Nov 22, 2017

IN WHICH WE PONDER TURKEY AND THANKFULNESS



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,
Coni
The Spinster Stitcher

Nov 21, 2017

HOLY MAGNIFYING GLASSES, BATMAN

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!



TUESDAY MORNING SPINSTER BLISS

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 year...me 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

AND...WE'RE BACK!!

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

IN WHICH WE PLAY VARSITY BALL...



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.

So...today 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 day...do something fun...yadda yadda yadda.

Nov 17, 2017

WE'RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT

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!




IN WHICH WE ARE...HAPPY




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


WHAT GOES IN MUST COME OUT...



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

FUTZINGDAY COCKPIT AND A NEW START

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.

WooHoo...it feels good to stitch!

A NEW DAY

Thank you, dear friends, for all of your kindness and love yesterday.  I spent the day exactly as I wanted to...in 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 guy...here'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

ONE. YEAR.


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


TRUER WORDS WERE NEVER SPOKEN...



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

IN WHICH WE FLIP THE SCRIPT...RIGHT THERE IN THE BIG CHURCH

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 somewhat...eh...when 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

HELL WEEK

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.


PRE GUILD SPINSTER BLISS



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

IN WHICH OUR HAPLESS HEROINE BUYS ANOTHER MONTH...

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.

(Besides...it 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 cleared...it 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 be...it 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

FINALLY...

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...

IN WHICH WE ARE ON OUR WAY TO A TRIFECTA...

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

That's it...my 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

FAMILIAR HALLS


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

THE THIRD HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH...



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 husband...it 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.  Then...as 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

ME AND THE CRAFT SALE? MAYBE...NOT SO MUCH

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?

Oey...my 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.

Enough.

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!




CHICKENS ON BASS...TEE HEE HEE HEE HEE

Oh, dear psv...you 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

SUCCESS!

Labwork...check
Office Depot...check
Bank...check
CS1...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?

SATURDAY MORNING SPINSTER BLISS



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.

Whew!

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!

WooHoo!


Nov 3, 2017

CALLING ALL CARS

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

AND THEN IT WAS...FRIDAY!



Happy Friday, Dearies!  We're off like a herd of very slow and dim-witted turtles this morning.  No matter how much damn good I slurp, I just can't seem to lift the fog.

(Wait...isn't there a tea called Fog Lifter?)

(Maybe I should go on the Amazons and see about ordering a case or two.)

Rich made it home safe and sound and we ate sandwiches and watched the Temple/Navy game before I hit the hay with Flosstube.  That has become my nightly ritual...all tucked in with Vonna and Danielle and Emily and Phillip and Garret...goodness!  It gets cozy and crowded, but I flip from video to video and visit and watch and learn and laugh and just love every minute of it.

Today's plan is to sit at the table and get the mountain of budgets, bills, and paperworks completed.  I've procrastinated it long enough and need to just bite the bullet, pull my socks up, and get...it...done. Then, as a treat for being a real live grown adult, we are going to meet my friends Barney and Norma for Mexican food and dancing.

(I will definitely have the Mexican food, but the dancing?  Not so much.)

(In my next life post kidney, however, I intend to dance my toes off at least once a week.)

Tomorrow's agenda will consist of labwork in the morning and then a final prep for the Sunday craft fair.  My reward for doing so will be dinner with my dear friends Lou and Marissa who are in town for the game.  We went to college together and I was honored to be part of their wedding party, and dear Lou is my literary idol.  He wrote letters to my mom when she was sick and he writes a blog all about their adventures traveling and living, and I devour every word.  They are just gorgeous people, and I can't believe my luck in calling them my friends.

Sunday I will go to the Jewish Federation again and man my little table.  I have some beaded bracelets from forever ago and a few other things, but mostly I am just looking forward to the company of like-minded peoples who enjoy making and creating and futzing and playing with all things crafty.

Rich (or Nurse Ratchett) is watching me carefully and insists that I rest and nap whenever I can.  I am still being very careful not to overdo and have finally learned how to say "I'm sorry, but I need to go close my eyes for a moment" whenever the need arises.  I'm also taking all of my meds, drinking lots of water, and eating well and carefully...so never fear, Dearies.  I am still hanging in there.

(I feel like death on a stick, mind you, but I'm still hanging in there.)

The big fat elephant in the room is that we're coming up to the 30-year anniversary of my mom's passing and the 1-year anniversary of Stewey's.  Needless to say, I am missing both very very fiercely, but am determined to remember happy things and not spiral back down to the bottom of the well where the big black dog lives.  I know it's OK to be sad and to miss them, but I can't let myself be...paralyzed.

Hmmmm....too much?

I really do need to learn how to filter a bit and not ramble my tiny little brains out on this here blog.  I suspect that you come here for the stitching and other silly shenanagins...not a therapy session.

So to that end, here are a few pics of what's in the stitchy basket:


A bit of a hodgepodge, but I am still out of sorts in that department, it would seem.

