Jan. 9th, 2017

Oops

Jan. 9th, 2017 08:51 am
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
I forgot to update yesterday. Mea culpa. In a way, it was because things got busy, but I was also home for long enough that I don't really have a good enough excuse other than I completely forgot.

Yesterday got almost entirely derailed. I did go to First Day School and we did make Wow Butter cookies with the kids, and that was about all that I did that I had planned. For the record, making cookies with an eleven-year-old boy with behavioural difficulties, and his nine-year-old and five-year-old sisters is a freaking damned pain in the ass. We were doing okay until he got bored (about seven minutes in), and then he hid one of the cookie sheets, and once we got it back he then grabbed his sisters and got them so worked up that it was almost impossible to restore calm.

To say that I am not equipped to handle this boy is putting it mildly. He's a good kid, but when his father told him to turn off the music on his phone (because it would disrupt Meeting upstairs, which is silent), he argued with him for a good five minutes about "It's not your phone to tell me what to do with it!"

Anyway, it worked out, but I do find FDS really stressful when he's there, and no one I've talked to has been of much help in giving me any kind of clue how to integrate him into activities now that he's older. When he was a bit younger it was easier, because all he wanted to do was walk in circles around the room until he decided he wanted to join in, and then he would do the activity until the 45 minutes was up. Now, though, as I said, he's more interested in pulling the other kids out than joining in himself, and I am a bit at a loss.

Stressful FDS stuff aside, I managed to hand in my letter of intent to the Clerks, and I think they'll be presenting it at the next Meeting for Worship for Business, which is next Sunday. I was given no indication that they'd be putting it off to February, so that's nice. Also nerve-wracking, but nice nonetheless. In a few months, I might be a fully fledged Quaker! We'll see. They may decide that I'm not ready, which is also fine. I'll just do more reading and participate more, until they decide that I am ready.

In other news, I managed to attend two different writing groups this weekend, which has got to be a record for me. The first was a planned one. I signed up for a "workshop" (I use the word loosely) on Saturday. It was a bit disappointing, but as I hadn't set my expectations very high, I wasn't really let down. It was called So You Want to be a Writer, and everything that came out of it was what you'd expect: have a routine, sit in your chair and write every day, writing is a discipline, there's no such thing as writer's block, etc., etc. It was nice to see other writing people, though, and it got me out of the house for a bit, which is always good for me. It didn't really solve my problem of burn out or the fact that my job makes it impossible for me to have a regular routine, but I wasn't expecting it to, either. I'm a bit disappointed that there was no one there with whom I really clicked, which was a main motivation for me to go: I'm looking for new writing buddies in Ottawa, because I find that having friends who write and off of whom I can bounce ideas is often more motivating than ten books can be.

The second one was after Meeting, and I basically just stumbled into it by accident. Right after potluck there was a—I hesitate to call it a workshop—being held by a poet named Sue McMaster. Her family were some of the founding members of our Meeting, and she was holding a talk about Poetry as a Quaker Concern—Its Use and Abuse. It was a good talk, but again I don't think I learned anything new, particularly, except for one poem, "The Ballad of the Hell-Hound," by George Faludy. He's definitely a poet I will have to get to know, because that poem was chilling and terrible and so, so moving. Otherwise, we never got to the part of the talk that interested me the most, which was the "abuse" part. How does one abuse poetry? I wondered. And, well, we ran out of time, and she summarized it as being using poetry to hurt or shock people, which I found a very unsatisfactory explanation. Maybe next time, if there is a next time.

I had a bunch of errands planned yesterday, and instead of running them I found myself accidentally roped into playing chauffeur for the Meeting's newest protégé, a man slightly younger than myself from the Congo who was kidnapped when he was 12 and forced to become a child soldier. He was since rescued, adopted into a Swiss family, and is now a United Nations ambassador for child soldiers with his own non-profit organization, called "Paix pour l'enfance."

Understandably, he's a very intense person, and for some reason he decided that I was going to be his BFF yesterday. He followed me around Meeting, telling me all about the work he's doing (which is really fascinating, let me hasten to add), but also kind of getting into my space. Granted, I have a reasonably large bubble of personal space, but I can mostly tolerate people breaching it so long as they're not 2-3 inches away from my face, which he was a lot of the time. I suspect that may be a cultural thing. He offered to lend me his book, "Si ma vie d'enfant soldat pouvait être racontée," which was very nice of him, but apparently it meant *right now* rather than the next time he saw me, and since the books were at his place, it meant going there, and then the next thing I new I was dropping him off on the other side of town because he had originally planned to visit another Congolese family that afternoon, and it would have been pretty rude to just leave him on the side of the road.

So my entire afternoon got derailed, like I said, but as they say "Man plans, God laughs." I've started reading the book, and it's an easier read than I thought it would be, mostly because the writing style is actually pretty childish. Let's just say this guy is no Victor Frankl. It's a short book, barely 80 pages, so I should have it finished in the next couple of days. I could probably finish it in an hour, but I'm trying to slow down and give it its due, rather than rushing it. After all, this isn't a novel, it's a real person's story, and I want to make sure I give it proper attention.

I will admit that part of me is a little paranoid that he's kind of latched on to me because I'm pretty much the only French-speaking person in Meeting, and he can speak freely without either of us stumbling over an unfamiliar language. While I'm happy enough to hang out with him during Meeting, he's already started texting me out of the blue, and he and I have not reached the level of acquaintanceship which would make me comfortable with that. I also feel bad for him, because how was he to know that I'm an antisocial introvert? :P Time will tell, in any event. I could be reading way more into this situation than is truly there, so let's hope that's the case.

Otherwise, yesterday was a bit of a bust. I didn't run any of my errands, and I barely managed to take down the Christmas tree when I got home (I think today is pick-up day, which is why I couldn't put it off any longer). I put on Mad Max: Fury Road to keep me company, and was pleased that the film holds up well upon re-watch. After the saga of putting up the tree (mostly strings of lights that wouldn't work and kept having to be replaced), taking it down took surprisingly little time—maybe twenty minutes at most. It was a nice surprise, and allowed me to finish my evening pretty peacefully before it was time to call it a night. I didn't even have to work that hard to put the tree outside, since my efforts at keeping it watered paid off. I had been resigned to pine needles everywhere, and while I certainly haven't escaped unscathed, a quick sweep was all that was needed to clear the floor.

And that pretty much concludes my weekend. I will try much harder to post every day. It seems that this is the kind of thing that easily slips my mind these days, so I will try to pay closer attention. Now I have to go and run those errands I never got to yesterday.

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