Les Semaines


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



Getting to know Sophia better. She's settling in quite well, but has all those kittenish quirks that we keep wondering whether they're because she's a kitten or because of her history. She was having some bowel irregularities (I'll spare you the details) but I was alarmed enough that I made an immediate vet appointment, and she met our vet long before I'd hopes she would have to. We're not sure what's causing the bowel problems--maybe it's her diet--but we also discovered that the incision from her spaying and hernia aren't healing very well, so she's on antibiotics for that and we gave her a tapeworm pill, just in case that's the problem. We'll be watching her to see what's up with this. I hope she gets better.

Going to the vet's was very emotional for me--we were in the same room where we watched Maddy die. The vet suggested we go into the other examining room, but I wanted to get past it because I hate thinking of myself as someone who has to do things like avoid certain rooms, so I just cried off and on. I felt stupid because I couldn't control it, but at least I wasn't sobbing. The weird thing is that I wasn't really aware of being as sad as I must have been. Maybe sad is just a little too natural for me right now.

One thing the vet told us, though, is that Sophia's a little older than we thought because she's losing her baby teeth--she's closer to six months than to five, which means that her frame is pretty much as big as it's going to get. She'll gain a little more weight (she weighs five pounds and a half ounce and will probably get up to eight pounds), but she's overall going to be a tiny cat. Wow. I can't quite fathom that. Maddy and Zach were both around thirteen pounds, and when Maddy was on steroids for her coughing she'd get up to fourteen.

Just last night we let her out into the rest of the house for the first time, and she officially met Zach--in that they locked eyes and hissed at each other. She had fun exploring more of the house, but kept having to run back to her safe room. We're going to keep letting her out for a while every night that we're both home. I hope they can get used to each other without too much trauma, and it certainly would be nice if she could be a companion for Zach. He's been very lonely.

Anyway, just to show that my whole life isn't filled up with thinking about cats, I guess I'll talk about something else. Hmm. I could talk about spring. Last week the pear tree in our backyard and the plum tree in the front were in full gorgeous bloom and we had magical sunny warm weather. Lots of birdsong. I love spring. Today is one of those days where it moves from sunny and warm to cold and rainy in the space of an hour. Then an hour later it's back to sunny.

That's definitely spring in Seattle.

We have a new neighbour. She took possession of the house next door that had just been renovated this week. It's odd because the house is so very much like ours on the main floor that it feels very strange when we go inside--like seeing our house in a different universe. Ours has a couple of nicer touches, like coved ceilings and pretty tiles around the fireplace and our kitchen is arranged a little differently so the frig fits in better, but her place has a finished upstairs and downstairs. It makes me wish we had more money and could fix up our upstairs and particularly downstairs. We sleep in the basement and while our room's okay, the walls are made of beaverboard, which is soft sawdust stuff--not real plaster and lathe like the main floor or wallboard as in most contemporary houses. Getting to the bedroom we go down our not-well-made stairs and through an area that has no ceiling, and our bedroom ceiling is ugly. We built a nice bookcase in down there and put nice carpet in, but it definitely needs more windows. For some reason I can't bring myself to put all the pictures up we usually have in there, so they've been sitting on the floor for almost five years since we finished painting the room after our flood the year we first moved in.

I can't believe that in a few weeks we'll have lived in this house six years. We're so damn stable after moving every couple of years for so long and changing jobs all the time. Six years in one house. Ten years in one job. This is what age does to you! And dammit, I'm content. Maybe that's the worst evil of all. Contentment was never what I was looking for in life, but I must say I'm enjoying having it. It makes it easier to do the real work.

So back to cats (obsessed? me?): here are some bad photos (I was too close, of course) of Sophia, just to show you what she looks like.
Sophia pausing Sophia pausing in the midst of playing fishing for cats. Or rather, we were fishing for cats. And look, we caught one.

Sophia playing Sophia in the midst of play. Notice the fluffed-out tail, though you can't see its striped tip. By the way, that mousie is DEAD.

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


Continuing to absorb the new Laika and new Broadcast discs, and Jim continues to obsess on Gung Ho, the new Patti Smith. Got a couple of new discs but they haven't settled into regular play yet, they're things i picked up because I got obsessed with mp3s by the artists--a couple of albums by Dudley, quirky folky/rock stuff, and by Pamela Zero, quirky experimental/a cappella stuff that's sometimes reminiscent of madrigals. More listening required.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Sean Stewart is one of the fantasy writers I most admire. While his books aren't perfect, they are ambitious, creative, and definitely written for adults--something I greatly appreciate. His new one, Galveston, is no exception. This is another story, like Resurrection Man and The Night Watch, set in a world after a time when magic has swept over the early twenty-first century like a tide. This is set a generation after the events, where various places, like Galveston, has an uneasy balance between the places where magic is and isn't. They've managed to mostly exile all the magic for the time it took for a generation to grow up, but now their leader is dying, and her daughter, is trying to make a deal with the magic to let her mother live. It sounds complicated and it is, but not confusing and the story is absorbing and well-told. Recommended.

