Monthly Archives: April 2011

OMG! Girls read scifi?!?!?

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Look, it is yet another article expressing great surprise that the ladies like anything other than insipid romantic comedies!

First, this quote cracks me up:

Traditionally, networks — especially broadcast networks — have attempted to grab young women viewers with romantic comedies, keeping the mindset that fantasy is for boys and romance is for girls.

Reworded: The mindset is that fantasy is for boys, and fantasy is for girls (but only if it is as bland as we can possibly make it).

Another telling quote:

The anecdotal evidence is everywhere. There was “Xena: Warrior Princess,” Dana Scully on “The X-Files,” Claire Bennett on “Heroes,” and many others. More recently, “True Blood,” which features heroine Sookie Stackhouse and vampires Pam and Jessica, has become one of HBO’s hottest properties….Still, it’s an uphill battle for geek girls to get recognized as a consumer force to be reckoned with — even when it comes to HBO.

Reworded: Even though we have plenty of evidence that women like this stuff, we still can’t believe it doesn’t offend their delicate sensibilities, and besides, we know what they want better than they do.

It is laughably easy to find women who love science fiction. You don’t have to be an inspired researcher to find them. You can go to one of the many blogs for female geeks. You can hang out on the Feminist SF board at LibraryThing. You can go to a convention. You can go to your local bookstore and hang out in the sf section (just try not to look too creepy).

Another great resource is the blogs of female sf writers. A few awesome ones:

N.K. Jemisin
Chris Moriarty
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Rachel Swirsky

The problem about writing about this is that there are so many interesting things out on the internet, research degenerates into a long bout of reading interesting things that other people have to say on the topic. I had to stop at 4 examples of author blogs because I couldn’t afford to spend 30 – 60 minutes apiece reading on any more of them. I have been writing this post for two days now, ;). (Hey, did you know that female fandom began organizing isn the 1970s? Wikipedia has more information, as usual.) Plus, thinking everything I have already thought about this and trying to distill it into a coherent blog post is nearly impossible. I am all “What about Tiptree? What about all those women who loved Buffy? And Joss Whedon is amazing! And all my cool friends love sf! And what the &^$% is wrong with these people?!?”

I have been talking about sf here and elsewhere for decades now, and I have never had any real trouble finding other women who share my interest. I get so tired of finding that people are surprised that it is possible to have two X chromosomes and be interested in stories about ideas at the same time.

A new menu pannning challenge

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I am officially done with vegetarianism.

As you may know, I decided not too long ago that the whole vegan thing is not for me. That led me to read about Tasha over at what used to be Voracious Vegan and is now Voracious Eats, and that led me out to a whole world of ex-vegans on the internet. I have been on the internet regularly for over 14 years now, so I shouldn’t be surprised that there is an online community for practically anything you can think of, but I hadn’t even thought to look for this before.

I have been looking at reducing the amount of carbs that I eat for a while now. I am not looking to be super low-carb, but it seems clear to me that grains are not the best foods for health and weight maintenance–even when they are whole grains. I can’t even point to everything I have seen to lead me in this direction, it’s just something I gradually seemed to see everywhere. I am not interested in policing the carb level of all my foods, but I have been trying to eat less grains, getting rid of as much refined grain food as possible, and limiting whole grains to smaller portions. This is somewhat hard to do on a vegetarian diet, even if you do eat eggs and fish, but I was trying to avoid that. I wasn’t interested in eating meat.

Then I started reading through the interviews with ex-vegans over on Let Them Eat Meat. I was astonished to find how many of them referred to dental problems associated with veganism! I have all the dental problems I was seeing mentioned, from brown spots at my gums to soft, easily broken teeth. In fact, one of my front teeth has completely broken off, and now I have to go to the dentist to get an implant to replace it, something I am not looking forward to doing at all. Now, I am the first to admit I am not a particularly good flosser, but I have always had good strong teeth, so I did not understand the problem. I had read all about the evils of calcium-leaching animal proteins over at Not Milk, so I could not figure out what was going on. Reading these interviews, seeing how many of them mentioned dental problems was really all I needed.

I wasn’t really excited about it, though. I had a lot of my self-image tied up in being vegetarian, which seems kind of silly when I think about it. As I kept reading, I began to be more worried about my overall health. For a couple of months now, I have been feeling more sluggish and even dizzy, which was kind of frightening. I was so careful to eat healthy, I thought. But I was becoming more and more convinced that I have been wrong about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet all along.

