Dec 31, 2012


Can you believe we're moments away from ushering in a new and exciting year?  From our home to yours, and on behalf of Aunt Chrissy, the Baby Bosco, and The Artist Formerly Known As Stewey, I'd like to take a minute to THANK YOU for all of the giggles and grins, love and friendship, and encouragement and inspiration this year.  My hope is that 2013 is the best year yet....filled with health, wealth, wisdom, and happiness for all of us!

Happy New Year, dear friends!

With much love from,
The Spinster Stitcher
(and her little dog too!)

Dec 29, 2012


Hey, kids.  Aunt Chrissy and I are going to be in the Cleveland area next month, and we're wondering if there are any needlework shops near The Cleveland Clinic?  I hate to impose on all of our fellow Buckeyes out there, but can you help a stitcher out?

Stewed and I are lumping it today and haven't made it out of our pajamas yet.  So much for cleaning the house and getting the laundry done.  Would it be so wrong to call this a snow day and zone out in front of the TeeVee?

I am, however, determined to get upstairs today to get something vaguely stitch related in my hands.  I feel like I haven't stitched in a year and a half.  Drat.

Stay warm and safe a dry, and we'll see you on the other side!

Dec 27, 2012


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  She's at the Barnes and Nobles looking for books that will tell her how to be "street".  She's doing this because I caught her perched in her Happy Chair this morning wearing her new headphones while trying to make some sort of crazypants hand gesture that would indicate that she's "down with the lingo that all the kids are using these days".  I swear, if she hadn't gotten rid of her Barbie stereo turntable a few years back, we'd be looking at the horrifying prospects of a dance party.

I'm blaming my Aunt Chrissy for this one, since she decided to get the old lady an iPad.  And because she's my Aunt Chrissy and doesn't know the meaning of "let's take baby steps with my idiot older sister because she's sure to make a hash of it", she went all out and got her more accessories for said iPad than came with our first automobile.

Apparently, headphones are big these days.  I can only surmise that Michael Phelps and all of the other fabulous Olympians had something to do with this, since everywhere you look there are attractive young persons walking around with cans on their heads.

In my stupid mo-ther's mind, she looks like this:  

The reality of the situation, however, is that she actually looks more like THIS:
Well, not exactly, actually.  I see that the lovely lady in the photo above had the good sense to get a manicure before heading to work in the recording studio.  MY old lady hasn't had so much as a good stiff brush anywhere near her paws in about six months.  (Oh, the shame of it all).

So that's the report from Chez Crazy Spinster today.  Mo-ther is trying to recapture her youth while simultaneously trying to figure out where the "on" button is on her iPad, and I'm looking for the sedatives so that I might finally get a little peace and quiet around here.

I do hope that your Christmas was swell and that your every wish came true!  Until we meet again, I remain your loyal and devoted friend....

With much love,

Dec 24, 2012


Wishing you love and peace and joy and happiness.
Merry Christmas, dear friends.

(and Stewey too!) 

Dec 19, 2012


Howdy ho, friends and neighbors.  Before I tell you about my latest exploits, I'd like to thank you for your comments on my last post.  I appreciate each and every one of them, and thank you for your thoughtfulness, your insight, your opinion, and your willingness to share your voice.  You've given me an awful lot to think about. Thank you.

Would it be OK if I moved on to a lighter/sillier topic?  I'm determined to solve the world's problems, but until I am able to fully function as an adult grown-ass woman who doesn't need the supervision of her little sister and a team of highly gifted professionals, I should probably just concentrate on one thing at a time.

Like learning how not to poison myself with either a) a pork chop, b) roasted vegetables, or c) a vat of Canada Dry diet tonic water with quinine.

I've been having a bit of a go with leg cramps, so I got the bright idea to have a little tonic water in the evenings.  (And no, before you ask, I did NOT get the even brighter idea to put GIN in the damn tonic water, which probably would have saved me a LOT of trouble and at least FOUR rounds of total embarrassment in the ER when the brand spanking new doctor had to do his very first heiney exam, and he was so freakin nervous he told me to turn my head to the left and cough and I said "But, Michael!  Despite all evidence to the contrary, I don't have what you're looking for down there, and I'm pretty sure that if I had a prostate, we'd be having and entirely different conversation altogether.)

But I digress......

I made a lovely dinner on Sunday evening, cleaned up the kitchen, patted Stewey on the head, and then promptly ran for the hills with what I presumed to be yet another case of food poisoning.  I seem to be getting pretty good at this, so I wasn't at all alarmed, especially when you consider that whatever the food was that was poisoning me came from my very own kitchen, and I knew that no other innocent parties had been affected.

By Monday evening things had gone from bad to worse, so Aunt Chrissy put my shoes on my and hauled my sorry self the block and a half to the hospital.  (It's gorgeous, by the way, and exactly what you'd want in a hospital if you were inclined to want those kinds of things.  Besides, it's got a Golden Corral right there in the front of it, and despite the fact that I can't get over a restaurant that would use a name that suggested a place for keeping one's cattle, I'm determined to go check out that chocolate fountain.)

Again, with the digressing.

My nurse, Alissa, had been on the job for about seventeen minutes, so she was understandably a little nervous about the enormous spinster on the gurney handing her a sheet of paper with a med list as long as a Walgreens, but she was a real trooper and told me what an impressive specimen I was.  (Or maybe I needed to give an impressive specimen?  I can't remember).  Anywhoose, all I know is that she had been an ER nurse over at the other hospital in town, and had just started her new job at the Golden Corral hospital that very same day.  Poor, poor dear.

Everything was going swell until the resident came in to introduce himself.  Aunt Chrissy and I took one look at him and immediately thought the same thing...."Gee, this guy looks exactly like our cousin Brian"...but I was also noticing that his name was Dr. Phelps.  So, in my stupid little head, I immediately said to MYself "Gee, this guy looks exactly like cousin Brian, but I'm going to call him Michael."  (You know.  Michael.  Michael Phelps.)

