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Les Semaines

99.05.30

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout

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Social Animal

So between an eye infection and the cold, it wasn't until Wednesday sometime I finally realized that I was going to feel better again in this lifetime. Funny how a series of fairly minor illnesses can still make you wonder if you'll ever feel quite healthy again, if you'll ever not be dragging yourself around, wishing you were at home asleep.

Because of the eye infection I still took it easy until this weekend--this is mostly because I had to put antibiotic in my eye four times a day that clouded my vision for several hours at a time--it was hard to do anything and very disorienting. I mostly did everything with the gunky eye closed. I would have about an hour of it feeling normal again, and it would be time to put more ointment in.

So yesterday I went down to Folklife, a festival that is held every Memorial Day Weekend at Seattle Center. I basically just went to hear Willow, and it was worth it--she's wonderful live. This is the first time I've heard her, though I've had her tape for a few months. I also had a fun time roaming around the craft booths, and I eyed the food booths, wishing I were hungry, but Jim had fed me too well with oatmeal and a huge mocha for breakfast. I didn't stay long, but it was fun to wander about by myself. I like doing that.

Then I came home and slowly tidied stuff around and did some dusting as whirlwind Jim vacuumed and dusted and swept and washed floors, and then went outside and mowed the lawn. I couldn't believe he was doing all that when all I could think was how tired I was, and he was the one who had been suffering from the cold later in the week when I had recovered. My morning exercise session and going to the fair and then going grocery shopping seemed to take all my energy.

Luckily in late afternoon I recovered--after all the house was respectably clean and tidy, and it was my turn to cook, and somehow not really thinking about it I had invited a dear old friend and her new boyfriend to dinner. Actually, Jim had invited to over to help prune our camellia tree (well, it was once a bush but it now clearly is a tree) and I couldn't think of her just coming over for that, so I invited her to dinner.

Now, I used to invite people over to dinner fairly frequently, but I'm an anxious hostess, especially about serving stuff--maybe because my mother was the supreme hostess, but used to start planning and organizing days in advance, and my life doesn't allow for that. And she had a fun time with the silver and Limoge china and linen tablecloths while that's all so very too much for our friends, though I've inherited some of those things.

And Jim and I live a one-pot-dinner life--very rarely do we have more than one course and most of our meals are things like a stew or stir-fry with rice or a pasta salad or a veg soup. So menu-planning isn't something we do often.

Anyway, mostly when we get together with friends these days we seem to eat out.

But there it was. Susan and Joseph arriving pruners in hand and I was at a crucial moment with the soup (Curried Carrot). I huddled in the kitchen until the crisis was over and then was finally able to meet Joseph for the first time properly. We went outside and pruned, and partway through I had to go in and finish the soup and start the pasta dish (Salsa Pasta) and then the ginger cookies. Susan's not much on dessert, but I thought she'd like the cookies with red grapes for dessert. We also had a nice potato bread from a local bakery that delivers to our grocery store, and one of those salad-in-bag things. I haven't had the heart to make serious salads myself since I finally built up an intolerence for my favourite Romaine lettuce and no longer make Caesar Salads from scratch. They were a staple of our diet for many years before I realized it was the lettuce making me sick. Sigh.

So anyway, I managed to do the hostess thing. A fine dinner and an interesting menu, served very informally on the deck since Joseph is allergic to cats and we wanted to minimize his exposure to them and it was such a lovely evening. And we came back inside to nibble on the grapes and cookies and talk and listen to music. I love sitting around talking with friends at our home. I'd forgotten how much I like it.

And I found myself thinking, as I looked around the clean room enjoying having cooked for friends, you know, we need to do this more often.

And then today I realized that I utterly forgot to offer them tea or coffee after the meal. Just to show that I'm never going to quite get this entertaining thing down quite right.

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

Listening

Well, as I mentioned previously I got to hear Willow live yesterday morning. And I also got to pick up her new solo acoustic cd. She has a lovely voice and is a good guitar player and a strong songwriter.

We also got a bunch of new cds: two compilations from a small label in Portland, these are called More and Mass (a Christmas one), both because they have Kaitlyn ni Donovan contributions. All she's put out so far is a tape ep and it's wonderful, so I've been scouting around to find more from her. There has been a cd promised for a long time, but now the person who runs this label has heard it and says it's really something to look forward to. I can believe that.

Also got some wonderful music from a label that seems to specialize in experimental and rare recordings, Forced Exposure: Eno Moebius Roedelius After the Heat's cd reissue, a new-ish Anna Homler project with Geert Waegeman and Pavel Pajt, Corne de Vache, which reaffirms my faith that experimental can also mean melodic and intriguing, and a cd reissue of an astonishing album I'd never heard of before, Linda Perhacs' Parallelograms. This is very much of its time, 1970, with strong resemblances in parts to early Joni Mitchell, but it's also more psychedelic and experimental. And catchy and haunting. Wow.

Also got three discs in trade for sending discs overseas, but I need to listen more before I can really comment on them.

Oh, and someone on ecto asked about Eleni Mandell's Wishbone, and I'd never heard of her so I went to her web page and listened to the samples there. I was kinda interested but not yet motivated to seek it out, but I walked into Tower to pick up yet another copy of Susan Court's High Relief to send overseas (this time to France, having already sent it to Canada, Taiwan, Sweden, Finland, England, and various places in the U.S.) and saw a display with the disc at a great price, so I picked it up. Good on Tower to display and indie cd like that--I partly bought it just to encourage that behaviour on their part. Anyway, the cd is interesting. I do understand the Tom Waits comparison but find the Liz Phair and PJ Harvey ones a bit of a stretch. And there was one song that stuck in my head after only one listen.

