Small things in the middle of big things

I quit working with my Research Proposal introduction half finished today (my supervisor wanted a draft to review over the weekend) and walked out into glorious sunshine and the scent of spring flowers. I came home, played Piggy in the Middle with the kids, did some puzzles in the sun, made poached eggs with fresh garden herbs for tea and had a bath with my daughter, and once she’d got out, with a book. Now I’m settling into one of my more productive writing times of day. Hopefully it’ll actually be productive, but even if it isn’t, I’ve got one paragraph written that I didn’t have this afternoon, and a week more to do the rest of the thing.

This is a more pleasant way to think than ohshitohshitohshit I still have the introduction and methodology background and ethics and method and potential results to write and then there are exams in less than two weeks that i haven’t even started studying for and half the washing is still damp and next week both boys have to be at different places at different times of the day and i have classes and andandandandandwhydontijustgiveupsleeping.

So I’m not thinking like that. I’m listening to this. And as soon as I post this I’ll check Twitter one more time then turn it off and see if I can chip the next few sentences into shape.

I’m getting there, and it feels good to be actually working really really hard and proud of my progress.

Building an audience

I have a question for you, that my title made sound like a blogging-related question, but it totally isn’t.

I sang in a concert on Sunday. We’d been working hard towards it, as usual, and had a fantastic fun programme which was a bit different from our usual (Jazz, rather than Classical). We had an audience of about 40 people, less than half our usual.

Now, there were some obvious reasons for the drop.

1) It was daylight saving day and probably it was just too confusing for people, or they turned up after we finished (concert was only an hour long);
2) It was a different style programme from usual (though I would have thought it would have more appeal, not less);
3) It was at a different venue from usual,
4) At a different time from usual;
5) The time was 1 pm on a Sunday when a lot of people would be having their lunch.

Besides all that… and here’s where I’d like you all to answer…

How can we build our audience?

… or more specifically…

What makes you go to a concert? What do you want to get out of it? How much are you willing to shell out and what for?

Where do you hear about the things that you go to?

If all 50-odd of my followers respond, I’ll have a pretty good sample! 🙂 I promise I’ll respond to your reply.

Us and them

I had a revelation last Sunday. I was singing in the choir for a friend’s ordination to the Anglican priesthood. There was incense. There was liturgy. There was lots and lots of heartbreakingly beautiful music. And as I was singing it, I was thinking, “Ha, at least believe what I’m singing.” You know, like that post I posted a little while ago?

And then I think God slapped me round the back of the head. “How the heck do you know,” He said, “that everyone else here doesn’t believe it too? Yes, INCLUDING all those other choir members over there who make risqué jokes and live together OUT OF WEDLOCK.”

“Um,” I said, “you know, I actually don’t.”

“And,” He said, “I suppose you never do anything wrong, like them.

“Um,” I said, “touché.”

“Remember that bit,” He said, “about ‘In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female’?”

“Yeah…”

“How about, no Anglican or Apostolic, gay-marriage-supporting or non-supporting, liberal or conservative?

“In fact, how do you know if someone is ‘In Christ’ or not? Only I know that. Therefore, this applies to EVERYONE.

“You ready for this?”

(Actually, God didn’t say that bit. I just need a dramatic pause before the punchline.)

“THERE IS NO THEM. THERE IS ONLY US.”

I was rendered literally breathless by the force of this revelation. It’s probably old hat to some of you who’ve been close to Jesus for longer than I have, or who are just smarter than me.

There is no right-wing and left-wing. There are people who, like me, care about their children’s future, and about the health of those worse off. There is no rich and poor. There are people who, like me, have food to eat every day, and people who, like me, worry about how to afford all the things their family needs. There is no gay and straight. There are people who, like me, can’t always help loving people they can’t ever be with, and people who, like me, are blessed to have someone wonderful to live and share a bed with.

I am absolutely NOT saying there is no sin. But sinners, like me, sin. And try to do better next time. Or, like me, don’t.

I feel like a different person, on the inside. Let’s see if it makes a difference on the outside.

Retrospective

I just read back through my last few posts. I feel a couple of updates are in order:

I have stepped down from one of the music groups, my church worship team. It was a heavy commitment and required a lot of responsibility and practice. I didn’t have the time to give it all it needed to do a good job, and I refuse to do a bad job. The team leader agreed with me that my studies need to be a higher priority at the moment.

I feel so much lighter! There is room in my brain! Plus, I can sing and listen to worship music and worship without having to plan my next list or mentally rehearse the keyboard parts! This is good.

The choir concert went pretty well. I don’t get nervous about them any more. Or maybe I just didn’t get nervous about this one because it wasn’t just our choir performing, there were two other choirs as well. Less pressure.

My presentation on music therapy went well as well. Well well. One of my classmates told me afterwards, “you’re a really good speaker!” And I had fun chatting with the kindy kids picking up and later returning their musical instruments. About four of the kids helped me, and had goes trying on my glasses. As you do.

As for the exercise, I’ve kind of, um, stopped completely. I got really tired, probably from overdoing everything, and then decided I looked frumpy going to class in my comfy but butt-ugly gym shoes, and then I got busy, and now they’re doing up my lab so I don’t have anywhere to leave my HEAVY bag to go to the gym, and the weather’s getting cold, and I have a cold, and, and, and …

Apparently if you come up with more than two or three reasons for doing something, you don’t really believe what you’re saying and are just trying to convince yourself.

It’s Mother’s Day today (or should that be Mothers’ Day?) and I got breakfast in bed, four hand-made cards and a cute plush stuffed neuron. I think it’s a pyramidal cell. I’m thinking about attaching it somehow to my backpack.

I like my life.

I been workin’, and workin’, …

But I still got so terribly far to go-oo …

I’m finding it hard to keep up with everything. Four papers, a thesis to start planning, three kids, two music groups, and a house full of drying laundry. (Yes, you can sing it if you like.)

I’m starting to really enjoy my study. I’m doing an optional presentation on music therapy to my Health Psychology class on Friday morning. I’m going to borrow the musical instruments from kindy and run a practical exercise. I don’t think I’ll even get any credit for it, but I was enthusing to my supervisor about my past work tutoring music to adults with disabilities, and he asked if I’d like to do a presentation. Why not? I said. I don’t have anything else I need to be spending that time on…

I’m also singing in a Benjamin Britten concert on Monday evening. I’ve dropped off the church music roster for the next month as I have six assignments due in May.

And Mr 7 thinks I should coach his Futsal team. I have to say, I’m tempted. I think I could probably do a better job than the coach he had this term, who managed to hold two practice sessions in the whole term. The team lost every single match. Bit depressing. BUT in the fourth term, when Futsal starts up again (because the weather is too nice to play soccer … !?) I will have exams and my research proposal for my thesis due. I don’t think it’s going to work.

I keep thinking that next year I’ll have more free time because I’ll only be working on my thesis, not four extra papers as well. Am I kidding myself?

My best thing today was chatting over lunch for an hour and a half with my brother’s partner (sister-in-love? … seems a bit twee …). Best conversation I’ve ever had with her, as we’re usually surrounded by family and kids and stuff going on. She is awesome and the things we’re each studying intersect so we have lots of common ground.

And now I had better go to bed so that I can be on time for class tomorrow which is all about reminiscing with your children. This is one thing I think I have always done right with my kids. Nice when research backs up the way you do things anyway.

Nighty night.

Heath Psychology Blues

The Roman numerals are chords.

(I)
Well I don’t know what I’m thinkin, don’t know what to do
(IV)                                                        (I)
Thinkin all about myself, when I oughta be thinkin of you
(V)                                                          (IV)
And what’ll make ya better, oughta make you happy too
(I)
I got those health psychology blues…

Inspired by Murray, Michael, & Gray, Ross. (2008). Health Psychology and the Arts: A conversation. Journal of Health Psychology, 13(2), 147-153. doi: 10.1177/1359105307086704

By the way, the skinny jeans give me terrible, TERRIBLE muffins.

A new me?

I just entered the new millennium, only 13 years late. That’s right! I bought skinny jeans! They will ONLY be worn under dresses and tunics, I promise. Husband and I are going to a gig at a pub together tonight for probably the first time… ever, actually. This chick was FANTASTIC live on New Zealand’s Got Talent, and I am so delighted she’s made it this far south. So in honour of the occasion, I decided I should probably try to look a little more trendy. The jeans are green. I’ll let you know how it goes. Maybe.

I’ve had a dreadful cold which meant I couldn’t sing Allegri’s Miserere for Ash Wednesday at St Paul’s Cathedral (Dunedin, not the famous one…) because I sounded like either a teenage boy or a 90-year-old chain smoker, or both at once. I was very sad. But now I’m getting better – I woke up this morning keen as mustard to get to the gym. I’m liking this new energetic me.

When I was getting ready for bed last night I discovered I had lost my ear spike. It has a narrow centre piece (so it’s not really a stretcher) with about a 2cm long metal spike screwed onto each end. I went looking in body-piercing shops today to see if I could replace it and they didn’t have anything identical, so I’ve bought a real spike instead. It’s not hurting, so I assume it’s not going to stretch the existing hole too much. It’s 2.5mm at its widest. I would have preferred something longer though. There is something, some very deep, rebellious, difficult, spiky aspect of my character which is appeased by wearing dangerous-looking jewellery. When I have my ear spike in I’m much less inclined to rebel against things that actually matter. Like housework.

Theoretically.

On a side note, Husband and I have been asked to speak briefly this evening at a couple’s Valentine’s Day dessert night our church is putting on: two minutes each on the main things that have contributed to our marriage (fourteen years and still going strong!). He’s going to talk about our similarities, and I’m going to talk about how good we are at fighting and dealing with the difficult stuff. I might get into it here some other time.