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)

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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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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.

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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

Content copyright 2019 - 2020 by Cara Hartley

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