Oct 30, 2011


Well, surprise, surprise, surprise. She returns to her STITCHING blog to actually talk about STITCHING. Will wonders never cease?

The borders are now complete on Turning Leaves and it's on to the fun parts of filling in the sections. I think that once I plant myself in the chair and get to it, this will be a lot of fun and will go very quickly:
Stewey reminded me that Trick or Treating Time is just around the corner, and that it might be a good idea to pull something from the ol' stash appropros to all things Halloween. So Into The Night by Shepherd's Bush it 'tis:
(Don't you just love the fact that the sheep is wearing a cape? I mean, come on, if you have to be a sheep, why not accessorize your witch's hat with a jaunty little cape, no?)

I think there's about a day and a half more to go, and then this one will be ready for the framer. If I'm good and don't find too many other things to do today, this one just might be at the top of the pile.

Finally, I will leave you with a pic of Stewey waiting for the fesitivites to begin. He's rather excited about the prospects of examining all of the costumes this year, but I told him that if he so much as THINKS about lifting a leg, there will be h-e-double hockey sticks to pay.
Don't you just love the Fall? Makes me want to send you all bouquets of sharpened pencils....

Oct 25, 2011


My very dearest friends both near and far,

As you might know, I have been "recently engaged elsewhere" due to some unfortunate circumstances that were blown completely out of proportion by the local media. For the record, I was NOT imitating the University of Notre Dame Athletic Director when I took that podium and demanded air time. I was simply exercising my right as an American, and, dare I say it, as an alumna of all things Blue and Gold over there on campus, and my arrest and the grounds surrounding it remain a mystery to me. I'm innocent, I tell ya! Innocent!

I think that the following transcript will adequately explain all of the hulla-ballew:

"Thank you for coming to my press conference. Before we begin, I would like to announce that this will be a short statement only and will not be followed by a Q&A. I have a limited amount of time before the authorities break the lock on that door and place me into custody, so listen up.

For the record:

I do not know the first darn thing about the game of football. Professional, college, European (in which case I think we Yanks call it soccer), or otherwise.

I was an original member of the Notre Dame class of 1988 that won the National Championship at the Fiesta Bowl in January of 1989. My diploma says that I graduated in 1989, but that's because my mom died and I took a year off. (So give a girl a break).

Here's what I would like to say:

We had an opportunity here at Notre Dame and we blew it. The world of collegiate athletics changed dramatically, and rather than leading the revolution and controlling what were sure to be unsavory aspects of all of it, we caved and decided to continue talking out of both sides of our mouths.

It's not 1989 anymore. College football has become a multi-billion dollar enterprise that drives a machine of sports marketing, television contracts, game day hype, and imprinted merchandising to levels of hysteria not previously thought of. The athletes are exposed to pressures unimaginable, and we're re-writing the meaning of the word amateur at a staggering pace.

It used to be a privilege to come to Notre Dame. You could poll any member of our football program and ask them "Why Notre Dame?" and the answers invariably went something like "I've loved Notre Dame from the time I was three years old" or "My dad brought me to a game when I was in grade school and I fell in love with the place" or "I wanted to know that when I graduated I would have received an excellent education and that for the rest of my life I could say that I played for the "Irish".

Now, we listen as the color commentator discusses the attributes of a player and lists all of the schools that he considered, and that he didn't even know about Notre Dame until the coaches were able to poach him from elsewhere. Our legends appear on Sports Center and do their best to maintain their love of the place, but after a few minutes, they too concede the fact that the guild is most definitely off the lily.

The opportunity that we had was one of integrity. And character. And principles. We had a chance to tell the world that college football might have changed, but the core of who we were was going to remain true and strong and that we weren't going to lower our standards or change our practices or dance the dance anymore.

Our players would live on campus. They would attend class, go to practice, eat in the dining hall with their fellow classmates, and then go to study hall. They would be gentlemen and scholars and team rules would be followed or their scholarship would be given to somebody else. When we won, we would win as a team. When we lost, we would stand firm, know that we had left everything on the field, congratulate our opponents, and then stand together. We would cut our hair and tuck in our shirts and not show our armpit hair. We would link arms with our brothers and sing the Alma Mater appropriately and with great fervor, and when it came time for interviews we would use words like "honor", "respect", and "heart".

