Jan 31, 2018


Methinks I like this one better...Rich making turkey chili for dinner:

And me in a different, happier chair looking a little worse for wear.


I broke the first machine, so they switched me to a different chair with a better view:

And here's me...trying to look happy and brave before getting hooked up tp the new machine.
(I really need to rethink my hair...the Snooky bangs are getting a little old.)

OK...time to chill.  Here's hoping that your view is swell.  Come tell me all about it!


Jan 30, 2018

Jan 29, 2018


Just a little progress, but progress nonetheless.

Jan 28, 2018


I played with my Wendy Moore class piece on Friday and Saturday:

And today I'm going to get back to Red Velvet Cake:

Jan 27, 2018


I think the most frustrating part of this whole dialysis thing is the ups and downs of it.  Just when I think I've got it figured out and have a good session...all hell breaks loose and I have two bad sessions in a row.

I also think I am jinxing myself, because I got in the chair yesterday and said "I'm going to run perfectly green all day and just sit here and watch Flosstube and look out the window and not bother anybody and then go home ant eat pizza."


First, I clotted.  Then, my arm started to hurt amd then it hurt really really really bad and they had to pull me off early.  Finally, once I got back to CS2, I was so darn drained I could barely make it to the big girl sleigh bed.

BUT!  Today the sun is shining and I am awake and ready to start playing with my Wendy Moore class piece.  Rich is watching horse racing all day and I am going to put the ear thingies in amd sit in my Happy Chair with Flosstube for company and just go pull thread through canvas and be swell.

Here's hoping that your very own weekend is wonderfully perfect in every way and that you get to do whatever it is you want to do.  

Come tell me all about it!

Jan 26, 2018


So today I'm trying something new.  I got up a little earlier, took my scrubby shower, and now I'm in the Happy Chair with my damn good and stitching for an hour or so before heading out.  Hopefully it will result in a more peaceful and less traumatic session.

Progress continues on Prairie Schooler January.  I'm not sure about the two tone house, but I'm going to pretend that the sun is casting a winter shadow

Happy Friday, kids!  Come tel me...blah blah blah.

Jan 25, 2018


Wanna know something?  

I can watch eleventy seven hundred hours of the Flosstubes and write extensive notes on how to finish finish something and I can carefully scour the ads for coupons to the JoAnns and the Michaels and the Hobby Lobbies, and I can drive myself to all of the above and wander through every. single. aisle. looking for things to do a finish finish in the style of Misses (see above) and you know what I end up with?
Holy crap on a cracker.  I am exhausted.  But, I achieved my goal of finish finishing something that I had stitched, so...I'm gonna slap this up on the wall and call it a win.

(But can I just say that it is a REALLY good thing that I do not have the phone numbers of the Dream Team of stitchy finishers above, because as God is my witness I would have called each and every one of them to come get me, slap me silly for thinking I could play Varsity ball with them, and then firmly lead me out of the JoAnns, Michaels, and Hobby Lobbies amd into my car to go home and think about what I've done.)


Forest Snowfall
Country Cottage Needleworks
32ct natural linen with polka dots

Stitched along with Miss Priscilla and Miss Chelsea...The Real Housewives of Cross Stitch.

Threads used are different than what's charted:
GAST : Dried Thyme, Chamomile, Dark Chocolate
WDW: Blue Jeans
CC: Roasted Chestnut, Peanut Brittle
RG: Sparkle Braid SK06
DMC: white

Buttons: Jessee James scrapbook embellishments from the amazon
(They had loopy things on the back that I had to snip off with my little bead cutters.)

I'm sorry that you cannot see it in my craptastic photo, but the snow sparkles! I highly recommend Rainbow Gallery Sparkle Braid for sparkly snow, but be sure to use Thread Heaven on it to reduce the amount of money you have to put in your swear jar.

I am hoping to finish this using a combination of techniques from Miss Vonna, Miss Danielle, and Miss Priscilla....stay tuned!  It will either be gorgeous or will be headed to the land of Craft Day Gone Awry.

1:00 appointment today and then home to work on the Prairie Schooler January.  My plan is to work on it until the end of the week, play with my Wendy Moore class piece this weekend, and then pick up Red Velvet Cake for February!

Hope you are well.  I am...hungover and still surly today, but keeping my distance from polite society and just letting it pass.  Meds are changing like crazy at dialysis and methinks this has thrown me into another well for a minute. I know they've been giving me a crap tone of Venofer, which is basically iron, so maybe once my stores get boosted I'll start to feel a little better. 

Buzzy and Beepy were fighting because one of my lines completely clotted off, and Midge was just feeling her oats and decided to scratch the living heck out of my good arm.  We gave them all a good talking to on the way out last night, so hopefully they will all be better behaved tomorrow.  I am also going to switch up my playlist to something a little more soothing, and spend more time watching the Flosstubes rather than sit and fret about big hard things.

