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.

How To Create a Successful Blog, and How To Get a Lot of Followers

First, you gotta write some blog posts. On a blog. Here are your rules to follow:

  1. Be hot. Seriously.
  2. Have a site that’s EASY TO READ.
  3. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Use easy words in easy formats.
  4. Be entertaining. You know, like with jokes or sarcasm. Or, just throw in cat gifs.
  5. Include pictures. Or cat gifs.
  6. Write with a good mix of informative and anecdotal. <—That, right there, was not easy words.
  7. Publish something every day. Cat gifs count.

Then, you gotta fish for followers:

  1. Be hot.
  2. Find new bloggers and Like, Comment, and Follow. Reading is optional.
  3. Search for similar blogs and Like, Comment, and Follow.
  4. Reply to every.single.comment on your posts.
  5. Enter contests; answer writing prompts.
  6. Respond to other entrants in those contests and prompts. Not sure what to say? -Pretty sure you can leave them cats.

As a Bonus: don’t fall for The Big Ones as a newbie. I’m talking Christian Mihai-types. But, those are a great place to pick up new suckers bloggers those guys have tricked into following them…

©2022 Chel Owens

I was going to do a ‘last week I posted this’ breakdown, but the most important thing is the Terrible Poetry Contest. Deadline’s tomorrow, so randomly generate some text and format it poetically.

My Top Six Blogging Pet Peeves

  1. WordPress.
    In fact, IF I could get stupid WordPress to make lists easier to manipulate, this would be numbers 1-3! Unfortunately, even attempts at “<ol>” and “<li>” in the actual code do nothing -but lists are the least of WordPress‘ failings…
  2. Blogging thieves.
    Sites with no original content that re-post my work make me feel like locking up or even leaving.
  3. Monetary writers.
    Some are better than others, but most eventually need the door closed on their salesmanship.
  4. “Thank you for visiting.”
    Wellll, I’ve been following and commenting on your site off and on for three years, but, “You’re welcome.”
  5. Comment etiquette.
    It’s vital to respond to people who’ve taken time to log into WordPress fifteen times in order to leave you a smiley face; but, some days I just don’t know whether a thumbs-up (👍🏻) or a smiley return (🙂) is appropriate…
  6. Overall feelings of repression of opinion on the internet as a whole.

Did I miss anything? Let’s go light a simulacrum of WP on fire and pass the day with one fewer care in the world.

Photo thanks to Christopher Burns (no joke) on Unsplash. I may have added the letters.

©2021 Chel Owens

Oh, the Blog.

Y’know, I never thought I’d feel this way. I read others who wrote about leaving blogdom for one reason or another and thought, “Why?” Why leave when you have followers, a creative outlet, and interesting posts from all your friends?

Now I know: life.

Granted, my life has not been interesting before this point. I haven’t had much to do. Further, I had no one to talk to about it. I can’t say the same is true anymore -which is, actually, a very healthy thing. No longer alone in a large house with only my dishes and children; I now have a smaller house, a job, at least one friend to whom I can say anything, a good marriage, and waaaaay too many things to do all day. Oh, and I still have the children.

…In terms of organization, this post is getting ahead of itself. Let’s start with an updated list:

  1. I’m still pregnant. As far as I know, the baby is doing swimmingly. Perhaps he’s doing kickingly.
    Thanks to my delivery history, I will schedule a C-Section. We’re looking at November 2. This date draws ever nearer each day.
  2. We’ve moved house and sold our other. I don’t talk about where I live, specifically, much. I’d like for angry mobs to not be able to find us. It is very important to tell you all that our new digs are much less finished or updated than our last, however. In fact, our last house was BRAND NEW and this one is more along the lines of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, pre-remodel.
  3. I still work as a lunchlady assistant but will be retiring soon due to being due.
  4. I have even less time for blogging than I’ve ever had before.

In light of these facts but despite what I said at the beginning of this post, I will not be running away.

Repeat: I’m staying.

Out of necessity, I will be changing my writing schedule. This, sadly, includes not running a poetry contest. I feel the greatest loss at this conclusion, since I love encouraging poetry and love all the excellent writings you have shared.

And for you, Carol: fajita, frijole; hickory (in my defense, you and your followers named every food that has ‘k’ in it); galia (melon), scallion; edamame, jambu, mamey; tinda, ortanique, pignoli, uni; (and for this week) mahonia (berries), roe, and acorn….

