deep breath
Apothecary Whom
I think it would be fair to say that the past two months have been the most stressful in my life. My already disturbed sleep patterns grew even worse. (Seriously, I can't remember having a decen night's sleep for the past 3 1/2 years.) My professional abilities were questioned, and although this turned out to have been the result of an incomplete and biased evaluation, the damage to my fragile ego and a client's confidence have been rattled. This winter, which meteorologists are calling the coldest in 20 years, just kept getting more and more miserable. (In fact, we've had about 10 centimetres of snow thus far today. MAKE IT STOP. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.) I experienced back and abdominal pain every single day. And to top it all off, my very sweet, very affectionate cat decided to start attacking me without warning or provocation.

Much as I enjoy Val McDermid's novels, it's probably not a good idea to read them just at the moment. Time to turn to more soothing sources of entertainment. I dug out my DVDs of Doctor Who (seasons 5 and following). How could I have forgotten just how much joy — amid all the hard stuff — there is in this series? After watching the Van Gogh episode (with its "pile of good stuff" and "pile of bad stuff"), I was curious to find out more about Vincent and discovered that my library has a three-volume edition of his complete correspondence, with reproductions of all the sketches and drawings he included in his letters. I almost cried while flipping through these massive books! What an absolute treasure! I took the first volume home, and I can't wait to spend many hours browsing it.

So this will be my strategy from now on: surround myself with works that, if not entirely positive, contain at least an atom of hope or beauty.

fair warning
well shit
I haven't posted here in donkey's years, but I genuinely need a place where I can offload and blow off steam. Somehow, writing about the heavier or more stressful stuff on my "other" blog doesn't feel right. Hence the removal of the dustsheets and new title for this journal. It won't be all grumble all the time, tough... I hope.

Anyway, feel free to unfollow, unfriend, etc.

15 dollars to change your username??? Seriously???

Hmmm, what to do now...

oh so tempted
I'm increasingly tempted to revive this space for a specific purpose, one that I'm reluctant to deal with on my regular blog...

What to do, what to do?

moving day
I have thought long and hard, and finally determined that persisting in keeping several different blogs to write about my various interests would accomplish nothing more than scattering my energies (in addition to my not-too-plentiful braincells).

And so, effective immediately, you'll find my photos, book comments, rants, obsessions and imaginings at the following address:

It will be my very great pleasure to welcome you for a cup of tea, a plateful of freshly-baked scones and a cosy chat in my new home. Just make sure you don't brush against the mouldings, I'm afraid the paint is still wet.

Please be warned: due to my hopelessly mercurial nature (and to the extensive free customization possible on Blogger), the wallpaper may undergo frequent changes and the furniture may be moved at any time. I may also sometimes post in French, if the occasion warrants it.

(no subject)

nerd power
A few years ago, when the specialized channel called Historia first came on air and broadcast contents that had something to do with history (unlike its more recent programming, which includes episodes of JAG and NCIS — I mean, WTF???), I remember coming across a strange and puzzling sight. Filmed in black and white, a man wearing thick-rimmed spectacles and slicked-back hair sat at a table and addressed the camera directly, gesturing copiously and at times leaning forward emphatically. He spoke of well-known figures such as Napoleon and Joan of Arc in a way that was absolutely compelling. This veritable embodiment of geekness was historian Henri Guillemin.

Sadly, his series of televised conferences were soon replaced by what programmers probably considered more "accessible" shows, and I was left to shake my head in dismay at this flood of irrelevant drivel.

Last week, while changing channels, I happened to catch a glimpse of Canal Savoir. There, on my screen, was the man himself!

I could hardly believe my eyes! My faith in humanity was restored, at least for a few minutes.

But silly me, I should have thought of it: some of his programmes are online here and here. If only I'd known before...
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bored? read this!
Operation "Make Me Look Like a Grownup" (MMLLG) was almost a bust: 1 dark green long-sleeved t-shirt, 1 skirt and 1 navy blue "pinstripe" dress at the shop I mentioned. *sigh* There's another shop nearby called "Friperie Chic" (literally "Chic Second-Hand Clothing Shop") where I tried on a dozen pieces of clothing that DIDN'T FIT. Argh! BUT there was a lovely blouse that DID fit!

I visited a thrift shop on my way to the grocery store Friday during lunchtime. Too many people around (including a lady who asked me "Do you think these slippers are cute?" I... don't... care...?) Saw some very nice cups and an incomplete set of dishes, so I might go back on Monday to have a better look at them and at the clothing.

There was a horrible downpour with howling wind and rain lashing the windows all day yesterday. Perfect ambiance for Halloween! I spent a few hours scrubbing my sadly-neglected bathroom and kitchen, then vacuumed the living room carpet (that was SCARY!). I briefly considered making pumpkin cupcakes, but remembered just in time that I was cutting back on sugar. Phew, that was close! Instead I watched Sleepy Hollow (the Tim Burton version) and went to bed early.

Today we had gorgeous sunny weather, if a bit windy. I somehow found the courage to braid my hair and go out in public without wearing a hat or anything! It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is to me!

life signs and butterflies
lizzie letter
Ugh, I spent all day staring at my computer screen... My eyes are so dry I can feel the inside of my lids stick to my eyeballs when I blink.

Is there anything more maddeningly stupid than local news and tv ads? I've come to the conclusion that the only thing keeping my brains alive is listening to BBC4 podcasts. There's simply no other explanation. At the moment, my favourites are "Open Book" (with the deliciously named Mariella Frostrup), "Thinking Allowed", and "In Our Time".

Nothing on telly tonight except an episode of The Tudors season 2, which I'll DVR and might watch at some point. IF I ever manage to go through season 1. One teeny tiny problem: I tried watching the first episode of the series, but had to stop because Jonathan Rhys Meyers made me want to punch something. Seriously, I know Henry has a reputation for being a rather temperamental fellow, but is it really necessary to convey this by CONSTANTLY SHOUTING AND BEHAVING LIKE A COMPLETE LUNATIC? (Hmmm, maybe I could just skip his scenes?)

A few blocks from my apartment, there's a fairly chic consignment shop. It's on the ground floor of a lovely old house, and the resident cat welcomes patrons and will occasionally follow them into the changing rooms. The atmosphere is very feminine: flowers, lace, soft colours everywhere. It's so not my kind of place, yet I love it! You see, I don't do "pretty". Or "girly" either. I had short hair for most of my childhood, rarely got to wear dresses/skirts, and, since I'm cursed with a unisex name, was frequently mistaken for a boy. Let's just say it had a lingering effect... Working from home hasn't helped either; my wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts or knitted sweaters. Because I'm quite short, people often think I'm a teenager, but then notice my face and get this thoroughly confused look in their eyes. (It's entertaining for a bit, but still...) Well, enough! Tomorrow I shall screw up my courage, walk into this shop, and purchase pretty clothes! Clothes that say "I am a grown-up woman with taste and originality, take me seriously!" (Yeah, good luck with that, shorty.)

But anyway: yay, more friends! Thanks, elspethsheir and chelseagirl !

(no subject)
Oh dear, I really need to work on my social skills... Sorry, won't happen again!


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