Jul 22, 2016


And just like that...we fell back to Earth.

Stewey and I were happily enjoying our tea and toast this morning when Bosco came bounding into the dining room.

"Aunt CJ!  Cousin Stewey!  The new uniforms are here!  Can I get one?!  Can I? Can I?"

And with that, he bounded right back out of the dining room to resume his cartoon watching.

"What do you suppose that was all about, Mo-ther?" Stewey asked, as he peered over the Times.

A few minutes later and I was reminded why I have such a love/hate pathology with my semi-beloved alma mater.  I give you the 2016 Shamrock Series uniforms, as unveiled yesterday to horrified alumni and salivating pre-pubescent mouth breathers alike:

Once again, I am left to feel like the proverbial old lady hollering about the world going to hell in a handbasket and why oh why can't you damn kids just stay off the grass?  I get it...I'm not exactly what you'd call the target demographic for this stuff, but what nineteen year old really loves the color of...shower mold?  

Oh well, at least we won't have to worry about the dry cleaning bill if the damn things get dirty.  These dun-colored monstrocities should hide whatever messes the team decides to roll around in quite nicely, unlike the Stapuft Marshmallow Man get ups from a few years ago:

Oey...back to breakfast and the newspaper.  Maybe I can read a nice article about the Republican national convention or global warming to calm down...

Jul 21, 2016


I've been thinking about that damn yellow butterfly all day.  Moments ago as I was getting ready to unplug for the night, I checked email and got a note from Miss Charlene.

Guess what she found on her bike ride tonight?

Holy crap on a cracker.  This has been a very interesting day!

And yes, in case you were wondering...that is the exact same butterfly that came to Stewey and me this morning and I'm pretty sure if you look closely enough at it you'll see that it's wearing a Notre Dame class ring, has a love of Oreo cookies, and knows that there is no way in the world his idiot daughter would ever be able to survive without a little help from her friends...

Tomorrow we're buying lottery tickets.


Today is my dad's birthday.  He would have been 84 years old today.  I mention this beause I'm pretty sure that the universe is trying to tell me something and that it somehow relates to my dad or my mom or both, since I have been missing them like crazy lately.

(Or, I've finally lost my mind completely and it's time to go to the special facility that's been holding a room for me since sometime in the late 90's when I decided to live my life as though I was a normal person trapped in the body of a portly yet well-meaning spinster.)

I saw a yellow butterfly today.  

OK, so maybe it was more like I swatted and ran away from a yellow butterfly that was careening around the back yard like some kind of crazypants kamakazee spiritual symbol thingie...but nonetheless, I saw a yellow butterfly today.

Normally I would not have really given this too much thought, but for some reason this crazy butterfly decided to get my attention as it flitted between me, the patio umbrella, and then Stewey.  And it did this for about fifteen minutes before I started to get a little creeped out and came inside.

So we got on with our morning and decided to go out for our second constitutional of the day, and there it was again!  The exact same butterfly.  And, just like before, it hung out right there in the yard with Stewey as he hopped around inspecting each and every blade of grass and leaf before deciding to plop himself in the cool damp grass for a snooze in the sun.  

And the stupid butterfly stayed there. 

So now I'm back in the house wondering if I've had a heat stroke or if I have once and for all dropped my basket entirely. 

According to the Google, seeing a yellow butterfly is a good omen and means hope and guidance.


And guidance.

I can't think of two things I could use more of right about now other than a full time housekeeper and a fistful of Target gift cards.  All this time I had been wishing on stars and lighting candles and chanting mantras to whoever would listen, when all I needed to do was find a stupid yellow butterfly.

So that's the report from Lunaticville today, kids.  Here's hoping that your neck of the woods is full of hope and guidance too.

And butterflies.

Jul 20, 2016


Progress continues on the Bargello Challenge:

I've really enjoyed this tremendously and think that I learned more than I bargained for in the process.  I learned that sometimes you can, in fact, have an idea in your head and actually execute it, but that it might take you a few tries and tweaks before you see it come to fruition.  In my case, it was the colors that went sideways on me before falling into place.  The design was there...I knew I wanted to do a "band sampler", but I really did think it was going to be a red, purple, and yellowish band sampler and not a rainbow sherbert band sampler.

Oh well...live and learn.  Live and learn.

Today is going to be a quiet day here at the homestead.  I have been feeling a bit punk and think I'm a quart or two low.  (My kidney disease causes me to have anemia, so when my hemoglobin drops it's similar to the car needing an oil change.)

(Too bad I don't have a little indicator light on my dashboard that would tell me when it's time to go juice up!)

Never fear, however...some labwork and a big fat shot ot Aranesp later and all will be put to rights once again.  In the meantime, I snooze and rest and think happy thoughts and encourage those little kidney beans inside me to keep hanging in there a little longer!

