I’m only a week late—here’s my 12 of 12 from November 12th, 2015!

IMG_4616.JPG


12:37 am – kitchen. Hello, reminder. Hello, November 12th. [I often ignore these alerts for HOURS…]

IMG_4617.JPG


10:29 am – bedroom. It’s getting to be that time of year… Mittens.

IMG_4619.JPG


11:23 am – bus. My buddy, Murray, Steve’s guide dog. Hard at work!

IMG_4620.JPG



12:11 pm – bronuts.
 Boston creme, aka Edgar? Yes, please!

IMG_4621.JPG


12:20 pm – bronuts. One of the bros brought Murray water :].

IMG_4622.JPG


12:28 pm – King Street. For my friend Riki: yes, Bronuts is wheelchair accessible!

Snapseed.jpeg


1:20 pm – mts centre. The boys (aka Steve and Gerry) and I went to Starbucks and it was very full, so we took our drinks and sat at the far end of the Tim Hortons in MTS Centre.

Snapseed.jpg


3:30 pm – graham at donald. Waiting for my bus to go to work. This post with a graffiti-ed name tag was interesting to me.

IMG_4626.JPG


6:20 pm – respite. You mean you don’t make paper french fries at work?

IMG_4627.JPG


6:30 pm – respite. Apparently the five year old didn’t like some of my shading that got a bit out of control, so I made it better by making the offending french fry have ketchup on it. [I mean, also, when the little one found a freezie and we couldn’t find a second for the 5 year old, I convinced him that frozen bananas were the greatest thing ever… and won him over.]

IMG_4629.JPG


8:50 pm – kitchen. Went shopping on the way home. I’m doing NaNoJouMo (national nonstop [art] journal month], so, I have to give my inner [non-]artist some new tools.

IMG_4632.JPG


10:49 pm – kitchen. My first oil pastel creation in years. I think I had better pastels as a kid, actually…

Part of me has always wanted to be a camp counsellor. Two summers ago, I spent a week at camp as a one-to-one support provider. And there’s a part of me that, yes, was right before going into that: there is a lot of emotional stamina needed to invest in the kids you are leading 24-hours-a-day, and sometimes, it is hard to have that stamina all day. To be able to pour into campers in a meaningful, patient, intentional way all.day.long.

When I saw a posting for a “camp coach” position at a sports day camp for ten-to-fourteen-year-olds with autism, I didn’t hesitate much to apply. I quickly heard back, chatted with the camp director on the phone, we met to talk (remember, my interviews never really end up being interviews properly) at a Tim Horton’s, and here we are a few weeks later, the night before the last day of camp.

Day camp is way more my thing, probably, than overnight camp. I shadow-ish a camper all day, I rotate campers every day, and we have fun. Mostly. Sometimes I feel like I’ve had successes, sometimes I feel like I do not know nearly enough to do this job. I’m learning. I alternate between “it’s only a week” and “I can’t believe there’s only one day left, it’s gone so fast”. The week was packed. I think today might have been the least packed day and really not even because we went to the trampoline park this morning.

I played dodgeball on a trampoline today. I bowled with the other coaches and totally lost with a 91. With bumpers. My camper from day 1 ended up being my camper for half of day 2, and proceeded to call me a monster both days, except he also hugged me because he was so excited about how awesome the bowling alley was. My camper today resisted a lot and then suddenly became a whirlwind of engagement towards the end of the day. I’ve argued. I don’t really argue in a way that is convincing, probably. Come into the gym for two minutes and see what’s going on, just two minutes. You have another minute left to play Lego. I played laser tag for the first time (I was 28 out of 29. I’m a professional). I’ve high fived campers for giving compliments to one another unassisted. One of my Special Olympics athletes is a camper this week, and I’ve had the joy of seeing him smile as he calls “Hi Kerri!” to me whenever I walk by. I played beanbag toss with my camper today for a long time after he tried so hard to get another camper to play with him, they just weren’t interested (it’s really challenging when all the kids have all these goals they want to/should complete and yet are supposed to engage with other campers to check the stuff off their lists. I’ve watched campers practice asking one another to play, practice complimenting each other, help prepare lunch, and test themselves. I’ve watched them be happy and sad and angry and jealous. Food has been thrown and hits have been thrown—and not just in Tae Kwon Do yesterday—and toys have been thrown and things that are meant to be thrown have been thrown. My camper on Monday was surprisingly fond of Shapes (the fitness centre). Camp songs have been sung. Hello, my name is Joe, and I work in a button factory. I’ve got a wife, two kids and a dog, woof. One day my boss says “Joe, are you busy man,” I say “No, man,” He said “Push this button with your right hand. Non camp songs have been sung. Call Me Maybe?! My team got second place in a cup stacking/design tournament and we talked about good sportsmanship again. I’ve felt connected and disconnected and frustrated and elated.

