May 25, 2017


I have an appointment with a pulminologist/sleep doctor this morning, and the thought of having to have another sleep study and then go on a c-pap machine kept me tossing and turning all night.


It's not easy being me.

May 24, 2017


Here's the new readers I got in 3.0 magnification.  Wow...what a difference they make!
I also got readers with clear glass at the top and the magnification at the bottom to stick in my purse for the grocery store.  If I have my contacts in I can't see anything up close, so I was popping my readers on and off as I needed to read labels, etc.  Now I can just stick these bifocals on and see both near and far without making myself seasick in the canned peas aisle!

(I got both pair at and was really thrilled with both the price and the service, by the way.)

Here's a little more progress on Poppers.  I'm going to grab a little snoozy nap and get back to it this evening:

Moving day is officially set for June 12 and the boxes will be delivered on Friday!  Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment at 10am, and then I'm going to pick up Bosco for the long weekend, so nothing move-related until Saturday!  

Let the adventure begin!

May 23, 2017


In my former life, I was the Operations Manager for a company that imported pens.  My three bosses were a gentleman that used to run a railroad, a guy who put the capital A in Type A personality, and a craps player. Each had distinctly different management styles, but each taught me a lot about running the day to day operations of a company.

It's been many many years since I had to plan and organize and execute anything, but this move forced me to dust off my thinking cap and come up with a way that I can downsize a two bedroom, two bathroom, studio, and office house to a one bedroom apartment without bloodshed or the commission of a felony.

Here's where it gets really wierd.

I don't think I've had this much fun since I tried to convince Stewey that we were going to rent a motor home and drive across the country in it!

I have a daily to do list that is quite elegant, if I do say so myself.  It takes into account my physical limitations, the expected day of the actual move, and the most practical way to completely upend and change my life with minimal distraction.

It helps that I have a lot of time to clear out the house, so I don't have to even think about the nightmare of stuffing all of my crap into trashbags and hauling it out of here in a mad rush,  

I promise you, dearies...I am going to be OK.  Many of you have written lovely notes and comments that you are worried about the toll this is going to take, but I can honestly tell you that I am feeling nothing but happiness and excitement over the prospect of a new life.  I admit that I did mourn (and I mourned HARD) for the loss of the house, but I'm at peace now.  This was a wondeful, lovely, happy, safe, perfect place for me and Stewey to lay our heads, but now it's time for it to shelter someone new.

So please please please don't fret, my pretties.  All will be well.  My little boxes will be packed and labeled and moved with the accuracy of a Swiss watch and Chez Spinster v2.0 will be a lovely, happy, perfect place for me to continue the adventure.

Off to the lab and library and then home to do laundry!  Hope your Tuesday is wonderfully swell!

May 22, 2017


Lovely, quiet weekend here at Chez Spinster.  I did a quick run for provisions yesterday afternoon and came home to make spaghetti and meatballs. (For some very strange reason that is the only thing that sounded good to me so I decided to go for it.)

They were delicious.

I stitched a little, but quit a bit early due to technical difficulties.  I think my right contact lens is a little too strong, since I am a bit blurry and lopsided ever since my eye exam.  No worries, though.  Dr. Rhodes will fix me up this week when I go to pick up my glasses.

Here's the little bit of progress I made on Poppers.  This is the absolutely perfect thing for me to be stitching at the moment...very fun and bright and cheery, and each little square is a "finish" that compells me forward to the next!

Laundry and patio chair painting today.  I was going to get labwork done but decided to combine it with labs I have to get done for IU tomorrow to avoid so many sticks!  Having blood drawn doesn't bother me in the least bit (thank goodness), but if I can save my veins a little with one visit instead of two it's a win!

Happy Monday, kids.  Hope your week is off to a very swell beginning!

May 21, 2017


I had such a lovely day yesterday that I decided to extend the fun a little and keep enjoying Poppers:
No real progress, I'm afraid.  The two blocks that I completed at the stitch-in were in the wrong place, so they came out and I never made it back to forward momentum.

Today, though, I think I will get back to it after a little breakfast/lunch.  The sun is shining and Stewey is on his perch supervising, so a stitchy Sunday 'twil be!

Tomorrow begins the daily task countdown to moving day.  My only jobs tomorrow are labwork and painting the patio chairs, so methinks I have a good shot at getting a positive start under my belt!

The rest of the week, though, is a total crap shoot.

Here's hoping that your Sunday is everything you hope it will be!  Do something fun and come tell me all about it!

May 20, 2017


I went stitching this morning with Misses Jane and Charlene and then ran a quick errand to the Targets, and came home for what I thought was going to be a short snoozy nap in the big girl sleigh bed.

Five hours later, and I am sitting here wondering if I was really that tired, or if it was the cool rainy day that did it to me.

I had the funniest dream, it I was mom to two children.  One was a teenaged boy who really wanted to move his bedroom to the basement, and the other was a little blonde girl named Gert.  And I wanted to buy them a hampster or gerbil, but I had to know if they both wanted a hampster or gerbil, and more importantly, whether or not they would be able to pick up the hampster or gerbil since I. could. not.

No way, no how.  I wasn't going to be able to pick up a hampster or a gerbil and this was going to be an issue for sure if the little fellow ever escaped his cage and needed to be put back into it forthwith.

And just as my teenage son was giving me a hard time for not being able to pick up a hampster or a gerbil, the door opened and my husband (their father) walked in and said "Son, why are you giving your mom a hard time about not being able to pick up a hampster or a gerbil?" and I woke up.


Do you suppose it's time we upped my meds?

May 19, 2017


This post will firmly cement my place in the Procrastinators Hall of Fame.

As I was making my rounds before bed last night, it occured to me that all of this rushing around and fussing about to leave here is productive, yes, but surely headed for a meltdown of epic proportions.  And I remembered the wonderful advice I got when Stewey was newly present with him and enjoy every moment.

