last week’s tv and covid vaccines

Banjo Man received his Covid vaccine February 8 and I got mine last week, on the 24th.  Oh, happy day!  I was nervous and expecting side affects, but a sore arm and a small fever was all I had to show for it.

Piece of cake.

But until the end of March we are practicing Safe Vax, as in waiting for the recommended two weeks post-vaccine (after our second doses mid-March) to feel invincible and free.  Which means the daily question:  what are we watching tonight?

HELL’S KITCHEN has returned to Fox on Thursday nights, bringing great joy to Banjo Man.  A less-than-wonderful season of BELOW DECK has wrapped up and I’m glad.  THE BACHELOR has been full of bullying and mean girl drama, so we are sick of it.  I hope they cancel the show.  Stick a fork in it, it’s done.   We know who he picks, they’ve already broken up, and no one cares.

Which brings us to Amazon Prime and Netflix…

I’ve written about The Tunnel before, but that was before we’d watched all three seasons.  It was a wonderful show and we loved the characters.  It’s violent and sad, so be prepared.  At first I was worried about so many subtitles, but it quickly becomes more English-speaking and easier to follow after the first episode or two.  The first few episodes of Season 1 are a bit slow, but the characters develop quickly and the suspense never stops.

I do have an issue with British police detectives roaming around scary places in search of evil serial killers without having a gun.  There is a tendency to open doors and step into caves and tunnels without being armed.  So either British (and often French) police are super brave or insanely foolhardy or the writers got lazy.  I don’t know, but I loved this Amazon series despite those bits.

Also on Amazon:  Martin Freeman (of SHERLOCK and FARGO fame) is brilliant as a police detective who risks his career and his reputation to catch the killer of a missing woman in Wiltshire.  It’s based on a true story, which I always enjoy.  This 3-part drama skips the violence and murder and starts at the search of a missing girl.  The Wiltshire police do not come off well, but the mother of a missing girl who never stops campaigning for better laws and justice for her daughter?  She’s a hero.

IMPOSTERS is Banjo Man’s current favorite.  Labelled a “dark comedy” when it appeared on Bravo in 2017, its two seasons now stream on Netflix.  The writing is clever (great dialogue), as is the plot.  A beautiful young con artist sets up men to fall in love with her.  Once they’re married, she strips their bank accounts and takes everything they own.  She disappears, on to the next victim.  The fun begins when her last three victims join up to find her.  In the meantime she’s now attempting to con a very dangerous man.

My absolute favorite show of the winter has been the PBS remake of ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL.  After having owned a Pekingese, we watched the episodes with the pampered Peke Tricki-Woo with great joy.

Last week Amazon Prime and our Samsung Smart tv stopped communicating.  I did some research in an attempt to fix the problem, but learned that older (2016 and earlier) Samsung tv’s need newer firmware for Prime, but neither Prime nor Samsung supply it or care.  The solutions are to use another device to connect to Prime streaming or buy a new tv.  But since I am the Queen of Tech Supplies, I rummaged through my precious bin of cords and devices to retrieve an almost-new Amazon Fire Stick.

Banjo Man is always in awe of all things techie and, from his cozy nest on the couch, declared his shock, awe and amazement at such basic skills.  Hilarious!  The downside?  I now have four remotes to juggle.

And that’s all the news from the couch.


Posted in rhode island, television | 4 Comments

rhode island’s favorite toy is woke

Our little state has been in turmoil for years.  Bankruptcy, federal takeover of the largest school district, Speakers of the House ending up in prison (as have a mayor and a handful of state representatives).  Summer and fall protests, looting, burning, attacking diners on Federal Hill.  The list goes on and on, but I’ll spare you the rest.  Let’s just say the FBI keeps busy here in the smallest state of the union.

And of course Covid.  Or Corona, as it was known as a year ago.  The previous weeks have been rough, as the vaccine rollout was barely a trickle and no one appeared to be in charge to address the problems.  Our governor is leaving for DC.  Amidst the screaming from mayors and state reps, this week the Covid vaccine began to be available to those 65 and older.  Now that CVS, local senior centers and a state-run mega site are distributing the vaccine, people are beginning to schedule their shots.  A sigh of relief was heard o’er the land.

