sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 31, 2023

memorial day weekending
posted by soe 1:47 am

I had a nice weekend and I hope you did, too. I didn’t get to everything I’d hoped to, but such is the way of life. I did manage to squeeze in quite a bit:

We picnicked at the Kennedy Center and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark under the stars.

I spent time at the garden, outside in a pool, and on the patio of a cafe.

I bought a flat of strawberries at the farmers market.

I played volleyball, both in the sun and in the (what was quite a bit more than expected) rain and got in some miles on the bike.

We cooked (veggie) hot dogs at home and made daiquiris and went out for ice cream with my friend Chris. And we shopped at our local Japanese market and treated ourselves to some buns and soup.

How was your weekend?

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May 30, 2023

top ten things that make me pass a book by
posted by soe 1:14 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesdays at That Artsy Reader Girl follows up our must-read quirks by asking about the Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book. Here are ten of my literary turn-offs:

  1. A description of “thriller.” Almost always too dark and intense for me.
  2. Overly flowery language. Particularly irksome in audiobooks, because apparently I’ve trained my eyes just to skip over lengthy lists of adjectives in print.
  3. Repetitive phrasing. Again, an audiobook peeve. My parents love the Spenser books by Robert Parker, who never met a conversation where it was not necessary to include “he said,” and “she said,” after every line of dialogue, but it drives me to distraction. Did he need them to hit a word count for each book?
  4. Solving the mystery in the first chapter. If I can figure it out in your first ten pages, there’s no point to my reading the other 250.
  5. Books set during war. We know beloved characters aren’t making it to the end of the story, and that’s already real life. I don’t want that in my books.
  6. Unlikeable main characters. Again, I have to interact with people I don’t like off the page. Why would I want to give them any of my reading time?
  7. Ambiguous endings. If reviews talk about twists or offer up comparisons to “The Lady or the Tiger,” I’m out. I want a positive, conclusive end to my books. (Exceptions will be made for the middle book of a planned trilogy, since tradition dictates those will end in an unsatisfactory way.)
  8. Publisher branding. When Rudi and I visited Paris, we walked into the bookshop around the corner from our hotel only to be greeted by an entire store filled with white spines, because they were all put out by the same publishing house. I felt too overwhelmed even to try to pick something out and immediately turned around and left. (I had more luck in a general bookshop later on).
  9. Books featuring animals as main (or vital secondary) characters. Like war novels, 99% of these are not going to end happily.
  10. Books by authors I’ve deemed insipid. I will never read another Nicholas Sparks or Mary Higgins Clark novel again.

How about you? What makes you immediately close a book?

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May 26, 2023

late night talking, healing, and play against ourselves
posted by soe 11:34 am

I dozed off working on a cover letter last night and didn’t realize until I was in bed that I hadn’t posted here.

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Grey Kitten and I talked for a spell in the wee hours one night after Rudi headed to bed. Sometimes a 3-hour time difference can be a good thing.

2. A friend’s mom has come through her brain surgery as well as can be hoped for.

3. My team’s game on Monday was against an opponent who struggled to put together plays. So we stayed afterwards to play a split squad scrimmage (plus a couple others) and had a blast before heading out to the bar.

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

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May 23, 2023

top ten things that make me want to read a book
posted by soe 12:36 am

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl focuses on the things that make me instantly want to read a particular book. Here are ten of mine:

  1. It’s been recommended by someone I know who shares similar tastes in books.
  2. It’s written by an author I enjoy. (These include Jasper Fforde, Sherry Thomas, Rainbow Rowell, and T.J. Klune, among others.)
  3. It’s part of a series I like. (The Veronica Speedwell books come to mind.)
  4. It’s on a topic I’m interested in. (This more pertains to nonfiction than fiction, obviously.)
  5. It’s got a clever title. (I love me some puns.)
  6. I’ve heard or read an interesting interview with the author.
  7. It’s set someplace interesting.
  8. It’s got a catchy opening line/paragraph/scene.
  9. Or, if it’s a collection of poetry, I like whatever poem I randomly flip open to.
  10. It’s got a cute cover. (You can’t judge a book by its cover, but it sometimes can make you want to pick it up and look at it more.)

How about you? What instantly draws you to certain books?

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May 20, 2023

mid-may weekend planning
posted by soe 1:47 am

I was supposed to take part in a volleyball tournament on Sunday, but, alas! it’s been cancelled. Worry not, though, I’ve got other things I’m hoping to do:

  • Play volleyball (I mean, just not as part of a tournament)
  • Go to a baseball game (it’s Star Wars Day at Nats Park and some of our friends want the free Hawaiian shirts they’re giving out)
  • Plant the rest of the seedlings I bought yesterday (I’m down to five plants — three members of the gourd family, a tomato, and some kind of pinkish flower — that need to get into the ground)
  • Shop at the farmers market
  • Do laundry
  • Bake something
  • Take down the Christmas cards
  • Send some mail
  • Switch out my winter and summer wardrobes (All the clothes are out, which makes for unmanageable piles everywhere)
  • Read

How about you? What’s on your weekend to-do list?

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May 19, 2023

garden haul, half century, and face to face
posted by soe 1:01 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Two pounds of strawberries, a bag of greens, and my first peas from the garden

2. Rudi turned 50 this week. We threw a big party with dozens of our local friends at a beer garden to celebrate. And I made him a playlist with songs, stories, and photos from friends from all over, ranging from his Salt Lake school friends through our college friends to those we’ve met since moving to D.C.

3. Karen and I finally got to catch up in person for the first time since Thanksgiving. Six months is too long between visits, but we milked the afternoon for all it was worth!

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

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