Me in a Minute?

We’ve moved. Hear that, Pete? We’ve moved!

The ‘new’ place is fantastic …and a lot of work. Every room is a project waiting to top the list. Every corner of the yard needs pruning or trimming or weeding or…

Part of the backyard, as explored by my toddler.

Still, we’re settling in. We’re meeting the neighbors. As part of this, I’ve tried to listen when our local LDS ward’s* Relief Society hosts Me in a Minute. The idea is that a woman has one minute to describe herself.

One minute. 🕒

Naturally, I’ve thought how I would fill my minute if I had a turn. I wouldn’t do that, I’ve thought. Or, I wouldn’t say that. Welllll, Karma has come around; I’ve been asked to try my hand during the meeting tomorrow.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Problem is, I’m over-thinking -for good reason. Most people introduce themselves by profession. Then, they elaborate. Then, they name a few interests or achievements. If I were to follow this format, however, my introduction would be:

Hello. I’m a mother. I have five and 8/9 boys. In my spare time, I sleep. Today, I got dressed.

I’d love to be more clever than that, but there’s the problem of the 8/9 boy draining my mental capacity. And ability to stand for a full minute without needing to visit the ladies’ room… Maybe I ought to give myself a script.

So, really, what would you say in a minute’s time? Would you write it all out or just wing it?

©2021 Chel Owens

*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is unique in that one attends a ward or branch in the area one moves to; and that this ward or branch follows exactly the same schedule, format, doctrine, etc. as any other.

10/18/2021 of COVID-19 Life

These current COVID times are odd. We live as if the disease does not exist, with constant reminders that it does.

During the worldwide shutdown, you see, our family shuttered into itself; not eating out, not going out, not accepting human interaction or even packages. Our norm is to eat homemade most of the the time but I felt too scared of the risk to try any food prepared in a restaurant.

Contrast to now: we get takeout at least once a week, go out for shopping or school, and visit family and friends and receive them. I no longer make the kids wait a whole day before opening boxes we’ve received. Our new norm is whatever we need based on energy level and access to the kitchen from unpacking/organizing.

I see friends and relatives going on vacations, attending school dances, and watching sports from a crowded stadium.

A football game at the University of Utah stadium.

I feel like everyone thinks and acts like we’re all normal. Then… every time I have an OB/GYN appointment, I must mask, sanitize, and declare my cleanliness from COVID at check-in. Many businesses require their employees to wear a mask; many politely demand or request the same from clientele. My Twofacebook feed hosts shaming and statistics messages against unvaccinated folks OR staunch personal freedom and risk messages in favor of never complying with vaccine regulations.

Unfortunately, I also see occasional posts about this person who has passed away or that person who is struggling in the hospital and could use prayers. Fortunately, I have yet to experience a close family member’s being sick with COVID.

I have had one coworker test positive. She was vaccinated. She described her experience as, “having a bad cold that went on and on;” she’d also lost her sense of taste and smell.

Still, Utah’s case numbers look good:

The biggest side effect of Sir ‘Rona is in this U.S. nation’s response and subsequent inflation and shortages.

Necessities like lumber and cement are quite expensive and often rationed out to contractors. McDonald’s was out of root beer for our Happy Meals last week. KFC said they were out of breasts. Shoppers keep exhausting our local Costco stores of toilet paper (again!!) and bottled water. When I applied to our mobile windshield repairman for a replacement, he said he couldn’t get a windshield for our minivan. When I applied to the body shop for a small repair on our pickup truck, they said we could come in mid-December.

Everywhere has Now Hiring signs for entry-level positions. I’ve read articles about supply ships gathered at ports without workers to unload or with strict regulations for the crews. No one seems to want these low-paying jobs, including positions like bus driver or trucker. Point fingers where you may, but current government ‘support’ seems to be contributing; in the words of Percy Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel, “Sink me; if everyone isn’t so equal in your new society that no one wants to do the driving anymore.”

I’m grateful we have more on our side to combat this respiratory infection. I wonder when we’ll consider it finally absolved. After all, they’ve only just approved a childhood vaccine for malaria….

—–

©2021 Chel 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

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

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

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

Apples to Oranges

Food is an integral part of every living thing’s existence. We humans, given our great intelligence, have taken the ol’ hunt/gather/farm approach to greater and greater heights. Not only have we crafted tools beyond a pointed stick to spear our wooly mammoth dinner; we’ve gone on to mix that mammoth meat with grassland herbs, treetop seeds, and a pinch of some black powder Grog produced with his Smashy Rock.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What always gets me is wondering who first decided to make a cake. I know! I’ll crack open this white orb what fell from this flapping animal without much sense. Ah, yes! something yellow and goopy! Now, I’ll try mooshing that with this rock-smashed white stuff I got from the tan plants near Poo Mound. Excellent! Hmmm… what about some mammoth fat? Ooh! And, now, bake for 350º F in these flat rocks that I’ve suddenly decided to call an “oven…”

I’m getting off-topic, though. What I’m really interested in talking about today are fruits and vegetables. Those most common to we European-descent Americans surrounded by a few tropical areas include: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, berries, apricots, peaches, squashes, carrots, corn (oh, my goodness! so much corn!), lettuce, beans, peas, and potatoes. With the exception of the oranges, I can grow any of those in my backyard. I find them in the grocery store year-round.