Stewey continues to play Patient to my Nurse Ratchett.  He seems to be quite happy to let me cuddle him whenever necessary, and each evening plays a gentle game of spaceship with me while I toss Bosco a ball to fetch.  (The spaceship is actually an interactive toy that I fill with food, and as Stewey noodges it about, pieces fall out and he eats a bit of dinner that way.  Otherwuse, I'm afraid it would be all cookies, all the time around here!)

The mowers and landscapers are mowing and landscaping, the sun is shining on the garden, and all is calm and bright today so far...hope it is the same in your neck of the woods!

Jul 18, 2016


My Bargello Challenge is still coming along.  I managed to almost fininsh another section yesterday while watching a little marathon of "The  Newsroom".  I have to say....I never would have imagined that I would like these colors together as much as I do.  Makes me think of a big bowl of sherbert!

With the Olympics just around the corner, I decided to start gathering projects that might be suitable.  I had originally thought these might work:

But, now I'm wondering if this one might be more fun done in reds, whites, and blues:

Or I might just break with tradition completely and stitch Poppers as is, since the colors kinda scream Rio in August to me for some reason.   Three weeks to decide...

Stewey and Bosco and I overdid it a bit yesterday.  It seemed like every time I turned around we were chasing pumpkins or eating cookies or running outside to look at the clouds.  I am so desperate not to miss one single minute with him that I think I'm driving us both 'round the bend a bit.  I need to calm the heck down and just...be.

Jul 17, 2016


Bit of an overcast morning, so the boys and I are enjoying an extra cup of French Roast with the paper.  We just can't seem to get moving today.  Would it be so wrong to have a pajama day and do nothing but stitch and watch movies?  Probably not...so looks like that's what it will be.

Yesterday was a simply lovely day with my EGA guild sisters.  We had a wonderful potluck picnic, learned how to make little beaded snowflake ornaments, and then heard a presentation about attending the Royal School of Needlework.  I was away from the house for much longer than I intended, but I think it was good for all of us to have a little break.  Stewey probably enjoyed snoozing in the sun without having me hover, Bosco was able to just be himself without me having to warn him to be careful of Stewey, and I really needed a moment to be something other than a fretting Mommie Dearest.

My Bargello Challenge piece is coming along nicely.  That's the thing about bargello...once you get the pattern established, the actual stitching of it goes pretty fast.  I'm still concerned about the thread coverage, and hope that the instructor won't deduct points for it, but I do like the color and texture that is resulting from using perle cotton, so I suppose that counts for something.

I hope that you are having a lovely, quiet, happy, and peaceful Sunday.  Do something wonderful and then cone tell us all about it!

Jul 14, 2016


We're enjoying a lazy day so far.  Stewey is napping in his little bed and Bosco is snoring in the Happy Chair.  I'm going to grab a long scrubby shower and then head to the grocery for some quick provisions and then make it home in time for our afternoon nap.

Our appointment with Dr. Niemann was very helpful.  I was able to ask questions and wrap my head around what's to come.  The good news is that Stewey does not appear to be in any pain and is still doing very well on the meds.  

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  If it doesn't sound too hokey...both Stewey and I know that all of this good energy is what's keeping us going right now.  The love is...palpable and we're both wrapping ourselves in it like a blanket.

Jul 11, 2016


We had an oddly productive weekend here at Chez Hopeless.  I got it in my head that if Stewey was snoozing in the sun it would be OK for me to do a project or two to keep myself busy.

I cleaned the guest room, guest bath, laundry room, and my bathroom, did laundry, cleaned the office, cooked, made fruit salad, re-arranged my little dining room table cockpit and stitched.

Today, the cable guy came and upgraded all of my equipment, since apparently the hamsters that were powering my circa 1972 dvr thingies all decided to take a much needed retirement and after 27 years of being a loyal Comcast customer, they decided to give a girl a break and get her into the 18th century.

Tomorrow we will visit Dr. Niemann again, only this time I have my notebook ready with questions.  I don't know that the answers will be any better, but at least this time I'll know enough to ask them.

As soon as we're able, Stewey and I will find the words to thank you all for your notes and comments and support and love.  Nothing seems remotely adequate at this point.

For now...a little pic of my BabyDear hanging out under the table while I type.  Looks like it's time for a nap!

Jul 10, 2016


Mommie seems to like the cuddle bunny more that I do, but I'll humor her for a photo:

Only a little stitching, but we're trying to stay in our routines a bit:

Jul 9, 2016

Today I learned that it's OK to let Stewey have some peace and quiet in his little bed in front of the patio window while I get some things done. I've been afraid to let him out of my arms, but realized that he loves laying in his little bed and I don't want him to miss that.

I picked up a cuddle bunny at Target yesterday and laughed as I watched Stewey pounce on it and squeek the squeeker over and over.  It's floppy and soft and has a sweet face, and I think that it's more for my comfort than it is for his...but that's OK.

