Spring Break

It's exasperating that the people who could most use a vacation-- parents-- are the same people least likely to get one.  Any parent who's gone on a family "vacation" with little kids will tell you it's a contradiction in terms.

My vacation this year starts today: day one of Spring Break.  Dan has taken Miss L and the dogs camping for the week. Miss G is visiting her dad's parents in Florida.  I thought about somewhere, and thought-- no, what I really need is not to plan or coordinate anything.  So until next Sunday, it's just me, the cat, and my Netflix queue.

There are desserts in the freezer that I won't have to share bites of with anyone.  Things I put away will stay put away.  No one will leave school books and shoes in the middle of the hall.  No one will drag gobs of dried grass and clumps of fur onto any freshly vacuumed floors.  No one will trail muddy garden footprints across any clean kitchen floors the same day I mop.  There are no swim meets or piano recitals this week.  I can sleep with the windows open.  I don't need to get up early to make breakfast or pack school lunches.  I can eat crackers in bed.  I will not have to stop writing to start dinner.


Onward! Upward!

Veggie garden preparations continued this week.  Miss G's dad loaned us his power rototiller (this is a good example of why it's important to maintain an amicable separation), and some buddy of Dan's offered us as much free manure as we can haul away.  I guess the guy somehow ended up with a dumptruckload full of manure; no one seems to be able to tell us the whole story.  Our neighbors on the left offered us the use of their truck to haul the manure, in exchange for us promising to plant an apple tree that can be cross-pollinated with theirs.  Very fair trade.  And our neighbor across the street offered the use of his truck to haul off the dead brush from our yard-clearing.   Oh, and-- the Good Neighbor Fairy left several small potted plants sitting out on our newly tilled front yard.  Not sure what they are, since they're not marked, but it's very friendly nevertheless.

One of the hardest things for me about leaving my hometown was losing the sense of community that is so ingrained there.  People move to small towns specifically to become parts of a neighborhood, to be involved in city happenings and preserve the small-town way of life that's the very reason they make homes there.  I've had bits of support here and there in other places, but nothing like back home.  Until now.  And we could really use the encouragement these days.

I've never really liked living in Vegas.  I moved here for a specific job, thinking that if I loved the work I was doing it wouldn't matter where I lived.  Turns out that loving where I lived and not liking my job was the better way to go.  Now that the job I came here for is gone, I'm stuck living in a place that makes me grouchy, with few redeeming qualities.  Mind you, living in Boulder City is much better than living in Vegas proper-- but it's expensive to live here, our mortgage is probably 3x what it would be in a normal city, and this is definitely a concern now that our income has become dangerously spotty.  With construction work dried up, and Dan's daughter moving away with her mom at the end of the summer, we don't have a reason to stay here.  But-- Miss G is so happy that I hate to move her again.  Plus, with the current market, there's no way we could sell our house (even if it were sellable, which it's definitely not in its current partially-fixed-up state).  I've been feeling so frustrated at having to stay here, but this sudden emergence of neighborly support and general friendliness is easing my mind considerably.

We're going to try to stick it out here for the next 6 years, till Miss G is done with highschool.  During that time, I'm going to learn how to reap a harvest in the middle of the desert.


Stupid Meal Planning

I don't mind cooking dinner.  I've come to enjoy it as a little sacred half hour when no one interrupts me, a sphere of limbo in between "work" and "home" that's become my mental transition time.  It's peaceful.  It helps me switch gears.

Planning the week's meals out, on the other hand, is the crabbiest part of my Sunday.

I used to ask for meal requests from other household members, but the answers were invariably "Spaghetti!" and "Tacos!"  I was met with blank stares when I started adding "...besides spaghetti or tacos." Eventually I stopped asking.

So, my Sunday mornings are spent combing through my cookbooks and allrecipes.com, looking for inspiration, trying to figure out how to alternate hamburger and chicken with enough variety that I'm not sick of either, and am still within our food budget, wishing everyone went for fish so we had more options.  Oh, and don't  forget to plan out the sides and veggies... last week I thought we had potatoes, discovered (too late to run to the store) that we didn't, so we ended up having hashbrowns with our gravy.  It was actually surprisingly delicious.

Wednesday is St Patrick's day, so that meal's settled... corned beef and cabbage, of course.  One down, 6 to go.  Any suggestions?



It's sounding like spring outside.  Birdsong has tripled in the past week.  There's been tons of rain, mixed with unexpectedly warm days.  I love living somewhere that Spring comes when the calendar says it's spring; back home that March 20th thing was like a cruel joke.  It's time to be outside, and I've been spending my days working in the yard, preparing to commit to a real vegetable garden this year.

Last year was too hectic, because we were planning our wedding.  The year before that, we moved into the house just a little too late to plant a garden. This year is the year.  That means it's probably the year I'll have to buy a pressure cooker and learn how to can stuff.  Well, that's okay.  What else am I really doing with my time, after all.