July Reflections

I look at this old photo that I took at the Salt Flats near the Utah/Nevada border and marvel at the calmness of that morning a few years ago. July has been a tumultuous month, plain and simple, but we are here at a calm spot at the end of this month, taking some deep breaths before moving into August.

Once again, I did not get much reading done this month. Too much Life happening. But yesterday I actually sat down with a new graphic novel, called Dancing at the Pity Party, by Tyler Feder, and started reading again. It felt wonderful to just sit and read on a hot afternoon!

I was also able to finish my Classics Club Spin book, so I’ll try to post my review of The Sign of the Four, by Arthur Conan Doyle,  in the next few days.

Stay cool in this summer heat, my friends!

My July in brief:

  • Heat! Although we haven’t reached the 113 degree temperatures of last summer, we’ve had too many 100+ days this month. No central air conditioning in our old home, so we spend much of our day and night managing the fans and window air conditioners so that we can keep the house as cool as possible. It’s been a challenge!
  • Our grandson and Scottie’s Drive-In.  Our precious grandboy (I probably should call him our “grandman” now because he’s over 6 feet tall and very much a teenager) helps us on weekends. He mows the lawns for us and, afterwards, we provide his current favorite meal —a hamburger and fries from our local burger joint, Scottie’s Drive-In.
  • Watching TV. We love getting caught up in a good series on TV, and that happened this month with the Netflix series, Our Blues, a South Korean drama that takes place on Jeju Island. We were captured by the intertwining lives of the various characters, and loved our glimpse into another part of Korean culture. The cinematography was especially beautiful.
  • Remembering my Mom. July 18th marked four years since my Mom’s passing, and I shared photos on my instagram account of the gorgeous sunset we experienced as we left her apartment the night we said goodbye to her. I miss her every day, but I have so many special memories that make me smile.
  • Red Clover.  You may remember my photos of Crimson Clover that fills the agricultural fields around here with brilliant red in early May. Well, the crops of “red clover” bloom in mid-July, and are gorgeous in their more subtle color. Up close, they look pink, not red. And when you look at a field of them, they look a pale lavender color! A crop that is so mis-named!
  • Studying Spanish. I just reached a milepost in my attempt to regain my fluency in Spanish. I’ve worked on it, using the program Duolingo, every single day for 200 days! I’m rather proud of my learning streak, but I’m even happier to be regaining so much of the language I lost due to not using it very much since my year in Argentina as an exchange student. “Use it or lose it” is so true!
  • Byron and his treatments. July was cruel to us. The most difficult thing about Byron’s battle with cancer is the metastases in the bones of his hip. In early July, he suffered a pain flare and after a trip to the ER and many tests over a two week period, it was discovered that he has a series of fractures in that hip joint. So being able to go upstairs to sleep has become too difficult. We now have a hospital bed situated in the bay window of our dining room area, and I’m happy to say that it’s a very workable arrangement for now!

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “July Reflections

  1. Lesley

    I wonder if there’s currently as much water at the Salt Flats as there is in your photo, Robin. Our friends (from Salt Lake City) say that that lake is depressingly low. The toxic dust from the dry lake is really a concern. 😦

    I’m glad you found time to sit and read for a bit. I know it’s been very hot in your area and wish we could send you some of our cool coastal temps. We’re still in the low 60s! Very foggy, thanks to the heat in the valley.

    I haven’t heard of Scottie’s Drive-In, but we may have to make a trip out to give it a try. Have you been to Shake Shake in Beaverton? Soooo good!!

    I am so, so sorry that Byron has been experiencing such horrible pain in his hip. The bed on the first floor sounds like a good solution, but I’m sorry he is suffering from the fractures. I’m at a loss for uplifting words. F*** cancer! 😦

    As always, I send you and Byron my good thoughts and love. I wish I could do more. xoxo

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thank you, Les, for your kind words and for keeping us in your thoughts.
      My brothers in Utah tell us the same thing about the unbelievably low lake level and the toxic dust. What a nightmare!
      We are surviving the heat and are grateful for this cooler spell this week. The high temps are returning this weekend, but we’re prepared with a new portable air conditioner for the downstairs area.
      I’m enjoying your travel posts and photos. Thanks for sharing your happy trails with us!

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  2. kaysreadinglife

    Robin, it’s nice to hear your July update, though I know not all of the things are ‘wonderful’. So happy that your grandson comes to help with the yard and then gets some great Scottie’s. And I’m very sorry that Byron’s hip has the fractures, but glad you guys were able to get a new bed for downstairs and that is more comfortable for him. I always think of you two and I hope that August will be cooler (I remember that Oregon does get hot in summer) and more peaceful. Take care!

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thank you, Kay. Although the news about Byron’s hip was pretty grim, we were relieved to finally know the cause. And they are working really hard to get the pain management to be more even, so he is feeling better than he did in July. He’s able to read more now, and it’s a much quieter time for us. Lots of family time, too! Definitely can’t complain about all of that!

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  3. Diane

    Hi Robin, I loved that photo of the Salt Flats – so gorgeous. I’ve never visited Oregon but have always wanted to. How nice of your grandson to come on weekends to help out –so special. I was so saddened to read about Byron’s hip fractures and pain – so hard on both of you I’m sure but, happy that you found a suitable first floor work-around. May August be a kinder month for both of you.

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thank you, Diane. I took that photo on a trip pre-Covid time! It feels like ages ago!
      Thank you for your kind wishes. August is already much better than July, and we’re so grateful for that. And we think our grandson is pretty grand!😊

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  4. Nan

    I will email you about the personal part of your post, and I will comment on the other things here. I can’t get over the flatness there. Everywhere you go up here, there are close mountains. Amazing all the differences in this huge country.
    I love it that your grandson comes over like that. Such a good young man he is.
    The sunset pictures are amazing. I’m not on igram anymore, so thank you for posting here.

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    Reply
    1. Robin Post author

      Thanks for your email and for your comments here. It’s funny, but I don’t think of this area as so flat, but of course it is. These agricultural fields I photograph are in this big valley between the coastal range and the Cascade Mountains. And they are indeed very flat! But I’m always attuned to the mountains nearby. I’ve never been to your area before, but how lovely that you live in the mountains!😊

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  5. Marlo Quick

    Robin, your July sounds like a time of doing what needs to be done. I have seen the heat forecasts for your area and know that fans are not enough, especially when Byron is dealing with pain. I hope there are some avenues for relief now that you know the source. Perhaps you have learned some Spanish terms to help you express your frustration. I know having your grandman there to visit and help is excellent medicine. Sending you all wishes for times of joy and peace.

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    1. Robin Post author

      Thank you, Marlo. We have made progress with dealing with both the heat and with Byron’s pain. August is turning out to be a quiet antidote to the July frenzy…and with our family close for both fun and support.😊

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  6. iliana

    You have a wonderful grandson! I’m so very sorry to hear about Byron’s pain and stupid cancer. Seeing a loved one go through cancer treatments and all the side effects and complications is heart wrenching. My thoughts go out to both of you and hope having the bed downstairs certainly helps. Hugs.

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