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May 31, 2006

The Garden of Constant Sorrow; or "Hello, welcome to my backyard lake!"

Hi! Want to go for a swim?

Maybe start a trout farm? Grow some rice in a water-drenched paddy? Begin your very own West Nile Mosquito breeding farm? Do some pre-election muckraking with REAL CALIFORNIA muck? (kind of like real California cheese, only... muckier! Ya'll. I should copyright that.)

Well, if any or all of these activities sound fetching to you, please stop by my house after work. We'll drink some beer and watch the mosquitoes breed. It will be like one of those old Southern novels that ends with someone yelling out for Sounder. Or was it roll of thunder? I do not know. Maybe my neighbor down the street will set something on fire again, but we will be protected by the moat, because my backyard is fully flooded.

Let us flash back to the past, to ... yesterday. At 7 a.m.:

Me, slightly hysterical: Francisco? It's Laurie, please can you come over today because... there is a swimming pool in my backyard.

Francisco: Ah Miss you know I do not swim. I am Francisco.

Me, to myself, also keep in mind I have not had coffee: [You are Francisco ...? Is that like, a declarative sentence in which you state the reason for your actions in life is 'I Am Francisco'? I HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS. Would you like sour cream on that? No! Because I am Laurie! Would you help me with this power point presentation? No! I am Laurie!]

Me, out loud: Francisco. It's ... a lake. The sprinklers are... broken? Or maybe really really overactive? Because there is water all over the backyard.

Francisco: I see.

Me: ...!!!!!!!

Francisco: Yes. I will come and save save the sprinklers.

Me: Because you are Francisco.

Francisco: huh?

Indeed, I had discovered really exciting lake-front property in Encino, which was in fact very new and rather alarming as it is Summer (and Summer in the valley means Never Rains Everything Dries Up Dies Is Dessicated Catches On Fire) and I myself had quite the tropical paradise happening out back. There was a chair floating near the pumpkin plant. I believe I saw a squirrel jet-skiing in the back forty. Rather than join the assorted bugs and wildlife partaking in the watery goodness, however, I had to haul ass to downtown because apparently I don't have the cajones to tell my boss, No, I cannot come to work today! I am Laurie! Also, I pay the water bill for this lake!

Work was very happy as you can imagine, with me trying to decide if the house would flood, or maybe begin sinking, or that otters would swim up and start building a dam with what used to be the patio chairs and before long the opening sequence of CSI: Miami would be filmed right in my own backyard, complete with airboats and alligators and one David Caruso, who takes off his sunglasses and surveys Waterworld Encino, and then as he slides his dark glasses back on, he punctuates it with a quippy line such as, "It's murder ... Miami-Encino style. I Am David Caruso!"

Anyway. All's well that ends well and also ends with no otters on my doorstep, and I left work and Francisco came over and stopped the River Encino from growing into a canal and he did manage to SAVE THE SPRINKLERS. The yard is another story all together. Mucky is the new chic, yes? The drought-tolerant ice plant is now floating like so many waterlilies out on the bayou. If I find any crawfish swimming back there, I'll invite ya'll for dinner. You will need to utter the secret phrase for entry into the pond, though:

I Am Francisco!


I couldn't get any further than the sidewalk to take muckier, more bayou-like pictures, because I was not wearing my waders, and Lord knows what could be swimming back there, revived from the primordial ooze. Hey, want to come over? Primordial ooze! Fun!

Posted by laurie at 9:30 AM

May 30, 2006

Knitting on the (long) edge

Now that I am only struggling with two cats twice a day (progress, people!) I think it is high time I resume knitting. I have all these mismatched skeins of yarn, some were gifts, some were half-off specials, none are enough for one continuous project of a single type of yarn. So I thought I'd make a gypsy scarf with all these yarns mixed up, knit lengthwise on a very long circular needle.

The only long circular needle I have is a size 13, so I'll be using it with all the yarn, some of which is thicker, some almost sock weight. Is there such a thing as sock weight yarn? I do not knit socks, but it's the skinny yarn.

Anyway! I want a scarf that's pretty long, maybe... what? Five feet or so? Five and a half feet? For something like this, how many stitches would you suggest casting on? I'd definitely prefer to err on the long side rather than go shorter. Suggestions?

Pinche driver taking photos at a red light!

Posted by laurie at 9:09 AM

May 28, 2006

Four a.m.

I woke up in the middle of the night, sweaty sheets tangled scared.

I was dreaming of him, he was here with me and we were in our condo in Studio City, the kitchen on the bi-level, tan carpet stairs leading to the bedroom. And he said, "I need my freedom."

And I said, "You are my husband, my family."

And he said, "I'm moving out."

And he packed, only this time I was right there begging him not to go, and I was small, and he shut the door behind him and took the winter coats even though it was August and I knew he was never coming back and I cried ...

... and I woke up crying. Sobbing, uncontrollably, "Come back."

Then I looked at the bed, the sheets, the room with the blinds half-askew and the tiny closet and I realized I was home now. He had left a long time ago, it was OK, I was in my bed, inside my house, inside my life, a cat yawned like an old man and stretched his legs and curled back into a ball by the pillow that used to be his (except when he left I chucked all the pillows because I was afraid they smelled like him) and I went to the kitchen, awake now, in bare feet and pajamas and drank the last third of a bottle of Cava, already flat, and smoked two cigarettes even though I quit and remembered he left me already. I had already done it, it was over, I never have to do it again. I am free.

But the dream grabs your hair, scratches your skin, like when you used to wake up next to him and you had dreamed he cheated on you, and you woke up mad and wronged. Then you say: I lived through it, and dreams be damned it is over and I do not know why it came to me at night, I feel betrayed by my own dream-life who is supposed to bring me release from this day-to-day, the one who knows like no one knows how far gone he is, that is over it is past ancient history you lived it ... you control the exterior but never the interior.

He left you already and you survived it. It was only a dream. So you finish your drink and go to bed and it's 4 a.m. and the cat yawns and you smell a pillow he never once touched.

Posted by laurie at 12:37 PM

May 26, 2006

You name it, you buy it

Yes, I know I said I was taking a break. But people, know this: I do not shut up. Please don't meet me in person. I will exhaust you.

I used to have this spider who lived by the front door. It was a scary and gross spider, with its little insect legs and stealth. I do hate spiders, not because they may kill me or cause me bodily dysfunction but because they are so creepy crawly, with the quietness and the legs. When I first got separated, I lamented to Jennifer, "But who will kill the spiders now?"

Apparently no one.

Because after weeks of coming home and getting my mail and putting the key in the door and so on, I named the spider Charlotte. And once you name something it is yours forever -- take it from me, A Cautionary Tale. People would come visit me here at the house and say, "Laurie you have a frightening, ugly spider living by the front door!" and I would say, "Ya'll that is Charlotte!" as if we were all about to sip mint juleps together on the sweeping front veranda of Tara. It was a trying time in my personal history, so folks gave me some leeway. They probably assumed I was drunk. What with the divorcing and all.

Mr. X and I were married a long time, our family consisting of me and him and Roy and the Sobakowa (who got her name from an infomercial. I was working nights at the Daily News, and I would come home late, 2 or 3 a.m., and we would watch old game shows on the Game Show Network, then infomercials because, ya'll, I have an infomercial gene. I will tell you about this node on the DNA one day, but this parenthetical is becoming unweildy as is.) Anyway, we had a nice little family, two of whom were covered in fur.

