How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Freedom Daze

Both grandkids are in school all day as of this week. The younger one is in Grade One now.

All summer as I babysat, I felt I accomplished nothing and began to dream about this fall. The extra time I’d have to myself had me levitating. Lunch or coffee with friends any time I want as long as I’m at the bus stop when school’s out.

So far, this week’s been a mirage. Monday was a holiday; Tuesday, the first day back to school. Wednesday was my bookstore shift. I had a meeting Thursday and had to rush for the bus. That was the same day my dental office called to change next week’s appointment to Friday (today) at 9:00 a.m.  Of course the school bus was late this morning, as was I. Then, the dentist pulled a White Rabbit act from Alice in Wonderland.

Hurry up and wait.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

I finally straightened up my house for my granddaughter’s sixth birthday this past Sunday. I hadn’t noticed the accumulation of books, notebooks and paper. Mountains of the written word everywhere: on end tables, on my small writing desk in the kitchen, the coffee table and all over my eight-foot dining-room table. I promised I’d tackle the job this week with all the extra time I’d have. I planned to file and trash. I’ve managed none of the above.

Who was I kidding? Have I begun to knock down Paper Mountains and de-clutter piles of junk? Not yet. I’m still having trouble resurrecting my hidden treasures in preparation for the birthday party.

This is a new week. What have I accomplished today? I read blogs and commented. That’s my full-time job now. Oh, I managed to make two pots of coffee and grabbed some lunch. I didn’t go out but came straight home after my last-minute rendezvous with the tardy dentist.

I haven’t even had time to catch up on any reading all day. I did manage to entertain Lady Gaga, my cat, when she insisted on my attention. We played peek-a-boo for which she has an extraordinary fondness. And she likes me. How could I refuse when she sprinted onto my lap and pressed her check against mine, inviting a hug?  I adore my little fur-ball so we sat and mused together for a while.

This buzz of freedom might not look any different than it did before both grandchildren were in school. Even if I don’t accomplish any more than a hill of beans with this extra time, maybe I won’t feel so whacked at the end of the day. I must reserve energy for more than going cross-eyed reading posts all day. Maybe I’ll accomplish something for a change: finish projects, read a book, write something interesting.

For the past seven years since I retired, the hours in my day are shorter than ever and it’s not because I have time to nap.


More information Required

And so it begins.

First my knees failed…no, not correct; they didn’t fail, they gave out on me. The smooth elasticity I’d always enjoyed changed to creaking not unlike a dull saw stuck in wet wood. No problems with mobility yet, I just can’t bend my knees and get back up again.

Later I developed a hole in my chin—not a physical hole you understand, but whatever’s happened I seem to dribble or drip, especially anything the least bit greasy. I’ve ruin too many new—yes new—tops to greasy spots.

I’ve been saving myself for this? I’ve been saving myself for retirement and seven years in, I win the ticket to fall apart?  Not on your life!

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Thanks Alphonse Karr. It’s not just your name that hints you are obviously not a woman. What were you thinking when you said those words?

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

I’ve changed in increments until I don’t know who the hell the woman in my bathroom mirror is, or where she came from. Eyebrows, skin tone and texture, and cheeks have all changed. I am not the same.

A new surprise awaited me yesterday. My daughter bought a truck a month ago. Something wasn’t right with the brakes. To get work done she we had to drive to the next city: on the highway; morning traffic; four lanes of crazy people (they’re always more high-strung on Thursdays); a zillion cars, trucks, vans and transports and everyone’s in a hurry because the weekend starts in one day. This is not just any weekend, but a long weekend. I had to tag along because the truck was to be dropped off for repairs and my daughter needed a ride to work.

I don’t do highways, at least not well. In a matter of life and death, I might manage a two-lane highway if it has ever been familiar to me. Unless, since the last time I’ve driven in the area, a recent town or suburb, or one of those mega malls has mushroomed, I’d be lost.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

Bottom line is I had to follow my daughter and her truck. Traffic around me filled and faded, zoomed and whooshed, and I lost track of her truck. Transport trucks on either side of me, I couldn’t go around the guy who’d cut in front. Claws for hands, clutching the wheel till bloodless, I saw an opening. My retired brain has been in the slow lane for a while and I almost broke my neck twisting this way and that to gauge my entry into the new lane. I’ve no idea if I had sweat on my forehead or if the ceiling of my car had sprung a leak when the sky opened up to add to my anxiety.

