What’s with today, today?

Today was a sucky day.  The plans I had for my workday went out the window right from the beginning, which means I’m way behind, and I just put in an extra hour that sucked and I’m still behind but I’m 100% done for today.  I’m cranky and it’s going to rain tomorrow and if I’m supposed to be some glowing pregnant goddess right now, well…I’m very definitely NOT.

Add being in a book funk to my list of woes.  My book is odd.  I like it, but the technology in this universe is, I think, deliberately inscrutable.  It could be really interesting – it relies on calendars, dates, and the population’s belief in those calendars – but the way it’s described is not clear at all.  The characters are interesting, and the plot is interesting, but there’s a space battle and how it’s being waged might as well be in Greek.

I was really looking forward to this one, too.

Things are moving along

We switched practices recently, and even after just one visit with a doctor (met with a nurse last week to get some initial stuff out of the way), I am SO MUCH HAPPIER.  The nurse and the doctor both introduced themselves immediately, something not a SINGLE person in the previous practice did.  It’s such a small thing (and that is certainly not the whole reason we left the other practice), but it’s so nice.  I’ve seen that at other doctors’ offices, too – why do so many medical professionals skip the introduction?  Am I supposed to just assume you’re the doctor or the nurse I made an appointment with?  The nurse at the first practice never got my name right, either, so I was never entirely sure I was in the right place.

This practice is in a new building, and it’s nice, and it’s pretty, and everyone we’ve met has been nice and helpful and cheerful and WHAT A RELIEF!

Emily, Sean, and Graham visited this past weekend, and we spent most of two days driving past potential houses and exploring potential neighborhoods (and also eating our weight in seafood and ice cream and pie, which CERTAINLY showed when the doctor made me get on the scale today).  They swore up and down that they were happy house-hunting with us, but I’m willing to bet there was some regret about spending so much of the weekend in the car when they hit the road for the long trip home Sunday afternoon.  Let’s drive ALL the hours!

Graham is adorable and funny and I’m SO not ready for a toddler.  It’s a good thing that happens gradually.  I spent part of my morning trying to imagine the baby that’s going to fit into the super-cute onesies Emily and Sean bought us in Newport – our first baby things!  It’s the first time I’ve tried to picture this baby as a real baby, and I’m failing miserably.  I’m basically coming up with stock baby photos that don’t look anything like us.  I realize I could probably look at my baby pictures and John’s and get close, but that’s no fun.

Maternity clothes!

Am I showing?  No.  I mean, it kind of depends on the time of day, but I think that’s food.  First thing in the morning is what I’m counting on to tell me the truth, and first thing in the morning, I’m still basically flat.  The second I start eating (or even drinking just water), I start to look a little pregnant, and by the time I go to bed at night, I feel….not so svelte.  That pattern has been going on for about a month, so I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. It’s just food.

However. My clothes are a little tight and anything that doesn’t stretch is now hiding at the bottom of the drawer, so I figured it was time to order a few basic pieces of maternity wear AND THEY ARRIVED YAY!

How did no one tell me how comfortable maternity jeans are?  I got the ones that have the stretchy front panel (as opposed to side only), and I don’t know why anyone would ever wear normal zip front pants EVER.

Once it gets warmer, I’ll need shorts like this, and I haven’t ordered any t-shirts or anything because spring is never going to get here and all my sweaters and hoodies have plenty of room in them, room I don’t really need yet.

I am a little tired of this in-between state, though.  When I go to the gym (I can’t wear my skinny workout clothes, but I can still wear my mid-size workout clothes), I just look overweight, not pregnant.  And, you know, I don’t CARE what anyone at the gym thinks of me.  Everyone goes to the gym to get in shape or stay in shape – no judgment.  But still, care what I look like, and I definitely don’t look pregnant yet.

I WANT TO LOOK PREGNANT.  I think?  Yes?

In the meantime, for real, these jeans are GREAT.  I’ve been hanging out in pajama pants for a couple of months now because all real pants are uncomfortable.  It’s nice to be comfortable in clothes I can actually wear outside.

At least I didn’t burn the house down

I have run out of patience for my coworkers in the past, so I’m hesitant to call this a pregnancy symptom, but I’m pretty much calling EVERYthing a pregnancy symptom nowadays, so maybe…?

