Nov 30, 2017


A little start on Bargello Cardinal last night:

Here's a closer view:
(Whoopsie...I just noticed that I missed a stitch in there!  See it?)

Today was a big day for me, kidney wise.  My transplant surgeon, Dr. Goggins, came up from Indianapolis for appointments in this area and he was very very happy with me.  When we met in the Spring, he gave me a long list of things that he wanted me to do before he would consider me 100% ready for transplant.

Know what?

I did every single one of them!

To be completely honest, I didn't realize that NOT doing them was an option.  I have always been kinda squirrelly that way...if you tell me I have to go stand on my head and spit wooden nickeks in order to live another day...I'm pretty likely to do it.  Most patients, however, don't think this way and he ends up getting very frustrated and short with them.

(Like the poor lady who was in the room next to me.)

But I got a gold star for the day and walked out of there feeling like a rock star.  

Now the ball in 1000% in my sister's court.  If she wants to be a living donor, then it's time for her to be tested and get on with it.  If she doesn't (which I am perfectly OK with, by the way), then she needs to say so definitively so that I can move on to dialysis and finding another donor or dialysis and waiting on the cadaver list.

Rich, God love him, has taken it upon himself to drive this bus right to its destination...whether that's down to Indy for transplant or off a cliff.  He has developed a good rapport with my sister and thinks he will be able to have the hard conversations (because God knows...I simply cannot).

In the meantime, while he's off on his white steed doing whatever it is that men on white steeds do, I am going to do more stitching, reading, cooking, sleeping, writing, and eating.  My Happy Land of Make Believe is warm and safe and dry, full of pretty things, and just too damn much fun to leave. to the big girl sleigh bed for a nap while Rich takes his afternoon walk.  Then it will be to the Martin's for salads and then home to the Notre Dame basketball game and a little more stitching.

A rather perfect Thursday, indeed!

Nov 29, 2017


I'm still a bit worse for wear today...lots of bruising and swelling and pain.

(And that's just my stitching!)

Buzzy is just...forlorn.  I don't know if he's acting out, or perhaps just feeling his oats, but he's causing me to worry.  I will go back to the doc this afternoon if he doesn't calm down, but for now he's getting an ice pack and Tylenol.

The Pointsettia ornament and I are equally a mess, since I am apparently incapable of rotating a piece in my head to accomodate the chart.  The first petal surround went in well enough, but the second is
Methinks this will go into time out until Miss Charlene can whisper it and show me what I'm doing wrong.

In the meantime, I am hankering for some cross stitch, so as soon as Buzzy is done with his ice pack I might head into the cube room studio to see if I can find something fun and festive.  I would love to go over to House of Stitches, but alas, I might want to save that for when I am a bit more up to snuff.

It's a beautiful day here in, but sunny.  If I can, I am going to attempt a little walk with Rich when he comes home from work.  He has a very long stride and I usually have to huff and puff to keep up with him, but maybe I can convince him to slow it down a bit for his portly little spinster.

That's it for Futzingday, Dearies.  I'm catching up on all of the Housewives and other Bravo shows I've taped.  I also noticed that I am three weeks behind on Outlander, so I better hop to it!

Hope your day is swell and that you'll come tell me all about it!

Nov 28, 2017


Yesterday is a bit of a blur. I did a whole lot of absolutely nothing at all, but somehow managed to enjoy doing it.  I slept, I ate, and I watched a lot of Flosstube in the big girl sleigh bed.

It was wonderful.

Sunday in the Happy Chair with Wendy resulted in another area being completed:
This section called for two different shades of Pepper Pot silk, which is new to me.  Two words, if you've never used it before: Like. Bud-da..

Here's the piece as it stands now:
If my calendar is correct, we will receive the next set of notes tomorrow.  The chart, however, is really quite excellent, so if time allows (and if my head clears a bit more), I will plunge ahead.

Today's agenda is to play a Real Housewife of Granger and tidy the apartment, finish the laundry, and get myself cleaned up and dressed before Rich comes home from work.  I think we're having turkey tetrazzini (?) tonight for dinner...something completely new to me, but nonetheless a favorite of Mister Spinster.

Dreams of Stewey and my sister last night...the former very lovely and peaceful, the latter not so much. I swear it's going to take an entire team of therapists to fix what's broken there...but I am hopeful somehow.  As far as Stewey is concerned...he actually speaks to me in my dreams.  He has a British accent and we talk and talk and talk about everything and nothing.  Oh, how I miss him so.  Damn dog.

Tomorrow is budget, bill paying, and paperwork day.  I haul all of my crap out and sit at the dining room table and put things to rights once again.  It occurs to me that I should probably order my book for next year and start to fill it up...guess that means I need to do a little browsing on the Erin Condren site today!

So that's the Tuesday report, Dearies.  A little worse for wear, I think, but still here happy as a clam.  I hope that your very own Tuesday is swell and that you do something fun with someone you love.

Come tell me all about it!

Nov 27, 2017


My little guy isn't feeling very well at the moment. Turns out he had some blockages that required angioplasty to open him back up, and he didn't like that very much.  I have been sleeping the day and  anasethesia away while Rich frets and paces and worries himself into stress eating M&Ms in the living room.

All will be well, Dearies.  All will be well.  Nothing that a few Tylenol and several days in the Happy Chair can't fix.

Back to the big girl sleigh bed.  Night night.

Nov 26, 2017


OK.  We're back on track.  I hope I didn't alarm you that something had gotten between me and Rich and managed to spoil it...not at all the case.  The tears and fussiness yesterday was 100% the result of my "troubled" relationship with my sister.

