How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


On the Yangtze River: Day 13, Part 2

(No pictures again. I have no idea what I was thinking that I forgot to take some. Next episode we’ll be back to normal—almost.)

Chinese Saying:

            “If you run out of oil for the hot pot, just pour in some wine.”

Images of Chinese hot pot

~ * ~

Sue returned livid from the morning’s excursion to the Red Cliffs. It had been awful, she told me. The group had started with 26 people and ended up with six. Why did some say it had been a wonderful tour, when Sue thought it was a waste of time? Why didn’t people tell the truth? There had been nothing to see except fake building fronts.

LUNCH Offerings

Cold salads: pasta; orange broccoli; apple and celery; dry bean curd with sour sauce; chicken in herb sauce and red beans with vegetables

Salad Bar

Romaine; red cabbage (chunks and sliced); cucumber slices; grape tomatoes; sliced black olives; real bacon bits; Parmesan; cubed melon; adorable baby oranges and watermelon slices


Italian, Thousand Island and French

 Hot lunch

Dumplings; roasted chicken wings; dry-fried string beans; roasted pork with bamboo shoots; roasted potatoes; braised fish with tomato and sesame; stir fried mixed vegetable with a sauce; French Fries; seasonal green vegetables; steamed white rice; creamed vegetable soup; mushroom and chicken soup.

White bread, sliced, rolls and butter


Lemon Jello; tarts; strawberry cheese cake; caramel custard; green tea mousse and chocolate cake

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

On-board Activities 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The on-board doctor and his assistant gave a Chinese Medicine lecture, primarily about acupuncture. I found the presentation interesting, but I’m sure the purpose was to drum up business. A line of people signed up for a consultation afterwards. I believe a fee figured in there, but I don’t remember clearly.

Afterwards, an hour-long old documentary was shown about the Three Gorges Dam and evacuation of the people.

We dressed up for the Captain’s cocktail party (6:00 – 7:00 p.m.). I wore a long sun-dress and my favorite four-inch heels (hard to put on over bare feet, but no way was I wearing hose). Sue dressed in a skirt and top and her new shoes, but her feet and ankles were still too swollen. She felt self-conscious showing them off and changed into pants.

Up the stairs we toddled in our finery. The crew was lined up in the foyer, on Deck 5. Flutes of cheap champagne were handed out and the crew stood in a receiving line outside the entrance to the bar and restaurant. I was startled that the captain was the shortest male in attendance. He had nice teeth and his smile made me think of a certain Russian leader–a shorter version. Why had this crossed my mind? I can’t make this stuff up (yes, stuff). Honest.

Four females partnered with male crew members started the dancing. Not all danced ballroom well, but the long gowns were interesting as were their efforts. Next they each picked members of the audience and one fellow from our English Group 8 was chosen to which he obligated. I’m glad it wasn’t me.

Brave couples joined the dancers for the Chicken Dance, the Macarena, the Twist, a line dance and a jive. I noticed two young guys (late thirties?) appeared to share the same girl for dancing. I’m always surprised when any male gets up to dance without a gun to his head. I guess the spirit really moved them to shake their booty.

Robert, our first tour guide in China, was on-board with another group to look after. We the English Group 8 had no-one while on the ship, unlike all the other groups.

Cocktails over, the crew lined up across the dance floor, toasts were made and drunk. The captain schmoozed and moved around the room, but it appeared to me his heart wasn’t in it. A camera guy followed him as close as butter on bread. Pictures would be on sale soon after dinner. Monitors with screen shows were available to view and choose photos for purchase. Nothing happens here without a chance of making an extra buck I guess.


Cold salads: Romaine; red cabbage; sliced red cabbage; toothpick-sliced raw carrots; chickpeas;  Longan (lychee fruit); cubed melon; sliced watermelon and cubed pineapple.

Quartered tomatoes sprinkled with Parmesan; corn and tuna salad, cauliflower salad with (thin) white cheese slices; squid with local style broccoli with Natto and mixed cow peas with pickles


Roasted shoulder butt (what? That’s what the card said.); mushroom sauce; black pepper sauce; fried pork with peppers; roast Taro; stir fried pork and mushroom; chicken with potatoes; steamed fish fillet with spiced cabbage; grilled eggplant; boiled pork with mixed mushrooms; pizza squares; white rice; white cream potato soup and stewed spare ribs soup with wax gourd


Chocolate brownies; peach pie (cake); strawberry mousse; jelly roll and cake with icing.

I don’t eat dessert. When I asked how they were, the ladies who tried them stated they were tasteless and it was impossible to tell one from the other.