Then we moved to the house in North Hollywood, and one day Mr. X comes in and says he has made a discovery behind the garage. A buried treasure? A stack of Playboys from the 50s? A rich uncle? No. Two kittens covered in fleas and not lovng humans. They also maybe smelled. And hissed, and had Fangs Of Death.

Me, with the Cinderella "Oh come alight on my shoulder and sing me your song" thing went outside and sure enough there were two damn kittens, scared but feeling on my Cinderella vibe. Hissing optional. We captured them ("Here, have some broiled albacore...") and took them terrectly to Sherman Oaks Veterinary Clinic, where they were de-flead and de-whatevered, and then the nice girl at the counter told us, "We have no room for these kittens right now. Just keep them for one week, and then bring them in and we'll find them homes... we hope."

So we took them home and about fourteen minutes into the foster parenting, I said to Mr. X, "This one with the painted face, the calico, looks like a Frankie. As in Frankie & Johnny. But the butterscotch one... he is no Johnny. He is a Bob." And ya'll know the rest, because when you name that shiite, YOU BUY IT.

And I am thinking of this as I sit on my patio (wireless internets you are my love, my number one with a bullet, my new Tivo) because ya'll. I am sitting next to a potted plant that houses a monster cobweb, a Thing I planned to eradicate just now with a garden hose and some huzzah, until I looked closely and could see what may or may not be Charlotte's kid, Carlotta.

And you know what happens once you name that. Reader, you have bought it.

Posted by laurie at 9:32 AM

May 25, 2006

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Hissyfit Cafe





  • a few green tomatoes
  • cornmeal (yellow is my favorite)
  • mix cornmeal with salt, pepper and other spices (I add in some white cornmeal, too, and some Tony Chachere seasoning)
  • bacon grease or vegetable oil

Slice the tomatoes into about half-inch slices. Dip in whipping cream or egg wash to make the batter stick. Then dredge each tomato slice in the cormeal mixture. Place in a hot skillet and fry until golden on one side, gently flip them over. Done when both sides are a nice golden brown. Then eat up!

- - - - -

During this morning's "Fun With Felines: A French Farce With Medication And Claws" I sat in the hallway and bawled. It's a good thing I don't have kids, I would SO be one of those "No more wire hangers!!!" mothers. Anyway, I'm going to take a (much-needed) few days off for the Memorial Day l-o-n-g weekend. Have a good one!


Posted by laurie at 9:41 AM

May 24, 2006

If it's Wednesday it must be list-day.

Top Ten Things On A Wednesday, Before I Have Fully Caffeinated And Also, I Need A Nap.

1. The answer is no.
No, I have not been knitting.

2. Unless I should be knitting a shroud.

Because I am medicating all these cats twice a day and ya'll. It is not easy. They have grown stronger and also smarter and now they know the routine and they are wily, those hiding fanged beasts of cuteness. I've tried to switch it up, fake them out, but frankly at 4:45 a.m. I am not all that creative. Also, they may be smarter than I am, since they have all day to sit around and think of the torturous human and plot my death ... someone please help me. They might kill me soon.

3. The Last Supper
My cooking has deteriorated into a rapidly descending spiral of sadness. Yesterday I ate dry Cocoa Puffs, a turkey sandwich, three red vines, two pickles and a banana and nary a pot nor plate was defiled. That is quite a feat!

I ate my Cocoa Puffs out of the box, because my milk expired four days ago. I know I should go to the grocery store, but I can’t be trusted in that place. Left to my own devices I will spend a hundred dollars and arrive home with items that when placed together DO NOT EVEN MAKE ONE COMPLETE MEAL. I’ll buy shake-n-bake but forget chicken, buy milk but forget cereal, lunch meat and no bread. It just happens. The grocery store is big and the selection is vast and I come down with a case of ADD every time I walk through the perfectly oiled sliding glass doors.

I can already hear you. You are saying, "Make a list!"

I love lists, I am a list-making fool. As evidenced by this very column today, a list. So I make lists, OH YES I DO. On post-it notes, and on the back of the light bill, and even in a notebook bought solely for the purpose of holding my many lists. But even if the list makes it to the store with me (shocking rare incident, but it has happened) the list is not in the same order as the aisles, and I still have to walk around and everything is so pretty and appetizing and ... look! Powerpuff Girls cereal! Lunchables with mini tacos! There are Oreos with chocolate filling! Hey, I'm an adult and what fun is it to be on your own and paying bills and doing things like wearing pantyhose if you can't buy Oreos? I would be denying my power as an adult if I didn't buy these! It would be a travesty! In fact, by purchasing chocolate double-stuff Oreos, I am declaring my independence!

And dammit if an hour later I’m not standing at checkout with coffee filters, beer, four frozen Lean Cuisines, a big packet of Oreos and seventeen other items that make no sense (those water chestnuts are only 39 cents! Look, cling peaches, four cans for a dollar! This squash looks interesting ... maybe I’ll learn to cook this week and shock and amaze my friends with squash a’la something!)

4) But cooking is overrated anyway.
The best part about my Tiny House's Tiny Kitchen is that the smoke alarm is farther away from the stove than it was in my old place. I can now burn dinner in peace. Last week I accidentally put a chicken breast in the oven that still had saran wrap on it.

I have no good excuse for this.

I was talking on the phone and trying to watch the very end of the Clean House marathon and, hey, saran wrap is clear! Anyone could make the same mistake. Really.

5) Maybe it's lack of sleep.
Last night I thought we were having an earthquake. It was just a cat jumping on the bed. They were probably laughing at me later. One of them is probably writing about me on MySpace.

6) I am one with nature.
The square watermeloning is going REALLY WELL. In other words, I have no watermelons yet, so I have yet to kill them. All I have are little tiny plants, since I grew them from seed they've just been slow to sprout, probably because the nights are still cool. I think we have a different growing season than many parts of the country, September is always our hottest month and even in October we have hundred-degree days in the valley. I do have a tomato plant that is taller than I am, I have named it Cesar Chavez and we sit around at night contemplating a way to free the masses. Also! Yes, I may have been exploring the world of cabernet. Moving on.

I got the best email EVER from Patrick, who writes:

Laurie, I am a 30 something GWM who lives in West Hollywood and is a faithful reader of Crazy Aunt Purl. In reference to one of your earlier blogs where you claimed it was possible to procure ANYTHING in the Valley ... On Monday some idiot broke the window out of my 1968 Mercedes Benz, I went to Beverly Hills MB and they didn't have my window in stock, nor could they even order it. Same story in Hollywood, Santa Monica even Malibu. I was finally told that I probably would have to order it from Germany because my car is so old.I was given a tip by somone about a place that may help. I went to said place, and a very kind toothless man produced my new window in under 5 minutes. The locale you may wonder? VAN NUYS! :) Love your blog, Patrick in WeHo

All I can say is... Amen. The Valley: we have your porn stars, square watermelon farms, tomato liberation plants, Mercedes windows and really good tacos. Patrick, The Valley is not just a nice place to visit, you know. It's also a nice place to raise a family of pissed-off cats who are plotting your death, take it from someone with first-hand experience.

8) And finally.

Posted by laurie at 10:01 AM

May 23, 2006

So addicted to you (tube)

Who says the internets are just for porn?

Hi, my name is Laurie and I am a You Tube addict. I have been clean and sober for 14 minutes.