Anyway, just about everyone at work sucks today. Nearly every person I spoke to asked stupid questions or had us rehash decisions that had been made weeks ago or couldn’t follow basic instructions or figure out logical next steps on their own.  I spent much of the day really really really annoyed.

Then work ended and I mostly got over it.  But then I did another thing that I’m pretty sure I can blame entirely on pregnancy brain.  I made dinner tonight, and John came downstairs, went into the kitchen.  The ravioli was draining in the sink, the salad was in a bowl…”Did you make sauce?”

Uhhhh…you mean the sauce that’s still in the jar in the cabinet?  Because by “make”, we mean “heat up”.  Let’s not kid ourselves about how I cook.  “How about we do the olive oil and parmesan thing instead?”  So not a disaster by any definition, but certainly a slip of the brain.

Eating is hard

This whole I-need-to-eat-every-two-hours-or-else-I-get-faint-and-cranky thing is getting OLD.  And it doesn’t seem to matter how much or how little I eat for dinner or how early or late I eat dinner, I always go to bed feeling bloated and gross.  During the day, I feel okay except that I haven’t mastered snacking (so, not bloated and gross, but hungry/faint/generally ugh).  Hold on – announcement:

I AM NOT LOOKING FOR SNACKING ADVICE.

Thank you.  I have the internet, I have my What to Expect book, I have info from the doctor.  I’m just bad at it right now.  But I’m trying.  Today, I went to the store at lunchtime and stocked up.  I have fruit (strawberries, raspberries, bananas, although the bananas aren’t even close to ripe yet), yogurt, granola, two kinds of granola bars, and applesauce.  I already had plenty of bread and crackers and peanut butter, and I’m not in the mood for carrots or celery or whatever, so I didn’t get those today.  I think what I’m missing are nuts, like almonds or something.  Ooooh, wait.   I have creme brulee almonds.  Does the creme brulee flavoring undo the nutritional value of the almonds?  I’m going with no.

Let’s review today:

Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter (usually I slice banana on top, but I was out)

Late morning snack: hard-boiled egg

Just prior to and after my lunchtime workout (and while grocery shopping): granola bar

Lunch: Yogurt (fruit-on-the-bottom) and granola

Snack: Applesauce

Right now: Hungry and cranky and mildly headache-y because my applesauce was gone over two hours ago and I was stuck on a client meeting and applesauce isn’t a very filling snack to begin with and I NEED TO EAT RIGHT NOW.

Top of the list (for now)

Last weekend, we drove to East Greenwich, all of 15 minutes south of Providence, and found maybe our perfect town.

  • Good schools
  • Houses we like, in the price range we’re considering
  • A cute Main Street with lots of businesses
  • Houses we like, in the price range we’re considering, that are walkable to cute Main Street
  • Near water*

*The near water part isn’t perfect.  Main Street is a few blocks up from the water, and it doesn’t look there are any public spaces on the water.  There’s a marina, but no park over there or paths or anything.

[Pause for googling]

I stand corrected.  There is a park a little south of downtown, and I forgot about the state park that’s just on the other side of the bay.  So whether the park on the water is walkable from downtown remains to be seen, but at least it’s there.

When I think about things I miss about Eugene, the parks and the paths along the river are high up there.   I really loved the convenience of walking out the door and being in a park, right on the river, within a couple of blocks.  And the 20 miles of paths…but then I remember the gloomy winter, the ultra-dry summer, that John had sinus problems almost the enter 18 months, and the forest fires.  So I’ll keep missing some things about Eugene, but moving was the right decision.

We need some backup towns because when it comes time to look seriously for our next place to live, we might not find what we want in East Greenwich, but we took this weekend off.

Weekending right

I am the valedictorian of weekend breakfasts.  Lately, anyway.  Last weekend, I had this OHMYGODSOGOOD deep dish cinnamon french toast with fresh fruit and whipped cream at a restaurant in East Greenwich (we were checking out the town).  It was basically a piece of bread pudding with fruit and whipped cream.  SO.  GOOD.  That was Saturday.  Sunday, we had breakfast at home, so we made french toast ourselves with big slabs of bread and strawberries and raspberries and whipped cream.  It wasn’t the same as the day before, but it was nearly as good.

