Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


Slow Disintegration

I am slowly feeling better. I suddenly had a revelation about what might be causing my exhaustion. Since I was a small child I have suffered off and on from anemia. The main symptoms: physical and mental exhaustion and dizziness. Did I have those symptoms? Yes, indeed. The only problem with being anemic is that I get horrible stomach aches from iron supplements, liquid or pill (believe me, I've tried them all, but if you happen to know of some other form or any ways around problems with supplements, please, I beg you, let me know. Anyway, thanks for the email messages worrying about me! They're much appreciated.

It's funny, I used to have horrible stomach aches when I was a child. I'd double over in pain and slowly rock myself to sleep. Mom would find me lying somewhere in the house and cover me with a blanket. It was only much later, when I started trying to take supplements again a few years ago and I got stomach aches and recognized the pain, that I realized the medication I took to fight my anemia as a child was causing those horrible pains. Everyone thought they were something else.

So I try to deal with it by diet as best I can. Part of the problem is that the food that people tell you are high in iron aren't necessarily. My doctor's assistant told me to eat dried apricots. The only problem is that I'd have to eat dozens to get any real significant amount of iron. Blah.

Anyway, I'm trying to fight this with good diet and it is helping. I've even had some moments when I felt energetic this week!

Things continue to be complicated, though. This morning we were supposed to meet friends for dim sum. I'd really looked forward to it, because I love these friends and I love dim sum. But much to my surprise Maddy didn't wake me up this morning wanting her breakfast. Very strange. Every weekend morning we have this routine where she struggles to wake me up and I finally stagger upstairs to feed her and return downstairs to sleep about another hour and half till she bugs us again. The second time I make Jim go up (we feed them their meals in halves since it helps cut down on the bane of all owners of elderly cats: cat hork. Finally Zach came to yelp at us around 8:00, hours later than they're usually fed.

We panicked. Where was Maddy? Had she somehow gotten locked up in some closet? No, she was just sitting there, breathing shallowly, looking horrible. Jim filled the dishes, and she didn't move. This cat was clearly sick.

So, with a bit of waffling back and forth, we called our friends to postpone dim sum, called the emergency vet, and took her in. She perked up a bit on the way in, and the vet couldn't find anything obviously wrong with her other than her chronic asthma, so when they suggested other, expensive tests, we thought about whether it would hurt her to wait a day for the tests and decided to bring her home. This didn't turn out to be a disaster, thank heaven, as she seemed okay but tired when we got her home, and she ate then and later, at dinner. She slept a lot, but that's not unusual, and later she seemed quite able to jump onto the loveseat and park herself there.

I'm still going to make an appointment to have our regular vet look at her tomorrow. She's getting close to 14 years old, and is on medication for her asthma that can cause problems, so I'd like to know if anything obvious is up with her.

Oh, and our washing machine is leaking from underneath. Another thing to research and then call the experts in on.

Well, here's to a quiet, productive week. I've got loads to do.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


I got a few discs I decided to buy based on downloaded MP3 files. Larissa Dalle does a stripped down melodic kind of pop, a little like the best of Cat Power. Her sound is offbeat but caught my attention on first listen to the sound files. I recommend her eps (she has 3) to anyone interested in untraditional pop.

I got another couple of discs from Karling Abbeygate and the Monks of Doom (great band name, eh?). The first one was a slight disappointment, but I like the second, more recent one, pretty well. The songs I downloaded right now seem the strongest on the disc, but that could be familiarity. Hers is a more full band sound than Larissa Dalle, but her voice is even more quirky, Kate Bush quirky.

JR's new disc arrive this week, too. It's wonderful, and slowly coming into focus in my head. She has such a strong voice and her songs grow on me, too. I had the opportunity to see her live last night, when I went to the launch for a local literary magazine, LitRag that has two of my poems in it. JR started the evening with a great short set, then I and another poet in the issue read our poems, and then I went home to crash and missed the final band. Anyway, JR's work is highly recommended.

last week's listening § next week's listening


On another rec.arts.sf.composition recommendation, I just finished Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night. It's a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery (not that I have read others), but focuses on his partner, who has gone back to her college at Oxford for a reunion and gets caught up in helping the administrators find someone who has been sending poison pen letters. As with many mysteries, the mystery itself isn't all that much of a revelation (I guessed the guilty party fairly early due to some telegraphed hints) but the characters and setting are the main intriguing features, where the partner (I'm embarrassed to admit that her name has fallen out of my brain, blame the anemia) struggles with her feelings for Wimsey, and Oxford in the 30s feels quite vividly portrayed. Overall I enjoyed it and found it thoroughly pleasant, but I wasn't overwhelmed.

R.E. Klein's the history of our world beyond the wave is one of those odd novels where the events of the story feel like a crust and underneath the crust there appears to be only symbolism with none of the depths of character or setting. I enjoy these novels but never get caught up in them--I think because I'm more interested in characters than symbolic cyphers. Still, the events were entertaining and the novel kept my interested to the end. A quick, odd read.

Susan Cooper's young adult novel, King of Shadows was truly wonderful. It took me a while to get this one, because I thought I'd already read it--the premise sounded so familiar--because another young adult author I like, Welwyn Wilton Katz published a similar novel a few years ago, Come Like Shadows. Anyway, this is the tale of a young actor about to play Puck in the rebuilt Globe Theatre in London who finds himself at the original Globe Theatre in Shakespeare's time. He finds that he is a player borrowed to play the role of Puck to Shakespeare's Oberon. What is so lovely about this book is how in such a short novel Cooper manages to get the world to feel real, get us to empathize with the characters and feel caught up in their turmoil, and give a satisfying explanation for the strange turn of events, if not exactly a detailed explanation of how it was accomplished. On top of this, there's just something about the best of Cooper's writing--something in this one gave me the same feeling as her wonderful Dark is Rising series.

