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broodings from the burrow

April 24, 2018

cherry blossoms
posted by soe 1:50 am

From Rudi’s and my bike ride down to see the cherry blossoms by the Tidal Basin and Potomac River a couple weekends ago. They were past peak, which means that there are more leaves than blossoms, so it wasn’t that ethereal pink cloud look you get during the best period. And as we were down along the river, the drizzle kicked in and the cold crept down, so we’re enjoying ourselves less and less as the ride went on, but were determined to get the most out of it that we could, since we were already going to be wet and chilled regardless.

Cherry Blossoms


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April 23, 2018

my weekend
posted by soe 1:14 am


Spring Saturday Still Life

I spent some time sitting outside at a coffeehouse with my reading.


A Nosegay

I spent a little time at the garden, where my peas are now half a hand tall and where one of the strawberry plants I bought last week now has two white berries on them. My violets are flourishing and I picked a nosegay to bring home. They smelled so lovely!

I spent the evening chatting with Karen and got to say hi to both her kids who shared with me stories of their trip to the carnival.


Today Rudi and I went to the farmers market early, hoping to collect both asparagus and a free compost bin. We were successful at both and procured several other items, including greenhouse tomatoes, milk, soft wheat flour, and leeks.

After a leisurely breakfast, he vacuumed before heading off on a bike ride with a friend, and I did laundry prior to venturing over to the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill, where they were celebrating Billy Shakes’ 454th birthday. I’d never been to the building before, so I was particularly excited to visit, because, well … library!

Folger Library

Queen Elizabeth I Cuts the Cake with a Rapier

The building is beautiful and is divided into long galleries, of which this is the central one. There’s a quartet performing at the far end of this room, a play reading going on in the theater, an exhibit on early books, and trivia and costume dress-up in the back reading room. Outside, there were kids’ activities and, at the end of the event, Queen Elizabeth I and the Eastern High School marching band arrived (separately) to lead us in singing “Happy Birthday” to her most loyal subject. She then cut the cake using a rapier and then staff passed out slices (of sheet cake, rather than the fancy cake that may or may not have been a prop).

Puck Is Very Excited about This Bird

Even Puck got in on the celebration! Or maybe he was really delighted to see this bird.

Rudi and I concluded the evening with risotto made with ramps and asparagus and mushrooms, strawberry ice cream, and tv. I finished my book after he went to bed, painted my toenails (I’m saving the fingernails for tomorrow night), and will soon head to bed.

It was a busy weekend.

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April 22, 2018

the great american read
posted by soe 1:03 am

PBS is launching a show next month about books, The Great American Read. I don’t get PBS over the air and don’t particularly care for the show’s host, Meredith Viera, but I do like to read books and to talk about books, so I suppose it’s possible.

But in the meantime, let’s look at the list. PBS says they did a phone poll asking people what their favorite novel was and that list was then narrowed down by an advisory panel. They condensed series to a single entry and limited authors to only one title. So take the list as what you will, but in the meantime, let’s look at what we’ve read from it and what we’re excited to read:

[I have bolded the titles I’ve read. I’ve used *** to mark titles I own but have not read and † to mark other titles already on my TBR list.)

I’m bolding titles I’ve read.

