Sunday, July 5, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Divine Dijon Drumsticks and Dijon Dill Potato Salad

Image copyright Bernhard Post from Pixabay

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If readers order a product from these links, I make a small commission.

The Grover Gang hopes you had a happy Independence Day if you celebrate such. For dinner here at the Grover Hotel, I made Divine Dijon Drumsticks and Dijon Potato Salad. 

This is a simple but tasty dinner that's great any time of the year.

I adapted the Dijon Drumsticks from this recipe.

The recipe above calls for marinating the drumsticks in yogurt, dijon mustard, and garlic overnight. I didn't have any yogurt, so I was going to use sour cream, but I forgot to marinate them. So I used the following recipe instead.

8 chicken drumsticks

In one bowl mix together:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

In a second bowl mix together:
1/2 cup baking mix (you can use plain flour)
Kinder's The Blend seasoning (you can use any seasoning you like. Kinder's contains salt, pepper, and dehydrated garlic)

Roll the drumsticks in the mayonnaise-mustard mix. Then roll in the seasoned baking mix.

Bake in a 425 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 45 minutes.

While the drumsticks are cooking, cut 5-6 small to medium-size potatoes into cubes and boil until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and pour into a large bowl. To the potatoes add 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, Kinder's The Blend, and dried dill to taste. Stir in any other vegetables you like. I used carrot, celery, and onion. You could also chop in a couple of hard-boiled eggs.

I adapted my potato salad recipe from the following cauliflower salad recipe. I didn't have any cauliflower, but potato salad is always a winner.

This is a simple meal that doesn't require a lot of time in the kitchen and can easily be doubled.

I buy Kinder's seasoning at Costco and I use it in just about everything. It is very versatile. But if you don't have a Costco membership, you can purchase two 10-ounce bottles for $20.19 through the following link.

I get my dill and many of my other spices from Watkins. I became a Watkins consultant just to get discounts on my products. Through July, the normal $29.95 annual consultant fee has been reduced to $19.95. I save around $225 annually over the retail cost by being a consultant. You can find out more on my Watkins page, or just order products.

You can order two 96-ounce boxes of Bisquick for $20.04 through the following link.

I never buy Bisquick anymore. I found a recipe from, and the cost breaks down to a little over a dollar to make this instead. It works just the same as Bisquick.

I store my baking mix in a cereal storage container. You can get a great set of four storage containers with labels through this link.

In fact, I'm going to take advantage of that deal too. 

I mix my baking mix in a large, flexible plastic bowl, which makes it easy to pour it into the storage container. You can get the very same bowl that I use from Amazon for $7.94

I use a pastry cutter to blend the shortening into the baking mix. You can get a nice pastry cutter and dough scraper set for $9.99 through the following link.

I hope that you enjoy the recipes and the potential savings!

Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie

Ornery Owl
Free use image from Pixabay by Open Clipart Vectors

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Content copyright 2020 by Good Stuff from Grover

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Midnight Special Roast

Free Use image copyright Reinhard Thrainer on Pixabay

This post contains affiliate links. I get a small commission for products purchased through these links.

It's been quite some time since I wrote a Sunday Dinner post. My son and I are coming to the end of our struggles with getting my old mobile home ready to be sold, but it's at the point where it's so close and yet so far. Hopefully, once that's done, my posts will be more consistent.

But I didn't come here to talk about that.

I came here to talk about the Midnight Special roast.

I call it the Midnight Special roast because I either start cooking it at midnight or finish cooking it at midnight. Either way, this simple process takes 15 hours to complete. The results are a perfect roast that falls apart and is tender and delicious.

I can't take credit for this recipe. I got it from the 22 Simple Dinners e-cookbook, available free from the folks at Living On A Dime. That's right, I said free. Just follow the link below to go to the Living On A Dime website and download this baby. 

Don't be surprised if you enjoy their simple recipe suggestions so much that you want to buy their 20th-anniversary cookbook, which is available in your choice of an e-book or print version. 

