Tour of Utah: Newspaper Rock

Up to now, I’ve had some experience with the tourist destinations I’ve written about: Arches, Beehive House, Capitol Reef, Deseret Industries, Evermore Park, Flaming Gorge, Great Salt Lake, Hole in the Rock, Ice Castles, Jordan River Parkway Trail, Kennecott Copper Mine, Lagoon, and the Mountains. Where I haven’t been to them, I have -at least- read about a close friend’s visit or experiences.

Newspaper Rock State Historic Site, on the other hand, is one from the history books; in this case, the history books of fourth grade. Every child learns his Utah history at that age. Ours involves Lake Bonneville, Native Americans, Mormon pioneers, and learning a song about our twenty-nine counties.

By Cacophony – Own work

The native peoples of pre-European settlement in Utah were waaaay ahead of we bathroom-stall and tree-carving scrawlers. According to a sign posted at the site, “The first carvings at the Newspaper Rock site were made around 2,000 years ago, left by people from the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures” (Wikipedia).

From there, ancient passersby etched even more images local animals, human figures, symbols, and past events. Apparently, it’s “one of the largest, best preserved and easily accessed groups in the Southwest” (also Wikipedia).

How did it happen? Why?

It’s surmised that the perennial natural spring attracted [peoples from the ancient Native American tribes] to this distinct area. There are over 650 rock art designs and include animals, human figures, and various symbols, some thought to be religious in nature. These petroglyphs were produced by pecking through the black desert varnish found on the rock to the lighter rock beneath.

Visitutah.com

Best of all, this wall of petroglyphs is easily accessible. You know, assuming you can get parking at the side of the road. It’s along the access road to Canyonlands National Park. According to Visitutah.com, “There are no fees or permits required to visit Newspaper Rock or to drive the Indian Creek Scenic Byway through Indian Creek National Monument. There are fees to enter Canyonlands National Park. Just across the highway from the petroglyphs there is a picnic area and campground, which is free and is first-come, first-serve.”

By Jim from Calgary, Canada – Newspaper Rock

If you rent a car or RV after arriving at SLC International Airport, that’s a five hour drive. Maybe you’ll want to stop for lunch along the way. Or, make this one of your stops whilst staying in Moab if you can’t get over to see Arches.

—–

It’s been a busy last few weeks, but not on the blog.

Just remember to enter the A Mused Poetry contest. The theme is eccentrics and it ends on June 26th.

©2021 Chel Owens

Ah, Man. It’s an Update.

If you’re a better blog friend than I, you knew this was coming. I have not been around much. I haven’t had time for anything except a paltry effort at feeding the children and ensuring they’ve showered semi-regularly.

So, all official-like, I am taking my annual summer sabbatical from The Blog.

Welllllllll, soon.

I’ll write now and then, visit everybody, wrap up the current A Mused Poetry Contest; then take off around June 27th. I’ll not disappear entirely because I am writing a monthly poetry post over at Carrot Ranch called Anyone Can Poem.

(By the way, you should check it out!)

In other announcements:

  1. We found out we’re having Boy #6.
  2. We’re moving house.
  3. We’ve cured cancer.

Now, you get to decide which two are the truths and which is the lie….

Wouldn’t it be neat if this was how my summer went?
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

©2021 Chelsea Owens

Laughter is the Best Way to Cause Concern

I’ve admitted to a quirkier sense of humor in the past. Still, I always assumed my observations of humor were mostly in-bounds. I’m marginally morbid. Hardly ever profane. Rarely inappropriate. Never crude.

Yet, one of my coworkers admitted to her reassuring the others on the interviewing panel that I was being funny. She understood, but wasn’t certain they did.

Clearly, since I’m now writing about this, I’m stupefied. Bemused. Disconcerted! How long have others not understood that I meant what I said to be taken lightly? How often does this happen?

Am I funny?

I find myself funny…

I guess I should’ve listened when my mother described my sense of humor as ‘strange.’ Or, when a few blogging friends admitted surprise at my ‘wit.’

*sigh*

Have you had this happen? What did you conclude? Have you started attending Amusers Anonymous meetings as a result?

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

The Conundrum of Motherhood

It’s Mother’s Day in America, a holiday I often avoid. This sounds ridiculous if you know me -or, at least, know of my progeny. I’m currently carrying my sixth child. Most of the time, I raise five others. Even this far into the job, however, I dislike identifying as a mother. I don’t even see myself as one.

Still ridiculous, right?

This conundrum of thought, turmoil of inner peace, and mental confusion of purpose has haunted me since I first agreed to carry a child. I’ve had great support from my husband; that’s not the problem. I’ve had relatives agree with my familial decisions; that’s not the problem, either. I’ve had many women to look to as examples, who balance children and a career; which also doesn’t seem to be the problem.