This weekend, breakfast both days was cereal, but we got the good cereal.  A box of Lucky Charms, a box of Golden Grahams, and a box of Cocoa Puffs, plus a gallon of milk, and we were set.  And happy.  And somehow, even after two days of cereal in front of the TV, we still have cereal left in all three boxes.  Maybe we’ll have cereal for dinner, too.

Hugo update (the awards)

The Hugo nominations were announced last weekend, and my nominations don’t look a lot like the final slate for voting.  Out of the six books up for Best Novel, only ONE of my picks is on the list (The Stone Sky, NK Jemisin), I haven’t read four of them (YET – a trip to the library is in my immediate future), and one book that I decided not to finish because the writing felt…amateurish…IS on the list.  Voting for the Hugos involves ranking the nominees.  That one will be last for me.  For Best Novella, three of my picks are on the list, so I feel a little better about that, but my one pick for Best Novelette didn’t make it.

TWO episodes of The Good Place were nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form, which is GREAT because I love that show so much.  (If you’re not watching it, go watch it.)

I don’t know when voting will start, aside from sometime this month, but I’m totally ready!  Except for not having read four of the six nominees for Best Novel.  But I’ll get there!

Maybe I should give up on titles and just number posts sequentially. Titles are hard.

Hey.  Didn’t mean to disappear again.  Everything is totally fine, things are good, I just fell down a “I don’t want to do anything” hole.  Once work is over and I walk away from my computer, I haven’t wanted to look at it again, so I’ve been reading (finally back into GOOD books) or watching TV (we started over with The Americans since it had been YEARS since we saw the first few episodes, and we’ve been using Parks and Recreation as a palate cleanser).

Also, the coworker I occasionally fight with has been SUPER IRRITATING this week, today in particular, and UGH.  So much ugh.

Oh, it SNOWED the other day.  Like, three-inches-on-the-ground-before-noon kind of snow, even though the two days before had been in the mid-50s.  Then the sun came out and ALL the snow was gone by 5pm.  Weird day.

So yeah, that’s my news.  Totally worth the wait, right?

Something? Anything?

Book news: I put another book down today.  It’s supposed to be classic fantasy about a minstrel who can teleport and travels his world, but I got halfway through and couldn’t deal with the casual women-as-objects issue (late 70s, author is a woman – I can’t even blame it on male chauvinism) or the lack of character development.  On the plus side, I’m finally going to read Uprooted by Naomi Novik.  I loved the Temeraire books SO MUCH, and I only even noticed them because Uprooted (which is not related to those) had just been published and was getting attention.  I’ve been saving Uprooted because I know I’ll love it, and sometimes I just do that.  There’s still a Robin McKinley novel I haven’t read because I’m saving it.  I started Uprooted over lunch today, and I loved it from the first sentence, so I’ll be a happy reader for a few days.

Weird sad news: one of our neighbors died the other day.  We saw police cars and police officers milling around next door, but no sirens.  It seems her roommates found her in her bed that morning, an apparent overdose, but no idea if it was accidental or on purpose.

Just weird news: I was sitting at my desk, on a conference call with a customer in Wisconsin, when all of a sudden a giant silver ladder came to rest outside the window directly in front of me and this dude climbed up until he completely filled the frame and scraped old paint off the windowsill outside.  He had headphones on, and I think he was trying as hard not to look at me as I was not to look at him.  Super awkward, and it was a huge distraction.  It’s hard to have a work conversation when there’s a person outside your window less than 6 feet away.  Thankfully, he didn’t take long and then he was gone.

Pregnancy-related news: See tomorrow’s post.

PROBLEMATIC

I finished the third book in the giant telepathic cat trilogy.  The story was good – I wanted to read it, I wanted to find out what happens next – but the love story was TERRIBLE.  It’s so bad I have to tell you about it.  Spoilers for the series follow, although I doubt any of you are going to read these books.