Poor Michael.  In addition to having to deal with the fabulous glory that is me, he had to try to figure out just what the heck he was going to do to make me feel better.

So he decided to probe me in my under carriage with a gloved finger and a charge nurse for moral support.

Did I mention that Michael was also new to the hospital and had never conducted this particular examination before?  Poor, poor dear.  I'm pretty sure that it didn't help matters any that I was trying to keep myself calm by chattering away like some kind of circus monkey, and when he corrected me by saying "Um, Miss Rich, my name's not Michael.  It's Nathan." all I could think to say was "Well, honey, as long as you're where you're at, I'm going to keep on calling you Michael.  It'll be better for both of us, I promise."

My God.

A few short hours later, and I was sent on my merry way with instructions to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and enough pills to make whatever the heck was going on with me go away.  I'm not taking any of them, of course, since I was smart enough to call my regular doc (at the insistence of Aunt Chrissy), and he basically said (as only he can) "Well, it's either food poisoning, too much tonic water, the flu, or something exotic that will take us years to figure out.  Either way, you're going to feel like crap for a few days, so drink plenty of fluids and call me if it doesn't get any better".

(You gotta love that guy, right?)

So here I sit with my Gatorade and my Vitamin water and my diet ginger ale and my caffeine free dietCoke.  I could float a barge, but I'm determined to wash away whatever got in there that wasn't supposed to so that I can get back to the really important napping.  And stitching.

Now if only there was a way to wash away all of the shame over exposing my heiney to Michael.....

Are you all well and warm and safe and dry?  I hope that as we wind down the year you'll have a few moments of pure bliss just for your very self.  Stewey is determined to go caroling this year, so I suppose that I had better find him a traditional costume or we'll never hear the end of it.  Damn dog.

Ciao, for now boys and girls.  Thanks for indulging my need to share my every waking minute with you.  No charge for the awful visuals, by the way....

Dec 12, 2012


I've been utilizing our local libraries a lot lately, so my reading life has started to swing back into its pre-stitching groove.  Today my plan is to dive face first into Salman Rushdie's "Joseph Anton" and not come out until I've made a decent dent in it.

Of course, we all know that after about seven and a half minutes of using my tiny little itty bitty pea sized brain I will require a nap, followed by a vat of dietCoke to help get my wit about me once again.

When I was a kid I could read for hours and hours and hours on end, and I don't think there was anything that made me happier than devouring an entire novel in one sitting.  The joy!  The bliss!  The sheer sense of accomplishment of it all!  Oh, how I wish my stamina were that of the 12-year old me.

I'm still loving every moment of Laura J. Perin's Harvest Moon House, but I didn't put a single stitch into it last night.  Aunt Chrissy asked me to tag along to Bosco's annual vet visit (for moral support, of course), and then we headed to Carrabba's for a late dinner.  The plan walking in the door was to have a house salad with grilled chicken.  The result, however, involved a few gallons of Arnold Palmer, a caramelized onion/bacon flatbread appetizer, a loaf of bread, a salad, and then Pasta Weezie.  I. Ate. Every. Bite.  Delicious, yes, but I paid for it all night by having to endure the lovely waft of garlic that seemed to seep from my every pore.

The sun is shining and the Stewey is snoozing.  I'm going to do my very best today to get at least one or two Christmas things accomplished.  I am starting to think that those damn Christmas cards aren't going to jump out of their boxes and address themselves, nor are they going to drive to the post office for stamps, so it looks like I better get on the stick.  Sigh.

Happy Futzing Day, and Happy 12-12-12! 

Dec 10, 2012


Seeing how this is a Monday and all, I awoke at the crack of 10am with plans of laundering and cleaning and tweaking and putzing and futzing until the day was done and the house was back in its proper state of Spinster chaos.

But it's gloomy and cold and sleepy today, and I have a little fuzzy dog who insisted on crawling under the ottoman blankets and calling it a day, so plans changed quickly.

So far I've managed to read the paper, figure out the Jumble, make a hlaf-assed attempt at the New York Times Sunday crossword, and eat enough egg salad to give my statin a heart attack.  Throw in a vat of dietCoke and a few Starbucks French Roasts, and you've got yourself a good morning.

Here it is in pictures.  As always, I apologize for the craptastic photography, but reading the instruction booklet that came with the camera isn't on my color wheel today.

The lump you see under the ottoman blanket is the artist formerly known as Stewey.  The little pear picture is a Sissy Day gift from Aunt Chrissy, and I thought I would title the last picture "Raise High the Roofbeam, Spinster", but then I realized that I'm not really smart and/or well read enough to make such an obscure reference, so I just figured I'd remind you that the stitchy piece is Laura J. Perin's Harvest Moon House.

Back to the Happy Chair!  Woo Hoo!  Happy Monday, everybody!

Dec 7, 2012


I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience, but I've had to adjust the way comments are posted to this here blog.  As you might have noticed, I've been hacked and have been getting some rather unseemly comments these last few days.  So for now, you'll have to do that darn word thingie if you want to leave a comment.

That'll teach 'em.

I hope that you're heading into the weekend armed with everything you need to make it perfectly perfect in every way.  Aunt Chrissy and I are going to the fancypants eyeglass boutique tonight and are having a Sissy Day tomorrow.  Woo hoo!

Dec 6, 2012


Somewhere in the Midwestern Unites States, a telephone rings.


GE CAPITAL BANK:  Is this Stanley Wapshot?

SPINSTER; No, I'm sorry.  There's nobody here by that name.  As I've explained to several of your colleagues that have called before you, the number you have been given for Mr. Wapshot is not correct.

GE CAPITAL BANK:  This is not Stanley Wapshot?

SPINSTER: No, I'm afraid that it isn't.

GE CAPITAL BANK:  Well then, who am I speaking to?

SPINSTER:  You first.  Who am I speaking to?

GE CAPITAL BANK:  This is Antwan.  I'm a debt collector with GE Capital Bank.

SPINSTER: Yes, well, hello Antwan.  Stanley Wapshot doesn't live here.  Stanley Wapshot has never lived here, and I don't expect that Stanley Wapshot will live here in the future.  I don't know anybody by that name and I'm not sure why you have my number affixed to his file, but I've had this particular telephone number for most of my adult life, and I can assure you that I do not now nor have I ever known anybody named Stanley Wapshot.

GE CAPITAL BANK:  So this isn't his number?

SPINSTER:  Nope.  Not his number.

GE CAPITAL BANK: Do you know how I can get a hold of him?

SPINSTER: (wondering when she started speaking Greek instead of English, and what would happen if she suddenly confessed to actually knowing Stanley Wapshot, but revealing the truth that she had bound and gagged him before stuffing him into a steamer trunk in the attic)

GE CAPITAL BANK:  Mrs. Wapshot?

SPINSTER:  You can reach Stanley Wapshot at 867-5309, Antwan.  Good luck.

GE CAPITAL BANK:  867-5309?

SPINSTER:  Yup.  Ask for Jenny.  She'll point you in the right direction.

GE CAPITAL BANK:  Thank you, Mrs. Wapshot.  Have a good day.

SPINSTER:  You too, Antwan.  And I hope that you and all of the fine folks there at GE Capital Bank have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Dec 4, 2012


The stroke of midnight found me in the Happy Chair hooting like a blow fish over the fact that I finished stitching the pumpkins on my Harvest Moon House project.  Why in the world did it take me three weeks to get this far?  Only the shadow knows.....

Harvest Moon House
Laura J. Perin Designs

I would like to take a moment to send out a big fat teary THANK YOU for all of your lovely comments about my little hovel.  The truth of the matter is that I am feeling rather sad over the state of affairs here at Chez Spinster, so your encouragement was just what I needed to get on with it.  I built the place in 2002 and had every intention of making this my little dream house.  Sadly, Dad got sick in the midst of it all, and I never really seemed to "finish" things quite the way I had hoped.  Then once he passed away, the time started to fly by and my motivation for making a cozy nest for him to visit seemed to diminish rapidly.  I celebrated 10 years of living here in November with the writing of a list of things that I would like to accomplish, but sometimes I get completely overwhelmed with the prospect of it all.  Thank God for Aunt Chrissy, or I'm pretty sure that I would have moved into my car years ago.

Your comments about the state of affairs here make me think that I might be on the right track, though, and they give me the motivation to push a Swiffer around every now and then.  Thank you for that.

As for the decorations, I'm afraid that can't take any credit whatsoever for them.  My little sister took it upon herself to completely re-do Christmas around these here parts, and all I did was push the shopping cart in the Hobby Lobby.  Does she have a great eye, or what?

Oh, before I forget.....I get a lot of emails asking to explain the whole Aunt Chrissy name situation.  Aunt Chrissy is actually my sister, Crys.  She is called Aunt Chrissy because that is the name that Stewey insisted upon the moment he laid eyes on her.  I call her Aunt Chrissy, even though she is my sister because like any self-confessed Sopranos fan, I have always wanted the Rich Sister equivalent of an Uncle Junior.

How's THAT for making it even more confusing?!

Miss Marcy asked about my bookshelves.  They are from a company called "Shelf Expressions".  Here's a picture for you, Marcy ('scuse the dust):

You probably can't tell it from my craptastic photo, but the shelves are unfinished wood against an off-white wall that is bordered with white crown molding.  I promise you that there was absolutely no thought that went into this....I just happen to like being surrounded by books and this seemed like the best place to put these shelves at the time.  God willing, I'll have a proper library someday, and these shelves will end up going to a good home.

OK, time to go holler at a bill collector.  I've had a "gentleman" calling here all day looking for Stanley Wapshot.  Apparently, Stanley owes somebody a lot of money and decided to run for cover.  The only problem with Stanley's plan is that he gave them MY phone number.  The best part is when the "gentleman" calling for Stanley asks me if I'm SURE Stanley isn't here.  Um, gee.  Let me check.  There's an aggravated spinster, a handful of thirsty looking houseplants, and a little dog in a smoking jacket.  But a Stanley?  Nope.  No Stanley.  I'm pretty sure I'd know if I had a Stanley.  I'm trying to remember myself and not go nutso on this guy, but I'm pretty sure that my Jersey is going to show by the end of the day.  Stay tuned!

Dec 3, 2012


As was expected, I overdid it this weekend with the whole "Let's get this house tarted up for Christmas" idea.  It started innocently enough on Friday night when Aunt Chrissy and I did our weekly grocery shopping.

"I'm going to get the ingredients for Greek cookies", I said emphatically in the baking needs aisle.

Aunt Chrissy gave me a look that said "I don't want to hear it when you pull a muscle trying to mix the damn dough, but I sure would love a bag of them for my morning coffee/commute."

So I got the ingredients for the Greek cookies and them promptly procrastinated all weekend so that I wouldn't have to face the fact that I've been trying to make these bloody cookies for 46 years now and for 46 years I end up in a teary heap on the kitchen floor.

It's a good thing I don't drink alcohol, or we'd surely be looking a few empty wine and/or vodka bottles rolling around on the floor with me.

Today, though.  Today.  I'm determined.

So Christmas threw up all over Chez Spinster, and for the first time in a great while there wasn't too much gnashing of teeth as the last decorations were hung.  I suspect that this has something to do with the overabundance of red feathers everywhere, even though I am certain that there is absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever that Santa Claus ever came near a batch of red feathers.

Maybe in his younger days when he performed his drag act?  Hmmmmm.  I wonder what his drag queen name would have been? 

See?  Thoughts to ponder on a Monday morning.

Here's the final result of the comings and goings of the weekend.  There was precious little stitching that took place, but God willin' and the creek don't rise I will have a threaded needle in my hand as soon as I turn off this silly machine and hit the Happy Chair.

The Official Spinster Stitcher 2012 Christmas Tree:

I'm not really sure what's going on here.....suffice it to say I think I got a little too jiggy with it:

The Official Jim Shore Santa collection as assembled by Aunt Chrissy:

The Big White Wall of Nothingness, covered with a few stitchy pieces:

Aunt Chrissy's Official 2012 Spinster Stitcher dining room table tableau. (Think I've got enough Starbucks k-cups?):
The mantle:

 And last, but certainly not least, is you-know-who.  He thinks that if he sits there and stares at his treat closet I'll cave and get him a Snausage.
Stop that snickering, please.  I only got the Snausage because he was a good boy and went into his apartment when I went to the dentist this morning. 

That's the Monday report.  I hope that you weekend was full o' fun and that you're off to a great week!

Woo Hoo!

Nov 29, 2012


I've received a few comments and emails about the large wired box-like structure behind the couch.  Yes, it is indeed what you think it is, but around these here parts we refer to it as Stewey's "apartment".  Aunt Chrissy got so tired of hearing me complain about the PeePalooza situation here at Chez Spinster, that she hauled it in from the garage a few months ago and then had a long talk with you-know-who about how it was to be utilized.  The conversation went something like this:

AUNT CHRISSY:  Stewey, I have a little gift for you.

STEWEY: Oh, Aunt Chrissy!  I just love you so, and can't tell you how much I appreciate all of the lovely gifts that you give to me because I am your very favorite nephew.  Is it an iPad?  A little purple Vespa?  A new smoking jacket?  Did you finally get me that antique valise I've been pricing online? 

AUNT CHRISSY: Well, you're my only nephew, Stewey, but that doesn't mean that you're not very special to me nonetheless.  No, it's not an iPad or a Vespa or a smoking jacket or whatever that last thing was that you said.  It's this (she gestures in the general vicinity of the c-r-a-t-e). What do you think of your new apartment?

STEWEY: (looking somewhat dejected) I think it looks remarkably like the old apartment that I had when I was a puppy and still in training, Aunt Chrissy.  Besides, it doesn't go with the decor in the living room.

AUNT CHRISSY: Neither do your piddles, dear heart.  Now I want you to think of this as your very own private pied a terre.  You know, a little place that you can retreat to for some peace and quiet, or solemn reflection, or when you want to host a little gathering of like-minded friends some evening.

STEWEY:  You mean like my book club or my fabulous replication of Gertrude Stein's Paris Salon'?

AUNT CHRISSY:  Yup.  Exactly like that.  It's your very own apartment.  You may go into it any time you wish, and I promise you that nobody will ever force you to decorate it in a way that will offend your delicate design sensibilities.  Also, this little space will be just for you.  No Bosco or Mo-ther allowed.  OK?

STEWEY: Oh, Aunt Chrissy!  I love it so!  It's just what I needed! 

With that, he jumped into the c-r-a-t-e and hours and hours of vexing frustration (not to mention upholstery cleaning) disappeared.  Every time I leave the house, I say "Stewey, go to your apartment", and he happily hops in for a little confined R&R while I'm gone.  The damn thing has saved my sanity.

So now that we've taken care of this particular problem, I can start shopping for new carpet and furniture and rugs and drapes and anything else that was urine-ally altered by Little Lord Fauntleroy and his magic peenie.  Who could possibly be happier than me?

Nov 28, 2012


So there I was, minding my own business in a dead sleep at 3am when nature called.  This is not unusual for me, especially when you consider that I drink gallons and gallons of fluid all day and don't put the sippy cup down until I finally hit the sheets.  So getting up in the middle of the night to use the facilities is not anything new.

Standing in the doorway hollering bloody murder at the eight foot tall hooligan who had broken in through the back door and was now hulking in a menacing fashion near said back door was, however, quite new.  I screamed loud enough to rattle the windows and blow a vocal cord, and I'm pretty sure that Stewey had a little mini heart attack right there under the covers while wearing his footie pajamas and sleep mask.

OK.  So.  Maybe I should think about putting my glasses on my face when I go to the powder room at 3am.  If I did that, I could avoid mistaking THIS for an eight foot tall hooligan who had broken in through the back door:

Yes, I know it's a Christmas tree.  I'm fully aware of the fact that a Christmas tree is NOT, in fact, an eight foot tall hooligan. 

Here.  Look at it from this angle and imagine that a) it's very very dark in the house and b) you can't see more than seven inches in front of your face without your glasses on:
See what I mean?  Hooligan.

I've promised Stewey that I will leave him alone so that he can catch up on his beauty rest.  I had thought that today would be a good day to decorate the hooligan and clean the house, but I'm thinking that a little bun-toasting in front of the fireplace might be better for this particular spinster's frazzled nerves.

I just wish I could twist myself into this shape and still be comfortable enough to fall asleep.  That way I could say that I'm snoozing AND practicing yoga.  Woo Hoo!  Multi-tasking!

Happy Futzingday!

Nov 26, 2012


Here's how the day was supposed to go:

  • Arise promptly at 7 for a pre-dawn power walk around the block, followed by an invigorating shower and post-shower application of proper hairstyle and makeup.

  • Dress appropriately in a festive sweater, clean jeans, and shoes, along with all accompanying undergarments. 

  • Don coat, scarf, and gloves and head out for labwork, bank, library, and grocery.

  • Return home to decorate the Christmas tree, dust all surfaces, and sweep and wash all floors.

  • Prepare a healthy luncheon and eat it at the table like a human person who knows how to put a napkin in her lap.

  • Tea time with Stewey.  4 o'clock.  

  • Await the arrival of Aunt Chrissy to Chez Little Spinster so that I can call her at 5:35pm to blather on endlessly about my day.

  • Dinner.  Salmon, broccoli, brown rice, apple crisp.

  • Evening stitching and TeeVee watching.

  • Bed for pre-sleep reading and discussion with Stewey.  (This is usually the time he selects for an end of day analysis of my successes and failures as a Mo-ther, a person of somewhat limited homekeeping ability, and a complete disaster in the realm of efficiency and competence.)

Here's how the day has actually gone:

Fall out of bed in a daze and stumble to the back door to let Stewey out for his morning potty.  Stub toe on the way to the treat closet and complain about the fact that it's dark and 47 degrees in the house and nobody in their right mind gets up at the crack of 9 am on a Monday if they don't have to.  Give Stewey his breakfast, stumble back to bed for another hour and a half, and then make it to the kitchen without tripping over the several dozen toys in the dining room because "somebody" doesn't know how to fetch and leaves his crap all over the damn place.  Make coffee, toss back a shot of cranberry juice like it's tequila, and then schlumpadink out to the mailbox to retrieve the newspaper.  Read the paper, figure out the Jumble and the crossword puzzle, head back to the kitchen for eggs on toast.  Check calendar to see what's on the agenda for the day.  Realize that labwork was supposed to be "fasting" while glancing at the breakfast dishes. Shrug shoulders and push it to Wednesday.  Collapse in Happy Chair.  Look at meager progress on Stitching project.  Head back to kitchen for dietCoke.  Decide to run errands tomorrow.  Try to remember if I've taken my adult gummie vitamin D and decide that since they taste like candy anyway, two more won't kill me.  Check email, flip through 300 stitching blogs, lust over stitchy world's beautiful projects and marvel at its progress.  Get sleepy.  Head back to bed for a nap.

At least I have this to look forward to when I wake up from my nap, right?  This is Laura J. Perin's Harvest Moon House.

Nov 25, 2012


The Official 2012 Spinster Sisters Thanksgiving Extravaganza has come to a close and not a moment too soon.  As I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror this morning I made a mental note that went something like this....

Stop eating like you're headed to the chair, Tubbykins.  There's a whole other holiday to go before you get to contemplate joining Weight Watchers for the New Year, and it's quite possible that their scale will not accommodate your girthiness.

Fortunately for me I have a companion who insists on presenting me with the calorie and fat count of everything that's going to go in my big fat maw for the next few weeks, so getting my face out of the trough shouldn't be too terribly difficult.   He does this, of course, not because he loves me deeply, but because he's afraid that there won't be anybody here to put up with his shenanigans if I keel over from a toxic pumpkin pie overdose.

The inside decorations are almost complete.  A few hours slapping balls on the tree and a good tarting up of the fireplace wreath and we should be good to go.  Stewey seems content with this year's efforts, so methinks I might have to hit the PetSmart aisles for a few little goodies for him as a thank you for his cooperation.

I'm headed to the Happy Chair to play with Harvest Moon House tonight.  I had hoped to hit the studio for a little Christmas stitching baskets putting together today, but alas, the day sped by entirely too fast.

But first...a little pie.

Nov 20, 2012


Well, I suppose that we'll have to make do with this picture of the wreaths on the front window for now.  For some odd reason the other 699 pictures I snapped of the outside decorations didn't work quite right.  Do you suppose that it might be helpful if I actually read the bloody book that came with the camera?

As soon as Aunt Chrissy gets home from work the Official Rich Sister Thanksgiving and Seasonal Decorating Holiday can commence.  We're both going to decompose tonight in our respective homes, and then tomorrow we'll start with an early morning doctor's visit, followed by breakfast, the picking up of the smoked turkey breast that thankfully tastes of ham, a pass through the Panera drive-through for parade provisions, and then back to Aunt Chrissy's to get her outside decorations up since they finally blew her leaves away and I won't have to hear her kvetch about it one more minute.

Thursday will find us clad in comfy clothes, with nothing on the agenda but parade watching, feasting, and stitching, and if the boys behave themselves, we might head out to the lawn for a game of Pumpkin(!) as soon as the dog show concludes and Stewey has vetoed every selection that the judges have made.

After an 8am mammogram on Friday (I know...who DOES that?), we'll have more breakfast, and then I am determined to get the inside of my house decorated so that I can have the rest of the weekend to think happy thoughts and give Ms. Laura J. Perin's "Harvest Moon House" my full attention.  (Somewhere in there is a football game and some more feasting, I'm sure, but I figured I've already blown the "too much information" quota with the mammogram bit).

If you will allow me, I'd like to take an all too brief moment to tell you that when I put my big fat head on my pillow each night to list the things that I am thankful for, "all of my stitchy friends that I've met through my silly little blog" is right up there with Aunt Chrissy, Bosco, and Stewey.   Thank you, dear friends, for bringing me so much love and joy and happiness and laughter and encouragement and inspiration.  I. Am. Thankful. For. You.

We'll see you on the other side, ten pounds heavier and hopefully a little closer to showing some good progress on something vaguely stitching related.  Kisses and hugs to you and yours, and if you're stateside, Happy Thanksgiving!

Woo Hoo!

Nov 19, 2012


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  She's slumped in the Happy Chair, stinking of Ben-Gay, and muttering something about the road to hell and good intentions.  Despite my constant urgings to have a stitchy weekend, the old lady decided that it would be a good time to put up the outside Christmas decorations.  Needless to say, there's a whole lot of "I'm too old to be doing this kind of thing" going on around here today.

I will confess that I do think this year's effort is rather pretty, but this is only because my Aunt Chrissy insisted on replacing the worn out front window wreaths with new ones from the Targets.  The old wreaths had pine cones and some very sorry looking sprigs of something that was once probably supposed to be red berries.  The new wreaths have big red glitter balls and lots of lime green accents.  Once Mo-ther got the white lights on them and strapped them to the house, all of the neighbors stopped by to approve the choice, so I think we're definitely on the right track.

Today is laundry day, and I've already promised to behave myself so that a little stitchy therapy might take place.  Mo-ther is still happily working on Aunt Laura J. Perin's "Harvest Moon House", but I'm afraid that her meager progress doesn't warrant re-charging the camera battery.  Pictures tomorrow, I promise.

I do hope that your weekend was splendid and that you were able to do everything that you wanted to do and nothing that you didn't.  Until we meet again, I remain your loyal and devoted friend.

With love from your pal,

P.S.  The title of this post refers to the classic hit from Mr. Barry Manilow His Very self.  I started humming it the moment I spied those sparkly new wreaths and commented that Chez Spinster was now tarted up like a Vegas show girl....."Her name was Lola.  She was a show girl."...

Nov 14, 2012


Harvest Moon House
 Laura J. Perin Designs 

 I think that this house is taking Mo-ther longer to build than an actual house would.  At first I suspected that the old lady had lost some of her stitchy prowess, but last night as I spied on her during the evening stitching session, I observed that she was relishing every single poke of that needle through the canvas.  I'm sure it has something to do with the whole "Let's See How Long We Can Practice Moderation"  vibe that she's got going on lately, but seeing how she has never really stuck with anything for longer than a hot minute in her life, methinks she'll be back to staying up until all hours in no time.

Let's face it, kids.  Moderation is definitely NOT in her wheel house.

As for me, I have had a delightful day of sun bathing and squirrel watching.  The little fellas are rather skinny this year, so I'm hoping that an overabundance of bird food in the back patio feeders will prepare them adequately for what's to come this winter.

Speaking of which. I must cut this short.  The furnace repairman is here to conduct the annual servicing of things, and I want to talk to him about a lockable thermostat.  I awoke yesterday morning to frigid temps and my idiot mo-ther cackling away like the Mad Woman of Chaillot about frost and pumpkins.  Why she insists on keeping this little hovel like a meat locker, I'll never know.

I hope that things in your corner of the world are splendid and that you are all warm and safe and dry.  I shall report again soon, but know that in the meantime I remain your faithful and devoted friend.

With love from your pal,

Nov 12, 2012


Just a quickie, folks.  Stewey is standing in the middle of the living room with his pumpkin in his mouth, and if I don't play with him there will be h-e-l-l to pay.  Answers to a few burning questions:

1) No, I did not smell Jon Bon Jovi.  He happened to visit my favorite restaurant a few weeks ago and the staff there all got a good whiff of him.  Apparently it (and he) were fabulously lovely.  (As if we didn't know that already, right?)

2) My reading list has been nuts lately, but I suspect that this is due to the fact that I am trying to use our local libraries as much as possible, and I'm too damn shy to walk up to a librarian to ask her where to find stuff.  So I hit the "New Fiction" shelf and hope for the best.  I finished Mark Haddon's "The Red House" and have to say that I did enjoy it, and then started Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" and know that I'm going to love this one also.  I happened to see Mr. Rushdie on Charlie Rose a week or so ago and realized that I've not read very much of what he's written, so I figured it was time to rectify that.  Throw in Garrison Keillor's "Pilgrims" and about three dozen magazines, and you now know what's been in front of my eyeballs when I'm not stitching.

Thank you for all of your wonderful comments and emails, kids!  Y'all ROCK my freakin' world!

Happy Monday to all and to all a Happy Monday!

Nov 11, 2012


a fancy schmancy new kitchen faucet...special dinner at my very favorite restaurant with Aunt Chrissy...finding out that john bon jovi smells as good as he looks...warm sleepy puppy breath...quiet lazy saturday with the paper and a damn good cup of coffee....the perfect french shellac manicure....a tuna salad sandwich on multi grain bread...a sissy who knows how many more decorations i'm going to need to add to the arsenal this year and who knows exactly where to find them in the hobby wreaths for the front windows...a five guys cheeseburger and fries so hot they burned our parking...watching Aunt Chrissy boss the guys around at Lowe's...a new water cooler....a blender for perfect smoothies....breakfast burritos and having a bunch of taco bell mild sauce stashed in the fridge....warm sleepy puppy in the afternoon sunshine...the sunday new york times waiting in the driveway...finishing a wonderful novel....starting a new wonderful novel...taking a nap with my face in the sun and a warm sleepy puppy curled at my feet.

oh, i forgot.  the plumber was a lovely guy named matt who didn't think twice of the fact that stewey threw himself into a full-on tizzy fit of epic proportions over the fact that there was a man in the house, and who laughed heartly at the fact that bosco just wanted to put on his little tool belt and help a guy out.

Nov 8, 2012


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  She's sitting in her office waiting for the plumber to get here, and based upon the conversation I heard her having with my Aunt Chrissy last night, she is all a-twitter with anticipation that she's going to see his heiney.

Apparently, plumbers are known for short pants and exposed derrieres, since all Mo-ther could talk about was the fact that a M-A-N was going to be in the house for the first time in eleventy-senven years and that if the gods were good she would get to ogle his bottom.

My Aunt Chrissy pointed out that the plumber would probably be a guy called Matt and that he would probably be about nine years old and definitely not have a propensity for short pants and an exposed derriere, but evidently, Mo-ther is still hoping.

(Seriously, though, Mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy are getting themselves new kitchen faucets today, so the old lady spent the better part of the morning scrubbing and washing and spritzing things so that the nine year old plumber might marvel at her homekeeping skills.)

(But can I just point out that she's presently attired in pajama bottoms, a Hanes old man white t-shirt and a v-neck sweater that should have been sent to the rag bin AGES ago?  Throw in the Grandma Slippers, and she's sporting quite the ensemble for plumber seduction, I must say.)

Stitching time was rather limited last evening since I felt the need to cuddle in Mo-ther's lap and stare deeply into her eyes.  I have to do this every now and then so that she'll feel useful and loved.  Trust me when I tell you that a few minutes of faking it goes a long way toward keeping her quiet.  If I mind my own business and leave her alone for too long, I hear her on the phone whining to Aunt Chrissy about the fact that I'm cold and aloof.  So ten minutes of "Oh, how I love you, Mommie Dearest" should see me through to the holidays.

I hope that you are warm and safe and dry and you're getting your very own version of plumber's heiney today.  Please know that until we meet again I remain your loyal and devoted friend.

With love from your pal,

Nov 6, 2012



A stitchy friend recently asked me if I knew the names of the scissors pictured above.  Alas, I am unable to confirm.  Anybody else out there with a serious Gingher addiction problem (like me) wanna' give it a go?
Posted by Picasa


Nov 5, 2012


Scene: A darkened suburban street somewhere in the Midwestern United States.  A tiny little dog makes his way down the sidewalk while simultaneously struggling with a large antique valise.  He approaches the front door of a home, peers through the sidelight window, and then raps smartly on the door.

AUNT CHRISSY: Stewey!  What are you doing here!  Do you have any idea what time it is?  Where's your mommie?

STEWEY: I've run away from home, Aunt Chrissy.  Please fetch me a mug of tea and a blanket so that I can get rid of this terrible chill.  I had to walk the entire 7/10th of a mile over here because the old lady hid the car keys again and I couldn't get a cab in this god forsaken corn field to save my life.

BOSCO (Who actually knows he's a dog): bark! bark! bark! bark! bark!

AUNT CHRISSY: Bosco!  Calm down and go to your apartment!  Stewey and I need to talk. 

(Bosco trots away to find his stuffed squirrel, but gets distracted by a commercial for the new movie "Wreck-it Ralph".  He stares at the colors and wonders if his Aunt Tubby will take him to see it on one of their Wednesday afternoon dates. He loves his Aunt Tubby. She's very simple, and she doesn't understand most of the big words that his mommy and Stewey use, and she especially doesn't get it when they s-p-e-l-l stuff. She has a tendency to get in trouble too, and she's the only other person who can peeve his mommy as much as he can..)

AUNT CHIRSSY: Now Stewey, tell me what's happened.  Did she turn down the thermostat again?  Decide to take up vegan non-dairy cooking?  Force you to watch The Dog Whisperer?  What?

STEWEY: She posted an invitation to the whole world to come live with us, Aunt Chrissy.

AUNT CHRISSY:  (stunned silence)  .....She, WHAT?

STEWEY: Yes, as you know, Aunt Chrissy, my stupid mo-ther has been fretting herself into fits over all of the devastation from the Storm.   And she got it in her head that there were probably millions and millions of people out there who had nowhere to go and no one to take care of them, and that she would take it upon herself to fix it all.  So she wrote a blog post and told everybody to come on over to Indiana and that she would make them coffee and give them a bed to sleep in and a roof over their heads and she told some story about your grandpa and how he took care of a little boy in the 1940's. 

AUNT CHRISSY: (more stunned silence, combined with confusion)

STEWEY: So now she's shampooing the furniture and fluffing the towels and trying to find a decent shower curtain for the guest bath, all while pondering how long it would take to properly cook a nineteen pound meatloaf.

AUNT CHRISSY: (regaining her wits about her)  Oh, for crying out loud (actually, she said oh, for f****'s sakes, but this is a family show)  My sister/your mo-ther couldn't find her way out of a wet paper bag with two hands and a flashlight.  How, in the name of all that is holy does she think she will actually be of use to anybody?  (she sighs heavily)  Don't worry, Stewey.  People, for the most part, all know that your mo-ther is an idiot, so they'll pat her on the head and tell her she's wonderful and then they'll roll their eyes and tell their friends and neighbors about this crazyass spinster in Indiana who thinks it's perfectly normal to invite the eastern half of the United States of America over for dietCoke.  And, since this is YOUR mo-ther we're talking about, as soon as it hits her that eventually people would expect her to come out of the bedroom and carry on a face to face conversation, she'll fall into an agoraphobic heap of neurosis on the floor, and that will be the end of that.  You know how she's always talking about how she wants to "get out more" and be a "normal person", but when I tell he that that would involve wearing shoes and a bra and actually talking to people she changes her mind?  Well, I'm pretty sure that this is going to be just like that. 

STEWEY: You always know how to make me feel better, Aunt Chrissy.   Now about that tea....



Thank you for all of your very kind comments about me being swell, but I'm a little embarrassed that you would think so highly of me.  Believe me when I tell you that I don't deserve it.  I'm just trying to figure out some way to do something, and since I would be worse than useless as a Red Cross volunteer and I don't know how to drive a backhoe, this is what I came up with.

No stitching to report.  I got distracted by the TeeVee last night and fell into bed wishing I hadn't eaten ham salad on garlic bagel chips for dinner.  Stay tuned, though!  I'm expecting the fixin's for Laura J. Perin's "Harvest Moon House" to arrive any day now and can't wait to get started on it!  Woo Hoo!

Nov 4, 2012


Dear Friends,

By the time you finish reading this post, you will be convinced that I have finally gone fully round the bend.  But bear with me for a minute, OK?

I'm pretty sure that I'm going to get this story totally wrong, but that's par for the course with me.  I remember bits and pieces of family stories and then I embellish and change and enhance them until they're properly epic and make memories that I finally think are worthy of those that have gone before me.  So if you're one of my family members reading this, and you see that I've got all of the details completely ass backwards, send me an email and I'll fix it.

The story is simple, really.  From what I know, my Grandpa Rich was getting a haircut one Saturday and he overheard a story about a family that had a little boy that needed a place to stay.  I think it had something to do with the little boy's health, and that this family (who was in Brooklyn), was trying to figure out how to get the little boy to Arizona.  My Grandfather was in the process of moving his own family to Arizona, so he spoke up and said "Have the little boy come with us, and I'll look after him for his family."  And so they did, and the little boy lived with Grandpa and Grandma and Dad and Aunt Lou, and the two families grew close and stayed in contact over the years, even after everyone had grown up and had families of their own.

I was in my 30's when I finally got to met "the little boy", and as I was asking him about how he was related to Dad -- thinking that he must have been a cousin or a long lost relative from Italy -- he told me that they were all complete strangers, but somehow my grandfather thought that when somebody needed something and you had that something to give, you just offered it and that was that.

I have a house.  It's not a very big house, and I'm pretty sure that most people would think that it's a house in need of a lot of...something, but nonetheless I have a house.  And it has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a roof and hot water and a warm and cozy fireplace, and a few comfy chairs.  There are sheets and towels and pots and pans and sweaters and shoes and a whole lot of crap upstairs in the studio to keep a small army of craft obsessed villagers happy for a lifetime.  There are books and a TeeVee (or two) and an ornery little dog who promises to pick up all of his toys in the event that the "toys, toys, everywhere" look drives you as nuts as it does me.

If you've lost your house or your stuff or are about ready to lose your mind with the idea of having to put it all back together again and you need a place to catch your breath,  you've got it.  Aunt Chrissy and I know that you'd probably rather be there with your friends and your families and that you'd probably want to be there to start the recovery process, but if not and you just need a place to have a hot cup of coffee and a few days to get your wits about you, then please, let us know and we will be happy to help you in any way we can.

There.  I did it.   It's been on my mind for almost a week now, and I finally figured that I had nothing to lose by telling you that in the whole scheme of things, I know it's not much, but it's what I know how to do.  My email address is   Please give it to anybody who might need it.

Take care,

Nov 1, 2012


I see that Stewey has filled you in on my "situation" over here.  What can I say?  I'm a weeper AND a fretter.  And when you combine those two things with 24-hour news coverage of Armageddon, you can bet that a migraine and an upset stomach aren't far behind. 

(Yes.  I will confess it.  I cried so hard and got myself so worked up that I upchucked my lunch.)

(OK.  Maybe it wasn't the news coverage so much as it was the eighteen pounds of Halloween candy that I had to eat all by myself, since I didn't have one single Trick or Treater, despite the fact that I've lived here for 10 years and have never had any Trick or Treaters ever, not one, not ever.)

(But I still buy enough Halloween candy to sink a barge.)

(Stewey, despite his own recent episodes of upchcuk, was not at all amused.)

I've had a lot of yous asking me about my stint in New Jersey.  I moved there in May of 1993 and initially settled in Smithville.  Why Smithville, you ask?  Well, it's because it looked like Indiana to me and I was far enough away from the big city that I didn't feel too out of place.  That was, of course, until I walked into the bagel place on the second day I was there and stood in line and then when it was my turn at the counter I said "Oh, hello, kind sir!  I'm from Indiana and I've come for a New Jersey bagel!" and before I could get any more hayseeds out of my mouth, the burly guy hollered "Lady, whadda ya want...I got a lot of hungry people here!" and I squeaked out my order and then ate it in the car with big fat sweaty tears falling on the steering wheel.

What can I say?  You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.

(For the record, the gentlemen in the above referenced story turned out to be quite a lovely guy, actually, and when I returned on a less busy day he asked me all about myself and my family and what it was like to have graduated from Notre Dame.)

(He also taught me how to properly order breakfast and coffee without giving the world my life story.)

I left Smithville and moved to a tiny itty bitty little studio apartment on the beach in Margate.  I didn't have an ocean view, but I did take my coffee cup outside onto the pool deck every morning to wave at my friend Dr. Dan, who was on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Mediterranean.  The neighbors thought I was nuts, but the building had a doorman, and that made me feel like I was really swell and sophisticated.

After a little while in the tiny little itty bitty studio apartment, my dad convinced me that I wasn't getting any younger, and as far as he knew I wasn't going to be getting married any time soon, so it was time to be a big girl and buy a place of my own.  So I did.  I stayed in Margate, but moved about 10 blocks away to a wonderful condo community that consisted of about 257 summer weekend residents...and me.  They weren't quite sure what to make of the spinster that tried to grow geraniums on her balcony or who introduced herself as Virginia Woolf since she finally had a Room of One's Own, but they were nice enough to let me be me and that was all that mattered.

Someday I'll tell you more about my life and times on the East Coast, but for now, suffice it to say that I am hoping and praying that all will be well there soon and that life can get back to normal as quickly as possible.

I played with this last night:

I'm afraid that I must blame my lack of any measurable progress on my beloved Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  After I watched Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, I stumbled across a really creepy psycho-sexual thriller in which my boyfriend Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a really creepy psycho-sexual landlord. 

For the record, I like my boyfriend Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play warm and lovely Irish musicians or hot and studly New York firemen because it's much easier to watch him do things on screen without having to peek in between two fingers of my hand covering my face.

So that's the post-Halloween report from Chez Spinster, folks.  A whole lotta' nothin' goin' on, but that's just how we like it in these here parts!  (To borrow a phrase from The Bloggess....somewhere an English teacher just dropped dead after that last sentence).

I hope that y'all are warm and safe and dry.  I'm headed up to the studio to see what's next on the stitchy agenda!

Woo Hoo!

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: 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 shopping with Aunt Chrissy...You've Got Mail on WE teevee (twice)...46 degrees and 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 mums...sleeping in.....the sun on my face, freshly laundered sheets, and a snoring puppy during a long snoozy 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,