The Stations

Wednesday, 02 April, 2008

Monday 24/3/08

Easter Monday. I woke around 9:30, did the usual morning things (shower/breakfast/Bible reading/pray) and watched taped So You Think You Can Dance? because I was really behind. Ben got up a bit later.

We left to go to the Beilharz's place at around quarter to 12 for Hans's birthday lunch. He made stuff on the barbecue for us, and we ate and then had present-opening and chocolate-giving. (Side note: my family never really celebrated Easter. My friends would give me chocolate eggs and some family members would too, but it would never occur to us to go out and buy them for each other.) Afterwards, we watched Lizz who had been on TV as she had peformed with the Wesley choir at the Opera House for Easter.

I was feeling rather down so we drove across the bridge, parked a couple of streets away from my mum's house and went for a walk in Connell's Point past my favourite house (turns out Ben likes it too—yay!) We sat together watching the river for a while which was very soothing.

Afterwards we went to my mum's place for dinner. Peter made Tandoori chicken and lots of other stuff. There was so much food, we couldn't eat it all. Over dinner, Peter told us about his trip to Finland (he was there as one of the examiners of a student's PhD. PhD students there have to give a public defense and there are all sorts of social rituals involved in the whole thing which made for amusing retelling).

I helped wash up because my mum's dishwasher was on the blink. Ben and I drove home and I mucked around on the computer before going to bed.

Tuesday 25/3/08

I was in at work at 7:30, freaking out a little about my To Do list. In addition, I felt really sad—seriously so. I ended up having an IM conversation about it with Guan and Bec because it's easier to type than to talk when you're trying not to cry (or when you're crying). They decided I needed to get out of the office, so they took me out for Easyway (Bec paid because I was broke) and then accompanied me to the bank so I could get some money and then to the pharmacy so I could buy my cholesterol medication (joy).

We ended up eating lunch together in the MM boardroom and then I realised I'd forgotten about Elsie—I was supposed to be meeting with her. There was an email on my computer saying that she was tied up and couldn't make it, so it was good it worked out in the end and I didn't leave her hanging.

But work-wise, I did end up getting through a substantial part of my To Do list: dealing with my email, editing CHNs, finishing You off (hee hee, that sounds funny!) as Michael had sent through corrections over the weekend, and then compiling and cleaning all the articles for the next Briefing (May).

I left at about 4:15 or 4:30 and went and did the grocery shopping: meat and supermarket stuff. It was sprinkling by the time I was done but it wasn't too bad putting the groceries in the car and then later taking them up to our flat (it took three trips because Ben wasn't home). Ben arrived home soon after and we had dinner together, then he had to go to Bible Study, and I chopped up four kilograms of chicken breast while watching Little Black Book (which was pretty poor). I finished just as Ben came home.

Wednesday 26/3/08

Day off but I had work things to do. I woke at 8:45 instead of 8:30 like I intended, did the shower/breakfast/Bible reading/pray and then tried to get into it. But it took a long time and it felt sluggish; I didn't think I really got going until 11 am, and normally when I'm in at the office, my day is half over.

I edited The Daily Reading Bible (Volume 15) (DRB 15) for about two or three hours. Guan and Bec came on at various times and we IM-ed. I made Vindaloo curry for lunch but stuffed it so it turned out poorly. Ben and I watched taped NCIS over lunch and then he did the dishes. I continued with DRB15 until it was time to leave.

We walked to Newtown. I felt cranky. We arrived at Moore College and ran into the ECU Wollongong crowd who were there for the Don Carson events (as were we). The first thing wasn't a Carson thing though; Mark Thompson talked about hot theological issues and the state of the Anglican communion (which was very interesting, and gave me the background and context for what is happening and why it's important), Andrew Cameron talked about the work of the Social Issues Executive, and Peter Bolt talked about Thomas Moore, the guy that Moore Theological College is named after.

Afterwards, we headed over to the dining room for the dinner, catching up with various people who we ran into on the way. We ended up sitting on a table with Simon R, Craig L and a bunch of missionaries from Europe. Dinner was served buffet-style, and in between main course and dessert, Peter O'Brien interviewed Don Carson about his new book which is about his father, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson and his work with The Gospel Coalition (which sounds hugely exciting). Over dessert, I got to catch up briefly with Ali, and we ended up sitting together later for Carson's public address. Unfortunately we were right under the vents and, as always, the DBK lecture theatre lived up to its nickname of The Kelvinator (good thing I was prepared!)

Carson's area was Christ and culture (probably stemming from his new book on the subject) but he just wanted to talk to us about one aspect of Christ and culture: church and state. And he said he wasn't going to deal with the whole topic either—he was just going to outline the different patterns of the relationship between church and state that you find in the New Testament. He ended up giving us seven of them. I was taking notes but he was going a little bit too fast for me. Still, I got a lot out of his talk and came away with the feeling of having been fed well from the word of God—something I do not think I have felt in a while.

