The First-Ever 2022 Blog Update!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I’ve been absent lately, in an unofficial fashion. Since this has been due to life and its overwhelming responsibilities -furthermore, since no one has gone looking for me in a panic- I can only presume that: either everyone is equally engaged, or everyone understands that I am not only engaged but have married and sired six children.

If you are feeling like panicking, this post is meant to deter that.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I am still alive. My family is alive and kicking. I’ve come through the holidays, have declared a word, and have been mentally planning what to do for this blog.

I intend to include:

  • More creative stories, although they may be short.
  • More off-the-cuff posts as was my wont before COVID-19 hit.
  • Poetry, naturally.
  • Reviews of favorite books and movies.
  • Updates on COVID-19 conditions, as necessary.
  • A contest, or many. I’d love to award literal prizes.
  • Quotes. I love me my quotes.
  • Guest posts. PLEASE!
  • Wrap-ups of my Tour of Utah and mystery series, and promises I’ve made to bloggers to read their works.

If you made it this far, maybe you’d consider helping:
1. What would you like to read? Why do you come around here?
2. Would you be a guest blogger?
3. Would you be a guest host for a contest or writing prompt?
4. Is there anything I haven’t listed that you’d like me to write about?

Thank you for joining me on consider the current chaos.

Good Ole Bill…. Thanks, GIPHY

Hopefully, I’ll squeeze out a plan for the year and get back with you. In the meantime, please do answer my questions.

©2022 Chel Owens

This and That and a Blogging Schedule

My thoughts have been all over the place. Efforts to unite them into a powerful subject that can conquer the evil antagonist prove fruitless. So, faithful readers, you’ve a mismatched mess of pottage from which to sup after your travels through the desert:

First, I’m inclined to mention the elephant in the world, Coronavirus. I’ve been home for about 2,365 days. People ask me how it’s going, by way of polite conversation. They don’t ask in person, of course, unless you count our shouts from porch to sidewalk or car window to front yard.

Many areas Out There are stranger. Yet, inside our house is just the same as usual for me. It’s one of the perks of being a stay-at-home mother with internet. I’m also realizing how a tailbone injury, surgery, impregnation, bedrest order, and C-Section delivery have all prepared me for The Long Dark of Coronia.

Hey; I’m looking on the bright side of things.

~

I’m exercising again, too. Yes, I count if I did so today and yesterday. Many stars need to align for exercise to happen, so I may not be consistent. I’d like to align my stars (aka children) to either go with me or stay asleep around 6:30 a.m. so that I might try this exercise thing outside our four walls.

~

The Kickstarter for our online dice store wrapped up nicely. If you contributed, thank you!! If you’d like gaming candles, dice, dice sets, figurines, or some of the music dice from the kickstarter; go to Game Master Dice or shoot me a message.

Speaking of, Coronaphant has been running amok of our supply chain. Downside? Shortages and closures. Upside? We’re still open and shipping while others are not. Washing your hands and working from home helps, people. -We just can’t get some of the regular products in at the moment.

~

I’d like to try gaming with friends. I understand that many games are available as apps. We have Ticket to Ride and know something like chess would be easy. Have any of you tried games online with friends? What works well? Are they freeeee?

~

Despite deciding I need a plan for this ol’ blog, such a plan is still not forthcoming. I’ve grabbed bits of idea-fluff here and there but not a substantial soup. Here’s a rough idea so far:

Monday – Quote. I have them scheduled till July, anyway.
Tuesday – Currently, it’s poor Ron the postman. Once he’s finished, I’ll do poetry.
Wednesday – My IRL observations with a weekly review.
Thursday – An Open Day for poems, shares, an interview, or book review. Ooh! Maybe I’ll have guest posts.
Friday – Terrible Poetry Winner.
Saturday – Announcement of the next prompt for terrible poetry. As fun as being terrible is, I anticipate this evolving into a different prompt soon.
Sunday – Carrot Ranch’s 99-word prompt answer.

I know we’re all busy holing up, but let me know if you’d like to contribute a story or interview. Let me know if you think my schedule’s potty as well; can’t no one ever say Chelsea’s not open to new ideas.

Pottage
Look at that pottage. I’d rate it a birthright or two.

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For slightly more organization, here’s last week’s stuff:
Wednesday, April 8: Instead of going political, I shared a photo of my fifth son.

And, shared Pam Webb’s virtual book launch of Someday We Will!

Thursday, April 9: An update on life at home.

Friday, April 10: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Joem18b and Bruce!

