The Month in Books: January 

Some snow days, a trip, and a week without Handsome adds up to a lot of books read in January.

The Month in Books & Year End Review

December 2015: 

I read 43 books this year, up slightly from last year’s 38, an average rate of about 80% of a book each week. 

Nine books got five-star reviews this year: The Snowman, Station Eleven (which I read twice this year), The Water Knife, The Secret Place, Americanah, Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal, Heartless, and Death Comes to Pemberly. Looking at this list, I’d recommend Station Eleven, The Water Knife, and Americanah to pretty much anyone. Compelling stories, all very well told. And all good choices for a book club – in fact, two of those were book club books this year.

This fall, Handsome replaced my nook with a Kindle Paperwhite, which I have very much enjoyed. The two readers are similar in terms of form factor; the Kindle has a little bit of lighting you can use, which has been helpful in a few situation. The main difference is that it’s way faster and easier to load library books – just a few clicks on my iPad through the library & Amazon, and it’s delivered to my Kindle wirelessly. No more struggling with Adobe’s Digital Editions for me! This also means that I can still download library ebooks while I’m traveling, a huge plus for me.

Now for some breakdowns:

  • 38 ebooks
  • 32 works of fiction
  • 28 books by female authors (65%)
  • 27 library ebooks, mostly from DCPL 
  • 8 nonfiction books
  • 5 books for bookclubs
  • 2 volumes of comics, plus one book about a comic strip
  • 2 re-reads – Station Eleven, and a novel in the Harry Hole series I’d accidentally read out of order last year
  • 2 books of short stories

Monthly breakdowns

  • 7 books: December
  • 6 books: October
  • 5 books: November, May
  • 4 books: April
  • 3 books: June, February, January
  • 2 books: September, August, July
  • 1 book: March

Seamwork Akita

I’ve barely sewn anything in 2015, and I recently decided that the Akita blouse, from Seamwork, Colette’s online magazine, would be a good project to try and kickstart my sewing mojo. It’s a one-hour project that takes about a yard of fabric, and has very simple construction. I decided to make up a wearable muslin in some quilting cotton and see what I thought. (Spoiler: WTF?.)

According to the pattern, I’m just shy of a size 12 for the bust, and between a 12 and 14 for the waist and hip. Based on my experience with Colette’s Crepe dress — I have a muslin of the bodice that’s been languishing for quite a while, because it’s at least one size too big, despite careful measuring on my part — I decided to go for a 12, rather than a 14.  Continue reading

The Month in Books: September & October

Continue reading

Coffeeneuring 2015: Afterwords Cafe

Coffeeneuring is, essentially, riding your bike around on fall weekends in pursuit of coffee. There are some rules — mostly intended to encourage you to go for a ride of more than just a couple of minutes, and to explore new places. There are also prizes for people who follow all the rules and do seven rides within a particular timeframe, but I’m playing a bit fast and loose with that part. (Certainly trying to stay true to the spirit of coffeeneuring, though!)

We took advantage of the fine weather on Sunday to take a second coffeeneuring ride, catching us up with the official challenge, which started off last weekend. We’ll promptly fall behind again this coming weekend, but with any luck we’ll have another lovely weekend later in the month and can catch up again.

I wanted to go to the farmer’s market, so we looked at options around Dupont Circle, where options abound. The easiest for our route was Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, where we again had brunch. I do enjoy how they give you a little plate of carbs and jam when they seat you. We demolished that before we got very far with the coffee.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We kept it simple and stuck with regular old coffee, though I did notice that Afterwords also had a nitro iced coffee available. I hadn’t ever been inside the cafe, which is very open and airy. We enjoyed ourselves and the waitress was very attentive. (She had a magic touch with our wobbly table, I’ve never been anywhere that someone was able to fix a wobble in one go like she did.) The food was tasty and came out very promptly, even though it was quite busy.

We took nearly the same route over as we had take to Slipstream on Saturday, going up the Metropolitan Branch Trail, down R Street, and then down 19th Street NW to end right outside the cafe. On the way home, it was back across on Q Street until we hit Florida Ave, where we hopped on the sidewwalk until we got to 1st St NE. All told it was about 5.8 miles, and a very pleasant day to be out and about on a bike.

Coffeeneuring 2015: Slipstream

Coffeeneuring is, essentially, riding your bike around on fall weekends in pursuit of coffee. There are some rules — mostly intended to encourage you to go for a ride of more than just a couple of minutes, and to explore new places. There are also prizes for people who follow all the rules and do seven rides within a particular timeframe, but I’m playing a bit fast and loose with that part. (Certainly trying to stay true to the spirit of coffeeneuring, though!)

Last weekend was not much of a weekend for people who aren’t so into riding their bikes around in the rain (hi), so we didn’t kick off our coffeeneuring until today, when we hopped on our bikes and rode to Slipstream in Logan Circle for brunch and some very fancy coffee. 
Nitro cold brew and six one six filter at Slipstream DC.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsWe each had two cups of coffee. Both of us tried the Six-One-Six filter, which is the house blend. Quite good!

I also had a nitro iced coffee – coffee infused with nitrogen and pushed through a tap. As you can see, this gives it a bit of a foamy, creamy head and a really intersting taste and texture. If you’re at all curious I recommend trying it!

Kathakwa single-origin coffee. Really citrusy, interesting coffee.Dave also tried one of their single-origin coffees, Kathakwa. That was excellent, some of the brightness and bitterness of citrus, and very enjoyable. That came with a particularly nice presentation. 

The ride was just short of 5 miles round trip. We hopped on the Metropolitan Branch Trail at M Street and took that up to R Street, and sailed along in the R Street bike lane until 14th. We had some confusion as we forgot how far down 14th NW we had to go, so we walked our bikes partway on the sidewalk and used the 14th Street bike lane a bit as well. To get back, we zipped up to the Q Street bike lane and then went down 7th Street to K Street, in order to stop at BicycleSPACE. (We both got some new lights, Dave got a shiny brass bell, and I also got some new fenders, which Dave managed to attach to his Vaya backpack/pannier and carry home for me.) After we stopped, we continued up K street and turned onto the First Stree NE cycletrack.

This particular route has lots of bike infrastructure – in addition to the trail and the cycletrack, we had some sharrows and lots of time spent in bike lanes. The 7th Street bike lane disappears when it crosses N Street, and then K Street has a mix of lanes, sharrow, and a few spots where there isn’t anything. Overall that was fine, though I don’t know how much I’d want to do that during rush hour!