Love Rules

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I am so thrilled today to learn that the 10th Circuit Court in Denver has ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional!  As I write this, I have tears streaming down my face and snot running out of my nose.  This isn’t an abstract idea for me; people I care about are affected by the ruling.  I believe that their right to marriage can only make the world a better place.  The love of two committed individuals cannot possibly endanger my own marriage or that of anyone else.  In fact, I believe having more, strong, committed marriages strengthens the institution.

In March 2013, three couples filed suit challenging Utah’s discriminatory Amendment 3, banning same-sex marriage.  They were: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Karen Archer and Kate Call, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge.  In December of last year, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby struck down the ban.  I was amazed at the time.  I mean, Utah?  Really?  But then, Utah being Utah immediately appealed to the court for a stay that was granted on January 6.  During that time about 1300 couples were married.  Although Utah tried its best to deny those marriages, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ordered the marriages would be recognized.

Then this last April, the three couples traveled to Denver along with many supporters to have their case heard by the 10th Circuit Court.  We’ve been holding our breath since then to hear the decision.  Today we all breathed a huge sigh of relief!  It makes me so happy to see the constant Facebook notifications of people celebrating this historic moment.  I think there is hope for this world afterall:)

 

 

Salt Lake City Pride 2014

Adobe Diversity
Salt Lake City celebrated its 40th Pride Festival this last weekend. Craig and I had the opportunity to march in the parade with the Adobe Diversity Leadership Council group. Being in the parade is a whole different view than watching from the sidelines!

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Amex shows their pride

In this important year for the LGBTQ movement the theme of the festival was “Love Equals Love”. The parade was led by the three Utah couples in the Kitchen vs. Herbert case against Amendment 3 which bans same sex marriage; they are Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, Kate Call and Karen Archer.

Last December, there were around 1300 couples married during a 17 day window from when U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional, and when the state won a stay while appealing that ruling. Many of these couples rode or walked alongside the Marriage Equality float.

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We saw our friend, sweet DJ Naomi, getting ready to ride the Club Gossip float

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Samba Fogo posing for a photo op.

 

It was  a fun day.  I heard that the entire parade will be shown on Park City Television this coming weekend.  I plan to watch!

Road Trip to Zion

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We’ve lived here in Utah ten years this week and this is the first time we’ve been to Zion National Park.   Our attempts to get there are really rather amusing.  Last September, we drove down to St. George to visit Craig’s parents and to borrow their luggage.  We thought, “Hey! Let’s go to Zion’s while were here!”  Not considering that it was Labor Day weekend, we packed up and headed for the park.  Everyone in the world was there!  The parking lot was full and the only choice was to go to town, park, and take the shuttle back.  We didn’t have that much time, so chose to come back a different day.

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We chose Memorial Day weekend!  Yes, we are brilliant.  Really we thought that we’d go after the weekend and all would be fine.  So we drove back down to his parents.  On Tuesday, we had a leisurely morning, then set out towards the park.  We’d gone barely a mile and Craig realized he had forgotten his sunglasses, so we turned around.  We set out again and after we’d driven somewhat farther, my phone rang.  It was an important call I had been expecting, about which I’ll share in a few days.  Anyway, we had to turn around again so I could take care of an important task relating to the call and involving my computer which was back at the in-laws.

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So back we went.  By now it’s lunch time and we’re all hungry.  We decide to eat lunch and then try again.

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Oh wait.  Craig read his email and discovered that someone had scheduled him for an important, perhaps life changing, phone call that afternoon. It’s getting quite comical now.

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My sun and stars:)

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On Wednesday morning, we decided to try again before we headed home. This time we got all the way to the park!  We parked and hopped on the shuttle that drove us through the park, stopping at the sights to see.

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We decided to forgo the walk along the edge of the cliff face.  That arrow is pointing at a hiker.

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Here is a better view of what he’s walking across.

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The scenery was grand and breathtaking.
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Spectacular it was.

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If you’d like to see more pics, I’ve put them over on Flickr.

Here Be Dragons

Many people come to Utah for the winter snow. I hear it is the best snow in the country. As for me, winter is when I most want out of Utah. But then spring comes, the weather warms, the flowers bloom and I remember what it is that keeps me here. When the sun comes out, the people come out – or maybe that’s just Craig and I coming out of hibernation and we happen to notice the people that were really here all winter!

Salt Lake has so much to offer in the spring and summer, much of it free or very low cost. From farmers markets, to cultural celebrations, outdoor concerts and poetry under the sky, I plan to share some of the bounty with you over the upcoming months.

