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2019 in pictures

Overall it’s been a good year. I’ve been stressed a lot about the news and have spent a lot of time on get-out-the-vote activities to try to counter the current administration, but my personal life has been, on balance, wonderful. No romantic ruptures, the usual financial stresses haven’t prevented us from traveling, my husband’s period of unemployment was resolved without too much pain and he loves his new job, illnesses have been short-lived, that sort of thing.

In March, I published Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up To No Good, a horror anthology edited by Octavia Cade and including fiction by Chikodili Emelumadu, Jasmyne J. Harris, and Catherynne M. Valente. It’s the last thing Upper Rubber Boot will publish for awhile, because I was getting severely burned out between my day job, my political activism, and running the press (never mind my own writing, which I’ve neglected for the past decade). I plan to start the press back up again once Trump is out of power, probably on a reduced schedule.

My parents came down for a week in April, and we did several hikes in state parks, went to the Nashville Zoo, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Bluebird Cafe, and generally hung out.

I went kayaking a lot, and (not pictured) figured out how to sleep in my hammock in the winter (essentially the secret is a really good sleeping bag and extra blankets under your back, plus of course a tarp to keep off dew).

We went to see Alan’s best friend Jason and some other folks in the Pacific Northwest in July, where we saw these guys:

At Point Defiance Park

Arguably the biggest thing that happened this year was that, after about a two-year wait (post-application, I mean; I’d lived here for 12 years before I was even eligible to apply), I was finally sworn in as a US citizen.

I immediately volunteered for Ginny Welsch, who was running for my district on the Nashville Metro Council. I handcrafted about 1,000 postcards for her; it pretty much used all my free time for two months or so (I’m finding that crafting helps to relieve the anxiety I’ve been feeling under this administration). This was the first election in the US in which I voted!

Becoming a citizen meant that I was able to get my US passport (at the end of August), which meant that I was able to travel internationally again (you can get a waiver to allow travel but it’s expensive and complicated, so I just stayed in the US). I went to see my sister and her family in Alberta in October:

I also went home to see my family and friends in Halifax in November:

Me with my mum on Lawrencetown Beach

In late autumn, the last of our five bunnies, Scrambles the Death Destroyer, passed away at 11 years old. Here she is last summer:

Last week, my team at work (a large academic hospital that I won’t name as it would make me subject to their social media policy, but where I very much enjoy my day job managing the lives of several head and neck cancer surgeons and running educational and alumni programming) tried, and failed, to defend their first-place rank in the second annual gingerbread decorating contest. We had a pretty cool castle though, with a melted jolly rancher lake:

Gingerbread castle (third place ain’t too shabby)

We decided this year to go to Cocoa Beach for Christmas, since we had no family obligations and wanted warmth. It was beautiful and relaxing, and we got to see a Surfin’ Santas competition (evidently an annual tradition) and the Kennedy Space Center.

Surfin’ Santas at Cocoa Beach

Finally, I succeeded at my reading goal which I tracked through Goodreads. I wanted something to kickstart reading again (for the past several years, almost all of my reading has been submissions and editing, and I wanted to get back to recreational reading). Last night, I finished the 100th book and met my goal (it says 102, but two were actually short stories). I expect I’ll read one more before the end of the year, since I’m halfway through one now.

I desperately want to quote The Big Lebowski but can’t decide which quote to use.

“The Supreme Court threw out a 63-year-old law designed to restrain the influence of big business and unions on elections Thursday, ruling that corporations may spend as freely as they like to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress.” (via)

This, he thought, was the only way he wanted to live. All he needed to do, sometime soon, was sneak back into the house and get some of his things—his knives, blankets and glue and rope, maybe some of his mom’s matches. Then he would build a forest home, high in the trees, and become one with the woods and the animals, learn their languages and with them plot an overthrow of his home, beginning with the decapitation and devouring of Gary.

Read “Max At Sea” by Dave Eggers.