Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why I am angry.

         I am not usually publicly, politically active. I can often see both sides of an issue and so when I take a stand I don't like to fight about it. I agree with many policies from both sides. I think about who I am going to vote for. I've helped my husband run a small business and saw how hard it was to navigate difficult regulations and pay burdensome taxes. I also empathize with people who never really have a hope of making it in the United States and truly believe that they should be given a chance. So, I've turned out to be pretty independent and centrist.

        I feel like I am an average Utahn. I am a Mormon mother of five children, married 25 years, I drive a mini-van and the recession hit us, just like everyone else. I vote. I am registered as a Democrat, but honestly living in Utah I end up voting for Republicans most of the time.  Currently out of a job I am getting my graduate degree in Education.

            I am angry! The government shutdown is the worst kind of negligence. As citizens I feel like we are all just hanging in there as the economy tries to recover, but congress seems to want to pull us back in. I am tired of the fighting, if I had fought with my work colleagues like they do I would have been fired without references. If I used rhetoric at school like I hear on TV I would be asked to leave the program. Why do they think they can speak that way and then expect to be respected or get anything done?

            Our illustrious Senator Mike Lee is one of the architects of the shutdown. He worked with Senator Cruz of Texas to stop debate and ensure the delay that caused the eventual shutdown. He also insists on taking his pay, ‘”I’m working,’ Lee told KUTV. ‘I’ll continue to be paid.’”(Huffington Post) He has the privilege to be working, a privilege that he took away from many, many Utahns. Later, after a national outcry, he belatedly said he would donate some of his pay to charity. He has become a calloused face of the larger issue. He is out of touch with the majority of people he represents. He is so concerned about being right that he is not solving any problems. Any counselor will tell you where right fighting gets you—it gets you out of relationships. I want government to be in the business of solving problems not telling me how right they are and how wrong everyone else is. He is not worthy of being our Senator. 

            As another example of callousness, Rep. Neugebauer from Texas actually engaged in a verbal sparring match with a park ranger because he was upset that she was closing the Washington Monument. They have no funding to keep it open, how could he demand that she keep it open? Have you ever met anyone who loved their job more and was paid less than a National Park Ranger? I cannot believe that congress is playing with our lives like this, right when we are coming out of a recession and so many people still live paycheck to paycheck.

            We had debate over the Affordable Care Act. The fight was fought on both sides, portions of it were sent to the Supreme Court. It passed and the Supreme Court upheld. It is time to move on. Over time if there are grave problems with the Act hopefully we will be strong enough to fix them.

            My husband changed jobs about a year ago and we checked into our healthcare choices. It turned out that I didn’t have any because of a pre-existing condition. I could get everyone in our family insured but me and I would have to use a state program. Our insurance costs would be astronomical. We were able to use COBRA and our insurance cost is second only to our mortgage. This amount does not include deductibles or co-pays. Our COBRA ends in six months, I need the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare or whatever you want to call it because I am being priced out of our health care system. I honestly don’t know if Obamacare will be the answer but I at least want to give it a try.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Resolution 2013 - Just Do!



I am a little famous for making resolutions. I like large ones that are pretty much impossible to keep, but I still like to try.  I can usually get a couple months out of them and learn a lot.

This year I am stumped.

I told myself that I would make them after I've had time to reflect on the past year. After the kids went back to school, especially after I put that last child on a plane, then I would have time to really think about what I want.
This past year has been a whopper in a lot of ways, some great--some not so great. I don't know if I am fortified enough to do something difficult. I jokingly told my niece at a New Years Brunch that my resolution was "More Bling in 2013," it kind of rhymes and it is easy. Just wear more jewelry--maybe get some thick gold necklaces with a dollar sign on them, or just wear some dangling, sparkly earrings.

Is that what has become of me--did I throw in the towel in 2012.
Well, not no, but heck no! There is stuff to do and by golly we are going to do it.
I am a big talker, but I am not always a big doer! I want to talk less and do more. This year I put a quote on my refrigerator that I love and I want to live by in 2013, "When we argue for our limitations, we get to keep them," Evelyn Waugh (who is a man, by the way, just in case you wanted to know). No more arguing for why I can't do things. That's just silly.
I went to a local artists open house this December.  His name is Ben Behunin and you can learn more about him at  potteryboy.com. All the pictures in this blog were taken at his home (with the permission of his wife). All of the pictures are of things he created. It was inspiring and I've never seen anything like it. Every nook and cranny of his home was filled with beautiful, personal creations that he shared with us. We walked into his closet, his bathrooms, his workshop, his yard, his kitchen and ate cookies. I couldn't imagine the work they (he and his wife) had done in planning, creating and cleaning! We could buy some of his art at the end, but we didn't have to. I left feeling uplifted. What a nice way to make a living and to share your gifts.
So for 2013:

Love
Help
Save
Give
Experience
Move
Write
Support
Inspire
MORE

Talk
TV
Sleep
Eat
TV
Whine
Excuse
TV
Criticize
LESS

How's that for non-specific goals for 2013.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to the Counties -- Cheers to Carbon, Emery and Sanpete!

