Friday, July 30, 2010

On Target

I've been thinking a lot lately about the growing divide in the U.S., the so-called culture wars that rage. The latest salvo fired--OK, it does seem like there are bombardments all over the country every day--is the Target dust-up.

Target (now included in the definition of "person" according to the Supreme Court) gave a donation to the Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota, Tom Emmer. Emmer is very out-spoken in his opposition to issues of concern to gay rights groups. As a result of this donation, gay rights groups are calling for a boycott of Target.

Wait, it gets more complicated. Target has a long history of being "unwavering" (the word Target's CEO used) in its support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers.

So, here we have a company donating to a candidate for governor who opposes the rights of workers that said company is unwavering in support of. Huh?

What's a person to do?

One mother has made her decision. Randi Reitan, the mother of a gay son, decided on a one-woman protest. You can see what her response was

When I first read her story, I felt the tugging of boycotts long past. It's been a while since I boycotted a national company. There was the
grapes boycott, in support of farm workers; there was the boycott of Nestlé . This latter one REALLY got complicated when you started following the string of who owned whom and was affiliated with whom. Talk about multi-national intertwining of corporate interests.

I posted the link of Randi Reitan's response on Facebook with a note that I too would be boycotting Target for a time. Well, I got two responses--one from a dear cousin who posted the EXACT same link and indicated that "Let Target know you DO NOT support this boycott, but rather SUPPORT them in their decision to donate to Tom Emmer's campaign!! I typically don't get involved in these issues, but I believe it's time we LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD!!"

I also got a note from a FB friend who pointed out Target's long-standing commitment to supporting gay and lesbian rights.

Wow--so complicated.

Then I wondered--was this what it was like pre-Civil War. No, I am not issuing dire warnings that that is where we are headed. But, I do ponder--have we become so schizophrenic on some of these issues that we meet ourselves coming and going. Is it possible to hold civil dialogue on such issues? Can we find common ground anywhere?

I do wish that the media would enable such dialogue. I am a strong supporter of a
free press in part because that can foster dialogue. But what do we get instead? Angry voices pushing harder to have us face-off.

I could have used the recent Shirley Sherrod incident as an example. That sad episode illustrates painfully how quickly we rush to judgment without bothering to dig for all the facts.

Where does that leave me? Confused. Saddened. Numbed. Will I boycott Target? Still thinking on this point. Ultimately what matters to me is whether my action does more good than harm.

Oh yeah--it's complicated.

Friday, July 23, 2010


When I first wrote about our new dog, someone commented requesting regular Ziva updates. Well, I can't promise "regular" ones, but here is at least "one."

We have had our first crisis with Ziva. It did not involve sleeping--that would be the first two nights with her in our house, sleeping in her crate, only crying and yipping until I got up and slept in the same room with her. It did not involve obedience school--we have enrolled her in training classes taught by a no-nonsense, but caring, German woman named Gina. It did not involve meeting other dogs--Ziva is the opposite of the alpha dog that Tipper was. Ziva seems ready to submit to any dog or person. She is an omega dog if anything.

So, what did it involve? Well, delicate reader, it involved a gastrointestinal upset, and the consequences thereof. Whether she had a reaction to a chew bone (one of those commercially made ones--not a real bone), or picked up something while walking that we did not see, whatever the cause, the effects are those most all dog owners know too well.

For a day, we kept making trips to get her outside to empty her intestines. Then suddenly, yesterday afternoon, Ziva also threw up. My immediate reaction--uh oh. Make that UH OH. I know enough to be very cautious about that.

So, we called our vet. My husband relayed the symptoms and the duration, indicating we thought this was an emergency and Ziva should be seen by a vet immediately. PAUSE. In fact, a long pause, while the vet's office put him on hold. For what seemed like 10 minutes. When they came back on the line, they agreed--this is an emergency. But we have no openings, so take her to the emergency vet hospital.

Mind, this all happened around 1 p.m. yesterday. The emergency hospital did not open until 7 p.m. But, the vet office suggested we could drive her to another one not quite an hour away.

We scrambled, and began calling local vets. After about 4 turn-downs, one office agreed to see her in a couple hours. Thus began our revelatory adventure.

