Les Semaines

January 18, 2004

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: Old Journal


Once Again, It's Trivial Me

It was a busy week, but nothing too exciting sticks out, other than I wrote a new poem (see below), so I completed one of these survey thingummies.

  1. Longest you've gone with out a shower: four days I think, when I was really sick once. At that point I couldn't tell if I felt lousy because of how badly I wanted a shower or because of the illness. I remember having to hang onto the wall the whole time I was in there, but I felt so much better afterwards.

  2. Color of most clothes you own: black. Or blue. Or maybe green.

  3. Number of pillows you sleep with: one, if you don't count Zach.

  4. Have you ever been in love/Are you: Yes. Am I? I love, so I think that's in love.

  5. What do your teeth look like: Not bad, but I have a lot of fillings and drink tea.

  6. What are you wearing: A work dress (green and purple) and a lilac-coloured cardigan. nylon socks. black leather shoes. underwear, bra, half-slip. earrings Christina got me in Syria (she has a matching pair), eight rings (l-r, no thumb rings): twisted silver/gold wire, gold ring (recyled--we bought it used, but I've been wearing it for over 20 years now), sapphire & diamond ring (an unusual design, in rose gold, that belonged to my great-grandmother and lived in a Royal Bank safe deposit box for 50 years until they contacted my mother and aunt and asked them if they wanted to buy any of the jewelry the bank had been storing for her estate), 99p silver ring with inlaid shell that I got at Lochranza on the island of Arran Island off the west coast of Scotland, ring with angled stripes of three colours of gold bought in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul last June, silver ring with an entwined slightly Celtic design that I bought at a jeweler's at Kirkcudbright on the west coast of Scotland on my Canada Council trip in 1997, silver opal ring that Jim bought me at Pike Place Market and gave me for Christmas, silver runic ring bought in Orkney in August that I gave to Jim to give me this Christmas. I'm sitting on the chesterfield working on my new laptop and Sophia is beside and half on my right leg, so in a way I'm wearing her, too.

  7. What are you doing in 1 hour: probably lying in bed reading.

  8. What room are you in right now: the living room.

  9. What where you doing 12AM last night: trying, trying, trying to turn my mind off so I could go to sleep, though I may still have been reading.

  10. Do you like riddles: sometimes. I like the kind the Sphinx asks.

  11. Where do your grandparents live: two are in an urn. I'm not sure where it is. I'm not sure where the other two are, but they're not breathing. Three of them lived in Winnipeg when they died and the last one lived in Victoria.

  12. Do you like trampolines: in principal. I don't much like it when the neighbours have there and there are hours of screaming children jumping on it.

  13. How old will you be in 10 years: 55.

  14. What do you think you'll be doing in 10 years: I will probably still be working part-time, maybe even in the same job. I hope to be making more of my living from my writing (meaning have finally published a novel or two), and looking forward to retiring and writing more. If earn enough from my writing and am still at the university I'd probably be thinking about retirement.

  15. Do you have braces: had them for a year when I was 10. I suppose they did some good but my bottom teeth are still crooked. The interesting thing about my braces is that my orthodontist was Christina's grandfather. Of course, I didn't know her then, though.

  16. Last thing you ate: half of an orange (Jim ate the other half, and he peeled it).

  17. What's your locker combination: no locker. I have a combination lock on my bike in the garage but I don't remember what the combination is and I don't know that I've got it written down anywhere.

  18. Are you paranoid: not usually. Occasionally events can conspire to make me so, though.

  19. Do you burn or tan: Burn, mostly. My hands, arms, and face tan a very little. By the end of the summer it's preety noticeable when I take my rings off.

  20. Pen or pencil: pen. And I'm pretentious enough to like my fountain pen, even if I don't use it as often as I used to. I like my cleo's minions pencil. Oh, and I have a small collection of floaty pens.
  21. Do you check your mail regularly: constantly check email, and wait anxiously for postal mail.

  22. Describe your cd player: in my study I have an ancient boom-box pluggled into my computer, as the boom box's cd player doesn't work anymore. We originally bought it when we were moving from Seattle to Ontario for Jim to go to library school in 1988, becasue we didn't plan to haul our stereo across the country with us. It makes my computer sound great, and the old boombox is useful still. We also have a five-cd carousel player with our stereo in the dining room (speakers in the living room).

  23. Your wallet: it's black cotton with green and teal flowers thickly embroidered on the front. It has a long string so I can wear it over my shoulder when I want to.

  24. Your alarm clock: It's small and silver plastic, and may have cost all of $8.

  25. Your hair: Waist length. Mostly white-grey on top and getting browner toward the ends and browner at the back.

  26. Tooth brush: small, yellow, with a blue fish-like entity wrapping its fins around it. It stands on its own on a suction-cup tail/bottom! (I have an idiocyncrasy in that I like children's toothbrushes because I have a small mouth--I do, shut up, Jim--and think that I can clean better with a smaller brush.)

