Monthly Archives: February 2010

Step up to the Plate

As the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver draw to a close today and we are fired up with the amazing stamina, skill and talent of the participants, I share a story that came to me the other day by email:

Two Choices

What would you do?….you make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fund-raising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.  Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.  Where is the natural order of things in my son?’

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart.  The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.  The game would now be over.  The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates.  Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first!  Run to first!’

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.  He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.  By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!  Shay, run to third!’

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team ‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.

The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you’re thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you’re probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren’t the ‘appropriate’ ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference.

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’
So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:

Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them.

You now have two choices:

1. Delete
2. Forward

May your day, be a Shay Day.


With thanks to Carol for this story.  When you have time you can watch Wayne Dyer tell the story at the end of this clip from section 9 of his presentation of ‘The Power of Intention’

A Little Niggle

When I first embraced blogging, I had a Blogger Blog.  After a year or so I was moved over to WordPress and a have stayed with them since then.  My old posts were relocated to the new base and anyone who landed on an old early post link found themselves redirected here to Grannymar.  I happily continued to post and visit my usual round of favourites leaving comments when I felt the urge.

Life was sweet.

In recent months I have noticed a change.

When I visit Blogger Blogs these days a large proportion of them have re-introduced moderation of their comments.  So now when you post a comment there is no indication that it is the first response, or dumped in an in-tray with a million others.

That is not the reason for my frustration.

My annoyance comes from the actual effort in leaving a comment on a Blogger Blog.  Particularly when faced with this:

I have added my words of wisdom thoughts and want to submit or hit publish but how?

The Open ID option does not work for me so I am forced to use the Google Account!  It worked fine for a while but recently I have found it annoying.  Particularly when somebody uses that link to come back to my blog.  They are landing on the ‘oldBones’ my old Blogger blog! I know because a recent visitor* left a comment on that old blog, thankfully I was notified by email.

There is an answer…..

This version gives another option:- Name/URL

It allows me to use my Blog name and my URL (blog address).  Simple!

Did you know I have a pet hate?  Using a captcha.  Sometimes I type exactly what I see.  Honestly.  I am usually sober when I type…. uoy should ees what ti is elik when I ma tispy! 🙄

Now there was one evening….  I finished my dinner and refilled my glass to enjoy while surfing the blogs….  There was this captcha to fill in.  It was refused, so I tried again.  And again…. and again!  No! it was not the fault of the wine, that was a very nice bottle given to me by a friend.

The captcha didn’t like me so I sought help.   I clicked on the symbol

Well it is there for a reason and I needed help!

Dear Lord of demented Corncrake choirs! What in hell was going on?  My living room sounded like I had been invaded by 7 coachs of Japanese tourists who found an ancient mummy!   OK1  OK!  I know I am ancient but Elly will tell you that she was warned at age 10 never to call me ‘mummy’ at the risk of being disowned!

No matter what I did the noise continued, asking for help was dangerous and telling them to be quiet didn’t work, hitting the escape button didn’t work,  Elly & George were out on the town so no help there.  In my panic I forgot Twitter.  I went for the total desperation option and did a hard shutdown.  I went off to read a book instead.   Yes, Ramana, I do actually have a book or three! 😉

I thought about it during the dark hours of wakefulness.  What did I do before the noise started?  I retraced my steps in my mind and decided that I should have hit the disabled logo to close off the sound.  It works.

When Nurse Hitler was nagging me one day – you remember her – I clicked that sign and she shut up PRONTO!  I don’t think she ever tried it before!  Her face was a picture and I got two choccie bikkies with my coffee!

* Well worth reading this linked post.

In a Pickle

Some of the following Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Gaelikaa, Ginger, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria, Ramana and I, all part of the Loose Blogging consortium will dip into our pasts to share once more our thoughts or deeds on the topic for the week, chosen today by Gaelikaa

The Wildest Thing I Did in my Youth

When does Youth begin or end?  ‘One can be old at an early age and young at a late age’, this is a phrase I learned from Ian.  I sometimes think I missed ‘youth’ on the first time round, but these days I feel younger than I did forty years ago!

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood,
But the second one is up to you and no one else.

If it is up to me, I intend making the most of every moment of this second childhood.  My youth began about five years ago!  It did.  Really.  I am telling you, because I decided it did!  So let me think…. Ah!  I remember.


