July 5, 2014

URGENT NEWS FLASH

 

Barring miracles this week’s KES will go up Sunday, not Saturday.  This week has got away from me* and I’m Street Pastoring tomorrow night—Saturday—to cover for Eleanor, who covered my Friday for me last month when I had Sam training Saturday morning about five hours after I would have signed off Street Pastors.  Meanwhile the Black Tower stuff came zapping in on me more or less from nowhere—I’ve told you the story of how Narknon didn’t turn up till the final freaking draft of SWORD, and what a gonzofest that was trying to stuff her into the story where she belonged, despite the fact that I’d been aware that there were little fuzzy places, as it turned out Narknon-shaped gaps in the story as it stood before her arrival—and tomorrow night’s KES needs more whacking into its Black Tower enhanced shape than I’m liable to be able to give it.  I thought I was going to have some time off tomorrow afternoon, but Nina and Ignatius are coming down to help us get on with this moving house thing and I certainly don’t want to discourage them by any apparent lack of interest.

Oh and I’m singing on Sunday.  Oops.  I didn’t notice I had a late Sam shift on Thursday and Street Pastors on Saturday when I plugged in my usual fortnight on the rota.  So it may be late Sunday.  But not to worry.  KES will appear.

* * *

* I’m a Sam!  I’m a Sam!  I’m a real working Samaritan!  I had FOUR CALLS last night on my second duty shift!!  FOUR!  And since my mentor did not turn pale and saucer-eyed as she listened to my ends of the conversations^ nor, when I spoke to my day leader this morning^^, was she speaking in low carefully soothing tones about how perhaps I was not cut out to be a Samaritan and perhaps I would like to think about exercising my desire to do good in the world by knitting critter coats for the Battersea Dogs and Cats Rescue, which I can do quietly at home without disturbing anyone . . . I think I passed.^^^  Yaaaaaaay.^^^^

^ Conversations!  Yessssssss!  It’s what I’m there for!+

+ As a dedicated life-long phone hater, this is all very amusing.#

# Yes, well, this doesn’t count.  Talking on the phone as a Samaritan is different.~

~ Also, I hear God laughing.  Again.

^^ I was on the late shift last night.  Usually you talk to your day leader at the end of your shift, but not when it would involve getting her+ out of bed, supposing she keeps what most of the world would call normal hours.

+ Or him, as the case may be

^^^ I admit I haven’t checked that I haven’t been disappeared off the Samaritan database.  Me?  Paranoid?  Convinced of my inherent incompetence and worthlessness?  Naaaaaah.

^^^^ And for my next trick I have to learn not to go home and worry about the people I’ve been talking to.  Which is totally an occupational hazard, and is one of the reasons there’s all this support structure.  It’s not a nice idea that you debrief/unload to both your colleague and your day leader, it’s REQUIRED.

Ever new vistas of arrrrrrrgh

 

You were due to get a blog post tonight and I have stomach flu.  As these things go it’s mild* but it’s knocked my energy level over and squashed it flat, because that’s what happens when you have ME and some blasted interfering ‘acute’ comes along and joins the party.

Meanwhile I had my observation duty at the Samaritans last night—and was aware of feeling a little peaky** but that might have been tension level***—and I have my first official duty shift tomorrow.  And I’m going.  So let’s hope I can sit in a chair and speak in complete sentences, okay?  I want to do this.  And I don’t want my mentor to have to do it for me because I’m convulsing on the floor.  Arrrrrrrgh.

* * *

* May it stay mild, thank you very much

** I’ve actually been peaky most of this week, the kind of peaky that makes me think ‘oh help the ME is getting worse I’m not going to be able to keep on floundering through as much stuff as I do if this is settling in to be the new system’—also PAIN.  Golly.  I really do not like pain and it makes me CRANKY^ and at my age it also makes me feel dangerously old.  Having the intensification of the ME coalesce into something like stomach flu, which can reasonably be presumed will go away again, is actually a relief.^^

^ I would have been such a bad martyr.  I wouldn’t have forgiven anybody.

