Halfway there: May edition

I haven’t been posting much on the blog lately, mainly because I’m supposed to be Writing a Chapter. You may recall that the deadline for this activity is the end of the month. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re officially over halfway through the month, which of course might imply that I ought to be halfway through the draft. Or something. (I am not.)

I have, however, been writing on an almost daily basis.  For nearly a month now, I’ve been using a writing website called 750 Words. The idea is that you acquire points and badges for writing 750 words on the site every day (approximately three pages). It’s completely private and saves your words. Of course, you can fill it with nonsense words, if you like, so long as it is 750 of them. I’ve used it for free writing, journaling, drafting, and transcribing. I’m not sure how long I will find it useful and/or novel, but for now it has been moderately effective for me.

In any event, I’m hoping to have a terrible, very bad rough draft of this chapter by Wednesday. This self-imposed deadline is because I’m heading out of town! Next week, I’ll drive to Nashville for the country music conference; then it’s off to Kentucky to retrieve the Very Tall Nephew. We’ll head south again, and then it’s off to youth camp (at the beach!). The last day of camp is May 31.

So, yeah, I need to get back to that Word doc since it seems to be having a hard time filling itself up with words 🙂

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Post & Pre-Texas

It’s kind of strange to be visiting a (non-Chicago) place twice in one month, but that’s what’s happening. It’s also strange that I wasn’t at church on Sunday (last year, I missed five Sundays), but I was told that all was well–not surprising since our team is pretty much awesome.

Last week, I went to Austin, Texas for a conference at the University of Texas, and next week, I’m heading to Austin for South by Southwest. Back when I was considering grad school for a piano degree, I applied at UT and reallyreallyreally liked Austin. So much so that I was convinced that I would end up there for a DMA in piano after my Masters (once the money didn’t work out for a UT Masters).

But things change. And Athens, Georgia won me over. And teaching piano lessons full-time did not. So my second visit to Austin, Texas (this time as a musicologist), I was appropriately impressed with the city, but not completely swept off my feet. Granted, I didn’t see a TON of the city, but I did get to go to Veggie Heaven, and I got to see Bertha (a very large bass drum made for the University of Chicago and later purchased for $1 for the Longhorn Band). It’s a lovely, hip city, and I’m sure I’ll have a better feel for it after next week.

The conference was great. I presented, and got some good feedback and ideas for my research. I also got to see a few conference friends, not to mention fun times traveling with two great musicology ladies. Plus, we got to visit with a formerly-of-Athens piano friend who is now in Austin (who is also providing lodging for my Austin 2 trip)! Piano Friend also directed us to a great Thai food truck (there are lots of food trucks in Austin), and an amazing Indian restaurant.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any official tours, but here are a few photos from my trip.

Could someone get that?

This weekend and week have involved a bunch of extra stuff on the calendar, making my days seem simultaneously long and super short, if that’s at all possible. Generally, the piano teacher stuff in my life is fairly low key, except around recital time, but there was a special piano event on Saturday of this week AND a student competition all day on Sunday. Plus, I also gave the pre-concert lecture for the Atlanta Symphony performance at our Performing Arts Center on Sunday. We also had our musicology student symposium today; our last special Wednesday night prayer service at the church tonight, and oh, I’m going to Austin, Texas tomorrow. Whew!

So obviously, I’m watching basketball, not revising my conference paper, not packing, and blogging about it. And since I didn’t post an official post-Sunday post, here’s a combo post-Sunday/post-Wednesday post…

On Sunday, Youth Pastor was in our room advertising an upcoming youth event, and was on screen in the Other Room via video. Apparently, (and I admit, I only heard about this over the headset during the this time), a phone rang in the Other Room. While this probably isn’t all that uncommon in a room packed full of people, it’s not all that common when the phone ringing is in a bag on stage. As I was told, it was Sanctuary Worship Leader’s bag, and in the middle of the announcements, he picked up his bag (and ringing phone) and walked it off stage. Better that than to let it keep ringing, I guess? For the record, we do include this image in our announcements…

phones

For the past few Wednesdays, we’ve been having special Wednesday evening prayer services at the church. These services have been really creative and diverse in terms of planning and programming (thanks to Youth Pastor and College Pastor), and have been a lot of fun (and maybe a little work) to be a part of. I’ve mentioned that we use quite a few Apple products in our services, and generally both Worship Pastor’s and my laptops are in commission during any service. We also both have Messages set up on our laptops, so whenever we receive texts, they show up as a notification on our phones AND laptops. This is quite convenient, and can basically turn text conversations into chat (if you’re ever wondering how in the world I can respond SO quickly to your text, I just might be typing it on my laptop keyboard).

There’s also a nifty sound effect that alerts you when you receive a new message on the laptop. But when your laptop is connected to a sound system, that nifty sound effect for incoming messages alerts everyone in the room that you’ve received a message. Like tonight, when I received a couple of texts during the pre-service music, and Worship Pastor received a text during the service. I suppose we should investigate disabling the feature during church services 🙂

Charleston

I went to Charleston a couple of weeks ago for a conference. It was my first visit to the city, and I really liked it. I’m not sure when I’ll make it back, but I hope it’s soon! The conference was nice and small-ish, so I got to meet some new people, and (sort of) surprisingly ran into a couple of Conference Friends (the people one meets and sees only at conferences). My presentation/panel had approximately four people in attendance, but it was a good run-through since I’ll be revising the presentation for a bigger conference in Austin later this month.

