How the Cookie Crumbles

Life in the fast and slow lanes after SIXTY-FIVE


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Move Over Oprah

I’m too easy—and maybe simple too. The absolute truth is I know I’m easy to please. Maybe not quite that easy, still, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

When I was much younger, I could never make up my mind about anything—so many choices you see. Also, because anything was possible, I had a problem making up my mind. I drove more than one cashier in the variety store insensible with impatience while I chose penny candy on the occasion I had a quarter to spend. That’s all behind me now. These days, I don’t need much other than the basics. In no particular order, I also enjoy wine, books, a phone and, of course, access to the Internet (which is iffy around here of late).

Now what excite me are the little things.  Allow me to borrow a cliché: Do small things amuse small minds? Nothing’s wrong with my mind; I prefer an uncomplicated life now: quiet and unassuming.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Permit me to spill my guts. My latest discovery is the humble can opener. I used to have an electric one in my last house (attached at eye-level over the sink), but when I moved, I decided not to deface my awesome new kitchen cupboards. I stuck it out with an old-fashioned manual opener until it became too blunt, I suppose, and cranking on that useless device made my eyes bleed wrecked my fingers.

I kept forgetting to buy a new one. A few weeks ago, I chucked the rusted old pain-in-the-wrists and bought a new one: Starfit in white; under $10.00; works smooth as butter; slices off the whole top of the can, not just the lid; painless to use—and whisper quiet. It was love at first sight.

Starfit

Starfit

And now, every time I need to open a can—which sad to say isn’t often—I smile and turn pink with pleasure. I pat my new domestic-device-friend and we get the job done.

See what I mean? I’m easy to please, and when I’m happy, I’m over-the-top ecstatic. If only everything in life was this simple. Sigh.

I cannot afford even one of Oprah’s favourite things, but do I care? I prefer the simple life now. Should Oprah want one as well, they can be found anywhere.

< * >

What should you replace but keep putting off?

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Please note:  This is not a paid endorsement. I’m just sharing my enthusiasm.

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48 Comments

Plan A, B, and C

What’s going on with my fingers? Have I somehow rubbed off the prints we’re all endowed with at birth? I know you can’t see them, but I always pictured these invisible lines as working the way the rubber fingers we wore at work (on our forefinger), to flick through lots of paper, or to count piles of money.

Here’s a crazy idea. Maybe these little digits need a light sanding. You know, like roughing up old walls to help new primer or paint stick? Don’t mind me, when I’m desperate almost anything is worth a try.

Some days, I have no problem at all. My attempt to turn the page of a magazine, newspaper or the pages of a book is successful; other days I’m all thumbs. I pinch the page at the bottom corner and rub using my thumb on the top side and my forefinger and middle finger on the bottom. Nothing.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Plan B: I wet my forefinger (I lick it when no-one’s looking—don’t tell) and try again. By now I’m not only frustrated, I see red. Why won’t the stubborn pages separate? I don’t swear as a rule yet a string of words I’ve never heard before spew out of my mouth and surround my head like a blue cloud.

Time for Plan C, the last and most ridiculous endeavor: blow at the bottom outer corner of the paper. For no particular reason, and a surprise to me, on occasion this works. I haven’t resolved why, and this also makes me wild.

In a coffee shop not long ago, I opened a novel to enjoy with my Java. I noticed a man close-by, reading. I don’t like to intrude but sometimes I’m uncouth. Seeing a stranger anywhere, with a book in his or her hand or underneath an arm, is enough excuse to strike up a conversation, “Whatcha reading?” This time I didn’t get a chance, though.

This man—about my age, maybe a day or two older—appeared immersed in his hardcover. Darn if he didn’t experience the same challenge of turning pages as I have. How is it he was familiar with my Plans A, B and C? As he blew the pages apart, I almost laughed out loud and had an urge to clap, but I restrained it. I may be ill-mannered by asking total strangers silly questions, but I wasn’t about to call attention to myself. It was a comfort I’m not the only one with this affliction..

