early to bed
Things I managed to do today:

- vacuum sofa (more or less thoroughly)
- finish reading Whose Body?
- write post about Whose Body?
- start reading Clouds of Witness
- eat toast (twice)
- locate all four coveted novels on Book Depository
- find possible solution to Patrick O'Brian withdrawal
- revive insane personal translation project
- sneeze violently enough to cause dizziness and nausea
- empty 2 boxes of tissues

Not a bad day so far.
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readin' and freezin'
Last week and today have been unexpectedly quiet on the work front. Not that a freelancer's workload can ever be called predictable, but I'm usually fairly busy from September to December, with a sharp spike during the week that immediately precedes the Holidays. (The same phenomenon can be observed in mid-August — clients fly into a panic about getting projects finished before going on vacation.) I'm not complaining, there are plenty of other things to occupy me: reading, cooking, avoiding housework, etc.

Construction has resumed next door, where they're replacing the porch and upper balcony. The buzzing sound from the compressor was really starting to rattle my nerves, so I bundled up and went to shop for groceries. I popped into the thrift shop on the way, where I found Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie in English! (Although I saw the televized adaptations many moons ago, I'm completely unfamiliar with these books, which don't have cult status in the French-speaking world. It's never too late, right?) Rebus inspected them thoroughly and gave them his "nibble of approval", so we're both happy.

*sigh* No House tonight...  I think I'll drown my sorrows in Whose Body?, which I started reading yesterday. I'll just say this: it's a good thing I know Sayers toned down Lord Peter's verbal mannerisms in later books, because they are so irritating!

Few things depress me more than paying the electricity bill, especially at this time of year, for once the heating is turned on (not a day before November 1st, no matter how cold the weather gets), that amount will be multiplied by two (at least!) over the next months without having the least effect on the blocks of ice formerly known as my hands and feet.

I've already made myself the solemn promise that when I move, my next apartment will have radiators.
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as I was saying...
Mercurial. This is absolutely typical of me: making up my mind, then regretting it and changing everything around.

The other layout looked great, but it didn't allow for much customization. And this one is lighter, more feminine, no?

... I changed the theme again. And some of my icons.

I believe the word is "mercurial".

Well, this new theme is certainly different... I was looking for something with flowers, but this will have to do in the meantime. I still haven't decided whether or not to upgrade my LJ account, although it would be quite nice to get rid of those creepy ads!

Tonight — in just a few minutes, in fact — I'll be watching Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World for probably the tenth time. I don't mind confessing that Stephen Maturin is my biggest literary crush and, although Paul Bettany bears little resemblance to the good doctor as described by Patrick O'Brian, he does a fine job of bringing his spirit to life. (And oh, that reptilian gaze!) In spite of that lovely long reading list I drew up recently, I'm now feeling a strong urge to return to the Aubrey/Maturin universe, and I may not be able to resist. The entire series includes 20 (and 1/2?) books... *sigh* What to do?

ETA:  Two more  friends!!! Thanks soniag and tempestsarekind!!!

Well, it was nearly the death of me, but the corrections to my book list on Goodreads are done. Don't get me wrong, I love both lists and books, but I was truly sick to death of the whole thing.

After almost a week of disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, things have finally started returning to normal. Being a creature of habit, I hate the odd sensation of irreality that results from losing any sense of structure to my day, being jolted from one moment to the other, not knowing where hours went. I feel my feet have found the ground again. I cooked a proper meal last night (vegan shepherd's pie), taking my time over its preparation and humming along to Bach's "Art of the Fugue"... a blessed moment of peace and normalcy.

The sun adamantly refused to come out today. The air was thick with humidity: a thin drizzle, then rain, then — SHOCK! HORROR! — snow late this afternoon. To add to the eerie atmosphere, ships on the river blasted their foghorns, the mournful sound reverberating off tall buildings and the nearby hill. Baking a batch of gigantic banana-date scones somewhat helped take the chill out of the air in my apartment.

