1. The second week of the Great Big Famdamily Holiday was conducted here at home (and largely in the rain), with my dad as houseguest and my sister hulle* in Sorrento until the weekend, when they rejoined us for a quick taste of Switzerland. My dad in particular got a fairly comprehensive Swiss experience, having taken the kids into town on Monday and run into Sechseläuten. (I had most of one glorious day to myself. Tomorrow, thanks to the childcare stars aligning, I get another! I’m paying, and I’m not even sure how much, but it’ll be totally worth it.) Then on Saturday, we made good on our promise to show the South Africans snow. (Lifetime first!) This had been attempted in the Dolomites, but we failed dismally – websites said certain ski lifts were still running; websites lied. So the kids had been bitterly disappointed. They were not disappointed this time. In fact, we were all ridiculously spoilt. Pilatus had masses of fresh powder that had fallen on Friday – more than they’d had all winter, apparently – but beautiful blue skies and warm sun. An absolutely perfect day. I couldn’t have planned it better and will happily take full credit for this unlikely accident of fate.
2. Now the holidays are over, it’s back to routine. It’s really the first chance I’ve had this year to just plod along at a sensible pace, and looking ahead I see a quiet, steady, open road to the summer holidays. After which comes KINDERGARTEN FOR MAX. Only 112 days to go! I say that as if it will make all the difference in the world, rather than just an extra 14 hours a week in term time, but seriously: 14 more hours every week is actually AMAZING.
3. Recently I’ve become a fan of quarterly planning, but it occurs to me that in fact, the year divides more naturally into thirds. At least for me. The start of the school year, in mid-August, coincides with the start of knitting season and the big rush to Christmas. Then New Year to the spring holidays is a sensible chunk, and finally the long summer term and summer hols. It might be that the spring divide only feels so relevant right now because the year to now has been so hectic (birthdays, Edinburgh, Cape Town, Italy), but then again, some of those things will feature every year: three birthdays in one quarter, two school holidays clustered close together. A lot of disruption built in. Anyway, I’m going to try planning in quadrimesters. Q2 starts here. (I wanted to call them trimesters, American-style, but four months just isn’t three months, no way, no how, and anyway that sounds like pregnancy, which, NO.)
4. I’m more than ready for some solid work time – even with the very limited hours I have right now. As hard as I’m trying to avoid taking on anything with the faintest whiff of pressure, my list of projects is growing rapidly. Besides design ideas I have a bunch of other business-y things that want attention, some more urgently than others, but all adding up to considerably more than a full-time job. Once again I am confronting the cold fact that “prioritising” doesn’t mean deciding what to do first, but deciding what doesn’t get done at all. Once again this is making me exceedingly grumpy. I’m not so good at reality.
5. Is it normal for one’s mind and mood to be so dominated by work, and how much time you have for it? For someone who doesn’t actually have a real job, in particular? I really wouldn’t call myself a workaholic, or even particularly ambitious. It’s just that I have all this stuff I’d quite like to do. And I guess stuff-doing time being in such short supply means that work (other than childcare) takes on that rosy glow of unattainability. It doesn’t make for scintillating blogging.
Nos 17 & 18 of #52recipes: (not very) spicy roasted broccoli pasta. Eh. It was fine. I’m not convinced about the ricotta, or the sheet pan method. It wasn’t bad, I just can’t be bothered doing this again. And buttermilk roast chicken, which was tasty, but I think I overdid the chicken a bit so it wasn’t quite juicy and tender as promised.
I was pleased, though, with my overall achievement on the meal front. This was Sunday lunch for 10: chicken, twice baked potatoes, roasted cauliflower, peas and carrots, salad, brownies with ice cream. Not a particularly complicated menu but everything needed its bit of time in my small oven. I had a Schedule. I wrote it all down in a little book, and it went like clockwork. Which is a first. File under “small victories that make me feel like a super-efficient Hausfrau”, along with trivialities like cleaning the water filter at the same time as descaling the coffee machine, and washing the fruit when I buy it, before putting it out in the fruit bowl, and updating the kitchen chalkboard with the week’s plans every Sunday.