Dec 30, 2015

Dec 28, 2015


We awoke to an ice storm, the sounds of neighbors leaving for work, and about a thousand comments and emails from friends both far and near making the world perfectly right once again.

Thank you, my friends.  I am ashamed that I let my crazy out, but very soothed by the fact that I am not the only person on the planet that gets her heart crushed over and over by the one person who is supposed to not do that very thing.  

We should form a club or something.

Moving right along...I am happily stitching away on Laura J. Perin's "Victorian Ribbons" in Christmas colors.  Many if you have asked about my colorway....the only changes I made were to the canvas (from ecru to red) and to the Caron Watercolours (from Camouflage to Holiday).  Other than that, I am using the DMC #5 perle cotton and the ribbon floss that Laura calls for.

I also got smart and decided to read and then follow the instructions carefully this time, rather than get cocky and just go off on my own little tangent.  LJP knows what she's doing when it comes to designing and charting and I absolutely do not, so by listening to the professionals I am simply enhancing my overall stitchy experience.  Amazing how that works!

We made it through seasons one and two of Downton Abbey over the last two days, and we have a very carefully calibrated schedule of viewing this week to get us ready for Sunday's premiere of Season Six.  Stewey is so relieved to finally have a little civilization back after months and months of Housewives and Kardashians, so he's been on best behavior and enjoying the glow of life in Yorkshire.

Given all of the changes around here lately, I can't blame him.
So we're off like a herd of turtles today, armed with cozy blankets, green tea, and lots of goodness and happy thoughts for company.  Thank you again, dear sweet friends, for all of your love and concern.  You've fixed what ailed me!


Dec 25, 2015


Question: How many Rich Sisters does it take to screw up a Christmas?
Answer: Two...Clark Griswold and The Antichrist.

Question: How was your Christmas, Spinster Stitcher?
Answer:  Fine...nothing a bottle of Tylenol and a certified mental health professional can't fix (provided that the certified mental health professional happens to be named Jack Daniels).

Question: Did you do anything special for the holidays?
Answer: Why yes, yes I did.  I became an only child.

Question: Hey, Spinster Stitcher!  Where's your sister, Aunt Chrissy?
Answer: I don't know.  I'm an only child.

Next year, I am going to throw a Christmas for all of the people in the world who just want to have a Christmas.  You know the types...full of love and good wishes and Yuletide cheer.  People who don't ask for much....just a little common courtesy and to be treated with just a smidgen of respect.  And, I'm going to make sure that everybody that comes to the Christmas knows that it's OK to be a total schmuck and hope that somehow, just once, this year will be different and that the people that are supposed to love you will know how to behave and not decide to be a colossal (*) instead.

There will be food and decorations and music and presents and so much happiness and joy you'll want to gouge your eyes out.  And then, just when you think you can't take it anymore, it will get better because you'll look around and realize that the person who has peed in your Cheerios and generally screwed up your life is off having a grand time with all of the other stupid selfish cruel Misfit Toys who deserve whatever sociopathic fun they've cooked up for themselves and you, my friend, don't have to have your heart broken yet again.

So, Merry Christmas to all of us Clark Griswolds out there in search of a good old fashioned fun family Christmas.  May our trees be brightly lit, our eggnog be eggnoggy and may our hearts continue to overflow with joy, wonder, and hope.

Did anybody, by any chance, get a time machine for Christmas that I could borrow?   I need a do-over...only this time I'm going to say "Sorry, no room at the inn" and just eat my Christmas brisket and twice-baked potatoes in peace.

(Oh, and I'm going to skip the part whereby I stand in the driveway and try to look authoritative in my Christmas pajamas.  It's hard to look authoritative in your driveway when you're covered in penguins wearing Santa hats and your shirt says "Chill".)

(My God.  The irony.)

Never fear, kiddos.  I am made of pretty hearty stock and promise to bounce back from this latest calamity toot sweet.  As soon as I finish my newspaper puzzles and have a couple of damn Greek cookies, I'm heading to the Happy Chair with needle and thread, my coloring book, and five seasons of Downton Abbey for company.  Season six starts on January 3rd, and besides...who couldn't use a little escape to the English countryside about now?

