Les Semaines

January 21, 2007

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

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It's Still January

More snow this week, so I had a four-day weekend, sorta. We've had enough bad weather this year that everyone is tired of it. Luckily it melted quickly and the weather is better now. Even plain gray is better.

But you know, our cat is still gone. And it sucks. Poor Sophia is trying to cope being an only cat, and it would be fine if people just didn't want to pet you, you know?

We spent Saturday in a fruitless search for the right kittens. It's the end of kitten season, and the first place we went was a mob scene. Jim calls these events kitten jamborees. We found kittens we liked but since we want two and we want what we want, we didn't find the right two. It was extremely frustrating when we found one and the rest didn't work out. So. We are kittenless and Zach's not coming home and Sophia is fed up with us (though probably not as fed up as she would be had we come home with kittens). Today I just made a few phone calls and tried to write for a few hours (got some good work done but not enough). Things at work are complicated, too, so that doesn't help.

Trying to do a lot of small tasks and having trouble finishing any one of them. Though did manage one. Or two. Just not enough.

And our new scanner/printer/copier arrived and it's huge and has disarranged my study so much that all I've managed to do with it is hook it up and load the ink and software. I haven't tried to do anything with it. Frankly, I'd rather have kittens.

§
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Lady Neile the Paragon of Chalmondley St Peasoup
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
(Thanks to Her Most Serene Highness Lady Stephanie the Capricious of Fiddlehope in the Marsh)

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Listening

Actually not much listening this week. What's up with that?

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Reading

Peter Watts' Blindsight is a hard-science first-contact novel with fascinating, distressed future-but-interesting (I dare not say understandable) characters. It's very difficult to describe, but I found it fascinating. Probably more so to people who could get excited about the science. I found the character arcs impressive, so a good read for the non-sciency among us. And a twisty sense of wonder, too.

Frances Hardinge's children/young adult fantasy Fly By Night is tricksily plotted. A young orphaned girl, father of a scholar, helps a man escape the village stocks because she likes the way he uses language. Though he tries to escape her as he escapes the village, she sticks to him like glue. They wind up in a city in the midst of a political mess between a crazy duke, his sister, rebels, several guilds... Fun.

I always really enjoy Scott Westerfeld's vivid, smart, well-paced young adult novels, and The Last Days was particularly engaging. Fascinating characters in a world that is falling apart--people are succumbing to a strange illness, and throwing expensive, electric guitars from their apartments, so why not rescue one and start a band? Eight kinds of entertaining. Read it.

Susan Cooper is also a writer I love (her Dark is Rising series is one of my favourites ever). Her new children's novel, Victory, follows two stories: that of a boy press-ganged in the British navy who becomes a ship's boy on Admiral Nelson's ship The Victory as Britain gears up for a sea war with Napoleon, and that of a young British girl whose mother marries an American and they are transferred from London to the U.S. where she feels torn from her old life. And then one day the family winds up in an old bookshop where she picks up an old copy of a biography of Nelson, but there's a secret hidden behind glued pages. A fun story, but plenty of reality about both Sam and Molly's experiences.

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Writing

Slow progress. Not the best of all writing weeks.

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Retrospective: old journal

Wednesday, May 20th, 1992
Off Moresby Island

Got going a half-hour earlier than yesterday. Bill and Sarah picked us up and we loaded up and drove out to Moresby Camp. Day less windy and warmer. Water like glass. Got everything down to the boat despite rotten parts on the pier and a big gap.

Mom sat on the cooler, Dad on the right and me on the left with Jim behind. First we motored out to where one of the partners, Doug, was on a log boom and gave Bill and Sara a bag of doughnuts and butter tarts.

Then motored on to Cumshewa--it took about an hour. Landed on the more easterly beach, the front door to the village. The tide was still going out. We walked through the village. It was beautiful and had a really clear feeling. There were a couple of poles split by trees, others fallen on the ground, rotting. As Mom said, you had to watch the way you walked so you weren't stepping on a pole. We all scattered and walked around in our own different trails. Could see some of the house depressions clearly. Wandered back under the trees. Hard to envision how open the village had been with how overgrown the areas now, though deer keep the grass down. Bill showed us one pole where the doorway still partly stands.