I love her.  I really do.  And she is holding my life in her hands by having a potentially perfect kidney for me.  But we're two distinctly different people, and sometimes I forget that and try to go back to a time when it was The Rich Sisters instead of Crys Rich and Coni Rich, or I try to be her mother.  So today I will just try to be thankful that she is who she is and get on with it.

We will go to Mass and then grab a bite to eat afterwards, and Rich will watch the football and I will stitch and we can call it a good day.  I might make us a lovely dinner or I might do some laundry or I might decide to put some Christmas decorations here and idea where the afternoon will take us.

But all is well, Dearies.  All is well.  We're chalking yesterday up to an impending "special" week, anxiety about surgery, and the old feeling of helplessness that I simply cannot fix the whole entire world with a blink of an eye or a wish and a prayer. It is what it is and I am who I am, so occasionally that means a bit of an off day.

The sun is shining and the birds are tweeting sweetly as they head South. Hope things in your neck of the woods are completely swell and that you'll come tell me all about it!

Nov 25, 2017


We've had quite a morning here in Hoosierville.  As per usual, a favor for my sister turned into a major teary fiasco of epic proportions that resulted in Rich and I having some time for a "chat".

I'm the first to admit that I set myself up for failure most days because of expectations, and now that I am at end stage, I really should learn how to dial down those expectations and just do things in a simpler, more energy-saving manner rather than the full-blown bull in a china shop method that has served me so well these last 51and a half years. 

(She says, sarcastically.)

In the midst of me trying to explain the stress I was feeling over figuring out the perfect place to put the Christmas tree and whether or not I should go with the four foot, six foot, eight foot, or eleven foot versions that I have carefully stored at Chez Spinster, Rich pipes up with "I'd like to have a real tree, Con, but I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to ruin your decorating plans."

Fast forward three hours, a turkey sandwich, more tears, and some quiet time later, and I am in the Happy Chair with my stitching while Rich works out at the working out place.

We'll decorate next weekend.

Dr. Melfi will tell me that the reason why I am feeling so out of sorts lately is that I've gotten out of my lane again.  I've allowed myself to veer over into the Land of Make Believe in which I am a 1954 housewife with perfect pearls and a pot roast, my sister is the same, and our homes and mates are perfectly appointed tableaus that could come right out of a Westinghouse appliance commercial.

But life's not like that.  And sometimes it's a mess and difficult and not at all what you would want the world to see.  It's frayed at the edges and, most likely, held together with spit and duct tape.  It's unpredictable, sometimes frustrating, but almost always interesting enough that it is worthwhile sticking around to see what comes next.

So here we are on Thanksgiving Saturday...just learning how to be...real.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I am actually learning something after all.

I hope you are doing whatever your heart desires today...whether that means shopping or decorating or  reading a book or playing with grandkids or staring at a pretty blue sky or just holding the hand or paw of someone you love.  Do something wonderful and come tell me all about it!

Nov 24, 2017


Well, today was a little different than planned.  We went to Goshen, Indiana to pick my sister's car up to take it for snow tires, and then we ate salad and I took a nap.  Now I am trying to get my wits about me so that we can join some friends for a hockey game and then shenanagins.

(I'm an observer of the shenanagins rather than a participant, but I still manage to have fun.)

Tomorrow we will return the car, and then I am determined to tart up CS2 with all things Christmas if it's the last thing I do.  I suspect thete will be lots of adjustments this year to the usual decor, since we are sans fireplace or garage door over which big wreaths are normally hung, but we'll make do.  I might also have to break out the skinny tree this year that Stewey hated so much know.  The space availability in an apartment is very very different than in a house, so methinks some creative juices will be flowing (as well as a shaky reliance on high school geometry).

Sunday will be Stitchy Day...back to the Wendy piece.  I'm anxious to see how far I can get, but promise myself not to rush through.

Monday is surgery day.  It's time for Buzzy to get checked and tended to again.  I'm dreading it, but looking forward to a few days of quiet recovery in the Happy Chair.

So that's the life of a portly spinster tonight, Dearies.  I better scootch and get my face on.  Time for hockey!


Nobody died from eating my first attempt at making a whole turkey.

Everything came out of the oven at the right time and piping hot.

My sister and I were on our best behavior and didn't ruin the day with tears and recriminations.

My Jersey Boy ended his meal with roasted chestnuts (the last package of them at the Martins and the produce guy took pity on me and found them in the back because I told him it was the only thing that the love of my life requested and if I couldn't find them it was going to completely ruin my holiday).

I got to spend time with this little fellow:

Nov 23, 2017

Nov 22, 2017


This Thanksgiving is very different than last.  I look back to my entry from that day, and I see that I feasted and watched movies and looked forward to Christmas and all that it would bring.

But I was, I think, still very much in the deep deep grief of losing my Little, I was missing my sister and Bosco and Mom and Dad fiercely, and I knew that the end was near for life at Chez Spinster.

If you would have told me where I would be sitting this year, I would have told you that I appreciated your optimism, but the distance between me and even mild happiness was just too great.

Boy, was I wrong.

I've always had a grateful heart, and my prayers each night always begin with a very long list of thank yous, but I had no idea that gratitude could completely overwhelm and transform a person.  Or an entire life. Or a future.

My Thanksgiving this year will still include feasting and movies and maybe even a little looking forward to Christmas, but I am most looking forward to the heartfelt thank yous that I have for these new mornings, family, and reality.

