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Les Semaines

02.08.25

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

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Scraps of a Week

Monday morning I took Zach to yet another vet appointment, this one with an expert in thyroid problems. Unfortunately, he couldn't tell much more than our regular vet could and so we don't know if this is one of Zach's problems or not. We will likely try the medication for a couple of weeks just to see how it affects him and if it seems to be helping at all.

Mom went with me for the drive up to the vet clinic, and waited patiently in the car for us. Back at home we sat around, had lunch, and wondered what to say to each other in the few minutes we had left before I had to take her to the ferry to go home to Dad and the dogs. There's always this feeling that we need to take advantage of having the time together, but neither of us really felt like we had so very much to say, other than the pressure of our time together running out. This led to profound conversations, like this one.

Me: So my marriage is doing fine. How about yours?
Mom: Mine's fine, too.
Following: peaceful silence.

Tuesday I didn't quite know what to do with myself. I always feel a little at a loss when visitors who have been here for a while leave. I get started in a new routine, that gets suddenly broken when they leave. Added to that, I was feeling a touch under the weather, and so wasn't ambitious enough to start the painting I need to do or anything like that. Messed about on the computer most of the day, until the day had disappeared on me. Argh. My contacts did arrive, though, so I'll be able to see for the next year. Good news!

Wednesday the only incident I remember is with a wasp that Sophia was chasing in my study. She almost got it, but it escaped and so I thought I would try to get it myself. I got the fly swatter that came with the house (the people who previously owned it left it behind) and whacked at the thing, frightening Sophia away along the way. It flew away but I finally tracked it down again on my study chair and whacked it several times until it stopped moving. I thought I'd killed it, and so brought it into the bathroom to dump in the toilet. Jim--who happens to have stepped on a yellow jacket nest in his youth and so has a healthy dislike of wasps--was about to start his shower. Then the wasp resurrected itself and flew off. So did a mostly naked Jim. [Hey!]* I looked for about ten minutes but couldn't find the wasp anywhere and finally gave up. Then Jim went back to have his shower [TMI]* and found the wasp in the medicine cabinet [And believe that was a surprise]. He vacated the premises and I finally whacked and killed that wasp! (What a hero I am!) [Mine!]*

Thursday Tamar came over for dinner and Jim barbecued steaks out on the grill. [Yum]* There's something quite wonderful about grill season--maybe that it will soon be over and you can be all nostalgic while it's happening, doubling the pleasure of the experience--or something like that. I still hate cleaning the grill, though the results are definitely worth it.

Friday I got all prepared to paint the trim on the west side of the house--I had the ladder set up, everything prepared and at hand, and discovered that he still needed to do a bunch of priming and caulking. Damn. So, in a cranky mood, I put everything away again. And somehow the rest of the day disappeared somewhere between working on ectophiles' guide stuff and various other things.

Saturday I spent most of the day being ballast on the tall ladder as Jim painted first the top trim on the south side of the house, and then primed and caulked on the west side. It was hot and sunny for most of it, so I wore my new hat that Mom bought me while she was here for my upcoming birthday and sunglasses and stood on the bottom of the ladder while Jim climbed around and painted. It's really hard on the back, standing that way. We kept going until about 8:00 when it finally started getting dark. Then we ordered take out Thai food and ate it and collapsed in front of the TV set. Brainless, too-much-sun-headed wonders.

Today I spent most of the day putting the first coat of paint on the trim on the west side of the house. It's dark now, and I've had a shower and my arms ache, and I'm sleepy. Tired tired tired.

Our friend Zac stopped by for a second and we ate dinner and I need to phone my father because it's his birthday, but then I sleep.

NOTE

*Dammit, Jim was at my computer! I asked him to turn off the mp3 player and he read my private journal! TMI=too much information.

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Listening

Working on some files for The Ectophiles' Guide, I rediscovered some wonderful things, most especially Mary Margaret O'Hara's Apartment Hunting Soundtrack. MMOH as she's often called (or M2OH), is a true original--there nothing quite like her music. As one ectophile said "she stutters like a ballerina pirouettes". Amazing.

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Reading

Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion is her second stand-alone fantasy novel. (See my June 9th entry for my comments on the most recent of her Miles Vorkosigan series and a list of comments on the rest of that series.) In this a soldier from a noble family returns home after being captured after a battle and being sold as a galley slave to suddenly find himself some luck and a job as secretary/tutor to his old employers' granddaughter, half-sister to the current king. He discovers the entire royal family is under a curse and that the gods are helping guide him toward removing it. This is a well-told, captivating novel and is just as much fun as her Vorkosigan novels. Recommended.

Also, while standing as ladder ballast, I finally finished Hiromi Goto's The Kappa Child, which I'd been working on for a while in between library books. This is the story of a Japanese woman, one of four sisters, who grew up in a family that emigrated to B.C. and then to Alberta, where her frustrated and abusive father tried to grow rice on the prairies. Water, of course, (or lack of it) is the focus. As an adult the woman finds herself going through an odd pregnancy, as she deals with her memories of her childhood. A strange but rewarding novel.

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Writing

TEXT

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Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

April - May 1985

1396. In my room alone
April 16, 1985

Days of heat and then days of wind. Tonight I am in my room alone. In my room alone. Jim is tracking me down with his headphones on. O leave me alone! I want to be in my roomalone. With Bryer, maybe. O marriage is a terrible thing. This pen, not my usual favourite, is unforgiving. Too thin, doesn't shape the letters enough.
     Many traffic sounds out the door.
     I like Dalbello. Tough music, the sound of this spring.
     Cats are outside and it is spring indeed.
     O spidery scrawl.
     Reread Pilgarlic the Death [1] last night. Still still wonderful. Even the purple parts that bothered me the first time I read it had their purpose.
     O my life in my room alone. Too many of these. O well O well O well like the song.

1397. The very tail end
April 21, 1985

of an extremely non-productive weekend. Full of interruptions and slight touches of illness. Bad dreams and restless nights. Read a lot, of course. Reread some Murdoch [2] and read Golding's The Paper Men, which Mom sent. A while back. Ironed and washed. Need to shave the legs if I'm going to wear nylons, but maybe I won't Pisssssss Pifffff.

1398. Sunday desperate night
April 28, 1985

Another Sunday desperate night because I know I'm not going to write a poem. It's warm and windy and has been all day and the start of daylight savings. I am too stupid. Dull and stupid and my only life now is reading because I do not write. I cannot. At the appointed time my head is full of dust and confusion--mind you, I never was one for appointed times and schedules as Jim is. Who at the very writing of his name must appear and disturb me.

1399. Remember
May 5, 1985

"Remember the earth whose skin you are" Joy Harjo.
     And all the everyday shit which keeps me from it and all I allow myself and all that cannot be shaken and all the lack of answers or even of the right questions. I cannot write. I have nothing to say. Would I write of Kathie and Bryan and typing and filing and the smell of the new office? I choose myself away from this. I choose.

1400. Attempt
May 5, 1985

Your skin smells of dust and sleep
and you're taking a route out of
your dreams, not caring that this chill
morning air is the first sentimental
ache of spring.
Out of my hands already and away, becoming not what I intended. W.S. Graham and the beast in the space but this beast invading my own words and taking over destroying. [3]
     Has attempt anything to do with a tempt?


NOTES

1. An obscure but wonderful Canadian novel by Bernard Epps.

2. Iris Murdoch.

3. I'm referring to W.S. Graham's wonderful poem, "The Beast in the Space" which talks about the distance between the writer and reader and the transformations that can take place in the space between them.

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