How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Swoon No More

Does anyone in this whole wide world dislike hate fruit flies like I do?

Fruit flies were everywhere yesterday, following me around it seemed. No fruits or vegetables anywhere. Why did they descend on me? Sure I ‘m apt to find a few in the kitchen during the warm summer weather now and again, as in past years, except last fall, we had hordes. I don’t expect a following to my favourite spot on the sofa, though, nor around my computer (which happens to be in my bedroom). No fruit or food in here either.

I smashed at least a dozen of the flying pests certain only one existed. As soon as I clapped one dead another one materialized. I couldn’t get any work done. And, one flew at my face. What? This made it personal. Did I mention I’m not dead yet and I can prove it? I’m like a frog—I’m so fast—but I don’t use a weird tongue to do the job. Who else is so talented to kill and applaud at the same time?

I half-filled a mug with sugar water and placed it on a side table by my desk. No captives to report in the past twenty-four hours. No race resulted, either,  to determine who craved my glass of wine first. I’m almost disappointed;  this is most unusual. You won’t believe it—I couldn’t either—a fruit fly in my COFFEE swam its last dead fly float! Have the fruit flies of the world joined AA?

Not so long ago, I remember house flies bu-z-z-z-z-ed. Of late, I notice they annoy the hell out of me but are mute. Fruit flies hung around my kitchen until last night but swoon over sugar water and wine no more. What’s happening? I thought technology was going to confuse me first not the silly bug world.

Tonight, a lone fruit fly came to visit. It had the nerve to land on the back of my wrist—bold as brass. Yes, I looked at it—for a millisecond, and let him have it. Later, a cousin or a spouse flew in.

How I hate washing my hands every five minutes but no trouble shall I have sleeping the good sleep yet again tonight.

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23 Comments

A Poor Man’s Meal

I’ve been locked in technical hell lately. A week ago my six-month-new Brother printer started jamming (nothing to do with music, but it was playing havoc with my nerves). No matter how many times I removed the paper, checked the paper tray, straightened and ruffle the paper, it had made up its mind to drive me crazy. I called Brother support. After scanning my bill  and e-mailing it to them to prove purchase, the lovely young lady in Montreal said she was sending me a new one.

A new one? OMG! It arrived two day’s later. Inside the box was a prepaid UPS sticker for return of the old-new one.

The same weekend, I was in my e-mail account where I receive all my blogs.  I can’t recall what I was doing but a yellow banner appeared across the top of my page with this warning:

We’ve noticed some unusual activity in your Hotmail account. To help protect you and everyone else, we’ve temporarily blocked your account. To unblock it, verify your account.”

To verify my account, they ask for a cell number so they can text back a code. I do NOT have text messaging. All communication with MSN has been one-sided (in that I cannot respond to their e-mails–you can’t reply to). I’m still NOT able to send mail from that account. I CAN open and read blogs and comment. It’s like we are not speaking the same language. I was also TOLD they cannot discuss with me what kind of  ‘activity’ they are talking about. I didn’t even ask. Might anyone have had a similar experience?

You’ve been getting my comments when I’ve had time to read your blogs but I haven’t responded  to any e-mail. I am not ignoring anyone. My apologies?

o O o

I’ve had a few requests for the following after an earlier post. Why I like this recipe is you don’t use mayo.  This is no longer a poor man’s or woman’s meal. The price of canned tuna is climbing as the size of the can is getting smaller. Does 170 grams sound about right where you live? When you drain the water, it’s supposed to be 120 grams of fish or so the can suggests.

 

Tuna Salad

1can (15 ounces) white navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (9 ounces) water-packed canned tuna, drained and flaked

1 clove garlic, minced (more if you like)

3 ribs sliced and chopped (1/4” each) celery

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice + zest of  ½ lemon

Salt and black pepper

 Drain and rinse beans. Drain tuna. Toss into a large bowl. Add garlic, celery, garlic, lemon and zest. Add salt and pepper. Toss well. Add oil just so it’s not dry. Toss. Yum.

Adding crusty bread makes this a  nice light lunch. Also, you can toss some of this mixture onto a green salad (a quarter cup or so, up to you).

o O o

Originally this recipe called for thinly sliced celery (one or two ribs) but I like crunchy so I dice and lots (up to six stalks). They add bulk so there’s more salad.

Also, I sometimes add chopped sundried tomatoes (in oil) and skip the OVOO, as much as you like). Play with it and I hope you enjoy.

This is better fresh but yes you can store in the fridge overnight. It’s best at room temperature, however.


54 Comments

Whose Money is it by the Way?

I don’t recall if I’ve had a good rant this year. You can’t expect a body to remember everything she’s done over a six- month period, or is it in the last half-year? I can’t remember where I put my glasses two minutes ago…or is it three…whatever. If I don’t get to the point soon I’m going to lose my train of thought. Where was I?

