what I'm thinking and doing

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retrospective: old journal

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Les Semaines



Heading Toward the Holidays

Tuesday was a day of wind and rain. Wind all day, rain nearly all day. But there was a spell when the wind had blown all the clouds away, and the sun broke out. The light was magic.

People talk about how gray it is here and the lack of light. Maybe it's because I grew up in this climate and it's what I'm used to, but I mostly find even our grayness pretty bright, and sunny breaks happen often here. They're miraculously beautiful.

Wednesday I realized that I have a serious problem with my new office. Serious for me, but I don't think there's any solution to it. I've been annoyed all along by broken concentration by the many meetings in the conference room just outside my office, and the conversations that take place loudly across it. The conference table isn't more than two feet away from my door. Before this it had just been annoying. I closed my door, and opened the window to the interior of the building. But now it's too cold to do that. Today there was a three-hour meeting there. To get out of my office I had to ask someone to shift himself because I couldn't get past him without him moving himself and his chair, so after a few times in and out I got tired of it and decided to try to just stay put until quitting time.

After an hour of this I started to get a tight feeling behind my breastbone. During the third hour it started to actually hurt and I couldn't stand it anymore, I had to get out of there. Right away. I felt like I was on the verge of screaming. I hope this is simply annoyance aggravated by not having enough sleep and feeling pressured by the short amount of time I have to get the place cleaned up before Mom and Dad get here for Christmas. But I fear not. I think this is claustrophobic anxiety.

The bad thing is that moving back to my old office isn't an option and wouldn't be any better now that they've closed off the big window. And there isn't anywhere else to move that would have any privacy at all, which I need for the confidential material I have on my computer and for students to be able to speak to me about confidential matters. And there's no way they're going to stop having meetings in the conference room; there isn't anywhere else for them.

So I'm stuck. I'm hoping that two weeks I now have off from work will clear this up and blow it away, right out of my mind and gone. There's no good solution to this other than not having.

It's funny, the first couple of times I described what had happened (to Jim and to friends) my throat tightened up and I felt like crying. It's getting easier as I talk about it more, but yes, it clearly was some kind of anxiety attack. So, damn.

In other news: the silver was polished, the cookies were baked, the house was been cleaned within an inch of its life (so clean!). We even had time to got and see Return of the King on Friday. Then my parents and their two dogs arrived Saturday. So the house isn't so clean away, and is full of stuff. Now to buy a tree and decorate and make it really Christmas.


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



Gods I hate holiday music. This makes shopping this time of year into more of a chore than it needs to be. There's nothing like bright chipper music to make me feel all ha bumhug. Our grocery store is the worst offender.


last week's listening § next week's listening



Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife is a quick entertainment for such a thick novel--I was amazed at how quickly I read it. It's about a man who has a genetic abnormality that causes him to spontaneously time travel, and it's about the woman who loves and marries him. They met when she is a child, when his older self visits her periodically as she grows up. They meet in real time when she is in her early twenties, and at the time the he that he is at that age hasn't met her yet and doesn't recognize her, but their relationship still is immediate and powerful. As I read this I thoroughly enjoyed it. A few niggles about the depth of characterization and some overly repetitive bits, but overall good fun and a really cool idea. I wish I'd thought of it myself.

Swan Sister, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is a collection of retellings of fairy tales for children. I love this type of story and the Datlow/Windling anthologies, and this was no exception. My favourites here were Midori's Snyder's "Golden Fur", Christopher Rowe's "The Children of Tilford Fortune," Kathe Koja's "Lupe", and Tanith Lee's "Awake" (which was especially wonderful to me as I often have trouble with Tanith Lee's work [I'm not sure why]). See my October 27, 2002 entry for comments on a previous antholgoy of theirs.)

Firebirds is an anthology of short fantasy and science fiction for young adults edited by Sharyn November. I really enjoyed this collection and found every story interesting. Here my favourites were Delia Sherman's "Cotillion" (a Tam Lin story--Tam Lin is one of my favourite tale patterns), Sherwood Smith's "Beauty", Patricia A. McKillip's "Byndley", Garth Nix's "Hope Chest", Elizabeth A. Wein's "Chasing the Wind", Diana Wynne Jones's "Little Dot", Nina Kiriki Hoffman's "Flotsam", and Laurel Winter's "The Flying Woman" (which actually seemed like the start of a novel rather than a short story). That's probably half the book; I liked the rest, too.


last week's reading § next week's reading



I planned to miss my fiction workshop because my parents had just arrived, and I don't see them often enough to go out when they're visiting. But in any case, the workshop wound up being cancelled. Ha!


last week's writing § next week's writing


Retrospective: old journal

The Retrospective Journal is currently on hiatus while I catch up with myself.

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

Last Week § Les Semaines index § Next Week