sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 23, 2007

sports history
posted by soe 1:03 am

Overheard on the R Street Starbucks patio this afternoon as I knit and Rudi read his Nick Hornby novel:

Girl: I was reading this really interesting piece on Jackie Robinson. I didn’t expect to find it interesting but I did. . . . Which team did he play for?

Guy: I don’t know.

Me (aside, to my knitting): The Brooklyn Dodgers

Girl (pullling out the Time Magazine that included the article and flipping to Jackie’s picture): Can you tell by looking at his uniform?

Guy (seeing the B on Jackie’s hat): Boston.


Girl: Ah. Thanks!

Category: sports. There is/are 3 Comments.

April 21, 2007

turned soil
posted by soe 11:45 pm

Rudi came down with me to the garden today and we put some sweat equity into the plot. We cleared the rest of the land. Yay! No more condoms or drug paraphernalia in our garden!

Rudi transplanted a number of violets from other sections of the garden to form a border along the fence and planted three dozen marigolds that he bought last week. He also hauled in some manure to mix in with our soil. I hoed around the rest of the plants. The back corner must have been used to grow rocks in the past, because I harvested a whole bunch from that section of the plot.

I find it an encouraging sign that there are lots of worms in our garden. Every time we pulled up a weed or shifted a board or turned some earth, it seemed like there was another gigantic worm. I feel bad, because I’m sure we hurt some of them with or hoe and shovel, but they were very hard to avoid. I also hope that those birds who were hovering about didn’t make away with any of them.

We identified a number of plants: sage, lettuce, and ramps. Rudi picked some of the ramps and made them the centerpiece of a lovely pasta sauce for tonight’s dinner. (If we die, it was the “ramps.” You can find the rest of the sauce in the fridge for the toxicology analysis.)

We also ditched some plants, which seemed to be more weed than intentional garden addition. And apparently I didn’t replant my non-dead herb properly because the rain had managed to unearth and kill it. Oops.

Next up is finding some veggies to plant. I’m hoping to find some lettuce and chives and English peas and beans. I think it might still be too early to plant tomatoes and peppers, so I’ll hold off until May for them.

Category: garden. There is/are 4 Comments.

April 19, 2007

public practice, bejeweled, and fast (and mommies)
posted by soe 1:34 pm

Today rolled around far too early with a morning meeting and a profound lack of sleep. Where is the sun? I feel like I could wake up if the sun would ever come back…

While we’re waiting, though, let’s contemplate three of the beautiful things from the past week:

1. At the end of the day, a man walks down 13th Street past Franklin Square juggling pins. Every few tosses, a pin falls to the ground.

2. Sunday morning, it is raining. The small tree outside our house has droplets of water clinging to every leaf bud.

3. Our garden plot is in a larger area of parkland that is far enough off the street that owners feel safe bringing their dogs there to play off-lead. A person throws a ball and suddenly two greyhounds are off! First one has the ball. They dash in a different direction! And back! And forth!

And to compensate for the lack of sunhine, I offer us all a fourth beautiful thing:

4. Kim and Rebecca both send me emails yesterday. Kim includes an eye-crinklingly adorable sound clip of her and her son, Thomas, singing “C Is for Cookie.” And Rebecca sent me photos of her son wearing his first Mariners gear and being cuddled by his new parents. I can’t tell you what lovely additions these were to my inbox.

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 1 Comment.

April 18, 2007

fate is funny like that
posted by soe 10:32 pm

The odds are good that if you spend much of your walk home thinking about what you should blog about fate will provide a topic.

I arrived home to find that I couldn’t unlock the basement door. Neither could the girl from upstairs. Nor could Rudi.

The landlord sent over our handyman, who did manage to get the door open, but we spent quite a bit of time sitting out on the front stoop first this evening.

Luckily, those of us who live in cities tend to be paranoid about things like this. We all know people who’ve gotten stuck in elevators, on the Metro, in traffic. It’s a rare day when I leave the house without iPod, book, and knitting because you just never know. So I was not lacking in entertainment options for my time outside.

And it totally could have been worse. It wasn’t raining. And I thought to pee before I left the office…

Even fate isn’t that cruel.

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posted by soe 1:17 am

Yesterday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech University has lowered a dark cloud over the sun. I can’t help but feel great sadness — for the victims, for the families, for the students, for the faculty and administrators, for the community, for the shooter… For all of us, really…

There is so much anger — and so much sadness. There is such pain. Always so much pain.

My soul aches for it. I, like so many, feel helpless in the face of such emotion.

I cannot raise the dead or heal the wounded. I cannot erase the terror of not knowing if you will live or die — or if your child or friend or parent or sibling was one of the unlucky ones to face down a gun. I cannot return peace of mind. I cannot get a young man the help he needed so badly that he thought his pain could only be alleviated in such a tremendously awful way.

I cannot work what must now be considered miracles.

Now, I can do only small things.