Saturday, April 11: Announced the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a parody of a popular song, Coronavirus edition. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, April 12: Re-blogged Stuart’s post from Storyshucker, “Hand on the Plow.”

Anarchists and Aliens,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, April 13: An inspirational quote by Anne Copeland.

Tuesday, April 14: An update on a day in the life of COVID-19 from the day before.

And, “Going Postal, V.” Poor Stan.

Thursday, April 16: Today.

I also posted on ye olde motherhood site. I wrote a limerick, “Mother of Three.”

 

Photo Credit: Pottage stolen from Brand New Vegan‘s recipe site.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Let’s Make Some Order in This Chaos

I haven’t felt like writing. My busy blog-posting indicates otherwise, except that I’ve mostly written about Real Life. The world of fiction is not a place I want to go now that it’s knocking on my door and popping into my e-mails and being re-posted on my social media.

Dystopia is one of my favorite subjects. I intend to write a science fiction and/or futuristic novel someday. Maybe I’ll do Skinwalkers or Since the Bombs Fell or “Open the Sky“… But, like I said, that future is here. It’s not so intriguing when I’m living it.

I think I assumed I’d not be alive during a post-apocalyptic scenario.

I definitely assumed I’d be fit, well-armed, well-stocked, and driving an army Jeep.

It’s not quite as awesome to be wearing pajamas, carrying around postpartum baby weight, caring for five children, and occasionally driving a minivan.

The day-to-day sitting around involved with Coronavirus is precisely why they never showed Jack Bauer using the bathroom in his 24 hour days.

white tissue paper roll on white wicker basket
Maybe if TP was in short supply in one of the episodes, they would have included a bathroom scene.

I do better in the midst of chaos; needing to grab that last Clorox wipe, save the child from uncertain school days, or stumble to the wall while the world shakes. When all is calm and all is bright, I stay awake as anxiety gnaws at my conscience. What if we get sick? Will the boys ever have school again? What, exactly, do we do in a stronger earthquake?

My husband says worrying does nothing. I say it’s all I can do. If I don’t remember to worry about it, then I am doing nothing. He then says something about the Serenity Prayer

Which helps me realize that waiting may be difficult, but it may be what we all need to do right now. Realizing this helps me realize I need a plan besides buyworrypanic. Realizing all of those things helps me realize I ought to accept the things I cannot change and write up a schedule for life and blogging.

It may be infrequent, but I’d like to include the following:

  1. Interviews with my friends, especially those who have published and wish to share their work(s).
  2. Book reviews of the books I will get myself to read, especially if I manage to read the work(s) my friends have published.
  3. More poetry.
  4. More fiction.
  5. Bad poetry, of course. I think we need it.
  6. Some creative projects outside of writing. I art on occasion. I could share more.
  7. Favorite books, music, art, people, whatever.

I never have time for me when the children are home all day, so my chance of daily posts is not very high unless I schedule ahead. Still, I need this outlet. Twofacebook may have a lot more people on it now, but it’s mostly chainmails and reposts. No one likes my informational statistics on COVID for some reason…

If you have ideas of other things I could include on the blog, let me know. If you would like to be interviewed, let me know. As always, thank you for joining me on…

Well, thank you for joining me on my blog, anyway.

—————-

Here’s the past week:
Wednesday, March 25: “Going Postal, II,” the second in my serial story about Ron the postman.

Friday, March 27: Wrote an update on the Coronavirus situation ’round here.

And, crowned the winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ruth!

Saturday, March 28: Announced the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Springtime, or Autumntime. PLEASE ENTER!

Monday, March 30: Posted just after midnight with another Coronavirus update.

And, shared Gary’s inspirational quote.

AND, wrote “Desert Dreams” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt

AND AND, visited the new Saddle Up Saloon and Poet Tree, where I was interviewed. Head on over to leave a poem from the prompt “off shoot.”

Tuesday, March 31: “Going Postal, III.”

And, wrote yet another Coronavirus update.

Wednesday, Date: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I think. I’ve scheduled a few poems over there, like “Mother of Two” and “The Busy Person’s Poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Pexels and GIPHY

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Just Another Day in the Life?

I’ve been swamped lately. More than usual, I’m afraid.

I …may have taken a bit (a lot) onto my plate -a plate that was a bit (a lot) full to begin with. I believe I did so because I was bored, and/or may have finally had a good night’s sleep.

Besides this lovely blog that I love writing upon and the lovely people whose blog posts I actually do read, I’ve also been attending school. Of sorts. It’s called Pathways, and is like preschool for adults. This quarter (?) is on math (or, maths, for Brits) and has a teensy bit (a lot) of busy work each week.

