Saturday, September 08, 2018

Right Here, Right Now: Summer 2018

It's been a long, strange summer! The blog took a backseat but now that autumn is approaching (in some parts of the world - here in North Carolina, we'll be enjoying beach days until at least October) I hope to have more time to write about living on less and doing more with your budget. In the meantime, here's a snapshot of what I've been up to these last few months. 


The birth of my brand-new nephew, Oliver! He was born in the middle of August, just like his Aunt Chrissy, and I got to spend last week with him (and my sister). Babies don't do much besides cry, poop, and wear adorable onesies, so it was a quiet visit. (At times, very quiet - waking a sleeping baby is basically a cardinal sin.) Despite the low key vacation, I was grateful for the chance to meet the newest member of our family while he was still brand new, and I look forward to a lifetime of knowing him. 


The best book I read this summer was The Ensemble by Aja Gabel. It was exactly the kind of novel I love best - multiple points-of-view, a timeline that spans decades, a plot that grapples with art and love and creativity. The main characters are members of a string quartet and even though I can't carry a tune, I found myself deeply invested in each narrator's arc, musical and otherwise. Other books I read included the March trilogy, a graphic novel about the Civil Rights Movement (thanks, book club!) and The Simple Path to Wealth, which I plan to review on the blog - stay tuned! 


The novel, as usual. In the meantime, I do have some big news! You're looking at the winner of the 2018 Cos Barnes Fellowship in Fiction. This merit-based fellowship is awarded annually to a North Carolina writer, and my prize is a week-long residency at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities. I'm honored, thrilled, excited, and grateful for the recognition and the encouragement. As a slow writer working on a Big Thing, I don't have many opportunities for publications or awards. When I receive one, it's like a burst of much-needed energy, the kind of affirmation that says, "Yes, keep going, don't give up." 


Nathan ordered me a last-minute birthday present and signed up for an Amazon Prime trial subscription to get two-day shipping. We plan to cancel it when the month is up, because we don't want or need Amazon Prime, but in the meantime we made the most of it and watched the first season of Mr. Robot. It was pretty good, but not worth an annual $120 for Prime. We also caught up on The Handmaid's Tale (terrifying, beautiful, brilliant) and that's pretty much it, and recently dove back into The Good Place, which is one of the most wonderfully wild shows I've ever seen. We don't watch as much TV in the summer, which is how it should be. 


I'm still focusing on protein! My new favorite meal is a morning smoothie with a frozen banana, a cup of frozen strawberries, two tablespoons of peanut butter powder, a scoop of chocolate protein powder, and a cup and a half of unsweetened almond milk. It's got something like 25 grams of protein in it, with the bonus of being delicious. I usually drink it in the car, on my way to work, which is a life I never imagined I'd live, yet here we are. 


Rosé all day.


Every summer, I get to a point where I realize I haven't been in the beach in weeks. Which is a shame, because I LIVE AT THE BEACH. And now that summer is winding down and the tourists have gone home, it's time to act like it. We've had a number of great beach days these last few weeks, including kayaking to Masonboro Island (my favorite place in Wilmington), fighting crowds at Wrightsville Beach, eating donuts at Carolina Beach, and taking a boat out to Lea Island. I see a quite many more dips in the ocean in my future, and I'm not at all mad about it.

How was your summer? What did you eat, drink, read, watch, write or celebrate? How excited are you for September? It's one of my favorite months, and I'm hoping for a good one.