Monday, September 30, 2019

Carpe Diem Haiku: Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's Purse

in this shepherd's purse
treasure finer than money
nectar for honey


There are a few who imply that my passion for saving pollinators is stupid, crazy, over-the-top, bleeding-heart crap. To them I say, very well, you have choices. You can choose not to read the work of a stupid, crazy, over-the-top bleeding-heart, full of crap pollinator lover. You can choose not to protect the pollinators. Have fun with that when they're gone.

There are some who think the links I provide on my pollinator posts put money right in my pocket. They don't. I disclose when I may earn a small commission from a link. I earn nothing from this one except the hope that someone might learn more about why it is so important to protect pollinators, and, if they buy honey through the link, will be supporting the Butterfly Pavilion's conservation efforts. Because, you know, I'm greedy that way.

I have decided that if I ever get my crap together and actually publish a poetry anthology, I will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Butterfly Pavilion's pollinator program.

Image copyright Butterfly Pavilion

Friday, September 27, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #104: Photoshopping Haiku + Haiku My Heart: Camellia

Image by Beverly Buckley from Pixabay

Unfolding before
the eyes of a little bird
a bright camellia


Here is the original Haiku by Yosa Buson (1716 - 1784)

Unfolding at the
hand of the glass polisher:
a camellia!

Fat Friday #15 + Ornery Reviews: How To Define Yourself by Chuck Clifton

Yet Another Unoriginal Positive Thinking Tome Complete With Fat-Shaming Icing on the Unpalatable Cake

Rating: One out of Four Stars

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes

Main positive takeaway:
This book is brief. This means that you can get angry quickly. The more quickly you get angry, the sooner you can recover from being angry and focus on better things.

Main negative takeaway:
Pretty much everything about this book. It started out as a generic "Positive Thinking" tome and devolved into a body-shaming mess complete with a picture of a Headless Fatty wearing a shirt several sizes too small, a fat guy who apparently does not own any dish towels so he licks his plate to clean it, and the erroneous and asinine assumption that All Fat People Are Fat Because They Are Always Stuffing Their Fat Faces With Bad Food. Never mind that many larger people are food insecure or that there are big people who do EVERYTHING RIGHT and somehow are still fat, or that there are thin people who eat All The Wrong Stuff and lots of it and yet are still thin. 

I do not recommend this book to anyone, so I am not providing a link to it.

It isn't often that I find a book I hate so much that I give it a one-star review. This book is one of two that I've reviewed this year which earns that dubious distinction.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

I recommend this book instead. It is the last diet book you will ever need.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: A Green Boat Ride

taking a boat ride
I would spend several hours
the torments of the seasick
from the rocking of the waves


Today's pilgrimage inspiration features a very beautiful place. However, with my messed-up inner ears, all you have to say is "boat ride," and I start feeling queasy. I would either spend much of my time nauseated, or I would spend it high and goofy from the motion sickness pills. I am not a good water traveler.
It doesn't matter if the water is calm. One of my worst experiences of water sickness happened while on a rowboat on a calm lake. My inner ear picks up on very subtle rocking motions. I was sick for hours after the fact.

Monday, September 23, 2019

How To Make Delicious Steak In Yer Oven

Image by Ji-yeon Yun from Pixabay

Howdy, y'all! When yer lookin' fer a sure-fire, foolproof method to makin' delicious steak right in yer own oven, look no further than this here method.

First, yer gonna wanna sear yer steaks on both sides on the stovetop. Sear 'em till they're just nice and brown on both sides if you like 'em on the rare side like me, or cook 'em fer about five minutes a side if you like 'em more well done like Ornery does. For a nice, rich flavor, you'll wanna brown 'em in butter, or a little olive oil if that's yer preference.

While yer searin' them steaks, heat up yer oven to 400 degrees. If you've got a good cast-iron pan, ain't no need to switch pans. If yer usin' a non-stick pan, transfer yer steaks to an oven-safe pan. If yer using a separate oven-safe pan fer the steaks, make sure y'all preheat it in the oven before puttin' the steaks in.

Bake the steaks fer about 12-15 minutes if ya like 'em rare to medium like me, or around 20 minutes if you prefer 'em medium-well like Ornery.

