Well, winter seems finally to have arrived. We're expecting below 0 temps tonight, for the first time this year. And things seem to be getting back to normal - which is nice.
Eric started his new semester this past week, which was, oddly enough, kind of a relief for me. I love having him home, but this winter break wasn't quite like most of the past ones - his being home meant that I could (and should) work on the book more or less full time. And so most days, I'd disappear into the computer room and Eric would take the kids. And...I hated it. I didn't like sitting in front of the computer all the time, what Eric Brende calls "the voluntary quadrapalegia of contemporary life" - it made me stiff and achy. I didn't like being away from my kids so much - or the way Asher would sob when I passed him to Daddy (something that never bothered him before) or how Isaiah would ask me very solemnly if I would come with him places. And I didn't like all the other things that didn't get done. I don't think I'm meant to be a full time writer. So even though the kids have colds and were cranky, I was actually very happy to get back to my normal, less productive but more fun, life.
All of this is part of a set of anxieties I have about the book. Other people, I'm told, have fear of failure. I tend towards fear of success. I've gotten a lot of offers to come speak since the Community Solutions Conference, and so far, I've turned them all down - I enjoy speaking, but I don't want to leave my family more than very occasionally, and I don't want to fly for environmental reasons. Unfortunately, if the book is published and successful, I probably won't have the luxury of saying "no." I worry that if I do write a good book, the job of promoting it, speaking and writing about what I've done will overtake my life. I don't want to be a hypocrite, telling people how to live a life I am not presently living. I don't mind making recommendations and detailing my flaws, but if I get on an airplane and fly about the country instead of planting corn, or hire someone to clean my toilets so that I can write about how necessary it is we do it ourselves, I'll look like a flaming asshole, and I don't want to be one. Not to mention the fact that I don't *want* to be apart from my family. We've very carefully arranged our lives so that we have a lot of time together - we don't always have a lot of money, but for us, time to be together is worth more than cash. I'm a domestic creature to a large degree - that's why it is so easy for me to focus in on food and shelter and clothing - because those basic things engage me more than many abstractions.
So there's a part of me that hopes the book isn't a success. That part is overridden by the part of me (known as my ego, and just slightly smaller India ;-), that hopes we're a howling success, that Oprah wants to add the first peak oil book to her book club and that Dick Cheney will read it and say, "Oh, of course, we should have been conserving, not invading. Damn. Why didn't I think of that? Maybe I'll plant some peas on the White House lawn now." So we've got what some folks might call a certain level of ambivalence here. But I'm not complaining too much that I've got more domestic work and a little less time to write.
In other news, Asher, at 14 1/2 months is going for the record as our latest walker. He has been taking steps occasionally for a month now, but I don't think it has ever occurred to him to use it as a mode of locomotion. Like his brother Isaiah, he's learned to locomote while carrying things, which sort of obviates the largest incentive to walk. But we're anticipating any time now.
Our non-electric kitchen renovation proceeds apace. We've painted, are putting in the new sink (the hand pump and cistern will have to wait until the ground melts in spring), having new shelving put in, and my Waterford Stanley cookstove arrived this week, right after our ice storm, causing a major degree of unhappiness in the two gentlemen whose job it was to get the 700lb cast iron stove up the ice covered driveway and into the house. No major injuries were caused, fortunately. If I can figure out how, I'll try and post before and after photos once the work is finally done.
And finally, seed starting and seed ordering are beginning. I'll start leeks, pansies, onions, scallions, some kale and bok choy, parsley for pesach, some very early sweet peas (for pots) and the stuff that has to stratified this coming week. Because I grow so much stuff and order too many seeds every year, I've picked up a trick to organize what has to be done. Every year, afte the first of the year, when calendars are really cheap, I buy one (this year, I didn't - I'm using a homemade one), and then I count backwards from my last frost date, and on the first couple of days of the week, list what seeds to start. Then, on the later part of the week, I list the ones I actually got to - which makes it easy to slide things over to the next week. I then put each week's seed packets in a plastic bin or tin (coffee cans are good). I keep seperate tins for "start inside" and start outside. It helps me keep track, because often I have to start things several times during the season (first and second plantings of things like broccoli and lettuce, for example). I also write in everything to be planted in or out during the whole season, ending with spinach that I start inside (to keep it cooler) at the end of August for winter. I'm also trying to note temperatures, how much rain and snow we get, what birds we're seeing, etc... Climate change is obviously changing things, and it is helpful to keep records of how our local systems seem to be arranging themselves.
I think that's about all the news from our place. Anyone else got anything exciting going on?