sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 28, 2011

childminder, mill, burrowers, and dialect
posted by soe 9:28 am

Rudi’s and my workloads this summer have been out of control, not permitting us a long vacation. Last weekend afforded us the opportunity to leave town for a few precious days, the last time this summer we’ll get the chance. We drove north, in search of cooler weather and family time. Here are four (a bonus item in honor of summer holidays!) beautiful things from the trip:

1. Karen and I spend Sunday afternoon in Putnam, leisurely eating brunch, browsing a toy/bookstore, walking along the river, and drinking cool, refreshing beverages in a visit reminiscent of years past. I’d suggested we take her two young kids to the state park (which also would have been lots of fun), but instead her husband Michael said he’d watch them allowing us a perfect girls’ day out on our own.

2. After reading an article about funky used bookstores around the country, I discover one an hour from my folks’ house. Montague Bookmill, along with a restaurant, cafe, music shop, and art gallery, is located along a shady brook in an old, 19th-century mill. Their motto: “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.”

3. Our afternoon of swimming in the ocean fizzles just as it’s about to start when a thunderstorm rolls through southern New Jersey. Forbidden from the swimming beach even after the skies clear, we instead head further into the state park, where they have fishing beaches (with dangerous undertow), and walk in the water. Rudi discovers that just under the surface of the sand are millions of small clams. After a wave washes back into the sea, where you have been standing appears to be a pebble- and shell-strewn beach. Within five seconds, though, the pastel-hued shells are gone, having shifted onto their side and burrowed back into the once-again smooth sand. We amuse ourselves by picking up handfuls of sand and having the half-inch creatures burrow into our palms.

4. You know you’re really home when the waitress at your favorite pizzeria double-checks your order by verifying you ordered a “moutz* pie.”

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

*For anyone not from southern Connecticut or other places with a large Sicilian population, “mozzarella” is pronounced “MOUT-za-rell” and is shortened to “moutz.”

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July 21, 2011

lunch date, biking party, and walking wounded
posted by soe 11:14 pm

While the last few days have challenged my definition of dry, the weekend was as spectacularly beautiful as they come.

Here are three beautiful things from my week past:

1. It’s been months since Karen and I managed to get one another on the phone. Finally, she suggests meeting for lunch via our cells. Although she’s talking from the grounds of a monastery and I from a downtown park, it’s almost (if you tilt your head and squint) as if we were both at a picnic table together watching ants steal bites of her muffin and squirrels climb the trees. Honestly, it’s the best use of a midday hour I’ve had in a long time.

2. Rudi and I head over to Virginia for a Tour de France viewing party. As chair of the local cycling club (which is hosting the shindig), Rudi knows everyone in the room and is eagerly sought after by them all for a word or two. I enjoy watching him chat, because unlike me, he really enjoys it. I have a few brief conversations with some very polite cyclists, but am completely content to knit on my sock and split my attention between the Tour stage on the big screen and the Mets game on the smaller ones.

3. My cell rings early in the afternoon on Saturday. It’s Rudi, who is out in the Virginia countryside on a typical weekend bike ride. Immediately a frost forms around my heart. Why is he calling when he should still be on the bike? Is it someone else using his phone to reach me? It turns out he has had an accident, but is mostly okay. While one bike wheel is out of commission, Rudi’s corporeal injuries are of the scrape and bruise variety, painful in the moment but easily healed from. I breathe a deep sigh of relief.

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

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a summer hike
posted by soe 1:59 am

It’s not until you spend a couple of hours listening only to birdsong and wind blowing through trees that you realize how much ambient noise there is in the city. Although I live near a happening area of town, I would describe my block as a relatively quiet one. And, yet, Sunday afternoon, I kept pausing along our hike to marvel at the lack of noise. Oh, sure, there were sounds — in addition to the birds and the wind, cicadas whirred past, unseen animals occasionally crashed through the woods, frogs kerplunked through puddles in their hurry to escape us, and the earth crunched under our feet, grass whistling in our wake. But they were actual, discernible sounds, rather than the omnipresent buzz of urban life that you don’t notice has settled into your head until it is lifted. (more…)

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July 18, 2011

music on monday: secret
posted by soe 11:33 pm

“Secret,” by OneRepublic, was featured in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which Rudi and I watched on Netflix tonight.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I suggest you do. It was sweet, had a good soundtrack, and was a nice homage both to Fantasia and to the story of Merlin.

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perfection embodied
posted by soe 1:45 am

A Perfect Summer Afternoon

Every once in a rare July, you get an absolutely perfect day of weather. Should such a gem of a creature arrive in your life, I hope you hop on its back, hold on tight, and follow where it will lead you, even if it’s not remotely where you expected to end up.

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July 14, 2011

sun protection, calvary, and fresh from the garden
posted by soe 5:06 pm

Today is a beautiful, sunshiny day with temperatures in the mid-80s and low humidity. Honestly, I’d keep checking both the calendar and an atlas if there weren’t a heat wave bearing down on us next week. Soak it up while you can, folks!

Here are three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Early in the week, it is hot and bright. A young woman walks past the building with a parasol trimmed in lace.

2. The sudden and breathtaking (in the bad sense of the term) amount of work heaped on me in the last two weeks lifts somewhat with the announcement of my boss that she’s going to start working part time in her return from maternity leave and the postponement of an impending deadline, which she says she’ll take off my hands. Work is still busy, but treading water at least now seems possible.

3. Our dinner features both basil and tomatoes from our garden. They are, of course, delicious.

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

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