Life, Depression, Breakdowns, and Blogging

Life’s crazy sometimes.

Actually, life’s pretty boring if you’re an adult stuck in-between events. Like in the film Groundhog Day, each morning brings the same alarm which leads to the same breakfast cereal which leads to the same commute which leads to the same workday which leads to the same after-workday and housework. Exciting changes come in the form of bills (yay!) and the dishwasher breaking (double-yay!)

Lately, however, change has come creeping around like the green mist in Charleton Heston’s The Ten Commandments. At the advice of leaders, people have closed their doors, painted the lintels with sanitizer, and plan to stay inside till respiratory failure passes over.

I do not know how the Coronavirus news affected you, but ours was neither Groundhog Day nor The Ten Commandments. Ours was more of an accidentally-released film that started out with Alfred Hitchcock suspense, then lost all funding and turned into whatever the actors could come up with on the fly. We then got action, horror, comedy, bad stunts, feel-good moments, and even subtitles for when the grocery store workers watched their display of canned vegetables disappear for the umpteenth time.

Seemingly some of the few doing this, Kevin and I viewed the previews for this bad movie and planned accordingly. Still; when I read about this and this and this closing whilst listening to my baby’s coughing from a bad cold whilst tasting that chocolate I ate that yet again broke my diet -whilst probably experiencing postpartum hormones…

I broke.

Life was too much.

Blogging and all it entails was too much.

I wrote my last epistle, forever, and logged off. After a day of consideration, I logged on and added a note so as not to scare anyone.

A side effect of all this is a new desire for more privacy in my thoughts and feelings, so I will not go into many details besides these few. Even this much information is more than I wish to explain regarding my sudden change and my dramatic withdrawal.

My go-to in life is to numb, but I’ve taken it too far. I’m in The Matrix. Furthermore, I’m Cypher, intentionally trying to get plugged in despite tasting the freedom of The Real World. In the absence of godlike powers of Kung Fu and Jiu Jitsu, I concluded that life will always be the repetitive lines of off-green code that dictate a pre-programmed outcome that I will never change.

But; some tiny, immature, insecure person is still inside. It was she who woke, stamped her foot, and told Older Me to knock it off. Stop numbing. Stop plugging into the internet. Start living.

She knows I want to feel again; to live again.

And so, there are going to be some changes around here. I must, for my health and my life, prioritize what is real. I must connect with my family. Heck -I must connect with my bedroom wall, getting my brain to realize the wall is really there and really cold and really really real.

If you are experiencing similar numbness or disassociation, call your therapist or psychologist or whateverist. It’s not sustainable. It’s not real. It’s NOT what you want.

…and we woke to earthquakes this morning. If it gets any more funtastic around here, you may not hear from me till next year.
—————-

Since I checked out last week, here are the past two weeks. Bonus!
Wednesday, March 4: Complained about WordPress’ issues in “Dammit, WordPress!

Thursday, March 5: Throwback Thursday: “Motivation.”

Friday, March 6: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to EVERYONE!

Saturday, March 7: Announced the 62nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.

Sunday, March 8: Suffered a mental breakdown, and said, “Goodbye.”

Monday, March 9: An inspirational quote by Corrie Ten Boom.

March 10 – 12: Nothing.

Friday, March 13: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ellen!

Saturday, March 14: Announced the 63rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a limerick about hoarding during a catastrophe. PLEASE ENTER!

Also, I shared and featured my hope for how people are dealing with the COVID-19 scare.

Sunday, March 15: Nothing.

Monday, March 16: An inspirational quote by Terry Pratchett.

Tuesday, March 17: “Going Postal, I,” the first in a short series inspired by my postman.

Wednesday, March 18: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Super Parent or …Me?,” “Background Noises,” and “Oh, Baby.”

 

Photo Credit: GIPHY
Photo by Ekaterina Kartushina on Unsplash
Photo by Delaney Dawson on Unsplash
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash
Photo by Roland Hechanova on Unsplash

 

©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?

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

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—–

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

Kickstarters and Chainmail Bikini

I haven’t talked about our dice business in awhile. That may be due to my beached whale level of pregnancy activity, followed by my hunchbacked snail level post-delivery, followed by my (just named) gluttonous sloth status currently.

Inspired by said baby-making costs, Kevin has been putting a lot more into the family business. We’re talking even more special sets, like stone dice sets.