I have promised myself to get back to it...eventually.  I am actually feeling a hankering for...Christmas stitching! so maybe a trip through the cube room studio will take place soon.

Long winded today, I'm afraid.  Hope you wore your seatbelt and enjoyed the ride.  The weekend is upon us, dear friends!  Let's do something fun and then come tell each other all about it!

Nov 2, 2017

COUNTDOWN TO DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN...

I feel like I'm 22 again, and it's the night before my Great Books final at Notre Dame and I'm sitting on the floor of my apartment with the entire semester's reading list of books stacked up around me (one of which was War and Peace) and I said "The exam is tomorrow at 10am.  Surely, I can read all of these before then."

And my friend Tracie Fetters just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Rich will be home tonight, and so far all I've managed to do is make my first cup of damn good and watch Mr. Garret on the Flosstube.  I did, however, figure out how to use Rich's birthday gizmo on the TeeVee, so I was able to get the video started while shoving a load of towels into the washing machine.

If all goes according to plan, I will: change the bed and wash the bedding, re-organize the closet and dresser, scrub the bathroom, re-organize the bathroom cabinets, empty all of the trash, scrub the kitchen, clean out the fridge and freezer, pay bills, organize the budget, do all of the paperwork, make ten calls for Rich, create a marketing plan, write an outline of my book, flip the sofa cushions, wash the magic blankets, dust all of the furniture, tidy the cube room studio, gather everything for the craft fair, go to the grocery, make a lovely dinner, take a shower and get presentable, light some candles, and be sitting in the Happy Chair stitching when he gets hone.

Yeah.

That's all going to happen.

I do need to get somewhat organized for Sunday, though.  I am participating in a craft fair at the Jewish Federation and still need to gather things and get them organized.  This is going to involve a trip over to the house and a fishing expedition through several bins and closets, but hopefully this will be the continuation of my plan for thanking everybody that contributed to the YouCaring fund.  Stay tuned for details on that...

Cold and rainy here today, which means I might end up napping a good part of the afternoon.  My little energy tank is at zee-row, so snoozing becomes more of a necessity than a luxury at this point.

Thanks for indulging my rant last night.  I felt very "Mama Bear" when I heard about some shenanagins going on with some of our beloveds, and felt like I wanted to open my big fat mouth.  I get so much joy and life from you all that I guess I feel the need to stand up every now and then and punch the bullies in the nose.

But enough of that.  Rich calls me Rella...short for Cinderella because I live in a fairy tale world. (I told him that maybe my fairy tale came true and that if he's not careful I'm going to start calling him P. Charming, but that didn't seem to deter him.)  So this Rella is going to skip merrily through the tulips today...thinking and dreaming about pretty things and watching videos of people doing the same thing.

Here's hoping that your very own Thursday is filled with all the things that blow your skirt up and make your heart ding a ling a ling!  

Ciao, for now, my Dearies!

IN WHICH I FINALLY FIND THE SOAPBOX...

The last four days here at CS2 have been...interesting.

Rich was away, and I thought I would tackle a to do list of about a hundred and a half things, but all I managed to do was sit in the Happy Chair missing him or sleeping in the big girl sleigh bed clutching Stewey's little blanket and missing HIM too.  (Can you believe it's almost been a year since he died?)

Physically, I seem to have hit a big fat brick wall hard and head first.  I really do think that it's the kidneys, but I've been saying that for (what feels like) years now.  I will see the nephrologist a week from Friday for a check-in and promise that if she tells me it's time to start dialysis, I won't fight it. 

Mentally, I think I am frustrated to not be as "with it" as I would like, and I am not doing things like reading or puzzles that normally keep my tiny little hampster wheel turning...and as for stitching?  The sound of crickets chirping when I fumble with any progress to show speaks for itself...must remedy that.

But emotionally...

Emotionally, I am...

Well, I don't know exactly what I am.  Overwhelmed?  Sad?  Scared?  Content?  Happy?  Grieving?  All of the above?

Don't know for sure.  But what I do know is that when I get like this, my instinct is to pull my shell a little  tighter about me and to turn off the lights, crawl under the covers, and wait for it to pass.

But this time, something triggered me to say "NOPE!" and to thrust my fist out of the blanket and to grab the mic for a hot second to say the following:

It took me a minute because I'm slower than most, but tonight it finally hit me that everytime I receive a nasty email from "Betty" or I see a negative comment on a fellow stitcher's blog or Flosstube channel, or I see that somebody got a thumbs down or a rotten thing said to them or about them that there is no way in Holy H-E-double hockey sticks that it came from inside the family.

I get my fair share of poop flung my way in the form of super mean email notes that tell me how much I'm hated, how my life is of no value or no interest, and how every bad thing that ever happened to me was karmic retribution.

OK.  If that's really how you feel, please go right ahead and rant yourself right into a stroke about it.  Remain anonymous and come at me during those moments when you know that my big fat white soft underbelly is the most vulnerable.  If it makes you feel better about your world, or fixes something in you that is broken...you just go with your bad self.

