August was an anomaly in that I was home the entire month. In fact, I’m on a 38-night streak sleeping in my own house, which is probably an all-time record since I graduated college 17 years ago. As August slipped away into a moment of time, this is what the month looked like over here.
SVV was gone for 10 of those days, and I enjoyed quiet evenings in with the animal clan, as well as more than one slumber party with my pint-sized BFF. Another BFF, Emilie, came into town from Minneapolis for a weekend, and we had a great time catching up, bopping around Nashville and seeing the national tour of To Kill a Mockingbird, which was excellent.
In August, I went to the annual Celebration horse show, spent some time on the lake, and had a lot of happy hours with Mom and Kari. This time of the year is also my mom’s and my Super Bowl: the U.S. Open. We’re pulling hard for Serena, of course, but there are a lot of Americans still in the running that we’d love to see win if she can’t eke out her 24th Grand Slam title.
We have a new (temporary) resident! This little cutie showed up on a friend’s doorstep last week, and she’s been bunking with us while we figure out what to do with her. Are you looking for a very kid-friendly kitten to add to your home? She might be yours (or she might be ours … we haven’t decided yet, ha!). She got a clean bill of health from the vet, was de-wormed and de-flead and received her first round of vacs.
This was a big month for writing deadlines. I had four travel articles due for visitors guides, my regular AAA Living column and nine stories for a fintech client. Those who don’t know the inner workings of our business likely don’t realize that we do so much more than travel content—and thank God, as diversifying our work portfolio kept us afloat during the pandemic.
I’ve also got a new medical client and am working on a reported piece for them that incorporates studies and doctor input from prestigious medical institutes. It’s that variety that keeps me interested in this work 20 years into my career and enables me to write 20,000 words a week (or more) without getting bored.
I had a few fun photos shoots, as well. In addition to corporate shoots for Diageo and our local insurance company, I worked in a few personal shoots, including this awesome 16-year-old’s birthday portraits. After upgrading to a mirrorless Canon earlier this summer, it’s been fun getting creative again and shooting something other than buildings and landscapes. People are my favorite subjects, especially fun teens! If you’re looking for a Middle Tennessee photographer for family or kid shoots, I do still have a few openings this fall.
I booked my 40th birthday trip! In less than six months, I turn the big 4-0, and rather than let it stress me out, I decided to plan one epic adventure. I’m not going to say where just yet, but it’s a country in Africa I’ve yet to visit—and I’m taking six friends and family members along with me!
I’m not going back to Rwanda this time, but this is my level of excitement about this trip!
This past month, plagued by much anxiety, had its rough spots. I’m not sure if it’s because being homebound allows more time for The Thoughts to trickle in, but seven months after my dad’s death, and there are just as many hard nights as not. I’ve become much more intimately familiar with the concept that “grief is non-linear” than I ever hoped to.
Sure, it’s definitely gotten easier—time is the ultimate healer, they say—but the tough part is the expectation that a few months pass and you’re suddenly supposed to wake up fine one morning after losing the person you spoke with every day of your life for 39 years. Month five was the hardest, month six got better, and month seven has brought a lot of red tape the family has had to deal with.
My sister, bless her, is an excellent CPA, who thank God for her handling tying up all the finances that come with losing someone so heavily embedded in the business community and with fingers in so many different pies. But all the mental and emotional stress have been about as much as we as a family can collectively take. I hope it only gets easier from here.
There’s also the issue of politics, both national and local. I love my hometown; we chose to move back here because we love the people and see so many possibilities for what Tullahoma could become. There’s a smart growth plan in the pipeline, there are new residents moving in weekly from all over the globe, there are entrepreneurs invested in the good of this community reaching its full potential, we have an excellent city staff.
Yet a few weak critics are trying to bully the town into changes nobody wants—or rather keep the town from changing the way residents would like to see it grow—and it’s been hard to watch them flail about with their misinformation campaigns, toddler-like temper tantrums and blatant displays of disrespect as the silent majority sits back in disgust. Well, we will be silent no more.
My Favorites of the Month
I’ve been home so much that I’ve had time to read, catch up on TV shows and watch a couple movies.
Favorite book: The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
Favorite audiobook: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Favorite TV show: Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building
Favorite movie: Where the Crawdads Sing
Favorite purchase: We got an Ergatta! I can’t wait to get into at-home rowing.
Favorite announcement: #TS10, Taylor’s 10th album Midnights, is forthcoming. You know I’ve already pre-ordered the vinyl!
We got an Ergatta when we moved to NC right before COVID hit, I love it! It is great for rainy days and winter – I know you are going to love yours too! Kitten is SO adorable!
I can’t wait to get into the routine! And little kitten is here to stay and officially has a name: Molly after the friend who rescued her 🙂
Kristin, thanks for sharing. Sometimes I forget you are human! Grief is definitely non-linear. Keep the kitten. Keep hanging with that amazing family, especially your pint-sized BFF!! And have a fabulous trip to Africa!!
I haven’t seen Where the Crawdads Sing yet, but loved the audiobook! Also LOVE Only Murders in the Building. My favorite books of the summer were Horse and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry.
Keep doing what you do!
I love you, OM! Thank you for the love and encouragement always.
P.S. The kitten is here to stay 🙂
I had a true come apart about 6 months after my pop’s death where I cried in my grad school professor’s office for 5 hours and then drove back to my hometown to collapse in bed for 3 days. It was the release I had not had time for while in my first year of med school, but so desperately needed. 4 years later it is more sweet than bitter, but I think about him every single day. As Vision says, grief is love enduring, and I find that infinitely comforting. May the sweet outgrow the bitter for your loss soon.
Oh, thank you for sharing. It makes me feel a little bit more normal for lack of a more fitting word? Months 5 and 7 have seemed the hardest for whatever reason. And I love that quote, too. ❤️ Hugs to you, Chris!