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: (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.
intertext: (fillyjonk)
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 08:09 pm
I was going to call this post "State of the Intertext," but it seemed altogether too postmodern...

I got a new fridge today. I like it. It's clean and quiet, and rated just about as low as it's possible to be in terms of energy consumption. Physical memory is a funny thing, though - it's strange how difficult it is to get used to opening a door on the other side, or looking for vegetables in the middle instead of the bottom (this fridge is one of those with the freezer at the bottom and it has lovely big vegetable crispers, in the middle). But it holds a lot, including my wine bottles.

There is a catnip mouse in my bathtub. Just saying.

I made a delightful salad for supper with canned salmon and greens from my garden and a dressing made of one part sour cream, one part mayonnaise, one part buttermilk and a collection of chives, dill, sorrel and parsley all blended together.

Oh, and new potatoes. There are new potatoes! These are cooked with mint from my garden. Bliss.

I'm reading Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, and it's really good.

Also, GLEE. GLEEEEEEEEEE!!! (I can't believe I haven't watched this before now...)
intertext: (fool)
Monday, June 2nd, 2008 03:24 pm
It was movie night (Indie 3, in preparation for Indie 4). Cohosted by Eli (of the multiple couches) and [ profile] superfoo. Eli promised copious amounts of vodka and rum, which there was not. There was wine and cider and I think beer and a lot of chips and dip and a little cheese and the movie, which I don't think many of us paid a great deal of attention to, and good conversation. It devolved in the end to the Stalwarts - me, [ profile] lidocafe, Eli and Greg. As all but Eli were preparing to leave at quite a late hour, Eli produced a bottle of Calvados, procured at a roadside stand near Mont St Michel, which he visited last month. This, of course, led to more conversation and reminiscences about France, and the Calvados, which was very good but very potent. Apparently [ profile] lidocafe is suffering from a bad hangover today. I'm not, but I somehow managed to be not QUITE as tipsy as she and Greg were. It was fun, though. It's not exactly attempting to recapture lost youth - I wouldn't be twenty again if you paid me, although I wouldn't mind my 20-year old body - there's a certain pleasure in doing silly, youthful things from the perspective of one with more... experience. In some ways you can appreciate them more because you don't take them for granted and you've been there before so it's not risking anything. There's a certain comfort level that comes with Age. Does that make sense??
intertext: (Default)
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 08:01 pm
I probably got it from my mum, but I've always had this superstition that you should do on New Year's Day what you want to keep on doing for the rest of the year. To whit, today I have
  • Taken Robinson for a nice long walk around the golf course this morning

  • Taken both dogs out for a walk in the park in the afternoon

  • Taken photographs and

  • Played with photoshop

  • Done a tiny bit of gardening (noticing in the meanwhile that the hellebores are in bud)

  • Read

  • Played a little Zelda

  • Done some work on my 160 online course, and

  • Blogged!

  • Before bed, I shall also watch a dvd.
    intertext: (Default)
    Sunday, August 19th, 2007 04:11 am
    Yesterday, I went to a memorial service for a man I'd never met. No, I haven't suddenly become one of those people who likes going to funerals; this was in my vaguely "official" capacity as still being Acting Chair of the English Dept, for the man who was to have been Chair of the Biology Dept at my college. He was two weeks into his appointment when he was diagnosed with the cancer that took his life only a few months later.

    I didn't want to go, but thought to myself that two hours or so out of my Saturday afternoon wouldn't hurt me. As it happened, I probably wouldn't have been missed, but ultimately I was glad I went, because, in the way of such things, going brought me several gifts.

    One gift was being witness to the celebration of a life embraced and lived as fully as seems possible. This was a man of depth and accomplishments - he travelled widely, built his own trimaran and sailed it, developed close relationships, was survived by several children. He competed in martial arts and worked to build an association of his discipline in Canada. He was a mountaineer (which made me think of [ profile] countrygardener - Marty, did you know someone called Ted Davis? It wouldn't surprise me if you did). His life had been so full and rich that even though he died too soon at sixty I couldn't help but feel that he had lived a complete life that one could truly celebrate with a sense of loss of a friend and father and lover and coworker but no regret for things undone. And, of course, this made me think of my own life, and wonder what people might say at my memorial service, and whether I could share that sense of fulfillment, and to think about what I should do that I have left so far undone.

    Another gift was meeting there someone from UVic, a colleague from a part of my life that I've almost forgotten: the years I spent teaching there for their community education program. She folded me into a close and warm hug, not one of those "air hugs" but a true embrace, one that both asked for and gave comfort.

