sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 24, 2011

music on monday (past midnight edition)
posted by soe 3:12 am

Rudi and I head to see Paul Simon perform at the DAR Constitution Hall this week, so I thought I’d share three of my favorite songs of his.

With my new music player, I headed off to college with a single cd — Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park. “American Tune” was my favorite song off that album.

And three years later, another Paul Simon tune would inspire some of my favorite senior year moments. A freshman in the dorm, Brian, discovered I had borrowed a copy of Paul Simon’s Greatest Hits (from Rudi or from Rebs, I don’t remember whom, at the moment) and would stop by to hover in my doorway and talk folk music. I found out he played guitar — sometimes in the stairwell — and sometimes in the dorm living room. We chatted and found we shared a common appreciation for a number of artists, including Paul. “Mother and Child Reunion” is, I believe, the first song off that album, and the one I associate with Brian.

That blossoming friendship with Brian combined with Rudi’s ability to play guitar led to a number of all-night singalongs, with groups of us crowded into one dorm room or another to play music and sing. Brian’s only rule is that you had to sing, no matter your ability. “Me and Julio” was our best number. Eric provided the whistling and Brian and Rudi always managed to end the final strum in synch.

This post could honestly just go on and on. I could add “Cecilia” or “The Boxer” or “Homeward Bound” or “The 59th Street Bridge Song” just as easily.

Do you have a favorite Paul Simon song or seven?

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May 23, 2011

sheepy festival 2011
posted by soe 2:11 am

Time is speeding past me faster than I write posts, which means I’m always behind on what I want to be talking about. (That might be a universal truth to be overcome…)

Two weeks ago now, Sarah, Rudi, and I headed up to Howard County for my annual foray to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. We arrived in the early afternoon and after enjoying a quick bite, headed off to see the sites:

There were sheep:

Mournful SheepSkittish Sheep


There were alpacas:

More AlpacasAlpacas

There was wool:

Shutting down the Festival

So much, in fact, that it took us all afternoon to traverse the festival grounds and there were still sections we missed.

There were lots of knitters, too, (hi, Mikaiya!) but I didn’t take any pictures of them either nor of Sarah or Rudi, for that matter. It was that kind of overwhelming afternoon.

But I did find some pretty things, as did Sarah.

This is my haul (and the silvery glimpse of a very interested party):

MDSW '11 Haul

The needles are size 0 Darn Pretty Needles. Rudi gave me (via his mom) US2s a couple Christmases ago and they remain the only needles I have not warped out of shape, making them a clear favorite for dpns. Plus, they really are quite attractive, in their green, multi-hued wood.

Darn Pretty Needles

The yarn buying was slightly restrained right up until the last five minutes of the festival when I found two skeins I couldn’t choose between and broke the tie by buying both. (I know…) In the middle are two skeins of Gypsy Girl transitions sock yarn in Summer Solstice that I picked up early on because the shifts between colors in the stall samples were gorgeous. And the other two are MarigoldJen blue faced Leicester dk weight. The top is Silver Maple and the bottom is Levi, and I suspect both will go toward making lovely hats unless someone has another suggestion. The photo doesn’t do either sufficient justice to the gorgeous dye job.

MDSW '11 Yarn

Even Rudi ended up with something. A few months back, just before Della died, I accidentally broke Rudi’s favorite mug, the one he drank coffee from nearly every day and that had that magical combination of color, shape, and heft — and that we picked up on one of our favorite vacations ever. Although we checked the potter’s website, he didn’t have anything that seemed perfect, leaving Rudi disappointed and me feeling terrible.

So when Rudi decided to forgo his bike ride to tag along with Sarah and me, I hoped we could find him something he’d like. And so far he seems to. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s good enough until we find perfect someday down the road.

A New Mug for Rudi

A sage plant purchase as we departed followed by a quick picnic of fried dough just outside the festival gates (about ten minutes after the closing announcement came over the loudspeaker), and we were done. We headed south back to D.C., content to knit (in Sarah’s and my case) and drive (in Rudi’s case) and sing along with the music after a lovely spring afternoon.

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May 21, 2011

not going anywhere; see you tomorrow!
posted by soe 10:23 am

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May 19, 2011

tardy, smoky, and sticky
posted by soe 11:19 pm

Hey there! It’s Thursday night, which means it’s time to review three of the beautiful things from the previous week:

1. Between storms, pastel clouds dash across the sky as if late to an Impressionist’s canvas.

2. We cook out for Rudi’s birthday party, and he and I tend the grill on the breezy evening. Our hair smells pleasantly of campfire smoke all night.

3. We head to the Thai embassy for the afternoon, where they entertain us with feats of skill and delicious food. Rudi eats a papaya salad and I opt, at his suggestion, for mango sticky rice. Did you know they make it sticky with coconut milk? Yum!

How about you? What was beautiful in your life last week?

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just because a=b does that mean that b=a?
posted by soe 2:45 am

I am down to the toe on the Sock Madness socks I’ve been working on for the past month (being eliminated slows down the knitting immensely, I’ve found), which means it’s time to return to the project I was working on before the last pattern was announced.

