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August 31, 2005

Fancy schmancy remedial knitting

greyhat-pretty1.jpg

Yes, I know.

Another hat.

But I LOVE knitting hats! I love them! And they love me too! In fact, if I can't marry my Dyson vacuum cleaner, I may one day marry a hand-knitted hat! So there!

(Can you tell I'm operating on zero hours of sleep per night? Can you tell? Can you?) (And I can't watch the news, yet I can't stop watching. That's why we're talking about hats today, ya'll.)

Also! It has been so long since I have had ONE FULL DAY OFF WORK with no work work work and I have not done laundry in forever, since Lord knows I do not spend my limited free time doing laundry, and I am thisclose to running out of clean clothes to wear to the office. When that happens, I will have to call in STINKY. As it is, I am down to my desperation underwear -- you know, the Spy Panties (so-named because they creep up on you from the rear.) Yup.

Anyway! I'm not an advanced knitter, but man I sure do love to knit. I love seeing those decreases on a simple little hat stack up like so many petals on a daisy, I love seeing a scarf grow to lengths of absurdity, I love pom poms.

I also sniff yarn, so this could be a factor. I am also wearing hideously uncomfortable underwear, so that could be a factor.

Ya'll, I'm just going to go ahead and state the obvious -- I may never make it out of Remedial Knitting. And what's worse is that I am TOTALLY FINE WITH THIS REALIZATION. I just love to knit. Knit knit knit. "La la la, knitting is fun, la la, whoops! Look how UGLY this here scarf is! Boy, this is way uglier than I could have even imagined. And I have an active imagination. Um.... well. Guess I'll give it to my mom, har har, because she LOVES ME and she'll be OBLIGATED to wear it, HAHAHAHAHA boy I hope I have my camera 'cause man this is UGLY.. heh heh..."

Heh.

So, yes, I may be in Remedial Knit & Purl my whole life. I'm not crazy about lace. I'm not in a huge hurry to make a sweater. As it stands, I am still working on arguably the world's ugliest knitted object (see: Ugly Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig, coming soon to a padded room near you.) But boy I do love to knit.

So, hello, hat! Again!

I thought mittens might be too challenging to start without some help from my friends at Wine, Wine & Sons, Inc. Yet cruelly, I can't have alcoholic beverages while I am commuting to work -- so the next best thing to mittenknittin' is to knit on a hat during my bus ride. If I ever get a day off (Labor Day? BETTER NOT MEAN I AM LABORING DAMMIT) I will start making my mittens. Until then, I am still in Hat City.

The grey Patons Up Country wool hat (again: things you really need in the San Fernando Valley ... wool hats. To go with your Ugg boots. To ward off frostbite.) (but shutup! I love my Ugg boots!) anyway... where was I? Oh! The grey hat was becoming a bit stockinette-y. I wanted color, but a stripe suddenly seemed terribly passé, what with my panties up my hoohah and the dark circles under my eyes. So I pulled out my Book Of Hats, a much-beloved gift from Jenn of Knitwit Momma, and started looking for ways to make a sow's ear out of a lamb's wool.

greyhat-me-book.jpg
I have a blemish. The book barely covered it.

One of the hat patterns in the book uses slipped stitches to create a sort of woven look with different colors of yarn. I just used the technique on a few rows to see how it would go. After some untangling and a little improvising on color, it began to take shape and it's actually pretty! Me! Make! Pretty!

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Sure there were some touch-and-go moments. The bus is not exactly the smoothest ride, and my Addi turbos are slick, and sometimes stitches just JUMP OFF of THEIR OWN VOLITION.

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At one point, I made the ALMOST FATAL mistake of looking up (OK, small side note here: some folks apparently are GIFTED and can read a book and knit at the same time. Ya'll, I cannot knit and chew gum at the same time! Thank goodness knitting isn't a competitive sport, or I'd be out in the back 40 growing cobwebs. I'm just saying is all.)

greyhat-really-scary'.jpg


But after I got the hang of it, the pattern just moseyed along at a good pace and I was pleased as fur on a frog, my hat was looking so good! This positive result was a much-needed inspiration. You see, about a week ago, I made the mistake of trying to read the Patons Urban Neutrals pattern for the fluffy coat on the front of the booklet. (Since I have ALL THE UPCOUNTRY in the country, it seemed like an obvious move.)

I studied the pattern. I scrutinized it. I wasn't even DRINKING. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out the pattern and it all started reading like Greek, and my heart rate increased and I was sweating and I started to think I WILL NEVER EVER SUCCEED AT THE KNITTING BECAUSE I AM TOO DUMB TO READ A PATTERN.

NEED WINE.

Fast forward to this morning, on the bus, and me and my uncomfortable underwear are traveling at the speed of light to downtown Los Angeles (because light travels at 12 miles per hour, right?) and suddenly COLOR starts to look SO GOOD and holymoly I have a fancy schmancy looking hat that will fool my non-knitting friends into thinking I am a BADASS.

So maybe I should do more of this color knitting stuff. I love mixing yarn colors (even when I fail, miserably) (which happens, you know.) I like changing colors and making color combos and patterns, so maybe I need to try some intarsia or fair isle or ... whatsit? jacquard knitting? I think after the mittens, some funky colorwork is in order. This mosaic/slip-stitch knitting is the perfect place to start because a lot of it is written just like a regular pattern, with no chart.

Besides, my future Dyson husband may need a hand-knitted colorific cozy. You never know.


greyhat-pretty2.jpg

• Here is a little explanation on about.com.

•Oh! Free pattern for a slip-stitch dishcloth on about.com.

•And there appears to be a whole book about this kind of knitting.

•There's an explanation and a small sample motif on knitty -- for free!

•My favorite link so far is on Wendy's site, she has some amazing patterns that even I could follow and they are so pretty!

Posted by laurie at 8:14 AM

Postscript

The Network For Good provides links to tons of places for you to donate, including the Red Cross, Humane Society, Salvation Army and Petsmart Charities. You get to pick where you donate the money, and every last dollar helps. Please don't forget about the animals in need, too, they don't have any way to cry out for help.

Posted by laurie at 8:14 AM

August 30, 2005

Endless Excitement at Chez Spinster!

Bob and Roy

Bob and Roy

Bob and Roy

Bob and Roy

Bob and Roy

Bob and Roy


Just some cuteness to offset the ugliness.

If you can help ... there's the Red Cross, and the Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue. Be well. Hug your cats and your people.

Posted by laurie at 1:09 PM

August 29, 2005

When it rains, it rains a lot.

Apparently, the inevitable has happened. I have turned into my parents:

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5 a.m., walked into the living room, and turned on the Weather Channel. Because weather! Changing! rapidly! exciting!

Actually, I am a complete weather nerd, and talk of dropping barometric pressure or high wind shear just about sends me over the edge. In school, I spent about a year trying to become a weather girl -- I was even the weather reporter on the college TV station and everything -- but real meteorology takes a fair knowledge of this thing they call "math," and after physics kicked my ass and left me alone, crying in the corner and eating my hair, I changed majors.

Even without the AMA seal of approval, I'm still a storm chaser. I watch "Storm Stories" and follow world weather events on the internets and TV -- but it's a fine line between and fascination and horror when you see something like this.

hurricane-katrina.jpg


I hope all ya'll are OK.

Posted by laurie at 9:08 AM

August 26, 2005

Chairman Meow is watching.

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Posted by laurie at 7:12 AM

August 25, 2005

Small step for girl, giant leap for knitting.

