How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


#BlogBattle 5-Prompt: Adore

Find the Rules at Rachael Ritchie’s blog:

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Prompt:  Adore

Words: 780

Oh, Henry!

Love of learning amused and absorbed him. A good-natured boy, Henry hid a quick and vicious temper but when he played, he played to win. “Giving up already, lads?”

His cousins William and Charles slid from their horses. Fair-haired Charles, the more outspoken of the two, pursed his lips. “Henry, give it a rest. My backside is raw as a side of mutton. We can hunt again another day.”

Brow furled, William curled his lip. “The hounds need water and a rest as do I. The early spring sun is hot and burns, does it not?”

Henry sized up his companions beneath dripping lashes. Perspiration slid from his ginger hair to his flushed cheeks. He swiped a sleeve over his face. On the cusp of his eighteenth birthday, his energy and stamina exceeded theirs though they were of similar age. The hounds yelped and clustered around. “All right, men. Point taken. Methinks I need a tankard of beer to cool off. Follow me.”


The horses dispensed to the care of the stable grooms, the young men joked and jostled each other like schoolboys up the dusty path to the main building. Large-boned but lean, Henry, the tallest, strut with a confident swagger, kicking up dirt behind him. Long strides thrust him a fair distance ahead of his cousins. Inside the palace, he raised his voice. “Cook. We have need to quench our thirst and meat to fill our bellies. Hurry, else I expire.”

Hearing the commotion in the dining room, Henry’s grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, hastened to his side. “The physicians say your father is weak and may not last the night. Eat your fill but hurry.”

Henry’s father, the king, had been ill for some time but his imminent death chilled him. Arthur, the first-born, had died. His mother had, too within a year. Henry had not been the favored son though his father strove to protect him from harm as second choice of heir to the throne. Now he might die within hours. He had never considered anything in life but continued study and the eventual rise to the role of Archbishop of Canterbury. His mother and grandmother had groomed him since birth.

Lady Beaufort hurried away.

Charles and William gaped at the news. “You’ve been heir to the throne since Arthur died. You knew your father wouldn’t live forever and as the only son left…” Charles patted Henry’s forearm.

Over-heated staff scurried in and out of the kitchen. They placed tankards of beer before the young men. Steaming platters of fragrant meats and pies and fish arrived in a flurry of countless hands.

Henry slumped in his chair. “Alas, I did—and did not. These seven years since Arthur’s death, I considered this often, but I am not for ruling. I prefer my books and music, jousting and wrestling. King? I do not want it.

“Father and I had a terrible row about a year ago. I told him I couldn’t do it. I had never seen him so angry. “‘You must carry on the Tudor line,’” he said. “‘This will be your responsibility after I am gone, like it or not.’” He laid hands on me as if to kill me. Wish he had, then I would not have this terrible weight on me.” He dropped his head in his hands as if to crush his face.

William grabbed a drumstick and sank his teeth in to the bone. He ripped off an enormous bite; juice dripped down his golden chin stubble. Mouth too full to speak, he chomped and nodded.

Charles surveyed the offerings but held back. He punched William’s upper arm instead. “Listen, Henry. It will be fine. You are smart and have a fair face. Who doesn’t adore you? Think of all the wenches and ladies-in-waiting at your disposal. King by day and seducer by night…”

“How can you speak thus or even entertain such depraved thoughts? I am not the sort to partake in the pleasure of the flesh before marriage. This is a sin. Stop right now.” He raised a sweaty palm.

Face pale as goat’s milk, Lady Beaufort reappeared wringing her hands. Henry jumped up before she covered half the distance between them. He slogged after her, chin to his chest. His cousins avoided eye contact and bent to the task at hand: the agreeable indulgence of mouth-watering food.

* * *


Henry’s coronation occurred two months after his father’s burial. Lady Beaufort enjoyed herself at the banquet but died one day later on his eighteenth birthday.

Henry took to politics after all. A new era began in part due to his intelligence and forward thinking: some changes good; others less so.


The End


© 2017 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles

Images courtesy of Pixabay


A Quick Update

Dickens is the ginger and Lady Gaga, well, you can guess.

Dickens is the ginger and Lady Gaga, well, you can guess.

Our power went out yesterday and then the internet got snarky. Frustrated, I called it a day. I may not comment on yesterday’s posts as it’s a daily struggle to keep up with the last 12 hours of posts let alone 24. Have I any hair left after yesterday? Read on.

Last week I finished a short two-week course and have two more to complete during the next six weeks. Another beast hungry for my time.

Thank you for your continued support. I hope you understand my exasperation.

P.S.  I wrote a post earlier this morning, but it disappeared. Not only had I fought a spastic page, it scrambled and unscrambled the menu and media bars, ribbons and bars floated over words disallowing access to type, same as last Friday when I posted. At one point, everything disappeared then came back. I saved a draft in a hurry. In the end, it was all for naught. Anyone experience anything like this? I have. Some time ago. It lasted a while and was no more but not this bad.


100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #174

Click here to join in

Prompt this week:  …all seven were just arguing amongst themselves… + 100 words


Where There’s a Will

As Nurse Nancy dashed in, all seven were just arguing amongst themselves.

“We sell the house first.”

“I don’t agree!”

“Let’s auction everything—”

“You buzzed?” She scanned the silent bed.

Harry frowned; his siblings shook their heads. A thin hand rose, then flopped like a beached trout on the crisp sheets. Nurse Nancy rushed forward; the seven trailed behind.

“Mrs. Mitchell—Annie. What can I get you?”

“Water, please? And a bedpan?”

“Right away.”

Harry froze, paled.

“Your mother needs privacy.” Hands gesturing, she shooed them out.

“I thought she was dead—”

“You were wrong. Call my lawyer.” The voice intensified. “I’m changing my will.”


© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles


First Priorities

Our flight will leave, our time, at 6:30 p.m. to Chicago. The flight has triggered lots of excitement already. We get to fidget and walk miles and miles at the airport killing time for over five hours before our departure for China. My travelling friend is already worried we paid cheap, no wonder we’re off to such an auspicious start.

Four and five star hotels

A friend suggested a site of her blogging pal who had been to China (five years ago). A tip in one of her posts said, ‘Learn to squat.’ I bring this up as our tour rep promised all accommodations will be in four and five star hotels. The photograph on the presentation screen showed an ultra-modern toilet and a glassed in shower in the bathroom. One interested couple in attendance had come because friends of theirs had travelled with this tour earlier and loved it. I heard no mention of squatting.

Microsoft Clipart.

Microsoft Clipart.

Of course in five years’ time many changes have occurred in China.

I’ve checked all the hotels we’re booked at during our stay. The bathrooms look like Hollywood movie sets: modern and luxurious. Think Dallas, the series. Of course I checked out comments by previous visitors. Tour people appear to have been delighted. Several, travelling on their own who booked their own hotel (same hotel), complained their bathrooms had mold, were dirty and servers did not understand English. Their bathrooms has windows into the main area and the blinds did not close. What? Indeed, there were several comments like this. Others who had booked their own rooms were happy. Everything’s subjective, right?

Internet access

i read an interesting fact tthat over 600 million people in China have internet access? But did you also know that laptops and desktops, depending who you read, are considered meh? Most everyone prefers a mobile phone. Ah the fast pace of life on-the-go. North America is getting there too, but  the numbers are staggering in China.

Most of the hotels booked for us advertise complimentary WiFi, some in the rooms, and free /available in the lobby or in public areas. One mentioned a five minute walk to an internet café with a five-dollar-an-hour charge.

I plan to unplug while I’m away, but I wanted to know what challenges I might have in contacting my family. As well, once in a while I’ll need to check my e-mail or my Inbox will explode.

A cruise on the Yangtze River for four days and five nights advertises 29 internet stations at a fee of .35 cents a minute, considered low by ship standards. Uh-huh. That’s only $21.00 Canadian per hour. Can’t wait. I’ll take two.

These are my up-to-the-minute top priorities.


Broken Butt

This is serious. If I hear any gigglers in the back, I’m closing shop and going home–the better to lick my wounds in private. Nah, not really.

Two weeks ago, I sat at my dining-room table busy reading posts and leaving comments. The trouble began when I decided to sit on a card chair. Because I’ve been spending so much time on my laptop in this room, I find I hate my dining-room chairs. The seats are sprung (cushioned without any wood underneath) and too deep for me. Most of the time I end up perched on the edge of the chair, hunched over for long periods of time. I don’t notice until the back of my neck becomes stiff and the area between my shoulders, slightly lower than my neck aches.

I chose a card chair for size and thought I’d hit the jackpot. With my back supported, I sat up straight and the back of my knees hung over the edge of this chair just right. Thanks Baby Bear.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

What went wrong?

After some time, my concentration of all things blogging, found me on the edge of the chair. This is a run-of-the-mill card chair. You know: a metal square surrounding a lightly padded seat? Yep, the metal edge bit into the bottom of my butt. So, I moved around to lessen the numbness but it wouldn’t go away. The clock read I’d been at it for two hours. Time to go to bed.

The next morning when my feet hit the floor, my butt dragged. I might be mistaken for one of those wooden folding drying racks you setup in your bathtub on rainy days. On the other hand I FELT like the capital Greek letter sigma which means summation. In a nutshell, standing and movement meant pain and bent knees. What a picture. Blah. I can imagine muscle tone loss everywhere but not there. I’ve always considered I came well-padded. Wrong again.

For two weeks I haven’t sat comfortably. I tried cushions, regular foam, and a memory foam pillow. Stop laughing. Nothing helped. I’d broken my butt and had to I avoid stairs at any cost.

Today, I joined some friends at a walking trail for a 5K workout. At first every muscle I never knew my butt used to get me around pulled in the wrong direction, but I hung in there and it has probably loosened them up. I believe I’m getting to normal.

Up to this point, I’ve experienced no major physical issues except for this crimp in my lifestyle. I must remember I’m not sixteen anymore (although I feel about twenty) and shouldn’t take anything for granted anymore.

I can’t understand why I’m falling apart.


Coming Soon, but When?

Over weeks (or has it been months?), I received a couple of reminders from Microsoft Account Team: account linking will soon be discontinued. To prepare for this change, ‛coming s-o-o-n (not when—but s-o-o-n),’ I was to setup all e-mails from Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo in one place. . . yada, yada, yada.

Soon? When would Soon arrive? Who, in business, says Soon without a specific cut-off date?

July arrived and e-mail continued as usual. I expected Microsoft to be reasonable. Within three days or a week of the actual deadline, I felt confident they’d send out a final warning. I imagined a calendar and a red-circled absolute drop-dead date.  I am so loopy sometimes.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

This past Monday morning I worked back and forth, in and out of my four Inboxes until…I could not. My menu of emails evaporated and only my sign-in account was still active. I thought I’d log into one of the missing ones after I tracked down my login. Nothing doing. All accounts were erased, gone, no longer accessible, vaporized on that infinite highway somewhere in Sputnik Land.

Take any bill you pay. Doesn’t it specify a due-date. If you’re late, don’t you get a warning and one last chance before your hydro  is cut off, for instance? If not, they used to send reminders. (I pay my bills as soon as they arrive in my Inbox so I haven’t noticed in recent years).

ALL my fault. I gasped and didn’t bawl too long. I accepted total responsibility for this flaw in my character. I sucked it up and set to work for I am the Reigning Queen of Procrastination. I suppose, at last I’m queen of SOMEthing.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

To replace the lost accounts I kept the working account in Hotmail and opened another one as a backup. In Gmail, I already had an account and set up an alternate also. For two days, I struggled and gave up, came back with new inspiration, and proceeded to the finish line. Whew.

Yay. . .

I setup a new e-mail account for my blog. Ha! Microsoft scoffed, and told me that account did not exist after I had input all the information for Let’s Cut the Crap. And on and on my week deteriorated. I hate arguing.

A friend of mine told me today she had once received notification from G-mail about some unusual activity taking place on her account; someone from Mexico tried to hack her. They warned: change your password. This notification made her feel special, cared for, a valued user of their service.

I received a similar forewarning from Microsoft a year ago, but it appeared as a yellow banner above my ‘Add A Message’ box when I tried to send a note, and was immediately blocked. Three months of requests, begging, hammering my head against the wall made MSN tone-deaf and blind. To me.

My accounts are working now, but appear unstable. That’s for next week. I can’t live on the wild side for more than a couple of days without a long rest in between.

My ranting done, I’m ready for a nap and a cold compress, or maybe an Excederin.

Perhaps a nice glass of Rioja…?

~ * ~

By the way, the request for help I sent out my blogging friends on how to change my blog e-mail has proved to be most helpful. Thank you to those who contributed instructions. Without them I would have pulled out all my hair.


Flash in the Pan – Right

A low rumble shivered beneath their spotless boots like an annoyed moan.

“Let’s go!”

Fine stone and sand showered the chamber. Jack coughed as if he had a rattlesnake in his throat. His flashlight tumbled out of his grasp as he leaned forward to catch a breath.

Roger flashed his light at him and covered his nose and mouth. “I’m outta here.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart


“Leave it.”

The protest grew like rolling thunder. Roger spit dirt. “You wanna be right—or dead?”

The uncertain ground wobbled. Jack pounced forward, propelled through the entrance as crashing rock exploded behind him.

He plunged alone.

~ * ~

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

For the rules and to join, check out: for the new quarter of Flash in the Pan.


Sunday Snippets – Blog Hop #6

Jennifer Eaton of has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Do checkout the other submissions at the bottom of this post.


~ * ~

Thank you all for taking the time to share, read and comment here at Sunday Snippets. Through this process I’ve had a peek at the other side of the story—with new eyes.

Todays submission is from the beginning of a short story called Afterwards, about the rehashing of an evening.

~ * * ~

Sylvie sits stock still. Not a grey hair moves; not a muscle twitches. Blue eyes stare into space, as if blind. Her right hand clutches an advertisement for the Philharmonic. The soft sounds of violin strings float, like ghostly dust motes, in the air around her.

A deep gong booms, rousing her back to the present. Sylvie shakes her head and exhales. How I hate that god awful grandfather clock. One of these days I’m going to hack it up into tiny pieces and use it for firewood.

“That won’t work either,” Sylvie mutters aloud. “I no longer have a wood fireplace.”

She rubs her neck and shoulders, and gazes around her kitchen. It’s getting dark. How long have I been sitting here? The face on the clock reads 7:26 p.m. An almost full glass of red wine sits on the table in front of her. A sound bursts from her throat; more of a bark than a laugh. Some might consider fiction more entertaining than real life. Ha—not true—not true at all. I’m up to my eyeballs in real life, in a chapter I wish I could burn in that non-existent fireplace.

“Where the hell are my glasses?” she asks the darkening room. The paper has dropped onto the walnut kitchen table. She picks it up again, brings it up to her face and wrinkles her nose.

After patting the table and then herself, she finds her glasses on top of her head. Misplacing them too often and afraid she’d need to fork out for a replacement pair, she’d re-trained her habits. If they’re not on my head, I’m in trouble, so they better be there.

~ * * * ~

Note:  Click below to read other participants.


It’s About Time!

I gave in a week ago, casting all doubts to the cosmos. For the life of me, I can’t
understand what took me this long. Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised after
all these years, yet I’m still baffled why I hold back on many decisions, especially at this stage of my life. (Might this also clarify my shortcomings?

For years I’ve been freezing my heinie off in this place, and yearning for warmth like a cat craving a heat-generating sunbeam during afternoon sunlight.

I want to shout to anyone who will listen: I OWN AN ELECTRIC BLANKET NOW. In the past week, I’ve played with all its buttons to determine my best comfort zone. Seems to me, levels one to four work only half-heartedly. The last button, high, works like a charm. Oh my goodnessreal warmth.

Robin of asked me recently ‘if the cold weather was making me randy’ (due to another post, tee hee). Sad to confess, in the past week since this purchase, I can’t wait to get into bed. Don’t jump to conclusions—listen. I watch the clock, yawn, peek at the clock again, dive into the covers and giggle. So easy am I!

Note to self: Turn on electric blankie 15 minutes before bedtime.


My kitty, Lady Gaga, has liked me well enough since we met last summer. She’s like a little kid, lively for a bit once I  engage her in play, but when I’m out of sight, she comes running for a hug to confirm she’s still loved. Another notable hint about her is she naps like a kid from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (breakfast having been served at 7:00 a.m.).

From the first time I plugged in the blankie and introduced Lady Gaga. to its wonders, this is the closest to I love you I’ve ever seen on any cat’s secret face.

Naptime the day after the new reveal with no glorious heat as she expected now, Lady Gaga looked quizzical, eyebrows knit together tightly. I saw the what’s-wrong-with-our-new-special-blankie look.

“Sorry, Lady G. It only works from dark until dawn,” I said aloud if only to convince myself.

So, her look said,  you’re saving this one for good again—or,  does this only mean I’m not good enough?

“Don’t be like that, Lady G. It’s not cold enough yet.”

She peered at me, her eyes half-slits, “Have you considered you might be cheap, or maybe I’m not good enough?”

“Rules, Lady Gaga, rules. We must both wait until dark. Electricity’s a bitch.”


Flash in the Pan – Ecstatic

MB900285297“Thanks a lot. I’d said no, hadn’t I?”

“You don’t understand, Sis.”

“What’s to understand, Ali?” Jennifer straightened, and blew frizzy hair out of her scarlet face. Fingering the softness of her cashmere sweater, mouth puckered, she threw it across the bed.

“I wore it once—for my Valentine’s…”

“I’m ecstatic for you.” Jennifer hissed. “I now pronounce you Ali and spaghetti stain.”

* * *

The word limit for Ecstatic is 75 words. I used 63 words today. Check out for rules and contributions.