Even when I ate meat as an adult, I still thought it would be healthier to be a vegetarian, but I am now thinking I was a victim of extreme thinking. I thought you either ate a high meat diet or a high fruit and veggie diet. I mean, I obviously know that it is possible to combine these ways of eating, and even that many people do it successfully, but it wasn’t something I did very often. Although, as I thought about it, I realized I did do that one time in my life–eat meat, but also eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. That was back when I lost a lot of weight a few years ago–something like 40 or 50 pounds over the course of a year or so, without really trying that hard.

So, the evidence was becoming clear. I was wrong about meat eating, and my health was suffering because of it. It is time to be done with it.

My children are thrilled. Fortunately, they never completely stopped eating meat. They ate it with their father, and at my parents’ house, and when we would eat out at restaurants. They are glad that they will be able to eat it here now, too.

It took a long time to make a menu today, though! I had to find some new recipes, and get back into the habit of including meat in the plan. I am a little bit nervous about my grocery store bill coming up, but surely it won’t be too bad since I am doing the list and trying not to overbuy. Here is what I came up with:

Saturday: Amazing chicken stew on rice (The Healthy Family, p. 114)–this has a lot of veggies in it, and the boy says he is very excited about it, so I am sure this will be a winner

Sunday: Salmon patties, creamed corn, steamed green beans–this is the recipe I learned from my mother as a teenager, so it is comfort food for me

Monday: Pork tenderloin with artichokes and capers, mashed red potatoes, steamed broccoli–as I started thinking about eating meat again, this recipe popped to mind, because it is so delicious; I didn’t even know I missed it

Tuesday: Chicken and Biscuit (Rachel Ray’s Big Orange Book, p. 210)–from the cooking for one section, again with lots of veggies, and quick and easy in one pot

Wednesday: Gnocchi with fresh chicken sausage and broccoli rabe (Rachel Ray’s Big Orange Book, p. 179)–the kids love gnocchi, so I am hoping this will help them to reconcile themselves to combined foods and flavor and all that (by which I really mean the girl–they boy likes flavor)

Thursday: Hurried goulash with egg noodles and peas (The Healthy Family, p. 106)–the girl is cooking this, even though it has a sauce!

Friday I have belly dancing, and I am thinking there may still be some leftovers, so I am not planning a meal. I hope this goes well!

Not wasting food

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After purging my refrigerator this weekend, I came across this article on Planet Green. I do hate wasting food, and I was really feeling the need to plan ahead better after tossing so many leftovers and condiments, so I was ripe for the ideas on this page.

I have a very bad habit of buying all kinds of produce with no plan in mind, then throwing a bunch of it out at the end of the week. I have been working on this for a while now with menu planning, and trying to get better about substituting what I have on hand in recipes to make sure that things get used, but I definitely could use some improvement in this area.

Here are some things I have done to lower my food waste:

1) Composting.

Yes, this is still food waste, but at least it will be used for something and it isn’t going into a landfill. I have two compost bins in my back yard. For the first year and a half or so that I lived in the house, I used one bin almost exclusively to dispose of my food waste, then I switched over to the other one. I haven’t done any turning of the compost to help the breakdown, although I did occasionally add extra brown matter when the compost looked particularly wet, and my gardeners tell me we can now use the compost in that first bin when we are setting up my garden this year. I am hoping we can speed up the process going forward, so that we always have a bin ready to go in the summer. We are better about composting everything now, since I had a friend give me a big plastic kitty litter bucket with a hinged lid to use in the house each time we have something to compost, so that we don’t have to choose between multiple trips a day to the bin and leaving rotting food on the counters. That will help to increase the amount of compost available, but I may have to start thinking about getting a compost turning fork or shovel and mixing it up to hurry the decomposition process along.

