Work; Work All Day

If you don’t count babysitting, a paper route, or finding pairs in the Lost Socks bin; my first job was working for a chiropractor.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

This chiropractor did more than crack your back. His specialty lay in understanding the body’s energy fields (chi). An appointment involved some straightening of spinal fixtures, sure; but also his holding one point whilst stretching another. Our office sold supplements and copper bracelets. We encouraged eschewing Western Medicine and embracing acupuncture.

I began the job as a front desk receptionist, but everyone quickly realized I did better as a paper-sorter and inventory-labeler than I did as the face of the company. Then, there was the small matter of my prioritizing my Track and Field participation over working. Annnnd, I may have gotten less productive and more makey-outy whilst dating Kevin. (I was sixteen.)

Still, such was my start in the professional world. I didn’t know anything about a chiropractor before then. All I knew was I didn’t want to work in the grocery store as a bagger nor in a restaurant/fast food place as an underappreciated slave.

Besides teaching me about the other half of health and medicine, I learned job skills, where all of one’s paycheck goes, and that one classification of job could be different depending on where you work. I learned what sort of employee I was. I figured out what tasks I enjoyed (fixing the toilet and filing) and which I did not (answering phones and caring for patients who were in pain).

Photo by Michael Wysmierski on Pexels.com

Your first job sticks with you. It’s your first love, used as a measure for the next one; remembered more fondly than it was in the moment.

What was your first job? About how old were you? Did you continue in that field? As a bonus: if someone had asked you then, what would you have said would be your ultimate dream job?

—–

Aaaand, here are the things I wrote since last noting the things I wrote:
Wednesday, June 1: Admitted to an old crush for France.

Friday, June 3: Snapped a Friday Photo of some economically-priced seafood.

Saturday, June 4: Oh, man. This sonnet on soup (sort-of) was the best poem ever!

PLEASE ENTER THE FINAL TERRIBLE POETRY CONTEST! I’ll be reading and posting the winner(s) soon! The winner gets a prize in the mail!

Sunday, June 5: Quoted Nicolas Chamfort about laughing each day.

Monday, June 6ish: Mormon Monday: dudes hold the Priesthood, and the Priesthood has a lot of tiers but blessings.

Tuesday, June 7: Answered Carolyn’s prompt. YOU SHOULD ANSWER IT TOO!

©2022 Chel Owens

J’adore la France, Aussi

I can’t admit how much I love England whilst ignoring its more colo(u)rful, flavo(u)rful relative, France. You see, I once had an ardent affection for all things françaises.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My obsession began in my twelfth year. We were required to pick a foreign language class in junior high school (ages 12-15). So, I looked over the options:

Spanish? ¡No! Too common!

German? Nein! Too much angry phlegm!

French? Oui! Just right!

Between pain au chocolat and Mont St. Michel; le Tour Eiffel and croissants; 400+ fromages officiels and Versailles; chocolat et chocolat; I fell for France like a pre-teen falling for a boy band.

Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash

The language was s-i-l-k. I loved calling a dog un chien, a car une voiture, and a pizza une pizza. I loved slurring words or artistically dropping endings. I loved expanding my lexicon; I could soon exclaim, “Zut alors!” or suggest we go “chez moi.”

I studied the language all through high school (ages 15-18) and into college. The relationship moved from underage crush to fangirl stalking.

If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be to France. Cream puffs were my favorite dessert. I knew to never cut French bread at the table. My 1’s had a serif and my 7’s a strikethrough. My months were janvier à décembre and my days were lundi à dimanche.

Then… we drifted apart. It was primarily communication problems -I simply couldn’t talk to France the way I could to England. I admitted that, all those times I’d promised to visit, I was lying. And, despite a brief fling with Astérix, I didn’t quite understand the French sense of humor.

Alas, we were never meant to be. C’était, peut-être, l’Angleterre. Peut-être…

What of you? Have you ever loved and left? Which country’s heart did you break?

—–

Aaaand, here are the things I wrote since last noting the things I wrote:
Wednesday, May 19: Asked about your favorite desserts.