Fer a tasty finish, sprinkle yer steaks with one of the scrumptious choices from Kinder's Seasonings. These here seasonings have all-natural ingredients like sea salt, pepper, and dried garlic, and none of the stuff you don't want.

If you got a leftover baked potato, you can slice it up in the pan and bake it along with the steak.

This here method is almost as good as grillin' yer steaks outside. If yer feelin' generous, y'all can even invite the neighbors over. Or, y'all can keep all that beefy goodness fer yerself and yer own kin!

Lucky fer me, Cactus Clem doesn't eat no solid food, so I ain't gotta feel bad about eatin' his portion too!

"But Grover, ghosts ain't gotta eat!" I hear some of you sayin'.

Folks, this ain't a matter of need so much as want. Although once you try this method, y'all might be be reckonin' that this here meaty craving is a need ya gotta feed!

Yer ole pal,
Ghost Town Grover

Visit the Artist

Folks, when you make a purchase from Grover's General Store, you're helping fund repairs to the historic Grover Hotel and giving disabled entrepreneurs a shot at independent living. We appreciate your support!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Haiku My Heart: Honeybee

priceless honeybee
the world would be a dull place
without your colors


I am not an affiliate or employee of the Butterfly Pavilion or Rice's Honey. I receive no compensation for sharing this information.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: St. Mary MacKillop

I truly believe
that every caring teacher
embodies sainthood


The aspect of the St. Mary MacKillop story that stood out for me was the fact that she was a teacher.
Teachers can truly make or break their students.
I've had a few wonderful teachers and a few truly horrible ones.
Most of my elementary school teachers were decent. My sixth-grade teacher, however, probably got nominated for some sort of award in the hell that he's likely returned to by now. This man literally traumatized me so much when it came to the use of outlines for writing stories that I have actual PTSD reactions if someone suggests that I work with an outline. My throat starts clenching up and I start having trouble breathing. I can use outlines for boring-ass non-fiction college paper type stuff, but never for any work that I really care about.
You see, my sixth-grade teacher insisted that we write an outline for our story projects, which is something I never did. We were to follow the outline closely and not deviate from it significantly, but if the outline and the story matched exactly, he would know we had written the story first and would give us a failing grade. Which is what happened to me, because I can't write like that.
I was prone to catching every illness that came down the pike when I was a kid, and one time I missed three weeks of school. When I returned, this man marched up to my seat, slammed the attendance book down on the desk, and demanded to know what I was trying to pull.
I looked him dead in the eye and informed him that I had been sick.
I was freaking eleven years old and was something of a nervous wreck. I wasn't trying to pull anything. But after that, I pulled pranks on him, such as locking his file cabinet and hiding the key. I'd never been the sort of kid to do that sort of thing to a teacher previously.
Anyway, good teachers are worth everything and teachers like my sixth-grade teacher should choose a profession where they never encounter another living being. This man would have traumatized e. coli bacteria.

The Ornery Old Lady's Reviews: Inspirience: Meditation Unbound

Please check out my exclusive Online Book Club review for Inspirience: Meditation Unbound by Richard L. Haight.

Four out of four stars for Online Book Club
Five out of five stars for Amazon and Audible

The above graphic leads to the Kindle version of the book. I reviewed the audiobook version, which I highly recommend as I find it helpful to listen to the author explaining the meditation techniques and leading the listener through the meditation process.

What I like best about this book:
This wonderful book offers meditation for everybody. One does not need to be an adherent of any particular religion or philosophy. There is no need to be an adept or have special knowledge. One does not need a special space for meditation. One does not need an altar or candles or any other trappings. One does not need to worry that he or she is doing meditation "wrong."

If you think you can't meditate, if you have become discouraged with meditation, let Richard Haight show you that you can meditate and it can be enjoyable and truly enlightening instead of frustrating.

This book has been one of my happiest discoveries this year.

The Real Cie
The Ornery Old Lady

Friday, September 13, 2019

Grover's Recipe Collection: Stout Slow-Cooked Pork

Y'all, I don't ordinarily condone unscrupulous conduct, but if ya wanna maintain yer reputation as a hard-workin' chef, y'all simply can't go around tellin' folks that yer slow cooker done all the work fer this recipe. Let's keep that between you an' me, and you jest enjoy all the compliments yer gonna git for this delicious dish.