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For Craig and I, our season of non-hibernation started last week with Poetry Over the City.  We sat in the small amphitheater in Cottonwood Heights, above the neighborhood of mountainous houses, surrounded by trees and chattering magpies and the earth reaching up behind.  We were there to hear our good friends Sara Caldiero-Oertli and Alex Caldiero, April’s featured poets.  The natural environment here was more than just a backdrop to the poetry; it was part of the poetry.  As the wind whipped through her hair, Sara’s humor and wit came through clearly in her words.  I love the mischievous smile on her face as she reads from her notebook of poems.

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Melissa Bond is another local poet.  Her poems are quietly electric, cutting straight through to truths.  Much of her work describes the harsh realities and beauty of motherhood and being a woman.

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I hadn’t seen Alex in months.  I knew that he had been sick, but wasn’t prepared for what I saw.  Alex is known as The Sonosopher; he plays with sound, with phonemes, morphemes and any noise the mouth can make.  His poetry is big and bold.  The Alex I saw last Thursday was merely a shadow of his former presence.  He no longer seemed large enough to contain his poetry.  Still he made art.  He stood with his mouth close to the microphone, “Bu – Ta – Ta”, his voice and breath joining the sound of the wind as it whispered by the microphone.  The vocalizations started soft, then grew louder, bigger – bigger than he, but perfectly at place in our surroundings.

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A few more poets shared their work with us.  The organizers of the event hope to make this a monthly occurrence, with featured poets followed by an open mic.  They were talking about expanding it, perhaps with some music, wine and food.

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At the end of the performance, I looked up and saw this dragon watching over us.  Do you see him?

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program…

…to bring you this mid-week excursion.

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Craig and I made a spontaneous decision to take a jaunt up to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and to Crystal Hot Springs.  We got up early, packed a lunch, grabbed our cameras and bathing suits and set off.

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The refuge was quiet and empty.  This is a major stop over on the western fall migration, but most species have already moved on.  We were hoping to see some of the 30,000 Tundra Swans that are here right now….

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but they are hiding from these guys.  I don’t have a problem with hunting per se.  I eat meat and poultry.  I don’t believe in hunting merely for the joy of killing something.  Are these guys really going to eat those swans?  And there are some black feathered birds in there that I suspect aren’t on the approved hunting list.

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These are the only living swans we saw.   The other 29,996 – I mean 29,994; I forgot to count the two in the previous photo – were hiding in the no hunting zone.

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We did see some grebes.

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and red-winged blackbirds.

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and this cute fellow!  I haven’t identified him yet; any ideas?

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We saw several Great Blue Herons.

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After our trip around the refuge loop, we headed on to Crystal Hot Springs and my drug of choice.  The water at the springs has the highest mineral content of any springs in the US.  It’s full of good things including selenium and lithium.  We were very calm after our two hour soak and I may have refused to bathe afterwards;)

Road Tripping

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We took a super fast trip down to St. George, Utah this weekend to see my husband’s parents.  While down there, we thought we’d stop off and see Zion National Park since we’d never been there.

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It was a most terrible idea.  The entire world was there.  There was no place to park; we would have had to drive back to town, park there, and take the shuttle back up to the park.  We just didn’t have that much time, and frankly I am more interested in seeing the scenery unmarred by millions of humans.

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So we drove around a little in the area and still got some good scenery.  Southern Utah is gorgeous.  It was an overcast day, so my pictures are not very clear.

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How would you like to live down there?  Not the place to be during a flood I think.  I’m pretty sure the feng shui is off too.

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There was a beautiful sculpture of the Earth Mother in a nearby park.

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We stopped and had a buffalo burger.

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Both the spot and the proprietor were quite full of character.

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Saw some wildlife;)

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the west

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Wagons ho

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I have to say, I love road side attractions.

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I wonder if they ever found that virgin.

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At the end, we found some wonderful pecans:)

Join Me for a Virtual Birding Adventure

bear river bird refuge june 2013
Red Winged Blackbird
Yesterday, a friend and I went to visit the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. I haven’t been there in over a year.

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Great Blue Heron
It’s one of my favorite day trips here in Utah.

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Western Grebes
All the cares and stress that build up just slip away when I’m there with the birds and the air and the water.

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American White Pelican
It’s time to paint more pelicans.

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American Avocets
These guys are so dainty:)

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Black Necked Stilt
I don’t know if this is mom or dad……

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Eggs of Black Necked Stilt
but it thought we were way too close to the nest! Can you see the eggs there?

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White Faced Ibis
These birds have the most amazing, iridescent plumage.

There are more pics over at Flickr if you want to see them:)