^^ This is how acutes tend to manifest with me, that the ME gets worse and then as if spits out the acute.+  But of course during the run up I don’t think ‘oh I must be coming down with something’ I think OH WOE MY LIFE IS OVER.

+ Not everyone with ME follows this pattern but it is a common one.

*** There weren’t any ordinary people who just wanted a chat last night—yes the Sams get those although that’s not what they’re for—YEEEEP.  The Sams really are the sharp end.  Yeeeeeep.  I was there mid-shift so I could watch the handover, the point being that there’s always someone available to answer a ringing phone and there’s always a debrief every shift with the admin^, so I had a chance to speak to four duty-shift Sams plus my mentor^^ plus yesterday’s admin head and I was saying yeeeeep and they were all saying sympathetically, well, yes.  That’s what we do.

It has come up constantly from the first information evening when you’re still deciding whether to apply or not that the Sams support their people.  What the Samaritans do is rough.  And you can’t take it home with you or you won’t be able to do the job for long.  Hence constant, structured checking from admin and colleagues that you’re okay.

The other crucial aspect of this is the Sams’ rule of ABSOLUTE CONFIDENTIALITY.  The only people you’re allowed to discuss Sams’ callers with is other Sams.  And I had a little taste of what this is going to mean in practise last night.  Intellectually I totally get it and totally agree with it too—that’s what makes the Sams such a great resource.  Have something that’s eating holes in you that you either have no one to discuss it with or you just can’t discuss it with friends and family?  Ring the Sams.  You can tell them anything, they’ll not only listen, it won’t go any farther.  Terminally ill and want to talk about death but your family are all in denial?  Ring the Sams.  Suicidal from the break-up that everyone thinks is your fault because they won’t hear the truth about your ex-partner?  Ring the Sams.  Your dog died and nobody gets it that it matters?  Ring the Sams.

But to engage, to empathise, as a Sam you do have to get alongside whoever you’re talking to.  And you also have to put it down again when you put the phone down.

I’ll learn to do this—as I told my mentor I’m reasonably confident about the long term:  short term is the yeeeeeep—but the new skill is not being able to talk about it.  I’m a girl.  When stuff gets to me I find a friend to talk it through with.  It’s what girls do.  I wrote a couple of emails to friends last night and I probably sounded pretty distracted because what I was chiefly thinking about was what I couldn’t say. ^^^  Grim stuff is undoubtedly more of a burden when you can’t ask a trusted friend to help you lever it off and lay it down.

^ The admin are all practising Sams too.  They know what you’re doing, what life on the, ahem, line is.

^^ Whom I like a lot, by the way.  I feel in safe hands with her:  that she’ll catch me if I screw up but she won’t make me feel like a retarded liver fluke for screwing up.

^^^ It’ll be easier once I’ve made some friends in the Sams.  The Street Pastors keep schtum too but since most of what we do happens in public and out on the street the lockdown isn’t as absolute.  And I went into the SPs as one of four from St Margaret’s, the other three of whom were already my friends by the time I started doing duty shifts.  Clearly I need to send that email to the other five trainees of my Sams intake saying, so what about meeting up for that beer then?

† What you guys really want to be hoping/praying/dancing around bonfires for however is that I’m sufficiently alive and functioning to tweak another chapter of KES and release her to the world Saturday night.

