Aug 11, 2014

Aug 9, 2014

WHAT I'M STITCHING NOW...

This is Zecca's "Bird in a Nest".  Threads and stitch guide by Miss Ruth Schmuff Her Very Self of Beadecked and Beadazzled fame...

Aug 4, 2014

THEY REALLY SHOULD MAKE PILLS FOR THIS....OH WAIT! MAYBE THEY DO!

Chelloooooo!

I am utterly and totally bobcumdistulated today.  I'm pretty sure that it has to do with the fact that I have just spent the last TWO weekends out of town, but the more likely explanation is that I had to be ME out there in the public and not be too MUCH me for more than fourteen seconds at a time.

I think my head is going to explode.

What can I say?  You spend the majority of your life hiding in your house with a fussy little dog and you get a little nuts when you have to wear shoes and a bra and carry on polite conversation about something other than ort receptacles.

The first trip outside of my comfort zone (Read that as: outside the eight-foot perimeter of Chez Spinster), was to Donaldson, Indiana and the annual Sit 'n Stitch with 50 of the most amazingly wonderful ladies you will ever meet.  It was life-changing for me in many many ways, and I learned how to take a shower in the glove compartment of a Ford Focus.

(If you've ever been to the Lindenwood Retreat Center at Ancilla College in Donaldson...insert your guffaws here.)  All I can tell you is that the size of the shower and the amplitude of Yours Truly made for a very interesting morning.  At one point, I figured that the best way to get clean would be to apply the body wash to the walls of the shower/glove compartment, and then just shimmy my way to a bright and spot free shine, but the resulting jiggly bits threw me into convulsions that could be heard all the way down the hall.

A fair amount of thread was applied, removed, and applied again to the Zecca Bird in a Nest canvas, but alas, I do not have it or my camera here for photographic evidence.  Tomorrow....I promise.

This last weekend found me in Lima, Ohio for my 30th high school class reunion.

(I'll save you from having to do the math in your head.  Ready?....I'm 48.)

(You're welcome.)

Now here's where I confess that I fretted and fretted and fretted about this for six months, purposely missed the deadline to attend, and then turned my car around about nine times because of the full-on panic that ensued every single time I thought of having to say "Hi, do you remember me?  I was the one sitting in History class trying to look like I had a clue about what I was doing, but all I really wanted to do was go hide in my locker until graduation."

The flop sweat hit ten minutes after I left the hotel and the red blotches appeared right about the time I realized that there was no good way to run screaming from the banquet room without drawing attention to my big fat heiney hastily packed into twelve year old capris pants and a blouse that was apparently made of thermo-nuclear fabric. (I'm pretty sure that I could have baked a ham in there and had plenty of heat left over for the green bean casserole.)  (Note to self.....find.  better.  deodorant.) (Second note to self....burn. blouse.)

By the time the event started (oh, did I mention that I was about four hours early?), I had worked myself up into a froth of bug-eyed, sweaty, blotchy, messiness that could only be contained in the corner stall of the ladies room.  I spent a fair amount of time in there quietly gritting my teeth and chanting "Get a freakin grip already.  Get a freakin grip already" until it occurred to me that people were probably starting to wonder about the weird girl who spent the night in the john talking to herself.

Yeah.  THAT'S the way to rebuild a reputation.

Despite having to be ME, I managed to have the time of my life, and I can't believe that I was actually lucky enough to go to school with this group of people.

Thank God, though, that I've got five years to recover, get a grip, and find better pharmaceuticals.

Stewey sends his love.  He was happy to spend some time with his Aunt Chrissy, but a bit miffed that it was not (as I had promised him) a vacation aboard a Viking Cruise through the waterways of Europe.  (Can I help it if he's getting harder and harder to please?  A mo-ther's gotta do what a mo-ther's gotta do to get the damn dog in the car seat, after all.)

Here's hoping that your last few weeks have been filled with all things happy.  If you've gone to your own events this summer and would like to pass along any helpful tips about how one might learn to be a little less....Spinster Stitcher-ish, please drop me a line.  I'll take all the help I can get.

Woo Hoo!


Jul 19, 2014

JUST ME AND MY EYE PATCH

We awoke at the crack 'o dawn (it really was, but you have to expect that sort of thing when you go to bed at 7:30) , had coffee, and then.....drumroll please...

WE SPENT THE MORNING IN THE STUDIO!!!

