blowin’ in the wind

“The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first – a process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.”    

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Speaking of manageable proportions

Three days ago My French Friend Janou extolled the advantages of owning a leaf blower to Banjo Man.

He put down his rake and listened.  Then he drove to town the next morning to buy himself one of these magical pieces of equipment.

With his new tool, he has cleared the driveway and the back patio and has moved onto the lawns.  In just a few hours.

We had never understood the principle behind a leaf blower.  Aren’t you just blowing leaves into the street or into someone else’s yard?  Maybe.  But we live in the woods.  There is no street, no neighbor’s yard to consider.

It’s just us.  And a bazillion leaves to remove from the gardens and the lawns.

The task of raking leaves had become more and more daunting each year.  Banjo Man would fill 100 garbage cans with leaves and haul them to the “leaf hole” in the woods to decompose.

Now I realize that leaf removal isn’t one of those problems Dwight Eisenhower would consider “complex”, but it is an annual nuisance and a pretty big chore even though Banjo Man loves being outside on chilly fall days.

I think he owes MFFJ a big thank you and a glass of wine.  Or two.

I wonder what other “Ancient Rules” Dwight pondered.




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new recipes and old friends


Banjo Man and My French Friend Janou made dinner together.  It was a beef soup of some kind and there were many differences of opinion as to what should go into the pot.  So it was a rather hilarious thing to listen to from my spot on the couch.

I was so glad I was on the other side of the room and not remotely involved.  Hey, I wasn’t even going to eat it!  Since my No More Cancer medication I’d lost my appetite for beef.  Give me a piece of cheese for dinner and I’m happy.

Yesterday Janou and I headed up to Providence for my ultrasound, which came out just fine but took forever.  And then we stopped at Denny’s for a very late breakfast on the way home.  Janou loved Denny’s.

Everyone loves Denny’s.

It was raining.  I took a nap when we arrived home.  And a few hours later Banjo Man and Janou were in the kitchen together.

Yes, it was hilarious.

Tonight Banjo Man is making scallop salad and baking salmon.  I know Janou will help him.  They will have a good time.

And I will be on the couch.  I have more energy during the day but after about 4 pm I’m pretty much done and ready to put my feet up.

I don’t think anyone misses me in the kitchen.



Posted in family, food, friends, rhode island, the cancer fight | 2 Comments

planes, trains and automobiles


Built in 1875 and lovingly protected and restored by the Friends of the Kingston Railroad Station.  Not even a major fire and the threat of demolition could destroy this landmark.

I took the train to Boston yesterday to meet My French Friend Janou at Logan airport and bring her back to Rhode Island for a two-week visit.

Oh, we’re going to have a good time!

But first I had to retrieve her.

The train is always lovely and South Station in Boston is a bustling, interesting place in the center of the city.  I decided not to brave the subway to the airport (I am not capable of learning new things at the moment), so I chickened out and took a taxi.

So easy.

What wasn’t easy was finding MFFJ at Terminal B!  I’d assumed she’d have luggage, so I headed over to the luggage carousel to meet her as she grabbed her suitcase.  Turns out she just had two carry-on bags and was looking for me at the terminal across the street.

We eventually found each other–oh, the joy of cell phones!!!–and popped back into a taxi to head back to South Station.  We had time for a snack before our train was announced and we were heading south to Kingston Station.

An hour later and there was Banjo Man, waiting to pick us up.  He had roast beef sandwiches and butternut squash soup waiting for us, the tired and hungry travelers.

Conversation and tequila in front of the fireplace would follow.  As would an early bedtime.

Today the sun is shining.  I think we’ll go for a ride and make sure the ocean is still there.

Posted in friends, rhode island, travel | 4 Comments

a little music on sunday morning

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inhaling blue


While waiting for Banjo Man to join me at the car for a trip to the dump yesterday afternoon, I looked up.

Oh, what a shade of blue!

I grabbed my phone and took a picture, of course, but the color isn’t as deep a blue in the photo as it was in the sky.

I tried again, using a filter.

IMG_3681 (Edited)

Nope, not the right color either.

Are these better?  Closer, yes.  But the real thing was better.  As it usually is.



