baking oldies and goodies

Ben, my oldest son, loves Snickerdoodles. Sadly I stopped baking cookies when I started writing books. It was an “either/or” thing.

So I decided to bake these cookies for him (he’ll be here at the lake in about a month) and googled the old recipe from Betty Crocker that I’d used over 40 years ago. And since Google can find just about anything, here they are.



1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Steps: Heat oven to 400. Mix sugar, butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl until fluffy. Mix dry ingredients and add to the sugar-butter mixture until mixed completely.

Shape dough into 1 1/2″ balls. Mix the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon and roll the balls into the mixture. Place 2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

(I doubled the recipe, made the balls a bit bigger and ended up with about 5 dozen cookies).

And then I sent a picture to Ben to show him what is waiting for him. I think he is really happy about that.

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our new little friend

Pardon my finger.

Here is the Beast. Welcome, Beast.

Have you experienced the shortages in lumber, building supplies, caulk, generators, etc. in the country right now? Banjo Man sawa a different generator in a store in town and came home to research it. Two days later he returned to the store to buy one, only to find out they were gone. As in, we don’t know when we will ever get another shipment.

So he saw a friend in the parking lot of Home Depot and the friend gave him some advice on generators and Banjo Man returned to the other store and bought a different model.

We think it’s going to be a huge success.

When we saw a camping stove and a griddle in the same store I insisted we buy it NOW. That’s what you have to do now: buy it when you see it.

In fact, that’s what I have always done with quilting fabric. I buy it when I see it. See? Who knew how smart I am?

Posted in lake, shopping | 3 Comments


I went to my very first yoga class Monday night.

I think I survived it, but I’m not quite sure.

It was the easiest yoga class in the history of yoga, billed as a Beginner Yoga workshop for three Mondays in a row. Monday night about ten of us sat on our brand new mats at the Community Center and learned how to breathe.

I loved that part. I’ve read a zillion times how deep breathing is important and good for stress and anxiety and promotes all sorts of health. I am not a healthy breather, but I will learn. The sweet, patient instructor advised us to practice.

And then there were some “basic” positions. We sort of learned four of them. I was in the front row (big mistake) so I couldn’t see if anyone else was as twisted and confused as I was, but several times the instructor came by and told me to “sink into your hips.”

I still don’t know what that means, but next Monday night I will try to do it again.

Yesterday I expected to feel sore, but I didn’t. And then as the day wore on? Everything was sore–but not in a bad way–from the top of my head to my toes. I was in bed at 7:30. I wasn’t asleep, but I spent some time shopping online for a keychain wallet that will hold my driver’s license, gym card and a $20 bill (in case I go to the Pantry after swimming to get a sandwich).

As I told Banjo Man, I am an athlete now and I need the proper gear. And more Tylenol.

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lake treasures

Check out that beautiful round ball.  And the rock that looks like a leather ear.  And the perfect “skipper” for Banjo Man.

As my mother would say, there’s “no rhyme or reason” to my choices.  She said that to me a lot and it wasn’t necessarily a compliment, only a baffled observation.  But it always made me laugh.

I also picked up a few scraps of driftwood for our Mother’s Day campfire.

First campfire of 2021.

Am I excited about the upcoming summer?  You bet I am.  Yesterday I made up the guest beds, hauled all of the quilts out of the closet and ordered a new cotton blanket on Amazon.  Banjo Man intends to rebuild the fire pit and I have written “marshmallows” on my grocery list.

My daily mission is (a) search the beach for arrowheads, (b) pick up driftwood for future campfires and (c) cook or bake something to freeze.

Today it might be cookies.



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happy day to all of you ladies out there

And best card ever!!!!

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mother’s day, past and present, in 2021

See the white plastic bag in the back? A bouquet of flowers was lovingly protected from the rain.

I went to town this morning and, boy, was it busy in the grocery stores!  And you know what that meant:  people were getting together with their families to celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow.  Families will be together again!

Be still my heart.

I remember one particular Mother’s Day here at the lake, when the boys were young (Will was two, I think, so it was 1979) and the four of us went down to the Denton Slough to “fish”.  We mostly sat and played by the water on a warm, cloudy day.  I have a picture of it somewhere.  I am wearing a halter top and look undernourished.

That is a sweet and treasured memory from a very, very simple time.

There were two other Mother’s Days here in the last dozen years or so.  One time I was totally alone and spent hours on the beach looking for arrowheads, drinking coffee and taking pictures of rocks.  It was lovely and quiet.

Another time I was with Banjo Man,  George and Sarge.  I have a photo of the three of them looking a bit grumpy at a restaurant in town where we had lunch.  Hilarious!

Last year at this time I had just buried my mother.  We were in the midst of the Covid lockdown.  I just asked daughter Nancy if she remembers anything about last year, but she said it’s a blank.  I agree.  I’m sure we stayed away from each other.  Rhode Island was shut down, as almost every state was.

The year before that we had a crazy, miserable, insane family breakfast at Denny’s.  My mother was not in a good mood, it rained buckets for what seemed like an endless drive to the restaurant, the breakfast took over an hour to arrive, I hadn’t told anyone about the cancer and was in pain.  My daughter kept shooting me looks, the kind that say I know something’s wrong and you’re not telling me.

I spent the rest of the day in bed, under the covers, feeling sorry for myself and guilty for not providing my mother with the kind of Mother’s Day she had expected.

Tomorrow Banjo Man has offered dinner out.  Or breakfast out.  Or lunch somewhere.  But I think I’d like to go down to the beach, drink coffee, look for arrowheads and take pictures of rocks.  And maybe take a ride to the Denton Slough,  just for old time’s sake.

I hope your Mother’s Day is filled with love and lots of hugs!



Posted in family, lake | 3 Comments

the pantry is calling and i must go

When Dancing Mandolin Player asked if I wanted to go to the Pantry and pick out a pie, of course I say YES!

And so we did.  Mixed Berry, to be exact.

“What about this one?”

And then we sat down and shared a giant cinnamon roll.

Decadent?  Absolutely.  But a welcome treat that means we are back at the lake.

I think I need to go back to the Pantry today for dry mustard, as I used all I had while making three giant pans of macaroni and cheese.  It will take all my self-control to resist the baked goods.

Have I told you I’ve been cooking?

Meatballs, shepherd’s pie, cakes, and lasagnas are stacked in the freezer.  And I am having so much fun getting ready for the summer partying to begin.  Banjo Man thinks the freezer is almost full, but he is so wrong.  Once I stack it all efficiently, there will be room for enchiladas (even though I can’t believe everyone isn’t sick of them) and spicy pulled pork and slow-baked pork ribs (if they ever appear on sale at the grocery store).

My boys love to buy pie at the Pantry.  It’s a summer Thing.  As is a freezer full of casseroles.




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we are here at the lake for 2021

I’m so sorry for the delay in posting.  An issue with WordPress is now solved and I am back on track once again.

The trick now will be to access my photos from the phone and for some reason this has become impossible.  For now.  But getting better.  I may or may not have it under control.

Our trip from Boston was uneventful, but wearing a mask pretty much non-stop for 11 hours is not something I recommend.  Even Banjo Man was grumpy and had a headache after the seventh hour.  I’m usually the one who whines and bitches incessantly, but this time he joined me.

We arrived after 11 PM and spent the night in Spokane.  The next morning?  Groceries!

Stop #1.

Woods sausages at Stop #2.

And then, at last, the lake.

The water is down, but coming up a little bit more every day.

And a trip to the cabin.

And so it begins…and we are so happy to be here.


Posted in family, food, lake, shopping, travel | 3 Comments

a few pictures from rhode island

We are packing up and getting ready to head west in a few days.  Oh, the joy of it all!

Harley Chick brought me a present (she made it herself–I am so impressed with someone who can sew zippers).

This will be in my carry-on bag, of course.  I love it.  So pretty!

Finish #12, as of this morning.  The binding is on, as is the label.   The hand-stitching will have to wait until the fall, when I am on the couch watching Nebraska football.  I thought it was pretty fifteen years ago, but now I don’t.

Almost finished #13.  I’m not sure this will be completed in the next four days, but sitting at the machine keeps me from pacing, which is always a good thing.  I call it “Piano Keys”.

And finally…

Banjo Man is putting in long days in the office.  There are evenings when he can’t stay awake long enough to watch tv with me.

We have emptied our upright freezer (it’s on its deathbed) and have nothing left to eat but scallops, brussels sprouts, bacon and French fries.

I’m not sure how this is going to work, but we are definitely going out to dinner tomorrow night.


Posted in family, rhode island | 3 Comments

friday night lights

Friday night in Texas = football.  And I was there for the Funny Grandson’s flag football game.

I flew to Texas on April 1st to see the kids, all four of them.  Will picked me up Thursday evening after two easy flights on Southwest.

Note:  How do you order drinks on Southwest?  Holding up one finger = Coke, two fingers means Diet Coke, three is Seven Up and four is water.  This is so you don’t have to take off your mask to order and therefore we all looked like we were using sign language.


Friday afternoon we ate tacos and watched the new King Kong and Godzilla movie.  I may have dozed off.  And soon it was time to head to the game.

The FG predicted he would score a touchdown because his grandma was there watching.  And on the third play of the game he did!

We screamed and cheered a lot.  Like it was a Super Bowl.

It was cold and windy at the sports park. I borrowed my grandson’s favorite hat.

On Saturday Amber and I hit the grocery store for Easter supplies, then I made meatballs.  The FG and I took a walk around the neighborhood.  Uncle Will started a Nerf gun war.  And we watched basketball (Go Zags!).

Amber bought one of these gorgeous appetizer “boxes” for us.

Easter?  Here’s the party at Amber’s friend’s home.

These kids have been friends since they were born!  And now they’re growing up way too fast.  But they are so much fun to watch.  I even ate dinner at the “kids table” so I could visit with them.

Then it was time to head back to Austin and the condo, where Will and I had to make some decisions about repairing the water damage caused by the upstairs condo.  This happened long before the Big Freeze caused similar damage all over central Texas, but there were some glitches with the insurance company and the plumbers and now here we are trying to get a contractor to give us a bid for the job.

So far we’re not making much progress.

Will and I picked out new flooring, though.  And we’re afraid the cabinets are damaged, which means a bigger remodel than we first thought.

So now we wait for the insurance people to come up with the money.  But, I wonder, if they won’t come to the condo to assess the damage (Covid policy) then how do they know how extensive it is?  And if I can’t even get a contractor to return my phone calls, how do I know how extensive it is?

Things get complicated in the Time of Covid, don’t they?

I will leave you with a photo of a Texas sunset.  What a joy it was to be there!



Posted in austin, family, grandmother stuff, texas, travel | 6 Comments