Monthly Archives: April 2009


Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people’s business.  Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member of the church, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.  She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny… He said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house.  He walked home……And left it there all night!!!

You gotta love Frank…….

An old one, but a good one.  Did you send it to me?

Handy Hints for Wednesday ~ 25

Recently while shopping browsing looking (with money and cards buried deep in my pocket) around a rather elegant ladies clothing shop, a blast from the past accosted my nostrils. Something I associated with the next door neighbour from my childhood days. It was the smell of mothballs. A lady of a certain age had passed close by me. Her outfit was elegant, expensive and very high fashion. Alas the mothballs had killed the whole effect. PERMANENTLY!

Moths are beginning to make an appearance once more, so what can we do?

The best method to keep the moths away is to keep worn clothes and freshly laundered clothes in separate wardrobes/closets. Save and dry slivers of used soap bars & tie them in tiny net drawstring bags and hang them alongside your clothes. Now, not only will the moths stay away but your clothes will also smell nice.

For those without a garden who need to buy fresh herbs, wrap any leftovers in a slightly damp kitchen towel and place them in a plastic zip lock bag or cover with food wrap and store in the refrigerator to keep them for a few days.

Another tip from Judy that I tested over the last week.

Put any musty smelling old books into a brown paper bag with baking soda in it, close tightly, and let sit for approximately one week.

The next time your mascara runs dry, don’t toss it out. The brush is the perfect size for cleaning small nooks and crannies. Shampoo the bristles and allow them to dry – and get to work!

With all this talk of flu

If you have a sore throat you can soothe a throat by using a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle the solution, and then swallow. You can also add a touch of honey if you don’t like the taste.


Lily wrote about words in hard covers, Alexia talked about words in mac-wearing hardbacks, and Tommy told us of his love for crafting words.  Now it is my turn

I love words, but….

It takes me a month of Sundays to read a paragraph and two months of Sundays to write one.  The words misbehave and jump up and down the page like a naughty schoolboy.  Words with more letters than I have fingers are impossible for me to read, say or understand.  I need silence and no interruption when reading something important,

I do read books, but it can take 12 months for me to finish one, if you don’t believe me just ask Elly.

When I was young all words were committed to paper with an ink pen.  Misspelling and ink blots were there for eternity and enough to intimidate me from writing for life.  Ink blots always happened near the end of the page and if the letter or exercise was important it had to be discarded and begun all over again on a new page.  The memory of an Aunt who returned childish letters and envelopes with red correction marks on them many months after they were posted had the totally opposite effect to that which she intended.  To this day I fear a blank page.

With my introduction to computers backspacing and spellcheck became my firm friends.  No more smudges or blotches to mar my work.  The chance to make changes and correct major mistakes and move sentences or paragraphs to a more suitable place was worth more than any Lottery prize.

There are many well educated Bloggers out there whose work I look forward to and enjoy, while there are others who write in such a complicated way that I have no hope of ever understanding the message they wish to convey.  There is room for everyone and no obligation to read every blog

I have read blog posts complaining about and almost condemning bad grammar, punctuation and misspelling.  The authors never seem to realise how hurtful such a post can be, no allowance is made for the effort or indeed courage it takes for some people to hit that publish button.  Not everyone has reached or is capable of reaching A* grades.  There is room for everyone.

If everyone had a Ph.D, who would empty the bins?  There is room for everyone.

The recent story going the rounds of the Irish Blogworld of 500+ people queuing in Grafton Street, Dublin for a sales assistant vacancy in a Londis convenience store is a wake up call.  I wonder how many people in that queue had completed a university degree.  I am sure they were wishing that There is room for everyone.

UPDATE: Follow up post on this subject at Magpie’s Nest

Food Monday ~ Apple Pie Coffee Cake

Yesterday a promise was fulfilled.  A promise made over breakfast the morning after the night before!  This particular morning followed the Irish Blog Awards in Cork last February.  My breakfast that morning stretched over two hours as a continuous stream of toyboys joined our table.  The craic was mighty as we relived moments from the evening before.

Keith He of the crushing Hugs was actually at the table when I arrived.   Keith and I had a discussion about our various diets.  He is a Vogan Vulcan Vegan and embraces a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.  I invited him to share a recipe for Food Monday.  He has had plenty of time to practice and choose for us.  So today I give you Keith’s choice:

Apple Pie Coffee Cake
Preheat oven to 350º F

2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt*
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2/3 Cup Canola Oil, or 2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine, softened
2/3 Cup Soymilk + 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or lemon juice)
2 Tbs Cornstarch mixed with 1/2 Cup Water
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 20 to 25 oz Jar Apple Pie Filling
1 Tbs Sugar mixed with 1 tsp Cinnamon, for topping.

*Reduce salt to 1/2 tsp if using Earth Balance.

Combine all the dry ingredients of the cake and mix well. Add all of the liquid ingredients and fold the batter until just combined. The batter should be thick and nearly dough-like, as this will prevent the filling from sinking to the bottom of the pan.

