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May 31, 2005

The Divorce Diet; or Why Am I So Fat?

Last week I did a little math and I discovered something interesting.

On that particular day, a very normal day in my life, I had ingested 60% of my daily calories from wine.

The other 40%? That came from jalepeno potato chips and french fries. People, I am on the wine and fried potato diet and it is scaring me.

When most folks go through a divorce they join gyms and go on diets and lose weight and this is, I suppose, what they call The Divorce Diet. It's all about looking your best in the face of adversity, because getting thin is the best revenge or some crock of shit like that. Yet me? I am apparently revenge-free. I do nothing in the right order. Can't even get on the Divorce Diet bandwagon 'cause I am stuck on the whine and wine wheelbarrow.

Truth time: Since my husband moved out, I have gained not ten, not twenty, but nearly forty pounds, and friends? I am Fat.

True to my Live Out Loud creed, I work the fatness into conversation (as if by acknowledging it I can minimize it.) (I can't.) I just say it a lot when talking, pre-emptively. As in, "Well, ya'll know, I don't like those small claustrophobic yarn shops because I'm fat and might knock something over like a bull in a china shop. Watch out, Rowan, here comes Laurie's ass!"

It's a weird way of claiming something, out loud, before someone else does. I point out The Obvious before others get a chance to mention it. This is Defensive Driving 101, as applied to weight gain.

I wish this weren't the case. Because as much as I like this living out loud thing, and I do, I'd really prefer to keep The Fat a secret. In the last year of marriage I was dreadfully unhappy but dammit, I hid it! I was so good at hiding and lying -- to myself and others -- and pretending. Of course, when you get divorced people start to figure out that maybe it wasn't Leave-it-to-Beaver-land at your house. But if you don't talk about it, that shameful word divorce, neither will they. WEIGHT IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT BALLGAME. People think they can stand next to you, and even though they weigh barely as much as you yourself did in the 4th grade, they complain (incessantly) about how fat they are. "I'm so fat! How will I ever squeeze into my size zero jeans!?" (Note to self: Zero? That's a size?)

And if you manage not to snatch them baldheaded or smack 'em with a bat flap or shove a Snickers bar up their nether regions, then you are considered A Good Listener. And also, still you feel undeniably Fat.

And fat? It's relative. It's all in how you feel. What's "fat" to me and my body may look good to someone else, and what's fat to a size zero, well, OK ... I don't understand that, but I do know what it feels like to have an I'm Fat attack. It's a feeling, not a number on the scale.

I have struggled with my weight my whole life. Not a little five- or ten-pound struggle, but the true gain/lose 40 pounds a year struggle. I wish it were a private battle, like scabies or acid reflux. (You know I like to work scabies into every column.) But with weight you can't hide your issue. You can't say to folks you haven't seen in a while, "Oh yeah! That! It's not my ass. I am just hauling around a compost heap for a friend. Junk in the trunk, hah hah!" Or "Oh! Don't think I've become fat. No, no. I haven't. What you see there is just my polar insulation. I'm very cold in the new office and need 72 layers of clothes to keep warm."

So, you know, people can tell. They can see The Fat.

Also, as a side note, why is it that people feel they can comment on your weight? I even catch myself doing it, and I am incredibly sensitive about weight. I have heard myself say, "You look so skinny today!" It's such a bizarre thing to remark upon. But if you had really bad teeth and started to get them fixed up, no one would dare bust out with, "Nice choppers you got there, darlin! They're looking whiter every day! Keep up the great dentistry!"

At any given time, 25 million women in America are on a diet. Starting tomorrow, I will be one of them. Not because I want Mr. X back, or because I think I have to be skinny to find a new man.

Frankly, I just don't want to die.

Ever.

And ya'll, I don't want you to die either. Let's just live forever and piss people off. But I know we can't live forever on a gallon of wine and jalepeno potato chips. It's not healthy. And I can't fit into any of my clothes, and I have negative feelings about my body and I genuinely want to shove a Snickers bar into the face of the next 97-pound girl who tells me she's fat.

Obviously, this is not a healthy response. And I can't go to jail for assualt with a Deadly Snickers Bar because I'd look horrible in prison-issue orange.

So instead, I'm going on a diet. Not some crazy grapefruit and meatballs diet, just your basic "eat something other than McDonald's" diet. I may incorporate some of the "eat a vegetable that isn't fried" diet as well. My goal is to get the wine down to a healthy 10% of calories. If the planets align just so, I'm going to OH MY GOD maybe exercise. Maybe. (I haven't committed to that one yet.) Mostly, I'm just going to work on not feeling so bad about my body, and try to live forever. Both totally achievable goals. Don't you agree?

Posted by laurie at 12:33 AM

May 28, 2005

Roy is the King of this castle

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Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Posted by laurie at 10:33 AM

May 27, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Longest Post Ever

Are ya'll sick of hearing how much I love Stitch 'n Bitch yet? Well, don't answer that cause you know what's coming right? Seven gajillion pics of girls gone wild with nothing but string and sticks!!


Sweater Update
Last night was the best gathering yet, in spite of the fact that several key folks were missing, but it was seriously the best SNB ... BECAUSE I DID NOT SWEAT!!! I am either so tired from all this socializing that I am too worn out to sweat, or I am finally more comfortable around these folks, or it was freezing up there. I do not know. And even though I blabbed and blabbed on and on, at least I wasn't a sweaty over-talker, and that is an accomplishment of ginormous proportions in my life.

(Click on any small images to see big,
huge, bandwidth-hogging pics.)


Yarn gluttons. Yup.

Also, Ellen had the brilliant idea of moving all the tables ahead of time into a long, Last Supper-type formation and it worked out great and the fung shui was good. We had the knitting chi, ya'll.

But I have a question. Do you think Carrie didn't show up to SNB because me and Jennifer scared her away with the sloppy drunkenness that occurred late in the evening of the BBQ Party? Maybe we frightened and annoyed her to such an extent that she now has to miss Stitch 'n Bitch. Carrie, if this is the case, or if I accidentally poisoned you with "ground" burgers at the party, I am infinitely sorry. Promise I'll be sober and serve good food next time! Come back to SNB!


We'll Miss You, and Thanks For The Yarn!
It was also a very sad Stitch 'n Bitch because Laina is leaving us to go off to Boston and become a Bahstun knitter. Hey! There are some amazing knitbloggers in Boston, and ya'll know who you are (some drive mini coopers, some are lawyers, some are runners, some are spinners, I'm just saying!!) and so I hope you'll welcome Laina and email her and stalk her in person for me. I miss her already.

   
Regina and Laina; Regina, Gaby, me, Laina at the end of the night.


This Is Where The Talking Occurred
Maybe because I was so mellow (read: tired) or unsweaty (thank you, God!!!) or maybe just because after a while you feel more comfortable with people, I felt like last night I got to learn more about folks individually. Tami brought her son and you could see her in the Mom Mode, which freaks me out because she's so young and laid-back, but then, like magic, she has the mom voice. FREAKY! And Natalie is finishing up her dissertation in Anthropology and her project and the research involves Las Vegas, and all I can say is that the minute she publishes it I want to read it. With a cocktail.

And Lori, who I just met last week, has the most open, generous smile and I like her EVEN THOUGH she tried to give me irrefutable proof that Tom Cruise is gay. WHICH HE IS NOT. Shutup! Maverick is so straight. And by the way, I don't even like Tom Cruise that much, but I LOVED Top Gun and when you start telling me Maverick is gay, you're flying to The Danger Zone (hah!)


   
Natalie with her pink shawl; Tami and Lori and part of Laina knit and talk.

Crystal, who never finishes any project ever because she is a Perfectionist and Hilarious and also maybe Totally A Nut, finally completed a project! It's a perfect red hat (that she only frogged four times heh heh). Crystal, do you know why I love this about you? Because you understand my needs, as a Control Enthusiast myself, to have a perfect hat. So, congratulations on finally finishing a project!!

Faith crocheted the very last stitch of the Talking Stick afghan squares all together and she was so happy she about did a cartwheel. It's done! Fini! Finito! She's been working on that project since January (which is when I started knitting!) (!!) And Christie came to SNB and got to stay longer this time, and I am so glad I met her. She's very glam and down-to-earth all at the same time.


   
Faith knits, Faith so happy! All done! Christie is all about superstar knitting!


Oh! Look! I met another celebrity!!This is Shannita Alleyne, she's a fiber artist and she was on Knitty Gritty and also had a pattern in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation! She created the newsboy cap. Last night she unvieled this beautiful hand-knit sweater with a gorgeous brooch and modeled it for the camera:

Gorgeous. And the sweater ain't bad either.


The Valley Is Coming To Get You
There were actually THREE other Valley Girls at the West Hollywood SNB last night! Proving that my theory of Valley Supremacy is coming true and before long we will take over the WeHo SNB. I could write an entire manifesto on this, and in fact I think I will. Look for that coming soon to an Internets near you.

Kate and Teri both live in the Valley and we got to compare notes about all the local yarn haunts. Here they are, Teri on the Left, Phyllis (not from the Valley, but cool enough that she COULD BE from there) in the center and Kate on the right side. Notice the two-buck Chuck!! Kate is also a self-proclaimed cat lady, although with only two cats, she does not get the "crazy" in front of her title just yet. You need at least four to be buckwild crazy cat lady. Debra, Cool Valley Girl, brought her adorable daughter Gaby (who knits better than I do!) with her to stitch 'n bitch, so technically we had 3.5 more Valley Girls in attendance. Ya'll just wait. Before long we'll be "totally, like for sure" taking over the world. Farmer's Market is just the first stop.

   
Debra with Gaby, smile, ya'll! Teri, Phyllis, Kate. Hi! The Valley RULES!! Bow down to us and our one-thousand-degree summers!!!!


Felting, Cute Kiddos, and Leg Warmers. Perfection!
Laina made a camera case out of Debbie Bliss "SoHo" and felted it by hand and it was the ooh and aaaah of the evening, such a big hit! Here she is with Gaby, Master Knitter Kidlet, showing off the bag. And Ellen made me an amazing spa cloth that I took a picture of but it came out blurry. BUT! She made it for someone named "red-cheeked girl" hah hah. Yes, I know. Me and my red face are now infamous on the Internets. (Note to self: never post party pics when slightly hungover and maybe still drunk from the night before.) So instead, here is Ellen posing with Laina and the Shut Up candle I brought her.

   


We also had two Saras! Sara #1 came to Stitch 'n Bitch straight from some kind of sporting activity she does (I didn't ask because I avoid sports, and even the mention of them) but nevermind, because this girl never takes a bad picture. And Sara #2 had on the coolest leg warmers ever!! She made them!! I am relieved and happy to find a hot chick reviving the legwarmers trend, It's about time, dammit! Regina and I already started talking about how we should wear legwarmers, too.

   
Sara #1 strikes a pose; Sara #2 wearing leg-warmers, too cute!!


Crochet, The New Pilates
Regina manages to drink wine and still crochet using tiny little thread that is so small it's practically invisible, and she uses a crochet hook the size of a toothpick. How she does this with no mistakes is a complete mystery. I believe the answer lies in the wine. Here she is with Ellen, they're displaying some of Regina's amazing Crochet Monsters. She is such a talent. That warped sense of artistic beauty had me at "hello." (P.S. TOM IS NOT GAY.)


More Mystery, and Possibly I Need Therapy
Below is an image of Kathy teaching Laina and Gaby about hand-spinning. Now, OK. Bear with me here. But remember the class I took with Knit Goddess Annie Modesitt? (You can read about my class here. Go on, go look, then come back. Pay special attention to the pictures.) So, see how Kathy, pictured right here, is the SAME EXACT Kathy who sat across from me in class? Well, I was so excited to see her. I was all, "Hi! Hello! I was in Annie's class with you! Hi!"