I’m still stumped why I can’t turn pages more often now than in the past. Are my no-longer-agile-fingers to blame, or can I use the excuse it’s the paper’s fault?

A light bulb just went off: the next time I’m in this fix, I’ll stick my fingers into the jam jar before I pinch the pages. I’m positive this will work. Why hadn’t I thought of this before rather than struggle through all my hit-or-miss Plans?

Do you have an answer to this dilemma?


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Flash in the Pan: Galley

Trina rushed towards the restaurant, checking her watch. Swollen clouds ruptured three blocks from her destination. As she click-clacked up the sidewalk, soaked, her heel caught and the concrete whooshed up to meet her nose.

“Let me help you.” A firm hand grasped her arm, but too late. Hose ripped and knees bleeding, she turned towards the husky voice.

“I’m alright. You can let go now.” Trina shook off the warm fingers and swayed to her feet, clutching a package to her chest.

Probing eyes examined her. “You’re a mess. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

“No, I’ve an appointment at the Galley Pump Bistro. There,” she pointed.

Chin down, his shoulders shook. “Me too.”

Trina glared and hobbled forward, one heel missing, rain dripping from her eyelashes.

The Maître de bounced on his heels. “Mr. Dave Eagers’ table, please.”

I’m Dave Eagers.”

She turned. “Are you sure? I—your manuscript.”

pages-of-the-book

~ * ~

The word limit for Galley is 150 words. I used all 150. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for the rules and join us.


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You Light Up My Life

Quick—no cheating. How many lights are on in your house? Forget the ceiling, think lower, say eye-level or thereabouts. Can you believe this list?

  1. Nightlight in the bathroom
  2. Nightlight in the kitchen
  3. Clock on the stove
  4. Clock on the microwave
  5. Digital Clock radio and alarm in bedroom
  6. TV black box
  7. DVD player
  8. Stereo (light on whether in use or not)
  9. Cordless Dirt Devil in the laundry-room (at the ready when required)
  10. Printer (always on)
  11. PC Woofer (always on)
  12. Modem (on most of the day)
  13. PC Tower (on most of the day)
  14. PC Monitor (on most of the day)
  15. Cordless phone home base (always)

Some time ago, I heard talk one might save on hydro if TVs and PCs and their supporting hardware are unplugged when not in use. When might that be?

I see only three items in my list which are not in use all day long. I might be tempted to unplug them, but I need to know the payoff to me first. Would I remember to disconnect on a regular basis? Supposedly, most electronics now have a snooze mode when not in use (in limbo during coffee break), but I’m not sure what that does exactly. No-one explains when you buy all the new-fangled electronics how much energy you are saving when they are in sleep mode.

Recently, a full page in the newspaper advertised it’s possible to save 20% off your hydro bill. Call us and we’ll show you how. What’s the big secret? Why not include the tips in the same ad?

When I started this post, my intention wasn’t to talk about hydro savings. I wanted to count how many current electronic necessities in our lives are always ON: with tiny red, green or yellow beacons.  Why do I need tiny lights, I’m not working in the dark.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

  1. Even when I shut off my PC, why don’t the monitor, woofer/ speaker and printer shut off too? They’re all plugged into the same  power bar and CPU. Aren’t they?
  2. When my stereo (which I never use anymore) is off, a red light stays on anyway. Always.
  3. Since my DVD player and black box are connected to my TV, why do I need to manually power down each separately after the television is off?

See what I mean? Why do we need all these little lights when B is connected to A as is C etc.? Seems to me there must be a better way, especially IF by shutting them all off means $$ in your pocket: one button, one switch.

