Thanksgiving

I sit, on the eve of my favorite holiday, wondering what to write.

Instead of capitulating and catapulting into a lengthy life story, I’ll retire slightly earlier. I’ll give you the same opportunity. After all, the focus of a holiday should be on what brings you true joy.

Happy Thanksgiving. I wish you well, whether you celebrate or not.

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

At least eat something delicious. You deserve it.

—–

Last week, I wrote:
Wednesday, November 16: “Expert Parent, in the making.” We can’t all know what diapers are for.

Friday, November 18: Friday Photo. Holy mackerel.

Saturday, November 19: “A Poem on Living.” It’s a bittersweet one.

Sunday, November 20: Quote by G. K. Chesterton.

Monday, November 21: Talked about the LDS temples, and temple recommends.

Tuesday, November 22: Answered Carrot Ranch’s prompt with “Speak to Me Only With Thine Dementia.” For the record, I’m not fond of the title.

Wednesday, November 23: Today.

©2022 Chel Owens

Expert Parent, in the making

“Babe-eeeee, where are you going?” I say, in an effort to distract my contortionist one-year-old. All I want is to diaper the squirmy creature; so, in the words of my almost-three-year-old, he won’t have a “naked tush.” One hand grapples with legs, another with the body, another with setting a toy between Baby’s fists, and yet another reaches for the clean diaper.

We’re out. At least, we’re out of the handy pile I keep by the bed.

This means it’s time to tear open another oversized box from my home-away-from-home, Costco (seriously, I’m up to daily trips, now). I keep a running tab on how many of the 222 disposable landfill hazards are left, ready to up my trips to twice-daily if the stock’s too low.

I’ve 112, so we’re good -the large pile comforts me. My seeing it also reminds me of when I was expecting my very first baby:

Fifty years ago* and around 30 weeks, I’d had enough with pregnancy. Knowing the only way to extract the male parasite within, however, I crossed my legs and waited for nature to take its course.

And, I accepted the inevitable by accepting gifts from friends and relatives. I have many kind acquaintances who visited and gave us a lot of necessities.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

The weeks sped closer to a supposed due date for Owens Boy #1; I surveyed my blue and green clothing, white burp cloths, pristine car seat, bumpered crib, and -yes- piles of diapers with satisfaction. I was set; I could do this. I would …eventually… get all our moving boxes out of the intended nursery and have it arranged for our offspring’s arrival.

I clearly had everything we needed.

Except, I didn’t.

I’m not sure if I realized my error whilst watching a friend change her baby’s bottom. I’m not certain if I saw the problem whilst shopping and traveling down the baby aisle. I’m not even positive if I was hit by Captain Obvious whilst attending a free class at the hospital on How to Change Your Baby.

Remember kids, we didn’t have YouTube in The Time of the Pager.

See, pregnancy is a funny thing. When sampling it; women may experience stupidity, ignorance, idiocy, and a generalized inability to think. (No, seriously: if someone tells me s/he told me important information in the past that I can’t recall, I’ve learned to ask, “Was I pregnant?”)

At some point that may have been AFTER pushing out Kevin jr.**, I noticed a number written on the boxes of diapers. I’m not referring to that old ‘222’ of how many fit in a box; I’m referring to ‘Size 3.’ Furthermore, I’m referring to a group of numbers under ‘Size 3’ that describe a weight range. While some might consider that to be a diaper’s maximum limit on retaining moisture; it is, in fact, a range in which your baby must fall in order to fit that size.

Up till this revelatory moment, I’d ignored that little range and that little word, ‘Size.’ I’d surveyed my derriere-dressings with pride, smugly confident that I had enough for my means. Unfortunately, I had Size 1, Size 2, and Size 3.

“Unfortunately” because the baby popped out a bit small, necessitating an unknown ‘Newborn’ level of coverage.

Photo by kelvin octa on Pexels.com (Not my baby, but still cute)

So…. did you know they give you diapers in the hospital? They also teach you which end to put it on.

—–

Did you also know that diapers come in different sizes? What surprising yet simple idea have you learned in life, perhaps from an embarrassing lack of knowledge like my experience?

—–

Last week, I wrote:
Wednesday, November 9: “You Don’t Have to Read This.” You don’t -nor any other posts you aren’t interested in.

Friday, November 11: Friday Photo. I hope no one eats these things for breakfast.

Sunday, November 13: Announced the Terrible Poetry Contest for November: a clean limerick on lost-and-found.
Also, shared a quote by Seth Godin.

Monday, November 14: Talked about callings in the LDS Church.

Tuesday, November 15: “Geneva Steele,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Wednesday, November 16: Today. Sort-of.