    The third and perhaps greatest gift was talking to my friend dr afterwards. She has recently been through a death in her own family and is having a hard time with it. She asked me about my memorial service for my mother, which brought back warm memories for me but talking about it brought us both to tears. This was a good thing, though, because although we've been friends for a long time (almost as long as I've been at the college), things have been a bit shaky between us lately and I've felt a serious risk of losing our friendship. However, our brief talk was intense and emotional but full of promise to work hard for our friendship because it was important to both of us, and I left her feeling more confident that would happen than I have for perhaps years.

    I wrote that this re-connection with dr was "perhaps" the greatest gift. That is not to qualify the gift, because it was hugely important, but I think that it in fact was not the greatest. The greatest gift was being reminded that today, this moment, is all we have. That it is so desperately important and essential to appreciate what we have, and make every moment, every hour, every chance for connection and engagement with people and life as full and warm and rich as possible.
    intertext: (fillyjonk)
    Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 08:28 am
    Nothing of any great import has been happening, but here are a few newsflashes:

    New Flickr Addiction: This is a potentially deadly procrastination device. I've discovered an addictive group on Flickr called the Motif Challenges. It's a rapid-fire game of photo challenges, in which one person posts a theme or topic (the motif) such as "church" "pink" "rust" or whatever. Once five people have posted pics into the discussion thread, voting starts and the winner gets to choose the next challenge and post his or her photo to the group pool. It's fast, it's fun, and in the five challenges I entered on Sunday, I won two and came second in one. However, the need to pop in and out, vote, check on the progress of your entry, etc etc makes it a terrible time-sink.

    More on the Photography theme, and Macs Rule: I felt like the Mac user half of the Mac/PC advertisements yesterday as I prepared a dvd slide show of my Paris pics to show my friends B & J who were coming for dinner and to see pics. It took me all of about 10 minutes (not including burning time, which was about an hour) using idvd, itunes, and iphoto, which of course all worked seamlessly together.

    A Pleasant Evening was had by All: B, J and I and my dogs and their new puppy enjoying garden inspection (and in the case of the puppy, solo race at top speed around it several times), dinner, a new (to me) variety of wine called Damasco (yummy), Thrifty's feta cheese and spinach on foccaccio pizza, salad and a wonderful cranberry nut bread from the Market on Yates. Oh, and they admired my slide show and photos therein.

    Dream Guest: Last night I dreamt that I was teaching a Tom Stoppard play and Tom Stoppard himself dropped in. It was surprisingly not a nightmare. TS was very charming and I told him how much I enjoyed Arcadia and of course Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead though I said I didn't like the ending of the latter.

    Social Life: I'm having lunch later today at Los Tas... something or other Mexican restaurant with a large group of women from the English dept. I dislike Mexican food, but probably will enjoy the company. Not sure if [ profile] lidocafe is going - if she isn't, we should think about our next meeting, so that, seeing as she hasn't been posting for a while, I can find out What's Going On in her life.
    intertext: (Default)
    Saturday, March 10th, 2007 02:26 pm
    One of the questions I asked my new LJ friend [ profile] lidocafe in the interview meme was who would compose the soundtrack of her life. She couldn't come up with any one composer; instead, she rather brilliantly listed a whole complilation CD. That, of course, got me thinking about my own list, and here it is:

    Peter, Paul and Mary: "Leaving on a Jet Plane"
    Joni Mitchell: "Both Sides Now" and "Case of You"
    Simon & Garfunkel: "Scarborough Fair" and "America"
    Carly Simon: "Anticipation"
    Bach Violin and Oboe Concerto in A minor, slow movement
    Bruce Springsteen: "The River" and "Dancing in the Dark" (and almost everything else)
    Mark Knopfler: "Theme to Local Hero"
    Dire Straits: "Brothers in Arms" (the single)
    John Wesley Harding: "I'm Wrong About Everything"
    Otis Redding: "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"
    Van Morrison: "Into the Mystic"
    Prokofief: "The Montagues and the Capulets" from Romeo and Juliet
    Albinoni's Adagio
    Schostakovich: 2nd piano concerto, slow movement
    Brahms 2nd piano concerto
    Stan Rogers: "Northwest Passage"
    Arlo Guthrie: "City of New Orleans"
    Ricky Lee Jones: "Chuck E's in Love"
    Waylon Jennings: "Amanda" (don't ask - I was in love with a country & western fan)
    Ralph Vaughn Williams: "Rhapsody on a Theme by Thomas Tallis"

    And probably the Star Wars theme.
    intertext: (deerskin)
    Monday, November 20th, 2006 01:46 pm
    A link from Scholar'sBlog led me to this entry in the Guardian Blog by author Meg Rosoff. She writes amusingly about "bloody Jeanette Winterson" with her house in Spitalfields (AND, I might add, a place in the country), with minimum furniture and no live-in partner or children. I, too, have often envied Jeanette Winterson her life - she seems to have fallen on her feet in grand style, having Ruth Rendell give her the use of a house on the grounds of Rendell's estate when JW was just starting out, and now buzzing about between the two aforementioned abodes and winter in Capri. I've often wondered how she manages it financially; I know from my days working at a publishing company that royalties rarely pay the bills unless you're JK Rowling or the like. Is she _that_ successful? Or just very good with her money?