Afterwards, Ben and I said goodbye to Ali and walked home.

Thursday 27/3/08

Ben needed the car so we drove in together, arriving around 8 or 8:30 (I think). My To Do list loomed largely over my head, but I got stuck into it. I ended up getting quite a lot done—and this in amid celebratory cake for Jess's birthday at morning tea and staff meeting. Ben left around morning tea to go to a photoshoot for the SMH with Fish (except they didn't use any of the photos with him in it. The photo they put in the print edition is much funnier than the one on the web, in my humble opinion).

By the end of the day, I had edited all the articles I had to do for the next Briefing (but that said, I didn't have as much to do on this one as I normally do) and I had done a fair chunk of the stuff I normally have to do for the issue that's just about to come out (April). E-news, for example, took less than an hour to compile (in comparison to the average time of three hours under the old system) thanks to the awesomeness of Campaign Monitor.

Ben came to pick me up around 6 pm but I kept him waiting because I was finishing the e-Briefing. We went home and had leftovers for dinner.

Friday 28/3/08

Ben was supposed to come into work with me again but he ended up going to bed really late so he slept in and I did some April Briefing work on my computer at home. So we didn't get in until 10:30 or 11 or something like that.

I had been trying to get to DRB 15 but April Briefing stuff kept happening. In addition, Bec SMS-ed to say she'd been in an accident on Houston Road, so Em and I went out to see if she was okay (she was, thank God! But the poor car wasn't.)

We left at around 3 and went off to counselling (another sad session; can you spot the refrain?), then drove home. Ben went to have dinner with Luke and I went to my church's women's fellowship to have a Slovenian dinner with a missionary. The demographic of my church has changed so much in the last three months, I half the evening getting to know new girls.

Naomi gave me a lift home and then I went to work on The Faithful Writer website. I went to bed around 1.

Saturday 29/3/08

I wanted to be up earlier than I was but anyway, I probably needed the sleep. We were having a work social that evening and I had promised my own version of Spicks and Specks, the music TV quiz show. After shower/breakfast/Bible reading/prayer, I got stuck into working on that, translating my notes from the last couple of weeks to MP3 files. The Samplemania round alone took several hours (15 songs in the space of one minute!) I might post it later so you can have a go; I don't think it's a breach in copyright to do so. One of the rounds—“Look what they've done to my song, ma!”—was scrapped because we realised it would be too hard for Ben to play “Amazing Grace” on what we have affectionately dubbed The Vegetable (it's like a gourd recorder thing that Miriam gave to us once).

At quarter to six, we hopped in the car, armed with speakers, iPod, game list and refreshments, and drove to Ian's place where other MM staff gathered. We had very yummy pizza for dinner (by candlelight; we observed Earth Hour for all of 20 minutes but I don't know why) and then got stuck into the game. Samplemania kicked it off, with hilarious results (one team identified “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin as “Song in School of Rock” by The Velvet Underground and another identified “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen as being on their Greatest Hits [well, I suppose it is ...]) Samplemania was followed up with Substitute (that's when players had to sing the songs we told them to but they had to use words from Matthias Media books), So You Think You Can Dance? round (at Anna's request) where they had to do the routine from “Thriller” as seen on Suddenly 30, Covers (we played them a number of different covers and they had to guess the song and who did the original; unfortunately we overreached with Joss Stone's “Fell in Love with a Boy” [don't people know it's a White Stripes cover???] and “Twilight” by Elliott Smith [sung by Sad Kermit. Warning: the YouTube video on that site is a bit obscene]), Cover versions (i.e. Pictionary) and then we finished it all off by making everyone sing “Deck the Halls” as covered by Twisted Sister on A Twisted Christmas. (Yes, really MM Spicks and Specks was about me getting to make my work colleagues do silly things and then laugh uproariously at them!)

Dessert followed the frivolity, then we helped clean up before going home.

Sunday 30/3/08

Today's task was the C.S. Lewis Today website (2008 conference stuff not yet live). I had to remember how I did everything two years ago, and then compile content. I worked on it all day and only stopped for lunch to watch taped Law & Order with Ben.

In the evening we had church where I suddenly realised that church now felt very odd. In the 14 or so years I've been attending churches, I've never spent more than three years in any one church for various reasons. I started at Blakehurst Baptist but then Ben and I got married so I moved to Gymea Anglican where he was. Then we moved to Wollongong for MTS so we started attending St Michael's. When we returned to Sydney, we started going to PEC and that's where we've been for the past four years. I wanted to settle—I was sick of moving around places where I just felt like I was getting to know people and then we'd move on. But now I realised that, whereas we've stayed put, the congregation has moved on, and a significant proportion of people who were there when we first arrived have since left (also for various reasons). New people have taken their place. I'm not against new people joining our church; I'm just missing the people who have left, and I find myself feeling like I've been left dangling without a net because a number of the people who have since gone were people I was rather close to—people who supported me and cared for me.

