Priorities, Priorities.

It didn’t matter anymore.

That shipment of designer-label makeup and brushes Maggie saved and saved for, finally sitting in its box on her porch.

Those Mike sneakers Joe wasted his entire paycheck on.

The brand-new, glistening, powerful Lawn Steere tractor (and attachments) Lori drove home from the shop just yesterday. Parked in the outbuilding of her late grandfather’s estate.

Steve’s collection of bottle caps.

Ada’s books. Oh, how she loved books.

Even Clair’s six pack of beer, alone on the dusty counter.

None of that mattered, anymore, as Maggie, Joe, Lori, Steve, Ada, Clair, and every sentient being watched-heard-felt-breathed Methuselah’s Comet break through the atmosphere. And silence all of Earth.

©2021 Chel Owens

Raya, Captain Marvel, Katniss Everdeen, Trinity, and GIRL POWER

I’m about as pro-female as the next woman. I want to be judged based on intelligence and ability, know that being female does not make me automatically enjoy flower-arranging, and get excited whenever Natasha Romanova takes out another bodyguard with her sweet moves.

Scarlett Johansson Film GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Still, all this pro-woman stuff is starting to bother me. It’s the super- superpowers that’s the problem. It’s the lack of female characteristics. It’s …it’s …difficult to put my finger on, especially in a high-strung world that seems determined to erase any gender lines ENTIRELY.

Take Raya, the lead character in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. I wanted to like her. She’s determined, honest, has a worthy cause she’s fighting for, and is not naïve. But she really bugged me. First, the voice actor sounds 40 even when Raya is a young child. Her voice is old and her language is old. I get that Raya is supposed to be precocious. She is not, however, supposed to be 40. Nor is the chick she spends time with from the Fang Clan. Both of them needed to be young-ified.
….Okay; really, the voice and vocabulary are my #1 complaint.
After that, I am bothered, as I usually am in movies with female leads, that she does not have to pull her hair back, have downtime once a month, or hurt her hand when punching a rock…

Disney Movie Raya GIF by Walt Disney Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

Next up is Captain Marvel.
Woo-wee. Where to start? How about the fact that she is even more powerful than Superman? Again, I wanted to like her. She can do anything even though she’s a chick, so that means we women can do anything too -right? (granted, that’s if we first absorb the energy of an alien power source…).
I can’t like her. I can’t believe her. The film kept trying to show that her ‘weakness’ was not being confident. Thank you, Marvel writers, for showing me that all I need is limitless abilities (including not being crushed in the vacuum of space) to get over my crushing self-doubts and alien-installed dampener on my neck.

Captain Marvel GIF by Marvel Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you see what I mean? I recognize my concerns and begin to understand when I compare women like Raya or Cpt. Marvel to female leads I do like.

Like, Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Katniss is sixteen, independent, and not very touchy-feely. Her superpower? Archery. Oh, and good survivalist instincts and knowledge.
Katniss is godlike in shooting arrows, described in Mockingjay as being able to bullseye multiple targets thrown into the air. She’s also able to recognize edible plants, find water, start fires, and kill children…. The only part of her character that irks me is her naivety to plans going on right under her nose –but, wouldn’t a sixteen-year-old be oblivious?
I love that Katniss’ instinct is to run and hide, sniveling, when danger rears its ugly head. She’s calculating, yet cares deeply. She’s human -a teenage human.

Jennifer Lawrence Aim GIF by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Another of the female powerhouses I love is Trinity from The Matrix film series.
Cool, powerful, strong, independent. Trinity makes everything looks awesome. Yet, she is also terrified. At times, she is vulnerable. My favorite, favorite scene is when she is lying on the ground, guns drawn, after flying through a window. She’s just run across rooftops after wiping out an entire police force and expects an Agent to break through and annihilate her at any second. Pistols pointed at the broken window, she grits her teeth and tells herself, “Get up, Trinity. Get. UP!”

Ready To Fight The Matrix GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

Why do some women leads bother me and others not? I think everyone is confused about what Girl Power means.

I’m a woman. I’m female. I grew up seeing girls choose dolls and friends; hearing girls talk about fingernail polish and cute boys; smelling girls spray fruity vanilla scents on each other and worrying over their hair. Even as a woman, I notice most other XX’s fretting at house decorating or “The Bachelor” or botox.

