Sunday, October 20, 2019

Carpe Diem #1766: Mouse

a mouse is quite cute
so long as it stays outside
in the house, trouble


I have a story now. 
In 2001, the first year that my son and I were in the mobile home (the one we are now clearing out to sell), we had a problem with mice. Fortunately, we also had a mousetrap. 

Our mousetrap was the big gray and white guy, although he was still a juvenile then. His name was Raymond (2001 - 2018). One of my co-workers took in a pregnant cat. Raymond, seen here with his brother Leon (2001 - 2017) was one of the kittens. Leon, obviously, was another of the same litter.

One day Raymond dropped on my pillow what I thought was the back half of a catnip mouse. I was half right. There was no "catnip" to this mouse. I screamed and hurried the mouse ass outside. I can only reason that Raymond ate the head and figured that it would be kind to offer me the butt.

Raymond caught a couple more mice. Then the mice must have gotten savvy to the fact that there was a cat in the house and stopped coming around.

I had to have Raymond put to sleep when he was 17. He had tumors all over his body including his digestive tract and in his forehead. I probably shouldn't have waited as long as I did. 

Leon had to be put to sleep a few months prior. He developed feline infectious peritonitis, which puzzled me because I never let my cats outside, except for Isis, who was semi-feral and I couldn't keep her in. The vet said that the FIP had probably been dormant in Leon's system for his entire life. It can sometimes take many years for it to become active.

Anyway, I never was keen on the bone-crusher type of mousetrap. If you don't have a mouse-head-eater like Raymond living in your house and you have mice, try a humane trap like Ghost Town Grover sells in his general store. If you order through the link, we earn a small commission.

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 20: Haibun My Way: From the Mountains to the Prairie

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image Source
You see a lot of these critters along the county roads leading to Grover. You have to be careful because sometimes they'll want to cross the road. Unfortunately, I see a fair number of them dead on the roadside. Hitting one would probably total my car, which is one reason I don't like to drive after dark on the Lone Prairie.

And now, on to our Haibun.

In the days of my youth, I loved to party. If anyone asked me to go out to a club, I’d immediately say “yes.” I loved to drink and dance.

I always dreamed of living in a glorious mansion, the sort of place that was the toast of the town.

I have always loved the mountains. For most of my life I lived near the mountains and could not imagine living anywhere else.

The prairie? “Well, how bland and boring is that?” I asked myself.

Except I never really found the prairie bland and boring. I was just repeating what I was supposed to think. Still, I could not imagine living in a place where I couldn’t see the mountains.

Then just this year, I discovered a place a hundred miles from where I’d lived for many years: a place way out on the prairie.

I no longer see the mountains every day, but I love what I see now just as much.

My dream home is in a place that I couldn’t have imagined, far from city nightlife, way out on the prairie. I wouldn’t want it to be anyplace else, and if you asked me to go clubbing these days, I’d look at you as if you had three heads because I can imagine few things I’d want to do less. I prefer to stay home and listen to the wind whistling through the prairie grass instead.

the whispering wind
billowing the prairie grass
sounds like home to me



Ghost Town Grover Sez: 
"I liked this here High Bun. I ain't up to writin' no High Bun myself right now, but I got a poem fer y'all.

In the days of old when I mined fer gold
Life shore was excitin'
But these days I prefer an easier life
So the Lone Prairie is more invitin'

Cactus Clem sez:
"I like that Ornery writes poetry that's more rootin' tootin' than High Fallutin'. I ain't never fit in real well with them High Fallutin' folks myself. Which is okay, 'cause I think them high society parties is kinda boring anyways.

I don't like to go to parties
In the high society
'Cause it's a prickly problem
When them fancy folks stick to me

Friday, October 18, 2019

Haiku My Heart + Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille: A Year of Many Endings

Background image by David Mark on Pixabay
Words/text art by The Real Cie

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 17: Do You Remember?