Finished the jury duty hat last night on the bus ride home from work:

juryhat-finished.jpg


juryhat-closeup.jpg


Details: One pink hat, made from the easy roll-brim hat recipe.

Materials: Clover bamboo circular needles (size 11) and Crystal Palace "Iceland" wool in a variegated pink. It came out looking a little like pink camouflage, but what can you do?

I still have two skeins of the yarn left, and of course my normal next move would be to make a matching scarf. However, I have made a decision. A big decision. A bold decision! Sometime in the middle of the night, it came to me like a dream.

It is time.

Time to break out of the rectangle. Time to explore new horizons beyond the circular hat.

It is time to make a mitten. Or two.

I thought I might start with the pattern in Weekend Knitting for "super mittens" unless anyone present can give a reason why this woman and those mittens should not be joined at the hand ...

Also, if you have any Mitten Knowledge and Wisdom you want to share, please! Feel free! I am listening! See? Ears. Open!


Also, I would never end on a cute cat picture just because I am late for a meeting and have nothing witty to say. In fact, that's just a cheap shot and a copout.

frankie-beautiful.jpg
Frankie isn't a supermodel, but she plays one on the Internets.


Posted by laurie at 9:13 AM

August 24, 2005

Blame it on the cats.

roybeer1.jpg

With jury duty safely behind me for another twelve months, I can get back to the beck and call of my cats and my job. It's a lot of poop. But someone's got to do it.

After Marnie pointed out yesterday that plastic knitting needles are allowed in the L.A. Superior Court jury system (according to their website, anyway), I feel less outlaw and covert, and I think I can show you my jury duty knitting without fear of being thrown in the pokey:

jury-duty-hat.jpg

Now that's a fair amount of knitting, especially if you include the seven inches of pure ugly stockinette I whipped out on the Mystery Cat Thingamajig. Thanks, Marnie for the L.A. Court link!! I think next time I'll print out a copy of the guidelines as proof (I also do this when flying but it doesn't always work -- if you get a Buster Big Pants TSA person, you are shitouttaluck.) I used bamboo circs and they didn't set off any alarms ... although the metal clasp on my official "Juror" badge set off the metal detector twice. GO FIGURE.

By the time I was excused from my civic obligation, it was already early afternoon and it felt wrong to drive all the way into downtown and start working. JUST WRONG, I tell you. So I went home and tried to unjunk the office/spare bedroom for a few hours.

Maryse once emailed me and pointed out that while I love to see pictures of other people's houses up here on the Internets, I don't post many pictures of my own house.

There is a reason for this.

That reason is my office.

It is a scary scary place. I suspect there is a fifth cat in there somewhere, growing out of the fur trapped between the piles of boxes. I fear that if I spend too much time in there I shall perish, never able to find the path to the door again. Like Hansel and Gretel, I have to leave a trail of post-its each time I journey into that part of the house.

It's just an everloving MESS. The rest of the house stays relatively neat and tidy, because all the mess is confined to this one room of packrattery, and in it are the remnants of almost a decade of marriage plus all my crafts, crap, files, papers, stuff, junk, and odds 'n ends. There could also be a leftover moving guy trapped behind the wall of boxes. We may never know.

Well, actually, we will know, in time. Because after the very successful First Ever Yard Sale, I became way more excited about paring down the office. For the past few weeks, I have unjunked a box or two during any spare time. Now there's just a pile of random crap on the floor and eleventeen million boxes in the garage for the next yard sale.

Only...

There are things. Embarrassing things. Things maybe you are SO SHAMED TO HAVE IN YOUR POSESSION that you are in fact debating about whether or not to KEEP them rather than sell them at a yard sale.

That's right -- items so pathetic that you are afraid for STRANGERS ON YOUR LAWN to see them.

But of course it's perfectly fine to share these items in pictoral form on the Internets with the whole world:

embarrassing-tapes.jpg

That's right ya'll. I actually OWN both a MILLI VANILLI tape and a WHITESNAKE tape and I have KEPT BOTH OF THEM ALL THIS TIME.

You can see how I ended up in such a fix. I ... I blame it on the rain. And here I go again on my own! Going down the only road I've ever known! Actually, that Whitesnake tape is pretty good.

Girl, you know it's true.


roybeer2.jpg

Posted by laurie at 9:32 AM

August 23, 2005

My Civic Duty

Not only does the first stage of my Big Work project launch on ... oh. Let's see. THURSDAY.... but guess what I am doing today? The same thing I did yesterday!

Jury duty.

They haven't got to the part where they ask me questions yet. You have to state your Juror ID number (it's a criminal case), the vague area where you live (again, CRIMINALS) and then your marital status. I'm looking forward to saying the word "divorcee" out loud, and dripping southern.

Then maybe I'll talk into my bra and this whole thing will be over real quicklike. Unless they throw me in the pokey first for ...

... drumroll please...

KNITTING IN A COURTHOUSE.

Yes, I broke the law! I evaded the po-po! Yesterday I brought knitting into the courthouse, where the sign on the security machine specifically named knitting needles as banned, dangerous items of the devil. Not only did I knit through a whole skein on the Mystery Knitted Cat Ugliness, I also completed about 10 rows on a hat. Proving once again you cannot take me anywhere. Breakin' the law! (Again.)

But in my defense your honor, I was talking into my bra and missed that sign. Whoops! Did I mention that I am a dee-vorce-say?

Posted by laurie at 9:04 AM

August 19, 2005

Real Women bring home the bacon. And/or wine.

Signed, sealed and delivered: One divorce agreement, one check for a $1000 towards my lawyer's bill, and one very soon-to-be emancipated woman.

Coincidentally, today is exactly the one-year mark since Mr. X announced he was moving out. In that year, I have managed to stop bawling at my desk, stop smoking (so far, so good!), start writing stuff, discover the durable love of battery-operated devices and Face My Debt.

(Hi Dad! All the battery-operated flashlights are working great!)

Of all the things I have accomplished this year, I am most proud of getting my finances under control. For the first time in my entire life, I believe that I can live as a grown-up, a real woman, one who brings home the bacon and puts it in the fridge. And then has a glass of wine and feels FANtastic about bringing home that bacon.

Prior to the marital meltdown, I was a complete money moron. But now I have reformed! Mostly this is my control enthusiast side kicking in -- I know I can't control when stuff catches on fire, or when I'll bump into Mr. X, or when the spontaneous belts and hoses and radiators break on my car.

But I can control my money.

I can develop a plan, and have a goal. (In fact, my ONLY financial goal this year was... well. To develop a financial goal. Task solidly accomplished!) I tell ya'll this because maybe out there -- somewhere -- is another girl like me who wants to hide in the closet and eat Oreos every time the credit card bills arrive. Or go shopping. Because we all know the best way to tackle your finances is to SHOP THEM AWAY.

(And by "you" ... I mean "me.")

Because I AM A CAUTIONARY TALE. And if I can get a handle on my finances, what with my love of shopping and hatred of math and general ignorance of all things fiscal, then any human on the planet can do it. Really. And you know I never shut up and can't keep all this good hard-earned knowlege to myself, so here is what I have learned so far ... all summed up in five easy pieces. It has a pretty creative title, too.


Stuff I Learned About Money (so far)


1) Never ever EVER lose track of your money.
So, hi ya'll! I was married. And in my fantasy life, I had a Barbie/Ken marriage and Ken was a Man (debatable, but still) and therefore imbued with the Ability To Handle Money. For years I worked and shopped and let Ken do all the manly money managing. Well! Not only was I wrong about Ken's personal predilictions, I was also wrong about his money-managing talents.