And now, on to the recipe!

You will need a small roast, about five pounds. I got an inexpensive neck roast from my local butcher. If you are in the Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming area, please consider checking out I don't get a commission for telling you about them, but once you try them, you will never want to buy meat from the grocery store again. They get their meat from trusted local farmers who are dedicated to raising their livestock ethically.

My cast-iron Dutch oven is the tried and true way to cook meat. You end up with a nicely browned exterior that you can't get from a slow cooker. Mine is a 5-quart Amazon Basics, but as of this writing, they are out of those and don't know when they'll be back in stock. I found one for you to consider, and it looks even better than the one I have. Jealous of you if you get this beauty before I do! I love the lid that doubles as a skillet.

All right, so you have your Dutch oven (or roasting pan) and you have your five-pound roast. Here is the original recipe from the folks at Living On A Dime.

1 beef roast, 3-5 lbs.
1 onion, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup (omit for GF and sprinkle
with seasoned salt)

Place roast in pan. Pour cream of mushroom soup and onion on top.
Cover tightly. Bake at 250° for 1 hour. Then turn down to 225° and cook for 15 or more hours; 10 hours for roasts smaller than 3 pounds.
Serves 4.

Here are the changes that I made.

I didn't have any cream of mushroom soup, so I just poured a pint of chicken stock into the Dutch oven and sprinkled the roast with The Blend from Kinder's Seasonings. I also added four carrots and four sticks of celery cut into thirds and six small to medium-sized yellow potatoes cut into quarters.

Costco makes a good, inexpensive chicken stock, but if you don't have a Costco membership, here is a link to purchase twelve quarts of Swanson chicken broth for $32.90, which is comparable to what you'd pay in the grocery store.

Watkins also makes stellar soup base concentrates and gravy mixes. Follow the link below for more. You can purchase these through my store, or you can sign up to be a Watkins consultant yourself and get discounts on everything you order. Membership is just $29.95 annually, and it's well worth it!

I purchase my Kinder's spices at Costco which is the cheapest way to buy them, but if you can't get to Costco, here is a link to purchase a standard-sized bottle for a reasonable $6.99.

So, how did the roast turn out?

AMAZING! It was so tender and tasty. But before I could eat mine, I had to take the kitchen trash containing the butcher's twine out to the bin, because my cat kept trying to eat the twine.

We have enough roast left over for one or two more meals. The 22 Simple Dinners cookbook contains several recipes for using up the leftover roast. You're missing out if you don't download this free e-book. I've gotten more use out of it than I have out of many of the hard-copy cookbooks that I've had for years.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel. If you're an omnivore, I think you'll find that this simple and delicious slow-cooked roast might just be worthy of becoming a favorite meal in your house!

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

"I like cooking with wine. I sometimes even put it in the food I'm cooking." --Julia Child

Ornery Owl image is a free to use graphic from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

To get more recipes and other Good Stuff from Grover, visit us at:

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The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese, if You Please (Or Don't Please)

Content copyright 2020 by Good Stuff from Grover

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it. LBRY’s reblog function is called repost, which makes things confusing since reposting is considered a no-no on most platforms. It’s fine to share the post using the repost function on LBRY. It is not okay to copy-paste the material into a new post.

Sharing a link to the post is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Greece - Food & Drinks - Sweets: Rizogalo.

Greece - Food & Drinks - Sweets: Rizogalo.: Rizogalo is a sweet Greek dessert/dish that is created from milk, porridge rice and starch (brought on taste with cinnamon and vanilla). It is mainly served with a glass of water (because it is really sweet). According to a good friend of mine...

In the U.S. we just call this "rice pudding." It's one of my favorite desserts. I am pleased that Bertha is still going strong at 92!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Cupboard: Pantry Essentials

The Cupboard: Pantry Essentials: I love to cook, and I tried to be a chef once. I had the skill, but not the temperament.  Imagine Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey six days a week. I really didn't have a thick skin back then, but I keep cooking as one of my pride and joys to spoil...