After we got home from church, I listened to The Briefing podcast to make sure it was all right, and then uploaded it. Then, as a reward, I watched two episodes of Buffy Season 7 and went to bed.

Monday 31/3/08

Since we were having dinner in the Eastern Suburbs and would have to stay late anyway, Ben and I arrived at work late (around 10, I think). Very foolishly I had left the files for DRB 15 at home so I couldn't work on it. There was still email to deal with, as well as the rest of April Briefing stuff. I also had to do the Bible Brief for the May Briefing (thrills). But I had just spent the entire weekend working and was feeling rather flat. That's the problem: you do that and people think you're an idiot. Never mind that it was stuff that had to be done. Never mind that you worked hard and achieved a lot. Why didn't you rest? (Why didn't I? Because I wanted to get it done so it would stop hanging over my head! Why else?)

Elsie and I met up at 1 (my computer clock thought daylight saving had ended and was tricking me about the time). We went to the Tea Inn where I had soup for lunch and we both enjoyed the Tea Inn's characteristic Asian drinks. We did a bit of study of Ezekiel, talked and prayed, and then I returned to work and edited half of the Bible Brief for May (go me).

We finished work around 6:30 and drop up to The Spot to have dinner at an Italian seafood restaurant called Pinocchios. The place was packed, whereas other restaurants along that strip were nearly empty. We were joined by my mum, my brother and Peter, and it was sort of a birthday celebration because Kenneth's birthday was the following day and my mum's was in a couple of weeks (but she was going away). We gave Kenneth a Threadless T-shirt and a silk tie I had found on Etsy. I gave my mum this art book I had bought while in Canberra in December last year. Ben and I had risotto and seafood casserole respectively, and they were quite delicious. Gelato for dessert finished off the meal, and then we drove home where I spent another one and a half hours editing 17 studies in DRB 15.

I should explain: of all the things I have to edit, Bible studies are the worst. It sounds awful because it's the word of God, but it's more to do with the writing format. Whereas books and articles have a sort of flow and logic, Bible studies stop and start, and stop and start, so editing them is always jerky. In addition, some of the worst sentence constructions I have ever seen and some of the most nonsensical questions tend to pop up in Bible Briefs/Daily Reading Bibles. I'm not sure why this is the case; what I do know is that some serious training in how to write Bible studies is in order.

I went to bed but I couldn't sleep, even though my lights were out before midnight. In the end, I don't think I dropped off until 2 am.

Tuesday 1/4/08

We woke around 8:30 and I went off to work, getting in at 9:30. I was in a foul mood, but like a real trooper, I finished off DRB 15 and handed it over to Jess, then dealt with my email. Campaign Monitor and Expression Engine worked like a dream: together, they delivered all the April Briefing stuff at the appointed time and I didn't even have to worry about it.

Bec was feeling sort of blah. She didn't have lunch either, so we went out to the Sushi train together and then got our day's worth of cuteness in Kare Bear cooing over the Totoros and Catbuses in the shop. They even had stuff toys of the soot/coal!

In the afternoon, I polished off the last 10 studies of the Bible Brief for May and checked over the whole thing, and then spent the rest of my time compiling The Daily Reading Bible (Volume 16). Daily Reading Bibles are always easier to handle in stages: if I do most of the copying, pasting, formatting and stitching together earlier, the editing process is always less painful later. Well, here's hoping anyway ...

I left work at 4:15. Traffic, for some reason, was hideous. I drove to Marrickville Metro to buy fruit and vegetables, then came home and whinged to Ben about my day (poor Ben). He was waiting for the ABC to call—well, ABC Illawarra and ABC Adelaide—because they were going to interview him about Cardboard Tube Fighting League (because Fish didn't want to be on the radio). I thought he did a really good job. We managed to capture the Adelaide interview but not the Illawarra one, and unfortunately they haven't updated their website since mid-March.

Ben left soon after to go to Bible Study. I made myself coconut chili basil chicken for dinner and settled down to watch taped So You Think You Can Dance? from the Easter long weekend (told you I'm behind!) And then I got stuck into blogging while trying to do the laundry.


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Don Carson’s talk sounds very interesting. Are you going to post the main points? I noticed when I heard him last year he was very easy to follow, but fit so much in!

The Spicks and Specks session sounds great! That would have been so much fun.

I wasn’t planning on blogging about Carson’s points. I do want to read his book, though; I’m sure he says all of that in there.


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