sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 22, 2017


alice’s restaurant
posted by soe 4:59 am

Because I’ve been up all night cleaning and packing and because we need to hit the road shortly for our drive to Connecticut, I’m going to give you tomorrow’s song today:

I’ve shared this before, but my dad likes to play Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” every year and feels the day isn’t complete without it. When we were younger, my brother and I had other ideas about that. When we were very small, clearly we just had to put up with it. But as we got older, we’d head into our own rooms and put on “better” music. So Dad responded by making a cassette version and playing it in the car on the way home from Thanksgiving supper. We stole the tape so he couldn’t do it the next year. He made a new tape. We hid that one, too.

But, ultimately, it was never about a song, even one that lasts 20 minutes, but it was about being a part of a movement. And we are, because now it’s not Thanksgiving for me either without hearing it.

So, wait for it to come around on the guitar and then sing along loudly — and with feeling — when it does:

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.
Walk right in; it’s around the back —
Just a half a mile from the railroad track.
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.

Category: arts. There is/are 1 Comment.

November 20, 2017


music for monday
posted by soe 1:35 am

Three Thanksgiving songs for your week:

Bing Crosby singing “I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For” from Holiday Inn:

Mary Chapin Carpenter singing “The Thanksgiving Song”:

Adam Sandler singing “The Thanksgiving Song” on Saturday Night Live:

(Stop back later in the week for the quintessential Thanksgiving song, without which my holiday just wouldn’t be complete‚Ķ)

Category: arts. There is/are 2 Comments.

November 19, 2017


coffeeneuring 2017: ride #3
posted by soe 1:57 am

There are nine books to write about for June, so I’m going with the easier option of a Coffeeneuring ride, especially since Rudi posted those photos for me.

Coffeeneuring Ride #3: Shop Made in DC (1330 19th St., N.W.) and Shaw (Watha T. Daniels) Library (1630 7th St., N.W.)

Shaw Library

Saturday, Oct. 21; 4.7 miles

Hot chocolate, cardamom kouign amann

If you’re going to talk about the revitalization of D.C.’s branch libraries, it’s impossible to have that discussion without highlighting the one in the Shaw neighborhood. This happens to be my current secondary library branch, the one I’m most easily able to get to on my way home from work. (more…)

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

November 14, 2017


coffeeneuring 2017: ride #4
posted by soe 1:37 am

No, in case you were paying attention, you did not miss posts on rides #2 or #3. Because ride #2 was to my regular library, I didn’t think to take photos inside, so I want to go back and get some to show it off properly. And I had a good portion of the post for ride #3 done when I realized that I wanted to include shots that are on Rudi’s phone (and he’s sleeping).

So, we’re skipping ahead to ride #4:

Coffeeneuring Ride #4: A Baked Joint (440 K St., N.W.) and Rosedale Library (1701 Gales St., N.E.)

Rosedale Neighborhood Library

Saturday, Oct. 28; 11.63 miles

Hot chocolate, brownie-chocolate chip cookie bar

For this ride, the first of the longer ones I was planning for Coffeeneuring, I thought I’d thought things out enough. I’d requested some of my holds to be delivered to libraries around the city, hoping they’d arrive spaced far enough apart to accommodate my plan. I got the notice that Exit West had arrived at the Rosedale Neighborhood Library, and knew that library was the nearest branch to Mason Dixie Biscuit Company, where I planned to do the drinking portion of my ride.

Rosedale Library's Featured Books

The ride out went mostly fine, given I wasn’t fully sure of where I was going and that I’d put my phone in my pannier, rather than leaving it accessible for consultation, which meant I kept having to stop after a certain point.

The Rosedale neighborhood is in Northeast, just past where the H St. Corridor development extends, which means it’s a diverse neighborhood. On this Saturday before Halloween, there were lots of kids about and holiday preparations were firmly underway.

Rosedale Library Display

The Rosedale Neighborhood Library, which shares space with the local parks & rec/community center, was built in 2012 to replace two of the one-room kiosk libraries that had served the community since the 1970s (you can see the H St. one, now an arts space, here).

Like Northwest One, Rosedale’s branch is a large, communal space divided into sections using low-rise stacks. It’s got an open industrial ceiling, but they use these cool leaf mobile sculptures to help make it seem more homey, to help soften the light, and, I’m guessing, to help dampen the sound.

Leaf Sculpture Mobiles at Rosedale Library

This Saturday afternoon, the library was doing brisk business and I don’t think there were any empty chairs. I quickly found Exit West, perused the videos, and then went over to check out the new releases shelf, where I found a cookbook devoted to pumpkin/squash recipes that needed to come home with me.