These fruits and veggies are so common and prevalent that they slip into phrases (“that’s like comparing apples to oranges”). They are the staple of tradition (“as American as apple pie”). They even show up in nursery rhymes (“Peter, Peter, Pumpkin-Eater”).

Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Not until I watched a Curious George television cartoon with my son did it occur to me that life was not a piece of fruitcake. The episode responsible for this enlightenment centered around George the monkey (yes, yes; he’s actually an ape) meeting new neighbors from an Asian country. They’d opened a restaurant and store, and introduced George and his yellow-hatted friend to a variety of new dishes made from fruits the two had never seen before.

I stole this picture from Carol, who is AMAZING.

Forget George; I’d never seen them before.

Shortly before that point, I had learned that everything is not America where crops are concerned. Barbara Kingsolver snuck that fact in to her The Poisonwood Bible, when Nathan Price tries to cultivate the seeds they brought from home in the African Congo. Spoiler alert: they all fail because the local pollinators don’t know what to do with a squash plant.

I’m intrigued. What is a fruit or vegetable that you can grow near you, that I do not have here in the western part of America? What does it taste like? Further, what is one I have or that you’ve heard I have, that you wonder about?

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

How do you like them apples?

—————-

All right. I’m finished with the puns and idioms. Go ahead and check out what I wrote:

Thursday, February 18: Asked everyone about common meals where they live.

Saturday, February 20: “A Hallmark Love Poem,” as an example of what you brilliance you can write for the A Mused Poetry Contest.

Monday, February 22: Shared a quote by Bill Bullard.

Tuesday, February 23: Wrote a little something something for Deb’s 42 Words prompt: Mystery.

I’ve given up on it, but there’s some old stuff on my motherhood site.

I’ll be publishing my first-ever guest post at Carrot Ranch on Monday, March 1! It’s about writing poetry, so go over there even if you hate poetry. You’re welcome.

©2021 Chelsea Owens

What’s for Dinner? No, Seriously…

There’s a special place in my heart for food; especially, as my efforts to lose my post-pregnancy weight can attest, for sweet foods. Really, though, I’m only picky about quality. Because of that and the number of children I sired, I make almost all of my own meals.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

Mmmmmmm.

After reading about Joanne’s making pancakes last week, I started thinking about what everyone makes for her/his meals. Another blogger I follow, Carol, prepares everything from homemade mustard to mincemeat pies. Gary, over in Great Britain somewhere, often laments the states of his cakes. Kat is a whiz at ratio baking. And, John the whimsical poet really likes bananas

Where am I going with this? To the kitchen, of course! Let’s say that it’s time to start the oven for dinner. Looks like I’m making tuna on toast tonight, a budget-friendly concoction of a white tuna sauce with peas served over broken-up bits of toasted bread. The rest of next week will be pizza, broccoli cheese soup, baked chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls, cottage pie, tempura vegetables over rice, hash browns and eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, chicken à la king…. This means I’m currently organized enough to have a meal plan, and that I’m an American of mostly-British descent.

I have go-to meals and favorites. Further, I have a full kitchen, seasonings and spices, food storage, and a stocked fridge. I know what to do with a whisk.

But, what about you? What are you planning tonight? Tomorrow? Next week? What are some of your favorite foods to make or have made? Have you all the latest appliances and gadgets? What about that whisk?

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

Hungry stomachs want to know…

—————-

Here’s about what I wrote/posted for the past week:

Wednesday, February 10: Re-blogged Gregory Joel‘s excellent observations of humanity.

Sunday, February 14: “Wherein Lies the Crime?” in response to Deb’s 42 Words prompt.

Monday, February 15: Shared a quote by Barack Obama.

Tuesday, February 16: Reminded you about Sue Vincent’s Fundraiser Writing Contest. The deadline is tomorrow so PLEASE ENTER!!!!!

I’ve given up on it, but there’s some old stuff on my motherhood site as well. There are even recipes for quick and easy dinners!

Also, I will be joining the illustrious, intelligent, immortal crew over at Carrot Ranch soon. The plan is to host a monthly poetry-writing prompt.

