Monday, November 24, 2008

new niche

Huh. I just found this article about slow blogging. Oddly enough, it sounds rather similar to what I've been doing with this very blog for the past few years! Ah, having a niche--labels can be so comforting. (I say this only slightly tongue in cheek, of course.)

Okay, I don't think I'm really a "slow blogger," since I like to keep abreast of and post current news about Utah's wilderness, and I certainly blog more often than once every month (or six). But I do also like the allowed possibility of not needing to post multiple times in a day or a week. It sort of seems like I've found the club I want to join.

As for readers, I know I don't have many. But I won't quit blogging on this particular blog for that reason. This one began as a sort of personal journal, and it continues as such at the moment, although I've been toying with the idea of making it much more strictly related to Utah wilderness interests, and leaving off some of the more personal information.

Of course, on that note I have to say that I am back in Utah, somewhat reluctantly, although I have concerns here that absolutely must be dealt with. And it is gorgeous, not all that terribly cold (though I hear rumors of approaching snow in the next few days), and just so much more spacious and fresh and clear and clean than Southern California.

Deep breath of the air here: aaaahhhhhhhh....

Babcia update: Still holding on. Another doctor floated another idea that she perhaps wasn't in so much pain the other few days (that was rather terrible to watch) but perhaps frustrated by how little she could communicate. We just don't really know, which is really frustrating in itself. All healing thoughts still welcomed...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

mama bears

So this is kind of cool: SUWA did a virtual "quilt" involving photos & the voices of women attesting to the importance of the Utah wilderness to them. It had a grand opening at the Salt Lake City Public Library (which is such a cool library! You really need to click on the link back there and see a pic of it), and will be on view there through December. You can also check it out on one of the local newscasts, I wish I could get up to the library myself and see it.

See? Women are indeed mama bears. My grandmother, the other day, looked at me and my mom and my aunt as we stood around her hospital bed, and after three tries she managed to whisper, "How are my children?" Meaning, of course, the women who came of her flesh who were with her just then, lending her our strength as she fights against her internal foes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Red Rock Wilderness Act

So since I'm back on my "save southern Utah's wildlands" bandwagon, I decided to do a little digging into the subject today. First up is more information abut the number one piece of legislature that would be really cool to see passed one day: The Red Rock Wilderness Act. It's been in the works for some time now, and if you click on that link back there you can get more specifics on the history.

One great resource to have (for the diehard, probably) is the book Wilderness At the Edge: A Citizen Proposal to Protect Utah's Canyon and Deserts. Out of print, you can find a copy signed by Wallace Stegner (who wrote the introduction) at Powell's Books. (Again, I say diehard, because the signed edition is $350, and the book really consists of maps, which may look gobbledy-gooky to some.)

Some articles and other information about the proposed Act can be found here, here, and also in some beautiful words by Terry Tempest Williams (who is an amazing writer no matter how you slice it), from Utne Magazine back in 1996.

So many things in the world can make me cry. My grandmother, sick and failing and drugged to senselessness in her hospital bed. The homeless man at the farmer's market the other day who simply, quietly asked for fifty cents as he looked at a steaming hot dinner for sale at a vendor's booth. The puppy that was beaten to death by some sick bastard--the assistant chief of a fire department!--the other day. And, of course, the thought of all the gorgeous lift and fall and swell and shelter of the lands in southern Utah that are even now threatened. People who close their eyes, who close their hearts, who are too fearful to love and so therefore also do not live. I love that land with an abiding passion that dictates my moves and my beliefs and my actions. It's my something to grasp onto, to stand by, to call my raison d'etre.

I do really have hope that this administration will help. That it can listen, and respond in kind. And I'm going to do everything in my power to push along the idea that humans being guardians to this land is an important thing to do, an essential legacy to leave.

I leave you with this:

“The canyons of southern Utah are giving birth to a Coyote Clan—hundreds, maybe even thousands of individuals who are quietly subversive on behalf of the land. And they are infiltrating our neighborhoods in the most respectable ways, with their long, bushy tails tucked discreetly inside their pants or beneath their skirts...They understand that beauty is not found in the excessive but in what is lean and spare and subtle.”
--Terry Tempest Williams, “Coyote's Canyon” from Red


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

one step closer to red rock victory?

This article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday. This is, of course, a spot of welcome news for anyone who loves southern Utah, or likes it, or visited it once and wants to remember it being pristine, wild, undrilled, unraped, and unviolated in our continuing quest for more more more in our super-sprawl world.

Now, let's get a few things straight here. I was not an Obama supporter. I was not on the Obama-mania insanity train. I did not, nor do I now, think he was the savior of all things American. He is a politician, he is imperfect, he said things in his campaign that were designed to get him elected, and he made promises that probably not even god could keep. I supported Hillary Clinton all the way (yep, she has warts too, but I liked hers better), but had to shrug when she lost the candidate ticket. Don't trust the guy. He's a politician, yo!

I voted Green. Big surprise, no? ;)

However. All that being said, let me then pontificate further and note that Barack Obama appears to be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than that doddering, clueless old McCain and that hysteria-inducing joke of a running mate Palin--better, at the least, for the southern Utah wildlands. As the article says, the transition team is already aware of the public sentiment and action taken thus far on preserving this landscape, and the team seems to be interested in taking immediate action on further preservation. As immediate as they can, that is.

