Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Moon Season

Things have gone well for the past couple of weeks.

The church Cabinet had a consultant come in on the 20th of September. I'd advocated for it, and the whole of Cabinet and the congregation decided it was worth hiring her to help us figure out what it was that we had to do after a bunch of transitional stuff. Our senior pastor had been out on a three month sabbatical, our associate pastor moved on to Chicago, and given a budget shortfall last year, we'd all kind of assumed that we just weren't going to replace the associate.

But it's a lot to expect a congregation that's had someone organizing all our education programs for more than the last decade to go completely cold turkey on having someone hired to help us organize everything that's needed for a program. There were assumptions made, and it wasn't good.

The consultant helped us all to figure out that our education programs were our top priority, and that we needed work on our governance, management, resources, and the like to support said programming, so... the following week I lead a whole congregation meeting, and we put a few things into place. We're hiring, on contract, a part-time education organizer, and we bought two years' worth of curriculum that actually fits our progressive theology.

Often, church happenings proceed at a glacial rate, so this was amazingly fast for us.

And while I find that I actually do pretty well at managing all of this stuff, it still takes a lot out of me. So it was really nice to be done with the Congregational Meeting this last Sunday, and then we got to celebrate a little.

My favorite MooncakesJohns Eclipse Pic

It was pretty fortuitous that it was Moon Festival night on the night of the eclipse, kind of, as it's a Festival that is on the biggest full moon of the year, and well, you can't have an eclipse without a full moon...

I was born on a Moon Festival night, what with the lunar calendar sliding around the Gregorian one, so in a way it was my lunar birthday. We didn't celebrate it much when I was a kid, it was only later in life that I made the whole connection. The local Asian grocery stores always carry moon cakes this time of year, and they have all kinds of fillings now. There's mung bean, lotus seed and various nut fillings. The egg yolk is traditional, and the super fancy ones have double yolk for extra luck.

My favorite, however, is the red bean paste with the single yolk, and the picture shows why I like it the best for the Moon Festival. The single salted egg yolk just looks like the moon in a night sky with the red bean paste. The other pastes are lighter in color, though they're just as sweet. And I'm comforted by red bean paste, a bit like Akatsuki derives comfort from an pan, which is filled with red bean paste. I baked my own an pan because of her. *laughs* And it was every bit as good as I'd hoped.

John has a new camera, and the eclipse picture is by him and his new equipment. He's very happy with it, and it's easy to see why. Plus, it was available at a ridiculous price at Costco for a very short time as the newer model had just come out.

So we took our telescopes out into the street, and looked and looked and our next door neighbor came out to look with us. The elder gentleman gave us a moon cake, so I gave him one back, and his was lotus seed, which we devoured happily. It's thicker, chewier, and more jelly-like. It was tasty, too, and Jet was fascinated by the difference.

Since the 27th, I've been kind of recovering. The whole thing took a lot out of me, simply from stress, relational stuff that went down and turned out well, but it really took a lot out of me.

Low End Roy Smeck Uke
This was one of my stress relief items. I actually got it before the congregational meeting, simply to have something else to focus on, and it's worked. I can now do a fairly fun rendition of the Lava song from the Pixar short, and I'm working on the Over the Rainbow/It's a Wonderful World song, as it's just kind of fun and there are good videos to play along with. Amber, a friend of mine loves ukuleles, and she took an hour the day after I bought it to just sit down with me and show me a few things. It was amazingly fun, and so much less intimidating than a guitar.

So now both John and Jet hum those songs now and again at random times and it makes me giggle. And it's just satisfying to sit down with and strum, and it's fun to have learned the Calypso strum already and hear how well it goes with both of those songs.

I'll figure out what to play next eventually, but they've both really helped with my stress levels and the little uke is sounds quite sweet to me, and was less than $100, so it's really cheap therapy. It was funny because I'd gotten paid a good deal from Slate for the article I wrote for them, and I was determined to buy myself a ukulele from the proceeds; but when we went to look at ukuleles, there was this one, a high-end one for $350, and a whole gaggle of the bright new ones that were only $40... this one felt amazing to me, as the grain of the wood had a lovely texture on the body. Turns out it's actually mahogany, and it sounds like it. So... I decided to invest a little into it so I'd practice regularly.

Amber also gave me a tuner, a little Snark, which makes it soooo easy. Yes, I don't have a smart phone with a tuning app, and this works so well, now.

I've been kind of amazed at how quickly I can learn how to play a new instrument on just fifteen or twenty minutes a day, but it's been fun and fast and I have goals which I'm hitting. The Internet has proven pretty amazing so far as resources for the ukulele, and YouTube has been fun to wander through on the tutorials. There's also talk, at church, of having a little Ukulele orchestra. *laughs* That should be fun.
Tags: courage, music, ucc
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