A series of small failures


endings and beginnings

 

Looking forward to the future

Looking forward to the future

I am so glad to say goodbye to 2008. I want to kick its ass on its way out the door!  

 

But first, I want to take an inventory of sorts. Here’s what happened, and what I learned.

The year started in Puerto Rico, and centered around work. My restaurant, Natural High, was doing okay, but we had the worst tourist season since before 9/11 and it was clear to me that the restaurant couldn’t survive another dead summer. Even the supposed busy time  — which normally lasted until April — wasn’t busy enough. I stopped teaching yoga so that I could devote all my time to the restaurant, but nothing I did was enough. I had already decided to leave in April… I had wanted to leave the previous September, after a visit home during which I accepted that as much as I loved Puerto Rico and the restaurant, I needed to get a job that actually paid enough to get me out of debt, but I let Tom and his mom talk me into seeing the season through. After all we had invested, we needed to follow through, they said.  I knew I was leaving in April, and I brought Pooka to Utah in January and had an awesome week watching Ted and Sharon’s boys with my mom. I got to bond with Cooper — a priceless experience that is the main thing that has given me some comfort since his death.

The last three months in Puerto Rico were difficult, full of long hours, contention (I learned this lesson — never go into business with your ex!), and stress, and yet, I accomplished something important — I supported the struggling organic farmers on the island by buying everything we could from them, and connected up the locals who cared about organic produce with the farmers before I left. Natural High was more a crusade than a business, and I will always treasure it, despite the way it turned out. And honestly, I wish Tom the best. I hope that re-opening the restaurant inside Freshmart will be well-received and I really hope he will be successful. I have to acknowledge that the restaurant’s debt that I put on my credit cards is the reason I came to Utah, and because of that simple act, I got to be here with my family when Cooper died. 

It was so hard to leave Puerto Rico. I missed four planes before I finally got home. I spent the last week wandering around barefoot (I had sold my car) and sleeping at random friends’ houses. People kept saying I wasn’t meant to leave, but I knew I was.

One of my greatest struggles is learning to live my life without letting it live me. Another way to put it is to choose my path rather than to follow someone else’s.  Staying in Puerto Rico was following Tom’s dream. Leaving was choosing my path.

In May, I reconnected with a close friend in Moab and spent a few days hiking and rafting and starting to love Utah.

In June, I went to my ex’s wedding in San Francisco and witnessed a gorgeous celebration of love between two women, who were supported by both their families. And I was there at just the right burning man moment (they met at burning man), with two fake fur coats for them, just as the weather started to turn cold and the wedding was shifting into the reception. It was unexpectedly heart-breaking being there, as I still love Heather, but it was also beautiful and joyful. I’m grateful that we’re still such close friends and that she wanted me to be there.  Five months later, however, Californians voted to pass proposition 8, threatening Heather and Stacey’s marriage. I will do everything I can to help people see that Proposition 8 is misguided and wrong. I can’t wait until people lose their prejudice. Love more, and fear less!

When I got to Utah, I didn’t feel ready to fall in love, but I wanted to. I missed being in love — it had been about a decade. The first step was distancing myself from Tom so that I could be free to find love.  And I did!  And it’s absolutely amazing!  When I moved to Utah, I asked the universe to bring me someone positive, kind, smart, hot (can’t help but ask!), funny, who was either divorced or widowed with children. And it happened… within two and a half months. I tried the match.com thing, which was appalling. So depressing!  And craigslist… holy hell. But then I got on Facebook and Twitter. And along comes Tyler, the sweetest, kindest, most positive and loving person. The energy was — and is — cosmic. He became my best friend almost instantaneously. It’s the kind of relationship where we want to be our best selves when we’re around each other. I’m so happy to be part of his life.  Meeting Tyler was possibly the best thing that’s happened all year. Thank you universe!  (You just have to ask.)

