loving this wednesday

The day before Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days.  I get to organize groceries (and Banjo Man) and make big messes and cook tons of food and listen to music all day long.


My newest favorite Pandora station is “Laurie Lewis”, a California folk singer.  The best singers pop up on that station.  I write down the songs I love–I keep a notebook by the computer–for future purchases.  Yesterday afternoon I almost knocked over the iron twice while leaping from the sewing machine to the computer to see who was singing those beautiful songs.

I did eventually move the iron and the darn cord that kept tripping me.

And I bought three cd’s.  But don’t tell Banjo Man.  My song addiction is becoming too obvious.

So many songs, so little time…

Anyway, back to the pre-Thanksgiving festivities.

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Sarge arrives tonight.  He might drive home right after work or he might take a nap and then drive home in the middle of the night.  We never know.  But in case he is hungry when he arrives I have made one of his favorite meals:  beef and pepperoncini.  Two chunks of beef roast, one large jar of pepperoncini and a container of beef broth go in the crock pot.

Cook on high for hours.  Or whatever.

If I make it the day before, I refrigerate the broth separately (after cooking) and skim the fat that has risen to the top.  But there isn’t much fat in this dish so I don’t worry about it too much.  If I have the time I will remove the stemmed tops of the peppers.

It can be served open-faced on toasted sourdough rolls, topped with cheese and broiled.  With the “au jus” on the side.  Or in a sandwich piled high with pepperoncini.  Or just in a big bowl of beef and broth, with bread for sopping up juice.

I’ll let Sarge decide.

I’m really looking forward to this Thanksgiving.  Sarge’s Pictionary skills are unrivaled, the usual friends gathered around the table are hilariously competitive when it comes to the post-dinner games, and daughter NancyK and husband Mike will join us this year (NancyK got the day off, hurray!).

I’m grateful for all of it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!!!

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checking in


This tile sums up my dobro lessons.

Five weeks after hauling my 300 pound dobro down (and up!) a flight of stairs to the basement of the local music store for my Tuesday lessons with “Buddy”, I remain dazed and confused.

Buddy is great.  My brain is not.  Neither are my fingers.

I spend a lot more time trying to conquer the dobro than I do on my computer.

Hence the Blog Silence.

I have also spent a lot of time working on my latest quilt.


I spend more time auditioning quilting ideas onto tracing paper than I do on my computer.

I have loved the hours spent on Pinterest searching for the perfect quilting patterns to fill in a lot of white space on this particular quilt.

It has been a challenge of the very best kind.

The quilt isn’t perfect, but it’s coming along nicely.  I’ve learned a new design called “Celtic Bubbles”.   Every day I’m glad I bought my fancy sewing machine eleven years ago.  I’m grateful for my thread collection.  And my special gloves.

And I’m very, very, very glad I bought this:

sewing machine light

This strip of lighting I installed on my machine has made quilting possible.  I can see what I’m doing without the wobbly magnifying glass I have duct taped to the sewing machine and that keeps falling off into my lap.

I will post again soon, I promise.  The quilt will be finished this weekend, I have a new song to learn for Jeff and part of my dobro homework involves tabbing “Red River Valley” in three different positions and memorizing each one, along with bass notes.


I have no delusions that any of this will be easy.

But it’s so good to be retired!!!!

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the power of fabric

Banjo Man shared this New York Times article with me just now and I just had to share it with you.

It’s a story from World War II and an American soldier who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

And yes, it’s about the power of fabric and a connection that lasted 70 years.

Click here for NYTimes story about a pilot and holocaust survivors reuniting.

If the link doesn’t work, cut and paste this address, or click on it.


New York Times

New York Times

Posted in family | 2 Comments

death to mickey


I went to three stores on  Sunday before finding the right stuff.

Thank you, Home Depot, for having two boxes of the prebaited, disposable rat killer left.

I bought three boxes (total of 12 feeding stations) of the prebaited, disposable mice killer, too.

One can’t be too complacent when it comes to the mice in our attic.  Sometimes I think they are immortal.

I despise the little creatures.  They get in our attic, they get in our cars, they make noise and…I want them all dead.

Now all Banjo Man and I have to do is carry a very heavy ladder upstairs and venture up into the attic (ick!!!!!) and crawl around (more ick!!!!) to leave the poison where our hopefully stupid and hungry mice will wolf it down like it is Halloween candy.

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the time of year for stuff to disappear


Last Friday I gathered up the bags of clothes I so ruthlessly culled from closets and plastic bins and headed north to deliver them to the Salvation Army.

It is that time of year.

We are also going through shelves and closets and boxes of books.

