Apr. 11th, 2013 10:53 am
chani: (Default)

I don't believe in afterlife, but at least Bastet's and Loukoum's bodies lay together in my sister's garden.

Read more... )
chani: (Default)
Exactly 8 weeks after Bastet, Loukoum passed away.

This time it happened peacefully, at the vet's, in my arms. I couldn't let him go on like that, with his face all distorted (he didn't look like himself anymore, the vet said that she didn't recognize him) and the difficult breathing. I didn't sleep last night because I was worried, and the vet told me that he would have suffocated one night soon or later indeed, so I couldn't let that happen. But it was tough because he was moving and miaowing still a lot. Talkative to the end, my poor baby.

I'm waiting for my sister so we'll bury him next to Bastet.

My place is just too empty and too quiet. I spent so many weeks worrying myself sick. I can mourn them both now.

chani: (justified)
This is my review of Justified season 4 's finale at last!

Well, sort of. Noel Murray wrote a great review on the TV Club so I'm mostly recommending it.

Read more... )
RL is keeping me away from LJ. There's work to do, and an old and sick cat to take care of. I mentioned it in comments from an earlier post, Loukoum has a polypus in his nose that showed on the MRI in January but was barely mentioned by the neurologist then, because the priority was the ostitis. The problem is that the polypus has grown (which probably caused the sneezing that was already there before I left to Rome)and has started bleeding when I came back from Rome...the only treatment would be surgery but Loukoum is almost 18, and a new MRI would be needed anyway to see if it's operable,  so I decide to let him be.

It's kinda heartbreaking to see him frantically rub his nose or to hear his noisy breathing and frequent sniffing and sneezing – especially with the blood throwing that ensues –, but he still eats rather well, asks for food in the morning, communicate, we haven't reached that place yet. I don't know how long we have together. I just hope I'll be able to recognise the right moment when it comes, as I don't want to .

And of course, I'm leaving for Rome again in three weeks which doesn't help. So it feels that I'm still in the limo too, emotionally speaking.

chani: (Default)
Tomorrow morning I'm being inspected during one of my lectures (last time it happened it was in december 2007 so it isn't that often!) and I think I'm done preparing my lesson. It's on the Gulf War and mostly based on G. Bush's speech on september 11, 1990, plus a few maps and pictures (which I'll use if the projector and the computer in the classroom work!), and a second text giving Saddam Hussein's take on it.

What should I do now?

I feel a Deadwood itch to scratch. Might be because I watched The Sessions yesterday, and besides John Hawkes (who was indeed amazing in the film), two other Deadwood alumni have a small part in it: W. Earl Brown who used to play Dan Dority, and Robin Weigert who was the wonderful Jane.

The Sessions isn't a great film in terms of writing or mise-en-scène– and it's a bit too light for me, but you know I like my films darker –, but it is tasteful and touching. It's worth seeing if only for John Hawkes and Helen Hunt who both deserve all the praises they received.

It's quite unbelievable that John was snubbed by the Oscars btw, but I guess it's because his performance doesn't look like a performance (while he did hurt himself for the role!)which is really something given the nature of the role!

His acting is just so natural, so humble and yet so easy, there's nothing showy about it. He just makes the character come to life, and you forget about the fact that there's an actor playing that man.

chani: (Default)
...and too exhausted after two weeks of hard work, and a three hour delayed flight, to post anything beyond this.

Just watching the rugby game now. And rooting for the Scottish team against the French!
chani: (Default)
I had to take Loukoum back to the vet yesterday in the afternoon, for he was sneezing and refused to eat (and seemed to have trouble eating his chicken bits). It's likely that the ostitis (and the weakness that ensued) awakened a dormant coryza. Besides cortisone is known for turning the immune defense system down.

Since he's already on antibiotics there's little to do, apart from fumigations (he hates that of course) and giving him a super nourishing gel. He has to eat...and I'm leaving on Saturday.

Of course, as soon as we were back from the vet, he went to eat chicken bits in his plate and later even ate some can food mixed with vegetables from a jar of baby food (don't laugh, he adores that stuff, and I'm ready to give him anything he wants). But this morning he turned his nose up at the food again. That cat is going to drive me crazy.

