How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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How’s Yours?

For Christmas, my daughter surprised me with a Keurig (coffee brewing system), which gives me a choice of three cup sizes. My old coffee maker works fine, I wanted to blurt.

A sample box of a dozen pre-measured, prefilled cups came with it—Italian (dark) Roast—too strong for my taste. Since Keurig carry so many brands, I would have preferred a box of assorted coffee instead. In my notebook, I made notes about two dozen varieties I had to purchase. These are a few:

  1. Timothy’s Original Donut Blend  – a somewhat watered down taste of coffee, with overtones of molasses.
  2. Brown Gold 100% Peruvian Medium –  full-bodied coffee, with rich overtones of peaches. Yum.
  3. 100% Costa Rican Brown Gold, Mild – beautiful cup of coffee. No added notes but a ‘feel good cup of coffee’.
  4. Breakfast In Bed Woolfgang Puck, Medium – a full bodied coffee. Nice aroma, but with a slight aftertaste; still, not bad. This one proved disappointing. I had high expectations because of the brand. Nothing outstanding here. No notes or overtones.

Not that I’m a wine connoisseur by any stretch, but it struck me odd that I should make comparisons to wine when I wrote these notes. When I went back to the coffee supply store, what a surprise to see all the coffees had similar descriptions as above. Woohoo.

Thank you Microsoft

Thank you Microsoft

Why I’m not crazy about the new-fangled coffee machines is so many customers are now buying premeasured plastic pucks and cups. Throwing this plastic in the garbage drives me nuts. I found out if you rip the cups apart and remove the paper or fibre filter, they are recyclable. A bit of a bother, I know, but let’s face it we’re already too lazy.

Keurig also make a reusable cup you can fill yourself. I believe they sell separate paper  filters for these, but am  not sure. You fill these with any kind of coffee you like, perhaps a favourite you already enjoy. My problem is the machine makes only one cup at a time. You need to dig out the compacted grounds, rinse, dry and refill for next one. Somewhat of a pain if you have a friend over for coffee. For best results you must use ultra-fine grind coffee in the refillable cups or the end result I found disappointing.

Did I need a new coffee machine? No. Was I over the moon when I opened my gift? No. Once a cup is made I must drink it up or it will get cold. I hate cold coffee. It so happens that Kuerig coffees are delicious black and cold, but I still prefer mine hot.

I’m content with my old drip coffeemaker. I can pour a third or a half-cup at a time, and I get to drink it hot. My cat jumped up on the counter last week and knocked the coffee pot off because I set it, clean and empty, next to the drip coffee unit. It smashed on the floor. Instead of buying acomplete new unit, I replaced the pot for $2.99 at a second-hand store. Now my coffee is always hot again because my cheap little coffee maker has a burner, and keeps my pot hot.

The Keurig is nice, but too expensive for every day use. I like lots of black coffee each day.

What’s your story? How is your coffee?


16 Comments

Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ 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.

~ * ~

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http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

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http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

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15 Comments

Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ 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.

sunday_snippets2

Thank you to all participants and readers for your input. I appreciate your time and helpful comments. Below is the start to a short story, Two Calamities.

~ * ~

The storm blustered, gaining ferocity by the quarter hour, wind whistling and whirling cotton ball snowflakes around the corners of the red insulbrick house. Squalls whooshed into gaps and cracks shoving wintry breath through the thin walls with only paper for insulation. The foundation of the house wasn’t even anchored in cement, but sat in doubt on blocks of cement, one at each corner, and one in-between on each side.

“Shush, shush, Rosa. Try to relax. You doing fine,” said the husky voice of her sister-in-law who pulled the wool blanket tighter around her own shoulders. Julia refreshed the damp cloth for Rosa’s forehead in a bowl on the nightstand, and leaned over the twisting silhouette.

Ragged breathing surfaced from the bundle of blankets in the upstairs bedroom. The wind shrieked; the springs creaked. A groan escaped from the old-fashioned metal bed, joining Mother Nature’s howl and fury.