Here is my response to Sarah’s post:

Hi Sarah,
Since becoming unable to work a normal job, I've taken over the cooking too. Our household has saved a lot of money. However, there have been some creative disasters. For instance, I had gotten a whole chicken from the butcher and after picking it clean was wanting to use the bones to make my own stock. Unfortunately, terms like "simmer" are kind of subjective, as are cooking times because everyone's stove is different.

Here is the recipe I used:
Recipe Notes
Recipe yields 2 quarts (64 oz.).
1 entire cooked or raw chicken
3-4 carrots carrots
1 large onion
4-5 stalks of celery
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
4 bulbs crushed garlic
1. Place your chicken in a large pot with vegetables, and enough water to completely cover -at
least 4 quarts.
2. Bring to a boil and skim foam off the top as it cooks, reduce to a simmer. Cook chicken for an
3. If using a whole chicken- Take chicken out pot, remove meat for other recipes.
4. Return bones and skin to pot and simmer for 3-4 hours, skimming the top as needed.
5. Turn off heat, skim off the fat, strain broth through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove small
particles. Allow to cool.
6. Place in an airtight container or freezer bag to store.
7. Chicken stock can be stored in refrigerator for 3 days or freezer for up to 3 months. This recipe makes about 3 quarts.

So when simmering in my little stockpot, I usually have to put the burner setting down to 2. However, I was using my Dutch oven for this product, and I had still waters with a 2. I had to turn the burner up to 6 to see a simmer. Granted, I should have been checking on the recipe more often, but I was doing this at night because I didn't want to heat the house up during the day, and I fell asleep. I woke up at four hours on the dot and hurried to the kitchen. What I found was not stock, but sludge. I had a kitchen nightmare, to be sure.

I'm thinking that I will reduce the simmering time after removing the meat from the bones to two hours rather than four.
You are welcome to use my kitchen nightmare as a future post, should you wish to!

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

I Can't Drive 55

I Can't Drive 55: I got done with work a little early today. At about 1:30, I was turning off S Broadway onto I-55 S to leave Saint Louis.  As I was going to make the turn, I heard 'Woop! Woop!'. A cop jumped in front of me on the ramp. Then another. They both pulled...

I'm tired of posting depressing crap. You will like this story. 

An interesting little adventure to spice up the day! Many, many years ago (40 years, to be exact) when I was in high school marching band, one of the flag girls and I were driving to a game. She was exceeding the speed limit, about 65 mph in a 55 mph zone and she saw the flashing lights in the rearview mirror, so she pulled off onto the shoulder. However, the cops didn't care about her. They were after George, our drum major, who had a notorious lead foot. There were four cops on his tail, and he managed to ditch them.
I rode with George once. I'm not sure how I'm here to tell the tale. The guy was a maniac behind the wheel.

Now you should go read the post that inspired me to tell the story and give the author a cryptocurrency tip at no cost to yourself. Then you should start posting your own stories and earning cryptocurrency for yourself. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Writes of Jamztoma (Humble and Kind): Poem: spring 2020

A poem about living with COVID. 

Grover is a very small town where people tend to keep to themselves anyway. My son and I went to Costco yesterday. Everyone was wearing their masks. Better safe than sorry, I think.

I've been doing a lot of reading and writing too.

Faoin Scáth - Under the Shade: Morning Rain

Faoin Scáth - Under the Shade: Morning Rain: Random patter muffled overhead the ping on metal with no rhythm but also no wind today just rain A reminder that planting isn't fin...

A wonderful poem! In Grover, rain without wind is unusual.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tackle It Tuesday: Tackling the Truth Part 1: I Suck At Blogging

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I am a walking contradiction. It isn't that I set out to deceive anyone, but I'm not always forthcoming. This may be part and parcel of the fun shenanigans played by a brain with bipolar disorder. (Type 2)

When I am hypomanic, I tend to be very forthcoming.

