sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 31, 2020

top ten signs i’m a book lover
posted by soe 12:47 am


Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to share the top ten signs you’re a book lover.

Here are some ways folks may know I love books:

  1. There are very few surfaces in my apartment that do not contain books. This does not keep me from stopping at every bookshop and Little Free Library that I pass.
  2. I belong to three library systems — in three states — and the Library of Congress.
  3. My insurmountable TBR list predates Goodreads. It used to be written on brightly colored index cards in tiny writing. Periodically one still resurfaces. Occasionally, I’ve read one title of the 75+ contained on it.
  4. I can — and do — read (print books) and walk. Mostly I put my finger in the book when crossing streets.
  5. I have 60 audiobooks on my phone.
  6. Every time I have moved, the first box that gets unpacked contains Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. (My college roommate said she knew immediately that we’d be friends.)
  7. We own copies of Harry Potter titles in a variety of languages, including a couple we don’t read.
  8. My Halloween costumes are often based on bookish characters.
  9. Every year, I tamp down my crowd anxiety to brave thousands of people at the National Book Festival.
  10. I literally have the tshirt. (And the tote bag. And the socks. And the Christmas pjs. And … )

How about you? Are there obvious signs that you’re a book lover, too?

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March 30, 2020

what we did
posted by soe 1:04 am

Sourdough waffles

We did not get around to baking bread, but I did make waffles for brunch and pass on some starter to a stranger.

We didn’t find strawberry plants for the garden, but we did find flour, milk, and greens for the kitchen.

We didn’t clean the living room, but we did defrost the freezer.

We didn’t have a living room dance party, but we did get out on our bikes.

I didn’t finish my book, but I did read a chapter. (I’m getting close to having to turn to Harry Potter…)

We didn’t talk to our friends, but I did talk to my brother, text with a couple friends who live close to the epicenter in New York, and make plans to say a socially distant farewell to friends who are moving back to Germany this week.

We didn’t get the sheets changed, but we did sleep in.

And that’ll have to be good enough for right now. After all, tomorrow is a new day and a clean slate and there are plenty of chances to do more then.

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March 29, 2020

notes from the garden: march 2020
posted by soe 1:34 am

March Garden Shots

Rudi and I did some more tidying of the garden plot this month. I find if I do a section at a time I hate it less. I hate it even less if Rudi does it.

The big tufty grass-like things are bunching onion grass that we planted one of our first couple years in the garden. The greens at the bottom are sorrel, which we also planted ages ago and which just reseeds itself.

Our herbs, which are at the back of the plot, also mostly survived the winter.

This is the bronze fennel, which grew to a six-foot behemoth last year.

March Garden Shots

I’m still working on clearing this back section out, but there’s purple sage, oregano, and mint back, at the very least.

March Garden Shots

The strawberries and violets are doing well, but I’d like several more strawberry plants and haven’t yet found any.

March Garden Shots

March Garden Shots

I planted peas a month ago, and planted more last week, because a month gave me better insight into which peas had not come up. I plant half-rows of single types at the start of the season for precisely this reason, although I’m not always great about keeping track of which type is which. Some of my seeds dated back a decade, while others were new last year or this.

March Garden Shots

I also planted spring greens — chard, lettuces, spinach, kale, and some others. Again, I can tell you which things are in the garden, but maybe not which ones they are until they come up.

March Garden Shots

March Garden Shots

That second shot is from Friday, and the amount they’ve grown in a week is noticeable. They’re at the top of the previous shot.

Our bunny may be back, because I notice the seedlings I planted (kale and spinach) had been munched. Of course, I did also pull a happy slug off a spinach leaf, so it may not be vertebrates that are the culprit.

If you can plant something, even just in a pot, it feels especially good this year to see seeds coming to life. Peas and greens are hardy and can be outside well before the last risk of frost.

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March 28, 2020

weird weekend planning
posted by soe 1:21 am

How does one plan for a weekend that looks a lot like a weekday?

Carefully. I will demarcate plans that cannot be done during the week and make sure I stick to them.

For instance…

I am actually going to bake with the sourdough discards Rudi and I shoved into our fridge this week. I’d planned to make overnight waffles for tomorrow, but didn’t realize it called for buttermilk when I was at the store earlier. It does look like I can make crumpets without issue…

We will sleep in. I have a video conference call first thing every weekday, which, while I don’t have to put a bra on for, does mean I have to have some kind of non-pj top on first thing. Tomorrow I’m sleeping in and then I’m going to lounge in a tank top and bathrobe for a while and not brush my hair.