Lest you think I had forgotten the pledge to see all of the counties in Utah this year I thought I better post proof. It has not been as easy as I thought it would be to get it done, but we have managed to see 16 out of the 29 so far. I am hoping to squeeze in a few more during this long UEA weekend.

We did however have a great time in Carbon, Emery and Sanpete counties!

Cheers to the Emery County Parade and Fair

If you want candy, Otter Pops, and frisbees thrown at you as well as a chance to hug the Panda Express Panda, then the Emery County Fair is the place for you!










You too can limbo under the caution tape at the Emery County Fair on your way to see prancing horses, eat Navajo Tacos, and enjoy the world renown Lamb Fry.

Cheers to the Price City Wave Pool

May my children and husband forgive me for putting in this picture, but I couldn't resist. Visiting the wave pool may seem like a cheat for a Carbon County stop, but we were short on time and way too hot for anything else! If you ever have a change to go, it is fun and it also has an attached indoor pool with diving boards at various heights as well as a climbing wall. It is fun and by golly, I am counting it as a visit!!!

Then off to a quick rest at the beautiful Castle Valley Outdoors while we waited for evening to come because we were going to the Castle Valley Pageant.



Cheers to the Castle Valley Pageant

The Castle Valley Pageant tells the history of settling Castle Valley. It was Brigham Young's last decree before he died that people from beautiful and green Sanpete County should hop over the mountain to the beautiful and desolate Castle Country. It was faith promoting, sometimes hilarious, and well worth the time.

Chatting with the Pioneers folk

Come early, because before the show there are crafts and demonstrations.

































The pioneers came over from Sanpete County on what is now Miller's Flat Road down to Joe's Valley. Today Miller's Flat is quite an adventure with a mostly passable dirt road that we decided to take--just like the pioneers. Only we were in a mini-van, it only took a few hours and we all made it in good health!

Joe's Valley Resevoir

Beautiful Miller's Flat road in lush Sanpete County!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why I love Instagram


I've enjoyed social networking platforms. I'm on Facebook, but seldom post. I have a Twitter account and I've been known to tweet, but I am more likely to re-tweet. I am on Google + but I don't have the hang of it. I obviously blog and I enjoy it a lot, but it takes quite a bit of time. Besides blogging, nothing else has really captured my imagination until Instagram.

It is as if I've been struck by lightning.

I am going to be a shameless advocate here, so please forgive me.

I am one of those people who lives inside my head a lot. I love solitary things--like walking, hiking, reading, writing, (napping), and driving. This rather strong need for solitude can be hard to explain. I love to do those things because it is then that I feel in tune with my surroundings. I notice things and I find many of the things I see moving, rejuvenating and inspiring. Then I want to share those discoveries with people I love.

My very first memory is of the side steps on our house. There were several brick steps and on every other one was a large rectangular (at least 4 feet long) planter of red geraniums. They led to lovely french doors that we didn't use and that were purely decorative.  I would lay down on the step next to the planter and hide. From this position I could look up at the flowers and see them framed against the blue sky and be alone. To this day I love the sharp sent of geraniums and the sky through green leaves.

Instagram captures moments like these for me and then allows me to share them.

Instagram also makes me think of Impressionists. I looked up the definition of Impressionists online and here is what I found (I highlighted what I am talking about in blue):


"impressionism [ɪmˈprɛʃəˌnɪzəm] n 

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Movements) (often capital) a movement in French painting, developed in the 1870s chiefly by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, and Sisley, having the aim of objectively recording experience by a system of fleeting impressions, esp of natural light effects
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) the technique in art, literature, or music of conveying experience by capturing fleeting impressions of reality or of mood
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
The beauty of a face just waiting for a subway
I look at Instagram as the whole world recording fleeting moments. Stopping time for just a second and recording what they found interesting, moving, compelling, funny or sometimes just snapping a picture because they were bored.

I find so much beauty in the world. It is what makes life worthwhile to me. The small snatches of beauty that pack every single day. The times that transcend driving carpool or washing dishes. The living in-between.

Instagram also helps me feel connected to other people. I love seeing what my niece has her daughters wear to church. I want to see what family members are eating, where they are going and what they find beautiful.

Another one of my favorite things about Instagram is finding people in other cultures who love the things I do. Who love architecture, landscape, faces and flowers.

The very moment the sun makes something utilitarian beautiful.
I feel connected in ways I didn't think possible. I also feel like the whole world is being documented second by second and then it's gone and the new second is upon us. It's a futile and beautiful documentation of the ephemeral.

The perfect watermelon.
For example, one day I took a picture of the sun and then posted it with hashtag (#) sun. I then looked up on Instagram all the pictures with the #sun. My picture was already buried under 50 or more pictures of the sun--from all over the world.   That's it--it's filed in some digital obscurity.

Of course on Instagram you have followers and people you follow. There is also the possibility of going on Instacanvas to sell your pictures. It's satisfying to connect with people and have them get what you are trying to do--but it isn't why I do it. I do it to just have the ability to capture and share a moment I found inspiring.


