zeborah: I believe in safe, sane, and consensual Christianity. (credo)
because when I arrived for the Christmas Eve service there was a sign saying "Welcome: please use alternate entrance" and the alternate entrance led to the back lawn where several rows of chairs were set up. Apparently the cracks in the (brick) church have widened enough that they want to get an assessment before risking having the congregation in there, especially as the cracks are in the side where the emergency exits are located. They'd managed to get the sound system in position just inside the ranch sliders of the lounge, with the piano and lectern and Advent candles, but the sun was far too bright to allow for a projector even if that system was mobile.

We had to add another row chairs as people kept arriving. (Some brought picnic blankets but we didn't have to resort to that.) It did cool a little as the evening progressed and clouds drifted across the sky, but not badly.

Sound didn't carry very well -- we kept singing either faster or slower than the piano, which at one point got so bad our minister was cracking up -- but it was surprising effective being outside with the rustle of the wind in the trees: it fit with the shepherds and the straw in the manger much better than a brick building does. It reminded me of the New Zealand carol Te Harinui, "The people gathered round upon the grassy ground to hear the preacher say 'I bring to you today Te Harinui, glad tidings of great joy.'"
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Updated Wordpress on my church website and was reminded yet again that doing this always destroys the tweaks I've made to the banner html and css. Fixed them, yet again, and this time saved copies to my computer.

Watched The Princess Bride with my friend last night. I love that movie, I just wish I could turn off the part of my brain that keeps noting that Buttercup doesn't get to do anything except be pretty and helpless (mostly helpless).

The Orbiter bus route (which wends around the suburbs instead of going through town) has been doing a crescent since it restarted after the quake, but today for the first time it completed the circle again. I came back from my friends' that way. It didn't look too bad (occasional dairies in need of demolition aside) - of course, because it was the fact that things were much fixed that allowed the bus back there - but you could see all the patches in the roads, and there was a point where the speed limit was reduced first to 30kph then to 10kph.

It's raining. Our wastewater system is hyper fragile at the moment. If oxygen levels at the thingy plant reach a certain level the whole city will get covered with sewage fog or something.

So I got home and first thing I noticed after the purple windowsills (not taking photos right now, it's raining and also daylight saving ended so it's dark) was a package in my mailbox, containing sachets of chemicals for chemical toilets. Have lodged a question with the city council's twitter folk about whether one can mix'n'match these with the original liquid chemicals we were delivered. In the meantime I opened the bag to pull out the instructions which were obscured by the sachets, and thus was enabled to read the line about not getting the sachets wet until they're in the toilet lest they dissolve prematurely -- just as a drop of rainwater from the lip of the bag rolled inside.

Hopefully they're not like Gremlins, and will survive a single drop.

Anyway, living alone I do actually have plenty of liquid chemicals to last me a good while yet.

Apparently the mobile library is visiting this neighbourhood twice a week now. This a) is awesome b) reminds me that I've got upwards of 50 books I was going to bookcross in the library's absence. Oh well, it's still absent 5 days a week.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
Got up in time to have a proper shower while I still had water (turning it off while soaping up in order to conserve water) and even washed my hair.

On the way to church I stopped at my parents' house to test my Sandbaggers DVDs. When I let myself in I discovered of course the burglar alarm was set. I used to unset that alarm every single day for years but for the life of me, and just like in my old dreams, I couldn't remember the code. I immediately discarded the code for my own alarm, and tried another that my fingers seemed familiar with. In retrospect, it was my credit card PIN. Fortunately my brother was upstairs (asleep) so could rush down and turn off the siren. He was remarkably nice about it, considering.

Anyway, it turns out I unfairly maligned the DVDs. There's nothing wrong with them; further experimentation proves the fault is in my laptop's DVD drive which, when the earthquake induced the laptop to do a flip off the chair it was sitting on and land upside-down on the floor, must have got jolted a bit. Yay, more insurance claimage; guess I'll have to take it into the local Mac store sometime. Sometime when it's operational again. In the meantime I've dug out my old snail of a laptop and set that to chugging through the conversion instead. And in the meantime-meantime I watched episode 3 on my parents' DVD player (having watched 1 and 2 on YouTube in order to decide that yes I was totally buying this) and... wow, that was rather dark. I love this show so much.

Church was... They warned us that last Sunday's service might be emotional, but forgot to warn us that this Sunday (whether because we were back in our own church or that things have had more time to sink in or that we're just more tired) would be worse. There's this beautiful Shirley Murray hymn which is a mashup of Ecclesiastes and Corinthians: "There's a time to be planting, a time to be plucking, a time to be laughing, a time to weep" etc in the verses, and the chorus "But there's never a time to stop believing, there's never a time for hope to die, there's never a time to stop loving, these three things go on."