Bottom Line: While it is tempting to have someone take care of the adding and balancing and so on, never NEVER cede your personal financial power to anyone. Think about it this way: You wouldn't let anyone, not even your one true love, take total control of your yarn stash and do with it whatever he/she wanted at any time. Would you? Then why on earth would you let anyone have control over your finances?

2) Figure out what you owe.
Can't speak for all ya'll, but I was too scared at first to even know HOW MUCH DEBT I had. Sure, I had a pretty general idea ("general" meaning "a whole lot of debt" and "maybe I will cry" and "is there any ice cream?") but I did not KNOW the actual AMOUNT. And ya'll, that is sad.

Bottom Line: Write down every bill on a piece of notebook paper. Or use my Excel budget (it's pink! makes it less scary!) Add it up. NOW YOU KNOW.


3) Figure out what you make.
This should be pretty easy. Write down what you bring home for the month. See! Not too hard! You did it!


4) Spend less than you make.
Um, again. Things I have had to learn that most people KNOW, yet me? With the hoarding habit and shoes and cats? Had to LEARN. Anyway. Moving on. Spending less than you earn will always be a smart goal, even if you make a bazillion dollars. Because when you spend more than you have, you're poor. You're endebted. You're unable to quit your job and join an alpaca herding community.

Bottom Line: Track what you spend. Ya'll know that diet trick, where you write down every potato chip and carrot stick you eat? Treat your money the same way. Track it. Understand where you can cut back. And then, ya'll know, CUT BACK. You can use Quicken, your check register, a Word doc, a sticky note, or the back of a napkin. But figure out to the penny where the hell your money is going. (After looking at past receipts, I discovered I was spending $40 a month on MAGAZINES for chrissakes. That was embarrassing.)

5) Pay off your debt.
I have massive consumer debt. MASSIVE. I'm still paying off my lawyer! But I have a plan now, one that involves calculating my balance and figuring out how much I have to pay each month to be FREE of debt in 24 months. Me! FREE! And when I say "massive" debt, I mean ... GNP of a small country. I could cry sometimes.

I have had consumer debt since I was nineteen years old (coincidentally that's when I got my very first credit card). Every day since then has been a payment. My paycheck, my life ... it's all tied to a bill right now, and being free of that is my greatest achievable goal.

Bottom Line: You have to stop taking on more debt RIGHT NOW. This minute. DO NOT CHARGE ANOTHER ITEM. Research debt reduction online. Read what the experts have to say. Google "debt repayment." Find ways to lower your interest rate. Cut down on the Starbucks or movie channels or magazines, whatever you can, for a 3-month period and use every penny to pay off your debt. Wash, rinse and repeat for another 3 months ...


In Conclusion...

There you have it, those are my five Cautionary Tale pieces of learnin' when it comes to money. I don't know a lot -- let's be honest, until a few weeks ago my savings account was an old butter tub in the vegetable crisper -- but I'm learning. I think it's a lot like knitting a sweater: you can only accomplish it one stitch at a time. So, I am slowly becoming a financial grown-up ... one dollar at a time.

Posted by laurie at 1:13 PM

August 18, 2005

This guy and this sheep walk into a bar...

icelandic-sheep.jpg
June 2004. My trip to the Ice Land.
I went with you-know-who.
He was not so impressed with the sheep.

icelandic-sheep2.jpg


For whatever reason, I am completely obsessed with moving to Iceland right now. Is it the scorching valley summer? The lure of cool Reykjavik nights? Is it the idea of The World's Strongest Man bench-pressing an American? Is it the long life-span, good living and steamy volcanic swimming holes?

Or ... is it the ICELANDIC WOOL?

We may never know.

Because ya'll, I am so not able to afford a vacation. I can't even squeeze in a trip to Van Nuys at this point. But I'm not complaining (too much) because I am thisclose to paying off The Lawyer. Notice how I left out colorful and descriptive words re: The Lawyer? I'll leave that to your imagination! (Have fun! use lots of cussing!)

Paid-off Lawyer bills -- just another one of the exciting landmarks here at Chez Spinster. When I finally get out of all my debt, sometime in the year 2654, I plan to eat an entire pie in celebration.

Lemon icebox pie.

(And who said I can't plan ahead? That is PLANNING ya'll. Down to the crust ... which will be graham cracker, in case you were wondering.)

Oh, speaking of knitting!

That Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig? From back in the heyday of my Knitting Experimentation For Felines days? I still have it. It still isn't finished. BUT I may be able to power through it this month if I GET FIRED, which could happen because I have finally reached the stage of Frantically Busy where you're so stressed, fried and behind on projects that you ....

... procrastinate.
A LOT.

Because you? Who should be working feverishly to complete a product demo and get approvals and make stuff work? You ... decide to research fried green tomato recipes online.

I mean, I would never do that. But YOU might. Ahem.

Or you? the one who has a looming deadline for a project that everyone including the guy who owns the whole corporation will see? You ... organize your inbox. File things. You do this EVEN THOUGH you had never filed anything before and had to ask an assistant for FILE FOLDERS because you don't even know WHERE THE OFFICE SUPPLIES WERE.

And then you of the many deadlines MAY HAVE continued to stand inside the place where they keep the office supplies, opening cabinet drawers and staring at the contents like you do with your own refrigerator. Just... waiting to see if something jumps out at you.

You are such a bad employee. Unlike me! Who...

Really, really wants to know if they have a need for southern fried green tomatoes in Iceland.


Posted by laurie at 9:21 AM

August 17, 2005

This just in! A knitting website with no knitting!

There hasn't been much knitting going on around Chez Spinster, and the reason is sort of pathetic and reflects poorly on my time-management skills. But ... I just haven't had enough free time to think up my next project, then pull together the supplies from the stash and needles, put it all in a bag and get busy.

This also exposes my poor organizational skills.

Finally, I dug into the stash yesterday and came up with... um. Well. Ya'll know. Patons Up Country in charcoal grey. I am ashamed to tell you how much of this stuff I have, especially after my insane hoarding spree of June 2005. (I am embarrassed... yet also conversely EXTREMELY PLEASED WITH MYSELF.) (I practically have an entire sheep flock in my stash.) (AND I LOVE THIS FACT.)


I haven't gotten very far. But still, it's knitting!
Three guesses what this is gonna be....

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I forgot my knitting kit, however.

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And... apparently when you WEAR this knitting (even just three rows of it) you become DEMONIC and POSSESSED BY EVIL:

greyhat-me-demonic.jpg

I think I'm going to attach that pic to my divorce papers. For context.

Posted by laurie at 9:42 AM

August 16, 2005

The Cautionary Tale Girl talks about money. Hilarity ensues.

Today is exactly the one year mark since Mr. X slammed the door on me and the cats. In that year, I have managed to stop bawling at my desk, stop smoking (so far, so good!), start writing stuff, discover the durable love of battery-operated devices and Face My Debt.

(Hi Dad! All the um, battery-operated flashlights are working great! They're just waiting for an earthquake!)

Of all the things I have accomplished this year, fiscal responsibility has been the most rewarding. It's like taking hold of my future and really, truly having faith in myself. Believing that I can live as a grown up, a real woman, one who brings home the bacon and puts it in the fridge. And then has a glass of wine and feels FANtastic about bringing home that bacon.