So that's the plan...just be a patient and a stitcher and nothing else.  

I hope that your corner of the world is less fraught with big hard things and that you are well and safe and warm and comfortable and dry.  Come tell me all about it!

Oh, and P.S.  Thank you, dear Blogger for fixing yourself overnight.  I'm sorry I ever doubted you and for all of the rotten things I thought about you...


Jan 24, 2018


If you have a moment, please head on over to Miss Em's new blog at: http://www.thesewhappystitcher.blogspot.com and say hello.  She is delightful and has launched today.  WooHoo!

Now on to the phooey:
Still can't post pictures to this here blog.

Blood pressure 190/110 upon arrival in the chair today. Buzzy, Beepy, and Midge (the blood pressure cuff) are not getting along and are making me a bit nuts.

Sad and testy conversations at CS2 and just wanting to "go home"...weepy, sad, angry, hot mess express today.  Better get over it toot sweet, or Betty will rear her ugly head and tell me to quit my bitching.

What can I say?  Every now and then I guess I just need to have a Wednesday.

OK...Adele and I are going to just chill out for a minute here and regroup.  Don't mind me, folks.  All will be well once again, I'm sure.

Jan 23, 2018


I've been trying to upload a blog post all darn day today, but Blogger kerps giving me an error message that says "Error 500".  Anybody out there know what the heck this means?  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...please tell me that there's nothing catastrophic going on.

Jan 22, 2018


Bigger needles running full steam ahead.  It makes for a better cleaning, but is a much harder workout.  I might need a little nap when I get home.

Yesterday was quite possibly the closest I've come to a perfect Sunday in a long time.  Mass in the Basilica, breakfast burritos at home, the Sunday New York Times, a nice long snoozy nap with my face in the sun, chicken fajitas for dinner, and then stitching late into the night while Rich watched his Eagles win and then went to bed happy.  Bliss.

I'm going to settle in and watch some FlossTube now.  I've done my "run through" of email, etc., and now it's time to zone out.

Happy Monday, Dearies!  Hope your weekend was wonderful and that your week is off to a wonderful start! Come tell me all about it!


Jan 20, 2018

Jan 19, 2018


So here I am in the dialysis chair, all ready for my daily visit with you, when I realized that I forgot to take a picture of my stitchy progress last night.

And there was a lot of it!

Forest Snowfall is quickly drawing to a close, and then...brace yourselves...I'm going to fully finish it!  I am determined to not just stitch pieces and then throw them in the big underbed FUPPY box this year, but rather finish-finish as many as I can and then enjoy them.

But...here comes the happy dilemma.

Do I Pricillafly them, Danielleify them, or Vonnafy them!?!?

How darn lucky are we to have these girls in our community with their inspiration and generosity in teaching us how to do stuff?  

Oh, how I love them so...

The sun is shining and the weekend is upon us, Dearies.  Let's all do something fun and come tell each other all about it!

Jan 18, 2018


I think I keep calling this piece by the wrong name.  This is FOREST SNOWFALL, not Frosty Forest or whatever else I've been calling it.  This is/was a SAL along with the fabulous Miss Priscilla and Miss Chelsea on the Flosstubes. 

But I think I'm the only person in the group who has not yet completed it.

Today, though, I hope to make some progress while Rich is at the office and I am in the Happy Chair.  Then at about 4:00 or so I'm going to channel my inner Ina and make a lovely dinner for when he comes home.

Such big plans.  I better pace myself.

So that's the report for the day.  The sun is shining and the birds are tweeting sweetly down in Florida or Argentina or wherever it is that the thermometer hasn't given up completely.  Hope your corner of the world is swell and that you're doing something fabulous!  Come tell me all about it!

Jan 17, 2018


I guess they didn't hear the line as "Nobody puts Spinster in a corner":

They keep changing things up on me, Dearies...my chair time, my techs, my needle size, and now the pod in which I sit.  I used to be on the opposite side of things overlooking the pond.  Now I'm in a far corner overlooking...well...not much.

Hmmmmm.  Wonder if it was something I said?

(I'm sure the crashing and upchucking and infiltrating and whatnot hasn't helped matters any, but Geeze Louise...I'm still new at this and am still learning the proverbial ropes!)

As a matter of fact...I think I've been downright damn delightful!  I don't fidget, I don't do things I'm not supposed to do, and when I come in here after I've lived my life like a marathon running nun on an organic kale farm I'm pleasant, determined, respectful, and compliant.


Maybe that's the problem.

To get the concierge level upgrade, you need to be a squeaky wheel and demand all sorts of special attention or something.


