Ahhhhh, welcome back, old friend neurosis. I got myself completely stumped on this piece and couldn't figure out why the stitches weren't matching up. Turns out, I was off by one lousy little stitch in the striped section, and it threw the whole lot off.
A few hours of ripping and re-stitching and I'm back in the saddle.
And yes, I really did try to compensate rather than rip, but this is me we're talking about and I just couldn't stop the screaming in my head...
So far, it's a lot like turning nine. Mo-ther has promised tea and toast in the big girl sleigh bed for the morning, but I'm not optimistic that her efforts to satisfy me will be entirely successful. Oh well, I suppose that I will give the old gal points for trying.
Now that I'm ten does this mean I neèd to stop peeing on the ottoman?
I 've been having a conversation with this project as I'm stitching it -- asking it what it wants to be and how I can help it live up to its full potential. (What can I say? It's vastly more satisfying than listening to Stewey prattle on about topics I don't understand --- like the impact of foreign aid on the Greek debt crisis or the British Parlimentary elections.)
This canvas keeps telling me that it wants to sing with some basketweave and a little silk, and, if I think I can manage it without making too much of a hash of it, some specilaty stitches and fibers that were suggested by Miss Janet Perry Her Very Self in a stitch guide that she did for me for this piece oh so long ago.
The months away from stitching have made me a little gun shy about getting all fancypants, so the fact that this canvas seems perfectly happy to stick with simple and classic makes me breathe easy. No need to re-invent the wheel just yet, I guess.
My mo-ther can't come to the blog right now. We've had a rather interesting morning here at Chez Spinster, and all I can conclude is that she might have done something incredibly stupid....or incredibly brave. All I do know is that she is in the Happy Chair with needle and thread in hands, muttering something to herself that she will never ever never ever let anyone or anything come between her and the thing that saved her pitiful little life ever again.
I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I keep hearing the words "hyena" and "enough". And given the fact that she got up at the crack of dawn, put on her outside clothes and shoes, and then was gone for only an hour or so, I am guessing that she decided to get out of the litter box once and for all and get back to her life.
My mo-ther is a good person. True, I am the first to point out her failings in the areas of homekeeping, martini making, and general learning how to be out in polite society without breaking into a flop sweat and chattering like a circus monkey -- but she is kind and hard-working and decent and well-meaning (most of the time), and other than a few very dark periods from her past she has been a pretty OK person.
So the fact that this hyena was able to infiltrate her little brain and convince her that she was worthless and incompetent and lazy and stupid is surprising, but not impossible. She didn't have her shields up. And she didn't have the capacity to realize that no matter what this animal said or did to her, at the end of the day, she has me and Aunt Chrissy and my pesky little cousin Bosco and all of you to have her back.
I'm not going to disturb her from her stitching today, since it's the first time I've seen a smile on her face in months, but I did want to let you all know how much your love and encouragement and words of wisdom have meant and have done for her (and me) these last several weeks. Thank you, dear pals. From the bottom of my silk smoking jacket clad heart, I love and cherish you deeply.
Now I'm going to get back to my sunspot near the patio door. But first I need to pee on the ottoman.
Thank you for all of your comfort. Sometimes all a spinster needs is the tender ministrations of her friends, a pat on the hand, a cup of of tea, and a "There, there, you poor dear" thrown in for good measure.
I made my trip to the bank and spent a delightful time with the lovely representative, who, as it would just so happen, was a classmate from Notre Dame. I don't think we ever crossed paths while there, but it sure was nice to have a kind face lead me through what was surprisingly a relatively painless process.
Waiting until Saturday to get a new card is a little panic provoking, but I always have Stewey's emergency twenty to count on if I can't make it to the branch for a lobby cash withdrawl.
So I came home feeling slightly better than I did last night, when I discovered that my account had been hit again. Same online dating site....different amount.
You will be happy and very proud to know that I harnessed my inner potty mouth and called the online dating site to politely let them know that if they hit my card or account again, I might just have to take it up with the duly designated authorities.
At least that's how it went in my head anyway.
Turns out that I don't have a dog in the hunt, since my bank credited my account for both charges, and it's now up to THEM to chase this down....which, by the way, they probably won't do because the amounts are so miniscule when compated to the ba-jillion dollars that they normally have to keep track of.
So somewhere out there are a couple of people who will enjoy a month or two of online dating, thanks to my bank and the fact that there are apparently more important things in the world than worrying about an idiot spinster's debit identity.
I swear life was a lot simpler when you could buy stuff with two goats and a jar of jam.
Dear person who stole my debit card number and used it to buy a subscription to an online dating site that shall remain nameless....