Fortunately I don't have to lecture this morning (my students have an oral exam) so I can take care of him. I'm also supposed to mark papers,  prepare my Roman trip and pack (at least in my head, I'll do it for real tomorrow). *sigh*
chani: (Default)
I met up with my thesis supervisor and my unofficial advisor on Wednesday and they were both very pleased with my thesis' 8 page detailed plan which I had sent to them two weeks earlier. All they had to say was how great it was. They had nothing to say against the approach and the detailed structure and they found the ideas very interesting.

It was nice to hear that of course but, to be honest, I would have rather them quibble and question things so I would have something to work on. Sometimes I wonder what they are in for. Basically, I'm on my own.
They understood that it was an "ideal plan", that some parts already had meat on the bones, others were even almost done, but some were still virtual.

We agreed to have a panel in Spring 2014, in  which I would talk about the third part of the thesis (the one that is mostly only a skeleton), in order to stimulate me while giving me time to work on the documents (my Roman manuscript and an incunabulum that is in Paris but that I haven't seen yet) and see if the plan is achievable.

Speaking of the Vatican mansucript, La Sorbonne finally booked my flight for Rome so I have got my e-tickets. I was beginning to fear that I would not get them in time (or would have to buy them myself in extremis) since my new stay at l' Ecole Française de Rome was scheduled from the 2nd of March to the 11th (during the school break). I will be there in two weeks so I'll "see" the beginning of the conclave.

Now the downs...

I'm under the weather. I've caught a cold – hopefully it is not the flu – so I'm even more tired than I "should" be.

And Loukoum's condition is not great. He's been ill for 4 weeks now and is slowing losing his appetite – which could be connected to the fact that he is no longer on cortisone –; I managed to make him eat in the past two days but he has thrown up on Thursday morning, and again yesterday evening. This morning he barely ate.

I guess he's nauseous but also he's fed up with taking anitbiotics and having me harassing him with food, so he "hides" under the bed to sleep on my travel bag.

I hesitate to take him back to the vet clinic today (but of course today his usual vet isn't there, it's her replacement!), or wait, watch over him during the weekend and decide on Monday, except that I work on Monday up to 4 pm. If he weren't almost 18 years old I would wait.


chani: (Default)
Many thanks to those who left comments on my previous entry. Your support was really appreciated. I was too tired to respond to you, one by one, last week, and it's a bit painful to go back to that post again now, but know that I was touched by your words.

I dropped 3 kgs in 5 days last week and was so behind sleep that going through almost 4 hours of meeting with parents on Thursday evening and then resuming my usual teaching schedule was not easy. I know that my lectures sucked on Friday (and probably on Monday too) but it happens. When you are weak or down, this job can be one of the toughest to do.

I'm feeling more like myself now. The cocktail of antibiotics I give Loukoum seems to work so he looks more like his usual self too. Hopefully he is on the mend...

I can't believe it has been already one week since Bastet died. She has started visiting my dreams for a few nights. That is the place she inhabits now, among all my other dead, of the human or the feline variety.

I wonder if Loukoum dreams of her too.
chani: (Default)
Bastet died this morning at 7.25 am on my bed.

I really didn't expect it, for I have been focused on Loukoum's illness, but she was very unwell since 4 am, and her last hour was really hard to watch. It was an ordeal, as I was all by myself and the emergency vet didn't make it fast enough to ease her passing. There was little I could do except talking to her and petting her the more gently I could.

I knew she was very old so it was going to happen soon or later, but we have been together for 19 years which is almost half of my life. Our bond ran very deep. She was both my baby and my friend. To say that I will miss her is an understatement. The grief isn't a matter of species, it's a matter of love. And we loved each other so much.

So this was the third day I called in sick. I got a sick leave from my doctor for Monday and Tuesday but not for this morning so I was supposed to return to school today, but I was drained and devastated, and unable to teach. And there was Loukoum to take care of.

He was better yesterday, and he seemed still on the right path this morning, but a couple of hours after Bastet's death, I noticed he had troubles walking and was very hot. He was running 40,3°C which is a very high fever (cats are supposed to be 38°C/38,5°C) so I took him back to the vet's. She gave him a shot of antiperytic and antibiotic and put him on a drip. When I took his temperature at 5 pm it was 37,8°C so the treatment worked (of course now I fear hypothermia). The vet asked me to come back tomorrow morning at 9 am to assess the situation.
I need him to hang on because that would be too much, and I don't want to go through the nightmare that was Bastet's death throes again.

So here I am. I live in grief and worry, and I'm completely exhausted.