My biggest fear in all of this is that I'm missing something...something I should be doing or asking or demanding or trying.  I just don't want to make a bad decision because of me being stupid or selfish or ignorant.  We sat in front of that xray, the words "bone cancer" were spoken, and everything after that was a complete blur.  I've started reading about it online, but get more and more terrified and more and more devastated every time I do, so I just try to breathe instead.

Amputation and chemotherapy.  On my baby.  My heart.  My one true little love.  Would those two things cure him and allow him to live a long and happy life, or am I just buying a few very sad, very hard, very miserable months?  When I asked Dr. Nieman what he would do if Stewey were his, he told me to bring him home, love him, and keep him comfortable, and I nodded dumbly and drove home determined to do just that.  

But today I agonize if there isn't somebody or something out there who can tell me that there is an alternative.  A new medicine or therapy or idea or treatment.  Or maybe the diagnosis is off somehow and this is actually fixable....and then I realize that I'm just grasping at anything I can to avoid the reality of it all and I fall back into the nightmare.

Someday I will reveal all of my deep dark secrets that give this situation...context.  Needless to say, if this was the only thing that had fallen on my head lately I would be rather ashamed of my hysterics.  But the list of major "issues" on this spinster's shoulders is long and heavy, my friends, and Stewey and Stewey's companionship was the last piece of duct tape holding me together.  

I'm terrified.

Jul 8, 2016

When I asked Jesus to take the wheel, I had no idea he would be such a lousy driver.

Jul 7, 2016


When I started writing this blog, I never imagined the friends that I would make, both near and far, and how much one person could more possibly enjoy the feeling of finally making it to the cool kids' table.

But who am I kidding?  You continue to read this blog and, I suspect, continue to put up with me and my silly shenanigans because of one reason and one reason only.


Eleven years ago yesterday, I held that little three pound bundle of fur in my arms for the first time and can honestly tell you that I thought my heart would burst with the amount of love that was inside of it.

Today, I'm pretty sure that that very same heart is going to break into a million pieces.

Stewey has bone cancer.  And, despite the fact that I would give my own life to save his, there is absolutely nothing I can do but keep him comfortable and spend as much time with him as I can.  I know that I am in shock and I know that there is a very large part of me that wonders if I will actually survive this, but for now I am just trying to breathe in and out and not let him more than two inches away from me.

Yes, I realize that with all that is going on in the world, the impending loss of a pet seems positively trivial, but I make no apologies for my tears or admission that this little creature has been the absolute  love of my life and I have not one single clue how to navigate this.

So I will ask you to pray for us and to keep us in your happy thoughts.  I might not be here at the blog  as often as I have been, but I know you'll understand.

Stewey sends his love, too.  I am pretty sure that he knows and understands the diagnosis, because he laid very gently in my arms at the vet's office and when Dr. Nieman gave us the news he reached up and kissed my tears away before laying his little head on my shoulder.  We're in the big girl sleigh bed for a nap as I type this, and he is snuggled in close listening to the clickety clack of the keyboard.  

I think he is at peace.


For two little dogs that do not get along very well, these two sure spend a lot of time together.  That Happy Chair was Jack Russell Central last night, and despite my strongest arguments as to why I should be allowed to sit there, I was dispatched elsewhere.


I suspect that this is all just part of the conspiracy.  When I returned home from appointments and errands yesterday afternoon to discover a present for me on the dining room rug, neither Bosco nor Stewey implicated the other.  (Normally, Stewey is only too happy to point out that HE wets the drapes like a civilized gentleman, as opposed to doing something else in a most undignified manner while squatting over an area rug.)

Today will occupied with more appointments (for Stewey this time), some stitching, reading, and hopefully afternoon nap taking.  It's been rather warm and humid here, and that just seems to zap what little energy I have right out of me.

This, however, is keeping me company when I am awake:
I'm so happy with how it's coming along and am thinking that now that I've got the colors and patterns sorted, I might focus on improving the thread coverage.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll switch it all to DMC floss instead of perle cotton, break out the laying tool, and try a v3.0!

(For those of you who've asked...I'm just laying the general pattern for each of my sections.  The open areas of canvas will be filled in with gradations of color, and the backgrounds that are too small for the pattern will be basketweave. )

That's the Thursday report, kids.  I hope that your Thursday is everything you want it to be!

Jul 6, 2016


Eleven years ago today, a little furry creature became my BabyDear.

What a ride.

Yes...I made a scrapbook.  What can I say?  Spinster...pet.  (You do the math).

He was a good sleeper from the very beginning...

And still is...

Even as a baby he looked exasperated with Yours Truly...

And still does...

Thank you for changing my life, Stewey Angus McGrunty vonNudgie Piddlekins Little Skittles BabyDear Willowswamp.  I couldn't love you more if I had given birth to you myself.

