“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason.

“If you get the chance, take it.

“If it changes your life, let it.

“Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”

Harvey Mackay, though often attributed to Dr. Seuss

A Tall Walk Under Eaves

You wouldn’t know
Each kissing bough
Avoids by hair’s-breadth’s swing;
Re-swing.

Delicious how
Obtaining now
Combed-straightness
Under branchèd reach;
My height-blessed friend
Enters the arboreal arch –
Now christened such by
Traipsing squirr’ls
Sent scurrying.

He stands and smiles;
Opens the whiles,
Whene’er he walks the path.

isham-krb-msHrSQls4_I-unsplash

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo by Isham Krb on Unsplash

Acrostically cobbled together for Di of Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge.

5/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I went to the hardware store yesterday. Although I was unable to record actual numbers, I estimated about 1/3 of the shoppers and nearly all of the workers wore masks. I don’t mind the more-conservative, DIY-types; I figured those hardworking sorts would be very likely to shop for their own building supplies and gardening equipment. What concerned me is what always has: they don’t think distancing is important, so they aren’t minding their space.

I also went to Costco, for the second time since they severely increased their rules. Last time, everyone wore masks and adhered to restrictions. This time, even the workers seemed more relaxed. “Place your purchases on the conveyor belt,” the cashier told me, though she was still scanning the items of the person in front of me.

Costco Sign

The temperature’s rising. Birds are singing. Our lawn is burning where the sprinklers are broken (hence, the trip to the hardware store). People are out jogging, biking, walking, and hopscotching.

On the drive to the two stores, I passed a splash pad. They’re more recent inventions. Basically, water squirts out of tubes and holes in the ground all across a cement park. The splash pad was PACKED.

sophie-dale-ibD7j7IXXAs-unsplash

I’m not blameless; I took four of the boys to a public park for the first time on Tuesday. They played in dirt and on the playground and had a wonderful time. I visited with a neighbor who also happened to be there. She told me they weren’t doing “inside playdates” yet, only “outside playdates.” In point of fact, she said they’d been to the selfsame splash pad I’d observed being crowded.

Furthermore, she and her family are planning a road trip to Mount Rushmore. Don’t worry -they’re renting an RV and will be outside for all their activities. She knows that the Founding Fathers and Roosevelt aren’t likely to contract Coronavirus in their condition.

Several friends and neighbors have traveled or are planning on traveling. I don’t know of any who are flying …yet. I can’t say the same for SpaceX, but they looked pretty protected in their suits.

jet cloud landing aircraft

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The official officials of COVID-19 in Utah aren’t sure if moving to Yellow Quarantine has led to more cases. We did have a spike in cases reported after Memorial Day weekend. We also did have people unable to test during that weekend, so those numbers might be a catch-up situation.

Ambivalence aside, Coronannoying is still around. It’s apparently devastated our Navajo community and wreaked havoc amongst any nursing homes it visits. I know it’s old news. But if there’s one thing pregnancy taught me, it’s that wishing uncomfortable situations away doesn’t work.

The biggest news, however, is not of contagions. The biggest news involves a very sad, divisive event in Minneapolis. I stay moderate on politics; the protesters in Salt Lake City, yesterday, did not.

The wall outside our Capitol Building, ©2020 ABC4 News

I’ll likely get more vocal about my opinions and ideas as I age. For now, I will say that I disagree with violence, hatred, and destruction from anyone.

On that note, I hope for resolution and return to peace. I hope people calm down and work together. I hope restaurants open again, stores open again, tourist destinations open again, and SCHOOLS OPEN AGAIN.

Between what super-conservatives are saying on a super-conservative Facebook group someone added me to (who knows how that happened?) and the proposed state guidelines on education, I’m not sure we’re heading toward …reasonable yet.

“The guidance for K-12 education addresses the resumption of school activities, including sports, under jurisdiction of district and school authorities in adherence to indoor and outdoor guidelines. Additionally, hand sanitizer will need to be made available to faculty and students in each classroom and regular hand washing routines will be instituted. Faculty and staff will need to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible. Updates regarding face coverings for students will be provided by local school and charter boards in consultation with health department officials.”