The moment the world told us that nobody would watch, we would point to the hundreds of thousands of subway alums who built this school, and to the thousands of alumni who wanted the pride back and who wanted to feel like they were a part of a family again.

We'd tell all of the donors who threatened to pull their millions "Thank you, but we'll find somebody else who wants their name on a building" and then we'd be happy with the second largest endowment in the country and the fact that we hit a fundraising goal years ahead of schedule and that we raised a billion dollars more that we had hoped for.

If we won, we won, and if we lost, we lost. And if we happened to hit the lottery and actually field a really great team that was able to capture the National Championship once again, then we'd make a movie about it and hope that the poor saps who cried during "Rudy" would love this one too. In short, we'd be happy to be Notre Dame, and when our kids chanted "We are...ND", we'd all know what that meant and how no amount of loud rock and roll music would ever take the place of devoted fans cheering their little hearts out and then raising a mitten clad fist in the air as the Irish took the field, and that the biggest Jumbotron in the world would never -- ever -- capture the feeling of sitting in a football stadium looked over by You-Know-Who His Very Self and His mother a few steps away.

Alas, it seems that we chickened out in the face of the almighty dollar, and we hired a man who decided to single-handedly throw tradition and history into the dustbin while puffing his chest and blaming the players for "not buying in" to his way of thinking. He took it upon himself to pit brother against brother...teammate against teammate....and when we won, he addressed the adoring throngs in a smart shirt and tie and espoused his methodology and brilliance and proclaimed that he was "re-building" a program that was, in fact, the very foundation of the sport. When we lost, though, he appeared in his coaching fatigues, looking put upon, and declared that the mental state of a prized quarterback that HE had just set up to fail "was not something he had to worry about", but rather something that the player (who, by the way, had already been humiliated enough for this lifetime) had to handle.

The list of reasons as to why this particular gentleman is not my cup of tea is long, and I realize now as I stand here that nobody in their right mind actually cares what a portly spinster from Mishawaka has to say about all of this mess, so simply allow me to say that henceforth and furthermore I shall refrain from all things negative with respects to my beloved Notre Dame, and I will, eventually, consider drinking the Kool-Aide once again.

But I'm never going to like this guy and you can't make me."

So with that, my dear friends, I leave the stage of commenting and bitching about stuff I don't understand, and I'll leave the game day analysis to those who are paid big bucks to do so. In the meantime, does anybody know a good lawyer?

Oct 24, 2011


My mom can't come to the blog right now. Aunt Chrissy and I are trying to scrape up enough bail money to spring her out of the pokey. I'm not sure what the formal charges are exactly, but methinks this weekend's mishaps might have something to do with this:

In a normal household, that picture would mean that my mo-ther was upset about the Notre Dame vs. USC game and that she went out and did something completely stupid.

But this is MY mo-ther we're talking about.

I think that the following conversation between Mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy will explain everything nicely, but you should know that it immediately preceded my mo-ther running out of here with her hair on fire screaming something about making national TeeVee by running out onto the field so as to smack the coach in the face with her lace handkerchief and then hollering "Shame, sir! Have you no shame?":

(I haven't seen her since.)

MO-THER: WHAT THE &$#!!* IS THIS $@(#*%#()@!! DOING NOW???!!!

AUNT CHRISSY: Uh-huh. (She mentally tells herself that this is going to be a very long night.)


(Aunt Chrissy thinks about trying to get a word in edgewise, but decides to just hang up and watch the game instead.) (My mo-ther doesn't even realize that she's screaming into a phone that is emitting a dial tone.)

(In the interest of not screaming at all of you, my very dear and faithful readers, can we just agree that the following rant was hollered in a very very loud voice and that my mo-ther's fat face was so red and sweaty as she was hollering all of it that I thought about calling the paramedics?)

MO-THER: The Notre Dame football helmets were iconic. As a matter of fact, part of that iconography was the fact that gold powder from the actual Dome was added to the paint every Friday night so that the players would run out onto the field with Our Lady's protection and support right there on their very heads.

(I think she made that last part up, but I'm pretty sure that you can indeed fact-check the powder part.)

MO-THER: To change the helmets is a direct offense against me, my fellow alumni, and all of the fans and family that have loved Notre Dame for years and years. To spit in the face of tradition is at once arrogant and and an egregious violation of the trust that is placed in the coach as a keeper of the history and lifeblood of a program so rich with collegiate athletic lore. And besides all of that....THEY LOOK LIKE THEY'RE WEARING LAST YEAR'S CHRISTMAS BALLS ON THEIR HEADS!!! WHAT'S NEXT? A STRIPPER POLE ON TOP OF THE DOME SO THAT THE BVM CAN TWIRL AROUND IN HER NEW G-STRING???!!!!! NO WONDER THE PLAYERS ARE FALLING DOWN AND ARE TURNING THE BALL OVER MORE THAN A NURSING HOME FULL OF RETIRED BALLERINAS!!!! THE SHINE FROM THEIR FREAKIN HELMETS IS BLINDING THEM AND RENDERING THEM COMPLETELY STUPID!!!!!

(OK. I admit. I've changed some of the words around because a) I can't even remember all of the cuss words that were flying out of the old lady's mouth, and b) you've come here to read about stitching and could probably give two hoots about football helmets. Apparently, though, this is about much more than football helmets, and I suspect that my mom will try to explain it all to you in a later post.) (Provided, of course that Aunt Chrissy and I cough up enough cash to get her out of that orange jumpsuit.)

Suffice it to say, though, that Saturday night was not at all pleasant here in Spinster's Corners, and I would imagine that the watching of anything remotely related to Notre Dame is hereby embargoed.

OK. Enough of that.

The Prairie Moon piece is now getting framed. Mom forgot to take a picture of it before she took off like a bat out of you-know-where, but I'll make sure that she shows y'all what it looks like once it's hung on the wall. (I just hope she didn't screw up the frame selection like she normally does.)

So we're on to a new project. This is Laura J. Perin's Turning Leaves and my Aunt Chrissy did a color conversion for it since Mom didn't have a lot of the called-for colors and we all know how patient she is when waiting for supplies to arrive. (Don't you just love the way Aunt Chrissy knows the absolutely perfect thing to buy for my mom to get her off the roof?) (Now if she could just figure out a way to get that damn megaphone out of her hands, we'd be all set.)

I hope that things in your neck of the woods are a lot....quieter. I'm going to enjoy some lovely Fall colors today and see if I can't absorb a little Vitamin D while I'm at it. I'll keep you posted on the whole bail money thing, but let's just say that if it took another...oh, I don't know...seven or eight days for us to come up with it, would that be so wrong?


Your beloved pal,

(*) As to the title of this post, it relates to Mom's question:


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Oct 18, 2011


When I was in college, my very favorite time of the academic year was October Break.

(And yes, in case you were wondering...I really did manage to go to college and then get a diploma and everything.)

(I'm pretty sure that the clerk that was responsible for handling the paperwork had a head cold that day and didn't pay attention to the fact that I am dumber than a bag of doorknobs and never should have been rewarded ANY kind of diploma, but alas, there it is framed on the wall.)

(Additionally, I'm pretty sure that if I don't stop my bitching about Notre Dame fairly soon, somebody from that clerk's office is going to show up on my doorstep and say "Hey, numbnuts. We screwed up in the first place in giving you the damn thing, and you griping about us isn't really telling us that you wanted it to begin with, so hand it over and we'll give it to some poor schmuck who would have given their left arm to attend our fair university.")

But I regress.

October Break was the perfect time to catch up on all of the stuff that you wanted to do to get ready for school (like purchase textbooks), as well as an opportunity to carefully plan and think about what you wanted to do for the holidays (like fly to Phoenix and sit on the couch). The weather was gorgeous...cool and crisp, yet sunny, and you were able to finally break out the big sweaters that covered a multitude of sins.

So I'm going to take a little October Break this week. Instead of purchasing textbooks, I'm going to take a look at all of the stuff that I wrote down on my to do list back in August, and instead of thinking about Phoenix for the holidays, I'm going to head out to the garage to sort through my Christmas decorations.

As for the big sweaters...let's just say that the present day big sweaters are a lot bigger than the past day big sweaters because my multitude of sins grew exponentially. Who knew?

So talk among yourselves, kids and don't do anything fun without me! I'll be back next week, provided I don't get trapped under anything heavy out there in the garage. Woo Hoo!

Oct 14, 2011


"Thine is the Trick and the Treat"
Prairie Moon
32 ct. "Camofudge" linen with Crescent Colours Blackbird

Life is just one big fat metaphor, isn't it? This morning I read that we normally have at least 18 days of fog here in Hoosierville during the month of October, and I said to myself "October? Why are they talking about October already?" And then I looked outside and realized that I seem to be trapped in a dense fog of my very own.


Thank you for your well wishes for my tiny little brain. Aunt Chrissy has been suffering with similar complaints for much longer, yet you never hear a peep outta' her. Hmmmm. Perhaps there is a finite amount of kvetching that is distributed to each family, and I am responsible for the Rich Sister quota? If so, methinks we're in good shape for a while. (I'm pretty sure these bloody headaches are sinus and/or barometric pressure related, so if I disappear you'll know that a weather front has moved into Indiana. Or, I have a stuffy nose.)

So here we are, knee deep into the autumnal season, and I am still stitching the same piece that I started way back when. No complaints, mind you, but what happened to that spinster who used to have 20 or 30 projects stuffed into the basket? Where did all of my obsessive compulsive stitchy tendencies go? Why am I perfectly content to work on the same project for weeks and weeks at a time without all of the "chicken running around without a head" drama that is my norm?

What happened, I ask you?! What happened?

I'm guessing that the reason why I'm not flitting from thing to thing is that I have finally matured and am now a full-fledged adult stitcher who doesn't need the constant stimuli of eighty billion new things scattered around her in haphazard fashion. I've finally come into my own and am now perfectly happy to enjoy the process of selecting, stitching, and then finishing a project before moving on to the next one. I have grown. I have learned. I have reached a higher level of stitching consciousness.

Yeah, that's it.

The truth of the matter is that I'm too freakin' lazy to get off of my very big fat heiney to go up the stairs to the studio to get "The Basket". I haven't had a day of futzing or pawing or organizing or fretting in weeks! What's up with that? Could it be that my inherent lack of motion has FINALLY paid off and I can now justify never getting out of the Happy Chair again? Holey Schmoley! Finally! The excuse that I've been looking for!

So that's the new theme here in Chez CrazyAss Spinster with an Equally CrazyAss Little Dog. I'm spending 23 1/2 hours a day in an inert fashion NOT because I have the metabolism of a sea barnacle....I'm exercising discipline and stick-to-it-tive-ness with respects to my hobby.

Oh, I feel so much better now.

We're heading into the weekend armed with plans to go to the Snite Museum of Art over at ND to view an Andy Warhol exhibit. Aunt Chrissy has always loved all things Warhol, and since she asked me if we could do this, we're going to make a sissy day of it. If all goes well, we'll see the exhibit and then follow it up with a lovely dinner someplace.

With any luck, I'll be back in the Happy Chair by 8 o'clock.

Have a lovely weekend, my perfectly wonderful stitchy friends! Do something that I wouldn't do and then tell me all about it! Woo Hoo!


It's raining and for some reason I've decided to poke myself in the eye with a knitting needle. Repeatedly.

At least that's what it feels like.

When you add this sad little fact to the news that I am failing Oprah's Lifeclass, I'm not sure why the heck I got out of the big girl sleigh bed this morning.

Oh. That's right. I have a nine pound bundle of love dressed up as a shorty Jack Russell terrier who insists on tea and toast at 8am each and every day or there is total h-e-double-hockeysticks to pay.

Damn dog.

Don't cry for me, Argentina. Once my silly brain figures out that it's Fall outside and not a too-ma, all will be well once again. Just pass the Excedrin Migraine and a few frosty dietCokes and I'll be back in the proverbial saddle again.

So what have you been up to?

Oct 10, 2011


I finished the witch mo-teef last night and marveled at her tiny little waist. What do you suppose her secret is? Do you think that once she hops off the broomstick, she heads straight for Pilates? Is it a magic potion? A cream? A hex that she puts on everybody so that they will see her as a tiny little blonde triathlete instead of a zaftig brunette spinster in desperate need of an eyebrow wax?

Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure it doesn't include grilled pierogi and kielbasa chased with a vat of dietCoke and half a rootbeer bundt cake.


Off to the laundry room! If I'm going to be miserable, I might as well do it in comfortable clothes.

Happy Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving/10-10 Holiday all!

Oct 7, 2011


I know this will come as a major surprise to all of you, but I can be pretty obsessive about stuff.

(Stop that snickering, please.)

(Oh. And Aunt Chrissy? If you keep rolling your eyes that hard, eventually they'll stick that way, and then where will you be?)

This week has been all about the grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. And because I'm really trying to reduce my size from that of a small condominium to that of a normally-sized spinster, I have only allowed myself to eat said grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup once so far this month.

(I know it's only the 7th, but I'm pacing myself, K?)

So today I woke up and started thinking about grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and nothing else has been accomplished.

(Would it BE so wrong to eat lunch at 7:30 in the morning, I ask you? Would it?)

Tomorrow, just because I can, I'm going to make another root beer bundt cake, and I might even preceed the damn thing with grilled pierogi and kielbasa for good measure.

(Somebody pass the Tums and defibrilator paddles, please.)

So here's the recipes (that I finally fished out of the recipe basket that is just begging to be categorized, re-organized, and finalized this winter). Both of these recipes are from the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine, so please put the little "c' thingie after this in your head so that I won't get sued for copyright violations. Tank you beddy mutch.

  • 1 pound kielbasa cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 pound frozen potato and cheddar pierogi (do not thaw)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
1. Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the kielbasa, turning, until marked, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the mustard and vinegar in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until smooth.
3. Toss the onion and pierogi with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, covered, until the pierogi thaw and the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the pierogi and onion and continue to grill, covered, until the pierogi are cooked through and the onion is tender, 4 to 6 more minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet or platter.
4. Slice the kielbasa into pieces and add to the bowl with the mustard dressing. Roughly chop the onion and add to the bowl along with the pierogi and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

(Please note that I doubled this recipe and then proceeded to eat enough of it to feel the effects for days. Moderation, people. Trust me.)

Now here's the recipe for the root beer bundt (or boondt, if you're the mom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding):


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 1/2 cups root beer
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan, tap out the excess flour.
2. Heat 2 cups root beer, the cocoa powder, chocolate, and 1 stick butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the granulated and brown sugars and whick until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Combine 2 cups flour, the baking soda, allspice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Whisk the eggs into the root beer mixture, then gently fold in the dry ingredients (the batter will be slightly lumpy).
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfer to a rack. Gently poke the cake all over with a skewer and pour 1/4 cup root beer over the cake; let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate and let cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup root beer, a pinch of salt, the confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the cake.

Geeze, Louise, if I made a nice little green salad with pecans and cranberries, and opened a lovely little Merlot, this would be a perfect autumnal meal, n'est pai? I could even serve it at the dining room table, amidst Aunt Chrissy's beautiful Fall decorations and perhaps use cloth napkins and the good china!

Alas, I suspect that I'll open a nice little diet Coke instead and will eat this in my underpants while screaming at Air Force to beat the crap out of Notre Dame. (I'm almost back in the fold and will probably revert to cheering for my Irish by the end of the season, but for now I'm still mad at them and reserve the right to wish for them to lose. I know it's not very alumna-ish of me, but until they get their heads out of their heineys over there, I'm rooting for the other guy.) So there.

Happy, happy weekend to all! Do something I wouldn't do and then tell me all about it! Woo Hoo!

Oct 5, 2011


A conversation overheard moments ago in the friendly confines of Chez Spinster:

MO-THER: Stewey, dear. It's time that we started planning your costume for Halloween.

STEWEY: There will be no planning necessary, Mo-ther. I have already decided upon my costume for this year, as well as started the procurement of necessary materials to make said costume.

MO-THER: Oh, wonderful! What are you going to be? A ghost? A witch? A cowboy? Maybe a comic book super hero? I could even envision you as a ladybug or a pirate, or maybe even a Power Ranger? How about a Ninja Turtle?

(The little dog snorts in disgust and walks out of the room muttering to himself. When he returns, the mo-ther strongly suspects that he has watered the master closet contents.)

MO-THER: How about a hotdog? You know, with a bun on either side and condiments across your back? I think it's more of a dachshund type of thing, but you could probably pull it off with your figure. A fireman? Policeman? Army Ranger? You could do anything in the military category, provided you didn't insist on a gun. I don't like guns. Guns would not be something that I would approve of for your costume, just so you know.

STEWEY: I'm going to be a PanAm flight attendant.

MO-THER: (sound of crickets chirping while she blinks in disbelief, slack jawed)

End scene.

So here's the lousy progress on the Prairie Moon. Sorry about the limited view due to the q-snaps, but it took me about four days to get the damn things on there, so I'm not taking them off now!

Happy Wednesday, everybody!