Kissy kissy kissy,
Mommie Dearest Mo-ther Crazypants Idiot Spinster Head

Jul 5, 2016


I really did think that yesterday was going to be a housecleaning day.  (I mean, come on, I bought the equipment and all....you would think I would have used it!)

I did this instead:

When last we left our heroine, she was contemplating using her first attempt at the Bargello Challenge as an automobile floor mat.  I liked my design concept well enough...but those colors!  Oey!

So I gently and lovingly removed v1.0 from the stretcher bars, fished around in my stash a bit, and...voila!  Version 2.0.

You really can't tell from my craptastic photo, but the colors are hot hot pink and deep rich orange...two colors that I normally wouldn't have thought of as in my wheelhouse.  But there's something about this combination that is just really blowing my skirt up, so I'm going to stick with it and enjoy the ride.

The weekend turned out to be quite spinster blissful, actually.  I did all of the things that make me happy.  I slept, I read, I cooked, I stitched, I kissed my boys on their little wet noses, and I blogged.  What the heck else could I possibly have asked for?!

Jul 4, 2016

Jul 3, 2016


Meet my new best friend.

For some time now, I have contemplated buying an upholstery cleaner for the Happy Chair, the bedroom chair, areas of the bedroom carpet, and anyplace else that needs a periodic bath.  In the past, I've always called the people with the coupons to come do it for me, but it occured to me that for the cost of one of those cleanings I could have a machine of my very own.
So now I'm going to go read the directions and then send Stewey and Bosco to the movies for a few hours while I turn this place into a sparkling clean bastion of good smelling fabric nirvana.

What are you doing today?

Jul 2, 2016


I blame Patrick Swayze for this latest trip down Crazypants Lane.

Last night as I settled in to stitch, I tuned in to the Lifetime Television for Women channel and caught a replay of Dirty Dancing.  Yes, I've seen the movie before...(I don't really live in a cave surrounded by dog pee and Housewives)...I just had never really noticed HIM  and how he looked at HER during that last dance.

I swooned, I tell ya.  Positively, absolutely, completely swooned.

Right there in the Happy Chair.

So that got me thinking about what it might be like to find some poor half-blind, half-crazy man that would look at ME like that and I pondered taking a gander at online dating sites.

I did well enough answering all of the questions about what I might be looking for in a mate...kind, funny, smart, generous, patient, etc etc...but when it came time to creating my profile I hit a brick wall.

First is the matter of a profile picture.

Here's the one that I selected:

Stewey and Bosco pointed out that this one might be sending the wrong message.  After all...what proper spinster shows her thong to perfect strangers without so much as a howdie doo?

So I moved on to the profile itself and came up with an opening tag line that I thought was swell:

"International swimsuit model trapped in the body of a portly yet loveable spinster."

Again, I got nothing but a big fat VE-TOE from the Peanut Gallery.

So I tried this one:

"1950's housewife trapped in the body of a 1980's sex kitten (if the kitten were the size of a small Buick and had not so much...whiskers, per se...but rather a full-on menopausal goatee."

That one caused both Bosco and Stewey to take away my iPad.

(There seems to be a lot of different people trapped inside me.  I suppose that would explain a LOT  if contemplated more fully and with the help of a certified mental health professional.)

then thought about something a little more whimsical:

"Classic and comfortable...this vintage beauty is in need of a little TLC.  Body needs work, but the engine is optimistically ready for the next 50,000 miles.  Starter can be a bit tempermental, but with the right amount of Starbucks French Roast and a firm hand on the steering wheel, you can be sure it will eventually be quite a ride!"

Hmmmm.  Not sure it sets the right tone about my overall level of tolerance tor adventure.  If I go with that one, I suppose I'll need to add something about my propensity for just staying in the garage with a good book and some needlepoint.

He's out there...I'm just sure of it.  He'll be funny and smart and have kind eyes and will smile and laugh and know how to open a door and pick up a check.  He won't mind quiet nights watching a movie or quiet days watching the boats float by his multi-level well-appointed lake house that is fully equipped with a shaded patio for stitching, a fully-stocked gourmet kitchen, and a staff of friendly and discreet dog wranglers, cleaning persons, and butlers for You Know Who.  He'll love to read, will keep his politics to himself, and he'll appreciate the convenience of having a private jet to travel to needlework shops both near and far.  He'll like sports but won't expect me to play them.  He will know what it's like to love and be loved, and is without a crazy ex lurking in a closet, and he'll understand that the baby ship has probably already sailed with this particular gal.  He'll know how to fix things without having to whine about them, can order a meal and a bottle of wine without having to brag about it, and can be as comfortable in a ballroom as he is in a bowling alley.  He'll be big enough that I won't feel like a water buffalo next to him, yet small enough that we can both fit in the same zip code without tipping it over.  He'll be loyal and decent and hard-working, and will have a circle of friends and family that are as warm and fun as he is.  And, most importantly, he'll let me be me and all that comes with that.