Here's what yer gonna need. 

1 pound pork sirloin roast per person
12 ounces Guinness or other stout per 2 pounds pork roast
Yer favorite barbecue sauce
Slow cooker

Put the pork in the slow cooker. Pour the Guinness over it. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or high for 3 to four hours.

Take the pork out of the slow cooker. Shred it with two forks. Pour BBQ sauce over the pork. Serve with tortillas, on buns, with taters and beans, or however you like. It don't git no simpler or tastier than this!

Yer ole pal,
Ghost Town Grover

When y'all make a purchase from the General Store, it helps fund repairs to the ole hotel. Right now the place is kinda a construction zone. We got electrical contractors in here most days of the week. Next up: roofing, windows, and foundation.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Peace Frog Says Howdy from the Grover Hotel

Meet Peace Frog
Image copyright The Ornery Old Lady aka The Real Cie 
Ornery sez y'all are welcome to use the picture, but y'all gotta credit her 

Howdy, folks! Its yer ole pal Ghost Town Grover here, and I'd like y'all to meet the Grover Hotel's newest resident, Peace Frog. He lived with Ornery and her son at their townhome down in Denver, and now he's moved here. 

Peace Frog and Cactus Clem are mutual bad influences fer each other. The instant we set down fer a welcome poker game, Peacey fired up the peace pipe and Cactus Clem passed the White Lightnin'. Thing is, Cactus Clem don't get drunk from alcohol, he jest drinks any ole thing. But he does get high as a kite off the Wacky Tobaccy. Which I reckon is what they was smokin'. 

I don't know, 'cause I don't smoke. Unless y'all count smokin' up meats on the smoker that Ornery's son is hopin' to purchase. Now, that right there is my kind of smokin'!

I'm glad that Ornery and her son finally made it to the ole hotel an' brought Peace Frog with 'em. Right now, Ornery's room is the pantry off the kitchen. 

Ornery and her son was gonna have macaroni and cheese with baked beans fer dinner. Unfortunately, Ornery left the ole can opener in Denver, so they just had the mac and cheese. Lucky for them, I got some oatmeal on hand in the General Store! 

Well, I reckon I'd best make sure that Cactus Clem ain't leadin' Peace Frog astray out on the Lone Prairie. Ain't nothin' wants to eat Cactus Clem, 'cause he's too prickly, but a little ole frog might get gobbled up by any number of hungry critters!

Yer Pal,
Ghost Town Grover

Yer purchase from the General Store helps fund the repairs to the Grover Hotel!
The Mac and Cheese cooker is Ornery Certified. 
Ornery sez this one gits the Hat Trick.
It's cheap, easy to use, and does the job right.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Bad Review Scrap Heap: All My Sons Moving and Storage

One of Five Stars

It was one fiasco after another with this company. First, they arranged for an evaluator to come out and give us an estimate of what our move would cost. I confirmed the appointment, but she didn't show. I called the office, and they apologized and rescheduled. She did arrive at that time but never came into the place because she was allergic to cats. We could have just told someone over the phone what we were planning to move.

I called to schedule the move, and it was supposedly scheduled. My son remembered the estimator saying something about a security deposit so we called to give one. The man I spoke to said we were not on the calendar, apologized profusely, and put us back on the schedule.

When I called on Thursday, I was told we had been removed from the schedule by the "big boss" and was told that said "big boss" had called and left messages for me. I received no messages from anyone. At this point, I was done.

The one thing they did right was refunding our deposit without a hassle. Also, everyone I spoke with was very polite, but they dropped the ball on everything else.

If I had seen all the one-star reviews on Yelp, I would never have contracted this company in the first place.

The Ornery Old Lady says "nay" to All My Sons.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #101: Photoshopping Haiku: Cricket Silence and Thunder Strikes

cricket silence
between scraping sounds
autumn begins
my son says prairie thunder
sounds like the sky coming down

~Jane & Cie~

Want to just read the poem?
Then hop off the bus, Gus.
Because now I'm gonna discuss much!

