sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 31, 2009

picture perfect, around the table, and home
posted by soe 11:53 am

Tonight will be a red-letter, blue-moon evening, so make sure you celebrate the switch from 2009 to 2010 with your favorite people.

I offer you here three beautiful things from the past week of holidays, visits, and vacation. Trust me when I say they’re only a sample:

1. Heading home after a lovely lunch date with my friend B.W., I opt to take a new route back from Pomfret. It leads me through the forestland of Connecticut’s Quiet Corner, where blue skies have replaced the slate grey ones of my morning drive. The roads are clear, and sun glints down on pines and oaks that look like someone has sifted powdered sugar on green boughs and brown branches. I feel like I’ve driven right into a snow globe, or maybe a movie set from the 1940s.

2. Mum cajoles Gramma into coming out to join us for elevenses yesterday morning — a brunch of blueberry pancakes, bacon, and hot beverages. We had some wonderful meals while home visiting, but this relaxed, final one was probably my favorite.

3. I awaken this morning in a cocoon of soft sheets, warm bodies, and purring cats. It’s a great way to finish out the year.

How about you? What’s beautiful in your world?

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December 30, 2009

back in d.c.
posted by soe 11:58 pm

Rudi and I returned to D.C. tonight after a week up in Connecticut. Our cats still had food and water (thanks, Amani!), the Burrow wasn’t flooded, and a pile of Christmas cards awaited our arrival.

I would tell you more about the day’s adventures, but I have to go to bed so we can get up early to run past the police station for a temporary parking pass and then figure out our movie marathon schedule/lineup.

Check back tomorrow for the final three beautiful things of the year and later in the week for some round-up type posts for 2009.


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December 29, 2009

a blog year in review
posted by soe 12:47 pm

I’ve done this before, but was reminded by reading Nan’s post that today might be the ideal time to post my year-end retrospective by sharing the first paragraph of each month’s initial post:

January: “Well, Day 1 of 2009 has reached its close. If it’s how the rest of the year goes, I’m going to be pretty happy. We cooked, we did a few chores, and otherwise we generally spent the day making merry.”

February: “I’m in love … with the library.”

March: “March 1 and 2: Snow! It started snowing Saturday as Rudi and I were walking home from our late night pizza dinner. It mixed with rain and sleet, so by morning we were still without accumulation. It picked up again around noon when we were at the market, but the temps were just too high to allow it to stick. It kicked in off and on all afternoon and evening, and finally around midnight started to stick to the ground. Around one, Rudi and I went out to play for a few minutes before returning home for hot tea and bed.”

April: “Fifteen years is a long time: It’s the amount of time it takes for a newborn to age enough to acquire a learner’s permit to drive.” (This post referred to the final episode of E.R. but more spoke to a nostalgia for my college friends and our weekly gatherings.)

May: “I promise to regale you with stories of my weekend — filled with embassy visits, tea drinking in the rain, and a small fiber gathering — a bit later.”

June: “We’ve enjoyed the May’s Masterpiece Theatre Mystery series, Wallander, starring Kenneth Branaugh. The haunting theme music, I discovered on Ravelry, is ‘Nostalgia,’ written and performed by Emily Barker. See if you don’t agree…”

July: “Once upon a time there was some yarn. It was Blue-faced Leicester yarn [in dk weight from Yarn Pirate]. Wool from Blue-faced Leicester sheep makes very soft yarn, much like merino — perfect for a baby’s sensitive skin.”

August: “You may have noticed I am not a good traveler. I’m a great visitor. I love being other places and seeing new sights and meeting new and old friends. But I’m terrible at the traveling part, probably because it relies on things I’m not especially good at — timeliness and organization.” (Off to the Sock Summit, where I also proved not to be a particularly good in-real-time blogger…)

September: “Soooo tired! Must type Three Beautiful Things and then fall into deep sleep…” (I really ought to re-read my TBT posts more often. They really do help to remind me of how much beauty surrounds my life.)