Mindfulness

 

 

Samaritans training was Tuesday this week* so I made it to Aloysius’ Wednesday afternoon silent prayer for the first time since . . . the last time Sams training was on a Tuesday.  And Aloysius wasn’t there.  Feh.  I knew this, and I’d said I’d come hold the floor down in his absence.  There were actually a few other people there—slight gleep from yours truly—but I lit the tea-light, read out a bit of psalm and hit my temple-bell timer.**

Catlady

I’ve found, myself, that it’s not that I’m not praying when I lead/ sing for services, it’s just that I’m praying differently. I’ve always felt that prayer has to be a verb — for me, it’s prayer when I set up the sanctuary . . .  it’s prayer when I’m whispering directions to those joining me in front of the congregation. . . .  It’s even prayer when I’m singing the Mi Chamocha by rote and trying to figure out who would be moved by the next reading . . . don’t give this one to that person, because it always makes her cry, which is best done if you’re not trying to read aloud . . . it’s just not the Mi Chamocha that I’m, you know, praying. Occasionally, when it’s a solo, and there’s nothing left to coordinate, and everything goes right, I get to lose myself in the actual prayer that I’m actually praying, which is holy in a different way. But it’s all prayer to me…

Thank you for this, and for your previous on the same subject.  It’s a mindfulness thing, isn’t it?  I think part of what has helped me about the headspace for performing worship is that I got put on the prayer chain at St Margaret’s really quickly*** and floundered rather trying to figure out how to cope with all this praying for people when I was new to praying at all.  I’ve told the blog that I ‘sat’ at a [Buddhist] zendo back in Maine during a year I was finding very rough, and the silent mindful daily sitting made a huge difference in my ability to cope.  I fell out of the habit of daily mindful sitting when I moved over here but I didn’t forget that that space existed and was accessible.  And then hey-presto I became a Christian and . . . gleep.  The silent-sitting space is both utterly transformed by the presence of God and also strangely—reassuringly—familiar.

The sitting-space became the prayer-space and having God to orient myself toward makes me feel as if I have an idea where I’m going, even if I don’t always fully arrive.  You have to leave your stuff at the door and sometimes I . . . can’t.  But I take my prayer-list there—or as close to there as I can get—and I go to Aloysius’ Wednesday afternoon silent prayer when Samaritans’ training doesn’t get in the way, and the high point of my practising-Christian week is half an hour sitting silently in the dark with some monks, Saturday evening, during the ‘Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament’, before night prayer starts.  The more often you go to the prayer-space the plainer the track becomes.†

I can gather a few little wisps of prayer-space when I stumble†† up on stage to sing for service.  I’m not much of a singer or a musician—I have to work at making what I hope is a half-decent noise—I have to focus.  It is, at this point in my dubious development, relatively straightforward to focus on the prayer side rather than the music side.  The less kind way of putting it is to say it rates as prayer because intentionality counts.  It does not rate as music because intentionality only gets you a pat on the head and a bellow of NEXT from the bloke running the auditions.†††

But . . . where we came in.  If you can hold your feeble, wavering, mortal focus on prayer . . . what you’re doing is praying.  It’s a bit like deciding to run a marathon when you’re over sixty and have bad knees, but hey.

* * *

* Last night was writing emails and texts.  I was expecting this to be shocking and dislocating, like a watercolourist being handed a block of granite and a chisel, but in fact it was a whole lot like . . . writing.  In this case, emails and texts.  The texting was funny.  I’ve told you that I’m older by a good fifteen years than the next-oldest of the trainees, and probably thirty-five years older than the youngest.^  And I’m like, texting, fine, okay, I can do texting, and all these kiddies were saying TEXTING?  We have to TEXT as Samaritans?  And we’re supposed to understand all those nasty text abbreviations?^^  And I’m going, oh, cool.  Txtspk!  <3 !^^^  The Samaritans’ text software limits texts to 160 characters, so my fellow trainees were saying, we’re supposed to compose something EMPATHETIC and SUBSTANTIVE in 160 characters??  And I’m saying, oh, it’s like a slightly stretched tweet—you know, Twitter.  Sure, I can do that.  And they all recoiled as if from a slavering Rottweiler and said, TWITTER?  We have nothing to do with Twitter.  —Snicker.  Us do-gooders are so straight.#

^ How did I get this OLD?  I was supposed to just kind of stay forty.

^^ Which we’re allowed to use, cautiously, trying to take our cue from the texter.  We get a lot of texts and emails from overseas and from people whose first language is not English and we do have to communicate.