Let’s talk groceries; my favourite subject. The packaging is getting smaller. Who’s noticed? Let’s look at pasta. Wait a minute. Is pasta measured in grams or litres? I might venture one is for dry goods and the other is for wet. Never mind. I know a way that’s a lot easier to visualize without the confusion.  To put this strange measuring into prespective, think a one litre bottle (L)  vs a 750- millilitre (ml) bottle of wine. The difference is something like 250 ml. Sometimes I think I make this stuff up because I was slow in grade school. You may think I’m a cheap wino but I know how to subtract. Pay attention to smaller sizes and higher prices. I know you get the picture so stop smirking.

The first time I recall making a whole box of pasta (375 grams or was it more at some point?), I had so much I couldn’t give it away. One package doesn’t go as far nowadays. I do save the leftovers but I don’t have much after four servings. Whole wheat and whole grain pasta is being promoted as heart healthy (but in a 300 gram-size) and the price has—you guessed it—steadily crept up as the content has shrunk. I’m positive the 375-gram box is smaller thanI remember, but I wasn’t paying attention when I should have been; I wasn’t retired yet. Everybody is downsizing one way or another except for my tush, it seems.

Tuna is a favourite pantry item I keep on hand and am always afraid I’ll forget to restock. I make a mean tuna salad with white kidney beans and chopped celery I adore. (Let me know and I’ll post the recipe.) You know those days when lunchtime munchies won’t leave you alone? Most days I’m satisfied with a big tossed salad, especially in summertime, or homemade soup out of my freezer. Today it’s tuna salad straight up (sometimes I go nuts and mix tuna and a tossed salad together).  Not long ago those little tins of tuna cost only 77₵. The past few months the price has been sneaking up ten cents each time I go shopping. This week they’re up to $1.07.

Nobody likes to talk about—I can’t understand why—papier toilettes. (Sounds better in French, doesn’t it?) You thought I’m not aware of your sensitivities, maybe? I’ll ignore the insult.

Let’s get back to the subject at hand—oops. Stop being so squeamish and let me finish. This time the packaging is getting BIGGER. Yep, I said bigger- looking. Instead of buying eight or twelve (single) rolls, somebody thought fifteen DOUBLE rolls is better—double rolls, count ‘em, equal to thirty regular rolls. Wow! What a bargain. Think again. They’re not wound as tight as they once were. Take note a roll doesn’t go as far as it did once. Am I right?

In the end, what will a dollar buy in the future–a quarter-cup of cereal? Remember not long ago old folks said a cup of coffee used to cost a dime? How much is it now?


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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.


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Old Bird, New Tricks. . .

Generally speaking, I’m a tough old bird. I have no allergies that I know of, except for sunscreen. I can’t wear it. A breakout of tiny, angry water blisters, which itch like the plague and break if I scratch, and itch more when they break, invade my pitiful sun-screened skin.

A couple of months ago, I made a new discovery. (I’m way too easy, you see.) It’s time, I decided, to stop using Dove soap on my face after eons of use. I haven’t had any problems: no extra lines or flaky skin, but a change would be good, I thought.

Enter Nivea Visage Replenishing Cleansing Cream Lotion (Mature Skin). I also splurged on Nivea Visage Rich Moisturizing Day Care with SPF 15. This was not a big investment; the price was right, the total  under twenty dollars. Oh, what a feeling; what a r-u-s-h a new jar of cream will bring! I felt like a new woman for several weeks. My face looked as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Until, the diaper rash!

I believe I have some Rosacea as do many women after a certain age. What I saw was something more. When my cheeks and chin broke out in pimples—with pin-sized yellow heads—my attention sprang into front row.  Mornings I looked great, no redness and no pimples—until I washed my face and applied the moisturizing day cream—hmm, curious.

My head has been someplace else lately. I noticed sort of, but didn’t put the  details together. Something made me stop the day cream and switch back to a long-time old faithful moisture cream. No change. Yikes. (I blush easily, which makes my face a deeper crimson and the added heat irritates this new condition.) Now the breakouts were becoming more of a problem because makeup didn’t hide them and everyone could see what was going on. Blush. Blush.

I stopped the cleansing lotion and went back to good old Dove soap. No immediate magic, but three days later, no more yellow heads—only angry red lines. I’d also been drinking buckets of coffee lately and have been a bit more stressed out than usual. Generally, not good.

So far, I’m pleased with my skin’s improvement. Why do I always need to chase the next best product when the current one is doing its job? What can I say? I’m vain to hope—hope there is still magic to be had. Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I don’t like to look my best and feel like a new woman once in a while. I’m sure vanity never goes away. Am I right? Sure I am.

First of all, I knew I had an allergic reaction to sunscreen? What is SPF 15, after all? But I forgot. So my head has been buried in the sand but no more. I hope I don’t have to give up coffee—or wine. Both of these aggravate Rosacea as does stress, but the big bad problem seems to be going away. . .

