How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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


#BlogBattle Week 29 – Prompt Ride

The brains behind this challenge can be found at



  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a linkback to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/orinclude a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive this awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage:



Victoria hated long-distance driving. Hazel eyes gritty, she pulled into her new street and coasted to the curb. The red brick house still charmed her as much as the first time she’d seen it a month earlier. The realtor must have hired someone to trim the lawn and sweep the driveway. Was that a special service? She blinked bleary eyes for moisture and chuckled. Birds twittered along the tree-filled road graced with only eleven houses and an elementary school tucked in one corner of the dead-end street. She flicked off the car radio and gaped with wonder. The sun sneaked over the horizon. Sleepy heads lingered in dreamland in the safety of their beds early on this Saturday.

Six months ago, Victoria wouldn’t have imagined any of the recent changes in her life: a promotion, the move 600 miles to a strange town and a house. A house, not an apartment. She released the brake and drifted into the driveway, the Chevy’s motor a soft purr.


“We’re home, Marmaduke. Come on. I’ll show you around.” She glanced into the rear-view mirror before slipping out of the car. She vibrated with excitement.


She grasped the cat carrier from the back seat, keys already pointed towards the side door. “Gotcha. You’re going to love it here. So will I.”

The side entrance area was small, understandable for an 80-year-old house. She tripped up the handful of stairs to the main floor. “Oooh.” The living-room furniture had been arranged the way she’d planned in her head: the taupe sofa in the center of the space, facing the fireplace, her black area rug laid between the two. Down the hall boxes marked ‘kitchen’ cluttered the counters. The table and chairs were arranged for instant use. A huge basket wrapped in cellophane sat dead center. Coffee, tea, and mugs waited within. No need to search through her own boxes yet.


“I know, sweetie.” Zip. “Out you come.”

The white and ginger-smudged cat poked his head out and sniffed, pointed face cautious. He leaped towards the couch, changed direction and looped down the hall to investigate. Victoria stepped out to the car for her coffee-maker and luggage. While the coffee brewed, she slipped upstairs. Her bed set up beneath the sloped ceiling in the story-and-a-half awaited only sheets and blankets. “Oooh, Sam, what a jewel you are.” The spare bedroom had also been put to rights.

She’d anticipated the movers’ arrival first due to her own late start and the realtor had agreed to let them in, but this was far beyond her expectations. Too early now, but I must call Sam before lunch to thank her.

* * *

Marmaduke sprang out of her arms into a Meerkat look-out stance. She clutched at the cat, but he escaped to her feet, front paws on the armrest. He gawked at the intruders, tail thumping against the cushion. Victoria sat up and locked eyes with two raggedy children in her living-room’s threshold, hands clutching each other.

“Hello.” She rubbed her eyes. It was still daylight. Noting the mug too close to the edge of the coffee table, she pushed it back to safety. Guess I fell asleep… She swallowed a yawn.

“Your cat gots spots like a cow. You gots kids?” The shorter girl peered over her shoulder and stepped forward dragging her older sister along. The taller girl’s eyes grew by the second.

“No, I don’t. What are your names?”

“I’m Sarah—I’m four. That’s Sylvie—she’s seven. She don’t talk.”

“Nice to meet you. How’d you get in?”

Sarah giggled into her hand. “We comed in the door. You gots cookies?”

Victoria shook her head. “I just moved in—haven’t bought groceries yet. Where’s your mother?”

“She’s asleep on the bed with my brodder. He’s our new baby.”

“Where do you live?”

“Next door.” Sarah pointed in the direction of the side door. The girls spun round and raced down the stairs and outside before Victoria hopped off the sofa to follow. She watched the ragamuffins sprint down her drive hands clasped as if glued together.

From an all adult building to a house and now to kids in the neighborhood… What a ride the last month’s been. I hope this isn’t a mistake.

* * *

Marmaduke swooped from one window sill to another till he’d settled on the one fronting the street. “Say hello to the school kids for me since I’ll never see them.” Victoria stroked his head before leaving each morning at 7:00 and sometimes long after suppertime upon her return. The cat settled in the same spot all day seemed to never move.