They’ll be donated to the library for someone else to read and enjoy.  Do you remember the thrill of finding a special book in a used bookstore or at a library book sale?

Well, it’s time to give those thrills to someone else.

At least that’s what I tell Banjo Man when he becomes overly sentimental about a fifty-year old smelly paperback.

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the one and only

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Sammy hasn’t figure out how to be scary yet.

Which is fine with me.

Because he is so cute!

His parents brought him to trick-or-treat Saturday night.  He was more interested in my Halloween decorations than acquiring candy or treats.

He was our one-and-only trick-or-treater because we live in an area with very few children and we are at the end of a very dark and long driveway.

Sammy likes to very patiently take things apart and put them back together again.  I think he’s going to be an engineer.  He sat on my lap and carefully dismantled this box.  The acorns were his favorite part.


And then the “scary” skeleton accepted a cheese stick (his favorite), gave me a kiss and went on his way.

Thanks for stopping by, Sam!

Posted in friends, just for fun, rhode island | 3 Comments

it’s good to be king


Banjo Man and three members of his nursing staff.

Posted in family, rhode island, road trip | 2 Comments

my christmas morning praline french toast

No, this is not health food.  The do-ahead Praline French Toast casserole is for special occasions, like Christmas morning.

And Cousins Weekend.


Little pumpkins and little pumpkin bundt cakes.

Check out the tablecloth.  I found it at a thrift shop in Idaho.  It took me three days to soak the stains out, but now it’s perfect.  I love the colors!

This recipe is all over the internet, but here is my version:


2 loaves of French or Italian bread sliced into 1″ slices, with the crusts removed.
12 eggs
3 1/2 cups milk (combo of cream, half & half, milk–whatever you have)
2 TBS sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine the liquid and beat until mixed.

Grease 2 9 x 13″ pans with butter.  Dip each slice of bread into milk liquid (making sure every slice is coated) and then arrange slices in the pans.  The slices stand up (well, lean against each other at a 45 degree angle) in the pans.  Pour any extra liquid over the bread.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning make the praline topping.  Melt in saucepan:

1 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans are the best)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Brush mixture on top of the bread and bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until puffy and golden.

I served the french toast with sausage and fresh fruit in waffle cone bowls.


Posted in family, food, just for fun, rhode island | 1 Comment

story man’s birthday

Guess how old he is?


The candles don’t lie.

Saturday began with brunch, continued on to another frustrating Husker loss, went on to Mexican Train dominoes, and then a trip to Grandma’s garage where the “kids” discovered an old candy box filled with old postcards from 1947-1963.  The small silver-colored box was inside a box of games and must have been removed from one of my mother’s closets some time in the last year or so.

We had a ball reading those postcards.  Many were sent by my father while he was out to sea while serving in the Navy.

They were wonderful reminders of him and it almost felt as if he was partying with us that afternoon.

So special.

Dinner consisted of a huge lasagna, Nurse Nancy’s special Greek salad and secret homemade dressing, along with ciabatta bread.

And pie!!!

Thank you, Nephew Thomas, for the pies.

Thank you, Dad, for the postcards.

Posted in family, food, just for fun, rhode island | 1 Comment

cousins brunch: potato bacon casserole


I tried a new casserole (hurray for Pinterest!!) Saturday morning.  It was a big hit with the brunch crowd, so I thought I’d give you my version in case you are feeding hungry company some morning this winter.  There are a lot of variations of this kind of casserole and you can find a lot of different recipes on line.


1 large bag (8 cups) of frozen shredded potatoes
1 cup chopped onions (I used frozen chopped onions)
2 pkg of bacon, cooked and crumbled (I cooked this two days before, baked in the oven)
4 cups of cheddar cheese (the recipe called for 2 cups but we love cheese)
2 cans (total of 24 fluid oz) evaporated milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. salt

Grease a 9 X 13 pan, and preheat oven to 350.

Layer 1/2 potatoes, 1/2 onions, 1/2 bacon and 1/2 cheese, then repeat.  Mix the egg, milk and salt, then pour over the potato layers.  Bake 1 hour.

I assembled the potato layers the day before, then poured the milk mixture over it in the morning before baking.

I also served yogurt-strawberry-granola parfaits and pastry.


And yes, that is another one of my vintage tablecloths.  I cannot resist buying them, though I am trying to.  Honest, I am.

The napkins are from a thrift store, the ruby-flashed glassware is something I’ve collected for years, the silver plate utensils came–in pieces here and there– from Ebay and the napkin rings were purchased in New Orleans, on a trip with my mother in December, 2000.

Having company is a great excuse to set the table!

Posted in family, food, just for fun, rhode island | 1 Comment