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I thought music mattered. But not bollocks it doesn’t. Not compared to what people matter.

St. Patrick’s Day yesterday. I made the cabbage but Mom made the corned beef and we were all glad she did. Dad was cranky, kept giving me and Gabe and Bob the evil eye, like “what the hell are you doing here?” Reminded me in an unsettling way of Nagini inhabiting Bathilda Bagshot in Deathly Hallows 1, the movie. Fortunately he never bit. But this was one time I had to concede to Mom that he seemed pretty cranky to have us “strangers” in the house. Sometimes she thinks he looks angry and I think he just looks like he’s old and senile and has Parkinson’s, but last night I agreed with her.

Opa didn’t want us around.

We stayed anyway. Solidarity with a caregiver sometimes means being determined to have a good time, and we all did. Except maybe Dad, and even he enjoyed the corned beef.

Now it’s the day after Spring Break and we’ve gotten an overnight sprinkling of snow. A few degrees lower and I might be hoping for a delayed opening at school, but that’s not going to happen. The apples are already chopped up and heating for the hot porridge that will be our only consolation when we set out on this raw, wet morning. In Richmond you get used to feeling like anytime you see white on the ground you’re going to get a snow day. Not today.

But it’s okay. Break was wonderful. I was absolutely ragged between teaching and parenting and writing and revising and being a helpful critiquer to my fellow writers and searching for an agent and trying to figure out why I’ve been such a slug this winter. (At this time last year I was running a marathon.) But we went to Belle Isle and watched the eagles and the swans and listened to silence and played board games and I am restored. I even ran yesterday.

Now off to school, so the kids can grumble that school has started up again while being secretly delighted that they can be with their friends. Which, they all know, is the real reason they put up with us teachers.

What would Pa Ingalls say?

Virginia’s governor, Bob McDonnell, has snuck a bitter little worm into the heart of his budgetary apple. He wants to increase the car registration fee $100 on . . . hybrid vehicles.

I kid you not. Here’s the message from the governor: if you buy a car that conserves gas, GOTCHA!

Full disclosure: I bought a new hybrid, the cheapest on the market, a month ago. I’d been driving a 17 year-old Nissan Sentra, but as the ticker pushed toward 200K I finally had to admit that the time had come to say goodbye to Old Reliable. So enter Little Red, so shamelessly crimson she could light up Amsterdam. A Prius C, easy to park, kinda slow and, I would have thought, inoffensive to anybody. Seriously. If I run into you on a highway, it’s me who’s gonna crumble. Little Red’s only “threat” to society is that when she’s on the battery her engine is whisper-silent. You might not hear me coming. Sorry. But if McDonnell has his way, every year I’ll have to pony up an extra $100 for the privilege of owning my quiet, fuel-efficient Little Red.

You don’t have to believe in climate change to believe in conserving natural resources. It’s just common sense. Ask Pa Ingalls. You know, Little House on the Prairie Pa Ingalls? The man who turned a pig’s bladder into a toy for his kids. Because Pa Ingalls knew, whether it’s a pig or petroleum, you don’t waste what you’ve got.

Pa had occasional qualms about the mechanization of prairie life that would, in the twentieth century, lead to the Dust Bowl. When hard times and ignorance drove farmers to suicidal agricultural practices that devastated their resource base and turned them into paupers.

Well, it’s 2013 and times are hard again. Our Virginia state budget is tight as a Victorian corset, but now it’s oil we depend on, as well as soil. So what is Bob McDonnell’s suicidal solution?

A sin tax on cars that conserve gas.

I can’t speak for Pa Ingalls’ politics. But the message of the pig bladder is that resource conservation is common sense. If CONSERVatives and liberals can agree on one thing, it ought to be that.