Today I am going to sit in every room in my house and  I'm going to look at the light and look at the little views and look at the dust bunnies running around having picnics...and just enjoy Chez Spinster a little bit longer before it's filled with moving men and chaos.

There are at least a thousand and one things I SHOULD be doing, but today I'm just going to take a break and live in my little house and drink my damn good cup of coffee and stitch my stitching and read a book and take a nap and cook a meal and smell the proverbial roses.

Tomorrow, I'll go stitch with Miss Jane at her church and then I'll come home and get back to work.  Today, though...I'm going to play!

May 18, 2017


Today was my annual eye exam visit with Dr. Rhodes.

I love Dr. Rhodes, I really do.  He's the one that told me there's no such thing as "ruining" your eyes from doing too much needlework or spending too much time with your nose in a book.  

Yes, there is such a thing as eye strain, but if you practice a 20-20-20 routine you will avoid this.  Every 20 minutes that you're doing something intense with your eyes (whether it's using a 'puter or stitching your eyeballs out) you should lift your head up and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Cool, huh?

So we exchanged our usual pleasantries and I updated him on my health and Stewey (he actually got a bit teary, bless his heart) and then he proceeded to check out my vision (or lack thereof).

Wow.  It's h-e-double-toothpicks getting old!  My poor prescription has changed considerably and I am even more near sighted than I was before.  But, thanks to the nice people right there in the WalMart Vision Center, I am all fixed up with new contacts and glasses that should be here in a week.

Now all I need to do is update my stitchy glasses.  I use 1.5 or 2.0 magnifiers over my contacts to stitch, but Dr. Rhodes suggested that I bump that to a 3.0.  Looks like a trip to the Michaels clearance bin might be on the horizon!

Who knows?  Maybe now I will be able to stitch on 32 or 36 count linen without wanting to chuck it into the bin every five and a half minutes!

So that's the report for the day, dearies.  Nothing but organizing and sorting and purging and packing on the agenda for tomorrow, so methinks I will enjoy some stitchy time in the Happy Chair tonight!

Hope your Thursday was swell!

May 17, 2017


Well, my to do list just got kicked into high gear by SOMEBODY near and dear to our hearts who just visited me in a dream.  I was all set to head up to the studio for some sorting/purging/packing, but decided to take a snoozy nap instead.

What can I say?

Sloth is a hard habit to break.

Anywhoose...there I was, snoring away in the big girl sleigh bed, when I saw Stewey prancing toward me across a field of daisies wearing his little smoking jacket.  At first, I was so overjoyed to see him that I fell to my knees, broke into the ugly cry, and reached out to touch his furry little self and clutch him to my heaving bosom.

And then I saw it

His little clipboard.

"Mo-ther.  You have indulged yourself in a lot of silly nonsense since my departure...not the least of which is a complete break down of any sort of homekeeping management organization that I worked so hard to put in place.  The kitchen is untidy, the gardens are untended, and the list of items that you should be completing grows and grows while you futz about without any regard whatsoever for proper time management.  YOU ARE MOVING SOON, MO-THER, AND DESPITE YOUR RECENT HISTORY OF MIRACLES DROPPING OUT OF THE SKY, NOBODY...AND I MEAN NOBODY...IS GOING TO COME PUT YOUR BIG GIRL OLD LADY UNDERCLOTHES IN A BOX AND TAPE IT SHUT."

I confess to gawping like a fish at him, because I expected that he would collapse into my arms smelling of baby shampoo and weeping copious tears over how much he misses me, but alas, it was not so.

"I've taken the liberty of drafting a comprehensive plan for you, Mo-ther.  As you will see, it provides for a smooth and orderly transition to our new home and should result in very little last minute angst and hand-wringing fretting on your part, despite your Olympic medal winning status in both of those categories.  It will, however, require you to actually DO SOMETHING besides sitting in our Happy Chair looking at pretty pictures on the Pinterest, so put on a support bra and some shoes, and hop to it!"

With that, he handed me a little book that looked remarkably like Erin, my day planner.  In it were post it notes indicating the task for each week.  This week and next are devoted to purging and donating, the week after is packing, and then the actual moving will take place the week of June 5.

Hmmmmm.  All this time I thought "I'm not moving until June for Pete's sakes!  I've got plenty of time yet to consider how I'm going to cram 10 pounds of crap in a 5 poind bag" but it would seem that (as usual) Stewey knows best and I better get a move on.

Pun intended.

I didn't have time to ask him anything else or to thank him for sending you all to look after me, but I suspect that he will show up again as soon as I accompllish something worthy of a reward.  Stay tuned for further updates.  I have two appointments tomorrow afternoon, but promise to be good and get at least one drawer or closet sorted/purged before calling it quits!

Now, though, I'm off to the kitchen to make a baked potato with broccoli and a nice little salad.  I resisted temptation last night at Grocery Guild and didn't partake in the birthday treats for Miss Charlene, and methinks it paid off!  If my crappy scale is correct, I am down another two pounds for the week which means I am still on track!

Happy Wednesday evening, kids!  See you tomorrow!


Miss Joyce from my Library Guild taught me a neat trick a while back and I've been using it while stitching Poppers.  Since the design is a bunch of little squares, I made a working copy of the chart and then cut the diagrams out individually, and then I have them to attach to the canvas with a maget for super easy viewing while stitching.

But what to do with the pile of little squares?

Well, as luck would have it, about a billion and a half years ago Aunt Chrissy and I were fishing around the Michaels dollar bins and we found these little cardboard boxes with our initials on them.

For a dollar!

And you'll never guess what fits in this little cardboard box with my initial on it as though the stitchy organizing gods themselves made it for that very purpose:

Man 'o manachevitz...I love it when a plan comes together!

One more row completed last night after Grocery Guild.  Every time I think I have a favorite block/color, the next one comes along and makes me twirll right around in the Happy Chair!

Futzingday has begun, dearies!  I'm off to the dining room table to do bills and paperwork, and then it's up to start sorting the studio!  I suspect there's going to be a lot more petting of threads than anything else, but that is exactly what Futzingdays are for...right?

