Tour of Utah: Ice Castles at Midway

Have I ever mentioned how diverse the landscape of Utah is?

Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

True, all of the state’s about as humid as a dry sponge on the sunny surface of Mercury.

Still, in the most populous areas, temperatures in the summertime reach over 100°F (37°C) while temperatures in the wintertime drop as low as 22°F (-5.5°C). This means we have landmarks like Arches while also bragging about the greatest snow on Earth.

(It also makes road construction a nightmare, something Utahns love to complain about but not appreciate the reasons for.)

On that side note, I wish to introduce a neat attraction that’s approaching its tenth season of operation: the Ice Castles at Midway, Utah.

Photo by Jacob Campbell on Unsplash

From an update last year, when The Homestead Resort hosted the castles:

“The Ice Castles are the work and brainchild of ice artist Christensen, who with CEO Ryan Davis and a crew of trained workers are building four large ice creations in Utah, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Canada.

“He started with a backyard castle in Alpine [Utah] followed by an ice castle in downtown Midway in 2009. Over the years, the Ice Castles have been in a variety of different Midway locations…”

homesteadresort.com

Apparently, the Ice Castles at Midway is one of several locations run by the Ice Castles company. Their website also lists Wisconsin and Alberta, Canada.

How are the castles built? What’s inside them? What else is there to see and do, and how can people see them at night?

“Construction of the ice castles [begins] in November when workers [begin] the huge task of creating the towering castles of ice.

“More than 10,000 icicles will be grown and harvested to create the acre-sized attraction …over …three to four weeks. Each icicle is then hand-placed and sprayed with water.

“This process is repeated until the castles reach approximately 30 feet. It takes the ice artisans approximately 4,000 hours to create the attraction and embed each structure with color-changing LED lights.

“The acre-sized interactive experience will feature frozen tunnels, fountains, slides, and cascading towers of ice embedded with color-changing LED lights.”

KUTV.com, 2 articles

Local celebrity Alex Boyé (and Lexi Walker) filmed one of his music videos in and around the castles, as did popular (also local) The Piano Guys. Lindsey Stirling, who has ties to Utah, filmed at the Colorado location.

The Ice Castles is another location I’ve always wanted to visit. Current prices say an adult ticket costs $14 and a child’s ticket (4-11) costs $10 -during weekdays.

Midway is straight up the canyon about an hour from our airport.

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★★SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be sharing my very first Q&A/book review/book promotion tomorrow!! You won’t want to miss it!★★

And here’s last week:

Friday, September 25: “Tour of Utah: Hole in the Rock.” Go visit, if you fancy a hike.

Also, announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest. Congrats, Dumbestblogger!

Saturday, September 26: The A Mused Poetry Contest, funny commercial edition!

Monday, September 28: Shared a quote about by Jonathan Swift.

Tuesday, September 29: Responded to Deb’s prompt with “Carl’s Popularity Problem.” I blame Charlescot.

©2020 Chel Owens

“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.”

-Jonathan Swift, The Examiner, 1710. Thanks, Quote Investigator

Ironically, in pursuit of the following misattributed ‘quotes’:

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” -Winston Churchill

AKA “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.”

Or, “A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

The A Mused Poetry Contest 9/26 – 10/2/2020

Hey! It’s the A Mused Poetry Contest! Make a gaffe, cause a laugh!

Here are the specifics for this week’s contest:

  1. The Theme is commercials: try radio, newspaper, halftime show, or a high-pressured letter you get in the mail.
  2. The Length needs to run between 5 and 155 words.
  3. Rhyming is at the discretion of the poet (you).
  4. The Rating can be PG-13 (though I’m not fond of cussing). Hear that, E??
  5. MAKE US LAUGH. I wanna hear your ditty passed around online meetings, morning talk shows, and incessant chatting from children at the dinner table.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next Friday (October 2) to submit a poem.

Use the form below to stay anonymous for a week.

Otherwise, for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Drop a comment if you try to link back and it doesn’t show up within a day.

Have fun!

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©2020 Chel Owens
Video ©Youtube

WINNER of the A Mused Poetry Contest 9/25/2020

This week’s prompt of a seasonal haiku may have sounded simple, but making it funny was no joke. After narrowing down the funniest entries, the winner was:

Untitled, by DumbestBlogger
I drink my coffee
Leaves fall in the cup
I choke and die

Dumbestblogger chose morbid humor for his entry. Even with so few syllables, he succeeded in making me laugh.