    I also sympathise with Rosoff's general bemoaning the lack of time to write. One commenter notes drily that you can save a lot of time by NOT reading or writing in blogs instead of getting any work done. Hmm.
    intertext: (small misable dog)
    Friday, January 27th, 2006 07:23 am
    My thanks to all for your good wishes. The support of my physical friends here has been strong and unshakeable. In some ways it might be easier to be one of a large Ukranian family with dozens of aunties rushing in from all corners of the world, but I'm an only child and the few "rellies" I have are rather far afield, mostly in England, and Western Canada is a long way away... Well, they say you can't choose family but you can choose friends, and mine have been stellar.

    Yesterday, I took doggies for a walk along a walking/biking path that crosses a nature sanctuary, and nature put on a spectacular show for me, as if it knew I needed it. First, a Cooper's hawk swooped across the path and perched about four feet away (and, of course, me without my camera...). Then a kingfisher sat preening itself on the edge of the lake, chattering its beak and flicking its tail. Even as I stood with tears pouring down my cheeks I felt the joy of that moment. Then as I was turning towards home two raptors, possibly falcons rather than hawks, were circling and calling against the sky. Who can feel sad for long in such a beautiful world?
    intertext: (small misable dog)
    Wednesday, January 25th, 2006 01:42 pm
    My mum passed away on Monday evening. She was at home, in no pain, and I was by her side. I don't think I can say much more right now.
    intertext: (small misable dog)
    Sunday, January 22nd, 2006 05:28 pm
    I have been hugged by more complete strangers in the past 10 or so days than it feels like in my whole life, and, strangely, for this confirmed introvert, this has not on the whole been a Bad Thing. In fact, this whole experience has been (and continues to be) strangely full of grace in many ways. My mum is at home now, and I am receiving help from 24 hour home support, as well as a visiting home-care nurse and many on call people at my fingertips it feels like (at times the Canadian public health care system actually _does_ work). MKB is here at least until Wednesday, when she has a trial. Other friends phone - or not - as needed, and I'm just floating in this little unreal bubble, but it feels... not bad. Every now and then I go into meltdown; this often elicits one of the aforementioned hugs. But that's okay too.
    intertext: (caped dog)
    Monday, January 16th, 2006 08:17 pm
    There were snowdrops blooming in the park. Which speaks to a more kind of new agey continuity in the face of death than I think I'm really subscribing to, but nevertheless... And if it ever stops raining, I'll take some photos. But overall, it was not a bad day. Mum was more coherent than she has been. We had some good conversations about various things. I had dinner last night with B & J, which was good, even though I collapsed in puddles of tears over the creme caramel... I woke at 5 am and got quite a bit of work done on my online course, which is actually a Good Thing. Today Mum got to vote. Elections Canada officials were cruising the hospital with ballot boxes - did you know that it was okay for someone else to write in the name of the candidate when the person voting isn't capable of writing the name clearly? So I struck one in the eye for.... ha ha. But today, I actually feel, more or less, okay, if that's even possible. I need something to read while sitting at a sickbed. Any suggestions? I was thinking about that Joan Didion book that everyone is raving about.
    intertext: (small misable dog)
    Saturday, January 14th, 2006 10:12 pm
    I always thought I'd keep my life at some distance from this journal, but I find now that I can't keep up the cheery facade of memes and chitchat. Thing is, my mum has terminal cancer and probably only weeks to live. And that's what my life is right now. The past several months - all last term really, for those on the academic schedule - she's been ill, and I've known she's been ill, but it's only this week that it's been confirmed for sure that this is what's happening. It's a relief in a way to have it out in the open and to know what's going on and to have something to shake a fist at instead of what has been constant grinding anxiety. I'm dumping all but one of my courses for the rest of the term and now have to learn to face a world without the person I've been caring for for the last 15 years. And of course have loved for all my years. She's my friend, not just my mum, and I'm going to miss her. Badly.