Tour of Utah: Lagoon

I haven’t written about tourist destinations in Utah in over a while. I started doing so as a way of remembering the local venues I might enjoy again, once COVID evaporated. I did so to let people know what Utah has to offer. I also did so as a way to fill the blog each week…

So, today’s stop is Lagoon Amusement Park.

Lagoon sign
©2020 the Standard-Examiner.

I’ve been around this tiny park throughout my life. My parents forked over funds for we children to attend a handful of times; I have hazy memories of sliding down sacks and walking through a spinning tunnel in the fun house, covering my eyes at the ‘scary’ parts of the haunted house, riding their car-driving attraction as a passenger -and wishing so hard I were tall enough to control my own vehicle!, walking beneath the white, wooden roller coaster, and staring up at the other, ENORMOUS coasters in awe.

Up until thirteen years old, wild horses could not have dragged me onto any ride that moved faster than a log flume. I certainly would never have gone upside-down! At the end of that school year, however, Lagoon hosted its usual free day for the graduating sixth-graders. I went with a neighbor and her family. Just before the park closed and just after they lowered my judgment enough to ride the Musik Express, I got on Colossus.

Colossus the Fire Dragon.JPG
From wikipedia, by Davehi1.

The experience at the time was akin to others’ descriptions of their first beer -and not the good descriptions.

Still, that broke me in. By the time I attended my first Six Flags amusement park at sixteen, I felt highly experienced. “Pshaw,” I said, “That Superman coaster is nothing. I could do it with my eyes closed…” Between Six Flags and Disneyland, I formed a snooty opinion of little, backwards Lagoon.

Until today. Yes, until today. Thanks to the internet, I’ve read up on Lagoon’s history.

© The Salt Lake Tribune, archives.

First, I learned where the name comes from. I’d often wondered; Utah is an extremely dry state and its ‘lagoons’ are usually marshlands on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. I guess the original founder/owner/head man, Mr. Simon Bamberger, christened the park thus because of the existing body of water in his initial forty acres. And, yes, it was a lagoon of the marshlands of Salt Lake. He drained some of the swamp to expand it.

Two fun facts: apparently, residents would use that water to harvest ice in the winter; and, I remember seeing people boat on that same water. -You know, all swan boat style. These days, the pond at Lagoon is rather green. I think I’d swim in it if literally no other option existed.

The other reasons I’ve come to respect our dinky amusement park more are: its history, its fight to remain open and profitable, and its unique roller coasters.

This blog post could go on for ages and ages, but I love that Lagoon tries to keep much of its original features and to purchase the dying aspects of other areas. They expanded to include something known as Pioneer Village decades ago, for example. You can get pretty darn good ice cream there.
The owners have tried to add a new ride every year since 1994, with notable exceptions.
And, apparently, five of the ten coasters are unique:

Colossus the Fire Dragon, the last Schwarzkopf Double Looping coaster still in operation in the United States (Laser at Dorney Park closed at the end of the 2008 season and was moved to Germany to become the Teststrecke traveling roller coaster in 2009); Roller Coaster, one of the oldest coasters in the world operating since 1921; Wicked, designed by Lagoon’s engineering department and Werner Stengel in cooperation with ride manufacturer ZiererBomBora, a family coaster designed in-house; and Cannibal, built in-house with one of the world’s steepest drops.

Wikipedia

They even have a water park area in the middle. It’s called Lagoon-A-Beach, another name I’ve wondered at. I mean, why not go with Lagoon’s Lagoon?

As to my thoughts of its being dinky? I just read that the total acreage is around 95. Disneyland is 100. Huh. The more you learn…

The Cannibal roller coaster is pictured at Lagoon in Farmington on Friday, July 10, 2015.
© 2020 Ravell Call, Deseret News.

If you want to visit Lagoon Amusement Park, it’s not far. Just head about 23 minutes North on I-15 from the Salt Lake City International Airport. Be prepared to pay for parking, admission, food, extras, carnival games, souvenirs…

—–

On that note, here are the things I posted over the last …weeks:

Tuesday, March 16: Announced this month’s A Mused Poetry Contest. The theme is a snappy jingle for a product that really shouldn’t be sold.

