How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


North to Alaska: Dolly Who? Dolly What?

On we trudged; a sign advertising many varieties of popcorn caught Mary’s attention. Mm. It smelled so good inside that shop. I cannot recall all the flavours on offer, but they were many and not cheap. Seasonings were available to mix anyway a customer chose. I’m glad I didn’t need to make a selection. I love popcorn but too many choices of anything give me a headache.

We next chose an open-type shop, the three-walled kind like in an open bazaar, and lickety-split an attractive, fast-talking sales clerk started his spiel. He snared Mary into buying two 8-ounce vac pacs of smoked salmon at $16.99 each USD by throwing in a free 4-ounce vac in the bargain. I guess she wanted to be caught because she had her mind set on salmon from Alaska. This purchase required special packaging and an officious label since we were in a country not our own and food items require special permission to be transported across the border. Oh, the rules of travel.

I am no good without a plan or a map, but we ambled from the main road for a couple blocks to see what we might find.

An advertisement on the ship’s TV had advertised points of interests and there it was. Sheer luck we’d found it so easily. A young woman in period costume outside the little white house convinced us to check it out for ten bucks each. I love a mystery, don’t you? What would we find for such a bargain ticket?

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Teeny rooms jam-packed with period furniture and paraphernalia was worth the escape out the annoying and persistent gauzy drizzle. A flat screen TV graced a wall in every room, running looped film about Dolly, her life, and possessions. Peeling paint and wallpaper and watermarked ceilings framed the crowded artifacts of the day. Dolly (real name Thelma Copeland, born 1888) had purchased the house in 1919 for $800.00 and paid it off in two weeks. She did not allow married men and told them, “No, you’re married.”

She checked hands for rings and again said, “Nope, you’re married.” How did she know? Removed rings and mud on shoes or boots confirmed they had come down the hill, the back way. Those who carried their shoes (and put them on before knocking) to avoid mud, passed inspection.

Married men’s trail to Creek Street. Wood stairs and railings save tourists from mud on their shoes and from slipping and sliding away.

In the ‘20s and ‘30s, prostitution was not illegal. Booze was but nobody paid attention. Dolly received deliveries at night by lowering a bucket and hid the boat supplies underneath the house beneath the nose of the preacher next door.


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A couple with two young children zipped past us up the stairs, barely stopping to blink, and were out the door as if house hunting but not impressed with the recommended property.

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The tour of Dolly’s house ended at the back door on an up-do-date wooden deck and walkway back to Creek Street.

Next on June 15th – North to Alaska: Creek Street Shops and a Tram Experience

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


North to Alaska: Skagway Adventures?

We were already docked when I looked out the window at 6:45 a.m. The weather was (again) overcast, not an uplifting start to the day. Sigh.

Our stateroom window provided a view of a sheered rock wall painted/stamped with brand names from our narrow entry point. This is just a small sampling.

A five-car came tram along. People lined up already but no one had his or her hood up, so I guessed the rain finally took a time-out. I assumed this might be a tour tram but probably not gratis.

Breakfast first by 8:00 a.m. The dining room busy but not full. Hungrier than I realized, I chose porridge with a cup of prunes (for taste, silly), a couple slices of cheese, raisins and sliced almonds on top, and orange slices, kind of my usual breakfast plan at home. I couldn’t be happier. I must be losing my mind or my age is showing. Am I on a cruise or at home? I’m not a fan of eating out often. After a day or two, while travelling, I’m bored with restaurant meals. They all lack that distinct homemade flavour.

We realized we need not rush out to discover Skagway as our day was free till 8:30 pm. We took our time till after lunch. How big can Skagway be if it shuts down for the winter?

The power went off all over the ship around 9:45 am. The Captain apologized for the inconvenience over the intercom, then a flicker and all went black. No satellite reception since we woke. I tried my laptop. Nothing. The TV was dead, too.

We lazed and read the morning away, choosing lunch around 12:30 before heading to explore Skagway. Chicken salad hit the spot. We’d been eating too freely and decided to rein in the bad habit of gorging because we can.