After dinner, I sweet talked our young waiter to top up my wine glass, which I then took back to the cabin. Another lady in our group asked for a filled glass as  well, and gave it to me. I kept Sue talking till around 11:00 p.m. because I didn’t want the lights out yet, and wanted to type up some of my notes from the day.

~ * ~

Next on December 26, On the Yangtze River, Day 14, Part 3 (Excursion to Three Gorges Dam)

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


I will be taking time for the holidays starting late Tuesday.  I’ll pop in and out when time permits. I have another post coming on Tuesday for Christmas wishes.  


News Flash

I don’t want anyone to think I’ve suddenly stopped commenting on your blogs. First comment I clicked Reply on this morning disappeared. I tried again. Evidence of my presence is by Like only. That worked. A couple of blogs welcomed my comment as always. The rest not. Why do some (too few) work and others not?

Does anyone know what this is about? Yesterday, WP seemed fine. Is anyone else experiencing a similar problem?

It’s been suggested my comments may be in your Spam.


Thank you Microsoft clipart

Thank you Microsoft clipart



100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #141

To join in the fun, check  out

This week’s prompt is ‘but there are so many seeds’ plus 100 words



Morgan paced, red lips set in a thin flat line. Clickety-clack, click. Three steps forward; two steps back. “How can she get away with this?”

“The public won’t have a clue.”

She whirled a scarlet nail towards her daughter, eyes black as onyx. “But there are so many seeds of half-truths and outright lies here.”

“This book is trash! Forget it.”

“Grievous insinuations—still, she didn’t name names…”

“So. Is it true about Warren Beatty? Who’s Cesare?”

“Ssh.” Morgan peered over her shoulder. “Where’s your father?”

“Why are you whispering?” Alexa jiggled flawless, penciled brows. “Spill.”

“Nothing to tell.” Arms folded, Morgan raised her designer chin.


How are YOUR Eggs?

This subject has been on my mind for ages. I hope you’re wondering what kind of question this is?  It’s an ordinary one: about the eggs chickens lay.

I like to keep boiled eggs in the fridge either for a quick breakfast or to put in a salad at lunchtime. Over the past six months or so, I’ve noticed my eggs most uncooperative. I always have them come to a boil, turn down the gas and cover with a lid for ten minutes. Also, an ice water bath awaits to stop the cooking. Nothing in my process has changed in all the years I’ve been boiling eggs.

  1. Eggs are always easier to peel soon after the cold water treatment.

    If I don’t peel an egg until the next day, they don’t peel as well as they should. The skin between the egg and the shell hugs the egg too tightly. I call this separation anxiety.

  3. Let’s say I boil four eggs. One might peel more easily than the others. Why?
  4. One egg will be cracked although no crack was noticeable before boiling.
  5. The outside of one yolk may be dark grey even though they were boiled the same way in the same pot.
  6. Brown or white eggs have no nutritional difference, but for a time brown eggs peeled easier than white. Hmm.
  7. Farm eggs, from a local farmer, have a dark yellow yolk, almost orange. At least they used to. I haven’t checked in years.
  8. Grocery store eggs used to have a deep yellow yolk. I read the colour of the yolk depends on what grain is fed to the chickens. What are they feeding them? White Wonder Bread?
  9. Over time, I’ve noticed egg yolks have become lighter more like a corn silk yellow after boiling. I have no way of knowing the depth of colour before cooking.
  10. The last carton of eggs I brought home from the grocery store seems compliant. At least so far. Peeling them reminds me of previous times.

* * *Don’t get me started on the grading of eggs. Here is the link to explain the process where I live.

It used to be, I bought Large eggs. I can’t recall when or why I switched to Extra Large. I pretend like to believe I’m observant and a curious sort. I’m not sure when I graded up. Seems eggs have been shrinking and I hadn’t noticed. That’s right—shrinking. Unless my eye-sight has deteriorated since I bought new glasses last summer, I believe Extra Large eggs are the new Large.

When were chickens taught to lay smaller eggs?

  • Wait, maybe it isn’t their fault. Let’s go back to the brown and white eggs: depends which type of chicken is laying them.
  • Yolk colour depends on what chickens are fed. What are the chickens eating that causes them to lay smaller eggs with washed out yokes?
  • I read it’s not size but weight that counts for grading them. Hmm.

 * * *

Disclaimer: I am not scientific and have not used scientific means to explore my world of eggs. No farmers, chickens, or eggs were coerced in my amateur test. No money changed hands and no benefits gained. I stank at physics and never took chemistry. I am innocent of any and all finger pointing which may result. I have queried a couple of neighbours and a stranger or two, as well as a few friends. These are my results.

