« October 2005 | Main | December 2005 »

November 30, 2005

The more I learn about the Internets the less I want to start dating.

I freely confess that while I can easily carry on for HOURS about the subtle differences between mid-century chair designs or the writing style of Henry James or my views on the imprisonment of Mikail Khodokovsy, I am maybe not so knowledgeable about the hipster doofus side of life.

Because, surprise! I am not very hip.

Pretty much all current music sounds like the same band to me (Me: "Is that Matchbox 20?" Jen: "No. Laurie. It's not. Why do you think every non-rap song is by Matchbox 20? THERE ARE OTHER BANDS OUT THERE BESIDES MATCHBOX 20.") I don't go to cool clubs, or hang out in trendy bars, or know who Paris Hilton is dating (that last one? TOTAL LIE. I keep up with my stars. OH YES I DO.)

But it's OK. I'm totally fine being just the doofus part of hipster doofus. Doofuses (Doofii? Doofusees? Doofusers?) are good people. We are "colorful." We have our own brand of Doofus Chic, and we are livin' out loud and proud. Kind of like Scientologists... but not so jumpy on the couchy.

So! Anyway. Back to the internets and dating and all the things I was very much happy to be ignorant of. Really.

Many many months ago, Kristy and I were on the telephone, talking. And she was telling me about posting her blog on this thing called Craigslist. I am not retarded, exactly, I mean I have heard of Craigslist, I just didn't know what it was. Or care. Figured some guy named Craig had a ...list. Or something.

(In my defense, people, I have VERY LIMITED web surfing time. I spend it on only the very most important things: eBay, Zappos, celebrity gossip, knitting blogs, WebMd. You know. THE NORMAL DOOFUS STUFF.)

So, Kristy was very patient in explaining to me what a Craigslist is. I was confused how she managed to post her website on some guy's homepage. She didn't laugh at me. (Kristy: Not A Judger.)

I like having knowledge of stuff. And pretending to be informed. When Katrina hit some time later, Peter was looking for someone to watch his kittens for a while, and I told him with great authority to go look on Craigslist dot COM, like I knew what I was talking about, all hip-like. He was real quiet for a minute or two. Then, "Um, darlin?" he said. "It's craigslist dot ORG."

"Interesting," I said. "They must have changed it."

Ya'll see how I can be.

Fast forward many months to... yesterday. I am on the phone with Jennifer, complaining that I MUST HAVE A TREADMILL. I have somehow decided that the ONLY WAY I will be happy is to buy a treadmill. In a perfect world, in my mind, a treadmill would help me sleep better, eat less, drink less, get in good shape, stop craving a smoke (no I have not smoked) (yes, I want to), stop stressing out, stop panicking, PLUS! I can watch Tivo while doing it!! Better than sex, baby. TREADMILL! HAPPY!

Jennifer suggested I go online to Craigslist and look for a used treadmill. Ha! Can't fool me, I KNOW IT'S NOT JUST SOME DUDE'S HOMEPAGE. But... OK. Treadmills? Weird!

Turns out Craig has a list for all kinds of cities, with all kinds of stuff on there. I picked the Los Angeles list and started browsing for treadmills. Which got boring after about fifteen seconds. So I poked around and checked out some other junk, like puppies, and I tried to see where Kristy has posted her blog, and hello! This Craig has personal ads on his list!

And of course, they are a lot less boring than looking at treadmills.

After five minutes of reading the Men Seeking Women area, I ... maybe was INSANE and had to call Jennifer.

Me: HATE HATE HATE

Jen: ...?

Me: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Let me READ some of this TO YOU... Here is a PRIZE... he is, and I quote, a seriously overweight, balding unemployed guy who is seeking a thin, petite beautiful redhead, he wants a girl who other people would say is "far toO pretty" to be dating him OH MY GOD HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT.

Jen: Ah. Craigslist. Did you find a treadmill?

Me: HERE IS ANOTHER PRIZE. "I am 49, boring and dumb, seeking a thin beauty ages 18-22 for fun and possible relationship."

Jen: He said he was boring and dumb?

Me: No, but he might as well have. It was implied in seventeen paragraphs of BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Jen: OOOOK. I am logging on. Hang on.

Me: OH MY GOD THIS GUY WANTS A WOMAN WHO CAN SPELL OR USE SPELLCHECK ... and YET here is how he describes himself: "I am an old fashion kinda guy. Who loves to eat a home-cook meal." Um, is it just me or if you're going to be an arrogant asshole about spelling and grammar, maybe you should spell your own self-absorbed-self-description correctly?

Jen: Oh crap, click on the Swede seeking benefactor...

This went on until I reached maximum vomit level and had to leave the computer immediately and retreat into the Cabernet. Seriously. Who ARE these people?

I thought it was maybe just Los Angeles guys, so I decided to do some research on the matter. I went back to Craig and his damn list and looked for another city. One that would likely have nicer people with less superficial and frankly delusional tendencies. Like...uh. Madison! Madison, Wisconsin! I have never been there, but they make good cheese, and ... Wisconsin! Just sounds like they would have nice guys.

No. No no no.

Bad.

Don't do it.

I was much happier when I thought the scariest thing out there was Zappos.com and its impact on my bank account. But if this online personals thing is any indicator of what is OUT THERE, I imagine me and my treadmill (from Sportmart, thank you) will be very, very happy. We will have a deeper, more meaningful relationship than I could ever find on the list of Craig.

Because people. There is not enough wine in this world. I'll just remain a singular doofus. It's fine. I'll listen to my Matchbox 20, or whatever, and talk about Russian oligarchs while seated on my Burke dining chairs. And I am staying far away from Madison, Wisconsin AND Craig AND the list he rode in on.

Posted by laurie at 1:17 PM

Rodents are the new yoga.

Yesterday Christine mentioned that as an alternative to having a yappyass purse dog (one of my life's goals) (because I have such lofty ambitions, shutup) I could take a page out of the crazy book and run around with a ferret in my bra. Ha! You think that's crazy!

Months and months and months ago, when Jennifer and I took Ethel The Cat to the vet, we noticed the very hot blonde receptionist had a third boob. And the boob was... maybe moving.

I found this very interesting. A trick third boob. Was this a new dating thing I would have to learn? Was it silicone gone wrong? Was it a heart murmer?

Oh. Right! It's just the usual ... A BABY POSSUM IN YOUR BRA.

possum1.jpg

possum2.jpg

possum3.jpg

Cute girl had painted its toenails pink and was carrying it around in her bra all day. I'm pretty much convinced that only a hot chick could pull that off ... I'm just saying.

Fast forward to last week, when Jen is taking me and Roy to yet another $500 visit to Sherman Oaks Vet (Hello, sirs. We would like our wing of your clinic named "Sobakowa and The Minions.") And while we were waiting (again) in the lobby, Cute Girl pulled this out of her... OK. Not her bra. I guess she gave up the third boob in favor of a cat carrier. I support that decision. BECAUSE WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT THING.

possum4.jpg

possum5.jpg

While I like this Cute Girl receptionist very much, I think I will stick with my plans to one day carry around a little Minou-like puppy in a silly purse.

My bra is all full up. Thank you for stopping by.

Posted by laurie at 8:28 AM

November 29, 2005

Cheese on a Tuesday.

roy-soba-chinlove.jpg

Sobakowa doesn't like cats very much, but she loves Roy to pieces. Since he's been sick she has been his constant companion. Who are these crazy people that think animals have no souls? Even evil dictator kittens know when their friends need them. (Soon-to-be-ex-husbands could learn a lot from this parable. I AM JUST SAYING IS ALL.)

Moving on.

So... it's a cheesy internets quiz. Don't hate.


TEN random things you might not know about me.
1: I write everything down on post-it notes.
2: Klutzy? Moi? Oui!
3: I swear I will never get married again.
4: I secretly hope that's not true.
5: Sometimes I panic at night.
6: I can't sing for crap.
7: But I do it anyway!
8: I prefer cake to pie.
9: I am dental-flossing challenged.
10: I make up words (you knew that one, I cheated).

NINE places I’ve visited
1: Iceland
2: Norway
3: Sweden, twice -- both times on accident
4: Poland
5: Czech Republic
6: France
7: Maine
8: Spain
9: Van Nuys ... ya'll. Don't be jealous.

