sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 13, 2009

sunday night recap
posted by soe 12:37 am

So, two days after making grandiose plans, let’s see how we did, shall we?

  • Distribute publicity for Michael’s play.
  • Check. I’ll hit a few more places tomorrow, but I took care of the places he specifically requested. As a benefit, when I stopped into Tryst, I ordered a Washington Carver smoothie, which is essentially a peanut butter-chocolate milkshake. It was like drinking a Reese’s peanut butter cup!

  • Buy some tomato props for the garden, weed and water, and plant some fall seeds.
  • I bought tomato cages, as well as twine and bamboo poles. We took two of the cages over today to prop up the burgeoning tomatoes, but tomorrow we’ll have to play with poles and string. I watered and picked some lettuce, but did not do much weeding nor any planting.

  • Go fruit picking.
  • Yes! I spent Saturday afternoon up in Poolesville and came home with some blackberries and some blueberries. This also gave me the opportunity to wade in a creek and eat lunch with my feet in the mud.

  • Watch Tour de France coverage.
  • Check! I have watched lots of spandex and scenery fly by on the computer screen.

  • Knit on my Tour de France knit-along project.
  • I’m at the heel turn on the sock and feeling pretty comfortable with my progress for week one of the Tour. Plus, I love the yarn’s colors.

  • Read, preferably outside. I currently have three or four books going, so I don’t feel like it’s unreasonable to finish at least one of them.
  • Well, I read, both inside and out, but did not have a chance to finish anything. Tomorrow maybe… We did watch the fifth Harry Potter movie in preparation for Wednesday evening, as well as a few episodes from the first season of WKRP.

  • Bike a bit or swim — both days.
  • No biking all weekend, but Rudi did drag me out of the house to the pool this afternoon. It was lovely.

  • Pay bills.
  • Tomorrow.

  • Clean.
  • Failed at this one, unless I meant the car, in which case I did stumble on a charity car wash Saturday morning. I did also vacuum, which made me feel much better about the mess everywhere else.

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July 10, 2009

weekend plans
posted by soe 11:56 pm

It’s Friday night and the house is quiet. Rudi has turned in, caching energy for tomorrow’s hilly ride. Two of the cats are dozing in the bedroom with him, one in an Amazon box here in the living room.

We started the weekend out with jazz this evening, but it was a bit different than our normal Friday wind-down with friends. First, the weather and the event’s popularity have combined to make it so there is nowhere to sit in the sculpture garden. So I pulled up space on the median strip outside the garden between the sidewalk and the street. And we were not the only blanket parked there! Second, most of our friends are out of town this weekend, so, although Sarah was able to spend a little time with us, for the most part it was just Rudi and me. Luckily, I’m rather fond of Rudi, the weather was gorgeous, and the people squatting around us were all very friendly and cheerful.

The weekend itself looks quite busy. On the agenda:

  • Distribute publicity for Michael’s play next weekend. Are you a local? If so (or if you’re going to be in town soon), make sure you don’t miss the world premiere of The Quick Brown Fox Jumped over the Lazy Dogs during the Fringe Festival. The play will be performed July 18 and 19 and 24-26. The reading I saw of it a couple years back was fantastic.
  • Buy some tomato props for the garden, weed and water, and plant some fall seeds. I wonder if it’s too late to plant zucchini and more beans for the summer…
  • Go fruit picking. Blueberries and raspberries are both currently in season and I’m eating them every day. Today I made blueberry apricot muffins, yesterday I had a yogurt parfait. Who knows what I could make next?
  • Watch Tour de France coverage. I think Rudi is delighted in my interest this year…
  • Knit on my Tour de France knit-along project. Originally a sweater, it’s now a pair of socks. Yeah, I was surprised, too.
  • Read, preferably outside. I currently have three or four books going, so I don’t feel like it’s unreasonable to finish at least one of them.
  • Bike a bit or swim — both days.
  • Pay bills. It’s that weekend of the month.
  • Clean. It’s only one word, but it’s such a big task. The mess has gotten out of hand and I’m pretty sure it’s now procreating and making lots more little messes. But this is supposed to be the last temperate weekend of the summer, so I refuse to spend any of the nice parts inside. Cleaning will only happen after dark or when it’s rainy or too humid to be comfortable outside anymore. Hmmm… That sounds kind of defeatist from the outset, doesn’t it? Too bad!