No Nancy!  Not with vinegar, that is for beetroot!

It was a couple of years ago now, and I was a raw youth remember.  I had a date.  There were would be Toyboys – PLENTY OF TOYBOYS!  I would have competition. Nimble nubile little beauties…

I needed all the help I could get.

It was the month of February filled with endless dreary bleak days and there was no sign of Spring.  Alas I spent most of the time indoors.  Indoors makes for pale people and ‘pale’ is certainly not my colour. I was becoming as grey as the weather and overtaken by Gerty Gloom!  A week in the sun was what I needed but it was out of the question, so I would have to find another way….. The mirror taunted on a daily basis and after a lengthy debate of at least five minutes, my pride took over demanding that drastic measures be taken.

An appointment was quickly made at my local beauty salon. It had worked for Elly & George’s wedding the previous year, everyone remarked that day about how well I looked, so why not just repeat the performance once more!  I had it all worked out, easy peasy…. a couple of hours and I would be the Belle of the Ball!

Stage 1 was to have the now greying eyebrows and eyelashes dyed to add definition and once all was dry I went to the spray paint shop for Stage 2. My instructions were clear and simple: I wanted a healthy glow and not to look like I was marinated in carrot and orange juice for a month! The beautician seemed quite efficient and worked in a steady way around my body.  It looked a little darker than I intended, but that was probably my eyes playing tricks since I was so pale before she began.

The colour seemed to become stronger as it settled and by morning I was certainly not anaemic! The beautician must have been distracted or misheard my message, because after thirty years living in Northern Ireland I had become an Orange Woman! 😉

Holy mother of the the vestal virgins, what on earth was I going to do?

“Shower”! I shouted.  I have no notion why I was shouting since I was the only person in the house.

I scrubbed, I rinsed and I scrubbed again, to no avail.  Even my salty tears had no effect.  I was contemplating taking the veil.  I was desperate!

Having arranged to meet Elly by lunchtime I decided to set out and she would come up with a solution for me. Little did I realise how punny and funny that would turn out to be!

The eyelashes were the correct colour but alas the eyebrows looked as if they were painted with an inch wide brush and the colour was completely wrong for me. If I was no picture to look at, then Elly’s face sure made up for it! “OMG! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU MUM?” replaced the usual excited welcome and hug.

While I sipped coffee frantic calls were made to Elly’s good friend Ena at Isis Beauty Salon, and appointments were juggled about to accommodate me. Ena set to work and sorted the eyebrows.  Using alcohol soaked pads she gently started to rub my face. “Yes its working”, squealed Elly, and I am not sure if it was encouragement for Ena or to appease me. Since I was lying down with my eyes closed I had no idea if I was now striped like a Zebra or spotted like a Leopard!

“VODKA!” said Ena. “Buy some on the way home and use it to bleach the skin”

We did!  And within the hour I was stripped, dipped, and went a step further than Cleopatra!’  She bathed in Asses’ milk, but Grannymar bathed in Vodka!

It worked and I did go to the Ball

Once I entered the Alexander Hotel the Toyboys were surrounding me and falling to their knees.  We had fun, we had laughter and met amazingly talented people, it was an honour to be there and the memories will linger for many a long year!

Late in the evening I was interviewed by Conn Ó Muíneacháin!  We finished with the story of the young gentleman who earlier shook my hand and told me I made his night, (now you don’t expect me to name him here, do you?). I told Conn that it was many a long year since I made any man’s night! With that his tape ran out and it was time for Cinderella to return to the ashes.

Thursday Special ~ Old

Your sweetie says, ‘Let’s go upstairs And make love,’ and you answer, ‘Pick one; I can’t do both!’

Your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes And you’re barefoot.

Going bra-less pulls all the wrinkles out of your face.

You don’t care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don’t have to go along.

You are cautioned to slow down by the doctor instead of by the police .

‘Getting a little action’ means you don’t need to take any fiber today.

‘Getting lucky’ means you find your car in the parking lot.

An ‘all nighter’ means not getting up to use the bathroom.


You are not sure if these are facts or jokes?





Thank you Hywel for this weeks contribution.

