Thursday, 31 January, 2013
It's been a ridiculously busy couple of months. After my Mommy Holiday in November (which occurred the last time I posted), I did the following:
- I finished the Monster Editing Project. It looked like this:
The internals looked like this:
And to give you a sense of scale, here it is compared to a Macbook:
The final page count came to 492 (hence the “Monster” in Monster Editing Project). I was pretty pleased with the result, even though the dimensions were a little bigger than expected. It's the first book that I have designed, laid out and edited, and while I obviously still don't know all the tricks of InDesign, my familiarity with this piece of software is definitely a lot higher than it was before.
- I organised the music for my church's carols service. This meant choosing songs, asking people to be in the band, organising rehearsals (which was tricky; ever tried to find four dates in a one-and-a-half-month period that suit nine people?), sending reminders about rehearsals, coordinating rehearsals and keeping them moving, designing (and correcting) the carols booklet (because I had to cross-check lyrics and make sure the singers were singing the right words), making decisions about music arrangements, liaising with sound and tech people, and so on. It was manageable, but pretty exhausting.
- On top of that, I ended up designing the flyer for my church's Christmas events. That kind of happened by accident, and it was sort of because …
- … I agreed to handle the promotions for the church's Twilight Markets. So that meant (in the end) doing the flyer, putting stuff on the website, doing some letter box drops (fortunately I did not have to coordinate the drops!), asking various organisations and shops if we could leave the flyers for people to take (or if we could put some up in the windows to inform locals that these things were happening), emailing various websites asking if they would list our events, coordinating announcements at both the morning and evening services, putting blurbs on the back of service outlines, making slides to go with the announcements, attending meetings, creating Facebook events, and shuttling the roster in between morning and evening services.
- I also had a stall at the Twilight Markets to sell Kinds of Blue, and Guan kindly came to help me out. Fortunately all the admin for the markets was done by the actual day, so all we had to do was hang out that afternoon, hand out postcards and sell books.
It did rain a bit, but despite the rains, we had a steady flow of people coming through and some good conversations with people. I even ran into a girl I used to go to school with who said that Kinds of Blue would be really helpful to her work.
- Oh! I missed a bit. I was also asked to do some back-up vocals on a friend's album, so I spent an afternoon (which was actually the day of the carols) learning stuff and doing a bit of recording at the home of my friend's recording techie. It was fun! I've never done anything like that before, and not only was it supremely cool to be asked to be involved in someone else's creative project, I really enjoyed the process of recording. It felt like a bit of a sing-a-long because I would stand there with these massive headphones on, listening for where I had to come in to sing my part. We might do a couple of takes, but then it would be over. I guess if I had had to do it for hours, it would not have been as much fun, but my responsibilities were pretty minimal and I was only there for about four or five hours. I only sang on two tracks and the album's not out until Easter, but my friend did send me four demo tracks that I've been listening to a lot lately. It's not the sort of music I gravitate to (it's kind of rock opera metal), but for some reason I'm really into it! (And then I went straight from recording to the carols service, and then the following day I had the Twilight Markets, so I was pretty stuffed by the time the weekend was over.)
- Then came Christmas and the craziness that surrounded it. I did the bulk of my Christmas shopping in October, but there were still bits and pieces to get. I was also making things for two people, and unfortunately those two projects took longer than expected. One was this tunic for my mum with a pattern I sort of made up, based on something I made her last year:
The other was a shawl made from silk/stainless steel yarn that was basically the shawl version of the Knitty Tin Roof Scarf, which was for my stepmother:
I didn't actually finish that one in time for when we saw her and my dad, so I ended up finishing it at the dinner table with them waiting patiently. I felt bad, but as I'd stayed up until 4 am the night before trying to finish it, I was determined that she walk out with it on her as they were flying out of the control in the next couple of days and wouldn't be back for about three months. (If you're on Ravelry and are interested in what I've made over the last six months, visit my project page.)
- Christmas also involved me trying to make it a bit more special for Astrid. So I put up our tree, I put up some lights and I took out the Mexican nativity set and arranged it on the kitchen counter. One evening we took Astrid out to see the lights in the neighbouring suburb—just for an hour or so. She also came to carols (but I don't know if she enjoyed it.) She's a lot more aware of things now, and I think she enjoyed Christmas overall, even though four family events made it a bit full-on.
- Following Christmas, we had something of a family break for a couple of weeks while Ben was on leave. We caught up with friends and family, we visited the zoo and we hung out, just the three of us, a fair bit, which Astrid loved because normally Ben goes off to work and she doesn't get to see him as much as she sees me. One of the highlights was having yum cha with some friends and then going to see the entrance of the giant rubber duck as part of the Sydney Festival. It was a stinking hot day and we were lucky that one of us was able to go for umbrellas and things to shield us from the sun, and at one point, we were wondering if something had gone wrong because the band and acrobats were forced to repeat one section of their act, but finally the duck came through Pyrmont Bridge and we found the wait had been worth it: it was pretty cool!
- After Ben returned to work, it took a little while for the rhythm of the week to return to normal as things like Swim School didn't start up again for a little while. I organised play dates and tried to keep myself sane. I was so proud of myself: I even scheduled four date nights—with babysitting!—on which Ben and I visited the Moonlight Cinema to enjoy a light dinner and a movie.
- I was keen to return to writing, but I had made a commitment to do a bunch of things for church that happened to coincide with the start of the year. One of them involved a lot of admin for the church's play group: working out what we needed in terms of databases, adding contacts to the church's database, coordinating a mailout and bulk email, designing and producing flyers and posters, and re-doing the registration form.
- The other major area of church volunteer work involved the women's ministry and the start-of-year event: I did the design work for the flyer, created a slide to go with service announcements, scheduled the service announcements, organised for a blurb to go on the back of the service outlines, updated the website, created a mailing list, designed and created an email to be sent to the list, designed and laid out the booklet for the actual day, worked out (in conjunction with one of the other committee members) what was going to happen in the afternoon workshop (and who was going to do what), wrote (well, am writing; I've hit the editing stage) a slideshow presentation for the workshop that's kind of a Bible overview, plus I've got a few blurbs and things to write for the bits of the workshop I'm in charge of.
So volunteer church work is kind of dominating things at the moment. I've got one more major thing to do for them, and then I'd like to take a break from this intense one-off activity for a little while. I remember Phillip Jensen (Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral) once saying at some Christian convention or other that if Christian ministry is taking up more and more of your time, you should seriously consider it as a vocation. Church stuff is filling up my time, but I don't think that this is what he meant. (And I never ever want to become a church administrator. I'm good at admin and various related things, but I never want to do that.) It is a privilege and a pleasure to serve my local church in this capacity (and it's interesting to keep on learning new skills [like more InDesign skillz] and bits of software), but at the same time, I am mindful of the fact that I need to keep my activities for them contained somewhat, otherwise the writing won't happen, and I'd really like to make the writing happen more this year.
The other thing I'd like to note just to finish is just how much volunteers at church do. I'm only one small cog in the wheels that make things happen at church, and seeing what goes on behind the scenes and how much time and effort people put in is marvellous to me: it really makes me appreciate how much wonderful and diverse the people in God's family are in a 1 Corinthians 12 sense. We truly are a blessing to each other.
(P.S. I thought of something else. If you're interested in what Ben and I have to say occasionally about music, follow us on Twitter at @iheargoodthings.)
/Karen/ had a thought at 10:36 PM
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