how it’s done

Rest in peace.

Posted in music | 2 Comments

does anybody need a nun?

Meet Sister Cecilia.  She is  in the midst of gardening, with her basket and her scissors and her apron.  She proudly holds flowers in her right hand.

She belonged to my mother, who had fond memories of her years in a Catholic high school in New Orleans.  In 2004 I accompanied my mother to a reunion where a beloved nun joined in on the fun with a dozen of her former students.

I don’t know what to do with this doll, though.  I want to show her to my friend, Dancing Mandolin Player, whose joy in her flower garden lights up her summers and whose generous gifts of flowers to her friends are amazing.  But after that, what?

Sister Cecilia looks like she is about to hand the flowers to someone while saying, “Isn’t this beautiful?”

As you know, I’ve been cleaning the storage room and making hard decisions about things I’ve hauled around for decades.

It doesn’t get any easier.



Posted in family, rhode island, secondhand stuff | 1 Comment

halfway through january

Halfway through January.  It’s not exactly “halfway through winter” unless you count December and don’t count March, but it’s close enough to celebrate.

So let’s break out the coffee and party!!!!

It is 9 this morning.  But no snow in sight unless it’s piled up in parking lots.

Which means…Dump Day!  That is our big errand for the day before we start watching the football playoffs and eating soup.  Banjo Man was thrilled with his Pasta Fagioli last night, and my Thai Basil came out great.  Because it was a “warm” (39) day, I stayed out in the unheated kitchen and baked a Nantucket Blueberry Pie Cake, just because I could.  So that was dessert.

Side note:  I had an annual physical, complete with bloodwork, last week with my new GP.  One problem:  a very low B12 count.  Did I feel tired, she asked?  Would I prefer shots or pills?

Tired?  Huh?  I’ll take the pills, thank you, because I don’t feel the least bit tired unless it’s 9:30 PM and then all bets are off.

I keep busy, I explained.  I don’t exactly sit around.  I’ve had those shots before and never felt one bit of difference.

I think she believed me.  If not, I would have shown her pictures of my sewing room.


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my ebay life

Remember Diablo?

He has been on Ebay for 8 days and has had 15 bids. He is now going for $144.50. I knew he was a winner!

Six other auctions have bids, too, so I will be busy going to the Post Office next week.

I have over 20 other items to list today and that is going to take many hours.  I emptied three huge bins of vintage drapes and fabric last weekend.  I washed most of it, then measured, photographed and weighed each piece.  Quite a job, but the satisfaction of creating space on the storage shelves is great.

Banjo Man likes to fill the empty bins with “Work Clothes”, which means old clothes he doesn’t want to throw away are saved for outdoor chores.  I have stopped arguing about it and just roll my eyes.

Our gas fireplace won’t be repaired until January 20, which means another week living in the basement or holed up in my office/sewing room.  Banjo Man loves his cozy basement and, because it’s going to be 9 degrees for most of the weekend, plans to sit by the gas stove and watch football and eat soup (he has requested Pasta Fagioli).  I’ve never made it before, but a Pinterest recipe called for a Parmesan rind.  Yesterday I spent an indecent amount of money for a chunk of Parmesan that had a rind on it, so I hope the “flavor profile” is worth it.

I’ve lost much of my sense of taste over the past couple of years, so I’ll have to take Banjo Man’s word for it.

So…a three-day weekend of football to look forward to!  Go Pats!  Go Bucs!  Go Bengals!





Posted in family, food, rhode island, secondhand stuff | 1 Comment

snow day 2022

Our first snowstorm of the winter is happening now.  Forecast is 4-10″ of snow by 2 PM.

I am less than deliriously happy about this.  As I said to a friend yesterday, now that I am too old to make snow forts I have no use for snow.

No.  Use.

There was also the drama of not having a snowplow driver this winter.  Barbara came through with a name from her Grange.  Jeff offered to come with his new old tractor.  And I gave my number to a guy who works at Cumberland Farms (I was buying Banjo Man’s milk).

So I think we’re set.  But it was a bit stressful.  We’d hoped that we’d have another dry winter and could skate through.


I was up at 5 AM doing this:

And making a bean and sausage soup in the crock pot.

Banjo Man is still asleep, so my cooking adventures have been very, very quiet.

Yesterday I listed “stuff” on Ebay.  This means that I am certifiably insane.  In my defense, I have collected a huge bin of wonderful vintage trims and laces and edgings.  I can’t throw them out.  I don’t know any Vintage Textile Artists to give this stuff to.  I hate for it to go to waste, so I am listing it in lots on Ebay at inexpensive prices in hopes that everything will find a home with someone who will ooh and ahh over such treasures.

Probably a longshot.

I’m already wondering if I should cancel the auctions and drive around the state until I find a thrift store that will take craft supplies.

I also listed four of my vintage horses.  The others are going to a thrift store that raises money for children’s music camps.

