Hugo winners!

Sad as I am about missing WorldCon and the Hugo award ceremony this year (and missing our visit with Erik and Margaret and the kids, obviously), I was still totally excited to see the list of the winners this morning.  I looked that up before I even got out of bed.

The full list of winners is on Tor.com and the WorldCon site and I’m sure other places.  If you’re at all interested in seeing how my votes stacked up against the final tallies, keep reading.  I got the details about the final voting order from here.

My Voting Order Hugo Final Order My thoughts on the final results
Best Novel
The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin YAY!
Provenance by Ann Leckie The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi Can’t be upset about this.  I didn’t love it, but I liked it, and I felt pretty much the same way about Provenance.
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi Provenance by Ann Leckie Yeah, okay.
Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty I couldn’t finish this one, so no.
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee Didn’t read it, but I liked its prequel.
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson Didn’t read it, no opinion.
Best Novella
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey All Systems Red by Martha Wells I can’t complain too much about this category because I liked all of these SO much, but I LOVED River of Teeth more than anything, and to have it come in 6th hurts a little bit.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Best Novelette
The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer YAY!
A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker I was close enough on the rest of these not to be annoyed by the results.
Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Children of Thorns by Aliette de Bodard Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee
Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee Children of Thorns by Aliette de Bodard
Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by KM Szpara Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by KM Szpara
Best Short Story
Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience by Rebecca Roanhorse I was close enough on all of these not to be annoyed by the results.
Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience by Rebecca Roanhorse Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Sun, Moon, and Dust by Ursula Vernon The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata
The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata Sun, Moon, and Dust by Ursula Vernon
Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim
Clearly Letter in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde Clearly Letter in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde
Best Series
The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan World of the Five Gods by Lois McMaster Bujold Haven’t read anything by her.  Planning to in the near(ish) future.
InCryptid by Seanan McGuire InCryptid by Seanan McGuire Yay!
The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan Yay!
World of the Five Gods by Lois McMaster Bujold The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells Haven’t read these, but I’ve read others, and I like her.
The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson I couldn’t get into the first book.  Might have to try again sometime.  People rave about it.
The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett Haven’t tried it yet.
Best Related Work
Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Liz Bourke No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin She’s wonderful, so okay.
Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn Eh.
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal More wonderfulness.
Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) by Paul Kincaid Okay.
Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) by Paul Kincaid Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Liz Bourke She’s the only one I read regularly, so boo to 5th place.
 A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff  A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff I don’t really like Harlan Ellison, so this is okay with me.
Best Graphic Story
Saga, Volume 7 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda Read and liked Vol 1.
Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch written by Kelly Sure DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles Saga, Volume 7 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples Love Vols 1 and 2 – need to catch up
Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch written by Kelly Sure DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles
Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles
My Favorite Thing is Monsters written and illustrated by Emil Ferris Paper Girls, Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher
Paper Girls, Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher My Favorite Thing is Monsters written and illustrated by Emil Ferris
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Thor: Ragnarok written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi Wonder Woman screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins Close enough!
Wonder Woman screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele
Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele Thor: Ragnarok written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi
The Shape of Water written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro Star Wars: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson
Star Wars: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson The Shape of Water written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro
Blade Runner 2049 written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve Blade Runner 2049 written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