EIGHT ways to win my heart
1: CAKE.
2: Adoration.
3: Drive me places. I hate to drive.
4: Hold my hand.
5: Be a willing participant in my crazy camera lady ways.
6: Forgive me when I mess up.
7: Be honest.
8. CAKE.

SEVEN things I want to do before I die
1: Write a book.
2: Have a little yappyass purse dog.
3: Take my mom on a cruise.
4: Go to Alaska with the fam. Hi Dad!
5: Let go. LET GO.
6: Hold onto something good.
7: Make out with my hairdresser.

SIX things I’m afraid of
1: Spiders.
2: Losing my family.
3: Roy dying.
4: Mr. X never regretting that he left.
5: Never finding the perfect pair of jeans.
6: Math

FIVE things I don't like
1: Mean people. What is the point? Really? Be nice or shutthefuckup.
2: Sushi.
3: Being paycheck-to-paycheck.
4: Divorce Lawyers.
5: Underwire.

FOUR ways to turn me off
1: Lie.
2: Be cruel to an animal.
3: Tell me all the things about me I should change.
4: Have no appreciation for cake.

THREE Things I do everyday
1: Daydream
2: Hope for the best
3: Get lost. No, really. I can get lost on the way to the 7-11. I need help, people.

TWO things that make me happy
1: Morning kitty snuggles
2: Unexpected smiles.

ONE thing on my mind right now
1: A far-away fantasy.

With this here internets quiz, I tag... EVERYONE ON THE PLANET. Heh heh. Seriously. Or Soba will come hug you to death.


Edited to add: Or don't do the internets quiz! It's your choice! I don't know what tagging is exactly, either, except that last time I forgot to do it and got eleventeen emails about it. So. Now I am doing it with everyone (because I am that sort of girl) what with my loose moral fiber and all. Cake!

Posted by laurie at 9:56 AM

November 28, 2005

Please don't ask me to play tennis with you. Please.

In the past ten days I have been asked THREE TIMES to engage in somehing so scary, it boggles the mind.

TENNIS. So! Scary!

At Stitch 'n Bitch last week, Jennifer asked if I wanted to play tennis with her, then a girl at work asked if I wanted to try out the practice courts downtown, and this morning -- out of the blue -- my boss said that when the new downtown gym opens, maybe we should all play tennis.

"Like a doubles tournament ... artists versus MBAs!" he said. Laughed.

And I said, "Or maybe we could all walk up and down Broadway and 6th Street at dusk and have a ho-off, because that's about as plausible as me playing tennis!"

Because me + sports = REALLY BAD NEWS.

I suck at sports. No, really. I SUCK AT SPORTS. When I was in the 7th grade, my parents had to go down to the school and meet with the principal and a conselor and a coach because me, their straight-A overachiever child was failing VOLLEYBALL.

And ya'll, who fails volleyball? There are people who cannot even spell their first name but can play some mean volleyball. And by the way ... my parents tell this story. To strangers. And dinner guests. They LOVE to tell this story. It usually starts with me talking about how smart I am, and ends with them saying, "Oh she's smart all right, remember that time we had to go to school because she was failing VOLLEYBALL? And we had to tell the principal how she was gifted and couldn't possibly fail VOLLEYBALL?" and my brothers are all, "Yeah, by GIFTED they mean you're a dumbass! Who can't play volleyball!"

Anyway, so I'm not the sportiest girl on the planet.

But I tend to forget this from time to time. I forget I'm a sports reject, and I think, "Maybe, since I'm older and wiser now and have grown as a person, I am probably also more mature and therefore able to play sports." And then I go and try some activity and fail, and then I drink. And whatdoyouknow in a few years I have drunk so much and matured so much that I completely forget I am bad at sports and try something new.

Like golf.

One time my parents took me and my brothers to this fancy country club in Louisiana and my parents, who should be PROTECTING and LOVING us, sent us out on the practice course with some golf clubs and a few buckets of golf balls so they could go have a cocktail and visit with other adults and they returned to find all three of us, shrieking, running buckwild crazy on the putting green and throwing golf balls at each other.

And ya'll, golf balls hurt. So it's important to aim low and throw hard.

And my parents are all GET IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW YA'LL ARE EMBARRASSING US. My brothers learned to straighten up and fly right and eventually went on to be great golfers and earn trophies and stuff. And me? I ALMOST FAILED VOLLEYBALL.

But that is not important. Because I am older and wiser and more mature and have had complex wines with names I cannot pronounce and so, you know, I'm probably better at sports now. Ha ha! Fooled you! No way am I doing any sports. I'm going to knit. And drink.

So please for the love of God stop inviting me to play tennis. I might drink so much I take you up on it. And I hear tennis balls can hurt... if you aim low enough and throw real hard.

Posted by laurie at 9:44 AM

November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

bob-before.jpg
Bob looks like turkey... but probably tastes like chicken.

The very first year I was married, Thanksgiving came around awful fast. We'd been officially hitched for one month and suddenly, it was the Tuesday before Turkey Day. I woke up that morning with the horrifying realization that I was now a Married Woman, one whose traditional Southern upbringing had supposedly prepared her for such things. I sat bolt-upright in bed and immediately began to draft a shopping list for The Perfect Meal. (I was maybe still in the pearls-and-high-heels mode of newlywedism. It fades, people. IT FADES.)

There was a flurry of activity as I went from grocery store to grocery store, and I set about cooking a feast of hitherto unknown proportions.

Except.

Except maybe I am not so good with cooking, and I decided the first thing we must do to make a good meal is to pour a glass of wine, and wear a pretty apron, and listen to music, and also maybe not having cooked a real meal ever before in my life I was kind of procrastinating.

Before long, it was obvious that I could wait no longer and the cooking had to begin, as no gnomes or parents had shown up on my doorstep to save me from myself. So I began cooking. With wine. I did not bother reading the directions on how to cook a turkey, because really. How hard can it be? Just like Hungry Man Turkey TV Dinners, you pop it in the oven and voila! Dinner!

So I took the bird out of the freezer and set it in its new stainless-steel turkey-cooking pan and poured olive oil on the (frozen) top and sprinkled it with poultry seasoning and into the oven it went.

Right.

Then I set about making the mashed potatoes, and was feeling very chardonnay and happy. Peeling, boiling, then the mashing began, with a tub of butter and heavy cream and My, When Did I Get So Good At This? I am so good at this!

Except.

In my defense, I had never used teflon-coated pans before, and we had just bought these brand new teflon-lined pots and pans and I maybe used the electric beaters to get the mashed potatoes good and whipped and five minutes later I noticed little black flecks ALL OVER THE POTATOES.

It was not pepper. Whoops!

About 14 hours later, the turkey was still frozen in the center and there was a weird smell. Whose bright effing idea is it to stuff weird turkey parts in a plastic bag and freeze that crap INSIDE a turkey? Huh? Was it perhaps the same brainiac that invented car batteries that need water? Because that's logical, Einstein. I MEAN REALLY.

For sure I could not screw up the cranberry sauce, since it comes in a can. Yes. And about the same time the cranberry sauce was gently resting on the floor with bits of cat hair stuck on its glossy can-shaped surface, I remembered the marshmallow-topped yams, because the smell of burned plastic (turkey packaging genius I HATE YOU) was mixing with the smell of burned marshmallow.

In conclusion:

• One bowl of mashed potatoes with teflon flecks

•One pile of cranberry sauce on floor

•One frozen turkey with melting rubber guts inside

•One blackened yam casserole


And we ordered pizza and all was well. Thanksgiving! A time to give thanks and praise for the 24-hour pizza delivery business!

Into every life a ruined turkey dinner must fall, but there is thanks and praise when we have a happy ending, and I am thankful and want happy endings for all.

Of course, this year there are so many people in need everywhere. We realize what a luxury it is to buy a big turkey and to fondly remember the year (so many years ago) when you were young and silly and teetering around on high heels and drinking wine in your kitchen and later -- now -- you can drink wine with two good friends at your home (not alone after all!) and reflect on all of it, because you're still here and life is still good. It's good even when it's bad.

So. Ya'll. I have a friend who is currently stationed in Afghanistan. His name is Haji. Hi Haji! Happy Thanksgiving! Hope the chow over there is good!