©2022 Chel Owens

*I couldn’t have been pregnant fifty years ago. This is called an exaggeration, or hyperbole.

**None of our children is named after Kevin. The real name was changed to protect the infant.

You Don’t Have to Read This

Of course; now that you’re here, you’ve proven yourself determined.

When I first began blogging, I couldn’t pick a genre. I still can’t. Eh; I’m okay with that, I thought. Just to be certain, I started a second blog on parenting with the determination to grow it till it was MASSIVE…

…and it flopped. Turns out other parents don’t have time to read, either…

So, I went back to this eclectic approach of writing whatever struck my fancy.

Meanwhile, I’ve been a very devoted follower. I had everyone’s posts flooding into my Inbox.

And

I read

every

single

post.

I really did.

I haven’t been able to lately*, however, and have therefore felt guilty that any of you are trying to do the same with what I write.

Hence, the title of this blog: you don’t have to read what I write.

If you’re more of a poetry fanatic, just pick those up. Like pictures? Come back on Fridays. Love aphorisms and quotes -try a Sunday. I do not expect anyone to devoutly read and respond to whatever pops up here.

Likewise, know that I’m reciprocating. I often don’t have the thumbs to text a comment, but I’m out there. Stalking. Reading.

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

As always, thank you for the support. You guys keep me going. Fo’ real.

—–

We’ve just begun! So, far this month, I’ve written:
Wednesday, November 2: “And Then, She Thought to Herself…,” in which we discussed hearing narration.

Thursday, November 3: “Onset of Night,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Friday, November 4: Who doesn’t need an outsized moose?

Sunday, November 6: Everyone needs lovin’, by Maryam Hasnaa

Monday, November 7: Those Latter-day Saints done pay their tithing.

Tuesday, November 8: “Secret Codes by Secret Means.”

Wednesday, November 9: This post.

©2022 Chel Owens

*Lately, being the American English for not in the last five years. From the Chelsea English for understated.

And Then, She Thought to Herself…

Shh. I have a secret.

Photo by Sound On on Pexels.com

Come closer -or increase your screen’s resolution- and I’ll tell you.

I talk to myself -in a personal, mental, silent way.

…..

Hopefully I’ve not driven you off to find other, more sane bloggers. I think the behavior is normal, naturally. After all, I’m not having a conversation. I am narrating. This narrative used to be relayed in a British accent. Nowadays, I’m lucky to get basic vocabulary words straight.

Her kids were the ones at fault, really. Why else couldn’t Chelsea pour a simple cup of water from the pitcher, unless it was that those selfsame children hadn’t refilled it. Again. Chelsea sighed, and delayed the descent to insanity by enlisting a tried-and-true technique: picturing herself long past these years, on a beach, with only the warm breeze to tell her, “No.”

I’m not the only one -right? It’s a highly-creative person thing to do -right?

Tell me it is.

Or, tell me an odd quirk of yours. I’ll put British Chel on hold; now, I’m all ears.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

—–

We’ve just begun! So, far this month, I’ve written:
Tuesday, November 1: “The Trouble With Wings

Wednesday, November 2: Today.

©2022 Chel Owens

Blogging Friends, In Real Life

Ever since I realized people existed behind these things called ‘blogs,’ I’ve dreamt of meeting one.

I mean, why limit exchanges to pun-filled banter, terrible poetry, or sharing story prompts? Why not, say, share lunch?

Yesterday, I finally had that privilege.

While on a whirlwind family vacation to Oregon, I thought, Hey; I know someone who lives in Oregon. Maybe -just maaaybe- she’d be willing to meet.

I’m talking about the intelligent, effervescent, engaging, classy, kind, accommodating D. Wallace Peach.

©D. Wallace Peach

(I’m also honorably-mentioning my favorite aunt and uncle, a former neighbor, and an online friend of Kevin’s. All were treated to a ‘could we stop by?’ out of the blue. Sorry, guys.)

We barely made it work. When we came down to ‘we ought to just bag it and try for next time,’ I recalled the lessons I’ve learned from COVID-19’s quarantines and infections. Sometimes, there may not be a ‘next time.’

Thank you, Diana, for helping me seize the day. Thank you for not running in panic from my persistent attempts to connect.

I figured she must be old hat at this lunch-with-a-fan thing.

Ironically, I learned I was her first blogger meet-up as well.

©Chel Owens. Oregon is SO GREEN.

Now that we’ve broken the ice, we want to know: who else? The UK group hosted an annual Blogger’s Bash; why can’t we? Diana says Colorado is lovely… What say you?

—–

Week in review:
Wednesday, September 14: “The Meaning of Life. I Think.

