sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 24, 2014

pre-thanksgiving weekending
posted by soe 1:59 am

I’d hoped to have a Coffeeneuring post for you tonight, but instead you’ll have a weekending post today and the other tomorrow.

This weekend included:

  • Dinners with friends;
  • Sleeping in;
  • Reading;
  • Cleaning;
  • Laundry;
  • A bike ride;
  • Lunch outside in the sun;
  • Shoe shopping;
  • A trip to the garden to pick peppers (shriveled from the cold), potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, leeks, and lemon balm;
  • The weekly farmers market excursion;
  • Cocoa at a cafe with Rudi;
  • and

  • Quince preparation.

How was your weekend?

Clotilde’s Vanilla Poached Quince

You start out with quince:


The yellow one is ripe; the green one less so. Quince are naturally fuzzy, so you need to scrub that off before you do anything.

Quince: Ready for Poaching

You peel and core them and cut them up and chuck them in a pot with water and sugar (and to make Clotilde’s recipe, a vanilla bean).

Quince, Post-Cooking

After several hours at low heat, they turn pink and delicious and make your house smell delectable.

That’s half of the quince I’ve bought this fall. The other half (mostly under-ripe ones) will wait until after Thanksgiving.

Weekending along with Pumpkin Sunrise.

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November 23, 2014

mayor no more
posted by soe 4:10 am

Marion Barry has died.

The feisty, unapologetic, larger-than-life Barry may have been dubbed “Mayor for Life” facetiously by D.C.’s City Paper, but he made the designation his own and wore it like a mantle. Never was he without an opinion about the city or about how something affected it.

His entire career was devoted to helping people, first at SNCC (where he served as its first chairman), then through the non-profit he co-founded, and finally through the city political machine, where he served on the Board of Education, in the Council (where he was shot in the line of duty), and as mayor. And he did many good things for people and for the District over the years.

However, it cannot be said that Barry lacked pride in what he accomplished or in himself. As with many people (particularly men) in power, he seemed to feel himself above the law — and a victim to it when it took him down. Certainly it can be argued that his own addictions made him slower to react as drugs became a growing problem in the urban landscape.

His misdeeds and personal failings will paint how the nation remembers him. And it isn’t wrong for those things to be counted in a final tally.

Yet, I understand how he continued to be elected to the council to represent Ward 8, something that outraged and confused many of my peers as we moved in from elsewhere with our own desires to see and help D.C. move forward with its urban renewal. In an area of the city where poverty, unemployment, illness, and past mistakes haunt a large percentage of its residents, I can see how they would have seen Barry as continuing to represent and champion their views. When they — or their kids — needed jobs, or a turkey to put on their tables at Thanksgiving, Barry came through for them, or at least seemed to make an effort at a time when the case could be made that their needs were considered far below people in wealthier sections of town.

Say what you will about him (and people will say plenty in the coming days), I really believe Barry cared about his constituents — and they about him.

May he rest in peace.

I should not be allowed to write just before bed because I misspelled Marion Barry’s name as Marion Berry when I first published this and awoke realizing the mistake I’d made. My apologies for the error.

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November 22, 2014

weekend plans
posted by soe 2:28 am

Here are some of the things I hope to accomplish this weekend:

  • Paint my nails. (I took off the old polish last week, to pave the way.)
  • Cook the quince. (I bought more on Thursday to accommodate trying a couple more recipes.)
  • Finish my book. (I just have a few chapters to go.)
  • Spend several hours outside in the sunshine on Saturday (and again on Sunday if there is any).
  • Dig up the potatoes from the garden and pick any ripe peppers.
  • Write a coffeeneuring blog post.
  • Finish some work. (I left a little early to get to dinner at some friends’ tonight.)
  • Mop the bathroom and kitchen floors and return the bathroom cart to its rightful location.
  • Assess my Christmas card situation. (I can’t remember what I have left over from last year and therefore if I need to buy more than I have.)
  • Buy parsnips at the market for Rudi’s Thanskgiving dish.

What’s on your agenda this weekend?

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November 21, 2014

herbed up, samoas, and not eating my words
posted by soe 2:10 am

Three beautiful things from the past week:

1. Thyme lemonade with cider, served warm.

2. There are girl scouts at the alpaca festival selling cookies.

3. Mere hours after I chastise Rudi for placing a glass bottle where I thought it could easily be knocked over and move it to a place obviously more safe, Corey jumps up on my new spot in pursuit of a giant cricket, scattering things in his wake. A saucer is lost, but the bottle survives. (Cat and insect also escape harm.)

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

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November 20, 2014

yarning along: inconceivable
posted by soe 2:25 am

I’ll be honest. It’s a little hard to read when every word is being said aloud in your head by Cary Elwes over a Mark Knopfler track. But it is a burden that I’m willing to take on, even after my hot chocolate is gone.


That’s right, folks. The man behind the Man in Black has written a book all about the experience of making the most quotable movie of, if not all time, at least my lifetime.

I would read this book if it were terrible. But I am delighted to report that, as of 50 pages in, at least, it’s not. Elwes’ coauthor/ghostwriter/writer has done a good job of keeping his cadence and the first chapters are interspersed with sidebars from other people involved in the book, similar to how it would be to watching a dvd with the commentary track turned on.

As for what’s on the needles, I’ll admit that I’m carrying projects around with me everywhere these days, but not actually knitting on them a whole lot. I pulled the bags containing my Hey Teach sweater and the second skein of yarn out of storage more than a week ago, but haven’t done more than shift the baggies around. I cast on a new stripey sock at a meeting, but it’s gone back into the pie chest with only a few rounds complete. I moved my fingerless mitts into a project bag from the baggie where they’ve been languishing the last 10 months. And Rudi’s sock is stalled out just before the start of the heel flap. I’ve got no excuse for why the needles lie idle — and certainly it’s not for lack of projects or new project ideas — but I do hope productivity picks back up again soon.

What are you reading or working on?

Yarning along with Ginny.

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November 19, 2014

destination: hungary
posted by soe 2:28 am

Rudi and I like to go abroad every few years.

Let me rephrase that: Rudi and I like to go abroad often, but we can only afford to go every few years, and sometimes life conspires to make it more than a few. We’ve been to Canada, England, France, and, most recently (6 3 years ago now!), Iceland together.

Next up on our itinerary: Hungary.

We bought the tickets back in the spring, when an airline glitch caused the fuel surcharge to be left off the ticket prices temporarily. We’d never considered Hungary as a vacation destination before, but we’d never not considered it either, and our Iceland trip had been made with a similar amount of consideration and we really enjoyed that. So, within an hour of seeing the price come across Twitter, we’d booked our flight. But the trip was so far in the future — nine months at that time — that it didn’t seem especially real, to me at least.

Now, though, it’s less than four months away and it occurs to me that I should probably start doing some research. Iceland was easy to wing, because Icelanders nearly all speak perfect English and because those tickets included a hotel and several activities. With this upcoming trip, we’ve just got a ride to Budapest.

But, honestly, I like researching a vacation nearly as much as I like taking one, so now that the timeline seems more realistic, I’m getting ready to investigate our options. We have friends who’ve been, so I’ll probably pick their brains, but not until after I’ve done some internet and guide book reading of my own.

Rudi would like to maybe jaunt into Slovakia and/or Austria, since those neighboring countries are so near Budapest, but we’re only gone a week total, so we’ll have to weigh the costs and how much we want to see of Hungary before we expand outwards.

In the meantime, though, I’ve downloaded a language guide audiobook to my phone (thanks, D.C. Public Library and Overdrive!) and intend to devote some time to learning basic Hungarian terms and phrases.

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