Add a few life events like almost-everyone’s birthdays, a birthday party, and a baptism this Saturday.

Then sprinkle in a paid job I was doing but (perhaps fortunately) am not any longer.

Plus the children’s school is winding down.

Plus the ever-present duties of house and home (and now yard).

Plus caring for an at-home dice business that I don’t think I’ve ever talked about.

And, just for kicks, throw in a planned visit from our relative who has 8 children….

Yeah.

I’m not actually the Supermom sort. I’m not the Superanything sort; really, I’d settle on an edible chocolate ribbon for Best Example of a Flawed Human Being.

But I’m toast. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Even a bit ill.

I can’t help but look around at other people and wonder how they do it, especially those who work as full time teachers at my kids’ school and have children of their own. I asked one of their Vice Principals that question in jest. She laughed and said her kids tease her for running their house like her classroom.

-But that may be the answer I seek.

So, for reals, how do you run your household? Do you schedule the hours? Minutes? Especially when you have a job and/or children, was it all set up? Outlined? Assigned?

I really do want to know.

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—————-

I sort of wrote things this week, and here they are:
Wednesday, May 8: Questioned the legitimacy of personality tests and their appeal in “Are We Our Personality Types?

Thursday, May 9: “The Cure for Depression: Never Give Up, Never Surrender,” the final suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, May 10: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Michael Fishman!

And posted “Should You Have Kids If You Have a Mental Illness?” over at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog (now say it ten times fast).

Saturday, May 11: Announced the 25th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is an elegy to your most commonly misplaced household item. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, May 12: “Gramma Dear,” a poem about my grandmother, in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, May 13: An inspirational quote by Mel Robbins.

Tuesday, May 14: Nothing.

Wednesday, May 15: Halfwayish through the month!

I also posted a bit at my motherhood site. I’m pretty sure I need to stop trying to keep that one afloat and have downgraded to a free plan again.
Anyway; I wrote “Take Time for You. Ish” and “Happy Mother’s Day?

 

Photo Credit:
Andrew Neel

It’s All a Mystery

New visitors to my blog might be a bit confused. Is this a poetry site? A place for flash fiction? One in which I go off the deep end in a depressive heap?

You’re not alone; I am also confused.

There may not be a term for what I do here, specifically, besides ‘impulsive’ or ‘whimsical’ or maybe even ‘nonsensical.’ If pressed, I like to say that I write on “many topics and in many styles of expression.” (That’s from my résumé.)

Despite this, there are two genres that I avoid: romance and mystery.

We’ll go into the former later, Dr. Freud. I only want to talk about the latter today, because I …can’t. I can’t write a mystery. “It’s not that difficult,” you might say. Or, “But, but, but -many of the stories I’ve read of yours reveal something the audience didn’t know. That’s mystery, you know.”

They’re really not, because of my approach to writing new stories. That approach is, basically, having a general idea of a theme or direction and then writing. Little details, dialogue, descriptions, and humor crop up as appropriate while I write. In a sense, I am as much in the dark as the reader until a resolution presents itself somewhere as I go.

So, today’s question is: How does one write a mystery? Plotting? Red herringing? Do you know every twist and turn and intentionally-wrongly-accused character? Do you *gasp* know whodunit from the outset?

If so, how is it any fun to write?

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Looking to solve The Case of What I Did Last Week? Here are the spoilers:
Wednesday, January 16: “How to Win Friends and …Nevermind,” my admittance to social ineptitude.
Thursday, January 17: “The Cure for Depression,” the beginning of a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, January 18: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to second-time winner, Molly Stevens.
Also, a re-post of Peregrine Arc’s writing prompt. VISIT; WRITE SOMETHING!
Saturday, January 19: Announced the tenth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Enter, if you dare!
Sunday, January 20: “Home Life Poetry.” I may need to get out more on Sundays.
Monday, January 21: Some answers to Len‘s Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination.
Tuesday, January 22: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty.”
Also, “A Day in the Life” (a re-post of a poem I wrote on this site) at my mothering blog.
Wednesday, January 23: Today!

Who’s Driving?

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I was supremely confident as a child that I could drive a car. All I needed, I’d say, was the green flag from the government for seven-year-olds to operate a vehicle and I’d be off!

Oh, I had experience: My parents occasionally allowed me sit-on-their-lap steering privileges home from church on Sundays. And at fifteenish, I pulled a few turns unassisted in that same church parking lot.

Man, I was set!