The Good Place: The Trolley Problem written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland The Good Place: The Trolley Problem written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland YAY!!!!!!  You know my love for Doctor Who, so you can see how much I must REALLY love The Good Place to vote for it over the good Doctor.
The Good Place: Michael’s Gambit written and directed by Michael Schur Black Mirror: USS Callister written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes We should watch this.
Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay The Good Place: Michael’s Gambit written and directed by Michael Schur Yay!
Black Mirror: USS Callister written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay
The Deep [song] by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes) Star Trek Discovery: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett Haven’t seen it
Star Trek Discovery: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett The Deep [song] by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)
Best Professional Editor (Long Form)
Miriam Weinberg Sheila E. Gilbert For these, I looked at what they edited that made them eligible, and ranked them by whether I’d read it, liked it, heard of it, never heard of it, and so on.
Sheila E. Gilbert Navah Wolfe
Joe Monti Diana M. Pho
Diana M. Pho Devi Pillai
Navah Wolfe Miriam Weinberg
Devi Pillai Joe Monti
Best Professional Editor (Short Form)
Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas For these, I looked at what they edited that made them eligible, and ranked them by whether I’d read it, liked it, heard of it, never heard of it, and so on.  And apparently most of the other voters agreed with me in every case.  Weird.
Sheila Williams Sheila Williams
Neil Clarke Neil Clarke
John Joseph Adams John Joseph Adams
Jonathan Strahan Jonathan Strahan
Lee Harris Lee Harris
 Best Professional Artist
Galen Dara Sana Takeda Kind of annoyed that my least favorite won, but there’s no accounting for taste.
Victo Ngai John Picacio
Bastien Lecouffe Deharme Galen Dara
John Picacio Victo Ngai
Kathleen Jennings Kathleen Jennings
Sana Takeda Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
Best Semiprozine
The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky I don’t read any of these regularly, so I went with have I heard of them?  Am I familiar with anyone involved? Do I think the name is cool?
Strange Horizons edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff Strange Horizons edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff
Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky Beneath Ceaseless Skies editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
Fireside Magazine edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini Escape Pod edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney
Escape Pod edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney Fireside Magazine edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini
Beneath Ceaseless Skies editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
Best Fanzine
SF Bluestocking edited by Bridget McKinney File 770 edited by Mike Glyer I’d never heard of any these, so I ranked by how I felt about the names in the moment.
Journey Planet edited by Team Journey Planet SF Bluestocking edited by Bridget McKinney
Rocket Stack Rank edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong nerds of a feather, flock together edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
nerds of a feather, flock together edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry Journey Planet edited by Team Journey Planet
Galactic Journey edited by Gideon Marcus Galactic Journey edited by Gideon Marcus
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer Rocket Stack Rank edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
Best Fancast
Sword and Laser presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt Ditch Diggers presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace Again, I don’t listen to any of these, but I had heard of one of them, so I ranked it first (it got 5th).
Verity! presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts Fangirl Happy Hour presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
Galactic Suburbia presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch The Coode Street Podcast presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Fangirl Happy Hour presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams Galactic Suburbia presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch
Ditch Diggers presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace Sword and Laser presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
The Coode Street Podcast presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe Verity! presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
Best Fan Writer
Sarah Gailey Sarah Gailey YAY!
Bogi Takács Foz Meadows
Foz Meadows Mike Glyer
Camestros Felapton Bogi Takács
Mike Glyer Camestros Felapton
Charles Payseur Charles Payseur
Best Fan Artist
Geneva Benton Geneva Benton Happy to have chosen the winner
Grace P. Fong Likhain (M. Sereno)
Maya Hahto Grace P. Fong
Likhain (M. Sereno) Maya Hahto
Spring Schoenhuth Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles Steve Stiles
Award for Best Young Adult Book (not a Hugo)
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor Deserved
Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher Okay
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan A little bummed.  I really liked this one.
The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge Didn’t read
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller Not really surprised
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman Didn’t read
The John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo)
Katherine Arden Rebecca Roanhorse
Rivers Solomon Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Rebecca Roanhorse Jeannette Ng This feels like a literary vote.  Her book didn’t grab me (this past week), but I put her last because at the time I hadn’t read her at all.
Vina Jie-Min Prasad Rivers Solomon
Sarah Kuhn Katherine Arden A little bummed.  I loved her book.
Jeannette Ng Sarah Kuhn Yeah, okay.  Didn’t love it.