Thank you, dear friends, for making it all so.  Thank you for your love and kindness and generosity and support and encouragement and belief in me.  Thank you for giving me so much to look forward to each day, for taking my hand and leading me to the cool kids' table, and for allowing me to join you on this crazy ride.

Life is beautiful, indeed.  My prayer for you and yours tomorrow and always is that you are surrounded by everything you love, that your table is overflowing, and that your very own future is happy, healthy, bright, and peaceful.

With much love,
The Spinster Stitcher

Nov 21, 2017


Rembrandt Redux at the Snite Museum

 Rembrandt’s Religious Prints: The Feddersen Collection at the Snite Museum of Art

On view September 3–November 26, 2017

 The Jack and Alfrieda Feddersen Collection of Rembrandt prints will make an encore appearance at the Snite Museum of Art September 3 through November 25. The exhibition of the renowned artist’s prints marks the publication of the first comprehensive catalog of the entire collection and the celebration of the University of Notre Dame’s 175th anniversary.

 All 70 of Rembrandt’s etchings that comprise the Feddersen Collection will be displayed together, examining the sweep of historical, theological, and artistic impulses that informed the creation of the master’s religious and biblical prints.    

Rembrandt’s Religious Prints

Originally published by Gina Costa at sniteartmuseum.nd.eduon June 27, 2017.

The exhibit was really quite something to see, and Rich and my friend and I enjoyed it immensely.  I was astounded at the number of pieces collected, the size of each (some just larger than a postcard), and the exquisite intricacy of each.  I would have like to examine each one for hours at a time, but...

After the exhibit we had lunch at Legends on campus, which happens to be the building that was called Senior Bar or The Alumni Senior Club when I was in school.  Now I know that you're all thinking that I was quite a bon vivant in 1985, but the truth of the matter is that I didn't step foot in the place until I had been out about ten years. (What can I say?  I got that "loser" tattoo on my forehead early.)

(The blinking lights, however, were a later addition.)

I'm going to head over to the dining room table now and plot and plan and plan and plot Thanksgiving so that we can go to the grocery store tomorrow night with the rest of the world here in the USA.  Better planning, I suppose, is not on my bucket list!

Grocery guild tonight involving much merriment, I'm sure.  I'll give you a full report tomorrow!


My uggy day turned into an uggy afternoon, but somewhere around 7:30 or so it all turned around.
This is the Pointsettia Ornament from DebBee's that I had started and then un-started last week.  There were some challenges with the charting, so I pulled up my socks and got to it.  I confess to a fair amount of cursing and fretting and hair-pulling and such, but before I knew it, I had completed that last  petal and all was well.

Now it's on to the stitches surrounding the petals. 

(Cue the cursing, fretting, hair-pulling and such.)

Today we are heading to the Snite Museum of Art on campus to see an exhibit of Rembrandt etchings and then we're having lunch with an old friend.  I'm a little apprehensive about the walking aspect of the outing, but know enough to say "Need a minute, kids" before parking my fanny on a bench.

Preparations for Thanksgiving are underway.  We will be four this and my beloved and my sister and her new beau.  I am going to prep as much as I can tomorrow and then let Rich be in charge of the turkey.  I'm thinking of all the usual things...with a few changes and additions that will become the usual things in years to come, I suppose.

So that's the Tuesday report.  Hope your corner of the world is swell....

Nov 20, 2017


I go months and months, it seems, without taking a single stitch, and then I wake up on a Sunday and decide to spend the entire day doing just that.

Oh, what joy.  What bliss!

First up is our class project...Challenge is Key.  This is a pilot piece (not yet available) by Wendy Moore. It starts with the design line-drawn on 18ct mono canvas, and then all of the sections are filled in with counted canvas work.

This is the area that I played with yesterday:

And this is the area that I completed in class:

I think I have it in my head that I will play with this on Sundays.   We will be given further teaching notes every other week with a hoped-for completion date of March, so I'm really going to try to stay on track.

I do want to add a few new things to my Christmas WIP basket, though, and hope to continue with the  Pointsettia Ornament from DebBee's:

And this cute little guy from Handblessings:

Both of those are on canvas, so I pulled this piece to add a little cross stitch to the mix:
isn't it swell?  It calls for DMC, so that shouldn't be too hard to gather, and I think I have the perfect piece of fabric in my stash (that was gifted to me).  I'm hoping to get into the cube room studio a little later today to fish.

I've been hankering for Ms. Laura J. Perin Her Very Self and remembered that this was still in progress, so into the basket it went.

The only thing I'm missing is more cross stitch and more WIP's, so I think I will pull three or four pieces that are almost finished and see if I can give them a go.  No pressure....but if I manage to complete a few it will be a good start to the holidays!

Rich has gone to work and I am in the Happy Chair with jams and my first cup of damn good.  I am having some major leg cramping issues, so really don't feel much like doing anything.  Maybe I'll just use today to catch up on some TeeVee viewing and continue stitching!

Hope your Monday is swell and leg cramp free.  Do something fun and come tell me all about it!

Nov 19, 2017


On a cold and very wet Saturday my guild sisters and I went to Goshen, Indiana for an all-day class with Miss Wendy Moore.  We are piloting a very intense (yet gorgeous) piece that has a HUGE batch of delicious threads, a hundred-plus page stitch guide, and more fun than a Christmas morning with Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the kitchen making waffles.