Over the next month, she saw little of the neighbors except in passing, but she heard plenty through her open windows during the early fall. The baby bawled loud and hearty. His father, Steve’s rusty Ford broadcast its comings and goings with a howling muffler.

One Friday morning the sky opened up and gushed rain as if it might never stop. Victoria became drenched in the short sprint to her car. Running late, she gunned the Chevy out of the driveway and around the corner, where it quit. Not another vehicle in sight, she tried starting it. No luck. Again. Nothing.

She whipped out her phone to call CAA, but couldn’t hear for the deafening noise. Passing in the opposite direction, her neighbor, Steve, stopped and smirked. He wound down his window as did she. “Need a ride?”

Her head bobbed like a dashboard dummy. What choice did she have?


© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


On the Yangtze River: Day 13, Part 1

(Sorry, no photos for this post)

I awoke at 5:50. Outside, the weather looked dull and overcast and / or foggy—not smog, I hoped.   I called it misty because we were on the water after all. The previous night, we’d set sail around 10:00 p.m., but were stationary when Sue and I went to breakfast.

Sue had played with the alarm clock the night before, not sure if it would work. It buzzed at 6:20 a.m., exactly as she’d set it, but we were already up.

The shower tiny, but efficient, had a rounded, two-door closure, one shoved toward the other till they met in the center. If I hadn’t been forced in front of this seam blocking water like a shield, the floor would have been drenched. I’m pleased to report the water was hot.



We went to the Early Bird breakfast (7:00 – 7:30 a.m.) for the free coffee and arrived at 6:55. It was pleasant to linger over three coffees and sweet rolls.

I didn’t take inventory at breakfast 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.), but I had a hard-boiled egg, buns covered in sunflower seeds, strawberry jam, yogurt (plain and watery, but sweet—maybe too sweet), white cheese slices. No need to rush to Early Bird the next day as the coffee was free at the regular breakfast as well. What was Ivy, our presenter the previous night, thinking when she advised it was only free at 7:00 a.m.? Maybe it was the way she said it that we’d misunderstood. I had the feeling she was quite proud of her English and I confess it was quite good and 1000 percent better than my Chinese. Maybe she meant coffee was available for early risers?

I chose to pass on the morning excursion to the Red Cliffs (9:00 – 11:00), not because I had a need to be alone, but because I wanted some free time, and to wash out a few things and relax. Sue, however, looked forward to this tour.

Images of Red Cliffs Ruins in Chibi,+images+of+ruins&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&espv=2&biw=1093&bih=514&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=z3eLVJXOJJegyASA0IHoCQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ

While I enjoyed some lazy time sitting on the balcony, the maid came in to make up the room. I told her she didn’t need to, we would. No. She had to do it. After making the beds, she’d gone into the bathroom and came right out again. “One towel and one face cloth missing.” Eyes wide, her hands and voice trembled. I almost laughed aloud.

“I washed some tee shirts and wrapped one in the towel to draw out the water faster.”

“You can give to Laundry.” She pulled herself together and reached for the pricing brochure on the desk.

“Maybe next time,” I said even as I had no intention on following through with my lie. I unrolled my Tees and handed over the towel and face cloth.

The Yangtze is a true yellow, and dirty, harboring floating junk here and there. All the junk was small and a few branches, not large chunks of anything. I couldn’t help picturing someone emptying a bucketful of cigarette butts as I saw those as well. In spots I noticed large and small ripples as if there were a sandbar underneath—I hoped not. I knew the ripples weren’t from the ship stirring the water because we weren’t moving, but waited for the excursion group to return.

Lots of rusting barges and tugboats transported coal, sand, and gravel. I couldn’t imagine anyone fishing in this river. Would they? A blue ship with three white decks passed by. Automobiles took up every square inch of deck space. I can’t recall what make the cars were, though.

After Sue left, an alarm went off. An announcement over the PA advised this was a fire drill, but to stay in our cabins. The drill was cancelled a while later, and I decided to go to Reception to use the Internet.