Jan. 21st, 2013 05:23 pm
chani: (Default)
It has been quite a day for both of us. The night was quiet but I could tell, from Loukoum's position that he didn't really rest. Me? I only slept one hour!

My vet's office doesn't open until 2 pm aon Mondays but I didn't want to wait because Loukoum wasn't eating and was still moaning in the morning (even though his temparature was lower) so I went to see the vet around the corner. She drew blood and checked the standard chemistry to run out any uremia crisis or liver issue, observed the cat, noticed how his eyes were constantly moving and recommended to go to a certain veterinary hospital in the suburb and see a neurologist over there. She made the appointment for me. 30 minutes later we were riding a taxi and reached the hospital at noon.

So Mr Loukoum got an MRI and therefore had to be anaesthetized in spite of his 17 years and 8 months. The MRI showed nothing wrong in his brain but confirmed that he has a deep otitis (the tympanic cavity is filled with fluid) in both ear. The neurologist gave me a six week treatment of antibiotics and also corticoids but not as much as he would have prescribed to a younger cat, since corticoids are bad news for failing heart and kidneys.

Let's hope the treatment will work and won't screw his organs. We all ruled out surgery given Loukoum's age and heart problems so...

The neurologist told me that Loukoum must show improvements within 2 days max, in other words he must eat by himself.

When we finally got back from the hospital at almost 4 pm– after some twists, for they first handed me back my cat bag with a cat inside that actually wasn't my cat! –, he went to drink and accepted to eat some Hills food that is meant for senior cats (it isn't the special diet for kidney support but Loukoum is allowed to eat anything he wants as long as he eats). The texture is more mousse-like than mash-like so old cats love it, and it worked.

Let's hope it is a good sign. At the moment he's sleeping in his basket and snoring.

Now I must take care of myself for I'm exhausted.


Jan. 20th, 2013 12:10 pm
chani: (medieval demons)
We had snow last night again and it's still snowing, so my street is back to white.

But I won't walk in a snowed in Paris for I'm spending my Sunday in Marking Hell, and I want to watch over Loukoum who isn't well today. He didn't want to eat this morning (which never happens) and he seems very tired. I hope it isn't his heart. He's sleeping in his basket near the radiator, so hopefully he'll get up later and will be more active and hungry.

Not feeling well myself, and with an upset tummy it's better to stay inside. I hope I haven't caught a bug.

Maybe it's just worry.
chani: (sunset in Tanzania)
Loukoum spent this morning at the Vet's for X-rays, blood test, urine test...

All the tests were scheduled for two weeks, because of the weight loss the vet noticed during the annual consultation, but I was very worried when I dropped him this morning as he had a fit last night at 4.30 am. After getting up he started screaming louder and louder and I found him lying on his left side, his mouth open, breathing heavily and miaowing loudly as if he were in pain or scared. Was it an asthma attack or a panick attack? I managed to calm him down and soon enough he was purring so I don't think he was in pain. It reminded me of the fit he had in August.

The tests revealed high blood pressure, kidney failure, and there was something weird about the lungs on the X-rays(and of course an inflammation of the bronchial tubes but that one was expected), although his heart was big but not that big. He doesn't look his age but his organs really are 17 years old and a half.

Poor baby was sedated by the vet but still super stressed; he was so happy to be back home at the beginning of the afternoon!

So from now on Loukoum is basically on the same diet and medication as Bastet is, plus his aerokat sessions with the inhaler. The "cat bill" is going to double (and today's morning at the vet's already costed me 230€!) but, as we say in French:"quand on aime on ne compte pas"!

I'm tired.
chani: (Default)
I didn't give in the Internet shopping this year, and I was so busy until now that I've kept postponing my Christmas shopping...

I let you picture the nightmare that is Christmas shopping on the last week end before Christmas' Eve in Paris! I didn't even try malls, only the shops in the street near my place.

I'm done with the food, not with the gifts, but right now after carrying heavy bags in the rain – because yes it's raining –, I just want to call it a day, have some tea and rest a little before I have to get ready for a dinner at friends' in the evening.

Tomorrow I will face another nightmare at Les Galeries Lafayettes...
chani: (Default)
First off, a very happy birthday to [personal profile] gillo !

Also, it's getting cold, although we're still above 0° C in Paris and haven't had snow yet. I'm better than last week. Antibiocs seem to have worked, triggering something that looks a little bit like an exorcism actually, as I've had a running nose since Sunday. The devil sickness is leaving my body.