Not gonna do it.  I am perfectly happy to sit here and behave myself because I have a secret weapon that (to my knowledge) nobody else has.

I watch the Flosstube.  

And I visit your blogs and respond to your emails and, as the kids say, I "manage my brand".

So Baby can go dance her socks off out there in front of God and everybody.  Me and MY peeps will be here in the corner doing our thing.

Ciao for now!


I get it, I really do.

It's just a day planner.

Paper and two covers and a metail coil.

A place in which to write appointments and such.

But this particular day planner just made my heart leap right out of my chest, and I cried pitiful tears of sweet hot joy.

Here is the official 2018 Spinster Stitcher Erin Condren Life Planner with custom front and back covers:

And...because I just couldn't leave well enough alone...a sheet of custom stickers.

Aaaaaahhhhhhhh.....I don't think I've loved something this much since Stewey Himself was here to make every day wonderful.  Now I get to have that feeling every time I plan.  (And yes...those covers are interchangeable from year to year.  I have several different moteefs, but nothing quite this special.)

I don't know if you're interested in this kind of thing, but here's the inside layout that I selected:
I was always a vertical girl, but this year decided to go horizontal.

So now we know what I'll be doing when I get home from dialysis today, if I'm able...moving into this year's book and planning all of my adventures!

I hope your very own Futzingday is expqually as blissful and that something is making your very own skirt blow right up!

Jan 16, 2018


Watching Miss Nicole on the Flosstube.

(Am I wrong, or is the ability to watch it on a TeeVee screen the very best thing...ever?!)

Last night's progress on Frosty Forest:

Cold, quiet, restful day today, Dearies.  I am going to have a hot scrubby shower, done some fresh jams and fuzzy socks, and settle in for the duration.  Hope your very own Tuesday is completely swell!

Jan 15, 2018


Tee hee hee...I just realized that the hooves of the deer (yet to be stitched) look like bunny pooh! 😬

Jan 14, 2018


The Sunday papers...complete with ads and coupons from the Michael's:

A notebook from Erin Condren with my name on it that I found during the re-org and in which I am now keeping stitchy notes... Hello, Flsstube inspiration!

And my progress on Forest Snowfall...coming along nicely, I think:

So that's my morning thus far.  A little punk, but methinks that is to be expected on Sundays.  Either that or I've picked something up again...ick.

The sun is shining, and the birds are tweeting sweetly elsewhere (somewhere warm, I presume).  I hope your corner of the world is full of everything you love and that your needles are flying!

Jan 13, 2018


Yesterday's session went well enough, but I felt decidedly unwell for the entire evening afterwards.  I graduated to larger needles, thus giving me a better cleaning, but the session was the equivalent of running a marathon instead of taking a leisurely stroll.

I. Was. Tired.

But today is a new day, and I am in the Happy Chair with a cup of damn good and the paper while Rich does a grocery shop.  He is very good at doing so, God love him, and the nice people at the Martins take very good care of him.  The unpacking is always a little adventure for me, since he is very much like my dear dad was, and always manages to buy fun treats in addition to the necessities.

Today is going to be a stitchy day, but I am not sure which of the two cross stitch pieces I will play with.  After the second cup of damn good, though, I will probably decide to stitch both...simultaneously!

So that's the Saturday report from CS2 today, Dearies!  A little hungover and banged up, but here and very happy about it.

Do something fun...blah blah blah.

Jan 12, 2018


Last night's progress on Forest Snowfall...I completed the top line of the verse while binge watching Flosstube videos:

After a marathon clean-out and re-org of the cube room studio/JB work headquarters, I finally looked around and thought "There.  Now it looks more like home."

I am going to get a desk from the house this weekend and put it across the wall under the Sam Toft print and this will become my new planning/bill paying/book writing cockpit (as opposed to the dining room table):

And the view to the left of Spinster Central HQ:

On Monday, JB will pick up all of the pieces from the exhibit and I'm going to bring them home and hang them.  Enough of this crazy business of not having any of my stitching on the walls.

Today is a Chair Day, so I need to scoot and get my bag packed.  In addition to my pillows and blankets, I need to pack my snack bag and activity bag.

Well, at least now I know what it's like to leave the house with a toddler in tow! (More like a herd of them, given the size if my bag!)

TGIF, Dearies!  Do something fun and come tell me all about it!

Jan 9, 2018



The conversation pre-dialysis:

JB: What are you doing on your iPad, Honey?
SS: Looking at pretty pictures of stitching and puppies.

The conversation post-dialysis:

JB: What are you doing on your iPad, Honey?
SS: I'm managing my brand across multiple platforms by optimizing the key demographic response rate by engaging the core constituency of my message.

