How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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We are What We Eat!

Really? In that case I’m afraid. I don’t plan to talk about steroids or food fads. I want to talk about staying alive.

Aren’t we told to read ingredient labels of food we buy? Isn’t it true the words you cannot pronounce on these labels are really preservatives?  Remember the caution to cut back on processed food because it is loaded with salt?

Have I a story about a home experiment. About three or so months ago, I made from-scratch hamburgers for my grandkids but not home-baked buns. Who thinks about making their own buns? No biggie, right? All’s normal. Everybody buys buns.

The kids and their Mom enjoyed the meal and I was pleased to see everyone happy. The next day, I had another burger for lunch and another the day after. Two buns remained on my kitchen island in the plastic bag they’d come in. Another day went by and it occurred to me the buns should be thrown out because surely they were hard and moldy by now. Wrong. I poked my finger at a bun but it sprang back as if fresh. I scratched my head. A week had evolved but not these buns.

I decided to keep an eye on the bag. Another week crawled by. Still, the buns hadn’t cracked nor lost their elasticity. Remember your school-day science experiments with moldy bread? No mold had taken up residence in the moist plastic environment in my kitchen.

morgueFile free photo

morgueFile free photo

  • Ingredients: enriched wheat flour, water, sugar/glucose-fructose, yeast, soybean and/or canola oil, salt, wheat gluten, calcium propionate, monoglycerides, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
  • On the front of the bag: Cholesterol-free / 100% vegetable oil (but doesn’t the ingredient list say soybean and/or canola?)

I kept moving the bag because it gave me the creeps—from one counter to another. Bread is supposed to develop mold under the right conditions and grow hard and crusty. Almost four months later, here I sit without a clue what’s kept this product from walking away on its own. Instead, we are both stuck in the Twilight Zone. Today, the buns are harder on the bottom but the tops, although this much later, still spring back. This is not normal. You would think by now my finger should poke a hole through the crust, but no crust yet.

Even if I say so myself, I know I am well preserved, but that’s from the family gene pool. Why the heck do I need or want help from (food) preservatives from someone I don’t even know, from who knows where? After this experiment, who can I trust?

Do you know what’s in your food?

And then there are eggs—but that’s for another day. I’m worn out; its stressful stumbling about in the land of One Step Beyond.


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Flash in the Pan – Backward

Annabeth crossed impatient arms, apple cheeks drawn-out. “I can do it myself.” At five, she knew everything. She had the fashion sense of a diva, and precise ideals. Her trademark: blonde hair cut short at the back and longer at the sides. At the moment, it rose like a tangled mulberry bush.

“Grandma, I’m coming in a minute.”

“You’ve overslept. Mommy will be home for lunch soon and you haven’t even had breakfast.”

“I know that.”

*

“Mommy, Mommy.”

Hugs and kisses ensued; the dog barked.

“Come, Grandma’s set out lunch.”

“I didn’t eat breakfast yet.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“That’s okay. I won’t tell.”

Annabeth giggled into her cupped hands. “That’s backward. Breakfast comes first.”

“Fine. Have cereal then.”

“O-kay.”

“See you later. Eat up or no snacks until supper.”

She nodded. Candid blue eyes blinked once.

*

“Grandma, I’m hungry.”

“What did Mommy tell you?”

“It’s not me. It’s my stomach. It wants food.”

~ * ~

The word limit for Backward is 150 words. I used all 150.

For the rules to join the New Summer Quarter of Flash in the Pan, check out: http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/


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What the..?

My five-year-old granddaughter didn’t have kindergarten today. I needed to pick up groceries and cat food. When was the last time I took Lily heavy-duty shopping?

“Did you bring your grocery list, Babcia?” she wanted to know. I’d never known her mother to make one, I thought.

MH900448735“Of course,” I gushed. We’d talked about some of the most important items I needed to buy before we left home.

“Where’s the list?” Blonde-little-Miss-know-it-all stared me down.

My hands fumbled in my purse. Crooked fingers fastened onto the photograph-sized spiral notebook I’d decided to use, to alleviate lost grocery lists, to keep growing book wish lists, things to remember and do, etc.

“Here it is.” I thrust it under her nose.

“Eggs, salad, popcorn,” she announced, still not knowing how to read. When had she become so loud?

I picked up Romaine—the best of the worst in the pile. “Salad, check,” Lily shouted. We passed basil. I grabbed a package. “What’s it for?” she demanded. I explained, and she approved. Lucky it’s her favourite herb.

As we arrived in the snack aisle, Lily broadcast, “Babcia, right there. Popcorn, check.”

“Thank YOU, Lily. I’m going to buy two bags so we never run out. What do you think?” I blurted. Why do I need to validate myself? She gave me the thumbs up. Who is this child?

As we approached the refrigerated area, Lily’s eyes lit up, “Babcia,” she pointed. Eggs, check!”

Red wine vinegar and artichokes called to me so I backtracked to the proper aisle. “What is that?” she asked.

“ You remember the spread you liked on the Focaccia bread at your sister’s birthday party?”

“Oh, yeah,” she said with a dreamy glow in her eyes, her sweet lips puckered.

“I already have a bottle of red wine vinegar, but I need another one,” I said aloud. Why am I explaining this to a five-year-old?

 Cat food next. Two grocery stores with no luck regarding what I needed. A pet store later, more expensive, I know, but kitty gets to eat. Success at last.

 ~ * ~

MH900402619The point of this story is the lifting into and out of grocery carts. My featherweight granddaughter is killing my back. Add lugging twenty-pounds of dry cat food, then groceries, and stooping to hang onto my precious girl. These are no longer ordinary feats for me.  Add again, up and down the stairs at home to unload everything. I don’t understand how something I didn’t see (coming) crashed and almost pulverized me—at least today. Six or so months ago, my experience hadn’t had anywhere near a similar affect.

 Crap!

 Does this mean I’m starting to fall apart?

 Already? I’m not even that close to one hundred yet!


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What a Girl’s Gotta Do…

I’ve been cooped up way too long. I’m not saying I haven’t been out at all this year. I’ve met my responsibilities: picking up the grandkids after school, babysitting, and managing grocery shopping because the cupboard was bare—but with added effort.

To save my sanity today, I went shopping.

A new pair of boot-look shoes to go with my jeans with at least a two-inch heel has been on my mind for some time. Nothing I saw last year appealed to me.

This was a bad day to let me loose. At Marshall’s (yes, we have one this side of the pond of late), I went on a rampage. Not only did I fall (hard) for a pair of the perfect shoes (exactly as I dreamed), I ended up wondering around the purse department where I snapped up not one, but two, purses. No black bags for me. One was mustard—I know, I know—but it was so s-o-f-t. Athough not real kid leather, it was so bright and cheery! One stroke, one touch and I wasn’t about to let go.

MB900430684

The second bag, which jumped out at me, was shiny, big, bold, and brassy turquoise. How could I say no? The heck with white or tan for summer and black or brown for winter nonesense. Isn’t that for boring folks? Certainly not for me ever again. I’m going for a new trend: whatever makes me happy—hopefully for longer than it takes to get home after laying my money down.

A third possibility grabbed my attention: a glossy tan number, which hung over my shoulder comfortably—just so. Lucky for me something whispered in my ear to try the zipper. I like purses with zippers because nothing can fall out and I feel secure that no sleight of hand might slip nimble fingers inside and slip something out. Thumbs down; the zipper was stuck. Anyway, who needs three new purses in one day? Not me.

By the time I arrived at home with two purses, a pair of shoes,  a refillable (Keurig) filter cup (that’s a story for another post), and a padded carrier for my notebook, I felt I’d made up for the past two-and-a-half consuming months.

The sun finally shone on me. My mojo did a little dance…made a little shopping love…and got down to it tonight today.

Now, I need a nap. Sheesh.


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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: 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.

“No-o-o…”

Bleak night, altered black.

~ * ~

Click http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ 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…


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Flash in the Pan – Ripple

“Grandma?”

Wikipedia Commons

“Yes, sweetie? Did you bring the hairbrush?”

“Do you gots some more Peanut Butter Ripple Brownies?”

“Uh-huh—such pretty hair—why do you ask?”

“Um, can I have some in my lunch?”

“No, Lily, peanuts are not allowed at school, remember?”

“Oh…”

“How about after school—come, let’s get your coat.”

~ * ~

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

The word limit for Ripple is 75 words. I have used 52.


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Lady Sings the Blues

My eight-and-a- half-year-old granddaughter attended dance camp for a week this summer. I can’t take credit for this opportunity given her; her other grandmother signed her up. I’m grateful and pleased because HMJ had a ball and a new passion has been born.

For four consecutive days, the girls learned a new dance: contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and cheer. Our girl has no previous dance experience like I noticed a lot of the other girls had. HMJ might have been a beat behind at times, but I cried with pride as I watched her glow and dance as if she was born to it. When did she become so confident, this quiet and sensitive child?

On the last day of the week, a dance recital was staged to demonstrate what the kids had learned in the span of a week. Parents and grandparents were invited to the presentation.

HMJ made my eyes water.

What’s this? Old lady tears? But I’m not O-L-D, though I notice I’m becoming soft and cry more easily. . .

As well as dance, various other camps were present: singing, music and craft. Each group showed off their best talents.

Of course when you have a presentation, you need an MC to keep the program moving along and a sidekick to add spice. All the councilors in charge appeared to be college students—these camps and recital took place at our local college. The sidekick was entertaining and not bad looking.

The MC was a tall muscular fellow wearing a red baseball cap and sporting a square jaw and pouty Paul Newman mouth. I gawked at the athletic legs peeking out below the hem of his shorts. Did I mention he was tall? He reminded me of younger days and another young man so long ago. I couldn’t take me eyes off him. I don’t know anyone as sexy as a male entertaining young children, don’t you see?

Get a hold of yourself, you’re a GRANDmother. . .

OMG. I’m a cougar!

At my granddaughter’s recital.

What the heck is happening to me? Oh how I would like to turn back the clock for at least fifteen minutes.


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I Was Born This Way

I’ll tell you how it happened. My daughter’s at fault for the second time.(a.k.a. Mrs. G., identity protected).

After a year or more, my daughter had a free Saturday and  time to check out garage sales. We packed up the kiddies early and off we drove. Not much was in the newspaper, but we hoped to find unadvertised sales along the way. The pickings were slim and I was the lone spender. I found two great books: Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch for fifty cents each.

Mrs. G. turned an unexpected corner and I asked where she was taking us. She smiled with a wicked grin on her face. We were in SPCA territory.

“It’s something new for the kids to do and  maybe we can check out current pricing,” she said. My grandkids were excited. (I mentioned a while back I might consider getting a kitten later—in the fall—maybe. Or, maybe not. My mistake.)

We watched a three-month-old kitten because the fuzz ball was entertaining. I liked its fur: various shades of pale grey like smoke and fog. The one and two-year-old cats had the forlorn look you see on television commercials advertising abused animals. I wanted to leave but my granddaughters weren’t ready yet.

I came across a handsome two-year-old grey cat, similar to the kitten but it slept on even when I knocked on the window. I didn’t want a cat that old anyway, already set in its habits. What? Hush up brain.

Another cat was sleeping faced away from the window. I saw a long, sausage squashed between the wall and the kitty litter box. Ug-ly, I thought, and joined the grandkids for a while, but wandered back again. The brindled (sausage) cat was awake. She came up to the window when I tapped it, giving the glass a welcoming body rub, looking up at me. In an instant, I fell in love. Something irritated my eyes. My daughter’s face showed surprise and the grandchildren looked worried.

No-one was more taken aback than me.  One-year-old Didi was mine. On the way home, we renamed her to Lady Gaga (my daughter’s suggestion). I was gaga over her. Look at her; she’s one of a kind!

Day three:  I feel we’re old friends already and I think Lady Gaga likes me. She plays well but misses me and jump onto my lap crying for attention. She initiates cuddling, cheek to cheek. I’ve accomplished next to nothing since Saturday. Last night I was trying to type while she slept, curled on my lap. Heaven.

~ * ~

Crawford

The last time my daughter drove me to the SPCA was after she’d left home at seventeen. She worried I was lonely living by myself—I wasn’t. I didn’t want a cat; I missed her.

“Let’s just look,” she said. “Nothing wrong with looking, is there?”

I looked and was smitten seventeen years ago too. His name was changed to Crawford.


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Upstairs . . . Downstairs

Scenario:

You live with your daughter and her family. They live upstairs on the main floor and you live downstairs on the basement level. You babysit your two grandchildren when their parents work and if the children are not in school.

~ * ~

A fourth anniversary will soon be upon you yet you’re still thrown off balance every so often.  You’ve tried to discern why. Why do you feel so discombobulated at times? Shouldn’t you be over the sense of confusion by now?  Why haven’t you adapted? You’re not such a slow learner surely, at least you don’t believe so, but you could be wrong—you’ve been wrong before—not often, of course (or so you tell yourself).

At first you think your experience is the result of not sitting with the grandchildren or being upstairs for a couple of days. The new week begins and the cycle continues. Upon closer examination, you see recurrences even if you are upstairs every day.

When your ‘shift’ is over and daddy comes home (mommy comes later), you kiss the grandkids, pack up your paraphernalia and go home—downstairs.

When you walk through the doorway, your ‘apartment’ feels odd, unfamiliar as if you haven’t lived there for long. You’re caught in a time warp of some kind. Mind you, the feeling is momentary and soon dissipates but still, the initial blow to your psyche is like a kick in the gut. It feels like you’ve lost your way, like you’ve time travelled and landed somewhere in between. This is strange and curious, not upsetting but odd. It’s a feeling of not knowing where you belong exactly. Where is your place? Is it upstairs or downstairs?

You have never disliked where you live. On the contrary, you love it because it feels like it was made just for you; it suits you so well.

You believe the problem lies in living at such close proximity to each other, but you are not in each another’s space. Dinner together once a week, sure, and your babysitting duties, otherwise you don’t see each other. You could be strangers, living your separate lives. Why does this mental distortion continue? It’s a conundrum.

Maybe you can’t teach an-old-dog-new-tricks after all, or perhaps it just takes you longer to learn, or perchance you’re slowing down more than you thought.  Or could you have dreamed the whole thing up?

As anyone who knows you can see, there’s never a dull moment in your world. How’s everyone else’s you wonder?

~ * ~

I simply wanted to try writing in second person because I never have.