Oct 31, 2012


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  I've medicated her heavily and sent her off to the big girl sleigh bed with instructions to pick up a book and get away from the TeeVee.  She has been glued to the storm coverage 24/7, and her weepy "Oh, my poor New Jersey" hysterics are getting a little hard to take.  You would think that she was born and raised there the way she's carrying on, but if she doesn't knock it off pretty soon, I'm going to point out that she thought that John Cougar Mellancamp and Bruce Springsteen were actually the same person until she was 34 years old.  Sheesh.

The scenes are indeed devastating, and I am thinking of all of you that were in the storm's path.  Whether you're dealing with wind, water, ice, snow, cold, or powerlessness....please know that we are continuing to pray for your speedy recovery and safety.

We're hurtling toward the weekend like a herd of turtles around here, so I promise to provide you with stitchy updates as soon as I have them.  Mo-ther has been playing with a fun little Halloween piece from the ANG stitchy guild, but whether or not any measurable progress is made has yet to be determined.

Take care, my dear friends.  Be safe, and tell us all about it when you can.  We'll be here.

With love from your pal,

Oct 29, 2012


It's all over but the beading!  I had so much fun stitching this that I was sorry to see it end.  Do you ever do that?...get to the end of a fantastic book or the last few stitches of a wonderful project and wish they would last just a wee bit longer?  Well, I certainly did that with this one.  Loved. Loved. Loved. It.
Turning Leaves
Laura J. Perin Designs
18ct. mono canvas
#5 perle cottom, Watercolours, ribbon floss, and Kreinik #8 braid 

I'll have to finish the beading up in the studio, since whenever I sit in the Happy Chair to bead I end up dropping enough of them that Stewey gets himself into mischief.  The last time I beaded something in the Happy Chair, I awoke to see that he had corn-rowed his hair and then attached lovely little gold seed beads to all of the ends.  I suspect that he did this to teach me a lesson -- tiny little beads, an overstuffed chair with an ample heiney in it, and a precocious little dog do not mix.  At all.

Speaking of Stewey, we've determined that he is the worst alarm clock ever.  There we were, snoring away in the big girl sleigh bed this morning, when he decided to lurch out from under the covers and upchuck all over the freshly laundered sheets.  So Mommie Dearest here had to leap out of bed, strip it bare, start washing things at the crack of dawn, and then get his tea and dry toast ready before she had her wits about her.  All I can say is that it made for an interesting Monday morning.  Oh well, at least I've been productive....all of the newspapers read, dishwasher emptied, coffee slurped, and towels a-folded and it's not even 10 o'clock yet.  Woo Hoo!
"Mommie, just because I ASK you for cookies every fine and a half minutes doesn't mean you have to GIVE me cookies every five and a half minutes.  If you're feeling guilty about not being a better mo-ther, try taking me outside to play Pumpkin instead!"

Aunt Chrissy gets the Spinster Weekend of Bliss Award, since she put her shoes and socks on and came over to empty the back patio of all of its contents.  I wanted to delay it until the snow started flying, but now that I see the weather report, I realize that when Aunt Chrissy tells me to do something I should just do it already and shut my trap.  We're going to get the back-side remnants of Sandy in the form of high winds, so the thought of not having to chase my patio umbrella down the block is reward for a little sweating and grunting.

Speaking of the you-know-what, I hope that all of you in the path of it are warm and safe and dry and that you and yours will be OK.   We're sending all of our hopeful thoughts your way!

Oct 25, 2012


Turning Leaves
Laura J. Perin Designs

Oct 23, 2012


As I was trying to get my wit (*) about me on Sunday, I kept saying to no one in particular...."You only have three things to do today.  Read the papers. Make pasta fagioli.  Stitch."

(*) And yes, I know that the expression is "get my wits about me", but come on.  This is ME we're talking about.  I am, most definitely, a little short in the whole "wit" department.  Thus...wit singular versus wit plural.