I figured out how to turn the record player on and while jamming to Elton, I colorized this:





I'm in the Happy Chair....needle and antiseptic bandaids at the ready, and now....off to stitch!

Jul 18, 2014

POKED...

I poked something, all right.

Myself.

Right in the eye.

No, seriously....I sat down to start stitching and promptly reached up to brush a forelock from my forehead and poked myself in the eyeball with the needle.

If it weren't for the fact the Stewey laughed so hard (*) he peed the ottoman, I would have been really traumatized.  As it is, I checked for blood, slapped a cold compress on my head and went to bed.

Sometimes it's just not at all easy being me.

Now here's the good news in all of this.  Because I'm stupid enough to do this stuff and then even stupider enough to tell you all about it, I will get thousands of comments expressing sympathy and suggestions as to how I can live in the world and still be me at the same time.

What would I do without you all?  Thank you for your kindness...your inspiration...your tolerance...and most of all for just understanding . You ROCK!

Here's to happy weekends all around.

I. Am. Determined. To. Stitch. If. It's. The. Last. Thing. I. Do.

(*) In case you're wondering, his laughter is rather like that of the beloved Snoopy of Peanuts fame....high pitched, squeaky little giggles that make his whole little self jiggle and shake.

Jul 17, 2014

IT'S LONELY OUT IN SPACE....

I think there's a line in Elton John's "Rocket Man" that says something about "I miss the Earth, I miss my life".

Or, maybe it's supposed to be "wife".  I don't know.  Either way, all I know is that I miss my old life.  I miss having an entire day to think about stitching and then do the actual stitching and then write about stitching and then do more of the thinking about stitching.

Stewey is completely miffed that we seem to have fallen into a terrible trap of....nothingness....that includes a lot of bad TeeVee and even worse meals. I suspect that if I don't clean up my act soon he's going to hit the road for greener pastures.  (I swear I came home the other day to find him furiously stuffing smoking jackets into his little valise while simultaneously berating his stuffed toys for not being more helpful.)

The good news, though, is that I actually had wonderful dreams last night that I WAS stitching.  Nothing too Earth-shattering, mind you.  Just a very pleasant nine and a half hours of dreaming that I was sitting in a lovely comfy chair with a pretty blanket over my legs stitching away on something wonderful.

I awoke hopeful.

So here's to a Thursday on which I, the Spinster Stitcher Her Very Self, do so solemnly swear to pick up a needle and poke something with it before days' end.

How 'bout you?

Jul 7, 2014

STEWEY/MO-THER VERSERY

Mo-ther's version:

"Nine years ago yesterday, Aunt Chrissy and I traveled to the wilds of Indiana to pick up my two and a half pound bundle of joy.  I knew the very moment I held that little creature in my arms that my life would never be the same.  I looked deeply into his eyes, took a deep breath, and said:  "I.  Am.  Your.  Mommie."  We drove home, with Stewey sleeping peacefully in his Aunt Chrissy's arms (I think I even made her sit in the back seat for safety purposes!), and then I spent the rest of the night watching my new baby snore happily away in his playpen.  He was potty trained the next morning, learned to fetch a ball the next afternoon, and fully in love with his huge basket of fluffy toys by the end of the day.  What can I say?  Those first several months were sheer bliss and I would not trade one moment of the last 3,285 days for anything in this world."

Stewey's version:

"I couldn't have been picked up by that nice pediatrician and his wife from Cincinnati?"

.....................................................

Hard to believe it, but it's true.  Stewey and I celebrated nine years of being.....us.....yesterday.  I snuggled him every chance I got and he did his level best not to pee on the drapes.  All in all, a very good day.

Jul 3, 2014

FIREWORKS

Happy 4th of July to all of our U.S. friends.....

Stewey and I are gobsmacked by the tons of emails that we've received in the last few days asking if we weathered the storms OK.  The short answer is, yes, thank goodness, but many in our area weren't so lucky.

The tornado sirens went off at 1am, we headed for our bathroom bunker shortly thereafter, and the lights went "poof" at about 1:05.

Power is back on and we are none the worse for wear (except for a few trees that look a bit naked), but we're not looking forward to doing THAT again any time soon.

Here's hoping that the weekend is calm and bright and full of stitchy goodness for everybody!  Thanks for thinking of us....WOO HOO!

Jun 24, 2014

BLOG? WHAT BLOG?

