Monday through Thursday, July 28-31—Where Did July Go?

Another cool front is making its way into northern Arkansas, helping make this the coolest summer we’ve experienced at home.  Nevertheless, Monday was warm, even hot, and brought butterflies to the Lantana, Marigolds, and Butterfly Bushes—more than we’ve had since mid-April. The photos at the bottom of this paragraph show a Monarch, a Spicebush Swallowtail, and a couple of Skippers.  In addition, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are passing through on their migration south in large numbers, and quickly emptying the many feeders hanging along the house; other bird species are increasing in numbers as well, quickly consuming the suet cakes and tube feeders filled with sunflower seeds.  In what is almost an annual occurrence because of the few miles driven, the Explorer went in for an “annual” oil change today; an appointment was impossible forcing us to drop it off for the day.  We drove back into town in the late afternoon to retrieve it, making it 4 roundtrips to Mountain Home today.  On the way home, I stopped by Quarry Marina and covered the pontoon; we sure enjoyed leaving it uncovered for the month as it seemed much more convenient.  We watched a couple hours of recorded television to end the day.

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An office visit to the cardiologist was one of the big ticket items Tuesday.  With Kay in tow, I was quickly ushered in to complete patient paperwork, then into a waiting room for an EKG.  After the EKG, an RNP (Registered Nurse Practioner) made the office call; I was quite shocked, expecting to see Dr. Camp instead.  The RNP listened to my heart and breathing, answered a few questions, and made some general recommendations—without the benefit of any baseline data except the photos and drawings of the stent insertion a few days ago.  He recommended a weight loss of 20 pounds, exercise, diet with less red meat and animal fat, and a daily dose of cholesterol lowering meds.  Well, I had just had a visit with Dr. Robinson, my primary care physician, who strongly recommended the DASH diet and exercise in lieu of cholesterol lowering meds.  I know it is the way of the future to be seen by RNPs, but I still prefer medical doctors to RNPs—did I say I don’t like change.  Anyway, I got a clean bill of health and an appointment for another office visit in late October.  After returning home, we left to “check” on our property in Hot Springs Village—maybe playing a little golf and bridge while there.  After picking up the keys to the rental house and unpacking, it was too late for a round of golf, so we hit balls instead.  Clouds began moving in in the early evening, bringing yet another period of wet weather.

Happy 2nd birthday, Harper.  Jim and Ginny Passe invited us to spend Wednesday with them on Lake Quachita, along with their out-of-town family guests.  Of course it started sprinkling once we were on the water, forcing us to return to the marina where their grandsons enjoyed the pontoon-mounted water slide, and we all had great “get to know one another” conversation about jobs, culture, and great television programs.  One interested fact that emerged was that of the 7 adults present, 4 of us were strong OCD personalities and another was a part-time OCD personality (I suspect Jim is pretty OCD as well, though he would not likely admit it, leaving Kay as the only non-OCD personality among the bunch).  Consequently, the various OCD habits of each of us were normal—at least as far as this group was concerned!  After returning to the Village, we relaxed for the afternoon before returning to the Passes for adult beverages, more great conversation, and pizza.  We immensely enjoyed getting to know Jim’s daughter and her family, and his sister.  As we read the day’s emails, we received word than yet another 60+ year old friend of ours had been diagnosed with probable terminal cancer.  Kay and I looked at each other and agreed that we can no longer put off doing the things we want to do as there may be no tomorrow, at least on this earth.  Neither of us is afraid to die, but we don’t want to go through the process.  This may sound like a contradiction, but think about it.

Happy birthday, Matt.  This is Thursday, the last day of the month; where has July gone?  It is still raining, wet, and cool by July standards.  Kay is off to exercise class at the Methodist church as this is being written.  The quiet down time is much needed, and welcomed!  As the rain slackened, I headed to the driving range and “short game” practice area at Magellan Golf Course for a couple hours practice—still not hitting the ball as well as before the heart “issue”—guess that’s golf!  After a quiet late afternoon, friend Jim Morris joined us for dinner at our new favorite Mexican restaurant in the Village.  Kay and I split the Ranchero Shrimp dinner, and we all enjoyed the live Mexican music.  With little to watch on television, Kay read and I went to bed early.

While we spent the month of July at home, there was still plenty of excitement to go around.  After returning home from a month in Hot Springs Village, we were faced with heavy-duty weeding of the various beds and gardens, a quiet Independence Day celebration, time with family and friends including a big announcement of another grand baby due in January 2015, house repairs, fly fishing, more than a few doctors’ appointments, time on Lake Norfork, a “mild” heart attack, a return of birds and butterflies, and finally a return to normal, whatever that is.  A number of butterfly species visited the back garden early this week including Great Spangled Fritillary, American Lady, Pipevine Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Monarch, several species of Sulphurs, Eastern Tailed-Blue, and several species of Skippers; along with the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, they are all flying south for the winter!

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