Saturday, November 30, 2019

Friday Flashback: Inbox Dollars Tips: Search with Inbox Dollars

Young Richard Tracy knows that using Inbox Dollars search will earn him easy money for doing something he was already going to do.
(Free image from

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This post was originally published on 29 November 2018 on Aunt Cie's Attic (formerly Deliver Me.) 

Disclosure: I am a member of and affiliate for Inbox Dollars. I am not going to get rich finding people to sign up for Inbox Dollars using my link. I will make a small commission. 
Inbox Dollars is one of the longest-running GPT sites. It is legitimate. You are not going to get rich signing up for Inbox Dollars. You will make a few dollars here and there. The payout is at $30. 

I've been taking surveys with Inbox Dollars for several years, but I only recently explored all the other ways of making money with Inbox Dollars.

One of the easiest ways is by using the Inbox Dollars search page. When you log into your account, there is a menu bar at the top of the main page. Choose the search option, and, voila, you will be earning for searches you were going to make anyway. It's that simple!

I find that the Inbox Dollars search works better on my computer than my phone. The page sometimes takes forever to load on my iPhone's Safari browser. So I generally play the mini-games on my phone instead. Yes, Inbox Dollars has games that they pay you to play! Who knew?

I'm currently stuck on level 23 of the bubble monkey game. Those stupid skulls suck, and so does my manual dexterity, let's be real.

The search page and the games (especially my beloved bubble monkey game) are just two reasons why Inbox Dollars is my favorite paid survey app. It's much more than paid surveys, and it is a legitimate survey company, unlike some I have had the misfortune of dealing with.


Friday, November 29, 2019

Heeding Haiku: Senryu: Runaway Steam Engine

doing much too much
the steam engine of my mind
runs over my dreams


Carpe Diem #1789: Winter Trees

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

axe unfolding wood
the lumberjack's hand brings down
winter trees on snow

axe unfolding wood
scent of oils rising from bark
mighty giants fallen

the lumberjack's hand brings down
sturdy wood to build new homes
and for furniture

winter trees on snow
they can serve the people well
if culled thoughtfully


Sustainable forestry practices allow us to live in harmony with nature.

This Troiku was created from a fusion Haiku inspired by a pair of Haiku by Yosa Buson (1716 - 1784).

cutting into with the ax,
I was surprised at the scent.
the winter trees.

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

© Yosa Buson

Thursday, November 28, 2019

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2019: Day 28: Grateful

Image by Matthias Cooper from Pixabay

grateful for what's here
a town far from everything
life in an old house
impossible dreams fade out
bittersweet acceptance in


Today's November PAD Chapbook Challenge prompt asked for a Gratitude poem.

People, you know me. I am not the sort to write heartwarming, Chicken Soup for the Soul, grateful for God and family and Better Homes and Gardens type poetry. I am an agnostic curmudgeon, and the only miracle here is that I'm still alive. They ain't found a way to kill me yet, and neither have I. I believe there is something that survives the death of the corporeal body, and I believe there are advanced spiritual forces which could be termed higher powers. I don't like the Church God, and although I'm willing to judge his followers on a case by case basis, I tend to be mightily skeptical of them.

I was raised Catholic and am the black sheep of a family that tried way too hard to keep up appearances. Today is the ninth anniversary of my father's passing. Although we had a sometimes contentious relationship and he passed his own insecurities down to me, he was a devoted father and I love him. I am glad he isn't suffering anymore. The last five years of his life were increasingly difficult. In the end, he really wasn't himself anymore.

I want to call my mother today. My mother is a loyal person who is too wrapped up in keeping up appearances to see the damage that mindset does. She has no idea who I actually am or what I'm really doing because anytime I have tried to tell her, she shuts me down and criticizes me, so I just let her think what she wants.

My brother and I were once the greatest of friends but now have a civil but distant relationship. 

I love my son with all my heart and soul. There are some hurts from the past from when my mental illness was as yet undiagnosed and my behavior was chaotic.

