How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


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So This is Christmas 2016

The gifts of generosity and kindness abound in my blogosphere. A sincere thank you to each and every one who has read, commented, and supported me in any way during 2016. I appreciate the camaraderie and friendships I have found here.

We are a community of novice and professional writers, crafters, poets, and artists. Each group shares or gleans information on writing, poetry, crafting, cooking. For this, I am grateful and have learned much.  Discussions about resistance to rampaging or inconsiderate technology (cough) are also shared and lambasted learned through the year.

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I wish you a Christmas of joy, peace, and fellowship, which I pray someday finally takes hold. We have hope. May the New Year 2017 continue in good cheer, friendship, and tolerance.

I give you this offering, pulled from the archives (a 1996 company newsletter I’d been volunteered to edit for almost five years). Judy Martin posted a poem earlier this week by the same name. I had already scheduled this and decided to tough it out and post anyway. (Be kind. I’m no poet.)

~ * ~

T’was the night before Christmas and a-l-l through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even the m-o-u-s-e;

www-http-368146_960_720-pixabyThe hardware was hot and needed a rest;

The wires were near flaming from the fast-tracking quest.

If one more finger teased that p-o-o-r little mouse,

The uproar would doubtless have awakened my spouse!

I was resting and spent from my ceaseless drooling

Over menus of the best buys ever, no fooling.

My eyes black and bloodshot hung to my knees,

But I’d finished my shopping and wow was I pleased.

Something gourmet for grandpa, flowers for Jean,

Pulled off with a mouse, a credit card, and a scheme.

christmas-1896345_960_720-pixaby

The malls were open all day and all night,

So I shopped when I could ‘cause my schedule is tight but

Tomorrow and next year, when Christmas returns,

Will I be shopping in town or in Internet world?

Where will your presents be purchased with care?

Will it be Larry’s or Cherie’s, or from your own chair?

Will you shop the last minute fighting the crowds,

Or choose from the malls warehoused in the clouds?

Pretty soon instead of by the chimney with care,

We won’t hear from Saint Nick but Paypal and email.

No matter how Christmas and Saint Nick visit,

Tolerate no child around you to miss it.

~*~

 

I’ll be here infrequently as time allows until the Next Post January 6th – Are We there Yet?

©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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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:

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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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150722091530.htm

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.

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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.

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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


My FIFTH Blogoversary Gala

Join in. All welcome. There’s plenty for everyone. Make yourselves comfortable; a server will hand you a glass of champagne in a second.

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Blogging friends, neighbors, countrymen…

I’ve enjoyed FIVE fabulous years with you, far beyond anything I might have imagined. Some friendships have stuck from the beginning. Wow! Five years. Who would have thought? Not me. Without YOU to read,  comment, and share, I would not be here now.

Many, many thanks for your help, support, and stories shared. I’ve learned new things from each of you and am grateful for the community spirit here. How dare anyone whisper bloggers are not real people. You are all real to ME and I am grateful for your friendships.

* * *

I have another announcement.

School’s out. My grand kids need me and I won’t fib. I also have a pile of unfinished writing I need to attend to and hope to take care of both. See you in September? Have a wonderful summer!  Mw-aah.  XX

I will still be available to anyone with whom I’ve made previous arrangements. and can still  be reached through my  Contact tab—especially if I should I win a lottery.

Comments are currently turned off. Sorry.

Happy 4th of July to my American friends, Monday!


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#BlogBattle – Week 61

Prompt: Surfer

Genre:  Drama

http://blogbattlers.wordpress.com

mustang-317509_960_720

Busted

“Know what it means caught in the act? Well, I wasn’t. Didn’t do nothing.

“I had a life long ago, but it got boring fast. Sure, I wanted a little excitement. I worked hard at a job that sucked. Yes, I said it. The wife knew I hated it, but what could she do except complain there was never enough money. Yeah, she worked at this and that—babysitting, was a cashier once, sold Tupperware. Nothing in the real world so her pay added up to birdseed. Said it was her job to bring up our kids, not hand them off to someone else. Anyway, it probably wouldn’t have worked ‘cause we had a new kid every other year—four times…”

“Hey, slow down. Chill. Want to get us killed?” His passenger reached out to grab the wheel only to be shouldered back.