A few little things you can do to help:

-Go here and send a message (whatever you think of SUWA, that stirrer of hyped-up emotions, they can lead you to where you can take action);

-Check out the Obama change website to leave a comment about this situation. (Or, of course, any other situation that suits your fancy. Although for my purposes, you'll comment on the Red Rock Wilderness Act.)

-Go out and bop a stupid conservative narrow-minded idiot over the head and hope it encourages him/her to start thinking with his/her heart as well as head, rather than just pocketbook, party lines, or rigidly held and unquestioned religious beliefs. (Okay, don't really do this last one--but, hey, it's fun to dream, eh?)

*Babcia update: she's strong and tough, my grandmother. The pain is hard to watch, and they don't seem to know why it's happening. Can I note again that I am still not a huge fan of Western hospitals, medicine, and our stupidly tangled healthcare system? Too many cooks in her broth, so to speak. And I'm not convinced they're communicating clearly amongst themselves.

Monday, November 10, 2008

space to stretch

Being back in the vast, gorgeous (yes, it can be, believe me or not) sprawl of Southern California is interesting on a variety of levels. But most pressing to both me and Pippin is the amount of space in which we have to stretch. Or rather, the lack of said space.

This being a state of 30 million people, several million of which live in SoCal, there are leash laws, houses pushed up against one another, a mass of lights (my stars have just about disappeared), sidewalks, and just an overall sense of being squished. Pippin, being the good cattle dog that he is, needs LOTS of exercise. Lots! And he ain't getting it right now. So that means I have a spazzy puppy when we do go out. He needs to run, run, run, and play hard.

At the Arroyo Seco recreation area, this great little place of semi-wilderness in suburbia, one would think dogs are allowed off-leash. I remember always taking my dogs there and letting them romp freely. But no longer. Oh, sure, people still do. But I've warned in low tones of the cops who patrol and give out several-hundred dollar fines for the sin of being leashless.

And the main culprit is a bike cop, and bikes aren't even allowed in Arroyo Seco! Not cool.

Anyway, I generally try to be a law-abiding citizen, and I truly understand why leashes are a good thing. Dogs can be intimidating, they can bark and lunge when startled or threatened. There are also horses in Arroyo Seco, and I of all people understand the potential dangers of that combination.

But damn, it's so hard when I have a dog who needs to run lots and hard, and he can't! I'm trying to find a nearby dog park. I heard there's one at the Rose Bowl, so I may check it out. He needs to wrestle hard and tumble freely with another dog.

I too am missing my wide-open desert spaces. I haven't been able to yodel, or run like a maniac, or dance freely in the moonlight here. I suppose I could, but wow, does a crush of people intimidate! Being here right now is lovely in so many ways, and the energy of so many people is immense, and the warm air is pleasant, and there are men I don't actually know who flirt with me--such a novel concept! ;) But I also feel the need to stretch, to move, to shift my muscles underneath my skin and let them breathe. Sitting for hours in the hospital probably hasn't helped either.

Perhaps the lesson here is to make my own space to stretch? Even while in this place where rubbing shoulders with others happens just by inhaling deeply. Hmm...I think Pip and I have to go out now and find our place to stretch and run among the millions here. :)

*Babcia update: holding steady. She was moved to a step-down (less intensive care) room last night, which is really a great sign. But, of course, we are still guarded in our hopes. But still accepting prayers of all sorts...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

calling all healing prayers

The unexpected parts of life make for good plot twists in books. In reality, however, they can suck.

My grandmother's in the hospital, has been for about two weeks now. I came to California about 12 days ago to support my mom and see my grandmother as much as possible. It's been really hard. Babcia's hanging in there after two major emergency surgeries, because she's damn tough, but the ultimate prognosis leans toward her passing on to whatever comes next. But it's so damn hard to say, because the multitude of docs (she has a specialist for every part of her body, and then some) each seem to have differing opinions and attitudes. Which is confusing and leads to see-sawing of emotions in the family members.

Anyway. I want to get back to writing here regularly again, and trying to normalize other areas of life, while at the same time continuing through this process and allowing self-examination flow. Do let me note, I never want to be hooked up to tubes and be flattened on my back in a hospital bed for so long, drugged out of my mind with the pain meds. Especially not as an elderly person. I firmly believe some of the nurses and perhaps doctors too do not give elderly people as much of a chance. Everyone expects them to die anyway, right? (Me, sounding bitter.) A family member, mostly my mom, has been in my grandmother's hospital room almost every second, just keeping an eye on things and being with her, whether or not she's aware of it. Someone who loves her and knows her medical history needs to be there to advocate for her.

It's been an eye-opening journey thus far. God, we are so hung up on the young, the vital, the fresh, the new, the pretty. Anything but age, please! That scares us so in this ridiculously puffed-up culture of ours. Especially out here in Southern California, La-La Land, home of the fake and the eternally young. (Me, sounding bitter again, not entirely fairly. This is a diverse place. I just have a touch of myopia right now.)

So, all healing prayers are accepted right now.

In other news: Pippin is having a challenging time adjusting to co-existence with the cats at my mom's place. He has this ingrained need to chase them, if only they would run! But he is also quite respectful of their strong claws and scary hisses, which they use to excellent effect when necessary. Ah, my little Pip. He's growing up! And I still have strong hopes for his future career as a movie dog. He is a darn cute thing, as random strangers often tell me. And being out here galvanizes me to take some action and get him to an audition or somesuch. (Look at me, jumping on the young-and-cute bandwagon after my earlier diatribe. Well, she says in defense, he's a dog, so it's different.)

Will keep you posted on all events...