Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pasta Productions, Good and Not So Good

Day 30 of 30

Well, I feel somewhat recovered now and able to write to you. Able to write day 30 of the 30 day NoBloPoMo challenge. So, I will tell you about Pasta Productions which was held on Friday evening.

Pasta Productions was born one day at Rev. Dale & Hannah's home. I went there for a song rehearsal with Hannah and was a bit surprised to see Dale there as he was usually at work at that time of day. It turned out that Hannah had asked him to be there when she told me that I could no longer be the Congregational Song Leader at our Centre because people had been complaining that my signing wasn't good enough. They had pretty much come up with this idea to give me something else when they took that away from me... kind of like a consolation prize is what I felt at the time, and yet I was also excited about the possibilities. The idea of having a pasta dinner followed by some entertainment was put forward and I liked the idea. I later came up with the idea to call it Pasta Productions.

I have never been any part of such a production, never mind having put one on before, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into... but jumped in with both feet. Not a surprise if you know me.

Parts of it were near disaster, and parts of it compensated to make for a very good night... for the most part.

I am told now, in a 'debriefing' this afternoon, that I should have been there first thing in the morning. I didn't know that so didn't go in until about 4pm when others were supposed to be arriving too... and I was the only one there. I don't know what I was supposed to be doing all day there by myself since they also tell me I'm not supposed to do the work, just over see it, but okay. I had arranged a fellow (volunteer) to set up tables and chairs and he didn't show, so I had to do that myself... heavy work I hadn't planned to be doing. I didn't have a clue how to set up tables in this room in such a way as to seat 50 people... I just did my best, which I'm told now wasn't done very well and apparently Rev. Dale has a better way of doing it (so why wasn't I told this on Friday when he was there and left me alone to do this job?) The gal, Dale's daughter, that I had understood would be there to cook the spaghetti didn't show until 5:45, 15 minutes before dinner was to be served, today she said she wasn't down to do the spaghetti. Okay.... She did bring a great vegetarian spaghetti sauce and lots of Caesar Salad and garlic bread. It was my understanding that the food was to be donated, as when I said something about bringing in receipts for food, Dale said 'no', that it all had to be donated... now his daughter brought in a receipt for the groceries she bought and he submitted it as expenses for the event. I am getting a bit tired of having 2 sets of 'rules' now that his daughter is around. But I digress.

The woman I had set up to be the Kitchen Coordinator or whatever you'd call that, didn't do any thing and in the end didn't show up.... so I had to do a lot extra and a few other people stepped in and helped a lot. If not for them there would have been no dinner at all. Not enough pots were there, etc etc. Linda had said she'd bring the Alfredo Sauce and the Sound System, and was going to do a belly dance with a friend of hers on the drums. Due to snow, Linda was not able to make it. Apparently she phoned Dale and let him know... ya, you guessed it... it was well into the evening before I heard him tell someone else that she'd called and due to the roads had to turn back. I had planned to be the greeter, welcoming people as I took their tickets and gave them their programs... and as I was still flying around doing other jobs people were showing up and I wasn't even dressed for the evening and did no greeting or ticket taking.

So that is the near disaster part of it over.

Dinner was served around 6:30. Half an hour late, but served none the less. No one seemed to really mind, or at least once they got eating, lol. Everyone was able to eat a nice big meal without the Alfredo Sauce and I'm sure even with a bit more appetite by then. Everyone filed up to a table where they were served the spaghetti & sauce of their choice, meat or vegetarian, got their garlic bread and salad, and went back to their tables. By 6:55 everyone was sitting down eating, except me. I grabbed a plate of food and went to the closest seat to the front, though I had to ask my friend Bev to change seats with me in order for me to get this one and be accessable to the stage.

My plans had been dinner served at 6pm, everyone would be finished eating by the time the show started at 7pm. Well, the show must go on, so I started it at 7 anyway, so everything would be back on schedule. I had written out the basics of what I would say to introduce people as I was the MC for the evening, the names of songs they were doing, stuff like that. It was on my computer and when I went to get it off to print it out, because I had forgotten to print it out ahead of time, my laptop had a dead battery and I had forgotten the cord at home. YIKES. I had to 'wing it'. Remember I said Linda was bringing the sound system? And that she had to turn back due to bad roads? Ya... I told everyone about this and asked them to be really quiet as most of the performers aren't as loud as I am, lol.