©1948 RKO Radio Pictures

©2021 Chel Owens

Hey! It’s a Blog (and Life) Update

After crawling through pregnancy and limping through the newborn stage, I have emerged to be a whole, new Chelsea! This model is …a bit more overweight, a lot more tired, and barely has time to read and write.

She’s also taken up employment.

I work in a cafeteria. I applied for a cashier job and was hired at my son’s school. I don’t do much cashiering currently because every child gets free school lunch in America. The job has many perks: free food, free exercise, limited exposure to people, and unlimited latex-free work gloves.

I’ve taken the time I normally laid around the house; irresponsibly folding clothes, washing dishes, getting the baby out of the potted plants, finding shoes, reprimanding children, getting the baby out of the cleaning cupboard, picking up towels, washing pans, getting the baby off of the stairs, planning meals, balancing the budget, getting things out of the baby’s mouth, helping in the dice store, and cleaning cleaning cleaning- and put it to good use doing similar things in a more commercial environment that doesn’t have a baby crawling around.

After paying for day care, I bring home about $10 each day. I haven’t even learned what portion of that Uncle Sam will take; I don’t get my first paycheck till Thanksgiving. Maybe.

But, if you’re still reading, I doubt you clicked on this to learn about the intricacies of folding a towel after lunchlady work while using your foot to push the baby away from the stove dials as a timer goes off and dinner burns. The blog update part of this is that I need to cut back on posting. Frankly, I’ve gotten burned out by the dead-end that writing is for me anyway.

I’ve mentioned this before, I know. I need writing and I NEED this community. I also need sleep.

Here are the blog changes I will implement:

  1. The weekly A Mused Poetry Contest will take place once a month.
  2. I will occasionally answer prompts like Deb’s 42-word story, Girlieontheedge’s Six Sentence story, Carrot Ranch‘s 99-word flash, Colleen Chesebro‘s Tanka Tuesday, Esther Chilton‘s limericks, and maybe a Blog Battle or d’Verse.
    I recommend you check them out and enter, too!
  3. I’ll post COVID-19/Coronavirus updates if you’re interested. We’re now on a statewide mask mandate and all extracurricular school activities are cancelled for two weeks.
  4. Most importantly, I will read my friends’ posts whenever I get a chance.
  5. Even more most importantly, please know that I always mean the very best when I comment or write. I do not look to offend.
  6. I support President Donald J. Trump as I have our other elected leaders, and I dislike people saying offensive things about him (or any other political figure). Be civil.

If you’re still around after those announcements, here’s some cake:

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

One of Those Boring Blog Update Things

Hey, everyone!

I’ve been having a great holiday, only worrying about considering the possibility of thinking I ought to plan on pondering the idea of envisioning a speculative schedule involving writing on the blog(s).

I promised this was a boring update, so here are the specifics:

  1. WordPress’ editor still sucks.
  2. I sold my arm and part of a leg for a new cell phone and can therefore read (and comment on!) people’s posts again. The new phone ought to streamline that process going forward, instead of gunking it up to a hopeless quagmire like it did in the past.
  3. I’m changing the Weekly Hilarity Contest to poetry again, but intend to definitely bend toward humor and not to the sarcasm and ridicule of terrible poeming.
  4. My #1 priority will be me and my family. Number two will, invariably, be dishes and laundry -okay, really, ’twill be catching blog posts written by my favorite people (you!). After those, I will post some of my own works (see #5, just below).
  5. My blogging schedule will be liposuctioned to something manageable and …less personal. Maybe.
  6. I will write and publish a book. I will write under a modified name, since I’ve never liked my obviously-born-in-a-certain-decade-or-near-there identifier.
  7. If there is any time left after that, I’ll sleep well, eat right, and exercise. I will also cure pandemics.

woman wearing blue shawl lapel suit jacket
I will totally look like this person, all year. (Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com)

-Chel Owens (©2020)

Answering The Real Neat Blog Award

My good friend, Peregrine Arc, listed the best questions to answer as part of the online chain mail that is a blogging award. How can I resist?

