sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 31, 2011

opening day, diesel, and doughnut
posted by soe 10:51 pm

Sorry for the delayed post, but I was finishing up the socks for the second round of Sock Madness. The slots were disappearing quickly last night, so I wanted to take care of that before moving on to other things. But now I’m sitting here with a bowl of ice cream and a mug of tea and the sense of satisfaction that comes from knitting two pairs of socks this last month. I’ll show you pictures tomorrow.

Here are three other beautiful things from my past week:

1. I take the radio into the office so I can listen to the Nationals’ Opening Day game. Play ball!

2. My books are due back to the library and I haven’t even cracked them open. So, of course, I open one while on the Metro to return them and, for the first time in three weeks, actually feel like reading it. Fantasy and mystery are my usual weapons of choice when combating a reading slump and this Janet Evanovich novel, Wicked Appetite, is a fantasy mystery. Perfect!

3. Harold, who is part of the security department at the Washington Times building, helps me get the lug nuts off my tire when I can only find the wrench for Rudi’s old car (Did you know there are different sized lug nuts? Now you do.) and jacks it up for me. But we can’t get the tire off. He offers to stay and help me further, but he’s wearing his Sunday best and I assure him that I’ll be fine. The guy with the wrecker lies on the ground and kicks the tire like he’s throwing a tantrum, but to no avail. In the end, it requires a crowbar to get the wheel off. I’m very glad I checked the doughnut before anyone arrived to make sure it was drivable. And the appropriate wrench is now in the same compartment as the jack.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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March 29, 2011

into the stacks: harmonic feedback
posted by soe 2:04 am

I’m way behind in my book posting, but thought I might try to catch up this week. I read this back at the beginning of February:

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

From the jacket: “Sixteen-year-old music- and sound-design-obsessed Drea doesn’t have friends. She has, as she’s often reminded, issues. Drea’s mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on a ‘touch of Asperger’s.’ Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a trip-hop band after an impromptu jam session. Justin swiftly challenges not only Drea’s preference for Poe over Black Lab but also her perceived inability to connect with another person. Justin, against all odds, may even like like Drea.

My take: This book is precisely the sort of book I would have read in high school. Because of that, though, I knew right from the start how the novel was going to play out. There are some perils to being twice the age of the intended audience.

That said, I enjoyed it. I liked Drea as a main character. She’s never had a friend before, between her illness, which makes her have a hard time reading people, and frequent moves caused by her mom’s poor boyfriend choices. However, when, under duress, they must both move in with grumpy Grandma Horvath, a friend literally appears on the doorstep just after they arrive. Naomi is quick and fun and likes to test boundaries, which makes her both kind of scary for Drea but also exciting. Plus, she can play the drums and, it turns out, has an amazing voice.

That turns out to be a good thing because on her first day of school, Drea meets another new student, Justin, who, after a few false starts, becomes her second friend. He plays the keyboards, has similar taste in music to Drea, and is willing to teach her how to drive.

Unfortunately, just as Drea finally feels like things are coming together for her with making friends, forming a band, and creating a workable family living situation, other things start to show signs of fraying at the edges. Can Drea and her friends work things out to achieve a well-blended harmony? Or will they fall apart in an unsynchronized mess?

Pages: 280

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March 27, 2011

energy conservation is sexy
posted by soe 1:53 am

In honor of Earth Hour, an international event created to raise awareness of energy conservation, Rudi and I turned off our computers, unplugged most of our electronics, and prepared to embrace the darkness of a Saturday night in early spring.

I lit candles, Rudi tidied up a bit, and we brewed a pot of tea. Then, as 8:30 rolled around, we turned off the last light in the Burrow and settled in. There was some ambient street noise, but far less than either of us expected.

I knit (albeit slowly) along on Rudi’s sock. Rudi pulled out his guitar and a Beatles songbook, and he played music for me, and we sang and talked about the songs.

The hour flew by and was well on its way through a second one when we realized we hadn’t yet had dinner, so we flipped a few switches in order to cook some food. Otherwise, I think we could easily have stayed in the darkness quite contentedly for the rest of the night.

Every time we do something like this, we say we should do it more often. I hope this time we’ll follow through on it, because it was just about the perfect date night.

