Thursday, October 31, 2019

Carpe Diem #1773: Tanka: Bury Me on the Lone Prairie

when my time is done
I want my last breaths to be
on the lone prairie
not in a hospital room
I leave with the whistling wind


You happier chappies are probably saying "ugh, there goes that gloomy old Cie with another gloomy poem." But I don't think this poem is gloomy. I think it's real.

I worked in long-term care for most of the 25 years that I was in the medical field. I think that people who work in this setting tend to become very adamant that we do not want to end up dying in a medicalized setting.

My father died in a hospice center. It was a peaceful place with a spacious, comfortable room. He was in constant pain and losing his capacity to think and remember things. It was much better than being in a hospital or nursing home. But for myself, I don't want my end to be even that medicalized. I want to look out the window and see my Lone Prairie before I rise up and walk away on the wind that constantly blows in these parts.

Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"Dagnabit, Ornery, ya morbid ole cuss! Ya done went and made Cactus Clem gloomy with all yer chatter about croakin'. Now, I know I'm a ghost, but I've been a ghost fer near to 110 years. We ghosts like to whoop it up on Halloween night, but I ain't gonna be doin' much whoopin' it up if I've gotta be tryin' to cheer Cactus Clem up. So, what the heck are you gonna do about it?"

Image by nancy sticke from Pixabay

Cactus Clem Sez:
"Aw, thanks Ornery! Them ghost puppies is jest the thing to cheer a feller!"

The Ornery Old Lady's Easy No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Trick

Hello busy people! It's the Ornery Old Lady here with a tasty, time-saving tip for today's festivities. 

Jello No-Bake Cheesecake is already a nice way to make a quick dessert when you don't have a lot of time on your hands. But you can make it extra-special and give it a nice Halloween touch by folding in a cup of Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix after you've whipped together the filling. 

Libby's Pumpkin Pie Mix comes in a big can, so you'll have extra for another cheesecake, or you can make some pumpkin bread or pumpkin cookies. It's up to you!

If you're really in the Halloween mood, you can decorate the top of your pumpkin cheesecake with some candy corn.

Grover has the ingredients you'll need here in his Ghostly General Store.

The Grover Hotel Crew wishes you a happy and safe Halloween!

The Ornery Old Lady

Ghost Town Grover


Cactus Clem

Price is for a pack of six

Carpe Diem #1772 + OctPoWriMo 2019 Day 31: Senryu: My Blue Bell

I sing an old song
remembering what I've lost
my dark-haired bluebell


My inspiration for this lamenty-ass Senryu is an old folk song I found in an 1800s songbook belonging to my father (RIP) about a million years ago when I was sixteen or seventeen. The original song was from a young fella to a young lady. I sing it from the perspective of a broken old hag to her long-lost cowboy, because that is how I roll.

I was born in East Virginia
North Carolina I did go
There I met a fine young fella 
And his name I never did know

Well, his hair was dark of color
Cheeks they were like roses red
He said my breasts were like white lilies
Where he longed to lay his head

I'd rather live in some dark holler
Where the sun would never shine
Than for you to love another
And to know you'll never be mine

I don't want your greenback dollar
I don't want your silver chain
All I want is your love, Darlin'
Say that you'll be mine again

Since Adobe is foul, my copy of Creative Suite 6 which I purchased in 2012 no longer functions and for the time being my broke ass is using the free version of Pixlr because I refuse to pay blood money to Adobe for Creative Cloud. I made the following image of a broody, goth, vampiric-looking fellow by the light of the moon using Pixlr. I thought he went nicely with the poem. Then I thought of a new story idea. Brooding Goth Vampire Dude's tentative name is now Heath Montgomery. If nothing else, at least he has a great name.

Once Long Ago Version 9
Pixlr manipulation by The Real Cie

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday (3) + OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 30: Clarity

crystal brook
reflects the willow trees
birds sing their song
who I am is clear
where I'm going, not so much

~Yozakura & Cie~

The Hokku stanza of this Tan Renga was written by Yozakura, the Unknown Haiku Poet. The Ageku (two-line) stanza was created by me. I married the Carpe Diem prompt and the OctPoWriMo prompt, and this Tan Renga is their baby.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 29 + Carpe Diem #1771 Lightness of Being the Firefly

longing for the grass
at the bottom of the pool
those fireflies.