©2021 Chelsea Owens

What’s for Snack in YOUR Neck of the Woods? A Very Serious Discussion About Junk Foods

America has a plethora of snack foods and desserts -or, so I have been told. My world traveling is nonexistent, so I feel inadequate at venturing an expert opinion. I have my suspicions whenever I shop, however. The section of Oreo cookies, alone, attests to …an unhealthy trend.

Which leads to a topic that’s niggled at my curiosity (and appetite) for quite some time: what sorts of candy, sweets, and junk foods are ubiquitous, and which are unique to their area?

If I went to the store right now in the morning, I would see candy bars that include: Kit Kat, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey’s, Snickers, M&Ms, York Peppermint Patty, Whatchamacalit, Heath, Baby Ruth, Almond Joy, Butterfinger, Three Musketeers, Milky Way, Crunch bar, Mr. Goodbar, Caramello, 100 Grand, Mounds, Rolo, Twix, Payday, Dove…

Nestle and Mars Accused of Massive Candy-Bar Price-Fixing Conspiracy in  Canada
©2021 Grub Street

Besides those listed, the candy aisle sells gums, candies, and chocolates. Snack aisles feature cookies, chips, crisps, nuts, crackers, and pretzels. I feel inundated with options, so much so that I don’t know which might be unique to mention.

Do you have Cornnuts where you live?

What about chocolate-covered cinnamon bears? Peanut butter-filled pretzels? Caramel popcorn drizzled in white and milk chocolate? Gummy candies that look like a mouth but taste like wax?

This requires some serious thought.

So, what is a snack or junk food you’ve heard I might have? What’s a snack or junk food you only have around you?

—————-

I’ve not kept up on this, so here are my writings for the past week:

Friday, January 22: Why, a poem addressing my writer’s block.

Monday, January 25: Shared a quote by John Mark Green.

Tuesday, January 26: Encouraged y’all to be thinking about entering Carrot Ranch’s special fundraiser writing contest in honor of Sue Vincent.

Wednesday, January 27: Today

I’ve mostly given up on it, but there’s some stuff on my motherhood site as well.

©2021 Chelsea Owens

I Say! Where Might YOU Be From? A Question of Pronunciation and Colloquialisms; What, What!

Awhile ago, I took a clickbait internet quiz to see where I was from based on how I spoke. Did I say, “Coke” or “soda” or “pop” for a sugary, carbonated beverage? “Ay-pri-cot” or “a-pri-cot” to describe a fuzzy fruit? “Rooooof” or “ruhf;” “crick” or “creek;” “malk” or “melk” or “milk…”

Photo by slon_dot_pics on Pexels.com

The neat thing about this highly-scientific and accurate test was that the designers included a map with a target-type graphic. Every answer I gave sent the reticule to one location or another around the United States. And, believe me, mine was flying all over. My saying one thing suggested East Coast; another said somewhere in the ocean; perhaps the program was trying for England? I felt a bit proud that I couldn’t be placed -probably a relic of my younger years when I really wanted to be a secret agent.

Recently, however, my friend corrected how I said, “Appalachian.” I’d learned to say the ‘a’ before the ‘chian’ with a long vowel sound: “A-ppa- lay-shan.”
“How’d you say that?” she demanded. “It’s ‘A-ppa-lah-shan.'”
I thought to correct her. This had to be an accent thing since she’s from The South. Then, I used my ol’ phonetic skills and thought, Ya know; I think she’s right

Still, I’ve heard how the newscasters have been throwing around, “Ne-vah-da” and “Or-eh-gone” lately. I can be smug in knowing those are “Ne-va-da” and “Or-eh-gun.” Right?

Photo by Stephan Müller from Pexels

It’s true that certain regions pronounce certain locations a certain way. There’s good reason for that know-how with some of those. For example, I have no idea how to say, ‘Worcestershire.’ Of course, visitors to Utah are sure to butcher ‘Mantua’ or ‘Tooele.’ Do you know how to say them?

Besides honing my spy skills further, I’m curious: what are some strange names of cities or landmarks near you? What are some odd ways your community pronounces some everyday words?

—————-

Here’s my postings for the past week:
Monday, December 28: Wrote “Re-Resolution” in the early morning hours, then posted a quote that might be by Mother Teresa.

Tuesday, December 29: Shared “We-Resolution” to encourage more humorous limericks.

Thursday, December 31: Wrote another update on Coronavirus life at home. You know, now that I’m not at home so often.

Sunday, January 3: Poemed whilst in a dismal mood. Cancer sucks.

Monday, January 4: Shared a quote by Glennon Doyle.

Tuesday, January 5: Wrote yet another bad limerick. You all need to enter the A Mused Poetry Contest to put a stop to them!

I also posted random thoughts of mine on my motherhood site.

©2021 Chelsea Owens