Mom and Dad in the boatMom and Dad in the boat.

fallen poleA fallen pole at Cumshewa.

polePole at Cumshewa.

Tree and pole, Cumshewa.

 

The tide got lower and the island opposite drew Mom and I. Saw two wonderful huge abalone shells in the water, but it is reserve land so we didn't pick them up, so we felt like Raven was teasing us. I never seen such lovely shells before or since. Walked around the island. Saw stone circles and assumed they were camp sites and avoided them. Saw an eagle feather below the eagle's nest but didn't pick it up for the same reason Mom had also earlier pointed out that the island would probably have Shaman's graves on it, because they separated them because Shaman were powerful even in death. First Jim joined us, then the rest.

We saw that the stone circles--large, angular stones unlike stones around there--had skulls old and weathered, alien feeling, and other bones. Strange, eerie. Bill will tell the watchmen about it.

Twenty minutes trip to Skedans, in through the village's front door. Lunch prepared by Sarah, trying to buy things on the holiday. It was fried chicken, buns, salad with good dressing.) Then to the loo, with the best view of any in the Charlottes. We peed on a midden. Then wandered off in search of the stream with Mom and then Jim. Washed my hands then on the Raven side of the village. I stood in a house depression for a while then followed back to the Eagle side of the village. There was one place there where there had been a house three tiered, part very deep. We wandered for a while, admiring the poles and middens, then Mom and I joined Sarah at a scuplin (fish) pole that had fallen face down. Very peaceful there. Jim lay down and photographed it. Then we sat and talked until it was time to go.

SkedansSkedans.

 

Saw about sixty eagles fishing (Mom calls too many eagles to count "a bore of eagles) swirling over herring schools. Motored along and saw a row of eagles along a rockridge, mostly adults. They flew and dived as we passed, mostly looking to see more herring. Also caught a glimpse of oyster catchers, then sea lions. The sea lion rock was the same place Mom had been to a few days before. Sarah was quite uncomfortable there, but we stayed watching as a little one tried to climb up, fell and tried again (managed that time) while a couple of others didn't make it. A bull slid into the water.

Then motored on (to Sarah's relief) to Limestone Island. Found a sheltered, tiny bay past a kayaker's moorage, then climbed up a path, shedding clothing as we went along the trail. Beautiful place--open, old growth, very mossy and what looks like burrows everywhere--some probably were. Very certain I heard some peeping pretty early on. Kept walking around past what we discovered after was a funnel to gather the chicks for banding. Went to a house there --it was a station for the search team banding, weighing, measuring ancient murrelet chicks. Andrea showed us around and described their work. Went to one burrow (empty) and then another, where she put her hand in. The parent hopped off the egg and let her pick it up and let us listen to it. The egg was speckled but the chick had already made little star marks on it and would probably hatch within tow days, then after dark make its way down to the water, get banded and measured and weighed, and let free to get back on its way. Their feet are almost adult size and they swim out eight miles by noon of the day they hit the water to evade eagles. Also lots of red-faced yellow-bellied sapsuckers.

We said our thanks and hiked back, stopped to pee and gathered all our scattered clothes (I found an abalone shell right near where we landed to make up for the huge ones we couldn't pick up at Cumshewa.)

Went back around the other side of Louise Island because it was high tide still and we could get through that way. Still very smooth sailing. The channel is quite shallow at points, and Bill said they often had to carry the boats through at low tide . Saw a couple of eagles' nests.

It was clear and smooth all the way back to Moresby Camp. Loaded the van and bumped our way home. Very tired, very happy. Made salmon and cream cheese buns for dinner. Read and slept.

Thursday, May 21st, 1992
→ Hecate Strait

Moved slowly this morning packing up and getting out and missed the 10:30 ferry back to Skidegate, so had two hours to kills. We went and got a couple of things at the Sandspit Super Valu. Cross and sat on Balance Rock Beach for a last visit before lining up for the ferry to Prince Rupert, then Port Hardy, then the drive home down Vancouver Island>

Last Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii entry

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