-Governor Herbert’s Executive Order of May 27, 2020

I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, and assuming they are referring to colleges and universities with these guidelines. Most adults can put on a mask or sanitize their hands. Most children can barely wipe their bottoms.

I fully intend to drop all media for the summer, but promise to pop in with news like this as appropriate. I hope news from your corners of the world is better, and continues to become so.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

 

Photo Credits: Me, Photo by Sophie Dale on Unsplash, Pexels, and ABC4 News

It’s All Greek Till Someone Gets Hungry

Eric loved the Greek fast food place in the mall. He hadn’t been in months; Monica complained of his smelling of onions whenever he ate there. He wasn’t sure he should be letting her stop him from pitas and Tzatziki, but -truth be told- Monica was a little scary.

Something about Monica’s black-lined black eyes worried him.

Something about Monica’s black-painted black fingernails frightened him.

Frankly, something about Monica’s black-dressed black everything gave him the willies.

“You can’t let her push you around just ’cause she’s a Wiccan,” Eric’s pal, Niko, advised.

“You’re right,” Eric said.

He and Niko stopped by Greek Fest that very day. The food was everything Eric remembered; he thought about it with pleasure all afternoon. When he walked through the door to his apartment, he could still feel the crisp onions between his teeth and the fresh tomatoes on his tongue. The lamb had been seared at the edges but soft in the middle. The Tzatziki –

“So,” Monica’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “You did it.”

Eric stopped and stared at her. She wore even more black than usual and stood within a black circle of black candles. Somehow, even their flames looked black. He heard David Bowie’s “Heroes” playing from Alexa.

He stepped backwards slowly. Monica spread her black fingernails wide and he found himself immobile.

♫We can be heroes, Bowie crooned, If just for one day…♫

“So,” she repeated. “You thought you could eat Greek…”

♫Just for one day…♫

“Just for one day,” Eric tried to defend himself, but his mouth didn’t work. His limbs didn’t work. His eyes stayed wide open and staring at the black-clad, black-lit Monica. She waved her hands over and around the black candles, chanting -you guessed it- black words.

♫And you, you can be mean…♫

“Midnight, Coal, Pitch!” Monica’s voice rose in volume to drown out the music. Her candles and the overhead lights of the apartment fluttered.

I’m sorry, Alexa said, I don’t understand your request.

“Jet, Soot, Cave, DARK!”

Eric’s clothes fell off and around him as the room grew huge, stretching up and away. His last thoughts were, I feel a bit like shredded lettuce, before his cognitive functions ceased.

Monica stepped over her candle circle and walked to where Eric’s clothes sat in a pile on the floor. Pushing aside his discarded shirt and jeans, she uncovered a perfectly-made Greek sandwich.

“Now, Eric Morgenstein,” she cackled, “You can be a gyro, if just for one day!”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Written in response to Peregrine Arc‘s prompt that was supposed to be responded to by last Thursday.

WINNER of the Weekly Hilarity Contest 5/29/2020

“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”

“Why, what did she tell you?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”

-From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

If you love satire and haven’t tested the Hitchhiker‘s trilogy of five books, Douglas Adams would admit you’re not missing much. Of course, he didn’t hike across Preliumtarn to within view of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in order to learn who this week’s hilarious winner is.

And that is:

Beware, the Vogon or Swans die a ghastly death Dedicated to Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex

by Deb Whittam

Resistance is useless,
My love will always transpire,
It will grow mold, as does
My unwashed towel,
Which travels in the vicinity of my armpit,
Where a small lump of green putty resides.

Resistance is useless but
DON’T PANIC
Flesh may rot, flesh may drop off
The stench may be unbelievably bad but
I will dispel it and find a stick and
Use my towel as a slingshot.

Resistance is useless,
Life, don’t talk to me about life.
The swan died a graceful death
But my towel was unfortunate,
It became stained with blood
Beware the VOGONS.