Art with My Needle ~ Week 27

BLACKWORK is usually described as counted thread stitching worked in black thread on a white or natural background of evenweave fabric.  Part of the fascination of blackwotk is forming repeating patterns with varying density.  Before beginning any stitching it is a good idea to sketch out various patterns on graph paper filling some of them in.  You might prefer to have greater density of stitches at the bottom, in the middle or around the edges of an area of pattern.

Inspiration for blackwork  design can be found in tiles, wrought iron gates and railings, old manuscripts and even from nature such as winter bare branches or skeletal leaves.

For my sample below I used newsprint cut in diamond shapes and the density of the print dictated the stitches used for each section.

Oops!  Wrong side that is the back! 😉

Now the experts will tell you that I don’t have the balance right in this piece, but it will give you an idea of the effect and the stitches used.

The main stitches used in counted thread blackwork are:

  • backstitch
  • buttonhole
  • chain
  • coral
  • double running
  • Holbein
  • Pekinese

Whenever possible, try to bring the thread from the back to the front of the work through an empty or unstitched hole of fabric and down through a filled one that has already been worked.  This should prevent the embroidery threads splitting which tends to result in messy definition between one stitch and another.  A blunt tapestry needle is best and the work can be worked in an embroidery ring or hand held.

Strutting her stuff

Last Wednesday was the appointed day and we arrived in good time joining in line with the others waiting to perform.

A shuttered door was raised and the lights changed from red to green when it was time to enter.  It was a large warehouse type building with modern computerised equipment to record details and speed up the process.

Our turn came and we moved forward until a raised hand told us to stop.  Opening the window I handed over the paperwork.

At this stage there were two toyboys playing with my pride and joy.  One worked from the rear connecting a hose, while I played twenty questions – avec des actions – with the other. Once the lights – side, dipped and full beam, break, fog & hazards and the indicators, all shone, blinked or flashed to prove they could, it was inside to check that all five seat belts  closed, opened and showed no signs of wear.  Before closing the last passenger door I was asked to pull the leaver to open the bonnet and then the engine was examined in detail.

Once satisfied that all was in order under the bonnet I was invited to vacate the car and sit on the cold hard seats behind protective rails.

The vehicle tester then drove to stage two where first the front wheels and then the back two are dropped into the bone shaker (my name for it), I wonder if it is to find out if any parts are ready to fall off? 🙄   Nothing fell on the ground, not even the fifty pence piece I lost in the car last week. 😀

Then it was on to greater heights:

Slow down there Mister, or I will hit the roof, never mind my little treasure!

So Mister tester stepped in under my car with a powerful torch light and a screwdriver to poke and prod every inch of the under surface, the axles and the inside of my wheels.  Once he was satisfied the car was lowered halfway until the wheel arches were at eye level to the examiner.  The front wheels were turned and again the bright light and screwdriver were employed in checking everything out.  The back wheel arches were given their check over too and then the car was lowered to ground level.

Once a few buttons were punched and the details compiled, I was waved forward from my pen.  The guy had a little piece of paper in his waving hand.   Good sign!

Yes!  My little treasure passed with flying colours for another year.

“Nice little car you have there!” said the guy as he handed me the certificate.

I was one happy bunny, although frozen, as I tootled back home.  It was dark, but dry, unlike the route from Carrickfergus.  Another lady who joined me in the waiting area, said it was snowing as she drove over to the test centre.

It was 7pm when I reached home and turned the key in my door, the blast of heat was very welcome and I was ready for a warming dinner!

Food Monday ~ ǝʞɐɔ uʍop ǝpısdn ɹɐǝd & ɹǝƃuıƃ

I bet that made you sit up on a Monday morning! 😆  It is a long time since I tried ƃuıʇıɹʍ ǝpısdn uʍop!  Right settle down now and I will give you our recipe for today:

Ginger and Pear upside down Cake.
Preheat the oven to 180°C

150g butter
150g light soft brown sugar
2 pieces of preserved stem ginger in syrup, chopped
400g can of Pears, drained
125g Self-raising flour (cake flour)
1 level teaspoon baking powder
2 level teaspoons of ground ginger
1 level teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

lightly grease and line a 20cm round cake tin

Mix 25g of the butter with 25g sugar and spread in the base of the tin.  Scatter over ¼ of the chopped stem ginger and then place the pear halves cut side down on top.  Put the flour, baking powder and spices in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to blend (it beats sifting), then add the remaining butter, sugar, stem ginger and eggs and process until well mixed.  Turn into the cake tin and try not to move the pears and level the top.  Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top springs back.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then invert on to a serving plate.
Serve warm with cream or leave to cool completly and slice.

