easter vacation starts thursday

I have decided to go on vacation.  Just a little one.  Six days, in fact.  Banjo Man declared he was too busy with work to make the trip with me, so once again I will head to Texas by myself.

Have cake will travel:

The infamous blueberry cake, the Funny Grandson’s favorite.

I’m not sure how this turned out, due to a different oven and different pans than what I use at the lake.  This thing weighs about 20 pounds.  It may or may not be edible.

I need to remind my Texans not to get too excited when they see it.  But the Funny Grandson is very happy that it’s going to be in Grandma’s suitcase and probably won’t be too critical.

A couple of weeks ago, after Face-Timing, I decided that I need some hugs from a 10-year old with big brown eyes.

Speaking of traveling, Southwest once again changed our flights to the lake in April.   This time they totally cancelled our flight from Providence to Denver.  That was a bit of a shock.  After a stressful hour on the phone with Southwest I booked a flight from Boston to Denver.  We will connect with our previously-booked Denver to Spokane flight.

Getting to Boston by train is not easy on a Saturday.  There would be six hours between arriving in Boston and then flying out of it, plus we would have five months of luggage with us.  So, believe it or not, Banjo Man and I have hired a car to take us from our home to the Southwest terminal at Logan airport.

I’ve decided to call it our 50th wedding anniversary gift to each other.

Tomorrow marks 2 weeks since we have received our vaccines, so we are relieved and happy about that.

Over this morning’s coffee, we discussed burning driftwood on the beach while looking for arrowheads while the lake level is still low.  In 26 days or so, we’ll be drinking coffee and looking at the mountains while we clean up our little corner of the lake.

And maybe even nibbling on blueberry cake.


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

thou shalt not kill

We’re really enjoying this series.  It’s on Amazon with a Masterpiece Theatre subscription.

We have a lot of subscriptions.

Season 1 might also be available on Amazon Prime, but I am not positive about that.

This police drama is set in Turin, Italy and stars a detective who not only solves murders but is dealing with the mystery surrounding her mother’s imprisonment for murdering her father.  It’s a compelling story arc and that, along with some interesting crimes, makes for a great night on the couch.

I was going to dismiss it due to having to read English subtitles, but Banjo Man and I adjusted within minutes and are now on Season 3.

Goditi lo spettacolo!


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beds, fog, spring and a meme

First the meme:

Yesterday morning we had the infamous Weather Watch.  Why, you ask?  Fog.  Yep, we were fogged in and you know what that means?  Spring!

It was all very exciting to look out the window.

Speaking of spring, yesterday afternoon I went out without wearing a coat or a vest or a sweater.  I have been looking for daffodils but no sign of them yet.  But I know they’re coming.

Today I’m going mattress shopping with my daughter.  I did this a few years ago with my mother, who was 90 at the time.  It was an interesting process.  The salesman had Mom try three different mattresses and then pick the one she liked.  The process continued, three at a time, until Mom was happy.  It was something like getting an eye exam–“This one or this one?” as the lenses are changed–and surprisingly painless.

And although my mother was rarely happy with her purchases–returning things to stores was her much-enjoyed hobby–the mattress stayed in her apartment.  Unlike the new recliner, whose return to the furniture store was a crisis and ended in tears (mine and the saleswoman’s).

Note:  I do not intend to cry at the furniture store this afternoon.

If time and energy permit, I’ll pick up my new cell phone, buy blueberries, birthday cards and butter.  And maybe Nancy and I will take a ride to Narragansett to see if the ocean is still there.

The joys of spring continue.

Lifeguard stands at Matunuck Beach await Memorial Day.

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the new phone

Wednesday afternoon was historic in two ways.  One, I received my second Covid vaccine and two, scurried to the Verizon store to buy Banjo Man’s new I-phone from Kyle, a shy young man who might have been new at his job.

I thought about joking around a bit, but Kyle was very, very busy setting up the phone with our account.  Having had experience on the Verizon website I knew what a spiderweb of frustration that can be, so I sat quietly on my side of the desk and left him to it.

There was a moment, while setting up passwords and such, that I told Kyle that he didn’t know how lucky he was that my husband wasn’t here because this would take an extra hour and would require Kyle to answer, oh, two or three hundred questions.

He smiled politely, but he moved on to transferring info and files from the old Samsung to the new phone.  And then he stopped.  His eyes bugged out and he turned to me.

“I transferred all of his email over,” he gulped.   And showed me.

“See what I mean about him not being here?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said and allowed himself to grin.  “I’ve never seen that before.”

I wanted to say if you’re nasty to me I’ll send my husband in to ask you how to delete 72,000 emails.

But Kyle was a serious kid and I didn’t want to tease him.  I waited to laugh until I was back in the car.

So I probably looked insane, a white-haired “elderly loved one” laughing by herself alone in her car.

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.





