intertext: (moominpapa)
Thursday, August 3rd, 2017 02:55 pm
Last night I returned home from a five-day stint in Toronto, specifically at York University, more specifically the Biennial Congress of the IRSCL (International Research Society for Children's Literature), at which I was presenting a paper on intertextuality in Diana Wynne Jones's Hexwood. One of the nice things was that [personal profile] steepholm was there, and I was able to see her presentation on adaptations of The Borrowers and also spend more time just chatting with her than I've had a chance to do before.

She has written very amusingly about a rather disastrous afternoon we spent in downtown Toronto. It was kind of like this:
Me: "I lost my phone this afternoon."
You: "Oh dear, how did that happen?"
Me: "Well, it was a little damp after I fell in a fountain, so I put it down beside me on a bench where I was sitting, forgot it was there when I walked away, and someone stole it."
You: "You fell in a fountain??"
Me: "Yes, that was when [personal profile] steepholm and I were nearly hit by a speeding motorcycle. When I jumped out of the way I slipped and fell in backwards."
It was, in hindsight, rather funny, especially when miraculously no one was hurt. Losing my phone that way is a whole lot more dramatic than dropping it in a toilet, which I've also done.

The conference was great. I met a lot of people, including a lovely young woman studying at Valencia University who is also doing work on intertextuality - we admired each other's work and the possibility of collaborating on an article was discussed, so that was cool. I rubbed shoulders with a lot of very Big Names, all of whom were very nice.

One of the highlights for me, as it was for [personal profile] steepholm, was Robin Bernstein's talk on bedtime books, featuring Goodnight Moon and Go the Fuck to Sleep and brilliantly deconstructing an argument by Jaqueline Rose. One panel on dystopias in YA fiction featured some discussion on heterotopias which looked at them differently than I did (I theorize an intertextually rich text as a kind of heterotopia for the reader), but intersected in interesting ways. Two of Steepholm's Japanese friends spoke very interestingly about the Green Knowe books, which were among my mother's favourites. I am inspired to re-read them. Yesterday I went to a panel that focussed on sexuality in YA novels, which was shocking in the fact that there are - count them - more than 50 recent YA novels depicting date rape, which raised the question of their purpose, their audience and the awful truth that so many teens and young women have experienced this. Also how few books were actually "sex positive" and what that meant.

My trip home was a lot less eventful than [personal profile] steepholm's, but still delayed by more than two hours, which meant that I was up until 4:30 am Toronto time, arriving home at 1:30 am in Victoria. Today I am feeling very tired and have to go out to replace my phone and also get some food in the house.

Sadly, two days before I left, one of my cats, Simon, disappeared, and he still has not come home. This is very worrying and upsetting, although I'm doing my best to hope that he may yet return. He's not normally a wanderer, though, and the longer he's gone the harder it is to keep the faith. My other cat, Tabitha, was left at home alone while I was away, and I think she missed both Simon and Baggins (who went into kennels). Certainly she greeted me ecstatically when I came home last night, which lessened the feeling of emptiness without either Baggins or Simon. Keep your fingers crossed for Simon.
intertext: (maple leaf)
Saturday, July 1st, 2017 04:51 pm
I have a private custom, that I usually try to go on some kind of excursion on Canada Day. It's nearly always brilliantly fine, and there's something nice about going out to appreciate the bluest of blue skies and seas and the bright yellows and greens of the grasses. This year, I didn't feel particularly energetic, so I bundled Baggins in the back of the car and went to visit an old haunt: what we in my family called "Mad Jim's Beach" (don't ask), but which is now called Glencoe Cove Kwatsech Park.

Pictures under the cut )
intertext: (take that!)
Friday, April 21st, 2017 09:45 am
The diss chapter that I'm working on right now is on parody, so of course I'm browsing through A Tough Guide to Fantasyland.  One of the entries is on "Gestures": specifically that Mages are given to exaggerated gesturing when casting spells.  Recently, I read Melissa McShane's Regency fantasy Burning Bright (which is really super, by the way, and I thought its sequel was even better). There was a scene there, involving a night-time naval battle with fire-wielding magic users on both sides attempting to set fire to their respective ships and, if it was possible to determine which of the shadowy figures on the enemy ship was the magic user, each other. The less experienced and rather showy mages on our heroine's ship used gestures, which our heroine quickly realized made targets of themselves, and she snaps at them to stop it.  I wonder if McShane has read DWJ? (I think it's likely).
intertext: (moominpapa)
Thursday, April 20th, 2017 04:43 pm
Readers, it has been five years since I last posted.

