Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Utah Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship

When I posted a self-indulgent post of all the things we did this summer (thanks for reading! Mom, especially you!) some of you emailed/dm/pm/texted to ask if I would keep up the reporting of our adventures (were you just being nice?) so that your families could join in on the exploration. And I am here to say, YES. Thanks for twisting my arm. Just kidding, it didn't even take that much prodding.

So here's something coming up, the Utah Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship. It is so much fun. We went for the first time last year and sat fascinated by what we saw. Sheep herding by the smartest dogs on the planet, but also dock diving and agility competing. It's in Midway, Utah, Labor Day weekend the time of the year when the Wasatch Back begins to be tinged by fall colors.

Also, we took advantage of the food trucks (some special fair food just for the occasion), shopped at the arts and crafts booths (all the slingshots), employed some face painters, went to a wild animal show, and pet close to one million different dogs.

You gotta go.

What: Utah Soldier Hollow Classic Sheedpdog Championship
When: Labor Day Weekend, Sept 2,3, 4, 5
Where: Soldier Hollow, Midway, Utah
Tips: Bring water, sunscreen, binoculars, sunglasses and hats. Make a plan before you enter into the arena (like Disneyland!) and be early to the events you want to see. Seats get taken fast.

See you there!


In my determination to write more (and subsequently stay sane) I have joined author Ann Dee Ellis in a memoir writing group. 3 days a week she gives prompts and then for eight minutes we write. Please feel free to join in! Here's my eight minute attempt today:

In the spring there was an infestation along the Wasatch Front of horses. Big, breathing, wind-swept white horses on billboards. Sexy horses, you know what I mean? They weren't like horses you rode at your uncle's farm with big teeth and swatty tails. No, these are mysterious horses, illusive, you know. Like the kind of horse on a romance novel. If you get me.

At first there were two or three along the highway. What is this? We wondered.

Cavalia's Odysseo!

(What does this mean?)

"The Most Amazing Show!"

But in the coming weeks it was as though the horses were multiplying and suddenly there was a Cavalia' Odysseo billboard every five feet on the highway, on the freeway, on our town roads. Your eyes could not avert, there was no missing it. Every space of our lives was covered with a Cavalia image. It was a deluge! A flood! A smothering of advertisements. In restaurants! On buses! Trains! Commercials on our tv! It was shock and awe! SHOCK AND AWE.

"Wow. What was their advertising budget?" we wondered.

From Brigham City to Santaquin CAVALIA!


The Wasatch Front population of Utah united in our plight. We were together, billboard bombarded. No safe places. No shelter from the mystical. It was infiltration and we were the victims, all of us, together.

And then memes started on Twitter.


In our defense we supported each other with humor. We laughed at the situation on our respective platforms. It was funny. Really funny. People were so clever. A sense of pride grew into our hearts as a community. We were sharing and retweeting all the Cavalia jokes. Democrat, Republican, Mormon, Catholic. It was as though nothing else mattered excepted our shared Cavalia harassment.

But as the besiege continued after months we started checking in on each other at night. "You handling the Cavalia Situation ok buddy?" we asked our kids before bed. "Sure it's funny, but sometimes we laugh away the tears."

I only knew a handful of people who actually went. Paid money. Lots of it. But when you asked them how it was, you got a strange apathy. Almost like they were in a trance, they couldn't look at you straight or give you an answer with an adjective, "It was....really...and then...it was over." Their eyes going to some distant place.

And then, one day, they packed up the big white circus tent on the freeway and the show was over. The billboards started to be replaced with our usual Utah plastic surgery obsession. We went back to our corners, our lives, our opinions and our prejudice. Soon we would forget what it felt to be under the onslaught of Cavalia until we would run into an abandoned billboard south on I-15. The sexy horse giving a side-eye, like, WE USED TO BE SO HOT, YOU AND I.

Months later we watched the presidential election heat up. The country and our state felt the pang of division and derision. We retreated to our sides.

But for the spring of 2016 we shared a space underneath the thumb print of Cavalia. And we will always ask ourselves: was it really just a cover for a government top-secret experiment on communal psychology and marketing?


The Most Amazing Show.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Don't Remember

In my determination to write more (and subsequently stay sane) I have joined author Ann Dee Ellis in a memoir writing group. 3 days a week she gives prompts and then for eight minutes we write. Please feel free to join in! Here's my eight minute attempt today:

I don't remember what it was like to have a flat belly. I had one once (I think). It wasn't flat like a board or a piece of paper. I don't think there's anything in my DNA that directs my physical disposition to be flat. Nothing on me doesn't have some curve. But for most of my life I've had a belly that perhaps pouched in some female way but not much.

Four babies (and one miscarried 14 week pregnancy) sculptured my stomach so that my carrying days are forever molded on my maternal shape. I wonder how many people I meet consider that I might be pregnant, though no one has asked me, but perhaps that's because the human race has learned some manners.

Who knows.

The mission becomes acceptance. This is where I am at. Trainer, body therapist and dietician all reassure that this is the new me. Unless I want to dedicate my life to defeating stomach extension or pay a lot of money for a tummy tuck. I don't have the time and I don't have the money. This is the new me. And this will likely be my daughter's bodies too, so it's up to me to change the narrative.

Bellies are beautiful.

Bellies are beautiful.

Stained with stretch marks, rounded with life.

