How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


Shanghai, Part 4 – Silk Workshop

I enjoyed another lumberjack’s breakfast. Afterward, we were treated to yet another factory tour. This one was about silk and the most enjoyable so far. Though impressed, I had no plans to shop or spend  as I didn’t need anything. I changed my mind when I examined the magnificent comforters, pillows, and other bedding. I’m sorry now I purchased only one silk pillow and a light density silk comforter. I’m puzzled I carried less money than usual when I needed it. My friend, Sue, was flush and I borrowed the difference I needed. I also picked my wallet clean down to the lint hidden there. (Yuan and Canadian money, totaling about $150 CAD). Who knew? The price was more than reasonable. Checking prices on the internet since then, I believe I did well. I’d been planning to buy new pillows in the spring anyway never dreaming I might bring home a silk one from China.

Business was brisk. No previous factory tour had ignited this much interest. One tour group at a time was welcomed in a separate room from the sales area. Once money changed hands, the purchased goods were bundled in a compact cloth and zippered bag with handles. These were black-marked with the buyer’s name. deposited on the floor of the entry room and covered half the floor space. You picked out your parcel upon departure.

Some advantages of silk fiber bedding:

  • Silk bedding is better than down
  • Half the weight of down
  • Bedbugs prefer down, not silk
  • Dust mites don’t like it
  • Mildew resistant
  • Strongest natural fiber
  • Keeps its shape / doesn’t clump
  • Fire resistant
  • hypoallergenic
  • You won’t sweat on it
  • It forms to your shape / stays springy
  • Lasts for years with proper care

Silk and Comforter Making:

The Life of a silkworm:

Lunch was at (Haioufang) The Seagull Palace Restaurant. Our group arrived too early. Seated at a table. we had to wait for the food. When it arrived, it was at once and the restaurant filled up and was soon packed.

Lunch:

Drinks as always: one glass of water, coke, sprite, or beer.

Appetizers:

  • Sausage slices (not sure about meat source)
  • Tomato slices
  • Spicy edamame beans
  • Something fish dish
  • Cubed cucumbers and sliced lotus root (crunchy, mild flavor and enjoyable)

Main:

  • Tea
  • Eggplant
  • Egg drop soup
  • Rice with eggs, beef
  • Spring rolls
  • Carrots, onions, and potatoes (stew?)
  • Panko breaded mild white fish
  • Fried and breaded lotus root
  • Cubed chicken
  • Potato and pineapple in sweet tomato sauce
  • Salad
  • French Fries
  • Watermelon slices for dessert

~ * ~

Chinese Saying:
Lazy child who lives at home and lives off his parents instead of working 
is called, 'China Little Emperor.'

~ * ~

Next On June 22, Shanghai, Part 5 – Shopping on Nanjing Road and Stories

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.

~ *~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. Please bear with me. Hope to return soon. 
Thank you for reading and for your kind and continued support.
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#BlogBattle Week 45 – Prompt: Dive

To join  and / or meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:  

  1. 1000 wordsmax
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered aroundthe theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainmentvalue!
  6. State the Genre of your storyat the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive the awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage.

***********************************************************

woman-933488_960_720

Goldilocks?

An unusual number of parked cars clogged the street in front of her apartment. Sandy grumbled and turned left twice to the underground garage, at the back of the building. She reached for the remote but it wasn’t on the visor. “Where the…?” An impatient car horn sounded behind her and inched forward closer. She tapped her horn back at him. Wait. The driver laid on the horn again like there was a fire.

Though early spring and breezy, Sandy’s armpits soaked through her light jacket. Blinking in concentration, she pawed the passenger seat, in the crevices, and on the floor. No luck. Her head snapped at the thump on her driver’s window unable to identify the face bent towards her.

“Open the window.” A man’s voice growled the words, and pixel by pixel, she discerned a human face: short clipped beard, mustache, angry brown eyes, nose skimming the glass. “Well?”

