happy hour at the beer garden



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The ABGB—the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company– is one of South Austin’s newest restaurants and music venues.  Warren Hood, one of my favorite Austin fiddlers, plays the happy hour on Wednesdays.  So Will (aka Story Man)and I headed over to the warehouse-style building to enjoy dinner and tunes.

After a hot day the weather Wednesday evening was perfect: in the 70’s without humidity.  Lots of people, along with their kids and dogs, were enjoying having dinner and beer at the picnic tables outside.  And indoors was packed!

It’s always good to be in Austin and realize that, despite the expanding population and crazy real estate development, the music is still here…and better than ever.


Image from Warreen Hood’s website.


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emilio is in the wind


Flying into the sunset over New York and New Jersey.

Tuesday afternoon I flew to Baltimore, on my way to Austin to celebrate the Funny Grandson’s birthday.  There wasn’t much time between the flights, so I made my way to Gate B3 and joined the crowd waiting to board.  I found a seat next to a huge black man (was he a blues singer heading to Austin?  a former football player?) whose carry on at his feet was a paper shopping bag stuffed with a pair of giant new tennis shoes and a well worn Bible.

He was muttering to himself, moaning and talking to himself in a low voice.


Uh oh.  I got out my Kindle and looked for something to read.  I had just bought a Subway sandwich to take on the plane with me and my carry on bag–the only piece of luggage I was taking to Texas–was stuffed so full I couldn’t zip it up over the sandwich.

He finally turned to me and moaned, “I am so, so scared.”

Me:  Why?

Him:  I’ve never been on a plane before.  I’ve never been anywhere.  I’ve lived here all my life and I ain’t never left.  I am so scared.

Me:  You’ll be fine.  Flying is easy.  And the people in Texas are very, very nice.

He started to cry, fat tears rolling down his cheeks.  He didn’t even seem to notice.

“Really,” I said.  “I fly to Texas all the time.  It’s going to be fine.”  Inwardly I was praying Please don’t let him sit next to me on the plane.

“I’ve done something bad,” he confessed.  “Really bad.  I’m going to rehab in Austin.  Because if I go far away to rehab and then come back it will show that I didn’t run.  Because I could run.  To Puerto Rico.  There ain’t no extradition in Puerto Rico.”

Me:  I didn’t know that.

He introduced himself, sticking out a huge hand.  “Emilio,” he said.

I shook his hand and gave him my name.  He cheered up.  One of his bosses had the same name and she was a “woman to respect”.  Which meant I must be, too.

Damn right, Emilio.  Stop crying and get on the damn plane.

He went on, constantly crying, about a $100,000 (a fine? the amount of money he stole?) and how he’d done something really bad and how he couldn’t go to prison–a possible 10-year sentence— because he would die, but he couldn’t run to Puerto Rico because he’d never see his wife or his grandchildren again and he wouldn’t be able to come home when his mother passes and he would be all alone.

Me:  You’re in a corner and the only way out is to get on the plane and go to rehab.

Him:  I know, I know, I got to do it, but I’m so scared.

I was getting pretty tired of all the crying.  I wanted to slap him and yell, “Man up!!!”  but for all I knew he could have murdered someone in his quest for drugs.  I clutched my purse close to my lap while he told me he worked construction, on a crew right here at the airport, but this was the first time he’d ever been inside the airport.

At this point his cell phone rang.  It was his wife.  He kept telling her not to cry and she kept telling him not to cry and they went on and on for a few minutes crying and telling each other to be brave.

After that we chatted for a few more minutes–more of the weeping “I’m so scared” from him and the “you have to do what you have to do” from me until the Southwest official made the announcement for those who had qualified for pre-boarding to line up, that boarding would start in about five minutes, that the plane was totally full.

That’s when Emilio jumped to his feet, grabbed his shopping bag and took off.  Who knew such a big man could run so fast?

