How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


A Poor Man’s Meal

I’ve been locked in technical hell lately. A week ago my six-month-new Brother printer started jamming (nothing to do with music, but it was playing havoc with my nerves). No matter how many times I removed the paper, checked the paper tray, straightened and ruffle the paper, it had made up its mind to drive me crazy. I called Brother support. After scanning my bill  and e-mailing it to them to prove purchase, the lovely young lady in Montreal said she was sending me a new one.

A new one? OMG! It arrived two day’s later. Inside the box was a prepaid UPS sticker for return of the old-new one.

The same weekend, I was in my e-mail account where I receive all my blogs.  I can’t recall what I was doing but a yellow banner appeared across the top of my page with this warning:

We’ve noticed some unusual activity in your Hotmail account. To help protect you and everyone else, we’ve temporarily blocked your account. To unblock it, verify your account.”

To verify my account, they ask for a cell number so they can text back a code. I do NOT have text messaging. All communication with MSN has been one-sided (in that I cannot respond to their e-mails–you can’t reply to). I’m still NOT able to send mail from that account. I CAN open and read blogs and comment. It’s like we are not speaking the same language. I was also TOLD they cannot discuss with me what kind of  ‘activity’ they are talking about. I didn’t even ask. Might anyone have had a similar experience?

You’ve been getting my comments when I’ve had time to read your blogs but I haven’t responded  to any e-mail. I am not ignoring anyone. My apologies?

o O o

I’ve had a few requests for the following after an earlier post. Why I like this recipe is you don’t use mayo.  This is no longer a poor man’s or woman’s meal. The price of canned tuna is climbing as the size of the can is getting smaller. Does 170 grams sound about right where you live? When you drain the water, it’s supposed to be 120 grams of fish or so the can suggests.


Tuna Salad

1can (15 ounces) white navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (9 ounces) water-packed canned tuna, drained and flaked

1 clove garlic, minced (more if you like)

3 ribs sliced and chopped (1/4” each) celery

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice + zest of  ½ lemon

Salt and black pepper

 Drain and rinse beans. Drain tuna. Toss into a large bowl. Add garlic, celery, garlic, lemon and zest. Add salt and pepper. Toss well. Add oil just so it’s not dry. Toss. Yum.

Adding crusty bread makes this a  nice light lunch. Also, you can toss some of this mixture onto a green salad (a quarter cup or so, up to you).

o O o

Originally this recipe called for thinly sliced celery (one or two ribs) but I like crunchy so I dice and lots (up to six stalks). They add bulk so there’s more salad.

Also, I sometimes add chopped sundried tomatoes (in oil) and skip the OVOO, as much as you like). Play with it and I hope you enjoy.

This is better fresh but yes you can store in the fridge overnight. It’s best at room temperature, however.


Your Daily Survival Guide for the New Year . . .

I am giving you  a SURVIVAL  KIT  to help you each  day…

 TOOTHPICK to remind you  to pick the good qualities in everyone, including yourself.

RUBBER BAND to remind  you to be flexible.

Things might not  always go the way you want, but it can be worked out.
BAND-AID to remind you to heal hurt feelings, either yours or someone else’s.
ERASER to remind you  everyone makes mistakes. That’s okay, we learn by our errors.
CANDY KISS … to remind you everyone needs a hug or a compliment everyday.
MINT to remind you  that you are worth a mint to your family & Me.
BUBBLE GUM … to remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything.
PENCIL to remind you to list your blessings every day.
 TEA BAG to remind  you to take time to relax daily and go over that list of God’s  blessings.

This is what makes life worth living every minute, every day!
Disclaimer: The credit is NOT mine. I am not the author of this Survival Guide. I thought it was cute enough to post from an e-mail I received recently. Every little bit helps!


A Different Kind of Christmas 2011

It seems the  gods are not on the same page as I am / we are. I’ve been cooking and preparing for a week for tonight’s traditional Christmas Eve feast. It’s not because I’m the first born that I’ve tried to squeeze in as much of the past into our new present. I like to think I’ve cooked like crazy trying to fill a void.

