Upon reaching the barren, harsh, dry, uninhabitable area now known as Utah, the Mormon pioneers knew they’d found a winner. Not long after establishing Salt Lake City, Brigham Young (their leader) sent groups off to set up nearby areas. I learned that he sent those groups about a wagon’s ride away from each other, but can’t find a source for that information. Whether he did or not, there are towns all down our interstate and this makes present-day gas station stops very convenient.
What does that potentially-inaccurate history have to do with a hole in a rock? I’m glad you asked!
Sometimes, the early settlers of Utah faced challenges. Hordes of crickets threatened crops in the Salt Lake Valley in the first full year of planting. Tropic, Utah could only get irrigation after building a ten-mile long canal. And, weary members of the San Juan Expedition attempting to find a route to the southeastern corner of Utah found impassable cliffs -then, miracle of miracles, stumbled upon “a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river” (Wikipedia).
They named it Hole in the Rock. Promptly thereafter, they began chipping away in order to move 250 PEOPLE, 83 WAGONS, AND OVER 1000 HEAD OF LIVESTOCK through this hole. I kid you not.
Six months later, they were “ready;” for, the wagons still needed assistance. They used ropes, plus wooden beams supported by posts jabbed into holes they drilled in the rock walls to carefully lower the wagons.
This is another famous site I have not visited, but my son has. His youth group camped nearby and hiked the area, reimagining and experiencing what their pioneer ancestors did. If you want a similar vacation adventure, Hole in the Rock is about seven hours south of Salt Lake International Airport (or 100 hours if you walk).
Author’s note: there is also a tourist destination called Hole N” The Rock, located near Moab. It’s worth a kitschy gander.
I’ve been living in a hole -not a bad one, mind you. I have all the material comforts, I’ve given birth before my biological clock feels it missed something, and I live in a very safe area.
The recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set me wondering, questioning my cozy hole and how much of it is that cozy. For, despite my ease, I am constantly stressed and depressed at my position as a stay-at-home-mother. I feel trapped by my sex, my children’s well-being, and the overall logic of my being the housewife and mother.
Why did learning about Mrs. Ginsburg’s life open this can of worms? If you ask that question, you haven’t read her Wikipedia page.
I tend to get all of my political information from my husband, by choice. I do not like politics, a subject that turns human beings into snarling, glaring dogs -dogs who can talk, naturally, in order to insult each other’s mothers. From Kevin, I heard how Ginsburg was anti-family and pro-abortion.She was liberal. Thank goodness we’ll get another justice soon.
Sound harsh? Don’t raise your hackles until you acknowledge what categories you place political figures in. Yes, categories. CATEGORIES are what drive me mad.
I’ve discussed this subject before, because I do not fit in and I do not like attempts to fit me in. Primarily, today, and in R.B.G.’s tiny but ignominious shadow, I refer to sex (or, gender, if you prefer) .
I recently encountered a female realtor. Dressed in a sheath and high heels, she displayed white, straight teeth and blonde-colored hair. She, like others in the profession, was selling herself. And, as I always do, I hated her for it. I disagree with dressing sexily. Would a male realtor show up in such a getup, displaying cleavage as he outlined the merits of his wares?
I also recently encountered a female repairman. Dressed in long shorts with socks and a company shirt, she smiled occasionally and her hair was short and of a nondescript color. She, like others in the profession, was selling furnace warranties. I marveled at her. She dressed and acted just like the male repairmen we’ve hosted in our basement.
Do you automatically categorize the two women? I do. The first is probably a wife and mother of a few children*, loves romance, and doesn’t know much about her car. The second is a lesbian, likes action movies, and could wire her own house if her cats stayed out of the way**.
Categories, categories, categories. They help us humans in a complex world of other humans. But, they also limit and often diminish those other humans. I feel it. Do you?
But I mentioned Ginsburg. I mentioned women. I mentioned sex.
Ruth Ginsburg is the sort of person I wondered at, as I enjoyed attending any college I wished or voted for whomever I wanted. I’d heard that women didn’t always have the freedoms I enjoyed, historically. I’d heard that women were advised to not go into this career or attend that college on the mere merits of their being born with a uterus. Mrs. Ginsburg’s life story, as I learned, attests to that rumor.
And, frankly, my own husband’s views do as well. While telling me that he values my intelligence and opinions, he simultaneously puts women down for seeking to further themselves academically or professionally. Why? Because family is most important to him, and women who choose school and work do not have large families. Many do not have families at all.
Think he’s wrong? Think he’s outdated and rude and opinionated? Think back to your perceptions of the two women I described. Morever, acknowledge that stereotypes exist because they are accurate; those women are what I described and behave accordingly.
