and so we are thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope you are looking forward to a lovely day of food and family and friends.  And pie.

The day before Thanksgiving last year:

The day before Thanksgiving this year:

And now it is Thanksgiving morning and all is well.  There is much to do before folks arrive, but I wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Every place I’ve been lately–doctor’s offices, grocery stores, pharmacy—I’ve been cheerfully told by the people working to “Have a Happy Thanksgiving” and “Have a wonderful holiday!”

There is a cheerfulness and joy in the air that I haven’t heard for years. Is it because the isolating Covid restrictions are a thing of the past?  Or do we New Englanders, with our Plymouth Rock and Pilgrim ancestors, claim this holiday with proprietary gusto?  Banjo Man thinks it’s in part because, no matter which way we voted, the stress of the election is over.

What do you think?

We had some very, very good news yesterday after a visit with Angela (aka Doctor from Heaven). Banjo Man’s PSA number–the number that tracks the cancer in his body– has dropped significantly in the past month of treatment.  A major triumph!

I am going to open a bottle of Proseco and toast to having him around for a good, long time to come.

Join me, why don’t you?

Posted in family, food, friends, rhode island, the cancer fight | 4 Comments

a little bit of sewing

This is a “poker” pillowcase for the Funny Grandson. A highlight of his summer was camping at the cabin and learning to play poker with his father, uncle and grandfather.

I took him into the local quilt store to show him “where quilts come from”, since I have made him quite a few of them. He roamed up and down every aisle, checked out every fabric on display and announced he would like a “poker quilt”.

Instead he’s getting a pillowcase.

And I added some moose.

My Christmas gift-making is finished, so I pulled out this top from the closet shelf to machine quilt. But first it had to be basted on the kitchen island.

It’s a riotous celebration of blues and all things floral.

This is a pattern from Kaffe Fasset that I have loved for a long time, so long ago that I couldn’t afford to buy the book it was in and would have to go to Barnes & Noble to take notes. That was before taking pictures on cell phones, so I drew diagrams, too.

Daughter Nancy gives me the newest Kaffe Fasset book each year for my birthday. I can’t wait to see what beautiful ideas await!

$34.95 in 2001.

Posted in family, quilting, rhode island | 1 Comment

a little banjo man update

Since we’ve returned to Rhode Island we’ve been consumed with medical appointments and tests. The first one? A PSMA PET scan in Waterford, Connecticut.

You’re wondering what that is. Well, it’s something new (and wonderful) that uses a new “radioactive imaging agent” to bond with and detect prostate cancer.

It was a foggy, rainy, traffic-filled day, full of delays and frustrations (we had to turn around no less than five times), but ten hours after we left home we were back safe and sound and grateful to have the day–and the test–over with.

The results–that the cancer has spread to lymph nodes–was not a surprise. In fact, we all expected it. But the realization that it had NOT spread to bones or brain or organs was something to celebrate. We are lucky.

What next? The hormone therapy shots started two days later and radiation will begin in January and last for six weeks.

Banjo Man has been moving slowly, due to the new treatment. He still loves working in the yard, blowing leaves, raking, etc. but he limits the time he spends doing it. Smart decision.

He is taking it easy. Very easy.

And that’s just the way it should be.

Summer 2020.
Posted in family, rhode island, the cancer fight | 2 Comments

confessions of a weather wimp

Football weather? I think not. Last weekend I turned on the air conditioners. It was 76 degrees and humid. I whined a bit.  Okay, a lot.

Yesterday, FINALLY, the temperatures dipped to somewhere in the 50’s, with bright sun and blue skies. More of the same today. Oh, does that bring happiness!

A few recent highlights:

My two trick-or-treaters!

Basting a quilt on the kitchen island, but I can’t show it to you because it’s a gift.

An afternoon with Harley Chick led to making a block from her beautiful and impressive fabric stash.

I’ve never seen this bumper sticker before!