So there I was, minding my very own business, when I looked up.

"Holy crap, Batman!" I exclaimed to nobody in particular.  "It's almost the end of June!  How the h-e-double-toothpicks did THAT happen?"

The truth of the matter is that time seems to be speeding by us here in Hoosierville quite quickly this summer.  It's not due to anything exciting, mind you, but rather just the general blah blah blah that is my life.

Stewey is fine...toes are all in tact and healed very nicely.  He was totally miffled that he had to have his little cast removed, especially since the sight of it gave everybody a case of the "Awwwww, isn't he the cutest little thing you've ever seen" bug.

Chez Spinster has remained spiffed up, but no visit from the Jersey Boy just yet.  I wait with breath that is batied for the day he crosses the threshold, but am doing my level best not to get too excited about it until I see the license plate in the driveway.

(You have to love that about New Jersey...front license plates!  We don't have them here in Indiana and I really do miss them terribly.)

(I find it comforting to know the home whereabouts of the cars that you're careening into on any given day.  Don't you?)

Aunt Chrissy is all skinny now and sporting her fancypants glasses where ever she goes.  I'm not sure how she did it, but my little sister has managed to get even cuter, all while maintaining her usual aura of exasperated patience with moi and moi's little you know who.

I am stitching a bit.  Managed to finish the little all-tent-stitch-all-the-time piece that I was playing with.  If I ever find the battery to the camera, I'll show you how it came out.

So that's it, kids.  Nothing new.  Nothing Earth shattering.  Just me,.

I'll make sure that Stewey gets back to it soon and updates you on all of his shenangins.  Until then, know that we remain your loyal and devoted friends and hope that you are well and safe and happy and stitching to your heart's content!

Ciao, mee amorays!
Coni

May 29, 2014

MY POOR BUBBIE....

We've had a sports-related injury here at Chez Spinster.  As of this morning, the Doozie Ball World Champion has stubbed his little toe.  From the sounds of things coming from You Know Who, you'd think we had suffered a partial amputation....

Damn dog.


We're off like a herd of (injured, yet sporting a cute little cast with chickens on it) turtles!

May 27, 2014

THE WAY BACK?

I've been so frustrated with my lack of stitching (and reading and writing and cooking and blogging and sleeping) that I decided to go back to basics.  A lovely little needlepoint canvas done all in tent stitch with Vineyard Silks.

This is Birds of a Feather's Flowers in a Yellow Vase:

May 17, 2014

THEY REALLY SHOULD MAKE PILLS FOR THIS

My mo-ther can't come to the blog right now.  She's collapsed (yet again) into a hysterical mess of a heap over this:

As I'm sure many of you are aware, my stupid mo-ther is a self diagnosed agoraphobic with moderate to severe panic disorder....who didn't leave the house for a period of eight years.

(She says it's because she was afraid that she would break out into a flop sweat and then chatter like a circus monkey over the prospect of having normal human interaction, but I think the only reason why she played this little drama to the hilt is because she didn't have a proper bra.  Or haircut.)

So now she's thrown herself across the davenport with her forearm draped across her face while she bemoans the fact that the garden has yet to be planted, the patio furniture has yet to be placed, the geraniums have yet to be positioned, and she is never going to leave the confines of her freshly shampooed Happy Chair again.

If it weren't for the fact that I abhor violence so, I would get a garden spade from the garage and dispatch this situation forthwith.  As it is, I am going to have to call my Aunt Chrissy to ask her to prepare the guest quarters.

Methinks it's going to be a long summer.

I do hope that this finds you well and that things are considerably less dramatic in your corner of the world.

With much love from your pal, 
Stewey

May 12, 2014

AND THEN THE HAPPY CHAIR GOT A BATH

So there I was, minding my very own business, when it occurred to me that there might be a solution to the Stewey "issue" here at Chez Spinster.

"I can call people!", I thought to myself.  "I can call people who know how to clean things, and I can ask these people to bring their cleaning machines to help me rid myself once and for all of the "situation" we've developed over the short nine years that Stewey has been watering the planet!"

So at 10 am on the d.o.t., two nice men named Terry and Nick arrived with their cleaning machines to spiff things up once and for all.  At first, I was mortified that they would see that I have furniture older than Methuselah His Very Self, but they assured me that they've seen worse and I shouldn't be embarrassed over a piddle or two.