I can't control when stuff catches on fire, or when I'll bump into Mr. X in North Hollywood, or when the spontaneous belts and hoses and radiators may break on my car.

But I can control my money.


I can develop a plan, and have a goal. (In fact, my ONLY financial goal this year was... well. To develop a financial goal. Task solidly accomplished!) I tell you all of this because maybe out there somewhere is another girl like me who wants to hide in the closet and eat oreos every time their credit card bills arrive. Or go shopping. And we all know the best way to tackle your finances is to SHOP THEM AWAY.

The truth is, hiding from money and debt only increases your fear of money. And I kind of suspect that when you FEAR money, you will mistreat it. You may ignore it, strive for less of it, want it but feel selfish and greedy, or be completely emotionally strung out by the whole thing and your remedy is to go shopping. Or hide. Or pull a Scarlett and say tomorrow... tomorrow is another day. Pass the wine!

(And by "you" ... I mean "me.")

What we have learned, however, is that I AM A CAUTIONARY TALE. And if I can get a handle on my finances, what with my love of shopping and hatred of math and general ignorance of all things fiscal, than any human on the planet can get into shape and shake their little moneymaker.

To that end, I share with you my Remedial Adult's Guide to Money:


1) Never ever EVER lose track of your money.

So, hi ya'll! I was married. And in my fantasy life, I had a Barbie/Ken marriage and Ken was a Man (debatable, but still) and therefore imbued with the Ability To Handle Money. For years I worked and shopped and let Ken do all the manly money managing. Well. Not only was I wrong about Ken's personal predilictions, I was also wrong about his money-managing talents.

The Moral of the cautionary tale: While it is tempting to have someone take care of the adding and balancing and so on, never NEVER cede your personal financial power to anyone.
Participate in your financial well being.
Draft goals together.
Have a family money plan. Talk about savings and retirement and debt and debt repayment strategies and approach it as a team sport: two against the world.

Think about it this way: You wouldn't let anyone, not even your one true love, take total control of your yarn stash and do with it whatever he/she wanted at any time. Would you? Then why on earth would you let anyone have control over your finances?

2) Figure out what you owe.

Can't speak for all ya'll, but I was too scared at first to even know HOW MUCH DEBT I had. Sure, I had a pretty general idea ("general" meaning "a whole lot of debt" and "maybe I will cry" and "is there any ice cream?") but I did not KNOW the actual AMOUNT. And ya'll, that is sad.

The Cautionary Tale: Write down every bill on a piece of notebook paper. Or use my Excel budget (it's pink! makes it less scary!) Add it up.

NOW YOU KNOW.


3) Figure out what you make.

This should be pretty easy. Write down what you bring home for the month. See! Not too hard! You did it!


4) Spend less than you make.

Um, again. Things I have had to learn that most morons KNOW, yet me? With the hoarding habit and shoes and cats? Had to LEARN. Anyway. Moving on.

Spending less than you make will always be a smart goal, even if you make a bazillion dollars. Because when you spend more than you have, you're poor. You're endebted. You're unable to quit your job and join an alpaca herding community until you DON'T OWE PETER & PAUL.

Plus, debt clings to you mentally like a bad smell. The stink of debt permeates your day to day life without you realizing it, sucking the happiness out of every splurge (if you've ever had Acute Buyer's Remorse, ya'll know what I mean.) There's a psychic drain that comes from feeling like all you do is go to work, pay the bills, and toil away in the coal mines. That's why you have to spend less than you make. So when you DO spend, it's either to keep you living, keep you on the debt-repayment track, or keep you sane.

I started out with the budget but it took me SIX MONTHS of tracking my spending to figure out where it all went wrong. A month or so ago, I got a comment on my website that mentioned my allotted $550 was an awful lot for food & household items for a family of one girl + four felines.

I was a little ticked off at first. WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME I SPEND TOO MUCH MONEY AT TARGET AND RALPH'S AND 7-11????

Then it dawned on me that maybe she was... you know. Right. Research on the Internets told me that an average family of FOUR spends $400 a month on household and food items. Ya'll. I was shamed.

Now I am down to $60/week at the grocery store, and extremely limited visits to Target for essentials only. My ATM spending was also out of control -- in one month I withdrew $360 from the ATM. FOR WHAT? Looking back over my receipts, I found out I was spending about $7 a day on lunch, plus more for gum, smokes, bottled water, and hi! $42 on MAGAZINES.

The cautionary tale: Track what you spend. Ya'll know that diet trick, where you write down every potato chip and carrot stick you eat? Treat your money the same way. Track it. Understand where you can cut back. And then, ya'll know, CUT BACK. You can use Quicken, your check register, a Word doc, a sticky note, or the back of a napkin. But figure out to the penny where the hell your money is going.

5) Pay off your debt.

I have massive consumer debt. MASSIVE. I'm still paying off my lawyer for chrissakes. But I have a plan now, one that involves calculating my balance and figuring out how much I have to pay each month to be FREE of debt in 24 months. Me! FREE! And when I say "massive" debt, I mean I could cry sometimes.

I have had consumer debt since I was nineteen years old, coincidentally when I got my very first credit card. Every day since then has been a payment. My paycheck, my life, it's all tied to a bill right now, and being free of that is my greatest achievable goal.

The cautionary tale: You have to stop accruing debt right now. This minute. DO NOT CHARGE ANOTHER ITEM. Research debt reduction online. Read what the experts have to say. Google "debt repayment." Find ways to lower your interest rate. Cut down on the lattes or movie channels or magazines, whatever you can, for a 12-month period and use every penny to pay off your debt. Start working on a plan, one you can live with, one that makes you feel in control of your own financial well-being.


So, those are my five Cautionary Tale pieces of learnin' when it comes to money. I don't know a lot -- let's be honest, until a few weeks ago my savings account was an old butter tub in the vegetable crisper -- but I'm learning. I keep thinking to myself... how do you knit a whole sweater? One stitch at a time. How do you become a financial grown-up? One dollar at a time.

Posted by laurie at 3:46 PM

Wherein I tell a story. or two. Or, you know, THREE.

sobakowa-troll.jpg


Story 1: The Back Story

There is traffic on Encino surface streets even at 6 a.m. I am not kidding ya'll. I never kid about traffic.

The main road I take leads directly to the freeway, so there's always a loooong line of cars waiting at the stoplight where I need to turn left.

And there is a left turn lane. You can SEE it. It's WAY up there. Empty. But you're in all these CARS, and they are keeping you from getting into the turn lane of your dreams.

And while it may be TECHNICALLY illegal, I find that it is most EXPEDIENT and also SMARTER to go ahead and get in the left-hand turn lane waaaay earlier than perhaps one should, if one were going by those lines painted on the road, and then you just pass all the stopped, backed-up traffic waiting to go through the light and onto the freeway.

And if I make this slight little change in driving patterns, which is LOGICAL and also SAFE, since there is a turn lane, sort of, and no one is in it, and every car on the road is going in the same direction I'm going, NOT that I am JUSTIFYING this because it does not NEED to be justified, as we are a nation of INDIVIDUALS, but anyway! So.

With this teeny, totally insignificant detour, I get to turn left earlier and it saves ten minutes off my morning commute to the bus stop, which is? By the way? Only 4 miles away*. Yet it takes me 17 minutes to get there. And if I worried about those silly yellow lines that sort of make it hard to drive in the long left-turn lane of my own making, it would be a 27-minute commute to the bus stop, which is FOUR MILES FROM HOME.

