I've taken a little unplanned break from blogging--and reading blogs and social media in general--partly because we've had a lot going on (appointments and events and rescheduling) and partly because sometimes I just need to step back from the "Another Perfectly Perfect Day in My Perfect Life" vibe that bloglandia sometimes projects. I know that I run in danger of projecting the same vibe, and so know it's not reality, or intention, but sometimes my self-esteem just needs a little time away.
While I was out, we had a party. A big, wild fiesta. My friend Tina came over and helped me make a mountain of tamales, and we also cooked up enchiladas, quesadillas, black beans, red tomato rice, guacamole, and Mexican chocolate cupcakes. And mixed up Margaritas, of which I may have imbibed a little too liberally (note to self for next year: more lime juice, less tequila).
I didn't take any pictures before or during the party (which I guess is a sign I was having too good a time), but the next day, I took a few of our decorations--papel picado (which I'm keeping up in our living room until they fall apart) and a couple of my Southwestern tablecloths (let's face it, at least 25% of the motivation for a fiesta is to display my tablecloth collection--another 25% to cook and eat really good Mexican food and 50% to enjoy time with friends and lift spirits in the middle of a long, cold winter).
In other news, I registered M for high school last week. And I don't even feel the tiniest bit weepy or nostalgic about it. He outgrew his little K-8 school long ago, and I'm so looking forward to seeing him stretch his wings in an environment that will offer new challenges and opportunities. It's been a rocky road to get to this point--our town does not have a high school and so we have the choice of at least six area schools, each of which is almost exactly the same distance (a 25-minute drive) from our home. M's first choice was in the exact opposite direction from where I work, with no bus to our town, while my first choice is roughly ten miles out of the way of my office and has a bus that stops at the end of our road. I played the "I'm the mom and I know what's best" card. This has been really the only source of conflict between M and me since he became a teenager (knock on wood), but I think he's finally come around, or at least resigned himself. It's really a wonderful school and, like I said, I'm excited for him to move on.
I also finished E's replacement mitten before February ran out, which means I don't have to count a tiny heart as my February knit. I threw it in with several loads of wash and got it to kind-of, sort-of felt. We have a front-loading washer, which does not do a very good job of felting (though it has managed to shrink a couple of hand-knits that accidentally got tossed in with the laundry). I'm hoping that if E wears it in enough wet snow, it will shrink naturally.
We got our first harvest from this cool oyster mushroom growing kit we got for Christmas. We've been patiently moving it around the house, trying to find the optimal growing place (turns out ignoring it in the basement in bright sun did the trick). The harvest was small, but that's a good thing in this family where 3-4 people out of five hate mushrooms. In looking for recipes, I learned that oyster mushrooms are among the most widely-cultivated, however recipes were hard to find (though there were numerous recipes for mushrooms plus oysters, which sounds revolting), so I just sautéed them with a little butter and salt and put them on toasted baguette, which was delicious.
Over the weekend, I also went to a paint night out at my friend Helene's art gallery. It was so much fun. I could have just kept piling paint on my canvas all night long. I'm afraid I've found another hobby I don't have time to keep up with (by the way, the painting looks much better in a teeny, tiny photo than it does in real life). I bought supplies to repeat the lesson with the boys, if they'll let me. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.
February's frigid temperatures carried right through to the end (we woke up March 1, to -13 degrees F). Getting dressed in the morning takes a good half hour just to pile on the layers and snow pants have become acceptable office wear (for me at least).
But we got a couple of Sundays in a row where temperatures topped the freezing point: 34, even 37 degrees F.
We've carried on snowshoeing right through the winter, regardless of cold or wind, but what a difference 20 or 30 degrees makes.
I just feel so much more alive when I walk through the woods and don't feel like my face is going to freeze and fall off.
We found another trail of otter tracks on the river this past weekend, complete with holes where they enter and exit the cold, dark water below and a little scat present (this one appeared to come out of its water hole and leap a couple dozen feet to poop; very tidy of it).
The scat was all crawdad parts and maybe a few fish scales. Mmm.
I spent a little time in the gravel pit, sitting on a log and writing in my journal, which is something it's just been too cold to do all winter. I even found this tiny patch of green moss (cohabiting with a purple liverwort). A sign of spring?
Over the weekend, I also cleared away all of the hearts and snowflakes and other signs of winter inside, replacing them with green wherever I could. And now it's March. My least favorite month. I always get depressed in March. This one is going to be extra challenging because C has to travel a lot for work, which means I have to double-up on duties: getting the kids on the bus, cooking and cleaning up, keeping the house warm (this is a terrible role for me; I'm much more apt to just keep adding sweaters rather than start a fire). And I can't believe Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend. The thought of having to wake up in the dark when it just started getting light out by six a.m. in the last few weeks fills me with murderous rage. Do you think I could just hibernate until April?
|Oh, wait that IS my kitchen sink.|