Especially when you consider that Stwey met them at the door wearing his best silk smoking jacket, and promptly offered them a cold beverage. (Martinis, thankyouverymuch.  Stirred, not shaken.  With twists.)

Damn dog.

A few Sure-fit slipcovers later and I'm now suitable for guests.  Aunt Chrissy and my Jersey Boy won't know what hit 'em.

We're not even going to talk about the state of NON-STITCHING that's going on around here.  If I don't get a needle in my hand this evening, there's going to be hell to pay.

What's new in your world?  Hopefully your furniture and carpets are piddle-free and your needles are flying!

May 9, 2014

NOW YOU KNOW WHAT I'VE BEEN UP TO, BY THE SPINSTER STITCHER HER VERY SELF


I shamelessly boosted this from a fellow stitcher's page on the Facebook.  Isn't it genius?

Seriously, though, kids...all is well.  Just trying to keep my crazy on the inside.  Stewey and I are getting Chez Spinster in some semblance of order for the Spring and Summer, and I'm fretting over a complete lack of stitching progress.

Maybe I should look for a clean dress?

Mar 31, 2014

A LITTLE NOTE FROM ME TO YOU, BY MASTER STEWEY ANGUS WILLOWSWAMP, HIS VERY LITTLE SELF

My mo-ther can't come to the blog right now.  I've sent her to the market on a fool's errand of looking for a very special organic dog food that I read about online.  We'll just keep it between us chickens that this particular dog food is only available in Australia, OK?

I was doing just fine, sleeping with my silk pajamas and sleep mask firmly in place, when the old lady started bellowing "Oh, what a beautiful morning!" at the top of her ample lungs at 5:30 this morning.  We apparently are experiencing some sort of weather related phenomenon that does not involve freezing my little heiney off, so Mo-ther felt compelled to welcome the day in what can only be described as her own special way.

Progress continues on Aunt Laura's Stained Glass Windows.  I think this piece is particularly fetching, and have already selected a place for it in my study....just above the davenport.  Methinks the color scheme will go quite nicely with a new Persian I've just had my broker bid on for me at Southeby's, so as long as Mo-ther remembered to pay my AMEX bill this month, we should be good to go.

Life continues along quietly here at Chez Spinster.  I see my Aunt Chrissy from time to time for a little intellectual stimulation, and make do with whatever inane conversation Mo-ther concocts in the interim.  My cousin Bosco continues to amuse me with his antics, and there was a brief moment that I considered joining him on Spring Break this year before I remembered that I care neither for board shorts or beer parties.

I do apologize for my absence, but between trying to keep my idiot mo-ther from doing stupid human tricks that will surely result in a trip to the local emergency room and writing my novel, there just isn't a lot of time in the day.  

Are you all well and enjoying your own particular corner of the world?

I hope so.

Until we meet again, know that I remain your loyal and devoted friend.  Keep those cards and letters coming!

With love from your pal,
Stewey

Mar 27, 2014

HOLEY SCHMOLEY!

So there I was, daydreaming about this thing of ours, when I happened upon a comment on this here blog by the lovely JP.  In my last post, I mentioned that Stewey and I were captivated by the costumes in Game of Thrones, and JP was kind enough to provide the link to the Embroideress of said costumes.

(Fair warning, kids.....when you go to this sight, you are going to want to quit your day job, move to London, and bang on the door of her studio to beg for an apprenticeship.  (At least that's what I am thinking about doing today.)

I mean, come on.  How freakin' COOL would THAT be?

RANDOM PERSON AT A COCKTAIL PARTY:  So, what do you do for a living?

SPINSTER:  I'm a Needleartist.

(OK, so this is the answer I give whenever somebody asks me this question already, but I do so because saying "Oh, I'm a big fat loser who hasn't a clue as to what she was supposed to do with her pitiful little life" kind of kills the moment.)

RANDOM PERSON:  A Needleartist?  What's that?

SPINSTER:  Well, I do hand embroidery on textiles that are used in film and television productions.

RANDOM PERSON:  Wow.  That's amazing.  Have you worked on anything that I would have seen?

SPINSTER:  As a matter of fact, I just finished work on this season's costumes for Game of Thrones.

RANDOM PERSON:  Wow.  That's incredible.  You're perhaps the most fascinating person I've ever met in my whole entire life.  Can I get your number and take you to dinner sometime to hear more about this?