By the age of nearly-sixteen, however, shift got real. My mother may have realized this, as I was enrolled in Driver’s Education at school and had grown tall enough to look her in the eye. One day she took me to a quiet neighborhood side street, steered herself for the worst, and told me we could switch places.

Even on the best of days (as in, post-op heavily-medicated) my mother does not handle other people driving. When my annoyingly patient and meticulous father is navigating the roads at a rate that would put a sloth to sleep, she’s frantically kicking the floor of the passenger side in phantom braking actions.

Turning the wheel fully over to me is on my mother’s list of Bravest Things She’s Ever Done.

For my part, I was counting on my first time driving as heading the list of Epic Life Adventures or Most Awesome Experiences Ever. Right? Instead, as I sat in front of the wheel completely on my own, I was gripped with terror. The awesome power of everything I was now in charge of washed over me and my mind blanked. My foot convulsed at the pedals the same way it did when I tried to navigate a sewing machine. The wheel was strangely hyper-sensitive. All of the cars parked calmly at the sides of the street were trying to leap out in front of me.

“I thought you knew how to drive!” My mother screamed as we jerked along and sashayed from right to left.

I thought I did, too, I told myself. I felt sad, confused, surprised, and hopeless. We pulled over and returned to our former roles. My confident plans of self-dependency and road freedomness dissolved forever. Maybe we should’ve used an automatic.

Luckily, my driving actually improved from there. I throw that out, in case anyone has determined to never set wheels on pavement when I’m out and about.

This morning, however, I was thinking about life. Specifically, if at all, I was pondering on my decades-long feeling of directionless discontent.

I kept thinking, Who’s driving, anyway?

I have been a stay-at-home mother for thirteen years, ever since being fired in the first trimester of my first pregnancy. I have felt motivated some days more than others. Lately, however, my life has felt completely out of my hands. My children cannot legally drive (yet), but I’ve put them and my husband in the front seat, crawled back over Cheerio crumbs and Hot Wheels cars to the dirty back of the car, and wondered why I keep getting car sick.

And yet, I don’t move.

What do I do?

Well… I pretend to be useful. I hand around a few snacks, break up fights, give the pretense of modeling good behavior, and pick up loose wrappers now and then. Oh, and sometimes I tell the person steering exactly what’s wrong with his driving.

As the tension in the car rises, I withdraw to less activity. I tell myself I am not sleepy when the suns sets over our dented hood, intentionally tiring myself to a state of drunken drowsiness when that same sun rises over that same hood. I eat the bad car snacks. I forget to shower at camp sites. I wonder why the floor cannot stay clean even though I’m snapping at everyone to please pick up your garbage!

Who’s driving, anyway?

Shortly after that first, fateful day at fifteen when my mother gave me full control, I attended the driving portion of Driver’s Ed at school. Perhaps because I was the tallest female, our instructor picked me for the first turn. I don’t learn well by going first; I’m an observer.

The rest of our small group piled into the small sedan, buckled for safety, and waited for me to start the engine. I gulped. I adjusted everything I could think to adjust: seatbelt, steering, seat, side mirrors, rearview mirror, headrest. We’d been walked through this in instructional videos during class, and I was determined to get all the steps right. Then, ignition -with foot on brake pedal, of course. My hands flew to 10 and 2 like boot camp soldiers. I looked forward through the windshield, and waited for whatever hell the instructor at my elbow would direct me through.

My turn didn’t last long then, either. Another boy in the class took over after a few blocks and did marvelously. He drove better than the instructor! It turned out that he’d been allowed to man tractors on his grandfather’s farm since thirteen years old. Cheater.

Who’s driving? Floats through my mind when I wake up and get ready for the children’s day. They need to dress for school, eat breakfast, sit up at the table, not punch their brothers, pick up their shoes, do their homework, eat right, not talk back, feel loved, and then understand that I am a person and I love their father and our relationship is the most important of all.

Yeah, we’ve been seeing a marriage counselor. She’s a good driver.

Who’s driving? My mind recalls the sappy Country Song “Jesus Take the Wheel.” That’s a subject for a few pages all its own, so I’ll summarize with: I may not be in a great place discontentedly backseat driving, but I trust that spot a lot more than the places He might take me.

I know others in a similar state. Their reactions have varied from meekly asking for a turn at steering, to pushing the special Eject button James Bond-style and parachuting irresponsibly to a new adventure.

I’d love to end this personal reflection with a determined statement; a wonderful aphorism on life to pass on. Unfortunately, all I’ve got are chocolate almonds, yesterday’s clothing, and criticisms.

Perhaps you know a good solution? Anything’s better than here.

Maybe.