sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 24, 2020

late august weekending
posted by soe 1:05 am

A Cat and His Girl

I had a laid-back weekend. Friday night we spent time up at the park, reading and enjoying the bats zooming inches over the grass and then soaring high into the air after their prey. We came home to eat supper and I found the Washington Mystics playing on tv. As a Connecticut girl, I’m a big fan of women’s basketball, and D.C.’s and Dallas’ teams put on a good show that went into overtime. We concluded the evening with homemade chocolate chip ice cream.

Yesterday, I did indeed get to sleep in. I also stopped by the local yarn shop just to browse for the first time since February (okay, I may have bought a new set of dpns made out of driftwood and some Soak, because one can always use more). I then headed down to the garden, where I put in a couple hours of weeding, yanking out the vines that had made the jump from the adjacent woods and pulling out some not-yet-budding milkweed (yes, monarchs… but weed is in the name and it grows like it; trust me, there’s still plenty left!) that was overshadowing plants I wanted to produce food for me. I then picked some figs from the tree by the garden and then did some grocery shopping, the combination thereof (grocery shopping itself is small potatoes compared to hauling three full bags all home by myself) I’m pretty sure justified eating as much pizza and ice cream as I wanted, which I did while watching the Chuck Brown Day anniversary concert, which was being livestreamed on YouTube.

Onion Flowers

Today, I went to the farmers market (no boxes of tomatoes this week, but plenty of other goodies), then had a pleasant brunch with Corey in the bedroom in front of the fan while listening to the Nationals game on the radio. I did a few chores around the house and then head over to Arlington to return the overdue book I had from their library. I celebrated finding my way to the library (Roads in Arlington move like staircases at Hogwarts. It’s best if you just don’t fight the concept.) by getting a cup of tea at a local coffeehouse and then taking a less circuitous route back to D.C. After a stop to water the garden and pick basil for our supper, I hightailed it for the park, where Rudi and I stayed until the sun turned in for the night.

It was a good weekend. How was yours?

Category: cats,dc life,garden,knitting,sports. There is/are 1 Comment.

August 2, 2020

pandemic shopping
posted by soe 1:49 am

Back in May, when it seemed like going back to the office might be the kind of thing we’d all do in the fall, I bought a suit.

I’d been stalking Betabrand* for months, because I’d heard great things about how they had managed to make dress pants that were actually comfortable to wear. But I hadn’t splurged, because it was buying clothes on the internet. I prefer not to do that, because I’m terrible at returning things that have to be shipped.

However, this time, not only did I buy it, but I bought it knowing that it hadn’t actually been made yet. Yes, I preordered a suit, knowing it wouldn’t arrive until July.

The blazer arrived earlier this week, and Rudi and I were impressed with the length of the sleeves. Since I have long arms, that’s often a problem area for me. I thought I might have been able to get away with a slightly smaller size, but since I might like to wear this in the winter, I’ll want the ability to wear it over a bulkier top without looking like a stuffed turkey.

New Suit

I was worried about the pants. They were only offering the print in straight leg, rather than bootcut, which is what I prefer to wear. They had a long option, which I worried would be a smidge too long and tight, particularly if I weren’t wearing heels. But too short would be worse, since I’m tall. I mean, I like people to admire my hand-knit socks, but not because they can see several inches of my leg above my shoe.

New Suit -- With Pockets!

Given I’ve put on some pandemic weight (no volleyball, no bike commuting, LOTS of couch sitting), I don’t think the whole thing looks too bad. (Please note, I was so excited that the pants arrived today that I just pulled off my shorts as soon as I walked in the door with the package and tried on the whole ensemble. This relaxed tshirt and weekend bra are not the most flattering, although they are comfortable. The color is good with it, so I’ll keep that in mind whenever we all go back to work. In the meantime I have a magenta-hued fitted tee I’ll pair with it if I’m going to Zoom while wearing it.)

The pants have two hand pockets in the back (my favorites — I often resort to sticking my hands behind my back) and three in the front — one with a zipper — all of which are deep enough to completely hide my cell phone. The blazer also has pockets, although I’ve left them stitched closed for the time being.

The real reason I really wanted this suit to fit? Check out a close-up of the pattern:


It’s Catstooth!

*That link gets me a referral credit. But feel free to ditch it if you find a better discount.

Category: cats. There is/are 3 Comments.