Friday, May 20: An egg-cellent Friday Photo!

Sunday, May 22: Quoted Stuart Danker.
Declared Not Pam as the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest!

Monday, May 23: Mormon Monday! Sundays are for taking the Sacrament.

Tuesday, May 24: Expressed my emphatic emotions of England.

Wednesday, May 25: Re-formed D. Wallace Peach‘s words to make a poem.

Thursday, May 26: It’s another Terrible Poetry Contest! YOU SHOULD ALL ENTER since this is the last one before I take a break. It’s a sonnet about soup. What’s not appetizing about that?

Friday, May 27: Yo-Yo-Yo-Toy-Yodahhh!

Saturday, May 28: Wrote a terrible poem that still needs work, to deal with the pain of Uvalde.

Sunday, May 29: Quoted Holly Whitaker.

Monday, May 30: I’m a Mormon, so I keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Tuesday, May 31ish: The Open Book Blogger Award!!

©2022 Chel Owens

All We Ever Get is Calories

I’ve been dieting lately.

I find it no funny coincidence that dieting sounds so much like dying, because I’ve not been able to indulge in my unhealthy eating habits for -eight- -whole- -weeks-.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

This dy -eting has been part of a challenge: I, along with several other participants, have solemnly sworn to drink 64 oz. of water, eat 2 fruits and 3 vegetables, not consume sugar, exercise 5/7 days of the week, keep a food journal, contact a teammate daily, and whine about my lack of energy at least 3 times a day.

And that’s why I want to hear about dessert.

No, really. The upside of this diet is one ‘cheat’ day a week where I get to eat sugar. Two weeks ago, I made chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter bars to celebrate. Last week, I opted for an oatmeal fruit bar -because I love oats.

I also love chocolate lava cake, cream puffs, éclairs, fresh fruit pies, pistachio ice cream, Tagalongs, Symphony bars with toffee bits, Costco’s macadamia clusters, rich chocolate, crullers, and …maybe I should go to bed instead of making myself salivate.

In the meantime, what are some of your favorite treats? If you could eat sugar for just one day a week, which dessert would you indulge in?

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Pexels.com

©2022 Chel Owens

—————-

Here’s what I wrote for the last …weeks:
Wednesday, April 27: We talked about how we want to be remembered.

Thursday, April 28ish: Announced the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest, Geoff Le Pard!

Sunday, May 1: Shared a quote by Alice Walker.

Thursday, May 5: Announced the latest Terrible Poetry Contest. THERE’S STILL TIME TO ENTER! IT’LL BE FUN!

Friday, May 6: Friday Photo of a funny play on wives words.

Sunday, May 8: Quoted C. S. Lewis for Mother’s Day, then wrote a poem about the dang holiday.

Monday, May 9: Mormon Monday! Families are so so so so so important.

Friday, May 13: It’s Friday Photo day down at the tire shop!

Sunday, May 15: Quote by David O. McKay.
And, a really beautiful knock-off of “Bad Habits.”

Monday, May 16ish: I’m a Mormon, so I’m not inked and holed.

Tuesday, May 17ish: Answered Charli’s prompt to rewrite her story in 99 words.

©2022 Chel Owens

Rest In Peace of Mind

One of my favorite quotes is Don’t take life so seriously. No one gets out alive. I laugh, then go right back to taking life too seriously. I’m all caught up in the rush and tumble of meaningless nothings ….which will, one day, add up to a eulogy of my life.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Why the morbidity? I attended a funeral for the husband of a friend on Monday. Funerals for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are a little different than movie funerals. One, we don’t wear all black. Two, the service focuses on hope and eternity; on the joy we had in the person and on the promise of being with him or her again after death. Three, there are often A LOT of people attending since Mormons have a thing for large families*. And four, family and close friends eat funeral potatoes, ham, and Jell-O salad afterwards.

Item #4 might not be that unique. I mean, who doesn’t love cheesy potatoes?