When I am depressed, I withdraw because I don't figure that anyone wants to hear anything that I have to say.

When I'm euthymic, it's somewhere in between, only without the self-loathing. On one hand, I don't feel like I have anything to hide. On the other hand, I figure nobody needs to know anything that I don't feel like revealing.

I have a high degree of social anxiety. Sometimes the hypomanic component overrides this, but it always comes back. This is why I may have a day where I'm waltzing around promoting my faboo posts on blog hops, and the next day I am overwhelmed and may not be able to reply to comments for a long time.

People tend to feel that someone who doesn't reply to comments right away is simply a rude a-hole. Most of the time, I find that people are overwhelmed by trying to do too many things, for instance, they may have a job and a family and are also trying to create and promote. Also, many people have anxiety and other psychological issues and these can sideline them. I tend to assume in most cases that the person who didn't reply isn't rude, they're simply overwhelmed.

There are two things that I suck at. Sheesh, I wish it was only two. Truth be told, I suck at everything, but these are the two things that pertain to this discussion.

I suck at blogging. Seriously, I am not a good blogger. Someone once said that being a blogger and being a writer are not the same thing, and boy howdy is that ever true. 

I suck at promotion and networking and all that kind of happy crappy. I seriously wish I had the money to hire someone to do it for me because I make such a mess of it. This ties into the whole sucking at blogging thing.

Here's how I messed things up this time.

On Sunday, I thought: "Say, let's do some blog hops with my Sunday Dinner post!"

On Monday, I thought: "Well, let's continue with that..."

On Tuesday, I was still trying to get to all the blog hops that I thought it would be a good idea to share that post with.

There are some of y'all out there who participate in a metric butt-ton of blog hops every week and I have to admit that I HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU DO IT! That right there is a full-time job. Maybe (probably) I'm just stupid. But my hat would be off to you if I wore a hat. I could take off my pants, socks, or shirt, but ain't nobody wants to see that.

I have a group of goals (more like a cluster f**k of goals) that I'm trying to make happen. Some of them I've been trying to make happen for years. Admissibly, it's harder for me because I'm not a social butterfly. I'm more of a social hermit crab. My attitude tends to take one of two forms.

1) I scuttle up, present my work, and say "here ya go, love it or leave it." Then I scuttle off to make something else.

2) I scuttle up, present my work, and whimper "please don't be mean to me!" Then I scuttle off and withdraw into my shell for a week or so.

Now, let's talk about me for a minute.

I've been belittled on many occasions for not honing in on JUST ONE BIG THING WITH LASER FOCUS!!!111!! I've also been belittled for having shaky self-esteem. I always beat myself up for both of these "shortcomings." 

Why would I put "shortcomings" in quotation marks?

Because I don't think these things are shortcomings. It sucks to have poor self-esteem, but how the actual hell do people think it helps someone overcome their low self-esteem when you're berating them for having low self-esteem? Improving one's self-esteem isn't the kind of thing that happens overnight.

People with low self-esteem have one thing in common. We have all been abused. Whether this abuse comes from family, schoolmates, or society at large, we've been abused. Abuse gets internalized, and it can take a long time to reverse that process. Often, it is never fully reversed.

The self-esteem issue is a post in itself, so I'm going to table that for now.

As to being unable to hone in on one target with laser focus and pigeonhole myself into a niche, I've tried that. Again and again and again. I have failed at it every time. 

It took me 54 years to learn some important things about me. First, I have ADD. This has an effect on the way I interact with the world and what it throws at me. Combine ADD with bipolar disorder and you're pretty well guaranteed to have a person who will not do well trying to have LASER FOCUS!

ADD affects the way I write. I'm a prolific writer, but I go off on sidetracks. I learned that instead of trying to write focused novels, I need to write collections of novelettes that have a central theme and that can work together or be read as separate short stories. 

