How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Post the first 250 words of a work in progress, check out the rules and join us. Other submissions are at the bottom of this post.

I appreciate everyone’s input. This particular short story is something new for me, in that the weather is a ‘character’ because it is so present. I have not included the edited version but Part 1 is here if you wish to see the beginning.

~ * ~

The laboured breathing stopped and started. Julia ran forward a step then returned to the bed wringing her hands, legs wooden. She lingered a moment to touch the face of her brother’s heavily pregnant wife. The storm’s steady darkness prompted her to turn on the small lamp on the bedside table. Shadows danced on the walls. Even in the bad light there was no mistaking the damp sheen on the walls and on Rosa’s face. In spite of the heat from the woodstove in the kitchen, cold air forced its way inside.

Julia forced a deep breath and threw her shoulders back. In the kitchen, she grabbed her coat off the hook by the door. Help won’t come by itself.

A squall caught the door when Julia opened it at the bottom of the stairs. In an instant she found herself tossed to the ground from three steps up. Disbelief crossed her face. Prego Dio. Icicles tinkled in the wind like glass wind chimes on a better day. No longer playful, two long spikes stabbed the snow beside her. She struggled on hands and knees through foot-deep whipping snow around to the front door. With already numb fists, she hammered on the door, eyes streaming. Mrs. Horwatt, the landlady, yanked the door open. “Need medico. Rosa not good. Please go Mrs. Schmitt telephone medico.”

Mrs. Horwatt turned and yelled for Jackie to grab her coat. “Tell Mrs.Schmitt phone doctor for Mrs. D’Angelo.”

Julia was gone before the lanky nine-year-old girl raced for the door. “Wait,” her mother grabbed her arm.

~ * ~

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


Sunday Snippet – Critique Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. You’ll find the other submissions at the bottom of this post.


This is the opening from a short story with the working title Whatever Will Be. I did run over the 250-word count because I couldn’t break off at that point. Please pardon the imposition.

~ * ~

Twelve-year old Rosie stamped her feet and hurled the stuffed bear to the floor. “Jerri, grow up.” She gulped air, skinny hands on narrow hips. Her sister glanced up, blowing a whopping pink bubble. The gum stuck to her nose like a deflated parachute. Unperturbed, Jerri picked it off and poked the sticky goop back into her mouth. With a dramatic sigh she flicked another page of her magazine. “You’re gonna catch it—sneaking around again.” Jerri chewed and snapped her gum hard. With a languid hand she patted her drugstore blonde hair.

“He’s so hunky, don’t you think?” She tipped her head towards Rosie. “The way his baby blues fit snug around his hips and those cowboy boots—nobody in this rat’s nest town has anything like them.” Jerri hugged the True Confessions magazine, scrunching its pages to her remarkable teenage chest. “He’s a dreamboat and he’s mine.” She melted into the burgundy sofa, and the mountain of pillows, eyes closed.

“You’re impossible.” Rosie stamped out of the living-room. The door all but ripped off its hinges as she slammed it. Yeah, I’m familiar with The Dog. What a name. Ich.

She sprang up the street towards town, a three-minute stroll with her long legs. “Hey, Willis. Hold up. Whatcha doing?”

“Hi, Rosie. Gotta pick up some nails for my dad. We’re building a go-cart for next Saturday’s race. See ya.” Willis flew like a bullet up the hot mud-packed shoulder, holey runners kicking up dust against his well-patched pants. Rosie blinked startled eyes; her hand in mid-wave before he was gone. “Bye…Willis.”

~  * ~

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


What is my What?

