sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 27, 2019


signs of hope
posted by soe 1:44 am

Walking up to the park this afternoon, I saw signs everywhere that spring has nearly arrived.

This bunch of crocuses:

Crocuses in the February Sunshine

The daffodil finally popped:

First Daffodil Sighting

And its brethren are set to follow suit:

More to Come

I know many of you are buried under feet of snow and these signs are still a long way off in your own neighborhoods. But I hope you’ll take them, as I do, of signs that winter will not last forever.

(In that spirit, I wore footie socks out today. It was a mistake, but I did it anyway.)

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February 25, 2019


the final weekending of february
posted by soe 1:28 am

This weekend included:

Cuban Hot Chocolate

  • A talk by an artist
  • Knitting outside over hot chocolate
  • Enjoying all the winter/sprint flowers

Forsythia

  • Fewer chores than there should have been
  • A lot more streaming tv than necessary (I discovered one of the libraries I belong to lets you borrow Acorn memberships!)
  • Not flooding
  • Cuddling Corey

Winter Salad

  • A very large (and delicious) salad
  • A bagful of produce from the farmers market (including ingredients for cottage pie)

Reading on Book Hill

  • Reading on Book Hill
  • Enjoying zataar fries before the sun set

Zataar Fries

  • Chatting with my folks
  • Welcoming Rudi home

Golden Clouds

How was your weekend?

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February 23, 2019


signs of what’s to come
posted by soe 1:49 am

Spring seems to be just around the corner, according to some of what I noticed while walking around my neighborhood today:

Leaf Buds

Magnolia Buds

Crocus

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February 19, 2019


nearly there (ii)
posted by soe 2:05 am

Cakes

Gramma used to think, not incorrectly, that sometimes my head got in my way. You just can’t do things the easy way, can you, she’d ask. Often this isn’t true, except when it utterly is.

I’ve been hankering after her Blitz torte, which is a two-layer, meringue-topped cake with pineapple and cream filling, something she used to make quite frequently and which I haven’t had since, I think, before she went to live with my folks. It’s been a long time. I have the recipe for it, though, so I decided that this year I was going to make a birthday cake and that that was going to be it.

There are a few minor causes for concern to that plan. I have never successfully made meringue. I don’t especially like to follow directions exactly. I don’t have two cake pans of the same size.

While I knew I could wash and reuse my one round cake pan, I decided instead that I had these heart-shaped mini cake pans Karen gave to me years ago and that they were probably together roughly the same size as what was called for in the recipe. Never mind that this was going to make it far more challenging to remove each piece from the pan intact. I’d decided this was the best way to go, and we were going this way.

I ended up not making the cake last week for a couple reasons, but ultimately this was a good thing, I think. Instead, I embarked upon it this afternoon and finished it up tonight.

I separated nearly twice as many eggs as the recipe called for, first because one egg was bad and I hadn’t been pouring the egg whites into a fresh container from the one I was separating them over, so I lost two egg whites when the third was bad. Another I broke the yolk when I cracked the egg. (The two spare yolks and the broken egg went into the fridge for use another day.) I’d originally intended to whip the egg whites first using my Kitchen Aid beater attachment, but then I made the cake batter first and didn’t have the bowl available. So I had to whip the egg whites by hand. After half an hour of whisking, I didn’t have any peaks, let alone stiff ones, but it was definitely thicker, so I decided it was good enough.

Four-plus hours after embarking upon this baking journey, I have at least two loads of dishes to handwash, ten wonky cakelets (in which nine of them had the meringue topping separate from the cake when I attempted to get them out of the pans — why does meringue want to stick to everything except the cake itself?!), and still no cake. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll make the filling using the cream I had to buy after we discovered my older cream had clotted (I’ll make scones).

There were tears earlier, so it’s good I didn’t try to make this on my birthday. God, I hope it tastes okay. I’ll have put six hours into this damn thing before we ever get a bite…

I could have done things the easy way, but then it wouldn’t have been my way, would it?

Now pardon me while I go put a dent in those dishes…

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February 17, 2019


nearly there now
posted by soe 1:37 am

Nearly There

Tomorrow would be my guess, but maybe Monday if the sun doesn’t come out until then…

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February 16, 2019


mid-february long weekend to-do list
posted by soe 1:41 am

I’m not sure why I’m excited by a long weekend, since right now every day is a weekend for me, but still I am. Over the next three days I’m hoping to:

  • Go see Jasper Fforde, who is promoting his new book locally on Monday. One of my gifts yesterday was a gift card to that bookstore, so I will be getting a book signed, too.
  • Catch up with some former coworkers for drinks on Sunday when they come to town.
  • Hit the farmers market. I’ve had several salads this week, so I need some more greens.
  • Put our new mattress pad on the bed.
  • Write about books here.
  • Bake a cake. My birthday baking got bumped by more social activities, so I decided to postpone it until either Sunday or Monday, when Rudi will be back to help me eat it.
  • Phone my brother on Sunday to celebrate his birthday and a friend whose call I missed yesterday.
  • Head up to one of the city’s indie bookstores that is celebrating its grand re-opening tomorrow after changing hands.
  • Clean out the fridge.
  • Dig out the bread maker. I’ve been buying bread, but I have the means, time, and ingredients to make it myself, so I really should.
  • Complete a couple books. Akata Witch will likely get wrapped up, as may The Woman Who Smashed Codes.
  • Finish knitting the sixth strip on my shawl and figure out if I’m doing a seventh one or not.
  • Watch some dvds. I picked up Top Hat, The Thomas Crown Affair, and The Awful Truth at the library this afternoon.

How about you? What’s on your to-do (or to-not-do) list this weekend?

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