The rain comes tomorrow, but that’s fine with me.  It’s time to think about Thanksgiving (I’ve already bought the turkey breasts and frozen spinach).  I have ordered a couple of Christmas presents.  I have cut out a pillowcase for the Funny Grandson and will stitch it up this weekend.

Winter is coming.

And I think I might be okay with that.  For now.


Posted in family, quilting, rhode island | 2 Comments

change? what change?

Dealing with Banjo Man about technical stuff is never easy.  In fact, it should be avoided whenever possible.

Changing technical stuff–tv, cell phones, etc–is never easy either, but if you want to save money?  It’s absolutely necessary.

Last week I attempted to deal with both of these issues at once.  But first I had to talk Banjo Man into giving up his landline and only using his cell phone (which he’d been doing for the past five months anyway).

You would have though I was asking him to cut off his hand.  But how am I going to fax, he cried.

No one faxes anymore.  No one has fax machines.  You can scan on your phone, remember?

I also wanted to ditch our TV service and stick to streaming.  We’d used You Tube TV all summer and liked it.  This would leave one bill for the internet and I’d learned we could upgrade our speed for the same price we have now.

The other part of this Massive Technological Change was to switch to a cheaper cell phone provider.  I researched for hours and decided upon Visible, a Verizon sub-company that uses the same towers but is a lot cheaper if you already own your phones.

Banjo Man had no idea what I was so excited about.  He thought tv programs came from the cell phones.  He understood nothing I said, even though I explained it all to him, oh, sixty or seventy times.

I even drew a diagram.

His job in all of this?  Contact his clients and family and friends about his change of phone number.

You would have thought I’d asked him to build an airplane.

Every day he promises to contact everyone, but until he does I will not be able to “cut the cords”.  I did change the cell phone service.  I even learned how to replace SIM cards.

But the rest of my latest money-saving scheme is still on hold.

Can you hear me now?


Posted in family, rhode island, shopping | 2 Comments

must love dogs

Dear Westin and Marriot Bonvoy,

I think you have a big problem.

While the “Element” is a gorgeous hotel in downtown Omaha, conveniently next door to my sister-in-law and her husband, it stinks. Literally. Your carpets are stained from dog pee and poop. Your rooms reek of cleaning fluid and other, underlying odors. There were dogs everywhere, but more about that later.

There are no individual thermostats in the rooms. The guests staying there exist in whatever temperature the manager decrees.

You overbook. You don’t honor room requests, even those booked a month ahead of time. We never did get our double queen room, even after three attempts by your frazzled receptionist. We ended up in a handicapped King room with a broken handheld shower.

Your breakfast offerings are dismal. The eggs were cold. The handful of sausages, obviously microwaved several times, were served in a little casserole dish with a chipped and broken glass lid. A dog accompanied its owner to the breakfast area and was hand fed food by your breakfast “cook” while the rest of us watched in disgust.

We left a day early and fled to a Fairfield Inn & Suites that did not allow pets. The next five days of our road trip would be spent at this hotel chain, where the air was fresh and we didn’t have to breathe chemicals and fight headaches.

Yours was not the only hotel with this problem, but your hotel was by far the worst.

We had spent previous nights in Best Western hotels in Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska. The smell of cleaning fluid in their lobbies was strong. The odors in the rooms were dispelled with the AC turned to a low temperature and the fan on “high” while we went out for dinner. Did I request pet-free rooms? Yes. But I was told that there were no guarantees.

I love dogs. I have volunteered years of my life to animal rescue, fundraising and fostering homeless dogs. I am happy people can travel with their dogs. BUT can’t hotels set aside a floor of rooms that did not welcome dogs and therefore wouldn’t require such heavy cleaning fluids for other guests to have to suffer through?

In the meantime, I hope you clean up your act (and your carpets, rooms and breakfast area).