I've been circling around the idea of starting up again, but it always felt a bit self-conscious and awkward. But then I was talking to a friend and colleague who also maintains a journal here (we were discussing the whole LJ TOS kerfuffle), and he was encouraging in a very nice way, so I logged in and poked around. And it was still about a week later that I plucked up the courage to start this. But here we are.

I've missed it. Several times I have sat for hours rereading all my LJ posts, laughing and crying and wishing I was still doing it. I think one reason I have not is that for a long time I associated blogging with a particular friend from whom I have become estranged, and that estrangement was extremely painful at the time and still hurts, though at least we have reached a bit of a reconciliation to the point where we can at least speak to one another again.

It helps, I think, to be starting again in Dreamwidth. Partly because of the kerfuffle, I am no longer cross-posting to LJ. Not because I fear the scrutiny of the KGB or whoever wants to read the extremely unexciting ramblings of a mild-mannered, geeky woman now of more than a certain age. More because it feels like a true tabula rasa, a new start in a new journal, but with access to my old life and whoever of my old flist is still around.

Many of you are my friends on FB, or in RL, so will know about my doings, but maybe in part for my own sense of bridge-building between past and present, here's a brief recap.

What is the same: I'm still pretty much the same person, though I do feel a bit more reserved and cautious even than before. My second-to-last post in LJ was, regrettably, announcing the death of my beloved bearded collie Robinson. Well, I have another one. Same breed. Name of Baggins. He will likely feature largely in these pages. I have the same two cats. I'm still working at the same community college, though I'm now no longer a union boss. I think that experience may have been another thing that put me off writing here; it was very much a mixed blessing. Good work, but difficult inter-personal relationships. I'm still living alone and unattached romantically and really don't see that ever changing.

What is different: the biggest thing is that I sold my old house, the one I lived in through all that difficult time with my mother, and have bought my own. It's in a lovely neighbourhood in one of the nicest parts of town and for Victoria it's fairly old (1912). I love it. Because of Baggins, and because it is green, with a bright red door (which makes sense in my own brain anyway), I call it "Bag End" when I think about it to myself. Let's forget any possible associations with "old bags" please.

The other biggest thing, a very big thing, is that I am working on a PhD, writing about intertextuality in the works of Diana Wynne Jones. I am very happy about this, and the work is going as well as can be expected, and I'm enjoying it. I am enrolled via distance at Cardiff University, which feels very posh. It's another new start, but also a chance to take back one of the big things I lost in the years I was looking after my mother. I doubt many realized that when I first started my LJ I was enrolled in a PhD program at UVic. I think I might like to use this now for some PhD thinking-out-loud, so let me know if you'd like to be included in a filter.

I went to Greece in 2014, which was good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped, and it wasn't life changing.

I had another hip replacement last year, and am still not quite as mobile as I would like, but it's getting there. Baggins keeps me walking and my garden keeps me determined to stay fit. My new house has a most delightful garden, almost like a secret garden at the back and with many flowering trees and a Japanese Maple and all sorts.

I am, in most respects, very happy. So that's all right.
intertext: (small mis'able dog)
Sunday, February 12th, 2012 06:39 pm
Robinson's death has hit me hard. Also, the general feeling of doglessness. I haven't been without a dog, except for when on holiday, for eighteen years. And only for brief periods in my whole life. And maybe I'm at the best of times a bit lonely, and a dog is a comforting Presence in one's life, even when it is old and infirm and sleeping most of the time.

So I did something a bit foolish. Yesterday, I went on the SPCA website, and there was a 4-month old pointer-terrier cross puppy who looked out at me and I kind of fell in love with. I stomped around yesterday and thought "no, it's too soon..." but this morning I thought, "ok, if it's still there..." and went down to see her. There was a couple ahead of me, but they decided against her. So I filled in my application. And the SPCA turned me down. For all the right reasons. This puppy has already had three homes and is already showing signs of separation anxiety. They want someone for her who ideally has another dog, and maybe in a family where someone will be home a lot. Also they were worried about my two cats, because this dog isn't proven to get along with cats. You know, and I know, that she probably would have been fine, and probably would have been a great fit. But they didn't know that, and I don't blame them. And as I told them, it's probably too soon anyway. But of course when I told them that I'd just lost another dog, I started crying. So I felt embarrassed for myself on top of everything else.

And now I feel even more bereft than I did before, because I'd realized how badly I want this hole in my heart to be filled, and how empty I feel now.
intertext: (small mis'able dog)
Saturday, February 4th, 2012 05:13 pm
RIP Robinson

I sent my dear boy to his rest this afternoon. He was a great age, almost 15, and I'd known this was coming, but I'm still pretty shattered.
intertext: (snowy sensation)
Monday, January 2nd, 2012 05:25 pm
I return, triumphant, from a very successful shopping trip. To whit:

2 pairs of cord pants
1 velvety/cord jacket
3 (count them) THREE! cashmere sweaters (one turtle, one v-neck and one hoodie)
1 wool blend v-neck sweater
1 cotton cable knit turtle-neck sweater
1 v-neck t-shirt
3 pairs of tights

YAY! I badly needed some new clothes, and it was great to get them at greatly reduced prices.

