sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 6, 2021

top ten books i’d gladly throw in the ocean
posted by soe 1:30 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday list from That Artsy Reader Girl invites us to share books that frustrated us in one way or another. I rarely carry on reading books I hate, so there are plenty of books I’ve let go over the years, but this particular prompt suggests antipathy to me, which means I have to truly resent a book in one way or another, and that means I actually thought it worth carrying on until the end for one reason or another. Here are the nine one-star reads I have recorded on Goodreads, which amounts to “I finished it, but wish I hadn’t”:

  1. Fat Vampire, by Adam Rex
  2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery
  3. A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks
  4. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
  5. The Pearl, by John Steinbeck
  6. Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
  7. Summer People, by Marge Piercy
  8. Needled to Death, by Maggie Sefton
  9. Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark & Carol Higgins Clark

How about you? Do you have any books you want to chuck in the ocean?

Category: books. There is/are 3 Comments.

April 5, 2021

notes from the garden: early april 2021
posted by soe 1:53 am

In the last week, the garden went from looking like this:

End of March Gardening

to looking like this:

Easter Gardening

Partly it’s because I spent a good portion of this afternoon digging up sections of my bunching onions and shifting them to the fenceline so I could put in the flat of new plants Rudi and I bought yesterday. (I added a couple new herbs, celery, yellow onions, strawberries, and flowers.)

And partly it’s because things are finally really starting to grow.

We have violets:


We have peas:

Pea Shoots

And we have spring greens:


I love this time of the year at the garden. You can really see the difference at every visit!

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April 4, 2021

holy saturday, batman!
posted by soe 1:16 am

Easter Blossoms

Today was a perfect spring day and exactly what I needed after the workweek I endured. Warm in the sun, brisk in the shade. Clear skies. Perfect for working at the garden. A small person who was at the park with his mom helped me spread wood chips on pathways by filling my wheelbarrow a handful at a time (I supplemented by the shovelful) and counting down when I should dump the load.

I stopped for bagels on the way home. They’d just come out of the oven and were still warm when Rudi cut into them.

After a siesta, Rudi and I took a late afternoon jaunt over to one of the nurseries I like. There is a flat of seedlings (including four more strawberry plants) waiting at the garden for me to plant tomorrow; apparently garden supplies are where I’ve decided my budget doesn’t apply. I blame all that fresh air and the oxygen released by all the plants at garden centers. Clearly it’s dangerously intoxicating to my working-inside-on-the-couch-all-pandemic brain.

We had a video chat with friends in Seattle and New Orleans before settling down for the night with big bowls of kale salad for supper.

Rudi’s heading off on a day trip to the mountains for a bike ride tomorrow and I’m going to make myself an Easter brunch after heading to the farmers market. (While I’m hoping to find freshly harvested ramps and greenhouse tomatoes there, neither will feature in my breakfast plans, which instead will fall heavily on the sweet side.) I’m going to putter down at the garden in the early afternoon and then recuperate at the park with a book, knitting, and a drink.

Happy Easter and final day of Passover to those who celebrate and happy Sunday to those who don’t. I’m wishing all of us a relaxing day of leisure.

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April 3, 2021

thanks, past me
posted by soe 1:33 am

Past me, the one who kept running up against her vacation limit (at my organization, when you bump up against your maximum vacation allowance, they stop letting you accumulate time off, so I ended up having to take off an emergency half day at one point because I wasn’t going to get the full vacation time I’d earned that pay period), booked a day off each in March and April. I’ve noticed in past years that President’s Day to Memorial Day is the longest drought of federal holidays in any year. Managing a too-heavy workload (and the attendant stress) is currently the biggest challenge of my job, and I suspected that not taking the occasional day off might figuratively kill me.

I have something I’m hoping to do on Monday, but I’m keeping it to myself right now for fear of jinxing it. (Family health emergencies and car woes have scuppered several days off over the past six months; I do not put it past the universe to laugh at me again.)

I do plan to spend some of Easter weekend outside at the garden (we have a public space workday tomorrow morning) and some of it baking. There’s a monthly video chat with friends who now live far away and possibly a get-together with a couple friends who still live nearby. I won’t have to watch the UConn women in the NCAA finals and the two baseball teams I follow had their games canceled due to a COVID outbreak amongst D.C.’s players, so that frees up some time for watching a video, starting a new (or picking up an old) knitting project, and wrapping up a couple books.

And if nothing else, I’ll be able to turn off my alarms for Monday morning and sleep in. Even if that’s all that happens, there are definitely worse ways to spend the third day of a long weekend.

How are your Easter weekend plans coming along?

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April 2, 2021

nail-biter, in bloom, and eating lunch outside on a workday
posted by soe 12:33 am

Cherry Trees at Hains Point

Today was an especially not-great workday in what had already been a pretty crappy workweek. But thanks to a prescient past-me, I have Easter Monday off, and I am shutting my laptop at 3 tomorrow afternoon no matter what remains undone at that time.

The first key to not letting the mess sweep me under is breathing. Slow breath in. Hold it. Slow breath out. Breathe into the tight spaces in between the tensions. Sink deeper into that infinitesimal stretch. Pull your shoulders a fraction further away from your ears. Breathe out.

And the second is to recognizing amidst the storm clouds there are moments of calm. Finding those good pieces and holding onto them. Knowing there are more beyond the horizon even if they’re not in sight right now.

Three such beautiful things from my past week:

1. UConn squeaked out an amazing victory over Baylor in the Elite 8 round of basketball, winning by two as a dramatic, Hail Mary throw was intercepted by our freshman phenom. This was finals-level hoops by two great teams, and I can only hope that the next two rounds include slightly fewer hearts-in-our-mouths moments.

2. Rudi took me down to see the cherry blossoms after he picked me and my stuff up from the office today just before sunset. (Still have a job. Work is just looking for new digs, and we needed to clear out of our old space.) Brisk winds had brought in late afternoon flurries as an April Fool’s prank, so the crowds had cleared out, allowing the park police to reopen Hains Point to traffic.

3. There was a bluebird afternoon earlier this year week, and I told Rudi we should take advantage of my window between meetings to go grab bagel sandwiches and tea from some local shops. And then it was too nice to quickly return home, so we sat in a triangle park and ate in the sun for a few extra minutes.

How about you? Please, for the love of everything bloggish, share what’s been beautiful in your world lately.

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April 1, 2021

unraveled on the first of april
posted by soe 1:18 am


It’s been several weeks worth of days so far this week, so neither the sock nor the book has changed since Sunday.

Category: books,knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.