Haji is a photographer. He sends me pictures of the people, their houses, the vast desert and mud huts, and desolation. Little kids, little smiles, like this one that tugged at me.

afghan-girl.jpg


Haji is in Kabul and he was telling me about the kids, the ones who get hurt, and how the medics are trying to comfort them (that must be so scary for the little ones, with shots fired every day and these doctors not speaking your language and it's all so foriegn, but happening in your own town) and the medics are always looking for ways to put the kids at ease. The smallest things work best: a small stuffed animal. A beanie baby. A passed-on McDonald's Happy Meal toy.

We ALL have a stuffed animal or two lying around, things that to us are clutter and junk and just ... stuff. This one is easy! You don't have to buy anything! You're already looking for a way to pare down, right? The very same stuff collecting dust on your bookshelf/in your car/on your desk would have a different life in little hands in Kabul.

I'm going to send a few little things (rules; nothing with guns, no army stuff, nothing racy) and if you want, you can send stuff, too.

afghan-desert.jpg
Kabul, the desert.

Option 1) If you are local, bring your goodies to Stitch 'n Bitch next Thursday and I'll package them off to Haji. He'll be hand-delivering this stuff, so you know it's actually reaching the intended recipient.

Option 2) Email him directly at hajiomatic@hotmail.com. He'll give you his mailing address in Afghanistan and you can send goodies directly to him (eliminate the middle man!) and he promises to take pics of the goods and I will post them here, so we can all give a little thanks together.

Ya'll have a Happy Thanksgiving. Eat some pie.

P.S.
WARNING!! There is a HIDDEN SECRET BAG of necks and toes and stuff inside that frozen turkey!! Take it from someone who knows! I'm just saying is all.

Posted by laurie at 10:36 AM

November 23, 2005

I think I have a special node on my DNA for "tacky"

Let's talk about knitting and pretend the emotional meltdown never happened. Hi!

Lately I am only interested in self-striping yarn. This is why I love Noro so much -- you'll be knitting along on miles of stockinette or 2 x 2 ribbing, and just when boredom is about to strike and you're tempted to cast on for yet another project, the yarn magically changes color and Hello! I'm interested again! Sad, so sad that I have the attention span of a cabbage.

On Saturday I took Drew to Unwind, my favorite local yarn shop, and the helpful staff (enablers, all of them) pointed me in the direction of this super-fuzzy yarn that makes clear hard stripes, I picked black and red.

Pics of me and Drew harrassing the nice folks at Unwind, click for full-size:


The yarn I bought: Lana Grossa "Pep Blocco" in black and red, excuse the horrible photo quality please, there was wine involved:
pepblocco1.jpg

This fuzzy, stripey ball of fluff is going to be a boa-ish scarf for Karman, I wasn't sure if the color combo was maybe too much "I'm a pirate!" but last night Shannon assured me it's perfect for Karman. (Our favorite pirate?) It's 80% Microfiber, 20% Polyamid, 100% Tacky. Love it!

I cast on 32 stitches using big needles -- size 15. I find that when I want to do a quick knit (especially with eyelash yarns) using a big needle gives the fabric an airier, almost drop-stitch pattern. Plus, did I mention the word QUICK? These are my weirdly-shaped hand-carved Uncle Ronnie knitting needles purchased at A Major Knitwork in Reseda. They have an almost dolphin-shaped nose on them, but I love the pronounced needle tip with novelty or eyelash yarns, makes it easier to get in under the stitches.

uncleronnie.jpg
The Uncle Ronnies pose in front of an Ikea lamp. Disregard the multiple wounds and scratches on my hands from one Roy, a cat who would rather kill you dead than take antibiotics.


pepblocco3.jpg
The Uncle Ronnies in action -- bus knitting!

Shannon brought In-n-Out over for dinner last night, and sparkling white wine from Trader Joe's ... OK. COME ON PEOPLE. She just totally upped the bar in the Perfect Friend world, I mean cheeseburgers and fries from In-n-Out and wine? SHE IS SO SO PRETTY. Cheeseburgers! Fizzy wine! Totally not on the Dr. Weil List of Things That Make My Ass Look Smaller! I doused the fries really heavy with ketchup since that has... um, antioxidants? Or something?

shan-innout1.jpg
Possibly the most beautiful sight on earth.

shan-innout2.jpg
Owing to my tacky gene, I prefer cheeseburgers to all haute cuisine. Serve with champagne for that high-class TV Dinner feeling. Life gets no better than this, folks.


Plus Shan gave Roy a card and some toys, because we are all crazy cat ladies with no kids and this is what we do. I haven't yet thrown birthday parties for the cats or dressed them up in funny outfits but ya'll I am only thirty-four. There is plenty of time.

roy-feelsbad.jpg
Roy with his card and toys. Sniffle snortle, plop over.


So this yarn is knitting up fuzzy and forgiving (I accidentally increased a stitch and then knit two together to recover and yet... all is well in the eyelash world) but I still can't help thinking this color combination is just a wee bit on the Bold & Tacky side. ("Do you shop at the Big & Tall Store? No! Only Bold & Tacky for me!") Maybe if I get Karman really liquored up when I give it to her she won't mind. Or it will be something we make jokes about later, "Remember that time I made you that horrible fuzzy crap scarf? The one that looked like a drag queen muppet? HAR HAR!" but no way am I stopping the knit because... look! It changes colors! Magic! Gnomes!

pepblocco4.jpg

pepblocco-muppet.jpg

If you are on dial-up, I beg forgiveness.

Posted by laurie at 9:32 AM

November 22, 2005

Roy says, thanks ya'll. Also: Send Bacon.

royvet-cage.jpg

royvet-xray.jpg


royvet-eats.jpg


Today we have progress ... Roy is eating! Of course, he is 1) not eating in the kitchen and 2) not eating on a cat plate, instead preferring a nice dinner plate and 3) eating thinly sliced free-range no-salt turkey from Whole Foods, a mere $9.99/lb.

Which of course begs the question ... is Roy really sick or JUST NOT SPOILED ROTTEN ENOUGH?

Thanks for the kind words, Roy and his person are very appreciative. (Soba is wondering where her g-ddamn fan club is however and plotting ya'lls death.) Roy is still sort of falling over from time to time, but manages to work up enough strength to scratch me baldheaded twice a day during what we lovingly refer to here as OH GOD I HAVE TO GIVE YOU THESE ANTIBIOTICS PLEASE STOP HURTING ME.

I have to go now, his water dish is getting tepid. Thank you.

P.S. Yes. In my mind, crazy runs a spectrum, one end being minor (freak outs, PMS, oddities) and the other end being "wears a bra on one's head, speaks into a Pepsi can and directs traffic in her nightgown." I may have possibly seen that kind of crazy when I was about seven years old and apparently? Made a colorful impression on me.


roysad.jpg
He just feels paltry. Doesn't help that the paparazzi are in your face, I guess.

Posted by laurie at 4:54 PM

November 21, 2005

Master of the obvious.

me-christine.jpg
From left-right: Christine, me the crazy.

Dear Christine, Hi. Really glad you came to the party and I kind of apologize for ... well. Remember when I walked you out to your car? And then I started talking and would not shut up and you had to stand out in the valley cold and listen to a crazy drunk woman talk ON AND ON for an hour? Whoops! But... if it is any consolation I only do that with people I really, really like. For example: you.

Love,
Your crazy and rather talkative friend Laurie

And of course everyone knows by now that I am a little bit unbalanced, the good kind of crazy (for now) where I don't wear my bra on my head or put tin foil on all the windows and outlets, but I tell good stories and maybe have one or two or seventeen quirks and if you're just around for a few hours it is all highly entertaining.

Maybe that is why he left?

Do you think I will ever truly know why?

Do you think it matters?

As time passes everyone expects (hopes?) that I will get better and happier and fixed, and of course maybe the opposite is true, and I get unglued a little every day. No real reason not to be. I am the sort of person who is often humored. And this is just who I have always been, even though I get a little scared sometimes (I can tell you that, right?) knowing that I am not right, crazy as a bedbug, but functional in a Walter Mitty sort of way.

So. Yes. Today and today only I will acknowledge it, I will be honest, tell ya'll the truth.

I am a little bit not right.

In my family we call this "colorful" or "touched." A good thing about Southerners: we like to keep our crazy people out in the open, none of that institutionalize them crap for us. We can take it. We are Southern and sometimes we are colorful. End of story.

Just a little bit not right.