 * * *

About a year ago, I did a rant about shrinking food packaging which led to deceiving pricing. If you’re curious, you will find it here:


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.


Let’s Cut the Crap!

A blogger wondered today where / how the backstory to my blog’s name, Let’s Cut the Crap, originated. Perhaps I had a post titled as such, she inquired?

No-one else has asked before. Now that I’ve brought it up, let me explain. At this point in my life I don’t have time to beat around the bush. I’m not here to sugar coat anything I post. If interesting insights into my life strike me, I’ll laugh about them here. So far, only my knees give me a headache. The name struck me as attention-grabbing, as well as coming off as no-nonsense.

Shortly after our exchange, I read an interesting article and by golly I have a post titled as such now. This is it.

I found the following post, mid-day, because unexpected free time fell into my lap. My jaw dropped after only a few paragraphs. By the time I was half-way through reading, I knew David Gaughran’s post must be shared with all of you.

Are you ready for this? I may not yet have experience with the big publishing world, but I realize the new reality for writers is developing into a cutthroat game of who gets the money. It’s all in the article.


You will notice I’m posting mid-afternoon on Friday, something unheard of here. Today is the end of March Break for my grandchildren as well as for their other grandmother.  They have all gone swimming leaving me with an unexpected afternoon of freedom. Maybe I’ll manage to do some catching up or grab a book and disappear into its covers. Eh?



Sunday Snippets – Blog Hop #4

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


I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to critique and help me prop up my humble scribblings.

My snippets are of short stories. So as not to post the majority of any story here, I have switched to a new one today, which is a tiny bit over 250 words. The working title is The Loner.

* * *

“Hey Jules, you in there?” Hank hollered over the shrieking wind. He pummeled the battered wooden door. Cotton ball snowflakes whipped at him as if in protest of his arrival.

He grasped the doorknob and yanked with all his might. A squall wretched the warped door outwards with a rusty screech knocking him off his feet. Hank hung on with both hands and hurled himself inside like a rocket. The door thwacked shut. Bundled in heavy mitts and sheepskin coat, he listened to the absence of human activity.

Man, it’s freezing in here. Hank pulled his cap lower and frowned. The potbellied stove was cold as death. Various sized pots of frozen water cluttered the floor beneath the long leaking ceiling. Computer paraphernalia was scattered over an old barn door which served as a table.

Do any of them work? He wondered. What looked like a witch’s black caldron sat ready to fall off the table’s edge. Hank leaned over it. Inside was ice-covered matter. What a reek even in this frigid hell-hole! He covered his nose and shuttered.


The shack had fallen down a groan at a time, now tilted about twenty degrees off centre. Seventy-five years earlier it had been a blacksmith’s shop and after that a horse barn—a sorrowful reminder of the past. Homesteaders had long since moved west into Swift Current or farther east to Moose Jaw. Wrathful winds had played havoc on the tarpapered roof, ripped up corners, and let in the rain and snow and sun. Before long, broken windows had allowed whatever critters chose to squat for a while. Old Jules had been one of those critters.

* * *

Click on over to these great writers to check out and critique what they’ve posted!


Ego Takes a Holiday

Recently, I was involved in a situation, from which I’ve had to walk away. This is a brief overview.

I rarely have an inflated ego or fat head. My problem is I’m cautious, sometimes to the extreme. This does not mean I have no self-confidence; I have plenty, I promise.

The Carrot

A Mr. New York approached me recently with enough interesting buzz to snap me to attention. The link to my blog had been found, he said, on an extremely successful and popular site. I recognized it at once. He came across my work and liked it. Would I be interested in writing for his e-Zine? Half a dozen-mail exchanges later, he suggested an in-depth interview and discussion via Skype or by telephone.

I checked out the month-old e-Zine. It was slick, sharp, snappy. The magazine featured articles about movies, music, television, food, fashion, Hollywood etc.—geared more to twenty and thirty-somethings than to ladies with service stripes (like my gray ones).

I contacted the blog owner where my link had been found to ask whether she did indeed recognize Mr. N. Y.  I had been led to believe she and Mr. N.Y had had in-depth discussions, specifically about how she had achieved such success and was generating revenue. She had no idea who he was. This bothered me. Why was her name being brandished like a sword?

I’m certain any number of bloggers had also been contacted as I have. My initial question after the first e-mail was why me? Why not me? Still, I was not celebrating. Why? Something didn’t feel right.

The Interview

Skype audio only was used. He talked for a half-hour explaining the zine was in its infancy. Only exposure for articles contributed was on offer until they became a revenue generating entity, hopefully in six to eight months.

My fellow blogger’s site was brought up again but her name was used incorrectly. Once more I was bothered.

