sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 25, 2019

after the rain
posted by soe 1:49 am

On Wednesday, we had a sun shower:

Sun Shower

It was followed by a short regular shower, which was bookended by the evening of two rainbows.

But the weather gods did not stop there. They had dumped out their box of 64 Crayola crayons and were excited about using them all.

I had gone to the garden to water and then to the grocery store (hunting fruitlessly for puff pastry) and emerged onto Pennsylvania Avenue in Foggy Bottom to this sight to the east:

Summer Sky

And this to the west:

Summer Sky

It felt like I was living in a Maxfield Parrish painting. (It took me a little while to come up with the correct painter, since all I had was a memory of a poster Grey Kitten had when we were teenagers of a woman with a scarf standing on a cliff. Once I stopped trying to make it a book cover (I thought maybe John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire or Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone) and made it the painting it was, Google was way more helpful. Also, memory is weird.)

Post-Storm Sky

I mean, it really just kept getting better:

Summer Sky

Post-Storm Sunset

Even after the sun went down, the gods kept up with the coloring:


It was a beautiful night.

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August 24, 2019

summer supper: tomato tart
posted by soe 1:59 am

Tomato Tart

For several days, a tomato tart has been taking up space in my brain. Tomatoes are in season here, and while they are delicious in everything we’ve had them in — soups, sauces, Middle Eastern stews, salads — I was craving something particular.

Supper is not usually my arena. I’m the baker of desserts and occasionally breakfasts, but usually dinnertime fare falls to Rudi. But since this was my plan, and since a tomato tart is not especially dissimilar to a tarte tatin or a fruit pie, it seemed perfectly plausible that I could make this myself.

I found this Bon Appetit article, which led to this recipe.

On half of the tart, I used a tomato left over in the fridge from the bulk buy a few weeks ago. I figured since it was being cooked it was fine. On the other half went mostly cherry tomatoes from our garden.

I used the recipe as a jumping off place, but I made some changes:

  • I pricked the pastry in more than a few places. The dough looked like it had been pierced by a horror film villain.
  • I used already minced garlic we buy by the jar. We had cloves, but it seemed an easy substitution.
  • I omitted the lemon altogether. The article’s author said she cuts back on them when she makes the dish. Commenters on the recipe didn’t like the lemons, probably because they cut them too thick. I didn’t want to wash the mandoline, use it, and then wash it again, so it seemed easiest to skip them.
  • I did not leave space between my tomatoes, which also were definitely sliced skinnier than a quarter inch. I also overlapped some of them, particularly on the fridge tomato side, where I added some garden tomatoes in case it tasted terrible. In the end, I used one giant beefsteak-sized tomato and about two dozen cherries.
  • I used a mix of basil, rosemary, and oregano from my garden. It was not a cup’s worth — probably closer to a scant handful combined. And I put it on top of the tomatoes, rather than beneath them.
  • I skipped the final tablespoon of olive oil on top. Commenters felt the finished product was too soggy, so I thought pooling liquid on top seemed like a silly idea. Had I been using drier tomatoes, I might have considered using our olive oil mister as a finishing touch.
  • I also skipped the crème fraîche, because I didn’t have any and it just sounded weird.
  • Instead I diced half a bar of feta and sprinkled that on the finished tart after I sliced it. It was an inspired addition.


Rudi and I agreed that if we used larger tomatoes than cherries that the prep time would be sped up considerably, but that otherwise it was a completely delicious success!

Hooray for hankerings!

Category: arts,garden. There is/are 1 Comment.

August 23, 2019

more rainbows, poolside, and girls’ night
posted by soe 1:46 am


Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Wednesday evening brought more rain and two more rainbows. I didn’t have great angles, so this fragment of the second one, seen from near my garden, is my best shot.

2. We spend the late afternoon and early evening at the pool to combat the last day of the heat wave before the upcoming respite of cooler weather. Our outdoor pools close on Labor Day, so our time there grows more precious by the day.

3. Sarah, Anne, and I have been mulling a get-together for months and we finally booked a silver sliver of time not already claimed by work or vacation or other activities. We spend hours at the restaurant talking about life and travels and books and agree at the end that we should not let the period between gatherings grow so long next time.

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

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August 22, 2019

summer sunset unraveling
posted by soe 1:48 am

Summer Sunset Shawl

It wasn’t until earlier this week, when Rudi and I were sitting on the patio of our local coffeehouse, that I realized my shawl matches our summer sunsets. I wanted to try to capture that, so I apologize for the wrongly focused image, but it does catch the glint of the sparkles in the purple yarn better than other shots I’ve taken.

This week’s reading has included portions of a mystery set in wintry 1920s Vermont; a contemporary mystery set in India; a detective novel set in New Jersey in 1914; a feminist guide to linguistics; a graphic novel about Black Panther‘s kick-ass hero, Shuri; and a feminist y.a. novel set in the early 18th century. So mysteries, history, and feminism, basically.

Check out what other folks are reading and working on at As Kat Knits’ Unraveled Wednesday roundup.

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August 21, 2019

a little damp, but definitely worth the ride
posted by soe 1:34 am

A large, violent rain storm was tapering down as Rudi and I left the movie theater this evening. I needed to get across town and biking seemed the best option to do that, since Georgetown is not on a metro line, but does abut the river trail. I’d get a little wet (Honestly, it was more than a little, since I was dripping from the humidity as well by the time I arrived to meet my friends for dinner on Barracks Row.), but it was efficient.

Soon after setting forth, I watched the sun break through the clouds to the west and the dark clouds moving to the northeast, thinking that this was a prime period to catch a rainbow emerging. And, sure enough, one did.

Rainbow over the Lincoln Memorial

It was never especially bright and it was very low in the sky, but it was quite wide, as you can see here looking up at the back of the Lincoln Memorial.

Rainbow Fades over Jefferson Memorial

By the time the bike trail left the Mall by the Jefferson Memorial, the rainbow was receding. But it had been there, and I got a chance to see it because I was looking for it.

Life lessons. A rainbow is a rainbow is a rainbow, after all.

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August 20, 2019

ten favorite tropes
posted by soe 1:31 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is favorite tropes in our reading material.

Mine include:

  1. Found families (if you’re surprised to find this at the top, you haven’t been paying attention)
  2. Heists
  3. Cozies (People who are not professional law officers solve crimes that stump aforementioned pros!)
  4. Bequests that let you change your life
  5. Nerdy girl/guy saves the day (Hermione forever)
  6. Bad guy isn’t really a bad guy
  7. Booklovers love books
  8. Sisters are doin’ it for themselves (be they literal sisters or BFFs, they’ve got each other’s back)
  9. Definitely not love at first sight (or even like, really)
  10. Crossovers (I feel like this is getting more common as ways for authors to write sequels without writing sequels. Or when they have enough series where a character from one can show up in another.)

What are some of your favorite tropes/themes to discover in books?

Category: books. There is/are 4 Comments.