The new vet office is as close to where we live, if not closer than our current vet office. It seems very well-organized, with friendly helpful staff. We waited in the outer area about 5 minutes before we were called in (our usual wait is NEVER less than 15 minutes). The vet was young, and wonderfully friendly.

First revelation--there is a better vet office nearby.

She did the usual initial diagnostic things--taking Ziva's temperature, listening to her heart and lungs, checking her mouth, eyes, and giving her a general once-over. She laid out the possibilities of what might be a problem. Of course, she listed the one thing we were most concerned about--some kind of blockage. She suggested doing an X-ray, and we agreed.

Here comes the second revelation.

When the vet and Ziva came back in the room, the vet said--well, we found no blockage but we found something else really unusual. She went to the office computer, and pulled up the two X-ray images she had taken. She showed us the side view of Ziva's innards--her small intestine, her stomach, her colon (full of gas), and then she showed us two bright spots above the small intestine. She repeated this viewing with the top view. Same bright spots.

Then she said--did you know that Ziva has been shot at some point in her life. Those are two BBs or pellets or maybe even bird shot.

Oh my. I think I stood there for a moment with my mouth open. Then, I told the vet the brief history of Ziva, including her provenance from Kentucky. (I think I detected a slight knowing look in the vet's eyes--as if all dogs in Kentucky are shot at one time or another.)

So, there you have it. We have a shot dog. The pellets are likely lodged somewhere in tissue and could not be found easily if at all with surgery. They are seemingly not the cause at all of the digestive distress. For that, the vet gave us two prescriptions and some sensitive stomach food for a couple of days.

Ziva is doing fine, a day after her emergency vet visit. And we are convinced that it's time to switch which vet practice we take our pets to.

Nothing like an emergency to reveal things to you, is there?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On This Day

I love the Writer's Almanac. While it can be heard daily on NPR, I usually miss that brief broadcast, so a while back, I signed up for daily emails. Now, I get a dose of poetry and a reminder of some noteworthy event or birthday each day.

Yesterday, for example, I learned that July 19, 1848 was the day that the first women's rights convention was convened in Seneca Falls, New York. While women in the U.S. at that time did not have the right to vote, could not serve on juries, were barred from most institutions of higher learning, generally could not work outside the home, and in most things were entirely bound by their husbands in any decision, the Seneca Falls convention is regarded as the beginning of the women's "liberation" movement.

On the same day, but centuries earlier, in 1692, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes were hanged for witchcraft. While the Salem witch trials have been much debated in history, one thing emerges with clarity--too many of the victims were women who had been marginalized in early colonial life in Salem.

See why I like the almanac? How else might I have known about the serendipitous confluence of the opening of the first women's right convention and the Salem witch trials? The shared date provides an occasion to contemplate an aspect of society: the role of women in society. True, there is no other link other than the date between these events. Yet, in content, there is a connection.

One of the assignments that I have used with my students in writing involves me telling them a story. I tell them that on February 13, 1945, Allied planes took off bound for Germany. Their mission was to bomb Dresden, which up to that point in the war had escaped being bombed. By the time the bombing raids were done, two days later, Dresden had been reduced to a pile of rubble. Some 1,300 bombers took part in the bombing, 3,900 tons of bombs were dropped, 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) lay in ruins destroyed by the fire storm caused by the bombing, and some 25,000 people were killed.

About this point in my retelling, I pause and ask students why I am telling them this story. I never get the actual answer. The reason, I tell them, is because that day--February 13, 1945--is also the exact day on which I was born.

Now, I tell them, your writing assignment is to do some research and find out what IMPORTANT historical event occurred on the day you were born. Hmmm--it's always an interesting assignment. Some students get into it completely; others root out some rock star event and ask if that is "important" enough. Um, no.

So, why on this day? Well, not of earth-shaking significance, I grant you, but 4 years ago, I wrote my first blog. I'll give it another whirl for a year.

Cheers, all!
Painting of Witch Hill by Thomas Slatterwhite Noble, and photo of bombed Dresden from Wikipedia. Both are under the Creative Commons reproduction license.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Nation Under God?