(And no...before you ask...I haven't one single solitary clue as to what any of that meant, but getting out if bed today (as compared to yesterday) is comparable to getting into a 1971 Ford Pinto with three wheels and a cinder block carrying a trunk full of match books to climbing into the cockpit of a Virgin Atlantic super sonic jet loaded with champagne and Jeffrey Dean Morgan impersonators.)

Holy. Crap.

Jan 8, 2018


I had what could have been one of the better weekends ever.  I felt well, slept, stitched, cooked, putzed, and rested for two whole days.  I'm grounded to the confines of CS2 because of all if the flu out there, but that's just perfect for this Happy Chair-loving hermit.

Today I am in the other chair...settled in for a full Jiffy Lube.  We are so far running right according to plan, and if Friday and today are any indication, the trauma portion of this adventure is over.

God, I hope so.

Many of you have asked me about the mechanics of dialysis, so I thought I would answer you here.  For those of you who aren't interested, I will bid you adieu here and tell you to have a wonderful Monday.  Do something swell and come tell me all about it!  Tomorrow, I promise to have some stitchy updates for you.


The first thing that happens when I enter the dialysis unit is that I weigh in.  This is important because kidney failure often causes a lot of fluid retention, and major changes in weight need to be addressed by the amount of treatment that needs to be done that day.

My techs tell me which chair I'll be in that day (there are about 40 in my unit in Mishawaka), and I head there and get situated.  This basically means I get my seat cushion, blanket, pillow, snack bag, drink, and "toys" all unpacked and easily accessible.  I also kick my shoes off, get my fuzzy socks pulled up, and unzip the left arm of my sweatshirt.

(I made a couple of dialysis sweatshirts by taking sherpa sweatshirts from Woman Within that I had in the closet...undoing the seam in the inner arm, and then sewing in a full-length zipper.  This has turned out to be a Godsend, since my left arm has to be totally exposed but I tend to get a little chilly during treatment and the sweatshirt keeps me cozy.)

(I also discovered that I am more comfortable if I wear leggings and just a soft white tshirt...no underpants or bra to pinch or poke.)

(And yes...in case you're wondering...I've kind of made crazy patterened leggings "my thing" that the staff get a kick out of, so I plan on going on the amazons to get some more to keep them entertained.)

Once I'm situated in the chair, it's time to stand up and get a standing blood pressure, and once that's complete...it's Buzzy time.

The tech inserrts two needles into Buzzy about an inch or so apart.  The needles go into a different spot each time, but are always somewhere on my upper arm.  We've discovered that Buzzy is very deep in the arm the higher we go, so if at all possible we try to stay somewhere in the middle.

Once the needles are in and secure and flushed, we get attached to the dialysis machine next to my chair.  This machine is basically the size of a small refridgerator, and it functions as an artificial kidney.

(I haven't come up with a name for it yet, but I'm leaning toward Beepy...since she tends to do that.  A lot.)

Beepy's job is to pull blood from my body and clean it of toxins and excess minerals and stuff that my own kidneys are too busted to do.  Beepy also is responsible for pulling fluid...but in my case we don't do to much of this, because I am on the "dry" side and not retaining hardly any at all.

All of this is done with a computer and the help of a tech, who monitors and checks and adjusts and futzes with things throughout the entire course of treatment.

As for me?  Well, this is only my second trouble-free session (knock wood), but I can tell you that it seems to have a pretty consistent pattern.  The getting here, situating, and insertion of the needles are a bit nerve-wracking for me.  The best way that I can describe it is that it's somehow claustrobic...that I know I'm going to be tethered, vulnerable, and out of control for the better part of six hours.

(Betty, let me save you the time of pointing out that this is a life-saving requirement for me and that I should stop my bitching and whining about trivial things.  I'm not bitching or whining...just trying to describe what I feel at various stages of this thing.)

The first hour or so is usually when I feel sleepy and drained and maybe just a little woozy.  My eyes feel very heavy and all I want to do is lean back, put the music on, and semi-snooze.

The second and third hours I seem to perk up a bit.  I snack and sip my Vitamin water and play on the ipad...reading/writing emails, blogging, looking at Pinterest and Instagram, texting Rich, or watching Flosstube.  Through it all, I have really enjoyed listening to music, and have discovered that there's a whole world of stuff out there that I like (hello, Coldplay!).

Occasionally, a staff member will come over to chat, or a nurse will come over with meds or to check in.  I have met both the dietician and social worker and will probably have more in depth meetings with them later, but for the most part I just kick back and try to behave myself.

The last hour is the one that we're still working out.  Because of the small size of the needles we're using, and because this requires the machine to run slowly, my blood is clotting.  A drug called heparin prevents this, but we're still finding the right dose.

