Wednesday through Sunday, July 1-12—Is Everyone this Busy

We are so glad to return to normal after twenty months of traveling, listing and selling a house and contents, moving, building a new house, moving, buying new furniture and contents, and spending money like crazy.  We finally have our first regular month, expense wise, since October 2013!  And it sure is nice to have a real monthly budget, knowing what is coming in and what is going out.

Hot Springs Village is hopping around July 4, with numerous activities.  We attended the HSV symphony band concert on July 1, and Kay attended the Balboa boat parade on July 2. We had hamburgers and brats at the Passes on July 4 followed by watching fireworks from their pontoon on Lake Balboa.  I am able to play golf with the aid of Tylenol, as long as I ride; it’s standing and walking that are so painful.   As of this writing, an MRI was done on July 1, and showed spinal disease.  The walk-in clinic referred me to a neurosurgeon in Hot Springs, Dr. Igor De Castro.  We have again faced problems getting an appointment as our phone calls were not returned, etc.  Finally, Kay took the bull by the horns and I’m scheduled for September 14.  

Chris Tenney, whom we met in the Rio Grande Valley, and is a world-class lepidopterist, stopped by for a few days after the holiday in search of butterflies.  He is on a year-long quest to identify and photograph as many species of butterflies in the US as possible, aka Big Butterfly Year.  Regrettably, bad butterfly weather (cloudy and windy) beset us.  Tired of sitting around, we went in search of butterflies anyway, hoping for the best.  Our original destination was Mt. Magazine State Park in Arkansas to find the rare Diana Fritillary.  Because of forecast rain and wind, we drove the Winona Scenic Drive, identified some 25 species of butterflies, and found the Diana (female) near the end of the trip about 5 miles east of Arkansas Highway 7. I must say it brought tears to my eyes as I’ve been chasing this butterfly for almost 2 years. With already 405 species and the Diana Fritillary (a male) already, the female Diana was close to the holy grail for him and other lepidopterists as few people observe it.   As poor planning would have it, my big camera battery was DEAD, so the only photographs I took were with the iPhone.

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RANT:  On the following day, the highly touted Mt. Magazine proved to be a real disappointment, and in fact an embarrassment, as few butterflies were spotted, no Dianas were seen, the gardens were in poor shape, and though the staff was not unfriendly, they did not go out of their way to assist us or make us feel welcome (so this is what our 0.75 percent add-on state sales tax is being used for). 

Kay traveled back to north Arkansas on Thursday for permanent fitting of her crown (no, not a tiara as we already have enough princesses in the family), making for a long day of driving. 

And, we were honored with a visit from Gary and Betty Wallis; Betty is a longtime friend of Kay’s, and her counseling mentor, from teaching days at Northwood Junior High School in Pulaski County.  We really enjoyed their visit, as we share a lot of interests and commonalities.  Sunday was anticlimactic.

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