girls on the beach

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One of us is snacking.  The other is wondering where Banjo Man put the bag of Doritos.

Yesterday I decided to be on vacation.  After a fun practice with Dancing Mandolin Player in the morning (did I tell you we have a real gig in August?) and a lunch of sliced peaches, I headed down to the lake.  I had a towel, phone (i.e. camera), water, water shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen and my Kindle.  I had even inflated my two favorite floaties and intended to bob around in the water when the mood struck.

Banjo Man joined me several hours later, bringing salsa and chips and news of the day.  He retrieved the long-handled rake and scooped out swaths of floating grass and weeds that sometimes float in to our swimming area.

I have said for some time now that the deer love to eat this stuff, but the men in my life have not believed me.  “Just leave it on the beach,” I would say.  “The deer will take care of it.”

And they would repress their sighs and not say anything.

Banjo Man was gathering up the snacks and was on his way back to his office when, less than fifteen minutes after Banjo Man raked the grass from the water, my girlfriend arrived.

IMG_3790Obviously she couldn’t resist such a treat.

Banjo Man went back to the house, but this gal and I hung out for a while.  She chomped away and I watched people learn to water ski and then took my floating chair out for some time on the water.

Maybe we’ll do it again today.



Does this log make my butt look big?





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camping, sort of



View from the cabin porch.


All winter Banjo Man, his brother and our two sons talked about “going camping up at the cabin”.

To say this trip had reached “epic” status would be an understatement.  Spending the night in the cabin up on the mountain in the middle of the woods had become something so exciting and wonderful and momentous that it had to happen, no matter what.

On a trip to North Forty, a camping/outdoor supply store in town, Banjo Man went insane and bought four cots, four thick pads for the cots and four fancy sleeping bags.  He debated about purchasing a generator for his sleep apnea machine, but the $1000 price tag convinced him to forgo the machine for one night in the woods.

In the meantime the Funny Grandson announced to his father that he was absolutely not going camping up in the cabin because there were bears and mountain lions up there.  He said he would stay home with Grandma (who wouldn’t sleep up there if you paid me $5000).

They bought candles and lanterns.  Son #1 bought some kind of night vision scope.  They debated endlessly about food.  I bought them a jar of instant coffee, just in case they figured out how to boil water.

The big day arrived and excitement was high.  And then…they decided it would be easier to just eat supper here at the house.  So I pulled out all of the leftover pork roast, potatoes, salad and lemon cake and we ate on the porch.  It was quite civilized and they all agreed it was a good idea to eat before heading up the mountain.

Then they packed up the car.


It was now 6:00.  PM.

Here’s the Funny Grandson pretending he is going along.  He wanted to send this picture to his mother as a joke (she didn’t fall for it, much to his disappointment).


There wasn’t enough room in the car for him anyway.

My grandson had never seen the movie “Babe” (the pig, not the baseball legend), so we made ice cream and watched tv (hurray for Netflix and the internet!!!) until 11 pm.  Then we chatted a while in bed before we went to sleep.  It was lovely.  And very clean.  With no bugs.  Or mice.  Or wildlife.

The campers were home at 7 AM.   They’d played cards and eaten snacks for most of the evening, they’d conquered the mosquito problem and they’d slept great in their new bedding.  They were grinning from ear to ear as they made coffee and eggs and bacon and toast.

They took showers.  And naps.

And they’re going to do it again next year.



Enjoying the view.


45 years old this summer.





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brothers on vacation

They do have a good time together.


Walking up on the land.


They played golf.  Competed in nightly rounds of Canasta.  And went kayaking on calm summer mornings.


Banjo Man is stuck on the beach.

We had dinner with friends from town.



Always a good time.


Relaxing hours on the shore.


The best way to spend an afternoon.

Lunch at the Pie Hut, the purchase of an old wooden milking stool, the cleaning out of the office, numerous trips to the dump and the Pantry, exploring the “treasures” in the lower basement and lots and lots of laughter (much of it centered upon the Funny Grandson).