Once Beepy is done doing her thing and all of the tubes and such have been flushed and disconnected one of the needles is removed and I hold a dressing over the poke to make sure it's done for the day...usually about ten minutes or so.  Then the second needle is pulled and I hold again.

Another standing blood pressure is taken, and then I head back to the scale to weigh in.  The goal is to to leave with the same weight as when I entered...i.e., not too juicy with extra fluid or not too dry with too much pulled off.

And then it's time to head back to CS2...get a smooch from my Jersey Boy, have dinner, and call it a day.  I seem to feel just a bit woozy and a little wiped out for the rest of the evening, but I think that will change as I have more and more good sessions.

Like I said...this is only my second session in which I haven't had all hell break loose...also known as a crash.  It was looking pretty grim there for a minute, kids, and I am really surprised (but profoundly grateful) that I survived it.  I'm sure that surgery, the flu, and everything else didn't help matters any, but I can sit here today and tell you that those crashes were the hardest, scariest, and most terrifying things i've ever had happen to me.

Needless to say, we are NOT going to be hitting the "repeat" button on that one.  No way.  No how.

(Pause for PopTart insertion, please)

(See?  Told ya I get a little snacky...)

I'm not sure what my new normal is going to be now, if there really is such a thing.  I know that eventually I will be able to return to things like Guild meetings and Mass and hockey games, but at the moment the flu has me grounded.  I was lucky to have only had a bit of a stomach bug for a few days, but catching the other crud that's out there would be catastrophic.

My hopes of stitching my eyeballs out while in this chair haven't been completely dashed, and the staff here assures me that as Buzzy and Beepy get better at their date nights I will be able to do so, but for now I need to relax on that front.  It will come.

What has come is the knowledge that I will somehow find a way to stay in this as a tech or a nurse or as a mentor or advocate in some way when this is over.  I don't have a single clue how I'm going to do that or what it even means, but if I can help one person navigate it or just give somebody a little pat and assure them that it will get better...then I'm all in.

For now, though, I just need to concentrate on being a patient.  My sister is awaiting the kit from IU that will send us through the next step.  I pray that she is well and able enough to continue, and that we can head to Indy soon.  

So that's the big whole story for the day, my Dearies.  I see that the Chicken Sisters have introduced themselves to you and have started goofing around.  Thank you for the warm welcome you've given them...they can be quite a handful, but Stewey trained me well, and methinks I'm ready with whatever they're going to throw at me.

I'll close with my heartfelt thanks for coming on the ride with me.  I didn't expect to have so much company, but your love and support and encouragement are well worth the ride!

Take good care, do something fun, and please come tell me all about it!


Jan 7, 2018


Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear...it would seem that we did make a little mess of it.

Our intention with the calendar is to celebrate the male persuiasions of your species that are in any way related to the stitchy community writ large.

This could mean a man who cross stitches, needlepoints, hardangers, embroiders, or sews.

It could be a spouse, boyfriend, significant other, life partner, rooster, or friend who doesn't ply needle and thread per se, but who sits quietly while we do...or who never utters a word of disappointment that the size of our stashes is only outdone by the size of our WIP baskets.

Any and all are welcome...no exceptions, exclusions, or rules apply.  All we need is a nice photo, and if at all possible, a brief statement to accompany the photo that introduces said person to all of us chickens.

(And yes, Beefcake is always welcome.)

As for this being a money-making or fundraising venture...we don't expect it to be much of either.  The truth of the matter is that we are a couple of lonely, yet fiesty old gals who enjoy a little man candy as much as the next.  And man candy affiliated with "this thing of ours"... as The Spinster likes to say?

Makes our feathers blow right up!

We'll be back later next week with more.  In the meantime, it looks like Spinster is in her chair stitching and Mister is on the couch TeeVeeing.  As for us...we're heading out for Bourbons and Bingo at the Senior Center!

Happy Sunday!
Josephine and Eleanor
The Chicken Sisters

Add caption

Jan 6, 2018


Forgive us, please if we're stepping on any toes and this is already under way, but we read somewhere that a "Men of Cross Stitch" pinup calendar was afoot.

Has anybody taken the reigns of this and started printing yet?

If not, we would hereby like to offer our services as the supplier of such.  We have about a hundred years' worth of experience in the promotional products industry and can provide anything you can imagine with a name or logo on it.

For the calendar...all we need are the images and we'll go from there.  We can do either a pinup wall-type calendar or a journal book-like one...you all get to choose.

Pricing will depend on the total quantity that we produce, but we think we can do this in the $10 per piece range and have a little left over for our next adventure or to start a little fund to help get more men stitching.

What do you think, kids....anybody game?

Please send any/all potential candidates to the email address below and, if you have it, an email address for them so that we can secure their photos.  We'll take it from there.