“Julia, this time worse than other two. I so tired. Where my children? In bed?” Rosa rolled onto her side. She pushed off her forearm and elbow but fell back against the pillow, exhausted and sweaty, as if she’d been shoveling the fast accumulating snow outside.

“Franco?”

“At work. Don’t worry about children. Cousin Anna take them when she visit this morning. They sleep there tonight. You must concentrate on new baby only.” Julia crossed herself with trembling hands. Prego Dio. It is time for doctor, but Julia has no phone and no-one else is here to send for him.

“Rosa, listen. I must go downstairs to ask neighbour call doctor. I back quick.”

Julia flapped a weak hand in the air.

~ * ~

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http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

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http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/


14 Comments

Flash in the Pan – Sommelier

“Our best twelve-year old Beaujolais. I will open and decant it for you.”

“Nothing’s too good for my baby’s birthday, right Doll?”

Simone stabbed her pouty lips with blood red lipstick, white teeth perfect as Chiclets, and fluttered her spidery eyelashes.

“Try it, sir?”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“Tastes… this is corked. Yech.”

“Sir, this wine tastes fine—”

“Anybody know anything about wine here?”

I’m the sommelier…”

“This is crap.”

“Might I suggest something else?”

“Let’s go!”

“Jack?”

The word limit for Sommelier is 75 words. I used all 75. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for the rules and join us.


28 Comments

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!


21 Comments

Flash in the Pan: Happiness

Helja threw herself into the white leather armchair, knees together, shoeless feet splayed. Her toes pushed deeper in the oyster-coloured wool carpet. A loud drawn out sigh blistered the silence.

“You should take up acting,” her husband said handing her a glass of scotch. “What’s the tortured exhalation about this time?” William tossed back his whiskey without removing black, quizzical eyes from her gathered eyebrows.

Ice cubes crashing together in her glass, Helja squinted up at him, her raspberry lips pressed together into a red hyphen. The magic is gone, she thought, yet I still find you wildly attractive.

MH900430534“I’m tired of  these pointless parties and phony kiss-kiss crap.”

“You didn’t mind when you married me.”

“I’ve learned a thing or two since then. Money doesn’t buy happiness like in fairy tales.”

Snatching a hand, William hauled her down the hallway. “I’ll give you happiness,” he roared.

~* * ~

The word limit for Happiness is 150 words. I used 146 words. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for rules and contributions.


12 Comments

Sunday Snippets – Blog Hop #5

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Do checkout the other submissions at the bottom of this post.

sunday_snippets2

I appreciate the input you’ve all taken time to share so far. Your critiques have been amazing and most helpful. I thank you. Because of of their  abbreviated length compared to novels, I plan on posting minimal snippets of my short stories with no edits shown. Part one of The Loner can be found here: https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/sunday-snippets-blog-hop-4/

~ * ~

Hank walked deeper into the room. Although built like a linebacker, the stink of cat and something like chicken shit knocked the breath out of him.

I’m sure the place wasn’t this disgusting—what was it—four months ago?”

“Jules, where are you?  He shuffled forward.

This is no place for man or beast. It’s time for a bonfire and weenie roast.”

“Jules!”

Hank tripped past overflowing bags of chicken feed and kibble beneath the table. Squaring his shoulders, he headed towards the doorway of what Jules called: the boudoir. He lowered his voice to a whisper. ”Jules, you in here?”  

I hope you’re not frozen to death somewhere.

Gasping and expelling his breath, Hank stumbled into the bedroom. His shoulders tightened as if in a vise. The old cot Jules used for a bed was a jumble of quilts and blankets, as if someone had dumped laundry for folding, except it wasn’t spring-fresh.

Hank clenched his teeth and dug through the mishmash of bedclothes. “You better be in here you old son-of-a-bitch. I’m not coming back again after this warm welcome,” he blathered.

Hands trembling and knees shaking, he swept a meaty mitt across the mattress. Something solid hid there. Hank gave it a tentative tug. His other hand pushed back the hodgepodge on the bed and landed on a chest. A frail tick strained against his open palm.

