at last, thank God


Coach Frost and the Tunnel Walk, as seen on Banjo Man’s Big TV.

Light the fireworks!  Cue the band!  Beat the drums and shout Hallelujah!

The Cornhuskers won a game Saturday night.  A massive sigh of relief was heard o’er the land.

It was a stressful game.  Aren’t they all?  We had to leave during the third quarter (at a time when things had started to look bleak for our team), as one of Banjo Man’s clients was playing at a local restaurant.  We met Barb & Rod for dinner (hadn’t seen them since last May!), so I enjoyed a hot lobster roll and some great guitar-playing at the same time I got to hear about their recent trip to Scotland.  Win-win-win.

When we got home, Banjo Man didn’t want to know how the game ended, so he waited downstairs while I turned on the tv and scrolled through the taping of the game to the spot where we had left off.  Then he settled himself on the couch to watch the last of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter.  Oh, the stress!

I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I sneaked a peek at my phone to find the final score:  Huskers 53, Minnesota 28.

It has been a tough season.  Our new coach has had his hands full changing the culture of Husker football and the players have had varying degrees of success learning to do things “the right way”, as their Coach says.  And “the right way” is not just on the football field, but “in life”.

We know it’s going to take a few years for our team to become competitive again, but Saturday’s win sure felt good.  The kids and the coaches definitely deserved it.








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a star is born

a star is born

Last week my daughter and I headed to the movies for some “girl time”.  This was the movie of choice for the afternoon (we would head to dinner after the show), because who doesn’t love Bradley Cooper or Lady Gaga?

We loved it.  Lady Gaga can act!  And when she started singing I had goosebumps run down my spine.  What a voice!

While I adored Brad’s blue eyes, his mumbling his lines at times was frustrating.  Unfortunately he seemed to be channeling Kris Kristofferson (whose music I have loved for 50 years) with his sexy, growling voice.  I’m sure all that country-boy-western-cowboy murmuring is pretty darn hot when a good-looking musician is rubbing his beard on your cheek, but those of us in the audience would like to hear the exact words, thank you.

It’s a sad movie, of course.  Brad’s character had demons no one could fix.  I thought his solution, while he thought he was being noble, was just plain mean.

I want to see the Kristofferson/Streisand version of the movie again.  Maybe we need another “girls night” on the couch!



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pumpkins, friends and more


Barb and Kris, still together 54 years later.

Yes, we are sitting on pumpkins and having a conversation.  That’s what old friends do, especially when one of them has a pumpkin patch.

I absolutely love spending time with this woman.  Can you tell?


Your brain on drugs.


All the beautiful shapes and sizes and colors.

Meanwhile, back at home, I settled for plastic…


and velvet.



Not as good as the real thing, though.  If I didn’t travel so much, I think I’d have my very own pumpkin patch, just so I could admire them.


If Banjo Man wasn’t on the couch watching the Patriots play, I think I’d beg him to go with me to the local farm to see the pumpkins and take pictures.  Instead I’ll go stir the sausage potato soup and curl up on the couch with a good book.

Oh, yes, and I’m going to make pumpkin bread!



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a few more pictures from austin


Austin skyline from the Long Center.


Saturday night date with my oldest son, Ben, who oh-so-graciously went to this wonderful concert with me.


I walked to Torchy’s for lunch and people-watching several times.  Love those tacos!


And the “Early Birthday Party” begins…


I finished the baby quilt, but I forgot to take a picture of the finished quilt, darn it.  

And at the Austin airport’s new gift shop I saw these.  Hilarious!  I didn’t have room in my bag for any of them, unfortunately.



Which one is your favorite?


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root beer and pancakes


It’s good to be a grandmother, especially when my daughter-in-law says, “He can eat anything he wants!” and believes that grandmothers should be allowed to spoil their grandsons.

I’m very good at that.  It’s one of my super powers.

So on my last day in town, the Funny Grandson (who didn’t have school) arrived at the condo to spend the day with me.  He requested blueberry pancakes for breakfast, so we walked up the street to the Magnolia Cafe for breakfast.


It is the Funny Grandson’s favorite place in Austin.  He loved it when he was a baby and he loves it now.

Breakfast was consumed at a relaxing pace.  He explained he was happy he didn’t have a younger sister after all and listed the reasons.  We discussed Captain America.  And Thor.  And Halloween.

Then we strolled down South Congress for a while.  We stopped at the new hotel and discovered the fountain in a hidden patio.  We went to the bank (Grandma needed cash) and snagged a free lollipop.  We checked out the fire station and admired a few dogs strutting beside their owners.  Then we returned to the condo so he could build his birthday Lego sets.

Later that afternoon we headed back to the Magnolia for root beer floats.  Tradition!  And he ordered another blueberry pancake.  Just because he could.

After his father arrived and we all had dinner, it was time to say goodbye.  I reminded the little guy that I would see him next month when he comes to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving, but that didn’t seem to console him very much.

It didn’t help me much either, come to think of it.



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texas quilters and a september show

This was how I spent my first Saturday in Austin while Will was at work across the street.  The Palmer Events Center is right across from  Terry Black’s BBQ and Will’s smoking “pits”.  After a morning of heavy rains and thunder, I took a cab to the quilt show.


Texans have a long quilting history.  It must be part of their DNA.


Love the colors.  I’d like to make one of these.  I made something similar for son Tony years ago and it was quite a challenging process.


A closer look at the quilting.  So perfect.


She took her grandmother’s unfinished quilt top and quilted it.


Wouldn’t this be a beautiful rug?


I’d like to make this, but in different colors.  Maybe in pastels or blues for a baby quilt?


Wine bottles!


Elk.  The precision of the flying geese borders was beyond belief.


Rare and beautiful hand-quilting on a vintage quilt.


Oh my goodness.

I’ve never entered a quilt in a show, and probably never will.  I make too many mistakes when I’m quilting and worrying about them would take away the enjoyment of sewing.  I stitch for relaxation, for fun, for the happy feeling I get when giving quilts away.  So I am in total awe of those talented quilters who create perfection.  And then let all of us study, enjoy and be inspired by their work.

What a treat to be in Austin for the show.




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when coffee is necessary, find a robot

Hi, everyone.

I’m back in Rhode Island.  Will took me to the Austin airport at 3:30 AM last Wednesday.  My suitcase was much lighter (baby quilt finished and gifted, jam, summer clothes and sandals left behind) and my heavy electronics were stuffed inside my rolling bag, the one  that weighs 200 pounds and fits under the seat of the plane.

It has always been a challenge–okay, impossible– to find a cup of coffee in the Austin airport at 4 AM, even though recent remodeling has brought a lot more stores and places to eat.  But–good news!!!–I saw people carrying coffee cups so I kept walking, past my gate, in search of the source.

And I found it, a totally computerized metal box (about the size of a small camping trailer, only a silver rectangle) serving coffee.  A young man stood before the very large-print directions.  He was stymied and nervous, which made me feel better, because if the young guy was intimidated then I wasn’t alone.

We discussed it together.  There was lots of screen-touching and then the swiping of a credit card.  His three-digit order number popped up in numbers 6″ high on the screen and, giving me a relieved grin, he moved off to the right to wait for his iced coffee.

My turn.  I ordered a small black coffee and swiped my card (not so easy, it turned out).  There were two men waiting behind me and both of them had advice.  None of us wanted to download the app onto our phones in order to get a cup of coffee.  We shared a few laughs over needing coffee in order to understand the non-app directions and operate the damn thing, but I finished my order and waited my turn.  Then it turned out I needed my three-digit order number to open the window and get my coffee.  I’d totally blanked out on that, so a swipe of the credit card solved it (thanks to the advice of the silver-haired guy next to me).

All four of us were pretty proud of ourselves.

I’m guessing that this machine is a very recent addition to the airport.


We could watch the robotic arms doing all the coffee prep.  I can’t believe I was awake enough to enjoy this, but Will and I had gone to our respective beds at 9 PM the night before, thank God, so I was almost perky.


It would be an easy trip back to Rhode Island and Banjo Man.  We left the airport on a hot, humid afternoon and headed home.  I crashed on the couch and Banjo Man defrosted a container of squash soup for our dinner.

There was very little food in the house, which I admit I am still a bit grumpy about.  With a husband who loves to go to grocery stores, I usually don’t have to worry about running out of anything.  But the refrigerator was 3/4 empty, as was the freezer.  Banjo Man warned me on the way home from the airport and offered to stop for groceries before we got to the house.  But a woman who has been up since 3 AM does not want to stagger around a supermarket while wondering what to cook for dinner.

Call me crazy, but I just wasn’t up to it.

We ate out Thursday and Friday nights.  I saved my leftovers for lunch.  On Saturday I braved the rain and wind and went out for food.  Now the fridge is full and I have chicken for future enchiladas, beef for meatballs and a crock pot full of squash soup (a fall favorite).

By the way, while on the plane and in the airports I read Dan Brown’s ORIGIN novel, about robotics and the future of the world.

Not.  Very.  Interesting.

I skimmed quite a bit of it, while sipping my robot-made coffee.  And while reading on the Kindle, of course, which I have repeatedly refused the “Alexa” app for.  And the Kindle downloaded it anyway.  Huh?

Now I can’t get rid of it.

The robots are here.  And they’re not going anywhere.  But at least they make a good cup of coffee.


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sunrise to denver

IMG_1714 (Edited)

This was the view out of the plane’s window on Friday morning, shortly after leaving Spokane.

My heart lifted a little at the sight.

We’d had a stressful time leaving the lake.  There was a lot going on and some family worries, too, and then the lake house water pump broke, leaving us without water at a time when we needed to be cleaning and packing.

Banjo Man carried large buckets of water from the lake in order to flush the toilets.  I boiled water to wash dishes.  We managed just fine, except it put us behind on our “closing down the house” duties.  Luckily for us, the pump was repaired the afternoon before we left.

In fact, we even went out to dinner in town with Dancing Mandolin Player and her Boyfriend Bob Wednesday night.  Here was the view of the sunset from town.

IMG_1695 (Edited)

Montana Kathy and her husband made sure we arrived in Spokane Thursday afternoon.  We even had dinner with her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters before heading to the Ramada.  We were asleep before 9 and up at 3:30 to catch a very early flight.

Which brings me back to Denver…

Check out the signs in Terminal C.


Good to know.


A different kind of shop.


Okay, I giggled at the name.


This stuff must be GREAT!

Banjo Man and I had breakfast together and then went our separate ways.  He cheerfully caught a noon flight to Baltimore and then home.  I got on a noon flight to Austin and counted the hours until I would see the Funny Grandson.

Summer was over.


I loved the texture of these clouds.




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last day and 48 years

Banjo Man and I have been married 48 years as of today.

Amazing.  Where did the years go?  I don’t feel old enough to be married 48 years!!

We celebrated by sitting on the screened porch this afternoon, eating apple pie and enjoying the sunshine and the view of the lake.  Tonight we’re going out to dinner, which will be a much needed break from cleaning and packing and putting away all the summer things.

It’s always painful to leave the lake, but I have the Funny Grandson waiting for me in Texas.  He sent me a letter telling me he was “very excided” about my visit.

I’m pretty excided myself.  I could use a hug and some conversations about Legos and birds of prey.  And then there is his “erley birthday party”, which he is also very excided about.

It was a good letter.  And makes leaving the lake just a little bit easier.

Happy Anniversary, Banjo Man.  You’ve kept me laughing for almost fifty years.  




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the sky’s the limit

Old friends from Missoula came to visit last Monday.  It was the first time we’d had company fly in to see us.

Check out this gorgeous blue sky!


Gary, Judy and Banjo Man in front of the Cessna.

We were so impressed and in awe of the whole thing.  It was the first time we’d been to the Sandpoint airport, the first time we’d ever been inside the terminal.


Banjo Man took Gary and Judy up the mountain to the cabin for a long walk in the woods.  At this time of year it’s beautiful up there–with no bugs!

Later that evening we drank wine, ate lasagna and caught up with each other’s lives, children and grandchildren.

It was lovely.

We’d hoped to kayak, but it was just too cold.  So the kayaks were stored for the winter and hopefully Gary and Judy will fly in to see us in August next year, when they can enjoy the lake.

See?  I’m already planning next year’s social events!


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