And REALLY. Unless I am riding a lawn mower, I can't possibly FATHOM spending 27 minutes of my life to drive four miles on surface streets. And, in an unrelated factoid, did ya'll know it is illegal to drive a riding mower while intoxicated? IT IS. And that is all I have to say about that. For now.

So! Morning traffic. Boring. Bus won't wait for my ass ... must turn left. I always peek behind me for the Law and then me and all the other Los Angeles drivers who ignore marked lanes and posted signs get into the turn lane about eleventeen miles before it is actually a legal turn lane.

This concludes our back story.

* I know what you're about to say. But walking back home in the dark in my hood? BAD idea.

 

Story 2: My Luck

On any given day there are two or three of us making the trek down Not-Quite-A-Turn Lane.

This morning, for example.

In front of me is a Toyota, and behind me is a big white SUV, one of those huge things that totally eclipse my bucket of a Jeep. And we drive up to the light and we turn left, and we rejoice in our ten minutes saved, and then.

Then... I see lights. The kind of lights that are most frequently seen when one is drunk driving a lawn mower to their cousin's house.

This is BAD.

And yet...

And WAIT.

And..?

And HOLY CRAPOLLI, HE IS PULLING OVER THE WHITE SUV AND I AM FREE. I JUST GOT AWAY WITHOUT A TICKET. I MUST STILL BE ASLEEP IN MY BED AT HOME AND I AM DREAMING THIS SHIT UP.

But no! Ya'll! I was AWAKE, and the law was bringing its full wrath to bear upon... someone who was NOT ME.

So you know. I almost pulled over and cried tears of happy joy. I say ... almost ... because I am not an idiot. I got the hell out of dodge just in case another one of those police cars was hiding in the bushes, and the law was communicating with each other, and they were sending out ghetto birds and squad cars to get the runaway Jeep.

Which they did not, and I did not get a ticket, and I will find a new route to the bus post haste, because I cannot afford a ticket, and I am never, ever one to press my luck. Even if it is good luck.


Totally Unrelated Story

While I do enjoy living in a real house where the cats can look outside at neighborhood cats who taunt them with their freedom, and their fleas, and I can grow a garden and so on and so forth, there are times when I long for the modern conveniences found in nice, up-to-date apartments.

For example, closet doors that work. And don't weigh 37 million pounds. And aren't covered in lead paint from 1942 and probably made entirely of pressed asbestos.

And I had the BRILLIANT idea to remove these doors and replace them with something that actually fuunctions. Yet removing them? Right. Looks easy! Sounds easy! But we're talking about doors who have lived on that closet for sixty-something years here, and they are NOT GOING WITHOUT A FIGHT.


closet1.jpg

And I had so much help:

closet2.jpg


But me and Frankie the Cat eventually got the doors off, by using a power tool and some swear words and a whisky sour and what I did not realize at the time was the power of LUCK. The GOOD kind.


So, in conclusion. This is what Roy has to say:
roy-caprtion1.jpg


Or, conversely, my opinion:
roy-caption2.jpg


Ya'll have a good day. Filled with LUCK! The good kind! And stay off your riding mower when intoxicated. Just a tip.


Posted by laurie at 10:28 AM

August 15, 2005

Don't be an alarmist.

I love my neighborhood, I truly do. Even though there's a burned-out crackhouse a few doors away and I live so far out in the Valley you lose coolness points with every mile up the 101, and even though it's a sweltering inferno all summer long ... I love it.

But. The people? The ones across the street? Who cannot remember EACH AND EVERY DAY that they have set the alarm on their car? Those people? The ones who set it off each and every weekend morning?

Yeah. They can move now. Anytime! Really. Bye, ya'll! Nice knowing you. Now GO, please?

And it's not like I sleep in until noon every weekend. I'm UP at 5:15 a.m. Because I have challenges, OK? (Actually, I have this new thing I'm doing which is really helping with the insomnia. I have tricked myself, see? I go to bed at a decent hour now, because I am tired when I get home from work. TIRED. But I can't seem to stay asleep very long. However, if I go to bed early and wake up at 3:30 or 4 a.m., I feel like I have slept a full night because I was in bed, not wandering the house until dawn like a ghost. And when you get up early, you feel more like an early riser and less like a freak of nature. It's working. Mostly.)

So, yes, I'm awake anyway. But shitonastick, people, I don't want to hear you repeatedly setting off your own damn car alarm every morning. Furthermore, I'm sure they do this on weekdays as well, but I leave my house before they have the chance to piss me off, Monday-Friday.

So, OBVIOUSLY, I developed a theory about this.


MY THEORY

If you live in Los Angeles (and other major metropolitan areas, I suspect) you should be punished by public shackling for having a car alarm.

Significant Reason #1: Any little thing can set them off, from a loud motorcycle to a siren. This is called False Alarm Syndrome. Ya'll don't need to be math brainiacs to see, statistically speaking, this isn't the world's greatest return on your theft deterrent investment if your own damn car is crying wolf.

Significant Reason #2: I have yet to see anybody forewarned that thugs are stealing their car because the alarm is sounding (see Significant Reason #1) And ya'll are talking to someone who has actually had their own car stolen. Yes, the WHOLE ENTIRE CAR. Gone. Poof! Alarm? Did not help.

Significant Reason #3: You, car-alarm-owner, set it off more than anything else, when you forget that you "armed" the car, and you reach to open it without "disarming" it. Dumbass alert! "I have just set off my own car alarm again!" (See above-referenced neighbors, The Family Dumas.)

Significant Reason #4: The guys who steal cars? Surprise! They know where the Secret OFF switch is as well. Funny how that works.

Significant Reason #5: We're so used to hearing car alarms set off by idiot car owners and loud mufflers that we never suspect a car is being stolen. Frankly, that's usually the last explanation for a shrieking alarm.

Significant Reason #6: IF someone WERE stealing your car, nobody in L.A. would do jackshit about it. Honestly, we're dodging bullets on the FREEWAYS, people. No way in HELL would anyone here stage an intervention for someone else's car. Seriously.

Significant Reason #7: Even if there was someone in your car, sawing of the steering wheel to get The Club off while the alarm was blaring, would YOU stage an intervention on your own car? In Los Angeles? You would walk up to a tatted out banger and demand he get out of your car?

YEAH. I would like to see that.

Significant Reason #8: Hearing your alarm rattle my head at 6 a.m. incites me to violence, whereupon I feel like going to my car, getting out my Club, walking to your beeping honking piece of crap car and beating it into submission.

I'm just saying is all.

Posted by laurie at 11:14 AM

August 11, 2005

The portable hermit.

Ah, the little things.

Today is... Thursday, August 11th. Pretend we're taking a leisurely stroll together, you and I, through Memory Lane. What's that? You smell smoke? Yes, those were the days, back when I was a smoker. Now let's you and I travel back to July 30, when Karman had her birthday party at my house... because now that I finally found my camera cord, I can actually post some images. Love you, Memory Lane!

(Also, cold turkey? So good! I have a cold turkey sandwich each day for lunch. Also... I am not a smoker. Being a nonsmoker is going really well! Although people at work may be stringing yellow tape around my cubicle and calling it 'scene of the crime' soon. But no smoking! Love you, Peter Jennings!)

[ click any pic for big ]

   
Alex, so pretty and poised; Jen and Penny so cute! David relaxes on the patio.

   
The burgers were well-done because I was, you know, busy with the wine; Jen made a beautiful and tasty Martha Stewart mac 'n cheese!