Blue Jasper Dwarven Stones® Dice Set

We’re talking handmade gaming candles; like Hunter’s Mark, Wizard’s Library, and Chainmail Bikini.

Chainmail Bikini Gaming Candle

And, we’re talking Kickstarters.

Music

Back when we first started selling dice, the sets we carried were unique. They came from the same people, who purchased from the same factory, and were limited to what everyone knew in terms of plastics and innovations.

Nowadays, your grandma can be contacted by sneaky Chinese manufacturers who just ran off with someone’s business idea funded by game nerds across the internet.

Business idea? Game nerds? I’m talking about Kickstarter: one of the coolest inventions since Bailey Bros. Building and Loan.

No longer tied to bank loans or grandma’s inheritance, entrepreneurs with business ideas can get the financial backing through millions of internet strangers. Our friends get their most interesting board games that way. They also showed us some dice sets they’d gotten, which set the idea-wheels in motion…

Because, this week, we’ve opened our very first Kickstarter. It’s for music dice. Kevin’s proposing their use for a bard, but they’d work for music teachers and music lovers as well. Where else can you get sharps and flats on a d6? Time signatures on a d4? Rests, bardic instruments, key signatures, notes, and bard stickers?

Bard Stickers

Yes, this is a sales pitch. Betcha couldn’t tell -right? Since you all know I hate sales, however, you should also know that I’m talking about these polyhedral music dice because I LOVE them. The music nerd and gaming nerd inside me is just tickled.

…Although I’d never play a bard.

Do you like gaming? Dice? Music? Long walks on the beach without that annoying bard playing his annoying ballads? If you do, or know someone who does, consider backing our Kickstarter. If not, no hard feelings.

—————-

Roll to see what you’ll read from last week:
Wednesday, February 19: Described how happy torture makes me in, “Exercise is a Four-Letter Word.”

Thursday, February 20: “I Love Your Perfect Crow’s Feet,” a poem inspired by my noticing crow’s feet on my friends and loved ones.

Friday, February 21: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Doug and Charlcot!

Saturday, February 22: Announced the 60th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is anniversaries. PLEASE ENTER!

And “Two Poetic Parodies.”

Sunday, February 23: “Rainbow in the Sky With Sparkles,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

And an announcement acknowledging my 1000th post!

Monday, February 24: An inspirational quote by Härzenwort.

Tuesday, February 25: A poem, “Finding Happiness?

Wednesday, February 26: This post, plus “Houseplants and Mental Health” on The Bipolar Writer blog.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Are You Going to Try for a Girl?,” and “Pre-Teen.”

 

Photo Credits: Dice, gaming candle, and stickers ©2020 Kevin Owens and Game Master Dice
Gifs ©2020 GIPHY

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Exercise is a Four-Letter Word

Back when I wrote about dieting, I may have been a little hopeful. I may have been trying one of those goal-setting techniques where you tell everyone so then you’re accountable.

I may have then proceeded to make homemade fudge that Sunday.

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Since I’m still at least 20 pounds heavier than I’d like and therefore feel fat and flabby, I’ve started back into an exercise routine. As opposed to my Couch to Bed program of the last year, this new plan involves trying to do a cardio workout each morning.

‘Cause, you know, dieting and exercise go together. They’re like The Rack and an Iron Maiden; like Taco Bell and food poisoning; like The Apocalypse and radiation. They just work.

This morning, I remembered the last time I felt motivated to torture myself exercise. I’d been going to the gym to run a mile or two, most days a month. I thought that made me mighty enough. Then, my friend invited me to an aerobics class over at her gym. It didn’t take long for me to come to several conclusions:

  • I was NOT in shape.
  • That woman working out in front of me needed more opaque pants.
  • I was probably going to pass out if I didn’t slow my pace.

Our perky, optimistic, sadistic instructor used the breaks between enthusiastic reps to encourage us, to promise “just four more,” and to explain she’d been absent last week because she’d miscarried and had to have a D&C.

Clearly, that woman was not human.

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If she was, however, then I was out of excuses for my lazy style of “exercise.” Some humbled, dormant motivation surfaced. I started watching YouTube videos each day, beginning with “The Fat People’s Workout” and ending up at “Fitness Blender.” I ate better. I ran more than 1 or 2 miles and added weight-lifting. I felt impatient, but also saw my stamina and health improve.