May 13, 2020

kitty company and book to movie
posted by soe 2:17 am

Lap Kitty

In his middle age, Corey has become a lap cat. Specifically my lap cat. (To be fair, Rudi’s lap is much leaner than mine.)

Lap Kitty

He will escort Rudi to bed but then come back out to the couch and bed down.

Lap Kitty

He prefers it when I am reclining more, so he can stretch out the length of my torso, but he’ll take what he can get. but he’s definitely grumpy if I curl up on my side.

Lap Kitty

He prefers to snooze on the couch, but he’s not above an evening nap snuggled on the bed curled up in the crook of my knees under a blanket or dozing off on my lap during a work video call in the rocking chair.

Lap Kitty

He doesn’t mind if I read or am on the computer, although he draws the line at two computers, which makes the work I need to finish before going to sleep a little challenging.

Lap Kitty

In Bout of Books news, earlier, I listened to some more of Yes, No, Maybe So while doing some chores. I don’t know if I’ll finish it this week, but it may happen if this is the only night where I’m working in the wee smalls.

Today’s challenge asks:

Which book(s) would you like to see made into a movie (or TV show)?

Ooh! Here are a half dozen off the top of my head:

Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series should definitely be adapted as a costume drama by the BBC. They’d need to a fundraiser, though, just to cover the dessert budget line. Also, I’m going to be super critical about casting in this film.

Jasper Fforde has said that he will not adapt his Thursday Next series for the screen, because it will never live up to what’s on the page. I know the BBC (or maybe ITV) adapted the first book of The Last Dragonslayer, though. I’d love to see that — and if it’s good to have them do the rest of the series.

Michael Scott’s The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series would make a fun series with its international settings and its cast of literary characters.

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was optioned, but I’m guessing it fell through. It would make an amazing movie, but should mostly be filmed in black and white, with only specific circus-themed scenes in color.

Brian Selznick’s two other prose-illustration tomes have been made into well-received films, so I definitely hope someone is working on one for The Marvels.

Finally (just because I need to finish that work and go to bed) speaking of Marvel, they keep pushing back their Ms. Marvel film adaptation. With so many of this summer’s films moving to a 2021 release and no work being done anywhere on new shoots, I can only assume this is going to push its release back even further. I mean, they did eventually film me a Black Widow movie before Scarlett Johansson totally aged out of the role, so here’s hoping…

Category: books,cats. There is/are 1 Comment.

January 22, 2020

fo: posey socks
posted by soe 1:54 am

Posey Socks

This weekend I wove in the ends and wore for the first time my Posey socks. I’d finished the knitting — which I started back in January 2018 — this past spring, but had simply put them away for the season at the time.

I bought the yarn, Lollipop Yarn Quintessential Gripes in Purrfection, the day our cat Posey died back in 2017. I’d picked up the ball because the colors reminded me of her — she was white with grey and brown patches and had an adorable pink nose and pink ears that stood out through her fur — and then saw the name, and pretty much knew it was a sign.

Cat in a Box

The dark grey of the heel and toe was a mini skein from MarigoldJen Yarns that I picked up at the Homespun Yarn Party a couple years ago.

Much like Posey, the socks are soft and comfortable and adorable.

Category: cats,knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.

March 24, 2019

just the two of us
posted by soe 1:17 am

Corey has two modes when we’re home just the two of us — screaming at me for more food … and this:




I think he loves me…

Category: cats. There is/are 2 Comments.

February 12, 2019

farewell, my very good boy
posted by soe 1:15 am

This isn’t new news, but it’s painful to contemplate, which means I haven’t wanted to write this post. But it seems unfair not to, so I’ll type through my tears and then maybe it will hurt less. Those of you who follow me on Twitter already saw this news and some of the rest of you had probably guessed based on my recent content.

Nearly three weeks ago, on January 25th, we became, for the first time in nearly 17 years, a family of three. Fifteen months after bidding goodbye to his sister, we had to say farewell to Jeremiah.

My Very Good Boy

The final details are largely irrelevant, except that we’d known he was fading from kidney disease, as have most of our cats, for a few weeks. He’d gotten quieter and had wanted more alone time curled up by the heater, but had continued to eat, if with some coaxing (he decided he didn’t like the special health food, and I eventually decided he could eat whatever he wanted) up to his final day, and never failed to come down to curl up with us to sleep. We were his people and in the end we did the kind thing, supported by our vet.