^^^ Which, not very long ago, when, I think it was Jodi, used it, I had to ask her for a translation.

# I’m talking to Merrilee tomorrow night and I will have to remember to tell her, since she’s the one dragged me kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, including both this blog and Twitter.+

+ I don’t count Facebook, which I don’t use.  I post the blog links there and if FB is in a good mood and lets me, I read any comments.  But about the seven millionth throw-it-all-up-in-the-air-and-stick-the-bits-to-the-wall-as-they-fall-down-again revision, I mean upgrade, I lost the will to live about all of it.

** And went home with Eleanor after and spent an hour and a half wringing our hands and rending our garments over an incomprehensible political situation that has recently arisen in St Margaret’s.  THIS IS WHY I HATE GROUPS.  THEY’RE FULL OF CRAZY PEOPLE BY DEFINITION.

*** ref comments about saying ‘yes’ to things you think you can do so you don’t get ploughed under with things you can’t, it being the function of a community, including a religious one, to extract as much practical value out of its members as it can.^  St Margaret’s is thriving in a general society where a lot of churches are struggling, and I’m sure one of the reasons why is the bloodhound look in the eyes of the admin as soon as a fresh victim crosses the threshold.  When you sign up to be an official mailing-list member you are doomed.

^ See previous footnote.  Sigh.

† More or less.  Some frelling day I will be able to sit properly at home.  The old Zen-Buddhist, and Zen-Christian, thing is just that every time you’re distracted you bring your mind gently back to your breath, or whatever you’re using as a focus.  If I’m sitting with monks I need to bring my mind back, oh, no more often than thirty-seven times a minute.  At home alone, relying solely on my own resources . . . it’s like trying to whack a manic fly with a flyswatter.  LAND SOMEWHERE YOU DEVILSPAWN SO I CAN NAIL YOU.  Sigh.

†† FRELLING CABLES EVERYWHERE.  MICROPHONES, KEYBOARDS, GUITARS, BASS GUITARS, DRUMS^.  I DON’T THINK THE FLUTE IS ELECTRIC YET BUT I’M SURE IT WILL BE.

^ Or drum accessories.  I don’t think the drums themselves are electrified (? Like I have any idea), but there are certainly cables running (perilously) to the drum kit.

††† This is aside from questions of the quality of the actual music we’re attempting to perform.

 

Tired hellterror. Look fast, the effect doesn’t last.

 

Yesterday was a veeeeeeeery bad ME day and while I did go bell ringing at Crabbiton in the evening it was chiefly because the tower captain is a trifle fierce and has extracted promises out of her regulars, including recent vague wandering semi-alive, semi-conscious and semi-skilled dorks like myself, to let her know if we’re not coming.  If I’ve genuinely got something legitimate on, that’s fine, I know it and I can say so.  But on stupid bad-energy days I keep hoping I’ll start to improve any minute* and then the minutes trickle past and trickle past and on a bad day I’m not too plugged in to the whole time thing either and then suddenly it’s HALF AN HOUR TILL BELL PRACTISE AND I DIDN’T TELL FELICITY I’M NOT COMING SO I HAVE TO HURTLE A FEW HELLCRITTERS AROUND THE BLOCK FOR A PEE AND THEN PELT OFF TO PRACTISE.

Today has been better, but hellcritters might be permitted to feel a trifle aggrieved at their summary and abbreviated hurtling yesterday.  Peter wants to go to the farmers’ market on Fridays, so I bring the hellhounds and we have a nice nonstandard hurtle while Peter buys stuff.  That was them.  They were happy to come home and flop.  I then contemplated the hellterror (who was in my lap at the time) and decided she should have an adventure, so I took her out to one of the countryside walks none of us goes on any more because of the Other People’s Dogs problem.  Pav is very nearly the perfect companion for such an excursion—not quite perfect, there is no perfect when the world is full of idiots and their dogs—because she’s a bull terrier the average moron shudders away from her and makes a more concerted grab for his/her manic off-lead danger to society than he/she would for a mere pair of lurchers/longdogs/large whippety things.  No one is afraid of a mild-mannered sighthound.  Anyway.  If the OHMIGOD IT’S A PIT BULL** WE’RE GOING TO DIIIIIIIIE thing doesn’t work, I can pick her up.  We had several occasions of each this afternoon.