The second floor was chock full of crew members wearing life-jackets over gorgeous blue uniforms. It appeared a health and safety meeting was in progress. A handsome, thirty-something man in a navy uniform (the only one with gold braiding on the cuffs and outfitted with a life-jacket as well), stood aside to allow me past. Face hot, I plodded through the other end of the same group again as I burned my way to Reception.


Next on December 19, On the Yangtze River, Day 13, Part 2 (

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups Week #130

‘What is 100WCGU?

This week’s prompt: … but it has nuts in…



Charlie leaned beneath the rusted hood again. What genius unloaded this useless wreck on my son?

“Where’d you get this old rattletrap, LeRoy?”

“It was free, Pop.”

“Not worth anything, that’s sure.”

“I want to fix and drive it.”

Charlie jerked his head out too fast and banged his head. “Ow!” Dead cigar clamped hard between his yellowed teeth, he shook his head. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?”

“Won’t cost nothing neither. I found this box of…”

“Doesn’t matter.”

But it has nuts in here, bolts and screws.”

“What you need is an engine, boy. Got one in there, do you?”


Flash in the Pan – Models

Tiny led the way, cupping his hand at shoulder height in a come-hither fashion.


“Ahh.” His friend, Sammy, whimpered and bit a knuckle as he crashed into the hallway wall.

“Don’t be such a girl. Do you want to see or not?” Tiny turned the glass doorknob to the last room.

“W-oo-w! How come you never showed me before?” Sammy shoved up his thick glasses.

Tiny pushed out his chest and rocked on his heels. “Didn’t think you’d be interested?”

“Awesome. How many models are here?”

“About a hundred, different years and makes. Don’t touch.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“Took your brother a long time, huh? You ever help?”

“Nah. The glue smell makes me puke.”

This black car—oops.”

“I said…”

Sammy’s mouth dropped. Eyes enormous, he let out a squeal.


On his knees, ears on fire, Tiny’s chin whipped over his shoulder.

“What are you boys doing in here?”


~ * ~

The Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan is here. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. For rules and how to join, click:

The word limit for Models is 150 words. I used them all.


Flash in the Pan – Blocks

Danny Maloonie ground his teeth for the third time in five minutes. Snow swirled and gusted across his windshield. The devil of winter and enemy of cars had arrived.

“Was snow forecast?” He glared at his younger brother, Frank, who shrugged.

“If it had, we’d still have to get home.”

“Yeah, yeah. Dad would pop a kidney if we didn’t come when summoned.” Danny slumped.

1971_dodge_challenger-pic-3053“What could have happened?”

“I don’t care. Damn snow. I’m not ready to put this car on blocks for the winter.”

“It’s a car, bro, not your girlfriend.”

“What do you know? A’71 Dodge Challenger is special, and I paid for it myself.”

“Turn that up, will you?” The announcement blared, ‘Mattress King, Sean (Shinbone) Maloonie has suffered a heart attack…’ Frank cut the radio.

Mouths dropped, the young men gawked at each other. “Uncle Sean? No way,” they said together.

Frank blinked. “Poor Dad.”

~ * ~

The Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan is here. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. Rules and how to join, click:

The word limit for Blocks is 150 words. I used them all.


Flash in the Pan – Car

Every second Friday T.C. banked his paycheck, withdrawing the barest minimum for smokes, pool and beer. Afterwards, he hoofed home for supper before meeting the guys at the pool hall.

The door slammed hard with a thump. “That you, T.C?” His father’s voice cracked.

“Yes, sir? Everything okay?”

His father jumped up and paced. “Sit.” Humph. “Old Murph’s ready to let go of the ‘71 Mustang.”

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

T.C. stared, jaw flapping like plastic in the wind.

“Want to pay a visit after supper?”

The teenager nodded, luminous eyes enormous. “I’ve loved that car—geez—no kidding?”


“What shape’s it in?”

