Mid-August and Hunkered Down

Birdwatching and watching the birdwatchers. Plus, smoky air!

We are well into mid-August and the usual heat of summer has been replaced by the especially miserable record-breaking heat, drought, fire, and smoky air. We do all our errands in the early morning, occasionally picking up a cup of coffee at Starbucks and then hanging out at Fern Hill Wetlands watching the birds and the birdwatchers. Then, it’s home to hunker down as the heat of the day builds up and the air becomes worse. And I must add that the hunkering down is also part of our daily protection plan for my husband’s compromised immune system during this time of raging variants!

So, all that sounds pretty grim, but the nice thing about it all is that we are getting a lot of reading done, are enjoying watching our current K-drama during the day instead of after dinner, and are having fun trying out new recipes. Adjust and Adapt!

Woman Reading, by Henri Ottmann

Books read and enjoyed in the last few weeks:

A Song for Lonely Wolves, by Lee Evie. The first book in a new mystery/detective series that takes place during the Joseon Dynasty in Korean history. The main character is a talented young female detective during a period of time when women were not valued. A very interesting historical fiction mystery. I’m looking forward to reading on in the series when the new books come out.

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Notes on Grief is a short book by Chimamanga Ngozi Adichie about the death of her father during the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown last year. (He did not die of Covid.) It is a beautifully written account of his sudden death and the grief that followed, complicated by the restrictions of the pandemic. “I am writing about my father in the past tense, and I cannot believe I am writing about my father in the past tense.”  It is a deeply personal, yet completely universal, story, and I appreciated her honesty and her sharing her grief with us. I wrote down many quotes from this book because I know they will give me strength later on.   “Grief was the celebration of love, those who could feel real grief were lucky to have loved.”

My emotions are like a roller coaster these days, since my husband’s diagnosis. We have days that are “mostly normal” and days where waves of sadness hit us hard. So after reading Notes on Grief, I decided to return to the kind and gentle world of Miss Read’s Fairacre. I picked up the 15th volume in the series, Village Centenary, and read it through in a short few days. It was an absolute delight, and exactly what my soul needed. In this book, the village celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the village school. Most of the residents of Fairacre went to the school, and the town comes together to honor the old school with a wonderful celebration at the end of the year. “There was no doubt about it, Fairacre School was the heart of our village, and memories of their own schooldays quickened the adults’ response to this tribute to its hundred years.”  What a lovely series, and this was one of my favorites of the ones I’ve read so far.

We are currently enjoying watching the South Korean drama, Bossam: Steal the Fate. It’s a highly entertaining series about a man of the Joseon Dynasty who mistakenly kidnaps the widowed daughter of the king. Bossam” was a “customary remarriage procedure” during that period of time. “A widow could not remarry. A single man or widower would kidnap the widow and marry her. Some of the kidnappings were agreed upon in advance and others were by force.” So a man could be hired to do the kidnapping, but things went awry with this particular job!  It is both humorous and serious, with wonderful acting, costuming, and filming — just a fun and very addictive historical drama.

Aside from reading and watching historical South Korean dramas, keeping my garden alive in the heat this summer has been a full-time job. I have to get it all watered before the heat builds up, so I start early and finish before noon. Fortunately, my zinnias like the heat!

 

 

10 thoughts on “Mid-August and Hunkered Down

  1. Diane

    Robin, I am happy you are able to get out an do some people/bird watching even though the air is not ideal and, also happy you are enjoying some good reading as well.

    BTW- I just wanted to mention that my-ex husband had just finished 8 months of chemo and has a very compromised immune system but, his doctor was able to see to it that he got the booster vaccine as well. Perhaps you husband can get one as well. Take care.

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thank you for the info on the booster shot, Diane. Byron sees his doctor tomorrow and that’s one of the first questions on his list. Fingers crossed!

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  2. Jane

    I haven’t read any of the Miss Read books, but she was one of my mothers favourites and I always feel very cosy about them, maybe it’s time to start reading! Lovely zinnias!

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    1. Robin Post author

      Jane, they’re a real treat when you read them. Kind and gentle, with humor. The narrator is the village school teacher, so as a retired teacher, I loved the honest portrayal of a teacher’s life. And I have become very fond of the village of Fairacre and all the residents, even the difficult ones.

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  3. Les in OR

    Has it cooled down for you yet? We were in Salem yesterday and it was quite mild.

    I like your mantra,” Adjust and Adapt.” I’m sure it’s easier said than done, but it helps to focus on those simple words, doesn’t it?

    I love that painting of the woman reading! Such great colors.

    I spotted a copy of Notes on Grief at the library the other day when I was picking up a book for my husband. I glanced through it and decided it was probably something I’d like to own rather than borrow. Glad you found it worthwhile.

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  4. iliana

    That painting is so beautiful! I thought we were finally going to see some relief from COVID but unfortunately not the case. We’ve been indoors pretty much but once the temps cool down I can’t wait to go out. Nature is a great balm for these crazy times. So glad you are able to at least enjoy some nature and spend time together!

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thank you, Iliana. The Covid situation is definitely not what we thought would happen. We have to be extra careful now that Byron is immune compromised, so it’s like starting all over again with lockdown. However, on a brighter note, at least our library and bookstore are open with precautions in place!

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