The apex of a college career.






















Favorite hamburger ever (Toast NYC).























Something grand, like the flowers at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. 























Something unpredictable like petal-less black-eyed susans marching along the trail. 






















The weirdness of the mundane in a mass planting of marigolds in my yard.






















The grandeur of my favorite mountain, Mount Olympus, in April.





The simple perfection of a Hollyhock as it blooms.

























Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cheers to People Who. . . Build in the middle of nowhere!








Cheers to the people who built the US railroad and ended up in Box Elder County, Utah! This is the view from Golden Spike National Historic Site. I took this picture standing just past the RR tracks looking to the NW. Let me tell you that the view isn't any less desolate (and in my mind, beautiful) from any of the other directions.  

This site is pretty much in the middle of nowhere--unless you just happen to work for a jet propulsion company. I was told that it was located out in Promontory because there were fresh water marshes that those steam engines needed to run (instead of that salty and stinky lake just south). 

Cheers to people who love their job. The ranger shown in the picture below (and I am very sorry I did not get his name) loves his job. He had more stories than you had questions and made my teenagers laugh. He had a microphone and wasn't afraid to use it! There is something to be passionate about for every single human--go out and find it for yourself--he obviously did!

Cheers to hyperbole! Golden Spike Burgers in Garland, Utah.

















Cheers to hyperbole that actually may even be true--Yum, yum. Just as a side note on this burger--it had bacon, mushrooms, cheese, onion rings, avocado, lettuce and beef of course. I usually don't like kitchen sink style cooking--but this was really good.









Monday, July 16, 2012

Wasatch County's Delicious Surprise - Tarahumara

We have been slowly working our way through the counties and so far we have 6 out of the 29 done. I wanted to get the rest by the end of the summer--we shall see. 

The rules for this county quest are:

1. Can see as many counties as want to in one day.
2. Must see something in said county that have never seen before.
3. Must actually stop and see something in each county.

Well, I have found much to cheer about so far in our quest, so here goes!

Cheers to people who make incredible deserts with a Mexican twist, and in Midway of all places! Tarahumara, Bakery and Tortilleria, which in English translates to really yummy place to eat (Wasatch County's new thing). 


The people there were really helpful while we made our selection.
I had to look up what Tarahumara meant and it was so fascinating I just had to share it.
     "The Rarámuri or Tarahumara are a Native American people of northwestern Mexico who are renowned for their long-distance running ability.[1][2] In their language, the term rarámuri refers specifically to the males, females are referred to as mukí (individually) and as omugí or igómale (collectively).. .
      "Current estimates put the population of the Rarámuri in 2006 at between 50,000 and 70,000 people. Most still practice a traditional lifestyle, inhabiting natural shelters such as caves or cliff overhangs, as well as small cabins of wood or stone. Staple crops are corn and beans; however, many of the Rarámuri still practice transhumance, raising cattle, sheep, and goats. Almost all Rarámuri migrate in some form or another in the course of the year."
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarahumara_people

It doesn't say anything about their baking ability, but who cares--as I always say--the proof is in the puddin'!

We didn't eat at the attached restaurant, but it got rave reviews by many online reviewers and by family members who have eaten there.
Beautiful pan dulce.


Beautiful everything else.


Yes, We ate this too and it was delicioso!

   

Monday, July 9, 2012

Poppy's Garden

I would call my father a renaissance man. He can pretty much do anything--who else starts doing Bikram Yoga in his late 70's and does it well?  He went to Harvard Law, always active in church, raised horses, ran large companies, ran small companies, was President of Ballet West for a bit, managed a ranch,  plays tennis, loves art, hiking, thinking, reading, a loving husband, amazing father and inspiring grandfather. 

That said, when I think of my dad I think mostly of gardening and hiking. Some of my earliest memories were working in the garden with him. When I was very young he decided to plant tons and tons of bulbs in the large yard that we had at the time. I remember planting those bulbs on a cool autumn day. When I became an adult and had my own yard I bought some peat moss to remediate the soil. I opened the large pack and was immediately assaulted with a sense memory so strong it made me cry. I was taken directly back to planting those bulbs and how much I loved the soil and how I had forgotten it until that moment.


I remember when we went hiking when I was little that he would tell us the names of all the wildflowers. I still know the names of all the ones he taught me. When we would go on long hikes we were always quiet on the way up the mountain, but then on the hike down we would talk and talk. I love to hear him talk about anything--to this day he is always interesting--although not always talkative.
I feel blessed that my children know their grandparents well--on both sides and that they are all wonderful people. My mom and dad have all of us (as many as are in town), kids and grandkids alike, over almost every Sunday. There are usually about 30 of us. Who does that every week and still smiles when we arrive?

No one grows zinnias like this. Not a speck of powdery mildew. If you've ever grown Zinnias in Utah you know how hard it is--you have to be vigilant and committed. Yet, he does it. Anything in his care is lucky.