Another big event was resigning from the Mormon church. What a burden lifted! Though I hadn’t been a practicing Mormon in decades, I was still feeling stifled by them. And when they inspired millions of their members to promote bigotry by campaigning for proposition 8, I had to take the formal step. I feel so much less anger in my life. I don’t think of myself as a mormon anymore. If anyone asks, I say I’m not. I don’t say I’m an ex-mormon. I’m just not mormon. Yeah! I am letting go of that story, all the conflict and shame and frustration associated with it.

Recently I started the process of dealing with abuse from my childhood. I think that being in a loving relationship and being free from the mormon church made this crucial step possible. Telling my family was horrific, but I’m glad that they know and that I have their support. I just realized that healing from this is necessary, because I’m developing a relationship with two young children who deserve for me to be loving, healed, free of anger, and aware of how everything that happens to them as they grow up influences their future.

There have been some painful events — losing Cooper, and giving up Gogo (thank you, dear Bethany for rescuing him and training him to be a happy, well adjusted dog!), and dealing with my debt, karmic and financial, but I’m so grateful to be here, to get a chance to start over (thank you, Mom and Dad, for the beautiful home!), to meet new friends (Tyler, David, nakedJen!), and to reconnect with family, even though it has been tough at times. 

I started writing again, most notably for yoga journal, which makes me happy. And starting to blog again in October changed everything.

Things are lining up to make 2009 happy, prosperous, and promising. So glad to be alive and in it.

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Pooka update
December 27, 2008, 7:28 pm
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Pooka is doing great. Eight days after being attacked by another dog, her tubes came out today and she is healing really well.  Check out Pooka in the snow the day before the surgery.

Pooka on Christmas day, one day after getting the tubes installed:

 

Pooka with the "noodles"

Pooka with the "noodles"

Close-up of a tube, noodle, ziti — take your pick:

 

ew. ziti, anyone?

ew. ziti, anyone?

 

And today, there are just a few icky holes in her back that are just barely weeping.

For background on the attack, the festering wound, and some stuff about me you may not want to read: On dog bites and trauma.



on dog bites and trauma

 

Pooka

Pooka

 

 

Pooka, my dear possibly-dalmatian-mix rescue from Puerto Rico, was attacked by a friend’s Akita a week ago today.  Knowing from past experience not to get in between fighting dogs (Gogo bit me twice when i was trying to break up his fights), i found i didn’t know what *to* do. I tried to separate them with my backpack, then my foot. I don’t know how long it went on… probably about 30 seconds, until the owner came out and spanked the akita and got her to stop. My memory is fuzzy. 

It was a traumatic experience. And it parallels another situation in my life, so I am using Pooka’s attack as a lens through which to get insight on learned and instinctive behavior.   My first reaction was, “it’s ok.” 

It was so not OK.

First, it was scary. The sound of dogs fighting —  the gnashing, or the crushing of flesh, the salivating, the gutteral sounds they make, all combine into a nightmarish noise i hope i never hear again.  I brought Pooka to the car and left her there while Tyler got his hair cut and bleached. I went out a few times, brought her water and a blanket, and petted her. My first reaction was “it’s ok. it’s going to be ok.”  it really didn’t look that bad. There was no blood. Looking back, I realize i was doing something I often do — I went into denial.

Back inside, I didn’t think I was mad, though Tyler said later that I was acting tense and upset. I totally don’t remember. I just remember sitting there waiting, checking Facebook, talking, getting some pink extensions (which I washed out later that night). Howevver, looking at a photo he uploaded to Facebook of me sitting in the chair getting my extensions, i look blank, checked out.

So first, denial. “Oh, it’s not that bad.” Second, check out, or disassociate. “maybe if i ignore it, it will go away?” 

When we got back to Tyler’s I decided to wash her wounds, which were barely noticeable, let her sleep, and see how things were the next day. 

The next day, she was in a lot of pain. I took her to the vet. He shaved her in a couple of places to check out the wounds. He said that the problem with bites is not so much the punctures themselves, but the crushing. Dogs can grab on and keep gnawing. The vet said to watch out for hardness — that the skin, muscles, and tissue can be damaged and die from the crushing, and that she might need to have some of it cut out if that happened.  He gave me antibiotics and pain pills to give her twice a day. 