I'm sure this lunatic quest will prove itself to be just a whim and I'll get back to the solitary confines of the Happy Chair before long.  Rumor has it that there might be a Ghostbusters marathon on the TeeVee later, so stay tuned...tomorrow I'll want to move to New York and wear a jumpsuit and proton pack.

Happy Saturday, kids!  Do something fun and come tell me all about it!

Jul 1, 2016


Just a little progress, but I did manage to stitch a bit last night.  Thank goodness I did...it was getting bad enough I thought I was going to have to call in the authorities!

Today is paperwork day, followed by an afternoon in the studio.  There is a gorgeous breeze blowing, so I am going to open up the windiws and air the place out!

We're off like a herd of turtles!  Hope your weekend is starting out to be as swell as you want it to be!

Jun 30, 2016


In his eleven years, one month, and thirteen years on this planet, I have never seen Stewey sleep flat on his back like that.  Wonder if he's doing that to try to tan his tummy?!

"No, Mo-ther.  This is officially my pose of surrender.  Are we EVER going to get this place back to normal?  Now put down that wretched camera and fetch me my tea and toast."

Jun 29, 2016


If you happen to live in these here parts and know Martin's Supermarkets, then you know that they have some of the nicest people you've ever met working for them.  One if my favorites happens to be a guy named Mike.  I call him Mike the Butcher because...well...he's a butcher.

So Mike the Butcher had occasion to meet Misses Charlene amd Jane on Saturday, and when I happened to see him again today he mentioned how happy he was to see that I a) had actually found friends and b) that these ladies looked like they were definitely out of my league in the smarts department.

(Mike the Butcher gets a pass, since he has a very witty sense of humor and was just saying these things to tease me.)

(At least I hope that's the case.)

Last night, though, I really started to wonder if I'm repeating the "Thunderbird that really looked like a deranged chicken" incident of 1984, when I returned to Chez Spinster completely exhausted from my day and evening with Misses Jane and Charlene and the ladies of the guild.

These are women to admire and adore, I tell ya, and there I am just hoping to somehow fit in and hang with them without completely embarrasing myself right into more of a hot crock pot full of mess than I already am.

Thus the comparison to 1984... Senior year at Lima Central Catholic High School.  For the big game against our arch rival Shawnee, my BFF Valerie Murino and I got the bright idea to charge the field before the game as a fierce Thunderbird (our mascot) defeating an Indian (their mascot).  We planned out a little skit demonstrating a battle of epic proportions, and although we imagined what would be today's equivalent of the Game of Thrones Battle for Winterfell, the result was...eh....not so much.

I enlisted the help of my cousin Brian to build the fiercely fierce Thunderbird costume, and given the budget (which was probably loose change I fished out of my car) and the time frame (which was probably about fifteen minutes), the end result was more..."large spray painted foam chicken head perched on the shoulders of a portly and hopelessly uncoordinated idiot who insisted on carrying out this little extravaganza despite the dire warnings of the band director, the head football coach, and most of the St. Rita's Medical Center emergency medical staff."

But I did it, kids.  I was determined to hang with my team and show my school spirit, and in the midst of all of this, hope that my bravery, athleticism, and fearlessness in the face of certain humiliation would be enough to earn me a spot at the table with the cool kids.

I gotta tell ya....the class of 1984 has nothing on my Guild ladies!  These are some wickedly talented, funny, smart, and lovely women.  And when it comes to stitching, they play in a league all their own. There are cross stitchers and needlepointers and beaders.  Some of these ladies also quilt and sew and knit and crochet...some are great chefs...some are hardcore bike riders or golfers...some are business women or teachers or accountants or nurses...and some are professional artists.  Most are moms or grandmoms, some are not, and some are wives or girlfriends or widows or exes.

And then there's me...adjusting my big foam chicken head and plunging head first into anything they've got going.  I don't know if I am going to be able to keep up, and I don't know if I'll figure out how to not be such a babbling numbskull around them...chattering like a circus monkey that got into the liquor cabinet, but at this point...I'm just thrilled to be invited to play!

Stitchy updates soon, I promise.  I've had a little hiatus, but am totally reinspired by all of the fun stuff I saw at House of Stitches (and by the two new projects that made their way into my shopping basket.)  I'm thinking that I will plunge ahead with Twilight and see if I can't get it completed this week, and then I think it will be time for some cross stitch!

Happy Futzingday, kids!  Do something futzy and come tell us all about it!

(Aren't you glad I didn't call it Hump Day?!)

Jun 28, 2016


I got to spend the morning with Miss Jane, and I get to spend the afternoon with Miss Charlene and the rest of the girls from South Bend's EGA as we head over to La Porte for dinner and a House of Stitches trip.

There is not a spinster on the planet who is happier than me at this point.

I received a very funny email from a reader of this here blog recently asking me if Misses Jane and Charlene are, in fact, real people or if they are imaginary friends.  After all, the reader wrote, I am a spinster with a talking Jack Russell terrier wearing a silk smoking jacket...so...you just never know.