Which brings me to another problem I encounter in my efforts of World Peace and Unity in the face of sexual differences: sexual differences. They are there. Men behave in stereotypical fashions and women behave in stereotypical fashions. There are general intelligence differences. There are anatomical differences, for Pete’s sake! Yet, when I attempt to bring them to surface in order to understand the world, we are (understandably) cautious.
To be fair, stereotypes exist in other categories (categories!!) as well. I enjoy jokes about engineers and play a personal game of guessing which instrument someone plays when s/he asks me (I have a very high rate of accuracy, too!). In that light, why are stereotypes about sex so wrong? Why are they taboo?
Should we ask R.B.G?
“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Women are people, that’s why. We are people who breathe, bleed, feel, and aspire to things. We THINK. Unfortunately, we women are sometimes going about equality as “equality”. We’re sometimes cheating.
The problem, as always, is sex (not the sort that’s gender, this time). I live with all males and prefer talking to males. I know how often this is a factor. When it comes down to males and females, females have the advantage of sex. And, many women are not ashamed to flaunt their attractiveness to gain favors. Hence, my disdain for the realtor and my wonder at the repairwoman.
For, in my perfect world, Ginsburg and women and sex would be nonissues. Merit, intelligence, and performance would be everything. Unfortunately, we humans are not blind nor unfeeling.
Another issue is child-bearing. Women are the only ones who can do it. As part of that package; we have menstrual cycles, fluctuating hormones, pregnancy itself, and a lifelong responsibility to raise what came out of us. This is where I differ from Madame Ginsburg slightly in opinion, since the woman is not making abortion solely her own choice if she decides to keep the baby (I refer to costs of welfare). Still, making and caring for humans is a big deal; someone needs to do it for the future to not suck so badly.
And until surgical techniques improve drastically, that someone is going to be female. Ideally, she’ll be the one from whom the child comes. Why? Attachment issues, darn it.
I have no solution to my problems of fitting out. I have no solution for stereotypical thinking. I have no solution for women like me. What do I have? A respect for people (PEOPLE!!!) like Ruth Baden Ginsburg. Way to be. Not only did she try to be fair, she did so in the face of obviously-sexual discrimination.
Do I agree with everything she said or did? No. That would be silly. That would be a category. What I do agree with is what I said: authenticity, fairness, and merit.
Rest in peace, Madame. May your ideals live on as you intended.
The Great Salt Lake is one of the most well-known features of Utah. After Arches, Mormons, and Mormons; nearly everyone associates Utah with “[t]he largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere” (Utah.com).
In elementary school, I learned that it is what’s left of an ENORMOUS Lake Bonneville that covered Utah, Nevada, and Idaho a mere 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. I also learned of its salinity (about 12%, more than the ocean) and that people used to float in it as a recreational gimmick.
I’ve been there; from biking across the causeway (Antelope Island Road) to the lake’s main attraction, Antelope Island, to touring the island’s bison reserve and trying to enjoy the island’s beach.
You see: the Great Salt Lake is really cool, but is home to some unpleasantness in the hotter months. I’m talking brine flies and mosquitoes. If you’re not far enough inland or far enough water-bound, they’re gonna bite ya.
The Great Salt Lake has a smell. In winter, we refer to it as “The Lake.” Catchy, I know. The light stench is a mix of moldy sea and salty brine flies.
It’s not all flies and stink, however. The lake is pretty amazing. Utah.com claims that swimmers can still float. Their website reminds us of the countless animal (mostly bird) refuges in the marshes of the lake’s edges. We Utahns enjoy amazingly beautiful vistas, whether hiking East of the lake or on Antelope Island itself.
The Great Salt Lake’s science facts are also nifty:
“Four rivers and numerous streams empty into the Great Salt Lake, carrying dissolved minerals. The lake has no outlet so these minerals are trapped. Continual evaporation concentrates the minerals. Several businesses extract table salt and other chemicals from the lake water” (Utah.com).
In winter, Utah experiences a Lake Effect similar to being near the ocean; problem is, this creates poor air quality when coupled with the Rocky and Oquirrh Mountains.
And, as mentioned, it is the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world, nicknamed ‘America’s Dead Sea.’
Bonus fact: because of the lake and its surroundings, Utah has the really awesome, surreal Bonneville Salt Flats nearby.
“Do you have your lunch? Your shoes? Your water? Your mask?”
The morning routine for school is more complicated. Each Monday and Wednesday, I ensure that four boys are fully equipped. The downside is they’ve more to remember, in bringing a personal water bottle (no drinking fountain use preferred) and mask (to be worn all day, except whilst eating lunch).
