How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year;

Pockets full of money and a belly full or beer…or wine if you prefer.  

Can it be five days till Christmas already? I popped in to wish my special friends in Blog World a Merry Christmas, a fabulous holiday season, and a Hap-hap-happy New Year. Here’s an Oldie but Goldie for a sing-a-long to put you in the spirit of the season if you need a nudge. I do. We have no snow and it’s warmer than usual for December.

Credit:   ChristmasTimeTV

My granddaughter dressed my tree this year, and even put the lights on—her first time at not yet twelve—because I’ve had tendonitis for the past six months and needed help. She took it a little easy on the ornaments, but the results are a colossal success and I’m grateful she was willing. This means we’ll have less to take down before my trip to Vancouver three days after Christmas. (Can’t let the cats have too much fun while I’m away or maybe cut themselves on broken bulbs, though they’ve been good as long as I took away the tree skirt).

Do you know anyone born on New Year’s Eve? This particular sister I’ll be visiting has missed birthday presents for 60 years.

Credit:  Sarah Robinson

I had no idea my cat Dickens, adopted last January, had FIV and gingivitis. I found out about his health conditions when I took him to the vet shortly after adoption. He’s lost so much weight in the past few days, I took him to the vet two days ago. He’s lost more teeth and his gums have been a bloody mess.  He’s on pain killers and antibiotics now and already his coat looks less mangy today. How I hate forcing kitties to give them medication. On the other hand, it’s a bonus not to bleed to death myself while fighting with them. The pain meds are thick enough to smear on a paw, but the antibiotics are thin as water and he’s not forgiving.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.

November had me chained to my desk. I’d participated in NaNoWriMo though I hadn’t registered. At the last moment, a friend challenged me and unprepared, I dove in, thinking no way would I complete the task ahead. Had it not been for Karen, I would have given up by day ten—my first brain drain–but she, the competitive type, kept me at it because no way was I pooping out first. Now I have a book of short stories to edit in the New Year and maybe, maybe, I’ll complete that circle too. I tell you to stay accountable. November paid off much better than last summer had workwise.

If I had not had your kind and generous support all year, I have no idea how I might have moved forward towards my long-time goal: indie publication. Thank you. Thank you for the jab in the ribs whether you had any idea or not. I could not have done anything without you, my supportive community, and I plan to return the favor again soon in 2016. I have been mostly absent since the summer, but it has been worth it. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness, each and everyone of you.

It’s been an unusual, but exciting year for me. Thank YOU.  Thank you. I had no idea what a wonderful world I’d entered when I began blogging four+ years ago. I am close to 500th posts. Close, but still a few to go.


Credit: gabychest

Or maybe you’d prefer a more honkytonk version:

Credit:  TheChiefEmperor

Happy New Year!

Hip-hip-hooray 2016

Hip-hip-hooray 2016


Blog Friends, Neighbors and Countrymen

Due to extenuating circumstances (unexpected family and social obligations: i.e. life in the fast lane), I haven’t had enough time to visit you all more often.

November, I spent writing with furious diligence, while  life around me came to a standstill. Still appointments and family visits continue to take much of my time this month. Off and on holiday entertaining and a visit to the west coast for a sister’s 60th birthday also loom large.

When time permits, I shall flit in and out and can’t wait till my schedule isn’t hampered by all these commitments. You’re always on the edge of my mind. I have not forgotten you and miss you and our daily banter.



100-Word Challenge for Grownups

Click here to join:


The prompt this week is the picture below plus 100 words.

100wcgu175 img_0640

A Fine Sunday

“My granddaddy worked on the docks across there. You listening, Llewellyn?”


“Where’s your mind at this fine Sunday?”

“It’s nothing.”

Zelma patted the dog. “Our one day off together and your mind’s someplace else?”

“I’ve sorting out to do.”

She backed away. “Like what?”

“Things.” He swiped a forearm across his greasy forehead. “The Rover car factory is opening soon and advertising for workers.”

“You don’t know anything about…”

“I already quit…”

“The Missus cut my hours, and soon I’ll stop altogether.”

“Don’t worry— Stop?”

“I have news. You’ll be a daddy before Christmas.”


“This ain’t the Bible.”


© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles


100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #162

It’s a new year and the fun continues. To read the rules and join in, click below:

The week’s prompt:   as I put the decorations away I … + 100 words



Smash! “I sorry, Grammie.” Beth’s lip wobbled; solitaire-size tears leaked to her chin.