The recent trip to Utah got me to thinking about the subject of religious freedom and religious dominance. Utah, as anyone with even a cursory understanding of U.S. history knows, is the only state since the formation of the United States that set about to govern as a theocracy.

You may have noticed that the topic of whether or not the U.S. is a Christian nation is once again much in the news. There are some people in the U.S. who are pushing hard to undo the First Amendment, especially where it applies to separation of church and state. The concept of separation of church and state takes a regular beating from some folk--pointing out, correctly, that the term "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution. But the question I have is would we REALLY want the U.S. to erase the lines that separate church and state? Would we really want the U.S. to be a Christian nation in the sense that we would govern as a theocracy?

A quick note here, about definitions. Theocracy is generally defined as "a form of government in which god or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities."

A most interesting article entitled "Theocracy in America" gives a sense of what life could be like were the U.S. a theocracy. The author grew up in Utah, with her family being non-Mormons. She has many interesting observations, and I commend her entire article for your reading. Some of what the author points out in that article, I can resonate with, based on our visit to Utah. She notes:

"As you might imagine, being a Utah Gentile can be tough. In fact, living as a non-Mormon in Utah may be the closest a white person can come to understanding what it's like to be a minority in this country. . . It's not that Mormons are bad people. They aren't. They have a church welfare system that is without rival, and their family focus makes Utah a safe place to grow up. . . But the cultural differences between Mormons and Gentiles are significant."

She pointed out that her family was one of only a few non-Mormons in their neighborhood. They were regularly besieged by Mormon missionaries trying to convert them, or trying to collect the tithe church members must give to the church.

We recently visited with an old college friend of mine. Their son now lives in Utah, also a non-Mormon. Our friend told us that neighborhoods are divided into wards, by the church, and that houses where non-Mormons live are marked with Xs so people know a "Gentile" lives there. Gentile is the term Mormons use for anyone who is not Mormon, including--ironically--anyone who is Jewish. Our friend's son has small children, and while the neighborhood where they live has many children, the Mormon children rarely play with these "Gentile" children.

So, what would the U.S. be like if we were a theocracy? Is the Utah experience instructive? Utah, of course, is not technically a theocracy—they gave up that approach to government (along with polygamy) when they were admitted to the United States. It is striking that even though Utah gave up being a theocracy, there are ways in which the pressure is on non-Mormons. During our recent trip, when we were offered to take post-cards so we could request more information on being Mormon--we all declined. But our daughter-in-law got a rejoinder from the young Mormon missionary who was pressuring her. Oh, a non-believer, she sniffed.

True, early American history did feature some colonies that functioned as mini-theocracies. Settlers from England fled religious persecution and intolerance, only to set up places in New England that duplicated those same conditions. I have always been struck by the irony of those first English Puritans who came to the New World to escape religious persecution ended up persecuting others in the name of religion. The Middle Colonies (including Pennsylvania) were a bit more tolerant, at least toward other religions. By the colonies came together to form the union, the concept of not having a state established religion had taken hold.

Whatever the framers of the Constitution had in mind, they clearly intended to prohibit the kind of intolerance that they had experienced that drove them to seek a new place in which to live. The language of the first amendment--Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances--makes it clear (at least to me) that the founders of what became the United States did not want a theocracy.

What of other experiences around the world where theocracies exist? Here, let us turn to current examples of theocracy in the world. Wikipedia identifies three theocracies: Iran, the Vatican, and Israel. Ah--how's that for a nice balance, representing three different religions. What they share is the concept that the laws of the state are the laws that God has decreed. The head of state is the religious leader, either elected or appointed. That leader is the interpreter of God's intent as far as law is concerned. What these examples also share is the dominance of the religion over matters of state. If you are the follower of another religion, you may not be free to worship as you wish under a theocracy.

The particular genius of the United States is that, while the majority may rule, the Constitution also builds in a strong protection for the minority. It is that genius that is lost in those countries that are theocracies. The minority is not protected, and in the worst of circumstances is totally subjected by the power of the majority.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about the prospect of the United States becoming a theocracy. For me, because of our ever-so-brief time in Utah and my own perusal of information on the topic of theocracy, I am unalterably opposed to the U.S. ever moving to being a theocracy. Keep church and state apart. The inch-by-inch erasure of that invisible line that separate church and state is one of the greatest threats to the particular genius of the United States.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Where the Deer and the Antelope...

