How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


The New Year 2015 Advances

The house Michael’s widowed mother lives in on Thetis Island is the house she and her husband built after they married. She has a woodstove in the kitchen. Wonderful. There are a mess of bedrooms  though I didn’t get a tour (they were a large family). Her living room has a brick fireplace along the whole of one end wall, as well as a sofa and numerous comfy chairs and a piano. This is the view this room faces. Don’t you want to park yourself and dream here for a while? I do.

Jean had brought sheet music but could not find it. The only music, Lucy, her mother-in-law had were hymnbooks. We sat around the piano and sang everyone’s favorites. By midnight, worn out and ready for a soft pillow. I have no idea whose suggestion sent us to bed.

Morning brought a huge and satisfying late breakfast: steel-cut oats with raisins and homemade stewed apples, yoghurt, granola, sticky buns, pork pie, coffee and tea. Oh, my.

The next ferry to Chemainus left at 1:10. We lined up early and found a spot on board–another open air ferry. A heartwarming part of our departure is Lucy has a direct view of the departure from her deck and waves all her children goodbye when they leave. Michael waved to his mother this day, too. The air too crisp to stand outside on the ferry, Mary and I stayed in the van while Jean and Michael caught up with friends. Our had no stops and passed without incident.

Off the ferry, traffic was not busy to Nanaimo, but before we reached the next ferry, overhead road billboards announced the 3:00 o’clock ferry was full. What? How long need we wait?

Thank goodness, Jean had brought along a container of crackers, cheese, and kielbasa. We purchased drinks and wandered around to kill time in the terminal. Inside, tourist trap shops surrounded us. Less mindboggling were coffee shops (Starbucks), Frankies (a Chinese food kiosk, a pizza place and a couple others. We bought nothing except drinks.

The call to board came. We crossed our fingers on our way to the van for the hour-and-a- half crossing on the Queen of Coquitlam. Luck smiled. Once we settled and around half-way into the crossing, a ferry employee announced 1,028 passengers were on board. “Thank you for sailing with us.”

Ha ha. The Queen is the only means of crossing to Vancouver. I think it’s nice to be appreciated in this way, though don’t you? We disembarked at 6:35 pm.

Highway traffic was crazy. Dusk fell unnoticed. Headlights come in the opposite direction and backup lights of the cars ahead became obvious. Bumper-to-bumper. Stop-start. We arrived at Jean and Michael’s house by 7:45 much longer than the usual time.

Jean’s a wizard in the kitchen, though thr second youngest sister (out of five). We sat down to an amazing late, but light supper around nine: leftover-salmon (from the party) and a salad. After a seven-hour day of traveling, a quick clean-up and off to bed

Next time on December 9th Recuperation and Shopping

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Abbreviated Vancouver


I have been entertaining all day, Catch up with you tomorrow.  


Bloggers around the Christmas Tree – Vancouver Islands to Christmas Cards..

Thanks so-o-o-o much for the shoutout and invitation around Annette’s Christmas tree. I especially appreciate your encouragement and kind support, Sally.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

bloggers-around-the-christmas-treeWelcome to this week’s glimpse into the magical world of blogging with a look at just some of the informative, entertaining and thought provoking posts I have read this week. Also an opportunity to promote some of the followers of the blog who have gifts or services that would make great presents for friends and family this Christmas.


Normally I would reblog Tess Karlinkski’s latest travel post on a Saturday morning after enjoying with my breakfast. Tess has been a wonderful supporter for the blog from virtually day one… always encouraging and motivating with a quirky sense of humour that brightens any day. I have been to China and Newfoundland with Tess who brings these places alive with her vivid descriptions and detailed information. Whilst many would want to see these amazing locations for themselves, if it is not possible, Tess’s blog posts are the next best thing.

Tess is…

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A New Year’s Day

Her cabin close to ours, Bronwyn again drove us back to the cottage. Jean’s husband stayed behind to sweep and reorganize the Community Center in preparation for another group’s function the next day. Tired after the evening’s excitement, I wasted no time dropping into bed. My sister said when she used the facilities (next door to my room), I was already pulling the sail (snoring like a drunken sailor). Hey, who are you calling a sailor?

In the morning, we scheduled showers, the water steaming and plentiful; towels huge, thick and absorbent. A sheer luxury. Jean rustled up French toast for a leisurely breakfast with the Panattoni she had baked at home. Michael paid our room bills and surprised me by arranging a tour of the secret room. I had seen the owner earlier and inquired about a look-see. The arrangement depended on time. Excited, I floated above ground while we waited for our peek behind the locked door.

Located in the center of the house, between our side of the house and the owner’s, the room’s location was deceiving. I had not noticed the brown stairs leading to a second level, nor the balcony outside. Our rooms were on the left side (behind the tree) and the owners lived on the right, the larger portion of the building.


