sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 30, 2020

end of april unraveling
posted by soe 1:24 am

End of April Unraveling

I have just one more evening of reading The Flatshare. I reached a moment of peace, where everyone was still relatively okay, and decided to put the book down for the night. I looked at the chunk of pages left, then ticked off five separate story elements left to be resolved, and decided that was too many for 50 pages and that it must be 75. Turns out it was 80, including the acknowledgements. I look forward to the fast resolution.

I’m also nearing the end on my audiobook, Size 12 Is Not Fat, by Meg Cabot. Former pop star turned assistant residence hall director Heather has figured out who the murderer must be, but she has to convince Cooper still, not to mention, the N.Y.C. police.

I’m not quite as close to finished with my second Smock Madness sock, but I have memorized the pattern, so that has to be something, right?

Head over to As Kat Knits to see what others are crafting and reading.

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April 29, 2020

seen in the neighborhood: yard mammoth
posted by soe 1:17 am

Yard Mammoth

Some people have yard flamingos. Others have yard mammoths. (Their yard was not especially bigger than their decoration.)

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April 28, 2020

top 10 books i wish i’d read as a kid
posted by soe 2:33 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is Top Ten Books I Wish I’d Read as a Child. Even though I always read a lot, I missed a bunch of classics. While I’m glad I’ve gotten to read them as an adult, I bet reading them as a kid would have been even better.

  1. Matilda by Roald Dahl. The two Charlie & the Chocolate Factory books were the only Dahl I read as a kid, and, honestly, I liked the movie better. But obviously I would have loved this book about a girl reader. (Actually, I see now that this book didn’t come out until I was in high school, but I don’t care. I’m keeping it on the list.)
  2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by Bill Konigsburg. I honestly do not know how I missed this book as a kid. A favorite of many of my favorite people, it falls squarely in the sort of books I loved as a kid and also seems like the sort of book that my dad would have loved to share with us if he’d known about it at the time. Apparently the whole family missed out on museum-sneaking adventures. (Although, it should be noted that Grey Kitten and I had our own adventures at the Met when we were in high school, so it may be that I didn’t actually need additional inspiration.)
  3. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Nowadays, when I see a book compared to The Westing Game, I know it is nearly guaranteed to fall into my wheelhouse. The possibility of magic, but maybe mystical magic and maybe just sleight of hand. Possibly a heist. Definitely subterfuge. And a payoff at the end.
  4. The Swallows and the Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. This series of two families in early 20th-century England — one on vacation and one local — who have sailing and camping adventures all summer is criminally unknown in the U.S. It wasn’t until I was going to the U.K. for the first time and asking an online book group for recommendations that I was introduced to it. I still haven’t read all of them, but I collect them as I find them, the way I have with other childhood series I’ve loved. (There is a made-for-tv series that I was excited about right up until I learned they introduced new, extraneous adult characters and elements into the story.)
  5. The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. It took a while for me to grow into fantasy novels, but it seems like this might have moved the needle earlier had I read the series, particularly since the first book is set at Christmas and I do love me some holiday books. Probably, though, the second two books in the series would have been more my speed as a kid.
  6. Half Magic series by Edward Eager. Karen gave me a couple books from this series as a going-away present when I moved, because I was really reluctant to leave and, I think, she sensed that I needed some inspiration to embrace the adventure I was about to embark upon. I am glad, therefore, that I didn’t read it as a kid because I got to read it when I needed it most.
  7. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. Plucky girl (why are boys never plucky?) stories, particularly those set in England of yore, were the sort of books I loved as a kid. (See Frances Hodgson Burnett’s works.) This was probably a little more gothic than I would have chosen on my own, but I was more of a finisher as a kid and I think I would have enjoyed it once I got through it, particularly since the story wraps up very patly.
  8. The Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren. I was definitely aware of these books growing up and they even made a movie based on it when I was in middle school, but somehow I missed their delight until much later. I have since dressed as Pippi for Halloween at least twice. (It requires my hair to be long enough to pull into braids. I waited to cut my hair one year until after Halloween just so I could play her.)
  9. The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. I liked stories where time is fluid at a certain fixed point, so I feel like I would have loved this series as a kid.
  10. Momo by Michael Ende. This is another book Karen introduced me to. Ende is best known as the author of The Neverending Story (which people often better recognize from the film, rather than the novel), but his other books are equally charming, especially this one about the importance of spending time doing things we love. There’s a possibility some of the lessons might have gone over my head as a kid, but I suspect not.

How about you? Are there titles you’ve since read that you wished you could go back in time to hand to your earlier self?

Category: books. There is/are 6 Comments.

April 27, 2020

pretty productive; still a mess
posted by soe 1:12 am

And, there, my friends is the best, most succinct and accurate title I’ll ever write. I could rename the blog…

But in this instance, it summarizes my weekend:

I went to the farmers market and also bought a print of our local bookstore online, which benefits the local soup kitchen. I failed to actually support any of our local businesses, but do so in the future.

We came up with a temporary fix to the toilet seat, which meant that I did not get to see if our local hardware store had strawberry plants. The market did not, but they did have herbs, so I bought basil and thyme, but did not go down to the garden in between storms, because I realized that it should drain a bit more.

I rode across town to drop off a care package at a friend’s back door, but then her kitchen door was open and I unintentionally got to say hi when I startled her. I also got to say hi to a friend further afield on the phone. We both made cocoa and got caught up. (On an utterly tangential note, I biked through the sand volleyball courts, where they’ve taken down the nets for the first time ever since I’ve lived here. It’s like a ghost court, filled with watery courts and unadorned poles and boundary markers that have been washed askew.)

I watched a number of video sessions with authors, and, because my camera wasn’t on, it felt more like I was watching them on tv. That meant spending all that time on my laptop didn’t tire me out like actually being on a video chat does. I did doze off during the first session today, but who knows that besides me and Rudi (and now all of you)? I also added a number of authors to check out when the library reopens. I did not finish reading any novels, but I am further along than I had been, so I’m counting it as a win.

Rudi had bought ice cream last week when he went shopping, so that removed the urgent need to bake. But I did pick up a literal bucket of strawberries at the market today, so shortcake will be part of their usage. We also ate the last of the brownies so I could use the pan, when I do get to the kitchen.

A campaign volunteer asked for a task, so I did not have to stamp 8,000 postcards. I like campaign volunteers, because then I don’t have to be one.

I failed at the tidying/organizing bit of the weekend. I moved some things around on one surface and cleared off a corner of the coffee table so we could have both my laptop and a cheese board on it, but that was pretty much the extent of it. There’s always tomorrow, right? (Cue Jessica from Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.)

I hope you also had a nice and productive weekend, and that if tidying was something you actually wanted to do, rather than something you felt you should include in your weekend plans, that you got to it.

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April 26, 2020

‘wish you were here’
posted by soe 1:14 am

In case you didn’t see tonight’s SNL At Home episode, the musical guest was Miley Cyrus and she performed a particularly nice cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”

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April 25, 2020

final april weekend planning
posted by soe 1:06 am

Oranges from the Office

April has simultaneously been the longest month and also sped by unchecked, probably because many of the traditional ways we use to mark time have fallen by the wayside. I have not gotten up on the weekend yet and tried to join my weekday morning video chat, but I know that it’s only a matter of time…

Ojai PIxie Tangerines and Avocados

However, this is the last weekend of the month, and here’s some of how I hope to spend it:

  • Getting literary: Perhaps against my better judgement, I’m thinking heavily about watching some Zoom webinars with authors. Nationals pitcher and indie bookstore ambassador Sean Doolittle is joining V.E. Schwab for what would have been Independent Bookstore Day. YallWest was supposed to be this weekend (I think), so they’re having two days of YallStayHome instead. However, I have noticed since I spend so much of my workday on video chats that I have way less patience for long calls. It may be that I cancel all the sessions I signed up for after the first one tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow is also Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. I have no intention of reading for 24 hours straight, but they invite people to participate, no matter how much or little of that time you’ll read during. I’m still enjoying The Flatshare and I just picked up Less out of the local Little Free Library while out on a walk this evening. It’s not too late to join me for any of those activities.
  • Eating strawberries and citrus. I splurged on a box of tangerines and avocados from an orchard in California, which arrived this afternoon. And this morning, a box of oranges arrived as a gift from the office. My kitchen smells delightful. Plus, strawberries are starting to come into season down here, so I have ordered a “bucket of strawberries” to pick up at the farmers market on Sunday.
  • Biking across town tomorrow to drop a little care package off on a friend’s deck. It’ll be nice to do a slightly longer ride.
  • Tracking down some strawberry plants to put in the garden. I’m hoping the hardware store has them, because I also need to buy a toilet seat, because ours just cracked tonight. (Irritating, since it hasn’t been all that long since we last replaced it, but better the seat than the toilet itself.)
  • Baking, because we’re running low on brownies and Oreos and are out of shortbread. I’ve pulled the butter out the past two days without converting it into another form.
  • Drinking strawberry daiquiris, because the blender has been sitting on the butcher block for more than a week now and it’s inconvenient to have it be there without our using it. (It lives on top of the fridge normally, but clearly you cannot mix drinks up there.)
  • Talking to a friend. She was just wrapping up recuperation from surgery when social distancing went into effect, so I know she must be eager to hear from folks.
  • Helping Rudi put stamps on campaign literature. 8,000 stamps arrived at the Burrow this afternoon, so I’m thinking he might need some assistance. Maybe I can do that while watching webinars in between knitting and snacking?
  • Shopping locally (and remotely). D.C. is doing a Small Business Saturday event tomorrow (similar to the Saturday after Thanksgiving) to try to support our local entrepreneurs through e-commerce during this tough time. I was lucky enough to get a stimulus check, so would like to get some of the birthday shopping I need to do for the next couple months taken care of and show some love to the businesses, restaurateurs, and artisans who help to make this city unique.
  • Tidying. Sunday is supposed to be stormy, so I hope to get some of those organizational chores done I keep putting on my weekend lists without the actual intention of following through on them.
  • Sleeping in. I’ve been so drowsy lately (subterranean living and rainy/cloudy days do not help, although the lovely little UV lights my folks shipped me last week do make a difference), and there is absolutely nowhere I need to be tomorrow morning.

Honestly, just reading that list makes me tired. So I’m going to wash the dishes and go to bed.

What’s on tap for your weekend? Sleeping in? Crafts? A walk in the woods?

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