And ya'll, she did not remember me.

So, you know, either I am A) so completely unmemorable that I fade right out of someone's head two minutes after they meet me, or B) I just have one of those faces that people sort of think they've met before but can't remember where, or C) She saw my pictures online and thought, "That can't be the same girl, she's so fat in person!"

Now, I realize Option C doesn't totally apply here because Kathy already met me in person. But in general I fear that people will meet me and think, "Yeah right. Nice photoshopping job, there, Purl." Or maybe I'm just not momorable. Or maybe I'm just PARANOID and should up the meds. Pass the wine, please!


The Medication Arrives
Speaking of wine, Michele and Darcy came all kinds of prepared for the night... ya'll they brought wine and strawberries and chocolate and they are now officially the favorites of the whole group. So! Good thing to know! If you do decide to get out to your local SNB, take chocolate!! People will think you hung the moon, and love you and try to adopt you. Here is Darcy with her super-cute blue knitted handbag, and look! Michele is knitting! She learned how to knit last week and this week she is just grooving along like a knitmaniac!

   

Don't Mind Us, Folks
There was a lady at the SNB last night who I didn't get a chance to meet, she was very busy working on ... actually, I have NO IDEA what this is but man oh man is it cool, and also spooky. She was at the other end of the table, but of course I imposed myself upon her and Ellen as they chitchatted so I could document forever on camera Whatever That Art Was That She Made and We Liked.

       
Ellen talking to the performance artist whose name I did not get; the creation is mastered by its master.

The best part was the looks of the faces of the quiet family in the corner, who were already a little scared by so much craftiness in their presence, but I believe The Art sent them over the edge:


Even Perfect Evenings Must End
After SNB, I was driving home on Ventura Boulevard because I hate to take the freeway. And at night it's a nice, empty drive of storefronts and Valley goodness. Very soothing. And for whatever reason I am on a huge Tupac kick right now, all I listen to is Tupac, night and day (who by the way has accomplished more since he's been dead than I have accomplished in 33 years of living).

And I'm in my car and I'm singing, with the windows down on my Jeep -- because I am alone in my own personal Valley -- and a carload full of teenage boys pull up to me and here is what they see: One slightly chubby thitysomething blonde woman, so pale she glows in the dark, who is on the way home from her knitting group and she is singing "The blacker the berry the sweeeeter the juice..." at the top of her lungs, with her hair held up by a knitting needle and no singing talent whatsoever.

Heh.

Posted by laurie at 2:25 PM

May 26, 2005

LOST in North Hollywood

Last night. Shannon and Karman's new house. A little gathering of friends. LOST season finale. (I have to get the particulars out of the way real quicklike so I can ask you the important questions.)

Why? WHY? Why did they take Walt? And who are the unbathed people with the boat? And if they have a boat with a spotlight and knitted caps (by the way, they had on KNITTED CAPS in the sub tropical ocean! love it!) why are they still on the stupid island? And where did they get the gas for the speedboat? And what the hell is in the hatch? And why is Locke suddenly looking spooky? And how in the world does Kate have such amazing arms? And how come Jin is so freakin' hot? And why couldn't Shannon see that Sayid is THE HOTTEST MAN OF OUR TIME? And why is Claire always screaming, "My baby! My baby!" and you should feel bad for her, but really she's kind of annoying? And am I mistaken or were those ARMS dragging Locke down into the depths of the earth? bIG LONG SCARY GHOST ARMS!! SOMEBODY ANSWER ME, PLEASE!!

Alright, so, maybe I got just a little bit wrapped up in this TV show. To the point where I was shushing people at the party when they kept talking and talking and talking while the TV was on. But ya'll! Could they not see that Teevee was telling us a very scary, anxiety-producing, edge-of-your-seat story? And that I was practically chewing my own arm in anticipation of WHAT. WILL. HAPPEN. NEXT!!! And having to fan myself and grab onto Amy's arm? I was so stressed out. No lie. That is what Teevee can do to me.

I took a few pictures. But mostly I was sucked into the TV, so this is all you get from the par-tay:

1) Alex (left) and Jennifer pose around Shannon and Karman's beautifully laid out snack table. Isn't their condo the prettiest? And how grown-up are they to own property! I love their place, it's so chic and adult and clean. Shannon's a very, very tidy person. I wish she lived at my house. Alas.

[click for big]


2) Jack The Cat. I followed Jack around with the camera for a full half an hour before the show started because look! He's so damn cute! I wanted to steal him and put him in my pocket and take him home. But of course, I already have four cats, and Shan would give me a beat down for stealing a kitty, and also Jack weighs about eighty pounds and is still growing, so it's kind of hard to sneak him out of her house.
   
[ click for big ]

Then, when I got back to my house, I decided to de-compress and cogitate over LOST and wonder if Hurly really *is* bringing bad luck to the island, and so on, and as I relaxed with a glass of wine and a little late-night smoke, I saw it.

Nature.

Again.

This time, the Giant Slug of Doom had returned in snail form. In fact, at night my whole patio is covered in snails and stuff and nature of all kinds. And the problem with snails is that they have no natural enemies, except maybe the French, and no one is just breaking down my door trying to get to les escargots in the back yard. So in time the whole backyard might just be one lump of snails.

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I don't mind the small, slug- and snail-type nature, it's better than spiders and biting stuff. But how does nature decide who gets the shell and who doesn't? It's quite a mystery to me (oh, and if you know the answer -- don't tell me. I prefer to think it's just magic. Snail magic.) Mostly I am perplexed how someone way back when sat on their own patio, probably with a fair amount of wine under their own belt, and looked at a snail creeping across the ground and thought, "Fry that sucker up with garlic and butter and call it dinner!"

I'm just saying. That would not be my first thought, no matter how much wine or mead or home-brew I'd had to drink. Of course, French folks probably think the same thing about our food. Especially Fair Food, like deep-fried twinkies. But when was the last time you saw a twinkie leaving a sticky trail of ick on your patio? Really now?

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Stitch 'n Bitch tonight. Escargots optional. The Los Angeles Farmer's Market, 3rd & Fairfax, upstairs tables above the food court, lots of nice people + one sweaty girl. See you at 7 p.m.!

Posted by laurie at 11:59 AM

May 25, 2005

A little freeway shooting

This may come as a real surprise to ya'll, but I take my camera with me everywhere I go. It's an extension of my arm, just like that professor I had back in college who had a coffee cup permanently cemented to one hand. You never saw him without that coffee cup. Many theories swirled about what was really in The Mug, but no one was brave enough to get close-up and personal for a whiff.

Anyway, I love my camera. It's nothing fancy (a Kodak EasyShare with practically no megapixels) but no matter. I'm not a photographer girl. I'm a picture taker. Snapshots R Us, right here.

My dad is also a cameraholic, so this is probably genetic. He's had a camera pointed at us kids since the time we were little, even on occassion taking pictures to document the following: my messy teenage room, the worst perm I ever had, and the time I pitched a hissy fit at Sea World. Thanks, Dad. The therapist's bill is in the mail!

So, yes, I love taking pictures. If someone told me I would have to choose between my camera and wine, well, let me tell you I would REALLY REALLY miss my camera.

Yesterday I had to drive into work. I needed to get there early and stay late to finish up a Big Project, which I must complete before Ginormous Soul-Sucking Project begins on June 1. All this time commuting to work on the bus has really spoiled me because I now have NO PATIENCE for traffic. NONE. And I am convinced I may be the last good driver left in the city of Los Angeles. So, the only way I could possibly deal with traffic and bad mergers and crappy drivers was to shoot them, as is the Los Angeles way. But since I don't believe in guns, I used my best weapon for DOCUMENTING and also SHAMING those who needed it. My camera.

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(Also, yes I take pictures while I drive. But I am a GOOD driver. I am! Shutup.) What's really funny is that the guy in the blue Mercedes tried to merge into me, then changed lanes haphazardly to GET AHEAD of the traffic, then tried to merge into someone else, and then later I saw him pulled over on the side of the 101 with another car he'd apparently run into. I didn't get a picture of that. But HE DESERVED IT. The dumbass.

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OK. Now, I'm just going to be honest with you. I know some people see a guy in a candy-apple red Ferrari and think, "That's Hot!"

Me? I see a guy in a car like that and I think, "He's overcompensating for something. Something very, very small." In Los Angeles, you need a car that can go from 60 to ZERO on a dime, not the other way around. And I think a red gajillion-dollar car is just the non-surgical method of penis enlargement. But then again, I am from the country. Give me a man with a beat-up pickup anyday. Or a nice sleek black Mercedes. Whatever. (I'm not picky. Heh.)

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Back where I'm from, a.k.a. The Buckle of the Bible Belt, it's not unusual to see whole Jesus paintings on a car. But I was a little surprised to see this on the Hollywood Freeway. And did I learn wrong? I thought Jesus was the SON of God? Damn semantics. Gets me every time.

And finally, I leave you with the guy who tailgated me for forty minutes. Tailgating in bumper-to-bumper No Mile Per Hour traffic does you no good, people!!! Back off my bumper! Or I will photograph you looking at your own booger.

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Posted by laurie at 10:17 AM

May 24, 2005

Crazy Camera Lady Attacks BBQ Party; Film Footage At Eleven

Hi, I'm Minou. I'm in Los Angeles and all these humans will do my bidding because I am CUTE and whoops! It's so hot I am now also NAKED! But that's my David Bowie T-shirt beside me. And crazy cat lady let me chase her cats!

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. . . . . . .

Pictures! Pictures!

Normally I would take millions and millions of photos but did I mention it was hot? And I pounced on that Stella Artois like it was the serum keeping me from life and death? And did I mention that when I drink my cheeks may get just the tee-tiniest bit red?

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That's Jennifer, who will kill me for posting such an image, and me with the red face to match my red neck. Heh. To avoid the RED CHEEKS OF DEATH, be sure to fuel up in between cocktails with the manna of life, sweet tea.

Sweet tea recipe:
1) Make tea:
Boil some water. Put your tea bags in the pitcher like normal (I have a big pitcher and use 5 tea bags). Steep the tea in hot/boiling water.

2) Make the sweet:
Put 1 cup of sugar in one of those Pyrex liquid measuring cups with the pour spout. Add enough boiling water (like 2/3 cup or so) to fully dissolve the sugar. Stir real well.

3) Combine for MAGIC
Remove tea bags from steepage. Add hot sugar water. Then add cold water to fill pitcher. VOILA!!

[click for bigger images]
   
Jen and Amy hang out; Angie and Minou brave all these crazy strangers!

   
Carrie probably got a tan from my red cheeks; Carrie tries to hide but crazy camera ladies are everywhere!

   
Everyone on my patio; Jen feeds Minou some "ground" burger heh heh.

   
Jen decides to measure everyone's heads. Beer was involved. I am not saying who had the biggest head, but isn't Laina the prettiest thing? So cute.

   
I think these need no explanation. I didn't even try to photoshop myself into decent. It's just plain fugly, brought on by Evil Demon Alcohol.

   
Minou rests on her mommy's lap; That's my yard with a tee tiny puppy in it.

   
BBQ parties must have dogs, don't you think? I was so sad when they left. Look at the cute purse though! Bye, Minou and Angie! Thanks for coming over!

Posted by laurie at 12:49 PM

May 23, 2005

Crazy Lady BBQ: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Ya'll!!! I forgot my camera cord today so I can't put up any pictures and I am soooo mad! Promise me you'll come back tomorrow to see fifty million jillion pics of cute dogs and drunk knitters at my barbecue party. Promise?


(If I were not a totally absent-minded half-asleep zombie this morning with the hangover and all, a picture would go right here. So pretend there's a picture here. Thankyouverymuch.)