So I leaned against the car, looked up at the sky and took many, many deep breaths.  When Banjo Man finally stepped aside he asked me what I was doing.

“Inhaling blue,” was my response.

My favorite color.



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ghosts of halloween(s) past

First of all, let me shout out a “Happy Birthday” to my brother.  Yes, his birthday is on Halloween.   And yes, there was always a party before we went out trick-or-treating.


Six months old with his first Halloween ahead of him.

He looks very dapper in that hat!

Check out E.T.


1982. I made this incredibly intricate costume for my eldest son.

Last month I brought E.T. to Texas, just in case anyone there wanted it.  And because Banjo Man had declared he was not going to store it for another 30 years.  E.T. was so big he had his own suitcase.


I was so proud of this creation, but over the years Will figured he was being tortured.  Gee, I wonder why!  Do you think he’s scarred for life?


1987.  Will had graduated from ladybugs to ghouls.   And Nancy was some kind of pink fairy princess.


1982:  Miss Piggy.

And then there’s 1985:


I was a witch–my “go to” costume for decades–but I don’t know what Banjo Man was.  But his pants were pink-striped.

Don’t ask.

And here’s one more:

Hope halloween

1982, in Hope.  I still have the coffee table.  Notice that Will is holding on to his “tail” while Ben is choking him.

Happy Halloween, everyone.  I hope you enjoy the candy!





Posted in family, just for fun | 2 Comments

sitting pretty


This was Banjo Man’s office chair.  So embarrassing.  (And yes, that is a Nebraska Cornhuskers Barbie doll in the corner–a gift from my son during his first year at the University).

We went to Staples Monday, as Banjo Man thought I needed a new and comfy desk chair to help with my aches and pains.  I absolutely did not want to commit to a new chair, but I saw my opportunity to replace his.  There was a sale.  His heart beat faster.  He sat in every single chair–twice–before settling on a gray leather beauty.

After grumbling about the high cost of pens and Post It notes, he had a good time joking around with the young man who assembled the chair and helped him load it into the car.


Who needs foam now?  No one!


He looks quite pleased, doesn’t he?





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turner in mystic


J.M.W.  Turner watercolor

We went to the long-awaited Turner exhibit at the Mystic Seaport Museum last Saturday.  It was the most beautiful day of the fall.  Barbara and Rod went with us, as they too were anxious to see this Turner exhibit (the only showing in North America), thanks to the Tate Gallery in Britain sharing over 90 works of the famous artist.

I think we’ll go back and see it again before it leaves on February 28.  There was so much to take in and study.

We also strolled through the “village”, visited the whaling exhibition, stopped in to see the figurehead display and roamed a gift shop or two.


Ship’s figurehead.  Not your typical bosomy woman holding flowers.

I took this to amuse Barb’s grown children.


Barbara makes me laugh a lot.  Can you tell?


It felt so good to sit down.

The next day it rained.  Oh, did it rain!  Loud and constant, the downpour made it easy to settle into my office and work on the quilt.  And rest a bit.  I’m afraid my new cancer-fighting medication might be dumping some painful side affects on my slowly-healing self.  My newest mantra is, “At least I’m alive.”

I repeat that to myself many, many times a day.  It’s so true!

More gratitude and less complaining is my goal for November.  

Posted in friends, rhode island, the cancer fight, travel | 3 Comments

making progress


Banjo Man said this quilt would be a “pleasant jolt” to our visitors.  I think that’s hilarious.  Maybe that describes more than a few of my wild quilts!

And here is a picture I took in front of a restaurant across the street from the Post Office.  If this doesn’t look like fall I don’t know what does.


How did they lift that giant pumpkin on top of the table?


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the woodpecker war

It’s that time of year again.  The woodpeckers arrive and attempt to drill holes in the cedar trim of our house.


The noise is really something, so several times a day Banjo Man and I open the back door or front door and yell, “Hey!  Get out of here!

It’s good we live in the woods and no one can hear us but the woodpeckers.  Not that they care, really.  We’ll get a couple of hours of peace and then the noise–both the woodpeckers and ours– begins again.

I’ve read that installing something shiny might help, but neither my husband or I will be getting on a ladder to staple aluminum foil 15 feet high.

So we yell.   And wait for winter.



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