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Do you remember when we had all our lives ahead
In times before hope was replaced by dread
Do you remember all the sunshine days
Back when life was a place to play

The best of people in the world was my brother
Over him I'd never have chosen any other
 In the times before everything turned gray
Back when life was a place to play

Your sister became someone broken within
Who had no idea how to repair her sin
Your sister still wonders if we can return one day
Back when life was a place to play

I would have chosen you as my friend regardless of blood
My love for you is real, my brother, my bud
Can we turn back although our hair's gone gray
Back when life was a place to play?


My brother is four years younger than me. I was there when he was born. He made his way into the world quickly.
As children, we were very close. But time, circumstances, and misunderstandings have driven us apart, something I would not have been able to believe could happen when I was a child.
Honestly, this is rather a vulnerable point for me and I would appreciate compassion if one feels the need to say anything.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Just one of those Lousy Days

The Curmudgeon's Club mascot still makes me grin from beyond the grave.

Sometimes even when you're living in the construction zone--er-- the house of your dreams and working for the biggest asswipe of a boss, but you can't help smiling because that asswipe of a boss is YOU, there are still days that are better once they've been eaten by the Langoliers.

This was one of those days.
I came away from my grand, high-tech work station...

Okay, it's my five-year-old computer sitting on a busted-up $40 shelving arrangement from Wal Mart in front of the old, dilapidated couch which is also my bed.

Anyway, I uprooted my ass from my workspace to go to the kitchen for something, only to see that there was water all over the floor in the hall.

I looked into the laundry room to see the drain hose lying on the floor spewing water.

I stuffed it back into the drain. It pulled back out.

I tried repositioning it.

No matter what I did, it still pulled back out.

The carpet will probably take a week to dry. It's going to be replaced anyway, but, like, not today. 

Resigning myself that I will have to put on my shoes for a week whenever I want to walk to the kitchen, I decided to try and make a "use up what you have left in the fridge" casserole.

Sometimes these are a success.

This one wasn't. 

The hamburger I had was touted as grade A, top of the line, the best. It left a lake of grease in my skillet. I think I prefer the less touted regular hamburger.

All of the ingredients were good but it just didn't taste that great. I opted not to make anyone else suffer through it.

Finding that I felt sleepy, I opted for a nap and had nightmares about creepy psycho children wearing Halloween masks invading my house.

Today was a terrible day.

I hope that tomorrow will be an improvement.


Carpe Diem #1765: Squirrel

I remember when
you took peanuts from my hand
in a world long gone


Remembering feeding the squirrels peanuts when I was 10 years old.
That is 44 years ago.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Carpe Diem #1764: Ants

Image by FRANCO PATRIZIA from Pixabay

have not seen any
ants marching through my pantry
dead hornet in sink


I've encountered most of the usual suspect home invaders out here on the Lone Prairie: flies, hornets, mosquitoes, but no ants yet. My son and I have found several dead hornets. I suppose they came in when we opened the window on hot days. The windows need screens, which is probably a project for spring.

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 16: Harried to the Grave

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

it does not matter
matter one measure if
if you measure your time
time on an Apple watch
watch your time on an old
old beat-up analog tick-tick 
tick-tick the sound
sound as time is running out
out of your wasting life
life where triumphs come
come slowly and don't seem
seem to stick around at all
all the while your life is wasting
wasting away fast as a wish
wish you would stop
stop giving away 
away all your me time
time to see time as
as a commodity time
time does not come free
free time does not align
align with being a successful
successful mess who never
never ever stops
stops to wind her old watch
watch time slip away 
away until one day 
day when there are
are no more days
days are numbered from the first
first moment you take a breath
breath that leads to death
death comes for us all
all of us must fall
fall back into the time
time when time didn't matter 
matter meant nothing
nothing meant anything
anything was possible
possible dreams
dreams become schemes
schemes become obsession
obsession consumes life
life becomes lie
lie down and die
die and become
become as you were before earth
earth before your birth 