But I can't help it! Where else can you find podcasting explained by a ninja, Jon Stewart (I heart you!) taking on John McCain, that awful Brandon Whatshisname talking smack about La Lohan, some car hopping in the Valley, the evolution of dance, K-Fed and his no-production-value bizarro video for PopoZao, the funniest spoof of the aforementioned K-Fed EVAH, and of course when it's all over you can get inspired to practice your crip walk.

I love the internets.

Posted by laurie at 9:19 AM

May 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Amber

Happy! Me, Jen and Amber. Doesn't it kind of appear that my
boobs are trying to attack Jennifer?

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I do not like to go south of the ten. (If you don't live in Los Angeles and speak freeway-ese, that means I don't often venture to the Westside and beyond, below the 10 Freeway. See how we do with our road-code here? Crazy, I tell you.) Anyway! Where were we? Oh, yes. Me and my hermitage and "Please, everyone, come to the Valley!"-like ways.

But it was Saturday night, and Amber's birthday party, so I picked up Jennifer and we headed off to this bar/restaurant/impromptu dance place called Niki's in Venice. This is definitely south of the ten.

It didn't occur to me until much later, when I was back home and it was 3 a.m. and I was finally having a glass of wine on my patio (designated driver, ya'll know) that I had not been to a club in like... years. I think the last time I was out at such an establishment was maybe Jennifer's birthday in the year 2005. 2004? I do not know. We used to go out a lot back when I was married, all the time in fact, I'd get the girls together and drag them off to some salsa club or another. But it had been a l-o-n-g time since I'd gone out on the town, and I was nervous. I kind of had to sit myself down prior to the evening and have a come-to-Jesus with myself (not that I am Jesuslike, ya'll know it's just a saying). I never feel really comfortable in these very-Los-Angeles places, where all the women are stick-thin and beautiful and enhanced and dressed in tiny scraps of clothing. In fact, I avoid these scenes as much as possible, I hate scanning the room only to find out that yes, you are indeed the biggest gal in the crowd.

So I sat myself down and had a Margaret Mitchellfest, because it was Amber's birthday and I was GOING to this place, so I might as well shut up and move on and have a decent attitude about the whole thing. I believe in kindergarten this is what we call an "attitude adjustment" and I was in dire need of one. Nothing is more exhausting and icky than going out and feeling bad about it the whole time. It doesn't just ruin your night, it bleeds into others' experiences and they can just feel it radiating off you, like stink waves or something.

I didn't want to have the stink waves of fear and self-loathing.

I pulled on the juicybooty jeans, blowdried my hair, looked at myself as I put on some mascara. So what if I was going to stand in a room full of women whose entire bodies could be eclipsed by my left thigh? If I was going to be standing there, I might as well stand tall. I wore three-inch heels.

We met Gloria there, and Amber and a huge group of Amber's friends, and yeah. I was probably the only more-than-size-eight girl in the whole room, but I actually had fun. Every time I caught myself staring at some impossibly thin girl in a three-inch square of fabric, I just let it go. I even surprised myself, to be honest, I figured I'd have at least one freak-out moment but I didn't ... I had fun. Maybe that's what you do in this life, you just pretend you're OK, tell yourself to stop talking trash in your head, and you do things even though they scare you. Maybe before long, you end up being the comfortable-in-your-skin person you're pretending to be. Hopefully it will happen in the Valley, though, because Lord knows I do not want to keep going south of the ten for enlightenment.

(click for big)

Posted by laurie at 10:16 AM

May 19, 2006

May, 1977


Really, ya'll. I have not changed one bit.
(Except now I sometimes wear pants.)

Posted by laurie at 9:49 AM

May 18, 2006

All about the bottom.

So! My birthday is coming up in a month or so, the big three-five. Last year I whined and bellyached and carried on and then drunkdialed Mr. X, and when he answered the phone I said, "Happy Birthday Darlin!" like some trailer floozy channeling Conway Twitty. Good times. Then, after I hung up, I cried to Shannon and Jennifer, and we drank some more and played bad Spanish love songs and I lip-synched and made jazz hands. Proving that if you think drunk-dialing the man who is divorcing you is the bottom, the very lowest one can reach, well I am here to tell you -- you can go lower: drunken jazz hands.

I will not be making the same mistakes on this birthday, because three-five is the Year In Which I Become Margaret Mitchell.

I do not actually know all that much about Margaret Mitchell, to be honest, but I know she wrote my favorite book and invented the O'Haras, and when I was about 15 or 16 years old someone told me that Margaret wore pants even back in the 20s and 30s when it was very unfashionable for women to wear the pants. I took it as a metaphor. According to my 11th-grade source, MM smoked and drank and carried on and lived a life that was quite unconventional. So, although I personally never met the woman or really read much about her, in fact this could all be made up but whatever, she became in my mind a symbol for something free.

And I think three-five would be a good time to just be free. Free of all kinds of ideas I had for myself, and also free of some of my issues. I decided this one night in Paris, after I spent an hour in a cafe with three of the most gorgeous women I know, three girls who each weigh about a hundred pounds or less. And I sat there in arguably the greatest city on earth as my extremely hot (and skinny) girlfriends discussed thigh size and cellulite issues and so on. Which is just normal conversation. Except I'm sitting there thinking, "OH PLEASE. YOU DO NOT KNOW FROM THIGHS. I COULD CRUSH EACH OF YOU IN A THIGH GRIP WHILE I ALSO DRINK A BEER AND HAVE A SMOKE AND YOU THERE! YOUNG WAITER! FETCH ME A BEER!"

Truth is, I just don't want to talk about myself like that anymore. I don't want to hate my thighs or constantly wonder how many calories are in a taco, or compare myself to others or any of it. It doesn't mean that I'm giving up on my shape or that I'm going to stop trying to be healthier in general, etc., but I have spent all sorts of time (years and years and years!) comparing myself and sizing up and really, ya'll, I am just exhausted. I have the juicy booty. I am going to own the booty, as I can imagine ol' Margaret would have owned hers, had she suffered from juicybootyism.

Luckily for me, I have made this decision at a time when it's fashionable to have a big ass.

Now I've had a big butt my entire life, but finally it's cool to have all that junk in the trunk, gold in the hold, to be swollen from the colon. The proof is right there on the radio station -- you could build a whole playlist of current songs that sing the booty electric. There's "Miss New Booty" and "U and dat" (love you, King's English!) and "Shake That." Plus, of course, the old standbys "Feeling on your booty" and "Back that azz up" and some song about dumps in the trunk, whatever that meant, and "Bootylicious" and "Fatty Girl" and on and on.

If this whole national obsession/acceptance of bootylicious babes had occurred when I was in my formative years (like, perhaps seventh grade when I desperately wanted to rock the Calvins sans the bubble butt like Caroline Whatshername who was board-straight and I was so, so happy when big T-shirts were the new in-thing, because big T-shirt! I can hide!) anyway, I might not have ever doubted the fabulousness of my own extremely ample behind and spent years trying to hide it which, in case you're wondering, was a complete and unqualified failure. There is no hiding this jelly.

Type the words "big booty" into Google and you'll get a whopping 1,970,000 matches. By the way, I don't encourage you to do this at work since about 99% of those links are hardcore porn and your supervisor might be walking by at the exact moment your results pop up (speaking from personal experience, ahem.) (It is rather hard to explain the big booty web research as part of a journalistic effort to record all the news fit to print.) Next I typed "enormous ass" into Yahoo and got a solid 10,800 results. Notice I was not deterred by presence of boss during first search, as I am firmly committed to a life of scientific research.

So clearly there are people in this world who can appreciate a large posterior, some of them sick and demented yes, but let's not dwell on the negative. While I'm quite sure my own extremely ample bottom will not be gracing the pages of Vogue anytime soon, I have given up trying to conceal my ass in favor of self-acceptance (and sheer laziness, truth be told.) It's simply too much trouble to hide the truth, whether that be a failing marriage, a love of very unfortunate eye shadow colors, or one large and in charge juicy booty. I'm not exactly building a shrine to it, but in year three-five I'm not going to slink around in shame anymore, trying forever to fit some ideal that only goes to a size six. It's three-five! Time to just accept something about myself for a change. Might as well start with the obvious. Oh! And no more drunken Spanglish jazz hands.


Posted by laurie at 9:07 AM

May 17, 2006

It's hard out there for a pimp-cat.


Posted by laurie at 9:15 AM

May 16, 2006

Sexy Little Knits

Click image for a bigger view:

I got a copy of this book from the publisher, because I believe after reading my essay, "Will my house look bigger if my butt gets smaller?" they decided this glossy, lovely knitting book would be exactly the motivation I need to:
A) Go on a diet
B) Cry and
C) Drink wine and eat taquitos while flipping through said glossy book, because by now ya'll know my favorite O'Haraism, "I Will Think About My Diet Tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day."

The truth is, a lot of folks still think of knitting (and crocheting) as old granny crafts. Not that there is anything wrong with grannycrafting, mind you (so please back away from the hate mail button!) but truth is, yarn has come a long way, baby. My granny's crocheted toilet paper cozies -- a hoopskirt for a faux-barbie, OH YES SHE DID -- were no doubt the very pinnacle of cool back in the day, but now you can crochet or knit a sushi cozy for your TP. THAT IS PROGRESS, PEOPLE. I would venture to say that knitting is like the snowboarding of the craft world. Rockstar! And also, crazy!

I have seen some of the most amazing creations at Stitch 'n Bitch, and I still can't believe you can hold two sticks and some string in your hands and make anything from clothes to purses to legwarmers to chicken viking hats. Truly, what with all the mathiness of knitting and the expensiveness of the good yarn and the sheer variety of people who do it, knitting is really an art form. Plus, you can watch TV while you do it!

Knitting books are like crack for me, I love to sit on the floor at the bookstore and flip through all the glossy pages of inspiration, and I have far too many knitting books for one who has smoked the scarf pipe and apparently can make nothing more time-consuming than a hat. Yet, still, I persist with my love of knitting books because they are inspiring and, well, kind of like porn. Of the knitterly variety.

Which brings me back to the original topic (ya'll! stay awake! I'm getting to the point!) Sexy Little Knits is a new book by swimwear designer Ashley Paige, and it will immediately disarm you of your grannycrafting stigma. The patterns inside are indeed sexy, and a few fall into just plain hootchie and I mean that as a compliment. If I had a body like any of the models in this book, I would just walk around buck naked and that is no lie.

Of course, I do not have a model-bod, and I will not be making any of the flirty little bikinis or short-shorts or rompers a'la Rollergirl, because I have a little too much juicy booty for this book, and the booty needs perhaps a tad more than four inches of mohair to keep it under control. It's not just the posterior I'm having to keep mind of, I was looking at the bandeau top bikini and thinking, "Nice headband!" Let it be known that the girls and I will be firmly encased in uplifting lycra this summer, preferably in something underwire. Ya'll know.


But all my friends are about as skinny as poles and the bandeau and the halter-tie bikini patterns would be perfect for any one of them. (Lucky little brats.) Even though I personally can't wear one, I do love the idea of a knitted or crocheted bikini, they are so cute and retro. I did fall in love with the idea of knitting my own bathrobe, one of the patterns featured in this book, and I read through the directions which were (surprisingly) easy enough for even a remedial knitter such as myself to follow.


I like the way the designer breaks up the knitting directions under headings and the layout of the book is very easy to follow, with plenty of slick photos of each piece modeled by impossibly leggy chicks.


The halter dress was really cute and the mesh nightie was too much, I loved it, although I would make it shorter rather than longer and also, I would have all my cellulite sucked out surgically and also, I would need to be liquored up. But the very idea that someone is out there providing easy-to-read patterns of hoochie little knits makes me happier. And once I actually put down the taquitos and lose a pound or forty, I might even make me a little hippie halter top. To wear under my bathrobe.

Click for bigger pics.

Sexy Little Knits : Chic Designs to Knit and Crochet (Paperback)
by Ashley Paige
Paperback, 128 pages
Potter Craft Books

Posted by laurie at 9:18 AM

May 15, 2006

Gardening probably burns calories, right?

I am maybe slightly hobbled over and also, limping. You may be asking, "What exciting sport/date-gone-wild/hijinks and toomfoolery did you tangle with to be hunched over on a Monday morning?"

And your excitement would be wasted on me, me who is the apex of boringness, me who has apparently suffered a gardening-related injury. Or not-injury, really, more like "I am so pitiful out of shape that hauling a few bags of dirt around has crippled me."

I should maybe use my treadmill more often? Do some sport besides knitting?

And ya'll, I am embarrassed to tell you, I did not even haul around that much garden-related stuff. In fact, I maybe carried one or two bags of Gromulch, and the rest of the lifting and "put it here... no... over there... let's move this, too!" was carried out by two very nice men who had the dire misfortune to be working on a house directly next to me, one Scarlett Wishful O'Hara.

The house next door to me, previously rented by Mark and Sherri, a very nice couple, is now being put up for sale and for the past couple of weeks all sort of hammering and drilling and painting has been going on over there. I have just been ignoring it, since I know that with my luck the folks who buy that house will be either: A) Loud talkers/yellers/all-night partiers B) Super quiet people who despise my breathing noise c) Satan-worshippers who make live pigeon sacrfices in the backyard D) Drug dealers. So, I have just ignored the whole house-is-for-sale-to-possible-Satanists aspect. However, on Saturday morning I was introduced to Octavio and Julio, both of whom were very sorry to bother me but could I please come outside please?

Not a good sign, usually.

They had apparently been sawing down the tree that sits between my yard and the neighbor's yard when a large chunk of said tree crashed into my back patio. One would think that I would have heard this madness and carrying on just a mere fifteen feet from me, but I was locked in a bathroom with a cat who was determined not to be poisoned (medicated) and had grown ten biting heads and forty-eleven claws and frankly ya'll I was just not monitoring the logging operations going on in the back yard.

So I went outside with Octavio and Julio and we looked at my backyard and the large tree which was covering much of my patio.

"Shady!" I said.
"Accidental!" they said.
"Is it too early for a beer?" asked guess-who.
"Never too early!" said Octavio.

And after much chitchatting and scrutinizing of the downed soldier, everyone decided perhaps the best thing to do would be to push it back over the fence to the other side. Mind you, I had nothing to do with this flash of brilliance, as I was doing the thing that all good Southerners do when faced with a tree spontaneously committing suicide over their back porch: I was opening up cold beers and hostessing. Because this is what I do, people. I can't chainsaw a tree or haul it off to the... tree place, or whatever people do with giant pieces of greenery. No, I make jokes and kick back a cold one.

Of course, after 20 minutes of trying to push a giant tree back into the yard from whence it came, everyone was ready for another round and Octavio and Julio decided perhaps, with my OK, they would just saw it here and carry it off piece by piece?

