sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 5, 2013

old age, bulbs, and brother
posted by soe 2:01 am

It’s been an eventful week, with Rudi returning home from Salt Lake, several stressful work-related issues, and my dad being in the hospital (he’s recuperating nicely, and we all hope he’ll be cleared to head home tomorrow). Kind of feels like a month has passed since Sunday, honestly. But there have been beautiful things in it, too, and these are three of them:

1. Rudi and I scoot out to see Quartet, a gentle, genteel film about a retirement home for aging British musicians, directed by Dustin Hoffman. The acting is superb, the varied musical interludes enjoyable, and the scenery sublime. I couldn’t ask for a nicer 100-minute escape.

2. Last fall when they cleared the area of trash, the city (or WMATA, I don’t know whose jurisdiction such things fall under) must have stirred up the terraced plots of dirt interspersed along the Dupont Circle north escalator and planted things in them. (I’m pretty sure they’ve only grown stringy grass or trash during the previous 10 springs we’ve lived here.) This week my commute to work has included the cheery nodding of daffodils.

3. Knowing that my mother would be stressed about my dad’s health and being away from my grandmother (who is at home, but still a bit fragile) and that Rudi and I had just returned from an extended trip of dealing with his mom’s health woes in Salt Lake, my brother jumped into the fray and headed east for a few days. I would have gone north and my mother would have coped just fine if neither of us had been around, but I think we were all grateful that Josh stepped in as he did. And it reminded me that he’s grown up into a good man (sometimes you might forget that when your kid brother lives 3,000 miles away and you see him only once a year; in my head he’s still 14 or 17).

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

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April 4, 2013

monthly goals: april
posted by soe 2:57 am

So February’s and March’s goals were all pretty much a bust. The other ice rink closed for the season the weekend before I tried going. I invited people for an evening gathering, but opted to make it less stressful by holding it elsewhere. I did sign up for my spring volleyball league, which was then cancelled last week due to lack of interest. (I thought about taking this as a sign from the heavens to give up on an activity that I only semi-enjoy, but instead I signed up to play at a new, closer venue. Hopefully playing there will be people who don’t care if we win or not, but I haven’t found that those people tend to pay to play sports.)

Since they didn’t work out, let’s try three new goals for April, shall we?

  1. Send a postcard to a little person or two. This last trip to Salt Lake was, I believe, the first trip I’ve taken as an adult where I sent no postcards at all. Since I’d meant to send cards to my favorite kids (as well as to some of my favorite adults), I’ll instead ship off a couple of D.C.-based cards to them. They’re small, and I hope from their perspective, the cards of animals from the National Zoo are just as good as cards of animals located in Utah.
  2. Make homemade pasta. Last year my folks gave me a pasta maker and a ravioli pan. I haven’t yet used them, but would like to give them a shot. Plus, think how awesome it would be if I could achieve a decent pasta in time to put under our homemade sauce.
  3. Weed through my bookshelves. I have a really hard time getting rid of books, but I know there are things taking up space on my shelves that I didn’t care enough for to read a second time, and it would be good to clear them out.

How are your goals (of the New Year, birthday, or randomly set date variety) going?

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April 3, 2013

works in progress
posted by soe 2:37 am

March was a particularly quiet month here on the blog — probably the least post-filled in its eight-year history.

There are a variety of reasons for that, but I won’t bother making excuses. Instead, I’ll just vow to resume writing here more often — and on broader topics than just the weekly notice of beautiful things in my life.

To begin, I offer you my two works in progress:

Works in Progress

The book, Mrs Queen Takes the Train, I began months ago, and it’s now past the return date. D.C.’s generous policy means that it really needs to go back in the next week, so I’ve been working on wrapping it up. As my mother (who started the book after me and still finished long before I picked it back up) predicted, while the beginning is a bit slow, it picks up once Queen Elizabeth II finally exits the castle. The book is told from the perspective of more than half a dozen characters, which makes for a certain amount of story time shift and of retracing of plot. But generally I’m enjoying the novel.

The knitting is this year’s first pattern in the annual Sock Madness competition. This is my fifth year participating and the second time I haven’t advanced out of the opening round. (Interestingly, the other time also involved a trip to Salt Lake.) The pattern is called Sockdolager, and the yarn might be Trekking, but is definitely one of a trio of sock yarn purchased from A Tangled Skein before they went out of business earlier this year. (The other two skeins were Rudi’s picks.) My goal is to be done with this second sock before the winning knitter finishes her final pair — probably some time in late-May or early-June (giving me plenty of time to work on a belated shawl for my grandmother, just as soon as I find yarn for that project).

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