  27. Computer: In my study, an Apple G4. Under my fingers, a little white ibook that smells like toasty armpit. Really, it's weird. At work, another G4.

  28. Bed: A green mahogony double bed that was my mother's when she was young and was originally purchased by her parents in the 1920s.

  29. Purse: I don't carry one anymore, but have one of those big black leather healthy back bags. I love it. Its zipper is acting up and I'm not sure I can live without it long enough to take it to the shoemaker and get the zipper replaced.

  30. Backpack: See number 29. I also have a green leather-bottom backpack that I bought myself for my birthday back in 1981 when I was starting my MFA.

  31. Note book: Several. In my pack right now I have one Christina sent me from Taiwan that says "Notsbook" on it.

  32. What color are your nails: au naturel, as always.

  33. What color are your eyes: light blue.

  34. Last time you were sick: this summer when I got pneumonia. Did I get a cold after I had pneumonia? I can't remember now.

  35. Last person you yelled at: Zach, if you count a cat as a person. He's taken to periods of constant yelling at the top of his lungs, which is pretty loud indeed. Yelling can make him hesitate for a while sometimes. If you don't count Zach almost certainly it was Jim.

  36. First bike: Metallic gold.

  37. First best friend(s): Bronwen Mears. I wonder where on earth she is now? I once googled for her, and don't think I found her. I haven't seen her since I was 9 and we weren't really friends anymore even then.

  38. First real memory of something: it's blurry now, so I'm not sure. I remember nightmares I know I'd had before: seeing my mother in a crowd ahead and when I reached her, she turned into someone else. This happening repeatedly. I remember dreaming the house was being threatened by a rampaging gorilla. (I'm still creeped out by gorillas.) I remember some cool dreams, too: dreaming there was a door from my bedroom directly to outside. Aside from dreams I remember other things, like curling over because my stomach hurt so badly (I was was chronically ill when I was about 3-5). My mother being annoyed with me because I couldn't tell time yet (she'd probably been trying to teach me and as usual I hadn't been paying attention). I remember eating the cat's food that was soaked in milk, and my sister making me drink straight lemon juice and I spat it out all over the kitchen floor. These all took place in the house we lived in from when I was 2 till when I was six and could be from any time during the years we lived there.

  39. First car: A '66 teal-coloured Volkswagen Beetle named Buglet.

  40. First date: We didn't date in our crowd. We just went out doing stuff together. It was all very organic and it was hard to tell when it started. The first time a guy I didn't know very well took me out to dinner was my older sister's boyfriend. He expected to take me home, too. Ick.

  41. First kiss: Geoff. I was six. The last time he asked me to marry him was when we were both sixteen.

  42. First break-up: first real break-up that felt like one: Everett. I broke up with him because I had an obsessive crush on someone else. He was a great person and I would have been much, much happier had I known that the obsessive crushee was such a shithead. Everett was really cute, too. Boy, I was dumb.

  43. First job: Saturday switchboard operator at a lumber and hardware store.

  44. First screen name: Neile. Very imaginative. When I finally decided to be a little more incognito: Bryer. For a while I also had an ethelred@ email address, after Ethelred the Unready. Which I always am.

  45. First self-purchased album: The Monkees. C'mon, I was 10, I think. First artist I remember waiting for the next album to come out and getting it that day: Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

  46. First funeral: A friend's when I was a teeanger. We had played double solitaire together all summer while my boyfriend and his girlfriend were out of town. He was epiletic, and one day had a seizure and hit his head on some furniture. What a horrible accident!

  47. First prime minister (or president) you voted for: In Canada you don't vote directly for the prime minister. I can't remember who the Prime Minister was when I started voting, either. I haven't voted since 1989, since that was the last time I lived in Canada, and voting is residentially based there so there's no voting with a permanent address there.

  48. First piercing/tattoo: ears--first and only. Probably 16.

  49. First independent home: shared apartment during my third year of university, when my sister moved home with her two-year-old daughter.

  50. First house/flat/apartment: first apartment all my own was in Missoula when I went to graduate school.

  51. First love: Probably Geoff. First obsessive love: Paul the shithead.

  52. First enemy: Paul the shithead.

  53. First big trip: Scotland with Christina in the summer of 1991.

  54. First play/musical/performance: Mine or attending? How about first poetry reading: in about 1978, a group student reading at the University of Victoria when I was doing my BA. I don't remember what I read, but can still remember several lines of the poem about shit read by a co-reader. I really was a lousy reader then. I've improved since, and love giving readings.