Of course all this is coming up with:
1) Drew leaving, departures that make me remember when I used to have a friend (HUSBAND) at home all the time, we woke up together and talked about coffee and the cats and mundane things and

2) shit BREAKING, everything all at once (First, the tall guy telling me I wasn't pretty enough, next the car overheating in a big pile of steam and smoke, third, the cat gets sick) and I get scared that it is happening again, that everything will break again and I am powerless to stop it and

3) the holidays. LIKE YOU DON'T KNOW, how your co-workers ask what your plans are for Thanksgiving when they sort of already suspect you'll be home alone with a bottle of cabernet and your Tivo and some instant mashed potatoes and you are totally OK with this... it's their looks of thinly veiled pity that make you crazy.

And my day?
Roy was very sick, no one ever knows what is truly wrong with him (he has asthma, and a hard time breathing sometimes) (plus he is very emotional, or maybe I am?) and that was an expensive visit, almost $500, with X-rays and medication and I swear to a fiery god that I will keep Roy alive through the sheer force of my will; and I will not leave him he will not leave me and also, I love that animal. Anyone with an animal knows, you have one (a favorite) you don't mean that one to be the favorite but it is, and by God YOU WILL NOT LEAVE ME. We have had enough departures for one year. No one else leaves here. OK?

The Jeep is... oh shit, I love that Jeep (no one ever accused me of having good judgment) and while no car on the planet should require THREE BRAND NEW RADIATORS IN ITS LIFETIME, mine eats radiators for breakfast. So... $757.12 and now this is a thousand-dollar-day and why NOT admit I am crazy? I earned it. After all.

I earned it.

Posted by laurie at 8:44 PM

Four days of happy.

drew-me-2.jpg


drew-me-faith.jpg


Best-guy-friend houseguests: 1
Near-death experiences: 2
Television interviews: 1
Television interviews in which I appear: 0
Times I told inappropriate secrets while intoxicated: 8
Number of wine bottles emptied: 7
In-n-Out burgers consumed: 2
Number of wireless internet routers correctly hooked up by yours truly: 0
Hours spent on phone with tech support: 2.5
Emotional breakdowns: 37
Number of secret gardens visited: 1
Rows of knitting completed: 0
Times I insist Drew must move here: 312
Times I resort to begging: 299
Hours spent on the freeway: 46.8
Yarn shops visited: 4
Times we talked about monkeys: 27
Turkey-shaped potholders purchased: 1
Cats sleeping on Drew: 4
Secret self-portraits I took using Drew's camera: 7
Tour Guides: 1, an excellent and patient Faith drove us from here to there and every awesome place in between, never once minding that me and Drew talked about cat poop
Time spent sleeping in the back of Faith's car: 2.75 hours
Times Ellen Bloom said "vibrator" at the party: 2!!! HA! Even the uber-classy Ellen has been tainted by you-know-who!!!
Extra-strength Tylenol consumed: 8
Times we blamed everything on the wine: 77
Times I pulled over and cried on the side of the road after dropping off houseguests at the airport: 1
Days I wish I could write more but AAA is on the way over here to tow my broken Jeep (again) and Jennifer is coming to the Valley to pick me up and bring me home so we can take a sick Roy The Cat to the vet (again): today
More about the weekend: later


drew-me-1.jpg

Posted by laurie at 9:21 AM

November 17, 2005

This column brought to you by my ass, and the letters B, I, and G

mehmetoz.jpg


When I refer to my divorce as the "almost fatal yet intensely painful and horrible illness I weathered during 2004-2005," I am not kidding. It's been hell on the old bones.

For one thing there was the smoking. The incessant, ever-present smoking. At the end, I was up to a pack or more a day, and Peter Jennings may very well have saved my life. I quit smoking because of that man, and I love him more than ever. Which is kinda creepy in a necro-crush sort of way.

Then there was the drinking, which. Uh. I am still doing. So! Moving on.

And then there was the eating. I ate through sadness, and through rejection, and through sleepless nights and lonely holidays and anniversaries and birthdays and I ate like it was going out of style. I wanted... that feeling. The one you get from eating a whole pizza.

[If you do not know that feeling may I please ask that you now step away from the keyboard and immediately begin eating a whole pizza, you health food freak, you!]

Quitting smoking was a good catalyst, a way to see that I was in control of this Divorce Sickness instead of the other way around. After a few weeks, I stopped coughing and wheezing and clearing my throat, OH!

And ... by the way.

In the spirit of FULL DISCLOSURE, let me tell you I have not actually QUIT smoking. I have only paused. When I turn 70 years old, I will commence smoking at a rate hitherto unknown to man, woman or waterfowl. I will smoke like there is no tomorrow. Because, hello! I will be SEVENTY FREAKING YEARS OLD. And I will smoke and you cannot stop me. In fact, this may be my only driving force to reach the age of 70, so step aside! I am living for another g-ddamn 36 years so that I can wake up one day, 36 years from now, and smoke an entire pack of cigarettes.

We do what we can.

In order for me to make it to the "smoking age" (a.k.a. 70 years old), I need to treat my body better. I need to... eat a vegetable. Take a multivitamin. Eat something called "fiber."

To that end, I have taken my advice from the following sources:

1) The Oprah Winfrey show
2) Crazy hippie Dr. Andrew Weil
and
3) Drew, the Crochet Dude

Yes. That is right. I am putting the future smoking-me into the hands of a blogger, a TV talk show personality and a guy who probably uses a wet rock under his arms for odor protection. (That last bit will only make sense to you if you also fell prey to the great Crystal Deodarant Craze of the late 1990s like I did. I actually rubbed a WET FUCKING ROCK UNDER MY PITS. Proving once again there are worse things than eating an entire pizza.) (Oh, I meant Dr. Weil, not Drew. Drew would never stoop so low as the crystal deodorant. Drew just happens to be on the same anti-aging, anti-inflammatory diet road as me.)

Anyway.

I must repair the damage done to my body and my dress size. To that end, I have embarked upon a Healthy Eating Plan as outlined by Dr. Mehmet Oz, who I love and want to kiss, and Dr. Weil the wet-rock hippie. Mehmet Oz was on the Oprah show on a segment about stopping the aging clock and I Tivo'd it, and kept rewinding so I could write down every single thing. Just a few weeks later, Dr. Weil was featured in TIME magazine with his Anti-Aging diet, a virtual copy of Mehmet Oz's plan. Basically, this whole thing is called the "anti-inflammatory" plan, and it helps you decrease wrinkles and stuff plus you get healthier and live longer.

It was time -- time for me to make a change in my diet. I read as many books as I could possibly read in an hour (honesty, best policy) and wrote everything down. Then I put it all into a Word doc, so I could figure out what to buy at the store (listen, when you go from buying frozen Totino's Party Pizza to buying real food, you need a little help.) (Plus I am kind of OCD.)

I told Jennifer about this plan, and she told me to post it on my website. I debated. "Does anyone care about the size of my salmon filet?" I wondered. But she was right. If I have to live out loud and eat this way, SO DO YOU, DAMMIT.

So I present you with my Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Weil shopping list. Word doc here. I figure you're smart enough to google the anti-inflammation diet, etc., and decide if it works for you.

Me? I just need to reach seventy years of age. I will eat whatever health food crap I have to eat to get to that day. I can see myself now, wearing rhinestone-studded Keds and a matching warm-up suit. My hair will be silver and about three strands thick. I will have great (anti-aging!) skin and a really fucking cranky disposition. I will turn to Enrique, the nursing home attendent and say, "WHERE ARE MY CIGARETTES, LITTLE BOY?" and he will say, "Right here, Miss Laurie. Let me light that for you ..." and all these years of salmon and vitamins will have been worth it. I will inhale deeply and my wrinkles will instantly pop out and my eyes will sink in. I will be complete.

Everyone needs a goal. THIS IS MINE. So ya'll back off my Enrique. I earned him after I survived the great Divorce Pandemic of 2005 ... you go eat your salmon!

Posted by laurie at 12:42 AM

November 16, 2005

Los Angeles at lunch.

There's nothing like the smell of King Taco in the afternoon.