“Thirty plus years I’ve been bowing and genuflecting at the altar of the Boss Man. See? Had kids and a mortgage, responsibilities. Is that all we’re on this earth for—to toil, sweat, and die. The company kept laying off and cutting back the last fifteen years. Got gut rot. Call backs no guarantee. Can’t throw your seniority away so I hung on. Stashed dough in tins and jars, preparing for the next cutback. The only thanks at home were hands out for my hard-earned dough.

“The kids are grown and gone. About time. We had a house because of the sweat on my brow. Wants to sell the house. Wants half of everything. Nope, not from yours truly.” He smacked the steering wheel, open palmed. “I’d like to get my hands…”

“Geez Louise. Pull over. You keep wandering over the line.” Mike tapped Charlie’s arm with a fist, but again he shrugged him off.

“I’m fine. Keep getting these letters from her lawyer, and…”

“Thought we were going fishing. Any new fish stories?” He leaned in to fiddle with the radio.

“Leave it.” Charlie groaned, withdrew a cigarette from his shirt pocket, and tapped it on the steering wheel. Before he reached the car lighter, Mike flicked his Bic, offering a light. Blowing smoke through his nose, he nodded, squinting through the windshield. “My best man and blood brother. How long have we known each other? Forever, right? Haven’t seen you in a year and you can’t listen for five minutes.”

“What do you need, man. Shoot.”

“Never mind. I’ll figure it out.” Charlie shifted his weight in the old mustang’s bucket seat. Though the air conditioner blew full tilt, his balding head glistened where thin red hair had once flourished. Wiry brows drawn in a frown, his ruddy cheeks shone, too.

“You got a lawyer, right? What’s the worst you can expect?”

“Half of everything and then there’s the thing about my pension she can claim…”

“Whoa, where did that trucker come from? I’d say he’s in a hurry to hell.” Mike rubbernecked the back window.

“Talk about reach out and touch someone. He almost wrote his name on my car. That was too close. Look at him go.”

“Want I should drive?”

“Nah, I’m okay. You still have all your hair. I just lost mine.” Charlie honked when he laughed. Mike didn’t sound much better. “When you said to slow down, I remember a bunch of cars ahead of us.” He checked the rear view. “Nobody but us now.”

Mike steepled his hands. “Start at the beginning. What was the tipping point? Any idea?”

“Not sure. Other than working in the mill, I developed an interest in computers. You might say I had a gift. Learned to fix them. Easy. Soon, friends, and everybody called for help. Patty complained because I fixed them on my off days. Said I wasn’t available to her. Wasn’t charging money. What did she know? I don’t work for free. The money was good. Women were needy. One in particular—but nothing happened. She wanted me, I know, but I’m a married man, right?” She kept calling with problems and soon her wide-eyed gazes got to me. I felt sorry for her. Lonely, I guess. Anyway, I promised to look in on her now and again. I loved the attention. Who wouldn’t? She was a lot older than me but looked pretty good.

Got home late one night and Patty’s sitting in the living room—sprang at me like a panicked cat. Said she’d found an e-mail on my computer from a woman. Didn’t know she knew about computers. Saw my car on the street in front of an apartment building, she said. How did she track me…? She spied on me? I never spied on her. Told her people e-mailed for repairs. Had to change my password.”

Mike ran a hand over his full head of dirty blond hair and adjusted his watchband. Staring out the passenger window, he exhaled. “Can’t fault her for worrying, can you? This is her marriage too.”

“You’re not listening. She’s out to get me no matter what or how.”

“What else happened?”

“Sometimes—you know when shifts change and it’s hard to switch your inner clock and sleep’s not your friend?

“Yeah?” Mike cricked his neck.

“I cranked on the computer in the middle of the night a few times. Television’s a joke except for sports. Got into Chat Rooms. Real interesting. Lots of people with crappy lives. I was flabbergasted how real these people were. Soon I was on there every spare minute. Met a couple women in my area. Yeah, we met for coffee a few times. What’s wrong with that? Again Patty, the detective, managed to match unspecified fragments and attacked me with accusations of fooling around online.”

