sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 29, 2023

procured, pre-holiday meal, and the most important thing
posted by soe 1:27 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. I track down my dad’s favorite tea at a grocery store near them. It used to be at nearly every store, then only at stores around Jewish holidays, and now is only stocked by the occasional shop, so it felt really good to bring home a couple boxes. (Particularly since I drank so much of it on them when I was staying up there!)

2. Chris and Neal and I go out for a festive dinner of Italian food.

3. Christmas was different this year. Not bad. Just low-key. But Rudi and I and my parents were all together. And that was enough.

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

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December 24, 2023

virtual advent 2023: day 24
posted by soe 6:00 am

Friends, we’ve made it. Done or not, we have reached the night before Christmas.

Thank you for coming along with us all these past 24 days. Thanks to Rudi, Marg, and raidergirl3 for their posts along the way.

Rudi and I drove north last night, which gave us a chance to listen to WXPN’s Robert Drake in his The Night Before The Night Before. We got the pre-show, but if you tune in to WXPN from Philadelphia anytime today, you’ll catch Drake’s main holiday show.

Another Christmas Eve tradition of mine is to watch Christmas Eve on Sesame Street:

If you don’t have time for the live broadcast, nor an hour for Jim Henson, may I offer Stan Rogers’ “At Last I’m Ready for Christmas,” which is far shorter:

If you celebrate, Merry Christmas. And if you don’t, peace on earth to us all.

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December 23, 2023

virtual advent tour 2023: day 23
posted by soe 6:00 am

Hey, folks!

Earlier this week, Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader posted about her most recent Christmas reads and invited me to share it on the Virtual Advent Tour. In response to her post, I thought I’d note down the holiday reads I’m either in the midst of or hoping to get to this season (through mid-January when our tree comes down):


  • A Holly Jolly Diwali, by Sonya Lalli, starts just before Diwali in the fall and carries through until Christmas (with a postlude set at the following Diwali), so I’m counting it. If you want an international romance, much of which takes place in India, and a multicultural approach to holidays, I encourage you to check it out.

Underway, but early days:

  • The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese is about rival booksellers, Gabriella di Natale and Jonathan Frost, at an indie shop that is threatened by a national chain, Potters. I’m early in, but expect lots of festive wordplay and allusions to favorite holiday books and movies.
  • A Winter in New York by Josie Silver focuses on a young British woman who’s moved to New York after the end of a bad relationship and still reeling from her mother’s death. Then she finds out that her mother’s beloved and secret gelato recipe may have come from a city shop.

Still to come (let me know if I should prioritize any of these):

  • Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
  • A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone
  • The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett
  • Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop, edited by Otto Penzler
  • The Christmas Orphans Club by Becca Freeman
  • Mrs. Jeffries and the Midwinter Murders by Emily Brightwell
  • The Christmas Caf√© by Eliza Evans
  • The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore (my BFF gave me this years ago and I can remember reading the start of it on the metro and cannot tell you why I didn’t finish it. I’m assuming life and figure if ever there was a year to read a Christmas satire, 2023 is it.)
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December 22, 2023

virtual advent tour 2023: day 22
posted by soe 6:00 am

Today is the antepenultimate day of the Virtual Advent Tour for the year. To celebrate, we head back to The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, where Marg has a post sharing the decorations she and her husband have added to their collection this year.

If you work a traditional job, good luck with the last day before the holiday!

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three amigos, sitter, and dessert
posted by soe 1:05 am

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Neal, Chris, and I go out for supper.

2. Sergio and his wife hire a babysitter so she can make her work holiday party and he can come to our game. We appreciate his presence tremendously.

3. Rudi donated money to a friend’s son’s fundraiser and this week a box of assorted homemade cookies was delivered.

What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

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December 21, 2023

virtual advent 2023: day 21
posted by soe 6:00 am

Welcome to winter, my friends. As tonight marks the solstice, that makes today the shortest day, a perfect time to read this poem from Susan Cooper, the author of The Dark Is Rising series.

The Shortest Day
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp~Copyright Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
The lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen,
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us — listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land.
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year, and every year.
Welcome Yule!

Be safe and loved and rejoice in this shortest day and this longest night, for tomorrow we begin again our journey toward sunlight and warmth.

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