longing for the grass
with lust almost immoral
they light up the night

at the bottom of the pool
they float free now of burden
solitude sublime

those fireflies
craving no deeper meaning
than being alive

Basho & Cie

The "sleigh" of this Troiku was created by Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694). The team of firefly horses was guided by me.
I just noticed this Emoji icon in the bottom right corner of my post. It looks all pissed off and frazzled. I laugh, as this is the first poem in several days that has been at peace with things. It's about fireflies, just doing firefly stuff, longing for grass, and lighting up the night. I didn't notice the Emoji thing yesterday or the day before. Maybe it exploded upon being exposed to the radioactive rage of my post.
Now it's a starched white shirt with a red tie. Apparently, the fireflies have gone into business and are dressing the part.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Ornery Reviews: Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat

Genre: Animals, Mystery (Middle-Grade)

Rating: Four out of Four Stars for the Online Book Club
Five out of Five stars on Amazon

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.
If readers purchase the book through the above link, I receive a small commission from Amazon.
This review is a duplicate of my review on Amazon.

Read my official Online Book Club review for this book here.

Although this wonderfully imaginative story is especially excellent for young girls with its self-reliant and plucky feline heroine, it is also a fun tale for any mystery lover, young or old, boy or girl. This decidedly not-young reader (age 54) received a review copy and was delighted by the antics of Inca. This determined little Siberian cat leads readers through an educational adventure as she solves the mystery of a sword stolen from the Colombo museum in Sri Lanka.

For an adult reader, it was nice to be able to focus on the aspects of intrigue and suspense without having to worry about overt violence cropping up. Besides, it's hard not to smile about a mystery-solving cat.

~Cie AKA The Ornery Old Lady~

Free use image from Pixabay

Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"I tried to tell Cactus Clem that the Old Lady's cats would jest use him fer a scratchin' post, but he insisted on readin' 'em this story anyways."

Cactus Clem Sez:
Heck, Grover, I don't mind. I've got a tough hide, and I reckoned that maybe if them cats heard this here story about a cat that solves mysteries, it might inspire 'em to make their own detective agency and earn some money to pay fer their tuna fish an' stuff.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Ornery Recipe Secrets: Jamaican Jerk Sauce

Ziggy Marley

Bob Marley

Howdy y'all! Ghost Town Grover here. Now, I ain't makin' no guarantees or nothin', but if y'all are hopin' to have a hootenanny with Ziggy Marley or ya wanna converse with his pa, Bob, yer gonna want some of this here Jamaican Jerk Sauce that Ornery done put on her chicken dinner tonight.

Now, I ain't never been to Jamaica, but I think maybe I was missin' out. This here sauce will git yer taste buds jammin' like y'all was at a Reggae show.

'Course Cactus Clem don't eat no solid food, but he took himself a big ole swig of the Jerk sauce. Next thing ya know, he was runnin' out on the Lone Prairie, doin' the Yippie Ki Yi like a coyote.

Image by The Real Cie at the real Grover Hotel

Whilst I chased ole Clem down with a gallon of milk (water ain't gonna put out that fire, y'all), Peace Frog fired up the peace pipe, and him and Bob Marley got a poker game goin' while enjoyin' some grilled veggies with jerk sauce in moderation.

Once I got ole Clem cooled down, I came back an' we all enjoyed a good night of poker and Reggae together.

I suggest y'all should try cookin' yer food with some Jamaican jerk sauce too. Who knows, if yer lucky, y'all might git a visit from Bob Marley!

Yer ole pal,
Ghost Town Grover

Friday, October 25, 2019

Haiku My Heart + OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 25: White: A Senryu

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

why do some wish to
stain the white snow red with blood
to steal the white fur?


image copyright juliahenze
Cie's activist alter-ego Sly Fawkes has been on a tear the past couple of days.

Friday Flashback Repost: A Love Letter to E.A.

This was originally posted at Aunt Cie's Attic (formerly Deliver Me) on October 25, 2018.
I have since become too disabled to work outside the home. I currently work entirely from home blogging and freelancing. My primary source of income comes from book reviews.

The majority of my book review income is from paid work via professional review sites such as Online Book Club. A small portion comes from commissions made via Amazon affiliate links to books I have reviewed. I do not and will never charge a fee to an independent author for a review. The only payment I ask from an independent author is a link back to my review if they like it, and permission for me to provide an affiliate link to their book on Amazon if it is available on Amazon.

If you are interested in having me review your book or provide beta reader or proofreading/editing services, click here. Payment for my beta reader services is a link on your site or in a post to my services page if you think I've done a good job and permission for me to provide an affiliate link to your book on Amazon if it is made available via Amazon.

And now, on with the REpost!

