Welcome to Utah; Wanna Stay?

I’ve lived in Utah for most of my life. If you don’t know where Utah is: just go West of that big, open, flat area in the middle of The United States of America to the Rocky Mountains; but stop before you can gamble or make it to the beach.

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Given my druthers, I think I’d prefer somewhere like Boston in the fall. With dogs. And no dishes or laundry. Ever. Those who know me might wonder why I’m living in The West with 4.5 children and housework ’round the clock, but we’re not going to climb aboard that psychologist’s couch right now.

I bring up my location and innermost desires because I often wonder why people come to my little speck of the world. Why do they stay? What do we have to offer here?

For me, the attractions include:

    1. The Mormons. Okay; okay: the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
      When I traveled with our music group in high school, other kids we met in the hotels would always ask two questions: Where are you from? immediately followed by Are you a Mormon?
      We may have stood out for lack of cussing and cut-off jeans, but mostly Utah is just known for its Mormons. I’m not bothered; there are a lot of us here. Mostly I get bothered by those who are bothered by that fact. I mean, it’s a little obvious that LDS people might live in Utah. They kind-of settled it.
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      Anywho: being mostly LDS myself and not minding the culture surrounding it, I find the placement comforting more than not.
    2. The people.
      Personally, I feel this ties into Reason #1, but I knew many people would go digging for ‘Mormons’ once I mentioned ‘Utah.’ Whether it’s because of the huge number of LDS and families or not (trust me, it is), the people here are generally friendly and kind.
      I remember watching the American Idol episode they filmed here in 2009. Contestant after contestant on the show responded to the judges’ negative assessment with a smile and a, “Thank you.” The judges were weirded out by the positivity (watch at about 15:37).

  1. The Scenery
    Since I live in the Salt Lake area, I can always see mountains. Mountains, mountains, mountains. They’re beautiful, and I totally take them for granted. It’s not till I’m lost in Oklahoma that I realize how wonderful those natural compasses and rocky beauties are.
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  2. Destinations
    Utah is also home to plenty of hiking/biking/camping/ATVing areas. There are even a few spots with swimmable water. I’m too lazy to look up what percentage of the state is Federal or State land, but it’s sizable. Utah’s home to Zion’s, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley….
    I am also not very grateful for how close and easy these destinations are, or the millions of unnamed camping and hiking areas. If we want to go on a quick hike, there are several within half an hour’s drive. There are even nice areas to walk around within walking distance of our house.
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    Utah is also known for its skiing. I haven’t had time or money for the sport since high school, but publicists are not lying when they say it’s The Greatest Snow on Earth -though I’d amend that it might be the greatest this side of the globe. I’d love to try the Alps.
  3. My family nearby
    You all aren’t going to enjoy the benefit of this; but having grandparents, siblings, cousins (lots and lots of cousins!) close enough to visit is very nice. Home is where the heart is and all that.

I was born with an odd curiosity for where other people call Home. Specifically, I often want to experience their day-to-day lives. So: what do you like about where you live? What do you see? Visit? Eat?

If you’ve lived several places, what have been your favorite aspects of some of them?

—————-

While you consider and respond, read what I wrote this past week:
Wednesday, September 4: Discussed a bit about the fun and games of selling dice.

Thursday, September 5: “A Thoughtful Poem.”

Friday, September 6: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb!

Saturday, September 7: Announced the 42nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Do you know where your towel is? PLEASE ENTER!

Also, “I Give Myself Two Thumbs Down” over at The Bipolar Longname Blog.

Sunday, September 8: “True Grit?,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, September 9: An inspirational quote by Paulo Coelho.

Tuesday, September 10: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Three.” Sorry, Wil.

Wednesday, September 11: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “‘Work at Home,’ They Said,” “Parents, Put the Phone Away!!!,” and “The Boy Mom Poem.”

 

Photo Credit:
John-Mark Smith
Michael Hart
Justin Luebke
Mitch Nielsen

©2019 Chelsea Owens

When the Shadow of Me Returns

Last night my Other Me reappeared, the one of shadows. For, truly, that is where she always stands, lurking: the shadows of thoughts, the shadows of feelings, the shadows of anything I see or do.

It is she who colors a happy idea with doubt.

She deepens the uncertain edges of a frown in every smile.

The fear of possible failure to proposed activities? Also her.

I hadn’t seen her in a while; thought her to be gone. How little I knew. How I forgot. She does not ever go away, especially when I choose to ignore her instead of keep working to repel her. Especially, when I want her.

Last night I felt her; nearer and nearer. And, like a fool, I let her come. I asked her to grow, expand, envelop, then smother. Anything, I thought, is better than what I feel.

Because the Shadow of Me does not feel.

As I settled beneath the apathy and self-pity that I invited in, I twitched a bit in discomfort. Some part of me recognized the old, unhealthy patterns. Something deep within, in a timid voice, whispered, “I don’t think we want this.”

“Do we?”

Yet, not until this morning did I notice the source of the rain. Standing –no- languishing morosely in depthless puddles I blamed anyone but her; anyone but me for bringing her. Like a fool; I cursed the weatherman, the water, the sky, the mud. I failed to name the shadowed storm. It is Depression. And it is not what I needed.

Because, as familiar as Depression is, it is not a good solution.

As easy a solution as Depression appears, its fallout is more difficult to clean up than actual resolution.

But who wants to stand and face her troubles when Depression promises otherwise? I can tell you: not me. No, I chose fear. I chose to see My Shadow’s effects: small rocks on the trail ahead made to look like looming boulders; a few grumpy observations from my companion augmented to devastating predictions against success.

So I turned back.

Rappelled to our base camp of years ago.

And sat outside the tent, in the rain.

