sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 30, 2007

dc landmark devastated
posted by soe 11:07 am

Eastern Market has burned in a fire that took 160 firefighters two hours to get under control. The Washington Post reports the story here.

The only consolation is that no one was hurt.

D.C. is noted for its national landmarks. Eastern Market was one of our city landmarks — and an anchor on Capitol Hill. Its loss tears at the heartstrings of the whole city. I hope rebuilding begins as soon as the investigation is concluded and that all the small business owners from inside who lost their livelihoods survive in the meantime.

Category: dc life. There is/are 1 Comment.

April 29, 2007

there’s still overnight mail…
posted by soe 11:17 pm

I would love to tell you that I’m done with the Bloomin Feet socks that are due to my secret pal on Tuesday. But I’m not. And I have no good excuse as I spent the afternoon watching a movie.

Back to the needles…

Please send knitting vibes. It’s going to be a late night…

Category: knitting. There is/are 4 Comments.

April 28, 2007

busy weekend only half over
posted by soe 11:04 pm

I can’t believe the weekend is only half over. It’s already been so full!

Last night, after fulfilling our two volunteer shifts with Filmfest D.C., Rudi and I headed up to catch a showing of The Hula Girls. Japan’s submission for best foreign picture to the Oscars this past year, the movie focused on a group of (mostly) teenage girls in a coal-mining town in 1965 Japan. Facing trouble making ends meet, the owners of the mine have simultaneously laid workers off and have allowed some of their land to be used to create a mock Hawaiian paradise designed to bring tourism dollars into the region. The Hawaiian center is looking for hula dancers and bring in a former dancer to teach anyone they can convince in this rural, conservative town to shake their hips. The movie does an excellent job of looking at the struggle between honoring tradition and moving forward in a world that’s not going to wait for you or your customs to catch up. It also avoids some of the easy plot devices that I think would have been taken advantage of had the movie been made in Hollywood. It was excellent and I’d be delighted to see it win the festival’s best picture prize. There’s no current timetable for release here in the U.S., but if you see it on a film festival roster or at an art house, I can’t recommend it enough.

After the movie, we headed to Two Amys, a local pizzeria that’s slightly too far to be considered for takeout. In addition to two pies, we also split some bruchetta covered with a delicious (and seasonably green) fava bean spread.

This morning I arose early to take part in Hands on D.C., an annual school clean-up project. The group I went with ended up at a middle school in Shaw, where we painted three floors’ worth of stairwell. It was tiring but at the end of the afternoon, I felt glad we’d done such a thorough job. D.C.’s schools aren’t great — either academically or structurally — and our kids deserve better. There’s not a lot I can do on a day-to-day basis to improve the schools, so I’m happy to help in this (albeit small) way.

Tonight, being too tired to head to the ballpark, I watched the Nationals and the Mets square off. The first six innings featured a pitching duel, followed by outstanding pitching from the bullpens of both clubs. The Mets failed to capitalize on a number of scenarios that would have allowed them to take control of the game early on, but with two outs in the top of the ninth, ancient go-to guy Julio Franco strode to the mound and swatted in the tying run. The game would head into the twelfth inning before the Mets could score again, at which point they sent four runners across home plate to secure a victory.

Tomorrow, I’m again rising early, but this time just to take Rudi out to Virginia, so he can catch a carpool to a bike ride he’s taking out in the mountains. Then I’ll return to the city in time to head to the farmers’ market, which, rumor has it, will feature morels and asparagus! Then I’ll put in some time working on finishing up my Bloomin Feet pal’s second sock before I go to the film festival’s closing gala reception. The final movie is Paris, je t’aime, a series of short films about Paris done by a plethora of international directors and stars including Gus Van Sant, the Coen brothers, Gerard Depardieu, Marianne Faithfull, Steve Buscemi, Elijah Wood, Juliette Binoche, and Wes Craven.

I don’t think I’ll make it into the garden tomorrow, which is a shame, but I’ll head over there on Monday to take some updated photos and to do some more planting. Today, Rudi bought a couple of tomato plants as well as whole bunches of seeds — English and sugar snap peas; zucchini and yellow squash; blue lake, soy, and pole beans; and leeks. I might also pick up a couple of flowers at the market tomorrow just to attract helpful (and pretty) bugs and birds to our plot.

