Les Semaines

February 11, 2007

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


Sophia Suffers From Kittens

Sophia reports that kittens make her sick. Literally.

At first we thought she was severely depressed. She wouldn't eat or play. We thought that having let the kittens out for most of the day on Sunday was just too much for her. We kept them in all the next day and it didn't help. She seemed totally morose.

Tried a huge variety of foods and she was uninterested. Gave her lots of attention. We thought that she missed Zach and that those two little annoying things in the house were too much change in her life. She was so miserable it was to break the heart.

I made a vet appointment for her and found out the kittens had given her a virus. They gave her a shot and her fever came down right away, but I had a couple of days (and nights, mostly, actually) worrying how she wasn't eating yet, sleeping on the loveseat so she could lean against my leg, until gradually she showed more interest in life. It's only today, a week later, that she's shown her usual (low-level though it is) interest in food.

The good news here is that the kittens are doing great. Very social, playful and all. They yell for attention. At least, Atia does. She's a talker talker talker. A demander of attention. Titus chirps and charms everyone.

We make them run in circles to wear them out. It's amazing how easy it is to get a kitten to do that. They are extremely amusing.

I'm so relieved about Sophia. Strange to be glad when your cat's ill, but I'm glad it was a virus and not depression alone doing that, so I can be optimistic about them learning to tolerate each other. The kittens were out most of this weekend and things went fairly well.

Titus looks bigger every day, I swear. The weirdest thing is that Saturday night Titus suddenly got all hot and lethargic and sleepy and uninterested in playing or eating--long enough to get us mightily worried--then suddenly was normal again. I guess kittens bounce back quicker than grown cats. They certainly bounce.

Sophia hidesHow Sophia deals with kittens.

Kitchen detenteKitchen détente [man, we've being talking about replacing that ugly floor for ten years].

living room detenteLiving room détente. The shadow on the couch is Titus, napping.

Titus basksTitus basks in the sun.


If you're tired of kittens, I'm sorry. For you. Sorry.

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There's music and I'm listening, but you've heard about it all before.

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Walter Moseley's young adult SF novel, 47 is a fascinating look at slave culture close up. Here a young slave named only for his number, 47, is being transitioned into adult work in the fields. It's a hard and brutal world, beginning with his branding, done unnecessarily cruelly by a jealous older slave. When 47 meets a strange slave who has run away from a neighbouring plantation, named Tall John, Tall John works to open 47's eyes to his world and tells him that he is special and meant to do great things. 47 is at once flattered but frightened by Tall John's rebellious nature. Gradually it turns out that what Tall John tells him is true, and Tall John isn't from a neighbouring plantation, really, at all, and things get stranger and more dangerous yet.

Margaret Mahy's young adult novel, 24, follows twenty-four hours in the life of a good middle-class guy just back from school in the summer before entering university. When he meets an old acquaintance he gets wrapped up in his more edgy life and discovers much about the world and about his own strengths. A clear and intriguing slice-of-life story.

David Almond's young adult fantasy novel, Clay, follows the fortunes of a young boy in a small town with its friendships and enemies and what happens when a strange new boy comes to town--a boy who can make clay move and who claims this he needs the first boy to do great things--but what eventually comes to pass is strange and crosses the boundaries of reality and magic, good and evil. Strange and dark and bright and haunting in the way that David Almond's tales always are.

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What I wrote to a group of friends this weeks:
It seems like this is a processing time for all of us. Maybe it's because it's winter and we've all gone through a lot of changes, probably more minor for me than for the rest of you, but I'm still going through it.

I'm realizing that I'm still processing the thought of myself as a writer. When I only wrote poetry it could be less definitive on a day-to-day basis, but now that I'm writing novels I have to work on them nearly every day, and trying to explain time to people who don't understand why I don't want to go out to do X or Y is hard.

Prioritizing my time is hard.

Not wasting my time and procrastinating is hard.

I'm also dealing with the terrifying proposition of approaching the point where I have no more excuses not to start trying to market my first completed novel. I am so fucking scared of this it's not funny, because what if I learn this monster I've been perfecting (I thought) for SO SO long isn't worth anything in the market? How can I make myself not care?

So. That's where I am.

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Retrospective: old journal

Thursday, July 30th, 1992

Up early enough to shower before breakfast, then went over to Waterloo, waited until 9:30 to get cheaper tickets, and caught the train to Hampton Court. Just had to cross the Thames, then we were at the palace.

Hampton CourtHampton Court.


Really a charming place--huge. We began by going through the Tudor portions--wonderful ceilings, tapestries (fate triumphing over death, death over vanity and chastity, time over something, Dido and Aeneas. The chapel had the most wonderful Tudor ceiling--all beams painted dark blue with stars--painfully lovely.

Wonderful paintings of Henry VIII--one of his family with Jane Seymour (painted during the time of Catherine Parr) with Jane Seymour's fool and the children. One of the field of the cloth of gold, with a great flying salamander. Had a chat with a guard about them.

Went through the Tudor kitchens, which were fascinating. They'd set up with herbs and nuts in baskets and a fire, and a room with hanging stuffed rabbits and one with peacocks and one with fancy cakes. The large room had a fire going. Somehow the kitchens were very real and lovely--seemed like a homey place to be, and smelled wonderful (I'm certain much better than it would when they were really being used.)

Then we went through the queen's chambers and then later the king's, the Renaissance and the Georgian rooms. Lots of wonderful Bruegels, a Gentileschi, Tintoretto, Holbeins, etc. Christina particularly taken with two of Erasmus and one of his publisher.

Lovely wood--carved in Wolsley's rooms, painted walls and ceilings in various places.

We went through the maze, and wandered around in the gardens for a bit before catching the train home.

Christina had a rest, then we got jacket potatoes from across the street. Started to walk to the Royal Theatre in Haymarket but then we were running out of time so grabbed a taxi.

The theatre was very baroque and beautiful. I spent a lot of time admiring it, No air conditioning, though. A Woman of No Importance started off being a typical comedy of manners but became something way more by the end. It was serious--about women's relationships (social) and how it became the man who was of no importance. Very clever and entertaining. The girl, the American Puritan, was played by a stunning-looking woman. The whole was well-acted and I really enjoyed it.

We walked back, making our way through a huge crowd waiting to see Princess Di and Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, then through the nearly empty streets.

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