I confess to feeling extremely apprehensive as we prepared for Wendy's visit, and I promised myself that if I fell behind or got overwhelmed I would just zip it and ask for help later and in private...where the shame of being a boob could just wash over me and I could exorcise my stitchy demons quietly.

But the planets must have been in alignment, because I managed to keep up, follow along and stitch, and enjoy the process immensely. 

As much as I would love to tell you that this is a reflection of my improved skill set, it was due to the excellence of the instructions, instructor, and company of my friends (who are all beautiful stitchers).  Instead of getting intimidated by it all, I decided to breathe deeply, pay attention, enjoy every stitch, and take a moment to drink in the view.

Is there anything better than a group of wonderful, like-minded people gathering together to do something we all love?  It really is like medicine to me...making me feel calm and peaceful and happy and inspired and...happy.

I know I've been throwing that word around a lot lately, but I really do think that recognizing it and honoring even small moments of it each day are critical to me at this point.  Physically, I am really struggling, and I know that big changes are just around the corner, but emotionally?  Emotionally, I am determined to keep myself as positive as I can be so that I don't go back to the bottom of the well with the big black dog threatening to bite.  I don't ever want to feel as sad or scared or (dare I use the d-word?) as I did at this time last year.  I realize that it was situational and probably related to everything going on around me, but it was...brutal.

But that's the past.  And I want my thoughts of the past to focus more on funny happy things so that I can have a funny happy future. we will cozy up with fuzzy blankets, cups of damn good, and lots of TeeVee and stitching.  Rich has just returned with a copy of the Times, so I can look forward to seeing all of the ads for what's to come next Friday.

Happy, happy Sunday, Dearies.  Thanks for indulging Mary Poppins here with the "all sunshine and rainbows all the time" phase we're in.  I'll try to dial it down a bit...even I am getting a little nauseated by the sap .

Enjoy your something fun...yadda yadda yadda.

Nov 17, 2017


Holy shopping carts, Batman!  We went to the Costco and joined up today and got provisions and hot dogs and lemonades and buns and toilet paper and olives with jalepenos and garlic in them and a box of spoons that will last me eight years and coffee pods and spinach dip and kleenex and Ritz crackers and paper towels and dinner napkins and pasta bowls and oh my God did I mention the hot dogs? and we got paper plates and pretzels with chocolate and caramel on them and laundry soap and juice and sparkly water and THE HOT DOGS AND LEMONADES WERE ONLY $3.21!  $3.21 for two hot dogs and two lemonades!!

('Scuse me while I go breathe into a paper bag now and calm the heck down.)

I'm pretty simple when it comes to shopping.  I buy groceries at the Martins and household goods at the Targets.  I am brand loyal, buy the same exact thing every single week and month, and usually stay carefully in budget.

But this?

This might prove to be a problem...especially if I don't take Rich with me to be the voice of reason and keep me from buying things like car batteries and chandeliers and enough dish soap to wash the apartment building exterior twice over.

Needless to say, we are sufficiently stocked up for a bit, and we even managed to get the turkey for next week.  It's safely in the fridge...doing its turkey thing until Thursday morning.  On Sunday after Mass we will pick up the other things we need for feasting, but I suspect that we will just go to the regular grocery and not opt for the eight-eight pound bag of potatoes at Costco.

Now I'm off to an early bed, Dearies.  I am going to an all day class tomorrow with my guild sisters, and I want to be bright and alert.  I don't think I've gone to bed this early since the fourth grade!


Friday is upon us here at CS2, and Rich and I are enjoying coffee and each other's company as we let the day unfold. I'm really getting quite a kick out of the way we seem to have fallen into such a happy life together.  Who would have ever guessed that the story would have gone in this direction?

My mom always told me to marry a man like my dad.  This, as you know from reading this here blog, is a very tall order. My dad really was my hero, and up until a few months ago I was convinced that there might not be another of his ilk left.

Turns out, I just needed to be patient.

I think I finally figured it out yesterday afternoon...I walk through life waiting for a piano to fall on my head.  Usually the piano is in the form of my sister or something bad with my health or some bitter person sending me nasty comments or life kicking me in the face.  Before Rich got here, I didn't do a very good job of getting out of the way of the damn piano.  Now, though, he's here to hold my hand and make sure that he pulls me out of the way when the thing falls.

(Either that, or he and I are both completely oblivious, and the piano hits both of us.)

(But I guess the moral of the story is that...if you're going to get hit by a piano, it's nice to have a hand to hold while you're doing it.)

So today will be quiet...maybe a trip to the Targets for provisions...maybe Costco. I'm going to re-stitch the pointsettia project and catch up on Flosstube videos (she says hopefully) while Rich watches basketball and works on his laptop.  In between, there might be naps or cups of coffee or conversations.

A very happy life, indeed.

Nov 16, 2017


Awwww, phooey.

My stitching last night, as it turns out, was purely medicinal.  Some abberations in the chart resulted in a rather lopsided flower, and after consultation with Miss Myrtis and Miss Charlene, I think I can start again with some changes.  But I'm happy to do so, since JB is busy with work and I am home from doctor and grocery shopping with a little spark in my step.

Tonight's dinner menu is quickly becoming a regular thing here at CS2...salmon, broccoli rabe, and rice.  I'm not particularly fond of salmon, but know that having it once a week or so is good for me, so I will Ina the dickens out of it and get on with things.

Notre Dame cancelled an event that I was looking forward to tomorrow night, so now I am scrambling to find something for us to do instead.  Would it be so wrong to order a pizza and just watch a movie?