Too lazy to take pictures

This has been a busy week for contractors.  The painters were here Tuesday through today, painting the main living spaces downstairs (not the kitchen), our bedroom, and the baby’s room, a plumber came Tuesday to fix the leaking kitchen sink (and a few other things while he was here), and the yard people came today (just left), and WOW what a difference having work done makes.  I mean, hello, that’s obvious, but it’s so nice to see the changes.  We can walk out the back door without being attacked by bushes and trees, we can see whole flower beds we didn’t know we had, and we can see much of the low stone wall around the front of the house.  I can’t wait until those guys come back.  Too bad I don’t know when that will be – they have a couple of jobs to take care of next week, and everything else in the schedule is weather-dependent.  The guy in charge (Dana) definitely understands what we’re after, though, which means we are completely comfortable letting him loose.

I was not that comfortable with our lead painter after a day or two.  We had to ask for another coat of paint over the section of wall downstairs where the chalkboard paint had been because we could still the difference between that part of the wall and parts next to it, and then yesterday, he messed up one of the bedroom walls.  In the master, we wanted the two walls with windows to be dark blue and the two without windows to be a lighter blue.  I even diagrammed the room and included that, and he had that diagram on his phone.  So yesterday, I went in to take a look and I found that one wall of each color was the wrong color.  His excuse was that the day before, I had said I wanted to the two lighter walls (the room was already two colors) to be the darker blue and the two darker walls to be the light blue.  First of all, I said no such thing.  Second of all, when you come in to start painting and you realize that you have conflicting instructions from the homeowner, wouldn’t you check one more time to be sure?  Anyway, he fixed it, but he didn’t seem happy about it, which annoyed me even more.

What he’ll never know, because we’ll never tell him, is that now that we’ve had a day to live with the room in two colors, we think we like the darker color MUCH better, and we’ll probably make all four walls that color ourselves.  He doesn’t need to know that.   Besides, I got the impression that he’s as glad to be done with this job as we are to have him not in the house anymore.  Three and a half days of strangers in the house all the time was way too much.

Accomplishments

Thursday:

  • Routine doctor’s visit, met a new doctor from the practice. Everything is fine, normal, healthy, and she landed the doppler-thingy right on the baby’s heartbeat today, first try, no searching or smearing goop around.  It was pretty impressive.  I really liked her, and it looks like I’ll see her again during on my September appointments.
  • We bought the stroller and carseat.  We originally decided on the Baby Jogger Summit X3 (and the compatible infant carseat), but we dawdled on the actual purchase and the price for both of those went up kind of a lot.  Brian has been talking up the BOB strollers (and they get very good reviews, too), so when we saw that the jogging stroller and the infant car seat were each about $70 less than the Baby Jogger equivalents, we snapped them up.  I’m pretty sure that price difference was the opposite when we first started looking.  Milestone complete!  They’ll be delivered on Monday.
  • We hired a plumber to fix the leak under the sink.  Tuesday morning, no more leak and we should have a working garbage disposal.
  • We finally got a schedule for getting the painting done (end of August, although they’ll move us sooner if they can).
  • We hired a yard guy!

Those of you who have seen the house (or who read my post from Wednesday) know that the lawn is overgrown, the flowerbeds are full of weeds, there’s poison ivy in too many places, vines are threatening to take over the wooded areas, and every plant/tree/bush near the house is practically (in many cases, actually) attached to the house.  And we have an acre, so it’s kind of overwhelming.  We knew going into this that we would be hiring help for the yard, so paying for a bunch of yard-related stuff is in the budget.  We just had to prioritize and pick someone.

The first place I called took down my notes about what we wanted and then sent someone out to look over the place WHILE WE WEREN’T THERE.  We never met the guy, never talked to him, never clarified what we might want or not want to do, and we ended up with a quote that didn’t meet what we wanted at all.  Surprise.  I eventually talked to him on the phone, and he quoted us an hourly rate to just have some guys come in and trim or clean up where we point for a set number of hours.  Still not really what we’re looking for.  We want advice, too.  Oh, yeah – this is the guy who basically told me I can’t pay him to remove the poison ivy.  So they’re a no.

For the second place I called, we met with the guy Friday afternoon a week ago.  Turns out his sister went to high school with John, and he (Anthony) was only three or so years behind.  Rhode Island is small and no one leaves.  We liked him, he helped us prioritize, understood what we’re after, WILL help kill and remove the poison ivy, and when his quote came in, it was about what we expected.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry.  It took him over a week to get us the quote, and he wants to do the work in October, and we just can’t wait that long to trim back the stuff that’s attacking the house.  We’re happy to break up the work, but that part needs to be done soon.

John found the third guy (Dana) via a card and write-up on a bulletin board in a local coffee shop.  His website sucks, but we called him Wednesday and he made the appointment to come out Thursday, and we liked him immediately.  He seems very practical, practices organic gardening/landscaping (no pesticides or herbicides), and understood our need to simplify.  He’s maybe a little odd – he’d wander off mid-sentence, get up really close to a tree branch, grab hold of it, and inspect it closely.  With nearly every tree.  He was happy to see that everything we have is native, and said it appears that our yard was designed by a professional, and he even thinks he knows which one (the timing matches up to that guy’s career in RI, although apparently he has moved on to landscaping in the Hamptons).  It is crazy to me that a landscaper could look at our overgrown yard and, based on the layout and the type of plants, be able to name the landscaper.  What was I saying about Rhode Island?  Also, hopefully that means he knows his industry.  Artists can do it – why can’t landscape architects?

