We're all going on an Easter holiday: 5 things 17.4.17

1. Elf charmed me enormously yesterday by preparing a surprise Easter breakfast table for the family. (She had to order Armin and I into bed early on Saturday night to make it happen, of course.) Eggs and smarties, origami decorations, loving notes from the Easter bunny. Just the loveliest thing. 

2. Now we're off to Italy for a week, and the holiday knitting presents a challenge. How did I let myself get in a situation where absolutely everything I'm working on, both designs and non-work knitting, requires thinking and planning and mathsing before I can progress? I realised years ago that knitting monogamy is a mug's game, but evidently I still need to improve my infidelity. I should be able to just grab something and go – and not just hexipuffs.  

3. I've heard from a reader that she read my post and newsletter about my mother to her knitting group, and that they prompted both deep discussion, and promises to talk more openly with each other. I didn't expect anything like that, but I am so very glad to hear it. 

4. On the other hand, a couple of people in my life have been – very lovingly and kindly – telling me to remember only the good stuff, that now is not the time for negativity, that nobody really understands what someone else is going through, etc etc. These people are very sweet and well-intentioned, I respect them, and in general terms, I absolutely agree with them. But in this specific case, it's not helpful. In fact I find it insulting, because it seems to dismiss my own experience in favour of a general desire to think well of the dead. Frankly I'd rather give priority to understanding the living. So I'm mentioning this as a general tip: please, don't go telling people how to feel, especially if you don't know the other person involved. Bad feelings aren't generally very amenable to bans.

5. That said? I genuinely am feeling peaceful, and remembering her (mostly) lovingly. (Which is actually another reason I find those comments irritating. I don't need to be told!) I'll write some time about all the good things my mother left me with – all the big and little things I learned from her. I am after all still my mother's daughter.

No 16 of #52recipes: Twice-baked potatoes OH MY. I used broccoli instead of kale, and quite a few more leeks, because they needed using.* My kids wouldn't touch them. The 4yo's friend however agrees with me that they were completely wrong. I'm told baked potatoes freeze well, so this might be the solution to my perennial problem of how to use the spuds up before they sprout.
* I then had extra broccoli-leek mix left over, which I put in macaroni cheese, along with bacon and sweetcorn, and felt like a culinary genius all over again. (Yes. My mac'n'cheese is hardly ever just mac'n'cheese, yet I still call it that. Go figure.)