I really enjoyed the funeral. The man whom we honored sounded wonderful: big into his family, a proponent for hard work, a lover of Doritos and Mtn Dew, sometimes a tease, a man always ready to open up his home for events; sincere, genuine, service-oriented, and kind.

A few thoughts crossed my mind during the service. The primary one was I want people to say those things at my funeral.

That’s a good thing, because I normally come away thinking I sure hope no one says this when I die! …If you know the deceased was a mean drunk who beat his wife, it’s disingenuous to go on about how he loved his fellow man. So, my kids had better not say, “Chelsea loved being a mother. Housework was her middle name. Birds sang and children frolicked. I still can’t believe we all learned to play six instruments and speak seven languages!”

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

I’m aware of a common writing exercise to type up one’s own eulogy. Being a paranoid person, I’m not heading that direction. I do wonder what, specifically, I’d want people to say -as a sort of goal to work towards. If not known for dishes and laundry, what about for writing that elusive book? If not for birds singing, what about dogs barking? Do I want my children to remember my RBF or my real love for them?

I want everyone who wants to, to come. It should feel like a party (with those yummy potatoes!) where no one feels excluded. Maybe I should arrange for a balloon artist.

What about you? Have you thought about your end-of-life party? What would you want said?

©2022 Chel Owens

*Granted, not everyone has a large family. Family is very important, and the focus of our faith.

—————-

Here’s what I wrote for the last two weeks:
Wednesday, April 13: Asked for input on “How in the Heck Do You Balance Your Blogging?

Thursday, April 14: Wrote a terrible poem about bad drivers. They’re still out there!

Friday, April 15: Announced the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest! It was Frank Hubeny!

Later, I shared my inability to open a box for Friday Photo.

Saturday, April 16: It’s Terrible Poetry time again! Frank says we’ll be writing a common-meter nursery rhyme. Parody is welcome! Write one! Contest ends tomorrow!

Sunday, April 17: Carl Jung talks to us about facing the dragon.

Monday, April 18: I’m a Mormon, So I wear special underpants called temple garments.

Thursday, April 21: Updated y’all about COVID conditions ’round Utah.

Friday, April 22: Friday Photo. I shared some smart-aleck’s addition to a driving meter.

Saturday, April 23: Wrote my own nursery? rhymes?

Sunday, April 24: Quoted Desmond Tutu.

Monday, April 25: I’m a Mormon, So I keep sex between me and my husband.

Tuesday, April 26: Wrote a lot of D‘s for Not Pam‘s prompt.

©2022 Chel Owens

How in the Heck Do You Balance Your Blogging?

Hi, friend! Would you like to have it all: stable income, house, kids, home-cooked meals, sleep, exercise, free time, vacations, and time to write and read blog posts?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Like me, you can have it all! I follow a very systematic, daily approach. From the moment I can’t distract the two-year-old anymore, I am shuffling off to a fast-paced itinerary …that, frankly, started long before I finally got there.

I’m the yoga pants-clad minivan momma in a mental haze. My ‘system’ is ‘whatever is on fire comes first’ and my ‘daily’ is a loose adherence to the time between midnights.

I’ve surfaced enough this morning afternoon evening between-midnights to realize mine might not be that effective of an approach. And to realize I need help.

First, I called a cleaning service. Next, I slept and ate and might shower. Finally, I’m asking you: what’s your schedule? Specifically, since this is a blog, what’s your blogging schedule?

It’s gotta be better than mine…

©2022 Chel Owens

—————-

Here’s what I wrote for the last two weeks:
Wednesday, March 30: I learned that many of you share my driving pet peeves.

Friday, April 1: Friday Photo of some old timey propaganda.

I also wrote the second-to-last Anyone Can Poem over at Carrot Ranch.

Saturday, April 2: Winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest, Matt! He picked the theme and form of a free verse on driving for this fortnight’s contest. I’m going to sneak one in even though it may be past the deadline because I’m so excited to do this one!

Sunday, April 3: A quote by Roy T. Bennett.

Monday, April 4: Mormon Monday’s very dry explanation of how things go down every Sunday.

