Les Semaines

March 12, 2006

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


A Little Better Now

Another one of those damn surveys.


First job: Saturday switchboard operator at a lumber & harware store.

First screen name: Neile. Screen names seemed silly to me at the time so I went by my own.

First self-purchased CD: Christmas 1985 I bought Jim a CD player for Christmas plus 3 CDs: Kate Bush's Hounds of Love, REM's Murmur and a volume of Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert's Brandenburg Concertos.

Vinyl Album: I don't actually remember. I recall when I bought Elton John's Madman Across The Water I already had quite a few albums. I don't remember what they were and who bought them. My first was probably some kind of K-Tel compilation.

First piercing/tattoo: My only piercings are in my ears, one in each lobe. You can't get any more conservative in that area. I had them done at a jewelry store in the Mayfair Mall in Victoria when I was 15 or 16. My parents wouldn't allow me do it any earlier.

First true love: Geoff. We met when we were two and played I'll Show You Mine If You'll Show Me Yours. We last met when we were 17 and he talked about us getting married. Unfortunately, I was dating someone else.

First enemy: My sister. She was 4.5 years older than me and could hold me off so I couldn't hit her, so I learned to bite.


Last big car ride: Not that big, just 4 hours, to Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast. My last really big car ride was in 1996 when two of us drove a fellow Clarion West student back to California. That was exhausting but fun.

Last kiss: This morning. Jim kissed me goodbye as he left for work.

Last library book checked out: I have a bunch of books out right now, but yesterday Jim checked Kim Stanley Robinson's Fifty Degrees Below for me from King County library. I don't have a card there, but when I had this book checked out from the Seattle library, Jim read it.

Last movie seen: Last night we saw The Constant Gardener which Devin had borrowed from Netflix. Last theatre movie was Pride and Prejudice I believe.

Last beverage drank: Currently drinking oolong tea from my thermos, made this morning. Recently finished a Mexican mocha from Allegro Cafe.

Last food consumed: Two slices of Como bread with butter. Supposedly breakfast. It was the best I could manage.

Last phone call: Last night, to Leslie, talking about various Clarion West issues.

Last CD played: Clare Bowditch What Was Left is the last full CD I played, but the last CD I heard was a bit from Broadcast's Tender Buttons as I drove Tamar home last night after she borrowed our car.

Last annoyance: Faculty members filling out the wrong form. But as it had still the information I needed, I don't know why I got bothered by it.

Last pop drank: Wow, I don't remember. I only very rarely drink pop. Probably a lime soda from Jamjuree Thai Restaurant.

Last ice cream eaten: I rarely eat ice cream, either, but this weekend I had green tea gelato. Yum.

Last time scolded: Not sure. Probably by Jim for not doing the dishes quickly enough. I scolded Devin yesterday for trying some weird lemon juice antitoxidant regime.

Last shirt worn: dark green corduroy shirt as a jacket over a lilac blue silk t-shirt on Sunday.


I AM: feeling more tired and less energetic physically and mentally than I like.

I WANT: more sleep. To go home and curl up on the loveseat with Zach on my lap and Sophia beside me.

I HAVE: too much work to do to be able to do the above. Sigh. Too many commitments.

I WISH: I could have a week outside of time, to catch up on work and sleep and reading and writing and time with the cats and with Jim.

I HATE: feeling over-commited.

I FEAR: letting things fall through the cracks because I have too many things to pay attention to.

I HEAR: Damn, this computer runs loud.

I SEARCH: for answers to these questions.

I WONDER: if I'll ever feel on top of things again.

I REGRET: wasting time.

I LOVE: relaxing. See? Conflicts with the above.

I ALWAYS: find a little time to do nothing or my head would explode.

I AM NOT: good at the polite lie. I wish I were better at it.

I DANCE: around to good music.

I SING: in the car to CDs or at home where only Jim and the cats can hear me.

I CRY: rarely, but I cried when I heard that Octavia Butler had died. I am still very sad.

Yes or No:

YOU KEEP A DIARY: only this one now.

YOU LIKE TO COOK: when I have time and am in the mood. Sometimes I find it a lot of fun. On a daily basis it annoys me, especially thinking of what to cook. That's the worst.


DO YOU...?

Of course, don't you?

HAVE A CRUSH: Not at the moment. But last night I had a crush on Ralph Fiennes.

WANT TO GET MARRIED: No! Never! Been there, done that. Though sometimes I think it would be sweet to renew our vows. Or get divorced and just live in sin again.