(The event was a 3-d projection of a short film about the history of Notre Dame.  They are going to use the Main Building and the Basilica as backdrops, and I think it's going to be really really cool to see in person.  I think they show a glimpse of it as a commercial during game day, and I commented that I thought it would be amazing if that was real, but the weather, alas, calls for postponement.)

That's it tor today, Dearies!  Hope your corner of the world is wonderful and that you're warm and safe and dry.  Come tell me all about it!

Nov 15, 2017


BLTs with turkey bacon for dinner, followed by apple pie, and now I'm in the Happy Chair with a new start.  This was a free project at Library Guild.  It's DebBee's Designs Pointsettia Ornament:

I had a nice long nap this afternoon, so I'm not quite sleepy just yet, so methinks I might get a few more hours in before hitting the hay. feels good to stitch!


Thank you, dear friends, for all of your kindness and love yesterday.  I spent the day exactly as I wanted pajamas...futzing and putzing and tidying and laundrying and sorting and organizing to my heart's content.  I made it all the way until bedtime without tears, but had myself a really good cry in the big girl sleigh bed before falling asleep.

(The best part is that I did dream of Stewey...peeing on the ottoman...and I awoke in the middle of the night laughing.)

But back to my marathon of keeping myself occupied...

We had piled stuff in the cube room studio to the ceiling and it was driving me crazy.  So, after all of the other rooms were back to some semblance of order, I marched in, sat down, and just decided to play with my toys:

I didn't quite manage to assemble the Christmas Basket 'o Spinster Stitchy Fun, but today is a new day and my afternoon is looking wide open.  Rich and I are meeting a friend for lunch on campus, and then heading to the Targets for provisions.  I am contemplating a trip to the Costco to see what kind of trouble we can get into there, but we'll have to see how my energy level holds up.

We had a good dinner...steaks, white cheddar mac and cheese, and oven roasted winter veg, and then we settled in for some TeeVee viewing.  Rich has really opened ny eyes to the fact that there's a lot more to see than Housewives, so I am (as they say) learning how to expand my horizons.

Speaking of my's a picture of us at the hockey game last Friday night:

So that's the report for the day, Dearies.  Futzingday is upon us...let's ROCK it like we know what we're doing!

Nov 13, 2017


Stewey Angus Willowswamp
May 13, 2005 - Nov 14, 2016


So Rich and I, it turns out, are both 'crastinators of the pro variety.

Every morning, he gets up at the crack of holy heck who gets out of bed this early, and he works out or sits quietly reading papers on his phone or catching up on all of his TeeVee viewing.  

Then, when I stumble out of the big girl sleigh bed, we sit and have our coffee together as I try to wake up and he tries to solve world peace in his head.

(We call these our morning meetings).

Invariably, we both will look up at the clock and say "Five more minutes" and before we know it, the entire morning is completely shot and we're contemplating the lunch menu.

Today is no exception.  We've pondered and puttered and futzed and chatted the morning away, and now he is working on his laptop contraption on the sectional and I am thinking about doing laundry.

Thinking about doing laundry.

Who THINKS about doing laundry?!  Who sits and THINKS and then WRITES about doing laundry rather than just DOING the laundry?!?!

A PROcrastinator, thankyouverymuch.

Tonight we are heading over to campus for a basketball game.  I'm pretty excited to do so, since I think my last visit to that arena was sometime in the late 80's.  I remember cute man heinies and good hot dogs.  

Here's hoping they still have both.

(For the record, in case my nutritionist is reading this, I only have naughty foods once in a very great while.  Although I am hoping for hot dogs, I will most assuredly have soup and salad tonight instead since I had my hot dog on Friday night at the hockey game.)

(If my nutritionist is not reading this...I'm having the damn hot dog.)

So that's the report on a Monday, Dearies.  Procrastinating and laundry and hot dogs.  I hope that your very own Monday is full of the things that you love.  Do something fun and come tell me all about it!

Nov 12, 2017


I got up early today, took a hot scrubby shower, got myself dressed in suitable clothings, and went to Mass with Rich.  

I was a bit lost in thought and feeling several things happened to snap me out of it.

First...a little family came in and sat in front of us with a mom and a dad and an uncle and two tiny little boys.  The little guys were all decked out in tiny little flannel shirts and itty bitty little khaki pants and sporty little shoes, and they were so damn cute I almost couldn't stand it.  And I immediately thought of my mom and how much she would have enjoyed sitting behind these little guys, and how she would have made faces and cooed and smiled at them and if they would have misbehaved, how she would have given them a nickel or quarter for doing so.

She was kinda ornery that way.

And then the Rector introduced the presiding priest, and right there in front of God and everybody (literally) was the priest that had to sign my formal withdrawl papers when I left Notre Dame for a year when Mom got sick and then died.  I was a mess the day I withdrew and remember reaching down and taking off my ring to hand it back (because I thought that's what I was supposed to do), and Fr. Beauchamp patted my hand and told me I could keep my ring on and whenever I felt myself feeling lonely or lost in Phoenix, I should just look down at it and know that the Notre Dame family was praying for me and that I could come "home" whenever I felt strong enough to do so.  And when Mom died, Fr. Beauchamp was one of the first people to call my dad to make sure he was taking care of himself.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this happening, my Jersey Boy looked over, gave me a nice warm smile, and then he took my hand and held it.  This might not seem like a very big deal, but it was the exact right thing at the exact right moment, and it hit me that instead of bawling my eyes out today with grief and sadness...I want to remember and celebrate all of the things that made my mom so extraordinary.