The Good:
1. All the girls came over and appeared to have fun (Oh, I hope they had fun! I have party anxiety. Want it to go well, want people happy! And I'm kind of militant about it. YA'LL HAVE FUN OR ELSE!! And also be sure to tell me a bazillion times, Laurie, I AM HAVING FUN!!! SO MUCH FUN! Now please stop asking me?) and everyone left well-fed and well-quenched.

2. Minou! Minou! Angela! Angela! Even though it must have been unbearably weird to come over to Crazy Lady's house in Los Angeles and meet Crazy Lady's friends, Angela braved it and came to the barbecue and she is wonderful! and GORGEOUS. Like a model kind of gorgeous. But so sweet and softspoken and she just radiates calmness. And Minou? Simply the cutest thing. Makes you happy just to look at her, and so much personality! I felt like I was meeting a movie star. It was WONDERFUL.

(Pretend there is the cutest picture here you ever saw of Minou on my patio.)

3. I did not run out of food or alcohol.

4. The house and garden managed to be passably clean and cat-hair-free.

5. No one died of heat stroke.

(Vivid imagination! So many cute pictures that should be here of everyone!)

The Bad:

1. I was so tired from cleaning my house that I lolled around during the party with a cocktail and smoke and did virtually no hostessing. I cleaned the house dammit, now ya'll roam around and enjoy it while I sit here admiring my drink.

2. Jennifer had to come over early and help me clean up because I spent so much time trying to get the patio pretty pretty that I completely ignored things like, oh, the kitchen and bathroom. Thank you Jen. I owe you BIG. And to that end, as part of my love for you, I will not post the pics I have of you at the end of the night re-enacting "Not Without My Daughter" with your garter stitch scarf on your head.

(This will be one photo I shall never post for fear of getting my arm chewed off by a 95-pound girl who is mad as hell.) (Hah hah!! Not Without My Daughter!!! No more beer for you!!)

3. At 11 p.m. last night Jennifer and I ate seven pounds of the chocolate chip ice cream that I also forgot to serve my guests.

4. One of my cats was so pissed off about The Dog Who Dared Enter The House (a.k.a. Minou) that she hid for hours and at 9 p.m. she had me, Jen and Carrie scurrying all over the house for 40 minutes looking for her, to no avail. She finally made an appearance in the middle of the night and scratched me. I probably deserved it. But Minou! Love you! Well worth it!

5. My head. My hurting, hurting Monday head. Bad. So, so bad.

The Positively Ugly

1. Ya'll ... I dropped the hamburgers before they even made it to the grill. ALL OF THEM. In my defense, it was not entirely my fault. The BBQ is about ancient and it kind of leans to one side or the other depending on how it feels that day and as I set the huge tray of uncooked burgers on the side of the grill, the whole thing shifted and they went sliding off in some kind of Horror Movie Barbecue scene. There was much shreiking and gasping and shock all around. I almost cried, but Shannon saved the day and did some necessary rinsing. THAT'S RIGHT WE WASHED OFF THE BURGERS AND COOKED THEM ANYWAY.

2. And we ate them.

3. Jennifer decided to "help" me barbecue. So she poked and prodded around on the grill (complaining the whole entire time about how awful hard it was to barbecue and how goddamn hot it was) and she perhaps poked or prodded a hotdog or two into the burning charcoal. But, to her credit, she did not drop ALL OF THEM like some people (see #1).

4. I bought lettuce, tomato and onion for the burgers but completely forgot to put any of this out for my guests. See "lolling around" and "many cocktails" in the Bad Hostess Handbook.

5. It was 3000 degrees outside. No, really, it was. We broke records in the valley for heat -- 104 in the shade. It was the kind of heat that makes you feel as if you are GOING TO DIE, and your insides are boiling and all your will to live is simply sweating out your every pore. Of course today it is a nice, normal 80 degrees. THANKS A LOT NATURE. I HATE YOU. Party ruiner.


So, in conclusion, I had a party on the hottest day of the year in which I served my guests plain burgers that were DROPPED ON THE GROUND, no ice cream and oh! also, no soda. Because all I had prepared was alcohol, more alcohol and sweet tea.

I cleaned my house for two days and there was still a mountain of boxes in the office, towering over everything. Plus, my best friend had to come over early and help me clean. I drank too much, smoked too much, and practically cried when Minou and Angela left because after exactly 2.765 seconds, I was IN LOVE with that dog. IN LOVE. Then I walked around asking everyone if they thought Minou's mom had an OK time. Are ya'll sure? Are you SURE?

Then I started questioning them all about THEIR time, was it good? Were they having fun? ARE YA'LL LYING TO ME? But I never actually offered anyone anything because dammit, I was tired and HOT and ya'll know where the kitchen is. Then I photographed every single moment and promptly forgot my camera cord because it was early and ow. My head. Hurts. So, so much.

So, all in all a perfect day. Except for my head, my camera forgettage and I am so, so tired. Oh! And if you want a slightly-dropped burger, or a charcoal dog, just let me know. I have some leftovers. Yum!

Posted by laurie at 11:35 AM

May 21, 2005

My Beautiful Internets

Finally, FINALLY, the Cable Guy came to my house today to fix the Internets. I have had to reschedule this appointment with happiness twice -- once for a wedding in which I spent a whole day crying and mumbling about the perilous nature of evil and marriage, and another day in which I had to stay late at work because there was a graphic design emergency. Who knew. "Gimme a logo... THIS VERY MINUTE! Or else the world will stop spinning on its axis and we will DIE!!!"

Art is hard.

So, yes, happiness. Working Internets. No more phone cord strung around the house that I have to try to hide with throw rugs, towels and laundry because someone tries to attack it (Bob, Frankie, Roy, Soba) (and my clumsy feet).

Today I also got to try out one of my new Life Lessons. Because if you've been reading any part of this website for 14 seconds you have discovered that me? I attract the crazies. My forehead, which is quite large, must have some pheremone-ish billboard of nuttiness displayed that attracts crazy people like ants to sugar. And I have grown to love it. It makes my normally boring, mundane life full of funny. It also makes getting the Internets fixed a real pleasure.

Back in December when I moved to Chez Spinster, the Cable Guy came and installed the Internets and gave me the hookup to my best friend, Teevee. Apparently he had quite a job on his hands, because before the afternoon was out he had shimmied up a tree and run a wire to the house and drilled holes in my floor and got underneath the house in the crawl space and naturally I was impressed with his dedication to cable. I can admire a thing like that. So I was pleasant and nice to him, as is The Southern Way.

But ya'll let me share something with you. Cable guys in Los Angeles named Javier? They do not know The Southern Way. They think some girl with boobs and a pack of cats and no man in sight is being nice because she is so hot for his body she can barely contain herself, and at any moment she may cue the bad synthesizer music and the Cable Guy porn movie will start for real. And if he's lucky the pizza guy will mysteriously appear, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

But I did not at that time know jackshit about cable guys named Javier and the misinterpretation of The Southern Way. I did not know that being nice and friendly and offering someone a diet coke once they've been under your house is the same as flinging off your bra and yelling "MAMA IS READY!!"

This is but one of the many life lessons I have learned in my post-married months. And I feel that I must share these life lessons with you because it is simply not covered in any addition of "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" (which, coincidentally, did not address sweating of any nature which is why I bought the friggin' book to begin with, but I digress.)

The exact moment I became aware Something Was Amiss was when Javier the cable guy tried to hug me. We were standing at the door after the completion of two hours of cable guy excellence, and I had to sign some papers and then ... he leaned in. And I leaned waaaay the fuck out. I gaped at him with this look on my face that must have said, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE YOU PONYTAILED FREAK? And Javier said, "I would like to hug you now." And me, oh-so-cool-Laurie said, "Um, no, thank you."

Yes, in those early days of singleness I was just so incredibly suave. My big brush off? NO THANK YOU. Because nothing makes a strange man with slicked back hair and pliers respect your word more than a nervously muttered pleasantry. But in my defense, I was in shock. And also, I was just a little unsure if I was maybe hallucinating. No one had hugged me in six months out of any other reason that I was CRYING, nonstop, and bemoaning my personal meltdown. I cried a lot back then. Ok, still do, but WHATEVER. Not part of the story.

So fast forward to today. Me, brokedown internets. Happy happy! the cable guy is coming to service me. And when he arrived I stayed far away and offered nary a cold beverage (even though it was 394 degrees outside) and I made noncommittal responses and ya'll, this goes against the very fabric of my being. But I did it, with much success because he did not try to hug me even once.

And now that I have the Internets all I want to do is email and post and blogstalk everyone and I can't because I must MUST clean my house, because I am having a barbecue tomorrow! With actual people attending who will expect food and a relatively cat-hair-free place to rest their heiney. So it is 11 p.m. right now and I have dishes to do and vaccuuming to do and beer to drink and all the while the Internets will be calling to me. It wants to hug me.

And I hug it back.

Posted by laurie at 11:12 PM

Friday night on the town

Last night I did what all women of a certain age do when they find themselves newly single and free! free! on a Friday night. I went out looking for love in a yarn shop. And that my friends is what we call looking for love in all the right places. Especially if it is mohair.

And love costs. It is expensive. I'm just saying.

For some time now I have been trying to hook up with Barbara (she has an internets handle, like on CB radio: CatBookMom) and knit the night away at Unwind. They have the sort of shop that feels homey and airy and open, even to sweaty weirdoes. (That's me, not Barbara.) And we met up and she was so kind, so warm, you feel like you have known her for a hundred and twelve years. And I met Cecily and Karen, who both work at the shop, and I'm kind of in awe of them both. They just have that easy way with people, maybe because they talk to people all day, and you just feel like you can ask dumb questions and no one thinks anything of it.

All in all a good night. I took pictures but my Internets are too damn slow to post them now. I'm a mite spoiled.

Back in the day, I used to spend Friday nights hoping Mr. X would want to go to the movies, or spend time with me, and I would end up making dinner, and watching TV and being a homebody. Now, Post-X, I am actually leaving my house and it's not because I yearn to stand awkwardly at a bar and make small talk with a strange man younger and cuter than me who also says "dude" every fifth word.

Note to ya'll single girls: Being married? It is not always the closed-club private Love VIP Room you imagine it to be. Believe it or not, Single is good, too. You may have a list of all the various and sundry things you suspect married people are doing while you stand at the bar and hear John/Scott/Tyler call you "dude." And you may desire marriedness and envy those who are at home, Being Married.

But, let's be honest. In America, 60% of us end up like me, divorced and drunk and covered in cat hair. Sometimes (not always but SOMETIMES) married means cleaning the cat box, filling the toilet paper holder that no one but you is apparently capable of filling, bitching about the dishes, and not having sex. And ya'll I can do that all by my own damn self! With the added benefit of having no one to justify the yarn shopping to.

So, you know. It was a good night all around. Pass the wine.

Posted by laurie at 1:44 AM

May 20, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Pics

In honor of me being on dial-up and taking the better part of all my remaining childbearing years to post these pictures, I made the thumbnails super small, so just click for bigger images. (Yes I am home today and yes, the cable guy is coming tomorrow THANK GOD.)


1 - Amazing pink crocheted shrug created by Sara. Before this I never really "got" the shrug concept but on Sara it's so cute and artsy:

60% - Percentage of time I managed to talk educated

14 - "ya'll"s

2.5 - Times I said "purty" (I caught myself half way through one and stuttered out "pur...pretty!")

.5 - Times I mentioned porn

1 - Secret appearance by Drew, The Crochet Dude

1 - Person at Stitch 'n Bitch whose Mom has emailed me!! Hi Regina's mom! Sorry I got broke-down Internets right now and have the patience of a five-year-old with this slow crap! Also, Regina? Brought a crocheted limon monster!! So cute. Why did I not take a picture of that? Could it be I was high from the shroom hat?

2 - Times someone said "muff" and the rest of us laughed. Heh. "Muff."

