New Mexico days

This winter has been the most amazing snow-free period. I can’t in recent memory recall a year when there’s been no snow days but 2012 is looking like we’ll have none. Now we had an “earthquake day” in August but no snow days because the weather has been weeks and weeks of what I call “New Mexico days.” Bright, blue skies, sun and cold temperatures. Clear, starry nights. Very few cloudy rainy days. Our daffodils are already up, as are the crocuses and it’s still February; the earliest blossoms in the 16 years I’ve lived in this area. The daffodils in this photo are what’s on my dining room table.

February flowers

Veeka continues to be her sweet self. She’s been concerned about my jobless state, so she said not long ago, “Mommy, I’d like to help you find work. I have scissors and paper and snowflakes and glue.” Hmmm. Maybe start a greeting card line?

Recently the little notebook in my car that registers how many miles I clock per gas fill-up ran out of space. I was amazed to note that I began it on Aug. 9, 1993 when gas was 99 cents/gallon! The summer of 1993….I was living in Pittsburgh and I had driven to Houston to attend a wedding and wrap up research on my book. I still had the golden Toyota my parents gave me after I got my master’s degree. By the following June, prices had crept up to more than $1/gallon. During the early fall of 1994, the gas stations marked on the ledger were along my 1,907-mile move from western Pennsylvania to New Mexico. By the time I moved from NM back to DC 13 months later, gas was about $1.19/gallon. Once again, the ledger showed my 2,172-mile drive to northern Virginia where I would live for the next 12 years. (I had told my aunt and uncle I’d be in the area 2 years, tops. But the job was turning out better than I expected and so I stayed and stayed and stayed). By this time, I was in a maroon Honda station wagon. Gas had gone over $2/gallon in 2005. There was no mileage in early 2007, as I was in Kazakhstan for 7 weeks. Then on Nov. 9, 2007, gas went over $3/gallon. On June 13, 2008, I paid $4.01/gallon. At that point, I had just bought my green Subaru.
Interspersed with my notations are notes for various articles I was doing on the road; when I had forgotten to bring a notepad, so grabbed my gas ledger for something to write on. I wrote down other things: names of cool childrens’ books, phone numbers of friends, email addresses, shopping lists and directions to various places. Also notations of when I saw cameras flash at my car when I had gotten stuck in the midst of an intersection in DC. I needed to note down when it was *not* my fault that I was caught in the midst of a red light just in case a ticket came in the mail.

Bedside lamp

By this time, I was living in Maryland, so the names of my favorite gas stations had changed. The ledger ended last fall, just after my 4,362-mile trip through eastern Canada plus a shorter trip to West Virginia over Labor weekend to visit the serpent handlers.

In case you wonder what this odd photo is to the right, it’s what Veeka takes of her room when she can get into my purse and sneak off with the cell phone. She’s learned how to press the camera button and snap away. What shall I do with this child???