Feb 27, 2014


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

You see, it's my fault.  Entirely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 16, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 13, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

$400 million.


Of the FOOTBALL stadium.

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

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

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

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

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

(The Pope reads...brows furrowing.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End.

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

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

Feb 9, 2014


Stewey and I headed over to Aunt Chrissy's on Friday night for the opening ceremonies of Sochi, but I didn't start stitching anything for the Olympics until last night.  I suppose you could say that I was too captivated by the spectacle of it all, but the truth of the matter is that I was too busy stuffing my face with Trisha Yearwood's Charleston Cheese Dip.

(Just a word of warning, kids.  Don't do it to yourself.  Deadly, deadly stuff.)

So for the games this year, I decided to concentrate on two projects.  The first is Rosewood Manor's Winter Quakers:

The second is Laura J. Perin's Starry Nights, but done in red white and blue threads:

Now before you point out that there is NOT much progress despite the seven and a half hour marathon session of last evening, may I just point out that I had to stitch, frog, and re-stitch the darn outline on that mo-teef TWICE while trying to watch the new Slope thingie event, in which we propel ourselves off the side of a cliff with a piece of shiny wood strapped to our feet.

Holey Schmoley, those kids are nuts.

(Before I forget, can I just say a big fat BRAVO to the Canadian delegation?  I thought your outfits were really swell for the opening ceremonies, and if I wasn't so completely rotund, I would think about finding a pretty red pea coat of my very own to sport through the tundras of Michiana.)

(And THANK YOU, Mr. Lauren, for burning the United Airlines Flight Attendants' unis for our US team this time and a thumbs up on the pretty sweaters.  I'll take two, please.  Size extra, extra small for You Know Who and size semi-truck hit by a bus for Moi).

Today will find me in the Happy Chair stitching away.   I hope that you, too, get to enjoy a marvelous Sunday with those you love and a threaded needle or two for company!

Woo Hoo!

(P.S.  As for the recipe for that cheese dip, you can find it on the Food Network site, or you can just combine cream cheese, mayo, Monterrey jack cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions, bacon, and cayenne pepper in a casserole dish, top it with crushed Ritz crackers, and then bake until melty and gooey.  Dip a Frito or two in there and you're going to want to slap your mamma.  I promise.)