They have a Book of Remembrance on the altar steps, so after Mass we went up and I wrote "In memory of and in thanksgiving for Bob, Sig, and Stewey Rich" and then we went down and lit candles at the Grotto.  The thought of my mom and dad and Stewey up there watching over me and rolling their eyeballs over the latest neurotic lunatic shenanagins I've gotten myself into are somehow comforting, and I guess I am feeling like the luckiest girl on the planet that I had them all as long as I did.

A good breakfast out and freh pajamas later, and I am in the Happy Chair with the papers and my sippy cup.  Rich is watching football and doing his laundry (!) and I am contemplating Christmas stitching.

The script is officially flipped, Dearies.  At least for today.  Thank you for indulging me and letting me share a woman named Sig with you.  I do wish she were here to entertain you, but I have a feeling she's very happy to watch from far as you all indulge and care for her idiot daughter.

Happy Sunday!

Nov 11, 2017


Do you think it would be possible to go to bed tonight and stay there until next Saturday morning?  I would like to wake up and just have it be the 18th so that I can go to an all day class with my Guild ladies and Miss Wendy Moore.

Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of my mom's death.  Thirty years.  Thirty years of not having her smile or laugh or love or advice or damn Greek cookies.  I was 21 when she died, which means she didn't get to see me graduate from college or get my first job or have my first heartbreak.  I haven't a clue how to do most things in life because she didn't get the chance to tell me how to do them, and I learned what not to do most of the time by doing it and then realizing that it was wrong.

I miss her, damnit, as I'm sure every woman who's buried a mom does.  And I finally realized that the reason why I love my Guild ladies and my friends both near and far and all of you so much is that there are pieces of her in each and every one of you.  Your love and support and encouragement and tolerance and understanding of me are steaight outta' the Siggy handbook.  

Thank you for that.

Tuesday will be one year since I kissed Stewey goodbye as he took his last breath.  365 days of missing him so much I think my heart will break, but then I realize that it's OK for the broken pieces to come together again...even if their edges are a bit jagged and a few are missing.

I'm dreading Tuesday.  I know that life will go on and I am not the only person on the planet to lose a furry companion, but I guess I need to just let the tears flow and hug his littke blanket to me and let it wash over me.

So...forgive me if I'm "absent" this week, my friends.  I promise that all will be well...eventually.  

Just maybe not this week.


The frost is on the pumpkin this morning, and Rich and I are having some coffee before I get myself together and head to the library for Hoosier Heartland.

(I was going to say that Rich and I are having some damn good, but this is a family show after all, and based on some of the frisky emails I've received...minds wander.)

We did have fun at the Notre Dame/Penn State hockey game last night.  Hot dogs and dietCokes were on the menu, but I was shocked to discover that dietCoke just ain't what it used to be!  I knew that it might taste a little different after all this time, but it was...unrecognizable.  

I. Was. Crushed.

As you know from reading this here blog, my love affair with dietCoke goes back quite a way.  It was my constant sippy cup companion, and got my through many sleepy afternoons.  I don't think I drank TOO much of it...maybe two cans a day...but quitting it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

Now it turns out that I wasn't missing anything after all, so I can go back to a life sans dietCoke and stop shedding tears when the commercials come on the TeeVee.

I have promised myself some time in the cube room studio this afternoon.  Things have gone awry in there and we are starting to use it as a depository for things we don't know what to do with.  That simply has to change, since I promised myself that the loss of my big studio from the house would not result in chaos.

Christmas stitching is still on the brain, but not yet in the q-snaps.  We're doing an ornament today in Guild, so that might just be the perfect starting point!

That's it for now...better get ready to scoot so I'm not late for my stitchy sissies!

Nov 10, 2017


The exam room door opened ay 8:25 this morning, and Dr. Eskapalli said "WHERE'S THE BOYFRIEND?!"

(Good news travels fast in these here parts, and apparently my family doctor walked out of my physical on Monday morning, picked up the telephone, and hollered "Swarupa!  Our girl Coni has FINALLY landed herself a real live breathing companion that doesn't wear a little silk smoking jacket or who pees on the ottoman!")

(They both love me...they really do.  And if they both didn't take such great care of me and keep my little hampster wheel turning as it does, I would worry about two highly competent physicians kibbutzing about my love life rather than about how we're going to Frankenstein me into getting a few more years.)

(But they do that too, and who am I to put the kabosh on a little fun, right?)

Despite feeling like death on a stick, I am still holding my own at about 9% function.  This number is actually less significant than a few others like potassium, phosphorous, weight, and blood pressure, so for now I can continue to limp along.  

(And!  I can have a dietCoke as a treat, if I like, as long as I take a Tums with it to process the phosphorus in it.)

(Guess what I'm having tonight at the hockey game with my hot dog!)

We did have a good long discusson about dialysis, and Dr. E assures me that it's nothing to be afraid of, and when the time comes for it (maybe in another month or so), I will feel so much better that I will wonder why I ever waited so long.

( will give me lots and lots of time to stitch, so I suppose that means that I should start to fish through my cube room studio for suitable projects.)

On the transplant front, the ball is now entirely in my sister's court.  I have completed all of my testing and am exactly where I need to be to move forward.  I will see the transplant surgeon again on November 30, and if she has completed her testing and has been will be all systems go.

