April 28, 2011
helping hand, support, and a night at the park
posted by soe 11:58 pm
Three beautiful things from my week past before I go make some scones for tomorrow’s early morning tv watching:
1. The escalator is out on the side of the Metro lacking an elevator. A heavily pregnant woman asks her toddler to get out of the stroller and prepares to fold the stroller so she can carry both the child and the equipment up what are now a steep set of stairs. A man passing by pauses to ask, “May I carry that up for you?” She gladly accepts.
2. I procure a couple new bras. The flowery one is a complete surprise — usually truly pretty bras are only to be found in smaller sizes.
3. Rudi and I catch two of the three Mets-Nationals games this week. Although Tuesday’s had our preferred outcome of a Mets win, Thursday is truly a perfect example of a spring baseball game. Sarah and Julia hold the other pair of tickets for the night, and spending an evening with friends always makes for a nicer experience. Plus, the storms have moved on, leaving behind clear skies, dry air, and comfortable temperatures. Puffy clouds sit along the horizon, turning shades of persimmon and orchid with the sunset, while the river behind us reflects a lavender sky. Generally jovial crowds are interspersed throughout the ballpark, offering up the occasional cheer or chant. On the field, the teams are well matched. There are diving catches galore, long balls, pop ups, stolen bases, and bases protected. There are fast-balls and off-speed curves. There are bunts and a well executed squeeze play. And there is dramatic tension right up through the final batter of the night, who could have changed the outcome of the game with a swing of his bat.
How about you? What beautiful things have you been noticing this week?
game night in the burrow
posted by soe 3:44 am
Hey, Corey, we’re going to play this fun board game. It’s called Cosmic Cows.
April 21, 2011
decoration, wave, and oldies but goodies
posted by soe 4:52 pm
It’s Thursday and Rudi and I will be hitting the road north tonight to spend a long weekend in Connecticut. But before we go, I offer you three beautiful things from my past week:
1. A brightly colored garland with theater masks on it adorns a tree in Franklin Square.
2. From the sidewalk, I can’t quite reach the lilacs blooming in a neighbor’s yard, but the mere act of stretching toward them wafts the delicious odor my way.
3. I watch two old films over the weekend: It Happened to Jane stars Doris Day and Jack Lemmon and substitutes Connecticut scenery for Maine’s. And Mr. Deeds Goes to Town showcases the talents of Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in the move that netted Frank Capra his second (of three) Oscars for direction. Both have happy endings for the heroes.
How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?
posted by soe 2:47 am
If things are going to start hiding in the places where they belong (like books in a bookshelf), I’m never going to find anything.
Plain Kate has been located on a bookshelf — the one under my desk that I sit and look at every day. It was cleverly hidden right next to another book I got the same day.
Interestingly, right next to them is another advance reader copy from last summer of a book that I have picked up and put down at the library at least three times.
April 20, 2011
into the stacks: the blue castle
posted by soe 12:42 am
The Blue Castle, by L. M. Montgomery
From the jacket: “At twenty-nine Valency had never been in love, and it seemed romance had passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she found her only consolations in the ‘forbidden’ books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrived from Dr. Trent — and Valency decided to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valency did and said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.”
My take: Last fall, raidergirl3 reviewed this novel and then offered it up to anyone who’d yet to read it. It came to me and sat on the shelf patiently waiting for me to choose it. Early last month, it jumped out at me as being the perfect read for the dreary transition to March we were having.
And it was. Valency wakes up on the morning of her 29th birthday with chest pains and despair about her life ever getting better. The good, obedient daughter of a domineering mother and overly involved, unkind, Victorian-era extended family, Valency has spent her life trying to live up to everyone’s expectations of her, whether it’s reading books only as often as her mother permits or serving as the straight man to her uncle’s mocking jokes or rubbing her cousin’s aching back before bed. But when she learns that she doesn’t have much time to live, she decides it’s time for a change. A total change. She answers her family back. She moves into the town drunk’s home to serve as housekeeper and nursemaid to his disgraced daughter. And, most scandalous of all, she’s seen interacting with Barney Snaith, who’s rumored to have done any number of terrible things.
If you’re anything like me, you spend the first bit of the novel chafing at the treatment Valency is subjected to and wondering why she doesn’t stand up for herself. Certainly some of it can be brushed off as being more fitting of the time the novel takes place (the early 1920s), but she really does suffer because of her stuffy family. And then you remember all the stupid or mundane things you do (or don’t do) yourself because “it’s expected” or “that’s just how it is.” Says who?
Valency finds it’s possible to carve out a life worth living without adhering to each “thou shalt” that comes along. But will she be able to remain true to herself when life throws up roadblocks or as she gets closer to the end of the time frame the doctor has given her?
L.M. Montgomery, as many of you probably know, wrote the Anne of Green Gables series as well as a number of other books. If you’ve read any of her Anne or Emily books, you know that she harbors a not-so-secret fondness for gothic fiction, and it seems like this novel is in keeping with it. But, as with Montgomery’s other works, it only dabbles in it here and there, with references to Blackbeard and certain romantic elements.
If you’ve enjoyed Montgomery’s other works or need a smidge of rebellion in your own life, I highly recommend adding this to your to-read pile. Even if you can pinpoint how the book will end pretty much from the start, it won’t stop you from taking in the sights and enjoying the journey.
April 19, 2011
posted by soe 1:27 am
On each successive round of Sock Madness, I am getting faster, but so are the rest of my competitors. I was one of the final five finishers of this round and expect that the next competitive round (which won’t start until next week) will knock me out of the running. But in the meantime, I’m basking in the fact that I’ve knit three complete pairs of socks in the past five weeks. The latest pair took me a mere eight days.
We got the pattern on Friday evening. I finished the first sock Monday night. On Tuesday evening, I cast on the second sock. It was a chilly evening at the ballpark:
We won the game, but I didn’t get past the toe.
Luckily, when you’re knitting the second sock, you start to know the pattern a bit better, so it goes quickly. I knit Wednesday after work, but took Thursday off for another ball game. Friday, I knit, knit, knit as fast as my fingers could fly until I got so tired I started to make stupid cabling mistakes.
I was not so tired that I didn’t notice, so I fixed them and toddled off to bed.
Saturday morning, I set the alarm and got up to knit. I barely took breaks, and by teatime I had a finished pair.
And, just as importantly, a spot in the next round.
The pattern is Dangerous Turns and the yarn is Hairball Yarn‘s wool-bamboo-nylon blend in a coral hue. It’s one of the skeins the dyer generously sent me after the Tour de France knit-along last year.
I used US1.5 circular needles for the foot and US2 dpns for the leg.
And I’m very happy with how they turned out.