Today, I …couldn’t bring myself to start at the beginning again. I remember watching Richard Simmons-type TV aerobics with my mother; the ‘slow track’ person never looked happy or fit and I wouldn’t either. I therefore put on my old high-impact routine and …mostly made it.

That was a few hours ago. I think I’ll be able to walk now.

Is exercising part of your daily routine, or something you resolved to do more of this year? Are you an adrenaline junkie, running 100-milers and marathons; or are you trying to park farther away from the grocery store entrance?

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—————-

Take a lap around what I wrote last week:
Wednesday, February 12: Got all starry-eyed in “Love and Marriage and Practicality.”

Thursday, February 13: Throwback Thursday to my sock addiction.

Friday, February 14: Some sort of holiday, so I shared my old schoolmate’s romantic, authentic video.

Also: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bryntin!

Saturday, February 15: Announced the 59th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is “Little Willie” poems again. Feeling twisted? PLEASE ENTER!

I therefore came up with five examples in, “Little Willie: Some Terrible Poems.”

Sunday, February 16: “Dear, Sweet Sugar Report,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, February 17: An inspirational quote by Mathew S. of Blog of the Wolf Boy.

Tuesday, February 18: “Window Washer Whimsy,” a Senryu for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 19: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Hi. My Name is Mom and I Can’t Think” and “It’s Just a Stage.”

Photo Credit: Gaelle Marcel
Franck V.
andrew dinh

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Love and Marriage and Practicality

There’s some sort of commercial event coming up this Friday. I’m not sure what’s it’s all about; judging by the stores, there’s a lot of red and pink and hearts involved. There’s also chocolate, which I can always get behind.

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Only try this if you want to crash.

From what I can gather, like with Christmas; if we spend enough money on presents, we love someone.

The facial expressions of the men shopping on V-Day tell me otherwise. Every year, I see an unusual number of men in end-of-day work shirts and khakis standing in line at the checkouts. All bear flowers, balloons, chocolates, or plush animals holding hearts. And all bear a resigned grimace.

Hopefully all that annoyance pays off for them later…

As for me and my husband, we’re practical. I have never demanded flowers, chocolates, and a romantic evening on February 14 (at least, not lately). I’ve not insisted Kevin spend a certain amount for an anniversary gift. I certainly do not expect a puppy on my birthday.

Most of that is because he wouldn’t do so without my asking, so I feel bad when he shows up with commercially-prompted merchandise. Such gestures make me feel like someone put him in a headlock and forced him to purchase roses.

Where’s the love in that?

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I hope her shoes are more sensible than her dress for hiking in the woods.

I trace our practicality back to our engagement. We were …young. We hadn’t much money. We went shopping for everything together, from our apartment to our kitchen table to our bedding. I watched our meager incomes disappearing into rent, food, car payments, school costs, utilities…

Then, we went ring shopping. This band with a bit of shiny rock cost an apartment for a year, while that band with a smaller shiny rock could buy us food for a month while this band with a very tiny rock was our car payment, due that Thursday. Metal and stone hardly seemed worth the price.

We had a small, simple wedding. We honeymooned a couple of hours North. And life resumed.

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Am I the only one who thinks she’s going to fall off -or be made into a vampire?

Our dates were World of Warcraft and Diablo II, at home. Our romantic getaways have been an overnight stay for anniversaries and two trips out-of-state in the last …never-you-mind-how-many years.

Perhaps if “exciting” weren’t synonymous with “expensive,” Kevin would get me a dozen roses and a cruise to The Bahamas. Perhaps if “impetuous” didn’t need to include the five children he values most in life, we’d dine on lobster and wine and make violent love on the evening of a cute holiday.

It’s true that our romantic life is a bit flat because I’m recovering from being a whale and being cut open to remove our adorable offspring and we’re already dealing with having four active fighting demanding mess-making boys…

but the romance won’t be because Wal-mart told us to.

It will be, quite practically, because we love each other.

What of you and yours? Do you observe the official holiday of Valentine? Does practicality trump spontaneity, or are you hopeless romantics?

—————-

This here’s what I wrote this week:

Wednesday, February 5: Talked about Approval Addiction in “Oh, No: It’s That Irritating Need to Please Everyone Again.”

Thursday, February 6: Throwback to my large feet in “Plus-Size Podiatry.”

Friday, February 7: Posted the winner of this week’s “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.” Congratulations to Doug and Joanne.

Plus, shared Esther’s story competition and book launch.

