sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 19, 2020

top ten reasons i love my library
posted by soe 1:44 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to share our love of something bookish.

It doesn’t get more basically bookish than this:

The Top Ten Reasons I Love My Library:

  1. This is where they keep all the books.
  2. The D.C. Public Library hosts my weekly Twitter book club, #brownbagdc. They have other Twitter book chats, too, and added a few more while the library was shut down. They also added biweekly trivia nights.
  3. I still have a dvd player, and they buy dvds so I can watch movies without having to pay for them.
  4. They gave us three days’ warning before they shut down for the pandemic. This allowed residents to create a literary run on the bank, as it were, as the bookish folks did the equivalent of hoarding toilet paper. (There were more checkouts that weekend than during the entire month of February.)
  5. They let me stream movies on Kanopy and stream and download music on Freegal.
  6. They just eliminated late fees. (They already had a very liberal policy, but now fines are just gone.)
  7. When the library shut down, DCPL went into their online system and reactivated accounts that had been turned off. Too many late fees? No longer a problem for nearly 4,000 accounts! Expired account? Welcome back, 87,000 neighbors! And if you’ve never had a card, they allowed you to open an account to borrow materials online for the duration of the shutdown.
  8. The library will let you print materials for free (when they’re open). You can print things from their computers, or you can send things from your home machine/mobile device to the printer queue.
  9. They have reciprocity with most of the other nearby library systems. This means I’ve been able to add accounts in neighboring Maryland and Virginia counties, upping my ability to borrow materials — and, in the case of the Montgomery County Public Library, giving me access to Acorn TV for free.
  10. Pretty much every librarian and library staff member I’ve met at the two dozen branches I’ve visited have been super nice and helpful. The work they do is hard, as is any public-facing job. Urban libraries, in particular, though, operate as de facto daytime homeless shelters and the staff are as knowledgeable about social work resources as they are about what’s on the shelves — and they don’t get the recognition they deserve.
  11. And a bonus — their buildings are beautiful and often win architectural awards. They’re nearing an end of a complete gut of the main branch, and I’m so excited to see what aspects they bring back (the MLK mural? the clock?) and what new things they introduce. (There’s a slide, people! I’m so hoping they let adults use it, too!)

What do you love about your library?

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May 18, 2020

birthday weekending
posted by soe 1:06 am

Rudi's Birthday Shortcake

We had a nice weekend. The bartender at our local grocery store/bar was super helpful in picking out some birthday present beers for Rudi on Friday night (it was luck that someone who knew Rudi’s taste was working the check stand when I stopped in), which I wrapped while he was out on a bike ride Saturday.

Rudi had requested scrambled eggs for his birthday breakfast, and I’d hoped to combine it with fresh sourdough bread. But I clearly did something wrong when assembling it in the breadmaker, because instead we had a sourdough brick. I mean it was tasty (particularly with jam), but it was impossibly chewy and dangerous to try to slice. I’m going to turn it into pain perdu (aka French toast) or maybe bread pudding. Anything that will soften it up.

We did some video chats with friends, ate Chinese takeout (the ginger snowpeas I added to the order were the surprise hit of the night), and Rudi blew out the candle on his homemade strawberry shortcake just before midnight.

This morning, I toured the farmers market, bringing home a variety of tasty spring things, including cream, strawberries, fiddleheads, and asparagus. Then I drank half a pot of tea and dozed all afternoon on the sofa. (I was pretending to read.) I managed to rouse myself in the evening to head to the garden, where I planted a few things, marveled at my six-foot-high pea vines (I also have pods, but they need a few days to fill out), and picked a bag full of arugula, kale, and spinach. We need to get back in the next day or so to get our garden snails drunk, so they leave our strawberries and spinach and basil alone. I checked in with my folks and with Grey Kitten and his husband and got in some walking. And I ended the evening by finishing my Veronica Speedwell novel while sipping on hot chocolate.

Five more days until a long weekend and the unofficial start to the summer. Remember way back in February when we thought it would be eons until our next official holiday? How right — and wrong — we were!

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May 17, 2020

bout of books 28: day 7
posted by soe 1:10 am

Bout of Books

I did not get any reading done today, although I did listen to Nic Stone talk about her novel, Shuri, which I’m really looking forward to reading, as part of the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which will be broadcast on YouTube over the next four weekends.

Today’s Bout of Book challenge invites us to consider any goals we set for ourselves at the outset of the readathon, and if we didn’t to think about a mini one for today.

I had not set any challenges, so I don’t have to figure out how to live up to past me’s expectations. Present me thinks that I can probably finish one of my current reads before I head to bed tomorrow night. I’m down to the last quarter of The Cruelest Month, for instance, and have several print books that could be crossed off with a little focus. Seems challenging, but reasonable, don’t you think?

[Editor’s note, Sunday night: Success!]

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May 16, 2020

happy birthday …
posted by soe 1:57 am

… to my favorite fella, who turns a prime number today.

Last Dining Out for a While

I know this isn’t how you’d choose to spend your birthday, going on solo bike rides and drinking with your buddies over the computer. But you’ve dealt with the past couple months with grace, translating your multitudes of experiences into positives for essential workers, for the local political scene, and for us at home in the Burrow.

Masked Gardeners

May you soon get to go riding up mountains with your friends, stopping at country stores for ham biscuits and beer gardens for refreshing libations, in places further afield than the 25 square miles you’ve stuck to the past couple months.

Happy New Year!

But in the meantime, have a most wonderful May 16th. Happy birthday, Rudi!

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May 15, 2020

deep discount, more ‘seconds,’ and ready to wash
posted by soe 1:33 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. The drug store had name-brand Easter candy for 90% when we stopped in last week, which meant big bags of candy were 45¢. Rudi carried the heavy bag home.

2. One of the farms that specializes in tomatoes was selling flats of seconds at the farmers market. I came home with more than a dozen huge greenhouse tomatoes that looked just perfect to me.

3. Rudi procured both dish soap and quarters for the washing machine this week. (Who would have guessed $30 wouldn’t have been enough to get us through this?) I don’t love chores, but I definitely prefer to be able to do them when they need doing.

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

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May 14, 2020

mid-may unraveling
posted by soe 1:25 am

Mid-May Unraveling

The leg of my second Smock Madness is nearly done. It suffered a bit earlier in the week from my tiredness when I blithely knit along in what I thought was the right smocking pattern until I looked at it and thought, that doesn’t look right. Luckily it was only a half dozen rows, plus some tinking a little while later when I forgot to wrap some stitches. But I have a listening work call at the end of the day tomorrow, at which point I expect to be ready for moving on to the heel. Exciting, right?

I finished the print book I was reading last week, so am now cycling back to another book I started at the beginning of the pandemic, when I didn’t have the fortitude to read, A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn. I’m also listening to a mystery, The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny, but it’s a contemporary, so it feels okay to dive into a second, since it’s set at the turn of the last century. Plus, the Veronica Speedwell novels are part mystery, part romance, and part adventure tale, so it’s really not the same as a straight-up police procedural, no matter how literary it is.

Head over to As Kat Knits for more knitting and reading progress from around the world!

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