sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 31, 2012

january snapshots
posted by soe 10:16 pm

I thought I’d share some of the photos I took earlier this month when I walked over to the Georgetown waterfront and then back home via the West End.

Winterberry with a View of Rosslyn

Rosslyn across the Potomac

Rock Creek



Flown Away


Looking West


Red-Tailed Hawk


Pennsylvania Ave.

Ornamental Grass

Cloud Reflections

Category: dc life. There is/are 3 Comments.

into the stacks: the baker street letters
posted by soe 3:13 am

The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson

From the jacket: “In Los Angeles, a geological surveyor maps out a proposed subway route — and then goes missing. His eight-year-old daughter in her desperation turns to the one person she thinks might help — she writes a letter to Sherlock Holmes. That letter creates an uproar at 221b Baker Street, which now houses the law offices of attorney and man-about-town Reggie Heath and his hapless brother Nigel. Instead of filing the letter like he’s supposed to, Nigel decides to investigate. Soon he’s flying off to Los Angeles, inconsiderately leaving a very dead body on the floor in his office. Big brother Reggie follows Nigel to California, as does Reggie’s sometime lover, Laura — a quick-witted stage actress who’s captured the hearts of both brothers. When Nigel is arrested, Reggie must use all his wits to solve a case that Sherlock Holmes would have savored, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans will adore.”

My take: When one rents the real address of 221b Baker Street, with the lease comes the responsibility of replying (by form letter) to the inquiries that arrive addressed to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

High-class lawyer Reggie Heath is so excited by the space and the location that he doesn’t really pay attention to that bit of the lease agreement. But his office manager does, and assigns the task to Reggie’s younger brother, Nigel, who is recently out of the mental hospital and awaiting clearance from a review board to resume practicing law after an embarrassing misunderstanding.

Nigel, who tends to work from his heart rather than from a logical perspective, disregards the directive to use stock language to reply to Sherlock Holmes queries. His curiosity is particularly piqued when he comes across a request for the return of an item included with correspondence dated 20 years earlier. When that original letter turns out to be from a young girl seeking the sleuth’s help finding her missing father, and when Nigel detects that the signature on the modern request is a forgery, he decides to get involved.

Unfortunately, his abrupt trip to California to investigate overlaps with the discovery of the dead body of the office manager in Nigel’s office — with his head bashed in by Nigel’s statue.

What’s a big brother to do but put off Scotland Yard and follow his hapless sibling to the U.S. — even if it does ultimately mean that Reggie will visit unsavory neighborhoods, get arrested for a second murder, and nearly lose his own life?

I picked this book up at Sam Weller’s in Salt Lake on their second day open at a new location. They didn’t have the book I was after in soft-cover, so instead of buying it in hard-cover, I bought two other books instead.

I hadn’t heard anything about the mystery prior to picking it up off the shelf and thought the premise sounded promising. I’m not sure the execution lived up to the promise, with heroes whose powers of deduction at times would have put Inspector Lestrade in a positive light. However, the book was still a good — light and quick — way to pass a flight and may be considered worth checking out from the library.

Pages: 277

Category: books. There is/are Comments Off on into the stacks: the baker street letters.

January 26, 2012

foreign, storyteller, and mini people
posted by soe 6:40 pm

It’s Thursday. I’m not sure how it arrived already, because I’m pretty sure it ought to be Tuesday. However, as tomorrow definitely ought to be Friday, I’m not going to argue the point.

In the meantime, three beautiful things from the past week:

1. We head down to the West End Cinemas and catch the French film Le Havre, which is a feel-good (but not in a treacly way) movie about how a shoe-shiner and his down-and-out neighborhood is touched by an African boy who stowed away on and escaped from a container originally destined for London.

2. Craig Finn, who is the lead singer of Hold Steady, released a solo album this week, and it is fantastic. Clear Heart Full Eyes is filled with melodic stories about the sort of people you’d find at a bar late at night in a small town where life is passing them by. It’s not filled with only depressing songs, although he has enough of those to blow a hole cleanly through your heart if you’re teetering in the wrong direction or to score a film about lost twenty-somethings. But he also has a humorous way with words, which gives you some gems like “New Friend Jesus,” which features such lines as “It’s hard to suck when Jesus is in your band” and “People say we suck at sports, but they don’t understand it’s hard to catch with holes right through your hands.” You can stream the album for free at least through Saturday if you’d like to sample it. (I’m not sure when Spinner switches over to the next week’s new releases.)

3. The weather must be particularly mild this week, because in addition to the spring bulbs popping up suddenly (so wrong!), I’ve also been seeing droves of daycare providers out walking their waist-high charges. Some hold hands with adults. Some clutch a long rope. Some wear orange safety vests that are adorably wee. And I’ve seen an assortment of animal-themed headwear, but that, I’m sure, has nothing to do with the daycare centers themselves.

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

Category: arts,three beautiful things. There is/are 1 Comment.

posted by soe 2:16 am

Rudi and I got a new tv for Christmas. We’ve watched some tv shows and some movies on it, but I think this is the nicest thing I’ve seen on it thus far.

TV Reflections 1

TV Reflections 2

TV Reflections 3

TV Reflections 4

And, yes, those were taken back at the beginning of the month. Our tree is not still up.

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 1 Comment.

January 20, 2012

winter finally, denim, and night out with the girls
posted by soe 12:03 am

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. On our last day in Salt Lake, we awake to snow. It continues floating down off and on all afternoon, making us feel like we’re living in a snowglobe.

2. I have unsuccessfully been hunting for a new pair of jeans for a while now. The Fred Meyers that is no longer Fred Meyers helps me out with a pair of Lees (and two pairs of Valentine’s Day socks).

3. Sarah, Amani, and I have dinner. The three of us haven’t gotten together in a while and are having such a good time chatting that it is nearly midnight before I catch Bikeshare home.

And as a bonus beautiful things, Rudi suggests you all might enjoy seeing the boys hanging out together:

The Boys

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

Category: cats,three beautiful things. There is/are 4 Comments.

January 13, 2012

into the stacks: ivy + bean
posted by soe 6:35 pm

Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall (illustrator)

From the jacket: “Meet Ivy and Bean, two friends who never meant to like each other. The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they would never be friends. But when Bean plays a trick on her sister and has to hide — quick! — Ivy comes to the rescue with her wand, some face paint, and a bucket of worms. Will they end up in trouble? Maybe. Will they have fun? Of course!

My take: A cute story about two seven-year-old neighbors. Impish Bean is non-stop energy. Ivy seems more restrained, with her nose always in a book. And neither girl is interested in befriending the other, particularly because their mothers recommend it as a good idea. (Sound familiar, Mum?) When Bean’s prank on older sister Nancy goes awry, leaving Bean on the hunt for a way to leave the scene of the crime, Ivy comes to her aid and initiates Bean into the ways of magic. Their worlds will never be the same.

Perfect for the preschool set as a long read-aloud or for young elementary school readers who are moving on to chapter books. This is the first in a series.

Pages: 120

Category: books. There is/are Comments Off on into the stacks: ivy + bean.