Late last night I finished reading Franny Billingsley's The Folk Keeper, another young adult novel that I liked quite a lot. The story takes old folklore tropes and handles them in a new and intriguing way. Corinna, disguises herself as a boy, Corin, is a folk keeper--that is, she uses tricks and bravery to keep the wild folk (the "little people", the Sidhe) from harming people too much. Her life changes when she is taken to a manor on an island to become their folk keeper. What is best about this book is how we see everything filtered through the keeper's eyes--in fact, the book is her keeper's journal, and we see her learning more and more about herself as the book continues. Delightful and inventive.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Yet again I have to say that NAA (Novel Avoidance Activity) won this week. My NAA of choice this week was fiddling with my Scotland poems to see if I could (1) get a submission out the door and (2) see if I had enough to put a chapbook together for a contest. The answer was no, and no, at least not so far. Damn. Unless I can get two recalcitrant poems to start behaving themselves.

By the way, novel activity still happens, even during this long long spell when I haven't actively worked on it. It's always in the back of my mind--why else would I mention it so often here--and I keep having ideas about how to resolve it. This must be one of the most thought-about novels ever. Too bad it's not all written yet. Soon.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

October 1976

530. What to do

I can sit here and write forever, lose myself in my pen. Spill so many words on the page i don't have to at look at myself. Oh, i could do homework. But i dont want to have to stop and think. For even a second. Either there's all hope or none.

531. Write forever

Yes, i think i'll sit and write forever. (Why not?) I'll just pour myself onto these pages and collection spiritual cobwebs. God i'm going to do it. I'll trust You for a miracle. Starting now. I could be so happy forgiven.

532. Maybe it's time

Maybe it's time to shut up and rest now before there's nothing left of my pain. Pain. is beautiful, because it too is a part of joy, and i believe (somehow, thank you Lord) that this pain will somehow stretch itself into joy. I believe. (I believe i'm trying to convince myself that i believe.)[1]

533. No one

[Quote omitted from a song I can't remember the details of about no one else ever doing because of wanting one person.] and you want me, i just don't know how. I want it right, His way. Not our way, the way it has and hasn't been going. Is there a hope to change it? Acknowledging the mess we made is a start. But you don't want to even try. It's too easy for you to just cop out. Dammit, i'm ready to try, with His strength. I want it, and i want it right. Not sick like the pain from last night. Last night when i felt nothing. Especially not this mess.[2]

534. Looking

I'm looking for a way to change you, make you real, and make things right. I don't want my time to be wasted. But it has to be too late, too wrong by now to turn it right. Just too many mistakes.

535. A couple of hours later

It's only a couple of hours later, and i'm feeling better, but a little wiped. (As always.) Wondering how much is possible in how much time? How can i keep from blowing it further? How can i get him to accept? Bleeding a bit, deep inside, wanting, reaching, and getting burnt.

536. What does it mean?

What does it mean? <-- good question. Today i'm totally lost in my mind and emotions, lost in myself and i hate it. Yuck! S'there. Don't have too much to say now but babble.

537. Realize

I must come to terms with last night's mistake. Forget about the perhapses and get into what happened and what to do about it. [Quote omitted from Larry Norman's "Six O'Clock News".] Patience is always so painfully learnt.

538. Phono existence

Phone, you've existed for a little over two years (now you're beginning to walk and talk by yourself). It's rolled around to that time of year again--i'm another year older today.[3] Yes, i have gray hairs, too. What a drag, i wish i could still get as excited over birthdays as i used to. Too much of a thrill now. This year only means i can vote. Maybe today means back to the drawing board. Re-create myself (again).

539. Crazy weekend

It was a long weekend, a crazy running around, doing weekend. Friday (birthday) after class visited Grandmother (Great Aunt there)[4] then pick Paul up from work, home to feed dog, dinner at Paul's, then to hospital to see sick Seed-friend (new member), then Seed for end of staff meeting (roses for me!) Then evening with Paul. His sister [5] was staying with someone else for the night, so quiet evening.

540. Saturday and Sunday

6:30 fog drive, remember always, downtown, wander around, home to make dinner with help of Laura and Chris[tina]. Gag for dinner, then to hospital for visit, home for J.C. Superstar on T.V., it was terrible, bored, turned it off.[6] Laura Left, Chris[tina] to bed, talk with Paul, drive him home. Sunday morning to church, home to write essay, scramble, think, and write all day, then pick up Paul, Young Peoples', home, finished essay.


1. Well, that's telling, isn't it? Moments like this increased.

2. Clearly addressed to Paul regarding another one of our attempts to try our relationship again which always ended in sex and guilt.

3. This would be my 18th birthday.

4. Wow, this is hard to fathom. Grandma has been dead so many years already, and my Great Aunt, too. And now I'm a great aunt myself 23 years later.

5. Hey! Phono's first mention of Christina, who shortly after became, and still is, my bestest friend.

6. This is a big turnaround from a couple of years before when it was my favourite movie and I saw it again and again. Just the narrow-minded Xtian perspective I had then. Well, maybe not, as I still find it unwatchable.

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