Despite the antibiotics, she swelled up — just a little. I kept massaging her back and applying warm compresses. On Christmas Eve, however, the swelling ballooned. It felt squishy, like it was full of liquid.  And it looked bad. I took her to the emergency vet around 3:00, because it obviously wasn’t going away or getting better.

This is a different vet — the one that charges more because they’re open on Christmas Eve. They shaved more fur so that they could get a better look at the wounds. They had to sedate her so they could open her up. Apparently, there were several deep abcesses. They put in drains, which look like pieces of uncooked ziti poking out of her back. 

She’s miserable. That cone on her head is disorienting. I had to hold her head up and point it forward so that she could see where she was going when we got home. She was too disoriented to go to the bathroom in the snow.  It was slow, awkward going down the stairs. She went to sleep by the fire. And I started thinking.

Sometimes wounds close up and fester, and they need to be opened to drain and heal. Even though I washed the wounds with warm compresses and cleaned them with hydrogen peroxide and neosporin a couple of times a day, they closed up.  

She couldn’t heal on her own. She needed professional help.

I don’t want to make light of Pooka’s situation. I am so concerned for her right now. She’s doing much better. It’s just that there are some weird parallels between her situation and mine.

I have a wound that I haven’t properly treated. Yesterday I told my dad something I didn’t want to admit, something that I’ve done my best to medicate away in various methods for the past few years. It was a deep, festering wound, becoming as obvious as Pooka’s — through my depression, darkness, and anger. 

My dad was really pushing my buttons. First, he didn’t want me to drive to the post office to mail a package i needed to send. There was snow on the ground. Not on the street, mind you, just on the ground. The car they’ve been letting me use is from 1989, but it has new tires.  I love that he’s so protective of me — sometimes. I asked if I could drive his car (with 4-wheel drive) instead, but he said no, he wanted to drive me. Maybe he wanted to talk. And I was a captive audience. 

He said that he doesn’t recognize me these days — what happened to the courageous woman who lived in san francisco, new york, and puerto rico?  I reminded him that I’d lived a bit too much in the moment, spending my retirement to open a restaurant and a yoga space.  I’m just a bit beaten down by my financial situation, my seeming inability to get a job even at a grocery store, and this gnawing depression. I asked if he thought that what i was writing was at all courageous. He thought it was just angry. 

A few more pokes and prods, and i started reacting,  “Do you want to know why I’m having such a hard time? Why I’m so angry and depressed? I can’t even tell you.”

He poked some more, and suddenly it just came out. In the car, in the snow, in our driveway. I don’t want to get more into it at the moment, but I found that the simple act of confession was so liberating. It was literally like opening up the wound so that it can heal. 

At first it was really messy, just like Pooka’s draining tubes. We went in and talked to my mom, whose said that what happened was in the past, and that it’s not healthy to relive it. That’s her chosen way of dealing with her past. That’s the way I’ve chosen to do things for years, and it hasn’t helped. I feel that I have to examine this old wound and understand it and see how it’s affected my reactions and behavior.

On Christmas Eve, I had to leave Pooka with the vet for a few hours. I sat in the car in the cold and talked for about an hour to a friend who has had a similar experience.  Then I went into the bookstore in Orem and found exactly what I need to read:  “Breaking Down the Wall of Silence,” by Alice Miller.

She talks about repressed memory. “The capacity of the human organism to bear pain is, for our own protection, limited.” So we bury things. I was in a serious car accident in college. The trauma was so severe that I bit all the way through my right cheek. I don’t remember it at all. I remember seeing the car pull out in front of me, slamming on the brakes, but I don’t remember the impact, my seizure, the ambulance, or the plastic surgery (seriously). I woke up in the hospital. There’s part of my life that my mind is protecting me from. it was too painful to survive consciously, so i passed out. 

Two years ago, I started remembering something traumatic from my childhood that I had buried. Instead of dealing with it, I started self-medicating again. It is so clear that part of moving home is about finally opening up the old wounds so that I can heal — which is so necessary to moving forward in the next stage of my life.