GET MOTION SICKNESS: Only in big American cars with the swimmy kind of shock absorbers. Not on ferries or planes.

THINK YOU'RE A HEALTH FREAK: No. Rather the opposite.

What is Your

CURRENT HAIR COLOR: Gray with remaining brown bits, mostly at the back.

EYE COLOR: Pale blue.

BIRTHPLACE: Winterpeg, er Winnipeg.


FAVORITE COLOUR: blue, green, pearl gray.



FAVORITE SONG(S): The ones playing in my head. Except for the ones I wish would go away.

FAVORITE SEASON: spring, though it used to be autumn.

FAVORITE DRINK: the fruit smoothies Jim made last summer.


A crazy week (which is why I substituted this survey for a real entry), staying late at work because of preparations for our big admissions meeting. The week was so full of paper-pushing that it seems otherwise uneventful. We had dinner with a friend from out of town Tuesday, which was fun. Last night Jim picked up Ethiopian food for dinner, and both Friday and Saturday we watched movies with neighbours. That's all.

Chronicles of Sloth: Episode 16

  • Email inbox down to 299 messages (from 318 last week, from 380 when I started tracking this, and way up from my 231 low in late November)
  • New novel stands at 49,965 (up from 47,544 a week ago) words
  • One more medical appointment for me to arrange
  • Clarion West applications up to date -- easy this week because we have a little lull after our March 1st was our $100 tuition break deadline
  • Got an application ready to perform at Bumbershoot
  • Recorded final poems for upcoming possible CD
  • Succubus booklet to design & lay out for the Feminist Caucus of the League of Canadian Poets
  • Canadian taxes (due April 30 but have to do before U.S.) and U.S. Taxes (due April 15)
  • Arranged the 2 large stacks of CDs to ready for review
  • CD pileup ignored this week (keep/toss/add to ectoguide)
  • Tape collection diminished by 2 since last week
  • 2.5 friend's novels still waiting to be read & critiqued
  • Get framed picture of me & Jim & send to Jim's Dad
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


Have been listening to a mishmash of things this week, though Frou Frou dominates the car stereo.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Jeannette Winterson's Weight is a postmodern-flavoured re-telling of the Atlas myth. Highly clever and quite enjoyable. The strength of this tale is definitely in the way its told.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Frustration regarding my Canada Council grant application! I received a letter saying: "This means that you would have received a grant if more money had been available." Argh.

The novel trudges onward.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

1635. Words about sleep

November 24, 1991

The pull of sleep
in the hollow cave of November
a darkened place, deep
and sudden in the turn
of the year. Harvest done.
The feasts and the long
perparations of winter
done. Herbs hang in the rafters
onions and applies nestle
in straw in the storeroom
Rain and wind hone
the naked forest, the frosted
stones of the cottages, chill
the old traveller's bones.
The cat comes in from the wet,
curls by the first, her
cool green eyes say something
about the changed wild world
out there and how the darkness
sends us closer to home.
Even her, wandered, warrior queen
of the woods for miles
would rather eat scraps
from my hand. These are
the days when the bustle of living
is warmth, not confusions.
Days seem ordered
as stars. The gray rain
at noon. The wind's angry
song in the roof of the storm.
And sleep, that is where
chaos reigns. Dreams are
tangled and real as war,
more real than the methods
of our days, dreams eat
us, the nights eat us, leaving
us mere calm shadows,
emotionless drifting through
the washing of sheets, the making
of beds. Even the cat by the fire again
sleeps with a certain
desperation. As though ghosts,
ghosts of mad love, of bitter
war, of the dead who went out
fighting have awakened in our hearts
as though the witches, burned
and blackened, drownded, has gathered
magic in the dying days, the growing
nights for their reengs. It is their
long fingers at the door, tapping, tapping
with the rain. I set my wards
and knots against them, but can't
stop the scratch of their nails
along the shutters, the twigs
the break loose from the trees to fly.

Stew bubbles in the pot.
Its welcome scent fills the house,
a charm against the storm.
I can't believe I had forgotten
the sound of this song, its
sullen music, sleep and dream,
as though to dream would be
to let something other, desperate,
grab hold of life. That's it,
November, lull and battle.
The thunder's roar and kettle's rattle.
Wind, rain, and the soul
eaten down to its bones, darkness.
And the warmth inside it. Cold
passion outside and a fire
within. You have told me this story
but I ask you, I need you
to tell me again.

Parts of this became part of "Late Night Talking" which appears in Spells for Clear Vision, other parts became "What Comes of Winter" in Blood Memory.

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