My thought process works a lot like the way time works according to Dr. Who.

What I'm getting around to is this:

My writing comes first. I get very upset when I don't do it. I hate the fact that I have to promote it. It makes me very anxious. I know that I'm an acquired taste that most people don't tend to acquire. So is my writing. I doubt that I'll ever make a lot of money off my writing. But I can't hold a normal job, so I'm trying to find alternative ways to make money.

I need to promote the alternative means, just like I need to promote the writing.

But then people get angry with me for promoting...well, anything, really.


Here is what I'm getting around to.

I didn't mean to make anyone angry at me. I'm sorry if I didn't reply to your comment yet. You may think I'm a jerk, but I didn't mean to be. I'm still trying to refine my process, and I may never be any good at any of this. 

Thanks for reading. I'm going to go make some soda bread now.

~Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie~

Monday, May 11, 2020

About Me Monday + Money Monday: Saving on Groceries

Image copyright Steve Buissine

The following is my reply to a post by Jessi Fearon, a SAHM who has a blog dedicated to debt-free living.

My only kid is 30 years old. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and I'm disabled (trying to get disability) and doing freelance work on the computer. 

I hadn't cooked in years, so I started ordering meal kits. They've helped a lot, but as my son says, I think we're growing beyond them. There is a good local butcher about 50 miles from where we live (it's about 50 miles to any city where we live!) and we are going to start getting our meat there. 

My son agreed to get in on the meal planning. He is high-functioning autistic, so a lot of food textures bother him which wouldn't come into play for someone who isn't autistic. His input is vital if I'm going to make this work! 

I have ADD, so I tend to get excited in the planning stage and then bored before I am able to implement my plans. His job is to keep me focused and on track.

Further Thoughts:

Meal kits are a great place to start (and maybe stay, if that's what works best for you) when you haven't cooked in a long time (or ever.) We have saved oodles of money by ordering meal kits from Everyplate and Hello Fresh. We used to get takeout all the time. It was costly and often not very satisfying.

I was sad when my son suggested that we should move away from the meal kits and towards planning our own meals every week. I like choosing the meals to be delivered and I like it when the box of goodies shows up at our door. However, my son is correct that we can save a lot of money by getting many of our staples at Costco and by going to the local butcher for our meat. 

I became excited again when I realized that I would be able to plan meals every week and also have a make ahead and freeze day either every Sunday or once a month. I'll have to see what works better for me with that. I've been researching recipes that lend themselves to being frozen, and also reusable, freezer-safe containers. 

Which reminds me, I'm starving. Take care and stay safe!

~Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie~

$100 worth of Watkins products would be a grand addition to your pantry. Click the link to try your luck!

Sharing with these blog parties:

About Me Monday @ Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp
(This is my mental health blog. This is your warning that it tends to be sweary and ranty.)

Busy Monday

Grammy's Grid

Hearth and Soul

Inspire Me Monday

Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party

Party in your PJs

Senior Salon

Share the Kindness

Snickerdoodle Create-Bake-Make Link Party

What's for Dinner?

You're the Star

The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese, if You Please (Or Don't Please)

Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Watergate Cake + Poke Cake Hybrid

Free use image by Pexels

It's been an age since I did a Sunday Dinner post. I've been concentrating on my literary projects, and I am horrible at taking breaks. I did take a couple breaks to research making my own cake, cookie, and pudding mixes, but that's a post for another time!

My son's 30th birthday was May 8th. Physically, I was feeling much better this year than the year he was born. I wasn't conscious when he was born, and I certainly didn't make a cake.

My son doesn't like people making a fuss over his birthday, so I didn't put candles on the cake, and I didn't traumatize him by singing. My singing causes birds to drop dead and airplanes to fall from the sky, so there was none of that.

This year, I did make a cake. The cake was a modification of the following recipe for Watergate Cake.