If the charge would have been for food, or an electric bill, or medicine for you or a sick child, I'm one of those idiots that would have happily given you the last eighteen cents in my account if I thought it would help you.
But a dating site?
I get it....truly....I do. Being alone can seem like a very bad proposition, and I suppose that you figured that companionship would fix whatever ails you. But do you really want to find your Prince or Princess Charming with a stolen credit card?
Phooey on you. My morning will be spent at the bank ordering a new card, and then on the phone with all of the places that I had that old card on file to make buying things like prescriptions and car insurance and Stewey insurance that much easier.
Can a spinster just get a break, please?
Methinks I am not meant to be in the world writ large, and that life would get a lot better if I just took my little dog and a diet Coke and headed to the studio.
I haven't stitched since February 1st, which means I haven't been me since February 1st, which means Stewey, Bosco, and Aunt Chrissy are ready to put me at the curb with a sign that says "Free to a good home. She eats a lot, but knows how to load a dishwasher like nobody's business. Just don't ask her to actually empty the damn thing, and you'll get along just fine. Updated on all shots and vaccines, and fairly housebroken, but ridiculously high maintenance and not to be trusted with other pets or small children, since she has a tendency to take their toys."
I only have a quick minute before You Know Who decides to wake up from his post-luncheon nap, so I'll have to make this quick....
Aunt Chrissy and I had a lovely Saturday with the girls at House of Stitches. (Waving a hearty HELLOOO! to Miss Linda, Miss Joy, and Miss Cherry!). Provisions were purchased, threads were petted, and the Spinster Stitcher Basket 'O Stitching Fun was updated accordingly. (Pictures to follow, I promise).
Easter dawned bright and early (as I think it usually does), and a fine time was had by all. Stewey participated in an egg hunt on the back lawn of the neighbors, and managed NOT to chew the arm off of three tiny little girls dressed all in yellow. I was dumbstruck and amazed, but my stupid dog hopped around noodging the hidden eggs, stood over them until a tiny little girl dressed all in yellow came to collect it for her basket, and then wiggled his tail and barked heartily as they scampered to the next conquest.
I am DEFINITELY not insured for him to be his usual anti-social ferocious snarling self with tiny little girls dressed all in yellow.
Aunt Chrissy insists that Stewey really is part bunny and that the outfits of the tiny little girls dressed all in yellow were Little Lord Fauntleroy approved, so that's the only reason why we avoided catastrophe.
My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's sitting in the Happy Chair on her ample heiney, drooling into her sweatshirt over a tuxedoed Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day.
It occurred to Mo-ther that she has never watched a James Bond movie from start to finish, and this particular Thursday seemed like as good a place as any to start. I would have started with something involving a more classic Bond, but this is my stupid mo-ther we're talking about, after all. So I will wait until she gets to one featuring Sir Connery before I reveal the news that the most recent Bond looks like Yours Truly with his fair hair and devastatingly handsome disposition.
Thank you for all of the lovely encouragement about the "situation" Mo-ther is presently embroiled in. As she was boo-hooing the other night about her predicament, I reminded her that this is only a test and that she needn't worry about being made to feel the dumb bell. There are plenty of us who love her...just as she is.
My Aunt Chrissy will step in eventually and set things to right again. As she is fond of saying..."My sister? Yeah, she's a marshmallow, and she has a little dog that doesn't know he's a dog....but I'm the one you have to watch out for. I'm the dog that BITES."
You have to love that in an aunt.
Tomorrow has been reserved for homekeeping, and then, as God is my witness, I am locking Mo-ther in the studio on Saturday until she comes out with a proper stitching basket in place. It has been far too long since she had needle and thread in hand, and although I am a simple pup, methinks that this is surely most of her problem.
Besides, I can only put so many sedatives in her evening tea before the authorities are called and I am whisked away to account for my sins.
I do hope that this finds you well and that you know how much Mo-ther and I love and cherish your friendship. It's an odd connection that we share, but one that is most truly priceless to us both.
So here I am on a late March afternoon, watching the skies drop eighteen feet of snow on the ground.
(OK, maybe it's only an inch or two, but the fact that I'm going to have to put shoes on and find the snow shovel and then perfectly sculpt a path for Little Lord Fauntleroy to go outside to do his thing makes me think that the eighteen feet would actually make all of this silly fuss worth it.)
I'm thinking about men.
