Monthly Archives: January 2009

How about a coffee…

Back in December on that dreaded Facebook I received an invitation.

‘How about a coffee & a mince pie before Christmas?’  The request came from a Toyboy!       Now you all know me by now, I never want to miss the chance to meet up with a fellow blogger.  Calendars were cleared and arrangements made, and that is how I met D@\/e. It was interesting to meet another Norn Iron blogger and learn about the world from his perspective.

Dave brought his wife (a non blogger) and we chatted easily.  In fact we talked so long that we worried rent for the table & chairs might be added to the bill ❗

Before we parted we decided on a return match and I suggested we try somewhere with softer seats, and so we settled on the Comfort Inn at Antrim for our return meet-up during the final days of the Christmas season.  As I waited for Dave to arrive I watched the the dismantling of the Christmas tree from the foyer.

Again we drank coffee and chatted and the idea of an open blogger meet-up was bandied about. Where and when to have it, how to advertise it etc. were all thoughts discussed.  Since we were rather comfortable where we were sitting, that solved one problem, next up was the date, time and to let people know.

So the plan is:

To meet for a coffee, and or a meal with plenty of chat (you are welcome to try all three!) here:

The Comfort Inn, 20 Dunsilly Road, Antrim

13 February 2009 at 19:00

Dave has all the info on Facebook and I see that Nelly, Hannah & Ciaran have their names down already.  Phil is hoping to coax Davy to load up his bus with the Belfast gang… sure you know you don’t want to miss it!

Any southern bloggers in our neck of the woods that evening?  You would be very welcome.

Why I am not lonely

Ramana Rajgopaul from Ramana’s Musings, has recently taken to reading and commenting on my blog posts.  I had tip-toed through his musings on many an occasion since I discovered him at Paddy Bloggit’s.  Ramana lives in Pune, India, with his wife, son and father. A multi-generational family.

In a recent post: The Empty Nest Syndrome. Ramana spoke about how he and his wife Urmeela went through the empty nest syndrome on three separate occasions. I found this surprising since they like me, he has only one child.  I realise that in India, adult children living with parents and grand parents is still quite prevalent and family ties are very strong.

No matter where you live or how many children you have; love, energy, time, heart ache, pride, and worry all go into the caring and nurturing of each individual child. The best gift we can hope to give any child is to raise them with love and self worth, teach them to have respect both for themselves and for their fellow man, while also teaching them to stand on their own two feet independently of their parents.  If we achieve that then all the time invested is worthwhile.

It is a nice feeling to have my daughter home when she WANTS to be here and wants to spend time with me rather than because she NEEDS to be, or worse still because I NEED her to be here with me.

I commented on Ramana’s post thus:

I try not to think about empty nests.
My mother died in 1996 at the age of 82, it was ten weeks after a stroke. Since she lived over 100 miles away from me I had problems spending time with her. My husband was ill with cancer at the time. Six weeks after my mother’s death my daughter (one and only) left home for University in Scotland and her dad died a year and a half later.
My home has been quiet since then; it feels like the heart has gone out of it. My daughter visits when ever she can but she has a husband of her own now, a job and home to run. I have been known to say ‘I gave her life and not a life sentence of caring for me!’
I am not a lonely person and make the best of whatever life throws my way. With the internet and blogging the outside world comes in to me. I am so fortunate.

Ramana replied:

@Grannymar, That is a very poignant comment. I wonder if you could consider expanding your last paragraph in one of your posts. I too differentiate between loneliness and solitude. I look forward to every possible occasion when I can have some solitude. I too use the internet and blogging to connect with the outside world.

‘I am not a lonely person and make the best of whatever life throws my way. With the internet and blogging the outside world comes in to me. I am so fortunate.

There were four people already living in the house when I first showed my face to the world.  My father, mother and two older brothers, within two years we were six and numbers increased until we were eight in total.  Added to this was a multitude of relations that covered several generations from both sides of the family who came for rest or recuperation.  My mother was a Master Caregiver.  This care she gave to everyone without stinting or the help of my father.  He saw his role in life as the breadwinner, and once he produced the money to pay for food, clothing and household bills then he was free to rest and read.

We children provided help and there was always plenty to do.  Reading and resting were not in my lexicon back then.  With so many people in the house and visitors coming and going, it was difficult to find a quiet spot for reflection.  I often longed to have a place of my own with no interruption.

My move to Germany in the early 70’s gave me that space and I loved coming home to a quiet apartment where I could hear myself think and not fall over half a dozen pair’s of feet every time I entered a room.  I really grew during that time.  I learned to really budget with nobody to borrow from when funds were low.  We had no mobile phones or PCs then and a letter took nearly five days to reach home.  If I had a problem I had to find my own way to deal with it.  I worked with and learned from people of many different cultures, creeds and languages.

