sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 29, 2016

message, encouragement, and italian
posted by soe 2:19 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Seen on a car parked in the neighborhood: “Love u mom!” drawn into the salt/dried mud covering it.

2. Each and every person who said, “Good job!” or “Keep it up!” or “Thank you!” when they walked past me shoveling over the weekend. Also, the girl on the first floor of my building who came out to thank me and to offer to make me a cafe au lait. Also, the neighbor out shoveling her walk who offered me a broom to help in clearing off the car and then, when she was done, offered to help me finish up.

3. Garlic bread made with my homemade ciabatta.

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

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January 28, 2016

secret santa and a late-january yarn-along
posted by soe 3:59 am

The craziness of the Christmas build-up and my commitment to blogging the Virtual Advent Tour last month (can you believe December was only last month?) led to an oversight on my part. While I acknowledged it on Twitter, I neglected to blog about The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa and the wonderful package that came from Hannah on the Isle of Wight in Great Britain:

#TBTBSecretSanta Gifts

Hannah sent me two great books, some beautiful cards featuring photos she took of the area near her home, some tea, foxy socks (I love fun socks!), and two heads of locally grown garlic, which have made my living room (where they sat during the holiday season) smell divine.

All of which leads us to today:

Late-January Yarn-Along

I started Winter Holiday over the long blizzard weekend, since that seemed appropriate. It’s the fourth book in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series and includes fabulous maps as the end-papers. Because it’s an old copy, it also includes these hilarious blurbs from reviews in the day that include things like comments about how ridiculous it is to expect an author to illustrate his own work. [In looking up the dates for Ransome’s books, I discovered there’s a film adaptation of the first book due out later this year. So exciting! Interestingly and perhaps alarmingly, it will include a new character played by the guy who plays Moriarty in Sherlock.] And earlier today I began Murder Most Unladylike, the first book in a recent middle-grade mystery series set in a girls’ boarding school in 1934. I’m enjoying both of them thus far. I love that the books both have 1930s England as their setting.

The knitting is that stupid lightning shawl that will never be done, except that I’m making it my goal to complete it in the next two-and-a-half weeks for my birthday. Because I want to use it during the cold months and I’m tired of it being on the needles, rather than wearable.

Yarning along with Ginny.

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January 27, 2016

posted by soe 4:47 am

With Snowstorm Jonas dumping a couple feet of snow on Washington, D.C., and closing our transit system for several days, I got an unexpectedly long weekend out of the deal. A lot of that time was spent shoveling (ten hours, give or take, over three days), since the keys to dealing with snow in the city are finding a place to put it (so stake your space early) and getting to it before passersby tromp it down to an immobile, icy mess. Between that and both of my volleyball sessions and a concert being postponed due to the venues being closed and then a couple days off from work, I’d probably declare the storm a wash.

A Neighboring Stoop

I ate a lot of chili that Rudi prepared for me before taking off for the weekend and drank a lot of tea, chai, and cocoa.

Cocoa with Valentine's Sprinkles

I baked brownies and made ciabatta for the first time (okay, my bread maker did the dough mixing, but I still had to do some work, so I’m counting it!).

The Stairs: Saturday Afternoon

I watched three movies on dvd and an early episode of 21 Jump Street on tv (in addition to a bunch of things I normally watch).


Rudi and I went for a walk and stopped for hot drinks (it did take three tries to find a cafe that was open).

Rudi at Pleasant Pops

I read a book (but only one, because I was feeling particularly mopey).

View from the Window Well: 16 Hours In

I did a lot of laundry (thanks to one of the owners of my local yarn shop, who went digging into her purse to find quarters to give me as change when I realized neither Rudi nor I had gone to the bank for a roll before the city shut down).

Icy Galoshes

I took several naps, sometimes even on purpose.

Car: Pre-Shoveling

Car: Post-Shoveling

I stayed in my pj’s all day.

Jeremiah and Corey

I painted my nails.

R Street: Saturday Afternoon

How about you? How was your weekend? If Jonas visited you, how did you pass the time?

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January 22, 2016

cold, sports, and dvds
posted by soe 2:41 am

Three beautiful things from the week before D.C.’s major snowstorm (the local meteorologists keep tossing around terms like “top ten storm” and “devastating”):

1. The cold air that comes off all my wool outerwear when I take it off inside a nice warm building (because it’s not coming off me).

2. I’ve added a second volleyball session this winter in order to help stave off my depression this winter. Both got started this week, and it seems like both teams (the other one is my team from the fall) will be good fits and lots of fun.

3. In addition to all the books I’m going to read, knitting projects I intend to finish, and treats I plan to bake, I picked up a bunch of films at the library to watch while I’m recovering from the snow, ranging from classics to superheroes to YA sci fi to Bollywood to a bawdy volleyball film starring Burt Reynolds.

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

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January 21, 2016

mid-january yarn-along
posted by soe 4:09 am

January Yarn-Along

January has been, as it usually is for me, a good reading month, with lots of recommendations coming off people’s year-end best-of lists and the children’s and young adult award winners from the ALA Midwinter meeting. Rita Williams-Garcia’s latest book was recently lauded, and I decided that before I got to that one I ought to read her two previous historical novels featuring the Gaither sisters. One Crazy Summer is the first one, and so far I’m enjoying the story of three young girls from New York visiting Oakland in 1968 to get to know their estranged mother. I’m also back to listening to Anne of Green Gables, as well, and just tonight finished the puffed sleeves chapter. It was good to get the text of the book back in my head, since the film version differs slightly (although they did get the excruciating comedy of Matthew’s foray into shopping just right).

I’m up to the heel flap on this sock, although I did get a little carried away with the stockinette while we were watching the basketball game last week, so I wonder if I’ll run out of yarn on the foot. I suppose I can always rip back if it ends absurdly early (odd-colored toes really oughtn’t to start at the arch, after all), although I do object on principle to undoing perfectly good work when it’s just for vanity’s sake. But the socks are for Rudi and I object more to people mocking his socks. It’s one thing if they were mine and I could defend my thriftiness in person, but I wouldn’t want people feeling bad for Rudi that he was stuck with some crazy, unfashionable knitter who forced him to wear ugly handmade clothes. Pure vanity on my part, I suppose, but I guess there are worse faults to have.

Yarning along with Ginny at Small Things.

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January 19, 2016

2016 long weekending
posted by soe 4:29 am

This long weekend included:

  • Attending the Wizards-Celtics game, which came down to a shot taken so close to the buzzer that it had to be reviewed by the officials:

    Rudi at the Wizards Game
  • A pre-cold snap visit to the garden to pull the last of the stakes and cages out of the ground (and any veg I hoped to salvage)
  • Reading (I finished three books)
  • Homemade tomato soup and paninis
  • Knitting
  • Hanging with the cats:

    Corey and His "Pillow"
  • A trip to the farmers market
  • Enjoying the final weekend of the Christmas tree
  • Watching the snow
  • Playing volleyball for the first time this winter
  • Sleeping in
  • Eating homemade waffles with Rudi:

  • Going on a chilly walking date with Rudi that included a stop for veggie tacos and one for hot drinks
  • Putting the Christmas decorations away

Weekending along with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

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