sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 24, 2020

top ten things i’m thankful for
posted by soe 1:28 am

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl asks us to share what we’re thankful for this year:

  1. Our family: I think Rudi and I surprised ourselves by how well we adapted to being in close quarters all the time. My parents and I talk multiple times a week. And my brother and his partner and I have seen more of each other this year via video chat than we have in years.
  2. Corey: My dear lump of a cat, with his two speeds — barreling and asleep. He’s been very snuggly this year and very chatty, and our lives would be so much less without him.
  3. Our health: We and our immediate families have remained relatively healthy through this year, as have our extended families. 2020 continues to hammer home that this is not something to be taken for granted.
  4. Our friends: Whether the ones here in D.C. who would respond to the Bat Signal if I raised it, or the ones further afield who text and call and video chat and email, this year would be so much harder without them.
  5. Security: I have an apartment I can afford. I have a job that pays enough to cover my bills and that values my health and safety enough to let me do it from home. I have a family that valued budgeting and saving and that passed that economical mindset on to give us a cushion.
  6. Flexibility: Rudi has been without full-time employment for a while, and never have we been so grateful for that as when he needed to uproot things and spend a couple months out with his mom.
  7. D.C.’s small businesses: I’m not going to lie: We’re seeing a lot of empty storefronts around here, and more venues are closing every week. But so far, all of our bookstores have survived. Many of our restaurants and bakeries and the farmers at our markets. The mom and pop grocery stores where you can find flour and toilet paper and cleaning supplies when the chain stores’ shelves are empty. Buying local has been important in past years, but this year local has shown us that they are here for us and that our support is tangible.
  8. My garden: It’s been an oasis this year, particularly back in the spring when everything was just hard in the city. I planted less variety this year, but harvested a lot, from pounds of tomatoes to, for the first time ever, footlong cucumbers and stripey summer squash.
  9. Our local libraries: They haven’t reopened for browsing since March, but they will let you request holds and come pick them up. And that has allowed us to read books and watch films in a somewhat normal fashion. And anything that feels even semi-normal is something to be embraced.
  10. Voters: This year has been hard, but I do not even want to imagine what the next four months would look like if the voters of the U.S. hadn’t declared that they were ready for adults to take back over the federal government. Are these adults perfect? Nope. Will I disagree with many of their methods and policies? Undoubtedly. But I believe that they have our best interests at heart over self-interest? Absolutely.

How about you? What are you thankful for?

Oh, and, hey, while you’re here: The Virtual Advent Tour starts a week from today. Wouldn’t you like to take part?

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November 23, 2020

coffeeneuring 2020: ride #6
posted by soe 1:20 am

Ride #6 of the 2020 Coffeeneuring season was to the coffee place with the best name, which is saying something since I’ve already visited a place called The Roasted Boon.

Harpeth Swill

Harpeth Swill
1801 Wyoming Ave., N.W.
Saturday, Nov. 14, late afternoon
Conditions: Pleasant

Harpeth Swill has two locations in D.C. now. I went to the original location in Adams Morgan, which is also, I believe, where Sweet Science got its start.

Harpeth is the Tennessee river near where the founder grew up, which could potentially make the name slightly less interesting. But I argue that for a Southernesque coffee outfit, heavily invested in the Mason jar aesthetic, it still works. They are a cold-brew shop, which means they have put their fireplace and their counters to good use, as you can see in the shot above.

This year has just been a challenge for my getting out of the house early enough to do rides properly, so this was, once again, eked out just before closing time. (To be fair, everyone is also closing earlier this year, so it’s not entirely on me.)

I locked up to a street sign, because there were no bike racks on this section of block, but it is just across the street from a Cabi station, should you want to arrive via a borrowed ride.

Coffeeneuring 2020: Ride #6

I opted for a chai tea and a Whisked pretzel cowboy cookie, which I consumed on their patio in a rocking chair while reading. (They were technically closed by this point and this was the only furniture left.) It was probably closer to the sidewalk than I would have preferred, so I kept pulling my mask back on, but it worked for the half hour I was sitting there.

Mileage: 3.35 miles

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November 22, 2020

posted by soe 1:20 am


If you’re looking for inexpensive flowers, Trader Joe’s is a really great source. These are from the past two Sundays. The blue pitcher was scrounged out of a freebie pile (one of the best things about city living…).