Friday, April 8: Friday Photo. Slow down, squirrels!

. Sunday, April 10: Quote by Jacqui Murray.

Monday, April 11: I’m a Mormon, So I’m way too honest.

Tuesday, April 12: Answered the Crimson’s Creative Challenge.

©2022 Chel Owens

I May Be Karen Wheeler

Man, do I hate tailgaters. If the term is different in your neck of the woods, I refer to those drivers who think personal space isn’t important. I refer to those drivers who haven’t guessed how likely a rear-end collision will be. I refer to idiots.

I see no logical reason for a person to follow closely behind my car. I’m not going to speed up. All I’m going to do is run a verbal commentary on what s/he is thinking. “Hi, I’m Mr. Rudypants* and I want to show how stupid I am by riding your butt. How’s it working for ya??”

This action not only fails to achieve the person’s purpose (speed up or move), it also puts me on edge. I drive with heightened anxiety. If the car in front of me stops, what’s going to happen to Rudypants?

Photo by Nikita Nikitin on Pexels.com

Man, do I hate speedsters. Pedal-to-the-medalers. Hot rods. Also idiots.

You’re not impressing anyone with your ability to break the speed limit. Seriously; I’m a minivan and I can do exactly the same thing. When are you going to stop, anyway -at 100 mph? The white and black signs with numbers on them do exist for a reason.

My favorite is when a driver tailgates my car up the onramp, then guns it and barely scrapes around my car as s/he peels down the highway. You go, girl.

Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

And man, do I hate impatience.

…..

…..

…..

What?

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

Oh. Right. So… what’s your road rage/pet peeve? Would you drive me crazy?

©2022 Chel Owens

—————-

This here’s what I wrote for the last two weeks:
Wednesday, March 16: “A Phrase By Any Other Language…” in which we discussed apt expressions worldwide.

Friday, March 18: Behold, The Unidachshund.

Saturday, March 19: Winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest: Colleen!!

Sunday, March 20: A quote by Steve Jobs.

Monday, March 21: Mormon Monday! It’s okay, you can repent.

Tuesday, March 22: Announced the biweekly Terrible Poetry Contest. YOU HAVE TILL TOMORROW TO SEND IN AN ENTRY!! We’re writing burlesque. It’s fun!

Wednesday, March 23: My birthday. Thank you for all the kind wishes.

Friday, March 25: Friday Photo. It’s nice.

Sunday, March 27: Aristotle’s quote. You know, about the snow he lived in.

Monday, March 28: I’m a Mormon, So I’m prudish.

Tuesday, March 29: An answer to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt on disappearance.

©2022 Chel Owens

*I have standards about swearing, remember? Oh, and there are kids in the car a lot.

A Phrase By Any Other Language…

He has that sort of, uh, je ne sais quoi about him -you know?

I took French lessons in school, yet I couldn’t quite describe je ne sais quoi. I hadn’t heard it. Once I had, I was surprised to learn its frequency in general use. We’ve other phrases like that in English: déjà vu, de facto, alfresco, doppelgänger.

I love pulling them out as appropriate. Sometimes you just need a succinct term for how you’re feeling and weighty, wordy English can’t cut it.

Even better, of course, is when I hear a phrase or word that isn’t in common usage; one we’ve not adopted but that scratches my itch for expression. What about Bilita Mpash (Bantu), the happiness felt after a really good dream? Or, 慢慢来 màn man lái, take your time? Then again, we shouldn’t forget 横飯 – yoko meshi -the stress of speaking a foreign language because, literally translated, it means eating your food sideways. These are nicknamed untranslatable expressions.

On that note, what sorts of odd phrases do we use in American English (or British English)? Besides quoting movies or memes, I often slip in the odd idiom or two. Sometimes I stop and provide a little etymological history lesson for my boys.

Do you have a few oft-used terms? How about a favorite foreign phrase?

—————-

Matt’s been reading my Wilhelmina Winters series as audio performances and sharing them. He’s decided to stop while he’s ahead and I don’t blame him! Wil has over 100 installments.