But the real issue?  The reason people in this state were in an uproar this week?

Mr. Potato Head has dropped the “Mr.” in order to be “gender neutral”.  He will now be sold as Potato Head.

Which is hilarious, especially because Rhode Islanders are so miffed.  If there was a State Toy, this would be ours.  In other words, don’t mess with our potato.

He began in here in 1952.  Are you old enough to remember that originally the toy was sold as only the little decorative pieces?  We supplied our own potatoes.

And yes, I used a real potato.  I am that old.  

He was the first toy to be advertised on television, in 1952.

In 1964 he was sold with the plastic body.  Those plastic pieces had been declared dangerous, as their sharp ends pierced little fingers and also could be swallowed.  So the ends were blunted, the pieces enlarged and a plastic potato body was born.

A line of Potato Head friends and family developed.  He had all sorts of outfits.  He was a star on Toy Story.  Somewhere along the line he quit smoking and lost his pipe.

And now he is woke.  The world has a gender-neutral potato.

I cannot stop laughing.


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

nine more days

February is almost over.

Let’s party!

We’re having another little storm today, but the weather in Austin is improving.  Will has his power back.  Ben’s has stayed on.  Water issues continue, but my Texans are warm at last.  Tomorrow the ice will start to melt and temps will stay above freezing.

I’ve been stress-cleaning all week (Banjo Man is happily looking forward to taking it all to the dump tomorrow), but yesterday afternoon when Will texted to say the power was back on after 80+ hours I celebrated by baking.

And now…what do I do with five dozen oatmeal raisin cookies?

Let’s talk about pumpkins:

These are now four months old.  They are in perfect condition and remain cheerfully orange on top of the little liquor cupboard.

Eternal pumpkins.  Who knew?



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the disaster that is texas

Well, my Texans are still in the midst of a historic freeze, with snow and ice and sleet covering the roads and sidewalks.  Tonight the last storm system will end after leaving more ice in its wake, but things will warm up nicely by next week.

Will has had no electricity (and therefore no heat) for over 80 hours.  The temps have been in the single digits night after night and in the teens and twenties during the day.

Luckily he is a guy who owns a lot of wool socks and warm clothes.  In fact, his prized possession is his great-grandfather’s red plaid Woolrich jacket.

I just saw a similar jacket for sale on Etsy for $550, but I doubt that Will would ever relinquish it.

He escaped to a friend’s house on Tuesday night (the friend had chains for his tires and could pick him up), but returned to the condo when his friend’s power went out the next afternoon.  But at least he twenty-four hours to warm up and eat a hot meal.  I’m sure he enjoyed his coffee Wednesday morning!

People are lining up for hours outside of grocery stores that can’t replenish the shelves.

Water pipes and water mains are bursting all over the city.  Water pressure is low or non-existent.  Fire hydrants have no water pressure either.

There is a “boil water” notice for all of Austin.  How do you boil water when you have no power?  How do you buy bottled water when you can’t get to a store?

And in Will’s case, how do you store supplies for a week-long emergency in a 640 square foot condo?  I think when this is over there will be supplies in place, just in case winters in  Austin turn colder.

The folks in Austin have no idea when power will be restored.

Ben, Amber and the Funny Grandson have power back, but no water.  The FG Face-timed yesterday to give me his version of his “adventure” with the storm, the cold, and the lack of electricity.

He told me that when the power came back on (after 2+ days) his dad made him oatmeal and it was the best oatmeal he’d ever had in his life and he could have eaten eighteen bowls.

I’m sure his Uncle Will is going to feel the same way.




Posted in austin, family, texas | 6 Comments

shot in the dark

Last night we drove north to CVS for Banjo Man’s Covid vaccine appointment.

Oh, happy day!

Our state is having a very hard time getting its act together, but last week I was able to secure an appointment by staying on the CVS website and constantly refreshing the vaccine page.  After a few hours I got lucky.

