How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Popping in and Out (Post #450)

Hello, lovely blogging friends!

I’ve been held up doing the rounds since I started poking around a bit yesterday. Thank you for the lovely e-mails over the summer although I avoided my keyboard most of the time. I wasn’t home much and at times my laptop was broken under attack of one kind or another.

I confess the summer vanished much too quickly. Whoosh! You cannot believe the trying circumstances situations I found myself in time and again. Nothing like a little excitement to keep the old ticker going, or more likely, almost squash it like a plum.


The top three headliners of my summer were:

  1. I got hacked (cost over $200 to clean laptop but no banking information lost and new cards now)
  2. The same tooth abscessed twice. After antibiotics, a week later, again. Had it pulled. Lots of problems afterwards. Ouches.
  3. Windows10 messed up laptop. Best Buy removed and now Windows 8.1 again. Desktop was okay, but Windows 10 messed that up yesterday.

I won’t bore you with the rest of it.

Some pluses were spending a couple days with one sister and a couple more in cottage country with all four sisters.

Now, I n.e.e.d. a vacation. My fourth sister to retire did so in April and when I heard her ‘thinking’ how to celebrate, I was in. Snap! Yeah like that and asked point blank where she wanted to go and I was coming.

We are going to Newfoundland and Labrador soon. Exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are heart-stopping and I’m glad Mary found something domestic. Sigh. A vacation is a vacation—no, she’s not paying… Maybe I should have negotiated that small detail.  *giggles* This sounds an amazing corner of Canada with mind-boggling views.

There you have it. I’ll be flitting in and out for the next week and a half and then take to the sky and away for a couple weeks.

I appreciate all of your welcomes and smiles. Feels like I’ve been away from home, but now I’m back.

When I come back, my worth ethic will change. Instead of clearing the decks (e-mail, blogging, commenting) first thing every day, I won’t get to any of that till much later in the day. I may not be a constant as before, but I plan to visit every chance I get.

What’s with WordPress making unwanted changes again? I don’t like Reader and I’ve noticed now one follows in Reader. Sheesh. Another thing: why makes the menu bar spastic and how does one stop it?



100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 153

This week the prompt is: …but my poor old feet…+ 100 words

Come join in the fun. Click below to learn how:


Poor Old Feet

The kettle shrieked. Lucy shuffled in wearing flip flops and a housecoat. She emptied it into a bowl of Epsom salts set on the floor, and threw herself into the chair. She watched the water fizz. The steam is hot, the humidity’s hell, and the window fan’s a joke.

Impatient, she emptied half her water bottle into the bath, and dipped in a swirling toe, and then another.


The screen door slammed. “Battery’s dead. Hop along to town and buy me smokes.”

“I jus’ come from work.”

“Run along.”

“But my poor old feet—I been standin’…”


“What-the… Ow-ow-ow. Hot-hot-hot. You crazy…”

“Your turn. Git.”

 The End

© 2015 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

~ * ~


I had to check if my memories of Epsom salts were correct. Take a gander:


#BlogBattle Week 8

This week’s theme is: Madness

To join, Check out


Mickey prowled the house. She paced from room to room, flicked through all 60 TV channels. Nothing interesting after another rotten day at work. I can go to the gym. No, don’t want to.

She hadn’t realized how graveyard still her house had become till her cell intoned the tinny version of a Rolling Stones top hit. Having wandered into the kitchen, she peered at the wall clock. Probably a telemarketer at 7:00 p.m.

An excited voice droned into her ear before she managed a hello. Yanking the cell away, she made a face and sighed. “I can’t understand a word. Can you slow down? Please” Working fingers through straight cinnamon hair, she prowled the length of the room.

A few words jumped out of the garbled rush, “…cruise…skill…question…”

“No thanks!” Her voice hung in the air, loud and ugly, as she flipped off the phone. “Why’d I pick up the darn thing?” She threw herself onto the sofa, limbs loose and sprawled like a rag doll.

She sat up. Attentive. What’s that? At first Mickey thought she’d imagined the faint sound. A baby crying? None of her neighbours were associated with any. She waited, then jumped up rushing to investigate outside the front and side doors and the windows open to the cooling May evening. The dead-end street remained silent. Empty. Lifeless. Waiting. Waiting for what? Stop it! Back and forth she strode down the hallway from the living-room to kitchen and back again. Listening between floor creaks.


