Les Semaines

December 5, 2004

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: old journal

 §

Better Late

Increasingly, I find myself with little to say here. I'm not sure if:
  • after five full years I find myself with less to say
  • my mind is just elsewhere
  • I'm using up all my writing energy revising my novel
  • I'm just not into this right now
  • this is just a lull and I'll be back bigger and brighter than ever
  • this is winding to its inevitable end
  • my recent computer issues have just gotten in my way too much
Something seems to be not happening. It could just be my mood these days. Or just that we seem to be busier than ever and I feel lazier than ever.

In any case, getting this journal done has become less of a priority in the last few months. I do apologize.

So in the way of what's been happening, we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with Devin, her roommate Melissa, the sugar gliders, and the new Harry Potter DVD (my favourite of the three movies). The next day was a writing retreat (more below). Saturday I had my usual writing session with Karen. Jim has been fighting a low-level but persistent cold which I've also been fighting but have managed to evade thus far.

Our computer woes seem to be over, for now, as we have a working DSL connection and network, and my new hard drive arrived, was installed, formatted, and all the software reloaded, updated, and files copied back over. Whew! So far everything has been working wonderfully. Touch wood.

Warning: cat talk ahead. Litter box talk. You might want to skip to the end.

As you may recall Sophia has been thinking outside the box recently. We knew she didn't like our change of cat litter, and thought that was the cause. We'd been watching the box and she seemed to be mostly using it, but the Monday night after Thanksgiving, she curled up by my feet to sleep (something she only rarely does). At 2:15 or so, I was lying on my back, and woke up to her standing on my stomach, clawing the comforter and meowing. Okay, she's done that before lately and then run away when I petted her. I reached down to pet her and realized she was peeing on me!

I threw her off and screamed and jumped out of bed, waking Jim and Zach. She'd managed to soak our thick down comforter through. We stripped the bed and I washed and changed. I fussed around for a while, then dressed and went to he 24-hour grocery store and bought the old kind of litter. Dammit.

We changed the box, I did the first load of washing (sprayed with Nature's Miracle-type stuff), put it in the dryer then stuffed the comforter in there. It barely fit. Re-made the bed with our old, thin comforter, and finally got back to nervous sleep about 4:15 or so. Of course, Jim's alarm goes off at 5:15. Not a good night's rest. I was furious with her.

Later I realized that she's been trying and trying to tell me that she wasn't going to go with the strange litters ever since we first tried the silicon stuff. (We loved it, she hated it, Zach tolerated it.) I was hoping the newspaper pellet one would work but she'd been clear that it wasn't. I guess she finally resorted to this to get the message through to her rather dim people.

Since then, I've caught her thinking outside the box twice (not peeing again, thank heaven). To add to her annoyance, we were trying her on diet food, mixing it with her current food. But we stopped because all the diet food wound up on the floor, while the regular food was devoured. And Zach has been pushing her out of the way any time she gets any attention. We went out and bought an extra box and some supposedly guaranteed litter, and no more diet food and I'm trying to give her attention and keep Zach from pushing her around.

She is still on probation. I hope we can stop this bad pattern. Since then she has mostly been on her best behaviour. Cuddling, purring, generally being a sweet cat. The litter box seems to be getting its proper use. Which is a good thing, as "outdoor cat" has been mentioned, as has "sister's barn in northern Alberta where there are coyotes and snow in September".

We also just completed our annual Year-End missive (well, poems we each wrote this year and a quick year-end summary in that nasty third-person holiday-letter voice). If you're reading this and aren't on our postal mail address list and would like to get a copy of this, please email your postal address to me.

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

Listening

We got two new Lais discs that we hadn't known about. They're a trio of Belgian women who sing Flemish and French and once English folk music. Strong, strong vocal harmonies. Gorgeous stuff.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

I can't believe how little time I've had to read. I think I've only finished one book this whole two weeks.

Cliver Barker's Abarat: Days of Magic Nights of War is the second illustrated volume (see my January 19, 2003 entry for comments on the first volume). This is the further adventures of Candy Quackenbush who sailed from Chickentown to the strange and magical (and dangerous) world of Abarat. Here the evil Christopher Carrion (and his more evil grandmother) decide Candy might be able to stop them taking over Abarat, so they pursue her and she runs away. That's pretty much the story. Along the way she finds out things about her past. I'm still on the fence about this -- partway through I almost bailed. There are two more books planned. We'll see.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

The day after Thanksgiving we had a day-long writing retreat at our house with our friends, Karen and Barry. Based on child's play rhythms, a friend of theirs offers a similar retreat at his home, where people write for 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break and then go back to work. We thought we'd try it, and it worked really well. All of us made good progress and didn't get so fatigued as we might if we'd done it another way or worked straight through. We worked for three cycles before lunch and three cycles after lunch. They sped by, except for a slight need-a-nap slowdown while digesting lunch. Leftover turkey might not have been the best idea as it makes me sleepy.

Karen and I still had enough energy to work for a couple of hours the next day. We also had our regular session yeterday.

Right now I'm mostly working on phrasing revisions on the first half of the novel, and on trimming as much as I can.

I also trimmed a couple of pages out of a story that keeps coming back home when I send it out. There's a new market to try for it, so I'll doublecheck this revision and send it back on its way.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

On haitus. Still.

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

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