On the plus side, they remember to brush their teeth on their own. It turns out that they can’t stand the smell of their own breath inside a mask when they forget…
School drop-off looks a bit different as well. The children are assigned to line up on the school’s soccer field; by class, six feet apart. An aide marches each class in at the first bell. Latecomers check in through the office, as usual, but I am not allowed to walk them back to their class -a problem when anxiety rears its head.
After school, I retrieve mine from other groups of talking, eye-smiling, laughing children. The elementary students wear their masks, still; the middle schoolers do not. Once home, I make them all drop their clothes in the washer and wash their hands; again, my middle-schooler sometimes ‘forgets.’
But we’ve yet to see Coronavirus. The closest that green-mist plague has come is “possible exposure” to a neighbor’s daughter who is on a school dance team. They were told to remain home for two weeks, test or no.
It’s odd, this Coronalife. I feel like a closet zealot in my opinions, believing that IT might come again while so many friends and neighbors doubt ITs existence or, at least, ITs potency. I can’t say I blame them, since the friends who take IT very seriously are turning a bit crazy: not answering doors even to their deliveries, washing off the same sort of groceries I immediately put away, and watching from windows as we play on scooters while their children watch iPads.
A relative of mine went off the deep end during quarantine. I never mentioned it till now. That person is fine…er now. But she/he told me that she/he had to make a choice about what was more important: sanity or security. Day by day, I’m being shown that ‘security’ isn’t that secure, so why not choose the sanity?
Sneeze-clouds and doorknob-lickings aside, I feel infection may be avoided or lessened if one uses common sense. Right? And, common sense may still be allowed outside.
On another note, Utah experienced a massive wind last Tuesday. Elements combined to create the perfect storm. Winds nearing or surpassing 100 mph (161 kmh) tore across the northern part of the state, ripping down trees and signs and felling semi-trucks on the interstate.
I received periodic e-mail messages from our power company. The first said 180,000 customers were without power. Another, the next day, said they’d gotten that number down to 96,000. I didn’t receive another after that, but learned that some did not have electricity for four days.
I also read stories of neighbors helping neighbors. The National Guard cleared debris, too. In a time of need, people stepped up to the challenge.
Which is the message I wish to convey today, in the shadow of September 11. Despite what some followers may suspect, I remember 9/11. Moreover, I remember the days that followed. In the aftermath of a terrible disaster, we came together for each other. People in NYC wrote messages of hope in the ash coating firetrucks. American flags flew from buildings and homes. Complete strangers sat and talked and cried and comforted each other.
We may be living in this post-apocalyptic setting of masks, signs, and shortages for some time yet. But, if we can remember our humanity, we can get through this. Together, we can get through anything.
Utah is home to a lot of recreational areas. According to our current governor, “Approximately 75 percent of the state, more than 35 million acres, belongs to the public.”
There’s a lot to do, from hiking through a desert to skiing down a mountain to boating on a lake. What many do not know is that most of our water recreation is thanks to reservoirs. Hey; it’s a desert.
One such reservoir is Flaming Gorge.
“On a spring day in 1869, John Wesley Powell and nine men boarded small wooden boats at Green River, Wyoming to embark on a daring exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Powell and his men slowly worked their way downstream, successfully completing their journey in late summer. It was on May 26, 1869 that Major Powell named the Flaming Gorge after he and his men saw the sun reflecting off of the red rocks.”
A large percentage of the reservoir runs through Wyoming, our neighbor to the northeast. Way back when I was a young ‘un, our church youth group went whitewater rafting through an area below the dam; according to their website: “Our Green River float trips originate below Flaming Gorge Dam. The Utah whitewater rapids span out over seven miles down the Green River.” So, the area I am familiar with is in Utah.
Take that, Wyoming.
I haven’t been rafting since but still remember the precarious movement of the raft, the splash of churning water, the thrill of impending doom, and the great achievement I felt in making it to the shore alive. Ah, youth.
If you’re vising the state and wish to have a similar experience, Flaming Gorge Resort lies a mere 3.5 hours East of the airport.
Saturday, September 5: Announced our NEW poetry contest: A Mused Poetry. Word is that the site might be having issues, so do me a solid and put your entry in the comments if the form (i.e., Doesn’tWorkPress) fails you.
If you have an inner medieval knight, just waiting for his chance at a noble quest; if you’re a damsel in a dress, seeking an archery lesson to deter beaux; if you are a DND nerd inside and out, and wish for the ultimate LARPing experience….
I give you: Evermore.
“Themed like a European village with its own buildings, citizens, and epic story. Guests interact with characters, go on quests, and become a part of the world of Evermore. The village of Evermore is a growing entity with changing themes, buildings, citizens, and quests.”
It’s located in Pleasant Grove, about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City Airport. You’d better go quickly; I just read a followup article that says they’re facing lawsuits on unpaid construction projects….
I’ve been having a great holiday, only worrying about considering the possibility of thinking I ought to plan on pondering the idea of envisioning a speculative schedule involving writing on the blog(s).
I promised this was a boring update, so here are the specifics:
WordPress’ editor still sucks.
I sold my arm and part of a leg for a new cell phone and can therefore read (and comment on!) people’s posts again. The new phone ought to streamline that process going forward, instead of gunking it up to a hopeless quagmire like it did in the past.
I’m changing the Weekly Hilarity Contest to poetry again, but intend to definitely bend toward humor and not to the sarcasm and ridicule of terrible poeming.
My #1 priority will be me and my family. Number two will, invariably, be dishes and laundry -okay, really, ’twill be catching blog posts written by my favorite people (you!). After those, I will post some of my own works (see #5, just below).
My blogging schedule will be liposuctioned to something manageable and …less personal. Maybe.
I will write and publish a book. I will write under a modified name, since I’ve never liked my obviously-born-in-a-certain-decade-or-near-there identifier.
If there is any time left after that, I’ll sleep well, eat right, and exercise. I will also cure pandemics.
I will totally look like this person, all year. (Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com)
Curse you, WordPress, and your ‘new’ block editor a thousand times!!
As to The ‘Rona, everyone ’round here’s behaving like it’s gone and out of there -up till when they enter a store. Kevin, my husband, summed up the odd double-standard in describing a recent work-sponsored river tubing activity to me:
“We didn’t wear masks on the bus, riding up. We didn’t wear masks while tubing. Afterwards, when we went to lunch, everyone got out of his car and put on a mask. Then, when we were sitting right next to each other in the booth, we all took our masks off and ate lunch.”
His exchange reminds me of a friend of mine who has been careful of exposure this entire time. She explained that her children play with their friends only outside, wearing masks. When their cousins came into town, however, she acquiesed to allow her teenage daughter to spend the day at Lagoon (our only amusement park in Utah) -hopefully, still masked.
I draw the line where I always do: slightly to one side of center. I stay home, wash my hands, wear a mask when I walk inside a store or church, and don’t lick doorknobs. I’m also planning to send my children back to school.
Speaking of, school has been a real hot-button issue. Districts in Chicago and Los Angeles quickly paled at the idea and said it would all be online. According to a local news source, Utah’s governor came out with a 102-page document in governmentspeak that said all children would start school ‘regularly,’ with distancing measures, extra cleaning, and mandatory masks. I looked up said document, and was disappointed to find it only came to 96 pages and included cute graphics to help people figure out what ‘hand-washing’ and ‘mask-wearing’ looked like.
I found it to be a helpful guideline for when I may not be feeling up to snuff. I mean, who knew what coughing or a fever looked like before now?
I jest, but find the disease a serious thing. I also find most people not taking it very seriously. I had thought they were assuming the disease to not exist. Since speaking with more people, I’ve learned they think the symptoms have been exaggerated and that their plan is to not be affected by it if they are exposed.
We’re functioning at a normal level, with normal traffic patterns and normal work schedules. Most jobs done with computers are still keeping workers home; Kevin’s been here since March 13. All the workplaces in urban areas or specifically for the government require masks.
In other news, we went camping last weekend. A rest area on the way asked for masking and we all complied. The campsite asked for a three-hour drive, a half-hour of which involved a damaged road through open range cattle country. Read: the site was pretty remote.
A young couple near us donned masks whenever they left their tent but they were the only ones I saw doing so. I guess most of us felt we distanced enough because of our natural, campfire-enhanced musk.
We saw chipmunks, birds, flies, and a mother deer with her child. She surprised me the first morning; a small herd of cows and calves did the second morning.
We planned the campout as a last hurrah before school started, as it was set to begin today. Then, the districts sent e-mails saying they would delay till next week. I have five children of differing ages so they will have differing schedules. Two plan to attend M/W and online, and two plan to attend the full-time four days a week with Friday off schedule that the gov’nuh decided.
And I do mean “up.” Our all-time high was 867 in one day, reported just two days after I wrote. Fortunately, we’re back to numbers like 736, 731, and 788 for the last three beautiful, blue bars of that graph.
I’ve had a bad headache today since the baby awoke at 2 a.m., compounded by another awakening at 5 a.m. As with anytime I’ve felt a little off, I’m paranoid I’ve got The ‘Rona. That figures, since I still do grocery pickup, mask when I go to a public place, and have not agreed to family invitations to public places. Heck; we’ve gotten takeout five times in the last four months.
