sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 11, 2014

weekend plans
posted by soe 1:43 am

Here’s what I hope the weekend holds for me:

  • Do laundry. I’m into the second-tier underwear and mostly out of long-sleeve shirts.
  • Vacuum.
  • Look for a picture for my mom.
  • Read.
  • Go to the library.
  • Sew the missing buttons back onto my sweater.
  • Attend darning class on Sunday afternoon in Old Town.
  • Knit three swatches prior to darning class on Sunday afternoon.
  • Have lunch or tea with a friend.
  • Go to a yoga class.
  • Write thank you notes for Christmas presents.
  • Attend a football-watching party. (Sadly this means trivia at the bookstore isn’t possible, since they conflict.)
  • Send emails to the two people in my neck of the woods who offer ukulele lessons to get more information.
  • Write.
  • Figure out and compose my top-ten list of books read last year.
  • Bind off the socks I gave Rudi for Russian Christmas. (Nothing says love like a present with needles sticking out of it.)
  • Write blog posts for the two books I’ve finished thus far this year. (My blog goals for 2014 are to update my theme (at least what lies beneath it) and to get back in the habit of writing book reports.)
  • Repaint my nails.
  • Consider taking down the Christmas tree Sunday evening.
  • See if we can tweak the antenna to get PBS back prior to Sherlock start.
  • Glue my rocking chair.

How about you? What’s on your weekend to-do list?

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January 10, 2014

blues, sent, and favorite things
posted by soe 1:15 am

Today was my semi-annual trip to the dentist, which never qualifies as a beautiful thing, even if a cavity-free diagnosis is one. As is now my wont, I celebrated getting my teeth cleaned by then immediately eating and drinking my way around Capitol Hill.

Three things that do qualify as beautiful from my past week are:

1. We get the opportunity to see legendary blues singer Bettye LaVette in concert at the historic Howard Theatre. The space — and the performance — are amazing, and I recommend you take in both if given the chance.

2. I write and mail the final four Christmas cards I didn’t get out before the holiday.

3. Russian Christmas was this week. Rudi gives me my favorite things: tea, music, and a book (about knitting).

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

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January 9, 2014

yarning along: early january 2014
posted by soe 2:20 am


This is the second of my fingerless Christmas mitts. (The Christmas socks didn’t get finished either.) I don’t know exactly why I can’t seem to focus on the work, but it seems like I’m ignoring every warning sign, knitting along merrily even as neon-hued doubts flash across my brain. So each new day usually begins with frogging and reknitting.) But I will persevere. The mitts can be worn off-season and will be ready for the 2014 holidays.

Reading-wise, I’m more focused (although people subscribed to my Goodreads updates might disagree). This is Ruta Sepetys’ Out of the Easy, a novel of historical fiction that takes place in New Orleans in the 1950s and focuses on Jo, a poor bookworm who’d like to get out of town for college, but who is held back, in part by being the daughter of a prostitute. I already had the book out of the library when it earned a finalist spot on the Cybils list, so I quickly bumped it up to being one of my first reads this year. So far, so good, although I fear the book is about to get tense.

(Yarning along with Ginny.)

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January 8, 2014

10 favorite moments from 2013
posted by soe 2:21 am

Carole’s Ten on Tuesday topic today is 10 Favorite Moments from 2013:


  1. Rudi’s and my camping trip in October in New Hampshire
  2. John & Nicole’s wedding
  3. Throwing Rudi a surprise 40th birthday party
  4. Spending a sunny October afternoon in upstate New York with Eri and Eric
  5. Concerts outdoors at the Yards nearly every Friday during the summer
  6. Treating BW and her students to dinner the night before the inauguration
  7. Grey Kitten quitting his job to work on his novel
  8. Meeting Eliot Schrefer, Rainbow Rowell, and Elizabeth Wein at book signings
  9. Signing up for Amanda’s Write Now class led to many moments with pen and paper (albeit still not as much time as I’d like to get to)
  10. My two day-trips to the beach

Still Summer

The problem with this kind of list is that once you start, it’s really hard to stop. My grandmother’s and my dad’s successful surgeries should be on the list, as should emailed Valentine’s Day cards from Karen’s kids. Sunrise on the summer solstice, exploring coffeehouses with Rudi, and the art-all-night party also are missing above, as are half a dozen other happy moments that spring to mind. And I guess that’s all one can really hope for from a life, right?

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January 7, 2014

posted by soe 1:16 am

I was on my own for most of the weekend which meant I:

  • Slept in
  • Cuddled with cats
  • Took clothing donations to Goodwill
  • Picked up an eagerly anticipated sequel at the Arlington Library
  • Walked through the park
  • Threw snowballs at ever narrower targets
  • Broke the car door handle when clearing the car of ice (20-year-old plastic does not have a lot of pliability)
  • Drove on a couple slick Virginia roads
  • Remembered I am a New Englander and know how to do that
  • Didn’t turn the tv on
  • Checked out a new bakery nearby
  • Completed two books (book reports next weekend!)
  • Rushed through the farmers market (see top item)
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Bought wood glue to fix my rocking chair
  • Paid bills
  • Wrote
  • Talked to my family
  • Admired my Christmas tree
  • Got caught up on the draft reading I’ve been doing
  • Finished the bag of tea my friend brought back from Africa several years ago

(Check out all those action verbs. If this were my resume, I bet you’d be impressed.)

How about you? How did you spend your weekend?

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January 6, 2014

dialectically speaking
posted by soe 1:11 am

I finally got around to taking the dialect quiz that The New York Times posted last month and that made quite a splash on social media.

My results show that the closest three cities to my particular way of speaking are Springfield, Mass., Newark/Paterson, N.J., and Philadelphia, Penn. The first connection is unsurprising, since central Connecticut and western Massachusetts are not dissimilar. I’m a little more surprised by the latter two cities, but I imagine it’s indicative of now having lived in the South for a quarter of my life. (While I picked “you” for what to call multiple single “you’s,” I will allow that “y’all” and “all y’all” do occasionally make their way into my speech these days.)

The best part of the results, I thought, was that the map squarely pegs where I grew up, with the darkest red directly over the town I called home for 15+ of my life.

The quiz was fun for, if no other reason, learning that things you take for granted are called by other names elsewhere. I mean, I knew that rotary, roundabout, and traffic circle were interchangeable and that a surprising number of people weirdly call sneakers “tennis shoes,” but I never would have guessed there were other terms for Mischief Night.

Have you had a chance to take the quiz? Did you find your results accurate? And were there surprises you encountered, either in the questions or in where they placed your dialect?

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