See the outside stairs to the second level and the veranda

At the scheduled time, Michael knocked at the farthest door across the foyer. The owner’s wife swung it open and invited us inside. Whoa. The place was huge. Though built in 1909, the house had been modernized with up-to-date plumbing, heating, lighting, and interior construction. I hung back ogling everything and taking nothing in. I snapped this framed picture behind glass at the entranceway and rushed to follow our group. I had no opportunity to inquire if it held any significance.


Wow. I assumed the mystery room stored dusty trunks and ancient discards. The key to the door had gone missing some time ago.


This is what awaited: a two-storey Christmas tree in the Great Room. Two, self-contained, two-bedroom apartments took up the second level. Family members stayed here when they came to visit with their teenage children and their friends during summer and other holidays. Even at this age, the third generation felt pride in the family home and its history. I had hoped for an invitation to see the upstairs. No offer made, I stifled my greed.


 I heard someone had taken it either on purpose or by accident. Funny, I observed a key in the lock on the owner’s side mocking me. Lost key? What’s with that story?

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Was I disappointed our anticipated tour ended? Had our request been an intrusion? No and no. The owner enjoyed sharing. In the past, guests who wondered about the room obtained the special reveal if / when time permitted.

The van loaded to the rafters—after much packing and repacking—we set off to Michael’s family home where his mother invited us for an overnight stay. Why did the van have less room on the return trip than the one on our arrival? The leftover wine, stored at his mother’s for the meet and greet and the birthday party, was returning with us to Vancouver.

Michael stopped at the Recycle Center to drop off 23 empty bottles from the two nights of festivities before proceeding to his mom’s place (60 people served). I would have returned them to the liquor store for cash (total of $2.30). No, probably not as they needed room in the van we could not spare.

* * *

Next on December 3rd – The New Year Advances

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Abbreviated Vancouver


New Year’s Eve Day and Evening

Michael’s mother lives on Thetis_Island, her house off the water. New Year’s Eve morning began with breakfast and a visit to his mother’s for a dip in freezing water. Less than ten showed up for the swim. Not me. No way. Mary and Michael did the deed along with a couple other ladies, but not their men.


Afterwards, Michael organized a walk for a dozen visiting guests who stayed in various cottages on Thetis. Our closest neighbors:


Another set of guests stayed in a fabulous yellow cottage. Jean has sticky fingers when it comes to pianos. She has a need to try them out and to our benefit, she played a couple uplifting tunes.

Along the way, we passed

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One of the guys picked up a branch, which appeared foaming. No one knew what it might be (it’s called hair ice).

Pictures attribution: Jon Nightingale, Vancouver

Energized from the walk, Jean and I filled petite choux with the cream concoction I’d made in Jean’s kitchen. She called her mother-in-law about parsley for these savoury bites. Sure, she had some in the garden. Remember, this is New Year’s Eve and yes, she’d bring it to the hall washed and ready to use.

Michael, Jean’s husband had left earlier for the community in jeans and a blue and white checkered shirt—and tails. Yes, tails. He looked cool. Another guest and close friend of Jean’s from Nanaimo picked us up. Her contribution to the evening eats were smoked salmon and oysters—the fresh kind, not canned. She had no plastic wrap to cover the dishes. The car smelled like a smokehouse. I salivated as I balanced the plates on my lap.

Attribution: Jon Nightingales, Vancouver

Attribution: Jon Nightingale, Vancouver

Bronwyn, our driver, didn’t know the way, especially in the inky dark. Lucky we had Jean with us. The temperature had turned frigid, a surprise to all of us after the sunny afternoon stroll we’d taken. The dead grass was spongy with frost.

The hall was packed, the tables laid out with white linens and the men prepared the food. Tiny Christmas lights hung around the room brightened  lent a fe.stive. And balloons. It’s a party for grownups, but who doesn’t like balloons?

Midnight arrived as did the cake. Here’s to sister Jean on her 60th birthday.


The party’s over, but it had another interesting turn. I had mentioned to Michael’s brother, who is in real estate about a locked door  at Overbury farm and how it was killing me. He smiled and promised there was a way to satisfy my curiosity.


Next on November 25th – New Year’s Day

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Abbreviated Vancouver


Penelakut to Thetis Island

An announcement reminded foot passengers to leave the ferry first when we docked because the ferry could not dock at the exact entry due to high tide (global warming). Then vehicle passengers were announced. A city bus awaited within walking distance to transport passengers to their jobs or other destinations. Instead of a streetcar, subway, train or their own car, people actually traveled this way every day. What a way to get to work and back. I wouldn’t want to do it every day.

Mary took the elevator since we were on the second floor. Jean and I raced down the stairs and waited for the elevator door to open. A couple girls pushed the button on the deck level. Nothing. Did this mean the elevator was stuck? We waited and waited. Michael scooted to the first level looking for her. The vehicles hadn’t begun moving off yet so we had a little time. It turns out Mary hadn’t been clear which level to get off. We had a good laugh, but the important thing was we were in the van and ready to move when our turn came to exit the ferry.