Pizza: The American Meal. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
We did attend church last Sunday. We LDS normally attend every Sunday; with a communal meeting that includes eating bread and drinking water (sacrament) passed around on trays, then a second meeting by age and gender group afterward. Sunday’s meeting was only The Sacrament. We sat with a bench between other family groups. We all wore masks, except Baby Owens. The bread and water trays remained in the hands of the boys distributing them. We even sang with masks on, reading from our individual phones instead of hymn books. Only the speaker unmasked as he shared a gospel message about spirituality from the podium at the front.
My parents also live in Utah, but their local leaders have not reinstated meetings. Ironically, their libraries and recreational centers (swimming pools, gyms) are in business. Different strokes for different counties, I guess.
In terms of shortages and price increases, I’ve heard that hard currency is running low. The cashier at the kids’ clothing store told me, the internet told me, and the plastic partition at the hardware store told me.
Perhaps you’ll accept galvanized nails in replacement, Lowe’s?
I was able to procure some antibacterial kitchen hand soap at Wal-Mart when I had to go inside. Being 5’8″ tall with long arms helped that procurement. I brought a bottle of hand sanitizer down for any shorter-armed shoppers that followed. The rest of their soaps were in short supply, as were any bottles of rubbing alcohol:
Who needs antiseptics when you’ve got a lonely roll of gauze?
The biggest news, for me, is The School Issue. I mentioned, before, that I’m following a TwoFacebook Group concerned with returning children to their desks, come hell or high water. Members of said group were prominent at a recent meeting in Utah County, where they vociferously (and crowdedly) spoke in favor of no masks for their children. Since I know many teachers personally and would like them to remain healthy, I see no-masking to be a selfish, nearsighted opinion.
Just one of the many, many inspiring and educated adults making decisions for her offspring.
Of all the ways to make the news, Utah, you have to pick this one…
I assumed, recently, that my more-conservative friends have seen the light. With stories about reinfection; with more people we actually know getting infected; with areas shutting back down to curb Coronavirus cases -SURELY opinions would change. Not so. One of my more vocal neighbors just posted, today, about articles against masking and how any legitimate information supporting that idea keeps “getting taken down.”
I know restricting or changing information happens. I’ve seen it. However, I also know that I, like other humans, breathe and cough and sneeze. As such, I’m in favor of wearing a mask, using my turn signal, and not randomly kicking strangers in the shins because it’s my right to do so.
In conclusion, here’s a funny image re-shared by a teacher friend on 2FB:
Sorry; I’m not sure who came up with these. They’re pretty clever.
I remember back when the world shut down, together. My occasional errands to the grocery store pickup or follow-up appointments for the baby were spent driving through nearly-empty streets and barricaded parking lots. Restaurants had signs about being closed and/or ordering online. Everyone locked up at nightfall, even Wal-Mart.
Yesterday, our family got caught in rush-hour traffic on our way up to visit my parents. What is this? I thought, then remembered. My parents and a sibling are two of the few places we go, and I assumed others were similarly, intentionally homebound.
Today, I went to my home-away-from-home: Costco. My experience there, in the last four months, has changed from an uneasy anxiety to over-zealous cleaning to a resigned impatience. A lot of the store has opened up again, sort-of. They still mandate wearing masks, although their cart-retrievers were not doing so outside. The workers at the gas station, outside, were also bare-faced. A woman stood at a samples table inside, though she only advertised her product and did not offer tastes. The food court area showed a simpler menu of two kinds of pizza, a hot dog meal, and three desserts; the condiments were stacked behind the cashier in tiny containers with lids.
My poor Oxford comma.
Also today, a relative of mine visited with his children. They drove across the country to do so, and have also visited “things we can’t do back home,” like a hot springs resort and the local aquarium.
Another relative drove to one of Utah’s rural communities for their Fourth of July festivities. Word is that the city had a parade and threw candy.
He also said that, if we can’t be good little citizens and bring our case numbers down by August 1, he will put us in the corner -erm, make masks mandatory.
I don’t see what the big deal is, especially considering that our numbers keep rising. If the case counts were at least plateauing, I might agree with my more-conservative friends about their right to bare arms and faces. As things keep climbing, however, I say they’re being needlessly selfish about a small scrap of cloth.
I see the rise in numbers being related to the rise in traffic, travel, and don’t-care attitudes. I want things to normalize again, too, people. I also want to avoid contracting a disease that permanently affects some or kills others.
COVID-19 aside, I’m keeping busy and enjoying my ‘break.’ How’s everything where you all are?