I never saw him again.  There was one empty seat on the plane and by coincidence it happened to be the one next to me.  It was a lovely, quiet flight for 3 hours and 20 minutes.  I wondered where Emilio was.   Had he gone home?  Booked a flight to Puerto Rico?  Was he on the run, hitchhiking to Mexico?

Goodbye, Emilio.  I suspect you would have been better off in Texas.

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happy birthday to story man


Story Man, my second son, loves campfires.  Whenever he is at the lake we know that he will plan an evening at the shore.   There will be a campfire, with or without marshmallows and hot dogs, but most likely with.

He works in a BBQ pit in Austin now.  He manages the fires, the wood, the temperatures, the turning and seasoning and basting of the meat and pork.

Today is his birthday.  His was a difficult pregnancy; the odds were against it ever resulting in a healthy baby.  He was six weeks early and was born with a smile on his little face.  He still smiles a lot, is forever a tease.

I’m heading to Texas tomorrow.  I’ll spend a few days with my two Texan sons, my daughter-in-law and the Funny Grandson (who turns six on Saturday).   There will be plenty of birthday hugs and some family dinners at the Magnolia Café.

Happy Birthday, Story Man.  We love you!



Story Man watching the campfire with Banjo Man.



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the pumpkin factory



Pumpkins in progress, waiting for stems and stitching.


Please do not ask me why I am making these.  The photos of velvet pumpkins on Pinterest caused intense Pumpkin Envy.  I think they’re beautiful.  I couldn’t help myself.  I had to buy crushed velvet (on sale and with an extra 20% off coupon) from JoAnn’s Fabrics and stalk local pumpkin patches for random, fallen pumpkin stems.  My brother, who lives across the street from a pumpkin patch in California, is collecting stems for me.  I hope my gardening friends are putting some aside so I can make more pumpkins next fall, when I’m at the lake and the leaves are turning yellow and I can no longer sunbathe on the dock.

They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and fabrics.



Vintage farm print barkcloth pumpkin.



Tiny blue velvet mini-punk.



I love the twisty stem on this one.  Twisty stems are hard to find!

I have pumpkins of all kinds in the house right now.


I’m sure I’ll be finished making pumpkins by Christmas.






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sometimes i wonder…

…where this went:


This is the chapel at Quonset Point, on the Navy base, where Banjo Man and I were married.  He was a former Sea Bee and I was the daughter of a career Navy chief.

Four years after the wedding the base was closed and many of the buildings were dismantled or sold and moved.

The chapel was one of those buildings that moved, but I don’t know where it went.  I’d love to see it again, would love to take some pictures and show my children.  It holds a special place in my heart, as do many of my “Navy memories”.

I once had a birthday party on an aircraft carrier (my father was the Ultimate Party Planner of his day) and learned to dance at the Chief’s Club. 

Being married at Quonset Point was a no-brainer back in 1970.  Although I have lost my wedding album (I’m sure it will turn up one of these years) and there are few wedding gifts that survived 46 years, I never thought I’d lose track of the chapel!

It must be in Rhode Island somewhere….




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the precious one

I really enjoyed this one.  The author is one of my favorites (LOVE WALKED IN is a book I absolutely loved).  Here’s the new one:


You can click here for more info:



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pumpkin patch


I stopped here Sunday morning to look for pumpkin stems.  Clark Farms is a pleasant walk –and on the other side of the highway–from my house, but on Sunday I drove over.  The joint was jumpin’!  There must have been at least 80 cars in the parking lot at 10:30.  People were lined up at the little sales hut to buy tickets for the maze and the hayride.

I wished I was seven years old again.

There’s something so cheerful about fall colors.  I was married in late September and my wedding colors were gold and brown and rust.  It has always been my favorite time of year.

After the blues and yellows and pinks of summer, the vibrant golds and oranges are a welcome change.

It was fun to see so many families ready to enjoy themselves on a gorgeous Sunday. So much fun to take a walk, enjoy the sunshine and pick out a pumpkin!

In the horror and insanity of what is going on in the world, it’s so nice to know that some traditions haven’t changed.

Wishing you a beautiful day…

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walt is back


Season 5 was released last month, but Banjo Man and I agreed to wait until we were back on the Big Couch and in front of the Giant Television.

We have tried to limit ourselves to one episode per night, but we usually have to watch two and then we reluctantly turn it off.

It’s so good. 

What are you watching????

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on the hunt

I love Pinterest.  And I love pumpkins.  And I love decorating for fall.  And I love fabric.

This is a dangerous combo.



Velvet pumpkins from Love Feast Table.

I am absolutely dying to make these.  I don’t have velvet, but I do have some vintage barkcloth.  I have a long needle and plenty of stuffing.  I’ve read 5 tutorials.

But because I am not a gardener and I don’t grow pumpkins, I don’t have these:


So I’m begging all of my gardening friends to save their pumpkin and squash stems for me.  You can just toss them in a box and let them dry in a warm place for a week or two.  I’ll get them next summer (or pay for the shipping to RI)  and make you a pumpkin or two in exchange!!!!


Today, after Banjo Man returns from work, I’m going to head over to the local garden shop and see if they have any stems lying around/for sale/on top of mushy garbage pumpkins.  If I just had a stem or two in order to try the technique I would be happy.

Big or small, straight or twisted, anything goes!

I’ll let you know how it works out.  In the meantime, save those stems!





Posted in food, friends, just for fun, quilting, secondhand stuff, shopping | 2 Comments

a monster in the living room



It looked small on the Walmart shelf.


Last spring Banjo Man decided we needed a bigger television, so I made cardboard templates of both 50″ and 55″ screens and placed them over the 42″ tv that fit so nicely in our living room.

We agreed that 50″ was plenty big enough.  Anything else would be ridiculous.

So last Wednesday, after returning the rental car (which was another stress-filled experience I won’t blog about) and delivering a Fed Ex package to a credit union near the airport (a package stuffed with the important financial documents of five people and dropped at our rural, wooded front door by mistake) and getting lost three times, we stopped at Wal Mart to look at TV’s.

Banjo Man was pushing the limit to a 55″.  I had agreed, but I was in a post-trip coma and only interested in buying Triscuits, milk, bacon and eggs for Son #2 aka Story Man’s Friday arrival (he would be here for the weekend attending a friend’s wedding).

Banjo Man pointed out that there was little difference in size between a 55″ screen and a 60″ screen.  I pointed out that this WalMart had a Subway sandwich shop.

I showed him the measurements of the Samsungs and the LG’s.  He measured them himself with a dollar bill (6″ long, should you ever need to measure something).

We decided we were too tired to make a decision and would get a sandwich instead.

At home again, we measured our living room space again, and Banjo Man assured me that he would shorten the legs on our tv stand (a vintage table) and, once lowered, a 60″ tv would hardly be noticed.  The next afternoon we went south, to our local Walmart, and bought the thing.

We had plenty of time to change our minds, because the only employee with the license to get on a high ladder and retrieve the tv from the storage room mysteriously disappeared for 45 minutes.  But Banjo Man didn’t mind.  That 60-incher was almost–ALMOST–in his possession.  He could wait.  And wait he did.

Once we got it home and set it up–I almost fainted at the size of the box–it is indeed very, very big.  I told Banjo Man he would have to leave the room while I programmed everything and did the technical stuff.

So those of you who come over for dinner here in the woods, just be prepared to see the GIANT TELEVISION looming over the living room.  I’ve thought about making  a curtain for hit, but I probably won’t get around to it.  Meanwhile, Banjo Man is ecstatic.

It’s our Christmas present to each other for the next three years.  But on Saturday, when we get to watch Nebraska play football, it will be worth it…and no screen can be too big when it comes to watching the Cornhuskers.

At least, that’s what I heard at Walmart.






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