I was always one of those "I'll sleep when I'm dead" kinds of people. I worked long hours at physically taxing jobs. I worked long weeks filled with long hours. I was proud of being able to push myself well past the limits. 
My diabetes got worse, I had a small stroke, and I had a severe injury to the median nerve in my left arm. My ability to work long hours at physically difficult jobs was gone forever. At the point when I had a small stroke, I was fired from my job as a home health nurse.
I live with fairly frequent suicide ideation, but the actual planning levels are pretty low as a rule. After I was fired, I started making plans to commit suicide because I felt like the world's worst fuck-up, like without my job I was nothing. 
This is not going to be one of those "oh, but I'm so glad I didn't because I found God, got down to a single-digit pants size, somehow started looking half my age, married GQ Cover Model Guy, and now my life is a Hallmark Channel movie" stories. 
Still a crabby, fat, romanceless, agnostic, middle-aged, broke-ass curmudgeon. Still would be homeless if it wasn't for my son's kindness. 
But I am glad I didn't commit suicide because if I had I wouldn't have been able to help my son get this house, and I wouldn't have found me.
Me is kind of an asshole, but we're on better terms these days now that I've had the time to get to know her a little.
Also, I have a feeling that sometimes those Hallmark Channel happy crappy stories about pretty people hooking up and living happily ever after might even make some people depressed. Like, you know, me. I think some people may need to know that an old crabby fat bitch learned that old, crabby, fat bitches have something to offer too without changing one fucking thing about themselves.

WEP Challenge October 2019: Horrible Harvest

Hello, readers! I would like to introduce you to the stars of our story, Ghost Town Grover and Cactus Clem. Grover was a miner during his life and he now runs the Virtual General Store here at the Grover Hotel. His best friend, Cactus Clem, is a mutant Cactus Man who loves life out here on the Lone Prairie. If you would like to read more of their backstory before or after delving into today's story, please click here.

This story is meant to be light-hearted. It will eventually have illustrations. I appreciate general constructive advice regarding formatting, clarity, or any typos that Grover or Cactus Clem might have missed. 

I do not appreciate nit-picking, being told that ghostly miners, mutant cactus men, or historical hotels in ghost towns are stupid or that you don't usually read ridiculous Halloween stories with ridiculous characters. Since you have been warned that this is a ridiculous Halloween story with ridiculous characters, I assume that you will not continue reading if that sort of thing really is not your bag, Baby.

With the obligatory officiousness out of the way, let us proceed with our tale!

(AKA The Ornery Old Lady)

Howdy, Folks! My name’s Grover, and I’m a ghost who haunts the ole hotel in the little tiny ghost town of Grover, Colorado. I was born on the fourth of July 1840 in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail, and I guess y’all could say that I’m about as American as apple pie. During my lifetime, I was a miner, and I traveled from California to Colorado seekin’ my fortune.

In 1909 when I was purty well retired from mining, I ended up in this little town that had the same name as me, and they’d just built a brand-new hotel. I lived in the hotel until 1910, which was the year I started haunting the hotel.

You see, it was my birthday and I’d decided that maybe I’d like to give mining one more crack before I laid the ole pick-axe down fer good. Now, I mighta had a sip or two of White Lightnin’ while I was walkin’ along pondering my future, and just as I was crossin’ the ole railroad track, I seen the strangest thing.

Folks, something came down out of the sky, and I near to fainted on the spot. I had been readin’ a scary book about monsters from Mars, an’ I was afeared that story was coming true right in front of my eyes! But then the ship took off, and I seen this feller standing there in the shadows. He walked up to me and he said in plain ole English:

“Say, Pardner, I’m awful thirsty. Would you happen to have anything fer a feller to drink?”

Well, when I got a load of that feller’s face in the light of the train comin’ down the track, y’all coulda knocked me over with a feather, ‘cause I was lookin’ right at a walkin’, talkin’ cactus man. Then everything went dark. A minute later, I was on one side of the track and my body was on the other side. That ole train done mowed me right down whilst I was standin’ there starin’ at the cactus man, who was swiggin’ down the last of my White Lightnin’.

