Life Lately | July 2023



Three posts in July. Four in June. I had already been slowing down posting here this spring but I didn’t mean for things to drop to a trickle. I have been absorbed in writing elsewhere and then even those other places have dropped off the cliff. I’ve been inside my head, drafting posts, drafting emails, drafting other essays, but not showing up here. It isn’t for lack of content but lack of time and then, in attention.

I’ve written here several times about the plight of Fairfield Lake State Park but I’ve slowly morphed into taking a more active role in advocating for the preservation of the park, with a few other folks. Suffice to say, the state park has taken up a lot of real estate in my mind this summer. I’m not sure I feel like rehashing it here yet, but the short story is TPWD is working on it and meanwhile the developer has razed all of the park buildings and begun bulldozing habitat. So, things are grim. But promising. But grim.

Between all of that, I’ve tried to have a summer. I’m not sure where it all went. I have yet to go to the beach. We went to the pool once or twice, and then to the waterpark once the weekend after my birthday. I debated trekking down to Galveston for a beach weekend but couldn’t muster up the energy to deal with traffic on I-45, even if I was going to be the Passenger Princess. So, waterpark it was—and we had fun! Forest had fun! We all enjoyed it until the concrete got too hot to walk on and the crowds started coming in after lunch and so we dashed and left. Forest went to that waterpark once a week during summer camp so he got to enjoy it a lot more often than Chris and I did. Another year, another summer camp. Forest spent two weeks in DFW with grandparents in June and is finishing up another two weeks right now; we’ll pick him up this weekend. And then school starts on Wednesday!

Chris and I went to Louisiana in June for a weekend, which was great and someday I’ll write about it here. We took another east Texas trip up to Lindale to his mom’s second house for the 4th of July weekend, another mini-trip to DFW to drop Forest off at my parents, and then Chris and I went to the Big Thicket and the Watson Preserve last weekend to work on scanning some documents in for the Watson Board, which I recently joined back in March. That was fun and enjoyable in its own ways, mostly because of the camaraderie of seeing various folks coming and going at the Preserve, plus learning more about Geraldine Watson.

But that’s been the extent of our traveling this summer, which has been fine by me. I would like to get to the beach at some point—maybe in September??

It’s been brutal outside all summer. We’ve done a few explorations, two in June—one at Gus Engeling WMA and then the Louisiana trip, and then some light explorations in the Big Thicket last weekend. But I only escape the house around 7pm or later to water the garden and I’ve barely done any of the work outside I’ve wanted to do this summer. It’s been dreadful, much worse than last year and we had a terrible drought last summer. The drought is catching up now though, and I suspect we’ll see the implications of no rain and oppressive heat very soon in the deaths of trees and other vegetation. I’m already seeing traces of this but it will be hard going this month if we continue without rain.

Speaking of rain and drought, it seems we have a harmful algal bloom issue on our lake/pond. We’d noticed the change in color a few months ago but matting has begun. I believe it’s cyanobacteria. And then over a week ago I started noticing an onion/gasoline/septic smell when we were outside and we could not figure it out. At one point I smelled it heavily near my neighbor’s house and thought it was possibly his septic leaking but then I would smell it all around the yard and in other places. Well, did you know cyanobacteria gives off a gasoline/septic smell? Neither did I until I started looking up harmful algal blooms and put two and two together. So, I’ve spent the last few days trying to get the state involved and wow, TCEQ sucks! I generally try not to say negative things about government agencies because I know there are people behind them but, wow, this has to be one of the worst organized agencies in Texas. Anyway, I finally got some traction with TPWD and their Kills and Spills team and we may have a source but it needs investigation.

Oh, in addition to all of this I’ve been tackling various health issues that have been plaguing me. I’ve mentioned my hip issue somewhere here—oh, here it is, back in February—and I’ve been doing physical therapy since March for it. It’s been up and down with progress but the last few weeks I’ve felt really good. I was going twice a week until June and tapered it to once a week and home exercises. My last appointment is next week and then I’m on my own! I’m hoping I can keep it feeling good and of course I can always call the ortho again if I need to. Between all of that, since I met my deductible, I decided to get some other issues checked out. I’d been having some weird heart palpitations on and off with heart rate issues throughout the spring so I finally went to my PCP who referred me to both a sleep study and a cardiologist. So for two weeks in June I wore a heart monitor (that thing doesn’t stick well with sweat and heat and was so gross after hikes) and a few weeks ago I had a stress test and echocardiogram. Turns out, I’m all good on the heart front, no clogs or arrhythmias, but it doesn’t really explain some things that still happen. The cardiologist did say there were extra heartbeats logged on the heart monitor but she didn’t seem worried when paired with the other tests. I guess we will chalk it up to perimenopause at this point, but it is still unnerving. The sleep study was easy, an at-home study, but my PCP was supposed to give me the results but apparently she pushed that off on a pulmonologist which I’m guessing means I have sleep apnea! Unfortunately I couldn’t get into that doctor until the end of August so let’s hope I don’t die in my sleep between now and then! CPAP here I come! If it helps me sleep (I’ve slept like crap for many years now) then that will be great! Oh, and I’m trying to follow up with the ENT about my vertigo, which I had attempted to have checked out in March 2020 but never did anything with because COVID happened.

So, yeah, I’ve had a lot on my mind!

I have been trying to keep up with reading this summer. I’m at 31 out of my goal of 40 books for the year! I suspect I can at least make it to 50 by the end of the year, but we shall see! I’ve not done anything super creative this summer despite intentions to catch up on my nature journal. I’m several months behind. I also had plans to clean up my studio and start painting again but that never came to fruition either. This summer has just felt like a lot and I find myself missing slower summers but then realize my real slow time is fall and winter and now I am craving those long, dark evenings again.

That’s the short of it, my summer. How is everyone out there? I want to write here more but also sense everyone else is also overwhelmed with keeping up with reading blogs, newsletters, social media. It all seems like too much, right?

Before I leave on some down note, how about a few good things?

+Expressie nail polish: I bought two discounted bottles at Walgreens a few weeks ago and I AM IN LOVE! First, it dries within minutes and second, it lasts at least a week without chipping! I don’t use a basecoat or topcoat, either. I had bought Olive and June dry drops a couple of years ago and really did love using them on regular polish but this blows that out of the water. I am highly tempted to give all my old polish away and replace with this stuff because it means I can polish my nails in a quick time and have it last longer than a weekend.

+Season 2 of Good Omens: It’s been eons since we had the first season and when I saw this second season was out I jumped for joy! And now I suppose I have to wait eons for season 3!

+Outlander Season 7, the first half: Chris and I have been watching it together this summer and I am sad that we don’t get the full season. After this final episode next week, we have to wait until 2024 for the rest. *sigh*

+Sometimes I pick up movies at the library on a whim and I got The Bookshop and To Walk Invisible the last time I went. The Bookshop is a good, quiet movie but filled with horrible, obnoxious people in the side story. I do recommend it. To Walk Invisible gave me an introduction to Brontë sisters/family, which I knew very little about until recently. I avoided any assigned reading of theirs in high school and have never felt the urge to read any of their works as an adult. Their life was a tragic one, though! Just so many health issues and poverty.

Until next time…don’t melt out there!


  • shoreacres

    All I can say is: yep. Summer. Everything is slowed to a crawl, and since I work outdoors…. well… The thought of grabbing the camera and heading out on the weekend just doesn’t appeal. I know how much I’m missing, but really: there will be things to see in September when it finally cools down. It will cool in September, right?

  • Yeah, Another Blogger

    I’m very impressed by the number of books you read. Thirty-one books completed by early August is outstanding. You set a fast pace!

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