Hope you're enjoying your Saturday and that we'll cluck at you again soon!

Eleanor and Josephine
The Chicken Sisters

Jan 5, 2018


I've been thinking about you all day today and wanted to write to say something that I think got lost in my last note to you.

Thank you.

You came at me with guns a blazing, girlfriend, and sent a very good and much needed warning shot across my rather prodigious bow.

It took me a hot minute, but I finally found a new hat.  My mistake with the new hat was that I thought it was going to have to be a 24/7 thing and thus stapled to my forehead.  And the one that's there now...i.e., hapless funny screwball idiot spinster fits me so darn nicely that I hated to give it up.

But that hat needs to come off on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and I need to understand that it's OK for a girl to have more than one hat in her wardrobe.

The new hat needs to sit up in the buggy, pay fierce attention to what's going on around her, and quit trying to make light of what has turned out to be a pretty horrific car crash.  Dialysis is absolutely no joke, and to minimize it because I thought it would make me feel brave was the wrong thing to do.

The wrong thing to do.

Today, as I type this, I am in the chair with two seventeen guage stainkess steel six inch needles in my arm removing my blood, filtering it through a machine, and returning it.  My fluid, mineral, and hemoglobin levels, as well as my blood pressure need to be monitored and calibrated precisely or I go into what's known as a full blown crash.

I've crashed six times so far and did so because I didn't want to stop clowning around, admit that I am positively terrified the moment I walk in the place, and then finally and most importantly...speak the heck up when I felt myself going sideways down the damn drain.

I read and re-read your email a few dozen times yesterday and today, donned my new hat, walked in the door, and took control.

Thank you for the fashion advice, my friend.  My prayer is that the next time I get it I won't waste a single second before hearing and taking it to heart.

Blessings on you and your house...



I'm Josephine Fox.

And I'm Eleanor Kelly:

We've been part of this crazy spinster ride for quite a while now, and thought we'd take a moment to introduce ourselves.  It looks like we might be stepping in every now and then to fill the proverbial editorial gap here on the blog now that Stewey has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, so we've been practicing our very best witty banter and reporting skills to get up to the task. So with our very best effort, we'll see what we can do to keep you all informed and entertained with all things Spinster Stitcher. 

It might take us a few days to complete Orientation. After all, we have one tiny brain and no workable fingers between us (giggle giggle), so bear with us while we learn the ropes and interview a suitable administrative assistant.  There's a handsome fellow here that we've ruffled our feathers at a few times, but he seems very unlikely to take on a pair of geriatric talking chickens as a new project.

(But, just a tiny bit of gossip...because that's what we chickens are known for...this fellow does seem to be quite smitten with our spinster and seems to cater to her every silly whim.  The affection is definitely mutual, since she is in the habit of sitting in her Happy Chair...gazing at him adoringly.)

(It's enough to make ordinary chickens toss their nuggets, but we two are very old hopefully romantic chickens...so we don't mind at all.)

We'll write more later, but wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year, all Glad Tidings, and Blessings to you and yours for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2018!

With love and chicken kisses,
Josephine and Eleanor
The Chicken Sisters

Jan 4, 2018


Hello, Dearies.

As much as I would love to tell you that my Futzingday was perfectly swell...it was not.

I awoke at 6am to text JB a hearty "Good Morning'" along with a few kissy faces, and just as I was falling back to sleep, the dialysis unit called to see if I wanted to come in early.  I was supposed to go at 4:40 in the pm, but a chair opened up and off I went.

I won't gross you out with the gory details, but it was definitely not pretty,  We lost my blood pressure again, I spent a good amount of time on my head, and then, just for good measure, I upchucked all over everything right there in front of God and everybody.

( Which is my very worst nightmare come true, by the way.)

It came pretty close to me getting a ride in an ambulance to the ER, but it was determined that this might very well be a touch of the flu, combined with an intolerance of dialysis.  Unfortunately, kids, I am just not doing as well on it as I would have hoped between the clotting, the blood pressure drops, the arm, and now this...so keep those prayers coming that I get over the hump.

This, I am loathe to tell you, is pretty rough stuff.

But I also really need to say it again and again...I've got this.  I really do.  I'm not saying that I've got it with any modicum of success at this point, but I really am giving it everything I've got.

One thing I do need to do, though, is address the kidney donation situation.

Many if you have commented or emailed me asking how you can get tested to be a living donor.  I pray that you are never in a position to have to say this, but is it OK for me to admit that I don't even know how to wrap my brain around that kind of love?  Psychologically, I'm just not equipped to say "Cool!  Thanks!  Here's how you do it!"  But medically, I know that it might be the only way to save my life.