Stop. Start. Traffic at a snail’s pace; traffic at breakneck speed. By the time we arrived at the garage, I wasn’t even a basket case (as the saying goes), I was melted brains on the front seat. I sagged and couldn’t move.

When had I turned into this wuss?

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

What a laugh. I’m so changed after yesterday, I’m never driving on the highway again; if it’s a matter of life or death, I’ll call a taxi…or a limo. And I will close my eyes because duty calls and I’ll get through it.

I didn’t stay the same. I quit the highway forever.

One more thing, at two o’clock I had to repeat the process in reverse. It’s a wonder I have any hair left.


You Light Up My Life

Quick—no cheating. How many lights are on in your house? Forget the ceiling, think lower, say eye-level or thereabouts. Can you believe this list?

  1. Nightlight in the bathroom
  2. Nightlight in the kitchen
  3. Clock on the stove
  4. Clock on the microwave
  5. Digital Clock radio and alarm in bedroom
  6. TV black box
  7. DVD player
  8. Stereo (light on whether in use or not)
  9. Cordless Dirt Devil in the laundry-room (at the ready when required)
  10. Printer (always on)
  11. PC Woofer (always on)
  12. Modem (on most of the day)
  13. PC Tower (on most of the day)
  14. PC Monitor (on most of the day)
  15. Cordless phone home base (always)

Some time ago, I heard talk one might save on hydro if TVs and PCs and their supporting hardware are unplugged when not in use. When might that be?

I see only three items in my list which are not in use all day long. I might be tempted to unplug them, but I need to know the payoff to me first. Would I remember to disconnect on a regular basis? Supposedly, most electronics now have a snooze mode when not in use (in limbo during coffee break), but I’m not sure what that does exactly. No-one explains when you buy all the new-fangled electronics how much energy you are saving when they are in sleep mode.

Recently, a full page in the newspaper advertised it’s possible to save 20% off your hydro bill. Call us and we’ll show you how. What’s the big secret? Why not include the tips in the same ad?

When I started this post, my intention wasn’t to talk about hydro savings. I wanted to count how many current electronic necessities in our lives are always ON: with tiny red, green or yellow beacons.  Why do I need tiny lights, I’m not working in the dark.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

  1. Even when I shut off my PC, why don’t the monitor, woofer/ speaker and printer shut off too? They’re all plugged into the same  power bar and CPU. Aren’t they?
  2. When my stereo (which I never use anymore) is off, a red light stays on anyway. Always.
  3. Since my DVD player and black box are connected to my TV, why do I need to manually power down each separately after the television is off?

See what I mean? Why do we need all these little lights when B is connected to A as is C etc.? Seems to me there must be a better way, especially IF by shutting them all off means $$ in your pocket: one button, one switch.

Excluding my TV, DVD, and radio, almost all the above are in use from morning until night—at my house—I know at yours too, right?


I want to confirm there is more to me than my interest in Flash and Bog Hops and commenting on blogs. I worry about life, the price of eggs and hydro. I  volunteer, take classes and look after my grandkids. Sometimes, I even participate in social activities (at least a couple of times a year–when I find time). I’m a go-go-go grandma. My days vanish in a flash.

With all these machines to lighten the load, do work faster, and have more time on my hands, I find I have less. I’m retired to heavens sakes!

And life costs more.

And I am technically challenged but I do have bright ideas.

And I’m always scrambling to find time to read!


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!


Flash in the Pan – Book

The pre-schooler colours with solemn concentration. Wispy blonde hair tumbles over her face. She peers up beneath dark lashes.


“Yes, sweetie.”

“Whatcha reading?”

“Hm, about a girl with indigo eyes, who likes to draw, and colour—like you.”

“Are you finished now?”

“Yes. Why?”

“I wanna show you somefing.”

Rachael dashes down the hall and returns hands behind her back.

“What’s that?”

“A new book—look! Mommy got it. Ga-mah? Read me a story?”

“Come,” Grandma pats her lap.