“We do not have a cat.” A laugh simmered in her throat and she set it free till she cackled, beside herself. Wiping aside tears, she opened the front door again. Nothing on the porch or on the road. No cats anyway, which wasn’t unusual. The two old ladies with cats lived further up the short street and kept them housebound.

This is crazy. It’s as if a cat’s in the walls. She laughed again but didn’t sound merry at all. Ears plugged, head light, her heart bumped and ground.


Mickey yanked the broom out of the cleaning cupboard and poked about the kitchen beneath the chrome table and chairs and into all the empty corners. She continued through the bedroom, dining-room, living-room, and even the bathroom. She listened at the walls careful not to scape an ear on the white stuccoed living-room.


Where is the darn cat? Slashing her broom like a saber, she tore up the L-shaped stairs to the second floor. Inside empty closets, in half-decorated bedrooms, around and behind unpacked boxes she poked and crawled. Nothing. Down the stairs and two short flights more to the basement she raced. Lights on, she surveyed the rec room: burgundy carpet and orange couch. Bleh. No turning down free anything thanks to her husband.

A basement window stared half-lidded. The only one without a screen. Open. The only one not painted shut. Stupid. Stupid. Up on the milk crate beneath the window she’d last opened it, Mickey removed the supporting pole and latched the window shut. “All quiet on the subterranean front.” She giggled, a nervous vibration. A cleansing breath in and another one out, then another; her heart slowed to a steadier beat. Laundry-room. Check. Furnace room. Check. Closet. Check. Behind the bar. Check. “No cats and no mice. All is quiet. ”

The broom back in the cupboard, she realized night had fallen. A glance at the clock announced 10:15. Wow, over three hours gone. Is this place haunted or what? Work tomorrow. Bedtime calls. I’m talking to myself now?



Wide awake, Mickey had no idea if she was dreaming or not. Heart thrashing like a revving rocket, her eyes shot open. She couldn’t breathe. Where are you? What are you? Lightheaded and limb-rigid, she drew in air a silent gasp at a time.

“Meow.” The tone sounded angry and much too loud and close.

If it’s real, I bet the darn cat’s on the window’s ledge. Almost confident the cat yowled on the other side of the screen, she leaped out of bed. Hands swift behind the curtain, she wrenched the window pane down.




Hands over ears, Mickey shut her eyes and clenched her teeth. “You’re driving me crazy.” She grabbed her alarm clock-radio, pillow and blanket and slammed the bedroom door headed for the sofa. Sleep did not come. The plaintive meow persisted although weaker. She tossed and turned until the alarm jarred her into consciousness and onto the floor.


Tony sauntered in after his night shift as she finished applying mascara. “I’ve never been so happy to go to work as today.”

“Uh-huh.” He appeared tired as he kissed her on the cheek and headed towards the kitchen.

“Wait. I have to tell you— This house is haunted or something.” She rushed through the details until breathless.

Brow furrowed, her husband stared at her long and hard from the door jamb he leaned against.

“What? It’s madness, isn’t it. You think I’m crazy?”

”I hear it too. Wait here.” He flung the bedroom door aside. Mickey watched one-eyed around the corner as he pushed back the curtain. He roared with laughter, a belly laugh so deep he almost growled.

He called over his shoulder. “Come here.”


“Come here. You’re going to pee yourself.”

“Like I didn’t all last night?”


Tony stretched out a hand towards her. “Come on,” he said shaking with mirth.

“Ta-da.” His eyes grew large and he rushed to catch her as Mickey folded into the floor.

A cat pinned between the inside window pane and the screen glared back with dark, curse-hungry eyes. “Miaow!”



Flash in the Pan – Gun

Norman unwrapped the oil cloth with care, hands unsteady. His side-kick, Stinky, hiccuped and wiped damp hands on baggy jeans. “Give me some elbow room, will ya?” His taunt forehead glistened.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

“Lemme at it. You got ammo?”

“What for? Wow. It’s heavy but a good heavy.”

“Lemme at it.” Stinky’s hands shot out to grab the gun.