Nine hours later I collapsed into the Happy Chair wondering why I just couldn't be a normal person like everybody else and do things in moderation.  I futzed and cleaned and laundered and flipped and re-filled and polished and swept and scoured and baked and washed and dried and organized and moved and dusted and rinsed and folded and fluffed until I thought I was going to drop.  What was supposed to be a perfectly quiet Sunday turned into a "Hey!  Let's shampoo the furniture and then re-arrange the storage closet in the garage!" kind of day.

Oh well.  At least the house looks and smells nice now.

On Saturday, I also did a little housework, but was so wiped out after about ten minutes of it that I decided to call Aunt Chrissy instead.  This is one of my very favorite procrastinating techniques, since I can usually convince Aunt Chrissy to go for a cheeseburger, or, if the stars are in perfect alignment, head to the Bed Bath and Freakin Beyond for a bunch of crap that we didn't even know we needed.

"I don't understand it", I whined into the phone.  "I used to be able to clean my house from the top to the bottom every single Saturday and then have enough energy to go grocery shopping and out to dinner with my friends afterwards.  What's happened to meeeee?"

"Well, for one thing, you're old now and not twenty two", Aunt Chrissy replied.  "And for another, your "house" is now bigger than a bedspread and consists of more than a crock pot and a twin bed.  Face it, Coni Jo.  Life has moved on, even if you haven't.  It's 2012.  You're 46 and feeble and should be grateful that Stewey and I haven't put you in a lovely "retirement community" by now."

At least that's what the conversation sounded like in my head, anyway.

The truth of the matter is that I was the one that admitted that I'm just not able to keep up like I used to.  This revelation particularly sucks, because once you've gotten yourself used to an OCD perfection of immaculateness, it's hard to let it go and peacefully co-exist with dust bunnies and the occasional puppy nose print.  My surroundings used to look like a surgical theater.  Now, they're more like a crime scene.

Hope is not lost, however, since I am convinced that the only thing I need to do is create a weekly routine that will allow for some easy chores in the morning and a lot of happy stitching in the evenings.  If I'm really good and learn to embrace the whole "no need to dis-assemble the entire refrigerator every four days to clean and disinfect it" approach, I might actually learn to enjoy this new stage of my life.

In the meantime, anybody wanna go for a cheeseburger?

Oct 22, 2012


Blurry, I know.  But that's the kind of day we're having around these here parts....blurry.

Oct 18, 2012


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  She's fainted dead away at the sight of this lovely new piece from Aunt Laura J. Perin, Her Very Self.  It's called HARVEST MOON HOUSE,  and I for one can't wait to see it stitched, handsomely framed, and then up on the wall.  Isn't it swell?

 Methinks it's just what the old lady needs to grab the last of the gorgeous fall color and whoop it up on a Saturday afternoon or two.  I'll let you know the moment it's underway.  In the meantime, I hope that today brings you nothing but joy and bubbles.

With much love from your pal,

Oct 17, 2012


Wednesdays around here used to involve a time to unplug and re-boot.  I figured that this would be a good day to just concentrate on doing nothing.  You know....a little futz here, a little futz there.  Here a futz. There a futz.  Everywhere a futz futz. Just a day to stare at walls or play with something new or bang around up in the studio.  And the one thing that I promised myself was that I would, under no circumstances, turn on this bloody machine and then be tied to it for hours and hours and hours like I am most of the other days of the week.

So much for that.

Here's a little progress on what's been going on around here of late.  A whole lot of absolutely nothing:

 ...at least we're very well rested...

Oct 15, 2012


snoozy...snoozy...snoozy...water the drapes....snoozy...snoozy...snoozy...water the ottoman...turkey bacon!...water the Happy Chair...snoozy...snoozy...veto Mo-ther's choice of grocery shopping attire...snoozy...water the freshly planted pansy garden...snoozy...veto Mo-ther's choice of sleeping attire...snoozy...snoozy...snoozy...bark at birds...bark at squirrels...bark at obnoxious neighbor grandchildren who are only here on Notre Dame football weekends but who think they own the whole gd place and can't understand why it is not at all fair that we cannot enjoy a lazy Sunday with The New York Times and a damn good cup of coffee because they insist on all of that caterwauling...snoozy..snoozy...Mo-ther back in the Happy Chair stitching...snoozy...snoozy...snoozy....Mo-ther coughing her brains out all over the place...snoozy...snoozy...snoozy...water everything

