it’s that time of year

The house smells like gumbo tonight.


Banjo Man and I have been cooking for the past hour or so.  All that’s left is to peel and devein the shrimp.

Let me tell you about the shrimp.  I spent two hours online Wednesday in order to discover what kind of shrimp was extra safe to buy.   USA wild caught gulf shrimp is at the top of the list, so Banjo Man and I went to several stores to hunt them down.

It was actually kind of fun.  We ended up with smoked salmon and apple turnovers, too.

Tomorrow night some gumbo-lovin’ folks are coming over for dinner.  While I usually make sausage and chicken gumbo, this time it’s shrimp, okra and andouille sausage in the big pot.

It’s a little late for Mardi Gras, but we’re not looking at the calendar.

P.S.  We’re going to wake up to a -7 temperature Sunday.   Not fun.  Unless we stay home and eat leftover gumbo all day……..




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super dogs, bowl, commercials

For years we’ve gone to Ruth and Kenny’s for the Super Bowl.

For years they’ve served hot dogs.

My favorite.  With chopped onions and steamed buns and relish.

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Sometimes I dream about them.

Here’s Kenny, who cooks the hot dogs.  Thank you, Kenny!

I love you.

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I love the pre-game music, too.

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The military chorus!!!

And wasn’t Lady Gaga STUPENDOUS!!!!!

As for the game, I admit that up until ten minutes before the kick off, I thought Denver was playing the Arizona Cardinals.

The halftime show?  Well, I thought it was pretty with all the lights and colors.  Though it might have been better with the sound off.  Does that make me an old lady?

(yes, it does)

And then I was so tired I kept falling asleep all through the second half.  I hope Ruth and Kenny or any of their family didn’t notice.  I’d been up very early and anything after 9:30 PM is past my bedtime.

The commercials were excellent this year.   Everyone thought so.  Banjo Man loved the “ultrasound” commercial, with the expectant father eating Doritos and the unborn baby reaching for chips.


I really liked the singing sheep.

Here’s a link to the video:

We both agreed that the herd of dachshunds dressed as hot dogs was the most clever.

For some reason WordPress won’t let me link to youtube.  Sigh.)

Posted in food, just for fun, television | Leave a comment

they don’t really mean it



Spotted outside of our Austin condo in December.

It’s that time of year here in Rhode Island, when it snows every other day and the wind blows and the wind chill factor is about 7 degrees…but it’s not going to last long.  While checking the extended forecast on, I realized that in less than two weeks winter might just be over.

February 19th will–according to weather models–be cold and cloudy and then?  Temps go up, the sun comes out and TA DAH!!!  The end of winter!!!

We’ll be on our way back to Texas in early March.  We’ve heard it’s 80 there now, so we could drop into a heat wave when we land.

Because it snowed almost all day yesterday (and schools all over the state were closed) and because it is supposed to snow on and off until Friday, it will be a relief to see a little Austin sun.

No wonder those Texans always look so happy.


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one day to the next

Late Friday afternoon.

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Saturday morning.

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Posted in rhode island | 2 Comments

quilts of valor, ready to go

Here’s the one I call “Flag Stripes”.  Those rows are stitched and the quilt top is pressed and ready to go be quilted by a volunteer longarmer.  Hurray!

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I have another one of these, in Army colors, ready to be stitched into rows.

When I first started doing this, quilters were not allowed to put any info on their quilt label.  Then we were permitted to put our first names and our town and state.   Those who received quilts demanded to know more about the people who made them, so now we are encouraged to take pictures and keep journals.  Those journals and photographs are included in the presentation case (a pillowcase we make to match each quilt) and have been a huge hit with the new quilt owners!

I kept forgetting to take pictures, but here are the ones I’ll be including with the second quilt, my “modern flag” top.

First of all, Saturday morning was cold and clear.  Here’s the view of the back yard (pay no attention to that bag of garbage waiting to go out–I’m sure Banjo Man will get around to it eventually).

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I cut a lot of pieces—18 1/2″, 10″ and 4 1/2″.

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We won’t be eating on this table for days.

I arranged them in groups of 10, because that’s how many I could fit on the island.  There will be 30 vertical strips in this quilt when it’s finished.

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I also photographed each set so I would be able to reconstruct them after the strips were sewn together.

And here it is Sunday morning, all stitched together:

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I’m pleased with how it came out.

Now I’m taking the leftover strips and making one more, with four-patch blocks and a cream-star-patriotic fabric that didn’t work in any other designs.