How many passwords (or codes) do you have? Remember you must have a different and unique one for every account. I understand some of the reasons for them are as follows:

  1. Debit card
  2. Banking online
  3. Facebook login
  4. Twitter login
  5. LinkedIn login
  6. E-bill account for cable/internet/phone provider
  7. E-bill account for heat, hydro and water
  8. E-bill account for mortgage or rent
  9. Blog login
  10. Possibly another blog login
  11. E-mail account 1
  12. E-mail account 2
  13. E-mail account 3
  14. E-Bay account
  15. Paypal account
  16. Amazon account
  17. Another bookstore account
Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Seems like yesterday, I had to memorize telephone numbers, but only a few because not everyone had a phone. If really stuck, a directory assistance operator looked up the number when I asked, free of charge. The friend list grew. A pocket-sized personal address book became popular. Everyone’s information found their way inside with the help of a pen and my little hand.

Later, cell and cordless phones came along which allowed entering all my nearest and dearest friends’ numbers into an electronic phone book on my personal unit. Of course, I didn’t need to remember anymore since the phone directory did it for me. I scrolled through the names and hit the send button. The phone was smart. It did, and still does, the dialing.

I’m not sweet sixteen anymore and my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Some days I can hardly remember what day it is, or my name, without checking the nametag on my shirt. (Yes, the nametag. You can steal this tip if you like. I share it—no charge—and you aren’t required to rattle off any combination of passwords to get it.)

Words, letters or numerals of assorted and distinctive anything, let alone a dozen or so passwords, I’m simply too tired to remember. Why is it when this is supposed to be the time of my life, I am burdened with this information overload? I’m told not to check the little box that asks if I want my PC to remember a password. Of course, I don’t click it, because I’m afraid of creepy cyberspace creatures prowling around inside my computer, snooping around. For the life of me I cannot understand why they might want to.

I’m ready for the electronic fingerprint or eye-ball analysis or whatever, so I’m able to get on with it and not fumble around trying to remember which password is for what.

Give me a break!


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 – Squeak

Autumn’s early light creeped through the bedroom window. Destiny bolted awake.

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

“W-who’s there?”

“Trick or treat my lovely.”

“You. . .”

A squeak intruded.

Thwack. The intruder crashed to the floor—his dagger abandoned.

“Who are you?” she stammered.  Her hand clutched her throat.

 “Cut! Print it.”   

~ * ~

Click for the rules of this challenge.

The word limit for Squeak is 75 words. I have used 47.


Flash In The Pan – Dinner



“Says here Michael McClusky married Susie Penny.”

“I heard that. It’s strange how he found her, asked her to dinner and tied the knot lickety-split.”

“It’s forty-five years since he cheated on her and had to get married, right?”

“Something like that. What happened to the shotgun wife?” Barb asked.

“Divorced after twenty years and three kids. Didn’t need a shotgun neither; she lied to him and her daddy.” Mary stared at her sister, eyes bulging.

“Susie was broken-hearted for years afterwards. I can’t believe she forgave him.” Barb scratched her nose and squinted at the newspaper.

“I don’t know; he’s dead now.”


“Yep, a week after the wedding.”

“Was it natural?” the sisters squealed together.


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?


Is It Too Late To Follow The Dream?

I am pleased and honoured to share with you the following guest post.

Angela Ackermanis one half of The Bookshelf Muse blogging duo, and co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.  Listing the body language, visceral reactions and thoughts associated with seventy-five different emotions, this brainstorming guide is a valuable tool for showing, not telling, emotion. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, in the shadow of the Rockies, with her family, dog and one slightly zombie-like fish.

~ * ~

How many times have you run into someone, and when it comes out that you’re a writer, they say, “You’re so lucky. I would love to write a book someday.” Or maybe a spark lights up in their eyes as they tell you this great idea they have for a story, or their hands get all animated as they describe a novel they read, falling right back into that world.

What you’re seeing is Passion. It might be only a glimmer, or a full-out flame, but either way, there’s something big going on inside them, if they only knew how to set it free.

I’ve run into a lot of writers-in-waiting:  people who love books and to read, who have big imaginations and who enjoy the lyrical nature of how words fit together. Maybe they journal, or fiddle with poems or haikus, or create jingles in their mind as they watch cheesy TV commercials. The point is, they are writers in all but name. Oh, if only they knew!