May 16, 2017


That sound you hear coming from the hinterlands of Hoosierville is the Earth shaking due to the happy dancing of one very porty, yet loveable spinster.

As of noon today I have been officially presented to the entire transplant team at Indiana University and have been given the go-ahead to be listed on UNOS for a kidney.

Final approval from my insurance and a few more pounds and it will be even more official/official!

Long, long, long road ahead, but we just stepped into technicolor, kids!

As I just told Miss Elizabeth (of Needlepoint Now fame) is indeed very beautiful and I'm just so happy to be living it!


And all of this comes on Miss Charlene's birthday today!  She is the one turning Fabulously Amazing at Any Age Because She's Wonder Woman And The Rest Of Us Are Just Trying To Keep Up, and I'm the one getting gifts!  

Happy Birthday, Miss Charlene!  See you tonight at Grocery Guild!


Friends, many of you have asked about how one becomes a living donor.  Here are some resources that the nice people at IU Health provided for us to pass along:

Donate Life America:

Transplant Experience:

IU Health: 800-382-4602 or  or http://iuhealthlearning.ord/video/transplant


Not one single thing got purged, packed, or organized yesterday, but I'm still standing.  My coordinator from IU called and asked if I could get to the lab for a test that they forgot last week, so after a shower and shoes, I was on my way.

Then, it was such a pretty day that I decided to get a little fresh air, so I drove a bit and walked a bit and came home for a long nap with my face in the sun.

I did, however, manage to stitch a little last night on Poppers:

The colors of this are so bright and cheery, and the little happy dances after each block are a great source of a little extra exercise, win win all around!  I've now completed 10 rows out of 24 total, so...almost halfway there!

Grocery Guild tonight and then appointments the rest of the week, so I really should get something accomplished.  I want to get all of my clothes and shoes over to St. Margaret's House (a women's day shelter) and books to Better World Books before the week gets much older!  

Here's hoping that your Tuesday is wonderfully swell!  WooHoo!

May 15, 2017


What a lovely weekend was had by all here in Hoosierville!  Lots of sunshine, sweetly tweeting little birds, good healthy food to eat, and rest.  Lots and lots of rest.

I can feel myself physically declining, but I am learning to adjust.  The old days of going like a bull in the proverbial china shop are on pause at the moment, but being careful and measured is a good exercise in moderation for me.

Today I will start the sorting, purging, and packing process here at Chez Spinster to get ready for the move to the Little Home That Love Built.  I spent some time with paper and pencil mapping it all out, so methinks it will be smooth sailing.  I understand there was a whole trend about minimalism and letting clutter go, so as usual, it looks like I am a bit behind the times but following the herd nonetheless.

You will be happy to note that the first thing I got organized was my stitchy stuff.  I decided to go with the cube system from the Targets, and wouldn't you know...they're on sale this week!  My studio here has everything built in, and I didn't thing the next occupant would appreciate me taking lock, stock, and barrel with me, so I needed another solution for housing all the goodies.  I'll be sure to take lots of craptastic pictures once it's done so you can see that I had a Target gift card and wasn't afraid to use it!  (Actually, it's about seven Target gift cards...Bargain Betty here always buys her laundry soap, etc when they have the deal with gift cards, and I save them up and use them for something bigger than a roll of paper towels).

That's just good Target shopping right there, kids.

Yes it is.

I had a long chat with my sister yesterday afternoon.  Things are still very...different than they were a few years ago, but I am learning to accept the change.  I spent 50 years on the planet thinking that she and I are two halves of the same whole.  The realization that this is not so was like a thunderbolt, but I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that we are not at all alike...we are vastly different in many many ways, but that's OK.  I don't need to be her boss, her Mommie, her parole officer, or her psychiatrist.  I just need to be her sister and let her do her thing.

Oh...and there is that whole kidney thing too.

That, however, is not something I can control at the moment.  If she is able, the nice people at IU will see to it that it happens.  I just need to stay in my lane, mind my own damn p's and q's, drink my lemon water, and get on with it.

My goodness!  So much navel gazing for a Monday!  Well, this little tangent will conclude this portion of the program, I promise.  My head positively hurts from so much thinking, so as of right this moment I am going to get back to Bear of Very Little Brain status and stop with the thinking.

Me and the thinking?  Not such a good combination.

So it's off to the lab for a test that they weren't able to complete last week, and then it's home to a little sorting of the things, lots of laundry, and hopefully even more lots of stitching in the Happy Chair.

I hope your Monday is everything you want it to be!  Do something fun and come tell me all about it!

May 14, 2017

May 12, 2017


For a brief time (about a year, to be exact) May 13 was a very sad day for me.

And then it wasn't.

On May 13, 2004 my dear dad took his last breath and passed away.  He went quickly and peacefully, and at the last moment raised his arm up as if someone were reaching for him.  I like to think that it might have been his own father who had died when he was a little boy and whom he said was the first person he hoped to see on the other side.

That first year after Dad's death was a bit of a blur, to be honest.  I remember Chrissy living here with me and our friend Kavanaugh coming for chicken and vegetable dinners a few times, and the two of them ribbing me about whatever silly shenanigans I had been up to.

Sometime during this year I got the bright idea to get a dog, and I decided to get a Jack Russell Terrier from Ireland.  I had always loved Eddie on Frasier, and the idea of paying thousands of dollars for a special Irish Jack Russell terrier, its travel to the US, and all of the expenses for its special companion person to travel with and then stay and acclimate said Irish Jack Russell made perfect sense to me.

What can I say? 

I never really was the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

Fortunately, both Kavanaugh and my sister put the kabosh on that.  I think their exact words were "Are you out of your bleepity bleeping mind?!?!", and I started to look elsewhere.

