sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 31, 2019

labor day weekend planning
posted by soe 1:14 am

Here's the Scoop

Here’s some of what I hope this weekend includes:

  • Attend BookFest. I’d like to see Rainbow Rowell, Barbara Kingsolver, Ngozi Ukazu, RBG, Julia Alvarez, Madeline Miller, Pablo Cartaya, Shannon Hale, Jon Klassen, Juana Medina, Renée Watson, and Mitali Perkins, among others, but between the crowds and the schedule overlap, I’d be happy to cross three of them off my list. After the first year when they moved the festival indoors from the Mall and I experienced a panic attack at the crowds (200,000 people attended last year’s festival), I came up with a game plan that seems to work for me — go a little later, bring food, find corners where breaks can be taken, and be attached to no particular author. Mostly I’ve gotten to see folks, but I don’t wait in lines (other than the five minutes before a new talk begins) and I am willing to miss out on hearing pretty much anyone (rooms have fire code restrictions about how many people can be inside). (I’m already pretty much resigned that I will not get into the RBG room.) But there is rarely a period of time where I have no one who interests me and usually you can squeeze in someplace — particularly in the outskirts around the children’s stages.
  • Swim. The outdoor pools close on Monday — just in time for our next heatwave.
  • Send out some writing samples. I’m keeping options open for the future and have decided to start investigating freelance work. (I have no illusion that that earns one a livable wage at the outset, but one must acquire a first client somehow…)
  • Plant some fall seeds. Our growing season easily lasts into November, and I often harvest all the way until the end of the year, so now is a good time to put leafy greens back into the rotation and try planting some more root veggies and a fall bean crop.
  • Shop at the farmers market. I need milk and raspberries and maybe plums or peaches for a tart.
  • Watch baseball.
  • Do laundry.
  • Send some thank you notes.
  • Knit on my shawl.
  • Finish another book.

How about you? What’s on your weekend wish list?

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August 30, 2019

day date, no regrets, and invitation
posted by soe 1:55 am

Twilight at Wet Dog Tavern

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Rudi and I make the most of our mutual unemployment today, spending the afternoon at the zoo, checking out a new ice cream shop, and sitting on the patio at a bar I’m fond of.

2. After soliciting advice from many of my friends and outlining a detailed plan with one with expertise, I attempt something new and foreign and terrifying to me — and utterly fail. There are tears in public (although later, not in the moment of failure itself), but words of comfort and congratulations drift in from across the country for having been brave enough to try.

3. I made a new friend back in the spring and we have spent lots of time out together over the past few months. This weekend, she and her husband (and their dog, Molly) invited us over for supper and we spent hours chatting about their upcoming vacation, early computing languages (that was mostly Rudi and her husband), and how job hunting has changed since we were all young.

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

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August 29, 2019

final august unraveling
posted by soe 1:47 am

Final August Unraveling

I had hoped to have my shawl done by the end of August and to block it over Labor Day weekend, but I just haven’t put the time in on it the last few weeks to make that happen. Part because life and part because the rows are so long now that it takes almost half an hour to get a pair of them done. That said, Saturday is the National Book Festival and in rooms where I can get a seat (the children’s stages allow for standing because they’re in a cavernous room that extends a couple city blocks), I will be knitting while I listen and tweet. (I go by myself, so that’s how I make it a little less lonely and anxiety-inducing.) So I suppose it’s a possibility that I could still finish, but I won’t count on it. I’ve told myself that wrapping it up next week would still be within the two-month mark which is pretty good for me.

On the reading front, my lack of ability to concentrate on anything means I continue dipping in and out of books. Wordslut (nonfiction on feminism and linguistics) and The Kiss Quotient (adult romance) are both overdue at the library, so I should finish them up first. I’m nearly done listening to The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (historical fiction), which is good because it expires over the weekend. The Dust Bowl Ballads and Shuri are both graphic novels and could be finished quickly if I put my mind to them. Tove Jansson’s memoir, The Summer Book, is topical and I’d like to start it soon. There There is important, but neither a format (connected short stories) nor a topic (mass shootings and racism) I enjoy, so I keep picking it up and then putting it back down (even skimming the ending didn’t really help). Girl Waits with Gun (historical fiction) is mine and I can read it in places where it might get wet. You see how things go…

If you want to see how some people actually progress with their goals, head over to As Kat Knits for the weekly roundup.