First of all, can I just say that I am continually gobsmacked that there is anybody out there who actually READS this here blog, but who also takes the time to write to me and politely ask about my life?  Well, shucks...that's just so flattering and surprising to me that I get all mushy inside.

Yes, Virginia, both Jane and Charlene are real.  They are two of the smartest, kindest, funniest, most generously wonderful women you will ever meet, and I feel lucky to know them.  I have to say...all of the ladies in all three of the guilds that I attend are that way.  Not one bad apple in the bunch.

All in all, I would say that stitchers in general are a pretty swell bunch, no matter their ilk.  There must be something about this thing of our that makes it so, but for now I'm just happy to be a part of it, even if I'll never know exactly what it is.

Do something fun with your peeps, if you can, and come tell us all about them!

Jun 27, 2016


I spent a few minutes planning yesterday, which usually means I struggle to find things to write in my book and then fret whether or not I have a sticker for it.

(It's a cult, I tell ya.  A big school and office supply cult of very very organized people.)

I started using an Erin Condren life planner last year and immediately fell into the cuteness of it all, but the probelm is...most people that use these planners have real lives and kids and jobs and things to do other than chase dust bunnies and Jack Russell terriers around the house.  True, it's been great to keep track of the umpteen million doctors' appointments I have in a week, but I was feeling kinda foolish to have this nice big fancy book with nothing in it.

And then this week rolled around and I actually had some stuff to enter!  Errands and calls and appointments and even a job interview!  Who could possibly be happier than I am at this moment to feel like a real grown up person?


Still no stitching again last night.  Stewey and Bosco and I did a Game of Thrones marathon and I needed to sit up in the Happy Chair and really pay attention.  I felt very lost this season for some reason, so I wanted to get half a clue before the finale last night.

One last load of laundry to fold and put away and I am happy to report that every single solitary piece of clothing that I own (with the exception of the outfit I'm in now) is clean, folded, and properly hung/drawered/shelved.

Gee, if this keeps up I might actually get everything else done on the list this week!  Stay tuned...miracles can happen, you know!

Jun 26, 2016


Yesterday was a shopping outing with Miss Charlene and  Miss Jane, so today is a recovery day.  These girls are professionals, I tell ya, and it was all I could do to just keep up with them.  Smart, decisive, no nonsense.  

(Me?  Not so much.  It took fifteen minutes to pick a canteloupe when I stopped at the grocery on the way home.)

(I really need to up my game if I'm going to hang with these girls, I tell ya.  This is varsity ball.)

No stitching to report. I don't know if it's the heat or some big decisions that I need to make that's making my brain want to grind to a halt and stay there, but hopefully things will resolve soon and I can get back to needle and thread.  I had hoped to pick up Twilight last night, but I was just too pooped to move.  

Speaking of too pooped to move...
(I just noticed that even Woodstock is too tired to sit up properly in the picture above!)

So Bosco's camped out on the perch.  Where's Stewey?

Where else would he be, but snoozing in front of his dahlia and basil.  

That's about it from this little corner of the world.  Steak and corn and tomatoes later for Sunday dinner.  I really hope I don't screw it up....been looking forward to a nice steak on the grill for about a month and a half!

Hope your Sunday is absolutely easy, too and that you are doing whatever it is you want to do today!

Jun 24, 2016


Stupid, stupid, stupid Spinster.

I had absolutely no business whatsoever posting anything remotely related to the British departure from the EU, so my cheeky post that was here a minute ago has been deleted.

What the hell was I thinking?

Well, I guess I was trying to say "Good for you, British peoples for conducting this entire exercise as civilized, smart, passionate humans as opposed to bomb-wielding, fist-shaking, tyrannical, fire-breathing idiots who can't find a way to have a conversation, let alone hold a vote for citizen voices to be heard."

Truly...truly sorry to have offended anyone who was.  After a few minutes banging my head on the driveway, we'll get back to stitching and Happy Chairs and laundry and dog pee, I promise.


Jun 23, 2016


The new colors for Twilight are just what I was looking for...watery, soothing, cool, and peaceful.  I am really enjoying my time with this one on the stretcher bars and seem to be slowing down quite a bit to prolong the happiness.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

We've had some wicked, wicked storms here in Hoosierville, but thankfully Chez Spinster has been spared so much as a leaf on the lawn or the lights flickering.  I was sure we were in for it last night and was contemplating heading to the guest bath for cover, but it passed pretty quickly and Ibefore I knew it, was wrapped up in Housewives.

I did, however, discover that little Bosco is simply terrified of thunder and lightning, so he and I huddled together and whispered to each other while Stewey snoozed...obliviously...nearby.  I told Bosco the story about the angels bowling, which is what my dad used to tell me during a storm.  We would sit in his chair together and Dad would say "OK, here comes a strike!" and then we would cheer like crazy while the house shook and the sky lit up.  (I never really did get a good answer about those lights...Dad said that the boss angel didn't know how to bowl, so he stood at the light switch and flippped it on and off so that he could feel like he was part of the fun, but I was suspect.)