Before you call the Spinster Union to have my membership revoked, I'm not talking about "thinking" in the filthy and perverted way that a spinster of a certain age should be. I'm thinking about the fact that at the ripe old age of 48, I have only known men who can easily be classified as extraordinary. And I'm thinking this because, only very recently, I've been dealing with a man who is most definitely NOT extraordinary, and it has me stopped cold dead in my tracks trying to figure out how to process things. (And again, before you place that call....I am in no way talking about dealing with a man that would in any way jeopardize my status of a single gal that wouldn't know what to do on a date if said date came with instructions neatly printed on his forehead. I'm dealing with this fellow in a VERY non-biblical sense.)
The easiest analogy I can provide you, dear reader, is if you were a regular visitor to an animal sanctuary, and you enjoyed looking at and interacting with pretty turtles. You talked to the turtles, went on long and leisurely walks with the turtles, laughed at the turtles' funny jokes, and even found enormous comfort in the company of the turtles. In short, you came to believe that turtles are wise and wonderful and generous and kind and lovely creatures that you're just happy to be around.
And then the next time you go to the animal sanctuary, you don't find turtles, you find a screeching, viciously- fanged, feces-throwing heina. This heina is mean and nasty and cruel and very very unkind, and every time you get within ten feet of the damn thing it makes you start to question your worth as a human being and makes you silently pray for death or a fast trip out of the animal sanctuary.
Wait a minute.
I'm starting to see that my analogy would imply that I somehow think men are animals. Whoopsie. Didn't mean to open THAT particular can of worms, I swear. I'm just trying to explain that for some stupid reason I've had the pleasure and good fortune to know brilliant and wonderful men and now I'm trying to figure out one that's not so brilliant and/or not so wonderful.
It's not a big secret that my dad was my hero. He was at once the smartest and kindest and most perfect person I've ever known, and the fact that he and I could be the same species, let alone be related to one another baffles me. Dad was one of only a handful of people I've ever met that was entirely without ego. That didn't mean that he didn't have a sense of self or that he lacked confidence -- quite the opposite. His understanding of who he was and what he stood for was so firmly implanted in his brain that he didn't feel the need to explain it every seven and a half minutes. He just lived it -- by example and how he treated people and how he loved and provided and acted and thought and worshiped and talked and...was. He was the cat's pajamas, I tell ya, and if I could figure out how to emulate one small part of him I'd punch the clock and call it a day.
I've also been blessed with uncles and cousins and great uncles and second cousins who were and are great men. I've tried so hard to find one that causes me to say "Eh..." but I can't. Each and every single one of them were and are men of honor and integrity and kindness and decency. Whether it was my Uncle Connie teaching me how to color with my left hand, or my Cousin David taking me to the movies and then not leaving me in the parking lot when I was stupid enough to leave the car door unlocked and his radio was stolen (I'm still so sorry for that, by the way)...every single one of my male relatives made it easy to love and respect them.
My guy pals are a little nuts for entertaining a friendship with Yours Truly, but as hard as I try, I can't find a scoundrel among them. For some stupid reason, I found men to be friends with who are smart and funny and kind and decent and lovely. I've never once had to question why I would want to know these guys, and on more than one occasion, I've secretly wondered if I was worthy of the friendship. My men friends are the brothers I never had, the protectors I never thought I needed (turns out, I did), and the gifts I definitely didn't deserve.
So this brings me back to Mr. X. I think that the reason why I'm having such a hard time trying to navigate the waters of my interactions with him is that I haven't seen this particular animal before. He's throwing me new material (and by that I don't mean pretty patterned fabric with which one might make a sassy little lap quilt). He's throwing abuse and terror and cruelty and havoc into my world and I'm stumped as to what the h-e-double-toothpicks I'm going to do about it.
I'll ponder and I'll fret and I'll ponder some more, but I can promise you that the moment my hands go to my ample hips and that "look" comes into my eyes and the word ENOUGH crosses my lips, you'll be the first to know about it. I am, if nothing else, my Mother's daughter, which means that I can be rather determined once I get my moxie up.
Stewey and I (oh, crap on a cracker is THAT another male figure in my life, or WHAT!!) send our very best to you and yours. We've been doing a whole lot of nothing lately in terms of stitching, but that is going to change very very soon. The Spinter Stitcher SpringTide Barrel O' Fun is almost complete, and as God is my witness, the Big White Wall of Nothingness is going to get a new Easter outfit if it kills me (which it just might).
Thanks for coming back after such a long absence, my friends!
So I'm looking at the darn Google thingie (a few weeks ago, as it would happen), and it told me that I had written 999 blog posts.
"Holey Schmoley!", I said.
And then I got in the Happy Chair and I started fretting about number 1000.