Plus plus, shared Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny children’s story contest.

Saturday, February 8: Announced the 58th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is that awkward first poem to that awkward first crush. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, February 9: Wrote “Fred’s Best Friend” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, February 10: An inspirational quote from Rethinking Scripture.

Tuesday, February 11: People-watched and came up with “2 Short Stories.”

Later, haiku’d “Winter Haiku (Snow).”

Wednesday, February 12: This post.

And “Need Help? Go On and Ask for It” over at The Bipolar Blog.

—–

Wrote some at my motherhood blog, like “Unintentional One-Armed Typing.”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Everton Vila
Scott Broome
Cristian Newman

Oh, No: It’s That Irritating Need to Please Everyone Again

I suffer from Approval Addiction.

In every exchange, I try to be what pleases the other person. With my children, I am an experienced adult who unconditionally loves them. With my neighbors, I aim to be the easy-going one who’s willing to provide a cup of flour or plate of cookies. With my friends, I lend a listening ear and supportive hand. With my blog, I’m the writer-of-all-trades in order to please the greatest number of followers.

I wear many, many masks. I feel I even wear masks within masks.

Unfortunately, I fail. With my children, I become the resentful, repressed, and stressed adult who makes them think they must earn my affection. With my neighbors, I bother, offend, and fail to keep up. With my friends, I …don’t really have any. With my blog, I back-post midnight thoughts and give up (yet again) on reading what others wrote.

I feel dizzy with the ride of expectations vs. reality. I start employing my old numbing tactics: little sleep, lots of junk food, and mindless apps to distract.

Round

and round

and round again.

Sometime near 2 or 3 a.m., I lift my tear-streaked face from the closet floor. “I can’t keep doing this,” I say, with a smidgen of resolve. “Something’s gotta give.” I consider what I can get rid of:

  • Kids? Probably can’t give any back now.
  • Dishes? I wishes.
  • Laundry? Housework? Bill-paying? Errand-running? Etc? No, no, no, no, and no.
  • Staring at my shoe rack from my position on the floor whilst eating chocolate? Maybe.
  • Writing?

Ah, the writing. Some part of ‘the writing’ needs to give. I started blogging because I was going to succeed at something. Maybe I’d publish a book. Perhaps I’d attract tens of thousands of people to my site. Surely, I would change the world.

Whatever happened, my quick quips and cute phrases would most definitely be circulated around Facebook instead of the banal ones I saw daily.

Yet, here I sit, the same as when I started. I have nothing to show for all the time investment into ‘the writing.’

*sigh*

Well, I don’t literally have nothing to show for it. I have all of you.

I love my blogging friends, even those who don’t come around anymore. You’ve read, complimented, lifted, encouraged, responded, sympathized, reached out, poemed, and loved me. In a world where I rarely converse with like-minded people, I need this. I don’t expect everyone to read everything I write; you all feel the same, right?

So… I wonder how you all deal with ‘the writing.’ Have you a schedule? Do you write ahead? If you write and read less frequently, how do you still have followers?

Most importantly, do you write blog posts in the closet?

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—————-

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Wednesday, January 29: Talked about DIETING in, “The Diet: It Sucks But It Works.”

Thursday, January 30: Throwback to my Reddit story: “Customer Service.”

Friday, January 31: Posted the winner of this week’s “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.” Congratulations to Matt Snyder.

Saturday, February 1: Announced the 57th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is LOVE. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, February 2: Shared Jules’ page of the poem we commented to create.

Monday, February 3: An inspirational quote from Nitin.

Tuesday, February 4: Poemed “An Overworked Poem About the Post,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Wednesday, February 5: Today

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Jamesthethomas5

The Diet: It Sucks But It Works

I love food.

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I mean, I love food.

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I mean, I really, really love food.

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Like most humans, I love the wrong kinds of food. What can I say? The ‘bad’ sorts just taste better. Eating lots of the ‘bad’ sorts also tastes better, particularly as a coping mechanism for depression.

However, that is known is gluttony, and is my favorite sin.

As such, baby-making and age eventually caught up to my habit. I found myself considering something I’d never had to before: a diet.

Before Child #4 and my thirties, I’d been blissfully ignorant of the difficulties of weight loss. I walked a lot. I was actively breaking up fighting children. I worked around the house and in the yard. I cooked our meals; sometimes, from our garden. I’ve never consumed alcohol or coffee and do not drink soda pop often.

