bye bye, little beasties

Something happened yesterday morning that is going to change my life.

No, I did not discover a new diet.  Or dye my hair back to brown.  Or take up wind surfing.

I called in a mouse-killing professional and he showed up at the door at 10:30.  He held a telescoping ladder (now I want one!) and slipped on little blue CSI booties.  His name was Chris and he had a flashlight.

And after he climbed into our attic and told me he had a solution to our mouse problems, it was love at first sight.


Every Saturday morning at from 9-10 is a show on the radio hosted by the owner of Big Blue Bug Solutions.  He answers all sorts of questions about mice and rats and spiders and ticks and bugs, bugs, bugs.

I love this show.  I once called in, when my mother had had two huge black snakes hibernating on top of her cable box.  But that’s another story.

When you build a house in the woods, which Banjo Man and I did twenty seven years ago, you are going to have an issue with mice.  Which we did.  Which we solved.  Every November we hear mice in our attic (and nowhere else in the house), Banjo Man buys poison at Home Depot, and the problem is solved.

This year?  Not happenin’.  No amount of poison would kill these mice.  I woke up at night hearing them above my head.  It was an endless source of frustration.  But getting Banjo Man to agree to hiring help was an more frustrating.  Finally, after one particularly noisy night, I filled out a contact form on the Blue Bug’s website.

Banjo Man was grumpy and skeptical, but agreed to let the technician give us a free inspection.

And that’s when “Chris” climbed into the attic, assured us we had mice and not squirrels (my big fear) and explained that the poisons now being sold to the public are not all that poisonous, due to environmental concerns.  BBBS has a different method:  they use blood thinners and self contained boxes.  Chris showed Banjo Man how to mouse-proof the outside of the house.  We also have a carpenter ant issue and Chris promised that would be taken care of, too.

It all sounded wonderfully lethal and efficient.  The cost was much cheaper than we had anticipated.  We signed on the dotted line.  Banjo Man beamed.  I did a little happy dance.

Last night Banjo Man and I opened a bottle of wine to celebrate.  After years of trying to convince my husband to call professional mouse-killers , I’d finally succeeded.  And we were both thrilled.

Now, flush with victory, I’m trying to decide on my next project.  I’m also trying not to spout, “I told you so” at every opportunity, but I’m doing it anyway.

I just can’t help myself.



Banjo Man’s future birthday gift.




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heroes among us: project healing waters

Once in a while I come across something I just have to share.  This made my day.

fishing charity

fishing wheelchair

This article was published in PEOPLE magazine.  I wonder if there is a way to expand this into the Clark Fork or Bull rivers.  I wonder if there was a way to help.

I’ll keep you posted.


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when you need pants

IMG_3420Banjo Man and I drove up to the Big City Wednesday.  We had appointments with the TSA to complete the paperwork for a TSA-preapproved security clearance.   We’ve gotten the “TSA Pre” designation enough times to realize what a great deal it is.  So it was time to make it official.

Then we went to lunch at a diner Banjo Man had his eye on.  I can’t say the food was great, but the local color was interesting.

And then we drove to Trader Joe’s for the frozen salmon filets.  Oh, how that Banjo Man loves grocery stores!  I was already planning where I would stop for iced coffee on the way home, but next to Trader Joe’s was the new store in town:  Duluth Trading Post.

Banjo Man took off like a magnet, shouting “I need pants!” as he crossed the parking lot.

Okay then.  I guess we’re in the right place.

IMG_3421I amused myself by taking photos of the funny signs all over the store while Banjo Man tried on a bug-repellant hat and cargo pants.  He ended up buying them both.

He didn’t need underwear, but the signs were compelling.

IMG_3416“Swagger without the swing?”  What a concept!  How I wish the men who wear pajama pants on airplanes (a new unwelcome trend) would wear these underwear.  There is quite enough “swinging” as they stuff their carry-on luggage into the bins above my head, thank you and their private parts bounce around near my head.

IMG_3417See the sign that says, “Free range boxer briefs?”

Oh, my God.  Please, gentlemen, do not go “free range” in public.  That’s for chickens, not your precious body parts.


They did have women’s clothing, and it looked nice.  But the colors didn’t appeal to me.  I would have bought a pair of khaki shorts but they only had charcoal, green and black.  You know, camping colors.

I don’t camp.  I do get sunburns, so maybe I’ll go back someday and buy a shirt to wear on the dock.

Oh, the dock….

It’s calling me.  I am packing up my non-free-range bathing suits and getting ready to head west.

2015-07-13 016

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new girl in town

Banjo Man has a new love:  the girl next door.

Glen and Claire 1

She came with her dad and her older brother.  And she stayed for dinner and some serious flirting.

Glen and Claire 2

Oh.  My.  Goodness.


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don't create your own storm

I love this.  I read Bonnie Hunter’s quilting blog every morning, usually with my second cup of coffee and half of a protein bar.

She always has a little saying superimposed over a quilt at the end of each post.  And this one was the best yet!

Many of you know we adopted three siblings back in 1990.  They were six, eight and ten at the time.  Products of the welfare system, they arrived with the “victim mentality” firmly entrenched in their little psyches and no matter how hard I tried, I could never get them to relinquish it.

What a struggle.

I wish I’d had this particular sign back in those days.  I would have plastered it all over the house.

I had other sayings, for all six children.  I think one of the ones they hated the most was, “You don’t get something for nothing.”

And, “There are consequences for bad behavior.”

How about this familiar one:  “Because I said so.”

Or, “My job is not to make you happy.  My job is to make you a good, productive member of society.”  (That usually got a blank stare)

Now that I’m a grandmother I don’t have to say anything except defend the little guy and murmur, “He’s only [fill in the age].”

And I get to giggle a lot, too, because I’ve heard my son say, “Because I said so!” more than once.  And I try to keep a straight face.

Not easy.

What was your favorite line?  What got their attention?







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the remnant shop

Last Wednesday my buddy Ruth and I headed to Hope Valley to check out a store my dental hygienist had recommended.  When I was a kid there were “mill outlet” stores everywhere and my mother, who liked to sew her clothes and mine, was no stranger to places stocked with odd remnants of fabric.

The Remnant Shop was that kind of place.  I didn’t know any existed in 2017.

IMG_3389There were several tables of name brand quilting cottons for $4.00 a yard (compared to $11.00 a yard in quilt stores).  One yard minimum cut, unless the owner was in a good mood and would cut a 1/2 yard piece.

IMG_3388At $4.00 a yard I didn’t mind adding to my stash and picking out some pretty fabrics, even though I didn’t know what I was going to make with them.



I’ve already cut up most of this fabric into 5″ squares.

The second floor held books and cd’s, so I bought a new karaoke cd and a book for Ruth, for when she is camping in Vermont this summer.


Ruth became a quilter several years ago and is loving it!  Here she is with her almost-finished twin quilt, to be given to her great nephew on Sunday.  Aren’t those airplanes gorgeous?

IMG_3393 (2)Her quilting is pretty gorgeous, too.  She has a knack for it and a great eye for color, too.

IMG_3394I love it when she calls me with a “quilt emergency” question.  It makes me feel like an expert, at least temporarily.  If I don’t have the answer I can give her the website or the youtube video that will!

Between Harley Chick, Aunt Pat and Ruth, I no longer feel like I am quilting alone in the wilderness.  I love fabric shopping with friends!!!

p.s.  My Ebay sales project is going like gangbusters.  I’ve sold over 40 chunks of fabric and still have two weeks to go.  I can’t believe how much time this little business eats up, but every time I haul a bag of items to the Post Office I am closer to owning a new, fancy sewing machine!  Hurray!!!!


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happy mother’s day 2017

IMG_3396It’s rainy and cloudy and windy here in Rhode Island today.   Those of us in my family who intended to get together changed our plans.  We exchanged flowers and pretty cards and hugs yesterday afternoon instead.

It’s cold and feels more like March than May.

And it’s nice to stay home.

I have great leftovers!


Such a treat after so many weeks of a no-carb lifestyle.  I will enjoy every cheesy bite!

So Happy Mother’s Day to my friends reading this blog.  You all deserve a lovely, love-filled day with the people you most care about.


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an afternoon in provincetown


It’s the little town at the tip of Cape Cod.  It’s the place where the Mayflower docked before heading into Plymouth in November of 1620.  There the Pilgrims established their new government, a “domestic commonwealth” without kings and queens.

My ancestors were there.  Two great* uncles were on the Mayflower (a younger brother, my direct ancestor, would follow later).

Our first stop was the Lobster Pot for lunch.  I had chowder and fish ‘n chips.  Others enjoyed lobster or crab salads, fried clams and oysters.  It was all so good.

Then we roamed around the narrow shop-lined streets.  I can’t imagine how crowded it is in the summer.  I’ve heard you can barely walk through the crowds of tourists in July.

Here are some of my favorite signs and t-shirts.

And then there were the stores…

And the sights…

And the window of the Portuguese bakery.

IMG_3341Banjo Man posed with ice cream.


Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Rhode Island.  It would take over three hours, our shortest official road trip in years.  We missed one turn, but it was the only time the GPS let us down and caused confusion.


Driving across Narragansett Bay.  Thirty minutes from home.


*I think it’s great x 12, approximately.



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scenes from the dunes

IMG_3316Our first stop on Tuesday morning was in the Wellfleet area of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

I’d heard about the dunes, but neither Banjo Man or I had ever been to see them.  So the nine of us headed down the dunes to the beach below.


IMG_3293 (2)

The mother and father of the groom take a walk.



Looking for whales?



Taking pictures.



Finding treasures.

I found a purple heart rock.


It made me laugh to myself to think that we had driven three hours to go to the beach and look at the Atlantic Ocean.  Here at home the ocean is about a five minute drive away.  Why don’t Banjo Man and I go down there and admire it?  I vowed to go for beach walks this month, to get down to the ocean and smell the sea and hear the waves.

If it doesn’t rain this afternoon, I think that’s exactly what we’ll do.


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an itty bitty road trip


When your friends from Montana show up in Massachusetts (a son was getting married–happy day!), you absolutely must get in the car and join them in their touristy endeavors.

It’s a law.

So Banjo Man and I packed up the car and headed to the Cape on Monday morning.  Two hours later we were at the family of the groom’s rental house in Hyannis.


View from the dining area.

See that blue sky?  That’s a rare sight here in New England these days.  We are still waiting for spring.

“The Kathies”, as they are affectionately known to one and all, love to party.


Nine of us went to Spanky’s, a seafood restaurant next to the dock where the ferries come and go.

I skipped the drinks and went right to the menu.



My giant lobster roll. 

Since we’re talking about food, I’ll show you the lobster-stuffed avocado from Tuesday’s lunch at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown.



The Kathies always know the best places, even when they are 3000 miles away from their remote mountain homes.



More pics of Provincetown tomorrow.  Can  you believe it had changed a lot in the last 47 years, when Banjo Man and I spent a day here to celebrate our engagement?

(He remembered I wore a blue dress.  I didn’t.)

Late Tuesday afternoon, stuffed with seafood and clutching bags of pastry from the Portuguese bakery, we made our way back to Rhode Island.  My face hurt from smiling so much.


Heading home over the Newport bridge.




Posted in food, friends, rhode island, road trip | 2 Comments