Book 1:

In the first book, the love story is not offensive.  In fact, it’s barely there, for very good reasons, and I remember specifically appreciating that as the story moved along.  Our main character, Doyce (oh, the names, but that’s a separate issue), is in her mid to late 30s, engaged to a guy who gets murdered right at the beginning of the story.  Tragic to begin with, but doubly so for her because 10 years earlier, she lost her first husband and baby girl in a house fire.  She spends the entire book grieving while searching for her fiance’s murderer, questioning whether she deserves love and happiness at all since she seems to be destined to lose it, and she certainly appears to be in no hurry to look for it again.  TOTALLY REASONABLE.  No complaints here.

Maybe I should point out that Doyce is not a giant telepathic cat.  The main characters are humans, many of whom have giant telepathic cats as companions.  Anyway.

While searching for the person who murdered her fiance, Doyce is joined by this very handsome, super arrogant dude named Jenret who is sort of a co-worker, so they sort of know each other.  Does he like her?  Of course not!  Everyone is beneath him!  Does she like him?  Not at all!  Plus, grieving, doesn’t deserve happiness, not even thinking about romance, etc., for all the good reasons listed above.  All good, and the author keeps the (sigh) inevitable romance on a super-low heat back burner.  Over time and this quest for the murderer, they learn to appreciate each other and depend on each other and maybe like each other a little, but there is ZERO discussion of it, there are ZERO romantic interludes, and at the end of the book, Doyce defeats the murderer in another super-traumatic event with the support of Jenret and their other companions.

No real love story – hurray!  Or if there was meant to be one, which the beginning of book 2 implies, it was so badly done I didn’t notice it.

Book 2:

Doyce is healing.  She’s staying at Jenret’s mother’s house, but she’s tormented mentally, she has blocked most of the events of the first book from her memory, and she’s not ready to rejoin the real world.  Apparently, Jenret has supported her through all of this turmoil, and they’ve exchanged lovey-dovey words and promises and whatever, but as she comes out of this interlude, she doesn’t remember any of it.  She remembers him and everyone else, but whatever feelings she developed for him (that the author completely failed to show the reader), she doesn’t remember and doesn’t feel, and she’s seriously irritated with him every time he invades her personal space.  He seems to understand that she doesn’t remember, but he’s hurt by it and he can’t seem to give her room to grow out of it on her own.  So maybe this is a deliberate characterization of him being selfish – I can deal with that.

The two of them plus a handful of other people go on another quest.  Jenret is being weirdly touchy-feely and possessive (to her point of view), and she keeps pushing him off.  Internally, she thinks maybe she likes him, but she needs time (she’s been through A LOT), and she still doesn’t remember him helping her heal after the first book.  He agonizes over it.  Some other dude they meet is aware of Jenret’s feelings for Doyce, flirts with her a bit to make him jealous (although she doesn’t seem to have a clue that any of this is going on – she’s focused on the mission), and then one night, Jenret gets drunk, declares his love for Doyce and says he has to have her and TRIES TO RAPE HER. Like, no question about it – his pants are off, he has tackled her to the ground, she’s yelling and struggling, and he only doesn’t succeed because his giant telepathic cat claws his naked butt.  So thankfully, she is royally pissed, she specifically calls it rape, and he tries to apologize and explain, and she’s having none of it.

At this point in the book, I was shocked.  Totally didn’t see that coming, and I was happy they weren’t sugar-coating it, and I was happy Doyce was really, truly angry.  So maybe the love story was lackluster because it was never meant to be one.  She’s grieving in the first book,  he’s a violent selfish prick in the second one – I can get behind this.  To continue.

Of course, they’re on a mission, and they have to complete the mission, and he’s ashamed, and she’s mad, and then they’re all escaping and he gets really hurt and while they’re in hiding SHE SLEEPS WITH HIM.  !!!!  Of her own volition, at her own instigation.  Why?  I have NO IDEA.  There’s no build-up, I don’t see why she would want to have anything to do with him…so I was not thrilled with that decision.  After that, he thinks things are great, she says not so fast and continues to hold him at arm’s length, but now he has hope.  At the end of the book, she discovers she’s pregnant, and what does she do?  SHE ASKS HIM TO MARRY HER.  This is not a society that says she has to be married.  This is not a society that says she has to keep the baby.  SHE DECIDES TO MARRY HER RAPIST.  WTF.  And that’s how the second book ends.