Me? I had Barbies with superpowers who went on adventures. I chewed my nails and thought boys were disgusting. I think ‘doing my hair’ is pulling it back in a ponytail. I wouldn’t be caught dead watching something as stupid as fake-dating for a supposed millionaire.

I want girls to be anything.

Buuuut, I also know that females have many physiological differences. They seem to gravitate toward certain tastes. Many share attributes like being nurturing, good at communicating, and -yes- arranging flowers well. Quite obviously, they are also the only ones able to make babies.

As we’ve emerged from a long history of mostly baby-making out into the limelight of higher education, politics, and management; we’re not sure what to do. We’re not sure what to encourage. Women who’ve obviously chosen home life are raising their daughters to choose the opposite. Petite movie directors and writers make their characters sound middle-aged, fly to other worlds, win in a deathmatch, and stand up to beefy-armed hirelings.

I guess that sells better than The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

What to do, then; what to do…

Here’s a simple takeaway: keep female characters believable. Keep them as good, reachable role models. Why do I hate Captain Marvel? No weakness; no humanity at all. Why do I love Katniss? Her go-to is to hide when things get difficult; to act irrationally. Why do I prefer Disney’s Moana over Raya? Practical physical limitations and age-appropriate behaviors. Why do I favor Trinity, even though she pushes some realism? Because she shows fear, uncertainty, jealousy, and deep emotion.

Women are complicated. Don’t make us impossible as well. Right?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

©2021 Chelsea Owens

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.

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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

“Your sadness doesn’t make you less of a human being. In fact, it makes you more. More expansive. More connected. Painfully beautiful. Raw. Open. Completely alive.”

Panache Desai, Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion & Joy

An Unnatural Glade

Var paused. This opening felt different.

The echo of his soot-crusted boots ceased. His kerchiefed breathing slowed. As charred branches, brittle pine boughs, and scorched roots recovered from his recent passing; he realized he was not alone.

Furthermore, Var could not be the only living thing in this unliving world.

There! Ash-strewn sunlight touched a new, green bud. And, there! A lonely peppered moth took flight. Oh, there! Buzzing annoyance nipped a sunburned ear.

But, there! -Most of all, there! In this unnatural glade amidst a smoldering hell of war’s aftermath, he heard an ancient sound: sweet, whistling birdsong.

©2021 Chel Owens

Photo by Jack Bulmer on Pexels.com

Written for an early morning, and for Carrot Ranch’s prompt:

May 27, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tiny flying insects. Think about how the insects shape the scene or add to the action. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by June 1, 2021. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

The A Mused Poetry Contest 5/29/2021 – 6/26/2021

It’s, once again, way past time for our A Mused Poetry Contest. Better late than never!

  1. The Theme is a silly poem about an unusual eccentricity. In my ‘free time’ that is completely nonexistent, I’ve (still) been ploughing through In Search of the English EccentricFoibles, personal oddities, and strange collections abound.
  2. I recommend keeping the poem’s Length to fewer than 200 words, but who am I to suppress a slightly mad creative mind?
  3. I also recommend Rhyming but see the caveat, above.
  4. Rating: PG-13. Some eccentrics delve into less …acceptable behaviors of a less modest nature. If you wish to rhyme about such a one as this, allusions will be your friend.
  5. Above all, maintain a sense of levity. An unusual dignity, yes; but humor as well!

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next MONTH (June 26) to submit a poem.

Use the form, below, to retain anonymity until results are posted.

Otherwise, include your poem in the comments, link to it in the comments, or leave a note that you’ve written one and stuck it on your own site in the comments. You cannot just link back to my post because WordPress is stupid and I will not receive it.

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©2021 Chel Owens

A ‘Political’ Poem

Ohhhhh
I don’t mind your arguing -if
You’ll open your mind
To others’ views, just like you want,
And if you will be kind.

Oh, don’t you see, that you and me
Live on the same, great Earth?
And, don’t you see, that you and me
Think everyone has worth?

Ohhhhh
I’ll even read your quotes and ‘news’
Although I’m short on time.
I hope you’ll do the same for mine;
Let’s read between the lines.

For, don’t you see, that you and me
Live on the same, great Earth?
And don’t you see, that you and me
Think everyone has worth?

Ohhhhh
I don’t mind your politics
So long as you’ll hear mine,
And not reject my thoughts and face
Until the end of time.

‘Cause, sure; you see, that you and me
Live here, on this same Earth;
That you and me, most def’nit’ly,
Know everyone has worth.

©2021 Chel Owens