“Ga-mah, Can I have a apple first?”

“Of course,” Grandma waves forward. “Come.”


Flash in the Pan: Corner

Rain pelted all day. By 10:30, Rose fought a deluge. Lights flashed around the corner.

An accident, she thought.

The row of cars crept. An officer leaned in, almost nose-to-nose, bringing rain.

“Have you been drinking tonight?”

“No, sir!” she said, blinking, brow furled.

“Your car hesitated and weaved back there.” He pointed backwards.

“No, sir. Not me. It’s the rain—recital.” She blew air into his face.

“Go ahead.”

The asphalt appeared greasy; the streetlights shimmering.

Wikimedia Commons Car Crash

This hill is steep

Rose hydroplaned at the bottom, crashing into the cement light post.


Bleak night, altered black.

~ * ~

Click for the rules of this challenge.

The word limit for Corner is 125 words. I used 97.

~ * ~

NaNoWriMo undate:  I know at least one person who can do this in a DAY. My word count to date is 26,846, Day 13. Don’t forget I’m a NaNo VIRGIN (ha ha–sounds GOOD to ME), but, it’s only 8:20 p.m. here. Life insinuates itself, so, I might not be done yet– I have until midnight…


A Lady and the Tramp

I’ve lived alone too long. No. I’m not whining about being lonely, depressed or bored. Are you kidding? I like love my freedom: I get up when I want, I do what I want, and generally, get away with what I want.

I read the paper every morning with my coffee after I’ve had all the zz’s I need, or I did until recently.

My new cat starts my day by flexing her nails, jamming them into my mattress and stroking my bed skirt. RRrr-i-p, R-iii-pp. She pretends she’s scared but comes peeking around the dresser after two flicks of her tail to check how much progress the lump on the bed has made. I swear I hear her heaving with silent laughter. Her goal is breakfast—NOW—at 6:10 a.m.

I’m a normal retired lady, old enough to make my own decisions, dammit, and nobody’s going to make me change. I’m not getting up before 7:00 a.m. I steal two extra minutes of quiet before the tramp in Lady Gaga charges again. This time she uses her claws to climb my sofa. For whatever reason, hanging off the floor using only her front claws before pushing herself up with her hind legs, nails flexed for better impetus, makes Lady G. much too happy.

She reads me like I’m made of glass.

“Stop it! I’m coming already.”

I don’t often watch television, but occasionally I throw caution to the wind, pour a glass of wine and hope to watch a decent movie to r-e-l-a-x, to give my fingers and brain a rest, (but not my lap). Nope, Lady Gaga has made it clear, my lap belongs to her. I don’t get to do what I want much anymore.

Most days / evenings find me clicking away on my keyboard or surfing the net, reading, or commenting in the blogosphere among other favourite projects. The sleek and trim Lady G. is tired of sleeping and must jump on my lap to wash the sleep out of her marble-size eyes. On second thought, she gives herself an attention-seeking bath like she’s the centre of the universe. Why she must lean on my forearm to take another nap afterwards is beyond me.

I’m such a soft touch, I let her snooze for five minutes or so, (plus, plus) while petting her gently on the top of the head the way she prefers. Sometimes, I get to practice one-finger typing with my left hand while I wait. It’s tedious as hell and slow to boot, but I don’t mind. I’m a woman of a certain age, old enough to make my own decisions dammit, and nobody’s going tomake me change.

I think I’ll take her for a manicure (but not a pedicure); I don’t want her to get the idea I’m a big spender—not big enough to afford a new sofa anytime soon.


Old Bird, New Tricks. . .

Generally speaking, I’m a tough old bird. I have no allergies that I know of, except for sunscreen. I can’t wear it. A breakout of tiny, angry water blisters, which itch like the plague and break if I scratch, and itch more when they break, invade my pitiful sun-screened skin.

A couple of months ago, I made a new discovery. (I’m way too easy, you see.) It’s time, I decided, to stop using Dove soap on my face after eons of use. I haven’t had any problems: no extra lines or flaky skin, but a change would be good, I thought.

