Stuff, and Weather, Happens


Sorry I haven't blogged for a while.... Stuff has happened. I was sorta sick and felt crappy for a while. Then my blog got sorta sick and felt crappy for a while: some of you might have noticed that a few days ago there was an entry entitled "Testing" that consisted of the word "testing." That was because things weren't working properly and had to be tested.... But everything seems to be healthy now. (Thanks, Jim.)

Then there was this point where I wasn't really interested in my blog; I was more interested in other people's. So I did a lot of catching up and reading and a little commenting. (If I haven't gotten around to yours yet, well, give me time. I was lazy for a good, long while, and I have plenty of catching up to do.) I think plenty of us feel like that from time to time, which is good, or most of us wouldn't get many comments.

And then there was this other thing that happened, which is that I was fairly happy and busy enjoying my life and appreciating weather that was fabulous in the concrete, but sort of freaked me out in the abstract, because it belonged to another time and place, and is a fairly good indication that global warming ain't going away--and will probably be worse than previously predicted.

In other words, I was totally loving Salt Lake City because its fall weather was almost identical to the weather of my childhood in southern Arizona, 1,000 miles away and 40 years ago. And I was experiencing that weather in more than one visceral way, because the building I live in now is about the same age (80-90 years old) as the building I went to first grade in, and has the same heating system: those old steam radiators that can't be set to a specific temperature, merely turned on and off. They put out LOTS of heat. And in the process, they give off a faint but noticeable and neither pleasant nor unpleasant smell, one that reminds me of being five years old and going to first grade (yes, I went to first grade a year early) and of how much I actually liked first grade, back when I first experienced it in 1969.

So, SLC weather through the beginning of November: it's basically what I consider perfect fall weather: the low at night would be right around freezing, but each day the high would get up into the 50s or 60s. The sky would be clear, the air calm. If you were walking along in the shade, you'd want long sleeves on, just so your skin wouldn't get cold, but there was no danger of YOU getting cold--and in fact, if you were in the sun, you wouldn't want a heavy jacket on, because you'd get hot.

This is what November and December were like when I was a little girl in the late 60s and early 70s--actually, it was like that into the mid 80s, when I at least first started noticing that our weather was getting weird. But back before that happened, when winter came along, every morning you'd have to wear a coat when you walked to school, because most likely it would 31F out--or even colder. But you'd most likely carry your coat when you walked home in the afternoon, because it might be 62F. And then, at night, it would get cold enough that you could justify building a wood fire, and there would be that wonderful wood fire smell. Whenever you looked up at the mountains, you'd see snow on them, which was both pretty and made you feel cozy because there was rarely snow on you. It was AWESOME.

I've enjoyed revisiting that weather, in certain ways--it was very pleasant--and lamented it in other ones. First of all, this weather doesn't REALLY belong here--it belongs in southern Arizona, but it's fled from there. My mother told me Tucson still hasn't had a killing frost, which might not seem like a big deal, except that killing frosts KILL THINGS THAT NEED TO DIE EACH YEAR--like mosquitoes and flies and boll weevils. It had always frozen by this time when I was young--on rare occasions, we even had snow. I am sad that something that once made my home wonderful is no longer part of my home.

Secondly, I have lived in snowy places long enough that I've learned to appreciate it. OK, SLC had a big freak snow storm the first week of October. But after that, it was both too warm and too dry for snow--until Monday. This is the view from my bedroom window Tuesday morning:


Yes, I live up high, which is why the upper branches of a ponderosa pine are at eye level for me. I like it.

Here's the view from my living room:


I was glad to see the snow--it made Utah feel like Utah instead of Arizona. Plus it was pretty.

I was going to write about first grade, what was cool about it, and why I feel nostalgic about it, for probably the first time since I finished it. One reason is that in hindsight I can see that it was pretty much the only year of my entire elementary education I liked--well, I guess third grade was OK too. But this entry seems long enough, so if I do write about first grade, it will be in another entry.


My first year at BYU (2003-04) it snowed from Halloween until April. Well, not continuously, but close enough. It was damn cold, but I actually didn't mind it much because it was so pretty and I didn't have to drive in it a lot. The next year it didn't snow AT ALL. My third year there I got a phone call from my sister-in-law (who is the greatest person EVER). It went like this:

Chrissy: Look out the window!
Me: (looking) It's snowing.
Chrissy: Yeah, snowing magical happiness!

I'm still way jealous of your awesome apartment. I told everyone about it. And about the tarot readings! Holly, I had a great time meeting you!

Sorry for hijacking your comments.

The end.

I had a great time meeting YOU, Rebecca. I hope we get to hang out again.

My only comment about snow is that I like to visit it for a few days and then return to a warmer climate. What I really want to ask you is, have you read the short story by Jack Harrell, "Calling and Election," published in Irreantum (and fiction contest winner)? I read it on line at Angela Hallstorm (?) says, "The story is insightful and strange and beautiful and complex and challenging--and utterly Mormon." I, on the other hand, find it weird--and utterly Mormon, which is redundant. I am going to have to think about it more, but not too much because there are better things to think about, but I am interested in your take on the story.

Keep warm, my friend,

Hi Parker--

I need the encouragement to keep warm: this morning, in the coldest weather so far, the heat went off. It's back on now, but I had a few unpleasant hours.

I read C&E and found it not just weird and "utterly Mormon," but representative of some of Mormonism's worst characteristics. The word that keeps coming to mind is "craven," as in timorous and gutless--not just in the plot, but in the writing. I'm sure the people who published it would call it brave because it actually mentions topics like pornography (gasp!), but I think it's anything but. Blame these characters' problems on Satan! A baby kicks its foot through its mother's uterine walls; it's because Satan wants to test someone!

The story doesn't even have the courage to stand by certain Mormon doctrines about Satan--namely, that he doesn't have physical form. This Satan is fully embodied.

It's not that I don't believe in evil; I do. But the idea that our problems are due to "testing" by external agent of supernatural evil is an extremely limited one, and one of the reasons Mormon ethics are so inadequate.

I was just saying to someone that I was tired of the violent, male strain of Mormon literature--the Brian Evenson/Neil Labute brand of Mormon lit. This is one more contribution to what I think is already overdone, excessive and gross.

There's more to say about why this story is weird and Mormon and therefore spiritually and artistically immature, but as you say, Parker, there are better things to discuss.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on December 12, 2008 1:19 PM.

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