One of my Dear Friends was able to join me for a couple of days. Since I didn’t get my boat tour in New Orleans back in November, I opted to skip out on some conference goings on one afternoon, and we took a historical tour AND a boat tour out to Fort Sumter. Although it was a wee bit colder than I’d prefer, both tours were incredibly interesting and informative. Really, I love taking these tours! Also, at the suggestion of a South Carolinian friend & former roomie, we went to Hominy Grill for dinner. It was wonderful. So wonderful, that we opted to take a pedicab back to the hotel instead of walk!

Not procrastinating!

My birthday was earlier this week. In the category of “Birthday Celebration,” I had an excess of calories, quality time with amazing friends, and a great weekend. All of these things combined to make my faux 27th birthday pretty awesome.

As another conference is here, I was prepared to head to Columbia, South Carolina tonight (en route to Charleston for the conference tomorrow) to visit with some friends. However, crazy weather thwarted my plans, and I’ll leave early tomorrow morning instead.

Here’s the Thing about that. I was prepared to leave my house today at 5:00 p.m., which means my paper was in an acceptable state, the prezi was completed (but for a few tweaks), and I was all packed for the trip. Which means I have nothing to procrastinate tonight (well, except for that whole Writing a Dissertation thing), and it’s kinda strange. Which means that I’m blogging, revising the paper, and obsessively tweaking the prezi.

Maybe I should unpack and re-pack at 2:00 a.m. tonight just to make it seem like a regular trip…

Full house

The past couple of weeks have been lovely and relaxing. Last week in particular, I spent a great deal of time cleaning up and cleaning out, and since the rest of the time was spent lounging about, I also consider it a great accomplishment to have taken a car full of Stuff to the local thrift store. Also, an accomplishment? I played the piano and/or my piano was played for fun more in the past few weeks than in the entire year (not that piano lessons are not fun, but you know). On more than one occasion while entertaining in my home over the holidays, I made them invited friends to take advantage of my one piano, six hands repertoire. And take advantage, they did!

A violinist, a musicologist, and an oboist sit down at a piano...

A violinist, a musicologist, and an oboist sit down at a piano…

Pianists playing the piano!

Pianists playing the piano!*

They even let ME play! My hands are the small-ish ones in this photo.

They even let ME play! My hands are the small-ish ones in this photo, and no, I never really played a lot of Rachmaninoff…

*In the latter two photos, we’re playing through Gurlitt’s Six Pieces for Six Hands edited by Weekley and Arganbright. A few of the pieces are quite lovely, and I’m hoping to have my students play them this semester.

As relaxing as the break was, all my grown-up, responsible stuff started back this week. Today was the first day of class and even though I don’t really “go to class” anymore, I still have to register. We had staff meeting at the church, and my piano lessons started back today. Yesterday at church, we were in one room, and it was packed. We were literally overflowing, and I saw more than a few people sitting on the floor. One perk of being in the booth, I suppose, is that one is most generally guaranteed a seat on days like that. One non-perk of sitting near the booth, is that one will likely hear me talking at times when one generally shouldn’t be talking during church. As there was a bit of chaos (what with all the people everywhere), at one point, I’m fairly certain I was using a louder-than-inside-voice to communicate with some folks trying to find a seat. Not to mention, there were people sitting directly in front of me during the entire service. Sorry ’bout that.

It was a full (literally, figuratively) day, and I was really glad to see everyone. While I was at church last week, a lot of our team were away helping out at Passion, so it was great to have everyone back.

Now it seems that I have to Write a Dissertation. I’ll let you know how that goes. But in the meantime, I have to write a conference paper for a conference at the end of the month, and Advisor seems to think I should have a draft of it for her to read really, really soon. Which, of course, is crazy, since I could totally put that off at least a couple more weeks! 🙂

Post-Sunday post: NOLA version

I just returned from the AMS/SEM/SMT conference that was held in New Orleans. It was my very first visit to New Orleans and Louisiana, and while I had a great time and was mostly fascinated by the city, I didn’t fall in love with it (Lexington, Nashville, and Chicago still have my heart, and of course, Athens has my heart and physical being).

I did not present at the conference, but I got to see a lot of friends and colleagues. I had a chance to talk to and catch up with a few of them, but unfortunately, I only waved at some from a distance due to the overwhelming number of events, activities, and panels. I wasn’t exactly a diligent attender of panels, but I did attend my fair share. Unfortunately, there weren’t any panels that directly related to my research, and only a few that obliquely related to what I’m doing. Except for a panel on old-time fiddling, there were no panels on country music (!). Casting the net a bit broader, I attended most of the (interesting-to-me) popular music panels, and a couple of panels on evangelical Christian worship music. And for the all the others, the hashtag #musicon12 made for some entertainment during the not-so-awesome papers.

I always hate missing a Sunday at church (especially since this was the second Sunday I’ve missed this semester), but I left the booth in completely capable hands! I found it quite odd to be sitting in a conference room in a hotel on Canal Street in New Orleans on a Sunday morning hearing a scholar discuss mediated worship music, watching a youtube video of “Blessed Be Your Name,” and hearing a description of ProPresenter. I kept thinking how funny it would be if PowerPoint crashed during the discussion of Pro (hashtag churchtechteamhumor).

Our flight out of NOLA was late-ish, so we had the afternoon to sightsee. Unfortunately, my hopes of a sight-seeing Steamboat Cruise on the Mississippi were thwarted by rain. Lots of rain. In any event, we had a lovely, delicious, and leisurely lunch at the Green Goddess, which helped to alleviate some of the disappointment.

Considering that New Orleans is on Central Time, we “fell back” for Daylight Saving Central Time, and returned to Eastern Daylight Saving Time, I’m still a little confused. Combined with the trip from last week to Nashville, I’m quite glad to not travel this week!

And finally, here are some random pics from the New Orleans trip…