After the interview, I started to dig. I found Mr. N. Y. is in the entertainment, radio and movie business. Still I didn’t get weak in the knees. We are all people, right? Some of us are more clever, talented, luckier or more successful than others.  I come from the corporate world. This wasn’t such a big deal—yet.


  • Mr. New York is on three blacklists in the entertainment and music business
  • It is also mentioned he’s ‘a career killer’
  • He has his fingers in a lot of pies
  • His personal blog gave me pause. At first glance everything looked fine but then I found subjects and terminology with pictures I do not wish to be associated with.

From his blog

‘… risqué, macabre … outside the boundaries … “normal society”‘

 Am I a prude? What IS a prude anyway? Do I need or wish to be connected in any way to this tangle?



Curious Meets Crazy

I hate cold coffee and am forever reheating a cup in the microwave. Why does the mug handle end up in the back even when I place it facing out, or, no matter how long it spins to reheat?

My old washing machine ate socks; I became used to losing them and expected the loss. What changed? The new machine hasn’t gobbled any—even once—in four years. What gives?

When are you officially a senior? 50? 55? 60? 65? Businesses used to offer discounts on a wide range of products and services for customers age fifty and over. Once the demographic reports on baby boomers came out, perks dwindled, an inch at a time. Too many seniors are approaching age sixty-five. Why is this information a surprise?

McDonald’s offers seniors a coffee discount—size small only. Some ‘franchises’ don’t offer any reduction at all. Others give you the same price cut whether you order a small or a large cup. Why the differences?

Why do meteors fall through the atmosphere but don’t hit anything? I’m pleased not to hear of catastrophic damages, but why is it they never hit any cities or tall buildings? Why are burned remnants always found in remote areas? How lucky are we?

Why do I always want to do something else when I’m in the middle of any particular project? Even when I’m half-way into an absorbing book, another one catches my eye; I’m impatient to get into the new one no matter how exciting the current one I’m reading.

Why is my cat driving me crazy? I threw drop-sheets on my sofa to discourage her from playing Tarzan. She found an opening no matter how I draped, tucked or arranged the sheets to drag on the floor. She discovered a new game called ‘run under the drop-sheets and hang on the sofa underneath’. Alright! W-e-e-e-e. Will my sofa last until next Monday morning and her manicure appointment?


A Lady and the Tramp

I’ve lived alone too long. No. I’m not whining about being lonely, depressed or bored. Are you kidding? I like love my freedom: I get up when I want, I do what I want, and generally, get away with what I want.

I read the paper every morning with my coffee after I’ve had all the zz’s I need, or I did until recently.

My new cat starts my day by flexing her nails, jamming them into my mattress and stroking my bed skirt. RRrr-i-p, R-iii-pp. She pretends she’s scared but comes peeking around the dresser after two flicks of her tail to check how much progress the lump on the bed has made. I swear I hear her heaving with silent laughter. Her goal is breakfast—NOW—at 6:10 a.m.

I’m a normal retired lady, old enough to make my own decisions, dammit, and nobody’s going to make me change. I’m not getting up before 7:00 a.m. I steal two extra minutes of quiet before the tramp in Lady Gaga charges again. This time she uses her claws to climb my sofa. For whatever reason, hanging off the floor using only her front claws before pushing herself up with her hind legs, nails flexed for better impetus, makes Lady G. much too happy.

She reads me like I’m made of glass.

“Stop it! I’m coming already.”

I don’t often watch television, but occasionally I throw caution to the wind, pour a glass of wine and hope to watch a decent movie to r-e-l-a-x, to give my fingers and brain a rest, (but not my lap). Nope, Lady Gaga has made it clear, my lap belongs to her. I don’t get to do what I want much anymore.

Most days / evenings find me clicking away on my keyboard or surfing the net, reading, or commenting in the blogosphere among other favourite projects. The sleek and trim Lady G. is tired of sleeping and must jump on my lap to wash the sleep out of her marble-size eyes. On second thought, she gives herself an attention-seeking bath like she’s the centre of the universe. Why she must lean on my forearm to take another nap afterwards is beyond me.

I’m such a soft touch, I let her snooze for five minutes or so, (plus, plus) while petting her gently on the top of the head the way she prefers. Sometimes, I get to practice one-finger typing with my left hand while I wait. It’s tedious as hell and slow to boot, but I don’t mind. I’m a woman of a certain age, old enough to make my own decisions dammit, and nobody’s going tomake me change.

I think I’ll take her for a manicure (but not a pedicure); I don’t want her to get the idea I’m a big spender—not big enough to afford a new sofa anytime soon.