Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's been 15 or so years since I visited Utah. The last time, I had a 4 year old boy with me. Need I say more? Driving to Mapleton this time was a joy--mountains as far as you could see--at least eastwards. And snow on the tops of them, like a postcard.

This is Maple mountain. This is the view out of Barbara's kitchen window. Every morning, all day long, every evening.

This is the view from Barbara's front yard looking towards the back yard. I KNOW!!!
What's wonderful is that everyone here can tell the weather by watching the mountains. The other day, we walked into the mall and the sun was shining. As we were leaving, we looked out the doors and there was snow coming down, horizontally! We'd seen the storm coming--the clouds were low and grey and threatening, even as the sun peeked through them.

Crocus are one of my favorite flowers, right behind lily of the valley. I got here just in time to watch them flower... these are the prettiest.

And this is the resident feline, Mateo. The most loving boy cat I've met. He reminds me of the Alice In Wonderland (the new one) Cheshire Cat. He is a man of few words, but those he does utter are brilliant!!

Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

And I've furthered my love for the corvidae family by embracing and chasing the local magpies. While Barbara and I were out running errands, and if one just happened to come into or fly across our view, I would squeal "magpie magpie magpie" and clap my hands like a giddy 4 year old. So what. That's what my heart felt like!!

And on my last morning there, big fat fluffy flakes of snow began to fall. And continued throughout the day.

This time, I was able to slow down and enjoy my visit. I took the time and allowed Utah to settle on my heart. And I came away a better person. And very nostalgic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Journey out West-ish

My girl Sandy

I am going on an adventure.

It's going to be an Amazing Adventure.

I am going to visit my friend Barbara. I am overlooking the drama and trauma of air travel (and decidedly will not go on a rant about it today) and look forward to the landing and meeting--the ensuing squeals and tears and laughter, and the following week of sharing her life. Of reconnecting. Of making new memories and refining the old ones. Of meeting her children and getting to know her grandchildren...

A stay-near-home girl like me doesn't make many of these kinds of opportunities. My last journey was attending Art & Soul two years ago in Portland, Oregon (the most amazing art retreat ever!). I stayed 4 days and when I finally made it to the coast I almost didn't come home (I'm sure I would have found the fastest way home the minute the temps dipped below 70!!). I made fabulous art and met fabulous people whom I still stay in contact with, albeit electronically.

So to call me 'well traveled' isn't even close. 'Happily traveled' feels better.

The Family here will go along--Lillie will stay current on everything everyone needs to be doing and she will be reminding everyone on upcoming scheduling. She's good like that.

I will update as I can, take as many photos as the batteries will allow, and soak up the desert atmosphere.

I am so excited!!!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Portent Portal

Driving the back roads again on my way home. The day had been a little long--getting up and ready to go with Dad to his chemo appointment. Hurry there to linger until 3pm, watching other chemo patients come and go. Some get iron for their deficient systems, some get extra plasma, but everyone's there for the same reason, cancer. My take on cancer used to be immediate death. A friend wasn't feeling well, went to the Dr, was diagnosed with cancer and died the following week. That's the cancer I've known.

This time around it's personal. This time around it's my Dad. This was his 5th chemo treatment and we're hoping his last for awhile. A day to relax into the process, to nap and doze through the morning and into the afternoon. As much as one can with bells from the IV machines, loud TVs (why are the speakers on the back of those personal sized TVs and not on the front?), and patient's families trying to converse over the din of noise. And we were able to nap. Dad longer than I. Perhaps not from being tired but more of a defense mechanism--sleep vs enduring the mind numbing tick of the clock as time passed oh so slowly, measured by the inaudible drip of the IV.

Hopefully this last treatment will put his cancer in remission. It will never go away, we just want to arrest it enough so that it won't spread... that's The Plan. And hopefully Dad will begin living his life being the gregarious man with the best sense of humor ever, again.

Not 5 miles away from Dad's, on the way home, talking with my sister on the phone, I saw her. The red tail from the previous post. I watched as she landed on the telephone pole. I slowed my driving to almost a stop. At the same time, I grabbed my camera bag from the back and began to fumble for the camera. I dropped the phone and laughed as I told my sister I would call her back, that I needed to get this shot (better than running off the road trying to do it all!).

Red Tail Girl wasn't as patient as she was last time and didn't wait until I was completely stopped and focused before leaving. She flew to a tree not far away and landed. As I drove slowly I noticed the nest beside her (did she purposely show me?). I have driven this road so many times over the last few years and not once did I notice the barren tree with a stick cluster near the heart of the tree. I aimed my camera and off she flew again.

I had goosebumps from the weight of what I experienced. The day with my Dad, the long afternoon watching people going through procedures to lengthen their lives even just a little and ease their worries however much, and this--a glance into what might be, new lives living in the wild... hope for the future.