I may go for a bike ride. It’s supposed to rain, but maybe it will lighten up and I can tool around a bit. Trails will be packed, so I won’t be able to go down to the canal and maintain proper distancing, but streets are probably adequate.

We will go to the farmers market. Yes, they’re still open. Yes, they are a bit challenging. But we’ll make it work. The restaurant across the street from me has on its to-go menu on the door a pasta that includes ramps, so I’m hopeful we might be able to track some down.

I’ll read. I’m having a heck of a time concentrating and am inclined to doze off if I sit still for too long.

I’m going to roast some squash. I have a pumpkin and a butternut squash and a gigantic pink candy squash and can possibly throw all three into the oven at the same time.

I’m going to wash sheets and towels. I meant to get to both all week, but didn’t manage to tackle either one.

I’m going to turn the heel of my sock. I took it out for a walk today, but instead of sitting, wandered over to the garden and the store and walked around a bit and talkd to my folks.

We’re going to call some West Coast friends who’ve been wanting to do a video chat. (I’d hate to get out of practice for Monday..)

If I encounter strawberry plants, I’ll be going back to the garden.

We’ll watch a film. My attention span hasn’t really been up to a movie, but I’m guessing Rudi will be glad to watch something that’s not just tv episodes, much as we’ve enjoyed the ones we’re watching (Frankie Drake, New Girl, Parks & Recreation, The Librarians, and Brooklyn 99).

I will be hosting a living room dance party, because we need some loud music and I need to move around a bit.

How will you be spending your weekend?

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March 27, 2020

a good start(er), the original, and bored
posted by soe 1:56 am


Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. So there’s this person who had, for the past few months, been baking bread several days a week and then giving it away on Twitter. I’ve entered their contests a couple times, but never won. Early last week, they mentioned they’d made a sourdough starter for someone who, it turns out, had gone out of town, and would any of us like it. Within a matter of minutes, several of us had raised our hands. The bread maker handed it off to the first volunteer, but reached out to the rest of us and said they’d be happy to make us starters, too. So last Friday, they dropped off several tablespoons of starter in a container, and Rudi and I started caring for it. Sourdough starter needs feeding and watering and changing a couple times a day for the first little bit, but we’re now pretty much at the part where we can dial it back to a couple times a week. See all those dots on the surface? Air bubbles. That’s how you know your sourdough is happy with you.

2. Suddenly, Clare and her original Three Beautiful Things blog popped into my feed reader this week after several years of dormancy.

3. We’ve all mostly settled, comfortably or not, into this new normal routine. I am working from home 8 hours a day and spending a lot of time on conference calls. It is boring, because all the things we’d do for diversity and distraction are mostly unavailable at this time. But, as Grey Kitten noted to me today, given the news, boring is good. We’re all texting and calling and Zooming with our loved ones, hoping for reports of boredom. Because, honestly, the alternative is really scary. I wish boredom for you and your loved ones, too.

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

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March 26, 2020

sheltered unraveling
posted by soe 1:51 am

Sheltered Unraveling

In this week’s episode of knitting and books from piles around my living room, we have my Wohin socks, now halfway into the first of three repeats of the heel flap pattern. Also, you can clearly see my yarn has shifted into golden from its original yellow. Yes, it does kind of look like a pineapple, or maybe an infected giraffe. But still, they are colorful and mostly cheerful.

Also, on a side note, while looking for a project bag to put this sock in, I opened one and found last year’s Sock Madness socks in there. I’d started the second sock already, which is very exciting!

On the reading front, I raced through and enjoyed Jen Wang’s latest graphic novel, Stargazing, although not as much as I loved The Prince and the Dressmaker.

I continue apace with the latest Veronica Speedwell mystery, The Murderous Relation. I’m making it last, since I can’t return it to the library right now anyway. (They locked all their book returns until the library reopens.

I’m sort of stuck on my audiobook, Helen Hoang’s The Bride Test, because one of the two main characters is about to do something cringeworthy, and if I don’t listen, she can’t do it. To be fair, she also can’t get through it and to her happy ending, so I will have to resume soon.

Finally, I just started Homerooms and Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell. Haven’t heard of it? It’s the latest role playing game that will take you from the mendacity of your usual plundering and quest solving and plunk you down in a suburban middle school. Life will never be the same for this elf, barbarian, magician, and knight.

Head over to As Kat Knits to see how everyone else is sheltering in place.

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