—–

Congratulations, Deb! You made me laugh the most, and are therefore the funniest writer of the week!

I LOVED reading through the entries this week. Anticipation of reading them kept me going throughout a busy week, and you did not disappoint. I chose Deb’s for the single reason that hers made me laugh aloud! -which I did from title to green putty to …dying swan?

That’s not saying the others wouldn’t make a Vogon leap from an airlock. See for yourself:

Unquestionable Truth Leading to Conclusions That are Edifying, Beneficial and Nice

by Dumbestblogger

Truth
I sit here in the warm mud and my legs feel comfortable for now but I wonder how long it will last
Afternoons begin as mornings
I could get out of this situation if I had an infinite improbability drive.
It sucks that that’s something I don’t have.
Oh no, it might rain
I guess I will just sit here-
42
Yeah, I just threw that number in because it’s in a book somewhere
Beautiful poetry is something that speaks to the soul.
We are only empty when there are problems with the mechanical apparatuses in our space ships/
So long, and thanks for all the fish

Oh
Did you think I was done
I’m not done
I could understand why you would think I was done with a line like “so long, and thanks for all the fish.”
But I’m not done
I will continue reciting this poetry because it is edifying and beautiful
Let us zoom across the Galaxy
Oh yeah, I forgot
I’m laying down in the mud
Oh well
It’s the thought that counts
It doesn’t necessarily count in a literal way of speaking

—–

Is There An I In Ford?

by Geoff

When Slatibartfast
Made a vast
Fiord for Ford,
Arthur Dent
Said it meant
He’d never be ignored.
Zaphod, instead
Lost his second head
Betting a million
That something so baroque
Had to be a crock
Of shit, said Trillium.
Those from Betelgeuse
Can be so obtuse
When buying rock formations;
And even the infinitely improbable
Will not turn something horribable
Into the jewel of nations.
As Marvin, when they asked,
Said, ‘I really can’t be arsed,
‘To correct this stupid defect.’
‘It is obviously so plain,’
When you think about his name,
‘He’s not perfect but a Prefect.’

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

Douglas Adams wrote of other worlds and evil races like the Vogons

He didn’t need to lie and cheat, no need to come up with patronising slogans

Now we have our very own new fantasy story authors

Cummings, Hancock and Boris, the UKs evil lying rotters

They inspire as much hope as Marvin the Paranoid Android

And are as pleasant as a hot curry to someone with a hemorrhoid

They only look after themselves, just like two headed Zaphod Beeblebrox

They gorge on the finest food while the peasants are expected to stay in detox

We all thought the answer to life was forty two

Well apparently not, that answer was a load of poo

The answer to everything is now apparently the tourist site called Barnard Castle

We are instructed to lockdown but for Cummings that is far too much hassle

If you are Cummings you can test your eyesight by driving your kid 60 miles

Just a coincidence it’s your wife’s birthday, ignoring restrictions with many smiles

Now that’s apparently Ok as it Cummings says his little poodle called Hancock

A man so stupid he’s turned this country into nothing more than a laughingstock

So thank you Douglas for writing some of the funniest stories ever told

And thank you those who voted for Boris, a man as useful as the common cold

—–

Untitled piece

by Ruth Scribbles

Roses are black, I mean petunias
Because they lack, attendance at funerals

Hey! There’s a hitchhiker holding petunias
Is he going to a funeral?

The end (of someone)

—–

Big Bang, Bath Towel And Beyond

by Obbverse

Irate ratepayer Arthur Dent was confoundedly annoyed
To find his house and home planet completely destroyed,
Luckily the one poor excuse of a man Arthur had befriended
Was the perfect guy to accompany him when his world ended.

Ford Prefect was Arthur’s odd friends imperfect name-
A moniker once written oft on many an insurance claim-
Art never imagined his friend to be a bona fide illegal alien;
Born somewhere near Betelgeuse, not remotely mammalian.

Ford, once a wanderin’ scribe before this gig started to unravel
Knew his tenure on Earth was terminating, it’s nigh time to travel.

