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January 31, 2005

Hello world.

Crazy Aunt Purl likes to hit the sauce.

[Obviously a lot has changed since I first wrote this in 2005. Many things here are out of date, like where I work and where I live and well, everything. I've kept this up because this is where I was when the whole thing started. -- laurie]

This is more about me than you would ever truly want to know. Hi, I'm Laurie, and I can write about myself for hours and hours. But isn't that why they invented blogs, anyway? It's just as self-indulgent as therapy but it is SO MUCH CHEAPER.

I am a blog stalker.

Peering into other people's lives online is my cardio. Sure, I love to shop online, but then I just want to buy something and that means I spend money, and then I start to get anxious about how much money I spend online and I feel like a smack addict on a bender, hiding and shameful in my addiction.

Travel websites are particularly problematic. Browse, see amazing sales, resist urge to get out credit card and purchase round trip ticket to Moscow. Credit cards vibrate. Bad, bad, bad.

So, blogs are my little escape from the tedium us working schmoes face from time to time. They're free, and full of yarn porn. And you can burn 300 calories an hour reading them. (shut up! you totally can!)

I'm in this for the voyuerism, folks

I just wish more blogs had pictures of the blog-writer and said writer's surroundings. I like to see where people live. Even if you live in a place that you think is boring and not worthy of documenting, think again. The whole internet is composed entirely of people being nosy and I am one of them and it doesn't matter if you live in Paris or Van Nuys, I still want to see what your living room looks like and pictures of your desk. And cat.

Desk avec cat
My desk and cat.

To me, these websites are little windows into the life of another person. It's like walking side by side with a complete stranger for a few brief minutes a day. So, having said all that, here are some bits of pieces of my life.

Location, location, location
I live in the San Fernando Valley which is part of Los Angeles, California (for now, anyway.) Valley residents want to secede from Los Angeles. Being a Southerner by birth, I'm biologically programmed to prefer areas where the residents are always threatening to run off and start their own country. I LOVE Los Angeles. It's big, crowded, diverse, and full of niches. Many people in Los Angeles enjoy trash talking the Valley but we have excellent shopping, great parking and all of the best star sightings.

Also, let it be known that at any time in the valley you are never more than two blocks from a 7-11. It is my personal belief that anything on the planet can be procured in the Valley. Just try to prove me wrong.

Chez Spinster
My charming little house is very, very small. Here in California, we pay enormous sums of money to live in tiny little places. But I love my little place, it's cozy, especially with all the furballs. It's also the first house I've ever lived in alone. Which brings me to Mr. X.

I was with Mr. X for eight years of my life. One evening we were having dinner at home, watching the news, and he calmly told me he was moving out. For good. Two weeks later he was living in a bachelor pad in another part of the city. Mr. X said he needed to get his creativity back. He explained how he really needed to be free of responsibility right now. Because, you know, having a wife cook for you and clean for you and shop for you can really put a damper on your CREATIVITY.

Anyway, I don't sleep much.

In Prague with Mr. X.

Fur & Loathing
I have four cats. This was not the original plan -- you know, being a divorced woman in her mid-thirties with a herd. It's not exactly the beginning of a Harlequin romance novel. It sounds like a cautionary tale. But I adore the little furballs and they crack me up.

Nothing is sexier than a divorced woman with four cats, no?


Nice Girls don't say those things.
I have decided that if I'm going to keep on living, I might as well do it exactly as I want, and as truthfully as possible.

When my husband left me it set off some weird sequence of events where everything went wrong at one time. My apartment got sold and I had a month to move, my car got stolen and taken on a high-speed chase in Hollywood on my wedding anniversary, on and on and on. You know, the kind of ripple that drives a person just thisclose to the very living edge.

Here I'd spent all this time being a Good Girl -- smile and act nice, don't laugh too loud, never cuss in public, mind your manners -- and it was for nothing! I'd done everything I thought I was supposed to do and when it all fell apart I did, too. I abandoned the notion of keeping up appearances. I gained a few pounds. I smoked in public. I told the pizza guy that my husband had left me. I informed the dry cleaners my name was Patsy Cline. I drank a lot. I was a little crazy in those first few months, I admit.

It was strangely liberating.

Eventually, I figured out that my goal was to simply live out loud. Lie less. ("No, I am not everyone and I do not love Raymond." "I hate sushi." "Mariah Carey is my spirit animal.")

It's worked out pretty well for me, except the sushi thing. I have learned the hard way that people in L.A. are REALLY crazy when it comes to the sushi. So I tell them I'm allergic.

Every morning I am forced to leave my beloved Valley and travel to work (distance: 19 miles. Average travel time: 1 hour, 20 minutes). I'm an artist and I work in downtown Los Angeles. I'm actually really lucky because I have a drop-dead cute boss and I love the company I work for, I've met some amazing friends through this job and I've learned enough about finances to even create my own Budget spreadsheet, which has helped me avoid having to move into a storage shed with four cats and eleventy pairs of cute shoes.

I am completely obsessed with traffic. Even when I am sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, actually viewing the four-car pileup on the 101 Freeway, I will listen maniacally to news radio for updated traffic reports. It's some kind of weird validation. ("Yes you really are in the worst traffic ever.") Conversely, I hate to drive. My only real goal in life is to be financially stable enough to have a personal driver. One way of getting a driver when you're on a Colt 45 budget is to take mass transportation. That has led to many hijinks and much hilarity, as Los Angeles and mass transit are not ideas that go well together. Sometimes I take the MetroLink and sometimes I take the subway, and sometimes I drive. If only I could find a boating passage to downtown I might have all my bases covered on the ground... then on to possible air routes...

I learned to knit in the winter of 2004. A friend came to visit at my newly single home, saw me, assessed the situation (coffee cup of Marker's Mark at noon, sweater on backwards, herd of felines, divorce blah blah cry cry, etc.) and suggested I go with her to her knitting class. I don't remember what I wore that day or who I talked to or even if I took a flask. What I do remember is the first set of needles I ever held in my hand, a pair of ebony Lantern Moon knitting needles so smooth they felt like polished glass. I remember the yarn I bought for my first scarf, a delicious wool by Filatura Di Crosa that cost as much as I spent on groceries in a week.

After one knitting class, I was completely, utterly hooked.

Knitting calms me down. I have trouble sleeping, but if I knit or read design books or plan patterns in my head, I feel less anxious. I enjoy reading about knitting almost as much as the knitting itself. Because I'm cool that way, and I freely admit I enjoy yarn porn.

My perfectionist, obsessive-compulsive manic self is perfectly suited to knitting and re-knitting. I don't mind ripping out every stitch of a project when I know I can just re-do the whole thing to perfection. It's the ultimate pastime for the compulsive do-over Type A weirdo.

I dream of cold, Nordic winters and long, dark, snowy nights of knitting alpaca while drinking vodka by a fireplace. Of course, I live in one of the hottest places in the United States, where we regularly hit 110 degrees daily from August to October. Thank God for air conditioning. And TiVo. (Which has nothing to do with knitting, but we should always give thanks for TiVo whenever possible.)

I get a lot of help when I knit.

Packing, planning, airports, airplanes, all of it, I love it. At home I am a hermit and a homebody but on a trip I feel different, I am different. Mr. X. and traveled a lot, it was our way of spending time together, the only time I had him all to myself. We looked happy in photographs. Anyway. Moving on.

I got really worried that I would never have a travel partner again, but my best friend Jennifer and I are planning to take a trip to Moscow in December 2005. [Update: We actually ended up going to Paris instead, in March of 2006. But one day, Moscowsky, YOU WILL BE MINEsky!] It will be the first trip I have ever taken without Mr. X. This vacation is very important to me. Life doesn't end just because your husband has a midlife crisis! I will be free to eat what I want and see what I want, wear what I want, bust a move with a hot foreign man, and accept free drinks from strangers on the plane. Life may be short, but it is wide.

I love to travel to cold places.

The bitter end
I can't believe anyone would still be awake here at the bottom of the page, but if you are ... well, congratulations! Nice to meet you!

Posted by laurie at 3:16 PM