Friday, March 19: “Here I Am Now, On My Diet,” a parody of “Hello, Muddah, Hello, Fadduh” about dieting.

Sunday, March 21: Re-blogged Dumbestblogger’s excellent satirical piece, “Hands Apart America.”

Monday, March 22: Responded to Carrot Ranch’s prompt with “Last Year.”

Shared a quote by Michael Jordan.

Tuesday, March 23: ‘Twas my birthday, but good luck knowing how old I turned.

Wednesday, March 24: “Everybody’s Buying This,” a humorous jingle to inspire you to enter the A Mused Poetry Contest. The deadline is April 16!

Friday, March 26: Another humorous jingle, “Grampy’s Burlap Underwear.”

And, some reflections on nature and motherhood.

Monday, March 29: Shared a quote by Mandy Hale.

Tuesday, March 30: Learned of the passing of Sue Vincent, and shared that update with “Into Spirit.” Rest in peace, you wonderful woman.

Friday, April 2: Today.

©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

12/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I’ve not written about Coronavirus updates in awhile, I’ve thought for a few weeks. As I sat to type one up just now, I realized this is the last day of the dreaded year 2020. How appropriate.

Like many, many others, I reflect back on this year. Truth be told, today is not the only day I have reflected. Even before Coronavirus, I marveled at where I had come in only a year’s time; for, if you are a follower of my blog, you know that I learned I was pregnant in April of 2019 whilst attending ‘school’ whilst maintaining a few blogs whilst helping our family side business to run.

COVID-19 changed many things. At this point, however, it’s only a factor for us in how it’s affected our children’s school experience and our family’s vacationing and visiting abilities. My pregnancy resulted in a sweet, healthy boy who is now a year old. I barely keep up on any blogging. The side business is BOOMING to the point that we were 1700 orders behind on Etsy at one point…

I guess there’s something to be said for marrying a computer programmer and producing a family of introverts. We’re healthy homebodies.

Local news-wise, Utah’s Coronavirus daily infection numbers are similar to other states. I think. They reached an all-time high of 4611 on November 19 but yesterday’s report (December 30) was a mere 2602.

I don’t know what experience others are having but the COVID Climate here is somewhat casual. We still mask in public. I have the children change their clothes and wash their hands after school. There are no samples at Costco, no free candy baskets at the bank, no free popcorn or soda at the oil change store, no handshakes at business deals, and no Charmin toilet paper or Clorox wipes or pure almond extract at the store.

You know times are tough when a person can’t even get almond extract.

©2020 Chel Owens

I do not like these measures, especially when I drop my children off at school and watch tiny Kindergarteners heading in past their tiny playground with a giant mask obscuring their tiny face. I feel Coronavirus to be a skulking shadow. It’s like the cancer eating away at a close relative of ours; something we know is there, something we need to be constantly aware of, something to FEAR to the point that you do not help that old lady load her groceries or that man who dropped his wallet or that child who needs a hand to hold to search for his mommy in the grocery store…

My fearful Twofacebook friends post worrisome statistics about spread and new strains, but also happy news about the new vaccine -some have even gotten it.
My over-it Twofacebook friends post family pictures and occasional articles on the virus’ restrictions affecting our mental health, but also warning news about the new vaccine -they will not get it if they can help it.

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Still political. Still divided.

But, it’s the holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I didn’t make my traditional plate of cookies for my neighbors this year. I opted for a neat luminary tin full of Polish chocolates I found at a European Market store in Salt Lake City. To my surprise, several neighbors and friends did gift us homemade items. We received bread, chocolates, brittles, and peppermint bark.

The best gift of all? A container of Clorox wipes. Don’t tell; I don’t want to get raided.

From Clorox.com‘s site. Good luck finding this golden ticket.

There is FEAR and a good reason to FEAR, if you are being reasonable about it. At the start, I shared the feelings of paranoia that many still feel. I told my children not to answer the door or touch the incoming packages and mail. I left them home with Kevin when I went shopping –if I went shopping.