(The most important thing to know about this particular mess is that I am no longer able or required to clean it up.  As of this morning, Rich has bravely agreed to jump right into the middle of it and bring it to a conclusion one way or another.  All I have to do is get back in my lane, let him make all of the phone calls and ask all of the hard questions, and if it is meant to will be.)

So that's the report.  I am to keep doing what I'm doing and all will soon be well one way or another.  If I can repeat yesterday's shenanigans with my Jersey Boy over and over I think we'll be just fine.  I ate well, slept alot, stitched a bit, cooked us a lovely dinner, read a few pages, and spent some time here with you.

A very very happy life indeed.

Nov 9, 2017


I think I finally got Red Velvet Cake to a point in which I can take a little break...

Heading to bed, but am thinking that Christmas stitching might commence tommorrow.  I'm feeling the urge...


As we were walking around campus yesterday, I announced that I was now in training for the Spinster, sleep, stitch.

That's only goal is to complete those three things every day, in no particular order, and regularly and without fail.  I used to also include blog, read, cook on my goal list, but I've had to scale it back a bit as I have felt worse and worse.

So today I slept in a little bit, did absolutely nothing all day but sit in the Happy Chair talking to my Jersey Boy (who waited on me hand and foot with breakfast and damn good), and now I am back in the chair after a long afternoon nap anticipating a good dinner of salmon, broccoli rabe, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob.

All that's left to do is the stitching part, and that I will accomplish once the dishwasher contraption is sploshing the dishes and JB is watching something sporty on the TeeVee.

I will confess that I am just plain scared to death about my appointment early tomorrow morning, but I know it must be faced, and face it I will.  I figure that no matter the outcome, it's just the next leg of the journey, and although the scenery flying by the window might be a little different, the destination will definitely be swell.

The weekend is almost upon us, Dearies, but first we have a Thursday night on which to ponder and eat and sleep and stitch.  I hope your very own triathalon is going swimmingly...see you at the victory party!

Nov 8, 2017


Rich and I are on campus today doing a special project, and I am enjoying both old and new views.  This is the Eck Visitors' Center and the entrance to the Alumni Association.

These are lovely sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic...a beloved artist and former professor.  He was also known as "The Maestro" and the gallery of his pieces is one of my very favorite spots on campus.  

One last peek before heading home.  This is looking down Notre Dame Ave from a lovely bench outside the Conference Center.

OK, Dearies...that's it for me today.  I am going to eat, nap, and stitch...also known as the Spinster Triatalon!

Hope your Futzingday was full of pretty views and happy times with somebody you love.  See you on the other side!

Nov 7, 2017


I'm at the Starbucks that is but a stone's throw from CS2...killing a bit of time.  I have one of those perfect mugs of damn good (Thanksgiving blend...very nice indeed), a blueberry scone, my newspaper, and all of you to keep me company.  The sun is streaming through the windows, there are handsome men in business suits sitting here and there talking of important things, and soon all of the Real Housewives of Granger will come in from their fitness class for a soy milk concoction that I cannot pronounce.

Life is beautiful for sure.

Yesterday was my annual physical with my family physician, and she was delighted by my weight loss progress, but even more excited by my recent life change.  Rich being here is better than any medicine she could prescribe, but she does think it's time to consider starting dialysis.  This final decision will be made on Friday when I see the nephrologist, but I suspect that she will agree.

Many of you have written to ask me why I postpned this as long as I have, and the truth is that I was hoping for the miracle of a pre-emptive transplant from my sister.  But, as soon as I laid out MY time frame for doing so, God laughed and had other plans.

The transplant will happen eventually (I have to believe that in my heart to be true), but it will be on a schedule that is not within my control.  So, rather than toughing it out amd banging my head against the proverbial wall, I have decided to take a different fork in the road and just get on with it.

One of the advantages of being the Spinster Stitcher and not a real person is that I have had the option of not having to work full time or try to care for a family while hanging in there these last many months. There were sacrifices to be sure (like losing the house and living with huge financial stress), (*) but my path was kind of chosen for me by life circumstances and getting sick when I did. I think that this was both good and bad, because most kidney patients will opt for dialysis much sooner so that they can live their lives more fully.

Turns out, I'm just not that brave.

But somewhere in me is the fierce desire to feel better and to get off of the mat.  I'm wanting to go places and do things and start a new life with a new person, and this is going to require more than 7% kidney function to do so.

Now because this is me, I will probably change my mind and chicken out at least a dozen and a half times between now and Friday...but on this particular Tuesday morning at this particular Starbucks...I am committed.

In other news, guess who stitched for three hours last night?!?!  We watched a few episodes of shows we like and then I climbed into my Happy Chair cockpit, pulled out Red Velvel Cale, and went to town. I don't have a progress pic for you, and probably didn't put enough stitches in to warrant one, but boy 'o boy did it feel good to get that needle back in my hand again!

Today will be filled with tests and errands and then a nap with my face in the sun, salmon and broccoli rabe for dinner, and then more stitching.  I'm hoping that tomorrow will be a day to stay in the jams and play in the studio, but...we'll see.  Life is going to happen whether I want it to or not, so I might as well just enjoy the here and now and stop fretting over the when and if.

So that's the report for a November Tuesday in Hoosierville, Dearies.  I hope that you are well and warm and safe and dry and doing something that makes your heart full.  Come tell me all about it...

(*) One of the questions that Betty had for me...repeatedly...was "WTF did you do with all of the money that was given to you in the You Caring fund?!"  I thought I had answered that question, but it turns out...I never did.  A small portion of it funded my move to CS2. The balance of it went to my transplant fund to cover some of the costs that will follow the surgery.  Medications and nursing care will run in the tens of thousands, housing will be considerable for at least a month, and there will be other costs that will be my responsibility as well.  So, dear friends (and Betty), when I tell you that you all literally saved my life..I mean it to be true.