It’s only been three days since I began opening up the wound and letting it drain, but i already feel less heavy and dark. I’m starting to feel like myself again. I know it’s going to be a difficult process, but it’s exciting to think about getting back to who I was before the trauma, before I learned inappropriate ways of dealing with life.

Resigning from the Mormon church was one step that got me closer. I used to think that once I was officially not connected to that organization, that I could get back to my fearless, creative, thinking self.  It’s interesting that within a month of resigning from the church, I confessed that secret that I’ve been trying to avoid. Being in a loving relationship has somehow helped me to feel safe about starting to deal with my repressed memory.  And being home with my parents I think is also necessary. I’m so grateful that they didn’t question me when I told them. They were shaken, not sure what to do, but they were so loving and supportive.  I can’t imagine if they had reacted the way my ex did two years ago. When I told him, the first thing he said was, “are you sure?”

I think that if I hadn’t learned inappropriate ways of reacting to traumatic events — denying, or burying them, or checking out — that maybe I would have paused to think and respond rationally to Pooka’s attack. Maybe instead of automatically denying it, I would have thought, okay, what just happened? Do I know enough myself how to deal with this? Should I get professional help — now?  Instead of hoping it will go away, and putting it off until it got infected and more serious.

Pooka’s attack has helped me explain to my parents why i need to open up the wound in order to heal.



my favorite things
December 24, 2008, 1:00 pm
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Thinking of that scene in The Sound of Music where Maria sings, “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens….”  I especially love “snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.”

lately, the dog has been biting, and the bee stinging far too often. It’s time to think about things with good energy, that lift me out of sadness, and help me get back to the positive, the good, the hopeful.

Some of my favorite things:

floating on my back in the tropical ocean

watching elkhorn coral sway underwater near Tres Palmas in Rincon

watching the dogs run and jump, whether on the beach or in the snow

Gogo’s smile

Pooka’s way of talking

delicious raw food at Omar’s

cooking for friends

intuition (sometimes it’s hard to know things, but i love the fact that i do)

meeting a new friend and feeling the fate in it

friends who facilitate those sorts of meetings

feeling needed by someone and knowing you are there for them at just the right moment

crystals that form on the surface of pure white snow

my fireplace

tyler’s hugs

Cooper’s smile

Logan’s laugh

notes and drawings from Elliott

the book I wrote for Scott

the stillness and light in deep meditation

writing for yoga journal

apatite, moonstone, and crystals

Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah

 

“When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.”



Sudden death
December 21, 2008, 6:25 pm
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A few dishes left in the sink, an empty wine glass on the table, small gifts intended to be shared, but since Tyler and I forgot to bring them, I ended up taking them all — hey, friends, sorry I didn’t think to let y’all do an exchange without us!  Discarded wrapping paper, tissue, and newspaper that had covered said gifts. Cotton balls and peroxide left out to remind me to keep cleaning Pooka’s wounds (she was mauled by an Akita on Friday, but is doing much better). A pot of soup on the stove. Contemplating drinking some coffee to get my ass off the couch. Thinking about all the gifts I need to make, now that the dinner party plans are over and Christmas, or hexmas, is just four days away. I wanted to write about the party, the friends who came and helped , the connections made, the preparations, the food (homemade ricotta gnocchi was just one tiny part of it)…

Being the facebook addict, I had to check facebook first. My friend Harry, who lives in Puerto Rico, had just posted the oddest thing on our friend Caren’s wall:

“You will be missed. Rest in peace our dear friend.”

That instinctive gasping and holding of the breath. Heart pounding. I wrote to him: 

“i saw what you wrote on caren’s wall and i hope you’re talking about something else…. did something happen? is caren all right?”

I was scratching my brain to think of any other possible meaning behind that post.  Maybe her dog died?  Something. Anything!  But I didn’t think she had a dog.  Harry wrote me back and explained that no, Caren was not all right. She died this morning. 