“Not yet.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“I’m holding for Butch’s friend—a favor.”

“My turn.” Stinky twirled the cylinder, released the safety, and aimed at Norman’s head.”

“Never point…”


Stinky dropped the piece. His jaw dropped. The clock struck four. He ran.

~ * ~

The Winter Quarter of Flash in the Pan is here. The theme: Boys and Their Toys. For the rules and how to join, click:

The word limit for Gun is 100 words. I used every last one.


Flash in the Pan – Irrational

Home at last. Miriam hums and kicks off her heels, then checks the fridge. No real food. Sigh. Her cell emits a boisterous, You Can’t Get no, Satisfaction.

She unzips her gray wool dress and peaks at caller I.D. What’s Trina, want? I quit the group months ago. “What’s up? Rotten weather for driving. Book-club on tonight?”

“Not sure. Time will tell. Sam’s out of gas—stuck on Exit 42.”

“How can I help?” As if I care.

“We need your gas can. Meet Doris at the Upper James Sunoco station.”

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

“Dor-ris? What for?”

“She’s offered to keep you company.”

“This is irrational. You know she’s crazy, right? She hates me.”

“Bite the bullet this once, sweetie. Even Doris doesn’t remember why your conflict started.”

“And CAA?” Miriam grinds her teeth and drops the dress.

“Will take ninety minutes.”

“Doris doesn’t own a gun, does she? I don’t trust her.”

~ * ~

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

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

Check how to join:


Flash in the Pan – Loco

He flipped the bottle with a hairy paw and glugged with relish. The empty container slammed against the counter’s edge. Crystal splinters sprayed the air like tiny spikes. They pelted his wrist, and belly, and chin.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“What just happened?” Stretch rushed into the open bathroom.

Woolly swayed and bared his teeth, bleeding wrist gripped to his soggy midriff.

“You drank the Rubbing Alcohol?”  Bloodshot eyes bulging, Firewater Man dropped to his knees and howled as glass penetrated skin.“You’re loco, man.” Stretch grabbed a towel to staunch the crimson flood. Woolly screamed. “I’ll call an ambulance. Don’t…”




~ * ~

The word limit for Loco is 100 words. I used all of them.

The new Fall Quarter of Flash in the Pan has begun. The theme is Disturbed. Click: to check out the rules and join.


We are What We Eat!

Really? In that case I’m afraid. I don’t plan to talk about steroids or food fads. I want to talk about staying alive.

Aren’t we told to read ingredient labels of food we buy? Isn’t it true the words you cannot pronounce on these labels are really preservatives?  Remember the caution to cut back on processed food because it is loaded with salt?

Have I a story about a home experiment. About three or so months ago, I made from-scratch hamburgers for my grandkids but not home-baked buns. Who thinks about making their own buns? No biggie, right? All’s normal. Everybody buys buns.

The kids and their Mom enjoyed the meal and I was pleased to see everyone happy. The next day, I had another burger for lunch and another the day after. Two buns remained on my kitchen island in the plastic bag they’d come in. Another day went by and it occurred to me the buns should be thrown out because surely they were hard and moldy by now. Wrong. I poked my finger at a bun but it sprang back as if fresh. I scratched my head. A week had evolved but not these buns.

I decided to keep an eye on the bag. Another week crawled by. Still, the buns hadn’t cracked nor lost their elasticity. Remember your school-day science experiments with moldy bread? No mold had taken up residence in the moist plastic environment in my kitchen.

morgueFile free photo

morgueFile free photo

  • Ingredients: enriched wheat flour, water, sugar/glucose-fructose, yeast, soybean and/or canola oil, salt, wheat gluten, calcium propionate, monoglycerides, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
  • On the front of the bag: Cholesterol-free / 100% vegetable oil (but doesn’t the ingredient list say soybean and/or canola?)

I kept moving the bag because it gave me the creeps—from one counter to another. Bread is supposed to develop mold under the right conditions and grow hard and crusty. Almost four months later, here I sit without a clue what’s kept this product from walking away on its own. Instead, we are both stuck in the Twilight Zone. Today, the buns are harder on the bottom but the tops, although this much later, still spring back. This is not normal. You would think by now my finger should poke a hole through the crust, but no crust yet.