   
Jennifer smiles; my favorite picture ever of Jen and Penny; the self-portrait queen.


   
The birthday girl gets captioned; and captioned yet again; David has all the dranks.

   
Shannon upside down smiles; Shan right-side up smiles; a little perfect party.


So that concludes our stroll down memory lane, wherein a good time was had by all and Karman turned 26 again. In fact, we all reminisced about our own first and second (and third) 26 birthdays, it was very nostalgic. Except Penny, who has yet to have her first 26th birthday, and she looked at us like we were a bit touched. Young 'uns. Ya'll know.


Hermitation

That party was in fact the LAST party I will host or attend for... six weeks! On Tuesday I sort of spantaneously combusted (only, me! no smoking!) and decided that for the next few weeks, until October 1st, I would summarily clear the books of all social engagements, invitations, obligations and ALL OF IT.

This project? The one ending soon? Yes. Well, it's uh, it's gone over pretty well with the chiefs here at Corporate Job, Inc. They liked it... and .. uh. They extended it. Four more of these things launching between now and the end of September! Excitement! Hilarity! No smoking!

And ya'll know. I was thisclose to packing the cats in the Jeep and moving to Montana for a cabin-in-the-woods/manifesto sort of thing. Then the hermit thing appeared to me like a cold beer on a hot day. My friends have been really supportive of my temporary hermitdom, too, and they all reassured me that if I had a spur-of-the-moment whim at any time to socialize, they were available, which makes it so much better. Because I may calm the fuck down in a week or two and be lonely, but being all high-horse and principaled and stuff, you can't just un-hermit after making such a big to-do of it all.

The stress level is decreasing as the hermit bubble sinks in. Although the manifesto may still be forthcoming. Sheez ... everyone needs a manifesto.


Other completely unrelated news

I OPENED MY FIRST EVER SAVINGS ACCOUNT TODAY.

I'm not sure what it says to be thirty FOUR years old and to have had your entire savings up to this very day hidden in a Parkay tub in your fridge, but whatever. My retirement fund still consists of two Louis Vuitton Murikami bags, a vintage Chloe blouse that no longer fits and several boxes of Patons Up County. BUT. I have a savings account! With $32.50 in it!

It's the little things that count. Like cold turkeys and memory lanes. Love ya'll! Don't come over!

Posted by laurie at 11:06 AM

August 9, 2005

We sailed the yard!

On Saturday, a bunch of stitch-n-bitchers converged on my lawn to host a yard sale. My very first yard sale!

Ya'll. Really. Let me tell you.

1) The Night Before

Ok, so the night before your big yard sale, that you have no idea how to pull off because you have never actually hosted a yard sale before, you should definitely do the following:

get sleep

get organized

do productive stuff

Me? My nephew Brett and his cousin David (which makes us...? cousins twice removed?) made a surprise visit to LA for the X-Games and crashed at my house. Only... teenage guys? Have so much energy. So the crashing? Happens later. And I LOVE Brett, adore him, so I much preferred hanging out with him than silly stuff like preparing for the masses of crazy people who converge on your lawn at the buttcrack of dawn.

Recap: Caution! To the wind! Sleep! Not happening!

But I got to hang with Brett and Dave, and we chitchatted all night and they made sandwiches and Dave played the guitar and all in all it was a great evening had by all.

[click for big]
   
Brett tries to endure Crazy Cam Lady; It gets to him, in time; David plays guitar.


   
Camera craziness takes Brett; late late late on the patio; Soba gets into the action.


 


2) The Early Birds

People, ya'll know I don't sleep. So, you know. I do things early in the morning. Sure, I may be at the 7-11 at 5:30 in the morning for a newspaper, or perhaps I'll do a little grocery shopping at 6 a.m., because I AM AN INSOMNIAC and also, CRAZY, but Good Lord in heaven you will not find me pulling my car up into someone's driveway with such a fervor I almost drive onto the yard itself, snatching clothes left and right, haggling, all before anything is even totally set up, because me? The one who never sleeps? It would not even cross my mind to show up at your house at 7:20 a.m. looking for a fucking bargain! And be rude to you! And also, steal things off your lawn!


3) Yeah. I said STEALING.

Is this a new thing or is this part of sailing the yard? Tell me. Enlighten me. Educate me. Because Jennifer and I stood there in fascinated horror as a vanload of women shoved clothing into their handbags. And then drove off like nothing in our yard sale had appealed to them, thankyouverymuch. A man walked off with my Fossil watch. Jen's pajama pants disappeared (she wasn't wearing them, in case you were wondering. Just for clarity's sake.)

Initially, my thinking was that if you were on bad enough times that you had to steal from a yard sale, well, then you should take it. Just take it! Please! I would have donated this to Goodwill anyway, and probably should have 'cause ya'll are freaking my shit out!

But then. I don't know. When I was little we were POOR. So POOR in fact that we were just plain PO. But stealing? Never an option. Especially not off someone's front yard. I'm just saying is all.

And people did this thievery in front of their KIDS. Teaching STEALING as a value. Is this just a California thing? Or is this what we have come to in America? Really?


4) Then it got better.

Because, ya'll know, the stealing hordes basically only came for the first hour, I guess they count on you to be half-asleep and still busy setting up. After that, it was nice folks, just nice people and families out for a day, doing some neighborhood shopping. And I made a little money! And I got to chit chat to all kinds of folks, and practice my Spanish, and make an ass out of myself asking everyone if we had THE BEST yard sale signs they had EVER seen. (Seriously though? Our signs kicked every other yard sale's ass!!) (Also, I may have a problem with being a wee bit competitive). And it was so much fun to hang out with everyone!

   
Sara, and Ellen is there, too; Carrie, Gwen and Jen; Sara points to the miracle tree that gave us shade.

 
The guys hit the road for more X Games and hijinks....

... but not before some yard sale self portraits:
   

5) And Inspiration hit me!

When I actually saw the diminishing pile of stuff on my lawn, I felt this huge HUGE wave of relief because ya'll. The stuff I have. The volume? So scary. I have one entire room of just... stuff. Clutter. I am not kidding, it is a horror. I have a desperate need to pare down, but it all seemed so overwhelming and hard and... hello, Faith! Faith suggested we have this yard sale, and it was BRILLIANT. Because I made a little money and got rid of so much stuff, and it definitely inspired me to pare down, pare down, clean clean clean. On Sunday afternoon, I packed up three boxes of stuff for the Next Big Yard Sale. And that isn't even the tip of the snowflake on the Stuff Iceberg.

The paring down has begun... and it is so, so good.

6) Meeting new people!
Peggy and Brantlea both stopped by the big sailing of the yard, and they were so funny! And nice! And they're knitters! And aside from the horrible faux pas I made about equating weddings with funerals, and ya'll know, Peggy had just gotten engaged? Whoops! But aside from that it was so great meeting them. Also, I was sweaty. But in my defense, I was sunburned, tired and it was five thousand degrees outside. Ya'll come back soon! On a day when I have maybe had some sleep, and showered, and also people aren't stealing stuff off my yard?



7) Finally .... a Bob the Crackhead sighting!!