Much like after the terrible events of 9/11, I have turned off the tv. I do not want to hear the terrified phone calls made to 911. I do not want to see weeping parents show photos of happy, hopeful teenagers cut down in the prime of life. I do not want to hear what it was like to be in a classroom when someone I might have known walks in with the intent to wreak armed havoc. I do not want to see the despairing faces of campus officials who have to figure out how to make life safe again for their students. I do not want to hear theories that describe a boy as a madman and that search for the one defining moment in his background that allowed this to happen.

Their pain will not be commuted by my bearing constant witness to it.

My pain that we live in a world where things like this can happen will not be lessened through omnipresent news coverage.

I cannot raise the dead. I cannot right the past missteps. I can only look forward — inward and outward — and learn from the past.

I want to laugh. I have wrapped the idea of humor around me like a cloak. It cannot block the cold world outside, but it can lessen the effect. Yes, tears now chill our souls through but, in time, I hope the laughter emerges victorious.

I want to knit, to create. I cannot bring sunshine back to the world, but I can help to create something that is purposeful and beautiful and made with kindness.

I want to seek out friends and family. Whether to sit with them in quiet or to drink with them in noise, it matters not. It is enough to know there are loved ones out there forming a safe community to see me through these dark, cold days.

I want to say thank you for being part of my community and for letting me be part of yours. Some of you I know; many I do not. Yet you have bravely invited me into your homes to share your joys and your sorrows, the mundane and the extraordinary. There is life and hope behind your words — and it bolsters my belief that we will all survive this each in our own way.

Be gentle with one another. Walk softly and care deeply. Take care of yourselves and of your loved ones. Find what makes you feel safe and hopeful. Know that you matter and that I am glad you are here.

Peace be with you.

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 3 Comments.

April 16, 2007

weekend revisited
posted by soe 1:18 am

Well, I knew when I proposed my weekend activities that it was a long-shot that I’d fit them all in. It was, and I didn’t.

But it was a full weekend.

Saturday, I got up with Rudi (who was leading an early morning bike ride out in Maryland) and headed out to the garden to put in some serious labor. I’m glad I did.

The neighbor had already tilled his section of the garden, so I was the lone slacker with a 15 foot by 15 foot plot that just plain looked neglected.

This is what four hours of playing in the garden looks like: Four Hours of Dirt

With the exception of the corner of the plot (where I could see urban detritus I didn’t want to touch without gloves), I cleared out all the dead scruff and the ground cover weeds. I didn’t turn the soil, because a) I figured that I would just wait for the rain to make it much easier for me and b) I might as well wait and clear out that back corner first and hit it all at once. Plus if I were going to go to all the trouble of adding in manure, I didn’t want it to wash away down into the creek.

I left in plants that I recognized (like the herbs), that looked like they might have been part of last year’s garden, or that I think are lovely regardless (like the violets). I’ve put photos onto Flickr and sorted them into a collection of garden shots. (As a free user, apparently I’ve maxed out my set allotment.) If you recognize any of the plants, please let me know if I should keep them or pull them.

That pretty much did me in and after a shower and a bowl of granola, I conked out on the couch for a long nap. Later in the evening, I watched Brit coms while as the rain came down and did a little test swatch for the sock heel to determine needle size.

(Right, I had a question for you knitters. If you knew the knitter you were making socks for preferred a certain heel when she knit, would that make you more inclined to use it in your pair?)

Today, dawned far too early. I got up to use the bathroom and stopped by the living room for some reason. As I did, I noticed what every basement-dweller hates to see aftering being socked by a nor’easter: water infiltration.

Yup, we were leakingagain.

We sighed heavily, shifted some things, put down newspaper, and decided we’d done as much as we could for the moment.

So we headed to the farmers’ market pretty much right as they started. And what a bounty we bought home with us! In addition to tasty breakfast pastries (the first blueberry scones of the spring!), we also picked up ramps, green garlic, spring onions, watercress, two types of lettuce, two types of greenhouse-grown tomatoes, leeks, broccoli, carrots, chives, and a cucumber (for Rudi). We also bought mascarpone, whole milk ricotta, eggs and a bouquet of daffodils and tulips.

Laden down, we returned home, unloaded the market basket, ate breakfast, and started to read the paper, before we realized the flooding had, indeed, gotten worse. The water was just seeping in through the baseboards. More things were shifted — furniture, storage bins and baskets, the rug — but all proactively to prevent later sorrow. Last year’s catastrophe turned out to be in our favor this year because the tile that they put down doesn’t soak up water the way the wood parquet did.

After a few hours of laying down newspapers and towels, the rain let up and so did the flooding. I did my taxes. Rudi cooked a yummy Spanish torta with potatoes and ramps. I baked oatmeal scotchies and started an overdue letter. We watched Because of Winn-Dixie, which was as cute as the book and did not, as the trailer had suggested, include a computer generation of the dog winking. We put clean sheets on the bed and played with the cats.

Monday’s plans? Why it’s a lovely day for a voting rights march, don’t you think?

Category: arts,dc life,garden,knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.