Ahhhhh. What a happy daydream for today!  Thanks for the reference, JP!

Here's the link:
http://www.michelecarragherembroidery.com/index.htm




Mar 26, 2014

WEDNESDAY, WEDNESDAY

Chelloooo!

Stewey and I are having a quiet, yet lovely Wednesday morning.  The sun is shining, but it's cold.  I think the thermometer said it was in the 20's before she muttered "Later, kids" and headed south for the duration. 

Sheesh...even the meteorological measuring devices have had enough.

I've been happily stitching away on Laura J. Perin's Stained Glass Windows while re-watching the previous seasons of Game of Thrones.  Aunt Chrissy and I decided to get ready for the premier in  a few weeks by refreshing ourselves on the characters and plot points, so it's been all things codpieces all the time around here.

Last night, Stewey got such a case of the giggles when he caught sight of Cersei Lannister in her copper breast plate.  I looked up from my stitching to see what all the fuss was about, and have to confess that my Stewey Little was right-on with his assessment: 




I was thinking that the level of detail was a little extreme for a copper breast plate (since I thought I saw a n***le) but it turns out that it just must have been the lighting in the shot.  Here is a close-up of said breast plate:




Isn't the embroidery on that costume swell?  Makes me wonder what all of the stuff from the show must look like up-close and in person.

Speaking of up-close and in person.....here's my progress on Stained Glass Windows.  In case you're wondering about the odd pattern of completion, may I just point out that I was smart enough to turn the canvas upside down so as not to reach my stubby pork chop arms across an 18-inch stretcher bar set?  I figure I'll work the other two boxes in that row and will then head to the center portion of the design last.
That's the report for today.  I hope that your neck of the woods is fabulously happy and full of all the things that make your heart go pitter patter! 

Mar 22, 2014

DAMN, DRAT, AND FREAKIN PHOOEY

On Tuesday, I awoke at the crack of dawn with a bright idea.

"Stewey!" I said,  "Mommie Dearest is feeling particularly motivated to get organized this year.  Let's make a list of all the chores we need to do around here and then spend Saturday getting them all done once and for all."

He was beyond excited, I can tell you, because before I knew it, he had donned his little reading glasses, strapped on his little apron, and grabbed his copy of the Martha Stewart Homekeeping Handbook.

So we plotted and planned and planned and plotted, and for the rest of the week I thought about how nice it was going to be to have a proper weekend of getting stuff done around here.

Friday afternoon, I realized that I would need to complete all of my shopping and errands in one fell swoop, because if I tried to do them on Saturday morning,  the long list of getting stuff done around here would never happen.

So I went to the bank and the car wash and the grocery and the lab and the Targets and every other damn place I could think of, and by the time I got home at nine in the pee em, I was worn out.

"Oh, Stewey! "  I sighed, as we tucked into bed last night.  "I'm so worn out, but tomorrow is going to be our day of finally getting stuff done around here!  I'm so excited!"

"Me too, Mommie Dearest!" Stewey said "Shall I ask Cook to prepare us a special breakfast in anticipation of our big day?"

I didn't have the heart to tell him that "Cook" is actually Your Truly, and that the only reason he hasn't figured this out yet is that he's usually still wearing his little sleep mask when the breakfast tray hits the bed each day, so we moved on.

The alarm went off at seven and after I stumbled out to get the paper, I realized that something was amiss.  Why did everything seem so fuzzy, and why did every part of me feel like I had been dropped from the top of a tall building?

I got my coffee and headed to the Happy Chair and....BAM!  I got the flu.

When I called Aunt Chrissy to tell her the news, she allowed me to have my tantrum and then told me to go back to bed.  "Its fourteen degrees outside and miserable" she said.  "Besides.  This might be the last lousy winter Saturday we're going to have, so you might as well enjoy it."

You gotta love that about Aunt Chrissy.

So I'm headed back to bed and hope to woke up sometime in May.  Don't cry for me, Argentina. I guarantee you that the chores will still be there when I wake up and You Know Who will be there to share his disappointment with me that our Super Perfect Saturday of Cleaning and Polishing and Organizing will have to wait.

What's new with you?




Mar 9, 2014

INTER MET ZO

It's not quite Spring, but Winter seem to be gasping her last breath.  The sun is shining today, but based upon the shivering Stewey that I see toasting his buns in front of the fireplace, methinks it's still cold outside.