Leonard Cohen wrote the line "It's Father's Day and everybody's wounded."

I think the same could be said for most holidays.

If you're having a Better Homes and Gardens Thanksgiving, that's great, and I hope you enjoy it. I would just ask that you realize that this is not the case for everyone, and those of us who are unable to have Shiny Happy Holidays are not bad people or just feeling sorry for ourselves for attention. The hurt is real.

Just to lighten the load a bit, here's one of my favorites:

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Carpe Diem #1778: Moonlight Rail

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

flying in moonlight
trains travel the winter night
father sings his tale


Today we were asked to revise a Haiku by Masaoka Shiki (14 October 1867 - 19 September 1902). I believe my verse is more an interpretation inspired by Shiki's original poem than a revision. In a time gone by nearly 50 years ago now, my father (31 May 1936 - 28 November 2010) would play his guitar and sing old railway and folk songs. The ninth anniversary of my father's passing is tomorrow and I wrote this poem to honor him.

the wild geese take flight
low along the railroad tracks
in the moonlit night

© Masaoka Shiki

The Ornery Old Lady's WTF Wednesday: So Much Fail...

Dundas Jafine BTD48TC Vents, 4-Inch

So, I ordered the above dryer vent hose from Amazon. Now, those of you who know about dryers and plumbing or HVAC or what have you will be saying "well, that was stupid of you." Granted, but I didn't know, which is why I'm telling others so you won't make the same mistake.

My son was going to hook up the hose to the dryer since it's hard for me to get down on the floor. He came back and showed me the two tension clamps. Then he showed me the instructions, which say not to use the tension clamps that COME WITH THE PRODUCT but to instead obtain a 4" worm-drive clamp.

Pardon the caps-shouting, but...


We obtained the worm-drive clamp and I was feeling sassy or like having trouble getting off the floor or such, so while my son was napping, I plopped my ass down on the floor behind the dryer, trusty worm-drive clamp in hand, dryer hose at the ready.

Lo and behold, it says right there on the dryer:



I found this post from Pretty Handy Girl, which suggests using a semi-rigid metal duct for the optimum combination of safety, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. She also included the following video.

Yeah--I don't think so.

I'm returning this item immediately and giving it a one-star rating on Amazon. I'm obviously not providing an affiliate link, because I don't want you to burn down your home either. 

My son and I are going to hit up Home Depot to look at semi-rigid dryer ducts. 

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Monday, November 25, 2019

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2019: Day 25: A Snarky Senryu: Thanksgiving

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

time for Thanksgiving
happy holiday for some
not much for turkeys


Today's November PAD Chapbook Challenge asked for a poem about a meal. If you're in the U.S., American Thanksgiving is coming up in two days, so I figured that was an appropriate meal to write a snarky Senryu about. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp's Come As You Are Party + Ornery Musings: Why Book Reviews are Useful

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

As the late, great Shorty Medlocke used to say, howdy solks, I mean folks! If you don't know who Shorty Medlocke was, it's time for you to at the very least hit Wikipedia and brush up on your music history, and then go listen to some Blackfoot, where you can hear Shorty's grandson Rickey shred on some sadly underrated Southern rock masterpieces.

Sadly for you, this post is not about great blues musicians, twentieth-century radio hosts, or great guitarists. It's about book reviewers.

At the bottom of many posts, you will notice the image of a plump owl carrying a couple of books, one with a pentagram and one with an anarchist symbol. This owl is my alter-ego, my inner badass. Where I am infamous for apologizing for myself constantly and becoming defensive quickly, this owl never apologizes (unless she has actually done something wrong) and has no time for defensiveness. If she is under attack, she will fight back, but she doesn't harbor any of the insecurities that I do. Therefore, defensiveness is foreign to her. This owl is unapologetically, authentically herself.