“Say, this here is purty good!” the cactus man said. “Do y’all got any more?”

So, Folks, that’s how I met Cactus Clem and ended up haunting the Grover Hotel. Cactus Clem was an experiment made by a mad scientist who was traveling with them space men, but he was just so dang mild-mannered that they couldn’t use him for no invasion plan or nothin’ and they done dropped him off in the nearest open field. Grover’s got a lot of open fields, ‘cause it’s right out in the middle of the Lone Prairie, so if I was a space man who needed to drop off a mutant cactus man, I reckon I’d pick Grover too.

Anyways, me and Clem became the best of friends, and we had a lot of adventures together over the years. There was people who came and went in the ole hotel, and it got turned into a lot of different things. Me and Clem had it to ourselves for a long time, except for other ghosts who came by to visit and play poker.

Then one day this ornery ole lady and her son showed up. I tried to scare ‘em off, but they wasn’t scared of no ghost nor cactus man. The son liked to make woodcarvings, and the ole lady was a writer and a book reviewer, and sometimes she’d read to me and Clem. That was purty nice, except for ole Clem gets scared easy, and then his imagination grows about ten sizes too big, an’ all kinds of crazy things can happen.

One night near to Halloween, the Ornery Ole Lady read us the famous story about Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman, and you could just see ole Clem’s eyes getting’ bigger and bigger. The next day there was a meeting of the Ghosts of Grover at the ole town hall, so Clem went out on the Lone Prairie by himself. Just as I was heading back to the hotel, Clem came running down the street like he’d been zapped by lightning.

Clem ran into the hotel and drank up all the beer that the Ornery Old Lady’s son had brewed.

“Clem, I think that Sonny was saving that beer for his game night with his friends,” I said.

“I’m sorry, Grover, but I just seen the most awful thing!” Clem gasped.

“Well, what did you see?”

“It was terrible, Grover! It was a horrible harvest!”

“Clem, what do y’all mean by a horrible harvest?” I demanded.

“Well, I went by this big field out on the Lone Prairie, and I seen them out there harvestin’ heads!”

“Clem, ain’t nobody harvesting heads!” I told the big lug. “Maybe they was harvesting cabbages.”

“Grover, they wasn’t harvesting cabbages nor lettuces nor kales neither,” Clem insisted. “They was harvesting heads! Say, do you reckon maybe that farm is owned by the Headless Horseman?”

“Clem, you can’t grow heads,” I said. “It simply ain’t possible. Come on, you take me to this farm and I’ll show you.”

“I ain’t going anywhere near that place! What if they harvest my head?”

“Well, look, we’ll just be real quiet so they don’t see us. I’m gonna prove it to you that ain’t nobody harvesting heads.”

Folks, we went over to the farm, and for a minute, I thought maybe Clem was right. There were big round orange things all over the fields. Just then, we saw the Ornery Old Lady and her son talking to a tall, skinny farmer.

“Sonny, I hear your woodcarving skills are the best,” the farmer said. “So that’s why I want to hire you to carve the best jack-o-lantern from my prize pumpkin. Whatever you want to carve, I leave that up to you.”

“Clem, them things ain’t heads, they’re pumpkins!” I said. “Sometimes you’re the silliest feller, but I’m glad we’re pals.”

Yer ole pal,
Ghost Town Grover

Y'all kin read more Horrible Harvest stories by clickin' this here button.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday: Departing Autumn

a clam
torn from its shell
departing autumn
cold stabs the soul like a knife
I retreat inside my shell

~Basho & Cie~

The Hokku stanza of this Tan Renga was created by Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694). The Ageku (two-line) stanza was written by me.