Spread 1/2 of the batter in the bottom of a 9×11″ (or whatever) greased baking dish.  Add apple pie filling evenly over the top. Spoon the rest of the batter over the top in clumps, leaving some of the apple filling showing through.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 80 to 90 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Be sure not to under bake. You may wish to cover the coffee cake with aluminum foil for the last 20-30 minutes to prevent over-browning.

Remove coffee cake from oven and let cool before serving. It’s just as good or better the next day.

Keith tells me that the recipe can be found with many others at Vegan Yum Yum

BarCamp 09

The Cathedral Quarter of Belfast has changed dramatically since I was last there.  New buildings are sprouting like mushrooms and the traffic has changed direction on many streets.  It took me extra time to locate a carpark facing in the direction of home.

Stepping out of the elevator, I turned to the Registration Desk and was greeted with whoops of “Grannymar, you are here!”  What a welcome from three wonderful young people at the desk.

  • The first talk of the day ‘The 7 deadly sins of wordpress’ by –* had just begun as I slipped into a packed room and found a seat.

Next up were:

  • The semi-permeable newsroom
  • OpenStreetMap: Mapping your world by Dermot McNally

Ciarán worked like a whirlwind, yet found time to sit for a coffee & chat.

  • Money for new rope: a changing face for public service media by
  • Paul McEnhill (15 year old school boy) ‘Making photos look good’ Now I need to try and put into action all he told us.


The conversation continued over Pizza in the Foyer

  • Coffee Brewing 101 – Making coffee at home by @grib from Bean and Gone who provided fresh coffee throughout the day.
  • The 5C’s of Digital & Social Media Marketing by  @con_nector  Conor Lynch

Thanks to Property for the coffee beakers

Unfortunately I had to drag myself away early and missed the ‘afters’.  never mind there will be a next time!

The whole event was awesome and was a great job by Andy Mc Millan @goodonpaper

A little message stolen from Twitter:

Last #barcampbelfast tweet of the night – The talks were good, the event was great, but the people were f**king amazing.

Colin Parte @itsabenzbaby needs to apologize to @redmum – for mixing up our names!  My red tresses have long turned to silver, but thanks to Colin I decided I’m not getting old! 🙂

I have not mentioned all the people I chatted to or saw across a crowded room. You don’t really want a list as long as those of a Poling Station in the Indian State of Maharashtra, now do you!  There were after all between 250 and 300 turned up on the day.

* Good wishes go to Lee Munroe as he takes part in the London Marathon today.

A Day Out

BarCamp Belfast is on today at The University of Ulster.

The Belfast campus on York Street is part of the city’s vibrant Cathedral Quarter

With 365 people registered to attend it sounds like a wonderful day in store.  I am really looking forward to catching up with old friends and to meeting some new ones.


While there I hope to find time to explore Water: Symbol, Element, Utility?

An exhibition with over 60 pieces of art all based around the theme of water.. From architects to artists, exhibits range from textiles to photography, sculpture to fine art … and even one piece of performance art.

The ‘Water: Symbol, Element, Utility?’ exhibition is open to the public at the University of Ulster’s Belfast campus until Thursday 30 April in Room 82A02.

When you turn the key in the back door

Tuesday was a busy day and I was away from home for several hours.  My last port of call was the supermarket.  Time to replenish my store cupboard and stock up on dry goods.  Supermarket shopping is very tiring… I handled each and every item SIX times before I even thought of cooking anything.  Think about it!

  1. Put the items in the trolley
  2. Lift onto the conveyor belt
  3. Put back into the trolley
  4. Lift into car
  5. Lift out of car
  6. Pack away in cupboards

By the time all that was done and I had a very late lunch, it was time for a rest.  Feet up for half an hour followed by a tour of the world on the blogs and I was ready to sort out the ironing.  A couple of long distance chats and a phone call or three later and my tummy called for dinner.

Crossing the living floor about 8pm I wondered if I had put the car away.  Stepping out the front door the car was patiently waiting. Tapping my jeans pocket I was happy to pull the door behind me, no need to give any local cats or mice an invitation to investigate inside.

My hand was just about inside my pocket as the door clicked shut.  The bulk in my pocket was from a bundle of clothes pegs and not my keys!  So there was I standing in the garden looking at my car.  The front door was SHUT and all the windows were closed!

Disaster I hear you shriek!

Not at all.  I am well prepared.  I keep a key buried in the garden.  No it is not under the mat, a flowerpot or a stone,  I have no intention of telling the world where it is.  I keep it well protected from the elements and I remember where it is.

So I recovered the spare key and went to the back door.  WHAAAA!  I had the correct key but it would not work.


When you lock the back door from the inside I suggest you then remove the key!

Dangling from the inside were my bunch of keys.

My back door leads out into a north facing garden.  There are a few flagged steps to drop down to the level of the patio.  In winter the frost seldom leaves the garden so I do not open that door for the duration.  Were I to fall in the back garden I would lie there preserved until springtime!  I access the garage and the various bins from the front door.  With the return of the better weather I began to open the back door and use the outdoor line to dry my washing.