Still no satellite reception after lunch, we pulled ourselves together for a stroll into town for Wifi, above all else. We worried Skagway might be black as well, but

Since we ventured out late in the day, we had no idea if we’d missed a free tour like the previous day (even by accident as we had been). I heard no announcements for the first-day tour and not for this second one.

Bored with the damp weather, we ventured out and met stragglers returning to the ship with name brand shopping bags. Their recommendations were golden. Tourist feedback is more valuable than anything advertised. I like real people rather than marketing gimmicks.

Quick Tips:

We strolled from the ship into the town of Skagway, a distance of under a mile but worth every step. The weather had improved and the day smiled for a change, the sky smeared with frothy clouds, the day dried by a generous sun. What a refreshing change. I’m not old enough for laid-back cruising; I’d rather walk, free to move around. The ship is too confining for me though there is a lot to do onboard. I’m not a water baby so the pool holds little attraction for me.

Our bright day trek looked like this along the way:

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~ * ~

Next on May 11th – North to Alaska: Shopping, Saloons, and Beer?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


*Applause, Applause*


I wrote my About Page four years ago today. It appears I’m off the radar at WordPress, however, because no notification of my blogoversary has arrived yet. Woe is me. NO matter.

It’s been an exciting time and I count myself most fortunate to have met so many fascinating bloggers. Some of you have stuck with me from the beginning to present day. Yes, it took time to meet one at a time, but I’m exhilarated to be a part of this kind and nurturing community.

At last I’m writing thanks to the discovery of Word Press and blogging. I hope with time I learn and improve this amazing and fulfilling craft. You have been most generous in your support and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

Credit: Microsoft PP Slide art

This anniversary seems the perfect opportunity to celebrate you, and to go on hiatus. I haven’t been firing on all pistons of late and need to rejuvenate. Instead of whining, it’s time I do something about it. I plan to clean up and complete impatient writing projects for which I’ve had neither time nor energy, and to add new ones.

See you in September, kids. Wish me luck. It feels strange to cut myself off for the summer, but I’m doing it because I must. I miss you already.

Credit:  AK47bandit


100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #168

To join in, click below:

 This week’s prompt is …the blue was sapphire… + 100 words



Drink in hand, I skimmed the room. Lights blazed, children squealed, and the discordant orchestra tuned up. Receptions are boring without a date.

A commotion caught my attention. Upswept copper curls bobbed through the crowd. A pale cerulean gown, delicate as angels’ breath, floated towards me. The exquisite creature peered up brows raised, her eyes—the blue was sapphire—like the gem… “Can I help you?” My voice cracked.

“Get me out of here, please?” She drifted forward. Like a puppy after a treat, I loped behind her. The night might not be a complete waste.

“Where to?”

“A drive maybe?”

“Husband problems?”



© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles


Yangshuo: Day 17, Part 3 – Countryside

After the tea ceremony, the (rich) foreigners were whisked into a sales room. Inside, various teas were for sale, as were copious types of teapots and tea sets. Some cost almost as much as my all-inclusive holiday in Canadian dollars. I stepped back, my hands tucked in close to my sides for fear of an accident and breaking up a set. Had I noticed how many pieces made up a set? No, I’d been too petrified.

Before continuing on to Yangshuo by bus, the ladies inquired about the facilities. We traipsed down a long corridor to a small clean washroom. Inside were two stalls with pedestal toilets (wow) inside cubicles with (approximately) three-foot wide shutters for privacy installed in about the middle of the door frame. Anyone might look over the top as she walked past. The one I used didn’t have a proper latch to secure them shut. I hadn’t been this good at gymnastics ever before.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Have you ever seen such a small truck with this impossible load of wood on it’s roof?

The highways were unbelievably neat and clean. No garbage, paper or plastic were in evidence anywhere the same as all the highways we’d been on so far.