Carpe Diem Little Creatures Freestyle: Butterfly Release

butterflies released
in memory of loved ones
one with thoughts of you


For my father
31 May 1936 - 28 November 2010

The year after my father died, my son and I went to a butterfly releasing ceremony sponsored by one of the local hospices affiliated with the retirement community I was working in at the time. The butterflies have come out of their cocoons the previous night and are given to each participant in a small container. When the loved one's name is read, the butterfly is released. 

Butterflies do not have a very long lifespan. They live for about two weeks after they emerge.

My nickname as a child was "butterfly" because I loved them so much. When I was three years old, I wept inconsolably after finding a dead butterfly on a walk with my father. When we returned home, my grandmother (father's mother) had called. My mother handed me the phone to say hi to Grandma, and the only thing I said, or rather wailed to the poor woman was "poor butterfly!"

These days I'm pretty sure my nickname is either "asshole" or "resting bitch face," although Ghost Town Grover is polite about it and calls me Ornery, which is short for "the ornery old lady." In fairness, my bitch face never rests. My bitch face is on duty 24-7.

Ghost Town Grover sez: 
"I ain't sure about the bitch face part, but Ornery is purty restless. You kin find her workin' on somethin' at all hours of the day and night. It probably ain't housework, though. Ornery ain't real keen on them domestical tasks.

Cactus Clem Sez:
"Some folks is kinda scairt of Ornery. She's got a reputation fer bein' a mean cuss. Thing is, she's always been purty nice to me. I reckon if yer nice to her, she'll be nice to you, kinda like that Eminem feller says. That feller shore do have the spiciest language, though!

Image by HeavyMetalLover91 @ Deviantart

Friday, October 11, 2019

Carpe Diem Renga with Issa: Sparrows

spring peace--
after rain, a gang war
garden sparrows
the seeds that I have planted
are a victory buffet

don't let the plum blossom guard
cut your tongues...
let voices be a whisper
until you are safely past

are the sparrows too
having a private party?
plum blossoms
no, I was not invited
I now watch from the window

while I watch
he's off to make a living alone...
baby sparrow
sometimes the ones who leave home
invite the parents to stay

living in harmony--
the sparrow has
both parents!
will the parents be able
to live in harmony too?

on the tip of the
newly sprouted bamboo...
a baby sparrow
a small and innocent thing
in a world without a heart

~Issa and Cie~

The Hokku stanzas in these Tan Renga verses were composed by Kobayashi Issa (June 15, 1763 – January 5, 1828). The Akegu stanzas were written by me.
The Akegu in the last three verses are references to my son, without whose kindness I would be homeless. The property he bought will eventually also become home to his father who is currently living in Arizona helping his own father. When his father passes, he will sell the place in Arizona and move here.
We were divorced in 1994 when our son was four years old, and we have lived in roommate situations since then, although I was always relieved when he moved on to something else if I am honest. That probably won't happen this time, due to compromises in his health as well as mine. However, this is a big enough place that we should be able to keep from killing each other.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

October Spooky Writing Challenge 2019 Update

Hi Folks, it's Cie the Ornery Old Lady. Two days ago, I discovered the October Spooky Writing Challenge and decided to utilize it for three projects: 

This month's Naughty Netherworld Press release, Castle Necros.
A new Team Netherworld Tale in the Yadira Chronicles, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventures in the Xura Dream House.
A new Grover and Cactus Clem adventure, The Haunted House.

I have decided to add a fourth project to this list:

The only one of these projects that has a hard deadline is the Castle Necros project. It is due to be released on Halloween. Thus, the other projects will extend into November or even December as necessary to keep me from completely losing my already-cracked marbles, jumping out the window of the Grover Hotel, hobbling down Main Street to Route 77 (running is not an option in my physically compromised case), and getting run over by an oil tanker or dairy truck, which would force my son to roll my not-insubstantial carcass into a red wheelbarrow and bury me in a Pet Semetary.