Here's hoping that your Christmas didn't have a Rich Sister in sight and that you got everything you hoped for and nothing you didn't.

Woo Hoo!

(*)  I had to delete what I had here originally after giving it a, my dear sweet friends simply do not deserve to have to read it.

Dec 24, 2015

Image result for christmas tree 
 Merry Christmas, my friends.
May the joy, love, and peace of the season be yours.
With love,
The Spinster Stitcher and Her Little Dog, Too!

Dec 23, 2015


So there I was, minding my own business, when my fabulous new gastroenterologist said "Gee, Miss Rich.  I don't see any reason for us to have to do that colonoscopy next Wednesday.  Unless something comes up, I think we're good to wait another six months to a year."

And then, without thinking about the fact that this was a) my NEW gastroenterologist and, therefore, not yet fully initiated into what it means to have to deal with me, and b) that I was outside of my house and not, in fact, sitting in my Happy Chair wearing my eighteen year old sweatpants and old man Hanes t-shirt that I fished out if the bottom of the laundry basket...I jumped up, kissed him full on the face, and hollered WOOOOO HOOOOOO!

The truth of the matter is that the actual procedure doesn't bother me in the least bit, and the resulting confirmation that I've managed to dodge the colon cancer bullet a little longer is well worth having to eat green jello for a day.  I also do not fret the prep, since I read somewhere that Gweneth Paltrow spends a ba-jillion dollars a month to have somebody clean her plumbing for her, so I figure if it's good enough for Gweneth....

The part of the colonoscopy that I most dread is the prospect of somebody new being subjected to my heiney parts.  It took me damn near 20 years to get used to the idea that my old doc was going to have to witness all the glory that is me, and now I have to go through all of that with a new guy?  No, thank you....I prefer to succumb to that sweet sweet anesthesia drip with the comforting thought that the healthcare professionals assigned to my nether regions will NOT, in fact, require trauma counseling.

So it would appear that a Festivus miracle has happened right here in Hoosierville and I can remain fully clothed and unexposed for the duration.  Egg nog for everybody!

Stewey (and Bosco!) and I are doing laundry and housecleaning today in preparation for.....well, not much, actually.  We're going to be very very quiet at Chez Spinster this year, but I did promise a little field trip to view some Christmas lights if everybody behaves and we get our chores done.

Progress continues on Victorian Ribbons.  I promise a picture soon when it's not so darn gloomy that it makes everything look like we're living with the Addams Family.  I get it...we're not going to have snow for Christmas.  But does it have to be 48 and MISTing?!

Dec 19, 2015


I'm 49 years old.  This means that for at least the last 30 years or so I have attempted to make THE DAMN GREEK COOKIES for Christmas.

The damn Greek cookies are koulrakia...a very simple butter twist cookie that is sometimes made with orange juice, anise, or whiskey.

I'm thinking that the whiskey part is what I'm doing wrong every year, since by the time I finish making the damn Greek cookies I am in desperate need of a drink.

It always starts out with the best intentions.  I gather my ingredients, measure them carefully, and start mixing.

Here is where I should probably explain the part about my mom laughing and laughing.  First of all, my mom was a very funny person, and she took delight in silly things.  For example, she would probably think it hilarious that a 49 year old semi-accomplished baker like me throws a fit every year when she reads the recipe instructions....and they say "Get the dough so it isn't sticky and then roll the cookies like pencils and twist them."

That's it.  No order of addition of ingredients.  No oven temperature or helpful tips.  Just a crazyass sentence that was probably the exact way my mom was told to make the damn Greek cookies, so that's how she wrote it down.

This year, I found another random piece of notebook paper in my recipe box written in Mom's handwriting, and lo and almost looks like it could be more information: "Mix the butter and sugar and eggs together and then dump in the rest of the flavorings.  Put the baking soda into the orange will foam up.  Use a big box of Swan's Down Cake Flour."

Holy crap on a cracker, I really should have bought that whiskey.

Now before you tell me that I could just Google a proper recipe for koulrakia, or I could go to the Greek Orthodox Church here in Hoosierville and ask one if the nice Greek ladies to take pity on me and teach me how to make the damn Greek cookies....I've got one word for you.