Back outside, I looked up directions to Mason Dixie, only to discover, thanks to Google’s omnipresence, that it closed in 15 minutes. I’d considered many details, but never that a restaurant would close mid-afternoon. Clearly that option was not going to work. Retracing my steps homeward, I thought about where I could head that would still be open by the time I arrived. A Baked Joint came to mind and I pointed my bike toward the Mount Vernon/NoMa area of town.

A Baked Joint is a sister establishment to my favorite cupcake shop in D.C. and I hoped they’d share the same approach to making hot chocolate, which involves a large frappe glass, oodles of whipped cream, and chocolate chips. Should you find yourself craving cocoa, they have my vote for best in region. The bakery case was starting to look a little bare, so the cashier recommended this half-brownie-half chocolate chip cookie bar. It was large and rich, and I definitely should have brought half home with me to eat later instead of gorging myself on the entire thing in one sitting.

Coffeeneuring at A Baked Joint

I found a table outside next to their greenspace and read my books for a while. I had just commented to the woman reading at the table next to mine that I kept hoping the light above us would turn on when I looked down and realized there was a rat near my foot. (I had seen the holes in the ground when I sat down, so I knew there was a burrow, but I’d figured they’d wait until it was legitimately dark to come out. Oops!) We both agreed that was the sign that it was time to move!

After taking my dishes inside, I came back out to the bike racks (the cafe is conveniently located next to a bike shop, so there were lots of places to park) only to discover that my seat cover had been stolen. When I’d arrived, some young men had been hanging out nearby and while I was inside I noticed they were pulling wheelies awfully close to the tables (I have seen some very balanced guys ride wheelies for blocks in traffic, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they were totally in control and not actually endangering anyone). Because they were gone when I came back outside, I didn’t give them another thought until I returned to the bike. And I didn’t actually see them take it, so I could totally be wrong. They didn’t take my pannier or any of my lights, thank goodness, so it clearly had been a stupid dare, but since I use a seat cover because my silicone gel-filled seat has some big, leaking holes in it, I was irked. Luckily, I had a plastic bag I use for rain protection in my pannier, so I tied that over the seat and rode home on it. Since the seat cover had big chunks of silicone stuck to the inside, I’m really hoping whoever stole it decided to put it on their head and then got them stuck in their hair. It would serve them right!

Much to my delight, the company where I buy the seat covers (I’d wondered if they’d be stolen, so had ordered two and then had the first one taken from in front of my office the first week I used it) had a free shipping sale two days later and new ones (3 this time, with one being boring black so as to attract less attention than the ones I prefer) arrived within the week.

So, not quite the ride I’d planned for or wanted, but still it was good to check out a new neighborhood and a new library.

If you missed it, this post explains what Coffeeneuring is and why I’m visiting local libraries during it.

Category: books,dc life,sports. There is/are 3 Comments.

November 13, 2017


music for monday
posted by soe 12:54 am

That sickness I was trying to outrun on Friday caught up with me early Saturday morning and I’ve spent most of the weekend listlessly curled up on the couch, canceling plans left and right. I’m still not feeling 100%, so I’m going to leave you with some music for Monday and head to bed:

David Wilcox’s “Cold”:

Betty Boop’s “I Got A Cold In My Nose”

Skip James’ “Sickbed Blues”

Lisa Loeb’s “A Co Di by Doze (A Cold in My Nose)”

Harry Nilsson’s “Put the Lime in the Coconut”

Johnny Rivers’ “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”

If you’ve got a favorite sickbed song, leave it in the comments.

Category: arts. There is/are 3 Comments.

November 12, 2017


into the stacks: april 2017
posted by soe 1:50 am

I put this off last Saturday (and, you know, for months and months now), because it was too much work. Time to suck it up…

A Study in Scarlet Women, by Sherry Thomas

As you might guess from the title, this is a retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes story. In this version, Lady Charlotte Holmes, cast out by her family after being caught in flagrante delicto with a married man. Mind you, she was only caught because she was the one to raise the alarm, hoping to free herself both from her troublesome family and the virginity they are so eager to protect. But after her father and sister fall under suspicion for killing the man’s mother, Charlotte must find a way to make the nom de plume, Sherlock, she uses in correspondence with the police work in real life in a society prejudiced against women to clear the family she still loves. I can think of at least four series in which Sherlock has been remained as a woman, and this is probably the strongest of the bunch, so if you’re only looking for one, pick this one (although I recommend them all.)

Pages: 323. Library copy.
(more…)

Category: books. There is/are 2 Comments.