2) Menu planning

I have gotten a lot better about menu planning in general, and consulting the fridge and pantry before writing the plan in particular. A quick look at what we have on hand really helps to make sure I don’t buy veggies that we already have waiting to be used. Having a definite plan also means I am more likely to actually cook dinner each night, because I don’t need to stand in the kitchen, looking in the fridge, then looking in the pantry, then looking in the freezer, then back to the fridge, etc., just to decide I don’t have everything to make anything, and so we might as well just eat peanut butter sandwiches or go out. I just come home, go in the kitchen, and start making dinner. The area I really need to work on here is breakfasts and lunches. I often end up buying a bunch of random foods to make sure we have something to eat, and we end up with too much of some things and not enough of others. I do not yet have very detailed breakfast and lunch plans, but at least I am thinking about it more before I get to the store. Some key learnings in this area:

  • When I have bell peppers or cantaloupe for healthy snacks, I need to actually cut them up and have them ready to eat if we are actually going to snack on them
  • I need to start looking at the entire menu for the week to see what I can prep ahead on the weekend, or when I can work ahead throughout the week (slicing peppers when I am chopping another one for a recipe, for instance)
  • When I go to the grocery store, the list isn’t quite enough—I need the menu, too, so that I can make suitable substitutions if I see something on sale, or cannot find something on my list

3) Using leftovers
 

I hate it when I make something really good, and forget to eat the leftovers. Or, I make too much, and have more leftovers than I really want to eat. I like having some leftovers, because it makes lunch the next day easy, but most of the time, I don’t want to eat a meal more than twice. One dinner, one lunch, and I am good. I am also guilty of planning a bit too well for my cooking, and not accounting for leftovers, but I am getting better. The last few weeks, I have had lima bean and Brussels sprouts curry on my menu for Tuesday nights, when the kids are at their dad’s. This works well because the kids hate lima beans and Brussels sprouts, while I love them, and the girl isn’t too fond of curry. However, it also works well because my veggies are frozen and my sauce comes in a jar, so I can put it off if I need to, like this week, when I looked at all the leftovers in my fridge and decided to eat some of those instead. I still need to do some tweaking, though. Some lessons I learned on this topic this week:

  • If I make a sloppy joe pizza, I should freeze half of the joes; I don’t need leftover pizza and sandwiches
  • Combining the third tip to eat reasonable serving sizes and the fourth tip to eat the leftovers can be problematic at times; I need to get better at estimating how much of a certain food to make
  • The girl doesn’t like fried rice/quinoa/whatever grain, so it isn’t always an ideal way to be creative with leftovers
  • I really should consider writing down all that we eat in a week to help with more accurate planning sometime
  • Clearing out the fridge really does help me to see what is in there and available so that things get used up; I need to be careful not to let it get cluttered

4) Not eating out

I decided to conduct an experiment in the month of April—no eating out for the whole month. I saw a chart somewhere recently—probably one of those USA Today snapshots—that compared the average number of times that people in various countries eat out per year. Japan was the highest, but the US was right behind them, at 100 meals out per year. I thought about how I have really cut back on eating out in the past few years since I bought the house and thought, “Wow, that is a lot of eating out!” Then I thought a bit more deeply and realized that is just under twice per week, and I totally still do that, if not more. We go out with friends on the weekend, or I don’t plan ahead for lunches and have to head out to a restaurant, or I buy some eggs down at the cafeteria when I get to work. This puts me in a position where I am spending money at restaurants at the same time I am throwing out food at home, which is just crazy. So, I decided to just say no to eating out for April, and see how that goes (one exception: if I go shopping on a Saturday with my mom and aunt and grandmother, and my grandmother wants to buy me lunch like she always does, of course I will go). So far, it has been a lot easier than I thought it would be. I made a big batch of cole slaw at the beginning of the week to make sure I had a veggie side every day, and I only spend a few minutes in the evening making sure there is something to take for lunch the next day. It has really helped to get the leftovers eaten, too.

 

I know I am still going to throw out some foods this week. This morning when I was packing my lunch, I saw a container of leftover spaghetti that I can’t remember exactly when it was new, but I do know I have already eaten from more than once. I suspect there are a few other things I won’t get to as well. But, I am paying closer attention now, and it will be getting better. Progress not perfection, right?

On mothers and children and disadvantages

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Reading this article on msnbc.com, I couldn’t help thinking that someone skipped math or logic or something in college. Read this opening:

     “One in five of all American moms have kids who have different birth fathers, a new study shows. And when researchers look only at moms with two or more kids, that figure is even higher: 28 percent have kids with at least two different men.”

Really? When you eliminate all the women who couldn’t possibly have children by more than one man, the proportion of the remaining women who have children with more than one man is higher than when you include all women? Say it ain’t so! Basic logic: it is the same number of women, just a smaller pool that is calculated to make the proportion higher. It’s like saying that if you have 3 apples, 3 oranges, 3 lemons, and 3 plums, 25% of the fruits are oranges, but if you remove all non-citrus fruits, the proportion is even higher: now 50% of the fruits are oranges! There are 3 oranges both times, you haven’t added any new information.