1 box white cake mix
1 small pistachio instant pudding
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water
4 eggs

Beat ingredients together and pour into 9x13 baking pan, greased. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped nuts on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water
Poke holes in cake and pour topping over. Put back in oven for 5 minutes.

I am unsure why it's called Watergate Cake. Maybe President Nixon enjoyed a slice while listening to the infamous tapes. 

I didn't have pistachio pudding mix, so I opted to make a poke cake with Jello instead. I used a box of vanilla pudding mix instead of pistachio, I used 3/4 cups of melted butter instead of oil, and I added four tablespoons of dry milk to the water. The result was a very smooth, rich, tasty batter.

I let the cake cool for a couple of hours and then poked holes in it with a fork at approximately 1/2 inch intervals. I didn't measure, so who knows? Then I mixed a small box of pomegranate blueberry Jello into 1 cup of boiling water, stirred until the Jello was dissolved, added a cup of cold water, stirred a little more, and poured it over the cake. We had to let this sit for another couple of hours.

I didn't frost the cake. My son isn't big on frosting. I'm the sort of person who likes a little cake with my frosting. In any case, the Jello makes the cake very sweet, so the frosting would probably be a step too far. I would use whipped cream or whipped topping rather than regular frosting.

I am going to try the Watergate cake at some point. It sounds really tasty! However, the recipe is very adaptable. Use what you have on hand and make it your own!

~Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie~

Win free vanilla + $100 worth of good stuff from Watkins

The Inevitable Legalese and Other Blah-Blah

Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

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Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

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Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

This post is cross-posted to:

Sharing with these blog hops:

Busy Monday

Come as you Are Party (my mental health blog. Tends to be sweary and ranty.)

Grammy's Grid

Hearth and Soul

Inspire Me Monday

Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party

Senior Salon

Share the Kindness

Snickerdoodle Create-Bake-Make Link Party

What's for Dinner?

Ornery Haiku: Super Flower Moon

through parted curtains
gold in partly cloudy sky
super flower moon


Ghost Town Grover Sez:
"Back in my minin' days, I loved ter see a big ole golden moon in the sky whilst lazin' 'round a campfire enjoyin' a swig of whiskey or a few with the fellers. But the thing I loved to see most was a big ole golden nugget down in the mine!"

Cactus Clem Sez:
"One of my most favorite things in all the wide world is takin' a stroll on a spring night with the full moon shinin' down on the Lone Prairie. 'Specially if I got a big ole jug of White Lightnin' to swig on now and again."

The Inevitable Legalese and Other Blah-Blah

Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Please do not repost

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

Sharing a link to the post is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

Cactus Clem and Ghost Town Grover are the intellectual property of Team Netherworld Creations and Naughty Netherworld Press. These characters are depicted with free use images from Pixabay.

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Flashing Back and Forth: Wisteria & A Birthday

Image copyright Vũ Đỗ

In the moonlight,
The color and scent of the wisteria
Seems far away.
As far away I think as
My sense of belonging here

Buson & Cie

Join Friday Flashback at:

Join Haiku My Heart at:

New Notes:
This will be a long post, so if you only came for the poetry, this is your stop!

Today is my son's thirtieth birthday. It is also Friday Flashback day. So I am leaving the notes from last year when I wrote the post.

Last year at this time, my son, his dad, and I were in the process of trying to get things in order to purchase the property that my son says is his literal dream house. I often say that I'm a pretty useless excuse for a person and pretty much a waste of oxygen and skin cells, but I am the one who found the house, so I have done two good things in this life. I brought my son into the world, which he sometimes may not think is such a great thing as it has been a bit of an uphill fight for him given that he lives with anxiety, high-functioning autism, and major depression in a society that demands a very rigid degree of impossible perfection and an ability to play by certain rigid rules.

This is the house, and you can well believe that I nearly peed myself when I saw that this property was being sold for $90,000. We had just finished looking at a very "meh" three-bedroom townhome in southeast Denver that cost $240,000 and kicking the worst real estate agent ever to the curb. Thanks for sucking, Matt. You did us a huge favor.