The only conclusion I’ve been able to make is that I am discontent. Me, who can and does make children, is unhappy doing so. Ungrateful.

…which, I hope, has more to do with life plans contrary to domesticity and not with despising the progeny I’ve made. Although, we did discover, last night, that one of my children carved a hole in his bedroom wall in order to conceal a laptop computer. *sigh*

I just …thought I’d …DO something in life. Something important.

Image

My husband, and many others, say raising children is the most important thing. Logically, I understand that. After all, who will live on the world if not the offspring of those willing to make them? Just …raising children is not, personally, fulfilling to me.

In some ways it is -ways like teaching my sons to read. My heart swells whenever I see them sitting, intently, reading a novel on their own. Or, whenever I see that look in their eyes when they bake their own bread. When they score a goal on the soccer team. When they help each other and are happy.

On days like that, I love being their mother.

On other days, though; days where I’m stuck inside with only their brawlings and their dishes and their laundry and their holes-in-the-walls for company, my mental health takes a beating. I dip into a dark hole of regret, wondering where the light comes from.

So, if you feel similarly, I get you. In fact, maybe we should get holes next to each other and call out supportive aphorisms. Or, throw each other some chocolate.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with my working plan -that of keeping at this mothering thing and sneaking a few, me-time things in here and there. You know, like writing.

On that note, happy Mother’s Day. Right? 🙂

©2021 Chel Owens

Really Big News of a Non-Writing Kind …Again

I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve been blaming the toddler of two year’s ago’s pregnancy. You know, him and his four older brothers…

I’ve a new excuse, however: we are expecting once again.

I’m twelve weeks along, slightly ill all day, and keep taking an impromptu nap on the couch or floor around 4 p.m. most days.

Just know that I still love you all and visit your blog when I can. I write when I can. I’ll be more consistent once November comes. 🙂

©2021 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Mountains

Utah has a very diverse climate -all dry, mind you, but very diverse. One thing that runs throughout the entire state besides the interstate, however, are MOUNTAINS.

© Chel Owens

The Rocky Mountains are Utah’s main range, but we also have the Oquirrh, Uinta, La Sal, Wah Wah…. Apparently, there’s a list. I live here, and I didn’t know there were that many ranges.

The Rockies are my favorite. Nearly all of my life, I’ve been able to open my door and see them. We call the part along the edge of the Salt Lake Valley the Wasatch Mountains; they are home to the most popular ski resorts Utah is famous for (Alta, Brighton, Solitude). I know it’s no Switzerland, but the powder’s not half bad. I’ve skied Alta and Brighton and hiked a lot of the other resorts during the summer. (Skiing them is much faster than hiking.)

Image by msrisamarie from Pixabay

Utah’s mountains are iconic. They’re beautiful. They’re a natural compass when I’m lost. In point of fact, I find traveling across America’s midsection to be a disconcerting experience. How do you ever know where you are? How do you know if you’ll ever get out of Oklahoma?

Utah’s mountains are diverse like the temperatures. On a recent family trip to St. George, we hiked around a (hopefully) extinct volcano. Last summer, we camped amidst forested foothills at an elevation of 5,417 feet. The campground I stayed at as a youth rests near 8,800 feet.

© Chel Owens

If there’s one thing I can never be mad at dry, desert Utah for, it’s its mountains. If you want to visit them, pick a direction. Pick a trail. Pick a chairlift if it’s winter. You won’t be disappointed.

—–

Here’s what I wrote over the last week:

Thursday, April 15: Wrote “Secret Snitch Will Scratch That Itch!” as an example for the poetry contest.

Friday, April 16: Announced the winners of the A Mused Poetry Contest. Congrats to Bruce and Doug!

Monday, April 19: Shared a quote by Robert Schuller.

Tuesday, April 20: Belatedly announced the next A Mused Poetry Contest. Get your campaigns ready!

©2021 Chel Owens

04/12/2021 of COVID-19 Life

I didn’t think I’d have much to report on Coronavirus so soon. Utah surprised me, however, in announcing a removal of the statewide mask mandate two days ago. Governor Cox apprised us of this plan back on April 1 ….but, not even considering the date of said announcement, I expected he and the other lawmakers would change their minds.

Yet, here we are, mask-less. What do I think? I haven’t tried my freedom. Personally, and contrary to the friends I have left after writing about political issues on Twofacebook, I’m in favor of covering up. I think many fields that benefit from potentially-sick peoples blocking their breathing, sneezing, coughing, spreading still need that requirement in place -namely, the food services industry.

True -not everyone gets to have a naked face. Our international airport retains the mandate. So do many performing arts venues and public gathering places like the zoo. The Salt Lake Tribune posted a more comprehensive list on April 8.