Oh, and I rediscovered an old favourite this past week: The Cranberries' everybody is doing it so why can't we? None of their other albums have clicked with me (though a couple of the singles have) but I find still love this album now that the radio overexposure has worn off.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

I finished Sword of Flame and Dhiammara, the final two books of Maggie Furey's fantasy quartet. These were less scattered and more interesting reading than the second book, but I got impatient at the way the characters kept getting distracted from the main plot. Only at the very end of the books were there confrontations with the really big evil folk, though there were several smaller ones with minorly evil/misguided/opportunistic folk who caused a lot of trouble. I'm not sure I like the proliferation of bad guys big and small or if it's just more realistic. It does make the series feel like it's getting bogged down. And the last confrontation with the guy who was the most scary in the early books was an utter anticlimax, as was the final confrontation of the book which should have been the most exciting. And the other magic Faerie folk who were enslaving humans are just carrying on while our heroes retire to hang out and be mellow.

What sucky heroes not to go and take these folk on!

I don't think I'll pick up anything else by this author, even though after reading the first one I was interested enough to pick up the final three at the used book store.

Far better and more magical was Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's the Mistress of Spices, about a woman who can help people by selling them spices that have mystical powers. The book was about she was torn between living her own life and the strict life her commitment to her powers required. I wasn't so delighted with the resolution of the book, but I loved the set up and the way she used spices and the way the spices used her.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

While I don't have much to say about my own writing these days, I can't believe that last week I didn't mentioned the publication of Jim's wonderful new chapbook, Radiant Measures. I love the poems, and the book itself is a work of art. You can take a look at it at the Floating Bridge Press site, though the scan they have doesn't do the gorgeous black paper and the brilliant gold ink of the cover much justice.

If you want a signed copy, you can order it from me for $7 + postage. What a deal! Great poems in a beauteous cover.

The book came out two weeks ago. I suck.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

January 1976

206. Me again1

What a weekend. Eat Sleep. work. Oh well time flies. Tomorrow--a big day. Thinking hard about someone--Oh well. All my essays are finished; two exams to go. Nancy's2 going to be a rock. I'm going to be a seagull and go canoeing. Nancy you can be my pet rock and come to Edmonton with me. I wonder if I'll be lonesome in Edmonton.3 Someone won't be there. I want to go outside.

207. Happy Birthday to Janine4

Eighteen no I wonder what will go right this year. Hum-De-Dum. What do I think of basket ball--I love it--from some reason. Have a good holiday, Nance--see you next Tuesday. I still want to be a seagull 'cause it's sunny.

208. Finishing (hooray!)

Well, i'm all finished. No more homework. Not this semester, anyway. (Bye bye old semester, bye bye....) No essays, ain't that f'rout you fricket? But now I've no more excuses and i'll have to start working on my correspondence course. Drag. Time, time, time... [quote from Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter" deleted]. I've got a week to breathe before the new semester begins. Also a Civilisation test on Friday. Study study study.

209. Doing ta me?

How are you doing watcha doing ta me? Why am i lost on my mountain, staring at the sun below? Perhaps in sorrow, i once thought i was golden--high and lost. Perhaps in pain once i knew it was and true it died. Tiny thoughts organize my mind, can't find the time, can't find the rhyme, buddy, can you spare a dime? If only it could be gold like it used to be i would be okay. Then again, maybe it's only half a day and lost in me. I like that--lost. I like much and in enjoying destroy. Ever will it sigh. In moondust. Starbeams. Got to fly--bye bye.

210. Only i was lost

Only i was lost, but you finally caught up and found me. You gather me up and carried me away, but you left a part of me behind. I wonder who the next explorer will be and if he will find it. I love it sort of. I'm more left behind than it was, but you took me, and took from me.

211. Worry free

Maybe some day i will realize what it's like to be worry free, and i hope it happens before i get an ulcer. That's all i need. My pen is getting away from me again (it does this occasionally, really i promise you it'll be all right, it does end at some point, doesn't interfere or it will bite--it's getting near the end of the page and there it will have to stop.

212. Written a few nights ago while Seed5-sitting

In the Seed tonight, seed-sitting, i at midnight. Cards flashing, done here now. Wish they'd disappear--i was--so much and need so little (laughing lie, i). Cryptic, crypt-like, i live and dream in Seed, Seed in me. Integral part, inveterate love for it in me. Much like scars, like pain.

213. This morning

This morning i feel free and somehow unencumbered. So much to do--i should feel pressured, but i don't. I hope that if i stay down here (in my room) the people upstairs will forget about hem and leave me alone. I need to be alone right now, and i don't know why. I'm too much me.

214. I just found out

I just found out--i'm lost and no one will ever find me. What a freaky thing to find out, but it's true. No one will ever completely understand me. No person, anyway. I feel a strange sense of loss. But God understands me--He understands every bit of me and He still loves me. That's freakier than anything else. Who can ever return that kind of love?

215. Alone

Sitting here in the back of the Seed all alone. I came early, though i don't know why. Felt like it, i guess. No one's here. Nobody. I feel officially a member now. F'rout! I really wonder if i will do anything more positive for the Seed than make cookies. I hope so. I pray so. I feel i belong here. Maybe i do, maybe i don't. Whatever. I'm here and willing.


NOTES

1. By Janine

2. That's me again

3. She was going there to attend the University of Alberta

4. Also by Janine

5. The Mustard Seed, the Christian drop-in centre for teens

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