Aaaand here’s what I wrote for the last two weeks:
Wednesday, March 2: I’m still wondering why it’s bad to be beautiful. What do you think is the underlying stigma?

Thursday, March 3: Announced the winningest Terrible Poetry limerick about grain, Joanne‘s.

Friday, March 4: Friday Photo: Choose your own office adventure…

Saturday, March 5: The new Terrible Poetry Contest! Write a tanka about what’s in your pocketses by tomorrow!!

Sunday, March 6: Charlie Chaplin‘s quote.

Monday, March 7: Mormon Monday! Talked about The Plan of Salvation.

Thursday, March 10: Shared a true, recent story about camping in our backyard.

Friday, March 11: Friday Photo. Be careful out there, ladies.

Sunday, March 13: A quote about tacos. Yum.

Monday, March 14: I’m a Mormon, So gambling’s off the table.

Tuesday, March 15: Our wedding anniversary, and the day I wrote about the day of Triffids. You know; the book.

©2022 Chel Owens

What’s Wrong With Being Beautiful?

I am not a beautiful person. I don’t turn heads and never have*. Then again, I’ve never wanted to. Instead, I strive to be heard for my wit, my mind, and my impressive collection of hardback books. Furthermore, I find being attractive and flaunting that attractiveness to be SHAMEFUL.

Why?

Photo by Darcy Delia on Pexels.com

Okay; okay…. I’m not talking about showing skin as an invitation for sex. That’s a little obvious of an answer. What I’m asking is why being proud of beauty is wrong. Beauty is a heritable trait, like intelligence. It takes work to look good, like how piano-playing takes practice. Only a few people are beautiful, much like how only a few people are successful.

Yet, I think intelligence, musical ability, and success are good things. They’re admirable. Sexiness? Not so much.

Again; why?

Why is it taboo to play off looks, especially as a female? Why do I look away when a voluptuously thin woman catwalks past? Why do I judge the pretty girl at the bar?

What’s so bad about beauty??

—————-

Here’s what posted over the last week:
Wednesday, February 23: Asked where you’ll all be in five years

Friday, February 25: Friday Photo. Really, Wal-mart? Really?

Sunday, February 27: Shared Pete’s fantastic quote.

Monday, February 28: “I’m a Mormon, So” I’m no druggie.

Tuesday, February 29ish: Tried a limerick about graaiins.

REMEMBER TO ENTER THE TERRIBLE POETRY CONTEST BEFORE TOMORROW MORNING (MST).

©2022 Chel Owens

*-except for that time I walked through the computer science building at college. Those boys hadn’t never seen a woman.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Gather ’round, young and old. Old Granny Chel is gonna tell you about a mystical time, four whole years ago…. I was ‘specting my fifth child -a boy- and learned I needed to stay in bed. In those days, you see, everyone left the house to do the shopping and the working and the schooling. I remember taking pictures of my bedroom and writing on Facebook -you older ones remember Facebook, don’t you?- about my vacation plans to tour Laundry Mountain and Bedside Manner…. *sigh*

‘What’s a vacation?’ Well….

Photo by riciardus on Pexels.com

Can you imagine telling this to your children? Before COVID-19, this would have been a fictional, dystopian short story. After COVID-19, however, many of us feel how close to home this hits.

I’ve reflected on life before COVID many times: When I stood in line, six feet apart, in the Costco parking lot while reading the sign about what they were out of. When I dropped my children off at school and adjusted their masks. When I’ve seen drinking fountains, couches, restaurants, and bulk candy containers taped off with warning signs attached. When a sneeze makes me jump. When a cough draws scrutiny.

My reflection hasn’t been a longing for the past so much as an astonishment at how very different life has been. I’ve often thought, No one would have guessed these things would be happening now.

Such a thought reminds me of that common interview question: Where do you see yourself in five years? The best job candidates say, “I see myself here, at your company. I’m working with a team to improve quality and productivity.” The worst say, “Oh, I plan to get pregnant, have a baby, and stop working for this company within two years. In five? I think I’ll be working for your competitor after using up my maternity leave.”