So up to the studio I go....determined to refresh my stitchy basket and get some inspiration.  My mojo has been OK, but my stamina seems to suck the proverbial wind by the time 7pm comes about and it's time for needle and thread.

I decided to go with the idea that I would find two cross stitch projects, two counted canvas pieces, and one painted canvas piece.

First the cross stitch.  I heard the birds chirping as I went to get the paper this morning, so I figured that it would still be suitable to play with Rosewood Manor's Winter Quakers for a little bit more.   Besides, my start on this was pretty pathetic.  So into the basket it went:


For my next cross stitch piece, I decided to go with Come Tarry from Shepherd's Bush.  What is it about these long band samplers that can make even the worst day wonderful?


For counted canvas, I found this lovely Laura J. Perin Stained Glass Windows lounging in the WIP bin.  I don't know why I ever put it down in the first place, to be honest, so adding it back in to the mix seems like a no-brainer:


I don't know if I ever shared a pic of this one before.  It's Kimberly Crum's Floral Block Two, and as you can see from the tiny little bit of progress I made, it hit the back of the archive before I was able to really get into some of those colors.  Purple and olive green really blow my skirt up sometimes, so this one should be fabulous once I get 'er done:


When I started to paw through my stash for a painted canvas, I started to get a little frustrated.  Something in the back of my mind kept saying to me "I just know that I have the absolutely perfect thing to go in this damn basket, but for the life of me I can't think what it might be!"

And then I spied a little cabinet tucked into the corner with some of Stewey's crafty things.  OMG!  THIS IS THE EXACT CANVAS I AM LOOKING FOR!  WHAT THE HECK IS IT DOING IN MY LITTLE DOG'S CRAFTY THINGS?!

He couldn't offer an explanation, but I think he was miffed that I haven't yet started this beauty.  Remember it?  It's from Zecca, and is all kitted up and stitch guided by Miss Ruth Schmuff Her Very Self.  


Oh, what joy, what bliss I am going to have today!  I am freshly showered, in clean pajamas, and armed with a gallon of diet Coke.  I don't know if there's anything of interest on the TeeVee, but for the first time in quite a while, I could care less.  I've got a MAJOR love affair going with this little Intermission Basket and I'm not afraid to enjoy it!

Here's hoping that your Sunday is as lovely and joyful as you want it to be!  Onward!

Mar 1, 2014

NESTING...THE SATURDAY EDITION

The view from the Happy Chair on a cozy Saturday evening....

Supplies for the "as yet to be completed" Olympic project:


And here's the progress...


I really am enjoying this immensely, so even though the torch has been extinguished, methinks I will keep playing with this for a few more days.

My reading life is back on track.  This morning I finished "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt.  I'm still working it all out in my head, but I think I loved this book.  Next up is either "That Part Was True" by Deborah McKinlay or "An Unnecessary Woman" by Rabih Alameddine.


I picked up the book about Zentangle thanks to Miss Susan of Plays With Needles fame.   After reading her post about a recent family class, I went into a three-day obsessive frenzy of learning, watching, and devouring everything I could find on Zentangle.  I completed my first one yesterday with simple pen and paper, so I imagine that once I get my hands on some proper materials, there will be no stopping me.

Have you read Miss Susan's blog, by the way?  If not...take thee there immediately and prepare yourself for the most soulful, lovely, wonderful blog reading experience you'll ever have.  You can find it here:  www.plays-with-needles.blogspot.com.

Stewey is munching a Chewee while silumtaneously toasting his little buns in front of the fire.  We took a nice long snoozy nap this afternoon, and he's been Little Mr. Cozytoes all  day.  Damn dog....sometimes it's all I can do not to just sit here and grin at him.

I'm going to pour another dietCoke, pop a blanket into the dryer to toast, and then snuggle in with some stitching and Sopranos.

What's on your agenda?

Feb 27, 2014

AS USUAL, IT'S ALL MY FAULT

OK.  We finally have an answer to the question "REALLY?" as it relates to this crazypants weather of ours.

You see, it's my fault.  Entirely.

No.  Really.  I mean it.  And once you realize that it truly IS my fault, you will delete me from your PalmPilot (do they still even MAKE those things?) and you'll be able to return to life happy and content that you used to know an idiot that caused all of this m.e.s.s.