Thursday, September 15: “Three, Two, One: Bumper Balloons,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: balloons on a bumper.

Friday, September 16: Friday Photo.

Sunday, September 18: Internet Quote.

Thursday, September 22: Today.

©2022 Chel Owens

The Meaning of Life. I Think.

I’m not a positive person.

When the going gets tough, I get down. I’m not certain, in case Freud asks, if I’ve always been this way or if I’m repressing some sexual tension I felt for trees in my youth. The point is that I’m me. I can’t be anyone else nor pretend to feel differently than I do once depressive thoughts take over.

©Meg Ryan of French Kiss

I’ve learned a few copes. I’m not at a dangerous level. I’m just …constantly numbing.

Occasionally, I’ll examine my life. From a somewhat stable mindset, I’ll turn it this way and that in the light of detached study. Why am I depressed? Why don’t I feel? Time and again, I come around to the obvious answer: my current situation.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I don’t like being a stay-at-home mother. I didn’t want to be a mother. Worse, I never wanted to do dishes and laundry as an unpaid career. My sincere wish as a child was for the fairies who lived on the other side of my mirror to open a portal to their magical kingdom, where I would live in a Neverland situation; without menstrual cycles, age, or health issues -forever. It sounds stupid, but a part of me still holds onto that dream…

Photo by Tu00fa Nguyu1ec5n on Pexels.com

I’ve an overdeveloped imagination and an underdeveloped -oh, heck; I don’t sleep and have no free time. I retain that corner of imagination to draw from when writing fiction.

For the past while, I have been trying to solve THE PROBLEM of my dissatisfaction. Am I unfulfilled because I didn’t go into a specific career field? I didn’t have one in mind. Am I depressed because I lack free time? I could make some. Am I sad at the prospect of no future? Yes, yes I am.

Besides fairies, I dreamt of some job that would be just as magical. I’d be in an office, with office supplies. I’d have a paycheck. I would get to file things or wear business casual or do important tasks. I would attain a prestigious degree and save lives… I think.

But, to what end? What would it all have been for?

Maybe, the point of life is not work. Maybe the point really is home life.

©Warner Brothers, The Wizard of Oz

No one lies on his death bed lamenting more time spent in the office, right?

Right.

I …just …can’t seem to find the right aphorism or life quote to help me feel good about it all. I can’t find a resolution. Maybe YOU have a suggestion?

—–

Week in review:
Wednesday, September 7: “What’s Your Word?, A Revisit to Resolutions.”

Thursday, September 8: “Swipe Right,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: swimmingly.

Friday, September 9: Friday Photo.

Saturday, September 10: “Poetic Collage.”

Sunday, September 11: Quote by George MacDonald.

Monday, September 12: Mormon Monday. The LDS Church is very organized!

Tuesday, September 13: “Altitude Anonymous.”

Wednesday, September 14: Today.

©2022 Chel Owens

What’s Your Word?, a Revisit to Resolutions

‘Round-about the beginning of 2022, we said a bad word: resolutions. After washing our mouths out and sitting in timeout, I proposed a different approach to New Year’s Resolutions. The idea was to pick a word to summarize 2021 and a new one to begin 2022.

Last year’s word was Complete.

This, for 2022, is Control.

Photo by Riccardo on Pexels.com

Now that we’re halfway two-thirds of the way through the year, I wish to revisit and reassess my word. Have I taken control as I wished? Did I kick a few drivers out and steer this rocky minivan to destinations on my list?

I didn’t specifically state goals for fear they wouldn’t come true -but I had them. They included: to lose all the pregnancy weight (maybe even get back to my ideal!), find balance between tasks and leisure, remodel the freakin’ house, work a side job while the kids go to day care or school, get a handle on our budget, have a system for the housework, be kind, improve my momming of certain difficult offspring, and go to Europe with the family.

I’ve learned that stating resolutions isn’t a masochistic practice meant to trigger a depressive spiral involving Bunny Tracks ice cream. It’s a form of accountability, like a gym buddy.

Photo by Annushka Ahuja on Pexels.com

In that sense, you are all my swolemates. So, how did I do?