One of our road trips while we visited Utah was to Antelope Island. We wanted to see the Great Salt Lake, and guide books suggested that visiting Antelope Island was a good way to see the lake.

Antelope Island is a state park in Utah, established in 1981. For some time prior to becoming a state park, the island had been farmed. American bison were brought to the island in 1893, and a herd of 600 lives there today.

To get to the island, we traveled across the 7 mile causeway, the only access for vehicles. As we paid, and drove through the entrance gate, the park ranger warned us that the deer flies were "really biting" that day. Thus warned, we didn't linger outside. We drove around, spotting what wildlife we could see. While we saw only a few examples of wildlife, the island is the home to bison, antelope, coyotes, bobcats, badgers, porcupines, jackrabbits and rodents, along with many birds.

We did spot a pronghorn antelope, for which the island was named.

We hoped to see the bison, but had not spotted any. Along the road, when we reached a bit of elevation, we saw two dark spots off in the distance. We drove toward them, coming upon two bison lying down, switching tails--perhaps to brush away flies. They were totally oblivious to our presence, and stayed lying down.

As we began driving around the perimeter of the island, we suddenly encountered the HERD--what looked like the whole herd. Cows, bulls, and calves--all ambling along. The calves played at the edge of the water. Huh, who knew that bison go to the beach. As we slowly drove along, a bull sauntered slowly across the road. Taking his time. The final shot of him shows his "name"--# 6.

The bison herd is rounded up every year, in November. The round-up is something people come to witness. In addition to riders on horse-back rounding up the bison, the park service use helicopters.

The Great Salt Lake is very shallow, and given its high salinity, has little water life. Brine shrimp are what thrives there, which does attract many birds. The lake did not look inviting, and the day we were there, no one was swimming, sailing or boating. Although I found Antelope Island somewhat bleak and barren, there is a beauty to its starkness. Now, if they could do something about the deer flies. . .

One more post on Utah is in the works--thoughts on living in a theocracy.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog

I have a couple more blogs on our trip to Utah planned, but I must interrupt this blog to make an announcement.


Following the death of our beloved Tipper, my husband and I immediately agreed we wanted another dog. Actually, we have had dogs for almost 40 years. Our first dog, a sweet white dog with black eyes and ears (who our son appropriately named Peek-a-boo) was a mixed breed. No idea what his lineage was. Our second dog was a short-lived failed attempt--we adopted a Welsh terrier from the local humane society, only to have the dog run away every time we opened the front door. Back to the humane society he went.

Then we had two English setters (bench type, not field) in succession. Shannon was 7 years old when we got her, and she lived 6 more years. We loved the placidness of the setters, so we rescued a year old setter named Wanda. She was the dog preceding Tipper. English setters are a wonderful breed, especially if you want a laid-back calm gentle dog.

You know the story of Tipper, and how she came to us. Her death left us bereft, stunned, and deeply saddened. And, it leads to the next chapter in our lives with dogs.

Enter Ziva.
We don't know her whole story, but we do know some of it. I began looking at local dog rescue websites. I usually selected "border collie" or "Australian shepherd" as the breed. I also looked at local humane society listings. Most of the latter had only pit bulls. I know these dogs can be sweet, but I am cautious when the dogs have already been surrendered at least once. I don't know what may have happened to them in their formative puppy months. Anyway, I came upon this dog.
She wasn't named Ziva when we got her. Her name was a frou-frou wimpy name. When we got her home, we could tell she was going to be a character. A sassy, black-haired lively character. So, Ziva popped into my mind (NCIS fans, anyone?) and Ziva she is. (Besides, Ziva means "Illustrious Splendor" in Hebrew--sounds like an apt named for a dog to begin her new life.)

The dog rescue group we got her from had transported her and her litter mates from somewhere in Kentucky. Her mother was a golden retriever, who was allowed to run loose, unspayed. Not surprisingly, she got pregnant, apparently by at least two different fathers. The puppies in litter are too dissimilar. Ziva's father may have been an Australian shepherd or a border collie.