King Taco

King Taco

King Taco

King Taco

King Taco

Posted by laurie at 1:56 PM

Los Angeles at night.

city-at-night.jpg

Good Lord this city is so beautiful at night. This is the view as I wait for the bus. [What you don't hear: honking. What you also don't hear: Me complaining because the bus was 48 minutes late. Speaking of complaining, Yes, it's still hot! And did ya'll know that complaining burns calories? Do you wonder how I am not 68 pounds with all the heavy-duty cardio complaining I do? Yet... I am not.]

P.S. I am still so in awe of the techmology... first thing I did this morning was check out the map! Hi Christie in Winnipeg!!!!Hi ya'll PEI-ers! And Jen in Japan, and Kellie in Australia and hi Nancy in Cypress Texas, go eat some lunch at the Hill Country Cafe and think of me, please? You're close enough to Kerrville. Just a hop skip and a jump ... order the chicken fried steak. Mmmmmmm. Hi!

This map proves once and for all why I was right to vote for Al Gore, since he created the internets, and ergo this brilliant way of me staying very, very busy at work. Thanks, Al!

Posted by laurie at 9:52 AM

November 15, 2005

More fun than a barrel of monkeys!

This is a widget, and I hope you add yourself:

Check out our Frappr!

I added myself to my own map because I am really that big of a nerd. Also? 4:39 p.m. on a Tuesday. 'Nuff said.

Posted by laurie at 4:38 PM

Please alert the Mother Nature that it is NOVEMBER.

bird-in-fountain.jpg

Two weekends ago I replaced the wilted, fading summer plants (basil, chives, parsley, some rather mutated and sad-looking daisies) with my fall flowers. The hanging baskets got filled with cheerful autumn daisies, and there are the garden mums, and two huge poinsettias and some other flowers that are (were) purple and pretty.

Then November? The one that is supposed to be all cool and autumn-like? Well, NOVEMBER IS A BIG FAT LIAR. Here in sunny and scorched Southern California, we have a red flag fire alert because it's over NINETY DEGREES with high winds and low humidity. IN NOVEMBER. And my hanging baskets had to be shuffled under the patio for shade and the pretty purple flowers? Crispy. So sad! Hate you, nature! First you go and ruin the world with tsunamis and hurricanes and wildfires and tornadoes and now you bake my garden mums!! WHEN WILL THE INSANITY STOP??? GO GET LAID ALREADY AND STOP BEING SO MEAN.

(This is the part where my mom, who is reading this because someone in her office probably said, "Uh, your daughter just told the weather to get a vibrator... " wonders where she went wrong and seriously wishes she had sent me to Catholic shool.)

So! Hello! It is hot down here in Los Angelesville!


bird-in-fountain2.jpg

Posted by laurie at 9:25 AM

November 14, 2005

I love my little kippers!

Real knitters call their works-in-progress "WIPs," which stands for, you know, Works In Progress.

Which may seem obvious. TO SOME.

Other knitters, the remedial kind or those who can't make it through one entire day without making up a word or two, maybe have a different acronym for their knitted projects-in-progress. KIP. For Knits In Progress. But of course some people can't leave well enough alone and maybe forget that the point of the acronymn is to shorten the long name, and instead decide the acronymn needs a nickname, and ergo ... the birth of the word Kippers. As it applies to knitted junk.

I have many kippers! Nothing finished. Just lots of irons, fires, etc. This is my dining table which is, oddly enough, never used for dining:

dining table

Closer:

dining table

And even closer:

Kippers
On the left corner we have a still-uncompleted fuzzyfoot, perhaps suffering performance anxiety as result of knitalong. Many fast knitters. Knitting ADD kicks in? Next to it is the wool-ease chunky ribbed scarf I decided to knit for God Only Knows Why, since ribbing is quite thick and cozy, and nobody I know lives in a place cold enough to need a scarf this heavy. Also, I maybe was drinking one night and joined yarn in the middle of a row. Whoops! If you want this delightful piece of green ribbing, it is all yours.

Moving to the middle of the table:

Kippers
Ah, my lovely white cable-knit scarf, the very first thing I'm making all for me! me! me! This is from a pattern in the "Scarves!" book by Candi Jensen. I love it, but I only have one row counter and I needed it for my fuzzyfoot, so I stopped this scarf after finishing a set of repeats. Plus, cabling is kind of slow going for me, even though I LOVE it. So, this scarf may be ready for me to wear in the year 2027.

And on the other side of the table, we have:

Kippers
What's that? Yes! Another kitty pi! This one in a rich chocolately brown to match my sofa. One day, little kitties. This pi will be yours!

I'm really behind on my holiday knitting list, plus I've been busy whining and contemplating my navel, and oh! DREW IS COMING TO TOWN IN THREE DAYS!!!! When life gets really busy and you have A LOT of stuff to do, you know there is only one thing that will make everything OK, and that thing is ...

... online shopping. Of course!

These are the world's teeniest circular needles EVER!! I even received them in a timely manner because they were small enough to ship in an envelope, so I had them sent to my house instead of my mailbox. And look, so cute!

Teeny Circs
Here at Chez Sherlock, nothing gets by Roy Cluesoe and his trusty friend, Bob Columbo.


They are clover brand Mini Circulars, but the product is still so new (I'm guessing?) that the packaging is in Japanese:

Teeny Circs
Nothing gets by without a taste test.

These are molded plastic, with a flexible plastic ribbon-ish piece molded between them, and they are a little awkward at first, but no more awkward than four double-pointed needles, in my opinion.

Teeny Circs
Touchdown, Bob!

I'm planning on making arm-warmers with these, and maybe (one day!) real socks! I bought these online from Halcyon Yarns, and shipping was very fast, plus they included two huge catalogs of all kinds of crazy spinning stuff and beautiful yarn and you name it. The baby circs can be located on their website, right here, just scroll to the very bottom of that page.

And Anne sent me an email letting me know the Village Knitter yarn shop and the folks in that area are doing some knitting and helping for the folks who were affected by the tornadoes recently. Let Anne know if you want to help out!

And that concludes the current list of Kippers and recent shopping purchases. The yard sale went great, I made MOOLAH!! And a very nice young couple, newlyweds, bought ALL the Christmas stuff in one big sweep and took it home, and they were so happy. She said, "I guess this was meant to be, we didn't have anything at all for Christmas!" which made me so happy, I cannot even tell you. Plus, I got to meet three new neighbors on my street, and each one had great gossip about The Crackhouse. Apparently Crackhead Bob was dragged off one night by the po-po in handcuffs. HOW DID I MISS THIS? I mean yes, I prefer firemen, but any man in uniform is still ... well. A MAN IN UNIFORM!

Posted by laurie at 8:21 AM

November 12, 2005

Just things you notice in a weekend.

You know how weekend colums are ... i.e not funny.

Humor me into thinking no one is reading on the weekends.

I know my friends, my family, even passing strangers ... they hope I'll find someone soon. As if replacing the soon-to-be-ex will fix me. It won't. You can't fix something by merely replacing the valves, the context, the warm body beside you. But I love their hopefulness. It's charming.

Sunday we're having a yard sale, again. Come buy my clutter, my memories, all of it, set me free, only a quarter! One dollar!

A reader, Julie, said, "I don't need a blog; I tell my life story through the comment sections of other people's blogs. Sorry about that." Julie. Nothing to be sorry about at all. I tell my life story in bits in pieces in email to strangers who write to me, in silly website columns, as ya'll know, intermittantly. The rest is just fluff ... fluff ain't half bad.

Things I discovered this weekend: Not yet ready to date. I got my hair cut at Umberto, which I can't afford but needed it for my sanity. Vanity? Still in love with my hairdresser. Also discovered some guys really don't like cats and will kind of kick them off the couch. And when a man helps you cook in the kitchen of your own house it is both sexy and disturbing. (He doesn't read this.) I am about as ready to date as I am ready to cut off my own right leg. Or give away my Ugg boots. It's a tough one. You don't want to let down your family, your friends, people who are rooting for you. But you aren't ready yet. You are sitting down with someone, hand on your leg, and thinking, THIS IS A LIE AND HE NEEDED HIS CREATIVITY BACK (AFTER TEN YEARS!!!) AND BY THE WAY I NEED TO GO TO TARGET, GET TIN FOIL, THOSE LITTLE PLACEMATS...WHERE IS MY RED SHARPIE, I MEANT TO LOOK FOR IT? MAYBE IN THE KITCHEN DRAWER? and before long you are making a grocery list, hoping this ends soon, wishing you had never said yes, liking a tall guy in your kitchen, but realizing you just aren't ready for anything.