Now, I am simply careful. I do not lick shopping carts or gas pumps. I wear my mask in public areas. I also shared Christmas with my parents, sister, and her family. We ate together and visited and *gasp* hugged. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

So, be careful. But, be reasonable. If you’re healthy and haven’t had someone lick you lately, you’re probably fine to hug a grandchild. And if that gives you the heebie-geebies, wash your clothes afterwards. And your hands. But, as Clorox advises on their website, don’t start drinking bleach…

Also from Clorox.com‘s site. It’s a warning that pops up, to cover their legal assets.

What’s daily life like for you? Are you fine sticking around? Heading out now and then? Hugging anyone?

—–

©2020 Chel Owens

10/26/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Where to begin, where to begin?

I’ve actually been shopping; in person, walking through some stores, touching merchandise and credit card machines and shopping carts. When I have my phone with me, I take pictures of the COVID-19 warning signs. I marvel that, not only are things so different than they were for all my life and my parents’ lives and their parents’ …adult lives, but things are now different by the week.

When in Wal-mart, use what you have. ©2020 Chel Owens

Take shopping at Costco, for example. Waaay back in March when we were going to quarantine for two weeks, I witnessed strict distancing measures, hoarding customers, and the removal of germ-spreading elements like samples or the food court. Months later, when I returned, they’d hung partitions at the registers and signs about shortages. Weeks after that, we all needed to wear masks and only so many people could enter. Still more weeks later, the food court options returned but the tables did not. Lately, they’ve been handing out samples again.

Look, but don’t touch. Definitely do not taste. ©2020 Chel Owens

You know -sort-of.

Like a delicate flower unfurling in springtime, restrictions are being lifted as we return to the way social life was for the past 100 years or so.

At least, that is how many are behaving. I read about people renting venues for their parties if such venues try closing, about parents sending nasty e-mails if their children’s schools want to close, and about how masking children will limit their breathing and cause staph infections on their faces.

On the other side of this divisive coin; I read about how wonderfully China is doing at containing their numbers and curing their people, about what certain politicians are not doing to stop anti-maskers, and about parents nobly keeping their children home (but also complaining about how they are being forced into the role of stay-at-home-mother by MEN).

Meanwhile, Utah’s case numbers are rising rising rising. Like, up to nearly 2,000 new daily cases on October 22.

You’d think that both sides could at least agree on that, but they probably wouldn’t agree on a turquoise shoe, gold dress, or whether they hear, “Yanrel.”

*sigh*

As a moderate, I see both sides. I feel both sides. I’ve even taken to debating a few of my Twofacebook friends over some issues -namely, that China HAS TO BE LYING about their numbers, that the governor of Utah can’t do much more than ask nicely, and that masks do not block oxygen intake and kill our children.

*sigh again*

The main problem, as I see it, is too much of a good idea. Not spreading germs is good; dressing everyone in a HazMat suit is a bit far. Socializing is important to mental health; ‘dancing’ at a crowded club is an idiotic thing to do. Limiting children’s spreading germs is good; hours and hours and hours on a computer is turning my children into crabby monsters.

We’re not ready to unfurl like a delicate flower unless we are willing to house those with adverse reactions to Coronavirus in our own stubborn homes. Likewise, we’re not taking reasonable steps when we treat each other like lepers and won’t even wave when greeted. Haven’t y’all heard of a Happy Medium?

Yep; you’ve released the political in me. In terms of actual news: Utah’s case numbers are terrible. Almost all of the public schools are doing an amazing job of keeping areas clean, tracing exposure, and enforcing the laws. People are participating in sports, dance, and other extracurricular events. Many employers that run computer-based businesses are allowing workers to remain home. I see pictures on my Twofacebook page of families taking vacations and of preparations for trick-or-treating for Halloween.

Ah, Halloween… maybe we’ll leave that political discussion for another time.

Remove your hats, hoods, sunglasses, and animals. Keep the mask. ©2020 Chel Owens

How are things looking in your neck of the woods?

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Kennecott Copper Mine

Ever heard of the Grand Canyon? The Great Wall of China? The Greenhouses of Almería? They all (except The Wall) can be seen from space! And, so can another Utah destination: Bingham Canyon Mine.

