BOOM – Booming Blizzard

There has to be a first for everything and early this morning we experienced one.

School had just called at 5:15 am to inform us that we had a snow day. Always a treat when it is midweek and especially good when it is exam day. A certain person breathed a deep sigh of relief!

Dibley took a quick pit stop and dipped his paws in four inches of the fresh white stuff and then we snuggled in for a good lie in.

Just  as we were dosing off there was a massive boom.

It shook the windows and we thought something massive must have crashed or exploded. Was it a train or was it a plane or did a gas line blow. It was a one off and it was powerful.

Later we discovered, when we saw posts from friends, that what we experienced was THUNDERSNOW!

The weird thing about this was that the furry one, who usually goes berserk at the tiniest sign of a storm was as quiet as a lamb.

No way to capture this event in photo so instead a few pics of this seasons snow days.

Blessing # 255 – Freaky First

BOOM – Bottom & Back Burn

Today as Krishna and I were driving into Columbus he was mentioning how much he loves the heated seats in our car. We fondly refer to them as the bum warmers.

The first car we ever had with this feature was a Subaru way back in the 1990s. Since then it has been a key consideration in selecting any vehicle.

The heat comes on fast, much faster than the air fan and especially on really cold days it wraps around you like an electric blanket.

Growing up my Mum was always too worried we’d set the house on fire with electric blankets so we stuck to hot water bottles, or as we called them « jars », instead.

We had a whole ritual around « putting in the jars ». It would start during the commercial break before the nine o’clock news. The kettle would be boiled and the jars filled and put in bed. Mum and Dad had one each but I had two because I was spoiled rotten.

We’d wrap our night clothes around them and then go to watch the news. By the time that was over and we’d have our last cup of tea the beds were nice and toasty.

With today’s central heating jars have become almost obsolete but we still have a few on reserve just in case the power goes out.

We also have the furball who is a good wee heater too but a bit more fidgety than a jar.  Wonder is this one of the reasons cave men took to wolves so well?

Blessing #254 – Creature Comforts

BOOM – Boiled Bites


We’re signed up to provide the snacks tomorrow at our Tuesday Morning Group. All the talk yesterday on the Ulster Oreo made me think it’s about time our friends at the group had a deeper immersion into Ulster delights.

They will be spared the buttered Marie but are going to have one of my Mother’s best, her boiled cake!

Only the Lord knows when she wrote the recipe down and who she got it from. My hunch tells me it was my Auntie Nora but I’m not sure.

Out came the recipe today in all its stained glory. It was lovely to see Mummy’s writing so familiar and enduring. It was also great to think of all the people who got a thick slice of this cake which was, in good Ulste style, smothered in butter.

Not knowing how well this would slip down with the Ohio palette or, if truth be told, how mine would pop out of the cake time, little boiled bits were made instead.


Krishna who was a connaisseur of Moms special said the popper versions were “not bad at all”

Let’s see what the TMGers think!

Blessing # 253 – New Twists on Old Turns

BOOM – Buttered Bickies


A few days ago a friend posted a reminder of a Northern Irish delicacy that few of you may know.

It’s the Ulster Oreo also known as a buttered Marie biscuit. Digestives also work but are not as “light”.

This should never be confused with a buttered scone. That would be way too normal for us! Biscuits are cookies not scones!

Now this delicacy is not the type of delight that you’d serve the Rector but every family eats them.

They are a little salty and a little sweet and very bland so they’re especially good when you haven’t been feeling well and can’t face much.

They are also particularly helpful  to alleviate stress. You can squeeze the butter through the little holes in the biscuit making little butter worms to lick up one by one. Great for students doing revision. So good to help concentration.

All cultures I’m sure have quirky little things they love. What would yours be? Post a pic too if you can.

Blessing #252 – Funny Foods

BOOM – Bimbo Braithwaite

Today is my birthday and it has been a really good day so far.

The alarm clock was left unset so when I woke up it was already 7:45. Just enough time to jump in the shower and speed to Zumba!

On the way back I got us all big jelly donuts and we tucked into them before Aaron left for work.

Krishna and I then went with Dibley for a long ride in the country all the way to Urbana. This was to quench my urge to find a big old house to flip.

Urbana is a lovely city with many wide tree lined streets and mansions. This morning, fueled with the donuts and much too much coffee I found what looked like the home of my dreams.

So being my birthday the boys had to accommodate my urge to see it. From the real estate listing the house looked like something from Gone With The Wind. When we go there let’s say it was the Tara that Scarlett found after the war!

However, just a few doors up from  « Tara » we found another house.

This one looks more like a tropical colonial that you might find on the Malabar Hills of Bombay.


It will be auctioned next Saturday at 10:00 am and there is an open house tomorrow so we’ll be taking another ride through the country.

All this to say that when I was prowling around the Pink Palace who should I encounter but a great big black cat. This reminded me of my bestie Carols childhood cat Bimbo. Just like Bimbo this big guy stared deep into my eyes questioning why I was in his yard!

Some would say this is a bad omen and turn on their heals and run. We Brits and Irish though love the black cat. Nothing could be luckier.

So let’s see what happens next weekend! Oh and one last thing the house number is 216! Now isn’t that something for a girl born February 16?

Blessing # 251 – Urbana Legend!

BOOM – British Brilliance

Aarons passport will expire next month and I was dreading having to go through all the bells and whistles of getting the new one.

Getting a passport anywhere always means some paperwork but when you live outside the country of your citizenship it can be fraught with additional hurdles. Getting photos right and witnessed by someone of your nationality as well as bankers drafts for payment are just some things that we anticipated.

Therefore it is with amazement and much gratitude that we found the British Government have up their game to a point of EXCELLENCE.

The photos can be taken with a cell phone and the payment can be made by card. Everything was done on line in wait for this fifteen little Minutes. This included a quality control of the photo which resulted in Aaron having to drag himself away from the Xbox to have a second one taken.

The whole experience was super!

Blessing # 250 The Joy of Simplicity

BOOM – Bits of a Bishop

Saint Valentine was Italian. Not surprising for one so closely associated with romance and love!

But did you know that Ireland holds a very important place in his story. His remains, or at least some of them, can be found in a Carmelite Shrine in Dublin.

They have been there for two hundred years and were given as a gift to one of Ireland’s great orators a certain Father Spratt!

Having for sure kissed the Blarney Stone, Spratt brought the Bishops bits back to the homeland and since then those seeking love have paid them a visit.

This may explain why Saint Valentines Day is treated with such humor in Ireland. Not really the worlds most romantic date visiting a box of bones!

So as soon as they can put pen to paper Irish youngsters write cards full of funny rhymes and jokes to their school mates. The more messages in the card the greater the degree of affection! The one that sticks most in my mind runs like this

Your teeth, just like the stars shine bright! Especially in their cup at night!

If that’s too radical, here’s another  one to share with you better  half!


Blessing #249 – Love a Laugh

BOOM – Breakfast at Bobs

Do you eat the same breakfast ever day? Many people do and I’m one of them.

We’d probably complain if we ate the same dinner ever night but there is something comforting about not having to think first thing in the morning and being able to just run on automatic pilot.

Some restaurants in the USA offer breakfast all day long. One of the first to do this was the Bob Evans Group. Headquartered here in Ohio it is a lovely family friendly place to eat with farm fresh favorites.

My girlfriend Lori asked me out for lunch today and let me choose where we’d go. So we went to Bobs and as always, even though it was way past breakfast time, I had one of their Classics of eggs, bacon, and pancakes with loads of maple syrup.

Can’t imagine making this for myself everyday there would be a serious risk of setting something on fire and definitely setting the scales into orbit. Once in a while though it’s such a treat.

Back to porridge tomorrow!

Blessing # 248 – Favorites with Friends

BOOM – Bespectacled


On January 9th Aaron and I went to the eye doctor. Within a matter of days Aaron’s contact lenses were on the doorstep. The week after that we got a call to say his specs had arrived and he could come and pick them up.

We said we’d wait and pick them up when my specs came. We waited and waited and still waited. Finally last week I called and the optician said that the lense maker had shipped the glasses that day.

A few more days past and the glasses still did not show. The lense provider said they were posted on Friday so today when I got a call from the opticians I assumed they had arrived.

WRONG! The glasses are lost.

Well those of you who know me well know that, on rare occasion and only when needed, I can get a clear and strong point across when displeased!

Such was the case today.

The glasses I’d picked were Jimmy Choo’s and they must have been dipped in 24 carat gold because they cost a fortune.

It crossed my mind in the past month when we had some major unexpected bills to pay if these were really worth it.

So, since the bejeweled bifocal extravagance is now lost in translation I « negotiated » starting again with a much less expensive choice.

By the time I got to the opticians to pick the new pair they had still not received the glasses and had found that the Choo frames are now out of stock and won’t be available till March 27.

What they did offer though was a very steep compensatory discount from the lense maker if we find the Choo’s and if we don’t we have a much cheaper frame selected and ready to process.

Who needs Jimmy Choo’s anyway when you have a furball who is a walking Fort Knox of medical science!!!!

Blessing # 247 – Chance To Change

BOOM – Blight


It is hard to imagine in the Ireland of today that between 1845 and 1849 one million people died of starvation.

This came to mind today as I was peeling the spuds. A few of them looked perfect but when I took of the skin there were brownish blemishes that ran deep within.

Imagine living on not much more than a plate of potatoes and some oatmeal each day and finding that not just one spud but your crop was rotten That was the death sentence of the Irish peasant.

The tragedy was that they were growing grain without problem but had to use this to pay their rent. A quarter of the population died.

This tragedy was the moment from which it became clear there would be no turning back in the Irish fight for independence.

Similar  incidents played out in India with the march for salt to the sea and in the holocaust.

Unimaginable horror.

Today Krishna and I were in downtown Columbus in the heart of the most obvious areas where the opioid crisis has struck. We are not naive enough to believe that it only happens in the slums though.  In our city, our state and in this country this is the famine of today.

What will be the tipping point and what can we do to make sure this ends?  It is certainly a disease that runs deep. Things may look fine on the surface but we need to peel back to find the cause.

I don’t know what to do today to help stop this crisis but I’ve decided to find out.

Blessing # 246 – Deciding to Do

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