Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Walk Around my Neighborhood

Salt Lake City is a great place. I have had the fortune to live in the canyons just above the city for the past two years. The area offers amazing views of the valley below that sweeps long and wide between two ranges of mountains and holds Salt Lake City and the great Salt Lake. Living up here means a lot of nature - quail roam our yards and spotting deer grazing in neighbors' yards is quite common. We get a little more and much prettier snow in the winter, and cool mountain breezes in the summer, avoiding the haze that nestles over the city below from air trapped in the valley. We have amazing views of the Wasatch hills and mountains and we live right down the road of at least two canyons for hiking. It is pure heaven and I love it. I will miss it when we leave here and move to California. I will always remember this place.

Here are a few camera phone shots from a recent walk around the neighborhood. Spring is here.

Spring has come to the Cove.

Mount Olympus.

From this hill you can see the valley below, the mountain range on the other side and to the right the Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City.

The hills of the Wasatch Mountains. The cloud play around these hills is amazing and I never tire watching it.

From some hills you can glimpse the city skyline below in the valley. 
In my front yard. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Emus are Freaky

Emus are freaky. Just freaky. Kind of like monsters. Kind of like deranged muppets. I think its the orange eyes. You see the dinosaur connection. I don't get why you would have these guys and a giant ostrich at the petting zoo (Scipio). I admit they are freaky cool to look at, but I don't want to pet the emus. They always look like they want to attack you if they can get the chance. Scipio also has this huge scary ostrich with enormous feet that look like he could kick you across the pen and then eviscerate you. Check out the insane ostrich eyes on the last photo. He looks pissed!

A few more poems from Anna Peters

Thank you again SI for turning me on to this. Anna Peters is amazing...here are more of her poems from her blog. She has a bright future.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shadows passed over the mesa...

An appropriate poem for just coming from the Mojave, close to Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa (below)...

Shadows passed over the mesa, and I saw six eagles sail across the
valley. They rode thermals until they were almost out of sight,
then dove, and swung back in circles over my head. The air seemed
insufficient to their size—one eagle is enough to fill the sky. Two
of the birds veered toward another, and when they met, shook their
open beaks and tumbled for a moment before swinging back into
an easy glide. They made graceful, abrupt turns, and when they did,
the sun hit their backs like a mirror and reflected a fierce copper
flash. The sky behind them was so severe that spots of white light
began to dance in my field of vision. I don't think I could have
watched them any longer if they'd stayed, but they drifted off, with
no other purpose, it seemed, than to fly.

Tennis and Trombone Shorty

Latest Music Purchases:

Tennis - Cape Dory
Tennis - Young & Old
Trombone Shorty - Backatown

I have a bit of problem when it comes to music. I love too much of it, and in such a wide range of genres. That plus the fact that I have an iTunes account and a credit card. And I sit on a computer all day long working, and I work at home which means I can listen to music if I want and not have to worry about disturbing my coworkers. The cat doesn't care.

And using iTunes is just so darn easy. And when you click "purchase" it doesn't feel like you are really spending any real money.

The problem is I have a lot of music and its hard to listen to all of it. 11,908 songs, 71 GB, 33.6 days of listening. And I have a giant box of CDs not yet added to my iTunes library because I have no space. I need a larger hard drive so I can have more music!

I get these bands in my head - I hear a song, on Pandora, or on David Letterman, or via a friend on FB - random ways - and then I think I need to buy the album. So, for example...Tennis was performing on a David Letterman episode we had taped and watched last night. And while I was hanging with friends in Kenya I heard a song from Trombone Shorty and it stuck.

Both very, very different. Both new to me. Both. Now. Purchased.

Today's Poet - Anna - Petits Mots, Petites Morts

Thank you to my friend SI who shared with me this wonderful tumblr blog that she found that belongs to a fascinating young woman named Anna. I can't believe this person is only 20 years old. She writes well beyond her years. Not your typical 20-year old. I wish I had been that prolific at 20 - or even now!

The blog is called petits mots, petites morts. Anna bears her soul, all young woman angst and discovery (I can relate), sharing her poetry, prose, mixed tapes, photography, using pretty much all the known communication outlets of our time (tumblr, flickr, vimeo, FB, pinterest - wait twitter is missing! thank the universe, twitter would be so inappropriate for this). She even bought an old typewriter and uses it to share some of her writing. Seriously what doesn't this girl do?

I've just begun to read through some of her work and I really like quite a lot of it. She makes me miss having a typewriter. She inspires me to revisit earlier desires and attempts to write my own poetry and prose. Perhaps when my life shifts to the desert I will find the creative space to return there.

