The first thing that came to mind for II was Intel Inside. The story of Intel is legendary. It’s the heart of information technology. The first commercial microprocessor and the timing and alignment of its launch with the growth in personal computing was a stroke of genius.

Intel stands for INTigrated ELectronics a perfect fit for what the product delivers. However when the founders tried to trade mark the name they found it was already owned by a hotel chain. So convinced where they that the name was a perfect match with their vision that they ended up buying the trade mark.

II of course is widely used as a suffix for Kings and Queens and your more run of the mill aspiring empire builder.


When thinking of a SECOND many will think of our current Queen Elizabeth. The one though that always pops into my mind is Charles II. Not sure why this is because he is not a particularly favorite.

Maybe because he was the come back King! Maybe it’s all down to Nell or maybe just his hairdo!

Do you have a favorite second?

Blessing # 401 – II Chances



The alphabet was a good challenge.

Thanks to yesterday’s AAA an idea came to give the second run through a twist and look for common use of  letters as brands or abbreviations.

This will for sure give the old neurons a very good workout.

Maybe you can join in by thinking of what other possibilities are out there and what came to your mind first for each letter.


For B the first thing I thought of of course was BB in the context of the global mega brand and social media empire Booming Blessings!

That’s a big fib! What came to mind was the ever helpful BB cream.

You guys out there may be scratching your head asking what it is. Ask the ladies near you and they will attest to this being a minor miracle.

It is a moisturizer that combines sun screen and foundation color. The cream is light and general smells divine and the abbreviation stands for what else but Beauty Balm.

Now the guys reading this may have thought of BB Guns those nasty little things that every twelve year old dreams of.

For  some in the UK BB will forever stand for the beloved Boys Brigade.

Young lovers may have hit on the urban dictionary definition of BB as text speak for bébé / baby.


Old lovers may have drifted back to the dance halls and the music of BB King.

Whatever you stumbled on remember one thing……… don’t worry BB happy!

Blessing #391 – Play on Words



Yesterday Aaron was on breakfast shift so he left home at 4:30. Twenty minutes later he called to say that just as he arrived at work smoke puffed out of his car engine and the steering went out. He just managed to get it into the parking lot.

Imagine if it had happened on the winding country road he takes to work in the pitch dark!

He could have been in a bad accident. Fortunately all we had to deal with was a broken down car!

He was even able to do his shift!

While he was working I called around but since it was Sunday all the repair shops including our usual trusted MIDAS was closed so we decided to leave the car at work and hold off on calling the AAA till Monday morning.

Ironically I’d  booked in for a regular service at MIDAS at eight this morning so went there first. They were fully booked today but said to get AAA to bring the car to them and they’d do their best to find out what is wrong with it.

Once my cars service was done we called AAA who were great. First they made sure we were safe and in no immediate danger. They then took our details and said they’d call us when the pick up truck was dispatched and once again when it was within a few minutes of the breakdown.

Aaron and I set off for the hotel and when we got there he introduced me to a lot of his colleagues. They are a very diverse group of people but one thing they have in common is that they all seem fond of Aaron.


Still with a time to kill we decided to do a little shopping at Aaron’s favorite Dollar Tree which is just beside the hotel. I must say that this was eye opening there are so many deals at this store. So we ended up getting quite a haul of goodies!


We probably would have bought a car full of things but we got our call from AAA the pick truck was five minutes away. The mechanic without more than two words got about his work and hooked the car Up. We explained we wanted to take it to our local MIDAS ten miles away. No issues or questions he followed us there.

That is where it remains. We fear the worst. The car is thirteen years old and we’ve resuscitated it twice already. All we can do now is hope the MIDAS touch works once again and that 13 will be lucky not just for some but for AA himself!

Blessing #390 – Time Out Together

BOOM – Z is for Zeaxanthin


In 2001 we moved to China to be part of the start up team for a new Research and Development Center.

One of the goals of the center was to look at applications of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the development of new foods and beverage with specific health benefits.

This was really a great experience as well as a good challenge and often lots of fun too.


We got to  meet many practitioners of TCM who would assess our Ying and Yang and predict what most likely were the strengths and weakness in our bodies. They were generally spot on in their diagnosis.

We tried out many hundreds of ingredients some of which had rather special tastes and aromas!

We hoped to identify the most promising for western applications by matching the traditions with modern clinical studies. For example we know ginger has been used for centuries for it’s benefits on digestion. Today clinical trials have “proved” it works.