Posted in family, just for fun, rhode island, shopping | 4 Comments

pulling a plug

No, we’re not moving off the grid, though if Banjo Man has his way his cabin will be successfully off the grid by the end of September, 2021.

We’re not cutting the cord, either.  I did the math on removing cable tv and we wouldn’t save all that much money, though if it was up to me I would happily exist with streaming content only.

It has taken two years, but I have finally convinced my husband to agree to eliminate one of our land lines.  In other words, the home phone is soon to be no more.

6609,  you know who you are and your days are numbered.

90% of the calls are spam and there are at least a dozen a day.  Only four people call us on that line.  We love those four people a lot, but I’m sure they can (a) dial one of our cell phones or (b) dial Banjo Man’s landline office number.

It ends in “1237”, in case you are confused about how to call him.  Feel free to dial that line at any time.  We are here.  We are always here.  We are rarely anywhere else but here.

Speaking of phones, I have also convinced my husband to switch to an I-phone.  I’m arranging it for him today, immediately after I get my second vaccine shot.  “Kyle” at Verizon Wireless is standing by.

I don’t know what is happening this week, but Banjo Man is uncharacteristically compliant.

I tested this by arranging a large display of Easter candy on the kitchen island yesterday afternoon.  We have not had Easter candy in the house in fifteen years.  He thought it was great.

He thought it was great?????

I think he has his eye on a marshmallow rabbit.

Posted in family | 1 Comment

what’s in the box

When Ebay began, I jumped on the bandwagon and fell in love with bidding on things.  I’d take a break from writing to scroll through whalebone and vintage fabrics, Nantucket antiques and whaling ephemera.

I enjoyed Amazon, too.  Ordering books was never so easy and I didn’t even have to leave my desk to shop.  For many, many years I’ve ordered online from fabric stores and computer supply stores.  I’ve bought fig jam.  And musical instruments.  French soap.  Vacuum cleaners.  Protein bars.

The list goes on and on.  You know exactly what I mean, because you’re doing it, too.  Today I’m expecting the delivery of a new computer mouse, having drowned my former one in hot coffee yesterday.

Banjo Man retrieves the boxes and bags deposited by the back door and carries them upstairs to the kitchen island.  And then he hovers, waiting for me to show him what I’ve bought.

Sometimes I don’t remember.

Many, many times Banjo Man lifts a bag or box and cheerfully accuses me of buying “air”.  Are  you sure there’s something in there, he’ll joke.  And I’ll rip open the box to reveal sewing machine needles or pins or a cd.

It’s a thing we old folks do to amuse ourselves.

But last Sunday?

Inside the package there really was “air”.  It was empty.  No little $3.84 computer cord for my Garmin, no packing receipt, nada.

I couldn’t wait to show Banjo Man.  His “air” prediction had finally come true!

It was a little tricky trying to “return” something that didn’t exist.  Amazon didn’t have a box to check for that.  So I ordered a replacement and was told I didn’t have to return the “damaged” original.  Which was good, because mailing air back and forth is hitting a new low, even during these strange and awful times.




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feeling all the feels

I love this phrase:  “all the feels”.

It makes me laugh.

So, when I tell you that looking at my new rug and towels in my freshly-painted bathroom gives me all the feels, you know I am happy.

This is not the best photo, but at least you can see the rug.  And yes, I need to cut the tags off of the towels before I get on with my life.

I’m feelin’ all the feels about this scrap project, too.

The squares are 4 1/2″.  Some day it will be a quilt.  Some day soon.

Speaking of phrases, this morning I head off to meet with a nurse practitioner in a new-to-me medical practice (our longtime doctor retired last month).  There have been two major miscommunications and mangled appointments, so today it’s “three time’s the charm” or “three strikes and you’re out”.

What’s your favorite phrase, as of March 2021?



Posted in quilting, rhode island, shopping | 6 Comments

we think it’s spring, oh yes we do

Posing by the ocean in my Saturday afternoon going-to-the-dump outfit.

Here in Rhode Island if the temperature is above 55, it’s not snowing, the sun is shining and it’s March (or April), we call it Spring.

Sometimes I get all dressed up and ride along with Banjo Man when he goes to the dump.  I know that he will head over to Narragansett and drive along the ocean if I am with him.

We call that a “date” now.

And we are very happy about it.  Can you tell?

He looks a little grumpy but he is actually filled with joy.


Thursday morning we drove up to Providence so Banjo Man could have some bloodwork done at the VA.  Our doctor retired, so Banjo Man is trying something new.  So far so good.  Bonus:  we were five minutes away from Federal Hill and all that lovely Italian food.

And our favorite restaurant, Andino’s, which–thank goodness–is still standing.

Alas, it was barely 10:30 AM.  We sat in the car in the hospital parking lot and debated whether or not to head over to “the Hill”, kill some time and show up at Andino’s for a major pasta lunch at 11:30.

