Tempting fate

Yet another upside to working from home: I can’t get whatever awful bug everyone at work is passing around.  No kidding, in the last few weeks, nearly EVERYONE I work with has taken at least a couple of sick days with the flu.  I never leave the house, so I am SAFE.  Also, everyone at work is 400+ miles from me, so even if I left, I wouldn’t get THAT bug.

On the other hand, I didn’t get any sick days.  I should take a sick day.

Does anyone else hear echoes?

There are days when even I don’t think my brain is an interesting place.  This is not one of those days.  Okay, yes it is.

I’m looking askance at this jar of peanut butter I bought at CVS today.  I don’t know why I expect it to be sub-par.  I mean, peanut butter is peanut butter, right?  It’s the same brand I usually buy at the grocery store.  It’s not like CVS made it themselves, and besides, who am I to say that CVS couldn’t make some damn good peanut butter if they felt like it?

Don’t let it be said that I stood in the way of anyone’s dreams.

I’m so hungry I could eat a whole elephant

I think my blood sugar is low.  My head hurts, I’m cranky, and I can’t settle on any one thing to do while I’m waiting for John to finish working so we can eat.

I ate a couple of crackers.  We’ll see how that goes.

Starting at the cursor isn’t going to feed me.  I picked up my book a couple of minutes ago, but it’s a dinner scene and they’ve having Chinese food (well, they’re Chinese), and oh my god I want Chinese food but we’re not having Chinese food tonight, we’re having tomato and mozzarella sandwiches and have I told you about our basil plant?

We bought one of those basil plants you can sometimes get at the grocery store, and we kept it on the window sill in the kitchen.  Turns out that window gets zero sunlight, and the plant began to die.  We finally moved it to the front room, lots of light, and stuck chopsticks in the pot so it could stand upright again (it was practically horizontal), and now it appears to be doing better.  But now, John is invested in this basil plant, and he won’t let me pluck leaves from it to cook with.  He wants to get a second basil plant that we can eat.  Well, neither of the nearby grocery stores carry them, so I’m out of luck, I guess.

As far as I know, he hasn’t named it.

Hey, he’s here and we’re going to eat tomato and mozzarella sandwiches without basil!

Stick with what you know

I have haircut regrets.  I went to the salon planning to just do my standard mid-length bob, maybe angled down in front, maybe stacked up short in back.  While I was there, I remembered that I wanted to do something more like this:

To be fair, my stylist did exactly what I asked her to, and I approved it before I left.

It came out KIND of like in the picture, but rounder?  Shorter?  Fluffier?  Now that I’ve had a couple of days with it….

I hate it.

It’ll grow out.  And it’ll grow fast enough probably that I can get it fixed within a month.  Probably.  And I don’t have to see anyone I know in the meantime and NO, you can’t have a picture.

I don’t like it, and this sucks.

Two out of three ain’t bad

How to make the perfect Saturday for me:

  1. Sleep in, but not too late.  We got up just before nine.
  2. Go out to breakfast.  We tried a new place, I had bananas foster french toast, and it was glorious.
  3. Go to a bookstore.  We went to Barrington Books in Cranston, which is on a list of the five best bookstores in Rhode Island.  I got four more Hugo nom possibilities.  New books!
  4. Go to a used bookstore.  It was about four miles from where we were, so we checked it out. Disappointing. It was the back room of an antique store.
  5. Go to another used bookstore!  Much better.  I picked up four more books, including the full set of the Amber books (in two volumes) by Roger Zelazny, classics I’ve never read and now can.
  6. Go to the gym.  Watched an episode of Jane the Virgin while I was there, and now I feel better about myself after the french toast for breakfast.
  7. Spend the afternoon reading.
  8. Get Chinese food delivered.
  9. Watch a movie (or binge TV).

Who’s going to hire me a personal chef?

It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that I’m not a huge fan of cooking.  Today’s experiment with beef stroganoff, while ultimately successful, didn’t change that.  We started it around 9am, and the smell drifting through the house started out overwhelmingly of garlic and onion.  Around midmorning, the smell had shifted to thyme, and only thyme, and I discovered after the too-much-thyme incident with the chicken and dumplings last week that I’m not a huge fan of thyme.  By midafternoon, the house smelled like hot dogs.  I have NO idea why.  Thankfully, by dinnertime, the smell had drifted back towards something more like stroganoff.