This comment that I left on the Sims Freeplay Facebook page is "under review." I am sure it will never see the light of day there, but that doesn't mean I won't publish it elsewhere.

Not allowing players to finish collecting the items they were crafting when a quest ends is a serious dick move. Surely it isn't a cash grab at all to instead offer the chance to pay ludicrous amounts of money to complete the project without even allowing players to finish collecting the items they were crafting at the end.

This sort of thing is predatory at best. I guarantee that there are not a ton of millionaires playing games like this. A lot of faithful players are disabled and don't have money to spare.

For my own part, I have been sick with a severe respiratory infection this past week. I finally fell asleep at dawn after being up all night coughing. I left my Sims working on one last set of crafts.

When I woke up and sat there coughing up yellow crap for about 10 minutes, I then injected my insulin and went to collect the final items. Lo and behold, I was not allowed to do that. But there was this very generous and not at all predatory offer to finish the quest for the low price of $70.

I don't have $70 just lying about, and neither do many of your faithful players.

I am not so disabled that I can't work at all, but have severe enough health problems that I can only work part time and am on Medicaid.

I am probably stupid for continuing to play this game, but I love the characters and the interaction with them helps distract me from my deteriorating health.

Shame on EA for their predatory practices.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, October 23rd 2019, autumn beach

chilly autumn wind
causes water on the lake
to shiver to shore


OctPoWriMo 2019: Day 23: Lost Friends

Photoshop manipulation by The Real Cie
Both of these friends gone too soon

Looking for a home for you
Adopted you myself
Friends from the start
Although you were afraid at first
You were always a big kitten
Eyes of golden-green
Time went by too quickly
Took you from me too soon
Every day I grieve for you

Tiny princess abandoned by her humans
Received with love into our home
In time she became the queen of the castle
Never let me feel alone
I loved you, my best girlfriend
Time robbed me of you too soon 
You are forever in my heart

Your broken-hearted human

Part of me really hates the pet prompts.
They are the one thing guaranteed to leave me crying--every fucking time--no exception.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Ornery Old Lady's Tackle It Tuesday

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Before you start throwing things at me for the motivational poster, I am far from the sort of person who does those awful "YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY STOPPING THAT STINKIN' THINKIN' AND BEING A HAPPY CHAPPIE WITH A TERRIFYING GRIN FROZEN ON YOUR PSYCHOTIC FACE LIKE ME!!!11!!!" posts. Tackle-It Tuesday is part pep talk (with none of the blamey-shamey rubbish that no-one appreciates or needs) and part reveal of the exciting things going on in my wackadoodie world. Shall we begin?

So, what are you tackling today, Ornery?

Well, Readers, on Thursday the drainage hose on my washing machine decided to pull out of the drain pipe and lay on the floor, spilling water everywhere, so I ended up with wet, nasty carpet. For some reason, I thought that throwing towels on that would help. It didn't. Now I just have nasty, dirty towels to clean.

Since I can't use the washing machine again until the problem is fixed (apparently, part of the hose is missing and I could not tell you to save my life where it went--possibly down the drain) I am using the two big buckets and a hand agitator method to wash things. Since I don't have a working dryer either, and since I have had issues with getting a decent laundry rack up in here, I've been hanging my items over the front porch railing to dry enough that they won't drip all over the carpet. Then I bring them in here and hang them over a floorboard leaning up against the living room stair rail.

I've declared that these towels are not going to be used to dry humans again. They are going to be shop towels or possibly bath mats. But I still need to get the overt dirt out.

For small, less filthy loads, the two-bucket and hand agitator method works like this:
You will need two ten-gallon buckets. Put in your detergent and any laundry additives of choice. I add vinegar to my laundry. For a load this small, you only need about 1/8 cup.
Add 5 gallons of water.
Press the clothes into the water. Then press the hand agitator repeatedly into the bucket of clothes for 30 seconds. Rest, repeat for another 30 seconds. It feels a bit like using a plunger to wash your clothes.
Fill the second bucket with 5 gallons of water. Swap the clothes into the clean water. Press the hand agitator into the water for 30 seconds.
I repeat the rinse step two more times to get the detergent out of the clothes.

With modern washing machines able to adjust water levels to the load size, I don't think this method saves much on water. It does save on electricity. It also saves on going to the laundromat if you're currently in a situation without a washer, like I am. You can do small loads of clothes rather than having to wait until you have a full load.

So, where can I get 10-gallon buckets and a hand agitator, Ornery?
Grover can get them for you here in his Ghostly General Store! Don't take the 10-gallon hat, though. That one is his.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

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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