Most importantly, the public school system must remain half-obscured till June 15. How do I know this? I work in the public school system as a ‘nutrition assistant.’ Because of that and having children who attend in the public school system, I have been receiving a small number of e-mails on the subject. Last night’s was the most interesting: a clearly-hastily-texted message from our school’s director advising teachers and staff what to do in the case of non-compliance. He warned about a concerted effort to send children to school without masks today, an effort I was aware of because of Twofacebook. He says we are not allowed to tie the offenders up and force face coverings; instead, we must remind them of the law to which we are bound, then send them home if they continue to refuse a mask.

Laws are interesting things. I’ve refrained from writing about my job on this blog besides announcing I had it. I’m a strong believer in maintaining a business’ privacy standards. Even if some event occurs worth writing about, I keep to generals and not specifics. In light of that, I will say that “the law to which we are bound” comes up quite often in working in a school cafeteria. I MUST serve so much of this and so much of that. The children MUST take a milk with their lunch. We MUST throw out any extra food, including when it is pans and pans because too many children were out on quarantine…

Such facts shocked me at first but I’ve learned this is the standard for all food services. I bring it up because it shocked me, and because those and other rules seem to shock parents who call in to ask why their Little Darling only received the amount of food s/he did (true story).

But, I digress. We were talking about Coronavirus. Utah’s numbers look good. The number of people getting vaccinated is astounding -the last update on that was that everyone may arrange her/his shot using the online scheduling system.

…Sorry. I got distracted by the Vaccine Distribution Counter. It refreshes whenever the page does.

Like I said, our numbers look really good. At the moment.

The numbers most certainly look better than those hazy days between November and January.

I hope things continue to look up. I hope people are responsible, as our gov’nuh wishes. For, as he clarified, “[M]ask mandates does not mean no masks. I think that’s a mistake we make. So we still encourage people even when the mask mandate goes away to be safe and wear masks, get vaccinated and then we can’t wait for all of us to get rid of our masks soon” (Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune).

You and me, both, brother.

How are things ’round your parts?

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Lagoon

I haven’t written about tourist destinations in Utah in over a while. I started doing so as a way of remembering the local venues I might enjoy again, once COVID evaporated. I did so to let people know what Utah has to offer. I also did so as a way to fill the blog each week…

So, today’s stop is Lagoon Amusement Park.

Lagoon sign
©2020 the Standard-Examiner.

I’ve been around this tiny park throughout my life. My parents forked over funds for we children to attend a handful of times; I have hazy memories of sliding down sacks and walking through a spinning tunnel in the fun house, covering my eyes at the ‘scary’ parts of the haunted house, riding their car-driving attraction as a passenger -and wishing so hard I were tall enough to control my own vehicle!, walking beneath the white, wooden roller coaster, and staring up at the other, ENORMOUS coasters in awe.

Up until thirteen years old, wild horses could not have dragged me onto any ride that moved faster than a log flume. I certainly would never have gone upside-down! At the end of that school year, however, Lagoon hosted its usual free day for the graduating sixth-graders. I went with a neighbor and her family. Just before the park closed and just after they lowered my judgment enough to ride the Musik Express, I got on Colossus.

Colossus the Fire Dragon.JPG
From wikipedia, by Davehi1.

The experience at the time was akin to others’ descriptions of their first beer -and not the good descriptions.

Still, that broke me in. By the time I attended my first Six Flags amusement park at sixteen, I felt highly experienced. “Pshaw,” I said, “That Superman coaster is nothing. I could do it with my eyes closed…” Between Six Flags and Disneyland, I formed a snooty opinion of little, backwards Lagoon.

Until today. Yes, until today. Thanks to the internet, I’ve read up on Lagoon’s history.

© The Salt Lake Tribune, archives.

First, I learned where the name comes from. I’d often wondered; Utah is an extremely dry state and its ‘lagoons’ are usually marshlands on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. I guess the original founder/owner/head man, Mr. Simon Bamberger, christened the park thus because of the existing body of water in his initial forty acres. And, yes, it was a lagoon of the marshlands of Salt Lake. He drained some of the swamp to expand it.

Two fun facts: apparently, residents would use that water to harvest ice in the winter; and, I remember seeing people boat on that same water. -You know, all swan boat style. These days, the pond at Lagoon is rather green. I think I’d swim in it if literally no other option existed.

The other reasons I’ve come to respect our dinky amusement park more are: its history, its fight to remain open and profitable, and its unique roller coasters.

This blog post could go on for ages and ages, but I love that Lagoon tries to keep much of its original features and to purchase the dying aspects of other areas. They expanded to include something known as Pioneer Village decades ago, for example. You can get pretty darn good ice cream there.
The owners have tried to add a new ride every year since 1994, with notable exceptions.
And, apparently, five of the ten coasters are unique:

Colossus the Fire Dragon, the last Schwarzkopf Double Looping coaster still in operation in the United States (Laser at Dorney Park closed at the end of the 2008 season and was moved to Germany to become the Teststrecke traveling roller coaster in 2009); Roller Coaster, one of the oldest coasters in the world operating since 1921; Wicked, designed by Lagoon’s engineering department and Werner Stengel in cooperation with ride manufacturer ZiererBomBora, a family coaster designed in-house; and Cannibal, built in-house with one of the world’s steepest drops.

Wikipedia

They even have a water park area in the middle. It’s called Lagoon-A-Beach, another name I’ve wondered at. I mean, why not go with Lagoon’s Lagoon?

As to my thoughts of its being dinky? I just read that the total acreage is around 95. Disneyland is 100. Huh. The more you learn…

The Cannibal roller coaster is pictured at Lagoon in Farmington on Friday, July 10, 2015.
© 2020 Ravell Call, Deseret News.

If you want to visit Lagoon Amusement Park, it’s not far. Just head about 23 minutes North on I-15 from the Salt Lake City International Airport. Be prepared to pay for parking, admission, food, extras, carnival games, souvenirs…

—–

On that note, here are the things I posted over the last …weeks:

Tuesday, March 16: Announced this month’s A Mused Poetry Contest. The theme is a snappy jingle for a product that really shouldn’t be sold.

Friday, March 19: “Here I Am Now, On My Diet,” a parody of “Hello, Muddah, Hello, Fadduh” about dieting.

Sunday, March 21: Re-blogged Dumbestblogger’s excellent satirical piece, “Hands Apart America.”

Monday, March 22: Responded to Carrot Ranch’s prompt with “Last Year.”

Shared a quote by Michael Jordan.

Tuesday, March 23: ‘Twas my birthday, but good luck knowing how old I turned.

Wednesday, March 24: “Everybody’s Buying This,” a humorous jingle to inspire you to enter the A Mused Poetry Contest. The deadline is April 16!

Friday, March 26: Another humorous jingle, “Grampy’s Burlap Underwear.”

And, some reflections on nature and motherhood.

Monday, March 29: Shared a quote by Mandy Hale.

Tuesday, March 30: Learned of the passing of Sue Vincent, and shared that update with “Into Spirit.” Rest in peace, you wonderful woman.

Friday, April 2: Today.

©2021 Chel Owens

03/11/2021 of COVID-19 Life: One Year Anniversary

On March 13, 2020, our family officially went into lockdown. We’d read the news of Coronavirus’ spread, heard about the first case in Utah, purchased some toilet paper and water, and been told that everyone in the world would be sitting tight for two weeks. I remember those two weeks-three weeks-four weeks; my …finger-wagging-type friends kept internet-shaming anyone they saw outside. They kept admonishing that, if everyone would simply pull together for those few weeks, we’d be back to normal within the month.

Ha.

Months dragged by. Here, in my introverted world, I felt lost. Sure, I had texting. I had movies. I had my family. Plus, I had writing with my blogging community. The problem was that I had no desire to write. Did anyone else feel that way?

I felt reality knocking, peering, prying into my safe existence. A horrible plague might sneak through our door in the guise of a well-meaning relative or an Amazon package or a container of baby cereal. I had nightmares of said plague in every breath my three-month-old baby took. I pictured each of my children in a hospital bed, gasping for life inside a solid building I wouldn’t even be able to enter.

At first, I allayed my panic by handling what I could. I reached out to others via text or e-mail. We learned about Zoom. And, I loved reading my friends’ blog posts about conditions where they lived. It was morbidly fascinating to be experiencing the exact same, horrid thing everywhere. I shared what was happening in Utah as well.

I also took pictures. I still do. Someday, I’ll compile them; maybe I’ll print a book for my children. I’ve captured signs warning about masks and distancing. I’ve taken phone photos of plastic dividers; ‘samples’ at Costco; bulk goods now pre-bagged; and the absence of cleaning products, water, and toilet paper. What I wish I could photograph, above all, are all the people in masks. Masks at the store; in cars; at school. It’s alien.

Which leads me to current news. The Utah Department of Health says it has dosed 936,681 people with the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov’nuh Cox is pushing to extend our statewide mask mandate beyond the projected April 10 date, based mainly on his insistence that we get more people vaccinated. At the middle school where I work, we were told that masks would be required in schools till July 4. We may, however, be considering moving back to traditional delivery of school lunch -i.e., serving on plates and trays instead of handing out Styrofoam clamshells.

The numbers are dropping.

The verbal rain check I gave my oldest for his birthday party last year just might happen this time around. Maybe we’ll go on a vacation somewhere without cows. And maybe, just maybe, we can walk into a grocery store without a face covering -all of us- fully smile at a friend we see, and even hug them.

©2021 Chel Owens