Pretty countryside surrounded us along the way to Yangshuo

Quick Facts:

  • Famous for the limestone mountains
  • Grow lots of strawberries
  • Foot massage is only $20.00 USD
  • Zhuang is China’s largest ethnic minority (about 16 million) who like singing
  • Zhuang choose lovers while singing folk songs (a means of courting)
  • They hold an annual Folk Song Festival
  • National Flower: Bauhinia
  • Li River is smaller than Yangtze and shallow
  • Also home to Dragon River and four lakes
  • Lots of nurseries: grow trees for planning
  • Land is government owned (as in all of China). Must renew lease every 70 years.

The countryside viewed from the bus: newly planted fields, farm houses and water

At last we arrived at the hotel. Time to freshen up and have dinner. The hotel appeared empty and too quiet. We were settled at a table in an empty dining room. All throughout dinner we saw only the waitress.

Dinner Menu:

  • Tomato soup
  • Rice
  • Egg pancake
  • French Fries
  • Sweet and sour pork with pineapple
  • Thin noodles with shredded carrots
  • Sliced cucumbers and sliced cooked chicken
  • Cooked sliced celery and water chestnuts
  • Cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, mixed
  • Fermented tofu
  • Chili sauce
  • Soy cakes and sweet dip + soy sauce
  • Battered banana, deep-fried, with caramel

The smell from the bathroom invaded the dining-room. I couldn’t understand such a thing in a hotel of this significance. Phew. I hadn’t been aware of anything like this elsewhere. I asked Sue about it, but she hadn’t been conscious of anything unpleasant.

After dinner, we rushed to attend an open air performance. By the time we arrived in the main park dusk had fallen. At first small clusters of people walked around us with lots of breathing space between us all. By dusk the crowd swarmed like a maelstrom with a mind of its own. I hugged my bag against my chest, arms tucked in as close I could manage. Our English Group Eight clung together with Lily, our guide, ahead of us and tried desperately to keep her in sight. She stopped a couple of times and waited. What made the situation worse was the dark. There were no park lights out in the open. I felt blindfolded. Never have I experienced this tight a convergence of bodies around me. I confess terror struck me for the first time since we’d arrived in China; terror the crowd might rip me from my fellow travelers; terror of being lost and disoriented in a foreign country and in the dark.

Lily left us to buy entrance tickets and suggested we wait while the crowd thinned out before taking us to our seats. She wasn’t allowed to sit with us. We took our seats after she explained where we’d find her when the performance ended.

Our seats were good in about the third tier up. The show was like nothing I had ever seen. This video doesn’t do it enough justice. You had to be there. The Chinese sure know how to put on stunning presentations! Enjoy.

Excellent show “Impression Liu San Jie” (in Yangshuo)

Credit: Uwe Völker

~ * ~

Next on February 20th, Yangshuo: Day 18, Part 1 – Li River

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

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


100-word Challenge for Grownups – Week #158

To join in the fun, click below:

This week’s prompt is those special berries… +100 words



“Frankie? You can’t walk in—what do you want? Rocky’s on his way home.”

“I miss you, Babe—us.”

“We’re done, remember? Get out.” Rose rolled the pastry around her rolling-pin. Frankie gawked with starving eyes.

“Leave now and I’ll make your favorite.”

“Deal. Cherry?”

Rose rubbed her nose, leaving a trail of flour on her cheek. “It’ll be at our old hiding place in two hours.”

Frankie grabbed for her.

“Don’t.” She jerked away, holding out the dough like a shield. “Go!”

A handful of those special berries and I’ll shake you once and for all. You won’t ever eat pie again.


© 2014 TAK


100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #156


Click below to join:

The prompt this week is the picture below+ 100 words

Week 156



“The name’s not Eloise. Go away.”

“Don’t ya rest—on a full stomach yet?”

“Nosey.” She shifted and appraised the intruder.

“How many times ya re-knit this thing?” He advanced, scrutinizing her handiwork.

“You’re saying it’s sloppy?”

Nah. Ya’re workin’ too hard. I’m Percy, Perc to my friends.”

“You’ve been watching me?”