When I returned home to live in Ireland, three of my brothers were married and living in homes of their own.  The house was a little quieter and I had time to rebuild a social life and travel.  After a few years I met Jack and we married within the year.  My move to Co Antrim was not easy.  It was the height of the troubles and I was a ‘stranger’ moving into this town!  The natives were very wary of me and my southern accent. It was more difficult to make friends.  I way young and in love and made the best of my life.  I have outlived the people who were horrible to me and eventually make some friends.

My health issues of the past six years prevent me from working. There are times when I am unable to go out or feel at risk both to myself and to others driving my car, on such days the Internet and blogging are my salvation.  The world comes in to me! Blogging has allowed me to meet virtually and personally the most amazing group of diverse people of all ages & persuasions stretched across the globe.

Did you know you were good for my health?

Handy Hints for Wednesday ~ 12

Five more handy hints for you today:

Buying Brillo Pads? Take a pair of scissors and cut each pad in half. It is much more economical, the box of Brillo pads will last twice as long!

Spray a little perfume on the light bulb in any room to create a lovely light scent when the light is turned on.

We have all done it at some time – sealed an envelope only to discover we have left something out – Put it in the freezer for a few hours, then slide a knife under the flap. The envelope can then be resealed once you remember to add the forgotten item.

Spray your storage boxes for the freezer with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces and there won’t be any stains.

Too tired to party? Drop a green tea bag and a pinch of sage leaves into a cup of hot water.  Let them brew for a few minutes, then drink.

Modern Living

Back in my young days… we raced home from school and once we were through the front door three things happened.

  • The aroma of Mammy’s cooking set the taste buds to overdrive.
  • Realisation struck that your bladder needed attention, and as you took the three strides to reach the stairs….
  • You removed your coat and hung it over the knob at the end of the bannister rail before racing up the stairs two steps at a time to the smallest room in the house.  If you were in luck there was no queue.  Alas, some days the door was locked from the inside, so the waiting outside involved dancing steps far better than you ever saw with Riverdance accompanied by many choruses of: ‘Hurry up! Hurry up, I can’t wait!’  Oh the pain, I can feel it now!

I wonder if that was how Irish dancing started?

If mammy was busy or distracted the mound of coats built up at the end of the stairs, but mostly the cry rang out “Hang up your coat properly” and we had to go back upstairs to our rooms with the outdoor stuff.  We did, like most homes back then, have a Hallstand.  It had hooks for coat hangers and for hats.  There was also a little compartment with a hinged lid and for some reason The Royal Liver Assurance books, for the 1d a week policies were kept there.  It was also the home for gloves and wooly hats.

Our home which housed eight of us, had less storage space than your average one or two bed apartment nowadays.  Mind you we had fewer clothes and personal belongings back then.  The beds were on legs so shoes were stored under them.  I was reminded of this the other day when I saw this on the road from Ballymena, near the Battery:

At least it gets rid of the smell!

Yes they are shoes!

Food Monday ~ Carrot, Apple and Coconut Bars

Carrot, Apple and Coconut Bars

Preheat the oven to180°C

4ozs Wholemeal flour/whole-wheat
4ozs plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
6ozs soft butter
6ozs brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 Lemon
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 eating Apple, peeled, cored and grated
3 medium Eggs
4ozs Desiccated Coconut
6ozs grated Carrot

Cream Cheese frosting:
4ozs Cream Cheese
1oz soft Butter
12ozs Icing sugar, sifted
Grated zest of an Orange

Mix the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Cream the butter with the sugar and add the eggs one at a time.  Add the lemon juice and zest and pour into the bowl with the flour, adding the coconut, apple and carrot.  Mix everything together well, and press into a greased 13in X 9in tin.  Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes.  Cool in tin before removing.  Mix all the ingredients for the cream cheese frosting and spread over tray bake before slicing into bars.

A New World of Hope

Yesterday I read a Blog Post that brought tears to my eyes, joy to my heart and hope for humanity.  A journey where amazing diverse people from different nations and persuasions joined together in hope, all because of three little words: YES WE CAN!

To be American, last week, was a privilage.  To be alive to witness the dawn of a new beginning, tough though the journey may be to begin with, but by pulling together and working hand in hand Americans can show the world once more that it is a great nation.  YES YOU CAN!

My hope for the future is that the ripples of positivity will reach these shores.  Ireland is a beautiful place in all corners of the island.  If all the effort spent wasted in gurning (boy can people in Ireland gurn) and blaming the  Governments for all our faults & ills, was put into working for and improving our lot we too could have a country to be proud of.  YES WE CAN!

Who will be our new Obama?  YES YOU CAN!

Now go read A Journey of Hope!

Nancy, you will need two boxes of tissues!