After one circuit of the house, I left John and Dana to roaming the yard, and when John came in later, he said, “I hired him.”  I’m glad I’m not the only one who liked him.  Also, turns out his hourly rate is $30 less than the first group, AND he wants to come back in a week to get started.  Works for me!

Reading my mind

John and I bought olive oil when we went to the store the other night, and I expressed regret that we can’t just buy Wegmans extra virgin olive oil like we used to.  We’ve been not so lucky at picking out other relatively inexpensive olive oils over the last few years.  (There are a lot of really boring olive oils out there, and some of the more exciting ones aren’t great for general use.  I feel like Goldilocks.)  We have a Wegmans within reach, if you consider an hour and 15 minutes one-way to be within reach.  I don’t.  I actually considered asking Emily to buy us some so John could bring it back this weekend when he drives up with our stuff from the storage unit.  We picked something since we’ll need it this week, I don’t remember which brand, and shortly after we got home, John said, “I think we owe my mom a really big thank you.”  Of course we do, for any number of things, so I asked for a few more details in my own articulate fashion. “Huh?”

She gave us a housewarming basket with a bunch of traditional housewarming gifts, all with their own meanings, and one of the items is olive oil (“May you be blessed with health and well-being”).  WEGMANS OLIVE OIL.

THANK YOU, PAT!

All is well with the world.

#Blessed

#snortgiggle

Moving happened!

We have moved!  We live in this house now.  And while we are both occasionally overtaken by fits of holy-shit-what-have-we-done with regard to this stupid-big purchase and the baby coming and the changes all of this will mean to my job (and salary), it’s all under control and we’re very happy about it (after the fits pass).  And we have moments like last night when we went to our local grocery store and they played a Frank Turner song we love, or like today at lunch when we walked to the library (it took us four minutes) and found that our Providence library cards work in every library in the state because of course every library in the state is on the same system.  Also, our library has at least four of this year’s six Hugo nominees for best novel actually on the shelf, in the science fiction section (which I didn’t expect to find at all in a tiny town library), meaning they are keeping their collection pretty well up to date.  Yay for me!  And I picked up the new Cat Valente novel from the new releases shelf because I can’t go to the library and not check something out.  Anyway, those moments reinforce that we picked the right place (“It’s a sign.” “You don’t believe in signs.”).

We’re very slowly unpacking (the kitchen is finally a working kitchen again as of last night, although I guess Sunday night to Tuesday night isn’t so bad).  We’ve hired a guy to paint four rooms, and we’re working on scheduling that work, and we’re getting quotes to have someone come out and do some initial yard clean-up (including poison ivy, which we seem to have a lot of).  About three quarters of the outside of the house (first floor) is under attack by bushes and plants and vines of all kinds, and we want some help beating them back.  The poison ivy is all farther from the house, but I want to start killing and removing it as soon as possible.  One place I called says they don’t like to handle poison ivy removal because that can cause their guys to miss work, and I was like, I KNOW, OF COURSE IT’S DIFFICULT, WHY DO YOU THINK I’M WILLING TO PAY YOU TO DO IT.  So we’re probably not going with that guy.  We have a stone wall bordering most of the property that we can barely see through all the overgrown plants, but that’s next year’s problem.  (We have a stone wall!  Of all the things we wanted in a forever home, a stone wall was one we never thought we’d actually get.)

Want to know something REALLY weird?  There’s a CRIB upstairs.  Like, for a BABY to sleep in.  Because we’re going to have a BABY soon.  This kid is going to be 15 years old, and I’m still going to be surprised to see them come in to the kitchen.  I’m adjusting.  Slowly.

(The crib and dresser both got delivered yesterday – BIG thank you to both sets of parents for those and their accessories.  They look FANTASTIC, and they’ll look even better when they’re actually in the baby’s room after it gets painted.)

Things are coming together!

Moving is happening!

This weekend, we are moving everything from the townhouse to the new house.  Well, everything that requires a truck.  Last week, we moved a bunch of little things, stuff that didn’t need to go in moving boxes and was small enough to fit in the car.  And we cleaned.  Tomorrow, we pick up a truck and we’ll make a trip with all the boxes.  I will do no more than supervise, I promise.  Tom is coming on Sunday, so he and John will move all the furniture then.  As long as the only things left by Sunday night fit in the car, we’ll be in good shape, but I have no doubt that we’ll have EVERYthing moved.  Then we’ll just have to do a quick clean of the townhouse, and we’ll be done there.

