sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 31, 2019


spring saturday snapshot
posted by soe 1:25 am

Spring

This garden is how I judge that spring has well and truly arrived in my neighborhood every year.

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March 30, 2019


end of march weekend planning
posted by soe 1:08 am

Forsythia

It’s the first weekend where Rudi’s been home since early December! To celebrate, I hoping it includes:

  • Attending our first baseball game of the season. We have tickets, I know where my Mets cap is, and my nails are painted orange and blue. I’m ready.
  • Flying our kite. It’s the Kite Festival on the National Mall and weather, garden duties, or someone’s bum hip have kept us from going for the past several years. Rudi thinks we can figure out a way to secure it in a bag or something so we can leave it in the bike valet during the ballgame, because they’re certainly not going to let that into the ballpark.
  • Getting to the garden. I didn’t make it down during the week, so I’d very much like to get some more seeds into the ground.
  • Going to the farmers market. We’ll need milk. And I’m considering getting another dozen eggs because if I’m going to start making macarons, it needs egg whites. I should probably check my cookbook…
  • Knitting. Second sock-land, here I come!
  • Opening the window! I’ve had it open before now, but closed it when we had a cooler snap. Tomorrow it’s supposed to near 70.
  • Checking out the cherry blossoms. That means dealing with tourists, which I’d like not to do, but…
  • Spring cleaning — or at least making a start at it. Insects and flood waters discouraged anything but emergency measures last week. Now it’s time to start making a dent on our clutter.
  • Reading. I finished a graphic novel and a picture book tonight and am looking forward to crossing something else off my list, as well, because the new Veronica Speedwell has arrived at my local branch and is waiting for me.
  • Baking. Maybe the macarons if I have time on Sunday. But otherwise oatmeal scotchies, because I’d wanted to make them Tuesday in addition to the mint sticks, but I ran out of steam.
  • Doing laundry. I have several weeks during April when I have multiple volleyball games a week, which means having sports bras clean becomes much more important. Probably I just need to buy another sports bra or two…
  • Lounging, hopefully outside. Clearly this one is at odds with most of the others, but I’m still including it here as a goal.

How about you? What are you hoping to do this weekend?

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March 29, 2019


family recipe, incongruous, and home
posted by soe 1:54 am

Monumental Sunset

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. I baked mint sticks to take to my bookclub and the librarian who runs it gushed over them. I left the tin for her to share with her colleagues, and Rudi and I nibbled on the edges I trimmed off for dessert.

2. A dapper fellow wearing a violet bowler hat and a matching pocket square was on the train one evening. In his lap — a tiny, metallic giraffe backpack.

3. Leaving the best for last — Rudi is home after ten days away. It’s been nice to have him here to talk with more than once a day and to help me deal with household things and to climb into bed next to him at the end of the day. Plus, it’s way easier to hold hands when you’re in the same zip code.

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

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March 28, 2019


final march unraveling
posted by soe 1:53 am

Final March Unraveling

On my way back from my book club, I stopped by a cafe to spend some time in the sun today. It felt glorious to be able to strip off my sweatshirt and sit outside comfortably. A pot of tea and a strawberry muffin didn’t hurt things, either.

I’m ready to start the second sock of that stripey pair. I made them extra long in the leg, but I’m about to hit baseball season, so mindless stockinette isn’t a problem.

I began On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. So far I’ve learned what a snapback is, which are baseball caps that have those very flat rims and leave the sticker on the brim and have rather perpendicular tops. I knew they were a thing; I just failed to realize they had a name. I don’t know why; I mean, everything has a name. So, a new thing.

I also started Ladee Hubbard’s The Talented Ribkins on audiobook. It’s about an otherwise ordinary family, where everyone has a superpower, like the ability to make maps of places they’ve never seen or to scale walls without aid of ropes. There’s hints of how these talents may have been useful in the Civil Rights movement, but the main character spent many years using his talent for a mobster, who now thinks he’s owed money.

All the other books are still on the go. Finishing things seems to be a problem these days — one I obviously need to address as due dates approach!

Head over to As Kat Knits to see what other folks are reading and knitting.