This feels like a service announcement. What? This is about ME. It is NOT an infomercial. Please.

~ * ~

For information on Rosacea:  http://www.symptomfind.com/diseases-conditions/rosacea/


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This is Awkward . . .

Most days I get breakfast, read the newspaper and putter around, or attack tasks / projects I can’t avoid. Lately, there have been a ton of those  and I’ve been buried under lots of paper. In spite of concentrating so hard, a few days ago, I noticed something different:  SILENCE.

I live in the basement level of the house I share with my daughter and her family. The dehumidifier is going all the time. Or at least it was.

The hot water tank in the laundry-room was replaced about a month ago. Because of the water spill during the switch, I moved the dehumidifier in there to dry up the wet cement floor (decided not to spend the extra money finishing the floor). I shut it down afterwards.

In the past few days, the temperature has been going up outside. Yesterday felt like 35 degrees Celsius. Duh, time to put the dehumidifier back on. I decided not to move it back into the dining / kitchen area and left it where it was—a good thing too.

My dehumidifier is either having an identity crisis or is on strike. I can’t remove the water container—not that it’s full anyway but I keep checking—it keeps icing up inside. When I unplug it, the ice thaws and leaks (on the cement floor, thank goodness). I wonder if a good swift kick might help.

I’m was used to the constant hum it makes; why did it take so long to realize I live in tomb-like silence? Have I forgotten I have a radio? What does that say about me? I am not deaf if that’s what you’re thinking. My problem is neither my hearing nor memory. How can anyone be so busy she doesn’t stop to put some music on?

Anyway, I’ve no alternative. We are expecting a hot, dry summer (as in where’s the rain?). I’m ready to eat nails because I need to go shopping and don’t want to. My dehumidifier is only three years new. Drat.

By the way, now that I think of it, silence is golden or haven’t you heard that somewhere too? My worry is after I swallow the nails I will be screaming and it’s all my dehumidifier’s fault thus breaking the golden silence.


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Waste Not; Want Not

I can’t help thinking about a recent birthday celebration I attended at a Chinese buffet-syle restaurant. It had been a glorious day and a happy time spent with family members. No cooking or cleaning or washing up afterwards. Perfect.

Some things bother me about what I saw. I watched well-dressed, intelligent-looking people act like children. They piled up their plates and then left good food to be picked up and discarded by the servers. There’s so much food (at buffets and weddings), customers go for seconds and waste again. One young man filled up his plate to a cone-shaped disgusting pile twice. I’m surprised he made it safely to his table without an ugly spill—more waste. Twice more he piled a plate but ate only half.

Maybe I’m too conservative. Why not take small portions of something you’re not sure of and go back if you love it. Stuff yourself if you must but don’t waste. I’m not going to mention all the starving people in the world our mothers used to warn us about.

I overheard someone say at a table behind me, “Can you imagine, there’s a buffet restaurant in (fill in a name here) which charges their customers an addition set amount per plate if  they leave food on their plate. Good way to lose customers,” she said.

 To my way of thinking it’s not a bad idea. Just because you pay for the buffet doesn’t mean you should thoughtlessly waste it. Does it? Yet, that’s what customers do without a second thought. It’s not free but they seem to believe because they ‘paid’ for it, anything goes: at the hot buffet, the salad bar, the sweet table and the fruit bar.

And then we have free food at weddings. Call me old-fashioned or a fuddy-duddy. I just don’t get it. Isn’t that considered waste too? Shouldn’t food be respected? Aren’t we lucky in North America to have as much as we do?

One more thing. I have seen people order in restaurants, eat half and complain they didn’t like it and expect a free replacement. The goal is the rip-off. Come on; who is getting ripped off in the end do you suppose?  

Maybe I should confess that I’m not allowed out much.


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The Anniversary Gift

I heard a story today about a friend’s sister whose husband, out of the blue, laid the I want a divorce card on the table. She thought their marriage was good. Now this. I thought I’d play with that idea.

~ * ~

“So, what do you think Joe? Shall we go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary next Saturday or what?”

Joe stared at his dinner plate. He’d been quieter than usual for weeks. Pat could see no apparent reason for this.

“Come on, Joe, it’s obvious something’s bothering you. What is it?”

No response.

He looked like a lost garden statue, she thought.

Pat closed her eyes and crossed her arms in a hugging manner. Joe had never been much of a talker but she didn’t know how much more cold silence she could take. It was hell living with a shell of a man who ignored her. He ate, slept and went to work. What was going on in that head of his? Maybe there were problems at the Xerox Lab where he worked? Everybody was cutting back these days. Maybe Joe was on the pink list.

“Joe, for the love of God, I can’t take this silent treatment anymore. Is it work or are you sick or what?” Pat hit the table with the palm of her hand just a bit harder than she’d intended.