About who-knows-how-many years ago, I had to do more. Baby #4 could walk and talk …and go into preschool, so I couldn’t use his birth as an excuse for the 30 extra pounds anymore. So, I started my own variation of the no-carb diet.

Diet #1

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I cut out sugar, white flour, white rice, and white rap (we all know Mom’s spaghetti is loaded with carbs). Instead of going completely lettuce-wrapped, I replaced my grains with whole wheat and brown rice.

I lost about 10 lbs; then, reasonably, gave up.

This may have also coincided with school letting out for the summer.

Diet #2

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About a year after Diet #1 and Christmas, I implemented another diet. I focused more on not eating after a certain time (9 p.m.), drinking more water, and not eating any sweets or desserts.

Again, this lasted about a month.

Diet #3

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Cue yet another year and I told myself this was it. I told myself I would drop that final 10 lbs, whether or not it was Girl Scout Cookie Time.

For some reason, I had also been exercising daily since November. For some other reason, we planned our first-ever out-of-country and longer-than-two-nights trip. The husband wanted me to get a bikini. He assumed I would be seen in public wearing one.

This final time was more difficult than the others; due to its being the last few pounds, due to my exercising, and due to my wavering conviction after a few weeks. I did smaller portion sizes. I tried to avoid refined sugar. I chewed gum, wore my retainer, and shamed myself away from late-night snacks.

But, did it I did. Lost the weight I did.

Aaaand, now I’m back to where I started. Actually, I’m back to where I started, plus a little extra in case we run out of snacks on the flight to where I started. I’ve been trying to diet again, impatiently so.

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I always forget how difficult The Diet is. Day One is the hardest. Actually; like they say in Holes, “the first hole’s the hardest;” then, “the second hole’s the hardest….” If I survive the first week without killing everyone in a hangry rage, my stomach shrinks and I make it a while longer. I’m hoping to stick with it till all the extra baby weight is gone.

I write this post to explain why I’m a little testy; why I’m somewhat unfocused. I also write it to encourage anyone working on dieting or other self-improvement. Self-improvement is difficult, but you can do it. I can do it.

We can do it, one hole at a time -er, maybe one salad at a time.

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What have been your experiences with dieting? What worked? Whom did you murder during the first week?

—————-

I wrote some stuff, too:

Wednesday, January 22: Wondered at the anti-social social world in “Real Life vs. The Blogosphere.”

Thursday, January 23: Throwback: “Herculesa.”

Friday, January 24: Posted the winner of this week’s “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.” Congratulations to Doug.

Saturday, January 25: Announced the 56th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is an epic poem of adventure. PLEASE ENTER!

Also, “Quick Game: Edit That Book Title,” for fun.

Sunday, January 26: “The Hereafter, Aloft,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, January 27: An inspirational quote from Charli Mills.

Tuesday, January 28ish: Poemed “Wanton Winter.”

Wednesday, January 29: Today

I also published a bit on my motherhood site. I wrote “You Might Have a New Baby If…” and “Time for Baby.”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit:
Jonathan Borba
Kavita Joshi Rai
Laura Gomez
petra cigale
Ocean Ng
STIL
Pexels
Anna Pelzer

Real Life vs. The Blogosphere

The world’s a strange place. Connected beyond imagination, our real lives involve separation and loneliness.

When I was a child, I’d visit my neighbors. The old woman around the corner was a round, loud person with a slight, soft-spoken husband. He puttered around their yard and house, repairing and fixing and amusing himself. She’d invite me in to their homespun, soft-furnitured living room and insist I eat the cookies she’d just made.

They kept a dog or two. Whenever we played outside in our backyard, the dogs would bark. Sure enough, after a few rounds of yip-yip-yip, we’d hear her screech, “Skipper! Quiet!” I could imitate her tone and inflection; still can.

Nowadays, my neighbors are more reclusive. I still try to visit them. I plan a block party each summer. But, it’s different. It’s isolated. It’s even a bit cold.

One time, bearing the Christmas cookie plate I make and gift every year, I rang my neighbors who never come out and socialize. They’d just installed a door camera, I noted. I could hear it whirring as the focus changed, probably recording me. Their teenage daughters’ cars were out front. Their interior lights were on. I could hear their talking before I rang. Yet, no one answered.

Resisting my inner child’s urge to do something less kind, I left the plate on their porch and went back home.