And I still don’t know if it’s for me, but you know what? I’ll never know if I don’t try and I’ll never learn how to be better if I don’t try either. So, one more day, I’ll keep trying. It could be the least or most challenging day yet. And I won’t find out until I jump in there one more time, and give’r. Because hopefully this week teaches the campers a handful of the things it’s teaching me.

At least tomorrow my camper is not taller than me. Unless he grows a foot overnight, anyways—and I might not even allow myself to be surprised by that. Guess it’s called Adventure Camp for a reason. Oh, and if there’s a place to forget to take my Concerta, I guess a camp is a pretty good place—even better when your brain can switch gears as quickly as the campers’.

A camper also told me the pink space car I made out of Lego looked like it was out of Cloud Cuckoo Land from The Lego Movie.

https://i1.wp.com/farm4.staticflickr.com/3690/20132442396_c4e0f7569c.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

I’m not sure I see it anywhere:

But hey, it seems fitting. Pink fun and all.

Also I found this kind of disturbing .gif. While I’ll leave you with. Because WTF.

dinosaur and ronald mcdonald beat up batman, lego version. underneath caption reads

2015, well, like the end of 2014… It’s been a weird year so far. Here we are, nearing the end of February, and unlike how I ambitiously pounced onto soundtracking 2013 and 2014… This year has been much different. It’s like I started the year in either seven different directions, or none at all, and I still have no idea where I’m even attempting to go. Which feels pretty uncharacteristic for me, and I am not sure I really like it.

Which I suppose is why, we start the list of contenders here… with courage and control

Courage and Control – Brandon Boyd.

 

I thought I’d be on track again by the beginning of January. After the first couple weeks into the year, I found myself growing kind of despondent. I’d left 2014 with two of my descriptors—student and childcare assistant—lingering within it. It was a weird feeling, and not having a proper go-to-work job (or have “jobs”, but little/no work), left little to distract from those feelings as I often would do, also not having school to bury myself into.

The boulevard is bustling
A vast and wrinkled muselin
To hold over my eyes and
I know I don’t belong.
There is a noise inside of me
That bustles asymmetrically
Oh, how have I to balance
Those sounds into a song?

It’s time to let your hair down
and give yourself permission
It takes courage and control…
but you start by letting go.

Letting go is hard. Especially when your life is so absorbed in certain things/places/people, and suddenly, they are gone—basically fully, completely gone—and you’re left with thoughts rivalling both the moving part of a massive freeway and a gridlock.

The city’s an analogy
For things building inside of me
This chaos and this discourse
Still we move along.
But chaos sings of symmetry
And all her words are poetry
And that’s the kind of city
Which I want to belong

I know there are better places, things, opportunities ahead. Accepting that the present is what it is, though, and there is little I can do about it. Letting go is very much active, not passive. In January, I finally let go of many things.

All i think,
I feel,
I see.
Oh, that this place
it’s not me.
I want to belong,
but be wild and free

Oh, he who asks
receives. 

And gained others.

 

Of Men and Angels – The Rocket Summer

Around the time I met with Richard in January, this song was rather constantly buzzing its way around my head.