I don’t really understand the purpose of this study, entirely. From the article, it seems to be looking at why women with multiple fathers for their kids are disadvantaged, but it is hard to tell. It seems to me to be pretty out of touch with reality all around, although that may be the reporting, not the study. Take this quote: “An important message that doesn’t appear to be getting through is just how hard it is to raise a child as a single parent.” I think most women know single parenthood isn’t easy, even when they don’t have a college education. There are lots of reasons women may end up a young single parent, and they are not all due to poor choices on the mother’s part, especially since the researcher does say that 43% of women in this situation were married when their first babies were born.

I find it interesting that there is absolutely no mention of men with children with different mothers in this article. The obvious inference from this lack of focus is that these men do not suffer the same disadvantages that the mothers do. If so, seems to be a much more interesting line of research. Why don’t they? What can we do as a culture that evens out this disparity, if it is there? And, how do the children of the fathers in this situation do? Are they disadvantaged in the same ways that children of mothers with multiple mates are? And, are all of the children of the fathers with multiple mates similarly disadvantaged, if the disadvantage exists? I suspect that it is often the case that the children in the men’s current relationship do not suffer as much as their children from a previous relationship. Obviously, this would not always be true; I know many divorced dads that are good fathers, even if they remarry and have more children. However, there is a reason why the unhappy child from dad’s first marriage is a stock character in books, tv, and movies.

But, even if we stay within the limits of the current study, I wonder what impacts the fathers of these children have. The only reference to this is in the article talks about the stress that the mothers feel trying to meet the needs and demands of more than one father, which is just odd to me. Why is it the mom’s problem entirely? Why aren’t the mothers and the fathers trying to meet the demands and needs of the children involved? It is the same problem with cultural attitudes to fatherhood I talked about earlier–the mother is set up at the person responsible for meeting all needs, those of her children, and also all fathers involved. She has to make sure everyone is happy and has their needs met. Of course that is stressful!

I would love to see a study on how to limit the disadvantages that children and parents experience when parental relationships don’t work out, and their parents dare to try again to have a fulfilling relationship, one that may include additional children. It seems like too many studies are about bad outcomes—this many people suffer because of whatever social situation—rather than looking at good outcomes—here is what people who don’t suffer have in common. We already know what the problem is. Let’s look at what we can do to fix the problem instead.

What I got done this weekend

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  • Blog redesign (technically, I started this Thursday, but it was something I have been meaning to do for a while now, and I did more work on it this weekend, so I want it on my accomplishment list)
  • Wrote a blog post on cultural attitudes toward fathering
  • Massive refrigerator purge—I could not believe how old some of those condiments were! Or, how much room I had to put my groceries away
  • Wiped down fridge shelves
  • Made a menu ( I only went through Thursday, because the weekend will be a daddy weekend, and I expect I will have leftovers to get me through Friday)
    • Saturday: Cheese pizza, Italian sausage pizza, sloppy joes pizza, baby carrots, sliced red bell peppers, mini cucumbers, sugar snap peas (S had two friends over for a sleepover, hence the three pizzas)
    • Sunday: Stir-fried quinoa, pan seared cod (cooked with some of the Island teriyaki sauce I used in the quinoa), steamed sweet potatoes
    • Monday: The girl is making Chickpea Noodle Soup from Veganomicon, I will probably make a salad for my mother and me
    • Tuesday: Lima Bean and Brussels sprouts curry, with either brown rice or quinoa, depending on my mood
    • Wednesday: Chickpea Cutlets, a frozen potato/green bean/mushroom mix I got from Trader Joe’s, steamed broccoli
    • Thursday: Scallop Risotto, salad
    • Lunch stuff: Muffalletta sandwich (from Veganomicon again), light and sassy slaw with maple sesame tempeh
  • Bought all the groceries, except the scallops, which I will get closer to the actual day I use them, and eggplant, which was inexplicably absent from both grocery stores where I went to shop
  • Put away all the groceries—easy in my cleared out fridge, a bit of a jigsaw puzzle in my freezer, which needs its own clearing session
  • Cleared out the area behind my couch in the living room; in theory, this is a launching pad for things that need to go to the car, or that will be donated when someone calls up and offers to take stuff off my hands, and even come to my house to do it, in practice, it is that plus whatever the kids dump there, and stuff rarely makes it out to the car
  • Attacked the bathtub, got a lot of caulk stripped, thought I was done, but I will be doing a bit more stripping today before recaulking
  • 4 loads of laundry
  • The girl trimmed the ornamental grasses, and we all helped bag up the resulting straw, or take it to the compost pile out back—about half went into bags, and half on the compost pile—I am not convinced this straw actually breaks down in a timely manner, but I didn’t have enough bags to put it all at the curb 
  • Both the girl and I did dishes, but there are somehow still lots of dirty dishes; stupid entropy
  • Made cappuccino chip muffins from Vegan Brunch; they were very popular, and are almost all gone now
  • The boy cleared sections of the family room floor underneath the couch and the chaise; his normal cleaning style is to shove things under furniture in the hopes that I won’t see them, so there was some corrective action needed
  • The girl spent a lot of time re-cleaning the family room after the sleepover; the girls stayed in there because of the fold out couch, the tv, and the ability to stay up far too late by not being in the room right next to mine
  • Cleaned the downstairs half bath
  • Finished a book (Unnatural Causes, by P.D. James)