And, yeah. It elicits tears at the best of times. I'm weeping just writing it up now; I had a hell of a time trying to sing it; I think it was only the third-and-last verse and chorus I finally got my voice under just enough control. And the readings (Lamentations 3:17-26, 31-33; Matthew 11:28-30) were likewise a bit on the nose, and we ended with another Shirley Murray hymn - "Give thanks for hope, that like the wheat, the grain / lying in darkness does its life retain / in resurrection to grow green again" (to Sine Nomine) and I was not the only one in serious tears, by far.
On the way home saw someone attempting to go into a dairy which wasn't yet open for business. He just wanted somewhere, anywhere, that's selling food. I pointed him to the nearest dairy (a bit of a walk) or around the corner for fish'n'chips - I think he decided on the latter. What I need to do is draw up some maps with vital services and post them on lampposts at that intersection. So many people don't have any idea where to get things with so many shops closed or destroyed around here; I only do from spending significant time poring over eq.org.nz maps. And it's going to be a long-term problem because cheap supermarkets are closed and only more expensive dairies are open (unless you drive, and then you have to pay for petrol) and people will have lost jobs and this is a lower socio-economic area to start with. It makes me sad and angry in advance at all the people who won't care about or even see the problem.

I'm increasingly angry at the letter Eastgate put in mailboxes a few days ago to say "McDonalds will be open in 5 days and the supermarket will be open in 4 weeks and the Warehouse will be open in 5 weeks" and blah blah blah, and not a single line to let people know where they could get food now.

Spent the afternoon visiting friends - about an hour and a half to get there, I think, since I have to take the bus right around the suburbs instead of through the city, so all up I spent more time travelling than with them, but it was well worth it to catch up and hold their baby. Then did some shopping at their local supermarket before catching the bus back home. Failed to have energy to cook a proper dinner, but did snack as much as I could manage and read myself to sleep.


Working from home this morning. So far I've got the "from home" part down pat, anyway; though I've just "answered" a student's question by IM, for values of "answered" that consist of saying essentially "God only knows." It makes me feel like a bad librarian, but it really is all we can say about pretty much any library service that can't be transacted purely electronically.
zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
This naturally swings wildly from "Eee, dead of cute!" to "Argh, quit chewing on the keyboard and putting my laptop to sleep (how are you doing that anyway???)!"

<attempts to recollect the day>

Sponge bath in a bucket. Didn't run the tap long enough to get hot, but supplemented with water from a kettle for sheer luxury. (Quite unneeded really: the friction:water ratio is high enough that even cold water isn't uncomfortable. But warm's even nicer.) Made for a good demonstration of why they call it "grey water".

Church service was nice - very sunny, big crowd. Crowd included various news cameras. I got interviewed by some Australian TV station, I think; Mum by a radio channel. I think I wasn't too wildly incoherent, but did have to resort to the blandest cliches imaginable. A couple of text articles about it: Stuff.co.nz or Herald (reuses text but its photo is of our service). Of course there are minor lacunae and inaccuracies: in addition to arriving on bike or foot plenty of us came by car (though I did walk partway I guess), and the scones and water (not tea) came after the service, not while singing.

Another article on Christianity and the earthquake.

I promised photos of sandcastles! Here are some my Mum took - the nearest structure in the first, three towers connected by a wall, is the one I helped with.

I got a flyer in my mail! I think it was delivered by the Student Volunteer Army; it's got information about where to get help and there's a copy online (pdf).

My asthma is distinctly acting up. (No preventative for a week + stress + dust. Today I wore a dustmask while walking, and wasn't the only one.) My normal pharmacy has no answerphone message so I ended up ringing HealthLine and browsed the Ministry of Health website while listening to a long recorded message. There was an option to talk to a person but I thought I'd see if my question was answered first. Apparently one can get emergency repeats from any open pharmacy. I'll call the nearest one tomorrow to double-check on that before hiking over.

Heard from an old manager. Dozed. Watched Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, which isn't up to Criminal Minds' standards, but nor is Criminal Minds these days. Updated the church website - we never officially launched it but it seems like a useful thing.

My mood dropped steadily through the day; in retrospect unsurprising. By evening it was a huge chore to make myself make dinner. I think tomorrow I'll try making dinner in the morning.

Darn it, we're going to have to pick up books again :-) - the photo and the story further down by the same guy are from my branch. But y'know, we're kind of used to this by now. And actually, if that's the worst he saw, it's not nearly as bad as last time.

In "I cannot brain, I has the dumb" news, I've taken to wearing a wee bag around my neck for my cellphone, asthma inhaler, and most especially a notepad to remind myself what I'm planning to do next. :-)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Dear Hymn-meddlers:
I have no objection to hymn-meddling ("Brother, sister, let me serve you" is a nice inclusive rephrasing of "Brother, let me be your servant") but I do ask that you find out what the words mean before you start meddling. An example from December 2006: "Pleased as us with us to dwell" does not mean the same thing as the original "Pleased as Man with man to dwell"; in fact it doesn't mean anything much. An example from today: "Be thou all else but naught to me" does not mean the same as "Naught be all else to me", and what it does mean is a rather weak sentiment. Also, like many of the other results of your meddling, it doesn't scan, leaving the congregation in confusion.

Dear Minister:
I promise not to giggle uncontrollably during your otherwise entertaining sermon if you promise not to talk about Jesus being baptised with the dribble of the Holy Spirit.


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

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