Yet.

Posted by laurie at 6:03 PM

November 10, 2005

I'm Lost... and still no knitting.

Do you think the writers of Lost have a grand plan, or do you think they're just flying by the seat of their pants? Because yes, I am thrilled that they finally FINALLY showed Sayid without a shirt, but WHY did they have to do you-know-what to you-know-who?

Also, notice how COVERT I'm being for those of you who haven't watched it off the Tivo yet? Yes. I had to do that because I made the grave mistake of emailing my friend Shannon this morning whith a "Can you believe what happened last night and that they ****** *****???" and she hadn't yet watched it off Tivo. Now she's ignoring me via email. And probably kind of wishing I would catch the Evian Flu. Whoops!

In knitting news ... there isn't any. I do most of my knitting on the bus and lately I've been reading instead of knitting. (I'm not one of those crazy mad knitters who can read at the same time, I can barely chew gum and knit at the same time.) Last week I paid a visit to the downtown Los Angeles library, one of my favorite spots in the whole city. I checked out:

The French Diet - Good, quick read. I liked this one better than "Frenchwomen Don't Get Fat."
Bobby Flay's Grilling For Life - I love me some Bobby Flay.
Cleaning and The Meaning of Life - This book, also a quick read, is helping spur my frenetic decluttering of late.
Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944 - Nerd alert! Yes, I am a big History nerd. Add that to the list of my personal Hot Date characteristics (right between "four cats" and "OCD freak").

However, I have the best intentions of finishing my fuzzy feet this weekend. Ya'll will be the first to know -- since I apparently have no filtering device and just ruined an entire Episode of Lost for Shannon and she is as we speak likely plotting my death. Love you, Shan! So sorry!

Posted by laurie at 11:14 AM

November 9, 2005

A funny thing happened on the way to the vacation.

me-jen-standard.jpg


Jennifer and I picked a vacation destination. Only... I can't tell you. Because I can't tell my parents. Because... the vacation destination of our dreams is maybe a little bit on fire.

On! Fire!

And as such, my parents will have a heart attack on a cracker if they think me and Jennifer will be out gallavanting around some foriegn country in a city that is ON FIRE and they will be all "I KNOW YOU ARE AN ADULT BUT YOU ARE FORBIDDEN TO GO, HERE EAT THIS PIECE OF KEY LIME PIE INSTEAD." And I can't disobey the folks... I still owe them money that I borrowed to pay the stupid, slimy lawyer. Hate you lawyer. But I digress.

(Also, does it surprise any of you, having read this here website for any amount of time, that I would pick a vacation destination that catches on fire? You have seen my history. My bus is on fire. My neighbor's house/crackden is on fire. I seem to attract fire... or maybe firemen. Oh God please let me be attracting firemen, not fire. Amen.)

What I love about my life, and life in general, is that there is always a little uncertainty. On the one hand, our vacation destination which shall remain unnamed is possibly going through the worst period of violence, rioting and civil unrest since World War II. On the other hand, maybe we can get a hotel booked for really cheap!

And even if there are Apache helicopters circling the city and gangs of gun-toting youths ravaging the populace, we can take it. We're AMERICANS for God's sake. We get that kind of action after every college basketball game. In fact, as I write this there are helicopters circling downtown and sirens everywhere and something is probably really ON FIRE right down the street or maybe even in this very building, I do not know. On the one hand, it could be scary terrorism. On the other hand, everyone could be out gawking at a high speed chase/robbery/protest and that means the Starbucks downstairs won't have a line.

You see how it works. So, if you run a hotel in the City Of On Fire, and you're experiencing a drop in tourism, and you need two really great chicks who are used to a city in full riot gear to come stay there and pay a fraction of the normally crazy high price? Let's talk. Just don't tell my parents! And if you are a fireman ... well. Hello! I am coming your way!

Posted by laurie at 8:30 AM

November 8, 2005

Ya'll, just ignore me. The clutter is in my mind.

cats-on-bookcase.jpg
These cats are not considered clutter.

I have a very unusual approach to cleaning the house.

At some point I'll realize the house is a complete mess. After about twenty minutes of looking at the mess room to room, I begin to rationalize that the house would never be messy again if only I had more organizational items, like shelves and wooden magazine holders, and I must immediately rush off to Ikea because that is clearly the only solution to the messy house situation.

And then I repeat the entire cycle again in a few weeks and I have all this stuff from Ikea like little cardboard boxes with blue and seafoam green polka dots and still there are papers everywhere and mail all over the kitchen table and a pile of post-it-notes obscuring the bathroom mirror and THE CLUTTER IS TRYING TO KILL ME.

There are also some rather ADD-like issues involved in tidying up. For instance, I'll decide to tackle a pile of unknown paper items and I'll have a good, strong start... tossing out last year's Halloween party invitations and receipts from the gas station, and then I'll hit a roadbump. Usually in the form of a magazine. Ya'll know. I have to flip through it and see if I've read it all the way through. Or then I find the article I was saving, which reminds me I need to call so-and-so, which prompts me to get up, make a cocktail, but there are no ice cubes, and then I remember that they had cute little ice trays at Ikea, and I'd surely remember to make ice if I went to Ikea, and so on.

I'm particularly keen on this whole routine as a method of distraction from the billion and one things I need to do .... I'm too busy and harried and stressed, and I feel like I'm behind schedule every morning when I wake up. So I will waste enormous amounts of time vacuuming the sofa or dusting the remote controls or anything that resembles productivity to the naked eye but is, in fact, just simple time suckage.

I'd also like to know why time moves at different speeds during my day. The hour between the first ring of the alarm clock and the actual moment I finally drag my bountiful butt out of bed just flies by. But the hour between 5:30 and 6:30 on a Tuesday afternoon just seems infinite.

Is it just me?

Posted by laurie at 8:48 AM

November 7, 2005

Los Angeles needs a really good therapist.

You don't so much live in Los Angeles as cohabitate. And you fight sometimes, and then you make up, and sometimes you really REALLY want to leave each other. Or cheat on each other. Then you cry in your vodka martini and say, Baby, I'll never leave you. It's very codependant.

I realize of course that I may have one or seven idiosyncrasies, but this city has some really weird idiosyncrasies of its own. And so now I list them for you because that is what I do, I make lists.

1) Rain

The first year that you live in Los Angeles, you will be shocked and amazed at how little it rains. Then when the rainy season arrives you will be equally shocked and amazed that the nation's second largest city ceases to function when tiny drops of water fall from the sky.

We lose the ability to drive. Everyone is late. People are alternately awed and terribly upset... by RAIN. Just RAIN. It is the lead story on every news channel, with live team coverage and snazzy graphics, STORM WATCH 2005!!! The power goes out. From 1/4 inch of RAIN.

During that first year in LA, you think maybe this city is retarded.

By the time the next year rolls around, you have gotten used to 362 days of sunshine, and you are secretly shocked and awed by the rain when it comes. Yet you're still not "from" here, so you act like everyone else is crazy but you're still normal. By year three, fugeddaboutit. You're totally complaining about the rain and calling in sick. Because of RAIN.

2) Nobody mows their own lawn.
Seriously. Nobody here mows their own lawn. Like.. four people maybe do their own yardwork. Everyone else has a gardener. I am po' and yet the house I lease comes with a gardener. His name is Francisco and he shows up occassionally and chops up a shrub and loudly blows the leaves around.

3) Everyone talks on their cellphones all the time.

I know that people have cellphones all over the U.S. and they're all addicted to them, but I need someone who is not from here to come to Los Angeles and tell me if you agree that we are sort of crazy with the cellphone. In the grocery store. At Target. At Blockbuster. At the hair salon. In traffic, of course. Which brings me to...

4) Traffic. We are incredibly superstitious about traffic.
So, as you know, Los Angeles has the nation's worst traffic. (Oh, this is an actual fact, not one of the usual made-up facts I like to use. See this and this.) But enough science, already! Back to superstitions!

You see, if you are stuck in very bad traffic it's perfectly acceptable to complain about it ad nauseum. However, if traffic is surprisingly good you are not allowed UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES to comment on this good fortune. You can't say, "Wow, traffic isn't bad at all!" or "Hey, traffic is really moving!" because YOU WILL JINX THE TRAFFIC. And traffic will get mad at you and immediately red brake lights will be all around you and everything will slow to a crawl. AND IT IS YOUR FAULT.