The woman who owned the golden retriever allowed the puppies to run in a pack for almost a year, then called local dog authorities in Kentucky complaining of a wild pack of dogs. Ahem. Of course, she knew the truth was different, and finally owned up that in fact these puppies were from her dog. They landed in a kill shelter, where our local dog rescue group found them and transported them to Pennsylvania.

The rescue people were thrilled that we wanted her. They told us that frequently black dogs are the first to be killed in a kill shelter. I was shocked. Here was something of which I had not ever heard--but there is apparently a known issue among dog rescue people: the
black dog syndrome.

Well, Ziva is now safe with us. She has much to learn. She has not lived in a house, so stairs were a puzzlement to her. She had apparently not seen television, as she took one look at our set, and began barking. She appears to be mostly house-trained. However, she seems to want company for sleeping. Her first night with us, she entered her crate just fine, but after about 15 minutes began whining louder and louder, until she finally burst into yipping barks. After two tries to calm her down, I gave in and slept in the same room with her.

I think we would to well to enroll her in obedience school, and maybe find some other outlet for her high energy.

OK--resume your blog reading. . .
Photos of Ziva come from the dog rescue site.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Road Trip

WARNING: This post contains some comments critical of Mormons. If you think you will be offended, eschew reading this. I do whole-heartedly believe that in the United States there is and should be religious freedom. I also believe that there is freedom of speech.

While we were in Utah, we went on several road trips. Herewith the story of two trips. I have one other road trip story--our trip to Antelope Island, that will wait for another blog.

ROAD TRIP I was to Big Mountain, and eventually into Salt Lake City. We got directions from the concierge at our hotel--she said we could go directly to Salt Lake City, OR (always take the "or"--it's much more fun) we could turn off the interstate highway to Emigration Canyon. Then, instead of following that road, which would require us to turn left toward Salt Lake City, we should turn right. And go up Big Mountain. OK.

Once we reached the top of Big Mountain, we saw why the alternative route was so much better. Wonderful views all around. It was from the peak of this mountain in 1847 that Brigham Young, and his party of Mormons he was leading to escape persecution, viewed the valley below. Young is reputed to have looked down into the valley and announced: this is the place. I'm a sceptic--I have a suspicion the travelers with him were getting tired of the long road trip they were on. Maybe Young sensed a potential insurrection, and quickly announced they had reached their destination.

The route they were traveling--now called the Mormon Pioneer Trail--was not a new westward trail. In fact, as the historical marker pointed out, the ill-fated
Donner party had passed that way the year before. They took too long blazing a trail down the mountain, which delayed their departure to get across the Sierra Nevada mountains before winter set in. (I note that the adjective "ill-fated" seems to be permanently attached to the Donner party...or, conversely, the Donner party is forever destined to be described as "ill-fated.")

I asked our son and daughter-in-law to show a little affection...and, of course, dubbed the photo "Big Love." (Tee-hee)

Yes, the winding road you see is the one we traveled.

Our eventual destination--Salt Lake City. Here are the gardens--quite lovely. What you don't see are the two-by-two sets of missionaries, young people everywhere. They constantly approached us as we walked around, asking if we had any questions about Mormons.

Uh, no--no questions.

The Temple--which non-Mormons are not allowed in. So, we took photos from the outside only. The statue atop the Temple is of the angel Moroni.

We also toured the
Beehive House, nearby Temple Square. Here we had the strangest of encounters. I have read a fair bit about Mormons; I am always interested in learning history. But, I am not persuaded by their religious philosophy. Actually, I find aspects of their history quite puzzling. One of the signature beliefs of Mormons that most non-Mormons would know is that at the outset of establishing their religion, Mormons practiced polygamy. In fact, it was this practice that frequently made them the object of scorn, and resulted in their being persecuted and driven from various communities in which they had settled. Polygamy was adopted as a practice because Joseph Smith, the original founder of the religion, had received a direct revelation from God that he should take a new (younger) wife...and then another, etc. Around the time that Utah wanted to join the United States, the revelation to practice polygamy was withdrawn. OK.