Stop the press, everything a mess
You can look alive, but you are not at rest
and i-ideas, are flowing through your head
a million miles an hour while lying in your bed
A lucid life you never thought you’d lead
Are you working every day, are you working just to bleed?
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know.

Right here, this can be what ADHD feels like. I’ve continued to embrace and grow in my ADHD diagnosis so far this year, and it’s been interesting (another post for another day :].)
This next part, of course, echoes back to the leaving bit of 2014… Because as much as we try, our past is part of us (and, I wouldn’t want that any other way, either).

[…] And feeling you deserve what you heard
But it doesn’t go that way

The rest… Enjoy the ride:

Oh, the tongues of men and angels
I speak like, love, oh love, will I stab you in the back?
Working every day, I forgot to show
What’s most important
—Love.

Here I am, dear Lord,
Tasting hints of fame
I don’t want it anymore
If it’s not You that I gain

Wanna fall at Your feet
Don’t wanna fall from Your peace
I understand.

Have you ever been the man that just ran
When you knew that God was talking?
Have you ever heard His voice through the noise
But just let it get away?

Oh, the tongues of men and angels
I speak like, love, oh love, will I stab you in the back?
How come I go with mine instead of Yours
when Yours is always right,
I’m sorry
, just pour into me
—Love.

A heart at rest is harder now
Don’t let it go away
Hard earn pay, or hard earned pain
Right now they’re just the same
What’s the use, why work so hard
When it’s not what you crave?

When what you need is love.

I also was part of a discussion where I watched a friend lose a friend just by the fact that the friend didn’t believe in accepting love in all forms. And, when discussing love and acceptance, and writing questions on what church is… well, it’s a hard dose of reality to swallow that this becomes the outcome far too often.
 

Blankest Year – Nada Surf.

What do you do when you’ve liberated yourself from thoughts that were dragging you down?

Oh, fuck it.
I’m gonna have a party.

might be a pretty appropriate response. I reflected on the shit—‘cause as unfortunate as it is, it’s part of me—

I had the blankest year,
I saw life turn into a TV show
It was totally weird
The person knew, I didn’t really know.

Time don’t move,
We’re the only ones who do.
Bending reason
‘Cause it’s all we hold on to.

And… I choose how to respond to it.
And grow

[…] But you don’t own me, I’d like to return this spell
‘Cause it’s not my size—
And your lies are so much bigger than my lies
And your ties are made of things that shouldn’t make ties

Oh fuck it,
I’m gonna have a party.

 

Crashin’ – Jack’s Mannequin.

I wanna hear some music,
Now that they’re driving us all underground
Not the radio music
Or their satellites singing this
In this town…
I wanna hear some music,
And with the rock stars, all flicker and fade
Pop radio music,
I’m a ghost overground on, on parade

Crashin’ is a song that really comes down to finding/losing/gaining/discovering identity. 

And even if your voice comes back again
Maybe there’ll be no one listening
And even if I find the strength to stand
It doesn’t mean I won’t go missing

And my world will come crashin’…

And maybe that’s what 2015 is supposed to teach me. That I am not the things I do, I am the things that I am. And even if I am able to do all those things, it doesn’t mean the world will give a shit. I am the reason that I will stay alive (The Energy, AudioVent). The people around me aren’t who I am—I am.

Wanna hear some music
I have been waiting down here for so long
Trying to write this big music

With your breath in my face
But now… but now you’re gone

And my whole world comes down, down
And the words, and all the water on this broken town
The freeway’s just like veins without a heart.
[…]

And even if my voice comes back again
Maybe there’ll be no one listening
And even if I find the strength to stand
It doesn’t mean I won’t go on
And even if your voice comes back again
Maybe there’ll be no one listening
And even if you find the strength to stand
It doesn’t mean you won’t go missing

And the world will come crashin’
And the words will come crashin’
And music comes crashin’
Down on me…
And the words will come crashin’
Down on me. So down on me.

Down on you. 

I’ll get down on myself. I’ll get down on the people around me. But eventually I’ll find my words, my voice, my meaning, my place… again.

 

As it’s only February… I struggle to anticipate how the rest of this year will take shape. And I’m excited about that, that for once, this blank slate can be a gift… because for once, I have a blank slate and can choose to expect nothing. All of these songs might not be in the final soundtrack of 2015… but they’re part of the now. Of course, telling myself that I can expect nothing and actually doing so are two different things… because society, this world, expects different of me, too.

My friend Elisheva has been a long-time guest blogger on my blog(s), because she is awesome. After I announced my new employers (disclosure update, yo), she offered to provide some tips on working from home (which she has much experience in, although has gone back to the office-outside-her-home world [and even got to go on a work field trip the other day]).  Thanks, Elisheva!! (And thanks for the excitement!)

———-

Congratulations to my buddy Kerri on not one, but TWO new jobs!  Yay yay yay!  Hurray!  This is exciting cuz, (a) money, and (b) connections and resume building and (c) getting paid to do things you are passionate about!  (I’m only a little bit jealous…)

 
And now to get on with what this post is actually supposed to be about.
 
I’d welcome you to the world of working from home… but I’m not there anymore.  I do have a bunch of experience in that though.  Unlike me, you will not be your own boss (freelancing sucks!), but many aspects will be the same.  Meaning the not going to the office every day part.  The working from home part.  Yeah, that.
 
One of the biggies when working from home is finding balance.  There are awesome things and there are sucky things.  Sometimes things can be awesome and sucky at the same time.  Observe.
 
1) You can work in your PJs or even naked if you want to. (Woohoo!)  But you can also go for days at a time without ever getting dressed or leaving your house.  (Boo.)
 
2) You have flexible hours and can schedule meetings/appointments/hangouts during the day. (Nice!)  But you can also find yourself working your tushy off evenings and nights to meet deadlines when you’d rather be doing other things. (Damn.)
 
3) You can burp and fart and pick your nose and never brush your hair and no one will know or care.  (Whoa, really?)  But you might lose some or all of your social skills by the time you leave your cave and interact with humanity again. (Bummer.)  Back in my translating days, I sometimes went to translator meetings and was shocked to see how socially awkward some of the long-time translators were.
 
4) You don’t have your boss watching you and breathing down your neck all day. (Freedom!!)  But that means that you are responsible for budgeting your time and making sure things get done. (Uhhh… kay…)
 
5) If you have a pet or a child or a never-ending pile of laundry that needs your attention throughout the day, you can be there. (Convenient 🙂 )  But those things can actually distract you and keep you from getting your work done. (I knew there was a catch.)
 
The following things are also added to the list for freelancers:
 
6) You are your own boss and call all the shots. (Power!) But you also have to take care of all of the bureocracy, taxes, advertising, billing and contact with clients by yourself.  You are the company.  (Sucks.)
 
7) You will have months where you have lots of work and make a lot of money. (Score!)  But you will also have months where you are almost desperate for work. (Ugh.)
 
So basically, if you’re still reading, you should have gathered that depending on how you swing it, working from home could either rock or stink, depending on how you swing it.  You’ll likely experience both.
 
And now, finally, here are some tried and true tips from your buddy Elishevathe Former Translator.  These might not work for everyone, but they worked for me.
 
1) Structure is important.  Even though I could have easily slept in, I woke up at 7 every day and started working by 8.  I tried my best to work standard work hours so that I would be busy at the same time as normal people and free at the same time as normal people.
 
2) Give yourself work space.  Get out of your bedroom if you can.  Working in your room will make you sleepy during the day since you associate it with sleeping and you might have a hard time sleeping at night because you associate it with work.  I worked best while sitting on a chair at the table in the living room.  It kept me from getting distracted or drifting off and it made me feel more professional.  Even better is finding a workspace outside of your home like a library, cafe, or workhub.  Getting dressed and leaving the house will also help you feel more professional.
 
3) Give yourself reasons to be social. Going to work provides people with face-to-face social interaction.  When working from home, it’s important to find reasons to get dressed and leave your house.  Go out with friends, go to cultural events, join a class and/or volunteer for a cause you believe in.  It’s important to keep those social skills in good working order, both for your mental health and in preparation for the day when you no longer work from home.
 
4) Learn about your legal rights.  Just because you work from home and the people you work with never see you doesn’t mean that they can take advantage of you.  Make sure you are getting paid on time and that you are getting treated fairly.  You also are working for one organization in another province and one organization in the US.  I have no idea what the legal or tax ramifications of this would be.  It would be wise to find this out.
 
5) Stand up for yourself at home.  Because I worked for myself and made my own schedule, people in my life tended to occasionally forget that I actually had a full time job and would ask me for favors such as babysitting or picking up things for them in the middle of the day.  Sometimes I would oblige if I could swing it, and sometimes I had to remind them that I actually did have a job and while I could work any time, I really prefered to work normal people hours.  So while they worked at an office and I worked at home, I was working just like they were and deserved not to be bothered.
 
Anyway, that’s all I can think of for now.  Looking forward to hearing great things about these new opportunities, Kerri!  All the best and good luck 🙂

On the 12th of each month, a bunch of bloggers from around the world take 12 pictures of their day and blog them.  Here are my pictures for April 12th, 2013!

IMG-20130412-02859.jpg

9:33 am – vaughan. I was lucky to get my 12:30 doctor’s appointment moved up to 9:30 [also known as “come whenever” because the assistant loves me]. I’m always mildly curious about this store.

Winnipeg-20130412-02860.jpg

9:36 am – doctor. I pointedly ignore this sign. One time, my doctor walked into the office and I put my phone down and took my earphones out of my ears, saying “You know, if I actually listened to those signs and turned my phone off whenever I came in here, I would never get anything accomplished.” My doctor just laughed and told me “That’s fine.”

Winnipeg-20130412-02863.jpg

10:02 am – doctor’s office. I make faces while waiting, apparently.

Winnipeg-20130412-02869.jpg

10:12 am – lab. Classy, Dynacare. Classy.

Winnipeg-20130412-02865.jpg

10:13 am – lab. Doing a full check on the anemia today, apparently. I told the doctor “Okay, if they’re going to take blood, can we check more than just one thing?” Hemoglobin, platelets, ferritin (storage iron), iron and TIBC later. I think Complete Blood Count was checked off somewhere, too.

Winnipeg-20130412-02866.jpg

10:16 am – lab. This process is all very quick after I actually saw the doctor. I got the grown up needle this time. And I got to tell the phlebotomist all about 12 of 12, and she tried to tell me good times to take the pictures so they’d be cool :]. She was awesome!

Winnipeg-20130412-02870.jpg

10:24 am – vaughan. I honestly walked by this puppy in the window, thought it was fake, and had to turn around and do a double take to determine its realness. Verdict: real puppy!

Winnipeg-20130412-02871.jpg

10:35 am – school. Bought my textbooks for my spring course so I could take one of them to Accessibility Services to be sent off to be made into an eText so I can audio-ify it. The AS assistant is awesomesauce, and we had a fun discussion about this course and how she wants to take my books and read them. :] (And Starbucks. And how it needs to be the weekend.)

Winnipeg-20130412-02872.jpg

12:06 pm – boon burger. Best. Vegan burger. Place. Evaaaar. DINOSAURS.

Winnipeg-20130412-02873.jpg

12:39 pm – car. If you have a tea reading done, do you get to drink the tea?

Winnipeg-20130412-02876.jpg

4:14 pm – gym at work. “Miss Kerri! The chicken’s leg fell off! [Gym teacher’s name] puts them on top of her pens when that happens! Put it on your pen!”

Winnipeg-20130412-02878.jpg

5:45 pm – front lobby. Out of work early. Pre-coaching dinner.