If you happen to make this awful mistake of JINXING THE TRAFIC when you're in the car with other Los Angelenos, they will hate you and blame you and maybe hit you.

Consider yourself warned.


5) Cold is a relative term.
Everyone puts on gloves and hats and scarves when it gets down to 68 degrees. I love you Los Angeles! This city is awesome!


6) Distance is calculated in time, not miles.
"How far are you from Monrovia?"
"Oh... geez. Like an hour? Maybe more if traffic is bad."
"Yes... but how FAR are you?"
"Twenty minutes with no traffic... but only if you take the 210."

7) People are INSANELY INTO SUSHI.
Folks here are crazy about their sushi. Me? Not so much. I might like it if you breaded it and deep-fried it. And removed the seaweed. And covered it in Tabasco. But no, I don't like sushi.

Try telling a Los Angeleno that you don't like sushi. Seriously. Try it, as a little experiment.

At first, they take pity on you. They quiz you about where you've eaten sushi and what you ordered. They assure you it was just the place that was bad. They know a place... a great sushi place. You'll love it. And when you don't love it? They turn on you. It gets nasty. You are suddenly the redneck hick who eats only grits and Coors, because OH MY GOD YOU CANNOT APPRECIATE THE SUSHI. Last year I started telling people I was allergic to seaweed. It's easier.


8) Ugg boots are OK all year round.
Again, with the love, Los Angeles. I love you!

Well, I was going to keep writing and make this a tep ten list, but really I'm already tired of typing and me and my Ugg boots need more caffeine. Plus, it's really, really cold. It's practically down to 70 in here. I should probably complain to someone. Now where'd I put my cellphone?

Posted by laurie at 7:48 AM

November 5, 2005

Christmas decorations, the Penthouse Forum version

During the week I try to keep it on the up-low here, with jokes about my mushmouth-sized hats and painfully un-nutritious breakfast foods. But on the weekends no one is on these internets reading this stuff, so I can be totally honest with ya'll. I'm sure both of you will appreciate it.

Today I am going to finally deal with Christmas.

That isn't a metaphor -- I'm not that deep. I really am going to deal with Christmas, and the seven green Rubbermaid tubs of holiday decorations that are living in my garage. Ten years of married holiday purchases sat there rotting in their little tubs all last year, and now it's time to finally sort it and put the chaff aside for strangers to paw and buy for a quarter at the next yard sale.

Memories. Just twenty-five cents! Get your memories here!

I'm keeping only the 1950s tinsel tree that I got on eBay and the few ornaments I hand-made for it. Mr. X was never fond of said tree. Everything else in those tubs was purchased with him in mind, or with our home in mind. Some of the decorations are actually his from before we were married.

I'll box those up and send them to him. It's the right thing to do. Although my inner asshole tells me to write a letter to go with the box, I won't.

I want to say:
"Dear Mr. X, remember the many years we hung these ornaments on our tree? Remember the year we brought home a 7-foot Douglas Fir on the top of your car and couldn't figure out how to get it up the condo stairs? Remember the time Sobakowa knocked over a fully-decorated tree and we just laughed? And the stockings? Remember how I sewed them from soft cotton velvet, making each one special and sewing a tiny note in the lining of each cuff? Now I kind of hate you and wish you a holiday full of herpes and Avian Flu. Love, Laurie."

I don't really hate him, to be honest. I just hate those Christmas stockings, and what they represent. Each minute spent making my own pattern, cutting the fabric, sewing them up like the Perfect Wife I had hoped to become. I hate that he left me and never looked back. I hate that he got to walk out, with only the posessions of his choice and make a new life, and I was left to sort through ten years of our collective stuff, and the cornerstone of my divorce settlement is four cats and a shitload of Christmas junk.

But I love that I am finally able to deal with Christmas. That pile of green plastic bins has been haunting me every day since I moved to my new house. I'm glad I have the cats. I'm glad I have my soul intact, and he has (maybe? herpes?) nothing but an unmarked postal services box of meaningless holiday decorations, sent to him by his ex-wife, his badge of failure.

I really dread the holidays.

So, there's that.

And I have a collection of Barbie dolls, many many Barbie dolls, all boxed away in my garage ... most of them given to me by Mr. X, all still pristine in the box. Can anyone suggest a children's charity, a place where I could take these dolls and give them to kids who would love them? Yeah, I could sell them on eBay. But I need to do something to redeem my shriveled heart. Maybe some little girl will get a kick out of a collector's edition Paleontologist Barbie? Some kid will think the French Dentiste Barbie he bought me in Marseille is cool?


Posted by laurie at 12:03 AM

November 4, 2005

Stitch 'n Bitch 'n heh-heh-hello!

The date:
Last night

The scene:
West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch

The smell:
mmmmm food and wine and yarn yarn yarn

The sights #1:
Here is where I need to tell you there is a guy who works at the Brazailian BBQ place downstairs in the Farmer's Market, and I want to take him home and cover him in chocolate. He is GORGEOUS.

The sights #2:
Sometimes I look around at how much my life has changed, and I get sad and want to sit in a corner eating my hair and slobber-crying. Then there are other times, like last night, when I look around and see how much my life has changed and I feel so happy and proud of myself for actually leaving the house, and meeting new people. (And not eating my hair, because that would be gross.)

Even if I say the wrong things or drink too much wine or laugh too loud, they still don't mind that I'm there. I looked around and saw all these friendly faces and smart, funny, interesting people and there's such a nice vibe (OK, maybe I had two glasses of cabernet and was feeling huggy, but still! Everyone is so nice!) and I'm hopeful. Ya'll ever think that maybe we get more than just one life? Maybe we get a few lives spread out over the years and we live them each the best way we can? I can't see my life now without these faces in it, and it makes me infinitely happy.

Plus, everyone said nice things about my beloved Patons Up Country that I'm (ALLEGEDLY) making fuzzyfeet out of, so you know. I was buttered up.

Click on thumbnails for bigger pics!


From L-R: Ellen and I love to take pics of each other taking pictures. heh heh. Look! It's a mom and a baby in a portable playpen and one is knitting and one is just being really damn cute. That's Sara and Kendra. Hi! Sara made this little perfect red sweater, and we sullied it by making it into a beer cozy. mmmmm. beer cozy.



From L-R: Ellen is making a reversible cable scarf that is so pretty! Close up shot of the cable, both sides look perfect. Group shot. Ya'll see Gwen hiding in there? Faith ... you cannot hide. The crazy camera lady is everywhere. Resistance is futile.



From L-R: Jennifer and Regina get down to the serious business of scarves and capelets, respectively. Joan just learned to crochet last week and she is a crochet prodigy, because hello! Just completed her first (beautiful) scarf! I love Sara, and I don't get to see her much so I was a little bit like an obnoxious puppy when she walked in. This is Terry, and he is a crazy-super-tight knitter like me! Neurotic knitters unite!



From L-R: Natalie shows us how to do needle felting ... that green bag is a felted toolbelt she made! Closeup view of felting madness. This is me and Kendra, and I loved meeting her so much! We're hatching a plan for world domination. But can someone please for the love of God tell me why I have such a huge forehead? Finally ... a HUGE thank-you to Kathy, who patiently helped me pick up stitches correctly and showed me some amazing techniques to keep from getting holes on my fuzzyfeet edges. Thank you Kathy!!


That's all folks! In two weeks we have a BIG TIME INTERNETS CELEBRITY coming to Stitch 'n Bitch, and I won't tell you who it is but here is a hint: Ochet-cray Ude-day. YES INDEED!!

Posted by laurie at 11:43 AM

November 3, 2005

Can this fuzzyfoot be saved?

Dear Doogie Howser, M.D.,

I have developed an unsightly problem with my left fuzzyfoot. You see, I was really paying attention to my foot's health, and thought I was doing a good job. But then I had to get stitches -- well, more specifically I had to pick up stitches -- and the Doctor of Fuzzyfeet said there should be twelve stitches on each side. But I have... more than twelve. Lots more.

fuzzyfeetdoogie.jpg

Doogie, can this fuzzyfoot be saved? Do I continue with my more-than-12 stitches? Do I rapidly decrease? Pretend that having a total of 70-something stitches is ok? Get a fuzzyfeet-ectomy? Only you, Doogie, can save me.