Suddenly all the mundane details I was starting to obsess over seemed unworthy of thought. Dishes? The crumbs on the floor? The gifts I still need to make?  The partially-finished projects, like my chandeliers, or those projects still in the idea-only stage? What about running upstairs and telling my parents that I love them, and thanking them again for opening up their home to me? What about my nieces and nephews, some of whom I hardly see, even though they live only a mile away? Harry told me a little: that they think she died because her aneurism finally burst. She knew she had one, near her brain stem. Doctors said that if she even touched it, it could burst. Caren knew this, and had been on medication. Strangely, her last week had been filled with social events, dinners with friends every night, as though she knew something, he said. Harry said his wife, Lisa, was with Caren’s husband Ron, and that he’d have Lisa call me later when she returned.

Caren was one of my yoga students. She came to class every Saturday morning at the Secret Garden (aka, the beautiful yoga space).  She was one of our close-knit group, who started at 9 a.m. practicing yoga, then went swimming or snorkeling just off the yoga deck afterwards. Sometimes the day would stretch into a barbeque, drinking margaritas and wine. Detox, and retox. That was so typical of Rincon.

At first, Caren came with her husband. Yoga was not really his thing. Caren and Ron did everything together, so it seemed significant that she continued to come after he gave it up. Another friend commented that she was really blossoming. She loved yoga, the way it made her feel. She kept it up with a group of women after I left — they got together and practiced with a DVD or a show on television. 

I am guessing that Caren was about 60. Beautiful, short gray hair, the nicest smile, an infectious laugh. Such bright and caring eyes.

I wish I could see her one more time. Just a dinner, or a yoga class, or a walk on the beach. A glass of wine at Harry and Lisa’s. Anything. If I could say something to her, I’d say thank you. Thank you for coming to my classes. Thanks for inspiring me to keep teaching. Thanks for always being so friendly and supportive.

I just thought of one incident:  Just after I got kicked out of the Secret Garden, we moved the class down the road to a deck at “the scorpion’s den,” a bizarre building on a multimillion dollar property built to house a restaurant, an apartment, and a strip club. Another student was living there at the time, and he offered it up to us. The energy felt wrong to me, but we needed to try it, or suspend classes until we found somewhere else.  The deck wasn’t covered, but it had a view of the ocean (as well as a giant scorpion mural on the wall), and it was big enough for all of us. That first class there, something happened which, as a teacher, you hope never happens. I completely lost it. I think I was reading from Pema Chodron — “When Things Fall Apart” has been a life raft over the past few years. I had guided them into putting their legs up the wall (it was really exciting to actually have a wall, after teaching on that open air deck for so long). Legs up the wall pose, or Viparita Karani, is a deeply restorative pose. Being lifted up by the ground beneath you and letting your legs rest against a wall allows your body to completely surrender. You can give up holding yourself into a position. As you let your back rest, the belly softens, the skin on the front of your body can relax. Even the forehead and jaw soften and release.  And the legs, which usually hold you up and get the strongest pull of gravity, suspend lightly. Powerful things can happen in Viparita Karani, if you can let yourself stay there. I started reading Pema to them and got completely choked up. I think I was trying to apologize for having to move the class, which was so tight. We all felt the loss of that amazing space. I felt like it was my fault, that I couldn’t manage the relationship with the owner, and that my actions were punishing them. I actually started sobbing. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I stopped reading, and just cried. Caren said, “why don’t you put your legs up the wall, Jodi, and breathe?” Losing control was embarrassing — humiliating! But at that moment I felt her love — without judgment. I felt like she wasn’t only a student. She was a friend. 

I’m thinking of Caren surrounded by love and light.  And I want Ron to know how much I cherished her friendship.

Every goodbye is a death. I want to think about how I would want to leave things, if indeed that goodbye is the last.



forgiveness
December 17, 2008, 3:49 pm
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Cooper in June

Cooper in June

 

Things could have gone so differently today for Regina Tausinga. She stood up in front of the judge in a Provo courtroom and pleaded no contest to negligent homicide. She also pleaded guilty to the charge of allowing an unlicensed person (her 15-year-old son) to drive her car. 

On August 21, her son was driving himself to school and accidentally ran over and killed my nephew, Cooper Mardesich. Because of my brother and his wife’s compassion, Gina’s son didn’t go to jail. (See the November 3rd post, An example of love and compassion)

And today, Ted and Sharon sat in the front row with Gina until she was called. The judge talked to her about the consequences of pleading no contest and pleading guilty. He asked if she understood that she was waiving her right to a jury trial. She said she did.