It’s different. It’s rude.

I feel a similar confusion and slight affront where my writing’s concerned. Here, on my blog, I post every day. I write about my thoughts and feelings, my ideas, my odd story plots, my poetry, and -most vulnerably- my depression.

Occasionally, I share what I write to my Facebook page. Like, my personal one that everyone who is my ‘friend’ can read. All of my neighbors are ‘friends,’ although I happen to know they don’t read what I write. Only when I announce I’m having a baby do about a fourth of my ‘friends’ (130ish) click that little Like.

The rest of the time, about 30 people respond.

If I write something depressive, about 8.

In real life, sometimes 1 or 2 come up and say something.

I wonder what things would have been like if I’d become an adult fifty years ago, or even twenty. My mom would tell me that her mom’s neighbors met every morning for coffee. My grandmother said she and the kids of her childhood played jacks together. My husband’s grandmother sat outside with the other mothers in their complex at college, while their children all played in the central courtyard.

Different times. Warmer times.

This age allows me an outlet I wouldn’t have had fifty years ago, or even twenty. Instead of living in the isolation of my two-story house with only the dishes and laundry for company, I have you all.

But, I often wonder, why don’t I have those who are closer? Why don’t they notice? Why don’t they care?

Maybe it’s the cookies.

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—————-

Here’s what I wrote this week:

Wednesday, January 15: Examined the differences between the sexes in “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (and I’m Adrift in Space).”

Thursday, January 16: Throwback to how to write poetry with “A Muse, The Blues, Some Clues -AKA How to Write Poetry.”

Friday, January 17: Posted the winners of this week’s “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.” Congratulations to AnneMichael, and Rob.

Saturday, January 18: Announced the 55th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is what paradise looks like to you. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, January 19: “A Small Protest,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Also, “How Much is That Poem in the Window?,” in response to Crispina Kemp’s prompt photo.

Monday, January 20: An inspirational quote from Almost Iowa.

Tuesday, January 21: Poemed “As I Lay, Here.”

Wednesday, January 22: This post, plus “The Island Getaway, a Continued Story (My Part).”

I also published a bit on my motherhood site. I wrote “Did You Go Swimming Today? and Other Post-Delivery Fallacies” and “Short, Sweet, Sleep.”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: BBH Singapore

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (and I’m Adrift in Space)

Gender and sex and such are hot topics, and have been for the past …few thousand years. What -you haven’t heard of Pompeii? Ancient Greece? Today may not be as ‘woke’ and original as people assume, but defining male and female is not a popular place to go.

Yet, there are lines. An obviously major category-maker is one’s sex-defining parts. I can’t use a urinal, and my husband can’t grow a baby.

Dangit.

The differences do not remain within those parameters; but, as I said, these are not recommended waters for sailing. And yet, we all behave as if those differences are in place and are perfectly acceptable. Why?

Could it be that there are female traits? Male traits?

Girls are better students; they’re people-pleasers so they want to be good for their teacher. They’re able to sit still for a task and give it greater detail. They plan well, multi-task well, and improve their appearance well. Girls are good at communication and feelings -including hurting those feelings.

Boys are good at logic and focus; they get the job done and move on. Genetically stronger and hairier, they’re often suited for manual labor. In fact, their mechanically-inclined brains make manual labors easy to complete as well. They’re more physical and less emotional -including a desire to punch it out over talk it over.

But, but, but …exceptions!!

Yes, there are. Ever the square peg in the round hole, I chafe against being placed into any category I appear to be in. I’m sure others feel the same way. However, I wonder if any of them are, like me, living and behaving exactly as our sex is expected to.

Maybe the gray areas have always been, and the female/male attributes are simply a result of gray clusters.

Maybe women do talk more, cry more, and do that excited hand thing when they meet a friend.

Maybe men do talk less, cry less, and shift uncomfortably when their wives do that excited hand thing when they meet.

Why are we so afraid to say so? Do any of you feel the way I do, out in space and ashamed to step into place? What’s so bad about being a woman? What’s so bad about being a man?

—————-

Here’s what I wrote this week:

Wednesday, January 8: “My Other Half,” a post about my husband.

Thursday, January 9: Throwback to “C.S.I.,” a cliché within an enigma within a trope.

Friday, January 10: Let y’all know the winner of the 53rd “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest:” Matt Snyder. Congratulations!

