Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Good and Bad in Flagstaff

Some things never change. Despite the fact that Bry and I haven't had our weekly outing to B & N with Rachel and Steve in so long, our visit to B & N for coffee and books last night yielded some familiarity. For example, the "man and his dog" were there, as well as the familiar security guard, and even the familiar father and son couple; if you frequent the Flagstaff B & N (or used to), you know who these faces are. Just seeing the familiarity despite the fact that Steve and Rachel aren't in Flagstaff anymore cheered Bryan and I.

In other news: Flagstaff's complete unfriendliness to eco-friendly travel options in the winter. Right now there are piles and piles of snow heaped up on the sidewalks. Sure, there are some open walking areas, but as my friend Sharon aptly remarked, "you're walking along, just walking... and BAM!" (Her "BAM!" of course referring to the huge pile of snow, which is taller than most people who might try to walk outside in Flagstaff in the winter.) Sure, you might opt to take the bus in favor of eco-friendly mass-transit, but the short amount of walking to and from the bus stops or your destination is likewise limited by the lack of ice and snow-free sidewalk space. And of course, the other eco-friendly option of biking is always available; unless you include the fact that most of the bike lanes are under several feet of plowed snow, and that even the turn lanes for cars are about half covered with snow. Hmmm... let's just cozy up inside, shall we?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Colleen and Bryan's Winter Adventures

Well, an update from up north, or "the high country," as the Phoenix-based Channel 3 news crew so fondly refers to us backward-folk up in Flagstaff... Bryan and I have braved the snow so far. We had 3 big storms that dumped a total of about 2 feet of the white stuff around Flag. So far, no falls yet, and hopefully none in the future thanks to mom's present of two pairs of crampons for the icy ground around town.

After Christmas, Bryan and I traveled to Alberquerque for Craig and Abby's wedding. The wedding was beautiful and went perfectly. I've never seen Abby and Craig so happy. Bryan and I toyed with the idea of turning North on the interstate, up toward FoCo (maybe sometime in the spring), but for the meantime are back in Flagstaff. Bryan's back to work at TGC and I've got my 3rd internship coming up and graduation around the corner. We'd both like to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year in 2009!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Four days until Bryan and I are reunited... I can't wait.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Impossible Task?

After watching the new James Bond 007 movie, Quantum of Solace a few weeks ago, I decided I would forever more swear off of movies portraying excessive use of firearms. At the end of the first 10 minutes of the movie, dozens of people (all the "bad guys" of course) had been killed by Bond, and I realized as I looked around the theater that this type of entertainment is so pervasive and accepted by society, that no one was even bothered by the mass violence. In fact, we were all eating our popcorn and drinking our sodas with little concern at all. So, I decided to try an experiment and not watch any more media portraying guns. Little did I know what a tough challenge this would be. Here is a short list of shows I like and gray areas where media portrays gun use but maybe it's ok?...

1. Family Guy - excessive use of violence (i.e. Stewie beating up Brian "where's my money?!) for the purpose of biting social commentary
2. "Australia" - movie seen last night set in the 1940's when rough times and dangerous living required protection via firearms
3. Funny movies/spoofs that incidentally have firearm use/killing: "Get Smart" with Steve Carrell

Maybe I won't be able to wholly eliminate watching media without firearm use, but at least I can limit the amount I watch and be more aware of how guns are portrayed versus the stark reality of gun-related violence.


What I will miss about Prescott Valley: the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. This morning was almost a cathartic experience writing in my journal as the orange-yellow sun rose over the mingus mountains, sending waves of pink and purple out before it. I hope the sunsets and sunrises in Colorado compare...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not Helpful

Ok, starting to become very unhelpful: people who like to predict the end of the world. A few weeks ago at the Unitarian Universalist church in Prescott, the topic of interest was the situation in Columbia with the civil war and human rights violations. The story that was told by a man who travels to Columbia often to protest the human rights violations was very troubling and sickening. What's worse is that the United States hosts "schools" used to train military activists responsible for these human rights violations. But that's a topic for another discussion. At the end of this man's speech at the church, a question and answer session ensued. The first comment was by a seemingly frustrated woman in the front row: "this just proves what we have known all along. Our country is not a democracy anymore; whatever the people have to say doesn't make a bit of difference. I believe and have always believed, along with my friends, that the world is going to end on... [insert your favorite predictive date here] and there's just nothing we can do anymore. There's just nothing we can do."