“In your defence, you said?”

“Checking my online investments.”

“You do investments online? Is it safe?”

“I do some, but am not sure about going hog wild. No.”

“You lied to Patty?”

“How did I lie if I’m not using real money? Was studying if I’d be any good with real money.

“Patty had the nerve to ask how much I’d kissed away in my online trading. I said I’d made thousands—couldn’t help it. Her eyes got so big.” He snorted. “Still, none of her business.”

Bug-eyed, Mike glared at his friend. “None of her business? She’s your wife and the mother of your children. What is wrong with you? So did you invest real money or not?”

“Here’s the kicker. Got past my password, again. Printed the chats and shook them in my face. Time for strange women and not her. Stuff like that. I didn’t check investments. I wasn’t an ordinary web surfer. I was a liar, an unfaithful husband, looking for trouble. Oh, yeah. Then she screamed about house stuff, the broken steps, no new appliances. What about the furnace? Yada yada. Nothing I did was good enough. No wonder I found ways to spice up my life. In the morning, she was gone.”

“Where is she now?”

Charlie raised and dropped a shoulder. “She called so I have her cell. Said she’s getting a lawyer, an apartment—not coming back—blah-blah-blah.”

“How long had the chats been going on?”

“Whose side are you on, Mike? I have her lawyer hounding me. I even said let’s start over. I begged. That hurt. Nope. No way. Nada. Any idea how I make this go away? Not lining no lawyer’s pockets. No sir.”

Mike stared ahead. Mouth clamped shut, he manoeuvred his lips back and forth.

“Well?” Nostrils flared, he peered at his passenger.”

“Pull over. I don’t think you’ll like what I have to say.”

“Hit me.”

“Ever go to work tired, make mistakes?”

“Tired. Yeah, so? Night shifts are great for catching some shut-eye.”

‘You get away with not working? And get paid?” Mike slapped his forehead.

“No biggie. Everyone does it. We cover for each other. An hour here and there.”

“You don’t care about anybody. Are you crazy? What if you drop a load, kill somebody from your crane?”

“You and hoity-toity Lenore are so perfect, right? You’ve never done anything you’re sorry for?”

“Get serious. Sorry? Only because you got caught. Pull over, I said. You planning to skip out on your ex? They’ll find you, and you’ll pay, sooner or later.

“Watch me because I can.” Lips clamped, Charlie wiggled thorny brows in his direction.

“Pull over. I want no part of this.”

“We’re in the middle of nowhere.” Charlie smirked, an ugly twist to his lips. Checking his mirrors, he slowed and pulled over. They were alone on the road. He turned to Mike with a cruel squint. “We’re stopped. Now what?”

“My bag. Open the trunk.”

“Okie-dokie.”

Mike bent to reach inside.

“Nobody calls me crazy.” Charlie slammed the trunk lid with all his might. “Guess you drowned fishing. Wuss.”

The End

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

~ ~ ~

Rules of the Battle

  1. 1500 wordsmax (effective May 2016)
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered aroundthe theme in a way that shows it is clearly related.
  5. State theGenre of your story at the top/bottom of your post.
  6. Post your stories on the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month, by 11:59 PM PST
  7. Go for theentertainment value!
  8. Put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section, and/or include a link to a battle post (not a page) in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post).
  9. Use the hashtag#BlogBattle when tweeting your story.
  10. Let us know if you have a Facebook author/writer page so we can LIKE it to stay connected.
  11. Have fun!

The poll for voting will be added the Wednesdays after the Tuesday Story Posts. You’ll have until the Monday prior to the Next Story Tuesday to read the submitted stories & vote for your top three. That gives you two to three weeks to read and vote! Please consider the expert use of the theme word when choosing.

The Winner and the next theme word will be announced the following day, on Wednesday.

 


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Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year;

Pockets full of money and a belly full or beer…or wine if you prefer.  

Can it be five days till Christmas already? I popped in to wish my special friends in Blog World a Merry Christmas, a fabulous holiday season, and a Hap-hap-happy New Year. Here’s an Oldie but Goldie for a sing-a-long to put you in the spirit of the season if you need a nudge. I do. We have no snow and it’s warmer than usual for December.

Credit:   ChristmasTimeTV

My granddaughter dressed my tree this year, and even put the lights on—her first time at not yet twelve—because I’ve had tendonitis for the past six months and needed help. She took it a little easy on the ornaments, but the results are a colossal success and I’m grateful she was willing. This means we’ll have less to take down before my trip to Vancouver three days after Christmas. (Can’t let the cats have too much fun while I’m away or maybe cut themselves on broken bulbs, though they’ve been good as long as I took away the tree skirt).

Do you know anyone born on New Year’s Eve? This particular sister I’ll be visiting has missed birthday presents for 60 years.

Credit:  Sarah Robinson

I had no idea my cat Dickens, adopted last January, had FIV and gingivitis. I found out about his health conditions when I took him to the vet shortly after adoption. He’s lost so much weight in the past few days, I took him to the vet two days ago. He’s lost more teeth and his gums have been a bloody mess.  He’s on pain killers and antibiotics now and already his coat looks less mangy today. How I hate forcing kitties to give them medication. On the other hand, it’s a bonus not to bleed to death myself while fighting with them. The pain meds are thick enough to smear on a paw, but the antibiotics are thin as water and he’s not forgiving.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

November had me chained to my desk. I’d participated in NaNoWriMo though I hadn’t registered. At the last moment, a friend challenged me and unprepared, I dove in, thinking no way would I complete the task ahead. Had it not been for Karen, I would have given up by day ten—my first brain drain–but she, the competitive type, kept me at it because no way was I pooping out first. Now I have a book of short stories to edit in the New Year and maybe, maybe, I’ll complete that circle too. I tell you to stay accountable. November paid off much better than last summer had workwise.

If I had not had your kind and generous support all year, I have no idea how I might have moved forward towards my long-time goal: indie publication. Thank you. Thank you for the jab in the ribs whether you had any idea or not. I could not have done anything without you, my supportive community, and I plan to return the favor again soon in 2016. I have been mostly absent since the summer, but it has been worth it. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness, each and everyone of you.

It’s been an unusual, but exciting year for me. Thank YOU.  Thank you. I had no idea what a wonderful world I’d entered when I began blogging four+ years ago. I am close to 500th posts. Close, but still a few to go.

 

Credit: gabychest

Or maybe you’d prefer a more honkytonk version:

Credit:  TheChiefEmperor

Happy New Year!

Hip-hip-hooray 2016

Hip-hip-hooray 2016


103 Comments

Blog Friends, Neighbors and Countrymen

Due to extenuating circumstances (unexpected family and social obligations: i.e. life in the fast lane), I haven’t had enough time to visit you all more often.

November, I spent writing with furious diligence, while  life around me came to a standstill. Still appointments and family visits continue to take much of my time this month. Off and on holiday entertaining and a visit to the west coast for a sister’s 60th birthday also loom large.

When time permits, I shall flit in and out and can’t wait till my schedule isn’t hampered by all these commitments. You’re always on the edge of my mind. I have not forgotten you and miss you and our daily banter.

MH900434403


106 Comments

Popping in and Out (Post #450)

Hello, lovely blogging friends!

I’ve been held up doing the rounds since I started poking around a bit yesterday. Thank you for the lovely e-mails over the summer although I avoided my keyboard most of the time. I wasn’t home much and at times my laptop was broken under attack of one kind or another.

I confess the summer vanished much too quickly. Whoosh! You cannot believe the trying circumstances situations I found myself in time and again. Nothing like a little excitement to keep the old ticker going, or more likely, almost squash it like a plum.

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The top three headliners of my summer were:

  1. I got hacked (cost over $200 to clean laptop but no banking information lost and new cards now)
  2. The same tooth abscessed twice. After antibiotics, a week later, again. Had it pulled. Lots of problems afterwards. Ouches.
  3. Windows10 messed up laptop. Best Buy removed and now Windows 8.1 again. Desktop was okay, but Windows 10 messed that up yesterday.

I won’t bore you with the rest of it.

Some pluses were spending a couple days with one sister and a couple more in cottage country with all four sisters.

Now, I n.e.e.d. a vacation. My fourth sister to retire did so in April and when I heard her ‘thinking’ how to celebrate, I was in. Snap! Yeah like that and asked point blank where she wanted to go and I was coming.

We are going to Newfoundland and Labrador soon. Exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are heart-stopping and I’m glad Mary found something domestic. Sigh. A vacation is a vacation—no, she’s not paying… Maybe I should have negotiated that small detail.  *giggles* This sounds an amazing corner of Canada with mind-boggling views.

There you have it. I’ll be flitting in and out for the next week and a half and then take to the sky and away for a couple weeks.

I appreciate all of your welcomes and smiles. Feels like I’ve been away from home, but now I’m back.

When I come back, my worth ethic will change. Instead of clearing the decks (e-mail, blogging, commenting) first thing every day, I won’t get to any of that till much later in the day. I may not be a constant as before, but I plan to visit every chance I get.

What’s with WordPress making unwanted changes again? I don’t like Reader and I’ve noticed now one follows in Reader. Sheesh. Another thing: why makes the menu bar spastic and how does one stop it?

 


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*Applause, Applause*

 

I wrote my About Page four years ago today. It appears I’m off the radar at WordPress, however, because no notification of my blogoversary has arrived yet. Woe is me. NO matter.

It’s been an exciting time and I count myself most fortunate to have met so many fascinating bloggers. Some of you have stuck with me from the beginning to present day. Yes, it took time to meet one at a time, but I’m exhilarated to be a part of this kind and nurturing community.

At last I’m writing thanks to the discovery of Word Press and blogging. I hope with time I learn and improve this amazing and fulfilling craft. You have been most generous in your support and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

This anniversary seems the perfect opportunity to celebrate you, and to go on hiatus. I haven’t been firing on all pistons of late and need to rejuvenate. Instead of whining, it’s time I do something about it. I plan to clean up and complete impatient writing projects for which I’ve had neither time nor energy, and to add new ones.

See you in September, kids. Wish me luck. It feels strange to cut myself off for the summer, but I’m doing it because I must. I miss you already.

Credit:  AK47bandit


44 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 151

To find out more about this challenge, click below:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week151-3/

The prompt this week is: …Pink…  + 100 words

100wcgu-72

The Pink One

“I don’t like this dress!” Like liquid diamonds, huge tears slid down Susanna’s plump cheeks.

“Do you like the Cinderella dress?”

“Yes. Is bootiful”

“Is it the same color as the dress you don’t like?”

“Y-es? I wear it to party?”

“No. This is a birthday party not a princess party.”

The five-year-old’s mouth puckered. “I wanna wear the pink one. It’s girlie-girl. It make circles when I go round and round.”

“Honey, it’s too small now.

“I not going.”

“And miss cake and ice-cream with your friends?”

Her eyes lit up. “Maybe princess dress?”

“No.”

Sigh. “Okay. I wear it.”

 

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


45 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #173

Join us here:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week173/

Prompt:  …and so it begins… + 100 words

100wcgu-72

Where Were We?

Fran glared at her laptop screen. “The special’s gone.”

“What special?”

“The Groupon chicken breasts. I told you.”

“You’re. A. Week. Late.” Heather scowled over her bifocals.

“What?”

“Look-look. My favorite pants are on Groupon, and cheaper than Walmart’s.

“Those burgundy things?” Fran wrinkled her nose. 

“No-no. The navy ones. Three pair should do. Where’s my credit card?”

“You use Pay Pal, silly.”

“R-ight.”

“And so it begins. You remember, I forget. I remember, you forget.” Fran raised her hand. “Waitress, two refills, please? Where were we?”

“I donno.”

“You weren’t listening?”

They frowned at each other, then laughed till tears lined their eyes.

 

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles