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April 29, 2005

Tragedy and comedy and drama! And dogs and cats, too!

Act I: Tragedy

Last night I drove from downtown to the Valley, and after an hour or so of traffic I was hungry and stopped in at the 7-11, which is where all people of good health and good conscious go for dinner, and then I was driving, la la la, and talking on my phone to Karman.

"Hey, Karman it's me Laurie. When can I come over? Are we all walking to the theatre together? Is your mom there? OH MY GOD OH MY GOD HOLY CRAP BAD BAD BAD!!!!"

"Laurie, Laurie! Are you OK??"

"I. Just. Saw. Mr. X. Walking across the street. AND HE'S GROWN A GOATEE."

"Oh man, Laurie, that sucks. Come over! We have wine! And ... A GOATEE? Are you sure? That is horrible!"


Then I did what any normal, rational person would do and I drove all the way around the block to get another view to verify that yes, it was indeed him. And it was. (He didn't see me.) (THANK GOD.) Then I had to pull over in a semi-secluded area about a mile or so away and smoke. A lot. And call Jennifer. Who said, "Well, in addition to the EARRING and the BAD HIGHLIGHTS of course he grew a GOATEE because he's lame! Midlife! Crisis!"

So, rhetorical question time. In a city of 6.75 gazillion people, what are the chances that I will see Mr. X for the very first time since he left me, crossing the street in a part of town he doesn't live in, on the night I happen to be driving through North Hollywood, also a part of town I don't live in? Well, the answer ... if you're me, the chances are 100 FREAKIN PERCENT.

Act II: Comedy

After my mini-breakdown, I went to Karman and Shannon's house, but Karman's mom is in from out of town, and she's Southern, and ya'll I smelled of smoke and regret and sadness, so I parked outside their building and dug the Febreeze out from under the passenger's seat of my Jeep and stood outside on the sidewalk Febreezing myself, including my hair. So when I arrived inside and met Karman's mom I wafted in on a cloud of crisp smelling freshness! No, really, I did. So fresh and so clean clean.

But because I am a dork, and chugged a whole glass of pinot in the kitchen before saying hello, I cornered Karman and made her smell me before introducing me to her mom. Karman, being the kind Southern soul she is, immediately told her mom, "Meet Laurie! She febreezed just for you, because she's crazy and Southern, too!"

Thanks, ya'll.

At least now that I have met her people, I can officially start calling Karman up on a weekly basis and asking her my favorite thing EVER, "Hey! How's your mama 'un them?" Ha!

Act III: Drama

At 7:30 we all walked over to the theatre and picked up our tickets and mingled in the lobby like artsy fartsy people who do this all the time. Well, actually, some people like Jill and Jamie and Karman probably do this all the time. But not me. I just... I'm not good at plays.

I'm not sure what my problem is, except that I feel like I should be paying more attention, then the internal talking begins, because Lord knows there's no external talking at plays, "Look interested! Or they'll see you, the actors, and see you're bored, and be sad, and mess up, and need therapy, so do it! Look interested! You're not doing it right! Can I leave to go pee? This could go on forever! And I know there's a line for the ladies' room, and will it be clean? And have potty covers? Crap, who is this person on stage now? Pay attention!" but by then I have lost all thread of the story. And you can't go to the ladies room. Or eat popcorn. Or whisper to the person beside you, "This is scary! scary!" or "What just happened with the guy and the hat?"

But you know what? Shannon's play? IT KEPT ME ON PINS AND NEEDLES THE WHOLE WAY! I was on the edge of my seat, and not because I had to make a ladies' room dash. She was amazing! And she's so funny, and expressive and she was so good that even though I've known her forever and ever, I totally forgot she was my friend Shannon about a third of the way in and completely believed that she was Jeanette!



After intermission, I was so excited to get back into the theatre and see what would happen next with Jeanette that I was one of the first people inside. And ya'll that has never happened. That's how amazing of an actor Shannon Morris is. Ya'll remember that name, she's going to be famous one day. She's Queen of the Arts!

She looked gorgeous, too, and Shannon has that rare ability to make everyone in the room focus on her, she just has amazing charisma. I feel lucky and proud to know someone so talented. Plus, she was in every scene and there was so much dialogue, and I was impressed as heck that she could remember all those words! All that talking! So go see her, if you can.

Thursday, May 5th and Thursday, May 12th (These are the performances that feature Shannon) (so only go to these, really now!)
Show begins at 8 p.m.
Lankershim Arts Center
(The Road Theatre Company)
5108 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Phone: 818/761-8838

And more images of everyone and the theatre, click for bigger:




The Finale: Dogs & Cats

After all this drama, I'd like to pause for a moment and both congratulate Minou on her birthday, and apologize:

Dear Minou,

Happy Birthday! You are the cutest dog on the whole Internets! And you have the best wardrobe.

I'm sorry your birthday present is late. I know it's late because I have not yet sent it. Also, I have to go to a wedding this weekend, where there will be no outward, external rolling around in poop, but just the internal, metaphorical kind. And that is all I have to say about that.

So, in conclusion, Minou, this poop is for you!

Crazy Aunt Purl

P.S. Sobakowa found out I was sending you a present and boy was she pissed off!


The End!

Posted by laurie at 10:28 AM

April 28, 2005

I blame the TALKING on the COFFEE.

My today, with so much EMPHASIS because I've had so much COFFEE:

So far, and it is only noon thirty, I've had meeting after meeting, plus a pre-meeting to get a status before the project meeting, then a post-meeting wrap-up meeting, interspersed with the phone calls, WILL YOU PLEASE STOP CALLING ME have you not heard of email? Email is great! I can delete it much faster!

Then vendor visits, budgets (and I SUCK at Excel and The Math and twice my boss has called me to inquire, gently, "ARE YOU HIGH? Where on God's GREEN EARTH did you come up with these RETARDED numbers?"), some frantic research on my part, more budget revisions ... art costs money, people! And then someone in a cube near me FARTED and all I could say to my officemate was a very mature, very grown up, "The smeller is the feller, ya'll!!"

So, that’s my today. Let’s move to a better topic, like lunch. Or the more fun topic of tonight.

Tonight I had every intention of showing up unannounced at the West Hollywood Stitch n' Bitch because a very cool lady wrote me a very nice email (which I loved) and invited me to come meet the WeHo girls. (WeHo! heh heh)

And I really want to go and meet these West Hollywood knitters, and also see if they knit in some crazy westsiiiide knitting that us Valley peeps don't have, yo yo (insert a mental image of me throwing gang signs here). But, and I know you'd never suspect this from the voodoo and the chicken hats and the boo-hoo-hooing I do on this website, but I'm kind of awkward in social situations. (Nooooo! You think?) And I get nervous meeting people. Also, maybe a little sweaty. And then the talking starts. And boy, CAN I TALK.

Instead of embarrassing myself in such a way, with all the TALKING, I came up with a plan. My plan was rather BRILLIANT, or so I thought, and my brilliant plan was full of RECON and SPYING and also, in case I made an ass of myself, promised ANONYMITY. I had planned to just show up at random (Oh! Look, people are knitting here! That's so coincidental! I knit, too! And I have my entire knitting bag right here, isn't that a coinkydink?) and hang out at the WeHo Stitch n' Bitch and say my name was ... um, I don't know... Raurie. Maybe.

(I'm still working on the name.)

ANYWAY. As I was undercover stitching, I'd discern if they could spot the blogstalker in their midst. And also because I'm kind of a DORK in real life, and if I annoyed everyone, what with my knitting-out-loud technique, and the TALKING, they'd just say, "Who was that Raurie girl? She was so annoying!" and I would be totally ANONYMOUS and well, maybe DORKY, but not as embarrassed if they all said, "That Aunt Purl will NOT SHUT UP."

And many jokes about Shut Up candles would ensue.

But then my whole plan was foiled because tonight my amazing and talented friend Shannon is going to be starring -- STARRING -- in a play and I'm going to cheer her on. (Oh, do you cheer at plays? And do they sell popcorn?) I haven't been to a play in a hundred years, not since the bad Shakespeare experience I had in 11th grade. JULIET SHOULD NEVER CHEW GUM. That's all I have to say about that.

So, no undercover stitching this week. I'll be whooping it up in the audience for Shannon. But I will probably, most likely, NOT BE anywhere near West Hollywood next Thursday night at 7:30. Nope. NO WAY. Raurie? Now she's a different story. She is definitely planning on going to the Farmer's Market and maybe, you know, wow! Look, those people are knitting! And what a coinkydink! I knit, too!

I think my plan is also BRILLIANT because I look nothing like the pictures of me on this site. The cute ones are pics from last year, before I started stress eating like I was in the Stress Eating Olympics. And gained a bazillion pounds. The recent pictures? I PhotoShop myself to look 10 pounds lighter. No, really, I do. (Look, if you're going to be an artist, you might as well get some happiness from it!)

So, they would never recognize me anyway. Because this is what I really look like:


Posted by laurie at 12:24 PM

April 27, 2005

Multiple-choice Purl

Multiple Choice #1: Is there TOO MUCH crazy?

So, my friend Jane* and I have been discussing The Power of Intention, although not the book "The Power of Intention" but more the general concept of using you mind to will things into being. Some people call this "prayer" or "meditation" or sometimes "voodoo."

One afternoon Jane and I talked on the phone and after a few cocktails and some self-help phrases and much faux-spiritual chitchat, we both decided that we believed in mind/universe control and also that we'd PROMISE not to tell anyone that we believed in such matters because damn, that's embarrassing. (Hi, secrecy! Thy name is Laurie.)

Many of my friends need a little help controlling the universe. Jane is in a love conundrum right now and needs the universe to bring her some lovin' and passion. Jennifer is in Law School Study Hell and needs redemption from the fiery depths of constitutional law. Me, I'm in need of a voodoo doll shaped like a tee-tiny vienna sausage. But in order to avoid the seething evil power of intention gone wrong, and perhaps a lifetime filled with tee-tiny vienna sausage men if the magic backfires, I decided that mostly I could use some health/wellness vibes and also some prosperity goodness with my upcoming divorce.

So, Jane and I met up in downtown this week to visit my favorite Control The Universe store, la Farmacia Million Dollar. La Farmacia is a botanica on the corner of Broadway and 4th Street in downtown Los Angeles, and it's filled with every manner of talisman, candle, herb, amulet, incense, oil and saint staue known to Latin mojo madness.

[click for bigger pics]

La Farmacia Million Dollar; More potions than you can shake a stick at

Voodoo powders for your mojo; More statues than available countertops

I love LOVE love this store.

Latin voodoo is the absolute best, in my humble voodoo-snob opinion. First, it's exceptionally colorful. Second, it's all in Spanish, which means I get to commune with my inner aztec goddess. Third, its magic covers every possible topic including, but not limited to: finances, finding work, court cases, love, separation, divorce, sleeping, health, sexual power, breaking curses from other people, and of course the all-too-useful "SHUT UP" voodoo:


When haven't we all needed a SHUT UP NOW candle?