Banjo Man is feeling fine this morning.  We’re looking out the window at freezing rain and then another snowstorm on Thursday.

But it’s not as bad as it is in Texas.

Ben, Amber and the Funny Grandson have experienced temps of 1 degree.  They have no power and, despite keeping the faucets dripping, have frozen, broken pipes.  They do have a gas stove top so they can heat up food.  But of course there is no heat and it could be days before the electricity is restored.

All the roads are covered with ice (school was cancelled last Friday and remains closed), so Texans are pretty much trapped in place until Sunday’s warmer temperatures.

And Will?  He has no electricity, no heat and no cell phone (Verizon has been having problems).  I hope he still has water.  And I know he has a great sleeping bag.  But day after day of single-digit temps and no heat equal a very cold condo.  And there’s no way to drive anywhere, as the roads are covered in ice.

At least Will can walk to the grocery store, because he owns boots and cold weather gear.  Maybe he can find a hot cup of coffee somewhere.

I worry about my Texans.  This is a historic cold spell and is the Texas version of RI’s “Blizzard of ’78”.

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all the pretty boxes

This past week my manic quilting was replaced by manic decluttering.


As the end of the Covid isolation is nearing, as is our flight to Spokane (69 days), I can’t wait to enjoy a campfire by the lake.  I want to bundle up in my warmest jacket and–rain or shine–collect driftwood and look for arrowheads on the beach.  I want to perch on my favorite log and drink coffee.  I want to see an eagle.

But for now?  My cure for stress has always been buying plastic containers and putting stuff inside of them.  A pandemic has not changed that.

Of course I had to sneak the new plastic purchases past Banjo Man, who thankfully was on the phone when I returned from Home Depot having bought all six boxes on the shelf (and wished there were more).

A decade of “Buying Pretty Boxes At Home Goods” has ended.

After several days of sorting and organizing, here’s the result:

The remaining white boxes on the top left hold my vintage button collections.  I ran out of (a) energy and (b) plastic storage boxes.  Maybe next winter…

Here’s a bag filled with three pretty boxes of sewing notions and fun stuff for Harley Chick’s craft-minded granddaughter.

I love my label maker.   Can you tell?

And now I sit here with my second cup of coffee, listening to Tom Waites (The Early Years, Vol. 2) and wondering what I can throw away or repackage next.

Banjo Man had better watch out.



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such is my world

Next week will mark eleven months since the pandemic became real and the lockdown began.

Last November our governor once again shut down almost everything in the state and I’ve been in my room ever since (except for that lovely week in Texas).

The room is small, but it works.

My cutting table can be wheeled around to get the best light.

My office chair can be wheeled from my desk to my sewing machine. 

My television (the photo showing yet another episode of EXPEDITION UNKNOWN) can be wheeled from the bedroom to the office.

And the ironing board can be lowered to become a dining room table.

Home, sweet home.  For now.



Posted in just for fun, rhode island | 1 Comment

the truth hurts

Last year’s flag football picture.

The Funny Grandson is a rabid football fan.  His world centers around his flag football team and his afterschool hours at the Elite Training gym and his Sundays spent watching any and all NFL teams on tv.  He studies plays on You Tube and practices with his father in a nearby field.  He has collected hundreds of football cards.

Oh, does he love it!  He can quote all kinds of statistics and discuss strategy.  He can explain why a team won or lost.  He has many, many opinions about coaching.

Yesterday he proudly showed off his Patrick Mahones football jersey (“I know you won’t like this, Grandma!”) when he was Face-timing with me.  He proudly declared that the “Bucs” had no chance of winning the Super Bowl.

I vehemently disagreed.

“Have you ever seen Tom Brady give up?” I asked.  “It might be a close game and Patrick Mahones is really good, but you will never see Brady stop fighting.”

The FG mumbled something.  And then broke into a litany of reasons why Kansas City would triumph.

The trash talk ensued.  Escalated even.  We may have been shouting.

My final jab before turning the phone over to Banjo Man:  Patrick Mahones will be sobbing like a baby on the fifty-yard line because he couldn’t get any touchdowns! 