The evenings entertainment was fabulous!! It really was the 'crowning glory' and what saved the evening. 5 year old Gracie was so cute sitting at the grand piano as she did a very good job of playing "Jolly Old St. Nickolus". All of Hannah's piano students did very well. There were a couple people that read stuff they had written that was really great!! One was about saying goodbye to a much loved dear friend who was dead... and the last line revealed that it's a cigarette rather than a person. Hilarious!! We had some VERY talented musicians that performed. One fellow thought he had said to put him on the list of performers, but he hadn't so wasn't on the program... oh well, I put him on... and another guy too. Hey, Linda wasn't there so there was a opening... and not the first change of the evening, lol. Well, Jim 'rocked the house', he was really incredible! I wasn't the only one that thought so either, Hannah immediately booked him to play at the service today, and again today he wowwed us. I had tears in my eyes today with the beautiful Christmas song he sang. "Back in the day" I knew a musician that I loved to go listen to and often did just that, he was called Buggly. Well, a guy that comes to our Centre had booked himself to sing a song with his friend William backing him up on guitar, and booked William to do a couple songs too. I was totally blown away when Buggly walked in and turned out to be William! It was awesome hearing him play again after all these years.

I had planned to do the humorous speech I'd done in Toastmasters and won the Humorous Speech Contest with, then was to perform it at the Area TM contest, then left the club I was with, etc etc etc.... but with all that was happening I was really not feeling I could do a proper job of it (and that was before the evening started), so I decided to share some of my poetry instead, and I'm sure glad I did. I half read/half recited 3 of the poems I have written, and they were all very well received, especially the one I wrote for my 51st birthday about aging. I had to keep stopping and waiting for them to stop laughing so I could continue. I figure that when you share your pain, it's your friends that laugh... well, I must have lots of friends. Ya.

By the time the evening was over and people were leaving, they all had smiles on their faces and had obviously had a great evening. Chris, a friend at the centre who is a wonderful musician, told me that night "do you realize what you did? Without you this wouldn't have happened!" It felt totally awesome!!

I had gotten to a point of feeling rather unsupported and unappreciated and had been feeling that once it was over, at our next Board Meeting I would tell them I was stepping down from 'extras' and would just be doing my basic duties as i was just feeling too overwhelmed and tired, too much on my plate. After the evening was over, I was flying high and ready, after a couple days rest, to start on the next one, implimenting changes to improve over this first one!! After the 'debriefing' today, I'm not so sure I do want to do another one. I am glad I raised, after expenses, at least $360 (exact amount not yet figured out) for the Centre, not a huge amount, but a good amount that will go to helping the Centre pay rent etc., however, I am feeling again like I am not being appreciated as much as I could be, not as supported as I could be.

During the 'debriefing', I was told, amoung other things, that I have to be there early on the morning of an event and stay the entire day and evening until it's all done and cleaned up. Wow, so a very long day. I also was told I have to find way more volunteers, I know that but where and how when people don't step up when I ask them to? And Dale said I shouldn't be the MC, that I have to over see everyone doing everything... so I said "okay then, I don't want to do any more of them." Then they backtracked... I can still be the MC since I'm so good at it, but yadda yadda yadda....

Will I do another one? I don't know just now. Maybe, but I just don't know for now. First I have to get over the disappointments of this one. Hannah wasn't there this afternoon, so Dale gave me a letter she wrote, apparently when she was "burned out". I have chosen not to read it as I'm sure it's full of critisism that I don't want to hear. I am working hard at feeling good about me and what I do... have gotten enough 'feedback' about the short comings, along with some feedback about things being good. I'm working real hard on holding tight to the 'good, positive' feedback that made me feel happy.


quilly said...

So, this is a Christian organization? And they really believe all that stuff you've been writing about? Then why don't they live it?

Dr.John said...

I'm glad you survived. In all my years in the ministry I never treated a volunteer like that. Our volunteers were always supported by me, my family and the Board. My children had no special privileges. I'm having trouble relating to Rev. Dale. But, trying to be fair, I suppose he has his own problems.