I would take pity on my unsuspecting neighbors who were unaware that they had a Stephen King fan and Horror Harridan infiltrating their town, except that I keep to myself and don't bother anyone except for the occasional meandering to the general store to buy milk, the occasional bottle of vitamin water (the Fire flavor is my new obsession) or sometimes candy when I'm really feeling like candy is dandy and only those sticky Werther's caramels will do. I'm really a pretty good neighbor as long as you ignore the tortured screams emanating from my windows on a hot summer night.

I'm probably just watching Pet Sematary. 

But you never know--I may be forcing some unsuspecting victim to read my writing!

~Cie, the Ornery Old Lady~

Ghost Town Grover Sez: "Ornery's actually a purty good writer, but she forgits that she can't scare me, 'cause I'm a ghost myself. I just wanna leave the lights on fer Cactus Clem, 'cause he gits scairt easy."

Cactus Clem Sez: "I don't wanna hurt Ornery's feelings or nothin', but people ghosts ain't that scary. The scariest story I ever read was Four Funny Potatoes. I even wrote a review about it and everything. That there book was really scary!

If y'all buy a product through the General Store, we earn a small commission.
Proceeds go to one of three projects:
Into the Grover Hotel repair fund
To help Ornery with advertising costs
To pay for illustrations for Ornery's upcoming book project, Ed's Red Wheelbarrow. Ornery done hired Kamidiox, a Chibi artist from Mexico. You kin see her other work here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Carpe Diem #1760: Tan Renga: Butterfly

Butterfly on Honeysuckle

on the Honeysuckle
the fragile wings of a butterfly
a fluttering sound
it's become too cold for you
your children emerge in spring

~Chèvrefeuille & Cie~

The Hokku stanza was created by Chèvrefeuille. The Ageku stanza was created by me.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Carpe Diem #1759: Grasshopper

oh grasshopper green
grasshoppers brown and yellow
your season is past


Ornery Product Recommendations: Side by Side Fridge

The shelves of a standard fridge:
Great for "science projects"

The shelves of a side-by-side fridge:
Great for seeing what you've got on hand

Hi Folks, it's the Ornery Old Lady. For most of my life, the refrigerators I've had have been the kind where you have a small freezer compartment above and generally four deep-reaching horizontal shelves below with a couple of drawers under the lowest shelf.

For me, this kind of refrigerator is great if you like making "science projects." 

By "science projects" I mean leftover food that gets pushed to the back of the shelves and then hidden by newer food. When you finally have a chance to clean the fridge, you think you may have taken a wrong turn at a house of horrors and ended up in a mad scientist's lab.

I thought "that's just the way things are, and maybe now that I'm not working all kinds of crazy hours, I can be better about keeping track of what's in my fridge."

Fortunately, the fridge that was left behind here at the Grover Hotel made that easy for me.

I never had a side-by-side fridge before, but now that I do, I'll never have anything else.

The freezer is so much roomier than the freezer in a standard fridge and it has multiple shelves. With just two people, I haven't yet had to use the chest freezer that was left here at the Grover Hotel. 

I can see everything that's on the shelves. No more "science projects" pushed to the back! Yet there is still plenty of room for everything we need in a month, such as two five-dozen egg bundles from Costco, a few choices of meat for lunches and dinners, a big bag of onions, milk, coffee, tea, condiments. This fridge is everything I needed but didn't know I was missing!

If you're in the market for a new refrigerator, I enthusiastically suggest you make your next refrigerator a side-by-side fridge. It's easier to keep clean and I find that I am spending less money on food due to having less food go to waste.

Cie, the Ornery Old Lady

"Say, Grover, I know I was created by a mad scientist. Do you reckon I was a science project from his fridge?"

"Clem, I think yer too dang big to fit in an icebox. Unless it was a really big icebox."

Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"Git yer side-by-side fridge delivered right to your door real convenient-like when you order through my General Store! Prices are always competitive--feel free to shop and compare! All revenue from sales made through this here site goes into the Grover Hotel Repair Fund.