And they're not all black, which makes a change. Only some of them :)
intertext: (miss jean brodie)
Monday, November 7th, 2011 06:28 pm
I have awesome students.

This morning, I prepared my class, went downstairs to my 10:30 class at about 10:25, ready to set up some web things. I got to the door, and the whole class was there (all but one or two, itself quite remarkable at this time in the term), lights dimmed, watching the student scheduled for one of the presentations that day _doing_ his presentation. Everyone was listening intently, laughing in all the right places.

It was all a bit "wtf" but I thought, oh, maybe he's been telling them about his play (this is the scriptwriting class) and they wanted to hear it (I know, that doesn't make a lot of sense, but...). Anyway, when he was finished, I walked in, took my place at the computer terminal and started setting up. I looked at them, looked at the clock, and said "I'm not late... ?"

Uh. Yeah. I was. The class started at 10:00. I don't even have the excuse that I was an HOUR late because of the time change. I just got muddled, because all my other classes start on the half hour, and I think I conflated this one with another one later in the week. And this one has a silly schedule that's different on Mondays than it is on Wednesdays. And I'm tired, and a bit depressed, and my brain is fuzzy.

But - HEY YOU GUYS!! They were carrying on the class without me! How cool is THAT! They were engaged, responsible, and participating. Wow.

They could have walked out. And if I'd walked in, 25 minutes late, to find one person there to tell me they'd done that, I think I would have gone and jumped off a bridge. Instead, they give me this gift.

Oh, and we're reading Firefly episode 5, "Out of Gas," and someone in the class was wearing a cunning hat. How cool is that?
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Saturday, August 27th, 2011 08:42 am
So the double booking was solved by giving me an online section of one course instead of the physical one at the impossible time. I have an online version of this course already built, but will need to create new material for a new unit (on Watchmen) that I've been planning to incorporate this year in the face-to-face version, and will need to revise quite a few pages. Oh well. I still have five days per week, and an evening class, but at least the back-to-back and three classes in one day and conflict have been removed.
intertext: (skinhead hamlet)
Friday, August 26th, 2011 10:35 am
Which of the following unpleasant scheduling factors do you think pertains in my schedule this term?
A) Five days per week
B) An evening class
C) One day with three classes in one day
D) Back-to-back classes
E) Late Friday afternoon class
F) All of the above Read more... )
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Monday, July 18th, 2011 09:38 pm
Lunch with a friend.
Unexpected sunshine.
Realizing that I have laughed spontaneously more since I acquired Simon than I have for a long time.
New sneakers!

New Sneakers!
intertext: (flying kitten)
Saturday, July 16th, 2011 10:55 am
Simon really is the most endearing little soul. He has the kind of solemn, wide-eyed goofiness that reminds me sharply of some of the cat-characters in Doreen Tovey's series of books about Siamese cats (have any of you read these, by the way? They're lovely). I keep taking photographs of him sleeping, because I am constantly finding him in the most abandoned sleep positions - on his back or lying across my legs with his head lolling downwards.

Sleeping Kitty

Tabitha seems to be coming round to him, despite herself. Mornings and evenings are now punctuated by cat races around the house (yesterday, I had to move a bewildered Robinson from the place in the hallway where he was being trampled by two sets of thundering paws). Yesterday, I actually spotted the two cats wrestling, and howled with laughter when Simon launched himself from a chair onto Tabitha's back, actually escaping without a pounding. Tabitha is very vocal, and given to screeching as if being murdered when she's only playing. I am getting used to this, too. Tabitha still thumps Simon regularly, but it is with claws sheathed and seems entirely in a not-very-successful effort to put him in his place.

My only concern is that Tabitha may be feeling a bit displaced in my affections. I try to give her lots of love, but she's staying a bit aloof. Also, Simon is extremely affectionate and likes nothing better than to snuggle - it's hard when Tabitha comes chirruping up for a cuddle and Simon is already there. I think I may leave Simon shut in the study with his breakfast in the early morning, because both Tabitha and I are missing our morning ritual of purrs over the laptop and her finishing off my cereal bowl. Simon will be annoyed, but I think Tabitha's needs come first.

However, all in all I'm delighted with this new member of my family, and so thankful that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to find him.