I think I’d better head to bed soon. It’s been an exhausting weekend!

Category: arts,dc life,garden,sports. There is/are 2 Comments.

April 26, 2007

instant gratification, hot spigot, and a chance meeting
posted by soe 2:57 pm

How is it Thursday already? How is it not the weekend yet? How can both of these statements be true?

My brain will self-destruct if I continue to consider the question, so let’s instead think back to three beautiful things from the last week:

1. When dogwoods flower, their blooms are larger than their leaves, so you really notice them first. I don’t know of other flowers that act like that. Usually I see the leaves first and have to wait impatiently for the blooms to appear.

2. The electric kettle at work is broken and I haven’t gotten around to ordering a new one quite yet. But we have a heated water tap and a microwave, so it shouldn’t have been a problem. Except that somehow the switch on the back of the water filtration system that allows the water to be heated had been turned off and no one noticed. Yesterday a co-worker set it right, so this afternoon I had a cuppa to celebrate. Today is particularly chilly, so the heat is greatly appreciated.

3. I was walking home from the Metro the other afternoon when, suddenly, from under my ear buds, I heard my name being called. I looked around, surprised, and discovered my friend Susan sitting in a car’s passenger seat, eating her supper. She had been waiting for a shop to finish something for her and happened to notice me wandering past. I’m glad she called out, because I never would have noticed her!

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April 24, 2007

imaginary vacations
posted by soe 11:56 pm

Since a trip to Utah to care for my recuperating MnotIL will use up every drop of my leave time for the summer, I am going to have to rely on the power of the imaginary vacation for some R&R.

So in my mind, I am going to plan a late May jaunt to the south of France. It’s about time I put all those years of French classes to use. (This is not entirely true, since I have already put them to use when I visited Quebec eight years ago. I was complimented in Montreal for the accent I used when saying, “Bonjour!” Luckily, the tour guide at the stadium didn’t ask me to say anything else in French, since my reading comprehension is far superior to my speaking abilities!)

On my pretend vacation, I hope to swim and sunbathe on the Côte d’Azur. I plan to pedal past fields of lavender. I want to hike the Luberon. I expect to breakfast on crusty bread and chocolat chaud and sit at roadside cafés in the afternoon with Rudi. We may even take a few days and travel to Paris.

Since this vacation isn’t bound by the pedestrian technicalities that make real-life travel difficult, I will not worry about finding someone to water my garden or paying someone to look after our cats. I won’t stress about returning jet-lagged to work on the day after I fly home. I will not be concerned by the price of the hotel that is priced quite nicely for someone who normally traffics in Euros instead of the ever-declining dollar. I will merely smile at the enchanting hôtelier, wave my hand, and tell him to charge it to my credit card. There will be no repercussions.

Since I do not have to budget my vacation days, let’s make this trip last three weeks. That will really give me time to shake off all the winter doldrums and to recharge my batteries.

The only risk we run? That reality is that much duller because of the imaginary.

Ah well. Some chances must be taken.

So how about you? Where would you vacation this year if reality didn’t get in your way?

Category: travel. There is/are 4 Comments.

bloomin’ soon
posted by soe 12:44 am

I am too tired to take a photo tonight, but I am making good progress on my Bloomin’ Socks. The first sock is down to the toe, and the second is halfway through the leg repeats.

All in all, the socks are going well. The pattern really does suit the yarn and I think I finally did find the right combination of gauge by using three (!) different needle sizes — 2.25, 2.75, and 3 mm — over the course of the sock depending on what part I was working on. The only thing I wish were different would be that the yarn be less splitty. Usually this brand of handspun does me very well, so I’m not sure if it’s that my needles aren’t pointy enough for the lacework or if the tencel somehow contributes to the yarn plies not binding to themselves as well as normal. Probably a combination of the two…

I’m really excited about finishing them and shipping them off this weekend, although I do still have fears that they might not fit my pal. They just fit around my foot when stretched all the way, and her foot measurements are slightly smaller than mine. My fingers are crossed. I suppose the worst thing that happens is that I have to knit her a replacement pair, right?

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