Me, on the other hand, I tend to always wonder if I'm doing something (or anything) right. I am a horrible--I mean adorable--little (okay, large) bundle of insecurities. I have both physical and psychological disabilities, and I also have ADD and dyslexia. Dyslexia does not have only one manifestation, by the way. I read most things clearly, and I'm a relly gud spelur. My dyslexia tends to present itself with numbers more than words, and I have a great deal of trouble with tests involving pattern recognition, which led to me being labeled borderline retarded when I was in the sixth grade. That label was a thermonuclear hit to my already severely compromised self-esteem, particularly when one of my nastier classmates overheard my parents and the school psychologist discussing it in the hallway and proceeded to ask my father if I really was borderline retarded, to which he naively replied, "yes, I'm afraid so," rather than telling her to run along as he should have.

So, here I am in my fifties with a lifetime of abject failures behind me, disabled and living in poverty, and I review books for a living. Seriously, that is how I eke out a living, and sometimes I become rather cynical about it. Here I am, doing something completely useless yet again because being useless is my M.O. in life. I would do very poorly as something like a virtual administrative assistant or customer service agent. I have moderate anxiety about talking to people on the phone, and if I get bored, I get distracted. I would be fired from these jobs fairly quickly. However, I can read books. These days I prefer e-books because of my vision and because they don't take up space on my shelves. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks. 

Anyway, I possess the ability to read, opinions are like assholes, and I am an asshole with an opinion. So I sneaked in the back door at the Online Book Club and tried my hand at doing reviews for them. My first few reviews were unpaid, and then I started getting paid for my efforts. Doing reviews for paid review services like Online Book Club means that I can do reviews on request for independent authors without charging money. My costs for an independent review are as follows:

If the book is available on Amazon, you give me permission to have an affiliate link in my review post. You won't pay me a cent, but if someone buys the book through the link, Amazon will pay me a few cents.

If you like the review, you provide a link to it on social media.

You understand that providing me with a copy of your book does not guarantee a positive review. There may be reviewers who get their rocks off writing negative reviews and destroying authors' dreams. I am not one of them. I love giving positive reviews. With most of my less stellar reviews, I find that the problem with the book tends not to be the story itself, but the execution and lack of proper editing. By the way, I am also available as a beta reader.

Very rarely do I give scathing reviews. On the occasions that I have done so, it is because I find the author to be an odious jerk with awful opinions who targets vulnerable people for ridicule.

You may be saying (as I sometimes do), "well, that's all fine and good, Cie, but the world wouldn't stop turning if all the book reviewers were abducted by aliens. Book reviewers do not provide vital services such as emergency services personnel, medical personnel, construction workers, mechanics,  teachers, grocery clerks, customer service personnel, cleaning crews, or, pretty much anyone else provides. Reviewing books is fluffy stuff and isn't a real job. Like, you know, the kind of work that you claim you can't do anymore but probably could if you tried, and don't give me that 'but I can't walk very far or very fast, I can't stand up for long periods of time or my back will start hurting, or, but my diabetes fucks with me and starts making me weak and confused' bit!"

Well, you hopefully don't say that last part, but my inner voice is, not to put too fine a point on it, an absolute twat. Anyway, the overall gist is, most people find book reviewers to be non-essential members of society, and I sometimes feel angry at myself for doing a job that most people see as sprinkles on a cake, not even icing or pretty decorations, just sprinkles. The kind of sprinkles that come in a jar and you pay a couple bucks for them and you sprinkle them on your kid's birthday cake and it makes the kid happy. Except that I have the potential to make people's inner children unhappy with my words.

However, today I read a wonderful review from one of my fellow Online Book Club reviewers, and I would like to share that review and my thoughts on it with you. Please follow this link to read it.

Here is a copy of my comment for the reviewer:

Thank you for your lovely, descriptive review. I had tears in my eyes reading it. Although I grew up in a home with both parents present my family was inadvertently emotionally abusive and didn't understand someone like me at all as they were very perfectionistic and I had learning and psych issues (I have type 2 bipolar disorder that wasn't correctly diagnosed until I was almost 40.) I did a lot of the same things that Eva did, moving out with my now-ex-husband when I was 19, being divorced by 29, having a string of abusive relationships. I really appreciate reviews like yours which tell me everything I need to know about a book, even better than simply reading a sample. Have a good day.

Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks. While being a book reviewer is not an essential occupation such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph, nor is it a meaningless occupation. Too many bullies calling themselves critics have given a bad name to critiquing. A professional critic should endeavor to be kind, discussing the best aspects of a work while, if necessary pointing out areas needing improvement.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Free use image from Pixabay
Cie reviews books and is no longer ashamed to claim it as her profession.
She is also available as a beta reader

I'll bet that some of you would like to know which book I was referring to when praising my fellow reviewer. Well, now you know and can get yourself a copy! 
Disclosure: If readers purchase a copy of this book through the preview link, I receive a small commission from Amazon.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #110: Bush Warbler

Bush Warbler

A spring warbler casts
A dropping on the rice cakes —
The veranda edge.
I feed rice cakes to the birds
The earth drinking up my tea.


Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"I shore don't blame you, Ornery. I wouldn't wanna drink no tea that a bird pooped in neither."

Cactus Clem sez:
"Say, Ornery, you know that sun tea you was brewin' on the front porch? Well, I was kinda thirsty after my stroll on the Lone Prairie, and I done drank it all down. I don't think it had no bird poop in it, though, 'cause it had a cover on it and everything.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 23: Dear Dryer Hose Manufacturer

Dear Dryer Hose Manufacturer,
In the box I found
A dryer hose
Two tension clamps
And instructions that told me
To not use the tension clamps
But instead, use two worm drive clamps
Not included in this box
Why would you do this?


Today's November PAD Chapbook Challenge prompt was to write an instructional poem. I re-interpreted the prompt in order to write a love letter about some very baffling instructions.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Carpe Diem #1785: Hoarfrost

an hoarfrost morning
the ghosts of my ancestors
drifting on chill winds


I'm not entirely sure that this Haiku entirely plays by the classical rules. It doesn't lose its meaning for me when I flip the first and third lines, which is always the litmus test. However, for me the most important aspect of poetry is expressing the thought, not adhering to exact rules, so--you know me.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2019: Day 22: Mr. Perfect (Tanka)

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

he's honed his image
everything is perfection
on point tip to toe
such a perfect gentleman
until he takes off the mask


Today's November PAD Chapbook challenge asked for a poem about Mr. (blank). So I wrote about the kind of guy who has the perfect image but behind the mask lurks a monster. I've known a few of these guys.

I am finally caught up with the November PAD Chapbook Challenge prompts!

November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 21: The Traveler: A Senryu

Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

I travel away
to worlds distant from my own
where I find myself


Today's November PAD Chapbook Challenge asked for a Travel poem. Here is mine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ornery Reviews: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Historical Fiction/Romance

Five out of Five Stars on Amazon, Audible, and Goodreads

This is a duplicate of my review on Amazon and Goodreads.
If readers purchase a copy of the book in any format by going through the above link, I will earn a small commission from Amazon.

This wicked book ruined my life.
I am fairly certain that the only reason the authors wrote this story was to let aspiring authors like me see that we don't have a chance of ever writing something this good.
I used to have ambitions. Now my only goal is to sit on the couch listening to this story over and over again while loom-knitting scarves for the rest of my existence.

I truly feel that Audible is the best way to enjoy this story. I was picturing it in my mind the whole time while finally making great headway on a scarf that I've been slowly knitting since last year. Listening to this book was an amazing experience. There are so many wonderful characters that you will meet and love, and a few that you will meet and loathe.

The format is innovative. Set in 1946, the story is told in a series of letters. One meets each unique character through the letters he or she writes. While there is plenty of fun and intrigue, the book also touches on the horrors of war in occupied areas as well as the bombings in London and the atrocities committed by the Nazis. 

I laughed. I sobbed. I cheered. I even shouted aloud at one point: "Girlfriend, DUMP HIM!" 

