November 1st, 2008

20111112, Marilee

I Voted! And so did Luke!

It turned out much much better that we went to vote today, because on Tuesday, Luke's ballot would have been provisional.

His daughter had his mail forwarded to her and so when I filled out the application for absentee ballot with him at the rehab place (if I put the pen where he has to sign, he can usually sign there, but he can't read the paper) and mailed it in, we expected her to get the ballot, but she never did.

So we went today to the voter registration and elections office (which is the original small-house-size City Hall, next to the bigger one) and got two absentee ballot applications plus the assistant form. I filled his out first and gave it to one of the staff and that was when the registrar came to sit next to us and tell us that they had sent the ballot. I told her his daughter was sure it had never come, so I started filling out a Lost Ballot form for him and just as he was signing, another staff member came out from the back saying "I was sure I knew that name," and handing over an envelope that the USPS had marked Temporarily Away and returned to them. So it was all cleared up there -- somehow the USPS screwed up, and his voting (by telling me what he wanted) was clear. I voted, too, of course, and then we went and got ice cream. I came home and napped. I hadn't realized how much more effort it would be for me to need to guide his walking and sitting and getting in and out of the van all the time. The last time we went, he was still legally blind, but not this bad.

The news said there were 3.5 hour lines to absentee vote in Arlington, which is the VA county closest to DC. We got our forms in about a minute, and would have been out in five if not for the ballot problem.

I had 23 trick-or-treaters, six too old (no costumes, just pillowcases), and I have some candy left to give to my brother and his family tomorrow. They were mostly Hispanic kids and I had a teeny little girl whisper "mucho gusto" plus a set of four where one asked "Is that a real cat?" I was pretty sure it was, but I turned to look and Spirit was crouched outside the utility room, ready to hide. I told them yes it was, and she was scared of them, and they spent a bit of time marveling at a real cat.
20111112, Marilee

Ha'penny by Jo Walton

I reviewed her first book in the Small Change alternate world series, Farthing, here.

Ha'penny occurs just a couple weeks after Farthing, once again alternating chapters between our female protagonist and Officer Carmichael. This time, the female protagonist is one of six sisters with very different ideas and beliefs. One of her sisters is the wife of Himmler and one is a communist. Viola, however, is an actress which her family considers worse than the others.

The story starts with a bomb explosion that kills one of the other actresses in Hamlet where Viola has agreed to play Hamlet (crosscasting was popular). Viola gets gradually pulled into the plot to kill Hitler, Himmler, PM Normanby, and her sister, while Carmichael gradually figures out what happened and why there was a bomb. Carmichael is not only under the thumb of the government because they know he's gay, they want him to head a new department. The Watch will be like the Gestapo and since they would kill him if he refused, he hopes he'll at least be in the position to look the other way sometimes.

It's a great mystery plot, but this book is clearly using the Nazis and the British acceptance in the alternate world to model Bush's response to terrorists. It's a compelling read and everybody should read the series.