Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A gallimaufry

This past weekend, I bought a new lawn mower. I'd tried to keep my lawn maintained with an old-school reel mower (which also kept me from having to buy gas), but with more weeds than grass in large portions of my yard, it wasn't cutting it (a sad, sad pun. My apologies). I've mentioned before that I started mowing my parents' quarter-acre when I was 12, so I'm no stranger to gas-powered push mowers and how they operate, but this was the first time I'd put one together out of the box. I didn't have any real problems with the assembly, although another hand would have been helpful (note to self: buy a vice grip), and ratchet sets are a lifesaver. When I finished I posted a pic of the completed machine on Facebook, proud of my handiwork, then went about my mowing. While it wasn't an arduous process, I have to say it's incredibly satisfying to put something together and then have it work properly.

The next day, one of my coworkers, who'd seen the photo online, asked me how mowing went. After I told him the mower made short shrift of my lawn,  he said he was impressed with my handiness at putting the mower together and that I was "the total package" because he didn't know many people, male or female, who'd done so. I thanked him and kind of laughed, but it got me wondering: while I'm not on the receiving end of those sorts of compliments often, this isn't the first time an older, married man has said something like this me. Why is it that they are the only ones who seem to think so? Or is it because they don't have a vested interest, so aren't intimidated by expressing the idea? I'm not agonizing over this by any means, just pondering it.

Song, sung, blue
"Ode to Joy" is a beautiful song. It was the closing hymn at mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, and, for the first time, it almost made me cry, but not because of it's beauty. Even as the first strains reverberated through the church, I could feel my face start to crumple and tears start to well. I thought to myself as I tried to fight it off, "hold on, you don't want to be the weird woman crying during a hymn of triumph," but the choir only sang the first two verses so I was able to pull it together -- I might have been in trouble if we'd sung all four.

Dad's marker when first installed.
It was my dad's favorite hymn, you see, and while not tone deaf, he couldn't sing if his life depended on it. But this he always sang loudly, with feeling, and Sunday was actually the first time I'd heard it since he passed. Back in August, when making funeral arrangements, we even used the (slightly paraphrased) last line on his grave marker, my mom and I coming up with it at practically the same time, though at opposite ends of the house. If that wasn't meant to be, I'm not sure what is.

Social graces and dance skills
I didn't watch "Big Bang Theory" from the beginning of its run and don't always catch it regularly on Thursdays, so I enjoy watching reruns when I find them. Earlier this month I finally caught the episode that showed how the elevator in the guys' building ceased to function. Not three days later, I was covering a school board meeting. After proceedings concluded, one of the members joked with me about BBT, because the elevator in the board's administrative office building was out of service, complete with caution tape. It was a funny coincidence.

Then last night I saw the episode that included this clip (Blogger won't let me embed it for some reason. Grr), which gave me a pretty good laugh, considering I took six years of Cotillion (Unlike Sheldon, I enjoyed it, can still waltz and set a formal dining table with ease. My brothers, who didn't last nearly as long, would probably agree with him, though). At least it's good to know, should the situation ever arise, that I'd fit in in 18th century Vienna. :)

This is going to be an exceptionally busy month for me.

Work wise, it's filled with end-of-the-school-year events, so there will be lots to cover in terms of awards ceremonies and graduations. I also have to put together practically all of my grad tab, a 32-page special section I compile for the high school's graduating class filled with photos, articles and all the senior portraits, which is then inserted into the paper the week following the ceremony. I'm starting early since I'll actually be leaving the country before the pub(lication) date, so I want to have as much complete and leave as little to others as I possibly can.

Mother's Day is the 11th. Mom (in addition to giving me life) is taking me to Scotland, so at the very least I need to get her a card. ;)

Labor Day weekend, I'm off to Orlando for the biannual Florida State University Catholic Student Union Reunion Retreat (yes, it's a mouthful!). The last one I was able to make was in 2008, so I'm really looking forward to this one. Not only will it be an opportunity to see some friends I normally don't see (keeping up with them via Facebook, while nice, isn't ideal), but also some of the Brotherhood of Hope, who were (and are still) CSU's campus ministers. It's also been far too long since I went on retreat in general.

That same weekend also sees Mom's birthday and a celebration for my twin goddaughters, who are turning 5 and having a Star Wars-themed birthday party (at their request. I'm so proud of the little geeks!) to mark the occasion. So, presents must be bought.

Plus, there's trip prep. Tomorrow marks the one-month countdown to Scotland, and I've already got a fairly sizable list of things I need to do or remember in preparation. Things on it so far include "buy another SD card," "investigate a better travel backpack," "inform bank I'll be overseas," "find a lector sub for June 15th mass" and (the so-completely-obvious-it-shouldn't-need-to-be-listed-but-I-did-it-anyway) "don't forget my passport."

I keep my passport in my scarf drawer. Don't ask me why. And yes, I have an entire (smallish) drawer worth of scarves. I do realize I live in Florida, thanks. I never said I made sense. ;)

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