Bingham Canyon copper mine, UT, USA: Rio Tinto, Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. Source: Spencer Musick (self).

I’ve always known it as Kennecott Copper Mine, an alliteration only matched by Kennecott Copper Corporation and Utah Copper Corporation at Copperton.

Tongue twisters aside, this pit is ENORMOUS. Dump trucks built for a giant’s playthings trundle down into the 0.75 mile-deep hole in order to excavate (still) “450,000 short tons (400,000 long tons; 410,000 t) of material” daily (Wikipedia). DAILY!

Back when I was a child, I went to the visitor’s center with a day care class. I remember being able to fit our group into a tire from one of those dump trucks they had on display, and remember the fear of standing so near the edge of so deep a drop.

Photo by Jay H on Unsplash

Kevin and I took our boys there a while back. We watched an interesting video about mineral extraction and processing. Like, did you know Bingham Canyon Mine is a ginormous pit because the copper exists as porphyry copper deposits? They have to dig up the dirt, sift through it, burn it, chemical it, burn it again, and send it off to buyers.

At the end, they have 99.99-percent-pure copper. They also have gold, silver, molybdenum, and by-product sulfuric acid. I’ve never learned so much about metallurgy in my life!

Like with all manufacturing, however, mine operations have not been great for the environment. Sifting ponds, runoff, and waste materials have contaminated the Salt Lake Valley’s groundwater. Chemicals released from processing damaged the health of nearby residents, historically. And, it’s kind-of difficult to ignore the fact that they’ve literally changed the landscape of that area -not just with the pit, but with what was in the pit:

What’s not to love about industry, right?

Seriously, though, the Kennecott Copper Mine is worth a gander if you’ve the time. It’s a short, 36-minute drive from Salt Lake International Airport to the visitor center. We went before they had a landslide in 2013; you can purchase interesting rocks!

Photo by Jim Witkowski on Unsplash. This is an old processing area, on the way to Tooele.

—–

On that note, here are the things I posted over the last week:

Wednesday, October 7: “Tour of Utah: Jordan River Parkway.” If you need some exercise, try it out.

Thursday, October 8: Wrote a sample poem for the A Mused Contest, “EH?

Friday, October 9: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Fishman. Congratulations!

Saturday, October 10: Start of this week’s A Mused Poetry Contest! Send the over-proud hero plummeting with poetry!

Sunday, October 11: Responded to Di of Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge with “Dance Club,” and to Deb’s 42-word prompt with “A Surprising Escape.”

Monday, October 12: Responded to Carrot Ranch’s prompt in “A Dark and Stormy Man.”

Shared a quote by Joyce Meyer. Cactus hurt.

Tuesday, September 13: “Saint John City, Part 1.”

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Jordan River Parkway Trail

The Jordan River Parkway is pretty neat. -Not neat like ice castles or natural rock arches, but still neat. It’s a trail that runs nearly 50 miles; so, if you wished, you could start at Utah Lake* and walk till you reached the northwest bend of Salt Lake City proper.

©2020 Google Maps, and -hate to break it to you- this isn’t an accurate line of where the trail goes.

In fact, the trail doesn’t end in some random drop-off in Salt Lake. It becomes the Legacy Parkway Trail and continues on…

Pretty impressive.

Like with some other destinations I’ve mentioned, I’ve been to the Jordan River Parkway Trail. The funny thing is that I took the kids there, in either West Jordan or South Jordan (who named two cities that, anyway?), in order to go to a park. I only knew about the trail being there, not 20+ miles to either side of there!

Look at all I’m learning about my home state!

But that brings up another neat aspect of the trail: there are destinations like parks, access points, and BATHROOMS along it. The only downside I see is that the route travels through the flat, less-scenic, sometimes-hazy and/or gnat-infested areas of the Salt Lake Valley. Legacy Parkway is especially buggy since it skirts marshes and wetlands.

Still, a short or long stroll wouldn’t hurt. There’s a parking lot about ten minutes due East from the airport on I-80. From there, who knows where you’ll go?

