sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

July 31, 2015

baby fat, sailor’s delight, and repaired
posted by soe 2:06 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. A chubby baby has fallen asleep in its mother’s arms. Its legs and arms waggle beneath her embrace in time with her steps.

2. Neon pink and orange streak through a window of clouds to the west, while pastel pink cotton candy thunderheads pile up to the north.

3. My phone keeps giving me error messages and freezing up, rendering it nearly unusable. Rudi is able to get it working again, clears off some space, and upgrades the operating system. It’s practically like it’s brand new (but still with its cracked screen and familiar apps).

Rudi also fixes my bike, which I messed up when I crashed. (Honestly, it made me feel so much better to discover I’d injured the bicycle as well as myself in the fall. It made it feel like it had been a more legit crash, rather than just falling off.) He gives it a new handlebar and brake lever and adjusts the shifters, so I assume it, too, will work like brand new when I take it out for a spin this weekend.

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

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July 30, 2015

nights are sadly amusing
posted by soe 2:41 am

We, Rudi and I, eat supper late, often between 10 and 11. We split dinner duty, with Rudi making the food and me washing up afterwards. Afterwards, as you might imagine, can get awfully late, and dishwashing is often the thing I leave until last, just before going to bed.

As I plow through plates, pots, and utensils, I sometimes get tired, thinking of the cozy bed and bedmates awaiting me, particularly as I near the bottom of the basin. To power me through the final few items, I have, for the past several years bolstered my morale with a game I called “Even Gramma”:

“There are only a handful of plates and cups before I’m done. Even Gramma could wash those…”

“Ten things left? Even Gramma could polish off ten…”

You get the idea. Clearly this “game” only came into existence after Gramma became older and more frail and wasn’t allowed to wash dishes anymore for fear my parents wouldn’t have any whole ceramics or glassware left. Obviously it wouldn’t have been amusing (or motivating) during the many years she was actually washing up after meals.

Now, of course, she’s dead and has been for several months. Even if she’d been interested in washing dishes, it’s clearly no longer an option. But that doesn’t mean the game has concluded.

Oh, no.

It’s just morphed into the “Even my dead Gramma” game.

Gramma, when alive, would not have appreciated the motivation she provided in powering through a dreaded chore. But now? She would have thought the dead Gramma game was hilarious. I can picture her snorting with laughter thinking about the ridiculous imagery conjured by my late-night brain.

I spend a lot of nights crying into my dishwater.

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July 24, 2015

bethany beach, on the court, and open late
posted by soe 12:45 pm

Another belated three beautiful things post because we took yesterday to spend at the beach and got home late and tired.

sprite toasts marshmallows at the Bethany Beach bonfire

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. A day spent at the beach includes water in the 70s, air in the 80s, fish sandwiches, ice cream cones, reading, napping, diminishing crowds as the day went on, and a bonfire with free marshmallows to roast.

2. My taped-up wrist feels well enough to play volleyball on the sand courts by the Lincoln Memorial for the first time ever.

3. The community pool, which normally closes at 6 on weekends, stays open until 8 due to a heat wave. It is ten degrees cooler there than anywhere else in the vicinity, so even after we were done swimming, we just hang out on lounge chairs, enjoying some respite.

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

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July 17, 2015

golden, delivery, and outside
posted by soe 2:28 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

Sunflowers at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area

1. Sunflowers filling a field.

2. A bike messenger pedals past with a bunch of balloons tied to his delivery trailer.

3. Sitting out an afternoon rain shower under a large patio umbrella at a cafe.

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

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July 16, 2015

recently acquired books: top ten tuesday & ninja book swap
posted by soe 2:00 am

Last winter, having not done a book or yarn swap in a while, I signed up for the Ninja Book Swap. I agreed to send books to a stranger off their wishlist, as well as some gifts from local shops that related to their interest. I sent mine off in early March and it was received a few days later. Knowing this was an international swap, I was prepared to wait a bit for my package to arrive, so I did. And then I waited some more. I emailed the organizer, who assured me the package was en route, but from someplace with unreliable mail service. I waited some more.

I admit that around May 1 or so I sort of gave up expecting a package. Things get lost on occasion. I grew up in a post office family: I know they happen even with the very best intentions. But letting go of expectations is way easier than letting go of hopes, so every time I got the mail, I’d peer into the area of our building where packages await their owners, wondering if I’d see one covered in foreign stamps and looking as if it had arrived by camel and in spite of pirate attacks.

Then, one night in mid-June, I arrived home from work late one evening to discover an unexpected package waiting on my chair: four and half months after being mailed my bookish surprises had arrived!

My partner turned out to be Megz, who lives in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, which looks beautiful. She sent me a lovely package that contained postcards and tourist information about her area, a tin of candy-coated, chocolate covered gummy candies in a fun lion container (with googly eyes!), and a box of rooibus tea, an herbal drink native to South Africa.

Ninja Book Swap Loot

She also sent me two books I’ve been wanting to read: Mansfield Park is the only Jane Austen completed novel I haven’t read (I also haven’t read her unfinished novellas), although I’ve seen film adaptations, and Sense & Sensibility, by Joanna Trollope, is part of the recent series of books where modern authors reinterpret, reimagine, and contemporize Austen’s works. I’m really excited to read both novels.

Yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish asks participants to list the last ten books they acquired.

The two books from Megz were the most recent physical books that came to my house to live.

AudioFile is doing their annual summer reading giveaway via AudioSync, where they pair a contemporary YA title with a classic work. I’m not religious about downloading the books, but I liked the two offered this week, so I now have The Explorer’s Club by Nell Benjamin (David Krumholtz does one of the voices!) and Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days on my phone.

Otherwise, my top ten is rounded out by books that came home with me for a visit from the library last week:

  • Unusual Chickens for the Extraordinary Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones (which I read over the weekend and loved)
  • The Great Good Summer by Elizabeth Scanlon
  • One-Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero
  • Prudence by Gail Carriger
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh and Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen by Maureen Abood

Three middle-grade, one YA, and two cookbooks.

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July 13, 2015

posted by soe 4:05 pm

This weekend included a sunset picnic by the river with friends, Tour de France viewings, mulching of some paths in the garden, summer reading prizes from the library, and a trip to the farmers market.

Additionally, we harvested the first two beans of the season and a lot of basil Rudi’s going to turn into pesto:

First Bean of the Season

I went back to Poolesville for another round of blueberry picking, after which I stopped to check out the status of the nearby sunflower fields:

I Don't Often Feel Short

Rudi and I went out for a six-course dessert tasting at Dolci Gelati:

Gelato sundae!

(That’s a Fragola sundae with scoops of honey fig mascarpone gelato and avocado basil gelato substituted for strawberry.)

I also read a book, knit on my shawlette, swam, and stopped in at a neighborhood concert:

Summer Concert Series

Weekending along with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

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