Ford had an inkling about this harmless planet he was stuck on,
That in a twinkling Arthur would ask ‘where on Earth, has it gone?’
Pangalactic Developers Inc saw Earth as an impediment to progress,
In their Universal view what harm is there in one itty-bitty bit of dirt less?

Ford, our hapless intergalactic hitchhiker, earthbound and lost
In desperation stuck out a digital thumb, plus all fingers crossed,
Finding on wakening they had been both uplifted and stown away
While all Arthurs worldly goods had been spectacularly blown away.

Now all Arthur possessed was his towel slippers and tatty bath robe,
Scant protection for a mere human going up against an alien probe.

(Hmm, barely made it past chapter one;
Guess Doug’s tale- and mine- is done,
For to 250 words I’ve been constrained;
Read Doug’s book and be better entertained.)

—–

Untitled piece

by Peregrine Arc

Maroon forms, no red, no salmon you nitwit.
Get in line again, try it all, dash it all
I said TRIPLICATE!
A man of many faces
I stare out the starboard portal and sigh
So all I can think of is the reason why:
42.
Not one jot more, I decry.

—–

Thank you all.

SPLAT! Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy T-Shirt (With images ...

Deb: Here’s a new badge as proof of your hilarious skills:

HilarityContestBadge

©2020 The writers, and their respective works.

 

Answering The Real Neat Blog Award

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

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

    Escher's_Relativity

    Wikipedia, Fair use

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

    two white and black chess knights facing each other on chess board

    Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi on Pexels.com

  6. If your life was a play, what would be the major dramatic arc?
    Erm. Hm. I’d have to say the part when the chocolate lands on the floor.
  7. If you could have one chore be automatically done for you for forever,  what would it be and why?
    Omigosh; dishes. If you don’t know why, come fulfill my magic wish.

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

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

That’s Odd

“That’s just it, isn’t it?”

“What?”

Douglas stares at the round rocks, hands behind back and face in concentration. His eyes flit from one to the next, counting.

“What’s ‘it,’ Douglas?”

Nothing moves, yet Douglas looks up. “These balls.”

“Yes?”

“They’re odd.”

multicolored pebbles on white ceramic bowl

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

I blame Debbie, and her 42 Word Story Challenge, keyword oddball.

Going Postal, XI

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” “Going Postal, VIII,” and “Going Postal, IX,” and “Going Postal, X.”

“I don’t know, Marty.” Ron said. He felt tired and breathing wasn’t easy.

“I’m tellin’ ya.” Marty sat up as he spoke. “They’s -they’re rippin’ you off! Everyone’s been usin’ dah mail -I seen it!- while they’re holed up in their houses. You said dah city said they’d fire you? Who’re they gonna get? They can’ get anyone right now!”

Ron tried to think. He knew Marty wasn’t the most trustworthy guy, but he’d been really responsible the last few weeks. Without Marty, he and Carol -his thoughts broke off and tears started in his eyes.

Marty’s eyes looked bright but dry as he studied Ron. Young people like him hadn’t been affected as badly, after all. “Unca Ron, ya gotta believe me. You saw dem sh- those guys at dah post office! They pushed you around, didn’ they? I got ’em to do their jobs and stop dah dis-respect!”

That was true. Ron’s mother had always said, You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. But those guys at the post office hadn’t ever been nice, no matter how nice he’d been first. Whatever Carol’s neice’s son had said to them, they’d shaped right up. Ron fumbled at his seatbelt. He saw and heard Marty drum his fingers on the dash in impatience.

Ron finally got out of the seatbelt, then out of the truck. He leaned in for a last look at Marty. “You can do this, Unca Ron,” Marty said, smiled, and gave him a thumbs-up with those tattooed fingers of his.

After nodding and closing the truck door, Ron made his way up the double-wide steps of the Westside City office building. He walked through the double-glass doors, through the line separators, past the empty front desk, and down the hall to where the city planners met. He opened the doors into a room that looked just like the last time he’d been there, except a black woman sat where Ida Jenkins had been.