—–

Here are last week’s posts:

Wednesday, September 30: “Tour of Utah: Ice Castles at Midway.” They’re cool. Literally.

Thursday, October 1: Shared my first fellow-blogger book review, with “The Sincerest Form of Poetry: Review, Q&A, and Book Release With Geoff LePard.

Friday, October 2nd-ish: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Bruce. Congratulations!

Saturday, October 3: Start of this week’s A Mused Poetry Contest! Think up a witty poem for an anniversary card and turn it in before Friday morning.

Sunday, October 4: Put Pal and Kid on a dusty trail for Carrot Ranch’s prompt this week.

Monday, October 5: Shared a quote by Coco Chanel. Look for windows.

Tuesday, September 29: Responded to Hobbo’s Mystery Blogger Award. You can still answer my questions!

*The trail at least plans to run as far as Utah Lake.

©2020 Chel Owens

Jordan River Parkway photo © traillink.com
Walden Park photo © traillink.com

Tour of Utah: Ice Castles at Midway

Have I ever mentioned how diverse the landscape of Utah is?

Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

True, all of the state’s about as humid as a dry sponge on the sunny surface of Mercury.

Still, in the most populous areas, temperatures in the summertime reach over 100°F (37°C) while temperatures in the wintertime drop as low as 22°F (-5.5°C). This means we have landmarks like Arches while also bragging about the greatest snow on Earth.

(It also makes road construction a nightmare, something Utahns love to complain about but not appreciate the reasons for.)

On that side note, I wish to introduce a neat attraction that’s approaching its tenth season of operation: the Ice Castles at Midway, Utah.

Photo by Jacob Campbell on Unsplash

From an update last year, when The Homestead Resort hosted the castles:

“The Ice Castles are the work and brainchild of ice artist Christensen, who with CEO Ryan Davis and a crew of trained workers are building four large ice creations in Utah, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Canada.

“He started with a backyard castle in Alpine [Utah] followed by an ice castle in downtown Midway in 2009. Over the years, the Ice Castles have been in a variety of different Midway locations…”

homesteadresort.com

Apparently, the Ice Castles at Midway is one of several locations run by the Ice Castles company. Their website also lists Wisconsin and Alberta, Canada.

How are the castles built? What’s inside them? What else is there to see and do, and how can people see them at night?

“Construction of the ice castles [begins] in November when workers [begin] the huge task of creating the towering castles of ice.

“More than 10,000 icicles will be grown and harvested to create the acre-sized attraction …over …three to four weeks. Each icicle is then hand-placed and sprayed with water.

“This process is repeated until the castles reach approximately 30 feet. It takes the ice artisans approximately 4,000 hours to create the attraction and embed each structure with color-changing LED lights.

“The acre-sized interactive experience will feature frozen tunnels, fountains, slides, and cascading towers of ice embedded with color-changing LED lights.”

KUTV.com, 2 articles

Local celebrity Alex Boyé (and Lexi Walker) filmed one of his music videos in and around the castles, as did popular (also local) The Piano Guys. Lindsey Stirling, who has ties to Utah, filmed at the Colorado location.

The Ice Castles is another location I’ve always wanted to visit. Current prices say an adult ticket costs $14 and a child’s ticket (4-11) costs $10 -during weekdays.

Midway is straight up the canyon about an hour from our airport.

—–

★★SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be sharing my very first Q&A/book review/book promotion tomorrow!! You won’t want to miss it!★★

And here’s last week:

Friday, September 25: “Tour of Utah: Hole in the Rock.” Go visit, if you fancy a hike.

Also, announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest. Congrats, Dumbestblogger!

Saturday, September 26: The A Mused Poetry Contest, funny commercial edition!

Monday, September 28: Shared a quote about by Jonathan Swift.

Tuesday, September 29: Responded to Deb’s prompt with “Carl’s Popularity Problem.” I blame Charlescot.

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Hole in the Rock

In case you didn’t know already, Utah is home to some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In case you also didn’t know already, I am LDS. As such, I’ve been taught about the history of the church’s founding, the persecutions the early members faced, their various relocations in order to build their Zion, and the fun they had settling Utah.