“Hey,” wheezed a tiny sleep-slurred voice. Skinny arms flayed like a baby bird. Old Jules trembled and kicked like a paper dragon in the breeze. His silver and nicotine-coloured Fu Manchu swayed back and forth like old rope.

~ ** ~

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

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http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

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20 Comments

What the..?

My five-year-old granddaughter didn’t have kindergarten today. I needed to pick up groceries and cat food. When was the last time I took Lily heavy-duty shopping?

“Did you bring your grocery list, Babcia?” she wanted to know. I’d never known her mother to make one, I thought.

MH900448735“Of course,” I gushed. We’d talked about some of the most important items I needed to buy before we left home.

“Where’s the list?” Blonde-little-Miss-know-it-all stared me down.

My hands fumbled in my purse. Crooked fingers fastened onto the photograph-sized spiral notebook I’d decided to use, to alleviate lost grocery lists, to keep growing book wish lists, things to remember and do, etc.

“Here it is.” I thrust it under her nose.

“Eggs, salad, popcorn,” she announced, still not knowing how to read. When had she become so loud?

I picked up Romaine—the best of the worst in the pile. “Salad, check,” Lily shouted. We passed basil. I grabbed a package. “What’s it for?” she demanded. I explained, and she approved. Lucky it’s her favourite herb.

As we arrived in the snack aisle, Lily broadcast, “Babcia, right there. Popcorn, check.”

“Thank YOU, Lily. I’m going to buy two bags so we never run out. What do you think?” I blurted. Why do I need to validate myself? She gave me the thumbs up. Who is this child?

As we approached the refrigerated area, Lily’s eyes lit up, “Babcia,” she pointed. Eggs, check!”

Red wine vinegar and artichokes called to me so I backtracked to the proper aisle. “What is that?” she asked.

“ You remember the spread you liked on the Focaccia bread at your sister’s birthday party?”

“Oh, yeah,” she said with a dreamy glow in her eyes, her sweet lips puckered.

“I already have a bottle of red wine vinegar, but I need another one,” I said aloud. Why am I explaining this to a five-year-old?

 Cat food next. Two grocery stores with no luck regarding what I needed. A pet store later, more expensive, I know, but kitty gets to eat. Success at last.

 ~ * ~

MH900402619The point of this story is the lifting into and out of grocery carts. My featherweight granddaughter is killing my back. Add lugging twenty-pounds of dry cat food, then groceries, and stooping to hang onto my precious girl. These are no longer ordinary feats for me.  Add again, up and down the stairs at home to unload everything. I don’t understand how something I didn’t see (coming) crashed and almost pulverized me—at least today. Six or so months ago, my experience hadn’t had anywhere near a similar affect.

 Crap!

 Does this mean I’m starting to fall apart?

 Already? I’m not even that close to one hundred yet!


14 Comments

Flash in the Pan: Lonely

“Come to the concert Saturday,” Pam coaxed, dark eyebrows arched and cheeks flushed.

A cloud of Rothman’s smoke obscured Susan’s face momentarily. She shook her head. “I’m busy.”

“Doing what? How long are you going to hideout? Come. It’ll be fun.”

Susan checked her watch again. “I’ll walk you out.” The phone pealed. “Excuse me.” The cell already to her ear, she dashed into the kitchen.

“Did I hear you giggle?” Pam leaned forward upon Susan’s return. “What’s going on?”

Eyes, green as a cat’s, blinked back. Making no response, Susan dragged on the last of the cigarette; her face blank.

MB900178793Toes tapping, Pam asked, “A new boyfriend…”

“Leave it alone. I’m fine.”

“Not Jack?”

Susan shrugged, opened the door and crossed her arms. “Well, I’m neither lonely, nor hiding.”

Pam stiffened.

“Bye.”

The door whispered shut.

~ * ~

The word limit for Lonely  is 150 words. I used 137. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for rules and contributions.


29 Comments

Sunday Snippets – Blog Hop #4

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Afterwards checkout the other submissions at the bottom of this post.

sunday_snippets2

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.

“Jules.”

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!

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

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