We are in the midst of another snowstorm today, so if the power stays on I’ll finish that quilt, too.

And then?   Back to the dobro and the treadmill!

Posted in quilting, rhode island | 6 Comments

national sew day 2016

Today is the day that thousands of quilters around the country will sew Quilts of Valor.  We will gather in living rooms and libraries and community centers and studios and quilt stores.  Some quilters like me, who don’t belong to a quilting guild, will sew by ourselves in the quiet comfort of our own homes.

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Star blocks: I tried out this pattern during the snowstorm.

I’ve written about the Quilts of Valor program before.  It’s an organization I’m proud to belong to.  As of today, almost 133,000 quilts have been gifted to “comfort and heal those touched by war”.

You can visit the website for more info:

There are many, many touching stories on the website.  These quilts are distributed to our soldiers still in hospitals and rehab.  They are given to Vietnam vets.  And WWII vets.  They are presented in official ceremonies.  And they are brought to hospitals, where the men (and women) get to choose which one they want.

I’m ready to sew.  I’ve been gathering my red, white and blue fabrics together.  They are washed (you wouldn’t believe how many of these fabrics bleed) and ironed and ready to be cut into 2 1/2″ strips.  I have browsed patterns (which has taken weeks!) and designed something I think of as “modern flag”.

I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

Pictures tomorrow…

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friday after the storm


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winter slump

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star wars, the competition


I bought this game for Sarge for Christmas.  It was the Season of Star Wars, after all, and my three sons (My Three Sons–does anyone remember that tv show???) considered themselves experts on the first six movies.  My grandson was also a fanatic, having been raised with All Things Star Wars.


So on Christmas afternoon nothing would but to open the Star Wars trivia game and start the competition.  Sarge read the rules:  there would be two ways to “win” a piece of a light saber and the person who completed his light saber first won the game.  There were multiple choice trivia questions and “scene cards”, where each player took a “scene card” and placed it in the proper chronological order over the span of six movies.

(Six movies???  Really???)


This was taken during a later game, but it shows the scene cards and the light sabers.

I came to Texas prepared with a bag of prizes for the winners.  Some of these prizes were really cool, such as new SW action figures.  Others were weird and/or practical, just to keep the guys guessing.

The three brothers proceeded to play.

They were very, very serious.

Meanwhile, the five-year old was busy with his guitar and his new Christmas toys and had no idea what exciting event was taking place at the dining room table.


The Force was with them as were all of the cookies.

And then…during the trivia question round, the littlest member of the family wandered over and overheard one of his uncles ask a trivia question.  The five-year old answered the question, giving away the answer.  The players didn’t like that.  He was told to be quiet.

Another trivia question was presented instead.  The little guy then whispered the answer.

Oh, was he in trouble!  Banned from hanging around the table!  Banned from giving away the correct answers!  Ordered to go to a galaxy far, far away!

And then Grandpa Banjo Man stepped in.

The five-year old would be allowed to play.  After all, hadn’t his father and uncles indoctrinated him into the Star Wars universe before he was old enough to speak?

Properly chastised, with Banjo Man hovering and glaring, the supposedly grown up guys gave the little one a seat at the table.

Game on!

(He didn’t win, but he gave the old guys a run for their money!)

Posted in austin, family, grandmother stuff, movies | Leave a comment

belly up to the bar

The Chili Bar, that is!

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Harley Chick and Hot Rod Russ came over for dinner Friday night, which is always something to look forward to.  Harley Chick is a vegetarian who doesn’t eat cheese (is she technically a vegan?), so cooking for her is a challenge (in a very good way).  I like to peruse cookbooks and Pinterest in search of new recipes to try.

Because it was going to be a cold winter night, I settled on black bean chili in the Crock Pot, because you all know how much I love my slow cooker.

I tried a new recipe, with the usual Cast of  Characters:

I added a couple of bay leaves, cumin, chili powder and cayenne, but as the afternoon went on I just couldn’t get enough flavor into the chili.

There would also be roast bbq pork for sandwiches, my grandmother’s coleslaw, tortillas and a spinach mushroom casserole.

But the chili needed help.

So, remembering a successful “taco bar” party from a few years ago, I assembled a “chili bar” on the kitchen island:  chunks of avocado (be still my heart), chopped red onions, sour cream, chopped jalapenos (from a jar, how easy is that!), cilantro, shredded cheese and a bowl of crumbled Doritos.

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I might never eat chili without avocados again.

What else do you think should go on the Chili Bar????

Posted in family, food, friends, rhode island | 1 Comment