So...for those of you who have asked...I am currently enrolled in the Indiana University Health Transplant program. My coordinator is Jane Kinkelaar and she can be reached at 800-382-4602.  You can also visit their website at iuhealth.org to learn more about living donation.  I believe that they will ask you my details as the patient, so here they are:  Coni J Rich.  Date of birth is 4-14-1966.

Finally, I need to share with you that my sister is still very much in the picture as a potential donor for me, but I cannot give you any more details than that.  Her story is not mine to tell, but it's important to me that you not think ill of her...but rather keep her (and Bosco) in your prayers, please.

Geeze, Louise...will you look at me with all of the asking neediness already?  I really don't like this feeling of being flat on my shell at the mercy of the world...but I can promise you that once I'm up again we are going to have the Mo-ther of all parties to celebrate it.

I'm picking out the color scheme now...

If you're in these here parts and are at the wrath of Old Man Winter today, please stay warm and safe and dry.  I'm going to attempt a little upright and a cup of damn good, and then maybe watch the snow fall until Rich gets home tonight.

Cheers, dears!

Jan 2, 2018


I took Rich to the South Bend International Airport and Transportation Center at 6:00 this morning for a quick trip down to Orlando for a trade show.  The thingie on the car said it was minus eleven degrees.  I think it's supposed to be sixty in Orlando today.

Jersey Boy didn't want to go.

Silly, silly, Jersey Boy.

My plan for the day is rather extensive.  I'm going to sit in the Happy Chair and ice my arm, drink damn good, read the paper, watch all of the TeeVee, stitch, and eat.  

(Grueling, I know, but I've been training for this for years, Kids, so don't try this at home.)

Life is actually pretty swell in these here parts.  Buzzy is stiff and sore as a matter of natural course, and I have another day and a half of healing time before heading back for dialysis.  New Years Day falling on a Monday prompted me switching to a Sunday, Wednesday, Friday rotation this week, and I think this extra day us really a blessing.

So that's it for me and the chickens.  Rumor has it that they will have something to say in the very near future so stay tuned!

Jan 1, 2018


The Prairie Schooler
January...Book #177
stitching on 28ct unknown linen from stash
all DMC threads


This is an email that I received from Anne.  My response to her is below:

Hi Coni,
I've commented on your blog a few times as Spendsister, but reading your post today I felt a private email might be more suitable.
Coni, you need to get your shit together. Excuse my bluntness, but you are a mess and you are seemingly oblivious to the consequences. You can joke and make funny snappy comebacks but it is way past the time for you to get serious. This is your life at stake. Not a missed stitch, not a lost house, not an asshole sister - your life. Does anything else even matter? Or come close? Stop calling your port by a silly little name. It is not a silly little personality, it's a medical intervention to help save your life. It doesn't have moods or feelings, if it's hurting, something is wrong, fix it and move on with your treatments.
You know, I love your blog. I see a lot of myself in you. But right now I am upset with you because you aren't being careful enough. How on earth can you be stitching with your arm as messed up as it is? Girl, you haven't stitched in MONTHS! I mean MONTHS! Why are you insisting on doing it now with an arm all bruised and swollen? Read a damn book! You read books, right?

I think the comment someone made that perhaps you were not quite as ready to accept dialysis as you thought hit the big ol' nail on the big ol' head. I couldn't figure out why you didn't start dialysis months ago, get into it before there was more deterioration, before you couldn't get out of bed - I couldn't understand why you were so stubborn about resisting something that would actually help you (again, there's a lot of me in that sentence). Well, your blog today hit me right between the eyes. 
You're still looking for someone to blame. To give you an excuse not to face dialysis. Today it was "buzzy" being "bad". It wasn't enough that you deliberately BENT YOUR ELBOW during treatment? You had to continue to irritate the hell out of it stitching last night? Before that it was your sister not making a decision. Excuse me, but isn't your life YOUR freakin' decision? 
Somewhere along the way, you decided that a quick and clean transplant from a perfectly matched sibling was a hell of a lot easier than long term dialysis for the rest of your life tethering you ( literally) to a chair 3 times a week. Of course it is. If she matched. If you didn't reject it. If she was healthy enough to give up a kidney. Even with all those ifs, you decided that's what you wanted. But you didn't get what you wanted. Life's funny that way, isn't it?
So now you're doing your best to sabotage dialysis. See? It doesn't work. I can't do it. I tried. Except, as some famous guy said, Failure is not an option. At least not for you right now.
When I had stage 3B breast cancer, people kept asking me how I stayed so calm. Why aren't you freaking out? Why aren't you hysterical? Why aren't you crying? Well I did all those things. Then I said ok, that didn't help. I still have cancer. So I stopped all that, and found out what I needed to do, because I did know that this was NOT what's going to kill me.
And then (and this was the hard part) I did it. No one did it for me. I couldn't cry or whine or buy my way out of it. My parents, my siblings, my friends, my enemies, could. not. do. it. for. me. I was alone at that wall and had to get over it all by myself.
Put your big girl pants on and start climbing, Coni. You've got a long way to go. Only you know if you've got what it takes.
Good luck.