“Sweetie, it’s okay. Come sit.”

“It was a accident.”

“I know.”

Brushing copper wisps aside, she raised watery eyes. “You mad now?”

“At you? Never. Who wants a hug?”

Beth giggled and climbed upon her lap.

Grammie wiped the little face. “Each year, as I put the decorations away, I remember your mom, no bigger than you. One Christmas I dropped and broke her favorite ornament, a glass angel.”

“Did she cry?”

“No. I did. She said we’d buy another one.”

“Did you?”

“Yes. Two. Mine’s near the top—there.”

“Mine too. My tree”


© 2015 All Right Reserved TAK


Goodbye 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, I’m astonished how fast it’s raced by. I say something similar every year, but each draws to a close a little bit faster than its predecessor. Is it just me?

About Me:

This past year, I’ve had the best experiences, met many wonderful people in real life and in the Blogging World and have developed amazing friendships. A little over three years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined how much some acquaintances could mean to me and have great hope for others.

Through a huge quirk over a year ago, a friend mentioned she wanted to travel again but couldn’t go alone. “Where would you like to go?” I asked.

“I’ve been to Europe and back. I’d like to go to Australia.”

“I’ll go with you,” said a small voice. I looked around. There were only we two having coffee.

I was more surprised than she. As soon as the words popped out of my mouth, why not, I wondered? Traveling hadn’t appealed to me for almost 20 years. I now had the itch in a moment. Bad. While checking out tours, we came across an unbelievable package deal for China. As soon as the travel agent assured us everything’s copacetic, I couldn’t wait to go. Me. I traveled to China for 24 days. You can’t believe the miles we covered and  the places we visited. Yes. Me. 


WordPress World:

This year I’ve discovered a virtual water-cooler in the blogosphere. Have you met Christ Graham at Book promos, writing tips, marketing know-how, posting guests gather around and are exchanged here. You won’t meet anyone more helpful than  The Story Reading Ape in promoting your work.

Want to stay on top of health, nutrition, food safety, food pharmacy, pet health and much more? They’re all accessible at Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life. Come meet Sally Cronin. I call this party central because it’s a happening place. Really.

I discovered another interesting blog this past year at I’m pleased to say she is a Canadian, like me. On Mondays she writes about her author journey and on Fridays, she publishes guest posts by publishing industry professionals.

I’ve encountered many interesting and varied blogs and bloggers. Though I want to introduce them all to you, I’ve chosen three of the most diverse from this year.

2014 Ends

Thank you to all who have supported me, followed my posts, read and / or commented—especially on my China trip. I am more grateful for your friendships than you’ll know. How I managed to cross paths with so many wonderful and interesting people, I’ll never know. I wanted to meet like-minded people and I lucked out.

Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year from my house to yours. I shall be away until January 2nd.  Should time permit, I’ll sneak in for a peek. It IS indeed hard unplugging and I’ll miss you. A China post will be up as usual on the 26th.

Tomorrow we’re preparing for 40+ visitors. There’s lots to do before then. Bye till 2015. Mwah.


100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #159

Time for another challenge. To join in the fun, click below:

This week’s prompt:  I need to remember… +100 words



“Where are my gloves?”

Mrs. K’s fingers combed through her hair. “You’re burning up.”

“Can’t leave without my gloves.”

“They’re tucked into your belt. Here.”

He rubbed puffy eyes.  “I need to remember something. What?”

“Make it back in time for breakfast?”

“No-no. Where’s the new GPS?”

“In the sleigh, dear. Take Nelson tonight.”

Kris pulled on his bottom lip. “Nelson?”

“The doctor treating you.”

“Don’t think so…”

“What if you get drowsy? Or need meds to get through tonight?

“You’re mighty persuasive, Mrs. K. Ho, ho, ho—but no.”

A green and black blur dashed out the door.

Safe home, Kris. Safe home.


© 2014 TAK


100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #146

To join in, check this out:

This week’s prompt:  …with your going comes the past…



Busy hands, but racing heart—nothing helped—washing; ironing; packing. Tears leaked and memories replayed.

When I grow up, I’m gonna marry you.’ The scrawny blonde boy with bruised knees and scabbed elbows; dirty nails and muddied shoes—perfect. My heart twists still.

“Let’s go, Ma. We’re ready to roll.”

I grab the snacks and wink. “What’s the rush? You heading somewhere special—college maybe?” With your going comes the past, but though soon you’ll be a man, you’re still my precious boy.