As every Thursday, I received an email listing this week's new arrivals at my local library. It rarely includes any items of interest, catering as it does to the fans of what I call "fast food" literature (you know exactly what I mean!) who seem to make up the majority of readers in this forsaken place.* However, a tiny glitter of hope appears now and again, as in the case of The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón... which I promptly reserved, for better or for worse. I seem to remember enjoying The Shadow of the Wind, which I read when it was published in French a few years ago.

* By "this forsaken place", I mean a small, small-minded and culturally dead French-speaking town in Canada's only French-speaking province.

a recommendation
If, like me, you're fascinated by the unusual, please allow me to introduce you to Le Divan Fumoir Bohémien, an online curio cabinet/time machine where 15th century locks, hatboxes and bandboxes, and the thaumatropes from the opening sequence of Little Dorrit are brought together to delight visitors. The wide-ranging contents are painstakingly researched by Florizel, who thus allows us a glimpse into the lives and imaginations of our (now long gone) fellow human beings.

It doesn't matter if you don't read French — simply feast your eyes on the gorgeous, and sometimes puzzling, images. And when you follow the links, you'll have the added benefit of being completely surprised by where they take you!

Florizel has also compiled an extensive list of other sites of interest; click on "Carnet d'adresses du Divan fumoir" in the left sidebar.

I'm not sure what's going on next door, but judging from the crashing and banging, it sounds like the entire building is being demolished. In spite of the rainy weather, the noise, accompanied by plentiful shouting, started at 8 AM and went on until nightfall. Not the best atmosphere to work in, shall we say, but wireless headphones and Galaxy Baroque helped somewhat.

At long last, I've finished entering my books into my Goodreads account (the transfer from LibraryThing was problematic to say the least). It's still a mess, but now the entire contents of my bookshelves are represented... all except for one book. I've checked and re-checked, and I can't for the life of me figure out which one is missing. It's driving me bonkers!

More baking this afternoon, in between periods of staring at my book lists in utter puzzlement. This time it was banana bread — the most glorious banana bread ever. Its scent alone was the perfect antidote for a dismal, drizzly day. I enjoyed a big slice for tea while admiring my newly acquired teapot. But there are three very ripe bananas still awaiting their fate on my windowsill. Banana-date scones, perhaps? Then I'll be supplied with enough baked goods to justify having tea 3 times a day for the rest of the week. Life is cruel.

thanked be fortune
I was so exhausted and distracted last night (I clean forgot to feed the cat, who reminded me by sitting next to his bowl and staring at me with reproachful eyes until I got the message) that I didn't even mention Hathaway's riveting reading of Thomas Wyatt's poem They Flee from Me*. I could listen to Laurence Fox repeating the weather forecast for hours on end and remain enraptured; add poetry and I melt into a puddle!

But more importantly, I find myself no longer friendless on LJ! Huzzah! Thank you to tinuviellen and saralinda

* They Flee from Me by Thomas Wyatt

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”

It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.

After a slow start due to an absolutely horrid night, I made two important investments today. Firstly, I managed to find a teapot I genuinely like, which has to be some minor miracle. It looks very classy (dark taupe with embossed oak and maple leaf designs); the only problem is that now all my other crockery appears quite shabby. And secondly, in preparation for the numerous shoveling sessions that are sure to keep me fit over the coming months, I purchased thermal underwear made from a bamboo-cotton blend. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to believe the information on the packaging, only to end up with a top that's much larger than requirement. I wonder, can this type of garment be exchanged, or is it really considered "underwear"?

Goodreads... What can I say? It's going to take a few more hours to put everything in order. A bit frustrating, since I spent a massive amount of time entering data into my LibraryThing account and now have to start almost from scratch. Nearly 1/4 of the books didn't get transferred at all!

How sad was this evening's episode of Lewis, aside from the fact that it was the last for this season? So many lives ruined by deceit and selfishness. Part of me can't help but think that the mother would have benefited from a hearty slap upside the head — I know my blood pressure would have been greatly relieved.

And poor, poor Hathaway... Why must the writers make him suffer so? And what in the world did he see in that girl in the first place? She seemed very bland to me, both physically and intellectually, not a real match to his quick wit and humour.


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