§ Holding out four months since my last one, I caught a nasty cold at the beginning of the week. The only consolation is that it is better to get it over with now than pretty much any other time in July where it would either throw a wrench into my wedding or be a drag on the honeymoon. Still, not fun at all.

§ Where everything related to the garden was a little bit delayed last year, everything seems just a little bit early this season. Our first few cherry tomatoes are ripening. Last year we didn’t start getting tomatoes until the tail end of July.

On a related note, the first blackberries of the season have ripened too. I’m hopeful they will be sweeter than they were last year. It is hard to tell from the small handful I’ve picked so far—they might be? That reminds me, I need to check back in on the wild black raspberries soon too.

§ Have I told you about our strange variegated borage? It suddenly popped up this spring, self-seeded from a bog-standard borage plant we grew a few years ago. I guess you can buy bespoke seeds for it under the name “Bill Archer“. Maybe I’ll try saving the seeds from my plant. I am interested to see whether or not the variegation is passed down.

§ It feels like I set aside season two of The Bear just the other week, always meaning to revisit it, and suddenly the third season is already out? Looking at the actual dates, I guess it has actually been a full year. Early reviews suggest it is as good as ever. There is something about the show’s unique atmosphere of simmering tension and creative camaraderie that is totally electric when done right.

§ I finished Moonbound.

It is at its best when the protagonist, Ariel, is in motion. When the novelty flywheel starts to slow and days settle into an undifferentiated blur the whole mood turns sour. There is an in-story justification for this. Our narrator—through a clever plot device I wouldn’t dare spoil for you here—was unexpectedly thrust forward thousands of years into the future and is soaking up every little oddity right alongside us, the reader. Our narrator constantly craves new information to help piece together the missing millennia.

Moonbound is, at its core, an adventure novel. Nevertheless, every location we visit is almost unnecessarily well considered—completely alive. I could read a book set in the serious foggy alleyways of Wyrd. I could read a book set in the dense city streets of Rath Varia, always evolving and impossibly thrifty. I could read a book about how the citizens of Rath-wold use architecture as a form of communication.

Sloan has already mentioned that he views Moonbound as part of a wider series. So what happens next? A continuation of Ariel’s story? A prequel as told by Durga? More flavor on The Chroniclers previous subjects? Maybe we’ll be thrust forward a few more millennia. Whatever it is, I’m ready.

§ Our wedding is next week. Just now I got my first glimpse at the weather forecast: sunny and hot.

There has been a sort of simmering ambient anxiety about it ever since I got engaged last year. It isn’t the being married part that stresses me out—I’ve been with my fiancée for more than a decade—it’s the event planning. The feeling that if I don’t throw an adequately nice party I will have ruined a perfectly nice Saturday for all of my closest friends and family. Typing this out, I realize how silly it all sounds but anxiety has only a passing correlation to plausibility.

Anyway, as the stress reaches its zenith a new feeling is taking shape which is the growing realization of how great I’m going to feel once this is all finished.

§ A big weekend for events with both the Cleveland lantern festival and the Lebanese Food & Music Festival. The lantern festival was enormous and whimsical and the food & music festival had all the name promised along with a lively dose of dabke dancing. I can highly recommend both.

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