I found a breeder of Jack Russell terriers right here in Hoosierville.  And not just any old Jack Russell terriers...these were Shorty Jacks.  Also known as Puddin' Jacks.  And the website for this breeder...whimsically called Willowswamp Farm, told the story of a man named Rex who had fallen in love with Shorty Jacks when he was five or six years old, and how his farm was full of the most loveable, nicely tempered, well behaved little dogs ever put on the planet.

So I sent Rex an email, and his response changed my life forever.
Stewey was born on May 13, year to the day of Dad's Mrs. Arrowhead "Headley" Willowswamp and Mr. Angus Willowswamp.  He was the smallest of three boys, and although purely bred, was not breedable or showable because of a distinctive overbite.  His small size and "special feature" meant that he was also discounted to fifty bucks, and if I was interested I could pick him up in July.

On July 6, Chrissy and I drove my little blue car through the cornfields of Ligonier, Indiana (literally...right through the cornfields...because I missed a turn and thought the tractor path was the only way to get to Willowswamp) and I met the love of my life.  I picked him up, said "I'm your Mommie", kissed his little nose, smelled his perfect puppy breath, and was a complete and total goner.
He was quirky, to be sure, and often funny, exasperating, and sometimes misunderstood.  But the eleven years, four months, and eight days that I spent with him were a grand adventure that changed me forever.  I can honestly say that I never imagined myself capable of such a deep and unconditional love, nor did I ever think myself worthy of receiving it in return.
The only explanation I've been able to come up with is that my mom and dad sent Stewey to me specifically on May 13 so that I would have something happy to think about this day rather than something sad.  At first I thought it was all Dad's doing (because of the date), but the more I think about it, the more I see Mom's hand in it.  She knew that Dad was my hero and that I needed somebody to look out for me once he was gone.  And, in perfect Mom-like fashion, she found the perfect little creature to do just that and give us all a few laughs at the same time.

Life without Stewey is different, but for the first time in a very long while I feel like I'm going to be OK.  My heart still physically hurts from missing him so, but I'm convinced that he was here for a reason and my memories of him will sustain me through even the darkest days.  The outpouring of love that I've been blessed with is all him...I know it to be true...and I am sure that if he were here he would be as humbled and profoundly grateful for it as I am.

Happy Birthday, Stewey Little.  I couldn't have loved you more if I had given birth to you myself.  Thank you for being my BabyDear, and rest easy that your Mommie is going to be OK thanks to this family you sent here to look out for me.

P.S.  I know that last picture isn't one of your favorites because it is from your "chubby period", but it's the only one I have of you with one of your Aunt Chrissy birthday daisies.


OK, I've procrastinated long enough.  It's time for me to put my shoes and socks on and go to the grocery.  I am pretty sure that it's going to kill me physically, but I really really really need the fresh air and exercise and the pickings are a bit slim around here for meals.

What I want are PopTarts and Swedish Fish and bar-b-que potato chips.

And dietCoke.

(By the it just me, or does anybody else go into a tizzy every time a dietCoke commercial comes on?!  Good grief, Charlie Brown!  I knew I liked the stuff and missed it now that I can't have it, but I actually shed a tear over it last night!)

(A tear!)

(Over dietCoke!)

(I swear it to be true.  Really.  I do.)

What I'll get, though, will be fruits and veggies, sprouted grain bread, and salmon.  And sparkle water that is good for me but tastes of nothing at all.


Don't cry for me Argentina.  Eating healthy and having the means to do so are an enormous blessing for which I am incredibly thankful.  There will be plenty of time for PopTarts someday, I imagine, but right now I've got a number to reach for the transplant surgeon and I'm going to do it.  As of today I am 130 pounds down from my highest weight ever, 60 pounds down in the last year, 20 pounds away from where he wants me and 100 pounds away from where I want to be.

Piece 'o cake.

(Dang it.)

(Now I want cake.)

OK.  Enough.  Onward!


Needle Delights Originals
8+ rows completed of 24!

May 11, 2017


Who knew that polka dots on toes could be so popular?!

You, too can have polka dots on your toes.  It's a very very complicated procedure, but if you're willing to brave it, the end result is worth it, I promise.

Step 1: Go find a bobby pin. (I think these are also called hair pins.  You know...the things that you use to hold errant bangs out of the way or, if you're like me, the things that your mom used to put all over your head at night with little pin curls tucked into.)

Step 2: Open/straighten the pin.

Step 3: Dip it in the polish color that you want for the polka dots. (I put a blob or two onto a flat piece of plastic to make it easier.)

Step 4: Make polka dots on your toes.

Yup.  You got it.  Do it yourself fabulousness right there, kids.  I do my nails myself because a) I enjoy doing it and b) it's a test to see if I can still actually reach my toes, but any qualified toenail professional can bling you right up.

I always like the idea of something crazy/whimsical/fancy on my toes since I am the only one that sees them and think of them as the equivalent if a racy pair of red underpants under a  conservative and sensible black suit.  Crazy, I know, but it's about as wild as this old gal is able to get.  Visions of a motorcycle, a Stewey tattoo, and a boyfriend named Jeffrey Dean will just have to wait until I'm a little older.  For now, I've got other stuff for my polka dots to be doing.

OK, heading back to the big girl sleigh bed now.  I got up to get a damn good cup of coffee and check emails, but methinks I need to go finish sleeping.

Happy Thursday, dearies!  Do something fabulous and come tell me all about it!

May 10, 2017


Stewey and I made it home safe and sound from Indianapolis a few minutes ago, and the first thing I did was hit the Happy Chair for another good cry.

(What the heck is it with me and the waterworks lately?!)

These were tears of joy and gratitude that we got there and back and that I managed to get through today's appointments with no damage other than a headache from trying to think too hard and from cramming too much new stuff into this tiny brain of mine.

Kids, this whole organ transplant thing is pretty overwhelming to be sure.  And I suppose that it doesn't help matters that I already don't feel particularly well to begin with and my travel companion was absolutely no help whatsoever with navigating.

(He was, though, very quiet and comforting on the drive home as I blathered on and on about all of the stuff I learned today, so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much.)