Saturday, January 11: Announced the 54th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is The Bleak Midwinter. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, January 12: “The Threshold of Their Lives,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, January 13: An inspirational quote by Richard G. Scott.

Tuesday, January 14: “How to Have Kids When You’re Crazy” over at The Bipolar Collaborative Blog.

Also ish: a groggy poem, titled, “Poem?

Wednesdayish, January 15: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “What C-Section Recovery is Like” and “Fluent Minecraft.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens; except, of course, for those copyrights owned by almighty Disney.

My Other Half

Did you know that I am married? That I share my life with a wonderful husband, and father of our five boys?

Screenshot_2020-01-05-22-57-34

I write about me all the time, even when I write about other people. I’m inside my head; seeing my distorted, depressive view of things, and that’s what ends up painted all over this blog.

But… there are more sides to this story than mine. I owe my lavish, stay-at-home lifestyle and this very blog to my husband. He is my patron. He’s also a devoted spy, reading what I write and ensuring no one’s comments get too frisky.

Yet I rarely specifically mention him.

Me: “Did you see what I wrote on my blog?”

Him: “Oh. Yeah. That story.”

Me: “…Sorry.”

Him: “It’s okay. You always write about me after we fight.”

My one-sidedness has been niggling at me. I haven’t been fair. I haven’t been honest. I love the guy, after all, and think he needn’t be misrepresented.

I’ve loved Kevin since we were 16 years old. One month or so after my birthday, I came out to the front porch of our house to find it decorated in paper cutouts. I knew the signs, and yelled inside that my sister must have been asked to the upcoming school dance. I was wrong; I’d been asked.

Amongst the paper décor was a page of instructions: to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” at the top of my voice, say the alphabet backwards, go to a Geocities website, and call a phone number at the bottom if I needed ‘technical support.’ He’d also included an envelope of the letters of his name.

I ended up succeeding in solving the puzzle, thanks to a little reverse phone number searching in our school directory. They wouldn’t have that these days…

The day of the dance, we played Capture the Flag in the school hallways, ate in our finery at a friend’s house, and attended the dance itself at the State Capitol Building. Neither of us could actually dance, so we talked a lot and pretended we could.

Utah_State_Capitol,_Salt_Lake_City_(7631480380).jpg

By Andrew Smith from Seattle, WA, USA – Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City, CC BY-SA 2.0

Although Kevin and I attended the same junior high school as well, that date was our first interaction. I went home, determined to set up that LAN party he’d proposed during our pretend-dancing. He went home and told his sister he wanted to marry me.

Kevin’s an interesting person: extremely intelligent and analytical to many extents but also creative and artistic. His sense of humor is a lot like mine -or mine’s like his.

My mother: “You two have the same odd sense of humor. Do you know how I know?”

Me: …

My mother: “When someone says something, you both crack up, but no one else is laughing.”

She’s mostly right. Kev and I diverge a bit with morbid humor (him) or slapstick (me). We’re both right up wry alley, however, and enjoy intelligent observations.

Star Wars Text

From April of 2016, shortly after Disney released the first “Star Wars” film they made after acquiring the franchise rights.

He’s an excellent singer. His main career is a software engineer; his side, the dice business. In his free time, he likes computer games or interesting shows and films.

Our talents and interests crossover more often than complement, but it makes choosing a movie to watch easier. After all, what other guy choosesPride and Prejudice,” or what other gal choosesThe Matrix?” I believe our disagreements stem from the similarities; but maybe all couples fight, and fight over other things.

On the whole, I sure love my Kevin. And now you know a little more about him; about us.

This is the point at which I tend to ask the audience a question, like What’s something you want to know about Kevin? but he’s mine mine mine and so you can’t.

Instead, who’s your other half? Who supports or shares your writing journey? Does he or she read what you create?

—————-

Check out what I wrote this week:
Friday, January 3: “Old Year, New Year – Old Me, New Me,” an update on what’s been goin’ down in the last month, and some resolutions.

Saturday, January 4: Announced the 53rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a commercial jingle. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, January 5: “Memories Within the Old Hutch,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, January 6: An inspirational quote by Thoreau.

Also, “Postpartum Depression: Why Mental Health Surveys Suck” over at The Bipolar Collaborative Blog.

Tuesday, January 7: “Baby Blues (Eyes),” a poem.

Wednesday, January 8: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “I Had My Baby” and “Sharing, a poem.”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens