Prep work has begun

April is going to be a busy, busy month for me, which is going to require having a few blog posts in the chamber ready to post automatically while I’m without internet access for a few days right in the smack-dab middle of it.

So, I’ve started outlining a theme, and some post titles to fit with the A-to-Z challenge. I’m hoping to stay on top of things so that there’s no frantic last-minute, poorly written posts. Quality and Quantity would be the ideal outcome here.

God help me, I’m trying this

I’ve been telling myself that I want to write more. Improve my skills. No better way than to sign up for something that makes me feel obligated to do so, right?

I’m doing it. Normally, I wouldn’t sign up for it, but a friend of mine is active in, and is a driving force behind, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and as I respect her, her writing, and her friendship, I feel like I can get behind this event.

So here I am. I should probably start working on thinking about what the hell I’m going to write about for 26 days.

Pentatonix’s “White Winter Hymnal” is Advent, to me.

This is pretty somber as far as Christmas tunes go, but Pentatonix’s cover of Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” on their new Christmas album, That’s Christmas to Me, is quite possibly my favorite track from the album.

Pentatonix, as usual, mixes some amazingly tight harmonies and unique spins on a capella music to create a rich, intricate sound that turns somber lyrics into a haunting melody that still makes you think of Christmas. If nothing else, this is a great tune for the Advent season, in which there is darkness and silence before the celebration of the birth of Christ.

Advent, much like Lent, is a time of reflection and penance in the Catholic Church, and this haunting tune, to me, exemplifies the darkness and anticipation of what is to come. Someone may come in here and call me out on my terrible grasp of Catholic theology, which is fine. I’d love to have that conversation.

The rest of the album is great, as well, even the cover of “Let it Go” which I feel was thrown in for the sake of appealing to the pop crowd, and is about as Christmas-y as “A Few of My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music (an inclusion in the Christmas music catalog that I am adamantly opposed to).

New Job

I’m terrible about writing. I just don’t find the motivation to actually update my zero readers on what’s going on in my life on a regular basis. Partly because I’m a bit of a private person, and partly because I just don’t have the time to sit down, think of something to write about, and then actually write it out.

Take, for example, the fact that I started a new job back in May.

Seven months ago.

I was working in a call center for the City of Saint Louis for three years. Solving the city’s problems, one phone call at a time. It was good work, but mentally draining.

Then, seven months ago, opportunity struck. A promotion. An office. Actual responsibility.

I’m your friendly local government HR guy.

Feels good, but it’s still tiring, and I don’t have a lot of time to think and write, though I hope that will change. I’m not delusional to think that people will want to read what I write, necessarily, but I’d like to at least improve upon my writing skills, even if it’s for my own good.

Gardening

We decided this would be the year to try to start a garden in the back yard. We have a strip of  land next to our garage that was going unused, and gets a decent amount of sun, so we figured we’d try tomatoes and onions this year to see what happens. We also decided to plant some flowers out front.

Below are a few before and after pictures of our weekend efforts. We started by turning a nasty old tree stump into a respectable-looking flower bed.

Before:

Nasty old tree stump covered in nasty old mulch

After:

Retaining wall bricks, new mulch, and some petunias. Much better.

We were pretty proud of that transformation.

Next up was the garden.

Before:

Old, unused stretch of dirt in the back yard.

After:

Much better!

The entire back half is un-planted because of lack of sunshine back there. We just covered it in mulch to try to control the weeds. There’s 4 tomato plants in the front, and 4 rows of sweet onions in the back of the chicken wire enclosure.

We’ll see where this goes.