My poor husband struggled, but in the end decided to go home and get back to work.

We ate a couple of bananas and were home in less than an hour.

Fact:  bananas do not taste like homemade pasta.


Posted in family, rhode island | 2 Comments

an elderly loved one speaks out

It has been somewhat shocking to me that in this time of Covid, Banjo Man and I are in the category of “elderly loved ones”.

This past year people were urged to check on their “elderly loved ones”, to bring us food, to give us rides to the doctor and to the grocery store.

Now folks are being urge to get the vaccine in order to protect their elderly loved ones.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

I think it’s wonderful to help out our elderly neighbors and assorted loved ones, but I had no idea that Banjo Man and I had achieved such status.  We don’t feel elderly at all.

Last May Angela brought us toilet paper and tulips, but I know she didn’t do it because we were her “elderly loved ones”.  Or at least I hope not.

Fact:  You can never have too much toilet paper or too many tulips.

Which leads me to other new, trendy phrases I find annoying…

“Spill the tea.”  Look, whatever you call it, it’s gossiping.  Spilling the tea may sound refined and genteel, but the people who say they are doing it–or about to do it–sound very mean, as if they relish being nasty.  And yes, I’m talking about you, people on television!  And people on blogs.  And the god-awful Twitter.

“Speak my truth”.   As opposed to what?  I wince when I hear this phrase because I suspect something whiney or preachy is going to be revealed.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love autobiographies, from Billy Joe Shaver to Sammy Davis, Jr, and as a child read every single biography in the elementary school library.  So, please, simply tell me about yourself.  Or better yet, show me.  Keep your “truth” to yourself and let your behavior illustrate the kind of person you are.

“Unpack”, as in unpacking one’s feelings.  Or issues.  I thought this was clever when I heard it the first time.  Nicely visual, in fact.  But the tenth or hundredth or thousandth time?  No, thanks.  Deal with your issues and unpack your suitcase.

Now that I have that off my chest…let’s celebrate the vaccines!!!  And the return to normalcy!!!

I’ve been in and out of stores these past weeks and it’s so obvious that people are much more cheerful.  So many strangers have wanted to chat with me as we stand in cash register lines or pause in front of a row of canned goods at the grocery store.  At an appointment this morning the doctor wanted to discuss Idaho’s wolf population in great detail.  I smile behind my mask after every conversation.

We get our second round of vaccinations next week.

We’ll try not to break a hip when we do a happy dance.





Posted in a more pie opinion, rhode island | 4 Comments

a little makeover in covid prison

I have a very ugly bathroom.  It has always been ugly, actually.  The kids painted it brown for me about twenty years ago.  I thought it would look elegant with white trim and hide the ugly wood-trimmed medicine cabinet and lighting fixture.

It didn’t look elegant.

Holes have been spackled and now it’s time to remove the light fixture and medicine cabinet.

Four weeks ago I asked Banjo Man if he would paint one wall for me (I was always the painter in the family but can no longer do such a thing, which irks me no end) so I could get a mirror and a new light.

We had lots of ivory paint leftover from the kitchen remodel, so all he had to do was haul the giant bucket upstairs and stir the paint for an hour or two (just kidding).

He ended up painting two walls with three coats of paint.

First coat on!

And he painted the cabinet doors.

And then my hero decided to paint the whole damn bathroom, which was an excellent decision.

I bought a curved shower rod, which was a nightmare to install.

I bought a towel holder that was also a nightmare to install and was returned to Amazon, along with a scathing review.

Purchase at your own risk.

As Banjo Man stepped out of his shed (after a search for screws for the shower rod) last Sunday afternoon he came within seconds of being hit by an Amazon delivery truck.  The sound of screeching brakes still gives me the shivers.

I spent an entire morning reading about toilet paper holders.  Did you know there are approximately seven different designs?

Here’s the winner, which I love:

I don’t take my cell phone into the bathroom (so I don’t need that shelf), but I really, really loved the double roll design.  It must have been easy to install, because I heard no bad words coming from the bathroom whilst my husband was completing the task yesterday.

The 36″ square mirror weighed a lot.  So Banjo Man built a shelf for it to rest upon.  I have always wanted a shelf so my joy knew no bounds.  I couldn’t believe we hung the monster mirror without breaking it.

Oh, the joy!

I think I’m going to decorate with navy blue, but I’m not sure.  I’ve been to Home Goods and TJ Maxx, but their hand towel selections are almost all white or gray.  I don’t care for gray, ever.  And I’m tired of white.  But I’m in no hurry to decide.

Here’s the just-about-finished photo.  It’s not up to Pinterest standards, but it’s a huge improvement and I am absolutely thrilled.  The new plantation blinds arrived  yesterday, which is Banjo Man’s final task.

It’s amazing what paint can do, isn’t it?

Posted in rhode island, shopping | 10 Comments