“Hey. Put me down!”

“Swing your partner, dosie-doe.”


“I’ll be home for Christmas.”

Not Thanksgiving?

“I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

“Never.” Always.


Christmas, Borrowers, and Squirrels

Our traditional Polish celebration called Wigilia has changed since 2010. That year we had a funeral for our Mom on the 24th instead. Since then, we cannot replicate Christmas Eve without her, and I do not want to try. I share a house with my daughter and her family. They live on the main floor and I live in the finished apartment in the basement. We often accommodate large gatherings in my large open space.


This year, our third Christmas Eve without Mum has been the least traditional: an open house instead of a sit-down dinner. About 30 or so family members attended. My family is small, my son-in-law’s is not. The eight-foot table in my dining-room (area) sagged creaking beneath the weight of various finger foods: meat balls, devilled eggs, pizza bites, veggies and dip, turkey and ham cucumber and cream cheese roll-ups, antojitos, veggies and dip, bruschetta, a pickle / olive platter, cheese and kielbasa tray,  cabbage rolls, and pierogi to name a few. Many items didn’t make it to the table; there was too much food. After eats, the Polish kids (six grandchildren) opened gifts with squeals and mumbled thank yous. The rest of the guests watched, intrigued. My family had travelled and hour and a half to attend and the adults exchanged gifts as well, which is the norml on this night anyway. As happens when you have a large crowd of people in one area, various small groups form. Two of my sisters with their husbands and myself hung around the island in the kitchen. Not uncommon in my house, the subject of books came up. My six-year-old granddaughter had been holding court in another part of the room but wandered over to see why we were so excited. She whispered, “Babcia, did you tell them about The Borrowers (I had given the girls a copy a week previous). “Ah…no. You tell them.” “No, you.” “I believe they’d like to hear it from you. It’s your book,” Lily sprinted away. We adults continued our lively discussion about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (by Rebecca Skloot). Lily returned, flashing the heavy book over her head with both hands. “Have you guys read this book about The Borrowers?” The adults stopped and shook their heads. “It’s about tiny people who live under the floor and steal things because they can’t buy them and believe they are borrowing, not stealing.” She handed the book around. The adults oohed and awed. Then, she grabbed it back and disappeared, eyes aglow, pleased she had enlightened the booklovers in the room.


“What just happened?” someone asked. No explanation was necessary though. Everyone knew about our dramatic Lily. As the evening wound down, guests collected their paraphernalia and the room emptied. Lily came back downstairs dragging a green garbage bag. “I came to get my stuff.” I watched her, half-curious. “Why isn’t your sister helping you? That bag looks heavy.” She shrugged and threw the bag over her shoulder, staggering beneath the weight of its contents. “Need some help?” “No, I got it.”

* * *

Before I crashed for the night I’d noticed one of my gifts was missing, a red sweater from one of my sisters. Lily must have squirreled it away in her bag because she found my box in the vicinity of her Christmas stash. What’s hers is hers even when it isn’t because she likes to stockpile her belongings in her bedroom away from prying eyes and roving fingers. That’s our Lily. Do you have any squirrels or borrowers in your family? What event(s) colored your Christmas?


Only Two Weeks Until Christmas

Are you still scrambling, as am I, checking off lists and / or scratching your head? Are you in a panic for that one stocking stuffer—something unexpected and special—the icing on the cake?

What the heck do you get Aunt Mary, or Betsy, or Uncle Phil? They have everything, right? I would like to make a suggestion.

First of all, sit down and take a deep breath. Feel better? I thought you might. I do not have a crystal ball and anyway, I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’d likely drop and break it before I learned to read the messages within, but YOU can work some magic.

It is no mystery I am proud to suggest you click on over to and order copies of any one or all of the sizzling Flash Anthologies you’ll find at your fingertips.

Hurry. Time’s a-wasting and Christmas will not wait. Give the gift of laughter, bewilderment and surprise: small morsels wrapped inside as few as 50  and as many as only 150 words.

Go. Make your favorite people happy. If you wish to buy flash ebooks, use the code GIMME10 for 10% off through this month. Don’t forget #1 is always free.

OF SPECIAL NOTE:  Many of the authors of these anthologies donate their payments to MAGIC Foundation. which works around the world with children with growth and genetic disorders. True, yes?

Hurry while there is time. Check the right-hand bar on this page for a preview of all the lovely covers. There are now five to choose from.  Get them all. The latest is Finding the Path, but don’t stop there.


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.