My mom loved these damn Greek cookies and evey year that I go through this I think of her and how much she loved the holidays.  I laugh and laugh and wonder how I manage to get flour on the ceiling.  Every.  Single.  Year.  And when it's all over, I make a cup of coffee, give Stewey a bit of a damn Greek cookie, and I wish my mom a Merry Christmas wherever she is.

And I hear her laugh and laugh and tell me that next year we'll figure it out.

Tomorrow we're making Dad's favorite....the damn Italian cookies...cuccidati.  Stay tuned!

Dec 16, 2015


Stewey is out of surgery and did very well, thank goodness.  They emded up removing a total of four teeth and are flushing him with antibiotics for a nasal infection.  Poor thing...I guess the extent of the problem was a lot worse than we realized.  But, I only gave myself 30 lashes instead of 40 since I did get him in right away and didn't delay getting him back for the surgery.

That has to count for something.  Right?

Now the fun part comes.  I get to pick him up at 3:30 and bring him home to his apartment for 48 hours of rest and relaxation.  He can lounge in front of thr fireplace if he wants and can even have a puppy cup, but I think he will have to forego his weekly card game and cognac night with the boys.

Can I just tell you how happy I am that he has insurance?  I'm pretty sure that this is going to be a doozie of a bill, so knowing that a portion of it will come back is comforting, indeed.

That's it for now.  Thank you for holding my hand through this!  You really have no idea how much it helped!

Woo Hoo!
Nurse Mommie Ratchet


It's been two hours, twenty five minutes, and seven seconds since I took my Little to the vet and I am climbing the walls.  I've cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and living room, washed the bedding and all of Stewey's blankets, organized paperwork, answered emails, paid bills, prayed a rosary, and made a vat of iced tea.'s the thing.  As much as I love to complain about him and pretend that he runs riot over Chez Spinster, the truth of the matter is that this house just isn't home without him in it.  Every time I turn around I'm looking for him to be lounging in front of the fireplace or back patio window, or standing by his cookie jar looking at it longingly.

This creature is my life.  He is, by far, the very best thing that ever happened to me and I don't think I could love him more if I had given birth to him myself.

Thank you for all of your lovely and supportive thoughts and prayers.  For pity's sakes....I am an idiot for thinking that this is a crisis on any level that requires so much attention, but I guess this is me we're talking about, so even the silliest thing turns into a Lifetime Television for Women movie of the week.

I'll keep you posted once the patient is home. 

Thank you again, dear friends, for your loving kindness!

Dec 14, 2015


Well, I thought we were just going in for a mani/pedi this morning, but as with most things in life, it was a little more complicated than that.  My poor bubbe has an abscess in his mouth that needs to be fixed, so he's going to have surgery on Wednesday morning.

I was doing just fine until the vet tech came out and said that they needed to see me back in the exam room.  (Normally they take Stewey back and do whatever it is they do and return him to me freshly pedicured and happy to see me.)  Today, though, I walked in to find him being cuddled by his favorite assistant with a look on his face that said "How could you let this happen to me?"

Good grief, Charlie Brown!  I broke out into the ugly cry and practically had to be sedated.

So, if you would, please keep us in your thoughts these next couple of days.  I'm sure Stewey will be's me I'm worried about!  I will take him in on Wednesday morning at 7:30 and should be able to pick him up later that day so nobody will need to supervise me overnight.

Do you think they would let me crawl up on the table and hold him during the surgery?

Oey....they really should make pills for this.

Dec 13, 2015


Boy, I am really being spoiled rotten with these lovely weekends!

Friday night was movie night for us.  Stewey's pick was a wonderful film called "Philomena".  I enjoyed it immensely, and was gutted when I learned that it was based on a real story, and was then TOTALLY gutted when I found out that the subject of the movie, Michael Hess, was a Notre Dame grad. 

Do you thonk it's a little nuts the way I think of anybody who went to Notre Dame as family?  I'm starting to wonder if maybe I need to re-think that policy, because I'm pretty sure that complete strangers would be a little put off by a portly, yet lovable spinster in Hoosierville calling them family and wondering why we can't just all get together and have dinner and fix the world.