  1. What’s something you’ve been doing to take care of yourself during the pandemic?
    Hmmmm… Take care of myself… I knew there was something I forgot! -Ooh! I bought toilet paper.
  2. What’s one song, when it comes on the radio, you just have to sing  along with?
    I seem drawn to those impossible sorts, like “Titanium” and “Dream On.” I try to remember not to do so when my children’s friends are also in the car.
  3. A formal dinner has been held in your honor. Who’s the master of ceremonies?
    M.C. Escher’s in my house! …or, down that staircase. …or, down that one…

    Escher's_Relativity
    Wikipedia, Fair use
  4. A fish comes out of the water next to your boat and starts talking to you. What message is the fish telling you?
    “Did you know that the pH of most natural lake waters ranges from 6-9 and that figure varies based on the presence of carbonates and bicarbonates?”
  5. You’re playing real life Wizard’s Chess. What’re your odds of surviving?
    Haha! None. That Sorceror’s Stone is gone!

    two white and black chess knights facing each other on chess board
    Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi on Pexels.com
  6. If your life was a play, what would be the major dramatic arc?
    Erm. Hm. I’d have to say the part when the chocolate lands on the floor.
  7. If you could have one chore be automatically done for you for forever,  what would it be and why?
    Omigosh; dishes. If you don’t know why, come fulfill my magic wish.

Thanks for the fun, as always, Madame Arc. Stay cool, and keep your chocolate away from the cruel clutch of gravity!

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Dammit, WordPress!!

Look, I get it. I’m so busy I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, or even if I had breakfast. I don’t have time to fold my shirts, bring the toy room up to OSHA standards, or sit around wondering if I consumed food that morning.

I certainly do not have time for reading blogs -Wait! Yes, I do! Every 2-3 hours, I am stuck on a couch while a small human sucks milk from my body. Why can’t I catch up on my friends’ stories then?

I’ll tell you: because of WordPress!

Back when I started blogging, I could read and comment on a story or a poem or a picture right from my phone. WordPress kept me logged in, so I whizzed around the sites I followed like a person who reads blogs quickly.

Then, the trouble started.

I surfaced from a pregnancy haze and noticed I wasn’t getting e-mails from LA‘s site anymore. Confused, I discovered she wasn’t listed as one that I followed. I remedied that, only to notice the same thing happen again a few months later. When I messaged her to ask if she’d dropped me, she promised she had not.

After that, I was unable to leave comments on Lisa‘s blog, Stephen‘s blog, or P’Arc‘s blog. I have to click a login button just to respond to terrible poetry entrants.

Recently, I remembered that Matt mentioned me in an award. I went to find that post. Surprise! I was no longer following him. After rectifying that, he commented on my post: hum…i am not unfollowing you but everytime it seems i check your blog i have rehit the follow button…what the hell WordPress ??

What the hell WordPress, indeed.

Like I said, I’m a busy gal. I don’t have time. I do have friends. I want to be able to read what those friends write and to be able to comment. And yet; un-follows, inability to login, and dropped sites are cramping my style.

What can I do? I don’t know. The only way I’m able to comment is by using an actual computer. Even then, I get screens that do not load and logins that never go through.

Have you experienced issues with WordPress? Are you able to comment on the sites you wish to? Do you know the customer service number I can use to send them a flaming bag of poo?

jeshoots-com--2vD8lIhdnw-unsplash

UPDATE: I submitted an issue to the forum. We’ll see if anything happens.

Screenshot_2020-03-05-08-31-12

—–

If you’re able to, read over my posts from this past week:
Wednesday, February 26: I announced our first Kickstarter in “Kickstarters and Chainmail Bikini.”

Thursday, February 27: Throwback: “Zombie Lunchlady.”

Friday, February 28: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce Goodman!

Saturday, February 29: Leap Day!! Announced the 61st Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is to write a poem like Ern Malley. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, March 1: Continued Joanne’s story, “The Terror in the Suburbs.”

Monday, March 2: An inspirational quote by Abraham Lincoln, but really Reverend William H. J. Boetcker.

Tuesday, March 3: Got around to answering Matt Snyder’s questions from his Sunshine Blogger Award nomination.

Wednesday, March 4: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “How to Raise the Best, Most Emotionally Well-Adjusted Kids in Today’s Society” and “Mother of One” (a limerick).

Photo Credit: JESHOOTS.COM

©2020 Chelsea Owens