It got bad enough that when Aunt Chrissy and I went to the TGI Fridays for dinner at 3:00 this afternoon (because that's how WE roll in the big city), I decided to get her loving, wise, sisterly advice.
(OK, so maybe that really wasn't the reason, but rather it was because she was paying for dinner and I felt really bad about it because I am the big sister and hapless matriarch of this little goat rodeo we call a family and it's my job to keep us in Arnold Palmers and cheeseburgers.)
But I digress.
So I says to Aunt Chrissy...."You know, I've been giving something a lot of thought. I feel like I created a character called the Spinster Stitcher and that I go on my blog and live in this world with all of these amazing and wonderful and perfect people (that would be all of yous, by the way)....(oh wait, except maybe not Betty and the damn 13-year old who keeps hacking me with p.o.r.n.)...but for the most part, Spinster Stitcher is just that...a character. Am I really being authentic? Am I really letting people know ME? Am I afraid that if I really shared my true self there would be a mass exodus and I would be left here, standing in a dark and deserted parking lot (I mean, come on, can you think of anything scarier?) (except maybe thunderstorms) (or cockroaches). So I'm thinking that for my 1000'ndth blog post I'm going to tell my T."
It was at this point that Aunt Chrissy snorted a little bit of her cheeseburger out, daintily dabbed at her mouth, and said "Have you been watching The Lady Chablis in Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil again?"
(The truth of the matter is that....why yes, yes I have.)
(The Lady Chablis is fabulous. Talk about a "character". She is a drag queen in Savannah, Georgia, and her T is that her real name is Frank.)
But I....you know.
"I just feel like I want to tell everybody everything there is to know about me and to make sure that I'm presenting myself to all of my faithful readers (insert more snorting of the cheeseburger here) and that maybe a few of them will appreciate my honesty and integrity and courage to bear it all and it will inspire them to be brave or take a chance or do that thing they want to do, but can't. I want to make a difference in the world, Aunt Chrissy, and I think my blog is the place for me to do that."
So I listened very carefully to everything Aunt Chrissy had to say (which, remarkably, sounded like blah blah blah blah blah) and I came home to write post number 1000.
I was on a roll, I tell ya. Fingers flying, confessions confessing, T's all over the damn place.
And then Stewey walked in.
"Mo-ther. What's all of this nonsense I hear about you committing acts of unspeakable horror on our blog?"
(You'll notice I let that one go, by the way. OUR blog?)
"Stewey, Mommie wants to live a real life. Mommie loves her faithful readers and wants them to know the real and authentic and true person....not some crazy lunatic with a talking dog and enough facial hair to grow a pashmina. I've carefully crafted 999 blog posts and I want number 1000 to be special, Stewey. I want the world to know how much their kindness, and friendship, and thoughtfulness, and love have meant to me, and I feel like number 1000 is the perfect place to do that."
(It was at this point that I realized that Little Lord Fauntleroy had not heard one single word I had said because he was too busy peering through his little spectacles at his iPad.)
"Mo-ther, you haven't written 999 blog posts. You've written 998 blog posts and one fairly incoherent draft."
(Cue the sound of a squeaky hamster wheel turning slowly as my tiny little brain pondered this.)
Happy 999, everybody.
If we make it to 1000 without losing any more of our minds....there will be cake. For everybody.
There's an built-in bonus danger in being my loyal and trusted advisors.
Just ask Aunt Chrissy.
Today's obsession is....day planners.
For the last seven or so years, I've used a Franklin Covey spiral bound day planner showing the week on two pages. I throw it in my purse, write appointments and such in it, and get on with things in a relatively half-assed, yet totally well-intentioned sort of way.
This year, Aunt Chrissy and I were in the JoAnn Fabrics when we spotted some simple date books that had pretty pictures in them, so I whipped out a coupon and went all Bargain Betty on myself.
And then I came home and went on the Pinterest and came across something called an Erin Condren Life Planner.
Holy Organizing, Batman! I've got visions of life planning spinning around in this tiny little brain of mine, and I cannot think of anything else! I want to have a book that magically transforms me into a healthy, well-appointed, perfectly-ordered, happy, and creative person who sprouts rainbows and unicorns from her ears and who can empty the dishwasher without having to take a nap and pack a lunch first.
The Erin Condren search then lead to something called a Rainbow Planner (speaking of rainbows) from Bowl Full Of Lemons, and I went into a whole other tangent of wondering if a DIY planner would be better for a nut job like me who really just wants to use the billion dollars worth of scrapbooking crap she has in her studio, because scrapbooking was going to be "my thing" until I discovered that I had absolutely nothing to scrapbook besides baby pictures of Stewey, and I mean, come one, how many pictures of a sleeping dog with an overbite does one spinster need, anyhow?
