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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The very sad thing about living in Saint George

and having fair skin:Trev and I did some mountain biking today out on the BLM for about two and a half hours. It was sunny. Too sunny. This is very sad. Anyone want to guess what cut of a biking top I was wearing? You should be able to tell from the nasty picture of my back.

Monday, April 27, 2009

BOUL - DER (n):

An especially large and worn, rounded rock.

Trev and I were back at Pioneer Park today. We practiced some more on the boulders. We didn't last real long because our arms are still so sore from yesterday. We both tore up our hands as well. I guess if I am going to keep climbing up rocks I am going to have to say good bye to my soft, pretty girly hands. They are pretty much gnarly and blistered tonight. We are both sore, curled up on the floor watching Australia (I love Hugh Jackman...next to Trevor, of course). Trev is planning for some more climbing tomorrow, but I think I will do some biking and give my muscles and poor hands some recovery time.
My hard-core husbandCheck out the muscle in my lower legOne more shot of Trev 'cause he is so fabulously cute.Check out his war wound down his arm.

The Big S-Q-U-E-E-Z-E

Have I mentioned that I love it here?

The longer we are in Saint George the more lovely I find this place to be. This weekend some friends showed us yet another Southern Utah Wonder that has me convinced I want to call this place home for many years to come.

It is the "crack" at Pioneer Park. I don't really know the name of this geological fantasticness - but I will be calling it the crack. It is awesome. Pioneer Park is actually a city park up on the hill. Now, you think city park and you think green grass soccer-field style right? Nope - this park is more like a roped off wilderness area out in the red rock. There are tons of huge boulders, and it is really unmanicured (the way I think all parks ought to be). I am a big fan of natural landscape and minimal human intervention and maintenance - so I think this very well could be my favorite city park in all of Saint George. If it doesn't feel like a park (I only counted three picnic tables spread around YES!) then I am gonna always like it a whole lot more.

Anyway - it is lovely. I think red rock is good for my soul. We first climbed through the crack - or the Narrows - as I have heard people call it. Not sure in feet how long this little stretch is, but I think it takes about 10-15 minutes to wiggle through. And is it ever a squeeze! It was amazing to be inside though. For the most part once you started in walking sideways you were stuck in that position, with little room to even bend your head backward to look up. But when you come upon a pocket and can look upward it is just incredible to actually look up and see the rock walls going on and on and on until they break for this tiny ribbon of blue sky. Beautiful.

I have always really like to be tucked into small spaces. I loved drawers and closets as a child. In fact, I remember playing once as a little kid at my friend Janel Reese's house. I got tired and crawled into their coat closet to take a nap when no one was looking. When I woke up everyone was in sheer panic looking for me. I like tight places - I like to feel walled in, and as odd as this seems, I like to be inside of things or apart of things that make me feel immeasurably tiny. There is so much of this here. I think I love caving and narrows hiking and rock climbing more than anything else out there.

After climbing through the crack we ate a picnic lunch and then we spent some time messing around trying to do some bouldering. I need to be stronger. Though I was kind of proud of myself. I think I can get better and better at this. Trev and I are going to go back up tonight or tomorrow to practice more. It uses a crazy amount of muscles - and I am SORE today. But for an afternoon in the sun clinging to and shimming through sandstone - the aching back and arms are totally worth it.


This top picture of me actually makes the crevice look shallow, because it is toward the end of the crack and the slit isn't as deep - but you get an idea of how big it is by the first two pictures. The last snap shot is of me climbing up through a hole in the top of a cave. My arms were exhausted after climbing up this one. The funniest moment of the day happened here though. Trev has a little trouble with his right leg - left over from his first brain surgery - he never has regained full muscle control in it. I am amazed at how well he compensates though. He has to work really hard to climb, because he essentially cannot rely on that one leg. Well, coming up through the hole we really most of the up routes relied on footholds. Trev rocked most of it out with just his upper body strength. I was below him in case he fell - the concept being that he would fall on me and I would just break that fall a bit - and our friend Blake was up above him, with an arm reached down through the hole in case he needed to grab Trevor. Trev got tired toward the top and told Blake to just pull him out. Blake did pull all of Trevor out...all of him but his pants that is. His shorts got hung up on a rock and he mooned everyone around. I told him it was no big deal 'cause he has cute tail-end. We laughed and laughed about his all day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

a {MONSTER} of a day

What do you do when you live in one of the world's loveliest desert playgrounds?