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November 21, 2020

staycation planning
posted by soe 1:08 am

Staycation Reading

My office generously gave us all next week off from work, which means I get my first prolonged stretch of time mostly for myself this year. Sure, would I have preferred to spend that time in Connecticut with my family and my BFF? Definitely. Would a good back-up plan have been to spend it here in D.C. with Rudi and my local pals doing a Friendsgiving? Absolutely. Is this 2020, when the lessons of making the best of things and making do and making new traditions is hammered home again and again? Yes, yes it.

So, I will do that. What will my time off include?

  • Lots of reading. I picked up this pile at the local library this evening and have two more books waiting at other branches for me. The mid-Atlantic has adopted a pathetic fallacy for its Thanksgiving week forecast, so I believe I should have plenty of time to cross a bunch of these (and some others) off my TBR list.
  • Knitting. I just have the toe decreases left on my second sock, so those will definitely be wearable on Thanksgiving. Once that’s done, do I pick up projects I put down partially knit or start something new?
  • Cooking and baking. My Thanksgiving meal is still evolving, but I’m narrowing in on it. I’m also thinking that I’m just going to bake every day and maybe see if local friends or my upstairs neighbors are interested in braving my germs. (All fair if they aren’t. This isn’t a normal year.) At the very least, I’ve got a couple pies (or maybe mini pies?) on my to-make list and want to give some thought to Christmas cookies. And I still have dozens of tomatoes I need to do something with.
  • Prepping the apartment for Christmas. This is sort of a catch-all item that includes cleaning up my living room so there’s room for a tree, putting new batteries in the fairy lights, and
  • Making some progress on my Christmas to-do list. I’ve been working off and on on this year’s Christmas mix and should start working through a playlist. I bought stamps for Christmas cards (also already in hand) this week. The local bookstore is having their quarterly sale and the downtown holiday market has come up with a socially distanced shopping plan. Rudi and I need to talk through virtual tree-trimming parties.
  • Biking and spending time outside. I haven’t been great at finding that midday break from work to get outdoors, so I’m definitely going to take advantage of unfettered access to daylight (even if it’s behind clouds) this week. I also still have potatoes in the ground in the garden that I should dig up.
  • Having at least one more Netflix date with Rudi.
  • Writing postcards to Georgian voters!
  • Holding a bunch of video chats with friends and family. We have several in the planning stage, but no set times, so I will need to marshal folks into order in the next couple days.
  • Catching up on sleep.

Yes, that does look a lot like my normal weekends these days, but that’s probably okay. If I can make it to next weekend feeling less exhausted and burnt out and on edge (or maybe just one of three, since this is 2020), I’ll feel like the time has been spent well.

How’s your weekend looking?

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November 20, 2020

out early, library holds, and hey, i know you
posted by soe 1:47 am

Georgetown Waterfront

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. I went for a pre-work bike ride today in an effort to actually see daylight in person. There was frost on the grass, but the sun was out and the air wasn’t unpleasantly cold (although it did remind me I should look for my other knit headband). Plus, I got to stop and pick up a bag of bagels on my way home.

2. In prepping for my weeklong staycation, I’ve requested a whole heap of holiday reads. Each morning, I get a nice ping about which ones are waiting for me. I’ll be running over to the local branch tomorrow evening to pick a pile of them up.

3. I ran into Rudi’s friend Matt at the concert last Saturday. It was nice to chat with someone I knew in person for a few minutes.

How about you? It’s been a rough month. What’s been beautiful in your world?

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November 19, 2020

mid-november unraveling
posted by soe 2:00 am


I have reached the last stripe of my sock’s foot before I start the toe decreases. By this time next week, I will have a finished pair of fall socks!

I also hope to have returned this book to the library by then, with all my field hockey girls and guy ready to head into the 1990s with a better sense of their future. I’ve left them in Salem after a night at Papa Gino’s on Halloween for a couple of weeks now, and it’s probably best to propel them the rest of the way through their senior year season.

On audio, I’ve started Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert. I don’t usually bunch books in a series, so it’s a testament to the fact that I enjoyed the first book in the Brown sisters series that I’m listening to this in 2020.

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

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