If you're interested in seeing just what this clown did, you can read this post.

I'd like to thank Xenia, the real estate agent we had prior to Matt, for sucking too. Rather than being a professional and telling us that she wasn't the right real estate agent for us, she did the bad high school break-up thing, hung up on me, and refused to return my calls. It was very unprofessional. Note that we didn't do anything wrong to her, we were always polite. We were looking for land, and she only wanted to sell upscale properties in Denver. Also, note that she approached us first, touting her abilities as a real estate agent. 

We instead ended up with Jason Wadsworth, who is a fantastic real estate agent. If you are ever interested in buying a property in Northern Colorado, Jason is your go-to guy. He can be reached at

I am glad that my son's dream house is now a reality. There has been a lot of work done on it, and more still needs to be done. We are also still tackling the nightmare that is my old mobile home and hope to have it on the market this summer. I will be extremely happy when it's gone.

I couldn't end this post without giving a shout-out to Ghost Town Grover and Cactus Clem. I hope to be giving more attention to their adventures once the whole trailer mess has been wrangled.

Ghost Town Grover

Cactus Clem

Ye Olde Notes:
The Hokku (Haiku) stanza of the poem was written by Yosa Buson (1716 - 1784). The Akegu (closing) stanza was written by me.

I have never felt that I belonged in this world. When I was younger, I always hoped I'd find people I belonged with. There have been a few where I feel like they put up with me to a degree or felt sympathy for me, but I have never had a sense of finding my "tribe." The only person I'm really at all close with is my son. I tend to form only very superficial relationships with other people.

Dinners with my mother are perilous and fraught with small talk. She has never approved of any of my choices, and she knows almost nothing about what is really transpiring in my life.

I am not at all close with the other members of my family. I would not recognize most of them if I passed them in the street.

At this point in my life, I do not wish to party and socialize. I have one friend whom I confide in via email, and that means a lot. This friend lives a few thousand miles away from me, so it isn't as if we could get together for coffee.

I have felt a degree of understanding and acceptance from the people participating in this little Tan Renga challenge, which I usually don't get a sense of during such challenges.

I usually feel as if I am an outsider who has crashed a party when participating in blog hops, and the general sense is "what is that freak doing here at our exclusive soiree?" Some of the blog hops I participate in are very focused on clothing and fashion although other sorts of posts are allowed, and if you don't think I'm an absolute outlier when it comes to fashion, you don't know me at all. I can't afford nice clothes or even new clothes, and I look like an unmade bed most of the time.
One would think that I would feel more at home with creative blog hops, but I usually don't. I've been surprised by the feeling of peace I've gained participating in this one. Maybe it's just that no-one has attacked me yet. Hopefully, we can do without that happening this time.

The Inevitable Legalese and Other Blah-Blah

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Money Monday: Multi-Level Marketing is Not a Pyramid Scheme

Image copyright Robinraj Premchand on Pixabay

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links.

Over the past few days, I've seen several instances of people being accused of attempting to scam others when promoting products. I have not had anyone aggressively accuse me of attempting to scam my readers, but I have seen several bloggers accused of it. On my recent post promoting the Cryptotab Browser, the commenter wasn't aggressive towards me, but they erroneously referred to Cryptotab's multi-level affiliate marketing platform as a "Ponzi scheme," also known as a pyramid scheme.

Legitimate multi-level marketing is not a pyramid scheme. 

There is an excellent post at about the differences between a legitimate MLM platform and a pyramid scheme. I am going to share the main points from this post, but I recommend that readers take a look at the entire article.

Here are the key points from the post.

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a legitimate marketing strategy where an actual product is provided. This says nothing about the quality of the product. This is open to debate. The point is, there is a product provided. With a pyramid scheme, there is no real product sold.

Multi-level marketing is legal. Again, a customer may debate the quality of the product being offered, but there is a real product and it is legal to market products in this manner.