Now I did not get to capture Bob the Crackhead on film, because I was too busy pointing him out to all the people at my yard sale (Hey, Sara! Look over there! It's Bob!! The Crackhead!!) and ya'll, it's like having a celebrity in your 'hood, you know, the infamous kind. Furthermore, I am thrilled to see he's finally cleaning up the putrid pile of burned-out stank off his front yard. But apparently it takes HazMat teams wearing masks and special suits to accomplaish this task. Can I just say one more time, for the record ... METH LAB!!!! I am not paranoid!!!


hazmat-crachouse.jpg


Posted by laurie at 12:05 PM

August 8, 2005

Farewell to my first true love...

peter-jennings-moscow.jpg

This is the photo that has been my desktop picture on and off for many years. That's my true love, Peter Jennings. You may have heard of him?

I know, I know. It comes as a surprise to you that I've had this massive love affair with someone all this time -- since I was 14 years old! -- and you didn't know anything about it.

You see, over time, I learned to keep it on the downlow because everyone has an opinion. Oh sure, you see a guy on the news once or twice and suddenly you think you KNOW him. You have this opinion of him. But you're not like me, who LOVES him and KNOWS him and sort of OBSESSES over him.

Frankly, I didn't want anyone else's opinion of My True Love.

He came to my house every evening, ON TIME, and told me all about his day, his day with The World, and I loved him. However, I learned early on not to mention it, my love affair with Peter Jennings, because I saw the look. The look in people's eyes. The one that suspects you'll end up in a psycho ward upstate wearing padded clothing and eating mashed peas.

When I heard the news this morning that my Peter Jennings had lost his battle with lung cancer, I just sat down on the bathroom floor and cried. I haven't cried that hard in... I don't know how long. Peter Jennings was with me throughout my entire childhood, my formative teenage years, the young adult "I'll be a reporter and change the world!" days, and every night after my husband left, Peter and I would hang out. Talk about Iraq. Shoot the breeze. During last year's election coverage, I drove everyone bizonkers by insisting that we watch only ABC, because .. you know. Peter Jennings.

I have a framed photo of him on my desk at work. Yep. People have stopped by to chat, seen the photo, and actually asked if that was my husband. I decided from the get-go that if someone was too BLIND to know who THE GREAT Peter Jennings was, then I would happily lie.

"Oh, is that a picture of your husband?"

      "Yes, that is my husband."

"Oh... is he older than you?"

      "Yes. But he's Canadian."


My coworkers thought I was just being goofy, me and my framed picture of Peter Jennings. But you don't understand. I LOVED THAT MAN. I was far to lazy to be a really good stalker, but if I would've laid off the sauce, I bet I could have been a contender. Yeah. I coulda been a contender.

He had all the qualities I want in a man: smart, compassionate, tough, tall, handsome as they come, dapper, driven, funny, eloquent, hard-working, completely self-made. Committed to his work, trying to change the world a little bit at a time. Plus, did I mention he was Canadian? You know how I feel about Canadians.

Some people felt all broken up inside over Jerry Garcia, some were bereft by the loss of Princess Diana. (Um, Peter, close your ears for a minute, because I'm about to really embarrass myself.) You are my Princess Di. I am so, so sad that you're gone. These past few months that you've been trying to get well have been awful... each night I hoped for a little glimpse of you, but there were only stand-in anchors. I really thought you'd beat this. It never occured to me, ever, that you would die. I've known you my entire life. You are the person who explained the Berlin Wall to me. How can you be gone?

Peter Jennings smoked, until he was about 45 years old. Then he quit for twenty years and on September 11, he started smoking again. I had quit, too, just like Peter Jennings, but started again on September 11. From then on, I smoked my way through some of the very worst days of my life and I kept saying to myself that I would quit... when the trial for my stolen car was completed ... when my divorce was final ... when this project was over ... when things got less stressful....

You know.

So I quit. Today. Farewell, Peter Jennings, my one true love, and farewell smoking, my longtime companion.

I think Peter would be proud of me. I think he'd see what an effect his life and death have had on me, and he'd be pleased... after the restraining order was firmly in place, of course.

So long. I loved you both.

Posted by laurie at 9:29 AM

August 5, 2005

Some people need vacations.

Morning phone call:

Me: Hi do you have the replacement XYZ Thingamajig I requested on July 27th? Because ya'll know. It's now ... um, it's now NOT EVEN JULY ANYMORE. And the replacement? The one that would be here in two days? Yes. STILL NOT HERE.

Evil Person on Phone: Blah blah blah. Backorder, blah blah blah, etc.

Me: Do you have something against little kittens? The cute kind?

Evil: Um, whu...?

Me: Because see? This whole thing? That you just told me? Basically means the replacement is Still. Not Here. And I will get FIRED. And my cute cuddly kittens will starve a sad, slow death. And I'm not saying it's DIRECTLY your fault, but if you INFERRED that it was in fact your fault and you KILLED me and my kittens, I would not correct you.


*click*


With long hours and tensions high and so on, it appears I have resorted to pimping the cats out a'la Jerry's Kids to get my replacement XYZ Thing. Maybe those cats will earn their keep after all.

Also, you know it's a pretty good week when you finally are getting around to writing about your weekend on... um, Thursday night. The Thursday night that is officially four days past the weekend. Oh! Man! That reminds me of this really awful thing that happened yesterday. Tragedy. I actually woke up in the morning and thought it was Friday. And I was SO HAPPY. Friday! The one that ends the week and brings the wine and makes me comatose, all curled up with an ice cream sandwich and four episodes of CSI Miami Tivo'd up by my boyfriend, whose name conveniently enough is TIVO.

And I was having tea at my desk, yesterday morning, and thinking about the upcoming Friday ice cream sandwich and wine and Tivo, feeling happy in the OH GOD IT'S FRIDAY SO YOU DO LOVE ME, YOU REALLY DO LOVE ME kind of way, and someone who sits next to me, now forevermore known as Joy Killer, informed me that it was Thursday, NOT Friday, and not only would I have to endure the rest of the day but I would have to do Friday ALL OVER AGAIN. And now, I think, it really is Friday. And I am so, so tired.

Oh, but the important part of that last paragraph? I am now a TEA DRINKER. Drew totally did some Vulcan mind warp on me and convinced me that coffee was the spew of Satan and also could contribute to my more-than-elevated stress levels, and he mentioned about eleventy-two times how it causes wrinkles, and ya'll know. He got me where it counts, in the vanity department. And I have officially become a tea drinker, even though green tea sort of tastes like steamed grass. Or steamed ass. Ya'll know.

So! Weekend! The one that is far away in the past! It was Karman's birthday. And she wanted to have a little get-together at my house. And aside from the fact that I had not cleaned an inch of house since, um? When was the last time I entertained? June? Anyway, aside from the frantic all-day cleaning that preceded the party, it was a mellow and laid back affair. Just Karman, Shannon, Alex, David, Me, Jen and Penny. Small. Mellow. Drunk. It was most excellent. I have pictures, on my camera. Although, camera cord? Missing! He'll turn up again one day soon. Maybe.

And tonight with the Tivo and the couch and the comatose? Not possible. Suddenly, there are all these people coming over. Including but not limited to: an aspiring lawyer, her underage sister, one (or possibly more) lesbians, and two teenage boys.

I'm just saying is all.

Posted by laurie at 8:41 AM

August 3, 2005

August Hor-o-scopes, better late than never!

So, hi! Working! Lots of it! All the time, working and working. Tick tock, eight business days until this thing launches ... and everything keeps breaking. Seriously.

Word has gotten around the office. Like, people have started slowly backing away from me and protecting their valuable cell phones and PDAs from my miraculous powers of BREAKING SHIT. I am the Anti-Tech! Behold my power of ZAP! The hard drive? What hard drive? Oh you mean the broken one? AHAHAHA behold my evil laugh! I am the Anti-Tech!