Enjoy the others as well:

Autumn, by Roberta Cheadle
Leaves, leaves everywhere
I’ll persuade hubby to rake
Where’s my lingerie?

Untitled, by Obbverse
Get strangers together,
Talk about the weather…
That never changes..

Special Day, by Matt Snyder
it’s our wedding day
hurricane blows up her dress
our Kodak moment

Untitled, by Ian Kay
brand new leaf-blower!
blows leaves into neighbour’s yard
covers my dog’s poop.

Seasonal change, by Hobbo
stunning mother nature
fresh frock every day

have you met my wife?

Untitled, by Willowdot
Days are getting short
Gaia’s tempers getting fraught
We just won’t be taught

The Coming of Autumn, by Trent McDonald
Frost on the leaf tip
Now I am sweating again!
Just make up your mind…

***

Leaves turn to bright red
I run out to frolic, and…
Oops, now I am red!

Untitled, by Deb Whittam
Summers coming quick,
You squeal in delight but
mosquitoes bite … hard

The Farmer Wife’s, by Heather Dawn
Fresh autumn wind blows,
There the honey wagon goes,
No! I hung the clothes!

Fall Picture Woesby Heather Dawn
Picture perfect day,
No chance for a perfect pose,
Five kids ruin those.

Seasonal Change 1, by Fishman
Picked up a red leaf.
pulled a muscle in my back;
Thanks a lot, Autumn.

Seasonal Change 2, by Fishman
Autumn is here now.
Lovely time; I’d write more, but
sadly I’m out of . . .

Untitled, by BS
One plus one is two
I fall for you in the fall
Now go rake the leaves

Untitled, by Ruth Scribbles
Seasons in Texas
All four in a hot teacup
Sip at your own risk

Fall in Southern California, by Lauren
Where are my long johns?
The temps are below normal.
It’s reached 80 now.

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Thank you for entering! I loved laughing along. Please come back tomorrow around lunchtime for the next week’s prompt.

Dumbestblogger, here’s a badge for you to use on your site. Congratulations!

©2020 The poets, and their respective works

Tour of Utah: Hole in the Rock

In case you didn’t know already, Utah is home to some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In case you also didn’t know already, I am LDS. As such, I’ve been taught about the history of the church’s founding, the persecutions the early members faced, their various relocations in order to build their Zion, and the fun they had settling Utah.

By Charles William Carter; American (London, England 1832 – 1918 Midvale, UT) – Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library, 119.1976.1501

Upon reaching the barren, harsh, dry, uninhabitable area now known as Utah, the Mormon pioneers knew they’d found a winner. Not long after establishing Salt Lake City, Brigham Young (their leader) sent groups off to set up nearby areas. I learned that he sent those groups about a wagon’s ride away from each other, but can’t find a source for that information. Whether he did or not, there are towns all down our interstate and this makes present-day gas station stops very convenient.

What does that potentially-inaccurate history have to do with a hole in a rock? I’m glad you asked!

Sometimes, the early settlers of Utah faced challenges. Hordes of crickets threatened crops in the Salt Lake Valley in the first full year of planting. Tropic, Utah could only get irrigation after building a ten-mile long canal. And, weary members of the San Juan Expedition attempting to find a route to the southeastern corner of Utah found impassable cliffs -then, miracle of miracles, stumbled upon “a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river” (Wikipedia).

By G. Thomas at en.wikipedia – Own work, Public Domain

They named it Hole in the Rock. Promptly thereafter, they began chipping away in order to move 250 PEOPLE, 83 WAGONS, AND OVER 1000 HEAD OF LIVESTOCK through this hole. I kid you not.

Six months later, they were “ready;” for, the wagons still needed assistance. They used ropes, plus wooden beams supported by posts jabbed into holes they drilled in the rock walls to carefully lower the wagons.

This is another famous site I have not visited, but my son has. His youth group camped nearby and hiked the area, reimagining and experiencing what their pioneer ancestors did. If you want a similar vacation adventure, Hole in the Rock is about seven hours south of Salt Lake International Airport (or 100 hours if you walk).