Turning Leaves
Laura J. Perin Designs
18ct. mono canvas
threads as called for, except for some really sparkly gold that I had in my stash

Oct 10, 2012


Before I moved to New Jersey (sometime in the year 1993), the worst curse words that I used were rather banal.  As a matter of fact, I now hear more and more of these words on network TeeVee, and, to further my point that they really are very bland,  not during late night hours.   But once I made myself a resident of the Garden State, I somehow thought that a lot of well-chosen expletives would make me fit in. 

They didn't.

At all.

The only thing they did was make all of my fellow New Jersey-ans wonder what the heck was up with the hayseed Hoosier stumbling her way around Margate, and on more than one occasion, I caught sight of someone in the Park and Shop shaking their head in wonder that I was able to figure out how to get out of bed in the morning.

What can I say?  I'm a doofus and always have been.

So when I woke up this morning and realized that The Illness of Epic Proportions had come back, the words that flew out of my mouth in between hacking up a lung or two were NOT ready for prime time.  As of yesterday it has officially been one month since I have fallen ill, and I'm not exactly what you'd call handling it with dignity and grace.  I'm miserable and headed back to the big girl sleigh bed with a cuddly puppy and a bar of soap for my potty mouth.

Don't cry for me, Argentina.  This too shall pass.  In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves.

Oct 8, 2012


lunch with an old friend...reading a library book that didn't make me want to gouge my eyes out...a warm sudsy bath for Stewey....a warm sudsy bath for Spinster...grocery shopping with Aunt Chrissy...You've Got Mail on WE teevee (twice)...46 degrees and raining....house colder than a meat locker....turning the fireplace on for the first time....a warm sleepy puppy giving me kisses.....damn good coffee and The New York Times...finishing the freakin' crossword puzzle in less than eighteen hours...naps...looking outside and seeing that the gardens have all been put to bed for the winter...red mums...sleeping in.....the sun on my face, freshly laundered sheets, and a snoring puppy during a long snoozy nap...studio time....picking up a needle again after a month's hiatus....thinking about how wonderful Mom was and wishing she was here for her 79th birthday...more damn good coffee....shirmp cocktail with extra horseradish in the sauce....Sunday dinner in front of the fireplace...listening to Bach on the car radio...looking at all of the gorgeous Fall color....more naps...more coffee...more newspapers...more stitching....more everything

 Turning Leaves
Laura J. Perin Designs

 Halloween Treat
The American Needlepoint Guild

Plum Street Samplers

Autumn Arbor
The Drawn Thread

Oct 5, 2012


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  She's at the kitchen table (with a big fat Panera bagel, I might add) writing lists.

Apparently, the old lady has decided that if she writes enough stuff down on $1 bin notepads from the Michael's things will eventually get done around here.  This, of course, is because my Aunt Chrissy employs the use of lists and always seems to be productive and well organized.

Alas, it is not so with my stupid mo-ther.

The first list that she wrote was for the grocery shopping excursion that will take place once Aunt Chrissy gets home from work and then calls to tell Mo-ther to put her shoes on and get moving so that they can get home a decent hour.  Normally, they go to the grocery on Thursday nights, but Aunt Chrissy has requested a change to Fridays to help accommodate the inevitable migraine that will ensue after watching my mo-ther (always unsuccessfully) try  to find kumquats.  Or exotic handmade noodles.  Or some other stupid thing she saw on the Food Network that is surely only available in cities more cosmopolitan than this little cow patch we call home.

I caught sight of other lists like "Things to Do Today", "Things To Do This Weekend", "Things To Do This Fall", and finally, "Things to Do This Winter", but I'm not at all optimistic that anything at all will be accomplished, since I see that the first thing on each and every list is "Clean the House".  We're not exactly eligible for a reality show intervention just yet, but let's just say that I've taken to wearing my garden clogs inside the house to avoid the collision of dust bunnies that happens when a breeze causes them to scurry across the hardwood.  Also, if the old lady doesn't start putting the freshly laundered clothes away instead of fishing the next pair of sweatpants out of the basket from atop the dryer, I'm going to stop using lavender soap and switch to the generic stuff. (For her clothes only, of course.  I do still have MY standards.)