I’m still there, you see, but have shifted a bit. My seat felt somewhat wet so I moved to a less-muddy patch. Still depressed. It’s a new day, though; I can see the pervasive grayness is a lighter shade.

And, no, I’m not ready to climb again. ‘Tis a daunting thought.

I think I’ll start with an umbrella. From there, I just might gain the perspective I need to change into dry clothes and eat some rations. We’ll see.

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

It’s almost time for fun in the sun (or snow)! After reading through the entries this week, I may reconsider my vacation plans…

Especially after reading the poem of the winner, Peregrine Arc.

Oi’, Summah!

by Peregrine Arc

Lemunade and sugahs
Butterflies and sands
My dear, look at my toes
They’ve been completely eaten by crabs.

Oi, get yer feet off my beach blanket
Tide, do yer worst
For I’m a sun crisped lobster
A blue eyed, Caucasian curse.

Tantamount to the joyous degrees and aspects of the tiny filigreed hairs of a baby tarantula from Spain.
But never, ever with a yellow umbrella on Tuesday, for shame.

Is how much I enjoy my summer rain.

Drip. Drip. Drip…
….
….
….
Zazzle.

Congratulations, Peregrine Arc! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

Honestly, I had three poems tied for first after my initial run-through. They were terrible, confusing but still readable, related to vacation, and had hidden messages. P’Arc’s winning elements were her deviance from a meter and her (hopefully intentional) misspellings.

Again, some of you were (hopefully intentionally) not that terrible. Bad or no, you’re all worth a read:

The perils of camping

by Bruce Goodman

We’re leaving town to go on summer vacation.
The traffic heading out is like a conflagration.
We’ve got the three kids in the back of the car.
We’re going to a lonely camping spot with no shops other than very far.

Arrive we have! now to erect the tents;
One for the kids and one, you know what is meant,
for me and the Missus.
Already she’s flooded me with kisses.

Well here we are getting down to business.
The kids are all fed and have washed up their dishes.
Oh oh… oh Honey, we’re safe in our tents
but I forgot to bring the condiments.

Chorus: Heigh ho! Heigh ho! Is it off back home we go
because Daddy forgot to bring his condiments?
Who wants stuff heated up around the camp fire
when eating a sausage without condiments is dire?
Heigh ho! Heigh ho! Is it off back home we go
because Daddy forgot to bring his condiments?

—–

The woe of winter holidays

by Deb Whittam

Holidays are upon us,
She whispers with dread
Perhaps it was time
To enforce a day in bed
The kids would be up to hijinks
The circus, the movies, the zoo
All great fun things
When it’s raining to do
What about arts and crafts
No need to get wet
The look they send you
Suggests this isn’t a safe bet
In the end you’re left with no choice
Honesty is the best they say
Go play on your computers
I’m staying in bed today.

—–

Untitled piece

by Trent McDonald

Time for the two of us
To be where we’re not
For privacy take long
treks
We’ll get all sweaty
And deliciously hot
While engaging in rigorous
Hikes

—–

I Really Wish You Were Here, Instead Of Me

by Joanne Fisher

Here I am just soaking in the brine

I really wish I was having a good time

It would be really nice if someone else was here

If only I had won a totally different tier

I am at this wonderful summer resort

All because one day I bought a torte

The prize was a holiday in the midst of winter

All I’m hoping is this isn’t going to make me bitter

I better go as I’m running out of space

I long to soon be back in an aeroplane’s carapace

By the time I get home I’ll be full of joy

but for now I should let go of this freezing buoy

—–

Summer vacation

by Violet Lentz

life has been one long endless summer vacation lost luggage canceled flights hotels with no HBO sandy beaches endless nights spent wading in hot water close calls getting caught up stopping short of letting go doing nothing so long that it finally gets boring taking off on a tear in a t-bar and bra make up and cigarettes toothbrush at the ready why hang on to dirty laundry just throw that shit out grabbing at straws as they strike at my fancy waking up wearing nothing but an old worn wild hair in hot pursuit of a synonym for i wanna get higher diving too deep in some roughneck’s water seeking someone i can drown in or maybe just drift- far away from myself.

—–

VACATION EXCITEMENT

by Ruth Scribbles

Summer vacation?

Excitement?

I hate summer in Texas

It’s blasted hot 🥵

If I leave Texas, then….

Oh Lordy, must I be wordy

Hot as hell…

How do I know?

My skin sizzles and smells

My energy disappears

I become a big wimp

Can’t even limp around

Oh wait, did you say vacation??

Woohoo! Alaska, here I come!

She said as she melted from the sun.

—–

I have so much fun reading through these every week and hope you have just as much fun writing them! Come back tomorrow at 10 for the next prompt.

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Peregrine Arc: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to The 28th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.

Buckle your safety belts, keep your arms and legs inside, and review the manual if you’re worried about how to operate a terrible poem. We encourage mis-meter, almost-rhymes, and intentional clichés on this rocket ship.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: The excitement of summer vacation (or winter, if you’re down South).
  2. Length: Postcard-sized. If you write rather small, you can fit more in your poem.
  3. Rhyme if you wish; grandma probably won’t be able to read your handwriting anyway.
  4. Make it terrible. Not only will granny not know if you crossed your t’s but might also misconstrue a few of your words for some she thought she heard her favorite news anchor warn about the young’uns using these days.
  5. Rating: PG or more decent. We’re having good, clean fun this summer.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (June 7) to submit a poem.

Use the form if’n you don’t want yours up till next week.

For immediate fame and gratification from your peers, include your poem or a link to it in the comments below.

Tell your friends, your TwoFacebook crowd, your Tweeters; whatever. Spread the word and share the love.

Most of all, have fun!

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Photo credit:
Vicko Mozara