We managed to have a good time anyway.  But here’s the amazing thing:  I wore her out.  I WORE OUT a hellterror.  By the time we got back to Wolfgang she was throwing herself belly-down into the long grass by the side of the track and trying to convince me to carry her the last stretch.  No.  You can walk.  You know there’s foooooooood waiting back at the car—she always gets a little handful of kibbly treats to convince her that climbing into her travelling crate is a good thing—oh, right, fooooooood, she said, and deigned to totter the rest of the way after me.

It took her all of lunch and a half hour’s nap to recuperate. . . .

* * *

* This is not quite as daft and irresponsible as it sounds.  As often as I not I start coming out of an ME haze with a surprisingly graphic sense of my energy running back in, like pouring water into a pitcher.  Sometimes it’s more like fog lifting.  Sometimes it happens faster and sometimes slower and sometimes it’s like WHAM and sometimes it’s pretty subtle—it might  occur to me that I could stop playing Triple Town^ and concentrate on something for example.

^ I CANNOT FRELLING BELIEVE I’VE GOT RE-ADDICTED.  The beastly [sic] game is so last year.  Or last two or three years, I mean, ago, I think.  But I was trying to wean myself OFF all the unblessed word games I was playing too much of+.  And I turned the frelling ninja bears off and suddenly, whammo, I’m frelling playing frelling Triple Town again.++

+ Especially the ones with the really dark background colours so you can get eyestrain while you waste your time?  What a great system.#

# Apparently it never occurred to the designers that old people might want to play their finglegartmore games.

++ And doing a lot better for some reason.  It’s not just lack of ninja bears.  Maybe it’s the boomerang result of Wild Robert trying to teach me to call real touches of Grandsire doubles.  I can call the cheating touch, where you just call yourself in and out of the hunt every other lead, and all you have to keep track of is how many calls you’ve made so you yell THAT’S ALL at the right moment.#  Wild Robert, who is a fiend in human disguise##, wants me to learn to keep track of all the bells and where they are in the pattern so I’m calling from awareness rather than a memorised pattern.  I get this###—it’s the difference between real conductors and people who have memorised a few patterns—but that doesn’t mean I can do it.  Triple Town is just a frelling computer game.  Arrrgh.

# Which I never do.  I usually manage to count my calls accurately but then it’s like, Here?  Here?  Do I call an end here?  —No, you call half a lead ago and now we’re ringing an unscheduled plain course while you feel foolish.  CALL NOW BEFORE WE RING FORTY-SEVEN MORE PLAIN COURSES WHILE YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT IT.  Sigh.  I was not snorfleblasting made to be a conductor.

## And I’m sure he keeps his good humour about teaching an endless array of hopeless dorks by setting those of us with victim mentalities impossible challenges because we’re fun to watch.

### I was thinking last night—blearily—that this conducting nightmare is not totally unlike learning the Samaritan mindset—what the trainers call ‘your Samaritan head’.  You can grasp in principle all kinds of things about offering emotional support, no more and no less, and the minute you’re dropped in a role-play to practise what you’ve just so-called learnt, your frelling mind goes frelling blank.  WHAT DO I SAY NOW.  I am going to be very glad to get my first genuine duty shift over with . . . so it is over with and I can stop frelling obsessing about it.~  The thing about conducting a touch of change ringing is that the worst that happens is a really bad noise that the neighbours may complain of and you decide to stay home henceforth and do more knitting, which is quieter and involves fewer rope burns~~.  With the Samaritans . . . you may actually hurt someone’s feelings.  Eh.  Well, no one was holding a gun to my head when I went along to the info evening, and then along to the flushing out the secret Klu Klux Klan members first-cut evening, and then the interview and now the training. . . . And it’s fascinating.  It’s not cheerful—if everyone were cheerful we wouldn’t need Samaritans—but it is fascinating, and clearly worthwhile, and I’ve always been a (cranky) wet knee-jerk liberal and I’m now a (cranky) Christian wet knee-jerk liberal and although the Samaritans is comprehensively and categorically not a religious organization, still, God told me to do it so I can shut up and get on with it.  Yes sir/madam.