My potluck contribution was to have been two kinds of perioges and my mom’s updated version of cabbage rolls that have overgone many revisions over the years. I’d had no idea of the latest version till I checked the cookbook we published for mom’s 75th birthday. It contained mom’s secret recipes as well as a number of favourites we siblings had brought into the family.

Alas, my youngest granddaughter got the flu in the wee hours this morning. Because I had been hugging and kissing her around supper time last night and the fact that we all live at such close quarters, a decision had to be made. My son-in-law has a village of relatives with whom we come in contact at all special occasions—Christmas Day being one of them. A number of his relatives are elderly and a number are very young. In order not to spread germs to these two vulnerable groups, we cancelled Christmas. Pretty much. We decided it was kinder if we didn’t spread germs but not happily or easily.

This means, all my cooking and planning etc. has gone down the tubes. For the first time in my LIFE, the whole family has not been together on Christmas Eve. It feels awkward and strange. I am in an in-between-world tonight: neither Christmas Eve nor NOT Christmas Eve.

What I’ve learned today is that sometimes things really do change. They did last year at this time and then again today. I wonder who is really responsible for what’s been happening. I am not a superstitious person but then again, that’s not what this is about. Everything has changed beyond our control and we’ve had to adjust, just like everything in life that sometimes is not as obvious.

Regardless, A GIANT Merry Christmas to all!

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The Best Thanksgiving

We are all celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend. The local newspaper said it’s to be the best Thanksgiving in 5o years weatherwise. I recall another one many years ago. The trees had not disposed of all their brilliant leaves by the time the first snow fell. What a muddy mess in the spring for anyone having to rake up wet soggy leaves. That had been a great Thanksgiving too. I was the one doing the raking.

The trees are still not ready for the ball; they’re not all dressed in vibrant finery yet. Some are. Most are not. Will the snow fly before all the leaves are gone? Again? The trees in the north are ready. Here they are not.

Our family Thanksgiving dinner was yesterday. We sat 19 at the table. Had everyone shown up it would have been 26 place settings and another table. Currently, I have the eight-foot diningroom table and another foldup eight-foot, which gets put away when not in use. Looks like we’ll need another one of those and soon.

My son-in-law and I share the cooking for large gatherings as we live in the same house. I have a beautiful open-concept apartment in the basement with my own modern kitchen with lots of room for entertaining. He made turkey, BBQ smoked pork and meatballs (something for everyone), as well as stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes. I was responsible for the vegetables: corn, squash, sweet potato, carrots and turnip (cubed, mixed together), brussel sprouts (sliced thinly, braised, with nutmeg), red cabbage coleslaw with caraway dressing, freshly made cranberry sauce and a tossed salad (with pears, cranberries and feta cheese). Desserts were pumpkin pie (of course), various squares and a delicious apple cake.

The table groaned the last time we tried putting all the platters of food on the table. It was way to crowded too. This time I setup a buffet on my kitchen island. So much more orderly and civilized.

I’ve started a new tradition: eat all you want because everything on our Thanksgiving table has no calories!

Another year and another Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful and grateful for. How quickly the clock races. Faster every year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Everywhere.



I’m trying to understand something. It’s nothing especially noteworthy but I found it a bit facinating anyway. I feel there’s no other way to bring it up but to simply jump right in. Feet first. Eyes open. Devil may care.

Why is it that we ladies love drinking our wine? I’m not talking only of North Americans. I’ve entertained females from Japan, for example, who twitter, smile widely and perk right up when asked if they’d like a glass of wine. At a ‘certain age’, EVERYbody reacts similarily at least in my circle of friends. Suddenly the whole room or the two or three gathered together become more relaxed. You can almost see the shoulders drop a notch as we get more comfortable and sink a little more deeply into the sofa or chair we’re in. All is well with the world. We are having a GOOD time. Something to nibble on doesn’t hurt either. Can’t drink more than one or two glasses because you have to drive home but that’s enough. Had  such a GREAT time.

Later that night, you sleep the sleep of innocent lambs. No bathroom treks. Just a good, sound sleep.

On another night you’ve had a glass of WATER too close to bedtime (even three / four hours beforehand) and you’re up every five minutes wearing a path to the john. All night long. You make your way in the dark with your eyes closed while praying for sleep to come if you could just not have this urge that doesn’t amount to a lot anyway but one you simply cannot ignore. If you could just fall asleep quickly, the urge might get buried in slumber but then, what if you dream you’re getting up…?

Another scenario is you go to bed after a PARTY (lots of wine that night) and sleep like the dead and never get up even once—until 3:00 AM—when you’re wide awake and the hope of getting back to sleep vanishes.

Also, why is it when you need to get up early the next morning for whatever reason, you manage NOT to have any water since suppertime, you don’t imbibe ANY wine and still you cannot get the sleep you so deserve. It starts all over again. Every ten minutes. Up and down and up and down again. There’s just no help for it. Could be nerves maybe? Anxiety about not sleeping in? Nah. What then? Can’t fall asleep on command and the harder you try, the harder it is but why the ‘urge’ then? Maybe it’s just my age?

Wait. Just a minute. I think I have the answer. Instead of soldiering on without water since supper or not imbibing at all, it seems to me a glass of wine is just what the doctor ordered. You’ll sleep like a baby and not mess it up by trotting up and down the hallway in the dark or taking a chance of wetting the bed.

It seems to me that’s why I like my wine. I feel there are indeed benefits I, for one, can’t ignore. It’s relaxes me. I’m refreshed from uninterrupted sleep. I’m not worn out from having to walk miles in the dark, listening to the floors creak and the house sigh as if they understood but they’re simply pitying me. I get my beauty sleep. I’m not grouchy.I don’t have to worry about a soggy bed. Am I wrong? What about you?

I’m now blissfully retired (meaning tucked ‘in bed’ as well as happily ‘no longer working’).

Happiness is…

Mostly, it’s the little things that make me happy. At first look, they might seem small and meaningless but just wait till you get to be my age, you’ll appreciate them too. In the grand scheme of things, the smaller they seem, the greater the pleasure. Let you show you some of them—it’s not THAT funny!

  • finding the leftover chocolate when scavenging for a snack and not worrying how long it’s been there
  • finding my slippers in the middle of the night on the way to the can
  • finding I’ve pulled up the covers on the bed on the way to the bathroom so the bed’s nice and warm when I return. Yay.
  • not having to get up to the can more than once or twice a night. Burrrr.
  • the cat’s sleeping in and not waking me to feed him
  • sleeping past 6:00 AM
  • giving up on all those miracle creams that are NOT working their magic anymore
  • not forgetting to gas up before my trip so I won’t be stranded
  • finding my keys where I put them (in my purse)
  • finding my cell phone still has a charge
  • remembering my PIN number

If I could just remember where I’ve put my glasses, life would be almost perfect. Oh, by the way,  I can’t forget that my lip reading skills aren’t up to scratch yet so I have to keep asking my kids and grandkids to repeat the question…or is it the answer?


Hello world!

Let’s cut the crap! None of us is getting out of here ALIVE (much to my surprise—I don’t THINK so!). I’m making the choice to make the most of it. Hopefully I’ll grumble, whine and complain all the way to…you know where: that last vacation in the sky (none too loudly). You CAN stand out in the crowd and make everyone else miserable OR you can try to look on the bright side. There always is a bright side, isn’t there?

I’m a grandma and keep busy looking after my two grandkids. I read voraciously. I like my bookclubs because they aren’t boring. We eat, drink and talk books (eat and drink are the operative words). I’ve started golfing. I try to exercise although I can’t always manage to squeeze it into my day. I enjoy my friends and family. What else is there?

I’m economical  by choice. I get riled when people act like we have nothing to lose. Money doesn’t grow on trees; neither do our seemingly endless resources. Call me cheap if you want to but if you don’t know the value of a dollar by your mid-thirties, in your old age you WILL be poor. How will you survive? Everything keeps going up except for body parts being tugged downwards by gravity. Only two things are certain in this life and even the best of us can’t avoid them: death and taxes.

My quest is to grumble as quietly as I can manage to as Mother Nature disowns me inch by painful inch. I’ll TRY to own up to what’s happening and try to own it but I hope to find some joy into the journey.