She snapped into action and cranked the handle a couple times. “Sorry. I’ve misplaced my remote. Let me in with yours and I’ll be out of your hair.” She wound up the window, forced a smile and set her hands on the steering wheel. Eyes bulging, he threw his hands into the air. Muttering something colorful, he slapped the window again, and stomped off. Heart racing like a thundering locomotive, her focus on the garage door, Sandy gripped the steering wheel. The double-door creaked and yawned open. Without skipping a beat, she lurched forward and around the corner to her designated spot.

Parked, then out in a flash, she noted the remote on the floor on the driver’s side. She dashed towards the trunk, grabbed her parcels and raced to the elevator. She did not intend to share the pleasure of his company in such a cramped space. Before the door slid shut, a hand plunged to the button on the wall outside without success. Muscles tense and rigid, Sandy shrieked and watched the door slip to its final destination. “Yes!”

The elevator stopped on the third floor. Sandy grasped the handles on her shopping bags and backed into a corner. Old Ma Murphy, as the the tenants called her, tapped her way into the elevator, the splitting image of the famous Einstein. “Hello, dear. Don’t you look a fright. Everything okay?”

Sandy raised a clutch of bag handles to her chest and exhaled. “Sure. I’m good. Had a tense moment with a nasty driver.”

“One reason why I never took up driving, especially these days.” The door creaked shut an inch from Ma Murphy’s behind. She poked her cane at the scruffy carpet. “Mrs. Swain is home from hospital. In need of pleasant company, she said. Going to make her tea.”

Sandy glanced at the red floor numbers. Creak. Creak. They stopped on five. Old Ma Murphy pointed the stick at her packages. “Ever wonder if you spend too much money on nonsense?”  She said, “Tsk-tsk,” circled round and shuffled out, shaking her head. “Young people these days.” The door scraped to a close and rocked upward taking its sweet time to the 11th floor.

Her floor was empty.  Already smells of early suppers cooking reminded her she’d forgotten lunch. Dropping the bags in front of 1105, Sandy fished for keys in her purse. She came up empty. This isn’t happening. It’s not happening. Hairline damp, she stamped her foot and tried again. Teeth clenched, fingers fumbled and clawed. They closed around the key ring. A door slammed in the hall, but she didn’t look up. Instead, she stabbed the lock and pushed the door with more force than intended.

Inside, she leaned against the closed door, eyes and ears on alert. Something odd hung in the air. A sixth sense held her back, wary. There couldn’t be anyone else in the apartment. She’d made enough noise to wake up the dead, hadn’t she?

The kitchen on her right, she tiptoed inside. No one and nothing. Why is it, she wondered, when you think an intruder might be in your house you don’t run for help? Instead, you choke on your heart, crossing fingers no one’s there. She grabbed the meat cleaver off the counter and almost called out, ‘Is someone here?’ Stupid question. Would an intruder answer, ‘Yes, me, the intruder.’ Living- and dining-rooms clear. Nothing worth stealing anyway.

Short of collapsing from tension, Sandy crept down the hallway. Had she shut the bedroom door before going out? She turned the knob with exquisite care, and pushed in the door, not allowing it to slam. The hair on the back of her neck prickled. One door left: the bathroom. She listened. Not a sound. A strong aroma of orange blossom bubble bath enveloped her.

Beyond terror now, Sandy wrenched the door open. A body took a dive beneath the bubbles, red-painted toenails trailed in the air. She’d recognize them anywhere.

“Clarisse. What are you doing here?” Hand thrust in the water, she shoved the head down, panting and collapsed on the floor. “How’d you get in?”

The body popped up, short hair clinging to scalp and face, gasping for air. A pale hand swept across her eyes and over her forehead, teeth gleaming like piano keys. “What a way to greet your little sister. Don’t you check your texts? We’re celebrating your promotion.”

“How’d you get in?”

