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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Hello Gorgeous"

I have had a request from a reader to write about the positive aspects of living in Utah. I am happy to do just that. Utah is an unbelievably gorgeous place. The mountains are breathtaking and I never tire of looking at them. They are visible from just about anywhere and we can enjoy them even while sitting outside at our favorite pizza place. The view from my back yard is spectacular and I am thankful every day that I am lucky enough to live surrounded by such beauty.

Our family also prefers the slower pace of life here. It seemed in Northern California, we never had any down time. Sports were seven days a week. The kids had loads more homework and Dave worked and commuted more hours a day. Family has great value here and as a result, we have more time to spend with each other. I know that the Mormon Church has instilled that value in its followers. I love that and am grateful for it.

I have two teenagers and Utah has without a doubt been a safe place to raise them. The issues that face so many teens in our nation are just not as prevalent here in Utah. While I am certain there are teens here that are drinking and doing drugs – my impression is that it is A LOT less. The same goes for teens and sex. I am not so na├»ve to think that some kids aren’t having sex, but not the majority for sure. Peer pressure is to NOT do these things and that has made it easier for my kids. They don’t struggle with “Just Say No” since they are not asked to participate. Their friends are good kids from nice families!!! What kind of parent wouldn’t like that????

So there you have it - despite my frustrations with living in this homogenous state, we have a good quality of life and the natural splendor brings me joy and keeps me sane. From the moment I open my eyes each morning, I see those magnificent mountains and every day I feel like Streisand - “Hello Gorgeous!”

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall..."

Have you ever played the game telephone? Remember, how the first person tells the second person something and the information gets passed around in a circle and usually by the time it gets back to the original person, the information has been totally distorted. My theory is that everyone hears what they want to hear and interprets the exact same thing in a completely different manner. Then, they take their interpretation and actually change the original message.

So it doesn’t surprise me that this has been the case with my blog. Occasionally, I read a comment and think – “Did this person read what I wrote?” Apparently, a couple of readers are determined to make me the “bad guy”. I am OK with this as I know my heart and my actions. I look in the mirror every day and am comfortable with the woman looking back at me. I am not perfect, by any means, but I know that I am kind to everyone and do my best to judge each person as an individual. I have taught these values to my children and as a result they are at ease with themselves and with others who are different.

I have lived in Utah for four years and have found the people here are in general, polite, helpful, and pleasant. However, I have also found many of them to be tremendously judgmental of those outside of their circles. I do believe that this is mostly a result of lack of exposure to people of different faiths, cultures and lifestyles. Like it or not, this has been rough on my family. I don’t get why that offends some people, but it does. Truth is - I don’t care. I tell my story, and you can’t change it to fit what makes you comfortable. You get your own story and I get mine.

So - read at your own risk – if this blog upsets you, it is my guess that is because you may see some of yourself in these recollections. Try this – “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…..”

Looking in the mirror can be frightening if you aren’t comfortable with your own reflection.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Forget About It" Donnie Brasco

A wise friend once told me that a person who is mean and stupid is not worth a single moment of your time. If a person is just mean, you might have a rational discussion by appealing to his or her intellect. If a person is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but kind – you may appeal to his or her heart. Mean and Stupid – “Forget about it!!!!”

So, I haven’t blogged for about a month now. I have been so content with my life that I didn’t feel the need to vent. Amy started college and David started a new high school. They are both blissfully happy and seem to be (at least for now) out from under the pressure cooker they felt last year. Amy loves that she is no longer in the minority and is surrounded with intelligent, open- minded, and diverse people. David is also in a more accepting and diverse school environment. Who knew that a simple change in location could bring about such a shift in our family’s comfort and happiness? That says a lot about living in Draper, Utah. I knew it was oppressive, but the unbelievable lightness in my children’s attitude and demeanor really reveals how miserable they were before.

I am moved to write today because that two by four (Utah Mormon culture) smacked by daughter upside the head. For the umpteenth time, one of her high school friends (if you can really call it a friend) called her a non-practicing Jew. It must make them feel better about their friendship with her to make such an absurd remark. They have the audacity to think because we do not practice our religion in the same manner in which they practice theirs, they can rattle off such a mean and stupid comment. Amy is mortified that she is accused of “just saying she is Jewish because she thinks it is cool.” Seriously, what is wrong with these people?????? Amy and I chatted a long time about this strange place and she feels tremendous relief that she is finally “out of there!” Narrow minds and ignorance no longer hurt her as she now inhabits a place where people can disagree without being disagreeable.

So after our conversation, I was reminded of the words of my dear friend about those people who are mean and stupid. Call us crazy – but this family will stick to people who are kind hearted and intelligent. Thank goodness we know what that looks like - it is part of our culture. So for those of you who fit into the other category – “FORGET ABOUT IT!!!”