Love,
Your friend the math and knitting genius, if by "genius" you mean "really kind of an idiot and not in the savant way."


doogie-howser-kiss.jpg

Posted by laurie at 10:47 AM

November 2, 2005

Breakfast for dinner and the friends who eat it.

Shannon and Karman came over for dinner last night, and after hash brown casserole (not as good as Cracker Barrel, but still good!) biscuits, bacon and champagne (because champagne goes with a white trash breakfast-for-dinner dinner) (champagne goes with anything) we sat around and caught up and talked and gossiped and...

... and you know how talking and champagne drinking goes on a Tuesday night. It can either end up buckwildnaked in someone's pool, or it ends all introspective and tearful. We remained clothed, so there's your answer before you even ask the question.

I'm tired of my divorce. This is how they get you, see? They ("The U.S. Department of They") stretch out this divorce nonsense so long and painful that by the time it's all over, you're exhausted and ready to sign over everything -- even your ovaries and cute shoes -- just for it to please END ALREADY.

Is this fallout from my still-unmulled anniversary last week? Normal? Pity-partyesque? Maybe it's the looming holidays. Yes. That's it. Holidays are looming. Consider yourself loomed over! Either way, the final paperwork arrived yesterday along with the bill from my lawyer (My Final Bill = my firstborn, my life savings, and maybe my left kidney while we're at it). Everything will be officially dissolutioned on December 5, 2005. Merry Christmas!

Shannon and Karman are good eggs. They don't seem to mind the stink of sadness that follows me around sometimes. Also, they didn't mind that I made breakfast for dinner, and that this so-called breakfast had no eggs.

Shannon has a fabulous new Eurotrash haircut which I lovelovelove:
shannon-110105.jpg


Karman, so cute, sippin' champagne in a cup:
karman-110105.jpg

Roy, my main man, holding down the kitty pi fort:
roy-110105.jpg


In Very Important Knitting News .... my fuzzyfeet are afoot. HAR HAR. I'm in the remedial fuzzyfeet knitter's circle, as I have only one cuff and heelflapjack thingy completed on one foot:

fuzzyfeet1-monitor.jpg

fuzzyfeet1-progress.jpg

fuzzyfeet1-dork.jpg

Posted by laurie at 3:55 PM

November 1, 2005

November Hor-O-Scopes

Please excuse the eleventeen hundred typos, as our Very Big & Important Editing Department is maybe tied up in meetings all day. Plus, astrological tomfoolery is hard. And the pay stinks. But! So much fun!

-----

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
Online shopping. Email. TV. The radio you listen to late at night. It's all part of your bubble, helping you achieve your goal of interacting with as few people as possible in the world. Is this really necessary? Do you really need to turn into me, The Hermit Extraordinaire? Don't you need some real-life TLC? Gooey kissing and schmaltzy hand-holding with puppy dog eyes is really good for the complexion. Of course, you are too well-mannered to slurp in public. But I suggest you venture out this month and start making some eye contact. Bedroom eyes suit you.



PISCES (Feb. 19 - March 20)
Oh, to be you. The golden halo of happiness is almost yours -- it is within reach! I'd be envious, but I know how hard you've been working to just move on and goshdarnit, you deserve it. Not to get too Oprah on you or anything, but this is one of those karmic times when you'll really start getting back what you've been putting in. Might I just suggest you share a little of the wealth? It's easier than it sound -- when happiness comes your way, simply don't go stingy on the smiles and ego-strokes that those around you need from time to time. Flattery, as it turns out, gets you everywhere!



ARIES (March 21- April 19)
The answer to the following question is of paramount importance to you right now.... Would you rather be known as the smart one or as the pretty one? Be honest. Here's the thing ... we all want to be both smart and pretty (and rich too, and also SKINNY, HELLO, but let's not get into all that). The truth is that you can be both, but only because pretty is a state of mind. I have no idea what state of mind SKINNY is, but if ya'll find out will you let me know? Pretty please?


TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
Mental French kissing. Intimate, but doesn't go too far. Nothing chaste about it, but still .... you haven't crossed the line. Someone in your life is trying to push you too hard, too fast but I think you're in a good place for now. Don't worry so much about keeping up with your peers, we're all pretty screwed up anyway and we'd swap places with you in a heartbeat. Promise!



GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
Information overload! Make way for words and numbers and sayings and reading and books and facts and oh my. You know that urge to run, run like the wind? I have it too (lucky me, my moon is in Gemini!) Let's embrace the footloose, fancyfree vibe (sure, some people call it "flighty" or "scared" ... what do they know? Can I see their PhD, please? THANK YOU.) Forget about coupling up under a full moon, and instead bask in the orange glow of a well-basted turkey and some good friends. With what you're going through right now the last thing you need is to try to distract yourself with romance.


CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Temptation.
Enough said? Yummy everything ... tasty romance, delicious treats, scrumptious opportunities, delightful new doors, the path not yet ventured down is calling out to you. Interesting, since you usually despise change. But something about the holiday whirlwind and the crisp air is making your adventurous side bubble up with anticipation. Bottom line: candy is good. Don't take it from strangers, or steal it, or eat too much of it. Now, dive in!


LEO (July 23 - August 22)
Ew, you have the ghosts of your past swirling all around you. It's a reflect-on-the-past and what-the-hell-am-I-thankful-for time of the year, and your poor, tired brain is screaming "Go Away!" What does this mean? Your fears about the future won't be solved by avoiding to plan for it. I prefer flats to high heels, but I only realize that because I wore high heels first. You could get your butt kicked by your fear of failure or you could just freeze -- immobile -- unable to go forward or backward. Don't freeze. Be the ball. Start rolling.


VIRGO (August 23 - Sept. 22)
A Virgo friend of mine recently complained that last month's horror-scope was rather unappealing. I decided to make it up to you this month by reading your House of Whimsy, a little-known astrological hideout of mirth. First, you will begin making plans to travel. Next, you will realize that the mantra of this decade is "I don't know." Explore your fickle side by being picky in a possible romantic situation mid-month and don't hesitate to do some serious pre-holiday shopping. Finally, Truths are harder to see right now, but they are worth seeking out. See? That wasn't so bad.


LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23)
Songs hold lots of philosophical wisdom. For instance, you just can't argue with "I want it my way" or "Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream" or "People of the world, spice up your life!" Ever noticed how just a little groove can get your whole frame of mind to shift? Much like wearing fancy lingerie under an everyday pair of jeans, turning up the volume on your life (musically and literally) can remove you from that rut, even if only temporarily. It's your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- to shake up your own rut this month. Slutty underthings and cheesy Spice Girls songs optional.


SCORPIO (Oct. 24 - Nov. 21)
Imagine someone sends you a check for ten thousand dollars. It isn't quite enough to quit your job or drop out of school, but it's just enough to get you out of hock and have plenty left over for a spending spree of celebrity proportions. Ok, you're not getting rich this month. But! You do tend to be a little obsessed with money right now, and creative visualization of this kind will help you get your priorities straight. You may discover that you need to budget like a pro and develop some financial goals. Or, you might just say to hell with it and buy some of those non-essentials you've been craving. Either way, you'll be thinking about Retail Therapy, and ... well. It's got the word "therapy" in it, right? So it must be good, right?


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
Platitudes. Like "Healthy, wealthy and wise" or "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Have ya'll noticed that you're just surrounded by platitudes lately? Nobody seems real anymore. Boredom will strike this month since this is your time for navel-pondering as your birthday is near. It's OK to be introspective. It's Ok to want more from people. Rest up, and pay special attention to your healthy habits or you can look forward to sniffles and blahs late in the month. Cheer up! It's avoidable. Wash your hands a lot.


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
Wow, you're a whirling dervish of energy, a mad smash of activity, an entire Mars Bar of fun! You are a snack attack this month, and you're energy level is unprecedented. You need to talk! Share your vision! Your excitement! Your absolute clarity with the world! Why won't they heed your advice? Why are they such idiots? Why are they so stupid? Who cares! You're cool! YOU ARE CAPRICORN. Hear you ROAR. Or... what is it that goats do? Do they roar? WHO CARES! YOU ARE CAPRICORN. You can ROAR if you want to!

Posted by laurie at 2:54 PM