“You gave me a key, silly.” Clarisse arched ink-black brows and rolled her eyes. “I buzzed and buzzed until a cute guy with a beard and mustache let me in.”

Sandy dropped the cleaver and covered her face. “You almost gave me a stroke.”

“Drama queen. Out—and then it’s your turn. We have a double date tonight.”

“Who? Not…”

Clarisse wiggled wet eyebrows.

The End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


102 Comments

Shanghai: Day 11, Part 4 – Silk Workshop

After I enjoyed another lumberjack’s breakfast, we were treated to yet another factory tour. This one was about silk and the most enjoyable so far. I was impressed. I’d had no plans to shop or spend money because I didn’t need anything. My thinking changed when I surveyed the magnificent comforters, pillows and other bedding. I’m sorry now I purchased only one silk fibre pillow and a light comforter. Why I took more money than I usually carried around I can’t begin to understand. I picked my wallet clean down to the lint to pay for my bounty (Yuan and Canadian money, totaling about $150 CAD). Who knew? The price was more than reasonable. I’ve checked prices on the internet since then and I believe we did well. I’d been planning to buy new pillows in the spring anyway, never dreaming I might bring home a silk one from China.

Business was brisk. No other factory tour had ignited this much interest so far. When we arrived, in a separate room from the sales area, packages covered half the floor space. A departing group searched through to find their purchases. Once money changed hands, the goods were bundled into a compact cloth and zippered bag with handles, and the buyer’s name affixed. You didn’t see your parcel until departure.

Some advantages of silk fiber bedding:

  • Silk bedding is better than down
  • Half the weight of down
  • Bedbugs prefer down, not silk
  • Dust mites don’t like it
  • Mildew resistant
  • Strongest natural fibre
  • Keeps its shape / doesn’t clump
  • Fire resistant
  • hypoallergenic
  • You won’t sweat on it
  • It forms to your shape / stays springy
  • Lasts for years with proper care

Silk and Comforter Making:

The Life of a silk worm:

Lunch was at (Haioufang) The Seagull Palace Restaurant. Our group arrived too early. We were given a table and had to wait for the food. As more new customers arrived, our food came and the place was soon packed.

LUNCH:

Drinks as always: one glass water, coke, sprite, or beer.

Appetizers:

  • Sausage slices (not sure about meat source)
  • Tomato slices
  • Spicy edamame beans
  • Something fish dish
  • Cubed cucumbers and sliced lotus root (crunchy, mild flavor and enjoyable)

Main:

  • Tea
  • Eggplant
  • Egg drop soup
  • Rice with eggs, beef
  • Spring rolls
  • Carrots, onions and potatoes (stew?)
  • Panko breaded mild white fish
  • Fried and breaded lotus root
  • Cubed chicken
  • Potato and pineapple in sweet tomato sauce
  • Salad
  • French Fries
  • Watermelon slices for dessert

~ * ~

Chinese Saying:

Lazy child who lives at home and lives off his parents instead of working is called, ‘China Little Emperor.’

~ * ~

Next On November 7th, Shanghai, Day 11, Part 5 – Shopping on Nanjing Road and Stories

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

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


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Flash in the Pan – Plane

Stanley shook out the newspaper at the breakfast table Saturday. Lori opened her mouth and closed it. She squinted at her husband for a second and left the room.

“More coffee, honey?” She held out the pot. He grunted. She topped up his mug anyway, slammed down the pot, and tossed the monster telephone directory on the table.

Her husband gaped as his wife flipped the pages with a vengeance.

He cleared his throat. “What’re you doing?”

“Nothing.”

“No, really.”

“Just looking for a carpenter.”

“What for?”

The laundry-room door keeps scraping the floor.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“I’ll buy a new one.”

“Don’t worry. I know you’re too busy.”

“I’ll do it.”

“It’s okay. I’ll hire a professional and the job’s done.”

