Les Semaines

February 3, 2008

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

 §

I Have Become My Parents

When I was young and restless I couldn't understand why my parents spent most of their evenings alone together at home. I mean for much of the time I was growing up they had the delights of my presence (yes, I'm sure I was a charming, grouchy obnoxious adolescent who made their every hour precious and complete) but even when I was out a lot and then moved away they seemed to like to stay at home and just hang out, watching TV, drinking tea, reading, and petting and playing with the dog.

Now I'm their age, whatever age that was, and guess what? What do I like most? Hanging out at home, messing about on the computer (writing and reading and all), drinking tea, reading books, and petting and playing with the cats.

What? When did I become my parents?

I could never figure out why they didn't hang out with their friends more. There were concerts to go to, plays to see, movies to watch, restaurants to eat in, drunken conversations to have, sleep to miss.

All I wanted to be was out and about. There was some special life out there and if I hung out enough I knew I'd find it. I quickly discovered I wouldn't find it in bars, as I don't drink beer and few bars used to have cider and scotch was too damn expensive and mixed drinks were (1) expensive and (2) mostly gave me horrible stomach pains, and watching other people have drunken conversations is, well, boring. One down.

I still like going to concerts and plays and movies and all, but when it's competing with sitting at home with tea, a good book, Jim nearby, and a two-cat cuddling minimum, well, these things rarely win the bet.

I also have learned the value of sleep (especially now that I sometimes have trouble getting to sleep).

I still like seeing friends but more and more I prefer they come to our place. I know they get tired of it, but frankly three hours on uncomfortable furniture kills me, and none of the people we hang out with that way have comfortable furniture. Not even the ones who think they do.

I'm not sure what sparked this entry so much as (1) being amazed at how boring my life generally is and how happy I am that it's boring. (2) looking ahead at how busy this month is scheduled to be and dreading it, and (3) realizing that when Jim first met my parents they were pretty much the age that we are now.

This getting old stuff is really weird. How can I be my parents' age?

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

Listening

A fellow member of the ecto music list and contributor to The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music is starting a new project to try to support unusual musical artists, Heady Heart. Read about Emily Bezar and the generation of this project.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Brian Selznick's children's novel, The invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures, is a story partially told and partially shown. Hugo is an orphan, son of a family of clock repairers. He's left in the care of his alcoholic uncle, who teaches him to take care of the multitude of clocks in the Paris train station, and disappears. Hugo keeps the clocks going, but has to steal to eat. When he tries to steal from a toymaker, he finds his life complicated by the toymaker and his adopted daughter and an old automaton that Hugo's father had tried to fix that Hugo himself starts working on. In interesting tale, but a little thinner than it had to be. I loved how the drawings worked cinematically.

E. Lockhart's young adult novel, The Boy Book, follows Ruby from the boyfriend list (15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs and me, Ruby Oliver) into her next year of school as she continues to sort herself out. Fell a little flat for me at the end, but hey, that's pretty realistic for high school life, and Ruby continues to be an interesting protagonist.

Michael Scott's young adult fantasy novel The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel follows twins Sophie and Josh who suddenly get caught up in a struggle between two magical men: Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, who is assisting the most ancient powers who want to take over the world again. Flamel has been holding onto a book of spells that will allow them to do that--but Dee steals it. They have to try to stop him and the powers he's assisting--that is, if they can stay alive long enough. Josh and Sophie learn that there are more powers in the world than they hadany idea about, and that their involvement may not be accidental. As I read this I wanted to like it more than I did--be more caught up in it, and I was quite caught up in it by the end--the vision of the magic involved slowly drew me in, but it took a while. The characters, unfortunately stay flat. Read this for the magic.

Margo Rabb's young adult novel Cures for Heartbreak tells the story of Mia, whose mother has just suddenly died of cancer and whose father is having heart problems. She doesn't get along with her sister, and all that the remnants of her family seem to share well is their grief. And then she starts finding Cancer Boy, a young man on her father's ward, very attractive. An authentic-feeling read. I wasn't surprised to read in the note at the end of the book that the author had lost both her parents and knew whereof she wrote.

Carrie Jones' young adult novel, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, follows the week just after Belle's beloved boyfriend of two years suddenly tells her that he's gay and she realizes that she has never had what she thought she did. Luckily, she has good friends to help her pick up the pieces. A good but not great read.

After these disappointments, no matter their virtues, I had to read something I knew was good, so I re-read Robin McKinley's Rose Daughter, her second retelling of the Beauty and The Beast story. This one is just as delightful--but different--from Beauty, and it was a pure pleasure to re-read. Highly recommended.

Richelle Mead's young adult fantasy novel Vampire Academy tells of the strong relationship between Rose, a guardian, and Lissa, the vampire she protects. They're still in high school, but what is supposed to be a safe world there isn't. Rose and Lissa had escaped but have just been brought back to school, where Rose has to learn more about protecting Lissa than she had guessed about and Lissa needs to learn more about her own powers. A fun read.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Still struggling forward an inch at a time. Is it the project? A little. Is it me? Mostly.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Scotland 1994

Alas, even Jim's journal has devolved into a listing of places we saw.

June 25, 1994 (Forfar)

  • Loanhead Of Daviot (stone circle)
  • Tolquhoun Tomb (William Forbes 7th Lord, Elizabeth Gordon 1590s)
  • Tolquhoun Castle
  • Dunottar Castle
June 26, 1994 (Inverarie)
  • Aberlemno
    • stone in churchyard
    • three stones by roadside
      • 1 without markings
      • 1 cross w/ symbols, battle scene
      • 1 (oldest) Pictish symbols, 600s A.D.
  • Brechin Cathedral Round Tower
    • built 1000 A.D.
    • lots of tombtones from 17th-18th century
  • Eassie Stone in old church
  • Looked for St. Olaf stone--couldn't find it--had lunch on disused railroad line along farm road
  • Meigle Museum to see standing stones--25 sculpted monuments, Celtic time period

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