Dave and I have a mammoth cucumber in our fridge right now. I wish I could say that I grew it, but my cucumber plants were among the casualties of my book tour, when no one was around to water and so 80% of my garden shriveled up and died You might ask: why not set up an automatic drip system? And you would be right to ask it. Every year, I get tired after planting and think, “I’ll get Dave to show me how to set up the drip system next weekend.” And every year, I do not follow through.

Part of this is that I actually enjoy watering the garden in the spring: it makes me feel close to the plants as they burgeon. Every time there’s a new flower, or a new fruit, the accomplishment feels very much of my body, which I feel like might not be the case if I wasn’t going out to stand among the shoots for 15 minutes every morning. But on the other hand, maybe everything wouldn’t die when it got hot and I stopped feeling the magic of my sweaty morning watering sessions.

Anyway. It’s hot. I sowed some new cucumber seeds, because I’ve been told monsoon season is a good time to do this, so maybe in a few months I’ll have my own cucumber the size of two nose-to-tail dachshunds. I have sweet potato vines going strong, three tomatillos, a melon, and a fair amount of basil which I turned into pesto last night. It is very satisfying to know you’re eating something you grew from a seed, even thought that satisfaction is, I admit, a bit infanticidal.

The world is clenched, clenched, unbeautiful. But it’s also beautiful and funny and weird. I found out yesterday that I’m a finalist for Best Local Author in the Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson poll, which is…amazing? It made me laugh out loud with pleasure, and also makes me think that my teenage self is somewhere, basking in this. If you want to vote for me, you can, from wherever! You do have to vote for at least 30 things, but, you know. You can vote at random. (Or if you’d like to support some great local stuff: I also voted for Antigone Books, Jade Beall photography [she took my author photo!], Exo Roast Co., Tap & Bottle, the Welcome Diner, Nadine’s Bakery [they made my book cake!], Boca Tacos (for best tacos, naturally), and the cocktail list at 47 Scott. I also voted for other stuff, but I can’t remember all of it, forgive me.

I’ve been told by more than one person that the survey is entertaining, so consider that. And consider too that I’m up against Edward Abbey for best local author, which—no disrespect to the wonderful Mr. Abbey, but he is deceased, and I am not. So I think I can say I need it more.

Finally, if you’d like to listen to me on the Otherppl Podcast (which is one of my favorite literary podcasts, nbd), you can! I did this interview the very first day of my book tour, and it was a lot of fun. I will almost certainly be too freaked out by my own voice to listen, but maybe you don’t have that problem, because it’s not your voice.

Ok. That’s it. Let’s all go eat popsicles. Let’s all read the news, and then close our eyes, and register to vote (you can check whether or not you’re correctly registered here! It takes 30 seconds!), and eat another popsicle, and carry on.