As a child, I anticipated winter with the same excitement that I had for Christmas.  Winter meant snowpants!  And sweaters!  And sledding at Faurot Park!  Winter was when Dad made perfect fires in the fireplace and I, for once, could sit in front of them with my nose in a book and not hear "Why don't you go outside to play?" every seventeen minutes.

When I came to the hinterlands of Northern East JaBip Indiana to go to college back in the dark ages of 1984, I got quite a kick out of the kids from Southern California and Tampa and other exotic locations walking around campus freezing their bazoombas off and hating every single minute of it.  I would chortle madly as I huffed and puffed my way to class all bundled up in my parka, while those poor fools slipped helplessly about in their perfect J Crew pea coats and illogical shoes.

I've been saying "Oh, I LOVE the cold and the snow and the dark winter days!" for years now...all in an attempt to make people think that I come from hearty peasant stock and am nothing, if not, adaptable.

Today it was minus twenty-eight degrees outside and I couldn't see two inches in front of my face when I made the mistake of going out to get the paper.  The drifts on the side of my driveway are taller than I am by several feet, and if Stewey rolls his eyes one more time at the limited real estate on which he has to make his deposits, I'm going to FedEx him to Florida.

All done now with the cold and the snow and the whatnot, thankyouverymuch, MotherNature.  Can we go back to normal winter now with 30 degrees and just enough white to cover the grass?



Feb 16, 2014

FURTHER EVIDENCE OF WHY IT'S NOT EASY BEING ME...

Welcome back to prime time coverage of the Spinster Stitcher Stitching Olympics.  I'm your host, Stewey Willowswamp, coming to you live from Happy Chair Stadium.

Well, it's been a rough week for our competitor.  Project selection and preparation went smoothly, but in the initial time trials, she faltered, stumbled, tripped, and then fell face first:

What can I say, folks?  The sheer disappointment of such a meagre attempt ths far has made our contender, the crowd, and the judges very restless.

Fortunately, coaches were called in and a plan was assembled:
Obviously, this blueprint should have been in place well before the Opening Ceremonies, but it would seem that our contender was more interested in eating Trisha Yearwood's Charleston Cheese Dip than she was concerned with training.  A costly, costly mistake indeed.

As our next week of competition begins, we'll see if our stitch-lete can overcome such a huge obstacle, gain momentum, and finish with some modicum of dignity.  It will be difficult, to be sure, but a chance of Olympic gold should provide the necessary motivation to push forward.

Until then, I bid you a good evening.  Please join us again soon on this channel for full coverage.   Thank you for watching.  Good night.

Feb 13, 2014

WE'LL BE BACK AFTER A WORD FROM THESE SPONSORS...

Hey, kids!  While you're waiting for some Olympic stitching updates, please enjoy a rant that percolated in my tiny brain last week.....




The new pope of the Catholic Church is a real pip.  He's got this bizarre notion that priests should tend to their flocks instead of amass airline miles attending conferences, and he has been consistently delivering this message:  "Wake up, kids.  Time to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, etc. etc. etc.  We need to get back to spiritual basics and re-prioritize ourselves."  And then he went and fired the Bishop of Bling in Germany (or wherever the guy was), refused to move into the Papal Ritz, and pretty much eschewed the wearing of the gold lame' and the big fat ruby ring.

(Rumor has it that he's not wearing the red shoes, either, but I haven't seen a picture of his feet yet to confirm this, so stay tuned.)

It is my humble opinion that this guy has the mental fierceness of a Jesuit, combined with the good nature of a Fransciscan, all wrapped up in the outfit of an old-school priest who didn't think a thing of inviting his homey to ride in the Popemobile with him for a spin around St. Peter's.

(Did you see that, by the way?  There's the Pope....tooling around the masses in the middle of the square, when all of a sudden he sees a guy from home and invites him to hop on board and go for a ride.  Can you imagine the conversation that took place in the Secret Service office THAT afternoon?)

Anywhoose....my point is, I think this guy is pretty interesting as popes go, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

So, with all of that in mind, I share with you the news that a) my beloved Alma Mater just inked a $100 million dollar deal with UnderPants (or some other crazyass uniform place) to dress up the football team for the next billion years and b) they announced a $400 million expansion of the football stadium.

$400 million.

Expansion.

Of the FOOTBALL stadium.