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August 28, 2019

have you ever wondered
posted by soe 1:41 am

how you rebuild a bridge?

First, you need to drain the waterway so you can get to the footings.

31st Street Bridge Work

In the case of the 31st Street bridge over the C & O Canal in Georgetown, built in 1867, they run the water from the canal through a series of tubes, holding containers, and pipes to give them a relatively dry section on which to work on the bridge. The wooden structure you see the water pouring back over is what the canalboat sits on when it’s not in the water.

C&O Canal Rerouting

They’ve mostly got the canal blocked further upstream because they’ve been doing repairs to the locks and the canal itself, so the water is already running pretty lightly and slowly through this section, but it was still impressive to see.

The bridge closed to vehicular traffic at the start of the summer and will remain closed until this time next year. However, they’ve built accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists to continue to get around the area, which has to be a huge relief to the couple dozen businesses and restaurants on the affected stretch of road. (It has the added benefits that the restaurants are super-excited to see foot traffic and that the two neighboring Italian restaurants often have samples of pizza at the maître d’ stands outside for passersby who might, for instance, be walking home from the movie theater.)

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August 27, 2019

ten books i’d like in my personal library
posted by soe 1:59 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl asks us to consider books we’d like on our personal bookshelf.

Rudi would tell you that I own a lot of books. And I do. But I own way fewer books than I read. I couldn’t afford to be a reader if I had to buy every book I read. So these days I try not to buy too many books for my personal collection because I am neither made of money nor do I have unlimited (or even a reasonable amount of) space for them.

But if I did have a steady cash flow and a spare room with built-in bookshelves, here’s some of what I’d like to add to my personal library:

  1. A complete unabridged copy of the Oxford English Dictionary (The last print addition was 20 volumes with three supplements. It’s the first thing I’m going to buy after I win the lottery (and procure a house in which to store it).)
  2. The illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which will be published this fall
  3. To be fair, I’d ideally like to own a copy of each of the sets of the Harry Potter series, but again that’s a wait until you win the lottery kind of acquisition.
  4. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, which comes out today
  5. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell, which comes out next month (she is the rare automatic-buy author for me)
  6. The Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas (I own the third book, but love this series enough I can envision rereading it over the years and it would be nice to have my own copies.)
  7. I’m not sure if I finally procured a personal copy of The Polar Express or not (Christmas books are stored in the closet during the year), but if I haven’t, it’s one of my favorite picture books — and one I was originally introduced to in French.
  8. Grace Lin’s beautifully illustrated middle-grade folklore books — Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky, and When the Sea Turned to Silver
  9. Erin Morgenstern’s upcoming The Starless Sea
  10. Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me (I don’t think I own a copy of this book, but there is a possibility that I picked it up because I liked it so much after reading a library copy.)

Whoops. I didn’t read this carefully enough and apparently I was only supposed to include books I’ve already read, which reduces my list significantly. Oh well, I’m just going to hit publish anyway.

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August 26, 2019

posted by soe 1:36 am


Our weekend was a nice one, with gorgeous weather than encouraged spending time outside.

Friday morning, Rudi and I headed to a cafe we enjoy for elevenses after attending a talk. We cuddled under an awning as a light rain came down and cool air descended into the region.

Saturday, we headed over to the eastern side of the neighborhood for a street festival. Rudi bought a new mug after discovering a crack was developing in his favorite one and I bought the last two baggies of cookies some a senior citizen group was selling. We stopped in at the local Japanese food store, sat outside at the popsicle stand reading and knitting (Rudi did less of the latter, obviously), and came home to watch the latest episode of a new tv show we’re enjoying.

Today, I did a little shopping at the farmers market, picked up a pair of bagels hot and fresh from the local bagelry, and sat in the park. We spent the evening with friends, barbecuing on their balcony, before returning home.

It was a good weekend.


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