Book 3:

Months later, Doyce is largely pregnant, Jenret (still arrogant, still immature) is away on a Very Important Mission, she’s angry he isn’t around, he waxes poetic about missing the love of his life, and they still aren’t married.  Little spark of hope again: maybe the author is going to have them realize that they shouldn’t be married?  NOPE.  No mention of the rape, of their history, of their issues.  Adventure, adventure, adventure (separate ones this time), and Doyce is saving two kids at the end, and the stress leads her to start labor, and then Jenret appears out of nowhere to be there when she gives birth, and then they get married.

Ugh.  Gross.  By the rape scene in Book 2, I lost all interest in the “love” story.  The only things that kept me going were the giant telepathic cats.  Now the trilogy is done, and so am I.  There are a couple of companion books, but no.  Just…no.

Saturday night head explosions

John and I rent a townhouse in Providence.  Moving to Providence was the next step in figuring out where we want to live, settle, buy a house, and so far, we really like it.  We LOVE our neighborhood.  We’re not in any hurry to buy a house (still, although if we find one we like at a price we’re cool with, we might), and so the plan was to give this townhouse a full year, or at least get through the summer, and decide if we wanted to renew the lease or find another place.

That was the plan until our recent happy news.  Now, we know we have to move when our lease is up.  It would be easy to have an infant here, but once that baby starts to crawl…not so easy.  The entire first floor, with the exception of the entryway and the kitchen, which are both tiled, is old hardwood floor.  The old part is important – it was installed when you still nailed the floorboards down from the top.  So the entire first floor has row upon row upon row of tiny nails that are constantly popping up and ripping socks and hurting our feet.  No kidding – John keeps a hammer in the dining room cabinet.  Hammering down nails in the floor is nearly a daily occurrence.  Yes, we have a big area rug in the living room, but it’s not wall-to-wall carpeting.  A crawling baby on hands and knees on that floor?  I don’t think so.

Also, I think I take back the part where I said it would be easy to have an infant here.

  1. The stairs are twisty and steep.  And slippery.
  2. EVERY FLOORBOARD IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE CREAKS.  LOUDLY.  It is impossible to sneak around in this house.  If one of us is awake and moving, we’re both awake.  If this baby is a light sleeper…
  3. The back door (where we park) is hard to navigate if you have anything in even one hand.  It has stairs, a sharp turn, a railing that makes the space really small, a heavy storm door that opens out and takes up the remaining space, and an inner door that requires two hands to open (one to turn the key, one to turn the knob).  I have issues with it when I’m carrying groceries.  How will I handle that when I’m carrying a carseat with a baby in it?

Sure, none of this is insurmountable, but it’ll be a huge pain, and we can move, so we’re planning to.  Where?  NO IDEA.  I mean, somewhere in New England, but…that doesn’t help all that much.  So to find out, we’re going to drive all over New England most weekends for the next few months and scout.

Last Saturday, we headed to southern New Hampshire, which, to our complete and utter surprise, is only an hour away from us on a Saturday morning (because no traffic around Boston).  We drove around Nashua, Derry, Hooksett, Concord (lunch and a little walking, too), and Henniker.  Nashua and Concord are firmly on our list, and we’ve discovered that we probably don’t want to move to a town smaller than Concord (pop. 42K).  (Of course, that disqualifies all of Vermont except Burlington.  We’ll see.)  We got back home, tired and cranky from our long day in the car, and started talking about Providence.  Why have we essentially written off Providence after one day’s jaunt to New Hampshire?  Well, we haven’t.  We like it.  You know what?  Let’s focus on Providence for a while.  And then we realized one big thing we haven’t discussed AT ALL: schools.  The freakout began.  When we were thinking about kids years ago, it was easy.  We lived in the best (sometimes second best) school district in Virginia.  No thought required.  And while Rhode Island schools on the whole are pretty good, Providence schools SUCK.  Apparently.  Based on a couple of days of frantic research.  Everyone who lives in the neighborhood we want to settle in sends their kids to one of the three private schools nearby.  We are NOT doing that.  We went from “huh, New Hampshire could be it” to “Wait, we really like Providence, let’s just stay here” to “WE CAN’T RAISE OUR KID IN PROVIDENCE SCHOOLS AND OH MY GOD HOW ARE WE GOING TO FIND A PLACE TO LIVE THIS IS TOO HARD UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR!!!!” in the space of two hours Saturday night.

Fun times.  And NO, this was not just me and my hormones.  John was right there with me, although he was more constructive about it.

We’re better today.  The plan for now is to check out the rest of Rhode Island, see what’s out there, see what towns we might like to live in and afford on OH YEAH HALF OF OUR CURRENT INCOME possibly – exactly what I’m going to do for work, both short and long term is still very much TBD.

It’ll be fine.  We’re not obsessed with making sure we live in the best school district ever – our bar for that is pretty reasonable, I think.  It was just such a shock to realize that we had NEVER considered schools in our plans to move around and find our perfect place to live.  We didn’t think we’d have to.

Was I going to say something?

Is this pregnancy brain?  When I think I wrote something yesterday but it turns out I didn’t even have a draft?  How about when, at 4pm on one day, I schedule an 8:30 meeting for the next day, and then forget to call in to it?

It started snowing, I made hot chocolate, John is going to start cooking soon, and I am going to read my book.  You just try and stop me.

All the books, please

Saturday morning, we went to a library book sale in Warwick, and for the first time, I missed Loudoun County.  The Loudoun County Public Library book sale was (still is, I imagine) a thing of wonder.  This library book sale was a little smaller than our Ashburn library book sale.  That didn’t stop me from getting out of there with eight or so books, of course.  After we left the library, we celebrated by going to a used bookstore in downtown Providence, where I picked up another three or four books.  This is after last weekend, when we spotted two used bookstores while driving around southern Massachusetts, stopped at both, and came home with about ten books.

I am definitely back in the physical book business.

Also, I feel like I put off the hard decision of deciding what to read next by going the easy route of picking up the next in the series about giant telepathic cats.  So even though I made a decision, I don’t feel like I made a decision.  Best of both worlds!

Comfort reading pays off

I just finished Trading in Danger, by Elizabeth Moon, and I really enjoyed it.  (I bought it because it was recommended as good space opera on Tor.com and also, the author co-wrote a few books with Anne McCaffrey, so there’s some built-in trust.)  It reminded me a lot of Tanya Huff’s Valor series (Torin Kerr is my favorite space marine).  This one is space military-adjacent, with a spunky young main character who has to save her ship and her crew, and it’s the first in a series, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next one at used bookstores.  Dad, I do have this first one on my Kindle, if you want to try it.  Light, fun, exciting.  (I also have a physical copy of it because sometimes I forget what I already own…)

And now, I have my usual problem: what to read next?  Despite my lack of success with the Hugo books, I had a limited list and I knew I wanted to read them all, so I just plowed through it.  Now, though, I have…48 physical books on my bookshelf (I just counted), all of which I want to read, and I have 295 books on my Kindle that I haven’t read yet, WHICH IS A CRIME.  And to make matters worse, which also makes me happy, which makes matters better, but harder, there’s a library book sale in Warwick tomorrow and of COURSE we’re going.

So the REAL question is this: should I put myself through the turmoil of picking a book tonight or should I wait until I get home from the book sale tomorrow (because we’re going first thing, naturally), when I will have more books to choose from and probably a harder decision?

On the one hand, why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?  On the other hand, what will I read tonight?

MY LIFE IS SO HARD.

I’m still here

Hi.  I’m back (as you may have noticed after the last few days of semi-consistent posting).  I’m sorry I went mostly dark, but I was trying really really hard not to talk about something, and when I’m bursting to talk about something, I can’t think of anything else to say.  I’m fine in person (although I went almost full hermit, so I didn’t have to test that very often), but for blogging purposes, it basically elbowed everything else out of my head.

But hey, the secret is out (THANK GOODNESS), and my head feels clearer.

I’m not being deliberately enigmatic.  I mean, I am, but not with the intention of leaving anyone in the dark.  It’s just that I don’t tend to get too personal here, so it feels kind of weird.  On the other hand, I plan to talk about it (or at least not NOT talk about it), so for the maybe ONE person who reads me who isn’t an immediate family member or high school/college friend: I’m pregnant.  Yay, happy dance, and all that stuff.

You know what?  I am going to talk about it.  Because it STILL doesn’t feel quite real, and it’s kinda freaking me out.  That it doesn’t feel real, I mean.  Despite the fact that less than a week ago I was at the doctor’s office and I heard the baby’s heartbeat, it appears that I need further proof.  (I mean, maybe that tiny fast heartbeat was just a clever ruse because the doctor is in on this charade or maybe it’s a tiny mechanical device, like a pacemaker, that somehow got implanted or hey, maybe it’s a tiny ticking bomb (and you know what?  it kind of is).  I’m not showing yet, and my first trimester symptoms have been pretty mild, with the exception of OH MY GOD THE WORST TASTE IN MY MOUTH ALL THE TIME except when I’m eating which means I want to eat ALL THE TIME but eating for two isn’t really a thing and gaining too much weight too fast is a BAD thing and also I’m supposed to drink a TON of water and water TASTES BAD because of this awful taste and please please please make it go away as this trimester ends….

It is getting slightly less unbearable, so I have hope.  Also, I have noticed actual feelings of lightheadedness and weakness when I need to eat something, which is new and unusual and super not fun.

So I’m looking forward to LOOKING pregnant.  I think.

Oh, also, we’re calling unborn child Hugo (Hugo Nebula when we’re being formal) until he or she is born because due to the timing, we will not be able to go to WorldCon for the Hugo Awards.  Turns out they don’t let women on planes when they’re THAT pregnant.  Color me disappointed, but there will be other years.  Our little baby nerd will go to LOTS of conventions with us.

It’s Pi(e) Day!

I had strawberry rhubarb pie for the second time in my life a few weeks ago (it was DELICIOUS), and I bought more to celebrate today’s most circular of days and it is finally time for me to tell the story of the first time I ever tried strawberry rhubarb pie, which was only 10 months ago.

The story starts with crab legs.  (The best stories about pie start with crab legs.)  Last May, when John and I went to Seattle to see U2, one of the few things I REALLY wanted before we left town again was crab legs.  I had the second best crab legs of my life the first time I went to Seattle (early 2003), and I wanted those again.  (The first best crab legs of my life were in Alaska, also early 2003.)

The Sunday morning we were there, the morning of the concert, also, coincidentally, Mother’s Day, we were driving around and exploring, and I was googling seafood restaurants to track down crab legs.  We found a place to have lunch with a lake view, lots of seafood, and Alaskan King crab legs on the menu online.  Done.  So we got there, we got seated, it was lovely, and I noticed there weren’t any crab legs on the menu.

Well, crap.  The waiter came by, and I so-very-nicely explained my predicament.  I really didn’t want to be a bother, but if they HAVE crab legs, would it be possible for me to order them?  The waiter was really nice and said he’d find out.  I was totally prepared to order something else if they didn’t have crab legs, and I’m pretty sure I said that to him.  I promise was being nice.  I would never be the evil diner.

Anyway, he came back after a while and said they DO have crab legs, but they’re frozen – is that okay?  Sure!  That’ll be fine!  So off he goes.  And then we waited.  We were fine – we had an appetizer – but the waiter seemed nervous.  No, really, we’re fine!  Then we waited some more.  The waiter came back, all apologetic, because the kitchen had prepared the Dungeness crab for me (whole crab) instead.  But they could still do the crab legs if I didn’t mind waiting a little longer!  Yes, please, I’m happy to wait.

So we waited.  And then the manager came by, clearly worried that we were getting annoyed.  We SO weren’t, but she wanted to give us a free desert anyway, and who were we to turn that down?  And THAT’s when we decided to try the strawberry rhubarb crumble or cobbler or pie or whatever it was.  AND HOLY CRAP IT WAS AMAZING.

(My crab legs were also delicious and HUGE and exactly what I wanted and yay for that restaurant in Seattle and of COURSE we expressed our appreciation because we are good customers.)

So then a couple of weeks ago…oh, right –  it was my birthday weekend.  I wanted pie, and we couldn’t decide what kind of pie, so we bought a strawberry rhubarb pie and an apple pie.  Both were SO GOOD – our local grocery store bakery makes DAMN GOOD PIE.