October: “As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, Mia had cajoled me to come out to Berryville earlier this fall. Unfortunately, it looked like there would be conflicts (an out-of-town friend in town for the marathon and a bike weekend away for Rudi), so I told her I probably wouldn’t be able to make it. Clearly, those two situations ultimately did not prove to be a sticking point, and when she heard I thought I’d be coming, Mia offered to give — yes, give — me a skein of her handspun yarn.” (This reminds me that you haven’t seen the lovely yarn Mia brought me for Christmas earlier this month. All lovely pinks and pastels. It’s sat on my desk at home being pet each day like a pampered kitten.)

November: “I had hoped to be able to show you today photos of Mum’s birthday present, completed and modeled, but that was predicated on having finished it. As it is, I am still knitting away, although she did gamely drape the unfinished shawl over herself Thursday night when I delivered it still on the needles. Last night I suggested that it was long enough to stay in place if I let her wear it with the circular needles attached and tied in a jaunty bow.” (After a blog-low of ten posts in October, I picked up my keyboard with renewed interest in November. I’d like to say that’s why Mum’s shawl is still not done, but I’m not sure that’s the truth. Here’s hoping for today…)

December: “Oh, I meant the apartment, not this post, but still…” (This cryptic remark referred to the post’s title, “disorganized hodgepodge of stuff,” which also might be a good summary of 2009 — and my life — in general.)

Here’s hoping 2010 holds lots of interesting things to blog about, too!

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out of practice
posted by soe 2:36 am

After seven years of living in the South, I have grown unaccustomed to driving in the snow.

This is a huge blow to my New England-raised ego.

Clearly D.C. just needs to work on getting more storms so i can practice. (If those storms can arrange to come in on a worknight, so I can have a day off for the aforementioned practice, so much the better…)

The good news is that after tobogganing down my parents’ driveway in my car, the rest of the drive to meet up with my friend BW was relatively calm.

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December 28, 2009

on the third day of christmas
posted by soe 2:59 am

my true love gave to me an afternoon reminiscing.

Rudi and I, not having plans for today to ski or visit friends, decided that it was time to return to Middletown, our former home, which I hadn’t visited in several years.

Our first stop was O’Rourke’s, a classic diner that serves gourmet quality food. It had a fire several years back and the community came together to help Brian, who had lacked insurance, rebuild. The new space sits on the same footprint, but there definitely were some aesthetic changes made. Luckily, the changes did not affect the generally cheerful employees or the amazing brunch offered. I ate the Irish soda bread trinity (or something like that), which was three different types of Irish soda bread turned into French toast and then topped with different jams and clotted cream. Yum! And so filling! (When we lived in Middletown and ate there semi-regularly, I would ask for just two slices to minimize the waste. Luckily, in this instance, Rudi was not so stuffed that he couldn’t help me out after finishing his own meal.)

To aid our digestion, we walked south down Main Street to see what had changed in the seven years since we’d moved. Some things had stayed the same, while others had changed. Spaces that used to be a bridal shop, a dollar store, and the extension to a clothing store had all turned into restaurants. The paint-your-own pottery studio looked to be a used bookstore. The natural food store had built its own building next to the roller rink. The bead shop had become an artisanal chocolate shop, Tschudin Chocolates, with a friendly owner. We bought a few candies to bring back for dessert tonight, including one flavored with Captain Morgan rum called the Johnny Depp and a delicious chocolate and coconut covered marshmallow.

We ended the evening at two other old haunts: Klekolo’s coffeehouse, whose days open now number past 5,000, and Amato’s toy store, where we may have bought a new game to subject our friends to play with our friends.

Heading home, we drove through campus to see how things had changed since I’d left. There’s a new, fancy campus center, but that was the only obvious alteration to the landscape visible in the growing dusk. I’m glad. I don’t mind change (it’s unfair to expect things to stay the same when we ourselves don’t), but I prefer it to be gradual and human-scaled. Today’s seemed to fall within that category, and I am grateful.

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December 27, 2009

happy boxing day!
posted by soe 1:38 am

I hope you all had a nice and relaxing Boxing Day. We spent it just the way such a day ought to be experienced: with loved ones, relaxing over food, books, conversation, and movies, in front of a fire, after sleeping in late.

Tomorrow, I might try something strenuous like knitting or finishing my Christmas cards. Or maybe I’ll catch up with some of my northeastern friends. Either way, I’m definitely going to be all-out crazy and take a shower.

I know! It’s good for a girl to dream big.

What do your plans include?

Happy Boxing Day!

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