Monthly Archives: February 2003

Insomnia: Good For Catching Up On Reading

One thing that insomnia and being so sick for the past week has given me is lots of time to read. I finally finished The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell; I also finally finished Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. Both are excellent books, they just took me a lot longer to read than I expected. Both were loans from other people, too, so I really felt bad. Both were really densely written, which contributed to the long read. Perdido Street Station was nasty and dark and so damn well written that I will willingly plunge into The Scar once winter is officially over and I no longer feel like brooding, moping, or otherwise indulging in winter-connected depression. (There should be a warning label on Mieville’s books that reads, ‘Caution – Do Not Read During SAD Season If You Are Prone To Moodiness’.) As for Cornwell, I really, really have to be in a particular mood to read his work: namely, in a mood to appreciate logic and war maneuvers while simultaneously being actively interested in Arthurian characters. That’s a rather rare mood for me.

I also read an advance copy of Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K Hamilton that’s been sitting on my shelf since, um, mid 2000 or something. Anyway, it’s highly ironic that it was an advance copy, because not only has the book itself been released in hardcover in the meantime, but also in paperback, and the sequel was released in hardcover with its paperback publication imminent, as well. (March 4, as a matter of fact, so if nothing in my collection appeals to me when I start hunting for something new to read, I know what I’ll be buying.)

I picked up Dianne Day’s Strange Files of Fremont Jones Wednesday night when I was wide awake, and it was good. So’s the sequel, Fire and Fog, which I finished today while taking a break from packing. Nice little historical crime books, with your standard independent female protagonist. I have a third in my possession, but like other crime series that my mother sends to me once she’s read them, it appears to be missing a few books in-between. Mum picks some up at the shop and reads others through the library, so when I get the series they often look a bit like Swiss cheese – you know, volume 1, 2, 4, 7 and 8. Insisting on reading books in sequence is one of those delightful character traits that make me so lovable, so I’ll be hunting through second-hand shops for these ones. (A day’s read contained within a light crime novel is not worth the $10 purchased new, in my not-so-humble opinion. And it’s my blog, after all, so my opinion doesn’t have to be concerned about humilty, now, does it.)

I have an entire box devoted to Books Which I Have Not Yet Read, so I don’t have to go hunting once we’re in the new apartment. So very clever of me. Probably pointless, though, since as I unpack I look through my books, and I will likely find dozens I suddenly must re-read immediately.

Apparently it’s gearing up to be a lovely day tomorrow, with a high of +2 degrees. That’s reassuring.


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The main problem with moving (because of course there are several) is that there are never enough boxes. I fervently believe that it’s one of those dark SF equations at work. Neil Gaiman should write something about this. No, really – it sounds like one of those mildly annoying things that the protagonist of a dark fantasy novel encounters as s/he prepares to move out of an equally dark house with A Presence. Protagonist gets boxes, packs, needs more boxes; calculates, gets more boxes, and falls short yet again. The pattern is repeated as an (apparently) minor amusing recurrance, and not until the end of the novel does the reader realise that The Lack Of Boxes Is Significant!

Sleep update: I didn’t Wednesday night. Did last night, thanks to the joys of drugs enabling me to (a) sleep, and (b) breathe while doing it. All bow to the pharmacists, architects of my preserved sanity. Somewhere around four AM on Wednesday night (Thursday morning?) I began to understand why sleep deprivation works as a method of torture. You literally don’t have a chance to download. No blessed darkness descends to make it all go away for a while. It’s reality, 24/7. And even if your reality is nice and humdrum, it loses all appeal at 4 AM after a total of six hours sleep over four days.

It occurs to me that for the first time in quite a while, I’m hungry. Really hungry. Hmm.

Today, more packing, and I have to take the delicate stuff over to the new place – cello, viola, bodhran, harp, stuff like that. While I’m there I think I’ll unpack what I can and bring boxes back. It’s nice to feel well enough to plan things like this, although you can be darned sure I’ll stop the moment I start feeling wobbly.