Bellies are beautiful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I Remember When

In my determination to write more (and subsequently stay sane) I have joined author Ann Dee Ellis in a memoir writing group. 3 days a week she gives prompts and then for eight minutes we write. Please feel free to join in! Here's my eight minute attempt today:

 I remember when my mom went back to school. The night before my father gave us blessings by putting his hand on our heads and pronouncing hopes and visions into our darkened living room. One-by-one until all the kids had been properly blessed, and then my mother. Who lifted off the couch and said with a voice I had never heard before (excitement? nervousness?), "I need a blessing! I am going back to school tomorrow too!"

I wasn't as shocked that my mother and I were both going to school for the first time, me to elementary, her to finish a degree at BYU, but that she had needs. She said, " I need..."

And I thought about that for awhile after the blessing fest was over, after everyone had emptied our living room. In the dark, yellow light from the kitchen made a stripe across our living room floor. I lied down on the carpet on my back and thought about my mother.

My mother, as it turned out, was a real human being. With needs and hopes and desires, insecurities. She was nervous. This was my first registration that adult females were human. (I knew my dad had needs, he was always hungry when he came home from work.) And suddenly, I cared about my mother in a pastoral way, I wanted her to be safe.

The next day I came home from school eager to hear about her day on campus. She was happy and tired. We sat on her bed and discussed our days. We always did that.

Hours later the noises my dad makes when he came home from work--engine, car door, back door, keys plopping on counter, shoes, "Where's your mother?" filled our home.

And she got up to make spaghetti.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summer of Rocks

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Last night of the summer. Tried to take my kids on one last adventure, but they fell to the lulls of the blurry white moon. So we took them to bed and I found a hole in space to sit down and write.

This is our report:

I gasped at The Big Rock Candy Mountain when we saw it for the first time, it was yellow, and red and looked like it belonged in my uncle Brent's train set.

We drove up and down the hills of Moroni, Utah and looked out west for the turkey farms.

I listened to the DNC as I completed the Nebo Loop for the first time ever, stopping for a moment at the displaced red hoodoos of Devil's Kitchen. I was all alone. Cried at the history I was hearing.

We swam in the turquoise waters of Bear Lake with cousins and celebrated victory over Grandpa's cancer.

Christopher and I sat our Bullfrog Spa and counted the Perseids dripping in the night sky.

We found the secret Fairy Forest in the Uintas and left gifts of colored rocks. Then we wound our way over to the Upper Provo Falls and dipped our toes into the glacial-cold water.

We spent the day bobbing around the Payson Lakes--where Ever and Anson tried swimming in a lake with life jackets for the first time "It feels I'm in space!" shrieked Ever. The sensation thrilled them for hours!

We camped over night at Castle Rock Campground in Sevier County, played in the pinkish rock castles and tried to catch striped lizards. We fell asleep with a view of the desert starscape.

We viewed ancient petroglyphs of the Freemont Indians in the Clear Creek valley. Took turns climbing in and out of a pit house while appreciating the cool underground life out of the relentless summer sun. Wondered about how they kept snowfall from accumulating over the doorway in the winter.

Swam at a pond in Hobble Creek Canyon, made sandcastles, ate Cheetos, shared with friends.

Found the prettiest spot in Santaquin Canyon, shrouded in pine trees and hugged by massive rocks. We made tinfoil dinners with eggs and potatoes and drank Catcus Coolers until we were silly. Crossed the stream in our shoes like real mountain folk and sat in the generous shade until the moon came up.

Rode up the Snowbird Tram to the top of Utah, collected granite rocks. This was the day I fell in love with rocks. It's like living on a planet with treasures every where! Rocks in abundance! I can look at them all day long--their colors and shapes, their textures and temperatures. My living room is full of them, like an art gallery.

Stopped into Paris Idaho to pay a Pioneer Day homage to the LDS Tabernacle--the single most untouched Mormon pioneer structure still standing. Had a picnic. Wondered around. Felt the spirit of our heritage.

The girls went to BYU preschool/kindergarten. Ever became a bird expert, Erin examined worms the entire semester. Now we see worms and birds in every adventure we have. Anson indulged in digital planets and played with the neighborhood boys gang. And Pokemon. Iris insisted that every adventure started with her--yellow curls bobbing up and down, up and down and all of us in line behind her--simply infatuated with her everything.

Took the kids to meet their heros, The Aquabats, at the Rooftop Concert Series. Star struck. Totally. Slept at the downtown Provo Marriott after the concert was over. Woke up to, "Did that magic really happen last night?"

Christopher set up and took down the mega slip-n-slide he engineered for the backyard slope maybe 75 times this summer. It never, never got old.

I wore shorts for the first time in my adult life, all summer long. I enjoyed meeting up with dear friends, late nights, story-telling, tarot card readings, waxing philosophical and spiritual, this is our language. My language, the spiritual.

Felt the summer blues, like I always do, just after the Fourth of July. Prescribed patience for myself, introspection and alone time. I have never found a cure, but running away seems to abate it. So we did a lot of that. I survived, it's nice to know myself better and better the older I get.

Decided I have enough to explore here in my own state, my own backyard, I no longer pine for extended global trips. Utah is magic, and I have only begin to solve the desert mysteries.

Fell in love more with Christopher Kendrick this summer. We do this life pretty good together. Can't ask for much more than that.

I really can't.

(I recently did a podcast interview for What Say Ye, it's about Provo, politics, self-arrival, everything. It came out today. You can listen to it here. If you're so inclined. I love you either way.)