(He also didn't require any potty breaks and the drapes in the hotel remained unwatered.  Thankyouverymuch.)

So tonight is going to be all about....nothing at all.  I need to turn off my brain for a bit and just let things process.  I have done absolutely everything I can and just need to stay the course for now, so we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming very very soon.

But before I go, I need to tell you that your happy thoughts and prayers and love and support are nothing short of miraculous.  Any time I feel myself starting to crumble, I close my eyes and feel you there holding me up in every way imaginable.  A thousand million thank yous to the moon and back, dear friends.

To the moon and back.

May 9, 2017


Stewey and I made it to Indianapolis.


I took several wrong turns and ended up pulling over on the side of the road to have a good cry about it.  I had called the hotel to see if they could guide me in, and a good place to start was telling them where I was sitting at the moment having my little teary snit.

So I looked up and saw the street name and started bawling all over again.

I was sitting on Myrtis Street.

That name is significant, because Miss Myrtis is the Grande Dame of all things stitchy in these here parts, and she has been a beacon of love and encouragement for me ever since I met her in Guild. It was as though Miss Myrtis Her Very Self were sending me a little noodge to suck it up, dry my tears, and get on with it, so I did.

A few minutes later I pulled into the hotel parking lot and got checked in, and now I am patiently waiting for a little dinner to arrive before getting into my pajamas and stitchy bag.

Tomorrow will be a full day of appointments and classes and such, and then I'll drive the three hours home to Chez Spinster.  I'm hoping that tomorrow will be a little less...fraught...than today has been.  I really need to clam down and just take things one step at a time, or I'm never going to make it to that transplant! 

I suppose that the overall moral to this story is that I am as hapless and hopeless in Indianapolis as I am in Mishawaka and that the next time I decide to do this I better have adult supervision

Either that, or it was a good exercise in regaining a little hutzpah and independence and I will learn how to be a semi-adult person in this big bad world and not get so bent out of shape by the unexpected detour evey now and then.

If only...

May 8, 2017


My spinster guilt will not allow me to perpetuate the illusion that I live in a scene from the Pottery Barn catalogue, especially since you are all so lovely to comment about how clean and tidy Chez Spinster looks.

Hopefully the following evidence to the contrary will make you feel like Martha Stewart.

Sippy cups taking a bath in the sink:

A dining room table being used as a desk.  (The Swedish fish in the bottom of the frame?  Those?  Um...they're medicinal):

This one has my dear departed mom (and Stewey I'm sure) cringing their perfectly pressed blouses into a knot up there in heaven.  The sheets, I'll have you know, are indeed clean and fresh, as are the blankets...not a whiff of Bosco to be found.  (And yes, to answer your second horrified question (with the Swedish fish being the first) that blue thing is Stewey's blanket and yes, I do sleep with it.  I am a fifty-one year old woman who falls asleep clutching a Target baby blanket that her little dog used to lay on.)  (Don't judge me, please.  I'm grieving.  It's a process.)

I had a photo of all of the laundry on the closet floor that is sorted and waiting for its sploshing, but I just couldn't do it.  There's something about my big girl underpants strewn about that was just too racy for this here blog.  

Besides.  This post was supposed to make you feel better about your own homekeeping skills...not cause you to run from the room gouging your eyeballs out!

Finally...yup, you guessed it.  All of this is a completely shameless attempt to distract you from the sad reality of my lack of anything stitching to show.  I haven't had a needle in my hand in a week!  I swear, though, that at 2:30 this afternoon that will change, since I am getting my car serviced and won't have anything else to do BUT stitch!

So, happy happy day to you, dearies!  Do something fun and wonderful that blows your skirt right up and come tell me all about it!

May 6, 2017


...and tries to eat the entire menu.

I drove Bosco "home" to his Mommie yesterday afternoon, and was surprised at my emotional parting from the little guy.  We had long talks and cuddles, and after a twelve hour sleep Friday night (with him snoring and tooting his little heart out), I figured the hand off would be easier than it was.

As we sped along the highway, I started singing to him as loudly as I could..."My favorite nephew has a name and Bosco is his name-o!  B-O-S-C-O!  B-O-S-C-O!  B-O-S-C-O! and Bosco is his name-o!

And then I had to stop singing and call my sister and ask her to be a real live GPS because SOMEBODY forgot the directions on the kitchen table.

(For the record, it was Bosco.)

(He drinks Fireball whiskey and forgets things.)

But I digress...

On the drive home I bawled my eyes out and decided that I would stop for a bite to eat because...brace yourselves...I FORGOT TO EAT ANYTHING ALL DAY!


To eat!


I have forgotten my keys, my phone number, my middle name, where I put my outside shoes, and what I was supposed to have been doing the four years I was in college at Notre Dame.

But forget to eat?

That's just crazy talk right there.

So I sat down at The Outback and I ordered iced tea and caught sight of chicken wings on the appetizer menu.

And I ordered them.

And a salad with French dressing.

And a steak.

And smashed potatoes.

And grilled shrimp.

And mushrooms.

I really have to give the server credit, since she did not bat one eyelash at the enormous woman wedged in the booth ordering enough food for the restaurant, the people in the comic book shop next to the restaurant, or the ones in the Lowe's across the street.  She just brought it all efficiently and didn't so much as flinch when I ordered the salted caramel cheesecake for dessert.

Needless to say, I spent the grocery budget on dinner, but the happy news is that I have enough leftovers to carry me through next week and I didn't need to push a car through the Martin's to achieve that!

Life will now return to normal-ish with Stewey and I in the Happy Chair sans Bosco.  No more midnight potty trips outside, and I might just be able to sleep on more than four inches of the big girl sleigh bed.  Knowing that he will be able to see his person (and vice versa) is worth the little twinge of sadness.

And if that doesn't work there's cheesecake!