And as day turned into evening turned into six-pack, the tree left little by little, I realized that the Almighty himself had send me these two new best buddies, and they felt so bad about a tree landing on my porch that they would agree to do anything, and also they were maybe a little intoxicated. And I had eleventeen hundred pounds of potting soil in giant bags that I had purchased way back in... April? that had been delivered... to my garage. And I had procrastinated for about as long as one can procrastinate when they are on a square watermeloning craze, and the dirt needed to make it to the back 40 for the transplanting, and I had found two poor schmoes to help me haul eleventeen hundred pounds of potting soil on Sunday. If a tree falls in Encino, will Scarlett O'Hara think about her garden the next day? Indeed!

On Sunday, both Octavio and Julio came 'round in the afternoon, and helped me with the Great Dirt Distribution Project of 2006. As previously mentioned and worth stating once again, I carried at least two whole bags of Gromulch (ha!) and I transplanted most of my seedlings and I took pictures of none of this, because it was 500 degrees in the valley all weekend and I was sweaty and dirty and also, 500 degrees. This story has no excellent conclusion, unless you find it excellent that I lied to everyone at work just now and said I was hunched over and crippled from a weekend of extreme hanky-panky, which I am sure they really believed, especially after one person suggested I downgrade to a "battery-operated model." Heh.

C'est Monday. Hobble hobble.

Pictures that also have nothing to do with this story.



Posted by laurie at 10:04 AM

May 12, 2006

Reminiscing 'cause it feels so good.

Love’s Baby Soft. That is the way I remember fifth grade.

I was never really a girlie-girl until I discovered Robert Allison, and that is around the same time I noticed that my entire fifth grade class smelled like a Bonne Belle factory. We became obsessed, it seemed, all at once: two months before school let out, we noticed we’d soon be Very Grown Up Sixth Graders and then came the Lip Smackers and furtive trips to the girls’ bathroom to check out stolen makeup from mom’s makeup bag.

And the Love’s Baby Soft. It mingled with tea rose and some other God-awful scent and we preened and wore our jeans tighter and edged closer to the very back of the bus to see if Robert Allison was holding hands with anybody.

Ya'll remember how we used to have this lip gloss that came in little tins with a sliding lid that snapped into place? My favorite flavor was watermelon. I guess that is when I became the Lip Gloss Monster. I still am, even though sometimes it's just Carmex.

And because I lived in a little one-stop-light town way out in the country, we went to 4-H camp every year. Camp was two parent-free weeks of swimming in water that I cannot imagine swimming in now and wearing short-shorts and eating marshmallows at every meal. I was the only girl who signed up for the wood carving class (proving even then that I knew how to get an audience of guys all to myself.) Unfortunately, boys are slower than girls -- and while I did learn how to use a router, I was no closer to Robert Allison. To get his attention I would have had to turn into a basketball, or maybe a Ford Mustang (at least until eighth grade, but that’s another story.)

One summer at camp, I learned that Danette Broglio’s mom and dad would put on Neil Diamond records before they Did It. And if you had seen Danette’s parents, which I had, then you would understand why I cannot listen to Neil Diamond to this very day without getting a little skeeved out.

I’m not sure what made me think of all this, especially since I’m way to young to be reminiscing about the past like a crotchety old fart. On the other hand, though -- it’s May-nearing-June and it’s sunny and I feel just like I did right then, wanting to be free, to be outside, to see what summer has in store for me, and I want to be just innocent enough to think that Love’s Baby Soft is really cool.

Roy is baby soft when he's asleep.

Posted by laurie at 9:55 AM

May 11, 2006

One hundred percent of my divorce settlement is mad at me.

Bob and Frankie are finally home!



I thought I would pick them up from the hospital and they'd be ready to go forth and poopulate the world, but as it turns out they are still feeling paltry, and now to that mix we add pure hatred because of all the medicating we do at Chez Feline Guantanamo. This is what my morning has been like so far:

4:45 a.m. Alarm clock goes off, horrible thing.

4:45.03 a.m. I am back asleep.

4:46 a.m. Frankie sneezes, prompting me to remember why I have set alarm for insanely early wake-up time, because I must somehow feed and medicate four animals before I go to work.

4:48 a.m. Ponder prospect of medicating four sick animals. Wonder if it is too early to begin drinking.

5:02 a.m. Feed cats. Begin assembling medicine. Everyone gets a different dose. Some cats have different medications. Wonder if vet created this system to confuse the poor, dumb blonde girl.

5:09 a.m. Find Roy.

5:10 a.m. Roy sees me sizing him up. Roy is no dumb blonde girl. Roy runs under sofa.

5:12 a.m. With half my upper body under the sofa, I feel something brush my arm. EEEEEW.

5:13 a.m. It's Roy, not giant spider-creature of nightmares.

(struggle ensues)

5:20 a.m. With half of Roy in my hands, begin using left leg in strange contortionist position to wrap my leg around front portion of Roy where his claws have permanently anchored to the carpet. Loosen cat. Cat attaches to leg. OUCH. Yet... aha! I am bigger than you! I HAVE YOU NOW!!!!!

5:21 a.m. Yet, medicine is on other side of room.

5:22 a.m. Still holding cat in two arms and one leg, wiggle out of T-shirt and wrap T-shirt around cat to hold cat in place. Am now naked, holding T-shirt covered cat in living room. REALLY NEED A BEER. Realize it's wrong to think of beer at five in the a.m. Consider taking up heroin, or perhaps archery.

5:23 a.m. Huddle with T-shirt-covered cat in football-holding position while inching to the bathroom, grab syringe of medication in mouth on the way. Medication is DISGUSTING. Understand why cats hate it.

5:24 a.m. Make it into bathroom. Place cat in sink. Shut door, get dressed again in what is now cat-hair-shirt.

5:25 a.m. - 5:37 a.m. Wrap Roy in towel burrito and get approximately no medication in cat, all medication on human.

5:38 a.m. - 6:42 a.m.: Repeat with three more cats. Envision self on cat-free island with naked Antonio Banderas-type man and large drinks with little umbrellas in them.


I do not even know how to begin thanking ya'll for the nice thoughts and for the help ya'll have given us here at the crazy house. Thank you so much. I cannot believe that complete strangers would open up like that and I don't even know the right things to say, aside from I am well and truly grateful, as are the furballs, and ya'll now are officially stock owners in my divorce settlement. Honestly. Thank ya'll!

Posted by laurie at 9:07 AM

May 10, 2006

Oma's Chocolate Cake Recipe

(This is transcribed from my family's recipe, so I hope it makes sense! Oma is the German word for grandma. We are a nickname family, so even the grandma gets a nickname. ya'll know.)

Oma's Chocolate Cake Recipe

Mix the following ingredients together, bring to a boil, then set aside to cool:

1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
1 stick butter
6 tablespoons cocoa powder

Then, combine:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Add this to the mixture you already boiled up. Mix well. Bake in a greased cake pan at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, melt together:
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
6 tablespoons buttermilk

Then, add 1 box powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla, beat with mixer. Poke a few holes in the cake with the thin handle of a wooden spoon. Ice cake while hot.


p.s. Thank you all for such nice thoughts about the wellness of the furballs, and the kindness ya'll have shown. I cannot thank you enough!

Posted by laurie at 8:09 AM

May 9, 2006

Dear hospitals, please check for escapees.

