Saturday, April 02, 2005

It was a gorgeous, sunny day

but it wasn't supposed to be. Dire predictions of rain and thunderstorms filled yesterday's weather report. It did rain last night, but today turned lovely - bright, clear, 70s, cloudless sky. I blew off the neighborhood garage sale (I would have been selling, and only grudgingly - I loathe garage sales) because I thought the weather would suck. So I still have all the odds and ends I should have forced myself to put out there for the unwashed to paw through and haggle over. I could have sat on my driveway to offload it, or I could just have hit myself in the head with a hammer.

Instead, I went shopping. Not glamorous fun shopping, just bookstore, Michaels, Target, Petsmart, Publix. I thumbed through the latest Vogue Knitting - nice, but nothing that screamed at me, so I put it back. I have enough projects in the "one of these days" queue, I don't need more.

But if I were going to add one more, I think it would have to be this cool
Pike Place Market Bag at Crochet Me. Yeah, yeah, I know, like I need a different felted bag pattern, but it IS very cute.

I accomplished some yard work - very little. I knitted a few rows on the 5th Dulaan hat. I watched the weather report in disbelief - it's going down into the 40s tonight. Yes, I know a lot of you still have snow on the ground, but this is ORLANDO! It's APRIL!

Murphy had a lovely day out in the yard - I did some backyard tidying - nowhere near what needs to be done, believe me - while he chased lizards and watched the fish:




He has never tried to jump into the pond - he is smarter than he looks - but he loves to watch the fishies.



That's a view of the pond now that the water has cleared. I can't get over how all of a sudden, the algae-ridden mess becomes clear and delightful. I'm a relatively new pond keeper - my husband put it in only months before he collapsed and was diagnosed with cancer - so this springtime ritual when the water hits balance and magically clears still strikes me as somehow miraculous.

I'm having this sort of half-assed urge toward casting-on all sorts of things, but it just hasn't jelled.

By the time I finished the hunting and gathering and the bit of yard work and took a pass at tidying the interior of the house, I'd been at it for about 8-9 hours. And I'm not done. This is the hardest part of the widow thing -okay, so there are a lot of hard parts but this is the hardest practical part. We used to have a division of labor, he did outside, I did inside. Occasionally we'd work on projects together, in or out, but for the day to day maintenance, we had our turfs. Since spring of 2001, I've had to do both. It hasn't been pretty. I'm doing fine, I know what I'm doing and the house hasn't fallen down, I'm keeping up, but damn, I don't want to work all week and then work all weekend on interior and exterior issues. It's not that I don't enjoy it or take pride in ownership or want to live elsewhere, I just need to get it down to easier maintenance on the exterior, so I can focus on keeping up the interior.

Pope John Paul II died today. He has been "The Pope" since I was 20 years old. It's not like I'm an Uber Catholic on the Internet, bloviating about my thoughts about Things Catholic. I am totally disinterested and unqualified and I don't care. But I am a practicing Catholic, and I will miss this man terribly. In some was he was a Bigtime Boring Conservative, in others he broke the mold, traveling the world, getting into big political issues, (anyone old enough to remember Solidarity?) and meeting with the Dalai Lama as a respected peer, he pulled "the Church" out of "We are Us and everybody else is Them," into the real world, and the real world respected him and listened. Yeah, in some ways he was still very conservative and that irked me at times, but you know, the US is not the Church and I don't expect everything to conform to my worldview. My perspective is mine. We are a small part of it. Our worldview is not THE worldview. And that leads me to my rant - I flicked through news channels this afternoon and hit on Fox. Talking heads telling people what the Pope thought about America and freedom. "He loved our freedom but thought we took it too far." Excuse me? When did that talking head ever talk to the Pope? On what topic? How DARE Faux News usurp the death of a Pope to spin some political perspective? It was just so disgusting.

After that US-centric talking head waste of precious minutes of my life, I flipped up the cable box to EWTN. I am not a regular EWTN watcher, mostly because it makes a college lecture seem lively - production values are not their strong point. But today they had a camera in St. Peter's Square, where it was late at night, as thousands of quiet, dignified people gathered to pray the Rosary. That's all EWTN did - let everybody see what was going on at the Vatican. Thousands gathered in prayer, holding candles. It was so quiet and so serene. It was in Italian, but I had no trouble following along and joining in in English - while I did housework. It was very late there, but I was in the middle of housework. But it was cool, because it was so universal. And that's why it is cool to be Catholic.

JPII's political achievements and his entire life was truly amazing. Look at pictures of this man in his youth - he was HOT. He glowed with life. He was a skier and actor and a writer and poet, and his friends were shocked when he went into the seminary. He was a model for the men I see as priests today. He will be the proverbial "tough act to follow," and I pray that his successor can have that balance of joyful connection to the human worldly pleasures and devotion to the burden he carries. This is an enormously tough act to follow. I am confident he is happy in the presence of God tonight.

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