Author’s note: there is also a tourist destination called Hole N” The Rock, located near Moab. It’s worth a kitschy gander.

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Here’s this week’s breakdown:

Wednesday, September 16: “Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake.” It’s iconic!

Thursday, September 17: Wrote an example of funny poetry for that week’s contest: “Chuckie Bob and His Award.”

Friday, September 18: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Hobbo.

Saturday, September 19: Opened the A Mused Poetry Contest! The subject is seasonal haiku (senryu). Results to be posted soon!!!

Sunday, September 20: Scratched a nagging discomfort with “R.B.G. and Why It’s Difficult to Be a Woman.”

Monday, September 21: Shared a quote about not worrying about The Joneses.

Thursday, September 24: Wrote my own seasonal poetry, “A Mused Seasonal Haiku…” for this week’s theme.

The winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest will be posted by this evening!

©2020 Chel Owens

A Mused Seasonal Haiku (or Senryu)

Autumn
Drifting autumn leaves
I thought were orange wafers
Proved inedible

Photo by WARREN BLAKE on Pexels.com

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Winter
Snow-tufted leaf stalks
Turned yellow in the sunshine
After walking Dog

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

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Spring
Sneezes wheezes *sniffs*
Frighten social-distancing folk
Oh! Darn allergies!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

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Summer
Overworked sales clerk
Fin’lly relaxing on beach
‘Offered’ a timeshare

Photo by Alexander Stemplewski on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

R.B.G. and Why It’s Difficult to Be a Woman

I’ve been living in a hole -not a bad one, mind you. I have all the material comforts, I’ve given birth before my biological clock feels it missed something, and I live in a very safe area.

The recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set me wondering, questioning my cozy hole and how much of it is that cozy. For, despite my ease, I am constantly stressed and depressed at my position as a stay-at-home-mother. I feel trapped by my sex, my children’s well-being, and the overall logic of my being the housewife and mother.

Why did learning about Mrs. Ginsburg’s life open this can of worms? If you ask that question, you haven’t read her Wikipedia page.

By Supreme Court of the United States – Supreme Court of the United States, Public Domain

I tend to get all of my political information from my husband, by choice. I do not like politics, a subject that turns human beings into snarling, glaring dogs -dogs who can talk, naturally, in order to insult each other’s mothers. From Kevin, I heard how Ginsburg was anti-family and pro-abortion. She was liberal. Thank goodness we’ll get another justice soon.

Sound harsh? Don’t raise your hackles until you acknowledge what categories you place political figures in. Yes, categories. CATEGORIES are what drive me mad.

I’ve discussed this subject before, because I do not fit in and I do not like attempts to fit me in. Primarily, today, and in R.B.G.’s tiny but ignominious shadow, I refer to sex (or, gender, if you prefer) .

I recently encountered a female realtor. Dressed in a sheath and high heels, she displayed white, straight teeth and blonde-colored hair. She, like others in the profession, was selling herself. And, as I always do, I hated her for it. I disagree with dressing sexily. Would a male realtor show up in such a getup, displaying cleavage as he outlined the merits of his wares?

I didn’t think so.

I also recently encountered a female repairman. Dressed in long shorts with socks and a company shirt, she smiled occasionally and her hair was short and of a nondescript color. She, like others in the profession, was selling furnace warranties. I marveled at her. She dressed and acted just like the male repairmen we’ve hosted in our basement.

Do you automatically categorize the two women? I do. The first is probably a wife and mother of a few children*, loves romance, and doesn’t know much about her car. The second is a lesbian, likes action movies, and could wire her own house if her cats stayed out of the way**.

Categories, categories, categories. They help us humans in a complex world of other humans. But, they also limit and often diminish those other humans. I feel it. Do you?

But I mentioned Ginsburg. I mentioned women. I mentioned sex.

Ruth Ginsburg is the sort of person I wondered at, as I enjoyed attending any college I wished or voted for whomever I wanted. I’d heard that women didn’t always have the freedoms I enjoyed, historically. I’d heard that women were advised to not go into this career or attend that college on the mere merits of their being born with a uterus. Mrs. Ginsburg’s life story, as I learned, attests to that rumor.