Sure, cooking is science and that was all just chemistry and blah blah blah cooking.  Too bad I like to eat.

Cause and effect

I slept in this morning.  That’s why I had terrible dreams about cartoon villains murdering my pets.

I haven’t walked down to the river since mid-December.  That’s why it’s frozen now.

I spent a little time today sorta kinda doing stretches that resemble yoga.  That’s why the mailman didn’t pick up the package we left out for him.

I’m getting a haircut tomorrow.  That’s why it’s going to rain.

I don’t like the cinnamon bun creamer I bought earlier this week.  That’s why my eyelashes are stabbing me in the eye.

Makes as much sense as anything in the news.

I want to be like Barack

I finished City of Brass, which was fantastic, and I can’t wait for the sequel, and oh crap.  I have just rediscovered the down side to reading brand new books.  This book was published two months ago.  The author has not yet finished writing the sequel.  She’s probably only barely begun.  What have I done?

I’m excited to have finished City of Brass, not because I wished for it to be over (I did not, despite speeding through the last third because wow stuff was happening), but because now I am free to read my next potential Hugo nominee, The Power, by Naomi Alderman.  I had just barely heard of it, had JUST added it to my list, when Baader-Meinhof kicked in.  The very next day, maybe later the same day(?), I read about Obama posting his favorite books, songs, etc., of 2017.  Top of his list?  (Okay, it’s alphabetical, but it’s still ON his list.)  The Power, by Naomi Alderman.  I am vindicated.  Also, super excited about this book.

Head in the clouds

Do you care what I had for breakfast?  I didn’t think so.  You’d think I could come up with something to write about that isn’t my breakfast, but you’d be wrong.

I went for a short walk at lunchtime today (this is not the introduction to me telling you what I had for lunch) that became a slightly longer walk because apparently I forgot where we live.  On my way back, less than four blocks from home, I took the first right instead of the second right because I have no idea why, I just did.  And I didn’t realize I had done that until I was most of the way down a really long block that has no cross streets to cut through to my block.  I turned around.  Safely on my block, heading home, I stopped paying attention again, just long enough to walk right by our house.  At least this time I figured it out before I got more than one house away.

I wish I could tell you I was mapping out my first novel or calculating the escape velocity I’ll need when it’s time for me to come home from my first galactic journey or, I don’t know, pondering the true nature of couscous and if it’s possible to have a single cous, but since I don’t remember what kept me so lost in thought as to forget where I lived, we can only assume I was thinking about breakfast.

 

Fresh

Last week was a weird week, short because of the holiday, we were busy catching up with work, John was sick, it snowed like crazy, and for whatever other reasons it just didn’t feel like a normal week.

THIS week is the week we go back to normal.  THIS week is the week we go back to the gym on a regular schedule.  THIS week is the week we go back to eating like people and not bears about to go into hibernation.

But that’s all recovery from the holidays.  As far as resolutions go (I’m not really one for resolutions), I’m going to work on not letting anything get to me.  No annoyances of the kind that raise stress levels, no drama, no work crap, and I’ll even do my best to keep the “oh my god the world is ending” fear at arm’s reach.  Especially that one.  I will remain calm, cool, and collected (unless I’m ranting for fun).  Zen.  That’ll be me.  Zen Zannah.

It’s working already.

Friday night brain

I shoveled the walk last night (before the temperature dropped and it all froze).  Today, my back and shoulders ache.  Coincidence?  Probably.

This week at work wasn’t too bad, but I just shut everything down for the weekend, did the things I was supposed to do to the food in the slow cooker so it can get our dinner ready (because I COOKED today, if you call throwing things in a slow cooker cooking and I MOST CERTAINLY DO – I had to thaw and chop and measure and stir and scrape off the excess thyme and add broth and lament that I couldn’t add more broccoli and mushrooms because the thing was full – THAT is COOKING), and then I poured myself a glass of wine that feels much deserved.

It’s only been five days since I had, hm, well, New Year’s Eve amounts of alcohol (and maybe I had mimosas on New Year’s Day? Probably I had mimosas on New Year’s Day), but these four days of work, of going back to work after real time off, except wait a minute.  I worked partial days the Thursday and Friday because I am RESPONSIBLE for things that have deadlines, so I really only took two vacation days, which means I LOST two vacation days because they wouldn’t carry over to the new year, and you know?  That is lost income, and that is not cool.

Resolution: strive to be less responsible.  Or take more vacation days so I’m not in danger of losing them at the end of the year.  Or both.

First Hugo Casualty

Six Wakes is the first novel I picked up with the express purpose of deciding if I would nominate it for a Hugo.  It only took me a few pages to decide that I would not.  It took me nearly halfway before I decided not to even finish it.  I don’t think I’m being pickier than usual, or feeling self-important about my new-found (new-bought) influence in the SFF world, but I did fret about putting this one down completely.  The writing is…not great (noticeable from the first few pages).  It certainly doesn’t live up to the premise, which is pretty cool, but maybe the book could have been saved by a good editor.  Maybe it WAS saved, and this was as far as she could take it.  I stuck with it because I liked the story and figured I could still find out what happens – just because I may not nominate something doesn’t mean it’s not an enjoyable read – but then I stopped enjoying it.  I started skimming.  !!!

Tip for Future Me: if you’re skimming a book because you want to know the end but you can’t handle reading every word, put it down and look up the plot summary online.  Save your reading time for books you want to read.

Anyway, I feel guilty about it, but I put the book down for my own sanity and then promptly read the plot summary online.  And now I know the end…and I’m kind of glad I didn’t keep reading.  It doesn’t sound like it pays off.

Side effects with drifts

A side effect of working from home is that I don’t pay that much attention to the weather.  It’s cold out?  Okay.  It’s raining?  Whatever.  I can stay in the comfy coziness of my own home, no worries about commutes or clearing snow off the car or whether the office will be open.  The downside is that whatever the weather, as long as I have power, I’m working.  No snow days.

Speaking of snow days, imagine my surprise when I discovered this morning that, in addition to the RIDICULOUSLY COLD TEMPERATURES we’ve had lately, that John and the locals assure me are most definitely out of the ordinary, no sirree, it never gets this cold here in the Ocean State, nuh uh – where was I? Oh – in addition to the cold, we’re in the path of a blizzard.  A winter hurricane.  A bomb cyclone.  (I can’t make this stuff up.)  What’ll it bring us?  High winds and 8 to 12 inches of snow.  What’ll come after?  MORE COLD WEATHER.

Before you tell me I got what I asked for by moving to New England, hear this: I wouldn’t trade it.  Shocked?  Me, too, a little.  But I woke up this morning to clear blue skies.  The sun has been shining for days on end.  Sure, it’s cold, and sure, we’ll get a day of snow and no sunshine, but the sun will come back.  I just checked the weather in Eugene – nearly 50 degrees for the high for the next week, but you know what else?  Rain.  Every day for a week.  Where’s the sun?  I’ll tell you.  It’s here.

As for the cold, I’ll just stay inside.  Our heat works.  I have books.  I have internet.  I actually went grocery shopping on New Year’s Eve, so we’re all stocked up (although I’m a little amused that food was that far down my list of hibernation priorities).  And I’ll buy real winter boots with fuzzy warm linings and gloves and mittens that keep my hands warm.  I’ll be the coziest.

I will be taking this duty very seriously

Last summer, Erik told us that WorldCon (the World Science Fiction Convention, if you’d like to be formal about it) is going to be in San Jose this coming summer.  WorldCon is where they present the Hugo Awards (awarded to the best science fiction and fantasy of the year before, in a lot of different categories), and the winners are chosen by members (anyone who goes to the convention, plus a few others).  Like, I’m going to be able to vote and help decide who wins a Hugo this year.  Plus it’s a big convention with a ton of my favorite authors, and so, pretty much since the day Erik told us about it (which might have been during our last visit), we’ve been planning to go.

I finally bought our memberships just before the end of the year.  (John and I are members of the World Science Fiction Society now, and at the moment, I think I might keep that up.  Seems like a thing I should be a member of.)  I could have bought our memberships (giving us access to the convention) at any time, but I was prompted to do it before New Year’s by one very cool thing I found out in the nick of time: becoming a member before the end of the year means that not only do we get to vote, we get to nominate.

You can’t see me jumping up and down through your browser, I know, but you can imagine it.  I’ve been squeeing in some form, inside or out, for the past four days.