We walked into the botanica and immediately became entranced with the wide array of candles and potions available for our different problems. After about fifteen minutes, Jane and I rendezvoued in the incence aise.

Jane: Ok, I have an Adam & Eve love candle and some love potion oil, and I found this oil you can buy Jen for power and success.

Me: Excellent! I have a health candle, a prosperity candle, an African herb candle for Jen and some powder for "estudiantes" though I don't know what you do with it.

Jane: Should I get the love incense too, or is that too much?

Me: Well, if we're honest here, how much is too much crazy? Once you've bought the candle and the love potion, aren't the incence kind of a given?

Jane: Right. If you're going to go crazy, you should get the full crazy package.


So, $22.81 later, I checked out with every kind of loco mojo you can imagine, including a talisman that has a red cloth bag, a vial of magic oil and special stones. (Magic oil! We should tell George Bush!) The man at the counter explained to me how to use The Talisman, but he only spoke Spanish, so if I wake up in two weeks and I have become an aging white guy who is bald and also, you know, the vienna sausage thing, well ... blame my poor translation skills.

Now, for the multiple-choice part of our voodoo, let's say that you bought a buttload of Mexican voodoo at a local botanica and you set it all out at home on your table and ... you know, you actually use it. When people come over to visit, would you:

A: Act like it's your latest art installation
B: Say you have a poltergeist and are in the midst of an exorcism
C: Pretend you're so white that you didn't even know these were Latin voodoo items
D: Make a joke about your weird big toe

My haul from the voodoo binge

* Names have been changed to protect the innocent, and also those who want to use their voodoo magic without anyone knowing their real identities. Like Amber.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Multiple Choice #2: Parental obligation, and what this means to a knitter

Mother's Day is right around the corner. Now, suppose (hypothetically, of course) that your mom HATES chickens. HATES them. Not a phobia, so much, but a true Southern woman's hatred of the chicken statues, chicken aprons, chicken dish towels and chicken cookie jars that you find in every Cracker Barrel in the nation.

Also suppose your mom endured years, I mean YEARS of homemade crap from you, her artistic if rather demented child. So with your new knitting obsession your mom is likely worried that you're going to make her a gift, full of LOVE and also UGLINESS, that she'll have to wear forever and secretly hate you for giving her on this, Mother's Day, a day meant to honor her not torture her.

Also, hypothetically, pretend your mom has a warped sense of humor. For example, during the stay-at-home mom years, she maybe, just maybe, had a small child (named ERIC!! Ha!! Eric you are soooo busted!!!) who was a total living terror until age six and cried every two and a half minutes. And this same mom, stressed out and also kind of pissed that the universe gave her a rotten kid (just kidding Eric! we love you... now!) decided that one day she would maybe cook a hamburger in the shape of a hotdog, and serve the hamburger in a hotdog bun, just to FREAK OUT her four-year-old. And then she told the story repeatedly about how he finally stopped crying because he was so PUZZLED and ENTRANCED with her hot-burger creation.

(Placed in context of my family, I make so much more sense now, don't I?)

Anyway, back on Mother's Day. So, if you had all this information, about your chicken-hating but basically funny mom, would you threaten to make her this for Mother's Day?


A: Oh, she must SO live in fear of the chicken knitted hat.
B: Nah, go for the Sappy Hallmark Card
C: Chicken hat! Chicken hat!
D: Chicken hat with voodoo candle.

Posted by laurie at 10:37 AM

April 26, 2005

Can someone call PETA? This may be cat abuse.

The Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig? It's ugly. The stitches are fine and straight and the tension is even, and the fabric is dense and fluffy. But there is no denying the obvious. It is God-awful ugly. We're not talking about your normal handmade kind of ugly, but we're talking 1970s macramé plant holder created by a third-grader in remedial art kind of ugly.

Yet I persevere.

I cast on for the second half of the Awful Ugly Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig this morning on the bus. I intend to finish this project because ... ? Frankly, I have no good reason at all except DAMMIT, I SHALL FINISH YOU BEFORE YOU FINISH ME.

(Knitting is difficult for the mentally unbalanced. We take things personally. We talk to our knitting. We wonder why it betrays us so when things go awry. But it's cool ... I'm working on it in therapy.)

My hours of knitted stockinette will eventually turn into an object so tacky my cats will most likely never go near it. They're snobs. No one scratched up the secondhand futon, but when the restored vintage Kagan sofa arrived? CLAW CITY. (By the way, you should have seen me with the tin foil on the sofa. I taped foil all on the sides and back for weeks, to deter scratching of all kinds. Then I switched to big clear sticky tape panels, and then finally after months of living like a crazy grandma with her plastic-covered furniture, my sofa was unveiled and has remained scratch-free. The things we do.)

If my cats don't use the Mystery Knitted Cat Mistake, I am not above soaking it in catnip spray to lure them. In fact, I'll feed them tuna in it. The good tuna, too, from Trader Joe's. Someone is going to use it. There may be a cat pan and some cat litter in it by the end ... but dammit, THEY WILL USE IT. Or I will sell them on eBay, all four of them and their little pile of homemade knitted crap, too.

Also, by the way, next project? Something that uses a pattern. I'm so bad at The Math that my first piece of Mystery Knitted Crap ended up way too big but I improvised and also... there may be hot glue involved. I'm just saying.

And in other news:


Posted by laurie at 12:35 PM

April 25, 2005

Can you believe this?

If I were a betting woman, I would have guessed that my weekend was spent lying on the sofa, feeling sorry for myself while reading (and re-reading) my divorce papers with my Cheeto-stained fingers.

But au contraire.

I didn't read them once all weekend. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying. I tried -- believe me I tried! -- but those damn divorce papers are busy little bastards. Perhaps it's all for the best.






I tried to get my divorce papers to knit a swatch of Patons Divine for the second half of the Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig, but apparently my divorce papers are yarn snobs who don't touch acrylic. So, I tried to get my divorce papers to clean the catbox, but they take after you-know-who and didn't do diddly squat when it came to housework. Of course.

Ya'll know how divorce papers can be.

Posted by laurie at 10:21 AM

April 22, 2005

Who says the Internets are just for porn?

Last night, 10 p.m. Phone rings.

Jen: You have to go see your website.
Me: I can't. Get out of bed. I have the covers pulled over my head. And I'm depressed. And I think... I smell.
Jen: You don't smell.
Me: Do too.
Jen: No one can smell you on the Internets.
Jen: You have to go look, read the comments. I think I'm going to cry.

(pause while I drag my possibly odiferous self from bed)

Me: Oh my.
Jen: I know.
Me: (speechless) (then, of course, not speechless) Oh. My.
Jen: I know! And Savannah has created a "Down With Mr. X. Knit-a-long" and... there's a BUTTON. There's a LOGO.
Me: Oh oh (sniff) I can't believe it. And it's a great logo! And you are nowhere until you have a LOGO. And it's a GREAT logo! And ... no one has ever made a LOGO this good. And, oh ... did you read this comment? And this comment? And she survived it.. and so did she... and she knows .... (sniff, sniffle, sniff)
Jen: You know, what, Laurie... you're not alone.
Me: I thought I would die alone, eaten by my cats. I'm... I need a minute. I have to go blow my nose.
Jen: I know! (sniffle) Me too! knitbloggers, they're so good! These are good people!
Me: Knitbloggers will inherit the earth.
Jen: If blogger.com doesn't crap out.
Me: I know!

Oh, oh, thank you. Thanks for the emails and comments, I appreciate them more than you know. I ... I really was speechless. and that NEVER happens.

Luckily, Erika also tagged me to answer some questions, pre-empting more whining and boo-hooing and "I'm so smelly, I'm alone, where is the wine?" and cursing and carrying on by you-know-who. (Which is me, in case ya'll are wondering.) Hi Erika! My parents thank you, since all this bellyaching on my part ran out their cellphone battery ... twice.

Plus, you know where I am today? NOT AT WORK. Personal day! (This is what happens when you cry at a redesign meeting. "That highlight color is all wrong and .. and... it's so lonely, all by itself, with no high-contrast... and it's alone... with four cats ... and it looks so sad ... and no and I'm sorry, I have to excuse myself.... ")

But the very best part (we're back on Erika, now, and her blog-tag, FOLLOW ALONG people) is that it's a literary tag Q&A, which is the perfect time to introduce you to my new secret weapon, a powerful and evil tome which was located in the Self Help aisle. And ... you know. I love me some Self Help aisle! It's so good for getting your crazy on. Right out in public, too, between Travel and Biography. Oh, I joke about the self-help aisle. I make fun of it. But you think I haven't gone there?


But, wait... I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is my simple "stop your whining" Q & A session (because I am not one to talk on an on and on about myself) (ha!):

1) Total number of books in your house:

I have no idea. I'm bad at The Math. Can we get on with the next question?

2) The last book you bought was:

Finally! Now I can get to the part about Self Help. There's a funny story here. No, really, trust me. The entire tale is sort of third-hand information, but still powerful. And maybe a little evil.

Jennifer went to lunch with our mutual friend Amber last week. And Amber and Jen are talking at lunch, chitchat chitchat, and somehow they get on the subject of Careful What You Wish For. (Which is one of my personal favorites, by the way.)

If you want to know how weird internet rumors get started, I believe we're about to witness one in its infancy. So, now, fast forward to Jen and me on my patio, a few days later. Amber? Not present. All the people about to be discussed? Never met them.

Jen (telling me about her lunch with Amber): So, Amber was at Junior League. And the girls are talking about recent books they've read, and specifically a book called... I think, "Power of Intention."

Me: Ok. And?

Jen: Well, one of the girls at Junior League started telling everyone... DO NOT read that book! It's powerful... and evil.

Me: (ears perking up) Yes...?

Jen: So, apparently, the Junior League girl is a real estate agent. And anyway, some guy she sold property to was suing her. Then she read the book, The Power of Intention, and she went to her spiritual advisor* who told her to take the power of intention and focus it back on the bad guy suing her.

(* Yes, a spiritual advisor. Only in L.A., folks. Only in L.A.)

Me: And so what happened?

Jen: He DIED. Three weeks later, alone in his apartment.

Jen: Laurie...? Where are you going? ... hello?

Me: Oh, I have to get a pen. And some paper. Now, what is the name of this book again?

Jen: "The Power of Intention" BUT it's EVIL.

Me: I know! I can't wait!

Jen: Plus, I think it may be self-help, and you HATE self-help.

Me: I know! Even BETTER!

So, ya'll know I totally bought it. And I'm going to read it this weekend. And I'll let you know if it's the powerful evil book we all wish and hope for. (Hello, Mr. X!)