I was sitting in Planet Hollywood on the Atlantic City Boardwalk having lunch many many years ago. A couple at a table across the restaurant kept staring and gesturing at me, and I realized that there was a big mural of celebrities behind me on the wall.  Thinking that they wanted me to move so they could get a picture of it (because the husband/man kept holding up a camera), I ducked down out of the way so he could get a clearer shot.

The movie Sister Act was playing on the TeeVees all around the restaurant as I was making my way to the exit after lunch, and as I passed by the couple at the table, the husband/man said "Excuse me, I'm so sorry to bother you, but is that you?" and he pointed to the TeeVee screens where the nuns were singing and cavorting about.  "Could we have your autograph?"

I smiled (very sweetly, I might add) and said "Why, yes of course, it would be my pleasure" and I took the pad of paper that the wife/woman handed to me and I wrote :

With love and best wishes,
Whoopie Goldberg

Apparently, despite the image that I have of myself of being the youngest sister of Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Lauren, I am a dead ringer for Sister Mary Patrick her very self.  And, more unfortunately, I do not at all resemble the real life actress Kathy Najimy (who is just so perfectly lovely)...I look like that character in all her glory.

But I did love the idea that the new Chez Spinster might be a convent, and it gives me the perfect idea for our retirement home/island/resort/casino complex: St. Penelope's Home for Wayward Stitchers.

The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting sweetly, and Bosco and I are headed to Goshen right after we hit that Starbucks drive thru and the McDonalds for a Happy Meal!  Then it's back to the Happy Chair for laundry and newspaper reading and that order, because I have done NOTHING it seems for the better part of a week except walk into walls and dream about a new place to put my underpants.

Hope your Saturday is swell and everything you want it be!

May 5, 2017


Exhibit A

Exhibit B

AAAACCCCKKKK!!  I meant the resemblance between me and Sister Mary Patrick.

Not the resemblance between me and Bosco.


Jumble. Jumble, Jumble.

(And I don't mean the popular word puzzle that tests my itty bitty brains every morning.)

So, bear with me while I just let it all spill out. 

(Hang in there, Betty.  The list of stuff you will have to eventually complain about is growing exponentially, my dear.)

HEALTH: I promise that I will keep you updated as well as I can.  Right now I am finishing all of my tests and preparing for more meetings with the transplant team at IU.  One of two things will come to pass, though, in the next few months: Path A is that things can be resolved and worked out for a pre-emptive transplant from my sister. (I'm very sorry that I cannot be any more specific than that.  Just know that minds far brighter than mine are on it and I am going to hold onto hope.)  Path B will be dialysis and going on the list for a cadaver kidney.

Dearies, I am prepared for and at peace with either path.

(Besides, a stitchy sister sent me an article about bionic kidneys that are supposed to be going into clinical trials this year and I already called my nephrologist's office to tell them I want to learn more about this. Can you imagine it?  Me!  Bionic?!)

HOME: I am going to be leaving Chez Spinster.  And as of yesterday afternoon I am finally at peace with this decision as well.  I have found a new Chez Spinster, and when the door opened to it and the agent pointed out the little alcove with the beautiful light streaming in and said "This might be a nice place for your stitching things" I burst into the ugly cry right there in front of God and everybody and said "This is my new home."  It is a one bedroom apartment (with the little alcove), it has lovely light and wonderful views, and it sits in an area full of people coming and going.  I will still be two or three minutes away from nephrology and the hospital and I will be able to walk to the grocery store or to see Miss Brandi to get my hair cut twice a year.  There is a patio, a place for my mom's needlepoint, Jasper cabinet, and tea cart, and even enough room for the big girl sleigh bed.  Once I put Stewey's little box there it will be complete.  

You know how much I've loved this little house of mine.  I've lived here longer than any other place on Earth.  But it's time.  It's time for me to close this chapter and send this place on to its next person.  I will leave it with many happy memories, a few sad ones, and lots and lots of love.

BOSCO: We've had a wonderful time together, he and I, but now it's time for him to go back to his Mommie.  I will take him to her tomorrow afternoon, but have promised to stop for Starbucks and cheeseburgers along the way. (Back in the old days I would have a Wednesday play day with Bosco and we would go to the Starbucks drive thru and then on to McDonalds for Happy Meals.  He would get a little lick of whipped cream off the top of my Frappacino, and then a little piece of cheeseburger from the Happy Meal. We did this every Wednesday for quite some time until the vet said that Bosco needed to lose a few pounds and my internist said that I needed to lose a few hundred.  It was our little secret until one day my sister and I were driving with the boys and she decided to pull into the Starbucks drive thru and the barista hollered "Hi, Bosco!" and handed my sister a little cup of whipped cream and a dog biscuit.)

(Thank goodness she didn't want to go to McDonalds or I'm pretty sure Stewey and I would have had to walk home.)

I will miss him, but am happier that he will be with his he should.  We had a very very long talk and snuggle, and he promised to send up the bat signal if he ever needs me again, and I promised to not be sad anymore.  And I kissed him on his nose and thanked him for visiting with me, and it hit me right between the eyes that the bat signal wasn't meant for me to save was for him to save me.

STEWEY: You have all been so lovely to mourn his loss with me, and I agree that he is so very happy to know that somebody is looking out for his Mo-ther.  I chuckle at the thought that he probably has a smug little grin on his face over the necessity of having to be replaced by thousands of persons, when one tiny little nine pound bundle of love managed the job very nicely for eleven years, four months, and eight days on his own.  There's no doubt that he was a special little guy, and I am comforted by the fact that he joins all of your spcial lovies that went before him.  I'm sure he's up there trying to be the boss of everybody, but there is the faint hope that a committee will be put in place to keep his ego and tendencies for world domination (and civilization) in check.

SPINSTER NATION: Here's where it gets even more interesting.  When Miss Susan Her Very Self wrote to me and asked if she could establish a fund for me, I thougt it might be a little "pin money" type thing that would allow me to get a few pretty threads or a couple of new charts. At first I thought "Oh, no, Miss Susan, I couldn't possibly.  But then I decided to break a bad habit of mine and I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror and said to myself "When somebody gives you a compliment or does something nice for you, just look them in the eye and say "thank you very kindly" from your heart and mean it.  Don't deflect, don't refuse, don't belittle the gesture.  Just let the gift of that love wash over you."  