47 - Times I had pangs of jealousy over the amazing vintage pattern books Ellen, Sara and Faith found at an estate sale. By the way, Faith? HILARIOUS story teller.

1- Gorgeous purse, made by Tami:


38 - Gallons of sweat lost by me, the nervous perspirer. Ok, so while I would gladly exchange nervous sweating for something more dainty, like oh, say, nervous giggling, I have decided that Stitch 'n Bitch is perhaps my one only hope of ever losing weight. Think about it. Lose three pounds of water weight a week in nervous sweat! woohoo!

7 - New people I met. Hi ya'll!

1 - Enormous plate of nachos consumed by moi
2 - Beers, ibid

2 - Skeins of yarn I bought from Christine, oh my lord this yarn is beautiful. And it smells so good! Yarn sniffers unite. She has an online store, go buy!
   

6.25 - Times I said I love the valley

3 - Times I said "Well, SHIT." upon discovering there is a whole other type of gauge I have to worry about. ROW gauge. Can you believe that?

40% - Amount of people who tried to assure me the hat was just fine.

60% - Amount of people who knew it was supposed to be a beanie and ended up as a big ol' rastafarian shroom hat.

1 - Amount of best friends dragged along with me to s'n'b (thanks, Jennifer!). Shannon wasn't feeling well, and couldn't come model her hat. Never fear, we had one or two stand ins:


          

           

           

           

       

   

Posted by laurie at 1:33 PM

May 19, 2005

Bob Has A Job

Bob is currently in training for Cat Cuteness Olympics, inspired by Wendy's super-kitty Lucy, who is in training for the Kitty Sleeping Olympics.

He may not be able to compete with Lucy on luxuriousness of tail or feline sleeping prowess, but here he gives her a run for the money in the Cuteness Competition.

bobolympics-first.jpg

bobolympics-second.jpg

bobolympics-assumes-pose.jpg


bobolympics-snugglybelly.jpg

bobolympics-cutepaw-closeup.jpg

bobolympics-final.jpg

Also! Tonight... West Hollywood SnB
Nice people + one ugly hat
Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax
7 p.m - 9:30 p.m.
Upstairs dining area.
Really, the hat. So, so sad. But funny.

Posted by laurie at 9:22 AM

May 18, 2005

Subway knitting; Hat drama; K-Fed is creepy

subway-knitting-orangehat.jpg

Yesterday I took the subway to work instead of the bus, since I was at the you-know-where in the a.m. and the subway was closer. I have never knit on the Red Line before, because I stopped taking the subway at the same time I learned to knit.

And by the way, thank goodness there is already an accomplished subway knitter out there representin' for knit girls, because in Los Angeles? On the Red Line? People stare. I couldn't have gotten more strange looks if I had been performing an alien autopsy right there in the seat.

Notice that did not stop me from either A) knitting or B) taking pictures. Screw all ya'll subway staring people! I am not afraid to knit in public!

But my hat? So, so sad. Notice in the photo it appears to be a normal-sized hat for a normal-shaped head. PHOTOS LIE.

But I didn't frog it because, frankly, I have no idea how to fix it. Had I ripped out all my stitches, I would merely have knit it back into the same bubble-sized mess, so I just kept going. I'll take it to SNB tomorrow night and maybe the group can help me reverse-engineer a fix, at which point I will make another hat and another until I perfect the hat!! I shall overcome the hat!! I WILL CONQUER YOU, HAT!!

(Ok, so anyway, maybe it's time to switch to decaf? What do you think? No. Don't answer that.)

Yes, I watched Brit-Brit and K-Fed ooze all over my Teevee last night. My Teevee is mad at me, and also it thinks it has contracted an STD from having to display such trash. On the one hand, I was surprised to see that Britney Spears, arguably one of the most well-known celebs of our time (good or bad) is just ... country. She is country. And kind of dorky and cute like a spoiled teenager that's basically a nice girl. But K-Fed? Eeeeeeeew. He gave me the heebie jeebies. I'm not sure I can watch this show again because his lecherous, slimy self says things profund as "Love is love, man. That's what love is."

Creepy.

Also, I'm not sure I can watch this show again because my Teevee may need penicillin for it, and because I felt dumber after just one hour of their show. No amount of coffee can repair those lost brain cells.

Plus, my hat? Way too big for a head that is losing brain cells! So, you know, I'll try not to watch next week.

No promises, though.

Posted by laurie at 10:06 AM

May 17, 2005

Now for the important stuff.

Thanks for all the good vibes and kind words. It was fine... mostly ... I only cried once (and ya'll, I cried more than that during the made-for-TV movie "Locusts.") The lawyer is a very nice grandfather guy that a family friend recommended (a close friend of Dad knows Mr. Lawyer from Kiwanis, and Rotary Club, you see how the long arm of the Southern Dad can reach all the way out here? Heh.) And Mr. Lawyer is a Valley guy, so that's good. I made it through this all because I had my super-knitting-power X cuff on my arm and my Red X of Solidarity in my bag:

me-outside-lawyer-x.jpg

Now we can move on to the most important topic of the day:

(No! Not the Los Angeles mayoral election which is taking place as we speak) but the premiere tonight of Britney and K-Fed's "Behind The Scenes" Newlyweds-ripoff show on UPN.

I don't think I've ever heard K-Fed speak. Does he speak? Is he Southern? What if he has a high-pitched Mike Tyson voice? I'm just saying. The world is going to crap and we're still at war and neither candidate for L.A. mayor will likely fix the roads and control the crime, so ... GIVE ME BAD TV, STAT!

And believe me, I sense there is nothing more deserving of the label "Bad TV" than the Brit-Brit/K-Fed show. And I will be watching. Yes, I will.

Thanks again. Rough day. But there's a glass of wine at the end of this tunnel. And Bad TV. Love ya'll. Watch the show. We can gossip about it tomorrow.


P.S. I guess my divorce papers knew they were spending their final hours with me last night and tried to make the most of it:

divorcepapers-bed.jpg

Posted by laurie at 2:50 PM

The Notorious B-O-B

Well, this morning I am at home because, well... I have an appointment with a LAWYER at 9:15 a.m. and I'm a little nervous. And also OLD. Because I have no high-speed fancypants Internets at home until Saturday, when the Cable Guy comes to bring me Internets again, so I am stringing telephone cord across the room and dialing in on AOL, and believe me ya'll I HAVE AGED since I started this post a millennium ago. Anyway.

I am so spoiled. The Internets are slow and I just complain and complain, like I had an arm cut off, or like someone bought up all the wine. One day I came home and my cable TV was out and I about cried. Because TV? My Best Friend. Love you, Teevee! See? SPOILED.

Anyway, ya'll know, I couldn't sleep this morning because I'm going to see this guy. But I'm taking my camera. Wonder if my new lawyer, who I haven't even met yet, will mind being on the Internets? Even the slow Internets?

In the meantime, here's what's happening at Chez Spinster:

Homie Bob

Homie Bob

Homie Bob

Homie Bob

Homie Bob

Posted by laurie at 6:17 AM

May 16, 2005

The Annotated History of Hermits & Knitting As Therapy

This post? The "War & Peace" version of my weekend. Long, ya'll.

So, a theme is developing. Read back from the beginning and you'll see it. Don't ask me how it happened, but somehow I went from eating cheetos off my chest and watching "Message In A Bottle" over and over (Oh! Hi! I am losing coolness points as I write this!) (as if I had coolness, ever) to some crazy girl who leaves her house and meets strangers who talk about YARN!

Not to get all profound and shit, but I do believe knitting has saved me from my inner hermit.

When Mr. X moved out on the first of September, I MOVED WAY IN. Basically, I didn't leave my house. EVER. Aside from going to work and going to the 7-11 for groceries, which is where all normal people shop for groceries, I just channeled Howard Hughes and envisioned the impermeable bubble of my dreams. Jennifer, my beloved and dear friend, invited me to meet her brother one weekend in October. I wanted to -- I really did -- but I was so terrified, so sad, so isolated that I stayed home, watched TV, sat and the floor with a bottle of wine and oh, by the way, drinking alone? Totally one of those symptoms mentioned on the AA checklist. Drinking alone while watching re-runs of "Growing Pains" and talking to your cat about love gone wrong? TOTALLY FUCKING EMBARASSING.

This type of living is what I call my "Fear Life."

In my Fear Life, I would ideally work from home, submitting my projects remotely and never attending meetings or going to an office. I would piddle in my garden and write and talk to my cats and before long groceries would get delivered (not shopped for, even at 7-11), catalogs would replace the mall, friends would come visit but only if they follow The Golden Hermit Rule: Call before you come over, email before you call, and think twice before you email.

In time, in the Fear Life, days become so insulated and alone that even things I love to do -- like travel -- would be too scary and I would eventually miss out on my own life. For some people, the Fear Life takes on a different bent (partying too much, wild sleepless nights on the town) but for me, the Fear Life is total seclusion, an extra 40 pounds, and long conversations with my cat. Hi, crazy much?

But in January I learned to knit. Shannon took me to class with her, and I bought yarn and needles and IT TOOK. I was so obsessed with knitting that I began to venture out into my new neighborhood, finding hidden yarn stores and knitting books. I just wanted to knit and talk about knitting nonstop. I thought the website could be a way to write about knitting without having to bore my co-workers and parents to death about 100% wool! You wash it and it makes felt! And oh, there's this stuff called alpaca... and so on.

And I read lots of personal knitting websites. But I don't have a cute kid or a sweet husband to make knitted sweaters for, and also I may be a wee bit bitter and also, well, spinster divorcée drinks-a-lot, need I say more? So I can only write one way, and this is it, and then... well, it took, too! And other bloggers emailed me and they all seemed like good people, the kind you'd want to KNOW, and one day I actually left my house (to go to Annie Modesitt's class) and even left my valley (for stitch 'n bitch) and of course ya'll have been with my the whole way, livin' out loud. Then, Laura, of the WORLD FAMOUS JenLa invited me to her house for lunch and knitting.

And I went!!

I drove on freeways I never drive to a town I have never been to and met strangers. IT WAS AWESOME. Fear? YES. I was fearful, but I did it nonetheless. Sounds like small potatoes to the normal folks in the world, I guess, but to me, the hermit? BIG STEP FOR HERMITKIND. And I got to meet two cool knitbloggers -- Laura, famous Jen La writer, and Michelle, of Fickleknitter fame. Laura was welcoming and gracious and has a cat just like my Sobakowa!!And Michelle is so smart and kind and talks normal, ya'll, because she's from Virginia!

   
Laura's kitty looks just like my Sobakowa! La working away on Mariah, with some strawberry margarita for the tough spots.

   
Her Mariah sweater is almost done; Mose kitty is just like a baby, so damn cute you can't stand it.

   
A tortie that does tricks; Michelle is cute as pie but is hiding behind her lacy shawl.


Laura and Michelle also helped me figure out The Math on my decreases for the orange hat. And Laura gave me some super-pretty stitch markers she'd made. Michelle was kind enough to email the Knit Math for my hat to me yesterday EVEN THOUGH I opened my big mouth after a single margarita and told a completely stupid joke that was likely horribly offensive and, ya'll know. I just do not shut up. And Laura showed me all kinds of neat internets stuff and all in all it was a really good day, and I thank them so much for having me over.


Then -- oh hell yeah the story continues! -- I met up on Sunday with Shannon and also Carrie and Laina from Stitch 'n Bitch and we went to Unwind to shop for yarn and chitchat and we had lunch and we even knit in public!!!!!!

(I wanted to meet Barbara there as well, but my Internets are out at home and I didn't get her email until this morning. Day late and a dollar short -- story of my life. So, this is a public apology to Barbara, who I shall stalk until I meet her in person!)

unwind-girls.jpg

unwind-girls-shannon.jpg

Laina is an amazing knitter, and yet she's patient and helped Shannon with her ribbed scarf, and she has even inspired me to try a sweater. (Laina, I came home and picked out a pattern!!) Carrie just got a new kitten named Charlie, or maybe Xander, and she's warm and witty and get this -- she lives in the valley, too!