Paddy’s Bidding

I’ve taken up the challenge of another meme from Paddy Bloggit.  He was tagged by Ramana of Ramana’s Musings and he passed it on to his harem.
Steph has managed to complete her list, and I am sure that Baino will not be far behind.  As Queen of ‘the zippy- up yoke in the corner’, I had better get a move on.

  • What is your occupation? Trying to stay alive
  • What colour are your socks right now? Brown
  • What are you listening to right now? The hum of my hard drive
  • Can you drive a stick shift? I can shift a stick and I can drive! 😉  My manual gear car is my life-line.
  • Last person you spoke to on the phone? My daughter Elly
  • Do you like the person who you stole this quiz from / tagged you? Yes, we have become firm friends in the last year and I’d love to meet him in person some day.
  • How old are you today? 61.  62 will arrive with the March hare.
  • Favourite drink? It varies with the time of day, boiled water for breakfast.  Green tea with mint to sip with my lunch, and fresh brewed black Coffee in the afternoon or to follow dinner. On the alcoholic side good wine, a G&T or a G&G and to treat a cough there is nothing better than a Hot Port with honey!  *cough, cough*
  • Favourite sport to watch? I am not really sports minded.  Since so many sports nowadays are money grabbing I find them a total turn off.
  • Pets? Toyboys.
  • Favourite food? A good home cooked meal with friends.
  • What was the last movie you watched? I cannot remember
  • What’s your favourite day of the week? The day I wake up!
  • How do you vent anger? I do some physical work to get it out of my system, as I do with frustration.
  • What was your favourite toy as a child? With five siblings toys were shared.
  • What is your favourite season? I think it has to be spring, with the promise of new life and more daylight,
  • Hugs or kisses? Hugs!  To start and end the day at least!
  • Cherries or Blueberries? I love all fruit.  Cherries, Raspberries and Rhubarb are high on the list.
  • Do you want your friends to do this quiz? I will leave it open for people to choose.
  • Who is the most likely to respond? I am sure several of my commenter’s will try it!
  • Living arrangements? Alas, it seems to be me and the spiders! 🙁
  • When was the last time you cried? Today, but they were tears of laughter!
  • What is on the floor of your closet? We call them wardrobes.  Shoes.
  • Who is the friend you have had the longest that you hope takes this quiz? Not sure I can answer that one.
  • What did you do last NIGHT? Went to bed, a girl needs her beauty sleep! 🙄
  • Favourite smells? Grilled Bacon and freshly brewed coffee..
  • What inspires you? People.
  • What are you afraid of? I gave up being afraid long ago, I see it as a waste of time and energy.
  • Favourite dog breed? Yorkshire Terrier
  • How many states have you lived in? Excitement, euphoria and contentment.
  • Favourite holiday? Denmark and West Cork

Is this what he bought?!

I have a friend who bought a hideaway heaven to house his harem!

He put up some pictures on his blog and it all looks tranquil and inviting!

Now we all know that pictures can be dragged and pulled from many sources on the net to great effect.  I was a little worried because he promised me a room of my own.  My room doesn’t seem to have a bed and I might end up sleeping standing up in a ‘zippy-up yoke’ (quote from Steph) over in a corner.

Today I think I uncovered his real secret……

Those pictures were only to put us off the scent…..

The house he bought is this one!


Today is also Paddy Bloggit’s Birthday.

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

Thursday Special ~ Rose and Barb

Two 90 year old women, Rose and Barbara, had been friends all of their lives.

When it was clear that Rose was dying, Barb visited her every day.  One day Barb said, ‘Rose, we both loved playing women’s softball all our lives, and we played all through High School.  Please do me one favour when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there’s  women’s soft-ball there.’

Rose looked up at Barb from her deathbed and said, ‘Barb, you’ve been my best friend for many years.  If it’s at all possible, I’ll do this favour for you.’

Shortly after that, Rose passed on.

At midnight a few nights later, Barb was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to her, ‘Barb, Barb.’

‘Who is it?’ asked Barb, sitting up suddenly.  ‘Who is it?’

‘Barb — it’s me, Rose.’

‘You’re not Rose.  Rose is dead.’

‘I’m telling you, it’s me, Rose,’ insisted the voice.

‘Rose!  Where are you?’

‘In Heaven,’ replied Rose.  ‘I have some really good news and a little bad news.’
‘Tell me the good news first,’ said Barb.

‘The good news,’ Rose said, ‘is that there’s softball in heaven.  Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too.  Better than that, we’re all young again.  Better still, it’s always springtime, and it never rains or snows.  And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired.’

‘That’s fantastic,’ said Barb.  ‘It’s beyond my wildest dreams!  So what’s the bad news?’

‘You’re pitching Tuesday.’