Even if I say so myself, I know I am well preserved, but that’s from the family gene pool. Why the heck do I need or want help from (food) preservatives from someone I don’t even know, from who knows where? After this experiment, who can I trust?

Do you know what’s in your food?

And then there are eggs—but that’s for another day. I’m worn out; its stressful stumbling about in the land of One Step Beyond.


Flash in the Pan – Left

In the dark, graceless footsteps crunched on gravel.

“Keep it down, idiot.” Sammie hitched his threadbare pants; cricked his neck.

Hook hung his greasy head, pimpled face infected. Dandruff floated to his shoulders.

“Look at that!” Sammie pointed, eyes bright as fireflies. A sinuous silhouette slid past the only lit window.

“Get ready.”

Hook patted pockets; his shoulders sagged; hands stuck in mid-air.

“You left it, where? So—Mr. Voice—you’re no Cyrano after all!”

Wiki Creative commons

Wiki Creative commons

~ * ~

The word limit for Left is 75 words. I used all 75.

For the rules to join the New Summer Quarter of Flash in the Pan, check out:


Flash in the Pan – Progress

“This is crazy.” Mandy heaved a sluggish sigh and clamped her lips tight, her hands stuck clenched in her lap. She peered across the table through thick mascaraed lashes. You’re still too handsome, and forty-four is young yet…

“Is that all you have to say, Tony? You’re tired?”

Dull blue eyes avoided hers; he thrust out his chin. “No more.”

“And me? Don’t you care about me?”

Tony looked away, his shoulders sagged.

“You’ve made no effort and no progress for two weeks.”

“Go home.” His voice grew hoarse

Stubborn tears blinded her. “Try for me, and you can walk again…”

~ * ~

The word limit for Progress is 100 words. I used all of them. For the rules and to join, check out:

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart


Plan A, B, and C

What’s going on with my fingers? Have I somehow rubbed off the prints we’re all endowed with at birth? I know you can’t see them, but I always pictured these invisible lines as working the way the rubber fingers we wore at work (on our forefinger), to flick through lots of paper, or to count piles of money.

Here’s a crazy idea. Maybe these little digits need a light sanding. You know, like roughing up old walls to help new primer or paint stick? Don’t mind me, when I’m desperate almost anything is worth a try.

Some days, I have no problem at all. My attempt to turn the page of a magazine, newspaper or the pages of a book is successful; other days I’m all thumbs. I pinch the page at the bottom corner and rub using my thumb on the top side and my forefinger and middle finger on the bottom. Nothing.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Plan B: I wet my forefinger (I lick it when no-one’s looking—don’t tell) and try again. By now I’m not only frustrated, I see red. Why won’t the stubborn pages separate? I don’t swear as a rule yet a string of words I’ve never heard before spew out of my mouth and surround my head like a blue cloud.

Time for Plan C, the last and most ridiculous endeavor: blow at the bottom outer corner of the paper. For no particular reason, and a surprise to me, on occasion this works. I haven’t resolved why, and this also makes me wild.

In a coffee shop not long ago, I opened a novel to enjoy with my Java. I noticed a man close-by, reading. I don’t like to intrude but sometimes I’m uncouth. Seeing a stranger anywhere, with a book in his or her hand or underneath an arm, is enough excuse to strike up a conversation, “Whatcha reading?” This time I didn’t get a chance, though.

This man—about my age, maybe a day or two older—appeared immersed in his hardcover. Darn if he didn’t experience the same challenge of turning pages as I have. How is it he was familiar with my Plans A, B and C? As he blew the pages apart, I almost laughed out loud and had an urge to clap, but I restrained it. I may be ill-mannered by asking total strangers silly questions, but I wasn’t about to call attention to myself. It was a comfort I’m not the only one with this affliction..

I’m still stumped why I can’t turn pages more often now than in the past. Are my no-longer-agile-fingers to blame, or can I use the excuse it’s the paper’s fault?

A light bulb just went off: the next time I’m in this fix, I’ll stick my fingers into the jam jar before I pinch the pages. I’m positive this will work. Why hadn’t I thought of this before rather than struggle through all my hit-or-miss Plans?

Do you have an answer to this dilemma?