Today is supposed to be a housecleaning and laundry day, but I'm not sure I have the energy for it.  I know that if I just buckle down and get it done I'll feel better, but the thought of all of that sweating and grunting and scrubbing and cursing makes me tired just thinking about it.  What the heck happened to the spinster that used to set aside four hours every Saturday to clean her house like an Amish woman?  I used to be able to do that, run errands, and still manage to go out to dinner and a movie!

Oh, wait.

I was also 22 years old when I did that.

This whole "learning to live with moderation" thing completely escapes me.  I keep remembering my friend Dr. Dan telling me to "Just find the grey, Coni!  Just find the grey!" in an effort to get me to stop careening from full throttle to comatose, but, what can I say?  I'm apparently a very slow learner.

So methinks today I will try to do a few things instead of many and I'll have a good soak in an epsom salt bath and I'll drink lots of water instead of Crystal Lite and then, blissfully, I'll get back to the Happy Chair for a little Thursday night stitching.

How about you?  What's on your agenda for the day?

Jun 22, 2016


I slept, I went to the kidney doc,  and I stitched. 

My Aunt CJ gave me lots of cookies and I chased the chipmunk and I barked at the birds and I dranked water and tooted and then we went byebye in the car and I saw lots of dogs and cats and my special friend Miss Nekka cut my toenails and then we went to the McDonalds my very favorite and I had a cheeseburger with pickles but I couldn't play on the playground and I had a french fry but I don't like them and then I almost upchucked on the car seat and then I came home and watched cartoons and went to sleep.

My efforts to civilize this pathetic little family unit of mine go un-noticed and underappreciated.  After a quiet breakfast of tea and toast and a brief perusal of the Times, I set about trying to organize the day in a fashion befitting my inimitable sense of style.  I had hoped to book an appointment with my regular nail technician and sneak a mini facial and massage into the visit, but alas, we were relegated to attending what is uncharmingly called "Toenail Tuesdays" at the pet medical centre.  I found it extremely...undignified...all of that yapping and queueing like commoners.  And to be summarily hustled into a room and then chopped and dismissed without so much as a calming soak in a pedicure tub was just too much.  I indulged my little cousin with a brief trip through the local drive-through establishment, but would have surely preferred a lively little puttanesca and a whimsical Merlot instead of the "Happy Meal" that he wolfed down while bemoaning the lack of playtime in the monstrously colored plastic play space.  I checked on Mo-ther, snoring away in the big girl sleigh bed, donned a fresh smoking jacket, and settled in for a lovely evening with a novel and a little sherry before retiring.

Jun 21, 2016


Hello, dear friends near and far.  

My mo-ther can't come to the blog right now, so I decided to pick up the ball and run with it today.  The old lady has been suffering from a case of the grumps lately and has not been feeling well, so I gave her a nice refreshing glass of juice with a little something "extra" in it and pointed her back to the big girl sleigh bed for a few minutes.

(We should rename that thing the big whiny why can't things just go my way tor once sleigh bed, but that's another story for another day.)

Life with Spinster has its moments...it really does, but I suspect that the real cause of our problem lies solely on the shoulders of my little "helper" in the screen shot above.  You see, I had a pretty good gig going here up until HE decided to move in, and now I have been relegated to my little bed in front of the window to contemplate my loss of world domination.

I get it...the poor little guy has nowhere to go, and despite my refusal to admit it, HE and Mo-ther really do have a very special bond.  I also understand that one must be a gracious host and treat guests with special latitude, but my patience is wearing very thin.  I was always top dog around here (no pun intended, I'm sure), and my fragile ego finds it hard to take a back seat.

My little cousin is tolerable, I suppose.  He is a bit daft, unfortunately, and does things that baffle one's imagination, but I am learning that his desire to play with plastic dog toys or roll in the grass are what most of his ilk are wont to do.  I, however, simply cannot understand his refusal to don a proper dinner jacket before wolfing down his Purina Little Bites, but that, as they say, is not my monkey...not my circus.

I continue to monitor things as best I can without staff.  Mo-ther has decided that we are to become a household sans butler, gardner, cook, and driver in an effort to belt tighten, but I am hoping that the subsequent exhaustion on her part in fulfilling all of these roles will quickly change her mind.  I know that she has been diligently looking for employment to return us to the manner of living to which I am accostomed, so there is hope that this little experiment in frugality will cease once and for all.

As for Mommie Dearest's physical capacities, she is most definitely on the decline, I'm afraid.  In my professional opinion, I think that age, illness, and stress are all plying havoc with her usual good cheer, thus landing her in rather hot water with her medical team.  I no longer have access to her chart ( since the prescription sedative debacle of 2007), but I think I overheard her fretting about some recent labwork that revealed an advancement of that damn kidney disease.  We will travel the .2 miles to the Nephrologist's office later today, and I promise to report back with any updates.

