sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 12, 2019


new footwear
posted by soe 1:15 am

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I went shopping for slippers.

Nearly nine years ago, Rudi visited Austria and Germany with his mom to see family friends and visit the town in which she spent her adolescence. One of those friends owns a lederhosen shop that also sells other clothing, including woolen slippers. Rudi and his mom each came home with a pair of felt clogs. Rudi wore them a bit, but they were warm and eventually I appropriated them. And wore them into the ground. Quite literally.

Well-Loved

The holes in the toes appeared first, but you can ignore those. Then the holes in the heels, but, again, as long as you don’t step in liquid, mostly not a huge deal. Last winter the top of the slippers started to separate from the soles, and I started hunting for a replacement, but let’s be honest: what you find at the end of the winter at TJ Maxx is going to pale in comparison with handmade woolen slippers from the Alps.

This week, though, the thread that holds the edging around the top of the foot hole started to unravel, and I knew our time together was up. Pale or not, new slippers must be acquired.

Luckily, immediately after Christmas is an excellent time to shop for slippers at TJ Maxx, because slippers are a pretty common gift, so they bump up their supply and then immediately after the holidays discount much of what remains to get rid of it, probably to make way for bathing suits.

Anyway, I came home with two pairs that will work, each of which was marked down to $8.

New Slippers

Right now this blue pair is definitely my favorite of the two. They won’t last me ten years, but that’s probably okay. I had forgotten how warm it is to wear slippers without holes in them.

More New Slippers

These red scuffs are a little smaller, but I won’t need to wear them out and about and they will get less poofy as I wear them, so I expect they’ll work just fine. However, I’ve kept them in the bag with the receipt so if I decide I don’t need two pairs I can take them back.

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January 7, 2019


first weekending of 2019
posted by soe 1:48 am

Dupont Sunset

It was a quiet weekend at the Burrow, with Rudi out of town pursuing a snowy ski hill for his team of young racers.

Georgetown Sunset

There were errands and chores, but they were interspersed with time outside, trips to the library, and hours of reading.

Teatime

I thought about going to a free concert, but it would have required dressing up and getting over there, and in the end pj’s, French bread pizza, and videos on the couch with the cats won out. (A Christmas Prince: A Royal Wedding got better as I watched it, in keeping with the first one; Thoroughly Modern Millie was disappointing with its unnecessary and racist Chinese-American subplot. )

Love under Kale

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January 6, 2019


some weekends
posted by soe 1:18 am

Spray Roses

You just need to spend $5 on a bouquet of spray roses at Trader Joe’s.

Five Dollars

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January 5, 2019


tea time
posted by soe 1:56 am

Every year, in late February or early March, I place an order for a year’s worth of tea from a shop in New York City. I usually order somewhere around 8 pounds of tea across 10-12 types, but it varies, depending on what we’ve been drinking and what my tea supplier has in stock.

Tea Box

By January, I’m usually out of one or two kinds, but as you can see here, I’m still going strong, although I can see which teas I’m likely to be cutting it close on. (We bought a couple additional pounds during trips to New York City during 2018, so I’ll need to up my order for at least two kinds this winter.) And finishing up one or two types forces me to drink things I like, but like less than my normal six varieties.

I now know, for instance, that I need two pounds of Irish Breakfast tea to make it through the year. Keemun, which is the base for English Breakfast, was my go-to for a while, but a couple years ago there must have been a problem with the supply because the cost for the leaves went way up, and the English Breakfast blend is good, but not as good. Did you know that while English Breakfast tea is generally made from Chinese tea leaves, Irish Breakfast tea nowadays is a blend of two Indian varieties — Assam and Ceylon?

Refilling the Tea Tins

In case you’re wondering, the family go-to’s, in addition to our two breakfast blends, are Ceylon (if you buy the Ceylon from Porto Rico, skip the cheaper Ceylon OP for the Ceylon Kenilworth Garden (the name of the estate where it’s grown), because it’s a superior tea), Assam, and Yunnan. We also drink a lot of Earl Grey (my supplier makes a very nice version that has just the right amount of bergamot) and, depending on the mood, smokey Lapsang Souchong (that’s what’s in the ceramic jar) and Gurance, a citrusy Nepalese tea. We have a couple more in our rotation, including Java Santosa (an Indonesian black tea), Golden Kenyan (anything with golden in the name tends to mean it’s a less dark hues), and a custom blend from our second go-to tea shop in Greenwich Village (that has been in business since the late 1800s) that they say is the three-tea blend they made for Katherine Hepburn when she was alive.

Many Cuppas

I also have a large collection of Darjeelings, but Rudi and I have gone off them a bit in the last couple years (tea quality varies from year to year depending on the growing season and the drying process. I just hit a year that I didn’t love so much and can’t seem to force myself to drink it so I can buy a different year’s blend). They have the most number of grades you can buy, meaning you can pick your tea based on how big the leaves were before they started roasting them. In general, the more letters that appear when describing your Darjeeling, the better the tea. Nearly all the classifications (other than the lowest one, “D” for “dust”) end in “OP” which stands for Orange Pekoe. Orange Pekoe actually means tea leaf buds when used by tea growers, but the term seems to stand in for generic black tea when used by tea bag manufacturers these days.

Feel free to stop by for a cuppa!

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January 1, 2019


happy new year!
posted by soe 5:26 am

Happy New Year!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some superlatives, but, in the meantime, happy 2019!

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December 29, 2018


final long weekend of the year to-do list
posted by soe 1:05 am

With a final long weekend of the year upon us, I have a few more things I’d like to get done before closing the books on 2018:

  • Get outside. The weather in D.C. is supposed to be mild, and, in a surprise from the forecast of earlier this week, dry.
  • Do some baking. I failed in all my holiday baking here (although I was somewhat more successful up north) and there are some recipes I’d like to make. I also received a macaron pan for Christmas, and I admit to being intrigued by the idea.
  • Make a few end-of-year donations. I made more donations year-round in 2018, but there are a few more I’d like to send in.
  • Ask at the hardware store about grow lights. My violets and orchids are mostly hanging in there, in my daylight-challenged subterranean dwelling, but they definitely aren’t thriving. I’d like to see if they have any recommendations.
  • Finalize our list of New Year’s Eve movies. Sarah, Rudi, and I have put forward a list, and I’ll take a stab at coming up with a schedule that works for three of them.
  • Cuddle with the cats. (Jeremiah said I should add that one to the list.)
  • Visit the library. I have some things to return and a couple new items that came off the holds list this week.
  • Send a last few Christmas cards. I know, I know. But we’re not even halfway through the twelve days, so I think it’s okay.
  • Finish a few final books. I’ve pulled out several that have been in-progress for a while and/or are short, and will do my best to add them to the read pile.
  • Knit a bit. And maybe get pictures of the final couple FOs of the year.
  • Listen to some of my new music.
  • Pick up groceries at the farmers market. Topping my to-buy list will be collard greens or kale (the latter will probably be easier to find) for our New Year’s Day meal. (This year, I may try adding cornbread to the menu, since I attended a talk recently that reminded me I should have been serving that alongside my black-eyed peas, as well.
  • Stop at Riverby Books one last time. The used bookstore down the street from my dentist is closing at the end of the year, and they have discounted their used books by 50% before they lock their Capitol Hill rowhouse for good.

How about you? What are you hoping to check off your list this weekend?

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