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March 27, 2019


top ten tuesday: audiobooks i’ve enjoyed
posted by soe 1:34 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is audiobooks. Because the focus within that is up to us, I thought I’d share some audiobooks that really worked for me:

  1. The Harry Potter series, narrated by Jim Dale.
    Yes, Dale’s Hermione is awful and screechy (and while Hermione can be screechy, that’s not her default) and his take on other female characters isn’t much better, but each one of his characters stands on their own — and there are a lot of them over the course of seven books.
  2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, narrated by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and Juliet Mills.
    I listened to this after reading the print book, which is good, because I knew what was going to happen and didn’t have to feel all the feels the first time through listening. This multi-voice cast does a great job with the story and really bringing the correspondents to life.
  3. See You in the Cosmos, narrated by Kivlighan de Montebello, Brittany Pressley, Graham Halstead, Michael Crouch, and Jason Culp.
    Another multi-voice cast brings this heartwarming middle grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy, his dog Carl Sagan, and his quest to launch a golden ipod (filled with the sounds of the world around him) into space as he journeys across the west and as his family life falls apart — and rebuilds itself in new and surprising ways.
  4. The Woman Who Smashed Codes, narrated by Cassandra Campbell.
    This nonfiction history was a recent read for me. Campbell does such a good job narrating a book written by a guy that I kept being surprised she wasn’t the author. She really brings cryptologist Elizebeth Smith Friedman to life and helps you appreciate the great debt we owe her — both for her work bringing Nazis in South America to justice and for helping to develop the very codes that form the bedrock of our modern spy system — and our modern electronics. (If you like Campbell as a narrator, raidergirl3 has a whole list of books narrated by her that she recommends.)
  5. Becoming, narrated by Michelle Obama.
    I love this book. I love this woman. Listening to her read it just makes me feel so much better about the world.
  6. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, narrated by Xe Sands.
    Sands does a good job voicing an 85-year-old New Yorker heading out for an evening stroll on New Year’s Eve in 1984 and thinking back on her life.
  7. Norse Mythology, narrated by Neil Gaiman.
    Count me amongst those who would listen to Gaiman read the phone book. He has such a surprisingly soothing voice for someone who makes a living with his pen. For me, listening to this title allowed me to better picture the story peopled by the actors of the Marvel movies, from Tom Hiddleston to Jamie Alexander to Anthony Hopkins.
  8. A Conspiracy in Belgravia, narrated by Kate Reading.
    I love the Lady Sherlock mysteries and Reading (pronounced “redding”) does a great job reading. I love when people’s names and occupations match up! Rudi and I listened to this one together and both of us enjoyed it.
  9. Creative Quest by Questlove.
    I’m still in the middle of reading this self-help guide to creativity from the literary drummer of The Roots, but am really enjoying his casual approach to the narration. He paused at one point in talking about a French chef to phone the guy and ask him to pronounce his name. He intersperses his explanations of drummers whose work has inspired him with beats they’ve laid down. It just really works in this format.
  10. The Fox and O’Hare series, narrated by Scott Brick.
    This is a cheesy heist series, and Brick’s reading makes certain interactions between FBI agent Kate O’Hare and master thief Nicholas Fox seem more salacious than sexy, but maybe they would come across that way on the page, as well. Either way, this is totally ear candy.

Are there audiobooks you’ve particularly enjoyed listening to?

Category: books. There is/are 4 Comments.

March 26, 2019


garden progress, end of march
posted by soe 1:42 am

A month ago, I headed down to the garden to start putting it in order and to plant my first round of peas. I’ve since put in two more plantings of peas and will add one more this week. This is my measurable progress so far:

Pea

I don’t have a whole row of tiny shoots that look like this. I have one pea. But where there’s one, more will follow. A lot of what happens with peas happens below ground at first, so I’m not overly worried. So much of gardening happens on faith, doesn’t it? And I know from last year, when only two of us in the garden got pea crops, that unreasonable faith that February or March is a great time to plant in the mid-Atlantic is crucial, particularly since it warms up so fast here.

I planted bulbs last fall. My daffodils finally emerged. They are weird.

Weird Daffodils

Those are full-sized daffodils where the stalks pretty much don’t exist, so they’re hardly above the ground. They are pretty, though, and I could see their cheerful color from a ways away, so that’s the most important thing.

I also planted onions. Or maybe shallots. Either way, my potato patch is full of shoots, so they are growing as desired. I’m looking forward to finding out what I planted.

Edible Bulbs

My sorrel has repopulated itself and I can start harvesting that anytime I want some citrusy greens in my salads. I’m planning to head back down to the garden later in the week to plant some more greens — arugula and spinach and kale and the like.

What are you hoping to grow this year?

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