First, I went with a Tan Renga for this one. The Haiku stanza was written by Jane Reichhold (1937 - 2016) and the Ageku stanza was created by me. I liked the contrast between the quiet of the chirping crickets and the powerful sound of prairie thunder.

I have not heard the sound of prairie thunder yet. My son told me that it sounds like the sky is coming down.

This is my son. This picture was taken around his 28th birthday at the Denver Botanic Garden. 
He is the reason we are moving to the Grover Hotel, although, in fairness, I'm the one who found the listing.

And now for our moving horror story. There will be more bitching to come.

My son had the idea that we should move him and the cats to the new place a day before the scheduled move. That way I could be in the townhome to direct the movers and he would be at the new place when they arrived.

Good plan, except these clowns slagged us off.

I suppose I ought to tell the sorry tale from the start.

I filled out a form on one of those "find a contractor" sites describing the work we needed done and was contacted by All My Sons moving company. I'd seen their trucks around. I think they are only in the U.S. but they might be in Canada too. So people in North America, I warn you, do not arrange to have All My Sons do your move. It is one fiasco after another, and if I had only looked on Yelp beforehand, I would have kept looking. Most of their reviews are one star.

First, they arranged for an evaluator to meet with us. I even confirmed the appointment with her. 
She never showed up. I called the office. They apologized and said somehow I had been removed from her schedule. Okay, shit happens, it seemed minor, and she did show up to the rearranged appointment and was pleasant enough. 

I called the office to arrange a date. I was told we were on for the sixth.

My son remembered the evaluator had mentioned a deposit. I called to ask about the deposit and was told we didn't have a date down. 

I said "WHAT???"

The man apologized profusely, put us back down for the sixth, took my deposit via debit card.

I should have known to call these clowns BEFORE we had driven for three hours with meowing cats.

I called when we got to the place and was told that the "BIG BOSS" had taken us off the schedule and had tried to call me several times about this.

I received no calls or voice mails from anyone. I was livid.

My son said that he thought it would be fine to stay there and get the cats settled in. But just a sleeping bag turned out to be too little padding. Fortunately, he found some comforters in one of the storage cases. 

When I got back to Grover in the morning I saw that some of the fields had become temporary lakes. Colorado has notoriously bad soil (bentonite.) The water doesn't absorb well, it just sits on the top.

My son described the thunderstorm. He said he'd never experienced anything like it. He described it as sounding like the sky was coming down on top of the house. He said that normally he would have loved it, but trying to sleep on that floor left him in such pain that he actually felt nauseous.

This room is on the second floor of the building. It will be really grand one day. For the moment, it looks like this. The floor is patently awful to sleep on. My son used to go camping when he was in Boy Scouts. He says that he imagines the only place he will ever camp in the future is in a cabin with a bed and running water, which happens to be my kind of camping.

The cats were very unhappy too. We ended up bringing them back to the townhouse. One of them is asleep in his carrier right now. He loves the carrier as a cat bed, not so much as a carrier.

This is Bart. This photo does not show his giant feet.

The move is rescheduled for this coming Thursday with a different company, who have already provided an email confirmation and will confirm again 48 hours and 24 hours before the move. They are called Homegrown Moving and are only in Colorado. So far, so good.

I really don't feel all that great at the moment. Stress--it's a killer!

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Directional Sign

on a lonesome road
in the middle of nowhere
where the hell am I?


The story of the place pictured at the top of the post is interesting, and you can learn it by clicking on the Carpe Diem logo just above the notes. Admissibly, t'was the picture that inspired me.
My most-often-asked questions in this life are:

1. Where the hell am I?
2. What the hell am I doing here?
3. Why the hell am I doing this?
4. What the hell possessed me to think this was a good idea?
5. What the eff is this crap?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Insecure Writers' Support Group 4 September 2019

September question: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why? 

This is the place, Boys and Girls. The big items are going there Friday. Technically, the place is owned by my son's father. He bought it with inheritance money. It cost $90,000 and yes, it's a real fixer-upper. It's also 4500 square feet of Unique, and it was our last chance to stay in Colorado. Denver and Boulder are way too expensive. 

Grover is a literal ghost town in the tri-state area (Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming.)