The judge seemed confused. He called Ted and Sharon up.  Their son had died — had been accidentally killed — and yet the state wasn’t seeking any jail time or restitution from Gina. The judge asked if they were okay with that. They both said yes. Shortly after Cooper died, Ted and Sharon became friends with the Tausingas — and that friendship, love and support have helped everyone to heal. “We don’t seek any kind of restitution,” Ted told him. “That’s really not necessary in our eyes.”

The judge looked stunned. He actually said to them, “Okay. May the good lord bless you.” (Can you imagine a judge on, say, Law and Order uttering those words in court?)

As they sat down, the judge kept talking. “This is very, very unusual,” he said. He wanted to know why everyone wanted to move forward with sentencing right away. (Usually there’s at least a two-day delay before sentencing.) The lawyers said that the families wanted to resolve things so that they could continue their healing. 

The room was packed. Besides the usual suspects waiting for their charges to be read, or for their sentences to be pronounced (mostly for drug-related charges), we took up a lot of space. Ted and Sharon, my mom and dad, my other brother and his wife, Ted and Sharon’s friends, plus Gina, her husband, her mother, her father, and her sisters and friends. It was suddenly really quiet.

The judge didn’t seem to want to just let it go. He said that he was faced with pronouncing a sentence in the case, but he felt isolated, unaware of the facts and circumstances of the case. “I don’t even know his name,” the judge said. 

“His name is Cooper Mardesich, judge,” one of the attorneys said. 

“I know no facts, because there never has been an evidenciary hearing,” the judge continued. “I know nothing. I don’t even know his age. I don’t even know how to spell his last name.” The case was called The State of Utah v. Regina Tausinga, so this was the first mention of Cooper in the courtroom. 

The judge commented on how unusual it was for Cooper’s parents to not be seeking retribution. “In most cases, they would be seeking a public hanging,” the judge said.

He seemed reluctant, but finally agreed with the resolution: 185 hours of community service, and court probation for a year, and some as-yet-undetermined fines.

Gina got a chance to speak. Through her tears, she said that she keeps two pictures of Cooper in her home to remind her and her son to make better decisions, as well as to honor Cooper’s life. “Ted and Sharon gave us a gift we can never repay,” she said. “They forgave my son, and I want to try to be worthy of that gift.”

“We’ll be sorry forever.”

The judge said the outcome was an incredible tribute to Cooper. “It is an amazing story of forgiveness.”

I thought of the others in that courtroom, from the dozen or so (mostly men) sitting in front, shackled, to the others sitting on the church-like pews with us. How many people in that courtroom would receive the same grace?

The justice system is about making people accountable for their actions. There are laws, and penalties associated with breaking those laws. There was no minimum penalty, but the maximum in Gina’s case was one year in jail. Oddly, the day after Cooper died, a woman in Roosevelt, Utah, was sentenced to a year in jail for letting a 14-year old girl without a license drive her SUV (some stories say the girl was her daughter, others say she was a niece). The girl accidentally backed up over a 22-month old and killed her. In that case, the girl was charged with manslaughter in Juvenile Court and sentenced to a work camp.

Forgiving doesn’t make the pain go away. I’m sure Ted and Sharon still ache. We all do. But I suspect that by forgiving, they are living in a lighter, happier state. It would be so awful if there were animosity between our families. If we were pressing for the maximum penalty… If we couldn’t let go of the desire for vengeance. I first met Gina in court on the day they read the charges. We were sitting in the pews, waiting. This woman came up to Sharon, and the way they greeted each other, I thought they were old friends. They chatted. I said something stupid about how lucky we were to have our freedom and not be on the other end of the criminal justice system. (Looking at the guys in shackles prompted that comment.)  I had no idea that this cheerful, nice woman was “the mother.” I didn’t know her name, or anything about her. When she was called before the judge, Sharon turned to me and said, “I tried to tell you that was Gina!” Biggest foot in mouth moment of my life. 