Hospital Escapee #1:


Yesterday, on my way to the bus stop, I had the pleasure of meeting a man who was wearing a hospital gown while walking down a busy city street in downtown Los Angeles, asking people for money or cigarettes. If only he'd been wearing a bra on his head and speaking into a Pepsi can, we could have bonded. We could know the same people. Crazy is a small world, after all.

Hospital Escapee Wannabe #2:

Bob looks at me with the sad eyes of "How could you do this to me?" during what apparently was a whole hospital-themed day, wherein I once again cried at the vet's office and then, after visiting the inmates, I had not been away from the furballs for 15 minutes when I had to call the vet from my cellphone, "Can you please go check on them? I wasn't sure I latched the door all the way?" and I wasn't sure but also, Frankie was lonely. And visiting hours were over.

The good doctor W. says the cats aren't eating, but I do suspect they are just ready to come home and get their favorite food served to them on a little white dish on a special placemat like they have grown accustomed to. This is called "spoilt rotten." When they come home, I'm making them a special meal, they do love baked chicken. And ya'll, I do believe in the restorative and soothing power of food. Nothing can cure a bad mood or a paltry appetite like good home-cooked meal. Of course, I’m Southern, so my realtionship with food is a Fruedian wet dream. I believe that all good in this world starts with a hot meal.

My collective childhood experiences can be described as potlucks. After all, in the South, we look upon funerals as a time to mourn, make our peace with the departed, and chow down. There are four basic food groups where I'm from, and they go something like this: red meat, casserole, deep fried and sweets. My geographical kinfolk know there is nothing in this world that a good hashbrown casserole or plate of fried chicken cannot soothe. (I will not be frying the cats' chicken. Though I may fry me some. I need soothing. Indeed.)

My mental map of America is divided by food instead of state lines. Mid-westerners have always seemed like good people to me since they seem to share the same unspoken knowledge that anything will taste better if you melt some cheese on it. I’d always been slightly suspect of New Yorkers, but once I discovered their emotional bond with pizza, I knew they were 'alright.' (Of course, I don’t admit my admiration of New Yorkers' cuisine to my family, that would be like asking to fry the chicken with the skin off. I keep my more modern views to myself when I go home, since I don’t want to start an argument and miss out on the okra.)

Even talking about food can make a dour mood brighten up. Like right now for example. I was longfaced, now I am hungry. That, my friends, is an improvement! I can start describing my grandma’s homemade chocolate cake to someone, and suddenly all is right with the world. My dad is the same way, so maybe it’s genetic, but you just can’t stay in a bad or sad or maudlin mood when you tell the story of a chocolate sheet cake made with a half pound of butter, taken warm out of the oven and poked with the back of a wooden spoon to make holes for the warm chocolate-puddingy icing to seep in and solidify. Comfort in a 13 x 9 pan. Amen.

Posted by laurie at 11:12 AM

May 8, 2006

Hello! We are crazy.


If anyone has a nice, comfy storage shed that could accomodate one lady, four cats and mucho vino ya'll just let me know. Because over here, we are outfitting our wing of the Sherman Oaks Veterinary clinic. But it will be a lovely wing, everything will be gilded, or possibly covered in velvet, dripping with luxury and all the ingestibles will be flavored with tuna and catnip. Me and the cats would like to move in, please. Please?

I would also like to point out that I am revising my Hor-O-Scope forecast downward. For the street. Earnings are down at Chez Pox On Your House, and possibly unlucky stars are nearby. However, it is not dull ... ya'll, it is only May 8th. Think of the possibilities! A tree could fall on the roof. We could have an earthquake that runs on a little-known Encino faultline conveniently located under my kitchen floor. I could get scabies. Gas prices could reach the three-dollar-forty-five cent mark. Oh wait. What was I saying, again?

So! Very exciting weekend. It's not a party until someone is being plied into a cage and hauled to the vet. Roy and Soba are on medication, and now Bob and Frankie are both in the kitty hospital. Where they are being hydrated and probably given eucalyptus steam saunas and daily massage therapies. I imagine Frankie coming home manicured and wearing a Gucci collar. One can only hope that Bob is so stoned on the good kitty drugs that he is seeing multiples of his cute paws, which I do believe would make him happy. It is all very sad and tear-stained here at the house of despair and also, drinking.

I have only called the vet about eleventeen hundred times, "Hi! It's Laurie. Again. Hi! How are ya'll? How are my cats? Are you being sweet to them? Is Bob sleeping under his blanket? Is Frankie being validated today with affirmations of her supermodelness? Are ya'll charging me for this phone call?"

Needless to say, they love me. They are maybe trying to get an unlisted number.

The general theory is that Roy, what with his compromised immune system and love of making me crazy, picked up some kind of cat-sneezing, money-costing, sadness-inducing bug at the specialist and then incubated it for a sufficient amount of time before sharing it with his friends. Now there is nothing I can personally do to change or affect any of this, so I did the normal take-control thing yesterday and tore my house top to bottom, washing every towel, sheet, sock and surface. I Magic Erasered until the paint was coming off the walls. I vacuumed everything, including Roy, accidentally. Whoops. I washed all the pillows, the down comforter and the cat toys. I was standing outside the laundry room door at 1 a.m. this morning, LOOKING FOR THINGS TO WASH. I am maybe crazy. None of this will have any effect whatsoever on the health of my felines, but I have resorted to Mr. Cleanism for sanity's sake. I am dying to go home so I can Clorox the bathtub. Ya'll. I have lost my damn mind. Send wine.

Posted by laurie at 9:58 AM

May 5, 2006






Posted by laurie at 9:21 AM

May 4, 2006

The Paris Scarf

... which has nothing at all to do with Paris! I bought the yarn for this project before I went on vacation back in March, and although I had high hopes for churning out a pretty little skinny scarf on the plane, I knit nary a stitch.

However, while I was in le city of le fashion, I noticed that European women were wearing really wide, long scarves all around town. I particularly liked the deconstructed, messy scarves with knots and weird fringe and tangles, as I am a person who often finds herself drawn to knots and tangles. So, when I finally got around to casting on for this scarf, I made it fairly wide and used bigger needles because I am le cheapskate, and didn't want to buy eleventeen skeins of this stuff.

Yarn: Modea Dea's "curious" in the Black Cherry color

This is a curious yarn indeed, a very lightweight ribbon with these wonky pieces of, uh, embellishment sewn on every few inches. It takes a little while to get into the knitting groove with this yarn, because the funky things catch on the stitches from time to time. But it knits up all crazy and muppet-like. (There I go using fancy knitting terminology. Such as "muppet-like" and "funky things.")

Here's what I did:
• Cast on 30 stitches, using a size 15 needle.
• Knit through about three skeins, leaving a little yarn left on the third skein
• Bind off
• Oh! When you're knitting and joining a new ball of yarn, don't bother knitting the ends in. Just tie a knot, leaving about five inches of yarn tail, and knit on.
• And, if you're crazy like me, when the scarf is all done, cut about ten random size pieces of the leftover yarn to tie in random areas, in a "I've been drinking and thought funky schizo fringe would be cool" kind of way.


Click the image below for a much larger view:

However, and perhaps it is my state of mind or just the pure fact that I do love a unique and unusual accessory, upon completion I have decided this scrappy, funky scarf just isn't ... funky enough. As is my way. Bring on the funk! So, I picked up one skein of Mode Dea "gleam" in a matching-ish color (Rubelite). This yarn is a compilation of mohair and nylon and ribbon and sparkle and all kinds of stuff. It's surprisingly soft and fits the funkified bill.