The most disconcerting thing I've noticed on these lists is "Revamp the Studio and Re-Think Stitching". This means that we're in for several months of hair-pulling, sweaty-faced bawling and bitching about the lack of stitching that's gone on around here since the Great Bronchitis Epidemic of 2012 that has rendered my stupid mo-ther even more catatonic than usual.  I'm not sure if it's the meds or the fact that she can't seem to go more than nine seconds without hacking up a lung, but I haven't seen a threaded needle anywhere near the Happy Chair in over a month.  Pity, really, since she does have so many lovely things started, and one can only imagine how much better the Big White Walls of Nothingness would look with a little framed decor'.

I suppose that this list writing frenzy is inevitable, since I overheard Mo-ther telling Aunt Chrissy that she's coming up on the 10th anniversary of living here in her little house, and these types of milestones always start her thinking about how she might improve things so that she's finally living in a feature article in Martha Stewart Living.  I hate to tell her this, but life with Spinster is more like something you'd see in the Psychiatric Quarterly, but I'll let her tire herself out a bit before breaking the sad news that perfection isn't a word that should be in her little dictionary.

As for my own lists, they are short and sweet.  As you know, I am prone to bouts of eye-rolling condescension when it comes to participating in banal trivialities like list writing, so I try to keep things on a more sophisticated level.  Today will find me researching 18th century dressing gowns as worn by the French aristocracy, and this weekend I plan to review several new indie films from the 2012 New York Film Festival.  If time permits, I might make a lovely little cassoulet to enjoy with a good Pinot, but we'll have to see how this impacts my nap schedule.

I do hope that your lists are considerably more promising and that the weekend is full of fun things for you.  I'll be back soon to report on Mo-ther's successes and (most assuredly more likely) failures.  Until then, I remain your loyal and devoted friend.

With much love from your pal,

Oct 3, 2012


Today I decided to do something nice for Stewey, so at 1 o'clock we're going to go have a little spa day.

Well, not a spa day, really.  More like an appointment at the v-e-t to get his toenails trimmed.

But we're going to pretend like it's a spa day so that Mommie Dearest here can feel better about the last month and a half of sheer neglect he's had to endure, and Little Lord Fauntleroy can stop clickety clacking all over the hardwoods.

Do you suppose if I slap a little Enya on his iPod during the drive over there he'll fall for it?

Oct 1, 2012


Remember that silly spinster who said "I'm really going to enjoy the Fall this year", and then she went and caught what can only be described as The Plague of Biblical Proportions That She Wouldn't Wish On Her Worst Enemy that caused her to miss an entire month of her life to weapons-grade pharmaceuticals and doctor visits and enough bitching and moaning and complaining to qualify her for her very own reality show on the Bravo Tee Vee networks?

She's ba-aaack.

Well, not completely, but at least I'm able to sit upright in a chair without wondering why somebody saw fit to prop my entire house on some kind of crazyass cantilevered platform that replicated the deck of the Titanic every time I thought about moving my eyeballs more than a millimeter to the left or right.

Throw in liquid Vicodin and you've got yourself some pretty entertaining shenanigans right there, people. (Liquid Vicodin...did you know they even MADE that stuff?)  As somebody who carries a big sign around that says "Warning!  I'm allergic to narcotic pain meds", I have to say that the recommendation to try this stuff came with the realization that even my family doctor was tired of hearing me complain and that she had finally decided to help me just shut the heck up already.

So here I sit, wondering where September went, but doggedly determined to embrace October and all of its charms.  If I can make it up the stairs without having to stop for a nap, I'm going to spend some time in the studio today trying to regain my lost stitching mojo.  If all goes well I won't have to call Aunt Chrissy and the Mishawaka Fire Department to come help me back down the stairs and to the big girl sleigh bed and I'll have something worthwhile to blog about in the near future.

What's new with you?