~ Which the trainers say is dead common and not to worry about it.  Try not to obsess, but don’t worry about . . . obsessing.

~~ It is very hard to give yourself a rope burn, bell ringing.  Just by the way.

**  Bull terriers are not pit bulls.  Also just by the way.

A Mixed Ratbag Day

 

IT’S BEEN AN EXTREMELY ARRRGH MAKING DAY.  Starting, as so often, last night.  The Samaritans training is brilliant* but EXHAUSTING and, furthermore, I come home so wound up I can’t sleep.**  So I got to bed very late,*** got up very late, and was still staggering around wondering why the teapot was in the washing machine and where the on switch for the kettle was, when Pooka started barking.  Nooooooo I’m not articulate yet, I tried to say, and failed on ‘articulate’.  URK, I said.  GLORP.  Raphael, who is used to me, said, I have the new frabzle orbling for your printer and I’m in the area, I could drop it round if it’s convenient.  Bromgle? I said.  Glid?  Okay.

. . . While you’re here, I said, letting him in twenty minutes and a major upload of caffeine later, would you mind looking at—?

AN HOUR AND A HALF AFTER THAT†, I am now really far behind, and I was planning on a lightning raid to the garden centre to buy snapdragons before they run out of PINK, and Peter had been swept off to visit distant family for the day by Georgiana who has the stamina of a marathon runner for driving†† so I have to wash my own lettuce for lunch, and the first thing that happens is that I open the refrigerator door at the mews and Peter’s box of eggs, he having been in a hurry that morning and perhaps not putting it back quite scrupulously enough, LEAPS OFF THE SHELF IN THE DOOR AND SPLATTERS ALL OVER THE FLOOR AT MY FEET.†††

Also the hellhounds aren’t eating again.

I didn’t make it to the garden centre.

And I remembered at the last minute that I’d promised to ring bells at Crabbiton again tonight.  I’ve slightly inadvertently made myself a regular.  I’m pretty demoralised about life in general‡, Forza is intimidating, I’m not up for intimidating, the Sams’ usual training evening is also tower practise night and I’m not going to risk ringing Sunday service when I’m not coming to practise.  But I don’t want to lose all that grimly acquired mediocre semi-skill either. . . . I think I’ve told you that Wild Robert has started teaching at Crabbiton again.  So I’ve been going along.

So tonight on the one hand it was AAAAAAAAUGH because I was looking forward to a nice quiet evening at home with my husband and on the other hand it was, oh!  Wild Robert!  A man who can create a stimulating practise out of nothing, as he did last week when there were only four of us and one of us couldn’t ring much, is worth some loyalty, or some getting out of your chair when you don’t want to.  As I should remember from my still-nostalgically-recalled regular practise nights at Ditherington, till the tower captain and the only local who ever came, pulled the plug.  Also, about tonight, I’d promised.

Wild Robert, who is an evil, eyebrow-wiggling ratbag as well as an inspired teacher, made me call a touch of Grandsire, not the relatively easy one where all you have to do is remember the little bit of the overall pattern that you’re comfortingly limited to, but a proper touch where calls dislocate you distressingly too—and I haven’t even called one of the simple ones in years.  My first attempt tonight was a total disaster.  T. O. T. A. L.   Made worse by the fact that only Wild Robert, the tower captain and I can actually ring Grandsire touches, so some of the other people were questing off in interesting directions and had to be hauled back to order by Wild Robert who was also having to unstick me from the brambles and briars about every half lead.