On Tuesday when I carried in the dry clothes for ironing, I turned the key and left it hanging from the lock.  Why?  The phone was ringing.  Well you never know it might be a toyboy! 🙄  It was a gentleman and he asked if he could speak to JOE.

Quick as lightening I said “No, I am sorry, you cannot speak to Joe!”

“Why?” asked the caller.

“Because he is in the wardrobe!” I said and hung up quickly.  Come on, when you live alone you need some fun!

So there I was locked out of my house and not a toyboy in sight.  Tobias was sitting inside on the table with pings and dings all over the shop.  The car was unlocked so I sat into it, to gather my thoughts and sort out my options.  There was no car at the house opposite but perhaps one of the young couple would be there.  All I needed was a metal coat hanger.  I knew it would work.  Three years previously it cost me £83 to learn that much.  I had locked myself out once before.  On that occasion I had to call a Locksmith.  That was before I buried the spare key.  I watched closely how he solved the problem, I would never be stuck again.  Well I would not be stuck so long as I had a metal coat hanger.

No joy at the young couples house, they were out for the evening.  Who would I turn to next.  Which household would have a metal clothes hanger.  Which neighbour would help without causing a fuss or add stress to the situation.  Which neighbour would I approach and ask ” Do you have a metal coat hanger, I want it to break into my house?

I made my choice.   This couple were home.  The lady of the house found me a metal hanger.  She called her husband in from the garden shed.  She would not let me go home alone with the metal coat hanger in case I had more problems.  The husband would not let me go home alone with a metal coat hanger because he was curious to know how I would break into my own house.

So I walked back home with another woman’s husband and a metal coat hanger!  This woman’s husband told me he is due to retire at the end of next month.  Retire!  I have just trained him for a new profession 😳

No!  I am not going to tell the whole of the internet how I broke into my own house with a metal coat hanger.  If you want to know, it will cost you £83.

Thursday Special ~ Blonde Emergency Help

A blonde’s car gets a flat tire on the Interstate one day, so she eases it over onto the shoulder of the road.

She carefully steps out of the car, walks around behind it, opens the trunk and takes out two cardboard men. She unfolds them and stands them at the rear of the vehicle facing oncoming traffic. The lifelike cardboard men are in trench coats exposing their nude bodies to all the approaching drivers.

Not surprisingly, the traffic became snarled and backed up.

Before very long, a police car arrives. The patrolman, clearly enraged, approaches the blonde of the disabled vehicle yelling, “What is going on here?”

“My car broke down, Officer,” says the woman, calmly.

“Well, what in the world are those obscene cardboard pictures doing here by the road?” asks the Officer.

“Helllllooooo, those are my emergency flashers!” she replied.

Some emails bring great stories!

Handy Hints for Wednesday ~ 24

Today I begin with an answer to an email request:

Any advice on how to get rid of mice?!

Thankfully I have not had trouble with mice for years.  A brother of mine grills bacon and puts a tiny bit in a trap while it is still warm.  Another friend suggests a tiny slice of Mars Bar.

I am beginning to wonder if I am a mouse since I can’t resist either of the above!

Do you grow Tomatoes?

Well an addition of crushed eggshells will give extra calcium to the soil & help prevent blossom end rot.

Remove the membrane from inside the shell of raw eggs (no need on boiled ones), wash them out well with warm water, and then leave them to air dry. When dry to the touch, put them into a see-through plastic then use the rolling pin to crush them. Once your shells are reduced to pieces as small as grains of salt, it is ready for working into you soil or sprinkling over your compost heap.

Wisewebwoman uses them instead of pebbles at the bottom of flowerpots for drainage and nutrition.

Judy had some suggestions last week that she had not tested, I have and they work.

In a pinch for a long match, use a piece of spaghetti. Just light the end. It’s great for lighting water heater pilot lights, etc. Please be careful as the spaghetti will bend as it heats.

Use glow-in-the-dark paint to dab dots on your light switches and doorknobs. This way you can easily find your way when the lights are off at night.

Oil a metal tape measure with WD-40. It will remove rust and help it slide more easily.

An extra tip this week


When you turn the key in the back door to lock it…. REMOVE the key!

Come back on Friday and I will tell you why! 🙄

Which are you?

Are you a morning or a night person?

As my father made his way into the bathroom each morning when I was a child, he was fond of saying “Give me a man that can sing in the morning!”  I am not sure when this habit started as my father was not a singer.  I think it was his way of saying that he didn’t like grumbling children who were only half awake.

In all my working years I was out of bed and wide awake before 6am each day.  I loved an early journey to work.  The streets were quiet and the people around at that hour were always ready to greet you with a smile.  Later when the day warmed up the folk I passed either kept their heads down or grunted a greeting.  More often than not it was a complaint about the weather being too hot, too cold or too wet!

I grew up in a household where bed before midnight was the norm.  I suppose I did go through a spell when I stretched the boundry to pass the midnight hour.  Now in the autumn of my life bed calls earlier.  Although I am a very bad sleeper I like to climb into a warm bed and stretch out my weary limbs and relax.

Do you wake and sleep easily?  Have you a ritual to start and end the day?  Tell us about it.