So I need your help, kids. Any Erin Condren/Rainbow Planner devotees out there who want to take my hand and save me from myself? I don't need full-on executive style day planning, since all I need to keep track of these days is dog pee and appointments, but I wouldn't mind capturing stuff for budgeting/bills, things to do in the house (see dog pee above), and lists and such for this thing of ours. I'm not at all opposed to becoming a fanatic, by the way. It will be hard not to approach this without my usual calm, measured, and sensible manner, but if I need to go batcrap crazy and reinvent the proverbial wheel...I'll give it my best shot.
Wow. I had every intention of getting back in the saddle last night, but my after-dinner activities involved nothing more than drool, snoring, and then bolting upright at 10pm to discover that Stewey had put himself to bed with his book.
He did, however, manage to leave my weekend TO DO list on the ottoman for me, so it looks like today is going to be filled with chores, homekeeping, errands, and the fluffing of Little Lord Fauntleroy's blankets.
Apparently, he is determined to toast his little buns in front of the fireplace all day while I toil in vain to meet his every whim.
The sun is shining, so methinks I should get on with it so I can enjoy some afternoon stitching time. Updates soon, I promise!
Remember when I mentioned that my new stupid-soft blanket is somehow imbued with magical powers that cause me to fall asleep every time I get under it?
Well, four hours later and I'm sitting here wondering if I will be able to manage to get the contacts out of my eyeballs, the teeth brushed, and the face washed before falling into the big girl sleigh bed.
Sheesh, I'm tired!
Is this what being in the vestibule to menopausal hell feels like?
Good grief, Charlie Brown! I love cold weather and snow, but even I have to admit that sub-zero windchill is a little much.
Here's a little more progress from last night...there would have been more, but I got caught up in the latest Brandi Glanville drama on Housewives.
I'm still digging the colorway, so I do have that going for me. Stewey is equally as pleased, since he's convinced that a more neutral color scheme around here might keep me from being....me....all the time.
Here's hoping that your little corner of the world is warm and serene and that you're doing exactly what you want to be doing!
Aunt Chrissy vetoed the multi-colored approach because a) she knows me and knows that I was hoping for a monotonal look, and b) she knows color and saw that the warm threads were clashing with the cool tones of the linen.
So I'm in the Happy Chair, happily stitching away....a roast is roasting in the crock pot ( or crock potting in the crock pot), and Crocket and Tubbs are getting the bad guys off the streets of Miami.
What can I say? Don Johnson always did blow my skirt up, and what's not to love about 80's music and tight white t-shirts?
So there I was, minding my very own business and happily stitching away, when I started to think.
I heard that, by the way.
That "Oh, brother, what's she up to now?" that you just muttered to nobody in particular...
I started to think that I might want to stitch all of the blossom/snowflakes in the same color to create some kind of tone on tone moteef rather than the multi-colored version that's called for on the chart.
That's what was rattling around in my head when I turned off the Tee Vee and headed to bed for the night.
I tried discussing my idea with Stewey, but he just adjusted his sleep mask, rolled over, and sighed heavily over the thought of having to put up with me.
So I fretted and fretted and fretted and then fretted some more, and all day today I kept thinking about changing the colors to a tone on tone moteef as I went about the business of being me.
Moments ago, I headed to the Happy Chair to start stitching for the night, and decided that I might like the multi-colored version that's called for on the chart after all.
Aunt Chrissy and Baby Bosco came over last night for a little New Year's Eve supper and stitching, and we watched all five episodes of "Parade's End" while I started this:
It's "Blossom" by Carolyn Manning Designs, and it was exactly what I needed to be doing as the clock struck midnight and we ushered in the New Year.
I'm stitching this on a lovely piece of 28ct. Fog Cashel, and I'm thinking about substituting out the called-for green thread with a few icy blues so that the end result will be more winter-ish.
Included with the chart are these lovely hand-made "blossoms". Aren't they swell? Now all I need to do is keep them safely away from You Know Who before he gets the bright idea to adorn his little silk smoking jacket with them.
Speaking of my little nine-pound bundle of joy, we both want to send our very best wishes for a spectacular 2015. May all of your hopes and dreams and wishes come true. May you know nothing but peace and health and happiness the whole year through, and may we all be exactly where we want to be, doing exactly what we want to be doing for the entire lot of it!
The Spinster Stitcher, her little dog too, Aunt Chrissy, and Baby Bosco send you love and wishes for all that is merry and bright for you and yours! Be safe, travel well, and enjoy your holiday. We'll do the same and will see you in the new year!