It's amazing to meet people who share your current obsession (yarn, yarn and more yarn) and also have completely different lives and backgrounds and yet, somehow, you just click. Comfortable, like a perfect pair of pajamas.

Also -- if the swimming pools and movie stars and free parking are not enough, ya'll come to the Valley just for Unwind. It is the best yarn shop! They have comfortable overstuffed chairs and racks of pattern books and they didn't mind at all that us girls camped out in the corner and knitted and browsed pattern books and talked about love and yarn and catbox situations for almost two hours.

   
Stephanie showing us some gorgeous mohair; Tom always cheerful and look at that yarn I bought! It was like I hit the Debbie Bliss jackpot! On sale!

Then, Laina and Carrie and I went to Bob's Big Boy for lunch and looky there, an orange hat found the Big Boy! (Shannon had to go for her last performance of the play she's STARRING in, so she couldn't come to lunch and we missed her.)

   
Laina and Carrie knit in public; Bob's Big Boy with orange hat.

Knitting in public was weird at first, but we did it. And it was nothing scary at all. (This is the valley, ya'll. Crazy people live here. We could have been sitting right there in the Bob's Big Boy waiting area re-enacting the final battle of the Civil War and nobody would have given us a sideways glance.)

Last night I went home and called my parents ("on the long distance") and told them all about my weekend and my dad was so happy for me, and then I heard it in his voice. Relief. It surprised me, a little, because I hadn't realized my parents were worried about me. They've seen me change, and hole up in my house for almost six months now, and my cheerful calls to them usually consist of SOME FUNNY THING MY CAT DID. Which scares a parent, ya'll know. They live far away and can't draw me out of my shell, and I could just hear how happy they were for me to meet new people and go out and live life.

Plus, it's way easier to explain to friends that your child in Los Angeles is just going through a tough patch, but has taken up knitting, than to admit she's gone buckwild crazy and is wearing her bra on her head and directing traffic on 6th and Main. They're relieved. I'm just saying, is all.

Posted by laurie at 11:13 AM

May 14, 2005

Something WICKED this way comes...

My cable modem isn't working at home, so I am dialing in on the phone all old-school with AOL!! It has taken me 22.8 minutes to log on. So if you emailed me lately and haven't gotten a response you know why. I'm on the Internets circa 1995 here.

I believe this montage is called "Evil Cute Cats Plot Human Death."


Evil Cats Plot Human Death

Evil Cats Plot Human Death

Evil Cats Plot Human Death

Evil Cats Plot Human Death

Posted by laurie at 10:29 AM

May 13, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n Talk 'n TALK

snbmay12-myhat-beginning.jpg

I think I may possibly have a massive girl-crush on the entire West Hollywood SNB. Including Jeffery who, while not female, falls into the SNB Crush category. After careful contemplation, one glass of wine (last night) and two cups of coffee (this morning) I have concluded my crush stems from the following three things:

1) The knitters I have met so far are nice, funny, kind, interesting, diverse and smart and no one's putting up a facade, or trying hard to be TRAGICALLY HIP, or looking over your shoulder as you talk to see if someone more interesting walked in the room. In LOS ANGELES. This is a miracle, people.

2) Somewhere in me is a deep need to bond socially with other women. (See: checkered past in such pursuits as cheerleading, sorority, girl scouts, etc.) I crave the company of girls, because there's something so rewarding about being in a room with women who have all these different perspectives and experiences (and yarn).

3) IT IS SO MUCH FUN. I don't have a Sex & The City life. For one thing, I hate bars. LOATHE them. I'm bad in crowds, not good with meeting men and even worse at trying to be desireable. (See: four cats, chubby, nervous talking.) Drinking? Sure! Smoking? Yup! In a bar? In a club? Wearing heels and makeup and clothes I can't really afford? NO FRICKIN' WAY. To me, it's kind of rare to meet a bunch of amazing chicks in a big social setting where no one is trying to pick up guys or get picked up. AND I LOVE IT. Love it ya'll. Plus, there's yarn! And food! And knitting! And crocheting!

So, yeah, I have a girl crush. There's a part of me that's so giddy and happy that finally I found out about stitching groups and cool knitters and ... I don't know. Part of me thinks, "This is going so well! I actually left my hermit house and met strangers and I love them, and they don't seem to be appalled by me (yet) and so, this is too good to be true! Something's going to go horribly awry!"

Do you ever do that? Think you've found something so good and then immediately worry it will disappear? You'd need Freud and a couch and about sixty-two years to make me un-crazy, I suppose. Maybe things have been going wrong for so long that I don't know what to think when something goes so right. AHA!! LIGHTBULB MOMENT!! We can blame this one on Mr. X!! Forget Freud -- it's all Mr. X's damn fault. Goddamn goatee-wearing confidence stealer.

So, WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch, the voyeur version:

   
Audrey made me an awesome X wrist cuff!! Lisa displaying an incredible piece of sweater art.

   
Regina's crochet monsters were a hit; Jeffery is famous, he was on Knitty Gritty! Here he is with Natalie, and unfortunately her adorable felted marsupial tote didn't make it in the shot. But trust me, it's cute.


   
The group upstairs at the Los Angeles Farmers' Market; "Talking Stick" afghan with squared created by different WeHo girls.


   
The WeHo group; ya'll smile pretty for the crazy camera lady!!



L-R: Laina, Gwen, Carrie, one sweater, two scarves, and no one made fun of my inside-out hat. And Laina has just finished writing a book, it's a children's book with knitting and one day she's going to be famous. Really! I can sense these things.


Ya'll will be happy to hear I sniffed no yarn last night. The only potentially embarrassing crazygirl things I did in public were:

1) The TALKING. And the talking and talking. I could NOT shut up, ya'll. But I was so excited! There were so many people! And some of them remembered who I was from last week! And then I got to meet new people, which was exciting because I wasn't the only new person there. And I just blah blah blah but of course I sound like I'm the last redneck out of the gene pond once I get going, so, well. There's that.

2) Oh sure, I managed not to mention porn, but I may have accidentally blurted out, in the middle of a perfectly innocent, polite conversation, "I bought a Hello Kitty vibrator!" I AM A TARD. (And Hi, dad! I totally thought it was a back massager from Japan! I SWEAR!)

3) When nervous, I sweat. Not perspire ... sweat. Glistening forehead. REAL classy.

So, aside from the sweaty, vibrator-weilding talkomaniac, last night was awesome. Moral of the story? Ya'll get out of your damn houses and go to your local Stitch 'n Bitch. If I can do it -- glistening forehead and all -- SO CAN YOU.

snbmay12-myhat-end.jpg

Posted by laurie at 2:21 PM

May 12, 2005

My beloved valley is diseased

Disease, pestilence, plague! But first ... knitting!

After a small but public freak-out yesterday over my hat's infancy, I called Shannon and made her measure her head. Her head was totally 21 inches and that's what I guessed! This can only mean one thing: I AM PSYCHIC. The voodoo must be working.

Luckily, I called her before I got too far along in the Orange Hat because she prefers rollie-brim knit hats to ribbed-brim (you know... snug hats with ribbing make for bad hat-hair. Bad.)

So, I ripped out my first try and now I'm motoring away on a simple stockinette roll-brim hat. Or, rather, if I finish it and it looks good, then it is simple. If it is lopsided, doesn't fit or is ugly, it will get felted into a cat toy. I'll post the pattern after I'm done (if it looks good). I still have to work out all the decreases to get it just right.

Now, for the contagious portion of our program:

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This is posted on the chain-link fence across the street from the bus stop in Encino.

I may have a tee tiny little problem with hypochondria. Not the normal "I think I have a cold" hypochondria. I mean the "Oh my God there's a new disease called monkeypox and I must not leave my house in case I get it from you, dirty unwashed masses of the world ..." kind of hypochondria.

New diseases are scary and also GROSS. Remember the flesh-eating bacteria? Sure you do. I read one story about a guy who had a pimple and before you know it.. FLESH EATING BACTERIA. Ya'll know I loaded up on Neosporin and disinfectant and of course scrutinized every blemish for signs of flesh-eating activity. (Luckily, none was found. LUCKILY.)

Remember anthrax? During the height of the Anthrax scare I picked out a really good photo of myself and made my parents PROMISE to use it in my obit in case I died of Anthrax poisoning, because my Driver's License photo looks demented and I want a hot-looking obituary notice. Am I morbid? Or just extremely vain? Hard to say.

And SARS? Yeah. That was back when I took the subway into downtown every day. Oh, the delirious SARS days, when my friends all got together for lunch and Jennifer had everyone laughing in tears telling them she was waiting to see if my germaphobia would vanquish my vanity and I'd show up at the Red Line one day wearing a surgical mask.

(Yeah, ya'll laugh. Go ahead. UNTIL I COUGH ON YOU.)

When the National Institute of Health declared that obesity was a disease, I threatened my boss that I was going to call in fat. But this one is even better... now we have West Nile in the Valley. "Mr. Boss, I can't come to work today because I saw a mosquito hovering near my car. And it was giving off a West Nile vibe, like it was sick, and also trying to kill me .... "

Ha!

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Posted by laurie at 9:12 AM

May 11, 2005

Shannon, this hat's for you.

Since I am currently locked in a battle of Insane Woman Vs. The Hateful Knitting in my quest to finish the Mystery Ugly Knitted Cat Thingamajig, I decided to break the stalemate and work on a fun project. Also, the yarn used in the Ugly Thingamajig makes my fingers hurt. Also, did I mention it's ugly?

A while back I bought this luscious Crystal Palace Icelandic wool in bright orange to make a hat for Shannon. At the SnB last week, I swatched for the hat -- two different sizes, even! -- because ya'll, I was so nervous to be at the SnB, about all I could do was swatch. Then I carefully measured my gauge.

My hat pattern doesn't really tell me how many stitches to cast on, instead it uses a formula ("formula" is a fancypants word for MATH. HATE YOU MATH.)

In this "formula" you measure both your gauge and your own head. Then you multiply stitches-per-inch times the inches of your head circumference. I measured my head, which is 22.5 inches and Shannon seems to have a proportional head, not Big Head like me (and Stacy.... ha! Stacy, you know we just have Big Heads for our Big Brains!) so I estimated 21 inches for Shannon's smaller, normal-sized head.

Now, OK, even a mathtard like me can multiply 4 stitches per inch times 21 inches. And that's supposed to mean I cast on 84 stitches. Which is AWESOME, because you're supposed to (ideally) have stitches in multiples of 6 because it's... I don't know why. The book says this is the way it is. Multiples of 6 are best.

So, I cast on my 84 stitches and hi! I know I'm a new knitter and also sort of a remedial math person, but there is NO WAY this hat, based upon the cast-on size, would fit any human adult, even if they aren't Big Head. I think I'm just going to keep the whole thing intact in my bag and call Shannon and ask her to measure her own head and then take the whole mess to SnB tomorrow night and beg for help. Yes, I will beg. I will bribe folks with beer. I am not above bribery.

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Posted by laurie at 9:54 AM

P.S. I love Arkansas!

I didn't mean to insult the Arkansas folks. I LOVE the South ya'll know that. My Uncle Truman still thinks Little Rock is the best city on earth (he lived there for 22 years.) Even though the south is filled up with red states, I still love them all. And their cousins, too ;)

Posted by laurie at 9:30 AM

May 10, 2005

Please ... won't you be my neighbor?

neighborhood-good.jpg

This is my neighborhood. Peaceful looking, isn't it? Idyllic. Placid. Just row after row of green, leafy tree-lined streets with charming, small World War II-era bungalows.