Over the course of the evening I improved.  Somewhat.  But it was such fun.  I used to love bell ringing. . . .

* * *

* And, something I thought I would never say, in part because I’m not in the habit of putting myself in the way of such experiences, I have learnt to love role playing.  I HATE ROLE PLAYING.^  I’m so distracted by how unutterably stupid and phony and useless it is that I absolutely don’t learn anything and I feel unutterably stupid and phony and useless and CRANKY with it, that kind of cranky that makes you feel you don’t fit in your own skin any more, which furthermore has probably broken out into spots of angst and frustration.  Arrrrgh.

In somebody or other’s defense, possibly mine, Samaritans role playing is a lot closer to reality than most of the situations where this mutant device is employed.  You’re pretending to be a Samaritan phone volunteer and one of the real Samaritans^^ pretends to be a caller.  All the trainers have been Samaritan listening volunteers for yonks . . . and I’m also rather intrigued by the apparent strong streak of dramatic flair thus revealed in the Samaritans community.  Granted that when you’re in the hot seat you’re a trifle preoccupied with GLEEP WHAT DO I SAY NOW but we split up in teams so we get to listen as well as (fail to) perform and I’m telling you the trainers are convincing.  They’re working from a script, but since they have to adapt to what the sweating trainees say, they have to be good at thinking on their feet.^^^

But adapting to what someone on the other end of a phone line is saying is, of course, what Samaritans are good at.#  In our introductory evening the presenter said that the listening skills you learn by being a Samaritan do bleed into the rest of your life and if you’re not careful you’ll find yourself being a very popular person for unloading on.  Ha.  I plan to leave my nice, warm, empathetic## self in the cupboard under the stairs at the Samaritans and pick up my cranky cudgel on my way out the door.

^ I don’t remember what I said about the role playing in the Street Pastors training, but it won’t have been friendly.

^^ I should perhaps say real Samaritan organization volunteers to avoid confusion.

^^^ Although we’re sitting down.  Ahem.

# Supposed to be good at.  I’m not amazingly fabulous but I think I’ll make the grade.

## One of the Samaritans’ big deals is empathy.  Sympathy suggests emotional involvement, which is devoutly to be avoided;  empathy is getting alongside someone, seeing their situation from their point of view—which is what we’re trying to do, so we can offer emotional support.

** The worst thing is that WE’RE HALFWAY THROUGH THE FIRST MODULE.  By the end of this month we’ll have our mentors—each new listening^ volunteer has a mentor for the first few duty shifts—and by the end of June we’ll be, you know, live.  EEEEEEEEEEEEP.  Remind me why I thought this was a good idea?

^ Which is what it’s called, although it includes email and texting and the occasional streetmail letter.

*** I like the long evenings, this time of year, but I could really do without the early dawns.

† So there’s this app that won’t load.  He ended up downloading the latest update of the frelling OS to persuade it that Astarte is a happy home for apps, which instantly made every other app say ME ME I HAVE AN UPDATE TOO I WANT MY UPDATE.  A lot of them don’t bother to ask politely first either, they just instantly go into catch-up mode.  I hate opening an app that I can more or less use and discovering they’ve made it new and shiny and thrilling and utterly unfamiliarLife is short.  I don’t want to waste a lot of it learning New and Shiny.  The now-successfully-downloaded app had better be WORTH IT.

†† What with to and from her home as well as the trip itself she must have been behind the wheel seven hours.  I couldn’t drive that far before I had ME.

††† I should have let the hellterror deal with it.  She wanted to.  I thought the eggshells might disagree with her.

‡ We have the head of the local branch of a five-star national home help company, as recommended by Peter’s doctor, coming for a chat and an assessment tomorrow.  Siiiiiiiiiigh.

« Previous Page