It's way out on the Lone Prairie.

It is the first place that I feel like I'll be able to call home. For my entire life, I've felt like my house was built on quicksand. This place feels like I belong, although, technically it's not mine. I'll have a space for me, and I feel sort of useful even though I am rather disabled at this point. I can still drive and will be as helpful as I can in every way I can.

Also, I've got my new pals Ghost Town Grover and Cactus Clem to help me along the way. 

Other than the old Grover Hotel, my Death Cheese Road Manager alter-ego Cie Cheesemeister would do her writing in her suite at Rock Ranch, in her suite aboard the revamped Sulaco, or on her private mess of a spacecraft, the Titanity.

You don't want to take a ride on the Titanity. Trust me on this.


Don't forget to visit and bookmark the Good Stuff from Grover website! Grover is busy stocking his Ghostly General Store, and I (the Ornery Old Lady) am trying to get the bookstore and library up to snuff. If you purchase anything through one of our Amazon links, I get a modest commission, which helps pay for things like illustrations for my forthcoming book, Ed's Red Wheelbarrow, or toward renovations on the Grover Hotel!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: St. Cuthbert's Way

approaching the end
of my time in this same place
I feel a bit lost
what awaits me at the end?
am I doomed to fail again?


Wanna just enjoy the poem without more claptrap from me? 
Cool! Your bus stops here.
For those of you who want to read into it a bit deeper, let's keep on truckin!
Here is a poem created by my pal, Ghost Town Grover.

When folks think of Colorado
They think of Aspen and Vail and Boulder
They ain't thinking about the prairie
Or places like Ault and Grover

Well, you know that where you find Grover, Cactus Clem must be nearby, and he has a few lines to share too.

Y'all, when folks think about Colorado
They think of marijuana and not clover
It's true that clover won't get you high
But I love the Lone Prairie, and you oughta come over!

Thank you, Grover and Clem. That was, as the barista on Open Mic Night at the Buttniks Coffee House said, organic.

Honestly, though, the picture above reminded me of a scene like this one from the Colorado Lifestyle blog.

For me, the drive along the highway through the seemingly endless prairie is far from boring.
Soon I'll be living there.
The big stuff gets moved Friday.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Music Box & Modulin - 2 new music instruments ("All Was Well" by Winterg...

Innovative, crafty, creative, and sounds really beautiful.

Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion: Camina de Fatima

little disciple
faith strong in a childlike heart
may it bring you joy


I may be a misanthropic agnostic at this point in my life, but it wasn't always that way. As a child growing up in New Mexico, I was a devout Catholic. 
Two things pushed me away from the church: dogma and holier-than-thou blind-faith believers who dared neither question nor explore and condemned anyone who did.

About Cie Monday + Inspire Me Monday #241+ Promote Yourself Monday + Carpe Diem Acts of Devotion 2019: Adam's Peak

I can only dream
of walking up Adam's Peak
body compromised


Once we are fully moved into our new home, I would like to begin practicing remote viewing again. I will also be taking daily walks to the park and hope to increase my endurance enough to be able to walk from one end of the main street to the other. Grover is a very small town, so I don't want you-all thinking: "Wow, Cie, impressive goal walking twenty miles!" 
I would also like to rehabilitate myself to the point where I can walk up a set of stairs without having to pull myself up using the banister or to lean against an opposite wall to support myself. However, one thing I need to avoid is making this a shame-based goal, i.e. calling myself a loser because I need to support myself to climb stairs. We are taught from the time we are very young that it is shameful to be in a lesser state of physical ability than a competition class athlete, and I'm not being particularly hyperbolic when I say this. It's horrible.
Your physical abilities and disabilities are not a marker of success or worthiness. They are simply conditions that exist.
With physical therapy, I was able to bring my left arm back to a state of functionality where I'm not in constant debilitating pain. I still don't have the full range of motion in the arm. I am not a better person for having an arm that functions reasonably well than I was when I had an arm that I could barely use, and having an arm that was fully functional and had normal sensations would not make me a better person than I am now.
Physical ability is not a hallmark of greater worth, and physical disability is not something that people should be punished for.

Visit us at We're nearly there! The moving truck comes Friday!