~ * ~

The Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan is here. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. For the rules and how to join, click:

The word limit for Car is 100 words. I used them all.


Flash in the Pan – Lunatic

“Get off the Road!” The engorged veins in Eddy’s neck appeared ready to burst. Rain splattered the car windows. Whoosh. Whoosh. The wipers slogged back and forth.

“What’s he doing in the middle of the road? Stop. Maybe we can help.”

“We’ll be late, Pam. You wanna be late because of some lunatic?”

“Maybe it’s important.”

“He’s going to cause an accident or become one.” No visible traffic, Eddie coasted closer. He down-buttoned the window. Rain drenched face and hair in an instant. “Hey, buddy. Off. The. Road.” The downpour drowned him out.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

Marlene pushed out of the car towards the figure palming asphalt. She knelt on the soaked blacktop and grabbed his shoulder, new coif flattened and drenched despite her umbrella. “Can. I. Help?”

Streaming blood-red eyes and unshaven face stared back. He shrugged.


“I. Lost. Her. Ring…”

Marlene blinked. “Whose?”

“My wife’s…died last night…my pinkie…smoking…opened car window…”

~ * ~

This is the new Fall Quarter of Flash in the Pan. The theme is Disturbed.

The word limit for Lunatic is 150 words. I used them all.

Check how to join:


Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Check out the rules and join us. Other submissions are at the bottom of this post.

sunday_snippets2These are the next 250 words from Whatever Will Be. The beginning can be found here . I’ve made some changes as suggested, but will not waste your time by reposting revised content.

~ * ~

A go-cart race; something to look forward to, she thought, heading towards Barney’s for an ice-cream cone. Rosie took a grateful breath of the fishy summer air and closed her eyes. She loved life in this village and had been delighted when her father moved the family from North Bay to Raven Lake. Fishing and swimming were practically at her doorstep, and she’d fallen in love with the eerie and mournful cry of the loons. If only Jerri came to her senses instead of mooning over The Dog.

At the bottom of George Street, Rosie spotted the image of her sister’s delusion draped languidly across the hood of his blue Chevy like a hood ornament. The Dog, hatless but wearing sunglasses, saluted a fellow limping in his direction. Rosie slipped behind a worm-hollowed telephone pole. She held her breath and strained to eavesdrop.

“Well, speak of the devil. Cowboy! Where ya been? What’s going on, eh? The Dog folded his arms and rearranged his limbs on the hood as if posing for a centerfold.

“Hi, Dog, been to Toronto to visit my ma. She’s in hospital, but in good hands.” He swept off his cowboy hat and wiped his brow with the rolled up sleeve of his off-white shirt. Dark hair matted and damp, curled at his neckline. For a short, slight fellow, Cowboy knew how to carry himself large. Favouring his weaker leg, he two-stepped closer to The Dog but didn’t touch the car. The breeze off the lake, within spitting distance, blew an inconsequential breeze now and again, but wasn’t worth notice.

~ * ~

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!


Flash in the Pan: Corner

Rain pelted all day. By 10:30, Rose fought a deluge. Lights flashed around the corner.

An accident, she thought.

The row of cars crept. An officer leaned in, almost nose-to-nose, bringing rain.

“Have you been drinking tonight?”

“No, sir!” she said, blinking, brow furled.

“Your car hesitated and weaved back there.” He pointed backwards.

“No, sir. Not me. It’s the rain—recital.” She blew air into his face.

“Go ahead.”

The asphalt appeared greasy; the streetlights shimmering.

Wikimedia Commons Car Crash

This hill is steep

Rose hydroplaned at the bottom, crashing into the cement light post.


Bleak night, altered black.

~ * ~

Click for the rules of this challenge.

The word limit for Corner is 125 words. I used 97.

~ * ~

NaNoWriMo undate:  I know at least one person who can do this in a DAY. My word count to date is 26,846, Day 13. Don’t forget I’m a NaNo VIRGIN (ha ha–sounds GOOD to ME), but, it’s only 8:20 p.m. here. Life insinuates itself, so, I might not be done yet– I have until midnight…