"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Winter Update

It seems that lately all of my posts are catch up posts trying to recap weeks or months of activity. I'm following the lead of my blogging friend Jeannie from The Marmalade Gypsy and writing a check in post. Thanks Jeannie for the idea! 
The view from my front door 3 weeks ago

Surviving winter in Utah and some of the worst air in the country! For several days in a row during February my hometown of Ogden, Utah was ranked #5 in the country for the worst air quality. I love where I live except for during the winter. The air pollution here is intolerable and extremely unhealthy. It's the one thing that every year makes me seriously consider moving away, or at least figuring out a way to be somewhere other than here during the winter months.

Awaiting spring, sunshine and spending some serious time with my hands in the dirt. The snow started melting quickly this past week, contributing to my serious spring fever and the urge to spend some time outside doing yard work in the sunshine. 
A picture from our holiday vacation in San Diego

Enjoying every moment I can with this guy. The last 3 1/2 weeks were a whirlwind of celebrating my birthday, a quick overnight stay in Park City for a party during the Sundance Film festival, a raucous, loud and fun concert at Snow Basin Ski Resort by Andy Frasco and the UN, a fundraiser for Family Counseling Service of Northern Utah (I co-chaired the event and am glad to have it over!), the annual awards dinner for our Chamber of Commerce, a couple of Weber State University basketball games, the Banff Film Festival, and a photo exhibit party in Salt Lake two days ago. We always seem to have plenty going on! I'm having fun and thoroughly enjoying this new chapter in my life. 
Andy Frasco singing on the tabletop in Snow Basin's Cinnabar Lounge.
Maintaining connections with my girlfriends. One of my goals for this year is to be more deliberate about making time for my friendships. It's easy to let texting become a substitute for really connecting with friends. I love spending time talking and laughing with my girlfriends and am making an effort to schedule time together with them. We spent the Saturday before Valentine's Day together baking and decorating cookies. We had a great time and made some pretty amazing looking treats too!
Aimee's granddaughter was a quick study and decorated
an impressive number of cookies.
Tessa was a multi-tasking queen.
Tessa's creations, many of which were done with one hand!
Giving my time as the Vice President of the board of trustees for Family Counseling Service of Northern Utah. They're a local non-profit that offers low-cost mental health counseling services to under and uninsured individuals, along with mental health and life skills classes for local schools and other groups. I still support the Junior League of Ogden as a sustaining member. A few years ago I decided to cut back on the number of non-profit boards I was on so I could focus on volunteering for organizations that promote mental health and suicide awareness and prevention. 

Reading some good books lately. My mom recommended The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner, the 39th daughter of murdered polygamist Joel LeBaron. It's a fascinating book, although it was hard to read about the extreme poverty and abuse the author and her siblings lived with. I just started reading A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the Columbine school shooters. She gives a very honest portrayal of what it's like to live in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy and what the journey through complicated grief is like. She's an eloquent and inspirational voice for suicide prevention, mental health advocacy and brain health. 

Following the often frustrating progress of the Utah Legislature, which is nearing the end of its 2016 session. Hot topic bills I've followed with interest this session include a medical marijuana legalization proposal, environmental measures to help reduce air quality pollutants, and an expansion of groups protected from hate crimes. It's maddening to see the powerful LDS church issue public statements against many socially and environmentally progressive bills, effectively killing the legislation from moving forward. Being a liberal-minded, non-religious person in Utah isn't for the faint of heart! 

Wishing time would slow down a little. Gillian is already halfway through her junior year of high school. Next month she takes the ACT test. She's going to be graduated and going off to college before I know it. I often find myself wishing for a reset button on time. I'm acutely aware of the limited amount of time I have left with her and feel like I need a do-over on teaching her many essential life lessons. 
Gillian - the baby whisperer with Tessa's little one. 
Making cookies with the girls.
Planning my grandma's 100th birthday celebration in June. She'll turn 100 on May 29th this year. My cousin who lives in Texas is helping me plan a birthday bash for her. I'm looking forward to spending time with my cousins and other family members in Colorado celebrating her special day. 

Focusing on being positive, gratitude for everyday small pleasures, working on strengthening my relationship with my daughter, having fun, having more face-to-face connections with people I enjoy, and most of all, living for now and enjoying life and spending time with people I love.