  1. Lose the pregnancy weight.
    Thanks to a group diet challenge from March 27th till May 22, I lost 30 pounds. That was also thanks to MyFitnessPal, personal dedication, and Kevin’s support. My graph has looked like a cardiogram over the summer, but I managed to drop another 15. I went from 195 in March to a record low of 149.8 in August.
  2. Find balance between tasks and leisure.
    This may be a lifetime task. I have given myself much more grace, pausing in the day for ten minutes on a quick app game or for a couple of hours to read a book.
  3. Remodel the freakin’ house.
    The house we moved to has several building code violations. It needed immediate changes, like cement poured in the basement and a furnace put in. We also have eight people crammed into three bedrooms.
    We’ve poured the floor, installed HVAC, filled a giant dumpster five times, worked on framing a room downstairs for the business, and met with an architect to draw up our dream plans. Let’s see if we’re up to code by this time next year!
  4. Work a side job and farm out the kids.
    Since school began on August 25th, I’m a cafeteria worker again. Costs do not match up, however, so I’ll be dropping that and trying something more financially sound.
  5. Get a handle on our budget.
    This is also an ongoing task. Life’s expensive.
  6. Be kind.
    Don’t say anything, Geoff.
  7. Improve my momming with the difficult ones.
    My poor kids. Maybe I can try a knot around one finger. I think I’ll always feel this needs work, but I can certainly put more effort here -like, try not to snap at them after interrupting this blog post for the umpteenth time.
  8. Go to Europe with the family.
    Kevin and I talked about doing this …up until meeting with contractors about the cost of remodeling this old house. We will set our sights a little lower and save for a one-time drive out to Disney World next year. Maybe we can stay with family on the way.

Despite the massive word load above, I’m a private person. But I’m trying an unstated resolution to not be embarrassed at being my own cheerleader. Self-confidence and all that, right?

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

So, publicly or privately, I encourage you to do the same. Look over your year (if you had a word or no) and see how things have come along. Have you accomplished what you wished?

There’s still time, though even that is proving more fleeting and precious as I age.

—–

Week in review:

Thursday, September 1: “Welcome Back!”
AND The Terrible Poetry Contest beginning. Please enter. Please please please please…

Friday, September 2: Friday Photo. Take Meowt.

Saturday, September 3: A poem for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday.

Sunday, September 4: Quote by Maryam Hasnaa.

Monday, September 5: Mormon Monday: I dress modestly; and fancy, for church.

Tuesday, September 6: “That Ole Road of Life, I Think

Wednesday, September 7: Today.

©2022 Chel Owens

Work; Work All Day

If you don’t count babysitting, a paper route, or finding pairs in the Lost Socks bin; my first job was working for a chiropractor.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

This chiropractor did more than crack your back. His specialty lay in understanding the body’s energy fields (chi). An appointment involved some straightening of spinal fixtures, sure; but also his holding one point whilst stretching another. Our office sold supplements and copper bracelets. We encouraged eschewing Western Medicine and embracing acupuncture.

I began the job as a front desk receptionist, but everyone quickly realized I did better as a paper-sorter and inventory-labeler than I did as the face of the company. Then, there was the small matter of my prioritizing my Track and Field participation over working. Annnnd, I may have gotten less productive and more makey-outy whilst dating Kevin. (I was sixteen.)

Still, such was my start in the professional world. I didn’t know anything about a chiropractor before then. All I knew was I didn’t want to work in the grocery store as a bagger nor in a restaurant/fast food place as an underappreciated slave.

Besides teaching me about the other half of health and medicine, I learned job skills, where all of one’s paycheck goes, and that one classification of job could be different depending on where you work. I learned what sort of employee I was. I figured out what tasks I enjoyed (fixing the toilet and filing) and which I did not (answering phones and caring for patients who were in pain).

Photo by Michael Wysmierski on Pexels.com

Your first job sticks with you. It’s your first love, used as a measure for the next one; remembered more fondly than it was in the moment.

What was your first job? About how old were you? Did you continue in that field? As a bonus: if someone had asked you then, what would you have said would be your ultimate dream job?

—–

Aaaand, here are the things I wrote since last noting the things I wrote:
Wednesday, June 1: Admitted to an old crush for France.

Friday, June 3: Snapped a Friday Photo of some economically-priced seafood.

Saturday, June 4: Oh, man. This sonnet on soup (sort-of) was the best poem ever!

PLEASE ENTER THE FINAL TERRIBLE POETRY CONTEST! I’ll be reading and posting the winner(s) soon! The winner gets a prize in the mail!

Sunday, June 5: Quoted Nicolas Chamfort about laughing each day.

Monday, June 6ish: Mormon Monday: dudes hold the Priesthood, and the Priesthood has a lot of tiers but blessings.

Tuesday, June 7: Answered Carolyn’s prompt. YOU SHOULD ANSWER IT TOO!

©2022 Chel Owens

J’adore la France, Aussi

I can’t admit how much I love England whilst ignoring its more colo(u)rful, flavo(u)rful relative, France. You see, I once had an ardent affection for all things françaises.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My obsession began in my twelfth year. We were required to pick a foreign language class in junior high school (ages 12-15). So, I looked over the options:

Spanish? ¡No! Too common!