I must warn you that there is one truly awful part of this story.


I wanted it to go on forever.

Also, if you loved the book as much as I did, you may well hate the Netflix movie rendition as much as I did. It was a complete waste of a wonderful cast and made me want to throw things at my computer screen. Why would you take the absolutely amazing story you'd been given and change the details so much that viewers might well think that they were watching a version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society starring Spongebob Squarepants and Sandy Cheeks filmed by Patrick Starr and directed by Squidward on Opposite Day. Catering provided by The Krusty Krab. Transportation provided by Mrs. Puff's Boating School.

Actually, that version would probably make me less angry than the one on Netflix did. It's not like I expect high art from Spongebob and Company.

Here are my answers to the questions from the Insecure Writers Support Group Book Club.

1. Did you like reading the story through the device of letters?

I thought this was a wonderfully innovative plot device! It allowed for various characters to express themselves each in their own unique way.

2. What was your favorite and/or least favorite part?

I wouldn't say there was a least favorite part, although some parts of the story made me sad. I really enjoyed the friendships made and maintained through the letters. I envied the powerful connections formed by the characters.

3. What part made you cry the most? (Or at least get teary-eyed?)

What happened to Elizabeth was tremendously unfair. It was sad that her daughter would never really get to know her.

4. Isola said “reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.” Do you agree with that? Why or why not?

Nah. I can still enjoy reading bad books even after reading this book, just so long as they're the kind that are so bad they're good. I enjoy trash literature sometimes.

5. Which member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society did you relate to (or like) the most?

I liked Isola. She was a free spirit who did her own thing.

BONUS QUESTION. If you’ve read the book and seen the movie, which format did you like more (book or film)?

Because I loved the book so much, I hated the film. They changed some of my favorite aspects of the story, such as the friendships Juliette formed before ever visiting the island. In the film, most of the residents of the island were hostile to her, which was the opposite of what happened in the book. Reinterpreting this wonderful story was the wrong move.

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Free use image from Pixabay

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Carpe Diem #1783: Eggplant

when the time has come
for planting a new garden
can I grow eggplant?


Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"Why the heck do they call it an egg-plant? It's a plant, but it ain't an egg, and it don't grow eggs or lay eggs neither!"

Cactus Clem Sez:
"Ornery, maybe y'all oughta put out a nest so's yer eggplant will have a nice place to lay its eggs. Or do ya think maybe we oughta build it a coop like fer chickens?"

The Ornery Old Lady's Tackle It Tuesday: Necessities for Clean Dishes

Image by hudsoncrafted from Pixabay

Folks, I never thought the day when I'd say this, but I prefer handwashing my dishes to washing them in a dishwasher. I have a dishwasher here at the Grover Hotel. I've never used it, and I doubt that I ever will. Handwashing my dishes saves on both water and electricity, and I'm never tempted to let the dishes pile up in the sink and then cram the dishwasher full.

I have a few little tools which make handwashing my dishes a pleasure rather than a chore. One of my favorites is my little soap dispenser brush. I just give it a tap for a little soap and then scrub my plates down. The nylon bristles are durable and pathogen-resistant. When I'm done washing the dishes, I just rinse it off in a little warm water.

 A good dish drainer mat slopes to allow the dishwater to run back into the sink rather than pooling on the mat. Grover has some dish drainers here in his general store. Check out the selection, or hit the search button if you don't see anything you like.

Reusable dishcloths and sponges can be tossed in the washing machine and washed in hot water to sanitize them. I tend to use sponges for cleaning the sink rather than the dishes. For dishes, I prefer cloths.

You will also want a bottle brush and a flat scrub brush. Don't forget to grab some dish soap and a bottle of hand soap as well! If you have a liquid hand soap dispenser that you love, pick up a refill bottle to keep handy under the sink or in your pantry.

Washing dishes doesn't have to be awful. Be sure to soak them after every meal, and they should come clean with the help of a few tools. However, if you're a die-hard fan of your dishwasher, don't despair. Grover has a great selection of dishwasher detergent here in the general store too!