Why you play in it, of course!

Trev, Ripsi and I hiked the West Canyon Trail today in Snow Canyon State Park. It was incredible. More and more I love our new desert home. There were adorable little lizards cruisn' all around, hawks soaring overhead, and every now and then a dash of blue in my peripheral vision: bluebirds, that out of the corner of my eye look like a piece of sky tumbling to earth. The plants are amazing too. Yucca, cacti and I was surprised at how many wildflowers there actually were. We had a wonderful hike.

But the highlight definitely had to be when I spotted this amazing creature off to the side of the trail.This is a Gila Monster in the wild! I have never seen one before and can't believe how big they are. I learned later from a park ranger pamphlet that they are the largest lizard in the United States. They are also venomous and are rumored to have a nasty bite. We didn't investigate to find out, though if Ripsi had the option she certainly would have. She really wanted to go after the Gila. Dumb dog.

Anyhow - I guess it is fairly rare to actually see a Gila. Their numbers are decreasing and they aren't crazy about people. We had to call and report the location and time of our siting to the State's Wildlife Resources office. It really was amazing. Gila monsters have been around since the tyrannosaurus dinosaurs, they are an ancient wonder that delighted us as a new discovery this afternoon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Braggin' Rights....

You all know my husband right?

If you know him, you know how brilliant he is...and now those just getting to know him in Saint George are realizing how brilliant he is too. That is right, after only one semester at Dixie Trev is taking the place by "storm" (ha - get it, cause the college has just gone through this whole identity crisis phase and finally settled on the "Red Storm" as our mascot...which really is a conversation and phenomenon that deserves its own entire post, because I am not really sure how a person is supposed to dress up as a storm in order to make the crowds cheer at games...but anyway) I am proud to announce that Trevor is the Business department's...
Student of the Semester!

I know from my own facutly meetings how seriously the college takes these awards, and I am very proud of him. The coolest thing about this though is that it really says more about his character than his brains.

In the words of the Student Affairs Director: the student of the semester award should recognize a student for "not only getting good grades in the classroom, but who are blessings to their departments. Students of the semester should be known for putting grades and kindness at the top of their priority lists, and that students who might be incredibly smart but are unwilling to help others in the class or by participation are not Student of the Semester caliber candidates. This award is not only about class achievement. It is about character."

And there you have it. I couldn't say it better myself. Trev spends endless hours at the college. He studies really hard and has set the curve on most of the tests in his classes. But he also spends a lot of time helping others in his classes study. The other night he had a group of class-friends over and they all kept telling me that they thought Trevor was a genius, and that they were passing the class because he could help them understand.

I couldn't be more pleased with my brilliant, sweet, kind spouse. Way to go baby.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Anybody?

I mostly try to keep my political opinions off my blog. I mostly try really, really hard not to give into the temptation to shoot my mouth off concerning my feelings about public officials or public policies here in this space...but on occasion my temper gets the better of me. I blame this on my hair color. Doesn't the hair color lore claim that red heads are hot-tempered?

So if it makes me cranky everytime I turn on the news I am blaming it on my hair...as opposed to the incredibly corrupt creeps in Washington.


I have some serious problems with the amount of money (taxpayer money at that) being spent by our government right now. I think it is morally reprehensible that if you consider just what our government has spent to date and how it will effect the future taxation of American generations that my little eight-year-old sister could already be considered to be $36,000 in debt. I think it is fiscal child-abuse.


