sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 31, 2018


#tbtbsanta 2018
posted by soe 1:58 am

The Broke and the Bookish came out of retirement briefly to conduct their annual Secret Santa book swap earlier this month.

My package came from Lea of Lea Out West. She lives in Lake Tahoe, but her brother lives here in D.C. and surprisingly close by!

#TBTBSanta 2018

It didn’t strike me as unusual that both cats were interested in the box Lea sent. They’re big fans of boxes of any kind. But what I didn’t realize was that Lea had included presents for Jeremiah and Corey. I’d barely gotten the box open to pull things out when Corey hopped up, rooted around inside quickly, and ran off with this squirrel tail:

Corey Defeats the Squirrel Tail

Jeremiah was not to be left out, but he is older and knew he should wait patiently for me to share a present with him. He got toast.

Jer Considers Toast

Jeremiah Licks the Toast

I’m not sure they shared willingly, but they did each steal the other toy to make sure they got to experience both.

Corey and the Toast

Corey Is High on Toast (and Catnip)

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Lea was my cats’ favorite person that night. It shouldn’t surprise me, since this is the great Christmas card she sent:

Lea's Christmas Card

But it was not just the cats who got presents. I got some as well!

I’ll be honest. Lea’s package arrived the week before Christmas, and it was kind of a crappy week for me. I was PMSing, the apartment had flooded, my Christmas preparations were not humming along in the way that it felt like they should for someone with no day job to distract them from getting stuff done, and I was in the emotional and mental place one might expect to result from that combination. So I used the package as a daily pick-me-up. Every day I opened a gift or two, and every time I did, the world felt a little bit more right.

#TBTBSanta Presents from Lea

I have four new books to read and have already started in on the Christmas-themed one. I’m saving the other three as treats to read this winter (okay, the new Lady Sherlock may only wait until New Year’s Day — I can’t wait to start it!). I have new nail polish in sparkly confetti and purples, which will be the festive manicure I give myself on New Year’s Day while watching the parade. There is a fancy tea to drink late at night when I should be sleeping (like now). There are bookmarks (already in use!), notepads, sparkly pens, stickers, and bags to tuck into purses to hold pens, pads, and knitting needles (the last of those may not have been in Lea’s plan, but they’re just the right size!).

It really is a great package, don’t you think? Thank you so much to Lea for making me a box that I (and the cats) loved and to Jamie and Jana for running the swap again. I had a lot of fun shopping for my swap partner (Megan of The Hungry Bookworm) and got so much enjoyment out of opening each present Lea sent.

Category: books,christmas/holiday season. There is/are 3 Comments.

December 30, 2018


one last bookstore run
posted by soe 1:29 am

As I mentioned yesterday, Riverby Books, one of D.C.’s longtime used bookshops, is closing at the end of the year.

It has long been a favorite haunt of mine when over on on Capitol Hill, and I decided that I wanted to make one final pilgrimage before it was no more.

D.C.’s used bookstores each have their own unique feel. Capitol Hill Books is literally piled high with books. (They sit on the window sills, countertops, and in the bathroom, and used to be piled on the stairs until, I assume, the fire marshal shot that down.) Second Story Books in Dupont Circle has more of a storefront feel, with wide aisles and fluorescent lights. Wall of Books up Georgia Avenue is similar, but takes it further, being a bigger space, but it also is more a bookstore of the people, rather than of the collectors, so there’s less highbrow work and a broader selection. Idle Time in Adams Morgan has more ephemera (paintings and postcards), while Riverby fits into the upscale but laid back category, with a classy main floor (lots of wood, a couple wingback chairs, and a corner where you could brew yourself a cuppa to drink while browsing) aimed at adult bibliophiles and a cozier, more casual basement filled with kids books and a few overflow grown-up sections.

Riverby Books

Riverby Books

Riverby Books

For the holidays, they’d assembled book bundles — trios of books relating to a theme, such as classics or movie fodder or titles based on Shakespeare quotations. This one was my favorite:

Riverby Book Bundle

And did I come home with anything new, you ask?

Riverby Book Haul

As you can see, I had some luck finding an assortment of reading material. There are three books of poetry, including a local anthology; a classic; a middle-grade caper I’ve been meaning to read; three Christmas items (two dvd collections and one novella); and two books on language, including one by Bill Bryson. And with the closing sale discount, it all came out to less than $2.50 per item. Quite a good haul, if I do say so myself.