DONE.  Done with the ugly bathroom that never feels clean enough.  Done with the super-loud creaky floors and stairs.  Done with the nails popping out of the floor downstairs, hurting feet and ripping socks.  Done with the windows that look directly into our neighbors’ house.  Done with the stuffy, overly warm house that has forced us to flee to Starbucks to work for the last two days.  (I’ve been super-productive, though, so maybe working in Starbucks isn’t a terrible thing.)  We left one of the box fans at the new house, so the first level hasn’t had any way to move air for a week or so, and last night we were eating dinner and watching TV and I was SO HOT.  I was dripping sweat doing absolutely nothing.  John was not as uncomfortable as I was (and he’s usually more sensitive to the heat), so I can only assume baby Hugo was contributing to my issues.  It was not fun.  Also, my feet are swollen by the end of every day, and I HATE it.  That is NOT what my feet are supposed to look like.  Or feel like.  It kind of gives me the creeps.

Anyway, we’re ready to move.

Transfers and money back

It’s official – we’re not going to WorldCon this year.  Okay, it was official MONTHS ago, but as of today, we have transferred both memberships over to other people who will really go so now it’s super official.  And because people are basically good (or at least the people in my sample of SFF fans who go to conventions are basically good), both of the people we transferred the memberships to paid us for those memberships.  And because WE are basically good people, we didn’t charge them the full amount we paid back in December.  One of them got her membership (John’s) in time to vote.  The other didn’t, but that means MY votes for the Hugo awards (and other awards) counted, and we all know how important that was to me.  (Voting ended Tuesday night at midnight, and the transfer of my membership went through today.)

Next year, WorldCon is in Dublin.  If we can’t make it (with a baby!), I’ll at least get a supporting membership (which is WAY cheaper) so I can nominate and vote.  I like being involved in this.  These are my people.  This is my community.

Are we going to do something fun and relevant with the money we got back?  Well…sort of.  Fun, no, but Hugo-relevant, yes.  The money is going to go to buying the stroller.  Practicality FTW!

Looking for middle ground

We’ve FINALLY started to shop for baby stuff, and we’ve come to the decision that we need two bassinets: one for our room and one for downstairs.  We have one (thank you very much to John’s parents), but we’re looking for a second one and WHY is this so hard?

Well, the vast majority of bassinets fall into two distinct, EXTREMELY DIFFERENT, categories.

First, the overly ruffled, gag-me-cutesy ones:

Second, the laundry baskets:

If I HAD to choose between only these extremes, I’d probably pick the laundry basket style.  I’m just not that into ruffles…  The one we have already is one of the VERY few in the middle.  Maybe we’ll get another one just like it.

Zannah’s first art class

I took my first art class EVER (well, since 5th grade) last night, and it was pretty neat.  It’s the first of six sessions, Monday nights, and there are five of us.  Okay, there are nine of us, but four people are returning students who are well ahead of the rest of us.  And based on what I could see of the other newbies, they’re all better than me, but hey – that’s why I’m taking a class.

The instructor is this old guy, Don, who shuffles across the floor, has a fairly dry sense of humor, and is pretty blunt.  He had us all fill out some basic information about ourselves – what experience we have, why we’re taking the class, whether drawing has anything to do with our jobs, what level we think we’re at – and then he read them out loud to everyone.

“Zannah…she thinks she’s a beginner…NO experience since elementary school?!?  Not in high school?”  “I took the music path.”  “Hmph.”  Similar for the others, although at least one has more recent drawing experience.  The others apparently just have more natural talent.

Favorite line of the night:

“I’ll ask you to tape down your paper.  I will rip the tape for you because I teach children.  I will repeat instructions multiple times because I teach adults.”

He started by asking us to draw vertical lines an inch apart, all across the page.  Then he said to erase the worst ones and fix them.  I erased all of mine.  Then we progressed to drawing things we could see – angles, shapes, flower pots.  He very briefly showed us shadows and then it was 9pm and time to go.  But I get to go to an art store this week and buy stuff!

Exciting.

There’s always something

It wasn’t that long ago that I was rhapsodizing about them, but lately, the LAST thing I want is a hot shower.  Our townhouse doesn’t have AC.  (Our new house doesn’t either, but it’s much better insulated and it’s pretty shady there.)  We have a portable unit we bought in Oregon that vents out the window, and the townhouse had one regular window unit when we moved in.  It wasn’t TOO big of a deal last fall because we moved in September and we only had a couple of really hot days before the cooler weather started.  Now, though, it’s HOT.  We’ve had several days in a row of 90+ degree weather, and the house is pretty much unbearable.