Now if you’re thinking I’m a Bad Grandma, let me assure you that the FG absolutely loves to trash talk.  We do it when we play UNO.  We do it when we play Mexican Train dominoes.  We are quite good at it.  And yesterday?  Well, the kid spouted all sorts of anti-Brady, pro-Mahones nonsense and loved doing so.

My daughter-in-law even texted me and thanked me for spending some time trash talking with the FG because it made him so happy.


This morning it is taking all the self-control I have not to send my grandson a Tampa Bay Super Bowl Champions t-shirt.

I wouldn’t even care how much it cost.  A few clicks of the mouse and the ultimate trash-talking revenge would be on its way to Texas.

Oh, the joy!

But since I don’t know how hard the FG took the Kansas City loss, I’ll be a Nice Grandma and stay away from Super Bowl apparel websites.  Instead I will now return to the kitchen to clean up after our Air Fryer Food Extravaganza yesterday.

We had egg rolls.  French fries.  Sweet potato fries.  Hot dogs, sauerkraut, potato chips, Doritos and guacamole.  I even found 1/2 a frozen brownie in the freezer to share during the third quarter.

Even yesterday’s snow storm (we got 8″) didn’t bother us.  We had our giant television, our couch, our air-fried food and…Tom Brady.



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snow plows, dead sea scrolls and a magpie

After quite a long 48 hours, a snowplow returned to our driveway last night to plow us out and fix the mess that left us trapped before it all froze.  The driver was the owner of the company and wanted to see it for himself.  Hey, I could have texted pictures!

We were very relieved. 

So this morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue and I was able to plan a trip to Westerly.  Unfortunately, I had no errands to do.  No groceries to buy.  I refuse to look at clothes at TJMaxx until the dressing rooms open up.

But I needed to put a card in the mailbox at the Post Office, so there was that.

Banjo Man sensed my excitement and asked if I was going to come back.

I told him that I had a wad of cash and a Visa card and I could cross the Pennsylvania border before dark and before he ventured upstairs to see what we are having for dinner.

He laughed.  Sort of.

Yesterday I stitched 9-patch blocks together all day while streaming old episodes of EXPEDITION UNKNOWN.

I learned a lot about treasure hunting.   And watched three episodes about the Dead Sea Scrolls.  I’ll be streaming more episodes this afternoon after RI’s latest press conference about the Covid vaccinations.

Today the New York Times rated us LAST in vaccine rollouts.   So I imagine there will be some explanations/excuses from the folks on stage.  And hopefully some information as to how and where and when the over-75 folks can get vaccinated.

The state had a hard time getting it done and last Friday turned the whole process over to the cities and towns,  which was a surprise to the cities and towns.  This morning I heard that the most recent plan was to turn the process over to CVS.


We watched this movie on Netflix Sunday night and really enjoyed it.  Based on a true story (and a book), it tells the story of how an abandoned baby magpie helped an Australian family heal from a tragedy.  It’s a lovely, feel-good story…and I guarantee the bird will make you laugh.

We are working our way through an older series called THE TUNNEL.

There are three seasons, which should occupy us for another couple of weeks.

What are you watching?



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damn the groundhog

My friend Dancing Mandolin Player sent me this yesterday.  Very funny and very true!  I just keep stitching and cutting and ironing the hours away.

A “man quilt” in the fabric-selection phase.

We’re expecting more snow and another week of frigid temps, so it’s not like we’re going anywhere.  Our world has turned to ice, never a good thing.

The snowplow driver did a half-assed job and now we can’t drive in or out.  It’s actually worse than what you can see in the photo.  We are waiting for him to return and fix it.

I’d planned on heading to the store tomorrow to buy Super Bowl snacks, but then again…maybe not such a good idea.

Nancy isn’t coming for our weekly dinner tonight, due to the fact that she’d have to park at the top of the road and hike in.  And this ice is no joke!  Better to stay safe and stay home.

And home is where the fabric is.

Since this photo was taken, I’ve cleaned it all up, honest!
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