So, anyway, I was curious to see the Beehive House, which was for a time the official residence of Brigham Young. The house is actually several connected houses. Understandably, with multiple wives (he was believed to have had 55 wives), Young would have needed a house with quite a few bedrooms. The three young women who showed us around the house immediately made it a point to underscore that they were "missionaries, not historians" so they couldn't really answer any questions we might have. It was clear their primary goal was to proselytize, right down to distributing postcards for us to fill out for "more information." When our daughter-in-law declined, the one young woman said--oh, a non-believer.

I had taken some photos in the house--then at one point asked something about the furnishings of a particular room, only to have the young woman say--oh, these furnishings are from the time period. In other words, not authentic original furnishings. So, I stopped taking photos. I smelled a distinct odor of historical hypocrisy.

Road Trip II was a simple little jaunt to follow Route 224 out of Park City. And on the map, the road was clearly "there." Admittedly, the map notation did say "closed in winter." Hmmm.

Yup, that is a road.

To get to this point, we had already climbed a mountain road with hairpin turns, drop-offs and no guard rails. I wasn't quite at the toe-curling stage, but I was getting close.

The car you see is the little tiny Toyota Yaris that the car rental company had allotted to us.

We were now at a juncture, and had pulled off into a parking area. I saw a man there playing with his dog, and inquired whether he could tell us anything about the road ahead. His answer--well, yes, he knew the road continued on up and down another mountain, but he had never driven it. His parents lived "over there" somewhere and his brother drove the road, but not him. YIKES. And we were going to forge on? By now, my husband was thoroughly enjoying our road trip, and my palms were sweating.

I just had to show you the GPS indication of the up-coming hairpin. This was one of MANY such turns. In fact, part of the time, the GPS showed our car driving in the middle of NOTHING. No road, just blank space, and the icon representing our car.

But as we reached the final mountain peak, and started down the last hill, this gorgeous valley lay before us.

Once on the other side of the mountain, we continued on to Sundance--where Robert Redford lives. His home--not that we saw it, but we had an inkling where it was--is up a similar mountain road, but it was paved. Pffffttt!!! If you want real adventure, you drive the unpaved road.

I am not sure I ever really understood the closing lines of Robert Frost's marvelous poem "
The Road Not Taken" before.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Oh, yes--it DID make all the difference to take the road less traveled.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Way Out West

We recently returned from a trip to Utah. Now, this state was not necessarily on our list of "places to see" but a friend offered us the use of a time share place, so we decided to go. So, we took advantage of our friend's generosity and went "way out west" (which is where Utah is if you live somewhere in the general east coast of the U.S.).

Our destination was
Park City, Utah, a charming little town with an historic district where they work very hard to preserve architecture that was characteristic of its silver mining heyday. Silver was discovered there in the 1860s, and the town thrived. A century later, silver prices dropped and the town sank into a ghost town status. Then, in the 1960s a ski resort opened there, and from that Park City eventually resurrected as a prime ski destination. It is also the site of the annual Sundance Film Festival.

One of the things we did while there was ride a ski lift, up a nearby mountain. I am not wild about heights, so this little jaunt took all my courage. Just picture me seated on a ski lift seat, feet dangling and nothing below by several hundred feet of empty air.

The views as we ascended were stunning. Then, when we reached the top, we got off and walked around, coming upon the now abandoned Silver King Mine, which made many people very rich. Among other people enriched by Utah silver (though not the mine pictured below) was the father of William Randolph Hearst. I kept thinking about the fictional portrayal of Hearst's life in Citizen Kane. Can you say "rosebud"?

After exploring the environs of the abandoned silver mine, we spent some time at the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Much of the former venues for various Olympic events have been turned into places where tourists can vicariously experience thrills.

Here our son and daughter-in-law try out a bobsled--albeit a stationary one. The Olympic site did offer bobsled rides, but we all eschewed that opportunity. No one really felt like experiencing 4 G force, or 70 mph speeds.

One thing Utah has in seemingly endless display are striking vistas. Park City is at about 7,000 feet elevation, so many places offered scenes like the one above. In fact, in the next entry on the Utah trip, I will recount a day trip my husband and I took--that left my palms sweating.

Stay tuned. More tales from way out west to come.