Excluding my TV, DVD, and radio, almost all the above are in use from morning until night—at my house—I know at yours too, right?

~~~

I want to confirm there is more to me than my interest in Flash and Bog Hops and commenting on blogs. I worry about life, the price of eggs and hydro. I  volunteer, take classes and look after my grandkids. Sometimes, I even participate in social activities (at least a couple of times a year–when I find time). I’m a go-go-go grandma. My days vanish in a flash.

With all these machines to lighten the load, do work faster, and have more time on my hands, I find I have less. I’m retired to heavens sakes!

And life costs more.

And I am technically challenged but I do have bright ideas.

And I’m always scrambling to find time to read!


22 Comments

Let’s Cut the Crap!

A blogger wondered today where / how the backstory to my blog’s name, Let’s Cut the Crap, originated. Perhaps I had a post titled as such, she inquired?

No-one else has asked before. Now that I’ve brought it up, let me explain. At this point in my life I don’t have time to beat around the bush. I’m not here to sugar coat anything I post. If interesting insights into my life strike me, I’ll laugh about them here. So far, only my knees give me a headache. The name struck me as attention-grabbing, as well as coming off as no-nonsense.

Shortly after our exchange, I read an interesting article and by golly I have a post titled as such now. This is it.

I found the following post, mid-day, because unexpected free time fell into my lap. My jaw dropped after only a few paragraphs. By the time I was half-way through reading, I knew David Gaughran’s post must be shared with all of you.

http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/publishers-behaving-badly-part-ive-lost-count/

Are you ready for this? I may not yet have experience with the big publishing world, but I realize the new reality for writers is developing into a cutthroat game of who gets the money. It’s all in the article.

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You will notice I’m posting mid-afternoon on Friday, something unheard of here. Today is the end of March Break for my grandchildren as well as for their other grandmother.  They have all gone swimming leaving me with an unexpected afternoon of freedom. Maybe I’ll manage to do some catching up or grab a book and disappear into its covers. Eh?

 


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Hot Flash x2

“There you are. Everything okay in here?”

Janie’s delicate lips quivered. “I broke-ted my storybook. Look.” She wailed brokenhearted, and clutched the book to her heaving little chest.

Vicky scooped up her daughter. “Don’t worry, honey. It was an accident. Mommy will fix it.”

MB900440659

 The word limit for Brokenhearted is 50 words. I used 44 today. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for rules and contributions.

~ * ~

“Thank you for coming in, Mrs. Walsh.”

 Martha’s heart pounded like a jungle drum.

 “We interviewed you last October?”

 She nodded and patted her graying hair.

 “Good news. Hotel Bianca would like to hire you as Head Housekeeper.”

Martha clapped her hands then dropped them, her face creased with delight.

MB900045255

 The word limit for Elated is 50 words. I used all 50. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for rules and contributions.


24 Comments

Flash in the Pan – Book

The pre-schooler colours with solemn concentration. Wispy blonde hair tumbles over her face. She peers up beneath dark lashes.

“Ga-mah?”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Whatcha reading?”

“Hm, about a girl with indigo eyes, who likes to draw, and colour—like you.”

“Are you finished now?”

“Yes. Why?”

“I wanna show you somefing.”

Rachael dashes down the hall and returns hands behind her back.

“What’s that?”

“A new book—look! Mommy got it. Ga-mah? Read me a story?”

“Come,” Grandma pats her lap.

“Ga-mah, Can I have a apple first?”

“Of course,” Grandma waves forward. “Come.”


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Flash in the Pan – Wake

They were siblings, five (Able) and almost nine (Ready). As girls will, they fought like cats and dogs—sometimes.

Able:  You are wrecking my life. You almost ribbed my new book.

Ready:  You pushed me—like this—with your elbow. I’m telling Daddy.

Able: You are in Grade 3, almost four, Ready, and eight—almost nine. I’m just little. But I know the rules. Big sisters have-ta look after little sisters. I’m not mad at you, but you’re not nice to me.

Ready: You are such a crybaby. I’m still telling Daddy. I’m going to play Moshi Monsters on Daddy’s Laptop.

Able: Wake for me, Wake for me!

~ * ~

Click http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for the rules of this challenge.

