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broodings from the burrow

November 12, 2010

sunsets, pastry, and time away
posted by soe 2:40 am

1. Teiwice this week I habve founds myself outside at dusjk. Omn ,Momhjm,nday UI caiught the a crescenyt miioon over Rsossluuyn from the Geotrgetown waterfront. Tonuight it was the last nubmiuiomevnts of coloor diasappearimmnhg from nbeyond ythe Baltuinbmiore GHarbotr.

[Ahem. This was typed with my left hand while balancing the roly-poly Corey on my lap and propping him up with my right. Obviously what it says is: “Twice this week I have found myself outside at dusk. On Monday I caught a crescent moon over Rosslyn from the Georgetown waterfront. Tonight it was the last movements of color disappearing from beyond the Baltimore Harbor.” Honestly, it was just too funny not to share the original after Corey freed up my right hand.]

2. Rudi joins me in Baltimore after work. While our pizza is not of New Haven quality, our cannoli (from Vaccaro’s, the same bakery that used to have a stand at D.C.’s Union Station) rivals Libby’s, which is the highest compliment I can pay to Italian delicacies.

3. Another knitter and I were exchanging emails and she happened to mention that one of the socks we’d made during last spring’s Sock Madness had really helped her finesse her grafting skills. After replying that that sock had been my undoing in the competition (yes, it was the first one; so what?) and that, in fact, it had been sitting on my desk untouched since March, I pulled out the baggie and tried the completed sock on. When I had put the socks away, I had been up all night on a cross-country flight trying to finish the pair, was exhausted, and was in Salt Lake where my allergies drive all my senses into overdrive. The socks had an unusual construction and I had felt seams bunching in uncomfortable ways in spots where that would be sure to cause blisters. After I failed to finish by the deadline, I shoved the socks into a baggie and figured I’d have to undo some grafting and maybe frog the socks some. Some day. But on Saturday I realized it had merely been my state of mind (and/or health) that had put these socks into time out. I took them out of sock purgatory and am on my way to a weekend completion of a new pair of socks.

What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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November 11, 2010

weekly geeks: readers’ advisory, part 2
posted by soe 3:48 am

weekly geeksThe second part of this week’s Weekly Geeks meme, asks participants to give their readers some book recommendations.

Since I asked you for your holiday book suggestions yesterday, I thought I’d share five of mine today, with a focus on those that will appeal to the child in all of us:

As many of yesterday’s commenters noted, Let It Snow!, which is a trio of interconnected stories/novellas by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, is a great modern book for fans of well-written young adult fiction. The overarching premise: A blizzard strikes the mid-Atlantic on Christmas Eve, stranding a train heading to Florida just outside Gracetown, Virginia. Included on the train are a horde of high school cheerleaders headed to a competition and two other solitary teenagers, Jeb and Jubilee. Independently, they all head to the Waffle House they can see from the train window through the night’s snow. The stories are what happens next on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (My review is here.)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson is older than I am, but it still resonates. Told from the perspective of a young girl whose mother is suddenly recruited to direct the church Nativity play, this is the story of the Herdman family, six mean, tough, bullying siblings growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. The Herdmans learn of the pageant and decide they want to be involved. And by involved they mean take over the lead roles. But because no one has ever told them the story of the first Christmas, the Herdmans interpret it on their own terms.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is a beautiful picture book that tells how a young boy beginning to doubt the true spirit of Christmas catches a ride on a magical Christmas train heading to the North Pole.

The Birds’ Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggins is a melodramatic children’s book about young Carol Bird, who is born on Christmas day. Beloved by all around her, she is especially idolized by her young, poor neighbors, the Ruggles children. Bed-ridden and ailing, the beatific Carol asks her parents to bow to her whim of throwing a Christmas party for the local kids. This one always makes me weep and I can’t see how it wouldn’t have a similar effect on anyone whose heart is not made of icicles.

Babar and Father Christmas by Jean de Brunhoff follows the world’s favorite elephant king as he attempts to locate St. Nick and bring him to Celesteville after his children learn he traditionally brings presents on Christmas Eve.

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November 10, 2010

weekly geeks: readers advisory
posted by soe 2:33 am

weekly geeksIn anticipation of an upcoming readalong challenge, and in the spirit of this week’s Weekly Geeks meme, which instructs participants to poll their readers for book suggestions, I’d like to ask you for your favorite holiday* reading material. Novels, nonfiction, short story collections, children’s books, all are welcome.