Now all of this wouldn't have been so bad were it not for the fact that the Board of High Exhalted PooBaas of my beloved university had a audience with the Pope (pleasee see above for context here), the day AFTER the announcement of the $400 million expansion of the football stadium was announced and TWO days after the $100 million deal with UnderPants was effected.

Let's go to the Vatican, shall we, and peek in on what I really really hope was the conversation....

BABBO (that would be the Pope):  Fr. John, welcome to Rome!  Thank you for coming to visit and for bringing along your very highly exalted entourage of what I presume to be extremely important peoples.

FR. JOHN (that would be Jenkins.  John Jenkins. President of You Know Where):  Thank you, Babbo.  It's a pleasure to be here (he bends, kissing the ring).  

(It is at this moment that a papal aide discreetly clears his throat to get Babbo's attention.  He leans forward, whispers something in Babbo's ear, and hands him a copy of the previous day's South Bend Tribune.)

(The Pope reads...brows furrowing.)

BABBO:  Fr. John, I see here that you announce great things.  But my English...it's not so good.  What is "stadium".  Is this a place for prayer and contemplation?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, no, Your Holiness.  The stadium is where we play football.

BABBO:  Ah!  Football!  So you are going to take this $400 million and make a place for all of the little children of the world to come play soccer in the name of wolrd peace, no?

FR. JOHN:  (Looking sideways for help from his entourage).  Uh, no, Your Holiness.  Football, as in American style football.  You know -- with pads and helmets and a funny shaped ball?  We have a team called the Fighting Irish, and they play their games in this building.

BABBO:  Oh, I see.  So the $400 million is going to help pay for these poor young men to better themselves on the field of sport, while getting in touch with their Catholic identity as students at your university?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, not exactly Your Holiness.  You see, our football team is already pretty well funded by our new corporate marketing partners, UnderPants.  THAT deal, which we just announced, was worth about $100 million.  THIS deal is for the expansion in which the new $100 million team will play.

BABBO:  Hmmm.  OK.  Again, my English.  It says here that the building will house new features that will further the tradition and Catholic identity of the university.  So these rooms here (he points at the architectural rendering on the front page of the paper)...this is where the praying and the ministering to the poor will take place?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, no.  Those are the new luxury sky boxes.

BABBO:  Sky boxes.  So that one can draw closer to heaven?

FR. JOHN:  Uh,  not exactly.  Sky boxes so that our wealthy alumni have a special place to have cocktails and watch the football game.

BABBO:  (Again pointing to the rendering).  And this room here?  A chapel?  A place for the poor of the community to come if they are in need of shelter?

FR. JOHN:  Nope.  That would be the new ballroom.

BABBO:  Ballroom?  You mean for more of the football?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, no.  Ballroom,  For dancing and parties, and concerts and other important scholarly functions that will help further the identity and mission of our Catholic institution.

BABBO: What about on this side of the football place? (He points to the eastern expansion).

FR. JOHN: (Smiling brightly.) Oh!  That's the new three-story rock wall!

BABBO:  Ah!  Rock wall!  You mean for praying and reflecting, like the one in Israel?  A very holy place where the peoples can come to talk to God and unburden their soul to Him?

FR. JOHN:  No (face falling), a rock wall that our students, faculty, and wealthy alumni can climb on for recreation.  You, know, Your Holiness, for when they get bored or have an extra twenty or thirty thousand dollars a year that they'd like to donate to us in the memory of somebody that was important to them.

BABBO:  (Looking at the rendering while mentally calculating the number of peoples that the $400 million could have fed, clothed, educated, nurtured, and otherwise saved.)  Well, thank you for coming to visit us today, Fr. John.  Here's a blessing for you (he makes the sign of the cross over group).  Please have a safe journey home.  (He turns to his papal aide, slowly shaking his head in disbelief, finishes his work for the day, gets in his Ford Focus and drives himself home to his studio apartment.)

The entourage makes its way to the exit, gets into the waiting limousines, and heads for the luxury jet that will take them to the next destination in their journey -- a yacht moored off the Amalfi coast.

The End.


I'm posting this here rant almost two full weeks after all of that happened.  Can you imagine what the rant would have been like if I would have actually let loose on the very day?  There's not enough soap on the planet to wash out THIS potty mouth, I tell ya!

Olympic stitching is coming along pretty nicely.  I will try to get a few pictures taken and give y'all an update! Until then....hope you're surviving whatever it is that's going on outside your window, and that you're warm and safe and dry with needles loaded and flying!