No time for sightseeing. We did last minute grocery shopping in Nanaimo before stopping in Chemainus for ice cream on our way to Penelakut Island and our second ferry to Thetis Island, our destination. We waited about 20 minutes—not a long line—hoping we’d make the cut and not have to wait for another one. This time the ferry was smaller and open. The deck wasn’t full even behind us. We’d started out at 6:10 a.m. and finally arrived at our lodgings for a late lunch. A long day already.



I had no concept how large Thetis was but it didn’t feel like an island. We passed a fenced off Bible School and a cattle farm. The houses painted in lilac, green, and butter yellow had neat and pretty yards. Around bends and curves, we wound, the muddy gravel road neither straight nor boring.

Michael, Jean’s husband, entered Overberry Resort first to register our arrival at the office and pic up a key. This is the entrance.

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The building is divided into thirds. Our side offered three bedrooms, a kitchen and a bath (our lodgings). The entrance way and foyer were in the middle, and the owners lived in the last third.

We had a quick lunch of assorted cheeses, crackers, pate and squash soup Jean had brought from home. Scrumptious. Afterwards, a nap seemed in order, but Jean realized the late hour and called out she and Michael had to go to the Community Center to setup for the meet-and-greet later in the evening. Whoever was available would come from the Center to pick us up for dinner.

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By 5:00 p.m. it was pitch black outside, but I spied a hydro pole as the light came on at the top of the driveway.

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Here are older Images for overbury Resort. Much reconstruction and renovations have occurred to present day.

Next on November 18th – New Year’s Eve Day and Evening

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Abbreviated Vancouver


An Abbreviated Vancouver Adventure

Last December, sister Mary and I flew to Vancouver for sister Jean’s 60th birthday. The direct flight took four hours and forty minutes. The snack and refreshment cart rattled down the narrow isle after the first class passengers had been served—just three or four rows behind the cockpit ending the seat before us. No curtain of separation divided first class and the rest of the passengers. We ordered coffee. I received mine first and made a face. Mary noticed and tugged on the airline steward’s sleeve to change her order to mint tea.

“No, you cannot,” he said. “You’ve already had a turn.”

Of course, we thought him serious and therefore rude, until he grinned and giggled, laughter reaching his eyes. He was a rosy-cheeked, round fellow, with a belly which hung over his belt. The tousled-hair blonde female flight attendant was a larger woman than hired in years gone by. How refreshing life is becoming more realistic these days.


I cannot believe I passed up a free, like-new book left on a brown refuse box inside the airport. My fingers itched for the thick Nora Roberts hardcover novel, but I was already weighed down enough.

After experiencing the Camino-like trek through Toronto airport, we loved Vancouver’s. The baggage claim located close to ground transportation, Jean and her husband met us as soon as Mary texted our arrival. The first rain clouds in a month hung mean and leaden, keen to greet us. This was to be a family get-together with no time for sightseeing.


Jean served a lovely snack at the house and later a late supper. The time to catch up turned to night. Weary from travel and excitement of seeing family again, we fell into bed midnight Vancouver time (9:00 p.m. in Ontario). The next morning, Mary and I slept in as Jean slipped out to a Yoga class and Michael dawdled in the kitchen assembling breakfast.

A day of eating, drinking, and talking till we were hoarse (necessitating more drinking) followed. After supper, Michael prepared a cauldron of chili (maybe it was a large pot). I threw together a filling for Jean’s petit choux (like one-bite cream puffs): artichokes, softened sun-dried tomatoes, cream cheese, and feta into a food processor for a coarse blend. These were in preparation for the festivities New Year’s Eve.


A day of accomplishing little, we finally called it a night around 11:30 p.m. I tossed and turned, bolting upright at a thunderous crack. I reacted by checking the shelves of books around us in the great room were intact. For a split second, I thought they’d exploded around us. The report sounded once and no more. My heart hammered on. Mary said it must be the wind.

The household was awake at 6:10 a.m.—ten minutes later than planned—to catch the ferry to Nanaimo. Seniors get a discount but only if they are residents. Michael paid for the tickets. No one mentioned half of us were from Ontario.

The early morning proved knuckle bleeding and foot stomping cold. We ran across and down the road to use the facilities due to our early arrival. Hurry up and wait, but that’s the unwritten rule. If you want to get on, arrive as close to the front of the line as you can before space runs out on board for your car.

The mountains striking and the water calm, we enjoyed breakfast on board at around $10.00 each for eggs, home fries, toast, and choice of ham, sausages, or bacon. Our crossing across the Georgia Straits on the Coastal Renaissance transpired without incidence.


Next on November 11th – Penelakut to Thetis Islands

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Abbreviated Vancouver