By Charles William Carter; American (London, England 1832 – 1918 Midvale, UT) – Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library, 119.1976.1501

Upon reaching the barren, harsh, dry, uninhabitable area now known as Utah, the Mormon pioneers knew they’d found a winner. Not long after establishing Salt Lake City, Brigham Young (their leader) sent groups off to set up nearby areas. I learned that he sent those groups about a wagon’s ride away from each other, but can’t find a source for that information. Whether he did or not, there are towns all down our interstate and this makes present-day gas station stops very convenient.

What does that potentially-inaccurate history have to do with a hole in a rock? I’m glad you asked!

Sometimes, the early settlers of Utah faced challenges. Hordes of crickets threatened crops in the Salt Lake Valley in the first full year of planting. Tropic, Utah could only get irrigation after building a ten-mile long canal. And, weary members of the San Juan Expedition attempting to find a route to the southeastern corner of Utah found impassable cliffs -then, miracle of miracles, stumbled upon “a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river” (Wikipedia).

By G. Thomas at en.wikipedia – Own work, Public Domain

They named it Hole in the Rock. Promptly thereafter, they began chipping away in order to move 250 PEOPLE, 83 WAGONS, AND OVER 1000 HEAD OF LIVESTOCK through this hole. I kid you not.

Six months later, they were “ready;” for, the wagons still needed assistance. They used ropes, plus wooden beams supported by posts jabbed into holes they drilled in the rock walls to carefully lower the wagons.

This is another famous site I have not visited, but my son has. His youth group camped nearby and hiked the area, reimagining and experiencing what their pioneer ancestors did. If you want a similar vacation adventure, Hole in the Rock is about seven hours south of Salt Lake International Airport (or 100 hours if you walk).

Author’s note: there is also a tourist destination called Hole N” The Rock, located near Moab. It’s worth a kitschy gander.

—–

Here’s this week’s breakdown:

Wednesday, September 16: “Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake.” It’s iconic!

Thursday, September 17: Wrote an example of funny poetry for that week’s contest: “Chuckie Bob and His Award.”

Friday, September 18: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Hobbo.

Saturday, September 19: Opened the A Mused Poetry Contest! The subject is seasonal haiku (senryu). Results to be posted soon!!!

Sunday, September 20: Scratched a nagging discomfort with “R.B.G. and Why It’s Difficult to Be a Woman.”

Monday, September 21: Shared a quote about not worrying about The Joneses.

Thursday, September 24: Wrote my own seasonal poetry, “A Mused Seasonal Haiku…” for this week’s theme.

The winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest will be posted by this evening!

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is one of the most well-known features of Utah. After Arches, Mormons, and Mormons; nearly everyone associates Utah with “[t]he largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere” (Utah.com).

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

In elementary school, I learned that it is what’s left of an ENORMOUS Lake Bonneville that covered Utah, Nevada, and Idaho a mere 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. I also learned of its salinity (about 12%, more than the ocean) and that people used to float in it as a recreational gimmick.

I’ve been there; from biking across the causeway (Antelope Island Road) to the lake’s main attraction, Antelope Island, to touring the island’s bison reserve and trying to enjoy the island’s beach.

Photo by Erin on Unsplash

Yep; trying.

You see: the Great Salt Lake is really cool, but is home to some unpleasantness in the hotter months. I’m talking brine flies and mosquitoes. If you’re not far enough inland or far enough water-bound, they’re gonna bite ya.

The Great Salt Lake has a smell. In winter, we refer to it as “The Lake.” Catchy, I know. The light stench is a mix of moldy sea and salty brine flies.

It’s not all flies and stink, however. The lake is pretty amazing. Utah.com claims that swimmers can still float. Their website reminds us of the countless animal (mostly bird) refuges in the marshes of the lake’s edges. We Utahns enjoy amazingly beautiful vistas, whether hiking East of the lake or on Antelope Island itself.