Looking over this list, it looks like a lot, but not as much as I thought it would be. I feel compelled to add that last weekend, I finally got new batteries for my cordless phones, a task I had been needing to do for literally months, just to convey the sort of catching up on responsibilities I have been doing lately. But really, I was busy all weekend, and so was the girl. The boy is only 8, he can only tolerate so much busy-ness, but he did work, too. The girl owed me extra chores, thanks to her habit of putting away only some food when she is sent into the kitchen to clean up (as I tell her, when we eat it, it is food, when I throw it away, it is money), and I feel like she delivered. It just kills me how much time it takes just to stay standing still in house cleaning, much less get ahead.

Capable fathers

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When I read Jessica Valenti’s opinion piece on cultural attitudes toward fathering, what struck me first about the interaction between Valenti’s husband and the flight attendant who found that he was changing his baby’s diaper despite the fact that his wife was on the plane as well is how incredibly creepy it is for a stranger to turn a relatively innocent interaction about parenting into an opportunity to express sexual desire for this person they don’t even know. If it was a woman going to change her baby’s diaper and some man she didn’t know told her that he found mothers to be a real turn on, she would be creeped out, and rightly so. It was especially odd in this case since the man in question had just said that he was with his wife.

But the overall piece illustrates something I have complained about many times: fathers are not valued as true parents nearly enough. Men are expected to be stoic and strong, valued by women chiefly for their abilities to earn money, fix things and do yard work. If a man falls outside a narrow accepted definition of masculinity, he is mocked as mercilessly as women who fall outside of the traditional definitions of femininity. Lavish praise to men for simple parenting tasks is the same thing as saying that we don’t really think men are capable of doing those tasks.

Another pet peeve of mine relating to men and parenting: when people talk about men babysitting their own children. That is not babysitting! You babysit other people’s children, not your own! It drives me crazy. As an example, when I was still married, after our daughter was born, my ex-husband would just tell me “I’m going to the store,” or something like that all. the. time. At first, it didn’t bother me, because it wasn’t like I was going anywhere usually, but after a while, I wondered how he would feel if I did the same thing to him.

“I’m heading to the store,” I said casually one day, keys in hand. He looked up from the computer, surprised.

“ But what about the baby?”

“What about her?”

“Who will watch her?”

“I assumed she wouldn’t need anyone else, she is with you,” I answered, in a perplexed tone.

“But I was thinking about going to see my friend John,” he said.

I am sure he was not really thinking about going to see John, but, like most people, when his options were suddenly limited, he thought of all sorts of things he wanted to do. And, despite the fact that I think my ex has many faults (we are divorced for a reason, after all), I am not really knocking him with this story. He is a product of his culture, and it simply did not occur to him that I was not the default caregiver.

From the day our daughter was born, I expected him to give real care to her, not just some playing or a bit of baby-sitting. I told him that babies bond most closely with their primary caregivers, and I was not going to have her preferring me and his feelings being hurt, just because he never met her physical needs or provided real parenting. I also trusted him to care for the baby. I did have more experience with babies, and I sometimes made suggestions, but when he did things differently than I would have done, I bit my tongue and turned away. There is no one right way to parent, and he needed to develop his own style, and I knew he could do it. And you know what? He did fine. Our daughter was safe with him, which is the most important thing. He may have picked outfits that didn’t match, but she was dressed, so who cared? She certainly didn’t.