Sent from my iPad

Dear Anne.

Wow.  What a note.  Thank you for writing it.  First, let me say Happy New Year.  I confess that this hit me square in the solar plexis, and at first I was a little winded but now I've got my wits about me a bit and I'd like to respond...thoughtfully.

My blog and the "character" of The Spinster Stitcher are just that....a blog and a character.  I started wrtiting it as a means to re-engage with a particular corner of the world, because I was a new stitcher and had just spent the better part of several long years inside my house battling some pretty horrific demons.

At first, the character was jusr a portly, hapless, dog-loving oaf who bumblefucked her way through a funny little life.   The comments from readers were light-hearted and esoteric and about simple easy things, and I used the blog, a talking dog wearing a smoking jacket, and a cast of other goofy characters to escape into a little fantasy world.

Over the course of the last few years, though, I've ventured into unknown territory a bit by talking about (often making fun of) the big hard things going on around me.  Foreclosure, financial ruin, the loss of my sister, Stewey's illness and death, and then finally, my own poor health....all big hard things that are insanely difficult, unpleasant, and challenging to be sure.

The Spinster Stitcher deals with this things with a squirting flower, big floppy shoes, and a lot of exaggeration and self-deprocation.  She kind of stumbles and giggles and ends up floundering her way through this life of ours because it makes for a much better story than does that cold hard reality.

My emails are now filled with notes from friends across the world that reveal big hard things in their own lives.  What started as a light-hearted attempt to be in the community has now become (in my head, anyway) a very serious responsibility.  I feel compelled to issue forth with humor and wit and sarcasm and fantasy as a means of assuring myself and others that we're going to be OK and that we've got a soft place to fall in each other's company.

But, your note tells me that it's now important that you know a bit of the ugly truth.  Let me first say that I'm sorry if you feel let down or frustrated with me and my response to dialysis.  Here, therefore, is the real truth wih the hope that it will assure you that I am not, as you say, a mess.

From the time of diagnosis, I have been a ridiculously informed, compliant, amd determined patient.  Like all kidney patients, I have managed an enormous flow chart of possible pathways that would lead to a long, healthy, productive, happy life.

The most positive outcome for me would have been a pre-emptive transplant from my sister.  To that end, I spent the bette part of two years working very hard to accomplish this.  I was given an intensive and long list of things to complete to get ready, and I did so.  With some complaining and fuss, I will admit, but nonethess I did so and looked forward to that pathway.

My team and I made the decision to postpone dialysis as long as we did because that was the best decision medically.  Period.  It was never and will never be within my thought process to just ignore it or put it off because it was going to be scary or inconvenient or anything else for that matter.  Dialysis was always the last and least desirable resort.

Now that it's here, I chose to blog about it by naming the fistula Buzzy and by taking what has been a scary, painful, miserable few weeks into a place where I could sprinkle a bit of glitter on it and make lemonade.  The first session was overwhelming, to be sure, but the second (in which I infiltrated) was horrific.  For the record...the infiltration happened because I instinctively bent my arm to get more comfortable in the chair.  The subsequent fistulagram, angioplasty, and stent were probably more extreme than was  necessary, but again, my team and I are approaching this with caution and the very best medical advice available.

I'm not sure if I can convince you or not, and to be honest, I don't know if I am actually required to, but I promise you that I have my big girl panties firmly in place and that I am handling this entire situation with as mich grace, dignity, courage, and intelligence that I can muster.

The Spinster Stitcher is whining about not being able to stitch or bend her arm for eighteen hours a week.  She's also missing her little dog and mourning the loss of her dream house...wrenching her guts over her sister, and swooning over the entry of a man into her world.  She's still cluess, but loveable...hopeful and happy...but more than anything...profoundly grateful that she has a place to exist and make a small dofference in the world.

Coni Rich is  fifty-one year old end stage renal patient who is in the initial stages of dialysis.  She is calm, measured, careful, and extremely capable of handling whatever comes at her.  She has been through wars much bigger than this and come out of them dented but detemined.  She's pretty fierce and can be a major major bitch, but she is, if nothing else, a bull-headed fighter that knows when to show up.

My wish for you, dear Anne, is that you will have a wonderful New Year.  Thank you again for your note.  I hope that your corner of the world is swell and that you'll continue to be part of my own little corner of it.  That, is, after all, what it's all about.

With mich love,
Coni Rich
The Spinster Stitcher