But this?  This is a tidal wave of epic proportions.

This is a blessing that has completely overwhelmed me, and I have had some pretty amazing blessings in my life!  I'm terrified, because I don't know how to navigate it properly and I will be crushed if one person (probably Betty) thinks ill of me for simply standing in the wave with my face in the sun and love pouring out of my heart and letting this wash over me completely.

So in addition to the thank you that comes from my heart, I make to you this promise...that all of this money will be used responsibly, and with very great care, and that every single penny of it that I am able will be passed on in a meaningful way so that others may know this feeling.

(And if there's anybody out there that has had this happen and can gut check me to make sure I'm doing this right...much obliged, dear.  Much obliged!)

That's it for now, my friends.  I have some things to accomplish today and then it's back to the Happy Chair with needle and thread.  I hope that your day is exactly what you hope it to be!  Do something wonderful and come tell me all about it!

May 4, 2017


It's going on 11pm here in Hoosierville, and I'm not sure how coherent this will be, but I have to at least  give it a shot.

Besides, try as I might, there just weren't any more Pinterest quotes about love and gratitude and friendship and generosity that could even come close to what I need to say, so my heart and my brain (tiny as it may be) lead me to the dining room table cockpit to a familiar place.

Nine years ago, when I started writing this here blog I did so out of a desperate need to belong.  I also thought it would be a fun way to keep a little diary of sorts of my stitching, and perhaps a chance to peep my head out of my shell a bit and engage with the world.

And then Miss Charlene pulled the USS Guild up beside me as I was floundering in that big dark lonely ocean and said "Kid!  Get your silly self in this boat!"

I am proud to say that THIS time I did.  And I kept on writing this silly little blog and I kept on going to all things Guild and I put that needle back in my hand and never looked back.

Your immediate acceptance of me and my quirks and my funny little dog and my cozy little house and my crazy little life was immediate and appreciated.  Your kind comments and lovely notes were medicine for what ailed me, and, most recently, your other word for it...has been an awe-inspiring, mind-blowing, astonishing, gobsmacking, incredible blessing on my darkest darkest days.

For the last several hours I have been walking around stunned senseless by the generosity of strangers, thinking about the wonderfullness of it all and yet somehow fretting that there must have been a mistake someplace because nobody could possibly deserve to feel this...loved.

And it hits me.  There it is again.  That word.  And I start thinking about a conversation I had with Dr. Melfi this afternoon.  I told her that I've been thinking about God a lot lately, and I am convinced that She is an old African American woman.  And by old, I don't mean that in the aged sense, but rather in the ancient and timeless sense.  And She is regal...elegant...queenly in her demeanor.  And Her voice hits you right in the solar plexus and resonates so deep down inside yourself that you can't imagine what your life was like before She started speaking.  And Her words!  You hear words that are poetry and music all at once and they tell you everything you need to know. (Oh...and She has a wicked, devastatingly ironic, mind-stoppingly amazing sense of humor.)

(I guess she's kind of an amalgam of Mya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Oprah all put together.)

And the thing God likes talking about more than anything is love.

Love in its purest form.  Love at its best and most complicated, and love at its simplest and most freely given.

So heaven, then, becomes whatever it is that you love the most.  It might be a big long table full of gorgeous food...with a white table cloth and pretty plates and cupcakes with sprikles in front of a beautiful lake, and everybody you ever loved is there enjoying the perfect breeze and the lovely sunshine.  Or maybe you loved books and Abraham Lincoln.  So that means that heaven for you might be sitting in a library talking novels with Abraham Lincoln.  Or maybe its playing golf with Arnold Palmer and your dad on a beautiful Sunday afternoon or having Taco Bell tacos with your mom in between stops at needlepoint shops.  Or, in my case, maybe heaven is sitting in your Happy Chair writing a silly little blog with a vat of dietCoke to the left and a sleeping Stewey to the right.

All this heaven talk makes me think about the movie Field of Dreams.  Remember when Ray's dad asks "Is this heaven?" and Ray says "No, it's Iowa" and then at the end of the movie the camera pans out and you see a line of headlights on cars filled with people coming to see the baseball field and save the farm?  I always cry at that moment, because I realize that there aren't just a few cars.  There aren't even just tens or hundreds of cars.  There are THOUSANDS  of cars.  All filled with people coming to save the farm.

A completely tortured reference, I know.  But this thing that's happening right now?  This thing where you are all lined up in your cars with your headlights on coming to save me?

It's overwhelming.

I've spent the better part of writing this here blog post trying to find words that could explain what's in this head of mine.  Thank you seems appropriate, and although two very small and often used words, they don't come close.  But I will say them to you all nonetheless and tell you that heaven might not be in Iowa, and it might not be in a library or on a golf course or even at Taco Bell, but if heaven is feeling love then it's right here in front of me and has been all along.

You and your kindness and support and encouragement have meant and do mean more to me than I can ever express.  I know that I will never be able to repay it, but I promise you that my life's mission is to make sure that somebody will know what this feels like too.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

With my whole heart,
The very humbled, incredibly grateful, impossibly loved Spinster Stitcher.

May 3, 2017



Needle Delights Originals
18ct mono canvas
Watercolours, Vineyard Silk, Kreinik, Waterlillies
6 rows complete, 18 to go!

May 2, 2017

This is a message to Coni's friends. I'm not really anonymous; my name is Susan

I have only been following Coni's blog for a couple of months, but read it from the beginning (actually like a novel). Our dear friend Coni has amused and amazed us for years. Her writing shows her heart, her life and her loves (stitching, Stewey and Jeffrey Dean Morgan). 