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

I earn a small commission for products purchased through the following affiliate links and search boxes. Thank you for supporting the Grover Hotel and Netherworld Publications. Your support allows disabled entrepreneurs (myself and my son) to maintain our independence.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

What It Feels Like To Quit Your Job & Become Your Own Boss

Ornery Reviews: Ripcord Recovery

Genre: Nonfiction/Medicine/Alternative Medicine

Four out of Four Stars for Online Book Club
Five out of Five Stars for Amazon

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

Please read my exclusive Online Book Club review for this book here.

While some will dismiss this book as too controversial because it discusses the use of marijuana, the fact is that the track record for current methods of lowering the risk of relapse in cases of addiction to alcohol and opiates is shaky at best. Marijuana has been shown to have a myriad of medical benefits. While the author's method may not resonate with everyone, I believe that it is worth it to read about and consider it.

I have personally seen marijuana used effectively to lower the number and intensity of seizures in a patient that I took care of when I worked as a home care nurse. The patient was on numerous powerful pharmacological medications to control his frequent seizures. These medications made him extremely drowsy and he slept most of the time. When marijuana oil was introduced, he was able to wean off of all but two of these medications, was much more alert, and his seizures were well controlled.

I relate this anecdote because the author discusses the ways in which the brain is altered by the use of alcohol and opiates. Marijuana, when used as the author outlines, can help balance out these alterations in the brain and give the addict a fighting chance at staying clean. The book is short and gets directly to the point. I recommend it to anyone who is fighting addiction themselves or who wishes to help a loved one fighting addiction. 

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

Never a charge to independent authors
Almost any genre accepted

Saturday, November 16, 2019

November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 10: Tyranny of Perfection

so I got to thinking
what if Death 
isn't a grim dude in a black hood
but is instead
an annoyingly perfect and perfectionistic
aerobics instructor
who chirps at you
that it's time to do your cardi-oh-oh
and when you do those leg lifts
you've gotta squeeze those glutes
because if you don't squeeze 'em
no-one else will
and I kind of got to thinking
what if I don't want my life
to revolve around whether or not
some dudebro wants to
play grab-ass with me
and then that chipper death
chirped at me that I
need to mind my carbs and calories
because fat is the very worst thing
that a person can possibly be
and then I got to thinking
that maybe that's not true
that in fact the worst thing a person
can possibly be
is a sanctimonious twat
who refuses to respect
other people's lives and conditions and preferences
and bodily autonomy
and who really can just fuck off
and then I got to wondering 
if maybe that's the way Death works
is by annoying people to death
by making them fight all day every day
with vicious inner voices
that tell them they're no good
because they have dimpled thighs
or chunky butts
or saggy boobs
or tummy rolls
or they just aren't perky-werky enough
and then I got to thinking 
that maybe what happens
is people get tired 
of hearing Death's annoying voice
bleating at them to get up and at 'em
because nobody who isn't perfect
deserves to have a life
and so they smash the snooze bar
on their internal clock
one too many times
in an attempt to shut the annoying bitch up
once and for all


Today's November PAD Chapbook Challenge asked for a (blank) of (blank) poem. I initially went with "hands of time," which is how I found the image of the perky aerobics instructor looking lady with her watch. I started thinking about all the years and time and money I spent trying to hate myself thin, and it really pissed me off that the message people (especially women) are sent from the moment we draw breath isn't "take care of yourself because you are worthwhile regardless of your size or looks," it's "if you girls aren't thin and pretty in a very specific way, you are garbage and don't deserve happiness." 

So, I changed the title of my poem to Tyranny of Perfection and wrote about what it feels like to fight with the hateful internal dialogue that has been crammed down my throat for as long as I can remember. It would be nice to be able to just BE, without having to fight with these horrible messages from the cradle to the grave. Doing so is the biggest fucking waste of time and a waste of a perfectly good life too.