Now, meet my neighbors, the crackheads who set their own house on fire this weekend:

neighborhood-bad1.jpg


So of course it's story time! Gather 'round. Get a cup of coffee. This is a long one.

When I left the Studio City condo and found my own place to live, I wasn't the least bit excited. Moving day was five days before Christmas. Christmas, ya'll. And it took NINE hours to move my crap from the three-level condo into the teeny new house. NINE hours and a thousand dollars.

By the end of the marathon moving day, I had boxes piled from floor to ceiling, the bed frame didn't fit in the bedroom, and my cats were still back at the old place waiting to be caged and brought over. I looked at my checkbook, looked at the boxes, looked at my grimy clothes and sat down and bawled. Which is when Rebecca showed up. And then my crackhead neighbors showed up.

Rebecca is one of my closest friends. She's Canadian. I LOVE Canadians. And I adore Rebecca. She's very classy, and also very reserved. Polite. Good manners. A good friend. As she sat on the back patio of my new house with me and plied me with beer and smoking and let me wail and cry, we heard the doorbell ring.

My new doorbell. At my new house. Where I was crying and also dirty and also drinking a beer.

I ignored it for the first few times, and then I heard someone OPENING THE SCREEN DOOR of my new house, and heard a strange couple of voices saying, INSIDE MY NEW HOUSE, "Hey hey hey! Is anyone home?"

And this is how I met my neighbors, Crackhead Bob and Drunken Julie.

They came inside and Rebecca tried to cut them off at the pass as I dried my eyes with my shirt, making myself presentable for neighbors who, as it turns out, are complete fucking psychos. I realize this quickly as they are standing, uninvited, in the middle of my new house doing the following:

1) Stanking like a beer keg. They are drunk, and I mean the smell like a stale brewery pissant kind of drunk. In my new house.

2) The woman, Julie, has a cigarette! In my house! I have never smoked inside a house maybe ever in my whole life. But especially not someone's new house! A stranger's house!
Me: OH MY GOD DON"T SMOKE IN HERE, MY CAT HAS ASTHSMA.
Drunken Julie: Oh ok. (Throws lit cigarette on my front patio.)

3) Before even introducing themselves, they start walking room to room looking at all my stuff saying helpful things like, "You'll never fit all this in here." and "Shit! Look at all the stuff you have!"

Then Julie, the drunken neighbor welcome wagon, fixated upon me and somehow realized through her beer-breath haze that the more she pointed out my many boxes and my tiny rooms, the more watery and teary my eyes became. And boy did she love that. She started talking about how she knows, she KNOWS!, how hard it is "around the holidays." How tough Christmastime can be. Especially when you are ALL ALONE.

Drunken Julie: Oooooh, you're getting upset!

Me: (sniiffff) I. Am. FINE. Thanks for stopping by!

Julie: It's ok. I just went through a terrible divorce myself.

Me: WHAT? I'm sorry. Do you know me? How do you...?

Julie: Oh your landlord told us.

Me: Did he send out a memo or something? What the fu...?

Julie: Oh it's ok, I mean, I understand, I do.

Me: OK, thanks! Well, glad you stopped by! [I move closer to my front door.]

Julie: I mean... Bob's family and my family don't agree with our relationship, either. But love will find a way.

Me: Oh, ok. Well, nice to meet you!

Julie: They don't agree with us, but we're together anyway.

As I try to forcefully show them out the door, drunken Julie turns to Rebecca, my classy, reserved Canadian friend Rebecca, and says the following:

Julie: They don't approve of us because we're cousins.

Did ya'll catch that part? Two seconds after meeting me and Rebecca, this complete drunken stranger has just told us that she and her drunk boyfriend ARE COUSINS. And they are IN MY HOUSE.

Then Rebecca tuns to me and says silently with her pleading eyes: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE HER GO AWAY BEFORE I VOMIT.

Then Julie, who hasn't read Rebecca's silent, pleading eyes of dispair says: "The guy next door to you is divorced too. Oh, and did you know your neighbors in the yard behind you have two pit bulls? BIG ONES!"

So then I started crying and Rebecca made Crackhead Bob and Drunken Julie leave, at which point Jennifer arrived to find Rebecca horrified and trying to wash her hands (but unable to find soap or a towel) and me crying and boxes everywhere and no cats.

Jen: What on earth...?

Rebecca: Oh. My. God. NEED SOAP. FEEL DIRTY.

Jen: Uh...? I brought beer. What is going on?

Me: Apparently my landlord put out an APB in the neighborhood and now I live on the corner of Divorce and Incest Streets, and I'm one block away from Pit Bull Avenue. And I am dirty and my cats aren't here and I cannot find the toilet paper ARE YOU HAPPY? And there is no soap AND THEY ARE COUSINS.

So that is the story of how I met my neighbors from two doors down. And after meeting them, as you can imagine, I was in not at all interested in meeting the rest of the neighborhood. I just kept to myself, stopped answering the doorbell and avoided eye contact with everyone on my street.

All that changed on Sunday when the whole neighborhood was awakened at 2:30 a.m. to Crackhead Bob yelling drunkenly to himself as he tried to put out a raging fire in his house with a garden hose. He just stood in his front yard, beer in hand, didn't even call 911, and waved around the garden hose as flames were leaping from the windows. Before the evening was over we had 37 bazillion fire trucks and lots of curious neighbors out on the street. And all day Sunday the neighborhood was a'twitter with "What on earth...?" "What happened there?" "Are those people always drunk?" I must have met every dog-walker, nice old lady and soccer mom on the block.

And we all wanted the scoop. The full story on the fire of Crackhead Bob & Drunken Julie's house (which by the way has the worst yard in the neighborhood, as several folks pointed out.)

So, you know me. Ya'll know how I am.

I got in my car and drove off to the grocery store and as I was driving down the street I just so happened to pass by the crack den on my way. Bob, beer can in hand, was sitting on his front steps.

Me: Hey, are ya'll ok? What the heck happened last night?

Bob: Well, my drunk girlfriend was with her boyfriend, a guy she met in rehab when she was supposed to be getting sober, and I went on the roof to hide from them and then my house caught on fire.

Me: Ok! Well glad you're all right! Bye!

Perhaps it's best if one does not know the sordid details of one's white trash neighbors, after all. And when did this become Encino, ARKANSAS? Are my neighbors building a meth lab? Or are they just retarded?

Please won't you be my neighbor?

neighborhood-bad2.jpg

Posted by laurie at 12:09 PM

May 9, 2005

Not really an entry. Need more coffee.

5:15 a.m. Alarm goes off

5:15:03 a.m. Alarm mysteriously shut off by sleeping hand

5:47 a.m. Realize I have to get up. Cat snuggles in under chin.

6:20 a.m. Oh shit! Realize I was supposed to call Jen at 6 a.m. for wake-up call.

6:22 a.m. Get up, feed cats, clean catbox

6:30 a.m. Lay on sofa with blanket pulled up to chin, cats snuggled in. Turn on TV.

6:31 a.m. Call Jennifer. "Jen, it's me, sorry I'm late calling. Cats, oversleep, etc." We grumble chitchat. "I'll call you back in half an hour and make sure you're up."

7:08 a.m. Call J. Back, no answer. Still on sofa in pajamas with blanket up to chin and two cats snuggled up watching morning news.

7:22 a.m. Jen calls. "I was in the shower when you called, getting ready, cannot fucking believe I have an exam today." Me: "Well, you're doing better than I am. I have to leave my house at 7:45 to catch the last bus and I'm still on the sofa watching TV."

7:24 a.m. Realize have missed bus, am not in shower, and I have to give Roy his medicine

7:24:30 a.m. Complain aloud about having to make a CAT take not one but TWO pills

7:25 a.m. Try to reason with Roy. Explain that he must go in and take his cat pills so he will never have to go back to the vet. Also tell him how much cat pills cost.

7:26 a.m. Reasoning fails. Roy not listening. Must get off sofa and force pills on him.

7:37 a.m. Roy thinks I am trying to murder him. He hates me.

7:39-8:07 a.m. Shower, pull on only remaining clean clothes for work, leave house. Hair wet. Plenty of time to dry in the CAR since I MISSED the bus. Roy is in a corner telling the other cats about how I'm trying to KILL him and how they must band together and kill me first. They listen intently. Except for Bob, who is staring at his own paw.

8:15 a.m. Trying to pour coffee in a cup at 7-11:

     Guy next to me: Blah blahblah blah?
     Me: ...? Did you say something? I'm sorry. I'm not awake.
     Guy: Could you hand me a lid?
     Me: You have an earring in your chin.
     Guy: Uh... huh?
     Me: Did I say that out loud?
     Guy: Uh, yeah.
     Me: I have to go now.

9:05 a.m. Arrive at desk. Stare at keyboard.

     Boss: Did you get my voicemail about the blahblah blah blah?
     Me: No, I was late, there was a chin ring. And cat pills.
     Boss: You need coffee.
     Me: I have coffee.
     Boss: You need MORE coffee.

Roy speaks.

Roy speaks.

Roy speaks.

Roy speaks.

Posted by laurie at 12:06 PM

May 8, 2005

Happy Mother's Day

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Meet my mom, also named Laurie. The coolest thing about my mom? She loves me even though she didn't have to. She met me when I was about four years old. As you can see from the picture, she had this luxurious long hair that made her very glamorous, and also, that she let me braid and "fix" during long car rides. (Sorry about that time you had to cut a bird's-nest knot out of your hair! Whoops!)

I'm not sure I could have done what she did, marry a man with young kids and move to Texas and let a spaced-out five-year-old braid my hair with grubby little fingers. But she's a brave one. There were times when she couldn't possibly like me (Hi! Remember the time I dyed my hair blue? Surprise!) (I bet you thought you'd put that one out of your memory forever, eh?) but she was a trooper.

She kept on being my mom even though I was such a joy to behold as a teen. Remember clothes shopping? What a relaxing and happy time that must have been for you. Ha! And the time I decided to "help" you make a pie and I managed to get merengue everywhere, including on the ceiling? Wasn't that fun? Or how about the time I took the doors off my closet, moved my bed in there and listened to The Smiths for a year? Yeah, that was cool, wasn't it?

Of course compared to my brothers I was an ANGEL, and by the way I plan to lord that over them all until the day I die.

I'm so glad my dad picked someone so funny and laid-back and kind-hearted and silly. I'm glad he picked someone who refused to let me buy micro-miniskirts at age fourteen. (Oh I was NOT GLAD then, but I am now.) I'm glad he picked someone who became my closest and dearest friend. One of the most surprising things to ever happen in my life was Laurie, and I'm so grateful that I know her. And also I'm grateful that her name is the same as mine so that when we're both old and senile we'll never forget each other, ever.

I love you.
Happy Mother's Day!

Posted by laurie at 11:05 AM

May 6, 2005

Stich 'n Bitch 'n Epiphany

I have hermit-like tendencies. I tell you this because that's important background information for the rest of the story. I also have one rather lopsided, over-tweezed eyebrow right now, but that is not important to the story. Just so you know.

Last night, I went to the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch (thanks again for the invite, Ellen!) and I made Jennifer go with me, and she even knitted! Her first scarf! And we met all kinds of genuinely nice and funny and REAL women who were knitting and crocheting and it was incredibly fun.

All this time I have been living in Los Angeles and wondering where all the REAL people were. Apparently they were knitting! I had no idea. Not that I don't love this city, I do, but it's so hard to meet people here who aren't hard and bright like so many little twinkling plastic jewels, teetering on high-high heels and drinking anything with "-tini" on the end and being fabulous, which I find exhausting.

But the SnB folks were smart and funny and diverse and welcoming and lovely and all I can tell you is that at some point we began a critical analysis of "Pretty In Pink" that made me feel like I was finally, at last, At Home.

"Ah, and the part where James Spader leans against the pink Kharman Ghia, remember?"
"I know! I know! He was hot!"
"He's short in real life."
"Ooooh, really?"
"I love how he's the only one who looks like he's 30 years old in high school..."
"And the part with the mean girl, remember, she says, 'Do I have class with you? And Molly Ringwald says, 'Yeah... gym.' And the mean girl, Bennie, says, 'Your name is GYM?'"
"And what about Annie Potts! Her clothes!"
"You know the part where she shoots the staple gun at the kid inside Traxx...?"

As you can see from the transcript above... me? IN HOG HEAVEN.

Pics from the WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch, click for big:

 
The WeHo SnB group at the Los Angeles Farmer's Market.


 
More group knitting, empty chair is mine, and Jen knits! She's a knitter!!

 
Also, LOOK!!! Ellen made me a crocheted "X" for the Down With Mr. X Knitalong!!!

 
This is a crocheted work of art, The Taco, By Ellen. Complete with lettuce and tomato.


Christine brought her lovely hand-dyed, handspun yarn to the SnB.
Visit her online at www.tooknappress.com.

So, how does the hermit thing tie in? Ah. Thanks for asking. It's just that meeting new people is really nerve-wracking for hermit types. I say incredibly inappropriate things, and when I get nervous I manage to blurt out nonsense, like talking about porn, and ya'll I don't even watch porn! I. HAVE. NEVER SEEN A PORNO. Well, I saw "Henry & June" which was rated NC-17, but that's it. (Gail says she does this too, and Gail is smart and funny and perfectly normal so maybe there's just a kind of Tourette's Syndrome we both share that makes us stutter out the word "porn" at social gatherings. I do not know.) (Porn! Porn!)

Anyway, moving along.

It was a big night for me, Spinster Hermit Lady, on many levels.

1) I actually left my house.
2) I actually left the Valley.
3) I MET STRANGERS
4) I got to knit with people who thought I was a knitter! FOOLED YA'LL!!!
5) No one tried to show me a PowerPoint presentation of their wedding cake.
6) I only mentioned porn once
7) Jennifer and I got to knit together for the first time EVER
8) Jen appeared to like knitting, which made me soooooo happy, like we'd both up and joined the Moonies but in a good way
9) I managed to keep the redneck out of my voice at least 40% of the time, deliberately throwing in a "you guys" instead of a "ya'll" at least once (Can ya'll tell that stupid blogtest in which I got 60% Dixie is still bothering me? THANKYOUVERYMUCH.)
10) My waning faith in the quality of people in Los Angeles was fully restored

Last night, when I drove home, I did that thing you do where you finally exhale, and then you immediately start wondering if you were a dumbass and said anything really stupid. Or, if you're me, you wonder if people think you have a creepy yarn fetish because YOU SNIFFED A BALL OF MOHAIR in front of people without realizing you had SMELLED THE YARN before it was too late. Oh yes, that was me. I picked up a beautiful ball of Debbie Bliss mohair that Crystal was showing me and I touched it, then folks, I SMELLED IT. Then I caught myself ... but the damage was done. Crystal assured me I was just getting "the full tactile experience." She was kind. BUT YA'LL. I may forever be known as Laurie, the girl who smells yarn.

So, of course I am thinking about this rather embarrassing moment and the "Down With Yarn Sniffers Knitalong" that will probably ensue, and I got home -- anxious, embarrassed -- and then I saw the Big Red X crocheted by Ellen peeking out of my bag and it made me laugh. And I thought about all the fun I'd had, and I was happy, and you know what? Maybe this Spinster thing isn't so bad after all.

Had Mr. X stayed, I may never have taken up knitting. And had I not become obsessed with knitting and yarn and living out loud, I may never have written a true thing. Had I not used blogging as therapy, I would not have met Ellen, who wouldn't have invited me to a Stitch 'n Bitch, and I wouldn't have met all the WeHo gals. And I certainly wouldn't be sitting in my own living room, happy, with Roy The Cat on my lap and a glass of wine on the coffee table, holding a Red X Of Solidarity and laughing like a 16-year-old after a slumber party.

Crazy, isn't it?

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Posted by laurie at 1:32 PM

May 5, 2005

Bless their hearts....

Today is the National Day of Prayer. So, ya'll pray for Los Angeles since... OH MY GOD ... it might rain.

I forgot about the IMPENDING DOOM of rain and drove to work today because I'm going to... oh! I mean RAURIE is going to West Hollywood tonight to stitch n' kvetch, and she needs to borrow my car. Heh.

Some parts of the U.S. and Canada are still digging out from under snow but ya'll here in Los Angeles we have RAIN, maybe even half an inch! And we may all die. Because RAIN makes traffic crazy, even when by the way? It's not yet raining. I may have seen one tee tiny droplet of mist on my windshield this morning during my drive. This city is nuts, and I love it. It's like Mother Nature knew we needed a great tragedy, such as WATER falling from the SKY, to take our collective minds off the freeway shootings, smog and possibly animatronic governator. Bless our little hearts.

Also, I started writing this at 9 a.m. and now it's 1 p.m. and I have two paragraphs and no entry and why?

Well, I have this problem, it's called my job. And I love my job. I need my job. But it's always happening right in the middle of prime emailing/writing time and wow, I may have to rethink having my comments emailed to me. The email! The email! The temptation is too great and I want to just chitchat chitchat with every single person. ALL DAY. Know what I have done for two days? Email. Madeleine (a girl who I sent no less than ten bazillion emails to yesterday) pointed out that I may have checked the proverbial Pandora's box of checkboxes on Movable Type, as I am incapable of both doing my job and chatting all day on personal email. It's bad! bad!

Boss: Where's the banner ad for so-and-so?

Me: Um, I know that banner ad is the difference between life and death, but hello! I'M BUSY WITH EMAIL!

Bad, very bad. Don't you wish you had an employee like me?

So, anyway. Email = Bad. But real mail? Real mail = So, so good. I went to The Voodoo Store and scored for ya'll. I love to send mail!!! Some of this is going to far-off places like fabled Canada, and also Australia, and also Kansas. I wonder what I should write on the customs forms? Will Homeland Security come after me for sending voodoo through the mail? Will Paula get the boot for giving the panty pudding to Corey? Will Los Angeles really get an inch of rain and maybe perish? Will I be able to cast on in front of strangers in WeHo? Only time will tell. Pray for us all.

Posted by laurie at 1:12 PM

May 4, 2005

Hair, there and everywhere.

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Meet Aharon, the Magic Man, who can transform me from fugly to pretty in 2.5 hours flat. (Hey, beauty? Not a quick process!) He's Israeli, and has the best accent ever, and his name is pronounced like "Aaron" but spelled all Euro. And that's his adorable assistant Aneta who is so nice and makes you feel right at home even though you're nervous, and have 27 inches of roots, and also maybe can't really afford to get your hair done there.

Oh, yes, my hairdresser has an assistant. This is apparently quite common at these fancy pants Beverly Hills salons, which is a far cry from the home perms of my youth in which my seven-year-old brother was the assistant to my mom, the stylist (with very poor results, I might add.) It's so much fun to live in a city like Los Angeles where you can pretend to be a Beverly Hills "I get my hair done here" kind of girl, even if just for a few hours. It's like playing dress-up, except maybe a wee bit more expensive.

Also, for the record, I am the Art Director for a fairly large financial firm, and do I have an assistant? No. I do not even have a junior designer at the moment, and before long I'll probably have to bring my own post-it notes to work. I'm just saying. I may have made a serious vocational error. Anyone want me to do your hair?

But ya'll, I love Aharon. Have I mentioned that before? Well, I do. For two reasons:

1. He is adorable, and has the cutest accent, and is a miracle worker. I love him because he makes me feel pretty.

2. He is also a wise, wise man.

Me: Aharon, I'm going through a divorce and I want to go RED. I want to be a REDHEAD. Red, the color of DIVORCE!

Aharon: No. I don't think this is a good idea.

Me: But Aharon, red! Divorce!

Aharon: Anytime you make a change because of a divorce or a problem, it never solves the problem. Then you feel worse, and want your old color back.

Me: So, you're saying no?

Aharon: Ask me again six months after the divorce is final.

And he is wise, and so right, because perhaps blonde is the color of divorce, and always has been:

[click for big]
 


---
And now, some bloggy stuff!

My friend Cara who is also obsessed with Newfoundland sent me a tag. Hi Cara!

The Rules from Cara: Pick 5 of the following and then complete the sentences. Then pass this little meme on to 3 more of your blog friends! But no tag backs! And be careful…you could be next!

(My disclaimer of The Rules: I have no idea what a tag back is or what will happen if the meme --which I just figured out means me! me! -- does not get completed. Probably some kid with cancer who is trying to collect business cards before he dies will come after you with the alligator he found in the sewer or Bill Gates won't give you the $100 you earned from forwarding the meme. Ya'll know.)

The Premise (pick 5):

If I could be a scientist…
If I could be a farmer…
If I could be a musician…
If I could be a doctor…
If I could be a painter…
If I could be a gardener…
If I could be a missionary…
If I could be a chef…
If I could be an architect…
If I could be a linguist…
If I could be a psychologist…
If I could be a librarian…
If I could be an athlete…
If I could be a lawyer…
If I could be an inn-keeper…
If I could be a professor…
If I could be a writer…
If I could be a llama-rider…
If I could be a bonnie pirate…
If I could be an astronaut…
If I could be a world famous blogger…
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world…
If I could be married to any current famous political figure…

The answers ....

1. If I could be a gardener … I'd garden in the morning! I'd garden in the evening! All over this town! Also, I'd grow some herbs, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

2. If I could be a justice on any one court in the world… it would be the SUPREME Court, and by the way? Gay people would be able to marry. Adopt kids. Have partner rights just like the rest of us. Because you know what? Gay wedding is not the greatest threat to marriage. DIVORCE IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO MARRIAGE. And also maybe men with vienna sausages who grow goatees, but anyway. Moving on.

3. If I could be a scientist … I would SO make people call me Dr. Laurie. Even my parents. They'd have to call and ask if the Doctor was in. Also, I would cure cancer. But mostly, I'd be like, "There is a Doctor in the house, yo yo! And that Doctor is me!"

4. If I could be a librarian … I'd want to work at the Los Angeles downtown library because I love love love it there so much. I spend my lunch hour there several times a week. Just look for the dork with the knitting down in the History room ... that's me!

5. If I could be a writer… I'd die happy.


---

I tag (of course):

Jen, who is so deep in law school finals that her brain is about to melt, but one of the sentences is ... "If I were a lawyer..." so I thought she could curse a little on that one.

Crystal, who is home sick and has time (and codeine) to contemplate these issues. Also, Crystal, you need to come out here to Los Angeles. I promise we'll do lots of touristy stuff and I'll even let you sleep in my room instead of the guestroom where the catbox is. Really!

And Drew, because we need to inflict a guy with this knitblog tag madness. Besides, he's not just any guy! The Crochet Dude cooks, cleans, knits, and loves cats. We must all bow down to the amazingness of the Crochet Dude! So, ya'll go stalk Drew, and look! He even has a store!


Ok, that's all for humpday. May you hump wisely and well. Bye!

Posted by laurie at 9:47 AM

May 3, 2005

You. Must. Make. THIS.

I have never seen anything funnier in my entire life. Annie Modesitt has a "Make Jennifer's Blanket" pattern on her site for the Runaway Bride's oh-so-chic headcovering, as seen on TV:

http://www.modeknit.com/blog/jens_blanket.html


runawaybride.jpg

Jennifer Wilbanks, the Georgia runaway bride, is escorted by police through the airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Saturday, April 30, 2005. Wilbanks first told police she had been kidnapped. She later confessed that she got cold feet regarding her wedding and that's why she vanished for several days.(AP Photo/JOe Cavaretta)

Posted by laurie at 10:19 AM

Does this make me a mail pimp?

But first, there was knitting.

In lieu of motoring through the second half of the Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig, which is ugly, I decided to complete a Noro basketweave (checkerboard? whatever) scarf for Jennifer, who even as she reads this will instantly forget the Noro scarf, and will act excited to see it at Christmas.

Frankie was kind enough to model the finished product. Two skeins of Noro Kureyon worked on size 10.5 straight needles, a simple knit 5, purl 5 for ten rows, then the magic happens, magic! I tell you! You just start to purl 5, knit 5 for the next ten rows, and so on, for a chckerboard.

(EDITED TO ADD: Heidi was having trouble with this one because I didn't put in a key component of the pattern! I'm so glad she emailed me and we could fix it. OK, here goes.)

With the basketweave scarf, you have to do it it "blocks" of even numbers [four blocks -- Knit 5, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5] then [four blocks the other way -- purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5] because what's happening is you're making stockinette, in little chunks. One chunk of stockinette, one chunk reverse stockinette, one chunk stockinette, one chunk reverse.

And that can only happen when you do it in even number blocks. So that when you knit across, your first 5 stitches are knits, next five purls, next five knits, next five purls. Then, magic! 'cause when you finish that row and do your next row, you're knitting again right? Same old k5, p5 pattern ... but you're starting that k5 by knitting up five stitches that were just purled on the last row! Stockinette, here we come!

I was a dork for not adding that info in the post originally. Sorry!

frankie-noro-scarf.jpg


Click for a closeup of the fiber:


In other news, I finally figured out how to get the comments to email me! When I discovered this function I felt so brilliant! And also, so dumb. Because, ya'll it's just a checkbox. That I somehow missed. This technology, I tell you.

Speaking of mail... well, more aptly, speaking of slug mail, I have a litle sumptin sumptin for you.

slug-beast.jpg

Notice the beer used to provide scale. That slug is a beast. And he is right now as we speak probably building an empire in my back yard. Whatever. I only go out there to smoke and light the voodoo candles, so what do I care? Let it all revert back to nature!

That's all for today. I have to double-time to get all my projects at work accomplished so that I can go see the man I love, the man I want to marry (even though I don't believe in marriage, ya'll, I would SO marry him! I love him!) the only man who makes me feel complete.

My hairdresser. Wooohoo!!!

Posted by laurie at 10:02 AM

May 1, 2005

Hor-O-Scopes

In honor of my mom's birthday -- today! May 1st! -- I thought I'd dust off my past career as a faux astrologer (oh, the things ya'll don't know about me ... and the things you never will...) and bust out a May Hor-O-Scope just for her. But I felt sad leaving the other eleven signs out to dry. You know how I am. So, on a trial basis only, here are the May 2005 Hor-O-Scopes, and happy birthday!

- - - - - - - - - -

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
This is a good time to take up a new sport, buy a new bag, sing a new song and try a new perfume. This is not a good time to trust a new love salesman, make strident accusations or get a daring haircut. You might feel all giddy and ready to rumble, but you'll end up with a black eye and a painful headache if you venture out of the comfort zone this month. Plus, any drastic change you make to your hair will be immediately regrettable. Hey, I'm just telling you what the chart says, don't shoot the messenger.


PISCES (Feb. 19 - March 20)
The word giddy is sorely missing from your vocabulary these days. Make a mental note to bring back some woozy, lightheaded fun to your spring. Each time you find yourself trying to hole up in your little room, you must force yourself to play in the sandbox with the other kids. You don't have to play nice, and you don't have to play fair, but you do have to leave the confines of your solitary little life and have some social interaction. The reason? If you don't get outside and play, you'll see yourself turn into the spitting image of your mother even sooner than you suspected. (Sorry, moms!)


ARIES (March 21- April 19)
I suggest you declare yourself Queen of the Zodiac and have a parade for yourself. You have handled the first quarter of the year with astounding fortitude and although that rocky week or two right after the new year made you feel completely inadequate, you masked it with a wellspring of cockiness. Your newfound energy and enthusiasm is infectious, so why are some people in your radar still dragging behind? Have no fear, your energy this summer will eclipse their moon of sloth. And if your friends still can't get their butts in gear, there's really only one way to cope with such slackerdom: Bribery. Use it as a last resort.


TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
A recent poll shows that 65% of Taurus girls are undecided. One of my Taurus girlfriends told me last week she felt "very unsure" about her future. Which begs the question -- can you be very not sure? Is it actually possible to feel extremely neither one way or the other? Can something be terribly ambiguous? Are you confused yet? Let's just call a moratorium on wishy-washiness this month and make a decision or two. Shall we?


GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
I'm part Gemini, did you know that? Ya'll, I'm a half-breed. So I can understand your headstrong and fancy free ways. This month is gonna be a doozy for most signs in the zodiac, and unless you insulate yourself away at Camp Gemini, you'll have to deal with us sooner or later. Rather than give up on all of humankind, just take a step back and don't let yourself be drawn into our petty skirmishes. Go off and do your own thing, and we'll work it out by mid-July when Saturn is finally OUT OF HERE.


CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
I got a little shiver. Something in your life is giving you cold feet -- it's possible that you have wedged yourself into this situation like an iceberg, and you simply don't want to budge. Feeling cold-hearted as well? That nagging distrust of yours is frosty enough to freeze hell over ... twice. Have all these frigid metaphors left you cold? Whatever you do, don't freeze me out -- I'm just suggesting you need to give this one up cold turkey, and get a move on into some warmer climate. Take that risk while it's still fresh, and spend some time in the warmth of a close friend's company this month. And no cold shoulders, miss! Especially to those who are trying to help you thaw.


LEO (July 23 - August 22)
"Necessity is always the easiest excuse..." Isn't it? Lately, you "need" to do this, "should" do that, "must" be more than you are. It's an excuse ... and it's bad for the complexion. Leo girls know it is far easier to rely on other people's expectations than to fully realize your own hopes for yourself. Do you really need to fill all the obligations on your long, long list? Who knows what kind of startling revelations and sexy close-calls you'll have once you stop being a "should" girl. I'd like to see you use a little more "so what?" and a lot less "I'm sorry." Don't apologize to a single soul today. Take the biggest helping, order yours first, cut in line. You might find a little selfishness is a good thing.


VIRGO (August 23 - Sept. 22)
Let's see if this sounds familiar: A combination of scientific and spiritual sides, one part of you seeking to believe, another caught in an eternal doubt. A listener who loathes always being the quiet one. A loner who wishes for social graces yet despises public gatherings. Am I getting warm? If someone close to you shocks you this month with a startling revelation that they are in fact the two-headed love child of Barbie and G.I. Joe, do not be alarmed. It is merely the trickery of spring, when people reach out to define themselves before a new summer begins. You can do a little self-defining of your own, you know. Don't leave to fate what you'd rather do yourself.


LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23)
The obsessive desire of Americans to own all the space between Plymouth Rock and the Pacific Ocean was called "Manifest Destiny." I like the sound of that phrase, it contains some mythical feeling of God-given rights to spread out and be spacious. I grant you, this month, the right to your own personal Manifest Destiny. Usurp your own power, reclaim forgotten spaces, make room for the wide open expanse of summer. Stake your claim in the future and make strides to get there sometime this century.


SCORPIO (Oct. 24 - Nov. 21)
There is an ancient saying, "There's no fool like an old fool." John Heywood first recorded this proverb back in 1546, in the dusty days of ye olde fooles. Since it is nearly summer, Scorpio, and old man Saturn will soon exit the building, I decided to resurrect this saying just for you. My pre-summer advice for scorpions -- don't fall for someone's same old crap this month, even if it's disguised as shiny, new crap. It's still crap.


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
Isn't there enough mundane and boring stuff in the world? Isn't it nice to have a little drama for a change? After all, even if the mystery and surprise is wrapped in a huge headache, you can simply blame the pain on your mind expanding. I mention this to you because you're always the peacemaker, and this month you'll need an extra dose of Pollyanna to keep your cool when someone tests the boundaries of their favorite shoulder-to-cry-on. But you know, it won't be dull ... and that's something.


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
Some incense, some chanting, some new-age mumbo jumbo boogie, and you're off on a spring soul cleaning of unparalleled proportions. It's akin to the big 50% price reductions at Bloomingdale's .... out with the old and in with the new. The only problem with all your chanting and singing and wafting of patchouli is that you don't have a serious mantra. I suggest something simple like MAKE HIM ADORE ME to help cleanse the soul and get you in the mood.

- - - - - - - - - -

OK, so that's the May 1st surprise. A little known nugget about my past as a very poor, but likable, astrologer and a Happy Birthday to my mom. If this was simply the most retarded post you have ever read, or if you think Hor-O-Scopes should make another appearance next month ... I am no longer accepting feedback via mental telepathy and all. Heh.


P.S. Ya'll, don't let your babies grow up to be astrologers. Don't let 'em light candles and write their own stuff, let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such.

Posted by laurie at 5:15 PM

Obviously

The ten things that should have been obvious to me, but for whatever reason I just assumed otherwise.

1. Obviously I should not have gone to the wedding.

2. Obviously, I bellyache quite a bit about my precarious emotional situation pertaining to Mr X. and his new girlfriend/goatee/questionable hetero status and much of it is just whining. Whine whine whine. I am not the first person to ever go through a horrifying divorce. Unfortunately, it's not even funny most of the time. However, since today is a Sunday and if you're here, reading this on a Sunday, you deserve the God's Awful Truth version, which (while not funny) is certainly honest.

3. Obviously, I should NOT have gone to the wedding.

4. Jennifer's funnier story completely glosses over the fact that I sat on a pew in the Chapel of the Lord right between her and Amber and before people even walked up the aisle, I was silently bawling like an insane person.

5. Obviously, I am an insane person.

6. I cried throughout the entire ceremony. The big, heaving crying where you think you may never stop. But I think I was quiet. And my friends swore that nobody noticed.

7. Obviously, I have wonderful friends who can lie, when necessary, with a totally straight face.

8. Obviously, we had to leave right after the ceremony because yours truly, Crazy Crying Lady, was in the parking lot hiding behind an SUV smoking furiously and still sobbing uncontrollably, repeating in a crying hiccuping insane person voice, "She looked so pretty! And so happy! And the I Do's... The I Do's ... I said the I Do's! He said the I Do's! But what the fuck does that mean? I do? I do ...until... oh I just DON'T anymore? Is that what it means? I take you for better or for worse or until I just need my creativity back? Marriage is a lie! But she looked so happeeee....." Cry, sob, carry on.

9. Obviously, I should never wear pantyhose. I spent 20 minutes in the bedroom trying to pull on pantyhose for this wedding, a wedding I should never have attended even though it's the wedding of a coworker who would be miffed at me 'til the end of all time for not going, and maybe make for an uncomfortable work environment, so really. I had to go. But I broke out in a sweat pulling on those pantyhose and it pretty much set the tone for the whole day. I blame it all on the pantyhose.

10. Obviously, it's now all over. And folks, it is a BRAND NEW DAY. I have listened every single day to all the details of my coworker's wedding, down to viewing the Power Point presentation she made of her wedding cake ideas. The intensity of her wedding seemed to gather speed inversely proportional to the crumbling demise of my own marriage. And I am very happy for her, for anyone starting out on a new life, truly I am. And she looked wonderful and happy in her white dress on her big day. But it is now a BRAND NEW DAY. No wedding looming on the horizon. My worst fears? Totally came true. I broke down into a hysterical mess right in the church. But you know what? It's over. The pantyhose? In the trash. The voodoo candles? Going to light them all tonight. I feel relieved (and also, a tee tiny bit humiliated for all the crying) but I am FREE.

And, obviously, that is a wonderful thing.

Posted by laurie at 4:56 PM