COVID-19 has been the worst potential employee, ever.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I think we’re seeing the tail end of it, which is great. I’m crossing my fingers we won’t experience another pandemic of this magnitude for another hundred years. Assuming life moves at the pace it currently is, then, where do you see yourself in five years?

It’s okay; I’ll hire you no matter what…

—————-

Here’s the run-down for the last two weeks:
Wednesday, February 9: Told you about our regular side business selling handmade all-natural soy wax candles, plus the one we’re trying to launch, Valiant Candle Company.

Thursday, February 10: Announced the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest for that week, Matt again!

Friday, February 11: Friday Photo. Don’t you just love alone time?
Also, announced that week’s Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme was a cento poem about being compassionate.

Saturday, February 12: Had a lot of fun writing a cento-style poem about …well, not really about anything. It was a mess.

Sunday, February 13: Shared a quote by someone, often misattributed so who-knows-what famous person first said it?

Monday, February 14: “I’m a Mormon, So” I likes my milder cuss words.

Tuesday, February 15: Wrote “This is the End,” a short story about The End.

Thursday, February 17: Announced the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest, Dumbestblogger!

Friday, February 18: Friday Photo! Ice cream, anyone?

Saturday, February 19: “That’s a Moray!!”

Sunday, February 20: Shared a quote by Oscar Wilde.
Also announced this week’s (and next week’s) Terrible Poetry Contest. You have two weeks to ENTER!! The theme is a limerick about grain.

Monday, February 21: “I’m a Mormon, So” I’ve been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

©2022 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Newspaper Rock

Up to now, I’ve had some experience with the tourist destinations I’ve written about: Arches, Beehive House, Capitol Reef, Deseret Industries, Evermore Park, Flaming Gorge, Great Salt Lake, Hole in the Rock, Ice Castles, Jordan River Parkway Trail, Kennecott Copper Mine, Lagoon, and the Mountains. Where I haven’t been to them, I have -at least- read about a close friend’s visit or experiences.

Newspaper Rock State Historic Site, on the other hand, is one from the history books; in this case, the history books of fourth grade. Every child learns his Utah history at that age. Ours involves Lake Bonneville, Native Americans, Mormon pioneers, and learning a song about our twenty-nine counties.

By Cacophony – Own work

The native peoples of pre-European settlement in Utah were waaaay ahead of we bathroom-stall and tree-carving scrawlers. According to a sign posted at the site, “The first carvings at the Newspaper Rock site were made around 2,000 years ago, left by people from the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures” (Wikipedia).

From there, ancient passersby etched even more images local animals, human figures, symbols, and past events. Apparently, it’s “one of the largest, best preserved and easily accessed groups in the Southwest” (also Wikipedia).

How did it happen? Why?

It’s surmised that the perennial natural spring attracted [peoples from the ancient Native American tribes] to this distinct area. There are over 650 rock art designs and include animals, human figures, and various symbols, some thought to be religious in nature. These petroglyphs were produced by pecking through the black desert varnish found on the rock to the lighter rock beneath.

Visitutah.com

Best of all, this wall of petroglyphs is easily accessible. You know, assuming you can get parking at the side of the road. It’s along the access road to Canyonlands National Park. According to Visitutah.com, “There are no fees or permits required to visit Newspaper Rock or to drive the Indian Creek Scenic Byway through Indian Creek National Monument. There are fees to enter Canyonlands National Park. Just across the highway from the petroglyphs there is a picnic area and campground, which is free and is first-come, first-serve.”

By Jim from Calgary, Canada – Newspaper Rock

If you rent a car or RV after arriving at SLC International Airport, that’s a five hour drive. Maybe you’ll want to stop for lunch along the way. Or, make this one of your stops whilst staying in Moab if you can’t get over to see Arches.

—–

It’s been a busy last few weeks, but not on the blog.

Just remember to enter the A Mused Poetry contest. The theme is eccentrics and it ends on June 26th.

©2021 Chel Owens