We’re keeping the window unit running in our bedroom 24/7 (can’t wait for that electric bill), and it’s the only room that feels nice to sit in (with, of course, no place to sit other than the bed).  We moved the kitchen table and the portable unit into my office, so John and I are working together in the only other air-conditioned room in the house.  Fortunately, it’s been a quiet week for meetings so we’re not getting on each other’s nerves.  Unfortunately, the portable unit can’t keep up, so we’re still dying.

Today, even though it’s our first sub-90 degree day in a week, it’s still too warm in the house, so we’re camped out at Starbucks.

That is not the point I was going to make when I started writing.  My original point was that COLD SHOWERS ARE THE BEST.  Truly, that is not something I ever thought I would say.   It has become a necessity to take an actual cold shower before bedtime, both to clean off the sweat that’s accumulated all day long and to cool down before sleeping in the only cool room in the house.  AND IT FEELS SO GOOD.  It’s so hot in the rest of the house, bathroom included, that I find myself lingering under cold freakin’ water.  Maybe this is related to the pregnancy thing, too, but except for one incident, John has been as hot and uncomfortable as I’ve been.  We were watching TV, relatively cool, and all of a sudden I was like, “John, I need you to point the fan directly at me, I am so hot I can’t stand it please hurry up”.

Not to worry – I can find something to complain about in the only cool room in the house, too.  The window unit can only go in the window at the foot of the bed (lack of outlets and appropriate extension cords), and the air (which cannot be directed) blows directly on the pillows in the middle of the bed.  When I’m sleeping on my left side, like I am supposed to do, facing the middle of the bed, it blows directly on my face.  Consequence?  I wake up every morning congested with a drippy throat.

When will life be perfect, huh?

Today is better

Yesterday was a cranky day.  It was dark and rainy all day (we had thunder and lightning, which was cool, but not enough), I didn’t sleep well the night before, I had a headache, I was congested, I was achy, my left arm hurt a LOT from a vaccine, people at work were difficult, I was uncomfortable, and I just felt weird, and I couldn’t shake it ALL DAY LONG.

Today is much better, in every way.  I slept okay, my back doesn’t hurt, my head doesn’t hurt, the sun is shining, and sure, my left arm still hurts a bit, but it’s better.  It’s too early to tell if work people are going to be difficult again, but if that’s the only thing I have to deal with, I can manage.

Also, we’re going to Boston tonight to see Frank Turner, and the show is EARLY, as in supposed-to-be-over-by-9:30 early, and I know this makes me old, but I am so happy it won’t be a late night.

All signs point to lost brain cells

Dad says he likes to get my pregnancy-related updates, so here are the three latest:

  1. It is no longer comfortable for me to bend at the waist to pick things up off the floor.  I have to bend at the knees, or get all the way down, or hold on to something, and it’s…awkward.
  2. Summer finally arrived, so the combination of swelling because of the heat plus whatever swelling happens during pregnancy means that I can’t wear my rings anymore.  They live on a chain now.
  3. Hm.  I thought there was a third thing, but I can’t think of it right now and I swear to god I’m not trying to be funny about pregnancy brain.

John doesn’t remember, either, but maybe I didn’t say it out loud?

The updates below are in order of importance

The new toaster has arrived.  It’s cool-looking AND it makes toast.  I can’t really ask for more.

In other news, we made an offer on a house, it was accepted, the inspection was yesterday, and there is nothing major wrong with the house, so we’re expecting to close near the end of July.  Yay!  Like, so much yay.  All the yay.

YAY

Behind that big yay, I am doing a happy dance.  Can we move in tomorrow?

Well, I was doing a happy dance, but now I am thoroughly exhausted.  I just spent an hour on the phone with USAA talking about homeowner’s insurance, and it took my entire brain.  I have nothing left.  If you have a spare one, I would like to borrow it.

This whole Hugo Voter thing is SO COOL

The Hugo Voter Packet was released recently, and do you know what that is?  I mean, I didn’t know it existed until after I got into this process, and then I kind of knew I’d get a voter packet, and I kind of knew what that meant, but I just downloaded it yesterday and GUYS.  It’s like my birthday and Christmas and Hanukkah and people just giving me presents for NO REASON.  That’s how cool it is.  The Hugo Voter Packet contains electronic copies of many, if not most, of the Hugo nominees for best novel, novella, short story, novelette, series, art, magazine and so on through all the categories AND NOW I HAVE THEM ALL.