The Great Salt Lake’s science facts are also nifty:

  • “Four rivers and numerous streams empty into the Great Salt Lake, carrying dissolved minerals. The lake has no outlet so these minerals are trapped. Continual evaporation concentrates the minerals. Several businesses extract table salt and other chemicals from the lake water” (Utah.com).
  • In winter, Utah experiences a Lake Effect similar to being near the ocean; problem is, this creates poor air quality when coupled with the Rocky and Oquirrh Mountains.
  • And, as mentioned, it is the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world, nicknamed ‘America’s Dead Sea.’

Bonus fact: because of the lake and its surroundings, Utah has the really awesome, surreal Bonneville Salt Flats nearby.

Here’s this week’s breakdown:

Wednesday, September 9: “Tour of Utah: Flaming Gorge.” Try the river-rafting.

Friday, September 11: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Richmond Road.

Saturday, September 12: The second A Mused Poetry Contest! The subject is Warning Labels. Let me know if your poetry submission doesn’t work.

Another COVID-19 update. We’re all in this together.

Sunday, September 13: My entry for Carrot Ranch’s prompt, “Time in a Radio.”

Monday, September 14: Shared a quote from Linda Andersen.

And, “Science Fiction?” Is it?

©2020 Chel Owens

9/12/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

“Do you have your lunch? Your shoes? Your water? Your mask?”

The morning routine for school is more complicated. Each Monday and Wednesday, I ensure that four boys are fully equipped. The downside is they’ve more to remember, in bringing a personal water bottle (no drinking fountain use preferred) and mask (to be worn all day, except whilst eating lunch).

On the plus side, they remember to brush their teeth on their own. It turns out that they can’t stand the smell of their own breath inside a mask when they forget…

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School drop-off looks a bit different as well. The children are assigned to line up on the school’s soccer field; by class, six feet apart. An aide marches each class in at the first bell. Latecomers check in through the office, as usual, but I am not allowed to walk them back to their class -a problem when anxiety rears its head.

After school, I retrieve mine from other groups of talking, eye-smiling, laughing children. The elementary students wear their masks, still; the middle schoolers do not. Once home, I make them all drop their clothes in the washer and wash their hands; again, my middle-schooler sometimes ‘forgets.’

But we’ve yet to see Coronavirus. The closest that green-mist plague has come is “possible exposure” to a neighbor’s daughter who is on a school dance team. They were told to remain home for two weeks, test or no.

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It’s odd, this Coronalife. I feel like a closet zealot in my opinions, believing that IT might come again while so many friends and neighbors doubt ITs existence or, at least, ITs potency. I can’t say I blame them, since the friends who take IT very seriously are turning a bit crazy: not answering doors even to their deliveries, washing off the same sort of groceries I immediately put away, and watching from windows as we play on scooters while their children watch iPads.

A relative of mine went off the deep end during quarantine. I never mentioned it till now. That person is fine…er now. But she/he told me that she/he had to make a choice about what was more important: sanity or security. Day by day, I’m being shown that ‘security’ isn’t that secure, so why not choose the sanity?

Sneeze-clouds and doorknob-lickings aside, I feel infection may be avoided or lessened if one uses common sense. Right? And, common sense may still be allowed outside.

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On another note, Utah experienced a massive wind last Tuesday. Elements combined to create the perfect storm. Winds nearing or surpassing 100 mph (161 kmh) tore across the northern part of the state, ripping down trees and signs and felling semi-trucks on the interstate.

©2020 Mary Caputo

I received periodic e-mail messages from our power company. The first said 180,000 customers were without power. Another, the next day, said they’d gotten that number down to 96,000. I didn’t receive another after that, but learned that some did not have electricity for four days.

©2020 Merrily Bennett

I also read stories of neighbors helping neighbors. The National Guard cleared debris, too. In a time of need, people stepped up to the challenge.

Which is the message I wish to convey today, in the shadow of September 11. Despite what some followers may suspect, I remember 9/11. Moreover, I remember the days that followed. In the aftermath of a terrible disaster, we came together for each other. People in NYC wrote messages of hope in the ash coating firetrucks. American flags flew from buildings and homes. Complete strangers sat and talked and cried and comforted each other.

We may be living in this post-apocalyptic setting of masks, signs, and shortages for some time yet. But, if we can remember our humanity, we can get through this. Together, we can get through anything.

©2020 Chel Owens