Enter Nivea Visage Replenishing Cleansing Cream Lotion (Mature Skin). I also splurged on Nivea Visage Rich Moisturizing Day Care with SPF 15. This was not a big investment; the price was right, the total  under twenty dollars. Oh, what a feeling; what a r-u-s-h a new jar of cream will bring! I felt like a new woman for several weeks. My face looked as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Until, the diaper rash!

I believe I have some Rosacea as do many women after a certain age. What I saw was something more. When my cheeks and chin broke out in pimples—with pin-sized yellow heads—my attention sprang into front row.  Mornings I looked great, no redness and no pimples—until I washed my face and applied the moisturizing day cream—hmm, curious.

My head has been someplace else lately. I noticed sort of, but didn’t put the  details together. Something made me stop the day cream and switch back to a long-time old faithful moisture cream. No change. Yikes. (I blush easily, which makes my face a deeper crimson and the added heat irritates this new condition.) Now the breakouts were becoming more of a problem because makeup didn’t hide them and everyone could see what was going on. Blush. Blush.

I stopped the cleansing lotion and went back to good old Dove soap. No immediate magic, but three days later, no more yellow heads—only angry red lines. I’d also been drinking buckets of coffee lately and have been a bit more stressed out than usual. Generally, not good.

So far, I’m pleased with my skin’s improvement. Why do I always need to chase the next best product when the current one is doing its job? What can I say? I’m vain to hope—hope there is still magic to be had. Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I don’t like to look my best and feel like a new woman once in a while. I’m sure vanity never goes away. Am I right? Sure I am.

First of all, I knew I had an allergic reaction to sunscreen? What is SPF 15, after all? But I forgot. So my head has been buried in the sand but no more. I hope I don’t have to give up coffee—or wine. Both of these aggravate Rosacea as does stress, but the big bad problem seems to be going away. . .

This feels like a service announcement. What? This is about ME. It is NOT an infomercial. Please.

~ * ~

For information on Rosacea:


This is a LOON

I’ve been asked what a loon is after Share Your World #16 was posted. Google and I went to work. There are a zillion videos. Here are a couple links you might enjoy.

Canadian Loon

You might enjoy playing this in the background as you read your blogs. I find this soothing.

Grab a tea or coffee. Sit back, close your eyes and relax.


Share Your World Week 16

Share Your World is a fun way to meet new bloggers. The founder, Cee’s blog LINK follows with the rules on how to participate. Check it out!


If you had a choice, which would be your preference: salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, hot tub, or desert?

I’m a Northern Ontario girl: cold weather, tons of snow, short summers, a mixture of weather patterns in one day. We lived by the lake. It was clean and fresh, so fresh that it was the only natural lake in North America not poisoned with fluoride until a few years ago.

When I was a kid, the haunting call of the loon was the last sound I heard in the evening and first one in the morning. I loved that sound. Nothing beats living by the water. I wish I did still.


What book do you think everyone should read and why?

I have a hard time stopping at one. In no particular order, these three are provocative in so many ways; you stop and think about them afterwards. The stories linger.

Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton: This is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man (This description is straight from the book’s jacket).

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway: About courage in the face of defeat.

Night by Ellie Wiesel: About the death of innocence and more.


What’s your favorite way to wake up and what’s the first thing you do?

I love spring and summer and fall. The chirping of birds and the sun streaming through the window onto my face is the perfect way to wake up. It’s a gentle, soothing way to start out my day.

I’m not twenty anymore, so I head to the loo. (Well you did ask). Then I jump into the shower. There’s nothing as invigorating as pulsating water prodding my body awake. An inch at a time. What’s the rush anyway? I’m RETIRED, aren’t I?

The sound of an alarm clock is hell and should be banned. If I need to be somewhere early in the morning and can’t take a chance on sleeping in, then I’ll use one. But only if I must.

What do you do to relax?

I love to read, read, and read some more. In the past six months, though, I just haven’t had enough time for this guilty pleasure. This doesn’t feel normal to me. The jumping knee thing starts to creep up on me. . .

On the other hand, I enjoy tinkering with words, watching a story grow; stretching it this way and that, getting into characters’ heads. I never lose my cool or rip my hair out screaming at the page, ‘Why isn’t this working? Damn. Damn. Damn!” No, I NEVER lose my cool. (Liar). I’m always relaxed (really?).