This whole thing makes me want to be more mindful, and careful. And think about the consequences of my actions. We all make mistakes and have regrets. And when we mess up, hopefully we can be forgiven. and learn to forgive.



the latest dilemma–recycling a television
December 15, 2008, 10:09 pm
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I’ve written articles on eco-friendly recycling of electronics. I know that it’s not cool to bring old televisions, computers, cell phones, etc. to the dump. It’s definitely not cool to just throw them away. All that chemical goodness that makes electronics work — mercury, lead, hexavalent chromium, etc. — leaches into the ground and pollutes the area around, taints the groundwater, and poisons the earth. I know all that.

What’s shocking is that apparently, here in Utah, people don’t know that. Or just don’t care.

I did a little research, trying to find a place to safely dispose of  my mom’s old television I’d been using, which finally went kaput. 

here’s a nice link: http://earth911.com/blog/2007/04/19/throw-away-your-television/

The site says: “Don’t throw away your television. Recycle it!”  OK, I’m sold.  The trouble is finding a recycling center that will dispose of a non-working television correctly. Throwing it away is bad on so many levels.

On the earth911.com site, when I entered “television” into the space that asks what you want to recycle, followed by my zip code, it gave me lots of listings for Office Depot. I have to call them tomorrow, but i suspect they don’t take televisions, because the link to televisions is broken. Earth911 lists a thrift store called Community Thrift, in Provo, but their site says it only takes working televisions. Mine is broken. The television may be fixable, but i can’t be sure. I even posted something on craigslist (which usually works for me) but no one was interested in coming to pick up an old unworking television. The Trans-Jordan landfill, in Jordan, may accept televisions from residences. It’s unclear. I’m calling them tomorrow.

It looks like the best bet is the Park City Conservation Foundation, dba Recycle Utah. It’s only 23.3 miles from my house. It’s open 24 hours! I can take the television anytime.

Hello? How many televisions are disposed of each year in Utah? How about in the Salt Lake area? And there’s one place we can take them? I’m sure most end up in the dumpster, in landfill, and are polluting our pretty, great state. It would be really easy to just throw my television in the dumpster. And so wrong.

And there are so many other electronics getting thrown away each year. I reread an article I wrote a couple of years ago, and found this:

‘Personal computers, network servers, routers, hubs, telephones, and cables are made with heavy metals and chemicals that are toxic. Cadmium is found in semiconductors. Lead is used in glass panels in computer monitors as well as solder on circuit boards. Mercury is a component of circuit boards, telecommunications equipment, and cell phones. And flame retardants are found on circuit boards and plastic coverings.

Computer equipment is not biodegradable, and the materials that computers are made of pose a threat to public health, environmental groups say. When put into landfills, these chemicals can harm the environment, either by leaching into the water supply or, if incinerated, traveling through the air.

Consider the problem of PCs alone. According to the Gartner Group, consumers and businesses will replace more than 800 million PCs worldwide through 2009. Gartner estimates that they will attempt to dispose of 64 percent of these computers, or 512 million.

“Most organizations upgrade PCs every three to four years,” says Frances O’Brien, a Gartner analyst. “In 2006, we estimate that there will be 100 million obsolete business PCs worldwide.” That’s not counting the other electronic equipment being replaced as companies upgrade to newer, more advanced technology.’

I love quoting myself.

And when you think you’ve found a good place to unload your toxic waste, you’re not done. Do a little more research. From my article: 

‘It’s also a good idea to do some research before choosing a recycling company. A recent report, entitled “The Digital Dump,” by The Basel Action Network, identifies unethical practices by recyclers.  For example, some companies send outdated computers to Africa, claiming to help bridge the digital divide, but in reality creating a digital dump, burdening developing companies with a disproportionate amount of toxic cyber waste that ends up in landfill, polluting the water supply or air.’

(here’s a link to the full story: http://ciostrategycenter.com/Board/initiatives/going_green_it/index.html)

If anyone knows of other resources for disposing of toxic electronics in Utah, please let me know! I don’t want to throw my television away.