* Even long weekends aren't long enough.

Rio and I are enjoying a 3-day weekend, and we’ve been languishing in the warmth of our cozy little house on this lazy holiday while it’s freezing outside. We’ve also been indulging in some guilty pleasures: cookies, m&m’s, and video games.

On Saturday Pa purchased this tiny little mini-arcade loaded with the best of 1981 arcade glory. The only one I recognize is Frogger, but that’s because I was never a fan of video games, even as a kid. This little package is basically just a joystick that plugs into the TV. It’s seems so simple and cheesy and innocent compared to its hip progeny. Normally I’m vehemently against video games of all sorts, and refuse to spend my scarce & piddling wages on that mind-numbing kiddie crack.

I may be an idealist, but I’m no purist. Make no mistake.

So on Saturday when it was 12 degrees and snowing outside and I was cooped up with 6 kids under the age of 14, I couldn’t have been happier to see that little joystick, aptly named for the joy it brings parents and children alike on days such as these. And there we were, all 8 of us (give or take a couple of stragglers) piled on and around mine & Pa’s big bed, transfixed by Frogger’s dogged attempts to cross the freeway and defy death on the raging river of doom. Pa and I played, too, and refereed disputes over the play sequence and jumping on the bed. Quality family fun, let me tell you.

Sunday was nice, too. After The Kids left, Rio and I took a walk to the downtown cemetery. There was an inch or so of fresh powdery snow from the night before and I wanted pictures. It turned out to be an excellent adventure. We got to make the very first footprints in untouched parking lots along our route. At the cemetery we spied lots of animal footprints and followed them all over the place. When I became engrossed in my photographs, Rio skated on icy patches and then ceremoniously stomped and smashed the ice to bits.

The rest of Sunday was alternately productive and relaxing. I cooked a lot this weekend, it’s a new thing I’m trying. Cooking, that is. I’ve been inspired of late to eat better and thus cook better, thanks to an old cookbook I unpacked recently – The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas. It was published in the 1970’s but I picked it up at a yardsale in Tampa. It’s a grubby, well-worn old book, but it’s full of some mouth-watering recipes. And healthy too, which is what I’m after, with as little effort as possible. I’m doing well so far. This weekend we ate:

Spinach Quiche
Potatoes Romanoff
Potato Peel Broth (from the peels of the above dish)
Lentil and Tomato Soup (with the potato peel broth)
Biscuits and Gravy (this was Pa’s doing, but popular with the kids on Sunday morning)

Tonight I made a Potato Curry with brown rice and a garden salad. I could get used to this. We’ve been eating more vegetables and unprocessed foods and I can feel the difference already. And I don’t mind the cooking nearly as much as I thought. I also smartened up and started doing menus for the whole week before I buy groceries. It’s much more efficient and we’re eating better than ever.

This is just one step in my plan to get more organized. It’s been so long since I’ve settled in a place with the intent to stay, I’m still trying to create a space for everything, and to establish a routine that optimizes my efficiency. Efficiency is key; I’ve got a lot on my place yet I can never seem to do enough.

Time. If I were rich it would be time in my pocket, under my mattress. And all my punctuation will call for ellipses, for all the pauses I will take along the way . . . Someday, I will have whole days to call my own . . .

Imagine the luxury!

Today is MLK’s birthday, so I told Rio one of his favorite stories: The Story of Rosa Parks. Exactly two years ago on this day, Rio and I were driving in the car on the way to his preschool and we were listening to public radio, and they were doing a feature on Rosa Parks. Rio listened intently, and when the special feature was over he drilled me with questions. Every morning ever after on our way to his school, Rio would ask me to tell and re-tell the story of Miss Rosa Parks and how she wouldn’t give up her seat on the bus. I never did mind telling it over and over again, and he never grew tired of hearing it.


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