Good times.




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inside out, again

Taking a break from chronicling the festivities at the lake for a moment, I need to discuss something…well…disturbing.

I am hoping that some of you reading this in the blogosphere will say, “Oh, yeah, I do that all the time, too.”

And that will be no small comfort to me.

Lately I have been putting on my clothes inside out.  Frequently.  As in almost every day.  I don’t know what this means (am I in too big of a hurry?  need brighter light bulbs?  should drink more coffee before getting dressed?), but I hope it isn’t a harbinger of very bad things to come.  It has become such a problem that I have to double check myself every day, at least once (I spend time in and out of bathing suits, shorts and the Cooking Dinner Sundress).

The worst was the swimsuit fiasco of last week.  Thank God I felt the tag and realized what I’d done before the trip down the hill to the water.  In my defense, it is a solid black one piece suit that doesn’t look much different right side out or inside out.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Pretty soon I’ll have to put a post-it note on the bathroom mirror:  Are you right-side out today????

(You understand why I am posting no pictures to illustrate this, right?)



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oh, the joy of fishing!

IMG_3722When Uncle Will arrived a few days ago, the Funny Grandson could finally (a) learn to fish, (b) build a campfire, (c) eat s’mores, (d) kayak and (e) jump off the dock.

These were all things his busy (and somewhat tired) father and grandparents kept putting off.   The Funny  Grandson never gets tired, you see, and can go from 7 AM to midnight with boundless energy, good humor and constant conversation.

(Yes, he is very much like Banjo Man).


How to bait a hook.


How to cast a line.



How to wait patiently.

We couldn’t believe he sat still for so long.


Uncle Will, the Austin pit master, looks pretty happy, too.  And this was just Day 1!



No brisket in sight.




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it’s all their fault


Son #1 and the Funny Grandson at the Spokane airport

Yes, it is all their fault that I haven’t had time to write any blog posts for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve barely touched my computer and have basically used my phone to take pictures.  We’re in the woods now and the internet is sloooooooooow,

They arrived at 4 PM.  Their plane was early, which was a good thing for me, because I was so excited about their arrival that I got to the airport an hour early.

Yes, an hour early.  Pathetic, I know, but I had left the lake at 10:30, stopped for gas, hit Kohl’s and the Bear Paw quilting fabric store, wolfed down a sandwich at Jimmy John’s and found myself at the airport at 3:00.

I was ready to party.

We collected the bags and made the short drive to the Hilton Garden Inn, where we would wait for Banjo Man’s plane and spend the night.  The Funny Grandson said he’d never spent a lot of time at a hotel before and was thrilled with the adjoining rooms and the indoor pool.


I remembered to bring the life jacket.

We ate pizza from Pizza Hut and partied at the pool for several hours before FG collapsed into his “very comfy” bed.


While Son #1 and FG were snoring in their beds, I met Banjo Man’s midnight plane and chauffeured him to the Hilton, where our own comfy bed awaited.

The next morning we hit McDonalds for a quick breakfast before heading to the lake.

I thought this sign was hilarious.  You will make other parents upset.

And this one made sense.

We drove without stopping to the lake, mostly because the little guy in the back seat kept jabbering about how he couldn’t wait to jump in the lake.


I have been at his beck and call ever since, with long hours on the beach, making blueberry pancakes for breakfast and hamburgers for dinner.   We’ve been making ice cream and blueberry jam.  And we’ve played hours of a wildlife memory game (I always lose, no surprise there).

He insists on going down to the dock at 8:30 every night to watch the sunset (sometimes only his father has the energy to take him) and has spent countless hours trying to skip rocks.

Life has been busy, in the very best way.  I’ll try to do better in the future!





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montana came to lunch

Yesterday’s lunch had been planned for a month!  That’s what you have to do when five busy women want to get together for an afternoon by the lake.

The weather cooperated, with sun and clouds alternating above our heads.  The shrimp was fabulous.



Shrimp with sweet chili sauce and homemade slaw with a touch of coconut.  Be still my heart.

