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retrospective: old journal

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Les Semaines



Out Of It

Mom's visiting, but I have been sick with a horrible cold that doesn't let me sleep. The instant I relax and drift off to sleep the crud in my throat starts me coughing. I've had only a couple of solid hours of sleep for the last week. This isn't good. Luckily Mom has been sleeping a lot, too, and doesn't demand that we entertain her. We've been watching a lot of movies on DVD. We ran a bunch of errands before I got too sick, and I'm glad I did them, because it was things like getting traveller's cheques for my trip.

I leave for Scotland Tuesday, cough or not. Most likely cough. I'm so exhausted; I can't believe I'm going.

Sophie and the shoeSophia trying on my shoe for size.


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Not much time to listen to new discs but we've both been fascinated by the techno-folk of Jim Moray. Traditional songs with new touches. Just delightful.


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Patricia A. McKillip's In the Forests of Serre is one of her lovely, lyrical fantasy novels. In it is a witch with chickens and a house that runs around on her legs, an old wizard, a young wizard, a lovely princess, a broken-hearted prince, a nasty king, and more. I really enjoyed this, though was more captivated by Ombria in Shadow (see my January 27, 2002 for comments about this book, and my June 25, 2000 and February 16, 2003 entries for comments on other novels by her.)

I also re-read Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, as I really wanted to go and see the movie, but my cough prevented me. This novel is so funny and such a delight. About a young woman in the 1930s with aspirations to being a writer, who lives in a tumbledown, freezing castle with her strange and charming family.

Also read a young adult fairy-tale re-telling, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, who is also a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Montana. I would like to say that I'd liked this better than I did but somehow it just never got off the ground of me--no sense of wonder and magic, though an interesting plucky heroine, and the familiar tale of the princess who is disguised as a goosegirl and her talking horsehead. I think this one flinched too much. While there were things to admire they never quite lived up to their potential and there were plot holes a mile wide.

Samuel R. Delany's Nova is an odd, fascinating SF novel. It's the far-future story of Corporate and personal battles. It looks at history, art, technology and characters through an interesting lens. Highly recommended.

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No, not yet.

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Retrospective: old journal

Jim's and my visit to England with Christina, February 1991

Friday, February 15, 1991

Plane ride long, but interesting people--Eric, a young black accountant, Janice who works in downtown Seattle, and Ron, a sessional drama professor from the University of Lethbridge.
     Christina met us at Gatwick and we took the train to Victoria Station then a taxi to the hostel.
     At Victoria Station with my suitcase on its lead we were following Christina, and I was asking if she'd ever read Make Way for Ducklings while walking behind some bobbies (one of them moved).
     After settling our bags there we took the subway to Charing Cross and went to St. Martins-in-the-Fields--went inside and looked around first--gorgeous plastering--then down into the crypt.
     After going through the crypt (the stones in the floor), the bookstore with lots of Morris bits and a brass rubbing sale.
     We went into the National Gallery and got to see a Van Gogh to Picasso exhibit--with a van Gogh of a part, a sketch of a field he'd given to Theo, a few Seurats--one of which showed models in front of his painting, Picasso's dancing folks, and a bather washing her foot--and a woman in a coat with Mickey Mouse on it. We were reeling we were so tired.
     Walked through Trafalgar Square--rainy and bits of snow about through Whitehall area, old Scotland Yard, to the Embankment--light standards with the fishies with little dog faces and the sphinxes with the tits holding up the benches. There we saw Cleopatra's Needle (which had to be fished out of the Bay of Biscay when they were bringing it back from Egypt), through the Temple Court area, by the Old Bailey, went past King's College and tried to see Roman Baths there but we didn't have a flashlight, through Chancery Lane through to the Strand, north to Holborn. Went on Holborn to a bookstore, detoured through an alley that I had to see, ended up in Covent Garden where we checked out a few delis where Jim let a pigeon into a deli. Had dinner at Crank's--soup and heavy bread. Then we walked from Covent Garden to the station and fell asleep. Woke up later enough to get undressed and under the covers.

The cast of characters:



ChristinaChristina inside the British Museum.


JimJim in Bloomsbury.


meMe in the midst of suitcase detrius at our hostel.


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