Particularly when the first $787 billion stimulus pacakge contained earmarks like $150 million for parking improvements at a Little League facility in Cidra, Puerto Rico, and $6 million for a "snowmaking and maintenance facility" at Spirit Mountain ski area in Duluth, Minnesota. or how about any other of these little beauties:


$1 billion for Amtrak, which hasn’t earned a profit in four decades.
$2 billion to help subsidize child care.
$400 million for research into global warming.
$2.4 billion for projects to demonstrate how carbon greenhouse gas can be safely removed from the atmosphere.
$650 million for coupons to help consumers convert their TV sets from analog to digital, part of the digital TV conversion.
$600 million to buy a new fleet of cars for federal employees and government departments.
$75 million to fund programs to help people quit smoking.
$21 million to re-sod the National Mall, which suffered heavy use during the Inauguration.
$2.25 billion for national parks. This item has sparked calls for an investigation, because the chief lobbyist of the National Parks Association is the son of Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wisc. The $2,25 billion is about equal to the National Park Service’s entire annual budget. The Washington Times reports it is a threefold increase over what was originally proposed for parks in the stimulus bill. Obey is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
$335 million for treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.

$4.19 billion to stave off foreclosures via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The bill allows nonprofits to compete with cities and states for $3.44 billion of the money, which means a substantial amount of it will be captured by ACORN, the controversial activist group currently under federal investigation for vote fraud. Another $750 million would be exclusively reserved for nonprofits such as ACORN – meaning cities and states are barred from receiving that money. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., charges the money could appear to be a “payoff” for the partisan political activities community groups in the last election cycle.
$44 million to renovate the headquarters building of the Agriculture Department.
$32 billion for a “smart electricity grid to minimize waste.
$87 billion of Medicaid funds, to aid states.
$53.4 billion for science facilities, high speed Internet, and miscellaneous energy and environmental programs.
$13 billion to repair and weatherize public housing, help the homeless, repair foreclosed homes.
$20 billion for quicker depreciation and write-offs for equipment.
$10.3 billion for tax credits to help families defray the cost of college tuition.
$20 billion over five years for an expanded food stamp program.


Anyone can find this information for themselves by perusing back issues of U.S World News and Report - or by actually reading the bill HERE. The latter suggestion which is slightly ironic since so many representatives and senators have been trying to save face by claiming that they didn't read the bill in its entirety.


If people are not outraged it isn't becuase they need to dye their hair red, it is because they are not paying attention.


As today is the last day of Tax season there are many demonstrations going on all over the country. Go. Attend one, be a part of this lovely and patriotic grassroots campaign to say that this type of reckless spending and future taxing is not ok with the American people. You can read all about Tea-party demonstrations and find one near you HERE.

Monday, April 13, 2009

We Cannot Become What We Need To Be, By Remaing What We Are

I fear stagnation. My family and friends sometimes razz me because I am constantly moving and constantly working on some new project or hobby. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and maybe it is because Trev was sick last year, or maybe it is because a woman I used to babysit for just passed away or maybe it is just because of the newspaper article I read about a mother and her baby being killed in a car accident. But I find this life to be so very fragile. And I think I have some unspoken, deep-rooted fear that I am going to look around one morning and it will all be lost in meaningless things: the hours of lame reality TV I watch, the unneeded naps I take, the two hours I spend painting my toenails. These thousands of wasted hours and minutes that count for nothing seem to also count against me at the same time. And sometimes I worry that if I could tangibly stack up my productive time and energy against my non-productive moments that the scale would be hideously tipped one direction. And all of this makes me so sad and disappointed in myself and overwhelmed.

Alternatively, I recognize this sort of self-unsatisfaction is a double edged part of my personality. While I suppose it is good to constantly want to be better, I know the intensity of that urge is something I have to be careful of. I can negatively spin myself into a self-deprecating cyclone so fast it would make your head spin. And maybe what matters most in life is that we continually TRY to better people, regardless of whether or not we ever reach our goals. My father always tells me that his favorite line from my patriarchal blessing is a warning to "not run faster than you are able, nor labor more than you can bear." I know this about myself.

Still, this week I am in a rut. I am feeling the overwhelmed-panic-pressure feeling I get when I look at my life and worry I am wasting it. When I can't ever quite accomplish all I want to accomplish in a day and when it seems that I need to be improving somehow, somewhere. I worry that I am not doing enough spiritually, financially, civicly, personally, academically and in a thousand other "ly" adjective areas.

And so I was pacified and pleased when I stumbled upon an article called "How to be a better person in 7 days." It seems simple, manageable and might be just what I need right now.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter always brings...