Of course, two pies at once for two people was a little excessive, so for Pi(e) Day, we limited ourselves to ONE pie, the strawberry rhubarb pie, and we are looking forward to eating it with delicious vanilla ice cream melting all over it.

There will be pie tonight!

Building my book list

Margaret asked me how I choose books.  Anyone else curious?  Eh, I’ll tell you anyway.  I have a very sophisticated method that involves ranking and graphs and sales numbers and no, none of that is true.  I keep a list.  Hardly rocket science, I know.  My list is very long, but because of how I’ve built it, I’m pretty confident that I will like just about anything from that list that I choose to read.  It’s not foolproof (many of my Hugo books were on my list already, and I didn’t like them all), but it’s usually a pretty good system.

How do I decide what goes on my list?  Well, that’s a whole thing.  First, the easy ones are every other book written by an author I like that I haven’t read yet.  Everything else, pretty much, is based on a recommendation, and that’s where it gets tricky.  Whose recommendations do you trust?  The only way through that mess is trial and error, I think.  I go with authors/writers whose writing I like.  They’ll often have blog posts or regular articles or something listing books and authors they love, and I figure if I love them, and they love this other author, the chances are good that I will, too.  That works more often than not (and authors I follow on Twitter tend to promote other authors they like, so the list continues to grow), but it’s not always great.  There was this one blogger I used to read – he reviewed movies, and he and I liked the same ones.  So when he listed books he’d read recently that he really liked, I figured I could trust that his taste and mine would be similar.  I ordered three of them, basically sight unseen.  Not a smart move.  None of the three were bad, but they were most definitely not my style.  So I learned not to trust that guy’s taste in books.

Book recommendations from friends and family are tougher, although I think I’m pretty lucky in that.  Knowing their reading habits, I can’t think of a single friend or relative (of those likely to recommend stuff) I’d be wary of a recommendation from.

I don’t read a lot of book reviews (they tend to go too deep into a book, and I would like to read it first, thanks), but Tor.com puts out a LOT of reviews and articles and celebrations of books, old and new (all science fiction and fantasy), and I’ve been adding to my list a lot from their site.

If I’m buying a physical book from an actual store, and I have it in my hands, I almost always read the first few pages before I buy it.  That plan took a book off my list just last week.  I could do that with Kindle books (download the free sample), but I never think of it.  I should do that.

Choosing the next book to read is a whole other thing, but at least I have plenty to choose from.

Hugo nominations

It’s time.  The Hugo nominations are due a week from yesterday, but I’m not going to read any more eligible books between now and then, so here goes.

I’m only nominating in three categories: novel, novella, and novelette.  I can nominate up to five per category, but I really only have four novels and just one novelette (that I thought counted as a novella until I looked it up just now, which is wonderful news because now novella #6 is actually novella #5 and I can nominate it!).

In no particular order (although kind of in this order):

Novels

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Refrigerator Monologues by Cat Valente
  • The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

Novellas

  • River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
  • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
  • Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey

Novelette

  • Fisher of Bones by Sarah Gailey

Aaaaaaannnndddd nominated.

There’s always a letdown

You know how sometimes taking a shower is a chore?  I don’t get why, but there are plenty of times I just don’t want to.

Some of my reasons:

  • I don’t want to get up, I’m comfortable here.
  • It’s too hard.
  • I’ll have to move my arms a bunch.
  • I’ll do it tomorrow.

And in that mood, once I finally do shower, yeah, it’s a chore.  Get it done, get out, go back to doing whatever I was doing (or not doing) before.  Eh.

But then there are those other times, those times when I step under the hot water and realize my whole life has been waiting for this.  I was meant to be in the shower.  I live here now.  In fact, I’m typing this from the shower.  (Okay, I’m not, but I wish I were.)  The water is hot, the bathroom is warm and steamy, my shampoo smells good, I’m warm and comfortable and no, I’m never coming out.

Whoever invented the hot shower should be celebrated around the world, praised be their name.

But then, the sudden but inevitable betrayal*: the hot water runs out, the water goes cold, and I reach for a towel, sad and bereft.

*All sudden but inevitable betrayals boil down to this: