How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Seductive Newfoundland

Hi all. I’m back and how I have missed you.

I can’t believe it’s over: the spectacular coastlines, colorful seaside villages, and miles of empty highways and dense forests. The elusive moose hid and the whales and puffins had already moved on, but the stark grace of Newfoundland and its friendly people has worked its magic on me.


I know our trip wasn’t international—only Canada’s east coast—yet I feel as beat up as the Newfoundland Ugly stick.

Credit:  Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism

The people work hard and play harder as evidenced by their music. Do they know how to have a snappy foot-tapping good time! Seems all Newfoundlanders play an instrument or two, even as some hold down two or three jobs at a time.

I’m not sick after this trip, but ache all over and have been sleeping long and deep since my return home. Appointments, car insurance payments, driver’s license and plate license renewals have forced me out of bed. Am I falling apart in pieces? Say it isn’t so.

I prefer to clap my hands instead and enjoy an ‘Appy tune this Friday .

Buddy Wassisname (is you Appy?)   Credit:  boom4975

~ * ~

My blogging schedule will change this fall. I still hope to post on Tuesdays and Friday trip reports as before, but may be absent now and again, and may not read nor respond as in the past. Please bear with me.

I’m having trouble posting. The toolbar at the top of the page is spastic and keeps disappearing. Any tips how to overcome this?

~ * ~

Check out next Newfoundland post on October 2nd.

For related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page.  


100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #173

Join us here:

Prompt:  …and so it begins… + 100 words


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.


“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.”


“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


Day 2: Are We There Yet?

The Flight

I had no preconceived notions regarding the long trip ahead. The Malaysian disappearance, still fresh in the news, I refused to ponder the distance, time, or mystery of sufficient fuel to complete such a long flight. No point in dwelling on what I couldn’t control. I refused to mull over anything—numerous times. Had I allowed my apprehension to take hold, I might have never taken the wild limo ride to the airport.

We boarded a United Airlines Boeing 777 (I think), Flight 851, a direct to Beijing. My seat: 41E in economy (centre aisle, middle seat), When Sue slept, I begged the guy on my right to allow exit for a bathroom breaks and strolling. When they both snoozed, I climbed over Sue. I watched three or four complete movies (whose titles escape me), began others but lost interest, and read to pass the time. I could not sleep. I’m the type that needs to stay awake to make sure everything is copasetic. The sandman peppered grit into my eyes. Eye drops helped clear them.


We had two babies or pre-toddlers who fussed little for which I am grateful. How the mothers managed is beyond me. The couple in the seats on Sue’s and my left were difficult to ignore. By their appearance and attire, we guessed they were Amish or Mennonite. One seat was empty, which afforded the wife to lie cross the seats and her husband’s lap. She had the nastiest head cold and coughed and sneezed the whole way. It’s a wonder her ears weren’t plugged for how could she fly?

Juggling my purse, the offered pillow and blanket, a light jacket (it got cold off and on), my book and / or my iPad, I had little room to manoeuvre. No surprise. Sardines don’t have elbows either. I’d worn full body compression wear beneath my yoga pants and top as a precaution again swelling. My feet sweat in my running shoes, though. Had I been born double-jointed, it might have been less complex to untie them.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

As the engines roared, I crammed the pictures and stories from the movies into every corner of my brain to restrict anxious thoughts. The fellow on my right watched our flight progress on the screen instead of movies. I noticed our flight path headed upwards to Alaska instead of due east and assumed we were lost. My seatmate noticed my near-panic and explained, but what I heard was garbled. My brain refused to process the information. I believe he said something about gulf-stream.

We’d eaten three meals and downed countless glasses of water. An hour or two before Beijing, I speculated the water tank (rain barrel?) must have ran low for the water tasted swampy. I cut myself off. It stuck in my throat.

Thirteen hours and 35 minutes elapsed. Beijing airport materialized at last and our imminent descent announced. All window shades were thrown up with enthusiasm but no-one clapped on landing. I wanted to applaud and then kiss the ground. The time difference threw me. I hadn’t expected daylight although I knew we were to land at 3:40 p.m.

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

We deplaned with the couple we’d met in Chicago, Russ and Bonnie from Wasaga Beach. Russ, who had memorized the layout of the humongous airport, helped us find the baggage claim. Shortly afterward, we met Jim and Carolyn from Ottawa. Our tour guide, Robert, with a sign held high: English 8, awaited us. Ernesto and Lorena from Mexico arrived a half-hour later. Sue and I made eight. By 4:30, we headed to our hotel by tour bus.

I never slept a wink. Hours without sleep: 44

* * *

Next installment, Friday May 23rd: Beijing at Last

* * *

Previous related posts:  

  1. /2014/05/02/day-1-getting-to-the-airport/
  2. /2014/05/09/day-1-contd-killing-time-at-chicago-airport/



Day 1 (cont’d): Killing Time at Chicago Airport

Warning: This is longer than my usual posts. Also Note: Newbie travelling. Some of this maybe old hat to you.

* * *

We don’t need to worry about our luggage as it flew ahead direct from Toronto to Beijing. What a blessing, yet this causes me discomfort not knowing exactly where it might be. A whole string of what ifs torment me anyway. The most nagging: what if my luggage goes to the wrong destination? Pul-eese. It’ll be fine. I’d packed two changes of clothing in my carry-on thanks to advice from my blogging friends.

It turns out we’re a long way from the main building and a shuttle arrives as we land in Chicago. We jump on in a fine spring mist hoping we’re delivered to the right terminal, then jog in the now drizzle to the entrance. First stop a washroom.

What is this? I feel like a country mouse. The toilet has unusual self-sanitizing seats. Think ultra-soft (memory foam). This video will show you best:

Only five hours and 45 minutes to kill.

Now what? We see nothing but Starbucks, McDonalds, a kind of deli, various healthy food shops, tons of neck pillows and sunglasses on offer, books and magazines, and a bar or two. Maybe we should consider sampling our way through all the food shops to keep busy. Instead, in no particular order we:

  1. Walk, limp, stumble. keep moving
  2. Learn to avoid lineups around boarding and arrivals gates on both sides of the building
  3. Dodge weary travelers more concerned about their wheelies than who’s in front or behind them
  4. Gape at the zillions of people (I don’t get out enough), from all parts of the world, who arrive and depart in giant waves like schools of fish—big ones— with luggage
  5. I close my mouth time and again and do my best not to stick out as if I’d just left the cabbage patch. The world is such a big and confusing place.
  6. Make a deposit at each washroom we wander past. When the opportunity presents itself, I figure it’s best to grab it. Best keep the tank empty.
  7. Hang around the unusual new-fangled toilets. What will they think of next? (refer to Youtube video). I wonder how often the plastic covers are replaced and ask an attendant, but she doesn’t know either.
  8. Stand in long lines to buy food / water even though not hungry
  9. Fight the crowd to buy coffee
  10. Search for an empty table to rest aching feet. Why are all the tables occupied? Pull out my now soggy pizza out of my carry-on.
    At Chicago O'Hare Airport killing time

    At Chicago O’Hare Airport killing time

  11. Take pictures of a plane through restaurant window, not exactly proof I’m in Chicago but what the heck
  12. After tiring ourselves out walking around the gargantuan airport, sit and try to read or people watch
  13. Sue combs the gift shops for a Chicago fridge magnets but doesn’t buy one. They are $5.99 each (U.S. dollars of course) and tiny—the width of two of today’s postage stamps.
  14. Check the screen for our gate too early but the waiting area is full already. Lucky to find a seat each.
  15. Count tall people / short people but they keep shifting up and down. Start over. Give up.
  16. Survey couples in boarding area to guess which ones might be going to Beijing. Sue spies a couple from our Toronto flight.
  17.  Without hesitation, we approach them and Sue strikes up a conversation and yes she knows how to peg them. They are going our way.
  18. Stare at the time in two-minute intervals but it doesn’t move any faster. One hour and 25 minutes to boarding.
  19. Notice a planeload of pilots attached to carry-ons on wheelies, who mill about purchasing food. I’d never seen so many at once. Why are they hungry? Are they arrivals or departures?
  20. Gawk and wonder how all these pilots happen to be so good looking, but much more important, fret if they are indeed old enough for the job? Most look around fifteen.

    Someone's tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

    Someone’s tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

  21. Shift and re-shift from one numb butt cheek to the other and blink faster than a turn signal to stay awake. Can’t read. You wuss. You’ve only been awake 29 hours. Fifteen and a little bit to go.
  22. Evade running and screaming children
  23. Stew over whose toddler is wandering around alone. Not my responsibility, but where are the parents? I want to know. Where ARE they? No-ones paying attention to the little guy.
  24. Line up as directed with visa and boarding pass to get the visa to China stamped. This takes five minutes. One hour and 15 minutes to go
  25. Spy a female pilot. Wow! My guess is she’s about 40. Old enough and I expect she has lots of experience under her belt. I could trust her but where’s her crew?

The clock clicks one mouse hair at a time. Time’s up. Boarding is announced by a distorted male voice. Not unlike not conscious  sleepwalkers, we funnel into lines and shuffle forward, necessary papers clutched.

*  * *

Next Friday: Are We There Yet? A Long Haul to Beijing: 13 hours, 40 minutes  


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?”


Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

A dreaded process lots of us put off or avoid is our last will and testament. Let’s face it, without one, you leave behind turmoil and probate. You don’t want to line lawyers’ pockets and leave your survivors in limbo for an indeterminate length of time.

Get a nice wide binder and a big package of sheet protectors. As you collect and fill out your personal information, you’ll now have a place to keep all your documents properly. A file cabinet with individual and alphabetically filed folders sounds organized, but someone must search through them without a clue about what they need. The other famous solution is the old shoebox under the bed mindset. Be nice. Think twice.

Your bank or financial planner may supply you with a Personal Record Keeper or facsimile. This is a must-have. I love mine. Your financial history will be in one place saving your loved ones tedious hours or days searching for necessary documents. My only complaint is this isn’t electronic. I much rather type and print off a neat and clean record instead of what I have now. My handwriting is sometimes shaky if I write more than my signature. I suppose the reason is too much keyboarding and not enough writing, plus I have arthritic thumbs.

morgueFile free images

morgueFile free images

I spent an hour typing all the information from my booklet, then noticed it is copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced in whole or in part. Instead I will give you what I remember off the top of my head. Do try to obtain a Personal Record Keeper of some kind. Filling one out has been a time-consuming undertaking because I had to dig and search for information as I filled in the blanks, but the effort is worth it. Doing this, I can imagine what a favour this is for any family. If I had to search high and low and I know my house better than anyone, well… I had no idea how interesting I am. A lot of numbers are associated with my name and I’m not talking about dollars either. Bank account numbers, passwords, codes, and on and on. I am truly amazed and a little amused. I look back now and see this all like a movie reel.

You need all your information organized before you prepare your will. If you take the time to plan ahead, you’ll be surprised how much time and money, and going back and forth to the lawyer you’ll save with these documented details at your fingertips.


We’ve all heard of the Will Kit. It is legal here but lawyers will tell you people don’t fill them out properly. If you use a kit, make sure you get it notarised to clear up any doubts now. What will peace of mind cost you? I’ve heard it’s around $50.00 or so.

Some of the details about your life:

  • Family information: all names of members plus individual information
  • Names of providers: heat, hydro internet, papers, etc.
  • What you own (savings, real estate, etc.)
  • Benefit plans and relevant information
  • What you owe
  • Insurance plans (what kind(s) and relevant information
  • All banking formation and relevant information
  • Advisors (financial, etc.)
  • Any businesses owned and relevant information
  • Wills, safety deposit, passport etc.
  • Birth certificates, funeral arrangements, safety codes, passwords
  • Computer passwords

As well, check out something called an Estate Planning Checklist. This if for Canada (but must be similar).

^ _ ^

I’ve had some questions from some of you when I ended the Dust to Dust posts that warmed my heart and made me smile. Nice to hear anyone of you hopes all is well with me. It is.Than YOU. The kick in the pants finally came, to accomplish what I’ve been putting off way too long, because I’m taking a lovely long trip end of next month. I decided this is the time to get my life in order, but that’s another post.

Relevant Links:


Memories, Lapses and New Dreams

I blinked and the year whizzed by before I had time to catch my breath. Do you feel the same? I marvel how the years slip by faster as I stack them higher and higher. Notice I refuse to utter stinky words like getting older or age.

Rather than whine and complain, I’ve learned to appreciate how good life has been to me. This past year has been one of my best. I’m out of Kleenex, therefore I can’t afford to get sappy. Anyway, depends what border you’re on, no use causing mascara drip down your nicely bronzed and powdered cheeks while you doll up for New Year’s Eve festivities.

I never imagined how enjoyable the blogosphere would become nor the wonderful, warm and like-minded individuals I’d meet. Thank you for visiting and sticking with me.

The beginning of this year I received umpteen awards but fell behind in accepting and performing the duties attached. After about nine months, little by little I dusted them off and stashed them in my Razzle Dazzle vault. Now I shy away from nominations as it’s unfair not to share with deserving bloggers because I cannot choose a few out of the many. Still, this year I managed to stash a few quiet awards with the blessing of the nominees.

Some days I’m disorganized and fall behind. Blogging is a full time job! Thank goodness I’m retired, otherwise I’d have to quit working or quit blogging. Did I mention I cut into my reading time to keep up with you all? *Grins*

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

Three people I must thank who have been especially kind, thoughtful and helpful. I have followed each of them since I began blogging a little over two years ago.

Red Dwyer, is the Promoter, Publicist, and Publisher of Redmund Productions and the blogger at I can’t think of anything she hasn’t attempted and done exceptionally well. This woman can rock a baby, drive a truck and write a book all at the same time. Kidding, but she multi-tasks like no-one you know.

Valentine of is a blogger and a free-lance writer. She’s terrific at looking at the world and getting you to pay attention. There is always brisk and noteworthy conversation at her blog. If you haven’t already, stop for a visit.

I close with the latest surprise from another fellow blogger, Andrew Petcher, a travel blogger at Have BagWill Travel. He decided to make a top ten list of his favourite blogs for 2013, and guess who make the list? I’m still blushing. Thank you, Andrew. Check it out as well at his blog:

Given the chance I might go on forever but I’ll stop nattering now. Happy New Year! May 2014 be healthy and prosperous for all. Let’s have as much, if not more, next year.


Zone: Daylight Savings Time

As long as I can remember, changing the clock back in the fall has been nothing more than the gain of a little extra sleep. The first day of Daylight Savings this year proceeded as if I had my feet stuck in mud. Throughout the day, nothing worked as it should.  My internal clock was confused and out-of-sync. I felt not unlike the Tower of Pisa, tilted in shifting foundation soil.

I’d decided to sleep in Sunday morning. When I awoke at 8:20 a.m., I realized I’d forgotten to turn the clocks back before dropping into bed. Drat. I might as well get up as I’m awake and creaky, and my butt hurts from that stupid chair.

Bleary-eyed, I fumbled with the electric alarm clock to reset to the proper hour. I fed my sweet and patient kitty—she’d let me sleep without complaint. After a hot shower, soothed by the water, and a black cup of coffee, I grabbed my novel and opted to read for an hour. Sundays are my down day to read whenever possible. Forget the laptop and the internet till later.

Tilted back, my recliner is much more forgiving than any seat in the house and I read until I’d guzzled a whole pot of coffee. I checked the clock. It wasn’t even nine yet. Had the batteries died in both my wall clocks? The microwave? No, no and no unless they were in cahoots to drive me bonkers. Yeah, right.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

I experienced the oddest sensation as if time had stood still. Nee nee nee nee nee nee nee nee. The theme music to Twilight Zone echoed in my head. Get a grip. This is the 21st Century. Rod Serling hasn’t been around since 1975.

I made another pot of coffee although I’d had enough and looked around as his ghost was breathing down my neck. I peered at the clocks again to see if they were dead or alive. Two minutes had passed. Okay, nothing to worry about.

My tummy wasn’t complaining yet; I wandered over to my laptop. Let’s see what’s happened while I snoozed the night away.

Within minutes, I was lost in the blogosphere. You know how it is: time flies. After a while, numb from sitting, I glanced up. It must be near Noon. Nope. Not yet. My tummy called for sustenance.  What the heck is going on here? How come it’s only ten-forty am?

I have never lived such a day. For the first time in my tenure on this majestic earth, Daylight Savings arrived faked as a place not a time. Unconsciously I’ve wished off and on—and who hasn’t—that elusive time would slow to an easy trot instead of the full gallop the last few years have wrought. The weird slower pace was kind of nice but creepy.

Have you noticed anything unusual since the time change almost three weeks ago?


Flash in the Pan – Mad

The 60-inch television flashes and blares.

“Take the garbage out, Stanley.”

“In a minute.”

“You said that yesterday. The kitchen stinks already.”

“Next commercial.” He works the buttons on the remote. Click. Click. Click.

“No, now.” Hands on hips, Dolores stomps in between the screen and her husband.

He tramps into the kitchen. Overstuffed bag clenched, he returns and dumps the contents on the carpet.

morgueFile free photos.

morgueFile free photos.

“Have you gone mad, Stanley?”

“Well, it’s out, isn’t it?”

~ * ~

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

The word limit for Mad is 75 words. I used all 75.

Click: to check out the rules and how to join.


Is This Gossip?

The following story is true. A six-year-old, Laurie, (not her real name) and an almost ten-year-old, Jenna, (also a fake name) are sisters. The older one lords it over the younger, but Laurie is, well—Laurie.

~ * ~

“It’s true, Jenna. Seriously.” Laurie tucks soft butter-blonde hair behind an ear and twirls hands in the air as she relates her story.

The girls are in the front hall at home. Grandma has just brought them home after school. Big sister sets her jaw and shakes her head. “Are you making this up?”

“No. I am not. Michael told me he’s not coming to our school soon. He’s moving far away.” She bounces back and forth in her stocking feet.

“So where are they moving to?”

Laurie stretches taller and grins as wide as she can. “He’s moving to Toronto.”

“How do you know all this?” Jenna plays with a strand of whiskey-blonde hair, tastes it and studies the wet ends.

“Aren’t you listening, Michael told me. His father gots a new job.”

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

“When are they moving?”

Laurie waves the air. “I don’t know.”

Jenna sighs. “So, is Michael still your boyfriend?”

“Well…I still love him; he said he doesn’t love mebut he likes my voice.” Blue eyes glow and seek direct contact with her sister’s.

“He told you that?”

“Seriously!” Laurie ups her tone. “I’m not lying.” Both wrists twist at her sides, back and forth in half circles, fingers squirming about. Schoolbags lay dropped on the ceramic floor.


Laurie frowns and tilts her head. “His bother Lucas is in your class, right? Do you love him or something?”

“N-O. Of course not…remember my friend Giada in my class? Her family is going to the Bahamas for ten days. She has to bring homework to do in the hotel room while the rest of them go swimming. That sucks.”

“That’s so not fair. Seriously. ” Fingers churn the air again. “Is she gonna do it?”

Jenna lifts a shoulder and lets it drop. “Come on. We better unpack our lunch bags before Daddy gets home.”

~ * ~

Meanwhile, Grandma eavesdrops around the corner in the kitchen. Her face is blood red and distorted from lack of oxygen. Pffh. She lets out a lungful of air and grabs the counter. A hand is clamped over her mouth to stifle her laughter.