German? Nein! Too much angry phlegm!

French? Oui! Just right!

Between pain au chocolat and Mont St. Michel; le Tour Eiffel and croissants; 400+ fromages officiels and Versailles; chocolat et chocolat; I fell for France like a pre-teen falling for a boy band.

Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash

The language was s-i-l-k. I loved calling a dog un chien, a car une voiture, and a pizza une pizza. I loved slurring words or artistically dropping endings. I loved expanding my lexicon; I could soon exclaim, “Zut alors!” or suggest we go “chez moi.”

I studied the language all through high school (ages 15-18) and into college. The relationship moved from underage crush to fangirl stalking.

If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be to France. Cream puffs were my favorite dessert. I knew to never cut French bread at the table. My 1’s had a serif and my 7’s a strikethrough. My months were janvier à décembre and my days were lundi à dimanche.

Then… we drifted apart. It was primarily communication problems -I simply couldn’t talk to France the way I could to England. I admitted that, all those times I’d promised to visit, I was lying. And, despite a brief fling with Astérix, I didn’t quite understand the French sense of humor.

Alas, we were never meant to be. C’était, peut-être, l’Angleterre. Peut-être…

What of you? Have you ever loved and left? Which country’s heart did you break?

—–

Aaaand, here are the things I wrote since last noting the things I wrote:
Wednesday, May 19: Asked about your favorite desserts.

Friday, May 20: An egg-cellent Friday Photo!

Sunday, May 22: Quoted Stuart Danker.
Declared Not Pam as the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest!

Monday, May 23: Mormon Monday! Sundays are for taking the Sacrament.

Tuesday, May 24: Expressed my emphatic emotions of England.

Wednesday, May 25: Re-formed D. Wallace Peach‘s words to make a poem.

Thursday, May 26: It’s another Terrible Poetry Contest! YOU SHOULD ALL ENTER since this is the last one before I take a break. It’s a sonnet about soup. What’s not appetizing about that?

Friday, May 27: Yo-Yo-Yo-Toy-Yodahhh!

Saturday, May 28: Wrote a terrible poem that still needs work, to deal with the pain of Uvalde.

Sunday, May 29: Quoted Holly Whitaker.

Monday, May 30: I’m a Mormon, so I keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Tuesday, May 31ish: The Open Book Blogger Award!!

©2022 Chel Owens

All We Ever Get is Calories

I’ve been dieting lately.

I find it no funny coincidence that dieting sounds so much like dying, because I’ve not been able to indulge in my unhealthy eating habits for -eight- -whole- -weeks-.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

This dy -eting has been part of a challenge: I, along with several other participants, have solemnly sworn to drink 64 oz. of water, eat 2 fruits and 3 vegetables, not consume sugar, exercise 5/7 days of the week, keep a food journal, contact a teammate daily, and whine about my lack of energy at least 3 times a day.

And that’s why I want to hear about dessert.

No, really. The upside of this diet is one ‘cheat’ day a week where I get to eat sugar. Two weeks ago, I made chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter bars to celebrate. Last week, I opted for an oatmeal fruit bar -because I love oats.

I also love chocolate lava cake, cream puffs, éclairs, fresh fruit pies, pistachio ice cream, Tagalongs, Symphony bars with toffee bits, Costco’s macadamia clusters, rich chocolate, crullers, and …maybe I should go to bed instead of making myself salivate.

In the meantime, what are some of your favorite treats? If you could eat sugar for just one day a week, which dessert would you indulge in?

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Pexels.com

©2022 Chel Owens

—————-

Here’s what I wrote for the last …weeks:
Wednesday, April 27: We talked about how we want to be remembered.

Thursday, April 28ish: Announced the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest, Geoff Le Pard!

Sunday, May 1: Shared a quote by Alice Walker.

Thursday, May 5: Announced the latest Terrible Poetry Contest. THERE’S STILL TIME TO ENTER! IT’LL BE FUN!

Friday, May 6: Friday Photo of a funny play on wives words.

Sunday, May 8: Quoted C. S. Lewis for Mother’s Day, then wrote a poem about the dang holiday.

Monday, May 9: Mormon Monday! Families are so so so so so important.

Friday, May 13: It’s Friday Photo day down at the tire shop!

Sunday, May 15: Quote by David O. McKay.
And, a really beautiful knock-off of “Bad Habits.”

Monday, May 16ish: I’m a Mormon, so I’m not inked and holed.

Tuesday, May 17ish: Answered Charli’s prompt to rewrite her story in 99 words.

©2022 Chel Owens