Saturday was the Christmas luncheon for Elkhart EGA, and once agIn, I spent a few hours with my stitchy sisters.  We went to an Irish pub style restaurant in Elkhart that was right on the river.  Gorgeous!  And I had a Cobb salad that was so good it made me want to go back for one today.

But I didn't.  That would have meant putting clothes and shoes on, and I'm quite comfy in my jammies, thankyouverymuch.

Last night we watched the Reese Witherspoon movie "Wild" and then the Frank Sinatra Birthday Concert  I think I enjoyed the concert more than the movie, but Stewey was completely riveted by the idea of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail as a means of mourning one's mo-ther.  I told him not to get his hopes up, because I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, and besides, I don't think he'd do too well in the wilderness with nothing but a silk smoking jacket and a hoity toity attitude for company.

Here's the progress on Laura J. Perin's "Victorian Ribbons" with a Christmas colorway:

The red thread is hard to see, I know, but it really does look pretty in real life, I promise.

I hope that your weekend has been as swell as mine and that your needles are flying!
Woo Hoo!

Dec 9, 2015


This is absolutely positively NOT Santa Claus.  This is a handsome man with white hair and a beard wearing skinny jeans in the Yorkdale Mall in Toronto.

THIS, my friends, is Santa Claus thankyouverymuch and if I was at all hip #quitscrewingaroundwithcrapthatpreventsmefrombangingmyheadonthepavement:

I'm sorry, but Santa Claus is sacrosanct to this here spinster.  He is the only man on the planet that has a remote possibility of fulfilling my every need.

Except, maybe for this one:

You slap a Santa hat on HIM and we just might have a situation. 

 I'm just saying.


Progress continues on Laura J. Perin's Victorian Ribbons.  I finished the outline while watching Homefires on Masterpiece....if you haven't seen it, I thought it was swell!

Dec 6, 2015


Do you remember the Burger King commercial from about 25 years ago in which a guy has all of these happy things happen to him as he's walking along the street on his way to get a Whopper?  I think he finds his lost wallet, wins the lottery, and then his long lost dog falls into his arms, and when he gets inside the restaurant the voice-over says something about Fred and how happy he is to get things his way?

Well, that's been me this entire weekend.  I've just had one happy thing after another just fall right into my lap.

On Friday, the team that I've been "playing with" on a project these last few weeks decided that we are really doing quite well, and that our previous schedule could be altered a little bit to give us a small pause and catch our breath, rather than race to a pre-Christmas finish.  I was really getting nervous about being able to deliver on time, but now I can pump the brakes a little and get my wits about me.

On Saturday morning I was futzing around in the guest room, and I came across a pile of stuff that I vaguely remember setting aside a few months ago as "really important" and that needed to be sorted and organized.  Needless to say, this pile has been out of sight/out of mind for so long that I was half tempted to just chuck it all into the recycling bin and be done with it, but lo and behold, there was a savings bond in there from 1993.  I don't really know anything about savings bonds, so I figured that I would just ask the teller at the bank if it was worth anything when I stopped for cash on my way to lunch.   Not only was it worth had gained a nice little chunk of interest too!

I then had the most lovely luncheon with my EGA ladies.  I belong to the Elkhart and South Bend chapters of EGA and the Hoosier Heartland chapter of ANG,  and have just recently become active again thanks to Miss Charlene.  This was the South Bend group's holiday party.  It was so nice to spend time with these ladies, and thanks to the suggestion on Miss Myrtis, I ordered one of the best salads I've had in quite a had apples and bleu cheese and pecans and grilled chicken and the perfect balsamic dressing.  I got a great Secret Santa gift from Miss Beth and loved making new friends.  Throw Jeffrey Dean Morgan in there as a waiter, a fireplace with Stewey curled up in front of it, and take off the crazy high heeled boots I was wearing, and I never would have left the place!

Stewey and I had a perfect late afternoon snoozy nap with our faces in the sun, and then I watched movies and stitched until 2am!  This is Laura J. Perin's Victorian Ribbons with two substitutions: I'm stitching mine on red canvas, and I swapped out her called for Watercolours to Holiday.  Otherwise, I'm following the chart as is.
Oh, and the movies?  They just happened to be You've Got Mail and Moonstruck.  Somewhere, the teevee programming gods were in my head, I tell ya!

Today has been a quiet and happy day.  I managed to order my "book" for next year and I think I even got it with some stickers and free shipping!  I had so much fun playing with my Erin Condren day planner this year that I decided to give it a go for another year.  Yes, I look like a six year old with my stickers and coloring books and markers and whatnot, but if putting a pink laundry basket sticker on the calendar helps motivate me to wash my underclothes...who cares, right?  Besides, I'm not exactly running IBM over here, so no need to impress anybody in this particular boardroom.

(My CEO, Master You Know Who would probably applaud the use of stickers in my day planner as long as his every whim is met and his little smoking jackets remain in good supply. )

So that's the report, kids.  I'll leave you with a completely craptastic photo of sone winter/Christmas that I hung on the Big White Wall of Nothingness.

Here's hoping that your weekend was blissful, too!
Woo Hoo!

Dec 3, 2015


It's all your fault.

Yes, you read that right.  I am officially blaming each and every one of you for making it positively impossible for me to function like a normal human person in polite society.

With the exception of our dear friend Betty (who has been alarmingly quiet lately), you have petted and coddled and encouraged and loved and cooed gently and basically made me feel like the Queen High Exalted of the Whole Damn Universe every minute of every day.

You're kind to me, and you offer wisdom and tips and generosity to me in the form of messages and emails and letters and presents and prayers and sweet and considerate thoughts and companionship.

You know that old saying..."I'm in my own little world, but it's OK because they know me here" ?  Well, I live that motto.  In freaking spades.

I've had the opportunity to play in a different sandbox these last few weeks (doing a little helping as a volunteer for an organization).  The work has been exhilarating and quite a mental challenge for my tiny little brain, but so far I've managed not to make too much of a mess of it.  The problem, though, is that I am reaching for the duct tape every afternoon to prevent any more stupid crap from coming out of my face.  Today, after a conference call, I had to go into the bathroom and say to the portly spinster staring back at me: "Will you just get a grip already and stop thinking of these people as your  stitchy peeps?  These people don't "get" you, and since none of them are stitchers, they probably don't have the highly-developed tolerance for your nonsense and propensity for making up words that don't exist, but that you think are hi-lar-ee-us.  Stop acting like an idiot hermit spinster who hasn't had the good sense to leave her Happy Chair for nine years and act like you know what it means to be normal!"

This, of course, would have been even more effective had I not been delivering this speech in my eighteen year old sweatpants and purple fuzzy socks that are too slippery, but keep my feet warm.

(It was a conference call, kids, and I was participating from home.  Let's not get too nuts.) whole point in all of this is that this thing of ours really is a safe place.  I tried watching the news tonight and found myself hollering at Lester Holt as if he could hear me, and I made the mistake of looking at the Facebook, and all I got was a lot of vitriol.  But the very moment I click on that little Blogger button, I know that the troubles of the world will wash away and that I can put the duct tape least for another day.

Thank you for that, my dear friends.   There aren't a lot of safe places left to fall these days, so believe me when I tell you how much I appreciate this one.

Finally, a note from Stewey:


Dec 1, 2015


I know that I'm getting older (ahem), and I know that I'm not exactly what you would call "in shape", but is it too much to ask that I have the ability to get out of the big girl sleigh bed to use the powder room in the middle of the night without falling down?

Stewey laughed so hard he gave himself the hiccups.

Seriously, though...I think that the physical exertion of decorating the outside of the house, combined with the fact that I must have been sound asleep and not fully in control of my senses or something caused the latest calamity.  All I know is that I threw the blankets aside, swung my legs over the side of the bed, and then hit the floor like a sack of doorknobs.  I looked like the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy cuts him down from his post and he goes completely jelly-legged.'s not easy being me.

I'm off to soak in a hot epsom salt bath, armed with a couple of Tylenol and a book.  Never fear...Stewey has his iPhone at the ready in the avent of catastrophe.

I swear, 50 can't get here fast enough!