Was this time-consuming? Oh, yes!  It took up most of my day.  I don’t even want to think about having to pack it up and ship it in ten days.

Tomorrow I will move on to listing the big stuff, the drape panels, unless the local consignment store will take them.  They are beautiful, but it is definitely time for someone else to enjoy them.

Today I am taking a break from Ebay.  I’m going to play with a new quilt project and cut out fabric and see what happens.

Perhaps the new snowplow driver will want some cookies.

What are you doing today?



Posted in food, rhode island, secondhand stuff | Leave a comment

goodbye to austin on new year’s eve

I asked Will to take a picture of us at the Austin airport.  It was 4:30 AM and I’m sure you can tell who was the most excited about a pre-sunrise flight.  Banjo Man looks stoic but he’d rather be in bed.

I love early morning traveling.

We’d had a fabulous Christmas, 12 days filled with family time and breakfast tacos and blueberry pancakes and cookies and turkey and gumbo, along with card tricks (Banjo Man) and chess games (not me) and painstaking paint repairs to the condo walls (definitely me).  Lots of laughs with the Funny Grandson, of course.  He spent four nights with us at the condo, a new record.  I think his parents were happy about that.

The FG’s favorite condo drink: a root beer float. It’s tradition!

While we were in  Texas our gas fireplace in RI stopped working.  The pilot light was dead and there was no fixing it.  I think we’re due for a new burner box, but our local stove repairman can’t come out until January 27th to even assess the problem.

January 27th?

This stove heats two-thirds of the main floor of our house!  Thank goodness we have another week of above-freezing temps in the forecast, along with three small portable electric heaters.

I think we’ll be moving down to the basement again when we have another cold spell.

So far I’m finding this winter a teeny bit stressful.



Posted in austin, family, food, grandmother stuff, texas, travel | 2 Comments

so long, diablo

Meet my childhood friend, Diablo, a Breyer horse from 1961.  He was a great friend to my Barbie doll, too.

Now that I have turned 70 I have decided I am too old to play with horses.  Well, maybe not the real live ones (I might have another trail ride or two in my future), but certainly the ones I collected when I was a horse-mad girl.

Diablo, according to Ebay, is the only horse in my collection with any monetary value.  The other fifteen or so are porcelain and made in Japan.  Some are beautiful, though.  And might also be Ebay-worthy.  My daughter and I spent several hours yesterday unpacking the plastic bin marked “HORSES” and then scrolling through Ebay listings to see if they were worth anything.

We also ate beef stew and pumpkin pie, took down the Christmas tree and changed the decorations on the mantel.  As far as a first day of 2022, it was a good one.

Rhode Island’s governor has issued yet another mask mandate, so once again I plan to spend the winter inside my house.  It is time for a new purge, starting with horses and hopefully ending with more cleared shelves in the storage room.

I have enough quilting fabric to last through a half dozen more “variants”, so no worries there.  And today I will inventory the freezers and pantries to see what meals we will eat between now and when we leave for Idaho in April.

So…what are you doing this winter?  And what would you do with a dozen “Made in Japan” porcelain horse figurines?



Posted in just for fun, rhode island, secondhand stuff | Leave a comment

merry christmas 2021

Merry Christmas from our cabin to yours.

For many good reasons we are not spending the holidays in a remote mountain cabin, but I did think this would have made a good Christmas card.

The old hippies are still going strong.

May 2022 bring us all good health, peace and buckets of joy.



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finished and delivered

The “Octopus Quilt” is finished.  And delivered to Angela (she of cancer-care fame), Jeff and kids on Wednesday.

I explained that it was for snuggling on the couch.  It can be thrown in the washer and dryer, no problem.

It is to be used.

Angela loved the documentary “My Octopus  Teacher”.  It inspired her love for these sea creatures and is truly an incredible movie.  It’s one of those movies where you sit in wonder as you realize that there is so much that you don’t know about this fascinating world we inhabit.  And what a miraculous world it is!

I used other fabrics–whales and anchors and seals–to make up the blocks.  It’s the simplest and least complicated quilt I have ever made, but I wanted the blocks to be huge enough so that the octopus pattern would show to an advantage.

I hope you have time during the holidays to grab some wine or a cup of tea and see this movie.  I guarantee you will be impressed.

Posted in a more pie opinion, friends, movies, quilting, rhode island | 1 Comment

my father’s favorite gig

My father loved playing Santa Claus. Here he is back in the 90’s, greeting the crowds assembled at the local mall the day after Thanksgiving.

He arrived by helicopter that year.

“Don’t tell your mother,” he begged. His usual transportation was a fire truck, but when the opportunity arose to arrive by copter he just couldn’t resist. My mother never knew.

Dad loved children, so being Santa at various venues was right up his alley. Can you tell?

Posted in family, rhode island | 2 Comments