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Another moving update: as of this afternoon, kitchen mostly packed, books mostly packed. Thanks, guys. Fun and productive.

I missed orchestra tonight by a simple miscalculation: my husband had scheduled a box run over to the new apartment with Skippy. As the car cannot be in two places at once, and since we only realised this at 6.30 PM, there wasn’t time to try to find another lift out to the West Island. He loaded up the car and left while I began to pack the bedroom closet. He was back half an hour later. “Done already?” I said. “No,” he replied, “they turned the power off so the electricians could finish rewiring the building, and it hasn’t been turned back on yet so it’s pitch-black and we can’t see to carry boxes up the stairs. They’re still in the car.”

Drat. This means I missed the orchestra ensemble photo for nothing.

In Which She Drags Herself Out Of Bed


1. I’m out of bed at last. Yes, I spent the last three or four days sick under the covers, using up Kleenex and copious amounts of cough drops, and still not being able to sleep or even breathe with any degree of success. Off and on fever, eternal blinding headache. This is the frst time in years that I’ve been able to listen to my body and stay in bed during one of these episodes. Much easier to deal with than dragging oneself around a job environment, infecting others, and generally suffering longer as a result.

2. Packing proceeds apace. There have even been a couple of carloads of boxes taken over to the new place already. Today, I have trusty friends Tal and Tass coming over to help. I still haven’t decided if this was a good idea (i.e. we’ll get lots done), or a bad idea (i.e. we’ll have way too much fun and by the end of the day it will be, Boxes? What boxes?).

3. Just so we’re straight on this, I do not in the least resent the fact that my mother is taking a well-deserved vacation with her sister in the Dominican Republic. It’s just that I’m here, packing, with tons of snow outside, and she’s reading on a beach. I wish I was with her. Impractical, of course; I mean, I was actually delighted that Montreal got a Real Snowfall in 2003, and with my lack of appetite the scrumptious vacation food would be wasted on me, and flying would have been excruciating. It’s the irony of it.

4. While I was stuck in bed yesterday and lucid enough to connect thoughts, I wrote 1,888 words of the Great Canadian Novel. I didn’t hit my 2K daily goal, but it was the first time I’d written in about four days, and I was pleased. Any words are better than no words, I always say.

Prepare for irregular postings and updates, as I shift into SuperPacking mode and place the remaining 75% of my home into boxes over the next three days. Then there’s that move thing, and the set-up of it all at the other end…

In Which She Grumbles About Poor Health

The final game of the Scott Tournament of Hearts went into an extra end yesterday afternoon. Team Canada won for the third year in a row. You didn’t get exciting updates end-by-end this year because it was a Sunday, and I’ve ruled that I will not sit down at the computer over the weekend, not even to check my e-mail, because I work on it all week. I think it’s a good rule. It helps me feel more relaxed, which is rapidly becoming perhaps the most important goal in my life at the moment.

I’ve also been drop-dead sick, which doesn’t help at all. It started Thursday afternoon – the fever, the golf-ball feeling in the throat, the blinding headache that just won’t go away no matter how many headache candies you throw at it. I had to cancel a dinner with Ceri, which we’d both been looking forward to. Friday and Saturday weren’t much better. Fortunately, my students were remarkably understanding regarding my lack of energy and focus.

What frustrates the hell out of me is that we’re moving this Saturday, so the original plan was for me to be in a packing frenzy all this week. The problem? I can’t stand up for too long without falling over, let alone do the reaching-up-and-placing-in-box motion of packing. I tried last night while my husband was chipping away the net of snow and ice trapping our car out in the winter wonderland called Montreal. It was a mistake.

I hate feeling so damned helpless. I hate it at the best of times, but at a time like this, it’s even worse. So I’m cranky as well, which doesn’t improve matter at all.

The final twist of the screw: My mother is is the Dominican Republic, soaking up sand and sun. Grrr.