Second instance: during the previews for "Quantum of Solace," the new James Bond movie, audiences were shown an image of a Tibetan monk in the Himalayas frantically sounding a huge gong as a massive tidal wave swept over the Himalayas. The ad line goes something like: "what will the governments of our world do when the end comes? [Pause] Nothing." Which is followed up by the date of the movie release and encouragement to google "end of the world [insert favorite date here]."

First off, an ocean over the Himalayas? Really? We are talking about the highest point on Earth. Global warming will indeed increase the levels of our oceans, catastrophically reducing inhabitable land along our nations' coastlines. This type of logic, plus the womans' from the UU church are based on fear, catastrophizing and unsupported attitudes of helplessness. And what is the use of this type of thinking? That we shouldn't mobilize our humanitarian aid power to protect the people in Columbia because there's no use? That we shouldn't do everything in our power to protect the Earth and the delicate atmosphere because a huge tidal wave is going to sweep over on us and destroy everything anyway? What is the use of such fatalistic thinking besides a morbid interest in an unpredictable future? Such thinking only promotes helpless attitudes that what we say and do has no effect on the behavior of others or our environment.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Like Christmas, But Not Quite

This morning as I woke, I had the distinct sensation of impending joyfulness, like the day was full of promise of great things to come, like Christmas morning as a kid. Then it dawned on me: "Barack Obama has been elected our next president!" It was and is indeed Christmas. Obama represents a new chance and a new hope for our nation, an unblemished fresh start. I remember now last night when the news was announced: I had been watching the results for so long at that time that I was barely focused on the television anymore. My mind was numb with the pundits' guesses as to outcomes for this battleground state and that controversial county and this prediction made in such and such month, and so on and so on.... and then... beneath the captions, I read "Obama elected president!" I sat with my mouth agape; my mom walking in the house at that moment didn't believe it was real. She cried. We hugged. We called relatives. We listened to one of the most real and convincing and heartfelt speeches I feel that I will ever hear a politician make.

On the other hand, this morning I read in the Prescott Courier that the "same sex" marriage proposition passed in Arizona. PASSED? A proposition amending our constitution to define marriage as only an institution between a man and a woman!? I couldn't think of a better example of NOT separating church and state. If this definition of marriage is not fully and 100 percent supported by secular organizations, then by reasonable argument, it is being pushed as an agenda of faith organizations! Then how, HOW can it be written in our Arizona constitution that we ALL must follow the mandate of a faith that is not neccessarily ours? This is NOT separation of church and state. This is lobbying by religious organizations that controls the lives of citizens that such organizations can't control any other way (not by scare tactics, or door to door evangelizing). This proposition is unconstitutional and un-American. Isn't it ironic that the faith-based organizations that pushed this amendment through are the same ones that are against what they call "government-controlled health-care?" Why is it ok for faith-based organizations to control our right to marry whom we want, but it isn't ok for the government to create a socially responsible universal health care system?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Goings On in Flagstaff

The last "summer break" of my life is drawing rapidly to an end. I realize that by this time next summer I will have already taken the board exams, hopefully passed, and be working full or at least part time as a full-fledged physical therapist. Colleen Gest, PT. At times I'm really excited and feel like I'm so ready for this change. At other times, panic sets in at the thought of having to bear so much responsibility.

For those of you unfamiliar with the politics of the profession, physical therapists are currently lobbying for direct access in all states (we already have it in AZ). What this means is you can see a physical therapist for rehabilitation after an injury without first having to see a primary care physician. And... it will be reimbursed by insurance! The challenge lies in the fact that now PTs will have more responsibility than ever. Because we are not seeing our patients after they've seen the doctor, it is our responsibility to catch any signs or symptoms that point to a disease/pathology that needs attention other than physical therapy (scary thoughts are cancers, blood clots, numb limbs, all of which can have musculoskeletal symptoms like any other issue seen in therapy). My classes at NAU have really emphasized this responsibility, and I have learned a lot; at the same time, prospects of the future are still quite scary.

On a similar note: internships! This next year is the "year of internships" (not unlike the Chinese "year of the boar...") for both Bryan and I. I am starting mine on August 4th in Flagstaff. Bryan has been (thankfully) at his internship at the Guidance Center in Flag for many weeks now. He is coming very close to finishing the first set of required hours to become a Licensed Associate Counselor. I am so proud of him as he has had to face a lot of adversity, and overcome many challenges to get where he is today.

Yesterday gave way to some reminiscing as Bryan and I walked accros Forest Meadows street at one end of our apartment complex, over to Dipping Dots. I remember going there when they first opened with Steve and Rachel. Did we go 2 or 3 times that night? The managers were having a great time laughing at our insatiable craving for the frozen treat...