sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 16, 2010

let the madness begin…
posted by soe 12:53 am

It’s March and you know what that means: It’s time for Sock Madness!


No, nothing to do with basketball. Socks.

What do you mean that’s weird? It’s totally not.

Sock Madness is the time of the year when sock knitters put their accumulated skills to the test. It’s a competition that combines speed, agility, humor (at oneself, at any rate), and accuracy. You have to digest the plays your coach gives you (in the form of patterns by their designers) and execute them without deviation. There are refs to rule on tricky questions and sticky situations.

Our competition began last Wednesday, and the first round will likely conclude next Tuesday night as up to 160 competitors head to the second round. If I want to be one of them, I’d better get knitting, as this is all I’ve finished thus far:

Sock Madness in Progress

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March 14, 2010

posted by soe 11:15 pm

Hey, folks! I hope you celebrated all things round today by eating some pie. (For those outside the know, pi is 3.14… and today was March 14th, so those people fond of dessert celebrate our very own holiday with crust and filling.)

Friday night I announced my intention of marking the day by making hand pies, which are essentially the Southern version of pasties, turnovers, or sweet empanadas. Rudi was intrigued, particularly since he shares my love of the now (mostly) defunct McDonald’s deep-fried apple pie.

Because I’m seemingly incapable of starting desserts early in the day and to recover from frustrating news from Utah, I sprang into action with this recipe from Confabulation in the Kitchen around 7 tonight. Mind you, we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, nor even started to prepare it.

But I peeled, cored, and cooked up some apples and then made a simple dough. Lacking round cookie cutters, I just ripped dough around our cereal bowls and managed to make six reasonably sized hand pies and one large, overstuffed one to finish up my fixings.

Raw Hand Pies

After a lovely pasta dinner and an episode of Buffy, Rudi and I headed back to the kitchen to begin the process of frying the pies.

Turning Turnovers

Mind you, we hadn’t washed the dinner dishes or the dishes from the prep work, so space was at a premium. I settled on putting the plate with the uncooked pies into the colander and took the lid off the stock pot so I could balance the plate of finished pies on top. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.


While Rudi supervised my use of hot cooking oil (thank goodness we have an electric stove…) and made some cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top, I turned sizzling pies and watched them turn golden brown.

Sort of Shallow Frying

And, then, the moment of truth…

I should have suspected they were pretty good as Rudi’s first pie was gone before I’d even sat down…

My Pi Day Pie

No McDonald’s retro treat, but still something quite delicious. New England, I highly recommend stealing this Southern treat posthaste!

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who are these people?
posted by soe 12:47 am

Dear Conn College Alumni Magazine People,

I have just finished leafing through the Class Notes of the alumni magazine, and I’m a little concerned: I don’t think some of the people you include in that section went to Conn.

First of all, the good news: Sukey definitely went to Conn. She’s still totally recognizable. And while I might not have looked at Stephanie’s picture and seen the housefellow of 17 years ago, once I saw her name I knew it was her.

But some of those other people? Are you sure they were once the people who populated the campus with me?

I saw some names that seemed familiar, but, frankly, I couldn’t pull up faces up to match them. Is it possible you’re just making up alumni now? I realize that if all classes are like Rudi’s and mine, failing to file Class Notes issue after issue, the back of the book would be a bit thin. If you have to invent a few students here or there, it’s completely understandable. But maybe consider sticking them in the older classes. Those alumnae have memory problems and probably wouldn’t pick up on your adding a few extra women from the current New London phone book to their roster.

But just stay away from the mid-’90s. I’m on to you….

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March 11, 2010

perennials, from the heart, and lunchtime scenery
posted by soe 11:34 pm

I haven’t looked forward to a weekend this much in a while, so I’m really glad it’s Thursday today.

Here are three beautiful things from the last week:

1. I left work early on Friday, which meant I walked home from the Metro during daylight. Along the way I passed blooming snowdrops and croci (crocuses?). It absolutely brightened my foul mood to see the yellow and purple and white flowers.

2. My parents made me handcrafted gifts for my birthday. Mum sewed me a cheery apron based on one of hers that I always use and framed a trio of old photos of us, and Dad made me a mix cd that I’ve listened to every day this week.

3. The start of the work week was warm and sunny, so I ate lunch outside. On Monday I sat in front of the White House and on Tuesday I parked myself outside the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. I forget sometimes exactly how cool it is to live and work in D.C.

What’s been beautiful in your world?

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into the stacks 2010.8
posted by soe 2:50 am

Just for tonight, I’m skipping post 2010.7, which talks about The Help, because it was just too good to allow my review to go out as is. In the meantime, I offer you the book I read for the first half of my California trip:

Austenland, by Shannon Hale

From the jacket: “Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man — perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths to her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?”

My take: In this cute tale of a woman so caught up in her fantasy life that she’s unwilling and increasingly unable to focus on her real life, Jane is a graphic designer living the modern fairy tale life in New York City. Except she can’t find her Prince Charming, or in her case, Mr. Darcy as portrayed by actor Colin Firth.

An eccentric but sharply aware great-aunt dies, willing Jane a trip to an Austen immersion “camp” in England. Arriving, Jane is told to hand over her iPod and cell phone and is assigned Regency-period clothing, schooled in old-fashioned social niceties, and introduced to an estate’s worth of actors and guests designed to make her feel as if she’s stepped right between the covers of Pride and Prejudice.

Adventures and misadventures ensue as Jane compares her past “dating” disasters with the eligible men with whom she is role-playing: young Colonel Andrews, the second son of an earl; Mr. Nobley, a dashing but brooding gentlemen; and Martin, playing the part of Theodore the gardener, with whom she’s supposed to have no contact.

The book isn’t high art and isn’t as accomplished as the young adult fiction that Hale is best known for. But it’s a good romp, particularly if you’re an Austen fan or if you’ve ever fallen in love with a character straight off the page or screen.

Pages: 196

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March 10, 2010

tomorrow… really…
posted by soe 3:39 am

Yesterday I spent the evening recovering from the drive back from Connecticut and my workday. Tonight I kept Grey Kitten (or was it the other way around? both, probably… ) on the phone for several hours and then had a few chores to take care of.

Regular blogging will resume Wednesday. I promise.

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