An appreciation of many things and blessings. One of which is my sweet, compliant husband. Our conversation last night went like this:
C - "What are you wearing tomorrow?"
T - "I don't know. My usual suit."
C - "K. Well, I am going to wear purple."

Then our conversation this morning went like this after I noticed Trevor was now wearing a green suit and a blue tie.

C - "No! We are wearing purple!"
T - "I don't want to wear purple."

Now, in my most rational ofAdd Image minds I know it does not matter if my husband wears purple. But for me, there is something about Easter Sunday and matching outfits. It is silly and inconsequential. But it matters to me.

C- "I don't care what you wear any other day of the year. But today I care that you wear purple."He is a good man.
HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apiphobia

I suffer from an irrational fear of bees. I really, really don't like bees. I only feel a little bit sad when I read all the recent news about the danger of bees becoming extinct. And even then, I am not sad because I worry about the bees, but rather I am concerned about who or what will pollinate the crops that produce my food. Did I mention I don't like bees?

This may have something to do with two childhood events from my life. As a little girl my parents always told me: "If you don't do anything to the bees they won't do anything to you." This is the mantra I would repeat in my head anytime I found myself near a hornet, wasp or bee. I clung to the security of these words, lived in faith of this promise. Until I was about eight years old and the bees broke our social contract.

I was climbing a tree in our yard. To reach the limb I wanted I climbed on top of our old doghouse and began stretching toward the tree. Suddenly I found myself in a massive cloud of wasps. They were dipping and diving, biting every bit of skin they could find. I had one bounce across my lip leaving three stings, a few more flew up under my shirt to sting my belly and chest. Something like 40 stings later I ran into the house screaming, "I didn't do anything to the bees!" My mother cut up onions and put them on my stings, my dad came home from work and discovered and then sprayed the wasp's nest in the doghouse and I showed off my many wasp bites at show and tell later that week.

While this was traumatic, I might have cut the bees some slack if it had ended there. I can see how they were confused. After all, I hadn't known I was climbing on top of their house and they hadn't known that I wanted nothing more in my life than to just leave them alone so they would leave me alone.

However, a few years later while riding my bike home from school I was again accosted. This time by a single bee who flew up the leg of my shorts and stung, stung, stung my rather tender hiney. I remember bawling on the side of the road behind a bush, my shorts unceremoniously down around my ankles while my little sister tried to pull out the stinger. And this time, there could be no confusion. I had done NOTHING to the bee.

This is my biggest problem with bees. They have no respect.

Like this bee. I thought I would spend a sunny Saint George morning laying out to get a tan while grading my student's papers at the same time. Why not mix some business with pleasure right? I was grading along when I heard a fateful buzzing. Looking up I saw this:
Isn't it huge? I dashed inside without grabbing my papers. The crazy thing is that the bee stayed buzzing above my deck chair for nearly a half hour. I sat paralyzed with fear behind my screen door, in case the bee might mistake my move to get the papers for a move against him. He just kept buzzing there. Really the following video clips say it all...

Standoff with the Bee: Part One

Standoff with the Bee: Part Two

Standoff with the Bee: Part Three

I eventually got brave enough to take a couple of swings at the bee with Trev's tennis racket (come -on - do you really think a fly swatter would have done much good?). He finally flew away and I was able to retrieve my essays. I left to teach my class only a little worried that he would tell all the other bees about my swatting at him and they would be waiting for me to return home, hidden away in the eves, just waiting for the right moment to dive and sting.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CrAzY OuTlAnDiSh InFuRiAtInG dEpReSsInG

So I stole this from Di's blog because I am that kind of friend and because it is sooooooo INSANE. Do you have any context for the 7 trillion dollar spending spree our government is pushing? Here - try this and GET SOME. If it doesn't make you want to puke and pull your hair out or curl up in a small ball and rock in a corner I'm not sure what will.....

Oh - and if the President can now order a private business to fire their executives how can I fire a good portion of the sitting senators and representatives? More and more I feel like I don't recognize this country.

And - on this subject - I think it is GREAT the AIG guys got their bonuses. And if anyone wants to be ticked off about that be angry that you paid the perfectly legal contracted bonuses via a government that should have kept its nose and our tax dollars out of the private sector.

I have to sign off now. I can feel my blood pressure rising.