I've selected two examples below to whet your appetite. Check it out when you've got some time and celebrate National Poetry Month. Happy reading!

Author - Anna

Author - Anna - I love, love, love this one.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ostriches - a poem by Joseph Silver


In a city of casinos,

You wear sunglasses to bed.

After you crash in your

Five dollar shades,

I explore our zero star room

For love notes by cokeheads.
I take a photo of you

Slouched against the headboard,

Wearing nothing but

Skimpy briefs with a cutesy pattern

That should be the flag

Of the United States of America.

We love each other,

At least for a time in this rundown

City that used to be spiffy.

I take another photo, making sure

It’s blurry so no one will know

Who you are if they find the prints.

Then nearly wake you

To laugh at infomercials

But lie beside you instead,

Watching your eyelids

Ripple behind the sepia lenses

You conked out in.

You dream about giant, petrified

Ostriches in this city by the water.

You dream of how we climbed their backs

After eating infinite buffets.

You have this dream about ostriches that

No one else understands except me,

Because we were the only ones riding them,

Wearing sunglasses even though it was night.

Happy National Poetry MonthI picked this poem specifically because it is about ostriches. Because I just saw an ostrich. At the Scipio gas station petting zoo in Scipio, Utah, a place we often stop on drives between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas (and further places south). Those of you who know my blog will recall many photos and writings about this place - a definite Byway stop. So, I have ostriches on my mind, and time in the car to blog this.

What I like about this poem, besides the fact that it is about ostriches, is that it is by a poet I've never heard of - Joseph Silver. He is not a big-name, well known poet. You won't find him on poets.org or The Writers Almanac. He is just a guy, who writes poetry, created a website to share it, and thus is following his passion. And he wrote a poem about ostriches. 

He studied and now lives in New York City. He won some Scholastic Writing Awards in 1989 and 1990. He makes a living running a motion graphics boutique. And I bet he still loves to write poems. So here is a shout out to all the struggling poets in the world. 

For more information about Joseph Silver, check out his website.

OMG! Its 9 days into National Poetry Month and I haven't posted any poems!

This is a big deal to me. Each year I take advantage of this month - the fact that it is officially designated as National Poetry Month - as an excuse to spend some time delving into poetry. I like poetry but I somehow don't spend much time with it throughout the year. This month offers the chance. And now suddenly its the 9th day of the month and I've not posted a one. I am shirking my responsibilities to find and share great poetry. Gotta get busy. Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring in the Desert

There wasn't much rain this year, which seems to have resulted in a late Spring in the desert. The flowers are few and far between. Hopefully more will appear in the coming weeks. If you look close enough you can find some. Found these walking around our land this weekend, and I am starting to learn the names.

Happy Easter!

Golden Bush.


I think this is Antelope Bush, or a type of Cliff Rose.

Beavertail Cactus - soon to bloom with bright pink flowers.

Desert Paintbrush or Indian Paintbrush. 

Tumblr Trends

Do any of you have or follow blogs on Tumblr? When I first started My Scenic Byway, I had to choose which blog program to start it up in. I knew very little about the programs or how to do it. I recall that I mostly considered Blogger, Word Press and Tumblr. For the most part I think I am happy that I chose Blogger. I would like to be more savvy with it. I think my layout is kind of boring and I have a lot of ideas to improve the layout, but I am not really sure how to do it. 

I also started a Tumblr blog this year - also called My Scenic Byway - to reflect this blog, but using only photographs. That blog is more of a showcase of my favorite photos - some that you will find here and some not. I still struggle to find the right layout there too.

There are some really amazing and some really funny blogs I've found and follow on both Blogger and Tumblr - some that are writing focused, but many that are just photographs and meme-type things. Tumblr does seem to be the better place for photographs and creative presentation of those photographs, whereas I've found a lot more writing centered blogs on Blogger. Both exist on both - just trying to point out trends I felt I've seen. And here is the weirdest trend of all - at least to me.

I am convinced that 90% of Tumblr is bored teenagers who create these photo blogs that are entirely repostings of other people's photos that result in these fascinating collage portraits of teen fantasies, dreams and deepest wants and desires. They are very commercial, very magazine like, very fashion-y, very cliche. Many of the photos aren't like mine - interesting but non-professional. No, they look like they've just been lifted out of magazines. They are commercial photography. And again, a lot of it looks like it came out of a fashion magazine. It is fascinating. It is a marketing team's gold mine. There, right there, without ever having to meet these young people - you can see what they like and want. 

