sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 28, 2007

the second of a dozen
posted by soe 11:59 pm

a forlorn Radio Flyer

While Rudi and I were up in Connecticut this weekend, I snapped a series of pictures of Gramma’s house, which she sold this week. (That’s a topic for a different post.) This one, while not showing much of the house, pretty much sums up the experience for me.

I know that the following poem is about a wheelbarrow and not a wagon, but I still thought it went with the mood of the photo and my mood in general these days:

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

— William Carlos Williams

This is the second in my monthly 007: Snap a Dozen Days posts. You can find the January post here.

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February 27, 2007

what would be in your curriculum?
posted by soe 11:30 pm

Last month Shannon Hale, who wrote the Newbery award-winning The Princess Academy took some time between feeding her newborn and being sick with a stomach bug to contemplate the issue of high school English class curricula.

I thought it tied in nicely with a conversation I had with one of my aunts back at Christmas. My cousin is a 16-year-old boy, and he has not found a lot that he’s interested in reading. He isn’t helped, I don’t think, by a mother who also did not enjoy a lot of what she read in high school and is disinclined to try to figure out what a teacher is attempting to get a student to learn by reading a certain text.

I think we would all acknowledge that most high school English classes leave something to be desired. Think back to when you were in high school. (I’ll wait while the black and white newsreels rewind and the scratchy violin and organ music play…)

What do you remember reading? What did you think of the books at the time? And looking back now?

I definitely remember reading some great things — books I enjoyed at the time, as well as books that I understood the importance of in retrospect. But I also recall some books that were just painful and a few that I didn’t bother to read at all. (Moby Dick springs to mind.)

But I know we can do better. (more…)

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February 26, 2007

san francisco trip: the rest of the trip
posted by soe 11:53 pm

I promised a recap of the rest of the work trip in San Francisco.

Work was work. I spent far too much time inside when the weather was lovely over a long weekend. Really there’s not a lot more that can be said about that.

Outside of work, though, I did have a nice time. We didn’t really get to explore much of the city, but we did hit a couple of places (most of which involved food) I thought I’d share:

  • I ate breakfast outside at that same café I found the first morning. I also ate lunch there one day. Some days I had company; other days I ate alone with my book. All of them were lovely.
  • One night, after gorging on wonderful Indian food, at a restaurant whose name I can’t recall, Amani pointed us to a Cold Stone Creamery. Normally, I’m not a huge fan, but this night, the cold, creamy dessert really hit just right. (If you’re unfamiliar with the chain, you start with a base ice cream flavor and then mix in toppings to create your own unique flavors.) I got a vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips and raspberry sauce swirled in. Yum! I totally ate the whole thing.
  • We ate dinner one night at a raw food vegan restaurant called Café Gratitude, recommended by one of Suzanne‘s friends. A meat eater, he’d nonetheless given the restaurant rave reviews, so we caught a cab to the Mission district and gave it a shot.

    The restaurant is inately Californian new age — the sort of place that makes Middle America distrust vegetarians. At one point, one of the waitresses came over to ask us, in complete earnestness, “What are you going to do today to promote your self worth?” Dishes have cheesy names, like I am Delightful and I am Lusciously Awake, but the food is terrific.

    Heather, Suzanne, and I split a guacamole dip as an appetizer and then Heather and I shared both a grain bowl (complete with kim chee (fermented cabbage), sea greens, and black rice) and a “pizza.” I’d considered not getting the pizza, because, having grown up amongst Sicilians, I am very picky about it. I’m glad I didn’t give in to this temptation, though, because calling it a pizza was laughable. Really, it was salad on a cracker. But it was a fantastically delicious salad on a cracker, and that’s the important thing. The rice bowl was also quite tasty, but I preferred the salad on a cracker. We concluded with dessert, but I picked the dud in the bunch with a fruit cobbler. Heather’s vegan chocolate mousse and Suzanne’s pecan pie were much better. I was never so happy to realize I had chocolate (cooked and made with milk!) in my room as after that misstep.

  • I also ate at David’s Delicatessen, a Jewish deli/restaurant about halfway between my hotel and where I was working. My cheese blintz was lovely and I finished the meal with a coconut macaroon. Yum!
  • Finally, after the convention was over, Suzanne taught our coworker Cee-Cee how to knit and the three of us caught the BART over to Imagiknit to check out the local yarn selection. After witnessing an arrest as we were getting off the metro and walking about a mile (it seemed like longer, getting there), we spent quite a while fondling yarn and leafing through patterns. The staff was friendly and the stock impressive. There were plenty of things I’d never seen in person and an extensive array of fibers, colors, and weights — something for everyone, really.

    At first, I walked away empty-handed, but in the end I went back inside and came out with a skein of Bouton d’Or Ksar in glacier, a pale blue yarn made of half merino-half camel. Yep, camel! We then headed back to the hotel where we sat in the lobby lounge knitting and snacking and drinking while Suzanne and Cee-Cee waited for their red-eye flights.

Flying out the next morning, I did myself (and you) a disservice by packing my camera into the overhead bin. We were leaving just at sunrise and the Bay was foggy as we took off from Oakland. But as we followed the coast north and cleared the fog, the Golden Gate Bridge came into sight in all its glory. It was breathtaking — and you’ll just have to take my word on it. At the other end of the flight, we flew over what had to have been Skyline Drive. And if it wasn’t, well, let’s pretend. After all, I have no photographic proof that declares it to be anything else.

All in all, not a bad trip. I ate lots of yummy places and came home with souvenir yarn. If only I’d managed to squeeze in a massage…

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wet roads, white limbs, and thumbs up
posted by soe 1:23 am

It’s late, but I wanted to share three beautiful things with you from our drive home tonight from Connecticut:

1. Although predicted to be awful most of the way home, the driving conditions were only messy for a relatively short period of time in New Jersey. In fact, for the last half of the drive, the roads were merely wet.

2. It started snowing in D.C. this morning and there are several inches piled up around the city. It looks particularly lovely on the tree limbs — deliciously wintry.

3. Someone built a snowman in a park overlooking one of the main arteries into the city. The best part? The snowman is giving all the drivers a thumbs up sign.

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February 22, 2007

electric, grin, and companions
posted by soe 9:31 am

Three Beautiful Things from the past week:

1. Locked next to Union Square was a bicycle. Its tape, rims, and tires were all a brilliant shade of electric blue.

2. The moon was a Cheshire cat grin last night as I walked home from the metro after a movie.

3. The cats have been particularly snuggly since I got home Tuesday. All three of them nap in the same room with me and Posey deigned to come curl up under the covers with me last night, at least until Jeremiah pounced on her head.

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sleeping it off
posted by soe 1:09 am

Rest assured that I didn’t fall into the Bay last week. I just slept poorly in California and am now making up for it by falling unconscious every time I sit down.

I hope to return to full speed tomorrow with our usual Three Beautiful Things post and then resume regular broadcasts over the weekend.

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