This was a long lingering UFO (unfinished object), dating back to my first year of participating in the Tour de France knitalong. I knit the first sock during the Tour of 2008 and then inexplicably put them aside, despite a love of the yarn, Lazy Perry Ranch, and a fondness for the pattern, Bastille Day.

Suddenly this spring, I needed to finish this pair of socks and picked up the needles and cast on Sock #2. I knit it intermittently in between Sock Madness rounds, and I can only say that the stop-and-go nature may have had a detrimental effect on my project.


See how I’m nearly done? Less than an inch to go…

The knitting went quickly, although I was grumpy about how the yarn was suddenly pooling on the leg. I figured my gauge had changed over time, and ripped back to the heel in order to try to actively knit differently in order to keep the yarn from looking hideous. You can see from the above photo of the sock fronts that it’s clearly still different, but not too bad.

Unless you turn the sock over and look at the backs:


Yep. I managed to knit the leg of my second sock not once, but twice, in the wrong pattern. The front of the leg remains the same pattern as on the foot, but the back is supposed to have a different pattern. I remember reading that when I put the sock down at one point, but clearly neglected to revisit the instructions (or even the first sock!) when I picked it up again.

Third time is the charm right? I mean, after three years and three times knitting the leg, this pair of socks is going to be awesome. I can just sense it.

Category: knitting. There is/are 3 Comments.

May 18, 2011

ten on tuesday: outside
posted by soe 1:49 am

Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic is Ten Favorite Things to Do Outside. I’m sticking to summer activities, since that was implied, but I could come up with another ten for the colder months:

  1. Go to the beach. IMG_5784 Bring a book. Bring a bathing suit. Bring a parka. Bring a grape soda and some chips. Doesn’t matter the season. Doesn’t matter the weather. Rainy, sunny, snowy, windy, hot, cold, idyllic. It’s all good. Honestly, life is just always better after you spend some time at the ocean.
  2. Sit at a cafe. IMG_6827Admittedly, this is probably the domain of those of us urban dwellers without access to a backyard, but it’s still lovely in the evening after work to plunk down at a table with a drink, a book, a knitting project, an iPod, and a crossword. Or another person. That’s even better.
  3. Picnic and barbecue. Be it lunch up at Mitchell Park on a Saturday or a weekend evening picnic with the gang, hummus and cheese and cold salads just scream summertime. And, just this past Sunday, we broke out the grill for burgers cooked on the stoop. You can bet we’ll be repeating that and we’re even talking about inviting the rest of the building’s residents to partake one evening in an effort to be more neighborly.
  4. Reconnect with the earth. Growth SpurtSummer is the time for berry picking. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. Doesn’t really matter. I love them all and coming home with a flat of them after a day at a farm makes every mouthful that much sweeter.

    It’s also the time to get out to the garden and grow some things of my own. It’s a really cool feeling to watch things you’ve planted from seed or seedling or kitchen waste grow into legitimate food items. I mean, we grow peanuts and potatoes and strawberries and lettuce! How crazy is that?

  5. Get artsy. Impromptu JazzFrom Jazz in the Sculpture Garden to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and from big name performers at formal concert sites to local church brass ensembles putting on a street corner show in the Circle, music is another thing that only gains from outdoor exposure.

    And while I know that it is not necessary to view the Bard’s work outdoors, I find myself really only interested in attending performances al fresco. Unfortunately, D.C. has gotten rid of that option, but last year Rudi and I saw a great performance back at Conn in the Arbo and the year before we watched an abridged (I know!) version up in Olney. I can’t really countenance such adaptation, so I’m going to have to hunt around to see what some of the other local ‘burbs can offer me.

  6. Attend festivals. Although the season technically starts in early spring with the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Kite Festival, the traditional start of the season is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in early May. It’s anchored in early summer by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and goes through the end of September and the National Book Festival (two days this year instead of just one!). You just never know what you’re going to learn or see!
  7. Ride my bike. You can't see meDon’t tell Rudi, but I actually enjoy tooling around on my bike quite a bit. I’ll never be the cyclist he is, but there is something cool about knowing you can propel yourself 20 miles in an afternoon. And I’d never see some of the places I’ve visited or the wildlife I’ve spotted if I’d had to go on foot or by car or public transit.
  8. Drink daiquiris. My dad makes the best virgin strawberry daiquiris in the world. I hear his full octane ones are also pretty good.
  9. Watch baseball. Nationals ParkWe’re part of a group that goes in on season tickets to the Nationals, so Rudi and I catch ten or so games of major league ball each year. While I’m particularly fond of a Mets-Nationals match-up, I’m happy anytime I can get to the ball park. The crack of the bat is just a summertime sound. And a ballpark at twilight is just a magical place.
  10. Lie in a hammock. Because after all that gardening, festival going, gardening, and bike riding, sometimes you just need a nap.

I can’t figure out what to delete from the above group to fit in camping, but know if this were a list of eleven, my love of campfires and stargazing would shoot this onto the list. And if it were an even dozen, dancing in a torrential July downpour would probably round out the twelve.

Check out the other participants’ lists at Carole’s blog. And feel free to share your own favorite warm-weather outdoor activities in the comments.

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