Now it is our turn to support her. Most of us are virtual friends who can't pop over to help Coni pack, drive her to appointments, or bring her a pie. But we can spare something to help with the medical expenses, healthy food, and tempting threads and fabrics for therapeutic stitching via a "YouCaring" fundraiser. 

You can donate the cost of an extra coffee (or vat of Diet Coke), or instead of adding to your stash of patterns, threads and fabrics. You just need a credit card or PayPal account. And you can donate from any country (I am in Canada).

I checked with Coni before I started this and it was my idea. I am sure she would never have asked us for help. But friends help friends!

All the funds go to her (except for the payment processing fees). Please note that although the site adds a default contribution to YouCaring, you can reverse this.

Please give what feels good and support our Spinster Stitcher. I am just another stitcher; the only thing I am getting out of this is how good it feels to reach out to a friend. 

Feel free to visit my FB page or Pinterest Or e-mail me at fletchersj (at)

May 1, 2017


A little more progress on Oscar's Corsage....ready to move on to something different today.

Apr 30, 2017


READING: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman.
(Second in the Invisible Library series.  Totally not my normal kind of thing, but enjoying the escape.)

WRITING: This here blog and my next column for Needlepoint Now.

STITCHING: Nothing, unfortunately.  I sat and stared at James Bond and Flosstube yesterday instead of picking up a needle.  Hoping to fix that today.
(I need to remember that stitching is like medicine for me, and if I miss it, things go awry.)

COOKING: Made meatballs and sauce and ate meatball sandwiches yesterday.  Today will be spaghetti and meatballs, and then tomorrow the leftovers will go in the freezer and I need to get back on the weight loss stick.  Hard core.

WATCHING: See above...James Bond and Flosstube.
(Can anybody tell me how I can watch Flosstube on my TeeVee?)

FRETTING: Health, house, family, change, missing Stewey, fatigue, helplessness, housework, garden, purging stuff, fatigue, health, family, fatigue, house, fatigue, change, fatigue, helplessness, fatigue...

PLANNING: Only the stuff that I can control.

Apr 29, 2017


I really wish I could better capture the pretty color of this linen.  It is a lovely spring/light olive green.  I was going to continue with the lightest purple until complete, but decided to switch to the darker purple for a little contrast.  Who knows?  Today I might start on the greens, which will be almost a tone on tone effect since they are so close to the linen color.

Only three things to do today before I can get back to it: laundry, bedding change, and meatballs.


Apr 28, 2017


I was going to take a break from blogging for a bit and just disappear into the ether, but then I came to my senses, brushed my teeth, and changed my mind.  This blog and all of you are just about the only thing keeping me together at this point, so walking away from it would be stoooo-pid with a capital stoo.

Yesterday was a bad day.  Today hasn't been much better, but something struck me as I climbed back into the Happy Chair after a quick trip to the pharmacy and grocery.  (I decided to cure what ails me by making meatballs.  Lots and lots of meatballs.  And I needed provisions for meatballs.)

( distracted by the idea of meatballs.)

What struck me is the fact that yes, yesterday was a bad day and today hasn't been much better, but...I'm here.

I'm here.

Now I know that the next thing that I'm going to tell you will convince you that I really am certifiable, but the fact of the matter is that I love my life.  I have a very happy, small, quiet, peaceful, fulfulled life.  Yes, I really do.  And, I have this happy life in the face of serious illness, financial failure, the loss of the love of my life and my home, and without the presence or support of my sister.  

Life is kicking me full in the face lately, but somehow it hasn't managed to dislodge the silly grin that was implanted there circa 1966.  I'm happy.  And grateful.  And hopeful that I will eventually be able to look back on this time of my life and say "Whew!  Made it!"

But today is not that day.

Instead, I will just sit in my Happy Chair and think my Happy Thoughts and just concentrate on breathing in and out.  I will pick up a needle and thread...maybe, and I will watch a little Flosstube to distract me from the hurricane of crap that is doing its level best to drag me under.

Hold on to me tight, dear friends.  Know for sure that I'm doing the same on this side and that eventually I am going to get back to blathering on and on about silliness and stitching.

Just not today, please.  And maybe not tomorrow.  But soon....I promise.

Apr 27, 2017


This was a good decision yesterday afternoon.  I found the most gorgeous piece of 28ct French Meadow green linen in my stash that turned out to be just perfect for this.  I swapped out WDW Verdigris for Crescent Colours Plymouth Rock because of a major clash, but otherwise I think this will be just lovely.

Bosco is munching a little breakfast, and then he and I are going to settle in for a movie or two.  He is particularly fond of all things Ghostbusters, and although I am trying to convince him that the original is best, he loves the latest version with the girls. (I do too, but don't want to be disloyal.)

On an otherwise quiet day here in Hoosierville we don't have one darn thing to complain about.  A few errands this afternoon and then we're hurtling headlong into the weekend!

Here's hoping that your needles are flying and that your day is exactly what you want it to be!

Apr 26, 2017


I haven't stitched in several days and have been...blech.  Today, however, I am absolutely positively determined to remedy that little situation, just as soon as I have my bagel and Vitamin water.  Bosco and I had a good sleep and now are contemplating a move out to the patio to soak up a little sun and fresh air and...stitch!

As for the 86 fake problems and 13 real ones...tomorrow is another day.


Apr 24, 2017


Today was paperwork day in the Spinster HQ cockpit.

This means that I just spent the last five hours paying bills, organizing files, planning the week, and sticking my stickers in my book.

There's something very ironic about the fact that I am diligent about sitting down every week and doing a lovely spread in Erin (my book), but the odds of me actually DOING any of the things on the spread are thin.  Very very thin.

But you have to admire the way I blithely slap that laundry sticker in there every week without the slightest hope of avoiding a hamper dive for socks by the end of the week, right?

So the bills are paid, the medical paperwork is all complete, appointments are confirmed, and I am ready for a nap!  No stitching to report due to the lack of any, but I promise to remedy that as soon as I regain consciousness!

Happy Monday, dearies!