“I’ll fix the damn door.”

“When?”

“I said…”

“You’ll need to plane it. Do you have one?”

Stanley blinked.

“Uh-huh. Like you put the screen on the front door last September.”

~ * ~

This is for the Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. For rules and how to join, click: http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/

The word limit for Plane is 150 words. I used all of them.


99 Comments

Dust to Dust – Part 2

  https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/dust-to-dust/    (previous)

***

Thursday, December 19, 10:00 a.m.

I’ve thought of nothing else for the past two days and expect to conclude my business at The Funeral Home today. Rick has called after our last meeting and left a message about all the numbers he’d worked out. I’m sure he’s made some horrible mistake and plan to go over the itemized list with care.

I arrive a couple of moments early. This time the parking lot is empty except for two other cars, unlike my last visit when the lot was half-full and an attendant opened the door when I arrived. My guess is no-one is in residence or there are no services this morning. Why am I thinking about these details? Don’t think. Finish your business and get the hell out of here.

I am about to drop into a comfy chair when Rick comes around the corner. “Come in. Come in,” he says as if this is a social visit and we are old friends.

No sooner do I take a seat at the table in the same meeting room as last time when a lady arrives and hands me a steaming cup of coffee. “Thank you.” I’m startled and a little floored by today’s efficiency. I can’t help wonder if today is a busy day and they want to push me through or, and I can’t help myself—that’s the way my brain works—they want to hustle me through before I change my mind. Well, business is business, right? A cartoon cloud hovers overhead of a skillful and seasoned used-car salesman: keep talking and don’t let them think till the dotted line is signed.

We begin with small talk which soon irritates me because we’ve already been there last time. I don’t want to be friends; I have something important on my mind. I’ll never see you again, I hope, and not even then.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

“I’d like to see a breakdown of the numbers you quoted over the phone.”

“I haven’t printed up the invoice yet in case you have some adjustments to make.”

I shake my head. “I want the cremation, but don’t understand why the cost is so high for a pine box, a shroud and a small service. I’ve decided I don’t want the DVD, which should cut out another $500.00.”

“That’s been removed. I’ll print out the breakdown. Excuse me a minute. How’s your coffee?”

“Great and I’m fine, thank you.” How I’ve mellowed. This is a business transaction after all. Think numbers and negotiate, accept or reject.

I sit and wait. And wait. What’s taking Rick so long? What’s happened to the ‘Slam- bang-thank-you-ma’am’ service when I arrived?

Good thing I’d brought a book to pass the time. Rick returns. I’m anxious to close this chapter and go home. If I close my eyes I know I’ll slide off the chair and into an exhausted sleep. He’s all business. Is it because my impatience is evident or is it because I look the wreck I feel?

We go over the numbers. I’m flabbergasted. Everything I’d agreed to is in black and white. Each service and every single person has his or hand out for a piece of the pie. I think of vultures.

***

Next week I’ll go through the breakdown of expenses. I’m told years ago an invoice showed one figure: the total. The breakdown may shake you up somewhat as it did me. As well, funeral expenses have doubled every ten years over the past 30 years. Some points I want to leave with you to ponder:

  1. Should you buy life insurance to cover funeral expenses? Will the payout cover the costs in 20, 30 or more years?
  2. Should you pre-pay your funeral? This is money someone else is benefiting from and earning interest on, not you.
  3. In Canada, pre-payments do not go to the funeral home but to a trust company. This protects clients in the event the funeral home goes bust. Why / how do they go bust? Hanky-panky / mismanagement just as in any other business.
  4. Did you know, depending on your age, you can make payments over many years? Keep in mind, interest is tied to making payments and is over and above your initial contract cost.
  5. Cremation is fast becoming the service of choice. A friend of mine paid for her mother’s funeral a few years ago, nothing fancy, and the cost was $30,000.00
  6. Have you heard of No Frills cremation? I didn’t until after I’d made all my arrangements, but I I’m going ahead with the contract I signed.