In the meantime, I have re-mounted a fresh piece of canvas on stretcher bars and re-selected thread colors for the poor dear's Twilight project.  As soon as she returns from her appointment today, I intend to install her in the Happy Chair with a nice tall glass of something cold to drink, and I'm going to take the little guy for a pedicure.

(On the way home, I think we'll stop at my tailor's and have him measured for a uniform.  He won't wear a silk smoking jacket, but nobody said anything about him not wearing a butler's apron.)

So that is the latest report, my dear friends.  I hope that you are all well and that you will come again soon.

With love from your pal,

Jun 20, 2016


My Monday is off to an interesting start.  If this is what the rest of the week is going to be like, I'm going back to bed and am going to stay there, I think.  

So far I've managed to miss my morning paper delivery and then spend an hour trying to connect with subscriber services (their phones were down), Bosco decided to do his thing on the patio instead of in the designated spot in the grass (thus thoroughly disgusting Stewey who decided to almost step in it), a bird hit my front wondow with enough force to rattle the entire house (and then drunkenly get up from the mulch and fly away), and my coffee cup decided to splosh damn good coffee all over the front of my freshly laundered t-shirt (that I had just put on after a refreshingly cold scrubby shower that I thought would wake me up, but didn't...it just made me clammy and smelling of Irish Spring).

I spent a few sweaty hours up in the studio yesterday looking for the next perfect project to get me out of my bargello color funk.  I found a good candidate in the March/April issue of Needlepoint Now called Twilight.  I figured that this would be a good choice considering the success I've been having with Stickideen von der Wiehenburg's designs, so off we went to the thread drawers.

That must be when the wheels came off the bus, since my cool Watercolours Monsoon blues and greens turned into a muddy mess:

What the heck is up with me and color lately?  I get an idea in my head and think it's swell and then I end up executing a total disaster.  

I'm off, I tell ya.  Physically, mentally, stitchingly, spiritually, and emotionally.  Maybe it's the moon or the tides ir the heat or the solstice, or maybe it's just an accumulation of things that result in it being my turn to just say ... phooey.

But!  Don't cry for me Argentina!  I am happy to view this as a minor and temporary setback and quite trivial when taken in the context of things going on in the world, so I am determined to, as my grandmothers would say...."Connie Dough, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with it".

After a bagel and some Crystal Light, I'm heading back up to that studio to try try again with the colors for Twilight.  I love the design and think it's just what I need to snap out of it, so a little asjustment followed by some frogging will be a small price to pay for stitchy nirvana.

Here's hoping that YOUR Monday is considerably less...fraught...than mine!  Do something fabulous and come tell us all about it!  WooHoo!

Jun 19, 2016


My Saturday went from blech to ugh and I managed to spend most of it in the big girl sleigh bed.  I had started to feel decidedly unwell on Thursday, but chose to ignore it completely in the hopes that it would somehow sort itself out.

Alas, it was not to be.  Such is the life of a kidney patient, apparently.  I haven't been very good at remembering that I am a flower of very delicate constitution and not, as I think I am anyway, the bull in a china shop that is usually able to power through a day of errands and laundry without having to pause for rest and sustenance.

So today I am in the Happy Chair at 7am pondering Father's Day and how much I miss my dad.  I think I am especially sad this year because it seems like life has gotten away from me a bit these last few months, and I'm pretty sure that if he were here, Bob Rich would be wondering what the heck happened to his happy, competent, optimistic, funny, lighthearted, fool of a daughter.

I can hear him now..."Just do your thing, CJ."  This is the advice that he gave whenever he knew that I was fretting over something big or small, and his confidence that I had it in me to know what "my thing" was usually got me right where I needed to be.  My dad was a kind and gentle and loving and generous man, and when Mom told me to find somebody just like him to marry...I knew I was completely and totally screwed, because I'm pretty sure they only made one of him.

I've known and loved a lot of wonderful men in my life...uncles and cousins and friends and one or two soulmates, and I'm blessed to have had a lot of father figures through the years provide me with guidance or help or insight, but there's really only one guy that was my dad.

Today I'm going to try to do things that will honor his memory...like putter around the house and watch a little golf and cook a great meal, and if the stars align just right, I'm going to do my thing and get some stitching done.

If you're missing your dad today, here's hoping that you'll find something that will bring you joy and peace.  If you are a dad...Happy Father's Day!

Jun 18, 2016


Yuckety yuckety yuckety.  I like the theory of my design, but not the execution.

Is it the colors?  The combination?  The varieagated?  Do I plow on?  Stop?  Drink tequilla?

I see some time up in the studio in my future.  Don't be surprised if this gets turned into one big fat doodle cloth.