With multi-level marketing, prospects pay money upfront in order to enroll in a program. Participants in MLM can make money from enrollment fees AND by selling products. The time, money, and energy invested in the program may not be worthwhile to the prospect in the long run, but multi-level marketing is a legal strategy.

With a pyramid scheme, prospects pay money upfront in order to enroll in a program. Participants make money primarily from enrollment fees of prospects who sign up under them rather than by selling products.

A participant in legitimate multi-level marketing may opt to focus on recruitment rather than the sale of the product offered.  This is perfectly legal as long as there is an actual product offered.

In a previous post, I praised Cryptotab's in-browser cryptocurrency miner. You set the thing and forget it, letting it do its thing while you do yours. I am admissibly new to cryptocurrency, and the commenter may be correct that users don't get that much payout from the miner's efforts and most of their payout will come from promoting the Cryptotab browser. I've only had the browser for about two weeks and I just started promoting it, so I really can't say if this is the case. However, the commenter is incorrect about Cryptotab's affiliate program being a "Ponzi scheme." It is a legitimate multi-level marketing program.

There is an actual product being offered (the Cryptotab browser) and in this case, anyone choosing to become an affiliate puts no money into the program. You download the Cryptotab browser free of charge. You can simply use it as a browser without ever utilizing the miner, but I don't know what sense that makes when utilizing the miner costs you nothing. You don't have to be an affiliate to use the browser or the miner. The worst thing a user is risking by trying the Cryptotab browser is discovering that they don't like it, in which case they can remove it from their computer.

The other program that I promote is Watkins, which is a legitimate multi-level marketing program that requires a small investment to join: usually $29.95 per year, but the fee is reduced to $14.95 through April. This fee gives consultants access to the back-office area, which includes printable promotional materials and links to web pages that the consultant can share in order to recruit new prospects AND sell products. I use these products myself and initially signed up as a consultant simply so I could get discounts on them but decided that this was a product that I could see myself promoting.

Again, one can debate the quality of the products being sold, could say that participation in the program is more trouble than it's worth and that the investment is too costly. Whatever arguments might be made regarding those points, Watkins is not a scam or a Ponzi scheme. It is a legitimate multi-level marketing program which, in my opinion, is more transparent than many legitimate MLMs. The cost to join the program appears on the first page of the website. Further, there are no quotas to remain part of the program.

Avon, which is another legitimate MLM program that I have been a consultant for in the past and might consider being a consultant for again, requires consultants to put in an order once every six campaigns in order to maintain their consultant status. I don't like this particular requirement, but it doesn't mean that Avon is a scam or a pyramid scheme. They provide a legitimate product and it is possible for consultants to make money selling that product.

Another thing that impressed me about Watkins is the fact that no-one is going to hound me or give me a schpiel about why I should be a consultant. No-one will ever call me unless I request that they do so. I'm not even obligated to receive the monthly consultant email. I could use my annual membership fee the same way I use my annual Costco membership fee and accrue points to buy my own products at increasingly deep discounts and keep my pantry, cleaning closet, and medicine chest stocked. Just because I am part of a multi-level marketing plan where I will receive monetary compensation if a new consultant signs up through my link does not mean that Watkins is a pyramid scheme. It clearly is not.

In the future, I will direct anyone stating that the programs I am promoting are pyramid schemes or scams to this page. The promotion of products and services is permissible on most blogging platforms as long as the poster clearly states their intent. I am fine with legitimate concerns and politely worded constructive criticism. Shouting SCAM on every post containing affiliate links is unproductive and tiresome. I for one don't have time for that muckity-muck and will not entertain it.

I lost thousands of dollars to scams and unscrupulous schemes in the 1990s and early 2000s and pride myself on being transparent about my affiliate marketing efforts and only promoting products and programs which are free or reasonably priced. Ripping people off is not a win. Helping others prosper and lead fulfilling lives is.

Your ornery old Aunt Cie

This post is copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

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