Sometimes when they tell me I’m lucky to be a writer, I’ll ask them, “Well, why don’t you become one too?”

Often than glow that lit them up only a second before clouds over. They say things like, “Oh but I couldn’t. That’s just a dream. I don’t know a thing about writing.” Or, “I don’t have time between work and the kids and the gardening and the house. In fact, did you see the peeling paint on the fence? I have to get on that soon or the whole thing will rot away…” and the conversation becomes a list of chores needing to be done, work waiting to fill the hours.

It makes me sad, because that writer-in-waiting is still inside, wanting to be let free. It wants to be more than a dream. It wants to make the journey.

Being a writer (or following any dream for that matter), takes courage. We come into it knowing little, but passion sustains us and then bit by bit, we learn and grow. Sometimes it’s about waiting for the right time, but mostly it’s about MAKING TIME.

Our world is so busy and frantic. There are bills to pay yes, and housework and meetings and kids circling like piranhas asking about dinner, but there is also passion. Make time for it. If you want to write, pick up a pen. Apply to paper. Let the words flow. No matter where you are in life, how old or young you are, it’s never too late to turn a dream into a reality.


IS a Picture WORTH a Thousand Words?

I started an overwhelming project last summer with no progress since. Today, again I begin to scan several generations of family memories from my mother’s photo collections. The goal is to finish before Christmas—I hope.

Why undertake this gargantuan task? My mom passed away a year and a half  ago; to be fair to everyone (we are five siblings), I believe everyone is entitled to her own DVD copy of our history in pictures. Whoever takes the originals once the work is completed is fine with me. I’m certain my mother’s grandchildren will also be tickled when a surprise DVD arrives.

Such an undertaking is an excellent idea (of course it is; it’s  mine), but, is not as straightforward as it sounds. I am dealing with photo albums consisting of cardboard pages with sticky backing to hold pictures in place and a clear (plastic) sheet, which is peeled back to insert pictures and pulled over top  again to protect them from air, dust and possibly sticky fingers.


  • Over time, between the  plastic cover and glossy finish on colour photos, a stickiness occurs gumming them together–separate gently
  • If pictures have been ‘attached’ for years,  they won’t unstick easily and must be removed deligently from cardboard backing as well
  • Do not mess up scanner bed with sticky photos
  • Clean first
  • What is the best product to clean gummy pictures without ruining them?
  • Vinegar with water doesn’t  work well
  • A careful dab of nail polish remover sometimes does the trick if sticky area is small
  • Sometimes Goo Gone works (in small areas)
  • Be obsessivelycareful: rinse cleaning product off and allow to dry well (wasting more time)
  • When gumminess is stubborn = frustration and waste of precious time
  • Patience is a virtue (So where is it?)
  • Have a directory tree planned for DVD
  • Lift up cover on scanner
  • Place photo inside; make sure it’s straight
  • Scan to organized directory
  • Open scanner, remove picture
  • Be careful not to scratch scanner bed with fingernails 
  • Use another photo corner to pop picture off the glass
  • Position back into album
  • If photo doesn’t stick, roll a tube of clear tape around a finger and mash onto back of photo to reposition onto cardboard in album
  • If clear sheet protector doesn’t stick back down again, ignore it and continue
  • Each step takes time. What? Only three pictures in fifteen minutes?  #@%>&.
  • Why are some photos taped together, corner to corner? Oh, I see: to keep them from sliding because the sticky backing isn’t sticky anymore. #@%>&.

 This scanning drudgery is not for the faint of heart.  After about an hour, in addition to developing a headache, I feel dizzy. The bottom line–and the honest truth–is I find scanning  monotonous, nerve-wracking and unfulfilling.

Ah–only 999,999,999 pictures to go. I believe I can do this. In the interest of chronicling our tribe for future generations, I can do this. I know I can. I think I can…

Wait a minute—did I mention which Christmas my task will be completed?

Who the heck are the people in this picture–must e-mail  to siblings…


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?