Work is hectic and when I have a couple of spare hours I try to catch up on my thesis so my Internet life suffers.

I still managed to squeeze some streaming time, here and there in Marking Hell, to watch my tv shows:

TWD mid season's finale was okay (flawed yet "entertaining" enough to turn a blind eye on the plot holes) but really frustrating when it comes to a certain character who reminds me of The First Slayer!

Dexter is awful again, writing wise, with no redeeming qualities anymore...Read more... )

I think that The Good Wife has jumped the shark and Homeland is very close to do so. *sigh*

But Boardwalk Empire remains. The show provided a satisfying season's finale, both for the mind and the heart. Nothing really surprising but everything really well done. By the way, there's an excellent review by Noel Murray on the AV Club.

Read more... )
I now have read the chapters about OZ, The Wire and Deadwood in Sepinwall's book (I skipped the one about The Sopranos which I have never watched!).

chani: (Deadwood)
It's been a hectic week again. And I'm under the weather. I couldn't call in sick (too much wok to do, and two meetings with parents) but I went to the doctor on Wednesday evening and I've been on antibiotics since then. This afternoon I had a 2 hour nap. Body needed it. I ran errands afterwards and now I'm relaxing in front of Deadwood S1. *pets the dvd box*

A few thoughts which I don't think I mentioned in previous posts:

Read more... )
I wish I had more time to watch my shows, read my books and interact with my Internet friends. Unfortunately I am in the grip of RL. And I haven't started shopping for Christmas yet! I am not much of an internet shopper, except for books. By the way many thanks to [personal profile] herself_nyc  for the heads-up about Richard Powers' new story, ebook-style, which I found on Amazon and bought right away. I even passed the info to Tom McRae on twitter, because I know that he is a fan too, and he told me that this will make the kindle he owns worth using at last. It was like having a New York/Paris/London threesome! I love having my literary network all over the world.

The internet contains horrible places and allows ugly behaviours but it is so wonderful. The things and the people you can access, it makes life easier and brighter. 
I often marvel at the fact that I can find many useful papers online when it comes to my thesis research and that I can follow my shows almost at the same time as my fellow American viewers when it comes to my entertainment.

Boardwalk Empire
's penultimate episode was terrific and I can't wait for the finale! It isn't Deadwood, and many things are predictable story-wise, but it's so well-crafted and the characters are so wonderfully played. Best show currently on in my opinion.

Steve Buscemi nailed it in "Two imposters" and it was a very exciting episode. Every scene was a little gem, one after another.

Read more... )

Also, I now own Alan Sepinwall's book on kindle so you can already picture me tonight reading it under the duvet while the cats are purring against me.

chani: (Default)
I'm back to school, and the holidays were not  very restful (I even worked on my thesis until midnight yesterday, me crazy me!). So this first day was though, especially given that I had 7 hours of teaching today.

Every year there's an exchange between my highschool and another one located in Istambul. The French students go first, during the Autumn break and the Turkish pupils come later in the year, usually in Spring. Fifteen students took off on Tuesday, among them, three of my students were part of the trip. This morning the sad news were all over the walls: one of the students, a 16 year old girl, never made it to Istambul. She started feeling unwell on the plane so they had to reroute the flight to Sofia. They took her to the hospital but she died before reaching the operating block: ruptured aneurysm.

I did not know the girl in question but it's still tragic and I can't imagine how devastated the parents must feel. Also, I think of the two teachers (a Maths teacher and a Philosophy teacher) who were with them. It could have been me since I was asked to accompany the group. One of them stayed in Sofia, until the mother arrived while the other took another flight to Istambul, along with the other 14 pupils. I also think of my three students who are coming back tomorrow in the evening.

They chose to go on with the trip because it was an exchange and it was complicated to cancell it, but I guess it must have been very hard for all of them, adults and kids.
chani: (medieval demons)
The American election is all over the French media. According to the polls, 90% of French citizens would vote for Obama against Romney (by the way, Obama was already the favourite in 2008 in the France that had elected Sarkozy the year before)...which says a lot about how alien-like the Republicans sound for us. 

Of course the people were never asked about "the other candidates" in such polls. Because, really, who cares?

Well, I do, so let's have a minute of Internet shout-out for the other 20 men and women who campaigned in a muffling media silence.