And the drinks were pretty tasty, too.

IMG_3570We caught up with each other’s lives, with talk of grandchildren and travel and weddings and house remodeling.

It had been quite a year.  No less than three new babies are expected between now and October.

Later in August we’ll do it again, perhaps wearing housedresses over our bathing suits and spending an afternoon on the dock and in the lake and on the porch.

The sun was out this morning and the sky is blue!  It is the first true summer morning I’ve experienced since arriving two weeks ago.  I was up at five, thinking the clock said six.


But there are cakes to bake and a cheese sauce to make and scales to practice on the violin and music to organize, plus time on the treadmill and a shower…which all have to take place before 10:30.

So it’s a good thing I was up early, gazing happily at a cloud-free blue sky and smiling at the mountains!



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it seemed like a good idea at the time

IMG_3557The Funny Grandson delights in discovering how things are made.  After two years of successful jam-making, he asked me if I knew how to make shredded wheat (I discovered later on that it was his favorite cereal and his parents frequently ran out of it, much to his frustration).

What better solution than to have Grandma whip up a batch whenever she visits?

(For the record, I don’t know how to make shredded wheat, but I’d bet someone on Pinterest knows).

So what does this have to do with ice cream, you ask?  Well, I had the brilliant idea of making our own ice cream this summer, something I was sure would delight the FG no end.  So I read a zillion reviews and, after drooling over the $400 Cuisinart with its own compressor, decided to go with the popular $29.99 Hamilton Beach 4-qt electric ice cream maker.

I had it shipped to the lake a couple of weeks ago so it would arrive when I did.  I bought lots of cream and a gallon of milk and a bag of ice and–eventually– rock salt (it took trips to FOUR stores to find rock salt!) and special plastic containers just the right size to store ice cream in the freezer.  On Thursday I was ready to practice, having not made ice cream in about 40 years.  But after I opened up the box I discovered the canister was badly dented.  It would have to go back to Amazon.

Dancing Mandolin Player offered her Cuisinart, a snazzy looking little machine that makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream while sitting prettily on the kitchen counter.  It needs no rock salt or ice; you freeze the “bowl” overnight, pour in the ingredients and let it do its thing for 20 minutes.

Sounds like a plan!  I put the bowl in the freezer and planned to make ice cream the next day.  I would test a vanilla recipe and chop frozen peaches to add to it.  Oh, the excitement!

Then Son #1 called to say hello and in the midst of the conversation asked if I would have almond milk here at the lake for the FG’s visit next week.  They are staying away from dairy products to see if that helps FG’s sensitive stomach.

I feel his pain.  I don’t drink milk either.  And I much prefer the “dairy custard soft ice cream” to the real scooped-from-the-tub ice cream if I’m going to treat myself to a cone.

I have read–okay, a long time ago–that heating milk changes the “lactose” factor somehow.  I wonder if that would help in the future ice cream making process.

I’ll plan to make some fruit sorbets, too.  And will google ideas for almond milk ice cream (it should be possible, right?).  And then there’s frozen yogurt to experiment with.

So today I’m heading back to town.  The Hamilton Beach machine will be shipped back, the rock salt will be returned and I will stock up on almond milk and strawberries (for that sorbet).

Grandma Has A New Plan.





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happy father’s day

1973 Ben and Grandpa001

My father with his first grandchild, 1973.

I had the very best father anyone could have had.

I was so lucky.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there.  May your sons and daughters appreciate everything you’ve done for them and may your day be filled with love.


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Can you spot the geese?  There were about twenty adults and babies on the beach yesterday afternoon.  I can’t imagine what they were finding to eat, but they seemed to enjoy the pit stop before plopping back into the lake

I bought this for Son #1 at the Pantry yesterday.


Nothing says “your mother loves you” more than a giant cookie.

It rained really hard this morning.  Yesterday I made a crock pot full of Texas beans and baked two lemonade cakes.  If this lousy weather continues, I’m going to run out of freezer space!



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