What are you up to this weekend?

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July 9, 2009

unseasonable, capital, and delectable
posted by soe 11:00 pm

It’s Thursday, glorious Thursday! I present you with three beautiful things from my world this past week:

1. The weather has been gorgeous. Mid-July in the mid-Atlantic usually is muggy and unbearable with the occasional thunderstorm to break up the 3 H’s. This last week? Mostly sunny. Highs in the 80s. Overnight temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Low humidity. I’m thinking this might be what summers are like in the Elysian Fields.

2. Saturday night, Rudi and I pedaled down to the Potomac to watch the fireworks. We found a deserted (!) stretch of grass next to a very nice Mr. Lincoln from Illinois and watched what turned out to be, we thought, the best pyrotechnic display since we moved to the District. A slight breeze blew the smoke away from the Mall, so we had an unobscured view of the show with the Washington Monument in the background. It was a magnificent way to mark our country’s birthday.

3. I discovered a box in the fridge this morning when hunting for blueberries. Its contents? Forgotten fudge from our trip to the shore last month. Rudi and I have been sampling its contents for dessert tonight, and I’m delighted to tell you that aging fudge does great things for it.

What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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be still my heart
posted by soe 11:39 am

Rick Riordan, Kate DiCamillo, and Shannon Hale all on one day. Oh, and some other folks…

Rudi has Moxie Fruvous going through his head right now…

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into the stacks: 2009.5
posted by soe 1:16 am

Maybe one of my goals for July should be to catch up on book reviews. I wonder what it would feel like to be current with my reviews instead of telling you about books I read back in February…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

From the jacket: “January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’d never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. He’d come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by this author. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the Germans. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the Society’s charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. through their letters she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever.”

My take: Oh. my. god. This book is amazing. I laughed. I cried. I finished it and wanted immediately to begin it again.

Set in the year after the end of World War II, this epistolary novel opens as the English are attempting to rebuild their lives as well as their cities. Juliet Ashton, a writer who had an upbeat newspaper column during the war, is back to being able to write about the topics of her choosing, but she’s unable to settle on a subject that matters.

A letter arrives at her doorstep, forwarded from her previous, bombed-out flat, from a stranger on the Isle of Guernsey. He has come into possession of a book that once belonged to her and, intrigued by the subject, he’s hoping to learn more. Could she possibly point him to a shop in London that would be willing to search out additional books for him? All the bookshops on the island were destroyed by the Nazis and he’s desperate for a new book.

Through their correspondence, she comes to learn more about her pen-pal, his odd group of friends who comprised the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and life under Nazi rule. Could there be a story there for her to tell?

Annie Barrows recently stopped by Politics and Prose to do a reading, so I and a bazillion other fans turned out to hear her talk about the novel. She explained that the book had been her aunt’s, but that when her aunt became deathly ill, Annie, already a published author of children’s books, found herself being asked to flesh out and fill in the story. Mary Ann died before the book came out in English, but Annie sweetly said that she was so glad that her participation in the project had enabled readers to connect with the best storyteller in her family.

And I can believe it. The characters are so well-written that you’ll wish you could time travel to meet them before you remember that they didn’t really exist. The format of the book allows secondary and even tertiary characters to have full and well-rounded back stories and for events to be shared from different perspectives, which I found to be quite rewarding.

Read this book. I found it best book of the year material. Amazing.

Pages: 278 pages

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July 6, 2009

readalong: nonfiction five
posted by soe 2:23 am

Trish at Trish’s Reading Nook is hosting the summertime readalong, Non-Fiction Five 2009.

Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May-September. At least one non-fiction book [should be] different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help).

This was another challenge I made a stab at last year in which I failed miserably. I think it’s time to pull out some true tales and learn some new things. But I’m pages from finishing the first book I’ve chosen, so I feel confident that I’ll be able to meet this year’s goal:

  1. Educating Alice by Alice Steinbach
  2. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
  3. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  4. The Sun in the Morning by M.M. Kaye
  5. Reading the OED by Ammon Shea

Book selection may change as I find new things to interest me or as these fail to hold up to the D.C. summer heat. Of course, if you have a non-fiction suggestion you think I might like, please leave it in the comments.

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