Me? I would have picked Obama against Romney too, but if I were American I would probably vote for Jill Stein today.
chani: (medieval demons)
I'm back from the SIEC in the suburb where I was supposed to retrieve the papers (can you tell where this is going?)....without any papers to mark for when I handed the notification, the person in charge looked for my name over and over on various batches but couldn't find it. Then she said that she had been told that I could not come (and I was WTF?!!!!) and had to summon someone else in my stead.

I told her that I made a phone call to her office on Friday to inquire about the number of papers I'd have to mark but never said that I could not do it, and that I had not been informed that I was replaced. She apologised ( I came for nothing), said that she couldn't give me someone else's batch and said she might have made a mistake.

No, really?!!!!

I mean, I'm thrilled that I don't have papers to mark, but if she did make a mistake, it's possible that some other teatcher couldn't make it and should have been replaced indeed, and therefore it's likely that there's a batch of papers that will be left on the table. Being of a rather pessimistic nature I already pictured, of course, the SIEC calling me back in the evening or tomorrow morning...I just checked my personal file on the professional website about exams and my notification to attend is still online.

Before I left, I asked her, insistently, whether she was sure that was it, and told her "because I will not come back!". She said "I understand" and wrote on my notification "notification cancelled", adding her initials.

Hopefully this is the end of it. But with those administration people, you never know...
chani: (Default)
First off a belated happy birthday to comova.

I haven't been on LJ much lately and it will be even quieter in the upcoming days for I found out on Firday that I was summoned to mark Baccalauréat papers for the September session (it's for students who were too ill in June to attend their final exam). I have to retrieve the papers on Tuesday afternoon in the suburb, and will hand them back on the 25th. So I'll have only 6 days to mark them...while going about my usual work in school. Marking Bac' papers beside teaching is a crazy thing...

I am not released from my teaching duty during that marking but I'll have to attend the jury on the 1st of October so I will miss classes then. And on the 4th there will be oral exams for those who nearly failed.

It's a pain in the ass, screwing up with my plans. Not only did I schedule tests for my students this week but I also intended to go back to the library on Tuesday afternoons and to do some thesis writing at home on Thursdays. But with this Bac' marking surprise I have to postpone the tests, and I can't work on my thesis until the whole thing is over.

When I saw the note on Friday I think my face turned green, honest. And later I had a difficult group to teach in the afternoon so I was pretty wrecked in the evening.

On the upside, I received Tom McRae's CD so now I can enjoy listening to his new album, From The Lowlands, on the stereo, which is always much better than listening on the computer or on the ipod. It's a lovely album; Tom's best since All Maps Welcome, although very melancholy and dark.

And I went to the movies and saw Killer Joe which was a lot of fun (in a dark and twisted way).

Also, I'm VERY pleased with John Edward Williams. I'm so glad that Daniel Mendelshon recommended Augustus on twitter and that [personal profile] herself_nyc  told me to read Stoner too. When I finished Augustus I wanted to start reading it again (yeah it's that good!), and earlier today I read the first chapter of Stoner in my bath – I have to say that kindle makes reading in the bath quite easy!– and was already under the spell.

That's about it. Tomorrow I have a big day of teaching ahead (from 9 am to 6.30 pm) and I'm not sure that I'll get to see Copper and Boardwalk Empire in the evening.

Think of me while I'm in Marking Hell!

chani: (Tom)
First weeks are always exhausting, I know it.

And yes I'm exhausted. I'm so glad I haven't got to teach on tomorrow morning! I'm going out with my girlfriends this evening, though.

I'm still reading Williams' Augustus and loving it. Beautiful prose and excellent re-creation of historical events and characters.

I realise that this year has been very Roman for me...I have to post more pictures from Rome. I'll try to do so on Sunday.

BTW here is a link to a website giving the list of Pompeian graffiti (translated into English). Some of them are hilarious or filled with some weird wisdom ("The one who buggers a fire burns his penis"), others show that little has changed over centuries...

As for Augustus, I had another little exchange with Daniel Mendelsohn on twitter – after I thanked him for recommending the book and told him how good the account of the battle of Actium by Agrippa was–, which was very nice. That's the magic of the Internet, talking with an author you love about a book you both like very much.

Also, my dear Tom is releasing a new album (the second part of Alphabet of Hurricanes, finally!) and has an official video clip:


chani: (Default)

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