I am so happy to have these AND it makes my “what should I read next” dilemma WAY easier to solve.  Voting is over in a month and a half.  What will I read next?  Everything in my Hugo Voter Packet!

The day the toaster died

We are now on the market for a new toaster.  I’ll probably just buy a cheap pop-up toaster tonight for immediate use (hello, Amazon Prime), but I’m going to get a new toaster oven eventually.  I like them.  And that’s what died.

I  mentioned the issues we were having with the toaster back in November (link here), and we’ve been coasting along in that state since then (plug in the toaster, watch it like a hawk, unplug when done).  I had toast this morning, no problem.  I picked up a panini from Starbucks on my walk at lunch, and when I got home, I plugged the toaster oven in so I could heat up the panini.  Seconds later, I heard a small whoosh, I saw some orange flickering, some smoke drifted out with the smell of burning plastic, and then I yanked the plug out of the wall.

Bye-bye, toaster.

The nosebleed that messed up my morning

Most mornings, we get up early, go to the gym, work all morning, and then I go for a walk mid-day.  Once it gets and stays hot, I’ll probably switch the order so I can walk when it’s comparatively cooler and hit the air-conditioned gym in the mid-day heat, but for the last couple of months, this schedule has been working.

Today should have been no different, but my nose had other thoughts.  I wasn’t moving all that quickly, and John was planning to stop working early to fly, so he headed off to the gym without me.  I figured I’d catch up and meet him there, but then I blew my nose and now I have to clean up a crime scene.  Okay, fine, that’s not true.  No crime scene.  But plenty of bloody kleenex.  And it took FOREVER to stop.  Like, more than half an hour.  I had to google what to do because I couldn’t remember if I should tilt my head back or forward.  I eventually just sat in front of my laptop, doing work with one hand (I figured I’d start early so I can take off late morning to make up the missed workout) with my head tilted forward (thank you, Google) while using the other hand to pinch my nose shut, periodically switching out kleenex.  Uncomfortable, annoying, and kind of gross.

I don’t think I was ever prone to nosebleeds.  I can only remember two.  The more recent was on my first deployment, sometime in the second half of 2002.  Not exactly recent.  We were in the Persian Gulf, so I assume it was the inevitable result of months of hot, dry air.  The issue wasn’t that it happened, but that it happened right as the general quarters alarm sounded, and I was trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding and still get to my post quickly (in aft steering, which is the very very very back of the ship, several decks down and right at or maybe below the waterline).  (It was a drill, not the real thing, but still.)

The other one I can remember was in Louisville, maybe around age 10?  11?  Before we moved off the base, for sure.  I was out with Mrs. Campbell – no idea what our plans were or why it was just the two of us – and my nose started bleeding in the car.  My shirt got destroyed, so we went to the mall and she bought me a new one.  Maybe we were going to the mall anyway, but why would Mrs. Campbell have been taking me shopping?  Whatever.  I had to walk through the mall in a blood-soaked t-shirt, so there’s no chance I would forget that incident.

I need to be better about doing yoga by myself

Ways that I am stressed, in no particular order:

  • We’re trying to find our forever home, extra stress (get it?) on the forever.  We’re tired of moving, and we’re ready to settle here and never move again, but only if we find the right house.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if it’s not already perfect (or very close), it needs to be cheap enough to be made perfect.  And I REALLY want to do it in the next month, ESPECIALLY now that our landlord is being difficult.  Next bullet.
  • It’s time to leave this townhouse.  Our lease is up August 31st.  The landlord will let us extend, but every time we talk, he adds another month to the notice we have to give, which adds another month to the length of time we’d have to carry mortgage AND rent.  We were about to agree to 90 days’ notice, but then he said it’s actually 90 days plus to the end of whatever month that is.  So if we gave notice on Monday, June 4th, we’d owe rent through 9/30.  THAT’S NOT 90 DAYS.  So we’re super irritated and about to pull the plug.  If we give notice now, like today or tomorrow, we can probably still get out August 31st, but talk about adding pressure.  I’m due in the second half of September.  If we do this, and we’re probably going to do this, we have to find our house in the next two to three weeks and then hope everything goes smoothly with the inspection and closing.
  • Work is crazy busy right now and I’m trying to figure out the best way to handle it post-maternity leave because I’m not quitting my job and we’re not putting our infant in daycare.  I probably won’t work full-time, but I haven’t had that conversation with work yet, so that’ll be interesting and isn’t at all stressful, nope.
  • I am PREGNANT.  I’m not sleeping well, I don’t look like myself (I’m still surprised every time I look in the mirror), and holy crap I’m about to have a baby I didn’t think I was going to have.  I’m juggling pre-natal appointments with extra thyroid appointments (because oh, yeah, I’ve had a messed up thyroid for over 10 years, and pregnancy is known to mess up thyroids, so I have to have additional blood tests and more visits with an endocrinologist) and trying to see houses whenever possible, but don’t forget I still have to work full-time for now.  And I also have to eat right and exercise regularly and make sure I gain some weight but not too much weight.  And I’m TIRED.
  • I’m in a book funk.  I quit my last book, read a pretty good novella, and then started a really long book that’s okay enough that I’ll keep reading it, but I don’t love it.  That’s hardly a big thing, but it’s a small nagging thing, and you know what I don’t need right now?  Exactly.  The baby will fit that description soon enough, so how about we just avoid all small nagging things until then?  (That sounds negative – I don’t mean to imply I won’t LOVE that particular small nagging thing.)