3)What was the last book you read before reading this?

Before I went totally off the deep end into evil yet powerful self-help books, I was reading "The Perfect Storm."

I love this book. I love fishermen, and fishing towns, and boat docks in fishing towns, and tiny diners with strong coffee and fish tales. Coincidentally, I myself am COMPLETELY phobic about boats and won't go near one. Minor detail. I'm fine with small boats, but big boats that travel on the ocean with no land in sight? Those scare me.

Once, I went to Catalina Island for the day with some friends, and to get to Catalina, you have to take a boat. Which I suppose the "island" part should have conveyed, but I swear ... I DID NOT KNOW about the boat. I'm from Texas and you can totally DRIVE to South Padre Island, people!

Oh, I tried to get out of the boat ride. I started out indignant. "Are ya'll trying to prematurely AGE me? Where's the ROAD? I see NO ROAD. There's just a BOAT. You never mentioned a BOAT." Then I slipped into obsessive-compulsive mode, "But there are GERMS and VIRUS spores and glorified PORTAPOTTIES." This produced no noticable results, so I broke out the old tried-and-true, "I'll wait while ya'll go to your deaths in a watery grave."

And they ignored me.

So, on the boat ride to Catalina, which try as I might I could not get out of, I sat on the top deck of the Catalina Flyer with an orange life jacket on. My friends were so embarrassed. Orange totally clashed with everyone's cute outfits, plus, they had to be seen with their friend, THE DORK IN THE LIFE VEST.

But I lived, and that is what matters.

So, I'm not exactly sure why I love love love fishing boats and fishing towns and stuff so much, but I do. There's something so appealing about a tiny town on the ocean, and men on boats, and fish, and rogue waves. And this is a great book, and it even has pictures!


4) Write down 5 (or 6) books you often read or that mean a lot to you.

When I can't sleep, and I'm anxious, and possibly feeling sorry for myself, I read "The Pianist" (the book that inspired the movie) or "The Last Eyewitnesses." Nothing makes you appreciate your good life more than reading about the things others have endured, things you can't even imagine. I am also completely obsessed with anything Jewish, and with World War II, and with Poland.

About once a year, I read "Gone With The Wind" again, and dammit, Scarlett still falls in love with Ashley every time. Stupid Ashley.

My current favorite book is, um, a picture book. BAD CAT. It is truly the funniest book on the planet. I bought it to give to Shannon for her birthday and it never left my house. Sorry, Shan!


5) Who are you going to pass the stick to (three people) and why?

Jennifer ... same five questions, because you love subject matter! And this will give you an opportunity to complain, at length, about law school. Suggestion: Take pics of your enormous books to garner more sympathy.

Crystal ... because I'm stalking you, and you know it. (I called her on Wednesday, and she said, "Laurie, this is becoming a pattern... are you stalking me? Because I will tell SO your parents!")

Anmiryam ... because I thought Gromit would have an interesting perspective on books. And maybe pictures, too :) And I couldn't tag Minou, since dogs don't read. Or do they? But if they do, Minou, you are so tagged.

P.S. Thanks again for all the emails and comments. I'm... blessed. And the nice messages of support ... all ya'll who said you've been there, too ... thank you. You have no idea. You kept me from doing something potentially damaging to my career at work yesterday. ("Hi coworker. You're getting married? Did they mention to you in pre-marital counseling that marriage can suck your soul dry and probably kill you? No? They didn't? Hmmm. Fascinating!")

And note to Dad, I was just joking about the ... you know, the Cheetos thing. Really. I would NEVER do that. Because that would be wrong.

P.P.S. Note to everyone else: It's so wrong it's RIGHT.

Posted by laurie at 11:53 AM

April 21, 2005

I got served.

I'm feeling funny today. No, not hah-hah funny. Just plain old funny. So if you came her for the comedy, come back another day, we're on a comedy hiatus (again).

Last night I arrived home to Chez Spinster to find this:


Divorce papers.
(By the way, my mom will be horrified that I took a picture of my divorce papers and put them on the Internets.)

I knew it was coming, of course. But although I talked to Mr. X several times during Tax Week, he had failed to mention that, oh, you know, he had filed for divorce. When I held the papers in my hand, I didn't even cry. Maybe ... I'm numb? I know I'm profoundly sad. Even when you expect The End and know it's coming, it's a shock.

I did the very best I could. I was young when I got married, but not fresh out of high school or anything. I was old enough to know better. And ya'll, I loved being married. I'm Southern, and old-fashioned, and I wanted to be his wife and wear a ring and love him 'til the day I died. Marriage at a certain age is more than love, it's status and life and adulthood. And I was RIGHT THERE. I was married. And loved it.

We spent almost ten years together, figuring it all out. And I loved him the best I knew how to at the time. I needed love in my life, and still do. I need love in my life. And divorce is crazy, at first you feel like it's killing you. Then you wonder why you aren't DEAD ALREADY. Goddamn, just KILL ME, please!

Because of my family and my friends, I made it through Christmas and New Year's, and every day in between. I have called my parents at midnight, crying. They listened, and then somehow -- I do not know how -- made me laugh. My mom once talked me off the ledge by telling me how my 80-year-old grandma wanted to meet up with Mr. X in a dark alley. My grandma is one tough cookie. And, as my mom pointed out, Mr X. HAS GOT NO BALLS. Her words, ya'll. (My family is the best.) And Jennifer stayed with me during an entire night in which I did nothing but listen to Patsy Cline and drink Jack Daniel's out of a coffee cup.

[I have two fantasies in my mind for how you act when life is hard. 1) You listen to Patsy and drink Jack out of a coffee cup. 2) You lay on the couch and eat Cheetos off your chest. This is my vision of dealing with life. I DO NOT KNOW WHY.]

And after Patsy and Jack and moments of pure weakness ("Please. Don't Go.") he still left and made happy-happy with his new girlfriend and I have our four cats and our memories and oh, yeah, apparently a drinking problem. But I am still alive, and that says something.

I was most afraid of the label. DIVORCED. "Well, you know, she's divorced." The Scarlet letter "D" of failure. And in addition to being old-fashioned, and Southern, I am also a Type A personality and I FINISH what I STARTED. I am an ACHIEVER. Let's be honest ... divorce was not in my game plan.

Unbeknownst to me, divorce sends you on this path of self-exploration that try as you might, you cannot escape. And when I started this fucked-up journey of completely unwanted self discovery, I learned two things. One: You can't be anything but yourself. Two: Life is short, but it is wide.

Before I moved to California, I tried desperately to lose my Southern accent. I wanted to be edu-macated like these west coast folks. After all, who in their right mind would want a loopy dixie girl in their office or in their home? Or in their heart? Or in their bed? In my mind I held an an idea of who I wanted to be and set out to become this person, The New Me. As it turns out, even The New Me with the (sort of) Educated Accent failed, and was imperfect, and ate Cheetos off her chest.

So in the past few months I've just gone back to being the Old Me, she's kinda nutty but I like her. She's country and has an affinity for beer and she's about to be divorced with four cats and some serious debt and very bad taste in music. She's taken up knitting and now apparently talks about herself in the third person. But she's an all right gal. And if people don't like her, or her animals, or her quirks, then fuck them AND their little dogs AND the horse they rode in on. You cannot be something you are not.

All you can be is what you are.
Failures and all.

Posted by laurie at 10:39 AM

April 20, 2005

Oh, and sometimes I talk about knitting.

I have completed the first half of the Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig. It's big. And heavy. And it is miles and miles of totally boring stockinette, which I love! Love you knit stitch! I can watch TV and drink (Dad: lemonade) (everyone else: as if!) and knit away because this gigantic project of mine has no pattern, no colorwork, no purling, just some knitting in the round. You advanced knitters will find this project the most boring thing you have ever laid eyes upon. Unless you are crazy cat people (ha! don't act like you're not! I have seen all your catster pages!) and then you may think this is a cool project.

Your opinion on this project cannot deter me, however, since I am in this for the long haul. In fact, this project may be the WORST idea I have ever had, but I am totally committed to it. Kind of like my marriage. Whoops! Did I say that out loud?

Yesterday, my knitting bag was bulging over with the ginormous mystery project, and one of my coworkers asked me what I was making. I pulled it out of my bag and explained the Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig concept to my office mates. Big Mistake. Helpful Coworker #1 pointed out that I was going to an awful lot of effort to knit something that I could just BUY. At a store. And then Helpful Coworker #2 piped up that, you know, wouldn't it be CHEAPER to just purchase the item at a pet store? And FASTER? And also, it would probably look better, too.

Thank you, Helpful Coworkers. Now, let me explain a few things to you.

Hi! Guess what! Knitting is not the cheapest way to get a pair of socks. Or a sweater. Or a scarf. Or ANYTHING. In fact, if you're thinking, "Self, maybe I should take up knitting so I can save money on clothes..." then you should probably back away from the computer, slowly, and make an immediate detour to the closest yarn store in your neighborhood. Then watch in awe as your credit cards vibrate. Pick up a ball of your favorite yarn, look at the price. Multiply that by 10 or 11 or 15 for a sweater. Even a scarf can cost you $60 if you, like some people we know who shall remain unnamed, select a Filatura di Crosa yarn called Tokyo (ahem) for your first ever project.

No, I do not knit for the ROI, nor for the cost effectiveness of handknit vs. store bought. I do not knit because it's the fastest way to get a scarf. I do not knit because I am a great knitter.

I knit so that my hands and mind will be occupied with miles and miles of stockinette. When my hands are busy, it becomes much harder to drunk dial Mr. X and tell him that God has spoken to me, and God says Mr. X is bad, and should be punished, and that probably his new girlfriend has a social disease that has no cure. And probably he has it too, even though she is probably faking it just like I did, and by the way, God is the one telling me this, it's not because I'm bitter. Or drinking. With my four cats.

This, folks, is why I knit.

Posted by laurie at 10:23 AM

April 19, 2005

Just another act perpetrated by The Man

I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

So, yesterday was a relatively uneventful day. Go to work, attend some meetings, drink some coffee, ponder the design of a banner ad, you know... the usual. At 5 p.m., I walked outside and waited for my bus. La la la.

The bus was late, which is not uncommon. But it was cool, I had my headphones on, and I was rockin' out to TOTO. Toto, ya'll. That's just sad. (But in my defense, it was on the radio, not on the iPod.) "I bless the rains down in Africa......"

Anyway, the bus arrived. Everything was normal. I found a seat near the front, about five rows in. Before long, I was getting into a little busriding-knitting-Toto groove when some crazy lady, disguised as a normal bus rider, turned to me and started complaining.

Crazy: (blah blah muffle shshsh blah)

Me: (takes off headphones) Whu...?

Crazy: Can you TURN that stuff DOWN? I can HEAR it coming from your HEADPHONES.