One of the most prized and promising traditional ingredients we came across was the Goji Berry. This is an absolutely beautiful plant. The color is a deep orange contrasting with the deep green of the leaf.

Generally the berries are dried and are used in soups, teas and porridge’s. They have been used traditionally for thousands of years to protect the body and keep the skin and eyes healthy.


Within the past fifty years or so chemical analysis showed them to be one of the richest sources ever found of certain carotenoids including Lutein and its isomer Zeaxanthin.

After all this rambling, here comes the punch line! Guess what was discovered only quite recently in fact just around the millennium? The retina of the eye selectively stocks these two compounds.

They help protect the eye from the oxidative damage light imparts. There may even be a special component that pulls them out of the blood stream just for this purpose of stocking them up in the eye.

People suffering from conditions such as macular degeneration that can cause blindness are now regularly recommended to take supplements rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin!

Just an example that shows that it pays to listen to the wisdom of the ages!

Blessing # 389– Sages and Science

BOOM – X is for X-ray


Only 0.02% of words start with X. So the scope on this selection was somewhat limited as the meaning of many of these words was unknown to me.


The one that came to mind first was Xylophone.

This is the first instrument most of us touch and is a staple of the nursery school. Maybe, like me, Santa even gave you one to torment people with!


Other options for today could have been Xenophile. With all our ethnicities this would have been a good choice for our household. We clearly love a bit of mixing of cultures! Nothing like a good curried egg foo yung with a dollop of HP sauce!

In the end though it had to be the XRay in honor of my bestie Phyllis who is a radiographer.


What a gift to the world the discover of Wilhelm Röntgen has been. We all know and appreciate the critical role X-Rays play in medical and dental diagnostics and of course in treatments too.

They are also used in many other industries. For example in detecting metallic contamination in food ingredients or testing the integrity of seals.

In years gone by we were less conscious of the need to treat X-Rays with respect.

Who remembers having the fit of their shoes tested in one of those goofy old machines?

In the early sixties my Dad took me to town every Saturday morning and almost every week I’d have him take me to Robb’s Department Store just to take a peak at my pinkies.

We’ve come a long way since then and with the likes of Chandra’s X-ray Observatory can now view the universe in almost as much detail as we can our tooth or toe.

All this because a very thoughtful man saw the potential in an accident that turned out to be the emission of a little ray by the tiniest of things, a free electron!

Blessing # 387 –  Brilliance



BOOM – W is for Work


After our afternoon fun at the pool yesterday we came home and had a nap.

We were preparing for the fireworks that were set to start at 10:00. More fun!

At 6:45 Aaron had no sooner fixed with his girlfriend that we’d pick her up at 8:30 than his phone rang.

It was the manager of the hotel where he works. The night shift lead had called off sick and they needed Aaron to come in.

What to do? She was in a difficult position so he said yes. He went and spent a few hours with his girlfriend and then came home and got ready for work.

Of course this is bitter sweet because he missed out on the fireworks but it’s good too that he has developed a good work ethic.

His Dad and I both think this is very important but we want to balance this by underlining that work isn’t everything.

It is quite a tight rope to walk.

How do you do this?


Earlier in the week I’d cut some wild flowers growing along the side of the road. They are truly beautiful. The colors just seem to be made for each other. They grew without any help from any person.

Makes you think of the message of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke.


What do you make of this?


I gotta think Jesus would be happy to see Aaron out for the count after his breakfast clothed in the blanket of a good nights work!

Blessing# 386 – Work & Play

BOOM – V is for Vegan


Today we had a lovely celebration at the pool. After a very misty start to Independence Day the sun came out in all its glory just in time for the party.

There were games for the kids and a big bouncy castle and of course there was food, food and more food.


All the usual fare you’d expect for the Fourth of July was offered. Beef burgers, hotdogs, potato salad, chicken tenders, brownies, cookies, salad and seasonal fresh fruit.

There were new vegan options too and these were delicious.

The black bean burger was spicy and juicy and Dad and I tucked into it with relish. Aaron hesitated because it was spicy! He didn’t hesitate on anything else!!!


The Black Bean Burger was top class it was grilled great and was true to its origin clearly BEANs not something pretending to be beef.

Just goes to show how things have changed. There are more and more people who are vegan or who eat vegan once or twice a week. The tipping point has been reached so now this means vegan dishes are widely available even at a good old American cook out!