By the way, I think he's twice the size now that he was when I first got him, and he has big paws. And he eats like a horse. I suspect he's going to be large.
intertext: (flying kitten)
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 02:54 pm
The further adventures of Simon.

He is settling in very well. He likes me a lot, and he tolerates Robinson, and he adores Tabitha. He says that when he grown up he wants to have green eyes and stripes, just like hers. Tabitha is not so sure about him, even though she has allowed him to touch noses. Mostly she thumps him when he gets too close (but with claws sheathed). Her nose is a bit out-of-joint, especially as he has a habit of rushing in just when she wants to come on my lap for a cuddle, and he's figured out how to jump up to her feeding bowl. Tabitha and I have a long-time ritual that she comes on my bed after she's had her breakfast and while I'm reading LJ and checking my email. It's hard to be peaceful when there's a kitten mewing piteously and waving his paw under the door, but it's either that or Simon zooms in and jumps on my chest purring madly and Tabitha goes off in a huff. On Sunday morning, though, I had one of them on each side of me, which was lovely.

Extreme cuteness under the cut )
intertext: (flying kitten)
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 10:23 am
Hello, Kitty!Please welcome the latest addition to my household: Simon the Siamese.

It was one of those nice little serendipitous things; I've been thinking for a while about getting a second cat to be company for Tabitha, especially as I'm facing the loss of Robinson in the not-too-distant future. Having a young thing around might help both of us weather that. And then, yesterday, I happened to be doing routine errands in the Pet food emporium, and there he was! My pet shop does a satellite service for the local SPCA, and I usually go by and say hello to the cats in their cages. Yesterday morning, I noticed a siamese kitten looking out at me, and when I went to talk to him he came right up to the bars of the cage and nudged my hand, then stared at me fixedly, and my heart was lost. My friend kp, the cat expert, had recommended that if I got another cat it should be male and preferably a kitten, and I love siamese cats, so this was a match made in heaven. I wasn't sure they'd let me adopt a kitten, given that I have a dog and another cat, but perhaps it's the time of year when they're over-run. In any case, I got the approval within minutes, and very soon after Simon was ensconced in my bedroom at home.

He has not yet met Tabitha face-to-face, but they have sniffed each other under doorways. I'm letting him have the run of the house when Tabitha is out, and then giving Tabitha lots of love while he's shut away. Robinson is pretty much oblivious. Yesterday, Simon hissed and arched his back at R, but this morning he (Simon) came and hung out on my lap while R was lying at my feet, so I suspect all will be well fairly soon. I'm hoping that later today I can have both cats free in the house. There's something of the quality of a bedroom farce in whipping one out of the way when the other comes to the door!

Simon seems to have a very strong personality and has taken the new surroundings very much in stride. He likes to sit on my shoulders, which is fine for now, though may not be optimum when he gets bigger :)
intertext: (gargoyle)
Thursday, June 9th, 2011 01:44 pm
This, from passer-by whom I know slightly, while I'm on my hands and knees obviously in the midst of weeding my garden. Passer-by has an immaculate and beautifully planted front garden, which I've commented upon favourably when _I_ passed by. I would never, repeat NEVER, remark upon any weeds, even if there were any.

My unspoken reply: *"Why yes, thank you SO much for pointing that out! How would I EVER have noticed them, without you commenting?"*

I divide people into those who notice the weeds, and those who notice the flowers. If I notice weeds, it's only in a moment of gratitude that other people are normal and have normal failings and lives that preclude having immaculate houses or gardens. I envy immaculate houses and gardens slightly, but would really far rather just enjoy the crazy beauty of my own rather wild space outdoors, and I have far too little time to worry about cat hairs and dog footprints in my indoor space. Seeing as I am not retired, or wealthy, nor do I have anyone to share the labour of maintaining a house and garden, my place is not in a state of perfection. I like having a garden and pets, though I'm sure that some would think that I shouldn't have the one if I'm unable to keep it up perfectly or the other because of the incumbent mess. A pox on that, I say. )
intertext: (Default)
Saturday, June 4th, 2011 10:03 am
Ate ten prawn shells last night. Of course, that means that stupid owner left them somewhere where dog could get them (and ate 10 spot prawns all by herself nom nom nom).

Anyway, dog doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects. He slept as soundly as only a deaf old dog can, and doesn't appear to have had any tummy upset.

intertext: (robinson)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 06:25 pm
You have to drive him (two and a half blocks) to the dog park.
You are ecstatic when you realize that he's still breathing, though deeply asleep.
You use your mother's wheelchair lift to get him up and down the front steps of the house.
You have little pieces of yoga mat all around your house, to give him traction on your wood floor.
Your cat doesn't take him seriously.