Nov 6, 2017

First, Miss Chris showed up.  

I shed a tear.  I really did, because she happened to walk in at the very moment I was getting ready to make a run for the ladies' and stay there for the duration.  But once Miss Chris got there and sat down  beside me...all was well.

And then...

Miss Beth walked in and introduced herself and I had the sensation that I was finally meeting a family member that I knew I had forever, but had never yet met in person.  Beth is from Pittsburgh, and she is lovely and perfect and wonderful and funny and smart and beautiful and talented and kind and warm and...

Just bliss, I tell ya.  Sitting and chatting and giggling and laughing (and crying) with like-minded souls who just "get it".  Between Miss Chris talking about color or the first time she had to cut a piece of hardanger, to Miss Beth showing us a piece that she had stitched on long car rides with her really was like going home and walking into the kitchen and having a cup of damn good coffee and a long chat with people you loved forever.

I drove home in a complete daze and managed to make it up the steps before collapsing into a puddle of happy tears on the ottoman.  Rich must have been expecting this, because he handed me a tissue, patted me in the head, and then just let me be weepy for a minute or two before serving me crabcakes.

So now I have a few days to get quiet again.  Today is my big annual physical with my family doc who is a dead ringer for Nicole Kidman, and then I am going to take myself to the library for a book. God is my witness...I'm going to get in that Happy Chair and just breathe and re-boot in time  for the big kidney appointment on Friday.

Happy Monday, Dearies!  I hope the week is full of joy and angel kisses of your very own!  Come tell me all about them...

Nov 5, 2017


So here I am at my little table at the craft show, and I'm wondering if I can just crawl under it for the duration.  I'm out of  my element, in a full blown panic, and wishing that I would have had enough brains to know that this was just not the right thing for me to be doing today.

I also wish I knew what has caused this crisis of faith that has me so undervaluing and underestimating myself right and left.  I am feeling like an unworthy fraud and getting down on myself for the dumbest things.  If anybody else thought such terrible things about one of youse, I'd pounce and say "How dare you, Sir!"  

So why can't I give myself the same benefit of the doubt?

Is it guilt?  Am I feeling bad about the fact that I am a happy girl with a happy life and I have a happy "thing/hobby" that brings me joy and should be, therefore, free?

Or...maybe...just maybe...this thing of ours is priceless and should be better valued by Yours Truly.  Insted of apologizing for putting a price tag on something and feeling like a fool because "nobody would want to pay for that", why don't I think about the love and heart and soul that I poured into it and just be pleased that somebody else wants to enjoy it? poor tiny brain is ready to come out of my head already.  I'm the only person I know of who can turn a simple crft show into a major melodrama.


I'm here and I have shoes and socks and lipstick on and soon it will be over.

Thanks, as always, Dearies, for letting me come to therapy unannounced.  Let's keep the happy thought that I survive this!


Oh, dear just cracked my heiney with your comment about the chickens.  

Apparently, my picture in yesterday's post made it look like the chickens were having a little jam session right there in the living room.

When confronted, they denied everything:
"Jam session?  What do we know about jam sessions?  We're just a couple of chickens hanging out in your living room behind a big red vase."

I find this a bit suspicious, especially since I don't remember the chickens being partial to that vase, and I realized that both it and their tail feathers looked remarkably...different...than they did when we took up residence here.

Methinks a plot is underfoot and better attention must be paid.

Rich and I had such a wonderfully lovely evening last night with my dear college friends Lou and Marissa.  They were in town for the ND game and we had the opportunity to catch up after way too many years.  It.  Was.  Bliss.

I am up and ready for the craft show today and looking forward to what awaits me.  Rich has promised crabcakes for dinner, so if I feel myself waning, I can look forward to them.  I love crabcakes....always have.  And to have them made for me by a special fella is even better!

Happy, happy Sunday my Dearies!  I hope the day brings you everything your hearts desire!

Nov 4, 2017


Office Depot...check
Stuff ready for tomorrow...check
ND game on the TeeVee...check
Ready for a little stitching and then a pre-dinner snoozy nap...check check check

WooHoo!  Who says you can't accomplish an entire to do list in fifteen minutes once the pressure is on?  I swear...four days of futzing aimlessly and then a panicked flurry of activity at the very last possible second.

Oey...will I never learn?


What fun we had last night!  We ended up staying at the Mexican restaurant until it closed, and enjoyed the company of two of the nicest, funniest, most fun people in the world.  I got to see my Jersey Boy come out of his shell and talk and laugh and let his hair down.

It was wonderful.

Today has started early with a trip to the lab for bloodwork, and soon we will head out for a day of errands.  Then it's back to CS2 to pack up the baskets for the craft show and perhaps a little snooze before dinner out again tonight.


I find it amazing that this neurotic turtle has become quite the social butterfly, but I need to remind myself that eventually I need to climb back into the Happy Chair with some stitching and the magic blanket to recharge my batteries a bit.

(Either that or it will eventually get easier and easier to be me "out there" and I will be able to look forward to more fun in the future.)

So that's it for today, my very dear Dearies.  I hope that your very own Saturday is just swell and that your heart is full of love and laughter!


Nov 3, 2017


Any graphic artists out there?  I need a little help with a simple design, but I can't draw a bath...