Les Semaines

December 4, 2005

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

 §

Having Given Thanks and After

Sorry that I have gotten into this bad habit of skipping weeks. Life feels very busy. I know, I boringly repeat that. Hours shink, and each week seems to whip by quicker than the first, so whenever something happens like travel or guests, I tend to skip a week. This skipped week you can blame on our friend, John, who came down from Victoria to visit over the Thanksgiving weekend. It was terrific to see him, and have a relaxed stretch of time together (five days felt like luxurious time), but when I got a few moments alone I concentrated on the novel, rather than on my journal. Sorry.

Thanksgiving was fun. Had John and Devin and the sugar gliders over. The gliders behaved well. Zach, however, no matter that he's 19½ years old, suddenly decided he liked pumpkin, and much of the top of the beautiful pie Devin brought over had, well, cat tongue prints over it in between the lovely decorative pastry leaves. It still tasted terrific and we found John a unlicked piece while the rest of us just laughed it off.

The turkey turned out well, though I didn't do anything special to it. We also had mashed sweet potatoes and broccoli, and my usual cashew stuffing and sour cream gravy. We watched Lord of the Rings, the extended versions, all three over two days, which I enjoyed a lot more than I had thought I would. They're terrific seen altogether. That was another luxury.

Going back to work was a struggle. It's busy, with the end of the quarter and admissions deadlines approaching, and with two of the programs I work with undergoing updating due to new curriculum and such.

Then Thursday we got word that Jim's brother Don, Devin's father, had had a stroke. Shocking news, especially to Devin. It made this a confusing weekend, worrying about how he's doing and how she's doing with it all. At least we helped her arrange to go home for the holidays, which she wasn't planning to do but now of course is necessary for both her and him. He's home already and doing okay as far as we can tell at this great a remove. It has mostly confused his speech. We're hoping for the best.

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

Listening

Several new discs have arrived and occasionally bumped Aerial out of the player. The new Worm is Green is particularly good. They have made the vocalist the centre of the band and the sound is lovely. A little Moorcheba-like.

Got the newer Hank Dogs disc, which I don't like as much as their first. It's like the bulk of that album--really lovely harmonies and tunes, but not my thing. I really like the two edgy tracks on their first one.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Not much reading time -- one book in two weeks! At least it was a fat one.

Christopher Paolini's Eldest is the middle book in his Inheritance series. He created a big splash with the first in the series when it was privately published when he was still a teenager and became a big hit and eventually a New York Times bestseller. There is little I can say about this without creating spoilers for the first volume, but I can say that it is a compelling story. If a little too derivative of Lord of the Rings for many tastes, it also has a contemporary closeness to the main characters that many will enjoy. Its publication as a young adult novel is appropriate, and it will especially appeal to young adults and fans of epic fantasy. I found it very readable and entertaining.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Writing was a little difficult over Thanksgiving, but John and Jim were very understanding and kept making time for me to be alone and to write. Had my usual sessions with Karen, and this past weeke made an attempt to writing every day. It worked nearly every day.

My poem, "The Bones of the Tale" is now up at Strange Horizons.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Sunday, August 18, 1991
Stonehave → Edinburgh

NOTE: I will add photos later this week. Sorry. I ran out of time.

On the train again. Got into Stonehaven around 7:00, got in our B&B (okay but not Mrs. Hourston's [our Stromness B&B] then went for a walk through town. Very middle-class--largish houses with largish gardens. Lovely beach at the end: a wide, sandy bay. Walked around there for a bit. Sun at a beautiful angle. Rocks & shadows. Then got Chinese food and went back to eat it.

Kept waking up all night--stomach upset &smp; couldn't eat cooked breakfast. Landlady very annoyed and generally cranky. Had breakfast and got out of there. Left bags at station and went to cliff walk along the way to Dunottar Castle. Lovely cliffs and beaches. Stopped at a War (WWI) memorial with a view to write cards and watch the baby swallows flying in, out, around. Said hello to a couple with lovely black dogs.

Then went down the beach. Beautiful rocks, reds and all colours. Picked up a few. Wandered around, into a save, through a rock arch. Looked like volcanic rocks, and there were lots of smaller ones in black rock. Christina decided to stay while I attempted to see Dunnottar. Walked along the cliffs, cheep, etc., and waited and waited there--but they were late opening and I didn't have time to go in and meet Christina at the specified time so turned around and climbed back up. Walked back. Had terrific views of the castle, though. It would have taken quite a while to explore [I did get there a few years later].

Raced back along the path and through town to catch the 3:25 train. The station attendant, who when I'd gone first to him to ask about luggage storage, train times, and the busyness of the train had had a friend watching and been very terse, then when I went back with our bags as quite swwet and carried my bag up the stairs while I carried Christina's because she was off finishing a letter to Matt. The guy lughed that I must have books in there since it is so heavy. I should have said: "Yes--and rocks."

We're just leaving Leuchars station. Open country.

---

Back in Edinburgh, back even in our old room. Christina very tired. Took a cab from Waverly Station. City really jumping because of the festival. Cab drive fun--yells at another driver, "Oh, ye knucklenut", at two jaywalkers "Oh, you foolish virgins." Really funny.

Went for a walk--got wonderful dinner at Indian talk-out.

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