Moda Dea "gleam" in Rubelite

I spread the completed scarf out on the guest bed last night and stared at it for a while, glass of wine in hand, cat hair damn near everywhere. Maybe that was an overshare. It's been that kind of week.

I think that I'm going to use a large-eye yarn needle, and thread up with the "gleam" yarn, and start weaving it in and out of my stitches from one end to the other (longways, from top of scarf to bottom of scarf.) Perhaps then my scarf will reach its pinnacle of funk, or fugly, depending on your point of view.

I planned to do this weaving and funkifying at Stitch 'n Bitch tonight and take a poll on how many people think said scarf is just butt-ugly versus how many people think funky is the new pretty. But instead, I will be at Sherman Oaks Vet tonight with one Sobatater, who is all the sudden sick because Lord knows we can't have a day and a half here at Chez Financial Ruin without somebody getting their heart broken or someone sneezing up a snotball.

Luckily, this scarf is so "funky" it will hide snotballs quite well, thankyouverymuch.

Posted by laurie at 8:45 AM

May 2, 2006

Honestly. I meant to write about knitting.

Tomorrow I'll give you the details of the Paris Scarf, which has little to nothing to do with Paris.

My folks are on a road trip right now in their motorhome. They stopped in Ft. Smith, Arkansas last night at a campground (my folks are motorhomers, to the nth degree) and my mom called me last night to tell me about how lovely and endearing Southerners are.

"Your dad and I set up the table and chairs, and the grill, and we were making dinner and you know how good onions smell? Well, we could smell someone nearby cooking something good, with onions.

"So we finished dinner, and then Dad and I went to take a walk to get us some exercise and see the park. While we were out walking, we met this woman who was out, too, and somehow we found out she was the one who'd been cooking onions. She'd made her husband some homemade onion rings that night, and we told her how good they smelled, and we laughed and told her how her cooking made the whole campground hungry!

"Not an hour later we got a knock on the door, and there on a Solo plate with some paper towels was a whole pile of onion rings, fresh from a complete stranger. I knew you'd love that story."

And I do.

Because I know people are people, and we all reach out the best we can, but Southerners do it with a plate of something fried or casseroled or barbecued and Lord how I do miss that feeling of neighborliness, the very notion someone would walk a mile for you, or fry up a plate of onion rings, just out of human kindness.

And so this is what I found. In the beginning, when he left, I was empty and raw like a mine stripped bare of everything good and real. And I lived each day alone, and I reached out slowly and made some friends, and as my heart strengthened up a little bit I could spend a whole night alone without emptiness and finally I could sleep.

You go so long without love and affection, so long between soft moments, and you learn that your company is good company, and you laugh at your own jokes, and you lie in bed each night with a cat on your pillow or wine lips or a good book. Life is good. You made it through the other side, even though he's shacking up with someone new, you know you're doing just fine and you make a life for yourself. You are a good employee, a good friend, a not-so-good but funny hostess all the same.

You let go.

And people say, "You'll meet someone. When you least expect it."

And you think, "I'm OK, even if I don't."

Then you meet someone, a fellow, and you remember all over again how good it feels to have someone place a hand on the small of your back as you walk to the table, how nice it is to be kissed like he means it, how much you missed having dinners for two instead of dinners for one. He touches your arm, it's a small thing. You wake up, you know that lonely is one place, you've been there, and together is a whole different set of cards. You like this hand you've been dealt. You get angry when it up and disappears because lonely: not your chosen destination. You want someone to see life with you, hug you while you wash a plate, cup your cheek with his bare hand. And once you have it again -- even if it's just for a fleeting minute -- you realize how much you need it.

People tell you to make your life full so you won't be longing for another, so you'll be complete without anyone at all. (People often say this from the vantage point of completion.) We know the truth, that it's all a walk we take, each night, each day, to connect with another human being, to feel affection and recognition, to have love sex friendship distress resolution. What's the point of being so whole and complete that you never need anyone to show up at your doorstep at ten o'clock at night, with a plate of onion rings, or a kiss, or a 'how are you?'

It isn't about being alone. There's no weakness in it. It's a great strength to say you need a little affection. It's not a bad thing to share it.

Is it?

Posted by laurie at 7:42 AM

May 1, 2006

May 2006 Hor-O-Scopes

It's May Day! I know that today is filled with all kinds of protest activity and so on, but today is also my mom's birthday, so ... let us all eat cake! Cake is truly one of the most underrated aspects of the American dream. Where once you had to slave over a hot stove, beating eggs into submission and... uh, other cooking stuff, now you can just go to the deli and get a giant slice of chocolate cake. It could be German chocolate, or Mexican chocolate, or Hershey Pennsylvania Chocolate... we are the equal opportunity cake country!

Astrologically speaking, this is supposed to be a really good month for us Cancer folks. It's all about Mars and Uranus, and Jupiter, and some other stuff with planets aligning and a full moon on the 13th and ya'll. I'm treating May as my personal wishing well, giving this whole month up to divine intervention and cake. I suggest that everyone enjoy some cake early in the month, when planets are more shiny and happy, and bathing suit season still seems far away. Unless you live in the Valley of course, where it was so hot yesterday you'd swear it was August, and like me you've sworn of bathing suits forever. But I digress. Happy May Day, and Birthday! And cake! (This is what happens when you prognosticate too close to lunchtime.)

- - - - - - - - -

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
This is the month of long-lost-someones popping back into your life just like one of those annoying whack-a-mole games at Chuck E. Cheese (which has great pizza, by the way... mmm. cheese. pepperoni.) You can count on someone from the past popping up in an unexpected form in the next two weeks, and the trip down memory lane won’t end until mid-June. In fact, it may have already begun. I’m fuzzy on the timeline but I can tell you this: it will stir up some weird inner emotional stuff. (I prescribe cake! Stat!) Interestingly enough, the weird emotional stuff won't be all bad. In fact, it may have you looking back over the past little while with new eyes, and seeing all the good, and how far you've come. You may find yourself happily realizing how much you've changed. Come to think of it, I haven't been to Chuck E. Cheese in a while. Maybe we should meet there and you can give me a list of all the positives to have come into your life since you last saw your blast from the past. Or we could just have lunch. Because you know. Lunch!

PISCES (Feb. 19 - March 20)
Like sands from the hourglass, so are the places of our lives. Some geographical region is calling out to you, your wanderlust is getting to you in night sweats and daydreams. I have never seen a sign more in need of a vacation. A little change of locale will make an enormous change in your perspective. Take the urge seriously and make a weekend getaway a reality. It doesn’t have to be expensive or far away to give you the little jolt you need … in fact, the oasis you’re looking far is closer to home than ya'll may expect. The month of May has the planets just-so for a perfect Pisces diversion. Pack your bags, and some snacks, I like those Cheeze-Its in little individual-sized bags, or! oh! Goldfish. mmmm. Goldfish. Perfect for a Pisces vacation. Oh yeah.

ARIES (March 21- April 19)
Time to save early and save often. This is a wonky time, little Aries, when once-dormant financial warts begin to grow prickly hairs. But ya'll don’t throw yourselves on the fire of monetary ruin just yet. Lean times make you even more creative and wily, you crafty little beast. By summer’s end you’ll be out of debt’s dark shadow if you use your talent for resolving dilemmas on yourself (instead of focusing all your problem-solving energy on you-know-who). Also! When warts are in your forecast it is no time to kiss frogs. Instead, use some of that pent-up energy and desire to relax over the long weekend at the end of May, I think a barbecue sounds good. Maybe a thick, juicy cheeseburger or some grilled shrimp? This lunchtime astrology thing is tough. I'll have to go with burgers.

TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
I look at your end-of-May chart and all I see is … feet. I haven’t had a great deal of time to ponder the meaning of this clearly significant sign. Feet. It can mean so many things! Begin walking? Walk away? Tired feet? Foot traffic? Foot soldier? Go shoe shopping? Foot the bill? Foot in mouth? Footsteps? Beat feet to the food court? Follow or lead? Ah, yes, follow or lead! A question you’ve given some thought to. I believe this symbol can mean anything you choose - progress, change, or Roxy flip-flops in a Hawaiian print. But then again, I’m not standing in your shoes, and neither is anyone else. So how can anyone but you decide what is best for your own feet? You know your true direction, deep down, and you can trust your own decisions this month, and let others follow in your footsteps. Maybe those footsteps will lead to cake. I do not know.

GEMINI (May 21 - June 21)
I have had some automobile issues as of late. Large, cumbersome automobile issues. You, on the other hand, are having road issues. Well, path issues, to be more specific. Summer brings out the two parts of you that tamer seasons manage to dull: wistfulness and ants-in-your-pants-edness. You see how important it is, that I had to go and make up a word like ants-in-you-pants-edness. I love Gemeni folks, because ya'll are always just one step ahead of the rest of us, unfortunately ya'll don't handle anxiety very well. The anxiety you feel right now over your future is only going to give you a headache and something akin to perma-PMS, so lighten up on yourself just a little bit and indulge your wistfulness by planning a Memorial Holiday weekend, and use the last days of May to formulate a Plan, even if you end up scrapping it in August. Oh! Invite me to the party. I will bring... um? Cake?

CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
More UFOs appear to Cancerians than to any other sign in the zodiac. Perhaps we're so damn evolved that we naturally attract intelligent life from other planets. On the other hand, maybe we're just a little oversensitive and we "see" things that aren't there. This is the dual nature of the crab. May is shaping up to be a stellar month for crabs, and boy have we needed it. I think we should spend this month actively communicating with intelligent beings. Instead of seeing aliens all around us, or trying to beam ourselves far away from the current situation (whatever it may be) (and right now personally it is my dire lack of lunch), we ought to try seeking some human contact. Whether it's in relationships (hrmph), career issues, or family and home stuff, the results could be out of this world. (Hah hah! Get it! Out of this world!) (Sorry. Low blood sugar.)

LEO (July 23 - August 22)
Remember those little orange baby aspirin? I used to pretend to be sick just so I could take one. And then there was the attention. Plus I got to stay home and watch General Hospital. I thought I really had a good thing going by faking it, and so do you. The problem is that we’re not in third grade anymore and while you’re faking IT, the real thing is out there passing you by. The more time you spend fooling people for attention, the more time you’ve lost having really genuine experiences. You may not think you’re faking anything, but take a closer look at a key relationship as June nears. Are you being completely honest? Are you getting all your needs met? Are you feeling the love, the attention, the cake? Whoops! Did I say cake? I meant pie. Anyway, this month is a good time to stop faking it, fooling yourself and anyone else along the way. You really are good enough just the way you are. Chew on that one. Then take two baby aspirin and call me in the morning.

VIRGO (August 23 - Sept. 22)
Predictions are clumsy animals. I always get the exact dates slightly skewed, which led me to believe the notion that perhaps our sign is actually determined at conception, instead of birth. Don’t you often feel that your astrological prediction in the daily paper is, well, slightly askew? Not totally wrong, but not right, either. So, for the month of May, I backtracked nine months to give you a clearer prediction. But that was confusing as hell, and I simply fell into befuddlement (followed closely by some mint-choco-chip ice cream.) Then today, I was cogitating on this whole thing, and all I could think about was Mint Chocochip ice cream, of which I have none. Final analysis: it is not wise to rely on astrology to make decisions for you, especially when the magic 8-ball is so close at hand. You won't need divinity this month, because you'll have good astro-luck! May has some well-placed planets in your House Of Working For The Man, and you'll be happily surprised by some work-related stuff around the full moon mid-month. Much cause for happiness and ice cream.

LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23)
Boy am I glad I wasn't born under a sign that involves scales of any kind. Especially since as soon as I finish these damn hor-o-scopes I plan to eat my way into a lunchtime food coma. Apropos, though, that you're the sign of scales. I know you're aware that deep inside most people there is a scale of usefulness which they use to rank others. You keep your personal ranking system well hidden in the folds of your good nature, but you'd be wise to dust it off and do some serious selfish evaluating of your own. Someone will come to you bearing gifts this month -- decide what it's worth to you before accepting. Tape a $20 bill to your tummy and yell "hot property!" if necessary. Or! Feel free to join me in the food court, once I take care of the Scorps, Sags and Cappies May forecast. Sound good?

SCORPIO (Oct. 24 - Nov. 21)
Drink lots of water. Eat many vegetables (Cheetoes, while orange and somewhat carrot-stick-ish, do not count as one of the five essential servings.) Limit salt intake. Blah blah blah. None of this will do you a damn bit of good when you’re reckless with your personal safety. There is something going on with you and it’s compelling you to throw caution to the wind. The next 30 days are like a field of hidden landmines if you don’t start taking care and walking slow. Caution is your watchword. Wear your seatbelt. Wear a condom. Wear sunscreen. Wear panties with a cotton lining. The best advice my mom ever gave me was "Keep your panties on!" and that goes doubly well for Scorpios this month. You'll have more opportunity than usual to get into a pickle, so keep your eyes open for well-lit emergency exits. Oh. Pickles! mmmm.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
Snobbery! There is snobbery in your midst, I can just sense it. Contrary to popular belief, snobbery is not some exhibit of the age-old class struggle or an external show of good taste vs. bad taste. No. Snobbery is just simple insecurity. It’s a way for someone to act superior when deep down they’re just a loathsome inner child with a bedwetting problem. So, shrug off the snot - uh, I mean snob - in your midst and use your excellent sense of humor to de-mystify the situation. Rather than try to engage in a pissing match with a bedwetter, simply remove yourself from contention by rising above the occasion. If any sign in the hiz-ouse can do it, it's you, Sag, the finest example of diplomacy and good taste. Good taste. I am so hungry I could gnaw my own arm off right now. Tasty!

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
Summer is the season of freckles, sand, sun and blazing hot romantic romps. Well, that’s what Cosmo says, anyway. I read the summer edition of Cosmopolitan magazine every summer, cover to cover, and I think to myself, “Who do they write this stuff for?” But then I was drawing up your stars for May...and June... and even July (!!!) and all those “Shocking Sexy Summer Stories” are about you! You’re a regular little love machine. When you walk, are you accompanied by the faint sound of “Foxy Lady” playing in the background? Do you find folks ready to fling off their clothes at a moment's notice? No? Not yet? Well, as we get through the first week of May, and through to the full-moon at mid-month, your House Of Super Studly heats up and you are like a one-girl pheromone pit this summer. All I can say is… woohoo! And if you haven’t discovered your power already, well, now you know. Care to share? Perhaps over lunch? And cake? Because that's where I'm off to! Bon apetit!

Posted by laurie at 12:36 PM