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March 24, 2011

sock madness kindness, two lips, & a study in color
posted by soe 10:56 pm

I was surprised that today was going to be Thursday, but now that it’s arrived, I find Thursday has lasted about four days. So it’s definitely time to consider three beautiful things from the week past:

1. I missed the deadline of contest sock completion by an hour Friday night. Rudi returned home to find me not done, but instead grimly knitting a toe on the floor in front of my computer, madly muttering about needing it done for my own peace of mind. The next morning, the moderators emailed me and two other knitters who’d also finished just outside the time to say that they’d decided to move us through to the next round anyway.

2. The warm weather has caused two varieties of tulips along my walk to the Metro to bloom. One has wide-open petals, its mouth eagerly anticipating the kiss of the sun. The other resembles a six-year-old told to kiss a distant aunt, lips puckered, but unexcited about the prospect.

3. When I get on the Metro to come home, a teenage girl sits curled up on the seat next to the door. Her slate blue sweater matches her tights, and she is writing with a pink pen (with black ink) in a notebook perched in her lap. A yellow balloon hovers above her, anchored to her wrist with a green ribbon.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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March 23, 2011

once upon a time v
posted by soe 1:04 am

Once Upon a Time V ChallengeThe annual spring reading challenge has arrived. For the fifth year, Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the Once upon a Time Challenge that encourages readers to spend the season reading from the fantasy genre.

I will be doing the Quest the First, which mandates that one

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology … or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

First up on my list is the new Jasper Fforde novel, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing, which my local bookstore has on hold for me. After that, I’m hoping to tackle some of the books I have lying around the house or checked out from the library, including Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Bill Willingham’s Peter & Max, and Janet Evanovich’s Wicked Appetite. I also think I have Erin Bow’s Plain Kate hiding somewhere in the Burrow, but I haven’t seen it for a while, so it’s a possibility that it’s actually an entirely different novel. But if I do own it, I’d love to find and read it.

Got any recommendations you think I should check out between now and the start of summer?

Category: books. There is/are 11 Comments.

weekly geeks: 10 things about books & me
posted by soe 12:18 am

weekly geeksThis week’s edition of Weekly Geeks asks participants to “tell us ten things about you with regard to books and reading.”

Here are mine:

  1. When I moved South, I brought a box of my favorites with me at the same time as we brought the cats and our sleeping bags. We didn’t even have a bed down here, but I had two dozen of my favorite books to keep me company. Nearly every one of them was a children’s or young adult title.
  2. I have probably a dozen boxes of books still in my parents’ attic.
  3. I usually have several books going at once. I don’t understand why people find that odd.
  4. When I’m not reading at all, it’s not a great sign for my mental health.
  5. Books are my favorite presents to give — and to receive. I take my choices seriously of what to give people and only very rarely give novels that I haven’t yet read. Likewise, I will give a gifted book much longer than a normal novel if I’m having a hard time getting into it because I know a friend has thought enough of it to share it with me.
  6. I can read and walk at the same time. This freaks people out.
  7. If I’m caught up in a book, you can talk to me, and even though I might answer you, I am not processing what you’ve said and will likely not remember the conversation. (This used to frustrate my parents tremendously, who were sure I was intentionally ignoring their reminders about chores.)
  8. I own two books that used to belong to my paternal grandmother’s sister Dot when she was a girl — one is a Nancy Drew mystery and the other is called Miss Billy by Eleanor Porter, the same woman who wrote Pollyanna.
  9. Although I enjoy buying both new and used books, I am an avid library user and make liberal use of the D.C. Library’s online hold system. Periodically I also end up making a sizable contribution to the library through overdue fines. I like to consider it my annual dues.
  10. I am indiscriminate about hardcover vs. softcover, and the issue usually comes down to a) is it a new book by a favorite author (such as that Jasper Fforde novel waiting for me to collect it from Politics and Prose) and b) cost (which means unless I can’t stand waiting to own it (Harry Potter novels 5-7, anyone?), I’m going to hold out for the paperback). Paperbacks are easier to carry in my bag and hold while standing on the metro (or while walking home from work), but I can manage with either if it’s a good book.
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