Jer's First Day Home

As I wrote when Posey died, we first met her and Jeremiah when they were kittens at a no-kill cat rescue in New Haven, Connecticut, one Saturday afternoon in the summer of 2002. We had become a family of three not long before then, and Della was clearly upset at being an only cat. We promised her a kitten, and blithely set out to bring home a companion for her. We were not planning on a pair, but fate had other ideas. On this particular afternoon, the cats in the shelter had all been vaccinated and were mostly dozy or reluctant to interact with more people. But this one small black and white short-haired kitten reached through the bars and grabbed our attention — and our hearts.

He and his fuzzier sister were the only two of their littermates left and the woman working at the time mentioned it was unusual for him to be the more outgoing; usually his sister was more personable. A week later we brought them both home with us. We didn’t even manage to sign the final paperwork before Jeremiah climbed up onto my shoulder and stuffed his nose in my ear to purr loudly and wetly at me that we were making the best decision of all of our lives.

Who can argue with that?

Jeremiah was inquisitive when we brought them home and, much to Della’s annoyance and disgust, he quickly found the plate of special food we’d given her to show her this was a celebration. I don’t think she forgave him for nearly a year for that.

Jer had big ears, long legs and tail, and a black mark under his nose that looked like a toothbrush moustache, particularly when he was small. I wanted to rename him Groucho to offset the more natural comparison to a German dictator, but technically the kittens were Rudi’s, and he was fine with the names the shelter had given them. As Jer grew into all of his characteristics, it turns out to have been a fine decision.

Jer and Me

While he did grow into everything, his tail did remain long. He didn’t need to chase after it in circles in order to tame it and he would would suck on it as a young cat — and then stick it in your ear while you were sleeping to get you to pay attention to him. As he grew older, he mostly abandoned that technique, but did like to wrap his tail around your head or your neck — and used it as a counterbalance for shoulder rides, which he loved.

Rudi & Jeremiah

While he was okay with visitors when he was small, he did not love company after we moved to D.C. We used to tell people who cat sit for us not to worry if they never saw him and our friend John once reported that he’d unintentionally managed to catch Jer partially off guard, causing Jer to sprint for the closet and miss his footing slightly, tumbling down like a Pachinko ball (he was fine). He once curled up under a tiny stool as we were packing to move, causing us to think he’d escaped and he hid on the shelf under the toilet tank the first time we had to have the phone company guy come in. His scarcity made him our most popular cat with friends, who yearned to catch a glance of him, rather than our more outgoing feline companions.

Sibling Portrait

A New Haven cat through and through, he loved pizza and garlicky tomato sauce. He was fine with other spices as well and was happy to clean out bowls that had contained tajines and other Middle Eastern or Asian dishes. He enjoyed ice cream and muffin crumbs and was particularly fond of puff pastry on the rare occasion that he got to sample crumbs of it. He had a rough tongue, but was a thorough licker, so you always knew he would be the final one at a bowl, long after the other cats had grown bored. He especially liked it if you would give him a spoon, so we sometimes left a little yogurt or ice cream on ours as a treat.


He was a smart cat and liked to communicate using mirrors. He fully understood how they worked and would respond to you if you were watching him in one. He was a chatty cat and we could hold long conversations with him where he would give various responses, fully holding up his end of a discussion. He did worry when you covered your face for too long and no matter how much of the rest of you he could see, eventually he had to go make sure you were okay.

Rudi and Jer

When we were a bigger family, his favorite place to sleep was curled up on pillows above my head. I’d reach under the pillows I was using and hold his paw or his tail or both and if I was slow to do so, he’d slap his tail down over my palm to indicate I should grab it or wrap it around my head if my hand wasn’t there. Once we became a smaller family, his favorite spot was between his two people, so much so that we jokingly referred to him as The Chaperone.

Jer and Rudi

He was the household comforter and if you were upset, he knew it and was right there. When he was younger, he wanted to be under your head, but as he got older, not wanting to hurt him, I’d convince him to curl around my head instead, like a hood. He’d stay there for hours, siphoning off your sadness to help you feel better.

Jer was a snuggly cat with his people and nearly always wanted to be on a lap or in your arms. Corey is doing his best, but mine feel very empty these days.

I See You

You aren’t supposed to have favorites amongst your animal companions, but I did anyway. Farewell, Jeremiah. You have always been my very good boy and I miss you so much.

Jeremiah and His Girl

Category: cats. There is/are 4 Comments.