And, frankly, my own husband’s views do as well. While telling me that he values my intelligence and opinions, he simultaneously puts women down for seeking to further themselves academically or professionally. Why? Because family is most important to him, and women who choose school and work do not have large families. Many do not have families at all.

Think he’s wrong? Think he’s outdated and rude and opinionated? Think back to your perceptions of the two women I described. Morever, acknowledge that stereotypes exist because they are accurate; those women are what I described and behave accordingly.

Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

Which brings me to another problem I encounter in my efforts of World Peace and Unity in the face of sexual differences: sexual differences. They are there. Men behave in stereotypical fashions and women behave in stereotypical fashions. There are general intelligence differences. There are anatomical differences, for Pete’s sake! Yet, when I attempt to bring them to surface in order to understand the world, we are (understandably) cautious.

To be fair, stereotypes exist in other categories (categories!!) as well. I enjoy jokes about engineers and play a personal game of guessing which instrument someone plays when s/he asks me (I have a very high rate of accuracy, too!). In that light, why are stereotypes about sex so wrong? Why are they taboo?

Should we ask R.B.G?

“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.”

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

-Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women are people, that’s why. We are people who breathe, bleed, feel, and aspire to things. We THINK. Unfortunately, we women are sometimes going about equality as “equality”. We’re sometimes cheating.

Photo by Misha Voguel on Pexels.com. Why is she suggestively resting amongst rope??

The problem, as always, is sex (not the sort that’s gender, this time). I live with all males and prefer talking to males. I know how often this is a factor. When it comes down to males and females, females have the advantage of sex. And, many women are not ashamed to flaunt their attractiveness to gain favors. Hence, my disdain for the realtor and my wonder at the repairwoman.

For, in my perfect world, Ginsburg and women and sex would be nonissues. Merit, intelligence, and performance would be everything. Unfortunately, we humans are not blind nor unfeeling.

Another issue is child-bearing. Women are the only ones who can do it. As part of that package; we have menstrual cycles, fluctuating hormones, pregnancy itself, and a lifelong responsibility to raise what came out of us. This is where I differ from Madame Ginsburg slightly in opinion, since the woman is not making abortion solely her own choice if she decides to keep the baby (I refer to costs of welfare). Still, making and caring for humans is a big deal; someone needs to do it for the future to not suck so badly.

And until surgical techniques improve drastically, that someone is going to be female. Ideally, she’ll be the one from whom the child comes. Why? Attachment issues, darn it.

I have no solution to my problems of fitting out. I have no solution for stereotypical thinking. I have no solution for women like me. What do I have? A respect for people (PEOPLE!!!) like Ruth Baden Ginsburg. Way to be. Not only did she try to be fair, she did so in the face of obviously-sexual discrimination.

Do I agree with everything she said or did? No. That would be silly. That would be a category. What I do agree with is what I said: authenticity, fairness, and merit.

Rest in peace, Madame. May your ideals live on as you intended.

From left to right: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, (Ret.), Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Justice Elena Kagan in the Justices’ Conference Room prior to Justice Kagan’s Investiture. Source.

©2020 Chel Owens

*It’s Utah. Everyone’s married, with children.
**In fact, the repairwoman was also married and had children.

The A Mused Poetry Contest 9/19 – 9/25/2020

Welcome to the A Mused Poetry Contest! Enjoy laughing? You’re in the right place!

Here are the specifics for this week’s contest:

  1. Seasons are changing. The Theme is a funny haiku (or, more technically accurate, a senryu) about seasonal change. Spring, fall, summer, winter, autumn; whatever.
  2. From Wikipedia about senryu, regarding Length: “three lines with 17 morae (or “on”, often translated as syllables, but see the article on onji for distinctions).” We’re also fine with the ole 5-7-5.
  3. Dude; this poetry form does NOT Rhyme.
  4. I dunno what might be racy about nature, so a G-rating is preferable.
  5. Just MAKE US LAUGH. Mother Nature needs to slap your wrists with climbing roses as she holds her vinèd sides in laughter.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next Friday (September 25) to submit a poem.

Use the form below to stay anonymous for a week.

Otherwise, for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Drop a comment if you try to link back and it doesn’t show up within a day.

Have fun!

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Photo by Jan Krnc on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens