Oct 26, 2013


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  I've sent her to the Targets for some industrial strength Tylenol to see if I can knock back what can only be described as a migraine of epic proportions.  For a small pup, I pack a mighty punch when it comes to pain, so forgive my scattered thoughts as I try to bring you up to speed on the old lady's shenanigans.

The autumnal season started well enough, with Mo-ther heading up to the studio armed with good intentions of a hearty clean-out, followed by a re-stocking of the stitchy basket.  Alas, it was not to be.  Instead of rekindling her passion for all things needlework, she ended up exacerbating a bad case of the "Oh why can't I be a normal person and just do things in moderation blues" instead.

Yup.  Nothing has changed with my stupid mo-ther, despite thousands and thousands of dollars spent in the self-help section of our local bookstore and countless hours spent with me listening to her complain about all of the crazy crap that dances around in her head on any given day.

I swear, I could have thrived with a smarted owner.

All is not lost, however, since I watched in amazement as Mo-ther made herself a healthy breakfast smoothie, and I think I overheard her telling my Aunt Chrissy that she fully intended to spend the day in the Happy Chair working on the final stages of this:
That's "Autumn Jumble" by The Drawn Thread, and if we weren't in the habit of falling asleep with needle in hand at 7:30 every night it would have been completed long ago.

I know that you're probably very concerned about my headache, but please understand that it is only because I am so thoroughly disappointed with this year's seasonal display.  (I use the term sarcastically, of course, since THIS is what constitutes Mo-ther's attempts at welcoming in our favorite season this year):
 Are you horrified?  I know I am.  Remember the fantastic arrangements that my Aunt Chrissy did last year and the year before that?  Well, I'm sorely tempted to call her up with the promise of a glass of an impertinent little Merlot if she'll just come over and help a nephew out.

Tomorrow will start a new tradition here at Chez Spinster.  Mo-ther is going to start a new project that has been languishing up in the studio forever.  It's called "Looking Glass" and is by Threedles.  I think that the canvas color is supposed to be bright yellow, but when we perused all of the threads yesterday, we realized that this mottled brown might just be gorgeous.  Only time will tell.

Well, friends, I suppose that bring us up to speed for the day.  I apologize for my long absence, but please know that you've never been far from my thoughts (or affections).  I will try to be better about writing, but I'm presently between valets at the moment, and the interviews are consuming me with dread.

Until we meet again, I remain your loyal and devoted friend.
With much love from your pal,

Oct 7, 2013


Today would have been my mom's 80th birthday.  This fact is, in its very self, hard to fathom, since she died when she was 54 years old.  To imagine her at 80 is hard, especially when you consider the fact that she didn't look a day over 35 when she died.

Vaceila Helen Loukos Rich.  Born in Lima, Ohio and raised there with her brothers and sisters until she met and married my dad.  Pictures and notes from her school days show a girl who was popular....probably always the life of the party....and most definitely smart.   She was pretty, too, and always dressed in something lovely.  She had, as my dad used to say "a great set of legs" and wore a 9 AAAA shoe.

When she was 17, she went to work as a secretary to the President of the City Loan.  She always said that she lied on the application to make them think she was already 18, and this caused her to screw up her birth year for the rest of her life.  She was born in 1933, NOT 1932, thankyouverymuch.

She was Sig to everybody who knew her.  Not Vaceila.  Not Miss Loukos.  Not Mrs. Rich.  She was Sig.  I didn't know the origin of that name until a few years ago when my Uncle Connie explained that he couldn't pronounce Vaceila when he was a kid, and what came out was "Sig", so "Sig" it was.   I always thought it was a name given to her by a neighbor lady who saw her as a tomboy that liked to hang upside down in the apple trees munching a snack.

Mom was beautiful, it's true, but what was even more remarkable about her was that she connected with people the moment she met them.  She could walk into a room and make everybody in it feel like it was exactly where they were supposed to be at that moment and that they were the most interesting and perfectly realized version of themselves...all because this nice lady named Sig took a minute to look them in the eye and then ask them about their life.  It didn't matter if they were a CEO or the kid putting the butter pat on the dish....they meant something and she wasn't going to let a second pass without them knowing that.

She was an artist and a needlewoman....loved needlepoint, and used to stitch the most beautiful canvases on Penelope canvas...all in tent stitch...starting from the bottom of a column and working up using the sewing method...and all while holding the canvas rolled up in her hand.  Technically, we've been told that her pieces should have been warped so badly that they would have required serious blocking, but not one thing that she stitched was ever out of kilter.  Don't ask me how she did that.

Funny..witty..smart..elegant...kind....generous...ornery...no matter how hard I try I can't come up with anything that adequately explains her.  She was our everything and we were hers.  Fr. Hesburgh said that the greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.  Well, that worked in spades in our family....especially when it came to love that Dad had for her and she for him.  If I learn nothing else, at least I know what a perfect union looks like thanks to the example that she set.

I tried to describe my mom to my Jersey boy once, and all I could come up with was "She was a killer combination....1950's style housewife who could hit a golf ball 250 yards off the tee...who knew how to keep a gorgeous home and how to tell a joke, and who had the ability to tell somebody to go to Hell and they'd look forward to the trip."  Boy...was that ever inadequate.

All I know is that Aunt Chrissy and I hope that we might find something within ourselves that reminds us of mom.  Will it be our love of stitching?  Maybe a hope that we'll be remembered as kind or generous?  I'd settle for funny or smart, but would be thrilled if the only thing people knew or thought of was.....she's Sig's daughter.

Oct 6, 2013


I would have posted this last night when the game was on, but I was literally struck senseless by the gold lame'.  Federal law now prohibits me from telling you what I REALLY think about this get-up, but I will go so far as to say.....WHERE IN THE FREAKIN' ALMA MATER DOES IT SAY "NOTRE DAME, OUR MOTHER, TENDER STRONG AND TRUE, ALL DECKED OUT IN A SOLID GOLD DANCER OUTFIT AND GREEN SOCKS THAT MATCH OUR SHOES" ???!!!  (*)

Seriously, Adidas?  Seriously?

Dear sweet Jesus, I can't wait to see what the hell they wear next year. 

(*)  For the record...the words are: "Notre Dame, Our Mother.  Tender Strong and True.  Proudly in the Heavens, gleams thy GOLD AND BLUE."  

Nope.  Not one mention of WHITE.  GOLD LAME'.  OR FREAKIN' KELLY GREEN!  


I'm going back to bed....