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Flash in the Pan – Obsessed

“I need my locks changed again.”

“Why?”

Louise exhaled and seized a handful of streaked hair. “Billy lost, then found the extra key.”

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

“He’s returned it?”

“I don’t trust that woman we met at the party the night he gave me this ring.”

“So…”

“She grabbed my hand, ‘Look at this?’” she said and fluttered her fake lashes at Billy. Six months she pursued him until we broke up.”

“Devious.”

“He came begging for it last week—for her.”

Margie’s eyes bulged, her mouth as wide and round as a grapefruit. “I see you weren’t obliging.”

“He’s the one who proposed, and I accepted in good faith…and now…”

Insistent knuckles pommelled the door. “Excuse me.”

You! Get out.” Louise slammed the door and latched it. “It’s her; she’s obsessed with this ring, and dares come here?  How had he afforded something this incredible?”

“Might be hot?”

“Then, I’ll hide it.”

~ * ~

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

The word limit for Obsessed is 150 words. I used them all.

Check how to join:  http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/


83 Comments

My Hidden Scrooge

December is my least favorite time of year. To-date, I have crammed my freezer with food within a quarter inch of air circulation. The real crazy shopping hasn’t started yet. I’m limbering up for the big ordeal in grocery stores where people don’t usually run you down–almost never.

I don’t bake much these days to avoid yet another cookie slipping past my lips to take up comfortable residence on my hips. Now I bake enough for company and my grandkids and send left-overs home with anyone who will have them. No matter how well I’ve avoided sweets, my hips appear wider and softer, but also stiffer and less cooperative than in the recent past.

Back to my main topic. December isn’t a month with thirty-one days, it’s one long convoluted commercial, drowning out reason. Spend. Spend. Spend. Bloated Christmas lists are written and re-written. All the latest toys are at the top. These are not ‘needs’ but ‘must haves’. Mom and Dad buy every item on the list. Extended family members don’t have access to this stipulated compulsion, and must fend for themselves: more non-essential items; hard-earned dollars wasted. Grandparents are left to give gift certificates. ‘Tis the season for absurd spending.

Cars tailgate each other everywhere, roads and mall parking lots are crammed. Drivers, irate and impatient, circle round like vultures creating a new spot out of necessity. Inside stores, it’s a crash-cart bonanza; no apologies needed. Muttering customers resist eye contact; their mission is of utmost importance; nothing else matters

morguefile free photos

morguefile free photos

Long cash lines creep forward an inch and then another, whether there is room enough or not. Cashiers steal furtive glances at the time and wear pasted smiles. All this anxiety for one marketable day with plans already for another battle Royale come Boxing Day.

I read this morning Black Friday transactions outnumbered brick and mortar stores. Maybe the same will occur for this December’s gluttonous spree.

What’s happened to the true meaning of Christmas? I recall December 25th was about a special birth not a riot of envy to amass a mountain of presents underneath the tree.

In closing, I’d like to tell you a true story I heard some time ago about a different kind of Christmas. Young and old, you will shake your heads and sputter but, but…

A widower had six children of various ages up to fifteen; three girls and three boys. There was no extra money for gifts but the father makes a deal. They will have to do without something else, but they can have one gift. Smiles and elbowing ensue. The desired gift for all six: ice skates. Names go into a hat. Who will win? The pink team or the blue team?

A girl’s name wins the lucky draw. One pair of skates, mid-sized, is promised, which the girl must share as they don’t belong only to her. Next year, it will be the boys’ turn to choose, if the money can be found. They too will share one gift among them.

My heart melts as I watch the wonder in small children’s eyes: the glow of colored lights, the excitement, the anticipation, the innocence. I’m old fashioned enough to wish they would stay that way.

Blissful shopping to all and early Merry Christmas. May your credit cards survive the clink of Cha-ching, cha-ching.