I have read 13 books/novellas in the last year that are eligible for Hugo Award nomination.  I can nominate up to 5 in each of the 15-ish categories, although I won’t hit them all.  Some categories are for things like Best Editor or Best Semi Pro Zine, something I really can’t judge.  I’ll focus on novels, novellas, graphic novels, movies, short stories, and stuff like that.  They haven’t announced when nominations are due, but until I hit that deadline (maybe February or March?), I will only be reading Hugo-eligible works (which is any science fiction/fantasy/horror published in 2017).

I’m so excited!

It’s a small world after all

We went out New Year’s Eve with one of John’s high school friends, his wife, and a bunch of their friends.  During small talk with the husband of one of Lindsay’s riding friends, we discovered that he (and a friend who was also present) went to high school with our friend Adam from college.  Weird?  Definitely yes.  Also weird?  The four of us (me, John, and the two friends) took a picture and texted it to Adam’s DC cell phone.  Except it’s not Adam’s DC cell phone anymore, so some random person was super confused.  Polite, but super confused.

We had a great time and a fun New Year’s Eve, and today we did nothing.  Caught up on some Doctor Who, made a brisket, read a bit, and I really really really don’t want to rejoin the real world tomorrow.

Don’t make me!

Shortest review

Live action Beauty and the Beast: meh.  I don’t see the point of a shot-for-shot remake at any time, and the singing is better in the cartoon.  I mean, it’s fine, but if you want to watch Beauty and the Beast, just watch the 1991 cartoon.

All the books I want to read should be 99 cents all the time

Today is our anniversary, but what I want to talk about is e-book prices on Amazon and what I deserve just for being me.  I mean, obviously, I deserve all good things, right?  That should go without saying, but my sense of entitlement extends to sales on Amazon.  I’m inordinately annoyed when I sort my book list by price and find that none of the books on it have gone on sale in the last 12 hours.  It’s like Amazon doesn’t WANT me to buy books.  Jeez!  This is the same sense of entitlement that led to me bitching when Amazon took away my ability to sort my list by price, except worse because how ridiculous is it for me to expect MY books to be on sale?  Plenty of other books go on sale every day – it’s not Amazon’s fault I don’t want to read those.

So yeah.  That’s today.

Connecticut seems small but OH MY GOD IT NEVER ENDS.

Things I should do now that I’m home:

  • Unpack suitcases
  • Start laundry
  • Put the car snacks away
  • Put the presents away
  • Pick up the random clutter we left behind in our hurry to get out the door Friday night
  • Clean up the dripping mess we tracked on the floor inside the back door because our landlord didn’t send anyone to shovel or salt the driveway or the back steps.

Things I’m going to do because it took us 6 and a half hours to get home instead of 5 because I-95 SUCKS:

  • Sit in a chair.
  • Eat the Chinese food that will be delivered any minute or so I hope because the car ride took forever and I’m hungry.
  • Sit in the chair some more.
  • Look at the wall because I’m too tired to brain.
  • Stop looking at the wall and try to watch some TV that doesn’t require concentration.

Okay, I might clean up the mess by the back door.  There’s a towel RIGHT THERE.  I can manage that, as long as I’m waiting for food.

He must have learned in the womb

I let Graham touch my laptop for a bit this evening, and he found every neat shortcut there is.  No kidding, this 15-month-old taught me the shortcut to turn on airplane mode, the shortcut for zooming in and out, and how to make the desktop show me all my open windows using a pinching motion on the screen.

He’s a natural.

When I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

A correction is needed.  I have slandered the good name of the family.  (Maybe it’s libel, but slander sounds better.  Hush.)  Yesterday, I said “hardly anyone else enjoys Merry Axemas or the Brian Setzer Christmas albums as much as we do”.  I was wrong, and while I have already apologized profusely in person, I feel the need to make a public statement to remove any doubt that this family thoroughly enjoys the Brian Setzer Christmas albums.

I am sorry.  I was wrong.  And Brian Setzer rocks, although that was never in question.

If you want to hear the concert and you have SiriusXM, it’ll be on the Holly channel (channel 70) Christmas Eve at 3pm ET and at midnight ET (going into Christmas Day).  It’ll also be on the Outlaw Country channel (channel 60) tonight at 10pm ET, on Christmas Eve at noon ET, and on Christmas Day at 10am ET and 6pm ET.  It’s 90 minutes long, and it’s wonderful.