Joe finally looked up. Pat almost cried with relief. He looked her straight in the eye and took a deep breath.

“Go on Joe. We’ve been married twenty-two years. There’s nothing we can’t talk about. Tell me. Let’s get it out in the open.”

“Are you quite sure about that, Pat? Can we talk about anything?” At first his voice was a whisper but as he continued, it grew stronger, more confident.

“I’ve been trying to figure out a way to let you down easy-like but as usual, you push and push at everything. He pointed a long finger at her across the table. You aren’t going to tell me what to do or how to do it anymore.”

Pat’s eyes blinked. She gasped and gripped the table. What was going on here? She’d never heard Joe so much as raise his voice in all the time she’d known him.

“Pat I want a divorce and I want it now. You can go celebrate your anniversary with your bossy mother or do any damn thing you want. I’m finished. Done.” Joe pushed back his chair and let it fall backwards with a clatter. He headed towards the front door. A hard slam reverberated like an exclamation point. A hush filled the air.

Pat slid down in her chair. She heard a girlish giggle. The little turd had finally found some balls. She wasn’t even shocked as much as relieved. Real peace at last.


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100-Word Challenge: Handsome and Tall!

The prompt this week is to go back to last week’s entries. You are to use the last 10 words of the post next to yours and using just 100 words create a story. It may continue from the previous one or you may like to take it in a different direction. So:

You find your entry HERE

You go to the next entry (if you were 6 you go to 7 etc.)
(I was #29, so I’m using #30 for my prompt from:  Sarah the suberbanite: What the Rabbit Was Late For.

The last 10 words were: But a flash of sun – and where did it go?

Using the last ten words as the prompt you write your piece. The prompt can be anywhere in the piece but must be complete as it was in the original.

If you didn’t take part last week, choose any entry to use the last 10 words from.

I continued again in the vein of my previous challenge.

~ * ~

Before Alice makes for the door, the Mad Hatter blows in. Her eyes pop. He looks like Johnny Depp; handsome and tall. Maybe he’ll take her away.

“Come, let’s not dilly-dally.”

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see,” Johnny Mad Hatter winks and hurries out.

“No. I want to go home. Will you help me?”

“We’ve a tea party to attend.”

“Not that again,” frowns Alice, “I’ve already heard you sing.”

“Would you rather paint Easter eggs?

“Wait!”

The table is laid as before. The teapot is hot. But a flash of sun – and where did it go?


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The Uninspired Chronicles – Reboot

For rules regarding the Uninspired Chronicles, go to:

http://riatarded.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-uninspired-chronicles/

~ * ~

When I have an idea clamped in my teeth, I can’t sleep. I switch on the bedside light every ten minutes. ON to scribble something I don’t dare forget. OFF again. Good night. ON again. OFF again. So I lose a little sleep now and again. It’s just not often enough to be worth it!

On the other hand, when I have a brain cramp, I entertain myself  in unusual ways. Some efforts never work. Some work once in a long while. You have to have a sense of humour every now and again. I do try. More today than yesterday etc.

These are a few of my favourite prods (yes I need prodding, so I prod when I must).

Will it be a nudge, a poke, an elbow or a push this time? Let’s have a look.

1. Free write for 10 minutes about the first thing that pops into my head:  onions, the Easter bunny, what my grandkids did lately.  Aanything will do no matter how ridiculous.

Ninety percent will be garbage but usually a pattern will form.

2. Try prompts. A box of randomly selected words from the newspaper waits on my desk. The work spinach again? Ugh. Stinky socks—stinky socks?  Must I?

Sometimes this is even FUN.

3. I keep an envelope of pictures:  interesting faces, odd objects, shapes. I stare until I go cross-eyed. Something will come sooner or later. Sometimes much later.

Other times I just get a headache.

4. If staring doesn’t work, I head to the kitchen to chop, slice and dice until I end up with soup.  At least I’ve gained SOMEthing as well as a sense of accomplishment!

Not what I wanted but beggars can’t be chosers. (Apologies for the cliche.)

5. Do a brain dump when times are good. Plan ahead for the blocked days. Having some of these is a miracle but having something handy might help when I need it. Save everything.

Where did I file that great stuff I dreamed up last month? Why can’t I find it?

6. Writing often seems to keep the ideas coming. Life gets in the way, though.  There isn’t time enough for everything I want to do each day. Maybe I’m just too disorganized.

If all else fails or even when it doesn’t, I turn up the music. Remember marching bands? They still  get my heart thumping and rev me up.

Tomorrow is another day. Maybe next time. . .

I am such a fraud!

When I’m bored and can’t bang my head against the keyboard anymore, I try online challenges (something for everyone). Another reboot: I am energized by exchanging ideas, opinions and thoughts with amazing bloggers.