I read Sheri Reynolds' The Rapture of Canaan because I'd liked her more recent novel, A Gracious Plenty, so much. This was difficult to read because it was about a young girl growing up in a fundamentalist Christian group, with strict laws about how to follow God (I find these things painful to read, given my history poured out in The Phonosnout.) But Sheri Reynolds writes beautifully and her characters are captivating, and I found myself caught up in the story despite my distaste. One especially interesting thing: Reynolds got the specifics of her group's idiosyncracies from research into medieval Christian beliefs and behaviours.

Jane Yolen's young adult fantasy series, Tartan Magic, is shaping up to be enjoyable. I read the first two, The Wizard's Map and The Pictish Child, but I don't know how many more she plans to write in this series. It's about a family who go to visit Scottish relatives and wind up finding out about Scottish magic. The story focuses mostly on Jennifer, but her twin brother, younger sister, their parents and their Scottish relatives are all involved as they family keeps running across magical items that bring them in contact with magicians and witches and Scottish history. The books a little thin and quick and light on detail as they're written for a younger audience--I would say even younger than "young adult", but with enough interesting events to hold attention.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Two poems just came out in the most recent issue of TickleAce, a literary journal out of St. John's, Newfoundland.

Progress on the novel is slow and fragile; I feel as though I'm just stretching my wings and that each sentence completed is a gift that I struggle toward. It feels odd--I can hardly believe how slowly I'm working but am delighted that I continue working. Each word is a victory against sloth and distractions.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

November 1976

641. Nothing means anything

Nothing means anything, and everybody belongs to everybody else. I have no more rights to anything but everyone has rights to me. They devour me and leave just a piece for sadness. (While sadness laughs and dances, she doesn't know) ...love was alive. I was alive... once. I knew what i had but i still didn't know how to handle it. These dreams have got my mind.

642. Going to disappear

I'm going to disappear into Phono. (I'm half gone already!) I'm a hider and i'll hide away (given the reason or half the chance). I'm also a dreamer, and the dreams carry me away, so i can hide farther than i thought. (Am I going to find Evacuation Day [1]? Maybe... i'll know in a while [when i'm gone]).

643. Somewhere

Somewhere there's got to be a place i can be without hiding. Anywhere i think of, there's something to hide from, some reality i must escape. My weakness grows as i dream on, and time shrinks slowly. Time. Yuck! Time has so much to say about itself. I have so much emptiness to say about time. Going riding travelling far away, you can't reach me there.

644. Take me down

[Long quote from a Christian rock song about asking to be drowned omitted.] Paranoia will still return again....

645. Everything

[Entry consists entirely of quotations from Larry Norman's "Baroquen Spirits".]

646. Can't believe

I can't believe how i've managed to avoid thinking in the last while. Must be some kind of world record. I'm getting so good i can even think completely around the whole issue without touching it. Sometimes (excelsior!) i can even work from the inside of the issue and jump away before it starts to work on me.

647. Unless something better

Unless something better comes along, i'm going to sit at home, and get steadily more bombed. I'll stare at On Liberty[2] until midnight, then crawl off (with whatever's left of me) and die. (I sure hope something better comes along!) [Quote from a Larry Norman song about being the sole survivor omitted.]

648. Too much down

There's too much down these days; too little up. Haven't met depression so head on in a long time. We're fighting it out and depression's winning (stronger than i). I can't stand much more of this, it's got to end soon, there's got to be magic morning, i can't believe it's taking so long. I want the dawn, i want the Son!

649. In this darkness

In this darkness, i remain the executioner.. there's not much left than that. So little more than darkness here. Only a brief flicker of light, so sad it's almost dying. I wish i understood this scraping of the bottom (but again if i understood it, i wouldn't be there).

650. Be ready

In these days almost anything can, and will, happen. Nothing is predictable, except the fact that it isn't predictable. All the data cannot form a meaningful answer. All meaningful answers cannot form data. Particularly data for predictability. Expect the unexpectable. Prepare for the improbable, or better yet, the impossible. Stand on firm ground, and be prepared for it to disintegrate under you.

651. Same old story

It's the same story, but this time i've got a different part (at least the words are different). The cast is changing; there are a few people in recurring roles, but even that is ending. Most of my energy goes into learning my lines. The dream suffers as i pace, throwing words at my heart. So little really matters. What is important?

652. I talk

I talk to Gerry [3], I talk to Jon [4]. I tell them more of the basics than i tell Judy [5]. They all try to reach me. But we talk on the wrong level. The game hasn't remained the same. I'm glad that he's almost gone beyond reach. I reaching anew. In different directions. (Up, down, all around everywhere but where it matters). But nothing really matters until the dawn. But the dawn is really too long in coming. I can't bear to wait much longer. (Baroquen spirits, call me to the garden!)


1. Christian rock singer Randy Matthew's term for the Rapture when Christians get taken up into heaven.

2. Hume. For my Philosophy class.

3. See my January 10, 1999 entry for my first mention of Gerry.

4. See my July 25th entry for my first mention of Jon.

5. Judy was a friend from university. I lost track of her before I even finished, I think.

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