The word limit for Wake is 125 words. I used 110.


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Curious Meets Crazy

I hate cold coffee and am forever reheating a cup in the microwave. Why does the mug handle end up in the back even when I place it facing out, or, no matter how long it spins to reheat?

My old washing machine ate socks; I became used to losing them and expected the loss. What changed? The new machine hasn’t gobbled any—even once—in four years. What gives?

When are you officially a senior? 50? 55? 60? 65? Businesses used to offer discounts on a wide range of products and services for customers age fifty and over. Once the demographic reports on baby boomers came out, perks dwindled, an inch at a time. Too many seniors are approaching age sixty-five. Why is this information a surprise?

McDonald’s offers seniors a coffee discount—size small only. Some ‘franchises’ don’t offer any reduction at all. Others give you the same price cut whether you order a small or a large cup. Why the differences?

Why do meteors fall through the atmosphere but don’t hit anything? I’m pleased not to hear of catastrophic damages, but why is it they never hit any cities or tall buildings? Why are burned remnants always found in remote areas? How lucky are we?

Why do I always want to do something else when I’m in the middle of any particular project? Even when I’m half-way into an absorbing book, another one catches my eye; I’m impatient to get into the new one no matter how exciting the current one I’m reading.

Why is my cat driving me crazy? I threw drop-sheets on my sofa to discourage her from playing Tarzan. She found an opening no matter how I draped, tucked or arranged the sheets to drag on the floor. She discovered a new game called ‘run under the drop-sheets and hang on the sofa underneath’. Alright! W-e-e-e-e. Will my sofa last until next Monday morning and her manicure appointment?


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Is It Too Late To Follow The Dream?

I am pleased and honoured to share with you the following guest post.

Angela Ackermanis one half of The Bookshelf Muse blogging duo, and co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.  Listing the body language, visceral reactions and thoughts associated with seventy-five different emotions, this brainstorming guide is a valuable tool for showing, not telling, emotion. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, in the shadow of the Rockies, with her family, dog and one slightly zombie-like fish.

~ * ~

How many times have you run into someone, and when it comes out that you’re a writer, they say, “You’re so lucky. I would love to write a book someday.” Or maybe a spark lights up in their eyes as they tell you this great idea they have for a story, or their hands get all animated as they describe a novel they read, falling right back into that world.

What you’re seeing is Passion. It might be only a glimmer, or a full-out flame, but either way, there’s something big going on inside them, if they only knew how to set it free.

I’ve run into a lot of writers-in-waiting:  people who love books and to read, who have big imaginations and who enjoy the lyrical nature of how words fit together. Maybe they journal, or fiddle with poems or haikus, or create jingles in their mind as they watch cheesy TV commercials. The point is, they are writers in all but name. Oh, if only they knew!

Sometimes when they tell me I’m lucky to be a writer, I’ll ask them, “Well, why don’t you become one too?”

Often than glow that lit them up only a second before clouds over. They say things like, “Oh but I couldn’t. That’s just a dream. I don’t know a thing about writing.” Or, “I don’t have time between work and the kids and the gardening and the house. In fact, did you see the peeling paint on the fence? I have to get on that soon or the whole thing will rot away…” and the conversation becomes a list of chores needing to be done, work waiting to fill the hours.

It makes me sad, because that writer-in-waiting is still inside, wanting to be let free. It wants to be more than a dream. It wants to make the journey.

Being a writer (or following any dream for that matter), takes courage. We come into it knowing little, but passion sustains us and then bit by bit, we learn and grow. Sometimes it’s about waiting for the right time, but mostly it’s about MAKING TIME.

Our world is so busy and frantic. There are bills to pay yes, and housework and meetings and kids circling like piranhas asking about dinner, but there is also passion. Make time for it. If you want to write, pick up a pen. Apply to paper. Let the words flow. No matter where you are in life, how old or young you are, it’s never too late to turn a dream into a reality.