Me: Uh... hu..? You can hear music from inside my headphones, two rows away?

Crazy: I had to sit RIGHT NEXT to a girl all day today BLASTING those headphones and you people are so rude, and I couldn't tell her to turn them off and blah blah blah blah

Me: Um, I'm going to move now.

So, I moved to the back of the bus, because Crazy Lady wasn't about to shut up and frankly, she was ruining my Toto experience. Then the bus made more rounds, and picked up more passengers, and we all got on the freeway to go home to our beloved valley. Then the bus caught on fire.

Wait, did you catch that part?


The engine is in the back of the bus -- not in the front -- and I, too, was seated in the back of the bus (thanks, Crazy Lady) which has only one exit. Located, of course, in the front. And before long, smoke starts filling the bus and then Crazy Lady starts screaming OH MY GOD WE'REGONNADIE. Which, if you think about it, isn't a completely unrealistic response to your bus being on fire, but it would be a hell of a lot more effective to scream while hauling ass off the burning bus.

Ah, but no. That is not what happened. Because that would be logical.

Crazy Lady starts freaking out, which causes other people to panic, and everyone loses their damn minds and tries to stampede the door, and had the bus been MORE on fire, yours truly would have been a crispy pork rind on the 6 o'clock news. Luckily, the bus was more of a slow simmer than a raging fire, so I managed to get out (FINALLY) and stand with thirty other people in the middle of the I-5 at rush hour while smoke pours out from the bus.

You may not think this is a big big deal. Before I myself moved to this insane city, I DID NOT KNOW FROM TRAFFIC. Standing out on the side of a road wouldn't be super smart, but certainly not life-threatening. But freeways here are impossible to describe. Twelve lanes, bumper-to-bumper. Honking. Gesturing. Occassional shooting. And the 5 (by the way, everyone here calls freeways "The Five" "The Four-Oh-Five"" "The Ten" ... I don't get it either, I just play along) anyway, the I-5 runs the length of the entire state of California and is full of truckers and cars and fumes and now, apparently, buses on fire. It is a very busy freeway, probably the busiest in the whole entire world (heh) and there we are, standing on a median, watching the traffic of an entire city come to a crawl before our eyes. And people started honking at us. (That wouldn’t be my first reaction to seeing a bus on fire, but then again, I am not an idiot.)

So, let's recap. I'm on the bus. The bus is on the freeway. Rush hour. Downtown Los Angeles. Crazy people disguised as normal people. Bus catches on fire. We stand on freeway. People honk.

What now? Well, is it just me or does this seem like an awesome time to break out the camera and start taking pics!




Before long, the cute (and brave and strong and did I say cute?) firemen have extinguished the bus. The bus is no longer on fire, engulfed in smoke, so the cute (hot, strong, smart) firemen decide it's safer for us to get back on the bus and wait inside rather than wait on the freeway. Good call. So, we get on the bus and we wait.

And we wait.

And we wait.

And before long, Crazy Lady starts yelling at the nice lady bus driver. Crazy Lady suggests that the Los Angeles Department Of Transportation needs to send taxicabs out to get us if they aren't sending a bus. (Because, YES, the city can really afford to send a fleet of taxis out to get us when they can't afford to maintain their own buses, which catch on FIRE.) Yet Crazy is just yelling, yap yap yap. Before long she is joined in this bitchfest by Crazy Lady #2, and also Crazy Man. They start yelling and complaining and threatening the driver, who is at this point barely keeping it all together.

After another 25 minutes of sitting on a semi-smoky bus in the middle of the I-5, the Sheriff's department arrives. Followed ten minutes later by the California Highway Patrol. But yet ... no bus. We have basically every public service on the scene EXCEPT another bus. Or a mechanic.


The Highway Patrol Officer, also HOT, was obviously not happy about a large, disabled bus blocking the Golden State freeway for over an hour during rush hour. He made the driver call her dispatch office again, and he took the phone from her.

Cute CHP Officer: If you don't send a relief bus and a tow truck in ten minutes, I will have the Highway Patrol tow service impound your bus, and the driver will come with us.
Bus Driver: (sniffle)
Crazy People: Yeah! They should all be FIRED! Blah blah blah (yelling)
Cute CHP: Ok, ok, now, everyone just calm down.

Ten minutes pass.

CHP Officer to Bus Driver Lady: Ma'am, I need you to call your dispatch again. It's been ten minutes.
Bus Driver Lady: (small voice) OK.
CHP: (on phone) We have a tow truck coming, your bus will be impounded and your driver is going to have to come with us. (more talking)
Crazy People: Yeah! Tell them they should all go to jail! This is criminal! We've been waiting here blah blah blah....

Finally, FINALLY, after almost two hours in the middle of the freeway, another bus comes to rescue us. I was one of the last people off the old, smoky bus and as I walked by the lady driver, her eyes were red and her hands were shaking. I felt so awful for her. So I put my hand an her arm and said, "Oh, it's fine! Don't worry! You did a great job! Those crazy people are just mean. You were awesome!" And then she started crying. Bawling. She just put her head on her steering wheel and cried. And I knew exactly how she felt. You know that moment? You're holding it all together -- just barely – and then some random person shows you one shred of human kindness and you just lose it. Cry cry cry. I have been there so many times, and I felt so awful for her I almost started crying myself. She did her best. It wasn’t her fault the bus caught on fire.

So, after some back-patting and Kleenex-shuffling, I got off the old, on-fire bus and onto the new not-on-fire bus. The woman sitting beside me saw my face, and the Kleenex.

Lady: What's wrong?

Me: She was so upset! The bus driver. She was crying. And she has to go with the law now. I feel so bad for her!

Lady: I know. And did you hear her telling the officer how it was her first day?

Me: What?

Lady: Yes. I know! It was her very first day on the job!

NO WAY. I cannot believe it ... I may have finally found someone who has worse luck than I do. I did not think it possible. And I felt so bad for her, and so upset about seeing her cry on her first day (and here I should mention it was waaaaay past cocktail hour for old Aunt Purl) and I right then and there I just broke ghetto on the bus and started to get my own crazy on.

I stood up -- on the bus -- and said to the mean, bitchy Crazy People seated in front of me, YA'LL SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES. That bus driver did her very best and she was CRYING and it was her FIRST DAY ON THE JOB and ya'll were horrible mean to her and you should be ASHAMED.

Oh yes, yes I did. I said it. Out loud. And all the sudden Crazy Lady #1, Crazy Lady #2 and Crazy Guy were quiet as little mouses. Didn't even turn around. Wouldn't even look to see who was calling them out (which was me, Crazy Lady #3, apparently.)

But can you imagine? Your first day as a bus driver and your bus catches on fire and you have insane crazy passengers and the Department of Transportation won't send you a backup bus and then the law comes and hauls you off with the bus. And then you cry. And all your passengers have been sitting on the I-5 for two hours. And traffic is a nightmare. And everyone is yelling and carrying on and oh yeah, THE BUS WAS ON FIRE.

Really. You just can't make this stuff up.

Posted by laurie at 10:58 AM

April 18, 2005

Because Weekends Were Made For Fun

Ikea had a big tax-free shopping event over the weekend, so you know where I was bright and early Saturday morning:

Hello, crowds!

Ikea Burbank was PACKED. You'd have thought they were giving crack away with the Billy bookcases, and although every cash register was open, the lines were still 15 people deep. There was also a lot of sneezing. (Have you noticed the amount of sneezing in public these days? Shameful. Germs! Germs!) but I persevered, all for my TAX FREE Ikea stuff that I spent the rest of the weekend putting together. ("Jennifer, does this sexless little Swedish drawing of a person look like he/she is putting the rolly thingies on the front or the back?") ("I am so confused. Can't someone just bring me a drink? This instruction manual will make a good coaster.") ("Ya'll, I'm tired. Ikea just wore me out.")

Here is Bob, being fabulous and furry all over the new Ikea chair which I plan to use as an office chair, not as a catbed:


Notice he is accompanied by four balls of Crystal Palace "Iceland" wool yarn in hot pink and orange that I got at Unwind. I plan to make a cable scarf out of the hot pink using Annie Modesitt's "Breakin' The Rules!" method of cabling without a cable needle. The orange is for Shannon's hat. One day Shannon will have an orange hand-knitted fabulous wool hat, and though she will likely see it created every step of the way here, she will act excited and surprised and oh my! Is that a hat? For meeee? Won't you, Shan?

One more Bob/Chair/Yarn pic:

(Is there anything better than a still life
with cute cat, new Ikea chair and YARN?)

On Saturday evening, after spending a long day working my ass off ... oh, I mean shopping at Ikea and deciphering Swedish instruction manuals ... I decided it was time to move into the kitchen for phase two of Saturday: Evening Dinner Party. Unfortunately, by this time it was already 4 p.m. and the brisket I had planned to slow cook was still sitting in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic. Not a good start. It was too late to run out to the store for a substitute main dish, as I had already started cocktail hour (it's 5 o'clock somewhere, geez) and so it was into the freezer and pantry we go for the adventure I like to call "Diving For Dinner!"

You know, I need to interject at this point that when I was living with my husband, I cooked dinner every night and did the dishes and, OK, yes... granted, Mr. X. only ate three things (ravioli, pizza, hamburgers) but still. I worked within my boundaries. Every night! After he left, I tried to find at least one good thing about being single, and I decided it was the freedom to cook anything I wanted. Anything! I! Wanted! So, then ... what did I want? After much thinking and a glass or two of wine, I decided I wanted to cook something Mr. X really hated. Like scallions. He hated scallions. So, for two months, I put scallions in every single dish (not as easy as one might think.)

I was convinced that being single meant the liberation of my true inner chef, the one who had been struggling to break free of ravioli from a can. Well, we're still waiting for liberation. Inner chef, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?

Cooking seems like such a great diva thing to do ("Come on over! We'll whip up some Chicken Marsala and crème brulee!") but in reality cooking is hard. Oh for you, maybe not. But for me, who is suffering from a serious bout of CRS (Can't Remember Shit), cooking is a challenge. Which is why, once again on a Saturday evening I find myself serving guests a meal of trailer park proportions.

Green bean casserole and tater tots.

For dinner.


Jennifer is a good sport. She claims to love tater tots! Loves my green bean casserole! But really. I'm such an amazing hostess. Notice the paper plates I make my guests use at my house:


Actually, this is all strategy, you see. I am setting their expectations low, so that when Inner Chef magically appears (ANY MOMENT NOW) my friends will be completely floored by the amazing meal I just whip up effortlessly (notice how obsessed I am with whipping things up. I yearn to be a whipper-upper!) One evening, my friends will arrive expecting the usual assortment of completely mismatched, overcooked dinner food I always serve and the will bow down to me in astonishment as I parade in front of them... something. Oh God, I'm so hopeless I cannot even think of a fantastic meal idea for Inner Chef to make. But anyway, something really fancy. Something that does not contain Lipton's Onion Soup mix, Ketchup or French's fried onions. That's right, folks. Not even a potato bud! I will make a meal out of real spices and hydrated ingredients.

And when that day comes, you will be the first to know.

Posted by laurie at 10:17 AM

April 15, 2005

Conversation is so overrated.

This starts out like a boring work story but ends up with porn. So, anyway, Hi Dad! Now stop reading!

There is a project manager at work who schedules OBSCENELY early meetings. I had to get up out of my warm bed, on a Friday morning thankyouverymuch, and go to work at this absurd hour, which means I stumbled into the shower with one sock on, and then wasted twenty minutes under the hot water trying to wake myself up, which created an enormous steam cloud, which set off the smoke detector in my hallway, which sent the cats into a frenzy, which made me leave my house with one pant leg covered in cat fur and nothing at all to look forward to in the world.

Then I stood in line in the freezing cold early morning (OK, maybe it was 52 degrees, but in Los Angeles that is FREEZING COLD) and I frowned a lot. And I dreamed of coffee from a spigot flowing directly into my mouth.

Then the bus came.

And HOLY BUS DRIVER, BATMAN, the super cute amazingly HOTT bus driver who drives the 8 a.m. bus also drives the 6 a.m. route. And don't you know suddenly I was digging in my bag for lipstick and doing some casual hair-flipping. At 6 a.m. Oh yes. Oh yes I did.

I tried to knit a few rows on my Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig but then I think HE was checking me out in the rearview mirror (shutup, he totally was) and so I got all daring and smiled at him. Which either freaked him out (stalker spinster) or he liked it. We may never know.

Also, I sort of suspect he's 18. Hello, little boy! Would you like some candy? From my pocket? But honestly, not much knitting got accomplished. Because you know, I was having to think about BIG, STRONG ARMS and CUTE, ADORABLE DIMPLES and at the same time trying to appear all mysterious and aloof and cool. (By the way, it's really hard to look mysterious when you're 5-foot-two, chubby, blonde and wearing a Hello Kitty T-shirt. And still half asleep. And are covered in cat hair from the knees down. But whatever.)

If the hard work of looking mysterious and exotic were not enough, I have competition for the PYT Bus Driver. My opponent is blonde, too, but she's married and has three kids (I know this because she is a Loud Talker and we end up on the same bus a few times a week.) It's funny, though, when PYT is driving, she sits right up front and never mentions Darling Husband and Darling Three Children. (Sure it's "funny" all right. If by "funny" you mean BACK OFF WOMAN, HE IS MINE.) And that little spitfire was sitting up front and center this morning, trying to chat up PYT. Of course, his grasp of the Queen's English is tenuous, so it was more like:

Lady in heat: Hi! Good morning! How are you this morning?
HOTT Bus Driver: Hey. (gives the Cholo head-nod)
Lady: So! It's Friday! Big plans for the weekend?
HOTT BD: Ah, nah, you know.
Lady: Hmmm.
Lady: So! How long have you been driving the bus?
HOTT BD: This is the first bus of the day.
Lady: Whu..? Oh. OK. So! Do they let you plan your own routes?
HOTT BD: Uh, a little.
Lady: Because it seems like some drivers take the 101 the whole way, and some take the 5 to the 134 to the 101. So I was just curious what you think.
HOTT BD: Uh, yeah, just whatever looks good.

And so on.

Look, I'm not saying he's a great conversationalist. I don't need conversation, people. I talk to myself all day and I'm great company! I'm more into this for the ... the dimples. Besides, I had eight years of trying to talk to a man. Now, I'm ready for, you know, the not talking part. I'm just saying, ya'll. Talking is waaaaay overrated.

And because this is a knitting website (hmmmm) and because you know my dad totally did NOT stop reading, I leave you with YARN PORN.

Pics of my recent mini-stash acquisition:




Have a great weekend! I'll just be over here looking mysterious and exotic! Oh, and if any of ya'll are going to Stitch Cafe for the sale this weekend, drop me a line. Or comment here. I'll comment back. Ya'll know how I am.

Posted by laurie at 10:43 AM

April 14, 2005

Don't go there, I mean it.

Let's just go ahead and acknowledge the obvious. After what I am about to tell you, there is no way I will ever go out on a date. (See related keywords: four cats, spinster divorceé, Betty Ford Clinic.)

You see, Shannon has lost her mind. And not only has she lost her mind, she has caused me to lose my mind (and the last shreds of self-respect and date-ability I had) as well.

(ring, ring)

Me: Hey.

Shannon: Hey! Oh, good! It's you!
(I think this is so sweet, right, she's so happy it's me! wants to talk to me!)

Me: Yes, it's me!

Shannon: I have to tell you what I've been doing for the last three hours, because you'll know! You'll get it, you'll understand since you're a crazy cat lady!

Me: Whu...? Ok. Yeah, thanks. What have you been doing?

Shannon: I went to Catster! It's like Friendster, but for cats, and now all my cats have profiles and diaries! And people can send email to your cats and add them to their Catster list and they pick a pet of the week. One of my cats must be Pet Of the Week!
(Shannon is a Capricorn. She's very goal-oriented.)

Me: This sounds like crossing the line. And you know, I'm sort of at that place where you wonder when your life went wrong and the 5 o'clock News is filming your house, where they're carrying out the cages of 32 cats and a ferret, and your neighbors are on camera talking about the time you wore your bra on your head.

Shannon: Pet of the week! I'm on deadline, and yet I just spent three hours setting up blogs for all the cats! Wheeeee!

Me: Ah. Ok. What's this thing called again?

So of course, I had to go on Catster and make pages for my cats, because I can't be the only one of my friends without a Catster page. (Is that a bandwagon I spy? Must hop on!) But don't go to the website, really, I'm warning you. It's addictive. Once you start, you can't stop! Thus proving once again the internets are good only for the following:

- porn
- wasting time
- shopping while in your underwear
- porn

And proving once again that I am indeed a crazy cat lady and I have Issues only manageable through heavy medication. Anyway. I can't post more because I have to go photoshop my cats so they will be Pet of The Week. Sorry, Shan! I love you, but we're talking Pet Of The Week, here. Game on!



Update! Update!

Thursday 4/14/2005, 1 p.m. -- Updated to add:

I finally finished everyone's catster pages. But I forgot to post the links! Post your Catster pages, too, so I can put your cats in my Kitty Corral. Because I am a freak. WHO WILL NEVER BE ASKED OUT ON A DATE AGAIN. But I have Catster pages! Oh yes I do!

My crazy cat lady pages:
Sobakowa | Roy | Bob | Frankie

Shannon's crazy cat lady pages (hers have diaries!):
Shelby | Leona | Nike | Jack, Jr. (the cutest cat ever!)

Posted by laurie at 9:43 AM

April 13, 2005

What's the plural of dumbass? Dumaii?

1. You know what would be great? It would be great if I did not have to take my car into the shop once a week. Yeah that would be great. Almost as great as finding a naked man named Armando ... or maybe Jake ... doing the dishes for you, and then begging you to let him clean the toilet. Oh, wait, I must be having an acid trip! Because THAT could really happen. HA! Anyway, I had to take my Jeep back to the mechanic yesterday, the same mechanic who FIXED my smog problem for $800 a mere two weeks ago but apparently BROKE something else. I should probably take my car somewhere else, but the mechanic is cute and also, in case you did not get the memo, I am a dumbass.


You may be asking yourself, Self, what was wrong with her Jeep this time? I asked myself that as well. So I looked at my invoice. There, I discovered what the diagnosis was:


Yes, indeed. My car had the great misfortune of ... being broken.

2. You know what else would be great? It would be great if filling up the tank of my brokedown Jeep did not cost me more than a pair of Ugg boots. Because while Star magazine keeps trying to tell folks that Uggs are out of style, no one in Los Angeles is paying them one bit of attention. We are, however, getting royally screwed on gas prices.


Or maybe this is all a plot by the government to make Californians so broke they cannot buy more Uggs, thereby stopping the trend. Marnie commented that in some parts of Los Angeles close to the Marina, gas prices are going over THREE DOLLARS a gallon. We Californians officially pay more for gasoline than anyone else in the United States, including Hawaiians. How is it that gas is cheaper in Hawaii where you have to tank that stuff out on a boat across hundreds of miles of ocean? Can anyone explain this to me? I totally blame this on George Bush. I love to blame things on him. And Mr. X. Damn them both.

3. While I was getting my broken car unbroken, I walked across the street to the Studio City Bookstar and of course you know what section I was in, right?


Oh, just kidding. You know I was really over in the self-help aisle getting my crazy on. All those self-help books are written for women, and basically they all have the exact same theme ("Learning To Love The Fucked-Up Man.") Apparently other women have noticed this trend and decided to take back the self-help aisle:


4. Annie Modesitt wrote about my blog entry on her blog. I told ya'll we were BEST FRIENDS. Just ignore the thing she wrote in my comments about getting a restraining order on me, she's was just joshing. What a sense of humor. We're BFF! L.Y.L.A.S., Annie! (Oh, you may not know what that means, but ask your eight-year old, she will.) (Because I have the maturity of an eight-year-old, apparently.)

5. My Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig is going just fine, except that even though I painstakingly measured the gauge, I may have been drinking, and it may be too big.

6. Luckily, I have really enormous cats.

7. I will likely cry when I realize I have spent over $1000 on my Jeep this month.

8. I will likely die alone in a debtor's prison.

9. On Monday, I was stalking all my imaginary friends online, and I embarrassed myself on someone's blog, AGAIN. Also, I did not know it was against Blog Etiquette to post responses on your own blog. I blame this on ya'll for not telling me. In my defense, I did not know the Blog Law. And also, in my defense, I am a dumbass. When I finally figured out how to install movable type I almost peed my pants. Then, when people finally left comments, you know. I was so excited! Pee, pee, pee! Then I posted back, on my own comments, because we're all just having a conversation, right? I did not know this was wrong. What do you think? What do ya'll do? Do you email people? How does this work? For the love of God, people, tell me!

10. Apparently some people have their website all set up so it emails them when comments are left. I do not have this. (See: "I am a dumbass" above.) A few folks have emailed me off a comment I left them and I just assumed they were a bunch of rad hackers with mad skillz. I did not know The Blog Law.

11. Either my clothes all shrunk, or I have gotten fatter.

12. Isn't it funny how your clothes all shrink at once? My dryer must be a powerful thing.

13. Now I am afraid to leave comments here, or anywhere.

14. That won't stop me, though!

15. Yesterday was Mr. X's birthday. I didn't know what to do. We aren't divorced yet and he has a girlfriend and it's all a big old mess. And you wonder why I drink. But it's his birthday and for the past ten years I have celebrated it. So I called and left him a brief "happy birthday!" message. Then I felt like a dumbass. (Again.) Then I wondered where he was that he couldn't answer a happy birthday call from me, his wife of many years, who once made him a cake out of snickerdoodles. Then I felt myself going to the bad place and promptly bought stuff I cannot afford online to make myself feel better.

16. Jennifer at JenLa meme'd me. Ok, here goes. What I did on my summer vacation: Oh wait, wrong question! Why I love my job: I love my job because I have great hours and have a really kind boss. Plus, I have a cool title, Art Director. "Put the art there... no.. over there! Yes! fab-yoo-lus dahlink!"

17. Sponsor La, half of JenLa, in her amazing knit-and-walk-and-run.

18. Scan newspapers for tales of knitting-related injuries in the Los Angeles Revlon Run/Walk.

19. Understand that I am socially awkward and have no idea how to work the Internets. This is a bad combination. But also know that I read every comment and email and stalk you blog-style and plan to show up on each of your doorsteps one day asking for cake. For example, "Hi Annie! Can I have some cake?"

20. Not a day goes by that my cats do not astound me with their cuteness and good taste in literature:


So there you have it. Car trouble. Sadness. Gauge gone wrong. More times I embarass myself, cry, spend money and generally carry on like a baby. And it's only Wednesday! Anyone want some leftover meatloaf?

Posted by laurie at 10:20 AM

April 11, 2005

I met Annie Modesitt! Oh, and learned to cable, too!

Are ya'll the most jealous you have ever been? GOOD! Because yesterday I did the coolest thing ever, I took a class at Unwind with knitting goddess Annie Modesitt, who traveled all the way from New Jersey just to show me how to cable without a cable needle! Oh, and she showed some other people too. But mostly for me! Shut up, she totally did!

For weeks I have talked about my "Cabling Without A Cable Neeedle" class to all my friends, whose eyes glazed over with a look of painful boredom, but did I stop talking? Ha! No way Jose. I tried to explain to my non-knitting friends that she's like... a knitting legend. It's as if you were taking guitar lessons from Jimmy Hendrix. Only with less LSD and pot on hand.

And Annie is so funny (notice how I am now on a first name basis with her?) and she's smart and energetic and patient (and I can wear a person out, with all the talking and the talking ... but she has an eight-year old daughter, so she was very patient with me. Yes I am a grown adult. Moving along.)

Annie Modesitt helping class member Bernadette:

And the other people in the class were so nice. Everyone just chatted and cabled and helped each other out. Except.. oh, ok ... there might have been this one woman who was not so much into it. When I arrived I took the only remaining seat at the table (at the left hand of Annie, the weight and portent of which were not lost upon me, ya'll I was seated at the left hand of Annie Modesitt) and anyway, another woman beside me at the table (seated to MY left) ... well, she just up and left five minutes into the class. Apparently being seated at the left hand of crazy old Aunt Purl is not quite the same religious experience. I'm not one to be paranoid (ha!) but do you think when she found out I was Southern she immediately had to flee? Was it something I said? Did she recognize me and my evil Internet ways? Or was it when I tried to convince the class that Texas was an alright place because of sweet tea? Was she on one of those carb diets and the mere mention of sweet tea sent her on a bender? It was so weird. She just... left. No goodbye, nothing. Just... poof.

All the nice ladies in class (click for bigger images):

After the mystery disappearing act, class became very entertaining. Especially when we all tried to read from a chart. And do yarn overs. Somehow I got tricked into using teeny size 8 needles (newsflash: I am such a beginner) but I was so nervous to do a good job for Annie, goddess of knitting, that I did not even complain, and ya'll know how I am.

And look, I made a faux cable here:

[click for bigger pic]

After another row of garter stitch to separate the swatch, and I made cables! Real cables... without a cable needle. Which I suppose I should have gathered from the title of the class, but sometimes you get a wee bit skeptical of your knitting ability.

My amazin' cables:

[click for bigger pic]

During the class, Annie was endlessly funny. She alternated between calling her stitches "hot tramps" and "pretty girls who did not get asked to dance" and occassionally referred to her left needle as Hot Dude Brad Pitt, all the while working in some knitting philosophy. She had a keen observation about knitting mistakes -- she says that messing up is actually really, really good so you can learn from your errors. I was a superb student, too, since messing up is my specialty (see: whole life, esp. four cats, divorce, one potty mouth.)

And let's face it, a sense of humor is critical in knitting, especially my knitting ("Oh, looky here, I'm knitting this whole thing inside out. Isn't that funny!") Sometimes knitting books and classes can be a bit ... dull. Know what I mean? There's a lot of very technical stuff in knitting, and I can definitely appreciate that, but to me the whole joy of making fabric from string and chopsticks is the sheer surprise of seeing it all come together, a handmade wonder, knots and all.

With her sense of humor, she was speaking a language I could get, it all made sense to me. Because if you listen to me knit (oh yeah! I knit out loud, it's so so charming, for the first five seconds. Then you want to kill me.) Anyway, after listening to me struggle with a pattern, you will eventually begin to think that "Fuck!" is a type of knit stitch. As in, "Ok, here I knit one, purl two, yarn over, FUCK! knit two more ..." Not that Annie Modesitt said the F-word, she's way too goddess-y for that. Even though I may have accidentally done my knit-out-loud thing once or twice in class, no one so much as shot me a mean glance. And she was such an amazing knitter, lightening fast, and witty, and kind, and even though she probably thought I was a total stalker ("Hi! I watched you on TV! Hi! I love your website!") she never even tried to call the cops once. I have to go now, because I have to write her an email. How does this sound? It's my third draft.

Dear Annie, Class was so fun. I'm not stalking you, promise! OK yes maybe I have now decided to move to New Jersey, but I swear it's not 'cause you live there. It's not! I'm only moving there for the... uh.... the cake. That's right! The cake is really good there. So anyway, want to hang out sometime? Like next week? When I move to your town?

Your Best Friend Laurie

Posted by laurie at 7:52 AM

April 10, 2005

Help for the clueless? Anyone? Bueller?

My swatch is completed, though with the amount of imbibing that went on around here last night I am as shocked as you are. By the way, it was all Jennifer. What a boozer! (Ha!)

So, I have a question. When you're knitting a swatch and measuring the gauge for your Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig, and you have two stitches per inch plus a smidge, do you just say it's two stitches? or do you have to add in a percentage, like 2.1 or something?

My swatch, resting on Britney's bikini-clad self:

And a close-up:

Also, Do you want to know what an AMAZING and TALENTED hostess I am? Oh please. You doubters! So, I decided to have a little dinner thing at my house last night, and this time I thought I should actually make dinner. (See: serving your guests potato chips as a main course.) And for whatever reason, this dinner seemed like a completely achievable idea. Perhaps it was the wine talking. We may never know.

There's so much an AMAZING hostess must do. First, one must go to the grocery store. The real grocery store, you know, not the 7-11 (shutup, you HAVE TOO bought groceries at 7-11.) And then you have to stray from the frozen foods aisle. Then you come home, and whip up a little masterpiece, I called mine "meatloaf."

Only, something went wrong. Perhaps it was around the time I totally forgot I was making dinner and sat on the patio just chatting and drinking and so on.

Now, I present to you our main course:


And you know what I served with it? Potato Buds. And Bud Light. And you know how classy I am? I served in on paper plates. (That's klassy with a "k" if you know what I mean.) But I have good friends who don't mind my cooking, once you get 'em liquored up enough:

Still life with Jen, paper plate, and meatloaf.

Thanks in advance for the gauge help, ya'll. How can I repay you? Oh, I know! Want some leftover meatloaf? I think if you put ketchup on it it'll be just great. Or maybe if you have a beer first that would help. Ahem.

Posted by laurie at 4:27 PM

That $2.56 a gallon looks good about now.


This photo was taken in Studio City on my way home today. File this under "reasons people can be glad they don't live in Los Angeles." TWO DOLLARS and SIXTY SEVEN cents a gallon for regular. COME ON PEOPLE.

I was totally against invading Iraq, and I mean no disrespect to the men and women over there, since half my high school seems to be serving in one desert or another this very moment. (Love you guys!) I simply didn't think we should put my hometown folks in the Guard out there in harm's way. Now, that's just my opinion (and no one listened to me, or offered me a job in the Pentagon by the way. Even though I have more opinions than you can shake a stick at.) Everyone has an opinion.

But, you know (oh, they are so going to revoke my "Bleeding Heart Liberal" club card after this remark) ... now that all is said and done, and we invaded and so on, shouldn't we be paying 80 cents a gallon for gas? I'm just saying, is all. Because someone is getting rich off this somewhere. And it isn't me. And it isn't the soldiers. And it isn't you. Oh, I mean unless your last name is Cheney. In which case, "Hi! Glad you read my blog. Now stop screwing with us! Ok?"

Posted by laurie at 3:49 PM

My... what a big eye you have, Bob.


Posted by laurie at 1:09 AM

April 9, 2005

Cute cute!

Yes, I maybe had a few cocktails when Jen was over here tonight and now I am posting pictures like a four year old on a movable type high, shutup.

Cute knitting bag alert! Saw it at Target today when I was Al-Quaida'ing the knitting kits. The interior bag comes out, so it's just a clear vinyl baguette, and long enough even for 14" needles. It's Isaac Mizrahi (am I spelling that right? too lazy to check online, hiccup!) and it was about $20.



Posted by laurie at 11:33 PM

If this is Saturday, we must be in Target!

Yesterday, I posted not one but two whole diatribes on my issues, and I provided what I thought was quite the public service announcement to people explaining the "dooced" phenomenon, which I myself just recently discovered because I've been way too busy being depressed and drinking and functioning as the mouthpiece of Satan to bone up on popular culture, but anyway. And you know the email response I got? Amazing. Volume. You know what it said?

"Tell me more about the Target and the knitting and the pre-made kits and, oh, the Target! I love the Target! I love the knitting!"

So, ya'll, when you get dooced, don't come crying to me. All I am is your Target-enabling lackey.

Also, you know I can't sleep so I'm one of those nerdy freaks who is at Target at 8 a.m., long before the crowds and ketchup-covered children arrive. And before you laugh at me and my spinster-can't-sleep ways, just know I risked getting apprehended by the po-po and getting sent off to Target Jail for photographing the goods. You'll have to excuse the quality of the images, I was trying to be all covert and cool. Even so, I'm fairly certain the security guard thought I was an operative for Al-Quaida who was photographing the knitting kits for a possible terrorism attack.

Click on everything here to see it bigger!

This is the Target where I found the kits, it's on 5711 Sepulveda Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, just a few blocks north of Burbank. It's the two-story one with the decent parking structure, click here for a map.

As you walk into the store, keep going straight and you'll see an end display on your left, sandwiched between Home Office stuff and Gifts, that is loaded with knitting kits. (Also, check out the Isaac Mizrahi stuff on the aisle next door ... sooo cute!)

Baby beanie and dickie kit(ACK), super cute bikini set, except, I don't know, there's not enough yarn in that swimsuit kit to hold in all my parts, know what I mean?

Cat and dog toys (Ashley has a better pic of these and a whole opinion on the dog toy on her blog); Striped summer tote

Wine bottle cozy, knitted belt kit, furry boa.

Pet bed, so cute and fuzzy! Also, are ya'll noticing I tried to get the price in these pics? Also, are you noticing the horrible flash spots on these pics? Because it would be great if you wouldn't mention that part. Moving on.

A little knitted purse in two color options, and a "techno" tote.

A summer shawl kit. Eh. Verdict's out on this one.

Summer halter... I think this had some beading, too.

And finally, the yoga mat holder. Because if knitting is the new yoga, then the old yoga needs something knitted to stay relevant. This looked so cute I almost bought it but then I remembered I haven't done yoga in about three years, ever since I gave up exercising for Lent that one time.

And this ends our mad photo shoot inside the Sherman Oaks Target. Also, in other crazy cat lady news, can I just tell you I went to the Home Depot and after seven years of wandering in the desert with no manna and no Jesus, I finally out of blind luck stumbled upon the very thing I needed to create my Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig? I did! And it only cost me $7.50! This is going to be the best, or possibly the ugliest, knitting project EVER.

Of course now I have to do this thing the fancypants French call a "swatch" (oooh la la!) and then I have to measure and ponder and do some math and if my brain does not explode from the pressure of such pursuits, I will begin knitting. Ya'll, knitting is hard. Only smart people like us can do it.

Oh, and if you ever go to Target to take pictures of knitting kits for your imaginary friends on the internet, be sure that you FIRST put away the other things you bought at the store that day, like say... you know, the toilet paper. So that when you are amusing yourself to no end with your digital camera and you are all sucked into your computer, you don't emerge hours later to find this:

Thanks, cats.

Posted by laurie at 12:56 PM

Yes, that's $2.56 a gallon. For regular.


Posted by laurie at 11:27 AM

Google your house, spooky-style

If you haven't already checked it out, go to http://maps.google.com and enter your address in the search box. Then, click on the hyperlink at the top right side of the page that says "Satellite" for an aerial view of you house. Freaky!

Posted by laurie at 8:24 AM

April 8, 2005


In a desperate attempt to be a better person, one whose bitter, dying soul isn't the mouthpiece of Satan, I have tried my hardest to stay away from more tales of youknowwho.

Today, I meet with failure. Hi, Failure, nice to meet you... again!

But so what, I fail! It isn't like I haven't failed at grander pursuits (like ... oh... say, marriage). She's evil! I can't help myself! Flames of hell ... I can feel you licking at my feet....

Snip! snip, snip, snip!

And now a little note from your crazy old Aunt Purl:

Did ya'll know you can get fired for writing things about people on your website? Even if you change the names to protect the not-so-innocent? Oh yes. That's what Jennifer says, and she's completed almost a whole year of law school so you know she's mad qualified to advise me. Apparently the girl who runs the website dooce.com got fired. Bad! Not good! They even coined a name for this getting-fired-because-of-blogging. It's called "getting dooced." (See BBC story here. Scary!) So if I got canned, I would not even have the satisfaction of having a cool phrase named after me, like "getting auntpurled crazystyle."

So, you know, that little ditty that used to be here this morning about Jack and Diane? And, uh, youknowwho? It's gone. Poof! I so cannot get fired, people. Someone has to bring home the meow mix around here, and it isn't Mr. X. Furthermore, I officially blame the deletion of some of my better, although meaner, writing on Mr. X. (I like that I manage to find ways to blame him for all sorts of things. It's creative, really. And so, so true.)

The people who came up with this new rule governing the content of personal websites and online diaries are definitely NOT Southern. If they had been from the South, they would have known that the absolute, worst, most awful comeuppance ever dished out by man (or mean, spinster-style cat lady) was Getting Talked About. This is how we keep folks in line down South. If you go to the grocery store and you're too good to speak to the bag boy and you don't say "hey," you are so Getting Talked About. And since the bag boy is the younger brother of someone you went to school with about five hundred years ago, he's going to Talk About You. And eventually he will tell his mother. And she will tell someone who will tell your mother that you were too uppity to say "hey" at the grocery store. You have been Talked About, and shamed.

It's a great way of keeping people in line. Never underestimate the power of Getting Talked About!

But as I can't keep on talking about you know who, since I totally cannot get fired (a girl has to eat, you know) I hereby present you with a completely lame, inoffensive ditty about knitting. It's not so funny, but it has mystery, and intrigue, and cats, and a trip to the Home Depot. Read on!

End snippage!

And now a brand spanking new entry from your crazy old Aunt Purl:

Of all the many hand-knitted items I have made (read: scarf upon scarf upon scarf) the only one that gets any real, daily use is the kitty pi. The furballs LOVE the kitty pi, and there are many cat fights and much jockeying and positioning all about the kitty pi.

One would think I should just go forth and knit another kitty pi. But that would be logical, and ya'll know me. So I was staring at the kitty pi the other day, pondering its greatness ("Aunt Purl, you oughta get out more.") and I think I came up with a possibly BRILLIANT idea for a NEW knitting project for my cats. Do you want to know what it is? You crazy cat ladies? Whooops, too bad so sad!

I'm going to keep it secret for now since I'm not sure if I can procure some of the supplies. Before I can tell you my BRILLIANT idea, I need to go to Home Depot and look for the crucial component of my Mystery Knitting Project. (Are you intrigued now? What the hell is she knitting that requires supplies from Home Depot? I've totally forgotten that Aunt Purl is the mouthpiece of Satan! Right?) My new project may require some Knitting Math, which I hate. HATE YOU MATH. But then when my brain hurts I can have wine. LOVE YOU WINE. So it all works out in the end.

Plus, I also have a surprise for you on May 1st. Which I know is a long time to wait for a website surprise, especially one that's not porn (and my dad reads this site, so, nope, no porn!) but it is a good one, if I must say so myself. So if you're so distraught over missing out on the evil bile that was posted here this morning, at least straighten yourself out enough to come back on May 1st! Big surprise!

Posted by laurie at 9:36 AM

April 7, 2005

Knitting for the masses; Mohair scarf

I have to go to Target every weekend or else I'm just not right. Here in Los Angeles, we don't have Wal-Mart. We go to Tar-jzhay. Actually, there is one Wal-Mart in the valley, and it's in beautiful downtown Panorama City. I have been there, and I've dragged Shannon and Jen and Karman there with me, but ever since the last drive-by shooting Karman refuses to go. It's very crowded. And dirty. And also, you kind of wonder if you're catching scabies while you're there. (My parents, who live in Florida, buy their grocieries at a Wal-Mart, which FREAKED ME OUT. I couldn't picture buying GROCERIES at the scabies store. But then I saw their Wal-Mart and it's ... it's... it's beautiful. So clean! So big! So much to buy! One-stop shopping! But not in Los Angeles. No, no no.)

So, while I was at Target stocking up on the essentials (paper towels, cat litter, a pink Swell broom, US Weekly magazine, oh God I am a total spinster crazy cat lady) (anyway) I happened up on a big display of knitting kits.


I'm so glad that knitting is coming to the masses! Really, I am. More people should knit. Make knit, not war! That's what I say. Hillary Clinton should run on that platform. (Or how about "Knitters do it without a stitch!" I think I should make us T-shirts with that saying. Don't you agree?) But .... anyway .... while I am sensitive to the amount of hate mail this next sentence is going to generate, can I just tell you that this is the UGLIEST baby set I have ever seen?


In case you can't tell, it's a pink kerchief thing and a nubby knitted dickie. With booties.

Just because something is being marketed to the masses does not mean it has to be ugly. We all learned this lesson when Mossimo came to Target and made a bazillion dollars by selling cute T-shirts at Target prices. Style sells! Don't misjudge us knitters, you Target marketing peeps. We may seem like crazy spinsters (see shopping list above re: cat litter, tabloids, etc.) but in fact we have mad style.

And also, if you bought that kit, or if you have a baby that is as we speak wearing a nubby kerchief and a pink dickie from a Target kit, please accept my sincerest apologies and know I was probably medicated and not seeing right at the time of this entry.

Speaking of mad style (pardon me while I pat my own wasp-bitten back here) I finally finished the mohair drop-stitch scarf. It took me a while to finish this baby ... it's hard to knit on the bus while paying close attention in case the HOTT Bus Driver is checking me out in the rearview mirror (really. let me have my fantasies people.) Also, I need to mention that there are loads of empty seats on the bus, and yet isn't it funny how the first five rows are always just packed with women? But I digress. Scarf!

Photos below of my mohair drop-stitch scarf bathing in sunlight on my patio. Oh, by the way, if you know me you might get this scarf for Christmas, so just pretend you haven't seen these pictures, ok?




Posted by laurie at 8:06 AM

April 6, 2005

I can eat a whole kitty pi.

bob, roy and soba smooshed on the kitty pi

Posted by laurie at 11:59 AM

April 5, 2005

Woman Vs. Nature .... Nature Wins

Oh, I forgot to tell ya'll I got attacked by nature this past weekend. This happens more than you may think, hence my total avoidance of nature. I mean, I love to appreciate the outdoors, mostly while watching the Travel Channel or looking at it from the safety of a climate-controlled vehicle. But to just turn me loose in nature is a bad, BAD idea. I may not return.

My family knows this. They have known me long enough to understand that nature is trying to kill me. I'm not sure when nature started hating me. Perhaps it was in the thriving metropolis of Comfort, Texas when I SWEAR to God I got bit by a snake on my pinkie toe. My bare feet were hanging over the side of a drainage ditch that my brother Guy and his friends were fishing in when suddenly OWWWWW and bloooood on my tooooeeee....

[Author's note: Yes, there are many things wrong with this scenario. File "fishing in drainage ditch" under "Stupid shit kids did in the '70s that should have killed us but didn't." The '70s were a different world, weren't they? We used to do things like ride bikes with other kids on the handlebars and we all thought it was just good, clean fun. ("Hey, ride me on the handlebars! Me! me!") And our parents were just slap happy to have us out of the house so they could discuss who shot J.R. or something.]

Anyway, my brother said I got bit on the pinkie toe by a snapping turtle, although I could have sworn it was a snake. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Waaaah I. got. bit amgonna DIEEEEE from a snake. (CRY CRY TEARS CRY)
Guy: It wasn't a snake, it was a snapping turtle! And if you tell mom I'm gonna throw you in there with him! So don't you dare tell!

To his credit, he and his friends did haul me back to the house (on the HANDLEBARS) and wash off my toe in the bathtub and put some Bactine a Band-Aid on it.

And while there is some debate in the family, I completely blame nature for the worst hair cut I ever had. We were in the car and I was chewing gum, and I meant to blow a bubble but the window was down and the wind -- which is the powerful and evil hand of Nature -- pulled the gum out of my mouth and deliberately, totally, into my hair.

At least I have an excuse for the bad hair.
From Left: Brian, Guy, me with bad haircut after gum incident

Or maybe nature was just testing me then but truly started hating me the summer my parents sent me off to summer camp. I LOVED summer camp. Except that on the third day of camp we had a nature walk to gather materials for a nature collage and all the materials I gathered happened to be poisonous, mainly poison oak, ivy and sumac. And I had poison ivy so bad it covered the inside of my ears, folks. No lie. And I missed the rest of summer camp because I was stuck in a bathtub full of Calamine lotion.

Or maybe it was the time nature froze my street and I broke my ankle on an ice puddle. Or the time nature gave me hives. I don't know what I did to nature, but it was apparently really, really bad. Because now nature wants me dead.

So, anyway, on Sunday I was sitting on my patio and I was smoking (Dad: I was reading great literature NOT smoking) and minding my own business and out of nowhere, completely unprovoked, a wasp attacked me. Nature stung the base of my neck and then went down the back of my shirt, where it bit me again and as I was pulling him out, he stung me on my hand. No lie.

Then I called Jennifer because she is my friiiieeennndd and will feel sorry for me.

Me: I just got stung by a wasp on my neck, twice, and on my hand and nature hates me and is trying to kill me.
Jen: Oh man, that sucks. Shouldn't you put something on it?
Me: Yeah! Like what?
Jen: Ummmm.... baking soda? Or powder? Or whatever it is you put in the fridge?
Me: Well, which one is it?
Jen: Well, which one do you have?
Me: Neither. Hey, I'm probably not allergic since I'm not dead yet? Right? Shouldn't my lungs be filling with fluid?
Jen: Definitely, the poison would have gone right to your brain.
Jen: I just realized what I said. I'm probably not helping.
Me: You are the worst. friend. ever.
Jen: Maybe take some Tylenol? Or Ibuprofin?
Me: Isn't that what Tylenol is?
Jen: I don't know. So what are you going to do?
Me: I'm having a beer.
Jen: Ok, and take some Tylenol.
Me: I hate nature! Nature sucks! Nature can bite me!
Jen: And, in fact.... nature DID bite you. Ahahahahahahaha!
I really am a bad friend, I'm sorry. (Author's note: she did not sound sorry.)
Me: I hate you.

But apparently I am not allergic to wasps, since my lungs did not fill with fluid, even though the poison went STRAIGHT TO MY BRAIN. About ten o'clock last night I finally remembered what you are supposed to put on bee/wasp/hornet stings ... apply meat tenderizer! (I don't know if this is actually true, but please don't email me to tell me otherwise since I was really astonishingly proud of myself for having thought of this.) So I made up a paste of meat tenderizer and put it on the back of my neck, and it smelled like steak marinating. My cats started sniffing around, which freaked me out, since if the poison did go straight to my brain, and I died, my cats would not even wait for the Meow Mix to run out before they started feasting on my well-seasoned cadaver. And then I felt sorry for myself because I had to sit still with MEAT TENDERIZER on my neck because nature hates me and my cats are going to eat my dead body before I even get to go out on a date and maybe contract clapotis if I am lucky.

I managed, at some point, to blame this entire situation on Mr. X. It's amazing isn't it, the restorative and healing power of BLAME? And my magical medicinal meat tenderizer worked, I guess, since my neck feels fine, even though the poison has gone STRAIGHT TO MY BRAIN.

Because nature is trying to kill me. I swear.

Posted by laurie at 6:01 AM

April 4, 2005

Clapotis? Do you need penicillin for that?

If you spend five minutes in the internet underworld of knitting blogs, you will discover that all the cool kids have knitted/are knitting/plan to knit something called clapotis.

Isn't that some kind of social disease? Or wait -- are they doing some kind of charity knitting for women with clapotis? And isn't clapotis curable with some good antibiotics? Because I thought it was? But if it's not, is there some sign-up board somewhere where people with a nasty case of clapotis go to ask for some knitted goods? Because that's just weird.

Then I cracked myself up with an imaginary conversation in an imaginary elevator with an imaginary knitting friend.

Me: Hi, Jane, nice to see you.
Jane: Hi.
Me: Oh! So, how's your clapotis?

(commence laughter)

And then, in a bright-bulb moment, I thought, uh, maybe I should Google "clapotis" and see what it is, and, like, how to cure and/or knit it.

So this is a clapotis. It's basically a fancy French shawl. But .... COME ON. Who would name some knitting thing after a social disease? Or even similar to it? That would be like naming your daughter Syphilina or naming your son Herpeen. Please. Clapotis. Eeeeew.

And... next time you see me, make sure to ask me how my clapotis is!

Posted by laurie at 8:57 AM

April 2, 2005

Los Angeles, swimming pools! Movie stars! Crappy roads!

Road crews have been tearing up some part of Burbank Boulevard the entire time I have lived in Los Angeles. And they just keep digging it up and putting big metal plates over the holes and you have to drive over this mess, and it never gets fixed or completed or paved and it's a colossal pain in the ass. I believe the Valley wants to secede from Los Angeles mostly so we can get our roads fixed, specifically Burbank Boulevard. I mean really, twelve years is LONG ENOUGH to tear up one road. Just ask anyone in the Valley.

But about four days ago, I was driving on Burbank Blvd. and noticed that OH MY GOD they had graded a whole block of roadway and PAVED half of it. Real blacktop! A paved road! (well, a paved half of block of road, but still!)

Then yesterday, I was driving that blissful stretch of freshly paved road when I saw this:


Because you know, the first thing you want to do to a freshly paved portion of the road, especially one that is still half unpaved, is start digging up the good side and slap one of those metal plates over it and glue it down with some fresh tar. That is a GREAT idea, guys.

Posted by laurie at 3:05 PM

April 1, 2005

Knitting, car talk, and self-help

Shannon and Jen came over for dinner, Survivor and knitting. And drinking, which I think should go without saying. (Judgers: Diet Coke.) (Everyone else: Red, red wine.)

Shannon was appropriately impressed with the Kitty Pi. Thank you, thankyouverymuch. I meant to light the grill and make barbecued hamburgers and have a nice dinner for my guests. Instead, I served them the following:

1) One bag of Ruffles Potato Chips
2) One bag of Reese's peanut butter cups from Easter that were 1/2 off at Ralph's
3) Alcohol

The key to having a successful gathering is to always get your guests drunk enough that they don't care what they eat.


In this next pic, Jen looks like she's wearing the Crystal Palace "Splash" scarf I made her because she loves it soooooo much. Actually, I phoned her ahead of time, "Bring that scarf I made you that you never wear so I can take a picture of it (you ungrateful wench)." And she was like, "Uh, I would wear it if it were, oh, you know, ever colder than 71 degrees (you neurotic wacko)." It's so good to have friends who understand you.


Jennifer saved me yesterday when I had car issues. Here in California, sometimes you have to get your vehicle smog checked and get a certificate that says you passed the inspection before you can receive new tags. The lottery for who the hell has to get a smog certificate is the world's greatest mystery. This year, of course it happened to me. OF COURSE. With the way my luck has been this year, I knew as soon as I got the letter from the DMV that I would fail the smog test and have to spend one million dollars and some change to get my Jeep fixed. If it could be fixed. 'Cause that's the kind of year I'm having.

This should come as no surprise then:


Also, I discovered something new about myself on this journey of fucking self-exploration I seem to be on because try as I might I cannot avoid this journey, anyway, I discovered that now the way I handle bad news is to cry. Uncontrollably. So when the nice man at the smog check station came out to tell me I had failed the smog test, I cried. Like a baby. Because I am three.

As it turns out, however, being blonde and sad and crying while throwing in a "My husband is divorcing me and I don't know how to fix car things..." makes people feel sorry for you in a Blanche Dubois kind of way. It's magic the way they will do ANYTHING to get you to STOP CRYING right now, because really, please, I WILL DO ANYTHING if you just please STOP CRYING LADY PLEASE. The poor fellow at the smog station called a friend at a filling station down the road who can fix my car, and I took it there and he said he can indeed fix it right then and there and it will cost one million dollars but at least I have finally, Thank God, STOPPED CRYING.

However, while I have finally stopped crying (for now) I am stranded in Studio City with no car. For hours. And since I have to spend one million dollars to fix my car I can't really go shopping. So I called Jen and she came to meet me.

Jen: Where are you?
Me: I'm in the bookstore in Studio City in the self-help aisle.
Jen: Um, ok, anything good?
Me: I'm reading "To Love, honor and betray."
Jen: Nice.
Me: Also, there's "Why Men Cheat" and "What Men Are Really Thinking" and my favorite, "Why Men Love Bitches."
Jen: Self-help is a load of shit.
Me: Don't you want to know why men love bitches?

And so on.

So she came to Studio City and rescued me from self-help, and we went to Starbucks and drank coffee and smoked until my car was ready. And then I had an epiphany. About men and relationships and car trouble and what I really, really need. (Not that I ever want another relationship, because I don't, because I am a bitter old hag, but anyway, see fucking self-discovery exploration above, nothing I can do about it.)

You see, I have major car issues about three times a year. Without fail, I will get into a crash/get my car stolen/have a wheel fall off my Jeep and there is nothing you can do to avoid it. I have Bad Carma. This is just the way it is.

In the past when my Bad Carma flared up I would call Mr. X, crying, and he would be completely, utterly UNHELPFUL. Anti-helpful, really. Me: "(sniffle sniff sniff) My Jeep has flames coming from the hood." Him: "Uh, why are you calling me? Did you call Triple-A?"


Anyway, the point of all this is that Jennifer, who is a tee-tiny little thing and knows just as much about cars as I do (zero) came to my rescue in the exact perfect way that Mr. X, in eight years of marriage, never did. She said the magic words.

"Where are you? I'll be right there."

You see, Jen can't fix my car. But really, how many men can fix your car, anyway? You just end up taking it to a mechanic. None of us has a clue. That's fine. I don't need you to fix my car (I have Triple-A, THANK YOU SHITHEAD.) But you need someone to say, "I'll be right there." I need someone to say that. It's so easy. All a man has to do is hear me, on the phone, crying like a little girl with a broke-down Barbie Jeep, and say, "I will be right there. Then we'll go get drunk." This is easy, folks. It is not brain surgery.

And yet this was not mentioned in one single self-help book. Self-help my ass.


Posted by laurie at 8:21 AM