Les Semaines

May 15, 2005

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


Rebel Rebel

The music I'm playing tonight (see below) is sinking into my mood. It's been a fine week, busy at work, busy at home, lots to do, lots done, and I've been such a good girl, but now I'm building into a powerfully take-no-prisoners mood. Gearing up toward a trip back east to see Jim's family and every phone call and email from back there makes things sound worse. Sigh. I haven't been back for several years now. When I went to D.C. in November 2003, Jim's dad came up to Baltimore to see him, but I didn't see him then as he left before I got away from the conference. Which sucked. But so it goes. Families are such a complicated, emotional, business. Even my relatively sane one.

Of course such sanity is always relative.

I like to think of myself as a relatively uncomplicated person. Pretty much what you see if what you get.

Preparing to go to a friend's wedding reception, I was moaning about how at such social occasions I forget how to do small talk. I'm not good at entering conversations with people I don't know -- I seem not to have gotten that gene from my mom who talks to strangers in line-ups, something that embarrassed me terribly as a teenager. Tamar laughed at me and told me that I was charming in social situations -- that made me realize she's never seen me at the kind of party where I don't know many people. Ever. Amazing, that I've known her for how many years now? Six? Good thing she didn't come to the reception to see how badly I do. Not charming.

Anyway, the reception was lovely, I did know a few people there and talked to them though I did spend the usual amount of time sitting in my corner because that's just what I'm like. I hate weddings because I'm usually in this uncomfortable social situation but theirs truly was a lovely party.

This marriage stuff made me realize that Jim's and my anniversary next month will mean 22 years we've been legal. That means that in three years it will be our 25th. We're must have a party for that.

Sometimes I feel old. It's strange to think that even in the best scenario, over half of my life is over.

Soon I'll half lived in this house longer than any house before in my life.

I mean, hell, even our cat is 19.

It's 10:55 on a work night and Jim is just showering now. Shall I beat him into bed? The sheets are clean. He just washed them. I'm not.

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


Veda has been in my head all week, between Return of the Killdeer and my favourite songs from Duplex's ablum. But tonight I was in the mood to hear "Working Class Hero" and so I put on Merianne Faithfull's brilliant and angry Broken English. Now I'm playing Kym Brown's luminous and powerful Pygmalion. They're all defining a mood.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Justine Larbalestier's Magic or Madness is just the kind of young adult novel I love: interesting magic, strong characters, and an intriguing problem for them to deal with. Reason has lived on the run with her mother in the Australian outback for most of her life -- but when her mother has a sudden mental breakdown, she has to go to live with the woman they've been on the run from: her grandmother. All her life her mother has warned her about her grandmother, but now she is trapped. When she finds a key that opens the locked back door, she suddenly steps from the heat of a southern hemisphere summer day to to a deep, cold, snowly New York winter night. She'd never seen snow before. This is a very promising start to an ongoing series, though this one comes to a kind of resolution that it's fairly satisfying on its own (though I'm definitely poised to read what comes next).

last week's reading § next week's reading


I was better this week at getting some work done during the week. Between that and my time on Saturday with Karen, I got a chapter and a half revised. That leaves four and a half to go and I'm done and it's time for the readers to do their work.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Sunday, August 11, 1991

Stromness, West Orkney

[West Orkney Tour continued from last week.] Brough of Birsay we reached at the receding tide and walked along the causeway that the lower tide opened up. Interesting piece of land, a slab of grass lower on the mainland side, sloping up to cliffs growing higher toward the open sea. Remains of a Viking Church there, contemporary with St. Magnus Church in Kirkwall. The Pictish stone there is a copy, but lovely. Photographed an original cross. The graveyard stones are totally obscured, though, other than the cross. Climbed the hill to see the western cliffs -- beautiful. (Jim, climbing a barbed wire fence to get up there is how I scratched the plastic on the viewfinder of the camera.) Took a couple of photos there atop the cliff. Waves crashing like at Yesnaby. Curlews. Gulls.


Cross stone at BirsayCross gravestone at the Brough of Birsay.

Then the Ring of Brodgar -- lovely, powerful. A large, open ring, many stones till standing. Something about the setting on the ithmus between the lochs, the angles of the stones.


The Ring of BrodgarA section of the Ring of Brodgar.

Then the Stones of Stenness, that a farmer had taken down and broken up (he got tired of tourists?) and have since been resurrected. Very tall, somehow laundered, though.

Then Maes Howe, the Neolithic tomb broken into by Vikings. Lovely, windy. Got in at start but pushed for time to get the tour through. Custodian there rushed us, but played with the lights, showing us the Viking graffiti quickly (the dragon!! -- I made him show me again.) How single huge slabs were used to build the tomb. Another powerful place. I'd read up on it, so knew what to look for, so looked quickly, then home.

Wrote postcard, organized laundry, ate, showered. So goes a night.

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