mask mandate, but after that it was just too much work. It always feels like it would be too disruptive to my day to make the switch, but I wonder if being out in the sunshine would make me more productive.

I suppose it can’t hurt to try.

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January 16, 2021

mlk day, pre-inaugural weekend plans
posted by soe 1:40 pm

Whoops! I logged on to pay a bill and discovered I hadn’t posted this last night:

This will be another weekend of self-care. I’d love to see some studies on the psychological effects of constant helicopter surveillance, but when I try to look it up, all I find is how overbearing parents affect their kids. Clearly not enough researchers live in urban areas during periods of unrest. My friend Sarah and I began the weekend by doing an Inaugural ice cream tasting at a local scoop shop this afternoon, so I’m hopeful that sets the tone for what that will look like:

  • Watching the latest Jumanji movie, the new episode of All Creatures Great and Small (Have you started watching yet? It’s quite good.), and something streamable (Maybe Bridgerton or The Prom). I watched a mediocre Christmas movie last night, and may continue the trend after Rudi goes to bed (ski coaches go to sleep very early during the season).
  • Enjoy our Christmas tree. It’s still going strong this year, and my goal is to keep it up through Wednesday, at the very least. (You do you. I’m seeing a lot of trees still in windows this year here in D.C.)
  • Spend time outside. It rained here tonight, just after I got home from the cross-town journey back from the ice cream parlor on my bike (thanks, weather gods). The forecast suggests most of the weekend will be dry and some might be sunny.
  • Bake. I know, I say this every weekend and then fail to do it. But I have a package that needs to go out next week and some cookies are part of it, so… Plus, I am picking up a new sourdough starter at the farmers market on Sunday, so that means I need to start planning for discard baking again. (The height-of-summer fridge death killed off my 2020 starter and I was too disheartened to get one going again this fall. But this week is one for new beginnings.)
  • Buy the makings for gardener’s pie (our vegetarian version of cottage/shepherd’s pie) at the farmers market. Rudi and I were talking about the need for comfort food this week, and that’s one of ours that we haven’t had yet this winter.
  • Order out. One of the things that Rudi and I talked about after I did an end-of-year reckoning of my bank account was that as long as we aren’t frivolous with our other spending, we can probably to support our local restaurants once a week. We’ve already lost several favorites and I’d like to help stem the tide.
  • Finish a knitting project. I have several lingering on the needles, and I’d love to move them from potential clothing to my wardrobe.
  • Wrap up my overdue reading. The library is closed until after the inauguration for the safety of their employees, so this can extend into the week. But I’d like to start the Biden administration without feeling guilty about books the library wants back. (Plus, if I return them before Wednesday, I can wave to Kamala and Doug, who currently live in the condos adjacent to the library (but who will move to the VP’s mansion at the Naval Observatory after being sworn in.)
  • MLK Day has begun to shift toward a day of service projects. A pandemic isn’t a great time to join a group event, but I can probably find a park that needs its litter picked up at a bare minimum.
  • Clear off the coffee table. My living room in general needs several days of work, but this feels like a manageable place to start.

How about you? What do you have planned for the long weekend?

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January 9, 2021

first weekend plans of 2021
posted by soe 1:48 am

Yes, yes, I know we already had a weekend this year. But I was still on vacation, so it didn’t count.

But this weekend it does, and after the exhausting events of this week — a full week of work and an attempted political coup in my city (seriously, who offered to hold 2021’s beer?) — I really feel like I deserve to suck out all the marrow of life over the next 48 hours:

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Read outside. (It’s supposed to be nearly 50 and mostly sunny.)
  • Knit. (I’m hoping to finish a project this weekend.)
  • Send some mail.
  • Bake.
  • Watch the new version of All Creatures Great and Small.
  • Take part in the Bout of Books Twitter chat. (Note to self: set your alarm now!)
  • Figure out if there’s some useful action I can take to help alleviate feelings of horror about this week’s insurrection. (If you’ve found one, please share it in the comments. I know I’m not the only one looking.)
  • Wash handknits. (It’s always my prettiest laundry day.)
  • Work on my best-of-2020 reads post.

How about you? How are you going to spend your weekend? Jamming in activities or resting up from them?

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January 2, 2021

new year’s
posted by soe 1:40 am

Like everything else this holiday season, New Year’s Eve & Day were a little off, but otherwise fine. Usually, we spend the afternoon and evening of the last day of the year with our friend Sarah running between cinemas for a movie marathon and squeezing in a pizza dinner downtown.

Time with friends, dinners out, and movie theaters all being disallowed this year, we stayed in. We ate Christmas Eve leftovers (crepes and the last of the baked brie), watched a couple films (Die Hard and The Last Dragonslayer), and counted down the New Year by toasting with bubbly drinks and special French desserts I picked up on my way back from the eye doctor earlier in the day.

The traditional way to spend the first day of the year normally involves watching the Rose Parade and getting outside (Rudi usually rides with friends) before whipping up a traditional Southern New Year’s Day supper of greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread.

The parade was canceled, so I slept in, but we did eat the rest of the Christmas morning cinnamon rolls once I got up. It was raining heavily all day, so neither of us felt especially motivated to get outside, and I never got out of my pajamas. And then, although I’d bought the ingredients for the usual supper, I forgot about it until we’d decided on something else and had it reheating in the microwave. We decided it would be no less lucky to have it this weekend, instead.

So, there we have it. I’m glad to see the year switch over, but apparently not so much that I was willing to make a fuss over it. A low-key greeting seemed best; I’d hate for 2021 to think it needed to outdo last year in terms of memorability.

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December 30, 2020

two-day to-do list
posted by soe 1:27 am

The year is rapidly running out of hours, which is great, to be honest. Very few people won’t be thrilled to see 2020 disappearing in their rearview mirror later this week.

However, there are still a few things that I want to take care of before I close out the year:

  • Make some year-end donations. I’m lucky enough to be able to make charitable donations throughout the year, but I know a lot of nonprofits are really hurting this year. I want to do what I can, particularly for my local aid organizations directly helping those stressed by the pandemic (particularly since our government apparently remains unconcerned about everyone’s welfare).
  • Spend down my transit and flex spending accounts. Again, I was lucky in that my h.r. person was able to get us the ability to stop putting money into our transit accounts we stopped commuting, but because I did so much work travel at the start of the year, I built up a little buffer I need to distribute.
  • Write the last handful of holiday letters. We sent out most of our holiday cards on Christmas day, but I saved a few that I wanted to write actual letters in. I did a few yesterday and should write the last three tomorrow.
  • Clean the kitchen and bathroom floors. Let’s be honest: While starting the year with a neat apartment would be great, it’s just not going to happen. But I absolutely can (and should) wash the floors in my two smallest spaces.
  • Eat lunch outside tomorrow. I’ll admit eating my midday meal al fresco has been more enjoyable on some days than others this week, but I definitely think it’s been good for me to spend time outside. My time off is going to end on a rainy note (precipitation is predicted for at least three of the next five days), so I definitely need to be outside tomorrow, regardless of the temperature.
  • Bake cookies. I haven’t done it for the first week of my vacation and I’d hate to spend the last five days without homemade treats.
  • Finish one more book. For the first time in years, I’m not going to average a book a week for the year. I intended to really work on getting to 52 books during my time off, but at some point it stopped being a stretch goal and just became ridiculous. However, if I can wrap up one more book, that will put me at 40 for the year.

What are you hoping to wrap up before 2020 hits the road?

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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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