So much of the content on Tumblr is design and fashion focused. I am connected to this thing called Blog Lovin' which is kind of like a central place to enter your blog so people can find it. I am there under the label of travel blogs. What are the largest and most popular topics for blogs there? All fashion related. Fashion. Really? I mean I love fashion too, but I guess not as much as our youth population. I guess I was more into it at their age. When we get older we have more varied things to think about. There just isn't as much time for fashion anymore - unless that is a central part of your career and lifestyle. Personally I like the travel blogs. And there are lots of interesting ones out there. Hope you find some joy and something of interest when you peruse mine.

Happy weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Desert House is Taking Shape

The house is taking shape! Next steps - more fill work and other preparations to lay the concrete slab...stay tuned.

Temporary gate and the road, that we created, into the property.
Front of the house - the front door will be there to the right.
Closer view of what will be the front of the house - front door will be to the right.

The main views from the west side of the house.

The water well we had dug a few weeks ago. The well was dug 300 feet down (we found water sooner, but they typically dig down that far. We get about 10 gallons a minute.

Love the Crazy

I love crazy people. I do. I am not talking about the scary, violent type of crazy. I am talking about people who are just a little odd, just a little off, just a little to the side of your normal, every day (and usually boring) person. People who live in alternative universes and aren't trapped like the rest of us by societal constraints. They aren't afraid to say or do things that would make most "normal" people blush.

Have you ever watched the show the Big C? It is on Showtime (which sadly I don't have any more - was sick and tired of paying so much money to Comcast) and just about to start its 3rd season. I watched the first two seasons and loved them. The show is about a woman who is diagnosed with cancer and it is about her coming to terms with this and her impending death, and her dealings with family and friends. It is mostly funny, but of course also beautiful, bittersweet, and gut wrenching. I know, I know you are probably saying "I don't need to watch a comedy about cancer." But trust me, it is worth watching. Anyway, this post is not about the show, its about the crazy. I mention it because there is this great character on the show, Sean Tolkey, played by the actor John Benjamin Hickey, who is the brother of the main character Cathy Jamison, played by Laura Linney. He is this fantastic crazy person on the show. Described as an "eccentric, homeless, anti-establishment environmentalist." I love this character and its refreshingly and frustratingly weird. Anyway, he is a good example of the kind of crazy I am talking about.

Other kinds of crazy I like...

People who are just singing and dancing in the streets. For example, for those of you who live in the DC area, have you ever seen the guy who roller skates in the middle of the streets sometimes, often in very 70s looking roller skating clothes, with big headphones (obviously in his own musical world), spinning down the street in between rows of traffic? Is he still around? Love that kind of crazy.

People who stand on streets with very weird signs that talk about mind control and aliens and things of that nature (you can see a lot of that again in Washington, DC) or who drive around in cars, trucks or vans with hand made writing painted all over their vehicles, again trying to warn us about government mind control or the end of the world. Shouting it out to the world. Like this one we spotted yesterday on the scenic byway driving I-15 between Las Vegas and Baker, California (home of the world's tallest thermometer - a whole other area of crazy that I love - weird, Americana road side attractions). This man obviously has some good intentions - he wants to reach out to others and share his message. Its just that most "normal" folks wouldn't choose to do so by plastering their tractor trailer with giant words and pictures. But he certainly is getting his message out there, right? I for one love things like this. It makes the world a more exciting and interesting place. Crazy people make the world more fun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today's Drive South to the Nevada Border

Amazing Virgin River Gorge

The Virgin River Gorge is located on Interstate 15 between St. George, Utah and Littlefield, Arizona. This section of I-15 is one of the most expensive parts of the US interstate highway ever constructed. That should tell you something. It is amazing! If you haven’t driven through this canyon yet – it is a must. Trust me. I think this drive is one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Think Grand Canyon kind of cool. It will blow your mind.

We drive through it at least once every month or two and every single time it blows my mind. I try to take photographs and they never, never, ever capture what you see.

I’ve seen this canyon in the early morning light, the afternoon setting sun and at night under a huge full moon. Always amazing. I always stare up the sheer walls, into the many caves, hoping to see an animal – I’ve yet to see one but hope one day I will. I wonder where are the climbing routes and how have people managed to get up there? This canyon has some of the toughest climbing routes in the US. I dream of what it would be like to be on top of some of those sheer, rock faces, or to fly over in a helicopter, close enough to see all the details.

This canyon was carved out by the Virgin River connecting the southwestern rim of the Colorado Plateau and the northeastern edge of the Mojave Desert. The Virgin River not only created this gorge,  it created Zion National Park as well.

Check out the few photos below (from different trips)…and remember these photos barely allow you to see the massiveness of this canyon. Better yet, get on the Byway and go see it yourself!

I also found a video on YouTube that gives you a better sense of the magic. See below.