Passin’ by. Noticed ya—busy, busy.”

“Come on. I’m tired of hollering.”

“Nice work.”

“I know.” She shuffled legs.


“You want to play? We’ll do it my way. I’ve room for dessert afterwards.”

“But, Wida, you slurped up… Your web’s empty.”

“Not any more. Time to Cha-cha.”

~ * ~


Male Black Widows have improved their survival rate by choosing well-fed females (preferably virgins). They judge by the pheromones she releases. A hungry female will eat her partner after mating.


© 2014 TAK


100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups – Week #140

To join, check out:

This week’s prompt: The photo below + 100 words




“Reenie, come back.”

“One minute.” She rummaged inside her shoulder bag and whipped out a digital camera.

“Come on. We’ll miss the train.” His hot breath prickled her neck.

Hands unsteady, she fidgeted with the strap and buttons. “Give me a sec.”  The purse slid down her arm and she fought for balance struggling to take the picture. “Incredible sunset!”

“Please. The train?”

“Hold this?” She checked her shots and grinned.

Face pinched and distressed, he caught her arm and tugged. They dashed to the car.

“Tomorrow, a Palermo sunset. I’ll take my bag now.”


A train whistle shrieked.


Beijing Part 4, Day 3 (cont’d)

We wandered to another part of the park where parents laid out their child’s ‘resume’ hoping for a marriage connection / partner. A woman yelled at me when I tried to take a picture. Seems it’s bad luck to be photographed. I understood it puts a pox on the intended. I laid low and managed a non-intrusive video on my iPad mini but I cannot upload it. Sorry.

Spring in all its glory

Spring in all its glory

Interesting nuggets about marriage:

  • Either you pay for a matchmaker ($$$ if you have lots—probably not) or your mother struggles along in your best interests with or without your knowledge
  • We encountered children in the park, but the majority were boys—yes there were girls—the odds appeared greater than the statistics
  • The ratio: 140 boys are born to 100 girls nowadays
  • Dating services are now common and do a vigorous business, but many cannot afford them and anyway MOM has your best interests at heart
  • Young people pursue good careers and work long hours with lengthy travel times to and from work
  • There is no time to date
  • More and more young people prefer to find their own mate
  • Some young men hold down several jobs and still cannot afford a house or apartment
  •  Every potential bride wants a house or apartment. As well her family expects a bride price—even in the country—a sort of dowry
  • Mismatches between city vs. country / education vs. job level mean less chance of finding a marriageable partner
  • Stories abound about established career women. A female with a good job may be willing to stand in as breadwinners if even a younger male would co-operate. After all, her clock is ticking, but without a job of his own, he’ll shy away.
  • Rich men spent much time and money choosing the right bride through matchmakers since the ratio of females versus males are so uneven
Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

More tidbits about the people:

  • Diabetes and high blood pressure high
  • Exercises morning and evening, especially seniors
  • China is second highest consumer of sugar after India
  • They add sugar to everything
  • Different breakfast by area / region
  • Average man’s breakfast is in Beijing: steamed dumplings and buns, dim sum, and soup
  • Use straw to drink soup
  • Mandarin is the main official language
  • Written language is the same everyone in China, only the dialects are different

Next on June 20th, Beijing Part 5, Day 3 (cont’d)

  1. Temple of Heaven
  2. Tiananmen Square



100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups Week #130

‘What is 100WCGU?

This week’s prompt: … but it has nuts in…



Charlie leaned beneath the rusted hood again. What genius unloaded this useless wreck on my son?

“Where’d you get this old rattletrap, LeRoy?”

“It was free, Pop.”

“Not worth anything, that’s sure.”

“I want to fix and drive it.”

Charlie jerked his head out too fast and banged his head. “Ow!” Dead cigar clamped hard between his yellowed teeth, he shook his head. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?”

“Won’t cost nothing neither. I found this box of…”

“Doesn’t matter.”

But it has nuts in here, bolts and screws.”

“What you need is an engine, boy. Got one in there, do you?”