“Can we help you?” she asked, through another of those paper masks.

Ron tried to stand straight. He smiled in a friendly way as he walked to the blue tape on the floor. “I -” *Hmm-hmm* “I’m Ron Richardson. I’m a contractual mail carrier for the-”

“He’s the temporary mail carrier for The Farmlands Area,” Joe Schlepp interrupted, without looking at anyone.

“Yes, I-” Ron tried again.

“Didn’t we talk to him about poor job service a couple’a months ago?” Bob Spineless asked.

“Yes, I-”

“Well, I wasn’t there, then,” the new woman sounded cross.

Ron tilted his head so the flourescent lights didn’t glare so much and read Miranda Owen on her nameplate. “Yes, Ida Jenkins was-”

“Do you have an appointment?” Joe asked, looking near Ron’s head.

“No, I-”

“I’m sorry,” Bob began, “But you can’t get in without an appointment, so-”

“WELL I’M NOT SORRY,” Ron yelled. He paused, his whole body shaking with silent, strong coughing.

Miranda, Bob, and Joe sat in their paper masks and blue plastic gloves, finally silent.

Ron stood straighter than he had in weeks. He walked forward off that stupid tape. “I’ve been delivering the mail for ten years without complaining. I’ve used my truck and carried boxes and done my job.”

Joe leaned back as Ron approached his desk, hugging a bottle of hand sanitizer.

“I’m not temporary.” Ron turned to the next one.

Bob nearly clambered out of his chair as Ron walked up to him.

“I’m not responsible for the post office’s bad sorting, but I try anyway,” Ron told Bob.

Miranda was the most composed as he moved to stand in front of her.

“I’ve done a good decade’s worth of work. I’ve never had a sick day till -” he stopped and swallowed. “…Till my wife got sick and I had to take care of her -but I still had my nephew fill in so I didn’t have to bother anybody!”

They still sat without talking. Waiting.

“Now that my wife’s -now that I’m back to delivering everyone’s toilet paper while they’re too scared to open their blinds, I’m here to ask…” Ron thought of Marty. “No, I’m here to tell you: you can either get me the same benefits as the other mailmen -with the health coverage goin’ back to the start of the term- or you can try to find someone else to do this job.”

Continue to “Going Postal, XII.”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

“If thou hast knowledge, let others light their candle at thine.”

Thomas Fuller, MD [1654-1734], Introductio ad Prudentiam: or, Directions, Counsels, and Cautions, Tending to Prudent Management of Affairs in Common Life, Part II, 1727


Also known as:

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.”
-Margaret Fuller

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles with it.”
-Winston Churchill

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.”
-Margaret Fuller

Thanks, Sue Brewton

Boring News Stuff Regarding This Olde Blog

Last year, my life situation looked a little different. Well, because of COVID-19, it coincidentally looked much the same. I’d not been feeling well last Aprilish. After suddenly craving a specific Mexican food item on a Sunday evening, I thought, Oh no; it can’t be THAT. Several insistent phone calls the next day led to a positive pregnancy test reading and ultrasound.

…and to a subsequent order of bedrest once an intrauterine blood clot kept whining.

All last summer; I balanced being pregnant, running two blogs, occasionally writing for another, reading others’ posts, and trying to keep my living dependents -well- alive. It. was. awful.

“Next summer,” I vowed from the bathroom floor, “I’m taking a break like _[insert several bloggers’ names here]_!”

Long story long, that’s what I’m gonna do. Take a break, I mean.

I’ll finish up “Going Postal” and a few writing prompts and awards I promised I would respond to. Then, I’m unplugging for a while. I need the free babysitting of public school and the better-sleeping of an older baby to add ‘blogging’ to the top of my tippy pile of demands.

After a week or two, I’ll not see you again till September. Thanks for the understanding and support, and best of luck with your own summers/winters.

woman in red and white floral dress wearing brown sun hat

I have never looked like this in my life, but you can picture my being like this if it makes you feel better.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Photo by Antonio Conte on Pexels.com