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broodings from the burrow

August 11, 2017

open, dupont circle, and take me out
posted by soe 1:25 am

Sunset in Dupont

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Cooler weather means an open window instead of air conditioning.

2. As I walk home from a cafe, I’m filled with affection for my neighborhood.

3. A night at the ballpark in August where long sleeves are desirable. Who could ask for more?

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

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August 8, 2017

a trip to the country
posted by soe 9:33 am

Rudi and I try to make it out to Poolesville, Maryland, at least once mid-summer for a visit to the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management, where they have several fields of sunflowers (as well as fields of other plants). We were late this year, so the first field had mostly grown over, but the third field was still in okay shape. (We skipped the second field, because it requires going through the marsh and I can’t find our bug spray. Given the state of my calves right now, I’m going to say that was an excellent call. So itchy!)

Here are some of the highlights:




Rudi and the Sunflower


Small Sunflowers


We didn’t just see plants. There were lots of insects (in addition to the unseen mosquitoes) and thus a lot of birds. The birds were too quick for me (I’m pretty sure I saw a mountain bluebird, but it could have been an Eastern one, and there were definitely gold and purple finches, as well as their plainer avian relatives), but I caught a few of the bugs:

American Lady Butterfly
An American Lady Butterfly


Dogbane Leaf Beetle
Dogbane Leaf Beetle


Common Green Darner
Common Green Darner

Finally, the advantage of coming out at the end of the season, rather than the beginning, is that you find out that a lot of people have a sense of humor:

Sunflower Faces

Sunflower Graffiti

In case that last shot is hard to see, people have picked out seed coverings to depict crosses, initials, and other designs. Essentially, agricultural graffiti.

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August 7, 2017

book bingo progress
posted by soe 1:14 am

I haven’t been good about posting my Book Bingo progress, so I thought I’d give you a sense of where I am right now:

Book Bingo through 8/6

My apologies that some of those lower titles are hard to read. I’ll try to fix that in the next version. In the meantime, know that for “Set in a place you’d like to vacation,” it’s Piecing Me Together for Portland, Ore., where I’ve visited before, but not in a long time (and it doesn’t say it has to be a new-to-me place, after all). For “More than 500 pages,” we have The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (which obliged me by being 513 pages); for “Audiobook narrated by the author,” we have The Princess Diarist, read by Carrie Fisher; and for “Person on the cover,” I’ve put in Amina’s Voice.

I’m trying to decide if Roxane Gay’s Hunger is enough about food for that to qualify for that square, but I’m thinking not. I’ve got two cookbooks out of the library, which I may include instead. I’ve started Tyranny in Petticoats for an author/editor from D.C. I have a copy of Al Franken’s new book, but I’ll have to steal it from Rudi. I took a book by a Chinese author and another set in Kenya & the Congo out of the library and have one published in the 1800s on my bookshelf. I’m thinking I’d like to sit down with the first book of the Harry Potter illustrated editions, so that’ll likely be my re-read.

I think that leaves the month/day of the week and the tv series categories unfulfilled. I have ideas, but welcome any suggestions.

I may or may not read all these categories by summer’s end, and my filled squares certainly don’t represent all the books I’ve read so far this summer. But by and large, I’ve made a good number fit without having to strain anything, which is nice.

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August 5, 2017

early august weekend to-do
posted by soe 12:17 am

Socks in Progress: Aug. 4, 2017

While four weeks remain until Labor Day weekend and six to the summer season, it’s helpful to remember that time is fleeting and I should make the most of it, rather than sleeping until noon every weekend. Or, if I do, I should leap out of bed and on to my tasks at hand. This weekend that includes:

  • Put the apartment back to some semblance of order. We’re still hanging the rug out to air, so furniture and containers are all over the place. I’d like to see all of them back in place, on top of a washed floor, by Sunday night, because until that happens, we have nowhere to dry laundry. To accomplish this task, I’ll need to buy a new Swiffer, since our first generation one finally disintegrated. I should probably also track down some new vacuum bags, since our last one has been loaded down with baking soda.
  • De-stone whatever fruit remains in the refrigerator and freeze it.
  • Go swimming. Because summer.
  • Write an Into the Stacks post
  • Refill the tea canisters, so I can have more choices again.
  • Finish my library book and return it and several others, all overdue, to the system.
  • Turn the heel on the sock you see above. It’s a Christmas present for Rudi. From last Christmas.
  • Go to the garden. See if my tomatoes survived the deluge. Pinch back the basil. Maybe plant some beans.
  • Buy corn, peaches, and tomatoes (also, maybe grapes) at the farmers market, because what meal is complete without at least one of those these days?
  • Find out if the sunflower fields in Maryland are still in bloom. We were supposed to head out there on Tuesday, but then we returned to a flooded apartment, so now we’re aiming for Sunday.
  • Attend the Miles Morales (Spiderman) book launch party at the comic book shop in my neighborhood. I’m really excited to read it, and not just because author Jason Reynolds is living in D.C. right now.

How about you? What are you hoping to do this weekend?

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 2 Comments.

August 4, 2017

small, flowers, and after
posted by soe 12:47 am

Flowers at My Folks' House

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. As I mentioned, my friends Amani and Marcus made a small person whom they named Ayinde. We had the pleasure of making his adorable, gurgling, chubby-cheeked acquaintance mere hours before his four-week anniversary.

2. My mother has a gift for growing things, and their house offers many places to do so. July is always a gorgeous time to spend in their yard.

3. A downpour arrived this evening in a zero-to-sixty type race, hung around splashing people for half an hour or so, and then retreated in the face of a double rainbow.

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

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August 3, 2017

high summer fo and reading
posted by soe 2:09 am

Joining Kat’s Unraveled Wednesdays:

Early August Reading

I’ll be finishing both these books in the next couple of days. In A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I’ve got 100 pages left, which means the stupid thing they’re about to do is likely the climax moment, so I will need to finish it all in one chunk of time. In The Book Jumpers, the monster is getting closer to being revealed, which means it’s become more stressful to read that, as well. After this, I’m reading a stress-free book about kittens. Or maybe just petting my kittens.

On Sunday night, I wrapped up the knitting on my fourth finished object of the year. This is the Points of Light Baby Blanket, by Jean Clement (it’s just a smidge bigger than my mom’s sweater drying rack, which is why it looks a little weird in this picture):

Points of Light for Ayinde

I bought the cotton-acrylic blend yarn, Plymouth Yarn’s Jeannee, ages ago, at a yarn shop that no longer exists in Hyattsville one afternoon with Sarah. I bought it as an option for a gift for a baby-to-be who is now 8, but almost immediately ran into trouble with the pattern. I put it down, knit something else, and didn’t give it another thought until my friend Amani informed me she was pregnant last winter. Then I dug it out, picked up where I’d left off, and knit a couple repeats on it.

Something was wrong. My tension had changed over the years. But maybe it was only obvious to me. Enter Rudi, who knows enough to be useful in these situations. Could he see where things went awry. When he pointed to the eight-year gap, I knew it was necessary to rip.

The project re-commenced in May. I used nearly all of both skeins of the turquoise yarn (33), a good chunk (somewhere between half and two-thirds) of the second ball of the mint (the edging color) (28), and only a few dozen yards of the second balls of the yellow (17), spring green (16), and powder blue (21).

Some additional thoughts, were I to knit this again:

  1. I made this using the pattern as it was originally written, but would probably have caught on faster to the pattern if I’d looked at the updated version before I began. As it was, I needed to draw myself a chart and color it in to help it stick.
  2. I carried the yarn up the side and would do it again. By and large, I was happy with how that turned out, and would know for next time that the side border and edging will help even out any inconsistencies in the tension that results from doing so. Loosening those first few stitches as much as I did every other row definitely slowed me down.
  3. The border is written for log cabin style, so each one is done separately. This resulted in way more ends than I would have believed possible for the project (and hours of weaving them in). Were I to make it again, I’d at least look into what’s involved with just knitting the border in the round. I assume the concern is having square corners… But I’d be okay with some rounding if it reduced the ends by 3/4.
  4. The single reverse crochet stitch edging is nice, but I’m not a crochet person, so it took a ton of time while I tried to figure out how to do a yarn over on a crochet hook and watched various videos of how to execute the stitch properly. I’m not sure the end result is so much more spectacular than a straight single crochet stitch edging would’ve been that it made it worth that effort and the hours of work that ensued, although, again, maybe the corner thing comes into play.

Overall, I’m pleased with the blanket, as were Amani and Marcus when I presented it to them on Monday. I hope Ayinde, who’s now a month old, sleeps well beneath it.

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