But when you go after my family...my stitchy family...that I have come to know, cherish, and love these last several years?

That...I'm just not OK with.

This thing of ours is beautiful.  I know first hand of the gererosity, compassion, kindness, and unadulterated love that flows freely among and between people of every socio-economic, racial, cultural, intellectual, gender, sexual orientation, age, nation of origin, or political affiliation imaginable.  What binds us is our love for all thing needle and thread, and the joy and peace that it gives us is just plain...precious.

So why in the world would anybody feel compelled to smudge the hell out of it with nastiness?  Why do so many of us feel the need to apologize for our unbridled enthusiasm or our need to share ourselves with our people by showing our accomplishments...or our stitchy spots...or the latest big bag of haul from a road trip to an LNS...or gifts that we were showered with?

Why would anybody think it OK to reprimand or criticize or belittle somebody who puts themselves out there in an honest attempt to just matter in this world?

Like I said...it took me a little longer than most, but I finally realized that the "haters" have no place here and are most definitely not part of this thing.  The haters want to tear down out of some perverse need to bully and detroy happiness and spread bad juju.

So, dear friends.  Dear fellow bloggers, Flosstubers, Facebookers, Instagramers....any member of this family who just wants to pull their little chair up to the table for a bit...I say BRAVO and BRAVA to you from the bottom of my heart.  I don't care if you're stitching plastic canvas coasters of unicorns with sock yarn or are hardangering a small village with spun silk or are attaching beads and sequins to a piece of needlepoint canvas with a hot glue gun or the hair of a Mongolian yak.

I'm in.

I want to know the story of your life.  I want to hear and see your kids hollering their little heads off, you slurping your coffee out of mug the size of your head, every single WIP, kit, gift, and rotation plan you've ever thought of, and I want to oohh and aahh over your chair, light, needle minder collection, and organizational plan.  I don't care if you use Ziplock bags or Hermes scarves or whether you stitch in hand or have a gizmo bigger than a Range Rover that helps you stitch...I will love it all and I won't be afraid to tell you that.  If you stitch five minutes a week or nineteen hours a day, you're a stitcher in my book, and that fact means that you are my family and I love you.

Let's let the good drown the bad.  Let's lift up everything that makes this thing of ours so wonderful and not tolerate anybody or anything that gets in the way of it.  Let's just...be...for a bit, and have sone fun and let the big hard things in the big hard world stay out there for just a minute longer.

OK?


That's it for me tonight, Dearies.  Tomorrow will be a full day of all the things I was supposed to have done for the last three...and then my guy will be home again.  I hope that your very own week has been swell and that your Thursday is wonderful.  Do something...you know.

Nov 1, 2017

Oct 30, 2017

IN WHICH WE MAKE SOME LOVELY NEW FRIENDS...

The reception at the Jewish Federation was lovely, and I was able to enjoy the pieces from the perspective of an attendee rather than a hapless nutjob who was supposed to be of some kind of help at the installation but wasn't because Miss Chris and her husband Mr. Mike ran it with military precision and I am a total boob.

But I digress.

The building itself is really quite beautiful, but the pieces that my guild sisters submitted for display (some) and sale (others) are just...stunners.  This was my first opportunity to really see a lot of pieces from several of them close up, and I have to tell you...

I'm gonna need a bigger boat.

About five seconds after I got there, I was introduced to a nice man who actually purchased one of my submissions.  What made talking to him so nice (besides the fact that he was a very lovely person) was the fact that he admired our stitching so much.  He truly appreciated the love and care and passion that we all have for this thing of ours, and he was keen to learn what kinds of threads were used, how colors were chosen, and why we stitched what we stitched.

A perfect conversation to have on a Sunday afternoon.

I did manage to stay much longer than expected, but I ran out of energy pretty quickly and made it home in time to crumble into a pajama heap for the rest of the afternoon.

Dinner, though, was delicious.  A sandwich on Italian bread with breaded chicken cutlet, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone, and roasted red peppers.  I used to get this sandwich from a place called Barrels in Arlantic City (or Margate...I can't remember) with spinach and had quite a hankering for it.  It was my first time with broccoli rabe, though, but I have to say that I really loved it.

(Broccoli rabe is also called rapini and is vegetable that is very much like a turnip green...it's dark green and leafy and is apparently very very good for you.  It can be bitter, but when prepared well is absolutely delicious in my humble opinion.)

(And my JB loves it and was excited to find it at the Martin's and cook it for me, so I wasn't going to argue.)

So that was my Sunday...some stitchy time with my people, and then some TeeVee time with my person.  All in all, a very good day indeed.

I'm up at the crack 'o dawn today to get started on what promises to be a very busy week.  In addition to several chores around here that need doing, I have three appointments to keep me on the straight and narrow and the Craft Fair to get ready for next Sunday.  I have about 2/3 of my items ready to go...just need to fill another basket or two to make for a full table.

That's it tor now, Dearies!  I hope that your very own week is off to a perfect start and that you get to do whatever your heart desires today!