Who knows what’s next Home Home on the Range maybe a dressing that isn’t called Ranch!

Blessing # 385 – Tasty Options

BOOM – U is for Ulster


Ireland is made up of four provinces Ulster, Munster , Leinster and Connacht.

Ulster is divided into nine counties three of which are in the Republic of Ireland and six make up the entirety of Northern Ireland.

So Ulster is a complex little spot.

Originally like the rest of Ireland it was ruled by the Gaelic Chieftans notably the O’Neils and Maguires who resisted the English protestant claim to Ireland. This resulted in war and eventually the « Earls » as they were known were forced to flee their homeland.

To stabilize the province the English monarchy sent Protestant from Scotland to Ulster. They provided these migrants with incentives to move. This was known as the Plantation of Ireland and many of us from Ulster have ancestors who came from Scotland.

These same people eventually became victims of their religion. Many were Presbyterian. Following the example of John Knox They resisted the hierarchy and pomp of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church that derived from it. Eventually they were forced to move again. This time to American the new land of opportunity.

These Ulster Scots had a very significant impact on the future of the new land. They fought for freedom and no less than seventeen of the Presidents of the nation can claim Ulster Scots heritage.


The Ulster American Folk Park near Omagh in County Tyrone chronicles the stories of many of these Presidential families and is well worth a visit. It’s a place that we love to go to and there is always something new to learn.


The ancestry of the Presidents is well covered and many of you may already know all of the above but have you heard of Charles Thompson? He was born in Ulster near the city of Londonderry. As a ten year he took the boat to the new land. On the way his father died.

Can you imagine the trauma of that? Well the same Charles went on to great things including being the person in whose hand the original Declaration of Independence was written!

He would have been busy then this time 243 years ago!

Blessing # 384 – Roots

BOOM – T is for Tropical


Today at the pool there was a young lady beside me who was slathering on the suntan lotion.

It was that delicious coconut smelling Hawaiian Tropic. What memories that smell evokes.

The first time I encountered it was July 1976 in Rimini Italy. I’d gone there for two weeks on a charter holiday with my bestie Carol. We met another girl there called Alison who quickly became another dear friend. Alison had this special lotion while Carol and I had the standard Ambre Solaire.

Carol being very fair had to stay out of the sun most of the day as she gets prickly heat and burns. Alison and I however were coating ourselves in oil to get as crispy as possible.

Those lovely smells of coconut and vanilla are now captured in scented candles along with other dreamy odors that take you to the tropics like mango and pineapple.


There are some other tanning memorabilia that didn’t smell quite so sweet. Who remembers the original instant tanning lotions? Man they were so stinky.

I remember so well when I was about fourteen thinking I’d give one a go over a weekend. Always ready to jump in with both feet and never one to stick to instructions I rubbed in a whole tube.


Trust me the resulting color closely resembled that of an orangutan. At school on Monday I was the laughing stock of the class even one of our strictest and most stern teachers cracked up laughing. Worst of all it look as though I’d use a ruler to apply it as it ran in a perfect straight line down my arm!

Times change but fortunately for now while tans fade memories still remain.

Blessing # 383 – Going Golden

BOOM – S is for Shelving

You know the saying « Putting the cart before the horse » well that’s just what I did yesterday.

Earlier in the month the owner of the Antique Mall had offered the option of upgrading to any of three bigger spaces on July first.

So after some hesitation yesterday Krishna and paid yet another visit to the Mall and decided we’d plunge for one of the spaces.

We also saw some nice shelving for sale by another dealer and decided we’d get that for the bigger space. So we bought that before confirming the big booths were still available.

YES! You got it they had all been snapped up. Well that’s good news because it means the mall is popular but now we have two big cases and only a little space.

All night I pondered the permutations of how we could fit these in. Something had to give but what would it be?

So this morning we all set of to move the shelves and squeeze them in. Thankfully Aaron is on night shift so we had a bit of muscle to help.

We wiggled and squiggled and tried one way and another. Finally with the help of the dealer beside we were able to squeeze those big boys in. Everyone is so helpful it really is a lovely community.

Talk about making it by the skin of your teeth well we did it!

The lads cleaned and set up the shelves and then at my request headed home so I could have fun arranging and rearranging each item my way.

It took a while but in the end all looked good and some recent new purchases found their place in the space. Hopefully they won’t stay too long.


I even had a visit from a few friends which was cool so too was my next stop. An hour in the water

Blessing # 382 – Cool Pool


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