Not that I would ever discuss WORK or anything -- other than to talk about how much I love my job and practically want to hump my own chair I'm so excited to be an employee and all -- but anyway, if I did talk about work, hypothetically? I would tell ya'll that if just ONE DAY I could come in to work and get 50% of the equipment to function properly, I would... well, well... yes. I would probably hump my own chair. Just 50% of shit working! Would be progress!

Also, since I am NOT talking about work on the Internets, I must tell you that I. Am. So. Tired. Need a vacation. With someone named Man Slave who brings me food, worships my voluptuousness, insists that I have more wine, and of course humps my chair. If you know what I mean. And I believe you do.

So, that is why the moon and stars are late. I know knitters need their astrology. I KNOW. I wanted to give it to you on time... but... did I mention? All the broken things? Like hard drives and motherboards and plasma screens that cost more than my entire car? Broken! Love ya'll! Need a vacation!

---


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
I don't know how to sugarcoat this, so ...um. Saturn? That big planet that hated me for two years? Totally getting into your love live. Yup! Hi! Sorry! Weird relationship stuff this month. (Listen, I am tahred and need sleep, that's the best I can do.) (Also, don't shoot the messenger!) Oh, and this month? You're trying new things left and right, so be careful of indulging your rebellious side by doing things you really couldn't give a shit about. Now. Want to come fix some stuff at my office? Please?


PISCES (Feb. 19 - March 20)
There's something in the water. Oh, it's you Pisces. You've been so quiet lately I almost forgot you were there! So busy. The thing is, I'm over here throwing a hissy because my job is eating me, and yet you? You are working harder than any other sign and not complaining a bit. Also, you're like... organized. And kind of on top of things. And I'm starting to get jealous. So, uh, just keep on keepin' on. P.S. If you get bored, I have some purchase orders I still haven't filled out for some replacement equipment... I'm JUST SAYING is all....


ARIES (March 21- April 19)
Ok, listen. My soon-to-be-ex-husband? An Aries. So I kind of want to just skip Aries all the time. But I do NOT skip you, because I am deeply sensitive to the amount of hateful email that might generate. So. Aside from Mr. X, who will NEVER have a good forecast, August looks good for Aries. Begin the rest of your life today. Right now. If you wait ... you will procrastinate. You're like a Tom Jones concert, in full pelvic thrust, and you really, really don't have to be beautiful to be my girl. I just want your extra time and your kiss. Except for Mr. X. Who is evil and should be destroyed. That's all I have to say about that.


TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
Have you ever had an ice-cream headache? Or had a massive toothache from chewing on a Rolo? Well, that's your month in a nutshell! Bye!

Ok, yeah there's more. August: Sometimes sweet, sometimes painful. The upside is that something you thought was sweet -- and later gave you a headache -- only gave you fits because it was ALL WRONG for you. Also, this whole food metaphor? It's all about your house. Living situations, property, moving, owning, buying something, I DON'T KNOW, I'm not psychic! But something will go wrong because it wasn't a good fit for you. And now all I can think about is ice cream. Thanks. Really. Stuck at work and got no ice cream. THANKS A LOT TAURUS.


GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
Take pictures this month. Record everything you do for posterity. I'm tired of hearing you say you can't believe the summer is over, the holidays will be here before we know it, blah blah blah. You have so much energy sometimes I fear you'll run yourself ragged, so slow down long enough to take one really great photo a day. You're so lucky. I want to be a Gemini. Your August looks so fun! So much activity! Share? Please? I'm right next door in Cancer....


CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Cancers will work a lot, and stuff they cannot even pronounce will spontaneously break and also, they will want to eat ice cream.

Oh. That was me. Whoops!

Being a Crab, I find it hardest to dish on my crustacean family. But let me tell you this: get your ass off the couch and start making a budget. Money is the word of the day, the month, and the next two years, so the sooner you take the buck by the horns, the sooner you'll be out of debt and flush like the cash whore you dream of being. Also, let's do a Crab experiment this month: For one 24-hour period, don't take shit off anyone. Then wash, rinse and repeat for the next day and the next....

Oh. And um, is it just me? Or are ya;ll breaking stuff, too? With your mere magnetic presence? I'm just curious. Ahem.


LEO (July 23 - August 22)
I know you think you are the only self-centered one in the world, and you also feel a twinge of guilt about it, but darn it, the world does revolve around you! Start making lists this month. If you don't write down all your fabulous ideas, how will we ever be able to applaud them? And buy a nice notebook to write in, it will make you feel more in control. Saturn is in your house for two good years, and Saturn likes you better than it did Cancers, because you won't cry so much as ponder. Best to write it all down from the very beginning. Which is now. In case you didn't get the hint.


VIRGO (August 23 - Sept. 22)
I am so happy I have ya'll to keep the house tidy. Thank you for folding the laundry, thank you for putting away the dishes, thank you for arranging my canned goods in the cupboard. But what about you? What have you done for yourself lately? Forget about dusting the goldfish. You might think we will disrespect you, but we really want you to be selfish for a change. This is a good month for lolling around contemplating your navel; Mercury is in retrograde and ya'll are all Mercury people, you Virgos. Think big thoughts, do a little bit of nothing, carve out time to be alone. Loll. It's important.


LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23)
Well, it's August. All these other signs are so energetic. But ya'll, Libra is TIRED. Almost as tired as me and all the breaking technology. You've been working your ass off, too, and yet, look! Baby still got back! Rather than hibernate, start looking for balance in all the wrong places. You'll want to take a vacation ... but at the same time all these new happy social events will call your little Libra name. Go! Do! Be happy! I'll be over here in the Cancer corner dreaming of vacations for us both. And, also, probably breaking the Internts. You go have fun! Mwah!


SCORPIO (Oct. 24 - Nov. 21)
You electric Scorps are in rare form, and everyone is bowing down to the greatness that is YOU. Have pity on the small people this month, or else you'll find yourself all alone and friendless with no one to love you. Actually, that last part isn't true, I just made it up. You'll always have friends. You sexy damn Scorpios! You really are gonna shine up this August. I wish I were a Scorpio this month. I'd be sexy at work, too, instead of The Girl Who Cannot Use The Phone Because She May Break It. Something is going very right at work for you, or is it a new job? I can't tell. I'm kind of lazy and half-ass hurried this month. But you! On fire!


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
When I was a little girl, my mother gave me only one piece of advice. "Keep your panties on." It's advice you'd be wise to follow this month, since you've been taking off your panties left and right, whoring yourself out at your job, for your family, for your friends, for people you barely know. And yet you haven't had one good shudder for all your trouble. You're a kind soul. Keep your panties on. I love you. But the panties? Seriously. Keep them on.


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
It must be really hard to be so pragmatic. I like that you never seem to need overdraft protection, but I sure wish you'd remember your dreams in the mornings....

Ok, that's what I started writing.

But whatever, ya'll, I mean yeah, sure I'd like you to be more dreamy and shit, but let's be honest. My two best friends are Cappies and THANK GOD. They help me with all the stuff I suck at, like managing money and setting up the logistics of my life, and that is a beautiful thing. Also, the logistics of life will happen a lot this August for Caps. (Or Corns? What do you think?) Thank you for not getting mad at me when I forget how to add. I love ya'll Cappy Corns.


Posted by laurie at 5:01 PM