I’ll stop back tomorrow with some suggestions of my own for what to read in the next two months as we lead up to and through the winter holiday season.

And, in the meantime, I hope you’ll leave me a comment with some of your favorites.

*Ultimately, I’m looking for materials relating to Christmas and other December holidays. But if your favorite holiday is Flag Day and you’ve got an awesome book related to it, feel free to share it.

Category: books. There is/are 4 Comments.

November 9, 2010

morning glory
posted by soe 3:44 am

Tonight Rudi and I had the opportunity to see an advance screening of Morning Glory, which opens later this week.

I admit that I went to the theater reluctantly. Sure, the movie had good names in it, but, while the previews were cute, they just didn’t wow me. If the tickets hadn’t been free, I probably would have skipped the film’s run at local cinemas.

I share this only because I will admit I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the movie.

Rachel McAdams plays Becky, the workaholic assistant producer of a regional morning show who aspires to someday work at The Today Show. In the opening moments of the movie, instead of being promoted to the helm, as she and her colleagues expect, she is let go in a corporate restructuring. Set adrift without options, her little boat eventually ends up finding harbor at a dysfunctional New York station, where Jeff Goldblum hires her as the producer of his national morning show, a perpetual fourth-place finisher.

She finds her rag-tag program lacks funding, clout, go-getter staff members, and even functioning door knobs. Her anchor, played beautifully by Diane Keaton, is bitter about where their show stands and the chances this young no-name is going to have at changing it before she gets fired or quits. The co-anchor is a noted lech, whom Becky quickly but theatrically shows the door, leaving an empty seat to be filled on Day 1 at her new position.

The movie features some amusing walk-ons, some conversation about the line between journalism and entertainment, and a romantic subplot. And weaving it all together is a tight script, great casting, and a lot of humor and heart that makes Morning Glory well worth the price of admission.

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November 4, 2010

best for last, superfriend, and reinforcements
posted by soe 4:53 pm

It’s a rainy November day with slow brain movements. But it’s also Thursday, which means it’s time for three beautiful things:

1. Instead of the sludge you often find at the bottom of a cup of cocoa, mine has mini chocolate chips.

2. Michael is our lone trick-or-treater, but his Aquaman costume makes him a welcome visitor. And his glee at the variety of candy I have picked up makes me happy.

3. Just when I think I’m out of handknit socks to wear on a chilly November day, I remember that I finished a pair over the weekend and that Monday night I found a pair that I’d finished over the summer when it was too warm to do anything but model them for a photo. (And, yes, that’s my new cue to do laundry…)

What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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November 2, 2010

a spirited weekend
posted by soe 1:30 am

While thousands of people poured into D.C. in support of the Colbert/Stewart rally, I fled, seeking pumpkins.

It was a glorious day for a walk and drive in the countryside. The colors in the farmland were just beginning to show, really.

Cornfield and Colors

When I got out to Homestead Farm, I found it had already been taken over:

A Witch Is at the Hen House

Happy Halloween Hay Roll

Luckily, no one seemed to be haunting the pumpkin patch, so I found two excellent specimen.

Pumpkin Homeland

At the farm stand, I also picked up some apples, vegetables, and a large bowl of squash. They had a wide assortment of gourds, too.


As usual, their animals were excited to greet visitors to the farm.

A Trio of Troublemakers

Wooly Warden

Since our last visit over Labor Day weekend, the farm has some new residents:

What Did the Sixth Little Piggy Do?


Here Piggy, Piggy, Piggy!

On Sunday, Rudi headed out for a mid-afternoon bike ride, while I got into costume:


It’s surprising, really. I’ve been able to braid my hair for 30 years and have complete muscle memory for it. But braiding it around a coat hanger? Immensely challenging…

Wielding fun hair spray? Totally fun. I wonder how my office would feel if I became a redhead more often…

Pippi and Her Pet

While Corey had captured Mr. Nilsson’s antics accurately, he just refused to wear a monkey costume… We made do.

I hope your Halloween weekend was equally enjoyable. Did you dress up? Go to parties? Take your wee ones trick or treating? Hand out candy?

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