1. 1984 by George Orwell

2. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole***

3. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving†

4. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

8. Alex Cross Mysteries (series) by James Patterson

9. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll†

10. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie†

11. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

12. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

13. Another Country by James Baldwin

14. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

15. Beloved by Toni Morrison

16. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

17. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

18. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz†

19. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

23. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis

24. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

25. The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

26. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

27. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas†

28. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky†

29. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

30. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes†

32. Doña Bárbara by Rómulo Gallegos

33. Dune by Frank Herbert

34. Fifty Shades of Grey (series) by E.L. James

35. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

36. Foundation (series) by Isaac Asimov

37. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

38. Games of Thrones (series) by George R.R. Martin

39. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

40. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson***

41. The Giver by Lois Lowry

42. The Godfather by Mario Puzo

43. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

44. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

45. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

46. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

47. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

48. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift†

49. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

50. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

51. Hatchet (series) by Gary Paulsen

52. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

53. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

54. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

55. The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins†

56. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

57. The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

58. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison†

59. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

60. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

61. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

62. Left Behind (series) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

63. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

64. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

65. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

66. Looking for Alaska by John Green†

67. The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien

68. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

69. The Martian by Andy Weir

70. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden***

71. Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt

72. Moby Dick by Herman Melville†

73. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

74. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez†

75. Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon

76. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

77. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

78. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

79. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

80. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

81. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

82. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

83. The Shack by William P. Young

84. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

85. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

86. The Stand by Stephen King

87. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway†

88. Swan Song by Robert McCammon

89. Tales of the City (series) by Armistead Maupin†

90. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

91. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe†

92. This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti

93. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

94. Twilight Saga (series) by Stephenie Meyer

95. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy†

96. The Watchers by Dean Koontz

97. The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan†

98. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

99. White Teeth by Zadie Smith***

100. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I think that’s 39 read and another 25 on my TBR list in one form or another. Are there any I didn’t highlight you think I should?

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April 21, 2018

earth day weekend plans
posted by soe 1:10 am

My plans for this weekend are small. I need to put things in the living room back in place after the flooding rearrangement, because currently there’s nowhere to put the laundry rack and I need clean clothes.

I would like to stop by the garden to see if anything’s growing and to harvest some more violets.

I plan to knit the heel of my Posey sock.

I want to buy milk and asparagus at the farmers market, a wallet online, and beads somewhere since apparently my local bead shop doesn’t think bright pink beads in the size called for in my pattern is something they should carry.

I’d like to finish a book or two and watch a video or two, but the former is going to come down to wakefulness and the latter to Rudi’s availability.

I’d like to go to the free events happening at the Folger Shakespeare Library or at the Tudor House on Sunday, since I haven’t been to either one.

I want to paint my nails. The green is mostly gone.

I have to get some sleep and spend lots of time outside.

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April 20, 2018

experience, on the cover, and baubles
posted by soe 1:42 am

Redbud Flowers

When I walked out of the house this morning, the redbud on the corner was practically iridescent against the storm grey sky. I didn’t do a great job of capturing its grandness (although you can see the rest of my efforts on Flickr), but this is the best of the bunch. And here are three more beautiful things I wanted to share from my past week:

1. We flooded in the torrential rains of Sunday night, but I had thought that might be the case and had prepared by moving the things I thought likeliest to be damaged. I got up at one point to check, discovered the incursion, and moved everything else (that had been inconvenient to move if we weren’t going to get wet) and by morning merely had to dispose of sodden newspaper and launder sopping wet towels.

2. Danny texted to say his writing group’s collection of short stories was available on Amazon. There really is nothing quite like seeing one of your dearest people’s name on a book cover. (I know I’ve mentioned it before. I’ll probably mention it again. If any of you publish a book, I’ll share it, too.)

3. While I did not find a wallet last weekend, I did buy jewelry — bracelets — at the boutique that’s going out of business next month. One is fun, with Art Deco-style cats, and the other pretty, with colorful glass and pounded silver made by a couple in North Carolina, according to the store’s owner.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

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April 19, 2018

posted by soe 1:28 am

April Reading & Knitting

I am stalled on several knitting projects, having not yet bought the beads I need to move on with the hat and having found a fatal flaw in the green stripey socks that will require ripping back to before the heel flap. So here I show you the knitting project I’ve already done the ripping on that’s ready to move forward. I bought some grey yarn to make heels from, so now I can get knitting on my Posey socks once more.

I spent the weekend reading Obsidio, so that’s one 600+-page book down and now I can finish Strange the Dreamer, which will let me check off the second one on my list. Both Sing, Unburied, Sing and We Were Eight Years in Power are both overdue, so I need to wrap them both up and get them back to the library. I’ve enjoyed listening to Norse Mythology, but it’s going to expire from my Overdrive app before I finish it, so I’ll need to wait to conclude my audiobook experience, but Crocodile on the Sandbank, Flat Broke with Two Goats, and The Bear and the Nightingale are all checked out to me for faunal listening. Finally, I’m reading my friend’s book, Kidnapped! Abductions in Space, Time, and Fantasy by Danny Atwood et al, on my laptop because that’s what you do when loved ones publish ebooks. I don’t particularly love short story collections and find they work best for me if I space the stories out with a couple days in between them, so that’s what I’m doing. So far, I’m liking it and recommend it if you do like short stories, particularly in the fantasy/sci fi vein.

Head over to As Kat Knits to read what else people are reading and knitting.

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