[Mrs. Banjo Man]

Posted in a more pie opinion, family, road trip, travel | 5 Comments


3049 is the magic number. Yes, we are home in Rhode Island once again as of 3:30 PM Friday. And yes, that is the number of miles we travelled from the lake to here.

Oh, my goodness.

Sunrise in Pennsylvania, our last day on the road.

Thursday, while Banjo Man was immersed in business meetings, I took advantage of the day off and attempted to swim in the chilly hotel pool. I also…relaxed. Relaxation? What a concept!

Driving at least 400 miles a day kept us busy, but we did have a “short” day on our way to Omaha for the family gathering. We stopped at the best quilt fabric store in the West.I have been here before.

There is a future quilt or two in this bag.

We had a quick but fun lunch with friends in Lincoln. And, for old time’s sake, we stopped at an antique mall on the way to our hotel. Antique malls aren’t what they used to be, so it was disappointing. Not that I wanted to buy anything! But in the past we enjoyed getting off the highway for a little exercise by roaming through aisles of so-called antiques.
I did like these newly painted kitchen carts. Great colors.  But these vases?  No, thank you.  If you collect vases this is the booth for you.

I wanted to sit in this chair and take a nap. Check out the ashtray!

There used to be quilts and tablecloths and all sorts of linens in this place, but those days are over. I saw a lot of china, glassware, Corning Ware, plus various other things that should be in a yard sale.

We didn’t stay long.

Our hotel adventure in Omaha deserves a post of its own, so that will wait.

Other notes from the road? Well, in the future (should we ever do this again) we will aim for 300-350 daily miles and do a few touristy things along the way.

We will stop calling the luggage cart “the roll-ie thing”.

We will stay at Fairfield Inn & Suites, because they don’t p*** us off.

We will know the difference between alpacas and llamas.

We will update the 10-year old Garmin GPS.

Yes, that is snow.

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almost home, day 10 on the road

Posted on the elevator at the Fairfield Inn in Davenport, Iowa

If I could jump for joy this morning I would, though I would not jump on the elevator.

Because, as you can see, many bad things could happen.

We are 387 miles from home and our own beds. It is all very exciting.

While we were gone the last huge section of the tree was cut down and removed, plus the three shattered windows were replaced. I’m anxious to see.

So the road calls! I’m ready.

Crossing the Mississippi River Tuesday.

Posted in road trip, travel | 1 Comment

looking at lake erie

It is dark. It is raining. I can barely see the white-capped waves on the lake.

We drove extra miles north of the interstate last night in order to stay at a Fairfield Inn because we love them.

We drove over 400 miles yesterday. We were up at six and on the road around 7:30. Banjo Man drove the first two hours. There was sun, there were farms, it was lovely. My turn came and the trip turned ugly: rain, construction and traffic. For hours.

Finally I had had enough and took the exit to Shipshewanna, Indiana, home of the Amish and many quilt stores. We had been here twice before, so we went right to a huge restaurant and scarfed down comfort food at the buffet.

I took a picture of mashed potatoes, but I hesitate to post it.

Uh oh. Time to hit the road. Pennsylvania and Banjo Man are calling!!

Posted in road trip, travel | 8 Comments

heading east, 2022

We’re in a Fairfield Inn in…wait a sec, let me think…

I have drawn a blank. Iowa, though. We’re in Iowa and we will be sleeping in Ohio tonight.

It’s a four state day.

I am in the breakfast room. Banjo Man is upstairs in the shower. It is 6:30 and will be a long day.

But…so far so good.

I love Montana:

And Wyoming? Glorious weather. And the sunrise?

Sometime on Friday we entered Nebraska and spent the night in Kearney.

This is a blueberry lemon margarita. It was delicious. I am pretty sure I chugged it.

Our adventures in Omaha will have to wait for another morning and another breakfast room.

It is time to get back on the road. There are miles to go before we sleep. But we are just fine and all is well, though definitely slower!

Posted in food, road trip, travel | 1 Comment