Category: books,dc life. There is/are 2 Comments.

December 29, 2018


final long weekend of the year to-do list
posted by soe 1:05 am

With a final long weekend of the year upon us, I have a few more things I’d like to get done before closing the books on 2018:

  • Get outside. The weather in D.C. is supposed to be mild, and, in a surprise from the forecast of earlier this week, dry.
  • Do some baking. I failed in all my holiday baking here (although I was somewhat more successful up north) and there are some recipes I’d like to make. I also received a macaron pan for Christmas, and I admit to being intrigued by the idea.
  • Make a few end-of-year donations. I made more donations year-round in 2018, but there are a few more I’d like to send in.
  • Ask at the hardware store about grow lights. My violets and orchids are mostly hanging in there, in my daylight-challenged subterranean dwelling, but they definitely aren’t thriving. I’d like to see if they have any recommendations.
  • Finalize our list of New Year’s Eve movies. Sarah, Rudi, and I have put forward a list, and I’ll take a stab at coming up with a schedule that works for three of them.
  • Cuddle with the cats. (Jeremiah said I should add that one to the list.)
  • Visit the library. I have some things to return and a couple new items that came off the holds list this week.
  • Send a last few Christmas cards. I know, I know. But we’re not even halfway through the twelve days, so I think it’s okay.
  • Finish a few final books. I’ve pulled out several that have been in-progress for a while and/or are short, and will do my best to add them to the read pile.
  • Knit a bit. And maybe get pictures of the final couple FOs of the year.
  • Listen to some of my new music.
  • Pick up groceries at the farmers market. Topping my to-buy list will be collard greens or kale (the latter will probably be easier to find) for our New Year’s Day meal. (This year, I may try adding cornbread to the menu, since I attended a talk recently that reminded me I should have been serving that alongside my black-eyed peas, as well.
  • Stop at Riverby Books one last time. The used bookstore down the street from my dentist is closing at the end of the year, and they have discounted their used books by 50% before they lock their Capitol Hill rowhouse for good.

How about you? What are you hoping to check off your list this weekend?

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 1 Comment.

December 28, 2018


i’ll be home for christmas, let it snow, and big bulbs
posted by soe 1:37 am

Ready to Celebrate

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. My friend’s mother, who is recuperating from complications relating to surgery, got to come home on Christmas Day.

2. There was conversational snow on Christmas Eve.

3. We got a late jump on our drive north Saturday, which meant we were driving through northern New Jersey along the Garden State Parkway after dark, rather than during daylight. After disappointing me after Thanksgiving, the New Jerseyans of that area reclaimed their title of most festive neighborhoods of the mid-Atlantic with their cheerful and abundant holiday light displays.

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

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December 27, 2018


final unraveling of 2018
posted by soe 2:08 am

Final Unraveling of 2018

What you see here is the start of a new shawlette. It’s a pretty blue and a soft yarn and I’m hoping the pattern works with it. I’m knitting it on larger needles than I usually work with, so I’m hoping the sections will fly by.

I finished Winter Stroll tonight, staying up after everyone else went to bed to read by the Christmas tree. It was fine, and I will definitely finish the trilogy up next Christmas, but it wasn’t anything amazing. Winning Her Holiday Love is the other Christmas book I brought up with me and I imagine it will be a quick read. I mean, we’re going home tomorrow, so it won’t be done before I leave Connecticut, but definitely by the end of the weekend. I started listening to Cornelia Funke’s When Santa Claus Fell to Earth when we were driving up and figure I’ll finish it on the drive home. It’s not a long kid’s book, so the audiobook is only a couple hours.

This is the final Wednesday of the year, so you should head over to As Kat Knits to see what everyone else is reading and crafting.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.

December 26, 2018


god bless us, every one
posted by soe 2:09 am

It was a good day, filled with family, friends, tasty food, seasonal music and movies, lights, and gifts.

Mum & Dad's Tree

Christmas Morning

Wrapped with Care

Christmas Trifle

I hope your day was also filled with joy and wonder. Merry Christmas!

Category: christmas/holiday season. There is/are 3 Comments.