So, as he sat there confused by my going out without even asking him to watch the baby, I knew where his confusion came from. I was the mom, wasn’t the baby my responsibility? No, she was our shared responsibility, and he knew that. He just needed reminding from time to time.

“This is what you do when you want to leave. You never ask me if I want to do anything or if it is all right if you go. You simply announce that you are leaving.”

“I do?” I never said he was a fast thinker. But, breaking a lifetime of cultural programming is hard. I am sure he didn’t really notice.

“Yes.”

“Ok, I’ll try to stop doing that.”

“Thanks. I’ll be back in about half an hour, no more than an hour, you can go to John’s then, if you’d like.”

He looked like he was about to object, but then he stopped himself. I left, and when I came back, the baby was fine.

It is almost garden time!

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After a winter of planning and searching the web for more and more things I could grow and make, and making a long list of plans and recipes, we are finally nearly at the time when I will have a garden in my yard again. Well, the garden is still there from last year, and there are even a couple of things growing (some spinach that apparently re-set itself, turnips that froze all winter and then started growing once the weather warmed up, thyme, garlic and onions), but the full garden installation is happening one week from tomorrow. We were going to try to do it tomorrow, but the gardeners tell me that the ground is too wet for the big installation we have planned.

We are doubling the size of the garden this year, which means that we will have to pull up some of the lawn. Currently, I have a flat yard behind my house, with a low wall on the side where there are 4 boxes, about 4′ x 4′, with sections in between that are maybe 2′ or 3′, and we plant all in there. There is another box at the end that has raspberries bushes that were planted before I moved in. Our new plan is to build new boxes out from the old ones, with a path in between. We are going to mulch some of the tree limbs I have out there for the path. We are also going to move all the herbs up to a section of ground next to my patio. I have a fig tree that I am going to plant in another section of the yard, and I am either going to get a couple of apple trees or a peach tree as well. This weekend I am going to go out and start chopping down one of the Bradford pear trees I have in my yard. I have two, and I want them both gone, but one of them is enormous, and I will definitely need some professional help with that one. The other one is relatively small, though, so I should be able to cut down several of the limbs myself, and then finish it off with Marsha and Melissa’s help when they come for garden installation.

I am saving the expense to get the big tree professionally cut down until next year. I am also seriously considering doing a sturdy grape arbor next year. Even if I get someone to help me and build it myself, that will cost some money, what with setting posts into concrete and making it nice and sturdy, but I love the idea of putting some chairs under the grape arbor and relaxing in the shade under my grapes in the summer. I may even start researching wine making. How cool would that be? I am not sure how realistic that plan is, but I plan to look into it.

We are doing a lot of household chores this weekend, inside and out. Here is my tentative plan for the weekend:

  • Finish stripping the caulk from my bathtub and recaulk the tub, so that we can use the shower without worrying about destroying the walls from leaking water
  • Remove the part of my bathroom sink drainage pipe with the hole in it, so that I am sure to get the right replacement part
  • Go to Home Depot and get:
    • A new drainage pipe
    • Plumbers tape
    • Some safety goggles (for the tree trimming)
  • Go to Target for some more shelves for the basement
  • Grocery shopping (I will do my menu and shopping list tonight)
  • Have the girl cut down the ornamental grasses so that the new growth can come up
  • Have both kids bag up the resulting straw for pickup on Monday
  • Start cutting down tree limbs
  • Work on organizing the basement, getting rid of as much stuff as possible
  • Clean out the pantry
  • Go through the pile of papers on my desk
  • Make some lunch salads for the week, maybe do some baking (scones, muffins)
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry…

Doesn’t that make you jealous? 😉 If I have time, I may buy a freezer for my basement, too. The garden is coming! I need to be able to preserve everything. Plus, I have been thinking about doing some cooking ahead again. Breakfast burritos are sounding particularly good lately. I cannot seem to get my morning routine arranged to accommodate a hot breakfast during the week, but I am tired of energy bars and toast.

It is supposed to be nice on Saturday, then rain on Sunday, so I hope to get the outside tasks completed Saturday, and do some of the organizing on Sunday. Maybe it is a Spring thing but I am very driven these days to organize and clean my house. Not that I was a total slob before, but I have a lot more drive and motivation and even excitement than I have the past few months. It is nice to check things off the list, and the house is so much more peaceful when it is in order. I am not planning on everything on this list being completely finished, but I would like to make some progress.