  55. First musician you remember hearing in your house: Nina and Frederick?

  56. Last cigarette: First and last. I was 15.

  57. Last kiss: A couple of hours ago when Jim came home from work.

  58. Last good cry: Last summer when I had an argument with Christina. It wasn't a good cry. I would call it a bad one.

  59. Last library book checked out: An Indian novel Jim brought home from the library for me today.

  60. Last movie seen: in a theatre, Cold Mountain.

  61. Last book read: The Known World.

  62. Last cuss word uttered: Probably fuck. I don't remember when, but it won't have been long ago.

  63. Last beverage drank: Raspberry/white grape juice.

  64. Last crush: Jude Law in Cold Mountain.

  65. Last phone call: Jim called our friend John who just moved to Victoria, and I talked to him for about a half hour earlier tonight.

  66. Last person who called me: Tamar, I think.

  67. Last TV show watched: The Simpsons, if you count DVD. We don't really get any TV stations anymore since we gave up cable, so we never watch it. Not that we did much before, when we did have cable. Which is why we don't have it anymore.

  68. Last time showered: Yesterday morning.

  69. Last shoes worn: Still wearing my black leather Mary Janes with the velcro straps.

  70. Last cd played: Tara Fuki, while I was cooking soup for dinner.

  71. Last item bought: Groceries, yesterday.

  72. Last downloaded: Hmm. Probably a computer software update.

  73. Last annoyance: Jim telling me twice in the space of two minutes that it's bedtime. I know it is, I wasnt to finish this.

  74. Last disappointment: In myself, this afternoon, that I managed to waste two hours away without writing.

  75. Last soda drank: a Diet Dr. Pepper at Tamar's.

  76. Last thing written: This. Previous to this a long email to this year's readers for the Clarion West workshop. Or if you want something less ephemeral, a poem, my pantoum, "Grave and Churchyards, Cairns & Cairns".

  77. Last key used: my house key.

  78. Last word spoken: Yes, I know. I'll be down in a minute. [five minutes ago]

  79. Last sleep: Last night.

  80. Last IM: Don't IM.

  81. Last sexual fantasy: Sorry, dear, some things are private. But it did involve water and gods.

  82. Last weird encounter: Not sure.

  83. Last ice cream eaten: At Christmas. On mince pie, I think.

  84. Last time amused: Tonight while watching the Simpsons DVD.

  85. Last time wanting to die: When I had really horrible cramps last week.

  86. Last time in love: If you call loving being in love (and why not?) then I am still in it. If you mean infatuation crazy then a long time ago.

  87. Last time hugged: Tonight, by Jim.

  88. Last time scolded: Just a couple of minutes ago, by Jim telling me to come to bed.

  89. Last time resentful: see above.

  90. Last chair sat in: I'm sitting in the chesterfield now. Last solo chair, my desk chair.

  91. Last time dancing: Out dancing? Long, long time ago. Around the house would be today.

  92. Last poster looked at: Crazy re-enactment of that Seurat painting by The Art Institute of Chicago. It's on my office door.

Huh. I wonder why this quiz stops here and doesn't go for the round 100? Well,whatever, I'd better get down to bed. Good night.

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


More of the same.

last week's listening § next week's listening


O.R. Melling's The Book of Dreams is the fourth in a young adult fantasy series she has written about the regular teenagers crossing over into the world of faerie, and finding dnagers, excitement, romance, and disappointment there. The books have mostly been slim, lyrical volumes, and this one is far longer, and I actually found it quite clumsily written to my ear, which greatly surprised me. This one is more epic in scope and takes place in Canada rther than in Ireland as the previous ones have. It begins with the teenaged Dana, who is mourning being moved to Canada from her beloved Ireland. She's miserable, and has been living most of her life in faerie, since she currently finds the human world so dissappointing. But faerie is in a crisis, and she is needed to set it right, and she meets a strange and attractive young French Canadian boy at her school, who also has a secret life. The story was intriguing, and I loved her depiction of the varieties of landscapes in Canada. I just wasn't as convinved by the world she draws to be fully drawn in here.

Georgette Heyer's Venetia is one of her best. It was one that had been recommended to me a long time ago and I finally broke down and put a hold on it--my hestiation was that the only copy of it I could find in the local libraries was large print. Well, it was worth feeling a little like the story was yelling at me to read this one. Delightful characters! This is about a young women who has lived her life in isolation because of her eccentric family. Her father has died and her elder brother is in the army after Waterloo, while she stays at home holding the estate together and looking after her younger brother. She's one of Heyer's best heroines: spunky and spirited, yet also sensible. One day she is berry picking on her absent neighbour's property, when he returns--a notorious rake (or rather, an unfortunate misunderstood youth who became a rake for lack of any other course once he'd set on it).

last week's reading § next week's reading


I had a writing workshop on Monday and couldn't bear to go empty-handed, so rather than not go, I wrote my first pantoum. It was great fun and fairly successful--at least the workshop folk liked it. And I get the prize for writing the first poem in the house in 2004! Ha!

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old Journal

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

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