Now pardon me while I go sit on the floor and cry.  Some more.

  • Right.  I cry.  A LOT.  Over both stupid things and not-stupid things.  Example of a stupid thing?  I cried at the end of the pilot episode of Hart of Dixie last night.  Guys, that is not a good show.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not good.  I cried anyway.  AND THEN I WATCHED THE SECOND EPISODE.  My judgment cannot be trusted.

Blogs and books and bears – okay, no bears

My blogging muscle appears to have atrophied.  I don’t know if I just don’t have anything to say, or if I’m avoiding it because I’m a little single-minded lately and I don’t want to be repetitive, or if I just haven’t felt like it and when I think about it, I decide I’d rather be reading.

It’s a little of all three and a lot of the last one, which is kind of funny because I’ve also fallen into a book funk.  AND my book list broke because it got too big and I’m going to have to change the format of it, and I need a test version of my site so I can poke around and try things, and I haven’t gotten around to doing that, and maybe that’s also a little bit of why I’ve stayed away?

Anyway, the book funk.  The last book I read that I LOVED was 13 books ago.  Of the 12 since then, including the one I’m reading now, I liked six okay, really liked only one (The Trespasser by Tana French), thought two were meh but finished them anyway, and I gave up on three.

The books I gave up on:

  • Magic Bites, the first Kate Daniels book, by Ilona Andrews.  It’s urban fantasy, or maybe paranormal romance, or maybe both.  I like that genre (duh), but I just didn’t care about this one.  Couldn’t get into it.  There’s one series like this that I heard was really good starting with the second book, but I can’t remember if it was this one, and Twitter wasn’t able to help me when I asked.  So I gave it up.  There are lots of other books in the sea.
  • A Window Opens, by Elizabeth Egan.  Supposed to be in the vein of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which I LOVED, and Today Will Be Different, which I strongly disliked (both by Maria Semple).  This one fell into the strongly dislike category.  The main character and the overall situation should be relatable, but I just can’t with her character, her decisions, her choices.  So I quit halfway through.
  • The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware.  It’s a thriller, but I didn’t like the protagonist, and the whole thing felt weirdly paced and plotted.  I don’t think I made it a third of the way in.

Thankfully, the book I picked up after giving up on those last two IN A ROW was one of the Hugo nominees, and while it had a slow start, I ended up liking it just fine.  Now I’m reading one that I’m enjoying, but I don’t love – I don’t have that need to drop everything else so I can have more time to read.

I am confident that I can climb out of my book funk, though.  There’s a Tanya Huff trilogy I haven’t read yet staring at me from the shelf, and the Hugo Voter Packet should arrive soonish, which is SUPER exciting and which I’ll tell you all about when it gets here.

Tied up with a bow

It rained all day today BUT:

  1. We went to a library book sale at lunch and I picked up three books.
  2. I saw a cherry tree in bloom!  Spring!  It’s coming!

Okay, I already knew spring was coming (or maybe is here) because my allergies reminded me.  They’re not bad yet (and hopefully will remain not bad), but last night I drove John out of bed with my snoring.  Whoops.  And I woke up congested.  BUT:

  1. An hour upright cleared most of that up for me.
  2. It rained all day today, so the pollen should be washed out of the air (for a short while).

Full circle!