I love the aroma of this when it is cooking.

Do you think it would work with apricots and ground almonds??

Are you Busy?

Would you like something to read?

How about 1074 Blogs all from Ireland.

You read that correctly.  There are 1074 2010 Irish Blog Awards Nominations, as Damien says “These are raw nomination lists with spam/junk nominations and some dead blogs removed. Yes we know some blogs in categories do not fit the category but this is what the general public has submitted”.

The Irish Blog Awards do not happen out of the blue, they happen because of the dedicated work and time given over many months by Damien Mulley and his team.  They are not Glitzy affairs where you buy your way in.  The whole process is voluntary, it depends on Sponsorship and in these difficult times finding sponsors for the twenty one categories and an overall winners prize is no mean task.  Without those Sponsors the whole event would not happen, so we owe special thanks to those who stepped up to the plate with the Geld!




Best Popculture blog


Best Food/Drink Blog

Bord Bia


Best Beauty/Fashion Blog



Best Music Blog



Best Photo Blog


Best Technology Blog/Blogger



Best Sport & Recreation Blog


Best Blog of a Business


Best Arts and Culture Blog

Poetry Ireland


Best Blog from a Journalist



Best News/Current Affairs Blog



Best Group Blog

Red Fly Marketing


Best Political Blog

Digital Revolutionaries


Best Blog of a Politician



Use of the Irish Language in a Blog

Edgecast Media


Best Specialist Blog

iQ Content


Best Newcomer


Best Youth Blog


Best Personal Blog *

Microsoft Ireland’s Developer and Platform Group


Best Humour Blog *



Best Blog Post

KRO IT Solutions


Judging will begin early next week. Congratulations to all the nominees and a special thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate so many blogs, it makes for a very interesting time.  It is wonderful to see new blood on the block plenty of fresh talent to read and watch both now and in the months to come.  They deserve your support.

Every blog will be judged in round 1, then those who make it through to a second round and have nominations for more than one category will be asked to choose which one they wish to go forward for judging.  The final shortlisted names will be published closer to the event and category winners will be announced on the night of the Blog Awards. There is no public vote.

Actively blogging means the blog was in use at points between the date stamps mentioned.  I think that was from May to December 2009, but I stand to be corrected if that is not so.

Elly, George and I will be heading to Galway early in order not to miss out on the fun.  No doubt there will be a photo walk,  The guys will need time to spruce themselves up (or is that prop up the bar for an hour) while we ladies gather for the The Ladies’ Tea Party 2010 organised by Sabrina Dent.   This will be the third event of this kind and so popular that we had toyboys gate-crashing last year, but worry not I soon had them on their knees…

Thanks to sponsorship the  L’Onglex Ladies Tea Party will be held in the g hotel. The date is 27 March from 4 – 7 PM, this year’s event will include food, drink, tea, cakes and even gift bags and a DIY Nail Bar!   So are you listening Peter and Ben?  If you call in this year I will insist that you nails, both fingers and toes will be painted Bright red! Alas there are only 40 places but my place is booked and also Elly’s, so if you want to be counted in the other 38 get your skates on sharpish!

Oh!  Now I am all excited about going to Galway, I wonder what will I wear?

*Thank you to whoever nominated me, I am up against some very strong competition: There are 118 nominations for Best Personal Blog and 52 in Best Humour Blog.  If I happen to make the cut I shall have to make the decision of which one to cull.  The full list of Nominees is available on the Nominations link above.

Good luck to all!

Do you have a daughter?

God’s cake…

Sometimes we wonder, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ or ‘Why did God have to do this to me?’ Here is a wonderful explanation!

A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she’s failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, ‘Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.’

‘Here, have some cooking oil,’ her Mother offers.

‘Yuck’ says her daughter.

‘How about a couple raw eggs?’

‘Gross, Mom!’

‘Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?’

‘Mom, those are all yucky!’

To which the mother replies: ‘Yes , all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! ‘God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

This wonderful lesson came to me in an email from Corky Hake.  I wish I had known about it when Elly was young.